Stronger: Forty Days of Metal and Spirituality by Brian “Head” Welch

  • Published: November 30, 2010 by HarperCollins
  • Edition: E-book
  • Pages: 208
  • Rating: 2 stars

This 40-Day devotional from Brian “Head” Welch, former lead guitarist of Korn and the New York Times bestselling author of Save Me From Myself, is an intimate tour through the Bible passages that have meant the most to him on his trying journey from substance abuse to salvation. Save Me From Myself, Welch’s self-effacing story his against addiction and his reawakening to divine love, has made the metal band icon into a hero of Christian rock. Uncompromisingly honest about his demons, and equally fervent about his faith, Head and his impassioned devotional offer a uniquely voiced guiding light perfect for young Christians and rock music fans everywhere.

Brian “Head” Welch co-founded the highly successful metal band named Korn and had everything he could have asked for: nice vehicles and houses, loads of cash, and let’s not forget the most important, fame. It came as a huge shock to everyone when in 2005, the musician made the decision to give his life over to Christ and walk away from his band and all the luxuries attached to it. In this book, Welch carries his readers into spiritual discussions for the span of forty days that he will compare this journey to that of the biblical Moses. Each day, the author shares a few biblical verses that have meaning to him and shares stories of times throughout his relationship with Christ that he needed to apply those specific ones.

This book is not my typical read; I am not familiar with many scriptures of the Bible and don’t practice the religion frequently, so it made it hard to connect with the book. It is for that reason that I decided to rate this one a two star read for me. Although in his defense, I did find that Welch breaks down the verses he shares in a way that is easy to understand. This book is the perfect read for those seeking spiritual guidance, those who love hearing more on Welch’s life after seeking Christ, or those that are looking for a light, uplifting read.

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A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard

  • Published: July 12, 2011 by Simon & Schuster
  • Genre: Memoir, True Crime
  • Edition: E-book
  • Pages: 304
  • Rating: 3 stars

Jaycee Dugard was a normal eleven year old girl from a rural town in California when the course of her life took an unexpected turn. As Jaycee was walking up the street to catch the morning bus, a couple by the names of Phillip and Nancy Garrido drove up beside her, stunned her, and placed her in the backseat of their vehicle before speeding off. The world would not know the status of her life or the horrors she would ultimately survive for the next eighteen years.

In this memoir, Dugard provides a detailed retelling of her eighteen years in captivity. She documents the first day that Phillip took her into the bathroom inside his home and groomed her private area to his liking before sexually assaulting her for the first time. She documents the moment that she found out she was pregnant with both of her daughters and shares the stories of their births without having proper medical care. Dugard talks about how she established a school system for her daughters despite the fact that she herself only held a fifth grade education. Last, but not least she talks about the moment that she was properly identified as the missing girl from 1991 and how difficult it was to break free from the years of manipulation from her abductors in order to truly be free.

For those that followed Jaycee’s story on the news, this is the perfect read for you. I’d also recommend this book to those that would like to educate themselves more about Dugard’s story or those that love reading about true crime.

This book was the winner of Goodreads Choice Award for Memoir/Autobiography in 2011.

Save Me From Myself by Brian “Head” Welch


The amazing true story of an out-of-control rock star, his devastating addiction to drugs, and his miraculous redemption through Jesus Christ.

In February 2005, more than ten thousand people in Bakersfield, California, watched as Brian “Head” Welch—the former lead guitarist of the controversial rock band Korn—was saved by Jesus Christ. The event set off a media frenzy as observers from around the world sought to understand what led this rock star out of the darkness and into the light.

Now, in this courageous memoir, Head talks for the first time about his shocking embrace of God and the tumultuous decade that led him into the arms of Jesus Christ. Offering a backstage pass to his time with Korn, Head tells the inside story of his years in the band and explains how his rock star lifestyle resulted in an all-consuming addiction to methamphetamines. Writing openly about the tour bus mayhem of Ozzfest and The Family Values tour, he provides a candid look at how the routine of recording, traveling, and partying placed him in a cycle of addiction that he could not break on his own.

Speaking honestly about his addiction, Head details his struggles with the drug that ultimately led him to seek a higher power. Despite his numerous attempts to free himself from meth, nothing—not even the birth of his daughter—could spur him to kick it for good. Here Head addresses how, with the help of God, he emerged from his dangerous lifestyle and found a path that was not only right for his daughter, it was right for him.

Discussing the chaotic end to his time in Korn and how his newfound faith has influenced his relationship with his daughter, his life, and his music, Head describes the challenging but rewarding events of the last two years, exposing the truth about how his moments of doubt and his hardships have only deepened his faith.

The readers are taken on a journey with the author in Welch’s debut memoir. Welch’s success with Korn did not happen overnight like most would believe. Before the stardom, Brian “Head” Welch was just an ordinary teenager in Bakersfield, California trying to make his dreams of being a musician a reality. He spent hours practicing his guitar skills and starting up several bands that ended after one live show. It seemed like no matter what he did, the dream was not any closer to being within his reach.

Then one night after having recently established a new band that was in need of a lead singer, Welch and another member decided to scout local clubs in hopes of finding the right person for the position. The night was not looking hopeful and they were in the middle of calling it a night when the last band took the stage and the band’s lead singer had not even sung a single note yet and the duo already knew this guy was the man they were looking for. Who would that be you ask? Jonathan Davis.

With their band formed, they started creating beats and writing lyrics. It was not too long afterwards that Korn was deemed the band’s name despite reluctance from their manager about the name not being ideal on landing them a record deal. Welch’s dreams had finally came true, but unknown to him at the time it was to be the beginning of some dark and troubling times.

Welch is very honest with his readers about his addiction to meth, pills, and alcohol. He talks about using drugs with fellow members and while writing, recording, and touring. He tried quitting on his own and with the help of rehab, but to no avail. His last option was to trying placing the situation in God’s hands.

The world was shocked when “Head” announced that he was leaving Korn and had been saved. The decision was a tough one, but ultimately saved his life. With the help of Christ, he was able to become a better father, friend, and son. By finding Christ, he was able to finally ditch the drugs and become sober for good. The decision to walk away from everything was not one made lightly, but Welch is making the most of it and taking it one day at a time.

This memoir is a must read for those that enjoy the band’s music, want insight on why “Head” turned to Christ and has pursued the journey to walk beside Him, or for anyone like me that enjoys a memoir that is personal, honest, and unbiased. I give this book 3 stars.

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Conquering Chaos by Catelynn Lowell & Tyler Baltierra

Millions of people around the world will recognize these two from their Teen Mom franchise, but through their memoir you’ll get to know a side of the couple that does not end up on your television screen.

It’s not a secret that Catelynn and Tyler are one of the most beloved cast members of Teen Mom and appear to be the “goody two shoes” type, but in their book they are quick to educate you on their mischievous past and previous drug use. I know what you’re thinking…but it is true! The duo were picking up some risky habits and exhibiting behaviors that could have landed them in some serious trouble, but once Catelynn found out she was pregnant it all started to change.

Catelynn knew from a young age that she wanted to become a mother one day; she describes herself as very maternal and caring, which is easy to pick up on if you watch the show. However, her home life at the time of the pregnancy was anything but stable. Ultimately, she and her boyfriend decided it would be in their child’s best interest to be placed for adoption. This news did not go over well with their parents, which is captured on the television show.

“Less than one percent of women choose adoption for their babies. Ninety-nine percent of women who parent choose to get pregnant or have an abortion. That’s why it’s so ironic and amazing that Catelynn chose adoption, because for someone who had dreamed about parenthood for so long and had such a strong maternal instinct, it was the ultimate sacrifice. She’s in that one percent of women who made that decision.”

-Tyler commenting on Catelynn’s decision to place their first born child up for adoption.

It was no doubt the toughest decision the couple had faced up to that point in their relationship, but they do not regret it one bit. They now advocate for adoption and keep in touch with their firstborn’s adoptive parents through their counselor, Dawn.

Rating: 3 stars. I hope this review encourages you to add this book to your TBR.

Book Review: The One by John Marrs

Published: February 20, 2018 by Hanover Square Press

Genres: Science fiction, Suspense

Edition: E-book

Pages: 416

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Description: A simple DNA test is all it takes. Just a quick mouth swab and soon you’ll be matched with your perfect partner—the one you’re genetically made for.

That’s the promise made by Match Your DNA. A decade ago, the company announced that they had found the gene that pairs each of us with our soul mate. Since then, millions of people around the world have been matched. But the discovery has its downsides: test results have led to the breakup of countless relationships and upended the traditional ideas of dating, romance and love.

Now five very different people have received the notification that they’ve been “Matched.” They’re each about to meet their one true love. But “happily ever after” isn’t guaranteed for everyone. Because even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking than others…

Five reasons to read this book:

  1. This book is filled with unexpected twists; I’m not lying when I say there is a surprise within each chapter of this book. 
  2. I love how the author gives readers perspectives from five different characters. I find it rare to read a book where multiple points of views are highlighted, I personally wish there were more books like this! By allowing different insights, the readers are less likely to become bored while reading and have a better chance at coming across a character they enjoy and can relate to.
  3. This book reminded me of the episode titled Hang the DJ from the Netflix Original show, Black Mirror. In the episode, a dating system is responsible for pairing up couples and providing them with the knowledge of when their relationships will expire. If you have seen the show or this episode in particular and enjoyed it, then you should definitely give this book a read!
  4. If you are a person who likes to read the book before a show is created based off it, then you will want to be putting this book on your “to be read” list because it’s being adapted into a television series by Netflix and is expected to make its debut in January 2020.
  5. The One is the type of book that you will find impossible to put down! If you are looking for a book that is fairly short with an interesting concept that will keep you turning the pages, then this is the book for you. I rarely award books with a five star rating, so I think it’s safe to say this book definitely deserves this review and praise.

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Book Review: A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold

Published: February 15, 2016 by Broadway Books
Genre: Memoir
Edition: E-book
Pages: 319
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
If viewers have not noticed, I have a thing for memoirs. I personally love memoirs where the author is completely vulnerable with his/her readers and does not seem to lean towards a good or bad only perspective. For those that are unaware of the author, Sue Klebold is the mother of Dylan Klebold; he is one half of the shooting duo responsible for the April 20, 1999 school shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. In A Mother’s Reckoning, Sue Klebold does an exceptional job at chronicling the events from her son’s childhood up until the events of Columbine that ultimately ended with the suicide of her son. Although she is the perpetrator’s mother, she does not condone the actions of her son that resulted in the loss of thirteen lives or try to make excuses as to what may have caused him to make the decision to commit this heinous act. However, she also showcases the wonderful aspects of her son that have completely come undone due to that one fatal decision.

Sue Klebold has always kept a diary, which is the source for all the recollections she provides throughout this book. Growing up, Dylan was a normal, well-behaved child that presented no warning signs that he would mature into a person that would be capable of any act of violence upon himself or others. He always did his homework, maintained good grades, never argued with his parents, or even used profanity; he gave his parents no reason to worry. It is often that individuals assume that parents are aware that something is going on with their child and refuse to accept the signs being presented, while others seem to feel as if it is the parents who are at fault when their child demonstrates harmful, deadly behavior. Klebold shines light on the errors of this thinking; in her raw and honest style of writing, she lets readers know that it is impossible to truly know everything about your child and that you can do everything right as a parent and at the end of the day still fail.

During the last few months of Dylan’s life, he exhibited no signs of the horror that lied ahead. He maintained his usual, content self; he was partaking in normal senior activities: prom, college applications, as well as even declaring to his parents the college he wanted to attend and they even took him there for a tour! Life in the Klebold household could not have seemed happier and bright, but that quickly came crashing down on that fateful April day. Sue was at work when her husband called to let her know about the school shooting; as would any mother, she immediately thought of Dylan and how to deliver him to safety. It would only be a few hours until everything in her world came crashing down when she discovered her son was one of the members responsible. By the end of the shooting, thirteen lives were loss including Sue’s son, Dylan who ultimately committed suicide in the school’s library by gunshot wound to the left temple. 

In the aftermath of the tragedy, everything for the Klebolds started to fall apart. The community that once welcomed them with open arms now turned their backs in disgust and anguish. The public outrage led to the family’s decision to not have a funeral, but instead a small, private viewing among close family before having the body cremated. The grieving process took a toll on Klebold and her husband, which sadly led to their divorce. This experience has shaped her life into what it is today and she has spent the last two decades sharing her personal story with others in hopes to bring about more awareness towards mental health. 

In conclusion, I must say this read is definitely worth it. I rarely give books a five star rating, but this one absolutely deserves it. I hope by reading this review, you feel encouraged to give the book a chance.

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Book Review: Who Killed These Girls? by Beverly Lowry

Published: October 11, 2016 by Vintage
Genre: True Crime
Edition: E-book
Pages: 371
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Description: The facts are brutally straightforward. On December 6, 1991, the naked, bound-and-gagged bodies of the four girls–each one shot in the head–were found in an I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt! shop in Austin, Texas. Grief, shock, and horror spread out from their families and friends to overtake the city itself. Though all branches of law enforcement were brought to bear, the investigation was often misdirected and after eight years only two men (then teenagers) were tried; moreover, their subsequent convictions were eventually overturned, and Austin PD detectives are still working on what is now a very cold case. Over the decades, the story has grown to include DNA technology, false confessions, and other developments facing crime and punishment in contemporary life. But this story belongs to the scores of people involved, and from them Lowry has fashioned a riveting saga that reads like a Russian novel, comprehensive and thoroughly engrossing.

Five Reasons To Read This Book:
  1. Readers that enjoy true crime shows and stories will want to have this one on their “to be read” list! This book details the horrendous, quadruple murder of four female teenagers in Austin, TX, which remains unsolved to this day.
  2. The author shows off the extensive researching that she did on this case in order to publish this book. Lowry takes readers on a journey of events on the four girls’ last day alive and shares some background information on their personalities, relationships, and other critical elements that establishes a connection among those that read this book. By the end of the book, the author follows up with those that she interviewed and got to know during the making of the book. This allows readers to see what has become of the yogurt shop, the original suspects, how the families of the victims are doing, and other information that one would want to know after the aftermath of this case.
  3. This book will have readers feeling a whirlwind of emotions; shock on the total of individuals murdered and how, hatred that whoever committed these acts remains unpunished, sorrow for the victims and their families, among others. Personally, I had to take a few breaks from the book in order to process my own feelings on what I was reading; this just goes to show how awful this case was and how well the author had written it.
  4. For those that are like me, when you watch shows or read about cases that are unsolved you want to try to see if you can be the detective that catches what might have been overlooked. This book definitely educates those that read it on everything that happened that fateful night all the way up until recent years, which helps get conversations started on what might have happened, what might not have been checked out, bring about new suspects, among other useful information that can help bring closure to this case.
  5. For those that do not understand legal terms, this is the perfect book to obtain knowledge on such terminology because Lowry takes time to define those that she includes within this book. It makes for an easier reading experience and helps ensure readers are interpreting her words in the right way.

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