Tagged: Depression

The Reflections of Queen Snow White

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Jenn reviews David Meredith’s venture into the world of fairy tale romance with The Reflections of Queen Snow White

About the Book

The Reflections of Queen Snow White; David Meredith
Adult; Fantasy Romance; 133 Pages

David Meredith; 1 edition (January 20, 2014)

What happens when “happily ever after” has come and gone?

On the eve of her only daughter, Princess Raven’s wedding, an aging Snow White finds it impossible to share in the joyous spirit of the occasion. The ceremony itself promises to be the most glamorous social event of the decade. Snow White’s castle has been meticulously scrubbed, polished and opulently decorated for the celebration. It is already nearly bursting with jubilant guests and merry well-wishers. Prince Edel, Raven’s fiancé, is a fine man from a neighboring kingdom and Snow White’s own domain is prosperous and at peace. Things could not be better, in fact, except for one thing:

The king is dead.

The queen has been in a moribund state of hopeless depression for over a year with no end in sight. It is only when, in a fit of bitter despair, she seeks solitude in the vastness of her own sprawling castle and climbs a long disused and forgotten tower stair that she comes face to face with herself in the very same magic mirror used by her stepmother of old.

It promises her respite in its shimmering depths, but can Snow White trust a device that was so precious to a woman who sought to cause her such irreparable harm? Can she confront the demons of her own difficult past to discover a better future for herself and her family? And finally, can she release her soul-crushing grief and suffocating loneliness to once again discover what “happily ever after” really means?

Only time will tell as she wrestles with her past and is forced to confront The Reflections of Queen Snow White.

About the Author

David Meredith is a writer and educator originally from Knoxville, Tennessee. He received both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts from East Tennessee State University, in Johnson City, Tennessee. He received his Doctorate in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) from Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee. On and off, he spent nearly a decade, from 1999-2010 teaching English in Northern Japan, but currently lives with his wife and three children in the Nashville Area where he continues to write and teach English.

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Jenn’s Review

I’ve read some of David Meredith’s work in the past, so when The Reflections of Queen Snow White came across my desk, I figured I’d give it a shot. It sounded like a deviation from the previous works I’ve read by Mr. Meredith (which I enjoyed) and an intriguing idea, so I jumped in. 

King Charming is dead and Queen Snow White is stuck in her grief. With their daughter’s wedding quickly approaching, the bereaved Queen struggles to move forward with her life. 

When the aging queen flees to a seldom-used tower of the castle to get away from the constant demands of ruling a kingdom, she finds herself in her former step-mother’s room, before the magic mirror that fueled the former queen’s hatred for a very young Snow White.

Through a series of reflections in the mirror, we get glimpses of the queen’s life before Charming, their marriage, and their lives together, including a deep dive into Snow’s depression and struggles to conceive a child. 

While I enjoyed the book, I feel the need to warn romance fans that they might be disappointed. Snow’s adventures with the Mirror do lead her to revisit the deep, abiding love story between Snow and Charming, there is no developing romantic relationship happening in this book. It is fantastic as women’s fiction, as it explores the ups and downs of life as well as the difficulties of finding one’s feet after tremendous loss, but the love story has already happened.

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Jenn reviews David Meredith’s venture into the world of fairy tale romance with The Reflections of Queen Snow White

Buy the Book

This book is available in Kindle, Audio, and Paperback here.

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Pieces of Me – Review

About the Book

Pieces of Me, Carrigan Richards

Teen/Young Adult Drams 302 Pages

Carrigan Richards Publishing (August 13, 2013)

One second. 

Seventeen-year-old Corinne has everything. Her life. Family. Friends. Boyfriend. But in that one second, she loses it all. Now she’s left with harrowing nightmares. Hallucinations. And panic attacks that seem to come out of nowhere. She tries everything to take the pain away, but there’s only one option she sees as a true way out.

When Corinne is sent to live in a psychiatric institution, she doesn’t want to talk. It’s pointless. They can’t help her. But slowly Corinne opens up and wants to remember what it’s like to be happy so she begins reliving her past life to her doctor. She knows she can’t live in the past, but she sees no future and is faced with the hardest decision of her life.

About the Author

Carrigan is the author of Pieces of Me, a young adult contemporary romance, and the Elemental Enchanters Series, a young adult paranormal romance. She was born in Cullman, Alabama, but grew up in Birmingham, and moved to Atlanta at 18. She earned her BA in English at Kennesaw State University. For as long as she can remember, she was always making up stories and characters inside her head, sometimes using her dolls to act out the scenes.

When she’s not writing (which is rare), she’s spending time with her family and friends, listening to music, playing with her two furbabies, or cheering on her Atlanta Braves.

Jenn’s Review

Another debut novel. YA/teen lit, not exactly romance, but it has a sweet little love story built into it.

This wasn’t an easy read for me. I kind of knew it wouldn’t be when Carrigan emailed me about reviewing PIECES OF ME. My family has front row seats to the unpleasant faces of mental health problems, and this stirred some painful memories.

Corrine is dealing with a lot. So much, that her parents are checking her into a psychiatric hospital after a suicide attempt. She’s been through a lot, and at seventeen, she doesn’t have the life experience to sort out who she can really trust.

The author’s style feels a little clunky to me, not uncommon in debuts, but she more than makes up for it with realistic, sympathetic characters. I had a few moments when I needed to put the book down for a reality check (I really wanted to have a heart to heart with the protagonist, Corrine, about her less-than-best-friend, Lisa, who has serious issues of her own).

This is a teen read, but as a parent, I would approach this with caution. I would like my own daughter to read this, because, at 13, she’s already dealt with a suicidal friend. However, the storyline is heavy, and I’m not sure her attention span would stick it out. Without pulling out my personal soapbox, mental health issues, especially anxiety, depression, and PTSD are things that need to be talked about. They need to be on the table, and it’s time for the stigma to fall away. Ms. Richards takes a giant step in that direction with this story.

All of that said, the writing is a bit stiff, and the flashbacks get blurry, making the timeline a little hard to follow at times. This is one of those times that I would encourage the reader to stick it out. The story is worth it. The ENDING is worth it. Grab your tissues and hang on, because the further you get into the book, the harder it is to put down.

For those who might write this off as a depressing book, I challenge you to stick it out. Millions of people deal with these kinds of debilitating mental health issues every day, and Ms. Richards adeptly portrays the headspace of someone (especially a young someone) at the end of their rope.

And spoiler alert: the story has a happy ending. It’s not a unicorns and rainbows happy ending, but it’s a well-written happy ending. Four stars, and a standing ovation for Carrigan Richards for tackling this book.

Jenn reviews YA Fiction PIECES OF ME, a Carrigan Richards novel, in this edition of Thrice Read Books' review blog.

Buy the Book

 This book is available in Kindle and in paperback editions from Amazon  [affiliiate link}

Love on a Limb – Review

About the Book

Love on A Limb, Laurie Lewis (Great Expectations Love Stories: The Graykens Book 1)

Adult Religious Romance 344 Pages

Willowsport Press, November 26, 2017

Matthew Grayken is young, successful, and dying, which is why he’s about to propose to a total stranger. He isn’t interested in love. He needs a caregiver, a companion, and someone to be his legal voice when he can no longer speak for himself.

Lonely, compassionate nurse Mikaela Compton is intrigued by Matt Grayken’s tender request, but when their friendly marriage turns into love, she rejects the inevitability of Matt’s death and prays for a miracle instead.

Mikaela succeeds in reigniting Matt’s will to fight, but his body is losing the battle, and her determination to save him causes her to betray the fundamental promise she made him–to help him die peaceably. 

Their last hope at saving Matt’s life will require a sacrifice from each of them, and force them to decide how far out on a limb they’re willing to go for love.

About the Author

Laurie (L.C.) Lewis knows that wherever life takes her, she will always be a Marylander at heart—a weather-whining lover of crabs, American history, and the sea. She admits to being craft-challenged, particularly lethal with a glue gun, and a devotee of sappy movies. 

Therapists have been chasing her down to diagnose her multiple personality syndrome since she writes under three names–historical fiction as L.C. Lewis, romance and women’s fiction as Laurie Lewis, and general fiction as Laurie L.C. Lewis. 

Jenn’s Review

Cancer. It’s one of those words that make just about anyone cringe. But what happens when you’re fighting a losing battle? For your life, for your voice, for dying on your own terms?

That’s the question that bachelor Matt Grayken faces when he makes the choice to propose to Mikaela in the opening chapter of L.C. Lewis’s contemporary romance, Love on a Limb.

Matt has been battling cancer since childhood. He’s made a decent life for himself with the help of his adoptive, Irish immigrant parents, in the United States. This time, he’s chosen to withhold his renewed battle, to fight cancer his own way. 

He’s been observing gentle, compassionate Mikaela as she works with patients at the cancer treatment center when he’s in for chemotherapy. She’s exactly what he wants as an end-of-life partner, prompting his audacious proposal. They’ll be legally married, she’ll be his voice and nurse when he can no longer speak for himself, and she’ll inherit his home and a substantial endowment towards getting her medical degree. No one’s feelings get involved, no one gets hurt. 

Mikaela isn’t entirely on board with Matt’s plan, but she reluctantly agrees. It’s a break from trying to juggle everything in her life, but… 

Featured on the Thrice Read Books review blog: LOVE ON A LIMB by Laurie Lewis - Adult Contemporary/Inspirational Romance

The agreement works for both Matt and Mikaela, but a hitch develops in their tidy agreement. They’re falling for each other, fast. 

Ms. Lewis tenderly weaves the emotional turmoil of a life with cancer into a sweet romance. She tackles the billionaire rich boy stereotype and mixes it with a compassionate male character, whose purpose in life is to help others live their dreams. Mikaela is the compassionate nurse who strives to ease the emotional, physical and financial struggles that accompany the battle with cancer, and the two mesh beautifully. She refuses to give up hope and shows her backbone and stubborn will to beat Matt’s cancer right into their black moment, and against the odds. 

This is the first in a series, and my hope is that Matt and Mikaela win their battle against his cancer in the long run. Love on a Limb is for fans of sweet romance who don’t mind a tear jerker.

Buy the Book

This book is available from Amazon in Kindle and paperback editions. [affiliate link]