Thursday, June 26, 2014

Book Review: Lily Love

** spoiler alert ** I wanted to love this book - I had heard great things about it, and so I just knew that it would be another 5 star read for me. But...sadly that wasn't the case. 

Lily Love is the story of a newly single mother navigating her way through the world of special needs parenting and relationships. 

The story starts out with Caroline having just given birth to her daughter. She wakes up to find out that she had a stroke during childbirth, but her new baby girl is ok. They both will be ok. 

Then we jump to present day and now Lily is 5 yrs old and going through testing due to seizures. This was the first thing that "bothered" me. I felt like we missed all those years in between - we missed all the things that really led up to her separating and her husband serving her with divorce papers. Don't get me wrong, it's hinted to along the way, little bits here and there, but it's never fully addressed. 

I thought the book was going to stay more on track about parenting/relationships as a special needs parent/couple with a hint of romance, but instead it went full on romance. And don't get me wrong, I love a good romance, but I wanted more about the health issues, the parenting a special needs child, how that has affected their marriage.

As the parent myself of a special needs child, specifically Autism, I was drawn to first couple chapters ...I saw hit home for me. The guilt that Caroline was feeling...the strain is puts on a marriage at times (and yes I am happily married), all that struck such a cord with me. And I wanted more. But I feel like I was kinda let down. 

Then there was her relationship with Max... dear, sweet Max. He seemed perfect -he had been around from the get go - he was helping her out - he was being a true friend. And then boom - he's "gone". We never hear about him again in the whole book. I was devastated. I had thought for sure as I was reading that he'd be the one she would end up having a relationship with - all the signs were there. At this point I'd just love to know what happened to Max? Did he just vaporize? sigh...

And then insert mystery man...Tate. He's charming and mysterious...and suddenly she's in love with him and that's that. We don't know much about Tate...but then learn his mother is dying from cancer. And suddenly Caroline, who was reluctant to accept anyone's help is running off at every chance she can get to be with this new mystery man. I got the impression that she didn't want to leave her daughter with anyone, including the ex, but now she was anxiously awaiting it to be the ex's turn with Lily so she could be with Tate. It's like one extreme to the other. 

So many unanswered what became of Lily's testing? What happened to Max? How did she prepare Lily for the new man in her life? How did school go for Lily? So many questions left unanswered. 

I think the two things that hit so close to home for me was the fact there was a special needs child - that is so close to my heart and I've felt and carried the same burden of guilt in my own heart/mind for 10 yrs now. I've seen and experienced the strains it can put on even the best of relationships, not only the husband/wife type but the familial relationships, the friendships, etc. And then the dying/hospice angel. Having just lost my own mother two weeks ago, knowing she had spent the last 6 weeks of her life in hospice, that really struck a chord with me. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Book Review: The Opposite of Maybe

** spoiler alert ** 
The Opposite of Maybe is the story of Rosie - a middle aged woman in a long term relationship, who lost her mother as a young child. Her only relative is her grandmother, who is quickly approaching 90yrs old and her health is failing. Rosie and her long term boyfriend, Jonathan, are living the carefree life of a 40-something couple - lazy mornings sleeping in...out to eat regularly...basically doing as they please without anything to weigh them down. And then one morning, in an act of carelessness, they have unprotected sex, never thinking anything will come from it...the deed is done and quickly forgotten. That same morning they find themselves at a local restaurant having breakfast and out of no where Jonathan proposes to Rosie. And thus begins the crazy roller-coaster that ensues Rosie.

A story of relationships, not just between a couple in a long term relationship, but between grandmother and granddaughter, married couples, parent and child to name some. Throughout the story, we see how all these relationships come into play for Rosie and how they shape and mold her life.

After she discovers herself pregnant, everything it does for most women when those two little pink lines show up. Jonathan is clear across the country in San Diego starting up his tea cup museum with a business partner. Rosie is behind in Connecticut, caring for her ailing grandmother and slowly failing in love, not that she wants to admit it.

When Rosie denied Tony (her grandmothers live in helper) and went to California towards the end to be with Jonathan, I was devastated. I wanted her to be with Tony. I wanted her to see that Jonathan was a mistake - that he was never cut out to be a father.

In the end, Rosie finally sees that too and admits to herself, most importantly that she does indeed love Tony and that staying with Jonathan is unfair to each of them.

I loved this book - the only reason I gave it four stars is cause i wished it hadn't ended. I wanted to see even just a bit more of what happened when Rosie came back to Tony. 

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Blind Hope

Blind Hope: An Unwanted Dog and the Woman She Rescued by Kim Meeder  is the story of an abused and "broken" dog who helps transform the life of a "broken" woman. MIa is an Australian Shepherd mix who Laurie rescues. Through MIa, Laurie, who has struggled in her relationship with God, learns how to have faith in God. 
While this is a story about a dog, it's also a story about faith and relationships and reconnecting with God. Laurie is able to see how her relationship with Mia is not so different then her relationship with God. 

The photos in the book are a wonderful addition. I loved being able to see the two together. So often, we as readers are left to imagine what the characters, whether fictional or real, look like, so the fact we can see Mia and Laurie made me feel an even bigger connection. 

I think one of the hardest parts of reading this book was the fact that it's like a story within a story. I wish the book had been solely written and told by Laurie.

Overall, it was a quick read with a good story. I think the message in the book is one that a lot of people can either relate to or learn something from. 

 I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

#TLC VoxBox - Influenster

So two days ago I got a new Influenster box in the mail - the #TLC VoxBox. 

Inside it contained: 
Puffs Plus tissue sample
A coupon for a *FREE* Breyers Gelato
Neosporin to Go
Ivory soap
Shell Fuel Rewards card
Avon Renew Reversalist Express Wrinkle Smoother

Did I mention the coupon for the FREE gelato? LOL 

OR the fact that the Avon is a full size? 

How awesome is that? 

Seriously, just how awesome is this? Sometimes you get a sample in the mail and it can be disappointing. Sometimes you pay for a monthly sample type service, and it's disappointing even more so cause you paid for it. 

And then there is this...absolutely complimentary and all of it rocks! 

The Gelato is super yummy - I mean how can you go wrong with Raspberry Cheesecake flavor? can't! Perfect date night at home yummy dessert! 

With two young kids who are always on the go, the Neosporin to have in my purse is awesome. Seems the little one...ok, so she's almost 7 and not so little anymore, is always getting bumps and bruises  - she's much like her mother, lol! 

The Puffs Plus tissues are very soft and perfect too to keep in my purse esp at this time of year with allergies in full swing! 

I tried the Avon Renew Revitalist Wrinkle Smoother this morning...not sure if I can see a difference just yet but I am anxious to keep using it and see if anyone else notices it! :-)

All items were received complimentary from Influenster!