Cover Image: The Beginning and End of Us

The Beginning and End of Us

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Member Reviews

I have never read anything like this before, to say it is unique is an understatement, and at first, I was in two frames of mind whether this was in my taste, my eyes were soon opened and I was stunned by the story, the writing and the originality. What stunned me most was the fact that this is Rose James’s debut novel, which is a little mind-blowing as judging by the quality of the writing I would have thought that the author would have a host of books under her belt.

This book follows the journey of Aphrodite; the Keeper of Love, a supernatural being who has started off a personal path or journey of love, she tells her account of each of her loves, as she searches for that one true love. Each chapter covers a different stage of Aphrodite’s love, each one is, in essence, a short story of each of her loves, each one is so different as we start a new episode on Aphrodite’s life, each love story is so richly described that you will fall in love with her, plus weep a river of tears at certain aspects of the book, you will resonate with other aspects. I love that each ‘love’ is accompanied by a song which seems to anchor Aphrodite and the reader to that part of the journey, I really loved how music connects us with other’s with feelings, how a single song can take you o another place or relief lost loves, the power music has over a person really resonated with me more than anything else.

I love that no matter what Aphrodite experiences on her journey, the unrelenting feeling of love and hope is a constant companion not just for ‘The Keeper of Love’ but also for the reader, it shows us what a journey falling in love can be, how your emotions become entangled with another, how you fall head over heals and through that glorious mist your experience, not just the all-consuming feeling of loving another but discovering yourself.

This is a beautifully emotionally and inspiring book which does capture your heart and your imagination, the only thing I will say and this is my personal opinion is that the end was a little too supernatural for my liking, for me I would have preferred a simpler ending, but that doesn’t take a single thing away from just how mesmerising and enchanting this book is. I do think that most readers will enjoy this as it is quite difficult to put it in a single genre or category, I do think that this will appeal to teenage/ young adult readers more as it has a real coming of age feel about it.

This was an arc via the publisher, which I voluntarily reviewed as apart of this blog tour.
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I enjoy literary fiction for the beauty of the prose, and the off-kilter subjects it explores. This story qualifies on both of these. Despite its qualities, I find it difficult to connect with the characters and therefore my enjoyment is muted.

The story follows the destiny of Aphrodite, a supernatural being whose role is to keep love in the human world. If she deviates from her path, the human world loses love, so her mission is vital for humanity.  Given her role, life is a rollercoaster of emotional encounters that touch her physically and spiritually. She experiences contentment and love, but a loss is always on the horizon and these makes her journey poignant and tragic.

The structure of the plot complements the story, a series of chapters mirroring her loves. The writing style focuses on the senses and is engaging. 

 I received a copy of this book from Bookouture via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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This book had all the makings of a beautiful, emotional story but sort of fell flat for me. Aphrodite, the keeper of love, on her journey to, basically, make sure love still exists. So she must endure love and heartbreak.  I spent a majority of the book trying to get past the narration of the main character. The thought was there I just feel that execution could have been better. This is one of those books where you want to laugh and cry, but lacks emotional backing.
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I decided to go out of my comfort zone and try something new and I am very glad I did. I found myself intrigued by this story.
Aphrodite, the keeper of love shares her Path to love and how she is drawn to her loves by a Song. I love how music represented the moments that she met individuals and knew that  they were destined to be together. She embodies all the versions of love and also shows the pain that comes along with that loss of love. She knows when it is time to move on and let go, most of the time and others she tries so hard to hold on so she can find her destiny and finally be complete.
The words were beautifully written and melodic. I was entranced by her words and lost her in her world, hoping along with her that she could find the one. It really spoke to me as I could relate with some of the loss that she had to go through.
Highly Recommended! Thank you Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review!
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This is the journey of Aphrodite, the keeper of Love. Every time she me someone she thought he was her one true love. Every time she falls in love things seem great and something always happens to tear them apart. This was very well written and I am glad that I read this book. I wasn't quite sure if I would like it when I started it but it picked up for me and am glad that I kept on reading it.
I received this ARC from Bookouture and NetGalley for review.
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An interesting book.  I wasn't sure whether I liked it all the way through, but it intrigued me and I had to keep reading to the end.
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This isn’t the kind of book I’d usually go for but I’m trying to branch out so when I saw this debut from Rose James about a supernatural being who is ‘the keeper of love’ - I’d usually lose interest after hearing about the supernatural aspect but I wanted to give this one ago ❤️

The whole time reading this I couldn’t decide whether I liked it or not. The chapters are very long and each one dedicated to one of Aphs (MC) loves where she talks directly at them, referring the other characters simply as ‘you’.

I feel like for some this would be a highly emotive read but it didn’t really hit those sorts of notes for me. I didn’t dislike it but I don’t really feel like it’s added anything to my life. Very cleverly written, a good debut.
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How many times have you fallen in love deeply? Because this is a story not about characters but the feelings of love, how deep and pure is the love you feel for the person you love.
This is the story of a tragedy, when Aphrodite has to leave her house and spend her life falling in love again and again, from people around the world, without any possibility to change her path, because her faith is to always find the perfect one till the next one…
This is possibly not the story you’ll be expecting when you’ll start reading this book, but it’s always interesting reading something surprising and original that you are not used to, don’t you think?
I think this is a book to read when you have a broken heart and need to remember that there’s love everywhere, the perfect man is around the corner and you only have to find him! There will be pain before the healing but the bittersweet memories will always be with you.
I especially like how the author relates the feelings with music, for me, every important moment in my life has a song related to it; a ballad, a rock song, a sad song… there’s never a song that I love that doesn’t have strong feelings attached. I always loved music but I think it’s true that a song can heal you or can break you, depending on the moment you listen it and the feelings you are searching on it!
This is a book you should have in hand in the need of a happy memory or that there’s always an end in every tunnel. The Beginning and End of Us is a book for the romantic ones that love to be in love!
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This one’s quite a different sort of book. I’d typify it as a ‘what if’ sort of tale about the ‘life’ of Aphrodite, who’s appointed as the Keeper of Love, and sent out into the world … this, after she thought she had already found her true love: her best friend, who she was then never to see again, having not even had the chance to say goodbye! She’s devastated, but realises that she has been assigned a higher purpose.

This is a whimsical tale of love; the different types of love, and what happens when we think we’ve found ‘the One’, only to discover that we might possibly be wrong and that there may be other options out there. The story takes you on Aphrodite’s journey to various places and will have you exploring your own soul and the loves and losses you’ve experienced along the way.

Ms James’s writing is quite poetic in places and it flows nicely, with perfect pace. I adored Aphrodite. Her innocence and naiveté are so refreshing and make you wish for a time when things were so much simpler and uncomplicated.

I’d describe this as a modern-day fairy-tale of sorts. Somewhere in the realm of fantasy, where we sometimes wish we could live (well, ok, maybe not all of us wish that, but sometimes I do!) It would be nice at times to just drift off and live in a fairytale world, and this seems like a shimmery sort of in-between place – I really enjoyed that aspect of the book.

4 stars for this one. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but for those who like to indulge in a bit of fairydust and glitter, it’s perfect!
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Aphrodite is thrown onto a quest where if she strays from the Path, it will lead to a world with no love. But for her to stay on the path, she must endure the exhilaration of love found and the heartbreak of love lost. 

On her Path, Aphrodite falls in love with four strangers as she combs the world to find the One. Each stranger teaches her life lessons just as we learn from those we come across in life who come and go and those who stay with us forever.

This heartbreaking story is a lovely debut novel for Rose James as it brought me back to remembering the feelings of falling in love for the first time, the butterflies of nervousness when your crush is near, and the tightening of the chest when the one you love betrays you.

With that being said, the ending could have been improved upon as it seemed to drag on saying the same thing but using different words. As a result, I found myself skimming through the last few pages to get to the very end and was left a little unsatisfied. But, I do recommend this book to those who are fans of love stories.
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Having decided to read this book, I’ll admit I did wobble a little when I started to see some early reviews – talking about the supernatural being at the book’s heart, the pain of young love, the episodic structure – and I did wonder if I might have made rather a mistake. But no, I really hadn’t. And I could see straight away why this book achieved its competition shortlisting on its earlier release. It might be many miles away from my usual reading in so many ways, but this book really was something quite special.

It is episodic – almost a series of short stories, each set in a clear and well-drawn location (the descriptions and general sense of place are quite excellent), but each one (and every new encounter) moving the story forward as Aphrodite follows her destiny as the Keeper of Love. I very much liked the book’s focus on music too – the whole idea of “the song” and its meaning – and the songs that feature often had me off to YouTube if they were less than familiar.

I will admit that the book almost lost me during the longer Las Vegas episode – it was rather more harrowing, and the characters introduced didn’t entirely work for me. The book’s conclusion was a little more off-the-wall than I expected too, and a long way outside my personal comfort zone – but I thought it was exceptionally well done, and the emotional touch was perfect.

This won’t be a book for everyone, and I do suspect a younger reader might be its more appropriate target audience – but it’s brave and original, beautifully written, and I rather enjoyed it.
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This book was easily one of the most unique stories I have ever read. Sort of a memoir with mystic qualities that explores the different kinds of love and how love affects people, it is touching, thought-provoking, and poetically written. The author does a masterful job of differentiating what love can mean and how it can influence our paths in life. I cannot say enough good things about this book; it should go on everyone’s TBR list right away. For a more detailed review, please visit my blog at Fireflies and Free Kicks Fiction Reviews. Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for a digital ARC of this book.
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A different book for sure, which bespoke about the life and love Aphrodite, a supernatural being who was the Keeper of Love. This book was her journey where she believed each was her one true love.

A debut by author Rose James, I liked how the words were stringed in the book. They had a dreamy aura about them. I felt like I was being thrust into my teen years when love had taken more of a centerstage. Each love described, was rooted in the depths of a relationship and had a song linked to it. 

Each chapter described a phase of her love, some made me get a lump in my throat, some made me smile at the innocence of it. And some just openly made me cry. Each chapter left me with a feeling of finding a gift at the same time a sense of desolation. I felt I was leaving a friend behind, someone whom I had got to know in the pages read.

Rose's words had powerful imagery. There were anchored in reality but still had a surreal feeling of the supernatural. There was something about Aphrodite which felt larger than life. She moved me with her story, my heart which was a ball of ice, frozen solid, soon started melting, one page at a time till I rushed to the end to know would Love find her love in the Path which was forged from the beginning of her life at Heathfire to the end of her and him. A beginning of a new phase.

I could only sigh at the end of my read, with a smile on my face, I agreed that love was definitely the beginning and end of us.
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This is not a kind of book I would normally read but somehow the cover fascinated me. When a cover captures my attention, it means 9 out of 10 times, that I will like the story as well.

This book is filled with feelings and the author has a very special way to describe them. It's like you can also feel what the main character is experiencing. 

It's true that people will fall in love more than once before they find their one. And although each and every one of those love stories will be different, they are all very real.

If I have to pick one person I could have fallen for too, it would definitely be 'the fighter'. It was the longest chapter in the book and in my opinion the most beautiful and emotional one. You might need to keep a few tissues at hand.

There is a lot of love in this book, but love is not only about happiness. Love make you sad but every love affair has made you a bit richer too. 4 stars.

Thank you, Rose James and Bookouture.
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Well, it was an okay but wasn’t my cup of tea really...it’s just different storyline about the whole relationship stuffs...

Thanks to Netgalley and bookouture for the advanced copy...
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This book takes you on a journey from the first page. This journey doesn't really have a beginning or an ending it simply is. We are shown the main characters loves and the journey she goes on. This book is beautiful and will make you see the magical all around you. 

I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy free of charge. This is my honest and unbiased opinion of it.
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The Song is so true. There are songs that touch us and continue to touch us all our lives. I am not sure how I feel about this novel. It feels like I was dropped into a scene which really didn’t flow to the next scene. The stories change from one lover to another, but really don’t take into account every day living. There’s really no mention of where money comes from or food comes from, and Aphy certainly travels from one country to the other without even mentioning how she gets there. The author definitely shared the emotion of love over and over again, and made me reminisce of a time when I was young. In the end I’ve decided I don’t really get it.
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Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher and author for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. A perfectly delightful read. Not what I expected but I found this pleasant and easy to read. 
A satisfactory ⭐️⭐️⭐️ from me.
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Beautifully written, with lush physical and emotional description.  However, I blu made it halfway through because I found that I wasn’t feeling much for the main character Aphrodite. I didn’t understand how she came to be The Keeper Of the Love, and her romantic adventures on earth seemed to come out of nowhere. I also did not understand where it was that she came from in the beginning.I did enjoy the sensuality of the writing, however.  

Thanks to NetGalley, the author and publisher for an advanced reading copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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Aphrodite, blissfully living in the Forge of Hearthfire, a forest realm of dream-like existence, realizes she is in love with her best friend. In the next moment, she finds herself sent outside the gate to the outside world - set out on her Path to fulfill her destiny as the Keeper of Love. 

As a Keeper, her purpose is to be a conduit of love. To exist for love. To bring, find, share and BE love.

Aphrodite’s path leads her on journeys across the world. She floats effortlessly from place to place, landing short term odd jobs, letting her path take her to where she is meant to be, and to whom she is meant to love.

As a Keeper, the loves she finds in Hidden Heart, Wanderer, Fighter, Country Boy, are special, passionate and real; forever in her heart, but not forever lasting. With each love, there is music. Songs that come to her and help her through the tough moments and lift her in the joyous ones. 

And then one day, love meets music, and Aphrodite’s purpose takes on a whole new significance.

James’ descriptive, expressive, lyrical writing builds and blends an enchanting world of surreal pleasure of the senses with a magical mournful melancholy. Colorfully illustrating the sights, sounds and tastes of all the places of Aphrodite’s journey, James captivates the reader. I could envision everything so clearly and was easily mesmerized.

The Beginning and End of Us is an enchanting, spellbinding read. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for the read of Rose James’, The Beginning and End of Us.

The opinions expressed in my reviews are my own.
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