Chris Cornell: Thoughts on Suicide & Forgiveness

It’s been a little over a week since I awoke from sleep and learned that one of my favorite singers of all time had passed away. At the time I learned about it, nothing had been concluded on the details of how he died and all I could think about was the fact that he was gone. One of the first thoughts I had when I learned that Chris had died was that he would now be reunited with Andrew Wood, Layne Staley, Kurt Kobain, Scott Weiland, Mike Starr, Shannon Hoon, and others.

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From the left: Scott Weiland, Shannon Hoon, Andrew Wood, Kurt Kobain, Layne Staley, and Mike Starr in the front.

Later on that day it was confirmed that Chris had committed suicide. I think some of the thoughts that people have when losing someone to suicide might be like those posted on the image above. I’ve had some of them myself. I lost my stepmother to drugs when I was a teen. It wasn’t a suicide, but a death caused by carelessness. I was angry over her choices and wondered why she didn’t care to live. It wasn’t until I got older and thought about the pain that she endured on Earth from losing two young brothers and then her parents not long after that finally helped me accept it. She truly never got over their deaths. I was just angry, sad and bitter. I wanted her here and mourned her death probably more than anyone else.

I got to talking with people about Chris and an anonymous person mentioned to me that it was possible that he would not be accepted into heaven because he committed suicide. It’s always been my personal thought that when we die, our soul goes to Heaven. This anonymous person then proceeded to tell me that when people commit suicide they are committing an unforgivable sin and are lost from God forever. As if Chris’s death wasn’t hard enough, this caused me to sob even more.

I was shocked. Could I really be this ignorant about what the Bible says about suicide? I was raised Orthodox and have spent the majority of my life in one Church or another, but I couldn’t say for sure and had no way to refute the statement. I began to ponder about it and started roaming the internet. I was questioning in my head whether Chris was a Christian. It’s no surprise that many of his lyrics highlight a troubled soul and it’s possible that he was tormented with his own thoughts. I do wonder if maybe he was searching for his own answers as he was an open thinker. I then reminded myself of all the songs that helped me believe what was in his heart. Even though I read that he possibly considered himself agnostic, I go back to the songs that give me insight to his beliefs.


Audioslave – Like a Stone

Lyrics:

On a cobweb afternoon
In a room full of emptiness
By a freeway I confess
I was lost in the pages
Of a book full of death
Reading how we’ll die alone
And if we’re good, we’ll lay to rest
Anywhere we want to go
In your house I long to be
Room by room patiently
I’ll wait for you there
Like a stone
I’ll wait for you there
Alone
On my deathbed I will pray
To the gods and the angels
Like a pagan to anyone
Who will take me to heaven
To a place I recall
I was there so long ago
The sky was bruised
The wine was bled
And there you led me on
In your house I long to be
Room by room patiently
I’ll wait for you there
Like a stone
I’ll wait for you there
Alone
Alone
And on I read
Until the day was gone
And I sat in regret
Of all the things I’ve done
For all that I’ve blessed
And all that I’ve wronged
In dreams until my death
I will wander on
In your house I long to be
Room by room patiently
I’ll wait for you there
Like a stone
I’ll wait for you there
Alone
Alone
When I first heard this song it almost seemed as if Chris was speaking directly in this song. What do you think the song means? There are many different thoughts on it. 

Audioslave – I Am The Highway

Lyrics:
Pearls and swine bereft of me
Long and weary my road has been
I was lost in the cities
Alone in the hills
No sorrow or pity for leaving I feel
I am not your rolling wheels
I am the highway
I am not your carpet ride
I am the sky
Friends and liars don’t wait for me
I’ll get on all by myself
I put millions of miles
Under my heels
And still too close to you
I feel
I am not your rolling wheels
I am the highway
I am not your carpet ride
I am the sky
I am not your blowing wind
I am the lightning
I am not your autumn moon
I am the night
The night
I am not your rolling wheels
I am the highway
I am not your carpet ride
I am the sky
I am not your blowing wind
I am the lightning
I am not your autumn moon
I am the night
The night

When I listen to this song it makes me think of a person who is already gone, possibly in heaven, and doesn’t want to return. He’s now everything. What do you think? 

Continue reading “Chris Cornell: Thoughts on Suicide & Forgiveness”

The Dead Inside by Cyndy Drew Etler – Straight, Inc.

I picked up The Dead Inside from Netgalley a few months ago and it took me some time to get to it. I’m glad to have read it and you can see my review below. To see the Q&A with Cyndy Etler, please click HERE.

The Dead Inside by Cyndy Drew Etler

My review

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This review may contain some spoilers…

The Dead Inside is a compelling memoir written by the author Cyndy Drew Etler. Cyndy was a troubled teen in the 80’s who had some experiences that aren’t all that uncommon. She was making wrong choices while trying to find her place in the world. She spends some of her time smoking weed and drinking alcohol with her friends, until she finally runs away from home because she just can’t take her family anymore, especially her step-dad, Jacque. There were things going on in that house that no child should ever have to succumb to. After making the decision to enter Foster Care, Cyndy finally has some peace. She’s able to still see her friends, have a safe environment and doesn’t have to deal with the turmoil from home. It’s not long after that, at the age of 14, her mother decides to throw her into a drug rehabilitation for throwaway kids who are deemed out of control. Cyndy is told that she is under evaluation for three days and she’s counting down the minutes to when she can leave and she’ll do whatever it takes, including lying. Straight, Inc. will now be Cyndy’s home for 16 months.

The story itself is unbelievable. I had a very hard time reading parts of the book that describe the physical and mental abuse these kids are exposed to in this program. They are basically in this building with a load of other drug users who have been sent there for the same reason and are used against each other. I can’t believe that it went on for so long and these kids had to endure it. They were locked down and not allowed to have any interaction with the outside world for a very long time. It’s violent and almost seems like torture at times. As I continued reading, I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen to Cyndy. Would she ever escape? Will her mother ever realize her and her husband are the majority of the problems here? Will Cyndy be able to endure this treatment without losing it and causing herself to be set back?

The book is written very well and it doesn’t sound like there are many details spared. I did wonder throughout the story just exactly how bad was Cyndy as a teen? It seemed like all of her problems were stemming from her treatment at home and the lack of love from her mother. I was very happy that there was an epilogue included in the back which explains these programs and how they were eventually shut down, but at the same time shocked at how, in a way, they worked. The kids were basically brainwashed.

This is not an easy read or for the faint of heart. It’s extremely revealing, raw and horrifying at times and I wanted to get up and do something about it. I wanted to help Cyndy. It’s no surprise that she ended up in the career she has chosen and I commend her for her bravery in taking a very negative human experience and turning it into a lifetime career in helping others.

Thanks to Netgalley and the author for sharing this book with me in exchange for an honest review.

4-stars


Blurb

For readers of Girl Interrupted and Tweak, Cyndy Etler’s gripping memoir gives readers a glimpse into the harrowing reality of her sixteen months in the notorious “tough love” program the ACLU called “a concentration camp for throwaway kids.”

I never was a badass. Or a slut, a junkie, a stoner, like they told me I was. I was just a kid looking for something good, something that felt like love. I was a wannabe in a Levi’s jean jacket. Anybody could see that. Except my mother. And the professionals at Straight.

From the outside, Straight Inc. was a drug rehab. But on the inside it was…well, it was something else.

All Cyndy wanted was to be loved and accepted. By age fourteen, she had escaped from her violent home, only to be reported as a runaway and sent to a “drug rehabilitation” facility that changed her world.

To the public, Straight Inc. was a place of recovery. But behind closed doors, the program used bizarre and intimidating methods to “treat” its patients. In her raw and fearless memoir, Cyndy Etler recounts her sixteen months in the living nightmare that Straight Inc. considered “healing.” Continue reading “The Dead Inside by Cyndy Drew Etler – Straight, Inc.”

The Policewoman by Justin W.M. Roberts

The Policewoman by Justin W.M. Roberts

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My review

This rating was updated December 15th due to the new revision.

Warning: This review may contain spoilers…

The Policewoman by Justin W.M. Roberts is a thrilling story taking place in 2026 about an Indonesian policewoman who transfers temporarily into a special forces/Interpol team to investigate and take down an Irish drug cartel. This cartel has managed to set up narcotics manufacturing in multiple places including Indonesia, Ireland and England. The drug cartel’s core consists of ex-soldiers from the British Army and they’ll do whatever they want in order to prevail. The author certainly doesn’t spare on the brutal details.

The book starts out with Sarah and her family. The reader gets a pretty good feel that she comes from a good family and has a strong relationship with her little sister, Cindy, and her brother, Tony, who works a similar job. She’s transferring to a new team and much of the beginning covers the relationships she’s building with her new teammates, mainly Michael. I have to say that I absolutely loved the chemistry between Sarah and Michael. I admired that the author managed to incorporate some romance into all the military/police drama going on here. I also appreciated the description of all the added training Sarah must undergo and the way they all have to watch their backs and each other. You get a strong sense of the importance of ‘team’ which I love.

There’s a ton of action in this story! I haven’t read a book this active since Dark Matter. I was a bit overwhelmed with the amount of characters, acronyms, special teams, regiments, squadrons, company’s and weaponry, but you don’t really need to concern yourself with all of them in order to enjoy the story and follow along without getting lost. The glossary in the back has a list of all of them that you can easily flip to if need be.

The character development was spot-on for me. It really helped that the author used real life actors, actresses, and singers to describe some of the main characters to help the reader get a visual of what they look like. I enjoyed the majority of the good characters while hating the bad ones. I literally wanted Niall to burn for what he had done to people, but the revenge wasn’t as strong as I expected when it came time for him. I also had a few issues with Sarah’s character. What’s not to like about Sarah, really? She’s beautiful, intelligent, strong, and pretty much bad-to-the-bone. What almost spoiled that for me was the fact that she knew she was and practically every male in the story is doting over her which seemed a little extreme. It made her character feel a little unrelatable at times. A few times in the story I wasn’t pleased with the way Sarah treated Michael in regards to his looks. As the story moves along, Sarah’s character becomes better understood and you start to realize just how much she genuinely loves Michael.

Conclusion: The ending didn’t totally please me, but I didn’t hate it either. Overall, it was written amazingly well with a few unexpected twists and turns. The detail and extensive military knowledge the author has is incredible and the dialogue is impeccable. This isn’t a genre that I normally rush to pick up, but I enjoyed it as the author included a little bit of everything here. Anyone who enjoy’s military/police crime books will undoubtedly LOVE this book and I can see this story turned into a movie or even a TV series. If that were the case, I’d love to see Michelle Rodriguez play Sarah as I think she fits the personality, but maybe not the looks described.

If there’s another book, I’m reading it! 5*****

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Continue reading “The Policewoman by Justin W.M. Roberts”

Reading and Reviewing Complimentary Copies from Authors

I’ve been thinking a lot here lately about reviewing books that are gifted from authors. When I started blogging and reviewing on Goodreads, I started getting a good amount of free copies of books from authors. Not only that, I read for Netgalley, and I’m consistently reviewing books that were gifted in one way or another.

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I noticed last year on Amazon that reviews were being removed if they had any mention of a book or product being given in exchange for a review. You can read about it here.

Many times on Goodreads you will see this on book reviews,

“Thank you to Netgalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.” 

-or something like what I use-

“I’d like to thank the author for sharing a complimentary copy of this book with me.” 

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So, my question today is simple. Is adding a “Thanks” to the author and stating that you got a book for free a negative thing to do on a book review and do you think that it makes the review seem less legit? 

Some people will say “yes” and tell you that it looks bad because in their mind they are thinking that somehow it’s skewed the review into the more positive range. Other people say that it’s a requirement – that you should always thank the author or publisher and be courteous.

I’ve noticed recently that when an author reads another author’s book, they don’t commonly thank the author at all. Could it be that they feel this looks bad? Is that why they don’t include that information on their review?

What are your thoughts on this? Please feel free to comment below…

Continue reading “Reading and Reviewing Complimentary Copies from Authors”

Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly – updated

I’ve been anticipating reading this book for some time. This is one of my favorite stories from childhood. I absolutely cannot wait to see the movie this week! I have no idea at this point how the movie will compare to the book, but I’ll come back and leave a review for the movie once I see it.

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This review may contain spoilers…

Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book is comparable to the classic Beauty and the Beast, yet so much more. I thoroughly enjoyed the introduction which was so unique. It pulled me right in with the interaction between Love and Death-so intriguing. It’s no surprise that Death would cheat, but who will win?

The story starts with Belle in Beast’s castle after she’s been imprisoned. Beloved Belle and her love for books begins the journey into Nevermore which is so imaginative and pulls you in like you’ve entered an enchanting dream you don’t ever want to leave. Can Beast change and will Love prevail, or will Belle be so enticed that she’ll be lost forever?

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I loved the author’s writing style and this is a super simple read that even young readers at the age of 10-12 can enjoy as its YA. Even though the story is simple, I believe adults can enjoy it as well. It took me extra time to finish it because I’m reading so many books right now, but one could easily have it read in half a day. Some of the characters are a little lackluster at times but there’s plenty of other detail and depth to the story which makes up for it in my opinion, like learning more about the Beast’s background. I loved the addition of the new characters in Nevermore. I also love the beautiful cover which fits the story so well.

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My only issue with the story is that I wanted a different ending or perhaps MORE of an ending. It was so abrupt and not what I expected. I’m really hoping there’s another book on the way! I’ll be forgiving if there is! *Excessive Sobbing*

If you’re a Beauty and the Beast fan, do yourself a favor and treat yourself to this even more magical version of Beauty and the Beast. I highly doubt you’ll be disappointed. Now I’m off to discover more books by Jennifer Donnelly and to see the movie!

4-stars Continue reading “Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly – updated”

Wizards and Witches – Time-Life Books -Enchanted World Series #1

I learned about this Time-Life Enchanted World Series after Stacy and I did an interview with Katherine Arden, author of The Bear and the Nightingale. The author had mentioned reading these when she was a kid and I couldn’t wait to discover the set of books.

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My collection so far – 17 volumes

I was really surprised that I’d never even seen this series when I was younger, but once I started reading a few of them I quickly realized that there’s no way these books would’ve ever been allowed into my house growing up. It’s a set of 21 volumes and I’ve been working to complete my set by purchasing a volume here and there. Some of of the volumes are more expensive than others. They don’t seem to be numbered in any way. I decided to start with Wizards and Witches by Brendan Lehane and so I’m titling this volume #1.

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The Wizard and Witches volume is split into 3 sections – Singers at the World’s Dawn, Masters of Forbidden Arts and The Shadowy Sisterhood. It begins with Finnish Folklore about Väinämöinen and discusses other wizards including the Wizard of Kiev, Merlin, Math and Gwydion to name a few. The Forbidden Arts discusses satanic servants, tarot cards, goblins and more. The book ends discussing white and black witchcraft.

I really wasn’t pleased with the book, however, I did enjoy some of the artwork. It seems to be written well and the pictures contain captions and quotes.

20170502_074938.jpg Continue reading “Wizards and Witches – Time-Life Books -Enchanted World Series #1”