Tag Archives: gritty

Review ~ When Smiles Fade by Paige Dearth

 

 

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Title: When Smiles Fade

Author: Paige Dearth

 

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10 synopsis

Emma was unloved from the moment she was born. Her earliest memory is being severely beaten by her father, Pepper Murphy, when she was eight-years-old. Seething with resentment over the sacrifice of his dreams for a woman he cares little about and children he never wanted, Pepper chooses to blame his oldest daughter. Her mother, Valerie, makes matters worse with her verbal abuse, leaving Emma isolated with a man that had no boundaries in punishing his daughter, taking his abuse to unimaginable levels.

Emma’s father’s coldblooded beatings and the ultimate abuse to which he subjects her, lays the foundation of the person she becomes. As she matures into a resourceful teenager, she is unwilling and unable to stifle her desire for revenge. Reaching her breaking point she can no longer control the impulse to fight back and finally takes matters into her own hands.

Having learned the art of hatred from her father and the mastery of manipulation from her mother, young Emma now sets out to make a better life for herself, leaving the memory of the abused child she had once been behind her. Hardened by the heartless brutality she encounters and the dangerous situations she must overcome in the course of her journey, she faces every challenge that comes her way in her quest for a normal life for herself and for those she loves.

Finally a person emerges from within that guides her toward a better life until she learns of a secret that sets her on the path of ultimate redemption.

Review

I had to take a small break after reading her One Among Us book. It was a great book but it did take a tole on me because I have children that are the same age and it just hit close to home for me. I couldn’t wait to start another one of her books though. I love her writing. It is so raw, dark, gritty and a side that I never thought much about. I look at people who are on the street different now. I never put much thought into what their story might be. That being said after I had a few light reads under my belt I jumped right into this one. I wanted to know more about Emma because we get a little bit of info about her in One Among Us. I was left wondering what happened with her. So I was excited to learn more about her story.

This one broke my heart as much as the first, this one was easier for me to read but there is just as much heartbreak in it. Now I know that there are parents like this out there in the real world and it hurts my heart to know that there are children who feel completely unsafe, and scared to be home. There are so many things that happen and I felt like just when she was able to catch a break something else would happen.

I have read a total of 2 of her 3 books and after finishing this one up I will say that reading the next one is an absolute guarantee and I WILL be reading it. She can pull you in and make you feel like you are there living the situations. She has a way of writing that brings to light so many issues that many don’t want to know about or would much rather not think about. She helps get a story across in a way that you will never judge another person because you truly don’t know their story.

Now there were a few aspects in this story that were a bit over the top, not saying that they are unrealistic; I mean I know I was 100% behind Emma on the first 2 situations I am talking about specifically. There are 3 others that happen that I was kind of ehh about but over all the last one I thought was pretty good. She had to do what she needed to do to survive and I think that for that reason alone I can understand.

This story is not for everyone, there are some situations that may be a trigger for some and some may just find very difficult to read and get through. I believe that is what is great about books, you will have so many that may or may not enjoy a story. What one person may love another may not.

Paige Dearth has become an author that I will read what she puts out because she just has a way of pulling me in.

I love that her books are LONG, I feel like I get a complete story not a story that ends after 200 pages and I am left with questions. These though are so long that I just feel like everything is answered. The only thing I was not a big fan of was the way she would end some chapters. Giving you an idea of what is to come. I like to find out what is going to happen as I read and it happens not to know at the end of one chapter what is destined to be her downfall or whatnot. That is honestly the only thing that I had an issue with. Everything else I enjoyed. Very Much.


Review ~ One Among Us by Paige Dearth

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Title: One Among Us

Author: Paige Dearth

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10 synopsis

 

Eleven-year-old Maggie Clarke is an average suburban girl known for her intelligence and beauty. Suddenly, her life’s path is tragically altered when Maggie is ripped from her family and thrust into the horrific underworld of human sex trafficking. In captivity, Maggie watches over a young boy, who gives her a reason to live. Robbed of her innocence and freedom, Maggie does whatever it takes to survive.

With the help of Detective Rae Harker, the Clarkes’ frantically search for their daughter. Haunted by his own demons, Detective Harker vows to find Maggie—dead or alive. Meanwhile on the vile streets of Philadelphia, a strange man approaches Maggie with a dangerous proposition, and she risks everything to break free of the network of unsavory characters that control her. Not even she can know how far she will go to get even with the people who ruined her life.

Raw, edgy, and intense, One Among Us ultimately offers hope through Maggie, who grows stronger and more resourceful through her experiences. You’ll be on the edge of your seat, rooting for Maggie as she fights for her life.

Review

I was looking for something that was dark and gritty. This definitely fit the bill. I enjoyed this book I read it and it took a while to get through it because I did have to put it down a few times just because it was a lot to take in. This book is very graphic and emotional. There is a lot that goes on. There were a few things that were not amazing, but it didn’t affect my overall rating. I will break it down in a list. I think that will work best here. I will try and keep this as spoiler free as possible but there might be a couple because I just need to bring it up but I will keep it as minimal as possible.

Maggie talks like an adult (well thinks like one) when she is 11 years old. (it happens, there are kids that are very smart and articulate) Some people didn’t like this some didn’t have an issue with it. I did not.

There are a few times in the book that we don’t know something until it’s happening how she would know it. For example, someone gets hurt and she knows how to help. We find out after the fact that the reasons she knows what to do is because she read books about it. There were a few moments where this came to play. When I was reading this the fist time I did wonder What the hell??? How does she know this? She is too young.

* The whole book is in third person and that isn’t really an issue because that way we are able to see things in other people’s minds. I personally prefer that it was in third person for that simple fact. I almost want to say that it would have maybe even come across better as her telling the story and looking back over everything that happened might have worked out pretty well also, although we wouldn’t have been able to really see things in the others minds also.

* It is very graphic, it did take me a while because I have a son that is 10 and daughter that is 5. It hit close to home for me because all I could think is I will NEVER EVER EVER let my children out of my sight again. I there are some things that just broke my heart reading. This may be a big trigger for some.

* Some found her will to fight back and stay strong a little ill-placed, how it was convenient that she would be strong right when something bad would happen. I believe that it worked out fine. She was compliant and would do what she needed to do well what she had to do so that she wouldn’t be singled out, she would start to feel like she was losing who she was and would fight to hold onto it. So, of course, there are consequences. There is no question in my mind that happens. When it comes to human trafficking is there really a right or wrong way that a person should deal with it while they are going through that horror? Let alone it be a child?

* It is a LONG book. Some found this to be an issue I for one did not. I LOVE that this is a long, full novel. I felt like I got a complete story. I wish more would write longer stories instead of breaking books up into a series, when you could have just finished the book as a whole and it just have been a longer book.
* At the end of some of the chapters it lets you know pretty much about something that will be happening in the future. I kind of wish those were not there. It didn’t so much hurt the story, but I just like to not know ahead of time what to expect when reading a story. When it ends with “this will be what helps her in the future” I just wasn’t a big fan of that.

* When it comes to human trafficking I will admit that I don’t usually think of children, and that may be for the simple fact that I just don’t want to. I will also say that I think of other countries, (Mexico, Thailand, Middle East etc…) Now I will be the first to say that Human Trafficking is something that is an ongoing issue here in the United States as well. People just try not to acknowledge it because if we don’t then we think it isn’t an issue.  To think that it happens here (and it does) is just scary.

* There was one part that I did have a bit of an issue with. Now I am not Italian, I am also not a part of the Mafia…But what I want to bring up is Tony and Vincent, when you read this book you will meet them…Now it says that they are the Consiglieri. Okay from my understanding there is usually just one guy that has that role. They don’t sit out and watch someone for the “boss” that is what the capos/soldiers are for or even the underboss if they want someone they can trust to be keeping an eye on someone they care about. That being said I just found that part odd, it didn’t quite go. And they absolutely don’t get their hands “dirty” they are not a part of that. If they want something done they have the soldier/capos for that part. BUT I do believe that if it came down to it, if it is a personal issue that they want to be a part of I can see that being the exception. I just couldn’t wrap my head around that part though. I think if it were changed to one being the Underboss and the other his buddy who is also a capo…that would have been a little more realistic. For me.

* PTSD…we see it throughout the book yet I feel that when it should have been there it wasn’t that was one that I just had a bit of an issue with. Given when a child goes through a traumatic experience, their brain can shut out most of it; but I believe we would have just seen more of it strong willed or not.

Overall it was a great read, I understand that the outcome is rare but it’s fiction and I am so glad it ended the way it did. I couldn’t stop thinking about it after I read it and while I was reading it. It is heartbreaking, heart-wrenching, emotional, dark, taboo, gritty, graphic, and just something that will stick with you. It is not for everyone that’s for sure, some may not be able to get past the subject matter. I enjoyed the read and will read the authors other books. I just need a break in between. 🙂 But I will get to them.