Tuesday, July 27, 2021

before i go

  ~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Synopsis (from Amazon):  Madison Henry has been skating as long as she’s been walking. Coached by her mother, Annie, she is on her way to the Olympics. Jack has been her one friend since she was six years old and now a young adult, Madison is oblivious to his strong feelings for her.

When tragedy strikes, Madison is forced to look at her life differently…and possibly accept one without skating. Only after she opens her heart does she understand the sacrifices Annie made, realize the depth of Jack’s love and know she was blessed in every way.

before i go spotlights the thrill of women’s ice skating, the unbreakable bond a mother and daughter share and the one true love every person hopes to experience in their lifetime.

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  If I could give before i go 10 stars I would.  I absolutely loved this book. I can't believe it has been on my book shelve since 2006. I purchased the book one day while my mother was in the hospital and had recently been diagnosed with leukemia. I bought it because I loved the cover. I didn't even read the synopsis. My mother battled leukemia for one year and needless to say it was a crazy couple of years. She owned a business that I had to unwind, I spent every other week at her house (my husband and kids were 4 hours away), kept my full-time job as a CPA, had 3 kids (5 years old and twins who were 3). On top of that a year later I changed jobs and moved further away from my siblings. Life got busy as it always does for all of us. The book has moved with me four times since I purchased it. Before every move I go through my TBR shelf and donate books I know I am really not going to read or my interest has changed.  Something made me keep this book as the cover reminds me of my mother.  Now that you have the background of the meaning of this book to me, on to the book review….

I am certain that I was meant to read before i go at this time in my life and that I could not have read it before now. While this story is about a sixteen year old olympic hopeful who endures a tragic event is not about a sixty-three year old mother who dies of leukemia, but the emotions of the book just brought it all back. The book is so beautifully written.

The relationship between Madison and her mother touch my inner soul. The relationship between Jackson and Madison - if only I could have that amazing bond with a friend at such a young age who is different than me, like night and day. Madison's devoted father was heart warming.

I don't want to give away the end, but I could not put this book down and again, absolutely, absolutely loved it. Warning - have plenty of Kleenex as the ending is whooper. I have a lump in my throat while I am typing this and I finished the book in May. Yes, it has taken me this long to write this review. Partly, because I know I am not doing this book justice. I am struggling to put how amazing this book is without giving away the ending.

I typically give my books to a charity organization that promotes reading when I am done, however, before i go remains on my book shelf. I can't seem to let it go. Honestly, it is on my night stand (not even on a shelf) and I am reminded of it every night and morning. It touched me in such a special way and reminds me of my mother. I am not ready to put it back on the book shelf or let it go.

I will just say it - a MUST read.

Riley Weston has worked as an actress and writer on many television shows and feature films.

She has received three awards for her debut novel, before i go: an IPPY Award for Story Teller of the Year, the Grand Prize at The New York Book Festival as well as the top honor as Best Fiction. And lastly, Riley received a Book Sense Pick Award. Riley hopes to film the movie version of before i go, based on a script she wrote. Her goal is to shoot the movie in Tennessee.

She has starred in the hit TV movie, What About Your Friends, written for the WB television drama, Felicity as well as starred as Story Zimmer in the critically acclaimed episode, Drawing the Line. She quickly grabbed the attention of Touchstone Pictures and Television brass who signed Riley to an acting and writing development deal. Riley followed her deal with writing the feature film, Damaged for Artisan Entertainment. She then wrote and starred in the highly rated ABC television movie, Christmas at Water's Edge.

She went on to film a cameo role in the horror film, The Cutting Room. Riley created the hit web-series, Being Bailey, for GoTV Networks, which she also produced. Riley also wrote Dark Beauty, a television movie for Lifetime, which continues to air. Two of her feature films have been optioned, Summer at Dad's and Damaged.

Riley wrote The Nanny Express for the Hallmark Channel. The movie aired as the 2nd highest-rated movie for the network! It starred Vanessa Marcil, Stacey Keach and Dean Stockwell. Riley also wrote the movie Always and Forever for the Hallmark Channel, starring Dean McDermott {Mr. Tori Spelling} Rena Sofer, and Barbara Eden {I Dream of Jeannie}. Both movies are currently airing on Hallmark.

Riley filmed a supporting lead in the indie feature film, Footprints. She plays a disturbed runaway in Hollywood who dresses up as Super Girl. In 2011, it was named "One of the 10 Best Films so Far this Year" by the Chairman of the NY Film Critics Circle.

Weston was also recently cast as a country singer in the indie movie "Borrowed Moments." One of her songs will be used on the soundtrack as well.

Riley is now busy in Nashville co-writing with amazing songwriters and recording her original music.

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