Dana and Wendy review ‘Any Given Lifetime’ by Leta Blake. Published by Leta Blake Books, September 13, 2018, 301 pages.
Neil isn’t a ghost, but he feels like one. Reincarnated with all his memories from his prior life, he spent twenty years trapped in a child’s body, wanting nothing more than to grow up and reclaim the love of his life.
As an adult, Neil finds there’s more than lost time separating them. Joshua has built a beautiful life since Neil’s death, and how exactly is Neil supposed to introduce himself? As Joshua’s long-dead lover in a new body? Heartbroken and hopeless, Neil takes refuge in his work, developing microscopic robots called nanites that can produce medical miracles.
When Joshua meets a young scientist working on a medical project, his soul senses something his rational mind can’t believe. Has Neil truly come back to him after twenty years? And if the impossible is real, can they be together at long last?
Any Given Lifetime is a stand-alone, slow burn, second chance gay romance by Leta Blake featuring reincarnation and true love. This story includes some angst, some steam, an age gap, and, of course, a happy ending.
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I am a big fan of Leta Blake’s writing, and reincarnation is one of my favorite themes in books. So when I heard about this book, I jumped at the chance to review it. I am so glad I did.
The story revolves around Joshua, a compassionate guy who struggled with his sexuality at first, and Neil, who in both lifetimes was curt and impatient. I will have to admit that I didn’t really love Neil. Seeing him in his latter incarnation, I felt for him and how his memories and intellect didn’t coalesce with his young body. I could see glimmers of compassion in him, but really, he wasn’t written to be a character you could love. Like, maybe, but not love. Not unless you are Joshua.
Joshua is the good guy in this story. Even though his fears that his sexuality was sinful kept him from loving Neil to the fullest, he definitely loved him intensely. When Neil passed away, Joshua held on to his love for Neil and even continued to dream of him. For years and years! Now I don’t believe in forgetting loved ones, but I did think that his degree of sadness was more than usual. Being the type of person who tries to see reason in everything, I can only think that he couldn’t let Neil go completely because their story wasn’t over and fate knew it. But life does go on and Joshua had no clue that Neil was growing up a few states away, so he formed a relationship with a man named Lee, who received a skin transplant from Neil.
Immediately I worried how the author would allow Neil and Joshua to have a second chance. Lee was more congenial and outwardly emotional than Neil. I liked him immediately even though I did worry, because I am a sucker for second chance romances between the same couple. I don’t want to spoil what happens with the characters so I will let you read the book to see how the story unfolds. As far as other secondary characters go, there is Paul, Joshua’s old roommate and friend, Chris, a mutual friend of Lee and Joshua’s, Derek, who rooms with the younger Neil, and Neil’s mom in his new life, Alice. I love Alice for raising the strange child she had in Neil. And Derek was a great side character that I would love to see find his own romance.
Besides the reincarnation plot line, there are a few things going on in this book that I found interesting. This story mostly starts in 2012 and goes into the 2030’s, with a few flashbacks to Neil’s first life. The futuristic ideas are partially based on research and technology that we have now, but taken a step farther. Both Neil’s work regarding nanites is very interesting and I have to wonder if I will actually see something like this in my lifetime. There is also some mythology regarding the dreams that Joshua and Neil had. It was a perfect blending of science and facts with the idea that anything can be possible in regards to our life and afterlife.
I don’t think I was as emotionally connected to the story, as I would have liked. That didn’t stop me from enjoying it and sympathizing with the characters. It was a great! I would recommend it to anyone who likes a love story that has some twists and turns and a touch of something otherworldly. Each book I read by this author cements her place on my autobuy list.
9/10 Pots of Gold (90% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars
Be prepared to feel all the feels with this one. I suggest tissues, chocolate, wine and a quiet corner.
These characters are just the best ever! In all the ways, seriously. For instance, there’s Neil. I can’t imagine having to write this character… I hope he wasn’t sitting in this authors head demanding and yelling for his story to be told because I really can picture him doing just that!
He’s such a contrary character, annoying and annoyed. A recluse because he has no clue about social niceties and steps in it every time he tries. Angry and frustrated with everything and everyone with the exception of Joshua.
I have no idea how Joshua was able to see beyond the picture that Neil puts up for the entire world but he does. I love Joshua’s character, like, I want him living next door to me. He’s such a good guy.
The metaphysical aspect of the story was brilliant. No one shied away from it and it was present throughout the book. There was no surprise really and that in itself was a surprise. Neil’s mom and his friends (both past and present) are accepting of what they see and don’t question the obvious. They are what family and friends should be, steadfast. Even if they don’t fully believe themselves, they believe in Neil. The perfect secondary characters.
The story had tons of sad parts but just when I thought I was broken something sweet or happy would happen to put me back on track.
10/10 Pots of Gold or 100% recommended
Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.
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On the web: https://letablake.com/