Sunday, July 27, 2014

Blog Tour / Scavenger Hunt - Between Before and After by Amanda Dick.



Between Before and After

Blurb -

Five friends. Three days. One heart-stopping discovery.

Three years ago, Danny Morris left behind a gun, a tonne of questions and a gaping hole in the lives of those who loved him. What he didn’t leave was a suicide note.

On the anniversary of his death, his closest friends gather at his parents’ beach house in New Zealand's idyllic Marlborough Sounds. Danny’s girlfriend, Kate, holds fast to his memory by continuing to live in the house they shared. Struggling to move on with her life, her blossoming feelings for Danny’s best friend, Finn, only complicate matters. Withdrawing from his high-flying lifestyle, Max has carved out a much simpler life. Self-medicating with alcohol, fighting off nightmares he refuses to talk about, the memory of finding Danny’s body has him sailing dangerously close to the edge. While Finn is finally ready to address his feelings for Kate, trying to save Max from himself dredges up long-buried anger and frustration that threaten to overwhelm him. For Lacey and Gavin, a recent bereavement gives them a heart-wrenching insight of a different kind.

Instead of time easing the pain, the group find themselves stuck in limbo, awaiting the understanding and peace that has so far eluded them.

Three years ago a single bullet ricocheted through all their lives, but this year everything will change.

Purchase Links

5 Book Rating

This is a very touching story about 5 close friends, that get together once a year for the anniversary of a loved one who took his own life. Danny. He was like a brother to them, and to one, a lover, and I really don't think that this could have been written any better. I mourned right along with them, and I laughed when they told stories about how goofy Danny was like he was my friend as well.

I liked all of the character's and really enjoyed how it was told from all of their perspectives; you got to read about how each individual was either coping or not coping with the situation, and then witness as they all came together and helped each other. That is friendship in it's truest form. This made the book flow very nicely, and kept me reading from start to finish in basically one sitting. It was the perfect read for an overcast Sunday morning/afternoon. Not only was it a book about friends reminiscing and mourning the loss of their friend, it also had a little bit of romance to go along with it. Also, what I wouldn't give to spend a week where they were staying! The scenery sounded beautiful!!!

Like the author says at the end of the book, she likes to write real people that deal with real-life situations, and I really think she nailed this one on the head. This story resonated with me because I knew someone who chose to end her life too soon, and you really do feel hopeless after the fact and beat yourself up with the “what if” factor...

This book really defines the true meaning of friendship.

I was given this copy in exchange for an honest review – Loved it, thank you!!

Between Before and After by Amanda Dick

Teaser - Finn (2)

He cleared his throat quietly and walked past Max, setting both their cups down on the coffee table and sinking into the sofa again. Max didn’t move. Finn stared at his reflection, trying to read him. The moonlit night was obliterated by the lamplight inside. All he could see was Max’s face in the window, but what could Max see? What was going on inside his head?

Finn could feel his energy waning and his heart felt weary once again. It was no good. No matter how hard he tried to fight it, no matter how hard he pushed things away, he was tired. He was tired and he was angry and he wished – he wished – he understood what had happened that day. Maybe then, they could all forget about how Danny died, just for a while – just long enough to heal. Would they all be here – screwed up, feeling guilty, feeling responsible somehow – if Danny had died in a car accident, or dropped dead from a heart attack? Probably not. But because he had shot himself in the head, here they were. Danny’s decision haunted them more than any twist of fate or act of God. It seemed grossly unfair.

Wearily, he glanced over at Kate. She looked so tranquil. It was like all the worries of the world fell away from her and she was free to just be herself again. Like she had been before.

“You should tell her.”

Finn’s head snapped up. Max had turned around and was watching him, his arms folded across his chest, his face maddeningly blank.


“You heard me.”

Over the last few hours, whatever hangover Max had been heading for had disintegrated, swallowed up by the nightmare and the buckets of caffeine that followed. He wasn’t stone cold sober, but he didn’t appear to be ridiculously worse for wear either.

Finn reached for his coffee, his heart racing. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Bullshit. I’ve seen how you look at her.”

Finn was out of his depth. He was so tired, he could barely think straight - and he wasn’t ready for this conversation, not by a long shot.

He tried to shrug casually, feigning ignorance. “Mate, you’re way off – “

“It’s different now. You should tell her, before you miss your window.”

Finn stared up at him. “I don’t… what do you mean, miss my window?”

“Before we all bugger off and everything goes back to the way it was before.”

He was right. Once they all went their separate ways again, it would be harder to talk to her. If he was going to do this at all, it had to be here – and soon. He groaned softly and fell back into the sofa, staring at the ceiling.

“Was I that obvious?”

Max smiled then and Finn noticed how much younger he looked when he did that. Personally, he was feeling quite the opposite. He looked at Kate now, scared suddenly that she may have woken up and was lying there staring at him like he’d lost his mind. Luckily, she wasn’t.

“No, not really. Little things gave it away. I guess it’s what happens when you just sit back and watch the world go by.”

Max sank into the nearest armchair, reaching over to pick up his coffee mug. Most of the time, Max gave him the impression that he was walking a tightrope, stretched between reality and some corner of his mind that he went to hide from everything. Regardless, there was no doubt that his insight was staggering. Maybe there was something in that – stepping back, watching the world go by.

“You really think she’s ready for that?” he asked, afraid to hope. “I talked to her about that earlier – just in general terms, I mean – and I just don’t know. She’s bloody hard to read sometimes.”

Max rested his coffee mug on the arm of the chair, staring down at it thoughtfully. “She seems different, but in a good way. More like her old self.”

“Yeah, I kind of thought that too. At New Years, we had this – I don’t know what the hell it was. I kept putting it down to the booze, but I just couldn’t get it out of my head. It was just the way she looked at me, and we nearly...” He cleared his throat lightly, shaking his head at the memory. “And then when Kelly and I called it quits, I was kinda relieved, to be honest. She deserves a hell of a lot more than I’ve got to offer.”

“Who, Kate?”



“I don’t know, though.” He glanced over at Kate again. “It’s complicated.”

“No one said it was gonna be easy.”

“Well aren’t you just chock full of wisdom tonight?” Finn grumbled sarcastically, shaking his head. “You’ve hardly said two words in the past couple of hours, and now all of a sudden you’re Dr Phil? What’s up with that?”

Max’s face fell. He flashed a quick smile, shrugging his shoulders as the shutters came down.


A Booknatics Interview with Finn

Q: At the end of the weekend when everything about Danny was all out in the open, would you consider selling the Monaro, even though you had previously stated that you wouldn't? I think it may give you the fresh start that you need.

A: I don't think so.  I did think seriously about it after that weekend, but it just didn't feel right.  That weekend was hell in a lot of ways, but I learnt a lot, about myself and about everyone else.  Since then, Kate and I have talked - a lot - and she helped me to realise that burying all that stuff like I did was just delaying the inevitable.  I didn't want to deal with any of that - I was so angry with him, and it hurt.  Being strong is all very well, but what you're really doing is pushing your own feelings aside, for whatever reason.  Danny was like my brother.  No one understood me like he did, and I think when he killed himself, I just felt like he was shutting me out - like I wasn't good enough for him to talk to, like he didn't think I'd understand.  There's no denying how much that hurt, but I don't hate him for it.  I just miss him - I think I'll always miss him.  Thanks to Kate, I have someone to talk to now who understands.  The Monaro kind of represents all the things I loved about him.  Kate helped me to see that.

Q: What was your first thought as to why your best friend would take his own life?

A: Honestly?  I didn't have a clue then, and I still don't.  No one seems to know.  Whatever it was, he took it with him.  I sometimes wonder if the past three years would've been easier if we'd known why he did it.  But really, who cares, right?  Knowing why he did it wouldn't have stopped him.  He didn't tell any of us what he was planning, so what difference would it really have made to know, after he died?  All it would've done, I think, is give us more reasons to beat ourselves up.

Q: Were you ever concerned that Max and Kate had romantic feelings for each other?

A: Concerned?  No.  After Danny died, she needed someone and so did Max.  I didn't want to deal with any of that, to be honest.  I had enough trouble sleeping at that point.  I'm glad they had each other.  Kind of took the pressure off.

Amanda Dick is a night-owl, coffee addict, movie buff and music lover. She also writes.

She is rather partial to dark chocolate and believes in the power of a good vanilla latte. She has a passion for the colour green (particularly in clothes and gemstones) and insists there is nothing sexier than a man in a kilt.

She spent several months traveling around Europe in her late 20’s (there’s a story there – she’ll get around to writing it one day). After ridding herself of her wanderlust, she met the love of her life (while working to pay off said wanderlust) in Edinburgh, Scotland. They moved in together the week after their first date – so yes, she believes in love at first sight. She also believes in women’s intuition and following your heart.

She writes on her trusty laptop, predominantly late at night, when it’s quiet and interruptions are few. Most of all, she enjoys writing about human behaviour – love, loss, joy, grief, friendship and relationships in general. She loves to put normal, everyday people into situations that will test their boundaries. She is passionately curious about how we, as human beings, react when pushed to the edge.

After living in Scotland for five years, she has now settled back home in New Zealand, where she lives with her husband and two children.


  1. Loved your review, great questions!

  2. Thanks so much for taking part in the tour, Krystle! And I too loved your questions - you made me think really hard, which is a very good thing :) Hope the tour sees you find new followers and fans for your great blog and FB page (I *love* your blog - it's so pretty - right up my alley!).

    1. You're very welcome Amanda!! I'm glad I made you think :) Like I said after you answered my questions, it was like the book hadn't completely ended quite yet! So cool!
      Thanks for putting this AMAZING tour/scavenger hunt together! I hope you and everyone involved has lots of fun!

      ...and thanks for saying my blog is pretty, I have fun finding/putting together the graphics for it! :)


  3. Great review, Can't wait to read this book!

  4. Love you Review and your Q&A. Thank you for introducing me to yet another author that is new to me.

  5. Today's the day I start reading this book.... So nothing much else will be getting done ;)

  6. Great questions and I felt much the same. I could hear and see these people, the beach house, the whole thing felt so real.

    1. I want to go stay at this place for a month, it would be so relaxing!!!! :)

  7. Thank you for a great Q & A, Booknatics! I will be bookmarking this blog.