I just had to review both of these books together. I devoured both of them back to back. Not only were they beautifully written stories, there is a strong message for every woman <3 <3
Beneath It All
I wasn’t prepared to hear those words. Neither was my loving husband, family or friends. And none of us were prepared for what life had in store after they were spoken.
I should have seen the signs all around me. I should have paid attention to the people who supposedly loved me, the people who I’d always trusted. But I was blind to what was going on. The effects on my flourishing career, passionate marriage and carefree lifestyle would be insurmountable.
It was time to take control of my life and the overwhelming chaos. Time to make the choices that were right for me. Right for my future. The future I hadn’t planned on.
My life didn’t stop when I heard those four little words…it was only just beginning.
Beneath, You’re Beautiful
Four words continue to haunt me . . .
You. Have. Breast. Cancer.
I associate them with the upheaval of my life to this point. The last few months have been a test of my strength . . . mentally, emotionally, and physically. Cancer is a monster. It preys on your mind and it consumes you, consistently reminding you of how your life used to be. Life before cancer. I was a successful business woman, running my own design firm, and was happily married to my college sweetheart. My life seemed perfect. Until it suddenly came crashing down all around me.
So, here I am, in the midst of treatment, incinerating the remnants of my shattered marriage and attempting to piece the rest of my life back together. With three amazing friends pushing me forward, the ‘post-chemo’ finish line is coming into view.
And then . . . there’s him. The man I never anticipated. The one who breathes hope and meaning back into my life. A man who kisses my scars and shows me that I’m beautiful. I never expected him. Hell, I never expected cancer. I’m finally ready to write my future, a future I never planned on, but one that is sure to exceed anything I ever imagined.
My Dual Review
Beneath It All by Tori Madison is a beautifully written journey about pain and healing, love and loss. Following Victoria on this path was heartbreaking and breathtaking all at the same time. This novel was well written and makes you understand what women can go through while battling breast cancer.
“Opening my eyes, I expected to see pity, but I didn’t. What I saw was indescribable. It was love, lust, compassion, fear, and anger. What a fucked up combination this is, I thought when I realized I had the same look on my face. We were in this together. Feeling this together. Coupled.”
This look inside is very personal and heartfelt. Tori speaks to us through Victoria, giving us a very technical look at the unfolding of the discovery of a possible tumor through the early treatment phases. My heart was with Victoria through the ups and the downs, the discoveries and the decisions….my heart was bleeding for her.
“This is all kinds of fucked up, and I feel like I’m in some sick dream. I can’t do this!”
She is one of those characters that you just want to reach out and hug. She is brave, strong, courageous….you name it, she owns it. Victoria has family and friends that support her, even when it all seems to go to shit.
I finished Beneath It All in one day and immediately moved on to Beneath You’re Beautiful. **If you have not read book 1 yet this next part will inadvertently contain spoilers, just as a heads up**
Book 2 picks up exactly where we left off. Victoria is moving on and recovering in more ways than one. She stays as upbeat as she can, always bringing us a bit of humor.
“I’m bald, I don’t have boobs, and my skin is dry and pasty. Let’s be honest, I look like the goddamn female version of Gollum from Lord of the Rings.”
This part of her story gave us the same emotions as the beginning did. Victoria has pain and she heals, she loves and she loses. Through it all she remains strong not just for herself this time but for her friends. I just don’t know how she did it.
“Every day I put on a happy face and try to be brave, but I’m not – I’m just a really goo liar. The battle inside my head is never-ending. It’s constant and it’s real…very real.”
Second chances are rare and special and I was happy that she was getting a couple of them. Her relationships with her friends and her love interest were very real to me, relatable and believable.
“I know it’s a lot for you to try and grasp, but you have to believe me when I tell you that beneath all of the physical and emotional scars you’re beautiful. I want to be part of your life, and I want you to want to be part of mine. You are what I need.”
“Tomorrow will close one of the chapters, and I would like to be part of the next one.”
Trust me when I say that you will LOVE these books, you will enjoy the journey just as I have!
These stories have really made me think, they have given me perspective. You can never be too safe, it’s never too early and it can happen to any of us.
The Schmexy Girls have made a $100 donation to “Susan G. Komen for the Cure”. Please click HERE if you would also like to make a donation.
We would like to encourage you all to do your monthly self exams and seek professional medical advice if you have any concerns about your health. We love you all <3
Beneath It All
Beneath You’re Beautiful
About the Author
Happily married and the mother of two, Tori has spent the last seven years in the non-profit world making a difference in lives of others. She is an avid reader, lover of life and a breast cancer survivor.
Writing a book was never on her radar. After a challenge from a friend to write 1,500 words the story came to life and a new opportunity to make a difference was born.
“If this story can touch the life of just one woman, then I succeeded.”
Connect with Tori Madison