Books With Bite

Good evening, bookworm, I’ll just pop a light on so you don’t trip over a teetering To Be Read pile or a cat. There we are, it’s so good to see you! I feel a little out of sorts at the moment, so I’m going through my books to find an old favourite or two which never fail to cheer me up. Oh, I’m fine honestly, I just seem to have read quite a few books lately which stay with me after I’ve finished.

I’ve always read a diverse range of books and genres and don’t mind if a novel requires the complete suspense of disbelief or if it’s based in more of a real world setting. I read to relax and be entertained, but sometimes a story comes my way which has some emotional triggers for me, or is based around a topic which isn’t easy to read.

Let’s take some of the examples I’ve read recently. To save you fumbling around Book Review Corner, just click on the image of the individual books below to go directly to my review.

Someone To Kiss My Scars by Brooke Skipstone focuses on trauma, and the associated memories some people would do anything to forget. Someone To Kiss My Scars is a dark YA novel, with graphic scenes of self-harm, rape and sexual abuse of minors. As hard hitting as it is, these issues need to be talked about.

The Things I Want To Say But Can’t by Carla Christian had a number of very raw scenes, including alcohol dependence, child abuse and domestic violence. I felt so uncomfortable during the scenes of the protagonist’s emotional and physical abuse, that I had to take a breather every now and then before returning to it. The book was powerful and well worth a read if such triggers won’t affect you. There’s a risk in some books that such issues can be used gratuitously as part of the plot, but I didn’t feel this was the case with this novel. Knowing that men, women and children suffer in these ways somewhere every day made me force myself to read on.

Blood Ties by Peter Taylor-Gooby is a thriller centred around modern slavery and immigration. Whilst it’s a work of fiction, I feel like I wouldn’t be shocked to read the news one day and find the scenarios in the book actually happening in the UK. One of the characters, Nic, has bi-polar disorder and I truly felt for her and her family at times as she tried to balance the symptoms and medication. Whilst I didn’t trigger emotionally with this novel as much as I did the previous two I’ve mentioned, it still left my mind churning with what could be happening right under my nose without me realising it.

Going back to what I said above about reading for relaxation and entertainment, I don’t regret reading any of the titles above. I admire the bravery of these authors for writing about topics which don’t always get talked about. I just need to plan my own reading in a different way, so that I don’t feel emotionally drained from the cumulative effect of books with triggering or concerning topics. I’d signed up to review two of these books as part of promotional tours months in advance, and I had planned to read the other in August since the author had kindly gifted me a copy. Being a book reviewer is definitely a learning curve for me; in future I’ll make sure I factor in other books and topics I’ve planned in rather than purely signing up for a tour based upon being interested in a novel and having availability.

Ooh, that all felt a little serious didn’t it? I feel like I’ve got a load of my chest about this in telling you about it though, so thank you for paying attention through my waffling. I’m interested to know whether you feel triggered by books at times and if so, what you do to restore your emotional equilibrium. Please feel free to drop your thoughts in the comments below…

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