In the Mirror

In the Mirror

by Kaira Rouda

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In the Mirror 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
quaintinns More than 1 year ago
Kaira Rouda did a superior job with an emotionally charged subject, handling it with delicacy and sensitivity. A novel of a woman's loves, both past and present. Would highly recommend IN THE MIRROR to those families experiencing cancer, or other illnesses, as would be able to relate to the treatments, struggles, turmoil, and emotions. When you look at the front cover of IN THE MIRROR, you see a woman looking in her rear view mirror, which hints the character would be looking back. The cover was very fitting for Jennifer’s look at her past life, as she approaches the ending of her present and future life. While reading, IN THE MIRROR, my mom, 82, very fit and young-looking, was undergoing her first chemo treatment (mixture of eight pills a day, and chemo drip every two weeks), for colon and secondary liver cancer. While I was reading about this young mother and her daily struggles with cancer, and Ralph the other strong character, I was thinking how insightful and therapeutic to learn what is actually going on inside the cancer’s victim’s mind. Jennifer is a young wife and mother, dying with an aggressive form of breast cancer. While in Shady Valley (hospice center) she is receiving therapy to help make her life as comfortable as possible, and develops a close strong friendship with another patient, Ralph. I loved their relationship as so endearing-- as they face their illness with a strong bond with intense mixture of love, pain, hurt, sarcasm, and humor. The first part of the book is preparing and planning for a life party (before the funeral) to celebrate her life with her family and friends, as she grasps for every bit of life she can. Jennifer feels distant from her husband Henry, and her family. Her former boyfriend, Alex comes back into the picture and she gets swept away in this relationship, as it feels fresh and allows her to escape from her sad sick life. Henry does not accept this friendship, and Jennifer is torn with her feelings between her husband and her ex-boyfriend. While she is fighting for a cure, trying to keep her business afloat, spending time with her family and kids, fighting with her sister, some other crazy family members, and maintain her sanity – her romantic relationship with Alex gets a little out of hand; however, changes the way Henry sees his sick wife. IN THE MIRROR was an inspiring novel and realistic look at how important it is to the patient to feel good about oneself and develop independent strong relationships. This book has helped me with the way I approach her care with perspective, allowing her to spend more time talking about her childhood, teen years, and her earlier life -- the good memories and times, versus focusing on her current treatment and the future. A special thank you to Real You Publishing Group and NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
Suze-Lavender More than 1 year ago
Jennifer had a perfect life, until cancer messed it up. She's married to the man of her dreams and has two wonderful children. She also owns a business together with someone she adores and she has many friends. However, she might have to leave it all behind if a cure for her cancer can't be found. She's residing in a treatment facility and her days are lonely. Even though she has visitors, she misses spending time with her family. While Jennifer is fighting for her life she has too much time to think about her past, missed chances and life going on outside the facility. This leads to some desperate decisions she might not have taken otherwise. Will Jennifer find a way to deal with the major curveball life has thrown her? Jennifer is trying to organize a party, that way she can see all the people she cares about and talk to them. Knowing they would come to her funeral doesn't do her any good, so she's asking them to say goodbye while she's still alive. Her only hope left is finding an experimental treatment that works. While being treated she has quite a bit of time on her own to get through though. How will Jennifer fill those difficult days in the clinic that evolve around feeling worthless, despair, hoping she's still loved and jealousy? Can she live with the choices she's made in her life and were they the right ones? In the Mirror is an impressive emotional story. Jennifer is very ill and waiting for visitors every day can be daunting. Her husband is trying to take care of the kids while working and he doesn't have enough time for his wife. This makes Jennifer doubt every good thing they used to have together. She has plenty of time to think, overthink and analyze and it doesn't do her much good. My heart ached for everything she has to go through and for each insecurity she faces. It's incredibly difficult for the once so active Jennifer to spend her days in bed being exhausted and to completely depend on others. Jennifer feels weak and alone, but she tries to make the best of her time anyway. I loved that about her. She's able to have fun when there's not much to laugh. She has her flaws and makes a few terrible choices, but that's understandable in the awful circumstances she's in. Kaira Rouda writes about hope, grief and forlornness in a beautiful poignant way. Her story is honest, open and empathic. I flew through the pages of In the Mirror. It's a captivating story that is easy to read despite the difficult subject matter. Kaira Rouda has written a fantastic original story about a disease that causes heartache in almost everyone's life at some point. There's plenty of warmth in her book and I liked that it's not all doom and gloom. I had tears in my eyes while reading In the Mirror, but I also had to smile many times. It's a terrific moving story.
ABrantley More than 1 year ago
One of the most emotional books I've ever read. Yes, it brought tears to my eyes several times and even made me cry a time or two, but it was so beautifully written. Kaira Rouda has created a book that is almost too difficult to read due to the level of emotion the book evokes, but it's also the type of book you can't quit reading. I think we all know someone that has had cancer and this is such a well done look at what those that suffer from cancer must go through. I highly recommend this one.
MichelleLN More than 1 year ago
In The Mirror is about a woman named Jennifer Benson. One day her world is turned upside down when she learns that she has breast cancer. Jennifer wasn't making progress with her treatment and she has been moved away from her family, away from her home and into a care facility. Needing something to make her happy, she has decided that she wants to have a Celebration of Life party. This would give her a chance to reconnect with all the people who were important throughout her life. Not everyone from her past are who they seem or who they used to be. You must look inside your heart to see those who really love you. This book gives you an insight of what it's like for the cancer patient. The struggles they have with even the smallest tasks that healthy people take for granted. One thing that really made this book stand out were the chapter titles. Every chapter was titled with a warning label that not only fit the chapter, but it is something that everyone has seen at some point. I thought that was very unique and really added to the story.
JerseyGirlBookReviews More than 1 year ago
Every once in a while an emotionally powerful and compelling story comes along that completely pulls at the heartstrings, stirs the soul, and makes you stop and ponder what would you do if you were in the main character's shoes. For me, the story that has left an indelible imprint on my mind is the beautifully written novel, In The Mirror by author Kaira Rouda. In The Mirror is an emotional story that follows Jennifer Benson, a young wife, mother, daughter, and business owner, who at the age of 34 is dying from an aggressive form of breast cancer. Set in Grandville, Ohio and told in the first person narrative, Jennifer takes the reader on an emotional journey as she reflects upon her life while coping with her diagnosis and pending death. While living at Shady Valley, an experimental treatment / hospice facility, Jennifer struggles through the pain of having terminal cancer, while holding onto the hope that the latest round of experimental drug therapy will change the course of the disease. With the help of her supportive family and friends, especially Ralph Erickson, her best friend and fellow terminal cancer patient at the facility, Jennifer decides to plan a life celebration party so that she can reconnect with the people who have touched her life in some way. Jennifer wants to provide them with a fond lasting memory of her alive, instead of one of her in a casket at her funeral. This is a thought provoking story that will have the reader questioning what they would do if they were in Jennifer's shoes. As Jennifer reflected upon the choices and decisions that she has made in her life, I couldn't help but wonder how I would reflect upon my own life if I had terminal cancer and knew I was going to die. The author thoughtfully draws the reader into Jennifer's story and does a wonderful job of taking the reader through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, while infusing this tragic and heartbreaking story with a balance of humor and lightheartedness. I loved how each chapter began with a drug warning label, I thought it was a witty way of using a gallows sense of humor that made me snicker and lightened my mood. I easily connected with the characters in the story, and couldn't help but become emotionally invested. In The Mirror is a touching, inspirational, and powerful story that will have the reader experiencing the full gamut of emotions, while providing them with a chance to reflect upon and celebrate what is really important in their lives, with a gentle reminder to count their blessings everyday. 
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Jennifer Benson was an easy character to fall in love with and I completely loved her story.  I was concerned that with her terminal diagnosis and her living in a hospital of sorts that this book would be super sad and somewhat stagnant as the location of the story doesn't really change, but I was completely wrong.  It was on the sad side, but not too much.  I think the author did a great job of balancing the severity of the illness and her surroundings with the entertaining guests who visit her and bring laughter and drama into her hospital room. Although I am not a fan of hanging endings, I kind of felt like it was right with this one.  I enjoyed not knowing what happened with Jennifer and I may have changed my mind a few times as to how I would end it!
bookluvr35SL More than 1 year ago
This book will make you laugh and make you cry.  You may even see a little bit of yourself in Jenn.  Jenn is battling breast cancer and decides to plan a party to celebrate her life.  In the midst of the planning, the treatments, and trying to keep some semblance of family with her husband and two children, her ex-boyfriend comes back to town and pays her a visit.  It prompts the question.... if you had a chance for a do-over, would you keep the same husband or go back to a former love?  This book is so gripping and emotional I wasn't able to put it down.  Definitely a must-read!
CatmomJD More than 1 year ago
A beautifully written story. A definite must read. In The Mirror is full of emotion as a young wife and mother, Jennifer, struggles with cancer and her treatments. I was drawn into the story immediately. Jennifer's friendships are incredible as they support her through it all. I especially loved the friendship she made with Ralph, another patient. Her old boyfriend's reappearance brought up the thought of what would have happened if I had a second chance with an old love. We all have a past that we wonder about. But, would we ever be brave enough to take the chance to see how it could be if we had a second chance? When I was finished reading the book, I wanted more.
1classicfan More than 1 year ago
I' m not much of a review writer, because I'm afraid I'll reveal to much of the story.  It is a story of choices, trust, hope, and faith.  I enjoyed the writer's insight, and writing  style.   Anxious  to get started on the next two novels by this author that I have already purchased.       Joan
KimTeamer More than 1 year ago
In the Mirror by Kaira Rouda was such an incredible book and yet it was even more than that. It was a moving read. It was hard and real and raw and honest. It was life and death and life all over again. My Thoughts: I cannot imagine being Jennifer. What she had to face, what she had to deal with... But her strength, her beauty, and her resolve were remarkable. In the end, she was at that affirming and necessary place of acceptance. I loved that.  Dearest Henry... My heart literally aches for this wonderful man. I understood him so well. He showed himself to be such a lovely man of worth.  Thank heavens for Ralph! He was a dose of goodness. (Insert sniffle and sigh here.) Also, his wife's words to Jennifer as she sat on her throne...well, they were absolutely perfect. Just marvelously right! Jennifer's family and friends were quite colorful. They had their own stories to tell as well. I'm glad Rouda uncovered their issues. It made the reading experience more authentic somehow. I learned a lot from seeing them. Summary: There were so many facets to this beautiful story. I felt that it dealt with a difficult subject in such a graceful way. Rouda produced a well-written, well thought out book that was filled with the pretty and not-so-pretty issues that go along with a terminal diagnosis.  This book will make you think, laugh, cry, feel, and come to a personal truth about what really matters regarding life and love.  Outstanding work! Rating: 5/5Recommend: YesBookshelf Worthy: YesContent: Clean, MatureAudience: YA-ABook Club Spotlight Feature Recommended: YesExtras: Discussion topics and questionsOther: Dealing with cancer of any type is something that affects not just the person who has it, but it also affects their loved ones and extended circle as well. Many strange and unfamiliar emotions and feelings are visited from the time the diagnosis is given all the way forward. One can really begin to see perhaps what they should have already been able to see or rather what was already there in each life, including his or her own.HEA: ? (Read it and you tell me.)
Mengel2 More than 1 year ago
If you knew your days were limited, how would you spend them?  Would you spend more time with family and friends?  Go on the trip you always dreamed of?  Do something crazy and unexpected like get your first tattoo?  Or would you go about your life as usual? Jennifer Benson has resigned to the fact that her cancer is going to prematurely end her life.  At 34, the thought of people seeing her for the last time at her funeral isn’t the way she wants to be remembered; so she’s planning a party to celebrate her life.  But when her ex-boyfriend, Alex, comes to town he makes it known that his feelings for Jennifer are still strong.  With the disconnect she has been feeling with her husband and dealing with a terminal illness, the attention that Alex gives her is not only welcome, but something she starts to look forward to.  But when Alex shows a different side of him, one that Jennifer has never seen, she realizes the mistake she made getting close to him again.  She fears she may have gone too far and potentially jeopardized her marriage.   In The Mirror is a powerful book about life, love and forgiveness.  The way the author addressed such sensitive topics as illness and infidelity was done in such a flawless way.  This book will make you laugh, cry, and reevaluate what’s truly important in life.  I absolutely recommend this book and am keeping my fingers crossed for a sequel!
MrsAnderson More than 1 year ago
It brings me great joy to share this review on the release day of In the Mirror, (CONGRATULATIONS, Kaira!). I had never read anything by Kaira Rouda, so I was beyond ecstatic when she asked me if I would read and review her newest book. Instantly, I jumped at the chance, as I’ve seen her books and have heard such amazing things about how they draw you in. Right from the start, I was, in fact, drawn in, and was pursued by Kaira’s main character, Jennifer. Even though she was in a serious state of her cancer, Jennifer was a fighter, who wanted to keep her life as normal as possible. Since she’s in a treatment center with other patients, she has become friends with a wonderful man, who, at times, I thought was a little too forward, but I understood why he acted the way he did, along with the significance of his character, but only at the end. Jennifer appears to have a loving marriage, and two children she adore her, even if she can’t be at home with them. Along with them, she also has a sister who seems a little too mysterious (something was off about her from the beginning), a mother who cares, yet has a hard time of showing it, and a father who loves her. What more could one want, right? Well, from the moment her ex is mentioned, I got not such a good feeling about him, and that only strengthened when he went to visit Jennifer…and took her away, (nope, no spoilers, but let’s just say I was holding my breath the whole time). While reading In the Mirror, I laughed and cried, but not only that, I got angry, too, and wanted to protect Jennifer from any evilness that would come her way. The last paragraph of the book did have me wounding a lot — did Jennifer die, or did she fall asleep. As of now, I’m still debating what really happened, but I think that’s what Kaira wanted her readers to do — to think about the situation, and all that Jennifer went through. Like I mentioned above, this was my first book by Kaira Rouda, and it won’t be my last. She’s an amazing author, who leaves you wanting more, both from her characters and her books. If you’re looking for a book that is a fast, quick read, one you can’t put down and will tug and melt your heart along the way, added with a little mystery at the end, I highly recommend In the Mirror! I give this book 5 stars!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"In the Mirror" by Kaira Rouda tore my heart to pieces! This story follows Jennifer Benson, a daughter, wife, mother who at the age of 34 is dying of an aggressive form of breast cancer. It begins with Jennifer meeting with her terminal friend Ralph who lives with her at Shady Valley (a hospice center). They are discussing, rather morbidly, her need for a party. This party is like a funeral before death. Jennifer wants to meet with the people who meant something to her before she dies and give them a true memory of her, instead of them seeing her in a casket. The characters of this story are wonderfully written. Jennifer is the main character and the story is told from her POV. I was amazed at the depth the author went into when describing everything that Jennifer goes through. She took us through the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance). And just like in real life, these stages don't necessarily come in order and the author showed that really well. Her husband Henry is just amazingly heartbreaking! At the beginning of the story we see a detached husband who is struggling to keep his family together and at the end he's back to being the husband Jennifer remembers who kisses her just because. The plot of this story is really quite simple. It's a reflection of Jennifer's life and how she is coping with her diagnosis of death. She chooses to focus on her good memories instead of the bad ones when remembering her past which leads to a little trouble with her ex Alex (nothing she and Henry can't handle). There were a few moments were I couldn't help but chuckle (gallows humor and the beginning of each chapter started with a drug warning label) It's truly a heart-wrenching story as Jennifer asks the questions no one wants to ask. Who will raise her kids with Henry? Will they remember her? Will Henry fall in love with another woman, a younger healthy version of herself? As a young wife and mother myself reading certain parts of this book proved to be too much. I sobbed, wondering how my own family would handle this situation. If you or someone you love has dealt with cancer, then you will understand Jennifer's troubles all too well. Realistically written, I wouldn't doubt that the author herself has seen this firsthand. If you enjoy realistic, women's literature then I highly suggest you pick up this novel. It's sweet, it will make you cry, but it's so worth it!! ***I received an eARC from the publishers at Real You via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.***