An emotional memoir by a mother who shares the harrowing experience of losing her son to suicide. Brian was her first baby boy: from the very beginning, he was a quick learner who readily made friends. As a teenager and young adult, he grew into a talented artist and musician, who also had a facility for languages, loved food and travel. He lived life. In this emotional memoir, Brian’s mother tries to understand the sudden mental illness that took over Brian’s life and led to his suicide. She describes the failures of the systems that could have helped him. And she shares her efforts to heal—a difficult path that other grieving families know all too well.
Nadeem was just 25 years old when he passed away after a short, but painful illness, however he lives on in the tireless efforts of his mother, Sherine Anniruth, to memorialize his life. The Ultimate Love is as much about Nadeem, the central figure that binds together the chapters of the book, as it is about his mother’s grief over his loss, in all its unimaginable dimensions. Anniruth’s grief comes in waves, some that reduce her to tears, others that almost obliterate her ability to continue with daily life. And her work serves as an open letter to anyone experiencing the same pain, wondering how they could possibly live on after their child has gone.
The Ultimate Love is a work of deep and startling honesty, but not one likely to fly off the shelves. Anniruth struggles to keep her emotions down long enough in order to analyze and discuss her grief, rather than to be caught up in the depths of it. Perhaps it’s not possible to capture such a deep sense of grief in words, let alone review a work that details a mother’s unending love for a lost child. As Anniruth herself says, “each person’s struggle is different”, and her experience of grief is hers alone. The Ultimate Love is less a novel and more of a guide to living through loss, authored by a loving, abundantly caring mother who asks how the world could dare to move on, when she’ll never be able to do the same. She tries to find positive affirmations and an overarching meaning for what happened to her son – a young man we sadly, barely come to know in the book, falling back on her faith for support.
What Anniruth has written is more a testament to the fragility of life, to its cruelties, and to our natural, built-in resilience to continuing on in the face of loss. As she carries the ghost of her son with her, she is herself transformed by the act of keeping him close to her heart. It’s not an easy read, for more reasons than one, but a book that’s bound to touch those who find themselves in the same position as Anniruth, and trying to cope with what feels like an insurmountable loss. Her parting gift to us as an author is to try and face it all, her grief, her hopes, her fears, and the small ways in which life does go on, while memory never fades.
Pages: 125 | ASIN: B0871MW1M9
She was a bubbly and jovial little girl one day and sickly the next. Brittany’s condition deteriorated along with her family’s spirit. When a loved one passes away, they leave with a part of us. You are left with a big hole in your heart that you have no use for. How then do you get past the loss? How do you feel the sun on your face again? How do you accept the loss and learn to live with it rather than let it derail your life? How do you finally find some peace despite the ache in your heart?
Brittany’s Rose is the story of a little girl’s death and her family’s journey through grief. It tells the story of their struggles with mourning. Mary Jane Clayton gives a candid account of what she and her family went through for the benefit of the reader. You can never truly prepare for such a loss. But with a book like Brittany’s Rose then you can hope for a better day. You can hope for a day when the grief will be more of a background ache than an earth-shattering life stagnating condition.
This is a quick read meant to help you get past the fog. To hold your hand through this turmoil. Because, really, there is no way to avoid it. The only way to get through it is to go through it. The author creates a sense of kinship with the reader by being honest and open. This book is written with the utmost empathy and is all heart. It is evocative and sad but comforting at the same time. It works whether your loved one passed recently or a decade ago. It is personal and uplifting and written in simple language. It is almost casual but still in a tone that lets you take in the message therein.
The simplicity of this book, the tone, the emotion, the personification of it and the honesty and transparency all make this book a great companion. Sometimes you have to let the healing happen naturally rather than forcing it. It is a natural process. You will also learn the importance of faith in the process.
Brittany’s Rose is a personal story that is always important and useful to someone. The one telling the story requires bravery and courage to tell their story especially one of this caliber so kudos to the author for letting us in. May all who have suffered losses be divinely guided through their grief to a space of peace and acceptance.
Pages: 206 | ASIN: B0792Y4LFF
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Love, Loss, Long Beach by Christiaan Pasquale tells the journey of Christiaan, and his endeavour to find true love. Set in the USA – predominantly Los Angeles; the story follows Christiaan, from his early twenties surviving as a musician and truck driver into his forties, overweight, on disability and living in Long Beach. The question is – will he be successful in his hunt for true love?
The story opens with a Trucker’s Mantra, “Aces never fall, they may slip, but they never fall. And I’m an Ace, and that’s that!” Christiaan is driving a Peterbilt, the sounds and sights of the trucker’s view realistically described.
He then describes his journey from The Slanderin band member to truck driver. Lured by the promise of money and the chance to improve his life he accepts a position with a local LA truck company. There he learns to drive a truck and gains his licence. Christiaan soon learns why his father tried to discourage him from a truck driving career. The hours are long and erratic and soon take their toll. I felt like this part of the story was realistically and authentically described. Descriptions were easy and vivid and always depth to the story.
The American Hotel becomes his home for a while. The squalid conditions are described in detail, again the nuance and detail is something that much enjoyed in this book. Dark, dingy and smelling of piss. Drug deals were common, as were a trail of women. The people and setting are described in depressing, realistic detail. From junkies to prostitutes to long legged nurses. The descriptions of both add to the authenticity of the story. The dialogue is raw, distinctive and realistic making it difficult not to empathize with Christiaan and his circumstances.
Christiaan is saved from this existence by his sister – who rings him and asks him to move in with her and his niece. However, after a while his old acquaintances catch up with him. They bring old habits with them, and I thought the idea of a man trying to escape his past is uniquely captured in this moment and in Christiaan’s character overall. Christiaan escapes most of this as he is spending more and more time in the inside of a truck cab. I always empathized with the hopeless situation, the long and unsociable hours and the vivid descriptions of the depressing neighbourhoods. However, the large number of characters can be difficult to follow, particularly friends coming into his life from his early years. But these characters also give the story a realistic feel, as people often come in and out of our lives when we least expect it.
By chance he reconnects with Lourdes and is thrilled to form a friendship with her. Eventually she encourages him to move to Long Beach and he leaps at the chance. Will he finally find the love he has been yearning for or does the ace finally fall?
This story leaves me with only one word to describe it all; authentic. I enjoyed the characters and appreciated the journey that Chistiaan has been on.
Pages: 214 | ASIN: B07QCYDBQJ
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Myrrendryl is a thought provoking fantasy novel that follows Davey as he escapes to a world very different from his own. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing novel?
I came up with the idea for the novel from a thought; What if when you die, you pass completely unaware and simply dream a dream that never ends. That, coupled with a deep love for horror fiction and stories that are more than the sum of their parts.
Davey is an interesting and well developed character. What were some themes you wanted to explore with his character?
I really wanted Davey to be relatable, I wanted him to be the Everyman Hero, but even with the best of intentions, sometimes, doing the right thing is never cut and dry. I wanted him to struggle with bullying, abuse, loss, unrequited love, and being an outcast. In the end, even with the odds piled against him and despair baring it’s poisoned fangs, I needed him to make the choice that matters.
I found ‘Cardboard City’ to be fascinating and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind this and it’s backstory?
Let me answer this, with a question. Was it ever really there? Sure, it seemed like a magical place, but for all it’s glamour, couldn’t a Maytag box and a rat chewn blanket be paradise?
If it was there, it was because a common belief brought these youths together and kept them focused on a singular goal. A little paint here, some salvaged materials there and soon, they had their own community.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m currently working on a novel of the prodigal son.
James is a successful businessman in the city, but he harbors a deep secret. He is not who he says he is. A lawyer and private investigator track him down to tell him his mother is dead and her estate leaves him as the heir. Now returning to the small town he left far behind he is assailed with memories both good and bad.
But this town holds it’s own secret, and someone or something is very glad to see the son return home.
Hopefully out this year, but at the latest, it will be next.
The curtain, the veil, the void, the abyss. So many names for the mystery of the beyond. People spend a good part of their lives just wanting to lift the heavy canvas of the circus tent and take a peek inside. Eventually they’ll know, in the end, we all know, but mankind is an impatient beast. Sadly, for most, if they ever could pull aside that curtain, they would spend the rest of their lives trying to forget that they ever had.Myrrendryl tells the tale of four seemingly unconnected youth bound to one another in a way none of them could have guessed and knowing would threaten to shatter their very existence. The hands of fate appear to play them like marionettes, but are they truly controlled by fate? Or are they their own masters? A story that questions what is real, and what is the sands of dreams. A story ultimately, about the human condition and what deep down, we are willing to sacrifice.
Posted in Interviews
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The King of Halloween & Miss Firecracker Queen is a memoir of your life growing up in a family that traveled often and the challenges you faced and lessons you learned. Why was this an important book for you to write?
I wrote this book for my mother- to help her heal after my dad’s death. We had spent almost 20 years dealing with his decline. Thus, it became all we could remember and all my children knew of their grandfather. I thought that if I could write the complete story, it would help all of us remember the good with the bad. Once I got into it, it helped me understand myself more fully, and set me up to live my current life which is wonderful.
This is a ‘daughters tale of family and football’. What were some ideals you wanted to capture in this book?
I want readers to feel the love and complexity of this family. We had/have big love for each other, and had a big love for football. I want readers to know that you can overcome the hang ups from your childhood. I want readers to see that race in the South was more complex than is typically discussed. I want people to know that sports can be a bridge. I want families that are dealing with the cognitive decline of a loved one to know that they can forgive themselves their impatience and frustration with the situation; we are all just doing the best we can with the situation as we understand it in the moment.
The book shows the dedication your father had towards his career and family. What is something that stands out to you to this day about your father?
My father was relentless- that was the key to his success. He was full of optimism and faith in things bigger than himself.
What do you hope readers take away from your story?
First, that my father would not have made a different choice, but he did not make an informed one. I want parents to think carefully about letting their young children engage in any kind of contact sport. I want football in general, and the NFL in particular, to think more deliberately about additional reforms to football that will make it safer. I want the general public to understand the burden CTE places on a family. And I want families that have experienced CTE to draw some comfort from reading our story.
The King of Halloween & Miss Firecracker Queen tells the story of a football life from a daughter’s perspective. Chronicling a rise through the competitive ranks—from high school to college to professional coaching, and ultimately a Super Bowl championship—it also reveals the struggle to deal with the decline and death of the patriarch, Lamar Leachman, from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) as a result of that life.
With forewords by NFL legends Phil Simms and Harry Carson, this is a true story of one family’s love for a game and for each other, one man’s strength of character, one woman’s love that sustained him.
Posted in Interviews
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Journey to Osm follows the story of Blue, a young unicorn with a big destiny. Blue is part of a tribe of unicorns going extinct under the harsh rule of an evil sorcerer. A prophecy foretells that Blue will save them but when he is born without metal in his horn, and thus without magic, all hope is lost. When Blue comes of age at 12, he is faced with destiny but how can a magicless unicorn have any hope of saving his tribe?
The book is a fun and unique YA fantasy novel. I really loved the unicorn-centric view of the story. Unicorns are often left out or less significant in fantasy stories, and I think this is a waste of a fun and interesting creature. Author Sybrina Durant furthers this by taking an intriguing twist and really exploring the magic of the unicorns as well as what unicorn civilization looks like. I really loved the world she created with the metal symbol of magic and the hierarchy that creates and the different powers that the magical unicorns possess. With an evil sorcerer, a prophecy, a fight against good and evil, this all adds up to an imaginative and exciting fantasy world.
The plot of the book is that of the underdog character finding strength against evil. Blue is a very sympathetic character through this journey as he is young, sweet, and very strong-willed. From the very beginning of the book you can see how hurt he is that he doesn’t think he can save his people, reciting his mantra ‘No Metal, No Magic.’ But even with this, he does not give up. He trains hard even when he thinks there is no chance. This self-determination in the café of certain failure really endeared Blue to me as a character. Silubhra was also a character that I grew very fond of as she was so compassionate and kind. There are a lot of characters in the story, but I think the author did a good job of making them unique and interesting and I liked how we get to see multiple perspectives.
This book is an exciting fantasy story. Filled with adventure, magic, love, loss, hope, action, and destiny. The story came together well and kept me engaged in the plot from beginning to end. The book is a great read, particularly for young adult readers who love fantasy stories.
Pages: 353 | ASIN: B07LDKX25N
Tags: action, adventure, alibris, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, destiny, ebook, epic fantasy, exploration, fairy tale, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, hope, ilovebooks, indiebooks, Journey to Osm, kindle, kobo, literature, loss, love, magic, myth, nook, novel, prophecy, publishing, read, reader, reading, shelfari, smashwords, story, sybrina durant, The Blue Unicorns Tale, unicorn, writer, writer community, writing, YA, young adult
Free Yourself is a collection of intimate and engaging poetry written by Juliana Garcell. The poems are written in various styles and in various formats which helps to keep things interesting. The poetry sometimes hits on current social and political topics, but there is an overall focus on love, loss, and identity. Especially the struggle with identity in the face of love and loss; but having to define it in this way is somewhat limiting as I feel the poems are about much more.
I enjoyed this collection and found the poems to be lyrical, as if written for a song. Each poem has its own focus, although they area about slightly similar topics. The emotions expressed are often raw and painted in vivid detail with colorful connections and allusions to nature and culture.
Each poem is impactful, if not relatable, and I was able to understand each one. Understanding a poem is important for me, as I feel that poets often go off on some abstract ideas. But this collection is down to earth, and simple to follow, which makes the message ring clearly.
I appreciated the poems that left me with singular emotions at the end, but I really enjoyed the poems that were able to do the same work with just one or two lines. ‘Free My Expression’ is one of my favorite of the shorter poems, with the line “want you to stay but I always run away”. And the very last poem, which I believe is untitled, is probably my favorite of the collection because it manages the same emotional impact as one of the longer poems with only four lines.
I recommend this collection to anyone who enjoys poetry that is emotive yet easy to understand. The collection is short, but I suggest you give yourself some time to stop and ponder the thoughts, concepts, and ideas conveyed in each of these poems as this is an engaging assortment of passionate poetry.
Pages: 56 | ISBN: 1483622444
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