The Best 5 ½ Places to Find Books: #4

Welcome back to The Never Ending Book Basket’s countdown of The Best 5 ½ Places to Find Books!

(Pause here for silent cheering! Wahoo!)

If you’re wondering why on Earth I am counting down the best places to find books, let me enlighten you a little to my madness.

Finding books is a science. (At least to me.) There are many different places that you can find books, but let’s be honest: Some of those places are way better than others!

Thus, in my never ending battle to continually talk about books and all things related, I decided to countdown what I think are the best places to come across those amazing books we all seek. (Because you gotta know where to go to get the good stuff!)

Each spot on the countdown will have its very own post to discuss its awesomeness, and why YOU should go there ASAP to find books!

In my previous post I discussed the #5 spot on the countdown, Target, which I lovingly refer to as my own personal hell. Target is a prime example of how two rows of bookshelves can make a pretty darn good book section.

Up today on the countdown in the #4 spot is where most of us go to find a good book:

Number 4: The Old School Place to Get Books (aka The Book Store!)

So if you are a book lover, you have got to just adore the book store. That is kind of like an unspoken rule. I mean, c’mon.

Books-A-Million (photo credit: booksamillioninc.com

Books-A-Million (photo credit: booksamillioninc.com)

Book stores come in all shapes and sizes, and each one is unique in its own way. While there are plenty of big and small book stores out there, the ones many of us find ourselves in are the large chain ones that frequent the many strip malls this country has.

Now this is just my opinion, but I think it’s safe to say the two major book stores most people in this country physically go to are Barnes and Noble and Books-A-Million.

I personally have frequented both of these stores, and have spent way more money there then I will ever admit. (My lips are fucking sealed on that one!) I have also spent countless hours perusing the shelves of both of these major chains, and can safely say an afternoon spent there is well worth it.

Now it may seem like real common sense to say that a major book store chain is a fantastic place to find books, but you’ll note that this isn’t the post discussing the #1 spot on the countdown! (You’ll find out why soon enough!)

Why Barnes and Noble and Books-A-Million are pretty fantastic places to find books:

  • You can get any kind of book you want. (It’s a book store, hello!) Of course when you go to a big chain book store like Barnes and Noble and Books-A-Million you can find every genre of book out there. There is something for everyone there, and that’s kind of a big thing. If you want that one random book that’s a little on the specific side, it’s probably at one of these major chains.
  • The people who work there are books biggest fans. I have been to many a book stores, and have never met a book store employee who didn’t like books. (That would be a serious oxy moron!) The people who work at these places clearly like books, and are usually more than willing to help you find that next great page turner.
  • The themed book displays. So I have to say I love the book displays they have in Books-A-Million and Barnes and Noble. These displays are full of books that are similarly themed, and they are a great place to find new books just like the ones you already love. This is also where the books on promotion are, and sometimes those deals are pretty good.

    Barnes and Noble (photo credit: barnesandnoble.com

    Barnes and Noble (photo credit: barnesandnoble.com

  • The Clearance Section. Now this particular one pertains more to Books-A-Million because the clearance book section there is out of this world. It is literally rows and rows of books that are severely discounted. The clearance section there also represents a wide variety of books that are all looking for a good home. They all scream, “Pick Me! Choose Me! Love Me!” (I’ll personally high five anyone who knows where that last line is borrowed from!)
  • The “We Recommend” Section. So I already mentioned that most of the staff members at these stores love books. One of my favorite staples of these book chains is that they have this nifty little section of books that the staff recommends. I LOVE this section. It is filled to the brim with books that fellow book addicts love. What’s not to squeal over?
  • There’s coffee. Okay so this really has nothing to do with finding books, but as I’ve said before, coffee and books kind of go together splendidly. And luckily both Books-A-Million and Barnes and Noble have coffee places in them to help us all pair our caffeine addictions with our book addictions.

So I’m sure you’re wondering what could possibly be the fallbacks of the major book stores we all love, and I’ll tell you there aren’t many, but I do have a some:

  • The Prices. While both Barnes and Noble and Books-A-Million have clearance sections, the majority of their books are on the pricier side. (At least for my poor ass self.) As I am a self-proclaimed book addict, my addiction can get a tad expensive shopping at these places. But on a more positive note, it’s easier to control my addiction when I literally can’t afford to buy the books I want. (There’s the upside!)
  • Paying to belong. So at both of these places you have to pay to become a member to receive pretty much any kind of coupon or discount. (And in my opinion that’s a bunch of bs, because all us book lovers gotta stick together, and we shouldn’t have to pay to be at least some kind of member.) I still to this day majorly miss the major book retailer (which has since gone out of business) that gave out the best coupons and had free membership.(RIP Borders)

Major book stores like Barnes and Noble and Books-A-Million have a lot to offer book addicts like you and me. They carry all the bestsellers, all the books you’ve got to read, and even that one specific book that nowhere else has.

Places like these are overflowing with books and book addicts alike. It is not only a spectacular place to find books, but a great place to meet and see other addicts out in their natural habitat.

And remember, they sell coffee too!!

Please stay tuned for more on The Never Ending Book Basket’s countdown of The Best 5 ½ Places to Find Books. (I know you’re still waiting to find out what that ½ thing means!)

Next up on the countdown is the place I refer to as the miscellaneous grab bag of where to find books.

Ps. If you have an opinion on Barnes and Noble or Books-A-Million and their spot on the countdown, I’d love to hear from you!

If I Stay

Welcome back fellow readers. I hope time has found you well, and that you’ve found yet another good book to sink your teeth into.

Lately I have been on a big love story kick. What can I say? I am a huge sucker for love stories. They just reel me in. (Hence, I am a sucker, but I love it and accept it fully.)

Though I love me a good love story, as a book reader I also have a touch of ADD, so I often jump from one genre to another. Literally. I read a little bit of anything and everything.

That ADD is what brings us here today. I decided to dive deep into my Never Ending Book Basket and pull out something different. I was in the mood for a change.

(In all honesty the book I read was right on top, but in my defense, my book basket does contain a little bit of everything.)

The book I read today has been on my to buy list for a while, and in a surprising twist of fate I was able to find this book at one of my Best 5 ½ Places to Find Books! (Since I haven’t finished the countdown yet, I won’t reveal where. Yet. But I will let you know this book was found in that pesky little ½ place I keep mentioning!)

So in my never ending battle to listen to my book ADD I read the book If I Stay by Gayle Forman.

If I Stay is a very emotional book, and I did not know what to expect going into reading it. The book is told from Mia’s point of view as she decides if she is going to choose to “stay” after her family is in a horrific car accident.

The book opens with a brief glimpse of Mia and her extremely adoring family, before segueing into the accident. If I Stay follows Mia from that accident as she is taken outside of her body, and must go through the painful decision of staying or going. To move on to whatever comes next, or stay and face the not so nice music of her new reality.

She’s not a ghost per say, but she can see and hear everything going on around her, while looking down at her battered body.

Interwoven with Mia’s current state are flashbacks telling brilliant stories about her family including her mother, father, little brother, Gran and Gramps, best friend Kim, and her boyfriend Adam. These flashbacks flow naturally into the story, and creates an excellent stream of consciousness effect in the book that lets you know exactly how Mia got to this point in her life and the story itself.

What I liked about this book:

  • The rawness. This book is full of emotion and thought, and it is all raw and out there for everyone to see. I loved that the emotions put forth were believable for the situation, and nothing was shielded or censored. When going through something as horrific as Mia is, everything is messy and raw and complicated, and that emotion was brilliantly conveyed.
  • Mia and her internal struggle. Mia is a gem of a character. Throughout this book she is either looking at her helpless injured body, or
    If I Stay by Gayle Forman (I found it only fitting to take this picture as there was a dusting of snow on the ground. Read the book and you'll see why.)

    If I Stay by Gayle Forman (I found it only fitting to take this picture as there was a dusting of snow on the ground. Read the book and you’ll see why.)

    remembering the many events of her life that bring her straight back into her harsh reality. (Those past events made me love her even more!) The internal struggle she battles throughout this book is phenomenal. Reading and watching as Mia struggles to decide whether to stay or go is heart rendering, and will really make you think: What would I do in the same position when the only choice I have is to live or die?

  • The structure of the book. I loved the way this book was told in a stream of consciousness like format, where Mia interweaves her present state with stories from the past. This structure fits the book, and it makes it easy to flow between the past and present worlds. It also makes it really easy to like the characters from the small glimpses you see of them.
  • The music. Music is a big part of this book. Mia is an accomplished cellist, and she comes from a world and family that loves, lives, and breathes music. Music is almost its own character in this book, and it finds its way into almost every character, sub story, and crevice. Music is the glue that really brings this book and its characters together.
  • The pace. I don’t want to reveal any major plot points in this story (We don’t do that shit here!) but I will say the pace of this book is very good and well matched for the story being told. I read this book in one sitting, and the pace along with the great plot of the story was the reason why. You hit the ground running, and you don’t stop until the very end.
  • The plethora of endearing characters. I cannot even begin to describe how much I love all the characters in If I Stay. Mia’s parents are the parents we all wish we had. Her little brother, Teddy is about as adorable as they come. Her best friend Kim, and her realness stand out in a sea of rawness. Adam, Mia’s boyfriend, adds another layer as well. (I think in the present tense of the story, he is only in the book less than 25 pages, but those pages and his searing emotion stand out.)

If I Stay is a book about a choice. Mia has to decide if she is going to stay and face the harsh reality of what she’s left with after a terrible accident, or if she’s going to go and let it all fade away.

The road to that choice is the pulse of this book, and the author does a fantastic job of creating a story where you honestly don’t know what the “right” answer to that choice is.

Watching Mia struggle with that choice takes you on a phenomenal journey that will make you wonder what you would do if asked the same question: Do you stay, or do you go?

This book is definitely an emotional and very raw ride, but it’s highly worth it. (And don’t worry, it’s not all dark, sad, and gloomy. I did smile and chuckle at some parts while reading. More than once, too!)

So, fellow book addicts I dare you to take a walk with me on the dark side.

Embrace your book ADD, and give something new and different a chance.

You’ll be glad you did.

I know I am.

ps. If you’d like to learn more about If I Stay and/or its author Gayle Forman, click one of the links below.

http://www.gayleforman.com/ (Website)

https://twitter.com/gayleforman (Twitter)

https://www.facebook.com/GayleFormanAuthor (Facebook)

The Best 5 ½ Places to Find Books: #5

Welcome back fellow book addicts!

I hope time has found you well, and that you’ve had plenty of opportunities to dive into some fantastic books. (I know I have!)

Since clearly all of us here enjoy books, I thought it only fitting that we have a discussion about the best places to find those books. I mean let’s be honest: you have to know where the best place to buy your drug of choice is. You can’t just go anywhere. (And I am referring to books there people. Get your minds out of the gutter, folks!)

Now there are a million places to buy books, but I have to say that I have my certain favorite places that I love to purchase a good read. (I may have slightly over exaggerated with the use of the term “a million places” when describing where to buy books, but it’s all the same. There are many great places to come across that one book you’re looking for.)

These are also the places that have the ability to suck me in for hours on end if I let them. That isn’t even a slight exaggeration. It’s happened.

So here at the Never Ending Book Basket, I will be counting down The Best 5 ½ Places to Find Books.

These places will be the cream of the crop. The best of the best. They’re the places you just gotta go to get the books you need.

Why 5 ½ places? Well that’s the number I came up with and I’m sticking with it. Tough shit. (And don’t you worry, I’ll explain that ½ thing later.) Each spot on the countdown will have its very own post, and these countdown posts will be interspersed with the normal book reviews you find on here.

So without further ado, The Best 5 ½ Places to Find Books:

Number 5: The Big Name Retailer That Sucks You in for Everything You Got (aka Target)

Target is my own personal hell in a lot of ways. If you’re American, you’ve probably seen that e card making fun of the fact that most people go into Target looking for one thing, yet they leave the store with 5 different things. (Not one of which was on their intended list of things to buy.)

Gotta love this!! And it is absolutely true! (photo credit: Pinterest)

Gotta love this!! And it is absolutely true! (photo credit: Pinterest)

I am so guilty of that. I go into that place, and I am lucky to get out without buying something I did not need. I mean, does anyone really need as many storage bins as I’ve bought in that place?

Don’t even get me started on walking up and down the aisles looking for clearance items. That is a bad place.

I am also extremely guilty of the fact that I NEVER leave Target without visiting the book section. NEVER. Not even once since the time I was in high school. (Yes, I admit it. I have a problem.)

Target is one of my favorite places to look for books. In fact almost every book on my to buy list, and probably half the books currently residing in my Never Ending Book Basket originated from a visit to Target.

Now as I always I have to justify my reasoning’s on here, the following is why I think Target is a great place to buy books:

  • It has the newest releases of the most popular books out there. That huge, new, gotta have it book that just came out? Target most likely is a place you can get it.
  • It has a wide range of well known, and not so known books. The books Target carries range from New York Times Bestsellers, to romance, to teen, to some random book you’ve never even heard of. The variety of Target’s selection, at times, is superb.
  • The Target Book Club. If you’ve ever perused the book section, you’ve probably seen some books with the logo “Target Book Club”. These books are not ones to miss. They are fantastic, and a ton of them are even signed by the damn author. I can personally say one of my favorite books that I read last year was from this club. That books cover is even in the header image of this blog. (It’s called The Promise of Stardust and you need to go to Target and buy it now. Do it!)
  • The discounted prices. Now it isn’t like Targets books are seriously discounted, but most are 20% off list price, and as someone addicted to buying books, every little bit of money saved is big.

Now I am not trying to be Negative Nellie on here, but there are a couple drawbacks to doing your book buying at Target:

The 5th best place to find books!

The 5th best place to find books!

  • The book section contains only about 2 aisles worth of books. What this means is that while Target might have a book section, it’s still a big store that sells only a little bit of everything. This means that if you’re looking for a specific book that isn’t a new release, insanely popular, or part of the Target Book Club, you’re probably not going to find it there. (But what do you expect from a book section that contains 2 aisles?)
  • It can be hit or miss. As much as I love Target, and its book section, I find that it can be hit or miss in there sometimes. The range of books is marvelous, but often the shelves are either filled to the brim or filled with more empty spaces than my brain is when it comes to math skills. Either way, I always go the section no matter what, but I am sad to say I do not always come away with the next best book.

Target is a great place to buy books, and find books that you might want to buy at some point. As I said earlier, I have added so many books to my to read list from just perusing the book section at Target.

When I look in the Target book section, I don’t always buy a book, (Yes, that does actually happen mother!) but I do usually come away with a new book I plan to read at some point.

If anything, Target is always good for a fun time spent searching through books, and the high likelihood that you will buy at least one thing you will never use or need.

Please stay tuned for more on the Never Ending Book Basket’s countdown of The Best 5 ½ Places to Find Books. (I know you just can’t wait to find out what that ½ thing means!)

Next up on the countdown is a place that I refer to as the old-school place to get the books you have to have, so keep your eyes open for the post!

Until next time book addicts, and as always, Happy Reading!

Ps. If you have a comment or opinion about buying books at Target, I would love to hear from you!

Two For One Special (Love Unrehearsed & Love Unscripted)

Attention book readers, we have a two for one special on our hands at The Never Ending Book Basket!

(In my mind I just imagined that being blasted over a crackling loud speaker in a warehouse filled to the brim with books, also known as my own personal happy place.)

I guess I should let you know that I didn’t actually just read a book named two for one special. The title for this post comes from the fact that today is your lucky day!

Want to know why?!

Today, you get two book reviews for the price of one! Go you!

Told ya, today was your day!

Please try and contain your exuberance out there!

Now that you know where my oh so clever title for this post came from (and I know you just have to be smiling right now!), I can now talk about the amazing two books that I just recently finished and are today’s two for one special.

This week I read Love Unscripted and Love Unrehearsed by Tina Reber.

Love Unscripted and Love Unrehearsed by Tina Reber.

Love Unscripted and Love Unrehearsed by Tina Reber. (For the record I thought it was fantastic to put that dried bouquet on top of the books. Am I the next big photographer? Probably not, but I do sure love this picture!)

So why a two for one special?

These books are basically two parts to a one whole extremely lovable story, (think of them as part one and part two respectively) so I found it only right to review them together.

Let me tell you, I was very eager to read these two books. I came across the second book, Love Unrehearsed while shopping with another book addict, and I was hooked in by the promise of reading a fantastic love story that I wouldn’t forget.

I will just be honest with the fact that I am a HUGE sucker for a love story, and boy was this a love story to die for. I ate up every page, and was completely enamored with the main characters, Taryn and Ryan.

Their love practically pole vaulted off the page.

Since I don’t want to give away too much of the actual plot line of these two books (‘cause we don’t do that shit on here!), let me tell you a little about Taryn and Ryan:

  • Meet Taryn: Taryn is a young, extremely caring, strong willed, and down to Earth woman who is running a small pub in a tiny Rhode Island town. She has a huge heart, and always puts others first. At the beginning she can be found rolling her eyes at the hoopla over the huge movie being filmed in town. She will not play into any of that, until she unexpectedly finds herself helping and falling very hard for Ryan Christensen, the A list actor starring in the film.
  • Meet Ryan: Ryan Christensen is on top of the world. He is the gorgeous guy rising to the top of the acting world, and almost every female is obsessed with him. Ryan just wanted to do what he loved, but he never expected to have his every move scrutinized and followed by throngs of women. Literally. That fanatic obsession is exactly what leads him to meeting Taryn. Ryan is clearly guarded, but is oh so charming and fiercely protective of what he holds dear, but when he meets Taryn all bets are off.

Love Unscripted and Love Unrehearsed follows Taryn and Ryan as they try to give love a chance. Both of these characters have pasts and presents that make them reluctant to take the leap of faith. They are both guarded, and they have their reasons for holding back, but these books explore what happens when they give it all a chance.

When they come together it’s messy, complicated, and scary as hell, but the journey they go on together is one that will just make your heart melt.

These books are filled to the brim with swoon worthy moments, drama ridden crazies, and lines that will have you becoming a puddle of emotions. They also contain some unforgettable supporting characters that are the icing on the cake! (Try not to like them. I dare ya!)

Some of my favorite aspects of the books:

  • It’s a love story, hello?! What can I say, I am a sucker for a love story. I love reading about love, and watching two characters fall for one another. (NEWSFLASH: If you don’t, this book probably isn’t for you.) And boy do they fall in this story. This love story is well described, and provides all the adorable little details that will make you want to put this couple on a Hallmark card ASAP. The love described is well thought out and written, and will have you fighting like hell that everything works out for the two lovebirds.
  • The drama. There’s no such thing as a love story without drama, right? Both Love Unscripted and Love Unrehearsed have some juicy bits of drama that may include, but are not limited to: psychotic fans, crazy exes, ridiculously good looking male characters, paparazzi galore, sneaky bitches, plenty of innuendo, a smidge bit of illegal substances, and more crazy fan mail than you can shake a stick at.
  • The moments radiating love. There are a ton of these moments within both books, and they will really make you see, feel, hear, and even touch all the love pouring out of this book. Feel the love people, feel the love.
  • The length of the books. Now clearly I enjoy reading, so book length isn’t daunting to me whatsoever, so I personally prefer a good book that provides a solid plot line and characters over a longer than average book. I spent almost 1,000 pages combined with Taryn and Ryan. Some may say these books are too long, but the plot line is well developed and the characters keep the story going. (And honestly, by the end, I still wanted to read more!)
  • The A list guy and the girl next door. It’s a story you think you’ve heard before, but this spin is well worth the ride. Ryan Christensen is to die for. He is good looking, charming, and he has a heart of gold. Taryn is the girl you love to love, who is witty, loving, and actually has her shit together. She fights like hell for what she wants, and is as strongly independent as you can get. (Score one for strong female characters!) And who wouldn’t enjoy reading about an A list actor falling for the girl next door?
  • How it all comes together. (The lack of further explanation here is deliberate. No spoilers here. You want to find out what happens to Taryn and Ryan, go read the damn books. Now. Please and thank you.)

Love Unscripted and Love Unrehearsed tells the story of two people who have every reason to not believe in love, yet find themselves putting their faith in one another. This story contains moments that will make you want to laugh out loud, smile, and maybe even cringe. (But in a good way, I promise!)

It may be a sappy love story, oozing with heart rendering moments, but it is story that will have you truly believing and trusting in the power of love.

And who doesn’t want that? (For the record, that question can be considered rhetorical if you do not want to answer yes.)

Hope you enjoyed this two for one special. It was definitely worth the late nights of reading.

Let me know what you think, and I am curious to see what opinions you all have of love stories in general.

Let the reading of love commence!

ps. If you’d like to learn more about Love Unscripted and Love Unrehearsed by Tina Reber, feel free to check out the following links:

http://www.tinareber.com/ (website)

https://www.facebook.com/authortinareber (Facebook)

https://twitter.com/tinareber (Twitter)

Bloom

Happy New Year fellow book readers!

I hope you were all able to ring in the New Year in the best possible way!

How did I ring in the New Year you ask? Well I did what I love to do: I thought about everything I love and hold dear. In that thought process, my mind drifted off (as it often does) to the most recent book I was able to read.

This book stayed in my mind over the last few days of 2013, so I found it only fitting to bring its fantastic message into the New Year and to you!

I find that the book I most recently finished is the best possible choice for my first post of 2014, as it is all about finding beauty and happiness in unexpected situations. I am thinking that discovering more beauty and happiness is something we could all use a little more of in our lives.

Thus in my first official post of 2014 we will explore Bloom by Kelle Hampton.

Bloom by Kelle Hampton

Bloom by Kelle Hampton

Bloom is a magnificent memoir that follows a mother’s journey from the day that she welcomes her second child into the world. On that day the mother is as excited as anyone would be at such an event. That day becomes something much more when her baby girl is born, and she learns that her new baby has Down syndrome.

Bloom begins as Hampton describes the day her beautiful baby girl Nella came into the world, and all of the events and emotions that surrounded her as her life changed before her very eyes. After pouring out all she felt and thought in those first few moments and days into a truly moving piece of writing, Hampton begins to discuss the first year of her new baby and family’s lives.

What ensues in this memoir is a poignant story about a mother’s love for her child and family, and what happens when the unexpected occurs and she finds herself on a path that she never knew she’d be on, but is one filled with true beauty, happiness, and love.

I have wanted to read Bloom for quite some time now. I first read of Hampton’s story almost two years ago, when I read her original blog post detailing her daughter’s birth. I came across the post on one of my favorite websites, Pinterest, and I was instantly taken in by Hampton’s words describing how her daughter came into this wondrous world. There was also one line that really stuck with me, one that I could not get out of my head, and one that I would emphasize when telling people about this amazing story I had read on the internet. (I promise to tell you that one later.)

Flash forward a little over a year later and I was in the book store (very shocking, I know) and I came across a gorgeous book cover that drew me in. Turning that book over and reading the summary on the back had me realizing that the very book I held in my hand, was the memoir of the woman who wrote that moving story I so long ago read.

Suffice to say that book made it to the top of my infamous to buy list. (I probably should have gotten it then, but at that current moment I was still in college selling children’s shoes to feed my caffeine and book addictions. And sadly, buying books then was something I unfortunately had to wait to do.)

Flash forward even more time, and I finally was able to find that striking book again, and I devoured it cover to cover in less than a day.

(My advice on this one: if you find a book you think you’re going to really love, buy it then. Don’t put it off, because the joy you find in reading a truly mesmerizing book like Bloom, is well worth sacrificing a week’s worth of coffee for.)

What I simply adored about this book:

  • Hampton’s poignant point of view. Kelle Hampton’s original blog post radiated all of her poignancy. That effervescent poignancy continues in her memoir as she pours everything into this book, and leaves nothing behind, which creates a book that is truly unforgettable. The way that she shares her and her family’s story truly comes from the heart, and will give you a glimpse into what it means to find true and heartfelt beauty in the unexpected. This story is hers to tell, and you won’t soon forget experiencing what she details in her memoir.
  • The pictures. This is truthfully the most visually appealing book I have ever read. There is a reason that this book’s cover drew me in. The photography taken and provided by Hampton documenting her and her family’s story is absolutely stunning. Pages and pages of this book are filled with these vibrant pictures that connect and magnify every emotion and event that Hampton describes. By the end of this book, you will have heartfelt appreciation for pictures and what they can truly show.
  • The joy and beauty that is tangible. While reading, I felt as if I could almost touch the joy, happiness, and beauty that Hampton describes throughout everything documented in her memoir. There are plenty of places in this memoir that Hampton conveys what her and her family’s journey was like, and it certainly isn’t always sunshine and roses. Though when Hampton describes many moments that were filled with joy and beauty, she does it with so much detail and feeling that you can almost touch it. She simply shows you what it truly means to find the beauty and joy.

Suffice to say, I truly enjoyed reading Bloom. The author presents her wholly authentic experience, as she welcomed the unexpected into her life. Her extraordinary memoir documents all of the ups and downs her and her family go through, but truly demonstrates what it means to love a child.

I have probably done a horribly inaccurate job of describing how wonderful this book is, but it is truly a book you will not soon forget. This is the author’s story. It’s her point of view, it’s her life, and it’s real, and as I’ve said before on here, I think we can all learn a lot from one another. I sure learned a lot from her.

As Hampton points out, we are all truly more alike than different, and beauty and joy are all around us, even in the unexpected.

I want to end this post with the words that stuck with me the most from Hampton’s original post, and her memoir. In both, Hampton describes how she knew the moment her daughter was born that she had Down syndrome, and then she continues to describe what happened from that point until her pediatrician came in.

Her pediatrician comes to her and tells her what she already knows, but before that she tells her the very most important thing: “The first thing I am going to tell you is that your daughter is beautiful and perfect.” (pg. 8, Bloom)

That is what I will always remember from reading Hampton’s story. Her daughter, and every other child/person/human being on this planet is beautiful and perfect, and that is the descriptor that matters and comes first every time. Throughout her writing, Hampton personifies that sentiment, and it is truly beautiful to read and experience.

I think we need to remember that as we begin this New Year. We are all different, and that makes us unique, but we are all human and we are all beautiful no matter what else might go into the equation.

Thus as we begin 2014 I encourage everyone, and especially myself, to find the beauty and to find the joy in all the expected and unexpectedness we will come across in this wondrous coming year and life.

 Bring on the beauty and joy of 2014!

ps. If you would like to learn more about Kelle Hampton and her amazing memoir you can find anything and everything here:

http://www.kellehampton.com/  (Blog)

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Enjoying-the-Small-Things-Kelle-Hampton/160436387376707 (Facebook)

https://twitter.com/KelleHampton  (Twitter)