While You're Awake by Amber Stokes

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

About the Book:
Author: Amber Stokes
Publisher: Seasons of a Story (Indie Publishing)
Source: Author Provided
Publication Date: 2015
Find the Review elsewhere:
Amazon ǀ Blogger ǀ Goodreads ǀ Wordpress
Find the Book Elsewhere:
Amazon ǀ Barnes & Noble ǀ Goodreads
Genre: Fiction; Novella (Novelette), Contemporary
Rating: 5 out of 5

As anyone who has read this blog for any length of time could probably tell you, fairytales are a favorite of mine. Or in the words of Miss Dorcas Lane, they are my “one weakness.” To be truthful, like the beloved character on Lark Rise to Candleford who loved that phrase, ‘tis true I do actually have more than one weakness, but fairytales are certainly high on that list. When I discovered that blogging friend Amber Stokes was going to release her loose retelling of Sleeping Beauty, needless to say I was elated. It was time for a new story from her. (Selfish as that may sound, it’s true.)  

The 50-some page novella tells the story of Ava, a young entrepreneur, who has suddenly become like honey to a group of bees. Every time Ava tries to go to sleep, the bees that somehow took up residence in her home seem to haunt her. Then there is Keagan. Keagan works at the local coffee shop Ava frequents and despite virtually knowing nothing about each other, the pair form a kind of friendship… with a possibility of so much more.  

Because it’s so short, saying anything with ease about this novella isn’t fair. Giving away too
much will essentially give away what you could simply discover for yourself in an hours’ time. Baring that in mind, my best intention is to keep this short. As with any novella length, from a reader’s perspective, the author already has an uphill battle from the very beginning, no matter the plot. Somehow this story feels very “full” irrespective of that. It’s beautifully told, hitting all of the right highs, and offers a poignant backstory for its hero that slips in unexpectedly to sure up the gaps and appropriately, tugs at our hearts.

The fairytale elements are few in a traditional sense, and the contemporary setting suits the characters and their motivations. With deft pacing and charming capabilities at telling the story, While You’re Awake is one of those pick-me-up reads you can enjoy in a matter of minutes. It has all the qualifiers of being on the edge of a more complete novel yet what it needs to say, it says and does so with skill. Bees may play a pivotal role, but leaving behind anything other than the sweetness of honey they do not.  
Ps; Want to know who won this book in the recent giveaway hosted here? Find the winning announcement on Twitter!

SynopsisAva always knew the bees would come. Just when she’s settled into a place of her own, freelance editing and savoring her independence, her rental house is invaded by a swarm of honey bees. And with their arrival, her lifelong fear morphs into a full-fledged panic that steals her sleep—and her peace of mind.

Keegan knows all about fear. When he meets Ava at the coffee shop where he works, he can’t help but come to her rescue. Together with his German shepherds, Sun and Moon, he sets out to break the “curse” that hovers over Tired Girl. But is it possible to conquer nightmares and live a dream while you're awake?

This sweet novelette is a contemporary re-imagining of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale that sheds light on the worries that bind us and the love that leads to peace. - Goodreads

Coming Next from Amber Stokes, Where Trains Collide: Burned out and disillusioned with her chosen career path, Trisha Knolane gives in to impulse and hops on a train bound for Oregon, eager to escape the stress of college for a few days. But what begins as a fun little adventure suddenly collapses into a nightmare when she discovers that her ex-boyfriend is also on board.

All her hopes and dreams had once centered on Paul Benson. Now, when Trisha doesn't know where her current track will lead, Paul’s questions only complicate matters and spark a few of her own.

Questions that could change the course of her life.

A heartfelt and thought-provoking contemporary romance novella, Where Trains Collide faces the uncertain season of new adulthood head-on and shows that sometimes a path of broken dreams can lead to life's best destination. - Goodreads, Publication TBA

Sincere thanks to the author for providing a complimentary e-ARC copy of this book for reviewing purposes.


  1. This sounds like a really good book! Lovely review!

    1. It's wonderful, Kara! I hope if/when you read it, you enjoy. Definitely a sweet little romance. :)

  2. This sounds insanely cute. Like you, I adore fairytales and retellings and all that good stuff. Amazing review, Rissi. I will definitely be checking this one out. :)

    1. It is indeed that and then some, Bekah. Fairytales are my guilty pleasure, so I enjoy reading any that even hint at that and Amber's novella is charming! Hope you enjoy this one if/when you read it. :)

  3. Thank you so much for this sweet and lovely review, Rissi! And thank you most especially for your encouragement as I was finalizing this book for publication. ♥ I'm so blessed by your friendship!


    1. I'm always thrilled when you have a new book to release into the world, Amber. As always, it's a pleasure to help no matter how small. It's been fun to watch your journey from editor to author and I wish you all the best with your next publications... and whatever else you have planned! *Hugs*

  4. Rissi, thank you for the great review! :)

    1. Thank you for the visit and for reading, Caryl. :)


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