Wednesday, December 18, 2013

***HOT PICK*** Giveaway and Review of What's Left of Me by Amanda Maxlyn

Life works in mysterious ways.

Four years ago I became known as the girl with cancer.

I refuse to cry.

And I refuse to give in.

A relationship with a man is the last thing I’m looking for right now, but one night with Parker changes everything. He is persistent, and he knows what he wants. Me.

He doesn’t treat me like I’m fragile.

But he doesn’t know, and I’m not ready to tell him.

What if it changes everything?

Tragedy found me when I was seventeen.

Love found me when I was twenty-one.

My name is Aundrea McCall, and this is my journey.

5 Fantastic Stars
Review by Lisa Kane

Aundrea (her friends call her Dre) has been battling Hodgkin's Lymphoma since she was 17. She is at the point in her disease that her treatment is no longer effective and a bone marrow transplant (from her own marrow) is necessary. She has some strong chemo treatments that she needs to get through so she can receive the transplant. She is staying with her sister and her brother-in-law. Her parents have made numerous financial sacrifices for her-they lost their house in the process of paying her medical bills and Dre has guilt on top of guilt for being the one that was the catalyst for that.


She is taking a few on- line courses in college. She had to be home schooled towards the end of high school because of her treatments, and so she missed her prom, and graduation and parties and her senior week trip. Her boyfriend (the only one she ever had and her lone sexual partner) broke things off after she was diagnosed. She doesn't blame him-not many guys would stick around and put themselves through her turmoil.


She has a strong support system in her friends. They want her to loosen up, to enjoy her life as best she can. They drag her to a club and insist she dress for party mode. She loosens up to the point that she engages in flirting with the gorgeous guy who she finds is eyeball fu*#ing her. The two of them are doing their own version of Dirty Dancing and they carry it out of the club. She goes home with him and has her first one night stand. Let's just say a good time was had by all! She sneaks out the next day. She knows this can't go anywhere, whether she wants it to or not.


Her brother-in-law is a veterinarian and owns his own practice. The next day he invites his new partner over and it's a case of guess who's coming to dinner. She sees Parker and he is even more gorgeous than she first thought. He tries to get her alone to talk about what happened the night before but she puts the kibosh on that and tells him it was a one time thing.


"Look, Parker, I don't usually go home with strange men, or strangers for that matter. I promise after this moment I won't bring up last night again, or even think about it. It won't happen again, and I swear I won't tell Jason. So, your secret of screwing the boss' sister-in-law is safe with me."

"You think I'm strange?"


 He lets her know that may be her intention for things to end, but it's not his!

Dre agrees to help out her brother- in- law in the office a few times a week. And yeah, maybe she wouldn't mind seeing Parker there. This guy is the whole package-he's smart, compassionate, witty , is soft on the eyes and makes no bones about the fact that he wants Dre-big time wants her in his life!

They hang out a little together and it's apparent they both have feelings for one another. Dre won't tell him that she has cancer. She isn't ready to lose him yet-everyone knows no one wants the girl with cancer. She doesn't want to see that look in his eyes that people get when they find out she is sick.

I'm not ready for him to go running. Maybe I'm being selfish. I am selfish. I want to keep him around, but I don't want to share anything personal. Is that too much to ask?

Meanwhile, she is suffering through this latest course of chemo, she is sick and weak and depressed. She comes up with excuses for her absences from Parker's life.


This is told for the most part in her POV. Every description of her treatment, her pain, her nausea, the devastating loss of  her hair, resonates with the reader. I became this girl I was so immersed in her life, when she allowed herself to cry I cried right along with her. I cried for her when she woudn't allow herself to cry, but I wished she would. And through the tears, she always tempered it with laughter, with her unique way of saying that if someone had to bear this burden, better her than someone she loved.


There is nothing worse than taking a shower and pulling out clumps of hair or watching them stick to your wet body.

I make my way to the mirror and stare at the unrecognizable person in the mirror. My lips look more chapped than I remember. My ears point out further than I thought, my eyebrows look misplaced and my eyes suddenly seem to sit much further apart. I don't recognize the woman looking back at me. She's not me. She's a stranger.

So much of her emotions evolved around Parker and her need to cover up her secret. Even the wigs she wears are a burden, she fears every time he runs his hands through her hair he will dislodge one.

I can feel the wetness along with pressure between my thighs build and no matter what, I don't want to stop. I don't think I can stop. Until I feel his hand move into my hair. He grips my wig, tugging slightly, causing my eyes to pop open. "Parker! Wait!" I shriek.

One of my favorite things about Dre is her passion for reading. Her Kindle goes everywhere with her.

I can't pick a favorite book, explaining that it's not about what or who is the best, but rather the story itself. Each book is different and unique, bringing out the best emotions in me. I love getting pulled out of reality-away from the reminders of my pain. (See what I mean-how can you not love this girl!)

There are complications upon complications thrown in this girl's face. And always there is the secret-what will  happen when Parker learns the truth? What will happen to Dre if the transplant fails?

We all have an end date. We know we're going to die. The only question is when. It's the not knowing-or the someday-that makes it easy to not think about.

I adored this book! I thought it would be sad and depressing, and although at times it was those things, it was funny and hot and light. Parker may not be an MMA fighter, or a rock star or a billionaire. He may just be a man who treats animals for a living. But this guy-he is the stuff heroes are made of-true and honest and real. This guy, he stole my heart. He's the one that every girl should dream about, should long for, should share a first kiss.

The question everyone wants answered-does Dre die? I will only say that you will need tissues, plenty of tissues. Ones for the happy tears that will surely flow and ones for the tears that will break your heart.

"I know that no matter how hard life gets, it's amazing to just be here. To be alive."

"We'll take it day by day. Together. I just got you and I refuse to let you go."

Barnes and Noble

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