Anything Paperback – Nov 8 2011
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About the Author
Michael Baron is the fiction pseudonym for a successful author of nonfiction books. He is the author of four previous novels, When You Went Away, Crossing the Bridge, The Journey Home and Spinning.
Top Customer Reviews
Ken & Melissa truly have it all. They each have a rewarding career, live in a nice home and are about to be blissfully married to the love of their life. As their wedding approaches, Ken visits their favourite jewellers to find Melissa the perfect wedding gift. Instead he is offered a rare opportunity to observe Melissa's life before he knew her. Thinking it's a hoax, Ken decides to humour the mysterious Stephon and take him up on his offer. The result turns out to be something much more than Ken believed possible. Now he's faced with an incredibly difficult decision that could change everything he thought he knew.
Michael Baron has a knack for creating wonderfully charismatic characters, and the central character in Anything is no exception. We get to know Ken well as the story is told from his POV, while Melissa remains more of a mystery. The secondary characters play very minimal roles in this book, but Ken manages to carry the story effortlessly on his own. The twists and turns created by Ken's choices make this very different love story with less angst than your typical romance. While the intrepid ending wasn't quite what I expected, I still felt it was a fitting conclusion to the narrative.
A sweet, touching romance with just a hint of fantasy and mystery thrown in, Anything is another enjoyable story from Michael Baron.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Published by The Story Plant
Print ISBN-13: 978-1-61188-021-2
EBook ISBN-13:- 978-1-61188-022-9
At the request of the publisher, a PDF was sent at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
Synopsis (from back of book): With Anything, Michael Baron again draws readers into a world of deep emotion, compelling relationships, and heartfelt humor, and this time he adds a touch of fantasy. Ken and Melissa are at the dawn of a magnificent life together. A passionate romance has led them to the doorstep of marriage. While searching for the perfect wedding present for Melissa, Ken stumbles into a mysterious shop. There, he is given an extraordinary opportunity - to look in on Melissa when she was a girl. Ken has always wished he could have known Melissa from the day she was born and this seems like an incredible blessing.
Until he discovers a terrible secret in Melissa's past, one so awful she has found it impossible to mention to him.
Now Ken has another extraordinary opportunity. He can go back in time and change the horrible event that has left an indelible mark on Melissa. He can free her of this burden - but doing so could change things so completely that they might never meet.
Ken has repeatedly told Melissa that he would do anything for her. But would he truly do anything?
My Thoughts and Opinion: I was introduced to this author back in December of 2009 when I read and reviewed his novel, Crossing The Bridge, and instantly became a fan. Since that time, I have read the majority of his books and have yet to be disappointed. Matter of fact, his books are like a fine wine, they seem to get better with time. I was a bit skeptical when asked to review Anything, especially after reading his last book Spinning, which I rated 5/5. Could he do it again?
This novel had all the "Michael Baron elements" that first grabbed me, but then it also had a slight spin that had this reader wondering about once the last word was read (do not want to include spoilers). Mr. Baron's tender, masterful and descriptive writing style allows the reader to be transported and become part of the story line. The characters come to life with the ability not to just read their emotions but actually feel and experience them. The vivid descriptions of the scenes provides the reader the ability to create their own life like story line that carries the reader side by side with the characters, like a mind's movie.
As for the premise. Haven't we all said at one time or another these words, I would do anything for (fill in the blank)? But would we? At what cost? Not only is this book poignant, emotional, with a little suspense, and even a bit of fantasy but it is also thought provoking long after the book has ended and the reader is sitting there and now wondering, Would I do anything? Just like a perfect performance by a concert pianist, I say to Mr. Baron, BRAVO!!!!!!
My Rating: 5
Ken Timian and Melissa Argent meld their lives together in a way only soul mates can manage. Even though their careers are not particularly compatible, they respect the efforts, abilities, and successes of each other. As their wedding day approaches, two fortune cookies prove to have significant messages--"A major change is coming" and "Your heart will show you the way." This foreshadowing hints at the life-changing conflict that comes.
While Melissa is not materialistic, but she appreciates and enjoys beautiful things, and Ken loves to find unique pieces of jewelry for her. A mysterious little shop, Stephon's, never fails to yield up just the perfect piece. The shop is like an archeological dig full of jewels, gold, and silver. As Ken searches for a gift to commemorate their cherished courtship and welcome their marriage, Stephon, the owner of the shop, asks Ken what his greatest fantasy is concerning Melissa.
When Ken reveals his fantasy, Stephon says he can make it happen. However, while it will be informative and amusing, it can also be disconcerting. Then Ken's second request changes the dynamics of both his and Melissa's lives. It threatens to be his undoing.
Anything becomes mysterious, suspenseful, and the anxiety builds as Ken tries to cope with the fallout of his momentous decision and the subsequent actions. He seems stymied. He cannot tolerate going backward to a lifestyle he once savored nor can he seem to move forward until he exhausts all avenues of getting to his soul mate.
Many of the secondary characters are interesting, but Stephon is unique. One wonders if there is not a story behind the moonstone he and Ken believe is perfect for Melissa. The mystical power of the moonstone is believed to protect women and babies. It is also said to balance yin and yang, bring good fortune, and is highly prized for lovers as it arouses tender passion. What fun it would be to know the mystery of Stephon--maybe he will show up again in a later Baron story.
By using first person POV, Michael Baron creates a close relationship between the reader and Ken Timian. Ken's intimate hopes, dreams, fears, and resolve along with his desperation create an urgency that keeps one turning pages in an attempt to get Ken to the love he seems to be so deserving of.
Melissa is less closely connected, but her story is enthralling and breathtaking. She has a talent that "burns in her blood," but because of a past traumatic experience, she denies it. Yet, she functions with compassion and dedication in the life she has chosen in lieu of the life she once dreamed of having. As the reader sees her a different way, after Ken's life-changing deed, Melissa sparkles with vibrant life but with the same compassion and concern for others as before. She does not dismiss that spark of recognition as she sees Ken among the teeming crowd, but reaches out to him.
With poignant metaphors and magical imagery, the exquisite writing style of Michael Baron brings to life an enchanting love story that surpasses the usual and reveals a love willing to give all to assure a loved one gets to fulfill a deferred dream and innermost desire. Mr. Baron sprinkles Anything with humor, joy, social issues, exciting back story, and family relationships as he captivates with an incredible love story of soul mates finding their way to each other through a maze strewn with obstacles.
Originally posted at The Long and Short of It Romance Reviews
Ken begs the mysterious purveyor of necklaces and earrings to let him return once again, this time with the power to intervene. The jeweler warns Ken that changing the past is dangerous and unpredictable but he insists. He warns off the nasty teacher, Melissa avoids her trauma and he returns to the present day only to find that he is no longer engaged to her. They have never met and she has become a hugely successful pianist and crossover pop idol.
Not only that but this version of Ken is much inferior to the previous one. He's short and nasty, he drinks way too much -- in short he's become a kind of frat boy.
Ken can't bear life without Melissa but she seems out of his reach. How can he meet her -- and if and when he does, what will happen?
For two thirds or even three quarters of this book I was quite enjoying it. The writing, though nothing special, is serviceable and the set-up was intriguing. But then came the climax -- or rather, then came NOT the climax. Instead of the struggle one expected crowned with a triumphant ending, the author just ties up the loose ends with a casual lack of drama or effort that was to me intensely infuriating. No depths of emotion, no hopes dashed only to be revived, no climactic clinch - yes, there was a happy ending but it was such a yawner, so bereft of intensity and emotion that it felt like a big nothing.
Ken and Melissa, the focal point of the novel, are about to get married. Ken never knew he could love someone as much as he loves Melissa, and he is ready to start a new life together with her as his wife. While searching for just the right wedding present for Melissa, Ken stumbles upon a unique and mysterious shop. When the owner offers him a chance to look in on Melissa's life when she was a girl, Ken decides to seize the opportunity. But when the look back offers a glimpse at a horrific incident from her childhood, Ken is enraged. But now Ken has a second chance - he can go back in time and prevent the incident from happening. Ken would do anything for Melissa, and to take away that memory would bring Ken such joy and he feels that Melissa's life would only better from that. But when Ken returns to present time, Melissa is no longer in his life. She doesn't even know who he is. By changing that one piece of the past, Ken has now altered both his and Melissa's life - forever.
I enjoyed getting to know a male protagonist, which isn't something I get often with mainly reading chick lit and romance. Ken was such a lovely character, a man that I think everyone woman wishes she would meet and fall in love with. He had a great dynamic with Melissa, but the depth of these characters goes even farther. Ken says he will do anything for Melissa - even at the expense of them possibly never meeting. This was a terrific book, and like I said earlier, had me talking to people about what they would do given the opportunity. Check out this book - you won't be disappointed!