Book Reviews

Book Review: You Were There Too, by Colleen Oakley

You Were There Too,

by Colleen Oakley

Publication: Berkley; January 7, 2020

 

you were there tooAbout the book:

Mia Graydon’s life looks picket-fence perfect; she has the house, her loving husband, and dreams of starting a family. But she has other dreams too—unexplained, recurring ones starring the same man. Still, she doesn’t think much of it, until a relocation to small-town Pennsylvania brings her face to face with the stranger she has been dreaming about for years. And this man harbors a jaw-dropping secret of his own—he’s been dreaming of her too.

Determined to understand, Mia and this not-so-stranger search for answers. But when diving into their pasts begins to unravel her life in the present, Mia emerges with a single question—what if?

**My Review**

Oh my goodness, this was a good one! If anyone out there has an obsession (or semi-obsession) with dreams, then this is your next read. If you’re not one of those people, just play along because this is a damn good book. Mia and Harrison have a somewhat wonderful life and marriage. Granted, she’s had several miscarriages, they have just moved to a new town, no one wants to display her art in their gallery, etc. – but they are happy. Harrison is battling his demons, Mia is battling hers, but an important factor in her life is dreams that she has been having for decades about the same man. The dreams have been in a variety of settings with a variety of things occurring within them, and then one day she sees the man that she has been dreaming of right there in the flesh.  The best part? He’s been dreaming of her too! He has no idea why, but his dreams don’t have the happy or non-descript endings like Mia’s. As Mia and Oliver start trying to understand their unusual connection, Mia starts to notice Harrison pulling further away from her and their marriage. Not only is she trying to make sense of her and Oliver’s dreams, but she is also trying to understand the changes within Harrison and how to save their marriage.

I loved this novel. Although this was my first time reading Colleen Oakley, I had heard of her previous two novels, especially Before I Go. Her character development is fantastic in regards to Mia, although I felt a little slighted regarding other characters. I’m not saying that I loved Mia throughout the entire novel because there were numerous times I was just done hearing about her unwillingness to get up, move around, shower, unpack, buy furniture, and so on. I tried to empathize with her situation and emotions, but she annoyed me to death. Nevertheless, I was completely drawn into and addicted to her story. Even better – all of the surprises and twists. This book did not go like I thought it would at all. I had predictions very early on and also drew off of the prologue, but nothing I expected to happen actually happened. Except for the tears. I did expect early on that there would be some heart-wrenching moments and I was right about that. But there are plenty of wonderful moments to make it all worthwhile. 

This was truly a 5-star read for me, although I’m still not sure about the ending. I guess that I just wanted and needed more closure than what was given, something more concrete. However, if you don’t mind an ending that is happy, although a bit ambiguous, I think you will truly enjoy this novel. It’s original, emotional, moving, and above all truly encompasses the wonderful emotion that is love. I was more than impressed with Oakley’s plot development and originality and I look forward to reading more from this author in the future. 

*Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review!

Blog Tour, Book Reviews, Giveaway

Release Blitz, Review, & Giveaway: Lost Years, by MK Schiller

Title: Lost Years
Author: MK Schiller

Publisher: Entangled Publishing

Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 16, 2019
Blurb
Ever had a dream so real it feels like a memory?
I’ve had those kinds of dreams since I was a kid. Each one of a
beautiful girl, who is my best friend. We grow up together on a sunny island
surrounded by water that’s as blue as her eyes. We share all our hopes and
fears until we realize we belong to each other in every way one person claims
another. She is my own personal serenity. Sweet story, eh?
Well, forget about it.
The cold, harsh reality is that I’m a twenty-year-old, Manhattan-bred,
manwhore, who uses his fists to solve his problems. The only comfort I find is
inside a bottle… and the dreams. But the dreams are my illness, not my cure.
Just when things look the darkest, the sun slaps me square in the jaw. I spot a
picture of a scenic island surrounded by the bluest water – my island.
If the island exists then so must the girl, right?
So I’m headed to Serenity, Texas to find my girl and make some sense
out of the chaos that is my life. Feel free to tag along, but this journey
comes with a steep warning — dreams can turn into nightmares in the blink of an
eye.
My name is Jason Flynn and this is our story.

**My Review**

Welcome to my stop on the release blitz tour for MK Schiller’s, Lost Years. Although described as contemporary romance, I certainly consider there to be paranormal elements, which isn’t something I frequently read, however, this one was completely addictive, heart-wrenching, emotional, and so on. The story begins with Jason arriving in Serenity, TX for a surprise visit with his aunt Rose. Although it’s more than a surprise visit. He’s had dreams off and on forever about a girl, a place, and now he’s trying to make sense of it all. Not long after arriving in Serenity, he sees the girl of/from his dreams – Scarlett – and thus begins a tumultuous and emotional love story, unlike anything I’ve read recently. 

Lost Years is my first time reading anything by MK Schiller, but I am now a fan. I loved all of the imagery and vivid descriptions in her writing that made it so easy to be transported to Serenity and feel like a part of the story, rather than an outsider just reading about it. I will admit that I was confused a time or two in the first 20-25% of the novel. I was loving what I was reading but struggled following for awhile. Once I thought I had things figured out, things flowed smoothly – until I realized that I was completely wrong and pleasantly surprised by the author’s plot twist! 

This is not a novel I will go on and on about because it will ruin the story and spoil everything. However, if you are a fan of soulmate stories or books about fate and people being meant-to-be, then I highly recommend this novel. There is a wonderful cast of characters that bring this unique and fresh novel to life, with the secondary characters being just as amazing and significant as main characters Jason and Scarlett. There are endless surprises and twists, there are a lot of tears, but also a lot of smiles and swoon-worthy moments. Diehard romantics, prepare to fall in love with Lost Years, this is a great one!

Purchase Links
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Excerpt
“You have
talent.”
“Are you a
fan of country music?”
“I’m a fan
of yours, Scarlett.” 
She smiled.
“That’s a little smoother.”
”I’m
learning.” “I take it country is your favorite kind of music?” I asked 
“I love all
kinds of music, but country is in my soul.” She placed a finger against her
bottom lip. “Plus, whatever comes out of this mouth just sounds country.”
I smirked.
“I bet country tastes delicious.”
She
laughed, pointing a finger at me. “You’re dangerous. You flirt like this with all
the ladies?”
I wish I
could tell her no, but she deserved an honest answer. “Yes.” I wanted to take
it back when her smile tightened. All those years of trading warm bodies to
still my constant loneliness made me sad. She was what I’d been missing all
along. “Would it make me sound more like a douche bag if I said I never meant
it like I do now?”
“There
isn’t enough honest in the world. Watch your step.”
“What? Too
forward?”
“No, I mean
stop.” She held up her arm in front of me. She took a few steps and bent down
to pick something up. “Stupid tourists,” she said, throwing a plastic bucket. Then
she lifted the creature underneath it and held it out to me.
“Did you
know he’d be under there?” I asked, staring at the tiny turtle she held in her
hands with no fear. 
“Sometimes
the kids think it’s funny to trap them. The mama’s lay their eggs here. When
the little ones hatch, they start their journey from right here until it’s time
for them to come back in a few years and lay their own eggs. 
“Let me introduce
you to a real-life sea turtle.” 
I waved at
the animal, unsure if she expected me to offer a handshake or pet its shell.
She walked over to the waves, holding it up against the moonlight, like the
scene from the Lion King. I would have laughed if I wasn’t in awe. “Have a safe
journey, little one, and a good lost year.” She set it in the water. She rinsed
her hands and stood. We watched it drift away, the waves carrying him at first
until he moved with them.
“I hope he
survives.” The breeze picked up strands of her hair. They circled her head like
a crown…not more like a halo.  
Stuffing my
hands in my pockets, I step closer to her. “Did you say lost year?”
“The first
year of the sea turtle migration is called the lost year because no one knows
what they actually do, despite all the technology we have to track them, but I have
my theories.”
“What is
your theory?”
Her eyes
grew wistful as she looked out into the turbulent waves. Was she praying? “I
think they might be searching for what’s missing. Maybe they are looking the
parents, who abandoned them, or the turtle they’re supposed to make babies
with. Even if they find what’s lost, they never make up the time they spent
searching.”
I put my
hand on the small of her back. “Maybe they’re just partying it up, having epic
sex, and drinking all the time.”
She cracked
a smile. “Yeah, maybe so, Jason.”
“My friends
call me Flynn.”
She started walking again. “I’ll let you know
when we’re friends, New York.” I winced at her statement, but I understood her
need to be guarded––her emotions probably conflicting with basic logic. I’d had
the same argument many times myself tonight.
None of
this made sense. It was like I’d lived a lifetime with her, but we’d never met.
It was
messing with my head but being on the beach with her––it was worth all the
crazy.
“I look forward to that moment.”
Author Bio
Not knowing a word of English, MK Schiller came to America
at the age of four from India. Since then, all she’s done is collect words.
After receiving the best gift ever from her parents—her very own library
card—she began reading everything she could get her greedy hands on. At
sixteen, a friend asked her to make up a story featuring the popular bad boy at
school. This wasn’t fan fiction…it was friend fiction. From that day on, she’s
known she wanted to be a writer. With the goal of making her readers both laugh
and cry, MK Schiller has penned more than a dozen books, each one filled with
misfit characters overcoming obstacles and finding true love.
Author Links
FACEBOOK PAGE / PROFILE
Giveaway

 

There is a giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card, a signed copy of Lost Years + an ebook of choice
from MK Schiller’s backlist (1 winner, open internationally)

Enter here and good luck!

 

Blog Tour, Book Reviews, Giveaway

Book Tour, Review, Giveaway, & Excerpt: Always with You (Indigo Trilogy #3), by Kate McBrien

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Do you have the courage to know your past and fight for your future? Contemporary Romance author Kate McBrien returns with the final installment in her steamy Indigo trilogy! On the beautiful Greek island of Santorini, Justin and Lucy seek answers. But without the Varangian Cross, the key to unlocking their story, they are forced to return to London and confront the challenges from which they fled. As the struggles from their previous lives continue to haunt them, Justin and Lucy must work together in order to put together the pieces of their past and uncover their epic love story.

About Always With You:

always-with-you-ebookTitle: Always With You

Author: Kate McBrien

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: January 28, 2018

Publisher: Kate McBrien

Series: Indigo Trilogy #3

Format: Digital eBook / Print

Digital ISBN: 9781732223561

Print ISBN: 9781732223578

Synopsis:

Do you have the courage to know your past and fight for your future?

On the beautiful Greek island of Santorini, Justin and Lucy consult with Sophia, an elderly woman who is gifted in ways beyond the present and physical. What they learn is helpful but incomplete. The story of their past is hidden deeply within the Varangian Cross, and Sophia must have it to fully understand the connection that Justin and Lucy share. However, the cross is with its new owner in London and far too valuable to be loaned out for such an implausible tale.

Disappointed, they prepare to return to London and confront the challenges from which they fled, resigned to leave the past behind, but the struggles of the past seem determined to revisit them.

Justin and Lucy are meant to be together. They are meant to know their past. The cross is the key to unlocking their story, and the source of their eternal and unbreakable bond.

Join Justin and Lucy as they put together the pieces to uncover their epic love story in Always With You, the trilogy’s poignant and passionate conclusion.

Note to readers: This book contains scenes which may be triggering to survivors of sexual violence.

**My Review**

*Apologies for the delay on this post! In no way does my late posting suggest that I did not love this book!

Welcome to my stop on the book tour for Kate McBrien’s incredible conclusion to her Indigo Trilogy, Always with You! I have absolutely adored this series and have been on pins and needles waiting for Always with You to be released! In case you missed them, here are links to my reviews of the first two books, Discovering You and Waiting for You.  Just as a brief overview, this series is about rockstar Justin and Art History Ph.D. candidate Lucy, who randomly meet, fall for one another, and share a powerful and unusual bond over a Varangian Cross made with Lapis Lazuli. Despite immediately falling for one another, they have faced several issues that threatened their relationship. In Always with You, Justin and Lucy are hopeful when they meet with a psychic in order to figure out their pasts and connections to one another. She predicts they will encounter numerous challenges and hardships, however, Justin and Lucy continue to stay committed to one another as they slowly learn the secrets of the cross and of the lives of two lovers who lived at the time of the Fourth Crusade in Constantinople, Stefanos and Francesca.

This is certainly one of the most unique, interesting, and addictive series that I have had the pleasure of reading! I was immediately sucked into Justin, Lucy, and their memories of Stefanos and Francesca in the first book and Kate McBrien certainly did not disappoint in this amazing conclusion. A lot of things happen in Always with You involving the cross, it’s history, Lucy’s awful boss Edward, Lucy’s family, Rachel, and much more.

There were a few striking differences in the third book versus the first two. One was the violence. Don’t get me wrong, it absolutely added to the story and made everything even more moving and emotional when Justin and Lucy finally learn Stefanos and Francesca’s story. However, there are scenes that include a variety of physical violence along with attempted and/or committed acts of sexual assault. It was uncomfortable, but truly added to the story and made things seem to come full circle.

Another noticeable difference was the sexual relationship between Justin and Lucy. Things certainly heated up between the couple during this novel and there were a lot of sexy scenes involving fantasies and experimentation. Again, this is something that only enriched the story as Justin and Lucy grew in their trust and love for one another. But they seemed much more adventurous and frisky this time around!

With that being said, I remember when I started this series I was floored by Kate McBrien’s imagery and characterization, except for Justin and Lucy. For some reason, I struggled to truly connect with the main characters, especially Lucy. That has all changed now and I am in awe of how well McBrien brought these two to life. Their feelings, passions, motivations, frustrations, etc. were so developed that it made me feel that I was a part of their journey, rather than just reading about it in a book. The bad characters were absolutely wretched, the good characters were fabulous, and all of the detailed descriptions about settings and events were so vivid that I never struggled to picture them in my mind.

If you have not yet discovered this series, I cannot recommend this one enough. You have to start at the beginning with Discovering You, but I promise that this is an exciting, romantic, tragic, interesting, and magical series that you will love. Moreover, music fans will really appreciate McBrien’s reference to and the inclusion of some amazing classic rock! Always with You conjured so many emotions as I read and I can assure you that this is a story that I will not soon forget, and especially not Justin, Lucy, Stefanos, and Francesca. 

*Thanks to Barclay Publicity and the author for providing this review copy in exchange for my honest review!

Add to your TBR list:  Goodreads

Available at:  Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |  Kobo  |  iTunes

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Other Books in the Indigo Trilogy:

Discovering-You-EbookTitle: Discovering You

Author: Kate McBrien

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Date Released: July 7, 2018

Publisher: Kate McBrien

Series: Indigo Trilogy #1

Format: Digital eBook / Print

Digital ISBN: 9781732223516

Print ISBN: 9781732223509

For fans of Love on the Edge of Time and A Knight in Shining Armor comes an epic romance that proves true love can never die.

Do you believe in soulmates?

A shy art historian. A sexy rock star. A mysterious medieval cross that holds a secret.

Lucy Bianchi has a plan: finish her PhD in art history and land a coveted job at a prestigious Los Angeles museum. Then—maybe—she’ll find time to start dating. Her controlled and predictable world begins to unravel when she chases a runaway dog on the beach and meets a gorgeous stranger.

Justin Hamilton is the charismatic lead singer of the British band Indigo. Years of touring and partying have won him notoriety, and he can have any woman he wants, but who he really wants doesn’t seem to exist.

Until now.

From their first look—their first touch—Justin and Lucy have a connection that defies logic and deepens their desire for each other. When they see the Varangian Cross at a museum exhibit, they’re flooded with inexplicable shared memories that draw them even closer together.

Justin has to return to London just as a salacious scandal explodes that could tear them apart. Lucy must choose between the safe life she’s cultivated, or go to Justin and discover a never-ending love.

Discovering You is the first book of a contemporary romance trilogy.

Add to your TBR list:  Goodreads

Available at:  Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |  Kobo  |  iTunes

Praise for Discovering You:

“This was a very deep and beautiful love story. It was completely different from all love stories I’ve ever read.”Tania, Goodreads, Amazon

“Discovering You by Kate McBrien is a steamy read. The heat rises slowly in this novel but once the switch is flipped, it boils over with passion.”Up All Night Book Blogs, Goodreads

“Wow what a story. It’s fresh, original, and full of life.”Lianne, Goodreads

“This book has it all. Romance, history, art, music, villains, and a mystical edge. I can’t wait to read the next in the series.”Debbie, Goodreads

“You know you get one of those books that just builds and builds until you can’t put it down. This is one of those books.”Love Reading, Goodreads review

“This is a fascinating premise. Nerd meets rocker and finds an instant connection. I love soulmates and was fascinated to see how things turn out, especially with Lucy’s art history background. The meet-cute was delightful and I enjoyed the growing relationship between the two of them, fast-paced as it was. Both Lucy and Justin are fully fleshed out characters with their own full lives.”Lauren, Goodreads review

 

Waiting-For-You-EbookTitle: Waiting for You

Author: Kate McBrien

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: October 15, 2018

Publisher: Kate McBrien

Series: Indigo Trilogy #2

Format: Digital eBook / Print

Digital ISBN: 9781732223530

Print ISBN: 9781732223523

Synopsis:

Do you believe love can transcend time?

It’s only been a week, but Justin is miserable waiting for Lucy to contact him. He’s back in London for Indigo’s concert series and needs to get his head in the game, but his heart is back in America.

Stuck hiding out at her parents’ house in Los Angeles, Lucy is consumed with doubt and regret about her decision to stay behind.

When the Varangian Cross is sold to a private buyer in London, Lucy jumps at the chance to deliver the cross to the new owner and maybe reconnect with Justin.

Lucy arrives in London in time for another roadblock to their relationship: a serious allegation has been made against Justin, and the paparazzi are in overdrive, forcing Justin undercover just to make it through the concert series.

Finally reunited, their passion is renewed. But their nightmares have returned and are feeling more like memories than dreams. It’s time to find out the truth behind their connection.

Waiting for You is the second book of a contemporary romance trilogy.

Note to Readers: This book contains scenes which may be triggering to survivors of sexual violence.

Add to your TBR list:  Goodreads

Available at:  Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |  Kobo  |  iTunes

Praise for Waiting for You:

“This story is definitely unique when it comes to their connection. The twists had me turning the pages waiting for the next one to hit the page. I am pulling for this couple to make it through the fight.”Two Book Pushers

“I am in love with Justin and Lucy’s story because of their past-life connection. There aren’t enough words to describe how eager I am to have this story come to fruition, and hopefully, witness Justin and Lucy realizing who they are and what they meant to one another many lifetimes ago.”

“Romance lovers that like a touch of fantasy, this should be your next read.”Dandelions Inspired

“Kate McBrien’s talented writing style has simply put, captivated me at this point, so that final book CANNOT COME OUT QUICKLY ENOUGH! And that’s all from me, except HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMENDING TO ALL!”The Power of Three Readers

“Waiting for You is a great followup to Discovering You. Justin and Lucy’s story is exciting and passionate, and the mystical/fantasy/paranormal aspect just adds another interesting layer to their already wonderful connection.”Live Through Books Blog

“Book two of the Indigo series is no less moving than the first one.  Kate amps up the romance and sex in this book over the first one. She also gives Lucy some backbone that was very troubling to me in book one…I personally can’t wait to see the finish of the story in the next book and like many of the character changes she shows in this one.” – Wicked Cool Flight

“Waiting for You” is like an explosion of events and emotions in the Indigo series. There are so many things going on and there is a twist there that I would have never predicted. I was addicted to Lucy and Justin’s relationship and I read every chapter looking forward for the next! … Kate McBrien has done such a wonderful job with “Waiting for You.” It has a lot of action, it has love and passion and so many other emotions. I was reading and reading until the wee hours of the night and that says something about this author’s gifts.”Lilly’s Book Reviews

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**Always With You Release Week Celebration Giveaway**

Kate is offering one winner a $25 Amazon Gift Card. To enter for your chance to win one these great prizes, please fill out the Rafflecopter link below!

Enter here and good luck!

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About Kate McBrien:

Kate McBrien_squareKate has an MA in art history from San José State University and has taught art history at a local college. For many years, she has worked as a dental hygienist, courageously offering encouragement to her non-flossing patients.

She has always enjoyed writing but became more serious after being encouraged by a friend to participate in National Novel Writing Month. She began writing historical fiction but soon realized that the romance was taking over the history.

Kate is a Bay Area native who lives near the beach with her husband and Lola, their spoiled Labrador Retriever. When not writing, she enjoys cooking, music, movies, reading, and fangirling over Jamie Dornan.

Connect with Kate:  Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon  |  BookBub

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Book Reviews, Post

Book Review Saving Each Other

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Saving Each Other, by Stacy Mitchell

Published: August 4th, 2017 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform **Revised and re-edited for 2018**

coverAbout the book: 

What would you do if the most important people in your world were suddenly and violently taken away from you?

Two cars demolished, two families destroyed.

Dani Adams and Ean Montgomery were each forced to see the same grief counselor on a one-to-one basis after a drunk driver killed Dani’s husband along with Ean’s pregnant wife and six-year-old son.

The rules: Communicate only through text messages, and never reveal their real names or any other personal details.

In an unconventional twist of therapy, Dani and Ean were each given a private cell phone and only the first initial of each other’s first names. They were then instructed to reach out to one another in order to share their grief…to heal.

Neither planned to contact the other, but with all hope and the will to live gone…

Over the course of a year, through texting alone, they form a unique bond. Friendship blossoms into something deeper. They were never supposed to meet, but fate had other plans. And in their world of loss and despair, something amazing began to grow.

But can the love they found triumph over the deep, soul-twisting pain that never seems to fade?

*****
Revised and re-edited for 2018. Saving Each Other is a full-length contemporary romance novel told from a dual point of view. And, while it’s a story about hope, friendship, and how the power of love can piece you back together after you’ve been shattered into a million unrecognizable pieces, it’s a story about loss and may be a trigger for some people. 

My Review:

Wow, what a novel… Saving Each Other is the debut novel by author Stacy Mitchell that tackles the heavy topics of grief, loss, tragedy, and moving forward. I loved the unique idea of this story with a grief counselor giving Dani and Ean each a cell phone with the other’s number, just for the purposes of texting one another if they need to process the tragedy that affected them both. Only knowing each other as “D” and “E,” what begins as a reluctant text from E, turns into an incredible story of support, friendship, healing, and love. 

First of all, let me address the trigger warnings and heavy topics. This novel includes the death of adults and a child. The events that transpire at the beginning of the novel seem unimaginable, although it is, unfortunately, a possibility in the world in which we live. It is difficult and heart-breaking, but do not avoid this novel because of it – this novel is incredible and the overall joy and peace throughout the story outshines the difficulty in the beginning. 

Each of the main characters is broken and grieving early in the novel, but I want to focus on the amazing characters that Stacy Mitchell reveals as the story progresses. Dani is beautiful, smart, creative, and now raising her young daughter on her own – with the help of her in-laws and many great friends. Unsure of where to go professionally, since she and her husband worked together in their design business, Dani is very thoughtful about what she wants to do next and what she wants next for her and Dani. As Dani heals more and more, the reader gets to see that she’s actually hilarious, spunky, fun, and incredibly loving.

Ean is also creative, smart, talented, incredibly handsome – but initially – incredibly sad and lost. An architect that began designing outdoor furniture, Ean was realizing and embracing his true passion but then avoids it. Just as I got to see the “real” Dani come out throughout this story, I watched Ean become lighter, more carefree, and also absolutely hilarious. Whether the banter between them in their texts, or Ean’s banter with his friends, I slowly but surely realized that this man was not only sexy, gorgeous and a huge flirt – but also amazingly funny. 

Saving Each Other is such a beautiful portrayal of fate, soul mates, Kismet – whatever you prefer to call it. Throughout the novel, parallels between their lives are constantly revealed, making the story so magical. Ean and Dani get to know each other in various ways, which I don’t want to spoil, but when the climax of their relationship comes to fruition, prepare to be crying and jumping for joy at the same time. There is so much love and emotion within this novel, I truly cannot find the right words to explain it, but I know that from the time I sat down this morning to read it, I hardly moved until I finished it. I was completely sucked in and entranced with this story and the amazing writing from Stacy Mitchell.

The biggest surprise of all was when I finished the novel and realized that this was Mitchell’s debut novel. Nothing about Saving Each Other even remotely reads as if this is her first novel. The writing is genuine and real, the characterization and imagery and incredible, and the pacing and flow is perfection. With this being her first novel, I cannot imagine what the next will be like as she continues to develop and discover herself as a writer. According to the end of the book, a second will be released this year, and I am already dying to get my hands on it. By the way, I am a seasoned beta reader, hint, hint! 

Saving Each Other is a must-read that I strongly recommend without any reservations. This is a story that will grab you, move you, and give you all the feels, but more importantly, this is the chance to become familiar with an incredible debut author that I hope and feel, will become a household name. 

*Many thanks to PR By the Book for providing a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review!

the wound is the place

Excerpt from Saving Each Other by Stacy Mitchell

The place D and I have been forced to go for counseling is called “OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center” and is about a half an hour away from my home. My mom insisted on driving me. And while she hasn’t read anything about the accident, she spent the entire ride, before my first session, alternating between trying to force me to read the articles flooding the Internet and trying to persuade me to attend the court proceedings. I’m not going to read what some scumbag has to say about my family and I’ve made everyone promise they won’t either. I’m also definitely not going to the trial. The minute I see the man who murdered my family, I’ll lose my shit and that wouldn’t be good for anyone, especially me.

“OUR HOUSE” usually holds group sessions, but because our sessions are court-mandated and high profile, D and I were able to meet separately with our counselor, Elizabeth Macintyre, on a one-to-one basis.

Since we’re both barely hanging on by a thread, Beth did something very extreme and very risky. She came up with the idea that connecting us with one another could help us get through the grieving process. Her thinking was that since we’re both going through the same thing, we could potentially help each other. She explained to us—that to her—this was worth the potential loss of her license.

She gave us each a new cell phone that contained only each other’s new phone numbers along with the first letter of our first names. She wanted us to have a dedicated line to one another and her only stipulations were that we only communicate through text message and never reveal our real names or other personal details. This I agreed to because I had absolutely no intention of ever contacting her.

Except today. Today I have to. So I turn on my phone and type:

D, this is E.

I can’t believe I’m actually doing this. I don’t see how it’s going to change anything but I can’t stand this anymore. I’m at my breaking point. I’m in constant pain. It feels like a huge band is crushing my chest and getting tighter every day. All I do is cry! Everybody’s been trying really hard to help get me through this, I know that. I just don’t have it in me to give a shit.

I lost it with my mom yesterday. Said things no son should ever say to his mother. All she did was ask me to move in with her, and I lost it. It got so bad that she ran out of the house crying with a very mad Riley on her heels. Sure she’s asked me before, but that’s no excuse. My dad laid into me, took Po, and left. I’m now truly alone; being sucked into an inescapable vortex of grief. I’m so lost.

They haven’t been by yet today and I hope they don’t come by at all; this way I can die in peace. I’m falling down the rabbit hole very quickly and that’s why I need to contact D, the only other person who could possibly understand what I’m going through.

So I continue.

I wasn’t planning on contacting you, but here I am. I’m sure you feel the same way since you haven’t reached out to me and I don’t blame you if you don’t respond. It’s been almost a month since my world ended, and let’s just say, unfortunately, suicide isn’t an option. Even though I really wish it were.

I push aside my tears but not my pain; it refuses to leave. I take a deep breath and keep typing.

I’m dying. With each second that passes, I keep dying more and more. I never leave my house, I just sit near the door waiting for their return. So yeah, I’m contacting you. Are you going through the same thing? Why did this have to happen? How am I ever supposed to move on or whatever the hell that even means.

Through my agony I type the plea that just might save my life.

I know I said I don’t blame you if you don’t respond, but at the same time, I really need you to text me back. I’m scared, sad, lonely, and extremely desperate.

 2 hearts 2 souls quote

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