Review: Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmererk

Just a few days ago I was talking with some bookish friends about genres I love, genres I don’t love so much. And as it always does, romance found its way to the top of my “least favorite genre” list. And then here I find myself giving a five star review to, you guessed it, a romance. Not a psychological thriller with some romance thrown in. Not historical fiction with an underlying romantic tone. Nope, just a romance. Go figure.

Juliet and Declan are both suffering the recent loss of a parent although in very different ways. Still, this common thread is what brings them together. The only way Juliet has been able to cope with her mom’s death is by spending hours at the cemetery, writing letters that her mother will never be able to read.

But somebody does read them. Declan finds himself at the mercy of the court after a big screw up. Community service, mowing lawns at the cemetery it is. When he comes across Juliet’s letters curiosity gets the best of him. And then he writes back. And she answers. Thus begins an unconventional relationship. Their letters fill a hole in each one of them, though. They find comfort in words. But when real life begins to interfere, is it better or worse to keep their true identities hidden from each other?

Romance aside, this is a good story. It pulled on my heartstrings, imagining the pain that each one of these young people must be going through. A few little twists thrown in towards the end keep it interesting up until the last page. A great, safe read for young adults as well!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Letters to the Lost

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Review: On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins

Kate and Ainsley are half sisters, but they feel worlds apart most of the time. Kate is reserved, classical, and practical. Ainsley is fashionable, whimsical and fun. But when they each find themselves alone after their respective romantic situations fall apart, their sisterly love shines through righteously. 

Some of this story just broke my heart, and I wasn’t sure I could get through the despair. Then I noticed I was only a quarter of the way through the book, leaving PLENTY of time for redemption, hugs, and gluing hearts back together. 

My most favorite part of this whole book, even more awesome than the sister love (which is pretty awesome, and a big part of the story), even snazzier than the Tiffany ring (big!), and even more heartwarming than the boss finding a soft spot in his heart for an employee (unexpected!), was Daniel the Hot Firefighter. Higgins masterfully wove him in as comic relief and a reliable pal, but he was so much more. Aside from his witty banter and alpha male-ism, Daniel the Hot Firefighter symbolized Hope… hope for a future when the present is bleak, hope for women looking for a good man, hope for children needing a father figure.

I kind of guessed where Daniel the Hot Firefighter would end up at the close of the story, and I was so glad that my guess only scratched the surface. Look for your Hot Firefighter, people. You never know when you’ll need to be rescued, and he will be there with a generous heart… and a smile. 

-calliope

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Review: My Sister’s Secret by Tracy Buchanan

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Yes, I’m doing it again.  I’m recommending a book about lying families with dark secrets.  Sorry, it is what it is!  But never fear, this one is heavy on the emotions and light on the mayhem.

Willow has lived with her aunt Hope for almost as long as she can remember. Orphaned at a very young age, she takes her aunt’s version of what happened at face value.  Why would she question the past, anyway?  But when she receives an invitation to a gallery exhibit, she begins to wonder.  And the more she wonders, the more she uncovers.  An aunt she didn’t know existed, questions about her parents’ death…all these things lead her to dig deeper.  Unfortunately her aunt Hope is no help, preferring to leave the tragedies of her youth hidden and forgotten.  So Willow is left on her own, with a lot of determination and a bit of help from both friends and strangers.

Alternating between the past and the present, the author successfully blends the two together into a story that covers all possible angles.  I found myself caring as much about Charity’s story as I did Willow’s.  It’s a rare author that can do this.  A great summer beach read!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  My Sister’s Secret