Sunday, September 15, 2013

{Book Review} Hydraulic Level Five by Sarah Latchaw

Title: Hydraulic Level Five
Series: Hydraulic Level Five #1
Author: Sarah Latchaw
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
Publication Date: September 3, 2013
Genre: Adult Contemporary


How does a woman get over her one great love? With whitewater rafting, bluegrass, and a touch of revenge…

Kaye is an extreme sports addict with a kind heart and an axe to grind with her childhood sweetheart and ex-husband, renowned writer Samuel Caulfield Cabral. While Samuel enjoys a celebrity life in New York, Kaye remains in their hometown of Lyons, Colorado, running her PR agency and chatting daily with Samuel's family, the beloved Cabrals—first-generation Mexican-Americans who have embraced Kaye as their own.

But when Samuel returns home for his sister's wedding with a new love interest, stunning editor Caroline Ortega, the gloves are stripped off. Kaye is determined to unearth the reasons behind the death of their marriage and why two people who lived to love each other were driven apart, all leading to startling revelations about Samuel, about life...and about herself.

Never, and I do mean NEVER, in my life have I been more certain about giving a book a solid 5 stars. Sarah Latchaw's writing is brilliant, fluid, and brings a punch I rarely feel when reading. 

If a stranger had ventured into my house on Friday night, they would've found me sobbing. Uncontrollably. In the living room. In the bathtub. In my bedroom. Things weren't so great that night for a multitude of reasons. I'd started reading Hydraulic Level Five a couple of days before, so to get my mind off of everything around me, I pulled out my Kindle and started reading. EXCEPT, the words all blurred together, and every word seemed to call my name and remind me of things in my life. Things in the past and the present. I had to put the book aside until I could appreciate the meaning behind the words. 

I finished Sarah's novel early Sunday morning, feeling lighter, reminiscing about friends and family, and oddly...smiling. The novel touched me so much, I immediately wrote a blog post about some things Hydraulic Level Five addresses. You can find that HERE.

So, Kaye and Samuel, high school sweethearts who married young only to have their marriage crumble for reasons incomprehensible to either of them - until now.

Kaye is determined to find out why Samuel fled their hometown, leaving her behind shattered and grieving. He left her with no explanation, only that he had to leave. This alone was enough to keep me reading, if only to get this one answer. But as the story evolved, so did the complexity of Kaye and Samuel's situation. More questions popped up, and like the perfect suspense story, the author weaved the answers into the story at an agonizing pace. 

Every single night, I had to force myself to shut my Kindle off and go to sleep. It killed me because I needed to know what happened. 

And that darn Caroline, I wanted to beat her. I just did not trust her from the start, still don't. Though there's something about Samuel's uncle/adopted dad that I don't trust either. Sarah, I need the second book. Soon, please.

To the people who don't know him, and some who do, it seems as if Samuel has everything. He's handsome, wealthy, dating celebrities, and his first books are being optioned for a movie adaptation. But he's not happy. If truth be told, it didn't appear that he's ever been happy. He's carried a secret no child, no adult, should ever have to hide and it's eaten at him his whole life. Even Kaye, his childhood best friend, first love, and eventually wife, has no clue how deep Samuel is scarred. To say I was shocked is putting things mildly.

I envied the support system that surrounded both Samuel and Kaye. Samuel's sister, Dani, and Kaye remained best friends. Dani not understanding what happened because no one told her anything. Not her mom and dad, and not Kaye after her tragic trip to New York to confront Samuel after he left her. Eight years have passed, and Dani's slowly finding out everything. Some of her animosity toward the couple for not fighting for their marriage is relieved, but a new animosity is added when she finds that people have been hiding secrets from her. And Molly, Kaye's friend and business partner, cracks me up. Always ready to support her friend when Kaye needs her.

Hector, Santiago, and Angel play an important but less obvious role in the story. Hector appears to have always had a bit of a crush on Kaye, but it's never moved beyond flirtations and friendship. That doesn't stop Samuel from being jealous over their closeness.

While this book is an emotional rollercoaster, I can't leave you believing there's no fun to be had, because these guys can prank with the best of them. Fake girlfriends, crickets, guinea pigs, people in drag... Oh my!

I'm going to be overtly honest here. This book touched me in ways no one can ever imagine. I've been part of a tumultuous marriage, haunted by tragedy and secrets no one wanted to share. Seeing parts of my life reflected on the screen of my reader moved me beyond anyone's understanding. That anyone could capture the helplessness, the hurt, the intangible pain so perfectly is unimaginable, but Ms. Latchaw did so in a completely realistic and beautiful way.

Someone asked me if I thought I should've read Hydraulic Level Five, because it touched me so deeply, not understanding my feelings were all good. I actually felt relief that maybe someone out there understands how it feels to be Kaye or Samuel. Everyone needs to feel like they're understood, even if it's only a fictional character. 

Hydraulic Level Five is a must read. It's Adult Contemporary, but completely clean. In fact, part of the humor was the made up curse words Kaye and friends came up with.


  1. Thank you so much for reading and reviewing! One of the biggest compliments you can give an author is that you connected emotionally with their book. I'm glad you found it meaningful and enjoyable. Please let me know if you'd like me to do any follow up with you, such as an interview or excerpt. Sarah

  2. I'm so glad you loved it, Kristin! And I'm sending you cyber hugs for how it touched you. Great review!



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