Friday, March 23, 2012

Expanding My Horizons

I have been reading like crazy lately. For those who know me, that really doesn't come as a surprise. It's what I do. But I got stuck in a rut--the romance rut. What I mean to say is, I picked up a romance novel about a year or two ago, and that was it. Nothing else has managed to get through since. It had been every romance novel under the sun since that fateful day. Be it vampires, werewolves, CIA, ARMY, or Other, I have been devouring it. Until one day my husband said, you really should try something else. Expand.

Interesting concept. Expand... I rolled it around in my brain a while, let it fester and grow roots, and then I started my plan of attack. There are a ton of places to find free Kindle books, but I have one in particular, aptly named Free Kindle Books from Ereader News Today that sends me the top listings from various genres via email. Now I grab up anything and everything that looks interesting (more romance novels anyone?!). I have found some great ones, and some not so great, but recently I found a GREAT one, that I thought I would share.

Breaking Twig by Deborah Epperson took my breath away. It's a lengthy read, but I plowed through it in a day. A coming-of-age, historical fiction set in 1960s South during and after the Vietnam War, this is a story of heartache and abuse that pulls at the heart strings (Unless you're cold and unfeeling, in which case, you shouldn't be reading this!). I could attempt to put this into words, except I know I wouldn't do it justice. Instead, here is the blurb:

Set in rural Georgia in the 1960s, BREAKING TWIG is a coming-of-age novel about Becky (Twig) Cooper, a young woman trying to survive the physical and emotional abuse of her mother, Helen, a beautiful, calculating woman who can, with a mere look, send the meanest cur in Sugardale, Georgia running for its life.

Not even Twig's vivid imagination, keen wit, and dark sense of humor is enough to help her survive the escalating assaults of Helen and a new stepbrother, but help comes from an unexpected source--Frank, her stepfather. Sometimes, having one person who loves and believes in you is all a girl needs to keep hope alive.

Often raw and irreverent and sprinkled with all the Southern flavoring found in a good bowl of chicken and dumplings, BREAKING TWIG, is about finding love where we least expect it, destroying lives with easy lies, and realizing each of us determine our own truth.

This is the type of book that I love. It spans so much time, I am sure Epperson could have easily made it into a series, but I don't think she really needed to. Plus, it wouldn't have done it justice. It's perfect the way it is. As a reader, you get to grow with the character, learn where she comes from and go through everything with her, so you are really invested in the character and what happens to her along the way. I will say that, although it isn't graphic, it is the type of story that can be a bit disturbing if you are at all sensitive to children and matters of abuse. I know I am, but I found this to be riveting. I wanted to protect Becky (Twig) as much as I wanted to shake her into realizing that she was so much better than this. I rooted for her to stand up for herself, and I cried (CRIED!) when something, I won't tell what, tore apart her world. I saw it coming a mile away, but she didn't, and that's what made it so terrible. Becky is young and naive and lets her heart rule, which isn't always a bad thing, but isn't always good either. I wish the ending would have been everything I wanted it to be, but it wasn't. It went off in a different direction, and that was good. Life should be full of the unexpected, and the ending here worked well. It's just not what I would have wanted, and I am sure the readers will all agree. But happily ever afters are rarely in the cards, and sometimes bittersweet is the most you can ask for.

This is definitely a young adult read. I would recommend 18+ for adult content and subject matter. I highly recommend it. Try it. Now. Go. Then come back here and tell me how much you loved it too.

                             Breaking Twig is available on Amazon for just $2.99.
                                              Pick up your copy today!
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