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January 22, 2014

Love It: Skipping Stones by J.B. McGee

Series: Stand-alone
Format: Mobi
Release Date: September 16, 2013
Publisher: Self
Source: Purchased
Genre: Adult Contemporary
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords 
**This is a stand alone novel. Now available**

They say there are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

Not everyone will grieve in this order, nor will everyone go through every stage. It’s during the stage of denial when Alex Hart meets Andrew Foster. He takes her one-step closer to acceptance: the stage when new, meaningful relationships are formed. The stage when the realization occurs that this is now the new state of normal.

Just when Alex thinks she is on her way to healing, she enters the bargaining phase. That’s the phase where you wonder what you could have done differently. You wonder “what if?” Specifically, what if the ones you loved hadn’t left you?

Leaving…this is what makes heading off to war so difficult and frightening for Alex. She knows all too well what it’s like to be the one on the losing end of life, which is why she’s made it her personal mission in life to save as many lives as possible. The extreme high she gets from treating trauma victims turns into Alex’s own form of therapy, or so she thinks.

When faced with her world being turned upside down, Alex may just find that her true therapy is in the one who has always saved her.

Ever since I participated in the SKIPPING STONES' blitz last year, I knew I wanted to read this J.B. McGee novel. There's just something about the novel, from it's cover art to it's blurb, that struck a chord and I guess my book instinct wasn't wrong. The short of it is: SKIPPING STONES is a beautiful, poignant and somber story about love, life & death, family and second chances. If you enjoy books by Nicholas Sparks, I'm sure you'll love this J.B. McGee novel, SKIPPING STONES shares the same zip code as The Last Song (the novel, not the movie but with less to no angst and minimal drama. 

SKIPPING STONES spans a decade of loss and love for Alexandria Hunt. When she was 15, she lost her parents to a horrible car accident and during the stages of Anger & Denial, Alex met Andrew Foster by the creek and taught her how to skip stones. Such a benign activity and harmless meeting helped Alex cope with her parents' death. And just when things were getting better for Alex, Drew bailed out on her without a word, without a trace. Fifteen years later Alex is still not over Drew, part of her is still longing for Drew, wondering whatever happened to him and if he misses her the way she does. Fate gives them a helping hand and brought them together in the most unexpected moment in the most unromantic and unconventional way. What happens next is an intense period of heartbreak, discovery, forgiveness, loss and ultimately, a second chance at love. 
Come back to me. I'll teach you how to deal with those beautiful tears of yours. i'll teach you how to breathe again. I'll teach you everything - Drew
Alex and Drew's love story is sad, enduring and true. Those fifteen years where Alex was left wondering what happened to Drew was torture and I can't help but admire how Alex remained grounded considering the amount of loss she had at such a young age in such a short time. I loved that Alex didn't act out and went down the bitter road, blaming the world and cursing her life for her misfortunes. She instead used her tragedies to do bigger and better things which is nothing short of inspiring. Drew gave a succinct explanation later on, in the most romantic way too, with regards to his disappearance and though it's another tragic story, I loved how McGee didn't draw Drew's backstory as this torturous sob story (enough with these bitter tortured heroes!). Instead Drew showed and explained that just like Alex, he was longing for her and remained loyal not only to their love but the significance of an otherwise benign activity like skipping stones. 

There were a lot of moments in this book that blew me away. Aside from the close relationship Alex has with her parents and grandparents, her close connection with her grandfather is the one that touched me the most. Her grandparents raised her after her parents died and her Papa in particular went above and beyond being Alex's father figure. He truly was her bestfriend and he became Alex's rock, inspiration and champion throughout the years. Him and Alex spent a lot of meaningful conversations and Papa shared a few quotable quotes that are wise and tugged my heart hard. When Papa's time came, I was this close to bawling because McGee illustrated Alex and Papa Hart's relationship in such a beautiful way any reader will find it hard not to empathize with Alex's loss and how great that is.
God gives us the people we need in our lives for the amount of time he sees fit. - Grandpa Hart
SKIPPING STONES surpassed my expectations. When I see themes of death I always expect angst and bitterness and lots of Drama. And though this novel still has that, McGee doled it out in small doses and focused instead on the characters' strengths and how they overcame that sense of loss without losing themselves. SKIPPING STONES is a great illustration of the virtue of hope and faith, I'm sure Alex, Drew and Papa Hart will touch your heart in more ways than one. 












17 comments:

  1. This sounds like a beautiful and touching book, but I cannot do books about death right now as a dear friend of mine just lost her husband. My emotions are too raw. I will put it on my list though. I don't see your bloglovin button, so I will plut in your blog and make sure I follow you via bloglovin that way I can be better about commenting :)

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    1. Awww I'm sorry to hear that Heidi! When you or your friend are ready, maybe you can check this out. It can be hard to read but it has hopeful tones too.

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  2. This is a book that's caught my attention as well. I'm glad Skipping Stones was all you'd hoped form, Braine. Great review!

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  3. You got me, wonderful review and I love Sparks so this will be one I enjoy when the mood strikes. So glad your book radar went off and you listened!

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    1. Still honing that sixth sense but yeah, it worked really well with this one

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  4. Oh I am a sucker for those second chances. Just want to double check there is a HEA at the end, yes? I know with a lot from Sparks not so much.

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  5. Wow, Braine. This sounds incredible and emotional. That Alex stood strong in the face of adversity makes me love her already. And Drew seems like a guy I'd love to meet. And I love me some second chance romance, too. :) I will absolutely be picking up Skipping Stones. Lovely review, girl!

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    1. Let me know if you want to read it, I think I can led it through Amazon :)

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  6. Love reading these comments and this review!! Yes, ladies. Life has too many unhappy endings...my fiction never does. It does have a HEA! :)

    -JB

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    1. Thanks for stopping by JB! It's always a pleasure to to have authors drop down the blog and comment.

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    1. Grandpa's got lots of wisdom to share.

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  8. Wonderful review, Braine! I love character driven stories, and a character like Alex always appeals to me. I especially think I'd like the fact that she didn't act out or go down the bitter road even after experiencing loss and hurt.
    Have a fantastic Friday, my friend :)

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

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    1. Yup she totally went the other direction and I loved that pleasant deviation from the norm.

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  9. YES!! To no more tortured heroes! I'm sick to death of them!! >.< Of course we all love our broken men, but dammit enough is enough already! I've been wanting to read this book for a while now, and I'm hoping I can find time for it this year. I actually thought I'd won a copy... maybe I did o.O I'll have to check again, oops! LOL Great review Braine, and thanks for the tissue warning! ;)

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