Thursday 22 January 2015

**Book Blitz & Review** The Choice by Allison J. Kennedy

Title: The Choice

Author: Allison J. Kennedy

Release Date: Nov 10, 2014

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How do you heal from your past when you're still trapped within it? 

I lost myself the night of the party. Just like that, my innocence and my sanity were torn away. 

I would like to say that time heals all wounds, but it doesn't. And I would like to say that falling in love is what rescued me, but it wasn't. Nobody told me what to expect in the coming days and weeks and months after conceiving a rapist's child. Years later, my wounds are still just as fresh as the night they were made. It would be so easy to disappear and allow the memories to consume me. 

But that's the choice, isn't it? To live instead. 

**This book contains rape triggers. Discretion is advised.

I pounded on the door of Alex's bookstore after a few knocks. “Where are you?” I groaned in agony, cupping my hands over the window so I could peer inside. I hadn't seen his car in its usual spot, and he hadn't answered my calls. I broke down right then and there for the millionth time, it seemed.


I turned around and saw him standing behind me with a bag of groceries. “I left school. For good, I mean,” I stammered. “And you didn't answer your phone, and I was scared you hated me, too.”

He put the key in the lock while I rambled, hurriedly letting us inside. I almost wondered if he was ignoring me until he sat the bag down and pulled me into his arms. “Shhh . . .” he soothed. “How could I ever hate you?”

I gripped the back of his sweater in my hands, wishing I could disappear into him and never have to feel any of this again. Maybe if we were one person, our pain would have been easier to bear. But of course that was impossible. I was hysterical, sobbing so hard my knees threatened to give out.

He inhaled a deep breath and sang softly by my ear. I don't remember the words he sang, but I remember how quickly the sound of his voice calmed my weeping. He took my hand after a while and led me upstairs. I thought he was taking me to his piano, but he took me to his bedroom instead.

And the strange thing was, when he held up the covers for us to climb under them, I had not even a passing thought of being in Tyler's bed. I lay on his chest and he kept singing. Then he hummed until the last of my tears fell onto his shirt. He stroked my hair over and over. I'm sure he didn't know this, but the strokes matched his breathing.

And even after I went home, I held onto that moment in my memory until morning dawned the next day.

TBird's 5 Bare Naked  Star Review:

I found this book really struck a personal cord with me; the message was universal and applies to every breathing soul no matter what event tried to bring you to your knees.  Are you a bird or a fish?  Simple question really, do you swim on the ocean floor with the mass and hope to stay invisible or do you soar in the sky, willing to find your way solo, exposing your beauty?  That is the question we should all ask ourselves, but the story doesn’t end there.  What happens when people, life and events, try to break your wings and make you part of the mass? 

May had to face that question and fight for her answer.  Her parents loved her and her little sister Grace but they weren’t there for her.  With her father being a surgeon, her mother a lawyer, May was the primary caregiver to her little sister.  May was focused, she knew what she wanted for her future, she was going to become a doctor and she was willing to work hard to get there.  One night, changed her world.  After going to a party that her best friend begged her to attend, she found she was shattered.  You can read in the synopsis what happened and what she would face later so I will not rehash that in the review. 

Alex is a man who lost everything, his parents, and grandfather. He had to quit college with his study in music to come back to a small town he never wanted to return to so he could run his grandfather’s book store.  His story plays a vital role in this plot, life has tried to defeat him, but he refuses to allow the death and evil, the mistakes by others and the dark emotions that come, change his perception on life.  He will do the best he can with what he has and find a way to be happy and strong.  Everything that happens has a purpose, but only you can make everything have a positive purpose in your life.  He is going to take May and care about her, love her and value her.  He will know her story, he will know the choices she will make but he will support her and help her never lose sight of the bird she once was and the beauty she could now be.  After a traumatic event, we can never go back to the person we use to be but that doesn’t mean we can’t still succeed and find our new way out of the darkness. 

So many things in this book flew from the pages and wrapped around my soul.  I think the biggest message I received was no one can heal you just as you can’t heal anyone else.  Alex gave May a safe place to fall, even a few bandages to use, but the actual healing from what happened to her had to come from within herself.  The world around her needed to change, but she was only responsible for changing herself.  She needed to forgive herself, allow her mind to rest and most of all accept that she deserved to be happy again and heal.  May will find that there are more dramatic losses in her life coming but she will slowly discover she is strong enough to endure it. 

There are times in life when a reader is struggling with something personal.  They grab a book to escape and find that their escape has soon become their circle of healing.  I can see this book doing that for thousands of readers, both male and female.  In a world that tries to break the wings of the bird in our souls, we can see that we are not alone.  We also can learn it is ok to be a fish among the masses, as long as that is what we were meant to be and we find our own place and purpose among the group.  While the main topic in this book is a very sensitive one, the author did a brilliant job at approaching each event with a great deal of respect and grace.  I can see where the emotions and events could be triggering to survivors, please know the author did NOT go into graphic detail nor did she sensationalize the topic to make an impact.  She exposed the emotions that are left among the broken soul.  She could be heard in the winds that placed the pieces back together again.  She became the voice to those silent victims who refuse to talk about it.  I highly recommend this book; it touched my heart and will be read over and over again by myself in the future.

Allison was born and raised in the mountains of Oregon, birthed of the crisp, clean air and rainy forests. She now resides in Oklahoma City, though she is still thoroughly attached to her home and finds much inspiration for her stories whenever she has a chance to return. As the spouse of a police officer and a full-time photographer, she is on her toes 24/7. In 2013, she was a recipient of the Oklahoma Next Generation award: an award given to thirty individuals under the age of thirty in the state who have proven to be innovative and inspiring leaders in the arts, entertainment, business, media, and other areas of impact.

Often told that she has her head in the clouds, she couldn’t deny it even if she wanted to. Allison began dreaming up stories long before she was old enough to write them. She enjoys a variety of genres, including YA, romance, historical romance, fantasy, dystopian, and anything else that hooks her interest. She prefers to write books that tell gripping love stories in heart-wrenching, real, inspiring ways. Her stories are deep and raw, taking the reader into a world that is richly intricate. Readers often say that they are swept away and left reeling when they have finished the last page.

Allison loves to interact with her readers, and she does her best to respond to every email she receives. To learn more about her, visit her Facebook page and follow along on her writing journey!

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