Andrew Smith's Blog

My name is Andrew. Come and have a look inside my life and watch me share what is on my heart.

Racing to the Finish: My Story by Dale Earnhardt Jr. Book Review





In Racing to the Finish, Dale Earnhardt Jr. explored the important topic of concussions and he was very open about the stigma behind hiding the truth when you’re a race car driver. Race car drivers don’t want to have to sit on the sidelines while their cars drive away without them. This is why many drivers hide the fact that they suffered from a concussion. Dale Jr. begin racing when he was seventeen years old and throughout his career he won multiple races and he won the Nascar Busch Series Championships in 1998 and in 1999. He shared with readers how he received the name, “Hammerhead” from his dad, Dale Earnhardt who was called “Ironhead”. Dale Jr. was known for being hardheaded. This book covered some of his life story but mostly this book was written to reach people who are experiencing the conditions of a concussions and many might have no idea. He kept it a secret at first from everyone and eventually the truth was revealed. Dale Jr. kept an iPhone journal about what he felt everyday in case someone later found it and wondered what happened to him. 



The first crash occurred in August at Kanas Speedway during a tire test when he hit the tire blown and he hit the wall going 185 mph. His black box said he registered at 40 Gs. People described it as they thought a plane crashed because it was so loud. He was later diagnosed as having a concussion. One of his crew described him as having a glass look after the crash. He went out with his friends later that night and he struggled with understanding the words people were speaking afterwards. He felt nausea and confused and he admitted he wanted to just lay down in the restaurant. 



A few days later, he felt a little better and he kept racing. He eventually had another concussion in October at Talladega and this time he yelled at a camera about how he wanted to quit racing if people couldn’t race right. He was experiencing mood swings now. He finally craved and told his girlfriend at the time, Amy. They met with Dr. Jerry Perry and he ran an ImPACT test and other tests and it was discovered Dale Jr. did have a concussion and he was forced to seek help and was took out of a few races. He also received help from Dr. Michael Collins, who is a Sports Doctor and has a concussion program. Dale Jr. also goes into the different types of concussions to help readers who might be experiencing the symptoms of a concussion. Dale Jr. also shared the fog he went through in 2015 and his lost season in 2016. He also revealed his decision to retire in 2017. 



I would recommend this book to anyone who is especially experiencing from a concussion. I would also recommend to anyone who is a Nascar fan. I remember growing up watching Dale Jr. and even his father racing. I liked how brave Dale Jr. was in opening up about what all he felt being his different concussions and how he bounced back and how he struggled with confusion, balancing, eye movements, anxiety, and much more. I enjoyed reading about his experience and his personal notes on his iPhone and how they were real and how they explained what he felt every day after a crash. I do believe this book will immensely help people who are wanting to see that they aren’t alone in their journey with dealing with a concussion. If you’re looking for an excellent book on concussion and racing, then read Dale Jr. story! 




"I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program."





If you would like to purchase a copy of Racing to the Finish, check it out on Amazon.com:




Once Upon a Farm: Lessons on Growing Love, Life, and Hope on a New Frontier by Rory Feek Book Review





In Once Upon a Farm, Rory Feek has written a second book about his music journey and also his new journey about being a single dad to Indiana. He already raised two adult children from a previous marriage, Hopie and Heidi. Rory and Joey had a career of being a country music group who also happened to be married to each other. The book picks up where the last book ended. This book begins by explaining to readers the final moments of his wife Joey dying from cancer. She battled cancer twice and eventually lost her battle. He describes to readers how difficult it is to live without Joey and how he has questions for God. He shared personal stories about how she loved farming and how he hopes to continue that dream for her. After her death, he was left with his four year old daughter who has Down syndrome. He was very open with the challenges of raising a daughter after being out of the game for a few years. The book contains lessons and stories about how Rory learned about growing up and building a farm and what Joey taught him through her love. He also revealed how his older daughter Hopie came out to him and how she eventually got engaged. Rory shared how he choose to love her unconditionally and how he realized that Hopie’s faith is between her and God. 




I would recommend this awesome book to anyone who enjoy country music and their artists and who loves to read an inspiring story. I have heard of their story before and I can only imagine what heartache Rory went through when he lost his wife and being forced to raise a child alone. I have watched their TV show before and heard them perform before and was amazed with their harmony and their love story. I haven’t read the first book yet. I own the first one and it’s on my list to read. I still felt I was able to understand some parts of their story without having read the first one. This one is really a continuation of the first one and what Rory went through when his wife died. I also love how he shared some stories about his songwriting and how he wrote a few hit songs for a few artist, such as “Some Beach” for Blake Shelton and “A Little More Country Than That” for Easton Corbin. If you’re looking for a new book to read, then read this one! 





"I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program."





If you would like to purchase a copy of Once Upon a Farm, check it out on Amazon.com:




Tori Kelly - Hiding Place CD Album Review





Tori Kelly is back with her second album entitled, “Hiding Places”. This album has R&B mixed in with some Gospel. The album kicks off with a track called, “Masterpiece” featuring Lecrae. This song talks about how people think of her when she is off key and her life isn’t always going good. This song is a declaration of wanting God to make us a masterpiece and use the good and the bad and make us whole again. Lecrae joins in later in the song and he discussed how we are masterpieces and we don’t need to compare ourselves to others. I really loved how the song begins with a chorus singing and how Tori Kelly voice just joins in and takes the song to another level. It had a heavenly feeling to it and it makes you want to get up and celebrate yourself and give your life to Christ. 



Another favorite song was a song called, “Questions”. This song has a piano playing throughout the song and this song she questions God and how she struggles with the death season of life. It covers topics about bombs, AIDS, and fighting around the world. It also asks the question of what happens when the healing does ever come. This is a very powerful song and it was much needed in the mist of all the chaos of the world. 



One of the singles off the album was called, “Never Alone”. This song discussed about how we all go through pain and storms of life and how we have all fallen. It also explored how we all compare ourselves to one another and how God loves us for whose we are. This song reminds that God is always there for us and how He is always calling us His child. I love how this song included a choir and Kirk Franklin joins in on the song to add a powerful gospel feeling to the song. This is another track that had a get up and move vibe to the song.



Another favorite song was the soulful song entitled, “Soul’s Anthem (It is Well)”. It contains some of the classic song of “It is Well” but it’s also mixed with personal lyrics. This song talked about how we need to reply on God when we are depressed and fear from the enemy is trying to control us and trying to prevent us from living our lives. I loved how Tori’s vocals shine through this track and this could be an anthem declaring that no matter what happens it is well with our souls. 



I would recommend this album to anyone who loves R&B and Christian music. Tori Kelly has an amazing voice that shines through each track. The lyrics are well written in a time where Christians and non-Christians need hope and joy to come into their lives. I loved how the album had songs you could move to and how it also had slow song where you could peacefully worship the Lord. If you’re looking for a new album, then check this one out! 



·  Check out some of Tori Kelly's video clips: https://umusic.box.com/s/ujff0t5td0mwrh5ru693pmhjgyc6tqg1
·  Video embed: Never Alone https://torikelly.lnk.to/NeverAlone/youtube



"I received this book free from the publisher through the Flyby Promotions book review bloggers program."


The Pact: A UFC Champion, a Boy with Cancer, and Their Promise to Win the Ultimate Battle By Cody Garbrandt with Mark Dagostino Book Review





In The Pact, Cody Garbrandt opened up about his journey to join Team Alpha Male and to become a fighter in the UFC. Cody grew up in Uhrichsville, Ohio in an area nicknamed “922”. This area was known for trouble. He learned to fight with his big brother, Zach and they would always be wrestling and fighting. He had his first concussion at age six. Both brothers wrestled in school and they got into trouble along the way. But their mother was the grounding force in their life. She would always provide for them since their dad was rarely around growing up and was in an out of jail. Uncle Bob was also a strong mentor in Cody’s life and he was a strong boxer. He found God in prison and changed his life around. Eventually, Cody found God too and changed his life and he came to know Christ as His Savior. 



He also shared how he tried college twice and quit both times. He didn’t have a passion and a drive for it, all he wanted to do was fight. He made a deal with his mother finally and declared that if he didn’t make it as a fighter in five years, he would find him a real steady job. Cody had a way of getting into trouble and fights and he was hanging out with his friends at a tavern. Some guy started a fight with him and Cody was stabbed in his calf muscle and it went to his bone. Cody hit a low point in his life after that and he reached out to God and asked him what He wanted him to do with his life. A short time afterwards, Zach told him he needed to check out this awesome five year old kid, Maddux Maple. He had cancer and Zach told him that Cody should donate his next fight proceeds to him. Cody was touched by his story and reached out to his parents and started trying to get to know them. It took a while for Maddux to be well enough for Cody to meet him. Cody kept telling Maddux that he wanted him to be healthy and strong enough to walk with him out to one of his fights. Throughout the book, Cody will take readers through the journey of how he became a UFC Championship belt winner and how Maddux changed his life around.



I would recommend this remarkable book to anyone who enjoys a book that contains an inspiration story about how a fighter found his purpose in unlikely places. I haven’t heard of Cody’s or Maddux’s story prior to reading this book. I was amazed how Maddux and Cody both helped each other in overcoming and achieving their dreams. Both seemed to be such an unlikely pair of friends and their stories collided into a beautiful masterpiece. I liked how Cody was tough in the ring and how he wasn’t afraid to show his vulnerable side. Cody took the time to make sure Maddux felt included in his journey to win the championship belt. Maddux eventually did win his battle against cancer and now he lives a normal. I also liked how he shared how God was always with them both through their journeys. Cody also shared about how he met his wife in the mist of all of the fights and how everything worked out the way it was supposed to. This was an awesome read, and readers will definably enjoy it! 




"I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program."



If you would like to purchase a copy of The Pact, check it out on Amazon.com: