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on March 22, 2016
So, after reading the blurb I grabbed this book thinking I needed a good feel-good story. I tend to read mysteries and romances and action adventure stories so this one had a bit of a slow start for me.

That being said, I read it all. Quickly.

One of the reasons I started so slowly may have also been due to trying to concentrate in the the set-up of the characters, etc while my husband was loudly watching one of those reality shows about deep sea tuna fishers. And asking me questions. {blah. Blah. Blah...BLEH!}

One of my most favorite scenes in the book was Momma's funeral. Oh my goodness, I laughed so much I cried! (Of course it was 3am so I may have been slap-happy. Just a bit.) And of course I loved all of the interaction of the characters once Joy is no longer inner-monologuing.

Anyway, I could relate to the story because I come from a large family... Several brothers and several sisters. (Lots of different personalities!) And many, many nieces and nephews that I was destined to be the Best Auntie Ever for. And when I was 6 yrs old I've experienced something similar but not identical to Joy's story. Through all of our ups and downs we are a family. And we support one another. We love one another.

I'm so happy with how the story closed.
That the Happiness, Love, Luck and Blessings are always there for us if WE are willing to work through our troubles and let go of past hurts and move forward with Happiness and Love as well as doing what we can to serve others, Help others.
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on April 26, 2016
I completely and unabashedly loved this book!! When Joy Talley's mother dies, and it seem like they will love their family home, Joy tries to retrieve a charm she had hidden in the fireplace, but takes a bad fall, winding up in a coma. Interesting things happen to Joy while she was in a coma; she hears her siblings, medical staff, and others, and she is paid a visit from her deceased father. When she finally wakes up, a whole new world has unfolded for her! Talley is considered a spinster by many, but she finds herself being courted by not one, but two men after her fall....the cute young doctor who treated her, and her childhood boyfriend who turned his back on her. The characters in this book are quirky, charming, eccentric, but oh so loving and lovable!! Although a lot of this book is very tender and lighthearted, there is a dark secret that Talley has held for over 20 years, a secret that haunts her and is the reason she was desperate to retrieve the charm she hid in the chimney. A fabulous story that will keep you turning pages (and maybe even keep you up at night, like it did me, wanting to see how it all turns out!).
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on June 9, 2016
Joy, the main character and first person narrator of this comedic romance mystery, set in the fictional town of Spavinaw Junction, Oklahoma, is accused of trying to hang herself when she falls from the roof of the old Talley house where she has lived all of her life. Joy is in her forties. Having never married, she is known as the spinster of Spavinaw Junction. Her mother has just died; and fearing that what she and her boyfriend had secreted in the chimney years before as teenagers was no longer safe, she climbs to the roof of the years-old-three-story house to retrieve it, intending to destroy it.

To insure her safety, she ties a rope around her waist and then attaches it to the old chimney. When she slips, she ends up dangling from the roof with the rope around her neck. This leads her family to think she has attempted to hang herself. In the hospital where she is trapped inside of her comatose body, she hears the conversations of her visitors but is unable to let her family and the doctors know she is alive and well. She makes every attempt to open her eyes, to move her body . . . to let everyone know that this was an accident and not an attempt to take her life.

The close family—two sisters and two brothers—attend their mother's funeral with Joy in a wheelchair yet in her comatose state. The real action of the story begins when Joy awakens in the church to the singing of her old boyfriend, Jimmy. What would normally be a sad scene, given this is a funeral, becomes hilarious as everyone, especially the children, reacts to Joy's awakening.

WAKING UP JOY . . . What does the title mean? In spite of the seriousness of the situation, we enjoy the humor, the irony, as Joy Talley, who has always been thought strange, narrates. The reader literally falls in love with her and just about every other character in the story, making for multiple protagonists whose various conflicts are resolved with the resolution of Joy's. Four stars for a great story, which with some much needed proofreading would receive the five stars it deserves.
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on October 30, 2016
Waking up Joy was a surprise. Unfamiliar with the author I downloaded the book for free and was delighted. Just the kind of story I enjoy. Well developed with captivating characters. Those characters through unusual circumstances take the reader on quite a ride. The main character is in a coma and her first person account of what she feels and hears drew me into the story. I cared about her and wanted her to wake up and succeed in life. This story is pure entertainment.. We fall in love with her and her quirky family. I'd recommend to anyone who is willing to stretch him or herself outside the boundaries of the mundane.

Barbara A. Whittington, author
Vada Faith
Ezra and Other Stories
Dear Anne: Love Letters from Nam
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on March 25, 2016
I had never heard of this book or this author when I noticed it was free on Amazon. The premise sounded entertaining and somehow made me think of Anne Tyler, a well known author I very much enjoy reading from time to time when I'm looking for a heartwarming family story with quirky characters. I actually found this book to be a great deal more romantic than I had expected, and had a hard time putting down. Every sitting with it was fun and I found myself laughing to myself quite a bit. The gradual reveal of a secret Joy carries is a bit drawn out and at the same time sad, but all in all a wonderful book to pass some time with. I gave it five stars because it kept me so involved but also to balance out some negative reviews I saw regarding poor editing - for a free modern read I was actually pleased to find only a few errors whereas most new books I read now have an intolerable quantity of typos and poor editing. Check it out!
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on February 20, 2017
I have nothing in common with any of the characters in this novel, the setting is foreign to me, I don't go to church, don't have a large family, and I don't read romances. In spite of all that, this author captured and held my attention with a wonderful story filled with wacky and relatable characters and lots of emotional depth. Lots of warm humor along with tragedy and suspense. This novel has it all and very well written as well. I really liked Joy and was rooting for her all the way. Her niece Ruthie was particularly special in her insights and caring nature. Read this one!
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on August 22, 2017
This was a sweet and humorous book detailing main character, Joy's, time in a coma, and the aftermath. She has an eclectic family whose humorous escapades will keep you chuckling. However, there is an underlying secret that keeps the reader intrigued and anxiously awaiting when it will be revealed. Author, Tina Ann Forkner, does an excellent job hinting about this secret and holding the reader's interest. Of course, no story would be complete without a little romance, and there is a love triangle that will find you rooting for first one man, and then the other. I believe readers will enjoy the author's quick wit and divinely crafted story!
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on September 23, 2016
This was the first time I read a book by Tina Ann Forkner. I loved her author's writing style! The plot and characters are so well developed and I felt transported to this world. The story encompassed so many emotions. It was funny, insightful, romantic and distressingly sad at times. I won't go into the plot line, since you can read the summary for that. What I will end with is that I found a new author I will definitely be following and reading the other books she has written, which to me says it all! (while I checked "no violence and sexual content" - if is alluded to, not written out in detail)
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on November 4, 2014
A wonderful read! Joy, a forty-something spinster in a small town, falls into a coma because of a freak accident. While unconscious, she hears conversations by her somewhat dysfunctional family. Jimmy, her love interest from twenty plus years ago, attempts to kiss her while she's unconscious.

This book was deep. Told in the first person, you learn all about Joy's life, how she's pined after the same man for twenty-plus years. Her old beau, Jimmy, ended up marrying someone else. But, their love was shattered one day and a dark secret haunts Joy, and initially, she can't get over her pain.

But, this book is about Joy's journey, as she learns to deal with her pain. You also see her interacting with her weird family, as well as her ex, Jimmy. Sparks still fly between Joy and Jimmy, and Joy wonders why Jimmy has not made an attempt to befriend her since his wife died five years ago.

This book also shows that we can't rely on charms, magic apple trees, and superstitions for happiness. We need to rely on our Heavenly Father for happiness.
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on December 18, 2016
This well-written novel piqued my curiosity immediately. What was the main character trying to find and why? I enjoyed the unique writing in two phases, one while the character was in a coma and the rest while she was awake. Ms. Forkner developed the characters very well and finished the story with good endings even though conflict ran through the entire book.
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