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2017 Reading Challenge

Jill Elizabeth has read 2 books toward her goal of 150 books.

Book Review: Scavenger Girl – Season of Atchem by Jennifer Arntson – AND a Free Preview Excerpt AND How to Get Your Free Kindle Copy on Release Day!

I am SO pleased to be able to introduce the absolutely delightful Jennifer Arntson and her new series via a review of the first installment: Scavenger Girl – Season of Atchem. I met Jennifer months ago, when she emailed with a request to review her dystopian novel. Her email was delightful and the link she provided to her website immediately drew me in – both were full of clever, creative bits that caught my eye and curiosity. However, the blurb – and that word, dystopian – were, frankly, not very appealing because I’d found myself a bit burned out on post-apocalyptic, futuristic death knell books, where everyone has to fight for survival every minute, and it seemed like the book was going to offer more of the same. As a result, I responded with a somewhat formulaic message, commenting on and complimenting her originality in web design and communication, but with a tepid (at best) response about my woefully over-committed review schedule and inability to agree to a review without a chance to at least read an excerpt – and I only offered that, frankly, because I was so impressed by the personality that came across in her message, rather than because of some innate sense I had about the book. I was *really* hung up on that word, dystopian…

My response was received as a challenge, and thereafter things swiftly began rolling downhill, where I now firmly believe they belonged all along. Continue reading Book Review: Scavenger Girl – Season of Atchem by Jennifer Arntson – AND a Free Preview Excerpt AND How to Get Your Free Kindle Copy on Release Day!

Guest Post: Charles Porter on Hearing Voices

Today I am beyond pleased to bring you some thoughts from author Charles Porter on schizophrenia and hearing voices. Porter is the author of the books Shallcross and Flame Vine – which together comprise his Hearing Voices series. The books are Porter’s fictional take on a very serious, utterly non-fictional, issue: auditory and visual hallucinations. I have not had the chance to read the books yet, but wanted to introduce the author and his books to you – as well as offer him the opportunity to share some of his insights about the hearing voices community. I have a long-standing interest in mental health – there is nothing more precious to me than my mind and my sense of self; the thought that a physical or emotional issue could subvert those qualities that are so essential to the idea of me as me is horrifying and yet somehow also darkly compelling (perhaps because I hope that understanding will help thwart the possibility of it ever happening to me, even though I know full well that this doesn’t make any sense at all).

My two cents: I have worked in health care, in trade organizations, law firms, and commercial enterprises representing hospitals, physicians, health insurers, and pharmaceuticals, and have continually been amazed at the disparate treatment that mental health – as opposed to physical health – conditions receive. I asked Mr. Porter to weigh in on the normalization of mental health treatment and understanding, particularly in light of so many ongoing research developments discovering how many of these “mental” conditions do in fact have underlying physical/physiological causes (or at least major causal elements). Continue reading Guest Post: Charles Porter on Hearing Voices

Book Review: Gorilla and the Bird by Zack McDermott

“…there is a real, and very important, distinction between sanity and lucidity”

I have long been fascinated by stories about mental health and the myriad ways our brains can betray us. It always seemed to me to be the ultimate betrayal – when you cannot trust yourself to be yourself, what on earth can you trust? In this amazing story, Zack transitions from a successful Public Defender helping those who cannot help themselves to a man suffering from a psychotic break who cannot be trusted to take care of himself. The transition is a startling one – it happens in the flip of a page (in reality, several weeks), and the shift is both inexplicable and terrifying. As the book unfolds, his family and childhood history are gradually explained and the shift seems less inexplicable – but never any less terrifying.
Continue reading Book Review: Gorilla and the Bird by Zack McDermott

Book Review: The Library of Light and Shadow by M.J. Rose

“The way my mother had explained it, there were moments in people’s lives so powerful that they remained behind, even after the people had moved on, and sometimes when the light fell a certain way, we could witness those moments”

This was a very interesting story that started with a mystery and ended with a bit of an enigma, but in a delightful (rather than unfinished) way… The concept – an artist from a family with a storied history mired in the spiritual and supernatural whose own brand of unusual talents run toward painting people’s shadow secrets – was very original and well developed. Delphine is a delightful main character, full of magic and mayhem and just enough confusion and self-doubt to remain utterly relatable. The surrounding cast – particularly in the form of her family – is charming and infuriating and full of enough quirks and foibles to provide the perfect backdrop for the story, which is itself well-plotted, nicely paced, and easily followed.
Continue reading Book Review: The Library of Light and Shadow by M.J. Rose

Book Review: The Whispering Room by Dean Koontz

“You’re dead already… They’ll all know about you in the whispering room.”

I just LOVE this series! I reviewed the first bookThe Silent Corner – earlier this year and was so intrigued by Jane Hawk and the evil she is battling that I could not wait for the next installment… In this, the second, Jane is still on the run, still facing untold and nearly unimaginable horrors. Well, nearly unimaginable until you start *really* thinking about the pervasive nature of technology – then they become altogether TOO imaginable, which makes them even more horrific. The investigative aspects of this story are engaging. As Jane teases out the ever-increasingly widespread reach of this conspiracy, the elements slowly come together and apart with a subtle tension that is delectable. Continue reading Book Review: The Whispering Room by Dean Koontz



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