Saturday, May 28, 2022

Off the Shelf: The Heart of Hearts by William F. Burk


 Good Morning! 

My next Off the Shelf entry is a book I discovered by a fortunate accident. While visiting Barnes and Noble in Rome, GA, (in quest of another book) I happened to show up while local author, William F. Burk, was doing a book signing for The Hearts of Hearts. Once he told me it was a fantasy novel, I couldn't resist purchasing a copy. After getting the copy signed and picking up the book (and maybe a few other items *cough cough*), I made my way to the checkout counter. 


I started reading it that night, and sadly set it aside 100 pages later (at 1am). From the beginning, this book had me with its tribute to Arthurian legend (the hero must pull a sword from a stone). The two main characters, Nox and Lukas, are separated and must develop and hone their own magical abilities while trying to escape from vampires, evil mages, and other enemies. 

This book was a magical adventure, and I cannot wait for the rest of the series! 

If you are a fan of fantasy, you will love this book! Get a copy from Amazon, and please check out Mr. Burk's website here: https://www.williamfburk.com/

As always, thank y'all for reading! Be sure to enter your email address to get all the latest updates from Pines and Peaches. 




Saturday, March 26, 2022

Purple Day 2022

 


Happy Purple Day to all my fellow Epilepsy Warriors and their families! 
Who else is rocking purple today to raise #EpilepsyAwareness?



Monday, March 21, 2022

Friday, March 18, 2022

Off the Shelf: Mayhem & Murder series by Sarah Pinborough

 



Happy Friday! 

It's been a while since I did an Off the Shelf post, but I discovered a series that I have to share! The Mayhem and Murder series by Sarah Pinborough is a fantastic duology that presents a fictional account of the Thames Torso murders, a case I was not super familiar with before reading this series. 

This series of murders occurred around the same time that Jack the Ripper was terrorizing London, leading most of the Torso cases to be overshadowed by Jack's dramatic and gruesome tactics. While there are similarities, like the butchering of the victims, police ruled out any connection between the two. It's horrifying to think that there were at least two such brutal killers living in the same vicinity during the 1880s. 

The first book was fascinating and inspired me to do more research into the non-fiction side of these cases, but I was delighted to find there was a second book in the series. Here are links to the books, along with the summary of each.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means a small portion of the proceeds go to support Pines and Peaches, at no additional cost to you. Read my disclosure policy here


From the Number One bestselling author of Behind Her Eyes. Delve into a gaslit London, where Jack the Ripper is making headlines, but another, much more dangerous, madman is on the loose.

When a rotting torso is discovered in the vault of New Scotland Yard, it doesn't take Dr Thomas Bond, Police Surgeon, long to realise that there is a second killer at work in the city where, only a few days before, Jack the Ripper brutally murdered two women in one night.

This is the hand of a colder killer, one who lacks Jack's emotion.

And, as more headless and limbless torsos find their way into the Thames, Dr Bond becomes obsessed with finding the killer. As his investigations lead him into an unholy alliance, he starts to wonder:

Is it a man who has brought mayhem to the streets of London, or a monster?


From the Number One bestselling author of Behind Her Eyes: Jack the Ripper is vanished, but Dr Thomas Bond is back - and this time the trial of murders leads straight to his front door.

Dr Thomas Bond, Police Surgeon, is still recovering from the events of the previous year when Jack the Ripper haunted the streets of London - and a more malign enemy hid in his shadow. Bond and the others who worked on the gruesome case are still stalked by its legacies, both psychological and tangible.

But now the bodies of children are being pulled from the Thames . . . and Bond is about to become inextricably linked with an uncanny, undying enemy.


If you know of any books about the Thames Torso Murders (either fiction or non-fiction), please drop some suggestions in the comments!

Happy Reading! 



Saturday, February 26, 2022

My Epilepsy Journey: Part I

 




Good Morning, 

Epilepsy. It's a medical condition that rarely crossed my mind until it was pushed to the forefront of my life two years ago. You may have noticed that my blogging has slowed down quite a bit, and that's because it's been a bumpy ride, coping with my new diagnosis, trying different medications to find one that best controls my seizures, and -naturally- reading all the literature I can on the condition. 



Due to all the stigma that people still attach to epilepsy, I have been hesitant to share my story. However, I know how much I have been helped by reading others' stories in books, social media posts, and various epilepsy groups.

My world drastically changed one November day. I was at work, sitting at my desk and chatting with coworkers. There was no warning, and I felt perfectly fine. Honestly, I felt more than fine. That morning, I had woken up energized and looking forward to the upcoming holidays. 

Then, I woke up on the floor, with no memory of where I was or how I got there. My initial reaction was confusion and panic that I somehow fell asleep at work until I saw the terrified faces of my coworkers as they gathered around me. I knew then that something was wrong. Fortunately, one of my coworker's wife is a nurse, so he knew the telltale signs of a seizure. 

About two years earlier, I had dealt with a similar episode but had been assured by the ER staff that it was a PNES episode (a type of non-epileptic seizure) that was likely brought on by my blood pressure dropping. They advised me to stay hydrated and add salt to my meals to prevent another "incident". This second seizure was a frightening sign of something more. 

I made a quick phone call to my mom and asked her to pick me up at work. She was confused at my middle-of-the-day release but agreed without hesitation. As news of my seizure spread down the hallway and around the office, people began to stop by to check on me. Finally, my mom arrived and we made the fifteen-minute drive to the ER. Once there, the staff immediately began a battery of tests to rule out drugs (stigma again), pregnancy, low blood sugar, blood clots, brain tumors, and all the other things that could lead to a seizure. 

All the tests came back clear. leaving me both relieved and perplexed. This seizure apparently hit me out of the blue. After X-rays, an MRI, a CT scan, and countless vials of blood, the hospital staff called in a neurologist. He asked me about my medical history, focusing especially on the previous "seizure-like" episode. After a serious discussion about the risks and side effects of the medication, I was given a prescription for my first anti-seizure medication and informed that my driver's license was under medical suspension for six months minimum. 

The following weeks were a nightmare. This new medication made me dizzy, nauseated, and left my mind in a constant fog. However, after the first week, I noticed a strange phenomenon. For years, I had bitten my tongue or cheek in my sleep at least two or three nights a week (sometimes more). By the time I had been on anti-seizure medication for a full two weeks, this behavior was gone completely. 



For the first time since high school, I didn't have to be cautious when eating salty foods, making sure to eat on the non-bitten side. At my follow-up appointment with my neurologist, I made sure to mention this bizarre fact. 

After a few more questions, I was diagnosed with nocturnal epilepsy, a somewhat rare subset of epilepsy disorders that mostly strikes while the patient is asleep. Even though it was frightening to have an official diagnosis, combined with the knowledge that I was now going to have to take daily medication for the rest of my life, it helped to know that all the strange things I'd dealt with (panic attacks, bites in my sleep, sleep paralysis, constant fatigue, etc.) were now explained. 

Over time, I adjusted to the new medication, and though sometimes I still have "break-out" seizures- seizures that occur despite medication- things are so much better than they were before. The stress of knowing that I have a chronic condition is real, although the awareness of not being alone helps. 

I intend to continue posting about my epilepsy journey, both for myself, and to help others who are going through a similar battle. I will share helpful books I've read, apps I use, and just talk about daily struggles. Reading others' stories has been a huge help for me, and I hope that by sharing my story, I will be able to help someone in the same way!

Thank Y'all for Reading! Stay strong. :)