Sucked into the Vortex

I’ll admit it, I have been sucked into a vortex of book reviewing. I love reading advanced copies of books, and then telling the world what I think of them…but it has its toll. I have a huge amount of books in my spare room, waiting for me to pick them up and sink into their worlds of fantasy, mystery, and travel. When will I get to them, if I am constantly adding advanced copies to my reading list?

I just got invited to Blogging for books as well, and crown publishing has invited me to read a book, do I accept everything, and keep reading?

Don’t forget all my household chores of laundry, vacuuming, dusting, dishes and making biscuits, cookies, and suppers. Then we have the motherly duties to Nicole and AJ, helping with homework, getting projects done for school. Hubby has a list that needs to be completed as well, getting his uniform clean for his weekly firefighting training night (have I told you I love Tuesday nights, it is my reset night, bath and a book). Kids and hubby gone for the night I can sink into a mildly hot bath and reset my weary body.

And yet in the past week, I have read three or four books. Is it because I can read faster when they are on my kindle? I just seem to power right through them. But my books on the shelves have been left to gather dust (oh yes I need to dust down there as well), oh shit, did I walk the dog yet?

“mom where is my…”, “Mom did you find…” “Babe, did you make my biscuits”, “Is my uniform ready?”

Sounds around me while I sit on the couch trying to catch up on my reading…

Maybe I should go get Nicole’s uniform and sew on that badge she earned…Shit is it even clean?

But still I find the time to grab my dell and check out a few blogs, add some comments to the blogs I just can not ignore, post a blog and a book review before I turn back to my neverending laundry. (I don’t think my washer is ever not going)

Do you have a million things that need to get done, but you just keep reading?

Chill Mom Julia




Book Review On the Road and Off the Record with Leonard Bernstein by Charlie Harmon

I have seen on television large productions of musicals or plays and never thought about all the extra work that goes into making those productions successes. It never crossed my mind how many people are standing behind the scenes, helping with every little detail of a conductors life. Then I read On the Road and Off the Record with Leonard Bernstein by Charlie Harmon and I realized all the extra things someone of Leonard Bernstein’s status requires. The amount of travel and everyday little things that made Leonard Bernstein’s life manageable was very overwhelming. At some parts, my head was spinning from the constant travel and maneuvering of the luggage, and I was only reading about it, not living it.

The novel written by Charlie Harmon describes his job title of the assistant to Leonard Bernstein from 1982-1986. Harmon gives accurate; if overwhelming, detail of the day to day life that he was thrown into with little preparation.  Dealing with the manager and the other people involved with Bernstein’s life would be enough to make even the most tough-skinned people move on, but Harmon stuck it out for four years. The longest any of Bernstein’s assistants lasted. Harmon’s everyday life of fetching towels and drinks to editing music was written with grace and extravagance. It was a beautiful glimpse of life on the road with the American musical composer of West side story, and his extravagant lifestyle. Maestro’s love of music is shown by how passionate he could be if a little aggressive. “He go with God” was how Bernstein’s Housekeeper describe his daring driving and living. He never seemed to stop, sleeping weird hours and throwing himself entirely into his music, but living life to the fullest.

This novel was a brief look at the interesting life of a musical genius. Harmon had an experience of a lifetime, meeting great composers and opera singers, actors, and actresses. The novel is an emotional rollercoaster from start to finish, as I found myself hating Bernstein at some points, then thinking of him like a fatherly figure to Harmon.

This novel shows us that everyone has demons that they must face, how they deal with them is up to the individual. It never hurts to talk about anything that is on your mind, opposed to keeping all bottled up. The novel briefly talks about homosexuality, the Aids epidemic, and mental illness while showing people that The Maestro was human just like everyone else.

Intriguing, compelling and fast-paced, you won’t want to put it down.

I would like to thank NetGalley for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

#CharlieHarmon #OntheRoadOffTheRecordwithLeonardBernstein

Book Review: The Clarity By Keith Thomas

 “For fans of Black Mirror and True Detective, a visceral high‑concept thriller about a psychologist who must protect the life of an eleven-year-old girl whose ability to remember past lives makes them both targets of a merciless killer.

Dr. Matilda Deacon is a psychologist researching how memories are made and stored when she meets a strange eleven-year-old girl named Ashanique. Ashanique claims to harbor the memories of the last soldier killed in World War I and Matilda is at first very interested but skeptical. However, when Ashanique starts talking about being chased by the Night Doctors—a term also used by an unstable patient who was later found dead—Matilda can’t deny that the girl might be telling the truth.

Matilda learns that Ashanique and her mother have been on the run their whole lives from a monstrous assassin named Rade. Rade is after a secret contained solely in memories and has left a bloody trail throughout the world in search of it. Matilda soon realizes Ashanique is in unimaginable danger and that her unique ability comes with a deadly price.

Fast-paced, suspenseful, and a chilling blend of science and danger, The Clarity is a compelling take on the possibilities of reincarnation and life after death.”

The Clarity is a fast-paced novel that I wanted to keep reading. Thomas does a great job of keeping the attention of the reader with vivid descriptions and fast moving, action-packed pages. The chapters are not too long and you just want to read one more chapter.

I found the idea of accessing ancestor’s memories interesting and had never read of this concept before. I would have liked the author to expand on the idea more. Giving more insight into the backstory of the memories. It would certainly solve the question of ancestry HA HA. With this being a suspense story I realize it was more about the action and not the memories themselves.

That being said I found the more gory details a bit hard to stomach. I would have preferred less violence, some parts of the story there seemed to be needless murders. And there is definitely a bloody trail left behind Rade. His character was hard to connect with because he was such a demonic being. It’s not too often that I find a character to be so cold and ruthless, but Thomas does an excellent job with Rade.

The other characters are compelling in there own way. I found Matilda likable and I connected with her. My father had dementia before he passed away and it was the hardest thing to deal with. You feel confused and frustrated all at the same time. I could sense the love she had for her mom and how devoted she was to her. She was a very determined and dedicated person. Ashanique was a strong young girl and I loved that she was willing to accept what was happening to her in the end. I was like Matilda and I just wanted to hold her until everything was better for her.

In regards to the science aspect, I felt like the author did the research, nothing sounded far-fetched or unbelievable. You hear of secret labs all the time, doing different types of secret research, and the 50’s was a very strange time for science. A lot of the rules we have today were definitely not in place. So the fact that they just snatched children away orphanages didn’t really surprise me. In made me think of the experimental science that was done back then to all kinds of people.

There is an attempt at adding romance to this story and I wasn’t a big fan. It felt like Thomas was grasping at straws with the romance. It didn’t feel like it blended into the story very well.

I would give this novel a 3.5 Stars. I liked the story but felt like it could have a lot more detail added to it, but with less of the gory death scenes. I would recommend this book to people who like a fast paced, action packed gory type of novel.

I would like to thank NetGalley for giving me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Ocd or just anxiety??? Thoughts from Hyper child Nicole

Hey guys,

Today I was going to talk about my anxiety. My anxiety has been causing me some trouble in school. I have 7 assignments due in 3 days and I just can’t focus on my school work.  I’m VERY overwhelmed.

Reason, why I’m writing this post is because I have been going through ALOT and I thought I would tell you what is helping me thru this:
My friends: my friends have always been helping me calm down and just breath.


Minecraft: Minecraft always helps me calm down, but I can’t play it until I get my assignments done.

I’m very overwhelmed at the moment and my anxiety is taking control of my mind.

I’m going to tell you about something that happened at school. So someone in my school has diabetes I think, I saw her pricking her finger, and I hate needles. So she pricked her finger and that… mad me very scared because I don’t want diabetes. And I haven’t been eating the best lately. And last week one of the girls tried to(or said she was going to) cut her wrists in the bathroom. It made me very worried and concerned. I kept thinking about it. My anxiety has kept getting worse since that happened.

My mom thinks I have ocd… because I sometimes forget to brush my teeth and if I remember sometimes and it bothers me, I think somethings going to happen to me even if its one night so I ask my mom should I brush my teeth and she says it should be fine,  then I say ok, but it keeps bothering me so I get up and brush my teeth. I also have to make sure the doors are locked at night, and the needle thing at school just would not leave my brain today. I kept thinking about it over and over.

So ya, let me know if that sounds like ocd. I’m going to a doctors appointment soon so ya bye.

Hyper Child Nicole.

Chill mom Julia

I’m just going to add on here tonight. Nicole has been worrying a lot more lately as I have said in previous posts, I have thought before that she may have OCD, but this most recent “intrusive thought” about the diabetes is bothering me now. Once something is in her head it sticks there (Number one reason why she will not sleep on her own, and why she has to make sure the doors are locked at night) She has made herself sick today, just thinking about the needle and how scared she is of getting diabetes. So, of course, we talked about it on the way home this evening and yes I’m going to talk to her doctor. I told her we will be going to be asking to get a referral to see a therapist. It is not getting better. If anything she is getting worse. After reading “Turtles all the way down” and creeping around on the internet I have a better understanding of OCD and intrusive thoughts. They sound just like this one with diabetes. Thinking so much about it that she made herself sick.  Every time she has an ache or pain she thinks she has cancer, or worse. And the other day she heard a message on the voice mail for a surgery for me, oral surgery, nothing big and she freaked out. Didn’t want me to have the surgery. I know one of her worries is my death. Its where all her anxiety started years ago.

Thanks for reading and any advice is greatly appreciated!

Chill Mom Julia





The honest and heart-wrenching novel about the truths of schizophrenia, coming from the point of view of both a male with the mental illness (Bob) and his niece, the author, Sandra Allen. Giving truthful insight into a mental illness that has been stigmatized for years. Allen writes the true story of Bob and how he was treated his whole life by family members, doctors, policemen, and his own peers. Bob’s manuscript describes his life from inside his mind and the perception of his life in and out of hospitals; his view of these “prisons” and the doctors that treated him. Allen seamlessly ties Bob’s story into her own research of the illness, and how other family members and his peers saw Bob. This story will take you into the mind of a “psychotic paranoid schizophrenic” and how easily reality blends into fantasy for them. This novel is written beautifully and masterfully in an effort to bring attention to the treatment of schizophrenic people and the stigma associated with them. This novel is an excellent example of how society treats people with mental illness and how misunderstood they truly are.

I truly enjoyed this novel. I was laughing and crying with Bob. I was marveling at the way he was treated, especially by his own family. I loved how informative the book was, without making it seem like I was reading a textbook. I hope to see more by this author.

I would like to thank NetGalley for giving me an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review!



Could this be depression? I need to know what all my fantastic followers think. I have some mental health people as followers, and those people that struggle with mental health themselves, so I’m hoping to get a few responses.

Nicole struggles to get up some morning. If you have read my previous posts you know that this is one of the hardest things for her to accomplish. Today was no exception and she seemed to physically not be able to get out of bed. She has just finally woken up and it is 11am. This is not for a lack of me trying to wake her. I started at 7:20 am to get her awake. She could not do it this morning. No matter what I tried. Rewards, nope. Threats, nope. Yelling, nope. Dog playing on top of her, nope.

Last night she was working on several projects that she has to hand in to catch up for the middle of the semester. She was very hard to her self, saying she wished she wasn’t such a screwup and that she needs to get it done. Then would proceed to struggle to get it done. Saying she just can’t do it. It is too hard and too boring. She also apologized to me for being so cranky and not listening. Then would turn around and still not listen to me when I asked her to get ready for bed. She was in bed at a good time last night.When she was home after school yesterday she did seem sad and was laying in bed when I got home last evening around supper time.

She asked me how she could be less annoying at school and how she can get people to like her more. I feel like she is falling into a cycle of depression, where she feels worthless and sad, it doesn’t help that some of the kids at school are telling her that no one loves her. The last time this happened was when we finally went and got help with her ADHD, and her anxiety. I was very worried about her falling into a depression. Now it seems to be happening again.

She had been asking me about my upcoming dental surgery and asked me if I had to go through with it. So I’m thinking that her worry about me is starting to come back as well.

Let me know what you think

Chill Mom


Fictional Friday

She could feel the chill start to tingle down her back as soon as she turned the corner. “I’m sure I didn’t place your picture like that,” she half whispered to herself, staring down at the picture of her father. It was now lying face down; not broken, but definitely not the way she had placed it on the mantle. She took a few steps into the living room and felt the goosebumps start down her arm. She could feel something in the room with her, but who or what it was she had yet to find out. She had been feeling unsettled since she had moved in, and it just seemed to be getting stronger. Now it felt like another presence was in the house with her.

Aime looked around the once grand living room; taking in the long draped velvet curtains that were half moth-eaten, and felt again the tingling start down her back as she noticed a few other things moved. Her large painting was tilted at a 30-degree angle. The small paperback on the side table was slide to the other side, she could even see the line in the dust that the book had left. Someone was trying to get her attention, and it was working.

This wasn’t the first time either. She remembered a few days ago when she had begun testing the windows and doors for leaks, trying to figure out which ones needed to be fixed first, she had heard a knocking coming from the attic. When she had tried to get into the small room leading to the tower and attic entrance the door wouldn’t budge. The knocking had stopped but she still felt uneasy when she thought of it.

“I really need to get into that attic and figure out if the roof needs any repairs as well” She added that task to her mental list as she picked up her wine glass and book. Aime tenderly set her fathers picture back on the mantle and headed to the large main staircase. As she climbed the stairs she reminisces about the times her father had carried her up these stairs. Tucking her into her double bed in her bedroom.  Kissing her forehead before dimming down the lights and pulling the door almost completely shut.

She hadn’t realized she had stopped at her old room, something made her go inside the room and turn on the light. The room was the same as it was when they left the house twenty-five years ago, four days after her fathers accident. It was such a sudden move that they hadn’t even packed anything. She really looked around the room for the first time since coming to live in the house two weeks ago, “The only difference now is me,” the thought came and went like a breeze through the trees outside the bedroom window. The bed still had the Royal purple ruffled duvet. Long purple curtains. All her horse pictures that her father had painted hung on the walls. Her dresser still stood beside her large walk-in closet. All her pretty dresses from when she was eleven years old hanging neatly, below them her little shoes.

She felt the tears slide down her face and slowly stepped out of the room and closed the door behind her. She wasn’t ready to walk down that memory path just yet. She had to clear away the thorns first and it would take some time. She promised herself she would return to that room and start from the beginning of that night and get the answers that have been escaping her for the past twenty-five years.



Thanks for reading everyone. This is a story that I am going to try to keep writing every Friday. I’m stretching my cerebrum, expanding my creativity.  Please let me know what you think. And please be honest. I can handle it!

Chill Mom Julia