Blog Tour: Her by Felicia Johnson – 5 Stars

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Title: Her

Author: Felicia Johnson

Pub Date: May 22, 2013

Synopsis

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In many ways, Kristen Elliott is a normal, seventeen-year-old girl. Kristen loves her family. She works hard academically, and tries to please her mother. She takes on the additional responsibility of caring for her twin siblings, Nick and Alison. She idealizes her best friend, Lexus, who not only seems to lead the perfect life, but also catches the attention of John, the boy Kristen secretly loves. However, as is the case with many teenagers, Kristen feels frustrated, isolated, and confused. In other ways, Kristen is not like other kids her age. She knows something is wrong with her. Kristen feels like an utter failure. She is unable to please her abrasive mother, and scared to confront Jack, her abusive stepfather. She is also unable to protect Nick from Jack, making her fell all the more helpless. Adding to her problems, she knows she will never be as beautiful as her best friend Lexus. Kristen finds solace in self-injury, and the company of Mr. Sharp, her imaginary friend who encourages her feelings of self-loathing.

After a failed suicide attempt, Kristen is placed in the Bent Creek mental hospital, where she is diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. While in the hospital, she meets a group of peers suffering with their own mental illnesses, and a compassionate staff of doctors and counselors. From there, Kristen begins her journey to survival. She discovers the circumstances that brought her to this breaking point, struggles to understand her mental illness, and fights to be a survivor against her own worst enemy: her self-blame. Kristen’s tale of endurance illustrates the complex illness of Borderline Personality Disorder. Readers – including those suffering from BPD and their friends and family – can glean insight into the illness from Kristen’s humanity. Her story is an example of how, if we try to push the past away, we are either doomed to repeat it or let it haunt us to our graves

Author:

Felicia Johnson is a writer, youth mentor, student and big sister. She loves ice cream and seeing her little sister, Laura, smile.

Author Links

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Buy Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Excerpt

My father would probably have killed my mother. Theresa probably would have still killed herself, and I probably would have done it, too.” “Were you scared?” “At first I was. When I first got here, I thought I was being punished. Now I see what being a survivor really is. It’s not giving up. It’s not running away. It’s getting through whatever it is you have to get through to make it. It is allowing you to grow stronger for whatever is coming next. It is being brave and choosing to live through it all so that you can share your story and help others. That’s what a survivor does. I don’t want to run away anymore. I just want to live and make things better. My mom wants to do the same. I tell you, Kristen, Bent Creek may seem like the worst place to be right now, but you’ll see. It’s not.”  He looked straight into my eyes and said, “I’ve watched you.” My heart started beating fast. He grabbed my hand gently and looked down at my bandaged wrists. His fingers traced the fresh tape that Ms.Mosley had used for the bandages when she’d changed them this morning. I closed my eyes and let myself feel this moment between us.“You seem so sad and regretful. You can’t just let it out, can you?” I shook my head. My eyes were still closed. I felt tears begin to well up in them. There were no words to describe that moment. His words and the feelings inside of me were just too  much. The tears poured out from underneath my eyelids. He squeezed my hands. I jolted, not afraid, just feeling too much.“Open your eyes,” he said. I did open my eyes, and his large, beautiful eyes stared into mine. “You know how the old people in here always have something to say to us? And when they talk, they think they know everything. You know?” He chuckled a little. Then his smile  disappeared. “There are things I keep hearing over and over that I do believe, though. They sound old–  fashioned, and they are definitely cliché. But remember this, Kristen,” he told me with his seriously passionate stare. “This too shall pass, and what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.” He paused. “If you let it. Keep your head up and your eyes open. That’s how you  will survive. If what you go through doesn’t kill you, let it make you stronger.”

My Review:

I don’t think I’ve ever rooted more for a main character like I have for Kristen Elliot. Her is an honest, compelling and emotional roller coaster from beginning to end. From the start, we are thrust into Kristen’s mind and her fragile emotional state. I wasn’t sure about reading a book that began with a suicide attempt but Johnson held my interest, dropping pieces of the puzzle that is Kristen’s past – her memories prompted by little things that happen at Bent Creek, the mental hospital. The memories fall in bit by bit and just as it goes with completing  a puzzle, the whole picture becomes clearer as Kristen slips back into memories of her past.

While we are only able to see things from Kristen’s perspective, Johnson’s narrative doesn’t feel one-sided. It feels complete, multidimensional even. We’re able to see things through her eyes and understand the causes or reasons for her hopelessness, the help she’s receiving and the love she’s sorely lacked from her mother and the monster.

There’s a character in the book, known as Mr. Sharp. He’s not what you’d call an ordinary character. Kristen refers to him as an “evil entity.” And I must say, I was a bit uncomfortable with his “presence” in the beginning but I think that was the point to not only understanding Kristen’s illness but to understand the difficulty and stigma around mental health treatment.

There isn’t a part of this book that I didn’t enjoy. Enjoy might be the wrong word – I was moved. There was no filler, no lag in the story. It’s a book you devour in one sitting and might need a box of Kleenex during or afterwards.

I can’t recommend this book enough to everyone and anyone.

5 STARS.

Blog Tour: My Beautiful Suicide

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Suicide is selfish.
It tells the world that you are weak. It tells the world your family and friends have failed. It leaves them with guilt that they could have done more but didn’t. It tells them they are clueless and helpless.
I am weak, but I am not selfish.
My suicide will not leave my family and friends with guilt and shame; it will leave them thankful that they knew me for the short time I was here.
– Cosette Hugo
Her brother died. Her parents divorced. Her high school bully is relentless. Cosette doesn’t have a lot to live for, but it isn’t until she accidentally kills someone that Cosette makes the decision to take her own life.
Unwilling to bring shame to her mom, best friend Mattie, or her boyfriend Chris, Cosette decides the best method of suicide is to become a victim of the local serial killer, The Poser. But every time she goes out to find him she gets attacked; her instincts take over, and she ends up killing her attackers. This quickly leads to unbearable guilt. Desperate to finish this before she gets caught or racks up more victims, Cosette does the unthinkable.
“And when I reach my final goal, to meet my brother in heaven, and we’re looking down at my victim in Hell, he will say to me ‘Well done, Cosette. What a Beautiful Suicide.'”
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“No, I just want to apologize.” He loosely holds my hand and walks me to my couch. “I crossed a line I said I wouldn’t and you warned me. You know enough about me to know that I’m no boy scout. But I want you to know that I know enough about you that I think I should stop asking questions.”
I hate what he’s saying to me, but before I get mad at him, he holds up a finger. “I have something for you.”
“Do I want it?”
“Actually, I have two things, and yes, you’ll want one and need the other.” He holds his fist out. I put my hand underneath, waiting to catch whatever he drops. “This I stole, because that’s just what I do, but it doesn’t make it any less meaningful, okay?”
“Okay.” I grin at his cute introduction.
“If you’ve changed your mind about committing to me, then let me know now before I open my hand and look stupid.”
“You saw me completely naked. I think that’s commitment enough.”
“Very true, good answer.” He opens his hand and drops a small ring with two diamonds separated by a deep blue sapphire. “This is a promise ring. It’s not an engagement ring or anything like that. It’s just me pledging myself to you. If you accept me, then accept the ring. If you aren’t sure, then don’t take it. I know it’s old fashioned, but I’m an old fashioned kind of guy.”
“I’ll take it and I’ll take you.” He slides it on my finger while I cry. I lunge at him and kiss him. He smiles and kisses me back.
He’s perfect, just perfect.
I wish I could be like him, so loving, and thoughtful, and kind—but I’m not. I knew when I started that I would not be good for Chris. Shit, I’m on a suicide mission and here he wants to pledge himself to me.
“Chris, I can’t take this.”
“What? Rejection already?”
I pull away from him, feeling the vacuuming black hole sucking onto me, letting me know it’s there waiting for me. “I’m not good enough for you, Chris. I can’t take you down with me.”
“What do you mean down with you? Cosette, I’ll go anywhere with you. You’re perfect for me.”
“The Cozy you know is not the real me. You are pledging yourself to my body, not my soul.”
“I don’t understand. You said you loved me.” His voice cracks, breaking my heart.
“Oh my God, I do! But my soul is dying. It started dying a long time ago and keeps dying the more I cross these lines. It’s not fair for me to offer you something that isn’t perfect. I can’t take this from you. I’m not worthy.” I take the ring off and hand it back to him.
He stares at it, confused. “Did I happen to mention that this was stolen?”
I chuckle through tears.
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Image of Atty EveI was born and raised in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Family life was rough with a religious mother and a short-tempered, alcoholic father. (Picture Archie Bunker) My escape was reading and music. I think I was the only kid with my nose in a book during the Air Force Academy football games.
   As a teen I was an 80’s new waver with black shaved hair, a pale face and bright red lipstick. I was very self-destructive and always got into trouble. Needing a change I followed my father’s footsteps and joined the Air Force.
   During my four year enlistment I was stationed at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas, Nevada where I met my wonderful husband. We both got out of the military and moved to Southern Indiana, on the outskirts of Louisville, Kentucky. I have two teenage boys whom I try to embarrass but have yet to succeed, they have great senses of humor.
I wrote my first novel over ten years ago and was on the verge of having it published when, sadly, my publisher passed away. I shelved my books for a few years to work on our family business. Now I’m back to writing and have decided my fate is in my own hands. And since I hate being told what to do I am self-publishing.

Where to connect with Atty Eve:


Social Media

Twitter:     @Atthaliah
Facebook:  Atty Eve
Amazon:    Atty Eve – Author

Buy Links

Barnes & Noble– My Beautiful Suicide

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Beautiful Beautiful By Heidi Garrett Blog Tour & Giveaway!

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Release Date: November 15th
Series: Once Upon a Time Today Collection
Genre: Adult Contemporary Fairy Tale novella
Publisher: Half-Faerie Publishing
BeautifulBeautiful
Synopis:
Movie director Kerrin Mayham has an eye for beauty. Now her years of struggling on the indie film circuit are about to pay off. She’s the frontrunner to win Golden Pinnacle’s Director of the Year. Winning will mean generous financial backing for her next project, and the most bankable actors in the industry are already signaling interest in the leading role. How will she decide which Adonis is right for the part of Demion Glass?In this contemporary retelling of the eponymous Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale, Kerrin’s journey leads her to discover a deeper meaning of beauty.
My Review:
Who doesn’t love a good fairy tale? What about two? Heidi Garrett’s Beautiful Beautiful reminds me of the film The Princess Bride, with main character Kerrin’s fairy tale to her daughter  interspersed with her own story as Kerrin takes over for Peter Falk as storyteller. She tells her daughter the fairytale version of how she and her father met and married. Kerrin is an award winning director, known for finding the beauty in a film but is unable to find that true beauty in a mate. I appreciated the fact the Kerrin isn’t looking to feel “whole.” Kerrin is proud of her ability to showcase strong female characters on the screen and Heidi has done just that with her character; Kerrin is a successful and accomplished woman on her own. I also enjoyed the balance of the narrative. It isn’t easy to craft one story, let alone three. There’s Kerrin’s real life tale, the fairytale told to Mibi, her daughter and the subject for the film, Demion Glass. As Kerrin tells the tale to her daughter, she notes that, “Apparently, when it came to seven-year-olds, a warm heart didn’t beat magic shoes.” Not only is that funny and probably true, it mirrors Kerrin’s actions as she blindly goes after those “magic shoes” in the form of a stunning actor. It is only after she utilizes her eye for film that she discovers the superficial quality of those “shoes” and finds the “warm heart” she’s yearned for.
I invite you to find the beauty in this quick and lovely read.
I give Beautiful Beautiful 4/5 stars.
Favorite Quotes:
” Her eye sought asymmetry and dissonance, as much as order and balance, measuring light and angles, to frame the perfect shot in her mind.”
“‘It’s good isn’t it?’ he asked, oblivious to the deep chasms on either side of the inner wall she balanced upon.”
“You can’t always see inner beauty on the first take.” “Thanks Confucius.”
“Apparently, when it came to seven-year-olds, a warm heart didn’t beat magic shoes.”
 
heidi
 
Author Bio:
Heidi Garrett is the author of the contemporary fairytale novella collection, Once Upon a Time Today. In these stand-alone retellings of popular and obscure fairy tales, adult characters navigate the deep woods of the modern landscape to find their Happily Ever Afters. The Original Fairy Tale short stories: The Girl Who Watched For ElvesThe Girl Who Dreamed of Red Shoes, and The Girl Who Couldn’t Sing are a prelude to that collection.She is also the author of The Queen of the Realm of Faerie series, a fairy tale/high fantasy mashup about a young half-faerie, half mortal woman who must save both the Enchanted and Mortal Worlds.Heidi was born in Texas, and in an attempt to reside in as many cities in that state as she could, made it to Houston, Lubbock, Austin, and El Paso. Heidi now lives in Eastern Washington state with her husband, their two cats, her laptop, and her Kindle.

Being from the South, she often contemplates the magic of snow and hopes to remind readers that: Once upon a time, you lived in an enchanted world…

 
Author links:
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