Maybe in Another Life (Taylor Jenkins Reid)


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At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She has lived in six different cities and held countless meaningless jobs since graduating college. On the heels of leaving yet another city, Hannah moves back to her hometown of Los Angeles and takes up residence in her best friend Gabby’s guestroom. Shortly after getting back to town, Hannah goes out to a bar one night with Gabby and meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan.

Just after midnight, Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. A moment later, Ethan offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay. Hannah hesitates. What happens if she leaves with Gabby? What happens if she leaves with Ethan?

In concurrent storylines, Hannah lives out the effects of each decision. Quickly, these parallel universes develop into radically different stories with large-scale consequences for Hannah, as well as the people around her. As the two alternate realities run their course, Maybe in Another Life raises questions about fate and true love: Is anything meant to be? How much in our life is determined by chance? And perhaps, most compellingly: Is there such a thing as a soul mate?

Hannah believes there is. And, in both worlds, she believes she’s found him.

“Fate or not, our lives are still the results of our choices. I’m starting to think that when we don’t own them, we don’t own ourselves.”

It pains me to do this. And when I say that I mean it because TJR is a go to author for me. Hands down, one clicking every single time no matter what. I know that when I read her books, I am going to be left feeling some sort of way. But with Maybe in Another Life, it didn’t affect me in that usual TJR way. I think if maybe I had read her books in order (of release date) I might feel differently about it but after reading all of her other fabulous books first, this one just fell super short.

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Firstly, the characters. UGH. None of the characters evoked any type of feeling from me. Well, I shouldn’t say none. Only one did. I didn’t feel for Hannah, Ethan, or Henry but Gabby, she got to me. She had so much depth. And she was even a secondary character! I think that speaks a lot about the characters in this novel. When your secondary character sparks more interest from your reader than the main characters do, I think that becomes an issue.

A lot of times, in TJR’s other books, I attach to the character or even multiple ones. I pick a “team”. I find someone that I love dearly and I root for them the entire time. Even if it’s not a male. I feel like as an author, she does a great job at doing this. But I don’t understand what happened with this one. Maybe it was my book funk or maybe it was my growth in reading, but none of them captivated me or evoked any type of empathy from me.

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Hannah was very dull and flighty. I didn’t like how two dimensional she was in both realities. I would have thought with two different possibilities, one of the Hannah’s would be full of growth and she would bloom into something great but it just didn’t happen. Ethan was a lump on a log. That’s how I viewed him. He left zero mark on me and sparked zero interest. I think had TJR given the reader more of their past relationship, it would have given me something to go on but really we only get a few scenes with him and they’re all redundant. They serve no real purpose to the story at hand. Henry was just…there. The author tried way too hard to force him on me and she didn’t sell it. I feel like he was just a stepping stone for Hannah because of the way he is presented to us. He helps her and then that’s it. What does he really do for her emotionally though? I never really felt anything.

“He still, all these years later, shines brighter to me than other people. Even after I got over him, I was never able to extinguish the fire completely, as if it’s a pilot light that will remain small and controlled but very much alive.”

That is a line we get about Ethan. But, we never see how that spark ignites and stay lit as pilot. We just are supposed to believe these two people have a past and still love each other. Yeah, okay sis.

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I really loved the story line and alternating realities. I think that was the only thing I liked within this entire story. I thought the way TJR presented this book to us was unique in her own way. I just didn’t like how she executed it. The end was a cop out. One that could have been done a million different ways– and it just wasn’t.

Maybe in Another Life was an interesting concept, but unfortunately the characters didn’t resonate with me the same way her other books have. I didn’t hate it but I sadly didn’t love it either.

I also hope I never hear about or see another cinnamon roll again. Jesus.

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Verity (Colleen Hoover)


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Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.

Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity’s notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn’t expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity’s recollection of what really happened the day her daughter died.

Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife’s words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her.

“What you read will taste so bad at times, you’ll want to spit it out, but you’ll swallow these words and they will become part of you, part of your gut, and you will hurt because of them.”

I am so excited to sit down and talk to about this book. Even if it feels like I am talking to myself or rather my laptop- I am excited. Colleen has found a way to capture an all new type of audience and I am so here for it!

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For anybody (like myself) who has ever wanted to see Colleen Hoover branch out and create something so different from the types of books she typically writes (and for fans of Too Late), Verity will be the best thing to appease your hunger. I wasn’t sure of how much I would like this, being an avid suspense/thriller reader myself, but the way Colleen captured not only Lowen but Verity, I was blown away. I wasn’t sure how I feel about her, reading about her through other people’s POV but the way the book is structured – it worked. Especially for me. It made it all that much more fun.

Another fun part about this book was Colleen was able to steer away from her more dialogue driven novels, to something much more focused on plot and descriptiveness. Her descriptiveness of the setting is immaculate. I can FEEL the house they’re in. I can feel the eeriness and the complexity of the characters and the way they feel with the things going on. I can feel what all of these characters are feeling not from dialogue but from how well everything is described for us.

“You can’t look at someone the way he looked at me—with the entirety of your past—if you aren’t also imagining your future.”

Also, huge props to Colleen on making Verity evenly romantic and suspenseful. A lot of times, one trumps the other and I have a hard time liking what the author has done. But the balance was fantastic. I knew what was going to happen at times, both romantically and suspensefully, but I didn’t see the last few things coming and that for me was a game changer!

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Verity is a character that we meet in a little different way then how we meet most characters. But the way Colleen wrote her was mesmerizing. She made her an unreliable narrator through a voice that I haven’t experienced before. Verity was a villain. Whether it was because she wanted us to think she was or because she really was, in my eyes she was a villain.

“But when a person finds someone who makes all the negativity in their lives disappear, it’s hard not to want to feed off that person. I fed off Jeremy in order to keep my soul alive. It was starving and shriveled before I met him, but being in his presence nourished my wilted soul. “

Verity is unsettling. It’s eerie, refreshing, and will have you question almost everything you read. But that’s the best part about books such as these right? The constant second guessing. The constant wondering. The constant what ifs and constant thoughts of the story long as you close it. I hope Colleen branches out and does this every so often, because I think this was a refreshing read from her. One that I would be happy to read more of.