Not So Light Summer Reading List

Not So Light Summer Reading List-Books-Chasing the Merry-Go-Round by Kelly Bargabos---Sanity Lost and Found by Tarra Judson Stariell-Elevate by Joseph Dietsch

Beauty Brite Disclosure


Books, books, and more books. Sounds pretty awesome to me. If I ever run out of books to read, I think I might die! LOL  Seriously, you know that fun riddle about what one or two or three things you’d take if you had to be stranded on a desert island? For me, I would have to have at least one book. Period, end of discussion. Books are essential for me.

I read all kinds, too. Fiction, non-fiction, horror/fantasy, memoir, biography, self-help, romance, history, political — you name a genre I’ve probably read something that falls within it. I’ve been reading a lot of fiction lately, some of which I’ve discussed on Beauty Brite in my articles. I’m itching to read the new Stephen King book, The Outsider, but haven’t started it yet.

I’ve recently read a few books that are non-fiction and that fall into the self-help genre. So, today I’m sharing this short list with readers, along with my thoughts on each.

Chasing The Merry Go Round by Kelly Bargabos — A fascinating look into the life of someone realizing the special needs a family member has and learning to provide them with the care they need.

Sanity Lost & Found by Tarra Judson Stariell — A true story of cult brainwashing and recovery, how to recognize one’s vulnerability to it as well as how to how to recover and heal from the experience. Forgiveness is a big theme in this book, both of ourselves and of others. I kept thinking of one person in particular while reading this book. She could definitely benefit from reading it as she has spent most of her life feeling victimized by the men in her life.

Elevate The Essential Guide To Life by Joseph Deitsch — Full of common-sense wisdom, this is one of the few self-help books I’ve read that I believe has the potential to really help. It not only explains why we do (or don’t) do things, but contains actionable steps to take to make your life your own and the best it can be.


Chasing The Merry Go Round: Holding On To Hope And Home When The World Moves Too Fast — Kelly Bargabos


As a former social worker, this book was a fascinating read for me. I worked with abused and neglected children and their parents. Often, I would wonder to myself why the parents I worked with made the same dysfunctional decisions over and over and how to help them break that cycle.

I had heard of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome — where alcohol abuse while pregnant can cause lasting detrimental effects to an unborn child — but wasn’t exceptionally knowledgeable about the subject. Reading this book, it was like a light bulb in my head constantly clicking on as I recognized behaviors and thought patterns of former clients. It shed some understanding that I wish that I’d had while actively working with families.

Chasing The Merry Go Round by Kelly Bargabos


Life moves fast. Too fast for some people. This is the true story of what it’s like to live in a world where you can’t keep up. Bobby was ten months old when my mom and dad rescued him from birth parents who were slowly killing him. He was adopted into our family after a lengthy custody battle. Instead of that settling him, it set off a lifelong struggle to find a place to belong, a place to call home. Like an old-fashioned merry-go-round, the world moved at a speed that was just too fast for Bobby. He couldn’t keep up, which prevented him from keeping a job, a roof over his head, and the basics needed to survive. The life he dreamt of was always out of reach. No one knew why. While cultural ideals of what a “normal” life looks like can distort our perspective, Chasing the Merry-Go-Round allows readers to see the world through the eyes of a person with intellectual and physical disabilities, which can often be invisible, especially at first glance. It’s a story about struggle and hope, survival and resilience, and most of all, the gift of acceptance and love.


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Sanity Lost & Found: A True Story Of Brainwashing

And Recovery — Tarra Judson Stariell


I’ve often wondered how people can cause others to do their bidding even when it’s against that other person’s will. How they can come to have such a high level of control over the actions of others. Sanity Lost & Found is a truly fascinating look inside how this can come to be.

I love that it’s written from the perspective of one who was controlled so completely but who also found a way out of that situation and has recovered (as much as one can from such an experience) and has gone on to help others escape and perhaps prevent themselves falling into a similar circumstance themselves.

This is one of those books you read and then can’t ever forget. I’ve read hundreds of books during my lifetime, any many (if not most) while they are good books and make for engaging reading I couldn’t tell you what exactly they were about after some time has passed. This one is different. This will be one of the ones I remember for a long, long time to come.

If you are interested in how cult personality works and how people can be controlled by one, this is a good place to start for a first-hand perspective.

Sanity Lost & Found by Tarra Judson Stariell


Cult. A word we all know, but few will ever have reason to confront in their own lives. Something other families might have to deal with, something that will impact other children. Right? Maybe. Or, maybe not…

A bright and beautiful child brought up in an idyllic ranch setting, as a young woman Sandy should have had it all. Instead, she fell prey to a psychopath who consumed more than a decade and a half of her life.

“He did not need to chain or lock us in the room; our fear kept us in bondage, more securely immobilized than any physical restraints could have ever done.†– Tarra Judson Stariell

How do we become victims of our own irrationality? What makes us vulnerable to the predators among us? Why would an otherwise sensitive, intelligent woman allow herself to return again and again to her abuser? How do we stop the erosion of our self-worth?

Simultaneously recognizable and horrifying, we see parts of ourselves and our own vulnerabilities in this compelling story of one woman’s descent into and climb out of the abyss.

For anyone who has ever allowed themselves to be victimized, for anyone who has ever doubted their value, for anyone wanting to protect their children from such vulnerabilities, Sanity Lost and Found is a compelling, informative, and inspirational read that weaves together the how and why for such vulnerabilities and the components necessary for recovery and transformation.


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Elevate – An Essential Guide To Life — Joseph Deitsch

This one is a book that you won’t devour while sitting on the beach or at the pool. It’s one that you will peruse over the course of days, weeks, or even months. You will want time after reading sessions to absorb and ponder over what you’ve read.

You can read it straight through cover to cover or bounce around to different sections based on what interests you. I’m still in the process of reading it. This first time through I’m reading it straight through because some of the principles discussed in each section come up in subsequent areas and I don’t want to be lost wondering what the author is talking about.

I’m really engrossed in this one because I’m learning things not only about myself, but also things that I can pass on to my sisters and my mother who can really use some life pointers! I’d pass this on to my mom (an historically voracious reader) but she’s been through some really hard times over the years and is currently not reading books.

She says she just can’t focus enough to read right now. I hope this gets better for her because a life without books for me would be unthinkable and I know she’s always felt the same. I will pass it along to one of my sisters when I finish it because she could really use it right now.

One thing I sometimes struggle with is bringing an idea to fruition. Somewhere between the idea popping into my head, the motivation to achieve the desired outcome, and taking the necessary steps to complete the task things can get muddled. This can result in procrastinating on even starting a project because I get too inside my own head about it. I am learning some really good ways to work through this kind of situation from reading this book.

Another section in particular that really spoke to me was one titled “The ABCs of Time.” This one is about how you have a to-do list, how you order it and get things done. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made a to-do list that gets really long and cluttered with things I want to accomplish. It can get to looking pretty daunting and overwhelming. This section helped me think about how to utilize this organizational tool and make it work better for me.

Time management is another area many of us struggle with. Some days I wake up with a few things I need (or want) to get accomplished that are important to me. Some days I breeze through and feel really productive. Other days I seem to get sidetracked by many lesser tasks as I go along my way trying to get the main things done. It can be really annoying. The action tasks recommended is to write down everything you do for a period of time and then review it. Wow, this can be really eye-opening to see how sidetracked you can get by other things sometimes.

I’ve read quite a few self-help books, most of which are sitting on my bookshelf only partially read. This one is one that I can definitely see finishing. It’s intended to be a book that you re-consult again and again over time. I really think it will be, for me.

Elevate An Essential Guide To Life by Joseph Deitsch


A modern world that is bursting with data can often make us feel even more lost as we struggle to find meaning and look for the answers to life’s mysteries. Joseph Deitch shares his lifelong pursuit of wisdom and growth in an accessible, practical, down-to-earth gift to his readers. Elevate is a celebration of life and the potential that exists for all of us. It provides both answers and insights as it links awareness and action, East and West, ancient and modern, spiritual and scientific. It offers a formula for turning frustration into fascination and provides a universal framework for what works and why, what to do . . . and why we don’t.


Books-Elevate by Joseph Deitsch-Sanity Lost & Found by Tarra Judson Stariell-Chasing The Merry Go Round by Kelly Bargabos

So, there it is. Several heavier, more serious books that are on my summer reading list. The entire list isn’t self-help, though, so don’t get worried. Tops on my list is the new Stephen King novel, The Outsider. I can’t wait to dig into that one. I’ve been an SK fan since I was about 12-years-old and read The Shining for the first time. Another one is The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum which is based on a true story of a teenage girl held captive and brutally tortured by neighborhood children.

Also on the list is the audiobook my husband recently told me about, I’ll Be Gone In The Dark by Michelle McNamara about her efforts in tracking down the Golden State Killer, accused of committing 12 murders, 45 rapes and 120 residential burglaries between 1976 and 1986 in California. Others include The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy, The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner, and Red Clocks by Leni Zumas.

Yes, I read a lot, and these will not be the only books I read this summer I guarantee you. There will absolutely be others that catch my eye and end up in my To-Read stack.

What will you be reading this summer?


Connect with:

Joseph Deitsch: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Kelly Bargabos: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

Tarra Judson Stariell: Website | Goodreads

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Where to buy:

Elevate The Essential Guide To Life by Joseph Deitsch: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million

Chasing The Merry Go Round by Kelly Bargabos: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million

Sanity Lost & Found by Tarra Judson Stariell: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million





Not So Light Summer Reading List

Not So Light Summer Reading List

Not So Light Summer Reading List Not So Light Summer Reading List Not So Light Summer Reading List Not So Light Summer Reading List Not So Light Summer Reading List Not So Light Summer Reading List Not So Light Summer Reading List

About Wendy

SAHM of 1 school age kid, two adult kids (my 26 yr old daughter & 19 year old son) and one middle-age kid (the hubby). Avid animal lover who cares daily for our dogs, cats, and chickens. My MIL says I need a cow for fresh milk; I say No Way!!! LOL Hobbies include listening to music, reading, writing, cooking/baking, canning foods like pickles and green beans, making jams and jellies, crafting, knitting, crocheting, and cross-stitching. I'm a laid-back mama who prefers not to micro-manage the lives of my family (though I feel sometimes like they micro-manage mine as my schedule mainly consists of coordinating all of their schedules). But, I love it and wouldn't have it any other way.

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