For fans of my Night Creatures series, you can vote for which actors you’d like to see in a movie adaptation of Burn Bright over at the IF list. Follow the list and add your own favourites to it!

IF list



hardcastle_running like china picOn August 25th 2015 a giant leap was achieved for mental health in Australia. A young lady by the name of Sophie Hardcastle pinned her heart to her sleeve and put pen to paper to give us an intimate insight into what it’s like to live through Bipolar 1 in her book Running Like China.

Joelene and I had the pleasure of meeting her at the Hachette YA Bloggers evening earlier in August. Sophie is a well spoken, intelligent woman who really has a lot to say. Not a word wasted and many lessons to teach us all. Her story is the reality for so many people regardless of age or background.

Here’s the goodreads blurb…

“Most of the time we don’t notice the darkness… not until we’re in the thick of it. It was like that for Sophie Hardcastle, as the joy she’d always known disappeared. She was constantly tired, with no energy, no motivation and no sense of enjoyment for anything. Her hours became empty. And then, the month before she turned seventeen, that emptiness filled with an intense, unbearable sadness that made her scream and tear her skin.

In this brave, bold and beautifully told memoir, Sophie lays bare her story of mental illness – of a teenage girl using drugs, alcohol and sex in an attempt to fix herself; of her family’s anguish and her loss of self. It is a courageous and hopeful story of adaptation, learning to accept and of ultimately realising that no matter how deep you have sunk, the surface is always within reach.

If you have the guts to take the journey with Sophie please allow time for the memoir to resonate with your altered perceptions because undoubtedly it will change how you see the world. Chances are you’re either managing mental illness yourself or know someone who is; so this book will certainly make sense, make you emotional, and give hope.

Vivid is the perfect word for how Sophie writes. Even in the difficult chapters, where you feel like you should turn away from her pain and anguish, the words still leap forth and take you into the moment — like it or lump it.

Please, please make the effort to track this book down, borrow it from the library, buy it from any good book shop. There’s even an audio book for the people on the go. There is no excuse not to educate yourself and those around you.

http://www.sophiehardcastle.com/

Paperback, 273 pages

Published August 25th 2015 by Hachette Australia

ISBN13 9780733634260

 

Here’s Sophie on the youtube channel Where I Write talking about just that and reading the Prologue to the book.



 

steiger_mindwalkerAt seventeen, Lain Fisher has already aced the Institute’s elite training program for Mindwalkers, therapists who use a direct neural link to erase a patient’s traumatic memories. A prodigy and the daughter of a renowned scientist-whose unexplained death left her alone in the world-Lain is driven by the need to save others.

When Steven, a troubled classmate, asks her to wipe a horrific childhood experience from his mind, Lain’s superiors warn her to stay away. Steven’s scars are too deep, they say; the risk too great. Yet the more time Lain spends with him, the more she begins to question everything about her society. As she defies the warnings and explores Steven’s memories, it becomes clear that he’s connected to something much bigger…something the Institute doesn’t want the world to discover.

Lain never expected to be a rule breaker. She certainly didn’t plan on falling in love with a boy she’s been forbidden to help. But then, she never expected to stumble into a conspiracy that could ignite a revolution.

Hardcover, 400 pages

Published June 9th 2015 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published June 4th 2015)

Lain is a Mindwalker, a kind of psychologist who can go into your memories and alter them. The citizens of her world have rankings according to their mental stability. There are guards who keep watch over them and random scans take place often. They watch for those who may be losing control and causing problems for other citizens.

Steven, a level 4 whom has to wear a collar, approaches Lain at school and asks her for help altering his memories. He has survived tragedies in his past and wants to forget. Lain accepts the job against her guardians (and boss’s) advice. As she begins her sessions with Steven, she finds something in his memories that does not match what he has told her. As she looks deeper  into Steven’s past, she finds a connection to her own.

Mindwalker is a very fast-paced story with twists and a lot of action. Lain and Steven are complete opposites, and the romance that develops between the two is cautious and caring. Steven was my favourite character; he is emotional, truthful, and wears his heart on his sleeve. Lain is a bit more uptight; she speaks carefully, and thinks before she acts. It was fun to see her mind unravel as she begins to see what is happening. I think the world building was also very interesting. The city is somewhat enclosed. I really enjoyed seeing (the bit that we get to) outside the city and the people who choose to live there.

This is a science fiction tale that is realistic and frightening at times with a variety of characters that really stand out; it’s both tragic and hopeful. It’s is one of my favourite reads so far this year — a story that I would recommend to everybody. I was hooked from the first page.

 



Belinda_kisses_tnBel reflects on this powerful documentary.

 

 

bowling-for-columbineI have my own personal thoughts on the gun laws in the USA, so watching this one brought up a lot of emotion, made my mind boggle and my stomach churn. Michael Moore takes a look at the gun culture in the US, with a focus on the Columbine school shooting and the Buell Elementary school shooting.

There are extremely graphic scenes of people being shot, shooting themselves and the remains of those who were shot. It is not at all comforting. Nor should it ever be.

The emergency calls from those within the Columbine school are horrific, the desperate pleas from parents asking for information on their kids, and the media vultures wanting to be patched through for live on air information.

He interviews one of the creators of South Park,Matt Stone, who shone a light on the internal stresses on students. I have to agree there was unnecessary stress put on students to achieve. The focus was less on their personal well being and more on their academic or sporting prowess — the fear of the unknown beyond high school, and how that may have lead to the school shooting.

Marilyn Manson was given his chance to comment, and though I’m not a fan of his music, he spoke sense. He said that perhaps people were not listening to them, or listening to the people who may have been able to signal any problems.

Moore takes a look at the differences between Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia and the US, and asks the question ‘Why there is so many gun related deaths in the US?’

The jewel in the crown would have to be the interview with Charlton Heston the leader of the NRA (National Rifle Association). This man showed up after both of these tragic shootings and rallied on his constitutional right to bear arms.

There have been over 20 gun-related mass shootings in the US since the release of Bowling for Columbine.  There is no question that changes need to be made; the difficulty is trying to get the change to happen.

Feel free to let me know your thoughts on this documentary if you’ve seen it.

 

 



Bel and Joelene went to the Hachette blogger evening in Sydney recently to meet and listen to Holly Black speak. They had and awesome time, and here is the first of 4 videos they made to share it with us.

 


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