Book Review Not a Blueprint, It’s the Shoe Prints that Matter Nine Norstrom

Not a Blueprint, It's the Shoe Prints that Matter: A Journey Through Toxic RelationshipsNot a Blueprint, It’s the Shoe Prints that Matter: A Journey Through Toxic Relationships by Nina Norstrom
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Not A Blueprint, It’s the Shoe Prints that Matter: A Journey Through Toxic Relationships, is a memoir of Nina Norstrom. In the author’s note, she broadly defines that a toxic relationship can be with people, alcohol, disease, and our internal emotions to mention a few. The memoir provides an overview of Nina’s life journey, beginning in her childhood growing in a dysfunctional family with an alcoholic father who abuses her mother. The author’s daughter, China, is born out of wedlock as a result of a liaison with a married man. Although she continues seeking relationships with males so China can have a father figurehead, these relationships don’t work out. The one driving force that motivates the author to overcome obstacles is to provide for her daughter as best she can. The heart of this memoir is Nina’s unconditional love for her daughter who must battle cancer as a young woman.

Author Norstrom tells a heartfelt story with a straight-forward, relatable voice. After each chapter, she provides insight into what lessons she has learned from each experience. Although she doesn’t always make the wisest decisions, her heart is in the right place as she struggles to learn the lessons from her journey through life. A bonus from her memoir is a list of support groups that can help people through times of grief.

I recommend this memoir to readers who are looking for insight on how to overcome toxic relationships by following the footprints of this author as her trial unfolds in this story.

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Book Review War King by Eric Schumacher

War King (Hakon's Saga, #3)War King by Eric Schumacher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hakon’s Saga Book 3, War King, is a riveting Norse historical action adventure set in 957 AD. The saga continues for King Hakon Haroldsson, who wrested Norway’s throne from his murderous brother, Erik Bloodaxe, but mercifully spared Erik’s family. This is a mistake Hakon regrets later when he must face the sons of Erik, who are bent on avenging the wrong done to their father and family. Erik’s sons ally with the Danish king, Harold Bluetooth, and wreak havoc on the region with their brutal raids and plunder. The book is divided into three parts in which Hakon must defend his realm against all odds in three major military campaigns. He uses sound strategy and battle tactics to overcome his enemies. But, as a Christian king, he begins to question if the bloodlust to defend his realm has only resulted in fear and sorrow for his people and those he loves.

Author Eric Schumacher masterfully tells the story from the point of view of King Hakon, an engaging character who demonstrates strength, loyalty, and self-reflection. What makes this tale rise above others in this genre is the author’s skill in vividly capturing the Viking culture. Through graphic detail, readers are immersed in the chaos of fighting, but the battle scenes and tactics are presented with clarity. The saga not only captures the excitement of battle but is also character-driven. Extra bonuses in the book include regional maps and a glossary of Viking terms which are used in the narrative.

War King immediately draws and keeps readers immersed in the legendary tale of King Hakon through rich details of the Viking culture, landscape, and clashes. Highly recommended for those seeking Viking adventure.

I voluntarily reviewed this book for the Historical Novel Society, and the review is also posted in the Historical Newsletter HNR Issue 88 (May 2019).

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