Monday, September 19, 2016

Another Strong Karma Brown Novel - Even Better than the 1st

My good Goodreads friend, Melissa, has struck gold again with The Choices We Make.  She's the one who recommended Goodnight June (you all know what I think of that one!) and Karma Brown's 1st book, Come Away with Me (you can read my review posted on Halloween last year).  But in addition to Melissa, I also got a very strong rec from Kathy at Bermuda Onion.  1 was good, but 2 made it a must.

Here's the scoop.  And remember that the blurb gives a lot of info about the book.  Even though I don't like to read any summary of a book, I know some of you do.  If you do read it, you will still love the book. Trust me on this one.

     Hannah and Kate became friends in the fifth grade, when Hannah hit a boy for looking up Kate's skirt with a mirror.  While they've been as close as sisters ever since, Hannah can't help but feel envious of the little family Kate and her husband, David, have created - complete with two perfect little girls.
     She and Ben have been trying for years to have a baby, so when they receive the news that she will likely never get pregnant, Hannah's heartbreak is overwhelming.   But just as they begin to tentatively explore the other options, it's Kate's turn to do the rescuing.  Not only does she offer to be Hannah's surrogate, but Kate is willing to use her own eggs to do so.
     Full of renewed hope, excitement and gratitude, these two families embark on an incredible journey toward parenthood...until a devastating tragedy puts everything these women have worked toward at risk of falling apart.  Poignant and refreshingly honest, The Choices We Make is a powerful tale of an incredible friendship and the risks we take to make our dreams come true.

Karma does a lot of little things that stand out in this book.  What are they, you ask?  I'm glad you did.

1.  She reminds us about half-way through the book that something bad is going to happen - just in case we didn't remember that from the very beginning of the book.
2.  She alternates chapters between Hannah and Kate through 2/3 of the book.  And then she doesn't.  We can only imagine what that means.
3.  The last 1/3 of the book reads like a thriller.
4.  While the tension is mounting in the last 1/3 of the book, she throws in some historical background about the characters.  It's a nice break from the tension.
5.  Just like Rachael Herron's The Ones Who Matter Most, Karma gives us a definition of family that goes beyond bloodlines.  I know you know how much I like that.
6.  She elicited a whole bunch of different reactions from me - tears (of course), tears 2 pages in a row, "Unh," "Wow," raised eyebrows, "Whoa," furrowed brow.  There was also a time when I closed my eyes.  And there was one time where I was actually scared.
7.  She really writes well:  "David gestures behind him, his arm waving around haphazardly, as if it has been deboned."

And, of course, their are a few personal references that I enjoyed:
1.  One of Kate's daughters is named Josie.  That is the name (with the same spelling) of one of my granddaughters.
2.  One game night, the 2 couples are playing Cards Against Humanity. If you have never played this game, AND if you are not opposed to some really outrageous thoughts and word combinations (it's a little tough to explain), then get 4 or more people together and give this a try.
3.  Here's what Kate thinks of raisins:  "I despised raisins - their wrinkly flesh sticking in your teeth for hours."  How many of us agree with Kate?
4.  In one scene, one of Kate's daughters doesn't like the dinner that Kate made.  So Kate gets up and makes her a sandwich (with the crusts cut off).  Joni and I had just had a conversation about this very same situation with my 32-year old daughter, Lauren.  It was interesting to hear how our daughter remembered it!
5.  I just wrote about how Rachael Herron introduced us to a new genre called mis lit.  The Choices We Make certainly fits her description.

I feel very glad that I read this.  I know that when Karma Brown's next book comes out, I won't need Melissa or Kathy to tell me to read it.  I will be jumping on it.  Get a hold of The Choices We Make and then read Come Away with Me.  I'm confident that you will be happy you did. 3.75/4


  1. Great review! I shared this with Karma. :)

    1. I actually contacted her through her website. But nothing beats a personal connection! Thanks for that.

  2. I'm glad you liked this one too. It really made me think and would make an outstanding book club pick.

    1. Thanks to Melissa's connection, I will be able to have Karma by Skype for a new book club I am creating with my clients. I will provide more info about that in the near future. Again, thanks for the strong review you gave this one.