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Helen Laibach lives in Southern California with her husband of over twenty years and their youngest daughter. Along with being an avid reader and talented nature photographer, Helen enjoys writing contemporary women’s fiction.
All her novels will have messages of hope, self-discovery, and empowerment. And while the characters will go through their fair share of loss, heartbreak, betrayal, and even danger, she promises that each book will have an ending that satisfies. Her debut novel, A Soul Less Broken is no exception.
A Soul Less Broken is part of Operation eBook Drop which gives free copies of eBooks to the military. To learn more visit:
Sarah (Workaday Reads)
on Jan. 05, 2012 :
This to me felt like three separate and only vaguely connected stories: Cat's ordeal, the love story, and Maddie's illness. I enjoyed the majority of each story, but they didn't feel like one cohesive book.
I am not typically a fan of soulmate stories, and this one had my usual complaint: the nonbeliever flips to a complete soulmate believer with very little detail. One look and that's it. No struggling against or difficulties excepting the idea at all.
I also felt that there was more telling than showing. Particularily when it came to developing relationships. We get no insight into the development of Cat and Maddie's friendship. One minute they are therapist and patient, and the next they are best friends. Where was the transition? And how does such a professional relationship become such a personal one?
Even with those complaints, this was still an emotional story that was enjoyable. The cover is absolutely gorgeous and the writing flows. With a little bit more development, this would be an amazing story that could easily transition to a romantic tearjerker movie.
(reviewed 7 months after purchase)
on Aug. 03, 2011 :
This book is a beautiful story about love, loss, friendship, devastation, struggle, pain, and ultimately triumph. It's the type of story that, even though parts are upsetting and maybe even a little disturbing, you're reminded of how precious and fragile life is, and it gives you the opportunity to hopefully look at life and your own life experiences in a different way. Life can be brutal and cruel, and the world can seem like a terrible, scary place, but when you open yourself up, it can also be a beautiful place, full of wonder and love.
Catherine was such a strong, resilient character. After being so brutally attacked and thinking she could never move on, she finds an inner strength she didn't realize she possessed, thanks in part to the help of her friend Madeline. Cat realized that if you always act like a victim, you'll always be a victim, and that you have to find the strength inside of you and not be afraid to ask for help, even when it's difficult. Although the love story in the book was romantic and had enough ups and downs to keep you interested and wanting more, it was the friendship between Cat and Madeline that was the shining relationship, at least for me. If you've ever been lucky enough to have that kind of friend, you'll understand what I mean.
I really enjoyed the little details about the characters that Helen included - and not just the main characters, but some of the secondary and background characters, too. They were things that give you real insight into each character, what makes them tick, what led them to become who they are, etc.
I think this book will help women who have been through a similar ordeal. Even for those who haven't, if you've ever struggled through a rough patch in your life and have found the strength to move on, you'll likely be able to sympathize with Catherine and draw strength from her character.
(reviewed 40 days after purchase)
on July 27, 2011 :
A Soul Less Broken is the story of Catherine Wilcox, a promising law student who suffers a brutal attack late one night leaving the library. She is left for dead and is taken to the hospital where Alan Peterson works in the Emergency Room. When he meets her he is convinced that soul mates exist and he will stop at nothing to help her through her terrible ordeal.
This story is about recovery, strength, love and friendship. There are emotional twists and turns are heart-pounding and leave you wanting more. This is not my usual genre of reading, but I found myself trying to carve out time to read and my eyes welled with tears on more than one occasion. I usually go for the paranormal romances, but this really got me. Catherine isn’t a character that I can relate to, personally, but the story drew me in. I was really touched by Catherine’s journey.
I am pleased to have been apart of promoting this book, as it is Helen Laibach’s first novel. I think that it is a very strong beginning to what I expect to be a successful career. I like to be “in the know” and I know that she is going to be a main-stay in women’s fiction. I highly recommend this quick, but satisfying read.
For more book reviews and topics regarding family and parenting, please visit www.mamazenblog.com
(reviewed 36 days after purchase)
on July 17, 2011 :
This story is amazing. If you haven't bought it already then you need to. When first reading this book I couldn't put it down. Now all my friends and loved ones have a copy (I couldn't help but buy them all one). Helen has done an amazing job at capturing all life’s obstacles from fear, pain, devastation, hope and LOVE. A Soul Less Broken gave me enough off all of these and kept me wanting more.
Nowadays movies and stories can be so predictable. This beautiful novel gave me just enough of what all life has to offer that kept me asking for more-especially the love story. I can't wait for a sequel. I hope Helen uses her skills and grants us with another story
(reviewed 7 days after purchase)
on July 13, 2011 :
I think of this book like a "Sidney Sheldon" book (favorite author). In other words...I loved this book and can't wait for Helen Laibach to write another. This was a book I hated to put down but had to at times due to other duties calling for my attention.
I grew to know the characters and felt what they were at various places in the book. My imagination sored at times when I tried to figure out what the next page or chapter would bring. I enjoyed everything about this book, including the beautiful cover.
It is a great summer read that you say 'WOW' when it ends. I recommend this book to all my friends and family it is a great book.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on July 11, 2011 :
A great read and looking forward to the continuing story. The best part about this book was the strength that Cat found in herself to overcome the horrible tragedy she physically and emotionally endured. She quickly determines her new calling and I found that to be so inspiring and relatable. Love the book trailer too!
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on July 10, 2011 :
I couldn't put this one down. The story flowed effortlessly and I felt each emotion as it occurred, the fear, the pain, the happiness & joy. I found the story inspiring-and a reminder that life is a crazy ride, you never know what's around the next turn. I hope there is a sequel. I can't wait for the next story from this author.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on July 09, 2011 :
When I read the synopsis for this book, I couldn't wait to read it. I love stories about people overcoming incredible obstacles and finding true love. In this book, the main character, Catherine, is raped, stabbed, and left for dead. At the hospital, Dr. Alan Peterson takes over her care and as soon as he lays eyes on her he feels an immediate connection. He's never even seen her before, but he already feels like he knows her. As she slowly recovers, he makes himself a fixture in her life, being there for her always. Catherine starts to fall for him too, but will she ever be able to overcome the physical and emotional trauma that haunts her every day and be able to have a normal relationship with Alan?
1) Character Development: I really didn't connect with the characters in this book. I wanted to, but it just didn't happen. Catherine ("Cat)" is tough, but understandably she has a lot of issues after the attack. As horrific as her attack was, I just didn't sympathize with her like I felt I should. That's when I knew I wasn't connecting with the characters. I thought Alan was sweet for sticking by her side all of that time, even before she even knew who he was, but if I was Catherine I might think that it was kind of creepy. Especially after what she had just went through; he was around a lot, asking about her and sending her flowers. He wasn't really being pushy in the beginning, but his shows of concern could have very easily pushed her away. Madeline ("Maddie") starts out being a crisis counselor for Cat, but they end up becoming close friends. I felt like her friendship with Maddie seemed a lot more genuine than her "relationship" with Alan; I'll explain more about that later.
2) The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly: The Good - This story has a great message about taking a stand against rape and violent crimes against women. It also deals with the terrifying and devastating effects of cancer, both the physical effect on the person's body who is suffering from it and the emotional toll it takes on those who love them. I also like how at the end of the book the author gives links to resources: RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network) and the National Brain Tumor Society. They are certainly both issues that we can all help bring awareness to and give support. The Bad - I found the dialogue between characters to be slightly awkward. It didn't flow well for me. For instance, when two characters would be talking to each other, they would use the other person's name every time they addressed them. Without it, the dialogue might have felt a little less clunky. There is one major plot point in particular that bothered me; it was extremely predictable and far too convenient in my opinion. It's actually a revelation that Maddie makes, but I won't go into any more detail because I don't want to ruin it for anyone. The Ugly - I appreciated the major issues that this book tackled, but I think it took on a bit too much. The book really had 3 main themes: rape, love, and cancer. I think it would have been a lot better read if it had just focused on Cat's attack and then on her healing process, with more emphasis on her growing relationship with Alan. The cancer aspect just threw a wrench in everything and, to me, made everything even less believable. I appreciate that awareness that the author is trying to bring to the subject of cancer, but maybe it could have been tackled in a separate book.
3) Romance Sizzle or Fizzle?: I have to say fizzle. I wanted to believe in this blossoming love between a woman who has her world torn apart and the man intent on saving her. In the end I just didn't believe in it. It's not that I don't think that maybe everyone has a soul mate; there's no guarantee you'll ever meet that person, but maybe when you do, you instantly know. I think that idea might have worked. But the story jumped around too much; one minute she didn't really know who Alan was, aside from being her doctor, the next they were basically in a relationship. There was no gradual easing into it, them getting to know each other and us as readers getting to see sweet moments between them that would make us believe that they were truly falling in love with each other. I wish there would have been more time taken for those little details, it would have built the story up a lot more, made it much easier for us to connect with these characters. The way the story skipped around, it made it seem as though they were barely together at all, surely not long enough to develop a healthy relationship. Even at the end I still wasn't convinced that they were really soul mates.
4) Uniqueness of Plot: I didn't find the plot to be especially unique. It was kind of like a mash-up of other fiction/romances books I've read in the past.
5) Final Thoughts: To be completely honest, I didn't enjoy this novel. I couldn't connect with the characters and therefore had trouble sympathizing for them. I did shed a tear at the end because I've had a family member die from cancer and I know how heartbreaking it is. By reading the synopsis I assumed that the story would focus more on Cat and Alan's relationship and although they did think about each other a lot and attempted to communicate occasionally, they simply didn't spend enough time together to show us why they were in love.
(reviewed 18 days after purchase)
on July 03, 2011 :
A Soul Less Broken was a great story. Once I started reading it I could not put the book down, it grabbed my attention right away. The characters, the setting and the story were so real the way Helen wrote the book. Can't wait to read more from this author.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)