The Never List by Koethi Zan

the never list

Photo Credit: Amazon

The Never List- first, let’s look at the cover- the cover definitely tells that there is something creepy about this book (because, the title- could be taken in 2 ways-fun & lighthearted or creepy). The cover lets readers know what side this book is on!

Sarah and Jennifer-BFF, like peanut butter and jelly, they are 2 peas in a pod. Together they coin a list, called The Never List. This list has all the things they should not do for safety’s sake.  One day, the girls are in a car crash- and this crash has everlasting effects. Both still adhere to The Never List- but after surviving a crash like that- one could think that is the worst thing they will face,

One would be wrong, though.

The girls are in college, still keeping up with The Never List- but college life begins to lull them into a sense of security- and the wanting to fit in, to be a carefree college student is a hard temptation to resist. One night, the girls, Jennifer and Sarah go to a party. Being planners, they make sure to have a way to get home- a safe way. Except, this time their careful planning is for nil. Jennifer and Sarah are being taken, against their will, and when they wake up, they are in a dark, cellar. With other women. Chained.

Their captor plays mind games- and one night, Jennifer never returns. The ladies in the cellar can only assume the worst (and they do!)

Years later, Sarah has changed her name to Caroline. She lives in NYC, a place where someone is always around to hear a person’s screams. Sarah is agoraphobic, in therapy, and trying to recover from years of torture- and what that torture did to her. When the FBI agent in charge of the case comes to Sarah to let her know that the captor’s parole hearing is fast approaching- she’s reluctant to help. She wants to put the past behind her. Except she wants to know what happened to Jennifer. She wants Jennifer’s body to be found.

Sarah sets back out to Oregon, to begin to hunt for clues. She reunites with the other captive ladies- all of them not wanting to be with the other- yet, knowing they need to find the clues he’s been sending them for years to keep the monster behind the curtain.

The problem: Some monsters refuse to stay behind the curtain. And sometimes, there are even scarier monsters waiting in the wide, open plain.

Traveling With T’s Thoughts:

This book has many good moments. A dark, creepy psychological thriller- a character trying to rebuild her life. The sadness of not knowing what happened to her best friend. This book has much to recommend about it. Koethi Zan shows us this: There are some sick people in the world. People who will torment and torture just for the thrill. But, Koethi also shows this- that when the chips are down and you have to decide how things are going to be- we might all have a pinch of sicknesses in us. Some of us just nurture it more than others. Recommended if you like creepy, psychological twists, and never being quite sure what character you can trust as a reader.

*This book was provided to me through Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are mine alone.

The Lemon Orchard by Luanne Rice

the lemon orchard

Bittersweet love story as two unlikely lovers are coping with grief of losing their daughters..


Two people, 5 years earlier, both lost their daughters. Julia lost her daughter in a car crash and Roberto’s daughter has not been found after they were separated crossing the border. Two people who share no connection, except grief and sadness about their daughters, meet 5 years later. Can a understanding of grief and sadness lead to a friendship between Julia and Roberto- who come from different backgrounds?

Julia and Roberto begin to share slices of their life with each other- Roberto tells the story of him and his daughter attempting to cross the border; Julia tells of stories of Jenny and her on anthropology trips. Julia even talks of her marriage and how it became broken. Roberto is careful, cautious with Julia at first. He knows he has a good job at the orchard, at her family’s place- and yet, he can’t deny a connection, an attraction he feels for Julia.

Julia begins and impossible search- a search for Roberto’s daughter, Rosa. Reaching out to her anthropology contacts, she knows it may be a long shot- but feels it is worth it. Searching for Rosa has also made Julia feel closer to Jenny, to bring back the memories of anthropology trips with Jenny when she was younger.

Five years earlier, Julia was at the beginning of the worst kind of grief a mother can experience. As the years went by, her grief grew. With Roberto- hearing his story, feeling an attraction to him- Julia begins to feel better, like the grief she feels for Jenny is not some overwhelming.

Together, Julia and Roberto begin to fall in love- although their future is uncertain- especially when there is a development in the search for Rosa. Both have choices to make- forge a life together or enjoy the love they share- even if it’s only for a short time.


Traveling With T’s Thoughts:

Julia and Roberto’s story is a sweet love story- a love that was brought forth by their grief. Their love story, while bittersweet, still was enjoyable. The storyline was interesting. The characters were well thought out. And the setting was remarkable. Enjoyable- a nice read.


*This book was provided to me through Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are mine alone.