Book Review: Breakthrough: The Miraculous True Story of a Mother’s Faith and Her Child’s Resurrection #BookReview #Christian #Breakthrough #TrueStories

Breakthrough: The Miraculous True Story of a Mother’s Faith and Her Child’s Resurrection

By Joyce Smith

(Previously published as The Impossible)

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My thoughts:

Talk about a page-turner! This true story is one that had me from beginning to end. My review will likely contain a few spoilers.

In 2015, on a cold winter day, Joyce Smith’s fourteen-year-old son was visiting with friends and was involved in an accident that resulted in death. After being rushed to the hospital with no response, the doctors were ready to give up. It had been nearly an hour and likely impossible that John’s body could live after such a catastrophic accident. The events that transpire afterward are nothing short of a miracle.

John was such a lucky boy with a strong support system, not just from family, but from his church and community as well. There’s a lot of positivity surrounding him, especially from his mother Joyce. I admired Joyce’s strength as she never seemed to lose faith (despite all the negativity), even when some people around her were breaking. Many would agree: It does appear that because of God’s miraculous abilities to heal, her son is alive and well today. Was it all the power of prayer? Did God really heal John? The doctors can’t explain it, and he wasn’t the only one to experience a miracle those few weeks in 2015.

This was actually recommended to me by my local librarian who also ordered the movie which releases on DVD this week. I was compelled to read the book because it seemed like it might involve a near death experience, which is a subject I enjoy studying. This was different from my expectations, but the story still had me captivated. I thought it was written really well too.

I found some parts in the story hard to read when it came to their struggles with some of the more difficult and controlling members of the medical community. After having some of these same problems when my daughter was in a teaching hospital, this book reminded me just how arduous those obstacles were. I also found myself asking the same questions others asked in the end: Why does God answer some prayers and not others? Was John just lucky? You’ll have to read it to see what you think.

This book is the media tie in edition which includes pictures from the movie, but also real pictures of Joyce and her family as well. There are many Bible verses throughout which I enjoyed studying. Even if you aren’t a Christian, the story is one to read, and it may open your eyes. I highly recommend it.

5*****

Continue reading “Book Review: Breakthrough: The Miraculous True Story of a Mother’s Faith and Her Child’s Resurrection #BookReview #Christian #Breakthrough #TrueStories”

Book Review: My Love Story by Tina Turner #BookReview #MyLoveStory #Memoir

My Love Story

By Tina Turner

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My thoughts on this book:

My Love Story by Tina Turner can be categorized as one of my favorite memoirs of 2019. I just finished it this week and I’m so happy I picked it up. I read it word for word from beginning to end and enjoyed every single minute of it.

Tina Turner has been a massive inspiration to me since I was a young child. I love everything about her, yet early on knew nothing about her past struggles. Thinking back to some of her earliest music videos on MTV, particularly one of my favorites, “What’s Love Got To Do With It”, I fell in love with her voice, her style, her positivity, her fierceness–pretty much everything. Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome became a favorite 80’s film; I thought her performance as Auntie Entity was fantastic. Her music and inspiration still remains a part of me today.

“And you know what I say to people who ask, “What do you do when all the odds are against you?” I say, “You keep going. You just don’t stop. No matter, if there’s one slap to the face, turn the other cheek. And the hurt you’re feeling? You can’t think about what’s being done to you now, or what has been done to you in the past. You just have to keep going.”

In this memoir, Tina Turner shares her recent history, beginning with her happy marriage to long-time boyfriend Erwin Bach in 2013. She also reflects on parts of her past: exposing times from her childhood in Nutbush, Tennessee as Anna May Bullock, the beginning of her career, her marriage to Ike Turner (including the abuse she endured), and how she finally got away and started creating her own music–on her own terms. She also writes about health problems she’s experienced (which I knew nothing about) and the friendships that she’s made over time. After watching the film What’s Love Got to Do with It when it first released, I was shocked with all that Tina had gone through. I appreciated that she shared her true thoughts regarding the movie in this book because I always wondered how accurate it was. Honestly, there’s so much more in this book! Some of her darkest times are revealed. Parts of it are incredibly sad, especially the ending which brought me to tears. After it all…how wonderful that Tina was able to find true love and then to experience her fairy tale wedding. It’s heartwarming.

I enjoyed the writing and organization of the book. Many pictures are shared in multiple sections (the vast majority I’d never seen). Once I started reading it, I simply didn’t want to put it down. This book is everything I wanted it to be.

5***** Continue reading “Book Review: My Love Story by Tina Turner #BookReview #MyLoveStory #Memoir”

Book Review: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls #Memoir #BookReview #TheGlassCastle

The Glass Castle

By Jeannette Walls

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From Goodreads:

A tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that, despite its profound flaws, gave the author the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.

Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn’t stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an “excitement addict.” Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever. Continue reading “Book Review: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls #Memoir #BookReview #TheGlassCastle”

Book Review: I Can Only Imagine: A Memoir by Bart Millard with Robert Noland #ICanOnlyImagine #MercyMe

I Can Only Imagine: A Memoir

by Bart Millard, with Robert Noland

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From Goodreads:

“The Story That Inspired the Major Motion Picture.”

The captivating story behind the bestselling single in the history of Christian music—and the man who wrote it.

MercyMe’s crossover hit, “I Can Only Imagine,” has touched millions of people around the world. But few know about the pain, redemption, and healing that inspired it. Now Bart Millard, award-winning recording artist and lead singer of MercyMe, shares how his dad’s transformation from abusive father to man of God sparked a divine moment in music history.

Continue reading “Book Review: I Can Only Imagine: A Memoir by Bart Millard with Robert Noland #ICanOnlyImagine #MercyMe”

Throwback Thursday: Broken Music by Sting

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme created by Renee @ It’s Book Talk. This meme is an awesome way to share old favorites that were published over a year ago or even books that you’re finally reading after much time has passed. I have plenty of those to share! If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board. Please link back to her by using the link above.

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Today’s throwback is:

Broken Music

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Continue reading “Throwback Thursday: Broken Music by Sting”

The Dead Inside by Cyndy Drew Etler – Straight, Inc.

I picked up The Dead Inside from Netgalley a few months ago and it took me some time to get to it. I’m glad to have read it and you can see my review below. To see the Q&A with Cyndy Etler, please click HERE.

The Dead Inside by Cyndy Drew Etler

My review

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This review may contain some spoilers…

The Dead Inside is a compelling memoir written by the author Cyndy Drew Etler. Cyndy was a troubled teen in the 80’s who had some experiences that aren’t all that uncommon. She was making wrong choices while trying to find her place in the world. She spends some of her time smoking weed and drinking alcohol with her friends, until she finally runs away from home because she just can’t take her family anymore, especially her step-dad, Jacque. There were things going on in that house that no child should ever have to succumb to. After making the decision to enter Foster Care, Cyndy finally has some peace. She’s able to still see her friends, have a safe environment and doesn’t have to deal with the turmoil from home. It’s not long after that, at the age of 14, her mother decides to throw her into a drug rehabilitation for throwaway kids who are deemed out of control. Cyndy is told that she is under evaluation for three days and she’s counting down the minutes to when she can leave and she’ll do whatever it takes, including lying. Straight, Inc. will now be Cyndy’s home for 16 months.

The story itself is unbelievable. I had a very hard time reading parts of the book that describe the physical and mental abuse these kids are exposed to in this program. They are basically in this building with a load of other drug users who have been sent there for the same reason and are used against each other. I can’t believe that it went on for so long and these kids had to endure it. They were locked down and not allowed to have any interaction with the outside world for a very long time. It’s violent and almost seems like torture at times. As I continued reading, I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen to Cyndy. Would she ever escape? Will her mother ever realize her and her husband are the majority of the problems here? Will Cyndy be able to endure this treatment without losing it and causing herself to be set back?

The book is written very well and it doesn’t sound like there are many details spared. I did wonder throughout the story just exactly how bad was Cyndy as a teen? It seemed like all of her problems were stemming from her treatment at home and the lack of love from her mother. I was very happy that there was an epilogue included in the back which explains these programs and how they were eventually shut down, but at the same time shocked at how, in a way, they worked. The kids were basically brainwashed.

This is not an easy read or for the faint of heart. It’s extremely revealing, raw and horrifying at times and I wanted to get up and do something about it. I wanted to help Cyndy. It’s no surprise that she ended up in the career she has chosen and I commend her for her bravery in taking a very negative human experience and turning it into a lifetime career in helping others.

Thanks to Netgalley and the author for sharing this book with me in exchange for an honest review.

4-stars


Blurb

For readers of Girl Interrupted and Tweak, Cyndy Etler’s gripping memoir gives readers a glimpse into the harrowing reality of her sixteen months in the notorious “tough love” program the ACLU called “a concentration camp for throwaway kids.”

I never was a badass. Or a slut, a junkie, a stoner, like they told me I was. I was just a kid looking for something good, something that felt like love. I was a wannabe in a Levi’s jean jacket. Anybody could see that. Except my mother. And the professionals at Straight.

From the outside, Straight Inc. was a drug rehab. But on the inside it was…well, it was something else.

All Cyndy wanted was to be loved and accepted. By age fourteen, she had escaped from her violent home, only to be reported as a runaway and sent to a “drug rehabilitation” facility that changed her world.

To the public, Straight Inc. was a place of recovery. But behind closed doors, the program used bizarre and intimidating methods to “treat” its patients. In her raw and fearless memoir, Cyndy Etler recounts her sixteen months in the living nightmare that Straight Inc. considered “healing.” Continue reading “The Dead Inside by Cyndy Drew Etler – Straight, Inc.”