3.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · mystery · thriller

Forget You Know Me by Jessica Strawser | New Release #BookReview

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Forget You Know Me by Jessica Strawser

Published: February 5, 2019

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 336

Genres: thriller, mystery 

Rating: 3.5 stars 

Recommend to fans of: characters with a chronic illness/chronic pain, secrets to try to protect others and yourself

Foodie Vibes: an anti inflammatory diet in attempts to minimize your chronic pain 

 

Synopsis: 

When a video call between friends captures a shocking incident no one was supposed to see, the secrets it exposes threaten to change their lives forever.

Molly and Liza have always been enviably close. Even after Molly married Daniel, the couple considered Liza an honorary family member. But after Liza moved away, things grew more strained than anyone wanted to admit—in the friendship and the marriage.

When Daniel goes away on business, Molly and Liza plan to reconnect with a nice long video chat after the kids are in bed. But then Molly leaves the room to check on a crying child.

What Liza sees next will change everything.

Only one thing is certain: Molly needs her. Liza drives all night to be at Molly’s side—but when she arrives, the reception is icy, leaving Liza baffled and hurt. She knows there’s no denying what she saw.

Or is there?

In disbelief that their friendship could really be over, Liza is unaware she’s about to have a near miss of her own.

And Molly, refusing to deal with what’s happened, won’t turn to Daniel, either.

But none of them can go on pretending. Not after this.

Jessica Strawser’s Forget You Know Me is a “twisty, emotionally complex, powder keg of a tale” (bestselling author Emily Carpenter) about the wounds of people who’ve grown apart. Best, friends, separated by miles. Spouses, hardened by neglect. A mother, isolated by pain.

One moment will change things for them all.

 

Review:

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

Like:

  • The mystery, the secrets
  • The evolution of Molly’s relationship with her husband 
  • The premise reminds me of an episode of Law and Order SVU

Love: 

  • Good representation of chronic illness/chronic pain including the lack of energy, daily pain, frustration due to inability to complete all activities, loved ones not really getting it
  • Molly trying to be the best mom for her son despite her challenges and limitations 

Dislike: 

  • The lying, deception, and almost tricking of the other people – done for a reason but sometimes it crosses the line from good intentions to protecting only yourself

Wish that: 

  • Some parts made more sense

 

Overall, a good book. I especially loved that the main character deals with chronic pain. Well, I don’t love that she’s in pain, but I like the representation. We need more books like this. However, the weird secret keeping took away from my enjoyment at times. 

 

Add to your Goodreads TBR 

 

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Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

Instagram: @BooksLifeAndEverythingNice

Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · Essays · non fiction

New Release | Today’s Moment of Happiness Despite the News by Kathie Giorgio

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Today’s Moment of Happiness Despite the News by Kathie Giorgio

Published: October 4, 2018

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

Pages: 529

Genres: essay, non fiction

Rating: 5 stars

Recommend to fans of: unique quirky books, reminders to appreciate the good in life

Foodie Vibes: Starbucks coffee

 

Synopsis:

It wasn’t a typical response to depression. Reaching a new low in her life, Kathie Giorgio, a natural skeptic, decides to fight her sadness by publically posting one moment of happiness every day on Facebook.

The response is overwhelming. People flock to her page to see each day’s new post. Soon, Kathie launches Today’s Moment Of Happiness Despite The News as her blog. She vows to continue this daily Today’s Moment for a year.

And what a year! Her husband loses his job not once, but twice. Her autistic daughter is so bullied on social media, she is moved to a new school. And Kathie herself is diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer.

In a year of Down, Kathie finds Up. Today’s Moment Of Happiness Despite The News is a powerhouse movement, a force that goes beyond positive thinking. One year. One woman. And many, many lives touched and changed.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Black Rose Writing and Kathie Giorgio for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

The book is the author’s collection of blog posts from her journey to find a moment of happiness, despite the news and current political climate, for a year. The concept is not brand new. Daily gratitudes, blessings, happiness, joy, what are you thankful for, and many other forms of the same concept are prevalent online. As they should be. We need all the positivity we can find. The author adds her own unique touch to her writing. It’s quirky, fun, heartfelt, honest and completely engaging. Despite the difficult times in life, the book radiated pure joy. The author had some tough times in 2017, but her writing made me so happy. Experiencing her learn to find happiness in incredibly unhappy situations is beautiful, inspiring, and educating to me, on my own journey of life.

The book also gave me my new favorite word of this week, asshat! Of course referring to the orange man in the White House. So many thanks for the glorious word!

There weren’t any cons in the book for me. Even a few days after finishing, the memories from reading it wrap me up in a big blanket of warmth, happiness and a positive practical perspective on life.

So overall, an absolute joy to read. The highlight of my week. I highly recommend Today’s Moment of Happiness Despite the News!

 

In keeping with the author’s theme, what’s your moment of happiness today? 

Please share in the comments. I love hearing about everyone’s happy moments! 

4.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · Chronic Illness/Disabilities · Essays · LGBTQIA+ Books · Medical · mental health · non fiction · psychology

ARC Book Review | Firsts: Coming of Age Stories by People with Disabilities by Belo Miguel Cipriani

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Firsts: Coming of Age Stories by People With Disabilities by Belo Miguel Ciprani

Published: October 1, 2018

Publisher: Oleb Books

Pages: 228 

Genres: non fiction, essays, LGBTQIA+, chronic illness, mental health, disabilities 

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: authentic stories told by real people, books about living with disability, representation in literature

Foodie Vibes: whatever you like, because each person is different

 

Synopsis:

Take a step back in time with some of the best writers with disabilities as they recount their first adventure, their first heartbreak, and the first time the unexpected treaded into their life. From body transformations to societal setbacks, to love affairs and family trauma, Firsts collects the most thought-provoking and exciting stories of our time by people with disabilities. Contributors include Nigel David Kelly, Kimberly Gerry-Tucker, Caitlin Hernandez, Andrew Gurza, and David-Elijah Nahmod.

 

Review: 

I won this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to Goodreads, Oleb Books and Belo Miguel Ciprani for an ARC ebook copy. As always, an honest review from me.

Firsts is a collection of essays written by different people with disabilities, so that people with disabilities could accurately see themselves represented in the media. I don’t have a disability myself, so my thoughts on the book come from an able bodies point of view.

Each essay has a different author and therefore a different voice. Certain essays captivated me more than others, but I enjoyed and learned from each person’s experiences. Overall the writing is wonderful. I love that the book is a compilation of authentic life experiences written by and for people with disabilities. After reading certain essays, I wanted to seek out additional written work by the authors. 

4.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · mystery · psychological thriller · suspense

ARC Book Review | The Secret by KL Slater

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Scroll down to the bottom of the review for a fun bonus question. I would love to hear your answers!

 

The Secret by KL Slater

Published: July 27, 2018

Publisher: Bookouture

Pages: — doesn’t list (Kindle)

Genres: psychological thriller, suspense, mystery

Rating: 4.5 stars 

Recommend to fans of: psychological thrillers, characters with a chronic illness or disability, family drama

Read with food: tea and popcorn ~ tea to relax and popcorn because its like a movie that you can’t stop watching

 

Synopsis:

You turn your back for a minute. And now your son is in terrible danger …

Louise is struggling to cope.  As a busy working mum, she often has to leave her eight-year-old son Archie at her sister Alice’s flat.

Alice and Louise used to be close.  But there’s a lot they don’t know about each other now – like the bottle of vodka Louise hides in her handbag, Alice’s handsome new friend and the odd behaviour of her next-door neighbour.

Archie is a curious little boy. He likes to play on his own at his auntie’s flat until one day when he sees something he shouldn’t. Now he has a secret of his own.  One he can’t tell his mum. One that could put him and his family in terrible danger.

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Bookouture, and KL Slater for an ARC copy of the book. As always, an honest review.

Captivating! Terrifying, in a good way! Can’t stop reading!

The Secret is a book that many people will be talking about for awhile. While taking notes for my book review, I must have written down “can’t stop reading” at least 5 times. There’s not just one good aspect, but various sort of random bits that I loved. So here we go:

– Alice! (the main character) She’s sweet, caring, concerned, the kind of honest person you’d want in your life.
– Chronic pain is represented well in the book. #ChronicIllnessWarrior #ChronicPain
– Sister relationships as adults ~ very authentic
– the suspense – I can’t say too much more without giving it away . . . but read the book!
– Alice’s relationship with her young nephew gives you hope.

There were very few parts of the book that I didn’t like. However the ending felt rushed to me. There was maybe 10% of the book left, and so many storylines to wrap up. I wish it was a bit longer to do justice for all the storylines.

And of course there are a lot of love to hate characters that make the book absolutely work. Sometimes I wanted to scream at them. But that’s more the mark of a great book.

So overall, I really enjoyed The Secret by KL Slater. Pick it up for a can’t put down read!

 

Random Question of the Review:

What book genre can you not get enough of?

Bookish Posts

Seriously Underrated Books – less than 500 Ratings

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Photo by Janko Ferlic on Pexels.com

Even more underrated book recommendations for you all!

 

This time it’s books that only have 100-500 ratings on Goodreads.

 

Why did I use Goodreads and these arbitrary numbers? See my original post here

 

Now onto my recommendations . . . 

 

The Heart Healers: The Misfits, Mavericks, and Rebels Who Created the Greatest Medical Breakthrough of Our Lives by James S. Forrester

Fascinating, amazing, and great for all you medical nerds out there. Essentially a book about cardiovascular surgery, it’s history, and innovations in medicine. Complex and smart, but well explained for people not well versed in medicine. 

 

The Intimate Bond: How Animals Shaped Human History by Brian M. Fagan

A new way of looking at how animals affect human history beyond their adorableness as household pets. A fascinating combination of world history, animal science and anthropology. 

 

The Stress Proof Brain: Master Your Emotional Response to Stress Using Mindfulness and Neuroplasticity by Melanie Greenberg

An incredibly fascinating and informative look at how and why our brain automatically reacts to certain situations with stress and anxiety. Filled with great checklists to help us take charge of our stress and anxieties.

 

A Warrior of the People: How Susan La Flesche Overcame Racial and Gender Inequality to Become America’s First Indian Doctor by Joe Starita

Exactly what the title describes and so much more! An intelligent, inspiring true life story of a hardworking woman determined to take care of her tribe, despite ethnic, racial, and gender prejudices. 

 

Pretend We Are Lovely by Noley Reid

 A family’s struggle to cope with the tragic death of their son and brother. Grief, secrets, and eating disorders consume the family as they each struggle in their own way.

 

Books by Candace Calvert including By Your Side, Step by Step,  Maybe It’s You, and Life Support

Each book tell the heartwarming tale of medical professionals, usually nurses, struggling in their personal and romantic lives. A perfect blend of an authentic behind the scenes medical setting and uplifting romance. 

 

It’s Not About Perfect: Competing for My Country by Shannon Miller

A memoir about a member of the Magnificent 7, the gold medal winning gymnastics team at the 1996 Summer Olympics. Stories from her childhood, years in the sport of gymnastics, and cancer diagnosis make up this intriguing, brave and inspiring book.

 

The True Tails of Baker and Taylor: the Library Cats Who Left Their Pawprints on a Small Town … and the World by Jan Louch

A purrrrfect book for cat and book lovers! An entire book all about adorable cats and their shenanigans in a library setting. What’s not to love!

 

This Is How I Find Her by Sara Polsky

The story of a teenage girl who cares for her mother suffering from bipolar disorder. Sophie hasn’t been able to live a “normal” teenage life ever. Then things change and with the help of others Sophie can start living her life for herself. A great book about children caring for their parents.

 

They Fought Like Demons: Women Soldiers in the Civil War by DeAnne Blanton

Did you know that women served in the military in the Civil War? Nope? Neither did I before reading this book. It’s fascinating to learn about the aspects of history that are rarely written about in the history books. 

 

Believe Me: My Battle with the Invisible Disability of Lyme Disease by Yolanda Hadid

How does this memoir not have more reviews? A heartbreaking, inspiring, educational look at what it’s like to live with a chronic illness, specially chronic lyme disease. I cannot stop talking about this amazing book!

 

I highly recommend that you give some of these underrated books a read. Click the titles to be redirected to Goodreads for a full summary. Enjoy!

 

I want to know . . . 

which books are you adding to your TBR list?

 

Also, look out for the last post in the series . . . next up: Underrated

Books with than 1,000 ratings

5 Star Books · Book Reviews

Book Review: Believe Me: My Battle with the Invisible Disability of Lyme disease by Yolanda Hadid

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Believe Me: My Battle with the Invisible Disability of Lyme disease by Yolanda Hadid

Published by: St. Martin’s Press on September 12, 2017

Pages: 288

Genres: memoir, autobiography, health

Rating: 5 stars

Recommend to: people living with chronic illness, caregivers, really almost anyone 

Read with food: watermelon, aloe and honey slush to nourish your body with a tasty treat 

 

Synopsis:

From the star of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills comes an emotional and eye opening behind-the-scenes look at her descent into uncovering the mystery of chronic Lyme disease.

In early 2011, just before her wedding to David Foster, Yolanda fell ill. From an outspoken, multi-tasking social butterfly she became trapped in a paralyzing mental cocoon. She suffered from severe debilitating fatigue, migraines, joint pain, anxiety, insomnia, Bell’s palsy, tremors, muscle weakness, severe brain fog, word retrieval difficulty, memory loss and intermittent loss of eyesight. As a diehard health fanatic, Yolanda always knew she had an infection in her brain, but due to the lack of proper diagnostic testing she landed in a dark maze of medical establishments that were quick to treat her symptoms but without clear answers to the cause. She fought tirelessly and traveled the world to find an answer; her determination left no stone unturned. Her perfect marriage became strained and let to divorce; but the strong bond with her children Gigi, Bella and Anwar was her motivation to fight through the darkest days of her life.

After a year of searching, discharged by Cedars Sinai with a chronic fatigue label, Yolanda Hadid was finally diagnosed with chronic neurological Lyme disease. She was honest, unapologetic, and raw in how she shared her battle with Lyme disease on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and her social media outlets. She received thousands of e-mails and letters, and met families who were suffering, lost, and scared, throughout her journey. She calls, gives advice, and lends support whenever she can to share her words of wisdom and hope.

In her book, Yolanda shares details of the western and holistic treatments she has done over the past five years, lab results, intimate details of her personal diary; her spiritual growth; the trials and tribulations regarding the stigma around chronic Lyme disease, how her relationships on camera and off have been affected by her illness; and how she uncovered the mystery of her own chronic disease through research, hard work and in a matter of fact and systematic fashion.

Review:

Let me start by saying this: I always have a blank sheet of paper as my bookmark to jot down notes as I read, to refer back to later while writing my book reviews. I didn’t write down any notes for this book. Not one! That wasn’t on purpose. I was completely engrossed in Believe Me, and forgot to do anything but read.

I’ve never watched the Real Housewives franchise, so I wasn’t coming into this book as a fan of the show. But I left this reading experience as a fan of Yolanda Hadid. Her strength, courage, tenacity, and kindness in the face of a very difficult chronic illness is inspiring. I learned so much about her journey and battle for health. She embraces conventional and unconventional medical treatments, doing her research to find out what may help her. I learned so much from this book, and I can’t recommend it enough. 

The only slight downfall that I should mention is that Yolanda had a lot of unconventional, untested by the FDA treatments, that cost a lot of money. I hope that people don’t randomly think to try all the treatments without extensive research and guidance by a health care provider. She does warm about this multiple times throughout. 

Believe Me is a book I will be thinking about for a long time.