My Favorite Reads of the Year

I read about 150 books this year, which is easy to do if you love reading and are disabled! What follows are a few of my favorite reads of the year, and are not necessarily published in 2017:

Susanna Owens tries to protect her three children from whom they really are, witches. They are related to Maria Owens of the 1600s who was accused of witchery for loving the wrong man. Set in the 60s, the children cannot hide their truths and prevent themselves from falling in love as much as anyone can. This book was beautifully written, magical and very emotional. It is a prequel to Hoffman’s “Practical Magic” which I read years ago but will have to read again.

My favorite non-fiction book of the year was Waking Up White. Debby Irving grew up in a WASP background where everyone else was the same. She never thought of herself as having a race. This book is about Debby realizing the fact of white privilege and takes us on her journey of reaching out to people of color and learning more about what these minorities go through. At the end of each chapter she gives you thought provoking questions to help you think critically of this problem here in America. She also tells you what can do to bridge the gap between all races so that we can all truly belong.

I found a new favorite cozy mystery series this year, “A Witch City Mystery”. If you don’t know, cozy mysteries are less violent than regular mysteries and usually have a great heroine and supporting cast. I picked up one in the series for Halloween and I was hooked. In this first book of the series, Widow Lee Barrett is back in her hometown of Salem, MA to live with her Aunt Ibby and interview for the reporter’s job on WICH-TV. But after the nighttime host of horror movies and psychic is found murdered, Lee is cast as the new host. Lee must also face facts that she is psychic herself! This is the first book in the “Witch City Mystery” cozy series and I absolutely love it. Lee and Aunt Ibby make a great team and the book had a fantastic ending.

And my favorite book I read this year is:

Single mother Rachel Jenner is walking in the woods with her eight year old son, Ben, when he asks if he can run ahead to the rope swing. When she gets there Ben is gone without a trace. It’s every mother’s nightmare, especially if you’re like me and have a son. This is the first book I’ve ever read that I truly felt like I was having a heart attack! I had to keep reminding myself that it was only a story but it is so well written. I can’t do it justice, just read it, read it, read it!

I hope you enjoyed my picks for the year and will pick up a couple for yourself. I’m looking forward to what I’ll discover in the new year!

The Best Book I’ve Read This Year (So Far)

This post was inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

Prompt 3. October is National Book Month, tell us about the best book you’ve read so far this year.

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The best book I’ve read so far this year has got to be a book I recently read. Author Megan Miranda is a Young Adult writer and this is her first novel for adults.

Nicolette has the summer off from her job in Philadelphia to help her senile father sell his house in her small town in North Carolina. Going back home brings back memories of her friend Corinne going missing without a trace. Now, ten years later, another young woman has also gone missing and Nic has to find out if her family has anything to do with the disappearances.

The book is told backwards, from Day 15 to Day 1. It is confusing at first but then you realize how actually ingenious this story is and it makes you want to read the book all over again.

In my opinion, this book is better than Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. I’m not sure why it hasn’t hit big yet but I think it is a real gem!

Book Reviews!

Inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

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“I was born twice: first as a baby girl on a remarkably smogless day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petosky, Michigan in August of 1974.” That’s the first line of this fascinating and wonderful book, which relates the story of the intersex life of Calliope who becomes Cal. The story is interspersed with the tales of three generations of a Greek-American family. I highly recommend this book, unless you are uncomfortable with the subject matter, but it did give me more understanding of the LGBTQ community.

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Major Ernest Pettigrew is part of a generation that still believes in decorum, respect to be earned and modesty. When his brother dies, Pakistani shopkeeper Mrs. Ali shows up at his door to see if he needs anything and an old-fashioned romance begins. I really enjoyed this book; set in a small village in the English countryside. The Major and Mrs. Ali have to deal with prejudice, there is the tenuous relationship between the Major and his son, and still there is some humor to the book. I highly recommend this!

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Librarian Tori Sinclair is new to the town of Sweet Briar, South Carolina and finds it hard to fit in in a town where everyone knows everyone else. But when the town’s sweetheart is found murdered outside the library dumpster Tori becomes everyone’s number one suspect, including the police. Tori must clear her name before she finds herself taken into custody. I found this cozy mystery series (A Southern Sewing Circle) on Pinterest and at first decided not to read any more books in the series. But for some reason I couldn’t stop thinking of Tori and I got the second one in the series and found I liked it better. Tori is likable, there’s some romance and a great cast of supporting characters.

All of these reviews were taken from my goodreads profile and I hope you will friend me on there! Happy reading!

Forgetting Everything I Knew

I read Expecting Adam as a member of the From Left to Write book club.  I was given a free copy of this book. This post is inspired by the book.

Welcome to all of my fellow book club members or anyone coming here for the first time!  I am a chronically ill mom married to a chronically ill man and we are raising our five-year-old son, who also has some special needs. My blog focuses on the challenges parents with chronic illness face, but also speaks about being a mom and a woman in general. )

In Expecting Adam by Martha Beck, Martha and her husband must let go of all they have learned from their Harvard education and open their hearts and minds when they learn that Martha is five month’s pregnant with a baby with Down Syndrome.  Martha especially must face judgements from the Harvard academia and even her doctors when they are shocked to learn that she has decided to keep the baby.  Along the way, Martha discovers a way of living and thinking about a life that not only can be just as good, but is even more rewarding than she could ever imagine.

Before being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) in 2003 at the age of 33 I, while no Harvard graduate, had always excelled in everything I did.  In 2000 I had decided to give up my on-air radio personality career and go in a completely new direction, taking a job with no experience necessary, in order to train as a Recruiter.  I enjoyed the business, learning everything I could about recruiting and of the niche I was recruiting in.  In a couple of years my position changed to where I reported directly into the President.

Two months after I got married I felt the first pain of what would wind up being the rest of my life, ironically while I was on the treadmill in the gym.  It took me six months to get a diagnosis of RA, in between which my feet were swelling so badly I would have to take ice packs to work and even on business trips.  I worked in this manner for a few years, sometimes just being at my job numb from so many pain killers.  I tried to never miss a day, even if that meant vomiting in the morning and then getting ready for work.

In 2005, I appeared to be in remission, and feeling that I was in the best health that I would ever be in, my husband and I decided to try to conceive, which we were successful at on the first try.  My pregnancy went very well from a Rheumatological standpoint and I continued to do well until my son was about a year old.  My pain started to increase by the day, my hands swelling.  I would fall asleep driving to and from work, I was lucky I didn’t kill myself or anyone.  I was swallowing narcotics two at a time just so I could feel some relief from the pain. But I was a full-time working mother and I thought it was just my 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. hours of being a mommy and working.

Through the five years I had been working with my diagnosis, and with the help of the internet, I had seen hundreds, even thousands leave their full-time jobs.  That was unthinkable to me.  I was the main breadwinner in the family.  We were going to buy a home, help our son with college.  Not working was just not possible, not in the way I wanted to live my life.

In 2008 I worsened.  At the same time, my satellite office of the new job I had been at for a year was closing and I was laid off in March.  In July I got my diagnosis of “Lupus with RA overlap”.

I never went back to work.

And I lost everything.

My 401K, my son’s college fund, my credit rating.  In fact, this month the woman with a credit rating in the high 800s is filing for bankruptcy.

I always used to think “those people” with chronic illness who stopped working were just not as strong as I was, that my will was mightier than theirs.  That their families did not depend on their salary the way mine did.

Turns out I was wrong.  It wasn’t that I wasn’t any better than those who had just “given up”.

I just hadn’t become sick enough yet to the point where my body said, “This is it.  I am not going to do this any more for you.  I just can’t do it any more and I won’t.”

People wonder what I do all day, especially while my son is in school.  What I do all day is…be in pain…have trouble walking…thinking…sleep and rest.  I go to doctors, I apply for disability which is akin to writing one’s dissertation.  I wait, so far for over two years to see if the United States government decides to declare me disabled.  I file paper work for WIC and Food Stamps, things I never dreamed my family would be on.  I advocate for myself and for those like me.

At 42 years old, this certainly isn’t the life I thought I would be leading.  But with the pain, with the worry of living under the poverty line, there is also joy.

I get to spend more time with my child than most working mothers do.  I am home when he comes home from school and I am always there to watch my child walk in the Halloween parade or to partake in the Mother’s Day tea.

I get to write.  Something I never knew I wanted to do and something that I never knew I could.  Was my brain so full of thinking about work that there was no time to let my creative side be free?  Would I have ever even become a blogger if I had not become disabled?

And finally, I get to make a difference in people’s lives.  For those mothers who are sick like I am and for those who are mothers of special needs children.  For those who are mentally ill and need a voice.

Life certainly did not work out the way I planned it, but it is certainly not all bad.