#TBT Recs: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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We all know by now, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. It is a unique and trying month for me because my mother died of breast cancer ten years ago on October 25th. I can’t lie, I get a bit moody around the 25th, it’s like an unspoken, internal reminder that kicks in about a week before the anniversary of her death. Is there grief PMS because that’s what it feels like.  When I get moody, I turn to books (and ice cream) as an escape. This #TBT is honoring some books that feature heroines dealing with breast cancer; sometimes with a laugh, sometimes with brutal honesty but always scoring a win. When it comes to breast cancer, we can always enjoy escaping into books that give us a win!

La Vie en Rose by Lydia Michaels

Emma Sanders had visions of fancy dresses at her big lovely wedding until, of course, her fiancé decides to leave her happily ever after behind. Down but not defeated, she heads off to her friend’s place to lick her wounds, eat copious amounts of ice cream and get her groove back. Unfortunately, Rarity gets called away on business, but she sends her brother, Riley Lockhart into bat back-up for a girl in need of an ice cream fetcher! Riley is known for having a way with the ladies. He quickly realizes Emma doesn’t need some dude hitting on her, she genuinely needs a friend to help her through the pain of her break up.

Riley is a good guy, and eventually, he realizes Emma is more than just a friend to him. In fact, he’d do just about anything to see her smile. Things progress, he earns her trust and her love in what can only be called a lovely courtship – okay, it can also be called a steamy courtship, too! Then the worst happens, Emma finds a lump, and their journey with breast cancer begins. And when I say “their journey” I mean it, their relationship is new, but Riley is not going to lose the woman he loves, he is determined to stand by her side every step of the way.

Michaels gives up the brutal ups and downs, and even the terrifying rock bottoms of a couple’s journey with this frightening disease. She doesn’t hold back or sugarcoat things, she gives raw and honest descriptions of Emma’s treatment. She shows the emotional sides of battling the unknown, dealing with the fear of mortality and the uplifting glimpses of hope along the way. She places you in the moment, especially the uncomfortable ones, breaks your heart and painstakingly pieces it back together. La Vie en Rose is not an easy book to read, but it is beautiful and poignant and filled with hope for the future.

Tattoos & Tatas by Tara Sivec

If you’d like your breast cancer books with a side of hilarity, this is the book for you. Sivec is known for her humorous storytelling, especially in her Chocoholics series. Tattoos & Tatas tackles the emotional story of breast cancer but throws in her signature snarky spin. Don’t think for one minute that this book doesn’t broach the depths of pain and fear as it relates to this terrible disease, it absolutely, 100% does. Claire and Liz have been best friends forever. We watched them fall in love with adoring, crazy men, marry, and have kids in previous books; it’s been a wild ride for sure! Claire and Liz are, to paraphrase Grey’s Anatomy, each other’s people. So when Claire is diagnosed with breast cancer, Liz, the resident fixer is left with a problem she can’t control. Liz does not do well when she can’t control the situation. The cast of characters promise hilarity will ensue; in fact, some of the shenanigans you’ll read about are pulled from real-life experiences Sivec has had over the years.

This novella isn’t a typical romantic love story; it’s more about the unwavering friendship between Claire and Liz and of course, their crazy families. Sivec gives us the private moments of support between Claire and her husband, it’s moving, and loving in all the right, unconditional ways. But, it’s extraordinary to watch best friends care for each other while staring down their own mortality. It’s a good story, it’ll make you a little weepy, but it will also break the tension with a lot of laughs, often inappropriate laughs. As a person that almost uncontrollably goes for the inappropriate laughter as a coping mechanism, I enjoyed this book very much.

Fix You by Mari Carr

This novella is a rock star, best friends to lovers, second chance, new adult romance. That’s a lot of tropes to pull off, and Carr does it beautifully. Oh yeah, and the bump in the road, the cement in the mix, the big bad is breast cancer.

Zoey finally realizes her feelings for her best friend Rob run deeper than just the friend zone. She musters up the courage to make a move only to be sidelined by a cancer diagnosis. This terrifying moment makes Rob realize he’s been chasing the wrong dream because everything that matters to him is Zoey. On the one hand, Fix You is a smoking hot book of friends to lovers’ goodness. On the other hand, it’s an emotional roller coaster of fear and mortality. It’ll leave you emotionally exhausted and satisfied in the end.

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