Tagged: Second Chances

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}

Fateful Decisions – Review

Thrice Read Books reviews Trevor D'Silva's Fateful Decisions

About the book:

Fateful Decisions by Trevor D’Silva

Historical Fiction     325 pages

Black Rose Writing     October 25, 2017

It’s 1915 in the heat of WWI. Two friends heading to England aboard the British ocean liner, RMS Lusitania, meet and fall in love with a charismatic woman. After battling for her affection, Rachel Williams makes her decision, beginning a journey that no one can predict or soon forget. For the next thirty years, Rachel is forced to live with the choice she made, as the dominos fall around her, sequentially.

Is there a sinister force at work? Who can Rachel trust? Will Rachel ultimately regret her decision when she learns how it impacted others?

Set in America and Europe, history and fiction intertwine, commencing with the sinking of Lusitania. Historical events like The Russian Revolution, Prohibition, The Great Depression and World Wars I and II also play important roles in the lives of the characters and the decisions they make to love, betray, forgive, and reconcile.

About the author:

Trevor D’Silva has a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering; M.S. degrees in Engineering Management, and Environmental Engineering; and an Associate degree in Accounting. He has lectured in mechanical engineering and environmental science subjects at various colleges. Fateful Decisions is his first novel, encompassing history and fiction from WW I to the end of WW II. He uses his free time to expand his knowledge in history and reading crime, thrillers, and mystery novels.

Jenn’s Review:

Every so often, a book slides across my desk with a concept that utterly fascinates me. Trevor D’Silva’s Fateful Decisions is one of those books. The idea of a book following one person through the inevitable consequences of decisions both large and small… That alone pulled me in. I read the sample to get a feel for the author’s writing style, and paused – but the concept, and the opening chapters’ scenes won the day.

Fateful Decisions is a debut novel, and I’m hoping that Mr. D’Silva continues to develop himself as a writer. His style in narration and dialogue is very stiff and feel almost unnaturally formal. It’s not a style I typically continue reading, but in this case, I found myself continually turning pages to find out what happened next, while developing my own feel for how the characters each sounded in dialogue.

The plot was what kept me in the book, turning the pages as I moved through the timeline. I am fascinated with the idea of cause-and-effect related to decisions, and this was the focus of the book. To that end, I think Mr. D’Silva could have slowed down some, to help the reader connect more fully with both historical events and the events in the lives of his characters. 

Thirty years is a LOT of time to cover in 300 pages, and the author did this efficiently. While it was fascinating to read the chronology of world events as seen through the eyes of various characters, at times I found myself scratching my head, questioning the plausibility of THAT many coincidences in one life (or even three lives as this story rolls along).

The book is full of plot twists and uncanny developments and spans just about every major world event between the sinking of Lusitania and the end of WWII, so be prepared for a wild ride.

While I found the author’s style stiff, I would still recommend this book to fans of early 20th century history. 

Jenn shares her thoughts on Trevor D'Silva's historical fiction novel "Fateful Decisions" on the Thrice Read Books review blog

Buy the book:

This book is available from Amazon in Kindle and paperback editions (also available on Kindle Unlimited as of this writing) here. [Affiliate link]

The South Winds – Review

Jenn reviews THE SOUTH WINDS, a new Adult Contemporary Romance from author Allison Mullinax and Fiery Seas Publishing on the Thrice Read Books blog

About the book:

The South Winds  by Allison Mullinax

Contemporary Romance Fiery Seas Everlasting

August 7, 2018

Cassie Ray, manager of her family’s successful oyster house, has never asked for much out of life. The sun, surf, and sand are her companions. The regulars and tourists that flock to The Slippery Oyster are her livelihood. But when the Atlantic kicks up a hurricane, sending waves of black water threatening the coast, Cassie quickly learns that the south winds have blown in a lot more than debris and saltwater.

Dean Alexander left Turquoise Isle eight years ago and never looked back. With his sister’s wedding approaching, and a hurricane churning in the Gulf, Dean returns home, where he’s welcomed with a rip tide of memories determined to pull him under.

Will Cassie and Dean make it through the crashing waves of the past? Will they get a second chance before it’s too late or will the storm ahead be too much for them to handle?

About the author:

Allison Mullinax - Author of The South Winds

North Alabama native, Allison Mullinax, grew up in the small lake town of Guntersville, AL. She discovered the escapism and addiction of writing at an early age. Today she remains a lover of reading, all things outdoors, and spending time with her husband and three daughters. 

Allison’s Social Media: 

Website     Facebook     Twitter

Jenn’s Review:

I’ve read everything that Allison Mullinax has put out through Fiery Seas. This woman totally rocks the emotional gut wrench. Toss her aptitude for plot twists and sucking the reader in deep on top of my weakness for a second-chance romance into the bargain, and you have The South Winds.
Dean and Cassie have been avoiding each other and their painful past for eight years; but Dean’s sister is getting married, and a series of not-quite coincidences throws Dean into Cassie’s path, with a hurricane looming off the coast of their little hometown.

Between Dean’s well-meaning mother and younger sister, and Cassie’s hunky, handy, good-looking and male best friend (whom Dean mistakes for Cassie’s boyfriend before he is bluntly informed is married…and gay), the broken couple doesn’t stand a chance of staying away from each other or the painful conversations they’ve been avoiding.
The South Winds is another quick read from Ms. Mullinax. She deftly captures life in a small tourist town, and leads her reader down a lovely, romantic plot path, only to twist things just enough at the right moment. Fans of the second chance romance, here’s your next weekend read.

On this edition of the Thrice Read Books review blog, Jenn reviews another new release from Adult Contemporary Romance author Allison Mullinax - The South Winds - Now available from Fiery Seas Publishing

Buy the book:

Fiery Seas Pub Bookstore     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo

Into the Blue – Book Review

About the Book:

From the author of Fly with Me and the Capital Confessions Novels comes the newest in the sexy Wild Aces Romance series.
 

Eric Jansen—call sign Thor—loves nothing more than pushing his F-16 to the limit. Returning home to South Carolina after a tragic loss, he hopes to fix the mistake he made long ago, when he chose the Air Force over his fiancée.
 
Becca Madison isn’t quick to welcome Thor back. She can’t forget how he shattered her heart. But Thor won’t give up once he’s set his sights on what he wants—and he wants Becca.
 
Thor shows Becca that he’s no longer the impulsive boy he used to be, and Becca finds herself irresistibly drawn to him. But will Thor be able to walk away from his dream of flying the F-16 for their love or does his heart belong to the sky?

Jenn’s Review:

I’m a sucker for a second chance romance, especially since I married my high school sweetheart 12 years ago, after going in different directions for a number of years. In Into the Blue, Chantal Cleeton has woven an amazing love-lost-love-again story for Eric and Becca in the second book of her Wild Aces series.

Eric walked away from Becca and their engagement ten years ago, and now, as he struggles with PTSD after the loss of his squadron leader in an F-16 crash, he needs to figure out what direction his life is taking. F-16’s and the high-adrenaline lifestyle of a fighter pilot have been his life since he walked away from the only woman he’s ever loved. Perhaps it’s time to reconsider the trajectory of his career.

Becca has never quite gotten over the love of her life, even though Eric tore her heart out when he chose flying over her. Already scarred by life and loosing her parents at a young age, Becca wants to put down roots, enjoy her law career, and have a family of her own. For years, she’d thought that Eric would be at her side to share that life with her. Now, she can’t seem to quite get over the pain he left her with in their small hometown of Bradbury, SC.

When Eric takes leave to go home for the first time since leaving Becca behind, things between the pair heat up quickly. As much as Becca tries to tell herself that it’s only temporary, that her heart can’t get involved, she can’t seem to help falling for Eric all over again. Eric, on the other hand, knows he wants Becca in his life again, but can they find a compromise between her needs and desires, and his love of flying?

This book can be purchased in either Kindle or Mass Market Paperback edition from Amazon by clicking here. [affiliate link]

On Broken Wings – Book Review

About the Book:

The author of Into the Blue and Fly with Me returns with the third high-flying Wild Aces romance…

A year after losing her husband, Joker, the squadron commander of the Wild Aces, Dani Peterson gets an offer from his best friend, Alex “Easy” Rogers, to help fix up her house. Dani accepts, and their friendship grows—along with an undeniable attraction.

Racked by guilt for loving his best friend’s widow, Easy’s caught between what he wants and can’t have. Until one night everything changes, and the woman who’s always held his heart ends up in his arms. Yet as Easy leaves for his next deployment, he and Dani are torn between their feelings and their loyalty to Joker’s memory. 

But when Dani discovers something that sends them both into a spin, the conflicted lovers must overcome the past to navigate a future together…

Jenn’s Review:

Chanel Cleeton strikes a chord once more with her third book in the Wild Aces series, On Broken Wings.

Dani has struggled along in the year since her husband, call sign “Joker” crashed into an Alaskan mountain side in his F-16, and the loss of their baby only a few months before. She’s alone, trying to redefine herself after years as an Air Force wife, unsure where life will leave her once her house sells and it’s time to move on. Alex, call sign “Easy”, has been a long-time close friend, was her husband’s best friend, and he’s always been there when Dani needed a strong shoulder to lean on.

Alex, however, has kept a deep, dark secret for all the years he’s known Dani. His heart has been in her hands for years, head over heels in love with his friend’s devoted wife, never saying a word to anyone about it. With Joker gone, however, guilt consumes him over the need he feels for Dani, and fear has edged in with it. Dani might be gone forever when he returns from his latest deployment to Afghanistan.

Can these two find each other, beyond friendship and their shared grief? Can Dani find the realization of her dreams she’s long thought dead and gone?

Ms. Cleeton weaves an emotionally gripping story of friends pulling apart and coming back together, stronger than before. Sexy and fast paced, reading this book was everything I look for in a romance novel.

This book may be purchased on Amazon in either Kindle or mass market paperback edition here. (affiliate link)

Jake – Book Review

About the book:

Orginally published in 2014 under the title Redeemed by a Rebel.

Jake Anderson killed a man defending his fiancée from a brutal attack, but lost her and his freedom in the process. Now he’s on the run, tormented by the need for vengeance.

Becky Finnegan will do anything to escape her drunken father’s fists, including slave away at their mine. Her only hope is to strike gold and make a new life for herself somewhere far, far away from Deadwood. But then Jake arrives and does the unthinkable…forces her to feel, to hope…and to love.

Jake would give his life to protect Becky, but all he can offer her is a broken heart, a criminal’s life, and a past haunted by failure. How can he save her when he’s already lost himself? Will he destroy everything, or can the beautiful rebel redeem Jake’s lost soul?

Jenn’s Review:

In Cynthia Woolf’s first book in her Destiny in Deadwood series, readers follow the story of Jake and Becky during Colorado’s gold rush. 

Jake Anderson loves his fiancee, even though her father frowns on their relationship and resents Jake’s humble occupation as a farmer. But when Jake comes to call on her, and finds her former beau standing over her with a gun, his life begins to unravel. He manages to exact a kind of vengeance on her murderer, but a crooked witness makes his getaway, leaving Jake in a bad situation, with warrants for his arrest for crimes he didn’t commit.

Along with his two brothers and his oldest brother’s two children, Jake makes his getaway to Deadwood, Colorado – a lawless place outside the jurisdiction of any arm of the law.

Becky struggles to maintain the mining claim she and her abusive, drunken father own, but when Jake stumbles into her life, her world is turned upside down. Both Becky and Jake try to avoid their growing feelings for each other, and when Becky’s father announces that he’s sold her to a seedy land owner, the couple hatch a desperate plan to keep Becky out of the hands of yet another abusive relationship.

Can the pair overcome their individual stubbornness and shady pasts to make a real future for themselves where the Law has no say, and vengeance rules supreme? 

Ms. Woolf spins a beautiful, if rough (because living out of tents as prospectors isn’t luxurious) tale of a man redeemed and a woman stronger than she seems. Sweet, raw and funny, all at the same time.

This book is available in Kindle, audiobook and mass market paperback formats from Amazon here. [Affiliate link]

Eat Pray Love – Book Review

About the book:

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (Contains Affiliate Link)

This beautifully written, heartfelt memoir touched a nerve among both readers and reviewers. Elizabeth Gilbert tells how she made the difficult choice to leave behind all the trappings of modern American success (marriage, house in the country, career) and find, instead, what she truly wanted from life. Setting out for a year to study three different aspects of her nature amid three different cultures, Gilbert explored the art of pleasure in Italy and the art of devotion in India, and then a balance between the two on the Indonesian island of Bali. By turns rapturous and rueful, this wise and funny author (whom Booklist calls “Anne Lamott’s hip, yoga- practicing, footloose younger sister”) is poised to garner yet more adoring fans. 

Jenn’s Review:

Admittedly, I saw the movie before reading the book. (I was beyond thrilled to discover that it was a book, and snatched it up when I found it) The book, by far, is the better time investment. Gilbert is an incredible, intense story teller, and this book has touched so many lives, in so many deep ways (my life included). It catalyzed the spiritual journey that I began about 6 years ago, and helped me to figure out that I did indeed need to answer some of the deeper questions that I’d put off for years. Utterly relate-able to any woman who has been through divorce, depression, yearning or longing of any kind, this is in my top 10 books that I want my daughter to read someday.

Buy the book:

Thrice Read Books has one copy of this book in inventory. Buy it here.

You can also buy this book (10th Anniversary edition) from Amazon in paperback, kindle, hardcover, audible, or audio CD here. [affiliate link]