Kick-Ass Kinda Girl

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Published by: Ward Publishing
Release Date: October 9, 2018
ISBN13: 978-1-7323649-0-5


Winner 2019 Independent Press Award
Winner 2019 National Indie Excellence® Award
Finalist 2019 Book Excellence Award
Winner 2019 Readers' Favorite Silver Medal
Finalist 2019 American Book Fest Best Book Award
Finalist 2019 Shelf Unbound Magazine Best Indie Book Award


The moment Kathi Koll received the call from her husband Don telling her he was on his way to the hospital she knew her world was about to change forever. Don a successful real estate developer, Eagle Scout and former U.S. Air Force pilot was the epitome of health and strength. Kathi a successful contractor was his perfect match. Together they built their dreams and traveled the world but this day changed everything.

From childhood, Kathi's life might have seemed charmed: horse rides through Southern California canyons, play dates with children of celebrities, real dates with future TV stars, and a big brother engaged to one of Hollywood’s leading ladies. But behind the scenes with a mother dying of cancer and a father battling alcoholism, Kathi's role as a caregiver began early. Despite misgivings, she married at just eighteen knowing her mother would not be around much longer. Her family continued to be plagued with illness and in the years to follow Kathi lost her father and oldest brother too. Then after twenty-seven years of marriage and raising three children Kathi was looking for the light at the end of the tunnel of another heartbreaking loss from a painful divorce and found Don Koll looking back.

Like a script from a movie, Don and Kathi’s courtship and marriage was glamorous and adventurous from a first date at the White House, summering in St. Tropez, visiting far off lands at the behest of royalty, foiling a near tragic carjacking, cracking jokes with the President, and, in true Hollywood style, always finding their way home to enjoy a beautiful sunset. Their joie de vivre made everything feel possible until Don woke up “locked in” after a catastrophic stroke.

As Kathi crossed a dividing line saying goodbye to their old carefree life she selflessly set out to find a “new normal” where she and Don could still live each day to its fullest finding joy and seeking adventure in a whole new way. Kathi shares with honesty and welcome humor the realities of being a full-time caregiver from the complications of turning their home into a mobile hospital to her desires to maintain an intimate relationship with her husband. Despite her own suffering throughout these years, Kathi's indomitable nature helped her summon the strength and guts to find and fight for the solutions needed to help Don live his “bonus life” to the fullest.

With an unflinching look at the hardships throughout her life and an ability to laugh at herself and share sorrows, while never losing hope for tomorrow, Kathi unveils a powerfully moving story of resilience and inspiration. Her  journey, steeped in the joy of living in the moment, at the best of times and under the worst of circumstances, will offer great emotional and practical support to others facing the challenges of caring for a loved one.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each book will go to support family caregivers in need.


What reviewers are saying: 

"[A] touching memoir...Koll's compassionately told stories inspire and uplift." —Publishers Weekly

“In this memoir, Koll offers clear-eyed memories of hospitals, health care, and hope. … An engaging, warts-and-all telling of the ups and downs of a full-time caregiver.” —Kirkus Reviews

"Emotional and profoundly affecting, Kick-Ass Kind of Girl hits every note on the scale. Between deep joy and crushing sadness, the lowest despair, and the highest level of soaring victory, this true story of love, loss, and quiet triumph is truly inspiring as it brings you on an unforgettable journey of love and self-discovery." — Top Shelf Magazine Reviews

"[Koll's] book chronicles in vivid detail, the meaningful lessons she learned on her journey..."—Newport Beach Magazine

"Turning trial into triumph has been a theme of author Kathi Koll's life." —Modern Luxury Magazine

"A standout in the literature surrounding grief, recovery, and illness.” Midwest Book Review

"Beautifully written...this is a book that both inspires and entertains, loaded with the wisdom readers need to cope with challenging situations. A book for keeps." Readers' Favorite, 5 stars

"Kick-Ass Kinda Girl is an entertaining roller coaster of a memoir whose second half will be particularly pertinent to caregivers." —Foreword Clarion Review, 4 stars

“Koll comes across as a potential friend, someone who listens well and willingly opens her heart. Since she can't be everywhere to help those who need her hard-won wisdom for moving forward, Kick-Ass Kinda Girl is a worthy surrogate.” BlueInk Review

“Very emotional page-turner.” —

What readers are saying:

“There were no guidebooks for Kathi – she made it up as she went along. What she lived and learned is an amazing story, and I am delighted to see her tell it.”
—Deborah Norville, anchor, Inside Edition and New York Times Bestselling Author

"For virtually her entire life, Kathi Koll’s lived in the front row seat of caregiving. From alcoholism to cancer—to Don’s debilitating stroke, Kathi felt the full force of brutal illnesses, and yet she dug deep as a caregiver to respond to it all with a strength, honesty, and a dignity that blazes a trail for the rest of us."
—Peter Rosenberger, Caregivers with Hope radio show host, author of Hope for the Caregiver and husband/caregiver for 30+ years

"Kathi Koll's passion and spirit shine. Her story is a stellar example of a life fully lived despite devastating circumstances. Read it, read it again, and gift it to someone who needs a dose of laughter-through-tears along with a lot of inspired practical ideas for caregiving as a dynamic, creative, and uplifting act of love."
—Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker, founder of Susan G. Komen and New York Times Bestselling Author of Promise Me

"In this captivating and touching memoir, Kathi Koll offers a fresh perspective on the relationships that define our families and the care and devotion we give our loved ones. Here is a story of courage, love and resilience no matter what life brings. This is a must-read for all healthcare professionals, their patient's families and anyone in a caregiving role."
—Farzad Massoudi, MD Fellow American Assn. of Neurological Surgeons

“This book, full of jaw dropping challenges, unstoppable love, and true inspiration, could not be arriving at a better time, as I believe we could all use a mega dose of whatever is in Kathi Koll’s emotional tool box.”
—Lucie Arnaz, Golden Globe–nominated, Emmy Award–winning Actress

Kick-Ass Kinda Girl is a deeply moving personal story of love, compassion, devotion, anguish, sorrow, courage, and strength, beautifully told by Kathi Koll. It is the perfect gift for anyone seeking a path through pain to a place of joy, peace and understanding.”
—Alexandra de Borchgrave, President & Chairman Light of Healing Hope Foundation

"True love, selflessness and caring exist in this world and Kathi's story offers proof. This masterful work will touch many hearts and give any child of God a reason to believe in the greatness of life lived and surrendered to love. Now more than ever we need words that heal, are kind, offer hope and reveal the power of encouragement. This book is a wonderful gift and all who read it will feel they have found a sister in Kathi. I highly recommend it to anyone needing to restore their inner strength and faith."
—Mother Dolores Hart, O.S.B. Prioress of the Abbey of Regina Laudis and author of The Ear of the Heart: An Actress's Journey from Hollywood to Holy Vows

"Like the 1984 Olympic U.S. Hockey Team win against Russia, Kathi Koll pulled off a miracle. Her husband Don was not supposed to live for long after suffering a catastrophic stroke let alone thrive for over six years in the comfort of his own home surrounded by loved ones. I witnessed Kathi's spirited determination firsthand as she actively and lovingly addressed the challenges posed by Don's debilitating illness. For Kathi impossible meant nothing. Her miraculous ability to seize every possibility for hope as she orchestrated with expert precision a medical team that would rival any hospital ICU reveals a woman of great strength and courage. Kathi’s moving story is an indelible portrait of one woman facing the impossible with grace and gumption and never giving up."
—Harley R. Liker, MD, CEO, Liker Consulting, Inc. and Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

“Kathi Koll's memoir shows how one can put love into action while facing great adversity and heartbreak. With humor, grace and raw honesty, Kathi reveals the personal struggles she has faced as a daughter, a sister, and a spouse selflessly caring for loved ones in need. Through her work with the Kathi Koll Foundation and in her book, Kathi offers encouragement for others who find themselves facing overwhelming circumstances when caring for sick family members regardless of their age, the nature of the disability or their financial situation. Kathi brings a unique perspective to a universal experience and her story offers valuable lessons on how caregivers can improve the quality of their lives and by doing so, improve the quality of care they give others.”
—Donna Benton, PhD, Director USC Family Caregiver Support Center

"Kathi's creativity and passion put a buoyant spin on her brilliant caregiving strategies, but mostly I love the way this book places caregiving into the context of life. It isn't about surviving as the child of an alcoholic or as the devoted spouse of someone who's suffered a debilitating stroke; it's about living a life powered by joy, motivated by love, and lifted by hope."
—Joni Rodgers, New York Times bestselling author of Bald in the Land of Big Hair

“With her husband, Don, facing a debilitating illness, Kathi Koll had a choice to make: She could trudge on, fulfilling her role with her head down and teeth gritted. Or she could choose life for both herself and Don, honoring their time together with joy and energy. ... Kathi’s story is a testament to perseverance, spirit, and character.
—Senator Bill Frist, MD, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader, surgeon, co-founder of palliative care company Aspire Health

"Kathi and her story are amazing. She is such a caring and selfless person and she is a true inspiration to many. You can't help but be moved by Kathi's dedication and circumstances."
—Lucila Torres, USC Family Caregiver Support Center, USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology graduate student

“Kathi Koll is the most modern of genuine American ladies! And her kick-ass demeanor reminds us of the founding frontier women who pioneered the trail's of our country's western expansion. Her journey – from Lucille Ball to Laura Bush – is powerful, relatable and personally inspiring. READ this book, as the lessons learned are priceless!”
—Christopher Meigher, Publisher Quest Magazine

Visit Kathi's Kick-Ass Extras