Review – Goodbye For Now

Hello,

Today, I’ll review Laurie Frankel‘s novel Goodbye For Now. I have to admit that I’ve read the German translation called Der Algorithmus der Liebe as I’ve received a copy from Lovelybooks and Random House Germany to participate in a book discussion. Nevertheless, my review will be in English, and, if the translator has done a good job, there shouldn’t be any problem. 🙂

Provided by Random House¹
Image provided by Random House¹
Summary quoted from Random House¹:

Sam Elling works for an internet dating company, but he still can’t get a date. So he creates an algorithm that will match you with your soul mate. Sam meets the love of his life, a coworker named Meredith, but he also gets fired when the company starts losing all their customers to Mr. and Ms. Right.
When Meredith’s grandmother, Livvie, dies suddenly, Sam uses his ample free time to create a computer program that will allow Meredith to have one last conversation with her grandmother. Mining from all her correspondence—email, Facebook, Skype, texts—Sam constructs a computer simulation of Livvie who can respond to email or video chat just as if she were still alive. It’s not supernatural, it’s computer science.
Meredith loves it, and the couple begins to wonder if this is something that could help more people through their grief. And thus, the company RePose is born. The business takes off, but for every person who just wants to say good-bye, there is someone who can’t let go.

My Thoughts:

Goodbye For Now is mainly set in Seattle, Washington but setting isn’t Ms. Frankel’s main focus. She rarely gives detailed descriptions of the characters’ surroundings. Only in the later chapters her writing becomes more pictorial and when it does, many things are left to the reader’s imagination. Either that, or the author expects the reader to know about the geography of Seattle. But I didn’t mind, because setting isn’t that important in this novel. The characters and the story are what make it worth reading.

The three main characters are Sam, Meredith and Dash. The reader sees almost everything through Sam’s eyes. He is a very likable character with a great sense of humor and is therefore easy to identify with. Meredith is a stereotypical woman. At first, she is very nice but later in the book she gets demanding and whiny. To make it short: She doesn’t know what she wants and she really got on my nerves. Dash completes the trio by being very positive and social. He is a funny guy without wanting to be funny. Dash is a wonderful addition to the book as he helps to lighten up the darker parts. In my opinion, this trio of main characters is very balanced. Sam, Meredith and Dash are surrounded by various other characters, each with their own little story to tell.

The plot of Goodbye For Now is new to me. I like that Ms. Frankel introduces the pros and cons of a computer program that enables people to communicate with the “dead”. She shows that this is not something that everyone would think of as good and she also points out that serious problems can arise. Goodbye For Now combines an easy to read writing style with a serious topic. This is not your usual love story. (Even if the German title suggests it) Goodbye For Now is a book that will make you laugh, cry and think.

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¹ https://www.randomhouse.com/book/219384/goodbye-for-now-by-laurie-frankel

Review – Inferno

Thanks to Lovelybooks and Random House UK (Bantam Press), I won a copy of Dan Brown’s Inferno.

Inferno
Image provided by Random House UK¹
Summary quoted from Random House UK¹:

Seek and ye shall find.”

With these words echoing in his head, eminent Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon awakes in a hospital bed with no recollection of where he is or how he got there. Nor can he explain the origin of the macabre object that is found hidden in his belongings.

A threat to his life will propel him and a young doctor, Sienna Brooks, into a breakneck chase across the city of Florence. Only Langdon’s knowledge of hidden passageways and ancient secrets that lie behind its historic facade can save them from the clutches of their unknown pursuers.

My thoughts:

– This review might contain light spoilers –

I cannot write too much about where Inferno is set because that would give away too much of the plot. Inferno’s plot starts in Florence and Mr. Brown made the Florentine atmosphere believable for me. I have been to Florence and one other city he describes in greater detail before, so I don’t know if that could also play a role.

Robert Langdon is a very nice character. I could easily relate to him. I also had no problems with Sienna, who is his companion for most of the book. After about three-quarters of the book there were some problems with the characters that also had to do with the plot. There was a plot twist and, in my opinion, that plot twist made a lot of characters lose all credibility.

Overall, the plot is full of suspense and the first 200-300 pages are so full of action that I always thought I needed some breathing space. Nevertheless, these first 300 pages also seemed somehow lengthy. Unfortunately, I can’t really grasp what made me think that. I can only say that the remaining ~200 pages went by much quicker and were a more relaxing read with a lower heart rate involved.

This was my first book by Dan Brown and it was definitely not boring. (Although there were some lengthy parts that were less interesting.) Still, Inferno has its weaknesses. I had many issues with character credibility. (It’s also embarrassing when readers find the answer to a letter riddle much faster than Langdon and a very intelligent person) Overall, Inferno is a book for people who are already fans of the series, or who are interested in a thrill ride that involves art, literature, history and a secret I’m not going to tell.

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¹ http://www.randomhouse.co.uk/editions/inferno/9780593072493

Reading – Inferno

As I’ve already promised, I’ll tell you about the other book I’m reading right now. The best seller 🙂 It’s Inferno by Dan Brown and I won it at Lovelybooks. It is the English version of the book and it was sponsored by Random House UK. I am so happy about this cooperation between Lovelybooks and Random House UK and I hope it wasn’t the last one.

This is the first book by Dan Brown that I’m reading and I’m enjoying it. I only knew the movie The DaVinci Code, so I had no idea what I was getting myself into with this book. So far, Inferno is a smooth read and quite exciting. We’ll see if it stays like that.

Image linked from Random House UK¹
Summary quoted from Random House UK¹:

‘Seek and ye shall find.’
With these words echoing in his head, eminent Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon awakes in a hospital bed with no recollection of where he is or how he got there. Nor can he explain the origin of the macabre object that is found hidden in his belongings.
A threat to his life will propel him and a young doctor, Sienna Brooks, into a breakneck chase across the city of Florence. Only Langdon’s knowledge of hidden passageways and ancient secrets that lie behind its historic facade can save them from the clutches of their unknown pursuers.

¹ http://www.randomhouse.co.uk/editions/inferno/9780593072493