Book Review: When All Balls Drop by Heidi Siefkas

whenallballsdropcoverTitle: When All Balls Drop: The Upside of Losing Everything
Author: Heidi Siefkas
Genre: Non-Fiction, Inspirational, Memoir
Age Group: Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon

The true story of a survivor
who through losing everything,
redefined having it all

Heidi Siefkas was a happily married, globetrotting professional who seemingly “had it all”—until a tree limb in New York’s Hudson River Valley struck her down, breaking her neck and leaving her unconscious. Suddenly, life as she knew it stopped. She lost her independence. She lost her career. She watched her marriage disintegrate as she confronted a trail of devastating lies about her husband’s double life.

She had lost all that mattered, but she was a survivor. She fought to restore her health, repair her broken heart, and rebuild herself. Along the way, she gained clarity about her core values, ultimately coming to a deeper understanding of what it means to have it all.

Through down-to-earth, short vignettes, When All Balls Drop shows us how it’s possible to “look up” in spite of pain, deceit, and loss. Heidi’s memoir–rich with hope and humor, inspires anyone who’s had to confront tragedy and reassess their life in the wake of life-altering events.

In short vignettes, Heidi Siefkas tells the story of how she turned from a happily married woman who seemingly had it all to a woman on the edge of despair, in When All Balls Drop.  After being struck down by a tree limb in the Hudon River Valley, she broke her neck. She loses everything – her career, her marriage.

But she didn’t give up. She kept on fighting, not just for her physical health, but also her mental health. She rebuilded herself from scratch, becoming a stronger person along the way. This is an inspiring memoir about confronting tragedy and focusing on what’s really important in life, and on becoming a better person.

The vignettes are about a page to two pages each, making this a quick read. I read it in between breaks, whenever I could, and felt myself drawn to read more and more. The author has an engaging writing style and unique voice. While tragic, the novel is also inspiring, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading memoirs, or anyone who went through a traumatic experience themselves. You’ll find a kindred spirit in Heidi.

Book Tours: Starter Day Party for When All Balls Drop

whenallballsdropbanner

I’m hosting the starter day party today for the book tour for non-fiction inspirational memoir “When All Balls Drop”. I’ll be reviewing the book on September 27. Stay tuned for the review, and in the mean time, visit all other tour stops.

Tour Schedule

September 2nd: Starter Day Party @ I Heart Reading

September 2nd: Book Excerpt @ Renee Entress’ Blog

September 4th: Book Excerpt @ I’m an Eclectic Reader

September 6th: Author Interview @ The Single Librarian

September 8th: Book Excerpt @ Bookaholic Ramblings

September 10th: Book Review @ Endazzled Reading

September 12th: Book Excerpt @ The Reading Guru

September 14th: Author Interview @ Majanka’s Blog

September 16th: Book Excerpt @ The Book Gazette

September 18th: Book Review @ Forever Book Lover

September 20th: Book Excerpt @ Editor Charlene’s Blog

September 22nd: Author Interview @ Cassidy Crimson’s Blog

September 24th: Book Excerpt @ 365 Days of Reading

September 27th: Book Review @ I Heart Reading

September 28th: Book Excerpt @ Bookish Madness

September 30th: Book Review @ Hollow Readers

October 1st: Author Interview @ Plain Talk BM

October 2nd: Book Excerpt @ The Book Daily

About The Book

whenallballsdropcoverTitle: When All Balls Drop: The Upside of Losing Everything

Author: Heidi Siefkas

Genre: Non-Fiction, Inspirational, Memoir

The true story of a survivor
who through losing everything,
redefined having it all

Heidi Siefkas was a happily married, globetrotting professional who seemingly “had it all”—until a tree limb in New York’s Hudson River Valley struck her down, breaking her neck and leaving her unconscious. Suddenly, life as she knew it stopped. She lost her independence. She lost her career. She watched her marriage disintegrate as she confronted a trail of devastating lies about her husband’s double life.

She had lost all that mattered, but she was a survivor. She fought to restore her health, repair her broken heart, and rebuild herself. Along the way, she gained clarity about her core values, ultimately coming to a deeper understanding of what it means to have it all.

Through down-to-earth, short vignettes, When All Balls Drop shows us how it’s possible to “look up” in spite of pain, deceit, and loss. Heidi’s memoir–rich with hope and humor, inspires anyone who’s had to confront tragedy and reassess their life in the wake of life-altering events.

Author Bio

Heidi Siefkas is an author and adventurer. Originally from small-town Wisconsin, she lives in Kauai and also calls the Midwest and South Florida home. Heidi is currently crafting a sequel to this memoir, embracing both her wanderlust and love of writing by documenting her many travels. You can connect with Heidi at www.heidisiefkas.com, Facebook, and Twitter.

Links

Website: http://www.heidisiefkas.com

Twitter: @HeidiSiefkas

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeidiNSiefkas?ref=hl

Giveaway

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Book Review: Sister Surrendered by Darla M. Grese

Sister Surrendered Ebook Cover jpgTitle: Sister Surrendered

Author: Darla M. Grese

Genre: Memoir

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

When you’re a twin, loneliness is somewhat unfamiliar because you’ve always had each other. So when a twin passes, the other is left unprepared. Our loyalty was steadfast and our devotion to one another, solid. Our love was unconditional no matter what the circumstances. I’m so grateful every day for the memories of the joy and laughter that we shared together. I know the bond that Kelli and I shared is impossible for anyone to replace. This memoir has become something so much more than initially intended. It’s become a documented journey barely scratching the surface of the love between two sisters. And surprisingly, it’s also become an outlet for me to speak candidly and honestly about my struggles with the cause of Kelli’s death. This is a love story turned tragedy. An exposure of one of the greatest healthcare failures killing Veterans and civilians, and a cry for help to remedy the fiasco. I’ve stressed about who I would mention in this book, nervous that I would hurt someone’s feelings by not mentioning their names. But I’ve realized that it’s impossible to do. Kelli had so many great friends, some I’ve never even met. I need each person to know who has taken the time to reach out to me in whatever capacity that if it weren’t for your heartfelt show of support and love, I don’t know that I would be able to muster the energy to even get up each day. Kelli, we did it.

The starting chapters of Sister Surrendered brought a smile to my face. It’s the story of two twin sisters who spent all their time together, who shared the same friends, memories and dreams. But soon the book took a darker turn, and the laughter turned to tears. What happened to Kelli was horrible. The book is about mental illness, about addiction, about the love of two sisters, about how lives can be ruined because of healthcare failures, and about how easy it is to claim not to be responsible for medical errors made. Most of all it’s a story about sisters, about their unique bond, about losing that bond and how hard it is to go on after that.

This book also infuriated me. Because of the medical errors, because of how Kelli’s life could’ve been saved if someone stood up and took responsibility, and if healthcare wasn’t so mismanaged.

Either way, it’s a great book, and that one that should be read, and deserves to be read by everyone. The writing was great, and from the start, I felt a connection with Kelli and Darla, which made the book all the more interesting, but also all the harder to read.

A must-read for just about anyone, and a real eye-opener.

Book Review: Triumph! A Battle Plan for Joy by Gladys Simmons Carson

BookCover-TriumphABattlePlanforJoy-JPGTitle: Triumph! A Battle Plan for Joy
Author: Gladys Simmons Carson
Genre: Inspirational Memoir
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

When medical malpractice takes the life of her mother and the offense is dismissed as an unfortunate mistake, it rips a hole in seven-year-old Gladys’ heart and ignites fire in her anger. This act of gross negligence strips her of the joyful delight that has characterized her existence. Before she can grasp the full meaning of her loss, fate takes her on a journey through a series of harsh realities, including devastating child abuse, demeaning segregation and destructive thinking. These unsavory enemies assault her on all fronts, physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. But the child warrior uses youthful wisdom to triumph over the effects of them all. Her prize is a resurgence of bountiful joy. You may laugh or cry, but you will definitely cheer for the child warrior in TRIUMPH! A BATTLE PLAN FOR JOY.

In her memoir, Triumph! A Battle Plan for Joy, author Gladys Simmons Carson tells readers about her early life, growing up, suffering through abuse, becoming a child warrior and growing up. In a clear, authentic voice she tells the readers her life story, the hardships she had to go through, and the lessons she learned along the way. Even though the subject matter isn’t always cheerful, she relates the story with a dosis of humor, which she mentioned in the book was sometimes one of her only defences.

The first part of the book focuses on the good days, when Gladys is living at home with her brothers and sisters and her Mom and Dad. All goes well in the world, and they sound like the perfect family. They go to Church, they have family dinners at set times, they love each other’s company. But then tragedy strikes and their mother passes away, leaving Gladys and her siblings in the care of their relatives. That’s when the second part of the book begins, which focuses at the abuse and negligence Gladys suffers at the hands of family members.

The third part focuses on Gladys as an adult, and at the racism she has to endure. By that point, I was amazed at how much she had to go through, and how she managed to keep on going despite all that, not giving up, not even giving up on happiness and on enjoying life. The fourth part focuses on the enemies of joy, and how to defeat them. It’s the largest part of the book, and reads like a call to action. While the first three parts are a memoir, the fourth part focuses on inspiring others to conquer their own enemies of joy. There are ten enemies mentioned, and how to handle them.

Triumph! A Battle Plan for Joy is an inspiring read about overcoming hardships, and doing so with joy. The author has a distinct writing style that is quite enjoyable. The book’s interior design looks professional, and it’s a fast read. Once I started reading, I had no trouble finishing it in one go.

 
 

Book Tours: Starter Day Party Sister Surrendered

sistersurrenderedbanner

I’m hosting the starter day party for the book tour for memoir “Sister Surrendered”. The tour runs from June 17 to July 17. I’ll be hosting a review on June 25. Stay tuned for the review, and in the mean time, check out the other tour stops.

Tour Schedule

June 17th: Starter Day Party @ I Heart Reading

June 19th: Book Excerpt @ I’m an Eclectic Reader

June 21st: Author Interview @ The Single Librarian

June 23rd: Book Excerpt @ Bookaholic Ramblings

June 24th: Guest Post @ Endazzled Reading

June 25th: Book Review @ I Heart Reading

June 27th: Book Excerpt @ The Reading Guru

June 28th: Author Interview @ The Book Daily

June 29th: Book Review @ Bookish Madness

June 30th: Book Excerpt @ The Book Gazette

July 1st: Author Interview @ Cassidy Crimson’s Bog

July 3rd: Book Excerpt @ Editor Charlene’s Blog

July 5th: Book Review @ Forever Book Lover

July 6th: Book Excerpt @ Hollow Readers

July 7th: Guest Post @ I’m an Eclectic Reader

July 9th: Book Excerpt @ Cajun Book Lover

July 10th: Book Review @ Cassidy Crimson’s Blog

July 11th: Author Interview @ Majanka’s Blog

July 13th: Book Excerpt @ 365 Days of Reading

July 15th: Book Review @ Endazzled Reading

July 16th: Book Excerpt @ Books Direct

July 17th: Guest Post @ Editor Charlene’s Blog

About Sister Surrendered

Sister Surrendered Ebook Cover jpgTitle: Sister Surrendered

Author: Darla Grese

Genre: Memoir

When you’re a twin, loneliness is somewhat unfamiliar because you’ve always had each other. So when a twin passes, the other is left unprepared. Our loyalty was steadfast and our devotion to one another, solid. Our love was unconditional no matter what the circumstances. I’m so grateful every day for the memories of the joy and laughter that we shared together. I know the bond that Kelli and I shared is impossible for anyone to replace.

This memoir has become something so much more than initially intended. It’s become a documented journey barely scratching the surface of the love between two sisters. And surprisingly, it’s also become an outlet for me to speak candidly and honestly about my struggles with the cause of Kelli’s death. This is a love story turned tragedy. An exposure of one of the greatest healthcare failures killing Veterans and civilians, and a cry for help to remedy the fiasco.

I’ve stressed about who I would mention in this book, nervous that I would hurt someone’s feelings by not mentioning their names. But I’ve realized that it’s impossible to do. Kelli had so many great friends, some I’ve never even met.

I need each person to know who has taken the time to reach out to me in whatever capacity that if it weren’t for your heartfelt show of support and love, I don’t know that I would be able to muster the energy to even get up each day. Kelli, we did it.

Author Bio

277920_4153854852406_1828888743_oDarla M. Grese is a twin sister who lost her better half to side effects from prescribed medication. As a U.S. Navy Veteran, she is an advocate of Veteran X and Veteran Hope programs that address mental illness, PTSD, and unintentional addiction issues. Both programs are sponsored by the Veteran Affairs Medical Center and focus on Veteran recovery and independence. She raises money for Team Kelli and annually participates in the Out of the Darkness Walk at Mt. Trashmore in Virginia Beach (http://www.sos-walk.org/sos/). While continuing to bring awareness to this cause, being a loving parent is her favorite passion and the main focus of her life. Darla’s love for the arts has been expressed as a talented actress with appearances in The F.B.I. files, The New Detectives, Diagnosis Unknown, Wicked Attraction, Discovery Channel’s The Haunting, and the movie Atlantis Down. She currently works full time as a respiratory therapist at a trauma center in Norfolk, Virginia.

Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sister-Surrendered-Darla-M-Grese-ebook/dp/B00JMFPBJO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1402257715&sr=8-1&keywords=sister+surrendered

Book Review: Surviving the Angel of Death by Eva Mozes Kor and Lisa Rojany Buccieri

18898968Title: Surviving the Angel of Death

Authors: Eva Mozes Kor and Lisa Rojany Buccieri

Genre: Non-Fiction, Autobiography, Memoir

Age Group: Young Adult and older

Rating: 5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Eva Mozes Kor was 10 years old when she arrived in Auschwitz. While her parents and two older sisters were taken to the gas chambers, she and her twin, Miriam, were herded into the care of the man known as the Angel of Death, Dr. Josef Mengele. Mengele’s twins were granted the privileges of keeping their own clothes and hair, but they were also subjected to sadistic medical experiments and forced to fight daily for their own survival, as most of the twins died as a result of the experiements or from the disease and hunger pervasive in the camp. In a narrative told with emotion and restraint, readers will learn of a child’s endurance and survival in the face of truly extraordinary evil. The book also includes an epilogue on Eva’s recovery from this experience and her remarkable decision to publicly forgive the Nazis. Through her museum and her lectures, she has dedicated her life to giving testimony on the Holocaust, providing a message of hope for people who have suffered, and working toward goals of forgiveness, peace, and the elimination of hatred and prejudice in the world.

I requested a copy of Surviving the Angel of Death, even though I was worried I might not be able to stomach it. But considering the source material, considering this is a real life account of what atrocities happened during World War I, I felt like I just had to read this. I’m glad I did.

Surviving the Angel of Death is a horrifying book. Some of the stories detailed in here…they made me squirm, made my stomach turn upside down, made me want to throw up. But at the same time, it deserves to be read just because of the stories it tells, so we know we should do whatever we can to never allow this to happen again.

Eva was ten years old when she arrived in Auschwitz. Her parents and two older sisters were taken to the gas chambers, but Eva and her twin sisters, Miriam, were sent to the care of Dr. Josef Mengele, although “care” is the entirely wrong word here. They were forced to fight for their lives every single day ,and to witness the terrible experiments Dr. Mengele performed, not just on them, but on others – twins, dwarfs, pregnant women. What was truly inspiring about this book, was the girl’s strength. The things they could do in the face of danger, the horrors they could survive, their will to live. It was heart-wrenching, and heck, it damn near broke my heart to read this book.

The thought that people might still be going through something of the sort, even today, is horrible. We may deluce ourselves into thinking no one is getting tortured anywhere at this moment in time, or that we’ve somehow gotten rid of most of the evil in the world, but we must not kid ourselves. We must not stay blind for the horrors of this world.

This writing fits the audience – YA – and I can only imagine how hard it must’ve been to write a book of this caliber of horrendousness and make it suitable for a YA audience.

A testament to the courage of two young children, and to the power of hope.

Book Review: Celebrating The Journey by Ashley Hill

9780615651446.MAIN_.jpg-199x300Title: Celebrating the Journey

Author: Ashley Hill

Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir

Age Group: Adult

Rating: 4 stars

Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Ashley Hill is excited yet nervous about her first year of college. She has an encounter that sends her life on an unforgettable path. She begins on a journey in pursuit of her authentic self to become a whole person again and fulfill her destiny. This candid account of her story will leave readers inspired and encouraged to accomplish their dreams.

Celebrating The Journey: Rediscovering Me is a memoir, self-help book by author Ashley Hill that talks about the author’s life before she went to college. It focuses on the hardships of life we all have to go through at that age, from dealing with tough relationships to figuring out who we truly are, who we want to be, and what our purpose is in this world.

The author wrote a touching book that greatly invests in the power of education, and how education can help us all to grow into responsible adults with a mind of our own. In the beginning of the book, Ashley Hill struggles with marriages problems and an abusive relationship. Her college education really helps her to step up for herself and say enough is enough.
The cool thing about this book were the flow charts you can fill in to track your own progress. I thought that was kind of neat.
I do recommend this book to people struggling with abusive relationships, or who want to empower themselves in any possible way. The writing was good and honest, and parts of the book really moved me. Going to college isn’t just about “going to college”, it’s also about becoming an adult and reaching a certain level of maturity, which this book explains well.

Book Review: My Hero is My Monster

15753760Title: My Hero is My Monster
Author: June Spears
Genre: Short Story, Non-Fiction
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 10th 2012
Goodreads | Amazon (Paperback) | Amazon (Kindle)
Review copy provided by the author in exchange for honest review.

A young girls childhood is stolen when her Hero becomes the monster in her bed everynight.

My Hero is My Monster is a short story of about eleven pages long, so naturally, this review will be short as well. This book is a true account of the downward spiral of events that make a young girl’s life go from hell to worse. One night, when she’s only four years old, her father, the man who was supposed to be her hero, who was supposed to love her and look after her and keep her safe from all the evil in the world, does the unthinkable. He takes away her innocence, her trust and everything she ever believed in.

This book is cruel, gruesome and terrible. It’s honest, disturbingly so, and its strength is its honesty and brutality. I applaud the author for her courage to tell us this story, which is non-fiction, a memoir of sorts. The story is straight-forward, without flowery language to hide the cruel truth. For telling this story alone, the author would get my full five stars. Unfortunately, there were some easy-to-catch typos I saw, and since this book is fairly short, I would think it could benefit from another quick spellcheck, so I deducted a star for that, hence the four stars.

I’m glad this is a short story though. I have no idea how much else I’d been able to cope with. Child abuse is always horrible, and when the facts are laid bare without covering anything up, that makes it all the more difficult to stand.

This book is painful to read, but it is a must-read. I would recommend My Hero is My Monster to everyone, although I do advice to keep it away from children. Some of the scenes in this book obviously aren’t suitable for little kids. But I recommend it to all young adults and adults. It’s worth taking a look at.

Starter Day Party My Hero is My Monster

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Today is the starter day party for My Hero is My Monster and I’m glad to host it on my blog!

Tour Schedule

August 13th: Starter Day Party
@ I Heart Reading

August 16th: Book Excerpt
@ Serenity’s Lovely Reads

August 17th: Review
@ Night Owl Reads

August 18th: Review
@ I Heart Reading

August 19th: Author Interview
@ Majanka’s Blog

August 20th: Review and Excerpt
@ Nick’s Book Blog

About My Hero is My Monster

15753760Title: My Hero is my Monster
Author: June Spears
Genre: Short Story

A young girl’s childhood is stolen when her Hero becomes the monster in her bed every night.

Purchase from: Amazon (Paperback) | Amazon (Kindle)

About The Author

Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, June E Spears had spent her early years writing mostly poems and school songs. However, she could not escape the allure of storytelling and quickly began studying to become a novelist. She began by reading every chance she had. Mostly Fantasy and Romance novels, June’s love of writing was uncontrollable. Once she began typing, she never stopped.

June is best known for her Fantasy Novelette Series “The Blood Moon Chronicles”. She is a single mother to her only daughter Isabella Rose.

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