Review of Disease by Hans M Hirschi

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It was my absolute honour to receive a copy of Disease, by Hans M Hirschi, in return for an honest review.

First of all, here is the blurb:

When journalist Hunter MacIntyre is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s, he realizes that his life is about to change, not to mention that he’s been handed a certain death sentence.

Alzheimer’s is a disease affecting the patient’s loved ones as much, if not more, than the patient themselves. In Hunter’s case, that’s his partner Ethan and their five-year-old daughter Amy. How will they react to, and deal with, Hunter’s changing behavior, his memory lapses, and the consequences for their everyday lives?

Disease is a story of Alzheimer’s, seen through the eyes of one affected family.

 

My Review

Hans Hirschi’s Disease is a brilliant and highly emotional journey into a horrible illness, told from the point of view of the sufferer, with snippets of comments added by his husband and daughter.

Hunter is a writer and when he is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s he begins to record his life, his daily struggle with his diagnosis, prognosis, the symptoms and how he feels about losing the world and the loved ones around him. His husband, Ethan, finds the diary after Hunter’s death, and adds notes to explain some of the difficulties from his point of view, along with some shocking revelations that truly caught me off guard.

Despite what seems like a dire story line with a predictably sad ending, this does not feel like a tragic story. The diagnosis is tragic, of course it is, and knowing that there is no cure, and that Hunter will lose everything before he loses the battle is also tragic, but amidst all the sadness there is a glimpse of a life lived and a soul that loves and is loved in return. It is horrifically sad, but Hans does an incredible job to keep the balance just right.

I cried, oh yes, I cried more than once, and at times had to put the book down and walk away because it upset me so much. I defy anyone who has watched a loved one disappear before their eyes because of this horrible disease not to find this book a challenge to read, but at the same time, it is such an important story because it is told from the point of view of the sufferer. This is something we, as onlookers, never see. We see what is lost to us, yes, but never what is going on in that slowly disappearing mind. Disease let’s us see this from Hunter’s unique perspective, and tells how he feels on a day to day basis. He tells how his world is being slowly stolen away from him and replaced by something no one understands, not even his closest loved ones and least of all, him.

I knew this book would be an emotional roller coaster from the very beginning. There is no massive shock reveal. We know Hunter is going to die. He tells it how it is. It begins with him describing his initial diagnosis and the build up to why he sought help. We then follow him through his ups and many downs. It doesn’t bear thinking about just how awful it must be for him to know that he won’t see his daughter grow up, or that he will be leaving his husband to raise her on his own. All of these subjects are explored with feeling and a stark reality that is touching and beautiful.

Hans handles all the legal issues of a same sex couple trying to make sure their family stay together and are provided for after a death, with a calm acceptance that is heartbreaking. It isn’t enough that they have to cope with Hunter’s disease, they also have the legal struggles faced by most same sex couples in this world. Our society needs a kick up the backside when it comes to basic human rights and if you didn’t know that already, you need to read this book. This is just one family’s struggle.

Hans is a brilliant writer and this book should be on everyone’s shelf.

Disease is available from Beaten Track Publishing, Amazon UK and Smashwords

 

About the Author

Author Hans M. Hirschi

Hans M Hirschi has been writing stories since childhood. As an adult, the demands of corporate life put an end to his fiction for more than twenty years. A global executive in training, he has traveled the world and published several non-fiction titles as well as four well-received novels. The birth of his son provided him with the opportunity to rekindle his love of creative writing, where he expresses his deep passion for a better world through love and tolerance. Hans lives with his husband and son on a small island off the west coast of Sweden.

To find out more about Hans click here to see his author page on Beaten Track Publishing or to visit his blog click here.

There is an author chat over on Facebook today, hosted by Bike Book Reviews. Click here to join Hans and ask any questions you might have about his wonderful book.

For anyone affected by Alzheimer’s or wishing to find out more about the disease click here to visit the Alzheimer’s Society UK website where they have information about the disease, how to get support and how to help support those suffering with the disease themselves.

 

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Rainbow Snippets 10/21

Russ's light painting

Hello again. This is a bit worrying, that I have time to do a post for this week’s Rainbow Snippets. That’s three weeks in a row that I’ve posted. I’m sure I’ll discover that there something else I should be doing.

My very colourful cover photo this week was taken by my photographer friend, Russ, whose photos I have used quite a lot over the last few years. This one was taken just two nights ago. Some rather magical effects that makes some local graffiti look quite spectacular. There’s a link below if you want to see more of his amazing photography.

And so to this week’s snippet. From my age gap romance WIP, it is an exchange between Jules and his teenage daughter. Jules has brought Tristan to his house after discovering the man has less than ideal living conditions at present.

In the kitchen I encounter a very confused Amy.

“Dad?” She regards me with a quizzical expression. “I thought you were going round to see How Mr Gilman was.”

“Yes, and I brought him here because…urgh!” I blow out my cheeks and take some deep breaths to calm down.

“Dad, what’s wrong, is he okay?”

“Yes, yes, he’s okay, apart from being the stubbornest, most obstinate and argumentative person I’ve ever met. He’s also very sore because he crashed his car yesterday and then thought it was a great idea to sleep on his floor because he has no bed, no heating, no electricity, no bloody sense….” I throw my hands up in frustration. “Anyway, he’s here, and likely to be staying the night, even if I have to tie him to the bed.”

“Oh.” She giggles wickedly. “Too much information, dad.”

“Amy!” I exclaim, shocked that she would make such an assumption.

Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).

To find out what others are posting this week click here.

To see more of Russ’s amazing photography click here. And please, don’t use any of his pictures without his permission.

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and tumblr and don’t forget to share.

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Rainbow Snippets 10/14

Rainbow fence

Wow, I managed two weeks in a row.

This week’s snippet once again, comes from my age-gap WIP about a head teacher and his newest member of staff, and takes place a little before the one I posted last week.

The background to this one is that, Tristan is at home resting after a disastrous first day at work that involved delayed flights which made him late and a visit to A&E. His suitcase was lost in transit and has just turned up at the school so Jules signs for it, persuading the delivery guy to leave it with him instead of taking it to Tristan, mostly to save the delivery guy a very long round trip, but Jules may have other motivations he’s not admitting to himself. Jules signs Tristan’s name on the delivery receipt to keep the guy’s records correct.

“Jules McPherson, you’ve just committed fraud.” Suzy gasps, following me as I carry the suitcase back up to my office.

“Oh my god.” I have to sit down, because my legs are shaking. “I did didn’t I? I don’t know what came over me, except it makes sense for me to take the suitcase to Tristan since I live so close.”

“Yes, it makes perfect sense.” Suzy sounds dubious and is giving me a strange look.

I need to get away from her before she starts asking any deep searching questions, like “why?”.

 “I’m helping out a colleague in trouble, Suzy.” I frown at her, answering as if she’s asked the question anyway.

“What?” She raises her eyebrows and feigns innocence but I can see her brain working, the cogs moving at a million miles an hour. “I never said a word. But there’s helping out a work colleague and then there’s committing a felony for a friend. You know, like the: I’m-such-a-good-friend-I-would-help-you-hide-a-body kind of thing?”

“Suzy, what on earth are you talking about? I hardly know the man.” I can’t make out her reasoning at all. “I haven’t offered to hide anyone’s body, and signing Tristan’s name to say I’ve received his suitcase is hardly a crime against humanity. As long as Tristan gets his stuff, what’s the harm?”

Well, there you go. Another week, another snippet.

Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!). 

To see what others are sharing this week, click here.

Feel free to reblog, share and follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and Pintrest. Also find my work and other awesome stuff at Beaten Track Publishing.

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Rainbow Snippets 10/08

Happy weekend, Snipeteers all.

This weekend my daughter went off on a school trip to see the sights of London and she bought me the awesome mug you see in the photo above.

The significance of the rose is, obviously, that is a rainbow one and she knows me so well, but our surname is Rose and her first name is so difficult to find that she always finds things with roses on as an alternative.

The mugs have nothing to do with my snippet this week, apart from the fact that the two main characters are drinking coffee while they talk. Perhaps they are drinking from mugs with Shakespeare quotes on them, because they are both English teachers after all.

The snippet is from my age gap romance featuring Jules, head teacher and Tristan, newly employed English teacher with an alarming habit of getting himself into scrapes.

Here is Tristan asking Jules for some advice and not really getting to the point.

“Jules I got a dilemma.” Tristan tells me. “No, a moral issue, is it a moral issue? I don’t know.” He frowns at his coffee, as if he’ll find the answer there, and then shrugs as he continues. “Let’s just call it a sticky situation.” He shakes his head in frustration. “No! it isn’t a sticky situation because that makes it sound as if I’m in some sort o’ trouble but I ain’t. It’s a question of personal values and I think I might need some advice from someone older n’ wiser.” His eyes widen and he turns to face me with a look of horror on his face as he realises the implications of his words. “Not that you’re older by a wide margin, you ain’t, you’re just wiser than me maybe? Jees that sounded awful, I’m sorry.” He turns away, biting his lip.

The movement has separated us, and the gap feels like a thousand miles after having the warmth of his leg pressed against mine. I don’t make any attempt to close the gap, but that doesn’t stop me wanting to. Instead I focus my attention on listening.

“Maybe I should o’ started by sayin’ I respect your opinions, Jules, and we ain’t known each other long, but I kind of trust you’d give me the right advice.” He shakes his head in disgust at himself. “Shit, this ain’t comin’ out right at all.”

“No, obviously not, because if it was I assume I would actually know what you were talking about. Right now I don’t have a clue.” Tristan shoots me a half irritated, half amused look.

“You c’n be such a sarcastic bastard sometimes.”

I raise my eyebrows.

“Not Sarcastic, just British.”

I’m hoping to finish this by the end of the month so I can begin something else for NaNoWriMo, because that is just around the corner. Time flies when you’re having fun.

Anyway, thanks for reading and feel free to share, follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr.

Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).

To find out what others are sharing on the Rainbow Snippet site this week click here and see the pinned post.

Have a nice week.

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Rainbow Snippets 09/23

It’s Bi Visibility Day, and #BiWeek.

For my Rainbow Snippet this week I thought I’d share a scene with one of my characters who identifies as Bisexual.

Ethan, from my free novel, Eagle Man and Mister Hawk, is about to get a little more than he bargained for when he offers some tea and sympathy to a female colleague.

I’m just about to stand when suddenly I’m accosted by 190 pounds of female rugby player.

“Thank you so much, Ethan, you don’t know how much this means to me.”

The momentum of her hug tips me backwards, and I land in the clean straw on the ground with Kelly on top of me. She takes the opportunity, while she has me in this position, to kiss me full on the lips. I think I might have squeaked as I try to fend her off, but she’s quite a bit heftier than I expected.

She eventually pulls back, and I give her a startled look. I mean, I’ve willingly been in this position with women before, don’t get me wrong, but right now, it isn’t really where I want to be, and besides, I have someone to think about other than myself.

What the hell would Alex think if he saw us like this?

And here’s the Blurb:

Ethan isn’t good at first impressions. His job often gets in the way. It’s his dream job, one which suits Ethan’s big heart to a tee. His chosen career isn’t conducive to forming meaningful relationships, however, and it hasn’t really bothered him until now.

Then Alex appears on the scene… Bookish, shy, but gorgeous Alex, who might be put off by bad first impressions, and who Ethan thinks is quite possibly the most beautiful man he’s ever set eyes on.

Alex’s first impression of Ethan is not a particularly good one. In fact, he thinks the man is a raving lunatic, and their second and third encounter does nothing to change his opinion.

Ethan has his work cut out for him, if he is to pursue any kind of meaningful relationship with the irresistible Alex.

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Eagle Man and Mister Hawk is available for free from Beaten Track Publishing. click here.

To celebrate #BiWeek, Beaten Track Publishing have compiled a list of their books that contain bisexual characters and are offering a discount on these books until 24th September. Eagle Man and Mister Hawk is there, among some great titles. Check it out. Of course, my book is free anyway, so it’s a little difficult to discount it any further.

To see Beaten Track’s full list of stories containing bisexual characters click here.

Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).

To see what others are sharing this week click here.

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Rainbow Snippets 07/15

Lock 4a

It’s been a while since I posted. July is always a busy month. Work is manic, and free time is at a premium. I joined a choir a few months ago, and we have just recorded a song, which is just a bit exciting.

I also decided to add to my workload by doing Camp NaNoWriMo this month. How well do you think this is panning out? My word count is dismal.

We are on a build up to our Pride celebration in this part of the world. Northern Pride is next weekend, so I may not have time to post then. I have to be there at 8.30am to sing with my choir at Pride breakfast. I’m looking forward to this and to taking part in the parade with my Hubby, daughter and fellow Scouts.

 

My snippet this week is from my published story, Locked in the Moment, which is currently available from Smashwords at a discount price, as are all of Beaten Tracks’ books this month. Follow the link below if you want to stock up on your summer reading.

First the blurb:

Due to a misunderstanding, the troll that lives underneath one of the most romantic bridges in Paris inadvertently unlocks every single padlock lovers have left there over the years. L’Authoritié de Fée Folklorique are up in arms. He has no idea what all the fuss is about. The noise was driving him mad. He just wanted a bit of peace and quiet.

A spell is cast, leaving the troll in a bit of a predicament. He is charged with the seemingly impossible task of fixing the locks before the spell can be reversed and he is allowed to return to his home. There are other complications, the least of which is the insistence and persistence of a fairy who is determined to help him against the wishes of his own people.

Now the troll has a dilemma. What is more important to him? The only home he has known for two thousand years, or a fairy he has just met?

Now the snippet.

This is Sol the Troll’s first impression of Lucien the Fairy, after they are introduced.

 

His accent is as delicate as the rest of him. I could flick him away like a speck of dust. I laugh, which makes him laugh. Why the hell is he laughing? Doesn’t he know I could squash him like a jelly? And why the hell is he trying to be friendly? With me? No one ever wants to be friends with a troll.

 

Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).

To find out what others have shared this week, click here

To buy Locked in the Moment at a discount price all of July, click here.

For the rest of Beaten Track’s books on Smashwords, click here

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Review of J P Walker’s “Goodbye, Hello”

Hello, Good Bye cover

 

Hi there. I don’t often present reviews on my blog, mostly because I never think I can do a book the justice it deserves. However, once in a while, a book comes along that I feel I am able to review properly, either because I find the right words, or because I am able to give an educated opinion.

Today I’m reviewing J P Walker’s “Goodbye, Hello”, available from Beaten Track Publishing. I requested a copy from Beaten Track because I felt, in a professional capacity (my background in early years education and childcare), my review may be of some value. I hope I have been able to do this book some justice.

“Goodbye, Hello” is a very emotive and sensible look at foster care from a child’s point of view.

I read this book with a professional head on, since I have many years’ experience in working with young children, some of whom have been through the foster care system. It was lovely to see the situation from a different point of view.

This story is aimed at children within a family that welcomes foster children into their home. It is told from the point of view of a girl who’s parents are foster carers and tells, in very simple and clear terms, how she copes with the situation. It deals with her emotions and feelings at the beginning when she first meets a new foster brother; how her relationship develops with this boy and then, how she feels at the end, when her foster brother leaves to live with his adoptive family.

This is a very difficult, emotionally charged subject and I think JP Walker has handled it extremely well. The story is told in a way that is very easy for young children to understand but it does not hold back on the expression of feelings, either negative or positive. I often find in stories aimed at an Early Years age group, that some things, especially negative emotions or difficult situations, are glossed over, mostly so as not to cause distress. “Goodbye, Hello” does not do this. The aim of the story is to explore the full range of emotions experienced by a child whose parents are foster carers and this is achieved quite adequately and sensitively and without causing distress.

The illustrations are very simple but lovely. The illustrator is Katerine Gilmartin and she has done an excellent job. I read this as an ebook, but I think the actual hard copy would be much better to present to a child. In my favoured ebook format you cannot view the pictures and words at the same time. This is not a criticism, rather a promotion of the hard copy over the ebook version.

As well as being a great book for foster families, I think this book would also make an excellent addition to libraries, both public and in schools. I will definitely be recommending it.

For those who are interested in buying a copy it is available direct from Beaten Track Publishing and Amazon.

More about the author:

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Jem Roche-Walker was born in Norwich and moved to the North West in order to attend Edge Hill University, studying Social Work Studies. After studying she began working in rehabilitation for patients with acquired brain injuries and has spent the last 7 years writing her first novel, ‘Knights of the Sun’, published 2013 (Beaten Track).

She lives in Burscough with her wife and baby girl and loves spending family time with them.

Click here to go to her author page at Beaten Track Publishing.

 

Click here for the illustrator’s website “forevertoofar”.

 

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