***Standalone NA Romance with HEA***
For some, it’s simply one of life’s certainties, nothing more. For others, it’s merely a fleeting thought, one often overshadowed by the reckless delusion that they have been blessed with the gift of immortality.
For Aubrey Miller, death is the definition of her very existence. Overcome with the guilt resulting from the loss of her beloved family, she alters her appearance from the once beautiful, blonde-haired, blue-eyed little girl to that of one shrouded in complete darkness, enveloping herself in her own unbreakable fortress of solitude as a form of protection for others.
As she enters her first year of college, her goal is simple: Earn a degree with the least amount of social interaction as possible. What she never anticipates is the formation of very unlikely relationships with two people who will change her life in ways she never believed possible: Quinn Matthews, the boisterous former pageant queen, and Kaeleb McMadden, a childhood friend from her past who never really let her go.
Over the years, as their connections intertwine and grow, a seemingly indestructible bond is formed between the three…
But when death painfully reemerges, Aubrey is lost once again, burying herself deeper than ever before inside the familiar fortification of her fears.
Will the refuge of friendship, the solidarity of life-long bonds, and the power of unconditional love be enough to do the impossible?
Will they be enough to finally bring about…
The Resurrection of Aubrey Miller?
****NA Contemporary Romance****
****WARNING - Due to the graphic nature of some scenes, this book is not recommended for those who are particularly sensitive to the death of a child and/or suicide and is intended for mature audiences only. Contains adult language and themes.****
"My name is Aubrey Miller, or Raven Miller, depending on what part of my life I'm referencing, and this is my story."
Aubrey Miller is heading off to college. Get in, go to classes, do the work. No romance, no friendships, no love. It's what she wants. It's what she needs. It's what she thinks she deserves.
Aubrey Miller is like no other character that I've read about before. She is so closed off to the world. Not just in her feelings but in the mask that she wears. A mask of hair dye, piercings, clothes and makeup. There's also the fact that she goes by the name Raven. Not Aubrey. You see, Aubrey has had so much death and loss in her life... and she blames herself for it all. It's not the deaths of loved ones getting old and passing peacefully. It's terrible heartbreaking, gut wrenching losses of losing family way before their time.
There were times that this book ripped my heart out, threw it on the ground and stomped on it until it was almost unrecognisable. But then it would pick it up, put it back in and fill it with love and hope, only to batter it once again. Aubrey and her struggles are something that you won't easily forget, even long after reading it.
"Sunshine," he says, scooting his body toward the end of my bed. "You need to get lost? You come to me. I'll take you to places you never knew existed."
Don't let me sway you into thinking that this book is all doom and gloom, because it's not. As there are moments of such terrible tragedy, there are also moments of beautiful happiness. Moments that will leave you feeling all light and good. Aubrey embarks on a path that she swore she would never open her heart to. Love and friendships. And doesn't she blossom and shine. But just when everything is going well, Aubrey's world is rocked and she retreats back into the shell of Raven.
Only death dwells inside of me and I take comfort in it as it blankets my pain. Goodbye, Aubrey.
It was at that part of the book when things were spiralling so badly that I found my heart breaking the most, although there were so many times throughout the book that I felt that way. The realities of Aubrey's story will completely grab you.
This book covers quite a lot of time, sometimes jumping a few months in advance and then giving us a brief overview of what's occurred during that period. Normally, this bugs the hell out of me. I like to take the complete journey with the characters, but it worked here. We also get glimpses into the past so that we get to learn exactly what has occurred to bring Aubrey to the stage in her life that she is at. I never at any point felt that I was missing out on anything by the story jumping about.
Sometimes it's impossible for mere words to encompass how you really feel about someone. There's nothing you could ever possibly say to adequately emulate the effect of that person's presence in your life. It's an overwhelming, indescribable feeling that consumes your heart and captivates your soul.
It simply just is.
The romance between Aubrey and Kaeleb was sweet, hot, endearing, and loving. There was such a wonderful and amazing friendship at the base of it all. Kaeleb was just so caring. It oozed from him. He treated everyone with such gentle kindness. But he could also be tough when he needed to be. And there came a point when that was exactly what Aubrey needed. His ability to be able to do that really showed his strength of character.
The stand out to me throughout this book was the friendships. Aubrey, her roommate Quinn and Kaeleb, were perfect together. They each complemented the others traits wonderfully. I think they understood each other so well, because they are each dealing with their own personal demons.
Character growth is something that's pretty much a must have when I read a book. WIthout it, the story can feel somewhat flat. But flat is the last thing that this book felt, because character growth is what this story is centred on. The characters we see at the beginning of the book are very different to who we have at the end.
Sign me up for the L.B. Simmons fan club. This is the first book that I've read by her and to say that I was impressed would be an understatement. Her ability to weave a story that was at times so heavy and sad but to always maintain the feeling of hope that I had was flawless. It was deep. heartbreaking, uplifting, painful and romantic. It is a beautifully told story of being lost and living through pain, and having the strength and support to find your way out and to begin living.
"Turn around, Sunshine. Let me see you."
"There you are."