What if your days are Numbered

In Real Life

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Amy Andrews, Me and Ros Baxter

I went to the launch of Numbered in Brisbane with my writing group pal Dakota Harrison. You might recall I mentioned I’d started reading Numbered last week. I was slow to get into it because I was frankly scared it would be a tough read because of the subject matter. I think most of us probably know someone who has been diagnosed with cancer and not all of them have been happy outcomes.

Anyway, I got to meet the fabulous Amy Andrews and her sister Ros, who flew in from Canberra for the occasion. It was held at River City Labs, the space was donated for the occasion by Baxter sibling Steve from the Shark Tank television show.

There were a stack of other authors at the event so I had a lovely fangirl time.

ARC Review

Numbered by Amy Andrews and Ros Baxter.

I could tell you about this book like this…(sort of spoilers so you could skip it and go straight to the review if you likenumbered)

  1. Laugh
  2. Snigger
  3. Drool
  4. Belly Laugh
  5. Whimper
  6. Disbelief
  7. Laugh
  8. Giggle
  9. Sniffle
  10. Smirk
  11. Laugh
  12. Cry
  13. Denial
  14. Laugh
  15. Sigh
  16. Cry
  17. Snort Laugh
  18. Cry
  19. Smile
  20. Cry
  21. Bargain (this was where I killed the fairy)
  22. Snot Cry
  23. Guilty smile
  24. Cry
  25. Sob
  26. Anger
  27. Sob more
  28. Struggle to smile
  29. Depression
  30. Snot cry
  31. Sobbing snot crying
  32. Acceptance
  33. Making public spectacle crying
  34. Hopeful smile
  35. All Choked up.
  36. Still all choked up. *sniff*

I should have known better. Amy Andrews wrote a Medical romance called “How to Mend a Broken Heart” a few years ago and I still cry when I try and talk about it. She wrote Sister Pact with Ros and it was funny and sweet and romantic. I never thought they would combine to create a book that was funny and sweet and romantic and MAKE ME SNOT CRY THROUGH HALF THE DAMN BOOK. And this isn’t some measly little category book. This is a full size book so that is a lot of crying.

The story is about Poppy Devine who starts the book being tested for a lump in her breast. The same day she meets Quentin who works as a chef in the hospital by day and plays in a rock band by night. When he flirts with her, she invites him to do a sky jump with her. The first impulsive thing she probably did in her life.

The sky jump is number one on a bucket list Poppy drew up with her best friend Julia years ago. Number Ten is sex with a stranger. See where we are going with this?

I didn’t notice until we were well through the book that the story is pretty much told from Quentin and Julia’s point of view, not from Poppy’s, the heroine.

Quentin is an unlikely hero for Poppy, who is constantly being told to take risks by Julia. He’s quite a bit younger than Poppy and, in his mind as well as Julia’s, not someone for the long haul.

Julia has been Poppy’s other half for eighteen years, since they met at boarding school at eleven. She is strong, aggressive and totally devoted to Poppy.

This is not really a romance, but is a love story. *wipes tears*

The relationships between the three main characters, with Poppy’s mother and Quentin’s band mate Spike thrown in, are complex and real and imperfect, just as they are.

There is a lot of laughter and humour in the story, but there is also the spectre at the feast, the cancer that drives the momentum of the relationships. It is a very real look at the impact of cancer on not only the person involved, but those around them.

It is a hard book to read. *sniff* But it is also a beautiful story and so very worth it. It is real and magical and bloody brilliant. Anyone who can drag me willingly through that kind of emotional angst had some serious writing cred.

Review copy begged from the publisher because I knew it was going to be great.

Movies I’ve Seen

The same day I went to the Numbered launch, we went to see The Choice by Nicholas Sparks. I will admit that I Googled it pretty thoroughly to ensure it wasn’t one of those movies that ends with one or other of the hero and heroine dying. Overall, I really enjoyed it. There was some great dialogue between the good ol’ boy hero and the uptight doctor in training heroine.

It was one of those opposites attract stories that worked quite well in this case. The hero is a small town vet and the heroine has plans of joining her rich boy doctor boyfriend at a prestigious city clinic when they get married. There was the usual angst you would expect from Sparks but the ending was sweet.

I also watched Deadpool which was right on the other end of the spectrum. Loosely linked to the X-Men universe, Wade Wilson is a former special ops soldier who has been doing small time shakedowns of local bad guys. He meets a girl and is all set for his happy ending when he’s diagnosed with Cancer. He then undergoes a secret procedure a la Wolverine to cure the cancer and become a supersomething mutant.

Thinks don’t go as expected and he becomes Deadpool. This is an origins story in case you didn’t figure that out.

The thing about this movie is it was funny. Dead funny. Crude, sweary, violent, whatever. But funny. There was also that self deprecating humour that made fun of itself and lots of in jokes for the dedicated fans. Wade Wilson is The Merc with the Mouth and he proves it, all the way through. Oh and there is a love story. He says so. And the sound track is fabulous.

What I’m Writing

After reading Numbered I’m not sure if I want to even try to write anything. But hey, it took two of them to be so brilliant so maybe I can be half as good…or a quarter…a bit…whatever.

I’m still uploading my latest Wattpad story, Road Trip Baby. Up to chapter eight and still going. I’m only doing a couple of chapters a week with everything else that’s going on. Nearly finished my Sekrit Project so will be working on that this coming week.

I did start a new Medical story for the fast track but it’s not going to be finished in time so I’ll put it aside. After listening to Tessa Dares Spindle Cove series on recent trips, I’m tempted to go back to my historical partials. I’ve not had any success with my submissions for The Spy Who Saved Me, seven passes out of ten subs. If I get a full set I’ll put the Spy series aside and work on something else. I’m finding I’m not getting overly despairing after the initial couple of disappointments. At least I’m getting some feedback from Wattpad to stoke my ego.

What I’m Reading

Dived into a batch of Presents for research, and review, as you can see. I’m thinking I might do a Presents style book for SYTYCW16.

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