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review 2018-04-23 14:18
Rocky Mountain Refuge
Rocky Mountain Refuge - Nicky James

Once again Nicky James tackles a very serious mental condition and does so with such thoughtfulness, such care and with love.

 

Not everything in life is easy, you know. It’s the people who risk facing the hard stuff and the scary stuff every day who come out stronger in the end.

 

And while this is a quote from the book, this could certainly apply to the author as well.  She does not shy away from difficult stories.  From stories of loss, mental health and death.  She tackles these head on and with such love. And it is these stories which grab hold of your heart and soul and that ultimately become some of the most memorable reads for me.  

 

This is one of those stories.  The ability to get into the head of our sweet Huxley could not have been easy to write but my heavens...I felt it all.  Every fear, every doubt.  And to not only write about this character's condition but to develop an equally complex character in Aspen whose patience, love and understanding leads this character home could not have been easy.  And where they ultimately found home was just perfection.

 

This is quite a long book and one that builds quite beautifully.  Trust is not something that comes easily and therefore it takes time.  

 

Not all people are out to get you, Huxley. Some people just want to be nice. 

 

How do you build trust with someone who doubts your every move? Who reads things into statements differently and has fears you cannot begin to understand?  

 

That definitely takes patience and time.

 

This book is that exploration. It is that journey of trust which is told here.  And while your heart breaks, you understand the journey is not an easy one. Mental health is not easy.  You cannot simply take a pill and make things better.  Mental health affects the person and those around them in such a special way.  And living with this falls on both parties. 

 

Trust. Love. Understanding. Patience.

 

I cannot recommend this book and others by Nicky James enough.  Open your heart to some feels you will not soon forget.

 

 

 

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review 2018-04-23 05:22
Psychological thriller that puts sexual assault and harassment at the center, and keeps you gripped all the way through; an unassuming title but a great twist
The Girl I Used to Be - Mary Torjussen

This is a psychological thriller that is hard to put to down, and despite the unassuming title, this novel goes from being a story about a seemingly innocuous meeting with a prospective client for estate agent Gemma to a full-blown harassment and sexual assault case. Gemma is the breadwinner of her family, with her husband being at home with their three-year old son, and while she is trying hard to deal with the mounting stress of running a company, she’s constantly dealing with the anxiety of an incident in her past. Suddenly she is very much alone in a world where she is being harassed by private messages and letters, and she is finding herself lying and wondering who she is becoming.
It’s so hard to review this without revealing a major amount about the plot but this had me quickly turning the pages because author Mary Torjussen has crafted the perfect thriller whereby she has weaved a story from the character’s past into one in the present day, and while I was reading I felt Gemma’s anxiety - and fear - all the way through. It really was compulsive reading.
I will also personally disclose that the initiating incident that Gemma experiences, the one that she feels she must run from, and the one that is the cause of so much tragedy (revealed in part 2), is something that I personally went through myself. I only wish this sort of thing didn’t actually have to be something that becomes the basis of both adult and YA fiction, but (yes, this is my trigger warning), sexual assault happens, and will continue to be a part of fictional and non-fictional works. As women start to fight back by talking about it, as now it is very much a topic of our time (there’s a line in the book acknowledging that once upon a time, it wasn’t talked about so easily), it has become different when we read about it too.
This is actually the second book released this year that I have read with this similar sexual assault issue.
The book is thoroughly engaging to read and I liked the ‘two parts’ that it was separated into, with the massive twist. I don’t know what I’d change it to, but for some reason I have an issue with the title, although I understand the concept of how we look back at what we ‘used to be’, feeling like we have changed so much, or looking at what we were back then, but I want something else to grab people by. This book is so good and too clever for people to miss.

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review 2018-04-02 18:44
I guess that's one way to go into business for yourself
The Last Black Unicorn - Tiffany Haddish

The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish is part memoir and part uplifting 'anyone can succeed' comedy. It was quite an interesting experience reading this on the heels of I've Got This Round as both are funny slice of life books by hilarious women. The main difference is that I felt more of a connection to Tiffany and honestly I think my own life story would read similarly. Tiffany faced a lot of challenges during her childhood but those challenges are what molded her into the strong adult that she is today. *cue dramatic music* (My story would have a lot less booze and sex for sure.) If you're bothered by books that are heavy on the vernacular combined with coarse language then I'm afraid this isn't the book for you. If you like reading about women who made it big despite the odds being stacked against them then it's your lucky day. The Last Black Unicorn has definitely made me want to watch her stand-up routine. In fact, it was her book promo on Trevor Noah's show that enticed me to pick up the book. I'm glad that I did. :-) From sending poorly written love notes to her school crush to pimping out the 'other woman' Tiffany has had a compelling life story that if nothing else will take you out of your own life for the hours you spend reading it. (I bet it's an absolute scream as an audiobook.) 9/10

 

A/N: It was at the end that I realized this was written by a ghost writer. I know that's common but I felt that it was necessary to make you aware just in case that was a no-no for any of you. This is essentially why it lost a point...and the overuse of vernacular didn't help either.

 

What's Up Next: Gorillas in the Mist by Dr. Dian Fossey

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Life and Love from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-03-08 00:35
Sleuthing for a new mystery series
The Killings at Badger's Drift - Caroline Graham

It might come as a surprise that I had never heard of the writer Caroline Graham until my mom got me into watching a show called Midsomer Murders. (It's on Netflix if you're interested.) What does one have to do with the other? Well, the tv show is based off of a book series by Graham that begins with The Killings at Badger's Drift which also happens to be the first episode's name. As this is the first in the Chief Inspector Barnaby series, you can expect the usual character introductions and some growing pains as the reader decides if they actually want to throw their hat into the ring of a somewhat grumpy detective in the English countryside. In the show DCI Tom Barnaby is a fatherly figure accompanied by a somewhat bumbling underling named Gavin Troy. It's not quite the same in the book. Firstly, Troy (who is one of my fave characters) is not at all likable. The reader is treated to somewhat of an inner monologue of his and he's not what I'd characterize as a a good dude (he's misogynistic, arrogant, and a cheater). Secondly, Barnaby is bordering on being a full-blown hypochondriac with an extensive knowledge of horticulture which at times seems to nearly distract him from the case at hand. (Get ready for a lot of plant descriptions.) However, looking beyond these very different versions of the characters the 'feel' of the mystery is the same if somewhat more overtly sexual. (This is an adult novel.) The crime centers around a small village called Badger's Drift and the victim is an older woman who everyone can agree was very likable. There aren't any concrete leads on suspects and Troy is ready to write it off as a bizarre accident when another murder occurs right up the road. Onward, super sleuths! Like Christie, Graham is able to write characters extremely well and the feel of the village comes completely to life on the page. This was an extraordinarily fast read for me because I was enjoying it so much and wanted to see whodunit (even though I already knew). Mystery fans who want to visit what has to be the deadliest county in the UK must get their hands on this book because I strongly suspect (see what I did there?) you won't want to stop there. 9/10 but lost a point because Troy made me grind my teeth in sheer frustration.

 

What's Up Next: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Others Lessons From the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-02-20 22:32
Intense But Not enjoyable
The Crooked Staircase - Dean Koontz

Fast, violent, deadly, with intense suspense.
I think an ultimate fear is losing control of our own minds, or choices. This book dives into that fear and drags it into that dark place, then it adds rape, torture, sex salvery, and running for your life. It is intense. Jane the main character, rams though her targets, try to find her husbands killer, and save her son from an unspeakably horrific threat. The bad guys are so ruthless, my stomach churned during several scenes. Jane is an incredible character, smart, and twisted enough to do what needs to be done.
Why only 3 stars ? Several reasons. One, it was too dark, there was so little hope and too much taken away. It left me with a hopeless feeling, I didn't want to continue many times. Oi, to feel such despair it hurts. The threat to the child, was too much for me. I will not continue the series for fear of where Mr. Koontz will go with that. I can't go there, can't fear for that happening. Then there was the fact that this book had two separate time lines going on switching back and forth with each short chapter. I found that really disruptive. Finally the ending, it just stoped, like mid breath just stoped-cliffhanger extreme.
I think it did what it was ment to do. It shocked, upset and drove adrenaline rushing through my body. It just wasn't my idea of an entertaining read.

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