Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Growth Even After Death

Life is amping up for the holidays, so this will be my last post until the new year. Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, & ring in the New Year with hope and cheer! 

HEARTS to you all!


You've been expecting a change. Over the past few months, I've told you that I've decided to alter the priorities of my site to more personal posts on my writing/life journey and a little less on promoting others--though helping other authors will always be a focus of the Alleyway.

Well, this is one of the last posts I'd already committed to before making that decision. 

Don't let those words give you the wrong impression, though. I'm pleased to be a part of this tour and excited to share my thoughts with you. From the moment I read the premise, I knew this story would challenge me. So here goes: 

Life, A.D. by Michelle Reed

Genre: Young Adult/Speculative Fiction
Publisher: Month9Books
Release Date: December 10, 2013

Favorite Lines/Passage: His angry outburst is the last straw. It's all too much, and I can't fight the tears. I've been trying to hold back the ocean towel, and I can't do it anymore. Shame, weakness, and fear are ganging up on me. I begin to sob as I collapse onto the couch, pull my knees up to my chin, and wrap  my arms around my legs. Try as I might, I can't make myself disappear.

Description: In Life, A.D. you have two choices: join the program or face the consequences.

Seventeen-year-old Dez Donnelly crashes headlong into fate on the side of a rural highway, her life ending in a violent collision of steel and screaming brakes. The train that delivers her newly departed soul to the crossroads of the afterlife won’t be carrying her to the sweet hereafter until she accepts her abrupt end and learns to let go of the life she’ll never finish.

Her new reality is conduct manuals, propaganda, and unrelenting staff, all part of a system to ease her transition from life to death, while helping her earn her way out of limbo. Atman City, beautiful and enticing, is an ever-present temptation that is strictly off limits to underage souls. The promise of adventure proves too strong, and beneath the city’s sheen of ethereal majesty, Dez discovers a world teeming with danger.

Welcome to Life, A.D. where being dead doesn’t mean you’re safe, and the only thing harder than getting out of limbo is getting through it.


My Splats: Growth is an ongoing process even after we die.

A favorite aspect of this story for me is a rather simple one. I love, love how appropriate the title is. And it does not represent what you might think. It fits on so many levels. The cover is pretty sweet, too.

The opening scene is powerful. It instantly pulled me into the inner character of Dez, who she is, how she reacts, and what she is feeling. Her confusion, denial, admissions, and doubts as she grips what's happening to her are touching and very real. Initially, the why is left for the reader to discern. I liked this tactic. 

Transitions from life to Dez seeing herself after, is done well through smooth and effective transitions of scenery and secondary characters.

The writing is easy to follow. The story is presented in first person, present tense - the official, Here and Now. For some readers, this is hard to digest. I enjoy it, and it works for this story, especially with the complexity of the world building that challenges the reader to self-examine his/her own beliefs and hopes and dreams for what comes after this life. 

Clever and vivid are both the world Reed creates as are her characters. Reed gives an altered perspective of what the afterlife might be, giving the feel of hope and the need to grow mixed with a purgatory kind of setting. This afterlife is all about personal growth and brings to the forefront how in charge we truly are with our lives during life as well as in this afterlife.

There was a theme threaded throughout the tale: Most people are busy living life preparing for the future instead of living in the moment. Gosh, I love that. 

I'd recommend this book to any enthusiast of young adult, adventure, or romance. Also to anyone open-minded and willing to ponder the afterlife.  


Michelle E. Reed was born in a small Midwestern town, to which she has returned to raise her own family. Her imagination and love of literature were fueled by a childhood of late nights, hidden under the covers and reading by flashlight. She is a passionate adoption advocate who lives in Wisconsin with her husband, son, and their yellow lab, Sully.
 Connect:  Website | Twitter |  Facebook | Goodreads

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What are your thoughts on the afterlife? In fiction?
 photo Sheri2.png


  1. Happy Holidays, Sheri. I've got one more blog hop at the end of the week and then am also on break until January 6th. Looking forward to seeing some of your personal posts.

    1. Thanks, Natalie. I'm looking forward to merely writing off the the cuff!

      Have a wonderful holiday break!

  2. Yay!!! I'm looking forward to your change in direction, Sheri!!! I want more of YOU. There are sooo many blogs now promoting books, it's getting boring. I like the mix of posts, even with the bloggers who just focus on participating in blog tours and cover reveals.

  3. Sounds like a great read and nice cover too. Hope all is merry over the holidays at your zoo. And just writing what comes to be from thee, is oh so fun to give a run

  4. Congratulations to Michelle and all the best of luck!

  5. The theme of this book sounds great- we should all live in the moment! Awesome cover too! I really enjoyed your review. Thanks for sharing. :)

  6. This sounds amazing and I'm entering this giveaway.

  7. Ooh this sounds like a great read!

    I think that a personal touch to a blog is always a good idea. :-)

  8. Living in the moment--instead of living in the NEXT moment. Oh, yeah. So true.

    I'm intrigued to read this book. That title is genius.

  9. It's funny, I'm working on a novel right now where one of the main character's is named Dez! Only my Dez is a guy :)

  10. So essentially you're saying, "Do you feel like thinking? Read this book." It sounds great.

    I'm slowing down too for crazy14, I mean 2014. (Blogging wise.) You have to stay sane, eh?

    1. I didn't think of it that way, but you're right. Yes, thinking would be involved. LOL More like contemplation ... ;)

  11. Hope you have a Merry Christmas and happy holidays, Sheri!!! Def looking frwd to your future new posts :-)

  12. Whatever you choose to focus on in your blog, I know it will be great to visit. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and I'll see you in 2014!

  13. I like the premise of this book. Hope you have a wicked Happy Christmas :)

  14. You're right, the premise of the book makes me want to read it! Your review was excellent, as always. I wish Michelle much success! :-)
    Merry Christmas, Sheri! I hope you and you family have a healthy and prosperous 2014!

  15. This is a really unique premise that makes me very curious to read it. And the cover is wonderful too. I love when a book's title or cover imagery go deeper than face value. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it =)


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