Thursday, January 18, 2018

Magic of Memoir Tours & Reviews


Laraine Burrell gets the call to come back to England from the United States just in time to visit briefly with her father before he passes away. Following his death, she is overcome with grief, feeling that she has squandered the time she had with her father. Instead of staying close, she chose to travel the world and seek her own goals as a young woman, always thinking there would be time later on to tell her dad all the things she wanted to tell him―how much she loved him, and how he was her hero. Now, she realizes, it’s too late.

Wanting to do something significant for her father to make up for her neglect, Burrell reflects on the fascinating life her father, a Royal Yachtsman, led―and decides that the one thing she can do for him is to tell his exceptional life story and make sure he is not forgotten. Our Grand Finale is the culmination of that effort―an exploration of both the author’s and her father’s unusual life experiences, and a reminder that “later” doesn’t always come.

My Review:
This is true is so many instances. There may never be a tomorrow. I saw my dad did unexpectedly in front of me and I can completely relate to the felling of wanting to tell him something. Our relatives that our no longer with us live through our memories, and what a beautiful testament to the author and her father. I cried and laughed and wish that I too could remind people not to wait until tomorrow to tell people you love them. I am giving this book a 5/5. I was given a copy, all opinions are my own.


After a lifetime of strained bonds with her aging parents, Patricia Williams finds herself in the unexpected position of being their caregiver and neighbor. As they all begin to navigate this murky battleground, the long-buried issues that have divided their family for decades—alcoholism, infidelity, opposing politics—rear up and demand to be addressed head-on.

Williams answers the call of duty with trepidation at first, confronting the lines between service and servant, guardian and warden, while her parents alternately resist her help and wear her out. But by facing each new struggle with determination, grace, and courage, they ultimately emerge into a dynamic of greater transparency, mutual support, and teachable moments for all. Honest and humorous, graceful and grumbling, While They’re Still Here is a poignant story about a family that waves the white flag and begins to heal old wounds as they guide each other through the most vulnerable chapter of their lives.

My Review:
This book is the opposite of the one above. This is what you can do if given the chance before your parents die. Would you take full advantage of your time together, even if you had an estranged relationship? Or would you just visit them at the home? Time is precious. I would like to think that every one would be able to spend time with their loved ones. I am giving this book a 5/5. I was given a copy, all opinions are my own.


Carol Anderson grows up in a fundamentalist Christian home in the ’60s, a time when being gay was in opposition to all social and religious mores and against the law in most states. Fearing the rejection of her parents, she hides the truth about her love orientation, creating emotional distance from them for years, as she desperately struggles to harness her powerful attractions to women while pursuing false efforts to be with men.

The watershed point in Carol’s journey comes when she returns to graduate school and discovers the feminist movement, which emboldens her sense of personal power and the freedom to love whom she chooses. But this sense of self-possession comes too late for honesty with her father. His unexpected death before she can tell him the truth brings the full cost of Carol’s secret crashing in―compelling her to come out to her mother before it is too late. Candid and poignant, You Can’t Buy Love Like Thatreveals the complex invisible dynamics that arise for gay people who are forced to hide their true selves in order to survive―and celebrates the hard-won rewards of finding one’s courageous heart and achieving self-acceptance and self-love.

My Review:
This is a great look into the past and how different times were back then. No one has the right to say who you can love or can not love. To be an activist during the feminist movement is definitely amazing to read about. This is an empowering book for women, no matter their sexual orientation. I am giving this book a 5/5. I was given a copy, all opinions are mine.


When Deb Brandon discovered that cavernous angiomas—tangles of malformed blood vessels in her brain—were behind the terrifying symptoms she’d been experiencing, she underwent one brain surgery. And then another. And then another. And that was just the beginning.

The book also includes an introduction by Connie Lee, founder and president of the Angioma Alliance. Unlike other memoirs that focus on injury crisis and acute recovery, But My Brain Had Other Ideas follows Brandon’s story all the way through to long-term recovery, revealing without sugarcoating or sentimentality Brandon’s struggles—and ultimate triumph.

My Review:
I always think that there should be more books like this out there. We need more awareness of diseases like this. I commend Deb for sharing her story in the hope that it will help others going through the same thing. If just one person reading this notices the symptoms, then it was well worth writing it. I am giving this book a 5/5. I was given a copy, all opinions are my own.


When Diane, a psychologist, falls in love with Charles, a charming and brilliant psychiatrist, there is laughter and flowers—and also darkness. After moving through infertility treatments and the trials of the adoption process as a united front, the couple is ultimately successful in creating a family. As time goes on, however, Charles becomes increasingly critical and controlling, and Diane begins to feel barraged and battered. When she is diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer, Charles is initially there for her, but his attentiveness quickly vanishes and is replaced by withdrawal, anger, and unfathomable sadism. What Diane previously thought were just Charles’ controlling ways are replaced by clear pathologic narcissism and emotional abuse that turns venomous at the very hour of her greatest need. A memoir and a psychological love story that is at times tender and at times horrifying, Lost in the Reflecting Pool is a chronicle of one woman’s struggle to survive within—and ultimately break free of—a relationship with a man incapable of caring about anyone beyond himself.

My Review:
When I got married, I took vows. Through sickness and in health. I can not imagine leaving my spouse in his time of need, especially if it was something so tough as cancer. After going through all of the adoption issues together, I thought that they would be stronger, however he obviously had issues. What a strong woman Diane is and I commend her for her strength. I am giving this book a 5/5. I was given a copy, all opinions are my own.


At the age of thirty-nine, Sarah Kowalski heard her biological clock ticking, loudly. A single woman harboring a deep ambivalence about motherhood, Kowalski needed to decide once and for all: Did she want a baby or not? More importantly, with no partner on the horizon, did she want to have a baby alone?Once she revised her idea of motherhood—from an experience she would share with a partner to a journey she would embark upon alone—the answer came up a resounding Yes. After exploring her options, Kowalski chose to conceive using a sperm donor, but her plan stopped short when a doctor declared her infertile. How far would she go to make motherhood a reality? Kowalski catapulted herself into a diligent regimen of herbs, Qigong, meditation, acupuncture, and more, in a quest to improve her chances of conception. Along the way, she delved deep into spiritual healing practices, facing down demons of self-doubt and self-hatred, ultimately discovering an unconventional path to parenthood. In the end, to become a mother, Kowalski did everything she said she would never do. And she wouldn’t change a thing.

A story of personal triumph and unconditional love, Motherhood Reimagined reveals what happens when we release what’s expected and embrace what’s possible.

My Review:
I was interested in reading this book because I see Qigong in use every week. I believe in it and I would like to find out some of its other uses. In a world where there are so many options I think that we all need to take a step back and see what options are best for me. I applaud the author for trying all these different things and for spreading awareness of what is out there. I am giving this book a 5/5, I was given a copy, all opinions are my own. 

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