Book Reviews, Indie Author, Manic Mondays, Review Archives

LINDSEY’S CHOICE!!

Manic Monday Indie/Self-Published Author Feature 
Week #3
 

Lindsey Connors is a typical 16 year old. As with many young girls her age, she is presented with many difficult choices and situations. As we know as adults, some of the choices, good or bad, we make at a young and vulnerable age may guide the rest of our lives.

Are you ready for the fun and unique part? This story is interactive. It allows the reader to participate in Lindseyʼs Choices. Live through Lindsey! It is tailored so the reader can control the direction of Lindseyʼs journey toward maturity.

The first tough decision confronting Lindsey is whether to start drinking alcohol at a party. Does she give in the peer pressure and be accepted by the popular crowd or does she decide to stay with her old friends?

The reader can identify with Lindsey and her friends and can think about what they would do in the situations presented to Lindsey. The reader can see that with each choice Lindsey makes, her life is changed, she changes, and her choices have a profound impact on the people around her.
 
Following the initial decision Lindsey makes, the story then branches into two story lines. Lindsey continues to be faced with many new and challenging obstacles: a friendship with a bullied and suicidal student, peer pressure to take drugs, and challenges in relationships. How can Lindsey pursue her passions and not get caught sitting on the sidelines? Read how with making certain choices she realizes what is important in life OR read how with making different choices she lets life pass her by.
This book enables the reader to make choices in a fictional world, in order to assist them in making the right decisions in their own lives.
Author: Laurel Peterson 
Title: Lindsey’s Choice
Genre: Young Adult > Social Issues
Publication Date: October 2012
Links to Purchase: Amazon
Reviewer: Megan
 
My Review: 4.5 out of 5 Stars 
 
So let me just say, as a kid I LOVED choose your own adventure books. I have looked for them for my niece and nephews, but they are unfortunately not as popular today as they were 25 years ago. I had toyed with the idea of writing a book like this myself, so when I saw this Indie author had done it I just had to pick it up. 
I liked all the choices we were able to make for Lindsey and I think the author did a great job setting up those choices. There were times when it was predictable, but that could be because I am an adult who knows full well the repercussions of the behaviors Lindsey was faced with. But for teens reading this book, which hopefully they would read both versions as I did, they would see very clearly how different a situation can go, based on ONE CHOICE! I think that is the biggest message here… and I think Laurel paints the darker side well.
 
When I went back and read the alternate choice (I chose the darker version first) I liked that the author tied in every choice that led to the major decision Lindsey had made in the alternate version. Again, it showed the reader (teens) that how we treat people, how we act, what we do, and inevitably how the choices we make impact more than just ourselves. 
 
The one thing that I didn’t like… hmm, that’s not really the right terminology here. It wasn’t a dislike by any means, but it was the reason it got 4.5 stars and not the full 5. I already mentioned some of the predictability, which was one thing, but also I guess I would have liked to see the darker choice a little darker (more dire consequences) and the other choice less fluff filled. This is not necessarily a bad thing, depending on who is reading it though… it just seemed to perfectly put together with a very pretty, shiny bow! 
 
And on that note, I will tell you I loved that the author showed us the outcome of Lindsey’s choices in the future. She gives us a glimpse (in each version) of how Lindsey’s life as well as those around her, turned out. This is a pretty big deal as it gives you a sense of not just the impact of our decisions like I already mentioned, but how those decisions effect the rest our life. 
 
I highly recommend this book to anyone with pre-teens heading into high school, teens, and adults who have teens. It paints a very real picture of the choices we make and the consequences that follow. 
 
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WAITING FOR MARTHA!!

It is Halloween night. Four teenage friends spend their evening having fun and scaring younger children then suddenly, quite unexpectedly, one of the four, Martha goes missing. The fifteen year old simply vanishes without a trace leaving her friends and family anxiously searching for her. They are all waiting for Martha to come home, but as the night goes on they come to realise that they might be waiting for a very long time.
Waiting for Martha is a novelette first published as part of the compilation ‘Twists and Turns’
Author: Elly Grant 
Title: Waiting for Martha
Genre: Young Adult > Contemporary Fiction
Publication Date: February 2013
Links to Purchase: Amazon
Reviewer: Megan
My Review: 3 out of 5 Stars 
I don’t have too much to say about this short story. It was an interesting book, with a cool twist to the plot. However, I didn’t feel connected to any of the characters. The main character Martha was pretty blah… and very selfish if you ask me. This was a short story, so there wasn’t much time for developing the characters… however, I did see that this story was originally in a compilation of other short stories (Twists & Turns) and the author received feedback to make it it’s own stand alone book. I thought maybe this would give the author a chance to expand on the story.
 
There were some things I liked… well I should say, I liked the story, but there just wasn’t enough connection to it. I did like that the story takes place in France I believe it is (based on the author’s home) and I enjoyed the language and banter. There were words or items I did not know so I had to look them up, but that happens when you read books from foreign authors. I have no problem with that as long as it’s consistent, which it was. 
 
The cops or detectives were dicks… gosh, if I were Martha’s parents I would have kicked them out of my house or filed charges if I was treated like that by officers. As a criminal justice professional, I can understand the need to be skeptical but they should remain neutral and get the facts… they were rude, antagonizing, and constantly pushed to get a rise out of everyone. 
 
Just as I got to the part where my heart began to pound and I was on the edge of my seat… thinking, OMG, here it comes… the story ended. Yep, just like that… it ended where I felt we had finally reached a climax. There was so much that could have happened at this point and it didn’t. I understand the author wanted this to be a short story… this is not lost on me, but man… talk about leaving the reader hanging!!
 

 

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SO MANY REASONS WHY (SO MANY REASONS #1)

Twenty year old Emma hasn’t left the house since she was attacked as a child. Now, with the impending release of her attacker from prison, Emma knows it’s more important than ever for her to regain control of her life. From her unrelenting nightmares, to her strained relationships, to her crippling agoraphobia, Emma feels as though her life is spiraling out of control.
When her professor, Simon Anderson enters her life, Emma must deal with feelings she has never experienced before. 

Though both she and Simon know their relationship is bordering on inappropriate, neither of them are able to ignore the intense chemistry that is quickly developing between them.
What was supposed to keep her mind off the attack has left her more confused than ever. When there are so many reasons why you shouldn’t be together, is simply being in love really enough?

Author: Missy Johnson
Title: So Many Reasons Why (So Many Reasons #1)
Genre: Young Adult > Romance > Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: March 2013
Links to Purchase: Amazon
Reviewer: Megan
My Review: 3 out of 5 Stars 
 
This is a rare occasion where there may be a couple of small spoilers because I simply could not avoid them and successfully give me honest review!
 
This book has so much promise so it disappoints me have to give it only 3 stars. And to be honest if it weren’t for the redeeming qualities it did have I’m not sure I would have been able to get through it- and this is difficult for me to say. Okay, so let me see, where should I begin. Lets start with what I liked since that it usually what I do. I liked the premise of the story- Emma’s attack, her agoraphobia, her two best friends, the family drama she uncovers… her grandmother! I thought the author did a good job setting up the details of the attack, Emma’s reluctance to interact or trust others and so on. However these things led directly into what I didn’t like. 
 
First, I was totally confused as to where the author wanted us to think this story was taking place. I kept praying she would mention it because I was baffled by some of the language (slang) being used. She mentioned London and New Zealand, so I thought… oh okay, this must be Europe- which made sense because Emma kept using British or Australian slang (some of which I had no idea what she meant so I had to re-read the sentence or paragraph to try and decipher it) THEN out of no where she starts talking about Kansas and Connecticut. WTF?? And low and behold more than 3/4 of the way through the book we learn Emma lives in New York?? Then why the hell is she talking like she is British or Australian (Mate, Las… it went on and on). I believe I saw the author was from Victoria which I am assuming is British Columbia, so this is probably how she talks. However, as a reader, it was really confusing and the slang should have been more americanized. 
 
Second, It took me a loooooong time to jump on the Fifty Shades bandwagon and I never officially took the leap. I read the first two books and was sooo annoyed 30 pages into the third, that I have yet to finish it. So, when I started seeing words/phrases/behaviors from fifty shades (ie. inner goddess, biting her lip, calling her Miss Mancelli) I was annoyed. I loathed some of these things in Fifty Shades because they were so overused.  I will also say, while I don’t mind some romance I am not really into erotica AT ALL!!! So when suddenly the book took this turn I was forcing myself through these scenes. Not that they weren’t well written, don’t get me wrong. They were. The author did a good job portraying erotic, vivid sex scenes, but this is just NOT my thing. 
 
And FINALLY, the part that irked me the MOST… so Emma’s attack-her agoraphobia… it all made sense. It was a cool twist and had SO much potential. She was unwilling to trust anyone but her two closest friends, she was fearful of opening the door, she was petrified of the day her attacker would be released from prison. I liked ALL of this. THEN out of no where she sends an email to someone a professor she doesn’t know and within hours they are flirting back and forth. She’s smitten and crushing on him and acting like a school girl. Okay, still believable I suppose. Then suddenly, in the middle of the night he calls her?????? Wait, didn’t she smash her phone that morning? Didn’t Tom give her his phone as a replacement?? How the heck would he have her number??  Emma takes this call in stride like it’s no big deal… hmmm. Then when he randomly shows up at her apartment she opens and the door and invites him in like they are old friends. Isn’t she supposed to be a scared, jumpy, agoraphobic who freaks out when she has to answer the door? And to just let him in? This is where the book pretty much lost me… and it
 
So on this scenerio continues, progressing very quickly until within a few days she is having this erotic, raunchy sex with a man she barely knows, after being sexually abused years prior that has forced her into hiding. To me, this seems contradictory. While some victims of sexual assault become promiscuous, Emma’s behavior just doesn’t add up at all and this really bothered me. It became too unbelievable. One minute she’s ranting about her attack and agoraphobia and the next she is…well you know.  On a final note, I will say that I was glad to see that Emma’s problems weren’t magically solved by the end of the book… this helped redeem it somewhat, but at the same time, there was one event that was very predictable to me, but I guess we will have to see how it unfolds in the next book. 
 
I will more than likely read the second book in this series because that’s how I am…. I just have to finish a story, but I certainly hope some of these things are worked out… well as much as can be at this point.  
 
 
 
 
 
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SIMPLY MINE!!

Manic Monday Indie/Self-Published Author Feature Week #2
 
Best friends Meagan Davis and Jake Nichols were born on the wrong side of the tracks. Living in a rundown trailer park–her with a welfare scheming, neglectful mother and him with a father wounded in the Gulf War and suffering from PTSD–they forge a friendship they this is unbreakable.
 
When Jake returns from spending the summer with his grandparents to begin their senior year, he realizes he needs and wants more. Meagan misreads his subtle hints and becomes terrified that she will lose her best friend. Prideful and too stubborn to admit her feelings, even to herself, they begin a game of jealousy that threatens to destroy everything.
 
And just as Meagan realizes her love for Jake–he gives up, thinking he has been wrong about her all along. She tries to push past her pride and reach out; he insists that things can never be the same. He begins an intense physical program to prepare him for the Army after graduation–a decision she feels is a mistake. Depressed and lonely, Meagan begins to piece her life together without Jake, taking refuge volunteering for a children’s art program and discovers she wants to be a teacher.


While their career plans begin to fall together, the gap between them grows so wide that only an epic winter storm has the power to bring them together. Will they be able to repair the damage to their friendship and admit their feelings for each other?

Author: M.L. Gardner & Jane Carrington
Title: Simply Mine
Genre: Young Adult > Romance > Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: January 2012
Links to Purchase: AmazonB&N
Reviewer: Megan

My Review: 4.5 out of 5 Stars I Loved it.

This was a book that was right up my alley. It was a fast read- another one sitter, and it was interesting. I loved Meagan and Jake and the conflicts they faced. Again, I could relate. Maybe, just maybe, when I am reading the descriptions of books I am subconsciously drawn to the ones that strike a cord with me on a personal level. All I know is I kept shaking my head thinking, “yeah, I know how that feels” or “wow, I’m not only one.” 
I’m sure there will be a lot of people who will read Simply Mine and hate Jake’s tactic.  While I wish he would have just come right out and said what needed to be said, I think many of us can relate to the dilemma they find themselves in. Maybe his approach was a little extreme, but it sure got her attention didn’t it? 
 
I loved the progression and growth of the characters throughout the book and I loved the ending, even though I will admit I was disappointed there wasn’t more, which is why it got 4.5 stars and not the full 5. I would have even settled for an epilogue that gave us a glimpse… and was bummed when I didn’t get this. The final resolution was wrapped up in just a few final pages and I felt cheated. 
 
On a lessor note, there were also several grammatical errors throughout the book, which I am not typically one to point out. It’s not my thing… I like to focus on the content of the story, but this was a great debut novel and I think this is something the author can really learn from… I know I did (Thanks Trish 😉  
 
Overall though I loved the story and the character development. I am intrigued to know what becomes of Meagan and Jake… and it just so happens, that while trying to contact the author, in regards to being selected for Manic Monday, I saw she has plans for two more books in the series… but no date set for when. Here’s hoping for sooner rather than later! 
 
I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves YA contemporary romance novels with strong female protagonists! 
Book Reviews, Indie Author, Review Archives

TRADING POISONS!!

After years of settling into the comfortable family life she always wanted, Jorie Asher made a decision to improve her physical health and well-being. She thought her life would be perfect if she no longer had to struggle with her weight. Instead, Jorie discovered how ill-prepared she was to face the anguish of her past, and the resulting truth of life in a body she doesn’t recognize.
Mistakes and disillusions sink Jorie into the darkest period of her life. When forced to face the consequences of her choices, she blocks out the world. Jorie has no idea how to be…her. Supported by those in her life who had been at the same bottom, she begins to fight her way back. But how hard is Jorie willing to push to gain the peace that has always eluded her? What and who must be sacrificed for her own serenity?

 

Author: Angel Lepire
Title: Trading Poisons
Genre: Fiction >Addiction>substance abuse
Publication Date: January 2013
Links to Purchase: AmazonB&N
Reviewer: Megan
 
My Review: 4 out of 5 stars I liked it. 
 
Hmmm…. so I wonder if it is a coincidence that so many of the books I have reviewed recently, I have found myself relating to? While I can’t relate specifically with Jorie (I have never suffered from overeating, substance abuse, or infidelity), I have been on the other end.  I have been one of the “victims” in what people love to refer to as “victimless behaviors” ie. addiction/substance abuse and let me tell you, it is NOT pretty. Most people don’t want to admit they have a problem and if they have an inkling that they could be hurting those who love them, well they typically just drown it out further with their addiction… such a vicious cycle. 
 
The probation officer in me really liked the story and the message. I am not a stranger to these types of afflictions and the impact they can have on everyone left in their path of destruction. I think the author painted a clear picture of how life altering addictions, in any form, can be. I liked her use of addiction transfer. I think it portrays the importance of treatment, solid support systems.. or any organized outlet when dealing with addiction. I saw first hand how destructive addiction transfer can be and not everyone comes to terms with their choices or their behavior. 
 
The story moved quickly for me and there were definitely times I was glued to the pages… but not because I was a fan of Jorie – I was actually appalled by her behavior. At one point (I cannot say too much because I stand true to my *no spoilers*) I had a case of word vomit in front of my unsuspecting husband… poor guy. He just looked at me stunned and I just simply smiled and held up my Nook. He’s pretty familiar with my rantings… and this time was no different.  Jorie as a character was well written with some serious demons in her closet that for some reason she continued feeding. I hated so many of her choices, but still found myself wanting her to be happy, wanting her to overcome her issues, and wanting her to find peace. 
 
The avid reader in me was happy with the ending. It wrapped up nicely and didn’t leave anything hanging or unanswered. I was so happy that the author shared the first major obstacle in Jorie’s life… what I am guessing led to her first addiction- food. This emotion was real and opened your eyes to how long she had struggled with guilt  and the hate she had for herself. 
 
I recommend this book to anyone who has ever suffered addiction, known someone who has suffered addiction, or who simply wants to understand the reality of what addiction can do. A great read, a great debut novel. 
 
 
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NOT TODAY, BUT SOMEDAY!

Manic Monday Indie/Self-Published Author Feature 
Week #1


In December of 1994, when she was a junior in high school, Emi Hennigan discovered her father’s infidelity. Forced to transfer schools mid-year, she wasn’t trying to make new friends. In that same month, sophomore Nate Wilson’s girlfriend broke up with him. Searching for someone to fill the void left by his first love, he meets Emi in his art class. Nate knows he wants Emi from the moment he sees her. Emi knows she needs Nate after one night together. A life-long friendship is born, and a pact is made to ensure that nothing will come between them. This novella is the prequel to the Emi Lost & Found series.

Author: Lori L. Otto
Title: Not Today, But Someday
Genre: Young Adult >Romance
Publication Date: September 2012
Links to Purchase: AmazonB&N
Reviewer: Megan
 
My Review: 5 out of 5 stars I Absolutely Loved It!! 
 
Not Today, But Someday… is NOT what you should be saying if you haven’t read Not Today, But Someday!!
 
As the true YA book whore I am, I must say I am IN LOVE with Emi and Nate!! I read this book in one sitting… started it in the morning over coffee and finished it before closing my eyes last night… and I worked 9 hours in between there as well..  it was a fast, engaging, enthralling read. I loved the relationship between Nate and Emi, I loved them individually, I loved their banter and their quirkiness. 
 
I loath spoilers so I don’t want to say too much about the story in general, because it’s one where you can easily spoil the fun without trying. SO what I will say is the issues within the story are real, with real consequences that so many families today face. Divorce and infidelity are on the rise and it’s often the children who pay the highest price… this is a lesson Emi knows all too well. I think Lori created special characters and an engaging plot. Her gift of storytelling is exceptional and left me turning page after page without realizing I had nearly reached the end within hours…  I went to bed last night elated that there were 3 more books in this series, this being the prequel… which meant, I had just begun getting to know Nate and Emi. This morning, my coffee hadn’t even finished brewing and I was already buying the series….
 
I can hardly wait to dive in and read the next 3 books… I have seen tidbits from the descriptions of each of the books in the series and was excited when I realized this story follows Emi into her adult life…. Eek, cue the giddy, squeaky adolescent in me! 
 
I highly highly recommend Not Today, But Someday by Lori L. Otto – YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED!! 
 
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THE TORTURER’S DAUGHTER!!

When her best friend Heather calls in the middle of the night, Becca assumes it’s the usual drama. Wrong. Heather’s parents have been arrested as dissidents – and Becca’s mother, the dystopian regime’s most infamous torturer, has already executed them for their crimes against the state.
 
To stop Heather from getting herself killed trying to prove her parents’ innocence, Becca hunts for proof of their guilt. She doesn’t expect to find evidence that leaves her questioning everything she thought she knew about the dissidents… and about her mother.
When she risks her life to save a dissident, she learns her mother isn’t the only one with secrets – and the plot she uncovers will threaten the lives of the people she loves most. For Becca, it’s no longer just a choice between risking execution and ignoring the regime’s crimes; she has to decide whose life to save and whose to sacrifice.
 
It’s easy to be a hero when you can save the world, but what about when all you can do is choose how you live in it? THE TORTURER’S DAUGHTER is a story about ordinary teenage life amidst the realities of living under an oppressive regime… and the extraordinary courage it takes to do what’s right in a world gone wrong.


Author: Zoe Cannon
Title: The Torturer’s Daughter
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction>Dystopian 
Publication Date: October 2012
Links to Purchase: AmazonBarnes & Noble
Reviewer: Megan

My Review: 4 out of 5 stars- I Liked It! 

I’d be a dissident, what about you??
 
I want to start off by saying I am becoming a huge fan of YA dystopian books and “The Torturer’s Daughter” is amongst the list of books that has brought me to this new found love of dystopian.  I loved the characters, the plot, the concept!!
Becca is faced with some difficult decisions and she goes about it in such a way that, as the reader, you can’t help but find yourself wondering how you would answer these questions… or at least you should. When I did, I realized I would be a dissident, ALL THE WAY!! 
I loved Becca’s willingness to question everything- including her own mother. I am the same type of person, so I found Becca relatable. Sometimes, it can get me into trouble, just like it did Becca.  I also liked that Becca wasn’t willing to submit to some notion of blind allegiance. When the facts were laid at her feet she began to look at the bigger picture and see her world for what it could actually be, as opposed to what she was told to be believe. 
 
I think the way Becca handled the process of figuring out who she was and where she fit into her world, how she acknowledged her relationships were changing, as well as how she was changing as a person was very well written. The author, Zoe Cannon writes very beautifully, making every word believable-understandable. You feel the torment, the anguish, and you want to know what Becca will choose. 
I liked that she fought for what she believed in and followed through in her convictions- this is not always easy when faced with life and death situations. The natural inclination, in my opinion would be to follow in Heather’s footsteps. This unfortunately is human instinct. 
 
Here is why The Torturers’s Daughter was 4 stars and not 5. The last 25% of the book were the best for me. It began moving fast and there was the suspense I had been waiting for. The first 75%, while entertaining was a little slow, but well written. As a new found lover of YA Dystopian I was hoping for more back story about the society that Becca and her friends lived in. Other than the knowledge that it was a society run on blind allegiance to “Internal” with those who spoke out against the government being “dissidents,” there wasn’t any explanation about their society- what it was like, what drove them to this point… As a result, I felt like questions were left unanswered. I loved the story, but wanted more!! 
 
Finally, I think one of the things that kept turning over in my head was the fact that because I didn’t have this background information on their society, the issues felt very realistic to me and not as dystopian as I would have preferred. We all make tough choices in our lives- sometimes we must choose between ourselves and those we care deeply for. And sometimes those choices drive us away from certain people in our lives. The question of values, faith, and standing by your word is something familiar to us all, especially today. So again, while I loved the story, the characters, and all the potential that was wrapped up in it… even Jake (I hoped for more here as well), it just didn’t come as I so desperately had hoped. Maybe I just read too much contemporary YA, but I felt like this story wasn’t over. I have no idea if there is a sequel…. BUT, I would LOVE a PREQUEL!! 
 
I highly recommend The Torturer’s Daughter to anyone who enjoys YA dystopian. It was a fast, easy read, with likable characters! 
Thank you to the author for providing me with a copy in return for an honest review! 
Congratulations on your novel and I look forward to reading more of your work in the future! 

 

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SILENTLY SCREAMING!

It’s the spring semester of their senior year at Centerville High and a place away from their current situations are what Nikki and Caroline desperately want. Senior year was supposed to be filled with excitement and careless fun, instead Caroline is pregnant and Nikki’s dealing with her mom’s reckless drug habit plus the shady associates unfortunately attached. Throughout their lives, the two friends always stuck by one another, however the year continues to produce unforeseen problems, leaving each of them to decide what kind of paths lay ahead.
…a challenging, gripping and heroin tale of two teenage girls forced to make adult choices creating a butterfly effect catapulting their lives forward.
Author: D.L. Husted
Title: Silently Screaming
Publication Date: November 15, 2012
Links to Purchase: Amazon
Reviewer: Megan
 
My Review:  I Liked It!!
 
So, let me first start off by saying that while I read A LOT, I have read only one novella and that was by Dean Koontz and was the prequel leading into one of his newest novels. With that said, I wasn’t really sure how a book dealing with such major issues was going to be able to tell a story in such a short amount of space… 67 pages to be exact. The set up of the novella was interesting; each chapter was from the point of view of either Nikki  or Caroline, but you saw the same scene from each of their viewpoints before you moved forward. 
 
I enjoyed D.L. Husted’s “Silently Screaming” and I enjoyed the characters quite a bit, Nikki more so than anyone and this could be because I could relate to her on so many levels. I grew up in a similar environment as Nikki, and while my situation was never so blatant and in your face, it was what it was, nonetheless.  There was a part where Nikki is coming out of her room and she is fearful of what she might find, and I found myself holding my breath, knowing all too well exactly how that felt. The constant need for self preservation, the need to work rather than a desire for spending cash, and the longing to break free of a life you are determined not to live is Nikki’s world and I was reminded of how far I have come from those very days in my own life.
 
Caroline, while not as relatable for me is a relatable character and finds herself in a situation that I am sure a lot of young girls today can identify with. Both girls have plans for their futures, but suddenly find that life has other plans as they are forced down different paths than they planned. 
 
Nikki’s main goal throughout the novella was getting to graduation, walking across that podium and knowing she had done it… she was free. I again could relate to this feeling. It’s never easy when you know people are judging you because of the kind of family and/or background you come from, and that desire to succeed, to show everyone that you are stronger and more capable than they have given you credit for, well it is a driving force that is fierce and strong and this was evident in Nikki. 
As I said above, the chapters are from each girls view and you would see the same scene twice, but first from Nikki’s view and then from Caroline’s. There were times throughout the novella where the author mixes up the characters within their chapters and this led to some confusion as I found myself going back a line or paragraph to double check who she was actually talking about. In addition, I feel there were areas more detail could have been included and I desperately wanted it. Sometimes she would mention something, such as  when Nikki is holding her breath as she walks through the house, but she never explains why. It is simply this one sentence and then she moves on and I longed for more… more detail, more information, something that would invoke more emotions, but they rarely came. 
 
While there were a few things that fell short for me, which is why I gave it a 4 stars I LIKED IT, I did really enjoy Silently Screaming. I read it in one sitting and felt a real connection to the characters and wanted to find out what was going to happen to them, and when it ended I still wanted more. I kept thinking this was just the beginning of Nikki and Caroline’s story. I can only hope that the author feels the same way and that we will soon be following Nikki and Caroline as they navigate down the paths their lives have led them down. 
 
Thank you to the author for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. 
 
I recommend Silently Screaming to anyone who enjoys short stories dealing with tough choices and real life obstacles. 
 
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THIS MORNING I WOKE UP DEAD!

Things are seemingly perfect for Hadley Christensen and Dominic Morris. They’re engaged, both of them have promising careers in the medical field, and they’re happier and more fulfilled than they have ever been. When Hadley heads off to work one morning, she realizes things aren’t as they seem. While staring into the headlights of a fast approaching oncoming vehicle, life as she knows it is forever altered. Her last breath on Earth is only the beginning. 
She isn’t about to die. 
She is already dead. 
No one else knows but they are all dead too. 
This powerful realization forces Hadley to leave Dominic behind and exist in another realm. Neither soul handles the painful separation well, nor can their bond be broken. Even in death. Hadley is given the rare privilege to make contact from the other side, desperately hoping to convince her beloved of his true state and ensure they be together once more. 
This Morning I Woke Up Dead takes you on a journey of discovery as two souls fight against their undeniably difficult situation of being tormented and separated by different realms of existence, proving that those who are destined to be together will not be kept apart by a beating heart.
 
Author: Mindy Larson
Book Title: This Morning I woke Up Dead.
Publish Date: March 14, 2013
Links to Purchase: AmazonBarnes & Noble
Reviewer: Megan
My Review: I Liked It!!
 
Have you ever wondered about deja vu or why you simply feel drawn to some people, even those you’ve just met?
 
“Whenever I had a deja vu, I immediately tried to understand why and what I was remembering exactly.
 
When I read the synopsis for this book I was immediately intrigued. I am one of those people that likes to understand the meaning behind weird, unexplainable things. For instance, a deja vu, or why when you meet certain people, you just simply feel drawn to them. Or have you ever looked at the clock at the same time everyday and gone crazy trying to understand it’s significance in your life? I have…(mine is 11:17) and that was what Mindy Larson’s “This Morning I Woke Up Dead” dealt with. 
 
“Georgette’s memories will slowly fade little by little as she begins to speak again as an infant. Learn a word. Lose a memory. As time passes, some begin to remember things with a feeling of deja vu or through dreams. Memories are forever cemented to your soul.” 
 
I really enjoyed the concept behind the book and the author creates an interesting tier of realms that we all have the pleasure of enjoying at some point in our life cycles. “You will start a new life cycle…then you die…then earth…this realm.” 
 
I was fascinated by her differentiation between “soul mates” and “soul twins,” I was drawn to the characters, could relate to the love that they shared and felt bad that their lives were ripped apart before it even had a chance to begin. I sympathized as Dominic attempted to get on with his life, and could even relate to those feelings of guilt you feel when someone close to you dies. Moving on is never easy… but what if all you had to do to be with that person was to admit to yourself and truly believe that in your life on earth, you were already dead? Seems simple enough, except being dead but believing you are alive is still living to some degree right? After all, if you accept that you are dead, as Hadley does, you loss everything.  It really makes you think about how you live your life, how you treat others, and how you spend your time, which is why I loved Mindy’s explanation for what happens to all of the  “bad” people when they begin a new life cycle. 
 
Throughout the whole story I continued to think, huh, I always wondered about that… what a neat spin or WOW, that’s a really fascinating explanation…what if? I love books that make us take a step back and think outside the box. The spirituality that Mindy brought forth was deep and touching to say the least. I can honestly say I walked away from this book thought provoked and curious and as you can see, there were several parts where I could not help myself but to bookmark some of beautiful wording. 
 
The reason I rated this book as a 4-star “I liked it” was because there were too many coincidences between the character connections, which I supposed were written that way from a spiritual, soul mate (soul family) perspective. However, the loss both Dominic and Emerson experienced, followed by all of the loss Dominic suffered thereafter just felt like too much. I would have liked to see him realize his true destiny without being so pushed to the brink…Unless, maybe it is only in our most desperate moments that we are  willing to face the truth… 
 
A fascinating read that I recommend to anyone who believes in soul mates and the ideal that some love is boundless, even in death! 
 
“I am gray colored yarn. Dominic is chocolate brown. Harper is light blue. My mother us emerald. My father is sapphire. Together, we make a beautiful tapestry. Apart we are loose ends, waiting, hoping to be woven together again.” 
 
**Thank you to the author for providing me with a copy of “This Morning I Woke Up Dead” in exchange for an honest review. 
 
Congratulations Mindy!! I look forward to reading “Thirteen Choices” 
 
Book Reviews, Mainstream Author, Review Archives

REASON TO BREATHE & BARELY BREATHING

“No one tried to get involved with me, and I kept to myself. This was the place where everything was supposed to be safe and easy. How could Evan Mathews unravel my constant universe in just one day?”

In the affluent town of Weslyn, Connecticut, where most people worry about what to be seen in and who to be seen with, Emma Thomas would rather not be seen at all. She’s more concerned with feigning perfection while pulling down her sleeves to conceal the bruises – not wanting anyone to know how far from perfect her life truly is. Without expecting it, she finds love. It challenges her to recognize her own worth – but at the risk of revealing the terrible secret she’s desperate to hide. 
Reason to Breathe is an electrifying page turner from start to finish, a unique tale of life-changing love, unspeakable cruelty, and one girl’s fragile grasp of hope.
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Emma’s struggle with an abusive home life came to a heart pounding conclusion in the final chapters of Reason to Breathe. Now everyone in Weslyn knows Emma’s secret, but Carol can’t hurt Emma anymore. Some are still haunted by the horror of that night, and some must face the repercussions of their choices. Fans of Rebecca Donovan’s debut novel will discover there’s still much to learn about Emma’s life. 


Author: Rebecca Donovan 
Book Title: Reason to Breathe (Book #1) & Barely Breathing (Book #2)
Publish Date: May 9, 2011/April 30, 2012

Reviewer: Megan

My Review:I Absolutely Loved it!!
This was a phenomenal read that I could not put down!!!

I had this book in my nook library for months and every time I went to read it something else came up. However, over the holidays I was laid up from surgery and decided it was time to finally read this book… Once I started, I COULD NOT STOP!! My eyes couldn’t read the words fast enough as I became more and more entangled in the story. The ending scared me, angered me, and left me hanging on for dear life! I was thankful when I turned the page and saw there was a second book already out, and thought maybe this was instinctively why I had waited to read this book.
I am not one for patience and to be left hanging with an ending like that, would have KILLED me. I quickly downloaded Barely Breathing and again was enthralled in the world of Emma. 
I finished both books in a day and a half, letting everything else fall away while I was immersed in Reason to Breathe and Barely Breathing. I loved how Barely breathing ended… a semi-cliffhanger, with a glimpse of Evan’s anguish. Perfect!!
I think one of the things that I loved was seeing a similar story line to my own novel Harvest Moon. It was the first time I saw the protagonist keep such dangerous secrets since writing about Lexie’s abuse. I finally felt like Lexie could find a place in the literary world, just like Emma had. 
I cannot wait for the third book in this series… I have been eagerly awaiting it since reading the last line of barely Breathing.