Saturday, March 31, 2012

In My Mailbox (51)

IMM is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren, who I get to hang out with for a weekend in TWO WEEKS! (Not to mention Lynn, Jamie, Anna, Tara, Heidi, the Housewives, and MANY MORE!)

YAY BOOKS. And I got some AMAZING e-galleys in addition to my physical copies, so I'm fist pumping all over this weekend.


For Review
Belles by Jen Calonita
I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
172 Hours on the Moon by John Harstad
The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowen
The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland

thanks Little, Brown/Poppy, Harlequin Teen, and Penguin!

Bought
The Savage Grace by Bree Despain
Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout (nookbook)


And yes, there's an ARC of Pandemonium up there, and that is coming back to me from April. Who is SO RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME because she went to a Lauren Oliver signing and GOT IT SIGNED for me as a surprise!! Thank you times one billion, April!
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Also, if you're looking for a reason (or 26) to read Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, I suggest checking out my one and only post from this week. Though it's worth it, if I do say so myself.

Friday, March 30, 2012

The ABCs of Vampire Academy

Awhile back, I did a post on the ABCs of the Morganville Vampires, a series I hold near and dear to my heart. It's very rare nowadays for me to stick with a series past the first book or two. When I read an ENTIRE series, that is really saying something about where my heart belongs. This post will probably only apply to like, five of you. No matter. I still want to give you 26 alphabetical reasons why you should invite this series over for dinner and maybe even give it a key to your house so it can surprise you with flowers and hot oil massages when you get home from work.

______________________________

A - Angst (and/or Adrian Ivashkov)
I'm going to go ahead and get this out of the way early: there's a love triangle. But fear not. It's not at all a bad one. In fact, it's quite delightful. But also angst. I tell you no lies, not many series have practically choked the life out of my tear ducts like Vampire Academy.
(Oh, and Adrian? He's sarcastic, wry, and generally wily and I like to picture him as Hayden Christensen.)

B - Bad, Bad Vamps
In order for there to be good, there must be evil. And the bad vamps (better known as Strigoi) are hardcore. No shame in their game, just ripping out tracheas as they see fit.

C - Character Development
THE BEST OF THE BEST, PEOPLE. Growth occurs, people change.

D - Dimitri Motherf**king Belikov
I don't know why, but this trench coat wearing, Strigoi-slaying, western novel reading, 6'7" Russian LEGAL love interest (he's 24! YAY for those of us that feel all dirty about our YA obsession!) is bad ass enough that I'll bet money that "motherf**king" is his actual middle name. (Can you confirm this, Richelle?)
PS. He will make you feel ALL the emotions.

E - EEEEEEK! Sacrifices!
We all know that happy endings don't come without big time sacrifices, at least in those GOOD stories. Because the ending wouldn't be worth it if you didn't have to face down Satan himself (well, pretty much) to earn it. No lack of metaphorical Lucifer encounters here. Plus, the final book is called LAST SACRIFICE, so you know it's going down.

F - Friendship. The GOOD Kind.
You know, the one where there isn't back-stabbing and boyfriend stealing. Rose, our protag, and BFF vampy princess, Lissa, make me want to throw together some stringy, badly colored friendship bracelets and buy those broken heart necklaces that go together. They're THAT amazing.

G - Good God, WHY?
Richelle Mead is mean. She likes to bully your heart. And she will. You just wait.

H - History
No half-assed backstory here. These are detailed, well thought out character histories and mysteries.

I - I Can't Believe You Haven't Read This Series Yet
Seriously? SERIOUSLY?

J - Jugular
No one's is safe. Guard yo neck.

K - Kissing
Okay, let's stop acting like this isn't one of the most important parts. It IS. And Richelle delivers. But you will be waiting a little bit for it. No cheap, unmeaningful romance without foundation, here. This is quality spit-swapping. (Is that gross? TOO BAD.)

L -Like a Boss
I don't know if you guys do this, but I try and immediately cast actors in my head to play book characters. Ben Barnes is a favorite for Dimitri, but he's a bit too prim & proper for me. Nay, Dimitri is a man's man, and who better to play him than SUPER Man? Plus, he can do stoic, pensive, quietly ominous, and deadly. That's hot. Plus, he can pull of the shoulder-length hair like a boss.

M - Mind Games
Theorizing "what will happen next?" is pointless, because you'll probably be wrong. These books are so twisty and engrossing that your innards will be in a constant state of upheaval. Just when you think "no way, Richelle would never do that to me," SHE DOES.

N - No Waiting
Guys, when I read these, it was 6+ months in between each book. THE TORTURE. Good news, though: those of you who haven't read them yet? You can have all the joy and pain at the ready.

O - "Oh Crap, I Already Read ALL THE BOOKS?"
Beginning with Blood Promise, these books are rather considerable in size. But don't let that worry you. You will blast through these things like your life depends on it, because there's no possible way that you can survive without knowing what happens next. Honestly, I don't know how I did.

P - Perfect Reviews
Like this stick figure review, by my good friend Anna.

Q - Quake
Your undergarments may.

R - "Roza."
When you see it, you'll need the smelling salts and your emergency contact person.

S - Spinoff
Sure, you'll fly through the books. But WAIT, THERE'S MORE. There's a spinoff that is equally awesome. Only the first book, Bloodlines, is out now, but Richelle has established that she hasn't lost her mojo with probably the most evil cliffhanger since the end of Shadow Kiss. This is not from Rose's POV, but from a character that you will know and love.
By the way, SQUEE time. Because Richelle quoted my review of Bloodlines on her site. I died a little bit.

T - The Bridge Scene
The most heartbreaking moment in all of Vampire Academy history.

U - Uh, the Movie, Please?
According to the wise Wikipedia, we just may get a movie out of this. Unfortunately, the last update I could find was in July 2010, but I still hold onto my hopes that I will get to see Henry Cavill some awesome actor portraying Dimitri end some lives in all his glory.

V - Vampire Boarding School
Most importantly, BOARDING SCHOOL. And don't let the "vampire" bit throw you off. Vampires may be "out," but this shiz is so fresh that it redefines what you think you know. There are no vegetarians here. And did I mention special powers?

W - Wicked Tattoos
For every Strigoi you kill, you get a molnija mark. I'm surprised you can still see Rose's skin. And this fanbase is so amazing that people have actually went out and tatted their very own molnija marks. Though I'm convinced they need to earn them. Time for Strigoi hunting.

X - Xyphoid Process
I can imagine several of these may have been shattered with all of the fighting and well-written Rose vs. Nameless Strigoi scenes. This chick is tough. It's like I could see the fight scenes play out like a movie in my head, with the way Richelle writes. She keeps it exciting.

Y - YAY, Sarcasm!
There's nothing more slow clap-worthy than when a wenchy character gets verbally burned. Bonus points because Rose's retort pistol is constantly locked and loaded for maximum effect. KA-BLAM.

Z - Zeal
Yes, I have ZEAL in telling you that if you haven't read this series (so basically, what, five people?) you are sorely missing out, my friend. Don't make me spend money to skywrite it over your house. I've got a great job, but I typed up this post for free and I'd really not like to resort to money and/or anonymous threats to make you read it. This is for YOUR BENEFIT.

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So what did I miss? Is there some quality of the Vampire Academy series that you loved? Pick a letter, any letter, and tell me about it. Try and keep it spoiler-free, for those who haven't read it yet <3

Thursday, March 22, 2012

My Thoughts: Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready


Published: Simon Pulse (5/1/12)
Pages: 416
Format: Hardcover
Series: Book 3 of 3
Source: Borrowed from Lynn
GR Summary: No other love has burned so bright. Life can change in an instant, and no one understands that better than Aura. It’s been almost a year since her boyfriend tragically died. She’s finally letting go of Logan’s violet-hued ghost, but not her search to uncover the truth about her past. As the first in a generation that can see ghosts, Aura is convinced that she has a connection to the Shift. She’s trusted Zachary, ever patient and ever by her side, with all that she knows. But when the government threatens his life in an attempt to learn Aura’s secrets, she will stop at nothing to protect herself and the one she loves...even if that means betraying her own heart.

So I'm at a loss. What do you say about the ending to a series that has provoked tears from experiencing every possible emotion that exists? (And possibly some that don't even have names yet.) What is there to be said about a book whose characters have infiltrated your heart and mind and made you sigh wistfully and reflectively at a song that sparked a memory or a moment that didn't happen to you but DAMNIT, you feel like it did. What do you do when you know how it ends? And now there's no more room for speculation because it's all laid out there already?

But then on second thought, why would I be sad that I can't internally speculate on the ending? Because Jeri Smith-Ready has concluded this series in the most beautiful, perfect way possible. There are tough realities to face and moments when you seriously question your bladder control. And might I suggest checking yourself into a hospital beforehand. You'll need access to medical professionals and a code cart with defibrillator after the first chapter. And also potentially after THIS ONE PART. And then the other part. I propose that JSR is the crowned ruler of YA relationships, because this book is straight up sexual. (Remember the River Scene in Shift? Yeeeahh, you haven't seen anything yet.)

Aura has always been a strong female lead, but she really (get ready for the horrible pun!) shines in the conclusion. Quick-thinking, wily, masterful Aura kicks mass amount of ass. I feel this needs to be said: wine bottle weaponry. But she's not ashamed to show her vulnerable side, either. She's such a real, relatable protagonist, so it's no wonder two amazing guys are in love with her. As a female fan of this series, it's easy to get caught up in Logan and Zachary, but Shine is Aura's book. And JSR establishes that well. (Okay, okay, and there's plenty of love for the boys, too.)

See, books like the Shade trilogy make it really hard to read any other books. I compare the character development and complexity of other novels to the likes of these and they pale in comparison. These are books I'll be revisiting numerous times in my life. I'm not ready to let these characters go, nor will I ever be. The raw emotion, sadness, pain, and LOVE in these books is paramount. This series, these characters, these words... they are true loves of mine and they don't just go away when the book covers are closed. (I have a Logan playlist, if that tells you anything.)

What JSR just did here, THAT is epic romance.
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By the way, help yourself to one of my Logan songs. Just picture the last scene in Shift--and Logan singing this--and try not to cry.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My Thoughts: Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally


Published: Sourcebooks Fire (12/1/11)
Pages: 281
Format: Paperback
Series: No
Source: I purchased this book.
GR Summary: What girl doesn't want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn't just surrounded by hot guys, though-she leads them as the captain and quarterback of her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys, and that's just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university. But now there's a new guy in town who threatens her starting position... suddenly she's hoping he'll see her as more than just a teammate.

Hmm. I am perplexed. I had a very difficult time believing the majority of this book. Let us start with the positives, shall we?

Jordan is one of the most kick ass quarterbacks in Tennessee. She is 6 feet tall, she has a cannon for an arm, she has the respect of her all-male teammates and her coach. They've ALL got this girl's back. She's a LEADER. And yet, she's got this group of guy friends with whom she's been thick as thieves for years. Can you imagine having a bunch of football players ready and waiting to kick anyone's ass that messes with you? Sure, things would get a little overly testosterone-y, but it's kind of sweet if you think about it. (Even if they are all horndogs. Seriously, it got to the point where I pictured pelvic thrusts and "SCHWING!" every time the guys mentioned a girl.)

Also, I love that her dad was an NFL player. AN NFL PLAYER FOR A DAD. That's incredible.

And they totally mention the University of Michigan (GO BLUE!)

But our straight-up jock, never-been-kissed and doesn't-have-the-slightest-idea-how main character abandons all hesitation when new, hot, one-dimensional Ty Green shows up on the field as her back-up quarterback. One day she's shying away from Ty's kisses to demanding his ownership of a condom the next. Which is totally fine with me, as a reader. I just feel like Jordan was not a very solid character. She didn't have any defining traits or personality, other than: she's a jock. After 280 pages, I like to feel like I KNOW a character. Especially when I'm reading from a first person point of view. But I don't know her at all.

The love triangle aspect wasn't bad. I mean, OBVIOUSLY I knew what was going to happen. Kenneally at least provided enough back story to Henry & Jordan's friendship to give me a couple warm fuzzies, but Jordan completely let herself be ruled by these boys. And LORD, she was naive. About so much. I don't care if her best friend is the spitting image of Johnny Depp circa Crybaby, the fact that he's put his coin roll into like, EVERY game at the arcade is not attractive. If you catch my drift.

All in all, there were some really cute parts in Catching Jordan, but this book did not work for me. I could not relate to many of the characters and unfortunately could not find a basis for establishing a relationship with any of them. Being a huge fan of Friday Night Lights, this was pretty devastating to me. I'm off to drown my sorrows into Coach & Tami Taylor's epic marriage now.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

In My Mailbox (50)

IMM is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. Who I get to hang out with in about a month. YAY!

Being that it was my birthday week (I get a week, yes), my husband was SUPER FABULOUS (as always!) and took me for a little shopping spree at Half Price Books. Um, yes please?!



Bought
I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder
Ruined by Simone Elkeles
Charmfall by Chloe Neill
The Karma Club by Jessica Brody
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (finally tracked down a finished copy!)
Blood Red Road by Moira Young
The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge

And I kind of went on a paranormal romance spree, because I've heard good things about the Seanan McGuire series. And anyone who knows me knows I LOVE Rachel Caine's Morganville Vampires series, so I figured I'd try her adult series, too. Did I ever mention that I'm obsessed with weather? No, seriously, I wanted to be a meteorologist when I was a kid and watched The Weather Channel FOR FUN. So this series sounds like mass quantities of fun!



Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
Ill Wind by Rachel Caine
Cape Storm by Rachel Caine
Gale Force by Rachel Caine

Friday, March 16, 2012

My Thoughts: Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers


Published: St. Martin's Griffin (1/5/10)
Pages: 246
Format: Paperback
Series: No
Source: I purchased this book.
GR Summary:Climbing to the top of the social ladder is hard--falling from it is even harder. Regina Afton used to be a member of the Fearsome Fivesome, an all-girl clique both feared and revered by the students at Hallowell High... until vicious rumors about her and her best friend's boyfriend start going around. Now Regina's been "frozen out" and her ex-best friends are out for revenge. If Regina was guilty, it would be one thing, but the rumors are far from the terrifying truth and the bullying is getting more intense by the day. She takes solace in the company of Michael Hayden, a misfit with a tragic past who she herself used to bully. Friendship doesn't come easily for these onetime enemies, and as Regina works hard to make amends for her past, she realizes Michael could be more than just a friend... if threats from the Fearsome Foursome don't break them both first.

Well.

As My Chemical Romance so honestly sings,

Teenagers scare the living shit out of me
They could care less
As long as someone'll bleed
So darken your clothes
Or strike a violent pose
Maybe they'll leave you alone
But not me


WHY ARE TEENAGERS SO MEAN?! Did I go to high school in an alternate universe? We never had these raging parties or these very definitive cliques. We had mean girls, but those moments were fleeting. Or maybe I'm just ignorant, because it never really happened to me.

Regina George Afton is the right hand man of Anna Morrison, queen high bitch and ruler of all that is high school. Sure, it's not so bad when you're on her good side, doing her dirty work. But when a massively life-shattering turn of events and subsequent misunderstanding burns bridges between Regina and Anna (thanks to a dirty, conniving little WENCH), shizz gets real. REALLY, REALLY REAL.

This book hit me hard. It makes Mean Girls look like frickin' church camp. There was no Glen Coco to go on with his bad self here. I haven't been so disturbed by a book since Sarah Darer Littman's Want to Go Private? I had previously read Summers' Cracked Up to Be, but Some Girls Are blows that out of the freaking water. (Which is saying a LOT, because Cracked Up to Be was good stuff.) It was like watching a realistic horror movie sans ghosts and serial killers and demons. I just wanted to scream at Regina, "TELL THEM! SCREAM AT THEM UNTIL THEY UNDERSTAND! WRITE THEM A LETTER! SHOW THEM THE EVIDENCE!" And all the while, with every attempt at vengeful one-upping each other, my stomach turned a little more. I was physically nauseated. It felt like Courtney Summers was gut-punching me with fists of awesome.

And even despite all the sadness and revenge and girl-on-girl (and guy-on-girl, infuriatingly) crimes, Summers still pulled out a sweet, delicate, vulnerable romance. I loved this book so much. As far as contemps go, this one will be hard to beat this year. I don't even care that it was published in 2010. This is one of the best books I've read this year and I don't think I'll ever forget it. It was downright scary.

All together now, teenagers scare the living shit out of me.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My Thoughts: The Selection by Kiera Cass


Published: HarperTeen (4/24/12)
Pages: 327
Format: hHardcover
Series: #1 of ?
Source: Borrowed from Ginger
GR Summary: For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.
My Thoughts: So, as everyone knows, The Selection has been described as the lovechild of The Bachelor and The Hunger Games. Well, I've never seen The Bachelor, but I HAVE seen Rock of Love. And I know that women on a mission for their alleged prince charming (or aged rock star) will stop at NOTHING when it comes to victory.
Catty girls? Royalty? Rebel armies?! THE DRESS FROM THE BARBIE CAKE I ALWAYS WANTED WHEN I WAS A KID!? (But never got. Fail.) Count me the eff in.

Yes, let us all chuckle at "America Singer." She is a musician. Go figure. That's where I stop laughing, though.

America gets ripped away from her secret true love, a man of lower number than her (think different decks like Jack & Rose. DAMN those social class differences, always getting in the way of epic romancin') because she's chosen as a qualifier for Prince Maxon's heart. Basically, all these pretty girls get brought to his crib, dressed up real nice, and have a go at convincing him why she'll be the best princess ever. Except America is all "I don't think so," and gets a little physically violent and a smidge lippy. THAT IS HOT. He's the prince, after all, and he's used to getting what he wants. Challenge accepted. But surprise, surprise. The prince is a decent guy! In fact, I might want to wine & dine this book.

I wasn't expecting The Selection to be this much fun. I went into this with an open mind, regardless of all the pre-release talk, and I got exactly what I wanted: brain candy. Kiera Cass is quite evil to end the book where she did and, if I'm being honest, it felt a little incomplete to me. ALL BUILD UP. But the intrigue is in full-force and I can't wait for the EXPLOSION that the sequel will surely be.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

My Thoughts: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith


Published: Little Brown (1/2/12)
Pages: 256
Format: Hardcover
Series: No
Source: Publisher
GR Summary: Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. She's stuck at JFK, late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's in seat 18C. Hadley's in 18A.
Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves. Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.

My Thoughts: OH, this book. Anna had told me how this one was quite possibly her favorite read of 2011 (yeah, yeah, there's a 2012 release date, I know) and I was ELATED to get my hands on a pretty finished copy. It was a quick read and I figured it'd be a fabulous way to kick start the new year. It was. Statistical Probability was so subtlely beautiful. There was actually kind of a lull in the middle, which upset me at the time, but hey! Absence DOES make the heart grow fonder!

I loved Hadley and I completely understand why she was so heinous at times. I would be too if I were in her situation. In fact, I think it's pretty freaking big of her to agree to stand up in her father's wedding to some younger little tart. I don't want a tart for a stepmom. But I'm also crazy and Hadley is a bit more level-headed. HOW LUCKY was it that she missed her flight? Because if she didn't, we wouldn't all have been enticed and romanced by Oliver. Um, he's British. And he's funny. And he makes me feel like airplane rides are the new biology class of matchmaking.

I love how the author made the smallest gesture feel huge. His hand on her knee to comfort her. Oliver simply making an observation of what Hadley was wearing. STANDING IN LINE FOR THE BATHROOM, FOR PETE'S SAKE. I feel like these are all pivotal moments. So much was said with so little. And the word "Wait" has never meant SO much or made my heart swell up to 50 times its size like it did in this book. (Oh, you'll know when you get there.)

So much feeling and sadness and revelations and acceptance wrapped into this pretty little package. Read this book if you want to FEEL.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

In My Mailbox (49)

In My Mailbox, or IMM, or whatever you want to call it, is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. She's awesome. It's where you share the books you bought, borrowed, or received or review. Or obtained in ANY way. Let us share in the excitement, shall we?

Borrowed from Ginger by way of Anna



The Selection by Kiera Cass (read it. loved it.)

From Publishers via NetGalley
Romeo Redeemed by Stacey Jay
Something Like Normal by Trish Doller
Struck by Jennifer Bosworth
Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker

Huge thank you to Ginger, Macmillan, Random House, and Bloomsbury! I cannot wait to curl up with a nice cup of coffee and ALL OF THESE BOOKS.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

In Loving Memory

This is a personal post. If you don't care about things that have nothing to do with books, please navigate elsewhere. Thanks.

Both my dad's parents died of heart attacks. My mom's dad died of emphysema and her mom died of complications in surgery in an attempt to remove a blood clot. I never got a chance to know my grandparents, as my last remaining grandpa passed away when I was 2. It's really a sad situation, but that's okay. It was their time.

My mom's aunt, Josephine, and her husband, Phil, couldn't have kids. They wanted them so badly and tried for years, but were unsuccessful. I think they were born to be parents and grandparents, but again, life doesn't always work out the way we wish it would. But sometimes little miracles happen and people enter our lives to fill those little voids, making us whole. Which is exactly what happened.

Not to sound vain or self-centered, but when I was born, I immediately became the apple of Aunt Jo & Uncle Phil's eyes. Little Jen could not speak very well, as many toddlers can't, so I referred to them as "JoJo" and "Fufu." (Somehow I got that from "Uncle Phil.") They slept on each side of my playpen when I stayed the night there for the first time at 6 months old. They came to all my grandparents days. They spoiled me beyond rotten. Mom would take me there several times a week and while Fufu was fixing cars out of his garage (he was a damn good mechanic) and Jojo was doing the office work, they'd let me draw on their yellow legal pads. It was just poorly drawn people and misspelled words, but they kept every one of my drawings. My uncle said I'd be a nurse one day, because every time he'd cut or burn himself while working on cars, I would wash off the wound and fix it up with Q-tips and bandaids. (Boy, I had a lot to learn.) And they loved to hear me sing. He always say "Jenny, you'd better do something with that voice." He was massively biased.

In 2007, Fufu was diagnosed with lung cancer. They removed the tumor, but didn't realize that he had pneumonia at the time of surgery, so that complicated things. They kept him in a drug-induced coma for 45 days, after which he miraculously recovered. They had told us to plan for the worst, because they didn't think he'd make it. During one of our phone conversations amidst his slow recovery, he told me that God sent him back because he needed to make sure I got married to a good man before he passed away.


In 2009, I did. Only they didn't make it to the wedding, because of more illness. Still, they proudly displayed my wedding photos all over their home.

Having moved away in 2006, I still called them every single week. Fufu encouraged me through my application to nursing school, my acceptance to nursing school, my wedding planning, the difficulties of nursing school, all my crazy stories, my crippling self-doubts about my potential as an RN. He would laugh it all off and tell me that I was meant to be a nurse. And though he was still struggling with illness when he celebrated his 73rd birthday in December 2011, he told me, "Jenny, I need to stick around to see those great-grandbabies of mine be born. Your aunt and I need to spoil them."

The day after his birthday, he suffered two heart attacks. What's worse, they found a malignant tumor in his bladder that had metastasized to his kidney, his ureter, and the surrounding lymph nodes. The cancer was too advanced. There was an option for a 5-6 hour surgery, but the urologist advised that he would only have a 5% chance of surviving the surgery. The decision was made to just keep him comfortable, which the doctor had told us would give him 3 months to a year to survive. But last Wednesday, my mom told me that his potassium level had skyrocketed to 6.6 and his calcium level was through the roof. He fell into a coma. I drove up there Thursday morning and they only had him on 1.5L of oxygen and
a morphine drip. The palliative care nurse said he had hours and that he probably couldn't hear us because he was so doped up.

I didn't care. I talked to him anyway. I told him how loved he was and will always be. I told him how I wouldn't have had anyone to bring for Grandparents Day without him and my aunt. And I promised him we'd take care of Aunt Jo.

On February 24, 2012 at 4:15pm, his heart stopped. He was surrounded by about 15 of his beloved family members and his wife. Everything feels different now and it's weird. But I feel peaceful, because I believe there is a place better than this one. So I do have hope th
at I'll see him again someday. I wanted to get up and share my memories about him at the funeral, but I would've crumbled. So this is my way of making up for that and letting anyone who cares know what an impact he had on my life.

And it's kind of funny. He thanked me after every phone call we had. He thanked me for calling him. And here I am, unable to even begin thanking him enough for all the memories, the laughter. And for being the best grandfather that a great-uncle has ever been.

RIP Fufu
December 19, 1938 - February 24, 2012
I'll be looking at the moon, but I'll be seeing you.