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review 2018-03-20 15:54
Book Review: Love & Other Phobias By Emma Nichols
Love & Other Phobias - Emma Nichols


* I received a complimentary early copy of this book because I supported it on Kindle Scout.


The writing style did wonders for this novel, but a few things bothered me throughout the story. However, I loved how willing and open the main characters were to getting help for their mental issues and made it a point to actively seek out the help they needed.


Sophie has been through a lot. She's gotten to a point where she has backup plans for her backup plans. She's a recluse who has made it big from posting nail art videos online and well-planned investments. My only problem with her was how her problems seemed to start disappearing a day after she met Cameron. I can only suspend my belief for so long.


Cameron was a gentle giant, but he has a mean side when pushed to the edge. He's been through a lot in his life. I liked how, in a way, Sophie and Cam help "fix" each other throughout the story to a certain degree. What ended up leaving a bad taste in my mouth was the secret Cam kept until a few chapters from the end. It was only "revealed" because of pure happenstance. I understand, that ultimately, it wasn't his fault but he shouldn't have kept everything going while knowing she didn't know the full story. I also didn't understand why he hung around her to the point that he did. What ever happened to him having a job?


I was so engrossed in the story that I didn't see the brother and the BFF plot twist. Though it caught me blindsided, it got resolved way too easily. I'd also like to point out the lack of character development for the secondary characters. It felt like they were there only to further the plot line. It didn't feel like they had any substance to them.


Overall, this was a good story with a few details that rubbed me the wrong way. The main characters were very likable, but everything moved too fast to make it believable. I would have loved to have gotten to know the fire department aspect of the story. It would have made for a great series of spinoffs stories if any of Cam's friends had been presented organically throughout the story.


My Favorite Quotes:


"I'm not remotely athletic. I believe working out is a special kind of torture, and food is meant to be enjoyed."


"Life isn't fair [...]. Sometimes the bad guy wins. Sometimes dark conquers the light. Sometimes we forget to chase after our dreams, and we let the ones we love get away."


"Face your fears. Embrace the pain. Take a chance."

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review 2017-03-16 18:37
What Are You Afraid Of? Agoraphobic by Sara Secora @SaraSecora @YABoundToursPR
Agoraphobic: Inside Out - Sara Secora,Sara Secora,Sara Secora

Love the cover for this short story, Agoraphobic by Sara Secora.


What are you afraid of?



Amazon  /  Goodreads


Agoraphobic: Inside Out
by Sara Secora
A short story – 11 pages
Release Date: January 30th 2017




 I think most of us fear something, but you would have to walk a mile in Kade’s shoes to understand his terror of the outside world. I kept hoping he would take just one more step…


I think Sara Secora did a wonderful job describing his Agoraphic illness, and it is an illness.


So…be careful of judging someone for their idiosyncracies…it could happen to you.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos 4 Stars


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Source: www.fundinmental.com/what-are-you-afraid-of-agoraphobic-by-sara-secora-sarasecora-yaboundtourspr
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review 2015-11-05 01:02
If I Fall, If I Die
If I Fall, If I Die - Michael Christie

Description (Goodreads):


Will has never been outside, at least not since he can remember. And he has certainly never gotten to know anyone other than his mother, a fiercely loving yet wildly eccentric agoraphobe who panics at the thought of opening the front door. Their world is rich and fun- loving—full of art, science experiments, and music—and all confined to their small house.

But Will’s thirst for adventure can’t be contained. Clad in a protective helmet and unsure of how to talk to other kids, he finally ventures outside.  At his new school he meets Jonah, an artsy loner who introduces Will to the high-flying freedoms of skateboarding.  Together, they search for a missing local boy, help a bedraggled vagabond, and evade a dangerous bootlegger.  The adventure is more than Will ever expected, pulling him far from the confines of his closed-off world and into the throes of early adulthood, and all the risks that everyday life offers.   

In buoyant, kinetic prose, Michael Christie has written an emotionally resonant and keenly observed novel about mothers and sons, fears and uncertainties, and the lengths we’ll go for those we love.


My Thoughts:


I have seen how people act and behave after living environments like the one Will lives in. I do think the author did a great job on this character. Also, the mother's reactions are similar to what i have seen parents react like when their children do something that they themselves find terrifying. I liked the plot a lot, and I have never found a book similar to this. 


I did not like the way the POV bounced around from character to charcter. It was confusing at times. Another part that I had issues with was how it wasn't explained what certain characters were actually referring to when talking about things that Will and his mother had unique names for. 


I did enjoy this, and finished this rather quickly. It is not perfect, but it was interesting.




She always knew he would go to school, eventually, but she hoped he might bu sufficienty gifted to skip all the  schoolyard heartbreak, the punch-ups, the crushing repetitive cards, the cruelities, and disappointments and failures of life in a Thunder Bay public school-- just leapfrog right into a good, safe university or fine arts program when he reached eighteen or so. Juilliard took homeschooled kids, didn't they? As did Berkley? It seemed like something they'd have to do, for ideology's sake.


About The Author:


MICHAEL CHRISTIE’s debut book of fiction, The Beggar’s Garden, was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, a finalist for the Writers’ Trust Prize for Fiction, and won the Vancouver Book Award. Prior to earning an MFA from the University of British Columbia, he was a sponsored skateboarder and travelled throughout the world skateboarding and writing for skateboard magazines. Born in Thunder Bay, he now lives on Galiano Island with his wife and two sons. If I Fall, If I Die is his first novel.




I really do think that if the synopsis interests you that you will probably enjoy this. I do feel that $11.99 is way too much for this in ebook format. I was a pallet when I saw that price tag. That is almost too much for a new release by an established author with a reputation for writing really great books. 


Amazon US


I recieved a copy of this from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review. If you are a blogger and haven't checked out their site, I recommend doing so. The process has been enjoyable and simple.

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review 2014-04-13 05:55
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time by Yasutaka Tsutsui
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time - Yasutaka Tsutsui,David James Karashima

Despite my disappointment with the live action movie Time Traveller: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, I was looking forward to this book – possibly one of those instances of me being too attracted to cover art. Seriously, the cover of this book is lovely. And also makes no sense. At the very least, the flowers should be lavender flowers, not daisies or whatever those things are.

First off, this book is short. My e-reader app says it's only 64 pages long. The print version is 200 pages. Second, it's not just one story, it's two, and they're completely unrelated at that. Two thirds of the book is devoted to “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time,” while the last third is “The Stuff That Nightmares Are Made Of.”

“The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” is a science fiction story starring a girl named Kazuko. She has two male friends, Goro and Kazuo. One day, she and her friends have to stay late at school, cleaning the science lab. While Goro and Kazuo are off washing up, Kazuko hears somebody walking around who shouldn't be there. When she tries to confront this mystery person, he or she disappears. Kazuko becomes overwhelmed by the smell of lavender, produced by some test tubes the mystery person broke, and faints.

She wakes up and is seemingly fine, but a few days later she and Goro are almost hit by a truck, and something odd happens. Kazuko wakes up in her bed, thinking that the incident with the truck was just a dream. However, it soon becomes apparent that she has actually jumped backwards in time. Somehow, Kazuko has to convince her friends to help her and figure out how to undo whatever it was the mysterious stranger did to her.

The simplicity of this story disappointed me right from the start. It was entirely plot-focused – no attempt was made at character development at all. Any sense of fear, or wonder, or awe seemed muffled. Even after she realized what was going on, Kazuko made no attempt to play around with or test out her new ability. She cared enough about altering the past to want to try to save Goro, but the possibility of preventing the accident from happening in the first place never even occurred to her. Kazuo, Goro, and Mr. Fukushima's reactions to what was happening to Kazuko were remarkably mild, and Mr. Fukushima believed Kazuko far more quickly than I would have expected him to.

The story was interesting enough, until the mystery person's identity was revealed. I already knew what to expect, having watched Time Traveller: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (although that movie takes place years later), but reading this story gave me additional details. Unfortunately, those additional details managed to make the whole situation seem even dumber than it did in the movie. The mystery person's feelings for Kazuko weren't believable, and the amount of mental tampering the person had engaged in made them seem more creepy than anything. Had I been Kazuko, I'd have been mad, scared, or both, but she adjusted to it all fairly easily.

The story's ending was absolutely pointless, and I am still wondering how the mystery person managed to smooth things over so that the truck accident and the fire never happened.

“The Stuff That Nightmares Are Made Of” is a contemporary fiction story. You could maybe call it a bit of a psychological thriller. After her friend Bunichi scares her with a Prajna mask, Masako becomes obsessed with finding out the root of her two greatest fears, heights and Prajna masks. What horrible thing did she see or do that gave her such fears, and why can't she remember? While considering the problem of phobias, Masako accidentally learns the source of the fear that prevents her little brother Yoshio from going to the bathroom at night and leads to him wetting the bed. She tries to deal with her own fear by confronting it, but, when that doesn't work, she decides she has to find its root, the same way she did with her little brother.

This was actually pretty interesting and suspenseful, even though it suffered from several of the same problems that “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time" did. As in that story, character development was nonexistent, and just about everything was oversimplified. For example, whenever Masako discovered the root of her little brother's fears, she told him about it, which instantly cured him of his fears. I'm fairly certain that curing fears and phobias is usually a little more difficult and complicated than that.

I was all geared up to find out about the horrible thing that Masako had done or seen that gave her her fears...and then the horrible thing turned out to be kind of a letdown. Yes, it would have been an awful moment, but it wasn't nearly as shocking as I had been expecting, and the way the revelation was handled could have been better.

This was a “meh” story with one particular aspect that bothered me: the way Yoshio's fears were talked about and handled. Repeated throughout the story, by several characters, was the assertion that he was five years old and a boy, so he should no longer be afraid to go to the bathroom at night. The fact that he was a boy was particularly important. His mother essentially called him a little girl for being so afraid and for playing with girls because the other boys bullied him. At the end of the story, when he fought back against one of the bullies, Masako told him he shouldn't fight and then praised him for fighting. I wanted to ask these characters to sit down and really think about the words that were coming out of their mouths.

All in all, this book was a bit of a disappointment. Both stories had interesting premises, but fell flat in the end, and both were far more simplistic than I would have liked.


(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2014-03-28 00:00
Phobias: A Collection of True Stories
Phobias: A Collection of True Stories - Kay Brooks,David Price,Emerian Rich People all over the world suffer from phobias. What may seem like an irrational fear to one person makes life unbearable for another. What causes phobias is unknown, what causes a phobia for one person wouldn’t affect another. Everyone has their own story on what caused their phobia and how they deal with it. In the book Phobias: A Collection Of True stories from Hidden Thoughts Press you get a glimpse of how eighteen authors have learned to live with their phobias.

Phobias: A Collection Of True Stories has a range of stories that are funny, sad, scary and inspiring. In the introduction Mary Harris points out that phobias may be evolutionary such as being scared of spiders (arachnophobia) which seems to the most common phobia in this book. During ancient times people knew spiders were dangerous because some were poisonous and this trait was passed down through a person’s genes. Something like agoraphobia, the fear of leaving one’s home, may come from an environmental cause.

Whats fascinating about this book is learning how each person got their phobia and learned to live with it. In one story called Dreaming Of The Dead by Suzanne Robb we learn that she has a fear of zombies which stems from seeing Night Of The Living Dead as a child and then associating it with the death of her grandpa. Suzanne would have dreams of zombies coming to get her. She dealt with this by writing about zombies and watching zombie movies that were hard for her to get through. What may not seem to be scary to some was a real fear for Suzanne and she had to work through it.

Another good story in this book was The Monkey Queen by Emerian Rich. In the story she describes a reoccurring dream about being on an island and being served by monkeys, when she tries to leave to go home, the monkeys wont let her and the dream turns into a nightmare. When I read about this dream I thought it would make a good scene in a horror novel but to Emerian the fear of monkeys is a very real thing which she had to learn to live with.

One story in this anthology that really got to me was Phobias Sprouting from Seeds Of Fear by Toianna Wika. Toianna relates how she had an abusive childhood that led her to have issues with anxiety and several different phobias. Toianna goes on to tell how she learned to overcome her fears and live a productive life. She states while working for Mary Kay Cosmetics she learned If she thought positive thoughts and was able to focus her energy on something, it effected her material reality. I loved hearing how Toianna learned to live with her fears and went on to have a family, a career and is now working on her dream of becoming a writer.

Continuing with the idea of not letting your fears control you was Fear Of The Moving Steps by Shauna P. Norman. Shauna talks about her fear of escalators and how it affects her. What I liked about her story was how she writes that some people didn’t understand her fear but there were others that knew how she felt and helped her to get over it. There is always help available when you have a phobia and someone will understand. I took that to be the main idea of Phobias: A Collection Of True Stories.
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