Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Always by Sarah Jio

Greetings!  I hope all of you had a wonderful Valentine's Day.  I have been under the weather today so I took it easy.  My mother always knows when I am really sick, because I do not read.  It is the only time you will find me without a book in my hand or nearby.

Always is the latest novel by Sarah Jio.  Kailey Crain is a journalist with the Herald in Seattle, Washington in 2008.  Kailey and her fiancé, Ryan are leaving a restaurant when she spots a homeless man outside.  Kailey walks over to give him her leftovers, and discovers it is Cade McAllister.  Cade and Kailey were very much in love and she had just discovered she was pregnant when he disappeared.  Kailey has not heard from him since early August of 1998.  Cade had co-owned Element Records with his best friend, James.  Cade’s Aunt Fay had lent them the money to start the company.  But, the business relationship between Cade and James started to deteriorate rapidly when James wanted to take the company in a different direction.  Kailey is shocked to find Cade in such a state.  She slowly wins his trust and gets him to a doctor.  It turns out that Cade suffered a TBI (traumatic brain injury) which has left him in a state of confusion (has Swiss cheese memory).  The doctor recommends a new program for Cade that will help him recover and get back the skills he has lost.  Over time, he might regain his memory.  Cade re-entering her life creates a dilemma for Kailey.  She thought she had moved on from Cade, but seeing him has brought all the feelings back to the surface.  Kailey, though, is also in love with Ryan.  Kailey needs to make a choice.  Which man has captured Kailey’s heart?

I look forward to Sarah Jio’s new book every year.  But I did find Always to be a disappointment.  I found Always to be a cliché romance novel.  It is nicely written and had a good pace (for the most part).  The story is somewhat intriguing (especially in the beginning), but then it turns into a predictable romance novel.  There are some interesting music references in the book based on Cade’s love of music.  I did find the characters to be a little flat (one-dimensional).  I give Always 3 out of 5 stars (there are readers who will enjoy it).  It is easy to figure out what happened to Cade in 1998.  I was a little disappointed that Ms. Jio finishes the book with unanswered questions.  The reader never finds out how Cade survived the ten years on the street especially with his injuries.  There are areas that will have you shouting at Kailey.  Cade just enters the program and Kailey is the only person he knows.  He counts on her to visit him.  But, Kailey goes on a vacation to Cabo with Ryan.  Is this the best time for a romantic trip to Mexico?  Does she really think Cade will handle not seeing her?  Another moment that was odd (and had me shaking my head with disbelief) is when Kailey finally tracks down Cade (not the first night she sees him outside the restaurant).  Instead of taking him somewhere to get immediate assistance, she takes off to visit James.  If you had been hunting for this man, would you just leave him again?  Kailey had no idea if she would be able to locate him once again.  I wish less time had been devoted to Kailey thinking about Cade (how he looked, his charm, etc.).  It reminded me of the Harlequin romance novels I read as a teenager.  Always was not up to Sarah Jio’s normal standards (like The Violets of March or Blackberry Winter).  I will, of course, order Ms. Jio’s next book.  Always could have been an off novel for her. 

I appreciate you visiting and reading my latest review.  I will be back tomorrow to review The Green Mill Murder by Kerry Greenwood.  May each of you have an enchanting evening (I am heading back to my bed). Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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