Posted in Blog, Mental Health, Reviews

Review: Sheila’s Men by Jenna Ashlyn

Sheila’s Men is about a woman, Sheila, who is trying to do the best she can for her daughter. However, through doing what Sheila thinks is expected of her she ends up marrying a man who turns out to be extremely abusive. The story is based on the author’s experience in hopes to shed light on abusive relationships and help others get out. sheil

The book is written from Sheila’s perspective and the author does a beautiful job narrating through Sheila’s inner dialogue. The inner dialogue gives us glimpses into the thought process of staying in an abusive relationship. Society condemns women for staying but it is not as simple as a choice of staying. The narration shows a side of life that, luckily, most of us don’t have to experience; the fear, pain and hopelessness of being with a spouse who consistently berates and abuses.

The author does a great job of bringing the reader into the story and becoming invested in Sheila. Rooting for her to escape. Cheering her on as her confidence grows.

In the first half of the book there are off scenes that are like dream sequences about ‘the gray’. A place that is scary and has hungry, evil individuals prowling for Sheila. I did not enjoy these off scenes because they took me out of the story. I had a hard time transitioning from the story to these parts then back again.

Overall, this is a well-written book that shows life outside of our often shielded worlds.

Get your copy here (affiliate link – thanks for supporting).


**if you are in an abusive situation please seek help, there are often shelters available to help you escape

Posted in Blog, Mental Health, Reviews

Review: Thriving After Sexual Abuse by Denise Bossarte

Sexual abuse is a hot topic; more and more people are coming forward with their stories to shed light on a complex Thriving After Sexual Abuse: Break Your Bondage to the Past and Live a Life You Love by [Denise Bossarte, Beverly Engel]issue. More often than not, the abuser is someone you know (in the case of Denise, it was her grandfather). This book shares some of Denise’s story about her sexual abuse, but more importantly, it shares ways to thrive afterward (perfect title for this book).

I love how the book focuses on the strategies that helped Denise overcome her abuse; each chapter focuses on a different part of the healing journey. She is able to articulate in great detail and emotion how and why each strategy is helpful. Even if you haven’t come forward about the abuse, this book is a helpful first step in the healing process. There is a list of resources at the end of the book, including other books, websites, and meditations.

This book can help many people struggling with past sexual abuse. It is one of the best self-help books that I have read. Get your copy here.

Posted in Blog, Mental Health, Reviews

Review: Conquering the Undertow by Suzanne Renee

It isn’t easy sharing your life with even one person, but sharing it with the world takes on a whole new meaning to the word courage. That is exactly what Suzanne does. She doesn’t sugarcoat the bad times, the dark thoughts, the overwhelm that was her life. It is a pure story of tragedy, darkness, and finally thriving. Conquering the Undertow: Learning to Breathe Again by [Suzanne Renee]

What I liked most was that Suzanne explained what was going through her mind. The reasoning why she continued working in a toxic environment, why she didn’t say more, why she continued on the way that she did. Most authors skim the surface of those moments because they aren’t ‘flashy’ or ‘exciting,’ but that is the whole point. Those are the moments that we each feel at some point in our lives and hopefully come out the other end stronger. We don’t want to dwell on those bad moments, but someone needs to speak up so that others know they aren’t alone. Thank you, Suzanne, for being that voice.

At the end of each chapter, she summarizes a ‘Transformational Tip’ that she learned throughout that portion of her life. These tips are great reminders. If you know someone struggling, even if you aren’t sure what they are struggling with, I suggest you gift them this book. You may not have the words, but at least they will know they aren’t alone and that you care.

Get your copy here.

Posted in Blog, Mental Health, Reviews

Review: You Are Not Alone by Doug Lawrence

This book is about how mentoring can play a role in your mental health journey. Mental health is a topic that I love to discuss and have written about. It is a topic that we need to be more open about and discuss with those that we trust can support us throughout our journey. Even during the good days! This book had an interesting take on mentoring by describing how to utilize it within the context of mental health and within the workplace. You Are Not Alone by [Doug Lawrence]

When I think of the word mentoring I think of someone who has been doing the job that I want for a long time and has had great success. From that success, they are able to assist me in learning how to succeed in that position. I had never given mentoring a thought when it came to mental health, however, Doug does a wonderful job of shedding light on how the two can go hand in hand.

What I liked about the book were the stories that were shared. The author shares bits of his story to show you that not only has he done the research but he has lived through it. There are a few other people that the author interviewed for the book who also share their stories. It is through stories that I think we can truly impact and make a difference for others.

You should have a basic knowledge of what a mentor is before reading this book. It is a tool to show you the benefits that can come from mentoring; it is not a ‘how-to’ guide.

Get your copy here.

Posted in Blog, Mental Health, Reviews

Review: Tremor in the Hills by Cristina Matta

The imagery transported me to Peru, with the vivid landscapes, and food/drinks native to Peru. The story follows Tamara a young girl who is terrified of being back in Peru visiting her family. The year before there was a horrible Earthquake where she almost died. Being back with her family in Peru brings back all of the traumatic events that she lived through and has been dealing with since she left. Throughout the story, you can see tremendous growth from Tamara as she faces dangers she could never think imaginable.

All the while she is trying to help her friend and figure out who the murderer really is. I had suspicions of who the murderer might be and as the story progressed there were hints to lead you in different directions. The author does an excellent job of making you want to continue reading. This is the perfect book for the young reader who enjoys a mystery.

Get your copy here.