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Center of Gravity by [McNeill, Laura]
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Center of Gravity Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 127 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


'There’s plenty of chills in this thriller about twisted family secrets that will keep pulses pounding.” (Parkersburg News & Sentinel)

'This incredibly fast-paced tale is difficult to put down, mostly because the reader gets invested in the characters and won't want to stop until it all plays out.' -4 1/2 star review (RT Book Reviews)

'Readers will find this tale of domestic suspense deeply compelling as a once-happy family unit disintegrates and a woman summons her heretofore hidden strength. Told from multiple perspectives, McNeill’s gripping tale explores family, trust, and how lives are rebuilt.' (Booklist)

“This powerful debut by a former television anchor is a suspenseful and haunting tale of a marriage spiraling wildly out of control. The story line is particularly unsettling as it mirrors the headlines found in newspapers and court cases everywhere. This title will resonate with readers of contemporary women’s fiction and fans of Gina Holmes.” -starred review (Library Journal)

About the Author

Laura McNeil is a writer, web geek, travel enthusiast, and coffee drinker. In her former life, she was a television news anchor for CBS News affiliates in New York and Alabama. Laura holds a master’s degree in journalism from The Ohio State University and is completing a graduate program in interactive technology at the University of Alabama. When she’s not writing and doing homework, she enjoys running, yoga, and spending time at the beach. She lives in Mobile, AL with her family.   

Product Details

  • File Size: 1390 KB
  • Print Length: 318 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson; 1 edition (July 14, 2015)
  • Publication Date: July 14, 2015
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Christian Publishing
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00PWOH354
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,430 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I first heard about Center of Gravity from a discussion on a FB group. Published by Thomas Nelson, it is promoted for the Christian market. There were some comments on the page about the profanity used in the book and if there is ever a reason for it to be included in a Christian novel. Rightly or wrongly, the discussion peaked my interest, and I checked the book out on Amazon. The premise was intriguing and the 4 and 5 star reviews outweighed the 1 stars, so I used an Audible credit and commenced to listening. What I found was a un-put-downable psychological suspense novel. What I didn’t find was a Christian novel.

Ava Carson has an idyllic marriage — or so she thinks. Mother to her adopted son Jack, age 8 and her biological son Sam, 16 months, she has a doting and loving husband, a beautiful country club home and a life that seems to good to be true. And that’s because it is. Ava’s husband Mitchell is a sociopath and, when he snaps, he snaps BIG!

Center of Gravity is riveting. The unraveling of Ava’s marriage is unnerving and caused me to have knot in the pit of my stomach while listening. Many reviewers say it wasn’t really an enjoyable read, and it wasn’t. But it was very good despite the disturbing twists and turns. Well-written with a good sense of place (Mobile, Alabama), it is told in the first person POVs of Ava, Mitchell, Jack, Ava’s attorney Graham, and court-appointed psychologist Lucy. Lots of POVs to be sure, but it really worked. Everything about this book was good, except . . . this is not a Christian novel.

When I pick up a book from a Christian publisher there are a few things I expect — no profanity and a message of hope/redemption even if subtly woven through the narrative.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This book hooked me, pulled me in, wreaked havoc on my emotions and wouldn’t let me go. Even after putting the book down, I could not stop thinking about the story. Throughout my read, when I needed to leave the story to do work, I thought, wondered, worried about our main character and what was going to happen next.

I may have a slight emotional interest in this book, as I grew up in a relationship that was similar to this in so many ways. I was only a child, but so much happened and so many times I had to stop things from happening, and took the brunt of the blows, that it is something I relate to very much. As with a lot who have grown up in those situations, I also had similar relationships of my own, until I met my wonderful husband.

This ultimately meant that from page one I was hooked. I adored what the author portrayed, as it happens to so many people, men and women. I know that the book may be a trigger for some. There were even times when the story had me looking back on my life and crying, but they were tears of understanding, tears of joy and tears to acknowledge what my past has made me into(which I am lucky was a good turnout).

This is a dark book, in many ways, but it is also a very uplifting book, as we watch the main character start to realise her situation and aim to get herself out of it, promptly. I liked the level of detail the author had, as it was really true to such stories. I could feel and relate to all the emotions and thoughts that were running through the main characters head.

I found the pace to be really good. We were given time to find out about our main character, see the relationship, learn about its past and what it has evolved into and get a look at the leading male.
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Format: Paperback
This had been a really gripping tale about a mad kind of love, the kind of madness that will bring you to the edge of your insanity. Mitchell and his twisted lies, his sick sense of love, his superior regards to himself and abominable attitude towards others.

I feel so bad for Ava, for enduring so much pain. She thought she found the man for her. Only to realize in the end that everything about Mitchell was a lie. She endured a lot of pain, she lost her own self-respect and even almost lost her sons. Ava deserved to rise from hell, but how could she even survive when almost everyone in town believed her ex-husband was the decent and truthful one?

I've experienced a chock-full of negative emotions while reading this book. I felt anger, fear, contempt, madness and rage, all towards one person - Mitchell Carson. I've never been so disgruntled in a character before, he's so despicable.

As for Ava, I felt desperation, agony, distress, misery and a cry for justice. Such a messy life to take! Imagine being accused of incompetent, drunk and unmanageable.

Perhaps, the most painful emotion I felt was whenever I read little Jack's point of view. Eight-year old Jack who thought he was his own superhero, that everything he did was what Daredevil, Thor, Spiderman and even Wolverine would have done. The kids, Jack and baby Sam, were the ones affected greatly in this dysfunctional family and I couldn't help but shed a few tears for them.

Laura McNeill was able to deliver a story that will really tear you to pieces. She slowly drew me in to Jack's world, pulled me right into Ava's consciousness and delivered me away from Mitchell. Center of Gravity is a powerful story that will leave you hanging by a thread of hope and hoping for a sliver of truth. Truly an intense read!
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