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review 2017-03-03 10:53
Tragedies that should be remembered and never repeated
Warnings Unheeded - Massad Ayoob,Andy Brown

Thanks to the author for providing me with a free copy of his book that I review as part of Rosie’s Books Review Team.

I am a psychiatrist and have worked in forensic psychiatry (looking after patients with a history of dangerous behaviour and, on occasions, criminal records) and therefore when I was approached by this writer about the book, my interest was twofold. Although I’m not currently working as a psychiatrist, I wanted to read the book to see what lessons there were to be learned, especially from the incident of mass shooting, as it was particularly relevant to the issues of mental health assessment and treatment. I was also interested, as a reader, a writer and a member of the public, in how the author would write about the incidents in a manner that would engage the readership. More than anything, I was interested in reading about his personal experience.

As a reader (not that I’m sure I can take my psychiatrist hat off that easily), the book intertwines both incidents, that coincided in the same setting, Fairchild Air Force Base, within a week period. We are given information about previous concerns about the flying acrobatics of Holland, whose antics had worried a number of people at the time, although in his case we don’t get to know much about the person (the information is more about those who reported concerns and the way those were ignored or minimised), and, in much more detail, about the past history and behaviours of Mellberg, that read as a catalogue of unheeded warnings and missed opportunities.

Concerns about Mellberg follow him from school, where he was a loner, suffered bullying, never made friends and showed some odd behaviour and continue when he joins the Air Force. He becomes paranoid, starts harassing his roommate and despite concerns and assessments, he is simply moved from one place to the next, and the mental health assessments are either intentionally ignored or missed. Later on, when somebody decides to take action, there is no evidence of follow-up or organised system to check what happens when somebody is discharged for mental health reasons (some changes ensue, thanks mostly to the efforts of Sue Brigham [the wife of Dr Brigham, one of Mellberg’s victims], after the fact) and readers can feel how the tension builds up to the point where it’s only a matter of time until a serious incident happens.

Brown, the author, shares his background and his career progression to that point, his interest in policing and security from a young age, and he happens to coincide in time and space with Mellberg, being the first to respond to the calls for assistance when Mellberg starts shooting, first the people he blames for his discharge from the air force, and later, anybody who crosses his path. Although we know what’s going to happen, and, in a way, Brown has always been preparing for something like this, the reality is no less shocking.

Brown’s description of events, what the victims did, and what he did is exemplary, and it shows his experience in crime scene investigation. We can clearly reconstruct what happened minute by minute (almost second by second). As the description is interspersed with witness statements and personal detail I didn’t find it excessive, although that might depend on what readers are used to (I know from personal experience of writing reports that accuracy and details are prime, but that’s not what readers of fiction are used to, for example). The book also includes photographs of the scenes of both incidents, diagrams of the sites, etc.

As I said above, although the reader gets the same sense of impending doom when reading about the dangerous and reckless flight manoeuvres Holland does, we don’t get to know much about Holland as a man, only about his experience flying. The issue of warnings not being acted upon is highlighted, but we don’t know if anything else might have been behind Holland’s behaviour, and we’re therefore less personally invested in the case. I must also confess to having little understanding of acrobatics and individual planes capabilities, so I found some of the details about that incident more difficult to follow and perhaps unnecessary for the general reader (the message is clear even if we don’t know exactly how the gs a fuselage can bear might be determined).

Brown’s own reaction to the shooting and his difficulties getting his PTSD acknowledged and treated form the latter part of the book, and they come to illustrate a side of these tragedies that is hardly ever commented upon or discussed in detail, as if sweeping things under a carpet and not talking about them would make them disappear. (As he notes, people don’t know how to react: they either joke about the incident or avoid talking about it completely). He honestly shares his struggle, how long it took him to understand what was happening to him, the less than helpful behaviours he engaged in, and his self-doubt and guilt feelings, not helped by the reluctance of the Air Force to share the information he requests. He had the added difficulty of being removed from service every time he tried to get help, something that he, understandingly, saw as a punishment. He eventually decided to leave active service to try and find peace of mind, but it was a lengthy and difficult process, that might vary from individual to individual. It is always helpful, though, to know that one is not alone and it is not just a matter of getting over it, and that’s why personal accounts are so important.

Brown offers conclusions and lessons on how to keep safe. Although I don’t necessarily agree with some of the comments (the right to bear arms and use them for self-defense is a very controversial subject and I currently live in a country where not even the police carry them regularly), I agree with the importance of being aware of the risks, with the need to be more sensitive to the mental health needs of the population, with the importance of providing follow-up and support to those who experience mental disorders and also the need to see human beings in a holistic way, rather than only treating their bodies and ignoring their minds.

This is an important book that should be read by people who work in law enforcement (either in the military or in a civil environment), provide security to organisations, and of course by psychologist and psychiatrists alike. It is not a book to read for entertainment, and it is definitely not a light read, but I would also recommend it to people who research the subject and/or are interested in real crime and PTSD. I wonder if a shorter version of the book, dealing specifically with the PTSD experience of the author might be useful to other survivors of trauma who might find the rest of the book too difficult to read.

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review 2017-01-15 04:26
HEIR OF THUNDER BY: KARISSA LAUREL
Heir of Thunder (Stormbourne Chronicles Book 1) - Sue Fairchild,Karissa Laurel

 

   I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by this story! I really loved that it read more like an epic fantasy. The journey Evie and Gideon took over land, sea, and even air; meeting friend and foe along the way, was quite a ride! I honestly found each place they traveled very interesting, along with all the new people they met.

 

adventures

 

Evie was a great leading lady. She started out this story pretty naïve and sheltered. But what she lacked in experience and worldly knowledge she definitely made up for in temperament! I mean, this girl had to flee the only home she had ever known going up in flames with the people she considered family, to ride out into the dangerous unknown with only her trusty horse, cloak, meager supplies and the stoic horse master Gideon. And bravo to her for keeping her head in the midst of all that! She even (mostly) listened to Gideon's instructions and put up with his secretiveness along the way. That's a hell of a lot more than I would have been capable of  doing! I actually liked that she was naïve in the beginning, seeing these new places and experiencing things for the first time through her eyes made everything seem just a little more beguiling. It also made her interactions with people more interesting. I feel like she got a taste of the best and worst that humanity has to offer, and with each new meeting, whether good or bad, she grew as a person, and as a soon to be Queen, which was important.

 

I quite liked Gideon too. He was pretty standoffish in the beginning especially, but I think in the end he did genuinely come to care for Evie, and I think he is a good guy, caught in a very hard situation. By the end of this book I came to feel like I understood much of why he was the way he was, most especially with Evie, and it made more sense to me. I'm rooting for this guy! I was super proud of Evie each time she showed him how much he underestimated her though! So I suppose I am mostly TEAM EVIE!

 

The magical/mythical element here was fantastic! The Stormbourne legacy was enchanting! Descendants and rulers of Thunder and Lightening....

 

so-excite

 

Evie has a very rich family legacy and I quite enjoyed each new piece we learned about it as the story progressed. I am DYING to know what happens next after that KILLER ending!

 

 

I CAN'T WAIT to get my hands on the next book! To briefly sum this up for you, if you are a fan of fantasy, give this book a try! So much happened, so many lands were explored, and the characters were well fleshed out and had grown by the end, and I find it very impressive that Heir of Thunder managed to feel so epic in just 288 pages, but it did, so major props to Laurel for pulling that off! A cloak of invisibility, flying ship, kidnapping, prophecy, betrayal, adventure, revolution, and forbidden love, I mean what more could you possibly want?!

 

prophcies

 

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2016-11-11 16:32
Heir of Thunder (Stormbourne Chronicles #1) by Karissa Laurel
Heir of Thunder (Stormbourne Chronicles Book 1) - Sue Fairchild,Karissa Laurel

  

syns

 

The Lord of Thunder’s sudden death leaves his daughter, Evelyn Stormbourne, unprepared to rule Inselgrau in his place. Weeks before Evie’s ascension to the throne, revolutionaries attack and destroy her home. She conceals her identity and escapes under the protection of her father’s young horse master, Gideon Faust. Together they flee Inselgrau and set sail for the Continent, but they’re separated when a brutal storm washes Evie overboard.

In her efforts to reunite with her protector and reach allies on the Continent, Evie befriends a band of nomads who roam the world in airships fueled by lightning. She also confronts a cabal of dark Magicians plotting to use her powers to create a new divine being, and she clashes with an ancient family who insists her birthright belongs to them.

If she’s to prevail and defeat her enemies, Evie must claim her heritage, embrace her dominion over the sky, and define what it means to be Heir of Thunder.

 

my though

 

Being a fan of Karissa Laurel’s work it was a no-brainer reading this book YA or not. Besides I like YA books just as much. And I was not disappointed. It was a beautiful paranormal coming of age story that kept me captive and guessing to the last page. I really enjoyed the world, in which we follow Evie (Evelyn Stormbourne) through her adventure. World building was great and it just brought you right into the setting. Though, I have to say that the beginning of the book seemed a bit slow, with the world and character interdiction but once we get past that point maybe 15-20 % into the book it really picks up and fast . Things are happening with and to Evie, and she is just trying to survive. She also has a lot to learn as she never used to have to do much on her own, being sheltered by her father most of her life didn’t help. Now on the run with Gideon she has to learn fast. Of course there are hick-ups and not everything goes as smoothly as she thought. She also learns quickly that she should not trust everyone and that betrayal is a real. I liked how much Evie grew throughout the book and how she became more and more confident in her abilities and herself. Gideon is there to get her to safety in one piece, but there are a few things that are a mystery about him. We learn more and more about as Evie grows closer to him. But how much we really know about him is yet to be seen. Evie meets a lot of great and interesting people along the way. Some help, others are out to get her … some do both. Overall great book and I enjoyed it a lot, once it got passed the slower start. Really looking forward to see what happens next to Evie and her crew.

I rate it 4 ★

 

 

photo tumblr_lzxh3acXZV1rpic2po4_r1_400_zpsstdoefwd.gif

 

 

*I received a free copy from the publisher via Netgalley and chose to leave a voluntary review. Thank you!

 

 

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Available NOW 

 

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Snoopydoo sigi

Source: snoopydoosbookreviews.com/heir-thunder-stormbourne-chronicles-1-karissa-laurel
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review 2016-11-07 15:52
The Unflappable Miss Fairchild (Zebra Regency Romance) - Regina Scott

Not exactly a terrible book, but unfortunately it wasn't the gem I was hoping for. And it is extremely overrated in GR. The story was very predictable, full of cliche moments, but the worst of all were the two main characters. Usually I feel a sort of bond with any heroine named Anne (I love that name) but I couldn't with this one... she should have been named something else. She is very proper, calm, etc, meaning, she is so boring! The author keeps telling us how the characters were, the book is full of adjectives, and not necessarily with the background, but with his eyes, her eyes, his hair, her hair... I hate this kind of writing, it is one of my pet peeves in romance.

 

Other pet peeve? She is supposed to be plain, the hero thinks so at the beginning (except for her "big, lovely, innocent, gray" eyes) but she has plenty of suitors and many men are charmed by her, making the hero jealous **eyeroll**

 

The hero is no better... he is supposed to be a rake, blah blah, who falls in love for the first time, blah blah. He doesn't have any nice quality that makes the reader fall for him. In fact, I wasn't even invested in their love story at all, not at the beginning, not in the middle, not at the end. They are supposed to be likeable, but how could I like them, when they were playing victim all the time? He with his older brother ("oh he is mean, he hates me, I am just the 2nd son, a bastard") and she with her aunt ("oh she hates me, I sacrifice my happiness because of her"), when in reality, both "mean characters" were only looking after them, after having a hard lives on their own. But no! both MC are the ones that are suffering **eye-roll**

 

The misunderstandings were insufferable, so stupid and only because of lack of communication/assumptions. Honestly, both MC were so lame I had a hard time to finish this!

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review 2015-11-03 23:19
Liar - Lia Fairchild

Title: Liar
Author:
Lia Fairchild
Genre:
Romance
Publisher:
Lia Fairchild
Publication Date:
November 3, 2015
Format:
egalley provided by author

 

Synopsis

 

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

 

My Review (originally posted at Read, Run, Ramble):

 

Thank you, Lia Fairchild, for providing me with a copy of this book!

 

Okay, I need to start with this – I LOVE Daniel and Gray. Compulsive (book 1) and Liar are my favorite Romance EVER. Yes, you read that correctly, EVER.

 

Fairchild took the genre and made it her own and I loved every word. Gray is a strong heroine and while she does fall in love, she never loses herself or her strength. She very clearly wants and needs to be with Daniel, but never will readers feel like if she can’t be, she won’t be able to move on with her life. I think that is important to me. Daniel is definitely strong and handsome, but never a cliché muscle-bound, must-have-her-now goon. He cares for Gray, that is clear, but again, he doesn’t lose himself.

 

Now, in Compulsive, Gray’s demons and secrets bring her and Daniel together, but now in Liar, Daniel’s secrets threaten to tear them apart. Lia built in some great backstory and history that everyone will be eager to read. These characters are nuanced and fun – there’s so much to love about all of them. None of that isn’t to say that readers won’t see a ‘bad guy’ or two – keep your eyes peeled; not everyone is in Gray’s and Daniel’s corner!

 

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the sexy scenes. As a beta reader for this book*, I was watching closely for the sexy scenes. I’m pretty critical of them actually, but in this book, I absolutely ADORED them. Fairchild wrote with expert balance. There’s not too much sex, or silly language used, or over-the-top situations. I know writing these scenes, whether they include sex or not, can be difficult for an author and I applaud Fairchild in handling them the best I may have ever seen then handled!!

 

Fairchild’s writing, creative story weaving, and on-point character building combines into one spectacular Romance. Even if you aren’t a fan of the genre (it is FAR from my fave), you’ll love this one.

 

*Thank you for trusting me with your words and the world you’ve built, Lia. It was an HONOR.

 

I was provided with an ARC of this book by the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I am not compensated for any of my reviews.

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