Thursday, July 21, 2016

Before I Die

Before I DieBefore I Die by Jenny Downham
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was so torn on giving this book any stars at all.
First, I have to say, for some reason, I thought this was a Christian novel - not sure why I thought that. Maybe just where I had it sitting on my shelf? Anyways - its SOOOOO not a Christian novel.

But this is the story of a young girl who has terminal cancer & is going to die. Before she goes, she has a list of things she wants to do. First on her list, have sex & other things like break the law, get her parents back together, become famous. After just coming off of another book about lists, "Since You've Been Gone" - I thought this might hold some potential. Not really.

The author is apparently from England & some of the terminology clearly is from a different usage of words. & maybe some things that are normal there, seemed a little strange to me.

It was weird because I really didn't like the book. About half way through, I almost stopped reading it entirely, but thought I came so far so quickly, I could finish up the book in 1 day & maybe it would take a turn & be amazing. It didn't. But it held my attention. I did become involved in caring for Tessa & her family, especially her little brother Cal - & seeing where her relationship with her new boyfriend Adam was going to do. I loved the special things he did for her trying to help her out with her list (Namely, the "Become Famous" item)

The story doesn't hide that this isn't going to end well for Tessa &it was just heart breaking. By the end, I still hated the book but for another reason - it broke my heart. Having a best friend that passed away of cancer, I could just imagine how she felt in those last few days & few hours from reading this.

Because of that grip it had on me in the end is the only reason I gave it 2 stars.
Would I recommend this book to anyone? Probably not. I probably wont even keep it on my shelf. But I am heavyhearted today thinking about Tessa so I guess when a character gets wrapped up in your heart, you gotta throw a few stars their way.

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Tessa has just months to live. Fighting back against hospital visits, endless tests, and drugs with excruciating side effects, Tessa compiles a list. It's her To Do Before I Die list. And number one is Sex. Released from the constraints of "normal" life, Tessa tastes new experiences to make her feel alive while her failing body struggles to keep up. Tessa's feelings, her relationships with her father and brother, her estranged mother, her best friend, and her new boyfriend, are all painfully crystallized in the precious weeks before Tessa's time runs out.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Before I Go To Sleep

Before I Go to SleepBefore I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is like that cute movie with Drew Barrymore & Adam Sandler where she forgets everything when she sleeps & wakes up....
except this one is a 90 degree turn of that ... terrifying & mysterious. Nothing cute & funny about this book.

Christine has to keep a journal every night to know what secrets she finds out about her life so she can piece them together every day & find out what happened to her & how she got to this place in life where she has no memory of anything she's gone through.

Like most mysteries, I trusted no one in this book, which made it fun to read. I couldn't wait to get to the end for answers. It was very intense but I enjoyed the whole ride of it.

The good: Love the mystery. Loved the idea of the story of her having to write down her discoveries every day & having to try & piece her life back together.
The bad: I hated the last second was like one long chapter - it was hard to always know when to stop. I also wish I knew more about the other characters. Especially Dr. Nash who is a main character. Like, how did he come upon Christine. I just wish there was more about their relationship. Also, one part of the ending, I didn't care for. Sort of a cop out to me.

I had no idea it was already a movie with Nicole Kidman but I'm totally going to have to hunt it down now & watch it, even knowing the ending. I'm anxious to see how true to the book they stay. I can totally envision this being a movie though, or actually a real life thing - I could totally imaging hearing of this sort of crazy thing - at least in the Enquirer. ;)

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Since You've Been Gone

Since You've Been GoneSince You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What do you do when your best friend just disappears? or the bigger question, Who are you when your best friend just disappears?
Emily gets a letter of things to do from her best friend Sloane after she disappears. Emily thinks this will some how bring her friend back if she marks everything off so she sets off to do these things that push her out of her comfort zone.
This book is sort of predictable in spots, but others, I smiled & giggled at the things on the list to do & did find myself being caught off guard a little.
We see Emily discover things about herself as she makes new friends & puts herself in vulnerable situations. I appreciated the idea of this book & being made to do things you wouldn't other wise do. I think we do get caught up in the sameness of life so often. & being someone's friend sometimes is what defines you until you don't know your own worth anymore.
I love what Emily discovered about herself.
I also love the relationships Emily found, with Frank & his friend Collin & her friend who worked down from her in a pizza place, Dawn. I especially loved Frank. & I REALLY loved that he & Emily became closer friends through running. That's always a soft spot for me.
This book is filled with great playlists too. I want to look online & find them all. Surely there is a Spotify list out there already made.
While I thought I was only going to give this 3 stars for its cuteness, sweetness but predictability, when I got to the end, I was sad to see Emily & Frank go. I wanted to know more about them & see where life took these two. I guess I liked it more than I thought.
... & Sloan - do we ever find out what happens to her? I don't want to give anything away. I think that was part of the intrigue of the book to me.

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