Where I’ve Been . . .

I’ve been super busy lately. Well and have some migraines that make reading and type book reviews a bit difficult. But mainly busy with life and creative projects. So for now to save time, I’m not posting my reviews here on my blog. They’re still being posted on my Goodreads and NetGalley. So be sure to follow me there, so you don’t miss out!

 

And you can find me on Twitter and Instagram, talking all things bookish, fun, and creative.

 

Come say hi!

Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

Instagram: @BooksLifeAndEverythingNice

Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

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The League of Wives: The Untold Story of the Women Who Took on the U.S. Government to Bring Their Husbands Home by Heath Hardage Lee | ARC #BookReview

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The League of Wives: The Untold Story of the Women Who Took on the U.S. Government to Bring Their Husbands Home by Heath Hardage Lee 

Published: April 2, 2019 

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 336

Genres: non fiction, history, feminism 

Rating: 3 stars 

Recommend to fans of: books about strong military wives 

Foodie Vibes: coffee and a freshly baked coffee cake to offer guests even when you’re grieving the loss of your husband —- because you have to be a good Navy Wife

 

Synopsis: 

The true story of the fierce band of women who battled Washington—and Hanoi—to bring their husbands home from the jungles of Vietnam.

On February 12, 1973, one hundred and fifteen men who, just six years earlier, had been high flying Navy and Air Force pilots, shuffled, limped, or were carried off a huge military transport plane at Clark Air Base in the Philippines. These American servicemen had endured years of brutal torture, kept shackled and starving in solitary confinement, in rat-infested, mosquito-laden prisons, the worst of which was The Hanoi Hilton.

Months later, the first Vietnam POWs to return home would learn that their rescuers were their wives, a group of women that included Jane Denton, Sybil Stockdale, Louise Mulligan, Andrea Rander, Phyllis Galanti, and Helene Knapp. These women, who formed The National League of Families, would never have called themselves “feminists,” but they had become the POW and MIAs most fervent advocates, going to extraordinary lengths to facilitate their husbands’ freedom—and to account for missing military men—by relentlessly lobbying government leaders, conducting a savvy media campaign, conducting covert meetings with antiwar activists, most astonishingly, helping to code secret letters to their imprisoned husbands.

In a page-turning work of narrative non-fiction, Heath Hardage Lee tells the story of these remarkable women for the first time in The League of Wives, a book certain to be on everyone’s must-read list.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and Heath Hardage Lee for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Like:

  • I could see this making a good movie. 
  • Different women and their personalities represented 
  • Recognize some of the POWs as future politicians 
  • A not too political look at the Vietnam War 

Love:

  • The feminism
  • The wives went from shutting up, behaving themselves, and being good Navy Wives to forces of nature changing thoughts and minds during the Vietnam War #BadAssLadies

Dislike:

  • Many parts are boring and drawn out – the first 1/2 of the book 

Wish that: 

  • It was not as underwhelming 
  • Got to the interesting parts quicker 

Overall, a good interesting book about the strong women whose husbands were POW/MIA soldiers during the Vietnam War. It’s a heartwarming story about a terrible event, but the details don’t interest me that much. 

 

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Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

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Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily and Amelia Nagoski  | ARC #BookReview

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Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily and Amelia Nagoski 

Published: March 26, 2019

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Pages: 320

Genres: non fiction, self help, science, psychology, feminism

Rating: 3.5 stars 

Recommend to fans of: stressed out caregivers, women trying to figure out how to make their life better

Foodie Vibes: a healthy balanced meal with a dessert that you can eat at a leisurely pace without stress

 

Synopsis: 

This groundbreaking book explains why women experience burnout differently than men—and provides a simple, science-based plan to help women minimize stress, manage emotions, and live a more joyful life.

Burnout. Many women in America have experienced it. What’s expected of women and what it’s really like to be a woman in today’s world are two very different things—and women exhaust themselves trying to close the gap between them. How can you “love your body” when every magazine cover has ten diet tips for becoming “your best self”? How do you “lean in” at work when you’re already operating at 110 percent and aren’t recognized for it? How can you live happily and healthily in a sexist world that is constantly telling you you’re too fat, too needy, too noisy, and too selfish?

Sisters Emily Nagoski, PhD, and Amelia Nagoski, DMA, are here to help end the cycle of feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Instead of asking us to ignore the very real obstacles and societal pressures that stand between women and well-being, they explain with compassion and optimism what we’re up against—and show us how to fight back. In these pages you’ll learn

• what you can do to complete the biological stress cycle—and return your body to a state of relaxation
• how to manage the “monitor” in your brain that regulates the emotion of frustration
• how the Bikini Industrial Complex makes it difficult for women to love their bodies—and how to defend yourself against it
• why rest, human connection, and befriending your inner critic are keys to recovering and preventing burnout

With the help of eye-opening science, prescriptive advice, and helpful worksheets and exercises, all women will find something transformative in these pages—and will be empowered to create positive change. Emily and Amelia aren’t here to preach the broad platitudes of expensive self-care or insist that we strive for the impossible goal of “having it all.” Instead, they tell us that we are enough, just as we are—and that wellness, true wellness, is within our reach.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Ballantine Books, and Emily and Amelia Nagoski for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

Like: 

  • Very educational, especially the science behind burnout and stress
  • There’s a book talking about burnout – need more of these!!!
  • Examples of how family and friends can step up and help reduce the stress on the caregivers – even though I don’t anticipate my family doing those things to help me

Love:

  • The explanation about the emotional expectations for caregivers – so spot on !
  • Goes into how stress can affect the body physically 

Dislike: 

Wish that:

  • It was more what I was hoping for. I was hoping for more practical applications, not just telling me the science of it. 
  • More examples of people dealing with burnout that related to me — didn’t see myself represented much in the book despite myself being a caregiver experiencing stress and burnout

Overall, there’s lots of good, science based information about stress and burnout. However, I wish that I related to the book more as I thought it was really going to help me. 

 

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Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

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Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

A Serial Killer’s Daughter: My Story of Faith, Love, and Overcoming by Kerri Rawson | New Release #BookReview

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A Serial Killer’s Daughter: My Story of Faith, Love, and Overcoming by Kerri Rawson

Published: January 29, 2019 

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Pages: 336

Genres: non fiction, memoir, true crime 

Rating: 4 stars 

Recommend to fans of: truly honest memoirs, true crime books from a different perspective

Foodie Vibes: barely anything, because you’re too stressed to eat

 

Synopsis:

What is it like to learn that your ordinary, loving father is a serial killer?
 
In 2005, Kerri Rawson heard a knock on the door of her apartment. When she opened it, an FBI agent informed her that her father had been arrested for murdering ten people, including two children. It was then that she learned her father was the notorious serial killer known as BTK, a name he’d given himself that described the horrific way he committed his crimes: bind, torture, kill. As news of his capture spread, Wichita celebrated the end of a thirty-one-year nightmare.

 For Kerri Rawson, another was just beginning. She was plunged into a black hole of horror and disbelief. The same man who had been a loving father, a devoted husband, church president, Boy Scout leader, and a public servant had been using their family as a cover for his heinous crimes since before she was born. Everything she had believed about her life had been a lie.

Written with candor and extraordinary courage, A Serial Killer’s Daughter is an unflinching exploration of life with one of America’s most infamous killers and an astonishing tale of personal and spiritual transformation. For all who suffer from unhealed wounds or the crippling effects of violence, betrayal, and anger, Kerri Rawson’s story offers the hope of reclaiming sanity in the midst of madness, rebuilding a life in the shadow of death, and learning to forgive the unforgivable.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Thomas Nelson, and Kerri Rawson for an ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Like:

  • It’s about the infamous BTK killer without being too graphic
  • Shows how manipulative BTK was to even his own family
  • Interesting to read 
  • Sparked a conversation when I told other people what I was reading 

Love:

  • Get a different perspective than many other true crime books
  • The author gets to speak up about how her dad’s crimes impacted her life – seems validating

Dislike:

  • There was so many pages about a family hiking trip, early on in the book. It made some good points, but became redundant. 

Wish that:

  • I knew why there American society as a whole is fascinated by serial killers. 
  • The pacing was a bit better.

Overall, an interesting book that I would recommend to people looking to read about serial killers from a completely different perspective. 

 

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Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

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Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

 

The Book of Humans: The Story of How We Became Us by Adam Rutherford | ARC #BookReview

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The Book of Humans: The Story of How We Became Us by Adam Rutherford

Published: March 19, 2019 

Publisher: The Experiment 

Pages: 272 

Genres: non fiction, science, history

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: learning about science – in particular evolution, looking at the world in a different way

Foodie Vibes: a nice chopped salad 

 

Synopsis: 

We like to think of ourselves as exceptional beings, but is there really anything special about us that sets us apart from other animals? Humans are the slightest of twigs on a single family tree that encompasses four billion years, a lot of twists and turns, and a billion species. All of those organisms are rooted in a single origin, with a common code that underwrites our existence. This paradox – that our biology is indistinct from all life, yet we consider ourselves to be special – lies at the heart of who we are.

In this original and entertaining tour of life on Earth, Adam Rutherford explores how many of the things once considered to be exclusively human are not: we are not the only species that communicates, makes tools, utilises fire, or has sex for reasons other than to make new versions of ourselves. Evolution has, however, allowed us to develop our culture to a level of complexity that outstrips any other observed in nature.

THE BOOK OF HUMANS tells the story of how we became the creatures we are today, bestowed with the unique ability to investigate what makes us who we are. Illuminated by the latest scientific discoveries, it is a thrilling compendium of what unequivocally fixes us as animals, and reveals how we are extraordinary among them.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, the Experiment, and Adam Rutherford for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

Like: 

  • Opportunity to learn even more about evolution 
  • Shows the specific genetics and behaviors that contribute to evolutionary change
  • Many visuals to help with understanding of the text

Love:

  • Everyone can learn something from this book
  • Complex information that’s written in an easy to understand way. You don’t need a college degree in science to understand the information 

Dislike:

  • Not so much a dislike, but more of a warning- there’s chapters on sexual activity ( because how else are new animals and humans created) It goes in depth into various sexual activities, mating practices, and genital touching. So heads up, if you end up listening as an audiobook without headphones. 

Wish that:

Overall, a well written, comprehensive book about the step by step process of evolution. Written in an interesting easily accessible manner. I definitely recommend if you’re interested in the topic!

 

In high school, did you love or hate science class?

 

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Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

The Quiet You Carry by Nikki Barthelmess | Release Day #BookReview

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The Quiet You Carry by Nikki Barthelmess

Published: March 5, 2019 

Publisher: Flux

Pages: 272

Genres: young adult, contemporary, mental health

Rating: 4 stars 

Recommend to fans of: books about foster care, not too triggering books about sexual abuse, teens dealing with tough challenges 

Foodie Vibes: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch every day, because the state doesn’t pay your foster mom enough money 

 

Synopsis:

Victoria Parker knew her dad’s behavior toward her was a little unusual, but she convinced herself everything was fine—until she found herself locked out of the house at 3:00 a.m., surrounded by flashing police lights.

Now, dumped into a crowded, chaotic foster home, Victoria has to tiptoe around her domineering foster mother, get through senior year at a new school, and somehow salvage her college dreams . . . all while keeping her past hidden.

But some secrets won’t stay buried—especially when unwanted memories make Victoria freeze up at random moments and nightmares disrupt her sleep. Even worse, she can’t stop worrying about her stepsister Sarah, left behind with her father. All she wants is to move forward, but how do you focus on the future when the past won’t leave you alone?

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Flux, and Nikki Barthelmess for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

Trigger warning: not too graphic mentions of sexual abuse and incest, suicide attempt, self harm 

Like:

  • We get to see Connie, the foster mom, grow as a person and a character
  • Connie means well and her rules are there for a reason even if they seem unfair 
  • The different characters’ experiences – we get a more well rounded picture of foster care through the parents, step parents, foster parents, other foster kids, step siblings, friends, teachers, and social worker
  • Victoria’s friends
  • Mentions how the stress physically affects different characters

Love:

  • A book about foster kids (both young kids and teens) good representation for an often not talked about set of kids and experiences
  • Victoria (main character) is relatable, hard working without being perfect, willing to change, the kind of girl you’d want to be friends with
  • The adults who look out for Victoria’s well being – shows that there are people out there who care
  • The revelations of how much the dad manipulated the whole family – really important to show how manipulative, deceptive and mean abusers can be, even within their own family

Dislike:

  • The dad and the step mom’s actions/inactions
  • Some parts feel a bit contrived to make the story work, but it could also be extremely realistic

Wish that:

  • The book was longer (I get that shorter reads appeal to a young spectrum of readers, so I understand why.)

Overall, a realistic happily ever after book about foster care challenges and surviving sexual abuse. I can see this book being very important, educational and validating for many teens and pre-teens dealing with similar experiences. 

 

Have you read this book?

What did you think of it?

 

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Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

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Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

Sissy: A Coming-Of-Gender Story by Jacob Tobia | Release Day #BookReview

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Sissy: A Coming-Of-Gender Story by Jacob Tobia

Published: March 5, 2019 

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Pages: 336

Genres: memoir, LGBTQIA+, non fiction

Rating: 5 stars 

Recommend to fans of: gender affirming books, reading and learning more about the experiences of the LGBTQIA+ community, memoirs by people with beautiful souls, books with gorgeous covers — can you tell I loved it???

Foodie Vibes: alcohol and dorm food, because college is where you figure things out 

 

Synopsis: 

From the moment a doctor in Cary, North Carolina put “male” on Jacob Tobia’s birth certificate, everything went wrong. Alongside “male” came many other, far less neutral words: words that carried expectations about who Jacob was and who Jacob should be, like “masculine” and “aggressive” and “cargo shorts” and “SPORTS!”

Naturally sensitive, playful, creative, and glitter-obsessed, as a child Jacob was given the label “sissy.” In the two decades that followed, “sissy” joined forces with “gay,” “trans,” “nonbinary,” and “too-queer-to-function” to become a source of pride, a curse-turned-blessing, a freak-flag hoisted high.

Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story charts those decades, from Jacob’s Methodist childhood to the hallowed halls of Duke University and the portrait-laden parlors of the White House, taking you on a gender odyssey you won’t soon forget. With the snarky voice and wrenching vulnerability that have made them a media sensation, Jacob shatters the long-held notion that people are easily sortable into “men” and “women.” Sissyguarantees that you’ll never think about gender–both other people’s and your own–the same way again.

 

Review:

I won this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to Goodreads, G.P. Putnam’s Sons and Jacob Tobia for an ARC copy. As always, an honest review from me.

Like: 

  • fun upbeat read – the book put m in such a good mood despite the struggles that they went through
  • their experiences navigating college life versus the “real world” as a person who is gender non binary

Love:

  • The cover: the colors are beautiful and eye catching – makes me smile every time I look at it
  • Jacob is telling their story, no matter who cares.
  • Celebrates all people in the LGBTQIA+ community, not just those who fall into the typical gender roles 
  • Their story is real, honest, raw yet is still upbeat because of their AWESOME personality
  • Their love and passion for fashion
  • They are kind, sassy and a badass!
  • The self reflection- especially acknowledging the parts of life that aren’t strictly black or white, good or bad.

Dislike:

Wish that:

  • The book was longer. People need to hear more from Jacob and their beautiful soul. 

Overall, I cannot say enough great things about this book. You absolutely need to read it!

 

Is this book on your TBR yet? 

If not, what are you waiting for?

 

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Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

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Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)