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The Sound of Light

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My littlest girl has always been a bit peculiar. It was nothing I could ever put a finger on, but I always knew there was something inside her that made her a different kind of special. A deeper kind.

K'acy's got a light around her, one that'll just about knock you over, especially if you don't see her coming. She's got music in her soul, too. Deep, resonating music that echoes and hums, just like the notes that come from the bass guitar she's had attached to her hip since the day she turned thirteen years old.

She's got a hell of a secret, yes, but she does what she's got to do to make it one worth having. She takes care of people. She changes their stories. I spent my life telling both of my girls that you always gotta do what's right, even when it hurts, and it makes me proud to know she was listening.

I saw the way she looked at that boy on the day they met, and I knew right then that things were going to change. Two different people from two different worlds is nothing but a recipe for heartbreak, and when the lies pile higher and higher, it can change a person into something they're not.

It took me dying all those years ago to finally figure out just exactly how special my K'acy really is, and even though I'm not with her anymore, I don't want that boy and his family to change her. I want her to keep doing what's right, even when it hurts.

Because that's who she is inside. That's her deeper kind of special.


First published July 17, 2017

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About the author

Claire Wallis

4 books306 followers
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Claire Wallis has penned hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles over the last ten years, with science playing the lead role in almost all of them. Now, in addition to writing about rocks, plants, insects, and microbes, Claire also puts human characters in the lead. She is the author of three novels, PUSH, PULL, and THE SOUND OF LIGHT.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her amazingly awesome husband and son.

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Displaying 1 - 22 of 22 reviews
Profile Image for Jennifer Kyle.
2,356 reviews4,602 followers
July 20, 2017
4 - 4.5 STARS

"Every human being deserves to live— and die— surrounded by too much compassion and grace.”


Claire Wallis delivers standalone that is captivating and so very well written. K’acy McGee is a musician and aid at an assisted living home. Her love and compassion know no bounds as she falls for the grandson of one of her favorite residents, Evelyn Sinclair.


Adam Sinclair and K’acy McGee share a love for Ms. Sinclair and do eventually fall in love as sometimes …

"the outcome was predetermined.”


There are secrets and connections that are revealed over the pages as K’acy uses her ability to help others the best she knows how. This story is a romance and so much more. I truly loved her band member and best friend Jarod and all the chapters of former residents of the nursing home.

"Copy that and send it back.”
Profile Image for Shabby  -BookBistroBlog.
1,418 reviews742 followers
July 9, 2017
I finished this book with tears stinging my eyes. I've been a fan of Claire wallis , ever since I read Push in 2014. She's taken three years to write another book and it has been well worth the wait.
The main theme of this story is compassion. It runs like the Gold mother vein in this world's dark and traitorous caverns . Compassion , those who have it , are blessed to spread love and sympathy. Such is K'acy McGee. She's an aide in Pine Manor Assisted Living . You cant miss her when you enter its premises, She's the one with calm gentle smile , helping each and every old man or woman, with utmost patience and love. Be it changing diapers, collecting colostomy bags, combing, shaving or dressing them. You see, she has a calling in life- to show as much compassion and love to these old people when they're ready to leave this world. She will be the last thing they see, hers will be the last hand they hold, her gentle eyes will be the last they'll gaze into, as they drift off to another world. She gives them what no one else does.
Time and Love
Nothing on this Earth should have to suffer before a foreseeable, inevitable death. Nothing. That’s why we’re born with empathy and understanding already inside. It’s a part of being human, and my daddy taught me not to be afraid of it.
Every human being deserves to live— and die— surrounded by too much compassion and grace.

She's a bass guitarist by day in her band -Crackerjack Townhouse. And assisted home aide by night.
She meets Adam Sinclair, who's come to visit her grandma and her life changes forever.
The characters of Jarrod, Evelyn, Winston,Perry K'acy & Adam are all linked together by this invisible thread of fate. Claire has managed to delve deeply into the human heart and it's infinite capacity of forgiveness and Love. Every character in the Pine Manor , every scene, every encounter, is there for a reason. To show that we may meet so many people in our lives , they all have their baggage of stories and secrets with them. We just need to take notice
The sad truth is that most people are too busy to hear these days. They just go about their business, listening to the requests of their boss, their child, their spouse, their neighbor, and trying to fulfill those requests with some kind of action. But they don’t really hear anything in the process. They don’t have the chance to open their hearts to someone else’s life. There’s no time for it. Their own life is moving too fast. But what they fail to see is that it only takes a minute to open your heart wide enough to hear someone. It only takes a single question to spark a story that takes but a moment to be heard.
The story will echo long after you close the book. You will wander in this world now hearing people instead of just listening, such is the profound impact of her words.
I did emerge as a better person just by reading this story. And I'm sure you will too. This is the hallmark of a good writer.
Thank you Claire, for trusting me with your book and enlightening me
5 "Philosophical Funk " stars
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Profile Image for Bibi.
1,282 reviews3,317 followers
August 5, 2017
Superb writing. Simply mesmerising.

Profile Image for Laura Lee.
940 reviews149 followers
July 2, 2017
The Sound of Light
By: Claire Wallis
5 Unputdownable STARS!!!

This is my first Claire Wallis book to read and what a story it was. This story needs 100% complete attention while reading it. The web that is woven in this story is woven so perfectly, that up until the VERY LAST Page, the story is unfolding. I am sitting here right now questioning my ability to give this book total justice with my review because it is JUST THAT GOOD!!! The writing is perfect, the story is one I’ve never read before and the author just totally amazed me.

Crackerjack Townhouse was formed when K’acy and Jarrod meet at a bus stop. K’acy peers into Jarrod’s eyes and sees something horrible. Instead of letting it happen, she prevents it. Preventing it, a bond is formed between these two. Crackerjack Townhouse is where it all unfolds, where one can be themself and just let the music make them feel alive.

I am no man. I am dynamite.

Because one thing that K’acy has learned in her life it’s the more you care for them, the harder it is. Working in a nursing home for the past 6 years, K’acy has seen her fair share of people coming in and leaving. Residents that she’s cared for. Given them the love that they miss out on from family members never coming to visit. She treats everyone the same, with the love that they truly deserve.

When Adam comes to visit his grandmother, a resident in the nursing home, sparks fly between K’acy and him. Adam becomes swooner and quickly progresses to Chief Executive Swooner .

What Adam doesn’t realize is that K’acy can look into someone’s eyes and see good or bad… This causes quite a bit of heartache and yet it causes a family that was broken before to become more solid. Learning who the true family is doesn’t necessarily mean they are blood family.

The story is just one that you must read! It will be with me for a long, long time!!!

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Profile Image for Erin.
1,440 reviews2 followers
July 21, 2017
This book wasn't at all what I was expecting...

While it was well written to keep the readers interest, the move K'acy's secrets were revealed the more I didn't like the book. The fact that K'acy being could see how someone was going to die right before it happened was an interesting concept . While I feel for those that are suffering, I whole heartedly don't agree with her actions.

For me, K'acy was a character that was just very blah, she just didn't really have much of a presence.. and that was disappointing too. Adam was a rather weak character too. The race issues that kept popping up bothered me a lot because why was it necessary for K'acy to keep thinking about Adam (initially) being white and her being black!?! Seemed unnecessary.. Then to the "white privilege" with Adam being so embarrassed about growing up with money. Why be embarrassed you have the better opportunity to chance the things you don't like in the world, especially how Adam was with not flaunting it.

Overall, I wouldn't recommend this book.
Profile Image for Tori.
2,806 reviews476 followers
July 16, 2017
DNF -I was unable to connect this story at all. As always, Wallis' strong voice, solid characters, and imagination seems to flow effortlessly. The prose is beautiful and robust but almost too perfect. It felt as if that was the base of the story. Once I realized the gist of the subject matter, my interest waned considerably. This is a definite matter of it's me, not the author.
Profile Image for Holly.
329 reviews52 followers
July 22, 2017
First posted at Words Fueled by Love.

So this was much different than the previous two books I had read by Wallis. Push and Pull . Check those out too! Where those books started out pretty intense and kept me on my toes, this book is more laid back and chill and had a much slower build. The POV felt a bit all over the place if I'm being honest. It was definitely unique in that it bounces back and forth between the main character K'acy, her dead father George, and various former residents at the nursing home where she works, all right before they died. I wasn't sure how to feel about the POV's going back and forth, both in time and between people. At times I felt like I could see why that was inserted, but at other times I felt like it took away from the overall plot of the book. It's fair to say that by the end of the story it all wraps up together to make more sense.

Here's what you need to know. K'acy is a bassist in a local Philadelphia funk band that plays around town a couple nights a week. She also works at a nursing home called Pine Manor as an aide. She has an interesting connection with seeing death in someone's eyes, seeing when death is near and how much they'll suffer. So in that you could say there's a supernatural aspect to the story. K'acy is extremely warm, kind, and nurturing to the elderly patients. She decides to use her gift as a way to bring comfort to those that many have otherwise forgotten about. It doesn't matter how they lived their life or what their story was before, even if they weren't a "good" person...she just knows she has to be there for them now for their ending. To be the one to show compassion and offer a sense of forgiveness. She seems to have a bit of a savior mentality but perhaps without the arrogance. Though it struck me that there's some delusion in her thinking of using her gift to an extreme. You'll have to read the story to find out more.

Her favorite patient at Pine Manor is Ms. Sinclair, who has alzheimer's. In her six years working at Pine Manor, she has never seen any family members visit Ms. Sinclair. The only person Ms. Sinclair talks about is someone named "Bradley". Knowing how the minds of alzheimer patients work though, she could be referring to someone from her own childhood, or her husband or son, etc... No one can say for sure. Until one day a man shows up to see her named Adam. Adam and K'acy eventually form a friendship which leads to a deeper connection. Though K'acy has been warned to not develop relationships with patients or their families, she throws caution to the wind and proceeds to follow her heart and not her head...or the advice of her co-workers.

As in any good contemporary romance, there are always secrets. In this story there are definitely secrets both of Adam and of K'acy. Secrets are a recipe for disaster. My one major downside, I didn't feel as though I could relate very much to K'acy and because of that I didn't connect to the romance between her and Adam. For me, it just didn't quite hit my "feels" buttons.

Top 5 Favorite Quotes:
...where you come from or how much money you have in your wallet is not what makes you special. Cause special comes from the inside. Special comes from doing the right thing, every time. Every. Time. Without excuses or regrets.

"Life's too short for rainchecks."

"Black or white or pink or yellow or upside down and inside out, K'acy McGee - this is going to sound a hundred-and-one kinds of cheesy - but everything about you is right."

To be loved is a far more significant thing than anything else in this world, and to be loved by someone who doesn't share your blood is something to be treasured even more. Because that kind of love isn't given. It's earned.

Hearing someone means letting them give you a piece of their soul through a story or a thought. It doesn't mean you have to fix something, it just means you have to open your ears and your heart and try to understand who they are on the inside.

Language Rating: 2 (medium)
Mature Content Rating: 2 (medium)
Final Rating: 3.5 stars
Profile Image for Cyndy.
1,556 reviews
January 10, 2018
Interesting storyline...I really liked the mystical aspect of K'acy's empathy but wasn't too thrilled with the reality. As for Adam's actions, not to happy there either not matter the circumstances. While the story was captivating, I didn't like the message.
Profile Image for buzy_reading.
2,114 reviews39 followers
July 19, 2017
The Sound of Light was about the character K'acy who was talented with her StingRay bass guitar who performed with Jerrold in the Crackerjack Townhouse band. She also worked at Pine Manor nursing home a few days a week taking care of patients serving their last days or months on earth.

When K'acy was five years old her daddy taught her how to properly break the
necks of doves they killed at the quarry to end their suffering. Later K'acy would use this peculiar talent to help her patients at the nursing home she worked at. For the last six years, K'acy was an aide at the Pine Manor nursing home. K'acy had her favorites out of the twenty-six that were living their. Ms. Sinclair was her favorite who had Alzheimer's. K'acy showed compassion, comfort, and courage in her care.

The story included several minor characters that played an intricate part in K'acy's life. K'acy's character was caring, loving, and sincere. She had this peculiar special quality about her where her light touched your soul with her musical notes. The story revolved around the patients that lived in Pine Manor nursing home.

I struggled a bit with the execution of these additional characters until my suspicions were confirmed about K'acy's character. It took me awhile to piece together the meaning of K'acy's existence. Meanwhile, Claire was introducing more characters from the nursing home and sharing memories about her father. I continued to read even through my confusion until I reached a point of clarity. From that moment, the story came together in perfect harmony and understanding.
The story included a romantic relationship which wasn't my focus or driving force of interest. I was more interested in the characters that Claire chose to include from the nursing home. My mind wouldn't let go of trying to figure out the significance of the songs or notes that K'acy would play or hear. I struggled to comprehend the purpose of the birds. These seemed relevant as they were mentioned several times yet I was lost to their meaning. Overall, I enjoyed the story once all the secrets and layers were exposed.
Profile Image for Kristin  Reads.
682 reviews14 followers
July 25, 2017
This book was nothing like what I expected. It was deep, it will throw you for some curve balls, it held this beautiful love story that I felt was destiny. There was drama, there was sadness, and there were times that I held my breath.

This is my first book from Claire Wallis, and I enjoyed it from beginning to end. You have K'acy who is very different from most heroines I have read. She is gifted, she is kind and her overall character was so much more complex that even I can describe in this review. It was a page turner to watch what this gift did and what ways her story unfolded.

Adam, he was sweet and charming , I loved how he swooned over K'acy. I loved their somewhat forbidden romance. I love watching these to connect and fall in love. It was so emotional. I loved that one person who the both cared deeply about brought them together. I love their story.

I loved every character that was brought to life in this book. Loved Jarrod.. I kind of want to read more about him.. HINT HINT!!!!

This book is that book if you are looking for something a little different, a little more deep, but also want an HEA because this book has everything. This one is definitely a book i would recommend! Great read!
Profile Image for Blake Walker.
73 reviews1 follower
December 17, 2017
I’m seriously wondering if I could write a review worthy of this book. It’s not my typical read but I’m so glad I took the time to give it a chance. It’s beautifully written. One of the best books I’ve read this year! I couldn’t put it down. I highly recommend this one!
Profile Image for Bella'.
1,019 reviews20 followers
December 19, 2019
Es bonito pero raro. Al principio me confundió.
K' me pareció siempre muy centrada y dedicada a su trabajo. Adam de repente se me hizo muy pesado.
La situación, bueno, tuvo sentido al final, pero hubo cosas que no más no conectaron para mí.
Profile Image for Constance.
530 reviews4 followers
December 29, 2017
Claire Wallis is such a great storyteller. Her characters are always unique and so well developed.
Profile Image for Maria Angie Mendoza.
2,788 reviews20 followers
June 21, 2019
This is my first read by this author and I was hooked.
This standalone story is an exceptional story!
The writing was superb, the story gripping and emotional.
The story of K'acy is complex, inspirational and thought provoking.
K'acy has a special gift and how she uses it affirms the power of love and compassion. The choices we make what motivates us to do what we do.
How the story unfolds had me totally absorbed by the words and feeling the emotions the characters were going through.
July 17, 2017

Spoiler Free Review

I was so excited when I heard the news that  Claire Wallis was releasing a new book.  Her debut novel Push was released in the spring of 2014 with the follow up of Pull in winter of 2014.  Both of those novels made my top favorite books of the year.  They were both six star reviews.  The writing was beyond excellent and delivered in quite a different manner than most novels.  The story was delivered from multiple perspectives and POV's that slowly gave the readers an in depth insight on the main characters personalities and actions.  It became more than a story, it became a testimony of life in all it's beauty and ugliness.

After three years of waiting for another novel from this very talented author, she has finally released a new novel, The Sound Of Light.  The Sound Of Light is completely different than her previous novels and has a completely different kind tone.  Where her first novels had a dark undertone, The Sound Of Light has a bright, positive quality that shines brightly through the words on the pages.  The readers will become enamored with K'acy McGee because of her inner beauty.  She is an angel of sorts in a very ordinary human body.  God gave her an extraordinary gift that could be used with malice or compassion.  It was her responsibility to look beyond the black and white and decipher the right and wrong of her gift.  She knew what she was meant to do from a very young age but she had to learn how to use her gift wisely.  When she fell in love it muddied her decision making process and she let her emotions drive her until she realized it was turning off her light.  Now she has to choose between the man she loves and the power of her gift.  The choice may send her into the darkness.  Her gift was given with love and love may be the one thing that destroys her.

The writing in this novel is beyond superb.  Reader's get to know K'acy and experience her gift from multiple POV's.  They also get to know her through her personal POV and understand how music soothes her soul.  She is one of those characters that shines brightly even in the darkest moments.  Although this novel is not as dark with a sinister plot, it is still very complex and the revelations of K'acy McGee are astonishing.

Claire Wallis has once again used her gift of storytelling in an original way that will keep the readers glued to the pages.  I highly recommend reading The Sound Of Light.

Profile Image for Celeste.
690 reviews45 followers
August 18, 2017
I'm a Claire Wallis fan. I loved Push, it was absolutely epic. So I had very high hopes for The Sound of Light. However, it's been a while and my reading preferences have shifted and I'm reading only 100% contemporaries right now. And maybe this was paranormal, but I'm also not sure if K'acy had some psychiatric issues. I honestly couldn't tell. While the writing was smooth and effortless, the story itself felt like it was in limbo. There was nothing I was itching to get to. I don't mind a simple story that catches me emotionally, but the love here was quite flat. I didn't connect to the romance at all. I didn't know where this was going, or any conflict. Yes, maybe there could be a source (the black car) but I knew it wouldn't turn out to be scary. Ultimately this one just wasn't my cup of tea. *cry*

The characters were all great on their own, but none of them meshed AT ALL for me. I like K'acy and her confidence. I liked Jarrod and how he just let it all seemingly hang out, when really we don't know him. And yes, I liked Adam, the "nice" boy who is probably a bit bad. The only two I felt any connection with was the bromance between Jarrod and Adam, and it was barely there.

The romance was all told, nothing felt. I know K'acy said she felt a song when she saw Adam...but I didn't feel this song. I wanted to know what he smelled like, how she felt the heat from his body when he stood close, all that romantic goodness. Instead they texted like best friends. wah. I needed my romance!

This story wasn't what I expected, and while the writing was good, the content wasn't there for me and I was desperate for something to grab me. I also got hints of paranormal, and if you gave this book to me 3 years ago I would have loved it, but I am not into that at all and read contemporary only, so when I read it now it just made K'acy look like she has mental problems. Timing is a thing.

Rec it? Hmmmm. I can't.  t see if any other friends read it and what they though. It's definitley a hit with some readers, but not me.

Good luck!
This review was originally posted on The Book Hookup here.

Profile Image for Sandy.
949 reviews15 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
September 21, 2017
DNF @ 44% - Warning...I might get a little "preachy" on this one.

I really loved Claire Wallis's PUSH series. And so when she contacted me about reading and reviewing The Sound of Light I jumped at the chance even though the description was a bit vague for my normal tastes. Well Holly got a chance to pick it up and start reading The Sound of Light before I did so I asked her how she was enjoying it and her response was that it was a little slow and she wasn't hooked into it yet. And then a week or so passed and I noticed that she'd not marked it as finished on Goodreads yet so I asked her again about it and she said she was still struggling to connect to the romance and some other issues. So I was a bit discouraged and put off picking up The Sound of Light for even longer than I intended. The main reason is that I just don't have the time to read that I would like and so when I hear the word "slow" associated with a book I really have to evaluate whether it is worth me looking into or not. I finally picked it up. And yeah I found myself struggling as well.

The very first issue I had (which Holly had also warned me about) was the swapping narrators. This isn't always an issue for me. Typically if there are only two narrators who follow the same story in the same chronology then I'm fine. But that's not the case here. K'acy is the main narrator, but occasionally there are chapters from her dad's POV as well as chapters written from the POV of different deceased characters who used to live at the nursing home where K'acy works. I really find that books that jump around chronologically aren't my favorite so this was the first thing that bothered me about The Sound of Light.

Also, I found myself battling my feelings for K'acy in general as character. She plays bass guitar--which I don't care much for except for how it fits within the whole of a great band--for a funk band--which I don't have any connection to as I don't listen to this type of music. I could appreciate the uniqueness that these two facts bring to her character, but it made no connection with me on a personal level. K'acy also comes from a split family. Her mother left when she was young for a "preacher" of what sounds very much like a cult. Because K'acy's mother was religious, K'acy seems to have taken a negative view toward God. Her attitude was much like "how could God allow His children to suffer and die." Or something to that extent. So I couldn't connect to her in this way either considering my Christian background. I'll discuss this more in detail later. K'acy also subscribes to the philosophy that all people "deserve the best life." Despite their actions and how they've lived their lives apparently. And this is yet another philosophy that I personally can't agree with. Again...I'll discuss this in more detail in a bit. And then there's one final kicker that's a huge spoiler that I'll discuss in a hidden paragraph that K'acy also believes in that I couldn't support.

K'acy's struggle with God is not a unique one. Many people wonder how God could allow His creation to suffer. Yet what people don't understand is that this world wasn't created as it is. This world was perfect. God gave us free choice because of His love for us. But that free choice allows us to choose against Him. And that's how and where sin entered into the picture. Because God allows us to choose what isn't good for us bad things happen. And we chose and continue to choose against Him time and time again. And yet we want to shake our fists and blame Him for dealing with the consequences of our own choices. Sure there are things that happen in life that we didn't necessarily choose--like a loved one getting cancer or a car accident--but ultimately all the bad boils down to is our path away from God. God even loved us to the point of sending His own Son to die for us so that He could redeem us back to Himself. So He could buy us back from our sin. But we still reject Him. We still blame Him. We still want to accuse Him of being unloving. So I really struggled with K'acy's attitude toward God. Especially because when it boils down to it, God didn't make K'acy's mom leave her family. He didn't "tell" her to do it. Yet that's really what she's mad at Him about.

In a similar vein, K'acy keeps talking about how her dad taught her that everyone "deserves the best life." And I'm sorry but that's bull. There's nothing I've done in my life that could possibly earn me a free pass from all the bad things. There's nothing that I've done that could earn me a pass from death or suffering. I sure haven't been so good that I earned it. I've messed up. I've lied. I've cheated. I've stolen. I've not been what I should be. I don't deserve any good thing. What is good that I have is a blessing and a gift from God because of His great love for me and because of His grace and mercy. One of the deceased patients that narrates basically explains how he raped his secretary to show her that he was dominant over her--that women were less than. And yet he discusses how K'acy was there for him in the end and how she treated him like she cared. And who knows...maybe K'acy's "gift" doesn't allow her to see a person's past or what that person truly is deep inside, but I found myself completely annoyed that K'acy could offer him grace, compassion, and forgiveness that she can't extend to God--despite God not really needing those things from her. God hasn't wronged any of us. Yet this man was a rapist. And she can find it in herself to give him what she cannot give God? I don't buy it. And at the very least, her thought process is flawed.


All of these factors but especially the one in the spoiler left me with the undeniable decision to put down The Sound of Light. The narration and chronology jumps. The bass guitar for a funk band. The contempt toward God yet utter blind forgiveness for flawed man. The spoiler I can't support. It just told me that this isn't the book for me. And IF I had continued reading and not much changed, I'd be looking at a 1 or 2 Star rating at best. I truly hate that I felt this way because I've enjoyed Claire Wallis's writing in the past, and even the writing itself was at times beautiful in The Sound of Light, but I just don't have the time or the inclination to continue to read something that I'm not enjoying anymore. Have you read The Sound of Light? What did you think? Let me know!
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