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My Review of The Girl in the Mural

I do not read the back cover of books. I always find that they give too much information away. They share pieces of the story that I don’t want to know before I begin reading it. I want the book to take me on a journey. A journey that is hopefully unpredictable and keeps me wanting to read much later into the night than I should.

How do I pick a book?

I will typically pick a book by the title or by the cover. It has to intrigue me and catch my attention. I have a Pinterest board that is filled with books that I want to read. When I read one from that board, I move it to the Pinterest board that is filled with books that I have already read.


It isn’t often that I give a review on a book. I read a lot of books but most of the books that I read are from people I don’t personally know. Iris was a client who has become a friend and I want to help share her incredible book.

I call Iris my first stranger client. I remember the day that she randomly messaged me on Instagram. I had never seen her before or heard her name before. She had never commented on any of my posts. She wanted to work with me. She loved what I did and was wondering what the difference was between two of my packages.

I explained the difference and recommended the one that she was needing. She instantly messaged back thanking me and paid me in full to work with me for three months.

Iris had (still does but she hasn’t published for a little while), a mental health blog that she was looking to grow and monetize. She already had The Girl in the Mural book written but it was nowhere on her site so we had a starting place.

We instantly connected through our coaching calls and began to grow and build her blog so that she could monetize it.

"Oh my gosh! I was ready to give up on blogging until I found Samantha. She made it so easy! Things I never even considered were brought to my attention, and I just watched my blog and social media presence grow and grow and grow!! Samantha is amazing!! Even when I was nervous about investing in coaching, she walked me through all the benefits and perks of having a knowledgeable coach. I just want to say thank you! Thank you Samantha for helping me get my business off the ground and making it flourish.” Iris

Iris herself is a veteran of the U.S Air Force. After surviving domestic violence and a toxic and emotionally abusive relationship with someone that she thought was the love of her life, Iris had enough of dating and relationships. She made a promise to herself that she would not be that woman again. She was determined to heal and get what she truly deserved as a sweet, kind, and driven woman. To learn more about Iris and how she is changing the world through her business, check out her website, Iris Findlay Coaching.


There is something magical about a book that you can’t put down. You just want to keep reading until you hit the end, and even then, it still isn’t enough.

Before I get too far into the review of the book, I want to start off by saying there is a TRIGGER WARNING.

This book talks about rape as well as the aftermath of that rape.

I think this is part of the reason I love this book. I am a survivor myself and this book was able to say things that I couldn’t when I was struggling. Iris is able to capture the emotions so beautifully and so destructively that it felt like it was my life back in 2004. I was Ava and Ava was me.

Ava is one of the main characters of this book. As the book goes on, you find out things about Ava that make you want to wrap her in a giant warm hug. You want to tell her that she isn’t alone and that life can get so much better.

The book is set in Guam and follows Ava and her boyfriend Logan, who is in the Navy. He lives with 2 other men who are also in the Navy when Ava moves in to be with him. The dynamics in the house are perfect and Ava’s healing and life are going smoothly until another woman comes into the picture.

I won’t give too much away because I want you to grab your own copy and support Iris.

All through this book, my emotions were high and on alert. Last night I kept reading until I was finished. I couldn’t put it down because I wanted to know how it ended.

I haven’t had a book make me cry for a very long time but once I closed the covers and placed it on my side table, I slid down in bed and tears just started to fall. Tears for Ava, tears for Ivy, tears for Logan, tears for me.

There was one paragraph in the book that I took a picture of because it hit me in all the right places and I understood Ava more than I wish I did.

“Ivy’s green eyes were brighter from the tears. “Do you ever miss who you were before it happened?”

The melancholy question surprised Ava. She had asked herself similar things in the past.

Shaking her head, she whispered, “I miss who I could’ve been.”

The words weighed heavy in the air between them. Ivy wrapped Ava in another fierce hug before she left the room.”

I myself have asked that question as I looked in the mirror. It was as if I knew Ava at that moment. All of her pain and despair. All of her wishes and dreams that never came to life.

If you are looking for a book that has a happy ending. This book isn’t for you.

If you are looking for a book that shows you how traumatic being a survivor can be, this book is for you. It opens your eyes to how people act and live, just to survive in the pain that they are living with.

Ava’s pain would never go away. It was managed and she was living a beautiful life in Guam until someone walked into her life and knew how to play games with someone’s life.

If you love thrillers. You are going to love this book.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this book since I put it down. It will always be in me, reminding me of where I was and how far I have come.

This book will also highlight how the family and friends of survivors deal with certain situations. It will have you thinking even more about the words that come out of your mouth and how you can support someone in a different way.

Thank you Iris for writing a book that captures the emotions, the destruction, the pain, and the beauty that so many survivors deal with on a daily basis. I am heartbroken at the ending but also filled with so much pride in Ava.

Please support Iris and purchase The Girl in the Mural. You will NOT be disappointed and you will walk away wanting more.

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