Thomas Wolfe famously said "You can't go home again." But what if you did? What would happen if you went back and tried to correct the worst mistake y...moreThomas Wolfe famously said "You can't go home again." But what if you did? What would happen if you went back and tried to correct the worst mistake you ever made in your life? That's the story of The Rest of Forever, a contemporary romantic novelette by Kate Aaron. Jack and Paul were best friends growing up, and planned to go to the big city together for university. After confessing his love for Jack, Paul ended up staying home after Jack panicked. Years later, regretting his reaction, Jack returned to his home town to see if their friendship could be repaired. It's an age-old story. Can Aaron make it her own?
Of course, Paul and Jack are both gay. Paul is the more romantic one, while Jack prefers to play fast, hard, and never with the same man twice. Jack's character is very clearly defined. Since the story's told from his first-person perspective, that's to be expected. We see a lot more of his thoughts and motivations than we do of anyone else's. Paul is less well-defined. We see him primarily through Jack's eyes and reminiscences, but also a little through his own actions. Curt, Paul's current partner, is the least defined of any of the characters. We only see him through Jack's perspective, which is clearly colored by their mutual jealousy over Paul. If this were a fairy tale, Curt would definitely be the evil queen. Overall, though, the characters were very well-done, and appropriate for the plot of this shortened story.
The main theme this story deals with is love. Especially the unrequited variety. Jack's actions when he realizes he may have lost Paul forever seemed at first to be more than a little extreme. Then I remembered how my emotions were and how I acted when I first felt such a passion that wasn't returned. That helped me feel a lot closer to Jack, and more sympathetic toward him, also. It's hard when you first feel a strong, passionate love for someone who rejects you. Of course, in a way, it was also karmic payback for his earlier rejection of Paul. There's a lot of hurt and confusion, particularly on Paul's part. He can't understand why Jack is back in his life, and he's not sure he wants him there again. Ultimately, we do get our happy ever after ending. That ending, though, seemed a little forced to me. Probably due, again, to the shortened format of the book. I'd love to see a longer version of the story, so we can go more into Paul's and Curt's lives, their relationship, and their motivations. I mean, while Jack is the main character, Paul was my favorite. I want to know more about him. We know what Jack went through when he thought he couldn't have Paul, but what did Paul go through when Jack left him? I'd really like to know.
In the end, I'd say this book is a solid 4. If it were longer and more developed, it would probably be at least a 4.5, maybe a 5. Even though the ending felt a little rushed, I enjoyed the book very much, and would enjoy reading it again. Maybe next month, to see how well it reads after percolating in my brain for a while. If you're concerned about explicit sex, there's not that much in this book. What there is, really isn't even that explicit. If you're just starting to get into M/M fiction, this is a good place to get your feet wet (so to speak). If you enjoy stories with happy ever after endings, then you need to read The Rest of Forever. You'll be glad you did.(less)
I'm not really big on memoirs, but this was OK. Not something I would have read if I weren't helping lead a book discussion tomorrow, but not somethin...moreI'm not really big on memoirs, but this was OK. Not something I would have read if I weren't helping lead a book discussion tomorrow, but not something I regret reading, either. I did find it interesting how the author went from being remarkably naive to something a little closer to wisdom. And I really want to see northern California and Oregon now. In fact, I wish she'd spent a little more time writing about Oregon, but I can see why she didn't. Most of what she learned happened in California.
I think most people who like memoirs, and especially travelogues, will probably enjoy this book. Go ahead and give it a try.(less)
This was an odd one. Definitely not plot driven, it's a very placid (?) story. I enjoyed it quite a lot, but it's a huge change from Inferno, which I...moreThis was an odd one. Definitely not plot driven, it's a very placid (?) story. I enjoyed it quite a lot, but it's a huge change from Inferno, which I read immediately before it. I enjoy historical novels, M/M novels, and am fascinated with both the Byzantine empire and China, so it was a good choice for me. City of Jade is the story of a former soldier and dissatisfied imperial soldier and the caravan guard from Korea he meets. Together, they decide to go to China to make a new life for themselves. As caravan guards, they journey along the Silk Road, make great friends, but have surprisingly few adventures. It took me longer to read than I expected, but I believe that's because I was enjoying it so much. If you're looking for an interesting travelogue of 12th century Asia, and don't mind M/M romance, you may well enjoy this book. I believe I would like to read more by Ms. LaBarthe, and I know I'd enjoy a sequel to City of Jade.(less)
By far the best book in Brown's Robert Langdon series. It's full of unexpected twists, complicated plot lines, and some of his most interesting philos...moreBy far the best book in Brown's Robert Langdon series. It's full of unexpected twists, complicated plot lines, and some of his most interesting philosophy to date. Would you destroy half of humanity to save the other half? A very difficult question, and one which (fortunately) Brown leaves unresolved. This book will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.(less)
I'm not giving as many 5-star reviews as I used to. It takes more to amaze me now. This book, however, did. At turns beautiful and terrifying, lovely...moreI'm not giving as many 5-star reviews as I used to. It takes more to amaze me now. This book, however, did. At turns beautiful and terrifying, lovely and sordid, I really didn't expect to like it. I had tried to read Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, and just couldn't do it, so my expectations were very low for this book. I wasn't prepared for something as wonderful as I found in Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister. This retelling of the Cinderella story is reasonable, believable, and thoroughly enchanting. The ending (which I won't give away) took me completely by surprise. If only Wicked had been as good...(less)
I don't give nearly as many five-star ratings as I used to, but this book truly deserves it. Short, and a quick read, it's not shallow in any sense. G...moreI don't give nearly as many five-star ratings as I used to, but this book truly deserves it. Short, and a quick read, it's not shallow in any sense. Gilgamesh is meant to be read over and over again. You'll get something new from it every time. Even though I'm not very fond of free verse, it is the best way of presenting this story that I've seen yet. Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys poetry, classical literature or any of the wisdom books of the Hebrew Bible.(less)