Book Bingo 2019 is a collaboration challenge I am completing with my favourite bloggers, Theresa Smith Writes and The Book Muse. Each Saturday, on a fortnightly basis, beginning on Saturday 5th January 2019, Ashleigh, Theresa and I will complete a book review post, outlining our respective bingo card entries. The Book Bingo 2019 card contains a total of 30 squares, which we will complete over the course of the year, with the aim to complete the whole card by the end of December. Two of the Book Bingo entries this year will be flexible, so that means it is completely down us as to when we post these entries, to ensure all 30 are ticked off by the end of the year. Do keep an eye out on our respective blog sites for our bonus round entries! To keep things interesting for ourselves and those following along with us, the choice of bingo square to be covered will be entirely down to us, there is no crossover – that is planned anyway! However, as Ashleigh, Theresa and I enjoy similar books, especially books by Australian women writers, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we end up with more than one book double up, as was the case in 2018! We invite you to join us in this fun book related challenge, by linking your bingo card entries in the comments section of this post, tagging us on social media, or by visiting The Book Muse and Theresa Smith Writes.
A compassionate, uplifting story about love for fans of ME BEFORE YOU.
‘People are here for me, to celebrate the anniversary of the day I was given life. On the very same day I’d just been told my life was all but over.’
When Ava Green turns twenty-eight, she is told it will be her last birthday. The cancer she fought three years ago is back, and this time it’s going to beat her. But Ava is not going to let cancer define her last, precious months – she wants the wedding of her dreams. She doesn’t have a groom, she doesn’t have much money, and she definitely doesn’t have much time . . . but none of that matters. She’s going to go it alone.
As her friends and family rally to help deliver her dying wish for a party to end all parties, the media get involved and her story spreads around the country. But when photographer James Gable arrives, Ava’s plans are disrupted. Suddenly all the emotions she’d packed away are on her doorstep. Now she has to decide – is she is brave enough to let love in and strong enough to say goodbye?
With a front cover endorsement that states, ‘If you like Nicholas Sparks you’ll love Photos of You’ and the romantic couple featured within a stunning coastal backdrop, I was keen to explore my first title by Tammy Robinson. The January book club title for the Hachette initiative Books with Heart, I couldn’t resist delving into Photos of You. This book has all the feels and more. Delivering a rush of emotions from laughter, tears, anger, joy and sadness.
Likened to both Nicholas Sparks and Jojo Moyes, Photos of You is described as a powerful love story. It begins and ends with Ava Green, a young woman aged just twenty eight when she is given the news that her cancer is back and she only has a small amount of time to left to live. Ava’s reaction is to ensure that the cancer that has spread throughout her body does not overrule her. She is going out fighting and she is determined to have her own wedding day, despite no groom. When friends, family and social media all act as Ava’s fairy godmothers, Ava’s last wish begins to come to fruition. When James, a photographer comes into Ava’s life, it changes her world. She begins to consider letting true love into her life, but will she break her heart and James’ heart in the process? Photos of You is about acceptance, love, support and learning to let go.
When Kelly Rimmer, one of my favourite Australian authors, issued Photos of You a big plug (her cover quote is on the back of the book) I knew I had to read this title. I have been wanting to read a Tammy Robinson title for some time now. I have her previous book on my TBR mountain shelf. After reading Photos of You, I am going to try my hardest to squeeze in Differently Normal. Robinson is a lovely storyteller, she has an excellent grasp of characters, dialogue and human emotions. There is a depth to her writing that I came to appreciate very much. It is almost like Robinson is reaching into your soul. Photos of You is incredibly emotional, tender and life affirming.
Ava is a young woman who quite literally took my breath away. She was stoic, admirable and determined. I couldn’t believe she managed to withhold her final cancer diagnosis for as long as she did. Ava is still incredibly human, we see her moments of despair, her breakdowns and her fear of dying. Her biggest fear is being forgotten, which I am sure is a sentiment many of us feel.
‘I want to spend the time I have left with my loved ones. I want to give them memories of me to last their lifetime. I don’t want them to forget me. It’s an irrational fear because I know they won’t, but that’s the thing I fear most. Being forgotten.’
Rallying around Ava are a bevy of vibrant supporting characters. Ava’s loyal and giving friends, clearly heartbroken by the loss of their friend and Ava’s loving parents. When Ava’s plans to get married before she dies without a groom is made public, so many strangers enter Ava’s world. Each has their own story and personal connection to Ava’s journey. It startled me that so many members of the public who didn’t know Ava personally strived to honour her in their own special way.
When James, Ava’s love interest enters the equation, the book is turned on its head. It becomes a love story with a difference. We learns of Ava’s hopes, fears and her innate need to protect James from heartbreak. Again, Ava amazed me. She was always putting others ahead of herself. There are sad, happy and displeasing moments in their relationship. Robinson is a gentle and insightful storyteller and she manages to convey all that we would expect to occur in this high emotion situation.
It is easy to classify Photos of You as a simple cancer story with some romance thrown in. I can assure you, there is much more to this story. I experienced plenty of clarity while reading this book. It was also a BIG wakeup call. It reminded to stop stressing and worrying about insignificant details in life. It could very well be your last moments to walk on this earth. Every moment should count and no second should be wasted. Photos of You is a story about embracing the impossible. It also reminds us that sometimes, love can come at the most unexpected times, and we should go with the flow!
I suspect this is just the beginning of a beautiful reading relationship between Tammy Robinson and I. Photos of You will leave you breathless, teary and thankful for the life you lead.
‘I tiptoe amongst the stars, along with the Milky Way. Hitch a ride on a comet, dance with the man in the moon.
I am star dust, blow on me too hard and I will disintegrate.’
**** 4.5 stars
Photos of You by Tammy Robinson is published by Hachette Australia. Out now. $29.99
To learn more about the author of Photos of You, Tammy Robinson, visit here.