27 December 2016

Dead Again: Dark Dreams (The Dead Again Series, #1) by Linda Rey: Review

Title: Dead Again: Dark Dreams (The Dead Again Series, #1)
Author: Linda Rey
Publication Date: Sept. 18, 2016
Find: Amazon | Goodreads

Joan Portman’s nightmares are killing her; literally. Each evening, this troubled seventeen-year-old meets a painful demise in one of three horrific ways – by bullet, by fire or by attack of a pack of ferocious beasts. So authentic are these dreams, that Joan resorts to cutting herself upon waking, just to prove she’s still alive.

Tired of her meds and weary of being misunderstood, Joan accompanies her family on a European excursion in hopes of breaking this crazy cycle. But matters soon go from strange to surreal when Joan is thrust back in time in each country she visits – at once realizing that her frightening nightly visions are actually genuine memories of her former lives. Now, forced to re-live her harrowing experiences as a female gladiator in Rome in 90 AD, a prisoner of Auschwitz, Germany in 1943, and as heroine Joan of Arc in France in the 1400’s, Joan believes she may finally be able to put this torment behind her. But the key to Joan’s recovery may lie in a final act of bravery – one that will require her to risk her life once again, and this time it just may be her last.

Hi, I’m Linda Rey, and I write books for teens and tweens. Writing a bio is about as awkward as having to write a “What I Did Last Summer” report the first day back in school, but here goes.

I live in Orange County, CA with my husband and a dog named Dude. My favorite color is green, but blue is a close second. I’d rather eat potato chips than ice cream, but give me a donut and I’ll be your friend for life. I’m a grandma to five grandchildren, but I’m a cool grandma who has a Harley Davidson motorcycle and a tattoo on my wrist that says Believe. My favorite books as a child were The Secret Garden, Charlotte’s Web, and anything by Judy Blume. My new favorites are all the books in The Hunger Games series, Wonder, and The Fault in Our Stars. If I can be remembered for just one thing after I’m gone, I hope it’s that people thought I was nice.

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"Dead Again" is really not quite what I was expecting. And, I don't mean that negatively, either. When I received a copy of this book to read, I just assumed that it was going to be a light, fluffy, romantic teen read about a girl who maybe just thinks she has a rough life but really just needs to get a clue.

I was wrong on most counts.

Joan is a very dark character, in my opinion. Any young woman who has to use self-harm as a way of coping really does have problems. And, I'm not saying that the self-harm is unnecessary to the story. There's a reason Joan has such a difficult time with life, in general.

But, this is not a normal teen read. From page one I was thoroughly involved in Joan's story. And from that first chapter I had nothing but hope for our main character who I just wanted to be happy.

Joan is given a chance at happiness when she gets to take the vacation of her life. And from there she learns more about herself than I'm sure she ever hoped.

Each story from Joan's other lives was heartbreaking in its own way. Some were more palatable than others. I'm not going to lie; there were moments when I just wanted to get to the next life in the hopes that what Joan went through wouldn't be so brutal.

That underlying feeling of hope carries this story through to the end, however.

And only the next installment will show us what lies ahead for courageous Joan Portman.

A tale with danger, sorrow, and a bit of romance... I'll be following along for the remainder of Joan's story.

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