I Let You Fall by Sara Downing

4 stars

In I Let You Fall, Eve Chapman observes an emergency operation on a woman who suffered a traumatic brain injury. When the bandages are removed, Eve realizes she was the person being operated on. While in a coma, Eve hears her family and friends visit, and she struggles to deal with being unable to communicate back with them. In fact, the only person who can see and hear her is Luca, a lawyer whose body is also trapped in a comatose state.

I Let You Fall by Sara Downing

The story primarily follows Eve and Luca, as Eve learns from him how to navigate her new state of being. There are a few side characters and stories thrown in that have more meaning as Eve’s story plays out. 

At its core, I Let You Fall is about the power of human connection. The novel started out a little rough for me, but after the first few chapters, it had me racing through each chapter to find out what would happen next. Ultimately, I felt it was an engaging read, with wholesome characters and light romance reminiscent of a Lifetime movie. 

After reading this book, I am interested in checking out others by Downing. She skillfully creates Eve’s reality without overexplaining how things worked. Some elements didn’t make complete sense to me and yet these mysterious bits were exactly what made a story about an unconscious main character work.

I recommend this book to readers who are fans of uplifting stories about overcoming difficult circumstances and a comfortable with a spiritual thread woven into the narrative.

I read this book at the request of an author support specialist with the publishing company. Thank you to Maria Inot, the author Sara Downing, and Quilla Books for mailing me a free paperback review copy. This review reflects my honest, unbiased opinion of the book.

The Gene Solution by Mike Rochelle

4 out of 5 stars

“The details mattered…He had found through work that lives hung in the details.”

Mike Rochelle, The Gene Solution
A hand holding up an e-reader depicting the cover of The Gene Solution against a chalkboard with mathematical equations.
Mike Rochelle’s debut sci-fi thriller

In The Gene Solution, Dr. Tripp Galloway and his partner, Dr. Mortimer (Morti) Stein, are the doctors and fertility specialists at a prominent OB/GYN practice in New York City. 

Driven by Galloway’s desire to keep families from suffering the same devastating loss his family did, Galloway and Stein start running clinical trials aimed at eradicating diseases caused by genetic disorders like Cystic Fibrosis and Sickle Cell anemia.

To help fund their latest clinical trial, Galloway strikes a deal with Slavomir, a corrupt Russian shipping tycoon who wants to start a family. The deal has repercussions for Tripp, Morti, Aiden, their practice manager, and several others along the way.

The debut book is action-packed and covers a wide array of ethical issues. For the most part, the science was easy to understand, though it did get a little technical in parts. The author has a background in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries which came through in the writing.

The plot reads like a crime drama, like NCIS: Los Angeles, and would translate well to the screen. It was a worthwhile read that I would recommend to others who enjoy sci-fi thrillers.

Thank you to Book Sirens for the advance review copy. The views expressed here are my own.

The book is available at several book retailers and through the publisher’s site.

Eighteen by Jenny Jaeckel

4 stars 

In this novel, 18-year-old Talia leaves her small town of Ukiah, California, and heads off to university in Washington state. The story starts off as shy and awkward as freshman year, and – like many college experiences – keeps getting better from there.

Eighteen

Told from Talia’s point of view, the reader follows this young woman as she makes friends, has her first sexual experience, and falls in love during the first few years of college. Set in the late 80s/early 90s, the story is sprinkled with a few references to HIV and what was known about sexual health at the time.

The book is a fast read – I was able to finish it in a few hours. I was invested in Talia’s dating life, particularly in what would happen with George.

I also really appreciated the book’s observations about the thin line between everything going well in a person’s life and complete disaster.

The part of this book that didn’t work as well for me is that Talia’s story felt a bit unfinished. While she was a relatable protagonist who demonstrated some growth, I would have liked for it to cover a longer time span of Talia’s life, or flesh out her back story as someone who spent part of her childhood living in a commune. By giving readers more than a 2-year glimpse into her college life, we would have had the chance to see her growth as a young woman more clearly.

Overall, it was an entertaining read that I would recommend, especially to those who enjoy stories about the joy, disappointment, desire, and heartbreak surrounding first loves.

My review would not be complete without mentioning the striking cover artwork which was created by Jaeckel. With is contrasting colors, graceful lines, and evocative expressions, this is one case where it is justified to judge the book by its cover.

Thank you to the author and Black Rose Writing for providing a free e-ARC of this book. Receiving a free review copy did not influence my opinion of this book.

Eighteen can be purchased through the publisher’s site.