Book Review: Where the Lost Wander by Amy Harmon

Follow Naomi and her family on their journey west via covered wagon and the Oregon trail. A theme that maintains constant throughout this book is: Open your eyes. Naomi falls in love and finds herself a widow at only 20 years old. Will she find love again? Will she make it out west in spite of the perils and dangers of the trail? The prologue of this book will leave you thirsty for more and most readers either love or hate it. This historical fiction was gleaned from real journals and research by Harmon and is a heartwarming yet insightful read.

Book Review: Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern

Minus the cursing and a few awkward sexual references, this was an outstanding and quick read that will have the most conservative of us struggling to keep our laughter inside. The ridiculous side of me wanted to remember and capture all of the hilarious responses of Halpern’s father, recognizing that the generation and their peculiar outlook is a fading gem in time. Comparable only to Hillbilly Elegy, this is a surefire way to lift your spirits and enjoy a quite Sunday afternoon.

Book Review: How Fires End by Marco Rafala

Thankful this book was a gift as it is not a book I would dream of choosing for myself. Taking place in Italy, this book is an illustrative example of how feuds can be passed down through generations, across continents, and almost always cause needless pain and suffering. This book also provided an objective look at the way religious beliefs, beliefs in a Saint specifically, can lead to extreme behavioral dissonance. I am thankful that I read this book because the characters stick with me still and the insightful revelation of social psychological patterns are exquisite in this book.

Book Review: Attachment Theory by Thais Gibson

In spite of all the focus on love languages, I highly recommend this book as a more relevant guide or at least dual companion in regards to relationships. Understanding the ways in which those around us attach, the pain that may linger from past pain in attachment, and the best way to accomodate in relationships is a critical component. Gibson does a wonderful job of explaining in a very straightforward way how different attachment styles act, react, and interact. Complete with a self-test and clues to understand a partner, friend or loved one’s style allows for a well-guided tool applicable to now. Beyond understanding the attachment styles of others, learning our own needs brings awareness and resolution to many of the conflicting scenarios we find ourselves in.

Book Review: Burnout to Breakthrough

This book seemed to come a bit too late for my own life, but one that is insightful and powerful. The self-reflection and encouragement in this book is empowering for even the most burnt out caretaker or career person. Laden with enjoyable and memorable quotes and jingles, McDargh allows us to slow down and appreciate that there is more to life than whatever it is keeping us busy. Taking action backed by science, McDargh recommends a clear redistribution of energy to the places we need it – steering clear of the term balance. Overall, I felt this book lacked a clear formula for breakthrough. It seemed to be without a clear strategy and focused each reader on reflection instead. Emphasizing coming up with a personal plan that works for each individual, this book is not a quick fix for those already in a hypervigilant state of crisis due to burnout.

It is finally here, Crutchprints in the Sand’s Chest of Timeless Treasures!

It is finally here, Crutchprints in the Sand’s Chest of Timeless Treasures! A wonderful paperback book with articles, full color photos, and more is available for purchase on Amazon. Click here to buy yours today!

This collection of timeless treasures encapsulates the love, laughter, faith, and hardships of life as a disabled woman. An amputee since the age of four, Ashly tells story after story of her adventures and adaptations to life through individual articles. Inspiring, hilarious, and stirring, this treasure chest will enrich the life of the reader in unexpected ways. Her gift for storytelling and relaying messages of hope and heart are reflected in each chapter.Ashly survived osteosarcoma cancer at the age of four and remains a high-level amputee of her right leg. Over the years, Ashly learned the way humor armed herself to accomplish the impossible tasks of life, while disarming those around her that are uncomfortable with a disability. Using that humor and faith as a bridge of connectivity, Ashly inspires everyone she meets with her positivism, humor, and kindness. This treasure chest is broken into four sections: Articles from Ashly’s unique journey, Humorous stories, Poetry, and Relational articles highlighting connectivity. Each section includes stories unique to the perspective of living with limitations. while managing to ‘dream despite disability’ as her website states. Ashly P. Ash lives in rural Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. A cancer survivor and an amputee, Ashly is the face behind Crutchprints in the Sand, a blog for humor and inspirational posts. Ashly works to bring awareness and advocacy to and for the differently abled through social platforms, speaking engagements, and writing.

*Due to the high cost of publishing, there is also a Kindle version available free to those that are a part of the Kindle Unlimited plan, and a lower cost e-book offered as well. Regardless of how you do it, take the time to enjoy this collection.

Book Review: The Herd by Andrea Bartz

When one of their best friends goes missing her friends are left picking up the pieces of her business and life, while trying to understand where their powerful and beautiful friend has gone. This mystery keeps the audience guessing the whole way through, and an ending that brings surprise if not complete shock. There is something in this for every woman: friendships, love, female leads, murder, and sisterhood. This was part of the April 2020 Once Upon a Book Club box containing corresponding gifts with the characters and theme in the book. Most ends were tied, readers are pleasantly satisfied, and this novel was a safe bet for the author. If you like chick flicks, mysteries, and girlfriends this is the book for you!

Book Review: Stories We Never Told by Sonja Yoerg

Yoerg does an outstanding job of revealing the blind spots we all have in this work of reflective suspense. Jackie, a doctor of psychology walks through a data breach on her career study. Newly married, she also is forced to reconcile her relationship with her ex boyfriend to her new spouse and we are left wondering if many of the problems are Jackie herself. A suspenseful look at betrayal, obsession, unexpected events, and the inner workings of the mind, this is sure to keep readers engaged.

Book Review: The Last Piece by Imogen Clark

“They had no idea how strong she could be.” Imogen Clark

This is the quote pulled and chosen to accompany the Once Upon a Book Club July 2020 box. Read within twenty-four hours, this book still feels unfinished in spite of the conclusion. Following Cecily as she revisits and explores the secrets of her past, we learn her internal thoughts and conflicts as we connect to the cold reality of social pressures and standards in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Did Cecily make the right choices all those years ago? Is she making the right choices now? A light read and empathetic look into the life of another, this book is sure to grow insight but not guaranteed to satisfy.

Book Review: No One’s Home by D.M. Pulley

This was a wonderful thriller touching on elements of paranormal without abandoning you in the world of fantasy. Pulley manages to capture your attention from beginning to end following the lives of four families through the history of one home and allowing us to piece together an explanation for some present activities. Following all four families did create an element of confusion and I felt some of the character development escalated a bit too quickly. I read this in the fall and found that this is a book to cozy up with and enjoy! The feature of Once Upon A Book Club’s October 2019 box, the gifts eerily matched the themes and characters in a way that permanently brought this book into my life.