Tagged: Grief & Loss

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}

Aaru – Review

About the Book

Aaru, David Meredith (The Aaru Cycle)

Adult Sci-fi/Fantasy 296 Pages

Self Published July 9, 2017

Rose is dying. Her body is wasted and skeletal. She is too sick and weak to move. Every day is an agony and her only hope is that death will find her swiftly before the pain grows too great to bear. 

She is sixteen years old. 

Rose has made peace with her fate, but her younger sister, Koren, certainly has not. Though all hope appears lost Koren convinces Rose to make one final attempt at saving her life after a mysterious man in a white lab coat approaches their family about an unorthodox and experimental procedure. 

A copy of Rose’s radiant mind is uploaded to a massive supercomputer called Aaru – a virtual paradise where the great and the righteous might live forever in an arcadian world free from pain, illness, and death. Elysian Industries is set to begin offering the service to those who can afford it and hires Koren to be their spokes-model. Within a matter of weeks, the sisters’ faces are nationally ubiquitous, but they soon discover that neither celebrity nor immortality is as utopian as they think. Not everyone is pleased with the idea of life everlasting for sale. 

What unfolds is a whirlwind of controversy, sabotage, obsession, and danger. Rose and Koren must struggle to find meaning in their chaotic new lives and at the same time hold true to each other as Aaru challenges all they ever knew about life, love, and death and everything they thought they really believed.

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.

Jenn’s Review

Wow… Just finished Aaru by David Meredith. I’ve had it in my TBR pile for quite a while, as it got lost in a storm of review requests. Sitting around an airport for hours had me flipping through my Kindle files, and I ran across this story, and quickly shuffled it to the top of my (now written) list! And now that book 2 is out… I am trying to figure out how to shuffle some more…

Thirteen-year-old Rose Johnson is dying. She’s tired of life, of pain, of hospitals and endless treatments. In short, she knows she’s run out of time. She doesn’t want to leave her sister, though, as they’ve been best friends all their lives. And Koren doesn’t want to lose her sister, either.

The man their father brings to meet Rose in the hospital, offers a “cure”, which Rose only truly understands when her body dies. She wakes up in a virtual Paradise, Aaru.

Koren doesn’t handle the loss of her sister very well – she falls into a depression, rebels against everything in her life, and loses all hope – a devastating thing at her young age. So when her father introduces her to the man who helped her sister, Koren isn’t very cooperative. Until they introduce her to Aaru, and her sister, Rose.

It’s a tough moment for Koren, but she’s so happy to see her sister, she agrees to become their spokesperson. Sudden stardom comes with a heavy price, which Koren doesn’t have a lot of say about paying.

This one’s a suspense/thriller, to be sure, but it’s a lengthy and sometimes difficult read. And, I would caution parents about the suitability for their own teens. While nothing explicit happens on the page, the problems of stalkers, child pornography, sex (it doesn’t happen on the page, but it does make an appearance as a problem in the story) and murder are all encompassed in the plot.

Additionally, I struggled with the author’s choice of writing style – this is a personal note, and not a condemnation of Mr. Meredith’s ability. He has a vast and, at times, obscure vocabulary. While this doesn’t pose a barrier for me, the story is mostly told from the perspective of the teenaged sisters, and the word choices the author favors didn’t quite feel authentic for the ages of the younger primary characters. They were fitting for the antagonist, however. Again, this is my own opinion of my reading experience – others might readily disagree.

All in all, I did enjoy the book. The plot, characters, and setting were all well-developed, and the conflicts and plot twists kept the story engaging. This book is for those who enjoy suspense and mystery, though I would suggest a more mature (not quite R rated) audience though, as some of the scenes might be a little too intense for younger teens.

Jenn's long-awaited review of YA Science-Fiction thriller Aaru, by David Meredith, on this edition of Thrice Read Books' review blog

Buy the Book

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

Miao Shan – The Awakening – Cover Reveal

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About the Book

Miao Shan – The Awakening by G.A.M. Morris 

New Adult to Adult, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, 286 pages

Indie Published, to be released January 15, 2019

**Please note that the author has rated this book as 18+ due to graphic violence.**

When ten-year-old Chow Lei witnesses her parent’s brutal murder she becomes emotionally scarred for life. Her maternal grandmother adopts her and attempts to help her, but only when Chow Lei joins a Shaolin Kung Fu school does any emotional healing occur.

After a year of training at the Kung Fu school, her grandmother reticently agrees to send her to the Shaolin Temple so the emotional healing can continue.

After many years in the Shaolin Temple, once she had reached enlightenment, Lei returns home only to discover that her grandmother has also been murdered.

Alone and in tears she swears to bring justice to those who have killed her loved ones. Little does she know that she is destined to become, Miao-Shan, the living Goddess of Justice! Justice for all!

Cover reveal and promotion for a new adult/NA Fantasy fiction novel by G. A. M. Morris - Miao Shan - The Awakening

About the Author: 

Author G. A. M. Morris, creator of Miao-Shan: The Awakening

I was born in London in 1963. We moved to Cape Town, South Africa when I was 8 years old. I studied at the University of Cape Town Business school. For most of my working life, I have been a collectibles, art, and antique dealer. In 2007 I became a commercial property broker. I started writing fiction professionally in 2010, during which time I wrote two complete novels, of which Miao-Shan is the second one. At the end of 2010, I returned to the property industry, without having acquired an agent. For the next six years, I wrote part-time. Two years ago, I started to work full-time as a self-published author, mainly selling on Amazon, under a pen-name. I currently have two other books completed (one an unusual spy thriller, and the other a time-traveling paranormal fantasy), which will be published at a later date. The time-traveling paranormal fantasy novel, I intend to convert into a graphic novel. I’m now concentrating on getting Miao-Shan published.

Cover Reveal: 

Ta-Da! The moment you’ve been waiting for: 

Cover reveal and promotion for a new adult/NA Fantasy fiction novel by G. A. M. Morris - Miao Shan - The Awakening

Okay… now THAT is an awesome cover – right? Be sure to stay tuned. Brian will be reading this book next, and the review blog will be live on January 15, 2019.

Buy the Book

Miao Shan – The Awakening isn’t available for pre-order just yet, but it will be available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and iTunes. We’ll update this post when preorder links are available and have links for all the major outlets in our review post coming in January.