A Few of My Favorites

The Diary of a Young Girl
Into the Wild
The Daughter's Walk
Finding Grace: A True Story About Losing Your Way In Life...And Finding It Again
Ghost on Black Mountain
The Kitchen House
These Things Hidden
The List
Girl, Interrupted
The Glass Castle
The Giver
Sarah's Key
The Promises She Keeps
The Keepsake
BoneMan's Daughters
Half Broke Horses

~*Trema Renae*~'s favorite books »
*Posts may contain affiliate links

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Book List: Memoirs and Biographies of Child Abuse

Sometimes, reality is scarier than fiction.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone had a magical, care-free childhood?
Memories filled with loving families, summer vacations, and holiday traditions.
Unfortunately, that isn't the case for far too many.
This article here quotes: "Approximately 3 million cases of child abuse and neglect involving 5.5 million children are reported each year."
That is absolutely tragic! Can you imagine how many go unreported???
Fortunately, there are so so many survivors that have come forward. To raise awareness, to tell their stories, and to help those in situations who are too scared to speak up.
I always find these stories so heartbreaking, yet the victims courage is empowering. Even if you aren't a victim yourself. It gives us some glimpse of hope that we can do better, as a society. As humans!

I have read several books
focusing on many forms of abuse. To me the most heart wrenching are always the ones about children. They are usually born into these situations with no defenses and most times, they aren't aware that what is happening is wrong, or bad. It is the only thing they know until they are shown or learn different.
This list is only the beginning of so many books in a horrific genre of...
Memoirs and Biographies of Child Abuse

* This post contains affiliate links. If you follow a link and make a purchase I will receive commission at no extra charge to you.
1. Sickened- Julie Gregory (several)
2. A Child Called "IT"- Dave Pelzer (and his series) (several)
3. The Glass Castle- Jeannette Walls (several)
4. Pieces of My Mother- Melissa Cistaro (3 copies)
5. Mommy Dearest- Christina Crawford (out of stock)
6. Broken- Shy Keenan (1 copy)
7. Hope's Boy: A Memoir- Andrew Bridge (several)
8. House Rules- Rachel Santag (2 copies)
9. Running With Scissors- Augusten Burroughs (several)
10. Living With Evil- Cynthia Owen (1 copy)
11. Damaged: The Heartbreaking true story of a forgotten child-Cathy Glass (several)
12. Another Forgotten Child- Cathy Glass (several)
13. Street Kid-Judy Westwater (several)

I have listed beside each title the numbers of copies that are currently available at Thriftbooks at the time this post was published.
If you would like to follow the link below
Shop now for thousands of quality used biographies & memoirs books starting at under $4 I love this site and have used them for years.
They always have a huge variety in any genre I am looking for.
Several of my other posts show my loyalty to them...even before I became an affiliate.

I hope you enjoy this list and always check back for more lists, reviews, TBRs and much more!
Happy reading!

"Family is supposed to be our safe haven. Very often, it's the place we find the deepest heartbreak."
Iyanla Vanzant

Friday, August 10, 2018

Book Review: Wonderfully Dysfunctional

Wonderfully Dysfunctional,
it must be genetic
Buffi Neal

Quote: "To be dysfunctional, you have to not function as a family. We function great as a family." ~ Randi pg. 92
Started: June 22, 2018
Finished: June 30, 2018
paperback~ 198 pages

From the cover:
Buffi's mother refused to wear a bra and her father refused to leave his first wife. Her brother slept in a kitchen cabinet, her sister was kidnapped by her grandmother, and the rest of the family had an uncontrollable urge to laugh at funerals. Buffi always knew her family was unusual, but she was lucky enough to have escaped that gene. Or was she? In a nursing home, seated next to her dying grandmother, Buffi looked around at her family and realized she fit right in; no bra, dirty sneakers and a new ex husband. Maybe it really is genetic- maybe she never had a chance. Buffi began a journey to find normal, but found herself instead.

My Review:
This book had me hooked from page one!
I absolutely loved it from cover to cover.
Buffi Neal is unashamedly honest and quirky. That is my kind of girl!
She now embraces her odd, unusual...dysfunctional family.
Aren't we all somewhat dysfunctional?
I think that is what drew me in, and why I loved it so much. Through out her life she was fighting,...running from what was, in her own mind, "not normal".
Through ups, downs, ins, outs, and life...she realizes she is, has become, exactly what she thought was dysfunctional. What wasn't the norm. And is now accepting of that, and of herself.

The book is written in clips/chapters of memories and events of her life. It has everything most families have.
Buffi Neal shows us that no matter what strange things or people you share DNA with, we all have the same concept that our family is the odd one, the dysfunctional one, the strange one.
Guess what? That makes us all the same. Just filled with different people and places.
Does that make dysfunctional...normal? Who know?

We all have the eccentric aunt, the criminal uncle, the hermit grandpa, the hoarding friend, the crazy cousin, the weird sister, the forgetful grandma, the annoying brother, the dangerous nephew...
They are all among each of us, maybe, somewhere?
Buffi has opened up Pandora's box into her own family and now embraces who she is. Who she shares her genes with. Even if we don't agree with them or desire to be like them. They are a part of who we are. Genetics are no joke.

I liked that each chapter starts with a quote. There are several great ones!
"While people may never change, the way you see them often does."
"Which is stronger: the physical will to live or the mental will to die?"
"People have both good and bad in them; you can choose to see either."

This book, for me, was one where I had a lot of those moments where I kept catching myself laughing out loud or thinking, Oh, I know where she's coming from! I love a book where I can connect with the author or the story. this definitely was one of those books! It will stick with me...probably when I am thinking of something...odd about my own family.
I hope you've enjoyed my review and that you will give this book a read, if you haven't.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Audiobook Mini Reviews and other book business

Where are all my book reviews?
I know I haven't done one in a bit, but I promise there are more to come soon.
I definitely have been reading a ton and endlessly trying to get my To Be Read list shortened, rather than continuously growing!
It's a real challenge not to add 4 or 5 books every time I'm logged onto my GOODREADS account.
I've also been obsessed with Thriftbooks.com lately. They've changed up there rewards program and not only do you get free shipping; now you also earn points with each purchase towards a free book!
I know! I know, so cool!
I've also recently added The Libby App to my phone. This is the sister app for Overdrive(amazing also). It has 10,000+ books to choose from...for FREE!
I only use it for audio books, but they do have ebooks available. I'm so much of a paper, ink and bindings kind of girl but I recently realized how far behind I am on my challenge for the year, sooo I'm a sorta-cheater and using audiobooks to play catch up. That is one of the reasons that my reviews have been lacking. I just don't feel the same when it is an audio. I mean, I have gotten some good books, but they don't make me want to write like the actual books do.
Does that sound weird?
It is also hard to get my quotes, notes, etc that I normally add into my book reviews.
I don't want these books to get pushed completely aside or forgotten.  I am going to give this a try and see where and how it goes.
Here is my first...

Audiobook mini reviews:

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
An English nurse brought to a small Irish village to observe what appears to be a miracle-a girl said to have survived without food for months-soon finds herself fighting to save the child's life.

I started this book solely because I read ROOM years ago and fell in love with it!
The Wonder pretty much crushed my love for Donoghue.
Sadly it was not what I had expected. It was very drawn out and repetitive. I felt like the characters were annoying with all the half secrets and a lot of the tale was just not believable.
I wasn't impressed. Also the audio made it into a 12 1/2 hour long book.

Frog Music by Emma Donoghue
Summer of 1876: San Francisco is in the fierce grip of a record-breaking heat wave and a smallpox epidemic. Through the window of a railroad saloon, a young woman named Jenny Bonnet is shot dead. 

Ms. Donoghue can redeem herself quite well! I have to say I enjoyed this book much, much more. The narrator~.Khristine Hvam was perfect for this book. She had just the right twang and spunk to make the characters come to life. I would even say, if they made this into a mini movie; I would buy it!
Who doesn't love a good western struggle story?

Matched(Matched #1) and Crossed(Matched #2) by Ally Condie
Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe.
So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows he is her ideal mate... until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. 

Okay, now I don't know any of the actual legalities of plagiarism but if there ever was a case...these books scream it!
The Giver, The 100, Taken just to name a few.
I'm all for a great dystopian read but when you take three amazing ones and try to cram them into a new series,....you get Matched!
Nope, not for me.

Well, I hope this keeps you reading until I get more to write.
Always happy reading!
Do you prefer book, ebook, audio?
Please share which you like best and why!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Book Review: Augusta, Gone

Augusta, Gone
Martha Tod Dudman

Quote: "She's only fifteen. You have to remember that. She's just a kid."~ Martha(Mom) pg. 62

Started: June 7, 2018
Finished: June 14, 2018

paperback 256 pages

From the cover:

True, she had stopped coming down for breakfast. Stayed up in her room, ran out the door late for school, missed the bus and had to have a ride. But, you think, well, that's how they are, aren't they, teenagers? And you try to remember how you were, but you were different and the times were different and it was so long ago. And she's suddenly so angry at you, but then, another time, she's just the same. She's just your little girl. You sit with her and you talk about something, or you go shopping for school clothes and everything seems all right. And you forget how you stood in her room and how the center of your stomach felt so cold. When you found the cigarette. When you found the blue pipe. When you found the little bag she said was aspirin.

My Review:
*spoiler-ish* information
This book was a hard one for me to get through. Not because of Augusta, or even all her crazy rebellious acts or her cussing or her scary path she was taking.
The worst part for me was absolutely....MARTHA!
Seriously, this woman, this mother was the whack job, not her daughter.
I can't even say she was blindsided or naive. She knew!
She knew and saw and heard and STILL never really got it! or never cared to take any responsibility.
I won't go so far as to say she was 100% responsible for her own daughter's chosen path, but she sure as Hell saw it coming, witnessed enough to know, made up every excuse, and completely ignored every opportunity at early intervention.
There are several quotes and thoughts from Martha herself where she saw things, heard things, assumed and either never mentioned them to Augusta, or waited until it was too far gone for those first little things to even be relevant.
Several conversations:
"You can't come get me. I'm not coming home!"~ Augusta
"I'm not. Can I have the phone number?"~ Martha

WHAT??? She's your daughter! 
(Oh, ok honey. Mommy will just sit on my thumbs while you run around town all night... Call me!)
And, my quote I posted above.
She is 15! You are telling a girl who has just told to you that she is a 19/20 year old college dropout, that you know YOUR daughter is hanging around with in a "party house" that SHE, SHE needs to remember your daughter is just a kid!
Wow, Lady! Wow! #motheroftheyear

I haven't even gotten to the stuff that really ground my nerves about "mom"!
She has got to be the most selfish, me, me, me person I have read about.
All she keeps going on and on about is her damn hikes! Up the mountain, down the mountain!
Maybe she should have spent that time, oh, I don't know, focusing on BOTH her kids.
Yup, that's right. There is a son. Younger even then fifteen year old Augusta.
He's pretty much a non existent participant in the book(I had to go back and find his name in the book. I couldn't even remember him), which seems to be his role in real life.
He's probably 13 or 14 when the book starts and nope, mom not there. He's just cruising town, doing his own thing too. He's only mentioned briefly and makes his big appearance...when he gets in trouble and suspended from school.
Way to show her how to get attention Jack!

Martha also has this very arrogant or maybe snobbish attitude. She is constantly judging others by their appearance.
Augusta gets a bad spider bite while at camp and Martha actually makes several comments through out the book about her daughter's "ruined face."
When she meets Rose, Augusta's favorite teacher/adviser, Martha says "As I expected, really fat."
And later when they have a dance,
"I hope no one has to dance with her, she is enormous!"
There was another line, I can't find where she makes a remark about a boy's appearance. I can't quote it, but I got the impression, based on one glimpse of him and his attire, he wasn't the type for her daughter.
She just made me feel like everyone was less than her and she was so above anything going on around her.
This whole book was about her. Not her daughter or the struggles THEY went through.
It was about her divorce, her working, her time to hike, her hiding things from co workers, even her damn boyfriend that she was really just keeping around to have someone to call at 2 or 3am when she couldn't sleep. It was all about how everyone and everything was such an inconvenience to her life or the life that she wanted.
Boo you Martha! 
While, I did complete this book, I will not be recommending it to anyone, unless they want to read a book about a self centered mother and all her woes.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Book Review: Daughters of the Witching Hill

Daughters of the Witching Hill
By Mary Sharratt

Quote: "No, indeed. No one will let you. They'll come banging on your door at all hours, calling on you for this and that. Just be careful, love. It's a gift you've been given, but even gifts don't come for nothing. You might have to pay more than you bargained." ~Anne Whittle(Chattox) pg. 43

Started: May 17, 2018
Finished: May 24, 2018


From the Cover:

In Daughters of the Witching Hill, Mary Sharratt brings history to life in a vivid and wrenching novel of strong women, family, and betrayel inspired by the 1612 Pendle witch trials.
  Bess southerns, an impoverished widow, lives with her children in a crumbling old tower in Pendle Forest. Drawing on Catholic ritual, medicinal herbs, and guidance from her spirit-friend Tibb, Bess heals the sick and foretells the future in exchange for food and drink. As she ages, she instructs her best friend, Anne, and her granddaughter, Alizon, in her craft. Though Anne ultimately turns to dark magic, Alizon intends to use her craft for good. But when a peddler suffers a stroke after exchanging harsh words with Alizon, a local magistrate tricks her into accusing her family and neighbors of witchcraft. Suspicion and paranoia reach frenzied heights as friends and loved ones turn on one another and the novel draws to an inevitable conclusion.

My Review:

There is so much I want to say about this book!
This story is listed as a historical fiction but it is based off the actual lives, events and trials of  the Lancashire/Pendle Forest witches of 1612.

I honestly had not heard anything about the hunts or trials in England to this extent. 
While most of us, including myself, are very aware of the Salem witch trials, this was definitely an intriguing new find for myself.

Bess Southerns, known as Old Demdike was known to be a widowed cunning woman. A healer, who earned her living healing and blessing animals and people. After King James I took the throne, many people began to fear woman like Demdike.
They were not only becoming informed that these such people were "working for the devil" but it was also put into law that if any participated in "witchcraft" or knew of anyone doing so and did not come forward would also be punished.
Fear, belief, ignorance, being misinformed, and most likely poverty all started a  chaotic panic in the beginnings of a Witch Hunt.
Everyone became suspicious of each other. Friend, neighbor, even families.
It became a very real game of either being found guilty yourself, or give a name of someone else suspected of witchcraft to save yourself.

That is exactly what happens in Daughters of the Witching Hill.

 Bess teaches her long time friend, Anne(Chattox) her craft with the understanding and trust that Anne will not only keep this to herself but also, that she only intends to use it as protection and for good not evil or revenge.
That doesn't last long. For Anne has plans of her own that aren't exactly "Christian like".

Bess has also taught her granddaughter, Alizon. Bess's daughter had no interest in becoming a cunning woman and her husband(John Devise) is the poster picture for those paranoid and afraid of the craft.
John constantly thinks Chattox has cursed him, is cursing him, or is planning on cursing him.

This story is full of daily struggles, day to day lives. Families, friends, foes.
There is love, hurt, healing, poverty, suffering, perseverance, and prayer.
There are herbs, clay figures, and buried cat skulls too.
While this book is fiction, it is written in a  wonderful way to get you into the minds of how they lived, what they would have felt and done. I love that it shows how the times were and the way people reacted to what was going on around them.
I definitely would recommend this book to anyone interested in the Witch trials, history, or England.
Again, while it is a fiction it was extremely educational and informative.

Here are a few links I have gathered to pique your interest!


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