Tag Archives: Chicago

Wistfulskimmie’s Book Review

 

5 star review

Kim over at Wistfulskimmie’s Book Reviews gave Painted Black a 5 star review today.  I’m so excited because she had such nice things to say.  It is so gratifying to have reviewers applaud the very elements I tried so hard to do right.

Thank, you, Kim.  I will certainly let you know when the second Street Stories novel is ready to read.

This is the story of Jo Sullivan. She is a reporter, writing short stories about the forgotten homeless of Chicago. This is a mystery and Jo must get to the bottom of a missing teenage prostitute, a dodgy funeral service that specializes in freeze drying corpses for those that can afford it, and a possible link between the two. With a Youth Worker and one of the prostitutes closest friends for help, she tries to get to the bottom of the mystery whilst fighting her own demons at the same time.

I enjoyed this immensely, but it was also quite gritty at the same time and made me think of the fates of others, especially the ‘forgotten’ homeless. Whilst on the one hand highlighting the fate these teenagers have to face, it was also a good mystery at its heart. Jo and Chris are damaged in their own ways and must put aside their mistrust of each other to work together. It is a gripping story. A real page turner but also very sad. The characters were true to life and leapt out of the page at me, at times their pain was tangible. The ending was sad but right for the book. A great mystery that highlights the problems facing the homeless more or less every day. I shall certainly look out for more by this author.

via Wistfulskimmie’s Book Reviews: Painted Black by Debra Borys.


Jenn’s Review Blog: Painted Black

4 star reviewWhen I emailed an epub version of Painted Black to Jenn’s Review Blog on May 8, I did so hoping she’d be able to get to it by the end of June. Reviewers are swamped these days with review requests and Jenn had only been able to tell me she would get to it as soon as she could.

So I was very surprised to get her email May 31 saying she was already done and had posted the review on her blog.  According to her email:  “Once I started reading it I couldn’t put it down! Review is posted on my blog and I am posting to Amazon, B&N and Goodreads also 🙂 I hope you will consider asking me to review your next book, I loved the character of Jo Sullivan! Thanks again for the opportunity.”

Click the link below to read her full review.

Dark, gritty and suspenseful this is a seat of your pants ride that you won’t soon forget.

via Jenn’s Review Blog: Painted Black.


Review by “Seattle Wrote” Website

4 star reviewNorelle Done posted her recent review of Painted Black at her Seattle Wrote blog site.  She gave the book four out of five stars, which is a win by anyone’s calculations.  Here’s how she tallied up the score.

Amidst frozen corpses, a funeral home scandal, and each character dealing with their own ghosts and closet skeletons, this novel comes down to a key point – the people that live on the streets are mostly forgotten when they disappear.

  • Plot: Painted Black is easy to follow, interesting, and gets you hooked – I was drawn into Lexie’s plight and found Jo’s investigation easy to keep up with. The story flowed well and fit together like a puzzle, and it didn’t feel too coincidental either. Star Awarded.
  • Characters: I felt like Deb went 75 percent of the way with the characters. There was back story, but it wasn’t resolved or fully explained, such as what really happened with Jo’s dad, or Chris’ family, or more into why Jack is involved with the homeless. Maybe there will be more in future Jo Sullivan books, but I was slightly left hanging with this one. Half-Star Awarded.
  • Setting: The setting for Painted Black is supposed to be Chicago, but I found myself feeling like it was Seattle more than once. Granted, I have never been to Chicago, and all of the Seattle-based books I read probably tainted things a little bit, but I feel like more could have been done to make it feel like Chicago. However, the book did have the trait of feeling like it could be any city, and with the focus on the homeless, it could help the reader to adopt the story for their own city. Half-Star Awarded.
  • Originality: It’s definitely a unique story. From the characters to Deb’s intimate understanding of what the homeless face, Painted Black is a one-of-a-kind story. Star Awarded.
  • Style: I noticed one or two errors, but none were glaring or distracting. Star Awarded.

That’s a total of Four Stars. Borys depicts the street life and struggles in an engaging, interesting way that draws you in and helps give a little perspective into the lives of the homeless. Maybe the next time you see someone huddled in a door frame or sleeping on a park bench, they won’t be quite so invisible.

via Seattle Wrote: Painted Black Review


Chicago Adventure Therapy

I learned about a great program in Chicago that offers Adventure Programming to at-risk youth.  I am marking the site because I just know I’ve got to use this program in an upcoming Jo Sullivan novel somewhere.  Chicago Adventure Therapy (CAT) believes teaching things like kayaking, rock climbing, cycling and hiking can make a big difference in improving a youth’s outlook on life and offers hope for their future.

There’s a great blog on the site as well, and I found one story about a young man that reminds me an awful lot of the character Chris in Painted Black, who is the embodiment of a couple of youth I personally met myself when I volunteered.  Here’s an excerpt from one post that is exactly the kind of  thing Chris would do.

[Here’s] how he helped one of the mentors with his program on our camping trip: She was terrified of heights, to the point of tears and hyperventilation. “Rico” went back down the trail, sat with her, talked with her, and then walked back up the trail slowly right in front of her so she could watch his feet, and make it up the trail.

via In the Balance | Chicago Adventure Therapy.


Stories Have Power

Homeless doesn’t mean hopeless, despite what some blind, deaf and dumb human monkeys might think.  Many of the people the monkeys are throwing verbal feces at are working hard to better their situations–and succeeding.  With help, things CAN be different.

This year, youth used their stories of homelessness in powerful ways. They talked to Illinois legislators about the need for increased funding for Illinois’ homeless youth programs. They spoke about the services they need at CDBG and city budget hearings. One resident of RAPPP even visited Washington, DC this month to tell her story to members of Congress.

Here’s a link and short quote from her story:

“I’m in college now. I’m on the Drama Team and I was elected to the Student Senate. I have to graduate college no matter how hard the obstacles may be. With a college degree, I know that I will be able to get a good paying job with a guaranteed salary. My dream is to be a social worker to help people that are going through the same struggles that I have faced.’

Testimony to the House Financial Services