Posted in Book Tours

Love Always, Kate – d. Nichole King (+Giveaway)

Love Always, Kate
Author: d. Nichole King
Publisher: Limitless Publishing

Dear Diary, 
Leukemia’s been my life since I was eleven. Now, six years later, I want my life back. Only I’m not sure what that is.

The test results came back today. 22,000. Which means I’m officially out of remission—again.

I have three options:
1. Another round of chemo.
2. A super-new experimental drug.
3. Dump it all— forget the meds and treatments and enjoy the time I have left.

I think I know what I want.

Then, in walks Damian, changing everything.

I mean, everything. 

He’s got his own set of issues. It binds us together, you know? We understand what it’s like to lose what matters most in seconds. 

Still, the last thing I need is to have someone else to crush if I can’t fight hard enough. And the last thing he needs is someone else to grieve.

Never mind. I’m down to two options now.

Somehow I know that whichever one I choose, the result will be the same. With the sand in my hourglass seeping to the bottom, I hope there’s enough left to show Damian that life’s worth living. Worth fighting for.

Worth dying for.

Love Always,
Kate

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Excerpt

Damian sighed and adjusted his
nametag. “I’m the son of Jackson Lowell, Doctor Extraordinaire. That means I
have a lot of time to myself. I play the guitar. Write music. I’ve beaten every
Assassin’s Creed game. And I don’t live up to my father’s expectations. Hell, I
don’t know if I live up to anyone’s expectations.”
“I’m sure your dad just wants you
to be happy.”
Damian grunted. “Whose definition
of happy? His? Mine?” His eyebrows rose. “Yours?”
I shrugged. “Doesn’t happy only
have one definition?”
“Does it? Are you happy?”
I thought about it for a few
moments. I had beaten my disease twice before, and I was determined to do it
again. More than anything, I was happy just to be alive. “Yeah, I am.”
His eyes narrowed. “Having a tube
sticking out of your chest, being hooked up to toxic drugs, getting sick—that
makes you happy?”
“Oh, well, no. But…”
“Not that easy, is it?” The edge in
his voice pricked at me. I couldn’t tell if he was talking about me or himself.
“The outcome of—”
“You don’t know the outcome.” He sounded angry, his eyes blazing. “You only hope it will make you happy. When it
might kill you. That’s reality.”
I pulled my lips tight. “True, but
it makes my parents happy to see me fight.”
“Bullshit. They’re not happy having
a daughter who has to battle cancer. And if you die, well, how can they be
happy about that?”
“If—”
Damian cut me off. “Yeah. If. So
much is based on that word, and there are no fucking guarantees attached to it.
What makes you happy now may be what destroys you later. Or those you love.
Then what? Sometimes, being happy isn’t worth the risk.”
“And sometimes it is,” I said
quietly.
Damian brightened again, offering a
slight smile. “See what I mean? Nothing in this shithole life is easy.”
“Just because it’s not easy, doesn’t
mean it’s not worth it.”
“So tell me then, is it worth it?” His blue eyes searched
mine. “Worth all the time in this place?”
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About the Author

Hey! Thanks for stopping by!

Since I was born and raised in Iowa, I like to create stories where my home state is the setting. There’s nothing like small-town Midwest scenery to create the perfect backdrop for an amazing tale!

I’ve always loved to read and write. I’ll read anything: Classics, fantasy, contemporary, mystery, horror. It doesn’t matter as long as it draws me in. As a kid, I was raised on authors such as Lurlene McDaniel, R.L. Stine, Danielle Steele, Mary Higgins Clark, Stephen King, and Shakespeare.

Writing-wise, my fondness lies in the YA/NA genre, though I do have a couple of women’s fiction stories swimming around in my head.

When not writing, I’m usually curled up with a book, scrapbooking, or doing yet another load of laundry.

Along with her incredible husband, I live in small-town Iowa with my four adorable (yet ornery) children and their dog, Peaches.

The Spirit is the first book of The Spirit Trilogy, and is my debut novel.

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Connect with Nichole
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Purchase Links

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GIVEAWAY!!

E-Book Giveaway

Posted in New Adult

What’s Left of Me – Amanda Maxlyn

18480026Synopsis

Life works in mysterious ways.

Four years ago I became known as the girl with cancer.

I refuse to cry.

And I refuse to give in.

A relationship with a man is the last thing I’m looking for right now, but one night with Parker changes everything. He is persistent, and he knows what he wants. Me.

He doesn’t treat me like I’m fragile.

But he doesn’t know, and I’m not ready to tell him.

What if it changes everything?

Tragedy found me when I was seventeen.

Love found me when I was twenty-one.

My name is Aundrea McCall, and this is my journey.

5 out of 5 stars

add-to-goodreads-button3

 

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My Review

There will always be that one book where you read the synopsis and think ‘damn this book is going to break me in two’ and I knew I had to read it. Downloaded and read on Christmas Day, it took me roughly three hours to read it all and I was a shaking wreck by the end of it. Sobs were actually erupting from me and I was loud – got to say I was surprised I didn’t wake up the parents with my crying, sniffing and gasping.

What’s Left Of Me tugged at my heart from the very first page. I was invested in all the characters, especially Aundrea – or Dre as they call her. Her survival made me question my own life, made me question what I would do if I had to go through cancer three damn times. Would I just break down and say ‘I cant do this anymore’ or power my way through and be determined to fight once more? It’s hard to put yourself in that situation but you can damn near try to!

Reading books about cancer always tears a new one in me. I’ve lost two important people to cancer and the pain never goes away. You really connect with each character who is close to Dre. From her parents, her big sister Genna and her husband Jason, to her best friend Jean and her ‘friend’ Parker. Although Parker has no idea that Dre has cancer, they all have their own ways of dealing with the prognosis and their own way of acting around Dre.

You should already know the gist of what this amazing book is from the synopsis. What’s Left Of Me is about Aundrea. She’s been fighting cancer since the age of 17 and now at 21 its back for a third time. With her Doctor wanting to try a new trial or error drug, Aundrea moves in with her sister and husband where the trial drug is. This is where she meets Parker. He’s Jason’s new partner at the Veterinary surgery and he is drawn to Dre from first meet.

Dre likes him too but she is scared to get too close. She hasn’t told him about the cancer, wanting him to see her for her, not as the girl with cancer. She’s scared of everything – from getting married, to having children to even seeing her future. What if she gets better only to leave everyone she loves behind? She tries to tell herself she and Parker are just friends but its only a matter of time before they fall in love….but what happens when Parker finds out about the cancer? Will he leave her like she knew he would or stick with her throughout everything?

You can see that they all love her to death, they want her comfortable, want her to get better but at certain points you know they are mollycoddling Dre, whether its fear or worry, everyone acts different around her…apart from her best friend Jean. Jean, to me, acted the way I would want people to – normally, just like she used to before the dreaded diagnosis. Jean treats her like there is no cancer, she forces Dre to take control of her life, to explore it, be free and not let the cancer hold her back. You really need someone like Jean in your life when all you can think of is the cancer. You need someone to just set you free for a while, make you feel ‘normal’ and Jean certainly was that person.

Genna and Jason are always there for Dre. Rescheduling their work commits to be there for her when shes so sick from the chemo that she cant move, she’s in so much pain, being sick….you can see just how much Dre means to them and seeing her so ill cuts them apart. You know, if you have sibling, how much you hate it when they are really ill, so for Genna to act strong, despite worrying so much over Dre, you can sympathise with her over that. You can understand why Genna at times, was pissing Dre off over her fussing and questions but you can see that is just sisterly love, you hate to see your sibling in pain and will do whatever you can to make them feel better – to take the pain away yourself. Dre and Genna’s relationship is strong and you can totally see how close they are, how much they love one another and one scene in particular felt like I was being stabbed. It was definitely emotionally charged between them, but I think Genna needed to hear everything Dre had to say.

For someone who has battled cancer for 4 years, 3 times over, Dre is an inspiration. She is strong, in every way despite how afraid she is of her future. You know that dealing with being the ‘girl with cancer’ changes the way people look and act around you, just look at her parents and sister, so I understood why Dre didn’t want to tell Parker about the cancer even if I didn’t really agree. But to leave him in the dark meant he saw her for her. This carefree, strong, funny young woman who wasn’t battling for her life.

He didn’t treat her as someone with cancer, he treated her like ‘normal’ and that is all she wanted. I understood she needed someone to see her as Dre, not the girl with cancer. Although she wasn’t looking for a relationship, wasn’t looking to fall in love, you can see the deliberation she was going through…They both had feeling for each other yet Dre kept him an arms length away. She did this out of fear that he would leave her when he found out. I truly did understand why she wanted to be herself, at least for a while before letting Parker know she had cancer. It changes everything.

The hospital scenes with Dre had me in knots. From seeing her happy and laughing to then seeing her hooked up on the machine to seeing her madly sick the way that followed had me gasping to swallow and my stomach was in a constant state of dread. I was willing Dre to feel better, to be the one to comfort her, to watch over her at night, to ease the pain away. You really do connect with Aundrea, wanting to help her through the pain, take it away. You cry along with her, feel happy with her and you do go through all her emotions with her.

I adored Parker. He’s a cheeky flirty chap and you can see just how important Dre is to him. He may not understand her reasoning to just be friends, alas he is in the dark, but he doesnt give up on her either. If friends is what Dre wants, then fine, but he will try to make her change her mind every day. He takes her out on dates, makes her happy, the two of them together banter so much its so funny to witness but you feel that connection between them, both emotionally and physically. Parker makes Dre feel free, feel normal. He shows her how sexy and amazing she is and you know he’s fallen for her fast. Friendship is out the question now, he wants her to be his. When he does find out, I was crying along with Dre, my heart constricting over his reaction, but dear god Parker, you have some strength in you, you were there for her, holding her, letting her tell you everything in her own time.

“You own me, Aundrea. I couldn’t walk away from you if I tried. The second I laid eyes on you that night, in the mirror, I knew it.” He takes my hands in his, squeezing gently. “I would be a damn fool to let you slip away from me. I am so unbelievably in love with you.”

He is there every step of the way through her last chemo’s. You can see just how much he loves her. He is afraid himself of now losing the one person who owns him, but he will do whatever he can to prove that she is still Dre. To help her overcome her fear of going out without her wig. He still sees her as the woman he loves, as Dre, not Dre, the girl with cancer and I commend him so much on this. She didn’t want him to know because of that very thing, and they both fight the fear together. He does something to extraordinary that I stopped and had to reread what he had done. The smile and giggle on my face, with tears streaming down makes him such a breath of fresh air in my eyes. To do that just for Dre, to prove that she can be herself, not let the cancer take her over and show everyone outside she isn’t bothered about their looks, he does it in a heartbeat.

Their love for each other is stronger than ever. So Dre has cancer, that doesnt change Parker’s feelings for her at all and Dre loves him for that. He treats her like he always did and it helps the fact he is charming, sweet and oh so sexy in and out the bedroom!

That epilogue. THAT EPILOGUE DAMN NEAR RIPPED MY HEART OUT AND SHREDDED IT INTO TINY PIECES! No word of a lie, I sobbed hard, so hard I thought I was going to lose my breath at some point. Then after the book finished, I sat crying my eyes out until the pain slowly eased away. At points I was shaking, my hands were shaking and tears blurred my vision but I had to get to the end, I had to see what the fricking hell was happening.

For a debut, I applaud Amanda with everything! This book, despite being emotional and all the feels is truly about surviving, about falling in love and wanting to be free. Free to love, to have a future and to be free of cancer. You watch Dre’s journey throughout the book, watch her fall in love, watch her go through procedures and watch how love makes her stronger. At times you will fall with her but you know that she will have Parker or Genna and her parents to pick her back up again. Amanda doesnt hold back, she makes you believe you are in the book, holding Dre’s hand, being her friend and going through everything Dre is. It’s real.

Seriously, give this book a read. I have one massive book hangover

Posted in 30 Day Book Challenge

Day 06 – A book that makes you sad

Although I did read a lot of sad books, they always have a HEA at the end.

11870085The Fault In Our Stars made me sad. It’s such a great book but the ending broke me apart (much like The Edge of Never) and I just couldn’t stop thinking about it without feeling upset and wanting to cry.

Synopsis

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

You can read my review HERE.

Posted in YA

The Fault in Our Stars – John Green

11870085Synopsis

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind,

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My Review
“It would be my privilege to have my heart broken by you.” ~Gus

Hazel, at 13 was diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer and was prepared to die. But at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs…for now. She still lives with cancer but it’s kept at bay.

Now sixteen, Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tanks and continues to use the medical miracle to keep the tumours at bay. The Doctors have told her she could live for a long time, but she doesn’t have a normal life. Until one boy came and change her life around.
One evening at a cancer kid support group, she meets Augustus Waters. He’s gorgeous, in remission and is in to Hazel. They become friends fast and begin to spend their time together. Their journey together is much needed and they both feel at ease together. Spending time with Augustus has Hazel examining everything in her life. From her sickness, to health, to life and death and how it will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

This book review is going to go a little different today. I have such a book hangover with The Fault in Our Stars that for the first time ever I woke up crying because of it. Baring in mind, I finished this book around 1am (UK time) and went straight to bed, still thinking about the book and trying to stop my tears. Whenever I now think about this book, tears well up in my eyes and I have to do everything not to cry.
So yes, a different review today. I’m going to use GIFs to express my feelings for this amazing book because I don’t have the words right now to comprehend how much this book got to me.

I went into this book kind of blind sighted. I had downloaded TFIOS many months ago and now have I only got around to reading it. I knew it was about two cancer patients but other than that, I didn’t re-read the synopsis, I wanted to go in not knowing what was going to happen. But even if I did read the synopsis, the whole book caught me by surprise. I couldn’t put it down and I was tearing up at parts that weren’t sad, just happy, if you can say that.

THIS was me at the end and as I’ve said, whenever I think about this book.

Props to David Tennant!

Hazel and Augustus were a delight to read. Yes, they spoke like they were so much older than 16/17 years old, but it’s because they aren’t your normal teenagers. Hazel, albeit is still alive with the medical miracle pills, is still carrying cancer around with her. The tumours may have shrunk but for how long? How long until this pill will stop? Having spent 3 years with cancer, its under her skin, in the literal sense. Its not going away and she has to live with the fact that its terminal. Although the Doctors tell her she could live for a long time, she thinks of herself as a grenade. That could go off any second. It was heartbreaking that she thought that about herself.

Shes had a lot of growing up over the years, and its made her see life, especially her life differently. She’s not like us ‘normal’ girls, who can run around for hours on end. No, shes tethered to an Oxygen tank to help her breathe as her cancer has attached itself to her lungs. Although she lives her life normally, there are many thing shes cannot do without the cancer stealing her breath away or filling her lungs with fluid. But despite all this, shes a great character to read, who goes through a journey of self-discovery and a journey that she can do ‘normal’ things. I was so proud of her walking up the steps at the Anne Frank memorial because she pushed herself and was determined to make it up to the attic. Although it caught her breath, I smiled that she had made it up there, because of her strength and determination to prove she could do it.

(I love J-Law)

Augustus stole my heart from the get go. He was so grown-up before his time but he still had that teenage feel about him, much like Hazel. Of course, having cancer is going to make you grow up and think about the world and how you fit in differently, but together, it seemed that they could do anything. I would have liked him to sound like a 17 year old though, because at times, I just wanted him to act like he was a teenager (yes he played video games) but he was so grown up in the way of his speeches that sometimes, it annoyed me. But other than that, he was defiant in the way he was. He said things bluntly, he never held back and he was confident in how he wanted to be with Hazel, about how much he loved her and didn’t want to hide it.

Even in pain he was using humour to hide it. He seemed to brighten up Hazel’s life day by day just by spending time with her and being with her. He was brave and when he said this line to Hazel:-
“I lit up like a Christmas Tree, Hazel Grace.
I was a gonna. Tears streaming down my face. Gus was a great, big part in Hazel’s life and they both loved each other dearly and to think that everything could change just tore me apart.

(I love Santana)

He and Hazel just seemed right together. They seemed to both feel the same way about the world and in terms of their own cancer. They were weird together (Their parents words) and seemed to go through a journey together, trying to see where they fit in this world. I loved how much they cared about one another, would make each other happy and it filled me with joy that they were just…together.

It is beautifully written, you cannot fault that at all. John Green has you hooked from the get-go and the only time I put it down was when I went out for a couple of hours with some friends but then I picked it right back up when I came back home. I felt so many emotions throughout this book. And when it got to the pivotal point, that’s when everything went to pot and I couldn’t stop crying. This has only happened once when I can’t stop crying and that was with The Edge Of Never- J.A Redmerski.

It’s a great book and a fantastic read. You will feel so many emotions throughout this book. You all really need to grab a copy and experience the awesomeness of The Fault In Our Stars. It’s about cancer, it’s about love, it’s about discovery, about death and it’s heartbreakingly good!

I definitely recommend this book to anyone.