Marrow Island by Alexis M. Smith

“He loved the woman I was before I was in love with him.”

marrow-island-by-alexis-m-smithAlthough Marrow Island by Alexis M. Smith begins when Lucie Bowen returns to Marrow Island, Washington, the story really begins 20 years earlier when the May Day Quake (a huge earthquake) rocked the west coast. At the same time, Lucie’s father died in an explosion at the oil refinery on Marrow Island. To escape this tragedy, Lucie and her mother left the islands and didn’t look back. That is, until her childhood friend Katie tells her that a community is living on Marrow Island again and that it’s no longer uninhabitable.

Lucie returns to the islands and finds a tight-knit community (with a slight cult-mentality in my opinion) restoring the land on which they live. In their quest to restore life on Marrow Island, the group takes things too far and Lucie walks right into the middle of it all…

I’m from the Pacific Northwest and I really enjoy reading about places you’ve lived from someone else’s perspective. Although Marrow Island is fictional, it’s based on real places and I could see similarities in the story to cities and islands in Washington. Marrow Island also focused on how people recover and move forward after huge natural disasters like the one described in the story.

marrow-islandWhile I think the idea for this book is interesting, the story jumps around and leaves a lot untold (allowing for readers to fill these gaps with assumptions), which isn’t my favorite writing style.

The 100 Year Miracle by Ashley Ream

The 100 Year MiracleI’ve been reading at a faster pace this year than I ever have before so needless to say, I’ve read quite a few books so far in 2016. The 100 Year Miracle by Ashley Ream is one of the best books on that list! Set in the Pacific Northwest, a place I call home, I am particularly drawn to this story that centers around a mystical glow that appears off the coast of Washington state.

Once in every 100 years, a bay around an island off the coast of Washington glows green for six days. The sea creatures causing the dazzling glow are a mystery, but are believed to cause hallucinations, ease pain, and connect people to the spirit world by the Olloo’et tribe. For Dr. Rachel Bell, these sea creatures, known as Artemia lucis, represent a possible solution for her terrible pain and suffering. When her team of researchers goes to Olloo’et Bay to study the creatures, she will do anything to prove her theory as the clock winds down….

Elsewhere on the island, Tilda and Harry, a divorced couple, come back together as Harry faces the final stages of his debilitating disease. They must come to terms with a horrible accident that rocked their family years ago and learn how to finally move on just as the green glow appears outside of their windows.

The 100 Year Miracle Not only is the idea behind the story really interesting, the characters are humorous and endearing as well. In particular, Rachel’s abrupt and forthright manner (which broke many common social courtesies) and Harry’s charming and gruff wit were quite entertaining.

I find a story to be compelling when it not only urges me want to read, but inspires me to write as well, which The 100 Year Miracle did for me. I definitely recommend this one!