Book Review: Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid“Have you ever heard of supernovas? They shine brighter than anything else in the sky and then fade out really quickly, a short burst of extraordinary energy. I like to think you and Ben were like that . . . in that short time, you had more passion than some people have in a lifetime.”

Ben and Elsie are your average 20-somethings. He's a graphic designer, she's a librarian. They meet at a pizza takeout and fall in love. The chemistry between them is instant and electric – so much so that Ben can’t even wait 24 hours before asking to see Elsie again. Within weeks, they’re crazily in love. Within 6 months, they are married. And nine days later, Ben dies in an accident. Leaving Elsie to face Susan, a mother-in-law she has never met and who knows nothing at all about Elsie.

As Susan grapples with the fact that her son died without even telling her that he was getting married, Elsie is plagued by the very thought of having to live a life without Ben. She also worries that after just nine days of being married, and with her marriage certificate still to come, maybe people will think that she has no right to grieve...that she is a fake…that she hardly even knew him…

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'Tis the season of love!

ROmance Comic Postcards

Image by PinkMoose via Flickr

Happy Valentine’s day my sweets!

What a beautiful day this is – a day to celebrate love – love for yourself, your family, your pets, your significant other.

Scratch beneath the surface of the commercialization, and you’ll see that this can be a beautiful day indeed…a day to pamper yourself and your loved ones just a wee bit more than you do usually.

Here are some ideas for you.

For yourself:

  • Have a bubble bath with candles, wine, some music, a book
  • Indulge in your favorite foods – forget about health food for a day – indulge in some yummy cakes or lasagna instead
  • Dim the lights and meditate. Try some of the meditation music and guided meditation clips on my blog
  • Meet up with your girlfriends for  a day out in the town
  • Spend the day doing something you love – photography, art, cooking…

For your significant other:

  • Try doing something extra special that they wouldn’t expect – for me, it would be cooking up a meal!
  • Rekindle the romance – light some candles, put on some soft music, curl up together and watch a movie…or talk…or…
  • Go hiking together
  • Leave a love note on the steamed up bathroom mirror

Need a last minute valentine gift idea? Try one of these!

Got any ideas of your own? Tell me!

Book review: The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

The Time Traveler's Wife

Image via Wikipedia

The Time Traveler’s Wife is an idyllic romance. On one level, it tells of a love so strong that nothing can come in its way, on another, it brings in a touch of science fiction.

Clare Abshire has known Henry DeTamble since she was 6, and she knows that she’s going to marry him when she grows older. But when she meets Henry when she is 20, he doesn’t know who she is.

I met Clare for the first time in October, 1991. She met me for the first time in September, 1977; she was six, I will be thirty-eight. She’s known me all her life. In 1991 I’m just getting to know her.

That’s because Henry is a time traveler who gets yanked around in time – past and present – without any warning. And the reason he doesn’t know Clare is because he tries not to tell anyone (including himself, unless it’s a life and death situation) about their future.

Sometimes it feels as though your attention has wandered for just an instant. Then, with a start, you realize that the book you were holding, the red plain cotton shirt with white buttons, the favorite black jeans and the maroon socks with an almost-hole in the heel, the living room, the about-to-whistle tea kettle in the kitchen: all of these have vanished. You are standing, naked as a jaybird, up to your ankles in ice water in a ditch along an unidentified rural route…You’ve mislocated yourself again.

Confused? Don’t be. Niffenegger maintains taunt control over her narrative, which alternates between Clare and Henry’s point of view, never letting things get confusing or bewildering. The transitions between past and present and future are maintained smoothly, and Niffenegger does an excellent job of weaving together some complex ideas – time travel, marriage, love, children, death, drugs, loss, and the human condition – poetically and with amazing clarity.

It’s also a beautiful character sketch of Henry, who never knows when and where in time he will appear, naked, hungry, and having to quickly defend himself; and of Clare, who lives a “chronologically” normal life, marked with her strong love for Henry and her worry about his safety when he time travels.

I read the book over two days when I was home sick, and the soothing pace of the novel and the gentle, matter-of-fact love story was like a soothing balm to my tortured self. Highly recommended.

Book review: The Raising by Laura Kasischke

The Raising by Laura Kasischke

Click on the image to pre-order the book

In The Raising, Laura Kasischke exposes the ugly face behind sororities and the duplicity and cunningness of the human heart, and of people caught up in events that lead to often unforeseen tragedies. With her very first sentence:

The scene of the accident was bloodless, and beautiful.

She manages to draw the reader into the world of young Nicole Werner and her boyfriend Craig Clement-Rabbits; of Craig’s roommate Perry’s attraction to Mira Polson, the professor of sociology, who takes a class on Death, Dying, and the Undead; and of Shelly, who finds her life ruined because she happened to be the first and only witness at the scene of the accident.

Moving back and forth between the past (the year of the Nicole-Craig love affair) and the present (post Nicole’s death), Kasischke brings to life Nicole as a young, virginal, all-American girl. But as you continue reading, you realize that not everything is pretty and pink — there’s a dark side to that innocence, that, in fact, that innocence is just a façade for something more sinister.

Kasischke’s plot development is superb. Initially, you find yourself thinking that this might be another vampire/ghost love story, and you do manage to guess the end once you’re about mid-way through. Nevertheless, Kasischke’s writing style keeps you moving relentlessly forward, and she has thrown in some interesting plot twists along the way.

Overall, an interesting and engaging read.

Click here to pre-order the book from HarperCollins.

(Want to read more reviews? Take a look at the other featured Book of the month and more book reviews.)