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#FREEprequel ‘Escaping Psychiatry. Beginnings’ Psychological Thriller. 1st chapter

Hi all:

I promised I’d be sharing the prequel to Escaping Psychiatry my psychological thriller book, that collects three stories. Mary Miller, the psychiatrist and writer protagonist of the stories gets in all kinds of adventures in the book.

Here, we see how and when she became involved for the first time in a case. Ah, and the case is about a writer who is being stalked and harassed by a fan/madman, or is it?

Ah, I have a cover now! So consider this a cover reveal too!

Escaping Psychiatry. Beginnings by Olga Núñez Miret. Cover by Ernesto Valdés
Escaping Psychiatry. Beginnings by Olga Núñez Miret. Cover by Ernesto Valdés

And here it is:

1.     The Crisis

“It was terrible! I’m telling you, Phil. Disgraceful! The guy was pouring out his heart and soul and I wasn’t even listening to him! What kind of a psychiatrist am I? Where is my empathy? Caring profession! Ha! Couldn’t care less profession, maybe!”

“Come on, Mary. Don’t beat yourself up. It was the early hours of the morning and you had been working all day.” Phil seized the opportunity when Mary had to stop to breathe, to try and get his point across. He wasn’t a lawyer and the voice of reason for nothing. His friend Mary, usually level-headed and calm, was in a bit of a state. Yes, she had a pretty stressful job, working as a trainee psychiatrist in a busy hospital. But she was quite senior now and not usually given to catastrophizing.

“That wasn’t his fault. Damn, the guy was talking about his life, his girlfriend had left him and he was contemplating suicide and I was… away with the fairies. I haven’t the slightest idea of what he told me.”

“Nothing happened. You gave him good advice and evidently must have heard enough. You probably only switched off for a few seconds. And you gave him what he needed.”

“How so? He wanted somebody to listen. And I wasn’t listening!”

Phil realised that he was likely to inflame the situation, no matter what he said, and decided to allow Mary to vent. She’d run out of steam at some point. Hopefully.

She stopped talking after a few more minutes of lamenting her lack of empathy. Phil decided it might be safe to intervene.

“Why don’t you—”

“It’s a con game,” she interrupted him. “Do you remember that movie, House of Games?”

“The one about the female psychiatrist and the con men? David Mamet’s, wasn’t it?”

“Yes, precisely that one. I’m coming to the conclusion that they had a point. We just put on a performance and as long as we are credible, good actors, and have the appropriate props and jargon, we get away with it.”

“From that point of view, I guess all professions are a con game,” Phil said.

“Perhaps. But most of them don’t take the moral high ground or go around telling people what to do.”

Phil was about to contradict Mary, but realised that she seemed to be calming down and it would be better to try a different tack.

“You must be due a vacation, Mary. Why don’t you come and spend some time with me? You could always accompany me to work. Get a bit of distance and see how it feels to be an insider somewhere else.”

“Won’t your law firm have something to say about that? Client privilege and all that?”

“I’ll vouch for you. And I’m sure I could convince them that having you ‘consulting’ with us could be useful. To give us a different perspective. Especially if you aren’t going to charge them for the service.”

“I’m starting to wonder if you have a case you wanted my opinion on, and my call has just been the perfect excuse,” Mary said, in a more upbeat tone.

“You have a very suspicious mind, dear Mary.”

“When a lawyer says that, it’s time to worry.”

Phil was used to people making jokes and saying not very complimentary things about lawyers. He did some pro-bono work, but had no illusions that he would change society with his profession. But it was interesting nonetheless.

“So, what do you say? Are you coming to spend some time with me?”

Mary was quiet for a few seconds. She finally said:

“Won’t I be in the way?”

“In the way of what?”

“You’re single, well, divorced, and a bloke. Don’t you have a woman in your life at the moment?”

“You know I’m still recovering from my divorce.” Phil made an effort to sound as sincere as possible. Mary had a very finely tuned bullshit detector.

“Ha! That’s funny! I haven’t seen you cry or be sad at all about your failed marriage. I’ve never truly understood why you married Iris.”

“Well… She was hot.”

“Sure, but otherwise… Not up to your intellectual standards, Phil. And you sent her to your mother’s as soon as you went back to Law School, and I’d say you might have seen her a handful of times in the three months your marriage lasted, at a push. I’m sure you saw me more often than your saw her.”

“Well, if you had played your cards right, perhaps you could have become my wife instead.” Phil didn’t know where that had come from. He hoped Mary would take it as a joke. Because that was what it was, right?

“You would run a mile if you thought I had any design on you.”

Phil burst out laughing. “Probably much farther than a mile. Don’t get me wrong. I do love you, but I think we’d probably drive each other insane if we were a couple. We know each other far too well.”

Phil realised he wholeheartedly believed what he’d just said, although he’d never formulated the thought before. Could he be truly open and honest in a relationship? Perhaps that had been the problem all along. He didn’t let anybody get close enough, at least not the people he ended up in a relationship with.

“So you think having secrets from each other is the recipe to a successful relationship. Based on that premise, I’m not surprised you’re still on your own. And yes, no need to remind me I’m also on my own. Relationships are not my priority at the moment. Trying to decide what I want to do with my life is. I don’t need added complications. And of course, I suspect lots of men would think that I’m not hot enough to make good partner material.”

“You talk yourself out of it before you even try, dear Mary. But I’m sure we can chat about that in more detail when you’re here. When will that be?”

“I’ll have to check with my bosses, HR and the other doctors, but there aren’t school holidays coming up or any such things, so we might be lucky. I’ll speak to everybody tomorrow, if I can, and I’ll let you know.”

“Good. I hope it’s soon.”

“Why?” She sounded suspicious.

“Because the firm has just taken up the defence of a writer, and I know you love reading and writing.”

“Oh, I see. Yes, you’re right. And perhaps taking up writing again would be helpful. What’s the case about?”

“You’ll probably hear about it soon enough, but I can’t give you any inside information until I know the firm is OK about your involvement, and you’re actually coming. That would be careless, not to say unethical, on my behalf.”

“Of course. Let’s talk tomorrow, then.”

“Speak to you tomorrow.”



“You’ve done a good job.”

“What are you talking about?”

“First of putting up with the moaning, but more than that, of setting up the hook. I’m intrigued about the case, now.”

He punched the air in silent celebration. ‘Yes!’ he thought. “Just something that suddenly came to mind while we talked.”

“Yes, sure… Night.”

“Good night.”

Mary phoned Phil back the next day and confirmed she would be going to spend a couple of weeks with him. “I’ll arrive on Saturday morning, if that’s OK. But, honestly, let me know if I’m going to be in the way. I can always book myself in somewhere. At a hotel or something.”

“No, no, that will be unnecessary. You can stay here. Ah, and by the way, I did have an informal chat with my boss, and he was interested in your perspective and opinion on the case, both from the psychiatric point of view and from an insider’s.”

“An insider’s?”

“I told Mr Wright that you also write. He was so interested that he even offered to let you stay in one of the firm’s apartments. They have several for clients from out of the city and for newly arrived lawyers. I told him we’d made other arrangements but he was serious.”

“And why is he interested in my psychiatric opinion?”

“We’ll talk about that when you’re here. I’ll be eagerly waiting for you on Saturday morning.”

Thanks so much to all for reading, thanks to Ernesto for the great cover, and well, like, share, comment… and if you want to click… I’ll leave you a link to Escaping Psychiatry, that by the way, it’s only $0.99 at the moment!

Escaping Psychiatry
Escaping Psychiatry

Escaping Psychiatry in Amazon. For many other links, follow the Books page at the top!


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Reseñas de libros Uncategorized

#Reseñadelibro. ‘Carta a Charo’ de Estrella Cardona Gamio (@ccgediciones). Epístolas, nostalgia e inolvidables personajes.

Hola a todos:

Ya sé que os había dicho que hoy no habría post, pero me he dado cuenta de que muchos de mis posts han desaparecido con el traslado, así que he decidido ir recuperando algunos poco a poco. Y he decidido empezar con algunos recientes. Como leí el libro de Estrella Cardona Gamio hace poco y lo vamos a discutir en el club de lectura en enero, me pareció muy oportuno traéroslo otra vez (y prometo revisitar los clásicos y añadir de nuevos pronto).

Hoy os traigo la reseña de un libro que, como muchos, llevaba un tiempo en mi Kindle. Aunque no participo como debiera, estoy en un grupo en Goodreads, Café Literario, y Concha y Estrella Cardona Gamio, las administradoras, me recordaron que este mes estarían leyendo la novela Carta a Charo y la discutiríamos el mes que viene. Así que, la leí. Es muy corta, y me encantó. Pero bueno, aquí os dejo la reseña…

Carta a Charo de Estrella Cardona
Carta a Charo de Estrella Cardona Gamio

Carta a Charo de Estrella Cardona Gamio. Lo bueno si breve….

Ésta es una novela epistolar compuesta por las cartas que se intercambian dos amigas que se conocen desde la juventud pero llevan años viviendo en países distintos (una en Barcelona y la otra en Londres), y otras cartas de sus allegados (a veces protagonistas importantes en la historia, como el marido de Charo, Antonio, otros muy secundarios, como Francesc, el hijo de su amiga), e incluso de personajes cuya relación con ellas es mucho más tangencial (como la última carta, que añade una perspectiva completamente externa a la situación). Hoy en día, cuando las cartas están cayendo en desuso, es una maravilla recuperarlas y darse cuenta de la de cosas que se pueden decir (y no decir) usando esta forma de interacción social.

En la descripción de esta novela la autora nos desvela su proceso de creación. La fecha de la primera carta es la fecha en que empezó a escribirla y quizás eso explica en parte lo vívidas y lo auténticas que resultan estas cartas. Aunque la novela es corta, llegamos a conocer a los personajes (por más que a veces las expectativas que tenemos resulten erróneas), a través de sus intercambios con los demás, de lo que nos dicen, y de lo que no. Historias de amor, de desamor, sueños, errores, malentendidos y el día a día de la convivencia, y como a veces lo que creemos compartir con otros (memorias, momentos, sentimientos) no son más que un producto de nuestra imaginación. Experiencias que tuvimos con alguien y que cada persona ha asimilado de forma diversa. Amistades que no lo son, y rutinas que no se sabe bien porqué se mantienen.

Me encantaron los personajes que resultan familiares y reconocibles pero no por convencionales. Las cartas y el estilo de cada una reflejan perfectamente las personalidades de los personajes y las diferencias entre ellos. Y las referencias a otras épocas y situaciones nos hacen partícipes de la atmósfera y de las experiencias de los protagonistas. La autora demuestra que no hacen falta largas exposiciones ni páginas y páginas para desarrollar no ya una historia, sino unas vidas.

Leí una reseña en que comentaban que al lector le había recordado ‘Cinco horas con Mario’ y es cierto que algunas de las cartas tienen un aspecto confesional, ya sea porque no se envían realmente al destinatario (y acaban siendo una carta a uno mismo) o porque el autor explica cosas a un lector que quizás solo existe en su imaginación (ya que el destinatario no es la persona que ellos han creado en su mente).

Se la recomiendo a los que gusten de una lectura fresca, breve, y de calidad, con personajes que les harán pensar. Y estoy segura de que a partir de ahora recordaré esta novela cada vez que vea una película de Marcello Mastroianni.


Y no os olvidéis de visitar la página de la autora en Amazon, y seguirla para enteraros de todas sus novedades:

Muchas gracias a la autora por su fabulosa novela, gracias a todos vosotros por leer, y ya sabéis, dadle al me gusta, comentad, compartid y haced CLIC!

Book reviews

A few more #Bookreviews: Nirvana (2nd), The Secret Chord and Satin Island.

Hi all:

Happy New Year!

I thought I’d start the year sharing some reviews that I’ve shared elsewhere (Lit World Interviews) but just in case you hadn’t seen them, I felt I should try and share them here too. These are all very different books, but books that I’ve enjoyed and I hope you can find one you like the sound of.

The first one, Nirvana, is a very special case, as I read an ARC copy over the summer, and then was offered the final version to review again by the publishers. Here is the original post.

Nirvana by J.R.Stewart
Nirvana by J.R.Stewart

Nirvana by J. R. Stewart. Revised version and revised review. Still about bees, and virtual reality, less grief and politics.

Thanks to the publishers (Blue Moon Publishers) and Net Galley for providing me with a new copy of the revised version of the novel.

Let me explain why I’m reviewing this novel for the second time. Nirvana was gifted to reviewers in Net Galley and it garnered many reviews. I was one of the people who downloaded it and reviewed it over the late summer and published a review, aware that the book would not be published officially until later. The site offers you a chance to be kept informed or contacted by publishers with news about the authors and I said I’d be interested. I had a member of the PR department for the publishing company contact me and ask me if I’d be interest in reading the revised version. I was curious and they obliged and sent me the book.

It took me a while to get around to it but when I did I was surprised by how much it had changed. Rather than a revision it was a full rewrite. The story is about a dystopian future where the bees have died, and with them most of the plants and animals. The ‘Hexagon’ controls everybody’s lives, food and entertainment have become big businesses, and virtual reality is the only way people can experience life as it was, but this is also monitored, and very expensive. The really rich can live in a virtual reality paradise, called The Bubble, and there are several in different countries (although the story is set in Canada, near Toronto). Nirvana is the virtual reality system where the protagonist (Larissa Kenders) works and it has been created in its majority by her live-in boyfriend Andrew. Andrew disappears and the authorities tell Kenders he is dead. But he keeps appearing to her whilst she is in Nirvana, and although initially she thinks he is just a virtual reality creation, soon she realises that’s not the case. The rest of the book becomes her attempt at following the clues he gives her to retrieve something hidden but very important to the future of humanity whilst trying to remain alive. It’s difficult to know who she can trust and there are traps and conspiracies everywhere.

The novel now fits more neatly within the YA/NA dystopian genre. The story is told only from the point of view of the protagonist, Larissa Kenders, and in the first person present. It is told chronologically, and that avoids some of the confusion of the previous version. It also allows for a closer identification with the main character, and the reader gets to know more about her, about her activism and how her music was always socially conscious (even if she later realises things weren’t as she thought and she might have been playing into the hands of the big corporations). She is younger than in the previous book, although I wasn’t clear of the timeframe, as she’s supposed to be still 17, bus she has been engaged in campaigns in the past, is a famous singer, and has known Andrew, studied at university and visited many places with him before the Earth became practically a desert. It’s true though, that it falls with the genre’s convention that young protagonists seem to have lived several normal lives by the time we get to meet them.

It is easier to empathise with Kenders in this version and we also get to see more of her relationship with Andrew before he disappears. There are bad characters clearly delineated, some heroic ones (more so because doubts were cast upon them), and a more optimistic outlook. It ends with a big hook and the chase starts again, as it should in a series.

Sadly I missed what I had noted in my first review as perhaps not fitting in the genre. I liked the disquisitions about physics and musical theory that have not disappeared, and there is much less emphasis on the politics and funding of research (it is mentioned, but in passing). Perhaps the author will write, at some point, the book that according to her biographical note she had thought of writing, looking at the truth hidden behind the virtual reality industry and research. I’ll be waiting.

In summary, this is solid YA book, with romance, angst, chases, mystery, a strong, talented and intelligent female character, and an interesting world with a strong ecological theme and a warning. Look after the bees and the Earth before all you have left is just a holographic image and your memories.


Here an excerpt just in case:

“It worked!” Andrew rubs my hands together. “How did it feel?”

Even though a strong pressure is still pushing on my head, I assure him, “Like a cooling sensation running throughout my body. As if someone turned a tap on.”

Andrew’s use of an implanted, microscopic wireless device that links neural activity directly to electronic circuitry still needs some tweaking. He’s always pushing the envelope for this virtual reality system, and he keeps any changes close to his belt until he’s completely beta tested everything, so we are the guinea pigs.

Not that I mind–everyone has some kind of nanotechnology in their body–but we are the only ones who have them in our brains. Nanobots are used within circulatory systems to destroy tumours and regulate blood pressure, but Andrew’s research takes science beyond medical treatment. Andrew is the head programmer for Nirvana, sohe can do things differently. Usually this kind of research would be conducted on lab animals, but that’s where my influence has changed his procedures.

“Look at me.” His brown eyes search mine. “You can see everything?”

I nod. And then I do a short dance to test every limb, all a part of our startup procedure.

Nirvana is a refuge from the real world, which has growing complications regarding the stability of our environment and life in general, not to mention a crumbling economy and massive unemployment rate. It’s Hexagon’s virtual reality system, a way they keep the populace placated and appeased while they exert absolute rule and control.

While it’s a difficult time in the world for many people, I can still eek out a living as a musician. People need entertainment and an escape, and although we don’t have the glitzy concert venues of the past, we still offer music in the dreary concrete halls of bunker complexes.

In Nirvana, however, things are different. Programmers code at a fast pace to recreate the world as it once was. They pull in images, video feeds, and audio to superimpose into a virtual world that feels as real as the one we knew just a few years ago, before the Extinction happened.

Ah, and if you fancy reading the article in Lit World Interviews that has both reviews, here it is.

As you know I love Net Galley and there are some true gems one can find there. Here, first, a book I loved.

The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks
The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks

The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks. A fascinating King David, warts and all.

Thanks to Net Galley and to Little Brown Books UK for offering me a free copy of The Secret Chord in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve always thought that the Bible, the Old Testament in particular, is full of fantastic stories, and there are very few plots you won’t find there. Fratricide: check. Murder: check. Incest: check. Adultery: check. Epic disasters: check. Wars: check. Love: check. Magic and miracles: check. Battle of Good versus Evil: check. Prophecy: check. No matter what your beliefs are, as storytelling goes, it’s in a class of its own.

David’s story is a very good example of it. As the author observes in her comments, he is one of the first characters whose story we follow from beginning to end. It has all the elements a fiction writer could wish for: rag to riches, the weak confronting and winning the battle with the mighty, unjustly accused and outlawed makes a comeback and becomes King. He’s also elected by God. A great fighter and leader but a deeply flawed character. He has great joys, but through his own behaviour, brings tragedy and disaster to his family. Like the best heroes, he is also an antihero.

Brooks chooses a narrator, Nathan, the prophet, to tell David’s story. It all starts as Nathan’s attempt to distract the King, who is upset because he has been asked to remain in the palace after a near miss during a battle. Nathan suggests that buildings and palaces won’t make him live in the memory of people, but telling his true story will (a beautiful justification of the power of storytelling). David decides that Nathan should hear the story from others, not himself, and he does not hesitate in sending him to talk to those who might not have that much good to say about the King, including his mother, his brother, and his first wife. Although we go back and forth in time, through the different versions and witnesses, the action starts at a pivotal time in David’s story as he’s about to commit a series of crimes that will be severely punished.

I loved the book. I hadn’t read anything by the author before, but now I will. She writes beautifully, giving voice to the different characters and bringing them to life. The reader experiences Nathan’s visions, is a privileged observer at King David’s court, and although we know (the same as Nathan) what will happen, it is impossible to not get emotionally involved, and worry and suffer with them. Descriptions of David’s playing and singing, dancing to the glory of God are full of wonder and magic. The book pulls no punches either, and descriptions of some of the brutal acts are also vividly rendered.

For me, the book is the story of an extraordinary man, who did many wrong things, but also many great things, and who loved God and his people, even if sometimes he loved himself a bit too much. He is a warrior, an artist, a statesman, a father, a husband, and a faithful servant of God (most of the time). He acknowledges his wrongdoing and does not shy away from his responsibilities. He’s a human being.

Nathan is also a very interesting figure, at times unable to talk despite what he knows, only a passive observer of the tragedy to unfold. But that’s his role, and despite everything, he is loved and cherished by David and later by Solomon. And he is a great stand-in for the reader, knowing but silenced, frustrated and disgusted at times by the King’s actions, but also at time in awe and moved by him.

I couldn’t help but read some of the comments about the book and it seems that most of the people who’ve taken issue with the book, do not like the suggestion of a relationship between David and Jonathan, Saul’s son (and brother of his first wife). It is strange that in a story with murder, incest, rape, pillage and more, the one thing people find upsetting is the suggestion that David might have had a homosexual relationship. It proves that we all bring our own mind-set to our reading experience.

I am not an expert in Bible studies or that particular historical period so I can’t comment on how accurate the book might be in its detail, but for me it brought to life the times, the people and the events.

I finished the book with a greater appreciation for the figure of David (and particularly thankful that the author decided to end the book at that particular point, and on that note) and a wish to read more of Brooks’s books. If you have an open mind, love lyrical writing and are intrigued by the times and the people of that historical period, this is a unique book.


And another one from Net Galley. I confess this one is not for everyone.

Satin Island by Tom McCarthy
Satin Island by Tom McCarthy

Satin Island by Tom McCarthy. What do you read for?

Thanks to Net Galley and to Jonathan Cape for providing me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Honestly? I enjoyed the book. On the other hand, would I recommend it? Well, it depends.

The book is narrated in the first person by U., an anthropologist working for a global corporation, which at the beginning of the book has secured a project that will change everything. We never quite know what this project is, and it seems nobody else knows either. U.’s contribution to the project is celebrated, although he has no idea what that contribution might have been. His job also consists of creating a report. A report about everything. He’s at liberty to choose how to do it. But how would you go about it?

  1. chats constantly about things that might appear unconnected, but his job —in so far as he knows what it is— seems to be to find connections. He talks about Lévi-Strauss and his thoughts about anthropology and tribes, he collects random data (about oil-spills, parachuting accidents, airports and places…), he goes to conferences and gives lectures he seems totally unprepared for, but his search for meaning is thwarted, and it’s difficult to know if it’s the world’s fault or his own. Perhaps, as he mentions, Lévi-Strauss was right, and eventually it all becomes reduced to either new tribes that get absorbed into the everyday and stop being weird, or tribes that are so weird they are completely meaningless and cannot be processed using our current methodology.

The book reminded me of many things, although I didn’t consciously try to find similarities or connections. Perhaps it’s a side effect of reading it. It did remind me of reading literary theory, in particular the French Theorists (Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida), and how much I liked them (although I was in a minority position in the American Literature class, I must admit). There are moments when the absurdity of everything made me think of works like Terry Gillian’s Brazil or some of Kafka’s or Orwell’s books (minus the pathos.) There were moments breathtakingly beautiful and poetic, usually found in something mundane. (Wonderful examples are the descriptions of the videos one of his colleagues’ shoots and later watches on a loop. But other things too: traffic, people skateboarding, dreams, even the Ferry to Staten Island…). And even moments where it seemed as if he’d found an explanation, a brilliant who-done-it that later comes to nothing, much as happens with his thoughts of rebelling and disturbing the set order. Flashes of genius in a pan.

Recently I read a very long book, stylistically interesting, trying to be about everything and for me too full of itself and failing. This is a book that possibly is about everything. Or about nothing (the difference might be only one of degree), and thankfully doesn’t take itself too seriously.

My opinion. Yes, I really loved this book. With regards to recommending it… Well, it has no plot, not much on the character side of things, it’s clever, it’s beautifully written, and it might make you think, although probably not reach many (if any) conclusions. So there you are. If with all that you want to read it, I hope you enjoy it. And if not, that’s all right too.


Thanks so much for reading, and I hope you like, share, comment and CLICK! And keep reading!


Nuevo año, nuevo blog #Felizaño

Hola a todos:

Perdonad las obras en el blog (estoy haciendo un cursillo sobre branding, vamos, sobre cómo crear una imagen distintiva de nuestro negocio, producto, lo que sea, aunque como acabo de empezar no puedo contaros mucho aún) pero espero ir refinándolo y añadiendo cosas interesantes, ya que todo es novedad. Al menos escribir los posts es lo mismo.

Una vez psiquiatra. Inicios
Una vez psiquiatra. Inicios

Como os había comentado, a partir de la semana que viene empezaré a compartir la precuela de Una vez psiquiatra… y con un poco de suerte y si me organizo volveré a compartir novedades literarias. Así que si tenéis algo nuevecito o a punto de estrenar, ya me diréis y os pongo en mi lista.

Ah, y Feliz Año, que el viernes os doy descanso. Esperemos que el 2016 sea mejor.

Gracias por leerme y a seguir con ello!

Un año nuevecito. A ver si se porta bien.
Un año nuevecito. A ver si se porta bien.


Book reviews Rosie's Book Team Review

#RBRT #BookReview Shattered Lies by S.J. Francis (@sjfrancis419) Two families and many lies #TuesdayBookBlog

Hi all:

I hope you’ll forgive the appearance of the blog. At the moment I’m doing a Branding course, and I’m planning on changing quite a few things, but I’m trying to go slowly.

As promised I’ll start sharing the prequel to my Escaping Psychiatry series from next week, but today I wanted to take the chance and share the review of a novel I’ve read recently as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team. First I share the description and editorial reviews.

Shattered Lies by S.J.Francis
Shattered Lies by S.J.Francis

Shattered Lies by S.J. Francis

She wants to know the truth, but some secrets might be better left alone…
Kate Thayer has a good life as a veterinarian, running the family horse farm–until she uncovers an act of unimaginable treachery by those she trusted most and learns that everything she knew about herself was a lie. Her paternal grandmother, the woman who raised her, is behind a number of devastating secrets Kate is compelled to discover. But the deeper she digs, the more betrayal she finds, changing her life in ways she could have never foreseen.

Editorial Reviews

“Francis writes a poignant and moving tale of bigotry, deceit, and the ultimate betrayal, where the people who you are supposed to be able to trust are the ones who tell the most devastating lies.” ~ Taylor Jones, Reviewer

“… The title implies a mystery novel or an action novel. When I first started to read this novel, I thought this would be a regular old-school mystery. Boy, was I surprised to find that the title implies so much more than the genre. The story is heartfelt and very real. I am very impressed with S.J. Francis. The way the author wrote the novel was super amazing and fascinating. She transported me back in time and made me feel the pain and confusion of a grandmother who thought she was doing the right thing…” -Rabia Tanveer for Reader’s Favorite

“Shattered Lies is the story of the cruel, inhuman things man does to man and the tangled webs we weave trying to cover up our heinous behavior. It’s a heart-warming and heart-breaking tale of a young woman who discovers that everything she believed about herself, her parents, her very life, is nothing but a lie.” ~ Regan Murphy, Reviewer

“SJ Francis examines the destruction of one family’s foundation under the weight of lies in her thoughtful and wonderful book, Shattered Lies… Shattered Lies explores the painful legacy of bigotry and how such a legacy can destroy many lives.  In doing so, SJ Francis writes with raw honesty using language that has become embedded in the culture of racism.  It will be uncomfortable and unpleasant for the reader at times. But I do applaud Francis’ efforts. She has crafted a memorable book that will leave a lasting impression. A very thought provoking book.” ~Tracy, The Writing Piazza

From the Author


NOTE: 10% of this book’s sales from both editions will be donated to the Polycystic Kidney Foundation to help fight this insidious disease that strikes both adults and children. For more info about this disease see:

Here, my review (4 stars):

Shattered Lies by S. J. Francis. Family lies, race, and life in the South

I’m reviewing this book as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team and was offered a free ARC copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

The novel, as promised by the description, deals with important themes: family relationships, adultery, betrayal, secrets, lies, race, loss and grief, illness… The story shows us how two families, the Thayers and the Johnsons, who’ve always lived close to each other in the family ranch of the Thayers, a white Southern family, while the Johnsons (African-American) worked for them in a variety of capacities and lived within the grounds, are much more closely linked than they appear at first sight. Kate Thayer, the youngest of the family, finds a diary written by her mother that opens up a Pandora’s Box of secrets and lies, including suicide, child abandonment, and questions about her own identity.

Emotions run high for all the protagonists and also the less important characters, and as the story is narrated in third-person limited point of view it allows the reader to see things from inside the heads (and the hearts) of different characters. This does not make it confusing but instead it gives readers an opportunity to better understand some of the characters, which at first are difficult to like or empathise with (like Katherine, Kate’s grandmother).

The novel is full of emotionally tense moments, and many secrets are revealed very early on. That results in much of the story delving into the changing emotions of the characters (from anger, to guilt, to fear, and back again), with the rhythm of the story speeding up and slowing down at times rather than providing a totally smooth ride.

Despite punctual references to current times (several mentions of Obama, the years when different events took place, and comments about how things have changed over generations), the story seemed to live in a time of its own and in its own environment, creating a somewhat claustrophobic sensation. The only interferences by the outside world take place in the train (where there is a nasty experience with some white youth, and a nice encounter, which to Kate exemplifies the fact that people can fight against prejudice at a personal level, no matter what pressures they are subjected to by their environment), and later in the hospital, although even that serves mostly as a background for the family’s battles and eventual peace. This is mostly a personal story, although it reflects wider themes.

The North and the South are depicted as fairly different worlds, nowadays still, and the codes of behaviour and the topics brought to my mind Faulkner’s novels (although the style and the treatment of the material is completely different). It seemed difficult to believe that in the late 1980s nobody would have spotted that Olivia, Kate’s mother, was pregnant with twins (even if she didn’t want an ultrasound), and that the doctor wouldn’t  think of calling for help when he realised the delivery was not going well (especially as this is a family of means). But perhaps the details are not as important as the experiences in this melodrama that ultimately provides a positive message of hope and forgiveness.

This is an emotionally tense read, with some slower and somewhat iterative self-reflective moments, and some faster ones, exploring issues of identity, prejudice and family that will make you think about your own priorities and preconceived ideas. Ah, and 10% of the royalties go to the Polycystic Kidney Foundation, a very good cause (and relevant to the story).

Links to the author and the book:

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Thank you all for reading, and you know what to do, like, share, comment, and CLICK! Thanks for your patience!


#FelizNavidad. De parte de todos nosotros. Que disfrutéis las vacaciones!

Hola a todos:

Es Navidad! así que dudo que estéis leyendo esto, pero por si acaso, y como mis personajes insistieron, aquí os traigo sus mensajes.

Dashiell, one of the demos in Angelic Business 2. Shapes of Greg
Dashiell, uno de los demonios en Asuntos angélicos 2. Dimensiones de Greg

Dashiell, o Dash, me dijo que no hay nada de malo en hacer alguna travesura durante estas vacaciones. Aunque, naturalmente, él es un demonio, así que, ¿qué va a decir?


G, Greg o Gregorious uno de los demonios de Asuntos angélicos (uno de los protagonistas) quería deciros que no hay que preocuparse si se comete algún error o se toma la decisión equivocada (¡que se lo digan a él!) ya que le pasa a todo el mundo. Por supuesto, a veces hay que pagar por ello, pero lo bueno es aprender la lección.


Azrael, el ángel en la series Asuntos angélicos, quería que os dijera que la magia existe, que hay cosas en el universo que no entendemos, y que hay que tener la mente y el corazón abierto a las posibilidades.

Pink la heroína de la serie Asuntos angélicos

Pink, la protagonista de la serie Asuntos angélicos, quiere deciros que todo el mundo tiene en sus manos cambiar las cosas, que hay que creer en uno mismo y se puede conseguir lo que parece imposible. Eso sí, con la ayuda de vuestros amigos (y en su caso, un ángel y un demonio).

Dulce from I Love Your Cupcakes
Dulce de I Love Your Cupcakes

Dulce, de I Love Your Cupcakes (Me encantas tus cupcakes) quiere desearos una fiesta muy dulces.

Una vez psiquiatra. Inicios
Una vez psiquiatra. Inicios

Y Mary Miller, de Una vez psiquiatra… es más tímida, pero quería que os dijera que ando con el borrador de la precuela de la serie y lo estoy puliendo, traduciendo, así que espero empezar a publicarla a principios del año que viene en el blog, y cuando esté lista estará disponible gratuita para todos (si los dioses de la publicación lo permiten). Mientras tanto, y por si os aburris o no la habéis leído, el borrador de una de las historias de Una vez psiquiatra… está disponible en Wattpad, aquí.

Y de parte mía, Felices Fiestas.

Sky with angel

Ah, y por si lo habéis olvidado, la primera novela en Asuntos angélicos es gratis. Aquí os la dejo.


Merry #Christmas from all of us! I hope you have a good holiday!

Hi all!

It’s Christmas! I doubt that many of you will be reading this, but just in case, a few of my characters wanted to wish you a good holiday:

Dashiell, one of the demos in Angelic Business 2. Shapes of Greg
Dashiell, one of the demons in Angelic Business 2. Shapes of Greg

Dashiell (better known as Dash, and yes, he’s pretty dashing. They love him in Twitter!) wanted me to tell you that it’s OK to be a bit naughty these days. But then, he’s a demon!

G, Greg or Gregorious

G, Greg, or Gregorious, another demon (yes, he’s one of the main characters) in the Angelic Business series, wanted me to tell you that it’s OK to make mistakes and we all make a wrong choice from time to time (he should know!). Although, sometimes there’s a price to pay.


Azrael is an angel (yes, I know you can see that), also in Angelic Business and asked me to tell you that magic exists and there are more things than what we can see, if we only believe in ourselves and others.

Pink, the heroine of Angelic Business

Pink, the protagonist of Angelic Business, wanted to remind you that you can do more things than you realise and if you believe in yourself, there are no limits. Of course, with a little help from your friends (and in her case, an angel and a demon too).

Dulce from I Love Your Cupcakes
Dulce from I Love Your Cupcakes

Dulce, from I Love Your Cupcakes, hopes you have a very sweet holiday season.

Escaping Psychiatry. Beginnings
Escaping Psychiatry. Beginnings

And Mary Miller from Escaping Psychiatry, who’s a bit shy, wanted to share a link to the first chapters of the prequel that it’s appearing now in Wattpad, just in case you want to do something not very Christmassy. (I’ll be sharing it in my blog from next year too).

And from me, Merry Christmas!

Sky with angel

Ah, just in case you’ve forgotten, the first novel in the Angelic Business series, is FREE, here.


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Reseñas de libros

#Reseña de libro. ‘Los cadáveres no sueñan’ de Enrique Laso (@enriquelaso). El segundo libro en la serie, y aún más intriga.

Hola a todos:

Como recordaréis, reseñé la novela de Enrique Laso Los crímenes azules hace poco,  y os comenté que iba a traducir la segunda novela de la series, Los cadáveres no sueñan. Pues bueno, el borrador está listo y estamos con las correcciones finales, así que no falta mucho para la versión en inglés, que por cierto, se llamará Shiny Bones, y más abajo comparto la portada.

Evidentemente, me leí la novela, y aunque no compartiré la reseña en Amazon (por aquello de lo de tener un interés en ella, aunque de hecho, en la versión en español…), me pareció una pena no aprovechar para hablaros de ella.

Los cadáveres no sueñan de Enrique Laso
Los cadáveres no sueñan de Enrique Laso

La descripción:

Miles de lectores en todo el mundo se han enganchado al BestSeller ‘Los Crímenes Azules’, protagonizado por el agente especial de la Unidad de Análisis de Conducta del FBI Ethan Bush.
En esta ocasión la policía estatal de Nebraska requiere la colaboración del FBI: están apareciendo diversos esqueletos diseminados por lugares apartados de un tranquilo condado. Los restos presentan un extraño ‘patrón’ que hace intuir a los investigadores que se enfrentan a un peligroso asesino en serie. En Washington no hay dudas: enviarán al agente más prometedor de la factoría de Quantico.
Si te apasionaste con ‘Los Crímenes Azules’ volverás a disfrutar con LOS CADÁVERES NO SUEÑAN. Una novela policíaca que hará disfrutar a los amantes del género.
ENRIQUE LASO, autor que ha vendido más de 400.000 libros en todo el mundo, regresa con su segunda novela negra, impulsado por el éxito sin precedentes tanto de ventas como de crítica de ‘Los Crímenes Azules’.


Mi reseña:

Como os había comentado cuando leí la primera novela, los thrillers que siguen la investigación de crímenes complejos, suelen constar de dos  elementos que van más o menos a la par: los crímenes y la investigación en sí (que le dan la oportunidad al lector de aguzar su ingenio), y los investigadores (o en algunos casos menos frecuentes, los criminales).

Es cierto que si los crímenes son muy intrigantes o extraños, el libro puede resultar interesante aunque los que lo investiguen no lo sean tanto. Por otro lado, hay casos en los que la personalidad y las aventuras de los que investigan son más interesantes que los crímenes en sí (como suele pasar con lo que llaman en inglés ‘cozy mysteries’ al estilo de las novelas de Ágata Christie). Las mejore novelas del género consiguen establecer un equilibrio entre las dos facetas.

Los cadáveres no sueñan tiene un poco de todo. El caso es enrevesado, y claramente el resultado de una mente compleja y con muchos traumas (no, no estoy hablando del escritor), pero eso no quiere decir que sea fácil de resolver, sino todo lo contrario.

Y también tenemos a Ethan Bush, que vuelve, tan arrogante, inteligente, y enojoso como antes. El Ethan Bush maduro de años después nos da su comentario, no solo sobre el caso (en esto se calla muchas cosas, naturalmente), sino sobre sus propias acciones, así que en cierta forma actúa como un lector suplente (bueno, en realidad un autor). Y no es que sea particularmente amable consigo mismo (aunque el Ethan jove se gana los comentarios a pulso, la verdad).

Esta vez Ethan no tiene a todo su equipo (que de hecho no es “su” equipo, como le recuerda su jefe todo el tiempo) con él, y se ve obligado a trabajar con la patrulla local de Nebraska, e intentar llegar a compromisos con ellos, aunque eso no quiere decir que no use todos los trucos que pueda para salirse con la suya. Su inteligencia, sus dotes manipulativas, e incluso sus sentimientos se ven puestos prueba en este caso que es un gran reto para él.

Siento deciros a los que os guste resolver los casos mientras leéis la novela, que aunque tendréis muchos sospechosos, no vais a adivinar quién es. Aun así, os hará pensar y os llevará a cuestionaros muchas cosas.

Personalmente tengo muchas ganas de volver a Kansas para saber quién mató a Sharon Nichols, así que espero con ganas la llegada de Libélulas Azules.

Y si leéis en inglés, os mantendré al tanto de la publicación de Shiny Bones. ¡Tengo muchas ganas!

Enlace a Los cadáveres no sueñan:

Shiny Bones de Enrique Laso. Traducción Olga Núñez Miret
Shiny Bones de Enrique Laso. Traducción Olga Núñez Miret

Y por si os apetece, aquí os dejo el enlace a mi reseña de Los crímenes azules.

Muchas gracias a Enrique por su novela y por confiármela para la traducción, muchas gracias a vosotros por leer, y si os ha interesado, dadle al me gusta, comentad, compartid, y haced CLIC!

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