Life or Death, Book 1
December 2013
327 pages
New Adult, Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Rating: 5 Cups

Viola Bellerose, a wine heiress, was in a car accident and is now in a coma. Sometimes she is aware and can hear what is going on around her. Other times, she dreams. Outside of her dreams, she hears the voice of Sam, an intern at the hospital, who talks to her of his life as if she is awake and whom she forms a strong connection. She does not always know what her dreams are trying to tell her, but in them lays the truth about what happened to her, and with her parents. First she has to wake up, figure out if she is still suffering from her injuries, or just imagining it all, including someone wanting her dead. Sam seems to be the only one that believes her, but will she scare him off before she is safe and truths are found?

Sam Philips is an intern in the hospital that Viola is admitted to, and a strong bond forms between them. Every day he visits and talks to her as if she is awake and he calls her Sleeping Beauty. Somehow he blames himself for her accident and the resulting coma, thinking he missed something somewhere when she was admitted. One night he gets a strange feeling, causing him to visit her. He is just in time to save her as she had stopped breathing. He believes there is more to Viola than what people think and she is not for him, regardless of how he feels. Is her Uncle Jack right about her being a liar and a schemer? Is there really someone trying to kill her? In spite of everything, does he still want to try and be with Viola?

After almost dying once more, she wakes from her coma and has to practically learn to do everything again, even to talk in full sentences. She detests the condescending way that everyone talks to her, except Sam, who even braved her reaction to tell her about her parents. Viola struggles to remember what happened that night. Is her rock star boyfriend still her boyfriend? Did she really see who she thought she did in the club that night? Meanwhile, her dreams continue, making her question the links between her father, mother, and Uncle Jack. After leaving the hospital with Sam, Viola plans to find the truth about her accident, parents, and Uncle Jack, The bond between them grows stronger, and Viola disappears to escape the distraction that is Sam. After finding some surprising truths, Sam races to track down Viola before the killer does.

There was a lot of waking going on in this book, besides just waking from a coma. Viola wakes from what she thought was a perfect, privileged family life, to Sam having to wake from the tendency he had to just “go with the flow” instead of grabbing what he wanted. They were two broken and ostensibly different people, who were actually perfect for each other, finding out after dealing with Viola’s car crash, coma, her stint in the psych ward, shocking family secrets, Sam’s tendency to cave and cover things up when the going gets hard, and multiple attempts to kill Viola. I loved all of the characters—including the secondary ones like Brady. Some of them seemed simple and easy to predict, but had hidden depths to them, which were shown as the story went on. The switch in POVs between Viola, her dreams—which were quite colorful and insightful—and Sam were well done, each melding into each other to give a better view of the story. The end, can we say “surprise?” I know I was stunned and was totally not expecting what was revealed. I loved this story. I just wanted to learn more about Viola and her Uncle. I definitely want to read the next book—which is to be about Brady—and recommend reading this book, which is a great start to a series.

Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More


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