IAM15 Guest Post…Marie Landry

IAM 2015 - Topper Today’s guest author for the second day of Indie Month 2015 is our lovely friend Marie Landry! Over the last few years since we started the blog in 2012 Marie has featured with us many times, sharing her writing and blogging experiences as well as her books. (You can check out previous features here).

Today she joins us sharing her thoughts on how she became an Indie Author.

Marie-Landry-AuthorHow I Became an Indie Author

I’ve always known I wanted to be a writer. I’ve had a vivid imagination my whole life, and I’ve been a storyteller for as long as I can remember. Even when my path went in various different directions during and after college, I always kept writing and hoped to be published someday. I always assumed it would be traditional publishing, because that’s all there was. I was willing to query agents, have my books sit in slush piles, and persevere until my work was out there for the world to read.

Several years ago, I began writing with a partner. We started out with fan fiction (my lips are sealed about which fandom!) and short stories, and eventually wrote a novel together that we hoped to have published. Self-publishing was quite new at the time, and after a bit of research, we knew it wasn’t the path for us. It had a horrible reputation at the time – the general consensus was that only people who could never get published traditionally were self-publishing. We sent out query after query with no success, but we kept writing.

When we parted ways as writing partners, a friend encouraged me to pull out a story I’d written after college and polish it. I spent months rewriting it while researching publishing options. This was around the time Amanda Hocking was blowing up the indie scene. I read countless articles and blog posts, and realized self-publishing was a viable option. It wasn’t that I wanted to rush the process, but I liked the idea of having complete control over editing decisions, cover, distribution, etc. I also really just wanted people to read my books and I knew with self-publishing it would be a matter of months rather than the years it can take to get published by a publisher, even once your manuscript has been sold.

I published my debut novel, Blue Sky Days, in January 2012. Over the next three years, I published five more books, and I’m currently working on my next novel, which I hope to release late this summer or early autumn. I haven’t regretted my decision to self-publish for a minute. Would it be nice to have someone else do the marketing for me? Yes. Would it be nice to have an advance or have a decent budget for marketing? Heck yeah! But does that outweigh the freedom of being my own boss and being able to get my books into the hands of people who love to read? No. Is self-publishing for everyone? No. But it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

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Take-Them-by-Storm-Marie-Landry  Sadie Fitzgerald has always been different, and not just because she makes her own clothes and would rather stay home watching Doctor Who than party with kids her age. When it’s time to leave Angel Island for college, Sadie is eager to put her old life behind her. Small-minded people and rumors have plagued her for years, but with the love of her adoptive family, the O’Dells, Sadie has learned to embrace who she is. Now she’s not afraid to admit the rumors about her are true: she’s gay.
For the first time in her life, Sadie feels free to be herself. She dives into college life and begins volunteering at the local LGBT center, where she discovers her small-town upbringing left holes in her education about life outside Angel Island.
The world is a bigger and more accepting place than Sadie ever imagined. She’s finally found where she belongs, but with the reappearance of someone from her past, an unexpected new friendship, and a chance at love, Sadie soon realizes she still has a lot to learn about life, friendship, and love.

 

Want to know more? Check out the links!

Marie has the best job in the world—one where she gets to make stuff up for a living and shamelessly eavesdrop on everyone around her. She writes happily ever afters while dreaming about the day she’ll have her own epic love story to tell. Most days you can find her writing, reading, fantasizing about traveling the world, listening to U2, watching copious amounts of TV on DVD, or having grand adventures with her nephews and niece.

For more on Marie and her books please visit http://sweetmarie-83.blogspot.ca. She also loves to chat with fellow book lovers, so feel free to tweet her @SweetMarie83 any time!

 

Blog: http://sweetmarie-83.blogspot.ca

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MarieLandryAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SweetMarie83

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Take-Them-Storm-Angel-Island-ebook/dp/B00PBA7KNE/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/take-them-by-storm-marie-landry/1120852304?ean=2940046432121

 

IAM Excerpt…Waiting for the Storm

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Our featured author today is Marie Landry and we’re excited to be showcasing an excerpt from her latest novel Waiting for the Storm. Marie has featured with us on Aside From Writing several times since she released her debut novel in early 2012, and she is a firm favourite 🙂 

Waiting for the Storm

~Meet the Family~
From WAITING FOR THE STORM by Marie Landry

I asked him to start the water for the pasta while I assembled the salad. We’d made enough food to feed about half a dozen people, even though I wasn’t sure anyone else would be joining us.

As if on cue, Ella entered the kitchen and froze when she saw Ezra standing at the stove. Her eyes roved over him from head to toe, and a wolfish smile overtook her face.

“Hi there,” she said, sashaying further into the kitchen and stopping a few feet from Ezra. She struck what I’m sure she thought was a sexy pose, with her hand on her hip. “Who’s this?”

I was ridiculously pleased to see that Ezra didn’t look impressed by Ella. I figured that said a lot, considering my sister was wearing about the shortest dress I’d ever seen, baring an almost indecent amount of perfectly tanned skin.

“This is Ezra,” I said when he didn’t answer right away. “Ezra, this is my sister El…Gabriella.”

“Ezra,” she said slowly, eyeing him like he was a big piece of man candy. “What a cool name. Where’d you get it?”

“I’ve always had it,” he said, and I couldn’t help the snicker that rose to my lips.

Ella shot me a nasty look, her sexy smile fading. “A funny one,” she said, turning back to Ezra. “I like that.”

Ezra smiled, but it wasn’t one of the knock-your-socks off smiles he’d been giving me all day. I’d seen guys give girls that smile—the kind that didn’t reach their eyes—when they were giving them the brush off.

“Ezra’s staying for dinner,” I told Ella. “It should be ready in about ten minutes.”

“Oh, what a shame,” Ella said, looking at Ezra as if he was the one who’d spoken. “I’d love to stay but I already made plans with Caroline from next door.”

“That’s too bad,” Ezra said, shooting me a surreptitious look of relief.

Ella must have seen the look that passed between us because her expression turned sour. She covered it quickly, and said to me, “It’s so good to see you making friends, Charlotte.” Her tone was sweet, and she spoke slowly, as if she were talking to a very small child. “It’s not healthy for you to spend so much time alone. I worry about you, you know.”

She brushed past me, patting my shoulder and sending a dazzling smile in Ezra’s direction. “You kids have fun. Don’t wait up!”

I turned quickly toward the stove, stirring the sauce with new vigor as I tried to avoid looking at Ezra.

“What a bitch,” he muttered.

I looked over at him and almost laughed when I saw that he’d clapped a hand over his mouth.

“I’m sorry,” he said quickly. “That was so inappropriate. She’s your sister, and…”

“She is a bitch,” I agreed, surprised to hear the words coming from my mouth. I’d thought them often enough over the last few months, but I’d never said them out loud.

Ezra looked relieved, and when he smiled it was one of those genuine knock-your-socks-off smiles that made my heart stutter. “I’ve never understood why people feel it’s necessary to cut others down in order to make themselves feel better,” he said. “But especially when it comes to family. I…I heard what she said last night. On the beach. I couldn’t see your face, but I knew you heard her, too.”

I sighed. I’d been hoping he hadn’t heard what Ella said to that guy. And yet, it didn’t seem to change the way Ezra felt about me. He’d still talked to me today, and he was still here now.

“She just…” I shrugged, uncertain how to explain the odd relationship between Ella and me. “I don’t even know anymore. We used to be close when we were younger. Things just got messed up somewhere along the way.”

Ezra nodded. “I can understand that,” he said quietly.

His expression was so earnest I wanted to pour my heart out to him and tell him everything that was on my mind—my mom’s illness, how my dad was acting so strange, my sister’s resentment toward me, my fears and insecurities and uncertainty over my own future.

But then I remembered that we’d only just met, and you didn’t dump all your crap on someone you’d just met. I had no idea if he was just being nice to me, as the new girl in town who happened to be the daughter of his mother’s childhood best friend, or if he was interested in being friends…or dare I even consider something more?

Either way, I wasn’t going to unload on him until I was sure.

We finished making dinner, and I got out three pasta dishes. I was about to go in search of Dad when he peeked his head into the kitchen.

“Oh, Charlotte. And…Ezra, is it?”

“Yes, sir,” Ezra said.

“I thought I heard voices. And smelled…” He looked toward the stovetop and I suddenly remembered that alfredo had been one of Mom’s specialties. She’d taught me how to make it before she got sick, and it was one of Dad’s favourites.

“We were just about to eat,” I told him. “Why don’t you join us?”

He shook his head slowly. “I’m not hungry.” He looked exhausted, even though I knew he spent a lot of time sleeping lately. Or maybe he was pretending to sleep so he wouldn’t have to deal with Ella and me, or the rest of the world. “I’ll eat later. I’m just working in my room if you need me.”

“Okay, Dad,” I said, feeling slightly deflated. I thought maybe having Ezra there would have made a difference; that Dad would make more of an effort with someone else around. Clearly I was wrong.

Dad looked between us, nodding his head absently. He gave an equally absent smile and headed back to his bedroom.

“Well…” I said after I’d heard Dad’s door click shut. “That’s my family.” My voice wavered a little on the last word, and I turned away.

“Hey.” Ezra laid his hands lightly on my shoulders. “It’s okay.”

It wasn’t, but the way he said it almost made me believe it was true. He gently turned me around so I was facing him. With him standing so close, I realized how big he was—tall, broad, and muscular. He had to be at least six feet tall, and he ducked down slightly so we were eye to eye.

“Are you okay?”

“Yes…no. I don’t know. Things are just so…” I let out a noise of frustration, unable to voice all the thoughts swirling through my mind. “The way my dad was just now—that’s how he’s been since before my mom even died. It’s gotten worse in the last week, though. He hardly speaks to me, he barely eats, he sleeps a lot, he’s just…he’s here, but not here. He’s just sort of…checked out, you know?”

Ezra’s eyes darkened, and he nodded. “I do know.” I waited for him to say more, but once again, he didn’t elaborate.

“I just wish I could have some normalcy,” I said.

“Well, I can’t promise you normal,” Ezra said with a crooked smile, “but I can try to make sure you have some fun this summer. Does that sound like a good compromise?”

I blew out a long breath that ended on a light laugh. “Yeah. That does sound like a good compromise. Thank you, Ezra.” Since his hands were already on my shoulders, I impulsively closed the small gap between us and hugged him.

He stiffened for a moment, and I automatically started to pull back, feeling my cheeks flush with embarrassment. He drew me back, keeping his arms loose around me, but it didn’t escape my attention that our bodies fit perfectly together.

“Charlotte?” he whispered, his breath tickling my ear.

“Yeah?”

“Can we eat now? I’m starving.”

I shoved him away, glad the moment hadn’t had a chance to turn awkward. After being introduced to my crazy life, the least I could do was feed him.

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Marie’s novel Blue Sky Days is also out now!

Would you like to know more? Check out the links! 

Debut novel, Blue Sky Days, available now on Amazon and Smashwords
Blog: Ramblings of a Daydreamer Author blog: Marie Landry, Author
Facebook fan pageFacebook book pageTwitterYouTube

Interview…with Nicholas from Blue Sky Days

 

Today we’re interviewing the lovely Nicholas from Marie Landry’s novel Blue Sky Days. Definitely our most interesting character interview so far – take a look and you’ll see why.

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Hi Nicholas – thanks for joining Aside from Writing today, we’re really pleased to be in Riverview to meet you. For people who are not aware of your situation, would you mind giving us some background?

Thanks, it’s great to talk to you today. I was diagnosed with leukemia around the beginning of September. I work in construction, so I’m used to long hours of hard work. It can be tiring, but I’m a pretty energetic guy, and I like to stay busy. When I started waking up tired, and then staying tired and listless during the day, I knew something was wrong. I hoped it was the flu, but I didn’t have any other flu-like symptoms. My mom died of leukemia when I was a kid, so that was always in the back of my mind. I went to the doctor almost right away, and within two weeks, they’d diagnosed me, and shortly after that I started treatments.

And so – you’ve just spent the last few days in hospital and had your first chemo sessions this week. How’s that been?

Not as bad as I expected, to be honest. I know it’s going to get worse as time goes on, but this week was more…strange than anything, I guess – having to leave home, check into the hospital, be away from my normal life. It was easy to pretend that the doctors were wrong and I didn’t really have cancer, but when they stuck that IV in me and I started my first treatment, it was impossible to deny.

This is obviously a really tough thing for anyone to go through – what helps you to cope with the difficulties you’re facing?

Love and support from friends and family. I don’t think I could get through this without my dad, my girlfriend Emma, my two best friends, and Emma’s aunt Daisy. They’ve been incredibly supportive, and they don’t treat me like a cancer patient who needs to be protected or coddled.

We met Emma outside 🙂 you guys are obviously very close – how have things been for her since you found out about your illness?

Well…it hasn’t been easy, but she’s been…god, I can’t even tell you how amazing she’s been. When I first found out I was sick, I wanted to keep it from her, to protect her. We’d had this incredible summer that was the stuff of daydreams, and dumping all of this on her just seemed like such a huge burden to put on someone so young. She might kill me for saying this, but she’s got this sweet innocence about her, and I didn’t want to ruin that. I know how stupid I was now, though. She’s been so strong, and she’s been there every step of the way, from doctor’s appointments, to walks to help me keep my strength up, to spending time with me in the hospital and sitting with me during my chemo treatments.

So – you’ve not been together a huge amount of time then? OK – then let’s talk romance if that’s alright…? How did you and Emma first meet?

I met Emma when she first moved to town to live with Daisy. I was walking in the park one day and I sat down to read, and she was sitting at the top of the hill. The minute I saw her, I knew I had to go talk to her.

And – can we ask – was it love at first sight or do you not believe in that?

As cheesy as it sounds, yeah, it was definitely love at first sight – for me, anyway. I saw her sitting there at the top of that hill, looking like an angel with the sun streaming down on her, and that was it. My whole life changed in that one instant.

Well – I’m sure she’ll be pleased to hear that if she’s listening outside right now 🙂 So – tell us what else are you doing while you’re home this weekend?

This weekend is all about normalcy, or at least as close to normal as you can get when you’re exhausted and weak. For months, it’s been the six of us – Dad, Daisy, Vince, Maggie, Emma, and me. We’re going to spend as much time together as possible before I have to go back to the hospital on Monday.

Nicholas – thank you so much for joining us today – we hope you have a great weekend at home and wish you all the best for your ongoing treatment.

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A year after graduating from high school, nineteen-year-old Emma Ward feels lost. She has spent most of her life trying to please her frigid, miserable mother – studying hard, getting good grades, avoiding the whole teenage rebellion thing – and now she feels she has no identity beyond that. Because she spent so many years working hard and planning every moment of her life, she doesn’t have any friends, has never had a boyfriend, and basically doesn’t know who she is or what she really wants from life. Working two part-time jobs to save money for college hasn’t helped her make decisions about her future, so she decides it’s time for a change. She leaves home to live with her free-spirited, slightly eccentric Aunt Daisy in a small town that makes Emma feel like she’s stepped back in time.

When Emma meets Nicholas Shaw, everything changes – he’s unlike anyone she’s ever met before, the kind of man she didn’t even know existed in the 21st century. Carefree and spirited like Daisy, Nicholas teaches Emma to appreciate life, the beauty around her, and to just let go and live. Between Daisy and Nicholas, Emma feels like she belongs somewhere for the first time in her life, and realizes that you don’t always need a plan – sometimes life steers you where you’re meant to be.

Life is wonderful, an endless string of blue sky days, until Nicholas is diagnosed with cancer, and life changes once again for Emma in ways she never thought possible. Now it’s time for her to help Nicholas the way he’s helped her. Emma will have to use her new-found strength, and discover along the way if love really is enough to get you through.

(Read the Aside from Writing review of Blue Sky Days)

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About the Author

Marie Landry has always been a daydreamer. She has created imaginary worlds for as long as she can remember, so it only seemed natural that she would become a writer. With a passion for words that started in early childhood, Marie has written a varied range of works, and has been freelance writing since 2009. She resides in Ontario, Canada, and most days you can find her writing, reading, blogging about writing and reading, listening to U2, or having grand adventures with her two precious nephews.

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

Facebook – Author Page

Facebook – Blue Sky Days – Book Page 

Twitter – http://twitter.com/SweetMarie83

Book blog – http://sweetmarie-83.blogspot.com

Author blog – http://marielandry.blogspot.com

Buy Blue Sky Days…

Amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.com/Blue-Sky-Days-ebook/dp/B006U97B20/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1325915568&sr=8-1

Amazon.ukhttp://www.amazon.co.uk/Blue-Sky-Days-ebook/dp/B006U97B20/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_t_1

Smashwordshttp://www.smashwords.com/books/view/120238

Barnes & Noblehttp://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/blue-sky-days-marie-landry/1108336817

Blue Sky Days by Marie Landry

A year after graduating from high school, nineteen-year-old Emma Ward feels lost. She has spent most of her life trying to please her frigid, miserable mother – studying hard, getting good grades, avoiding the whole teenage rebellion thing – and now she feels she has no identity beyond that. Because she spent so many years working hard and planning every moment of her life, she doesn’t have any friends, has never had a boyfriend, and basically doesn’t know who she is or what she really wants from life. Working two part-time jobs to save money for college hasn’t helped her make decisions about her future, so she decides it’s time for a change. She leaves home to live with her free-spirited, slightly eccentric Aunt Daisy in a small town that makes Emma feel like she’s stepped back in time.

When Emma meets Nicholas Shaw, everything changes – he’s unlike anyone she’s ever met before, the kind of man she didn’t even know existed in the 21st century. Carefree and spirited like Daisy, Nicholas teaches Emma to appreciate life, the beauty around her, and to just let go and live. Between Daisy and Nicholas, Emma feels like she belongs somewhere for the first time in her life, and realizes that you don’t always need a plan – sometimes life steers you where you’re meant to be.

Life is wonderful, an endless string of blue sky days, until Nicholas is diagnosed with cancer, and life changes once again for Emma in ways she never thought possible. Now it’s time for her to help Nicholas the way he’s helped her. Emma will have to use her new-found strength, and discover along the way if love really is enough to get you through.

(Read the Aside from Writing review of Blue Sky Days)

Remember…you could win a copy of Blue Sky Days in the event giveaway, so make sure you’ve entered to win! Follow us on Facebook / Twitter and get vocal on the Indie Author Event comments to earn yourself additional entry points 🙂 

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 Gimme 10 – Mini-Interview

Please answer each question in 10 words or less – that’s what makes it tough but fun! 🙂

Where do you find your inspiration? Life, love, art, family, music, travel, books.

What is your favourite aspect of Blue Sky DaysThe love story. Emma and Nicholas make my heart happy.

Who is your favourite character from Blue Sky Days and why? Emma. She learns and grows and changes so much.

What are you working on now? Chick-lit about lifelong best friends…and a hot guy! 😉

What do you love about most about writing? The creative outlet, freedom, and simply the act of writing.

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About the Author

Marie Landry has always been a daydreamer. She has created imaginary worlds for as long as she can remember, so it only seemed natural that she would become a writer. With a passion for words that started in early childhood, Marie has written a varied range of works, and has been freelance writing since 2009. She resides in Ontario, Canada, and most days you can find her writing, reading, blogging about writing and reading, listening to U2, or having grand adventures with her two precious nephews.

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

Facebook – Author Page

Facebook – Blue Sky Days – Book Page 

Twitter – http://twitter.com/SweetMarie83

Book blog – http://sweetmarie-83.blogspot.com

Author blog – http://marielandry.blogspot.com

Buy Blue Sky Days…

Amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.com/Blue-Sky-Days-ebook/dp/B006U97B20/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1325915568&sr=8-1

Amazon.ukhttp://www.amazon.co.uk/Blue-Sky-Days-ebook/dp/B006U97B20/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_t_1

Smashwordshttp://www.smashwords.com/books/view/120238

Barnes & Noblehttp://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/blue-sky-days-marie-landry/1108336817

Just Finished…Blue Sky Days by Marie Landry

With my YA reads this year, aside from The Hunger Games I’ve been trying genres that I don’t normally read and as far as possible – indie debut authors. One of the things I like best about the good indie authors I’ve read is that the freedom of publishers and others shaping the book means that the story is exactly what the author wanted to tell and in the way they wanted it. If you look at an author as an artist, then this freedom is a good thing.

So…Blue Sky Days…this is a contemporary romance in the main, a genre I don’t often read and so in some ways this was a refreshing change. In many YAs I read, the romance is something that comes along with action and angst and great danger. This book is almost a complete inversion of that model – the ‘action’ and ‘danger’ have significance and grow out of the romantic theme.

I’ll not be giving anything away – as the blurb tells you – that after a beautiful initial romance, Nicholas becomes ill – so you can hopefully see what I mean about where the ‘danger’ comes from. In many ways it was good to read a book about real danger…the things that threaten people’s lives every single day, the hardship that people have to endure through serious and terminal illness and how that impacts the relationships they have with those around them.

I’d read several reviews prior to reading Blue Sky Days and knew that many readers had found this an emotional book to read – unsurprising given the subject matter – and I certainly found it thought-provoking for the same reasons, not necessarily identifying completely with Emma and her experiences, but her responses and perspective made me consider things in my own life that perhaps you don’t take the time to focus on enough in daily life. Every moment for Emma and Nicholas becomes precious and special, placed under a microscope because of their situation, and their relationships with friends and family are very affectionate and open – despite their difficulties, it is a world many people would want to live in.

Emma’s narration is very interesting – it is so personal and open emotionally, that I felt like I were reading her thoughts in a diary. In this way it is unlike other YA books I’ve read – the depth of her self-reflection and knowledge were much greater than others I’ve read, however, this may be more typical of romance genre (and I wouldn’t know!) 🙂 In turn, all of the characters close to Emma are very similar – very emotionally open and articulate their feelings regularly through unguarded dialogue or affectionate gestures. Some readers might find that openness unusual – but as Emma regularly notes, she finds it hard to believe herself, given her past experience with her mother – and for the style of book, it all works together well. Right from the start of the book Emma is on a journey, transitioning from a life of eduction and boundaries to a new world of independence and she draws you into this as though you are absolutely a part of her life, just as Nicholas, Daisy and the other characters do for her.

‘Blue Sky Days’ themselves – as you discover in the story – are these wonderful moments of time and clarity, when you look at the world around you and see what is truly important: the people you care about, the beauty in the world around you and the things that change your life.

Blue Sky Days feels like a very personal book. The characters, situation and emotional intensity feel as though they come from real experiences and perhaps this is the case. I rarely read author’s acknowledgements in books, but for this I did and feel that there is a real and important connection between the author and this story, more than most. And this brings me back to the beauty of indie authors – this is Marie Landry’s and Emma’s story, told exactly as it should have been.

Overall a lovely book, to be read with the knowledge that you’re delving completely into someone’s life and – just as I read in another review – Blue Sky Days will make you feel.

Rating: 4*

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Blurb: A year after graduating from high school, nineteen-year-old Emma Ward feels lost. She has spent most of her life trying to please her frigid, miserable mother – studying hard, getting good grades, avoiding the whole teenage rebellion thing – and now she feels she has no identity beyond that. Because she spent so many years working hard and planning every moment of her life, she doesn’t have any friends, has never had a boyfriend, and basically doesn’t know who she is or what she really wants from life. Working two part-time jobs to save money for college hasn’t helped her make decisions about her future, so she decides it’s time for a change. She leaves home to live with her free-spirited, slightly eccentric Aunt Daisy in a small town that makes Emma feel like she’s stepped back in time.

When Emma meets Nicholas Shaw, everything changes – he’s unlike anyone she’s ever met before, the kind of man she didn’t even know existed in the 21st century. Carefree and spirited like Daisy, Nicholas teaches Emma to appreciate life, the beauty around her, and to just let go and live. Between Daisy and Nicholas, Emma feels like she belongs somewhere for the first time in her life, and realizes that you don’t always need a plan – sometimes life steers you where you’re meant to be.

Life is wonderful, an endless string of blue sky days, until Nicholas is diagnosed with cancer, and life changes once again for Emma in ways she never thought possible. Now it’s time for her to help Nicholas the way he’s helped her. Emma will have to use her new-found strength, and discover along the way if love really is enough to get you through.

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This review was also posted at Confessions of a Bookaholic blog.