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Before Ever After

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  5,617 ratings  ·  923 reviews
Three years after her husband Max's death, Shelley feels no more adjusted to being a widow than she did that first terrible day. That is, until the doorbell rings. Standing on her front step is a young man who looks so much like Max; same smile, same eyes, same age, same adorable bump in his nose; he could be Max's long-lost relation. He introduces himself as Paolo, an Ita ...more
Hardcover, 297 pages
Published August 2nd 2011 by Crown (first published January 1st 2011)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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 ·  5,617 ratings  ·  923 reviews

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K.D. Absolutely
Today is exactly one month after I bought and started reading Samantha Sotto’s first novel, Before Ever After. For the first 2 days, I read the first 50 pages and I stopped. I did not like it. Had I continued till I finished it, I would not know how to give her my feedback without being dishonest or worse, hurting her feelings.

She was one of the member-guests in the 5th Meet Up of Filipinos group here in Goodreads on July 23, 2011. Few months before that day, she invited us to attend her book la
kwesi 章英狮
Jul 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Its Sunday, the warm days are over and trying to cover myself with a piece of blanket while listening to the beautiful sound of the rain and the strong stamping of the wind while reading a book. A baked egg and cheese, and a cup of Jasmine tea are nice combination for a perfect Sunday. Well, who said I can't be somebody who enjoyed chicken in its maximum level? I think most of us does.

Yesterday was the best day of the week because I was doomed by the number of exams I attended last week. At leas
Éimhear (A Little Haze)
This book is dreamy. It's romantic. It's comforting. It's Sunday mornings with baked eggs and jasmine tea.

I have already read Samantha Sotto's two other books (Love and Gravity, A Dream of Trees) and loved them both. I just love the beautiful way she constructs her stories. They have the most gorgeous ethereal quality to them and it's so easy to get lost in the pages of her books.
And her first novel, Before Ever After, was no different.

I was thoroughly enchanted by the storyline and completel
Joy (joyous reads)
I wish I could sufficiently say
exactly what's on my mind
or how to pick up the pieces
of a heart that's been sliced to rinds.
I wouldn't even know where to start
or how to put it in perspective,
but if I silenced my thoughts...
would that be more effective?

It was lovely and sad
maybe even life-changing
It was a story about love
and of a man never ageing.
There was no magic spell
nor is he a night creature.
He is just a man
who'd lived a thousand lives
and adventures.

It would all make sense
once you read this b
I think I’m one of the few fortunate people in Goodreads who actually have been given 3 free books, as of this year 2011 (And I’m talking of real, tangible books not just e-books). First I've won in the Goodreads Giveaways (I’m not confabulating its really true) and I’ve got two books Envy and Chill Factor by Sandra Brown delivered at my doorstep and it was autographed…Oh My Gosh.

And then my luck of receiving free books doesn’t end there. This book that I’m reviewing Before Ever After was given
Aj the Ravenous Reader
I still don’t know how to form the proper words to express my wonderment at this book but I’ll try. Before Ever After is absolutely so unexpected, I didn’t know that when I bought this,  a gem of a novel lies beneath the simple, unassuming cover. Mostly I was just curious about the book because it was written by a fellow Filipino.

Ms. Samantha Sotto claims she hadn’t written anything before this but while reading the book, you would think that she has been writing since she was in diapers. Reall
ARC from the publisher.

Eye-roll inducing and heavy-handed metaphors characterize this novel. Author Sotto took a premise that genuinely piqued my interest (woman's husband dies, husband lookalike claiming to be grandson finds her, tells her husband is still alive...) and over-wrote the crap out of it. I like to think I'm a pretty astute reader, but some of her metaphors were so drawn out that they left me confused - the elephant? I thought it was real at first? What? With a new simile or metapho
Spens (Sphynx Reads)
Actual rating: 2.5

I'll give this much to Samantha Sotto and this book. This was very well-written, if not necessarily well-structured. The prose in this book flows quite beautifully. Conceptually, this was also quite an intriguing, unique, and genre-blending story. There are a lot of touching scenes all throughout the book that made me feel things.

However, for all of its merits, I just did not vibe with the book. I found much of it to be weird and while I was curious enough to keep on reading so
Sep 04, 2011 rated it did not like it
I wish I could have liked this book. The author tried so hard that you could feel her effort on every page. She even used the love of chickens throughout the book to bind all the characters together. Other authors might have tried excellent writing and character development. Not this author. Chickens are the choice of this writer. I wish she could have left cutesy pie behind and actually written a novel without cardboard characters and amateurish writing.
This could have been a good book in the
Of Chickens, Journeys, and Forever
(A Book Review of Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto)

With its share of joys and aches, Shelley Sullivan’s love story, on its surface, is something we have known and heard before — that is until the day of her husband’s untimely demise in a terror bombing in Lisbon, halting her blissful though short marriage to Max Gallus. As three years of grief and difficulty of moving on have made her painfully realize, sometimes love stories doesn’t always turn out for the b
Jun 24, 2011 rated it liked it

There were things I loved, things that had me melting, and moments that just didn't compute. Before Ever After isn't something I'd normally pick having sworn off time travel romances... but the epilogue saved me from days of agonizing over what if's and what could be's. The very same epilogue that's got me craving baked eggs and cheese.

The last book of stories in another story that I did read was one I didn't love so much. In it, I kept waiting for the big connect, the common thre
Jun 29, 2011 rated it it was ok
I got this as an advance copy at ALA recently, and am glad that I didn't pay for it. I was fascinated by the first half of the book, but by the time I'd read about 2/3s, I was bored. The book alternates between flashbacks, current time, and historical stories. It begins, literally, with Max's death, which is effective in capturing the reader's interest, but also robs much of the book of any tension. There is absolutely no question that he's been blown to smithereens by a bomb on the subway.

Jul 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelley is devastated with grief over her husband Max’s death. Then one day a familiar stranger knocks on her door, and Shelley’s world is turned upside down. There is more to her husband than she realized. Who was Max?

The prose was a bit bizarre for me— I love it one minute, it grates on me the next. Not because it was horrible, but because for me the writing bears a slightly freakish resemblance to fanfiction. I can't pinpoint it exactly, but it gave me that vibe. (Let it
The premise of this book snagged me as much as the cover (I know not to judge a book by it's cover. Shut up about it already). A woman's husband dies in an accident and she's miserable until she finds out he didn't really die...that he is actually still alive somewhere and, even weirder, his grandson who looks just like him is the one to tell her? How could this be? I SO wanted to read the book based on that.
Unfortunately, I think the book was a bit confused. The story could have been told in a
Sep 23, 2011 rated it did not like it
Before Ever After was just interesting enough that I had to finish it, but I hated myself for it the whole time. It's just so silly. Shelley is a complete Mary Sue: she thinks everyone she meets is asthmatic, because they all involuntarily gasp at her beauty, but (of course) she has no idea how beautiful she is. Gag. And Max's overuse of "luv" is how people who don't know any English people think that English people speak. It's the written version of Dick Van Dyke's terrible Cockney accent in Ma ...more
Taylor *Sits on the Top Shelf*
This was really cute! Max and Shelley's relationship suffered from insta-love, but the trips through history and lifetimes was so immersive I can forgive them for it. I loved it! ...more
Oct 30, 2011 rated it did not like it
I truly hate to condemn a book, especially a first novel, because a work evolves from the writer's soul. I realize how much blood, sweat and tears goes into a project. However, I have no clue as to why Before Ever After could ever muster a following let alone, in all honesty, be published. I know that's harsh and part of me feels bad. Some of Sotto's writing and her way with words throughout the book were admirable, and at the same time vexing. I'd find myself mumbling "what??".

I had such hopes
Jun 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not a review. I’m simply thinking out loud.

I’ve chewed on my thoughts far too long. Yet, all my thoughts were merely reduced to one question: “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”

No, do not laugh at me. I’m serious. Well, I am, (except) I think that is a less complicated question than “which came first, life or death?” Then, of course, you’ll reply: “It’s the circle of life.” I’ve seen all the Lion King movies too, and I also bow to Mufasa’s wisdom; but another wiser be
Feb 18, 2013 rated it really liked it

Whether its well done, sunny side up, creamy scrambled eggs, by the time I'm finished with this book, I was having egg withdrawals.

You guessed it. Before Ever After revolves around eggs which I think, for some time, was pretty out of the box. That and the egg hunt tour around Europe.

But then, it's what gave the novel a unique charm. I've always been in love with Europe. The cobbled streets lit by the warm glow of lamps. The brick houses and the castles. The history and culture that resonate
Sep 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
You are in love, married and happy and suddenly everything changes. He is gone, and a part of you has gone with him.
If after three years of misery and sadness, you were told your assumed to be dead husband was actually alive, what would you do?

This book is not a YA book but it sure has a feel to it. It's magical, heartbreaking and inspirational. Love makes us believe in silly things, doesn't it? Oh well, I like to think so.

Samatha Sotto has beautifully written this book, it is clear how much t
Apr 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, re-reading
WOW! I loved this book. It's like a children's fairytale for grownups. An emotional walk backwards through history, an unusual journey through Europe, strong endearing characters, a beautful heartbreaking love story and chickens!! This book stole my heart and is one of my favorites of 2014 so far!

Rereading 6/18/16
Angela Simmons
My Thoughts:

Man dies, woman mourns, five years later man who looks like husband shows up on doorstep claiming that he is said man’s grandson and that her once dead husband is thoroughly alive and well making baked eggs in a restaurant in Boracay. Oh, did I forget to mention he NEVER seems to age?

With that being said, after reading that how can you not want to read this book? I wanted answers to questions that the blurb left unanswered. I wanted to know who this mysterious Max was, why he never s
Oct 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before Ever After is a love story, but it didn't just stir up the lover that I am; it also awakened my desire to tour Europe more extensively; it prompted the cook in me to look up recipes for baked egg and cheese.

While reading through the chapters, I actually got lost in Max's many lifetimes. Later on though, I realized that it was necessary to build-up the story through the end - I could not wait for the plane to land on Philippine soil!

Samantha Sotto writes well (I don't know really how else
Aug 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance, 2011
I loved the historical fiction. The transition of timelines is amusing.
I didn't focus much on Max & Shelley's love story. I didn't like Shelley but I loved the other characters. What captured me most is the different identities of Max Gallus. I always loved the story behind the history. Oh, and the baked eggs got me curious. What's the recipe? What could be that secret ingredient? A pinch of ----. Tsk!
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I love this book so much! let's start off with the cover it's very pleasing and easy on the eyes it immediately caught my attention because of the title,cover art and the author she's Filipino! the edge of the pages looks and appeals to be really old torn like parchment.This novel warms my heart and entire existence to the core.Max and Shelley's tour along with their fellow campers around Europe was really awesome! I felt such uniqueness in every part of this very moving and amusing novel the si ...more
Apr 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
I found this book in the "reader's choice" section of my local library and thought it sounded fun and romantic. I was disappointed. I thought the writing was pedantic and a little bit cheesy. I don't mind cheesy if it's a book that doesn't take itself too seriously, but this one seems overly sentimental. I found it difficult to sympathize with any of the main characters; the most interesting character barely appeared in the story. My main issue with this book is silly, but it seriously bothered ...more
Dec 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
I find it really dragging at first. Una pa lng sad na. Stalled yun mga memories, scattered even. But as I find my way to the end, it keeps on getting better and better. It has piqued my interest. Not only by the eggs and chickens but the stories behind Max. I liked it. The novel is sad but filled with hope.. my heart is full of hope.. I really want to believe that there's forever after for Max and Shelley..

"I have every reason to be sad, but I don't have any reason to mourn. People grieve when t
Mar 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Months ago, when I finished reading this book, I sent Ms. Samantha Sotto my personal reflection regarding her book. Luckily, she replied! So here goes her reply:


Subject: Re: My Personal Reflection for Before Ever After
From:Samantha Sotto (sam@samanthasotto.com)
Date:Friday, October 19, 2012 3:22 PM

Hi, Lorenzo!

WOW. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on Before Ever After. I'm re
Nancy Brady
A most intriguing story about love, life, and death. What does it all mean?

Magical realism, history, romance, and chickens and eggs all come together in this tale.

For Shelley Gallus, she has had a rough couple years after her beloved Max is killed. Devastated, she feels half-alive when a young man, Paolo, shows up on her doorstep with a wild tale about her husband Max still being alive. Not only that, but he claims that Max is his grandfather.

As they trace the path of previous events that began
Sep 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“It appears that you were meant to be mine only for a little while.”

If only this picture really shows how Max and Shelley lived and loved.

“If we accept time for what it is, how it flows and how we flow with it, I doubt very much that would continue wasting loads of it by constantly checking our watches.”

I wanted to read this book ever since I chanced upon it during our third year college days. During our junior year in college, one of our "projects" for literature was to write a thesis about
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In an alternate universe, I am Dr. Who's faithful companion, traveling through time with him and constantly rearranging furniture on the TARDIS. In this one, I'm a professional daydreamer, a wife, and a mom to two not-so-little humans and a Golden Retriever named Tennant. Oh, and yeah, I also write books. ...more

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