Scattered Links

Scattered Links

by M. Weidenbenner

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Overview

Scattered Links by M. Weidenbenner

Finalist in the Reader's Favorite International Awards. Bronze Medal WINNER in Dan Poytner's Global eBook Awards. WINNER in the Kindle Promo Awards

CAPTIVATING!
SCATTERED LINKS takes you down the street of nearly any Eastern European town, arm-in-arm with the orphaned. Michelle has captured the beauty and horror millions of children live everyday. The attention to detail is impressive. Having lived in a post-Soviet country for a time, visiting orphaned children, this fictional account rings with truth, from the heart-wrenching pain of abandonment to the realization of self-worth, and the love family and faith brings. Thank you for such an uplifting book, appropriate for the young reader, as well as adult. May your heart be encouraged, as mine was.

Kim de Blecourt, speaker and award-winning author of "Until We All Come Home: A Harrowing Journey, a Mother's Courage, a Race to Freedom"

Scattered Links is a novel that pulls its characters from the gutters and, in the end, celebrates the tenacity of the human spirit.

Thirteen-year-old Oksana lives on the streets of Russia with her pregnant mama and abusive aunt-both prostitutes. When Mama swells into labor, Oksana makes a decision to save herself from abandonment, a decision that torments her forever. But when her plan fails, her aunt dumps her in an orphanage before she has the chance to say goodbye to her mama or tell her the secret that haunts her.

Scattered Links is a story of family and the consequences that come from never learning how to love. It's a story of a girl's inability to bond with her adopted family and the frustrations that follow.

How can a child understand the mechanics of forming a healthy relationship when she never had a mother who answered her cries, held her when she was frightened, fed her when she was hungry, or loved her unconditionally?

Only when the child meets a rescued abused horse, and recognizes the pain in his eyes, does she begin to trust again.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781494366957
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 01/06/2014
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 1,285,873
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.58(d)

About the Author

Scattered Links, (initially titled Love is Just a Word), was the winner of the 2013 Aspiring Writers Competition, sponsored by Write on Con and The Reading Room.

This novel was intended to show readers a glimpse into the life of a child with RAD, reactive attachment disorder, prevalent in children who never experienced bonding in infancy.

The story was inspired by Michelle's journey to Russia to adopt her orphan daughter and seeing the neglect of orphanage children, many of whom suffer from attachment disorders.

Michelle grew up in the burbs of Detroit with five brothers. No sisters. Each time her mom brought the boy bundle home from the hospital Michelle cried, certain her mom liked boys better than girls. But when her brothers pitched in with the cooking, cleaning, and babysitting-without drama, Michelle discovered having brothers wasn't so bad. They even taught her how to take direct criticism without flinching, which might come in handy with book reviews.

Michelle blogs at Random Writing Rants where she teaches and encourages writers how to get published.

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Scattered Links 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
misteedawnw More than 1 year ago
This book was very powerful. The author is so descriptive and deep that I felt like I was in that Russian orphanage. I felt a range of emotions as I read about all of the trials and tribulations that this young girl has to endure. Some things were even hard for me to imagine, simply because I could not imagine being in that much pain. From a life of poverty and no love in Russia, to a life of both in America. I can understand why the main character would act out. She has no idea what love is, what rules, are, what it is like to have a 'normal' home life. I absolutely loved this book, it was well written and very powerful. I was so involved with all of the characters and what was going on. I had to know what would happen and I was riveted to every page. Every sentence. I urge you to check this book out. It just may give people some perspective on what they take for granted in their every day lives.
mrsrachapman More than 1 year ago
I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all opinions are 100% my own. A first-person narrative from a young teen's point of view, I cried more than once during this book. Poverty and abuse are difficult to write about, let alone truly understand. Michelle's strong attention to detail and her insight are remarkable. This is an emotionally powerful read of survival, strength, and the will to overcome that will grip your heart until the very end.
ruthhill74 More than 1 year ago
How ironic it is that I have read two Christian books concerning adoption within the span of one week, but both affected me completely differently.  Although this particular book is inspired by the author's own adoption experience, it is a fictitious tale with unbelievable impact.  From start to finish, I was mesmerized by this tale.  In fact, I was in the car with my mom and daughter when I got the climactic point in the book, and I literally cried out in total bafflement because I never saw that coming!  No spoilers from me, but trust me--the mystery in the book will probably shock you to your core!  To complete my story, I had to catch my breath and explain my strange reaction. The emotional connection I sensed throughout this story was absolutely exhilarating. My feelings ranged from sorrow to anger to absolute stupefaction.  If there is any book out there that can cause the church to action in the ministry of orphans, this is it.  There is nothing inappropriate in the book, and the Christian message is strong and powerful, but never preachy.  This is a must-read for anyone who is heartbroken over the fatherless and motherless of this world.  And even if you're not, this book can change your life! I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.
MsDivatude More than 1 year ago
Great read!!! I made the mistake of reading Scattered Links on a recent trip. I say mistake because emotional me was boo-hooing through much of the story. As an adopted child, I am drawn to stories that depict the relationships and inner thoughts of families impacted by adoption. I have no experience whatsoever (thankfully!) of what the main character had to go through, but her story is one that is believable and similar instances have occurred with children adopted from traumatic circumstances. Ms. Weidenbenner's attention to detail and providing insight into a true disorder, Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), that many children in these situations suffer from came through in her writing loud and clear, for me. While reading, I found myself hoping for the best for Oksana and her new family and friends. My biggest takeaway from this novel was how critical it is to release the pains from our pasts in order to fully embrace and enjoy our present and make room for future blessings.
dewer421 More than 1 year ago
What a tremendous read! This book is definitely not in my standard genre, but if they're all like Scattered Links I'll be changing my reading habits! The beginning of the book could almost be set anytime in the past several hundred years... a family living in poverty in a broken down area of Russia. A drunk mother who's pregnant with another child that the family can't afford to feed, and an abusive aunt who dumps the kids in an orphanage when things get to hard. Oksana was raised in the kind of poverty most of us can't even imagine, squatting in abandoned buildings and stealing from vendors to feed her family. After she delivers her baby sister (alone) her aunt dumps her and her sister in orphanages, where Oksana's sister is adopted by a family from the US, who accept Oksana into their home. Transition to living in the US, attending school and being expected to be part of a traditional family are very difficult for Oksana, and her and her adoptive parents struggle to find a balance in their life. Scattered Links brought the cultural and financial differences between countries and families to the forefront of my mind. It shows how many problems children can have when their lives are drastically changed, especially if they were raised in an orphanage without love or basic compassion. It reminded me that everyone deserves to be loved and deserves a chance at a decent life. And it showed me how disorienting it can be to be given the life that children deserve if they've never had it before. It's a wonderful story that reminds me that no matter who we are or where we're from...we're all human.
lifeasleels More than 1 year ago
This is by far the best “general fiction” book I have read since Swallowtail! I devoured this book. Seriously. I started it one night, read it half way, laid down the next night and finished it. I could not put it down. I have never felt so wrapped up in a story before! Scattered Links made me feel every emotion from anxious, scared, alone, dirty to happy, loved, and in love. The writing is so descriptive that I could see, smell, hear Russia. The homeless, the smell, the orphans, the orphanges, the hospital, the barn, the bed in the orphanage. I was everywhere Oksana was. I had a lot of emotions through the entire book – mostly anxiety. What Oksana has gone through, goes through, and will go through leave me speechless. She is one strong girl! And I loved that the ending ended the exact way I hoped it would! I highly recommend this to anyone and everywhere. I really did loved this book!
mmbear More than 1 year ago
This story is sad and it comes out at the right time because of all of the focus on Russia these days but reading the book, you get a sense of what Russia is all about from a standpoint of a young girl who is forced to live with her mother who is a drunk and a prostitute and also very pregnant! She also has an Aunt who really doesn't like her and is pretty mean to her. She does get help from a local church and it's pastor when he asks if she thinks her mother would give the baby up once it's born since she can't afford it. No one is home when Oksana has to deliver the baby. Her mother is passed out drunk and never realizes what happened during the birth. Oksana takes the baby girl and gives it to the pastor who takes it to America to be adopted. That decision will come back later on to haunt her and she will need the help of the pastor again to save a life. She also learns along the way to let go of some of her anger thru the help of her new American parents who adopted her. She also has a new Aunt and that Aunt has a horse farm, which is a lifesaver for Oksana. But will it be enough when tragedy strikes and Oksana must confess something in order to save a life? Will she be strong enough to face the consequences and her biological mother? This is a very real life scenario that is plausible and that is what makes it a good read. It's not some made up fairy tale that sugar coats what is going on in other countries and you will appreciate the realness of the story. I gave it a thumbs up and so did my friend who read it also.
Bookworm_Babblings More than 1 year ago
I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. Oksana had a difficult life. Growing up in the poverty ridden area of Kazak, Russia, she was forced to scrounge around for food and even steal. Now at 13, she must not only steal to feed herself, but also her pregnant mother. She chances upon a soup kitchen run by an American pastor and his wife. Meeting them begins a chain of events that will change her life forever. "Scattered Links" is a touching story of a young girl's journey transitioning in America. This was quite an emotional novel. The things that this child went through before she was adopted is absolutely horrible. The emotional detachment that she went through, and her inability to trust anyone was heartbreaking. I did fall in love with Oksana though. She was a very determined young lady, even when she did something reckless, she always had good intentions. This is a sweet story of unconditional love and trusting God to show you your path.
MikiHope More than 1 year ago
What a heart rendering book this is. Oksana, a thirteen year old, is living on Russia with her drunken Mom and an Aunt who makes a living somewhat. There is very little food and the aunt gets Oksana to steal from vendors to keep them from totally starving. When she ends up stealing from a priest, instead of having her locked up, he take her under his wing. She helps with the "soup kitchen" at the church. When she is left at an orphanage by her aunt after having delivered her Mom's baby (by herself I might mention). The baby is also dropped at a baby orphanage a couple of feet away. Oksana has a deep dark secret about the birth which follows her to the United States when she was adopted by an American couple, which she had wanted to tell her mother but never got the chance. Well, actually the couple has adopted the baby but felt bad when they realized that Oksana really loved her little sister and adopted her as well. Oksana, never having had a good relationship with her Mom, or at least the love that a mother normally provides has a lot of trouble coping with her new environment. She does not really know how to give or receive love-she was never shown how. Oksana really can not believe her Mom knew about her going to an orphanage and imagines that her Mom is looking for her and that some day they will be reunited. About the only thing that brings her around is an abused horse being rehabilitated at her now aunts ranch. It seems that Oksana is a natural with horses. Then the unthinkable happens, Oksana's little sister is diagnosed with leukemia and only a bone marrow transplant will save her life-----what happens next will both make you sad and extremely joyful all at the same time. More goes on and yes, Oksana goes back to Russia with her new Aunt to discover that her memories may not be all that she remembers them to be. Definite 5 stars for this book. I would love to have everyone read this book, it is truly a winner.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Uhhh
PRG1945 More than 1 year ago
I read this book several weeks ago, yet still think of the characters. Compassionate view of life circumstances that I have never given any thought to. Very glad to have this in my library.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SHES 16!!!!! YOUR 11!!!!! AND MY ANSWER IS NO.......YOU AND MADDDI WILL MAKE A HAPPY COUPLE AND........Brb
RayBear More than 1 year ago
“America is a place where there’s lots of color and people who don’t worry about running water or food.” (Page 145). Scattered Links takes place in downtrodden Russia where Oksana is a thirteen-year old trying desperately to take care of her pregnant mama. In a place where many are homeless and hungry, it’s difficult for the young teen to take care of the burgeoning family and make a place for herself in the world. Oksana must make adult decisions and take any chance she can get to help herself, her mama, and her new sister but it isn’t enough. Oksana’s aunt leaves both her and her sister at the local orphanage, but the story isn’t over for the resilient Russian girl. An American couple wants to adopt Oksana’s infant sister and end up with both girls in the process. Adopting an older girl comes with its own complications and it’s difficult for Oksana to leave her mama behind and make a new life for herself in the abundant America. M. Weidenbenner can tell a story that pulls at the heartstrings and brings out emotions in the reader. You are anxious for Oksana to live and prosper and desperately afraid something bad will happen to her. When she teeters on the edge of the precipice of disaster you will shakily turn the pages and wonder how she doesn’t step up and fight for herself or her sister or her mama. But that’s the thing. If you grew up in an environment like Oksana, you wouldn’t always act like a super hero, beating off attempted rapists successfully on your own or finding food where there is none. There is reality to the scenarios in Scattered Links. Everything doesn’t always happen the way we want it and for Oksana a lot can and does go wrong. Where in America would a thirteen-year old be left to deliver her own mama’s child with nothing more than boiled water, cloth, and scissors? Where in America is a woman’s only job opportunity as a prostitute? Oksana lives in a much different world and yet, she is still resilient. She still wants to live. And finally, and most importantly, she has this undeniably beautiful love and hope for her family. Oksana’s blind eye toward her mama and family situation is endearing because Oksana still has the hope that blood is thicker than anything: poverty, destitution, and more mouths to feed. Oksana loves her baby sister more than anything and will stop at nothing to make sure she is safe and wants for nothing. This love is so compelling. I don’t know if there’s anything I’ve loved as much as Oksana loves her sister. Weidenbenner has created these larger than life characters with stories that will make you want to cry for them and their hardships. The author doesn’t stop there though, she creates conflicted characters as well, the adoption mother is overly hard on Oksana, but she just doesn’t understand the girl. Maybe if she had read Scattered Links she’d have a better understanding of what it’s like to grow up in a less than suitable environment for a child and then be separated from one’s mother and taken to a different country and asked to be the daughter of someone who doesn’t understand you. Weidenbenner’s ability to show relationships and the interaction of people is phenomenal. Each character has personality and motivation. Each character shows development and growth. Wow. If I could give a book 6/5 stars, I would do it for this book, and for anything Michelle Weidenbenner writes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Easy story to follow. Got a little long in the tooth in the middle but then there was surprise after surprise after surprise, like little bursts of energy. A great tale of adoption & the poeer of family love.
Deal_Sharing_Aunt More than 1 year ago
This was a book that I will not forget for a long time. I was so curious about Oksana's secret that I had to read the book in one sitting. I enjoyed that the author talked about how hard it is for poor nations to give birth. I loved that the author used horses and the unconditional love of animals. Oksana is such a strong character, and I did not know what I would do if I were in her shoes. Adoption is not easy, and I was glad that the writer included information on it. The ending was so sweet and it made me cry! I am giving this book a 5/5.  I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.  - See more at: http://dealsharingaunt.blogspot.com/2014/04/scattered-links-by-michelle.html#sthash.ZpOLayal.dpuf
BookWormAndMore More than 1 year ago
Scattered Links is a truly inspirational story that shows the resiliency of children.. It is a miracle of the human spirit. When I first learned of this book, I knew I had to read it. My mother's friends adopted two children from Romania. The kids are brother and sister, and were in an orphange similar to the one in Russia that Oksana's sister was in. It has been a difficult but rewarding experience for them. I knew that Scattered Links would be an emotional journey that would pull me in from the beginning, and I was not disappointed. It is unbelievable as Americans to understand the difficulties of Oksana's life. Even though we have people that live in poverty, we can not imagine orphanages or people living like this. While this is not a true story, there were or are similar situations in Russia and Eastern European countries. You will be captivated from page one. Your emotions will be on high alert thinking of any child having to go through everything that Oksana does. I highly recommend that you get this book. It is one that I will keep and pass on (loan) to friends and family. I give this book 5 stars. While there are difficult situations, I think everyone can learn and appreciate this book. Parents should read this before letting their children read it. My children are pretty much grown but I would've let them read this if they were in middle school or high school. If nothing else, this will show your child that their life isn't so bad after all. This book shows the miracle of the human spirit. I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.
Savingsinseconds More than 1 year ago
Though the story is very choppy and included some typos, the pacing of the events was appropriate. Oksana was a typical teenager and tried to rebel against her American adoptive parents. Her behavior was maddening, as I felt that she was being quite ungrateful and rather obnoxious most of the time. However, I could understand why she felt the desperation to return to the only life she'd ever known. Although there are mature situations in this book that include prostitution, near rape, and extreme poverty, it's not graphic at all. Most teens would be able to handle it. In fact, it's a great way to address the disparity between the US and other countries. Overall, Scattered Links proved to be a moving tale of a young girl's physical and emotional healing. Although the people who cared most for her were her chosen family, not biological, Oksana was given the gift of love. I received this book to review. The opinions shared here are 100% mine.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book in one day--couldn't put it down. It was so real that I wanted to find Oksana and adopt her myself! Her story is tough, but it's written with sensitivity and understanding. It opened my eyes to the plight of Russian children and youth. And it showed me that their stories don't stop with adoption--it takes time to learn to how to trust. I'm a big believer in animal therapy, so I love that Oksana bonds with a horse that had been abused. Her secret kept me guessing until the end. Another winner by Michelle Weidenbenner!
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Kathryn Bennett for Readers' Favorite Scattered Links by M. Weidenbenner takes you into the neighborhood of an eastern European town with orphans. This is a fictional account of the pain that tore at the hearts of many in the post-Soviet era, dealing with issues of abandonment and self worth that seem to plague those who do not have a family. You never realize how important family is until you no longer have one. While I personally have never experienced the issues that are laid out in this story, I know many who have. I also know some people who live in the post-Soviet world.  This story rings so true and so close that it is sometimes hard to remember that it is fiction. This book is good for all ages and opens your eyes as you follow the journey of the main character, an orphan who at times may seem bratty to those who have not had to tread a mile in her shoes. Really, how could any of us understand the extent of what happened? The story itself is written very well and you can tell that not only did much research go into it, but also editing and attention to writing detail. The entire story is constructed to make it an experience for the reader and it is one I enjoyed. From the very first page until the last, I was riveted. This is a read-again story and even with the emotional charge in it, I recommend it.
Reviews-By-Ann More than 1 year ago
An emotionally riveting story with the kind of larger-than-life heroine readers will love and root for. Scattered Links has it all--top flight writing, fast paced action, gut-wrenching relationships, horse-therapy, romance, and even a bad guy. I think the novel would appeal to teens as well as adults.