Review: Rhapsody in Red by Stephanie Andrassy

February 27, 2015 Adrienne's Reviews, Reviews 0 ★★★★★

Review:  Rhapsody in Red by Stephanie Andrassyfive-stars
Rhapsody in Red by Stephanie Andrassy
on January 20, 2015
Pages: 565
ASIN: B00R5DLZPE
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Death - Afterlife - Amnesia - Friendships - Love...

Six friends agreed to play a game.
They all chose to die before they turned 30, but they don't remember why.
They planned the game before they were born.

The Home Series Book 3 - Rhapsody in Red

A child inherits a world already defined by their elders, and after battling ridicule for years, Joanie hid behind a comedic facade to finally win friends. Now her unraveling world threatens exposure and heartache. Longing to break free from the stifling secretive darkness, she has to play the rebel’s game in order to win at love. But can cheating really lead to the happily ever after she wants?
Adrienne's Review v2

We’re given only one life.  One chance to get it right.  What if you don’t like the cards you were dealt?  What if you’re born into a life that has predefined structures that you’re not aware of?  What if because of that you hide behind a made up image in order to protect yourself?  Have you ever been bullied or teased?  How did you react?  What do you do to protect yourself?  Unfortunately for many kids who are bullied their home life isn’t that much better.  What does a kid who’s raised in a tumultuous environment filled with negativity, self loathing, ridicule, look like?

In the third installment of the Home series, Stephanie Andrassy addresses all those things.  Rhapsody in Red is Joanie’s story.  Joanie whom you’ve all met already in the first two books, you probably remember her as the fun red haired beauty.  The life of the party, she comes across as witty, fun, beautiful.  And she is indeed all those things…on the other side.  At Home Joanie is everything she wasn’t in “real” life.  Oh she’s still funny and she still has the same personality, but at Home she’s thinner and she just can’t shake her old self.  The girl who hides behind comedy.  This girl who still sees fat when she looks in the mirror.

I connected with Joanie in a way that I haven’t in any of Stephanie’s other books.  Joanie is in my open the most complex character in the Home series.  She’s a direct result of her environment.  Her parents sheltered her, treated her differently, coddled her with food, and did nothing to help her cope.  At school she’s teased, bullied, even shunned.  It’s not until she’s a bit older that she develops her own way of coping, humor.  The humor though doesn’t cover up what she sees in herself.  There’s self doubt, self loathing, no self confidence.  No one really knows Joanie, no one could possibly love Joanie.  Joanie sees herself as less than.  Only at Home she has friends, and even male suitors who all seem to love her.  But how can they love someone who doesn’t even know who she really is?

How far would you go to understand the why’s and why nots?  Why did her parents ply with her food as a child to reward or soothe?  Why didn’t anyone help her?  What secrets are being kept?  Who is Joanie really?  Stephanie takes us on a beautiful journey of learning to love yourself.  She makes us all dig deep in order to understand not only Joanie’s story but maybe even a little about ourselves.  Stephanie’s writing is like no other I’ve come across.  Her descriptive prose transports you immediately to another place and time.  I always feel like I’m in my own little cocoon when reading her books.  Whether we’re in an apartment or cafe, a city or prison, Boston or Italy, you will feel like you’re right there.  Reading her books are like my homecoming, this is where my friends are, where everything is safe and right.

Rhapsody in Red is some of Stephanie Andrassy’s best writing.  As her beta reader, I truly see her growth in not only her characters but her writing.  We’re not done with the Home series and I’m so excited to read more about this group of friends.

*A copy of this book was kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review*

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About Stephanie Andrassy

I always knew at a very young age that I would have a life-long love affair with the written word. My first favorite book was “Horton Hears a Who”. Imagine another world existing on a tiny spec of dust! I quickly learned that I was fascinated with the fact that printed words on a page had the magical ability to fill your head with such wonderful ideas. And then I met the classic fairy tales, along with the “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” – what incredibly imaginative stuff. “The Swiss Family Robinson”, “Encyclopedia Brown”, “The Hardy Boys”, and Judy Blume – I was hooked on reading.

When I was ten, I wrote to author, Allan W. Eckert, to rave about his book, “Incident at Hawk’s Hill”, and to ask him some questions about his life as an author. To my surprise and complete thrill, he wrote back! Authors were human! At twelve, I not only volunteered after school in the school’s library (surrounded by all those books), but I proved the “authors are human” theory by participating in a future authors program; writing and illustrating my first book. Our books were not published, but they were professionally bound in hard cover and we held readings in the school library, sharing our books with the younger grades. I still have this first masterpiece, proudly displaying it on my bookshelf.

Over the years, the words of many great authors (too many to mention) have been invited to take up residency in my mind. John Wyndham’s, “The Chrysalids”, thrilled me. “Lord of the Flies” made me think in terms of ‘what if’. I devoured Tolkien and Silverberg. “A Farewell to Arms” made me cry. “Peony”, by Pearl S. Buck, fascinated me. I also quickly fell in love with Austen and Bronte, read Danielle Steele for years, and have enjoyed all of Dan Brown’s work. I continue to read – romance, fantasy, and chick lit, as well as mystery and suspense, parenting books, psychology, theology, and sociology reads. In fact, there is not much I won’t indulge in (except horror).

Encouraged to pursue an education and career, I obtained a B.A. in Settlement Studies from the University of Guelph, and then embarked on a fifteen year career in social housing. I continued to write, secretly daring to dream that someday I would write a novel that would see the light of day while I trudged along in the day-to-day that we all experience. My debut novel, Noble Lies, a fantasy/suspense romance, is the first of my written works to be released out into the world as a self-published ebook (September 2012), now joined by paranormal romance short story, The White Peacock (March 2013), and paranormal romance novel Just Live, Juliette! (May 2013).

Authors tend to write the types of stories that they enjoy and I gravitate towards books with substance that allow me to grow as a person, to experience aspects of life I would never see on my own, and/or that allow me to escape into the magical recesses of my imaginative mind. It is no surprise, then, that my writing leans towards real life, sometimes contorted into a dreamscape of fantasy and fairy tale, sprinkled with suspense and grit, and iced with romance.

I presently live in southern Ontario, Canada, with my family, where further works are well underway.

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Cover
Overall: 5

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