New Release + Excerpt + Giveaway and 5+ Star Review: The Cursed Series Part One & Part Two by Rebecca Donovan


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The Cursed Series

Parts 1 & 2

By Rebecca Donovan


“Trust no one. Everyone lies. You can only save yourself.”

It was supposed to be a Friday night like any other for Lana and her best friends. Three girls out to cause a little trouble. Break a few hearts. And try not to get caught. Except on this night, Lana Peri is the sole witness to a horrific crime, and she can’t say a word. Not if she wants to protect her friends. No one will believe her word over his, so he gets away with it. And she’s forced to pay for her silence.

Instead of serving time in juvie, Lana is sentenced to a boarding school for privileged teens. Removed from everyone she knows and cares about, she’s abandoned at Blackwood School in Vermont, where everything is an illusion, including the lives of those who attend the elite institution. Lana isn’t wealthy or privileged. The only thing she has in common with the sons and daughters of celebrities and politicians is that she’s a delinquent, just like them. And they’ve all been forced to grow up much too fast.

Just when Lana begins to feel accepted, mysterious notes start showing up in her belongings and ominous threats are painted on her wall. Only someone she knows could have done it. Someone she thought was a friend. As the pieces fall into place, secrets begin to emerge, leaving Lana with too many questions and not enough people to trust.

The Cursed Series is a thrilling and tangled mystery that explores the sacrifice of love and the secrets kept to protect friends. How do you know who to trust when no one is telling the truth?




“This is Screaming Point.”

“That’s what it’s called?”

“It is now. As of today. Because it’s what we need it to be.” She takes my hand. “Ready?”

I look out at the dwindling light dancing on the dark surface like the lake is capturing every last bit of the sun before it disappears. I close my eyes and find that place inside that is always angry. That hates my curse. That needs Allie to live. And Vic to burn. That wants to hurt every man who has ever broken my mother’s heart. Or touched what wasn’t theirs. And every person who has ever lied when they claimed to love. I don’t have to search for long, because it’s always there, waiting to explode.

I open my eyes to look into Ashton’s sapphire blue ones, and nod.

We face the water and inhale deeply, giving our anger, frustration and sadness a breath of life before we unleash it onto the world in the most powerful scream that’s ever been launched from this cliff. And it’s freeing. More than I ever thought possible. I allow my heartache to take flight, releasing it into the setting sun to be dragged down beneath the horizon.

And what’s left when there aren’t any more screams to give is a radiant smile. Ashton and I face each other, our hands still clasped, and we start laughing. It’s a true, bonding laughter because we just shared something sacred. If anyone were to witness it, they would think we’re insane. And maybe it’s that crazy within each of us that makes the laughter louder and deeper until I have to wipe away the tears creeping out the corners of my eyes.

“Thank you, Ashton,” I tell her as we start back across the field. “My soul needed that.”



Michel’s Review

The Cursed Series by Rebecca Donovan is one readers don’t want to miss. The release of Part 1 and Part 2 are taking the reading and blogger world by storm. All who have read the book are praising the series and begging for the next two installments, myself included. This series grabbed my attention within the first few pages and held me captive through both parts. Although this series is considered mature YA geared for the 16 and up age group, I think this series steps out of it’s “specified genre”.  It will appeal to all readers because of it’s mature content mixed with intrigue, mystery, and romance while still capturing the freshness of youthful optimism. The writing is superb. The plot is delivered in an interesting and subtle way by blending two worlds together in an unique way. The main characters are defined by their strongest virtue which is also their biggest weakness and flaw.  Their personal curse is what propels and defines each of their roles within this story.

Pay attention to the headers at the beginning of each chapter in both Part One and Part Two.  Part One is the perspective from Lana’s grandmother. Part two is from a fairytale story. All of these chapter headers propel the story in a new direction.

Part One – If I’d Known

The readers are introduced to Lana, the narrator of The Cursed series. Lana has been brought up to believe that virtues are the curses that destroy lives. She’s the only child of a single mother who conceived her at a young age. They were abandoned by the baby daddy before she was born. Her mother has spent her life searching for love and happily ever after. Her search has left Lana somewhat emotionally neglected. Lana was mostly raised by her grandmother until she passed away.

Her life experiences have taught her that virtues are the downfall for everyone she has loved. She has witnessed Belief, Trust, Kindness, and Boldness destroy those she holds dear.

Lana has been brought up in the rougher side of a small city in Massachusetts. It’s obvious that Lana and her friends have had to grow up fast and learn street smarts in order to survive. Although they are one step away from crossing the line to the darker side, they have each other’s backs and protect each other no matter what. In a sense they all know they will cross the line at some point. It’s just a matter of when or how. Loyalty to each other is how they survive  in their world.

Lana’s biggest problem is her virtue. Her virtue is absolute “HONESTY”. She cannot lie no matter how much it can hurt someone else or herself. This is what leads her to her demise ( Part 2) when she is in the wrong place at the wrong time and very bad, unspeakable things happen that could destroy them all. Rather than lie about what happened she chooses silence and takes the punishment.

Part Two – Knowing You

Instead of being convicted and sent to Juvenile Detention, Lana is sent to Blackwood,an exclusive correctional boarding school for troubled rich kids. Rather than punishing the troubled students, they are managed and guided to make better life choices. The students are cut off from social media, technology, and the outside world. Their time is managed to fit their personal needs for improvement in all aspects of their lives including academic weaknesses to personality flaws. They are all required to work to pay back restitution for the  damages  they have done prior to coming to Blackwood.

Lana arrived at Blackwood at the beginning of the summer session. There are very few students on campus. The students that are attending quickly become her tribe although she doesn’t really trust any of them. They all work at the local country club and socialize with the other kids from town working there. Lana quickly realizes that although these kids are from privileged backgrounds they are all basically the same. They are all defined by their Virtue.

Lana becomes a part of the Blackwood life even though she misses her friends from her old life. She is learning that people are people no matter where she goes. There are good and bad things everywhere. She still doesn’t trust easily but she is also learning life lessons about the true meaning of love and friendship. Things seem good on the surface but she is getting threatening notes that are escalating into something sinister and dangerous. As the threats escalate it becomes apparent that her past world is connected to her new world. It may not be the VIRTUE that destroys her. Two worlds are colliding. Virtues are colliding. Her life is spiraling out of control.


Rebecca Donovan knocked it out of the park with the Cursed Series. She delivered an enthralling story that readers cannot get enough of. I highly recommend this series!



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Rebecca Donovan

Rebecca Donovan, the USA Today and Wall Street Journalbestselling YA author of The Breathing Seriesand What If, lives in a small town in Massachusetts with her son. Influenced and obsessed with music, Rebecca can often be found jumping around at concerts, or on a plane to go see one. She’s determined to experience(not just live) life. And then write about it.


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ARC Review: What If by Rebecca Donovan

What ifWhat If 

Genre: YA / New Adult


By Rebecca Donovan


A new novel by the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Breathing Series . . .

What if you had a second chance to meet someone for the first time?

Cal Logan is shocked to see Nicole Bentley sitting across from him at a coffee shop thousands of miles from their hometown. After all, no one has seen or heard from her since they graduated over a year ago.

Except this girl isn’t Nicole.

She looks exactly like Cal’s shy childhood crush, but her name is Nyelle Preston and she has no idea who he is. This girl is impulsive and daring, her passion for life infectious. The complete opposite of Nicole. Cal finds himself utterly fascinated-and falling hard. But Nyelle is also extremely secretive. And the closer he comes to finding out what she’s hiding, the less he wants to know.

When the secrets from the past and present collide, one thing becomes clear: Nothing is what it seems.

Buy: Amazon / Barnes and Noble / ITunes

4 star read

Michel’s Review

What If by Rebecca Donovan is one of those books that leaves the reader with lasting impressions and thoughts. It was meticulously written with a unique style. The story is told through multiple POV. It is a story of childhood friendships that leave a lasting impression on the main characters as they leave childhood behind and become adults. Their connections throughout the story are memorable and the reader begins to understand how these connections mold the story into what it is.

We have all had those “What If” moments in our lives. We have questioned our actions and reactions to moments in life that have impacted our future. What If is the story of three girls and one boy that have a powerful friendship in their childhood years. As they begin to become young adults their lives start to take different directions. Their friendships start to drift into more of acquaintances. But below the surface those deep bonds of friendship will be with them throughout their lives.

One friend, Richelle has abruptly moved away and lost complete touch with the other three. Nicole has moved on to the popular crowd and left her old friends behind. Cal and Rae have managed to remain close.

A year after high school is where the story begins. Nicole has left to go to an Ivy League school. No one has heard a word from her since she left. She has dropped all communication with new and old friends.

Cal wonders what has happened. Rae could care less because she has anger issues towards Nicole for betraying their friendship.

A year later Cal comes face to face with a girl that is Nicole. But is that girl really Nicole? Her name is Nyelle and she is nothing like Nicole at all. Nyelle is a free spirit and spur of the moment kind of girl.

Thus begins the mystery of who Nyelle really is. Cal is determined to find the Nicole he once knew because she is his “What If” girl.   As the story unfolds the reader gets more insight to what really happened. As Nyelle begins to lose her façade and Nicole begins to resurface, Cal is there to help her remember exactly who she is. Cal will take Nyelle as Nicole or Nyelle. He will take her anyway he can. He wants her back in his life. But as the story unfolds there will be revelations that will affect all the friends and their perceptions of what they thought they knew about life.

I found this was a lovely novel about the bonds of friendship. The evolution from childhood to adulthood.   But I also found at times I was having a hard time keeping up with the multiple POV’s and multiple relationships each character had with the other characters. I also felt when the final “aha” moment was revealed I had a hard time buying it. I felt like Nyelle bordered on being insane. I felt like Cal sold himself short. I felt Rae seemed a bit insignificant in the whole scheme of things.

I am not sure if this book is YA or New Adult. It felt more like a YA book. While as a mature adult and seasoned reader I found the book somewhat unbelievable. My sense of reasoning just could not grasp it. But then I took a step back and thought about my teenage daughter and how her relationships are with her friends. I observed that she could grasp all the multiple POV’s and multiple relationships with great ease. I also could see how young people can walk away with a different perception of a situation than a mature adult would. Their perceptions of the world are new, fresh, jaded at times because of all the social media, and quite different because of our information type of society. Their coping mechanisms are different than the coping mechanisms we adults have had in our younger lives. With that being said I think Rebecca Donovan created a story that this audience will grasp and love.

I would highly recommend this book.

Author Bio:


rebecca donovanRebecca Donovan is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the highly-acclaimed New Adult trilogy, The Breathing Series. Her novels include: Reason to Breathe, Barely Breathing, and the eagerly-anticipated conclusion of the series, Out of Breath.

Rebecca is a graduate of the University of Missouri -Columbia and lives in a quiet town in Massachusetts with her son. Excited by all that makes life possible, she is a music enthusiast and is willing to try just about anything once.

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads

What if