Book Review: Scattered links by M. Weidenbenner

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Scattered links by M. Weidenbenner

A Drama/Inspirational/YA Novel published by Random (01/04/2014)

 

Summary:

“America is a place where there’s lots of color and people who don’t worry about running water or food.” (Page 145).

Scattered Links takes place in downtrodden Russia where Oksana is a thirteen-year old trying desperately to take care of her pregnant mama. In a place where many are homeless and hungry, it’s difficult for the young teen to take care of the burgeoning family and make a place for herself in the world. Oksana must make adult decisions and take any chance she can get to help herself, her mama, and her new sister but it isn’t enough. Oksana’s aunt leaves both her and her sister at the local orphanage, but the story isn’t over for the resilient Russian girl. An American couple wants to adopt Oksana’s infant sister and end up with both girls in the process. Adopting an older girl comes with its own complications and it’s difficult for Oksana to leave her mama behind and make a new life for herself in the abundant America.

Keywords:

 Russia, Orphans, Adoption, Hardships, Therapy Horses, Family Separation, Leukemia, Emotional

 

My Review:

M. Weidenbenner can tell a story that pulls at the heartstrings and brings out emotions in the reader. You are anxious for Oksana to live and prosper and desperately afraid something bad will happen to her. When she teeters on the edge of the precipice of disaster you will shakily turn the pages and wonder how she doesn’t step up and fight for herself or her sister or her mama. But that’s the thing. If you grew up in an environment like Oksana, you wouldn’t always act like a super hero, beating off attempted rapists successfully on your own or finding food where there is none. There is reality to the scenarios in Scattered Links. Everything doesn’t always happen the way we want it and for Oksana a lot can and does go wrong. Where in America would a thirteen-year old be left to deliver her own mama’s child with nothing more than boiled water, cloth, and scissors? Where in America is a woman’s only job opportunity as a prostitute? Oksana lives in a much different world and yet, she is still resilient. She still wants to live. And finally, and most importantly, she has this undeniably beautiful love and hope for her family.

Oksana’s blind eye toward her mama and family situation is endearing because Oksana still has the hope that blood is thicker than anything: poverty, destitution, and more mouths to feed. Oksana loves her baby sister more than anything and will stop at nothing to make sure she is safe and wants for nothing. This love is so compelling. I don’t know if there’s anything I’ve loved as much as Oksana loves her sister. Weidenbenner has created these larger than life characters with stories that will make you want to cry for them and their hardships. The author doesn’t stop there though, she creates conflicted characters as well, the adoption mother is overly hard on Oksana, but she just doesn’t understand the girl. Maybe if she had read Scattered Links she’d have a better understanding of what it’s like to grow up in a less than suitable environment for a child and then be separated from one’s mother and taken to a different country and asked to be the daughter of someone who doesn’t understand you.

Weidenbenner’s ability to show relationships and the interaction of people is phenomenal. Each character has personality and motivation. Each character shows development and growth. Wow. If I could give a book 6/5 stars, I would do it for this book, and for anything Michelle Weidenbenner writes.

 

This novel was published by Random 01/04/2014 and is available on Amazon here.

 

TLDR Star Rating: 5.0

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

M. Weidenbenner’s Website

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Miscellaneous Mondays: My Favorite Indie Authors 5/5 – M. Weidenbenner

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I found Michelle Weidenbenner when I was researching for my original nano novel the Geacache Killer, which utilizes the premise of Geocaching. I tried to find all the books that featured geocaching and was rewarded with a lot of duds, some boring reads, and a few gems. Cache a Predator was one of those treasures. I was very sad to see that Michelle Weidnebenner had only published one other book that was not a children’s book (she currently has two of those as well). I read Scattered Links and fell further in love with Weidenbener.

M. Weidenbenner is on my list of Indie stars to watch out for because she has written two out of this world engaging novels that are so professional and readable and wonderfully heart wrenching that I wonder why they are not on more national reading lists. Scattered Links has won some of its own accalim, topping Kindle Book Promos as a first place winner, a Gold Metal Winner int he 2014 Reader’s Favorite International Awards and Bronze Medal winner in Dan Poytner’s Global eBook Awards. Cache a Predator won Gold Medal in the 2014 Reader’s Favorite International Awards. Both these books were so engaging and thought provoking that they should be on every book clubs’ to read lists. Weidenbenner writes characters that are compelling and complex. Each character is given true motivation and backstory to match. Weidenbenner writes in a sophisticated manner that pulls you in and keeps you captive until the last word drops on the last page. Weidenbenner has created these larger than life characters with stories that will make you want to cry for them and their hardships. The author doesn’t stop there though, she creates conflicted characters as well. Weidenbenner’s ability to show relationships and the interaction of people is phenomenal. Each character has personality and motivation. Each character shows development and growth. Wow. If I could give a book 6/5 stars, I would do it for both these books, and for anything Michelle Weidenbenner writes.

 

Check back next Monday for the addition to my blog of my rising Indie author page! Also stay tuned for my reviews of any new books by these wonderful authors.

Book Review: Cache a predator by M. Weidenbenner

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Cache a Predator by M. Weidenbenner

A Thriller/Mystery Novel published by Random (01/07/2014)

 

Summary:

Young cop Brett will do anything for his five-year old daughter Quinn. If that means violating the protective order his ex-wife Ali took out on him, he’ll do it. If that means proving to the courts that Ali is an incompetent mother to gain full custody of Quinn, he’ll try to be patient and maintain his temper to do it. Brett’s fight to protect Quinn is made more complicated when they are both thrown in the middle of a crime where a vigilante is gruesomely targeting sex offenders: by hiding their wankers in local geocaches.

Keywords:

Vigilante, Sex Abuse, Thriller, Geocaching, Predators, Cop Father, CPS

 

My Review:

Cache a Predator has everything a thriller needs to make a fast-paced read that will pull at your heartstrings. I couldn’t put the book down. The characters are compelling and complex, with real motivations. Quinn will make you want to save her. Brett will bring you to his side. Ali will tug at your sympathy even as you want her daughter to be taken away from her care. The vigilante will make you take a second look at sex abuse victims… and make sure your door is locked. As this is a thriller with a who-dun-it context, I thought that by paying attention to every character I could figure out the ending, but it turns out the author was a lot more clever than I was and was able to surprise me with the climax.

The intro was setup in an intriguing way. Almost from the very beginning I knew what happy ending I wanted to see, where all ends would be tied sweetly together. I’m sure you’ll have some of the same yearnings, but you’ll have to read to find out if it all turns out the way you expect and desire.

This book blew all my expectations out of the water and although I picked it up for the geocaching element, I was not let down when I found out there was very little geocaching involved because the book was so thrilling and very well written. My only comment would be to cut out the last chapter.

 

This novel was published by Random 01/07/2014 and is available on Amazon here.

 

TLDR Star Rating: 5.0

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18192713-cache-a-predator

Website: www.randomwritingrants.com