The Dan Diaries

The Beyond Series, Book 1

Fiction - Chick Lit
167 Pages
Reviewed on 04/08/2018
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite

The Dan Diaries is the first book in The Beyond series written by D.D. Marx. Daniel Sullivan is driving while talking on the phone with his best friend, Olivia Henry (Hank), when it happens. On impact, Dan screams out Olivia’s name before being torn away from his life, now just an observer. Watching helplessly as Olivia tries desperately to cope with her grief over his loss, Dan wishes he could send her a sign that he is okay, but his new future awaits... as Olivia’s guardian angel. As he is given an overview of Olivia’s future and views her life with new eyes, Dan realizes that heartbreak and sorrow is a two-way street, as he diarizes his every thought, feeling and desire.

It is not often that I read a book which completely takes me out of my comfort zone. D.D. Marx’s tale of two soul mates, who are torn apart through death and yet stay connected, tore open some old wounds, yet took me to a place in which I experienced grief in a new light. Watching Dan oversee Olivia’s life without him drew many tears to my eyes, but the realistic feel of the story and the tiny doses of humor injected in just the right amounts throughout lightened the load substantially. I was able to view my own grief through Olivia’s eyes as she lost her best friend and had to try to find a way to live again, without hiding her most vulnerable aspects from every new person she meets.

The Dan Diaries is written in such a way that I was able to see it play out in my head, the same way a Deaf person views a subtitled film inside the cinema. I am not only grateful to have read through such a fine piece of literature, but I also recommend The Dan Diaries to readers over the age of 15 years who wish to tackle their grief, loss and pain in a different light. I cannot wait to read the remaining books in The Beyond series.

Jack Magnus

The Dan Diaries: The Beyond Series, Book 1 is a contemporary religious fiction novel written by D.D. Marx. Dan had been driving and talking on his cellphone with his best friend, Olivia Henry, when suddenly everything changed -- forever. A car had barreled into his in order to avoid another collision, and Dan was stunned to hear a voice welcoming him to the hereafter, even as he watched, horrified, as the paramedics worked frantically to restore his life. The calm and centred voice he heard was that of his guardian angel; something he had never even considered he had. Gabriel was there to help Dan through his transition process and to show him the ropes of his new life in heaven. What affected Dan most in those first hours was seeing the devastation his death caused his family and Olivia, particularly. How could he cope with their pain? When he meets God for the first time, Dan learns how he can actually help Olivia deal with his loss, and his purpose in the afterlife soon becomes apparent to him.

D.D. Marx’s contemporary religious fiction novel, The Dan Diaries: The Beyond Series, Book 1, is a provocative and thoughtful novel about the afterlife and what comes next, and it builds on the traditional views of heaven in unexpected ways. This well-written story poses intriguing reflections about the possibility of messages from beyond, including songs and number sequences. It also introduces a God like none you’ve ever considered before, and the change is probably a welcome one for most. Marx’s God is approachable and not entirely devoid of humor. The plot is breezy, especially considering the topic, and Marx’s characters are credible and well-defined. The Dan Diaries: The Beyond Series, Book 1 is highly recommended.

K.J. Simmill

It started at the end, but they say every end is a beginning. In this case, this new beginning was caused by his death. Daniel hadn't seen it coming, he had no time to prepare, no time to say goodbye, and watching his loved ones mourn him was devastating, but watching how his death affected his best friend, Olivia Henry, was unbearable. He was tasked by the Almighty to help her, make her believe. She was destroyed by Daniel's death, but a great future could await her if she believed in this afterlife, and she would shape the future of so many, and turn doubters into believers, if only he could guide her to this faith. The catch was, he could only send signs, and she was not one to focus on such things.

The Dan Diaries is a religious fiction story by D.D. Marx. It is a sweet read, suitable for a young adult audience. The easy, flowing first person narrative allows the reader insight into Daniel's innermost thoughts. It addresses the challenges of belief without faith or proof, and the efforts to which a guardian angel could go, only for their signs to be overlooked or forgotten. The book has a very youthful, friendly style, a simple and uncompleted view of the afterlife, written from a very informal and casual point of view. Bars, shops, and everlasting happiness with no negative emotions possible. It is a journey of patience and perseverance over a period of several earth years. You'll see commitment, self-sabotage, doubt, grief, hard times and good times, new friendships, new relationships, and life slowly moving on after loss. It is an enjoyable read about enduring and everlasting friendship.

Alyssa Elmore

A young man becomes his best friend's guardian angel in the gripping chick-lit novel, The Dan Diaries (The Beyond Series) by D.D. Marx. Daniel Sullivan has always been close to best friend Olivia, whom he has affectionately nicknamed Hank. While on the phone with Hank, Dan is involved in a fatal accident. Leaving his life and family behind to cross into the Beyond, Dan is devastated. Suffering from the pain of seeing his loved ones and friends grieve his loss, Dan must learn how to communicate with them from the Otherside. As time goes on, he is commissioned to help one person move on from his untimely death; Hank. Still in deep mourning, Hank has closed herself off and refuses to move forward in her life. With gentle nudges from Dan's other-worldly presence, Hank is lovingly propelled into a new phase in her life. Growing from pain, learning to trust her angel's tender assistance, and opening her life to love and forgiveness, Hank's journey is just beginning. Can Dan help Hank move past loss to fulfill her life's purpose?

The Dan Diaries (The Beyond Series) by D.D. Marx is a poignant story of life after death. Dan's assignment is simple; help guide Hank through her pain to start on her life's purpose. His mission has one stipulation; he must complete his tasks by using only signs, symbols, songs, etc. I loved how the reader is shown both Hank's and Dan's sides of the story interchangeably. Viewing life through a different perspective, the reader is challenged to alter how they react to the little dramas of life and the loving messages they receive as guidance. I loved the story and the message. It was touching and eye-opening. This novel is sure to ease the pain of loss and reveal messages sent by loved ones from the Otherside.