Alchemy - The Magic Of Words

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Reviews


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 Gone has been nominated for the Book of the Month by the Making Connections group on Goodreads (for February, 2014).  If you would like to vote click here.

You must be a member of Goodreads and the group, Making Connections, then click on the cover of Gone to vote.  Thank you.

Gone voted BOTM #Goodreads #discussion  2014

 

Gone was voted number one out of a hundred on the top books list in the fantasy and fiction sections on the www.whosreadit.com website.  As seen October 14, 2008.


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And Gone is now ranked #1 in Goodreads spiritual fantasy list


 

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 Reviews of my books...


 

Gone

 

 

 

 Gone is #1 on the Goodreads Spiritual Fantasy List

 

 

Review by Suren Hakobyan

I enjoyed it. Charley has a hear-attack and here our story begins. We're moved into a fantasy world called Avalon where see meets her daughter - Jenny. Doctors were able to keep her alive as her heart stop, but not so long.

At first Charley is confused as she finds herself in other world - in a wonderful one and she has to choose whether stay here or not. For return Charley has to go a long way - a long journey through this fantasy world.

I liked how things fall over and the way the author describes the characters and Avalon.

 

Review by Dolores Ayotte

This is my first exposure to Author Julie Elizabeth Powell and I can say that it has been a pleasurable experience. "Gone" is a fictional story which finds its roots in a true event that took place in this talented author's life who has penned several books in a variety of genres. Many years ago, her two and a half year old daughter was pronounced dead after her heart suddenly stopped. She was resuscitated by doctors, however, this procedure took too long resulting in permanent brain damage. This life altering and tragic event in the author's life is the inspiration behind the storyline in this fantasy novel.

In "Gone", the protagonist is a hard working individual by the name of Charley who co-owns a well-established business with a long-time friend. Charley is extremely devoted to her career for more than one reason. She actually uses her job as an escape from the painful memories of her young daughter who suffers a complicated brain injury which has sorely affected the quality of her young life. Charley is consumed with a combination of roiling and conflicting emotions...love for her daughter yet hating the condition she is in...guilt for not wanting to visit her yet driven by her motherly love to do so...as well as sharing in the pain and suffering of her very dear child.

After closing an especially important business deal, Charley experiences a very unique sensation in her chest as she stares into the blue eyes of the picture of a unicorn hanging on her office wall. Charley feels a sharp pain and has no idea if she is suffering a heart attack or going insane. In this fugue state, she travels to the strange land of Avalon where she meets a wide variety of interesting and captivating characters such as goblins, ghosts, talking flowers, and so much more...

"Gone" is a fantasy tale that stretches the imagination and is sure to be enjoyed by a wide variety of readers.
I received a complimentary copy of this novel in return for my review.

 

Review by Danjamin

What can I say? after reading many titles of many authors, i never thought I'd ever see a truly original thought again, I was wrong.

Gone, is completely original, and captivating throughout. I really could not put it down. This is a must read for everyone, it would be a crime to miss out on such a unique and fantastic story.

 

Review by K. Ree

Charley has immersed herself in her work on a daily basis, driving herself hard to keep her mind on the business of work. To her, it’s an anesthetic–a way to keep from having to deal with her emotions. But nothing can deaden the sharp pain of those visitation hours, when she would see her comatose daughter, withering away under countless tubes and machines. For seventeen years, nothing has changed.

Until the day Charley enters Avalon.

One moment she is at her desk, and the next she is transported, like Alice through the looking glass, to a different world where none of the standard rules apply. What she experiences in this strange land, this afterlife of sorts, is in turn enchanting, thrilling, and frightening. Through it all, Charley is led by enigmatic characters, one of whom she knows only too well, in a quest to find what she needs in order to return to her previous life.

But not just the drone-like busyness of what she has formed around her as a protective shell against the pain of reality. She is not allowed to return until she is fully human again. And this quest forces herself to answer many questions, the most important of which is, can I forgive myself?

A line from the author’s autobiography does well to set the mood for this book:

“…it wasn’t until the tragic event that overtook her third child that she stopped throwing (her stories) away, feeling the words had to settle and grow until a novel sprang full enough to flower. Gone is the result.”

And in another place: “One question haunted the author throughout those terrible years: Where had her daughter gone?”

This book is one answer to the question.

“Gone” is a fictionalized account of the author’s emotional and spiritual struggle with what happened in her daughter’s life, and thusly her own. Drawn from deep emotions and turned into an incredible tale, this book calls the reader to a deeper understanding of a spiritual world (in this case tending more toward the secular) that is beyond our grasp here on this mortal coil.

Fantastic book, especially for those grieving a loss. I highly recommend it.

 

Review by L. Pigg

A very moving and creative journey.

I received a free copy of this book through the GoodReads Making Connections Group in exchange for an honest review.

I would give this 3.5 stars, but round up for this purpose. The author does a beautiful job of writing hauntingly poetic prose. The main reasons for it not being 5 stars lie in fantasy/sci-fi just not being my genres of choice. When I read the synopsis I was so intrigued I couldn't resist checking it out anyway.

I will admit that at times I had difficulty following the story line, but again, I chalk that up to the reasons fantasy/sci-fi are not my preferred reads. I just have a really hard time grasping the concepts and is in no way a reflection on the author. Even with my challenges, the story is quite captivating. The basis all that ensues evolve from the struggles of a mother who has for all intents and purposes lost a child to an injury - her body lives on but her essence has been gone for many years. The book runs the gamut of emotions while being deeply philosophical as well. I have to say some of the humor infused within are some of my favorite moments, and the grumpy Chamber was my favorite character.

I would definitely recommend it to fans of fantasy, in fact I already have. I think many of the baser concepts of the book will stay with me for quite some time, and it has wonderful reminders of facing your fears and living your life to the fullest.

 

Review by L. Hayes

Okay, so this book is kinda Alice and wonderlandy. But very imaginative in a good way. I liked the characters. The way she brought them to life and the crazy things Charlie went through on her trip to Avalon.


Honestly Avalon would be a great place if it existed. I.kinda should hope for a better name for it but it works for this book.


I think it's a great way to deal with something tragic on the level Charlie did and I'm sure many others have in life.


The trials Charlie went through to figure out a simple answer that was in her heart all along were a bit crazy but cool.


So I.have to give this book a 5 star on imagination, intents and purposes. Plus it's well written and thought out.


It's a great book for something different to read and maybe later in a child's life when understanding is needed of death.


And the flowers taking, trolls being taken prisoner, miners in abandoned shacks in the forest, what would happen to Charlie if she didn't find her way out in time was cool. Also the lessons she needed to learn and the need for some courage that it gave her.


I do thunk the ending could have used a bit more of explanation once she returned. It kinda jumped from Avalon to Jenny's death, not much but a look.and no explanation.of what happened to Charlie but a vague description and its now.. I'm back 2 months and....... it needed something assessed, explained not the way it was. The very end was good though..her ideas of what to do with her life as she was left to lead it.

But as I said the imagination is cool, it's different and its a useful book if you look at it the right way.

I was given this book for a honest review.

 

Review by Yvonne Lee

Touches the Heart

I'd been wanting to read, 'Gone' for some time, and was delighted to receive a copy in exchange for an honest review. Having read other books by Julie Powell, I'm a fan.

'Gone,' is right up there with them.

This author has an incredible imagination. 'Gone' is beautifully written and so descriptive.

It takes the reader on an amazing journey to a place called Avalon.
I have my own Biblical, and imaginative ideas as to what heaven is like; however parts of Avalon certainly come close.

'Gone,' is birthed out of the authors tragic loss of her daughter. Which makes the story even more poignant.

Charley the main character, dies of a heart attack and finds herself in the amazing and sometimes frightening world of Avalon, where she meets a lovely young girl, Jenny. This happy, healthy girl, Charley quickly realises is her daughter. And so begins Charley's own personal journey towards healing, and the process of finding herself, after years of guilt, and what ifs.

'Gone' is a story that pulls you in, and keeps you reading. The book is filled with characters that stay with you long after the book is finished. Like the delightful little Brogan. I loved him.

However, not so keen on the twins, Fun and Games, or Puzzle Woods.

This can't have been an easy book for the author to write. There are moments of powerful emotion, nevertheless tempered with humour and excitement.

'Gone' is brilliant, and I'm glad I had the opportunity to read it.

 

Review by Suren Fant

How deep are you ready to dive in a fantasy world?

I enjoyed it. Charley has a hear-attack and here our story begins. We're moved into a fantasy world called Avalon where see meets her daughter - Jenny. Doctors were able to keep her alive as her heart stop, but not so long.

At first Charley is confused as she finds herself in other world - in a wonderful one and she has to choose whether stay here or not. For return Charley has to go a long way - a long journey through this fantasy world.

I liked how things fall over and the way the author describes the characters and Avalon.
 
 

Review by Sara Gauldin

A unique glimpse into what is beyond!

This fantasy book was powerfully inspired by a real life emotional event. That sense of emotion and grief interspersed with joy and acceptance is a continual undertone in the book. The characters are realistic and their journey through the other worlds beyond are poignant and touching. The author devotes a huge amount of thought, and description to careful world. building. The after life “in between” worlds that encompass the mortal world, along with thought, imagination emotion and impressions of the sometimes mortal passer-bys are vivid and insightful.

The premise of this book is intriguing to me. A mother, Charley has watched her daughter who was once a healthy child wither in a hospital bed; a shell of the person she had once been. As time goes by she wrestles with the guilt of her avoidance and emotional turmoil surrounding the daughter that she lost, but whose body remains as a painful anchor to that loss.

Charley finds herself at what seems to be the unexpected end of her own mortal life when she suffers a heart attack. She is able to chronicle her journey as she leaves the living world and encounters an entire plane of existence beyond what she expected. Charlie is reunited with her lost daughter and is faced with a new reckoning with the emotions she was not comfortable addressing. Her reunion sparks a series of adventures that are extremely imaginative and intriguing.

I particularity enjoyed the other worldly concepts and the ideas about the spirits role in and out of mortality.

 

Lori

This book is so filled with imagination , plus well written and the intention just makes it a 5 star read.


I really liked the characters in Avalon. fun & game were evil, twisted but reminded me of the Tweedledee and twiddle dumb. The rest of the imaginary characters were just really cute or very uncute and scary.
As for Jenny that would be a way of making a very bad situation good. knowing she's in a better place awaiting to move on once let go to a even more wonderful place that we all hope exists after we cease to exist on this plain.


So I think this book is kinda Alice and wonderland with the rabbit hole included but it was a troll hole instead. but very cute none the less.
The book is very different. for an adult read even YA. Very brother's Grimm kinda tale, I think would be appropriate to read to a bit of a older child. but enjoyable for adults also.

I was given this book for a honest review.


I think it may give hope to those who May need it , that have gone through a similar experience and just a overall cool read. something different . a change of pace in reading

I will also.post this on my blog with some spoilers. Http://thereaderhaven.wordpress.com
The Book Junkie

 

 Karen

 
The book introduces you to its protagonist, Charley, a middle-aged and very troubled mother. She is guilt-ridden and vulnerable. Charley feels guilty for a crime she did not commit. Then she gets this weird feeling at her office. She suddenly is drawn into a different world: Avalon. Strange encounters, and strange events leave her questioning her sanity. At first, I couldn’t help being impatient with Charley. Thoughts like ‘Charley, get a grip, will you!’ came to my mind. Along the way I realised that I would have had the same doubts, would also have hesitated when she hesitated. Her feelings were so realistic that I started to cheer her on in a positive way. What I really liked is that she grew with every challenge. I started reading as a close visitor; in the end, Charley felt like a friend. I will not tell you more about the story than shown in the Goodreads plot description. This would spoil the fun of reading this book yourself.

With Gone, Julie Elizabeth Powell has truly enriched the fascinating world of books. I had an enlightening time reading Gone. Gone is based on a true event, and this fantastic story is the result

 

Review by Optimistic Reader

I'm stunned!

As a mother, my biggest fear is losing one - or both - of my children. I think that's every parent's worst fear, and it's the burden that comes with having a child. How can you continue to love someone SO MUCH even as you know that he/she could, tragically and senselessly, be taken away at any random moment? Gone tackles this and so much more. It's written with the courage of someone who has endured an unimaginable loss, and has come out on the other side. It's about examining our choices and facing our fears, and it's about the nature of life, loss, and the ability to heal. Powell weaves all theses themes into an engaging and imaginative fantasy story that will stay with you for a long time. Truly wonderful.

 

Review by CK Raggio

*I was gifted a copy of GONE in exchange for an honest review.*

I believe in Avalon!


Wow, this was one of the most powerful books I've read in a long time. I'm usually more into thrillers and horrors with monsters under the bed. GONE by Julie Elizabeth Powell gave me a different kind of emotional rush. It made me look at my life and the people I've met. I realized I've learned from the ones who stayed as well as the ones who left.

Avalon has a touch of Oz and a bit of Wonderland. But instead of a young girl learning lessons through an adventure, it's a woman
who has already lived a full and complicated journey. There is a reason people come into your life just like there is a reason why you are here on this earth. Julie Powell's world of Avalon is a masterpiece filled with lessons, faith, struggles, victories and hope.


I cannot recommend this book enough. It's a deep look into our world, into the dream world, into the afterworld. I absolutely loved it. A must read, whether you have children (I don't) or not, you will learn something from this author who may have really experienced the amazing world of Avalon. I for one am definitely a believer. Are you?

 

Review by Jules

Julie Powell kindly gave me this book in exchange for an honest review. From the moment I read her heartfelt author's note at the beginning, explaining the motivation for writing the book, I was hooked.

The story itself held my attention all the way through. I am a fan of fantasy, in the form of Terry Pratchett, but this was very different, as it focused on what happens after death. The ideas that the author explored were very profound, and the world she created was credible. She has such a wonderful way of creating word-pictures!

I read this on holiday, and I would probably say it's not necessary 'beach' material, but obviously that's no criticism of the work - just of my choice of reading location!

I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in a gripping fantasy, which covers the big questions, and resonates deep within your bones!

 

Review by Alliji

Charley, the main character is the mother of Jenny who is living and declining in a vegetative state. She loves Jenny dearly but the pain of seeing her once healthy body decline causes her to avoid spending time with her, Finally the stress leads to a heart attack and Charley is whisked off to another dimension called Avalon. It's a bit of an Alice in Wonderland experience with Charley as well as the reader. If you enjoy fantasy with layered depth, I think you will enjoy this book. 

 

Review by Sherry Ellis

Gone is an intriguing fantasy that explores what might happen to a person when they die. Charley, a middle-aged woman with a comotose daughter, dies of a heart attack in her office chair. He soul is then propelled into the world of Avalon, where she meets her daughter, who is no longer comotose. The fantasy continues into the Mystical Orb of Caprice - a world of fairies, goblins, talking knockers, and talking flowers. Throughout this fantasy, Charley must find her destiny and work through her feelings of guilt regarding her relationship with her daughter.

Gone is an imaginative, thought-provoking story. It certainly piques one's interest as to what the next world might be like. The rich, descriptive writing really brings the magical worlds to life. If you enjoy fantasies, this is a book you'll want to read.

 

Review by Jan Farnworth

This is an amazing story based on an actual event that happened to the author, based on her version of what happens when you die. I really enjoyed the story Charley’s adventures in Avalon as she comes to grips with her daughter’s passing, and her moving on without Jenny. At times I was sad, other times I shouted with joy, and other times I was a bit confused. This whole book makes you think and wonder what really does happen when you die?

This story had the feel of Alice In Wonderland and the Phantom TollBooth books I adored when I was younger. You really feel as if you have gone on a long journey with the characters and have learned lessons right along with them. Take time to read this book, and I am sure you will not be disappointed.

 

Review by Rosary McQuestion

A modern day Alice in Wonderland...the road to acceptance.

Charley is a forty-two-year-old woman who’s going through
personal struggles and great heartache. Her lovely daughter is neither here nor there. Due to a tragic accident, her daughter lives in a state of limbo in which her heart beats within a shell of a body. One day while at work, Charley has a sudden heart attack and as she loses consciousness, it’s as if she falls down a rabbit hole and finds a fantastical new world—a world in which her daughter, Jenny, happily lives her life. And in finding her daughter, Charley begins the journey to find herself. The whole time she is fighting for her life.


“Gone” is a wonderfully touching story about the
cleansing of the soul, coming to terms with years of feeling haunted by choices made, insecurities always tapping the shoulder of life and asking, “Did you make the right decision?” But it’s also an uplifting story of hope, redemption, and ultimately peace in one’s heart.

Since the book is based on a real life event, I have to think that writing the book was cathartic, a cleansing of the mind, so to speak for the author. There were so many times throughout the book in which I could feel her emotions of hurt and pain. However, like I said, the story is uplifting and once you reach the end of this fabulous fantasy, you will know the meaning of the title, "Gone."

And to the brilliant author, Julie Elizabeth Powell—long may Avalon reign!

 

Review by Nicole

Nicole
 
Charley dies in her office and is swept into the mystical land of Avalon. In Avalon anything is possible. She meets a girl who insists that she is her daughter. The same daughter who died at 2 and was dead long enough to leave permanent brain damage when they got her back.

Is this mystery girl really her daughter? Does Charley make it out of Avalon and back to the real world?

Having read Slings and Arrows I know that this is the book that has the answer to the question that is at the end of it. I think that both books are brilliant and that Julie Elizabeth Powell is a brilliant writer. One that opened herself up to her readers and told a very personal story that happened to her.

Both Gone and Slings and Arrows are books I would highly recommend to anyone. Both touch your heart equally.

 

Review by  torrenstp

As a mother I cannot imagine how it feels to lose a child. This book was so beautifully written and tells the story of a mind and soul that is trapped between worlds. GONE, but not GONE. Here, but not here. Where does the mind and soul travel to when they are simply suspended between worlds? An incredible story of courage, one that will remain with me for a very long time. The author is a remarkable woman and the telling of her story in this unique way is testament to that. It makes you realise just how precious all life is and how it can all change in the blink of an eye. Powell weaves her story beautifully and keeps you turning the page eagerly. An unputdownable read. If I could have given this book a higher rating I most definitely would have. I will be looking to read more by this talented and wonderful author in the future. 

 

Review by k&r.w

This story takes you into the realm of Avalon, full of fantastic characters and colorful experiences. Every chapter encourages the imagination to stretch a little wider, while echoing profoundly honest doubts and feelings most would try to bury. Creating a unique take on the after-life, this story raises questions about life after death, and sheds light on the basic fears of the unknown.

Full of wonderful and colorful characters, this story mixes fairy tale and mystery. While the main character embarks on an incredible journey, she meets a wild cast of creatures who help her find herself, and the key to her future. Leaving the book with a sense of hope, these characters help teach invaluable lessons.

Much like the mind of the main character, the writing style of this book seems confused, and is a bit maddening. Not necessarily that it's poorly written, but rather the character we're following is full of confusion and madness. Reading this story gave me the distinct feeling that each time I grasped the feel, began to understand what was going on, I was spun in another direction and confusion returned. Because of this dizzying style, this book left me in a love/hate funk, and I have yet to land on any decided emotion.

Overall, I did enjoy this book. It's honest, and while it did leave my head spinning a number of times, I think that's part of the point. Life is confusing, and this author did a fantastic job of showing the reality of pain and fear, mixed with the fantastic world her imagination created.

*I was given an e:copy of this book, from the author, to read in exchange for an honest review.

 

Review by Diane Rapp

No mother should ever experience the loss of a child, but it's even worse if the child is just GONE. I received this book from the author to write an honest review, and I'm so glad she gave me this wonderful gift. A tragic event in real life might cause a mother to withdraw from life and feel sorry for herself. In this case the author used her imagination to create an incredible tale of courage and hope. Where did her daughter's mind and soul go when she became a vacant shell?

Charlie lived with the tragedy and guilt of losing her beautiful daughter until she died from a heart attack. Suddenly she found herself in Avalon, an incredible world in between the real world and dreams, Heaven, nirvana, reincarnation? The reader must decide what to believe. When Charlie meets her daughter in Avalon, she learns lessons about life, courage, and her will to survive. She makes choices that might surprise you.

Powell's quirky sense of humor and vivid imagination allow her to spin fantastic stories. Inspired by her own family's real life tragedy, Powell still makes this fantasy a very enjoyable read. Don't be put off by the idea of pain, sorrow, and death--give this novel a chance. You'll find yourself rooting for Charlie and hoping that the land she imagined is a real place. Good job, Julie! Keep spinning those tales and maybe we'll all join you in Avalon.

 

Review by Gregory Lamb

After reading "Lost Shadows," by Julie Elizabeth Powell, I was curious about her first novel, "Gone." Powell provided me with a review copy and after reading the book's description, I held on to it for quite awhile thinking I'd have to be in the right mood to enjoy it. I was pleasantly surprised to discover the unexpected journey I found myself enjoying while following the adventures of Powell's main character, Charley.

When Charley collapses at her desk, she awakens in another world where she meets up with the spirit of her daughter Jenny. "Gone" is one version of where one's soul goes after they die. Powell creates a world known to the characters in this story as Avalon. While there, Charley confronts her guilt and her fears, conquered with the help of several other characters along the way.

The story is well conceived and well written. It is a bit slow in some places, but there is certainly enough intrigue to keep you reading. I couldn't stop until I found out how and why Charley was in Avalon and how the story was going to end. I must say the ending was thoroughly satisfying. Read it and enjoy the ride.

 

Review by Albert Robbins 111

Overall Feedback: This story will pull at every drop of emotion you have in your soul. I was pulled in from the beginning and never wanted to stop. At times I was sad for the character and at times elated for her. The writing is exceedingly well done and you can tell the author allowed her true feelings about her life flow through her an into her characters. This is a must read.

Point of View: You are reading from the point of view of Charley as she dies and moves on.

Voice: The author has released quite a bit of emotion writing this one and you can tell.

Character Development: Intriguing to say the least and emotionally binding to say the most. You will have a deep personal relationship with the characters of this one.

Plot: One can only hope and pray that this is the way it does go after-life.

Dialogue: The dialogue was very fluid and moving.

Pacing: Started slow but quickly shifts gears.

Setting: I want to visit this land. The great thing about writing about the after-life is that your imagination is the designer.

Continuity: Not one single place out of order. If you are looking for an issue here your heart is missing. 

 

Review by Nikki Clark

Wow!  Charley dies in her office and is swept into the mystical land of Avalon. In Avalon anything is possible. She meets a girl who insists that she is her daughter. The same daughter who died at 2 and was dead long enough to leave permanent brain damage when they got her back.

Is this mystery girl really her daughter? Does Charley make it out of Avalon and back to the real world?

Having read Slings and Arrows I know that this is the book that has the answer to the question that is at the end of it. I think that both books are brilliant and that Julie Elizabeth Powell is a brilliant writer. One that opened herself up to her readers and told a very personal story that happened to her.

Both Gone and Slings and Arrows are books I would highly recommend to anyone. Both touch your heart equally.

 

Review by Alan Tucker

Gone is the story of Charley, a modern day "everywoman" whose heart mirrors the journey of her small daughter: dying in spirit, then many years later, dying in the physical world. Charley's story of discovery begins, oddly enough, with her death and works its way through Avalon, a way station to other more heavenly realms that seems like the waiting room at the DMV, then progresses to a place of pure fantasy inside a thing called the Orb of Caprice.

Powell blends humor with the heartache and guilt from the loss of a child to craft a compelling and entertaining read. I thoroughly enjoyed this mixture of contemporary characters within an old fashioned fairy tale setting and I look forward to reading more from this talented writer.

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest and fair review.
  

 

Review by RJ Palmer

Okay, this was hands down one of the most powerful stories I've ever read and that's saying a LOT. I've got to hand it to you, Julie, you brought out the emotion in this. To understand what's going on when you're reading "Gone", you must first slow down a little bit to help you absorb more of the storyline. I was so very impressed. There were a few places that I had to reread but frankly, I didn't mind it because it gave me the chance to better understand what it was I was reading.

"Gone" is the story of one woman's struggle to understand and learn what it is to forgive herself. She's bound and determined to be angry at herself and the world in general for something that's completely beyond anyone's control. This is understandable because it's easier to be angry than it is to forgive, even if it's a person's inner struggle. Charley struggles with blaming herself and having feelings that are perfectly natural. She's racked by guilt and doesn't want to be honest with herself or anyone else because she'd rather stuff her feelings inside and refuse to acknowledge them.

Then, she's catapulted to Avalon and has to confront herself and her past in order to face the future. This is where it gets a little crazy because she goes on a quest she doesn't understand and has no idea that ultimately, she's learning a lesson. To tell any more of this would require spoilers and that, my friends I won't do. Read "Gone" yourself to find out more.

This is the point where I get to give a star rating and even though I don't believe in star ratings, I'm happy to say that this is one of the few books I get to give a five star. Julie Elizabeth Powell has written with stunning aplomb and related Charley, the main character to anyone else in the world to a stunning degree. A person could just imagine themselves being exactly where Charley is, struggling with the same things Charley confronts in her journey and this is no mean feat. To pen a story with this much feeling, one must first have been in this kind of situation and I have to congratulate Julie Elizabeth Powell on a story well told and a job well done!

 

Review by g'elle

Gone manages to weave reality with fantasy. The real life experiences of the author with her daughter (as detailed in the preface), is coupled with an Alice in wonderland like fantasy story. It portrays the imaginary world with vivid descriptions, while at the same time providing comfort to those with incapacitated bedridden relations about the probable emotional state of their loved one.

If you enjoy Alice's Wonderland, you should read this story.

 

Review by Gloria Repp

This is not a book for rapid reading; rather, it is a story upon which to reflect. It portrays an imaginative journey that develops from a grieving mother’s sense of loss and guilt, and it touches on universal themes: suffering and reward; light, forgiveness, and restoration. I enjoyed its many beautiful thoughts and scenes.

 

Review by Sarah Banham

Adult Fairy Tale based on real life tragic events.


Beautifully written novel in which the main character Charley drifts from reality into a fantasy world. Thought provoking and tear jerking in places but uplifting and full of hope in others.


Definitely worth a read.  

 

Review by Java Davis

This fantasy novel is incredibly imaginative, and I would guess that the author thought about this story for years before writing it down.

The premise is simple. A woman, Charley, had a 2-year-old daughter who was in an accident and was all but completely brain-dead. She lived for another 15 years as a vegetable. Charley asks herself the question: Her body is still here, but where has SHE gone? She's talking about the thing that gives us the spark of life.

An overweight and overstressed Charley has a medical episode. From there, all bets are off. Is she delirious? Is she dead? Is she actually experiencing the adventure? Water isn't water, colors aren't colors, doors aren't doors, flowers aren't flowers, magical items work, and people are full of both mystery and wisdom, especially the daughter she lost, Jenny. Charley goes through magical realms, and eventually goes on a quest for a hidden item.

The prose is lyrical, sometimes even poetic. The unfolding of the mother-daughter relationship is poignant. Charley eventually understands simple truths that I'm sure the author discovered in her own journey with daughter Samantha.

PINPRICK: I do think that the attempts at humor fall flat, but humor is subjective, and someone else may find them amusing. But this is still a 5-star read.

-- Java Davis

 

Review by Linda Baumann

Although this story holds plenty of painful memories for the author, she has intricately woven them into a fantasy tale to enlighten and entertain readers. She has cleverly asked questions many of us wonder about. Throughout the book it is apparent that Ms. Powell has given this subject a lot of thought and done plenty of research. I can only imagine what it is like to have lost a young child. To wonder where that child has "GONE" and what has become of her. To think about a place different than the everyday world in which we live. Ms. Powell has done an amazing job of telling her story and taking the reader along on an introspective and enlightening journey into the otherworld. I think you won't be disappointed.

 

Review by lovetoread

I don't usually read this kind of book but it had been recommended by a friend and I was so glad I did. It was the most amazing story - so different from anything else I've ever read and even those who like fantasy would find it extraordinary.

It surrounds the true-life events of the author and answers questions in a way that surprised and pleased me. Gone is a fantasy yet is so much more, there are so many levels to it that it left me breathles - yet at the same time it was written in such a way that the words just flowed from one page to the next, egging me into the adventure.

Needless to say, I loved it. I won't give any spoilers but will say that it searches for answers in a fantastical and unusual way. And though it holds sadness, hope is threaded through it - as is humour, that sometimes made me laugh out loud.

Great characters, great descriptions and a wonderful tale that inspired me to look at life differently.

Amazing and wonderful.

Highly recommended. 

 

Review by AngelaThomas

“Gone” is a novel that was inspired by a heartbreaking period in the author’s life, but in itself, it is not a sad book. In fact, it’s an inspiring and hopeful read.


Charley Woods is the mother of Jenny, who was left with severe brain damage at the age of two. When we first meet Charley, it is fifteen years after this devastating event, and Charley is a wreck. She is wracked by guilt, she comfort eats and generally leads a stressful life. She visits the shell that is her teenage daughter and we are told that “she hated every visit”. Then one day, Charley has a heart attack and finds herself….where? From this point, we embark, with Charley on a voyage of discovery. Is she going mad, or is the world in which she finds herself real? How can the lovely young woman that she meets be her daughter?


Charley asks herself many questions throughout the book and the author uses these questions and challenges to explore the concepts of hope, forgiveness and living without fear.


I suppose that in many ways, “Gone” could be called a fairy tale for adults. There are some wonderful scenes and characters that Charley meets on her quest. I particularly enjoyed the episodes with the talking flower, Penelope, and also enjoyed the characters, Brogan and Chamber. Charley’s quest in the Orb of Caprice is gripping and exciting, as she strives to reach her goal.


This is a book that works on several levels and will stay with me for a long time.
  

 

Review by Adrian L Hawkes

Well I don’t usually read fantasy, unless you count C.S.Lewis, but this one is different. It’s unusual that the first page of a book, particularly the one that says ‘about the Author’ sets the stage for a fiction novel. This one does, and having understood that the whole fantasy makes sense. If painful sense; Even though I am not a fantasy reader, I still wanted to find out what happened next so it is a page turner. If you are a fantasy fan, then you really should read this one.

 

Review by Darcia Helle

Gone is a powerful story, based on the author's experience with the tragedy and eventual loss of her daughter. This story ponders the question of where we go when we're not alive, but also not quite dead.

While the subject is heartbreaking, this book is not. Yes, there were moments that brought tears to my eyes.

Overall, though, this story is filled with hope, inspiration and love. It's a magical adventure that I highly recommend for everyone.

 

Review by Shirleegt

I loved the journey this story took me on.

Always intrigued by this subject matter, I felt myself swept away alongside Charley as she takes this fantastic journey of discovery.

Fantasy, yes. I found myself thinking several times that this was more of a modern-day "Alice In Wonderland", but with a twist.

The author did a fantastic job of pulling me in and keeping me with her along this journey.

I would recommend this to everyone.

A great read!  

 

2nd review by Shirleegt

Truth be told I wasn't sure what to expect of this book with such a simple title. But this one was more than ample to describe the voyage this story takes you on... Gone is based on the author's life experience of "losing" her daughter at 2.5 when her heart stopped. The doctors resuscitated too long and left her brain dead. For 17 years she lived that way and her mother often wondered where she had gone before finally passing after 17 years.

It takes you on a "voyage" to that "other place" that people go when they die and leave the body and then return to life. It's not what you'd expect, but the experience through the writer's words is quite extraordinary.


Fantasy? Yes. But rooted in a very real curiosity about what or where a person goes when they pass. I love this story, so much so that I would give it a much higher rating if I could.

A must read for anyone!

 

Review by Martha Rodriguez

Charley is a woman who is burdened with immense emotional pain.  She has suffered for herself and for her daughter, Jenny, for many years.  Doctors are able to keep Jenny alive after her heart stops, but to what end?  Confined to her twisted, silent body, Jenny is, for all intents and purposes, gone. 

Gone is a fantasy novel based on the true story of Julie Elizabeth Powell and her daughter Samantha.  In the novel, Charley is thrust into a sometimes strange, sometimes comforting other-world where she meets new friends and foes alike.  She wonders where she is and how she got there.  Is her mind playing tricks on her or is this real?  Is she dead or alive? 

In this alternative world, Charley meets a beautiful, sweet and gentle young woman who turns out to be her daughter, Jenny.  She feels great joy at the sight of her daughter, now healthy and vibrant after so many years of pain and silence.  But Charley has to make a decision.  Will she choose to stay in this strange place where her daughter is full of life or will she return to the Jenny who is gone?

This book could only have been written by a parent who has been through the torture of watching her child's life slip through her loving arms.  The emotions that Charley experiences on her fantasy journey are those that any parent would experience in her situation; love, hate, frustration, bravery, and guilt, to name a few. 

Ms. Powell takes us on a great adventure with Charley.  Her feelings are raw.  They make us fear for her life in one instance and push her to accept another harrowing challenge in the next.  The path is long and tiring for Charley but it's well worth accompanying her.  What will she learn about herself and about life along the way?  Will she decide to stay or to leave?

One thing I really like about this book is that, even with all her emotional pain, Charley has a sense of humor, especially when she talks to herself.  We've all had that "laugh or cry" moment and sometimes Charley goes for the laugh.  She might describe it more as losing her mind than having a sense of humor but that's part of the charm of the character.

Gone is a terrific read!

 

Review by Sheri Wilkinson:

Gone is a fantasy story which takes the reader to a strange land called Avalon where there are goblins, talking flowers, creepy creatures, wonders, and danger. A fascinating fantasy with surprises at every turn.

Based on true events in the authors life, the loss of her daughter at a young age, turning her into a "shell" of a person leading ultimately to her death. In Gone, Charley suffers a heart attack and is not sure if she is dead, in limbo heaven or some strange delusional state of mind. There she meets up with her Daughter, and ends up in Avalon.

A mix of fantasy with real life emotions and feelings, it answers some questions in a mothers life on what happened when her daughter was gone, still medically alive, but not a whole person. A fantastic theory on what happens when one is not yet dead, but still not here.


I highly recommend reading both Gone and Slings & Arrows 

 

Review by Georgiann Hennelly

Gone is a very powerful story. It takes the reader to a place called Avalon filled with Goblin's creepy creatures, talking flowers. A fascinating fantasy. The story is based on true events in the authors life. When Charley suffers a heart attack at a young age, she is not sure if she is in limbo heaven or dead.There she meets her daughter and winds up in Avalon a wonderful magical place. The story answers what happens when your gone but still medically alive. A heartfelt beautifully written story

 *

REVIEW BY SUE MAHONEY OF GREAT MINDS THINK ALOUD LITERARY COMMUNITY:

GONE
by Julie Elizabeth Powell

A truly amazing tale of fantasy of facing questions, doubts, fears and deep sorrow not in the earthly realm but in a magical wonderland of tests and trials for a lost soul who was to suffer the challenge of losing her two year old to brain trauma and had to live with the guilt.  Until it consumed her mind, body and soul; causing the defense mechanism to develop causing fear and guilt from preventing the wounded person from living a full life of happiness and enlightenment.  Until she is drawn into a mysterious realm where she has to face and conquer her fears and learn to forgive herself for the dark thoughts we all think when confronted with desperate pain and choices. 


The mother suffers a trauma and as she lies in a coma she is transported to a Netherlands of wondrous adventures and meets creatures of all sorts who help, chase and assist her on the journey of forgiveness and a new beginning. 
 
It was a thrilling and mind stimulating story to share with others. It could open the mind to explore 'what if' and how thoughts transform life every day. 
 
This author is very talented and shares her personal journey to help others to heal and learn forgiveness to move forth during difficulties.
 
It is not all heart wrenching, it is fun and exciting to read as the character goes on a quest to locate the cup and finding herself along the way.  


In the author's words;
“What now?” she asked.
“Touch it again,” encouraged Jenny. This time Charley found her face falling into the sticky surface of the door. Automatically closing her eyes until her head felt free and still, she dared to open them to see billions of figures, scuttling like ants, almost covering part of the Earth’s surface.
But it was the jumble of thunderous sounds, indistinguishable to her ears, which caused her heart to quicken.
Pushing back against the pressure behind, she heard squelching as her head was gradually freed, the opening she’d made immediately sucking itself back into place with a jerk.
“W…What was that?” she stammered.
“You were seeing the world as it is now…everyone rushing, thinking only of themselves, not remembering the past or each other. “


Definitely recommend this book for fun reading and exploring the unknown.
 
5 ravens (meaning: addicted, want more)
 
 *

Book Title: Gone
Author: Julie Elizabeth Powell
Published By: www.lulu.com
Recommended Age: 16+
Reviewed By: Maegan Morin
Blog Reviewed For: Great Minds Think Aloud
Rating: 5 Ravens

Have you ever wondered what happens when you die? For Charley that question has been haunting her since the fateful day when Jenny, her 2 1/2 year old daughter died. The doctors are able to resuscitate Jenny but all resemblance to the little girl that everyone knows and loves is missing. Leaving Charley to wonder "Where have you gone?"

Gone is a fantastic loosely based on the real live events that happened to the author Julie Elizabeth Powell. The author weaves a tale of magic and enchantment in a tortured mother's quest for forgiveness and understanding.

I really enjoyed reading this book. The author has written this story so well, the emotions in this book are overwhelming and you really connect with the main character, Charley. You have a deep understanding of the thoughts and choices that lead her to where she is now. It's like experiencing first hand what the author had to go through to find peace, told in a way that everyone can understand.

I give this book 5 Ravens for the beautiful story and writing. But I will leave a fair warning to anyone, this book will pull at your heart strings and draw you into a wonderful world that you want to exist. For anyone that's ever lost someone or anyone looking for peace.

 

Review bySusan Eley, Writer and Journalist

Enter a world of myth and magic, fairies and phantoms, talking flowers and goblins - and of course a superhero to fight the fight for good against evil. But this is no ordinary superhero. Charley Woods is that most ordinary of creatures, a middle-aged, overweight mum. But a mum who will take up the sword and fight to the death for the challenge she has taken on.

But that is for the FUTURE.....for the PRESENT Charley is carrying the burden of grief and guilt of her own past. Her teenaged daughter, Jenny, lies damaged, unseeing and unthinking, after 'surviving' a heart atack at the age of two. Charley struggles daily with the question - where has the lifeforce that was her beloved daughter gone?

And Charley is about to find out. Her own heart attack and the blink of a unicorn's eye takes her to Avalon where she finds her daughter Jenny seemingly alive and well.

But that is just the start of the story. Charley must make her own journey through self-doubt and bewilderment, danger and fear. She takes on the mantle of mother as fantasy hero in a do or die search for the truth.

With fear her constant companion - "I'm afraid, I've always been afraid, afraid of change, afraid of failure..." - Charley travels through Avalon and into the perilous Orb of Caprice.

She must go to the Puzzle Woods, resist the temptations of the sinister twins, Fun and Games, look into the Rainbow Pool and "taste the flavour of fear." She must do battle with the evil Pherson and face her demons, both external and internal.

As Charley wins her spurs in a fast-paced series of adventures, she learns many deep truths, that there is no death, just many levels of being, that the past cannot be changed, just accepted, and that a mother will go to the darkest of dark places for the love of her child.

Gone uses the genre of fantasy to explore the real life themes of love and loss, grief, guilt and acceptance.

Julie Powell dedicates Gone to her daughter Samantha whose heart stopped when she was just two and a half. Samantha lived on, severely brain-damaged, until she was 19.

In Gone Julie offers one answer to the many questions raised by this very personal tragedy.

It is an intelligent and well thought out book which explores a difficult subject in a very unusual way. Good for fantasy fans - but even better for those of us with our own demons to vanquish.

 

Review by: Dean Courts, Writer and Journalist

Perfect. Well done Ms Powell indeed for this captivating story, which absorbs the reader from the first, to the very last word.

The striking things about the book you ask? Well how about characters that will capture your imagination and take you through a journey of wonder, and actually make you feel for the characters in such a beautiful way?

It's just so wonderfully written and flows so effortlessly throughout, obviously inspired by a devastating but true event, the story takes you  through hope and belief of a mother who must have experienced such a tragic event, the story lays to rest her demons, and gives her a form of peace, which the explanation of is perfect and of which I believe in.

All of this sprinkled with fantastic humour. A book not just for those who have lost a child but for everyone and all but especially for those who like to believe in an afterlife, and those who need explanations in losing someone dear to them.

I do hope you write more novels Ms Powell

 

Review by: Brian W. Fisher, Author and Travel Writer

What a riveting story. Deep? - Yes! Thought provoking? - It most certainly is!

Such a book could only have been written from experience.

To set the story in 'A different World' only adds mystery to truth - a master stroke indeed.

Anyone who has (or still is) been burdened with grief over the loss of a child will immerse themselves in the situations and characters portrayed in GONE.

Ms Powell...is there more in your tank?

Congratulations.
 
 
Review by: William Young, Author 
 
Great. A wonderful tale that draws you in from the first paragraph and leads you through the confused and anguished mind Charley as she tries to make sense first of the tragedy of her life then of her death. A must for any fantasy reader.
 
This is a fascinating and very thought provoking story from a wonderful new author. You follow the journey of Charley, a middle-aged woman who has suffered great tragedy throughout her life but just after achieving a successful new contract for her business is struck down by a heart attack. From here we are led on an exciting and sometimes (her) confusing journey through what we suppose maybe the afterlife, yet still the questions nag: Is she really dead, is this all real, has the character lost her mind or are we travelling through the deluded mind of a mad woman?

As we travel, questions are answered, though more questions seem to surface as Charley finds strengths she never knew she had and we, the reader, see the world from a new perspective.
 
A truly great read that all fantasy fans should find a break from the usual run of the mill sci-fi fantasy genre but still is filled with the wonder of other realms.
 
This review can also be found at: www.goodreads.com 
 
 
Review by: T. Isilwath, Author

Moving and inspiring.  I bought Gone and read it in a day.

This is a profoundly moving and beautiful book born out of love and loss.

I would recommend it to anyone who loves a deeply emotional story that focuses on the strength and courage of the human heart.

 

Review by: Joe S, Author

Great writing. It's a joy to read such a gifted writer. When the writing touches on something so close to the author it really shows in the work. I think all great fantasy has its roots in the real world and this story does a great job of setting up what's to follow in that manner. This author has a true talent for description and a wonderful voice and propels the reader forward at just the right pace. I recommend this one for all lovers of fantasy.
 

Review by: James Stewart, Author

Incredibly well written and emotional. This is a sharply-written piece which focuses on something I have thought about for a long time: what *does* happen to a person once every iota of their personality has been erased? Julie Powell's work is moving, heart-rending and unspeakably beautiful. It captivates from the opening.
 

Review by: Jerry Veit, Author

I like the way Julie words her book, and the way she discusses certain subjects such as what is "normal." The way an author words their books defines who that author is and Julie definitely has a talent for that. Great Job!
 

Review by: Jane Gilgun, Author 

A sensitive, compelling read. The older I get the more curious I am about the end of life. In this book, Julie Powell juxtaposes the death of a daughter and the later death of the mother in almost magical tones. I would not mind the kind of death that Charley experiences, gazing into the blue eyes of a unicorn while reliving her life.
 
A piercingly painful death of her daughter at two and the daughter's second death 17 years later is almost more than I can bear but the incredible writing that Julie Powell brings to the story makes sense out of a great tragedy.
 
Women's stories must be told. Since the beginning of time, we have had stories of war and valor and heaven and hell but the everyday lives of women who love and labor are rare indeed. Julie Powell's incredible book Gone responds to a deep and wide cultural void. We are enriched by it.
 

Review by: Susan Cline, Author 

Touching, sensitive account of a mother's love. I appreciate Julie's style of writing, forthright and genuine. Anything concerning mothers and daughters written in such close proximity to the heart's deepest traumas and triumphs has my vote. Good work, Julie.
 

Review by: Zachary Collins, Author

Marvellous. The beginning is like bait on a hook for a fish. A must read!
 

Review by: Danjamin

A great read.  A moving account with touches of humour....... a unique and brilliant idea, well worth the read.
 

Review by: Andra R. Leggett, Author

Touching.  After reading your preview of "Gone," it is evident that this book was born of deep love. Tragedy has given birth to a story mystical and heart-warming. What a lovely tribute to a personal loss. This author was brave to share her life, and is a very gifted writer. Left me wanting more.
 

Review by: Cindy Penkoff, Author

Couldn't wait for more.  It is hard for me to sit still for anything. This made it easy. This story has a way of drawing you in and keeping you there. Definitely not a disappointment. Thank you for sharing.

 

Review by: Shane Windham, Author 

Not one to miss.  The author's imagery was mesmerizing and not a shade overdone. The reader will take to these words and woes as though they had been there to live them. I look forward to seeing more from you Ms. Powell!

 

Review by: Maria Savva, Author

I enjoyed this book. It is a wonderful story which kept me interested from the beginning right through to the last page. It is based on a true event in the authors life which inspired the tale. 'Gone' is a fantasy story which takes the reader to a strange land called 'Avalon' where there are goblins, talking flowers, eerie ghouls, dangers, wonders and more. By the end you are left wondering whether Avalon is a real place, and kind of hoping that it is! The author has done a great job telling her tale. Charley, the main character, has a brain-damaged daughter, and she has lived with the guilt of giving her daughter away to be looked after by someone else. She no longer recognises her daughter whenever she visits, and has in fact stopped visiting her very often. One day Charley has a heart attack and ends up in a place called Avalon, there she meets her daughter and the story begins. 'Gone' uses a fantasy tale to tell a very important story about how our actions and choices in life affect other people. I would highly recommend 'Gone' to anyone who loves a good book.

This review can also be found at: www.goodreads.com 

 

Review by: Jean Carver, Author

This book is intriguing from the start and holds the reader's interest throughout entire story. Anyone who has suffered the loss of a child, whatever the circumstances, will identify with Charley. A parent always feels guilt when something happens that they think they could have prevented, whether true or not.

The storyline is filled with visual images reminiscent of Roger Zelazny. The character of Charley, her fears and inhibitions are all too human. However, she manages to do the right, the courageous thing in spite of her doubts. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy realms and a good storyline.

 

Review by: Paula McGerr

Jenny is no longer their baby. She is an empty shell, kept alive by tubes and machines. Her personality and character has been tragically wiped clean. She doesn't even know her own parents: an empty body twisted and distorted as she lays trapped in her bed. Charley has lived a life of guilt, having entrusted her daughter's care to others. She is unable to bear the sight of her daughter on a regular basis, hiding her pain and guilt from those she knows, as she turns her attention to her commercial ventures. Whilst sitting in her office, this all becomes too much for her and she has a heart attack.
 
The reader then follows Charley on her venture into the world beyond reality, a world that explores human emotions and the very meaning of life itself. She embarks on a journey that she finds painful and bewildering...peace, acceptance and release seeming to stay just a whisper beyond her reach.
 
An imaginative exploration of life and death and the realm that lays between.
 
 
Review by: Jak Brienhead, Author
 
Hi Julie,
Came across this on the 'pitch me' section and was hooked by your excellent pitch. I only meant to read one chapter but I found your approach so interesting that I've read and enjoyed three. At first I found the questions a little intrusive but then their relentless building of the rhythm drew me in and set the pace very effectively. At points, I found the first chapter a bit like reading narrative poetry as the cadences were so unusual. There were also brilliant touches throughout. I particularly liked the chocolate interchange with the undercurrents of drug dealing - tremendous idea. (In my book, chocolate is illegal in the first world but I don't think this comes through clearly enough in my text) There are also terrific phrases such as '..Pushing yesterday's visit into the dark place..' and '..she'd plunged straight into a cliché...' very adroit and clever. I'll be back for more and have watchlisted Gone. Jak
 
 
 
Review by Java Davis

Sensations run riot!  This fantasy novel is incredibly imaginative, and I would guess that the author thought about this story for years before writing it down.

The premise is simple. A woman, Charley, had a 2-year-old daughter who was in an accident and was all but completely brain-dead. She lived for another 15 years as a vegetable. Charley asks herself the question: Her body is still here, but where has SHE gone? She's talking about the thing that gives us the spark of life.

An overweight and overstressed Charley has a medical episode. From there, all bets are off. Is she delirious? Is she dead? Is she actually experiencing the adventure? Water isn't water, colors aren't colors, doors aren't doors, flowers aren't flowers, magical items work, and people are full of both mystery and wisdom, especially the daughter she lost, Jenny. Charley goes through magical realms, and eventually goes on a quest for a hidden item.

The prose is lyrical, sometimes even poetic. The unfolding of the mother-daughter relationship is poignant. Charley eventually understands simple truths that I'm sure the author discovered in her own journey with daughter Samantha.

PINPRICK: I do think that the attempts at humor fall flat, but humor is subjective, and someone else may find them amusing. But this is still a 5-star read.
 
 
Review by: LaDonna
 
I received a free copy of this book through the GoodReads Making Connections Group in exchange for an honest review.

I would give this 3.5 stars, but round up for this purpose. The author does a beautiful job of writing hauntingly poetic prose. The main reasons for it not being 5 stars lie in fantasy/sci-fi just not being my genres of choice. When I read the synopsis I was so intrigued I couldn't resist checking it out anyway.

I will admit that at times I had difficulty following the story line, but again, I chalk that up to the reasons fantasy/sci-fi are not my preferred reads. I just have a really hard time grasping the concepts and is in no way a reflection on the author. Even with my challenges, the story is quite captivating. The basis all that ensues evolve from the struggles of a mother who has for all intents and purposes lost a child to an injury - her body lives on but her essence has been gone for many years. The book runs the gamut of emotions while being deeply philosophical as well. I have to say some of the humor infused within are some of my favorite moments, and the grumpy Chamber was my favorite character.

I would definitely recommend it to fans of fantasy, in fact I already have. I think many of the baser concepts of the book will stay with me for quite some time, and it has wonderful reminders of facing your fears and living your life to the fullest.
 
Review by Kurt Chambers
 
Positive points

Gone is not a mainstream story, but rather one written from the heart. I loved this about this novel. The book being based on a true story adds a depth that you can't get from a typical book written for the market. I found it moving and incredibly brave of the author to delve into some of the issues that were portrayed in this book. It affected me emotionally seeing the raw feelings and thoughts from a mother who has lost one of her children. This is a big plus for the author. Who wants to read a book without emotion?

Despite the hard issues, the story is far from being dark or morbid. It has an unusual adult fairytale feel to it. It reminded me of the classic tale Alice in Wonderland, a thought that was reflected by the main character at one point. You get to visit a fantasy land filled with colourful and original characters.

If you are looking for a story that is possibly unlike any story you have read before, this is the book for you.


Negative Points

There were some minor grammar issues in this book that were not mistakes but more of a niggle. It was nothing that took away the enjoyment of the story, just the odd POV slip, a few repeats and the overuse of ellipses. I ran a novel workshop for some years and had these things drummed into me, so I'm sure this would only be noticed by someone who has been through the same discipline.

What makes this book unique

I found the whole concept of the book unique. It is a true story set around an original fantasy world.

Overall Impression

I really enjoyed reading this story. Knowing it was a true story made the sad bits really sad. I am in awe of the author’s bravery. I can only imagine how hard it must have been to write these words after suffering such a life-shattering experience. It made me laugh and made me cry. I would be very happy for such reactions from anyone who read one of my novels. Well done, Julie.

My rating

This is difficult. I want to give Julie five stars for the originality of this story, but with the overuse of ellipses and other minor grammar errors, I have to award four stars for simple honesty. But it was a close five.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Review by: Amazon Customer
 
First, you have to understand that this author writes musically. I don't know if she is a traditional musician, but the way she crafts her stories is in the highest lyrical style. They are like a song-cycles and the words themselves supply the melody, the rhythm, the meter. When you read her work, you almost have the sense that you are hearing a melody playing in the background. She is truly gifted. And truly warped. Yes, I just used that word, and before I let you assume that it is negative or a criticism, it is just the opposite. Warped in a wondrous way. The very minute you think you know where she is going, she changes course and surprises you. All with a lightness and lyricism that is charming.

13 is a wonderful read, it is the essence of darkness and light, a snapshot of the human psyche through the filter of a deck of cards. Each chapter is rather like the first time you played computer solitaire. One hand, simply isn't enough. I thoroughly enjoyed this gifted author, and this gift of a book. Great storytelling.
 
 
Review by Maria Savva
 
There are writers and then there are artists who express themselves through writing. I would say Julie falls into the second category. I always enjoy her books, and 13 was no exception. The thing I love about her writing is that it is so engaging that you must read on. Her characters are so real, and they grab your attention and take you away to a different world where often it is unclear what is happening, but the journey is always well worth it.

With '13' Julie Elizabeth Powell brings us a horror, in the true sense of the word and genre. What would you do if you suddenly found yourself in a situation where the only way you could survive was to kill off the competition? This imaginative tale is a reflection of the darker side of the world we live in, where selfishness and brutality are highlighted, where people take actions without considering the consequences or the effects.

Each chapter brings us a short snippet introducing the characters. When I read the first few chapters I admit to being confused and wondering whether this was just a collection of very short and confusing short stories. It is only after all the characters are introduced that the book really begins to become clearer. I would say that as there are so many characters, it may sometimes be confusing to the reader as to who is who, especially as in the final part of the book they are all just known as a number, rather than their name. But this turns out to be a minor point because what is more important is the characters' motivations. I think this is the sort of book that will become even more enjoyable on each subsequent reading as you begin to remember who each of the characters is and how they fit in to this complex tale.

This is a wonderful idea, which is expertly crafted. It must have been very difficult to write, but yet is a quick and satisfying read. The last line gave me goosebumps. I would definitely recommend this book, but be prepared for some shocking stories... this is horror, after all.
 
 
Review by: Simon Okill
 
13 by Julie Elizabeth Powell is one of the most imaginative horror novellas I have read in recent years. This author has a wonderful gift to create such a surreal world of nightmare vignettes, 13 of them and so expertly bring them together when the Joker is played.

This novella is a card-playing casino dripping blood where each character becomes a killer to compete in our violent world. The cards are dealt and the hands are rigged right from the beginning, but not till the last card is dealt does the reader finally get clued into this gory mystery.

This FIVE STAR horror novella is a must read and very highly recommended
 
 
Reviewed by Kim Anisi for Readers' Favorite

After reading the Avalon Trilogy by Julie Elizabeth Powell, I saw 13 by the same author. I liked the author's style and thought I'd see what her style would be like in a different genre. In 13, thirteen different characters - all very shady, violent, and criminal for different reasons, are introduced one after the other before they are all thrown together and find themselves in a situation in which they either have to work together or kill each other.

Julie Elizabeth Powell's writing is very clear and captivating, and I did enjoy reading it. People who enjoy short horror reads will love it. I was able to finish the book in a short sitting and the writing was excellent, although I wanted more from this read. Nevertheless, the book deserves four stars as it was well thought through, there were no mistakes, the idea is quite interesting and, as said before: the writing is flawless. Julie Elizabeth Powell is a very talented author and I am looking forward to reading more of her books. There is something about her writing that simply catches you and makes you part of the fictional world.
 
 
Review by Slongino
 
So many murderous minds, so many people to kill.

This is a short story that is filled with murder and mayhem. Each chapter tells a different story of murder, revenge, and death without giving names, places and sometimes reasons. In the end, the author brings the first thirteen individual chapters together and assigns names to her characters according to the chapter number they appeared in. Following the story at that point can be confusing. Because there is little backstory, or reason for the initial mayhem, the reader is not invested about the characters as they suffer a reciprocal fate in the last chapters. But, I think that aloofness by the reader about the fate of the characters mirrors the mind of the murderous characters of the book. They didn't care about their victims; the life of their victim meant nothing to them. The reader is made to feel the same indifference about the death of those characters as those characters felt about the murder of their victims. Quite genius.

The words of the book are sometimes lyrical and Ms. Powell is an excellent writer. I look forward to reading more of her books. 

 
 
Review by Ethan McKenzie
 
I missed my subway station while reading this novel...simply fantastic!
 
I have gotten this book in exchange of providing an unbiased review for the author. My review for this book is honest and true. This author displayed quality writing style as I flipped through the pages. She displayed the characters with some elements of mystery and horror. The moment I saw the cover, chills were sent to my spine and I could expect some violence on this novel. When I was reading chapter 4 of the novel, I realized the author brought the true colors of this novel and this move really surprised me. There are certain scenes that are truly well-written describing the evil side of man. Oh, if I continue, I am afraid I would reveal too much of the novel. In anyway, I would highly recommend to anyone who likes some evil, horror and violence in the fictional world. It is really fantastic read! Good job!
 
 
Review by Smirnoff
 
I received this book from the author for an honest review.

Ok where to begin? This is a seriously strange book, its a series of mini tales that focus on death and killing and the whole thing felt dis-jointed and frankly left me wondering where it was heading to, I needn't have worried as it all comes together in the final chapter (13 of course). The book is well written and moves along at a hectic pace, the characters are not what you would call engaging, though you would not want to engage with a bunch of killers anyway. It's a very quick read and I had it completed in less than an hour. Would I recommend it? Yes. If you are looking for a quick, quirky, spooky read then jump right in. 

 
 
Review by Lynda Dickson
 
A puzzle you'll have to piece together
 
13 is actually a group of fourteen stories, all involving murder. The numbers are like a deck of cards, including the Ace, Jack, Queen, and King. Each number is also reflected in some aspect of the story. At the end, in the Joker's story, the thirteen characters are brought together to account for their sins. Only one can escape alive. Who will it be?

Most of the stories are told in a stream of consciousness style, relating the characters' thoughts in short, sharp, single sentence paragraphs. The characters themselves include common thieves, witches, hired assassins, zombies, and mass murderers, each with their own agenda.

This book is like a puzzle. You have to fit the pieces together and figure out what's happening. But it all comes together neatly in the end, when the numbers become the characters' names. Make sure you remember who's who, or take notes, otherwise it might get confusing.

My favorite stories were numbers 2 and 9. Which one is your favorite?

Warnings: Coarse language, violence, murder, sex, drugs.
 
 
 
 
 
Review by Damian Stevenson
 
I have gotten this book in exchange of providing an unbiased review for the author. My review for this book is honest and true. '13' is a tersely written collection of horror vignettes by English horror meister Julie Elizabeth Powell (Gone, Lost Shadows, Slings and Arrows). This is a perfect book for Kindle: I was able to dip in and out of the stories while commuting to work and on coffee breaks. I would recommend "13" to anyone who appreciates good writing and likes suspense and horror. Julie writes spare, unadorned prose that gets under your skin. Five stars!
 
 
Review by Angela Thomas
 
 "13" is a series of stories, in which some evil is committed. Sometimes, it is not clear what is happening, at first, but each episode is written in such a way that you have to read on. Then, there is the final, equally horrific episode which draws all of the stories together.

This is Julie Elizabeth Powell's latest book and is one of her best, in my opinion. I have admired this author's imaginative work in the past and have to say that her imagination is to the fore in this book. It is a gritty read, but the use of violence and strong language is certainly not out of place within the context of the book.

I'm not going to write any more about the stories as it would certainly spoil the book, but I would recommend it to anyone who likes horror with a twist in the tail.
 
 
Review by Ramona Plant
 
This is more like a short story and starts off extremely confusing. But in the end it is not that important to remember every single character in the beginning. They all kind of fall into place and the finale was very telling. This is different from anything I have read and makes for a "fun" read. In this case I really wished it was longer and given me more, not saying it needed it but I enjoyed it so much I wish there would have been more of it to read.

Julie is a well articulated writer and her work is a pleasure to read. In the end she makes you think but doesn't spell out the answers for you.

Definitely an intriguing read that I highly recommend for fellow lovers of the paranormal and horror world.
 
 
 
Review by Sheri Wilkinson
 
I really enjoyed 13. This book is dark, graphic and filled with grim stories of horror, evil and pure wickedness. I can't say too much more because I never do spoilers, but I will say my favorites were, Five, Nine & Thirteen.

People who enjoy horror/thriller/psychological thrillers will love this book of shorts. I look forward to more work By Julie Elizabeth Powell
 
 
Review by Mr Karats
 
A collection of short stories written in an experimental manner. There is much to praise here. The author attempts to get in the mind of their character without naming them, without describing much other than what they experience and also what they think of the experience they are having that moment. I think she was successful in writing interesting stories that way. They all had something to confront or a plan to execute in the near future, which made it all entertaining if one is after stories of mystery.

What kept me from rating the collection higher even, was the fact that the punchline every short story needs, was missing most of the time. I can accept/imagine how that *is* the punchline, ending a story without one, that is. But it wasn't done effectively enough, or as much I would have liked it anyway.

Kudos to Julie Elizabeth Powell for attempting something new, for bringing something unique to the table.
 
Review by: Paul
 
I received this book from the author for an honest review.

Ok where to begin? This is a seriously strange book, its a series of mini tales that focus on death and killing and the whole thing felt dis-jointed and frankly left me wondering where it was heading to, I needn't have worried as it all comes together in the final chapter (13 of course). The book is well written and moves along at a hectic pace, the characters are not what you would call engaging, though you would not want to engage with a bunch of killers anyway. It's a very quick read and I had it completed in less than an hour. Would I recommend it? Yes. If you are looking for a quick, quirky, spooky read then jump right in.
 
 
Review by Tassy
 
13 by Julie Elizabeth Powell is one of the most imaginative horror novellas I have read in recent years. This author has a wonderful gift to create such a surreal world of nightmare vignettes, 13 of them and so expertly bring them together when the Joker is played.

This novella is a card-playing casino dripping blood where each character becomes a killer to compete in our violent world. The cards are dealt and the hands are rigged right from the beginning, but not till the last card is dealt does the reader finally get clued into this gory mystery.

This FIVE STAR horror novella is a must read and very highly recommended.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Review by: Joannes Rhino

Now, this is the story that I dig. I always love psychological thriller. The memory loss, the consultation with psychiatrist, the exploration of the mind, the right and wrong...those things are my thing. The fact that I had to work my brain to figure out how the story ends and the fact that I had to read some sentences twice, that is something that I always look for in a reading. Lost Shadows is one of the examples of a "smart" book. Anyone who is able to write stuff like this is absolutely genius!

 

Review of Lost Shadows by Julie Elizabeth Powell

By R.L. Bailey

Genre: thriller

Sub-genre- Mystery

4/5 Angel wings for story

www.freewebs.com/julizpow

*book given to reviewer for fair and honest review*

 

When trying to write this review, I had to stop and think: was this mystery? A thriller? Or was it a horror story? In the end, it’s a little bit of all three. The story begins with Adam, a little boy who lost his parents and his memory in a horrific car accident. He dreams of people, but he can’t place them. As time passes, the watchers, his name for the doctors, nurses and social workers who care for him, can’t figure him out. He SEES things in his dreams, he knows his parents are gone, but he has no feelings about it one way or the other.

Then we meet Helen and Pamela, Hank, and the mysterious William. Each one is tied to the other in some way, and it doesn’t start to come together really for the reader until the second half of the book. The fine line between sanity and madness is examined in this book; each character is searching, trying to find IT, whatever that may be for them.

Miss Powell has written an ingenious, intriguing book, one you have to really read to get the full effect of the story. Parts fantasy, some real horror, and at its core, a mystery/thriller. The plot doesn’t weaken at all through the entire book, and after finishing it, I had some questions, mainly who the heck is William really? And will there be a sequel? For my own opinion, there should be. Miss Powell has a clear voice, and her writing is equal parts poetry in motion and sublime narration. It kept my attention from the first sentence to the last. Kudos to the author, this is the first book of hers I’ve read, and I have already looked at her others.

 
Samantha I found the storyline a little confusing to begin with as it jumped between characters, but it all began to make sense as the story tied in together. I enjoyed the story of light vs dark. The backgrounds of the characters and their individual enlightenment. The ending was beautiful.
Adam can't remember anything about his life. He has been told his name and that he was in a car accident and his parents died. Dr Pamela tries to help him remember, but is the hypnosis helping him to remember or leading him to his fate? Follow this boys journey to find out

 
 
Review by Rose
 
This story follows the experiences of several different people, all with the climaxes of their struggles happening at the same time, completely unknown to anyone else. Several strangers living their lives, seemingly independent of each other, but in reality, effecting each others futures in ways they couldn't imagine. This rich plot keeps the stories of several up-front and important characters spinning in organized chaos, then pulls it all together, making sense of it all in the end.

It was interesting, taking a deep look into the mind of each character. Comparing their separate and unique ways of viewing life and tragedies was akin to a psychological
study. All very unique people, made up of different issues and pasts, yet all with the same kind of darkness haunting them. Getting a first hand look at their thoughts, confusion, doubts, and the things they're each hiding from, made for a deep mind-twisting read.

The writing in this book was incredible. Julie Elizabeth Powell was able to keep so many warped minds organized and flowing, laying them out in a story that keeps you on your toes. Overall, I enjoyed this book. While it deals with real issues, pain and life, it's refreshingly deep and left me with a feeling of completion and relief.

*I was given an ecopy of this book, from the author, to read in exchange for an honest review.
 
 
 
Review by Maria Miller
 
Great read:
 
LOST SHADOWS is an incredibly touching story of Adam. As a little boy, he was traveling with his parents when their car collided with another. Only Adam survives, lost and wandering with no memories of his parents. His tragedy, which the author eloquently portrays, is that he cannot even mourn his parents because he doesn't remember them. This is a very touching story that will remain with the reader long after it's finished.  
 
 
Review by Fiona Wilson
 
Yet again, this author amazes me with her ability to write about totally different genres and still draw the reader in.

This is a strange one as it starts out as a psychological thriller, and changes to fantasy about halfway through.

The story starts out with Adam, a young boy who loses his parents in a car accident. As a result of the accident he suffers from memory loss.

We are then introduced to more, seemingly random, characters who are all experiencing memory loss in some way.

The story jumps about a lot, which takes some getting used to. We learn a lot about the various characters but they don't seem to be relevant to each other. A common connection isn't there within the first half, it's only later in the story the connections start to become apparent.

A good story will give you something to think about, to ponder; you have to read certain parts a few times to get it right in your head.
This is one of those stories.
The first half is a nice easy read, then you need to start thinking about what you are reading to totally understand.
Even now I'm still not too sure I get it 100%!

The ending suggests that a sequel could well be written. I'd like to see where she takes the characters if this does indeed happen.

I love this author, I'm constantly surprised by her ability to write different genres equally well. 

 
 
Review by Georgiann Henelly
 
Lost Shadows is the story of Adam who lost his memory and his parents in a car accident. His Psychiatrist is trying to help him recall his memories. At the orphanage where he was sent to live after the accident he makes some friends, they each have problems of there own. As the book progresses we learn more about them, and how they are connected to Adam. But at the end of the book it all ties together. A fast paced read. I look forward to reading more books by Julie Elizabeth Powell
 
 
 
Review by lady g
 
Lost Shadows is the story of Adam who lost his memory and his parents in a car accident. His Psychiatrist is trying to help him recall his memories. At the orphanage where he was sent to live after the accident he makes some friends, they each have problems of there own. As the book progresses we learn more about them, and how they are connected to Adam. But at the end of the book it all ties together. A fast paced read. I look forward to reading more books by Julie Elizabeth Powell  
 
Review by Maria Savva
 
This is an intriguing story. It starts off as a psychological thriller, almost. We are introduced to various characters, all of whom seem to be suffering a similar problem, a loss of memory brought about by different things. This book explores the mind and the way reality and fantasy are closely connected. The book becomes a fantasy story about half way through. I say 'becomes', because it's almost a transformation, much like the characters experience in their own lives towards the end of the novel. It's a very cleverly drafted work of fiction, many different characters linked by something yet all very different. I wasn't sure whether it was going to be a science fiction novel, or a fantasy story when the mood of the book changed from psychological thriller to something else, where all the characters were in danger. It kept me guessing right to the end. I am already a fan of Julie Elizabeth Powell's work, and this book fits right in with her earlier fantasy novels. She has a talent for creating new worlds within her books and new ways of looking at the world. I really enjoyed the story, and wanted to find out what would happen to all the characters. The ending made me wonder whether there would be a sequel or even a series. It is definitely the kind of book that could become a series.
 
 
Review by Gregory S Lamb
 
 
"Experimental Literature" has always been a curiosity for me. I'm amazed and intrigued by how insightful people can be when their point of view is shaped by observation and experience. Mix in a bit of imagination and you have the makings of Julie Elizabeth Powell's novel, which is a treatise of the human mind and the mystery of memory.

Lost Shadows, written from a third person omniscient point of view is heavy on narrative and sparse on dialogue, but for good reason. Powell does an exceptional job of framing each of her characters within the context of the traumatic experiences in their lives that separated them from what society deemed normal.

Powell wrote this story with a setting based on a place called "Longfields," an orphanage for the disturbed as well as a community house where the employees and residents alike have a special brand of baggage that even they are unaware of until the culminating point near the end of the story.

This author knows people and gives each of her characters unique voice. The reader will hunger and plow through the narrative so important to this story because the dialogue is so absolutely worth waiting for. The characters seem normal enough as each of them are introduced, but soon the reader is aware of the dark nature of their past experiences repressed in an elusive memory that is inaccessible to them.

The story may at first seems disjointed, but then when you get sucked in, and you will, the logic and flow of the narrative begins to feel like flashes of thoughts that all humans experience. Adam, the young protagonist is a likable character who you will be rooting for throughout the story. Unfortunately life is not a fairy tale for all the characters in Lost Shadows. The following quote from the story: "There were always reasons for everything, you just needed to look into the mystery of it," sums up what happens to them at the satisfying climax and conclusion.

If you are at all curious about the way ordinary people think and the dark secrets that are close hold and invisible to society, then you'll enjoy Lost Shadows. The quality of the writing and the portrayal of the ordinary turned into the unusual will make you want to read other books by this remarkable author.
 
Review by A E Thomas
 
 "Lost Shadows" is the latest novel by Julie Elizabeth Powell and, I think, is the most intriguing I have read. Early in the novel we are introduced to a number of characters - all very different, but all with problems concerning memory. Each character is well developed by the author and interaction between them is interesting, although it is deliberately not clear what connection some have with each other in the early stages of the novel. This first part of "Lost Shadows" explores the way that some of our most painful memories can be deeply buried.

This is an interesting novel, in that it begins more in psychological thriller mode and then develops into fantasy. At first, I have to admit, I found this a little disconcerting. I had been completely drawn into the first part of the story and the change left me slightly disappointed at first. However, it didn't take long for me to be involved again with the characters, their memories and how they were linked. In this second half of the novel, the importance of memory to the future of humankind is a key feature.

I felt that the ending lends itself to a sequel - I would love to read more about the characters, especially Adam. Sequel or not, "Lost Shadows" is a novel which I intend to read again.
 
 
 
 
 Video Book Trailer for Dirty Business
 
 
 
 
Review by BookAddict
 
This is a whodunit kind of mystery that will keep you guessing until the end. There is also a bit of a love story, along with enough suspense to keep you on edge.

The author does an excellent job of keeping us in the dark as to the killer's identity. Just when the answer seems obvious, we're taken in a whole new direction.

I typically prefer novels with an obvious main character that I can relate to and sympathize with. Here the story belongs to everyone, and there are many different points of view throughout. The blend works perfectly, pulling us into the characters' world as if we're a part of it all ourselves.

Overall, a highly enjoyable story for all the armchair detectives out there.
 
 
Review by Angela Thomas
 
Julie Elizabeth Powell has to be one of the most adventurous authors that I have come across! She continually pushes past her previous boundaries to produce work in a different genre - so far, I've read fantasy, children/young adult fiction, horror, memoir, and now, a gritty murder mystery.

"Dirty Business" tells the story of greed, deceit and murder in the online magazine business. Gavin Bloom and Alex Moore are on the verge of improving their business, using a computer programme developed by Gavin, when a murder takes place that shocks them completely. No one appears to be above suspicion and Inspector Maplin, the office in charge of investigations, has a difficult task ahead of him.

The author also sets another problem for us to solve. Who, exactly, is the woman chained up in a cellar? Why is she there at all? Is her abduction connected with all that is happening with the magazine?

The mixture of believable characters, a plot which twists and turns, and a fast pace made this an enjoyable read for me.
 
 
Review by Brian W Fisher
 
Julie is not only a wordsmith but a real good story teller. I didn't know what to expect from looking at the book's cover and I doubt anyone would.

From page one her created characters become people and the plot begins...then quickens...then races to its inevitable conclusion...the very last sentence!

A word of warning to all readers - if you are the sort that glances at the last page for 'clues' - then DON'T!

Dirty Business is a cracking read, full of twists and turns and is a real 'page turner'.
 
 
Review by Sheri Wilkinson
 
I love a great murder mystery and Dirty Business did not disappoint me. A great story line, with characters I liked, some I did not. A fast paced who-done-it with twists and turns that kept me up late wanting to read more. I truly enjoyed from the first page until the last!
 

 *

Heaven

A Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy 

 

 

Review by Maria Savva

 I always enjoy Julie Elizabeth Powell's novels and stories, so when I saw she had a new one out I was keen to read it. It's a quick read and definitely one that will make you think. I am always surprised by this writer's imagination; she writes in many different genres and her stories are never predictable. In this story we follow the last person left on Earth after some kind of disaster seems to have devastated the planet. Is she the last person left?

The character also has some strange powers that are revealed as the story unfolds. It kept me interested and I thought the ending was very well done and thought provoking.

I'd definitely recommend this unique fantasy story.

 

Review by Sheri Wilkinson

A fascinating story about the last person on earth. Told in first person form, we really get the feel of what it (might be) like after the apocalypse. Although it is a short story, there is a lot of emotions flowing within the pages of this fascinating fantasy. From the first page up until the fabulous ending I was engrossed, and captivated. I also really like the cover, it is beautiful and fits perfect with the story.

 

 *

Weird: A Henry Ian Darling Oddity: Missive One

 

 

Review by Maria Savva

 First in a series, in this 'weird' story, we're introduced to Henry Darling and follow him on his first adventure. I really enjoyed this story. It kept me hooked from the start and it's wonderfully imaginative. Henry has been through an experience that changed him and now he collects oddities. His wife and his unlikely friend Brett are his companions and helpers. This is a truly unique story from a talented writer. I have enjoyed all of Julie Elizabeth Powell's books and was eager to read this one. The characters are quirky and it's a fast-paced and exciting read. If you haven't read any of this author's work, 'Weird' would be a great place to start. I can't wait for the next story in the series!

 

Review by Sheri Wilkinson

 Henry Ian Darling is a collector of oddities, those that bring him closer to an enigma, one he hopes will be a great thing. This is also about Henry's "special" wife Clara and best friend Brett. (Read the book to find out what makes them special).

A fast paced short story. I loved the unique, original writing, macabre and bizarre actions, and "anything is possible" story line. Henry is weird, yet he is so likable.

I loved the narrative aspect, I won't say much more because I don't do spoilers. But I highly recommend Weird: A Henry Ian Darling Oddity Missive One you won't be disappointed, I know I was not. A true five star read!

 

 *

Three Into One

 

Review by Sheri Wilkinson

A short story about three young people, Thomas, Zak and Kris. Each are "different" in their own unique way, and one is hiding a secret. But one thing they all have in common is they just want to fit in.

A great short story. I could easily relate to each of the characters,Julie Elizabeth Powell has a way with her words that pulls you deep into the psyche of her characters.

I wish I could write more, but I don't do spoilers, and this is a short story. My parting words; I highly recommend Three Into One to all. You won't be disappointed!

 

Review by Maria Savva

I loved the idea behind this story. The message seems to be that we need to look deeper rather than just judging people because of differences. I am already a big fan of this author's work, having read most of her books. What she always delivers are imaginative stories, stories that make you think.

In this short story we meet Thomas, Zac, and Kris. Thomas and Kris are different and most of their lives they've been called freaks. Zac has a secret that he has to reveal to them. It's a fascinating idea. I won't give too much away about the storyline, I'll just say that it's a fantasy tale with a wonderful message. This author is a deep thinker and her stories are all the better for it.

I always know that when I pick up a Julie Elizabeth Powell book I will be entertained and I'll enjoy it.

A quick and satisfying read. 

 

*

 

 The Star Realm

  (First adventure in the Avalon Trilogy)

 

    
 

 

 

Review by: Sheri Wilkinson

This is the first in the Avalon Trilogy, Readers were introduced to the mystical, magical world of Avalon in the book Gone.The Star Realm, an epic adventurous fantasy introduces us to five amazing children Anne, Ben, Billy, Chrissie and Dave. They are chose by the Keeper of Avalon (Ezrin) to save The Star Realm.

A dark force is out to stop them, while the children are on the quest to find the seven elements and to save a captured princess. Time is running out for them, but the will not quit, these brave children are on a mission to succeed and nothing will stop them. They must face many dangers and encounter bizarre and wonderous creatures.

I found the characters lovable, the adventure amazing, frightening and fun. I recommend to both Young , Young Adult and Adults with an open mind and adventurous heart.

I look forward to the next book in the series Invasion. Once again Julie Elizabeth Powell Has taken me out of this world and brought me to an amazing place full of enchantment and wonder.

  

Review by: William Young, Author

A very generous preview indeed giving you a wonderful insight into a magical tale, yet leaving you wanting to read the rest. A must buy when I have the money along with Gone by this talented author.
 

Review by: Andra R. Leggett, Author

This is a fascinating story that pulls you in immediately. The switch between worlds and realities is smoothly done. I enjoyed reading this and was left wanting more. It promises to be a story that will linger in the mind long after its completion!
 

Review by: Edward Nickson, Author

This is a very interesting story, one with a theme that appears to stimulate imagination. It invites the reader to want to know more.

Review by: Maria Savva, Author

The first adventure in the Avalon trilogy, and Julie Elizabeth Powell has written yet another fantastic book. She is definitely a writer to look out for. Watch out J.K. Rowling!

This book is written for pre-teens, but it's appeal will be much wider. Adults who like Harry Potter or any similar fantasy stories will love this.

A fantasy novel and an epic adventure. Anyone who has already read 'Gone' by Julie Elizabeth Powell will be familiar with the strange but wonderful world of Avalon, which is a place where people go when the die. In this book we meet Davie, Anne, Ben, Billy and Chrissie, all aged between 10 and 12. The five children are chosen by Ezrin, The Time Keeper of Avalon to be the saviours of the Star Realm which is in danger from a dark and frightening force. Will the children find the seven elements and save the Princess who has been captured? Will they have enough time?

Follow the five children on their quest as they meet strange creatures, face grave danger and enjoy wonderful magic in the Star Realm.

It's an enchanting, captivating read which also contains important messages about the way we treat the world and the consequences of our actions.

Review by: Jean Carver, Author

This book is extremely well written with believable characters. A fine mixture of fantasy, magic and human interaction. I very much enjoyed the characters Julie created and each one had their own strengths and weaknesses. Although they were five different personalities at the beginning, they became a team with the strengths to overcome the obstacles they encountered in The Star Realm.

Review by: T Isilwath, Author

Julie spins a fascinating tale of magic and adventure in this engaging and entertaining story.

I recommend it for anyone who loves fantasy and other realms. :)

Review by: Christopher Sexton

From first glance of this books cover your mind begins to race as it should.

Julie sends readers into a world imagination, and fantasy creating a world that is full of jaw dropping wonders. 

 The Avalon Trilogy

 Reviewed by Kim Anisi for Readers' Favorite

In The Avalon Trilogy by Julie Elizabeth Powell, the reader begins the journey by following kids Davie, Ben, Anne, Chrissie, and Billy through a fantastic journey in a different world called Avalon - one of many different worlds. The time keeper turns up in the life of five kids and then asks the friends to wear magical rings during the night, which would then take them to the magical world of Avalon where their help was needed. After some discussions, the kids decide that they should give it a try and end up in the adventure of their life. Or rather: an epic adventure that consists of many, many little adventures. Each child will have to overcome some challenges, some alone, some with their friends. And for some, they will need supernatural help.

The stories have a sort of Narnia feel to them and the characters are all unique and well written. It would not be too hard to recognize the various characters even if their names were not mentioned. Each child has his or her own strengths and weaknesses and I am sure that all young readers will be able to identify with one of the main characters. Additional characters like the time keeper, mysterious and scary Kimeranet, Daisy, and others turn the book into a well rounded story and it's good that it's over 1000 pages long - because you enjoy travelling with the characters and living through their adventures with them.

As the book is aimed at a younger audience, there are truly no bad surprises but the stories are still exciting. Young readers will not only be entertained but will also be able to take one or the other lesson about life and challenges in life with them once they finish reading. Even as an adult, I enjoyed the book(s) very much and would gladly recommend them to younger readers because books like this will get kids interested in reading - and that is a very good thing!

 *

Knowing Jack

 

 

 

 

Review by Nate329 (aged 12)

 The book is about a kid named Jack who is going to the mountains on a vacation with his family. But Jack is a little worried about going; he has been having a dream about a man with an ax standing at a doorway before getting grabbed by him!  But Jack never sleeps on after that; he always wakes up, so he doesn't know were he is or what happened.  Jack just leaves it behind and tries not to think about it on the ride up to the mountains, until he starts to get a funny feeling in his stomach.  He doesn't know what it means, but when an angry woman and two men show up at a super market, he finds out.  And he'll wish he never had found out.   

Opinion: 

I love Knowing Jack so much, and I was hooked right away in the first chapter.  I thought that this book was written perfectly. This is a great  adventure book to read for fun.  But this book has some really big words in it, so if you're going to read it, I suggest that you are at least 13-15 years old.  It also had some violence in it, so be aware.  If I had the chance to go into the world of Jack I would definitely go. 

 

Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite

Knowing Jack by Julie Elizabeth Powell is an intriguing, suspense-filled story for children. Jack has a premonition that something bad is going to happen on their planned trip to the Lake District. He does not know how to dissuade his parents from taking that trip. He feels something lurking in the snow-covered woods. He might be wrong or maybe he does not want to spend time with his cousin Rosie, which is making him feel wary.

The character of Jack has been portrayed very well. The integrity of his character and his courageous behavior forms the main theme of the story. The story is action-packed with a lot of suspense and intrigue which makes it a very thrilling read. Jack's sixth sense is the element which the author has developed very well. That makes the story very exciting for children and gives the story an adventurous feel. The development of the story is done well and it is interesting to watch two cousins, who dislike each other, slowly become friends during the course of their stay in Lake District.

The book can be read by adults because it has suspense, intrigue, humor and drama. The story flows very well. The descriptions are excellent and add to the visual imagery of the story in a convincing manner. The characters also aid in making this book entertaining for readers.

 

Review by BookAddict

 Jack is about to embark on an adventure he wouldn't have imagined in his wildest dreams - or nightmares. This book is nonstop action, sprinkled with suspense, humor, and drama.

I really loved Jack. His character is well developed and I easily connected with him. I even grew to love his pesky little cousin! The author captures the winter scenes so well that I was sitting here with chills on an 80 degree day. This is one of those stories that puts you right alongside the characters and pulls you along for the ride.

While Knowing Jack is geared toward preteen/young teen readers, the story definitely holds appeal to adult audiences. It's the kind of book parents can read with their kids, children can read alone, or adults can enjoy on their own.

 

Review by Rosie Morgan

 

In 'Knowing Jack' Julie Powell has created a magical world.
The setting is the Lake District in the UK; an exquisite location which almost becomes a character in itself.


In any good story the reader has to care about the characters, I did. I loved the interaction between Jack and his cousin and their developing relationship.


And I was fascinated by Jack's gift.


I'm not going to add more - I wouldn't want to spoil anyone else's enjoyment.


Suffice it to say that this is one story that you won't be able to leave until you know how it ends - and even then you'll be surprised

 

Review by Mallory Anne-Marie Haws

"Knowing Jack" is a spiffy, fast-moving thriller with a middle-grade protagonist, Jack, who visits the wilds of England's Lake Country in the winter with his parents and his aunt, uncle, and spoiled cousin Rosie. Jack is an unusual individual: he senses clairvoyantly, but he doesn't so much see visions (except in dreams) as he "feels" empathically, and gets terrible nausea and headaches when danger is imminent. He has one such attack in the village below the mountain, and shouts just in time to prevent a collision of his family's vehicle with an angry driver; but that same angry man and his wife will return to trouble Jack, and his family, diligently. The two families have scarcely settled in the mountain hideaway when the van driver runs Jack's father's car off the road, knocking his father, Frank, unconscious, and sending Jack and Rosie out into the snowy wilderness to escape and locate help.

Julie Elizabeth Powell has drawn a fine figure in young Jack, a boy with real character, integrity, and bravery, even in the face of extreme danger. She also has a gift for delineating character evolution, and although I won't give anything away, that become a major portion of the story. The pacing is non-stop thriller. I highly recommend it, for middle-grade and older (including us adults). 

 

Review by Samantha

This book was gifted to me by the author in exchange for an honest and fair review.

Jack has a gift. He senses danger in a way most people wish they could. He is trying to avoid going on a family holiday due to his gift warning him it was not going to go well.

This follows Jack and Rosie's adventure in the wild mountains, what they must do to stay alive.

An enjoyable read.

 

Review by Susanna Mahoney

This was a delight to read, Knowing Jack and his adventures with his little cousin in the woods running from the bad people. His insight and supernatural gift was entertaining. The conflicts and twists were suspenseful. The O's and Ah's kept the story flowing. It was refreshing and the adventure with the chills and hot chocolate, in all it was a cozy read to relax with after shovelling snow. Knowing Jack title fits. Jack was a very insightful and a gifted young man who experienced strange sensations of physical ailments and other symptoms when trouble was lurking around the corner. The family decided to go on a brief vacation and the adventures start.

The plot open with an incidental or accident van almost swiping their travelling car, and he senses the accident before it occurs and was able to alert his dad not to pull out. Later it was intentional, and Jack sensed high alert of danger and has the responsibility of his little cousin, who he does not like. But as they escape and stay ahead of the bad guys, they cooperate together to survive in the frozen forest, seeking assistance. Together they met many challenges and overcame each one.

There is a touching hint of the supernatural in this story and that was a definite plus to wrap up this story. This tale was written with such intensity and suspense of entertainment all in one little book. Once again this author has the uncanny ability to touch a reader's core and sent chills and pleasure to their brain cells. Hot chocolate and this book was a delightful reprieve from Mr. Snow and shovelling, and this reader highly recommend it as well as her other books available at Amazon.com and Lulu.com

 

Review by lady g

Jack is very reluctant to go on a family vacation trip to a cabin in the Lake District. He has a feeling he can't seem to fight that something bad is going to happen there plus his obnoxious cousin Rosie is coming along. He tries to tell his parents but they just shrug it off. Is there any merit to his feelings? Soon Rosie and Jack will find out exactly what is in the woods, and find what they fear might just be real. A fantastic read for everyone. Full of suspense and fast paced.I look forward to reading more books by Julie Elizabeth Powell.  

Review by Sandra Yuen MacKay

Knowing Jack is an exciting adventure book for preteens but also entertaining for adults. Twelve-year-old Jack has a sixth sense about the dangers surrounding a family vacation to spend Christmas in a cabin in the woods. On top of that, he is unhappy to spend time with his complaining cousin Rosie. When Jack's father is injured, the two children find themselves in a precarious situation. The action-packed scenes move at a fast pace and the conflict runs high as Jack and Rosie fend for themselves, ultimately fighting for their lives.

Because of Powell's well-told, vivid, engaging scenes, I felt the emotions of the characters and was immersed in the action.

Thematically, this is a story of survival, bravery, and determination as Jack risks his life for others.


Review by: Sheri Wilkinson

Knowing Jack (Julie Elizabeth Powell)
YA Thriller/Suspense

12 year old Jack is reluctant to go on a family trip to the cabin in the Lake District. He is also not thrilled with his obnoxious cousin Rosie coming along. He just can't fight the feeling that something bad is about to happen. He does voice his opinions to his parents who shrug him off as being too dramatic.

Is there merit to his feelings, is he really just over reacting? Soon Jack and Rosie find out exactly what is in those woods, and find those fears of his just might be real.

Fantastic thriller, for readers of all ages. Fast paced, full of tension and suspense. A perfect read! 

 

Review by: William Young, Author 

Another great story from a very talented writer, one which explores those dreams that we've all had that gives us a glimpse of the future but leaving so much unrevealed. 

This was a dark and twisting read as you followed Jack and his cousin through he snowy landscape of the English Lake District. Jack has a talent for knowing things that he shouldn't like where a neighbors missing keys can be found. Sadly for him it doesn't work as well when it comes to himself. Instead he only has a vague idea that something is going to happen followed by a blinding headache. Not much good when you're running for your life. The only thing that I felt a little disappointed about was how quickly this tale came to an end. After building you up for this great end it flashed past leaving me wishing for more drama. Still this was a great story with much to keep your eyes glued to the page.  

Review by: Darren G Burton, Author

Julie Powell is no doubt a very talented writer, with a gift for unique and intriguing story concepts. From the very first few pages the reader finds themselves immersed in the story and the fictional world the author has cleverly managed to create.
 
This review can be seen on www.goodreads.com 
 
 
Review by: Jean Carver, Author
 
This is an entertaining and well plotted story that will keep the reader enthralled from the first page to the last. I especially liked the relationship that developed between the two children. I couldn't put it down until I had finished it.

Although it will be an excellent book for teens and pre-teens, I think that most adults will enjoy it as well.
 
 
Review by: Maria Savva, Author
 
A great adventure story for pre-teens. Twelve year-old Jack has a bad feeling about his parents' planned trip to the Lake District. It is just before Christmas and the holiday location is plagued with snow storms. When they arrive at the Lake District, Jack notices a strange man and his wife in a white van; they have a small girl with them whose face appears haunted. Jack feels that something is not right. The man notices that Jack is staring at him and does not take kindly to the attention. The white van almost hits the car that his dad is driving and from that point Jack is convinced the man is trying to kill them. The next encounter with the strange, angry man ends in disaster and Jack and his cousin Rosie are then caught up in a desperate race to escape from the man and also to save Jack's father's life.
 
The story will appeal to children as an adventure, as they follow Jack and Rosie's quest for survival.
 
It keeps you interested with the twists and turns in the storyline, so that you are never quite sure what will happen next, and the dramatic climax towards the end of the book is intensely enthralling. Jack learns a lot about his cousin Rosie and a lot about himself by the end of the book. The characters are all well developed and there is a great deal of educational content for children. I would highly recommend this book by a very promising new writer.
 
 
Review by: LK Gardner-Griffie, Author
 
Knowing Jack is a book written by the Lulu Book Review's roving reviewer, Julie Elizabeth Powell. I first encountered Julie on the Lulu forum boards and was struck by her enthusiasm and encouragement for other authors work. In addition to this her dedication to writing is evident, and I felt like I had encountered a kindred spirit from across the pond. I was very happy to have been instrumental in bringing Julie onboard at the Lulu Book Review, because she brings an added dimension to the team, allowing us to provide reviews of Lulu authors work who have not necessarily requested a review. My only delay in reviewing Julie's work has been my own preoccupation with completing the sequel to Misfit McCabe, something I know that Julie understands.

We've all had those feelings. You know the ones I'm talking about. Where you feel like something bad is going to happen, but don't know what or when. It's just that niggling feeling at the back of your mind that can color how you approach your day. Twelve year old Jack Kane understands exactly what I'm talking about. All of his life, Jack has been plagued by knowingknow something without any idea as to why he does. Things like the time Mrs. Hodges couldn't find her keys in her purse, and Jack told her she'd find them on the front doorstep. Or when Mr. Dixon missed the bus, Jack told him not to worry, that his daughter would be there soon and could give him a ride. Sometimes things come in dream fashion, that he doesn't always understand. Like the dream that he'd been having for weeks about a hefty figure wielding an axe wearing a big flapping coat. He just knew that the dream gave him a bad feeling.

As Knowing Jack opens, Jack and his folks are getting ready to take a vacation trip to a cabin in the Lake District. Well, vacation for some. Jack's dad, Frank, has to do a little work, taking some pictures and then doing a write up. The closer it gets to time to leave, the worse Jack feels. His stomach is churning and his head feels like it's in a vise and someone is turning the screw. He tried to get the family to back out of the trip, but to no avail. In addition to the great feeling of dread that something bad was going to happen, Jack was not looking forward to the trip for another reason. Auntie June, Uncle Alan, and their ten year old daughter, Rosie would be there as well. Rosie was spoiled, the pampered, pink princess, and she always did as much as she could to give Jack grief.

On the way to the cabin, they had to stop to pick up the keys to the cabin at the Post Office. While they were stopped, a couple in a dirty white van came into the Post Office as well, and Jack's feelings went into overdrive, complete with heart palpitations and sweat trickling down his back. As his father put the car into reverse to back out of the parking space and continue the trip to the cabin, Jack screamed for him to stop. While his parents were still recovering from Jack's outburst, the van came roaring past and barely missed hitting the back end of Jack's car.
 
Things settled down for Jack for the next little bit while they got settled into the cabin, and Rosie, the pain-in-the-side cousin, had not yet arrived. The next day, after helping to bring in all of the luggage brought by his aunt, uncle, and cousin, Jack went into the kitchen and found Rosie tearing up a mound of paper napkins and eating a chocolate bar which she had sneaked out of one of the boxes. The following passage describes the relationship between Jack and the spoiled Rosie in a nutshell.

"You'd better be nice to me tomorrow, or you'll be in trouble."
"Oh yeah?"
"Yes...,Mummy says you're getting too big for your boots."
"And if you keep eating chocolate, you'll not fit into yours!"
Rosie stuck out her chocolate-coated tongue before quickly putting it away and wiping her mouth when her mother asked, pointing to the shredded paper mountain, "What's going on here? Who's made all this mess?"
"It's Jack, he's been rummaging around in all the cupboards," said Rosie, sliding from the stool and racing to her bedroom.
"Well, you can just tidy it right this minute...and have you been in these boxes too?" demanded Auntie June, lifting exhibit one onto the worktop.
"No," said Jack glaring behind her back at Rosie who stood sneering and waving before disappearing behind her bedroom door.
"Well, clear this mess before you go!"
Jack scooped the litter and dumped it straight into the bin, wishing that whatever was niggling at him would involve something to do with Rosie being taken by aliens.


The next day, Jack and Rosie went with Jack's dad while he took his pictures, and Uncle Alan went for a climb. While they were waiting for Uncle Alan to return, Jack's pricklies were working overtime and he knew that they needed to move - NOW! Unfortunately, the car wouldn't start. The white van appeared and was heading straight toward them. Jack's dad continued to try and start the car and at long last the car lurched forward. Too late. The van smashed into the side of the car. Then it pulled back and prepared to ram them again, but changed course and instead of ramming them, decided to push them off the cliff. After the car came to a halt, Jack and Rosie, though shaken, were able to get out of the upside-down car. Jack's dad was not so fortunate. He had been knocked out and his head was bleeding, but at least he was breathing for now.

This begins the adventure of a lifetime for Jack and Rosie as they struggle together to get some help for Jack's dad, and at the same time trying to stay out of sight of a lunatic who is searching for them to finish them off. They persevere together through many twists, turns, and obstacles to an exciting conclusion.
 
Julie Elizabeth Powell does an admirable job of hooking the reader from the get-go with this story. Her portrayal of both Jack and Rosie are priceless, sibling rivalry at it's best. Rosie quickly became my favorite character because while she is an absolute pain, pampered and spoiled, the longing to be accepted by Jack shines through. Ms. Powell handles the shifting relationship between Jack and Rosie with a natural, yet subtle progression as they are forced to rely on one another. Knowing Jack is a quick paced read, eminently suited for the target age group of young adult. I plan on passing this one along to my niece and nephew who are both in that age group, as I know they will also enjoy the exciting tale that Ms. Powell spins. Exciting, a few tugs at the heart-strings, interspersed with humor that can make you laugh out loud - who could ask for more?

I look forward to reading more by Julie Elizabeth Powell and she has several offerings to choose from. Slings and Arrows, which is true life account of the loss of her daughter; Gone, a fictionalized account inspired by Slings and Arrows; and The Star Realm, the first book in the Avalon trilogy fantasy series.

Originally reviewed for the Lulu Book Review by LK Gardner-Griffie, Author of YA novel, Misfit McCabe
 
 
 
Review by Nikki Clark
 
Although this is not a book I would have chosen for myself, I must say that it held my attention from beginning to end. I almost instantly felt like I was there watching the characters going through the situation put before them.

Jack and his cousin Rosie are forced to fend for themselves in the woods after they are run off the road by a couple of psychos. Jack keeps leading Rosie around the woods trying to find the cabin they were staying at while she whines about the cold and being tired or hungry. About half way through their trek trough the woods they come upon the dog Mystery. Mystery's owner died and he ran away seeking comfort in the woods. As soon as Jack, Rosie, and Mystery get back to the cabin, they find that the people who ran them off the road are staying there! Sneaking around they find that they are holding a girl they kidnapped in one of the rooms. After a fight between Jack and the man who seems to be in charge, they get saved and return to their parents.

There is a lot packed into this small book, but it will hold the attention of the reader. Travel through the cold woods with Jack and Rosie and watch how things change between the cousins who once hated each other. Plus, there is a secret about Jack that I won't tell yo
u ;) Go read Knowing Jack to find out what exactly is Jack's secret.
 
 
*
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Review by: Yvonne Crowe
 
 Julie Elizabeth Powell, courageously and honestly bares her soul so the reader can feel the anguish she feels at her daughter’s harrowing journey through life. This would not have been an easy thing to do and I applaud her courage and the love she had, and still has, for her daughter Samantha who was born with a heart defect and after major heart surgery began a life of hell on earth.

I can understand when Julie is torn between her daughter remaining alive in such a painful existence as our society demands; or assigning her to the peace of death, which surely the child herself must have yearned for even in her vegetative state. To have seen Samantha, in the first two years of her life, discovering the wonders of life, only to be terminated by one of life’s perverse turns of fate must have been beyond torment.

All this borne together with the travails of life, and Julie and her husband certainly experienced more than their fair share of these. Her husband is unemployed, they live in a dangerous crime riddled area, her parents leave to live in Cyprus and then Florida. Doggedly they pressed on until Richard finally found work, which improved their financial status and at least restored in some measure, their sense of dignity.

But there was to be no dignity for their daughter Samantha. Far from it. Thank God for the Home they did find for her where she was loved and looked after by caring staff.

It would have been so easy under these circumstances to fall into the depths of despair and depression and remain there, yet Julie pushed out, educated herself to University level and launched her dream of teaching and helping others in their writing endeavours.

I feel her anguish, as my second son came dangerously close to the same fate as Samantha’s, but we were spared.

I could not put the book down until I finished it. Julie is a talented writer, who has told this heart wrenching story with such simplicity of style that the reader is saved from being dragged down into a morbid tale of tragedy. I found it so magical that my next step will be to buy her fantasy novel GONE, which evolved from this journey she has been on.
 
 
Review by Nicole
 
 Very heart wrenching. I loved this story even though it was sad.

Julie Elizabeth Powell opens herself up to her readers as she tells the story of her daughter Samantha. The struggles that she has just in order to survive day to day. The
pain that she was put through as her body changed and basically betrayed itself. The whole family was put through a constant state of worry after Samantha's heart stopped the first time.

This is one of those books that just leaves you at a loss for words. There are no words I could say to put this book to justice
 
 
Review by: Samantha
 
This novel was gifted to me by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

A heartbreaking true story from a mother who has lost her child. Her body remains, but her spirit has left. The day to day struggles and emotions of not wanting to let go, but not wanting her to suffer any more. The guilt and the grief.

Thank you Julie for sharing your story with the world. Truly inspiring.
 
Review by Rose
 
 While non-fiction isn't generally a genre I read very often, I do enjoy it from time to time. The heaviness of reality can be good for a person who's used to escaping into fiction and fantasy. This novella certainly gave me a good taste of reality, and for a moment, allowed me to connect to another person in a very special way.

Every mother who's lost a child would be able to relate to this story somehow. Anyone who hasn't lost a child, won't be able to relate, but can sympathize easily. Written in a way that draws the reader into every emotion and thought of this experience, this author creates a true look into a mother's pain. Sharing her experience through fear, anger, confusion, and the finality of death, she has created a story that any mother who's experienced that loss can find comfort in.

This is certainly a hard book to read, and made my heart go out to this author. Reading about her experiences and her life through this situation was heart-wrenching, but something that I'm glad I read. I would recommend reading this book to anyone who's going or gone through a similar situation, and to anyone who's read or planning on reading the author's book Gone.

*I was given an e:book copy of this book, from the author, to read in exchange for an honest review.
 
 
Review by Fiona Wilson
 

I have previously read and reviewed some of this authors stories. Following on from those reviews I started to chat to the author via Facebook, and I found out a bit more about her. After one of these chats I downloaded this book, part of a double edition. I have held back from reading it for quite a while, due to the content I knew was in it. But I decided finally I owed it to the author to read this and give my thoughts.

Julie has 3 children. Other people may say she had 3 children, but in my mind that’s not right. Regardless what this book is about, this woman has 3 children.

This book is a true story, told by the author herself, about many years in her life, but is about just one particular event. Julie’s second daughter, Samantha, was born with several health problems, all related to her heart. At a very young age doctors operated, giving Samantha a much better outlook on life. This life continued as normal until she reached the age of 2.

These 2 short years had seen a lot of upheaval in this families life. They had faced unemployment, eviction, had to live in a mobile home during extremely cold winters. Yet they had made it, with everything life threw at them, as a family.

One fateful day near the end of November 1984 all that changed, in a tragic way. The author describes it as the day Samantha died for the first time.

Samantha became ill suddenly, stopped breathing. She was brought back by the doctors, but suffered irreversible brain damage in the process.

What follows is heartbreaking to read. The author tells us, in detail, exactly how she felt following this event. She tells us how she accepted she couldn’t help her daughter when it was time to bring her home.

The honesty within the pages of this book is astonishing, and I take my hat off to the author for sharing this. What she has written is something which a lot of people will find extremely hard to accept. But all I will say is that, unless you have been in the same shoes, the author shouldn’t be judged for her decisions. Reading this book will show you exactly how hard the author’s decisions were, but they were the ones right for her at the time. She still struggles with her emotions now, and I hope by sharing her story she can accept some kind of closure.

For 17 years life continued the same for Samantha. Life moved on, however, for the rest of the family.The author gained educational qualifications, and also became a mum for the third time, to a son. She saw her eldest daughter marry. She battled with her decisions with regard to Samantha, but moved on with her life as much as she could.

Near the end of December 2001 Samantha died, finally, for the second time in her life.

This left her mum with one main thought – during those 17 long years, where was her daughter? Not physically, but mentally where had she gone? This led the author to write the second part of the double edition I bought, and she created Gone. I will read that part shortly.

Yes this is a difficult book to read, much as it must have been a hard one to write, but it is a story which had to be told. One of the most heartbreaking things within the pages of this book, for me at least, was that the author shares 2 photographs of Samantha, before the event which changed all their lives. I already had so much respect for this author due to her ability to write stories from different genres equally well. Reading this book has made that respect something more, something deeper, and I can honestly say that she is now on my list of favourite authors.

 
Review by Nikki Clark
 
Very heart wrenching. I loved this story even though it was sad.

Julie Elizabeth Powell opens herself up to her readers as she tells the story of her daughter Samantha. The struggles that she has just in order to survive day to day. The pain that she was put through as her body changed and basically betrayed itself. The whole family was put through a constant state of worry after Samantha's heart stopped the first time.

This is one of those books that just leaves you at a loss for words. There are no words I could say to put this book to justice. 
 
 
Review by Kristi
 
I was asked to read and review this story for I Heart Books. When I started the book I thought oh no I can not read this no matter how short the story. As I kept reading I felt as though if I were to stop reading simply because it is a difficult "emotional" read then I would be shaming the author as well as her daughter. This book is amazingly written, and I'm sure one of the hardest things to write. Would I recommend this book to everyone, no. Not because it isn't well written, I wouldn't because I don't think everyone could receive it properly nor understand it. I can relate personally from helping my mother care for a young boy named Lucas when she was an in home nurse, he was "gone" as well from shaken baby syndrome caused by his father. His mother wouldn't/couldn't let him go and then he grew and became a part of our lives as well until he was 12 and passed. Julie my sincere condolences for your daughter. My utmost respect for your courage in your journey and being able to write these words to help others as well.
 
 
Review by Adrian L Hawkes
 
Well I read the fantasy book Gone, personally I preferred this one. I like the way it was written, its a hard read, traumatic in fact, worse still when you know that what you are reading is not fiction. Having had a sister who's child died as I arrived at the hospital from a similar problem, and then not knowing what one should say or do is a difficult life / death experience. I guess knowing God would give me different answers, but still would leave me loads of questions as I guess it has the author. I think though its helpful to have books that share such experiences, so glad I read it
 
Review by Susanna Mahoney
 
This story was so powerful and wrought with many emotions and conflicting beliefs. It is about a mother who struggles through losing her two year old baby to brain damage that destroys the brain and deforms the vessel to create a non-response child. She is a shell of a human being, who is encased in a vessel that no longer functions without medical supervision. She is vaguely aware of her environment and stimulus does not awake her from her vegetative state. The mother's heart is breaking, with the many decisions that have to be made, the guilt, the anguish, and the emotional roller coaster of experiencing moments of sanity to insanity as each event the daughter may or may not live through a cardiac arrest or an infection tugged at this reader's heart.

This author has taken a plot of a person’s life's storm and wrote with an such intensity a sincere in-depth compassionate story that touches an individual soul to empathize with the mother and her personal battle of giving birth to a beautiful girl, losing her to an illness, struggle through her recuperating but not recuperating, and the incidents of life and death, and the agony of losing her for the final time at the young age of two and then again at 19.

This story is very emotional and poetic as the writer describes the journey through the darkness and expressing the mother’s deep pain trying to release the anguish and sharing to heal and help others who not fully acknowledging the tragedy of living in this distraught mother’s shoes, may find solace in reading this inspirational and heart wrenching story. The story explains the many decisions involved from placing her in a medical home that can take care of her needs on a 24 hours basis and the overwhelming guilt that a mother is in one way abandoning her child but at the same time is a warrior. Accepting this was in the best interest of the daughter. As well as the other responsibilities any parent of a disabled child may have to encounter to give their daughters or sons the rights they deserve, even against difficult circumstances.

This author has written a powerful description of the seven stages of grief, with her heart and thoughts to help others heal through their darkness and share an inspiring journey through the birth, life and losing a child at a young age of 19, this book could be utilized as a therapeutic method of helping others through the seven stages of grief and give hope to parents in similar situations.

This book should be read first and then the amazing one titled Gone, which is based on this powerful catalyst and is phenomenal with a supernatural plot of this mother pondering where her beautiful teenager daughter will go (… in the afterlife…), first when she suffer s through the first event at the young age of two, the in-between years and the concluding of her precious life at 19. It is a reality and fantasy tale that is magical and full of mystery that inspires one to open their minds to the possibility of "what if's".

This is an upcoming author that has amazing insight in herself and is able to express it in a unique writing style creative, honest and refreshing and invites readers to read her other fantasy stories, all in one way or another awakens a reader's mind, heart and soul to the wonders and the unknowns of life and the journey we all travel called life. And what destiny has in store for us and will we be as courageous as this non-fictional mother was in opening her world for all to learn from, strengthen by and entertained by.

Here is the author's Amazon Link and you can Google her name Julie Elizabeth Powell and see more remarkable works by this talented author and mother.

http://www.amazon.com/Slings-Arrows-O...

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Slings-Arrows...
http://www.lulu.com/shop/julie-elizab...

 
 
Review by Darcia Helle
 
Most of us can't imagine losing our child once. Julie lost her daughter twice. The first time Samantha died, she was brought back too late and lived in a vegetative state for nearly two decades. This is Julie's account of events that would have sent many of us to the brink of madness. She tells her story with unflinching honesty and a complete absence of self-pity. I found this incredibly moving, horrifying, sad, but also inspirational.

** This is the counterpart to Gone, Julie's fictional and wonderfully magical tale of Avalon, the place where people go when they're not quite dead, but also not quite alive. I highly recommend both. ** 

 
 
Review by Martha Rodriguez
 
This is the true-life account of Julie and her daughter Samantha, who was born with several heart conditions. As you journey through the book with Julie you will feel every emotion possible: a mother's joy at the birth of a beautiful child, her anxiety when she realizes how delicate her little girl's body is, and the horror of watching her daughter become confined to a bed; twisted and unable to communicate.

How does a parent cope with the death of a child? What if her child died not once, but twice? As Julie says in her introduction, "Many will not want to read on..." but I suggest that you do. A powerful book! 

 
 
Review by lovetoread
 
After having read Gone by this author I knew I needed to find out more about why it was written and Slings & Arrows says it all.

A true, sad yet hopeful account of what happened to the author's daughter - I can only respect how brave she was to write the story at all. Although emotional in every sense, there was no self-pity, only hope that after its writing, it may help others cope with the terrible things that can happen in life.

I would recommended this book, if only for others to see how well it was written, and that, yes, it might just help others to keep hope in their hearts despite the world that can come crashing down. 

 
 
Review by Maegan Morin
 
Book Title: Slings and Arrows
Author: Julie Elizabeth Powell
Published By: www.lulu.com
Recommended Age: 18+
Reviewed By: Maegan Morin
Blog Reviewed For: Great Minds Think Aloud
Rating: 5 Ravens

No parent should ever have to watch their child die. To feel the pain of losing a part of you. But what happens when the essence dies and the body lives on? How do you deal with the emotions and the thoughts? What do you do about the little person who was once so alive, so smart and so full of promise, who now stares back at you with lifeless empty eyes. Anyone can speculate and say what they would do in that situation but Julie Elizabeth Powell lived it with her daughter Samantha and this is their tale.

Slings and Arrows is the heart wrenching true account of author Julie Elizabeth Powell and her struggles with taking care of her daughter Samantha. The story is well written with detailed telling of her memories and feelings. It reminded me that we are all human and we all have our trials. I would recommend this to an 18+ reader because it is a very dark book with things that younger readers might not want to think about or understand. However at the end of every dark tunnel is a light called hope.

5 Ravens

 
 
Review by Angela Thomas
 
Slings & Arrows is a moving account of the loss of a child. Julie Elizabeth Powell’s second daughter, Samantha, was born with major heart defects and having survived surgery, the hope was that she would be able to recover fully and lead a normal life. However, this was not to be. Samantha’s heart stopped beating when she was in her third year, and although she was resuscitated, she suffered a huge amount of brain damage. She eventually died, for a second time, when she was seventeen.

This account is far from being a straightforward chronicle of events in the lives of Samantha and her family: it is an honest examination of the author’s emotions and feelings during all of her precious child’s life and after. The guilt that she had not given birth to a perfect child; the fear that she would inadvertently harm her delicate baby; the relief when the initial surgery seemed to work so well - these are all feelings that many mothers have felt to a greater or lesser degree. However, the terrible escalation of these emotions after Samantha’s first death and the introduction of so many others, comprise our worst nightmares.

This is a courageous and moving book. We can feel the author’s pain throughout and there is so much to admire in the way in which she has coped with living. I was glad to read that she found some solace in her family, in studying and that writing has provided such a lifeline for her. What could have been a purely bleak read prov
ed to be a thought provoking and, in, many ways, inspirational experience.
 
 
Review by: Sheri Wilkinson
 
This is the true story of the loss of a child.
 
Written from the heart, this tells of a mothers anguish and mixed emotions as she watches helplessly as her child suffers from an early age.
 
Helpless and lost in thought and actions...this is an emotional read, and it left me thinking what would I do in this situation.
 
I can honestly say I would have a lot of the same feelings as Julie had. As a mother I can relate to every word she wrote.
 
I highly recommend to all.
 
I look forward to reading: Gone
 
 
Review by: Jean Carver, Author
 
This book gives the reader a look directly into the heart of a mother that is devastated by the loss of a child. It is a loss of the essence of the child, what makes us individuals while leaving the physical shell. The grief never ends in this situation. It is eventually dealt with when the sudden death of a child or other loved one happens. We still grieve for years, but time does soften the pain until we can endure it. With the loss of her child, the author not only experiences the initial loss, but experiences it anew every day for seventeen years. This is a poignant, powerful account of this terrible experience no one should have to go through. The book is very well written and I would recommend it to everyone, it will allow you to see how fortunate you are.
 
Review by: Maria Savva, Author
 
I was asked to read this book by the author, as I enjoyed her novel 'Gone'. 'Slings and Arrows' is the factual account of what happened to the author's daughter and the true story which inspired the author's fantasy novel 'Gone'. Anyone who has read 'Gone' will be curious to read 'Slings and Arrows' which is a heartrending and honest account of the tragic events leading to the death of her child. It is written from the perspective of a mother who is still to come to terms with the events even after many years have passed, and the idea is that this book will help those who have suffered or are suffering similar losses, or as in the words of the author 'For all those who have lost and are lost still'. I am told by the author that this was a hard book to write and I would say that it is also a hard book to read, but I hope that it achieves the author's worthwhile goal of helping others come to terms with loss.
 
Review  by Brian W. Fisher
 
Having previously read 'Gone', a novel inspired by truth, I was anxious to read more of Ms Powell's work.

Slings & Arrows, I feel, should have been written before she embarked upon the myserious world of Avalon- the world she created where her 'lost' daughter could, at last be found.

Although only 80 pages in total, 'Slings & Arrows' sets the true scene in crystal, clear but devastatingly harrowing truth. The strengths, weaknesses and despair of the author are revealed in stark reality...she bares her soul...she opens her heart...she now lives with the one box she can never reopen.

Tears do not often drip down the cheeks of hardened old army veterans like myself but I'm not ashamed to admit they did so as I turned the pages.

No reader could possibly rebuff the feelings of sorrow or the neverending wish, that the author, will, one day,be reunited with, as she so beautifully puts it... her sweet smelling bundle of love - Samantha.

Please continue using your enviable talent Julie (if I may be so forward?) I'll always be a devotee!
 
 *
 
(Second adventure in the Avalon Trilogy)
 
 
 
 
 
Review by:  Brian W Fisher, author
 
This was some read! Packed with interesting characters. To envisage scenarios in this spectacular world, is quite an achievment.

Perhaps I could sum it up as follows?...

'If the heart has not influenced the brain, then an author's work will only be a shallow dish'

Great writing, Julie, give us more!

*

Review by: Jean Carver, author

Invasion is a wonderful continuation of The Star Realm that gives deeper insight into the characters. The courage of the children when confronted with impossible odds is balanced by the wit and realistic characterization. It is as if you know them as you enter their world and face dangers with them.


The character of Daisy is a delight, she is a stabilizing influence on our young heroes and heroines. She manages to balance her love for her grandson, Billy, with the ability to disagree with him when he is wrong.

There are many thrills and surprises in this second installment of the trilogy. While their mission is completed, the cliffhanger ending leaves the reader looking forward to the final episode.

I highly recommend this book if you enjoy fantasy novels.

 

  *

Review by: Maria Savva, author

 Julie Elizabeth Powell is an author with an imagination as vast as the ocean. This book is a truly amazing and exciting adventure.

The second book in the Avalon Trilogy, we follow the five children, Davie, Anne, Billy, Chrissie and Ben, in another treacherous and spellbinding quest across the dangerous world of Avalon.

This time, the have been sent by the Time Keeper to the Orb of Caprice to look for the Key of Light, to prevent an impending invasion of the earth by DarkStar and his evil followers. The children are joined by Daisy, Billy's Gran, who is reluctantly swept along to help them in their quest.


Julie Elizabeth Powell has created an adventure that will thrill children and adults alike. There are so many twists and turns and unexpected events, it keeps you on the edge of your seat. The children face some of the same foes as they met in The Star Realm, including the evil Pherson, who once again challenges them with his invisible and deadly might. They also meet new evil characters who are determined to stop them finding the Key of Light.

Will all of the friends survive this second journey? Will they find out what happened to Kimeranet? Will they find the Key of Light? Most importantly, will they do so in time to stop the invasion?  You will have to read this book to find out.


Highly recommended to all those who love an adventure story.

 

Review by Sheri Wilkinson

Anne, Ben, Billy, Chrissie & Davie are back in the second installment of the second book in the Avalon Trilogy. We are introduced to Billy's grandmother, Daisy. She accompanies the children on their next quest.

The Time Keeper has requested the help of the children to go to the Orb of Caprice. There they must find the Key of Light to try to prevent the invasion of earth by DarkStar and his evil minions.

We are brought to the mystical place of Avalon where wonders and dangers are at every turn, the children are in danger, but will not stop until they complete this mission.

Once again I was fascinated by Julie Elizabeth Powell, her imagination is brought to life in vivid detail, captivating, enchanting and fun.

I look forward to reading the last in the series Secrets Of The Ice.

I recommend to fantasy lovers of all ages.

 *

 

Secrets Of The Ice

(Last of the Avalon Trilogy)

 

Review by Maria Savva

I've never been disappointed with a Julie Elizabeth Powell book. She is one of the most versatile and creative authors I know.


In this final instalment of the Avalon Trilogy, Billy, Davie, Ben, Chrissie, Anne, and Billy's grandma, Daisy, are on a mission to find the 13 pieces of the Mystical Pyramid. They must recover the pieces before the evil Lokian finds them, to stop him setting DarkStar free. They face many obstacles, and danger, but get the feeling that someone might be helping them in their quest; or is someone following them to try to steal the pieces of the Mystical Pyramid? There are lots of twists and turns, and adventures along the way in this fantasy tale that will delight children and adults alike.


I think the author has done a magnificent job creating this epic story, and developing all the characters. It's no mean feat to be able to portray so many characters, and have realistic dialogue, and make it easy for the reader to follow the story. This is also a complex series; it blends magic, adventure, mystery, and fantasy.


I was surprised by the ending, and thought it was very well done.
It was nice to meet all the characters again in this book. I would highly recommend the series to lovers of fantasy fiction, or anyone who just wants to try something a bit different from the usual books on the market. This author's imagination knows no bounds. 

 

 

Review by Sheri Wilkinson

The last in the Avalon trilogy, Anne, Ben , Billy , Chrissie, Davie and grandma Daisy are back in the final epic of Avalon. They are on a quest to find the thirteenth pieces of the Mystical Pyramid. But time is against them, they must not let the DarkStar be released.

Along the way they encounter many, things are not as they appear, or so it seems. Some can be trusted, others cannot. They have to rely on their judgement for their own safety, and that of Avalon.


Soon they find there is a secret to be revealed, a shocking secret which comes with sacrifices. Sacrifices they must choose to take or walk away from. As the secrets are unraveling they realize what must be done.


A fantastic ending. I truly enjoyed the series, this review was difficult to write because there is so much I wanted to say, but I do not write reviews with "spoilers". And of course I do not want to give away any secrets.


I highly recommend to fantasy lovers, children, young adults and adults.I look forward to more work from the very talented :

Julie Elizabeth Powell

 

 

 A Murderer's Heart

 

 

 

Review by Fiona Wilson

Dr Anne Blake is a psychiatrist who believes that even the worst people in society can be cured - psychopaths, schizophrenics, those with multiple personality disorder. She wants to prove that these people have an illness which can be cured, to a certain extent. That they too have been victims in the past and should be helped, not persecuted more.

Dr Blake gets drawn in to a murder investigation as several people she has associated with are murdered.

What, or who, is the common link?

This story is told in such a way that I only guessed the 'punchline' just before the author wanted me to. I normally guess a lot sooner, but this was written so well that I didn't see it coming.

A great murder mystery story, well worth reading. I would love to read more stories of the same genre from this author as it is so well written.

 

 

Review by lady g

Anne Blake is a Psychiatrist who loves her job. She is dedicated to her work and believes everyone can be cured. But she finds she maybe wrong when she is notified she might be the link in a series of murders. This story is fast paced and well constructed. I found it to be an entertaining compelling read. Full of suspense and intrigue. Now my hardest choice is which of her books to read next.  

 

Review by Susanna Mahoney

The author opens the story with a haunting scene;

In the next chapter, in the author's words;

"The son, Mister Peter Armstrong, found her that way on Saturday morning. Mister Armstrong said he had recently spoken to you about his mother going into Tadmore Psychiatric Hospital. Is that true, Doctor Blake?"

Dr. Annie Blake is overwhelmed with the inspector's interrogation, pondering various theories about stalkers and serial killers, and is concern for her friend Jenny who is in danger.

Meanwhile Sam is acting strange, waiting for Doctor Blake to leave her office to make phone call before accompanying her to visit the grieving son Peter Armstrong at his home. In their session, Peter affected by the loss and new freedom of not taking care of his ailing mother anymore, decides to sell the house and leave to start over in a new place.

Sam, the administrative assistant to Dr. Blake seems over protective of Dr. Annie Blake or is it something more wicked?

In the author's words


"You have to die, you betrayed me like the rest. I loved you so much but you never saw who I was. How could you listen to others and not me? I was the one who loved you most. Sam could never love you like I have."

This is a paragraph in this author's book about a serial killer on the loose and he or she is sneaking into houses and slicing their victims deep in the death spot and watches them gasp for their last breath.

This is a murder mystery plot with a serial killer(s), a psychiatrist, Doctor Annie Blake, Sam an administrative assistant, who declares he was not attracted to his employer, yet seems to be her hero in all events.

The shrink and her two best friends, Jenny, a mom of twins , and David her husband, are also mixed up in this case and Barbara the psychiatric nurse, then there is Dr. Frank Miller and the inspector...all these characters are entangled into solving the case and find the missing link before another innocent victim was murdered.

The suspense of the story is intense and the incidents are haunting. This reader was telling self don't forget about the patients in this puzzle, somehow they all are connected in this complex mystery. Pondering who was killing innocent victims and what was the connection?

The plot becomes interesting as the mom of the twins, Jenny, fears she is being stalked and her babies disappear and other exciting twists. Close acquaintances and strangers are turning up dead and there is the inspector trying to connect the missing link to it all. And the characters who do discover the truth who the killer is about to spill the beans to the law officers and they too end up in strange and deadly circumstances.

In all Ms. Powell is able to write in various genres and pleased her reader with her insight into human psychology at the same time entertained her readers.


Highly recommend this and other works she has written and more coming in the near future. 

 

Review by lovetoread

I love these type of books and I wasn't disappointed. I read through the reviews and could not understand the negative ones. The plot was not predictable to me, there were twists and turns and at least two characters that caused surprise. I didn't find the characters one dimensional or the plot thin. It wasn't until near the end who I suspected was the killer and even then was not absolutely sure - what a great surprise! Great red herrings and more than one suspect, fast-paced and enjoyable - loved it!  

Review by bookfan

I can honestly say I loved this fast-paced, well written murder mystery. It held my attention until its surprising end. Really good!

Review by Mshokies

Awesome book!!!!  This book is a wonderful read!!! The characters are so real and the story is intriguing! As I got closer to the end, I couldn't put my Kindle down!!! Very enjoyable! 

 

Review by Kady51

In parts, the story held some cuteness to it. In others, very frightening to know that there are people out there who this story relates to. Kind of a surprise ending.

 

Review by Jusu

A must read! I could not put this book down! Kept me till the very last word!

I can't wait to read more books by this author! Keep up the great work! :)

 

Review by Eileen Emberlin

This is the first Julie Elizabeth Powell book I have read and I was hooked from the first chapter. I could not put this book down and read it within a few hours. I had worked out the ending (there are two twists at the end of this book) by 3/4 of the way through the book but that made no difference to my enjoyment of this book. I am now deciding which book of hers to read next! 

 

Review by A E Thomas

The main character in Julie Elizabeth Powell's first murder mystery is Dr Anne Blake. She is a psychiatrist, who is dedicated to her work. She cares for her patients, colleagues and friends wholeheartedly and worries that she is neglecting her friends as she becomes more deeply involved with her work. She is horrified to be told that she is the link in a series of murders, not worrying about her own safety, but that of those she knows.


This well constructed story moves at a fast pace and I found it to be a compelling and entertaining read. It was refreshing to come across a murder mystery that was not full of blood and gore, but was certainly not short on intrigue and suspense.


I thoroughly enjoyed Julie Elizabeth Powell's foray into murder - in fact, I wished the book had been longer! 

 

Review by Barbara Ensign

I hope I do this book justice. It has taken me a long time to write this. I don't give away ANYTHING in my reviews, because I don't like to read ones that do.

A Murderer's Heart....


Great Characters,


Anne is a psychiatrist who really listens to her patients, and likes to think she can help them all. She never met a patient she wouldn't help.


Sam is Anne's assistant/right hand man...who may have a secret or two.


Barbara is one of Anne's Best Friends and also a Nurse at Tadmore Psychiatric Hospital.


Jenny, Anne's other Best Friend. She's really got it all, but she is a bit on the skiddish side, for good reason.


Throw in a few psychiatric patients, stalker, killer, and you will enjoy this book.


It was nice to read something that the killer wasn't obvious after the first murder.


I have found a new author to add to my list.... Enjoy reading, I did. 

 

Review by Darcia Helle, Author

This is an intriguing look at the best and the worst in people, and how we often don’t know those close to us as well as we think. Anne, the main character, likes to see the best in everyone. She is good at her job because she truly cares about her patients. But her positive outlook also gives her a bit of a blind spot that could get her into trouble.

The story moves quickly, with a few great twists. There is no strong language or graphic violence in this one. It's a crime novel without the gore, appropriate for all readers. 

 

Review by Sheri Wilkinson

A Murderer's Heart (Julie Elizabeth Powell) Suspense/Murder/Mystery Anne Blake, a psychiatrist loves her job. She believes everyone can be cured. If not cured , helped enough to lead a normal life. Soon she finds out she may be wrong. People are being murdered, and somehow Anne seems to be a link. To add to the puzzle Jenny , a close friend of Anne, seems to be in danger as well. Is there a connection to Jenny and the murderer, and how does Anne fit into this? Fast paced page turning all night read. I really enjoyed this mystery, enough suspense to keep me saying...just one more chapter then off to bed.

I intend to read more Books by Julie Elizabeth Powell.....my toughest choice...which one to read next!

I highly recommend to Murder/Mystery/suspense lovers.


Review by Maria Savva

I was already a fan of Julie Elizabeth Powell's writing before reading this book, and I just knew I would love it. Julie is a very versatile writer, with a compulsive and easy to read style. Her past books have been fantasy, children's, and non-fiction. 'A Murderer's Heart' is her first murder mystery. It's excellent!


Dr. Anne Blake is a psychiatrist who is good at her job. She has a firm belief that all mentally ill people can be cured, or saved so that they can lead a better life. She is involved in her own practice as well as helping at the Tadmore Psychiatric Hospital and she has lately become involved in a project 'Back Into the World' to try to raise money to help the mentally ill to be cared for so they can return to their lives in the community. Her busy life means that she has very little time for her friends or for a relationship.


When Dr. Blake meets Peter Armstrong, the son of a woman who needs psychiatric help, her world begins to change. A mysterious murderer is on the prowl and there seems to be a link to the Tadmore hospital.
After hearing that her close friend, Jenny, may be in danger, Anne resolves to do all she can to keep her safe from the killer.
In a dramatic and entertaining story, the author does a great job in putting across the idea that sometimes things are not as they seem and we don't always see what is in front of our own eyes. Dr. Blake is forced to face the limitations of her own knowledge and power.
A must read for anyone who enjoys a good murder/mystery.


I loved the way the tale progressed, with all the unexpected twists and turns. It kept me hooked from the start and the ending was delightful.
It's a quick, compulsive read. Highly recommended. I would also recommend all of Julie's other titles.

 

 

Of Sound Mind

 

 

 

 

Of Sound Mind




Kristy

 
I want to start off by saying I am honored to have received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Oh my goodness, I want to know what happens next. There are so many questions that remain at the end of this book, I hope the author writes a sequel. I'm not sure how she would, considering the way this one was written, but I think it's possible, and I want to know the answers to the questions that I have left... like, who else is part of the seven that was saved? Is Jorja really crazy and all of that made up? If not, did she complete her destiny and what is Mageia like now? Who was Jorja writing to?

I really enjoyed how you are not sure if Jorja is crazy or if you believe in what she is telling you. It was an interesting read and definitely different than any other book I've read. I would highly recommend this book to those who like supernatural books and overall intriguing reads.

 

Review by Darcia Helle

This is a captivating story! Jorja takes us along on her journey from childhood through her adult years. Some profound issues are explored here, such as the challenges of not fitting in, school bullies, controlling adults, and just what it means to be sane.

Narrated in first person, Jorja tells her story in conversational style. It feels as if she's sharing a magical secret with her readers, inviting us in as her new and trusted confidants.

While this book falls within the fantasy genre, the topics explored are very much routed in reality. The fantasy aspect is beautifully incorporated, and the story is both fun and profound.

 

Review by Maria Savva

I am a fan of Julie Elizabeth Powell's books, I never quite know what to expect when I pick up one of her books as she writes so many different genres; the one thing I am always sure of though is that I will enjoy the read!


This book is proof of the author's amazing ability to write fantasy novels as if the worlds she is writing of are real places.


I have read the first two books in her Avalon trilogy which I would highly recommend. In this book, we are taken into a different fantasy world: Mageia. Does this world only exist inside the mind of Jorja, the main character, or is it a real place, and is that where her special powers come from?


This book tells the story of Jorja, a young girl with extraordinary powers (telekinetic ability, aura vision) who after losing her mother at a young age is left in the hands of her evil aunt. Jorja is sent to a psychiatric hospital and it is when she is there that she finds her escape to the world of Mageia and the interesting characters who live there.


Jorja narrates her story as an old woman looking back at the trials she has been through.


This book questions whether seeing is believing and whether many diagnoses of mental illness are actually true or invalid. It also makes you question whether Jorja's experience in this other world is true or just imagined, and if imagined, what were the causes. A thought provoking read. 

 

Review by Sheri Wilkinson

Jorja knew she was different. She lived with her mother, and her Aunt, who was cruel and mean. Jorja knew from the first day she entered school that she just did not fit in. She realizes she has special powers, powers she tries to keep secret.

When tragedy hits home, Jorja is put in a mental institution. There she encounters a mysterious world, Mageia. Both good and evil reside there. While struggling to stay sane she begins to learn more about herself. She begins to accept her powers, and while in Mageia she discovers who she is and where she came from.

Fast paced, fun fantasy, filled with secrets, mystery and suspense.

I find Of Sound Mind to be an enjoyable read and would appeal to adults as well as young adults.
 
Review by lady g
 
Jorja knows she is different. She lives with her mother and her Aunt who is cruel and mean. She knew the day she entered school that she was different. She just didn't fit in. She realizes she has some special powers which she tries to keep hidden. When tragedy strikes, she is put in a mental institution, where she encounters a mysterious world. Mageia, both evil and good reside there. While struggling to keep her sanity she also learns more about herself. She begins to accept her powers, and discovers where she came from and why she is, while in Mageia.
 
A fun fast paced fantasy read, full of secrets, suspense and mystery. I find Of Sound Mind would be an enjoyable read for preteens through adults

 

Figments

 

 

 Angela

Figments, by versatile author Julie Elizabeth Powell, is a wonderful collection of short stories, poetry and prose.

I really enjoyed the short story, “Danny’s Magic Potion”, with its supernatural elements. “Sanitcore Ockle” is full of dark humour and I loved the ideas found in “The Pandora Dress”. For me, the scariest story in the collection was “The Box That Jane Built” - I had to finish this, although my eyes needed matchsticks to hold them open!

“Figments” also contains some short poems, my favourite being “Chocolate Cake”. A truly delicious piece!

Two of the pieces are inspired by works by other authors - a letter inspired by Gerald Durrell’s “My Family and Other Animals” and “Lennie’s View”, in which one of the characters from “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck expresses his thoughts. “A Typical Christmas” is quality descriptive prose.

Julie Elizabeth Powell is one of my favourite Indie authors - I admire her versatility and willingness to explore different genres. I thoroughly recommend “Figments” for the quality of writing and its variety.

 

Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite

Figments by Julie Elizabeth Powell is a collection of short stories that includes a variety of themes; relationship between mother and son, a child and his late father, love, spiritual and even paranormal, fantasy and much more. Also included is a collection of beautiful poems which further showcase Powell’s ability to write adroitly in any genre.

In Opposing Characters and Dirty Washing, my sympathy went straight to Kate and I was quite annoyed with Sam who was being ridiculously ignorant. Any reader who is a mother and dealing with teenagers in their house will find the ‘drama’ between Kate and Sam too familiar. Thankfully, the 18-year-old punk was not such a punk at all and tried to be an understanding son in the end. My favorite story would be Another Side of Life, where a young child does not understand his mother’s reason for banning him from going to school. In terms of poems, my choice would definitely be Chocolate Cake; “It oozed from the sides / And the middle / And the top / As the knife tipped / In the middle / Then bore down / Smoothing its way to the edge / 800 hundred calories at least / A slice." It is pure brilliance. I never knew a poem could be so appetizing.

Overall, Figments is a swift and wonderful read thanks to Powell’s undeniable creativity as a writer and a poet. I am more than happy to recommended Figments to my fellow readers who enjoy a relaxing yet stimulating read.

 

 

Review by Fiona Wilson

 Figments is a collection of short stories and poems which showcase the ability of this author to write stories from different genres.

I have my own personal favourites.

Dirty Washing - working with kids I can totally get the interaction between mum and son.

The Clock - I would love to see this turned into a much longer story as this small excerpt had me wanting more.

Chocolate cake - those two words say it all I think!

The Pandora Dress - reading this I remember being asked at school to write a story titled 'A Day in the Life of a £1 note'. This reminded me of that.

 

Review by lady g

This is a wonderful collection of poems and short stories. Written from the heart. Each poem and story brings out a different set of emotions and topic. An enjoyable quick read. 

 

Review by Sheri Wilkinson

A collection of short stories and poems. Written with emotions and from the heart. Each story and poem brings about a different topic and set of emotions. I also enjoyed the graphics, the photos and art.

Enjoyable quick read, which left me feeling refreshed. I recommend to all. I have to admit I am becoming a fan of Julie Elizabeth Powell I am enjoying each book I have read.

 

Review by Maria Savva

I'm a fan of Julie Elizabeth Powell, one thing I know when I pick up one of her books is that I am going to enjoy it. That's rare with a writer, and I'm so happy to have discovered her.


'Figments', is a collection of 21 stories and poems, dealing with themes such as mental illness, absent fathers, generation gaps, nostalgia, among other things. Julie Elizabeth Powell is a wonderful storyteller. I enjoyed all the stories and poems, but my favourites are 'Chocolate Cake', a poem (I don't usually read poetry, but this one is just perfect), 'Santicore Ockle'(on the theme of be careful what you name your child!), and 'A Typical Christmas'.


It's a quick read, and if you've never read anything by Julie Elizabeth Powell before, I'd recommend it as a great way to get a feel for her writing. Although having said that, she is very versatile and writes in many genres, including fantasy, murder mystery, non-fiction, and children's books.

Treat yourself to 'Figments', you won't be disappointed.

 

Misadventures Of Fatwoman

 

 

 

 

 Review by Vero E

 I finished this book in 2 days while I was tanning by the pool. It is a perfect light read but real at the same time. Most light reads are pure fiction with happy endings and no real struggle for the main character. In Misadventures of Fatwoman we meet Andi, who is an overweight woman and of course all her insecurities would link back to her weight. Andi goes through the same problems relates to insecurities as any other woman and that is why the book felt so real and relatable.

This was definitely a character driven book. All the characters were entertaining but it based specially on Andi. Her friends and family appear as a support character and they were perfect. I loved the interactions she had with all the characters and her best friend Sally. I thought the interactions were written beautifully because they added to the story.

I loved the plot as it was easy to follow yet reflected the reality of many woman, not just overweight ones. I loved the message
and how our heroin understood it herself over the course of the book. It does show that women don't get 100% over their insecurities but learn to accept that they are not perfect as no one is.


Loved it and cant wait to read something else by Julie Elizabeth Powell

 

Review by Gae-Lynn Woods

 MISADVENTURES OF FATWOMAN is a hilarious story with a great message. Andi is Fatwoman, an almost 40 year old struggling with her weight, fears about he marriage, and with how she thinks others perceive her. Ms. Powell takes us through all the horrors Andi faces, including small dressing rooms, a mammogram (they're horrendous no matter how big you are!), and catty comments from others. By the end of the story, Andi's starting to trust her own value despite how she feels about her appearance, and to believe what those who love her tell her: that she's beautiful inside and out - a message most of us can learn from.


I don't know whether she realizes it or not, but Ms. Powell writes with such insight about a woman's brain
that the emotions Andi feels could be due not to her weight, but to any of the imperfections women label themselves with, and with very few changes to the story, the book could've been titled: Misadventures of Skinnywoman, Bignosewoman, Littleboobwoman, Spottyfacewoman!

A great read not only for the story and the laughs, but for the reminder that beauty is not only skin deep. Five stars!

 

Review by Fiona Wilson

Yet again a book where I can totally relate to the lead character!

This book is all about the life of Andi, a married mum of 2, ready to turn 40, and her misadventures in the run up to this occasion.

Andi is fat, although to be honest when she lists her weight as 9lbs 2ozs I was thinking to myself “Fat? That’s so not fat, I will show you fat!”

Throughout the book she struggles to remain positive in the face of other people’s perceptions of her. She attends a weekly ‘fat club’, dreads that long walk up to the scales to be told how much, if anything, she has lost that week. It was 1lb by the way!

She struggles too with her relationships with husband, daughter, ex husband and friends. This book is about her daily belief that she is not worthy of very much.

The author does an amazing job of getting inside Andi’s head and bringing her thoughts out onto the page. Andi is such an easy character to empathise with for those of us who do struggle with weight and self esteem issues. She outwardly gives the impression of being happy and jolly, yet inside she isn’t, and not even her best friend and husband know the depth of her doubts in herself.

A great read which has so much humour within it I laughed out loud a few times. I can recognise myself in so many of the situations Andi finds herself in.
One particular part which made me laugh, as well as wonder how she found the guts to do it, involves a costume she wears near the end of the book. I won’t say anything more than this – I want one!! So so funny.

A thoroughly enjoyable read.

 

Review by lady g

This is Andi's story, an average women who has weight issues. She struggles with trying to raise a family and low self esteem. She has trust issues since her first husband cheated on her. At times an emotional rad, yet humorous, as we see all the struggles a large women faces in society.We feel her emotions as she is scorned and ridiculed.We also see her struggles in everyday life. A truly fascinating read. I look forward to reading more by this author Julie Elizabeth Powell  

Review by bookfan

This made me laugh so much, yet I could also understand how bad women feel about their size, especially in this day and age where looks are everything. I could sympathise with Andi and liked how she tried to combat all the insecurities that surround being overweight. Funny - even hilarious in parts and I loved it.

Review by j cappellie

 I found this book hilarious. If you are on the larger side(as I am) and have a sense of humour you can really relate to it. From struggling in shop changing rooms to low self esteem, cake and friends. Great book!

Review by Suz

Brilliantly funny book of a woman coming to terms with her size. Although i could never actually picture Andi as huge like the book indicated, but then i think i was more reading her personality which is that of a lovely genuine person who is caring and wonderful. The humour in the book was brilliant and as a fellow fat-woman i totally agreed with the fighting urge for the forbidden goodies and the comments from some people. A very good book to make you realize that you are not alone on that diet.

Review by Arlena Dean

Author: Julie Elizabeth Powell
Published By: J.E.P.
Age Recommend: Adult
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Raven Rating: 5
Blog Review For: GMTA
Review:

"Misadventures of Fatwoman" by Julie E. Powell was indeed a wonderful read.

This novel was so very important to me and I just could not put it down until I was finished with it.


The story was dealing with Andi who was overweight and had been since childhood. Andi has dealt with ridicule all during her life and this has caused her to suffers from low self esteem.

Even though she is in a good marriage Andi feels paranoid due to the fact that her first husband had wandering eyes. Was there a reason for this? What did she find in Ray's (husband) coat pocket? What happens when Andi finally finds out about the coat? Was her husband cheating on her?  You will have to pick up this fast paced good read to find out.

This novel deals with there being much more to a person than is what is on the outside and with the insecurities of just how most women do feel made this novel really take on like a real life story.

The relationship with Andi's husband and children are very mixed with how she truly feels and thinks about herself. The talent show that was put on gave some real confidence that Andi needed and having a good friend like Sally was a very helpful in motivating Andi.

"Misadventures of Fatwoman" was very emotional and humorous read. We can see that a large woman has many struggles that they face every single day of their life.

Now how Andi is able to handle this will be .....well you pick up this good read and see for yourself how it turns out.

I definitely would recommend this as a good read.

 

Review by Maria Savva

In this book Julie Elizabeth Powell exposes all of the insecurities most women feel. The main character, Andi, is overweight so most of her feelings of inadequacy are based around her size and whether she measures up to other women. She fears that she may not be attractive enough and that her partner will leave her; having suffered a previous marriage breakdown, she feels paranoid. I'm sure that plenty of women will be able to relate to Andi for so many different reasons.

With the media bombarding us with images of what a perfect woman should look like, this book digs deeper and reveals that there is so much more to a person than what is on the outside.

Full of believable characters and hilarious scenes, this a fast-paced and satisfying read. The only slight criticism I have is that in some parts I felt the book might have been better written in the first person as it was so detailed in regard to Andi's thoughts and feelings. This didn't affect my enjoyment of the story though. A fun and entertaining read. 

 

Review by Sheri Wilkinson

This is the story of Andi, an average woman who happens to be overweight. She struggles with low self esteem, and is trying to raise a family. She has issues with security and fidelity, since her first husband had cheated on her numerous times.

Emotional at times, yet humorous, we see the struggles a large woman has in society. We can feel Andis emotions as she is ridiculed and scorned. We can also see the struggles in every day life, in simple tasks as sitting on a stool or fitting in a washroom stall.

Another great read by Julie Elizabeth Powell
I look forward to reading Of Sound Mind The Star Realm& Invasion

 

Review by Eileen Emberlin

I found the book enjoyable to read, and as a retired counsellor who regularly worked with fat women I was interested to see how the author dealt with the main character's feelings around her weight. The main character Andi is a believable fat woman but she does appear a little too good to be true. Her vulnerabilities, worries and self dislike are well written and realistic. However, the way her husband talks to her, as if she is sitting on a pedestal, adored and perfect is not easy to digest - yes he is likely to support her and make it clear her weight is not a problem for him but his adoration did seem "over the top" on occasions. I also felt the ending with Andi coming to terms with her weight after doing a compare stint was unrealistic as I doubt one instant would repair all the self dislike, lack of confidence and lack of self esteem that Andi had. However, maybe I'm being too picky, the book is after-all an enjoyable read but compared to a Murderer's Heart I do think it comes a poor second. A Murderer's Heart

 

*****

Weird: A Henry Ian Darling Oddity: Missive One

Review by Maria Savva

First in a series, in this 'weird' story, we're introduced to Henry Darling and follow him on his first adventure. I really enjoyed this story. It kept me hooked from the start and it's wonderfully imaginative. Henry has been through an experience that changed him and now he collects oddities. His wife and his unlikely friend Brett are his companions and helpers. This is a truly unique story from a talented writer. I have enjoyed all of Julie Elizabeth Powell's books and was eager to read this one. The characters are quirky and it's a fast-paced and exciting read. If you haven't read any of this author's work, 'Weird' would be a great place to start. I can't wait for the next story in the series!

 

Review by Sheri Wilkinson

Henry Ian Darling is a collector of oddities, those that bring him closer to an enigma, one he hopes will be a great thing. This is also about Henry's "special" wife Clara and best friend Brett. (Read the book to find out what makes them special).

A fast paced short story. I loved the unique, original writing, macabre and bizarre actions, and "anything is possible" story line. Henry is weird, yet he is so likeable.

I loved the narrative aspect, I won't say much more because I don't do spoilers. But I highly recommend Weird: A Henry Ian Darling Oddity Missive One you won't be disappointed, I know I was not. A true five star read!

 

Three Into One

 

 Review by: Kevin Hammond

 I liked this one. It is very short but what it lacked in length I thought it made up for with the substance. it is written as if a single thought comes to mind and that thought branched out into a story, and that story plants a seed of thought into your head. at least that's what I got from it.


It is a pleasant kind of mystery with a slight, and teasing, kind of tension that rolls along from beginning to end. you will likely finish it in about twenty minutes as I did. but if I could recommend it to you I would say use this as a kind of springboard into discovering a new writer ( assuming you haven't read any of her stuff already) I think you will be surprised in what she can do in such a short space that, like me, you will be thinking about looking for more.

 

Review by Maria Savva:

I loved the idea behind this story. The message seems to be that we need to look deeper rather than just judging people because of differences. I am already a big fan of this author's work, having read most of her books. What she always delivers are imaginative stories, stories that make you think.

In this short story we meet Thomas, Zac, and Kris. Thomas and Kris are different and most of their lives they've been called freaks. Zac has a secret that he has to reveal to them. It's a fascinating idea. I won't give too much away about the storyline, I'll just say that it's a fantasy tale with a wonderful message. This author is a deep thinker and her stories are all the better for it.

I always know that when I pick up a Julie Elizabeth Powell book I will be entertained and I'll enjoy it.

A quick and satisfying read.

 

Review by Sheri Wilkinson:

A short story about three young people, Thomas, Zak and Kris. Each are "different" in their own unique way, and one is hiding a secret. But one thing they all have in common is they just want to fit in.

A great short story. I could easily relate to each of the characters,Julie Elizabeth Powell has a way with her words that pulls you deep into the psyche of her characters.

I wish I could write more, but I don't do spoilers, and this is a short story. My parting words; I highly recommend Three Into One to all. You won't be disappointed!

 

Christmas Past

 

 Review by: Maria Savva

What is Christmas and why was it banned? Two questions that the protagonists in this story need to find out. This is a wonderful fantasy tale set some time in the future. I really liked the message behind this story. It's a message of peace and, as such, is a perfect Christmas read. The two main characters, Thomat and Draven, are breaking the rules by entering the mysterious library that contains the answers they need.

This is a short tale but a complex one, and it's well written. I liked the interaction between the characters.

Julie Elizabeth Powell's stories are always very imaginative and this is no exception.

 

Review by: Sheri Wilkinson

An original and unique Christmas story. The Elders have decided to ban Christmas, and some are wondering why. We hear how Christmas began, and why it was decided to be outlawed. Some believe it can only cause a massive war. But is this so? And can things be changed? Should things be changed?

An original story that is thought provoking and gives the reader something to think about. Christmas Past goes beyond the realm into another world and brings a new spin on Christmas. A fascinating, captivating, enjoyable story.

 

Review by: Diane Rapp

A delightful futuristic short story. Three "youngsters" are determined to find out what Christmas was but the knowledge is forbidden. When society becomes so blended that extra-long lives become boring, these characters are determined to learn about a forbidden past. It might mean banishment and death but they must find out about Christmas. The author says she dreamed this story and then had to write it.  

 

***

Comments by: Brian W. Fisher

J.K. Rowling created Harry Potter and whizzed us into a world of 
wizardry. Many of us are still attached to his broomstick.

Arthur C. Clarke balanced the human race on the edge of a tensioned 
springboard and released it into  a future, where man's creative 
technology attempted to unlock the secrets of the universe.

Ian Rankin skims-off the thin layer of civic respectability and with 
utter realism, pulls his readers into the mire of criminality.

Now, out of nowhere, comes Julie Elizabeth Powell. With an uncanny 
mastery of words, she enters the neural pathways of our minds and 
sieves-out the cells of emotion - mixes them with our heart's blood 
until the recipe is ready to be re-transplanted into our brains. At 
that point, the reader's unique helix creates a completely new set of 
emotions – ones hard to control when turning the pages of her novels.

Comments by: Shane Windham

...Your writing just took our ordinary thoughts and routines and made them tangible and entertaining.  There aren't many people in the world who can do that sort of thing.