How to Save a Life by Emma Scott

How to Save a Life by Emma Scott

5 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of How to Save a Life by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Josephine Clark is scarred in more ways than one. Weeks away from graduating high school and starting out on her own, she meets Evan Salinger, the town freak. Evan has been labeled a mental case by the rest of the students. He claims to see things in his dreams he otherwise has no way of knowing, and Jo is warned to stay away from him. But Jo is a freak in her own mind, and the pair quickly find solace in each other, building a soul-deep relationship. With Evan by her side, Jo’s future looks a little brighter, until they’re ripped apart by circumstances outside their control.

Several years later, Jo is hanging on by a thread. When Evan finds her, the thread snaps and they have to go on the run from the law. Evan’s visions keep them moving in what he’s sure is the right direction, although things only seem to be getting worse from Jo’s perspective. It’ll take a lot of faith for them to finally be able to live the life they’ve dreamed of all these years.

How to Save a Life is a second chance romance with a bit of paranormal fueling the plot. Even if you’re not a fan of paranormal stories, this is one book you should take a chance on. The paranormal aspect is so well incorporated it feels like a natural part of Evan’s character. He’s just a regular high school kid who happens to have dreams that end up coming true. He intensely feels the visions, and they guide all his decisions in life. Because of their love—an emotion foreign to both main characters at the start of the novel—Jo is able to trust in Evan’s instincts even if she doesn’t understand them. The journey this takes them on is intense and thrilling, resulting in a book I couldn’t put down once I started reading it.

Both Jo and Evan are flawed characters, which made me love them all the more. Issues in Jo’s past have shaped who she is now, and it’s easy to understand why she doesn’t trust many people. Evan knows he can’t depend on anyone but himself, and he also understands there are sacrifices he has to make in order to reach his destiny. He has to trust his visions, even when he doesn’t fully understand them.

The romance between the two was well-developed even though it occurred over a short period of time. It was clear these two people were meant to be together, but the journey throughout the book made for a wild ride that kept me on the edge of my seat, waiting and hoping they would find their happily-ever-after.

Ms. Scott has a way with drawing out emotions to pull the reader into the world of her characters. Several times I was in tears over these characters. I highly recommend this book and will definitely read more by this author.

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Happy reading!

Rach

The Kiss: The Cotiere Chronicles Book 1 by Michelle Bolanger

The Kiss: The Cotiere Chronicles Book 1 by Michelle Bolanger

The Kiss Cover

Summary

Best friends since birth, Leisel Gottschalk and Baden Dietrich are months away from the ceremony that will unite them forever, until Baden learns that everything they’ve been told about their arranged union is based on lies. He knows he has to let her go, but getting her away from their family will cost them everything.

Koen Lockton is determined to make the most of his life. He’s just signed a recording and tour contract that will jump start his music career. With one year of school left before he hits the road, his life changes in a way he never would have dreamed when he hears Leisel Gottschalk’s laugh. But when she fails to recognize him for what he is, he knows something is terribly wrong.

Driven into hiding and divided by an ancient wrong, a forgotten race of people are nearing extinction. Old traditions and long held grudges will be exposed and challenged when one man risks it all to right the wrong he caused and three young lives are caught in the middle. Will they be strong enough to change the future and unite a broken people? All it will take is a single kiss, but are they willing to break her family rules?

Rach Lawrence Books Review

3 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of The Kiss by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

The Kiss is a clean paranormal romance about Leisel Gottchalk coming of age and finding her mate. Born without the sense of smell, Leis is afraid she will be unable to bond with best friend and intended Baden Dietrick when the time comes. Their people are near extinction and are depending on Leis and Baden to mate and reproduce, but Baden knows he and Leis aren’t really meant for each other.

The story is an interesting one, beginning with Leis trying to find feelings for Baden that just aren’t there. All her life she’s been told it’s her fault because she has no sense of smell, but the true problem is that Leis and Baden are being forced into something that isn’t meant to be. I loved the way the author contrasted Leis’ feelings for Baden with her feelings for Koen once he entered the picture. Certainly any girl would be attracted to Koen, the sexy musician, but Leis recognizes there is something different about the way she feels for Koen even when she can’t smell him like the rest of the females of her race.

Set in modern times, the book is about a supernatural race nearing extinction. I enjoyed the world the author created and how the Cotiere was able to live in everyday society without being discovered. The plot of Leis, Koen, and Baden having to fight against their own people lured me in and kept me reading. I liked the way the book was set up with a letter or snippet of information in the beginning of each chapter.

Unfortunately, there were quite a few errors, which drew me out of the story—things like incorrect or missing words and comma and apostrophe misuse. There were also some inconsistencies within the story, some actions that felt like the came out of nowhere, and some plot points that were forgotten at times.

I did enjoy reading the book but would love to see it better edited for grammar and content.

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Happy reading!

Rach

Author Bio

Michelle Bolanger has been an avid reader all her life. In 2014 and with the encouragement of her family and friends, she decided to take the leap and publish her own books. The Kiss is her first full length novel and the beginning of what is to be a four book series titled The Cotiere Chronicles. Michelle is also a talented vocalist and amateur photographer. She enjoys going on cruises, cheering for her favorite professional hockey team, and falling asleep to the sound of auto racing on TV. Michelle lives in Ohio with her husband and two dogs.

RUSH (City Lights Book 3) by Emma Scott

RUSH (City Lights Book 3) by Emma Scott

RUSH Cover

5 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of RUSH by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Julliard-trained violinist Charlotte Conroy has everything she ever dreamed of before tragedy strikes and takes it all away. She no longer feels the music and must accept a job as a personal assistant to a blind man in order to pay the bills. Noah Lake travels the world as an extreme sports athlete, journalist, and photographer until an accident steals his vision and leaves him in his own personal hell. He becomes a shell of the man he once was, angry at the world and pushing everyone away.

Charlotte knows working for Noah won’t be easy, but she’s determined to show him his life isn’t over. And Noah won’t let Charlotte close up her violin case just yet. They each have to face their own personal struggles in order to find happiness together.

RUSH is a remarkable new adult romance about two people who have to help each other find their joy in life again. Right from the prologue, I was hooked on this book and the author’s writing, not wanting to put it down until the very end. The story was an emotional journey for both main characters, as both Noah and Charlotte had difficulty facing their future in light of their past.

Both characters were well-developed. Charlotte may have had her heart crushed, but not her spirit, and that showed in her every interaction with Noah. As mean as he was to her at times, she never forgot he was mad at the world and his circumstances, not at her. But she’d lost her love for music, and just when she was finding joy in life again, she had to make a decision that meant either giving up the music or giving up Noah.

Although he survived a cliff-diving accident and a coma, Noah felt his life was over and wasn’t interested in learning to live as a blind man. He was bitter and angry because he would never be able to do the things he loved again. And then Charlotte entered his life, and she wouldn’t back down or let him live in the dark any longer. Little by little she chipped away at his hard shell until Noah found that there was still something worth living for. I cried several times throughout the book as Charlotte helped Noah begin his new life.

As much as I loved the plot and the writing, there were a few things that could have been more developed, like Noah’s scars and his movements when he would kiss Charlotte. His injuries were described as gruesome, but at times the scars were forgotten instead of incorporated into a scene. Sometimes, the way Noah moved didn’t feel realistic for a man still learning to live without his vision.

Overall, these few drawbacks did not ruin the story for me. It was still a wonderfully emotional journey, and I would definitely read more by this author.

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Happy reading!

Rach

Lost in Us (Lost Series Book 1) by Layla Hagen

Lost in Us (Lost Series Book 1) by Layla Hagen

Lost in Us Cover

4 out of 5 Stars

Having just come off a six-year relationship, Serena isn’t interested in risking her heart. In fact, she’s not much into risk-taking at all. Serena wants to concentrate on finding a job where she can earn enough money to help out her parents. When she meets the enigmatic James, a one night stand is all she’s interested in, but there’s something about James that draws her to him. Maybe it’s the sense that he’s just as broken as she is.

James is a self-proclaimed commitment-phobe. His jealousy knows no bounds and it cost him dearly in the past, so it’s best if he doesn’t get attached to anyone. But he finds a kindred spirit in Serena, and as much as he wants to stay away, he can’t. Together they could be stronger than they are apart, but only if Serena can break down James’ walls.

Lost in Us is a new adult romance that has that elusive quality of drawing you in and forcing you to keep reading. It isn’t something I can put my finger on, just something about the writing that kept me turning page after page even when I didn’t like the characters’ actions.

James is definitely an alpha male, and I both loved and hated him for it. He knew what he wanted and he went after it. He was able to separate work from fun while doing both to the extreme. He convinced Serena to take chances in life she wouldn’t otherwise have even considered, and ultimately she was a better person for it. Learning to take a risk like jumping out of a plane made it easier for her to take a risk with her heart.

But James could also be pigheaded. When he made a decision, no one else had a say in it. While he could comfort Serena and help her heal from the tragedy that struck her life, he was unwilling to share his own pain and let her help him.

One of the things I didn’t like about this story was how quickly the characters went back and forth in their decisions. At points, it felt like every time I turned the page they had switched positions on who was mad at whom. In one scene where they were broken up, Serena was the one who wanted to get back together, but within the same scene she became the one who broke up with James, leaving James begging her to get back together. It was also difficult to buy his change from commitment-phobe to committed-relationship-guy.

There were a few things that didn’t quite make sense, like why Serena called her best friend’s mother Mrs. Haydn when she’d lived with them for several years and why James took his team rafting after drinking and not having any sleep. There were also several editing errors including extra words, missing words, and missing punctuation, and the e-book wasn’t formatted properly. Parts of it used a lighter font, which didn’t show up when I was reading on a black background. There were entire sections I couldn’t read unless I switched to a lighter background. The epilogue had opening quotation marks set to the bottom of the line, and there were extra blank pages between chapters.

Overall, I did enjoy the book and would read more by this author, though I would suggest another round of editing and a professional formatter.

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Happy reading!

Rach

Channel 20 Something (20 Something Book 1) by Amy Patrick

Channel 20 Something (20 Something Book 1) by Amy Patrick

Channel 20 Something Cover

4 out of 5 Stars

Heidi Haynes is comfortable in her hometown, living near her parents, and with a job at a small market TV station. The days where she longed for more for herself are long gone, thanks to an incident her first semester of college that sent her running back home. With nearly a year of experience in front of and behind the camera, she should be sending out her reel to find a better job, yet she just can’t bring herself to do it.

Aric Serrano is a sexy hunk of a sports reporter, and Heidi finds herself drawn to him even though she’s only on a break from her college sweetheart. Aric’s patience and persistence are even more attractive, and when Heidi allows herself to be friends with him, she finds there’s a lot more to him than the pretty exterior.

But Aric wants more from Heidi than she’s able to give. She’ll have to make some tough decisions about not only her love life, but her career and dreams as well.

Channel 20 Something is a new adult romance that is relatively clean, a refreshing change from most of what’s out there these days. The sexual situations are kept to a minimum and not detailed, and even cursing is very minor. In fact, one of the things I love about Heidi’s character is that she didn’t even curse in her mind.

Having Heidi, Aric, and the secondary characters work at a TV station was interesting. The author did a good job of incorporating the details of their jobs into the plot of the story without boring me. I was quickly hooked in to finding out more of what happened with Heidi’s ex while the attraction between Heidi and Aric grew. Heidi’s confusion about life and love in general made it believable she would constantly be pushing Aric away.

Along the same lines, Heidi’s insistence on not having a relationship and her insecurities did get old after a while. Aric was patient and understanding, even if he did show frustration at times. His frustration was completely understandable. This character trait of Heidi’s was at least consistent, even if it made me not love her as much after a while.

There were some grammatical errors in the book, but for the most part the story was well written. One thing I would have liked to see more of was Heidi’s accent. It only came out to play when Aric mentioned it, and at times I forgot one of her issues with getting a better job was that she had an accent.

Overall, the story was cute and kept me reading. I enjoyed it and would definitely read more from this author and more of this series.

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Happy reading!

Rach

Unmasked (Volume 1) by Cassia Leo

Unmasked (Volume 1) by Cassia Leo

Unmasked Cover

5 out of 5 Stars

After being hidden away by her parents for so long, eighteen-year-old Alex moves out on her own but still chooses to keep to the shadows. She only goes out at night, and even then Alex wears a hood, sunglasses, and black clothing. She lives a simple life, but she is no simple girl. She was trained from a young age to be a lethal weapon by her Special Ops father.

Alex’s life is monotonous until one night she witnesses a murder on her way to work. A detective shows up at her door to question her and make sure she’s okay, but Alex isn’t sure she can trust Daimon is who he says he is. She begins to let her guard down and let Daimon into her life bit by bit, yet something is still amiss in Alex’s world. She’ll need to figure out what’s going on and protect herself if she wants to survive another day.

Unmasked is a dark romance that will leave you on the edge of your seat wondering just what is going on and what’s going to happen next. There’s not much I can tell you without spoiling the plot other than it’s a wonderful page-turner. The story is definitely dark, has elements of romance, some mature scenes, and it’s intriguing.

The author’s style was very matter-of-fact, although that didn’t seem to hinder this book at all. We don’t get a ton of background information, and I was left with some questions like why Alex was so paranoid and why she had all of this military training and a stash of weapons. But even so I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

The romance with Daimon was thrilling and hot. There was lots of chemistry and sexual tension between Alex and Daimon, and I enjoyed how he brought her out of her shell a little at a time. He accepted her with no questions asked and determined her beauty not by her looks but by the person who was on the inside.

This story is volume one in a series, but it stood well on its own. Not everything is resolved at the end, but it came to a satisfying conclusion. The loose ends actually seemed to fit with the dark theme of the book.

Overall I really enjoyed this novella, and I’d definitely read more by this author and more in this series.

Book Links:

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Happy reading!

Rach

Jake Me (Jaked Book 2) by Sabrina Stark

Jake Me (Jaked Book 2) by Sabrina Stark

Jake Me Cover

4 out of 5 Stars

*I was gifted a copy of Jake Me by the author. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Walking away from Jake Bishop is supposed to be the right thing for Luna Moon to do, so why is it she can’t seem to stay away from him? Thanks to Jake, she is penniless and jobless, and she needs a place to stay and some money quickly. She lucks into a job at a hotel that has an immediate opening, but it seems Luna’s troubles are determined to follow her wherever she goes.

Luna’s crazy ex-boyfriend is still after what she stole from him, and she needs Jake’s help to straighten out this mess once and for all. Jake knows he’s no good for Luna, yet he can’t let her go. Luna will have to decide on the right choice: staying with Jake who she’s loved for years, or leaving him for good this time.

Jake Me is book two of the Jaked Series, and it picks up right where Jaked left off. With Luna leaving Jake’s penthouse, she’s in a bit of a jam with no job and no place to go. Enter Luna’s brothers, who add an additional dose of humor to this story. I enjoyed their characters quite a bit even though they were not central to the story. This book has the same feel as the first one with short chapters filled with mostly dialogue. This works well to keep things moving, but it doesn’t lend itself to much depth to any of the characters. And Jake continues to give vague and non-answers throughout this story, which grows frustrating after a while.

I enjoyed the plot of the story, with Jake trying to do what’s right by Luna and push her away since he knows he’s no good for her. But he’s always loved her, so he won’t be able to resist forever. And as hard as Luna’s tried to deny her feelings for Jake, at some point these two hard-headed characters will need to realize they can’t stay away.

The same types of minor editing issues appeared in the second book as in the first, but they didn’t take away from the overall enjoyment. The plot is good, and with a little more work it could have been great. Regardless, I liked this book as much as I liked the first one. It was pretty good for a second chance romance.

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Happy reading!

Rach

Jaked (Jaked Book 1) by Sabrina Stark

Jaked (Jaked Book 1) by Sabrina Stark

Jaked Cover

4 out of 5 Stars

*I was gifted a copy of Jaked by the author. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Luna Moon has been in love with Jake Bishop since she was twelve and he saved her from some bad boys. She hasn’t seen him since she was seventeen and he blew her off. Now that she’s all grown up and totally over him, Jake walks back into her life and takes it over. Luna’s gotten herself into some trouble, and she doesn’t even realize it. But Jake wants to keep her safe. She’ll need to keep her wits about her if she wants to remain friendly with the now wealthy Jake without losing her heart in the process.

Jaked was an interesting contemporary romance. It’s a second chance romance since the hero and heroine knew each other when they were younger, and Luna has always been in love with Jake. Now that she’s older and wiser, she is trying her best to resist Jake’s charms because she knows he brings a world of trouble with him.

Jake was always a bad boy, but now he’s turned that bad boy image into a way to make a ton of money. I enjoyed trying to put the pieces of Jake’s life together with Luna as she tried to figure out exactly what it was Jake did for a living. The story had tons of amusing sarcasm and interesting characters, but since Jake had a habit of never giving a straight answer—or in most cases never giving any answer—it was difficult to determine who was telling the truth and exactly what Jake’s intentions were. I didn’t blame Luna for questioning why he was really with her.

Although Jake was a known player, I liked that this wasn’t a typical romance where he immediately changes his ways and goes after the heroine. He actually understands he’s no good for her and does his best to make her see that.

The author’s writing style was different and somewhat enjoyable. Most chapters were short, and they were heavy on dialogue with a lot of back and forth discussion between the characters without feeling like they were ever making progress, although that was mostly because Jake continually dodged every question thrown at him. Unfortunately, the story was missing a bit of character development due to the dialogue-heavy style. There was plenty of description of Jake’s body, but I honestly couldn’t remember if the author ever even told us the color of his hair.

There were some minor editing issues like missing or extra words or incorrect punctuation, but they didn’t take too much away from the plot. The story is continued in the next book, Jake Me, which the author was also kind enough to gift to me. Overall, I did enjoy the story since it was so different from most other romances out there today.

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Happy reading!

Rach

Give Me Your Answer True by Suanne Laqueur

Give Me Your Answer True by Suanne Laqueur

 Give Me Your Answer True Cover

5 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided an ARC of Give Me Your Answer True by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Meeting the love of her life at age seventeen is the best thing that’s ever happened to Daisy Bianco—or maybe it’s the worst. Does anyone ever really get to keep their first true love? For Daisy and Erik Fiskare, their connection goes way beyond love. They are connected bone deep, unable to breathe without each other. So when a fellow student and friend brings a gun into the theater and kills six people, injuring Daisy, and their lives spiral out of control, they can’t hold on to what was once so wonderful between them. One mistake by Daisy and their relationship unravels at the seams.

Erik’s sudden departure from Daisy’s life combined with the emotional scars she carries from the shooting are buried deep in her soul, finally forcing her to hit rock bottom a few years later when she begins cutting herself to relieve the pressure of her guilt and pain. She finally gets help and begins to heal from her past trauma, moving on with her life and focusing on her other true love—dancing. Daisy’s career takes off and she finds new relationships, but the ghost of her soul mate is never far from her mind. She wants to be happy in her life, but Daisy doesn’t know if she’ll ever be able to recapture the incredible joy she had with Erik.

Give Me Your Answer True is the follow-up novel to Suanne Laqueur’s award-winning debut, The Man I Love. The first book is the story told from Erik’s point of view, and this companion novel has the same series of events told from Daisy’s point of view. But don’t be turned off by the retelling, because these books couldn’t be more different. Daisy’s story doesn’t repeat many scenes, and even when it does, they offer a fresh perspective on the same event. There are also many added scenes between Erik and Daisy, not to mention additional information about her relationship with their group of friends. And of course there are the years apart, where we only had hints of what Daisy had gone through in The Man I Love.

The biggest difference between the books is the format. I loved how the author set this book up. The first part is told in a mixture of therapy sessions as Daisy begins to fight her demons and flashbacks to the events that led to her downward spiral. Once we catch up to present day, the format switches to current narration interspersed with letters to friends and news articles about Daisy’s career. The entire structure is fresh and compelling.

Like The Man I Love, I could not put this book down once I started it. Suanne’s writing kept me completely engaged from the first word to the last. In the opening scene, I could practically feel the drugs running through Daisy’s system, and there’s nothing I love more than an author who can put you right in the scene with the characters. I was able to feel Daisy’s despair, her guilt, remorse, and even her hopefulness with every turn of a page.

There were several times throughout the story when I teared up, like the first time Daisy had the courage to discuss the shooting openly, but thankfully I wasn’t crying throughout the majority of the book. My real tears were shed for a happy reason this time. Perhaps there were less tears because I already knew the basics of what had happened and had an idea of what Daisy went through, or maybe it was because of the different format of the book, but that didn’t keep me from feeling every emotion. Although this is a companion novel (I’m not sure I’d call it a sequel since it covers the same time period as the first book), it could be read as a standalone. I don’t think you’d be missing anything by not reading The Man I Love first, but since I loved both books equally, I’d highly recommend reading both of them.

Suanne Laqueur has created another masterpiece with Give Me Your Answer True. It’s so much more than a romance, with tons of character growth, self-reflection, physical and emotional pain, betrayal, and reconciliation. I look forward to reading anything else the author writes.

Give Me Your Answer True will be released on June 20, 2015 and is currently available for pre-order. My review of The Man I Love can be found by selecting Suanne Laqueur from the Author Spotlight menu.

Happy reading!

Rach

The Man I Love by Suanne Laqueur

The Man I Love by Suanne Laqueur

The Man I Love Cover

5 out of 5 Stars

*I was gifted a copy of The Man I Love by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Erik Fiskare enjoys taking things apart and putting them back together, having multiple versions of the plan for his life, and building things. He’s drawn into the theater, where he plans to specialize in set design and lighting. As a college freshman, the theater becomes his life, and it’s where he meets the beautiful ballerina Daisy Bianco. Their instant attraction goes well beyond the physical; Erik and Daisy are each other’s missing piece. Their souls connect on a level neither knew possible before, and now neither can live without the other.

Erik and Daisy’s tight group of theater friends is forever changed by a series of events that lead to a gun in the theater, lives lost, and devastating injuries. They each spiral out of control in their own way, until an unexpected betrayal forces Erik to leave school and cut all ties to his former life. But life without Daisy isn’t much of a life at all, and Erik must find a way to deal with his demons and face the past. The story spans fifteen years and the growth and changes that occur as Erik goes from college freshman to responsible adult.

The Man I Love is the kind of book that sucks you in right from the start and never lets you go. It’s a long book (590 pages in paperback according to Goodreads), but you won’t be able to put it down. This novel has a little of everything: love and romance, exploring sexuality, physical and emotional trauma, major character growth, betrayal, heartbreak, and forgiveness. It will pull your heartstrings in so many directions you won’t know which way is up. I’m not typically a huge fan of angst, but somehow Suanne Laqueur was able to make it okay that I cried big, ugly tears, because the story was so deep that those tears were necessary. And it wasn’t just once. I probably cried throughout a third of the book. The shooting and the aftermath were gut-wrenching, but it wasn’t until Erik and Daisy’s relationship imploded that I started to lose control of my emotions on a regular basis. I’ll spare you the full details and skip to the part where I assure you this is a happily-ever-after.

The character growth in The Man I Love is outstanding. Of course there will be some growth when a book spans such a large amount of time, but the things Erik has to face are not your run-of-the-mill college student problems. Erik literally goes from the happiest he’s ever been to staring down the barrel of a gun while his soul mate lies bleeding to death on the other side of the shooter. Even that isn’t the worst thing he has to deal with. It takes some time for Erik to hit rock bottom before he can begin to work his way back up. And let me tell you, his rock bottom plea for help nearly did me in.

Although the story mostly follows Erik, we get to know many other characters and go through their struggles with them. Of course there’s Daisy, and we see a lot of her quiet, contemplative nature through her relationship with Erik as well as second-hand information of her growth and changes. But there are also several other people we know intimately. The secondary characters all have a purpose, and we feel their struggles throughout the story as well.

While reading this novel, I was amazed to find out that not only was it the author’s debut novel, but also that she wrote most of it twenty years ago. The companion novel, Give Me Your Answer True, is Daisy’s story of the same time period and is due to be released on June 20, 2015. I am excited to see how much the author’s writing has grown, if that’s even possible. The Man I Love has already skyrocketed to the top of my all-time favorites. I honestly don’t remember the last time I read something that moved me so much. As soon as I reached the end, I wanted to start it all over again!

If I could, I’d give The Man I Love ten stars. This amazing journey is not to be missed.

Happy reading!

Rach