Tag Archives: depression

Blind the Eyes: A Dystopian-Gothic YA Urban Fantasy by K.A. Wiggins (Book Spotlight)

BLIND THE EYES by K.A. Wiggins

 
​A haunted teen outcast and her snarky ghostly best-frenemy outwit enforcers, monsters, and the scars of the past in a race to take expose a deadly conspiracy and escape a bloody end. A lush, award-winning debut to a captivatingly eerie YA Urban Fantasy trilogy. Discover a labyrinthine, post-climate-collapse dystopian Vancouver overrun by monsters and magic in this intricate and startlingly original journey of discovery, restoration, and revenge.
 
 
It’s hard not to be a little obsessed with survival when your only “friend” is an unruly ghost and the wrong thought could get your soul devoured by eldritch horrors. Haunted 17-year-old outcast Cole wants nothing more than to hide her forbidden fascination with the monster-taken and blend in with the (dreary) scenery. Her plans for a peaceful life take a turn for the deadly when a mesmerizing stranger and his dangerously tempting offer drive her into the middle of a grisly conspiracy.
 
But Cole hasn’t yet uncovered the biggest secret of all, and it might just have something to do with the mysterious threads tugging her into horrifying visions—not to mention the shimmering boy at their dark heart. Uncovering the truth will cost her dearly as she fends off scheming enforcers, dreamjacking ghosts & soul-sucking nightmares in a desperate quest for survival and retribution. Can she escape the scars of her past and expose the lies before she’s the next to die?
 
 
 
Blind the Eyes is the first book in a lush and labyrinthine trilogy of paranormal-meets-gothic-dystopian YA Urban Fantasy filled with glittering underworlds, delicious-and-deceptive strangers, and facing down the voices in your head. This slow-burn fantasy with an edge leads readers on a captivatingly unexpected journey of self-discovery, reclaimed identity, and conflicted sisterhood for those who like a little sparkle with their monsters (it glistens so nicely on all the blood.) Fans of post-climate-collapse dystopias, monsters-and-magic, and genre-bending dark fantasy will love this award-winning series starter in a complete and 100% binge-ready trilogy.
 
 
 
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Author K.A. Wiggins

 

K.A. Wiggins (Kaie) writes award-winning speculative fiction for young people and adults that explores the tangled webs of society, environment, and identity through intricate, dreamlike tales of monsters and magic.

Her debut novel was a Page Turner Awards 2020 Book Spotlight Prize winner and a Barnes & Noble Press “20 Favorite Indie Books of 2018,” kicking off a celebrated and recently completed YA Urban Fantasy trilogy set in a gothic-dystopian post-climate-collapse Vancouver. Her short fiction has appeared in small press anthologies, genre magazines, and in translation for international audiences.

She’s also the President of the Children’s Writers and Illustrators of British Columbia society, co-founder of marketing and business services consultancy The Creative Collective, and a creative writing coach with the Creative Writing for Children society, and was recognized in the 2021 Arty Awards, taking first place in Literary Arts category.

 

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Finding My Sunshine (A Memoir) by Shannon Leith McGuire (Book Spotlight / Author Interview)

FINDING MY SUNSHINE by Shannon Leith McGuire
Content Rating:  PG+M for bad language, anger, and suicidal thoughts, clinical depression, and assault
 
“What if that someone was you?” Shannon had been so quick to blame others for her anger. She knew she was drowning in darkness and pain; being born with a learning disability made her feel defeated by life. She tried drinking heavily in order to quiet the demons. After being kicked out of college, Shannon took a leap of faith and started working in a nursing home. That’s when her angels appeared and the miracle began. The insight and wisdom she gained from those elderly new friends led her on an inspiring journey of discovery and self-acceptance. Each of us has our own path. Some of us just need angels to help us find it. This is her story.
 
 
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Meet the Author:
 
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Bio: Shannon was raised in a small town in Eastern Montana, where you leave your car keys in the ignition and your front door unlocked all the time. The kind of place where sunsets and sunrises can be seen for miles on the horizon. Where the spring crickets and frogs resting in the irrigation ditches helped transition the days into a calm resting night. Where the winters can get so cold, air can freeze.

It was only after she was academically suspended by the college she was attending, that she became a Certified Nurses Aide (CNA). She did her training in Billings, Montana and it was there she learned how to take care of others and bonded with the geriatric population.

​For over five years, Shannon worked in the same nursing home where she received her training. The work was hard, but it grounded her and helped her find balance in what had become a deeply unbalanced life. It was not until she was a CNA, at one of the hospitals that she had a dream-three nights in a row-that she was going to become a nurse.

She currently resides in Tampa, Florida, where you may hear her laughing with her husband of over 10 years,  scuba diving in the ocean, taking walks with their rescued pit-bull dog- Darby, or dancing together to life’s music.

 

In your book you wrote how disappointed you were when you found out you had Poly Cystic Ovary disease and that you had always wanted to have 4 boys. Did you ever think of adopting?

Yes, I did. However, I knew for some time I could not take care of myself. How was I going to be able to take care of children?  I was not put together yet, and it took many years for me to feel like I was able to care for myself. I did not have the money to work with a fertility specialist. It was something I had to come to terms with and accept. It was not in God’s plans for me to become an actual mom.  So, I am a mom to my rescue dog, Darby. 

 

 

What is your pet peeve?

One thing I learned from my time in counseling with Tom is to be truthful.  I found that if you are honest in the beginning, everything really will turn out okay. There is no reason to lie.  Lies start a domino effect and people get hurt. Sometimes you cannot take back what was lied about. Saying “I am sorry” after a lie is owning up to the action, and it changes everything. I learned you only are as strong as your word. 

 

 

There are many memoirs out there about people’s lives. What makes yours so special?

 Like so many other memoirs, mine is about finding myself and finding a balance. I write about how I was trying to survive; I had darkness all around me. Counseling helped me shine the light on the darkness, and really helped me own up to my insecurities, anger, and hatred of myself. I realized I never was a victim of life.  I just needed help; I denied myself for many years. My hope is my book will help others get help earlier and live their best life and not wait so long to get it like I did. I hope others learn that mistakes are not a life sentence, and you can get better. But first you must admit you need help. That is the first step. I hope I make it easier for people who are struggling to find their way and let them know it is okay. And, let them know their lives can be SO much better.

 

 

Tell us more about your rescue dog, Darby.

Pit bulls have such a bad rap. I have learned a lot about the breed from watching Pitbull’s and Paroles and reading up on them on my own. We wanted to help.  We were on a web site, Pet Finder, and we saw her.  She looked like she had road rash on her right shoulder, and scars all over her face, but she was still smiling. We made an appointment to go meet her, and she was lovely.  She had healed stab wounds all over her body and her tongue needed to be surgically put back together. She was found when police did a raid on where she was living.  Jimmy’s Angels rescue center took her in, cared for her, and brought her back to life. We fell in love with her. They came out and did a home check. She has been with us for a little over a year now. She is living proof what a little bit of love can do to change someone’s world.  She goes everywhere with me.  (And she snores louder then my husband.)

 

 

Tell us more about your favorite resident. What drew you to her or him?

I have so many favorite people I have taken care of over the years. But I guess the 2 that I truly bonded with were Betty Ann and Phyllis. I talk about them in my book. I guess because they were once broken also, and both shared it with me.  They shared with me their stories and how they got through the tough times and struggled with addiction (alcohol) as well.  I guess what drew me to them was the rawness of how they were.  They too had one-night stands, got drunk at parties, lived by the seat of their pants, did what they needed to do to get by.  They helped me realize mistakes are not life sentences. It is just life.  They helped me stop taking things so seriously and being so hard on myself.

 
 
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Disclaimer: All questions and answers were constructed by the author and/or their representative. 
 
 
 

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Peel Back and See by Mike Thorn (Book Review)

In spaces both familiar and strange, unknowable horrors lurk.

From the recesses of the Internet, where cosmic terror shows its face on an endless live feed, to a museum celebrating the sordid legacy of an occultist painter, this chilling collection of sixteen short stories will plunge you into the eerie, pessimistic imagination of Mike Thorn. Peel Back and See urges its readers to look closer, to push past surface-level appearances and face the things that stir below.

 

Amazon Purchase Link
Journalstone.com

 

(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

Peel Back and See is a collection of sixteen (16) short stories that are heavy on unforgettable encounters with hungry creatures, blood and gore, fear, Satan, and (weirdly enough) sexual arousal. 

Some stories stuck with me more than others. Below are my top five (5). 

1.) Mr. Mucata’s Final Requests: Everyone knows you don’t try to double-cross Satan. I mean, come on, don’t even try. Deals with him are also a bad idea. Seriously, the worst possible choice a person can make. If you believe in the devil, demons, and hell, say NO to anything offered. Period!

2.) @GorgoYama2013: We’re raised to know you NEVER go into a stranger’s car. Horror movies have ingrained in us to NEVER go into a strange basement, especially alone. Victor broke all the rules. What he met could best be described as a horrific version of Krang (the brain) from TMNT. If you don’t know who I am talking about, look him up! 

3.) Vomitus Bacchanalius: Okay, people are vomiting. Aliens are eating the regurgitated food. There are goo-faced men. Ugh, this story was gross, BUT good! I loved the nod to Gordon Ramsay too. 🙂

4.) The Furnace Room Mutant: This story stood out more because you’d think an unnatural being would be the monster in the story. I like it when authors step out from the paranormal norm. 🙂

5.) Havoc: This was the first story in the collection, and it made me close my laptop and take one giant step back from it. Read the story, and you’ll understand why. There was only one part I wasn’t too keen on — a flashback scene between student and teacher. I don’t want to divulge too much, but it made my score drop from a five to a four. (for this story only, not the overall score of the anthology)

 

 In Peel Back and See, thirteen of the sixteen stories scored three and above. That’s impressive! I encourage others to read the collection and see which story has you cowering under the covers. 


Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤

Amazon Purchase Link
Journalstone.com

 

 

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Mike Thorn is the author of the short story collection Darkest Hours. His fiction has appeared in numerous magazines, anthologies and podcasts, including Vastarien, Dark Moon Digest, The NoSleep Podcast, Tales to Terrify, and Prairie Gothic. His film criticism has been published in MUBI Notebook, The Film Stage, and Vague Visages. He completed his M.A. with a major in English literature at the University of Calgary, where he wrote a thesis on epistemophobia in John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness.

Connect with him on Twitter (@MikeThornWrites) or visit his website for more information: mikethornwrites.com.

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Awake with the Songbirds – Poems from the Pandemic by Kyrian Lyndon (Book Spotlight)

Content Rating:  PG + M. The book does allude to suicide in one poem and discusses grief and depression in some of the others. There may one or two words of profanity

 
 

 
“She has the ability to convey to the reader some of the most complex thoughts into words that truly reach our hearts.” — Love Books

“Her lyric voice speaks with careful observation and passion. In the narrative mode, she is masterful in reading life around her. Kyrian possesses the sensitivity, insight, and soul of the true poet. Her writing provides a primer on how to compose meaningful poetry.” — Lou Jones

 

 
 
Book Description:
 
This collection consists primarily of poems written during the COVID-19 pandemic, a time of loneliness and rumination.

Lyndon’s poetry stems from intense emotions that swing from one end of the pendulum to the other as she captures the agony of love and loss, along with innocent joy and lighthearted fun.

Each poem is an earnest response to life, love, and everything in between.

 
 
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Meet the Author:

Author Kyrian Lyndon

 

Kyrian Lyndon is the author of Shattering Truths, the first book in her Deadly Veils series. She has also published three poetry collections, A Dark Rose Blooms, Remnants of Severed Chains, and Awake with the Songbirds – Poems from the Pandemic. Kyrian began writing short stories and fairy tales when she was just eight years old. In her adolescence, she moved on to poetry. At sixteen, while working as an editor for her high school newspaper, she wrote her first novel, and then completed two more novels at the ages of nineteen and twenty-five.

She is forthcoming about being a person with many years of recovery, as well as a trauma survivor. Throughout her journeys, she expressed her thoughts through poetry, embracing every challenge to triumph over adversity. In her conviction that learning, growing, healing, and evolving is a never-ending process, she remains as grateful for the dark days as she is for every flicker of hope and light. She considers herself a cheerleader for those trudging on against all odds in the hopes of living their dreams.

Born and raised in Woodside, Queens, New York, Kyrian was the middle of three daughters born to immigrants –her father from Campochiaro, Italy; her mother from Havana, Cuba. She has worked primarily in executive-level administrative positions with major New York publishing companies.

Kyrian loves nineteenth-century British literature, parallel universe fiction, and dark romanticism. She also enjoys music, art, history, fitness, and cooking.

 

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My Cat Is Blue by Sarah Sommer (Book Review)

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Content Rating:  G – Children’s picture book featuring feelings of sadness and grief (loss of a pet), but no explicit content or language.

 
When someone you love is feeling down in the dumps, you try everything to help. But sometimes, you don’t have the cure, and those blues can even become contagious. It just might be the unexpected that allows you both to shed your blues and move toward a bright and colorful future.
 
 
 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours.  I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 

In my house, we are big softies when it comes to cats. Therefore, My Cat Is Blue by Sarah Sommer moved my daughter and me quite a bit. After reading page one, we said simultaneously, “Awe.” 

The sad eyes, the overall low expression on the furball, nearly broke our hearts. My youngster didn’t tear up, but I felt my eyes filling with water. 

The once full-of-life kitty didn’t seem to sparkle with joy and excitement anymore. The little girl in the story was understandably worried about her furry friend when he wasn’t himself anymore. As a good owner, she took him to the vet for help. I won’t disclose what happened at the vet’s office, but it had us saying, “Awe,” in a happy tone this time around. 

The words made the story moving, but Bulankina Ka’s illustrations sealed the deal and made it a sentimental read. Bulankina Ka captured every emotion (cat and human) and made us feel what they were feeling.

 We (my daughter and I) loved the transition from dark/lack of color to full-on color scenes. I had the same feeling when I watched Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium regain its magic — JOY. 

Your child might feel sad at the start of My Cat Is Blue, but trust me, they’ll be smiling before you close the book. 

 
 
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:
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​Sarah Sommer is an award-winning children’s picture book author who blends her love for music, animals, and positivity in her books. Having trained in classical music and performed internationally as a professional clarinetist, rhymes and lyrics are an important part of her writing style. She is an advocate for animals, as seen in her work fostering German shepherds, and as a result, animals are always a central part of her stories. Sarah aims to include encouraging themes, such as helping others, in all of her narratives because we all need a little help sometimes.
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