10/30/13

WWW - October 30


Happy Wednesday Everyone!  W...W...W...Wednesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading.  To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions...

What are you currently reading?
I'm still reading The Diviners by Libba Bray!  My first book club meeting is tonight ... yeah, not going to finish that one in time.  My reason?  Rae Carson's The Bitter Kingdom came in at the library and, well, I just HAD to dive into that one!  On my e-reader, I just jumped into Courtney C. Stevens' Faking Normal, and I'm enjoying it so far.

What did you recently finish reading?
The Bitter Kingdom -- my review will be up soon!  I also just read Mitch Albom's The First Phonecall from Heaven and my review for that one will be up next month.

What do you think you'll read next?
I said Anna Godbersen's Beautiful Days for my series challenge on my last WWW post, which is still sitting on my nightstand, but I think I'll be reading Katie McGarry's Pushing the Limits next since I need a little light contemporary in my life.  I requested Crash Into You on a whim on Netgalley and was approved, so I'm going to binge-read the whole series next month.  It's been a long, long time since I've binge-read a series and, even though this one is NOT on my series intervention list, I think it'll be a sign of good series reading behaviour to come.  At least that's what I'm telling myself...

What are YOU reading this week?  Please leave me a comment below!
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10/29/13

The Iron Traitor - Julie Kagawa

Confession time:  I started reading this book feeling rather tired of the whole Iron Fey series, so I wasn't prepared to enjoy it.  I requested it on Netgalley before I read Iron Knight (which was my least favourite of the series) and thought that it was simply book 5 in the series.  Since I'm on a campaign lately to finish the series that I've started, and refrain from starting any new ones, I was rather disappointed to discover that this was a spin-off of the Iron Fey series and, instead of just diving straight into this one, I had to read The Lost Prince first.

I borrowed The Lost Prince from the library, and read about half of it before my loan expired and I couldn't open it on my Kobo anymore.  So I went back on the site and tried to borrow it again, but I still couldn't get it to work.  I was tempted to just give up on the series, but I decided to jump into The Iron Traitor anyways.

You really don't need to read The Lost Prince first, since the book did a nice job of recapping the previous book (although I did know who the characters were).  I liked reading a story from Ethan's point of view, and I found him much more tolerable in this book.  He started off really angry at the world in The Lost Prince, and it was hard to relate to him because he was just so .... unlikeable.  The Iron Traitor had its action-packed moments and its slow-paced moments, which is typical of most of Kagawa's work.  During most of her books, there were moments where I contemplated DNF-ing the book because it slowed down so much, but then moments where I couldn't turn the pages fast enough once the action picked back up again.  This ebb and flow of plot pacing might work for some, but it's not really my style.  I've read quite a few of Kagawa's books since I started up this blog, but I fear that this one may be my last.  But for those of you that are fans of her work and her Iron Fey series, this book is one that you will likely enjoy!

Note: I received an e-galley of this book from Netgalley.  The fact that I received this book for review did not influence my opinion of this book in any way.
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10/28/13

Marko Monday [7]

I first saw Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Halloween on Netgalley a few months ago, but knew that this book would be perfect to feature on Marko Monday this month!  Now, a small disclaimer: I didn't actually read this book WITH Marko, since it's a much longer Scaredy Squirrel title.

Mélanie Watt's latest installment of the Scaredy Squirrel series contains many of the same things that make me giggle in her books, from Scaredy's silly lists to his bizarre plans.  With Halloween coming, Scaredy needs to make special plans to ensure that he does NOT get scared because, you know, he's a scaredy squirrel!

If you're a fan of the rest of the Scaredy Squirrel series, this book will definitely not disappoint.  I loved that it's twice the length of the previous books, which just meant more Scaredy goodness.  This is definitely one of my all-time favourite picture book series and well-worth checking out.  I find that these books are a lot like Mo Willems' Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus series; the books are written for children, but there's lots of adult appeal to them as well.

Here's a more recent picture of my little man, who has taken a liking to pulling books off the shelves now that he can pull himself up to standing.  Fortunately, he has excellent taste in literature.


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10/25/13

Friday Favourite - Fall on Your Knees

Happy Friday everyone!  This is a new feature that I'm starting here on the blog, highlighting some of my all-time favourite books.  This is partially inspired by Jaime @ The Perpetual Page-Turner's Before I Blogged series, where she highlights books that she read and loved before she started blogging.  I have SO MANY favourite books to share and plan on doing at least a couple of these per month ... it'll take off the pressure to post frequent reviews, since I'm sharing thoughts on books that I read a while ago, while also giving me the chance to plug some older titles that you might not have read.


Lauren @ Lose Time Reading, Hannah @ So Obsessed With and I were talking about this book on Twitter a few weeks ago, so I just knew that I had to talk about it as one of my Friday Favourites. I read this book for a Women's Studies class that I took in my second year at university, which was taught by one of the most incredible professors that I had the pleasure of meeting.  I read it the summer before school started (because I'm overly enthusiastic that way) and absolutely adored the story.  Then, I was assigned to do a group presentation on the book and the women that I worked with transported my understanding of the book to a whole different level.  I read it once more while we worked on our project and dove deeper into the storyline and the characters.  In our presentation, we each took on the role of one of the characters and talked about the themes of the story from that character's perspective.  We wove music into our presentation, with both CDs of certain songs and me playing the piano for other tunes (if I recall correctly, piano playing was an integral part of the story).  Our presentation ended with Celine Dion's rendition of Ave Maria and the class was absolutely silent, save for our prof who was sniffling.  At the end of each group presentation, the presenting group was to answer questions from the class, but our prof asked if the class could have a moment to compose themselves before the Q&A portion began, because quite a few people were moved.

This is a book that I want to read again one day, just because it sticks out in my mind as being one of those stories that had such a profound impact on me during some of my most formative years.  As I was just beginning to discover who I was as a person, this book really stuck with me and I felt like the story forever changed me after I finished reading it.  It's still one of my all-time favourites.
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10/22/13

We Are Water - Wally Lamb

A small disclaimer up front: I absolutely love Wally Lamb's books, but they are NOT pretty reads.  He has an incredible gift for writing stories about people that are messy, disturbed, dysfunctional and sometimes not very nice. Yet he does in a way that is so real and true to the characters.  Even though the story may not sit too well with the reader, there's something about his storytelling that always compels me forward.

We Are Water was no exception.  From the introduction to the story, we are propelled through a journey that touches on a number of icky topics, from racism to segregation to pedophilia to sexual abuse.  Although there were certain scenes that were tough to read, I flew through this 500+ page novel in a remarkably short period of time.

In the prologue of the story, an aging artist is being interviewed about Josephus Jones, a black painter who died before he became famous.  His work has post-humously become quite valuable, and the reporter is interested in learning about the artist who gave Jones a "Best in Show" prize at a local art show, which shocked and outraged the community.  From there, we are catapulted into a switching narrative that goes primarily back and forth between Orion and Annie Oh, former husband and wife who are have their own unique struggles to face.  Interspersed into their alternating narrative are a few other characters who each take a turn at telling the story.

There were a few moments in the story where I could see what was coming and cringed as I anticipated the next moments unfolding.  But instead of having that moment unfold, the narration would switch characters and I'd be transported into a different place.  It made the pace of the story really unpredictable, which really worked to keep me reading.  I never knew who was going to narrate next, and where I'd be taken.

It's hard to know exactly what to say about this story without spoiling any of the plot, so I'm just going to focus on the title.  I love the title and feel that it really does fit the story.  We ARE water and, like water, we can survive the craziest storms and emerge from these experiences just as strong, but changed from where we've been.  Water plays a strong thematic role in this book, from the flood that Annie survives as a child, to the moments of calm that Orion experiences on the beach.  There's a quote towards the end that speaks about water taking the path of least resistance, and I think this also pertains to our human nature to take the road that's easiest.  We don't always choose the difficulties that block our path but, like water, it can be our choice as to whether we crash against them, or flow around them peacefully.

All of Lamb's other books have a spot on my favourites shelf, and We Are Water will definitely be taking a place on that shelf as well.  As I mentioned at the beginning of my review, this is not a light, fluffy novel, as it deals with some very intense themes, but I absolutely adored the way that the story unfolded.

Note: I received an e-galley of this book from Edelweiss.  The fact that I received this book for review did not influence my opinion of this book in any way.
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10/21/13

On Saying No

As I posted earlier, I'm planning to write some more discussion-type posts in the future.  I had previously posted about having the blogging blahs, and I think the stress of trying to read and review in order to have content for the blog was really getting to me.  I keep reading all of these GREAT discussion posts (like Cass' Thursday Thoughts and all of the great discussion posts that Jaime @ The Perpetual Page-Turner posts) and I HAVE all these bookish thoughts, just never the guts to post them.  So here goes.

During the summer, I had a major case of the blogging blahs.  Part of this problem came from the pressure of having too many review books, with their corresponding deadlines, and not enough time to read the books I wanted.  Plus, with a little one on my hands, I barely have enough reading time as it is.

I feel better about my review pile now, and some of this came from me learning to say the magic word NO.  When I first signed up for Netgalley, I requested a ton of books, some of which I was really excited to read.  I got approved for probably my first six requests, and all of a sudden had a ton of books to read with deadlines.  I read some great books at first (like Someday, Someday, Maybe and Hopeless) and was really excited to be part of the process for sharing bookish love on release day.  Then, I started reading a couple that weren't so great and, because I wasn't enjoying them so much, my review book pile got stuck and wasn't going down.  But the approval e-mails were still coming in.  So I put a couple aside, figuring that I'd come back to them in time.

Then I learned that Netgalley e-galleys EXPIRE.  Whoops, didn't realize that!  I had thought that it wouldn't matter if I went back to read the book a few months later, only to find out that my e-galley would no longer open.  THEN the guilt started.  I mean, I'd asked these publishers for permission to read and review the books, and the publishers had TRUSTED me enough to approve my request.  And I had LET THEM DOWN.  So I requested the books at the library and, after waiting FOREVER (my library is seriously slow at processing new titles), the books came in.  It had been so long since I'd started reading them, so I had to start again.  And you know what?  I STILL wasn't enjoying the books.  So I continued feeling guilty and was trying to force myself to read something that I wasn't liking.  Stress stress stress.

So I realized something: it's okay to say that a book isn't for me.  I wrote up a short little blurb, explaining to the publisher that I had tried to get into the book, but it just wasn't for me.  In one case, it was the second book in a series and I had enjoyed the first one, but just couldn't get into the second book.

After I hit send on both messages, I felt like a HUGE weight had been lifted off my shoulders.  I realized that it's okay to say no!  Then I read a couple of GREAT review books and felt SO much better.

So, my question to you is this: how do YOU manage your review pile?  Are you picky about the books that you request in order to narrow down your pile?  What do you do when your review pile gets too large?  Do you ever say "thanks but no thanks" after you've been approved to review a title?

As always, your comments make my day!
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10/16/13

WWW - October 16


Happy Wednesday Everyone!  W...W...W...Wednesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading.  To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions...

What are you currently reading?
I'm still reading The Diviners for book club at the end of the month -- it's so LONG and a bit slow, but I'm plugging away.  I also have two e-books on the go: Julie Kagawa's The Iron Traitor and Diane Setterfield's Bellman & Black.

What did you recently finish reading?
I think I still have a bit of a book hangover from Jojo Moyes' Me Before You -- if you missed it, this is my MOST PERSONAL review EVER.

What do you think you'll read next?
I said Anna Godbersen's Beautiful Days for my series challenge on my last WWW post, which is still sitting on my nightstand.  Next up for review is Mitch Albom's The First Phonecall from Heaven.

Just noticed that today is actually my 300th post -- pretty cool, eh?  So what are YOU reading this week?
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10/14/13

Top Ten Books That I Was Forced to Read


It's Tuesday and time for another Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the wonderful people over at The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's topic is books that I was forced to read.  I've decided to put a positive spin on this list and highlight books that I might not have picked up on my own, but ended up loving.

1. Me Before You - Jojo Moyes
As I mentioned in my review, the cover of this book didn't grab my attention.  If it wasn't for Cassie's LOVE of this book, I might not have picked it up, nor had such an incredibly personal connection to the story.

2. Fall on Your Knees - Ann-Marie MacDonald
Lauren from Lose Time Reading and I were just discussing this book on Twitter the other day.  I read it for a course that I took in university and fell head over heels in love with the characters, the story, the writing, everything.

3. God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy
I read this book for the same course as Fall on Your Knees (one of the best courses that I took in university actually!).  This is, hands down, one of the most beautiful and heart-wrenching love stories that I have ever read.

4. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
We had our choice of a select list of novels to read for a novel study in Grade 10 English, and I chose this one.  I was home sick for a few days and I remember devouring the entire thing in a day and a half.  It's still one of my all-time favourite novels.

5. The Chrysalids - John Wyndham
This book was on that same list of novels to choose from in Grade 10, but I opted to read To Kill a Mockingbird instead.  I discovered it while working on a project for my final Women's Studies course, and it's probably the first dystopian novel that I ever read -- soon to be the first of many!

6. Beloved - Toni Morrison
I read this one for an American Literature course during my last year in university and was absolutely swept away by the story.

7. Their Eyes Were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston
I read this for the same course as Beloved (one was for the first half of the course, the second was for the other part of the course ... but I can't remember which is which).  Again, I was captivated by the story and the writing.  The movie adaptation with Halle Berry was released that same year, and I really enjoyed the movie version too.

8. Holes - Louis Sachar
Once upon a time, I didn't read much young adult literature.  As an English student, I read a lot of classics, and then adult literature for fun on the side.  Then I took a YA education course, read Holes and my life was never quite the same after that!

9. Instruments of Darkness - Nancy Huston
I took a Canadian fiction course as part of my English degree and this book absolutely blew me away.  In retrospect, it seems to be a little similar in storytelling style to The Gargoyle, another of my all-time favourites.

10. Green Grass, Running Water - Thomas King
This book was so weird and different, but came alive for me when we discussed it at school.  I remember feeling like I really "got it" and that aha moment stuck with me long after the course was done.  Anyone else ever have that moment when your professor would explain the innuendos behind the novel...and all of a sudden the storyline just opens up to a whole new level of understanding?  This is the one book that I can distinctly remember that moment, from a "what the heck is going on?" to "Oh, my gosh, this writer is a freakin' GENIUS!"

Most of these books were ones that I was required to read for school.  What about you?  Any great books that you were forced to read, but ended up loving?  Leave me a link to your TTT post and I'll stop by!
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On Bookish Thankfulness

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!  I know, I know, for many of you Thanksgiving isn't actually until November, but in Canada we celebrate in October!  So, in the spirit of the holiday, I thought I'd take a moment and share a few bookish things that I am feeling quite thankful for on this beautiful day.

1. Bookish friends.  One of the things that I've loved most about joining the online book blog community is the friends that I've made.  I was going to try to list you all ... but I was too worried about accidentally forgetting someone!  Seriously, from the online Twitter chats to the book recommendations to just friendship in general ... you ladies are AWESOME.

2. Amazing books.  I can't even count how many absolutely INCREDIBLE books I have devoured since I started reading recommendations from my fellow bloggers.  Some are books that I might not have picked up on my own (i.e. other than Hunger Games, I hadn't really read much dystopian fiction before blogging ... and I have read so many unbelievable dystopian titles since then).  Plus, this year, I've been getting back into adult literature, which I had really been missing.  Hannah and Cassie's new feature is sure to fuel that reading desire ... I've already picked up Nowhere But Home based on their undying love for that book!)

3. A hubby who loves to read too. Over the summer Jaime & Estelle wrote awesome posts about what it's like to be married to a non-reader (Jaime) and an avid reader (Estelle).  I loved reading both perspectives because it really made me think about the importance of reading and books in my own marriage.  Last year, I shared our how we met story and the importance of books in our relationship.  We not only met in a bookstore, but we have a HUGE library of books (seriously, seven bookshelves of fiction, two of non-fiction and four of chess books!)  We'd have more bookshelves if we could, but we're in a two-bedroom condo and have a limited amount of space. Books featured prominently in our wedding -- we had a Once Upon a Time theme, complete with our favourite titles as centerpieces and bookmarks as wedding favours!  Plus, on any given evening, after our baby boy is in bed, you can find the two of us curled up on the couch reading, him with a chess book usually (although he's reading The Book Thief at the moment and is really liking it) and me with a novel.  I almost feel like books are the foundation of our relationship.

My question to you now is this ... what are you bookishly thankful for?
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10/11/13

Friday Favourite - The Harry Potter Series

Happy Friday everyone!  This is a new feature that I'm starting here on the blog, highlighting some of my all-time favourite books.  This is partially inspired by Jaime @ The Perpetual Page-Turner's Before I Blogged series, where she highlights books that she read and loved before she started blogging.  I have SO MANY favourite books to share and plan on doing at least a couple of these per month ... it'll take off the pressure to post frequent reviews, since I'm sharing thoughts on books that I read a while ago, while also giving me the chance to plug some older titles that you might not have read.

I was a little bit late to the Harry Potter train, jumping on board after the publication of the fourth book.  I was a Girl Guide leader at the time, and only planned on reading the first book in the series, just to find out what all the girls were so excited about.  Plus, when they were talking about Hermione and Quidditch and Professor Snape ... I didn't get it and just wanted to understand what they were talking about.  But from book one I was HOOKED and read the next three in quick succession.  Then I waited and waited for book 5, which I read while working at Point O' Pines Camp in upstate New York.  I worked at the midnight launch for book 6, which was an AMAZING experience -- I LOVED seeing all those people lined up, some in costume, and just so excited over a BOOK.  Here's a pic of me and some of my former co-workers all dressed up!


Then, I attended the midnight launch at Chapters of the final book -- a bittersweet ending to a long adventure.  I loved reading a new installment of Harry's adventures, but I was also sad to see a much-loved series come to an end.  Although, I am excited at the prospect of rediscovering this series through my son's eyes ... I'm sure we'll read these books out loud to Marko when he's old enough, and I just can't WAIT to see his eyes light up as he experiences the magic for the first time.

I posted a discussion post about bookish hype earlier this week and I feel that Harry Potter definitely falls into that category, and is probably the reason why quite a few of my blogger friends just haven't read the series yet.  I know that I have personally commented on a lot of blogger's posts (Jaime -- here's looking at YOU!), gushing about how amazing these books are and you just must pick them up NOW or your life will never be the same again!  I also feel like this is the one series that can live up to all that hype -- I truly don't think that another bookish adventure will ever touch my heart in quite the same way.

So if you haven't yet given this series a chance, just try out the first book, but remember that the series starts out a little juvenile (but I love the innocence of the beginning, especially when I know what's coming) but quickly becomes quite dark in nature.  There's adventure, friendship, humour, a rollercoaster of feelings and so much more.  Harry Potter is an experience that you just won't soon forget!
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10/8/13

Top Ten Best / Worst Series Enders


It's Tuesday and time for another Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the wonderful people over at The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's topic is the best and worst of series enders!  As you may or may not be aware, I have a major problem with finishing series, so I'm switching this topic up for series that I'm expecting to have the best and worst endings.

BEST

1. Bitter Kingdom -- after watching Tea Time, I have a feeling this conclusion is going to ROCK.
2. Clockwork Princess -- I have heard from a few fellow bloggers that this book generated some major book hangovers.
3. The Lord of Opium -- I'm just waiting on my copy at the library, but I loved The House of the Scorpion SO much that this book had better be awesome.
4. Ignite Me -- the series got better with book two, so who knows what book three is going to bring!
5. Into the Still Blue -- ditto on this one.


WORST

6. Requiem -- I've heard that this one was a let-down, but I'm hoping that I'll have a different view because I've loved the first two SO MUCH.
7. Sever -- ditto on this one.
8. The Lucky Ones -- I wavered on which section to include this book in, since I want to be optimistic about the series, but I'm not 100% convinced that I'm going to love it.
9. Allegiant -- I don't know why, but I just have a feeling that this book is going to be a let down.  Maybe because there's too much anticipation?  I hope I'm wrong though.
10. City of Heavenly Fire -- this is another book that I'm looking forward to, but not at the same time.  I thought the first three books were fantastic, but four and five have been less than amazing.  I hope the series ends with a bang but, again, I might be wrong.

What are your thoughts on these endings?  Leave me a link to your Top Ten Tuesday post and I'll stop by!  Thanks for visiting =)
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10/7/13

On Bookish Hype

As I posted earlier, I'm planning to write some more discussion-type posts in the future.  I had previously posted about having the blogging blahs, and I think the stress of trying to read and review in order to have content for the blog was really getting to me.  I keep reading all of these GREAT discussion posts (like Cass' Thursday Thoughts and all of the great discussion posts that Jaime @ The Perpetual Page-Turner posts) and I HAVE all these bookish thoughts, just never the guts to post them.  So here goes.

I'm starting to feel like 2013 is the year that I've fallen victim to WAY too much bookish hype. You know, when you start hearing all these rave reviews for books, five star ratings all over the place and it seems like EVERYONE in the blogosphere and the Twitterverse is just spewing bookish love for one particular title.  If all my bookish friends, who have similar bookish tastes, are loving these books, then I just KNOW I'll love 'em!  Right?  RIGHT?

Wrong.  And it makes me SO sad.  I read so many highly anticipated titles this year that just fell flat for me.  It wasn't that they were bad books, don't get me wrong.  It's just that I was expecting MORE.  My expectations were set WAY too high, and no matter how great the book was, there's just no way that it could live up to those impossibly high expectations.

I think this started back in April when I read The Madman's Daughter.  Then, there was Code Name Verity, Eleanor + Park, The Beginning of After, and Something Like Normal.  (Yikes, I didn't realize that there were quite that many until I looked back!)  Not that I hated these books -- I liked them all just fine, but there wasn't that head-over-heels love that I was anticipating.

So how am I fixing this?  I'm not really too sure.  I mean, I'm not really a fan of going into a book totally blind since I do like to pick books that I think I'll like.  On the flip side of this, I've also read some fantastic books lately that I picked up specifically because other bloggers loved them (Under the Never Sky and The Girl of Fire & Thorns immediately jump to mind).

Perhaps this is just the reality of being a reader: sometimes you love a book and sometimes you just don't.  I think, on the whole, I generally read more books that I enjoy than books that I don't, simply because I rely on the reviews and recommendations of my blogger friends.  Maybe it's because of this recommendation/review process that I have created this expectation that I WILL love all of the books that I read, simply because of all the effort that I have put into choosing them.  Whereas before blogging (or, actually, before Goodreads), I almost always chose my books completely at random.  Or worked off those "If you liked ____, try ____" pamphlets that the library has sometimes.

What are your thoughts on bookish hype?  Do you try to choose books that you know you're going to like, based on recommendations and reviews?  Or do you try to go in blind when choosing a book?  Do you find one strategy works better than the other?  I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!
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10/3/13

Me Before You - Jojo Moyes

This is going to be, without a doubt, my most personal review ever.  So hang on tight, folks ... here goes.

Me Before You seemed to be one of those sleeper hits around the blogosphere.  Several of my blogger friends raved about their love for this book (and it was Cass whose review encouraged me to pick up the book).  I'll admit that I'm a sucker for a pretty cover and, although the font on this one is pretty, it just didn't invite me in.  I went into this book totally blind, knowing that it was a favourite for some of my friends, but I had NO IDEA what the book was about.

In some ways, I wish I had read the blurb before I picked it up, because then I would have at least been prepared.  But then again, had I known that this book was about a man who was paralyzed and in a motorized wheelchair, perhaps I might have declined to pick it up.  You see, this is why this book resonated so powerfully with me: my dad has the exact same injury as Will (a spinal cord injury between C5 and C6), although it seems like Will has just a little more mobility than my dad has.  And when I got to the part where Lou finds out about Will's future plans (but I won't say anymore for fear of spoiling the story), I pretty much cried for the remainder of the book.

Here's my story: in June 2010, my dad was riding his bicycle home from work and a car pulled out in front of him.  My dad slammed on the brakes of his bicycle to avoid hitting the car, but the sudden stop propelled him over the handlebars of his bicycle and he broke his neck.  It was an accident in the truest sense of the word ... there were a multitude of factors that influenced the fact that the vehicle driver couldn't see behind him when he pulled into the bike lane, but the result of the accident is that my dad is now in a motorized wheelchair.  But before you say, "Ohhh, poor Melissa, her poor dad," let me tell you something amazing.  My dad is the most incredibly positive man that you will EVER meet.  I consider myself a permanently glass-is-half-full kind of girl, but my dad blows my positivity out of the water.  He's famous for saying, "I'm still me, just me on wheels," and has really embraced life and all it has to offer, even if it's from his "on wheels" state.  And, despite the fact that he was dealing with his recovery and all the medical problems that that entailed (Moyes' descriptions of the health roller coaster that Will experiences is VERY accurate ... I can't count how many times my dad's had a UTI or pneumonia), he was DETERMINED to walk me down the aisle.

As I mentioned earlier, his accident happened in June 2010 and our wedding had already been booked for November 27, 2010.  When we look back at the fragile state that my dad was in post-accident, it still seems miraculous to me that he did make it to the wedding.  We considered postponing the wedding, but the doctors and physiotherapists and everyone said that it would be good for my dad to work towards a goal.  And did he ever work hard!  He was there for the rehearsal dinner, escorted me down the aisle and gave a speech at the wedding that made the entire room cry.  I couldn't have been prouder of him that day.  He is such an inspiration to those around him...he's my daddy, and I love him so, so, so much.


Whew, I'm getting super emotional just writing this review!  So, let's bring it back to the book for a moment so that I can catch my breath.  Jojo Moyes' has an amazing gift for character development and this is the strongest aspect of this book.  Louisa and Will's characters are so REAL that I felt like I was reading about two people that I really knew well by the end of the book.  The relationship that unfolds throughout the course of the book is really heartwarming.  Plus, all of the secondary characters are so unique and quirky and interesting.  My only criticism of the book (which kept me from giving it five stars on Goodreads) is Will's viewpoint of the world.  Perhaps it's my own bias because of my dad's experience, but I just wanted to shake him sometimes and remind him that he's lucky to be ALIVE.

I could keep going on and on, but I think this is a book that you just need to experience for yourself.  As I tweeted to Cass while writing this review, Me Before You broke my heart a million times over, but that's what a good book does.  It's rare to find a book that resonates on such a deeply personal level, but I'm glad that I had this reading experience.  It's a little scary to share such a personal review here on the blog ... but I'm hoping that this helped you to get to know me a little better and also hoping that you'll take a chance on this amazing book.
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10/2/13

WWW - October 2


Happy Wednesday Everyone!  W...W...W...Wednesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading.  To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions...

What are you currently reading?
Just started Libba Bray's The Diviners for book club at the end of the month!  Also, on my Kobo, I'm reading Julie Kagawa's The Iron Traitor (I know, I know... I said I wouldn't read anymore of these books ... but I'd already requested it for review!)

What did you recently finish reading?
I finished Jojo Moyes' Me Before You last week -- thank you to Cass @ Books With Cass for making me BAWL MY EYES OUT!  My review (my most personal review EVER) will be up tomorrow!

What do you think you'll read next?
Diane Setterfield's Bellman & Black is next up on my review pile, plus I'll be tackling some series books.  Probably Anna Godbersen's Beautiful Days before it's due back at the library.  After this one's done ... it's Infernal Devices time!!!
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