A powerful, gripping novel: "Center of Gravity" by Laura McNeil

Having put her career as a school counsellor on hold to embrace a new marriage, new step-son, and a new baby, Ava couldn't be happier. Her husband Mitchell is a good provider, her stepson Jack keeps her on her toes with his frequent misadventures carrying out his superhero ambitions, and her son Sam loves nothing better than to remind her she's loved and needed. But when a hidden dark side of Mitchell emerges, Ava isn't prepared for the war he is about to unleash. As Ava loses custody of the children and finds that Mitchell has turned even her friends against her, she must find the strength to fight for the truth...and her very life.

"Center of Gravity" is one of those books that I picked up because the plot intrigued me, but I wasn't sure entirely what to expect as Laura McNeil is an unknown author to me. But let me tell you that this is one wild ride! If I was prone to biting my nails, I'm pretty sure I would have lost them all in the course of reading this book. As more and more of Mitchell's dark side arises and Ava's seemingly perfect life falls utterly apart around her, you can't help but feel her depth of despair. But this isn't one of those books that gets bogged down in emotion. Rather, the plot races along and I found myself captivated by Ava's struggle, and also that of Jack, who emerges as one of the true heroes in this story. Now, a word of caution is in order. There was some mild profanity in this novel, which I was a bit surprised by coming from a publisher like Thomas Nelson. Though I can enjoy a book without being offended by such things, I didn't feel it added to the book and hope it doesn't stop people from adding this author to their "must-read" list.

Center of Gravity is very well-written, and will entertain you, grab hold of your emotions, and leave you both drained and filled with hope after reaching the conclusion of the story. I award this book a very solid 4.5 out of 5 stars, and look forward to what is next to come from Laura McNeil!

Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher, Thomas Nelson, and the Booklook program, for the purposes of this unbiased review.

about the author...

Laura McNeillAfter six years behind the anchor desk at two CBS affiliates, Laura moved to the Alabama Gulf Coast to raise her family. 

Laura's debut novel with HarperCollins (Thomas Nelson), Center of Gravity, set in Mobile, Ala., will be published in July of 2015. Her writing awards include those from William Faulkner-Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, Writer's Digest, RWA, and the Eric Hoffer competition. Her accolades in broadcasting include awards from the Associated Press, including Best News Anchor and Best Specialized Reporter.

She holds a master's degree in journalism from The Ohio State University and is currently pursuing her MFA in creative writing from New England College.

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