5 Books about Mental Illness

Today, is the Bell Let’s Talk Campaign ! For every post on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #bellletstalk they will donate 5cents to mental health initatives. For this purpose, I find it pertinent to list my favourite books having mental health issues and themes (they all have a rating of 4+ on Goodreads) 🙂

1.Norvegian Wood by Haruki Murakami 

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Probably one of the Murakami’s best work. Using his deeply visual prose, the author succeeded in bringing a character struggling with mental illness during one of Japan’s toughest times. The layers and the depth of the character are worth the shot. Murakami will offer you the most amazing reading experience ever.

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A Bookidote Discussion – What Do You Think About Speed-Reading?

Hello lovely bookworms! 😛

     Let’s not kid ourselves here. We all wished to be able to read a lot faster. With a TBR that grows at an exponential rate while our currently reading book is taking a decade to go through, it’s no surprise that we’ve contemplated the idea of having super speed-reading powers.

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I’ve always personally seen myself as an incredibly slow reader. I’ve never been able to finish a 200 page novel in a single sitting or even in a day, but life has put in front of me people who are able to go through a 1000 pages in a blink of an eye. Young, I strongly avoided comparing my reading speed to anyone and everyone. Instead of having a high reading speed, I’d use more of my time per day to go through more chapters than another, faster, reader would. You see my compensating strategy there? Continue reading

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

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“There’s no freedom quite like the freedom of being constantly underestimated.”

— Scott Lynch, The Lies of Locke Lamora

    This is my 2016 coup de coeurOnly a very few books are able to suck me into a place so magnificently beautiful that I forget where I’m laying down, what’s around me and what time it is. This gift of literature is an unsettling and staggering creation. It bestowed upon me so much joy, shock and thrill, that, more often than not, I felt like I was living in a world that actually exists. Camorr was presented in such a stunning fashion that I just couldn’t stop imagining it as a real universe, something that someone would call a parallel world. Something that would reverberate as the underground, shady and dark burrows of Earth. The ingredients in this exquisite recipe are varied in so many ways, it’s just vertiginous. The Lies of Locke Lamora is hilarious, savage, witty, complex and engrossing. It doesn’t ever fail in creating a bona fide story filled with charming, yet treacherous characters. Although it is only the beginning of the adventures of some of the greatest characters ever, this novel is a dragon that I will have trouble chasing after. This is the tale of Locke Lamora and the Gentlemen Bastards.  Continue reading

Aliss by Patrick Senecal

MY RATING: ★★★★

Everyone knows Alice in Wonderland and its symbolism, sprinkled with vivid colors to eccentric and absurd sceneries. But what if Alice lived in Montreal? What if Wonderland was just a playground with no moral clause with dark and wild colors? Patrick Sénécal, Quebec author, known for his pen skills in writing pure and disturbing horror, a hint of fantasy maybe… but disturbing nonetheless! This is my first book from him and I confirm it, he masters the genre with his fingertips.

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This book’s forte? The narration; huge round of applause for that! The Quebec French might not measure up to Molière’s French, but for once, I found beauty in its vulgarity. The authenticity of the narration by Patrick Sénécal is undeniable, it is raw and filled with Quebec French jargon and expressions.  For a girl who grew up in Montreal, I felt at ease in the universe. As for the humour, it is flawless. You will laugh out loud, that’s for sure. Continue reading

Mortom by Erik Therme

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“But I got no reason to talk. Everybody’s got their own quirks and secrets. The smaller the town, the harder it is to keep things private. You’d think it’d be easier, but it ain’t.”

— Erik Therme, Mortom

     We’ve all dreamed of receiving an outrageous amount of money deposited into our accounts or an empire being dropped on you, leaving you the sole beneficiary. Wouldn’t that put a smile on absolutely anyone? Well Craig Moore, who has recently committed suicide, leaves behind “an empty bank account and a run-down house” for Andy Crowl, his cousin. Not exactly the greatest parting gift, but things get quite fishy when your dear cousin wasn’t exactly… close to you. Upon arriving in the small town where Craig lived, Mortom, Andy and his sister are catapulted into a suspicious and thrilling adventure. The discovery of a clue that might untangle the very mysteries that embellish the house brings relationships to the very brink of extinction, minds on the verge of eruption and chaos in the immediate proximity. Seeking answers to questions, Andy and his sister Kate explore well-kept secrets and Craig’s history until this very dead man’s game delivers the unexpected. Continue reading

Creation (Chronicles of Ara #1) by Joel Eisenberg and Stephen Hillard

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MY RATING: ★★★ (3,5)

“Each immortal is possessed of a particular gift. Each gift is responsible for a particular miracle.”

This book is difficult to rate and difficult to describe too. Briefly, the author tells the story of the collapsing world of fantasy and Creation. Ara, a cursed goddess, also a character of a character’s novel Mirkwood. Yes one of the characters is a writer and Ara is in part of the story but she is more than that. Ara, being the Muse Goddess can influence other’s inspiration and act of creation. When a dragonslayer is killed in one of the book, revenge will get the best of her and turn her goodness into a dark fate. The writing is impeccable. You will find everything in this book : from philosophy and litterature to a math equation that can maybe quantify Creation. The author seemed to go over a thorough search in the Fantasy litterature mentioning some facts about JRR Tolkien’s life and work (BRAVO to these authors I love it when I see authors do their research :). JRR Tolkien is actually one of the main characters in the book. #INCEPTION. Continue reading

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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“Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on earth.”

— Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

       We all know what’s the endgame here. Someone will commit a crime. Punishment will follow. Now, now. Don’t think it’s that simple. After all, we’re talking about Fyodor Dostoyevsky. This is actually the first novel I’ve read from him; not surprising is it. I’m actually glad that I can finally scratch off one of the most quintessential novel every bookworm should read in their lifetime. Yet, I still wish I could get more out of it. I wish this novel would span over my whole life so that I could find entertainment every single day, and never worry about being bored. Crime and Punishment is a classic fiction novel that documents the psychology of a murderer, Rodion Raskolnikov. As he plunges into a delusional world filled with despair and torture, his conscious continues to hold a strong grip on his life. His only way out lies within Sonya, a downtrodden prostitute. What does the world have in store for Raskolnikov after committing the greatest crime of all? Continue reading

The Raping of Ava DeSantis by Mylo Carbia

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“Among the many life lessons she sadly had to learn as a young girl, her father often warned her, Easy money always comes with a big price tag.”

— Mylo Carbia, The Raping of Ava DeSantis

             I have been looking forward to meet and greet a good horror story since I haven’t tried a pure horror novel in my life. That’s when I got my hands on this novel and found reviews comparing the author to Stephen King. It was a mistake from my part to believe a novel praised as the next Stephen King to be a great debut to my horror novel exploration. The Raping of Ava DeSantis was one of the most underwhelming adventures, especially when the author proclaims herself as “The Queen of Horror”. This book follows three college student who commit one of the most repulsive crimes known to man: rape. Awaken in a hospital bed with not only the most brutal physical wounds but a psychological trauma, Ava DeSantis is left no choice when the mother of one the guy, a fairly popular kid in school with powerful parents, asks—more like demands—that she keeps the whole situation silent for a large sum of money. It is then that Ava embarks on a vengeful adventure a couple years later on the three men and their family. Continue reading

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

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“that is the secret of happiness and virtue – liking what you’ve got to do. All conditioning aims at that: making people like their unescapable social destiny.”

— Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

          Have you ever imagined that even the most perfect utopia imaginable couldn’t bring the happiness you truly desire? Aldous Huxley has. And Brave New World is a novel that explores a futuristic world were science takes over, pleasure is superficial and happiness is explored like never before. The book follows the story of Bernard Marx as he questions his knowledge of love and seeks the happiness in forms that are completely denounced. His search for freedom from a utopia gone wrong leads him to a Savage Reservation camp where things are about to unravel in the World Controller’s society.
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Energy Dependence Day by Christian F. Burton

My Rating : ★★★★☆

Blurb: Energy Dependence Day weaves a tale through the political, social, and religious differences of the United States and Saudi Arabia, experienced through the lives of two men, both orphaned as children. One has lived his life in terrorist training camps while the other entered the military and then law enforcement. Each is loyal to the world in which he was saved, moving them on a collision course that will affect the future of the world.

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Sevara (Volume 1) – Dawn of Hope by Damian Wampler

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iladis manus tu, iladim manus ti,
“What does it mean?
“You will be remembered, for I will remember
you.”

— Damian Wampler, Sevara (Volume 1) – Dawn of Hope

          The premises behind the world of Sevara is bound to send chills down any free man. Girls are unwanted at birth. They’re sent to orphanages, only to be bought one day or the other by men to mold them into hard-working slaves. Society is controlled by the rich and the poor suffer in the perimeter. Corruption flirts with politics like never before and Evil has never had an uglier face. Sevara tells the story of a young girl who reaches the age of 15 and is sent away from her orphanage to roam the streets of Plexus, blindly and without resources. However, she only has a token to guide her journey in finding her roots. Her adventures brings her to set forth a revolution to bring peace, equality and freedom for all the girls, the poor and the unwanted. As she takes upon the future of Plexus, she also crosses paths with a couple guardians who will soon set Sevara on a road to a life she would never have imagined. Continue reading

Silver, Lead and Dead by James Garmisch

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“-The altitude, sir — it gives headaches.”
-Reality and memories give me headaches.”

– James Garmisch, Silver, Lead and Dead

            There comes a time where you just want to go through your VHS collection (or maybe just your movie list on Netflix), pop it in the player, kick back and relax. Nothing too serious, nothing that teases your brain too much. You’re just looking for a fun ride to help you forget about the long and dreadful day you had. Don’t tell me you don’t know what I’m talking about cause I’m pretty sure it’s what you just did before checking out this review. Well I’ve got news for you. Books can get the same job done and you know it. James Garmisch wrote Silver, Lead and Dead. A story packed with so much action and gruesome violence, it is bound to keep you hooked and astonished throughout the book. Not only does it manage to squeeze in details that could possibly be factual, it delivers a story with more firepower than an army of 10 000 men. The book follows the adventures of Evan Hernandez as he embarks on a undercover mission that sets him up on a one way flight to a dark past he’s been avoiding for years. In the midst of his mission, tears are sweat, blood is shed and countless men fall. From a mission to save a kidnapped individual from the grasp of bad, bad men to one that extends to a cartel war,  Silver, Lead and Dead is a fictional crime thriller with a touch of realism that isn’t easy to discern.

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One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

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“Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing.”

– Ken Kesey, One Flew Over The CuCkoo’s Nest 

            Insanity. How do you grasp such a concept? How do you understand its core and all that it implies? The notion of insanity has always intrigued me and will always be a problem in our society. It’s not the person who gets the etiquette slapped onto their foreheads that are the problem. It’s the “why” that’s truly problematic. After all, aren’t all a little insane? One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest is a novel by Ken Kesey, written in 1962. Randle McMurphy, a convict who pleaded insane to serve his sentence in psychiatric hospital instead of prison, is the protagonist who vows to bring life, reason and justice in a place ruled by the great Nurse Ratched. Believing that a psychiatric hospital would be an easier ride through his punishment, McMurphy is soon to discover that this very institution has more in store for him than he believes. Touching upon themes such as insanity, freedom, pleasure and many more, this story is told through the eyes of a alleged deaf patient, Chief Bromden.

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The SHIVA Syndrome by Alan Joshua

The SHIVA Syndrome : ★★★★☆

“People only see and know what they’re conditioned to accept. If it doesn’t fit that ‘reality’, it’s rejected.”

– alan joshua, The Shiva syndrome

Excellent storytelling and really funny ! A mix of thriller and hard science fiction at the same time. The suspense was on point. I am usually not a big fan of science fiction but I have to admit that this book was really entertaining. Action scenes after action scenes, it was like being in a movie. Honestly, I WOULD LOVE to see this book on the big screen !

“[…] When sensory and symbolic realities merge, consciousness becomes extraordinary. The tirual becomes mythic, including but going beyond the senses.”

– ALAN JOSHUA, THE SHIVA SYNDROME

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Song of the Sea by Jade Varden

Song of the Sea  : ★★★★☆ (3.8) 

“It’s a liquid land filled with secrets and mysteries, and I wanted to discover them all.”

– Jade Varden, Song of the Sea

Brenna, a fifteen years old girl finds a fairly odd artifact in her attic and decided to use it for her school project. Unusual? Yes, but not useless. She will discover through that action how her world will be changed forever and that her family’s history laid beyond the surface of the Earth. Across the Atlantic Ocean, we will discover another universe with mermaids, selkies and mermen. Honestly, I didn’t know the existence of selkies before reading this. I had to google some pictures and damn, what a fascinating creature it is !

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The Sicilian by Mario Puzo

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“Life is Beautiful.”

– Mario Puzo, The Sicilian

Quick! Hide! We got ourselves a potential challenger for The Godfather by Mario Puzo! Our great Mafiaso-know-it-all-without-being-one doesn’t exactly have an enormous and varied number of published novels, but one thing’s for sure. His greatest hits are short and The Sicilian is among his best masterpieces, my friend. Any fan of The Godfather trilogy should definitely go through this gigantic stack of papers cause it inserts itself right in the middle of the events that took place in the first novel. Don Corleone sends Michael Corleone on a trip to Sicily with a mission in his hands. Bring Salvatore “Turi” Guiliano back to America, safe and sound. Although one might think Michael is about to get a nice big novel focused just on him, The Sicilian has other plans for you. This book has its eyes mostly on Guiliano and his adventures that lead him to rise into one of the most feared bandits Sicily will come to know. Turi will become a legend among Sicilians and among avid fans of The Godfather.

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Murder Becomes Manhattan by Jeffrey Eaton

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“Do not forget that our goal is the overthrow of capitalism and the bondage it inflicts on the human soul. Behaving like a free-market fan only makes you look like a hypocrite, if not a traitor, does it not?”

– Jeffrey Eaton, Murder Becomes Manhattan

            What would it be like to embrace a suspense-filled adventure in the heart of the Big Apple? It’s one thing to experience it for yourself as you walk past heaven-high skyscrapers along Wall Street. It’s another to read about a murder orchestrated by an anonymous anarchist organization that only seek trouble while indulging descriptions of well-known locations around Manhattan, New York City. Murder Becomes Manhattan is the story of a group of architects who help FBI agents discover the killer behind the murder of a young woman in a lonesome closet of the very same hotel where Dalton Lee and company unveil their latest architectural project. To top it off, a secret anarchist group, also known as The Organization, might have something to do behind the murders The Lee Group plan on deciphering. Who are they? Who is she? Why is an architect helping investigators?

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Power Shift by Robert Arthur Stayton

Power Shift : ★★★★☆

“When we learned to control fire, our first energy source from outside of our bodies, we permanently parted ways with the animal lifestyle. ”

– Robert Arthur Stayton, Power Shift

This book introduces us to a key word, energy, and how this same word makes us different from other animals. It’s such a great way to look at it because we usually talk in a scale of brain differences, a more biological aspect, instead of energy. Yes, we are after all the first species to actually control and produce energy. A detailed documentary with charts, tables and illustrations to really help the readers understand the great importance and the need of changing our ways of using energy, especially fossil energy is what Robert Arthur Stayton presents in Power Shift. Let’s face it people, climate change is a fact. It’s not hypothetical anymore and if you are still denying this fact, I suggest you read about it because the effects have already begun. Raising awareness about this matter is always primordial and important. Here’s a video that explains and summarizes well the problem:

“The scale of our energy use has increased so much that we now load 100 million tons of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere every day.”

– ROBERT ARTHUR STAYTON, POWER SHIFt

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The Light Side of the Moon by Elizabeth Guizzetti

“One Earth was a stark place too, but we’re building something that will change the destiny of generations.”

– Elizabeth Guizzetti, The Light Side Of The Moon

If you’re looking for a nice attempt to mix science fiction with reality, The Light of the Moon is for you. Set around 3062, idealists seek to create a utopia on another planet beyond Earth. As Earth is slowly caressing diverse problems, from a political to an economical scale, a way is found for individuals to travel light years away onto the abandoned Lunar Colony Serenitatis. Although this was an opportunity to create a utopia that every citizen dreamed of, Kipos (the planet in question) serves as a prison colony more than anything. It gives prisoners that are transported there regularly a second chance while also giving the government the opportunity to deal with overpopulation, with life-long sentences and with violence among captives. The story follows the adventures of a couple of characters as they seek to establish their lives on Kipos for different purposes. Seeking a future that is bound to promise great things, these protagonists learn great lessons as they grow up and figure themselves out through hardship and perseverance. Utopia remains their ultimate goal.

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