The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

Lucy and Gabe meet in college in September 20lightwelost01. Young and idealistic their futures loom in front of them. This book is about love and the roads taken and not taken. Had it been up to Lucy she and Gabe would have been together forever, except that Gabe had things going on within him, things he felt he had to resolve from his upbringing. At first she thinks they can meld their careers but Gabe feels differently. As a photojournalist he goes to the most dangerous, war-torn areas in the world in the years after 9-11. Lucy stays in New York and pursues her dreams, but thinks and hears about Gabe as social media evolves. During the next thirteen years they lose touch, then reunite briefly even though Lucy marries and has 2 children. The words of this book are those of Lucy’s as she sorts through her memories of the love she cherished with Gabe. She questions her decisions, does a lot of what ifs and ultimately knows at the end, that she will always love him.

Always by Sarah Jio

always

There is nothing like thinking back on the past, wondering if someone you broke up with was the one, and you made a mistake.

Kailey Crain has lost her true love Cade. Several years ago he disappeared after some disagreements and she never knew why. Nor did she try to find out.  She just figured he left her, cutting her completely out of his life.

Now, years later, she is engaged to the man of her dreams, Ryan.

One night her eyes meet the eyes of a homeless man on the street. It is her ex-boyfriend Cade, who disappeared many years ago. Now gaunt and thin he doesn’t even respond to his name.

Kailey cannot resist her connection for Cade. After she sees him, thoughts of him and finding him will not leave her mind. She is shocked and tells all of her friends. She does not tell her fiancée. She conveniently hides her search for Cade while Ryan is out of town, probably because she knows what she is doing stems from the wrong motivation. Whatever the motivation, she does find him and solves the mystery of why he disappeared. She also gets him help, and he recovers quite quickly.

Always flows along nicely, and the characters are likable. You truly pull for a successful ending. The ending is most acceptable to readers, and the story does keep you engrossed.

The Girl Before by JP Delaney

girlbeforeSo many books lately with the word “girl” in the title made me wonder about this one but I was soon immersed in this psychological thriller.

Predominantly about two women, Emma and Jane, both similar in looks and both haunted by personal tragedy, who years apart, meet a mesmerizing, secretive architect Edward.

Edward owns several real estate buildings and has an extremely rigid application process for potential tenants to go through. Sample questions are, would you sacrifice yourself to save ten innocent strangers? What about ten thousand strangers? If you pass his stringent list of questions, you may have the opportunity to interview with him, and he will make the final decision about if you get to rent the apartment.

Edward is a minimalist architect. The coveted apartment is a modern, tech-savvy, austere flat that is not allowed decoration or disarray. Why would anyone want to live in a place like this? Both women seem to desire and need a semblance of control in their lives after personal tragedies. Eventually though, flaws begin to appear.

The anonymous author, JP Delaney says the story was written from personal distrust of the apparently perfect lives he sees sometimes, saying that what is seen on the surface may hide holes in the heart. The book may be brought to the screen by director Ron Howard.

The Runaway Midwife by Patricia Harman

midwife

It’s always fun to read about someone starting over in life. That’s one of the reasons we love books, to escape from the world we live in. Not saying that we are dissatisfied with the life we live, but reading offers opportunities to learn about other locations, lifestyles, and feelings. Hopefully we learn something from the adventures that our characters take.

In the Runaway Midwife, the main character is Clara. She is a caring midwife who enjoys her work but everything goes wrong at exactly the same time. Her marriage is sour, a pregnant friend she is caring for dies from a rare disease and Clara is blamed, and her daughter is basically out of touch on the other side of the world.

Clara reacts by escaping to Canada, our neighbor to the north. Because we live in Michigan, I saw several discrepancies in the novel that perhaps those who do not live adjacent might not see. It did not detract from the main story but compels me to note, out of awareness.

The island in Canada that Clara snowmobiles to is inclusive, and the people who live there year-round are an eclectic group of independent souls, friendly but not necessarily welcoming. That’s fine because Clara is hesitant to allow anyone to discover her true identity. Clara takes on a new name and rents a cottage with cash, first for the spring and summer, later extending through the year.

Interspersed throughout the novel is Clara’s awakening to nature and herself, you can sense the beauty and solitude of the island. Clara has a journal where she notes birds arriving back after their long sojourn of winter vacation in the south. There is her tentative attempt at friend-making at the hippie camp. There is caring and birth and dying. There is flirtation, mystery, crime and yes, love. The author does a good job of character development and dialogue and this allows the reader to flow along with the story. This book has a feel-good ending as well. In my opinion, readers will enjoy this book.

With Love from the Inside

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Sophie lies when she tells her husband both parents are dead. Her mother, Grace Bradshaw, is still alive and on death row for killing Sophie’s baby brother seventeen years ago.

Grace has filed as many appeals as she can. Her husband has died after many years of trying to prove his wife innocent of killing their baby son. She has had nothing but time to contemplate her fate, and time to write a journal for Sophie about her memories. This book is not really about the death penalty that Graces faces. It is about the love a mother has for her child. For Grace has not heard from Sophie for years! Time is ticking for any reconciliation.

This book written by Angela Pisel has hope and it has tears. Whether readers are for the death penalty or not the book causes you to think, what if.

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Book That Matters Most

Cover art for The book that matters most  by Hood, Ann, 1956- author.

Book clubs are often more than reading a book. They can be companionship resources, support groups and more for people who enjoy reading.

The Book That Matters Most by Ann Hood is about a book club and more.

Ava’s husband has just left her after 25 years of marriage. Her good friend leads a book club so she joins because she needs people to talk to. Because she doesn’t really want to read the first book, she gets a movie about it and feels foolish during the meeting!

On book selection day, the book club members decide to each pick a book that mattered the most to them in their lives. Many of the members pick classics, or books they were reading during important events. Ava picks a book she remembers consoled her after double tragedies in her family, her young sister falling from a tree and her mother’s suicide.

The novel focuses mainly about Ava and her daughter Maggie, who is fighting a drug addiction and having relationship problems while supposedly studying in Europe.

Full of twists and an endearing character in Ava, you will find this a good book, especially for those who love literature and the written word.

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Behind Closed Doors

CoCover art for Behind closed doors  by Paris, B. A., author.ntrol issues with a sinister twist are the basic themes throughout this first novel, Behind Closed Doors written by B. A .Paris.

Jack and Grace are the perfect couple on the surface, but within the confines of their own home, life is a different story. This novel will keep you riveted. It also leaves plenty of room for your imagination. Jack has devious plans in store for Grace’s handicapped sister Millie. Grace is in a race with time and her wits to save her. She must use all her intelligence and resources to gain the upper hand in a battle for good. This book allows you to dwell on the forms and degrees of control after reading it. Even though the topic is rather uncomfortable, the story is creepy and seductive and reels you in.

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