Stretched Too Thin: How Working Moms Can Lose the Guilt, Work Smarter, and Thrive by Jessica N. Turner

Publication Date: September 18th, 2018

Rating: 5 Stars

Stretched Too Thin is the “self-help” book every female needs!  I don’t care if you are a mother or childless, spouse or single, home owner or living with your parents – Turner offers sage advice, relatable experiences and achievable solutions.  From friendship to self-care, work, parenting and home every page had me nodding my head in agreement and jotting down notes for positive changes to make in my own life.  Anyone who has ever felt overwhelmed or guilty will relate to this book. 

As a working female, or adult in general, I often feel overwhelmed in all that needs to be accomplished and the minimal hours in my day.  I feel frustrated that many of the books I read on overwhelmed feelings offer stories with no solutions or workable advice.  Stretched Too Thin provides relatable experiences and attainable action items to better yourself.  It also provides important reminders that every human needs to hear again and again.  Each chapter wraps up with several pages of prompts and activities to help the reader both become self-aware and resolve the concepts broached in each chapter. 

This is absolutely a book I will be picking up again and again!  For any female, mother, adult or employee, do yourself a favor and read this book.

*Disclaimer: A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher; all opinions are my own.

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Candlewick Press: The Red Ribbon by Lucy Adlington & We Are Here to Stay: Voices of Undocumented Young Adults by Susan Kuklin

The Red Ribbon by Lucy Adlington

Publication Date: September 11th, 2018

Rating: 5 Stars

The Red Ribbon tells the story of the Auschwitz experience, or Birchwood as it is translated to, from the lens of a young child.

The Red Ribbon is based on the actual dress shop within Auschwitz created by the Commander’s wife, for the purpose of using prisoners’ talents to create fashion for herself. Within this story, young heroine Ella becomes quick friends with Rose through their responsibilities at the Birchwood seamstress shop. They band together as they work to keep hope through the tortures and terrors they face at Birchwood. Ella finds a way to connect to a slice of home as she designs and executes dresses for the Birchwood guards and Commander’s wife. While Rose shows Ella compassion, friendship and the importance of storytelling.

As a self-prescribed WWII historical fiction lover, I can say I’ve NEVER read a WWII novel quiet like this. Like, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, this novel is told from the point of view of the children. The sadness and heart wrenching horrors of the Nazi’s are present in the innocent, child eyes of those who refuse to lose HOPE. I don’t know of a better young adult concentration camp read. Five bold, bright, perfect stars to this read.

*Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, Candlewick Press, in exchange for an honest review.


We Are Here to Stay: Voices of Undocumented Young Adults by Susan Kuklin

Publication Date: January 8th, 2019

Rating: 4 Stars

The American Dream is worth fighting for! The empathy within this book provides serves as a call to action.

Author, Susan Kuklin began this book several years ago as she collected stories and more importantly photos of immigrants that arrived or remained illegally in the United States. As this book approached its publication date, and the current United States President began rolling back immigrant protections, Kuklin was forced to pull the photos and change names for privacy and protection of those brave enough to share their story. This story is an unwilling testament to the effects the cancelling of The Dreamer’s Act is having. By cancelling The Dreamer’s Act, we have forced many strong, resilient immigrants back into the shadows.

The strength it took for HUMANS to participate in this book is overshadowed by the author’s need to retract identifying information of these undocumented persons. Their own safety, despite residing and CONTRIBUTING to a first world country (The U.S. of A), is at risk during this current Administration. There are still too many things immigrant CAN’T do, but the potential to achieve keeps driving them as is evidenced time and time again within these pages.

*Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, Candlewick Press, in exchange for an honest review.

Not the Boss of Us: Putting Overwhelmed in Its Place in a Do-All, Be-All World by Kay Wills Wyma

Publication Date: August 21st, 2018

Rating: 2 ½ Stars

I am a self-described, high functioning ball of stress. Ask my husband, at any one moment I am overwhelmed by dishes, laundry, cleaning, my hair, my clothes, the yard, you name it. Even if everything is done, I will stress about “what’s to come.” I feel like many can relate to this. I fail to turn my brain off, even when I’ve left the office I haven’t really “left” the office. I am constantly thinking of the many things I still need to accomplish tomorrow, or this week, or this month. So, when my prior mentioned husband saw me reading Not the Boss of Us, he was thrilled.

Going into this book, I hoped to not only gain perspective on what causes people to feel overwhelmed, but I also wanted to gain an understanding into how to control stressors. I assumed, given the wide-spread population likely affected by these same experiences, this book would provide fact-based research and solutions. Obviously, this was not the case, but I did walk away with several important reminders and perspectives.

  • Social media invades us with “curated pictures posted on platforms [that] tell a story. Then they do what we can’t seem to stop them from doing: inform us about ourselves in relation to others as well as to our own expectations.”
    • It is easy to begin to struggle under the weight of identifiers as “human nature leads us to think we are the only ones feeling a certain way,” when this is not in fact the case. But, social media plays negatively into these feelings and works to further compound.
  • We overlook the practice of thankfulness. Again, we get caught up in comparing ourselves to others we fail to remind ourselves of all we should be thankful for.
    • This simple practice can be done to improve physical and psychological health, sleep, relationships, self-esteem and much more.

In this same vein I deeply related to the following “bombs” we often come face-to-face with:

  • “Status Bombs” – wreak havoc as we compare and identify against the married/not married, job/no job, baby/no baby, homeowner/renter outcomes we see others experiencing.
  • “Stress Bombs” – evoke fear and a sense of anxiety for instance, the fear of failure, fear of falling behind, fear of being left out.

These reminders were important, they conjured deeper reflection and served to right me on my own path of easing the overwhelming feelings many adults face. But, unfortunately these prompts were often hidden amongst Wyma’s own tangled stories and tangents.

*Disclaimer: A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher, but all opinions are my own.