Tag: Nonfiction

Project Semicolon: Your Story Isn’t Over


Author: Amy Bleuel
Published: September 5, 2017
355 pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: May 11-19, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

For fans of PostSecret, Humans of New York, and If You Feel Too Much, this collection from suicide-awareness organization Project Semicolon features stories and photos from those struggling with mental illness.

Project Semicolon began in 2013 to spread a message of hope: No one struggling with a mental illness is alone; you, too, can survive and live a life filled with joy and love. In support of the project and its message, thousands of people all over the world have gotten semicolon tattoos and shared photos of them, often alongside stories of hardship, growth, and rebirth.

Project Semicolon: Your Story Isn’t Over reveals dozens of new portraits and stories from people of all ages talking about what they have endured and what they want for their futures. This represents a new step in the movement and a new awareness around those who struggle with mental illness and those who support them. At once heartfelt, unflinchingly honest, and eternally hopeful, this collection tells a story of choice: every day you choose to live and let your story continue on.

Learn more about the project at www.projectsemicolon.com.

Jessica’s Review:

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so I feel reading and reviewing Project Semicolon this month was in perfect timing.

Amy Bleuel started Project Semicolon in 2013 to give hope and love for those who are struggling with mental illness, suicide, addiction, and self-injury. The semicolon is used because in literature it is intended to continue a sentence versus ending it.  Using the semicolon, you show that you are choosing to continue on despite your situation. This is a symbol with so much meaning!

Project Semicolon is a non-fiction book that is comprised of many individual stories in their own words. These stories range from a few sentences to several pages. Some stories give details of their lives, some just touch on issues.  It does begin with a disclaimer/trigger warning that these stories could affect you if you have suffered and advises to stop reading if this occurs. At the end of the book is various organizations’ information on who to contact if you feel you need assistance.

Project Semicolon is a book you do not have to read in its entirety, but you should and I did.  It is a difficult read and one I took in steps to read.  You can feel the anguish that all the authors have in sharing their stories.  Some of the stories are ‘In Memoriam’, with those sharing stories after losing someone to suicide. I recommended reading all of Project Semicolon as the stories that touched me the most were in the second half of the book.   The stories that affected me the most were:

Teresa S (page 256)
Hayleigh H (page 280)
Kristie C (Page 307)
All were In Memoriam stories

In addition to the stories shared, there are photos of the semicolon tattoo in its various forms throughout the book that are the storytellers’ own tattoos. That gives each story an even more personal touch. I would have liked more details in some of the stories: Some are so brief we don’t learn much about the person’s story. Some stories felt incomplete (which they of course could be as they may still be facing their monsters) and some felt impersonal and like an essay. I would have liked to learned more on their journeys and what helped them succeed.

Project Semicolon does also include Amy’s story in her own words.  Despite starting Project Semicolon, Amy lost her battle with these issues on March 23, 2017 at the age of 31. Her legacy continues as Project Semicolon is still around helping those who need it today.  Here is an article I found that address Amy’s death and how complex suicide prevention is.

Amy’s story is here in her own words.

Project Semicolon is definitely worth a read and is a great organization that is devoted to helping others overcome their battles they face. If you feel you need help please get it. You ARE worth it and your story isn’t over!



The Space Adventurer’s Guide

The Space Adventurer’s Guide: Your Passport to the Coolest Things to See and Do in the Universe

Author: Peter McMahon
Illustrator: Josh Holinaty
To Be Published: May 1, 2018
104 pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Date Read: April 18, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

It’s not just astronauts who get to travel into space anymore. Forward-thinking entrepreneurs have now made space flight a reality for adventure-seekers of all kinds. And just in time, here’s a travel guide for kids to plan their own out-of-this-world journeys. Eight potential space vacations are described, one per chapter, complete with information about pre-trip preparations (like training to withstand extreme g-forces), accommodations and dining (hot dogs in zero gravity, anyone?), awesome activities (how about a real moon walk?) and so much more.

The trips range from orbiting Earth (available now), to voyaging through Saturn’s rings, which may be possible within the next few decades. Featuring the coolest things to see and do in the universe, these space vacations are not to be missed!

Award-winning science journalist Peter McMahon has come up with an intriguing concept sure to pique a young reader’s interest in all things outer space. Based on the latest science and featuring first-person accounts from experts in the field, this book is chock-full of opportunities for science and technology lessons. With kid-sized bursts of text (including loads of amazing, and sometimes icky, facts), fascinating photographs of everyday life on actual space flights, as well as fun-filled illustrations from Josh Holinaty, this hugely appealing book is also one that children will gladly pick up on their own — and devour. A glossary and index are included.

Jessica’s Review:

If you have a child interested in space, then get them this book!  This book has plenty for them to learn about and as an adult you will learn too!  There are real pictures of astronauts in space as well as drawings.  Between these and the fun facts given(which can be TMI that the kids will find hilarious and make the adults cringe)  throughout, this will  keep kids interested in the subject of Space!

The Guide talks about space travel now and in the future. It does mention the high cost of space travel.  It is crazy to think that what is mentioned here for the future will happen at some point:  From staying on the Moon to cruising in space and even on a comet!  In the far off future we will even be able to travel to Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn!  All of the different kinds of trips are mentioned with how long they will take to get there (and how for the long term trips) and how far away these places are.  Guide mentions the training one must go through as well. These trips are not something you just decide to do! Also mentioned in these trip are ‘things to do” which keeps the kids learning as they read.

This children’s book helps you to realize how advanced we are and will become in the future. And one day just maybe space travel will be as common as getting in your car for a drive!

Special thanks to Kids Can Press for an e-arc via NetGalley!

Pre-order Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


An Appeal to the World

An Appeal to the World: The Way to Peace in a Time of Division
Author: His Holiness the Dalai Lama with Franz Alt
Published: November 7, 2017
113 pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Date Read: February 19, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description from Goodreads:


We have entered a time marked by division. Politicians call for borders, not inclusion. Economic inequality strains cohesion. Religion breeds violence. And yet the need for unity has never been more urgent, for the crises facing humanity are, increasingly, global. How do we move forward?

In this brief yet profound address to the entire world, His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet reveals that we all hold the seeds of world peace within us: “I see with ever greater clarity that our spiritual well-being depends,” the Nobel Peace Prize winner writes, “on our innate human nature, our natural affinity for goodness, compassion, and caring for others.”

Already a major international bestseller, An Appeal to the World, the new book by one of the most revered spiritual leaders of our time, outlines both the inward and outward paths to peace, addressing a wide range of contemporary topics—from war, climate change, and materialism to meditation, universal ethics, and even neuroscience. Here is a small book that can truly change the world.

Jessica’s Review:

An Appeal to the World is literally a small book that gives quite the impact. It is 5×7 and just over 100 pages. It can very easily be held in your hand. I will admit I knew basically nothing about the Dalai Lama before reading this. I won a copy in a giveaway on Goodreads. I was glad to win it and I learned some things. Among them the Dalai Lama loves laughing and has to have humor in his life! He gives his thoughts on many topics including world peace, gender equality, religion, secular ethics, and even his opinions on Donald Trump (he is not a fan.)

What he says makes sense and it causes you to think. I would love to meet him and hear what he has to say and see what makes him laugh! He loves laughter, and laughter can be the best medicine.

There are also sections that talk about the Dalai Lama’s life, which makes a great introduction to those such as myself who are unfamiliar with him.

The only critique I have to offer is that I was under the impression that this was a book written by Dalai Lama. That was why I entered the giveaway. It is actually an interview where questions are asked and he gives his answers. I was disappointed in that.

Thank you Goodreads for my copy. It was a pleasure to read.
An Appeal to the World is recommended.

About His Holiness the Dalai Lama XIV (Bio from Goodreads):

Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso (born Lhamo Döndrub), the 14th Dalai Lama, is a practicing member of the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism and is influential as a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, the world’s most famous Buddhist monk, and the leader of the exiled Tibetan government in India.

Tenzin Gyatso was the fifth of sixteen children born to a farming family. He was proclaimed the tulku (an Enlightened lama who has consciously decided to take rebirth) of the 13th Dalai Lama at the age of two.

On 17 November 1950, at the age of 15, he was enthroned as Tibet’s ruler. Thus he became Tibet’s most important political ruler just one month after the People’s Republic of China’s invasion of Tibet on 7 October 1950. In 1954, he went to Beijing to attempt peace talks with Mao Zedong and other leaders of the PRC. These talks ultimately failed.

After a failed uprising and the collapse of the Tibetan resistance movement in 1959, the Dalai Lama left for India, where he was active in establishing the Central Tibetan Administration (the Tibetan Government in Exile) and in seeking to preserve Tibetan culture and education among the thousands of refugees who accompanied him.

Tenzin Gyatso is a charismatic figure and noted public speaker. This Dalai Lama is the first to travel to the West. There, he has helped to spread Buddhism and to promote the concepts of universal responsibility, secular ethics, and religious harmony.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, honorary Canadian citizenship in 2006, and the United States Congressional Gold Medal on 17 October 2007.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK