Mental Health Awareness Week

Today is the start of Mental Health Awareness Week and I am helping to bring awareness to it.

Approximately one in four people in the world suffer from mental health problems each year. Mental Health Awareness Week aims to get people talking about their mental health and reduce the stigma that stops people from asking for help.

There are many types of mental illnesses:  Anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and phobias; depression, bipolar disorder, and other mood disorders; eating disorders; personality disorders; post-traumatic stress disorder; and psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia.

I am also re-sharing about a book I read last year that made my Top 10 list and deals with mental illness:  A Breath too Late by Rocky Callen. I will also be sharing my review again.

Book Description:

For fans of Girl in Pieces, All the Bright Places, and Girl, Interrupted comes a haunting and breathtaking YA contemporary debut novel that packs a powerful message: hope can be found in the darkness.

Seventeen-year-old Ellie had no hope left. Yet the day after she dies by suicide, she finds herself in the midst of an out-of-body experience. She is a spectator, swaying between past and present, retracing the events that unfolded prior to her death.

But there are gaps in her memory, fractured pieces Ellie is desperate to re-assemble. There’s her mother, a songbird who wanted to break free from her oppressive cage. The boy made of brushstrokes and goofy smiles who brought color into a gray world. Her brooding father, with his sad puppy eyes and clenched fists. Told in epistolary-like style, this deeply moving novel sensitively examines the beautiful and terrible moments that make up a life and the possibilities that live in even the darkest of places. Perfect for fans of the critically-acclaimed Speak, I’ll Give You the Sun, and If I Stay.

My review originally posted on October 22, 2021:

A Breath Too Late begins with a trigger warning dealing with physical abuse, suicide, and depression. And it fully deals with these issues. After the trigger warning there is an author’s note and the novel ends with ways to reach out for help. Yes, when you read A Breath Too Late, you are in for a full-on emotional story with Ellie. This novel does not deal with a happy ending, and has a tragic story, but the reader is actually left with hope.

The novel is written in letters from Ellie to her mother, father, a very important boy, life, depression, and more. It is too late for Ellie, but it might not be for potential readers who Callen wrote this novel for: For those who have kept their pain and emotions a secret to all.

As the novel progresses, things become clear to Ellie that she could not see through her painful life. Through death, she did find peace as she saw how the two most important people to her actually felt about her.

This novel will bring so many thoughts and emotions to those who read it. It is a powerful one that I will stick on my shelf next to Just a Normal Tuesday, which also deals with suicide and greatly affected me. At the end of the novel the author gives contact information for those that may need some kind of assistance.

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For more information on Mental Health Awareness Week, please click this link.
You can buy A Breath too Late here.
If you need help, please get it. You are worth it!

Book Review: Your Turn to Suffer by Tim Waggoner

Your Turn to Suffer
Author:
Tim Waggoner

Published: March 23, 2021
256 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Lorelai Palumbo is harassed by a sinister group calling themselves The Cabal. They accuse her of having committed unspeakable crimes in the past, and now she must pay. The Cabal begins taking her life apart one piece at a time – her job, her health, the people she loves – and she must try to figure out what The Cabal thinks she’s done if she’s to have any hope of answering their charges and salvaging her life.

Kim’s Review:

Random find at Gene’s Books! Every time I go there, I find books that aren’t on the shelves at B&N or Books-a-Million and I just love the discoveries I make there! This book saw me coming! Hooded figures demanding Lorelai to “confess and atone— or suffer”. Y’all know I’m all about secret societies, so I bought it and moved it right to the top of my list! Unfortunately, it wasn’t what I was expecting. Not a failure by any means, just not what I was hoping for. This was an odd paranormal/sci-fi-ish kinda book. My main problem that brings it down a whole star is that I wish I knew what was going on. What is this Balance. When did the Cabal start? What about this Intercessor? I need more information!!! I did enjoy reading it; it was a little slow at the beginning but then when it went off, it went! There were some truly scary scenes and I think any horror fan would really enjoy this book. A successful find!! 

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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Book Review: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

An American Marriage
Author: Tayari Jones
Published: February 6, 2018
308 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: April 5-17, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars     

Book Description:

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward—with hope and pain—into the future.

Jessica’s Review:

An American Marriage is a difficult novel to read and this is because Jones seems to have gotten everything in the story as realistic as it could be.  Married around 18 months, Roy is accused of assault and rape then sentenced to twelve years. And yes, Roy is in fact 100% innocent.  After five years served, Roy’s conviction is overturned and he will be coming home.  But things have changed. 

The novels capture many things including being torn between a spouse and parent, how little we may actually know about a spouse going into a marriage. Also brought out in the novel are race and class differences, and traditions.  Life was not perfect for Celestial and Roy and this accusation uproots and changes everything. At first they communicate via letter, but then things stop. Roy is stuck in the inside of prison while Celestial is still outside living life.  And that begins to center around her childhood friend Andre, who was also the best man in their wedding.

Most of the novel centers around this love triangle and what direction(s) it may go.   We never know what life will put us through, what may happen, and how we react. You will never know until you find yourself in a particular situation. 

This is a gritty and raw read, and I was not sure where the ending was going, but based on each character’s thoughts and actions, it seems like a realistic and authentic ending.  Whether you agree with what each of the three main characters did, the ending was satisfying and the novel keeps you thinking, whether you are happy with the endgame decisions or not of the characters.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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