Tag Archives: S R Karfelt

My 2017 Reading Year – Books to Escape With…

2017 was a tough year. I’ve had a couple of years where it has been difficult to pick up a book and just enjoy reading, for several reasons, not least caring for elderly parents and running my family. I read 10 books in 2016, and set myself a goal of 12 for 2017.

My 2017 Reading Year – Books to Escape With - The Last Krystallos

But a serious bout of depression and work on my own book got in the way of time to read, so I only managed 7 in 2017. Still, 7 is better than zero, and I loved the books, so I’m sharing my reading year with you.

1. Quest of the Dreamwalker - Stacy BennettStacy Bennett’s Quest of the Dreamwalker absolutely enthralled me, an evocative fantasy and the first book in the Corthan Legacy series. I usually know straight away if a book is going to fit with me, and from the first paragraph I knew this one would fit like a glove. Stacy Bennett’s writing enchanted me right from the start with beautiful and lyrical description that let me slip into Cara’s world. The writing is captivating, gorgeous prose, and words that weave – dreamlike – through your imagination. (Read more of my review…)

This book was a beautiful way to start a difficult year. I needed to be able to escape this world, and Cara’s world did just that. I’ve been a fan of Stacy Bennett’s writing for a long time, and I couldn’t wait for more in her series.

2. Darkly Wood - Max PowerThe second book I read was Darkly Wood by Max Power. I don’t usually go for horror, but this was the most gorgeous prose and a tantalising story.  This book is beautifully and lyrically written, if you love prose and poetic writing this book is definitely for you. At first I worried I would be turned off by the length and intricacy of Power’s text, but it enthralled me, gave amazing visuals, and kept me enchanted by the individual stories as well as Daisy May’s narrative. Several times I thought I knew where the book was going, but each time a new twist took me in a new direction, just like Darkly Wood does itself…
This is a long book, with a lot of exposition, but the beauty of its expression and constant twists and turns kept me captivated, and as soon as I’d finished Darkly Wood I bought its follow up and began reading on. I didn’t want this tale to stop and was quite happy lost in its dark malevolence.
(Read more of my review…)

3. Darkly Wood II - Max PowerThe horror in this book crept into me, just as its protagonists crept, or meandered, or hurried into the titular wood. Like I said I began the second book as soon as I’d finished the first, so my next book was: Darkly Wood II: The woman who never wore shoes and Max Power intrigued me all over again!

This book, Darkly Wood II, continues Daisy May’s story, and like the titular wood’s dark magic you will be lured into the web and you’ll find yourself quite captive.
Daisy May finds herself drawn back to Darkly Wood, and with years of research and memories behind her it’s not something she relishes. She’s haunted and damaged by her past, but when called upon she knows she must face its evil once again. (Read more of my review…)

My escape was paramount this year and these books were filling the void.

4. 101 Questions for Humanity - J Edward NeillIn August we went on a family holiday a real trek over 600 miles away to the north coast of Scotland. It was another effort to escape and I did and I loved it! While in the car we opened J Edward Neill’s book 101 Questions for Humanity: Coffee Table Philosophy and delved into its philosophical questions. We mixed the thought provoking questions with more from his second book 101 Questions for the End of the World: Volume 10 (Coffee Table Philosophy) We loved them and the questions kept us entertained for hours! My children are all adults (almost) and I suppose I thought I knew them – ha! These questions provided some great discussions and responses that I hadn’t expected, amongst many I did.
So you know what to expect these are a couple of the questions put to you: ‘Set aside your belief system. Describe the afterlife as the way you want it to be.’, ‘Aside from food, water, and your home, could you live happily from now until the end without buying a single thing more?’, and ‘What is the worst crime conceivable?’ That’s only three, there are 98 more…
(Read more of my review…)

5. 101 Questions for the End of the World Volume 10 Coffee Table PhilosophyAnd Its companion book ‘101 Questions for Humanity’ was very much a flick through and discuss, this book needed more intense thinking and evaluation, and the questions posed are much longer and more intricate. We thought hard about some of our answers, and this book requires thought about science, the universe, and theories. It was indeed a real philosophical discussion starter. (Read more of my review…)

6. Nobody Told Me - SR KarfeltLater in the year I was able to read a book I had wanted to for a while. My mother died from cancer, pneumonia and Alzheimer’s at the end of 2016, a tough time indeed, and this book was off the reading list for this reason. But as the year progressed I needed to read it. Author S R Karfelt knew what I’d been through and I knew what she’d been through. It was time to read Nobody Told Me: Love in the Time of Dementia.  Alzheimer’s is the thief of time, stealing memories and lives with no compunction at all – my words not the author’s, but we are on the same page. If you have ever experienced Dementia/Alzheimer’s in any way you need to read this book. Author, S. R. Karfelt, has been and is going through it all and eloquently puts her experiences on paper. I adore this book with its raw honesty, the beauty in its characters, and I love the way it skips and wanders through the past and present – just like dementia does. (Read more of my review…) I needed and devoured this book and it made me stronger. If you know anyone dealing with the grief of dementia, point them to this book. That’s all I can say. It is healing.

7. Tales of the Archer - Stacy BennettThe last book I read on 2017 was Tales of the Archer: A Corthan Companion by Stacy Bennett and it took me full circle. A companion book to The Quest of the Dreamwalker which I loved as it intertwined legend and stories amongst its narrative and kept me captivated. Reid has a history that even he isn’t completely sure of, but his gentle heart yearns for love and acceptance. As the Archer of the title, Reid is a well respected member of the Bear Clan and his stories and song weave through not only the narrative, but through the hearts of his clan too. I adore the way the author adds depth through her use of Corthan legend and fable intertwined throughout the story.
The characters are beautifully drawn with empathy and we easily become part of their tale. This is not an action story but a work of the characters and their lives.
(Read more of my review…)

My reading year was beautiful, captured by five novels that weaved through my mind and took me to far away places. I was healed by the books I read last year.

If you’re looking for some great fantasy, take a look at the books mentioned above. Thought-provoking philosophy from J Edward Neill, and healing words to comfort grief then read Nobody Told Me.

I’m very much looking forward to my 2018 reading year… and have challenged myself to the 12 books I wanted to complete this year. We’ll see how I do…

For something different, check out my Hope Within Books and A Symphony of Dragons: I’m a sensory writer and I delve into sensitive subjects that will lift your spirit and steal your heart, and I conjure worlds of fantasy and post-apocalypse which will ignite your imagination.

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Coping with Alzheimer’s: Sadness, Love, and Humour

I saw a lonesome forget-me-not gaze up at me the other day,
late in the year for these delicate blue flowers,
but they will always remind me of my mother.
They will forever be linked with the disease that stole her.

Coping with Alzheimer_s amid Tears of Sadness, Love, and Humour The Last Krystallos

The forget-me-not is the poster flower for Alzheimer’s, so when I noticed this little blossom peering up at me, it brought the condition back to my mind, and reminded me that I hadn’t yet read a book loaded up on my Kindle. Maybe it had been too soon when I bought it, Mum passed away at Christmas last year, but sitting in the Dr’s waiting room with Dad the other day I clicked on the book and opened it.

Coping-with-Alzheimer's-Forget-me-not- The-Last-Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Instead of bringing tears, which it does too, it brought a smile to my face, many smiles. Finding a kindred spirit can do that. I relate strongly with the author S. R. Karfelt. Her candid humour, outright frankness, and sincerity shone through in her words. Our situations regarding Dementia are different, we’ve been through very different circumstances, but the familiarity of her anecdotes and narrative rang so true.

Alzheimer’s is the thief of time, stealing memories and lives with no compunction at all…and it is on the rise. More and more people are being diagnosed and figures show that 850,000 people lived with dementia in the UK in 2015 and it’s set to rise at a rate that will mean over 1 million in 2025 and 2 million in 2051. I’ve blogged about Prevention and Awareness before, and there are things we can do, changes to our lives, diets, and routines that can help, but this post isn’t about prevention or cure, it’s about living with the disease.

Coping-with-Alzheimer's-time-The-Last-Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Please remember that living with Alzheimer’s affects a whole plethora of people for every one person diagnosed. Whole families and communities have to come together to care. When someone in your family has dementia, you can’t walk away, you can’t hide, you can’t bury it. The condition sneaks up and robs you of your loved one, but unlike other diseases that leave you to grieve after you lose your cherished family member, dementia leaves the shell of the person with you. I can’t describe the pain that that instils.

In her book, Nobody Told Me: Love in the Time of DementiaS. R. Karfelt has been through all of this and eloquently puts her experiences on paper. For anyone facing dementia within their family, this is a book that will show you that you’re not alone. You’ll know you are part of a growing number of people dealing with this disease and staring it right in the face with defiance – and humour you have to laugh, and you’ll cry too. Lots.

So many stories in this book tickled me, made me smile, and made me belly laugh, because I’ve been there. You have to attack Alzheimer’s with humour, wit, and love, they give you the strength to carry on.

Coping-with-Alzheimer's-Home-The-Last-Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

When Mum complained of the noisy street party going on in her back yard, outside her house, we had to humour her, because my parents lived in the middle of a field, not a sound anywhere. When she thought I was her mother, I held her close and rocked her. When she was convinced Dad was a doctor, I told her she’d better take her medication with no complaints. When she thought Dad was a stranger who had kidnapped her and was holding her hostage, I talked her through it, tried to allay her fear, and help her calm down.

Can you imagine believing you’re only fourteen, and then finding out you’re married and he’s an old man? Imagine looking in the mirror expecting to see your twenty-five-year-old-self gazing back and instead seeing a seventy-year-old with a very different face? Imagine nurses/carers visiting every day when you don’t think anything is wrong with you at all.

Coping-with-Alzheimer's-raindrops-The-Last-Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Imagine forgetting how to walk, or how to lift your food from the plate to your mouth with a fork. How would you feel if you couldn’t remember the beginning of the movie you started watching an hour ago? How would you feel when your grandchildren walk in and smile at you, but are complete strangers because you believe you’re twenty, and there are still eight years before you give birth to their mother yet?

Think about being in hospital or a home and not having a clue how you got there, or why, or for how long, or who took you there, or where you are, or why you’re there, or how long you’ll be there, and there’s nothing wrong with you, where are you, how did you get there, there’s nothing wrong, who took you there, when can you go home, as there’s nothing wrong… Where am I?

This is life with Alzheimer’s. It hurts – not only the patient, but the family, and carers, and friends… Alzheimer’s hurts everyone it comes into contact with.

So, if you’re dealing with, living with, coping with Alzheimer’s please know that you’re not alone. Please laugh as much as you cry. I’ve told my children that if I ever get this disease they are to treat me like normal, but play to it, allow me to stay in the time that I believe I am in, humour me, give me adventures, if I don’t know where I am – make it up!

Coping-with-Alzheimer's-leaf- The-Last-Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

People will tell you how to cope with this condition when you’re caring for a loved one who doesn’t know who you are, but as long as you are compassionate and loving, you’re doing the right thing. Take time out. Laugh, I cannot say this enough, not at the person sometimes not even with the person, they won’t understand and you don’t want to hurt or alienate them even further, but you need to deal with the mess it makes of your life too, and once you’re out of the immediate situation talk through the absurdity Alzheimer’s proffers you and laugh at it. Irreverence can see you through it all.

Tears will fall, that’s a guarantee, but don’t ever think you’re alone.

The Alzheimer’s Society is an amazing resource who will help you through this minefield, as will those who’ve been there already. Stay strong.

Nobody-Told-Me-S-R-Karfelt-Dementia

You can buy
Nobody Told Me: Love in the Time of Dementia
by S. R. Karfelt on Amazon UK Kindle Hardbackand Paperback.
Amazon US Kindle, Hardback,
and Paperback, and from your local Amazon and other online bookstores.
Please visit her website for further information and links.