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Lost In Pages: Book Reflections March 2024 – Journeying Through Loss, Grief, and Newfound Joy

Woman holding 4 books in her hand, in each book she holds 2 books.

I’m actually writing these book reflections March 2024 in May 2024. If you want the full story, check out my initial Lost In Pages post. I won’t go over it again here, so go ahead and give it a read. Just a heads up though, you might find yourself inspired to delve into even more wonderful novels, which, in my opinion, is a fantastic outcome. This is precisely why I’m sharing these book reflections.

I hope you’ll enjoy the following book picks. I truly loved them.

Book reflections March 2024

SOMEDAY, MAYBE by Onyi Nwabineli

(first published: November 1, 2022; Publisher: Oneworld Publications; 342 pages [Paperback])
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A book titled "Someday, Maybe" by author Onyi Nwabineli.

This novel – wow – I loved it.
This book fell into my hands right on time. I bought it one day before my little darling girl Merle – my wonderful soul cat of almost 14 years – passed away.
I wanted to read something on grief and there it was: in my favorite bookstore in Berlin called “Dussmann“.
I have to be honest it took me some time to finish this book, because of my very own grief process, but it was a very good companion, and I could empathize with Eve, the main character.

A Heart-wrenching Novel

Eve and Quentin – a heartwarming and simultaneously heartbreaking love story. Beautifully written with all the thick and deep nuances that loss takes us through, heartbreaking, and healing. It takes the reader through all stages of grief. Depicting grief in all its facets, both the raw and the poignant, is a challenging task, and Onyi Nwabineli did a fantastic job on exactly that!

Suicide – A heavy Subject Matter

It’s a poignant novel that delves into the themes of suicide and the challenging journey of grieving that the bereaved experience.
It centers on the aftermath of Eve’s husband’s suicide. Eve – the protagonist – is a British-Nigerian young woman in her 30’s; she met her husband Quentin, who she calls Q, many years ago at university where both formed a very deep connection despite their contrasting backgrounds; and have been with each other ever since.

When she finds her husband dead, her whole world crumbles and she falls into a big black hole.
The shock and trauma that she experiences is truly heartbreaking.

Eve’s journey through grief is a tumultuous one, filled with moments of deep sorrow and introspection. As she navigates the complex emotions that come with loss, she finds herself grappling with a myriad of conflicting feelings. Memories of her time with Q play on a loop in her mind, each one a bittersweet reminder of what once was, and what will never come back.

Despite the unwavering support from her loved ones – and I love how the relationship to her parents and siblings are being portrayed –, Eve finds herself retreating further into her own world, a world clouded by regret and what-ifs. The weight of her guilt for not recognizing the signs of Q’s struggles bears down on her, threatening to consume her whole.

Through poignant flashbacks, the reader is given glimpses into the depth of Eve and Q’s connection, the hurdles they faced, and the love that bound them together. The complexities of their relationship, juxtaposed with the stark reality of Q’s absence, create a narrative that is both heartbreaking and hopeful.

As Eve grapples with her grief in the days, weeks, and months following Q’s passing, she is forced to confront her inner demons and find a way to make peace with the past. Is that possible?

The next paragraph contains a spoiler!

Eve will soon have to make a decision of vital importance which is not just about her own life but the new life that is growing inside her.
As Eve is at the crossroads of her future, she can feel the weight of the world pressing down on her shoulders. The once clear path ahead now seems shrouded in uncertainty, each direction holding its own set of challenges and unknowns. What will she decide to do?

Not an easy read

The novel delves into the profound grief following a loss to suicide and the subsequent healing journey. It was a challenging but significant read for me, aiding in my healing process. However, due to its weightiness, it might not suit everyone. In my view, it addresses an essential topic that requires more open conversations and awareness – shedding light on the impact of suicide, trauma, and grief.

Some of my favorite Quotes from the Book

“When someone you love dies, there’s this period of disbelief –– a time of dug-in heels, the refusal to process your new reality.”

“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.”

“Nobody tells you how the first time you laugh after a major bereavement will destroy you. You may not have even registered that you don’t laugh anymore–another point on the itemized list of things grief steals from you.”

“Nobody tells you that to grieve is to shoulder the expectations of others. The requirement is that you mourn in silence, cloak yourself in dignity and make others comfortable. I do not know how. Therefore I grieve out loud.”

Final Thoughts

Great debut that delves deep into the nuances of loss, showcasing the resilience of the human spirit in the face of unimaginable pain.
I can’t wait to read her next book coming out in May 2024 with the title “Allow me to introduce myself”

MAYBE NEXT TIME by Cesca Major

(first published: March 7, 2023; Publisher: HarperCollins; 384 pages [Paperback])
A Reese’s Book Club Pick (November 2023)

My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

From the very first page until the very last one I was completely captivated by this novel. It’s been a while since a novel made me cry so much. Couldn’t put it down. I devoured it!
Emma and Dan – what a love story!!! I felt for them; I rooted for both of them! Wow, it stirred up so many emotions and feelings within me. I had to take a moment to digest it all. The novel was truly captivating, touching, and moving. I suggested it to my dear friend Rebecca, and she, too, was moved. She listened to the audiobook and, like me, shed some tears along the way.

Cesca Major is the author of this captivating novel which is a real page-turner. I highly recommend it to everyone. The message of this book is so important and timely. We all get caught up in our daily lives and chores and forget what truly matters until it’s too late. But maybe we get second chances and can make changes before it’s too late? We see the protagonist Emma reliving the same day over and over again. Can she stop her husband Dan from dying?
The stakes are high for a magical resolution.

Magic Realism and Romance

Meet Emma, a dedicated literary agent who is always on the go, even during her downtime. She is fully immersed in her work, offering her time generously as she finds it hard to decline.

December 3rd is the day Emma and her husband Dan first crossed paths. Every anniversary, they exchange letters filled with love, honesty, and vulnerability. However, amidst her hectic schedule, Emma once more forgets – just like the previous year – to write a letter to Dan on this year’s special day.

Things have been feeling off for a while, Emma knows this, she feels it, but she is unable to stop and pause; she’s simply too busy to pay closer attention to Dan’s despondency, her son Miles’s unusual silence, her daughter Poppy’s seclusion in her room, or the odd behavior of the family dog Gus.

As the evening unfolds on their anniversary, following Emma’s challenging day at work, a heated argument erupts between her and Dan. Dan storms out with their dog Gus for their nightly stroll, and soon after, Emma hears screeching tires and a loud crash…

Emma wakes up on December 3rd once again, and then over and over again. She’s caught in a time-loop.
How is that possible? Does that mean she can change things? Can she prevent this horrible accident from happening? Can she save her family from its destiny?

Second Chances in a Loop

With each cycle of December 3rd, Emma discovers new layers to herself and those around her. The monotony is shattered by unexpected revelations and twists that challenge her perceptions and push her towards a deeper understanding of her own desires and fears.

Through it all, Emma’s journey is a poignant exploration of love, loss, and the resilience of the human spirit. She goes through hope and deep despair; she loses her faith and then picks herself up again; she’s reflects on her decision making and learns from her mistakes and wrong doings.

At the end of our life: what truly matters?

The story unfolds like a delicate flower, each petal revealing a different facet of her inner world and drawing the reader deeper into the maze of emotions that she navigates with grace and courage.

As the final loop approaches, Emma’s heart brims with a mix of hope and trepidation. The emotional rollercoaster of “Maybe Next Time” is a testament to the power of storytelling to touch our hearts, stir our souls, and remind us of the beauty and fragility of the human experience. Major has created an amazing piece of art; I cannot wait for the movie adaptation.
We need more novels like this.

Some of my favorite Quotes from the Book

“I’d been missing so many of these small, precious moments, not just in this loop but before too, leaping ahead on the To Do List in my head rather than pausing to look around, to feel, to taste, to smell: to live.” (Emma)

“Because there is nothing better than those quiet hours together. There is nothing better than the movie afternoons as a family, or bundling the kids into the car for a weekend on some rain-soaked British beach, sand in our toes and mugs of coffee in our hands. And there is absolutely nothing better than us sat opposite each other at a table eating and talking and laughing. Being with you makes me feel completely content.” (Emma)

“Where do I begin? I’m sharing this journey with you. I love you with my whole heart. You are my wonderful, vivacious, ambitious, gorgeous wife. I sometimes think back to that day on the tube. The woman in the scarlet lipstick and the black turtleneck, with the soft laugh. The look you gave me, that knowing half-smile, as if you knew we were already connected somehow. I wanted to be drawn into your world and I have been. I’ve loved being with you, married to you. You’ve been my everything.” (Dan)

“Our love, our life together, has been the best thing that ever happened to me. You are my best friend, my beautiful wife, the mother of my children, and I am going to go to sleep tonight holding you to me and believing that we will meet again, one day. Because who the hell knows anything. And maybe if I ask for that—that might come true too. I love you. Forever.” (Dan)

About the Author

I love the author. Cesca Major also writes under the pseudonyms C. D. Major, Ruby Hummingbird, and Rosie Blake. I’ll definitely dig into her other books as well and I honestly cannot wait for her new novel to drop under her name Cesca Major “If I were you” which is going to be released in July 2024.


(first published: September 14, 2021; Publisher: Berkley, 400 pages [Paperback];
Second place with 88,192 votes in the Goodreads Choice Awards, in the category Best Romance 2021, BuzzFeed Best Summer Read of 2021)

My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.5)

Book by Ali Hazelwood titled "The Love Hypothesis", the cover is in turquoise and shows two scientists in a lab kissing. The title is in pink.

My new discovery: Ali Hazelwood. Gosh, I’m in love with her style. A neuroscientist that writes romantic novels about women in STEM – how amazing is that!?! What a strong debut! I’m impressed.

A Read I couldn’t put down

In The Love Hypothesis I lost myself and read it within a day. I couldn’t put it down.
Olive and Adam, and this fake relationship that they set up to convince Olive’s best friend Anh to date Olive’s former boyfriend. Those twists and turns in the story kept me turning page after page.

I love how Hazelwood portrays the male protagonist, Adam, allowing him to shine, particularly towards the end of the story. Hazelwood offers women hope by depicting genuinely good men who are not players and do not seek to hurt women’s hearts – at least not all of them. This positive representation is something I truly appreciate. It’s important to have more stories like this.

And I simply love the fact that Ali Hazelwood infuses her storylines with so much science and women in STEM. That’s another level of genius. I’ve been waiting for novels like these, and I’m so utterly grateful that I found her books by “accident”.

A love story that will captivate you

Okay, it’s a spoiler, but it’s also not: because rom-coms always promise a love story. So, I’m not really spoiling anything, actually.
I love how the the love story of Olive and Adam blossoms gradually; it’s filled with a lot of tension and excitement, with a great sense of humor and lots of big emotions.
I was laughing, giggling and snorting throughout the book.

I know the trope of fake dating is quite prevalent and possibly overused in romantic comedies. However, in this particular rom-com, it takes on a fresh perspective. Although the notion of fake dating may appear unrealistic initially, as the plot progresses, it evolves into a heartwarming and satisfying narrative.
There are twists and turns and a rollercoaster of deep emotions.

I love the main character Olive Smith, an intelligent biologist who dedicates most of her time to conducting research in the lab to develop a groundbreaking method for curing cancer.
She’s funny and witty. There’s something so pure and innocent about her character that I really like, and I can also empathize with a lot.
Oh, and it was so lovely and exciting to witness Adam’s transformation, who, initially reserved, slowly but surely opens himself up to Olive’s cheerful demeanor and playful banter. His encouragement and solidarity in their mutual profession are especially moving. As I said before, I love how Hazelwood portrays him: what a handsome man inside and out.

Themes of injustice, inequality, and sexual harassment faced by women

What I find absolutely strong and empowering about this novel is the fact that Hazelwood covers many difficult but super important topics such as harassment, discrimination, and injustice faced by women in The Love Hypothesis; and you can tell it’s based on her own experiences, which makes this book even stronger.

Despite the progress that has been made in addressing issues of inequality and injustice, the reality is that many women still face discrimination and harassment in various aspects of their lives. The Love Hypothesis sheds light on these important and pressing issues, bringing them to the forefront of the narrative in a way that is both relatable and impactful.
And by drawing from her own experiences, Hazelwood infuses the novel with a sense of authenticity and depth that resonates with reader on a profound level.

As for me, I felt very seen in this novel; and every time someone is being seen in their challenges and traumatic experiences healing can happen.
So I can say that this novel was not only purely entertaining but also very healing for me on many levels, and I can imagine it is for many other women.
Through the story’s exploration of challenging topics such as sexual harassment and inequality, it serves as a powerful reminder that there is still much work to be done in creating a more just and equitable society for all women.
I love this healthy feminism.

My personal opinion on the flu shot part

The Love Hypothesis was published during the pandemic. It just felt absolutely off to me to bring in that part where Olive almost mocks Adam about his decision not to get the flu shot, and eventually makes him get the flu shot. Like for real?
This whole part of the story was so unnecessary, and one could tell that it was merely put there to serve a certain agenda. Not okay!
Let people have their (medical) freedom to decide whatever is right for them and their bodies! Period!

Some of my Favorite Quotes from the Book

“I wish you could see yourself the way I see you”

“I know it’s scary, being vulnerable, but you can allow yourself to care. You can want to be with people as more than just friends or casual acquaintances.”

“… she loved him even more for it. For looking at her like she was the beginning and end of his every thought.”

““I am going to take care of this,” he told her. There was something determined, earnest in his eyes. Olive had never felt safer, or more loved. “And then I’ll come find you, and I’ll take care of you.””

“I’ve never been surer of anything. Except maybe cell theory.” (Olive)

LOVE ON THE BRAIN by Ali Hazelwood

(first published: August 23, 2022; Publisher: Sphere, 368 pages [Paperback];
Fourth place with 48,628 votes in the Goodreads Choice Awards, in the category Best Romance 2022)

My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The book cover of "Love on the Brain" by Ali Hazelwood is a beautiful artwork that shows two people a man and a woman. The man is carrying the woman in his arms looking a bit confused or even scared. The woman seems to be unconscious. She has purple hair. The background of this book cover is pink, the title of the book is in blue.

Right after I finished The Love Hypothesis I got myself Love On The Brain, and surprise, I couldn’t put it down either. I don’t know how she does it, but Hazelwood is a master at writing rom-coms. I told my bestie that I wish I had her brain. How can one person do and accomplish so much?! It’s very inspiring.

The Plot

Bee and Levi are nemeses – at least this is what it looks like – and they are forced to work together on a huge NASA project. But soon things change and there’s a lot going on, so many misunderstandings and misconceptions, but all being revealed to bring it home for the reader. Truly captivating.
I don’t want to spoil too much but I simply love the positive portrayal of the male protagonist, Levi. Read it, and you know what I mean.

Bee Königswasser is exceptionally clever, has purple hair, is a vegan (yay!), is a huge admirer of Marie Curie, and has a secret famous account that is called WhatWouldMarieDo.
She lands her dream job at NASA to lead a neuroengineering project focusing on astronaut helmets, but her excitement quickly fades as she finds out that her rival Levi Ward will be partnering with her on this opportunity of a lifetime.
Bee, who endured a tumultuous upbringing moving between various relatives and countries, craves stability and a place to call home, in stark contrast to her sister Reike’s adventurous lifestyle.
Will she find home here in Houston?

Soon, after starting at the project, she faces setbacks with equipment shipments, looming deadlines, and Levi’s indifference, leaving her isolated and frustrated. As the tension peaks, Bee has no other choice but confront Levi, and this is when the reader will be in for a beautiful surprise.

My personal opinion on Love On The Brain

I love how the tension grows, how the storyline unfolds, how misunderstandings lead to a lot of poor choices, missed chances, but ultimately brought them back together.
And I adore the fact that the reader gets such a great glimpse into Bee’s beautiful mind and into Levi’s tender heart.
It’s smart, it’s sexy, it’s witty and makes you fall in love with the characters.
I enjoyed Love On The Brain so much, I felt a bit sad when it was over; because I wanted to stay immersed in their love story.

(wrote the following paragraph on April 26, 2024)

I loved this book a lot. I can say now I’m a bit addicted to Ali Hazelwood’s novels. Be sure to see more of her books being reviewed by me in my April 2024 review.
Can’t wait to dig into the next one.

Some little spoiler alerts but I gotta mention them, because the they speak to me personally:

  • I love that Levi and Bee are both vegans. A man caring for his body, his health, the well-being of our animal friends and Mother nature is extremely sexy. So of course, this made this novel even more appealing to me.
  • I love the music references: thank you for Pearl Jam, Alanis Morissette, and A Perfect Circle (like for real?! 100 extra points for that, Ali H.!)

Love On The Brain is my favorite Ali Hazelwood book. I’ve only read four of her books so far, and haven’t read Bride and her three novellas yet, and there’s also Not In Love coming out in June (can’t wait); but yea, LOTB is my favorite, but closely followed by The Love Hypothesis; Love, Theoretically; and Check & Mate.

Some of my favorite Quotes from the Book

“But before I can say anything, he cups my cheek and leans down to kiss me once more. This time it’s sweet, slow, savoring. Patient. This time it’s lingering and gentle—everything our other kiss wasn’t. I want to try them all. All the kisses Levi Ward is capable of, I want to sample them like fine wine.”

“He’s so handsome. Stupidly, unjustly handsome. I want to look at his stupidly, unjustly handsome face for . . . for as long as I possibly can. Could be a minute. Hopefully, it’ll be seventy years. “Are you okay?

“Levi’s looking at me in a way that I cannot comprehend. Because
no one has ever looked at me like that.”

“Travel, see new places, experience new things. It’s like yearning for change is hardwired in her brain.”

“It’s not a date. But if it were – which it isn’t – it would be the best date of my life. Of course, because it’s not a date, the point is moot. But. If it were. Though it’s not.”

So what do you think? Will you read one or maybe even 2 of these book picks? Have you read them already. Let me know your thoughts.

Woman holding 4 books in her hands, in each hand 2 books.

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