Tag Archives: mental health

Book Review: Stepping Stones – Easy to Read, Hard to Forget

Stepping Stones

A Memoir of Addiction, Loss and Transformation

By Marilea C. Rabasa

Marilea is a daughter, mother, teacher, former ambassador’s wife, bulimic and alcoholic. She also suffers from depression. The road to her recovery is complex and heartbreaking at times, but uplifting and encouraging. Family history of alcoholism, addiction and mental illness plays a part of her journey as well as the journey she and her children follow.

This memoir does not whitewash the pain and suffering of Marilea and her family, nor does it make excuses. She allows the reader into her world that is a contradiction at times. She is elegant and intelligent at functions as an ambassador’s wife, but after the party is over, she will binge and purge in seclusion. Like her mother before her, the problems with alcohol are hidden from her family – or so she thinks.

Her lifelong struggle is not easy, addiction often wins. Sheer determination and the will to survive gives her the courage to follow the program she finally embraces. Just like you and me, each day she must make choices that affect her as well as those around her. Marilea bares her soul about her previous and current choices without pulling any punches. Her honesty is refreshing.

Written in short chapters (some only a page or paragraph long), Marilea writes about the good, bad and the ugly. Her fast-paced memoir is easy to read, but hard to forget. From her childhood to her retirement she shares her joy and pain, love and losses with candor and true stories of her life.

I recommend Stepping Stones to all readers. Every person knows someone who has an addiction or suffers from mental illness. Marilea’s journey to the place she is today is heartwarming and encouraging. I loved this book.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from publicist Maryglenn McCombs in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2020 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: Someone to Kiss My Scars – Confronts Social Issues Head On

Someone To Kiss My Scars

By Brooke Skipstone

Disclaimer: Someone To Kiss My Scars is a YA/Adult novel with graphic violence and sex. While it is integral the story, it may be disturbing to some readers.

Hunter does not know who he is. With the exception of a few vague memories, he knows nothing of his past except for what has been told to him by his aloof father. His mother and younger brother died in a car accident and almost everything Hunter and his father had was burned beyond recognition in a storage unit fire. Lately he has been remembering bits and pieces of his former life. But those memories come with a price.

He is not only remembering his past, but he has visions about other people. They come to him in a painful blast. The only way he can stop the pain is to type the stories he hears in his head. Unfortunately, he does not receive happy memories. All of the stories are filled with pain and anger. But the odd thing is, once he receives a memory, the person that held it is now free of the event.

He and Jazz, a girl he becomes friends with at his new school, become even closer when they find a common bond in their pain. Both of them self-harm to get through the events in their past and present. The two of them become stronger together and begin to heal while helping others that have been their enemies become whole again. Is Hunter willing to pay the price to finally know about his past?

Ms. Skipstone meets the social issues of teens and young adults head on. Many taboo topics are confronted and discussed by the characters in this powerful work of fiction. Per the author “Fifty percent of women in Alaska experience sexual violence in their lifetime…” and in the US, “…one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before they turn eighteen…”. These are staggering statistics. The author presents these very difficult topics, as well as others in novel form to bring attention to how this affects those involved as well as the people that love them.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: Fake – Mystery Ripped From Today’s Headlines

Fake

By John DeDakis

White House Correspondent Lark Chadwick has seen more than her fair share of dead bodies. But when Rose Gannon, the First Lady of the United States drops dead during an interview with Lark, it is beyond horrific. It was just bad luck that Lark was present at the time of Mrs. Gannon’s collapse, but she didn’t have to snap a picture of the President trying to revive his wife to no avail. Once the picture hit the papers, Lark’s life became more complicated than even she could have imagined.

Soon she again finds herself on the front pages, this time not as a reporter, but as the subject of a national controversy. She is accused of having an affair with President Gannon. Becoming a victim of the fake news stories her former colleagues post in the papers and on social media about her, losing her job in the story’s aftermath. Lark is determined to find out who leaked personal information which became the basis of the fake news story.

Much like the headlines of today, the stories bring strong feelings about Lark from friends, strangers and colleagues. Many feel as if they know the story and Lark without getting the facts. Becoming the judge, jury and jailer, some of the general public hates Lark without ever meeting her. Will someone take matters into their own hands?

Lark’s story could be taken from today’s headlines. She is merely doing her job to the best of her ability. Getting caught up in the court of public opinion to the point of being in danger is the last thing she imagined for her life.

DeDakis brilliantly combines the current trend of the general population’s personal feelings about public figures as well as the personal side from the accused point of view. The real consequences to the lies that have been published change lives.

The characters in Fake are brought to life in the realistic setting DeDakis creates. From the insider look into the lives of the White House press contingency to the appointments with a grief counselor, the characters are interesting and quickly become real to the reader. He touches on many hot topics in addition to the fake news thread that runs throughout. Sex abuse, the ethical decisions journalists make and the personal effects half-truths have on the characters are all brought to the reader to think about long after the last pages are read.

I love a book that is current and relevant in addition to telling an interesting story. Fake makes the reader think about the nightly news in a different, more personal way. The mystery of who leaked personal information was an additional layer of interest. Hopefully we will see more of Lark Chadwick in the future.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

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