Category Archives: Madness

Book Case #91 – Haven (Part II Breadwinner)

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Part II of The Breadwinner Trilogy.
To review “Breadwinner” Click here.

Book and Author Details:
Haven on Good Reads
Haven on Amazon
Stevie Kopas’ Website
Stevie Kopas’ Author Facebook

Description from Author:

Having barely escaped the clutches of the undead, the survivors of The Breadwinner are headed into the unknown to continue their search for solace in the post-apocalyptic landscape. Once a paradise for the living, the city of Haven is now crawling with flesh hungry creatures–yet it could be their only hope.

Veronica, Samson and the others take a chance on the promises of Gary, a solitary survivor. Is the light-hearted newcomer all that he seems or are there sinister motives hidden behind his hospitality?

Can Michelle and Lulu, two ordinary women faced with extraordinary horrors and obstacles, make it to safety? Or will they each become just another undead face in the hordes roaming the streets of Haven?

When tragedy strikes, worlds collide, and the survivors must band together against their common enemy. But remember, who you were does not determine what you will become in the face of a catastrophe. The dead may no longer be their greatest threat.

Welcome home. Haven is hell.

My Review:
I started “Haven” last night around 7pm and promptly finished this morning at 6am. This book was fantastic, I want to say even better than the first one,Breadwinner“.

Haven opens right up to the group that fled in Breadwinner. They’re still on the boat, and running out of gas and supplies. They’ve found themselves close to the shores of a multimillion dollar community called “Haven”. There’s one survivor in Haven, Gary. He helps bring them ashore and introduces them to the fortress he’s created alone. The group gets settled in, and Gary convinces them to help him with a supply run in town.

This is we are introduced to a new set of living; Michelle, Lulu, Catherine, Desmond and Francis. They’ve been living in the strip mall that Gary’s group planned to pillage. The two connect and things get interesting. There’s a doctor, narcissistic sociopath and a emotionally fragile one.  

This book has become so much more than a zombie survival novel, it’s become a story of interpersonal relationships. There’s cohesive survival, but not just against the eaters, but against the fellow living. Will Ben and Gary’s group survive after taking in these new characters?

Stevie Kopas, author of this FANTASTIC series, has found her calling. Her stories are easy to follow, intense, thought provoking, and entertaining. I find myself eating and chewing my way through her written work, much like a zombie to brains. I cannot wait to read the last, and final installment, “All Good Things“.

Do not miss out on this new, up and coming, strong author. You’ll find yourself deep in the middle of a kick ass zombie survival book.

Book Case #87 – The Breadwinner

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Book and Author Details:
Breadwinner on Good Reads
Breadwinner on Amazon
Stevie Kopas’ Website
Stevie Kopas’ Author Facebook

Description from Author:

The end of the world is not glamorous. In a matter of days the human race was reduced to nothing more than vicious, flesh hungry creatures. This three part story takes you into the world of the survivors, coming from different generations and different sides of the tracks, they all share one thing in common: who you once were can no longer determine who you will be in the face of catastrophe.

Samson, a once wealthy and powerful criminal defense attorney struggles to keep his family safe and keep his sanity intact when the world comes apart at the seams. Veronica, the high school track star races to get her brother out of the city and into the safety of Franklin Woods. Along the way we come across the struggles of finding solace, finding out who you really are, and making decisions in a post apocalyptic world. The Breadwinner is a three part story and the first book in a planned series that will leave you craving more.

My Review:
So, you all know that I’ve been really overrun with a lot of zombie, apocalyptic, dystopian type of book lately. This is one of the books I received prior to putting the brakes on zombie novels. I read a few none zombie based books prior to chewing into this one.  I am glad I did. I was able to get right into this book and finish it within two nights.

It’s the same basic pretense of most zombie apocalyptic novels; groups of survivors continuing to survive. The groups come across both the undead trying to eat them and the living trying to rape, plunder and pilferage. The protagonist in this novel is Veronica, who made a snap decision to kill her father when he was bitten. This decision forever changed her view on the new world ahead of her. She’s a fast runner, athletic teenager who aged and matured many years on that quick decision she had to make.

The decision she makes, after the loss of her family, is to head to the Bay. Along her travels she meets Ben, who ends up being a life saver. By the end of the book, the troop of humans have separated and finally reconnected at the Bay. When they were separated, Veronica meets Samson, the name sake for the book. His story is a bit twisted; think American Horror Story – Zombie Apocalypse.

All in all, this was a fantastically written zombie trope. The author constructed the story line rather well. However, more importantly was the character development. I believe that’s the main reason I clung on for dear life until the end of the book.

My thoughts on the book: I am not sure why it was titled Breadwinner, when that aspect of the book was so small compared to Veronica and her storyline. I mean, I got where the title came in and how it played out. But it seemed so much more insignificant in regards to Ben & Veronica.

This has nothing to do with the author or the book, just a personal experience. I also had no idea it was a series of books. I was mildly irritated it ended the way it did. Once I found out, today even, that there was a book II, I actually did a little cheer. If it had ended this way, I would have been completely bummed out.

Fantastic book. Wonderful character connections and development. I will actually read book two!!

Book Case #86 – Elysium Dreams

Elysium Dreams

Book and Author Details:
Elysium Dreams on Good Reads
Elysium Dreams on Amazon
Hadena James’ Website
Hadena James Facebook

Description from Author:

In the cold, dark nights of Alaska, a hunter is stalking his prey. Once found, he takes them into the woods and skins them alive, prolonging the experience as much as he can, but the satisfaction always wanes.

Aislinn Cain and the Serial Crimes Unit head for the north to find this brutal and cruel killer. The climate is harsh, the locals are hostile, and each day the unsub moves closer to claiming his next trophy – Aislinn.

My Review:
I have to admit, I am a new fangirl of Hadena James’ Dreams and Reality series. I was sent book two after reviewing book one, and fell even more in love with the characters within the pages. I am addicted to the character development. I am drawn in and eager to know more. 

Aislinn “Ace” Cain and the SCTU head to Alaska to track a methodical serial killer. With her misfit team members and a new team lead, Ace digs deep into the mind of this Hunter styled serial killer. He takes his victims and mutilates them in a fascinating method. But the more they dig, the more they feel it could be one of their very own.

Again, as readers we are left with asking ourselves, “Will he get too close to Ace?

I loved this book so much more than the first one. I’ve been completely pulled into this series. I’m connected to the team, and Ace. I want to know more about their history, what made them this way, and so much more. I am super glad the end we found out about the new Team Lead a bit more.

One more thing that I thoroughly enjoy about these books by author Hadena James, is that she makes me think. She writes about things I am uneducated about, which leads me to the internet researching. I have learned quite a bit between the first and second book on subjects like sociopaths vs. psychopaths, medieval torture devices, and various medications. Anyone who can write a book that leaves me to reach out and search for further answers is outstanding to me.

I cannot wait for book two, “Mercurial Dreams”

 

Book Case #85 – Tortured Dreams

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Book and Author Details:
Tortured Dreams – Good Reads
Tortured Dreams – Amazon —- FREE ON AMAZON KINDLE
Hadena James’ Website
Hadena James Facebook

Description from Author:

When the US Marshals Serial Crimes Tracking Unit comes knocking at Aislinn Cain’s door, she is given a chance to use her past to save other people’s futures. She has survived attacks by two different serial killers and devoted her life to studying the darker side of human history.

A new killer is using medieval torture methods to slay his victims. She can give them a glimpse into his twisted world, but not without a cost. If she opens herself, she risks falling into the depths of her own darkness. Can she afford to help, knowing that the cost could be her own humanity?

Aislinn Cain’s life is a horror story.

My Review:
I received this book from author Hadena James as an ARC copy. I genuinely enjoyed this book.

The protagonist is Aislinn. She’s a bit “off”, and by that I mean she’s a sociopath. Her whole life she’s attracted very unsavory individuals. She’s a lot like Dexter. She is aware of her mental disorder, so she harnesses her sociopath tendencies towards serial killers. She has few true friends, one being her cousin, one being her “mom” and one being Malachi, a psychopath who works for the government.

Aislinn is headhunted by an elite group of detectives from the US Marshals. They need her insight and expertise to help them track down a cryptic serial killer that uses medieval torture devices to kill their prey. Will Aislinn and the team that newly recruited her be able to catch the killer before another set of ten are found tortured to death?

Overall, I have to say, I love this book. I can see a few minor errors in grammar and spelling. My biggest complaint I had with the book was that I  found quite a bit of of redundancy with Aislinn, her team, and the description of the torture devices. Literally, she would describe the device with a completed description, a team member would ask a question, and she would answer the question exactly the same as she had described two sentences prior.. But overall, I was really into this book.

I can only thank the author for giving me something great to read that was not zombie based. This book is one of 7 in the series so far. I loved the idea behind Aislinn and her social dysfunction, her focus and her team.

I am really glad what happened to their team leader, Alejandro, took place when it did. He made a great antagonist in the story. Good, quick read of a novel. Enticing and entertaining. 

Book Case #84 – Cut

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Book and Author Details:
Cut on Good Reads
Cut on Amazon
Rob Bliss’ Author Page Good Reads
Rob Bliss on Facebook
Necro Publications

Description from Author:

Dear Diary,

I am a star. I’ve finally found the yellow brick road to fame. I could teach anyone. As long as they are willing to die for it.
———————
A bomb goes off in Buffalo, N.Y. That same day FBI agent, Daryll Peltier, receives the first of many correspondences from a serial killer calling themselves, Sam-I-Am.

The gruesome torture and murders of the killer’s victims are filmed and broadcast on live television. Creating a puzzling masterpiece of blood and torture which the FBI can’t unravel.

Daryll and her partner, Frank Zepano, began a hunt for the killer across the continental United States and into the Caribbean. The hunt involves cryptic messages, a strange and powerful cult, an unstoppable nano virus, the International Space Station, a trailer park psychic, a tabloid newspaper journalist, a computer hacker, the Oscars…and a body count of one victim per state

My Review:
I received this book from Necro Publications/Bedlam Press as an ARC. This was a complete book series from Rob Bliss called, “Necro Psycho Series.” This is a remarkable book for any crime/mystery/cop thriller book lover. Rob Bliss, the author, really knows how to spin a crime story. 

The story opens on an elderly man walking through the streets of New York. He’s going about his daily business, as fast as his old body will allow him; with ice and snow too boot. As he finishes up his morning chores, he crosses a street, and a bomb goes off.

Agents, police entities, paramedics, injured and the dead are spilled out amongst the wreckage, blood and damage after the bomb. As the investigations begin, Agent Daryll Peltier receives her first message from a twisted, horrific serial killer. As the novel plays out, more correspondences cross Daryll’s desk. Victims are mutilated, tortured, and eventually killed.

CONS: 
Although the book was well written and entertaining, it was long and wordy as well. Even in the author’s description, “Daryll and her partner, Frank Zepano, began a hunt for the killer across the continental United States and into the Caribbean. The hunt involves cryptic messages, a strange and powerful cult, an unstoppable nano virus, the International Space Station, a trailer park psychic, a tabloid newspaper journalist, a computer hacker, the Oscars…and a body count of one victim per state” you can see that there is an over abundance of plot lines and information taking place. I think a huge portion of the story could be cut out to make it a more precise, attention grabbing novel. It could easily be cut down. 

The only other aspect of the novel I didn’t enjoy was the gory, bloody descriptions. The gore factor was a bit over the top and I found myself skipping pages just to get through the novel(s). 

All in all, this is a thrill pleasing crime novel for any enthusiast of this genre’. 

Book Case #83 – Time of Death

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Book and Author Details:
Time of Death – Good Reads
Time of Death – Amazon
Shana Festa – Author Website
Shana Fest – Author Facebook
Time of Death – Permuted Press

Description from Author:

When no one or nowhere is safe, where do you go to escape the monsters?

In a few short days, 37 year old Emma Rossi’s hard work will finally pay off. She will don her cap and gown and graduate with a degree in nursing, but not before she loses her first patient and is confronted with a new reality. In Cape Coral, Florida, a storm approaches. The dead are coming back to life.

And they’re hungry.

Infection ravages the Eastern Seaboard with alarming speed while attempts to contain the spread of infection fail. Within days, a small pocket of panicked survivors are all that remain of civilization. Fighting to survive the zombie apocalypse alongside her husband Jake and their dog Daphne, Emma comes face-to-face with her worst nightmare.

Relying on snarky wit and sheer determination, she is forced to commit atrocious acts to protect her family and avoid joining the ranks of the undead.

My Review:
I received this book from the author, Shana Festa, in exchange for my honest review. This is the first book in a series with zombie-apocalypse being the plot line. I have had a huge flux of zombie ARC copies for review. Most of these novels are darker horror with a strong gore content. Time of Death is actually a bit lighter with a bit of snarky, dry humor. I enjoyed the humor.

The main character, Emma, a nursing student, finds herself in the middle of a zombie virus that has taken out most of civilization. She is set forth, with her ex-military husband and their dog Daphne, to survive and make it through. She uses quick quips and humor to manage through the chaos and horror taking place around her. Survival, zombies, scavenging,fighting both the living and the undead; will Emma, her husband and their dog pull through?

Pros: 
The humor, as mentioned above. I connected with the main character for the most part. The story is almost not stop action packed. The author does a wonderful job in the description process of each event, fight and survival. Truly, there were no holds barred. I was left questioning who was going to survive and who was going to be killed off.

Shana’s writing strength shows well enough for this being her first novel. Grammar was strong. Spelling and punctuation were good. There were only a few areas of editing needed. This was a great first novel. It is a quick read that I was able to get through in one night. 

In the almost over done narrative of zombies, apocalypse and survival, Shana’s novel has its place among the shelves. 

Cons:
There were some decisions she made that left me in a bit of a quandary. The conflict over saving her dog or saving her husband had me be really confused. I mean, I love my dogs and I’ll fight tooth and nail for them, but if I had a husband, I’d probably fight harder for him.

There were a few areas that seemed to drag on with description, survival fights, and redundancy. I found myself reading slower, losing interest and pushing myself towards the end of the book.

All in all, this is a good book. It opens the gateway to the rest of the series, which is something I’m going to look into. Intense and gripping. Gore factor manageable. 

Book Case #82 – Parasylum III

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Continuing story from: 
Parasylum
Parasylum II: The Unleashed

Book and Author Details:
Parasylum III: Resurrected on Amazon
Parasylum III: Resurrected on Good Reads
Parasylum Trilogy on Facebook
Robbie Thomas’ Website
Robbie Thomas’ Facebook

Description from Author:

Travel along in the illusion of the mindset that takes you on a vacation to hell. A team of inexperienced paranormal investigators, find themselves entangled in much more than ghost hunting in an old asylum on an island. They become the hunted, within an era pirates and swashbucklers found their fate a little less appealing. They journey into the dangerous, dark side of the unknown, only to find, there is no escape, only torment and vengeance from those who dwell there.
The horror within, takes you beyond the scope of the imagination, leading you down a path of no return. Brave the darkness and what awaits in the shadows, to find the lure that craves your soul.
All are welcome, so, won’t you please, enter your nightmare!

My Review:
This is the third installment of the Parasylum series by Robbie Thomas. This trilogy has been an incredible journey. The trials and tribulations this paranormal team endures really makes a person think about why they really want to step into the unknown and investigate hauntings, paranormal incidents, and the darker side of the supernatural. What has been even more amazing is watching this author grow, expand and gain strength in his writing abilities.

From the first book, Parasylum, we meet an incredible team of investigators who’s current adventure is a known haunted asylum. The incidents that take place leave you guessing what is really happening and what is an illusion. It’s a great introduction into the characters, as well as the mind of the author.

In the second book, Parasylum II, the team venture out to investigate the Rendezvous Hotel. They’re whisked away on an even bigger illusionary paranormal event, that could either tear the team apart, make them stronger, or die trying.

In this last segment of Parasylum, the team is FINALLY heading out to a well earned vacation. They hear of an all inclusive package at a new resort on a fabulous tropical island. From the moment they step onto the plane, things begin to seem not what they appear to be. It appears that each character in these novels have their own agenda, desires and haunted experiences. Will they make it off the island, safe, sound… and alive?

I look forward to anything further that Robbie Thomas puts out. Everything from “Signs from Heaven” to “Parasylum”, his creative, psychic, paranormal experiences help forge and create a wonderful world of creepy,  scary and mind bending realities.

Book Case #78 – Fort Reiley

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Book and Author Details:
Fort Reiley on Good Reads
Fort Reiley on Amazon
Author Jerry Hanel Website
Author Jerry Hanel’s Facebook

Description from Author:

Harrison Kass, a tabloid reporter, travels to a sleepy little town in western Oklahoma to dig up an amazing legend. Well, quotes about one, anyway. What he finds is more than he bargains for. Adam Moor, the town patriarch, has a secret. All of Harry’s prying dislodges the secret and Adam vows to convert Harry into a Citizen – a parasitic infection that will take over his mind and body. Tara Roberts, the local vet, isn’t what she seems. She comes to Harry’s rescue and helps him survive infection. Together they must find the only man on record who knows how to free Harry from his condition before he succumbs to the Turning and becomes another of Adam’s mindless minions.

My Review:
First book on my Best of 2015 Category!!!

I absolutely love this book. Jerry, the author, very much reminds me of early Dean Koontz/ Richard Paige. I am really thankful this book was sent to me for review material. Jerry does well with weaving mystery, paranormal, and creep factor into an intriguing plot process. He has strong character development without going overboard with the description process. He gives you enough to allow you to visualize, while leaving out enough to keep your imagination flowing. This was an easy, but wonderful, read.

The story features Harrison (come on, you know a book’s going to be good when the main character is named after one of the greatest actors!) Kass. He’s a tabloid journalist looking for his next big article. He heart rumors of a fountain of youth in the middle of Oklahoma, and ventures out in his pristine vintage VW bug looking for the perfect quote. What he finds instead was much more than a quote of a lifetime, he finds adventure that becomes life or death.

The town is run by a impenetrable Adam Moor; who’s more than he first seems. No one in the town is friendly. Everyone is secretive, except for Tara Roberts, the town’s vet. She goes out of her way, risking her life, to get the town’s secret out. This story takes the reader on an imaginative, genetic alteration, alien, mysterious adventure.

I found the writing easy to read and follow. The story’s plot was fantastic and kept my attention; well into the wee hours of every morning. This sleep deprived book review cannot wait to read more from Jerry Hanel; especially as a huge early Dean Koontz fan. You can’t help but feel for the main character, Harry. You can’t help but root for Harry and Tara to connect romantically. You can’t help but mentally cheer for them to destroy the town’s “Citizens” and bust the secret wide open.

FANTASTIC Book!   

Published: Dec. 16, 2014
Words: 118,310
Language: English

ISBN: 9781311451026

Book Case #74 – The Flip

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Book and Author Details:
The Hanging Tree: Amazon
The Hanging Tree: Good Reads
Still Well: A Haunting on Long Island: Amazon
Still Well: A Haunting on Long Island: Good Reads
The Flip: Amazon
The Flip: Good Reads
Michael Phillip Cash’s Website
Michael Phillip Cash’s Twitter
Michael Phillip Cash: Good Reads

My Review:
First, I must apologize… again. I have relocated with my son to another state. I am nestled in, finally, and starting to get back into the grind of things. Even though my reviews have been severely lacking, my reading has not. I took the downtime opportunity it read, a lot. So, authors, publishers and friends who have been generous in sending me books to read and review, I have them, I am reading them and I am now starting to get back into reviewing them.

Of the three books listed in this review, this one was by far my favorite. This story is about two main characters, Julie and Brad. They are a newish married couple who flips houses as a side job. They managed to acquire an old mansion (common theme for this author) at a really low price. Brad wants to flip it, Julie is set on turning it into a B&B.

Brad is in a rush to get this project done. Money is tight and Julie finds herself without a job after an inappropriate proposition from her boss. Making it tougher, her boss is the one who helped get their loans for flipping houses through. As Brad is working and rushing through things, spirits of the mansion start causing havoc. They create quite a disturbance, making him and other workers very uncomfortable.

One of the best things about this author is that he does a great job mixing the past with the present. I enjoy that he goes into details as to who and why the spirits are haunting this mansion. We develop a relationship not only with the main characters, but the spirits as well.

Overall, I really enjoy all of his books. He has a strong writing ability, keeps the reader entertained and engaged. The character development, past and present, are really fun to read. I hope to read my by Michael Phillip Cash.

Description from Author:
The Hanging Tree: Seventeen year old Arielle is at a crossroads in her life. Disenchanted with her father, she is testing the boundaries of his trust by dating someone he does not approve. Under the moonlit sky in Long Island, Arielle and her boyfriend meet beneath the infamous hanging tree. The couple’s destiny is rooted to the five spirits in the tree whose lives and deaths are determined by an ancient curse. Will her future be determined by the past or will Arielle’s choices alter the course of her life?

Still Well: Haunting on Long Island: Paul Russo’s wife just died. While trying to get his family’s life back in order, Paul is being tormented by a demon who is holding his wife’s spirit hostage on the other side. His fate is intertwined with an old haunted mansion on the north shore of Long Island called Stillwell Manor. Paul must find clues dating back hundreds of years to set his wife’s soul free.

The Flip: Julie and Brad Evans are house flippers. They buy low, clean out the old occupants’ junk, and try to make a profit. Enter Hemmings House on Bedlam Street in scenic Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island. Too good a deal to pass up, but with an ominous secret. The old Victorian Mansion has dwellers that do not want to be dispossessed. As the house reveals it’s past, will the couple’s marriage survive The Flip?

Book Case #66 – Bleeker Hill

Author, Book &/or Publisher:
Bleeker Hill on Good Reads
Bleeker Hill on Amazon
Russell Mardell’s Website

 

Description:

“They are just stories, there’s nothing to be scared of in stories.”

Britain of the not-too-distant future is a country at war with itself. After years of anarchy and chaos, of bloodthirsty gangs and citywide destruction, The Party are now fighting to restore order through whatever means necessary – the fist, the bullet and even the terrifying practice of The Wash. It is a war between the lawless and their self-appointed judges, and neither side will relent until the other is destroyed.

After an attack on their headquarters, a small band of Party members flee across the country, seeking refuge in a safe house deep in the snowy forests around Bleeker Hill. But as they near their destination, it soon becomes clear that the enemy they are running from may not be the biggest threat they will face. Because Bleeker Hill is far from safe…and they are not alone.

As night closes in and the tensions within the group threaten to spiral out of control, each of them is soon forced to face a nightmare from which it might not be possible to escape.

Bleeker Hill has a dark history and many stories to tell, and it will be heard…

My Review:
A very dreary and dark novel based in a dystopian era written by UK novelist Russell Mardell. The book is really well written and can easily be seen as an adapted movie; one that I would definitely watch. This is such a engaging novel filled with suspense, horror and all to real view of what the world could be like in an dystopian society. I found myself fond of the characters, rooting for their survival as well as disdain for the enemies. It was so disturbingly beautiful that I could not put it down until I was finished (thank goodness for unemployment lol). 

The character development seemed so real, as if the author was describing close friends; all the way down to witty and clever lines to small individual attributes that makes a person unique.  Essentially you follow this group in people through a broken system/government in Britain. They make it to a safe house that isn’t all that safe. The main character, Sullivan, is forced to join a new ‘established’ government called “The Party” when he is released from jail. But like any new type of power hungry government, we find that The Party has taking things to a horrific point. 

A group of survivors gather together to heading to Bleeker Hill, a town filled with safe houses from The Party. However, the main safe house gets attacked and the group finds themselves again and trying to survive this apocalyptic society. “The Party are now fighting to restore order through whatever means necessary – the fist, the bullet and even the terrifying practice of The Wash.

This book mirrors many other stories throughout history. The ones that come to mind immediately are “V is for Vendetta“, “1984” by George Orwell, and even “The Walking Dead” comics (Minus the Zombies).  One of the most common themes in these stories are survival, anti-government ideals, and fighting for your life against other survivors. It is common that our biggest enemy is ourselves. It is also echoes WWII Nazi experimentation; The Wash takes prisons, experiments on them and they never return.

Each member of the group, just as anyone who survives an apocalyptic event, carries in their heart anger, distrust, hurt, remorse and memories of loved ones. Mardell does a wonderful job bring each of those internal tragedies to light in the results of  frustration and survival.

Only downfall of this book for me was getting into it. I started the book and found that it was rather slow catching. I put the book down, moved across my state, and picked up again when I got settled in. I wish I had stuck it out and finished it when I originally picked it up. Truly a hidden gem. I would love to see it adapted into a movie.

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