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The Villains Who Snapped My Spine

The Villains Who Snapped My Spine: A Memoir by A. H. Nazzareno recounts the experience of the health crisis that the author suffered, which culminated in 2021. The book begins when he is admitted to the Boston hospital for surgery in June. As he prepares to undergo the operation, he wonders how long he has left to live. The following chapters switch back and forth from his time in the hospital to descriptions of several previous events the author refers to as “villains.” Showing these snapshots of various points in the author’s life over the preceding ten years provides insight into the past to help the reader understand what contributed to bringing him to this current point in his life.

The author of this memoir has a unique and interesting writing style filled with unexpected and often amusing descriptions and metaphors that I enjoyed reading. I liked that he avoided using typical cliches and found original ways to describe events and express his feelings throughout his experience dealing with what he eventually learns is a rare medical condition. The introduction to the book provided hints about the significant event that affected the author’s life, and these hints had me interested in continuing to read to find out exactly what happened. I liked the hopeful tone at the end of the book, especially given the author’s uncertain prognosis.

There were sections of the book that were a little hard to follow for me because the narrative did not always progress in chronological order and jumped forward or backward on the timeline in several places or went off on seemly insignificant tangents. I would have liked a little more clarification at the very beginning of the book, when the author was being admitted to the hospital in Chapter One, as to the details of the surgery he was about to undergo to better understand why he had such a grim view of the outcome. Without this information, I found my focus pulled away from what was happening in the present to wonder about the things that had not been fully explained. It wasn’t until later chapters, after the author went back to describe some of the previous events in the past, that the reader finally learns what had led up to that moment.

The Villains Who Snapped My Spine: A Memoir is a personal account of rare nervous system diseases and what life is like living with this condition. The author is candid, and readers will get to know him and develop an understanding of the life-changing impact this has had on him and others with similar conditions.

Pages: 191 | ASIN : B09ZF1GJTD

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Chasing Rabbits

Rudy wants to be a doctor, and more than that, he wants to be the best. As a fourth year med student about to start a clerkship, he is certain that he has his future planned to perfection. However, when dealt a last minute change in his placement, Rudy begins to face the idea that sometimes life doesn’t run exactly as planned. Immersed in the eye-opening reality of a pediatric oncology ward, he begins to doubt his plans for the first time. Instead of the studying he expected to get done, Rudy soon finds himself learning lessons about life and humanity that could never be taught from a book.

Chasing Rabbits, by Rodolfo Del Toro, is a book that is by equal turns both uplifting and heartbreaking. Del Toro, who is a physician himself, vividly depicts the stark realities of the oncology unit with unflinching authenticity and drives the story forward by doing so. Although Rudy is the narrator, the children are easily the strongest characters, written with a depth and maturity that reflect the acceptance of their own mortality. In contrast, the adults seem to lack a similar depth.

If this book could be said to have a theme, it would be one of gratitude, learning to feel it and learning to embrace it. Rudy, and the others on the medical staff, quickly learn the importance of embracing the moments and people who matter most. The book leans heavily on the idea that children are far more wise than the adults around them, but does so in such an endearing and well-written way that never feels trite. There is a fine balance between expressing that idea well and taking it to the point of absurdity–Del Toro finds that balance. 

I simply could not put this book down and became deeply invested in these children and their lives. Del Toro has created them as wonderfully sympathetic and empathetic little beings who absolutely stole the show from Rudy and every other adult in the book. Chasing Rabbits, by Rodolfo Del Toro, was delightfully wholesome and enjoyable.

Pages: 222 | ASIN: ‎ B085X4S7QT

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INFECTED: Secrets From The Medical Underground presents a compilation of highly researched old remedies and treatments, as well as unconventional plant-based medicines, potent nutrients, and tips for a healthy body, culled from the wisdom of doctor Ralph La Guardia, who has spent years on the front lines of the medical underground. Several medical secrets, unpatentable by medical experts, are the tools in the book that assists the reader in preventing the clandestine entry of several infections and disorders into the human body.

The book is written at a time when there is widespread concern over the lethality of the COVID 19 virus. The first chapter thus provides interesting and comprehensive information on the origin of influenza and colds, offering an open criticism of hyperbolized COVID-19 viruses’ deadly intensity, as well as redundant measures and ‘so-called’ ‘insane’ vaccines measures with no guarantee of future effects.

‘Build The Wall,’ the second chapter, explores the human body’s remarkable systems and its inherent barriers to infection. The effectiveness of these natural barriers in the human body determines a healthy immunity, which is essential for preventing diseases at their source. This chapter depicts the many aspects of the human body and presents them in an amazingly comprehensible and deep way.

The third chapter, titled ‘Symptoms,’ aims to assist readers in differentiating and/or learning about the various commonly associated symptoms of flu, colds, allergies, and COVID-19. The fourth chapter discusses the basic feasible measures and suggestions for infection prevention through personal hygiene. As in previous chapters, this chapter emphasizes the concept of Benjamin Franklin’s saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The fifth chapter is a meticulous yet all-inclusive illumination on the measures and substances covered in chapter four. This includes exclusive information on various antioxidants-for-health-and-longevity, their sources, and ‘the gang of seven’ substances to aid in the treatment of any infection. The sixth chapter proceeds with an overview of the various respiratory tract infections as well as their treatments.

Chapter seven is entirely dedicated to the facts and transparent views about the entire situation of COVID-19, which eventually leads to the symptoms, steps to prevention, and finally treatment of the virus. In the last three chapters, the author illustrates various types of skin infections, genitourinary tract infections, and gastroenteritis, as well as many remedies for treating them.

The human body wonders and the many secrets that each individual carries within are not the only things that amaze readers in this book. It also astounds with its extensive knowledge, which is broken down into absorbable capsules that make the book so intriguing. Be it the censorship of those who want to bring to light the real facts about the COVID-19 virus, or the apprehension of medical ‘experts’ who can’t recognize the benefits of the medical underground secrets presented in the book, the author has been explicit with his views.

INFECTED: Secrets From The Medical Underground provides readers with many tools to prevent diseases, using approaches that don’t require prescriptions. This health guide will also appeal to people who are fascinated with the complex yet intriguing functions of the human body and the many tips available to keep it healthy.

Pages: 349 | ASIN : B09N9VPPW2

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Living with Trisomy 18 / Edwards Syndrome

Living with Trisomy 18/Edwards Syndrome by Josie Murrell is a mother’s emotional and eye-opening account of life with her remarkable and determined little girl, Melissa Helen. Born with Trisomy 18, otherwise known as ‘not compatible with life,’ Melissa’s prognosis was grim. Yet, her parents were determined to make the most of her days and give her the most full life that was possible for her, filled with love. Murrell details the many unthinkable challenges the family faced as they navigated taking care of Melissa, outlining how her condition’s lack of education and support affected their quality of life.

This emotionally charged book provides an in-depth look at how complicated life can be for a mother caring for a child with a disability. Murrell writes in a way that allows readers to experience the situation as if they were there with her, feeling the complex emotions that inevitably come with her experience. In addition, this moving book is written as if her mother wanted to give her beloved daughter a comprehensive explanation of not only the events of her life but of the deep love and unwavering devotion her family had for her.

I especially enjoyed and respected that the author didn’t hold back on the complicated and conflicting feelings and thoughts that she experienced. I could actually feel her exhaustion from the constant challenging caretaking, her frustration with the lack of professional support, and the hurt she felt from not being the mom she used to be for her other children. But, above all, I could feel just how wanted, cherished, fought for, and loved Melissa was. This is a mother who found an inner strength she never knew she had, and sharing her experience, will help other moms do the same.

Living with Trisomy 18/Edwards Syndrome is a beautifully written book that will provide comfort to readers who have a child with Edwards Syndrome or a similar diagnosis that they are not alone. In addition, this biography will appeal to those that love reading about personal connections and true stories about facing some of lifes most challenging moments.

Pages: 236 | ASIN : B08VN6XKZV

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The Truth About Dietary Supplements

The Truth About Dietary Supplements by author Mahtab Jafari wants you to lead a healthy lifestyle where you understand that whatever you consume builds or destroys your body. In her book, the well-versed author extensively discusses dietary supplements, how to take them and what works best for everyone. Dietary supplements are crucial because more people are taking supplements every day to boost energy or improve their immune systems. This book is informative and touches on areas that pharmacies do not discuss when selling supplements.

As a Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, the author is knowledgeable about medicines and their effects on the human body. Anyone reading this book will understand that the author is not discouraging the use of supplements but instead advising on how to use them as misuse of supplements may have adverse long-term effects on your body. The author uses facts and statistics to argue her points allowing readers to analyze the facts without a lot of conjunctures.

Mahtab Jafari is engaging in her writing. While reading the book, one can virtually feel Jafari’s presence and get the impression of having a one-on-one consultation with her. After reading this book, readers will change how they take supplements and think more about their health by being selective with what they consume. The Truth About Dietary Supplements is the book readers need if looking for guidance on the truth about supplements, what science can back up on the validity of taking supplements, the role the media plays in informing or encouraging the use of dietary supplements, and much more. This book will, in addition, benefit pets as the author also discusses supplements taken by pets.

The Truth About Dietary Supplements is informative and enlightening and will captivate readers on topics such as science, health, diet and fitness, and mental health.

Pages: 219 | ASIN : B09FGHNT73

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Inspiration to Endure

J.R. Alcyone
J.R. Alcyone Author Interview

The Stars That Govern Us follows a young surgeon who struggles with his own fallibility as many lives hang in the balance. What were some sources that informed this novels development?

When I was working on my first novel, Five Fathoms Beneath, I decided the main character’s father would be a heart surgeon. I ended up doing a lot of research into early pediatric congenital heart surgery as background for that character, but very little of that material actually made it into Five Fathoms Beneath. The story of the development heart-lung machine wouldn’t leave me alone, however. It was such an incredible achievement, and it had every element to make a great drama. I was surprised no one had tried to write a novel about it before.

I ended up settling on creating two fictional surgeons who are best friends (I think the term “bromance” applies to Alec and Pete), building them historically accurate backstories, and fitting them into what was happening in 1956 as realistically as I could.

Alec’s character was intriguing and I enjoyed how you developed him throughout the story. What were some ideals that guided his character development?

Alec is very much an #ownvoices character. An #ownvoices character is a character from a marginalized group who is written by a member of that group (in this case mental health). Characters with mental health issues are typically represented in media and literature as stereotypes — and harmful ones at that, such as those which equate mental illness with violence. With Alec, I hoped to force the reader to reconsider what, exactly, mental illness looks like. I drew heavily off my own experiences in dealing with generalized anxiety disorder and a mood disorder in writing Alec’s character. The thought helixes he experiences, and the crippling self-doubt he feels, are things I wrote from the heart. (Being an author with an anxiety disorder isn’t exactly easy.)

In terms of Alec’s arc in the story, many early cardiothoracic surgeons did leave the field, just as Alec seriously considers doing. These surgeries were incredibly dangerous and many, many children did not survive. For Alec, his inspiration to endure and continue on as a heart surgeon comes from his making peace with the fact that someone must do this work, as difficult and as painful as it is.

I enjoyed the medical drama in the story and found it very compelling. What research did you undertake to ensure things were accurate in your book?

I did a huge amount of research into the medical aspects of the story, to the point that I actually bought a cardiothoracic surgery textbook from the early 1960s to try to get a better understanding of the techniques. I probably read at least two dozen books and articles on everything from surgery to the heart-lung machine to some of the personalities who appear in passing.

Otherwise, this was a place where networking with other authors really paid off. My friend, Dr. Brandon Beaber, author of Resilience in the Face of Multiple Sclerosis, volunteered to read the manuscript for me. Although he is a neurologist not a heart surgeon, Dr. Beaber’s help was invaluable.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m in the planning stages of a novel set in 1962 that is positioned between my first book, Five Fathoms Beneath, and The Stars That Govern Us. It is designed to tie the two stories together. My working title is The Sweetness of Adversity.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Website

A gifted young surgeon. One of the 20th century’s boldest inventions. And the unconquerable, fragile, and amazing human heart. 
As one of two dozen teams worldwide performing congenital heart surgeries in the middle 1950s, Alec Serafeim and his best friend, Pete O’Neill, excel in an unforgiving field where the line between life and death is eyelash thin. But while Pete is satisfied with all they have accomplished, Alec aches to do more. Desperate to save more children, he also wishes to be remembered for something other than his mental breakdown ten years earlier.
Alec’s opportunity arrives via a chance to join the race to perform Australia’s first open-heart surgery using total cardiopulmonary bypass. Swept up in the competition, with a heart-lung machine cobbled together in the hospital basement, Alec charges ahead with surgery on a gravely ill child over Pete’s misgivings.
But the heart, for all its amazing strength, is a fragile organ. And when events conspire to shatter Alec’s heart, he is left questioning everything. With sick children’s lives hanging in the balance, as well as his career as a surgeon, he must find a way to cope with his fallibility–if he hopes to finish what he started.
Set in a fictionalized version of Perth, Western Australia in 1956, The Stars That Govern Us is a captivating, poignant, and unforgettable medical – historical novel set against the backdrop of the development of the heart-lung machine and the birth of open-heart surgery.

SOUVENIRS OF SUFFERING: A Child’s Memoir of Surviving Cancer – Trailer

Through the eyes and voice of a child, Dazhoni Green recounts her battle with brain cancer, wrestling with the debilitating effects of its initial symptoms, the diagnosis and ensuing treatment. These experiences, doubts and fears, were a prelude to a lengthy and arduous recovery. Souvenirs Of Suffering is a candid account that will find the reader cheering Dazhoni on, sometimes with tears, at every obstacle on her way to become the compassionate, energetic young woman she is today. The champions in the story are friends, family members, teachers, hospital staff and camp counselors who patiently and lovingly supported her and other children struggling with debilitating diseases. These children are the real heroes, each and every one. Having cancer as a child changed Dazhoni’s view of life, something the reader will sense as she portrays each milestone along the way.

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Malthus Revisited

Malthus Revisited: The Cup of Wrath (Lindsey McCall Medical Mystery Book 4) by [Wilder, Lin]

A threat that most readers can see as a real possibility considering how far science and technology has progressed. Coupled with down to earth characters that you feel a real connection to make this book an outstanding ‘end of world’ saga that has your heart racing right till the end. While overtly spiritual in it’s plot, even the most atheist person could come to enjoy this story because it is a masterful blend of science and religion. With horrifying villains and inspiring heroes plus a few characters who you are never quite sure of which side of the good versus evil fight they stand on, this story is well worth the read.

This book takes a little while to explain how the prologue fits into the narrative but after you see how it all comes together and with various chapters outlining the back stories of the various characters, you begin to understand why the author took time in slowly building toward the most eventful parts of the story.

Once you understand how everything fits together, it takes you on an edge of your seat ride where you wonder how things will turn out. Each character has their part to play and readers get to see both the best and worst aspects of each character, which allows you to become invested in their adventure more deeply than you usually would for a fictional story.

There are a few repeated phrases and words that could have been left out or replaced with a simplified explanation but the intensity of the plot line and anxiety inducing obstacles that are thrown in the way of the main characters do enough to make you forget these minor annoyances.

If you want a thrilling story that takes you to the depths of what an evil mind can cause in this world with the excitement of whether the heroes can triumph. This is a book for you.

My best piece of advice to any would be reader is to make sure you don’t give up on the slow build up toward the real plot because it is well worth the wait and actually helps you understand and feel more invested in the entire story.

Pages: 317 | ASIN: B078LWJ632

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