REVIEW: WHAT YOU WISH FOR, BY KATHERINE CENTER

 

Samantha Casey is a school librarian who loves her job, the kids, and her school family with passion and joy for living.

But she wasn’t always that way.

Duncan Carpenter is the new school principal who lives by rules and regulations, guided by the knowledge that bad things can happen.

But he wasn’t always that way.

And Sam knows it. Because she knew him before—at another school, in a different life. Back then, she loved him—but she was invisible. To him. To everyone. Even to herself. She escaped to a new school, a new job, a new chance at living. But when Duncan, of all people, gets hired as the new principal there, it feels like the best thing that could possibly happen to the school—and the worst thing that could possibly happen to Sam. Until the opposite turns out to be true. The lovable Duncan she’d known is now a suit-and-tie wearing, rule-enforcing tough guy so hell-bent on protecting the school that he’s willing to destroy it.

As the school community spirals into chaos, and danger from all corners looms large, Sam and Duncan must find their way to who they really are, what it means to be brave, and how to take a chance on love—which is the riskiest move of all.

I loved everything about What You Wish For, from the characters to the theme of choosing joy and doing it in spite of your fears.

Samantha and Duncan had a history that wasn’t necessarily good, especially with their combination of characteristics and fears. So when they are thrust together after Max dies and he is brought in as the new school principal, Sam learns that what she had wished for wasn’t turning out so great.

But between her friend Alice and Max’s widow Babette, a plan is created. A plan that could change everything about their lives and how they see things.

Characters like little Clay, the nine-year-old genius, kept me loving everything to the very end. Negative characters like Kent Buckley, Clay’s father and Babette’s son-in-law, kept me turning pages to see if justice would be served and he would no longer be a thorn in our sides. A book I didn’t want to put down, this one earned 5 stars.

***My e-ARC came to me from the publisher via NetGalley.

REVIEW: HOW TO BE A GOOD WIFE, BY EMMA CHAPMAN

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Marta’s life seems to be on the verge of something: a place somewhere between the past and the present, except that her past is lost to her. She has been married to Hector for many years, and their grown son Kylan has moved out, leaving her alone with her husband and the tasks that seemingly consume her. But don’t fulfill her. And threading through her days, as she completes her duties, excerpts from a book about being a good wife filter through, reminding her of her mother-in-law who gave her the book. And of a kind of imprisonment that seems more and more real with each day.

What is happening to Marta? Why does her husband keep handing her pills to swallow? Why does he “explain” her to friends as having “empty nest syndrome” and having a “vivid imagination”? Why does she fear him?

Yes, lately, images seem to slip into her awareness. Images of a blond girl, a place that seems familiar, and feelings that seem all too real. Are they visions? Or are they memories?

And then suddenly, Marta decides to find out, and escapes the stultifying home she shares with Hector, to go to a city that she feels she knows…to find out more. But an unexpected outcome will lead her down a completely different path.

How To Be a Good Wife is set in an unknown place, possibly a Scandinavian country. There are villages and cities, unnamed, as if the reader must feel the same blankness that Marta experiences. A feeling of being untethered, uncertain. A frightening and captivating read that I could not set down until the very end. And then I wanted to read more. Recommended for anyone who enjoys psychological suspense. Five stars.