Review: Black Iris by Leah Raeder

Hello Everyone!!!  I hope you all are having an awesome weekend.  Today I am reviewing for you, Black Iris by Leah Raeder.  This was a pretty dark and emotionally charged book.  A story that anyone who has gone through high school has encountered one of the characters that is in this book.  Whether you can relate to the idea of revenge or not fitting in or being bullied this book will rip off the band-aid that is covering your old wounds and make you feel them all over again through these characters.  For my full review keep reading after the book blurb.

18829666Book Blurb:

It only took one moment of weakness for Laney Keating’s world to fall apart. One stupid gesture for a hopeless crush. Then the rumors began. Slut, they called her. Queer. Psycho. Mentally ill, messed up, so messed up even her own mother decided she wasn’t worth sticking around for.

If Laney could erase that whole year, she would. College is her chance to start with a clean slate.

She’s not looking for new friends, but they find her: charming, handsome Armin, the only guy patient enough to work through her thorny defenses—and fiery, filterless Blythe, the bad girl and partner in crime who has thorns of her own.

But Laney knows nothing good ever lasts. When a ghost from her past resurfaces—the bully who broke her down completely—she decides it’s time to live up to her own legend. And Armin and Blythe are going to help.

Which was the plan all along.

Because the rumors are true. Every single one. And Laney is going to show them just how true.

She’s going to show them all.


Laney has been called many things in her life.  Most of those things have been true but they don’t need to know that.  They need to know how they have hurt her and others.  They deserve to feel what they have caused others to feel.  Once Laney has her plan she needs to find accomplices.  Soon after going to a frat party she finds Armin and Blythe.  The two perfect partners for her future crimes.  As she gets closer to accomplishing her goals the closer she gets to destroying those she feels need to be destroyed.  But on her road to revenge she will have bumps she doesn’t account for.  It’s those bumps that validate what she is doing and what she needs to do.  She is not the hero of her story but the villain in many others.  She will get even and they won’t even see it coming.

This tale is definitely a dark one.  From page one Laney tells the reader she will not have redemption or be a hero.  She knows she is a villain but she feels validated by that.  Those who have hurt her she is out to get.  Out to repay them for the pain they caused her and her family.  This really is quite a twisted story.  Sadly though you can understand why she decides to do what she does.  You feel her pain through her actions.  Those actions aren’t usually against other people but against herself.  I think that is the most realistic emotion people will relate to in this book.  It isn’t just the emotions though that make the reader really take pause.  It is the depth and level of planning that Laney takes.  This book will keep you wondering where she is going and what she plans on doing.  Just when you think she is done, a big twist comes along and smacks the reader right across the face.  If you are looking for a book that will keep you guessing and put you through an emotional roller coaster you will love this book.

Fresh Face Friday featuring Falling in Love by Stephen Bradlee

Today I am featuring Stephen Bradlee and his book Falling in Love.  This is an intimate portrait of a woman’s addiction and fight to have a normal life.  Be sure to check out my review after the book blurb.

finalBook Blurb:  (Courtesy of

Sherry Johnson is young, beautiful, bright and athletic.  She has everything going for her, except for one thing. 

She is addicted to love. 

Her life is a vicious circle of nightly trysts and morning regrets. 

Her addiction got her kicked out of college, cost her the love of her life and has left her in complete despair.   

But still Sherry keeps falling in love.

And falling.  And falling.

Finally, as Sherry struggles to pull herself up from a bottomless pit, she realizes that she will have to learn to love the one person she has loathed for most of her life.  


Based on the True Story of a
Young Woman’s Battle with Sex Addiction


Falling in Love is a story about just what the title tells you with a few exceptions.  Sherry falls in love a lot.  She also hates herself most of the time afterward.  Her self-esteem is in the bottom of the barrel and uses sex as a filler for the intimate connects she thinks will validate her as a person.  This is one of the reasons why her relationships continually fail.  While in love with one man she goes out and gets drunk and sleeps with another or many other men.  Her compulsion is self-destructive in all aspects of her life.  From her inter personal relationships to her professional to her familial relationships they all become tainted and/or destroyed from her continual self-destructive behavior.  She decides to run away to New York City to find her mother’s best friend in the hopes that she will help her locate her mother.  In the process she becomes part of a sex addicts support group.  We follow Sherry through her trials of trying to stay sober and also sober in an abstinent way.  Like many others who go into recovery there are slips and trips that push Sherry teetering on the edge of survival.  In the end, Sherry shows how even when you’re struggling if you take things one day at a time you can slowly learn to love yourself and in turn share yourself with those around you.

Stephen Bradlee does a phenomenal job with this book.  Having not been in situations like Sherry I was worried I wouldn’t be able to relate to her struggle.  This is not a problem in any way.  From the beginning of Sherry’s story you are thrown into her life like it was your own.  You feel her pain, torment, struggle and love.  Her pain really cuts into the reader and its very cringe worthy.  You will cry when she finally tells her story to those that became important to her and you will fight with her every time she has a challenge.  I have learned from this book that any addiction is a day-to-day struggle whether it is sex or alcohol or drugs.  I admire Sherry’s story and I hope that anyone who is struggling with an addiction will find the hope that is the underlying success in this story.  I highly recommend this for anyone looking for a good read where your constantly fighting for and cheering for the character.

Author Bio: (Courtesy of

Stephen Bradlee is the pen name for a Hollywood film executive. 

He has ghostwritten celebrity autobiographies and has worked primarily as a script doctor. 

He is married and lives with his wife, their daughter
and their dog.

Anyone addicted to reading…please stand up

I confess…I am a book addict.  I love to read.  It actually seems that I have developed more of an addiction more recently.  I now am reading 2-3 books at a time.  You may be wondering how are you reading so many at once.  Well, when you have acquired a new taste for audio books and also reading a bo a person  can accumulate books very quickly.

Of all the books I am reading I would say only a portion really leave a memorable print in my psyche.  Some leave with a character you wish you personally knew or feel you already know.  Other stories are so soul searing you can’t get them out of your head.  And yet another sort of story is that of the palate cleansing.  I would say a majority tend to be the palate cleansing variety.  It’s almost like you go through many books to find those who you really attach yourself to.

First of all, off the top of my head I can think of multiple characters who I have grown to love.  JM, Qhuinn and Blay, in the BDB series.  Matthew and Diana in the Discovery of Witches.  Strider and Kaia in the LOTU series.  Theron, Orpheus and Titus in the Eternal Guardians series. Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird.  Katniss and Peeta in Hunger Games trilogy.  Enzo in The Art of Racing in the Rain.  This is to only name a few.  Yes, this is just a few for me.  But, each of these characters in all of these books have made lasting impressions and I re-read these books just for interaction with these characters.

Some of the characters I mentioned are in the very stories who will stay with me forever.  To Kill A Mockingbird, The Art of Racing in the Rain, The Discovery of Witches, The Enemy’s Cradle, Lover Mine, Hunger Games, Cold Mountain and The Guardian.  To name only a few.  These very stories have caused pain, love, wantonness, intrigue and any other cornucopia of emotions.  You will notice that most of these are not ever going to be known as The Great American Novel with the exception of a couple.  That doesn’t mean they don’t have the same impact.

Finally…my in-between/palate reads.  This could be anything from the chic lit books or good beach books.  This could also be books that look good on the cover but you just trudge through so you can move on to the next book.  This can also be the book you start to take you through a tough part in another book you are also reading.  This can also be a book your reading quickly while you wait for the next in the series you are reading to come out.  I know I am not the only one out there who does this, but I am owning up to it.

I am standing up proudly (not really standing but sitting up straighter) and saying Yes, I am a book addict and I wouldn’t want to have it any other way.  So I ask…are you an addict too?  Tell me about your book loves, likes and so-so reads.

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