Book Review – Time Stands Still by Lori L. Otto

Book Review – Time Stands Still by Lori L. Otto

It’s nearly impossible to write a review for this book without spoilers, so I’m going to write two reviews:  A non-spoiler review and a spoiler review.

My non-spoiler review:

I’m going to come right out and say it.  Book one (My Review) gutted me, but I loved that it did.  My own personal type of book crack are books that make me have insanely strong emotions and almost give me an anxiety attack.  Twisted, I know.  I think it’s amazing that twenty-six letters jumbled into words, then formed into sentences can make me so happy, sad, and so incredibly angry in a span of a few hundred pages.

One of the best things about series books is seeing how the characters change throughout each book.  I didn’t know how I was going to move on after book one.  I had no idea how the characters were going to move on from what happened.  But they did.  They moved on and it was beautiful to see the character development and evolution play out on the page.  I was amazed at Emi’s strength throughout this book.  Emi’s stages of emotion from the beginning to end was very well done.  Bravo, Lori Otto.  I felt every emotion Emi went through, it was raw, realistic and extremely touching.

I heard that several readers quit the series after reading the first book, but I would urge you to move on. Read the rest of the series.  Read the prologue.  Experience these characters and this story.  This series deserves your time.  I am so glad I took the plunge.  Reading the Emi Lost and Found series was one of the highlights of 2013.

My Spoiler-ridden review:

**STOP reading if you haven’t read the book one.**

After reading the last sentence of book one I thought, “Surely, Lori Otto wouldn’t do this to me.  Nate and Emi weren’t together for more than nine years. This isn’t happening. Everything is going to be okay.”  It wasn’t okay.  Emi wasn’t okay. Nate wasn’t okay.  No one was okay, not even me.  Admittedly, I didn’t even cry.  Before you call me heartless, the tears came later while Emi was in the hospital.  But at first, I was too busy trying to sort out exactly what I was feeling.  I was so sad I couldn’t even cry.  And yes, I was so very, very angry.

I loved every second of it.

Remember how I said I liked emotional book?  This was exactly what I loved and craved.  Otto turned the characters’ world upside down and ripped it to shreds and in the process of doing so, she broke my heart.

Time Stands Still opens with the biggest GOTCHA ever.  I had the biggest smile on my face.  I was even tweeting about my elation.  Open the champagne, people.  Let’s celebrate!  HOORAY!

And then Otto pulled the rug out from under me and took away my rainbows.  It was all a dream.  There was no celebration.  Go home everyone and give me all the booze. I need to drink myself into a coma.

Emi wakes up to find herself in a hospital room.  Emi family has to break the news to her about Nate, her fiance and best friend.  What follows is one of the most realistic portrayals of grief and despair I have ever read.  Otto did a brilliant job at portraying the emotions of a woman in complete shock and denial.  Despite being told repeatedly, Emi continues to believe that Nate is still alive.  Her mind hasn’t caught up with reality.  I was so heartbroken for both of Emi’s losses.

Emi and Nate’s family and friends band together to help her cope.  I was so touched to see the outpouring of love for her.  I could feel how much everyone cared for her and Nate.  After she is released from the hospital, she moves in with her brother, Chris.  He tries to make the environment comforting for her but all Emi feels is numb.

“If I could get up and walk away, I certainly would. I would walk away from it all. Run from the reality of life. Find Nate and the child we would never have in this life…where they are, that is where I want to be.”

Emi’s mother brought things from her apartment to make Chris’s apartment seem more like home, but what was most noticeably missing were reminders of Nate.

“…none of the paintings Nate had given me over the years are here. As much as I don’t know whether or not I’m ready to see them, their absence is undeniable and deliberate.”

For some reason, this really got to me.  The love of her life and best friend had just died. She didn’t get to get to go to the funeral because she was hurt and she has nothing around her to hold on to.  Anna, Chris’s fiancee, saves the day and brings Nate’s tie to Emi.  This is where the water works began for me.  I could picture this whole scene in my head.  Listening to Anna empathize with Emi and tell her that if the tables were turned she would want something around that reminded her of Chris made me SOB!

Let’s talk about Jack.  We met Jack in book one technically at the college party from Emi’s college days, but most notably he was at Chris and Anna’s engagement party.  His little eyebrow raise towards Nate made me not like him.  Whatever animosity I felt towards him melted away in Time Stands Still.  He was Emi’s savior and rescuer.  He was her foundation.  I fell in love fast with Jack.

Jack’s selflessness and thoughtfulness shone so bright in this book.  He was persistent without being pushy.  Loving without being intrusive or insensitive.  He was Emi’s friend during a time when she needed him the most, which then turned into something more.  Jack wanted to take things slow with Emi, so they agreed to just hang out together with no expectations and no romance.

For me, the reader, coming to terms with Nate’s death was very difficult.  Having read the Not Today, But Someday first, I got almost two novels of Nate’s point-of-view and seeing Emi and Nate together. It was jarring to me to have him ripped from me so suddenly.  But I think that only added to the emotional impact.

*I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Time Stands Still by Lori Otto

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