Tracey Garvis-Graves

 Tracey Garvis-Graves is the author of On the Island and Covet. She lives in a suburb of Des Moines, Iowa with her husband, two children, and hyper dog Chloe. She blogs at using colorful language and a snarky sense of humor to write about pop culture, silly television shows, and her suburban neighborhood.

So in 2012 I discovered an author called Tracey Garvis-Graves when I read her book On the Island. I absolutely loved it and it was one of the best books I read in 2012. Despite not being the intended audience, I believe if a book is good then it can be enjoyed by just about anyone. I do read mainly crime fiction but my reading is so varied that I read many different genres as well. 

In 2013 Tracey returned to the island with the novella, Uncharted. I'm not the biggest fan of short stories or novellas, however I loved this. Later on in 2013 Tracey released Covet. Again, not the intended audience for the book but I read it in less than a day and was bereft when I reached the last page. It was definitely a case of 'What the hell do I read now?!'

I have been lucky enough to share my reviews with Tracey and received some great feedback from her. She is also on Twitter where she is very active with talking and replying to fans. I can't wait for whatever Tracey writes next and if it's even half as good as her previous books then we will be in for a treat. Below are my reviews for On the Island, Uncharted and Covet.

On the Island
Synopsis | Read on August 19th 2012

I am so glad I started this book on a weekend, as I completely devoured it over the past day. Every so often a book will come along that it's a struggle to put it down, people call books unputdownable but this one actually is. Putting down my Kindle and stopping reading this book was such a pain. I recently changed the way I rate books on Goodreads and save the five star rating for truly amazing books, I wish I could give this book more than five stars, it really is that good. If someone asked me to recommend them the perfect book I would name this one. Not a single page was wasted, the writing was amazing and I loved TJ and Anna. There's nothing I love more than reading a book like this, but the worst thing about it is finishing it and knowing that the story is over. This is a book you will think about and remember for a long time after you've finished it. It's a book you will recommend to friends and envy them as they read it for the first time. My only regret is not saving the book for my holiday as its a perfect summer read, although maybe the women (and indeed some men!) should wear sunglasses if reading in the sun as tears will be shed.

I hear that this has been picked up for a movie, I just hope a film of this book stays true to the story. But I think it'll be hard to make a film even half as good as this book is. The way the story kept changing between Anna and TJ worked really well and I think the author wrote the POV of a teenage boy turning into a man fantastically well. The love story didn't feel rushed, or wrong or seedy etc, the whole thing just flowed really well and made for a perfect read.

If you have this book on your to read list then please, do yourself a favour and move it straight to the top. You won't regret it. Just make sure you have tissues nearby if you're the emotional kind and be prepared to get nothing done until you've reached the final chapter. I wish I could read this book for the first time all over again. I loved it. 

Synopsis | Read on July 17th 2013

Once again I find myself wishing that I was better at writing reviews. As with when I wrote my review for On the Island, I felt that nothing I wrote could possibly do the book justice. I loved On the Island so much that it was probably my favourite read of 2012. And when I found out about this prequel I couldn't wait to read it, despite being a bit apprehensive that it wouldn't be about T.J. and Anna completely, but that they would feature in some way. After the first few chapters though all apprehension disappeared and I devoured this book in one sitting. I now urge everybody that read and fell in love with On the Island to stop what they are doing and read this book!

I don't want to talk about the story too much as I feel that readers need to discover Owen's story for themselves. Rest assured however that it is a wonderful story, sad in parts but on the whole every bit as fantastic as T.J. and Anna's story. The idea of leaving your life behind to go and stay on an island by yourself indefinitely appeals to me, even after reading these two books! It's just the idea of escaping every day life and not having to worry about anyone but yourself that appeals. I loved reading about Owen and what made him want to do this, and reading about how he coped with life on the island. Even with the help of Mick and having trips to the mainland, it was still a struggle for Owen to adjust to life on the island.

The one thing about this book was it didn't ever just feel like a fictional story. Owen's story felt so real that it almost felt like it was real. I didn't say it at the time but thinking about it the same could be said of On the Island. That too felt like a very real story, and not at all fictional. Tracey Garvis-Graves is a phenomenal storyteller to be able to create worlds, stories and characters that feel so real. I wasn't expecting to enjoy this book as much as On the Island simply for the fact that I was unsure about the premise, and because of there not being much T.J. and Anna scenes but for anybody sharing those worries, put them to one side and download this book ASAP. Just don't do it if you have to go to school/work/somewhere as you won't want to move until you reach the end of this thrilling story. It has made me want to reread On the Island and it has only been about a year since I read it for the first time. Loved the teaser for Covet too. Wish I had it available to read right now!

Synopsis | Read on August 5th 2013 (ARC)


One of the signs of an amazing book is one that takes less than a day to read. Another sign is when you have to stop reading and can't stop thinking of the moment you can pick it up and continue reading. Another is when you should be sleeping but you can't because you are nearing the end of the book and it is impossible to stop reading until you finish it. And perhaps the most obvious sign of a good book is when you finish it and are left feeling ecstatic at finishing a good book but sad at the same time that it is over, and when you have no idea what your next book will be because you feel like nothing can beat the story you have just read. This book was all of those things and that is why I am writing this review at 2.26am, just moments after finishing this book. Again though I find myself wishing I could write a review that does the book justice, I will try!

About a year ago I downloaded to my Kindle a book called On the Island. I hoped for a half decent read after reading the plot which I found pretty exciting. What I ended up reading was one of the best books I read in 2012 and what I now call one of my favourite books of all time. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of returning to that island in the novella Uncharted which was just fantastic.

I knew however that this book would be very different from On the Island. I am not the intended reader for this book but to me that doesn't matter. If a book is good then it can be read by almost anybody, and despite this being classed as Women's Fiction, I feel that the book, or at the very least extracts of it could be read by men. Particularly those who may be facing problems in their relationship or marriage. This certainly isn't one of those awful erotica novels that are constantly at the top of the bestsellers charts, what it is instead is a wonderfully written story which felt very real, you could have been reading a person's life story as opposed to a story from a writer's imagination.

The chapters alternate between the three characters: Claire, Chris and Daniel. The bulk of the chapters are from Claire's POV however it was nice to hear from the other characters so we weren't just getting Claire's side of things and we could actually see what Chris and Daniel were thinking as opposed to what Claire assumed they were thinking, if that makes sense. Chris and Claire's marriage is pretty much on the rocks, Chris loses his job and Claire takes us through the months that followed the loss talking about how they grew apart and the trouble they faced with his unemployment. Then Chris finds work that means him being away from home throughout the week. I remember as a child my dad would work from 7am until 11pm and I would hardly ever see him despite living in the same house. I could definitely relate to the children in this book and it is only when you are older that you fully realise and understand what your parents do for you.

Claire at the start of the book is pulled over by a police officer because of a problem with her car. It is all fairly innocent at first but in the weeks and months that follow a friendship is formed between the two to the point where there is a question mark surrounding whether anything will happen beyond that. It's hard to continue talking about the characters without giving away too much of the plot so all I will say is that you feel for all three characters. I didn't really feel that Claire was in the wrong throughout the book, but perhaps having never been in love or married makes me see the story differently than somebody who is/has. I read a few comments on Goodreads from people who were a bit wary about reading this book because of the cheating aspect but I urge those people to read this book and forget about those worries. The story here is incredible to the point where I just didn't know what I wanted Claire to do.

The three characters I liked very much. Claire has diabetes which I thought was very interesting and made for some heart stopping developments throughout the book. There were some wonderful scenes between her and Daniel regarding this but to elaborate would be giving the story away. I also liked the flashback scenes where we learnt more about Chris and Claire when they first met. The love between these two characters is evident. I definitely sympathized with Chris having to work away from his family for most of the week to support them. His love for his wife and kids was clear throughout the book. I really liked Daniel. I loved the scenes between him and Claire.

Overall I cannot reccommend this book highly enough. It now cements Tracey Garvis-Graves as one of my favourite authors as she has now written three books which I will always rate as some of the best I have read. In reading the acknowledgement section Tracey mentioned an alternate ending and after only just finishing this book I want to know what that ending is so badly because as I said I didn't know what I wanted Claire to do and I don't know how I would have written this story or indeed ended it. I was satisfied with the ending of the book however. When I finished On the Island I couldn't stop thinking about the story for a while afterwards. I think the same will be true of this book. I don't feel like I have just read a of fiction but instead somebody's life story. Tracey thank you for another truly amazing book which I just loved reading. Your next book cannot come quick enough as far as I am concerned (whatever it may be)!

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