"I was so sure it would be like The Fault In Our Stars all over again (with a different twist of course). I was ready for heartaches, tears and death.BUT I WAS SO WRONG.I was in for a big surprise as the story took a different turn." Cha~Book Freak Blog
"This is a needle in a hay stack kind of a book, I am so glad that I had the opportunity to read and review it because it is the first book EVER to bring a tear to my eye, and I know that that may seem weird as why would someone want to cry? But that is not how I mean it, I mean that it was able to provoke such emotions in me that no other book has been able to, and that is brilliant writing and story telling." ~Bookworm in Barrie Blog
"The characters were another positive aspect of the story. I don't praise characters unless I really mean it, and I definitely do in this one. Jax wasn't the cardboard cut-out bad boy; his character was so fleshed out, and I really ended up loving his POV. And he was such a good boyfriend! I loved him. Marilee was another wonderful character, and I loved her POV just as much as Jax; maybe even a bit better. Her character growth throughout the story is stunning. I am really glad this was a two POV story, because it made Jax and Marilee so much more real. I have to admit, I got really attached to Marilee and Jax."~My Full Bookshelf Reviews
Seventeen-year-old Marilee Mackie has everything going for her, beauty,money and a bright future. But when she's diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkins Lymphoma her world falls apart. Instead of finishing her senior year she begins the fight of her life.
Nineteen-year-old Jax, an enigmatic hospital orderly, lives on the Strip, the proverbial other side of the tracks. With his sleeves of tattoos and rocker look, he's the kind of bad boy that Marilee has always steered clear of.
But when Marilee's cancer strips everything that has defined her away, she searches for meaning in her life. Seeing that Marilee has lost hope, Jax steps in and helps her find purpose, a reason to live another day. From devastation the Peace Project is born.
With Marilee's money and Jax's knowledge of the Strip, the teenagers embark on an unforgettable journey. Marilee learns that happiness is a choice, small acts of kindness can change lives forever, that a little good goes a long way, and that love can grow even in the darkest places of your life. But more than anything she learns that rainbows can follow storms.
The Peace Project is a story about love, hope and the preconceived notions and barriers that we put between us for no reason other than the way someone looks or where they live. It's about letting go of all the things that we thought were important in the quest for our true purpose. And that sometimes the people you never thought you could love, may be exactly who you needed all along.
Denise Mathew loves good chocolate, lots of coffee, her kids and husband, when they behave, and of course writing stories. She believes that housework should be banned and wishes that potato chips were the most healthy and nutritious food on the planet. She worked as a pediatric nurse for eleven years, once owned an online jewelry business and even taught English in Thailand. She plans on writing until the stories run out, something she hopes never happens.
Most times I forgot or maybe even ignored how Jax felt, or the fact that someday I might leave him forever, and there wouldn’t be a thing he could do about it. The actuality of my illness and how it affected him had only briefly entered my thoughts in the past. But now, with his seemingly harmless comment about Cindy, it brought everything into stark reality.
“And what do you see when you look at me?” I asked, locking my eyes onto his. Jax kept his gaze focused on a spot on the foot of the bed, as if deciding what he would say. Witnessing that he was lost for a response made me want to take back the question. But I couldn’t, because my cancer was like a massive presence in the room, always there with us. Up until then we had managed to ignore it, not now though.
After what seemed painfully long but was only a few minutes, Jax brought his focus back to my face. He cradled my cheeks in his huge hands. His touch was gentle as if he was worried he might shatter me. His blue eyes met mine for a moment. I saw the discomfort that I had put there with my question. I was more than sorry that I had been so stupid. Jax didn’t deserve to be put on the spot or to be reminded so cruelly about my illness.
“I see someone who is both beautiful inside and out. I see someone who has grown because of their illness, become a better person and who instead of being bitter like you have every right to be, has become somehow better. Instead of pitying yourself you’re trying to make a difference in the world, and leave it better for you having been here. I see you in every flower in the park, every color in a rainbow and in every scent that reminds me of the things I love. Without knowing how, or even why it happened, I can’t imagine a world where you don’t exist. And even when I’m away I’m still with you, with every thought of you and how you feel in my arms, against my chest, the smoothness of your skin…”
He tapped his head. “You’re always there with me and no matter what happens in the future you’ll be there, safe in my mind with spaghetti and meatballs, my beat up bike, my Gran and my Celtics t-shirt, and all the rest of the things I love.”
He closed his eyes and sighed. A wave of peacefulness rippled across his face making him look both boyish and innocent.
I felt tears roll down my cheeks, but I didn’t bother to try to stop them or brush them away. I wanted Jax to know how much he had moved me. I wanted him to see how amazing it felt to know that he cared as much as he did. If there had been any doubt in my mind before that I loved him, there was none now. The one regret that came after Jax’s brutal honesty was that I had lied to him about Thanksgiving.
When he opened his eyes again they shimmered with unshed tears. He evidently had had enough practice hiding his emotions that he was able to rein everything in before he actually let them spill. I leaned in to him, covering his mouth with mine. He tasted of peppermint gum, and the stubble on his chin tickled my skin. Just like he had told me he did, I took mental snapshots of him, images that would get me through the times when he was away from me.
Jax stroked the length of my neck, down my shoulder and let his hand rest on the curve of my hip. His lips moved along the line of my jaw, his tongue tracing the bones. I gasped, because the action made me want things that I hadn’t really put much thought into before then. Like making love for the first time. If and when that ever happened, I knew my first time could only be with Jax.