REVIEW and GIVEAWAY
by Melissa Turner Lee
Forever Layla is currently on tour with Itching For Books. The tour stops here today for my review and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.
What if the woman you envied most is the person you are destined to become?
In 1994, high school senior David Foster was the lackey and soundboard geek for his best friend's grunge band. During spring break, the band lands a dream gig playing at a motel in Myrtle Beach, SC. David expected all the girls to ogle the guys on stage, but when a beautiful blond "Bond Girl" approaches him and calls him by name, he's shocked to find out she knows more about him than a stranger should.
She even knows about his notebooks and his visions of time travel.
What she thought was a quick time-travel-sightseeing trip takes a surprising turn when she meets the young adult version of the man she'd heard stories about as a child. His fairy-tale romance with the woman he'd loved, Layla, inspired her to accept nothing less than a love just as strong ... but hopefully not as tragic. When she won't tell the younger version of him her name, he calls her Layla - and the world as she knows it changes forever.
Up until he took his shirt off, this David was a harmless kid. He wasn’t the manly David of my dreams, but I could see glimpses of that David. It was like checking in the oven on a pan of cookies. They might still be warm dough, but the senses could appreciate the process. Besides, cookie dough could be nice too while waiting on the cookies. I turned my head and was trying to get a hold on my breathing. Maybe I needed a puff off of his inhaler. I glanced back over at him as he jotted something down in his notebook. I realized at that moment he didn’t know he was hot. He’d been the gangly, asthmatic geek all his life and probably hadn’t noticed he was beginning to grow into himself. I glanced at his biceps and forearms that flexed as he gripped his pen. He was far from gangly now, and although he was not the man I had always dreamed of, he certainly wasn’t the boy I had mistaken him to be.
My heart sped up, and my breathing deepened as I watched him. I looked away again when I saw him about to look at me. It was one thing staying in a room with a little boy overnight. It would be another staying with a hot guy. I pushed the thought from my mind. Maybe my ride would show up before then. Until that moment, I would relax and catch some rays. I glanced in the other direction at the ocean and the people walking by on the beach and let the worries fade as I got to be a kid myself for the first time ever.
My Favorite Lines
"You are amazing and you are going to do amazing things and create the most amazing future for the world. Just know that whatever happens, the pain and sorrow will be worth it in the long run."
"He's going to be one of those people who changes the world. You know, end up in all the history books. If something happened to him the world would be lost."
"The waves crashed hard to my left and the sea foam crackled like breakfast cereal in milk. A wave stretched its wet tongue and lapped at my hurting feet."
"There was an eeriness about meeting the girl. Sort of like Dèjá vu but not ... since I'd never met the girl before."
"Not everything in life is built on pure logic."
"I looked at her, and at that moment knew what I would do with my life. I would discover time travel and make a time machine. Kids would learn about me in school and I would love a woman named Layla. And whether she wanted to be or not, I had a feeling she would be Layla or maybe always had been. In my mind, she was forever Layla."
"This wasn't just the attraction between a guy and a pretty girl. this went deeper. This was more. She was my future. Just as much as that vision of how time travel would work. I was seeing into my future and all the potential that came with it."
"Then I'll do it. I'll grow up. I'll become the man you've been dreaming of."
"Her hair was pure silk to my fingertips. She smelled like a garden after the morning dew, all clean and floral and like sweet fruit all at once. She tasted like salt and sugar."
"... life moves fast. It's over before you know it."
"That's what she does. She shows up and gives clarity an direction."
"It was time for me to claim my destiny and make my own trail rather than just following theirs."
"I feel like I'm just waiting on the man he's going to become and putting up with the child he is in the meantime."
"I'll teach you how to be a geek because that's how you get the really pretty girls."
"Don't say goodbye. Say, 'Until we meet again, either on earth or in heaven.' It's a farewell with a promise."
By Lynda Dickson
In April 1994, David gets a visit from a beautiful young woman who seems to know him but who has no memory of. When she won't tell him her name, he calls her Layla after the song that's playing, and she freaks out. After a bit of prompting, Layla claims to have come from the future (2014). Of course David thinks this is a prank, but slowly he starts to believe, ultimately discovering that he himself will one day unlock the secret of time travel. As David and Layla get closer, we learn that they have always been destined to be together. But how are their futures intertwined and why is Layla always so sad?
The story is told alternately from the points-of-view of David and Layla. This is a necessary device, as we find Layla is keeping a lot of secrets from David. The relevance of some scenes is questionable (e.g., hair extensions, Backstreet Boys) but it's fun to reminisce about the past and note how much things have changed in such a short time. The story is cleverly woven, revealing just enough to keep us guessing. And it is beautifully rounded, with the ending bringing us back to the beginning to show us how everything fits together. The ARC I read contained a number of editing errors that are hopefully corrected in the final version.
This is a wonderfully romantic, clever, and thought-provoking story.
About the Author
Melissa Turner Lee holds a BA in Communications with a concentration in Journalism from the University of South Carolina. She has studied fiction writing since 2008, attending various writing conferences and workshops, along with guidance from professional writing coaches. She resides in Spartanburg, South Carolina, with her husband and 3 sons.
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