THROWBACK THURSDAY: MY MOST MEMORABLE TEARJERKERS PART II

throwbackthursday

I began this Throwback Thursday meme as a way to share some of my old favorites as well as sharing books that I want to read that were published over a year ago. You know, the ones waiting patiently on my TBR list while I continue to pile more titles on top of them:)! I like that these older books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere. If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, you’re welcome to use my pic as well. If you’d just link back to me I’d so appreciate it

Last week I decided to change things up and have a Throwback topic that features some of the most memorable books that have made me cry over the years. It’s not often that I come across a book that moves me to tears (or sobs) so when I do those tend to stay with me. I think it takes something special on the part of an author to be able to evoke such strong emotions in a reader.

I’ve listed my picks this week in order, starting with light tears shed and increasing to a book that left me completely sobbing…ugly crying to the max in other words! Here we go..

25899336

 

Published January 2016 by Random House

My Rating 5/5 Stars  sob rating 😢😢

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor making a living treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. Just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air, which features a Foreword by Dr. Abraham Verghese and an Epilogue by Kalanithi’s wife, Lucy, chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a young neurosurgeon at Stanford, guiding patients toward a deeper understanding of death and illness, and finally into a patient and a new father to a baby girl, confronting his own mortality.

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.

If you haven’t yet read this profoundly moving memoir, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy soon! This might be the best written memoir I’ve ever read. Paul Kalanithi clearly had a future as an author which is what he planned on doing in the second half of his life after he was done being a surgeon. Sadly, we’ll never get a chance to read any more books by him but this one is a treasure.

 

1472878

 

Published February 2008 by St.Martin’s Press

My Rating 5/5 Stars  Sob rating 😢😢😢

In the turbulent summer of 1974, Kate Mularkey has accepted her place at the bottom of the eighth-grade social food chain. Then, to her amazement, the “coolest girl in the world” moves in across the street and wants to be her friend. Tully Hart seems to have it all—beauty, brains, ambition. On the surface they are as opposite as two people can be: Kate, doomed to be forever uncool, with a loving family who mortifies her at every turn. Tully, steeped in glamour and mystery, but with a secret that is destroying her. They make a pact to be best friends forever; by summer’s end they’ve become TullyandKate. Inseparable. For thirty years, Tully and Kate buoy each other through life, weathering the storms of friendship—jealousy, anger, hurt, resentment. They think they’ve survived it all until a single act of betrayal tears them apart . . . and puts their courage and friendship to the ultimate test.

Firefly Lane is for anyone who ever drank Boone’s Farm apple wine while listening to Abba or Fleetwood Mac. More than a coming-of-age novel, it’s the story of a generation of women who were both blessed and cursed by choices. It’s about promises and secrets and betrayals.

You guys…this book!! I read this almost 6 years ago and I still remember the story as well as the fact I had to put it down when my kids were around so they wouldn’t ask why mom was crying so much over a book:)  I just loved this story about a friendship that spanned decades.

 

19063

 

Published March 2006 By Knopf Books for Young Readers

My Rating: 5/5 Stars  Sob Rating: 😢😢😢😢

It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul. 

Do I really need to say anything about this book…over 1,000,000 ratings and almost 90,000 reviews on Goodreads with a 4.36 ratings average…that’s just amazing! This book probably gets the award for the book I most resisted reading for YEARS! Friends recommended, reviews were excellent and still I didn’t want to read it. Finally , two years ago when my son was in 8th grade he was assigned this book to read for English and I decided to read it as well so we could discuss it together (I’ll do anything if my kids will read!). Needless to say, I loved it so much that I’d say it’s one of my top 5 reads ever.

 

27276262

 

Published June 2016 by Simon & Schuster

My Rating: 5/5 Stars   Sob Rating:😢😢😢😢

This is a story about that special someone: the one you trust, the one you can’t live without.

For Ted Flask, that someone special is his aging companion Lily, who happens to be a dog.

 

 

This book is witty, original, sarcastic in places and laugh out funny in others. I’m a current dog owner and I totally got Ted’s devotion and attachment to Lily. That’s all I’ll say about the story but by the end of the book I was crying so much my dog came from another room and sat by me, which honestly made me cry more. I wish this book was getting more love I thought it was fantastic!

LAST BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST…The book that caused me to hide in the bathroom to finish it because I was literally sobbing so much…for over an hour…and then had a book hangover lasting about 6 weeks….is

22822858

 

Published March 2015 By Doubleday

My Rating 5/5 Stars  Sob Rating 😢😢😢😢😢

When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever. 

This book is also in my top 5 reads ever and one that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. It’s a haunting story about trauma, friendship and love and by far one of the saddest books I’ve ever read. It will seep into your soul and you will be changed after reading this book, I guarantee it. This book isn’t going to be for everyone as it has some of the most disturbing subject matter I’ve read and there were many times the darkness became too much and I had to put it down for a few hours and then come back to it. To say this is powerful writing and storytelling doesn’t seem to do it justice but that’s how I feel about this novel. All the sobs and ugly crying for this one!

Have you read any of these or like to? Have your own tearjerker recommendations? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Happy Reading!

 

If you’d like to check out another Throwback Thursday recommendation , check out The Book Whisperer Rebecca’s site here

THROWBACK THURSDAY: MY MOST MEMORABLE TEARJERKERS…PART I

throwbackthursday

I began this Throwback Thursday meme as a way to share some of my old favorites as well as sharing books that I want to read that were published over a year ago. You know, the ones waiting patiently on my TBR list while I continue to pile more titles on top of them:)! I like that these older books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere. If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, you’re welcome to use my pic as well. If you’d just link back to me I’d so appreciate it

This week I decided to change things up and have a Throwback topic that features some of the most memorable books that have made me cry over the years.  It’s not often that I come across a book that moves me to tears (or sobs) so when I do those tend to stay with me. I think it takes something special on the part of an author to be able to evoke such strong emotions in a reader.

My crying picks for this week: 

366522

Published 2005 by Hatchette Books

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Holly couldn’t live without her husband Gerry, until the day she had to. They were the kind of young couple who could finish each other’s sentences. When Gerry succumbs to a terminal illness and dies, 30-year-old Holly is set adrift, unable to pick up the pieces. But with the help of a series of letters her husband left her before he died and a little nudging from an eccentric assortment of family and friends, she learns to laugh, overcome her fears, and discover a world she never knew existed.

The kind of enchanting novel with cross-generational appeal that comes along once in a great while, PS, I Love You is a captivating love letter to the world!

**I just loved Holly and her love story…and this is one case where I thought the movie was just as good as the book**

15507958

Published 2012 by Pamela Dorman Books/Viking

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living. 

**Funny, witty, charming, and heartbreaking…if you haven’t met Lou you’re missing out on such a well-written character**

6280118

Published 2009 by Hodder & Stoughton

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

It’s 1988 and Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley have only just met on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways. But after only one day together, they cannot stop thinking about one another.
Over twenty years, snapshots of that relationship are revealed on the same day—July 15th—of each year. Dex and Em face squabbles and fights, hopes and missed opportunities, laughter and tears. And as the true meaning of this one crucial day is revealed, they must come to grips with the nature of love and life itself.

Twenty years, two people, one day. 

**Oh this book…what a phenomenal love story and with a twist I never saw coming that literally shocked me and made me a little mad at the author…I recovered and have since forgiven David Nicholls:)**

 

3153910

Published 2008 by Harper Collins

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.

Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast. On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through.

A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life…as only a dog could tell it. 

**You don’t have to be a dog lover to appreciate the message that sweet Enzo has to share. Of course, if you are a dog lover and/or owner as I am, you’ll most likely put this book at the top of your favorites pile!**

Well that’s a good start to some of my most memorable tearjerkers, stop back next Thurs for Part II, including the book that led to my biggest sob-fest EVER! 

What books have reduced you to tears? Please share in my comments! I’m always looking for more tearjerkers to add to my TBR:)

MY TOP READS OF 2016

images

This year I’ve read some truly outstanding books! For my top choices, I chose many of my 5 star reads with the exception of one 4 1/2 star read which I just had to include. Also, these are books I’ve read in 2016, and that were published this year or before. Since I just started blogging Oct 1 of this year, most of these reads are books I read before I started reviewing.

In no particular order…..

27418655

 

 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…I don’t think Sharon Bolton can write a bad book! I loved the premise of a possible wrongly convicted killer, I loved the characters and as always with her books, I loved that I couldn’t figure out the puzzle! I can’t ask for more from a book. You can read my review here

 

 

 

20821614

 

 

I may have been late to the Joe Goldberg party but all I can say is better late than never that I finally got around to reading/listening to this brilliant book! This is my absolute favorite audiobook of all time thanks to the perfect narration of Santino Fontana who made sociopath Joe come alive. I can’t begin to praise the writing of Caroline Kepnes enough as I was completely addicted to this book! You can read my review here 

 

 

16158535

 

 

I had this book sitting on my kindle for over a year and believe me, I could’ve kicked myself after I read it for having let this gem sit unread for that long. This was my first Beatriz William’s book and I loved everything about it. The historical timeframe, the shifting perspectives, the coastal setting and the memorable characters all combined to make this unputdownable! You can read my review here

 

 

 

25899336

 

 

You’ll notice this book on many best of lists and for good reason. I don’t read a lot of nonfiction but I was so intrigued by this topic and author. His story is heartbreaking yet inspiring. His writing is outstanding. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.

 

 

 

24452249

 

 

The cover of this book does not do it justice! This is one of the most beautifully written stories I’ve read in years. There’s a little bit of everything in this book…mystery, drama, tragedy, resilience , hope…I could go on. This is a story that will haunt you. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to find out the mystery surrounding the disaster and how the many characters involved were connected. A must read. 

 

 

 

854757

 

This book might stand out a little on my list of top reads! However, I love a good romantic comedy/chick-lit every now and then but I haven’t rated many of them 5 stars. Except Bet Me. This was the perfect vacation beach read for me this summer. I loved the characters, they felt real and engaging. The dialogue in this book was fantastic…realistic, witty, sarcastic, laugh out loud funny…it had everything. Such a fun read!

 

 

 

28273664

 

I loved the atmospheric setting, the dialogue, the web-like puzzle that was the mystery of this latest topnotch Tana French novel. You just know you’re in the hands of a master storyteller when you open one of her books. To top it off, her books can be read as standalones, so don’t feel you have to start at book one in the series! You can read my review here

 

 

 

33586819

 

 

The title of this book had caused me to pass it by in the past, but I’m so glad I finally picked it up. This is a true book lover’s book. The story, the characters, the bookstore setting all drew me in and I read this charming, heartfelt novel in one sitting. I read this in March last year and I still think about the bittersweet ending. 

 

 

 

 

22822858

 

Once I got past that cover (which is awful) this book became my obsession for 3 full days and nights last New Years. In my defense, it’s 720 pages! It’s the story of four male friends who’s friendship began in college and continued on several decades. I can honestly say I’ve never read a book so devastating and tragic, yet also filled with the healing power of love and friendship. This book gets the award for causing my longest book hangover, lasting 6 weeks! Get your box of tissues ready for this one.

 

 

 

20385637

 

Another cover that doesn’t at all do this book justice! A novel about the impact of war, immigration, infidelity, family, and ultimately love and hope this book weaves seemingly unconnected storylines into a beautifully told story. You won’t be able to stop reading until you find out how they all connect and what becomes of one special little boy

 

 

 

 

So those are my top 5 star reads of the year but my top reads list wouldn’t be complete without adding one very worthy 4.5 Star read that had one of my very favorite characters I read all year and still think about…..

28933003

 

This book was such a pleasant surprise as I had never heard of this author or title. The plot lived up to it’s blurb…everyone really did have secrets and the ending was a shocker! What put this on my top reads list was the outstanding character of Manny. If you’ve read this you know what I’m talking about and if not, you just have to read this for yourself to experience the memorable Manny:)

 

 

 

Each of these books were so fantastic because they all, in one way or another, made me FEEL something be it good, bad or sad! That’s ultimately what I look for when I pick up a book:) I would love to hear your thoughts if you’ve read any of these or would like to, so feel free to drop me a line. I want to wish everyone a very Happy New Year! I’m looking forward to everyone’s 2017 reads.

unknown

 

REVIEW: Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley

27276262

Goodreads Blurb
The magic of this novel is in the read, and we don’t want to spoil it by giving away too many details.

We can tell you that this is a story about that special someone: the one you trust, the one you can’t live without.

For Ted Flask, that someone special is his aging companion Lily, who happens to be a dog.

Lily and the Octopus reminds us how it feels to love fiercely, how difficult it can be to let go, and how the fight for those we love is the greatest fight of all.

Lily and the Octopus is one of those books that the less you know before reading it the better so my review may seem a little vague. That being said,  I picked this book as my first book to review for a couple of reasons. One, I read it about a month ago AND I still think about this book! I know it’s being compared to The Art of Racing in the Rain which in some ways it’s similar but it really deserves to stand on its own because not only will this book cause some tears (or in my case many) but it’s FUNNY! The banter between Ted and Lily is so endearing and witty…yes Lily talks..and for those of us with dogs (mine’s a lab) we know what it’s like to carry on conversations with our dogs…right? It’s not just me I hope:) In terms of Ted himself, we find out pretty quickly that he’s a lonely guy trying to cope after a  breakup with his partner so he’s seeing a (bad) therapist named Jenny. His thoughts about and interactions with Jenny were some of the best written, most sarcastic, wittiest parts of the book. Again, you will laugh!

Ok, the other reason I chose this book is I feel it’s a VERY big word-of-mouth book and I want to try to get the word out that I think everyone–not just dog lovers–would enjoy this book. It literally showed up on my porch after my fellow book loving friend called me to ask if I had read it which I hadn’t because I had never heard of it! She dropped it off that day, I read a few pages, and promptly neglected everything else and by 1:00am I was drying my eyes and wishing I hadn’t read it so fast.  All this isn’t to say I had no issues with the book. There is a section involving an octopus hunt that is filled with magical realism that I have to say just didn’t work for me. In my opinion, that all could’ve been left out and the story would’ve been just as good. But that’s a minor issue. If you enjoy original books with endearing characters that stay with you, you’ll love this.

5/5 stars