#BookReview The Year After by Ashley Wagner

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The Year After by Ashley Warner was a tale about one woman’s experience with rape.

That seems like such a horrible way to word that sentence, but this story is a year’s worth of journals about what happened after the rape (and a few extra stories from years later). There is literally journals from every single day after, all 365, and it shows how one woman has dealt with that horrible situation. Her job, her friends, her apartment, the lawsuits, her family – it is all discussed and shown to be aspects of her life that were affected (because contrary to popular belief – this affects your ENTIRE life).

This story is just one of many about these types of situations. In our world today, it’s hard to believe people can’t understand how damaging this can feel and how this is a real life situation that can happen to anyone. Having just one story show many sides of the rape has made me feel a little better about humanity. While rape is still happening, and that’s not good (in short terms), this book does shed light on real life situations. More books like this should be read to shown this can happen to anyone and it’s not a piece of pie to deal with.

This story took guts, and to me its inspirational. Everyone has their dark secrets and past that they don’t need to tell, but Ashley shared it with readers. There’s nothing that can fix the hurt she faced, but if this book can bring one more reader out to understand why this shouldn’t happen and potentially stop someone it’ll have done it’s job.

This book can bring a discussion up. I almost wish this book would have been made at the time I was in grade 12 gym class. Rape was a short discussion being told “it happens” and that was all. We knew what it was, was told as girls it’ll happen to somebody and that we’ll deal with it. No, that’s not right. This book should be given to classes to understand – this is a discussion, not a “oh well” sort of situation.

While there were parts of this book I didn’t like – the super short chapters with three sentences on a page – that hardly takes away from the story. This journey is super important and I highly suggest everyone read this book or a book similar to it to understand the pain, the survival, and the changes that a situation like this can have on someone.

Thank you for this tale Ashley, what a fantastic book.

Four out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Check out Ashley on her website: Ashley Warner

Or on her Goodreads page!! Ashley Warner on Goodreads

She can also be found on Twitter: @ashleywarnernyc

 

 

Check me out on Goodreads where I post up to date reviews as soon as they happen! Be the first in the know!! Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

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#BookReview Restless Ambition by Cathy Curtis

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Restless Ambition: Grace Hartigan, Painter

This novel took me a VERY long time to finish – partially because it’s long, and partially because it didn’t draw me in. I love a good biography, but this book didn’t do it for me as much as I would have thought it would. That being said, it was well written and it’s a great read for those who like non-fiction.

Following a painter in the 1950s is the main path of this book. Grace’s life definitely deserved a book – the ups and down this woman goes through it more interesting than most soap operas. Her marriages and her motherhood are two of the more interesting parts of this novel, alongside knowing she was a female painter in the 1950s (which seems like it would be harder than today – there was no social media to show off your skill back then. You had to work hard to get noticed!).

This book is informational and seems like it was highly researched. I appreciate a biography that sounds more than someone who watched a couple YouTube videos and figured they could write a story about the person. It seems like the type of novel I would have loved in my art classes in high school – it’s researched and has incredible information I could have used for an essay or two. And considering I didn’t know anything about this author (or knew she existed) before reading this novel I was thoroughly impressed.

Overall, this was a great book. I definitely suggest it to those who enjoy non-fiction books and biographies.

Three out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Check out Cathy Curtis on Goodreads! Cathy Curtis on Goodreads

Or check out her website: CathyCurtis.net

Check me out on Goodreads where I post up to date reviews as soon as they happen! Be the first in the know!! Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

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#BookReview – Dancing with Fireflies by Clemens Carl Schoenebeck

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Dancing with Fireflies by Clemens Carl Schoenebeck

This memoir is a beautiful retelling of the author’s life – specifically how it was to live with a mother with schizophrenia.

Mental Illness is a big part of today’s society – mainly because people have finally accepted that mental health is a big issue, bigger than people ever realized. Reading a book that is a biography about mental illness and how it was in the past was truly a beautiful experience for me. This book was beautifully written and unlike some biographies seemed brutally honest. It didn’t sugarcoat this man’s life – it was an honest retelling, and I truly respect that.

The descriptions of Clemens’s family as well as his Mother’s illness and hallucinations was incredible. It spread some light on a mental illness that I have no relation to – I never understood it (apart from a man with schizophrenia coming into my Grade 11 Health class to explain what it was), and this book really helped me better grasp what it actually is (not what soap operas tend to tell us).

There is many layers to novel – of course there are sad times, but there is also joy and humor at different parts. This man is not asking for sympathy or trying to make you cry, he’s opening your horizons to a new experience and life experiences many might not have seen or understood before. It’s also written so anyone can pick this book up. You don’t need to have a doctorate, you don’t need to only read YA – it’s made for anyone and everyone (adult/YA age groups of course, not for children but it’s definitely a PG story).

I also appreciated the pictures that went along with this story. It helped you connect deeper with Clemens and his story – there’s pictures of people with faces and emotions. It’s truly beautiful.

Overall, this is a motivational and inspirational book for me. It shows someone else’s life and gives you a sense of empathy – you can understand how having a mother with schizophrenia would be hard, but that was still Clemens’s Mother. She was a real woman in this real world.

Five out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

#BookReview The Braid Book by Sarah Hiscox & Willa Burton

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The Braid Book by Sarah Hiscox

As someone who has a background in Hairstyling, I have to say this book is an AWESOME idea. Just reading about a braid bar made my day – because there are days I want my hair done up but I don’t want to do it (and my stylist is always mega busy so booking with her the day of is almost IMPOSSIBLE). So, to say that I was excited to finally pick this book up is an understatement!

This book is a fantastic visualization for those who want to learn to do braids. At the beginning, it even includes what supplies you will need (like crocodile clips, hair bands, etc). This do it yourself book is perfect for those who want to learn how to do hair, but don’t necessarily want to watch YouTube glamour videos all day. This book even includes some outside references if you are looking for, say coloured hair strips or flowers!! Epic!

Care for your hair is also included in this book, which is a nice touch! I find a lot of videos about how to do your hair don’t include the before and after care actually needed (which is stressed in hair school, by the way!!! If you don’t take care of your hair, how do you expect it to stay rocking all day?!).

I really enjoyed the pictures in this book – I find it horribly hard to do my own hair!! I can do other peoples hair easy peasey, but my own? Nope. Not being able to see my own hair makes it difficult, so seeing the back of the head of what I should be feeling/doing made it easier to wrap my mind around it! (Haha…wrap….braid…yeah. Cheesey jokes, I know).

Different braids are explained and shown, so you don’t have to worry about being limited to only a few. This book gives you the works!

If anything, I found some of the pictures a little to dark to be able to actually see the hair/style that was going on. I would have liked to see the same style on a few different models with different hair colours (blonde, red, brown?) so you can see the style a lot better.

Overall, this book was a fantastic idea and it really should be a lot bigger/popular than it is!!

Five out of five stars.

Murderous May Book Review: From Birth to Death: Mommies Who Murder by Mindy M. Shelton

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Photo via Goodreads.

Book Review:
Book Title: From Birth to Death: Mommies Who Murder
Book Author: Mindy M. Shelton

Introduction: I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads for an honest review. I wanted to read some more non-fiction, and this book fit the bill!

Synopsis: This book is non-fiction, and it primarily focuses on mothers who murdered their children. It’s a good book for those looking into researching in this specific field since it gives an general insight into each situation (about 1-3 pages worth) and it gives any and all citations used (websites, books, interviews, etc).

Review: I thought this book was a great introduction to mothers who are murderers. I was under the impression it was a fictional read, but when I saw it was non-fiction I was a lot more interested. It was definitely a quick read (I read it in under 30 minutes), and it was hard to put down. It was also very hard to get a grasp on why these women did what they did.

The small book does not go into the psychological context, it’s mainly just an area that gives you a brief description of what happened and the consequences. If anything, this would be a good book for research. I definitely wouldn’t want to pick this book up again and read it for fun, but anyone who needs something to cite in their professional works could look at this book!

Overall, I did enjoy this book. It looks professional, the research holds up, and it’s very easy to read.

Three out of five stars.

Book Review: From Wedding to Funeral: Spouses who Murder by Mindy M. Shelton

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Photo via Goodreads.

Book Review
Book Title: From Wedding to Funeral: Spouses who Murder
Book Author: Mindy M. Shelton

Introduction: I received the entire series from Mindy M. Shelton as a trade for some honest reviews. Thank you for this opportunity!

Review:

This series of books is non-fiction. The books describe true crime murders that have been initiated by spouses. Like the previous encyclopedias, each chapter starts with a form about the Murderers and what they have done. The forms give information such as the date of the murder, the murder weapon, the sentence and any other information needed to give a basic insight into their situations. Following that, Mindy gives a thorough description derived from many trusted sources of every murder and the follow-up. Each investigation is explained in an unbiased tone, which makes this an excellent book to use for research or for citations.

Compared to the previous books in this series, I felt like this textbook in the series had a lot more description an writing in regard to the murders. This added ‘umph’ of explanations gives a better insight into what actually happened to these murders.

Overall, I really enjoyed this series as a whole. There weren’t any hiccups or negative aspects that I could find. I do hope Mindy continues researching and creating more non-fiction textbooks (whether it’s about murders, crime or any other subject) as I would love to continue reading them!

As always, I should include a disclaimer for individuals wanting to read  this book: This is NON-FICTION and is written as if it is a TEXTBOOK. This is not a fictional story or tale. Going into this book expecting a crime novel format will leave you disappointed because that is not how this book was written. If you are looking for a set of facts, or an encyclopedia to assist in research than this book is for you!!

Five out of five stars – what a wonderful “end” (for now? Maybe?) to this great set of textbooks!

Quick Book Review: The Most Important Thing: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor by Howard Marks

Let’s do a Throwback Book Review from a few years ago! #ThrowbackThursday

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Photo via Goodreads.

I never read books that are non-fiction and explain things to you (unless it is for school), but I found this book charmed me in a way that is hard to express.

This book explains to you thoughtful ways to invest, and how not to make mistakes when investing. While I found most of them to be quite obvious, when you put them all together it makes a lot of sense. It is very useful to use when you need help with money, and has made me think over my investments and where I spend my money during my schooling years.

A friend of mine who is studying Business also gave me lots of insight by telling me how true this book is, and coming from Columbia Business School (the “best” school for business, her words) that this book will be a good reference for future investments.

Overall, it was very helpful and thoughtful! Although it will not get me hooked on reading books related to business and how to make money or spend your money, I did enjoy the information I gained from it!

Four stars out of five.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.