Castles on the Sand

Castles on the Sand

by E. M. Tippetts


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If there's one thing Madison Lukas understands, it's pain. The pain she feels when her mother ignores her completely. The pain her best friend endures as her parents starve her as punishment. The pain of a dangerous boy whose mother has to be carried away by law enforcement on a regular basis.

She gets it. She feels the pain of others as if it were her own.

But when a mysterious man claiming to be her long lost brother appears with promises of relieving her suffering, trusting him could reveal more truths than Madison is ready for. Because the truth can hurt, too.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781479120291
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 08/15/2012
Pages: 266
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.56(d)

About the Author

Emily Mah Tippetts writes romance as E.M. Tippetts and science fiction and fantasy as Emily Mah. Originally from New Mexico, she now lives in London with her family. To learn more about her, please visit her website:

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Castles on the Sand 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Rebecca_Berto More than 1 year ago
Wow. Okay, so this book caught me by surprise. It started off as a simmering pot of water, which started boiling way before I'd realised. When I noticed how good the book had become, it had me by the throat and I was already doing all sorts of rude things like walking around with my head in my eReader, narrowly missing walls, people and conversations. I don't mind that I have no pride left, because I just had to finish this book ASAP and it was well worth it. E.M. Tippetts is a fantastic storyteller. This is the second book I've read by her and I'm thrilled I have. This book is hard to define. It's probably best described as coming-of-age as it touches on my many issues of finding your identity. Madison, the main character, is a nice girl, and who some people target as easy to run over. Her long-lost brother, John is over-joyed with love when he finds her after losing her as a young child. I must say that I fell in love with the characters, especially Alex who is by far my favourite, in a way I didn't expect to. From the character [retracted for spoiler reasons] who targets Madison emotionally, physically and socially; to Madison's confusion about how love and relationshps work when first entering the world of "boys"; to trying to get her mother to notice/love her; to the defined social circles people expect you not to break, there was so much I fell in love with in CASTLES ON THE SAND. When I finished this book, though, I felt satisfied in a weird way because this wasn't a straight romance book, or a book about growing up, or about mental issues. It had a bit of all of those, that made me really think about life, and that gave me a little bit more in the pieces that make up this world. The message I took is: some people can't be saved, and not even they or others can see they're drowning, but you have to give your best shot regardless. Sometimes it's the unexpected person who helps YOU in the end. Recommended reading and 5 stars.
Chrissy_W More than 1 year ago
Did I enjoy this book: I did enjoy this book. Unlike her other two books, Castles on the Sand took a little while to get into it. However, the last 100 pages had me glued to my Nook. (I was happy that it didn't need charged until I finished this book!) This book is definitely a young adult book told in the voice of a 15 year old, Madison. The situations that she finds herself in - while some are typical teen problems - are more adult than most teens have to deal with. Madison has to deal with a mother who isn't there for her, a best friend who lashes out at her with bullying and harassment because of her own home life, finding out she has a sibling she never knew about, that her classmate is dealing with far more than what most people know, and boys who want to be with her but not in a real relationship way. Madison is quite mature even though she comes across as naive at times. She is strong, nice, and can stand her ground when push comes to shove. Madison's best friend, Kailie, was a character that I didn't really care for. I understand some of her reactions but I don't think her problems justify what she did to Madison. (I don't want to give anything if that is cryptic, I'm sorry. You'll just have to read the book to know what I'm talking about.) Carson was arrogant and not that kind. John was very overprotective but a loving older brother to Madison. Alex was a fantastic character. He was so misunderstood yet I got him. One of my favorite scenes was the dinner at the Japanese restaurant with Alex, Grace (Alex's mother), and Madison. It was sweet, touching, almost normal. To me, the message of the book is that not everything is as it seems. Everyone has secrets and issues that they are dealing with...whether they deal with correctly is up for discussion and though. But through everything, hope is necessary. Would I recommend it: I would recommend this book. It is a good read with a good message. Will I read it again: I don't think that I will.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't let the summary fool you into thinking this book is anything else. This book has some major twists and turns, as well as a loyal and generour heroine. Madison Lukas has nothing going for her: a distracted mother, an immature best friend, and a nonexistent love life. But with the arrival of a long-lost brother she never knew, Madison's life will never be the same. This catalyst opens Madison up to a series of choices and decisions that will either make her become strong or could break her. Gripping and unique story about faith, friendship, family and love. Great YA novel that helps us all recognize our inner strength.
NikkyH7117 More than 1 year ago
I had such a hard time with this book, only because it was so good I wanted to read it as fast as I could, but at the same time I didn’t want it to end! Lol! It just kept getting better and better as it went along. It was like an onion, and layer after layer was revealed, and at the end you are in tears! J/K…well, not really. The ending is definitely emotional and the author’s notes afterwards pulled at the heartstrings. I think these characters Ms. Tippetts created are so unique and dynamic, each with their own very interesting story to tell, I’d really like to read more from them in the future (hint hint). Recommend for ages 12 and up. It is pretty tame as far as content goes…there is a scene at the end that is disturbing but it is handled with grace.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*I received an e copy of this book in exchange for a review* I really, really liked this book. I started it at 6:30 at night and finished it around 4:00 in the morning. This book is not my usual "type". Normally I am a fan of YA fantasy with a deep closeted like for historical fiction. Castles on the Sand has none of the usual qualities that I go for in a book and yet E.M. Tippetts was able to write this story so well that even I didn't want to put it down. It was beautifully written and the characters are totally relatable. Our leading lady is a girl named Madison. What teenage girl of the human variety can't relate to Madison? The author hits the nail right on the head with this character. I'm in my 30s and while reading through Madison's perspective, I can remember well the feelings of insecurity, the doubts, the constant questioning of myself, and the always saying yes because the alternative is saying no. I love this girl. She is the perfect combination of snarkiness, love, kindness, and sarcasm. The kind of girl that you can't help but want to be best friends with. At first, I felt really bad for her. I thought why would the author want to do this to her. She has literally NO self esteem. She has one friend who is awful to her. Her mother might as well not be there, she's so neglectful, but then you watch her blossom and you sort of get it. I cheered for her the first time she found enough backbone to say no. I cried with her when she found she was brave enough to listen to her intuition and save her "best" friend. I cried for her the first time she realized that maybe she was beautiful enough to deserve a real relationship. I'm pretty sure I fist pumped there at towards when she started fighting back. Normally religious books make me cringe because religion as a whole is confusing for me but this book wasn't that way. Instead of feeling like the author was trying to convert me, I felt like I was being introduced to a new religion. I didn't feel like their was any desire to make me change and I felt like I learned a few new things in the process all without taking away from the actual story. Alex was an amazing character. I loved the way he morphed from the senior year phsyco to this incredibly understanding and loveable boy. Her brother was a little creepy in the beginning when she just meets him and already he is controlling her love life and telling her how much he loves her. Often. But soon enough you realize that he is just a great big brother and he didn't need to be there for the last 15 years to love her. I really and truly enjoyed reading this book and getting to know the people in it. I cannot wait to read book 2 and find out what happens with all of my new friends. Thank you to the author for writing an excellent book that hooked me from page 1. I will sing it's praises to everyone I know!
LAWonder More than 1 year ago
This was a hard review. It is a great story and I am anxious to read the following books in the series. 'Castles on the Sand' is about a coastal town which is small and controlled by mostly by three interconnected individuals. Several key characters are involved in this novel. E.M. Tippetts strongly identifies and describes the personality traits of each individual. She, then, effectively intermingles the characters together. The story begins with two close friends -both sixteen years of age - who are very opposite from wealth to appearances and personalities. It is a very peculiar friendship. Other peers and family members are introduced which enhances the story. The day to day experiences in teen activities, work, family situations, social problems,etc. -most will relate with - develops into this great tale. I am a huge fan of E.M. Tippetts. I feel she is a very talented writer. I do not feel, however, this was up to her usual literary standard. I struggled with some grammatical errors in the beginning of her book. It was a little distracting. After that point the story picked up flawlessly. There were a few surprises in the plot. The action increased near the end of the story, ending with a strong finish. The title was a little disconcerting. It took me awhile to figure out what it had to do with the story. I am anxious to read the following book in the sequel. I can, honestly, give this a very strong Four Star book review rating.
Felicia-Tatum More than 1 year ago
I love Emily Mah Tippetts and her writing. Seriously. This is my third book by her and I'm just a huge fan now! I think I need to read every last ounce of awesome she writes. Madison is such a teenager girl! She's confused, she's lonely, she's caring, and she's a sweetheart. Of course, every boy coming and going wants her but she has no clue. I love that she has no clue, it makes her so much more real. The only issue I had with her was when she found out about John, I believe she should have freaked out a little more. Maybe it was cause her mother is crazy, I don't know, but I know I would have flipped out. A lot. I love Alex. I loved him from the second I read he was flipping his lighter. He is charismatic and doesn't even know, he's caring but doesn't show it, and he's smoldering. I don't know how these girls all avoided him for so long. Good grief. I can't wait to read book two. In fact, I'm going to go do that now. Read this book!
JhonniP More than 1 year ago
Okay, this book was AMAZING! I loved loved it! If you are in any sort of reading rut, you HAVE to grab this book NOW! It was just so easy to read, but kept me engaged and captivated from the first pages. Although it is written in present tense (which I usually don’t like) it totally works here and I hardly noticed it at all. The writing is descriptive and I didn’t see any editing mistakes (I notice things like that!) I can’t even pick a favorite character because I liked them all, even despite their flaws. I liked how Alex, although starts off as the stereotypical bad boy, reveals a side we’d never expect. I liked Carson and his grounded guidance that was down to earth and honest. John was great for breaking through some of Madison’s walls and getting her to feel better. Even the messed up characters (her friend and her dad, Madison’s mom, etc,) gave a real well-roundedness feel that I think a lot of people can relate to. I loved this book and think you will too! Highly recommend to fans of YA literature.
SteffyC More than 1 year ago
Madison lives in a rich town, but she and her mom (a ceramic artist) struggle to get by. One day Madison passes a Mormon Missionary on the street, and he reveals himself to be her brother. Okay, at first I was like “how would he know” and he acted kind of weird and possessive even though he didn’t have any right to be. The emails he sent her seemed something more a boyfriend would say, not a brother. And I’m not saying that Madison is boy crazy, but she has her attention on like three different guys, and that’s not including the brother. Meanwhile she lets her “friend” do horrible things to her that totally humiliate her, but she doesn’t stand up for herself. I don’t know, that irritated me. It was a good story though, just some parts got on my nerves some. I could see people really liking this book though. Give it a shot. It has some really cool parts, and I liked the end a lot.
JesseThomas More than 1 year ago
Glad I gave it a shot! This is not my normal type of book I usually read. But I’ve been venturing out of my preferred genre as of late, and have not been disappointed. It surprised me how much I liked this book. I appreciated that there wasn’t overly dramatic emotional inner monologues from the lead girl. And the story moved fast, not slow or boring for a minute. It seemed like something that could really be happening in the world, and also made me think about some of my own prejudices for a minute. There is a Mormonism theme, but it is more of an accent as opposed to the main dish. And I think it was tastefully done and not “in your face”. A solid read from beginning to end, and I’m glad I gave it a shot.
AprilDawn More than 1 year ago
I loved this book and the author’s narrative. There’s nothing more irritating than reading a YA book that is obviously written by an out-of-touch adult writing what she thinks teens should act and say. This book felt really authentic, and was fast paced. I really felt like the characters came alive and moved this story forward, as opposed to some heavy action. On that note, it’s nice to read a story that is powerful and moving that doesn’t have to shock you with bad language or gratuitous sex or unnecessary violence. I’d feel comfortable recommending this book to my niece and I like that. It has a good message overall, but I do question Madison’s taste in friends. For the most part she carries herself well and grows into a better character. I’m definitely checking out other works from this author. Happy to see she’s got quite the backlist!
BrendaMax More than 1 year ago
Wonderful read... I really enjoyed this novel. The writing was near flawless and polished, and I wasn’t surprised to find this author has many other books under her belt. She writes like a seasoned pro. The story flowed smoothly at a fast pace and I LOVED that it was all “showing” not “telling”. We were in this story the whole way, and even the way it was written (first person present), while not easy to do, is quite effective here. I notice it when its bad, and it makes the story clunky and irritating. I never noticed it with this book and felt like I was part of the action. This is really important to me. I’d like to read more from this author in the future and would highly recommend to others as well.
BenjisMom More than 1 year ago
Great book! I would definitely recommend it to teens, and even to adults as the story line and plot is intelligent and interesting. There are many sub plots, like Madison finding out she has a long lost brother, and that weird guy Alex who creeps her out…or does he? And the hottie, unattainable Mormon guy, and her “friend” who may be more of an enemy…it was hard to put this book down and I think that EM Tippets is an amazing writer. I’ve already added her other books to my TBR list now.
KayleeeKS More than 1 year ago
I do not know why I thought this was an adult fiction novel. Maybe from the cover, or I uploaded it to my Kindle and forgot what it was about. When I started reading and realized it was about teens, instantly my “red flags” were ready to go, because I have had quite a run of bad luck with them lately, and was pretty much ready to swear off the whole whiny, angsty teen scene for something more mature. But I found myself absolutely loving this story! The narrator Madison was ordinary, yet special in her own right. Her mom is a bit of a flake, so I think that makes Madison act more mature for her age (phew). I liked that the story didn’t revolve so much about Madison finding a guy (meaning, the boyfriend wasn’t the focal point), but it was about her loving herself and then having the right one reveal himself. A very nice read. And I’d like to mention also that the “Remembering Jared” part had me in tears. Thank you for sharing that wonderful story with us!
BellaReadz More than 1 year ago
Lovely YA contemporary that focuses on the issues of self-esteem, neglect and abuse (in the case of her friend), family secrets, and on a much more minor level, a bit of religion. I have to say that as an agnostic, I was worried at first that this was going to be one of those “sneak in the religion” type books that infuriate me. Not that there is anything wrong with writing about your faith, go right ahead. I just find it disingenuous when authors aren’t up front about their true agenda. But I digress. At first I thought this MIGHT be the case, but I was very pleasantly surprised to see that while there are some religious undertones, it is not the singular focus of the story, and it makes sense. It felt organic. I have plenty of LDS and Christian friends and I could see them in this story. It wasn’t a preachy one-sided sermon. Just the opposite. In fact I think it made the novel that much better because it felt genuinely authentic in character and actions. I thought Carson was great and enjoyed their relationship. Overall I give this book a solid 4 stars and would love to read more from this author in the future.
ClaireBear74 More than 1 year ago
I really love books like this. I used to be all into paranormal and urban fantasy, but the more I read ones like this, the more I think I like this style better. It was so good and about real stuff! I honestly did not want to put it down, even to go eat (an hour later I grabbed an apple just to shut my loud stomach up!) I always wanted to see what would happen next, and there were just enough plot twists to keep the story moving at a great pace. I loved Madison’s interactions with Siraj…they were hysterical! And I liked how it ended…very cool! I won’t say more because I don’t want to give anything away. But at the end the author say something about writing more of these characters, and I say wholeheartedly YES Please!!!
KMatthews More than 1 year ago
Wow. I still have tears in my eyes from reading that dedication at the end! That was so unbelievably touching. This whole book was really something special. At first I didn’t really know what to expect, but right away I felt comfortable with the tone is which the author set up the story. Madison is a very likable MC, and her friend Kailie is funny (at first…not so much later on!). I appreciated that while there were some familiar tropes in this book, the author avoided the stereotypes and cliché traps. Each of her relationships felt authentic and unique and flawed, and that to me was the strongest part of the story. It wasn’t so much finding and making everything be “perfect” but ‘right’ for her. I thought Alex’s story was unusual and I liked that he (along with everyone else) was so 3 dimensional with sides to them that get revealed as the story progresses. A wonderful novel from start to finish. Highly recommend!
SDecker More than 1 year ago
I have 3 words to describe this book. AH-MAY-ZING!! Okay, its only one word. But this is seriously the best book I’ve read in so long!! Everything just came together so nicely (even if it wasn’t all “nice”). There are a lot of wonderful characters in this book but I don’t have space to go into all of them, but I really liked how things played out with John. (Carson was my second fave). At first, I thought he was a bit creepy and came on too strong trying to insert himself in Madison’s life as if he’d always been there, when really he was a stranger. But as that relationship developed it was really nice. And there were some unexpected twists I didn’t see coming, but overall this was such a great book, I cannot sing its praises enough.
JennaBrewster More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book. Castles on the Sand by E.M. Tippetts has moved right up on my list of contemporary faves next to Sara Dessen, Colleen Hoover and Maureen Johnson. Although their books are different, this was a top-notch story from beginning to end and very impressive for any author, let alone an Indie. The story itself isn’t entirely new as far as themes go (what books are?), but it is executed in a wholly original way which drew me in from the very first pages. I loved watching Madison grow as a character, and see her evolve into something better than how she started off. I must say she had a lot more patience and loyalty to her friend (or rather, her “frenemy”) Kailie than I would have! I would have kicked her to the curb long ago! But a great story with a great message and I truly hope it gets the recognition it deserves.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Careylolo More than 1 year ago
Madison lives in a small run down neighborhood surrounded by million dollar mansions. Her best friend is passive aggressive to cover up the anger she feels for how imperfect her seemingly picturesque life is. While treading through Kailie's mood swings Madison learns of a long lost very Mormon brother and extending family to further complicate things she is now being courted by more then one seemingly unobtainable classmate. I loved Madison's boss at her after school job. I also respected the way religion was approached. I am not personally into organized religion and if I had just read the book summary I may not have bought it. The reason I bought this book was because I came across the author on Twitter and she seemed interesting so I was curious. All in all I really enjoyed it and read it in one day, I felt invested on learning how things would turn out for Madison.
Sarah_UK1 More than 1 year ago
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free from the author on a read-to-review basis. Thanks so much to the lovely Emily Mah Tippetts!) 16-year-old Madison lives with her mom in a small town called Pelican Bluffs. Everybody knows everybody in Pelican Bluffs – it’s that kind of place, so you can guess how shocked Madison is when a Mormon man called John turns up at her door claiming to be her brother. What’s worse is that she knows it’s true just by looking at him; he even looks like her mother. Amazingly enough there are other more pressing matters going on in Madison’s life though. Her best friend seems to suddenly have it in for her, and three different boys all seem to want something from her. I absolutely loved this book. I nearly died when the bulb in my bedside lamp went out and I couldn’t carry on reading! Madison is an average 16-year-old, and she’d never claim otherwise, it’s her friend Kailie who’s the pretty one. The appearance of a brother that she never knew about takes a lot of time to get used to, and Madison does take her time coming to terms with this, and doesn’t commit herself to feelings that she doesn’t have. Madison’s main concerns surround her best friend and the people she goes to school with. So many times people ask her why she is friends with Kailie, as Kailie seems to be purposely trying to hurt Madison. Kailie’s actions lead to Madison getting physically attacked, but Madison knows Kailie well enough to know that Kailie does these things because she is having a meltdown, and not because she really wants to hurt Madison. Regardless of her reasons though, Madison proves time and time again that she is an amazing friend to Kailie, a better friend than she really deserves. Madison has problems at home too though. Her Mom barely speaks to her, and the arrival of her brother John just causes more tension at home. Madison’s Mom spends all of her time making pottery so Madison doesn’t see a lot of her, but now instead of being cold when Madison sees her she is angry, but again Madison has the maturity to realise that her mother isn’t just mad at her; she’s hurting inside too. As if Madison hasn’t got enough going on, all of a sudden boys are interested in her. First there’s Jean Pierre, Chess wiz and super popular, who wants to sleep with her, but isn’t interested in having a girlfriend, or even acknowledging that she exists in public. Then there’s Carson, a Mormon boy that her mother really doesn’t approve of. He’s good looking and a really nice guy, but there’s just no spark, no matter how much Madison wants her to be. The third boy is Alex. He’s been voluntarily mute for years, and spends most of his time flicking his lighter on and off and looking threatening. Everyone refers to him as a ‘psycho’, and Madison walks the other way when she sees him at night. But there’s more to Alex than people realise, and for some reason Madison feels the need to help him with his problems. I love how normal Madison is, and at the same time how mature she is to see through peoples facades and get to the real issues. I loved the storyline in this book and how well it flowed, and whilst putting it down was difficult, getting back into it was a joy. There were several events that I didn’t see coming, and I loved the story of how things worked out for Madison and her friends and family in the end. Overall; I loved this book and will definitely be reading the author’s other works! If you like young adult fiction, and like a bit of light romance, you’ll love this book. 9 out of 10.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mmhmmm youll make a good medcat. Ok just for practice. We can have fun right. Well what does mari gold do.