eARC Book Review: Time in a Bottle by Kathleen D. Tresemer 

Time in a Bottle

Goodreads Synopsis

Beth Frye wants what we all want: to be accepted, maybe even cool. But high school’s tough for a music geek.
Things start looking up when she discovers vodka. It gives her cool friends, a gorgeous guy, and the chance to perform in NYC: all her dreams are coming true.
But, as her drinking addiction gets worse, things get complicated. She ends up in the hospital, someone is stalking her, twin brother Teddy’s trying to fix her, and that cop keeps hanging around.
Get some help? No thanks. Beth just wants what she wants, when she wants it!
The book includes helpful resources and discussion questions.

I received this book from the publisher on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Trigger Warnings: Underage drinking, Assault, Rape, Being drugged, Underage Sex, Rehabilitation, Relapses, Near-death experiences, Attempted murder.

**When a book is not categorised as Fantasy that automatically includes the more dangerous and scary stuff…all Trigger Warnings apply.

When I requested this book, I had no idea that it was going to be focused on such heavy topics. Apart from the alcoholism…but that was in the synopsis. I feel like this book was so much more than what we were promised and that it encompassed everything. Nothing was sugar-coated.

Beth and Teddy are twins, brother and sister, and they have a system that they work with. Beth needs help and Teddy’s there, rushing in, ready to save the day. This works, until it doesn’t anymore. Beth enters this spiral that leads her further down a hole and she can’t pull herself back out mainly because she doesn’t realise how deep in she’s fallen.

I’ll admit that at the beginning, I didn’t like Beth. There was no love lost there and I wondered if I should even feel sorry for her. Her attitude was not something that I was a fan of. She was extremely rude and bitchy and didn’t regarded anyone’s feelings in any way, shape or form. She barely cared about herself. This story was told from two sides, Beth and Teddy’s. I liked that we saw how she thought nothing was wrong, and then through Teddy’s eyes, you saw how things were slowly falling apart.

I feel that this book greatly showcased what substance abusers do to their loved ones. Maybe it’s not on purpose, but who’s behind them? Either trying to help or unknowingly making things worse. Something I read a while ago talked about funerals and about how they’re not for the person who died, they’re for the family and people they left behind. To help them cope. To give them some sense of peace. I think it’s similar for the people in this book. What they do, or what happens to them, doesn’t just affect them only.

I was shocked the further I got into this book because as I said, I wasn’t expecting it to be so heavy. Would I have still read it knowing what it entailed? Honestly I don’t know. This is why Trigger Warnings are important. I think they would’ve played a part in my choice.

I’ve had this book sitting in my Kindle App for months and I was reluctant to read it. I forgot why I had requested it and I didn’t see the sense in reading it. I do think that the stuff mentioned in this book is very important and it could help a lot of people out there, so there is a silver lining to all this. Sort of.

I do like the way the author went about this book. Nothing seemed too forced and everything was done in stages. I liked that the book was separated in parts by why of months. It helped with keeping track of the time frame. At the start of each part, the author included a quote that related well to what was going on in the story at the time.

I try to stay away from books like this only because I never know how to feel when I’m done with them. I have to admit that realistic stories of this kind are way too scary for me to frequent.

I did really like the book though. My lower rating is because of the lack of overall warning of what this book contained and the fact that the book was on the shorter side but had chapters that were 2 pages long. That’s a bit of a peeve for me so I wasn’t a fan. Really great style from the author and I think she covered just about everything.

Read: 18 May 2017
Rating: ★★★.5

Publication Date: 19 June 2016
Publisher: Soul Fire PRess
Link to Author’s Goodreads Page: Kathleen D. Tresemer

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Book Review: The Power of the Unseen by Marcel Borgi

The Power of the UnseenGoodreads Synopsis

When you finally depart this existence for what comes next, how would you like to be remembered? For Marcel Borgi, the answer was one that would change his life forever. Lacking the funds to leave a large inheritance or the free time to volunteer, Borgi soon became fixated on one particular goal: he would be the guy who spent every moment of every day happy-all the time and with no exceptions.

In his dedicated pursuit of happiness, Borgi did more than discover the power of positivity. In fact, he discovered an entirely different world. Though technically the same as the world we are used to, this new world is experienced through a lens of knowledge and awareness, injecting every moment with newfound joy and meaning.

With a foreword by Mars Venus Coaching global network CEO Richard Bernstein, “The Power of the Unseen” is your front-row seat to Borgi’s life-altering journey. Learn to leave the “yester-world” of fear and stress behind for a new world of enlightenment, peace, and joy-and discover your own “today-world” along the way.

I received this book from the author through Goodreads First Reads

‘A book for believers or non-believers- and one that definitely targets those who believe that there is something more to life, or whatever goes beyond.’ ~ Marie-Christine Tayah

I’m not one to read books that focus on religion or spirituality, they’re just not my cup of tea, but I was drawn to this book because of a line in the synopsis. ‘-he would be the guy who spent every moment of every day happy-all the time and with no exceptions.’ A book that focuses on being happy? Yes please, I’m sold.

I have read other reviews for this book and many, if not most, of the people are Atheist. I felt like this was perfect in the sense that I’m a Christian so we’d have opinions of those who believe and those who don’t. Many of the things mentioned in this book are common sense almost, in that I knew but I never thought about it. I feel that they were things that needed to be said in order for people to take note of them.

What stood out for me was the power was thought. That our thoughts reflected greatly on our reality and what goes on around us. Borgi talked about the Laws of Attraction and even though I’d heard the term before, I never allowed myself to think about what it really meant. He talked about how if we focus our thoughts on love, trust, appreciation and acceptance, it emits forces of attraction. Fear, anger, disappointment and hatred emits forces of repulsion. He says that even thinking about things that are bad/going bad for us will automatically cause those things that are good/could be good for us to be repelled and vice versa.

Three great truths to acknowledge:

  1. Your thoughts are very powerful.
  2. The way you think affects your way of life.
  3. Ask. If you believe, you will receive.

There were many things in this book that hit me in the personal feels and that made me happy because finally someone gets it. I don’t have to struggle for the words anymore because it was all written there in black and white.

A few things I didn’t agree on but I think that’s based on personal beliefs and opinions. What I didn’t like about this book was the fact that Borgi referenced a lot of authors. This wouldn’t usually be an issue but it got so much that I felt like I was reading these other authors’ works completely. I liked Borgi’s writing style but some of the authors’ he referenced, I didn’t care for.

The last part of the book focused on the real reason of why I picked it up in the first place: happiness. Borgi says that these three virtues:

  • Forgiveness and asking for forgiveness
  • Communication
  • Love, love and more love

will strengthen our personalities as individuals and bring us collective happiness.

I started out loving this book but as I got through each part, that love turned to like and almost dislike because of the constant referencing. I rated this book 3 stars because I did like what I read and I do think that Borgi has a point. Our way of thinking does affect us whether we want to acknowledge this or not. This book really put things in perspective for me. It solidified the fact even more that I want to stop my negative ways of thinking and try to be more positive.

Read: 30 April 2017
Rating: ★★★

Publication Date: 20 November 2015
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Link to Author’s Goodreads Page: Marcel Borgi

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eARC Book Review: Extracted by R.R. Haywood

30837317Goodreads Synopsis

In 2061, a young scientist invents a time machine to fix a tragedy in his past. But his good intentions turn catastrophic when an early test reveals something unexpected: the end of the world.

A desperate plan is formed. Recruit three heroes, ordinary humans capable of extraordinary things, and change the future.

Safa Patel is an elite police officer, on duty when Downing Street comes under terrorist attack. As armed men storm through the breach, she dispatches them all.

‘Mad’ Harry Madden is a legend of the Second World War. Not only did he complete an impossible mission—to plant charges on a heavily defended submarine base—but he also escaped with his life.

Ben Ryder is just an insurance investigator. But as a young man he witnessed a gang assaulting a woman and her child. He went to their rescue, and killed all five.

Can these three heroes, extracted from their timelines at the point of death, save the world?

I received this book from the publisher on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Extracted tells the story of three people who were taken from their respective timelines at the point of their deaths-extracted- and are now looked to be the last hope at the world being saved. Very ‘Help me, Obi Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope’-esque.

The synopsis for this book alone was well thought out. It doesn’t say much, but it gets you interested, which is precisely the point. As this is the first book in the trilogy, we don’t see how the mission turns out as a lot of world and character building takes place.

We don’t really get too deep into the time traveling because even though this is a time travel novel, it’s really not. The fact that people could travel through time was not what the main point of this story was. Sure, it was because of the invention of a time machine that started the unfortunate end of the world, but it was the saving of the world and how that’s going to be done that was more important in this book. I’m actually hoping that in books two and three we’ll get to travel a bit more…you know, when we’re sort of out of the immediate sight of danger.

When I first started this book I was so confused. I understood that each of the characters, Ben, Harry and Safa’s- extractions were being described in detail so that we as the readers could get a better understanding of how exactly that worked and I liked that part…it was the after that bothered me. Instead of the POV’s being separated by chapters, they were separated by paragraphs, it was more lines actually, and with no warning that the POV was changing. It was my only peeve about the book really. It would’ve probably have been more annoying though if we had to go through the same scenario three times with each character since all three of them were the main character.

Ben was a bit slow on the uptake and the one who I think got the worst end of the bargain. He was plucked out of his life and thrown into this new world where all of a sudden all these impossible things were now possible. He had no training for this and obviously didn’t know how to cope with all this unfamiliarity.

Harry was a hoot. This guy, the one who goes back the furthest seemed to almost blend in seemingly. Sure, he had his set way of doing things but he was a soldier. He was taught to obey. There’s no room for ‘no’.

I did not like Safa. I felt like even though it wasn’t intentional on her part, she was very…bossy. I don’t know how else to explain it. To me it was like that because she was the only female of this group she had to overcompensate and prove that she had the guts to do what they could, that she could be strong too. I’m glad that she was a powerful character in that sense but it got to the point where whatever she said went. By the time the words ‘Let him be a man. Give him his dignity.’ rolled around I was like thank the Heavens! Someone finally said it.

Overall, I thought this book was amazing! The writing was perfect and I didn’t want to stop reading. This story is still working it’s way through all the sections of my mind. I’m really interested in getting my hands on Executed-the second book- because I need to know what happens next we were kind of left with a cliffhanger. I’m glad I decided to request this book. No regrets at all.

Read: 7 February 2017

Publication Date: 1 March 2017
Publisher: 47North
Link to Author’s Goodreads Page: R.R. Haywood

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eARC Book Review: How to Mend A Broken Heart by Anna Mansell

How to Mend a Broken Heart

Goodreads Synopsis

A compelling, heartbreaking tale that will make you laugh, cry and believe in the kindness of strangers. Perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes, Lucy Dillon and Miranda Dickinson.

Life is good for nurse Kat. That is until the man she intended to marry legs it, she’s unexpectedly promoted to a position with too much responsibility, and a patient arrives on her ward under strange circumstances.

Susan is a mystery. She refuses to speak or interact with anyone, she’s obsessed with a book of fairy tales, and the only name in her diary is that of Rhys – a plumber she barely knows.

Down-to-earth Rhys is trying to get his life back on track after the death of his beloved brother. His mum is his priority, and she needs him as much as he needs her. Or at least she did, until she starts disappearing, leaving him to find comfort in the form of his brother’s girlfriend.

Complicated is an understatement.

As the lives of these three lost strangers intertwine, will they find a way to lay ghosts past, present and future to rest? And when the chance comes to mend their broken hearts, will they be brave enough to take it?

I received this book from the publisher on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

How to Mend a Broken Heart is a story that revolves around three people and how their lives are interwoven whether they see it or not. I felt that this story tells us that even a person who is a complete stranger can have an impact on your life. Not always for the better, but not necessarily for the worst either.

“We can store a memory away, but it never truly dies. We can ignore its existence, we can hide from the emotions it provokes, but it will return when the soil of life is overturned.”

We start out the story with Kat. I rather liked her even if she wasn’t my favourite in the book. I felt that with her, the most work had to be done in that she was the character who I would look to see if any development occurred. Kat worked as a nurse in a hospital and for a while she is placed with the responsibility of acting Ward Sister. With her boyfriend dumping her after 5 years together, then getting an almost promotion at work, she already has a lot on her plate, but of course the universe has to throw in a complicated patient that nobody can get through to.

Susan started out as a mystery. I assumed the prologue was from her point of view. It was quite confusing and I wasn’t sure what was happening but I went with the flow and curiosity got the better of me. Susan herself doesn’t have many POV’s in the book but what we do get, gives that little bit of suspense and keeps us asking questions.

Rhys: this character was my favourite of the book. He made me want to reach in and hug him or something. From the beginning of the book it was made clear that he was upset and we knew why but the problem was…we didn’t know how to make him feel better and I think that made his story all the more sad.

None of these three characters individually are the main character because all of them collectively make up the main part of the story. As the story goes on we find out how and why they, in particular, are tied together by the fates or whoever it may be.

“-Why do we hide from the things that might make us?
-Because they can just as easily break us.”

This book was described as being heart wrenching but I didn’t feel that my heartstrings were being pulled at. My friend says it’s because I don’t have a heart but I think it’s because I didn’t go in with all my emotions and feelings laid bare.

I did like what the story offered and after the initial confusing part, I got pretty into it. Once you let yourself go, the book is a pretty quick read. The book got a bit predictable near the middle to the end bit but that was okay because it didn’t take anything away from the story as a whole. I loved the writing and the author’s talent of drawing one in. I’ll definitely be keeping a lookout for more of her work.

Read: 30 January 2017
Rating: ★★★

Publication Date: 1 March 2017
Publisher: Bookouture
Link to Author’s Goodreads Page: Anna Mansell

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eARC Book Review: Detached by Christina Kilbourne

DetachedGoodreads Synopsis

Anna has always been so level-headed, so easy-going, so talented and funny. How could anyone have guessed she wanted to die?

Anna is not like other people. For one thing, she’s been an accomplished artist since she was a preschooler. For another, she’s always felt like she didn’t belong: not with other kids, not with her family, not in her body. It isn’t until her grandparents are killed in a tragic accident, however, that Anna starts to feel untethered. She begins to wonder what it would be like if she didn’t exist and the thought of escaping the aimless drifting is the only thing that brings her comfort.

When Anna overdoses on prescription pain killers the doctors realize she has been suffering from depression and start looking for a way to help her out of the desperate black hole she never thought she would escape. It’s then that rock bottom comes into sight and the journey back to normal begins.

See the trailer here! https://t.co/ISbsu7CsdN

I received this book from the publisher on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Warnings: Mentions & Attempts of Suicide, Underage Drinking.

This story focuses on Anna, the MC. Her bestfriend, Aliya and her Mom. From the beginning of the book we see that Anna clearly suffers from depression even though she herself doesn’t know it.

We see Anna lead a seemingly perfect life but inside she’s dying. There were signs of course but I think this book shows us that sometimes people just don’t want to see what they know will hurt them.

Anna herself thought that it was insane to want to die knowing that her life was practically perfect. Anna’s lack of feeling during the rise of her depression is what I believe drove her over the edge. She felt nothing at all except that she didn’t want to be alive anymore.

Characters: I really liked Anna as a character and thought that she was strong despite what one would think as a weakness. Her depression didn’t weaken her. It made her more…wilful. She didn’t seem to be too scared about what she was doing and was adamant about finding a way to finish off. I’ve heard recently in a show, ‘the first step in solving a problem is to admit that you have a problem’ only Anna didn’t see her dying as a problem…

I didn’t like Aliya’s POV as much and she made me feel like I was in a 13 year old’s mind. These characters were 16 and acted their age for the most part but I think the fact that Aliya’s mom was so overprotective made her come off as younger.

Anna’s Mom was clearly a caring and loving mother. I wouldn’t say that she or anyone else did anything wrong that in the end aided Anna’s need to not live anymore. The mother was pretty supportive and tried her best to be there for her children. I loved how she had her own POV. It gave us a different angle that I haven’t seen before.

Likes: What I really liked about this book is how different it was. Usually you see the aftermath of what a suicide does and this was the leading up to. It was a fresh view for me and a really interesting one too. This was a fairly quick read once I actually decided to sit down with the book. The characters were pretty good and all of them brought a little something of their own to the table.

Overall Thoughts: This book showed only one of the ugly sides of Depression. It can lead you into such a spiral that everything you knew, everything that made you happy now leaves you feeling nothing at all. I’m glad that Christina wrote the book in this way and that the world gets to see what actually goes through the mind of the victim of this illness before they go off the edge.

Read: 21 August 2016
Rating: ★★★.8

Publication Date: 13 August 2016
Publisher: Dundurn Press
Link to Author’s Goodreads Page: Christina Kilbourne

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eARC Book Review: In the Hope of Memories by Olivia Rivers

In the Hope of Memories

Goodreads Synopsis

Hope is dying.

Hope Jackson has lived her short life to the fullest, but her four closest friends are dangling on the brink of disaster. Right before dying of a rare heart condition, Hope sets up a scavenger hunt across New York City using her graffiti art. The directions she leaves her friends are simple: Solve the clues hidden in her art, and they’ll solve the problems haunting their lives.

Hope is dead.

Two days after her heart fails, Hope’s friends are thrown together:

Aiden, her best friend, whose plans to attend college have been scattered by his OCD.
Kali, her foster sister, whose last ties to sanity are as razor-thin as her anorexic waistline.
Erik, her high school crush, whose success as an athlete is based on a lie with no end in sight.
And Sam, her online pen-pal, whose perfect life exploded into chaos in the aftermath of a school bombing.

Together, the four teens take to the streets of New York to complete Hope’s scavenger hunt and fulfill her dying wishes. But in order to unravel the clues hidden in Hope’s graffiti, her friends will need to confront their personal demons head on.

Hope is within reach.

I received this book from the publisher on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

There are five people in this book who the story is focused on. Even if one of them is dead.

Erik sees an invitation outside his house to Hope’s birthday party with an address on it but he ends up at Aiden’s -Hope’s OCD friend- house instead. Aiden tells Erick that Hope died two days ago. After words -not many of them nice- are exchange, Aiden convinces Erik that Hope left them clues to complete a scavenger hunt and so the main event of the story starts.

When I found out about Hope leaving behind clues and Erik, Aiden, Kali and Sam had to figure out what they were and in turn this would help them in their life, I scoffed. I thought this was mean of Hope to do because I felt that these people needed time to grieve, to get over the loss of their friend but I soon got with the program. Hope wasn’t forcing them to ‘remember’ her, she didn’t need to. All she wanted to do was take care of them and make sure they knew that life would go on. It wasn’t the end.

Characters: As I said, I thought Hope was a bit mean for expecting her friends to ‘keep her alive’ so to speak. I ended up finding her quite endearing as the book wore on. Her main concern was that now that she was dead, her friends would go on living. She really seemed to be a rock to all of them and I think that was clearer after she wasn’t there anymore.

Erik could be a bit of a jerk but I thought that was both a coping and a defence mechanism. He was losing what seemed to be the most important thing to him so it was understandable that he’d lash out.

Is it mean that I was sometimes annoyed by Aiden? Not because of his OCD, or his knowledge. I actually admired his smartness. He annoyed be at times because the others would be looking off in the distance and randomly he’d be like: ‘Hope is dead.’ I get that he was grieving, and yes, maybe it does make me mean to expect him not to point it out every five minutes.

I loved Sam so much. They were awesome and excuse me? Major geek alert. All those Supernatural and Sherlock and Doctor Who references gave me life. I loved when Erik was asking about something burning to the ground and Sam replied: ‘I’m sure the Supernatural fandom will get to it sometime.’

I thought Kali was…full of herself. She was easily offended and always thought she was the target. I think she needed the most help and this was picked up on in the book, which I’m glad about.

Likes: I like that this book involved a bit of everything. There were mental illnesses, trauma, sexual identity, loss of something important. This book was about helping people carry on and I think it was the perfect way to show people that life does in fact go on. When people say ‘it’s not the end of the world’ they mean it.

Overall Thoughts: I loved the writing style and I thought that this was amazing and fast paced. The synopsis was very clever. Letting us know what’s inside but not telling us what it was exactly. Just like a synopsis is supposed to be. Once I actually got into this book, I finished it pretty quick. I can’t wait to read more by this author. I think this is one of those books that stays with you and I loved every moment.

Read: 18 July 2016
Rating: ★★★★.5

Publication Date: 21 March 2016
Publisher: Red Sparrow Press
Link to Author’s Goodreads Page: Olivia Rivers

eARC Book Review: The Makings of a Fatherless Child

28338785 Goodreads Synopsis

“Imagine living in a world where you are born to fail.

Where dreams are shattered by outward forces before they are realized and allowed to set sail.”

–Amel River, “The Makings of a Fatherless Child”

Set in the early 2000s in Bear Ridge, Mississippi, an aging 13 year old Amel River fights a perpetual battle of suffering internally with an impulsive disorder and chronic anxiety, enduring a life without a father, surviving living amongst an unstable mother, and struggling with a small voice in his head that intrusively influences him to inflict punishment upon himself and encourages him to extinguish the lives of those he deems as “bad hearted people”.

Though a child, Amel desperately wants to experience three things in his young life: freedom of the small voice inside his head, freedom of his unstable environment, and freedom of his father’s regret. However, escaping the small voice inside his head is impossible, overcoming poverty and an unstable home at age 13 is improbable, but being disowned by his father was a decision decided by his father before Amel was born but with good reason as to why.

With the wisdom of a drunken stranger King Lee, the unspoken love of his best friend Sea’Sea, and the innocent eyes of his two year old nephew Javion, Amel embarks on an unknown journey of truth, understanding, and forgiveness, hoping that his journey will lead him to experience his ultimate definition of freedom, a life worth living.

I received this book from the publisher on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Makings of a Fatherless Child is about Amel Rivers and basically his home life. How sometimes people don’t have a choice but to become what they were prophesied to be.

This was a confusing read for me and took longer than I liked. I thought this was going to be one of those stories where the MC would get out and be a better person and make something of himself but I think the author was trying to show that not everything works like that. Sometimes, if a hole is dug deep enough, you along with anyone else won’t find a way out no matter what.

Characters: I’ll say off the bat that I didn’t like Amel. We start off with when he was 13, but most of the book takes place while he’s 15 and ends when he’s 18. Amel was a character that I admired at first because he thought differently. He’d be yelled at, ridiculed and beat, and he never returned them in kind. But slowly I started seeing that he was going with the flow. He started believing that if a person thinks you’re a certain way, you should act like it. I’ll be honest and say that I thought this boy was insane. He had major anger issues and obviously needed help. There’s only so much you can blame on your deadbeat dad. To him, everyone was a liar, but I thought he just trusted too easily. The way he went about dealing with his problems was just…disgusting.

Baby sister, Amel’s mother was also insane. When things didn’t go her way, she’d automatically reach for the gun. She kept saying she was trying to raise her son to be a better man but I think she was part of the reason why he snapped in the first place.

Sea’Sea: I found her to be very needy but she threw people away so easily.

King Lee: This was the only character that made sense to me. He was the only one I kind of liked…and he was a drunk.

Likes: As messed up and confusing as this book was…it went somewhere. It wasn’t all insane people, there was a point I guess.

Dislikes: This book was confusing and messed up. Everyone had something against everyone else. I was annoyed for most of the book.

Overall Thoughts: I thought that Amel had a mental illness- he spoke to himself a lot and this voice he was hearing talked back. His mom seemed to have been suffering from the same thing. We learn later in the book that it runs in the family. This book took me forever to finish and I just wanted it to end.

Read: 10 May 2016
Rating: ★★.5

Publication Date: 20 December 2015
Publisher: House of Cotton Publishing
Link to Author’s Goodreads Page: Chandler Alexander