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text 2018-03-21 11:00
Facts About Me: Life With Cancer

I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2002, one week before my 16th birthday. I underwent extreme chemotherapy treatment and a stem cell transplant in a trial research program. Now, due to side effects that weren’t known at the time, I have quite a few different disabilities and illnesses that creep up from time to time. I have to use some fancy gadgets at home, and I’ve got a boring old, regular wheelchair to get me where I want to go.

I get by as best as I can and don’t particularly consider myself ‘disabled’, though there are things I can’t do that really irritate me, because I used to be able to do them. I’m just happy for what I’ve got and try to get on with it.

The only real blessing it's given me is the freedom to spend all day, every day, following my passion - writing. Other than family and my reviewing hobby, there are no other commitments to take up my time, as I'm considered unfit to work. Which means that I get to write all. the. time.

~

After my treatment, I actually wrote a book about my experience as a teenager with cancer. It was posted on Wattpad after I completed it, then published with Write More Publications, but has since been unpublished due to Write More closing down. The book is still available to review, in its original (unedited) format, on Wattpad. I've been lucky enough to have some amazing readers, who comment to let me know how much my experiences help them cope with similar life struggles, and how my survival gives them hope, even for family members who are going through similar things.

You can read the book, An Unpredictable Life, for free on Wattpad right here: https://www.wattpad.com/story/9749942-an-unpredictable-life

 

 

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review 2018-03-15 16:53
A psychologically astute book that will make you think about your own mortality. And what an ending!
The Healer - Christoph Fischer

I have read and reviewed a couple of the author’s books in the past and enjoyed them, and I was intrigued by this book when it came out, but due to my personal circumstances (my father suffered from cancer and died around the time of its publication) I didn’t feel I was in the best frame of mind for it. Now that it has been published as part of The Fraud and Miracle Trilogy, I was very pleased to receive a paperback copy and finally get to read it.

The story is deceptively simple. A woman suffering from terminal pancreatic cancer, desperate, follows the advice of her personal assistant and approaches a healer, Arpan. I am not sure if he would call himself a “faith” healer, but he insists that those he treats should be totally invested in the process, including transferring 50% of their assets to his account. Although he states all that money goes to charity, it caused suspicion and scandal years back, and he has been keeping a low profile ever since. After much insistence and a different deal, he agrees to treat Erica, who also has secrets of her own. There are strange conspiracies surrounding Arpan and his healing process but Erica’s life is changed forever. Things are not as they seem, of course.

The story is written in the third person from Erica’s point of view, and we get to share in her doubts, suspicions, paranoia, hope, and also to experience the healing with her. The book transmits a sense of claustrophobia, and although there are treks around the Welsh countryside and later we move to a different country, most of the story takes place within Arpan’s tent, and there are only a few main characters (mostly Erica (Maria), Arpan (Amesh), and Anuj) with some secondary characters that we don’t get to know very well (Hilda, Julia, Gunnar). There are no lengthy descriptions of settings or of the appearance of the characters, because we follow the point of view of a woman totally preoccupied with her health and her mortality, and that makes her not the most reliable of narrators. She describes the physical and mental effects that the illness and the healing process have on her, and we are also privy to her suspicions and doubts. The book offers fascinating psychological insights into how much our “rational” point of view can change when our life is at stake, and it is impossible to read it and not wonder what we would do in Erica’s place.

I kept thinking that the story, which relies heavily on dialogue (both between characters and also internal dialogue), would make a great play, and its intensity would be well suited to the stage. Although most of the characters are not sympathetic, to begin with, their humanity and the big questions they are forced to deal with make them intriguing and worthy subjects of our observations.

The ending brings a great twist to the story. Although I think most readers will have been suspicious and on alert due to the secrets, false information, continuous doubts, and different versions of the truth on offer, the actual ending will make them question everything and re-evaluate the story in a different light. And, considering the nature of the subject it deals with, that is a great achievement.

I recommend it to those who enjoy stories that make them think, to readers who are not searching for cheap thrills and prefer a psychologically astute book and especially to those who want to feel personally invested in the stories they read. I look forward to the rest of the books in the trilogy.

 

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review 2018-01-06 02:57
The Woman in Cabin 10
The Woman in Cabin 10 - Helen Ruth Elizabeth Ware

I listened to the audio version of this book and really enjoyed the narrator. I was frustrated with the main character because she seemed odd. If you only read the parts she spoke you would think she was mentally disabled. She stammered all the time and did not seem like the professional journalist she was supposed to be. Sure she was having trouble with anxiety but I don´t believe she would have been sent on this trip. She just didn´t seem capable of her job....or speaking. I did enjoy the book though and definitely recommend the audio book.

 

Lo wakes up one night and realizes something isn´t right.  She isn´t sure what woke her up but her bedroom door is shut and she didn´t shut it.  She opens it and sees a man standing there.  He has a mask on and surgical gloves and in his hands was her purse.  She is paralyzed with fear.  The man suddenly slams the door in her face and smashes the lock, trapping her in her room.  Her face was hit by the door when it was slammed and she is dazed and bleeding.  She can´t call for help since her phone was in her purse.  When she finally gets out she finds the intruder is gone and so is her purse with wallet and ID.  He also took her computer which had her banking into on it.  She puts on a brave face but inside she is traumatized.  She calls to tell her employer why she didn´t come in but she said she was fine for the cruise she was set to go on.  Lo is a travel journalist and excited to finally get a chance to prove herself.  The trip was going okay until she woke up suddenly.  She thought she scream and then she heard a big splash like someone someone falling into the water.  She looks out and thinks she sees a hand below the surface.  She called to report it but the chief of security doesn´t believe her... because no one was missing.  The person who was going to be in cabin 10 cancelled at the last minute.  But Lo talked to a woman that was in there and borrowed a mascara from her.  Now she is sure someone killed her and threw her overboard.  How could she get them to believe her?

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text 2017-12-29 19:41
RIP Sue Grafton

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