Tag: Katherine Center

Book Review: What You Wish For

What You Wish For
Author: Katherine Center

Published: July 14, 2020
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars
Dates Read: September 11-17, 2020

Book Description:

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.

Jessica’s Review:

**RANT ALERT**

The past two years I have discovered Katherine Center and adored her, in fact she made my top 10 list for 2019 and 2020.  Needless to say I was looking forward to her newest one What You Wish For but this one just didn’t quite work for me. 

What I did love is that the protagonist, Sam (Samantha) has a non-visual disability.  We don’t have many novels with our main character that has a disability, and I wish we did. And this disability is very much a part of the storyline.  I have a sister who suffers from a visual disability, so this is something that tugs my heart.  Thank you Katherine Center for creating a character like this! 

Now, for what I did not like: Sam’s personality. She is 28 years old, but comes off much more immature than her age.  I enjoy strong, female characters and Sam is the opposite of that.  Yes, she had an unrequited crush on Duncan Carpenter years ago (who hasn’t had one at some point in their life?) and they worked at the same school.  Eventually she left the school she worked at and is happy being the librarian at her new school she is working at.  A few years later, the beloved principal of the school passes away to the heartbreak of the students and staff. Then his replacement is announced and the new principal will be Duncan Carpenter…

What I did not like about Sam is that she debates on quitting her job again because of Duncan being hired.  Come on, you are quitting your job…Because a man who you had an unrequited crush on is hired!?!?!?  He did not even know who you are!  OMG, I had so much frustration with Sam!  How immature is this??? How old are we??? Oh yes… 28 years old. A very immature 28 years old.   I could possibly see leaving the school if you had been in a serious relationship and it ended poorly, but this is just an unrequited CRUSH! 

And then when Duncan arrives, he is a complete 180 from when Sam knew him  at their old school. And this 180 turn is completely serious, by the books, rule making principal.  There is no fun with this ‘new Duncan’.  Sam is determined to find out why Duncan has changed so much.

Both Sam and Duncan have secrets they are keeping, and when we find out Duncan’s everything comes to make sense. It is actually because of this secret that I gave an extra .5 stars to my rating.

Towards the end we have a little side story that comes into play that also just did not work for me. It just came out of left field for me. I did not see the point to it.

I listened to the audiobook version of What You Wish For which is narrated by Therese Plummer, another narrator I adore!  Bonus points for her narration!

This could be a cute little summer beach read (or just a getaway from the way that 2020 has become) that may work for you. I do enjoy chick-lit novels, but this one was just not for me. I will continue to read Center and maybe get to some of her older novels.  If you like the strong female characters then stay away from this one. I really wish I could have enjoyed this one more and would have loved to have seen Center make my top 10 for 2020, but she won’t with this novel. But there is always next year!  

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Short Story Sunday: The Girl in the Plane by Katherine Center

The Girl in the Plane: A Short Story
Author: Katherine Center
Published: July 23, 2019
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Date Read: August 21, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

From Katherine Center, New York Times bestselling author of How to Walk Away, comes a short story The Girl in the Plane, featuring Cassie Hanwell, the courageous female firefighter at the heart of Things You Save in a Fire.

This audio edition is read by the author.

Jessica’s Review:

This short story is the bridge between two of Katherine Center’s novels: How to Walk Away and Things You Save in a Fire. If you have read and enjoyed those two novels then you ABSOLUTELY MUST listen to this audio short story, as it enhances both, but more so How to Walk Away for me. 

I really enjoyed having both Margaret and Cassie together and a certain other character I won’t name: You’ll just have to read it to find out who it is.  Listening to this short story makes me want to read both of these novels again. I really loved both of them. I will definitely be reading more of Center’s books!

I also loved that Center read the audiobook. She did very well reading it and it makes the chapter more personal hearing her actual voice reading her words.  It was read in just over 30 minutes.

My review for How to Walk Away is here.
My review for Things You Save in a Fire is here.

You can listen to the audio version of The Girl in the Plane for FREE via Google Play or Apple Books.

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Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

Author: Katherine Center
To Be Published: August 13, 2019
320 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: July 8-12, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she’s seen her fair share of them, and she’s excellent at dealing with other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to uproot her life and move to Boston, it’s an emergency of a kind Cassie never anticipated.

The tough, old-school Boston firehouse is as different from Cassie’s old job as it could possibly be. Hazing, a lack of funding, and poor facilities mean that the firemen aren’t exactly thrilled to have a “lady” on the crew, even one as competent and smart as Cassie. Except for the handsome rookie, who doesn’t seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can’t think about that. Because she doesn’t fall in love. And because of the advice her old captain gave her: don’t date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping…but will she jeopardize her place in a career where she’s worked so hard to be taken seriously?

Katherine Center’s Things You Save in a Fire is a heartfelt, affecting novel about life, love, and the true meaning of courage.

Jessica’s Review:

I introduced myself to Katherine Center last year with How to Walk Away (HTWA) (my review is here) and loved it , so I eagerly anticipated her next novel which was Things You Save in a Fire (to be called Things for the rest of this review) and was not disappointed in the least.  And Things is about a female firefighter: Go girl empowerment!

Center wrote the novel through examples of real life situations her volunteer fire fighter husband told her about the job and living in the fire house.  I’ve spent a little time in firehouses and even put the turnout gear on and based on what I experienced, the novel is spot on! 

Our protagonist Cassie made a brief appearance in HTWA which was referenced in Things. You won’t miss anything if you have not read HTWA, but it adds to Cassie’s story if you have already read it. I personally loved how the books were connected.  I really liked Cassie and identified with her in several ways.  Firefighting really is a ‘boys club’ and Cassie totally kicks male butt!  You can’t help but cheer for her.  She is also a conflicted character and feels like a real person.  Center does a great job capturing real life struggles and putting them on the page.  There are moments that will have you laughing and then moments that touch you in a personal way.

This novel has a bit of everything: romance, mystery, action, and yes, we do get a fire! With the fire situation the reader gets the experience of working that fire and going inside with the fire fighters. 

I alluded to it earlier, and want to talk about my experience in a fire house: Back in 2004 I took part in a Citizen’s Fire Academy where I learned about my local fire department, did some training, and spent time at two fire stations with the men on shift.  I got to go on the calls they received, and yes, one was a fire call!  It ended up being a kitchen fire that was out by the time we arrived on the scene.  It was a great experience and if the opportunity arises, everyone should do this! You really get a new appreciation and respect for what they do. 

Bravo Katherine Center for an enjoyable novel that accurately portrays life in a fire house base on what I experienced myself.  When you read this novel, you will get to see what life as a fire fighter is like in a 24 hour shift: from the silliness to seriousness. 

Things You Save in a Fire is very highly recommended.  Special thanks to St. Martin’s Press for granting me an e-arc that I received via NetGalley. 

Pre-order Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Some pictures from when I went through the Citizen’s Fire Academy:

 

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