I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the BELIEVED by Michael James Emberger Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to grab your free copy today!
This book contains depictions of sexual assault, abuse, and violence, in as delicate a way as possible. It is important to note that this is a book of advocacy and is AGAINST these actions, not for them.
Kelsea Jones is like a lot of girls at the University of Northern Minnesota. She has a boyfriend, she works at a coffee shop, and she’s on the swim team. But she’s not a girl. She’s a mermaid.
Trouble brews when star hockey player Chad Andersen takes an interest in her. She tries to avoid him, but he won’t leave her alone. A son of wealth and privilege, he takes what he wants, and he gets away with it. He wants Kelsea, she says no, and so he rapes her. Kelsea stands on a tail and two fins to fight the most painful trial of her life. Despite her trauma and a crisis of faith, she speaks the truth of what Chad did, but will she be believed?
Mr. Johnson turns into my lot. “I’m sorry, Kelsea. I wasn’t optimistic, but I thought it would go better than that.”
I shiver. “They all lied.”
“Perhaps. As I said, the Andersens own the hospital. I expected something like this might happen.”
“Do you—” I stop. Do I want to know?
What can it hurt? “Do you believe me?”
Mr. Johnson is silent. My question lingers in the car. “Yes,” he finally says.
My heart sinks. He spoke the word, but I heard the answer. It was in that pause. It was a yes
with uncertainty behind it. It was a yes with conditions attached. It was a yes with an asterisk.
He pulls to the curb. “Look on the bright side. You won’t have to testify in a courtroom, and you
won’t have to face the defense lawyers. It will be a lot easier this way. Life can turn upside
down when these things get out in the media. It gets nasty. But if it goes away now, no one gets hurt.”
I unbuckle my seatbelt, I get out, and I close the door hard enough that it rocks the car. I can’t talk to him. I have no response that’s polite. My blood is boiling. He waves and pulls away, no doubt happy to have dodged the bullet of dealing with this any further. He thinks we’ll drop it and that will be it. I’ll be fine. I’ll just move on and forget about the most horrific thing I’ve ever experienced. After all, it was just rape. What does it matter if they almost killed me? What does it matter if the nightmares have only gotten worse? I’m better now. It’s not like I got hurt for real, right?
I clench my fists and hop toward the nearest solid thing. I punch it. Once. Twice. Again, and again. I batter it until my knuckles are covered in blood and foam and it lays mangled on the ground. “Ah!” I scream. I sink to my knees on the snowy sidewalk. The cuts bubble and close. The blood disappears. There’s nothing left except for the rage that’s consuming me. I’m not okay. I’m not better. Not at all.
I sit and rock on my tail and shut my eyes against the world. It’s all wrong. Everything is wrong, and there’s no God if this is what He has for me.
A note from the author:
1 out of 4 college girls experiences rape or sexual assault. That breaks my heart. It’s a crime that has affected people I love, and it has to stop. This novel is my way of raising awareness and showing survivors that someone hears them.
Believed is a product of my friendship with a survivor who is an author and advocate. She opened my eyes to a world of trauma and PTSD that had been largely invisible to me before I met her, and it was life-changing. I needed to share that with others. The burden on my heart was too great to not say something, and fiction is the method I know best to convey the thoughts, truths, pains, and struggles that I see.
Sexual assault is not my story. I haven’t experienced it, I don’t live with the resulting trauma, and I do not wish to profit from the pain of survivors. This is a book for them. It’s a book for those who love them. It’s a book to encourage readers to think and to empathize and to consider the realities of so many whose lives have been affected by this crime. If you purchase a copy here, know that the prices are the minimum allowed. I make no royalty on print copies. If you would like to read for free, you can download the book at my website: https://www.michaeljamesemberger.com/believed
If you find value in this work, please consider donating to an organization that fights against sexual violence or offers support to survivors. Tell your family and friends about the book. Review it online. Let the survivors in your life know that you care, that you believe them, and that you are there for them.
I was a bit skeptical of reading a novel about sexual assault written by a male author. I mean, how could he possibly know? You know? But I am so glad I gave it a go. Emberger does a wonderfully genuine job of writing the story from a female perspective.
Believed is a heart wrenching story of a female, or more accurately, a mermaid, that has the unthinkable done to her. When a boy she attends school with won’t take no for an answer, he takes away her consent.
Kelsea’s pain is palpable, and when no one believes her story, her truth gets covered up, and she’s labeled as a liar… you, too, feel her anger and outrage. Her emotions are so raw and the author does a great job of capturing not only this, but the many stages of recovery, as well as one struggling with their faith.
Not only does the author tackle this hard theme, he also brings attention to pollution, domestic violence, and various other corruptions. Every single one ties in together to make this super messy, but beautiful nonetheless web.
There is most definitely a prevailing theme of faith and Christianity throughout the entire book. While I typically stay away from books with strong religious themes, I wasn’t bothered by this. I rather enjoyed how Kelsea, her friends and family found solace in the Lord. It’s a realistic notion to struggle with ones faith and have doubts. And I absolutely loved that there were “Christians” who did not practice what they preach, unfortunately that is a reality.
I enjoyed the fantast aspect of the novel as well. Bringing mermaids to land because we, the human race, polluted their waters to the point to where they had to come up in order to survive. I will admit it was a bit hard for me to visualize a lot of the story due to this. I tried not letting it distract me from the message of the novel, but I found it difficult.
I was glad Emberger wrote the way he did. He did not shy away from the violence and monstrosity of this act. I feel like if he softened the blows, Believed would not have the impact that it does.
I gave Believed four stars.
About Michael James Emberger:
Michael James Emberger is an author of thrillers and suspense residing in Wilton, NH. He enjoys weaving narratives of conspiracy and misguided intentions around divisive topics. Where there is debate, there is always room for a villain with goals far out of alignment from either side. Michael is a graduate of Messiah College, where he studied Engineering and met his wife racing solar cars cross-country. When he’s not working on home renovations or writing, he enjoys visiting the ocean and exploring the majesty of God’s creation on the summits of New Hampshire’s mountains.
Michael wrote Believed, a heartbreaking and inspirational tale of a Mermaid in college in Minnesota. It was the most difficult book he’s ever written, but also the most important. He’s made it available for free in audiobook and e-book formats, and he hopes it will encourage and inform.
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There isn’t a giveaway for this tour. Instead Michael is giving away the audiobook and ebook! You can download a FREE copy of the audiobook here! https://books2read.com/u/bzVLlD OR a FREE copy of the eBook HERE! https://www.michaeljamesemberger.com/believed and if you love the book please help spread the word with a review or share the links with your friends!
About The Book:
Author: Michael James Emberger
Pub. Date: October 4, 2021
Publisher: Michael James Emberger
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, Audiobook(FREE)
Find it: Goodreads, books2read (find all FREE audiobook links here and other purchase links), Free eBook download here! https://www.michaeljamesemberger.com/believed
Thank you for sharing and for such a thoughtful review!