Monday, October 5, 2015

Twice Upon a Kiss Review: Stella

Book: Twice Upon a Kiss

Author: Jane Susann MacCarter

Series: Standalone

POV: 1st person by Stella and Harry, present tense

Setting: Minneapolis (present day) and Jarmo (7000 BCE)

Genre: NA contemporary, paranormal/fantasy, historical

Source: Physical copy, author (thank you, Jane!)

Publisher: Omnific Publishing

Pages: 330

Release: June 2015

Rating: 3.5 Stars

College senior Stella Denton has very few prospects and even fewer suitors—i.e. none—when a gunshot wound to the head catapults her from her life in 21st century Minneapolis to Jarmo, a real-life hunter-gatherer society circa 7000 BCE, located in what will become modern-day Iraq. As Stella starts living sequentially in both the past and the present, she finds, much to her surprise, that she thrives far more in the ancient society of Jarmo.

Life in ancient times, though, is not always idyllic and peaceful. An impending war in Jarmo could get her people slaughtered unless she takes immediate action to save herself and her tribe. Yet having something worth fighting for--even dying for-- makes Stella feel more alive than she ever has in her mundane modern existence.

During her dual-life journey, Stella draws the interest of Dr. Vale, an unappreciated thirty-something professor of paleoanthropology; charismatic Chieftain Hari of the Jarmo tribe; and young Ashur, a prehistoric teenager in need of lessons in love. When the time comes to make an irrevocable choice between her two lives, will Stella choose down-to-earth reality or the allure of the unknown?


A very unique plot! I definitely liked the idea of going to another world when you're in a coma.

Upon a gunshot hit to the head, Stella Denton finds herself in the Eden-like Jarmo, located in 7000 BCE. There is absolutely nothing wrong in that village: no strife, no hunger, no stress. It is perfect, and for Stella, it's pure heaven. But a looming war from a neighbouring tribe threatens the peaceful Jarmo, and it becomes up to Stella to help prepare the villagers of Jarmo with her present-day knowledge. Along the way, she finds herself as the love interest of two men: Hari, Jarmo's Chieftain, and Dr. Harry Vale, her paleoanthropology professor, who waits for her to awaken from her coma in the 21st century.

Stella was an interesting character. She has a sub-ego, whom she dubs as Squirrelly Girl, the pessimistic voice in her head who feeds her doubts. As morbid as she was sometimes, I found that Squirrelly Girl made Stella considerably more realistic, as everyone has that tiny voice in their heads whispering doubts into our ears. Stella was a realistic character, with very real fears and views of life. I would be completely torn between staying in the 21st century and going back to Jarmo too! However, I would have liked to see Stella's character grow a little more, to become a strong heroine as a means to put a distinct distance between her character at the beginning of the book and at the end. 

Harry was an overall good guy, but I questioned his actions. He made a life-changing decision for Stella by lying, and I'm not sure how I feel about him doing it without Stella's consent. I understand that he had the best intentions for her, but things could have easily gone south had Stella remained stubborn. Though it did work out, a forced love can backfire sometimes in the worst way. Harry was also partly responsible for the cause of Stella's final condition at the end; he knew the risks, and I think he should have been more firm in the refusal. But alas, I can't really blame him that much, since he truly did have Stella's best intentions at heart at the time.

My favourite character would have to be Hari. He's the Chieftain, and as we get to see, he doesn't always get the easy jobs. I really enjoyed learning about the culture of Jarmo, and the ways he enforced them. He was overall a great guy, able to do what was needed to be done and what was expected of him for men and women. As odd as some of those tasks were, he stuck to his tribe's customs. He also listened to Stella, and was always patient with her and others. 

I really liked the world of Jarmo. People think that humans way back in history must have been savage, and the living conditions absolutely terrible. However, as we see, it's actually the opposite. There's no stress over anything; the human population in the village is small, and there are more than enough animals to hunt to feed everyone. Everything is natural, nothing artificial. All needs are met, and everyone works together, celebrates together. There's just this sense of belonging, of overall togetherness. I think the author brilliantly juxtaposes our world and Jarmo's world in a way that shows that though we are living a much more luxurious life in the 21st century, we are ultimately missing out on the overall sense of family and bonding that existed back then. It makes me want to get to know people on a more primitive level, where we all work together for survival...

The ending was surprising. I have mixed feelings about it, as it's both a happy and sad ending. It leaves you questioning what happens in both worlds, and whether or not Stella made the right choice. But all in all, pretty good!

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