Friday, January 23, 2015

Double Feature Review: Sweet, Sweet Fantasy

By Melissa Amster

I read two very sweet and romantic stories this past winter and only really have good things to say, so I figured I'd keep the reviews simple and to the point, while also singing praises for these novels. Since both have surreal elements, figured the heading for this review post was fitting. (Of course, I have a Mariah Carey song in my head now!)

Both synopses are courtesy of Goodreads.

The Life Intended 
By Kristin Harmel

After her husband's sudden death over ten years ago, Kate Waithman never expected to be lucky enough to find another love of her life. But now she's planning her second walk down the aisle to a perfectly nice man. So why isn't she more excited?

At first, Kate blames her lack of sleep on stress. But when she starts seeing Patrick, her late husband, in her dreams, she begins to wonder if she's really ready to move on. Is Patrick trying to tell her something? Attempting to navigate between dreams and reality, Kate must uncover her husband's hidden message. Her quest leads her to a sign language class and into the New York City foster system, where she finds rewards greater than she could have imagined.

There's a reason The Life Intended made it onto my 2014 Favorites list. Everything about it is fantastic. It's a beautifully written and incredibly powerful story throughout. I've seen authors being asked (during interviews) what book they wish they had written. I can say, without a doubt, that this is the book I would have answered with. I also felt a personal connection to this story because of the hearing loss aspect, as I have two children who were born with hearing loss and wear cochlear implants. Kristin mentions cochlear implants, so it was exciting to see that aspect included in a story. I won't say why or how, as to not spoil it! Of course, this would make an awesome movie, and here's who I'd cast.

Kate: Elizabeth Reaser
Patrick: Eric Bana
Dan: Peter Sarsgaard
Andrew: Nathan Fillion

Thanks to Gallery Books for the book in exchange for an honest review.

The Look of Love 
By Sarah Jio

Born during a Christmas blizzard, Jane Williams receives a rare gift: the ability to see true love. Jane has emerged from an ailing childhood a lonely, hopeless romantic when, on her twenty-ninth birthday, a mysterious greeting card arrives, specifying that Jane must identify the six types of love before the full moon following her thirtieth birthday, or face grave consequences. When Jane falls for a science writer who doesn’t believe in love, she fears that her fate is sealed.

This is different from Sarah Jio's usual fare, but I still enjoyed it and couldn't stop turning the pages. The stories of Jane's friends were so compelling and some were even heartbreaking. However, I didn't feel as emotionally overwhelmed (to the point of tears) as I have from her previous novels.  The novel had a Love, Actually feel and since I enjoy that movie, this is a good thing for me. Even if you've never seen this movie (or didn't enjoy it as much as I did), I think you'll still like The Look of Love a lot. I was even casting it as a movie in my head the entire time. Here are the ideas I had for some of the characters (as there were a lot).

Jane: Yael Grobglas
Cameron: Brandon Routh
Lo: America Ferrera
Flynn: Adrian Grenier
Katie: Michelle Monaghan

Thanks to Penguin Random House for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Kristin Harmel:

More by Sarah Jio:


Janine said...

I read The Look of Love and loved it too. I still want to read The Life Intended.

Elizabeth said...

The Life Intended sounds quite good.

Wonderful review and post.

Thanks for sharing.

Stopping by from Carole's Books You Loved February Edition. I am in the list as #11.

My book entry is below.

Silver's Reviews
My Book Entry

Carmen said...

Both books sound lovely. Great reviews!

Heater said...

Nice selections. The first book sounds like it would make an award winning movie with the right team- esp with the themes of fostering, signing, self actualization.

Ami said...

Hm, I don't like the idea of the husband appearing in dreams but that's me.