What the Gut!?!

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Photo courtesy by: Creations by Cindy Photography.

Just a warning:   Aside from this being quite possibly the longest post I’ve written, there is going to be a lot of TMI in this post.  During and after my experience, I’ve receive many emails, texts, phone calls, and visits about what happened.  Getting an emergency gallbladder removal is not something to be taken lightly, and I wanted to share what happened here, in hopes others can learn from my experience.  So, hold on to your seat as you read my post, “What the gut!?!”

Photo courtesy: Bay Surgical Specialists.

A week ago today, I had my gallbladder removed.  The Saturday prior, I started feeling nauseous and had a sense I was getting sick.  So, I called a local store and made an appointment to get a vitamin B12 shot.  Immediately afterwards, I felt even more nauseated and thought it was because I hadn’t really eaten that day.  After a quick pit stop at the gas station for some fruit juice ( I had been nursing a Diet Coke all day and couldn’t stand to take another sip), we were on our way to a seafood restaurant.  Ate some grilled shrimp, lobster, scallops, with wild rice pilaf and steamed broccoli.  After I ate, I felt this bloating come across my stomach and a tight knot under my sternum.  Went home, felt better, went to bed.

Sunday, I woke up in PAIN! I didn’t want to miss church, so I took an anti-nausea pill I had and got myself to church.  When I got home, I felt worse.  Nauseated and stomach cramps.  I thought it was possibly food poisoning, but I didn’t have diarrhea or vomiting.  Laid down with a heating pad, sipped on water, ate a piece of toast and a bowl of applesauce.  The pain started to get worse and I knew it wasn’t food poisoning.

Photo courtesy of Headaches.Org.

Rather than take another anti-nausea pill or Milk of Magnesia, I told my husband I was getting worse.  I could barely walk from the pain, I felt tingling all over my body and face, I was light headed, had severe cramping that felt like labor cramps, and was very nauseous.  My husband took me to the Urgent Care facility in my area, and from there it went fast.

The doctor ruled out a heart attack with an EKG, I had a cat scan, and blood drawn to see what was going on.  After ruling everything out, I was sent home with meds for pain and nausea and told it was a case of “Acute Gastritis”.  I was home for maybe 30 minutes before I told my husband I was not getting better with the meds I was given and was starting to get worse.  I truly felt like I was in labor. I had a permanent pain across my stomach, then every 3-4 minutes the cramping series would start under my sternum and radiate to the bottom of my stomach.  It was horrible and I immediately starting meditating and doing breathing exercises-like I did 18 and 16 years ago…when I was in labor!!  I was also belching a lot.

Finally was called to the ER room, saw the doctor, who said I looked very sick!  He said he didn’t even need to decide if I should be released or not…I was staying.  He was determined to get to the bottom of it!  He thought it was my colon or gallbladder and ordered an ultrasound, drew some blood and called in some IV pain and nausea meds.  While the nurse was going to get the IV meds, I started to throw up…profusely!! It was more than I had ever thrown up before and looked like at least a gallon of fluids.  Seriously.  Immediately afterwards, my husband was eager to find out if I was okay and asked if I felt better.  I didn’t.  I felt worse.  The doctor knew something was wrong, even when the tests were coming back normal. He said there is no way that the amount of vomit I had was from 1 or even 2 days ago.  It was a week’s worth! Wow.

I was admitted and the next day saw a total of 4 more doctors/surgeons, countless nurses, PCA’s (primary care assistants), and the “blood lady”, who drew my blood a lot!!  I was in great hands, as we knew the gastroenterologist doctor (Dr. Harry Ojeas), who gathered an excellent team of doctors to oversee my care.  The bloodwork came back all normal, my ultrasound was clear, my catscan showed nothing, yet the pain and nausea was still there. I couldn’t eat anything, not even the liquid diet they had me on.  For 3 days, I was unable to eat anything or drink water.    I couldn’t eat ice chips without getting cramps and nausea.  I was being fed by IV for 3 days.

A Hydascan was done and an endoscopy.  I had a fatty liver and the gallbladder had ZERO function.  It had scar tissue everywhere, was inflamed, and was “diseased”.  Thankfully, the doctor was able to remove it.  I had a bad reaction to the anesthesia (I’m allergic and have horrible side effects as the medicine wears off), and was in pain!! In a different kind of pain, but still pain.  My nurse told me the best way to relieve the pain was to walk it off.  I only heard pain relief equals walking, before I was in the hallways for 3 days! I was determined to walk that pain off!! I was so groggy, couldn’t keep my eyes open, and hurt so bad, but I walked! Thankfully, my husband is strong and held me up, along with my IV cart.

As I look back on everything, I realize that I had been living with an inactive gallbladder for some time.  While I didn’t have gallbladder stones, I did have a diseased gallbladder that needed to get out.  Each doctor, a total of 5 independent  doctors at the hospital all said that I was on too many prescription medications and natural supplements.  One said I had the prescriptions of a sick, elderly 80 year old woman. I’m 41 years old.  Five of the 6 doctors, seen at urgent care and the ER, said to me at different times: either change your PCP or you need to talk to the doctor to streamline your meds.  You are overmedicated!!

Is my PCP to blame? No.  Did he know something was going on with my gallbladder? No.  Every 4 months, I get bloodwork to determine how my body is adjusting to the meds and if the doses need to be adjusted.  It’s when I realized most of my symptoms were a direct result to my gallbladder of symptoms, even though the dots weren’t being connected to my gallbladder, yet.

  • Symptom:  Nausea every morning upon waking up.
  • Treatment:  Coke, later Diet Coke, to help calm my stomach down.  The carbonation helped decrease the nausea and no other carbonated drink helped.  If it got too bad, prescription medicine for anti-nausea
  • Length of Time:  At least 4 years.

 

  • Symptom:   Acid reflux
  • Treatment:  OTC protonics
  • Length of Time:  3 years.

 

  • Symptom:  Shoulder and neck pain
  • Treatment:  Steroid shot every 6 months, anti-inflammatory prescription medicine, physical therapy, ibuprofen if pain increased, prescription pain medication if pain was unbearable.  Biofreeze was my perfume-I used it all the time!
  • Length of Time:  At least 2 years.
  • Symptom:  High triglycerides and cholesterol
  • Treatment:  2 prescriptions medicines, 6 salmon fish oils a day
  • Length of Time:  At least 4 years.
  • Symptom: Pre-diabetes
  • Treatment:  Diabetes medicine
  • Length of Time:  1 year
  • Symptom:  Migraines
  • Treatment:  Prescription medicine as needed
  • Length of Time:  4 years, minimum
  • Symptom:  Lower back pain
  • Treatment:  Slept on a heating pad, almost every day, ibuprofen as needed, prescription medication on days it was really bad.
  • Length of Time:  1 year
  • Symptom:  Insomnia & waking up at 1:30 am & 3:30 am (if not already awake).
  • Treatment:  Prescription medication ( 2 kinds)
  • Length of Time:  2 years
  • Symptom:  Depression and anxiety
  • Treatment:  Told it was due to hormones fluctuating and had Peri-Menopausal Dysphoric Disorder
  • Length of Time:  2 years
  • Symptom:  Vision blurry and fuzzy, if looked up too fast-eyes would also take time to adjust.
  • Treatment:  Glasses
  • Length of Time: 2 months
  • Symptom:  Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Treatment:  Natural meds, later prescribed meds, to OTC ibuprofen as needed.
  • Length of Time:  16 years
  • Symptom:  Nauseous from scents and certain foods
  • Treatment:  I just wouldn’t eat those foods or be in a room, where its being made.
  • Length of Time:  2 years
  • Symptom:  Hypothyroidism
  • Treatment:  Prescription medicine
  • Length of Time:  2 years
  • Symptom:   Recurring UTI’s, inflamed bladder 
  • Treatment:  Antibiotics
  • Length of Time:  10 months

Overall, can you see how I started to feel like my body was rejecting me? I had gained weight, which I attributed to hypothyroidism, my insomnia and pain to the shoulder (right one) never getting better post-surgery, and my nausea-attributed it to all the meds I was on.  I don’t typically take so many medicines, but I was tired of trying to do things naturally and wanted a productive life without ailments stopping me from experiencing life.  I had shoulder surgery, on my right side, almost 3 years ago.  It was related to a car accident, where we were rear ended. So, I think that is what threw my doctor off. Pain on your right side shoulder, neck, back, and even migraines can be due to a malfunctioning gallbladder. However, my shoulder injury and surgery disguised what was really going on.

Does anyone know when my gallbladder started to fail me? No.  Can anyone tell me if all of the symptoms are related? There is speculation, but not definitive confirmation.

What I can confirm is that immediately after my surgery, the pain in my neck and shoulder went away.  My fuzzy eye vision, in spite of wearing glasses, stopped! I now have clear vision.

The whole time I was in the hospital, I didn’t take my “pre-diabetes” medicine and my blood was checked every 4 hours.  The highest number was 136, which was right after surgery.  My sugar stayed between 70 and 90 in the morning and was 107-117 after eating.  So, I never needed an insulin shot or diabetes medication while there.

I also realized that I experienced my anxiety when my pain was at it’s all time high.  So,  my pain is directly connected to my anxiety.  Because I was experiencing high levels of pain, I lived anxious.  Mind you, I had a midwife deliver both of my sons: my oldest was 8.6 pounds and my youngest was 9.14 pounds.  So, I have a very HIGH tolearnance to pain, which is why this got so bad! When I didn’t feel the strong pain, I wasn’t anxious.

Photo courtesy from Care Resource. Org.

Since I’ve been home, I have only taken my thyroid medicine, antibiotics prescribed by my surgeon and urologist, and 2 probiotics.  I’m also going to visit another doctor, an internist, who my surgeon recommended.  He gave me the names of 3, due to my persistence.

Photo courtesy by Emory Johns Creek.

I have 4 incision sites, like the picture above (left side).  I’m expected to make a full recovery.  I can eat food that is not high in acid, I’ve stopped drinking Diet Coke and only drink water or my veggie/fruit shakes, and am limiting my carb intake (breads at a minimum).  I’m not a “sweets”person, but I am a pickle girl.  I love Dill Dixie pickles!! I ate a small one last night, and paid for it dearly.  My stomach hurt and cramped all night.

I’m still sleeping on my recliner, can’t do heavy lifting, and won’t be able to truly resume normal activities for another month.  Each day I am getting stronger, and in less pain.  I still get tired quickly from too much walking and I get out of breath easily, but the doctor says with time I will be fine.

I plan to post a couple of more posts about my family and life after gallbladder removal surgery, as well as my hospital experience.  I am thankful that I have self-insured health insurance that is covering 90% of my hospital stay and 100% of my doctor visits.   I am blessed to have a wonderful husband and children, who all came together and helped, while Mom was away for 6 days and 5 nights.  Most importantly, I am thankful and blessed to serve a Mighty God!

God is good, all the time.  All the time, God is good.

simple signature best

Liebster Award!

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I was nominated for the Liebster Award from Ivory Owl Reviews!  Thanks so much, Rhiannon!!

I am super excited because this blog started 4 years ago, with just a desire to talk about books and give a few away.  It means a lot that I have you reading my little blog, and that you have joined me on this blog journey!  This December will be 4 years that I have been book blogging! Can you believe it?

What is the Liebster Award?

An award given to book bloggers by book bloggers.

The Rules 

  • Link and thank the person who nominated your blog
  • Answer the eleven questions they asked you
  • Pick eleven bloggers with less than two hundred followers to nominate
  • Ask them eleven questions
  • Let them know that you’ve nominated them by commenting on one of their posts

Here are the questions I have been asked to answer:

  1. What is your favorite book of 2014 so far?  This is a tough one, because I’ve read so many great books from different genres, that I love! However, the one that stands out the most to me is:  Help for the Haunted by John Searles.  This book had me crying, angry, sad, and hopeful.  It’s also a book that can easily be considered for multiple genres, too!
  2. Do you re-read any books on a regular basis?  I don’t re-read books regularly, but I do have books that I do re-read!
  3. How long have you been book blogging?  It will be 4 years this December!
  4. What is your favorite book blogging link-up?  I love to link up to Bloglovin’.  I have found so many great blogs using Bloglovin’ and it’s fairly easy to link up to it.  I also link up to Goodreads and LibraryThing, so that I can share my reviews and keep track of the books I’ve read.
  5. How many books do you usually read each year?  I typically read under 100.  However, I have been reading a lot this year and may pass 100.
  6. Do you save all your books or do you do regular purges?  I am book hoarder. I love books.  However, having a blog has helped me to “purge” by providing book giveaways.  I have also donated books to local shelters, which helps the community and helps me to clear out my bookshelves.  Of course, book hops are always great, too!  The books I do keep are the ones that have inspired me, impacted me in a profound way, and/or I have developed a great relationship with the author. The ones kept are typically autographed, too. Now, the bad part- I don’t purge any e-books.  So, I have an extensive library on both Nook and Kindle.
  7. What book really sparked your love of reading?  I have been reading since I was a little girl.  Because I grew up in the barrio, where books were scarce, I devoured any book I could get my hands on.  I borrowed any book I could (didn’t matter the genre), and I lived at the library. I loved books then, and do now!  So, it’s hard to know which book was my first.
  8. Do you have any authors that you have read everything they have written?  Yes! I have read everything from Jane Austen (I’ve reread her books, too!), Judy Blume, Julie Klassen, Julie Farley (love her book series), Sarah Jio, Melanie Benjamin, Suzanne Collins (her series), Stephenie Meyers (yes, even the unpublished chapters she shared), and probably more that I have left out.  Sorry!! My mind is blank right now.
  9. What is your favorite reading snack?  Frozen grapes-the purple ones!
  10. What is your least favorite book?  I don’t know which is my least favorite because I typically won’t finish a book that is not capturing my attention.  If I had to pick one-it would be anything that has a lot of grammatical errors.  Granted, I am not an English teacher and I am sure I have my fair share of errors, too.  However, if I can catch them, then that’s pretty bad.
  11. What time of day is your usual reading time?  At night.  I love reading right before bedtime! It’s how I calm my mind from the day and enter into another world with characters that I want to know more about!
I am so thankful for this great award! I can’t wait to share it with some of my fellow book bloggers!
I nominate the following bloggers:
For those who have been nominated, answer the same questions I answered :D
xx,
Lisa

TLC Book Tour Review: Early Decision by Lacy Crawford

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Click on the book cover for synopsis.

My Review:

As a mom of a freshman in college, I can still remember all the preparation it took and time spent to fill out college applications, scholarships, and visiting campuses.  During that time, a friend mentioned hiring a person to fill out the applications for their son.  It was a lot of money, and I thought it was a bit crazy.

Well, apparently, that is the norm!! This book moved at a great pace and highlights different families and the challenges they face, along with the “college whisperer” to make sure the student has the best opportunity to go to the best university.  This book isn’t a “how-to”, rather it shows the extents families will go for their child to remain a legacy in the family, the pressures the students face, and the way it can potentially bring a family closer, or break them further apart.  I found it most interesting the relationships and family dynamics that Anne sees, as she spends more time with her students and family secrets are exposed and the pressures each one faces.

It’s not a depressing book by any means, but it’s a somber look at what families expect from their children, even when their child may have a different idea of what they want for their future.  I love how Anne is able to bring out the best in each of the students she works with and the trust she works hard at establishing.

Anne has her own share of struggles and a relationship that is long distance, which puts pressure on her work and her own goals.  Anne is a young woman, who didn’t set out to be a college coach.  She taught at school and helped her students with their college essays, which slowly morphed into her coaching other kids because of the huge success she had with her former students.

About a year ago, I read the book, Accelerated by Bronwen Hruska.  Reading Lacy Crawford’s book made me think of the students from Accelerated, and I pictured them and their parents as the ones seeking help from Anne.  I know…these books have nothing to do with the other, but I could see a natural extension of it all.

Overall, I loved this book! Again, there aren’t any huge secrets that are revealed in the book.  However, I loved the essays because it showed what each student was thinking, their writing ability, and how Anne was able to pull more from her students when she read the essays.  I loved this book and any parent who has dealt with college admissions, has a child in school, or is simply a reader who loves books about family secrets, family relationships, and the pressure of today’s society, will all enjoy this fantastic read!

excellent cupcake 5

*This book was provided by the publisher and TLC Book Tours, in exchange for an honest review.  No forms of compensation were given.

About Lacy Crawford

For fifteen years Lacy Crawford served as a highly discreet independent college admissions counselor to the children of powerful clients in cities such as New York, Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and London. Her “day jobs” included serving as senior editor of Narrative magazine and director of the Burberry Foundation. Educated at Princeton and the University of Chicago, Crawford lives in California with her husband and two children.

Connect with Lacy Crawford through her website or Twitter.

Lacy’s  Tour Stops

Tuesday, August 26th: Walking With Nora

Wednesday, August 27th: Back Porchervations

Thursday, August 28th: Man of La Book

Monday, September 1st: Alison’s Book Marks

Tuesday, September 2nd: The Ludic Reader

Wednesday, September 3rd: cakes, tea and dreams

Thursday, September 4th: Staircase Wit

Monday, September 8th: Carpe Libros

Wednesday, September 10th: The Scarlet Letter

Thursday, September 11th: missris

Monday, September 15th: Mrs. Mommy Booknerd

Tuesday, September 16th: Shall Write

Wednesday, September 17th: Book Journey

Thursday, September 18th: Bibliotica

Thursday, September 25th: Books in the Burbs

Friday, September 26th: The Things You Can Read

HFVBT Book Tour Review: Madame Picasso by Anne Girard

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My Review:

This is by far the best Historical fiction novel I have read this year! Anne Girard is a masterful storyteller, weaving in a beautiful storyline where there are blanks in history about the relationship between Eva Gouel and Pablo Picasso.  We all know who Pablo Picasso is, his many relationships with women (who often became his muse), and the incredible artwork he created.  However, not much is known about the one woman who helped shaped his career, taught him love and forgiveness, and who he never painted a complete portrait of.  Even that portrait was never shown to the public, until after his death, which was found amongst many of his own personal belongings.

In the early 1900’s, Picasso was working his way up the ladder to become one of the world’s best artists.  However, during that time, he was really just starting out and with a few a paintings and a huge dream, he sets off to Paris.  Eva is a young girl, pushed by her parents to marry the fellow neighbor.  Determined to have a better life and make something of herself, she also sets off to Paris.  Eva starts out as a seamstress at the famous Moulin Rouge, where anyone that is important, will show up to see the performances.  It is there that Eva meets Picasso.

Through a test of their relationship and devotion, both Eva and Picasso set out to create their “Eden”.  Anne Girard introduces us to other fantastic artists and poets, who all seem to conjugate at Gertrude Steins home for exquisite parties.  It the place to be for artists to talk, debate, and reignite fires for their works.  While Eva wasn’t the first Madame Picasso, nor the last, she certainly is the one who left the biggest imprint on his life and art.

For the first half of the book, readers will catch a glimpse of their own personal challenges, the start of their relationship, and how they soon become partners, in every way.  The second half of the book goes very fast.  I kept sensing this impending doom, almost like a Romeo and Juliet sequence of sorts, and I kept finding myself holding my breath! I stayed up well past 3 am, because I had to know the fate of their relationship, and wept at the end of the book.  Then, like any other historical fiction fan, I googled Eva Gouel and was shocked to see that so little is known about her, which makes Anne Girard even that much more of a genius and incredible writer!

This is a phenomenal book, one that history buffs will devour in a day or two.  It’s a book that will stay with you for days afterward, and deserves the attention and merit that books like, Call Me Zelda, Z is for Zelda, and The Paris Wife received.  My only request is that someone now write a book about Gertrude Stein and her beloved partner, Alice!

If you have time, I highly recommend you visit Anne’s page.  She has an excerpt of the book, some background information on an interview she did with a friend of Pablo’s, and other interesting information! This is such an incredible book, that I even bought my own copy!

supreme cupcake rating 6

*This book was provided by the author and HFVBT for review, in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author03_Anne Girard

Anne Girard was born with writing in her blood. The daughter of a hard-driving Chicago newsman, she has always had the same passion for storytelling that fueled his lifelong career. She hand-wrote her first novel (admittedly, not a very good one) at the age of fourteen, and never stopped imagining characters and their stories. Writing only ever took a backseat to her love of reading.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in English literature from UCLA and a Master’s degree in psychology from Pepperdine University, a chance meeting with the acclaimed author, Irving Stone, sharply focused her ambition onto telling great stories from history with detailed research. “Live where your characters lived, see the things they saw,” he said, “only then can you truly bring them to life for your readers.” Anne took that advice to heart. After Stone’s encouragement twenty years ago, she sold her first novel. When she is not traveling the world researching her stories, Anne and her family make their home in Southern California. When she is not traveling or writing, she is reading fiction.

Anne also writes historical fiction under the name Diane Haeger. For more information, visit www.dianehaeger.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Madame Picasso Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 25
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, August 26
Interview & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, August 27
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Thursday, August 28
Review & Giveaway at Words and Peace
Review & Giveaway at Kinx’s Book Nook

Friday, August 29
Review at Scandalous Women
Review at Curling Up by the Fire

Monday, September 1
Review at A Bookish Affair
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, September 2
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading
Interview & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

Wednesday, September 3
Spotlight at Gobs and Gobs of Books
Spotlight & Giveaway at Susan Heim on Writing

Thursday, September 4
Review & Giveaway at The Maiden’s Court

Friday, September 5
Review at To Read or Not to Read

Monday, September 8
Review at Book of Secrets
Review & Giveaway at Mina’s Bookshelf

Tuesday, September 9
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, September 11
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Friday, September 12
Review at Caroline Wilson Writes
Review at The Book Binder’s Daughter

Monday, September 15
Review at Layered Pages
Review at Carole’s Ramblings

Tuesday, September 16
Review at She is Too Fond of Books

Wednesday, September 17
Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, September 18
Review at One Book of a Time

Friday, September 19
Spotlight & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time

Monday, September 22
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee

Tuesday, September 23
Review at Books in the Burbs
Review at The Librarian Fatale

Wednesday, September 24
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Review at WTF Are You Reading?

Thursday, September 25
Review at Kincavel Korner

Friday, September 26
Interview at Kincavel Korner

Winner Revealed!

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Drum Roll Please……

Thomas M. was randomly selected to win this amazing giveaway!

A huge thanks to Brittany and Warner Bros. for giving Books in the Burbs an opportunity to host this!

Don’t forget, there is still another giveaway going on!

Click here to enter the giveaway!

Happy Friday!

Getting Organized

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Yesterday was my first Twitter chat with Bloggiesta!  It was quite helpful to know that many other bloggers have the same issues I have!  Yes, we are all a little bit crazy…about blogging and books!

I learned the best way for me to keep track of my blogging is to simply write it down.  I have tried every online program, used my iphone, my ipad, and still, I can’t keep track of it all.  I’m just old fashioned…I prefer the paper calendar!  Yep, I bought a huge one, the one I actually used to use when I counseled clients.  It’s the one that has time slots, per day.  It helps me to stay focused, has not only my blogging tasks, but my family meal plans and appointments for my kids, hubby, and myself.  So far, it’s worked.  My family is happy to have home cooked meals, and I feel more productive.

I am learning to navigate myself through social media.  Honestly, it’s all overwhelming and so redundant.  It’s like having 5 different phone providers: they all work the same way, just through different networks.  Same thing with Twitter, FB, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Bloglovin’, etc.  The worst part- I feel like I’m missing out if I don’t belong to every single one!!! Yeah, I’m OCD and I overanalyze everything!!!  It’s all a learning process and I’m definitely looking at deleting some of them.  I hope you won’t be disappointed.  I just don’t want everything to be so redundant and I certainly want stay true to my blog: so blogging is my bigger priority than being a part of so many social media sites.  It’s a work in process, of course.  Any suggestions? Let me know!

I also liked the idea of incorporating other non-bookish memes on my blog, but not anything that would cause any of you to simply click “delete” when you see my post pop up! So, I ‘d love some ideas from you!

If you haven’t already, go to my sidebar and click on the book covers for book giveaways I’m hosting.

 

The Hidden Girl by Louise Millar

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Click on book cover for synopsis.

My Review:

This is a psychological thriller, that is definitely a mystery and can drive the protagonist mad! Will and Hannah are married, and have been unable to have a baby.  After countless IVF’s and other fertility treatments, they decide adoption is their best option to expanding their family.  What is typical for couples: rather than grieve their inability to have a biological child, they immediately venture into the world of adoption, without even talking about where they are as a couple.  As a result, Will is a bit put off by the huge move they make into the country, which will make his commute 4 hours!!  I know….I wouldn’t do it either!

However, after a failed adoption attempt, Hannah is determined to make sure everything is perfect and feels having a house (rather their apartment) will increase their chances to having a child.  Sadly, Will is really distant (literally), upset about the move, and missed the “old” Hannah.  Hannah is hyper-focused on fixing up their new home, which needs a lot of work.  Due to heavy snows (think “The Shining”), Hannah is left alone in a desolate area, where she has to fix the house and repair many things, too! Will, on the other hand, is stranded at work.  Really, though, he is connecting with an office mate, and making great music.

With lots of strange happenings, and people who reminded me of the town in “Children of the Corn”, Hannah has to solve the mysteries happening in and around her home.  She has strange neighbors, who all have their own agenda, and a “ghost” who has an agenda, too.

I enjoyed the book and storyline, but found myself so frustrated for Hannah.  I always tell people that if an author can make me detest an unlikeable character, then she did her job…and Louise Millar certainly nails this one! I found Will to be uncaring, very self-centered, and selfish.  Understanding he was dealing with the failed adoption in his own way, he still made me so angry! I really wanted a different ending for Hannah because of how brave and strong she is.  However, it is their dream to have a family and their relationship can overcome.  I would have liked the book to have been longer, so that we could see how Hannah and Will deal with their relationship and come together to decide how to move forward.  Nonetheless, it’s a fast past paced novel, lots of mysteries to uncover, and a great book that kept me up late at night because I was determined to know how it all ends!

great cupcake rating 4*This book was provided by the publisher and NetGalley.  No forms of compensation were given.