Not Quite Lost: Travels Without a Sense of Direction, by Roz Morris

When they say life is an adventure, some people experience more adventure than others. When taking trips, whether it’s down the road or three hundred miles away, there’s a million different things that could happen.

In Not Quite Lost, the author takes the reader on a journey just like that. It’s narrated with wonderful little anecdotes, and is much more organized than someone telling a story face-to-face. Everything from a memorable house, to broken windows, to icy road trips, cryonics, and dances dressed as construction workers, all the stories are told like prose, with a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor threaded throughout. It was like an unobtrusive peek into someone else’s life, with more information and entertainment than an actual memoir.

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A Few Minor Adjustments, by Cherie Kephart

Just a bit of a preface before I continue on with the review: hopefully I’m back for good and able to get back on track for the reviews. A divorce is on the horizon and so the past little while I just haven’t been able to commit myself emotionally or mentally to much of anything. I apologize wholeheartedly; I know there’s many authors still waiting for news of their books, and I promise you I am getting to them. I’m just working through some personal stuff in the meantime. Each and every one of you have been absolutely amazing with your patience–something I can’t thank everyone enough for. Life has a funny way of turning out, and hopefully it’s finally on the rise for me.

Now, without further ado, what everyone came here to actually see:

Memoir writing is a tricky thing. Oftentimes they have strange tones, which make them sound less sincere. They don’t always evoke the emotions that the author intends.

Cherie Kephart’s writing style was very much geared towards emotion. It didn’t feel like a memoir. The first person tone was well-done, and it was immersive for a reader. The pacing was excellently done. The story itself felt whole and complete—the reader got plenty of background information at the right times without a total info dump. Jumps in time we’re documented clearly and in a way that made sense; I never really felt jarred from the story or confused about where I was at.

As far as the emotion went, I liked the level it was conveyed on. The tone wasn’t asking the readers for pity—rather it was broadcasting a show of strength. It felt more like the author was saying: “hey, I’ve had a lot of stuff happen to me, but even in my darkest moments, I never gave up.” I think one advantage that the author had that many dont was a wonderful support system in the way of family and friends. Oftentimes when people take ill, those are the first to abandon them; they can’t ‘handle’ it; the ill person is making them miserable—I’ve seen and heard many examples. Surrounding yourself with good people is sometimes difficult, but something to certainly strive for.

Another thing this novel did was raise awareness for such a tricky illness. Especially one that never really seems to be such a big deal. Sure, everyone’s heard of it, but the disease itself is such a far cry from what people think it is. I was shocked myself when the root of the problem showed.

The book ended very well. It didn’t tarry on or drag out. I think the author got her point across and let it be. Endings are tricky, and something that can make or break a novel, but the author managed a very logical stopping point, both narratively and emotionally.

Fractured, by Elizabeth Antonucci


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Talking about life-altering injuries is never easy. It seems, more often than not, that said injuries negatively impact a persons personality, mental health, and overall quality of life. It’s a pretty safe assumption of how things go down, at least.

The authors’ tale in Fractured certainly has a more upbeat tone than others. She faced her own obstacles, both inside and out, but she also seemed to have a support system in place that helped her through; something a lot of folks don’t have.

It also offers excellent glimpses into how to be a good pillar of support for someone going through a traumatic experience; something I definitely wished was more talked about.

It did jump around quite a bit, and it was a very mellow story, but an interesting one nonetheless.

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I Made a Mother Out of May, by Hala Alzaghal



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A memoir in a poetic state. Personifications and epic imagery try and bring themes like grief and depression to life. A baring of the soul, if you will. 

The writing style takes some getting used to. Getting a feel for the actions and pacing of the story is a little rough, especially if you’re not aware of what it’s about. It feels like an expressive poetry journal. Though there are only two poems within, the writing style makes it seem as though the whole novel is. 

It’s definitely a different sort of read. A very personal read. 
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That Book I Wrote About Me, by Sarah Buchanan

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In a lot of ways, this novel read just like a memoir. When I think of memoirs, even fictional ones, there’s really only one tone that comes to mind. It’s a fanciful one. One that makes me think of southern belles and longing. Everything’s always so formal.

 

Imagine my surprise, then, when I dove into this novel and was greeted with a lighthearted, informal tone. It was like a close friend sat next to me and was telling me the story their way. I really liked it.

 

Fiona is a successful author that’s hit a major roadblock in her life. While she’s trying to get back on track, family and friends manage to throw a wrench into her life that could potentially make or break her.

 

Fiona’s life was far from normal. The novel does a nice job of showing the struggles and pitfalls of being an author. Characters were placed and made well. They served a purpose along Fiona’s journey and aided in her development. I loved the support they all provided each other. They had their problems, sure, but who doesn’t? At the end of the day, however, they were all adults about their unique situations.

 

I really liked this writing style. I would love to see it applied to other genres as well. This is certainly an entertaining read.

 

 

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The Butcher’s Daughter, by Florence Grende


A poetic tale of from the daughter of immigrants that escaped to the United States from war-torn Poland. Along with her parents, the author forges a new way of life in a new country. What’s unique about this tale is that it includes some of the negative traits often neglected when talking about the survivors of a traumatic event. Animosity between family members, personal prejudices…everyone wasn’t optimistic about things. They felt like real people, reacting in realistic, not romanticized, ways.

The narration is another good point about this novel. It’s told with a very whimsical tone–as though the narrator was completely detached from everything around her. The way each segment was presented felt like a poetry book setup. Some chapters were half a page, others wee ten. It aided the tone and pacing of the novel well. A nice aesthetic for such a somber subject.

All of it was very well-written. It was emotional where it needed to be, and flexible with tone. As the narrator grew older, her style changed, becoming more confident more self-aware. She highlighted the difficulties of tradition versus progress.

I really liked the way this was done. This was a very unique style that was executed very well.

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Everything and a Happy Ending, by Tia Shurina


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Heartbreak and life struggles aren’t always easy to write about. However, it can be a cathartic experience for some. That’s kind of what this narrative felt like.

 

 

The author uses a very mature, very reflective and pensive approach to her narration. Struggles with divorce, unhappiness, and unfulfilling love are all overarching themes. There’s a very zen overture to her descriptions and allusions. The whole thing feels like a spiritual experience to the reader. It’s very well-written and described. There’s some cool tonal changes that mix things up, like taking on that of a playwright.

 

 

There were some convoluted areas where the description sometimes went a little too over the top dramatic. The author was setting things up for a big reveal, but instead sold things short when I realized I wasn’t 100% sure what was still being talked about. Sometimes ideas and paragraphs worked in reverse order. Or they trailed off and moved to another idea without fully completing a previous one.

 

 

If you like emotional memoirs and things of that nature, this one will be right up your ally. The subject matter is an easily identifiable one, and the way the author approaches it makes things relatable as well. There’s a lot of good teaching moments for both reader and author alike. Definitely a different kind of headspace that I think quite a few people would benefit from.

 

 

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Faithful and Devoted: Confessions of a Music Addict, by Jenna Rose Robbins

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4 stars

 

Faithful and Devoted: Confessions of a Music Addict is exactly what it sounds like. Jenn’s journey through Spain following Depeche Mode is quite the adventure.

 

And it comes with the most heartbreaking ending.

 

The tone is fun and inviting. Though the novel definitely for a niche audience, writing style will beckon the reader to stay. Events flow so naturally together that it makes the ending shocking—forgive the Clickbait aura I just channeled.

 

It’s full of conflict. And yet it never feels like a disheartened story. In fact, for all the risks taken, there’s plenty of learning done. And plenty of reward. Almost all the events were delicious morsels of happiness for any fan. They’re sure to leave a jaw or two on the floor.

 

Regardless of who the reader’s favorite band is, this is a fun little read. It highlighted a wide array of the ups and downs of being a die-hard fan. It also sends a positive message about risk-taking. There’s always going to be a risk of something bad happening. Don’t let it stop you from enjoying your life.

 

 

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Silent Screams: An Autobiography, by Susan Aguilar

Writing about ones tragic experiences can be rough. There’s a certain level of emotionality to be presented that sometimes gets difficult. Silent Screams is one such auto-biography.

 
The beauty of putting it out there is not only therapeutic at times, but it’s also a beacon of hope. “You’re not alone,” it says. “You’re not alone,” is also a sad statement. Things that shouldn’t happen to people are happening to more than statistically reported. Silent Screams, much like the title alludes, feels like exactly that. The tone is that of the author putting words to paper hurriedly, like they’re trying to get the images out of their head. Or trying to tell the story before they’re discovered. It helps to enhance the reader’s emotional experience. Things are kept fairly short–background information given where needed, characters come and go as needed. Even the writing style remains shortened.

 
Some editing and polishing would be beneficial to the message of the narrative. And there’s a powerful one.

 
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An Incredible Talent for Existing (A Writer’s Story), by Pamela Jane

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One of the most encouraging things someone can hear is how late someone achieved their dreams. They didn’t wake up at the age of 23-24 with a degree in hand and their foot inside the door. Nor did they know what they wanted to do until well past that. Or have encouragement to do so. Yet, despite all that, the author still manages to achieve what they wanted.

 

As soon as I saw the title, An Incredible Talent for Existing, I knew I was in for something special. And I was. This book has more motivational potential than quite a few self-help books. The author recounts how their life derailed, and how they got it back on track. Except (because, you know, life) things don’t go as planned. It’s realistic, and it gives a lot of hope for other people who aren’t handed things on a silver platter. Now, that’s not to say that the author didn’t put in their fair share of hard work, but persistence pays offs. Being patient does as well. At least, within boundaries enough to not stall the journey.

 

Most importantly: it’s okay if it’s not happening now.

 

The author’s writing style complimented the story. It felt nostalgic, light, and airy. And hey, sometimes real life makes a much better story than things contrived.

 

Buy it here!