Monday, November 3, 2014

The Popcorn Girl: FREE on Amazon Kindle, Nov. 3

FREE on Amazon Kindle.

The best of the reviews for The Popcorn Girl:

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unapologetic August 24, 2014
By CSLowe
Format:Kindle Edition
Michael J. Vaughn’s THE POPCORN GIRL is a tremendously complex and bittersweet novel masterfully researched and honed. Vaughn
is to be congratulated on untangling the “knots” deeply rooted in religious hypocrisy and its oftentimes ancillary manifestation in the abuse of children, who may, in turn, self-mutilate, act out in sexually deviant ways, or fall prey to dissociative disorders to better cope with the aftermath of their traumas. This book is tempered by tremendous compassion and fraught with tension and revelatory psychological wisdom. Moreover, it is set against a backdrop of welcomed razzle-dazzle rock band hijinx, (go ahead and ask me what a dachshund slipper is), descriptions of breathtakingly gorgeous California vistas, and impassioned debates over organized religion, destructive cults, and the legalization of marijuana. As if these elements are insufficient enough to mesmerize a reader, they are all further enhanced by depictions of enough mouth-watering culinary repasts to rival any mealtime scenes lovingly tucked inside the pages of a Dickensian novel.

In an era when one in four women will be molested before they reach 18 and one in six men, Vaughn has navigated some difficult and frightening territory in creating this novel. That said, everyone who reads it no doubt has suffered personally from such incidents or knows a friend or family member who has been victimized by sexual predators and/or religious sociopaths. This is but one reason why THE POPCORN GIRL needs to reach a wider audience. More significantly still, Vaughn tackles this unabashedly dark terrain while simultaneously sustaining the suspense of gradually unraveling the gripping twists and turns of a damaged young woman’s mysterious past and breathing life into characters you care about because they have overcome so many disillusioning experiences with grace, wackadelic humor and indomitable courage. The dialogue is scrumptious, the secondary characters as fully drawn and engaging as the primary ones, and the romance interwoven between the two main protagonists, Paul and Jasmina, yields a compelling exploration of taut sexual and intellectual chemistry. The adjectives frisky, provocative, riveting and risqué come to mind with all the attendant emotions they evoke. Vaughn takes the reader on a balls-on and paradoxically redemptive ride into what it means to overcome and transform adversity into imaginative incursions into what life can look like freed of banal, white-knuckled adherence to religious orthodoxies that more often than not suffocate our deepest longings for autonomy and authentic connection with the Divine.

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read...I definitely recommend this one! July 4, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Beautifully written novel with so many compelling elements...where to start? Yes, the mystery kept me on my toes. There were so many surprises, it felt like Christmas, albeit a twisted Christmas (it is a psychological thriller after all!) The characters have a depth and charm that really drew me in. There is even a very sweet romance. Interwoven throughout is a thought-provoking exploration of religion and atheism. I've read other books by Michael J. Vaughn; The Popcorn Girl is without doubt my favorite.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Religion and Identity September 4, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As a Catholic school veteran turned Agnostic, I found "Popcorn Girl" fascinating on a number of levels. The story says a lot about the impact of religious upbringing on identity. Can we ever really escape the iconography and the theology embossed in our young minds? Even rebelling against it somehow ties you to your religious background. People, like the characters in Vaughn's book, can wrestle with it their whole lives, sometimes without being aware of it. And the people in "Popcorn Girl" are dealing with religious baggage that made mine feel very light indeed. I loved the main character, Paul, a recovering Jehovah's Witness and vigorous Atheist whose knowledge of religious history would put a holy roller to shame. His efforts to help the tormented Jasmina sort out her murky past while carrying on a fairly torrid romance makes for a great story, with many a shock along the way. As always with Michael Vaughn, the characters are well developed, the story is rewarding, and the dialogue is fluid and clever. I need to reread it, because I think I read the book it in two hours. 
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved the references to my atheist heroes September 8, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I tend to read more non-fiction than fiction--focusing on books about atheism and science--but the idea of reading a story in which the main players were atheist was irresistible. I'm glad I didn't resist. The book was engaging, well written, and quite a satisfying treat. Thank you, Michael J. Vaughn. 
on August 8, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This was a wonderful read! I was a bit put off at first by what seemed to be obsessing about something that to me is trivial i.e. the evils of religion but I was quickly so entranced by the deeply portrayed characters that I kept on. Soon enough, the plot revealed that religion was a central issue to the story that followed. Difficult content in parts, incredible abuse, but really not surprising in the context. And despite that things seldom work out so well in real life, the ending was totally believable and very redeeming. Loved it!
on January 14, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I have downloaded several hundred books from Amazon.
I have read probably 80-100 of them.
This is the one I liked the best!
on March 18, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Great story about two damaged people and the love that keeps them fighting to help and keep the other. Good read!

on March 9, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
When I first started reading this book I almost stopped. Not because it was bad, it just wasn't my type of story. However, years ago I made myself a promise that rather I liked a story or not I would finish it. I am so glad that I made myself that promise. What a truly wonderful contemporary love story. READ IT!!!

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