Accepting My Diagnosis pt2

Today I am bed bound. My hands and feet feel prickly and ice cold, my arms and legs are just useless sacks of wet heavy sand. As a child did you ever playfully punch eachother in the fleshy part of your triceps or thighs and shout DEAD LEG? Imagine this was done to every muscle in your body. That’s what M.E CFS is to me.

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome effects 250,000 people in the UK alone. Two thirds of which are women aged between 20-40 years old. Just. Like. Me.

I was diagnosed after all other tests came back negative. My regular GP was unavailable and I’d been to see an alternative. After reviewing my medical history, discussing all the symptoms I’d had recurring for the past 2 years and looking at yet another set of inconclusive blood tests he insisted this was infact ME CFS.

I was relieved, angry and scared.
Relieved to finally have an answer.
Angry in my refusal to accept a new weakness.
Scared of the reality that this might not go away.

There is no ‘cure’ or medication that will help me. There is no proof of my condition to wave in the face of the eye-rollers and non-believers. Even those I love who I know love me in return can’t always hide their expressions well enough. I can see when they’re frustrated with me. I can see when they think I’m being dramatic. I can see when they wonder if I’m just a hypochondriac.

There is a long list of symptoms relevant to ME CFS, including the 75% below which apply to me

-Persistent fatigue
-Aching muscles and joints
-Pins and needles
-Poor circulation
-Muscle cramps and twitching
-Headaches
– Poor temperature control
– IBS
– Bloating
– Hypersomnia
– Memory problems
– Word finding difficulty
– Loss of balance
– Sensitivity to sound

and my personal worst… PAYBACK.
Also known as post exertional malaise.

It’s payback that has me lying here in bed this morning. Though this time I’m not sure what exactly I’m being paid back for.
Usually all my symptoms attack at once if I’ve been active. Maybe I went out for the day, did some shopping, socialised with friends, walked too much or drove too far. Never anything major- just normal day to day life, except for me these kind of activities are punishable now.
Today I’m not even strong enough to raise my arms and brush my own hair. I have to rest and recharge my body’s dodgy battery.

What’s worst about this is the way MEcfs combines so easily with my anxiety. Every second I rest my brain is shouting at me for wasting precious time. Since I’m not at work I should be cleaning, learning, creating.. DOING something. But this isn’t physically possible so I’ll beat myself mentally instead; why can’t I just THINK my way out of this? FORCE myself out of bed and be productive?

I’ve learned now that to ignore my limitations will only increase the suffering they call ‘payback’, I have no choice but to rest when these moments come. And you know what else? It doesn’t matter if other people don’t understand it, or don’t believe me, I know how I feel and I know what I need.
The next battle is with my brain, all that remains is to silence my irrational guilt and self disgust.

Blog Tour; They Kill – Tim Waggoner

What are you willing to become to save someone you love?

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Flame Tree Press

Publication Date: July 2019

**********

Synopsis

What are you willing to do, what are you willing to become, to save someone you love?

On the one-year anniversary of his death in a terrible car accident, Sierra Sowell’s brother Jeffrey is resurrected by a mysterious man known only as Corliss.

Corliss also transforms several people in Sierra’s life into inhuman monsters…

…Each of these people harbor grudges against Sierra, sparks of anger and resentment which Corliss fans into murderous flames…

Sierra and Jeffrey’s boyfriend Marc work to discover the reason for her brother’s return to life while struggling to survive attacks by the monstrous quartet whose only desire is to see her dead…

After the monsters carve a bloody swath through town – and each other – Corliss gives Sierra a chance to make Jeffrey’s resurrection permanent: if she’s willing to make a dreadful bargain.

Can she do what it will take to save her brother, no matter how much blood is shed along the way? Or will she allow him to return to the land of the dead and perhaps join him there?

**********

Review

They Kill has a very fluent pace, written in 3rd person, each character links to the next in either minor or major ways. The length of their own storylines are comparable to their contribution to the story. Some are short chance encounters whilst others are relations, colleagues and neighbours.
The way Waggoner tied all the characters together with one demonic man wreaking havoc in various chaotic scenarios reminded me of King’s Needful Things.

Occasional use of disturbing imagery includes a particularly rancid scene involving a drinking fountain. You’ll get a good stomach churn from the sex scenes too, they were uncomfortable and a little skeevy I felt.

I was never really invested in any particular characters or the story line. Sierra’s devastation over the loss of her brother was mentioned often but never really described in a way that ellicited enough emotion for my liking. It was just a tool to create the scenario and that showed.

The supernatural abilities of Corliss made him much less frightening. For me he was more of a fantasy character, and whilst I do enjoy fantasy it’s not what I expected from a Flame Tree Press title.
As well as being telepathic, Corliss travels by ripping holes in time and space. This along side his blackest black coat, long blonde hair and pointy fingers made him a resounding stereotype of the evil found in 90s entertainment. Unfortunately this robbed me of the tension Waggoner tries to build.

‘The Gyre’ and Corliss’ purpose are semi-explained in passing, I felt this either needed a lot more depth or to be omitted entirely. The same could be said of the monsters- formally acquaintances in Sierra’s life. Aside from Jeffery himself, none of them had a particularly strong bond with Sierra and so it seemed odd that they should all be hell bent on her destruction.

If you like silly horror then this is one for you. I think fans of Janz work would definitely enjoy Waggoner. Unfortunately I didn’t.

TW rape, child abuse, alcoholism.

Roxanne’s Reactions:

I received a copy of this title from Flame Tree Press in exchange for my honest review. Many thanks to Anne Cater.

Blog Tour; Life Ruins- Danuta Kot

How do you find a killer when no one believes there’s a victim?

 

Page Count 480

Publication date 2019/ Publisher Simon & Schuster

Good Reads link

Life Ruins Cover

 

Synopsis

Three very different people, connected by a thread of violence  … and hope. 
Kay, recently widowed and coming to terms with life on her own, feels she has hit rock bottom. For years she and her husband fostered difficult children – including Becca, whom trouble follows like a stray puppy. And now Becca seems to be in the worst trouble of her life. 

A girl has been attacked so savagely she can’t be identified. She’s alive, but only just. Becca, tossed out of university and just let go from her dead-end job, is certain she knows who the victim is. But no one will believe her.

 

Review

Our protagonists Becca and Jared are deeply flawed, realistic characters, each broken by their own history. I liked the angry, defiant edge to them. Whilst Jared’s past is laid out early on we have to dig deeper to piece together Becca’s full story.

Jared’s recollection of his best friend Charlie’s death gave me shivers. I really felt the claustrophobia and the rising fear of inescapable danger. The ensuing hollowness of Jared resonates in Kot’s writing, I connected well with his changing emotional states and loved his development throughout the story arc.

I’d have liked a little more of Becca’s past. The reader can put it together easily enough but whilst we are treated to Jared’s full story Becca’s is not as fleshed out, her character felt a little one dimensional in comparison.

Life Ruins holds on tight to its secrets. There was no guessing ahead for me this time, I was gripped almost the entire way through with absolutely no idea what I was hurtling towards. The antagonists were an enigma making them unpredictable and keeping me on edge throughout the read.

Unfortunately the behaviour of the authorities in Life Ruins was not at all believable. The police characters were stereotyped straight out of a bad movie and their failure to investigate such violent attacks yet waste time searching for an apparent crank phone call made no sense.

For me the final chapters felt a bit rushed. Everything all tied up neatly and made sense but felt like small fry compared to what Kot had been alluding to earlier in the book. I realise that’s very vague but I’m desperately trying not to drop spoilers!
I’m really not a fan of the ‘2 months later…’ style endings either. Using a short summary to suddenly resolve a story that had been at the height of action in it’s previous chapter always feels lazy to me.

Life Ruins bolts out of the gate and races towards an unfortunate stumbling finale. Worth a read but for those as invested in endings as I am this journey outweighs it’s destination.

Roxanne’s Reactions:

 

I received a copy of Life Ruins from Random Things Blog Tours in exchange for my review. Many thanks to Anne Cater and Simon & Schuster.

Book Review; Pans Labyrinth- GDT & Cornelia Funke

The perfect blend of fantasy, history and horror.

Published by Bloomsbury 

Released 2nd July 2019

Page count 320

GoodReads

pans labyrinth

Synopsis:

This book is not for the faint of heart or weak in spirit. It’s not for skeptics who don’t believe in fairy tales and the powerful forces of good. It’s only for brave and intrepid souls like you, who will stare down evil in all its forms. Continue reading “Book Review; Pans Labyrinth- GDT & Cornelia Funke”

TheWriteReads Blog Tour Review; Chasing Graves – Ben Galley

‘Welcome to Araxes, where getting murdered is just the start of your problems.’

I received an epub of this title in exchange for my review on The Write Reads Blog Tour.

GoodReads

chasing graves

Synopsis:

Meet Caltro Basalt. He’s a master locksmith, a selfish bastard, and as of his first night in Araxes, stone cold dead.

They call it the City of Countless Souls, the colossal jewel of the Arctian Empire, and all it takes to be its ruler is to own more ghosts than any other. For in Araxes, the dead do not rest in peace in the afterlife, but live on as slaves for the rich.

While Caltro struggles to survive, those around him strive for the emperor’s throne in Araxes’ cutthroat game of power. The dead gods whisper from corpses, a soulstealer seeks to make a name for himself with the help of an ancient cult, a princess plots to purge the emperor from his armoured Sanctuary, and a murderer drags a body across the desert, intent on reaching Araxes no matter the cost.

Only one thing is certain in Araxes: death is just the beginning…

 

Review:

The concept of shade-binding (ie- enslaving the soul of a corpse in the form of a ghost) was a refreshingly original plot for a SFF. It was this that originally stoked my interest, and whilst the synopsis made me wonder if having so many characters would make the book hard to follow I was happily proven wrong.

The world building in Chasing Graves is phenomenal. The balance between description, action and dialogue was absolutely perfect. Galley sets each scene brilliantly without slowing the pace.

I was pleased with the formatting of the book. Having the origin and laws of shade-binding laid out piece by piece in italics below each chapter heading meant I got a good grasp of the idea without having a massive info dump. Each stage is explained simply and concisely as it becomes relevant to the story.

There are four concurrent storylines to follow. The rise of criminal Boss Temsa, the scheming or Empress Sisine, Niliths journey with her shade husband Farazar and the secret project of Widow Horix. I assume the main character Caltro will be the key to them all but you won’t find out how in this book.

I spent much of the book wondering how and when things would tie together and just as they began to… it ended! Whilst I really enjoyed Chasing Graves it felt like a lot of side story without enough main plot advancement. It’s a fantastic opening to what I think will be an incredible series BUT i felt like I’d been given 3/4 of a book.

I had a massive AHA! moment (though I’ve heard other readers saw it coming, I was completely thrown by it) but then ten pages later the book came to an abrupt end. I will definitely be reading the next one as I’m totally invested in the characters and their secrets, but to my mind the first instalment finished too early. I’m left feeling like the book was put down unfinished rather than it being a planned cliffhanger.

Well you got me Ben! I need to know now!
Must. Keep. Reading.

 

Roxanne’s Reactions

 

This was my second contribution to UltimateBlogTours run by the fabulous Dave at TheWriteReads, you can see the first right here; Blog Tour Review; After The Green Withered – Kristin Ward.

If you’d like to join the gang in reviewing indie authors then come! Join us! Head over to Twitter and contact Dave to get your spot in the fastest growing book community online.

writereads