Watch Over Me – REVIEW

I recently finished Watch Over Me, a clean romance novella by Jenny Dawson.

I was commissioned to read and review the following book. All opinions are honest and my own.

Watch Over Me a clean romance novella by Jenny Dawson

 

A fantastic journey to healing guided by love. A sweet, feel good story. Tender. Lovely.

What I loved about this novella was the journey. It was a story of healing through love, and I found that a delightful style for a romance. While there was an unnecessary character and some remaining typos throughout, the overall tone of the story kept me captivated and rooting for the protagonist. I also loved seeing disabled characters in a real way.

Watch Over Me follows Brenda. A single mom who’s ex-husband left her seven years prior upon the knowledge that their daughter she was carrying had Down Syndrome. Brenda has devoted herself as a mother. But when a new police officer moves into their apartment building, she finds an opportunity to love again.

With a relatable protagonist/heroine and a lovable child, the characters in Watch Over Me were real and worth rooting for. Brenda has the struggles every single mother does. What is best for my child? Should I even consider dating? What about her father? These questions lead Brenda on a path to both love and healing. And, it’s beautiful to see.

Brenda, as a heroine, did not disappoint. She was strong, relatable, and  well rounded. It was beautiful to watch her grow and learn. She developed wonderfully. I hoped with her, worried with her, and cheered her on. Really, she was fantastic.

I do feel the need to mention that, while I enjoyed seeing a REAL disabled character, the other disabled character wasn’t portrayed as well. Brenda’s mother suffers from depression. But instead of an character with mental illness, we had what almost seemed as a plot device to distance the mother from the story. Instead of talking about, and dealing with, her depression, it’s mentioned and then we see little of her.

It’s also worth mentioning that Bella, Brenda’s sister, was a fun character, but mostly unnecessary. While she may have been intended for comedic relief, she didn’t quite make it, and was of little use to move the story. Like I said, fun but was a bit of an unnecessary extra.

While the genre of this novella is “romance” this reviewer would classify it as a transformation story, fueled by love. Allan helped Brenda learn to love again, and she does the same for him. And while they’re not without their problems (ex-husbands, past baggage…) their story was one in which I loved watching unfold.

The best word for this story is “nice”. And not in a “it was a nice little story” way, and not with a shrug and an “it was nice”. But in a “it was wonderful, beautiful, and just NICE to read” kind of way. A gem of a healing story. A beautiful love story.

With real characters, a budding love story, and a gorgeous journey through healing and hope, Watch Over Me was a delightful read.

You can see my full video review here:

Red Ascent — REVIEW

I recently read the science fiction novel Red Ascent by Dillon Foley, and found myself pretty captivated…

I was commissioned to read and review the following book. All opinions are honest and my own.

A book review of Red Ascent a science fiction novel by Dillon Foley

Excellent story. Fantastic intensity. Relevant to our times and an interesting examination of our current society and the ongoing, often internal, war on religion and the acceptance of all people.

It’s clear the author is attuned to the mindset of present day America and what often feels like the core of humanity’s motivations. While the focus of this story often shifts to God and Christianity, it was refreshing to see it discussed from a perspective of love and equality. A science-fiction work would be expected to rehash the God vs. Science argument, but Foley takes a surprising approach and instead argues love vs. class division. It was an inspiring stance that had this reviewer often agreeing with the protagonist.

Chelsea Shaw is an under appreciated aide for a prominent, and disgustingly corrupt senator. When she learns the leaders of America are covering up a doomsday event, and planning an escape to Mars taking with them only the wealthiest, and most elite, her only choice is to leak the story and find a way to save everyone else they intend to leave behind.

After many dangers and tragedies, Chelsea finds herself the leader of an operation that will lead the human race to Mars. Racing against both the clock and the corrupt leaders of America, her coalition is one built on everyone’s right to life.

With a vast array of characters (some loveable, some despicable, all flawed in their own way) Chelsea builds a community and a family. But everything is against them. World leaders. Science. Technology. Faith. They have an impossible amount of work to do to get everyone on Mars. And time is running out.

While this book does approach amateurish in its use of cliches and semi-predictable dialogue, the bones of this story keep you going.

There are some impossible instances, and a few “that would never actually happen” plot moments, but this reviewer forgave them because of the emotion drawn out of the reader. Identifying with the characters isn’t difficult, so it was easy to become engrossed with their story. I rooted for Chelsea the entire book.

Foley has a wonderful way with action sequences. More than once I found myself holding my breath, sighing with relief, cheering out loud, or gasping in suspense. The way tense scenes were told was exhilarating and sometimes emotionally exhausting.

There were times, in between those high intensity moments, of big, chunky dialogue, and it often felt like a sermon. Thankfully, love, equality, and the importance of accepting people were the messages being delivered. There was also an organic quality to it, that made the borderline preaching easier to swallow.

Overall, I really enjoyed the story. Many times Red Ascent led me to contemplating the decisions I’d make if in Chelsea, or any of the other character’s, situation. Where would I go? Who would I follow? What would I base those decisions on? It left me shaking my head at the greed and dishonorable choices governments make in the real world, but also hopeful that not all is lost if one finds themselves in that scenario.

Relevant. Hopeful. Exciting. Thought-provoking. While there are whiffs of “new writer” throughout, I didn’t care. The story was captivating. Socially provocative, in an incredibly positive way.