Title: The Choices I’ve Made
Author: J.L. Berg
Series: By the Bay #1
Release Date: September 28, 2017
A single choice in life can make a ripple or a wave…
When it comes to love, that choice can cause a tsunami.
Dr. Jake Jameson understands this all too well. Losing his mother at the age of eighteen, he walks away from his small hometown and the painful memories it holds, vowing to never return again.
Twelve years later, he finds himself driving back down the coast of North Carolina. When his father leaves him a small medical practice, he has no choice but to heed the call until he can find someone else to take it off his hands.
But coming back home means facing everything he left behind, including the one woman who might make it impossible to leave again.
Molly McIntyre has spent her entire life in one town. Taking over her parents’ small inn, she’s settled into a quiet, happy life. But all of that comes to an abrupt halt when Jake shows up at her door in need of a place to stay.
Molly loathes everything about this man, but she can’t find it in her heart to refuse his request.
After over a decade, these former lovers quickly discover what once burned brightly between them has only grown in their time apart. Soon they must decide if the choices they’ve made have led them back to each other for a second chance or one final goodbye.
J.L. Berg dives into a new series with Jake and Molly’s second-chance romance in The Choices I’ve Made. Angsty, tragic, and quietly hopeful, this couple took me on a journey I never could have expected. From beginning to end this story continually ripped my heart out. Jake and Molly face more challenges and tragedy then seem fair, but somehow J.L. Berg carried them through. Jake had the whole brooding, wounded hero thing down and Molly was every bit the feisty, brokenhearted heroine. Together they made for plenty of tension and tons of biting dialogue. With all of the fire between them, every sweet moment was that much more impactful and I waited anxiously for those tender respites.
“We’d thought we could fight the whole world as long as we were together, but at the first sign of battle, our shields had fallen, and our walls had crumbled.”
To be honest, this story fell a bit flat for me at times. While I understood Molly’s resentment and animosity towards Jake, I needed there to be an underlying connection and undeniable chemistry that had me holding out hope. The story told me it was there, but I had a hard time feeling anything other than the anger and hurt for most of the book. I also needed more personal growth from Jake and Molly. So much time was spent showing us that they couldn’t stay away from each other that I didn’t get to see them really revealed as individuals until the last 15% of the story. J.L. Berg usually blows me away with her complex characters and emotional depth, but The Choice I’ve Made just didn’t live up to her usual standards.
“And, when morning came, I’d tear out my heart and leave it beside her on my way to work because there wouldn’t be any use for it in the future. She owned it anyway.”
I definitely loved where both Jake and Molly ended up in the end, despite wishing they’d shown more growth along the way. The last part of the book packed quite the punch with a ton of heart and a deeply satisfying resolution. For me, the secondary characters really stole the show here. I can’t wait for Dean and Cora’s book and I hope we’ll be hearing from Molly’s sister eventually as well. Millie has a fantastic energy about her and a distinctive personality that totally intrigues. J.L. Berg brought this small town romance to life with incredible descriptive imagery that had me imagining myself right alongside the characters. I’m definitely ready for more of this beach town. The Choice I’ve Made is a sweet, sizzling second-chance romance that will leave you ready for more of the By the Bay series!
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Don’t miss the rest of the series:
The Scars I Bare (By the Bay #2)
The Lies I’ve Told (By the Bay #3)
I’m a California native, who lives in the South – Virginia to be exact. I still prefer sushi to fried chicken, avocados to okra, and I absolutely loathe humidity. I do love watching the seasons change though. My husband and I have been here for over a decade, and I still get giddy like a school girl every time it snows. It’s magical!
I’m married to my high school sweetheart, and we’ve been blessed with two beautiful daughters and two rescue pups I like to call my “coworkers”. I’m obsessed with chocolate, minions, anything Harry Potter and I love to watch re-runs of Friends and Gilmore Girls!