Adult Assembly Required [Book Review]

May 20, 2022

Adult Assembly Required by Abbi Waxman

Adult Assembly Required by Abbi Waxman (cover) Image: a graphic picture of several young adults work on "assemgling" the block letters title

Genre/Categories/Setting: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction, RomCom, Mental Health, Los Angeles

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thanks #NetGalley @BerkleyPub #BerkleyWritesStrongWomen #BerkleyBuddyReads for a complimentary eARC of #AdultAssemblyRequired by Abbi Waxman upon my request. All opinions are my own.

Laura arrives in Los Angeles hoping to start over but as a result of an apartment fire, she finds herself homeless after one week. Fortunately, she meets Polly and her friends including Nina (The Bookish Life of Nina Hill) and impossibly handsome Bob. Polly takes her in and invites her to rent a room at the boarding house where she lives. Laura joins a trivia team, struggles with PTSD (from a tragic car accident), finds courage, and appreciates support and encouragement from her new “found family.”

My Thoughts:

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Bomb Shelter [Book Review] and I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet [Book Review] #Essay #Memoir #MentalHealth

May 13, 2022

Two Memoirs/Essays: Bomb Shelter and I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet #MentalHealthWeek

Memoir Reviews (collage of two covers)

Two reviews today!

My favorite memoirs/essays are ones where I can glean something useful for my own life….where I can make a connection….where I can acquire insight and understanding of particular challenges and struggles. I think these two titles are perfect for sharing during May’s focus on Mental Health Awareness. While one (I Haven’t Learned That Yet) mentions faith, both are poignant, transparent, and honest reflections on life’s challenges.

*Titles are Amazon affiliate links.

Bomb Shelter: Love, Time, and Other Explosives by Mary Laura Philpott

Bomb Shelter by Mary Laura Philpott (cover) Image: yellow text and a large turtle against a pinkish red background

Genre: Categories: Nonfiction, Memoir, Essay, Self-Help, Self-Reflection, Anxiety, Humor

My Summary:

Mary Laura Philpott is a self-proclaimed “optimistic worrier” or “anxious optimist.” This tendency intensified when she became a parent and believed that if she cared enough, she could keep her loved ones safe. One day, her teenage son experienced a seizure and she began to worry about what else could happen? How do you keep going and continue loving and caring when you don’t know what will happen next?

My Thoughts:

I imagine most of us have experienced that feeling of helplessness and anxiety and worry over the ones for whom we are responsible. I know I have. In fact, if you are a fan of the NBC drama This is Us, a scene in one episode touched me profoundly. Randall is at the cabin working and has visions/imaginary conversations with Jack about his anger toward Rebecca for keeping the truth about his bio father from him…..Jack encourages Randall to see the situation from Rebecca’s perspective. Through the window, Randall glimpses a frantic Rebecca closing and locking all the windows and doors in an effort to keep her family safe. So moving. A perfect picture of how I felt as a parent of a growing family…..so many worries and dangers to keep at bay.

“It’s true. There will always be threats lurking under the water where we play, danger hiding in the attic and rolling down the street on heavy wheels, unexpected explosions in our brains and our hearts and the sky. There will always be bombs, and we will never be able to save everyone we care about. To know that and to try anyway is to be fully alive. The closest thing to shelter we can offer anyone is LOVE, as deep and wide and as in as many forms as we can give it.

Philpott shares honestly how her anxiety was triggered as a parent. Isn’t it helpful knowing others have felt the same? Experienced the same? I think the book is relatable for parents or anyone who experiences episodes of anxiety or worry.

Philpott’s writing style and reflections are conversational, engaging, mostly light-hearted, and sprinkled with humor.

Recommended for anyone who experiences anxiety and/or worries.

Content Considerations: epilepsy, anxiety

My Rating: 4 Stars.

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I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet: Discovering New Ways of Living When the Old Ways Stop Working by Shauna Niequist

I Guess I Haven't Learned That Yet by Shauna Niequist (cover) Image: colorful text against a white background

Genre/Categories: Nonfiction, Memoir, Essays, Self-Help, Self-Reflection, Grief, Faith, New Beginnings

My Summary:

Shauna Niequist’s carefully and thoughtfully cultivated life as she knows it falls apart after her fortieth birthday. What do you do when your entire life has revolved around your father’s church and your life-long, close-knit community of family and friends all collapse when your father is accused of inappropriate behaviors at his mega-church and resigns (not detailed). What happens when the happy and secure life in the mid-west you’ve dreamed of and carefully built falls apart around you? Well….you might move to Manhattan and rethink everything.

My Thoughts:

I suspect most of us can relate to a life that isn’t at all what we expected or dreamed about. We may face unexpected financial problems, toxic relationships, family disappointments, broken friendships, health concerns, etc. What then? What happens when all you want to do is quit? Does everything fall apart or can we learn to live in a new way, make adjustments, gain new perspectives, forgive, show compassion, navigate heartbreak and grief, and accept unknowns? Can we rebuild, refocus, and retool?

“…Life is…interconnected and multifaceted. We carry around our whole selves…our past and our parents, our loves and our limitations our dreams and our grocery lists, and our wounds.”

I need to note:

  • Not all of us have the option of relocating and starting a new life, have access to vacation homes, or can take a year off work to pull ourselves together. Nevertheless, she has some good things to share!
  • Some readers are frustrated that Niequest never shares the nature of the issue with her father and the church that motivated her memoir. Her intentional vagueness is out of respect for her father’s privacy….and really the issue is her dad’s to write about….she’s sharing how her life changed and how she adjusted to those changes as a result of what happened. I had followed the news story when it came out, so her vagueness didn’t bother me. He’s easy to google if you’re interested (Bill Hybels).

Recommended for anyone who is facing a life change.

My Rating:  4 Stars

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Meet the Authors, Mary Laura Philpott and Shauna Niequist

Author Mary Laura PhilpottMary Laura Philpott is the author of I Miss You When I Blink, the nationally bestselling memoir-in-essays, as well as Bomb Shelter, forthcoming in 2022. Her writing has been featured frequently by The New York Times and also appears in such outlets as The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Paris Review Daily, O The Oprah Magazine, and Real Simple. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

For more information, visit http://www.MaryLauraPhilpott.com

Author Shauna NiequistShauna Niequist is the author of Cold Tangerines, Bittersweet, Bread & Wine, Savor, and Present Over Perfect.

She is married to Aaron, and they live in Manhattan with their sons, Henry & Mac.

Shauna is a bookworm, a beach bum, and a passionate gatherer of people, especially around the table.



QOTD:

Do you love memoirs? Are these titles on your TBR or have you read one or both?



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***Blog posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

© ReadingLadies.com

The Guide to Gratitude [Online Course Preview] #MentalHealth #GuestPost

May 11, 2022

What tops YOUR gratitude list?
Do you keep a gratitude journal?

  • A baby’s first smile just for you
  • Spring flowers in every bold and gentle color
  • Gentle rain that covers the earth like a blessing

Guest Post: The Guide to Gratitude by Jake Kneeland

The Guide to Gratitude: Change Your Perspective, Change Your Life (Image: white text over a mountain vista)

 Self Help, Mental Health, Online Course

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links

The Guide To Gratitude

Are You Feeling Completely Overwhelmed?

We’ve all been there. After all…life is BUSY.

We run to and from school, work, our families, friends, and repeat it the very next day. If we even come close to a moment with ourselves four other things seem to come up that need our attention. No wonder we’re so anxious all the time! Every day can begin to feel like one endless loop and before we know it – months, even years, pass by. How do we change this? A simple shift in perspective.

The Guide To Gratitude is just that – a roadmap to help you identify the moments we take for granted – and start to appreciate them deeply.

Gratitude Reciprocates

What we put out into the world – whether it be kindness, energy, compassion, positivity, or something negative – is what we draw to ourselves. When we show more appreciation we create an abundance of things to cherish in life. When we are able to show more, we are able to receive more – gratitude reciprocates.

“The depth of our joy can be measured by the height of our gratitude.”
~Jake Kneeland

Step-By-Step

The Guide To Gratitude is a practical step-by-step framework to get you back to you. It will help you identify, focus on, and deeply appreciate the best parts of life – the moments in between.

Once you grab the Guide you not only get a video introduction and the full online course, but you also receive Jake’s Mental Health Toolkit and Daily Affirmation Guide for FREE!

Let’s begin to deeply appreciate the simple gifts of everyday life. After all – we only have one go at this thing. Make It Count!

Order the Gratitude Course here

Related: The Seven Day Gratitude Challenge

The 7 Day Gratitude Challenge by Jake Kneeland (cover) a person sits on a boulder overlooking a valley surrounded by mountains

Meet the Author, Jake Kneeland

Author Jake Kneeland

Jake Kneeland was born and raised in rural South Dakota where he learned to embrace the little things and simple pleasures in life. Through his travels, Jake has cultivated a passion for deep conversations and identifying what energizes others. That passion has led to a greater understanding of time and the importance of who we surround ourselves with. Jake believes that when we simplify the events, circumstances, and people in our lives we form a deeper level of appreciation for those very things. The little things in life become the big things.

When he’s not spending time with those closest to him you can find Jake enjoying his two passion projects – itsjustjake.com and The Little Things Podcast.

***Full Disclosure: There is a family connection and Jake is my (second) cousin.



Book Cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

© ReadingLadies.com

The Woman They Could Not Silence [Book Review] #NarrativeNonfiction #WhatsOnYourBookshelfChallenge

February 18, 2022

Do you have Narrative Nonfiction on your bookshelf?

The Woman They Could Not Silence by Kate Moore (cover) Image: white text on a black muted background....the small graphic image of a quill and ink below the title

Today for the #WhatsOnYourBookshelfChallenge I’m focusing on “Narrative Nonfiction” (creative nonfiction or literary nonfiction) as I bring you a review of The Woman They Could Not Silence by Kate Moore.

Every year, I commit to reading more nonfiction. In nonfiction, I love Memoir, Biography, and Narrative Nonfiction. However, I think narrative nonfiction might be my favorite. After today’s review, I’ve included a few of my favorite “narrative nonfiction” titles.

Do you have a favorite Narrative Nonfiction title or recomendation?

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.


The Woman They Could Not Silence: One Woman, Her Incredible Fight for Freedom, and the Men Who Tried to Make Her Disappear by Kate Moore

Genre/Categories/Setting: Nonfiction, Narrative Nonfiction, Biographical, Mental Health, Women’s/Patient’s Rights, Insane Asylum (1860)

My Summary:

In 1860, wives and daughters could be committed to insane asylums by their husbands or fathers without their consent or proper mental health evaluations. Women were property owned by the husband or father. Women could be committed for being too emotional, opinionated, independent, zealous, or intellectual….basically, any woman who can’t be kept “in line.” When Elizabeth Packard is committed to an insane asylum by her husband, she discovers that she is not the only sane woman there. Because she is labeled “crazy,” no one will listen to her appeals or intervene on her behalf and she has no voice to fight for herself because it makes her appear even crazier. Her friends who may know the truth won’t speak up for fear of the same punishment from their husbands. However, after losing her home and her children, Elizabeth has nothing more to lose and is determined to fight for her life and for the lives of innocent women.

Elizabeth Packard

Elizabeth Packard

My Thoughts:

How far we’ve come! What a nightmare scenario for women! I became intrigued with this subject after I read Woman 99 by Greer Macallister. In that story, a daughter is commited to an insane asylum for being too emotional and her sister attempts a rescue. I knew I wanted to read more about women being unfairly committed.

First, What is Narrative Nonfiction?

“Narrative nonfiction, also known as creative nonfiction or literary nonfiction, is a true story written in the style of a fiction novel. The narrative nonfiction genre contains factual prose that is written in a compelling way—facts told as a story. While the emphasis is on the storytelling itself, narrative nonfiction must remain as accurate to the truth as possible” ~Source

Elizabeth:

Drawing heavily on court reports, newspaper articles, corresponsence, and journals, the author weaves a compelling story around the facts and Elizabeth’s own words. Through Elizabeth’s determination and fearless fighting spirit, she affects change for women. The resulting law reforms brought widespread, long-lasting change in the operation of insane asylums and granted married women the right of jury trial before commitment. Her fight and contributions should be remembered and honored.

Elizabeth is an incessent talker with strong opinions and a strong will. These were textbook examples of female insanity at the time. During her confinement, Elizabeth feels like an asylum is a “storage unit for unsatisfactory wives.” Women are deemed “cured” when they become “quiet, decorous in manners and language.” Using her brilliant mind and her ability to write, Elizabeth is determined “to write her way out of her hellhole if it is the last thing she does.” She demonstrates that “a spirit cannot be killed. With spirit comes hope. With spirit comes strength. With spirit comes the energy to start the fight for justice.”

“Wronged women were not supposed to stand up for themselves. Wronged women were not supposed to come out fighting, or be angry, or battle for injustice to be overturned. Elizabeth’s course was unnatural in [McFarland’s] eyes…and therefore insane.”

Elizabeth’s life is not without controversy. In her attempts to gain her freedom, she has a complicated relationship with McFarland, the director of the asylum, and uses many methods to manipulate, outsmart, and befriend him to achieve her freedom. He becomes her lifelong adversary.

Recommended: I definitely recommend The Woman They Could Not Silence for readers who appreciate stories about the fight for women’s rights and mental health reform and for fans of stories about strong and determined women making a difference. She fought for us all. Thanks to Shellyrae @ Book’d Out for the rec!

Content Considerations: domestic abuse, difficult passages about the mistreatment of patients and the lack of care for the mentally ill

My Rating: 4 Stars

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The Woman They Could Not Silence by Kate Moore

The Woman They Could Not Silence Information Here

Meet the Author, Kate Moore

Author Kate MooreAmong other books, Kate is the author of The Radium Girls, which won the 2017 Goodreads Choice Award for Best History, was voted U.S. librarians’ favourite nonfiction book of 2017 and became a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller.

A British writer based in England, Kate writes across multiple genres including history, biography, true  crime and grift, and has had many titles on the Sunday Times bestseller list. Her work has been featured across international media and translated into more than fifteen languages. A born public speaker, Kate regularly tours her books and is equally at home spinning stories onstage as she is writing them on her laptop in London.



A Few of My Favorite Narrative Nonfiction Titles:

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
The Day the World Came to Town by Jim Defede
The Only Plane in the Sky by Garrett M. Graff
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson (part narrative nonfiction, part historical essay)



 I’m linking up with Deb @ Deb’s World and SueDonna, and Jo for the February installment of #WhatsOnYourBookShelfChallenge.

Whats On Your Bookshelf Challenge



QOTD:

Do you enjoy narrative nonfiction?
What is your favorite form of nonfiction?
Is The Woman They Could Not Silence on your TBR or have you read it?



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***Blog posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

© ReadingLadies.com

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

December 16,  2021

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb
#throwbackthursday

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb (cover) Image: black text over a large yellow box of tissue against a blue background

Genre/Categories: Nonfiction, Memoir, Psychology, Therapy, Mental Health

In 2020, I decided to systematically revisit my older review posts and update them. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads. Today, I’m re-sharing a compelling memoir that explores therapy, Maybe You Should Talk To Someone by Lori Gottlieb.

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Humorous, thought-provoking, and candid…

Lori Gottlieb, a psychotherapist and national advice columnist, shares a behind-the-scenes look into her work as a therapist. She also shares what it was like when she sought out therapy for herself.

“Most of what we say to ourselves we’d never say to people we love or care about, like our friends or children. In therapy, we learn to pay close attention to those voices in our heads so that we can learn a better way to communicate with ourselves.”

Exploring mental health, finding meaning in life, and repairing broken relationships…

Continue here for my full review of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone…



QOTD:

Have you read Maybe You Should Talk to Someone or is it on your TBR?

 

Under the Magnolias [Book Review]

July 20, 2021

Under the Magnolias by T.I. Lowe

Under the Magnolias by T.I. Lowe (cover) Image: a young woman with long blond hair stands under the branches of a magnolia tree

Genre/Categories: Christian Fiction, Southern Fiction, Complicated Family Drama, Coming of Age, Side of Romance

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thanks #NetGalley @TyndaleHouse for a complimentary eARC of #UndertheMagnolias upon my request. All opinions are my own.

In 1980 in Magnolia, South Carolina, a young teenager, Austin Foster, finds herself caring for her six siblings (all named after cities) when her mother dies in childbirth. Austin’s father is a preacher and works a tobacco farm, but he suffers from mental illness and is unreliable in many ways. Austin tries her best to keep the family fed and clothed and still attend school for a time. She has members of the community she can turn to, but no one really knows the extent of her hardships. Austin is attracted to Vance, the handsome son of a wealthy family in the community, and he is there for her when the truth of her circumstances is revealed.

My Thoughts:

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Ask Again, Yes [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

June 10, 2021

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane
#throwbackthursday

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane (cover) white text over the top view of a neighborhood of homes

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Complicated Family Drama, Friendship

In 2020, I decided to systematically revisit my older review posts and update them. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads. Today, I’m re-sharing a review of a complicated family drama, Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane.

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

“Beautifully written, Ask Again, Yes introduces us to two families who live next door to each other. Behind closed doors, the families deal with complicated issues. Meanwhile, two of their children, born six months apart, grow up as each other’s constant and best playmate and develop a deep friendship as they hang out after school. Just as Kate and Peter grow old enough to discover they might be attracted to each other, a tragic event happens that changes everything for the two families. One family moves away and the children’s friendship is torn apart.

The remainder of the story involves the children, who are now grown, coming to terms with what happened and figuring out what this means for their relationship, their families, and their future.”

Big themes of regret, forgiveness, reconciliation, healing, second chances, growth, and redemption…..

Continue here for my full review of Ask Again, Yes …

(including Content Warnings)



QOTD:

Have you read Ask Again, Yes or is it on your TBR?

Woman 99 [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

April 22, 2021

Woman 99 by Greer Macallister
#throwbackthursday

Woman 99 by Greer Macallister (cover0 Image: a Woman in a red jacket and long blue skirt stands with her back to the camera looking out over a field

Genre/Categories/Settings: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction, 1888 Asylum, San Francisco, Sisters

In 2020, I decided to systematically revisit my older review posts and update them. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads. Today, I’m re-sharing a review of Woman 99 by Greer Macallister.

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary

“In the historical fiction thriller, Woman 99, two sisters living a life of privilege suddenly find themselves in a dire situation. Their parents have committed Charlotte’s older sister to an insane asylum because of her pattern of mood swings and a recent emotional outburst. Charlotte is on a quest to rescue her sister from the insane asylum. Inspired by real-life Nellie Bly, Charlotte manages to get herself committed to the asylum by staging a fake suicide attempt. Once inside she experiences troubling events, conducts a desperate search for her sister, decides to enlist help from a risky source, attempts a harrowing rescue, and risks her life.”

Continue here for my full review of Woman 99 ….



QOTD:

Have you read Woman 99 or is it on your TBR?

[Reblog] What Was the Best Decision You Made in 2020? #MentalHealth

January 8, 2021

What Was the Best Decision You Made in 2020? by Deb @ Deb’s World

What Was the Best Decision You Made in 2020? (Image: A woan holding up a HELP sign to her head)

One of my favorite posts of the year!

I have Deb’s permission to “reblog” her post, but for some reason, I can’t get the “Reblog” feature to work today, so I’m posting a link here to Deb’s post about mental health in 2020.

Please give this post a read (and my blogging friend a follow)!

What Was the Most Important Decision You Made in 2020?



QOTD:

What was the most important decision you made in 2020?



Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



 

The Choice: Embrace the Possible [Book Review] #NonFicNov

November 27, 2020

The Choice: Embrace the Possible by Dr. Edith Eva Eger
#NonFicNov

The Choicde by Dr. Edith Eva Eger (cover) Image: black text on white background, a black stemed coral colored flower decorates the left border

Genre/Categories: Nonfiction, Memoir, WW11, Holocaust, Mental Health, Jewish, Self Help, Psychology

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Edith Eger and her family were taken to Auschwitz when Edith was sixteen. Her mother and father were killed shortly after they arrived. Edith and her sister survived. In this memoir, Edith recounts her experiences and her mental health journey. Her practice as a psychologist later in life focuses on PTSD. Edith weaves her own stories together with case studies from her practice to talk about healing, forgiveness, and freedom from the prison of the mind.

My Thoughts:

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