Even If I Fall – Abigail Johnson – Inkyard Press – Published 8 January 2019
A year ago, Brooke Covington lost everything when her beloved older brother, Jason, confessed to the murder of his best friend, Calvin. Brooke and her family became social pariahs, broken and unable to console one another. Brooke’s only solace remains the ice-skating rink, where she works but no longer lets herself dream about a future skating professionally.
When Brooke encounters Calvin’s younger brother, Heath, on the side of the road and offers him a ride, everything changes. She needs someone to talk to…and so does Heath. No one else understands what it’s like. Her brother, alive but gone; his brother, dead but everywhere. Soon, they’re meeting in secret, despite knowing that both families would be horrified if they found out. In the place of his anger and her guilt, something frighteningly tender begins to develop, drawing them ever closer together.
But when a new secret comes out about the murder, Brooke has to choose whose pain she’s willing to live with—her family’s or Heath’s. Because she can’t heal one without hurting the other.
I absolutely love picking up books by Abigail Johnson because I know that I will adore them. They put your through an emotional wringer but they never disappoint. Such is true of her latest title, Even If I Fall. Stunning and heartfelt writing combine with an incredible story of loss, anger, guilt and family breakdown. A story about things you can’t explain much less come to terms with. A story of hope and love, friendship and support. Even If I Fall will entrance readers; perfect for fans of emotional contemporary YA fiction.
Afterward – Jennifer Mathieu – Roaring Brook Press – Published 20 September 2016
When Caroline’s little brother is kidnapped, his subsequent rescue leads to the discovery of Ethan, a teenager who has been living with the kidnapper since he was a young child himself. In the aftermath, Caroline can’t help but wonder what Ethan knows about everything that happened to her brother, who is not readjusting well to life at home. And although Ethan is desperate for a friend, he can’t see Caroline without experiencing a resurgence of traumatic memories. But after the media circus surrounding the kidnappings departs from their small Texas town, both Caroline and Ethan find that they need a friend–and their best option just might be each other.
Afterward is as much about relationships as it is about the story of two teens. It’s about diverging paths, alternate universes and yet it’s certainly not a sci-fi. It’s about coping with the situations with which you are dealt, serious trauma and other types of trauma and coping with them both and never comparing which is worse, and with just getting through as best you can.
The day Caroline’s brother was kidnapped was day that changed everything for her family. But it also changed everything for another family because it led discovery of another boy kidnapped four years ago.
Afterward is the story of Ethan and Caroline. How they meet, how their lives converge, the choices they make that bring them together and how they become friends, test boundaries and learn to laugh again.
Tangled Webs – Irene Hannon – Men of Valor #3 – Revell – Published 4 October 2016
After a disastrous Middle East mission ends his six-year Army Ranger career, Finn McGregor needs some downtime. A peaceful month in the woods sounds like the perfect way to decompress. But peace isn’t on the agenda once he crosses paths with publishing executive Dana Lewis, a neighbor who is nursing wounds of her own. Someone seems bent on disrupting her stay in the lakeside cabin she inherited from her grandfather. As Finn and Dana work together to discover who is behind the disquieting pranks, the incidents begin to take on a menacing tone. And when it becomes apparent Dana’s foe may have deadly intent, Finn finds himself back in the thick of the action–ready or not.
From first reading an excerpt of this book I knew it was going to provide some fireworks, both in the action and romance departments. I was not wrong. The book starts with Finn McGregor rushing to the aid of a screaming woman, deep in forest at night. And it only gets more exciting from there.
I loved returning once again to the lives of the McGregor brothers. This time Finn is our hero. He is just as upstanding, courteous, handsome and worthy of the title hero as his two older brother are. But Finn’s also got some heavy burdens he carries after his time as an Army Ranger. He expects solitude and peace during his time at the cabin tucked away in national forest, maybe even boredom. He doesn’t expect to find a gorgeous woman living in the neighbouring cabin. Dana, too, is looking for peace and solitude. But when vandals start damaging her remote property it helps to know Finn is nearby, especially as vandalism is only the beginning.
I love Irene Hannon’s mystery-thrillers as much as her contemporary novels. I love how she weaves strong romance with family dynamics and action, all the while keeping me on edge and looking over my shoulder. My fingernails suffer, but the rest of me loves it.