Tag: Memoir

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to those in the USA. I hope your holiday season is a good one!  Enjoy that huge meal we will all eat today, then I suppose shopping comes next for some of you… I’m going to try and enjoy this four day weekend, I hope to get some blogging, reading, relaxing, and maybe catch up on a little tv.  But who knows what will actually happen. I can’t sit still much!  Too much to do and never enough time!


Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! I’ve been dreaming about the turkey sitting my fridge, for weeks now and I’ve been baking up a storm, so I promise you there will be no healthy eating today. Both my and Ivan’s family are coming to my house and I have 4 different bottles of wine to help get thru the day! Ivan is finally off this year and today will be filled with loud conversations, football games, lots of food and lots of napping. And of course, a lot of reflection on all the blessings that have come into my life this year. A special thank you to Jessica for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts and opinions on her blog! Everybody have a great day and hopefully you’ll find some time to relax with whatever book you’re reading!



If you have any suggestions for this site, please send a message and let Kim and I know!  We have a great time doing this. We love sharing our love of reading to anyone who will see this site!

And guess what?!?!  You guys get a review today!  This is today’s review Mothers of Sparta sampler: A Piece of Pie

Book Title: Mothers of Sparta: A Memoir in Pieces
Author: Dawn Davies
Expected Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Date Sample Read: 11/22/17

Some women are born mothers, some achieve motherhood, others have motherhood thrust upon them.

Dawn Davies, a six-foot-tall divorcée, couldn’t care less about anyone’s potty training progress, and doesn’t care to share her own children’s milestones with people who don’t love them. But even if she has never fit in with other moms, she has raised three children with her own particular brand of fierce, unflagging love.

In pieces that cut to the quick, we see Davies grow from a young girl who moves to a new town every couple of years, to a misfit teenager who finds solace in the local music scene, to an adrift twenty-something who summons inner strength as she holds the hand of a dying stranger, to a woman dealing with difficult pregnancies and postpartum depression. And in her powerful titular story, we see Davies struggling with the weight of knowing that her son is deeply troubled.

Mothers of Sparta is not a blow-by-blow of Davies’s life but rather an examination of the exquisite and often painful moments of a life, the moments we look back on and say, That one, that one mattered. Straddling the fence between humor and, well, not humor, Davies has written a book about what it’s like to be a woman trying to carve a place for herself in the world, no matter how unyielding the rock can be.

Jessica’s review:

**Please note that this is not a review of the whole memoir, just the sample that Flatiron Books released.**

Flatiron Books advertised on their Facebook page about the Mothers of Sparta sampler: A Piece of Pie just in time for Thanksgiving.  This sampler of Dawn Davies’ upcoming memoir was published on November 21st and is 18 pages long. This is the perfect time for this sampler to be released as it deals with a new mother dealing with her infant’s first Thanksgiving and the chaos that ensues.  All she wants to do is bake a pie!

Davies perfectly captured her experience and the story gives people who are not parents an idea of the craziness that new moms go through. I’m sure the parents that read this will laugh and understand where Davies comes from.  Flatiron Books accomplished their intention of offering this sample for free: I want to read the rest of this memoir!

Pre-order links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

The Magnolia Story

Authors: Chip and Joanna Gaines
Published: October 18, 2016

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: November 5-8, 2017
Jessica’s Rating: 3.5 stars

Book Description from Amazon:

Are you ready to see your fixer upper?

These famous words are now synonymous with the dynamic husband-and-wife team Chip and Joanna Gaines, stars of HGTV’s Fixer Upper. As this question fills the airwaves with anticipation, their legions of fans continue to multiply and ask a different series of questions, like—Who are these people? What’s the secret to their success? And is Chip actually that funny in real life? By renovating homes in Waco, Texas, and changing lives in such a winsome and engaging way, Chip and Joanna have become more than just the stars of Fixer Upper, they have become America’s new best friends.

The Magnolia Story is the first book from Chip and Joanna, offering their fans a detailed look at their life together. From the very first renovation project they ever tackled together, to the project that nearly cost them everything; from the childhood memories that shaped them, to the twists and turns that led them to the life they share on the farm today.

They both attended Baylor University in Waco. However, their paths did not cross until Chip checked his car into the local Firestone tire shop where Joanna worked behind the counter. Even back then Chip was a serial entrepreneur who, among other things, ran a lawn care company, sold fireworks, and flipped houses. Soon they were married and living in their first fixer upper. Four children and countless renovations later, Joanna garners the attention of a television producer who notices her work on a blog one day.

In The Magnolia Story fans will finally get to join the Gaines behind the scenes and discover:

  • The time Chip ran to the grocery store and forgot to take their new, sleeping baby
  • Joanna’s agonizing decision to close her dream business to focus on raising their children
  • When Chip buys a houseboat, sight-unseen, and it turns out to be a leaky wreck
  • Joanna’s breakthrough moment of discovering the secret to creating a beautiful home
  • Harrowing stories of the financial ups and downs as an entrepreneurial couple
  • Memories and photos from Chip and Jo’s wedding
  • The significance of the word magnolia and why it permeates everything they do
  • The way the couple pays the popularity of Fixer Upper forward, sharing the success with others, and bolstering the city of Waco along the way

And yet there is still one lingering question for fans of the show: Is Chip really that funny? “Oh yeah,” says Joanna. “He was, and still is, my first fixer upper.”

Jessica’s Review:

I will admit I knew almost nothing about Chip and Joanna Gaines before I listened to the audiobook of The Magnolia Story. I had only seen the show once while my car was being serviced about two years ago.  All I knew is that they flipped houses and are Christians. I chose to listen to The Magnolia Story as I am waiting on another audiobook to arrive from the library. The Magnolia Story is a short narration of only five hours.

Both Chip and Joanna narrate, but Chip is the better narrator.  To me it sounded like Joanna was reading a report in school that she had to write for class.  If she had been the sole narrator I would not have finished the memoir.  I did enjoy The Magnolia Story as I liked hearing how they met and their life together.  Hearing about some of the financial difficulties they had and how God brought them through it helped me personally.  Even though some of the difficulties were through their choices it helped me to hear about them and their faith.  I am interested in watching their show. They could do wonders on my house. Hmmm…. Maybe Chip will buy it and Joanna will go along with it….  😉

Both Chip and Joanna are far from perfect people. In fact no one is perfect, but Chip does seem very impulsive, almost recklessly.  Buying houses without consulting Joanna and refusing to pay tickets to the point where your wife almost goes to jail after just having a baby!?!? They were fortunate that they were able to get the name on the tickets switched to Chip’s name. Then he says he had a pleasant experience in jail… What?!?

Chip definitely has some growing up to do.  He left his infant child home alone… twice!  Then he drove a four-wheeler with his infant.  What!?!? I’ve never been around babies much, but even I know you don’t do those kinds of things!

For me, it was a good introduction to Chip and Joanna Gaines.  I would like to see their show after listening to the audio book to see more of what they are about.  The Magnolia Story is recommended. I would suggest reading the book versus listening to the audio due to the narration issues I had.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK



Last Call: From Serving Drinks to Serving Jesus

Author: Jerry Herships
Published: October 20, 2015
192 pages in Kindle

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: October 2- 8, 2017
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description from Goodreads:

Jerry Herships, former altar boy who had dreamed of making it big in show biz, tended bar to make ends meet as he worked gigs in comedy and game shows, looking for his big break. After giving up the dream and leaving Los Angeles, he found his way back to the church and discovered God calling him to ministry-but not just any ministry. Now he leads AfterHours Denver, a bar church where people worship with a whiskey in their hand and make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to serve Denver’s homeless. Last Call is a story of having and giving up on dreams, finding yourself, and finding how God can use you in unexpected ways.

Jessica’s Review:

Last Call is Jerry Herships’ autobiography of his life thus far.  He had a dream of being in show business and Last Call is his journey that led to him founding AfterHours, which is ‘church in a bar’.  He seems to know what people need in church and created an environment that reaches those that might not ever set foot in a church and also helping the homeless.

We go on this journey as he tells us about trying to ‘make it’ in the entertainment industry to becoming a UMC pastor (United Methodist Church). It is definitely a unique journey. He does eventually end up on late night television, just not in the way he intended!

Herships tells it like it is and Last Call is a short and easy to read memoir. It makes you think about church and what you want from it. And are you getting what you need?  What could you do to help with church?  What is your mission?  Besides having church in a bar he also feeds PB&J to the homeless and has communion in a park in Denver.  He reaches the people that may never feel like they can go to church, and these people all become family. He says some people say his is a ministry and not a church, but it is a church! Church is wherever two or more come together to worship Jesus and our Father, no matter the location! Some locations are more ‘open’ to others than other locations.

This is a memoir that those who work in a church should read, they may learn something.  The only thing that could interfere with his message is that he does use some foul language, which he does mention beforehand as a disclaimer, but that could deter some from reading Last Call. It is not ‘heavy use’ language, but something for readers to look out for.

Last Call is recommended.

I received a copy from NetGalley. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review it!