1. Forgiveness, forgiveness, forgiveness.
This is a theme often missing from young adult/new adult novels. The freedom of forgiveness is the ultimate redemption in this book in every single relationship model. It's a notion that folks need more experience with in this harsh world: forgiveness doesn't "fix" things, but it does give you a place to go from there.
2. Healthy relationships vs. unhealthy relationships.
Both kinds of relationships abound in this book, with a stressor on the fact that there are no perfect relationships. Many relationship flaws are profiled as well as possible solutions or, in the case of habitual abuse, presenting the difficulties of walking away from unhealthy relationships. While Drix and Elle -the main characters- acknowledge that their relationship is not without its issues, they navigate a plethora of situations and model an overall healthy relationship. Familial relationships are also a point of focus - including that sometimes your family isn't the people you grew up in the same house with.
3. Steam but responsibly and with a side of consent. Yes, please!
I'm not normally a romance reader (someday, I will have to quit saying that!), but who doesn't enjoy a little steam now and again? This book was great for me because I could read it without feeling old and creepy and uncomfortable. It's also one I'd let my twelve year old daughter read. It's steamy and realistic and passionate while Elle makes if very clear that she doesn't want to go farther. Drix is exactly what a reader would hope. He understands and respects her decisions. He also makes it clear that, when they are both ready, it's on. It's a great example of a positive relationship and how to voice how far you want things to go.
4. It's just fun.
I know, it's not a deep takeaway. There were so many deep things to choose from in this book, but when I step back and look at the overall picture, what resonates and fills my reader soul is that it was really fun to read. I'm kind of sad it's over! I found myself excited to snuggle in my warm bed and open the book again.
"Say You'll Remember Me" was a bit of a dark horse for me. I'm normally exclusively fantasy and science fiction, but the popularity of Katie McGarry in my library had me curious. I'm glad I stepped away from my norm, and I'm insanely happy that I looooooved it.
I encourage you to take a chance and read something you normally wouldn't. Who knows? I may try a historical fiction next!
How did I get here?
I went from watching funny SNL sketches on YouTube to watching videos about vision boards within ten minutes. I've never been a big resolution maker. Frankly, I've disappointed myself one too many times on those. Life often provides opportunities that do not align with what I think my goals should be. So, I break resolutions all the time. Years ago, I decided to not make them anymore.
Vision boards always made me giggle. I know. I'm evil. I don't know how a poster of pictures and quotes is supposed to make me a better human. But...
Seeing the vision boards on these videos made sense. I have some very abstract goals. Really. I wrote them down. Are you ready to be impressed? Scrawled on the back of one of my seven-year-old son's pencil drawings proclaiming our home as a "Sasquatch-Free Zone", the following list lives:
(No editing on that one.)
Then I poked my long-neglected Pinterest account and created a new board, creatively titled "2018 vision board". I typed in each of my goals, found pins meaningful to me, and there you have it. 16 pins to maybe keep me on track towards these five goals.
Vision boards are pretty personal. It reveals things you perceive to be weaknesses about yourself in a way a cute little list doesn't. I'm not always confident in how effective I am at putting my ideas into words. I look at both of my drafts sitting on my computer right now and feel strongly that they are the best things I've ever written. Yet I lose steam as I write them. I struggle. I realize that I'm developing and that I need to keep myself motivated. So it's a huge part of my vision board for next year. Here is what my vision board looks like:
Your goals may not be the same as mine.
They may be very similar.
They may be way cooler (like the friend of mine who wants to learn belly dancing this year)!
You have one thing that feels like a struggle. One thing that keeps you up at night and wakes you up in the morning because you're so excited to do it and yet you may doubt. Something that maybe you have never told anyone else. (Perhaps on a "secret" Pinterest board...)
My friend, dear reader, you. can. do. it.
You may be scared. It's going to be hard. But you can do it.
I believe in you!
Maybe making a vision board will help you bring those goals into focus. I think it is worth exploring - at least for me.
Maybe you need someone to whisper your goals to. "I want to..."
I'm here. I'd love to hear your goal. I'll hold it close to my heart and help you reach it however I can.
You can do it.
And so can I.
3. Seda - weird name. Second time I've said that in a few pages on my phone.
4. August 31 is three days before the official start of school?!? Where do these people go to school?!?! My school started on August 9th! I feel a greater sense of injustice than I did when last year's school calendar came out. <insert pouting here>
5. So. Many. Kids. To. Keep. Straight. Seriously, 2 sets of twins and Seda absorbed Sawyer in the womb. This is a lot to get used to. Honestly, I'm not sure if I will ever keep them straight.
6. This mom is eerily like me. TOO cheery. A writer. Loves movies. I hope she doesn't snap.
7. I really like the openings to each chapter being historical plaques and pamphlets for the house. Really adds some interest. (Added later: it totally comes back into the story too! YAY!)
8. Okay, new guests. More names. More people to keep straight. I can do this!
9. "Pop you over the head" may be the cutest thing Seda has said so far. I love it.
10. Heath has me feeling torn. He's so affectionate and obviously pursuing Seda... but that also creeps me out, given the circumstances. Maybe I'm just creeped out in general. Maybe it's not Heath's fault.
11. "Please tell me you didn't show them the intestines." HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Seda, I love you.
12. Okay, now I KNOW Heath has to be a bad guy. What boy says he wants to write snail mail to a girl?!?!
13. Oh, no. Did mom snap?
14. Where are all the kids?!?
15. Adam! What did that poor baby see?!? Definitely going to need some counseling in the future. Poor guy. I mean, this is NOT okay.
18. Well, now we know about dad. I kind of feel bad for Seda. Like everything in her life has lead up to this point.
19. What?!? WHAT?!?! This ending goes a little too fast for me. I wish I could slow it down.
20. So....... I'm not sure.... I'm trying really hard to not put any spoilers in this. I have some lingering questions for the author. Mostly one. ONE lingering question.
Overall, I think it's a worthwhile read. It would have gone faster if I hadn't kept putting it down to read something else so I could sleep. There's a good portion of world building and character get-to-know time before the action really picks up. I recommend it to anyone who has a couple of hours and enjoys a twisty-turny read.
*I don't make any money off the Amazon links, my reviews, etc. It's seriously just one reader to another.*
I do a lot of reading. A LOT of reading. Recently, I began to wonder why I wasn't sharing that with you. Since reading is so important to my life, I decided to throw in some posts about books I'm reading too! This is the first of many posts to come. I'll give you the link to each book on Amazon too. I don't make any money from these sales. They're just to help you find it easier.
Now, on to the 4 Reasons Why You Should Read "Ashen"!
1. It is in a series.... but not. You don't have to read the first two books to understand this book.
I've read all the books in this series in order, including the novellas. I'm a total Warshard junkie. (Partially thanks to being on the author's Advanced Copy list.)
One thing I've been so impressed with is that I could have picked up any book and read them in any order and still understood the series. Sure, they DO have a chronological order (Savages, Fyre, Haven, Ashen), and they weren't released that way for a reason. However, if you happen to pick up "Ashen" and then want to read the other stories, nothing is ruined by reading #3 ahead of #1.
2. Bogle is a master of bad-ass heroines.
I love a strong female lead. Every single one of Katherine Bogle's books has this as a central point. It's not forced or overdone. It's strong females in various leadership roles, changing the world around them. Every single one of these females is someone who I want my daughter to look up to.
(My personal favorite is Breen from "Savages", but Adni from "Ashen" is a close second.)
3. Romantic tension will leave you satisfied.
Mandy Peterson is the author of "Before I Shatter". She is also a mother, wife, librarian, book reviewer, and self-proclaimed chocolate connoisseur.