Author:Eric L. Heard Release Date: 13th January 2021 Genre: Memoir, Non-Fiction Series: Format: E-book Pages: 73 pages Publisher: Blurb: The purpose of this book is an awkward discussion of Eric Heard’s life to his son. He talks about his life in a candid way that tries to explain his anxiety as an African American dad. It is an open and honest account of his life through the life of a child that has been through a lot in his life. It is a reflection on his life that has been shaped by his childhood experiences.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Reflections of an Anxious African American Dad by Eric L. Heard is a heart touching memoir about the author, his son and the stories they have as well as their experiences.
I found this book very emotional, honest and interesting as it was quite a unique experience for me to understand and know the story from the perspective of an African American person. Though at the same time, this book has a lot of things that I was able to relate to, so I’d say that it has a lot to offer to its readers.
I found the narration very simple, elegant as well as introspective and found myself drawn and submerged in the stories and experiences shared by the author in an elegant way. I’d recommend this book to everyone who reads memoirs. It is a quick read and that too an interesting one with unique insights.
Author:Tamara K. Bryant Release Date: 20th October 2020 Genre: Travelogue, Memoir, Non-Fiction Series: Format: E-book Pages: 465 pages Publisher: Blurb: After a great stay in Thailand, Tam and her friends, Casey, Valerie, faced with the sad reality that they only had two more days left before the fun ended and they had to board a plane for home.
It was too soon. She’d only tasted a teeny bit of Southeast Asia and didn’t want to leave go back to her “real” life. But she knew she had to go home. Her flight was booked. She had a job and family to go back to. She couldn’t just stay. Or, could she? What if Tam didn’t go home yet? What if she explored the vast and exotic land of Southeast Asia…by herself…solo?
But was she ready to be on her own? The thought of traveling alone without her friends, terrified her. “On the other hand,” she thought, “would I ever get another chance to really experience Southeast Asia?”
Terrified and excited at the same time, Tamara K. Bryant followed her heart and bravely stepped onto the road that led her to the most exciting and amazing year of her life!
Rating: 4 out of 5.
An Inkling, A Backpack And All The Time In The World – Travelling On A Whim by Tamara K. Bryant is an exciting tale about solo travel and adventures (as well as hazardous yet funny misadventures) experienced by the author.
This book was a very quick read because it was very engaging as well as interesting and fun! I enjoyed reading this book because it had so many different elects in the story that it was hard to put this book down. A simple yet thoroughly entertaining read that I’d recommend to anyone who likes travelling and dreams about travelling solo (which I am sure everyone does, at some point or the other in their life.)
You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon.
Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome author Con Chapman for sharing an excerpt from his latest release Kimiko Chou, Girl Samurai.
About The Book
KIMIKO CHOU is a girl on a mission. Her mother and brother have been killed by robbers in 14th century Japan while her father, a samurai warrior, is off on an invasion of Korea. Chou (“butterfly” in Japanese) narrowly escapes death by hiding while the robbers ransack her home, then—dressed as a boy in her brother’s clothes—she goes in quest of her father. Alone on the road, she takes up with Hyōgo Narutomi, a former samurai who has been dismissed by seven previous masters, and Moto Mori, his page. The three of them—man, boy, and girl—make their way across Japan along with Piebald, an old horse with a curious spot on his coat that resembles a Fenghuang, the mythical bird that rules over all others in Asian mythology. Together this unlikely trio experience a series of adventures and narrow escapes until Chou and Mori—but not Narutomi—land in Korea. There, as a spy for the Koreans, Chou searches for her father-across enemy lines!
My name is Kimiko Chou, and this is my story. I have set it down so that it will live after me, for other girls to read. They may find it hard to believe, but it is true.
My given name “Chou” means “empress child butterfly.” It was given to me at my oschichiya—naming ceremony. I was swathed in white, like a little cocoon, pure as I came into the world. Like every other aka-chan (“little red one,” loving term for a newborn baby), I wore only this color of godliness for seventeen days. From then on, I was clothed in the colors of the world, and not just the pure shade of ame, the lofty sacred world of the gods of heaven, the ama-tsu-kami.
It should not surprise you that I came to live as a samurai, for the way of the samurai is death, and I was born, so to speak, in death. When robbers invaded our home and attacked my mother and brother, I hid in the alcove—the tokonoma—that is found in the main room of a samurai’s dwelling, and in which is displayed a single beautiful object for contemplation. I held myself still and breathless while the robbers ransacked the house for money and weapons; they looked only for things of material value, and so didn’t notice me. I pulled my clothing over my head like a sea urchin in order to save myself.
How, you ask, is such conduct worthy of a samurai, if the samurai, faced with a choice between life and death, must choose the latter? Well, we all want to live, and we form our thoughts according to our will. But at that moment, I was not a samurai, and I had no master. I had no aim in life, other than to survive.
When the robbers departed, I was alone. My mother Hino and my brother Tadashige were both dead. My father—Kimiko Kiyotaka–was gone, part of a force that had invaded the kingdom of Koguryo (current-day Korea). I did not know when or if he would return. I was eleven years old.
I was fearful, and for good reason. The robbers could be seen moving from house to house, repeating their acts of thievery and violence. Tada and I had recently undergone the ceremony of genpuku, by which we had formally been recognized as adults. I was to prepare for marriage, he was to prepare for war. I received a mogi (a pleated skirt), he—a samurai helmet. If I became my twin brother, I would be able to defend myself from the assaults of the robbers, and I would not be an object of attraction to them. And so I donned the garb of the samurai at an age when most girls had just begun to play the coquette. I was close to Tada, as twins will be, and so I had absorbed much of what he had learned in his training to become a samurai. Now I would become him, and adopt his name.
There was nothing left of value in our home except food, and so I cooked some rice and made onigiri (rice balls). These I packed into Tada’s hakama (pants), and I set off on a quest to find my father, although I knew it might take many years. I saw myself in the eye of my mind having many adventures before we would be reunited. I would be a woman then—if I could find him before he died.
I took with me my mother’s weapons: Her naginata. This is a spear with a curved blade at the end. It was used by women in defending their homes when their samurai husbands were absent from the home. With its long shaft, it could be used to keep a male opponent at a distance, thus allowing a woman to fend off a man stronger than her. Next, her tanto, a dagger favored by women because of its short length and capacity for camouflage. When sheathed, it looked like a fan, and could concealed as an item of innocent adornment until needed. Finally, her kansashi, a hairpin that is a woman’s weapon of last resort. Six inches long, it innocently keeps her hair in place but can be pulled out to pierce an attacker’s chest or throat when he is on the point of overcoming her.
I started out on the road that led towards the sea. I wanted to go to the place where my father would land when he came back, and if that did not happen for some time, I wanted to find a way to go search for him, on a fishing boat or a bigger craft bound for Korea. I must have made a forlorn-looking sight. My brother’s kataginu (sleeveless jacket) hung loose about my shoulders with its exaggerated shoulders, and while I was tried to put on a brave face, my heart was empty—my mother and brother gone, my father far away. I was all alone in the world.
The road was a muddy path, the color of my mother’s clay cooking pots. On either side were bright green hedges of grass that gave way to rice paddies. I was headed in the direction of the Tsushina Strait, towards a sky that was full of rain coming up from the sea. It was tinged with grey and blue and pink, like the inside of an oyster’s shell. It was hard to be hopeful, but I tried to walk with a forceful stride, to show the world that I was determined.
After a while I heard the clip-clop of a horse coming up behind me. I did not turn to look, as I wanted to give the rider the sense that I wasn’t a young girl he could trifle with, I was a samurai on a mission.
As the horseman drew nearer, he called out to me in a curt manner. “You there!”
I turned my head slowly to the left, but did not stop walking. He must know that I would not stop for anyone. He called again—“You!”
I kept walking, but said “Yes?”
“Where are you going?”
He laughed. “And how will you get there?”
“I will hire a boat.”
“Never you mind.”
Upon hearing those bold words, he dug his heels in his horse’s side and rode in front of me, blocking my way.
“Are you a samurai?” he asked with a mocking smile.
“I am a samurai’s page.”
“And who is your master.”
I hesitated just a moment. “You would not know him, he lives far from here.”
“Then how did you come to be all by yourself?”
I was silent, out of words. I should have foreseen that I would be questioned, but I had not given thought to the story I would tell.
“Well?” the man asked. “Who are you, and what do you have to say for yourself?”
I fought down a lump in my throat, and spoke. “I am Kimiko Tadashige. My master is dead. I am on my way to seek my father, who is in Korea.”
The man rubbed his chin, sizing me up. A boy came up behind him, dressed much like me, but in shabbier garments. I guessed that he was a page to this samuraiand, from the looks of his clothing, had been traveling with him for some time. Perhaps, I thought, the man on horseback was a ronin, a samurai without a lord.
“I am Hyōgo Narutomi,” he said with a fierce voice, as if he wanted to scare me and not just say his name. “This is my page, Moto Mori.”
The boy bowed slightly and looked me over. His eyes seemed to see a rival, or even an adversary, even though I was just a stranger walking along the same road.
“I could use another page,” Narutomi said with a tone of cold calculation, as if I were a fish in a market.
I did not know what to say. I would be out of food soon enough, and I wanted protection from robbers and others with malice towards me.
“Where are you going?” I asked.
“The same place you are,” Narutomi replied calmly, as if that settled the matter.
I looked off to the horizon behind Mori to my left, and Narutomi ahead of me. There was no shelter, and no other road to be seen, all the way to the end of the world within my view. What choice did I have, other than to continue with my concocted story about where I came from, and where I was going?
“All right,” I said, without enthusiasm. “I will come with you.”
About The Author
Con Chapman is the author most recently of Rabbit’s Blues: The Life and Music of Johnny Hodges (Oxford University Press), winner of the 2019 Book of the Year Award from Hot Club de France. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Christian Science Monitor, The Boston Globe, and a number of literary magazines. His young adult short story, “The Vanishing Twin,” appeared in the March/April 2015 issue of Cicada.
Follow the author on Twitter @conchapman
If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author featured on TRB, then please get in touch directly by e-mail at email@example.com
Author: Carlo Pietro P Sanfilippo Release Date: 19th December 2020 Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir, Self-help Series: Format: E-book Pages: 158 pages Publisher: Blurb: Are you living on purpose, or are you frustrated that the things you thought you wanted-the house, the furnishings, the yard, the car, the “stuff” and all its required maintenance-are preventing you from having the time and money to live the life you want? When the American Dream becomes an agonizing hamster wheel, perhaps it’s time for a change.
Carlo Sanfilippo followed that prescribed path of marriage, kids, house, stuff. He was living the American Dream, the life he was “supposed” to live; not a life that he wanted, not a life that fulfilled him. Nothing felt authentic. Nothing felt like fun. Nothing felt like his idea. And when faced with some devastating losses, he realized he was living a half-life. If you’re a person who has a nice life, but aren’t living your dream, join Carlo on this journey of breaking out of a prescribed life to one of discovery, mental and emotional release, spiritual delight, and new mastery.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Afterlife: Waking Up From My American Dream by Carlo Pietro P Sanfilippo is a beautiful book about hope and dreams and finding happiness.
I loved reading this book because the author used a brilliant mix of varying emotional graphs such as loss and grief interlaced with happy and hopeful moments. This book felt very true and spoke to me on a level that I quite I wasn’t expecting. This book has a lot to offer to each of its readers because it is full of moments of despair and anguish that everyone goes through. It often treads the precarious and mostly misunderstood waters of self-love and the entire curve of being able to reach a point where one can identify it as not being selfish. So I would like to commend the author on his brilliant effort into pulling it off. And for touching on so many themes that are universally resonant.
I would definitely recommend this book to each and every one as it has so much to offer!
You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon
Author: Gregory Patrick Travers Release Date: 3rd June 2019 Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir Series: Format: E-book Pages: 183 pages Publisher: Blurb: Being a cook and a rapper is hard work. Thankfully there are drugs to make it better. They say out of all the aspiring rappers trying to make it, only 1% will ever find mainstream success. Gregory Patrick Travers pens a fiction-like memoir of the ups and downs of Vancouver rapper, joBlow. One of the 99% who didn’t. Set in the years 2010 to 2014, not only does the book give you a behind-the-scenes look at the world of underground hip hop and the politics of the chain restaurant industry, but it places you in the timeline of notable Canadian milestones like the 2011 Stanley Cup riots, the Occupy Movement, and the 2010 Olympics. Meatballs & Microphones is a raw look into how one man’s chase for fame led to the destruction of every personal relationship he ever held dear. From bad band breakups to his struggle with addiction, to being homeless in order to pay for his tour expenses, this book lifts the veil of glamour surrounding fame and focuses on the hardships and downfalls that come with it.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Meatballs & Microphones by Gregory Patrick Travers is a touching and extremely relatable tale of someone who did not make it big in the music industry and, therefore, is a very realistic dig at the other side of the coin towards which a lot of people tend to turn a blind eye. This book is very much an eye-opener for anyone who either wants to enter the hip-hop music scene/industry or want to know how things really are behind the scenes.
I loved the writing of the author as it successfully delivered the context in a very relevant way and managed to pull at my heartstrings at the same time. I felt strongly for the author and was enraged in the last third fo the book, though thankfully, I was relieved by the ending as it turned out to be okay, if not great, for the author.
I’d definitely recommend this book to all the non-fic readers, but I’d also urge the fiction readers to check out this book as it reads really well (almost like a fiction novel) and tells a great story.
Author: Tadeusz Haska Release Date: 24th September 2019 Genre: Memoir Series: Format: E-book Pages: 148 Publisher: Koehler Books Blurb: “When I was arrested my whole world crumbled. I knew that leaders of political parties had been arrested, and never heard from again. My only chance at survival was to find a way to escape from the jail.” Orphaned in Poland at the age of thirteen, Tadeusz “Tad” Haska survived World War II on the run, narrowly evading the Nazis every step of the way. After the war, he daringly escaped jail by the Soviet Secret Police, fled to Sweden and launched an elaborate plan to smuggle his wife in a coffin on an all-male naval ship. Discover how Tad’s knowledge of nine languages helped him survive in the face of unspeakable adversity.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
How Languages Saved Me: A Polish Story Of Survival by Tadeusza Haska and Stefanie Nauman is a gut-wrenching memoir depicting how the knowledge of different languages helped Mr Tadeusz Haska, survive the aftermath of his prison time during WWII.
This book is written by his granddaughter and has been written exceptionally well. This book is a devastating insight into life in the post-WWII era and the problems faced by Mr Tad. Though I did relish reading about how he used his wits and education of various languages to get him out of situations that could have very well meant death.
This is a very good memoir and I’d recommend it to all readers who take an interest in history and memoirs.
Author: April Enciso Release Date: 7th September 2018 Genre: Memoir Series: Edition: E-book Pages: 103 Publisher: Blurb: This is a story about my father’s struggle with Early-Onset Alzheimer’s. We were living the American dream. My father ran his own business; we went on annual family vacations; I had a happy childhood. Then, one day in his late fifties, my father started having episodes of repeated conversations and forgetfulness. In a true story reminiscent of Lisa Genova’s novel Still Alice, we shockingly came to find out my father had Early-Onset Alzheimer’s. As he traversed down the rabbit hole into a downward spiral, we learned to cope with the bad times and embraced and appreciated the good times. This book is for the caregivers and loved ones of those suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It is my hope that my story will encourage you and buoy you forward.
Come Home Daddy by April Enciso is a beautiful tribute by the author to her father. This book is about the real-life journey of the author and her family through a tragedy. I will be keeping this review very short as reading this book wasn’t easy for me because of my emotional baggage. This book is a heartfelt pouring of a daughter and it will definitely move you in many ways.
I’d recommend this book to all readers of non-fiction and memoir. A beautiful read.
You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon
Author: Kally-Jay Mkwawa Release Date: 24th June 2018 Genre: Memoir, Non-Fiction Series: Edition: e-book Pages: 50 Publisher: – Blurb: Spending the better part of your life being called a good listener, a weirdo, a hermit or a ‘mirror of ugly truths’ and a walking-talking memory machine isn’t at all what it’s cut out to be. To a large extent, it’s a lonely life. You arrive into this life without even meaning to and suddenly it seems that you carry the weight of the whole world on your shoulders. You get sucked into it quite easily and coming up for a breath of fresh air is not easy at all.
This is an account that will give the reader, an idea of what Isidora has encountered in this beautiful, yet twisted and noisy place called the world. It’s not a long story with a happy ending (at least not so far). Rather, it’s about the reasons for her tears, worries, the unending voices in her head and the blows that life threw at her. It’s also about those precious moments of sheer joy and last, but certainly not least, her encounter with Him. Hopefully, sharing her story will find others who can relate to it and make them feel they’re not alone. Writing this work has been like an ‘extension’ of herself whilst overcoming her fear of hurting people or being compelled to ‘walk on eggshells’. It’s one of her legacies and as always, has been her type of therapy. May it be a type of therapy or an inspiration for you too.
Isidora: The Life, Mind and Memories of an African Phoenix by Kally-Jay Mkwawa is a memoir full of interesting experiences of the author.
I liked the book as it was an easy and a quick read. It was a deeply contemplative read and some of the introspections of the author were interesting and presented an illuminating glimpse into her fascinating world. The cultural, environmental as well as emotional insights provided in the book were quite enjoyable.
My only complaint is that the first 7 chapters of the book focused solely on guys the author encountered in her life. As a writer and an editor, I feel that it didn’t serve as the right hook (or to be precise, the right first half of the book.) Being a memoir, I understand the book needs to deal with all the major aspects of the author’s life, but it would have been better if those chapters were placed in the latter half of the book, making the first half more about her than about those guys.
Other than this issue, it was a good read. and I’d recommend it to non-fiction reads.
Author: Thomas Josef Release Date: 10th June 2018 Genre: Memoir, Non-Fiction, Autobiography Series: Edition: e-book Pages: Publisher: – Blurb: INCOMING is an intimate view of one man’s highs and lows during his four and half years of work as a military contractor at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan.
Thomas’ account explores the oftentimes melancholy details of working in a war zone, but equally delves into the beautiful cultivation of lasting friendships, libidinous love affairs, and the many other ways one must find to help them endure a life away from home and family.
Through his vivid recollections of training as a marathon runner, as well as the amorous but sometimes tumultuous exploration of life as a gay man on a military base, Thomas offers a political and social commentary along the way. For every harrowing moment dealing with personal or wartime bleakness, there’s an equally uplifting reminder that we find peace and happiness within ourselves and those we choose as companions.
Incoming! Life Of A Contract Warrior InAfghanistan by Thomas Josef is a remarkable account of his days with the military.
A very well-written book that is brought out by the fact that every emotion and every incident of the book felt not only real but also relatable. The background of the war zone served as a really engaging component. The writing was beautifully descriptive and kept me up at night wanting to read more and more.
I enjoyed reading this book a lot as it made me feel a plethora of different emotions. But more than anything else, I like this book because I was able to feel a connection with the author and felt that the writing was honest.
If you like reading non-fiction and memoirs then you must definitely read this book.
Author: Eric O’Greywith Mark Dagostino Release Date: 10th October 2017 Genre: Memoir, Non-Fiction, Autobiography, Animals Series: Edition: e-book Pages: 320 Publisher: Hachette Book Group Blurb: Eric met Peety when he was 150 pounds overweight, depressed, and sick. After a lifetime of failed diet attempts, and the onset of serious diabetes due to his weight, Eric went to a new doctor, who surprisingly prescribed a shelter dog. And that’s when Eric met Peety: a middle-aged and forgotten shelter dog who, like Eric, had seen better days. The two adopted each other and began an incredible journey together, and the bond of unconditional love they formed forever changed their lives. Over the next year, just by going on walks, playing together and eating plant-based food, Eric lost 150 pounds, and Peety lost 25. As a result, Eric reversed his type 2 diabetes, got off all medication, became happy and healthy for the first time in his life, and even reconnected with and married his high school sweetheart. WALKING WITH PEETY is perfect for anyone who is ready to make a change in their life and for everyone who knows the joy, love and hope that dogs can bring to human lives. This is more than a tale of mutual rescue, this is an epic story of friendship and strength.
Walking With Peety by Eric O’Grey is a beautiful memoir about the author’s journey, along with an adopted dog, full of hope, lots of ups and downs and love.
This book is a beautiful tribute to the love and happiness an animal brings into the life of a person. A very enjoyable book with honestly that reflected in the writing. It was a very touching and warm read. It proved to be a very inspiring story which left me feeling motivated to change a couple of things in my life that I might be taking for granted.
I’d recommend it to the readers of non-fiction genre as well as to those who love animals or are going through rough times and can do with a bit of a pick-me-up.
Author: Patrick A. Roland Release Date: 7th November 2016 Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir Edition: E-book Pages: 163 Publisher: Wallace Publishing
Over a year ago, I left a Mariah Carey concert in Las Vegas after six songs. I had gone on the trip as a present to myself for turning forty. But I couldn’t enjoy it. I was high on multiple drugs, but mostly crystal meth, and extremely drunk. I had been this way the majority of the year and a half since my partner Pack had suddenly passed away.
I found him dead on the bathroom floor one January morning while I was getting ready for work. The police told me I had no rights in my own home and asked me to leave. This was before gay marriage became legal. Life as I knew it changed instantly.
His family pretended I didn’t exist. They mauled our home the day he died, leaving it a ravaged mess. I was kicked out of that home. I was also disinvited to his funeral. In eight days I lost everything that mattered. Not even the law protected me from this.
So I got high in an effort to shoulder the pain. It didn’t work. I carried the heavy weight of unresolved complicated grief and addiction on my back. It was like an elephant. A large, unwieldy elephant that wanted me to die.
No longer able to participate in anything that mattered and unwilling to bear this burden anymore, I went back to my hotel room on the twenty-sixth floor of a casino and looked out on the sparkly lights below. I wanted to be in the light. So I opened the window and decided to jump.
But God intervened. My mother had somehow found me. Help came and I surrendered to the powerlessness of my situation. I asked God to help me. I stayed and I fought and I learned how to love myself. I put on a pair of sparkly shoes I had bought for that barely attended concert and I walked in to the rooms of Crystal Meth Anonymous. I had bought the sparkly shoes hoping Mariah would see me in the audience. Though she didn’t get the chance, you did. You all embraced me and my sparkly shoes. They have become my calling card of experience, strength, and hope.
Unpacked Sparkle by Patrick A. Roland is a story about grief, addiction, recovery and everything that entails. It is a heart-touching book that’ll make the reader experience the tragedies the author went through first hand.
It is not just another memoir, but it is one to be remembered for a long time. There is so much pain and desperation in the author’s voice that I felt a deep connection not only to the story but also to the writing. This is a very well written book and it has a lot in store for each and everyone who reads it.