on Sep. 14, 2018 :
When Kimberly Chapman first mentioned her book Finding Gaia on Google+ as a romance, sci fi, fantasy, paranormal, I just nodded and moved on. However, when she mentioned it was feminist romance, I stopped and wondered how that would differ from the standard romance novel (which I don’t normally read).
So finally, having cunningly waited till there was a sale of books, I went out Finding Gaia.
And yes, there is a difference between the standard ‘romance’ novel and a feminist one, and I can understand more clearly why the standard romance novel is so very unappealing to anyone who believes that humans are humans first, and not men or women first and last, and hardly humane in the ways ‘standard’ romance novels treat the characters.
A book like this makes it even clearer that the drama and twists in a romance should not come about by jealousy and misunderstandings, that hate does not beget love, that contempt and ruthlessness and the use of force have no place in a real romance. Yes, this book is a romance first, but it’s also sci-fi, it’s also fantasy, it has paranormal stuff in it, it has humour, it has relatable characters, it has terrific writing, pace, suspense, villains and heroes, even superheroes and superbly horrible villains (these occur later in the book than the merely horrible villains in the early chapters).
Sure, run off immediately and leave this review and go buy your copy and ignore me. See if I care.
What happens in it? There is Jason Truitt, who is really old (centuries), and who is looking for someone like him (centuries old) and thinks he is again hot on the trail of the elusive Gaia. He is rich (compound interest over centuries, duh, what else would you expect? No? Well, okay, he’s a successful businessman). He has proteges (kind of heartbreaking to see your young friends age past you, grow old and die, so it must take real strength of heart to continue having proteges) who are Trish the peppy, enthusiastic, witty and impatient one, and Don the nerdy scientist who is barely aware of the world (except when wife Trish pulls him willy-nilly into the real world) but superb at his nerdy work. They are all on the track of a woman Jason code-names Gaia, whom he last saw centuries ago, and whose trail keeps going cold.
Why does her trail keep going cold? Is she evil or is evil done to her? What effect does the evil she encounters have on her? Can we get to like her? Will she be Jason’s friend or foe? Bwahahaha. In case you were expecting spoilers from me, I won’t give you any. Yes, they find Gaia. She can make things grow, besides being immortal. Does or does Jason not have a superpower of his own? Shrug from me.
Here’s a small sample, which to my mind, encapsulates the difference between a feminist/sensible romance and a bodice-ripper (said with true loathing). It’s also a sample of the humour you get all the time from Trish:
“Where are you going?” Trish shouted, running after him and pointing east. “She’s out there!”
He paused, his foot on the first step. “If she comes back, we’ll work it out calmly and slowly and properly.”
“And if she doesn’t?”
“Then I’m the one who is unworthy and don’t deserve a second chance.”
“Oh that’s profoundly stupid,” Trish spat.
“I’m not going to make it worse by chasing her down and saying the wrong thing.”
“How about chasing her down and kissing her? Leave words out of it!”
Jason turned and snapped back, “Yes, hunting her like an animal and assaulting her would be bloody brilliant.”
Trish shook her head incredulously. “You know, I love you so much that sometimes I really hate your guts.”
“Fine,” he grumbled and then ran up the stairs two at a time.
Trish shouted after him, “Yeah, fine! Go off and sulk then! That’ll really help!” Just before he slammed his bedroom door shut, he heard her mutter, “Moron.”
Yep, this book gets five stars, and I’m waiting for the sequel (it’s been outlined, she said).
(reviewed 3 years after purchase)
on May 28, 2013 :
Disclosure: I know the author. I in fact rather like her, she's a nice person.
That out of the way, here's my take on Finding Gaia: It's a really good book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, the premise is smart, the supernatural elements work well within the context of the story, and the characters, importantly, are very well put together.
The characters are really the best part of this book, and boy do they shine: Jason is broody but not annoyingly so, and for good reasons. Trish is sharp-tongued and witty, but not heartless. Don is a huge nerd, but also really wise in a lot of ways. Anna... Anna is really the best characterization of them all. She's been hurt, and the scars show, but she is a survivor. She heals, even when the pain seems insurmountable. I could not help but love her.
This being, at its heart, a romance, I would be remiss to not mention that the relationship between Jason and Anna is built very deftly. No insta-love here, they need time to even be okay with their feelings about one another. It's quite smartly done, and rings very true throughout.
I could perhaps have wished that the story had a different pacing, but I'm honestly not sure if that isn't just because I'm not familiar with the structure of a romance - I don't read a lot of them. Certainly, the story is well told and entertaining, and occasionally nail-biting. And since this is literally my only niggle, this book ends up coming very highly recommended indeed.
(reviewed 69 days after purchase)
on Feb. 13, 2013 :
If you are looking for a book that is "Hey you sneezed, so we better have sex" or other ridiculous excuses to string together sex scenes, you probably wouldn't want this book.
If you are looking for a well-written, well-rounded story, filled with great characters with very definite and separate personalities, then you absolutely want to read this book.
Kimberly Chapman is not only deft at character development, but her story-writing style pulls you in and makes you want to keep reading... and when the book is done, you are left wanting more.
The bonus is, the more of us that buy this book, the better the chance we WILL get more!
(reviewed 7 months after purchase)
on Dec. 20, 2012 :
I don't normally read indie books. I don't have anything against indie authors - in fact I have read several fantastic indie books - but you never can be sure that you're going to end up with a good book. When Finding Gaia first got my attention, I thought it had an interesting premise (and the promise of a good romance without a strong alpha male), but I was in no real rush to read it.
Then Kimberly Chapman released The Power of a Blush, a free extended scene and the first two chapters of Finding Gaia. Since I love free I picked it up, devoured it, and wanted more.
When I finally bought it and sat down to read it - I couldn't put it down. Several nights in a row I was up until the wee hours of the morning - either falling asleep while reading or forcing myself to go to sleep at 6am.
Finding Gaia has a fantastic cast of characters who all break the mold in their own way. Jason is one of the most beta heroes I've seen. Though he definitely has his carnal desires - he does his best to keep everything reigned in. Anna isn't your typical swooning heroine - she has her own issues to work through. All of the main characters have distinct personalities and growth throughout the novel.
This book has a LOT of relationship growth. In fact, the majority of the book focuses on the courtship of Jason and Anna and there isn't a huge deal of action until the end (though there are some adventurous moments throughout). I enjoyed the extra time spent on their relationship - many romance books fail at describing anything but contrived, superficial, love-at-first-sight relationships. The added relationship building did make a few parts of the novel feel slow - it never really dragged, but there were some spots where I wanted something more exciting to happen. This isn't necessarily a good thing or a bad thing - but something to be aware of if you choose to pick up this book.
The novel has an open ending that leaves room for more to come - and I can only hope there is more to come. Go buy the book so Kimberly Chapman can profit from this book and keep writing!
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
on Oct. 24, 2012 :
4 1/2 stars... I received a free copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I’ve learned throughout the months that receiving books from authros for reviews can be either hit or miss. They can be either really good, or really bad. Most fall in the middle range. But this book was amazing. If you’re looking for massive romance, you won’t find it here. Its more fantasy with a romance sprinkled here and there in it.
The storyline was unique. The overall book is really well-written. In fact, I’m surprised the author self-published, instead of a company jumping at the oppurtunity. She’s really that good of a writer. I felt for the characters, and when it ended, it seemed like this should be continued. Immediately I put my Nook down and looked for the suthor’s website to see if there would be a sequel. No news of it though.
This book was absolutely amazing, and I couldn’t put it down. In fact at work, while a group of us were leaving, one of my friends remarked, “I can’t believe you can walk and read at the same time!”
(reviewed 15 days after purchase)
on Sep. 30, 2012 :
I really enjoyed this book. In a world of unlimited urban fantasy about werewolves, vampires, zombies, etc, the original idea of having immortal humans with (limited) special powers was a breath of fresh air. Not only were the plot and characters unique, but Kimberly Chapman managed to cover an entire gamut of themes as well! And while this book technically is a romance novel, it is actually a very intelligent and romantic story about the journey of two people, and doesn't really comply to the smutty, guilty-pleasure stereotype of the romance genre.
The story follows a man called Jason Pruitt, the head of Gaia Global, a large environmental agency. But he's not any ordinary man, and there's only one other person in the world that he knows of that is like him. Gradually the reader discovers that Jason and Anna, originally referred to as 'Gaia', are immortal humans, and each of them has their own special power. A variety of themes are brought up naturally throughout the plot and character development in the novel, including the role of environmentalists, animal testing, proper female behavior, male dominance, sexual assault, ignorance, gay marriage, sexuality, science, loss, loneliness, and love. In addition to all of these themes, Kimberly also managed to have an incredibly interesting plot full of all sorts of tension and twists and turns, as well as amazing character development. All of it put together made this an incredibly exciting book that I had trouble putting down!
(reviewed 29 days after purchase)
on Sep. 22, 2012 :
SO first I do have to say Finding Gaia moved at a slow pace as everything was introduced. Until the end it felt very dragged out. BUT WAIT! There is the but to this. It was easy to follow along and see all the little details. Which is normally a good thing in a book.
I had trouble finding any feeling for Anna. She starts as a tortured soul which is normally a good thing, but I had trouble finding feelings for her with the first sentence. Understanding the new modern world should have been easier for her to me since she is an immortal and immortal tend to have a easier addaption rate or should.
Jason was our male character in Finding Gaia. He was much easier to like and understand. He tries to make up for all the wrong things he has done in life.
The side characters. Trish; the comical portion of the books. She was sure to crack a smile in the most intense scenes. Done was Trish's Knight in a Computer. SO very sweet. He showed a charming love that I found adoring. Giving up technology for Trish.
The story stays on the main subject, which my wondering unfocused mind loved. You always knew what was going on and hat would maybe happen.
(reviewed 36 days after purchase)
on Sep. 17, 2012 :
A well written novel. While the setup takes its time in some places (though I was never impatient at any point), it picks up pace subtly until the end where you want to reach into the computer, grab it by the lapels and yell, "More, more, there must be more!"
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, particularly because it does a very good job of world building. It also manages to be something of an historical fiction/romance in a modern day setting with plenty of nerd details, no mean feat. The characterization is full and varied, with the strengths and weaknesses of each character leaving their imprint on the story.
Would I recommend this book to others? Oh yes.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on Aug. 15, 2012 :
A great book by Kimberly Chapman. This fantasy unfolds in real time, while giving the reader a great review of what was! It is written in todays time frame, yet the reader is left with no doubt that much of the story is in the distant past.
Jason Truitt has raised a girl, Trisha, that now is married and lives with him in his mansion. Trisha, of course, knows how to push Jason's buttons, and does so with ease and regularity. Since Jason is very wealthy and has some unique traits of his own, he is quite private. However, Trisha, having been taken in by him and raised as his own daughter may have been, knows these traits. While she knows Jason is very old, she does not know exactly how old that is. She knows he heals when hurt, no matter what. He never gets sick, as normal people do. He pines after his Gaia, whom he has looked for for years.
When Jason hears that it is possible his Gaia is being held captive, he, Trisha, and Don devise a plan to rescue her. They are unsure of who or what they are rescuing, and the captive is equally unsure of them. As the rescued woman learns to trust them, they must learn more about her.
This is a wonderful, fast-moving, romantic story! I found it to be quite easy reading, yet moved along at a pace I could follow. I could easily recommend this book to anyone that enjoys historical romance stories.
(reviewed 37 days after purchase)
on Aug. 10, 2012 :
Finding Gaia by Kimberly Chapman
Jason Truitt, as he’s known at this time, has lived a really long life considering he was born in 1620. Unknown factors have made him immortal. He heals from injuries and has other unique abilities. Immortality may sound great and all but not when you are alone. Getting to know people just to outlive them all. With all his billions there is one thing Jason desires….his Gaia. A woman he saw at a gathering in 1899 and knew she was like him, he has been searching for her ever since.
Anna Vale has kept herself more secluded than Jason. Somehow she had been discovered and captured though. When she is rescued by a handsome man she can’t believe he is anything less than a dream….or another trick by those who have imprisoned her. Kept her away from the sun and plants her body craves to be around. Can she truly believe these rescuers truly only want her to have freedom? Can someone like Anna ever learn to trust?
The author has written a unique story. Don and Trisha live in Jason’s mansion with him. He had rescued Trisha as a teenager. They both work for him at Gaia Global as well. Trisha likes to push Jason to his limits especially when he don’t do things as quickly as she wants him too. And Don mostly stays behind his computer being the scientist he is. They have been searching for Jason’s Gaia as well….knowing one day they would be gone and Jason would go on. Alone. Jason and Anna always have to live with the caution of people finding out what they are, especially those who kidnapped Anna before. This book ends on a note that lets you know there is more to come but yet is complete enough that I didn’t feel that I had been left hanging.
**Sensual situations and Language
(reviewed 3 days after purchase)
on July 20, 2012 :
A fantastic sophomore effort! Great plot, compelling characters, and sex so hot that it literally makes the earth move!
(reviewed 11 days after purchase)