[BOOK REVIEW] Blood Healing; Colt, K.J.

I had every intention of writing a different review here, but I was so caught up in the adventures of Adenine from my previous review, I just had to move to the second book in the series.
The rich textures and tapestries of intrigue continue with this book, as our young Healer continues on her journey of self discovery, this time away from her home town and in the city of the Queens.
Many questions raised in the first book are answered here, but in such a way it leads to more questions! However at no point are you left frustrated as the descriptions of the places, people and characters sweep you up.
I’m starting to feel I’m incapable of writing reviews, I’m aware I’m not describing the plot of the book very well, but this is one set of books that really needs to be read.
The theme of coping with the fear of sexual abuse is still present in this book, but the author draws on experience as a counsellor to make sure that the topic is dealt with in a very sensitive, yet believable way.
Adenine doesn’t grow up as much chronologically as she did in the first book, but her metamorphosis to adult thinking happens quite fast.
We discover the history behind Klawdia and her son, and find out that in the hunt for a perfect city, sacrifices are deemed necessary by the rulers.
One major twist to the storyline keeps you waiting for the next book.
I really hope that she keeps writing these stories, as they are definitely becoming firm favourites.

[Book Review] Concealed Power, Colt, K.J.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading the opening chapters. There was a strong feeling something wasn’t right, but it was hard to put a finger on it. It turns out that the author is very adept at setting the scene for later parts of the story with breadcrumbs through the book.
I have no doubt if I were to read the book again I would notice even more hidden details that linke through to make the story arc just that little bit more special than is normal in this genre.
Although the book does touch on sexual abuse matters and violent crime, it does so with a compassion and complexity that challenges the binary viewpoints of good and bad.
I laughed, I cried, I stayed up till 5 am several nights in a row to get through this book. The main character Adenine is introduced to us as a girl of ten, and the book spans the four years leading up to the day before her 14th birthday. It covers parental sacrifice, and the issues surrounding ‘doing the best we can’ regardless of legality or morality as judged by a surrounding populace.
It brings to the fore attitudes of judgement and conviction based purely on stereotypical issues and appearances, and challenges the reader to step outside of their comfort zone to identify with the protagonists.
I can not wait to read the next book in the series. Overall a very powerful and gripping tale with well developed characters and interesting perspectives.

Women in Autism, Research Autism conference, London

I am currently sat in a conference about Women and Autism, set in International Women’s Week.
Being an adult female with autism doesn’t normally bother me. I would go as far as to say I love being me. My autism gives me a perspective on the world that helps me make better sense of things than people around me.
However today I feel my autism.
The conference opened with a welcome by Deepa Korea. Deepa is the Chief Executive of Research Autism, and has an extensive past with public and private bodies.
Professor Terrry Brugha gave an interesting talk about the research he has been leading into identifying autism in the general female population. They began by screening about 7500 randomly assigned households with a questionnaire based on popular autism diagnosis questions. A subset scoring higher than a cutoff were then questioned again with a more targeted questionnaire. The research found that the incidence of autism in the general population as tested with these standard tests does tend to reflect the rates given in clinical settings with regards to per capita and gender ratio.
The second set of speakers were students and staff from the Limpsfield Grange school in Surrey. These strong and smart young girls are fortunate enough to be in a very special school indeed. This school accepts them as they are. They have made a video about being a girl on the spectrum, and how they feel they are different, but equal.
This video and the talk with it perfectly fielded by the young women reduced me to a quivering wreck. I lost all my coping strategies one by one as I contrasted their experiences with my own. Normally I can deal very well with public situations, but as I saw these vibrant, friendly, accepted individuals so content with their school and friendships and so positive about their autism I fell apart.
By the time the break came I was unable to even ask people to move out of the way so I could escape for a smoke. I lost the power to look at people, to articulate, to do anything other than stand frozen, surrounded by a hubbub of autism professionals looking like a scared rabbit looking for a bolt hole. Thankfully a young girl who I later found out was on the spectrum herself identified my issue, and said “excuse me” to create a gap for me. I ran through it to freedom, and only realised what she had done when I reached the quiet outside.
I tried to talk with her and her mum when I came back in, but I totally broke down. No one had ever done that for me before. No one saw, understood, and acted without a second thought.
It’s after lunch now, and several outbursts of quiet tears later, I am coping OK with the other talks.
Sometimes it takes a random act of kindness to reduce you to your core. But it has made such an impact that I will remember this girl for a long long time.

[Book Review] DARK LUMINANCE By E.M. McDowell

I have been recently reading books without reading the synopsis. I find it gives me a much more anticipatory buzz, and stops me looking for how a book fits into neat little boxes.

Dark Luminance (fiction) captured my attention immediately, with the principal character and his friends in a cliffhanging situation.

This book deals with many themes including love found (and lost), quantum mechanics, life-after-death, and existentialism. Without knowing the plot outline beforehand, I was gripped by the story, and I need the next book in the series so badly. The initial chapters contain a small amount of technical explanation, but this doesn’t detract from the story, and does not need to be understood. However, from my recollection of this part of science in my studies, there was nothing that made me think “oh, come on!” like I find occurring with so many modern day authors.

I don’t think my last paragraph truly conveys what the content is about, but then I don’t want to ruin the joy I experienced for other people.

If you are looking for a very smart, fast-paced science fiction novel, where the characters are multi-dimensional and clever then this is a good call.

Dark Luminance is available in paperback and ebook forms, from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.