Second Chance Sunday – Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Over the past few years I have read some really greats books that I have reviewed over on Goodreads. Wanting to share the love I am starting Second Chance Sunday. Second Chance Sunday will consist of a book I have read, loved and gushed about and think it deserves a second look-d-lou so I can share the love.
And what better way to start off Second Chance Sunday then with none other then Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson:

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Title: Second Chance Summer [Amazon]
Author: Morgan Matson [website]
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Source/Type: Purchased/Hardcover
Stars: 5 out of 5

Publisher Description:
Taylor Edwards’ family might not be the closest-knit—everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled—but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor’s dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains.

Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend…and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.

As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance—with family, with friends, and with love.

My Thoughts:
Some books reach you on such an emotional level that they quickly become a part of you. Second Chance Summer did exactly that. It was by far one of the most exquisitely written stories about love, loss, and second chances. It is a story of hope and trust and opening yourself up to the unknown even when it gets scary. It’s a story of growing up.

I was immediately pulled in by the story of Taylor. Since she was younger the one thing Taylor was good at was running when things got hard. A middle child with a genius older brother and a ballet protege younger sister, Taylor never really found her place in her family. She felt like the let down, the disappointment, of the family. The only place she ever really felt like you fit in was at the lake house her family went to every summer until she was twelve. With Henry her first crush/boyfriend and Lucy her best friend, Taylor knew she belonged. But in her 12th summer, the last year they went to the house Taylor did something that split them apart and instead of sticking around to fix things she ran and never saw them again. Fast forward 5 years and Taylor’s whole world is coming in on her. Her father has been diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer and only has the summer left. Wanting to spend time with the whole family they pack up and go to their summer house. Now Taylor is not only faced with the memories and people she once left behind with no explanation, she now has to face the fact that in a few short months she will no longer have her father there for her. In a summer of second chances and making memories Taylor has to decide flight or fight.

I really don’t think I have the words to describe how much I not only loved this book but how it touched me in a way others books haven’t. Pancreatic cancer has been a huge part of my life. I’ve lost someone very close to me to it and I know how devastating it can be to a family when it is not caught in time(which is the case quite frequently with this disease). Morgan Matson used this in a way that was both true and emotional and I could totally put myself in Taylor’s place. It’s a scary disease and it works fast and that was captured perfectly and in a way that I had never seen in a book before. One second Taylor’s dad was fine and in the next he was in such pain he couldn’t even talk. It was heart wrenching in a very very real way. That alone made me love this book in a way that I haven’t loved anything else really.

Then there was Taylor herself. She was so terrified to get hurt, to live her life and own up to her mistakes that she constantly wanted to just run. She wanted to run far and she wanted to run fast. She had been doing just that all her life until her father, without knowing it, made her stand still. He made her go back to the lake house and face her demands and the people she had hurt in the past. Without meaning to her father taught Taylor to grow up and to learn that nothing was unfixable. Nothing was broken forever if you didn’t want to be. And with Henry and Lucy there showing her that people deserved to get a second chance Taylor grew in a way that I never would have imagined.

I bawled my eyes out for about the last 30 pages of this Sarah Dessen meets Jenny Han book and it was by far worth every tear I shed. It was deep and funny and a real coming of age story. Morgan Matson hit it out of the park with this book and it was completely worth all of the good things I heard about it. One of my favorites of 2012 and I look forward to for from them EXTREMELY talented story teller!

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What’s in my bag?

So if you are anything like me and read Us Weekly you see the “What’s in my bag?” article and can’t help but scour the items celebs and the people that pretend to be celebs(I’m looking to you Kardashian family!) carry around with them day in and day out. But if you are like me, do you ever notice how massive the bags are that they use? What about showing what can fit in a small bag?

As luck would have it I was too lazy to switch to me regular work bag on Monday morning so I used my smaller J. Crew Tillary bag and what better way to kick off my blog then with the all important “What’s in my bag?” post.

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1) J. Crew Tillary Bag: I saw this bag on a blog and immediately fell in love with it. The color was so vibrant and gorgeous I needed to have it. After checking a number of J. Crew stores and having a friend check one in a different state I searched eBay and found one for a great price.

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2) American Express Gift Cards: Like the commercial says, don’t leave home without them. You never know what you will find shopping.

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3) Marc by Marc Jacobs Travel Wallet: My aunt got married in Aruba in 2012 and I was her MOH. This snazzy hot pink number was part of my Bridesmaid gift and I take it every where with me. Not only does it hold travel documents and passports, but it doubles as a wallet in smaller bags. Sold out in stores, but I’m sure can be found on eBay.

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4)Kate Spade Striped Card Holder/J Crew Anchor Battery Charger: I love these two items and they go everywhere with me. I bought the Kate Spade case cheap at the outlets before Aruba so I could toss it in my beach bag with my room key and money. Now it hold my bus pass. The battery charger is one of the best things to ever come out of J Crew. I wanted one for Christmas and I was lucky enough to get the anchor one which wasn’t on line. My mom found it in the store and scooped it up for me.

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5)Dunkin Donuts GC/Keys/Mac Viva Glam Lipsticks: Dunkin Donuts GC are the one thing that never lasts long with me. I go to the same DD everyday and get a medium Iced Tea with 3 lemons. I can’t start my day without it. Keys are a given. Everyone needs them. And since we need them, why not add key chains of things we love. My keys have a Nomar Garciaparra key chain, a Swiss Army Knife(great for opening packages), and a Tiffany’s Star key chain. The Lipsticks are probably the most important thing in my bag as I never go out in public without any on and I’m always wearing MAC Viva Glam II and III together. It’s a must.

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6) Work ID: Can’t get in the building or on to my floor with out it. This baby has been through the ringer.

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7) J Crew iPhone 4s Anchor Case: Are you sensing an anchor trend? I freaking love them and I love that J Crew loves them too! Another gift from my wonderful mom that I didn’t expect at all but made me sublimely happy.

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8) Suri’s Burn Book bu Allie Hagan: This book is awesomeness! I have been following the tumblr account for quite sometime so I was beyond thrilled to see a book come out. I read the whole thing in a day and I laughed the whole time. I didn’t actually buy this in a book store. I bought it on half.com for way less then I would have and Amazon or Barnes and Nobles. For what it was it was the perfect price.

And there you have it. You now know what I had in my small bag Monday. What do you keep in your bag?

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Review: Graceling-Kristin Cashore

Review: Graceling-Kristin CashoreGraceling by Kristin Cashore
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Amazon, Goodreads

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight--she's a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graces as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king's thug.

When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.

She never expects to become Po's friend.

She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace--or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away.

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I’m going to say this and I’m going to say it without hesitation…Graceling was better then The Hunger Games. Yup, I said it out loud and I truly, honestly, 100% mean it. Because Graceling was hands down fantastic! It was a 471 page book and my only complaint is that it wasn’t longer. Graceling touched me in a way that no other book really has. And the truth is I almost didn’t read it. You see I had an aversion to all things deemed “fantasy” and refused to try them. Well after some listening to massive amounts of gush on this I took my BN gift card that I got for Christmas and bit the bullet and bought it. I have never been so happy to have bought a book in my life!

Graceling is the story of Katsa, a girl that has been graced with the power of killing. Since discovering her power when she was a small child Katsa has been “employed” by her uncle King Randa to do his dirty work and keep people in line. For years Katsa has been a prisoner to her grace, doing exactly what her uncle asked of her. That is until she meets Prince Po. Po is nothing like anyone else the lady has ever met. He has no fear of her. He has heard all the stories, knows what she is capable of and yet he doesn’t shy away from her. Instead he inspires her to stand up for herself. Now broken away from the King, Katsa and Po go on a journey that neither one of them expected and learn things they never could have imaged about themselves, each other and the world they live in. As secrets start to be unveiled they both know one thing and one thing only…nothing will ever be the same again for either one of them.

So now I’m sure you are wondering why I loved this more then The Hunger Games. I know, it is a bold statement to make. But the reason? I felt the connection. I felt everything Katsa felt. I felt everything that Po felt. I was a part of their world and wasn’t afraid to be even when things were bad. I felt safe reading Katsa and Po’s story. And I felt the emotion between them. A book that could have easily been campy/cheesy never went there even once for me. It was believable and that right there is where my love comes so strong. As crazy and out there as these Graces were, I never once questioned the possibility of it. I was immersed in this world with everything I had and never thought anything about it.

Katsa was amazing. She was strong(and I don’t mean just physically), independent, and loving. She carried this whole book on her young shoulders and did it with ease. Sure it helped to have adorable, swoonworthy, Po by her side pulling out everything he knew Katsa was, but she was the hero. She was the star and even Po pointed that out to her(which I loved!). Was she uncertain and scared like any girl in her place would be? Absolutely, but she handled herself with grace and class and held herself together in the face of danger after danger to get done what needed to be done. By far one of the strongest, if not THE strongest, female leads in a book. And then you have Po. Sidekick like Po who was happy to be the sidekick. He wasn’t one of those macho neanderthals that pouted if a girl was better then him at anything. He didn’t think he was the best at much and that right there made him a “heartthrob” and a character I will never forget.

Truth: That description is totally lame! I wanted to tell you how awesome this book. I wanted to describe every detail and feeling and emotion I got. But the thing is, I can’t. If I do, there is no point in your reading and what is the fun in that? You need to want to read it, be teased enough into reading it, be dying to pick it up. Because another truth…you won’t be disappointed.

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And it begins…

Honestly I can’t believe I’m doing this. I said time and time again that I would never do my own blog and yet here I am. Well  this is going to be an experience, that’s for sure.

I can’t guarantee that you will enjoy me or appreciate anything I talk about or even like anything I post. But I can guarantee I will enjoy myself, appreciate everything I talk about and love everything I post. I mean after all this is all about me right?! I joke, I kid.

Seriously, all I want to do is discuss the three things I love: accessories, books and clothes. You’ll get to see what I buy, what I want to buy, what I read, and now I am trying to work nails in as an accessory.

Now I leave you with one question…what could go wrong with that?!

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