bold it is an audiobook
This month's Diversity Challenge is focusing on Mental Health Awareness. This includes but is not limited to cognitive, intellectual, or developmental disabilities, and mental illnesses (this may also include addiction).
You can click any of the titles under "Reviewed" to read my review.
Book Club / Personal / First to Read / Kindle Unlimited / Library / Netgalley / Review Request
* it fits within the diversity challenge
bold it is an audiobook
About the Book
“Let me tell you a few things about regret...There is no end to it. You cannot find the beginning of the chain that brought us from there to here. Should you regret the whole chain, and the air in between, or each link separately as if you could uncouple them? Do you regret the beginning which ended so badly, or just the ending itself?”
I've actually owned this book for years. I read it way back in the day, when I was in high school, but I decided to give it another go because of the diversity challenge. See if my opinions on things had changed or if being older gave things a different perspective.
I think the biggest change is how my age puts a distance on myself with Astrid which I didn't have as a teenager. There are things that happened in this book that, now that I'm older, I recognize as truly awful and horrible whereas I wasn't in the best of places myself when I was younger so I didn't understand the negatives.
When I was looking for books that focus on mental disability and this one popped up on a couple goodreads lists, I couldn't figure out why it would. Because much of this story is about Astrid going from home to home through the foster care system and how horrific it can be. But then I thought about Astrid's mother. Although she's not the main character, the story has a focus around her. It is because of Ingrid's Narcissistic personality disorder that Astrid is put in foster care in the first place. After reading it again though, I can see that Astrid shows many signs of PTSD through her anxiety and issues with emotional connections.
This story is incredibly dark and drew me in again, despite me knowing what was going to happen. And knowing how much I hated certain scenes, I just couldn't skip them. Because I wanted to experience it all again. I needed to feel all of the pain that Astrid goes through. But most of all, I knew it would all make the ending that much more perfect. And it was.
About the Book
“Anything can happen. But what goes wrong isn’t your fault. You can’t spend the rest of your life tiptoeing around to try and avert disaster. It won’t work. You’ll just end up missing the life you have.”
You know that déjà vu feeling you get when you feel like you've experienced something previously? That was me during this entire book. I mean, it's entirely possible that I'd read it before. It came out while I was still in high school and I didn't keep track of the books I read until about 5 or so years ago. But it's still strange that I completely forgot I read something. What's even stranger is that I couldn't really remember anything that was coming up, but every time something big happened I knew how it was going to play out.
That being said, whether or not I've read this before, I still liked it. I was disappointed that Phoebe didn't have a larger role though. Especially because the book revolved around the decision to give her up. Instead it focused on the outcome of the choice. It wasn't a bad way to go about the story, but it's not really what I was hoping to read.
Although I did ultimately find myself drawn to and enjoying the story, I was disappointed that this was a recommendation given to me for the mental disability reading challenge. I guess it kind of is... maybe about least half the story, and that's if I'm being nice. But it's really more of a background thing to the big issue.
As an interesting story to read, I recommend it. As something to read for a diversity challenge, I'm iffy about. I debated between 3 and 4 platypires, but decided to bring it up because it was still a good story.
About the Book
“Sometimes when we’re in situations where we feel we’re not in control, we do things, especially things that take a lot of energy, as a way of making ourselves feel we have some power.”
I found this one on a goodreads list that had suggested books dealing with mental health issues. It helped that this was available at my library with no wait list.
Honestly, I was weary of reading this one. Because this was read for the mental health disability challenge, I've decided to be open about some things. I self harmed for about a decade. I started when I was in 6th grade and stopped around my 21st birthday after a promise I made my now husband. I've been able to control myself going on 7 years now. I will admit that there are some days it is a struggle, but I've gotten much better at reaching out to people when I feel overwhelmed.
This story is about a girl who was caught by an adult and sent to a mental hospital. It brings up some pretty frustrating things that are incredibly relevant. Such as how mental illness is largely ignored by insurance companies because society still hasn't accepted that it's a real thing. And it really only mentioned a small handful of things on this subject, but each of them stuck out for me because I know that feeling.
It had a couple scenes where it went into some detail about cutting. So that's something that could potentially trigger someone who is recovering. It was definitely more of a fluff example of a cutter, so that should be noted. Although I think this was written more for someone who hasn't gone through this as a way of explaining it to them.
The worst part of this book was how short it was. Even though everything wrapped up fine and I didn't feel like I was missing anything. I still wish it would have been longer. Maybe some more details about things. I did appreciate the message though.
About the Book
Funny how when your life is mostly bullshit, you turn off feeling.
I've had Ellen Hopkins' books on my TBR list for longer than I even acknowledged I had such a list. Her book covers always captured my attention and the subject matter looked like something I'd been interested in. But I always put it off. Seeing as this month I'm challenging myself to read books that focus on people with a mental disability I knew I didn't have an excuse not to read at least one of her books. And it helped that this was available on overdrive with no wait.
Sadly, this book disappointed me. It was interesting and there's a lot of things going on in here that I feel are incredibly important and valid issues. But it just seemed like the author took some pretty awful things and shoved them all together to make the most dramatic thing possible. It was almost an insult to people who actually deal with these types of things.
The worst thing of all is everything about this was cliche as fook. I wasn't even surprised at how anything went. At first I thought this book would bother me because there are some pretty heavy topics like sexual abuse, drug addiction, and child abuse. Except I really didn't feel much while I read it. I didn't connect with the characters at all.
Thing is, I've experienced 2 of those three main topics. So I understand the subject pretty well. And usually just a basic description of such things is strong enough to cause me to feel some pretty heavy emotions. And I was expecting that with this book. But, nope. Nothing.
And the worst thing of all was the end. It was something that is so overdone. Especially in books with twins. I'm not saying it's not a horrible thing or something that doesn't happen in real life. But it's incredibly rare. Except in the literary world.
Despite all of that, it's still got enough of a story that I wanted to know what was going on. So it's getting 3 platypires, but only barely.
About the Book
I actually read this, and a few other books in this series, a while ago. I bought them shortly after they were available from the bookstore near my apartment. At the time I was really debating going into special education, so this series seemed perfect for me.
I really enjoyed and appreciated this series the first read through, but that was a decade ago. So I didn't want to get my hopes up... because 19 year old me didn't have the best taste in things. But I liked it enough to hold on to it when I ended up having to get rid of 90% of my books due to reasons.
After the reread I've got to say that I still absolutely loved this. Not only does it tell the story of a young mom struggling with an autistic child, but it really goes in depth. The author, Keiko Tobe, did a good amount of research on this subject and didn't hide or cover up things or write this to make autism seem like something it's not. There's many people, especially those of her husband's family, who do not understand what is going on and continue to blame her for the child's non-normal behavior.
This series is something I cannot recommend enough times if you want to have an understanding of what autism is like. Not only that, but it's also a pretty fantastic story. People with non-neurotypical behavior need to be accepted and brought into society, not ignored or hated. And I think this story did a great job of showing people this.
About the Book
Elle Burns is a former slave with a passion for justice and an eidetic memory. Trading in her life of freedom in Massachusetts, she returns to the indignity of slavery in the South—to spy for the Union Army.
Malcolm McCall is a detective for Pinkerton's Secret Service. Subterfuge is his calling, but he’s facing his deadliest mission yet—risking his life to infiltrate a Rebel enclave in Virginia.
Two undercover agents who share a common cause—and an undeniable attraction—Malcolm and Elle join forces when they discover a plot that could turn the tide of the war in the Confederacy's favor. Caught in a tightening web of wartime intrigue, and fighting a fiery and forbidden love, Malcolm and Elle must make their boldest move to preserve the Union at any cost—even if it means losing each other . . .
This was another Harper Miller recommendation. She's quite good at those, btw. I highly suggest you stalk her Facebook page for the books she mentions. I was disappointed to find out that none of my libraries had this one, so I ended up getting it on audible.
I've been iffy on historical fiction as of late. It just seemed too many of them I was seeing were really more... fantasied versions of the reality. And that frustrated me more than anything. When I read historical I like accuracy. This includes the negatives that come with that time period.
Unlike my usual reads, which I really enjoy something I devour it quickly, I took this one slowly. And I loved it. There's a whole lot of stuff going on in here, and I wanted to make sure I was able to comprehend and acknowledge it all so I'd get the whole picture of everything going on.
I hadn't read Alyssa Cole before this, so I wasn't aware of how much sexy times she writes. It'd been a while since I'd read a book with sex in it to be honest, so I was absolutely thrown off at first. In my head I'm all, "Wait a moment, what's going on ... oh! Yes. This. I know what this is." Because I am 100% this ridiculous.
I'd have to say that I was quite impressed with this book. I will be reading more from this author and I cannot wait for the next book in the series.
About the Book
reproached for overworking herself. The room's windows are barred to prevent children from climbing through them, and there is a gate across the top of the stairs, though she and her husband have access to the rest of the house and its adjoining estate. The story depicts the effect of under-stimulation on the narrator's mental health and her descent into psychosis. With nothing to stimulate her, she becomes obsessed by the pattern and color of the wallpaper. "It is the strangest yellow, that wall-paper! It makes me think of all the yellow things I ever saw - not beautiful ones like buttercups, but old foul, bad yellow things. But there is something else about that paper - the smell! ... The only thing I can think of that it is like is the color of the paper! A yellow smell."
I suppose I shall have to get back behind the pattern when it comes night, and that is hard!
This was required reading for me during my first year of college, but I decided to re-read it for this month's diversity challenge. Alas, I didn't have the textbook anymore so I had to go find a copy of it. Amazon has a free copy and you can add an audio version of it for about a dollar (it's 40 minutes long).
The narrator of the story is a woman who is slowing going into madness. Because of this, sometimes the story is no coherent. It really bothered me when I read it the first time, because I didn't exactly understand what was going on. But after about a decade to dwell on it and another reread it's pretty straight forward. Especially when you take into consideration the time period.
A woman was depressed and her husband basically puts her in isolation so as not to have to deal with her. And isolation is bad for a healthy person, let alone someone dealing with mental issues. It is assumed she has postpartum, but I don't think it actually specifies.
What I take from this is the importance of acknowledging when someone needs help. Ignoring it and hoping it'll take care of itself will not do a damn thing. It's especially important for me because I've got my own mental health issues I deal with. So I can take this story as a warning of why it is so important for me to have support both medically and in a support system with my friends and family.
About the Book
With some of his finest writing to date and great wit and humor, Jerry Spinelli creates a story about a boy's individuality surpassing the need to fit in and the genuine importance of failure. As readers follow Zinkoff from first through sixth grade, it becomes impossible not to identify with and root for him through failures and triumphs. The perfect classroom read.
At this time in his life Zinkoff sees no difference between the stars in the sky and the stars in his mother's plastic Baggie. He believes that stars fall from the sky sometimes, and that his mother goes around collecting them like acorns. He believes she has to use heavy gloves and dark sunglasses because the fallen stars are so hot and shiny. She puts them in the freezer for forty-five minutes, and when they come out they are flat and silver and sticky on the back and ready for his shirts.
The July diversity challenge is books with mental disabilities, and this one was recommended on many of the lists I went through. Another bonus was that it was available at my library with no wait, so I could start it immediately. To add to all of that, the narrator of the audiobook is Steve Buscemi. That made this a must read for me.
This book is about a kid who is different. He isn't able to keep up with his peers physically or academically. Often times he's put in situations that the reader recognizes as being negative, but Zinkoff himself doesn't notice the issues (such as being bullied by an older student). I found this to be incredibly frustrating, wishing I could be there to help him out. As a child I often stood up for kids who were being bullied for whatever reason, or found a way to include the ones who were often times left out of things. And I still have that desire to protect and help people around me.
There are multiple times in the story where I had the feels. Especially toward the end when a certain thing happens. And someone, and I'm not naming names, started having these wet things in their eyes.
The narration is a bit different than what I'm used to. It's third person, but also kind of first person. It's weird to explain. It's basically someone else explaining Zinkoff's thoughts, but telling them through his voice. It's not distracting or anything to the story. It just stood out for me because I don't believe I've read anything else like that.
I enjoyed it and I totally recommend it.
5 Platypires - Oh my holy fluff, this book was amazing and everyone needs to read it immediately!
4 Platypires - Great book. Enjoyed it a lot. Minor issues. Highly recommend.
3 Platypires - Good book, but I would have enjoyed it more if there weren't so many issues.
2 Platypires - The book was okay, but it needs a lot of work.
1 Platypire - I didn't like the book. Major changes needed.
DNF - I couldn't finish. Too many issues.