Book Review: Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer

About the Book:

Before I Let You Go

Your sister needs you. But her child needs you more…

As children, Lexie and Annie were incredibly close. Bonded by the death of their beloved father and their mother’s swift remarriage, they weathered the storms of life together. When Lexie leaves home to follow her dream, Annie is forced to turn to her leather-bound journal as the only place she can confide her deepest secrets and fears…

As adults, sisters Lexie and Annie could not be more different. Lexie is a doctor, successful in her practice and happily engaged. Annie is addicted to heroin – a thief, a liar, and unable to remain clean despite the fact that she is pregnant. When Annie’s newborn baby is in danger of being placed in foster care, Annie picks up the phone to beg her sister for help. Will Lexie agree to help and take in her young niece? And how will Annie survive, losing the only thing in her life worth living for?

My Thoughts:

 Before I Let You Go is a story that brings out the bond between family and sisters. There is a strong message of togetherness and trust, the effects of secrets and the power of love. The story mainly follows Lexie and Annie, giving us a glimpse into each of their minds and lives, sisters, who are so different in adulthood and who have drifted apart. Brought together by the death of their father, the girls forge a stronger bond with each other, but as time passes, they drift apart. The author weaves a strong plot of lies, secrets and things left untold which form the basis of the sisters’ relationship.

The story is well-written except for a few times when some points are repeated, driving in the difference in life styles of the sisters. When Annie seeks Lexie out for help and support, she is pregnant and still unable to avoid her drug addiction. Lexie has never been understand how or why her sister changed and when the addiction took over. In spite of this, she rushes to help her sister and agrees to take care of the baby in the time that it takes for her sister to attend rehab again. What follows is a confusing journey filled with strong emotions of anger, love, and togetherness.

As the story unfolds, the reader, along with Lexie, starts to learn a lot about the girls’ past, some of which Lexie had blocked out of her mind and some of it being the truth about her sister’s life that she never knew of. A lot of things bring people closer, but sharing secrets that were buried deep inside and telling the truth to someone you love, helps both of you to grow. That is exactly what happens with Lexie and Annie, during the process of the court-ordered rehab. It is also wonderful to read about Lexie’s fiance who as a supporting character adds more value to this story. However, the build up to the end leads to some unexpected twists that will both surprise and shock the reader, while also being realistic enough that they can understand the situations.

Overall an emotional page-turner, I particularly enjoyed how the author carried forward the plot and the depth of the characters and their emotions. The story may or may not end the way the reader may expect, but there is a lot to take away from this book which makes it worth the read!

Book Review: A Way Back Into Love (Love, #1) by Veronica Thatcher

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Title: A Way Back into Love

Author: Veronica Thatcher

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Notion Press

 Blurb:

Nothing is perfect. Life is messy. Relationships are complex. Outcomes, uncertain. People, irrational. But love…well, that makes everything complicated. And when you are caught in a tangled web of secrets, lies, and complex affairs, someone is bound to get burned.

 Emily Stevens is a spunky, spirited college girl whose life gets turned upside-down when she realizes she’s in love with her best friend of fifteen years, Derek Thorpe. As Emily prepares to confess her feelings to Derek, something happens one night which changes her life forever. Five years later, Emily finds herself in Boston, alone and heartbroken. Will she ever be able to forget the past? And what will she find when she returns home…to the man she left behind?

 Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32998245-a-way-back-into-love

 Buy links: Paperback – http://www.amazon.in/Way-Back-Into-Love/dp/1946641170/

                                                https://www.amazon.com/dp/1946641170/

                             eBooks – https://www.amazon.in/dp/B06WRR5FN3

                                                https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06WRR5FN3/

Author Bio:

Veronica Thatcher is an exciting new contemporary romance author. Ever since she was very young, she’s dreamed of becoming a doctor when she grew up. While still forging ahead with that, majoring in pre-med in college, she unwittingly stumbled upon a new dream—becoming a published author. Some may call her an introvert or a wallflower, but she has always found she could express herself better in written, rather than spoken, words. However, never in her wildest dreams had she envisioned she would pursue writing as a prospective career, not just a hobby. Her love for writing goes hand-in-hand with her love for a good romance novel—whether it be a feel-good, sweet romance or a dark, suspenseful one. When she’s not studying, reading, or writing, she is usually found blasting her favourite songs, sometimes singing and dancing along to them.  She dabbles in a number of activities, including painting, karate, singing and dancing. She is a huge chocoholic – probably the biggest – and she is an ice-cream junkie too. She considers herself technologically handicapped forever and has no shame in admitting that. She also deems chocolates her boyfriend, Patrick Dempsey the love of her life, and Friends her life!

 Her first book, A Way Back Into Love, is slated for release in February 2017, and she hopes readers will enjoy it as much as she enjoyed writing it. You can reach Veronica through Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Wattpad and Gmail.

 Author Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorthatcher/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/merderlover1

Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/user/merder32

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16087807.Veronica_Thatcher

  Excerpt:

 Emily stepped back from him and shook her head. “Oh, you know damn well what I mean. You know what, Derek? I’m done having this conversation with you. I’m so done with this conversation and I’m so done with you,” Emily spat out angrily before brushing past him.

 “Emily, wait,” Derek said, catching her by her arm. “Where are you going?”

 Emily spun around and gave him a bitter look before looking down at his hand gripping her arm. “Leave my arm,” she said in a low yet threatening voice, “And why do you care where I’m going? It’s none of your business.”

 Derek didn’t leave her arm in spite of her warning and said, “Em, you’ve had too many drinks. You can’t drive in this condition. I’ll drop you home.”

 Emily jerked her arm free from his grasp and replied in a bitter voice, “Thank you, but no. I’m perfectly capable of getting myself home on my own. I don’t need you to drop me home. Do you get it, Derek Thorpe? I DON’T NEED YOU!” Emily yelled the last words, causing a few people to look their way.

My Thoughts:

A Way Back Into Love is a story of finding yourself and standing up for what you want. Step forward and ask, talk, otherwise you can lose it forever. This is what the protagonist, Emily, realizes, after she gets her heart broken. However, the plot runs on the basis of a series of events, which result due to what seem to be minor misunderstandings, until they finally get together and blow up at once.

The characters are likeable, though sometimes I felt like putting my hands Emily and giving her a shake! She could get rather annoying with her thoughts flying all around the place. But, the strength that she has to walk away, to try to live a life in a different place, change her and shape her into a better person. Also, the support from family and friends counts a lot and we can see how this affects the characters!

I enjoyed the concept of self-discovery, and this story is something that most people can relate to. The author’s style of writing is simple and though the concept is a tiny bit cliched, it is a rather enjoyable read.

Book Review: What Jennifer Knows by Wendy Janes

About the Book:

What Jennifer Knows

A vital member of her Surrey community, Jennifer Jacobs is dedicated to her job as a dance therapist, helping children with special needs to express themselves through movement. Wife of a successful though reclusive sculptor, Gerald, she is known for having a deep sense of empathy, making her a trusted confidante. So when two very different friends, Freya and Abi, both share information with her that at first seems to be an awkward coincidence, she doesn’t tell them. But as the weeks roll by, the link revealed between the two women begins to escalate into a full-blown moral dilemma – and also brings to the surface a painful memory Jennifer believed she had long since forgotten. What is the right thing to do? Should she speak out or is the truth better left unsaid?

My Thoughts:

 An interesting read overall, this book has its set of ups and downs. There are many things that will appeal to the reader and a few which may deter them. But persevering on will ensure that the reader comes away satisfied by the reading experience. On some level, it is a little daunting to read about Jennifer and Gerald, who seem to be role models for the perfect life and couple. However, as we progress through the story, we come to know that not everything is as perfect as it seems.

Jennifer struggles with her relationship with her daughter as well as her friendships with Freya and Abi. The main question of morality comes down to whether a friend should share the truth about something they know or withhold it and wait. There is never a right answer or reaction to this and each can have different ends. A trial of relationships, both on the personal front as well as with friends raises a dilemma in Jennifer’s mind which forms the crux of this story. The author’s style of writing is simple and flows well.

The supporting characters are nice and developed to some extent. I believe that there could have been more depth added to the story and the characters, making it a bit more complex. However, on the whole the story works. It is a decent read and a different kind of plot that ultimately forces the reader to think about certain moral ideas.

Review: An Exaltation of Larks by Suanne Laqueur

About the Book:

An Exaltation of Larks

September 11, 1973: Eleven-year-old Alejandro Penda watches from his apartment window as Santiago, Chile falls to a military coup, destroying his family and his childhood. Arriving alone in America, he’s taken in by the Larks: a prominent family in the town of Guelisten. Though burdened by unresolved grief for his disappeared parents, he becomes fiercely loyal to the Larks, eventually marrying one of their daughters, Valerie.

September 11, 2001: Javier Landes watches from his apartment window as New York City falls to terrorism. As one of Manhattan’s top-paid male escorts, this professional lover has never lacked for company and is loyal only to himself. But in the wake of 9/11, Jav is named guardian for an orphaned nephew in Guelisten and must open his carefully-guarded heart to pain he’s long suppressed.

Alex, Valerie and Jav meet first in their twenties, with a sudden attraction each finds strange and compelling. When they meet again in their forties, they discover not only is their bond still strong, but their life experiences are strangely similar. All have been shaped by separate 9/11’s, and their unfinished business from the past will change everything they know about love, loyalty and friendship.

“Life has rules. You cannot come in the middle of the night and take what we agreed isn’t yours.”

Across three decades and two continents, Suanne Laqueur’s fifth novel explores the unpredictability of sexual attraction, how family ties are forged, torn and mended, and how love’s downfall can turn to exaltation.

My Thoughts:

Wow! This is one intense read! Keeping in sync with her style of writing, Suanne has given us yet another wonderful book. After the emotional roller coaster that The Fish Tales was, this book only adds to her brilliant collection. This story is both different and in some small ways, same as that of the Fish Tales.

The author’s style of writing will ensure that the reader is drawn into the story. We have no choice but to become a part of it, another character added into the mix. We go through all the emotions and situations that the characters in the story do. The story deals with love, relationships, friendships and the trials people face when all this collide. The emotions will consume you as a reader and once you start, there is no stopping.

The love, tragedy and death that surrounds two of our principal characters is over whelming and heart wrenching. We follow the characters as they grow up, starting from their childhood right into adulthood, the story spans more than thirty years in their lives. The story also focuses on how these characters help each other deal with their lives and heal. They’re on the path to healing and self-discovery filled with compassion and love.

Suanne is back with characters who are bold, sensual, confident and deeply emotional, in touch with their inner feelings. They are strong enough to deal with their inner demons head on and to fight for the ones they love. They fight for what is theirs and it is always a collective “us” and not an “I” with any of the characters. All this makes it easy for us to fall in love with them and their journey in life becomes ours. The supporting characters (and I must say that there are many) are brilliant and make the story all the more enchanting. They add the right amount of spice that is required making it a great mix.

Love is the biggest motivator and driving factor behind this story. It is ultimately the cause of and reason for all the events that take place. As we watch Alex, Val and Javier grow in parallel but different story arcs, the reader will have no choice but to fall in love with them even as they fall in love with each other and turn their lives up side down.

Upon reading the summary/synopsis of the story, one can figure out much about the plot and thus I will refrain from explaining more about it for fear of revealing everything. This book is not just a simple story, it is a journey that the reader must prepare themselves to embark on with no chance of return. The story will touch the reader in ways that they would not expect and there will be no chance of putting the book down. Even after finishing it, for a time, the reader will feel as though there is a void inside them and they need time to fill it up again and feel whole. These are the kind of emotions that Suanne inspires in the reader through her writing.

Life is an unpredicatable roller-coaster ride and all we can do is choose the paths we want to take at each cross-road and then live with our decisions.

Book Review: Ask Him Why by Catherine Ryan Hyde

About the Book:

Ask Him Why by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Ruth and her little brother, Aubrey, are just teenagers when their older brother ships off to Iraq. When Joseph returns, uninjured, only three and a half months later, Ruth is happy he is safe but also deeply worried. How can it be that her courageous big brother has been dishonorably discharged for refusing to go out on duty? Aubrey can’t believe that his hero doesn’t have very good reasons.

Yet as the horrifying details of the incident emerge, Joseph disappears. In their attempts to find him, Ruth and Aubrey discover he has a past far darker than either of them could imagine. But even as they learn more about their brother, important questions remain unanswered—why did he betray his unit, his country, and now his family? Joseph’s refusal to speak ignites a fire in young Aubrey that results in a disastrous, and public, act of rebellion.

The impact of Joseph’s fateful decision one night in Baghdad will echo for years to come, with his siblings caught between their love for him and the media’s engulfing frenzy of judgment. Will their family ever make their way back to each other and find a way to forgive?

My Thoughts:

I found this book on Amazon as a recommendation based on my previous search history. To be very frank, the synopsis caught my attention and I must admit, upon completing the book, I was simply blown away. This is an amazingly written book highlighting the bonds between siblings, the horrors faced in a war and the kind of scars left behind.

First off I will start with the style of writing. IT IS AMAZING. This is a moving, emotional roller coaster of a story. Joseph, the eldest of three is shipped off to Iraq and returns only months later. Ruth and her little brother Aubrey, still early teenagers at this stage struggle to understand the situation. Brought up in a family where one cannot ask questions, and nothing is discussed, they learn to keep shut. They do not know the importance of communication and sharing what is on their mind. This is something the children come to learn in time.

The parents are dealing with the repercussion of Joseph’s return, the press is sensationalizing the story, and the world has already decided his fate. He is due for a dishonorable discharge, but this turns into something far worse due to the deaths of two of his former squad mates. His choices set in motion a series of events that tugs apart at the very thin thread that binds his family together.

As the story progresses, Joseph turns himself in and goes to prison. His siblings are left wondering what happened and questioning his courage. His younger brother Aubrey, feels betrayed that his brother does not even want to see him and speaks out against him in public. The lack of communication allows a monster of hate to grow inside him which he carries for the next 9 -10 years. Ruth and Aubrey reach out to their aunt for help in trying to understand what’s happening. In all this, we meet Hamish, a wonderful person, who helps put things in perspective.

The story follows the siblings as they learn to deal with their feelings, confront each other, talk and thus find each other. The story teaches us to ask questions, to seek for the answers before making a judgement call, to think before one acts. This is a wonderfully written book and will tug at your heart strings in more ways than you can imagine. It teaches the reader so many lessons that I highly recommend this book to everyone. Thank you Catherine for writing this wonderful story.

 

Memories – A Poem

Thinking back to your school or college days, I assume most of you can relate to this. Dedicated to all those people we hung around with and made some wonderful memories!

x————————————————————–x

Looking back at times long gone,
I reminisce,
Thinking about the fun we had,
All the times that we sat,
Lounging in class,
Or in the ground,
Chattering away with anyone,
And everyone who lent an ear,
All for one and one for all,
We stood together mighty strong,
The bonds of friendship that we formed,
Are interwoven into our lives,
Never to break forever more,
All the memories come gushing back
Of the fun that we had,
The times we spent together,
Will remain special forever!!