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BOOK REVIEW – Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

BOOK REVIEW – Letters to the Lost by Brigid KemmererLetters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother's death, she leaves letters at her grave. It's the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn't the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he's trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can't resist writing back. Soon, he's opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they're not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.

Review:

Letters to the Lost was emotionally breathtaking and beautifully crafted. The story that unfounded was filled to the brim with pain and heartache. I don’t even knew how many times I found myself with tears in my eyes, my heart in my throat and with the incessant need to make their lives filled with love. But I held out hope that over time, they would help each other find not only strength, but love too.

Do you believe in fate ? Sometimes I want to. I want to believe that we all walk some path toward . . . something, and our paths intertwine for a reason. Like this, the way we’ve found each other. The way you told me the right story when I so desperately needed to hear it. – Juliet in her letter to Declan

It all started out from a letter Juliet left her mother, at her gravestone. And Declan came across the letter, while he was getting ready to mow the cemetery’s grass. For his court ordered community service. That letter resonated deep inside of Declan, so he simply wrote back “Me too”. To let the girl know that she wasn’t alone in her thoughts and feelings. And from there, their communication slowly escalated over time. The found kinship, they found someone to release their most secretive thoughts with. They no longer felt alone. Yet they had no clue who the other was, even though they went to the same high school.

Half-broken breaths are coming out of me in short bursts. – Juliet

I loved the path this story took, and I loved even more that it wasn’t easy. That nothing was glossed over. That we got to see their varying shades of pain, and that it was splattered everywhere for us to witness. Especially since not everyone in their lives knew their darkest, deepest thoughts. But we did. And Juliet Young and Declan Murphy knew that about each other too. When I started this book, I didn’t think it would have as dark of a feel to it as it did. But the words they wrote to one another and their feelings they talked about sometimes felt as though I was drowning in an endless abyss with them. It was powerful, and their pain was so acute.

“What are you afraid of?”
I look at Declan , but he’s still staring out at the rain. His voice has gone quiet, and he’s not half as threatening as he was.
“I don’t know,” I say.

While they were still teenagers, they both had so much growing up to do. Juliet could at times be cold and judgemental. And she compared herself to her dead mother, which always made her come up short. Yet, I loved this girl. Especially when she would contemplate her word choices or how she treated someone. And that had a lot to do with Declan. Because not only did the letters make her question how she acted around others, but when her and Declan ran into each other in person, it had a similar affect. Not at first of course, but slowly over time. And when they did interact in person, it was explosive. If only they knew who they were baring their soul to………

I need her. More than anything right now. I need her. And because of everything between us, I can’t have her. – Declan

Declan was dark, his own worst enemy, and he was so tortured from his past. Especially since he placed the blame of an event on his own shoulders. Not only was his home life troubling, but he was an outcast at school. Yet he had this ability to radiate power, and he was sexy as hell. So Declan easily broke my heart, while also making me fall for him. And when he was completely honest in his letters to Juliet, he took my breath away with his words. It was so different than how he acted around so many others.

I can’t look away from that last line.
Now write back and tell me you’re all right.
He cares. About me. – Juliet

Letters to the Lost alternated between Juliet, Declan and their letters to one another. While the book seemed to move at a somewhat slower pace than I’m use to, I loved it. We got to witness their interactions with not only every single letter, but we also learned everything about their home and school lives, and also their friends. It gave me a deeper sense of knowing them. Letters to the Lost was definitely an emotional book, and I can’t wait for Rev’s book next year! He was Deacon’s best friend, who I absolutely adored, and I think you’ll fall for him too!

*ARC kindly provided by Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

BOOK REVIEW – Thicker Than Water by Brigid Kemmerer

BOOK REVIEW – Thicker Than Water by Brigid KemmererThicker Than Water by Brigid Kemmerer
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Thomas Bellweather hasn’t been in town long. Just long enough for his newlywed mother to be murdered, and for his new stepdad’s cop colleagues to decide Thomas is the primary suspect.

Not that there’s any evidence. But before Thomas got to Garretts Mill there had just been one other murder in twenty years.

The only person who believes him is Charlotte Rooker, little sister to three cops and, with her soft hands and sweet curves, straight-up dangerous to Thomas. Her friend was the other murder vic. And she’d like a couple answers….Answers that could get them both killed, and reveal a truth Thomas would die to keep hidden.

Answers that could get them both killed, and reveal a truth Thomas would die to keep hidden…

Review:

Thicker Than Water started out as an intriguing mystery that morphed into a paranormal story that had a sinister twist.  I easily fell into Thomas and Charlotte’s world, and their first few interactions had so many feelings floating around in me.  Sympathy for Thomas being convicted as his own mother’s murderer, especially since he was the one to find her.  Anger for how he was easily judged and convicted within others eyes.  Curiosity for Charlotte and if she would be his saving grace.  And anticipation if they would eventually become something more.  But while I quickly flew through the pages, some things made me pause and not allow me to be entirely immersed in the story.  So I’m left torn, because this was such a fun, quick read yet I did have some issues.

A storm is coming, but still we stand here. “I saw her,” he says. His voice is hollow. “That night.
I saw what happened to her.”
“I know,” I whisper.

Thomas was definitely my favorite thing about this book.  I have a huge soft spot for tortured males, and he fit that part perfectly.  With his broken heart and the whole town against him, he quickly pulled me in and always left me wanting to know more about him, since the book alternates between the two of them.  But when he was around Charlotte, he was a mixture of confident and self-conscious which easily made me melt.  Thomas was sexy and alluring without ever trying.  And those are always the sexiest men in my eyes!

His lips curl into a slow smile.  “Penny for your thoughts.”
“They’re not decent.”
I. Did not. Just say that.
His smile widens, and he looks genuinely amused. “Really. What if I offer you a dollar?”
I put my hands over my face.
“Can we please just pretend this moment isn’t happening?”
“Absolutely not.”
“Shush, you. Eat your food.”

Charlotte was more of a gray area for me.  I loved how she would try to help our believe in Thomas, but her inner thoughts of contemplating whether he was a murderer or not irritated me.  I mean yes, by all means please be cautious with this new boy whose situation is insanely questionable.  I definitely would.  But don’t lead him alone into the woods to talk, when you’re going to picture him as a murderer once you two are truly alone.  Granted, she was young and extremely sheltered, so I gave her way more passes than I normally would, because I did like her.  And just a heads up, Charlotte does have a sex-obsessed best friend.  But I found Nicole to be entertaining and utterly ridiculous while still being adorable.

“No one knew her. No one cares about her. No one cares about finding out who did this. They just care about how much they hate me.”
I have to stop talking. I’m going to lose it right here in the parking lot.
Arms go around my neck, and I stiffen in surprise. She’s hugging me. Charlotte is hugging me.
I can’t remember the last time anyone hugged me.

To be honest, I’m a little torn over that ending.  I liked how some things worked out, but another part of it left me so conflicted.  It wasn’t what I wanted, and I was left wondering if everything would truly work out, even after that final page.  You see, Thicker Than Water was nicely setup for a possible second book. There is closure in the final pages, but there is also a lot up in the air.  So I was left with questions and I really wish I had those answers.  But I have to say that the twist was amazingly done!  Wow!

Thicker Than Water was a quick book to devour whose mystery kept me stuck to the pages.  The paranormal element was different, in the fact that it didn’t play a large part, but looking back you can see how it was laced throughout the story.  And even though it did leave me with questions, I can’t deny that I absolutely adored Thomas.  So I will try her Elemental Series down the road, and hopefully we will mesh up much better.  Plus I can’t wait to see what male character she has created in that story!

*ARC kindly provided by Kensington Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

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