Amazon Kindle, Goodreads, Reviews, Sexual Abuse, Victims of sexual abuse/sexual assualt

Spotlight Book Review of Breaking the Cycle of Abuse: My Journey from Victim to Survivor

Here’s the full review from Chynna Laird:

Welcome to our Thursday segment.

In keeping with our theme for this week, we’re going to do a review of a book written by an abuse survivor. Hannah Reinbeck bravely shares her story of childhood sexual abuse and neglect in her memoir, Breaking the Cycle of Abuse: My Journey From Victim to Survivor. Stories such as Hannah’s are so important to have out there because these issues happen a lot more often than we are either willing to realize or accept. Sure, there literally thousands, if not more, of people’s stories out there in book form, articles, blog posts or even woven into the lines of poetry. Movies and television shows have touched on it, even in music. So how, then, with all of these sources of real-life accounts of people’s personal depictions of abuse and neglect, can these things still be happening? That’s the main question Hannah is seeking to answer with her book.

Hannah begins her journey by introducing the reader to her mother, who seemed to have enough of her own issues even before she decided to have children. This is a woman who obviously needed some sort of support and guidance herself before she could be the mother all mothers strive to be. The most dangerous aspect is that she got into relationships that were not only harmful to her but even moreso for her children. For example, leaving children alone with a man who not only had a drinking problem but also an abnormal fascination with young girls was, in the most polite wording, simply bad parenting. Hannah tried talking about her discomfort with her mother’s partner, even before the abuse happened, but her worries were pushed aside. Until the sexual abuse started.

It wasn’t until her abuser was caught in the act, and it was brought to the attention of her mother, did any sort of acknowledgment take place. Hannah’s mother took her to the hospital where she was checked out and it was confirmed such abuse took place, but there never seemed to be any remorse on her mother’s part. In fact, she didn’t seem to have any true realization of fault her part for neglecting to ensure the safety or security of her child. This led Hannah and her brother down a lifetime of experiences they never should have had to if the situation had been handled better.

Book Cover

Hannah and her brother were removed from their mother’s care and put into Foster Care. This should have been a relief on some part as they would finally be in a safe, caring environment where they could heal enough to enjoy the rest of their childhoods. Not only were Hannah and her brother separated and put into different Foster Homes, but the homes they were sent to weren’t much better than the one they were removed from. And on top of that, their mother was forced to give up her parental rights. They weren’t given any sort of counseling or support, they weren’t assigned a Child Advocate and there didn’t seem to be any sort of follow up visits to ensure that Hannah and her brother were thriving in their temporary placements. Despite the terrible events her mother allowed to happen to her children, she was still their mother. Imagine how excruciating it must have been to not only lose your main parent but also to be floating in a system, waiting for a permanent home, because most people want to adopt babies and may not have room for siblings.

This led to Hannah basically living the rest of her life in survival mode. What this means is that when a person is hurt at the very core of their soul, it makes potentially happy and positive things almost scary. It’s harder to trust, to believe there is good in you, to be open to new people or situations or to let others close to you. You build up a wall so high and so strong, it makes it impossible for people who truly care to break through. And you inadvertently repeat negative cycles because it’s all you know and where you feel most accepted (such as being in her ‘chaos house’ as a child, then being moved to a different version of it then facing it in yet another way after she got married).

I applaud Hannah for being one of the few who has never given in to the crutches that can tempt you to cope in maladaptive ways. She hasn’t turned to any sort of substance nor has she used her childhood trauma as an excuse not to keep trying to move forward. Don’t get me wrong. That level of abuse and neglect are felt forever, even with proper assistance. And she doesn’t say that she’ll never get help. She says she knows its there for her and she’ll seek it out when she’s ready. That’s an amazing thing.

This memoir doesn’t just focus on the abuse itself. It shows what happens to the person after the act. Just because a child is physically removed from the direct situation doesn’t mean they are properly equipped to deal with all of the aftermath. Child abuse interferes with development, friendships, relationships as well as personal growth. By sharing her story, she is showing the importance of ensuring that every child in the same situation has at least one strong, positive, loving, nurturing person right there with them for all the steps they face on their road to recovery.

Breaking the Cycle of Abuse is a great addition to anyone’s personal resource bookshelf. Having a voice you aren’t afraid to be heard and making others aware of these issues is critical in making this stop. And those who are going through this, or who are trying to go on after it, need these stories if for no other reason than to know they aren’t alone.


#MeToo, Amazon Kindle, Book Sales, Reviews, Sexual Abuse, Victims of sexual abuse/sexual assualt

Review of Breaking the Cycle of Abuse: My Journey from Victim to Survivor- By Hannah Reinbeck

Book Cover

February 3, 2019

Verified Purchase on


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Courageous and Inspiring- What a strong young lady to come forward and share her experience. Hannah’s family gave up on her, but she never gave up on herself. Not only does this author share her traumatic experience, but she shares the warning signs and behaviors to watch out for if you suspect abuse might be taking place. I think it’s admirable that this author is donating a portion of the proceeds to charity to help other survivors, like herself. – H.Daly


Amazon Kindle, Book Sales, Reviews, Self-Publishing

5-Star Review for Breaking the Cycle of Abuse: My Journey from Victim to Survivor.

*This review was left on Amazon, it was not written by me. Just thought I should clarify that I am not writing my own review.

January 7, 2019

Format: Kindle Edition


Abuse comes in many forms, Amazon Kindle, Mental Illness, Reviews, Stigma/Taboo, Victims of sexual abuse/sexual assualt

Review: White Elephants by Chynna Laird


Candid, Strength, Inspiring and Heartbreaking. – 5/5 Stars
Chynna shares the candid details of what it was like for her and her brother, Cam as they grew up with their mother that was dealing with a mental illness that was never openly discussed or properly diagnosed or effectively treated. The term Bi-polar wasn’t fully understood during the time that these events unfolded. More often than not, Bi-polar was often mistaken for depression (lows) or “Crazy” (mania) and either went ignored or medication was prescribed that only made matters worse.

After reading White Elephants, you will have a better understanding as to how Bi-polar doesn’t just affect the person suffering from it, but when the illness is not treated, Bi-polar creates havoc for those family members living with them as the never-ending cycle of chaos sucks the happiness out from those that are in close proximity.

Chynna was forced to grow up too quickly as she tried to protect her younger brother from witnessing their mother going through the drunken and often violent episodes. As a child that took on a parental role and doing her best to keep an eye on her mother, she witnessed and experienced things that no child should ever have to deal with, let alone carry such secrets in order to protect her brother and her extended family.

Sadly, this family dynamic is just one of many that sweep things under the rug. Important issues are never talked about, family members constantly enable the person with the taboo problem, so they never really have to be held accountable for their actions. Everyone knows there is a problem, but nobody wants to acknowledge it. What families like this (mine included) fail to see is that when an adult fails to step up, the children are left to deal with the aftermath and suffer the most.

While Chynna didn’t make it through unscathed, she was able to pick herself up, dust herself off and turn her life around. Sure there were many life lessons learned the hard way, but in many respects, she’s stronger from those experiences and was able to break the cycle for her children.

Cruises, Reviews, Speaking from Experience, Vacation

Holland America


Welcome back blog readers,

In this post I will share why I prefer the Holland America Cruise Line over Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian.

The ships in the Holland America line all look very similar on the outside and can be distinguished from the dark blue color that is painted on the lower half of the ships. During one of the “Talk with the Captain” lectures, it was mentioned that Holland America has this shade of blue specially made for their ships. There is a name to the color, but it escapes me.

The layout of their ships is also very similar, which is probably great for crew members that work 9 months on one ship then starts a new contract on another ship, it takes less time to get to know. I found this to be true as a passenger having been on 3 of their ships and feeling familiar when you leave one and get on another.

Holland America does many things that really stand out, lots of little touches or attention to detail that I have not noticed/experienced on the other cruise lines. While my experiences are subjective, it’s still worth mentioning.

Things like:

  • The crew member to passenger ratio is pretty darn close to 1:1 which is great considering that Holland America ships are smaller. Roughly there are 2,000 passengers with 2,000 crew members onboard. Larger cruise lines like Royal Caribbean and Norwegian have roughly 4,000 passengers with 1,800-2,000 crew members onboard. To me it shows that Holland America cares about not over working their room attendants as they assign 2 per room, where as the larger lines assign 1 per room with more rooms to cover. Assigning 2 room attendants also provides their guests with better, more efficient service as many times we have left our room in the morning to get breakfast on the Lido deck/buffet and when we arrive 30-35 minutes later our room was made up. We tend to refer to the room attendants as Cleaning Ninjas. Where as on the larger cruise ships, if we weren’t out of the room while they were making their early morning rounds, our room would be made up later on in the afternoon on their way back or not until the evening turn down service. This certainly isn’t a deal breaker, just sharing my experience.
  • While the Holland America ships are smaller, their common areas and theaters are much larger which can accommodate more of their passengers that want to attend the headlining shows. No reservations needed no extra fees, plenty of seats for everyone. One good thing Holland America offers is 2 showings on the same night, one between the 7-8 pm and one again later at 10pm. Not just one time slot where you make it or miss out. Here’s a tip: When attending a show in the theater, go to the upper seating level and snag a front corner balcony seat, one of the best seats in a private section. This is also a great meeting place if your cruising as a group.
  • Happy Hour! I’ve touched up on this in a previous Cruising 101 post. Holland America offers a Happy Hour that two of their bars participate in from 4pm-5pm. One ship offered a Buy one get the same drink FREE, while the other two ships offered a Buy one get the other 50% off. Their regular mixed drink prices are cheaper than the other cruise lines. The best place to enjoy your Happy Hour is at the Crows Nest located on an upper deck at the front of the ship. Such a great panoramic view, often there is live music playing or a trivia game taking place, sometimes it’s low key and quite, just a great place to watch the sunset.
  • The overall interior design and decor, pure elegance and high class. If you are a fan of art, you will not be disappointed in all of the great pieces located throughout the ship. The common restrooms are the cleanest, the stalls are very private with floor to ceiling coverage. The elevators are more spacious, well lit and even have a floor mat that reminds you of which day it is. My husband likes to joke that he knows which underwear to wear today.
  • The sundeck where the outdoor pools are located also has a retractable roof. This feature is great on the days when the sun is shining while also raining. You can still lounge outside, get some sun, enjoy the pool without the effects of the rain. Yes, I know that a little rain won’t matter if you’re already wet, but most people don’t want rain in their adult beverage or while they are trying to read.
  • Your stateroom comes with nice robes, no other line that I have experienced offers that. I love those robes, they do offer to sell them and I think I will splurge the next time I’m onboard. I use the robe every morning just to sit out on the balcony, watch the sunrise, enjoying some quiet time listening to the waves. The robes come in handy as many passengers use them at the pool.
  • Your stateroom has a fruit bowl with a card to fill out should you want your room attendant to fill it. Apples red or green, Oranges, Pears and Bananas are your options. I take advantage of this service, because I wake up before my husband 99% of the time (unless he’s dealing with acid reflux/indigestive issues), so it’s nice to have a small bite to eat, put on the robe and sit out on the balcony until he wakes up, which is usually me waking him up somewhere around 9:30am. Just another thing the other cruise lines don’t offer. It’s not to say that you can’t bring food back to your room, you can. It’s just nice to have it already in the room in case you forget to grab a nibble before the buffet closes.
  • Turn Down Service comes complete with towelgomi (all lines do), but only Holland America places chocolates on your pillow. If you don’t want them, just let your room attendant know, or bring them to me, I’ll give them a good home. Especially the dark chocolate ones.
  • The Buffet, the best tasting food so far. The best options that include Gluten Free, Turkey bacon (as my husband doesn’t eat pork), the best Salad bar with big bowls to make a decent salad. Another great thing about the buffet here, is that they offer premade, wrapped sandwiches that you can grab/go bring back to your room and put in the mini fridge for later. They have a wide variety of hot/bagged teas. Small jars of baby food are also located at the buffet, no other line seems to offer that. The best part of the buffet is that the crew serves you instead of all passengers handling the tongs and spreading germs like the bigger cruise lines that make sure they lather you in Purel “Washy Washy” before entering. This is not to say that you shouldn’t wash your hands before eating, because you absolutely should. Wash your hands and wash them often, encourage your kids to do the same. Nobody wants to spend their cruise with a norovirus.
  • The dining room: If the food at the buffet is great, the food from the dining is even better if you can imagine that. As I mentioned in the Cruising 101 post, you can order as many appetizers, dinners, desserts and if you know to ask, the Cheese Platter/ Chartissarie too.
  • The best tasting water, Holland America takes pride in their water filtration system. I found the water on the Norwegian had a bit of a metallic taste. You won’t get that on Holland America.

Holland America does tend to be known for being the cruise line for older people, that isn’t entirely true. While they don’t have the water slides, ziplines, rock climbing walls or character parades; there are families with small kids, there are younger couples and younger singles as well.

If you are like my husband and I that are introverted, not a fan of big crowds, not using the cruise to drink ourselves silly, not high energy but still want to get out and enjoy what the ship has to offer, visiting beautiful ports and just wanting to relax on your vacation… If this all sounds like a great way to spend your vacation, then you won’t be disappointed with Holland America. After reading that back, I can see where we might sound boring or would be compared to an older couple. If anything, they have raised the bar and the other cruise lines won’t compare to the level of service, cleanliness and friendliness. At least that has been my experience. Now that we have cruised with Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian, to gain experience we will only cruise with Holland America going forward.

One very noticable thing about cruising on a smaller ship like Holland America and the Carnival Legend is that you tend to notice the motion of the ocean a bit more. If the water is choppy, lots of white caps are visible, you will feel the sway. My earlier recommendation if you suffer from motion sickness is to made your way mid-ship. On one occasion we were walking from one end of a deck to the other and you felt like you were walking through a fun house, which some people find fun and normally I would too. Not in an aggressive swaying from left to right motion, but slower gradual motion.

On the bigger ships like the Allure of the Seas you barely felt anything at all. The Norwegian Epic was similar, I tend to notice the movement when I’m sitting. If you find the motion getting to you, try not to focus on the movement, or get to mid-ship and look out from a window. You can always pack pills for motion sickness, just in case. The medical center on board can also assist you if you haven’t got your sea legs yet. It happens to the best of us, including me especially if I’m sitting and my equilibrium is trying to figure out which way we’re moving. Luckily the icky feeling is short lived and passes in a few hours and the rest of the cruise is fine.

Cruise line loyaly offers perks after your second cruise or after you’ve cruised 10-14 days. Each line varies in what they offer for loyaly perk. The perks alone may sway you to cruise with one line over another. I can only share my experiences, share tips and advice so that you can make the best choice for you and your family.

Happy Cruising!