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COME AWAY WITH ME: A Novel of Love and Loss ~Karma Brown

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

Come Away With Me is definitely a love story and it is about change, loss, grieving, and recovery.  On the front cover, there are the words that remind one of Elizabeth Gilbert’s EAT, PRAY, LOVE and it did very much because it was about change and taking physical steps to find and process into recovery, possibility, and hope.  There was not as much astute analysis even though the main character did recover a sense of self after being so lost in love.

About Karma Brown

“Karma Brown is a National Magazine Award winning freelance writer and journalist, and a member of the Professional Writers Association of Canada. She lives just outside Toronto with her family and writes powerfully emotional upmarket women’s fiction, in the vein of Me Before You. COME AWAY WITH ME is her first novel.” (From TLC Book Tours)”

This paperback comes with an interview with Karma Brown at the back of the book and a book group question section and I started there instead of the actual narrative of the story.  I learned that the book was written because of a surprise cancer diagnosis and the author wanted to write about the process and the recovery from such a hard experience.  I liked that the author emphasized possibility and future in her reply but I was fairly sure the book was going to be an emotional ride.

So Tegan is a very happily married kindergarten teacher in Chicago.   She is pregnant with their first child and she and Gabe are on their way to a Christmas Eve gathering at the in-laws house when they are in a terrible car accident which is life changing.  The baby has been killed and Tegan has had to have a hysterectomy to save her life and she will have many scars from her injuries.  After weeks in the hospital and then weeks in bed unable to cope or move forward, Tegan attempts suicide.  Her mother and her best friend are trying to get her to get up and get her moving forward but have been unsuccessful.  She ends up back in the hospital and the psychiatrist is able to get her onto some medication and talking.   There is a great deal of remembered experiences with her loving and funny husband Gabe around how they met and how they fell in love and celebrated life together.

The book is an emotional journey and does remind me of EAT, PRAY, LOVE very much, because Tegan needs to pack her backpack and pull 3 bucket list items out of their serendipity jar and go on the trips they had planned in order to find laughter and release from the intensity of the pain from the loss to move towards recovery and future.   There are several surprises in the story and I just know that several of the reviewers on the list will spoil them and that concerns me because it would have ruined the story for me.  I was emotionally connected all the way through and loved the journey to Thailand, Italy and Hawaii and the lessons that were learned along the way.  I loved the story of the feet being the wrong way in the temple and was right in the moment enjoying the noise and the experience of it all.   I was so happy the guesthouse owner was able to assist with the upset stomach after eating grasshopper and worm.

The writing was lovely and the descriptions of cold weather, feelings, climbing the stairs and the little quiet room were as lovely as the cooking classes and the new people met and who shared the experiences.  The story had a healing ending and I had a sigh of relief.
Everyone should be so in love and have such great and supportive families.  What a hard thing to live through and how lovely that there was healing and recovery.  COME WITH ME was a good read and I would recommend it to many and particularly to those with sudden change/ unexpected change.

Singing Beyond Sorrow

SHADY CROSS: A thriller ~James Hankins

Sunday, April 19th, 2015

“A small-time crook is given one shot at redemption…but sometimes being the good guy calls for doing bad things.”

SHADY CROSS is a fictional city in Indiana, big enough to have a crossroads and two major crime families.  Stokes is a small time crook who discovers a major crime gig in progress and this is the story of his crime spree in order to accomplish the right outcome.

Stokes actually makes  matters worse.  He races away from the bar on his motorcycle and forces a car off the road and into a tree and the driver is killed.  Stokes finds the driver’s back -pack full of $350,000.00 and a cell phone.   The money was to ransom the driver’s six-year-old daughter.

The cellphone begins ringing every hour and a little voice asks if her Daddy is coming to get her and they can go home.   The process and the plot thickens and the story goes at a quickened pace; the reader needs to know what is going to happen before the start of the new day.

The writing moves into twist after twist as Stokes attempts to find a missing $102,000.00 dollars that he is short.   He has to keep finding new cars to get him around on his treasure hunt.  He attempts to steal or loan the money he needs from some amazing characters that are interesting and quirky.  There is the opportunity for Stokes to evaluate his life and figure out why he left his 2 year old daughter and her mother.  Who was he supposed to be and how could he have turned out and lived his life differently?  A form of redemption emerges.

I would recommend SHADY CROSS for thriller readers.  The writing style is a bit gangsta for my taste, and yet the story line is good and the redemption theme is strongly written and saves the story.  I personally had a hard time reading the story later in the day because I tried to save the little girl from her kidnappers all night long.  Child victims are not a good theme for me.   I was quite happy that TLC Book Tours  sent me an advanced uncorrected proof to read and gave me more time with the book.

About the author from the TLC page:

Bestselling author James Hankins pursued writing at an early age. While attending NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, he received the Chris Columbus Screenwriting Award. After career detours into screenwriting, health administration, and the law, Hankins recommitted himself to writing fiction. Since then, he has written three popular thrillers, each of which spent time in the Kindle Top 100. Additionally, Brothers and Bones received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews and was named to their list of Best Books of 2013, while both Jack of Spades and Drawnwere Amazon #1 bestsellers. He lives with his wife and twin sons just north of Boston

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