Book Review: Aches, Pains, and Love + Giveaway*

6:00:00 PM

A few months ago, Kira Lynne followed me on twitter. I checked out her account and was immediately impressed. She is a fellow spoonie and a published author, which is exactly what I want to be!

I, of course, gave her a follow and quickly sent her a message. We talked a little bit about her book and she graciously offered to send me a copy! Not only that, but she also offered to co-host a giveaway with me!

As a new member of the spoonie community, I haven't read many books on chronic pain. However, I knew that was about to change. Aches, Pains, and Love: A Guide to Dating and Relationships for Those with Chronic Pain and Illness caught my attention.

Some of you might be asking yourselves, "isn't Ivy married?" You're right, I am. But that doesn't mean that I can't read a book about the topic. I can still relate to what it was like dating with a chronic illness, and I might even learn a few tips on how to better manage my marriage and friendships.

The thing that intrigued me the most was a quote from Denise Stroude's review that reads, "Brilliant and long overdue. A must-read for anyone living with pain or chronic illness and for those who love them." Those words gave me hope that it wouldn't just be a beneficial read for me, but it might also be a good read to help those around me understand me a little bit better.

Are you living with chronic pain or illness, or both? Have you given up on having an intimate, romantic relationship? Twenty years ago, a doctor told Kira Lynne that she would never be able to have an intimate relationship due to her chronic health conditions. Having proven that doctor wrong, Kira set out to write a book for people living with chronic pain and illness who believe the door has closed on their prospects for love and relationships. Living with chronic pain and illness can feel overwhelming, never mind adding intimacy into the mix. Yet, even though hundreds of thousands of people in North America alone suffer from such conditions, very little has been published on dating and relationships for people with chronic pain and illness. Aches, Pains, and Love addresses that need with wisdom, compassion, and humour. This is a book about hope, especially for those who feel that a loving relationship is beyond their reach due to their health conditions. You can have a loving, fulfilling partnership when you live with chronic pain and illness. It is possible to live joyfully in spite of illness and pain, to make new friends, deepen connections, and find lasting love and companionship in an intimate relationship. Both entertaining and practical, Aches, Pains, and Love provides a step-by-step guide to getting the love you want, regardless of your physical condition. From creating a strong personal foundation to finding prospective partners, to dating, to sex and beyond, Kira offers a host of real-life stories, frank practical observations, and specific tools that will help you decide what you really desire in a loving relationship and guide you toward achieving that happiness.

Book Review: Aches, Pains, and Love: A Guide to Dating and Relationships for Those With Chronic Pain and Illness

First of all, I would just like to say that I loved the cover of this book! I'm a huge fan of simple designs and this one was great. The Band-Aid heart was just icing on the cake! I also loved that Kira had the book printed on sturdy, white pages. The only thing that could have made the physical book better would be glossy pages, and that's just me being over the top :)

Kira's did a great job writing a well organized and well researched book. It was organized into three parts, which included multiple chapters. Each chapter included an introduction and conclusion as well as three other sections: my story, let's discuss, and take action. In these sections she provided relatable stories, great references, and doable exercises.

There were only two things that I didn't like about this book's organization, one of which was the repetition. I don't necessarily think that's a problem though. She believes in her message and she repeats it again and again to get the point across. She does a great job at providing helpful explanations and quotes in the "Let's Discuss" section and then summarizes those points while adding exercises in the "Take action" section.

The second thing that I wasn't keen on was the length of each chapter. I personally like to end a reading session at the end of a chapter, but I found that very hard to do with this book. It also lead to me taking longer than usual to read the book because I was reluctant to start the next chapter knowing how long it was. However, I do understand why each chapter was so long. Kira included a lot of helpful information for her target audience and I can't image taking any of it out. She also added bullets and subheading to help separate some of the text. They aided as a stopping point just like punctuation does in a sentence, I found them very useful.

I also found Aches, Pains, and Love to be very relatable. I knew that it would be, as I have chronic illnesses, but Kira and I actually have a lot more similarities too. We both have a-type personality's and we have had to deal with a lot in our pasts. We also go to mint chocolate chip ice cream as our comfort food and we each keep journals. Until reading her book, I hadn't considered keeping a gratitude journal or a symptom journal. I keep an accomplishment journal to remind myself of all of the things I was able to do each day and to motivate myself to continue moving forward. I think I will also be starting a symptom journal based on the same journal she shared with us.

Originally, I though that a majority of this book wouldn't apply to me as I am a married woman. But I was dead wrong! For one, it feels great reading about someone else going through the same things that I have. It's nice knowing that I'm not going through them alone and I'm not the only one dealing with these problems. I also love that so much of it can help the relationship I'm already in. I'm happy that I read the entire book, instead of just what I thought would apply to me, because there is some great advice and even better tips in there!

I also liked that she takes the time to remind readers how special they are throughout the book. It's encouraging and makes dealing with the hard reality of dating with chronic pain or illness easier. I did however, find it difficult to focus at times. I found myself mindlessly reading on after the author asked a question or provided me with an exercise. I began thinking about the answer which then lead to a tornado of unnecessary thoughts. Of course, that might just be brain fog!

Kira does a great job of defining what she will be talking about and explaining her terms. She explains things that many chronic illness sufferers deal with, without overgeneralizing the group as a whole. It also helped that she shared her own story as well. Her own anecdotes were my favorite part of the book. Sure, there's tons of great tips, quotes, and exercises in there, but I'm all about the story.

Some of you might not know, but the author actually lives in British Columbia. Like some authors from a different location, I did notice a few differences in our writing. The first thing that I noticed is that we spell a few words differently such as: coulour, pyjamas, jewellery, and behaviour. I also noticed that Kira does not indent the first paragraph of a new topic. Many people probably wouldn't notice something like that, I didn't even catch it until a few chapters in, but I think it's an interesting style choice. I like to see how each author chooses to show their own uniqueness in their writing.

While this book was written for those with chronic pain and illness, I do not think it is limited to that audience. There was so much information that could be applied to any relationship and even friendships. I don't think that partners of those with chronic illnesses should just read the chapter dedicated to them. In fact, I think they should read the entire book and participate in all of the exercises with their partner.

Overall, I would 100% recommend this book! It was very interesting for me and it really got me thinking, about myself, the relationship I'm in, and about my partner. I really think that this book goes beyond the title, it can be helpful in any relationship or friendship. The only section that I think wouldn't apply to friendships is the talk about sex, but everything else can pretty much apply. I would recommend this book to every single person I know. It's a great read to not only form better relationships and dating experiences, but also to create a great foundation for your mental, physical, and spiritual self.

I am excited to announce that I have partnered with Author Kira Lynne to co-host a giveaway for you! This sweet and considerate soul has been gracious enough to send 10 lucky winners a copy of her novel!

You heard me right! There will be 10 books given out to 10 lucky readers! Winners have the option of getting their prize in one of two different formats, paperback copy or audiobook! Of course, all of that will get sorted out once the giveaway is over and we have contacted the winners!

The giveaway starts on 6/24/2016 and ends on 7/1//2016 at midnight Central time. The winners will be randomly drawn and announced on 7/2/2016!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please note that there is only one mandatory entry for this giveaway and a bunch of other ways to gain extra entries. You can also complete a few of the entries again each day. Good Luck!

If you want to follow up with the author or purchase a copy of the book, please follow the these links: 

Have you read Aches, Pains, and Love? I would love to hear what you thought about it in the comments!

* This book was provided by the author in exchange for a review. However, all opinions and comments in this review are 100% my own. *

* This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I'll receive some type of commission. For more information, you can read our full disclosure here. *

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  1. Wow, I feel like I really need this book.

    1. I hope you enter for a chance to win! I really liked the book and I definitely think I'll be encouraging my husband to read it as well :)

  2. I did with my facebook account - thanks for giveaway :)

    1. Great! Don't forget that you can enter more than one time for extra chances to win; and you can follow extra instructions for even more entries everyday! Good Luck :)