Review: Three Little Words 




Synopsis:

“Sunshine, you’re my baby and I’m your only mother. You must mind the one taking care of you, but she’s not your mama.” Ashley Rhodes-Courter spent nine years of her life in fourteen different foster homes, living by those words. As her mother spirals out of control, Ashley is left clinging to an unpredictable, dissolving relationship, all the while getting pulled deeper and deeper into the foster care system. 

Painful memories of being taken away from her home quickly become consumed by real-life horrors, where Ashley is juggled between caseworkers, shuffled from school to school, and forced to endure manipulative,humiliating treatment from a very abusive foster family. In this inspiring, unforgettable memoir, Ashley finds the courage to succeed – and in doing so, discovers the power of her own voice. 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Three Little Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter is a biography that readers everywhere need to read. It gives readers a deep insider’s view to the foster care system. Sure we all think that it’s great the kids will be taken care of and all. But not all foster homes are perfect. Just like the fact that Americans are forced to believe about a 1950’s ‘ideal American family image’ that no family actually lived up to…society isn’t always that great. Inside this nonfiction book, I got to journey through the writer’s life as a foster kid and how she overcame the obstacles. I was deeply troubled by what occurred to her while in foster care and my heart tore in a million pieces. No child should have it worse when being taken care of…yet this woman did. I spent some time in foster care myself due to both my parents; however, my time in there was okay. But not all are lucky. I knew what happens. I remember seeing my day taken away from us kids the day before foster care picked us, kids, up…thus, relating to Ashley Rhodes-Courter’s memoir was easy and sad. Bad memories…Three Little Words is a well-written book. I highly recommend it to readers worldwide. 

Review: Madame President 



Synopsis:

The harrowing, but triumphant story of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, leader of the Liberian women’s movement, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and the first democratically elected female president in African history.

When Ellen Johnson Sirleaf won the 2005 Liberian presidential election, she demolished a barrier few thought possible, obliterating centuries of patriarchal rule to become the first female elected head of state in Africa’s history. Madame President is the inspiring, often heartbreaking story of Sirleaf’s evolution from an ordinary Liberian mother of four boys to international banking executive, from a victim of domestic violence to a political icon, from a post-war president to a Nobel Peace Prize winner. 

Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and bestselling author Helene Cooper deftly weaves Sirleaf’s personal story into the larger narrative of the coming of age of Liberian women. The highs and lows of Sirleaf’s life are filled with indelible images; from imprisonment in a jail cell for standing up to Liberia’s military government to addressing the United States Congress, from reeling under the onslaught of the Ebola pandemic to signing a deal with Hillary Clinton when she was still Secretary of State that enshrined American support for Liberia’s future.
Sirleaf’s personality shines throughout this riveting biography. Ultimately, Madame President is the story of Liberia’s greatest daughter, and the universal lessons we can all learn from this “Oracle” of African women.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Madame President by Helene Cooper is an inspiring read. Women everywhere will be awed at the work done by one woman, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. She has gone beyond any other woman of her time in a country that mistreated women as objects. Here, I got to follow the brave and clever woman as she rose from just a mother to a president of a nation. Going to prison, suffering like every other woman has done…,yet she managed to rise dispite the hardships that fell upon her. I was amazed. She kept on going even when it might have meant the end for her. Writer, Helene Cooper, has brought Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s life alive on these pages for All to see. Just when I thought I have seen, heard, and know it all…this book brought out more than just a woman struggling to rise among men of her country. It’s a story of survival, courage, determination as well as breaking barriers. Overall, I recommend this nonfiction piece on one of the most compelling stories of a woman to readers everywhere.

Review: Yesterday’s Moments…Today’s Memories




Synopsis

YESTERDAY’S MOMENTS… Today’s Memories is the third in David Turner’s nostalgic trilogy depicting rural and small-town life in Canada during the last century.

“From as far back as I could recall,” Turner says, “I’d been listening to the stories passed down through generations of my family. As the years went by, an unrelenting passion dictated I record these recollections and the lives of those who lived here. To flourish both intellectually and emotionally, we need to know who we are and where we’ve been. 
“One of the most enjoyable aspects of writing is the ability to convey those thoughts to others. Whenever a story is repeated, it rekindles the attribute of something otherwise forgotten. Friends and loved ones pass on, and with the years, our memories fade—but through their stories, the legacy of those who came before can live forever.”
The counties of Grey, York, Peel, Simcoe, and Perth have been home to the Turner family for many decades. In 2014, David and his wife Mary retired to Huron County.

Rating
: 5-stars

Review:

Yesterday’s Moments…Today’s Memories is a great biography and memoir to read. It took me back to the writer’s family history. His roots. Once there, I got to follow some of his ancestors as their lives unfolded before me. Page after page, I was dragged deep into the past. From farming to mechanics, the people inside the book come to life. I loved how David Turner preserved his ancestry and their lives. It thought it was interesting. As I read, I keep making comparisons as to back then versus now. Travel, adventure, exploration….can be found within the book as well. It was even more interesting when big historical moments landed on the pages. Wouldn’t it be fascinating to find that a relative was there the night of Titanic sinking? I thought it was. The lives and cultures as well as the food….was interesting. Yesterday’s Moments…Today’s Memories is a beautifully captured tale of many memories and history…that will lure readers old and young to its pages. Being a millennial, I find anything with the past and past lives as interesting as any of peers find advance technology. David Turner’s writing shows his talent as a story teller. There is so much to be found and learned…I highly recommend this memoir to readers worldwide. Truly a treasure to behold. 

Review: Don’t Trust A Stranger

Synopsis:

Have you ever wanted to date someone online? Do you trust people easily? Sometimes that can be a deadly thing. Never be too careful. Never settle for less than what you deserve.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Don’t Trust A Stranger by Jacquelyn Wiles is a must read for all. Her memoir brings to life the issues many live with and are not aware of or may not have someone there to help them. It was quite frightening to read. I wanted to stop reading only because I thought it was going to get super worse with each page. Yes, the domestic violence upgraded; however, so did the help that the young woman received. I believe that without a supporting family behind her or the evidence and the timing of the police call, that things wouldn’t have ended as well as they did. I was then left with an ending that placed a relief within me for the writer but also a new fear emerged. What was going to happen next?

Don’t Trust A Stranger takes bravery to write and talk about it. I am happy that Jacquelyn Wiles has written this book. She has shared her experience with others who may be in that position right now…and need this to give them the help and motivation they seek. Inspiring and horrifying at the same. Overall, I highly recommend it to readers worldwide.

Review: Surviving Mental Illness (My Story)


Synopsis:

The Road to Recovery…

Written from the perspective of someone whose life has been challenged by mental illness, this book offers help, hope, and inspiration to others struggling with psychological disorders. It provides information about mental illness in general—and mood disorders in particular—valuable tips about treatment and medication, and resources and organizations dedicated to helping those suffering from these disorders. 

Surviving Mental Illness helps break through the fear and stigma of mental illness and focuses on how to find health and happiness. The author shares her personal journey: the heartbreak and challenges of bipolar disorder, and the joy of making her way back to mental health. Through her own story, she shows that help is out there, and with a little faith, recovery is possible. 

My faith in G-d has led me to recover in ways you cannot imagine. Life is having faith to overcome any obstacles, and that is what my recovery from mental illness is all about.
Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Linda Naomi Katz’s book, Surviving Mental Illness, is a must read for all. Not just to educate ourselves on mental illnesses or to make ourselves more aware of what it’s like for those suffering from them, but to put ourselves inside their shoes. As a college student I took course in sociology. They all mentioned a term called stigma. That is a term for the labels that a society forces upon a person of group of people. It’s not a good thing. In fact, we all should steal clear of stigmas. But we’re humans and we fall into society’s trap. Until we’re the ones suffering from it. I fell in love with the writer’s book for many reasons. One it talked about the stigma issues on those with mental illnesses. Second, it led through Linda Naomi Katz’s journey as she battled her own mental illness. Her life journey was both inspiring and educational. I want to hug the writer. She went through a lot and worked hard to get to where she is. The ending doesn’t just end with the book. Both her and her husband work in discussing and teaching others about mental illnesses. I was surprised that these two amazing people didn’t let life get to them. Instead they both embraced it and with determination succeeded. I recently was forced to watch a TED speaker for a recent class of mine. It was about failure. Failure was defined as giving up instead of pursuing our goals or dreams. It talked about grit. Grit being the passion to continue in life when all seems hopeless. If we have grit like Linda Naomi Katz did, then we are successful no matter what. This book reinforced that TED talk. I truly believe and felt that this book, Surviving Mental Illness has what it takes to make a difference in this world. Whether it’s to bring an awareness, to stop the stigma against those with mental illnesses or to educate us what it’s all about…the book’s contents will stay with me forever. I found it very inspiring and plan to share this with as many people as possible. Overall, I highly recommend it to readers everywhere. 

Review: Yellow Tulips & Red Buses

Yellow Tulips & Red Buses by [Kamaria, Adia]

 

Synopsis:

London. What if she pursued her master’s at an English university? Or left Florida to its sun and swamps, and feasted her eyes instead on historic towers set against overcast skies? What if crossing the ocean was the path to a brighter future?

Stuck in a dismal job and entangled in a back-and-forth relationship, Adia Kamaria ponders this unexpected idea for quite a while before finally taking the plunge. But when she does, she does so wholeheartedly.

Yellow Tulips & Red Buses reads like a journal in its vulnerability and hopeful honesty as it recounts Adia’s romantic escapades—first with a young Pakistani bloke, followed by a Nigerian prince—and traces her travels in the United Kingdom and beyond when she’s not hard at work studying. While she quickly learns she can’t leave her problems behind, she does realize that a fresh perspective can do wonders for the soul.

An inspiring view of life and love through the eyes of a thirty-something woman who’s had her heart broken one too many times, this no-filters account will make you laugh, cry, and long for adventures of your own.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Yellow Tulips & Red Buses is another fabulous adventure by Adia Kamaria. It’s her own adventure and travels that she shares with us, readers. I absolutely loved being able to travel the world with her while still being safe in my room. Life, love, and lessons…all integrated beautifully within this book. A biographical journey of one woman’s road to finding and failing at love. To traveling the world and meeting new people as well as finding a peace within herself. I truly enjoyed getting to know the talented writer through this book. Truly an engaging story that readers won’t want to miss. Steady and exciting. Readers can feel the emotions as if the emotions were their very own. The scenes come to life and the words suck readers into the tale. Adia Kamaria brings an inspiring piece to readers everywhere. Funny, sad, and frustrating to acceptance of her life. I highly recommend this book to all.

 

Review: An Affair with Beauty

 

Synopsis:

Fame, fortune, and beautiful models–Howard Chandler Christy had them all.

Christy was the most famous American painter of the Jazz Age, a time when an elite brotherhood of New York artists dominated the publishing world. Christy had eclipsed all of them with his ”Christy Girl,” an idealized woman who redefined beauty, influenced fashion, and inspired generations of women.

The Magic of Youth is the first book in An Affair with Beauty — The Mystique of Howard Chandler Christy, a biographical trilogy of the artist’s epic life as told primarily through the eyes of his second wife, Nancy, a former Cosmopolitan model once considered to be one of the most beautiful women in America. As she reflects on her life, Nancy tells of first meeting Christy in 1912 and becoming his top model. She is captivated by his irresistible charm and the glamour of his enchanting world, but discovers that things are not always what they seem and even the great Christy has scandalous secrets.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

An Affair with Beauty by James Philip Head is a nonfiction book about an artsit and illustrator who redefined the American idol of beauty for women everywhere. Women flocked to him like a moth to a flame. The famous illustrator within these pages brings to life Howard Chandler Christy. His work is famous. He definitely was married and well liked. I found it interesting reliving his entire life through the words and retelling by James Philip Head. The theme hidden deep within this book is youth and beauty. Howard Chandler Christy always managed to portray that within his artwork. Reading this book, was like stepping back into history into the illustrator’s shoes. James Philip Head has done an incredible job in bringing to life the artist’s life’s story. Fascinating journey indeed. Overall, I highly recommend it to readers.

Review: When Pain Has Stained A Peaceful Heart

 

Synopsis:

Ann Henry had a close-knit family, a normal childhood, and a strong sense of identity. Although she had been healthy for most of her life, at the age of 27, she was stunned to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder. And so began a fifteen-year journey regaining her mental health, despite the many pitfalls of our mental healthcare system. When Pain Has Stained a Peaceful Heart is based on the true story of Ann’s devastating loss—the loss of her sanity, her voice, and her dignity—and how she fought to regain control over her life with courage and faith. In poetic form, Ann shares the trauma of her experiences in the mental health system through the rhythm of her words and the depth of her emotion. This is an important book not only for those in the mental health profession but also for those who suffer from mental illness and their families by providing an insider’s view of the often chilling reality of treatment facilities. When Pain Has Stained a Peaceful Heart is honest, hard-hitting, and beautifully expressed. “Ann Henry leaves me questioning our mental health system and the further damage done to individuals in an attempt to ‘help’ them and their families.” —Cynthia Barrios-Woodward, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Ann Henry wrote When Pain Has Stained a Peaceful Heart in an effort to help shine some light on the realities of the mental health system. As an artist, writer, and now author and poet, Ann opens up and shares some of her deepest wounds in an effort to help educate the general public about atrocities within a system meant for care.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Ann Henry is indeed a talented writer and poet. Her words will capture readers’ attention from the first page. The words envelope around the readers and drag them through the journey that Ann Henry has brilliantly written. The emotional experiences, from reading When Pain Has Stained A Peaceful Heart, is phenomenal. Inside this beautiful read, readers will find one woman’s voice using poetry to tell her heartbreaking story. One that involves mistreatment within our mental health system.

This book is not a fictional piece but a real woman’s journey through a difficult time in her life. Ann Henry’s poetry flows in a way that lures readers further into her tale. Can you image having your normal life suddenly taken from you  at the age of 27? Well, Ann Henry did. Her mental health took a nose dive and the treatment she received only plunged her down further. Fifteen years of working on regaining her life again…is a sad, yet remarkable read. Ann Henry suffered but made her way through the hardships life dealt her. A strong independent woman who serves as a reminder and inspiration to readers everywhere. I can’t remember a time when a piece of poetry grabbed my attention the way this book has…When Pain Has Stained A Peaceful Heart is definitely a must read for all. I highly recommend reading this woman’s story.

Review: The Painting & the Piano

 

Synopsis:

The Painting and The Piano is an improbable story of survival and love. Growing up more than a thousand miles apart and worlds away from each other, Johnny and Adrianne seemed to have all that children could ask for. However, the demons of their respective mothers would tear their fragile young lives apart.

Eventually, destiny would bring Johnny and Adrianne together, but first they had to endure the painful toll that alcohol, drugs, and a negligent court system would take on them. With parts of Adrianne’s story ripped from national news headlines, their story takes them from the depths of despair and near death to their first serendipitous introduction and the moment each knew they were finally safe.

Filled with hope, inspiration and humor, The Painting and The Piano, is an unforgettable story of pain, loss and the undying human quest for happiness.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

The Painting and the Piano by both John Lipscomb and Adrianne Lugo is a beautifully woven memoir that will inspire readers worldwide. This read portrays what it’s like to live with a drug addict, an alcoholic, and an abuser.

The story opens up with a character about to lose a father only then to find out he’s going to make it. But once he’s home…the man he once was is gone. The strong father was now a frail man with his morphine tank…Then there’s Adrianne who was born addicted to heroin. She soon gets to meet her real birth parents. Next, there is Johnny whose mom drinks all the time.

Both have biological parents who choose to live a life that will send them falling apart faster and faster…until no trace of who they were originally was left to be seen.  Both Adrianne and Johnny had to go through life in a rough way that no child should have to…yet somehow they both might just make it.

The Painting and the Piano is indeed a must-read memoir for all. This is a story of how two individuals struggled with surviving in what life tossed their way and took away from them. Readers will be lead on an inspirational journey that will cause fear, at first, then tears, and then happiness. I loved this survival and love story. It something that readers all over the world can relate to and find inspiration to move forward no matter how hard life may become. Overall, I highly recommend this to all.