Live, don’t exist!

“I watched the way our fingers intertwined, and I thought, what are hands made for but this? For holding. For holding on.” – James Patterson, First Love

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First Love by James Patterson and Emily Raymond… Where do I begin? Let’s see, I read the sample from my kindle and decided that it was worth reading on paperback. So I went to look for it and it was not at my favorite book store. A total UHRG! moment. But I was not discouraged. I looked around a lot. In fact I did not only look around, I went on a daily forage. To all book stores. And then I found it….a year later. Yes, a year later. *Insert intensive nodding*

As you can imagine, I was so happy that I never bothered checking the price. Who cares about price anyway? I do! Student budget.

After paying this was me… Well, there no actual fireworks and a glass of apple juice white wine champagne  whatever that is.giphy (2)

Okay, back to the novel!

The novel was REAL, RAW and HEART-WRENCHING.

I felt all these after finishing the novel as the story line was gripping. I mean, you honestly forget to react because you are so taken by the story. Taken by the adventure. The tragedy. And I loved every letter, every word and every paragraph. It is a James Patterson novel after all. Hello! I, especially, loved when Robinson tells Axi to tell their story and she says  “And I did it; I told our story. You hold it in your hands.”

I dare ask… What’s better than that?

The story follows Axi’s road trip with Robinson, her best friend whom she’s secretly in love with. The road trip for Axi is more than rebelling; it’s escaping her grief and getting out of her comfort zone. It’s exploring life and expanding life’s horizons. And boy, don’t they explore and expand. From the Harley, Vegas, camping to Hollywood and more, what’s not to explore and expand? I was secretly jealous.

The story was from Axi’s perspective, at first I was not happy about that. But as I read more, I got why she told the story. Because it felt like she was telling me face to face and I was listening, instead of reading her (their) story. I could feel the emotions, the surprise, the happiness, the sadness. She made the words come alive.

I loved that it was not predictable. I didn’t read the first two chapters and immediately know the ending. You had to follow what Axi was saying in order guess the plot twists. I say guess because I did a lot of guessing. And many were wrong as I had myriad preconceived ideas. But the realness of the story flushed those ideas down the drain.

What I extremely and tremendously appreciated was you never lost what both Authors had to say. The subject of the novel was perspicuous…absolutely crystal clear! Because Axi Moore was no cliche character on a teenage quest for first love. She was an ordinary young woman, a human being, who had to learn to accept life’s tragedies and live. To love and lose it. And continue to live instead of existing. Live to inspire, to tell her story and to share her wisdom.

I could say that I wished for more. Extra pages. But, I think the story would’ve gotten lost in unnecessary words. It was perfect the way it was. And I recommend it to everyone. Worth five crowns for ratings.

The title may be first love but this novel, in my eyes, was Axi first living. And, of course living results in love. Pshh! Duh!

So, what you can take from this is: Live, don’t exist! Life’s too short.

Yours Truly,

Duchess♥

P.S.: Like, share and comment. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Forgiveness and Second Chances

“Happy people are those that forgive.” -Duchess

I was wrecking my brain thinking about what book to read with the right kind of theme to make you think really hard about what you know or think you know about life. Or simply give a lesson or two about subjects we’re often oblivious to. I mean, I’ve read plenty of books with great thought provoking themes, my bookshelf, desk, kindle and suitcase can vouch for me. With issues explored by the likes of Katie McGarryTijan and James Patterson, to name a few, it should have been an easy pick. Hello, we’re talking about Tijan here.

After a lot of thinking, and reading, one word kept dancing in my head screaming ‘Pick Me’. That one word, which is I think is a paramount key of life, was FORGIVENESS.

What is forgiveness, you ask?

Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offence, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness with an increased ability to wish the offender well (Wikipedia).

In my own understanding, forgiveness is a breathe of fresh air after spending a week in a stuffy, hot room and ice cold water after completing a ten mile run. Forgiveness is liberating and it gives you this new perspective on life.

And, seriously, who doesn’t want a second (maybe a third or a fourth) chance in life? As I went down memory lane and read There’s Only Been YouAll My Life and Stubborn Love I realized how forgiving changed my life and gave me a second chance to enjoy this adventure called life. So, I decided why not, might as well blog about, the Duchess way, of course.

The books are free on Kindle and for paperback on Amazon they are $10.52 ,$5.99  and $8.35, respectively.

Mini reviews:

There's Only Been You was an amazing read with just the right amount of suspense and thrill. Donna Marie Rogers flawlessly demonstrated the miracle of forgiveness through the characters. I loved how Ethan forgave his mom and uncle for lying. And I even more so loved it when Sara gave Mike a second chance. On another note, I think Rogers should have fully dissected the relationship between forgiveness and second chances more deeply.

There’s Only Been You was a good read with just the right amount of suspense and thrill. Donna Marie Rogers flawlessly demonstrated the miracle of forgiveness through the characters. I’m talking the kind of forgiveness that happens so quick, that you start to think all the bad was just a bad dream. The characters had their own personalities that contributed to making it a good family romance novel. I loved how Ethan forgave his mom and uncle for lying as if that’s not an offence. You got to love little children and their forgiving hearts. And I even more so loved it when Sara gave Mike a second chance. What can I say, I’m a sap for romance. On another note, I think Rogers should have dissected the relationship between forgiveness and second chances more deeply.

What stood out for me was Ethan, that kid was cute- in my head he was. Don’t judge.

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It took me a while to get into this book but the more I read the more engrossed I got. This book, in my view, was all about forgiving yourself and simply learning to forgive. In All My Life, Kari was tied down from living life like a college student should due to a sex tape that Eddie (we royally dislike Eddie) holds like a noose around her neck. Kari went through her “very own personal hell” for at least a year and half. She had a hard time forgiving herself and she let the whole thing weigh her down.

I loved the courage she had to finally open up and actually take away the stigma that she did something wrong and ultimately forgive herself. The book had awesome secondary characters who never failed to make you laugh and ease some of the emotive and sensitive subjects. And I loved how Ban nicely linked forgiving oneself and taking a leap into second chances.

Can I just say I was so proud of Kari when she said this:

“This scar that rips me apart. I’m not going to hide it.”

Me liked the book!

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I don’t even know where to begin with Stubborn Love. Wendy Owens explored pregnant, fraught subjects that my pretty little head didn’t understand their magnitude and I’m afraid for some, I haven’t really wrapped my head around. I think you have to experience them to understand them. Emmie went through hell and stayed there for a couple of years and came back. Yes, she stayed there, not by choice.

I often wish I could be characters in books but in Emmie’s case, at least not until the happy ending, I never wanted to be her. Emmie went from getting the boy every girl wanted in school to being trapped in a tumultuous marriage to being a widow at 23. I also think this book was about learning to forgive yourself of the mistakes and bad decisions you made, among other themes.

I loved how Owen made the story real and raw. You can tell that even though Emmie is moving on with the hottie next door, BTW, his name is Colin, she’s still tied down by Ashton (he’s the douche guy that ruined Emmie’s life).

More importantly, I loved the character development of Emmie from the first chapter to the last chapter. Her journey from been hopeless, distraught and sad to hopeful, alive and happy was a great illustration of letting go. Of self-forgiveness.

Please don’t think this was a novel where Colin showed up and Emmie had her second chance on a silver platter, as if all she had to do was take it and run with it. It’s was not. Noooo…Emmie had to deal with big fat merde before letting go and forgiving, slowly but surely.

Paige and Christian were a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious addition to Emmie and Colin’s relationship and story. Yep, that’s a polysyllabic word I’m using to describe supporting characters. Read the book and you’ll understand.

What I learnt while reading these books and from experience was:

  1. It takes a helluva of courage and strength to forgive, either someone or yourself.
  2. It takes forgiveness to have a second chance at life.

From the greatest book ever, that I’m still reading…

“Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”

That is my challenge to you, royal readers.

Please do share with friends and family. Like and let me know your thoughts by commenting.

Yours Truly,

Duchess