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Blue Sky Days by Marie Landry

Blue Sky Days

by Marie Landry

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Blue Sky Days by Marie Landry

First I want to thank Marie Landry for giving me the opportunity to read and review her amazing novel.

This novel is about a young woman becoming her own person, finding herself and finding true love.

Emma is a 19 year old woman, who has been raised by a very controlling mother she is demanding and critical; she has set impossible standards the no one including Emma could live up to. But Emma tried she worked hard all way through high school, yet her mother never recognized one of her accomplishments. Emma hoped one day her mother would at least show some pride in all Emma’s hard work but that day never came.

Emma realized that she has lived most of her life trying to get her mother’s approval and finally realizes she is never going to get it. With nothing to show for all her hard work Emma knows she has lost herself along the way.

With all her unanswered question Emma decides to go visits her Aunt Daisy for the summer, Aunt Daisy is an artist, she has a carefree soul, lives life to the fullest and Emma wishes she could be more like her. Emma travels to Riverview with plans of spending the summer with her aunt learning how to enjoy herself and hopefully figuring out whom she is and what she wants to do with her future.

The small town of Riverview is comforting and Emma feels at home for the first time in her life. Still not know what she is going to do with her life her aunt encourages her to just to relax and have fun.

Sitting in the park one afternoon Emma meets Nicholas Shaw, he is unlike any boy she has ever met. He is kind, respectful and very handsome; he enjoys life to the fullest he sees the small things around him and enjoys every moment. Nicholas asks Emma out on a date to show her around town. Emma is so nervous she has never gone out on a date; she hasn’t even had a first kiss. The romance that sparks between these two is amazing it is what us girls say what dreams are made from. Emma knows she is falling in love with Nicholas. The romance between these two is fresh, romantic and inspiring.

Life is wonderful and for the first time in her life Emma is happy. But things change, for two weeks Emma hasn’t seen Nicholas, deep down Emma knows something is wrong she finally goes to his house and confronts him.

Nicholas has been diagnosed with cancer. He offers her a way out but Emma knows she is in love with him and wants to be at his side every step of the way.

This story is about love, courage and strength and I will say it is one of the best books I have read this year.

Marie’s writing is fantastic; her words flowed so well you won’t put the book down, well maybe a couple times to wipe your eyes or blow your nose. I can honestly say I will be reading this book again and will be purchasing a hard copy of it when it is published.

I recommend this book to everyone. I know cancer is a deep subject but this isn’t about the cancer this is about the strength of love Emma and Nicholas have for each other and the love of their family and friends who stand by them to help them through the hardest times of their lives.

The question is can love really heal all things?
( )
  TanaT | Aug 7, 2013 |
Oh, Marie Landry, how you made me cry... in a good way!

Blue Sky Days starts with Emma, a 19 year old girl who has reached a point in her life where she has had enough of her controlling mother and doesn't know what to do with her life. Although she excelled in school, she has no idea as to who she is and what she wants to do with the rest of her life.
She then decides that she needs to get away from her mother and experience what life would have been like if she had a loving and supporting mother and was aloud to have friends. No, Emma is not running away from home, this girl really needed to get out on her own away from her miserable mother. And yes, she has a Dad, who was the typical kind of Dad that was in denial and just didn't know what to do with a teen daughter.

Emma decides to move to a small town to live with her Aunt Daisy, her mother's much younger sister. Daisy is sweet, caring, and the complete opposite of Emma's mother - she is how a mother should be.
As Emma is settling into her new surroundings and finally able to relax, she meets Nicholas.
Oh sweet Nicholas, all boys should be like you!
At first, Nicholas seems like he's too good to be true, especially to Emma. But there are some people that are just naturally good-hearted people, and Nicholas and his father are those people. And of course you can't help but smile and you watch Nicholas and Emma's relationship bloom.

Daisy and Nicholas help Emma let go of her fears and experience life's little things, like walking in the rain and going on picnics. Things are starting to feel right and look hopeful for Emma.
And just when life for everyone is at its highest peak, Nicholas gets sick and is diagnosed with cancer.
Emma's life is put to the test again - will she be able to trust her instincts? Will her love for Nicholas be able to save him?

Oh my, did I cry! I felt like I was sitting right there next to them through everything, my heart ached for everyone. I'm getting teary eyed just typing this...

Although, there were a few moments of repetitiveness from Emma. It was understandable. At 19, and not being able to experience your teen years like most teens do, you are entitled to dwell, feel sad and left out. I still don't understand why that her mother was so domineering and mean, it was never explained... But, the good part is, her determination to move on and live in the moment always won - and that is what I loved about Emma so much.

This is one book that I will never forget. I can't help but compare this story to something that Nicholas Sparks or Richard Paul Evans would right - stories that tug at your heartstrings!
Grab a box of tissues, your going to love Emma and Nicholas' story! ( )
  thebumblegirl | May 26, 2012 |
Review originally published on my blog: AWordsWorth.blogspot.com
eBook provided by author for review.

Emma had her life planned out in meticulous fashion. She spent her entire high school career working hard and earning stellar grades, grades intended to land a spot in college that would lead to a successful career. But she decided to take a year off, to earn her way through college, and discovered she had lost herself along the way. Realizing she should do something about it, Emma decided to spend the summer in Riverview, with her aunt Daisy. That decision changed her life, forever.

It's hard to be nineteen, and even harder to discover yourself after years of striving to meet someone else's idea of perfection. But with the help of free-spirited Daisy, Emma starts to learn that life is about more than perfect grades and isolating yourself from the world. When she meets Nicholas, Emma realizes that so many of her ideas and perceptions of life were so wrong - but that changing them is so very easy. Nicholas introduces her to his friends - Vince and Maggie - and the three give Emma her first taste of what it means to be young and free. And loved. As summer winds down, Emma is faced with another decision: stay in Riverview, or go back to her old life. She stays, and digs her roots deeply into the foundation of love and support she's found. And she needs every bit of that loving support a short time later, when Nicholas is diagnosed with leukemia. The next months are a struggle, but Emma, Nicholas, and their "family" of Daisy and Sam (Nicholas's dad), Vince and Maggie, rely on each other and the fierce power of love to get through the valley and back into the sun.

Blue Sky Days is a beautiful story, but was a difficult read at times. The first half is fun, and I loved watching Emma grow. I remember being nineteen, and how hard it is to see who you really are in the world, trying to find your place. Emma and all the characters are drawn neatly, fleshed out with a life and spark that made me wish they were true. Once the fight for Nicholas's life began, it got harder for me to read - leukemia, and cancer in general, has ravaged so many near and dear to my heart. Landry does a wonderful job making it real, not glossing over the hell of it all, but emphasizing the importance of family - of togetherness - of Love. (And, thankfully, she doesn't totally break my reader's heart either!). A well-written, moving story about growing into yourself, and finding out first-hand the amazing power of love. ( )
  RivkaBelle | May 10, 2012 |
I have to be honest as I start this review: I think that this is one of the most difficult reviews that I have ever written. Even in my own head I am very torn about this book. On the one hand, I did like the story and the message that it conveys, but on the other hand it was lacking something for me. But what, exactly, was it lacking? Well, I’m finding that I can’t quite put my finger on that. I’m going to try to figure it out for myself as I write this.

So what’s the book about? The synopsis covers that extensively. Emma, having always lived in her mother’s shadow as she strives for her approval, finally sets out to discover life and what she wants from it. So she goes to live with her aunt Daisy in the small town of Riverview and there she embarks on a voyage of self-discovery. She soon meets Nicholas and her voyage of self-discovery becomes the adventure of falling in love for the first time. But her summer happiness is doomed when Nicholas is diagnosed with cancer and Emma has to find new pillars of strength inside herself in order to be the rock that Nicholas needs to help him weather this storm.

I much preferred the second half of the story, but why? I think that the answer lies in the fact that in the first half of Blue Sky Days there is no threat in any form. There’s nothing hanging over their heads as the reader knows that the cancer problem is coming, but the characters don’t. It’s not even really the story of Emma and Nicholas falling in love as that happens right off the bat. It’s more a chronicle of what they did together that summer. There are two what I’m going to term “speeds”. Most of the time things were set on “play” and the reader would experience events as Emma lived them. Other times it was like things were on “fast forward” as Emma gave the lowdown on what they’d been doing until we’re caught up with her present again.

Because there was no threat to what was going on, to their happiness, I felt a bit like a voyeur standing at a window and looking in on these people, which in turn left me ill at ease. More than this, though, the physical interactions between the characters left me uncomfortable. Now, I consider myself to be a fairly touchy-feely person and I’m all about hugs and kisses (much to my boyfriend’s ever-lasting frustration!), but these characters took touchy-feely to a whole new level. They were constantly kissing each other on the cheek or forehead or hugging even when it was the first time they’d met. This may be a culture issue, I don’t know. Again, I just felt bordering on voyeuristic by the intimacy of it all.

I didn’t really feel the growing relationships between the characters at this point either. Daisy and Emma already had a close relationship before the events of the book even started; Maggie and Vince, Nicholas’s friends, didn’t really get much on-page time and the reader just had to take Emma’s word for it when she mentioned that they’d become friends during one of the fast forward passages; and I felt that the scenes between Emma and Nicholas were more a way of chronicling the events of the summer than really showing the evolution of their feelings as the feelings just seemed to be there as of the get go.

It was interesting to watch Emma come to find her own two feet with the help of these other characters but I found that my discomfort during this half of the story was often hard to overlook and the fact that for 50% of the book there was nothing to threaten their happiness meant that I felt that they had nothing to lose. Consequently, it was hard to stay interested at times.

The second half of the book really picked up. I know that some readers were reduced to tears when reading this half of the book as Nicholas has to fight leukaemia. Personally, I didn’t cry but I suspect that this stems from my difficulties connecting with the characters in the first half of the book.

Funnily enough this part of the story reflects events that took place in my boyfriend’s family just before I was drawn into the fold. We’re talking almost the exact same trials and tribulations as Emma and Nicholas and the same mentality on coming out the other side. It’s very true that such an experience leaves you with a very different outlook on life. There were a good number of quotes in this part of the book that really impacted me. The most important of these was something that Daisy says to Emma when Emma’s feeling close to breaking point as things go from bad to worse.

"You're going to give him all you have, just like you've been doing, and when you don't think you've got anything left to give you're going to dig deeper and somehow find more strength..." I loved this quote. It meant so much to me. I wish I knew how to add quotes to GoodReads so I could add that one to my favourites, alas I don’t.

This was a very poignant insight into the horror that people – friends and family of cancer sufferers – go through every day. I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt, though my experience was diagnosed as terminal so there was never a point when raised hopes were dashed as they are in the book. I think the most striking scene for me was when Emma climbed into her car and just broke down, she felt so powerless and that translated really well.

In fact, the author’s ability to portray these feelings (as several of the characters end up feeling like ships without anchors) was really admirable. She’s got great talent for bringing such emotions to life for the reader. Had I connected with the characters better, I’m sure that I too would have been reduced to a blubbering mess.

Emma’s dad also makes his appearance in the second half after having been more or less absent for the first half of things. He’s supposedly breaking free from the chains that shackle him to his selfish, unfeeling wife but most of this goes on off-page so the reader doesn’t really get to observe his evolution. I would have liked to have seen more or it. As it was it felt like it was a little too much in the way of tying things up with that bow of perfection. It didn’t help that I found the mother’s character very hard to believe. I just feel that had she really been jealous that her only child chose to spend her time with her aunt instead of her mother, the mother would have gone to lengths to get her back rather than just keep pushing her farther and farther away at each point.

So I find that I’m torn about this book. I think really this is in part my own fault as the reader for not connecting very well with the book. When I look at it from a distance, I’m aware that this book is worth at least 4 stars, but it just didn’t work that well for me. I enjoyed it for the most part but I wasn’t invested in it.

The message, however, is perfect. May we all strive to make every day a blue sky day. ( )
  Readaba | May 1, 2012 |
Emma Ward has spent the last year after graduating from high school trying to make ends meet in hopes of making it into college. While her parents are able to help with such costs, she’s intent on going it alone in hopes of showing them she can truly make it on her own. When she comes to the realization that her future is still undecided, she makes the decision to spend sometime in Riverview with her Aunt Daisy.

This decision, unfortunately, does not sit well with her mother. Regardless of that fact, she continues with her plans and looks forward to what the future has to bring. Upon arriving on her Aunt’s doorstep, Emma feels optimistic. With a new place and a new beginning, she’s sure that something good is just around the corner.

When her aunt welcomes her with open arms, Emma looks forward to their time together. Old memories are soon remembered as the two reminisce about the past. Slowly letting go of her fears, she makes herself at home and sets out to explore her new home. While out one day, she comes across Nicholas Shaw, a boy who stirs her senses and makes her want to get to know him that much better.

Intrigued by him completely, she allows herself to befriend him, never once imagining he’d change her world completely. As the days go by, their relationship deepens and she finds herself falling in love with Nicholas as the minutes pass. Her world is everything she’d ever imagined and more until the moment Nicholas becomes ill.

Her entire world comes crashing down when Nicholas is diagnosed with cancer. Unwilling to take the easy way out, she’s determined to show him that she’ll be there for him no matter what. She does her best not to lose control as their relationship and faith is tested at every turn. Despite the bleak outlook, Emma knows she doesn’t have to face Nicholas’ ordeal alone. With the help of her friends and family, she realizes that miracles are always around the corner, only if you believe in them.

This was such a heart-felt and endearing story. I enjoyed every minute of it and cried when I learned Nicholas had fallen ill. Having lost several family members to cancer, I can very well understand Emma’s feelings and the hopelessness that ensues when we think we’re about to lose someone we love.

The love, pain, heartache, and despair are felt so clearly throughout the story. Marie is able to draw the reader into the world she’s created for her characters in such a way that it leaves you wanting to know more with every turn of the page. Marie’s writing flows quite beautifully and keeps us completely riveted. It’s that vivid! Totally recommend the book for reading. ( )
  LizzieBeth95 | Jan 27, 2012 |
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