Disrupted Lives by Brenda Youngerman

Disrupted Lives

Published: April 11, 2011
Publisher: Eloquent Books
Source: Free review copy from the author (thank you!)

From Goodreads: A name does not make a person, a person makes a name.

Such is the theme of Disrupted Lives, the story of how one adopted child touches and intersects with many lives, but ends up destroying one family name, while building another family’s legacy.

Darren and Amelia Kane were high school sweethearts torn apart by war. They reunite and discover that they both must put their nightmares behind them to build a life together. Betrayed by her parents, Amelia was earlier forced to give up their child.

Fiona Porter and Sterling Lake are thrown together as part of a business proposition. They end up surprising both their families by enriching the Lake empire and family name. The Lakes become synonymous with society, power and money, and their children must carry that torch forward at all cost. When an adopted grandchild is brought into the family, he questions the definition of “family.”

From 1920 to present-day Georgia, this saga of family secrets and old Southern prejudices are explored in the explosive novel Disrupted Lives.

Brenda Youngerman lives in Southern California and is writing her next novel, Skewered Halo. “I write what I call ‘Fiction With a Purpose,’ something that I hope takes the reader on a ride so when they put the book down they say, “Was that real?” I also want the messages in the book to stay with them.”

My Thoughts: In Disrupted Lives, Brenda Youngerman has created a remarkably complex family history based on wealth, power, unattainable expectations, compliance with family ideals and regret. Both compelling and beautifully written this is the sort of novel I had to read in nearly only sitting, I couldn’t stand to put it down and not know how things would unfold.

I found it very interested to see how the lives of 2 separate families came together and affected each other so much. I loved how Youngerman went back in time so far to discover several generations of the Lake and Kane families and relate how their actions affected the next generation. I found the stories and the family dynamics to be particularly fascinating.

I did at times find this 90 year time span to be a little wide and sometimes felt as though time was rushing by too quickly when I wanted to read more about a particular character or major life event. Sometimes the speed at which time passed could be dizzying, however I understood the need to move time quickly along considering the span of time the novel had to cover.

What made this book for me were a few specific characters. I loved Amelia’s story and I wanted to read so much more about her. She was strong, compassionate and a little bit damaged by her past but she didn’t allow her past hurts to ruin her present life. She allowed her past to give her perspective and spent her energy focusing on those people in her life who truly supported and cared about her. I could have read an entire novel solely about Amelia and her struggles. I was also fascinated by Fiona and Steel’s relationship and found it so interesting to read about how two generations of Lakes approached their lives, and the people in them, so differently. These intense family interactions pulled me into the story and had me completely invested in the lives of the people I was reading about.

I would recommend Disrupted Lives to anyone who loves to read family focused fiction or drama, or is interested in Southern fiction.

Guest Post with Author Dianne Greco

Image result for Dianne Greco author of In the Hands of Grace

Dianne Greco author of In the Hands of Grace stopped by Hands and Home today to discuss her favourte chapter in her novel. If you did not catch my review of In the Hands of Grace you can see it here.

My favorite chapter would be chapter eight. Susan is feeling restless after an altercation with her friend Patsy at the day spa where she was treated to a new hairdo, a facial and more information about her husband than she really cared to know.

On a whim, she pops in on Grace, and finds the table oddly set with coffee mugs for two. She wonders if Grace was expecting company, only to find out that she had been waiting for Susan to come over. Once again, Susan is taken aback by Grace’s clairvoyance.

They chat about the spa, the herbs in Grace’s kitchen, and the subject of her deceased husband come up. Before she knows it, Susan is baring her soul to Grace about the less than wonderful marriage they had, and ends up sobbing in Grace’s arms.

In an effort to help Susan get her mind off the awful events of the day, Grace takes Susan by the hand and leads her outside to her canoe resting on the shore.

Susan is terrified at the thought of going out at night in a canoe with an elderly woman, but Grace manages to get her in and in no time they are floating in a sea of stars and water, with no beginning and no end.

It is here that Susan learns to overcome her unfounded fear of the water and relaxes into the ride and the incredible beauty of the endless night sky. I think this chapter mirrors the fear she had of finding out the truth about her husband and the lesson that once a fear is faced head on, it becomes easier and easier to resolve.

Little Battles by N.K. Smith


Published: April 28, 2011
Publisher: TWCS Publishing House
Source: Free review copy from Publisher

From Goodreads: Spending time with Elliott instills a faint whisper of hope within Sophie Young; hope that both terrifies her and promises redemption. But the demons of her past are never far behind, and old habits are hard to break. The more she tries to push him away, the stronger the pull towards him becomes. As Sophie’s broken heart continues to seek comfort in Elliott, can she put aside her destructive ways and take the most dangerous risk of all?

For many years, Elliott Dalton had lived a solitary existence, keeping his emotions under tight control. But as his feelings for Sophie grow and her life spins further out of control, his carefully built facade begins to crack.

He is determined to protect her at all costs, just as he protects the hidden secrets of his past. Secrets that threaten everything. For if she knew, he would lose her forever…

My Thoughts: Smith’s writing is so brilliantly natural, raw and beautiful. There was nothing about the narration in this story that felt forced or contrived and I think that is why this book affected me as much as it did, it was just so unbelievably real.

Smith wrote Sophie and Elliott’s characters with such authenticity that it literally hurt me to read their stories at times. I did not feel as though I was reading a novel, I felt like I was watching these two kids try to come to terms with their past traumas and understand how they were affecting their present lives. In Little Battles we as readers are given a painfully close look at Sophie’s past and how it has affected every detail of her life, from her drug use to her inability to be close with anyone. The explanations given for Sophie’s behaviors and attitudes are heart wrenching and I couldn’t help but feel for this girl.

What was so interesting to me is how Sophie and Elliott were able to connect with each other when they either had difficulty or no desire to connect with others. How Elliott’s character developed and changed surprised me and throughout the novel I was dying to read more about him. There was so much that he wanted, or needed to say, but just couldn’t. I am absolutely sitting on pins and needles waiting for the 3rd installment of this series Weight of the World to come out on August 25, 2011! I think that this is the book that will give me the answers that I so desperately crave about Elliott.


I am giving Little Battles 4 Hands and Home stamps of approval!