What You Wish For by Katherine Center

Book cover of What You Wish For by Katherine Center

Book cover of What You Wish For by Katherine CenterThank you to St Martin’s Press for the review copy

When I found out that Katherine Center had a new book coming out, I hit up my contact at St Martin’s Press right away. I didn’t even read the description, I went on blind faith because I read Things You Save in a Fire and How to Walk Away last year and couldn’t believe how good they were. I have no idea how Katherine Center keeps topping herself, but her books keep getting better and better with each release. What You Wish For is a poignant, beautiful story of loss, grief, and learning to let others in that everyone should have on their TBR this summer.

What is What You Wish For about?

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.

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How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

After recently reading Katherine’s new book, Things You Save in a Fire, I immediately looked up the rest of her bibliography and decided to start with How to Walk Away. I decided to go into the book blind – I didn’t even read the back cover summary before I dove in. That gamble paid off in spades – this book was just as emotionally packed as her latest book, but offered a totally different main character to root for.

Margaret Jacobsen has a bright future ahead of her: a fiancé she adores, her dream job, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in one tumultuous moment.

In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Margaret must figure out how to move forward on her own terms while facing long-held family secrets, devastating heartbreak, and the idea that love might find her in the last place she would ever expect.

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Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

A review copy of this book was provided by St Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.

It’s been a long time since a book has made me emotional enough to actually cry while I read it. Sure, lots of books have made me feel sad and empathize with characters, but very few make me emotional enough to keep thinking about the book long after finishing it. This book packs an emotional punch – and rings especially true to the realities of what being a woman working in a male dominated field can be like. Things You Save in a Fire is much deeper than the contemporary romance it appears to be at the surface: it’s a dark and emotional look at the lasting impacts of trauma and forgiveness.

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 a total pro at other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to give up her whole life and move to Boston, Cassie suddenly has an emergency of her own.

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 infatuation-inspiring rookie, who doesn’t seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can’t think about that. Because love is girly, and it’s not her thing. And don’t forget the advice her old captain gave her: Never date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping…and it means risking it all—the only job she’s ever loved, and the hero she’s worked like hell to become.

Katherine Center’s Things You Save in a Fire is a heartfelt and healing tour-de-force about the strength of vulnerability, the nourishing magic of forgiveness, and the life-changing power of defining courage, at last, for yourself.

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