Saturday, February 23, 2013

Universal Forces / Monica Shaughnessy

Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin

Genre: Coming of Age/ YA/ Romantic Thriller

Approximate word count: 65-70,000 words

Kindle US: YES UK: YES Nook: YES Smashwords: NO Paper: NO
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store


Monica Shaughnessy has a degree in marketing and worked for a variety of companies, while they let her be creative they didn’t allow for much personal expression. When she became a mother she decided to stay home and create what she loved most. While she primarily writes children’s fiction, she says she is going to write an adult novel that promises to be the love child of Tim Burton.

Ms. Shaughnessy says this about herself on her website: “In addition to being a writer, wife, and mother, I’m also a stargazer, yogi, (bad) piano player, Tim Burton fan, vegetarian, jazz aficionado, tree hugger, film noir buff, spiritual seeker, manhattan drinker, Hemingway / Fitzgerald worshipper, and wishful thinker. Oh, and I love the deliciously dark side of life.”

For more, visit the author's website or blog.


Sixteen-year-old Cassie Vogler, who describes herself as an uber-nerd, is convinced she’ll spend junior year dateless until Jake Gunderson moves to her tiny West Texas town. Cassie is the daughter of Dr. Theodore Vogler, an esteemed astronomer that works at the McDougal Observatory in the Davis Mountains high above their town, Fort Nesbitt. Cassie has been raised to evaluate using science and logic. Jake Gunderson has been raised in an extremely strict religious cult and is being groomed for ascension to become cult leader. Logic and faith turns out to be a caustic combination for these two star-crossed lovers.


This is a strangely dark thought provoking story. It is obvious that a lot of thought went into building the relationship between all of the characters. I really liked Cassie’s relationship with her father and her best friend Daniel, as well as some of her other classmates. Although these were not as well defined or explored, their dialogue rang true. I appreciated that Cassie’s naïveté also rang true for her age, she really felt like she could save Jake by just separating him from this religious cult. I wish a little more detail from Jake’s view point had been explored, I found his position fascinating as he learned more about science and logic, but never giving up on his faith. The plot is driven forward by some surprising twists in this budding relationship between these two students of life. I also appreciated the little bits of humor that were sprinkled into the story that lightened the heavy subject matter.


This book contains relatively mild offensive language, although two F bombs are dropped.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: **** Four stars 


Monica Shaughnessy said...

Thanks for the great review and thanks for supporting indie authors. This post is going on my Amazon page!

?wazithinkin said...

Thank you for dropping by Ms. Shaughnessy and you are welcome to share my review. :)