4.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · memoir · non fiction · Sports

Abused: Surviving Sexual Assault and a Toxic #Gymnastics Culture by Rachel Haines | ARC #BookReview

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Abused: Surviving Sexual Assault and a Toxic Gymnastics Culture by Rachel Haines

Published: April 12, 2019

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers 

Pages: 144 

Genres: non fiction, memoir, sports

Rating: 4.5 stars 

Recommend to fans of: gymnastics, women speaking out, learning more about the culture of abuse, strong women 

Foodie Vibes: oooh, that’s a tough one when it comes to gymnastics – ideally it should be a healthy mix of lean protein, complex carbs and lots of vegetables, but in reality it’s probably a lot of disordered eating 

 

Synopsis:

Two-year-old Rachel Haines didn’t know that she would be committing to twenty-one years of hard work, dedication, and perseverance as she jumped into the foam pit during her first “mommy and me” gymnastics class. She had no idea that one day she would become a two-time National Team Member, two-time National Champion, and a Division I college gymnast at the University of Minnesota. Nor could she have known that she had just signed herself up for serious injury, emotional distress, and continuous sexual assault by world-renowned trainer turned serial molester, Larry Nassar.

In Abused: Surviving Sexual Assault and a Toxic Gymnastics Culture, Rachel details her experiences as a competitive gymnast and the painful realities of being one of Nassar’s many victims. With honesty and candidness, Rachel shares how the sport she loved that gave her so much—friendships, accomplishments, a college education—is also tangled in a dangerously toxic culture that needs to be fixed. In a world that was setting her up for a lifetime of recovery, she tells how faith, family, and an army of survivors made healing possible.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, and Rachel Haines for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Like:

  • She was able to speak her truth and current perspective of John Geddert. She enjoyed having him as a coach. Many other people have spoken out against his abusive coaching techniques, which I absolutely believe. But the problems of the sport of gymnastics are not one sided, so its good that everyone can tell their story. 
  • Hearing her perspective of the story (her’s only), not just what we were getting from the media
  • I can see this being the first of many books written, by different authors, about the same subject. Finally the world is getting a more complete view of gymnastics – the good and the bad.

Love: 

  • She’s using her voice to tell her story and speak out against the abuse and toxic culture of the sport.
  • Discusses the abuse without being unnecessarily overly graphic, IMO
  • Discusses the abusive culture of gymnastics as a whole, because it’s not just one person’s bad actions 

Dislike:

  • The culture of abuse (physical, emotional, and sexual) that’s been allowed throughout the sport of gymnastics, because of the people in charge not putting athlete safety and well being first 

Wish that:

  • It was a bit longer. The content is great and the perfect length, but I would have liked to hear more about the sport as a whole and the culture of abuse across multiple gyms. Maybe that’s for another book and I would absolutely read that too.

Overall, a very necessary book about the current culture within the sport of gymnastics. A great read about a difficult topic. I think everyone needs to read Rachel’s story, especially anyone currently or ever involved in the sport. 

 

How many of you did gymnastics as a kid?

 

Add to your Goodreads TBR

 

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Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

Instagram: @BooksLifeAndEverythingNice

Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

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4 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · Christian · Christian fiction · contemporary fiction · contemporary romance · romance · suspense

ARC Review | Delayed Justice by Cara C. Putnam

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Delayed Justice by Cara C. Putnam

Published: October 16, 2018

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Pages: 368

Genres: suspense, contemporary, Christian fiction, romantic suspense

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: justice, the MeToo Movement, good men and supportive friends/family, rediscovering your religion during difficult times

Foodie Vibes: peppermint tea to soothe your jangled nerves

 

Synopsis:

She had long given up the desire to be loved. Now she only needed to be heard.

Jaime Nichols went to law school to find the voice she never had as a child, and her determination to protect girls and women in the path of harm drives her in ways both spoken and unspoken. As Jaime, now a criminal defense attorney, prepares to press charges against someone who wronged her long ago, she must face not only her demons but also the unimaginable forces that protect the powerful man who tore her childhood apart.

Chandler Bolton, a retired veteran, is tasked with helping a young victim who must testify in court—and along with his therapy dog, Aslan, he’s up for the task. When he first meets Jaime, all brains, beauty, and brashness, he can’t help but be intrigued. As Chandler works to break through the wall Jaime has built around herself, the two of them discover that they may have more to offer one another than they ever could have guessed—and that together, they may be able to help this endangered child.

This thrilling installment of the Hidden Justice series explores the healing power of resolution and the weight of words given voice. And as Jaime pursues delayed justice of her own, she unearths eternal truths that will change the course of her life.

 

Review:

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. As always, an honest review from me.

First of all, trigger warning: child sexual abuse

Most of the book references child sexual abuse, the healing process, disclosing to friends and family, and testifying. Nothing is described in detail, graphic or otherwise. 

  • If you’re concerned about being triggered by certain content, feel free to ask me for clarification about any potentially triggering content, in the comments. Or send me a direct message on Twitter if you prefer.

Now onto the book review …

Jaime was abused by her uncle at the age of 8. She didn’t tell anyone then. Now as an adult and after much counseling she feels strong enough to report his crime and press charges. Will her words and an old journal be enough to convict this esteemed military man? Or will he do anything to stop her form “ruining his life”?

It was nice to see the day to day realities of a survivor. The struggles and the triumphs, all the hard work, and the support from loved ones. Too often the media glosses over the day to day moments after a certain point in the survivor’s story. Not so in this book.

However, I had mixed feelings about the romance storyline. I don’t like when the, you need a man to make it all better, myth is perpetuated. But it’s also unrealistic to think that no survivor will experience romance and also look for comfort in their partner. The ending also wrapped things up a little too conveniently for me.

All in all, another good novel supporting the Me Too Movement of our generation. 

 

Question: How can we continue to support survivors in our lives?

Book Reviews · contemporary fiction · What You Missed Wednesdays

What You Missed Wednesdays – Contemporary Fiction Edition

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

What You Missed Wednesdays is exactly as it sounds!

Book reviews of each week’s genre of choice that you might have missed, and I think you should really hear about.

3 Books a Week with 3 Words/Phrases to Describe Them 

Click on the title of each book to be taken to my full review.

I hope you find new books that you’re excited to add to your TBR!

 

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The Girl in His Eyes by Jennie Ensor

4.5/5 stars

Incredibly relevant these days, heartbreaking journey, strong fierce women

 

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Snowflakes Over Holly Cove by Lucy Coleman 

4.5/5 stars

relaxing vacation atmosphere, picturesque views, cozy read

 

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Ghosted by Rosie Walsh 

4.5/5 stars

complicated characters, unforeseen twists, sweet mysterious romance

 

Well there you have it!

Another edition of What You Missed Wednesdays.

Keep coming back each Wednesday for more Can’t Miss Books!

Which book(s) are you now adding to your TBR?

4.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · Chick Lit · Chronic Illness/Disabilities · contemporary fiction · Domestic Fiction · drama · Literary Fiction · mental health · Women's Fiction

New Release | The Secrets We Keep by Kate Hewitt

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The Secrets We Keep by Kate Hewitt

Published: September 4, 2018

Publisher: Bookouture

Pages: 356

Genres: women’s fiction, literary fiction, mental health, domestic fiction, chick lit, drama

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: moms with psychological struggles trying to keep it all together, validating books about mental health and self harm

Foodie Vibes: pina coladas, takeout pizza and marshmallows roasted over an open fire pit

 

Synopsis:

‘Is her life as easy and effortless as it seems from the outside? Or is she feeling lonely, all by herself in that big house, an evening stretching out in front of her just as it is for me?’

When Tessa arrives at the little house by the lake with her two children Ben and Katherine, it is an escape. For all of them. Never mind that the rental house is a bit small – it’s theirs for the summer. A place to hide…

Their isolation is disrupted when they meet the family from the big house next door. Three children Charlotte, Zoe and Max and their glamorous mother Rebecca – who seems absolutely determined to invite Tessa in to their lives.

But Rebecca is harbouring a dark secret of her own. One that will put not only her family at risk, but Tessa’s too. And when she discovers she has no option but to leave her children for several weeks, Tessa feels like the only person she can trust.

Suddenly Tessa finds herself living a life she could only have dreamed of. Wealth, a large brood of children, and Rebecca’s handsome husband Josh visiting at weekends.

But even as powerful bonds are forming between them, secrets have a way of catching up with people. And as the summer comes to an end, who will learn to love again and who will risk losing everything?

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Bookouture, and Kate Hewitt for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

First of all, Trigger Warning for self harm and child sexual abuse.

Keeping yourself safe is most important, so make sure you’re in a healthy place before reading, my lovelies.

Feel free to send me a message on here, or a DM on Twitter for more privacy, if you want to know more about content that may trigger you.

Now onto the book review.

It seems as if everyone is keeping secrets from those around them. Pretending that they’re okay, when they’re anything but. I think we all can relate to this.

Over summer vacation 2 moms, Tessa and Rebecca, take their kids to summer vacation cottages. They didn’t know each other before the summer, but they end up neighbors, friends, and changing each other’s lives forever. They say it’s because their kids need playmates, but both moms know they need each other’s help more. Tessa has 2 kids, is in dire need of a makeover, constantly doubts herself, and has enough money but still must live by a budget. Rebecca has 3 kids, a glamorous lifestyle, a seemingly perfect life, more money than she can spend, and some serious issues going on. Hence the trigger warning. People are jealous of how well put together she seems, but inside she’s a wreck, just trying to get through the day.

I appreciated that self harm in adults is discussed. And not as a one off conversation. As a legitimate mental health concern that is featured throughout the novel. If you’re looking for good representation of self harm in adults, this is your book. 

The overall story the author tells of moms as people first that also care fiercely for their children is refreshing. And you can’t go wrong with a summer cottage on the lake story.

The only caveat that I have is the weird situation that is thrust upon one of the moms about halfway through the story. I can’t give away any spoilers, but it’s kind of a you need to go with the flow story line and not critique that it probably isn’t realistic. Oh, also the ending completely wrecked me. So I can see how some people might have an issue with it. 

Overall, The Secrets We Keep featured some truly broken adults who are trying to hold it together to care for their children. A wonderful authentic representation of adult self harm. I highly recommend, as long as you won’t be too triggered.  

 

If you want some helpful information or support about these serious topics, click the links below

RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)

Self-Harm Crisis Text Hotline

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)

 

Do trigger warnings help you to choose a book?

Everyone has different triggers. Which ones would be helpful to you, that I mention in my future reviews?

4.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · contemporary fiction · Domestic Fiction · fiction · mental health · psychological drama

New Release | The Girl In His Eyes by Jennie Ensor

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The Girl In His Eyes by Jennie Ensor

Published: September 18, 2018

Publisher: Bloodhound Books

Pages: 353 

Genres: fiction, domestic fiction, mental health, contemporary fiction, psychological drama 

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: Law & Order SVU, karmic justice, validating books about surviving sexual abuse

Foodie Vibes: warm cup of tea with sugar ~ to soothe your soul and keep your energy levels up during this difficult time

 

Synopsis: 

Her father abused her when she was a child. For years she was too afraid to speak out. But now she suspects he’s found another victim…

Laura, a young woman struggling to deal with what her father did to her a decade ago, is horrified to realise that the girl he takes swimming might be his next victim. Emma is twelve – the age Laura was when her father took away her innocence.

Intimidated by her father’s rages, Laura has never told anyone the truth about her childhood. Now she must decide whether she has the courage to expose him and face the consequences.

Can Laura overcome her fear and save Emma before the worst happens?

 

Review: 

Thank you to NetGalley, Bloodhound Books and Jennie Ensor for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

First of all, a major trigger warning for the entire book. There are many mentions and fairly graphic descriptions of child sexual abuse and rape. So please be sure you’re in a good head space while reading the book.

With that being said, I really enjoyed The Girl In His Eyes. The book gave a fairly accurate representation of the horrors and difficulties of dealing with the aftermath of surviving child sexual abuse. Both for the individual survivor and the family as well The novel gives a voice to the voiceless. It also makes it easier to understand how and why these pedophiles and perverts can manipulate children, entire families and societies into believing they’re good people. There were so many times when people suspected something was “off” about Paul, but brushed off their concerns because he seemed like a nice guy. Always trust your gut, people! These life lessons are so relevant.

There wasn’t anything that I really disliked about the book. However there was a lot that disgusted me, which given the general book topic was bound to happen. Some chapters are from Paul, the pervert’s, point of view. We hear all the disgusting horrifying things he thinks. It adds to the suspense and explains a lot. Also some of the reactions of people seem a bit too cookie cutter at times.

Overall, a really worthwhile read to further understand the topic but done in a fictionalized manner.

 

Who can relate relate to this story?