Jennifer Bene-Burned

In the immortal words of Samuel L. Jackson, hold onto your butts. Jennifer is back and she has brought us Burned. And damn. Just… damn.

So, a couple of years ago, Yolanda Olson who is a mistress of dark, horror, and the epic mindfuck, wrote a novella called Inferno. She added onto her world with Sparks and Cinere. The first is a prequel, the latter a sequel. But, Yolanda wasn’t happy with just those books in her very disturbing world. She decided to add on to it. She invited several authors to join her oh so very happy little world. And Jennifer was just one of those authors, and so we have Burned.

This is the story of Bryden, his wife Marian, and his children, Wesley and Ella. Bryden loves his family. He loves them a lot. A whole lot. All he wants is for his family to know how much he loves them all, and that he loves them all equally. He does what he can to make sure that they know that he loves them all equally. And if he has to do difficult things to and for his family, he’ll do that, because that’s what a good daddy does.

That’s all the synopsis you are going to get from me. This story isn’t happy. It isn’t light. And you really will get burned by it. This book is one of those books that you start reading and you don’t wonder what goes on in the author’s head that she creates something like this. You wonder what’s wrong with you for reading this. And not just for reading it, but for liking it. Burned is disturbing and uncomfortable in places. Did that stop me from reading it? Hello, have you met me? I read it faster at that point.

We get the story from Bryden, Wesley, and Ella’s POVs. All we know of Marian is what we see of her from those three, and since it happens that way, it really seems to marginalize her in the story. I thought it was a really interesting way to write the story. It’s also a very intimate and up close story because there is such a limited cast of characters. You are up close and personal with all of the happenings in the story, which makes everything hard to hide from.

In case you can’t tell, I really liked this book. It is not a romance though. I think that I might put it into horror, but more like psychological horror, but that might not be the right classification for it either. I think it just needs a fucked up, twisted, mindfuck category. It would fit really well right there.

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Jennifer Bene-Reign of Ruin

Once upon a time, Jennifer Bene wrote a demented little story called Baptism in Eden, for an anthology called Twisted Sacraments. That lovely little anthology was full of all kinds of seriously fucked up stories. And now you can’t get it anymore, which is sad if you don’t have it, but fear not lovely and loyal readers, the rights have reverted back to the authors and now the stories are being put back out for you to read. Some of them, like Reign of Ruin, have new stuff added to them, so you know that you have to go read them now, right?

There is not a lot of happy in this story, unless you’re a man, then you get to have some happy. There’s a fuckload of dark, pain, and misery. And just to top it off, there’s some more pain, dark, and misery. This is dystopian, post-apocalyptic, and out Handmaid’s Tale the Handmaid’s Tale. And Jennifer took demented and turned it into fucking twisted. And damn, if I wasn’t glued to every word of the book.

It is the story of Danielle and what happened after the world lit on fire and went to hell in a handbasket. There is a prequel to the story in the back of the book, so you can read that first, if you want, just to get a little more information about the world and Danielle, and what happened, or read it after. I just recommend that you read it at some point.

Six years ago, the world caught fire and the religious extremists caught religion. And as happens, women got blamed. Now, Danielle, along with who knows how many other women, serve in Eden. And serving in Eden isn’t nice. You aren’t someone who cherished, you are just meat. When you get too injured, you get baptized, which heals you, so you never get to escape into death, you just keep wishing that you would die.

The first time I read this story, it sent chills up and down my spine. Then I read the prequel, and that fucking terrified me, because so much of it could happen right here and now. Then reading the full RoR? Fuck me. I had to go find a light MM story full of laughs just to get to another level in my head, because yeah, it got to me that bad. I’ve often said that The Handmaid’s Tale is hands down my scariest book ever, because it could happen, well, this one pretty much beats it.

I hope that Jennifer writes more stories in this world, because I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next.

There are no spoilers, and if you don’t like horror, this is one you should probably stay away from. Other than that, go check it out, and happy reading!

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Jennifer Bene-Breaking Beth

If you have read Jennifer’s Thalia series, then you’ve heard Beth mentioned. She was one of the women that the Evil Anthony and Marcus kidnapped before they got Thalia for her ordeal. There isn’t a whole lot of mention of her, outside of Marcus yelling at Anthony for ruining Beth. But until Jennifer’s story in When the Dark Wins, we didn’t know what happened to Beth. You can’t get WtDW anymore, but you can get Breaking Beth, which will let you get started with Beth’s journey. I personally can’t wait to get the full story, because I fell in love with Beth.

So, in the Thalia books, we saw a lot of Marcus, and only a little Anthony. Beth gets a lot more up close and personal with Anthony. I don’t like either Marcus or Anthony, which is fine, because they don’t like each other either. They are really different characters. Marcus, I think, really thinks that he’s a good guy. OK, not necessarily a good guy, but not the bad guy, even though he is kidnapping and selling women. Here’s why I think that. Marcu wants to train the women through pleasure to be the perfect slave. I mean, he’ll punish them as necessary, but he isn’t going to go out of his way to hurt the women. Frankly, in my opinion, he just wants to get his dick wet, and “training” the women is a good way to do that. He wants to beat Anthony, and he’s pretty sure that the whole pleasure thing will do it.

Anthony, on the other hand, is a stone-cold sadistic psychopath. Don’t get me wrong, sadists can be a lot of fun, in the right situation. But, this isn’t the right situation, nor is it the right mix. I’m pretty sure that there is nothing at all redeemable about Anthony. Even if you shredded him down into his component pieces parts and tried to make him into a new person you still couldn’t make a redeemable person. Just dump some bleach into that gene pool and be done with it.

Beth. Oh Beth. Poor Beth. She’s about to go through hell, I’m pretty sure. I mean, just being with Anthony is the foyer of Hell, and if that is just the start of Hell, you have to wonder what she’s really about to go through, right? I like Beth. She is fierce, spirited, and full of fire. I think that will help eventually. I can’t wait to read her journey, because if I know anything, I do know that it will be fabulous, and I do know that Jennifer will put her through hell, but in the end, Beth will be able to come through it. She might not be the same person, but she will be Beth, Victorious.

You’ve probably noticed that I don’t have a synopsis of the book on this. That’s because it’s a short enough read that it would be really hard to talk about the story without spoiling anything, and I try really hard not to ever do that.

So, if you like dark, noncon-y goodness, and you loved Thalia, you should definitely go read Beth’s story. Happy reading!

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Jennifer Bene-Inheritance

After a long wait, we finally have the next book in Jennifer’s Fragile Ties book, Inheritance. The first book in the series is Destruction. (my review here) And Jennifer, since I know that you are going to be reading this, I’m not complaining about the wait. It was worth every single second because OMG, it was good. As I was reading this dark romance, I was thinking that we need to have a new category of dark romance. It needs to be Jennifer Bene dark. I’m not trying to slight any other dark romance authors, since we all know that’s totally my jam, but Jennifer has her own particular je ne sais quoi. I really can’t describe it, but there is something that is very uniquely hers and it’s one of those things that lets you know it her book even if you didn’t see her name on the book.

Before we even get started talking about the book, there’s one little bit of business we have to take care of. We have to congratulate Miss Jennifer because she is now a full-time author! So everyone say congrats!

Anyway, on to David and Lianna. They are now several months out from the end of Destruction and the nightmare that came out of that. Lianna is now under investigation from the FBI, all her assets are frozen, and she’s about to have to move out of her beloved apartment, which was the one thing she did on her own, that her father didn’t touch. It has a view that she loves. The new place she has to move doesn’t have a view, is smaller, but she can afford it. That doesn’t mean that she’s all that fucking happy about it. She feels like she’s falling apart and she doesn’t know who she is anymore. She’s flailing. But she has David there, who will help her.

Meanwhile, David is doing everything he can to keep her safe, including talking with some bad people to track her father’s family, the Faures. Because her father was who he was, Lianna hasn’t had anything to do with her father’s family, and David wants to keep it that way, because they are some very, very bad people. Like international criminals kind of bad people. David’s dad brought him up to hate the Faures, and so he’s going to hate them. And he makes Lianna promise to stay away from them. But, you know that this is a Jennifer Bene book, so what do you figure the odds of the Faures staying out of this book are?

The sex in this one is seriously dark, hot, twisted, and oh my very fucking god good. Of course, if you read Destruction, you know what David and Lianna are like. If you haven’t read it, then you need to read it, because then you will understand what the word zipper means. But here’s the thing when it comes to David and Lianna and their sex life, it works for them. You might not like to be chased and then have your ass whipped with a belt, or be the one doing the action, but it works for them, and the scene is really hot. But what makes the whole thing hotter and the whole connection between David and Lianna so visceral is that there is so much passion in between the two of them. Jennifer is really good at writing those connections and relationships and giving you something that you can really feel. She’s also really good at ripping you apart and putting you back together again, which is what she does here. I had a hard time catching my breath sometimes, because this was so intense. But it wasn’t the same level intense all the way through. It was nicely balanced so there are those places where you can catch your breath.

Anyway, there’s another book to read in this series, and I can’t wait to see what’s coming next.

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I just got to wonder what Jean-Luc’s overall plan is. There is something behind everything that he’s done in this book. And damn, does it appear that he did a lot. I think appears to have done is all we have at this point.

OK, that’s all for this one. I can’t recommend Jennifer’s books enough, ever. Her books have done all kinds of things to me over the years. So, go check this one and all of them out. Happy reading!

And because I know Jennifer read all the way down here, I love you!

 

Anthology-Black Light: Celebrity Roulette

It’s Valentine’s Day again, which means it’s the start of the 3rd season of Black Light, and as usual, we are starting it off with a Roulette anthology. This one is a little different though. Instead of being at Black Light East, we’re in LA, and instead of random drawings to match Doms and subs, we have a celebrity auction. A number of celebrities, both dominant and submissive types, put their name into the ring, and members got to bid for them. Once they get to the event and all the celebs find out who has purchased them for the night, then the subs roll for the activity. The rules of Celebrity Roulette say that they have to do the rolled activity for at least 30 minutes, and they are welcome to roll for something else after that. If they finish the night, they get a free month, if someone calls Red, everything is done. And oh yeah, no staff gets involved this year, or else. So, without further ado, let’s spin the wheel and find out where we end up, shall we?

As always, since this is an anthology, and there are 9 stories, plus the beginning and end bumpers, you are just going to get my basic impressions and feelings about each story, otherwise I’d be writing for the next 3 days, and I’d like to sleep sometime. Probably.

Guarded by Renee Rose

Scarlett A is a rock star. She’s also a sub. Once upon a time, she had a bodyguard named Lincoln, but a year ago, he ended fired. In that time, he’s learned a whole lot of new tricks, and he’s just waiting to show Scarlett. There is a lot of connection there between them, but of course, they have history. I think that Lincoln makes a great Dom for so many reasons, but one of them is that he really pays attention to Scarlett, and he has for a while. He might not say a lot, but it’s obvious how he feels about her from the very start.

Hooked by Jennifer Bene

By day a principal ballerina, by night a sub, Vanessa is the one who Wyatt really wants to win. He’s obsessed with her, but in a good way. There’s the typical Jennifer heat, but it’s not your typical Jennifer story. It’s sweet and light. It’s just so beautiful. There’s something about the way that these two connect and interact. They fit each other’s weird edges, and it’s perfect. Plus? I’m totally never going to be able to look at the ballet the same way again, because who knew toe shoes and tutus were sexy AF? The barre was just inspired.

Switched by Livia Grant

This is a first for Black Light. We have a Domme, Mistress Ice. Then there’s Nolan, the Dom who wants her, so he buys her and will submit to her for a night. I don’t know that there are a lot of Doms out there who would submit like that, even for 3 hours. Of course, I don’t know that many in person, so who knows. It was a really interesting dynamic to watch. I’ve read other Domme/sub books, and I’m pretty sure that this one was slightly unhealthy. But, Livia is mean. She’s a meanie meanie head. I need more. I need to know what the past holds.

Determined by Maren Smith

This is one that I really hope that Maren expands, because it really seems like there could be more to the story. So Maren, if you’re reading, take mercy on me and let me out of my suffering sometime in the nearish future, please and thank you? Out of a book full of some seriously hot scenes, I think that the scene between Claire and Adam is really the totally hottest one in the book. It’s just wow. I’m surprised my Kindle didn’t melt down. I figured it would’ve. I love the power struggle that goes on between Claire and Adam, which just makes the whole thing even hotter.

Pressure by Measha Stone

Michele thought about signing up for Celebrity Roulette. She had everything ready to go, but then stopped. Of course, she has that well-meaning friend who decided to submit her application for her and just not tell her. That’s how Michele ends up with Egan for the night. I felt sorry for Michele because she has such a hard time letting go and she has to try to stop her brain from thinking and worrying about if she’s doing the right thing. I can totally get that. I have the same problem, but no Egan to help me.

Savor by Maggie Ryan

Carnegie ends up with Ronan, a celebrity chef. I love her name, BTW, it’s just an awesome story behind it. They have a really sensual scene in here, and one that is really different to anything else we’ve ever seen in any of the Black Light stories. In fact, I think it’s the first scene like it I’ve seen in any BDSM book. It was hot but in a more lowkey kind of way. And fan paintbrushes? I will never look at them the same way again.

Cherished by Sue Lyndon

Once upon a time, Serena met Trenton right after she dumped her boyfriend. He held her during the countdown for NYE and kissed her on her forehead. Now she gets to bid on him. Sue gets a first for the Black Light books too. I’m not saying what it is, because I don’t want to spoil it. But it’s a great scene, and Serena really gets into it. I wonder how much she’s role-playing and how much she’s actually into the scene. Either way, I think it works perfectly. And I saw Trenton as Jason Statham the whole time in my head.

Jazzed by Lesley Clark

I think that this is Lesley’s first Black Light story, but I hope it won’t be her last. And it’s another one that I would love to see expanded out. Jazz is a rock star and Michael is a psychiatrist. Together, they are going to go back to school. The picture that she would’ve presented while she was sitting at a school desk was ridiculously sexy. Their whole story was really connected and really lovely.

Control by Dani Rene

Kaelin’s father, who seems like a super-prick, just sayin’, is Jed’s agent, so Jed feels that she’s off limits. She’s pretty sure that he hates her. But, when they get together, it’s definitely a match in S&M heaven. I love the chemistry that they have together. Of course, they have years of history behind them so it’s no wonder they have such a connection and such chemistry. They are another one that I would like to have more of.

And of course, as always, we have the bumpers about planning the event and the conclusion of the event, written by Livia and Jennifer. We get a little look at Emma, Chase, and Jaxon, which is always nice. I love them so much. We also get to see Madison volunteer to be the MC. And if you haven’t read a Valley Girl MCing at a bondage club auction, you are like totally missing something. I have a feeling that we will be seeing more of Madison in the future.

OK, that’s all I have to say on this one. The nice thing about short stories is that you can work them in whenever you have time, so go check it out. Happy reading!

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Anthology-Twisted Sacrament

These stories are dark, dark, dark, dark, and even darker than that. There are no happy anythings here, there’s no light. There’s nothing that will bring you any kind of hope. I’d say abandon all hope, but even just abandoning it isn’t enough. You have to completely scour any kind of hope from your soul. You have to erase the word hope from your memory. Then you might, just possibly might, be ready to read Twisted Sacrament. Consider yourself warned.

The anthology consists of 7 authors who write dark anyway, but then they got let off the leash. Not only that, they were given the brief of writing the most sacrilegious and blasphemous story possible. And let me tell you, SJ Cole, Zoe Blake, Addison Cain, Jennifer Bene, Celia Aaron,¬†Ashleigh Giannoccaro, and Alta Hensley fucking delivered. These 7 stories are depraved, twisted, desolate, full of mindfucks, horrifying, and darker than fuck. They are disturbing. And yet. And yet, I couldn’t stop reading them. I couldn’t get enough of them. I loved everyone one of them, even the ones that left me shaking at the end. (I’m looking right at you, Jennifer.)

They are all short stories, none of them much longer than 30 minutes to read. I wouldn’t recommend reading them at night before bed though. You might not sleep well. But because they are short, you’re only going to get my reactions, as is my usual practice in this situation. I got ARCs for 4 of them, but like I said, they are short, so I had no problems reading the rest of them.

Addison Cain-She Came Before God

There is a period of Catholic and Italian history where the high ranking clergy weren’t as… celibate as they should’ve been. During that time, Rodrigo Borgia became Pope. There are all kinds of rumors about orgies in the Papal palace while he was there, and it is historical fact that he had children, born when he was a cardinal. You know, when he wasn’t supposed to be dicking around. Lucrezia Borgia, who you may have heard about as a poisoner, was one of his children. So, what does this have to do with Addison’s story? Well, her story involves a pope and some fucking.

Addison’s story really just was straight up horrifying. Our poor little heroine learns that she’s part of a horrible family tradition, and everything that she thought was true isn’t. This story stuck with me. I mean, I dreamt about it. Even days later, I’m still trying to get a total handle on certain things. I really wanted to scream at the end of it, and maybe sit and cry in despair.

Zoe Blake-Lilith’s Revenge

Lilith comes out of Jewish mythology. She’s generally considered to be Adam’s first wife, but when she wouldn’t behave the way that they wanted, she was kicked out of Eden and Eve came in in her place. Lilith then went on to become the mother of demons. In her demon partying and fucking days, she fucked everyone she wanted to, including some angels.

In Zoe’s story, she is back in her demon party girl aspect, tempting a priest. Now, here’s the thing. She and her priest get it on in all kinds of ways and do all kinds of depraved things, but… The question is, is what they are doing real, or is the priestly part real, or is anything real? Zoe has written an incredibly mindfuck and my mind is still fucked from it. I don’t know what’s real and what isn’t and what was going on in the story. I have theories as to what’s going on, but they vary from minute to minute.

I recommend following Zoe’s instructions when it comes to her story.

Alta Hensley-Last Rites

I personally think that the end of the world is going to be some kind of plague. In this jet-setting world, it’s going to be too easy for something to be across the world before anyone gets diagnosed with it in the first place. Why do I mention this? Because Alta destroys the world with The Itch, an illness that makes people want to scratch their skin off, makes their blood foam, and makes them pretty fucking crazy. There are rumors of a safe place for women to go (and only women), where they won’t be exposed to The Itch.

This is so disturbing. It’s short, it’s brutal, and it’s dark as fuck. I kind of wanted to take a very, very hot shower after reading this one. And maybe scrub for about 30 hours.

Jennifer Bene-Baptism in Eden

If you look at my GR/Zon review, it says “Oh my fucking god. That is all.” Yeah, that’s about all I could say about this one on there. Jennifer writes dark at the best of times, but let her off the leash, she’s simply dazzling. And dazzle she does.

You may think of Eden as paradise, but Jennifer’s Eden is as far away from paradise as you can possibly get. It’s so dark and so twisted. I know I’m saying that a lot, but there aren’t words in the English language to describe it. But the fact remains that this story is Stygian. It’s also a very Jennifer Bene story. If I were given all the stories in this book and asked to pick out which one Jennifer had written, this would be the one that I choose. When I was done reading it, I was literally sitting on the couch and shaking. I had to go read something else to calm down. I may be traumatized.

Celia Aaron-Communion

I know that I’ve raved about Celia on here before. She totally deserves every good thing I have ever said about her.

I loved this story. It wasn’t quite as dark as some of the others, but it’s by no means light. I love the byplay between Cate and Ted. It is very interesting to see how Ted talks to her and what goes on. I feel like this is very topical too. I have to wonder how much Celia was influenced by what’s going on in the world right now, because it really feels like there was some serious influencing going on. Frankly, I think it makes it better.

Ashleigh Giannoccaro-Say Yes

I’ve only read one other Ashleigh Giannoccaro book, but I own a couple of more. My TBR is totes ridic and one day I’ll get to them.

Ashleigh takes us for a tour through a cult. A very, very creepy cult. A very creepy cult that says men have to have 2 wives or they can’t get into Heaven. OK, I grew up Mormon, and there has always been the whole polygamy thing surrounding the church, and then the FLDS church around, which are a polygamous cult, so this one felt really close to home, if you know what I mean. I don’t know how much Ashleigh took from there, how much came from other cults, and how much came straight out of her head, but it was a fascinating read. It also looks like it’s setting up for a new series, so I’ll be all over that one.

SJ Cole-I’m Better Than You

SJ Cole is Stevie J. Cole writing under a new name. And OMG, her heroine is totally cuckoo for coco puffs. I mean, the cheese not only done slipped her cracker, it left the room, the house, the zip code, the state, and the country. Then it changed its name, cut its hair, and got plastic surgery. The cheese wants to have absolutely nothing to do with Violet anymore, and I don’t blame it. I wouldn’t want to have anything to do with her either. I can totally get why she’s upset, but damn, girl takes it to another level. She’s creepy as fuck. She’s crazy as fuck. SJ says there’s more to the story, and I’m going to have to read it. Can’t fucking wait. I like creepy and crazy.

OK, there are my reactions to each of these 7 stories. I loved this book. But, trust me, don’t look for light. Don’t look for happy. Don’t look for hope. Don’t look for this book to last long. I recommend you go buy it soon if anything I talked about sounded good, because anthologies don’t tend to last very long and then the rights revert back to the authors.

No spoilers, but a picture I thought was great for this.

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Just Breathe

This anthology is more than a collection of excellent stories by excellent authors, it’s also a way to support To Write Love on Her Arms. I’ve talked about them before. They are an organization that helps support people who are dealing with self-harm and suicidal ideations, among other things. This is such a great organization. Even if you only want one or two of the stories in Just Breathe, you should definitely buy it to support TWLOHA.

Before I get further into my review, I want to warn people that the stories in this book all deal with mental illnesses of some shape or form. There are things in these stories which may trigger you. Please be aware of that and read responsibly.

All of the stories are pretty short, so if you only have a moment here or there to read, you should have no problem finding one that will fit. Because they are short, you are going to basically get my reaction to each story. For most of them, if I were to put anything about them in the review, it would totally spoil the story. So, here we go.

Missy Ann-Forbidden Sorrows-Grief

Missy Ann was a new author to me, and I’ll be looking up more of her work. Grief is hard to deal with at the best of times, and is highly individual. In most cases, you and your grief can be acknowledged, but what happens when it can’t be? It’s not anything I’ve ever thought of before, and wow, Missy brought it to life so vividly.

Anna Edwards-Grounded-Anxiety

I deal with an anxiety disorder and Anna’s story rang so true for me. It was very much like what can go through my head when I feel out of control. It was a great story. And, it looks like it’s the start of a new series, when Anna gets the rights back to it. I can’t wait to see it.

Michelle Brown-Little Lies-Self-Harm

Michelle is still a pretty new writer, but damn, the girl has some serious chops. Self-harm is a very, very touchy subject and has to be handled just right. If you go too far one way, you end up sensationalizing it, if you go too far the other way, you end up making it not believable. Michelle walked that line perfectly. Not so much that it’s glorified, but just at the point where you can understand why Lindsey does what she does. Self-harm was the very reason that TWLOHA was created, so I felt like this one was so important.

K.S. Marshall-Wreckage-Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder

PMDD is PMS with roid rage. As the hormones in a woman’s body ramp up for ovulation and menstruation, they can have an effect on the woman even at the best of times. But brain and body chemistry being what it is, sometimes the best of times isn’t what happens. K.S. Marshall explored that really, really well. You are inside her heroine’s head as these changes are happening to her and she can’t figure out what’s going on. It’s kind of chilling, but in a good way.

Livia Grant-Purged-Eating Disorder

If you’ve read any of the Black Light books, you’ve probably run across Khloe and Ryder before. It’s no secret in their book that Khloe, a big time movie star, has a history with an eating disorder. What Livia’s story shows so well is that dealing with something like an eating disorder is that it isn’t as easy as one day being cured. There are always going to be things that can trigger you and it’s something you are always going to have to be diligent at fighting, and sometimes that fight is really, really hard.

Yolanda Olson-Sickness in the Sunrise-Erotomania

Erotomania generally happens to women, and it’s when they believe that someone who is of a higher status than they are is in love with them. For example, Yolanda’s story. Yolanda is one of my favorite authors when I want dark, creepy, and chilling, as well as beautiful. Her characters are always so real to me. Just like you can reach out and touch them. That’s no different when it comes to this one. You can feel what’s going on in Dice’s head and why her thoughts make perfect sense.

Natalie Bennett-Ashes to Ashes-Depression

Honestly, I don’t even know what to say with this one. It got deep inside me and moved me. I had to take a break and read something completely different after reading this one. It was so… Yeah.

Dani Rene-Tattered Pieces-Abuse

The one thing we always ask when we talk about people who are in domestic violence situations is why did they stay? Why didn’t they leave the first time, the fifth time, the twentieth time? The thing is, the question isn’t that simple, and the answer is nowhere even near that simple. I could probably write a thousand words on that alone, and it wouldn’t even come near answering anything. And I wouldn’t have gotten it anywhere near as good as what Dani said. I hope that this is the start of a series, because it looks like it could be. I want more of Toni’s story. I’m rooting for her.

Jennifer Bene-Cocoon-Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Jennifer managed to write a story that is very true to her storytelling while still exploring OCD. People who have OCD have rituals that they have to follow or their world ends, and that’s not really an exaggeration. That’s the way it will feel, at the very least. Amy was an interesting character and Colton was tortured in so many ways. Such an excellent story and a viewpoint of OCD that most people won’t ever see.

Ally Vance-Ignite-Pyromania

Fire can be very pretty. But, for most of us, pretty is as far as it gets. For people who are pyromaniacs, it’s like their lifeblood. Ally showed that really well. I’ll never look at wooden matches the same way again. Nor, I think, will I ever look at a bonfire the same way.

Murphy Wallace-Hostile Takeover-Split Personality

Murphy Wallace is another new to me author. And another one I’ll be tracking down more of. This was really intriguing to me. I’m not sure how to describe it or even to talk about how it made me feel. I really enjoyed it though.

Jane Anthony-The Row-Addiction

Addiction is a serious illness. Too many people want to see it as some kind of moral failure or something, but that’s not the way it works. Jane’s Trinity fights with addiction, and when you see her backstory, you see why. I thought that Jane did so well. Trinity and King made me cry.

Ashleigh Giannoccaro-Awake-Insomnia

When I was reading Ashleigh’s story, it was both kind of creepy and engrossing. I mean, yeah. I’m hoping any of her insomniacs stay right away from me, please and thank you.

Skye Callahan-Unbearable-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

When you go through a traumatic incident, there are changes that are made to your brain’s chemistry and your body. Those changes can trigger PTSD. And there’s no way of telling who is going to have it and who isn’t. Two people who went through the exact same event may not both have PTSD, and if they do, they might not be triggered in the same way. Skye handled the subject really well, and explained it in ways that many people don’t necessarily hear.

Toni Lemay-Loops-Mandela Effect

The Mandela Effect is something that was totally new to me. Basically, it has to do with alternate realities and the way that your brain makes memories. That’s probably a way too simplistic description, but it’s what I got from in when I looked it up. If I had more time to research it, I would probably be able to come up with something more, but I tend to fall down the rabbit hole when I start researching things. I will probably be looking into this more when I have a chance because Toni made it sound really interesting, and I want to see how it works.

I want to applaud all these authors for writing about these mental illnesses. I don’t know how many of these talented people deal with the subjects they wrote about, but they handled all of them really well. People who are mentally ill aren’t always handled well in fiction, let alone real life, and the stigma that surrounds mental illnesses makes it hard for those of us who are mentally ill to get the help that they need. We are made to feel bad because our brain don’t work the same way that other people’s brains do, and are shamed because we have to take medication to get through our days. I’m very open about the fact that I’m mentally ill and that I take medication to help me be stable. My thought is that if I’m open about it, maybe that fact can help one person get the help that they need. Also, the more we talk about it, the less the stigma is going to be there.

OK, that’s all I have to say today. You really need to get this.

And because I hate to post anything without a picture, here’s a fogbow.

fogbow