Published by Self-Published on 24th April 2014
Genres: Issues, New Adult, Romance
Buy on Amazon US • Buy on Amazon UK
For some, it’s simply one of life’s certainties, nothing more. For others, it’s merely a fleeting thought, one often overshadowed by the reckless delusion that they have been blessed with the gift of immortality.
For Aubrey Miller, death is the definition of her very existence. Overcome with the guilt resulting from the loss of her beloved family, she alters her appearance from the once beautiful, blonde-haired, blue-eyed little girl to that of one shrouded in complete darkness, enveloping herself in her own unbreakable fortress of solitude as a form of protection for others.
As she enters her first year of college, her goal is simple: Earn a degree with the least amount of social interaction as possible. What she never anticipates is the formation of very unlikely relationships with two people who will change her life in ways she never believed possible: Quinn Matthews, the boisterous former pageant queen, and Kaeleb McMadden, a childhood friend from her past who never really let her go.
Over the years, as their connections intertwine and grow, a seemingly indestructible bond is formed between the three…
But when death painfully reemerges, Aubrey is lost once again, burying herself deeper than ever before inside the familiar fortification of her fears.
Will the refuge of friendship, the solidarity of life-long bonds, and the power of unconditional love be enough to do the impossible?
Will they be enough to finally bring about…
The Resurrection of Aubrey Miller?
*We received eARCs in exchange for honest reviews*
“As long as you continue to travel through life in this darkness, you will never know how beautiful your light truly shines when you let yourself love and be loved. Trust me when I say, it’s a breathtaking sight to see. You burn as bright as the sun…You see, I found the strength and courage to fight my demons because of how brightly you shined. I hope that one day you’ll find that source of light and let it heal you, too. Because if you do, it will illuminate your path and eventually lead you home. To me.”
With those beautiful words, The Resurrection of Aubrey Miller blew me away. In fact, the whole book was filled with beautiful words that had me highlighting like crazy. This was the first book by L.B. Simmons I have ever read, and after this touching book, it will definitely not be the last.
When I first started reading, I was reminded of The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay. The main character, Aubrey or Raven as she liked to be called, hid behind a disguise and the love interest, Kaeleb called her Sunshine. Other than that though, this story took a very different path to reach its own amazing ending. All the characters just blew me away. Raven was just so tormented by the deaths she believed she caused and reliving them with her was a heartbreaking thing to read. But her path to become Aubrey again was simply amazing. Her friends, Quinn and Kaeleb, were great characters that everyone should be lucky to find. They each had their own issues but accepted each other without fail; never judging and just being there for each other. They each had their own journey as well, more so Quinn than Kaeleb. I would love to say more but that would ruin the amazing journey these characters took. Let’s just say lots of tears, not all sad were experienced by me. And yes, while the subject matter at times was hard to read, the story in general was very inspiring. Because while good people in your life can help lift you up, in the grand scheme of things you have to choose what path in life you want to take whether that be good or bad, and this book truly encompassed that. With that said, The Resurrection of Aubrey Miller completely captured me and I highly recommend it.
It was the cover that first drew me to this tale. What’s the old saying about not judging the book? Well I was kind of hoping that wasn’t the case here as with a cover that beautiful, I really hoped the content would match up. I then began seeing some really positive comments and posts about the story, so when I was given the opportunity to read and review this book, I jumped at it.
Aubrey Miller – or Raven, as she is when we are first introduced to her – is a girl in hiding. In hiding from herself. Scarred by tragedy and death in her past, she has made the decision to put up a barrier and hide behind a mask, to avoid interactions with others, to not form emotional attachments that she believes will ultimately just mean sorrow for her and danger to those around her. It’s a plan that should work. Hiding behind her armour of heavy make up, weird contacts, hair dye and piercings, you’d expect she would receive the desired response of “freak” and be left to her own devises. What she did not expect, was to meet two people who could see through all the camouflage, who would want to get to know the girl underneath. She had not counted on meeting a Quinn or a Kaeleb.
There was so much I loved about this book. At first Aubrey came across as a somewhat tough character who I wasn’t crazy about, but little by little, she showed us her heart, her more vulnerable side. I felt real sorrow for her character, that she had been through so much as a child and I then understood why she felt the need to erect such emotional barriers. I was so glad however, that she let in Quinn and Kaeleb. Quinn was a delight as a character. Someone you just want to squeeze and protect. However, she has her own demons and secrets. The description of her folding in on herself and becoming so small when hurt, gave us such a clear picture in our minds, you just wanted to put your arms around her and take away the pain. She was a great secondary character in this tale and added real warmth and heart to the story. Then there was Kaeleb. *sigh* oh how I loved this man! He was a beautifully written character, such a great friend to Quinn and Aubrey, with just the right amount of cheek and charm, of anger and angst and of love and heart. I loved how he tried to support everyone in the book, beat himself up when he thought he had failed to do enough. He is the ultimate book good guy who proves that you don’t have to be a bad guy to make the reader swoon!
I had never read a LB Simmons book before, and I must say, I enjoyed her writing style. I found that The Resurrection of Aubrey Miller had a “feel” to it that reminded me of some of my favourite books – Colleen Hoover’s Slammed and Hopeless and in particular, Katja Millay’s The Sea of Tranquility – in fact I’m sure there are a couple of points in this book that will really ring bells with fans of TSoT – but that should be taken as a compliment to the author as I adore Hoover & Millay’s work. I guess the overriding feeling the book left me with was to be brave and to try to see life from others point of view. You may think you are protecting yourself and others by pulling away from a situation, but sometimes facing things head on, however difficult, will bring more peace and understanding to you and those around you. Try to see things from their angle. Maybe we are all too self-centred at times and do not see that life’s not all about us. Our behaviour has an impact on all those we love and who love us in return. Sometimes trying to see the bigger picture will help us all. I think this quote from the book sums up my thoughts perfectly.
“Every being in this world makes an impact on at least one person they encounter during their lifetime. You can change the course of someone’s life by just a kind word, a hateful one, or even by simply choosing not to say anything at all. Every choice you make has the potential to create a ripple effect, trickling into and affecting the lives of others.”
Well, there’s not much more that I can add to Shannon and Kay’s reviews. I absolutely loved this story. It was beautiful, it was heartbreaking, and yet it was heart-warming too. It’s one of those stories that will stay with me forever.
The story begins with Aubrey (or Raven as she’s now calling herself) moving away from home to start college. For most people this is the start of new beginnings, new friendships and relationships, but for Raven this is the furthest thing from her mind. She has isolated herself from the world, after suffering unimaginable heartbreak at such a young age, and she’s determined not to let anyone else into her heart.
Raven reminded me of Wednesday from the Addams family, devoid of emotion to the outside world, with everything about her screaming stay away. Her appearance and her cool attitude were designed to stop people getting too close to her. Unfortunately for her (or should I say fortunately!) new roommate Quinn and boarding buddy Kaeleb didn’t pick up on that message and from day one they chip away at the ice cool exterior and burrow their way inside. I chuckled away at her inner monologue at times…
“I’m going to have to step up my creepiness or I might just end up liking this girl, and that could be very dangerous, for the both of us.”
Raven slowly comes out of her shell, and it was so beautiful to see Raven’s gradual transformation back to Aubrey. The friendship between Aubrey, Quinn and Kaeleb was beautiful, they all have their own demons to deal with and they were like the Three Musketeers the way they were all there for each other.
I loved joining Aubrey on her journey throughout college, seeing her trials and tribulations, watching her blossom and hoping that she won’t wilt away again. She has been locked away in her own world for so long, it’s going to be a long road to recovery. What’s on the outside may look normal, but the inside has to heal too. Aubrey needed to face her demons head on and deal with her past before she could look to the future, she was still so fragile that it wouldn’t take much to bring Raven back again. As much as she had people around her and there to support her, only Aubrey could make the decision to be herself and send Raven away.
“I wanted to be enough for you. Strong enough. Man enough. Enough for you to find a reason to live again. To give you that courage and strength. But I know now, you’re the only one who can do that…”
I can’t finish my review without giving Kaeleb McMadden a mention – he was perfect book boyfriend material. He just never gave up even when he was being pushed away and I loved him big time. He was smart, funny, sexy, and loyal. If ever there was a couple that were perfect for each other, its these two.
“You call me your moon, well, I call you my soul mate”
“Thank you so much, Quinn. This day has been…unbelievable. And I owe it all to you. You have no idea.” My voice trembles a bit with the admission, because she really has no idea what she’s done for me today.
I feel normal.
A normal girl, about to have a normal birthday celebration with her friends, in a normal (albeit spectacular) dress, with normal hair and make-up.
The only thing that’s missing is a pair of normal shoes.
“Shoes! I need shoes!” I exclaim.
“No, you don’t.” Quinn giggles and reaches for the knob of my bedroom door.
“What? Why wouldn’t I need shoes?”
That makes no sense.
She’s drunker than I thought.
That’s it, I’m officially hiding the champagne.
“You’ll see,” she says just as there’s a knock at the front door.
She winks. “Trust me. Just, stay in here. Don’t come out until someone comes to get you.”
After Quinn quietly shuts the door behind her, I remain seated. As the sounds of Kaeleb’s murmur filters into my room, a nervous excitement flitters through my belly and spreads into my chest. My joy takes flight and I breathe in deeply, contentment pumping enthusiastically with each thrumming heartbeat.
Damn, it feels good to be alive.
I don’t have to wait for long. After a very loud squeal from Quinn in the other room, there’s a knock at my door. My pulse kicks up and I rise from the bed, smoothing out my dress. With a glance in the mirror, I pluck a couple of sections of my new hair with my fingers and set them back into place. “Come in,” I remark, turning in the direction of the door.
The handle turns and as Kaeleb pokes his head around the corner, his eyes find mine. His eyebrows rise as his mouth falls slightly open, and he breaks my gaze as his focus shifts to take in my hair, my exposed neck and the line of my dress. He holds his stare briefly at the crystalline sash lining my waist, and then slowly drifts down to my smoothly-shaven legs and perfectly painted toenails. The left side of his mouth quirks up as he clears his throat, frozen in place. He tears his scrutiny away from my feet to fully step into the room, then turns away from me to shut the door.
I take advantage of the 1.5 seconds his back is turned, and survey him from head to toe. His light-blue button-up is folded to his elbows, displaying the prominence of the flexed muscles along his forearms. As he places both palms on the door and leans into them, his shirt rides up enough for me to see the designs on the back pockets of his dark jeans. They hug his ass perfectly, and for the first time in my life, I want to slide my hands right into those pockets just to feel the hardness of his toned body.
My fingers itch with the need to touch him, but I maintain control while Kaeleb braces against the door, inhaling and exhaling deeply. He stays planted there for a few more seconds until I suddenly begin to feel self-conscious. I run my hands over my hair and dress to make sure everything is as it should be.
Just as I start to ask him if he’s all right, he whips around with a full smile on his face. A few long strides later, and he’s standing right in front of me. Raising both hands, he traces the tips of his fingers along the sides of my cheeks, leaving a scorching trail as they run down my neck and thread themselves into the hair at my nape. With his thumbs underneath my chin, he tilts my head back and looks me directly in the eyes.
“You look amazing, Sunshine. Truly breathtaking.” His head dips slightly and he runs his lips tentatively along mine, the movement so sensual I can’t keep my hands off of him any longer. Fisting his shirt in my hands, I pull him into me and press my mouth hard against his, the need to taste him overriding my caution. A whimper rises in my throat and escapes into his mouth as his tongue slides in between my lips, slowly and deliberately, taking his time to stroke and caress mine. His hold tightens as his fingers curl deeper into my hair, the tinge of pain sending shockwaves of pleasure coursing through my body until they land right in between my legs, the throbbing sensation growing with each strike.
After another gentle sweep of his tongue, he lessens the kiss and pulls back slightly. His lips brush against mine before they slide over to the corner of my mouth, up along my cheek, and then rest them against my ear as he breathes, “Happy birthday. The dress is phenomenal.”