August was an interesting month of reading. The first half I made it through quite a few books (both ebooks and audiobooks) and then the last half it really slowed down for me. I am struggling like many with the state of our country, and I have spent more time scrolling and listening to the news than I would care to admit. I certainly know it is important to be updated on what is going on in the world, but there is definitely is an amount that is good without going overboard…and I had a hard time finding a balance with this lately.
After a slower last few weeks, there are finally some amazing kindle book deals today! I only like to share ones that I have personally enjoyed or that I am highly anticipating reading myself…which means it has been a little while since I have shared one of these posts.
So if you are looking for some amazing kindle reads, there really is something for everyone today – and even better, they are all $3.99 and under! We have had fall-like weather this past week in Vermont which has made me nostalgic for cozy weekend reading on our couch, and stocking up on kindle books is a great way to prepare for this season…
I have been waiting for this day for months and it is finally here! Tuesdays are new book release days and this particular Tuesday has such a great and eclectic mix of titles that there really is something for every reader. <3
The riveting, powerful memoir of the woman whose statement to Brock Turner gave voice to millions of survivors.
She was known to the world as Emily Doe when she stunned millions with a letter. Brock Turner had been sentenced to just six months in county jail after he was found sexually assaulting her on Stanford’s campus. Her victim impact statement was posted on BuzzFeed, where it instantly went viral–viewed by eleven million people within four days, it was translated globally and read on the floor of Congress; it inspired changes in California law and the recall of the judge in the case. Thousands wrote to say that she had given them the courage to share their own experiences of assault for the first time.
Now she reclaims her identity to tell her story of trauma, transcendence, and the power of words. It was the perfect case, in many ways–there were eyewitnesses, Turner ran away, physical evidence was immediately secured. But her struggles with isolation and shame during the aftermath and the trial reveal the oppression victims face in even the best-case scenarios. Her story illuminates a culture biased to protect perpetrators, indicts a criminal justice system designed to fail the most vulnerable, and, ultimately, shines with the courage required to move through suffering and live a full and beautiful life.
Know My Name will forever transform the way we think about sexual assault, challenging our beliefs about what is acceptable and speaking truth to the tumultuous reality of healing. It also introduces readers to an extraordinary writer, one whose words have already changed our world. Entwining pain, resilience, and humor, this memoir will stand as a modern classic.
September 24th, 2019
While I knew she was a great writer from reading her victim impact statement (you can read it on Buzzfeed HERE) when she was known for so many years as “Emily Doe”, I was blown away by Know My Name by Chanel Miller. Her voice is strong and her writing is filled with details, reflection, humility, and even hope. I listened to this one on Audible but I also purchased a hardcopy because I knew it was one that I needed to have in my own collection.
I loved how poignantly Chanel Miller shared what it is like to deal with very private grief while at the same time needing and move forward with daily life…I loved learning about her amazingly supportive family unit and her ability to see the good in people, like the men who stepped in to help the night of her attack. While she only speaks for herself, she really is speaking for a generation and I can’t recommend this one enough.
“We don’t fight for our own happy endings. We fight to say you can’t. We fight for accountability. We fight to establish a precedent. We fight because we pray we’ll be the last ones to feel this kind of pain.”
Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, it helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!
“From the time she was a teenager, Beth knew she wanted to fly, and a solo trip across the country to visit family confirmed her aspirations of becoming a pilot. But her dreams were almost grounded before they could take off when she received the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis at the age of 22.
Beth vowed that this new challenge would not put restrictions on her life and embarked on a journey to become an airline pilot. Starting at the small local airport, the aviation world swallowed her whole, and the next five years of her life were as turbulent as an airplane in a thunderstorm, never knowing when, how or if she would emerge.
An agonizing love affair with her flight instructor, dangerous risks in the sky and flying broken airplanes for shady companies all intertwined to define her road to the airlines, eventually being hired by Trans World Airlines in 1989.
Flying Alone outlines the struggles and the challenges of civil aviation that Beth faced 30 years ago.
Ultimately a story of survival and overcoming overwhelming odds, Flying Alone is told with soul-baring candor, taking readers on a suspenseful journey through terror, romance and victory.”
I have always been a huge fan of memoirs. I think there is such a power and connection with sharing our stories and so I was delighted to receive an advanced copy of Beth Ruggiero York’s Flying Alone. In Flying Alone, York brings us through the highs and lows of her early professional life in her journey to become an airline pilot in a male-dominated industry.
About the Author:
Beth Ruggiero York is a former airline pilot for Trans World Airlines. She entered the world of civil aviation in 1984 shortly after graduating from college and, for the next five years, climbed the ladder to her ultimate goal of flying for a major airline. Beth now has dual careers–Chinese translation and professional photography. She teaches photography workshops for Arizona Highways PhotoScapes and her own company, Ruggiero Images LLC. She and her husband live in Fountain Hills, AZ.
While this book is focused a lot on her goals in aviation, it is so much more than that. We follow York as she faces many obstacles within and outside the commercial airline world. I loved seeing York’s personal growth as she faced many obstacles both personally and professionally.
Her voice is relatable and I loved that while she was faced with many roadblocks in her quest, she pushed on and her resilience shined through. This is an honest account of the trials and tribulations she has faced and I so appreciated that she was raw and real about the real challenges she faced wtih her medical challenges and sometimes turbulent personal life.
In addition, Flying Alone was a fascinating look at the commercial aircraft industry and how much it has changed over the last few decades. This was an informative read for me as I am not someone who knows a lot about this the aviation world. I found York’s tenacity and ability to share the ups and downs of her life inspiring and if you like reading memoirs I think you would enjoy reading Flying Alone too.
Thank you to FSB Associates for an advanced copy of Flying Alone.
September always seems like the longest month to me…well along with January! It is filled with lots of great things but it always seems to last forever. The good thing about it seeming to last so long is that I read a lot of great books!
September Reading Highs & Lows:
September was filled with a lot of amazing reading and a couple of books that were a bit of a disappointment…. My very favorite books of the past month were The Things We Cannot Sayby Kelly Rimmer and The Dearly Belovedby Cara Wall. They were not on my reading radar beforehand and completely blew me away! I also loved Fair Play by Eva Rodsky and Wild Game by Adrienne Brodeur is now one of my favorite memoirs ever!
I really was looking forward to The Other’s Gold and The Nickel Boys and both of those were rather disappointing for me. I will include links to my book reviews of all of these in my recap below.
You can read my full review of Before and After HERE.
*The links above are Amazon affiliate referral links. When you click on one of these links and make a purchase, I receive a small percentage that helps support this blog at no cost to you. You can read more about this on my FAQs page HERE. Thank you!
The compelling, poignant true stories of victims of a notorious adoption scandal—some of whom learned the truth from Lisa Wingate’s bestselling novel Before We Were Yours and were reunited with birth family members as a result of its wide reach
From the 1920s to 1950, Georgia Tann ran a black-market baby business at the Tennessee Children’s Home Society in Memphis. She offered up more than 5,000 orphans tailored to the wish lists of eager parents—hiding the fact that many weren’t orphans at all, but stolen sons and daughters of poor families, desperate single mothers, and women told in maternity wards that their babies had died.
The publication of Lisa Wingate’s novel Before We Were Yours brought new awareness of Tann’s lucrative career in child trafficking. Adoptees who knew little about their pasts gained insight into the startling facts behind their family histories. Encouraged by their contact with Wingate and award-winning journalist Judy Christie, who documented the stories of fifteen adoptees in this book, many determined Tann survivors set out to trace their roots and find their birth families.
Before and After includes moving and sometimes shocking accounts of the ways in which adoptees were separated from their first families. Often raised as only children, many have joyfully reunited with siblings in the final decades of their lives. Christie and Wingate tell of first meetings that are all the sweeter and more intense for time missed and of families from very different social backgrounds reaching out to embrace better-late-than-never brothers, sisters, and cousins. In a poignant culmination of art meeting life, many of the long-silent victims of the tragically corrupt system return to Memphis with the authors to reclaim their stories at a Tennessee Children’s Home Society reunion . . . with extraordinary results.
October 22nd, 2019
Non-fiction, U.S. History & Adoption
Two years ago I read Before We Were Yoursand it remains one of the most impactful books based on true events that I have ever read. While the characters were fictional, Georgia Tann and the Tennessee Adoption Scandal were not.
Books like Before We Were Yours are powerful because they bring to light heartbreaking parts of history that many people were unaware of before. In addition, this book took on an even bigger role for a group of people who came forward as children were connected to these actual events.
Before and After shares the non-fiction real-life accounts of 12 victims and their personal stories including photos and artifacts from the Tennessee Children’s Home Society Orphanage. Authors Judy Christie & Lis Wingate took on the powerful role of connected these victims to each other and to siblings some of them never knew they had.
While what Georgia Tann did was just horrific, I did appreciate that some of the stories shared moments of light in a time of such darkness. The story of baby Lillian who’s adoptive parents chose her over a healthy baby boy when they found her sickly and covered in a rash in a corner of a room on their way to pick up their baby was especially impactful. Her adoptive parents ended up elbowing past Tann and choosing Lillian, which ultimately saved her life. Tann would leave the sickly children to die since they were what she assumed “worthless” and it is estimated that over 500 children lost their lives while in the care of Tann.
This book felt very satisfying as Before We Were Yours opened the door to such a tragic part of fairly recent U.S. History. I love the idea that this group of survivors was able to come together and now have each other to process with and support one another. While the stories in Before and After are heartbreaking it was also filled with lots of hope and I highly recommend it but definitely read Before We Were Yours first!
Thank you to Ballantine Books for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
On a hot July night on Cape Cod when Adrienne was fourteen, her mother, Malabar, woke her at midnight with five simple words that would set the course of both of their lives for years to come: Ben Souther just kissed me.
Adrienne instantly became her mother’s confidante and helpmate, blossoming in the sudden light of her attention, and from then on, Malabar came to rely on her daughter to help orchestrate what would become an epic affair with her husband’s closest friend. The affair would have calamitous consequences for everyone involved, impacting Adrienne’s life in profound ways, driving her into a precarious marriage of her own, and then into a deep depression. Only years later will she find the strength to embrace her life—and her mother—on her own terms.
Wild Game is a brilliant, timeless memoir about how the people close to us can break our hearts simply because they have access to them, and the lies we tell in order to justify the choices we make. It’s a remarkable story of resilience, a reminder that we need not be the parents our parents were to us.
Wild Game by Adrienne Brodeur is a memoir that details the complicated and dysfunctional relationship Brodeur experienced with her mother, Malabar. This cycle spans several decades and although there is the storyline of how Brodeur became entangled in her mother’s affair, it wasn’t the most powerful part of this book for me.
What really spoke to me was how much this story shared the challenges of cycles repeating themselves in families. These complexities can continue to pass on generation after generation and Brodeur truly shows how hard dysfunction can be to break. The writing detailing how she confronted her past is raw and full of emotions and whether you can relate to this story or not, this is not a book to be missed.
Brodeur shares vividly, the complexities of their mother/daughter relationship, and how it has affected her from her childhood to now during middle-age. Whether it is in romantic relationships or the relationships she has with her own children, it heavily impacts her to this day.
Brodeur reflects so honestly about how challenging it was as she began to distance herself from Malabar as an adult. While she knew her relationship wasn’t “normal” or healthy, it was hard not to fall back into the paths which had been ingrained in her family for so long.
While this book wasn’t easy to read at times, I appreciated that it wasn’t black or white and Brodeur is able to look at this deeply conflicted relationship with humanity and empathy. I stopped and reread sections of the book because the reflections on the journey of finding herself while batting the undercurrent of her family dynamics were so insightful.
I also appreciated that she recounted the impact the other people in her life had had on her and her ability to move forward. Brodeur’s ability to share such introspection and poignant details amidst the difficulties she endured made this book what it was and it won’t be one I will ever forget.
Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for an advanced copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
Who else can believe that it is already almost September?! August is always a funny month because part of it is full-on summer and then the end is getting back into our regular routine of school. I read a lot of great books this past month, my favorite being The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo. I also did some vacation reading and really enjoyed The Forever Summer and The Islanders.
You can read my full review HERE. Dominicana was my August Book of The Month selection(*referral link) that is being released next week. It is a coming of age book that reminded me a lot of A Woman is No Man and the writing is just beautiful!
You can read my full review HERE. I am a huge fan of memoirs and this one was one of those books that I wasn’t quite sure about while reading a lot of it, but then ended up being a very powerful read that I kept thinking about once I was finished.