Book Reviews

Book Review: The Choices I’ve Made: A By The Bay Stand-Alone Novel

The Choices I’ve Made: A By The Bay Stand-Alone Novel, by J.L. Berg

Publication: Kobo Writing Life; December 28, 2017

choicesAbout the book: 

I swore I’d never go home again.

With nothing more than a few boxes and a beat up truck, I left behind my old life at the tender age of eighteen to pursue my medical career. 

I never looked back. 
Twelve years later, I find myself traveling back home to North Carolina where my late father has left me his medical practice. Coming here means facing my past… My memories… And her—Molly McIntyre. 

Growing up, Molly had been my entire world, first as a childhood friend and then so much more. We’d made promises I broke when I walked away. But now, when I look at her, still so beautiful and full of life, I can’t deny the spark and passion that still burns between us. 

She wasn’t what sent me packing all those years ago, but now, she may be exactly what I need to finally face my demons and stay. 

My Review:

I can’t believe that this was my first time reading a J.L. Berg novel, however, The Choices I’ve Made has made me a fan for life! When Jake was 18 years old, he left Ocracoke Island, his father, his friends, and the love of his life – Molly. Twelve years later, cardiothoracic surgeon Jake is returning for his father’s funeral and to handle his father’s family practice. However, a tragedy quickly pushes him back into Molly’s life, while she’s busy running a bed and breakfast and worrying about their friend that has been injured. However, when circumstances keep throwing them together, Molly and Jake can’t deny their still-present feelings for one another. 

Molly started out as a character that was a mixture of stress, confusion, and bitterness. After Jake had left all those years earlier, she built a close relationship with their best friend Dean, but those feelings for Jake still lingered. She had always dreamt of taking over her parents’ B & B, but then others wondered if she ever felt like she missed out on things in life. Quickly, the author started peeling back Molly’s layers, allowing the reader to see her real self and her real heart, revealing a smart, funny, and passionate young women.

Jake also entered the story a very serious, bitter, and angry man. Years of ghosts haunted him including his mother’s death, his father’s alcoholism, and leaving Molly behind. Things quickly turn very dramatic as Jake returns, and he soon finds himself struggling with his lingering feelings for Molly, as well as, his own internal demons.

I truly loved this second-chance romance! There were several times in this novel where I felt like a young child that wasn’t getting her way, because of numerous obstacles, starts, and stops. However, I applaud the author’s blend of conflict, hope, disappointment, and happy endings. This was a page-turner from beginning to end and this novel was sweet, sexy, happy, and sad all wrapped up in a wonderful package. The chemistry between Jake and Molly was undeniable, but the numerous other friends and family members and the bonds between them made this book even better. I can’t say I was surprised by Jake’s final choices but was pleasantly surprised when I learned about Molly’s own journey. 

This is the perfect beach read or just a fabulous escape from everyday life (unless you plan on visiting Ocracoke, you may not want to read this before getting on the ferry, lol). The Choices I’ve Made is smart, emotional, sexy, and left me feeling incredibly warm and fuzzy. I highly recommend this one, and cannot wait to read the follow-up novels in this series.  

*Thanks to NetGalley for providing this novel in exchange for my honest review!

Purchase The Choices I’ve Made.

Learn more about author J.L. Berg


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