on April 17, 2012 :
Have you ever read a book that opened your eyes and made you take a good long look at your life and the choices you've made? This is one of those books. I truly adored every word of it. From start to finish, it pulls at your heartstrings, makes you laugh and reminds you of what's really important in life.
The story is told from the point of view of Emma, our main character. You follow her as she learns to live her life in a totally new way and it's really inspiring. Emma is a very strong person except she doesn't know that about herself yet. I love her courage; she breaks away from an unhealthy and unhappy life with her parents and decides to turn it all around. Every day she spends with her new family you notice her coming more out of her shell and growing into the person she was always meant to be.
The relationship between Emma and Nicholas is simply amazing. They are what every couple aspires to be; that perfect blend of friend and lover. It's just sweet and it makes you believe in love and fate and magic; you know all the stuff the cynics like to scoff at. The best part though is it's not over the top, it comes across as very natural. I love it.
This book is so touching, it really makes you think about the person you are and all the every day choices you make that could help swing your life in a whole new direction. Insightful, sweet, heartbreaking and funny, Blue Sky Days is a must read.
(reviewed 33 days after purchase)
on April 9, 2012 :
In many ways I really enjoyed 'Blue Sky Days.' I found the writing style straightforward and it flowed well and confidently through the story and the seasons. I really felt that I got to know the little town of Riverview where Emma moves for the summer and ends up staying. I could easily visualise Daisy's house and the park and the diner where Emma spends time with her boyfriend, Nicholas. I felt that the author must know this place extremely well in her mind and I wondered if it was modelled on an actual place.
For me, it was more difficult to fully relate to the characters because they were maybe just a little too nice (except Emma's mum who is too horrible). The author is tackling a difficult subject (a serious illness in a young person). I had a similar, personal experience myself, though I was nearer Daisy's age than Emma and Nicholas and I know that a strong family will pull together at such a time. However I would have liked a little conflict within those loving relationships and that, for me would have been a more believable scenario.
Still, I was rooting for the family and was happy to be there with them to the end of the story.
* I received a free copy of this ebook for review *
(reviewed 26 days after purchase)
on April 2, 2012 :
I really wanted to like this book. The summary sounded full of promise: young girl struggles to find herself after years of oppression from her mother, meets a young man and eventually has to help him through an extremely difficult situation. However, shortly into the story I knew it was going to be a struggle to finish.
Emma left her home to live with her aunt Daisy after realizing that she will never live up to her overbearing mother's expectations. Her goal was to find herself and figure out what she wanted to do with her life. She rarely made any effort to do so though, instead she relied on Daisy and Nicholas and his friends to lead her around and make many of her decisions for her. Additionally, other than Emma, who is whiny and appears very ignorant, all of the characters are so perfect that they are completely unrealistic. Even the town is perfect with it's drive-in theater, 50's style diner and meticulous homes. I found it very difficult to relate to the characters or setting and therefore had no connection with them or reason to care what happened.
Emma's relationship with Nicholas is also too corny and contrived to be believable. All the gazing into each other's eyes and holding hands and sharing their life stories for pages and pages and pages was very dull to read about. There was absolutely no conflict to keep me interested. As bad as it sounds, I was looking forward to Nicholas' cancer diagnosis just to bring something more substantial to the story line.
As I have been both a cancer patient and a caregiver for a family member battling the disease I am very particular about details when a book uses the illness as a plot point. I did not have high hopes for the author's ability to convey all the aspects of the disease and treatment accurately when they rest of the book had been written through such a rose-colored filter. However, I was mildly surprised at how the diagnosis and treatment was handled. Although it doesn't appear that the author did much research into treating leukemia at least there were actual side effects from the chemo, both physically and emotionally. The characters were allowed to be less than perfect and the story was more readable, at least for a while. Unfortunately, the plot "twist" was predictable and ruined by the cheesy way it was resolved. The story once again turned saccharine sweet and annoying and it was with great relief that I finally finished the book.
I wish I could say that I enjoyed this book because I admire anyone who has the courage to produce a story and put it out there for other people to read and hopefully be entertained.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
on March 30, 2012 :
I was really looking forward to reading this book. I got excited when I read the summary of the novel, at first glance I thought it was such a fantastic premise. I really thought to myself that this sounded like a book I would really enjoy reading but the novel didn't live up to my expectations.
There were so many things that bugged me about this novel. I immensely disliked the character of Emma, who was the narrator of the novel. I found her to be dull, self-absorbed and incredibly whiny. The character whines constantly about how her mother doesn't love her, about how she regrets spending too much time studying in high school because it meant she never had time to enjoy being a teenager, about how she has no friends, etc. There are chapters and chapters of this. It's annoying and extremely off-putting! Note to the author: Emma hates her mother, we get it, we don't need to be told this a million times, enough already! The reader doesn't need to read 100+ pages of Emma moaning on and on about her hypercritical mother and her lack of a social life! This persistent whinging is quite draining to your readers and drives them crazy!
The romance storyline is revoltingly sickly sweet and corny. Emma and Nicholas's relationship is so perfect - it's boring! In fact, even the characters are too perfect. None of them (apart from Emma and her mother) have any flaws at all. They are all too unbelievable to be realistic. Every single one of them is perky, cheerful and easy-going ALL OF THE TIME. The characters are completely infallible and can do no wrong. The novel is chock-full of Mary-Sues. People aren't like this in reality. It makes all of Landry's characters, even Emma, seem one-dimensional. This made it impossible for me to connect with the characters. Landry spend a lot of time describing how her characters' LOOKED (especially Nicholas) but not enough time defining her characters personalities. All the characters need 'roughing up'.
The dialogue between Emma and Nicholas seemed false throughout the novel. The relationship between the characters was cheesy and unbelievable. Romantic moments, which I'm sure the author meant to be touching and heart-warming, turned out to be unintentionally hilarious as they were so far-fetched and nonsensical.
Absolutely nothing happens in the first 48% of the novel. Literally you could skip the first 150 pages and start reading from the middle and not miss a thing. There's virtually no exciting twists and turns to keep the reader interested in the first half of the book. I think the novel would have been much better if there were multiple narrators instead of one sole narrator. I think it would have been more interesting to see Emma and Nicholas through the other character's eyes. This might have made it easier for me to connect with the characters of Emma and Nicholas, as well as help the supporting characters (which were poorly developed) evolve.
The second half of the book was better but I thought it seemed a bit rushed. I think the author should have put more focus on the leukaemia storyline. I thought that Nicholas's illness should have been introduced a lot earlier in the novel. It would have made the story so much more compelling. The author padded out the first half of the novel with nonsense that really shouldn't have been there in the first place and then the most interesting part of the story is just squeezed in at the end. What was the point in that..?
I received no enjoyment what-so-ever from reading this novel. At times, it really was a chore to read which is why I'm only giving it one star. Blue Sky Days is a ridiculously bad romance novel but it may be an excellent cure for insomnia though. It's a total snooze-fest!
(reviewed 19 days after purchase)
on March 25, 2012 :
Really good book, I am very impressed. I loved the story it is so inspiring, I have had several people in my life who have battled with cancer, so the struggle is very real and scary. That was portrayed very well. The whole story , not just the beating cancer part was touching and very real. Being lost and confused as a young adult is very prominent among today's youth. Reading this book I learned a few things about myself and my life that I want to change, it has been an eye opener. I find that for the most time you can predict what is going to happen throughout the story but there were so many twists and turns I was unable to even think about what was going to happen all I could think about was "what is happening". Thank you for a truly inspirational read!!
(reviewed 11 days after purchase)
on March 21, 2012 :
Blue Sky Days has left me feeling torn. It’s not a genre that I generally tend to read and apparently there’s a reason for this. Intellectually speaking, I realise that this is a very good book with a strong message – strive for those days of happiness, those blue sky days. Emotionally speaking, I just didn’t connect very well with the characters in the first half, which in turn meant that I wasn’t as moved by the events in the second half as I would have been in other circumstances.
There was no threat in the first half of the book and it was more a form of chronicle of the events of Emma’s life, which left me feeling a bit as though I was standing at the window and looking in on things, and that made me feel uncomfortable.
The second half was extremely well written. There were a lot of tense, emotional moments that would have had me in tears had I connected better in the first half. There were some very inspirational quotes and meaningful passages as the characters all discovered the hidden wells of strength within themselves.
Overall, this was an emotionally powerful book with a very good – and important – message. I think that my inability to connect was purely on my end, and not the author’s fault. For those who do enjoy this genre, you’ll find a very moving story with a heart-warming message of hope that can be found in the darkest places.
(reviewed 12 days after purchase)
on March 17, 2012 :
First off, I need to mention that this is the first ebook I've read using my kindle app on my phone so it was a little weird at first to get used to. And thank you for giving me a chance to read this lovely book!
I knew from reading the description that I would instantly love this book! And I was right! It had me hooked right off! At times (and there was many!) I was literally in tears! Emma is an interesting character that left her overly critical mother to stay with her aunt in Riverview. There she meets Nicholas who captivates her and they are soon falling in love! Things change when Nicholas is diagnosed with cancer.
I absolutely loved the relationship between all the characters, especially Nicholas and Emma! I felt as if i knew them all personally!
Marie uses a vast choice of words to describe the scenery, it made me actually feel like I was there!
The ending was gripping! I was so pleased with the ending, I don't want to spoil the ending for anyone but it was great and not so predictable!
I definitely recommend this book to anyone and everyone! You won't be disappointed!
(reviewed 7 days after purchase)
on Jan. 25, 2012 :
That’s my review… just kidding! Seriously though, this novel was amazing. Purely and completely amazing. I used to wonder what made people say that someone had a remarkable debut, but with Marie Landry I wonder this no more. Believe me, I’m not just gushing because I’ve gotten to know Marie a little bit over these last few months. I am being truly honest--her work can speak for itself.
There is something about Emma that sincerely appeals to the side of me that wants to not only do more, but be more. The journey she has taken on is entirely new to her--a new place, new people, new life. She’s technically been an adult for a short time but it feels like much longer since she grew up fast. She missed out on so many of the little things, like a sunrise, and she learns to appreciate them.
Emma’s relationship with Nicholas is one of the most beautiful ones I have read. Even as I am typing up this review, I am tearing up thinking about it. Nicholas sees how amazing Emma is, despite the fact that she feels she has nothing amazing about her at first. He sees what she really is, the person she can be, the one that can break through the walls she built up over the years that hid that person. They fall head over heels in love, and can you blame either of them? No, you can see from the start they were destined for each other.
When the knowledge of Nicholas having cancer comes into play, the entire focus of the story remains. Emma is right by his side, and their love plays a role in how things progress. They face the ups and downs of the illness, hoping for a light at the end of the tunnel. Faint glimmers of hope appear and disappear. Through thick and thin, Emma and Nicholas pull through just as strong as they were over the summer.
The story isn’t just a love story between Emma and Nicholas. Emma’s aunt Daisy plays a huge role that impacts Emma’s very perspective. Nicholas introduces her to his friends Maggie and Vince, who are really cool people, and she meets his father Sam, too, who is just as sweet as Nicholas.
Along the way, Emma talks with her parents a little bit. Her mother is still attempting to control her in any way possible. Although her mother isn’t very nice, her father tries to stay in touch. The way things end up with her and her parents is a very accurate depiction of reality. Not everything can be tied up into neat and pretty little bows, some things come undone and can never be put back together again. It doesn’t matter what happens, but how you choose to react to these situations. Emma makes some brave choices that shape her into an incredible young woman.
Blue Sky Days is a journey beyond compare. A love story in every sense of the word, a larger than life lesson, a renewed sense of self. Marie Landry’s storytelling ability connects the reader to the story to the point where their eyes cannot stray from the page. Yes, you will cry (I did). Yes, you may even sob (oh boy, I certainly did). But, you will never regret reading this novel (and I mean never). I, for one, am anxiously awaiting what else Marie has in store.
Exceptional: Stay up until at least 1 AM
(reviewed 4 days after purchase)