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Striving for Normal (Striving Series Book 1) by [Mooney, B.L.]
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Striving for Normal (Striving Series Book 1) Kindle Edition

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Length: 395 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

About the Author

B.L. Mooney started writing when the voices and storylines in her head ran out of room. They were getting too cramped and neither B.L. nor the characters could take it anymore, so she did the only thing she could do—she made room. She always knew she wanted to write, but vowed to make time for it later. Now that she’s made time for writing, most everything else falls to the wayside. That seems to suit the characters that keep popping up in her head just fine. B.L. lives in the Midwest, and her other talents include in-demand cookies, a very dry sense of humor, and stealth eavesdropping. Some mannerisms, attitudes, or twists come from random sentences picked up while passing by strangers. So speak up the next time you have something to gossip about. You never know, it may just end up on the pages of the next book you read.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1144 KB
  • Print Length: 395 pages
  • Publisher: Twisted Books LLC (23 Aug. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00ENVYOFE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #622,375 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Kindle Edition
Striving for Normal is the brilliant story of a young, driven woman, Drew, and the struggles she faces in trying to re-build her life, making herself whole and “normal” again after suffering a harrowing past at the hands of her abusive ex-boyfriend, Craig.

Drew struggles to find herself, and struggles to accept that she is complete enough, and worthy enough to be loved.

It is because of these insecurities that Drew feels herself too broken to experience a “normal”, loving relationship with the trustworthy, “good guy”, Dennis.

Dennis is a man who worships Drew and puts everything she wants, needs and desires before everything else.
Yet will her own insecurities and self doubt force Drew to turn away from Dennis, a man she views herself inferior to, and into the arms of Carl.

Carl isn’t necessarily a “bad guy”. He is struggling with his own demons, but he is a very dominating, very pushy and manipulating man.
In fact, he is so much like Craig it terrifies Drew. But it is this similarity that pulls Drew to Carl. She understands manipulation and finds it an easy pattern to fall back into. Is this really what she wants though? Will it mean that she is forced to push Dennis away forever, as the negative attraction to Carl proves too much? Will she push away her dream of a happily ever after?

Whichever decisions she makes, Drew has the unwavering, continued love and support of her two best friends and therapist. Together they provide a strong support network and help Drew face her demons head on, giving her the courage to survive all that life throws at her.

I absolutely loved this book. All the characters are well developed and the plot is exciting, believeable and pulls on your emotions.
You are left thinking “what next?
Read more ›
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Format: Kindle Edition
Drew has been seeing her shrink Joseph for almost 5 years after a relationship gone wrong, causing her physical and emotional damage, she hasn't had a date in 5 years let alone sex, but Joseph, Mark and Terri think it's time for get back out there and meet someone who will love her.

Check out my review here: [...]
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9c731294) out of 5 stars 30 reviews
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c6f2a80) out of 5 stars I kept reading...hoping it would strive to be normal 30 Oct. 2013
By Spiceybiscuit - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an honest review and I purchase this book. I am not a blogger. The story is about Drew and her past abuse with an ex named Craig and two supporting characters Mark and Terri. The book does deal with mental, emotional and sexual abuse so it is pretty dark and edgy and not recommend for younger reader. Where to start...I struggled with this book because it was boring and I found myself NOT caring about Terri and I know I should have. I am even struggling with this revivew because I couldn't put my finger on what exactly was wrong with the book. The story starts out Drew is in therapy after escaping her ex's abuse but not w/out trauma an battle scars. She has a close relationship with Terri and Mark and is working on making her life normal (hence the title). There were a few twist I guess?? Drew finds herself recently employed in a preschool/charter school and catches the eye of one of the kid's father. Here is were it starts to fall apart. At the same time she is hooked up on a blind date with Terri and Marks friend and Drew sorta has a relationship with this person (sorta because she can't decide if she wants one or not. Here is where it fell apart. Drew is harassed by the father of one of the kids she teaches at this school and it is really bad harassment. Uses the daughter to manipulate Drew into situations, traps her in her offices, touches her inappropriately and NO one really does anything about it...except the sorta boyfriend who gets into a fist fight with the stalker right in front of the school!! And yet Drew is attracted to this jerk because she is damaged from her relationship with Craig. Cue the eye roll.

There are some other twist and a sorta shocking ending (not really but just in case you are shocked) and when it was over I was glad.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c70e834) out of 5 stars Is anything ever NORMAL? 15 Mar. 2014
By Rachel Bound by Books - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I give this a solid 4.5 Stars.

Striving for Normal is a wonderful read. The story line is so realistic. I mean how many of us can say we haven't dated or married a man that was ultimately our downfall? Here you have a normal college girl that gets caught up in a relationship with a charismatic ass. It's easier for someone to see from the outside looking in. Craig would have made a wonderful advertising exec. Putting a perfect spin on things to make you WANT, or ACCEPT what you have because that's the best you're going to get. We would consider it emotional abuse today, and unfortunately for Drew she gets out too little too late. Hence her relationship with her shrink...I love the fact that so much of the story revolves around that relationship. She needs his help and really tries to accept what he attempts to show her. The characters are so realistic, you can picture them living in your neighborhood. Drew is a wonderful loving friend who runs a daycare. Dennis is kinda the perfect boy next door that one tends to overlook. Carl is the alpha, I'll take what I want, when I want, and won't let anyone stand in my way, kinda guy...Craig, well we went over that. He's the ass. Terri and Mark, they're the best friends, the ones who take care of and nurture Drew.
The title really is the epitome of the story-line. Drew is just striving to lead a normal, mentally healthy life, learning to trust herself and her decisions all over again. This isn't a hot, steamy, sex laden read. It's a wonderful story with loads of drama, angst, and a touch of sexy to spice it up. But the drama and angst don't overpower the storyline, they enhance it. B.L. Mooney did a wonderful job of melding the past and present with flashbacks, and the twists and turns of the book just kept me enthralled. I will make sure that B.L. Mooney stays on my list of Must-have authors.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c71c294) out of 5 stars I really recommend this story. It is well written, real and believable. 5 Mar. 2014
By Orchard Book Club - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Striving for Normal is the brilliant story of a young, driven woman, Drew, and the struggles she faces in trying to re-build her life, making herself whole and “normal” again after suffering a harrowing past at the hands of her abusive ex-boyfriend, Craig.

Drew struggles to find herself, and struggles to accept that she is complete enough, and worthy enough to be loved.

It is because of these insecurities that Drew feels herself too broken to experience a “normal”, loving relationship with the trustworthy, “good guy”, Dennis.

Dennis is a man who worships Drew and puts everything she wants, needs and desires before everything else.
Yet will her own insecurities and self doubt force Drew to turn away from Dennis, a man she views herself inferior to, and into the arms of Carl.

Carl isn’t necessarily a “bad guy”. He is struggling with his own demons, but he is a very dominating, very pushy and manipulating man.
In fact, he is so much like Craig it terrifies Drew. But it is this similarity that pulls Drew to Carl. She understands manipulation and finds it an easy pattern to fall back into. Is this really what she wants though? Will it mean that she is forced to push Dennis away forever, as the negative attraction to Carl proves too much? Will she push away her dream of a happily ever after?

Whichever decisions she makes, Drew has the unwavering, continued love and support of her two best friends and therapist. Together they provide a strong support network and help Drew face her demons head on, giving her the courage to survive all that life throws at her.

I absolutely loved this book. All the characters are well developed and the plot is exciting, believeable and pulls on your emotions.
You are left thinking “what next?” and this urges you to read on and stops you being able to put the book down.

The author cleverly delves into Drew’s destructive past using numerous flashback episodes – I really enjoyed this aspect of the book.

The flashbacks Drew experiences are quite shocking, and as a reader, you are transported back to the moment Drew is actually going through the
event. This adds a whole different dept to the story.
As the reader, I found myself in the moment with Drew, feeling what she felt, and then immediately after, once out of the flashback, you witness how the event has affected Drew’s life.

You really “get to know” Drew on every level, and can see just how strong a person she is to have survived everything that she has – even if she can not see this herself.

I really recommend this story. It is well written, real and believable.

~Simone~

*** This book was given free for an honest review ***
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c755924) out of 5 stars ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!!!! 7 Mar. 2014
By cjbeeson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Striving for Normal is a wonderfully written story of a young woman, Drew trying to re-build her life. Striving to make herself “normal” again after the abuse of her ex-boyfriend Craig.
Drew is a survivor and in therapy trying to work through the demons that haunt her. The flashbacks she has are so real you feel as though you are there with her. She is making great strides in her therapy and getting ready to get back to dating. She soon finds herself with two men interested in her. Dennis is the “nice guy” who treats Drew with great respect and puts her needs first. Drew struggles with the idea of being “worthy” enough for him which leaves her running scared.
Carl, is a strong dominate man who doesn’t take no for an answer. He has his sights set on Drew and will do what it takes to get her, including using his 4 year old daughter. His strong domineering ways are a too familiar similarity to her past and she struggles with the excitement she feels when around him.
With the love and encouragement from her best friends and support from her therapist she learns to work through her demons and realize that no matter how much somebody loves her, unless she loves herself also the relationship will never work.
I absolutely LOVED this book. It is very well written and believable. A wonderful light on the recovery that can come after abuse. Not always the easiest read and required a box of Kleenex at times I would highly recommend it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c755c54) out of 5 stars Striving For Normal 10 Feb. 2014
By Christina - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Complimentary copy provided by author/publisher for an honest review.

First, a disclaimer: domestic violence (both physical and emotional), the loss of a child, and a love triangle are all major elements of this story. If you have trouble with these types of themes, I would suggest passing on this one.

Drew is a survivor of abuse that is undergoing therapy. She is making great progress--her abuser is in jail, she has graduated with a degree, she has a great job that she loves and she's almost ready to get back in the dating game. Will old habits die-hard for Drew? Is she doomed to repeat her greatest mistake in picking a mate? Or can she move on, and see that things aren't always what they seem?

Carl is a fairly recent widower. He is a successful businessman who loves control and is not often told "no". His four-year-old daughter, Amy, is enrolled at the center where Drew works. Soon, Drew becomes the object of Carl's...affection?

Dennis is a nice guy, with a great job. He is a friend and co-worker of one of Drew's friends Mark (the husband of Drew's best friend, Terri). He is a great catch and would be perfect for Drew, however she is used to a certain "type" of guy...can she allow herself to be happiness she deserves?

Normally I wouldn't go into this much depth with just the characters, especially the inclusion of secondary characters, however Ms. Mooney has spent a lot of time in their development, and it shows. We see incredibly complex relationships that seem to mesh flawlessly. As a reader, I want to know more about the history these characters have together, as well as the future they have ahead of them.

The abuse, while disturbing, is not gratuitous, and unless you have a history, it should not be a problem, as it is central to the plot of the book. Ms. Mooney has artfully interwoven flashbacks with present day scenarios and we understand why Drew has made the choices she has, as well as why she has the problems making the decisions she does.

More importantly, I think, is the positive light the author shows on counseling and Drew's emotional recovery. All too often we see mental health written off, but in this case, we see Drew evolve with the help of her doctor, Joseph. She works through her emotions and draws strength from her past, setting her on course for a healthy future.

Striving For Normal is a five star read. It is well written, and I wouldn't necessarily say it is an easy read, but that is more due to the subject matter, rather than the writing itself. Ms. Mooney has crafted characters with depth that have not only drawn the reader into this title, but will make for an easy segue into the next book in the series, Striving For Perfection, comes out next year. Striving For Normal, while part of a series, could easily be read as a standalone.
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