This debut novel by Louis Jensen was an enjoyable read to kick off my beach vacation. Told in alternating chapters of past and present, Grace narrates the tale of her life after losing her best friend Charlie. The book opens with Grace going back to retrieve a time capsule the two young girls buried together long ago. In it was a collection of items, including a letter Charlie made Grace promise not to read until they were grown up. She also made her promise they’d read it together. The book is about the impact of Charlie’s death on Grace and her quest to find answers about what happened to Charlie prior to her death.
I thought the character Grace was really well developed. There was a lot of depth to her emotional struggles and I felt connected with her story throughout the book. I think Grace’s story is what kept me turning the pages of this book. The husband Dan was not as well developed and you could see immediately where the book was going with his story line.
I enjoyed the book, though there were some parts that were perhaps a bit much, no need for so many shocking events in one book. I was able to figure out the twist a bit ahead of the end due to strong foreshadowing throughout the book, but not all of it. There were still a few surprises. All in all it’s a quick, enjoyable read and this author has great potential to become a best seller in this genre. I look forward to reading her next novel.
My second read this vacation was the first book in a new series by Lauren Layne. I loved this book and it’s not usually a genre I read. This would appeal to those who like books by Lisa Renee Jones and even the Fifty Shades folks, though this is a much more vanilla read. The book does have some steamy sex scenes for fans of those genre, just not as many and definitely not as descriptive.
The book opens with Seth finding out his younger sister Maya is engaged to her new, very short term boyfriend. He is immediately suspicious of the relationship and worries it’s about gaining access to the family’s money. Maya hires a wedding planner, Brooke Baldwin to help plan the wedding. Brooke was a wedding planner in California and has just moved to NYC after her own wedding fell apart at the altar, literally.
Upon their first meeting, sexual sparks are flying between Seth and Brooke. The book really captures their sexual tension well and you feel the angst of both characters. All of the characters are likable and ones you’ll want to spend more time with in the anticipated future books of the series. Personally, I liked Brooke the best and felt her character made the story come alive. I liked her spunk and ability to get back up after being knocked down big time. I liked the miscommunication and tension between her and Seth throughout the book.
The second book had a preview available and I was a bit disappointed that it appears to be focusing on a different character. I had hoped for more of Seth and Brook, but that could come in the future.
A perfect beach read, a quick, steamy summer read.
Thank you to Netgalley and both publishers for providing me copies of these books to read and review.