Saturday 28 September 2013

Blog Tour - Skipping Stones by J B McGee


They say there are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

Not everyone will grieve in this order, nor will everyone go through every stage. It’s during the stage of denial when Alex Hart meets Andrew Foster. He takes her one-step closer to acceptance: the stage when new, meaningful relationships are formed. The stage when the realization occurs that this is now the new state of normal.

Just when Alex thinks she is on her way to healing, she enters the bargaining phase. That’s the phase where you wonder what you could have done differently. You wonder “what if?” Specifically, what if the ones you loved hadn’t left you?

Leaving…this is what makes heading off to war so difficult and frightening for Alex. She knows all too well what it’s like to be the one on the losing end of life, which is why she’s made it her personal mission in life to save as many lives as possible. The extreme high she gets from treating trauma victims turns into Alex’s own form of therapy, or so she thinks.

When faced with her world being turned upside down, Alex may just find that her true therapy is in the one who has always saved her.

J.B. McGee was born and raised in Aiken, South Carolina. After graduating from South Aiken High School, she toured Europe as a member of the 1999 International Bands of America Tour, playing the clarinet. While attending Converse College, an all-girls school in Spartanburg, South Carolina, she visited Charleston often. It quickly became one of her favorite vacation spots. She met her husband, Chad, during Christmas break her freshman year, and they married in 2001 and she moved back to her home town. 

In 2005, the couple welcomed their first son, Noah. J.B. finished her Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education at the University of South Carolina-Aiken in 2006. During her time studying children's literature, a professor had encouraged her to become a writer.

In 2007, she welcomed their second child, Jonah, and she became a stay at home mom/entrepreneur. In 2009, the found out their two children and J.B. have Mitochondrial Disease. In 2011, a diagnosis also was given to Chad. Please take a moment and learn more about Mitochondrial Disease. Awareness is key to this disease that has no cure or treatments.
J.B. McGee and her family now reside in Buford, Georgia, to be closer to their children's medical team. After a passion for reading had been re-ignited, J.B. decided to finally give writing a shot. Broken (This Series), is her first book and first series. 

ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review


***REVIEW EDITED 9/27/13*** (I did not have final copy at time of original review, changes to original review will be in bold.)

I was incredibly excited to receive this arc because I'm already a fan of this author. I knew going in to this book that the author was pulling from some real-life situations. Knowing this, I was thrilled to start.

What started out as an emotionally heartbreaking and tissue-filled beginning (that completely blew me a good way!!), somehow sadly turned into a book that was a bit difficult for me to follow. I held out hope that maybe I'd find my way back to how I felt when I started it, but unfortunately that didn't happen and with the changes sent to me after the posting of my original review, I did find a few questions I had at first to be explained.

Brief overview:

If Alex Hart's life could be summed up with just 2 words, they would be heartbreak and guilt. She is a young girl, only 15, when her entire world is thrown into devastation. The unthinkable happens and she is left with an array of emotions that someone so young should never have to handle...twice. Alex's extremely loveable grandparents take her in and together, they try to pick up the pieces.

While Alex is in the midst of this devastating grief, she meets a boy. A boy named Drew who instantly helps her feel something other than grief and guilt. A boy who wants to offer comfort and find a way to ease some of her heartache.

"I don't know what's going on with you, but I know that I just met you and already I wish I could make it all better."

Over the course of a month, Alex and Drew meet at a creek; a familiar and comforting place to escape. This is where Drew teaches Alex to skip stones, allowing her something else to focus on. But in these sweet actions, he teaches her so much more.

"I need this: him and skipping stones, to be my therapy."

"You're still alive. You're still here, Alex. Live."

But, in the blink of an eye, Alex suffers another unexpected loss.

Cut to 15 years later...

My review:

I was completely immersed in the beginning of this story. It pulled at every emotion from the start. I felt so whole-heartedly for Alex and her amazing grandparents. Their grief was practically jumping off the page, I could feel it in waves.

J.B. McGee did such an amazing job at conveying so much raw heartache and grief that I can't help but think she is drawing these emotions from real-life experience. I kept thinking "if I'm this invested so early on, how am I going to feel at the end?"

This is where the book/timeline gets a bit off base for me. When the story aburptly jumps to 15 years later, I was left skimming back to parts of the book I'd already read to see if I was missing something or had accidentally skipped ahead. This is a very lengthy span of time for a story to skip, and I was hoping there would be some reconcilliation of that time gone. There were a few things explained but they just missed the mark for me.

Part of original review---I can't help but feel a little slighted with the character development, mainly Drew. With the changes made from the original ARC to the final edited copy, I felt Drew's past was explained better, giving the reader a little more insight into why...[he waited so long to contact Alex, and what his reasons were for showing up out of the blue, 15 years later.] He wasn't much of a mystery when he met Alex but his abrupt departure told otherwise.
[His secrets and past are revealed in a series of letters given to Alex 15 years after they last saw each other. They are both clearly pining away for each other with the "what could have beens" of the summer that was cut short.]

Overall, I felt the beginning was so strong and powerful, it drew me in from the start. But as the story progressed and the timeline abruptly jumped, I was left feeling like I was missing something or several 'somethings'. As I've been a fan of this author for some time now, I will continue to follow her work and respectfully review any follow-up books. [author J.B.McGee] contacted me after posting my original review asking if we (Give Me Books Blog) had received the final edit. We hadn't received it so I reviewed the areas of change and based my new rating on the final edit.

How I got to my rating:

Beginning: 5++ Stars (based on what it made me feel)
Story: 3.5-4
Characters: 3 3.5
Timeline: 2

Original Review: 3-3.5 stars
New Overall Review: solid 3.5 stars

 ~ Review by Molly


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