Friday, August 30, 2019

Book Review: Rounding Home by Sarah Swindell

ROUNDING HOME
by
SARAH SWINDELL
  Genre: Memoir / Family / Autism
Date of Publication: August 2, 2019
Number of Pages: 256
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In 1991, twenty-one-year-old Sarah, the recently divorced mother to two-year-old Hayley, moved from the dusty small town of Farmington, New Mexico to the bustling city of Houston, Texas with dreams of a better life. A year later, she was swept off her feet by Greg Swindell, an established Major League Baseball player who had just signed a lucrative contract with the Houston Astros and was quickly becoming the talk of the city. 
Six weeks after their first date, Greg asked Sarah to quit her job as a hairdresser and marry him during Spring Training in Florida. Over the next several years, Sarah's Cinderella story continued with the addition of three more children, a lifestyle only a few ever dream of living, and a love story even fewer ever experience.
That is until 2002 when her picture-perfect life came to a gut-wrenching halt, and Sarah was faced with more pain than she ever thought possible. For almost a decade, the puzzle pieces would cease to align due to an avalanche of events; a devastating autism diagnosis, a painful affair, multiple marriages, multiple divorces and her children's own personal struggles with self-harm, eating disorders, and attempted suicide. 
If you have ever felt lost, betrayed, or heartbroken, this story will inspire you to never give up on finding true joy and happiness again. It will prove there is no such thing as the “perfect family” and that difficult times can actually make you stronger than you ever dreamed possible.


PRAISE FOR ROUNDING HOME:

"Rounding Home takes you on a riveting journey through the eyes of an exceptional woman who embraced struggle, love, success, and the unimaginable, autism. Get ready to laugh, cry, and flutter with romance; it’s one hell of a love story!" -- Gena Lee Nolin, actress, author, advocate, “Thyroid Sexy,” wife & mother

"In Rounding Home, Sarah writes with gritty honesty, a deeply moving account of life with her autistic son. This testament to the resilience of the human spirit will touch your heart and soul." -- Gayle Nobel, life coach, autism mom, and author of three books about living with autism

"This story of the Swindell family is a poignant demonstration of how each family member responded and was changed, for better or worse, as they struggled to come to terms with how their lives had been altered. And although there was damage along the way, they ultimately triumph by rekindling the love that created their family unit in the first place." -- Dr. Bryan Jepson, author, physician, and father of two sons with autism




     I am normally not a fast reader, but I read this book in two weeks. It usually takes me a whole month. I could not put this book down from the very first chapter.  When I was reading the book, I couldn't help but imagine early 90's cinema coming of age story, then and now type of movie play in my head the whole time. I was reeled in right away and I was hooked until the very end.

This was a very well thought out non-fiction story. I enjoy that the author is very brutal in her feelings and owns everything that happened to her and everything that she did. It gives someone like me who is 24 and has past regrets that one day, they won't matter at all. Not that they matter to me today, but I'm hoping one day I won't have to dwell on them ever again. 

I also really appreciated that the author gives her other characters, her daughters, a voice in all this. She could have just told the story from her point of view and gave her thoughts on what her daughters were feeling through the novel, but she gives them each a part to tell each other how they felt without having to guess. 

I usually only put the top three things that stood out and made me enjoy a book, but I want to add one more thing. Sarah, the main and real-life woman, made me mad. She made me mad, she made me happy, she made me feel empathy and she made me remember that we are all humans that make mistakes and that's okay.

If there was going to be anything bad to say about the book, the only thing I'd have to say is sometimes that the author repeats herself. There are parts when she feels bad for what she has done and though I understand where she is coming from, she repeats herself a few times throughout the book and it was a tad annoying, though it did not take away from the overall story.

I give Rounding Home 5 stars. I recommend this book to anyone who is in the mood to read something relatable and may be feeling vulnerable. This is just a great book and one of my favorite reads this year. Until next blog, Happy Reading!




Sarah Swindell lives in the Austin area with her husband, Greg, a former Major League Baseball player and 2019 Texas Sports Hall of Fame inductee. Sarah is a commercial actress/model and has been working in the industry for over thirty years. She enjoys spending her free time with her four grown children and several grandchildren who reside in Texas as well. Sarah is an avid moviegoer, loves yoga and true-crime podcasts, and advocates for children and adults with autism and other disabilities. Her son was diagnosed with severe autism at the age of eighteen months and continues to touch peoples' hearts to this day.
WEBSITE  ⬧  BLOG     GOODREADS ⬧  TWITTER ⬧  INSTAGRAM AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE -----------------------------------------
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FOUR WINNERS: SIGNED COPIES OF ROUNDING HOME + SIGNED GREG SWINDELL BASEBALL CARD
August 22-September 1, 2019
CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
8/22/19
Promo
8/22/19
BONUS Post
8/23/19
Review
8/24/19
Review
8/25/19
Excerpt
8/26/19
Excerpt
8/27/19
Review
8/28/19
Author Interview
8/29/19
Scrapbook
8/30/19
Review
8/31/19
Review

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Thursday, August 1, 2019

Rainy Travel: Chicago + Vegas

Hello everyone! It's been a while since I wrote something not book related. It's just been a busy month. And, as some of you may know, I went on a two-part trip recently. First 4 days in Chicago and last 4 days in Vegas. Here's my rainy thoughts on Chicago + Vegas!


Chicago

My husband and I had been to Vegas multiple times. We went this year to celebrate my grandparent's 50th anniversary. I suggested we make the trip a two-parter, we thought of places we both haven't been and that's how we came up with Chicago.

Now, I'm not going to lie, Chicago was never on the very top of my travel list. I always thought it would be neat, but it wasn't a super strong desire. It was a new place for me and for my husband, so I searched and Pinterested for months figuring out what to do, where to eat, where to go and we did maybe about 2 things out of the 40 things I saved. But it was still a good time.


Where We Went

One of the great things about Chicago is that there are so many free things to do. We ventured out to the Lincoln Park Zoo, which is a completely. It was a pretty nice sized zoo with plenty of animals to "ooo" and "ahhh" at and take pictures of. Right next the zoo is the Lincoln Park Conservatory, which is like a good sized greenhouse building. We checked out the National Museum of Mexican Art, which was pretty neat and had a traveling Instagram experience while we were there. There are also a handful of beautiful parks to walk around at, including Millennium park where they have the bean and free summer night concerts. We also found ourselves underneath the Chicago bridges at the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum. And we finished our Saturday with a great fireworks display at Navy Pier that looks off onto Lake Michigan.

Of course, we did things that did cost money. We had to go to the Field Museum to see Sue a.k.a. the worlds most complete T-Rex. That was actually a pretty awesome museum that you can easily spend 3+ hours at. We also took a very relaxing boat ride with a great view of the cityscape. Walking through the miracle mile, you just cannot not want to shop! My husband and I both bought clothes from the Japanese environmentally conscience store that's so unqie, it's called Uniqlo!  

Stay and Getting Around

We took the train for mostly everywhere in Chicago. It was quick a convenient. If you're thinking of going to Chicago, we actually used the 3-day pass, which was perfect for us and we were able to use it for the train and the bus, which we did ride a few times.

We used Airbnb for Chicago and ended up finding a pretty nice place in the cute neighborhood of Berwyn. Granted, the night of the fireworks was a pain to get home, as all the buses were so filled and I just wanted to get to the room. Even though I loved the neighborhood we were in and enjoyed getting a feel for how actual Chicago people lived, I would choose to stay int he downtown area if I were to come again. Probably.(if you use this code, you can get $40 off your first Airbnb stay: https://www.airbnb.com/c/amandag3030?currency=USD)

Food

The food in Chicago was excellent! I absolutely did not eat something in Chicago that was gross. We tried Portillos, which is a chain in Chicago with some good Chicago style hotdogs. They also served tamales. Tamales were everywhere. We also tried the famous deep dish pizza at Giordano's. I never tried deep-dish pizza before and it was pretty good! Supper filling, so if you are traveling as a two sum, a small will be just find. On our last night we tried Cindy's Rooftop bar, suggested by one of my friends. The place is on top of a hotel and the menu changes pretty frequently. We had this big trout on top of pinto beans with this green salsa and I know that doesn't sound pleasant, but it was pretty freakin good.

Las Vegas

This was about my 9th or 10th time going to Vegas and we completely chilled. We walked a bit, gambled a bit, took some photos and we chilled by the pool. It was our relaxing part of vacation and it was wonderful. I'm not going to go into too deep into details, about Vegas, but I will write a whole guide to Vegas soon.

Overall

Overall, we had a pretty adventurous vacation. I'm glad we went to Chicago. It is definitely friendly on the budget and also a really good time. Lots of places to see and things to do and would definitely go again. And as for Vegas, we;ll be back in about two years. But now we plan our next big trip, Italy! Where did you go for summer vacation?