Here’s how I pick books to add to my to-read list:
1. Go through my recommendations on Goodreads.
2. Find a cover that appeals to me (yes, I’m one of those people who judge a book by its cover — though I only do so literally).
3. Read the Goodreads description.
4. Look at the general ratings. Take note if it ranks higher than 3.5 stars.
5. Go to Amazon.com. If book received at least 4 stars, scroll down to see whether the last 3-5 reviews gave higher than 3.5 stars. If last few reviews received at least 4 stars, I read the first few lines for each review.
6. Add to my to-read list on Goodreads if I like what other people are saying about it.
As you can see, I hardly ever go into a book 100% blind. This time around though, I trusted the Goodreads description completely, as opposed to reading people’s reviews. I’m guessing it’s mostly because I’ve read a few other books by Amy Harmon and know that her writing is just downright captivating. Boy, was that an understatement. To quote the last paragraph of the Goodreads description, “[This] is a story of pain and promise, of heartache and healing. A story of before and after, of new beginnings and never-endings. But most of all…a love story.” It’s not too late to close this window and do the same thing — have no expectations, drop any guesstimates, and start reading this book fresh.
Otherwise, here are a few things that I liked about this story:
1. The paranormal aspect to this story was surprisingly very believable, and was a welcome twist. In this regard, whether it was strategically done or not, I’m partly grateful that this bit of information was left out of the description, or I might have totally missed out on something great because of my tendency to avoid fantasy/paranormal. In any case, this aspect was carried out successfully, and I can’t imagine how this story could’ve worked without it. The originality and creativity just shines through.
2. The use of religion was also an unexpected nice touch. If there was anything that really fed my hesitance in reading this book, it would’ve been that. I didn’t want a story that felt like a fable that shoves a lesson down the readers’ throats. However, as it was only used at specific points in the story, it felt more like adding a splash of spiritual mystery and suspense, as opposed to being in your face about challenging one’s beliefs. It wasn’t overly done. And even those who do not believe in life after death will appreciate the story.
3. The characters were fleshed out so well. Making headlines as a baby left in a laundry basket by his crack addict mother, Moses grows into a ‘cracked’ or flawed adult as well. At least, that’s how everyone else sees him. Everyone, except the loving and vibrant Georgia who had big dreams of joining the rodeo and breaking stereotypical barriers. Never putting any limits to what she can do, it was only a matter of time before Georgia burrowed her way into Moses’s ever-cautious heart. The secondary characters in this book were all developed so well too. If I had read this book a few weeks back, Kathleen Wright, Moses’s grandmother, would’ve definitely made it onto my favorite mothers/maternal figures list for T5W. How she selflessly took on raising Moses and constantly spoke highly of his mother despite abandoning him at a laundromat shows how loving and loyal a mother she is. Even Tag, who comes into the picture muscles and rage blazing as he attacked Moses for talking so nonchalantly about his missing sister at a therapy session, is a character that I have come to love as well especially as his friendship with Moses grew throughout the story.
4. The chemistry between Georgia and Moses was undeniable and Amy Harmon just bathes you in its warmth. Even during the time spent apart, even as they tried to move on without the other, you still feel the love simmering, waiting to boil over at their reunion.
5. Amy Harmon’s writing is just so clever, smart and engaging. It was very interesting how the story comes full circle in the end. And as a reader who prides herself in deciphering the author’s intentions within the first few chapters of the book, it was definitely a breath of fresh air to be able to gasp at the twists (yes, there are a few of them throughout the book) in the story.
Overall, this is definitely another great hit from Amy Harmon.
Rating: 5 stars