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Search tags: Substance-Abuse
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review 2018-12-05 01:13
Heavy material in a light package
Sunny Side Up - Matthew Holm,Jennifer L. Holm

Sunny is looking forward to her awesome summer vacation going to the beach with her best friend...and then she gets sent off to stay with her grandfather at his retirement community in Florida. What Sunny views as a punishment is actually her family trying to shield her from her brother's trip to rehab. Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm looks at substance abuse from the viewpoint of a younger sibling which is rather refreshing and ultimately important when a child is trying to find books that relate to themselves. (I don't know anyone with a picture perfect childhood so it's a good idea if children's literature reflects that.) The references to substance abuse are rather oblique for the majority of the book so it's not heavy handed in the slightest. For the most part, we see Sunny acting pretty snotty as she comes to terms with the fact her summer is not going to be anything like she had planned but intermixed with that is a healthy dose of fear, anxiety, and shame. Remember she has no idea what has caused her family to send her away but she think she must have done something terribly wrong. (Also, her grandfather is the mack daddy of the retirement community and it's hilarious.) She does manage to make a friend of commensurate age though and the two of them develop a mutual interest in superheroes and comics. 

 

It's hard to say where the author lands in terms of keeping family secrets (they experienced something similar to Sunny in reality) but what the reader does see is Sunny learning about the difficulty of maintaining secret identities as she gets into reading comics. By the end, she is told what has happened with her brother and the reader (if they hadn't already figured it out) sees all the puzzle pieces fall into place. Because the reader is seeing everything through the eyes of Sunny the reading experience is quite different from some of the realistic fiction on this topic that I've read before. I think from that standpoint this is quite a unique and important book especially for children who have experienced this and are feeling quite alone and isolated. In fact, at the end they tacked on a bit about talking to someone if you know a family member is struggling with substance abuse. If you're creating a booklist for your students and you're looking for material that touches on substance abuse and/or family dynamics you could do a lot worse than picking Sunny Side Up. 8/10

 

The illustrations reminded me of Sunday newspaper comic strips. [Source: Scholastic]

 

What's Up Next: 5 Worlds Book 1: The Sand Warrior by Alexis & Mark Siegel and illustrations by Boya Sun & Matt Rockefeller

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-09-22 16:56
Essential Reading
Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions - Russell Brand

Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions by Russell Brand is the 4th book of his that I've read and possibly the one that's hit the closest to home. This book outlines the 12 Step Program from Russell's perspective with personal accounts from each step of his journey towards recovery. It is an excellent book for those struggling with addiction (of any kind) or those who have witnessed that struggle in others.

 

The emphasis made throughout the book is that you must

  • seek a Higher Power
  • attend meetings to have a community of help
  • work the program every single day
  • seek help at times when stressed or apt to relapse from a mentor who has worked the program

 

These excellent quotes from the book do a far better job of recommending it than anything I could say:

But in your life you've faced obstacles, inner and outer, that have prevented you from becoming the person you were 'meant to be' or 'are capable of being' and that is what we are going to recover. That's why we call this process Recovery, we recover the 'you' that you were meant to be. - pg 42

This program helps me to change my perspective when what I would do unabated is justify my perspective staying the same - 'if you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got', if you want change, you have to change. You have to make amends. - pg 133

...'you can't think your way into acting better but you can act your way into thinking better.' - pg 160

The literature upon which these movements are founded describe it not as a 'cure' but as a 'daily reprieve'; the disease, the condition, is still there, you will feel it move through you, in fear and rage and irritation, beckoning you back into previous behavior - pg 212 

I cannot say enough wonderful things about Recovery. If you or anyone you love has ever struggled through addiction and the subsequent difficulties on the long road towards recovery then this is essential reading. 10/10 highly recommend 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-12-28 22:40
Eventually your past will catch up with you
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore: A Novel - Matthew J. Sullivan

I had hoped to keep up the momentum and actually post a new review every single day leading up to New Year's but I got super busy with mom in town and...ah well. :-)

 

I thought I made notes about every single book that I've read this year and then it's time to review Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan and I've got nothing. This leaves me in an interesting predicament because I read this book quite a while ago (September to be precise) and so this is going to be a test of the narrative's sustainability in my memory. (Full disclosure: I had to look up the synopsis because all I remembered was 'mystery, death, and bookstore'.) Without being too spoiler-y, the book follows a young woman named Lydia who works at the Bright Ideas Bookstore. Lydia has a secret. Well, it's at least a secret from her closest friends and co-workers. At the very start of the novel, Lydia discovers the body of one of her favorite patrons hanging in the bookstore where she works. (This isn't giving anything away because it's on the book jacket, ok?) This sets her off on a journey to not only discover why he killed himself but how the two of them might be interconnected beyond the clerk/customer relationship. Full of suspense (and not a little gore), this was an enjoyable read. I felt a bit like Sherlock Holmes trying to suss out the real clues from the barrage of information that the author threw my away but it wasn't too overwhelming. This is definitely a novel full of drama so if that isn't your jam I don't recommend this one. (And if you're squeamish I think you'd better steer clear.) 8/10 with a few points lost because I predicted the ending somewhat.

 

What's Up Next: Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories 

 

What I'm Currently Reading: I FINALLY FINISHED SCYTHE

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-01-30 06:41
Little lies
Uncensored (The Manhattanites Book 7) - Avery Aster

This is the 7th book in The Manhattanites series.  This book can be read as a standalone novel.  For reader enjoyment and understanding, I recommend reading in order.

 

Vive and Rod meet for the first time at the farm.  I say this term loosely since they are both recovering addicts who have had a lot to deal with over the last year.  Vive has great friends who want to help, and that makes all the difference.

 

Rod has had his life torn apart.  Nothing is the same.  He can actually say he has hit rock bottom, and lost everything.  When he comes face to face with his adversary, however, he is not sure at first how to react.  They both are hiding secrets that can change the course of the future for both of them.

 

I felt like this was the best book in the series.  It had such depth.  The characters had to really lose to win.  It was a very powerful story, infused with humor and heat.  The sexy times are really hot!  Great add on for The Manhattanites series.  I give this book a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This copy was given in exchange for an honest review only.

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review 2016-08-05 08:01
Blog Tour w/Review # 1 - Counting Daisies
  
 
Title: Counting Daisies
Author: Nicola Haken
Genre: MM Romance
Release Date: August 1, 2016
 
 
 
Dylan Roberts and Cameron O’Neil were good kids. Growing up together, they shared everything. By the age of fourteen they were more than best friends – they were in love. They dreamt of their future, of success, marriage…happiness. They were going to grow old by each other’s side. But… “Kids are stupid.” When tragic circumstances forced them apart, Dylan discovered that life wasn’t the fairytale he dreamed of; it was dark, difficult, saturated with pain and shame. Life wasn’t meant to be enjoyed, merely survived, but even that became a challenge. Damaged, worthless, and disgusting, he saw no point to his pitiful existence… Until he came face to face with the boy he used to love. Successful, honourable, and happy, Cameron had achieved the future they planned. He was good, positive, popular…everything Dylan would never be. What would happen if Dylan let him back into his world? Would he destroy Cameron too? Would his poison push him away like everyone else? “Everybody leaves.” “They leave or they die.” But what if…what if Cameron didn’t?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
“This is a deep and powerful book with the main theme which is refreshing less about the path of a relationship and way more about the real life gritty obstacles that come on the way of their HEA.” - Reader Review
 
“This book was phenomenal. I cried so many tears. Story was heart breaking and heartwarming all at the same time.” - SiKReviews
 
“This was a beautifully crafted story of friendship, love, bonds, addictive behaviour and heartache. It was hugely emotional in parts, and Nicola doesn't hold back.” - 2 Girls & Their Kindles
 
 
He clung to my shirt, his knuckles turning white. “Make it s-stop.” 
 
“I…I don’t know how.”
 
Fuck this. Fuck heroin. Why the hell would someone do this to themselves? I’d never seen this level of pain before that hadn’t resulted in death, and even that was only on TV. 
 
Dylan sobbed into my chest and I held him while he did. My arms were all I had to offer. He remained so cold despite my palms rubbing up and down his back, and he was dirty, too - dried up vomit sticking to his skin and hair. I’d never felt so helpless in all my life.
 
Needing to do something, anything, I climbed to my feet, lifting his body with me. “Come on,” I encouraged, struggling to take his weight on my own. “Try and walk for me.”
 
He whimpered and mumbled but made little effort to move. So, sliding one arm behind his thighs, I scooped him up like a baby, carrying him towards the bath. He clung to my neck, his grip weak, while I turned on the water. I turned the temperature down to barely warm, worried the heat might burn his shivering skin, before lowering him into the bathtub, under the fine spray of the shower. 
 
His muscles twitched and his eyes closed as he hugged his knees to his scrawny chest. Taking a sponge and some shower-gel, I scrubbed softly up and down his trembling body, gently manoeuvring his arms and legs when needed so I could clean every inch of him.
 
“I’m tired, Cam,” he barely whispered, dropping his head to the side.
 
My heart ached, like it was trapped inside a vice that was trying to crush its ability to beat, as I lathered some shampoo into his fair hair. “You can sleep soon. Nearly done.” 
 
I tried not to cry as I massaged his scalp. I wanted to be strong, but I’d never felt more vulnerable. Removing the showerhead from the hook on the wall, I hovered it over his head, rinsing away the tea-tree scented suds, before doing the same to the rest of his skin. After shutting the water off, I grabbed a large towel from the heated rail next to the toilet and rubbed it over his skin in the bathtub before lifting him out and doing the same to his back.
 
“I-I can’t d-do it anymore,” Dylan cried as I wound my arm around his waist, urging him to take a step.
 
“You are doing it. It’s almost over.” I had no idea if my words were the truth, but I had to hope they were for both of our sakes. Honestly, I felt like I couldn’t do it anymore either.
 
 
 
  

Counting Daisies (Counting, #1)Counting Daisies by Nicola Haken
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Dylan & Cameron grew up together. They did everything together. In their teens, they fell in love too. Growing together was their greatest happiness.

Cameron went on to live a pretty good life, without Dylan. Dylan had found the dark, negative side to life - away from Cameron. When he saw him again, he was afraid to say anything.

Dylan and Cameron want to find each other again. How patient can you be to relive a first love? Can it be rekindled at a later date? Dylan only wants Cameron. Nothing maters more.

This book was so touching. So very compelling to read. I was spellbound. I hurt when they hurt and I cheered when they triumphed. I loved every page.



***This ARC was given in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Nicola lives in Rochdale, England with her husband and four children (six if you include the dog and cat!) She is the author the author of the m/m romance Souls of the Knight series, and is currently working on a standalone with new boys, James and Theo, due for release early 2016. When she is not busy playing with her imaginary book friends (or talking about them with real life friends!) she can usually be found carrying out her ordinary mum/housewife/all round slave duties. Oh, and if the kids ever ask, she moonlights as the Pink Power Ranger while they're sleeping...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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