Sunday, April 26, 2020

Book Review: Full Circle


FULL CIRCLE: A MEMOIR
by
PAMELA LOMBANA
Genre:  Memoir / Domestic Abuse / Forgiveness  Publisher: Wordfall Publishing
Date of Publication: December 5, 2019
Number of Pages: 217 Scroll down for the giveaway!
 

Alcoholism and domestic abuse creep silently into people’s lives, shattering dreams. For Pamela Lombana, the excitement of marriage turned into paralyzing fear as alcohol became her husband’s best friend. Surviving the daily physical and emotional abuse was the norm for her and their children. Full Circle tells the story of how love and God’s abiding grace helped Pamela find the strength to leave her husband, Fernando. During this journey, healing and forgiveness allowed her and the children to be there for him when he needed them the most.
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I love to read memoir books. I just find that learning about other people and how they have experienced life just really puts me into perspective and always reminds me that we are all human. This book is no exception. The author was so honest about her feelings throughout this book that it never felt like she was faking something to make the plot seem thicker than what it was. She was open to everything that happened with her father, her husband, her family, herself. You can tell that she has come a long way from where she was and by the end of the book,  I was just so proud and happy for her.

When you are on the other side reading and hearing about these stories of abuse, it is easy to say how you wouldn't have let that happen and that you would have just left at the first sign. But the author does a great job of giving us the insight we need to understand where she is coming from. Why she chose the path she did. Why she stayed. She lays it all out for us so that we can better understand where she is coming from.

The author also just lives an interesting life that you can't help but want to know more about. She made her won wedding dress, she went on random trips to China, and she helps people from all walks of life. You also can't help but admire the resilience she has when she is going through the tough times. And how open and honest she is not just with her reader, but with her own kids.
 
While there were sad times throughout the book, there were also happy moments that shined out and made the reader happy that she got to experience happy times as well. One of my favorite happy moments is when the author lets us know that when something good happens she and her kids throw their hands in the air and say "I love my life!" I just found that to be an awesome thing to do, something I would like to do when I decide to have children.
 
I also appreciated the personal touch of this book when the author puts in her letters that she wrote to her kids. She doesn't put a ton, but she puts in the ones that make sense on where the story is going. That simple touch just makes the story seem more authentic. 
 
Overall, I give this book a 5 out of 5. I loved the honesty and gives great insight into her life. She lives an interesting life that keeps you turning every page and wondering what will happen next. This is also an easy read, so a good pick for those of you who like to read but may not always have a lot of time And it was fun to jump for joy in the happy moments with our author as she reminds me and all of us that we should love our life! Until next time, Happy Reading!
 


Pamela Lombana grew up in Colombia, South America, and emigrated to the United States to attend university. In 1999, Pamela became a pediatric nurse practitioner and went on to run a pediatric clinic in Spring Branch, Texas. Pamela loves working with families and children and focuses on educating her patients and their families. Pamela values strong family ties and friendships. She has three children and four stepchildren. Writing is a passion that started in Pamela's teenage years. She enjoys being amongst nature and loves to go hiking with her husband, Mark. Pamela is passionate about empowering women and providing them with tools to navigate life through her book, Full Circle: A Memoir, her blog, and Wordfall Publishing. Pamela wrote her memoir to offer hope and courage to women experiencing alcoholic and abusive situations.
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Friday, April 17, 2020

Book Review: The Caretakers


THE CARETAKERS
by
ELIZA MAXWELL
Genre:  Psychological Thriller / Gothic Fiction / Sisters Fiction  Publisher: Lake Union Press
Date of Publication: April 14, 2020
Number of Pages: 317 Scroll down for the giveaway!




In the isolated estate she’s found the perfect getaway. But there’s no escaping the past in this chilling novel from the bestselling author of The Unremembered Girl.
Filmmaker Tessa Shepherd helped free a man she believed was wrongly imprisoned for murder. When he kills again, Tessa’s life is upended. She’s reeling with guilt, her reputation destroyed. Worse, Tessa’s mother has unexpectedly passed away, and her sister, Margot, turns on her after tensions from their past escalate. Hounded by a bullying press, Tessa needs an escape. That’s when she learns of a strange inheritance bequeathed by her mother: a derelict and isolated estate known as Fallbrook. It seems like the perfect refuge. A crumbling monument to a gruesome history, the mansion has been abandoned by all but two elderly sisters retained as caretakers. They are also guardians of all its mysteries. As the house starts revealing its dark secrets, Tessa must face her fears and right the wrongs of her past to save herself and her relationship with Margot. But nothing and no one at Fallbrook are what they seem.  “Suspense fans will be satisfied.” —Publishers Weekly
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 When I first read the synopsis of this book, I thought it was perfect! Just like a lot of people in the world, we all love a good true crime, "he didn't do it, let's show them why he is innocent" documentary on Netflix. There are now tons of stories and writers and producers alike have dedicated their lives to proving the innocence of convicted felons. At the end of the series, the audience is left wondering if they are ever going to get out and wanting to seek justice for these people who they have met only on TV (me included). But none of us ever think about the consequences of being wrong. While this story is so much more than just the surface, I haven't read anything that touches this topic and it's a great refresher and reminder that what we think we know, might not be true.


Reading has been my escape ever since I was young and it definitely is a true escape from all the noise and everything happening right now. The Caretakers was a great book to read during this time of isolation, especially since our main character, Tessa is a little isolated herself. Heck, she even tries to isolate more when she finds out she is the owner of a faraway house in the middle of nowhere. She is a great character to remember the times when we have felt alone in our situations. When we feel like we are the only ones who know what we are going through, that's Tessa. And that is what this story reminded me of.

"The world has tipped on end, and all the things Tessa once believed true have been lost in some negative where black is white, up is down, and her mother is gone forever."

There are a couple of plot points going on throughout this story and it's done so in a very meticulous way and it doesn't feel scattered and mind throbbing. I loved all the twists this book offered and how they kept you engaged with the book, even if we were time jumping a bit. The author did well at connecting the dots and by the end she had you saying, "ahhhh."


Overall, I would give this book a 5 out of 5! It was a great read and something a little different from the normal crime story. This book was also a great read to get your mind off the current situation and to keep your mind stimulated. I have another book review coming out next week so stay tuned! Until then, Happy Reading!




Eliza Maxwell is the author of The Shadow Writer, The Widow’s Watcher, The Unremembered Girl, The Grave Tender, and The Kinfolk. She writes fiction from her home in Texas, which she shares with her ever-patient husband, two impatient kids, a ridiculous English setter, and a bird named Sarah. An artist and writer, a dedicated introvert, and a British-cop-drama addict, she enjoys nothing more than sitting on the front porch with a good cup of coffee. For more information, visit www.elizamaxwell.net.
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Monday, April 13, 2020

Rainy Thoughts: Quarantine Life Week 4

Anyways, I am happy to inform you that my husband and I haven't killed each other yet and my dog and cat seem to be happy to have us around still. I feel really blessed right now because my husband and I are one of the few households where we are both still working (from home) full time, so we are not experiencing this financial burden that I know so many people are feeling right now. It's unsettling and my heart goes out to everyone right now.


To not go stir crazy and fill my head up with negativity, I have been doing stuff around the house to spruce it up. We recently bought new plants to transform our front yard, fixing up our sunroom and I bought my cat his own little aquarium to help his boredom and fill in his bedroom. But last week, I had one day where after I finished work, I didn't clean. I played Animal Crossing and when I finally looked up at the clock, it was well past the time I had been consistently been cooking dinner. And for some reason, the little voice in my head was anxious and I felt like I had done something wrong. I felt that my not being productive was bad of me to do and I felt guilty. I had to sit there and coax that little part of me and say, "It's okay. It is completely okay that you played video games and did not do anything else. It is not the end of the world that your schedule is changed slightly. It is okay." Is anyone else feeling like that right now or am I just crazy?

But I do want to remind you all that it is okay to not have a productive quarantine day. It is okay to do nothing. It is okay not to change your clothes first thing in the morning (I wait till like 10 or 11, depends if I have a meeting). I mean, who's gonna see your house or you right now anyway? 

Welp, that is my update for now. I'll update again in another couple of weeks. Until then, Happy Reading and Writing and Animal Crossing and anything else you like to do! What are some things you are doing right now to help you pass the time (besides work)?

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Book Review: Violence / Joy / Chaos


VIOLENCE / JOY / CHAOS
by
Jane Marshall Fleming
Essays / Poems Publisher: Rhythm & Bones Press On Twitter  
Date of Publication: April 1, 2020
Number of Pages: 154
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This debut full-length hybrid collection of essays and poetry explores the moments of joy and chaotic hilarity that mingle with the experiences of trauma and trauma recovery. Jane Marshall Fleming writes with boldness and shows the beauty in every moment amidst violent chaos, embracing joy just as much as darkness. Moving from a backdrop of a small Virginia town and eventually finding herself in the freedom and wilderness of the desert, readers will follow the author on her journey mapping her skin, sharing in her joys, grief, pain, loss, discovering love and self-growth, night-blooming like a desert flower.
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The words. It's all about the beautiful and pristine and hurtful words that makes this book well worth reading. From the very beginning, the author does a great job of grabbing you in with her wonderfully used words that it just intrigues you to finish this book so that you can read more beautifully, tragic sentences. When the author writes about love, she writes it all down in a poetically induced atmosphere. And when she is hurting and clinging to the words of her ex-lover, she seamlessly mirrors her feelings onto her pages. 

The author was able to redirect me into her life while reminding me of my own young adult life. She brought out memories of past loves, past friendships and how, as I'm in the middle of my 20's, things are still changing and a single moment in my life can either be remembered or forgotten. One part of the book that really choked me up was when she was describing looking through old photos of friends and how she never thought that the last time she would see those friends would be in this picture. I always think about that. How some old friends of mine saw each other for the last time and we didn't even realize it. Reminds us all that we are not invincible to time.

These are the bones we cover with skin,
But my skin is transparent.
Dissolve.
 
I commend the author for writing down her life situations and her feelings. It's not an easy thing to do, but she was brave enough to write down all the joys, the love, the highs and the lows and kindly let us know about her dreadlocks phase. She is raw and she is real and she makes you feel like you are not alone, which is especially needed right now through these crazy times. And her ability to be so honest with her life, makes you just want to read until the cow jumps over the moon.
 
I also just loved the way that the author moves around her writing style throughout the book. In one chapter, you usually read an essay styled story and then a poem and then sometimes it felt like I was reading slam poetry and then back to essays. It really keeps the reader engaged and it was great on transitioning from one part of her life to another.

I would recommend this book to any young or even middle-aged adults who love poetry or just looking for something relatable and true. It was a real honor to read this book with its beautifully written words and its heavy topics. If you have time right now, it is National Poetry month, so give this title a go. Until next time, Happy Reading!







Bourdeau Photo
Jane Marshall Fleming is an author and artist living in Austin, Texas. She currently works as an assistant instructor at the University of Texas at Austin and is also the author of the chapbook, Ocotillo Worship (Apep Publications, 2019). Violence/Joy/Chaos is her first full length collection.
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