Review: More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer

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“If someone harasses you online, you can have them blocked-but they can reappear in seconds, pretending to be someone else. Over and over again. Anonymously.”

“We all push sometimes, just to make sure someone is on the other side, pushing back.”

“He says the internet makes too many people loud, and too many people silent, but the loud people are all we hear. We have to ask questions to hear the silent people.”

synvia Goodreads

*While this book exists in the same universe as Letters to the Lost, it is a standalone title.*

Rev Fletcher is battling the demons of his past. But with loving adoptive parents by his side, he’s managed to keep them at bay…until he gets a letter from his abusive father and the trauma of his childhood comes hurtling back.

Emma Blue spends her time perfecting the computer game she built from scratch, rather than facing her parents’ crumbling marriage. She can solve any problem with the right code, but when an online troll’s harassment escalates, she’s truly afraid.

When Rev and Emma meet, they both long to lift the burden of their secrets and bond instantly over their shared turmoil. But when their situations turn dangerous, their trust in each other will be tested in ways they never expected. This must-read story will once again have readers falling for Brigid Kemmerer’s emotional storytelling.

review

5 Stars 

+++Trigger warning for: child abuse, assault, cyberbullying 

***Some of the content is a little mature. There is some crude language that might not be suitable for lower YA.

Those of you who follow my blog know that I am not big on contemporaries. Something about straight drama usually grates on me, but last year, when I read Letters to the Lost, I was completely smitten with the characters and sucked into the story. While the book itself had some problematic parts, it was one of my top reads of 2017. As much as I loved Letters to the Lost, More Than We Can Tell is even better. 

 

WHAT’S TO LOVE:

REV FLETCHER. 

REV FLETCHER.

REV FLETCHER. 

But seriously, Rev Fletcher. It’s always the quiet ones. Outwardly dark, broody, knicknamed the Grim Reaper because of his tendancies to wear black hoodies and avoid socializing. Beneath that hoodie is a world of hurt and memories that are so horrific that you’ll want to cry for his loss of innocence. The scars on his heart are as deep as the scars that riddle his body. All he wanted was to be loved and what he got was a crazed, religious fanatic of a father who took punishment for sins to a whole, sickening new level. Rev’s voice is strong. His internal struggle is heart-wrenching and honest. He struggles between fears of becoming his father to fear of disappointing him. The tug-o-war is real and raw. The emotions are a lot to process as a reader and his character voice is so authentic that you want to reach out an help him, as if he were a friend. Yet, despite all the pain, Rev is a genuinely kind person, a great friend, and surprisingly flirty. There are times in the book were the swoon is out of this world. 

There were moments in this book where I thought, how is it possible for my heart to be so full for characters who don’t even exist in real life?

The plot. The pacing. The romance.

Emma Blue is a BA coding girl who made her own computer RPG. She’s outspoken, yet shy, she hides behind her computer screen and idolizes her father. She thinks that sexism in gaming is just something girls have to face, but takes steps to manage the trolls. Emma is compassionate, she gets Rev to open up and trust her, and yet, she completely oblivious in all her other relationships. Despite her headstrong, stubborness, she is still likable and you want to see a happy ending for her. 

This book deals with heavy subjects like child abuse, molestation, cyberbullying and assault. These are all very real, very traumatic things that happen on a daily basis that are hard to read about. They’re presented in a way that is not too graphic, but emotionally very powerful. 

The secondary characters were the main characters in Letters to the Lost and their stories, though more subtle still evolved and were just as interesting. 

ALL THE FEELS.

QUESTIONABLE/SO-SO ELEMENTS: 

Even if you need closure, NEVER EVER agree to meet your former abuser at a random address alone. 

Although we live in a tech savvy, social media-centric world, don’t randomly give out your location to someone you met online or worse, agree to meet them and immediately get in the car with them, alone. NO NO NO NO NO. People can be whoever they want on the internet. Be smart. 

Finally, read this book. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enoy this: 

Read on,

Jordan

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Tour Exclusive Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: Project Lexi-Lisa Survillas

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Title – Project Lexi Series – The Lexi Series Author – Lisa Survillas Genre – NA/Contemporary Romance Publication Date – June 19, 2014 Publisher – Lisa Survillas Cover Artist – Cover design by Kimberly Knight Photographs for cover – Geanette Trumbull of http://www.TLCbyG.com

cooltext1638450297 copy Lexi Crandall’s, world is turned upside down junior year of high school. Her confession tears her family apart and leaves them broken. Looking for escape, she heads out of town for college. Wracked with guilt and shame, she keeps to herself, befriending only her roommate, Paige. Derek Fressen experiences one tragedy after another. After learning to cope with being raised by a single mom, he and his sister, Tiffany, become closer than ever. When Tiffany escapes Seattle for college, Derek takes the opportunity to leave his past behind as well. San Francisco State University is where Lexi and Derek find themselves junior year, thrown into the most uncomfortable situation possible, a group project that requires each to open up about their past. Their grade depends upon the ability to prove to the professor through a class presentation that they truly learned about one another. Painful memories and terrifying tests of courage propel Lexi to learn how to take baby steps in the healing process and give her hope of one day feeling normal. Although he feels he’s pretty well healed from the horrible events of his past, Derek is lonely and longing for a life of more. Will they be able to share enough of their lives with each other to pass this class? How much will Lexi let Derek help her in the process? Are their tragic pasts too much to overcome, or will love be in their future? cooltext1638452256 copy

3/5 Stars

***Contains some material that can be considered triggers. Additionally, this is a NA book and does have mild sexual scenes.

Project Lexi is a sweet and emotional read about recovery and self discovery, of finding love and comfort while still being haunted by past demons. Project Lexi gets at the heart of that broken, dark sadness that comes with trauma and shows that coping is not only a rocky journey but a daily struggle. Despite everything, hope for a better future, one of happiness and stability, is an overwhelming theme that leaps off the pages and into your heart. PROS:

  • Writing about sexual abuse is more than a challenge, it’s a raw, deep, and intense experience, writing about child sexual abuse, I can’t even imagine. Some of the testimony and Lexi’s words were so tough to get through. Each was like an open wound, the way she shuts down and gets almost monotonous, robotic as a coping mechanism is heartbreaking. Her pain oozes off the pages and the way she looks at herself as damaged, a freak, it emotionally wrecking. Everything about Lexi’s past is twisted and shadowed by just so many emotional scars and betrayals that you can’t help but feel and sympathize for her loss of childhood and her internal battles to escape the memories. 
  • Lexi is unbelievably strong. She shoulders the world, her past is a nightmarish, hellish experience that no one should ever have to go through and it’s completely understandable that she’s having a challenging time learning how to live afterwards. Lexi is like a fragile bird at times, one that’s broken and alone, who is scattered, easily frazzled, and lives in a constant state of fear and uncertainty. Lisa Survillas did an amazing job capturing these mannerisms and how an abuse survivor sees the world. Lexi’s perspective is an eye-opening experience. Her challenges are not something that many of us would take a second thought about but for her everything is new and unexplored. She doesn’t know how she’s supposed to behavior or how to let anyone in, intimacy is foreign to her no matter how much she yearns for it, her past clouds every blissful experience. It’s remarkable watching Lexi blossom and grow, as she recognizes that she’s worthy of love and affection from the right people. It’s a beautiful awakening, one that is not without trials or doubts. When she’s relaxed she’s an innocent, pure and child-like girl just waiting to be cared for like she should have been. Lexi’s lightness as the plot unfolds is moving and uplifting to watch.
  • Derek has a past that haunts him as well, one of loss on repeat, constantly reopening his scars and shaping the man he’s become. Derek’s heart is so full of love and a genuine niceness that allows him to assess Lexi’s issues and find the perfect ways to work around them, her comfort is everything to him. Derek is the most attentive, sweetest, true male lead I’ve come across. He’s a gentleman and holds back, patiently waiting for Lexi to be ready and is in no way disappointed by this but embraces her pain with intense protectiveness. Derek finds cute and thoughtful ways to bring Lexi to life, make her smile, and push her towards an intimate relationship without pressuring her. He does make mistakes but his way of confessing, of complete honesty makes him trustworthy beyond measure and compliments Lexi. What’s so charming about Derek and not to mention swoon-worthy, is that no matter what happens, no matter how skittish or off-putting Lexi’s behavior is, he never backs down, he refuses to give up on her and let her shut down.
  • The way Lexi and Derek are together is almost like a new couple starting out in middle school or junior high. Awkward and shy, unsure what to expect and always blushing. They laugh at each other and freak out on occasion but it’s pretty adorable. The moments when the kiss are passionate and meek, as if asking a question and answering politely. When they heat up, it’s hot, magnetic, they have a natural chemistry.

CONS:

  • For Paige being such an instrumental component of Lexi’s road to recovery and a best friend that understands her unlike anyone else, her role is muted. I would have liked to see more of their friendship and interactions. While there were some really powerful confessions and love between the two, some of Paige’s behavior seemed random and didn’t fit with her image. It was as if Paige was this solid force for Lexi that held her and brought her back from her depression but she’s foggy for the reader. Her personality wasn’t as defined so that apart from her nurturing nature, there’s not much about her. Paige’s story, talking about her horrific experiences more might have added a bit to the plot and given a better understanding of her character as well as helped Lexi more to know that she’s not alone in her suffering.
  • The book dragged in parts. While the story is almost therapeutic in how it opens up issues and accurately portrays the whirlwind of emotions and reactions that victims exhibit, there wasn’t a lot happening. It was like a routine between Lexi and Derek. While Lexi of course needed this to ease out of her shell, it was difficult to push through at times.
  • There was something lacking, a sense of finality or real closure. So much was left unsaid and as a reader, there’s a fierce yearning for answers and conflict between Lexi and her mother. The absence of any relationship with her family after the introductory section and the reactions of her friends at school felt disconnected and somewhat strained. In the brief discussion of her sister, it appeared as though Lexi and she had an extremely close relationship and then there was hardly mention of this again. 

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cooltext1639569114 copyI can’t get her to look at me, I think she’s ashamed that she has no experience to go with. When I’m finally begging, she looks up and I can’t help it. She looks so lost, so sad. I know that she just needs the courage, but how will she ever find it if she doesn’t know what the reward is like? So I lean over, I place my hand on her cheek, and my lips on hers. She doesn’t freak out, so I use my tongue to entice her. I run it along her lower lip. I feel her breathing pick up and I’m nervous she’ll push me away, but when she doesn’t I try to coax her lips apart so I can really kiss her. When she opens them, her tongue meets mine and I have to keep repeating to myself, “Slow, slow, slow,” or my body might take over and try to push her past her limits. She’s not ready for more than this.

I don’t let myself linger too long. I would love to kiss her all night, but she needs baby steps. I need to give her that or this won’t work. “I’m sorry. I couldn’t help myself, but I should’ve made sure it was okay first.” I say it knowing that she needed the surprise of it or it would’ve never happened.

Her response takes me by surprise, “Don’t. Be. Sorry.” She is breathing hard and can’t form a sentence. I love it. That means she loved it. When she brings her hand up to touch her lips, I know I can make this better for her. I stop her hand with mine and leaving the other on her cheek, I lean back in for a deeper kiss. She responds immediately. I make this one longer, but not much. This time when I pull back, we are both panting for air.

“Wow.” A simple statement from her confirming that she liked it.

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I’m Lisa. I live in sunny southern California with my wonderful husband and two teenage children. Hubbyis a high school PE teacher and is the coach of three different high school sports. With two kids in high school and involved in activities both inside and outside of school, I have a lot to juggle. When home, I lock myself inside the office to write. I’ve always loved to write, but life always seemed to be too busy. When inspiration finally hit, I made the most of the time hubby and kids were busy and published my first book in February 2014. It’s a teen/young adult book and the first in a series. I’m currently working on a New Adult/Contemporary Romance series with the first book due out end of June 2014. Be on the look-out for more.

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$5.00 amazon gift card e-book keychain postcard – signed bookmark – signed

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Pleasant Reading, 

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