Tag: Memoir

Book Review: Out of the Darkness by Kelly Smith

Out of the Darkness
Author: Kelly Smith

Published:  July 28- August 3, 2021
127 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: July 28- August 3, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

After enduring an abusive, toxic relationship, what do you do when you leave? You heal. In Out of the Darkness, the follow up to Kelly’s first book Signs in the Rearview Mirror: Leaving a Toxic Relationship Behind, Kelly takes you on her journey of her healing process recovering from her own past abusive tendencies and her previous toxic relationship. Dating soon follows and so do the bad and unhealthy dates.

A life-changing trip to Europe with a friend shows Kelly what she’s truly looking for in a healthy relationship. With eyes wide open, Kelly meets Cruz. They click right away and as they move forward together, Kelly guides you throughout her firsts in her new healthy relationship after healing from a toxic relationship. What does a healthy relationship look like after abuse? Find out in Out of the Darkness.

Jessica’s Review:

Kelly continues to tell us her story of recovering from her past toxic relationships and healing.  After finally leaving Gabe at the end of Signs in the Rearview Mirror, Kelly moves forward in her life with self-healing and eventually dating with Out of Darkness.

Kelly is again telling us her story and she is 100% honest.  Learning her own triggers and working to love herself first, she goes on a trip of a lifetime through Europe with Matt (just as friends). Through this trip she realizes she is basically on a trip with Gabe’s ‘twin’ in actions.  She eventually loses touch with Matt and continues to heal. 

After some time, Kelly goes on what can only be called “adventures in dating”. We are given the good and the bad. Eventually Kelly meets Cruz and slowly she finally finds herself in a healthy relationship. 

Through time Kelly has healed while still learning her triggers, but she is finally complete. Whatever happens in her life with Cruz, Kelly and now also the reader will know that she will be fine with whatever life brings her next. Many thanks to Kelly for telling her story to us through these two memoirs.

Out of the Darkness is recommended.  I was given a copy to read and review from the author. Both of her memoirs are recommended!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Book Review: Signs in the Rearview Mirror by Kelly Smith

Signs in the Rearview Mirror: Leaving a Toxic Relationship Behind
Author: Kelly Smith
Published: April 3 , 2018
214 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read:  July 22-26, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars     

Book Description:

What kind of person ends up in a toxic relationship? And why does she stay? This searingly honest novel answers both those questions head-on. Coming out of a failing marriage, Kelly turns to Gabe out of fear of being alone. Her gradual slide into danger is at once terrifying and inevitable, and the steps she takes to get out of it will both inspire and offer hope.

Jessica’s Review:

Signs in the Rearview Mirror is Kelly Smith’s firsthand account of her toxic relationship and how she finally escaped from it. She speaks to us herself telling her story, though names have been fictionalized.  Kelly leaves her marriage where she was not the best spouse herself, thus exposing her children to a bad female relationship example.  Then via Facebook (isn’t it always through Facebook!) she reconnects and then turns to Gabe who she barely knew in high school and once had a meaningful conversation.  Out of her fear of being alone she began a long-distance relationship.   Looking back, she now sees the warning signs, but chose to ignore them and the danger she was putting herself and her children in. 

Many times, you may think it is a ‘mild and meek’ person who falls into a toxic relationship, but Kelly was far from that.  Since these kinds of relationships actually do exist, it was helpful to see a stronger woman can also fall into the trap of a toxic relationship. This memoir would definitely help those who have not been in a toxic relationship or say they would never find themselves in one.

Kelly’s relationship with Gabe gradually got worse over time, but eventually she was able to leave.  There were so many times as I was reading this memoir that I was hoping at Kelly would leave Gabe.  This was a quick but also difficult read as this was what someone actually went through in her life.  And many women (and also men!) experience this life daily.

Bravo to Kelly for sharing her experiences and story with the world.  This is a book that can help those that are in a similar relationship. To them: You CAN succeed and get out of that toxic relationship!  I actually plan to put my copy of this memoir in my local free little library in hope that it might help someone who sees this memoir and in this type of relationship.

Signs in the Rearview Mirror is recommended.

Purchase Links
Amazon US
Amazon UK

 

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Book Review: Restorative Grief by Mandy Capehart

Restorative Grief: Embracing Our Losses Without Losing Ourselves
Author: Mandy Capehart
Published:  May 25, 2021
210 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: July 1-6, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Restorative Grief is a 31-day guidebook and memoir of loss, life, and learning how to tread water. Follow the author on an exploration of tools and techniques to guide you through a healing process inviting your mind, body, spirit, and soul to the table. All aspects of your story are just that: yours. This is your chance to explore what life after loss can look like without the platitudes, minimizing, and dismissive methods used by so many well-intentioned grief supporters.

As grievers, we keep sorrow to ourselves to avoid rocking the boat or making others uncomfortable. And as grief supporters, the last thing we want is to increase the pain felt by our loved ones. Yet in both roles, we find ourselves repeating platitudes and minimizing our needs simply to survive the next wave.

In Restorative Grief, Mandy Capehart takes us through her story of loss and recovery both in and out of the church walls. While being raised in the evangelical tradition, she found church structures and understanding lacking for those who needed more than a quick sabbatical.

Restorative Grief provides practical tools, concepts, and techniques to empower grievers to take what they need and to find it for themselves in body, mind, and spirit. While her story is framed around the Christian experience, this work is approachable for anyone capable of reading with an open mind to chew the meat and spit out the bones. Find what serves and leave the rest.

Jessica’s Review:

Restorative Grief is a 31-day guide and memoir to help you work through your grief whether from a death, such as Mandy’s loss of her mother or some other type of loss. We all experience various forms of loss in different ways and we must all work through it.  Mandy briefly shares her story and gives the reader a 31-day guidebook to go through the grief process.  Though in a 31-day format, Mandy encourages the reader to take as much time as they need.

Each of the 31 days starts with a quote, gives a tool to use, a concept, and also techniques that may help the reader.  Mandy also uses bible verses in her work.  She acknowledges that bible verses will not work for everyone and to use what works for you.  There is also a list of resources for reference and recommended books and also a list of support and concepts. 

Mandy knows what she is talking about as she mentions the loss of her mother and her experience with that grief. She is also a certified grief and life coach, and she also founded The Restorative Grief Project. She believes in long term support of grief and Restorative Grief was truly her baby and she genuinely wants to help others in their times of grief. 

The only critique I can really give is that as a reader, I was wanting more of Mandy’s story.  We just got little bits here through the chapters.  That is not really memoir-ish for me.  This is a book that will help those that need assistance with going through their grief one day at a time. This book would work for those in the counseling/ helping professions to help others deal with their grief. This is a book that I will keep for future use when needed.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

 

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