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A Reason to Run (The Camdyn Series Book 1) Kindle Edition
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"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Pre-order today
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This is a clean romance with a mild Christian thread. It is a feel good book that delivers. There are several laugh out loud moments along with some sigh worthy scenes. The characters are wonderfully drawn to the point that you want to go there and hang out. Description is clearly visible without going on and on about every detail. You hear tires on gravel, pouring rain and thunder. You see paths in the woods and winding roads. Faith is shown realistically through the lives of the characters. No preaching to the reader. Editing is expertly done (thank you). The general story description really doesn't give an adequate forecast into the delightful experience of this story. I really get excited when I find a good book and this one is going directly onto my reread list.
(Though reviews are inherently subjective, I prefer to provide some organization to my opinions through the use of a personal rubric. The following notes may contain spoilers.)
Plot and Setting: 4.7 -- Plot is engaging from start to finish. Has unique elements and no major holes, but a few shaky bits and/or a slight lack of focus. Setting is clear and believable. Timeline is clear and consistent. A funny, touching, adorable romance. Lots to like about this story. I will say the rather severe shifts in their behavior toward each other were not my favorite, even though it does make sense for them to have some conflicted emotions. And it is a very fast relationship indeed. But as a total package, the story is great.
Characters: 5 -- Relatable, realistic, interesting, dynamic characters. Even minor characters have depth, as do the relationships between characters. Loved Camdyn's bumbling, clumsy mess, and how she so clearly shakes Cole up, too. All the characters have definite personalities, and while the minor characters really don't undergo growth or change, they are generally more than just one-note stereotypes. Camdyn and Cole show a whole range of emotions, and each step out into new territory. Since Camdyn is our narrator, we obviously learn the most about her thought processes and how things affect her, and there is certainly depth and growth going on in her.
Mechanics and Writing: 5 -- Few, if any, typos, punctuation issues, or word errors. (<3/100pgs) Intelligent use of POV. Skillful writing that adds to the story. Only a very few errors, all very minor. POV is all first person Camdyn.
Redeeming Value: 5 -- Well-developed, central, uplifting themes. Drugs, alcohol, violence, etc, are not glorified at all. No explicit sex scenes. Clear moral guidelines for behavior. Clean. Definite physical attraction and some passionate kisses, but avoids being crude or suggestive. Themes of releasing the desire to be in control of your own little world, and acknowledging that some of the best things in life result from situations that might initially make you feel foolish or clumsy. The idea that there are no coincidences, but miracles and gifts from God instead. Also emphases on family, belonging, and knowing when to stay and fight for something.
Personal Enjoyment: 5 -- I loved it. It made me feel in all the best ways, and leaves me content and satisfied. One I'll definitely read again.
The secondary characters were great, too! I loved Charlie and Trina and the obvious history Camdyn shared with them. Rosalie's gentle insistence and Rachel's bubbly exuberance were perfect for their characters. And even the background characters were written like real people rather than stick figures.
Some of Camdyn's "what-if"s had me a little confused and concerned at times, but I ended up liking the way everything tied together. Her voice was very well-done, and I liked the laid-back, self-deprecating style of her narration. I just have to say, though, I'd love to have the ability to turn out a full-fledged novel in a few days!
About the only thing I didn't like about this book was the constant focus on the characters' physical attraction and the emotions of "falling in love". I didn't feel like it was taken too far, but it was definitely painted with a heavier brush than I prefer. There was also quite a bit of kissing over the space of a few chapters, which felt like a little much. And one scene where Camdyn was describing a series of accidents in her past named a few incidents that felt inappropriate. "Thank God" was used a few times, not quite flippantly, but not exactly reverently.