Tag: fiction

After You

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Author: Jojo Moyes
352 Pages in Paperback

Published: September 29, 2015
Dates Read: July 20- August 8, 2016

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Book Summary from Amazon:

“You’re going to feel uncomfortable in your new world for a bit. But I hope you feel a bit exhilarated too. Live boldly. Push yourself. Don’t settle. Just live well. Just live. Love, Will.”

How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?

Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.

Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future. . . .

For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await.


My Review

**This review will have some spoilers, so beware.

Nearly two years have passed since the ending of Me Before You. Lou is still mourning the loss of Will. You can feel her pain and anguish in the first chapter. She is now working at a bar in an airport, and not happy there. She’s not living the way Will wanted her too.

She has an accident and returns home to recover. Her folks decide to let her return to her flat as long as she goes to a grief counseling group. She meets a man named Sam through a teenager in the group named Jake.

After some time, Lou seems to start to get her life together when (as the back cover of the book teases)a figure from Will’s past appears. This person appearing changes everything for Lou. The person ends up being Will’s daughter Lily. The daughter that he did not know he had. I could not help but wonder, as Lou did, if Will had known about her would he still have gone to Dignitas to end his life or would he still be around today. Would Lily have been what he needed to stay around despite being a quadriplegic?

Lou basically takes Lily in as Lily’s mother Tanya couldn’t handle her anymore. She was a very difficult teenager who just found out who her father was. Lily staying with Lou helped them both: Lily got to find out who her father was and Lou had a piece of Will. There is more to Lily than we first are led to believe. There is more to her than being the “troubled teenager”. I did have some issues with Tanya basically letting Lou take “custody” of Lily as Tanya did not know Lou. It just seemed like Tanya was just ready to “get rid” of Lily since she couldn’t really handle her.

Jojo Moyes brings back the Traynor family as well with the introduction of Lily and there have been some changes. Nathan has moved to NYC. I liked him in Me Before You and missed him in After You. There were a few scenes with himon the phone, but that wasn’t enough for me.

There is back and forth with the relationship of Lou and Sam. Will they get together or not? Is Lou even ready for that step after losing Will??? She is over her grief?

May people consider Me Before You and After You romance novels. I do not. To me, Me Before You was a life story to. It deals with two people’s lives and the decision one man made and they happen to fall in love. To me, After You is a book about dealing with grief and moving on. When the end of the book was coming, I had in my head the decision I was hoping Lou would make for her future. And I was happy with the decision she made.

There is one paragraph that really tugged at my heart. It is very powerful. This is towards the end of the book(page 325 of 352 in the paperback), so this will giveaway some things: Our eyes locked. And in that moment everything shifted. I saw what I had really done. I saw that I could be somebody’s center, his reason for staying. I saw that I could be enough.

In the paperback there is a “conversation with the author”. A question was asked if there will be anymore books with Lou. Jojo Moyes said she could see a third final book as a possibility if the readers want it. Well, Jojo, as a reader I can say that as a reader, I would love one final book with Lou!

I gave Me Before You 5 stars, so it was going to hard to live up to the original. In fact, I don’t think there is a way for After You to live up to Me Before You. It still did well. I would recommend it, but don’t have super high expectations if you loved Me Before You.

Me Before You

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Author: Jojo Moyes
409 Pages in Paperback

Published: December 31, 2012
Dates Read: June 27- July 14, 2016

Rating: 5 Stars

 

Book Summary from Amazon:

They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose . . .

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A Love Story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?


My Review:

***This review will have spoilers- so stay away if you don’t know the ending or what will happen in the book. Me Before You has become very popular this summer with the movie being released in June. (It will be available for digital download on August 16th, and the dvd comes out August 30th). ***

I saw the trailer for the movie and I came close to crying watching it. I knew I had to see the movie and read the book! Then I learned about the ending. I had some doubts about the book and read about the controversy, but I still wanted to read Me Before You and give it a chance and decide for myself and have my own opinion of the book. I knew I would cry at the end. Knowing the ending, I tried not to care for Will. I failed at that. As I read Me Before You, I got attached to both him and Lou.

I love the title of the book. Me Before You. So much meaning there. The title could be about either Lou or Will, or also both of their lives individually before their lives intersect. We get Lou’s story as she is the protagonist of the book. We also get a small part of Will’s life before the accident in the Prologue. We get a glimpse of who he was as a person before the accident.

Me Before You is not a love story. This is a life story. And the decision that one man has made and how that affects everyone around him. And two characters happen to unexpectedly fall in love.

Lou is living her life working at The Buttered Bun. Then the owner decides to sell the place and she has to find a new job. She gets the job as caregiver for Will. I found it a little hard to believe that she got that job with no experience care-giving. I feel that was Will’s mother’s decision because of the type of person Lou is. I feel that was Will’s mom trying to find some way to get him to change his mind by hiring Lou as Will’s caregiver.

Once Lou finds out what’s Will’s plans are she goes on a mission to show Will that life is worth living. She plans adventures and fun.

My heart got a few tugs in a few places: When Will gave Lou the bumblebee hose that he had made for her as a birthday gift. When we found out what the tattoo says that Will got at the tattoo parlor. I teared up a little there.

When Will finally admitted to Lou that he had fallen in love with her, but that it wasn’t enough I was heartbroken. At this point I wish we could have gotten inside his mind as we got in the mind of Lou’s sister and Mr. Traynor for some chapters. Euthanasia is a touchy subject with people. And the fact that Will had everything possible available to him and he still chose death upsets some. The book makes it apparent that Will clearly knows what his life will be like and the pain and what his health will most likely be for however long that life would have been.

Ultimately, Will did not change his mind and went through with euthanasia. It was apparent that his mind was never going to be changed, despite the fact that at the end of his life he had a woman who was willing to take care of him for the rest of his life, however long that would have been. And also a supportive family that loved him. It was ultimately Will’s decision on his life and he deserves that respect. HE was the one that was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Which caused the accident to totally change HIS life when he became a quadriplegic. HE was the one who had to live in that chair. HE was the one that could barely move his had. HE was the one with the injury that he was never going to recover from. HE was the one to have pneumonia 3 times in two years. HE was the one who had attempted suicide previously. He was never going to change his mind as heartbreaking as it was to read.

Some feel that the book is negative towards the disabled. Some feel that the book says that the disabled are better off dead than alive. Some may feel that way. Every person is lives their own life and that is the decision Will made. We can not judge him as only HE knew what HIS life was like in that chair.

The end of the book does have hope to it. Lou is a different person at the end. I look forward to the sequel After You.

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Author Spotlight: Suzanne Redfearn

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Courtesy of Suzanne Redfearn

Suzanne Redfearn has written two novels. I have read both and enjoyed them both. I look forward to future novels written by her. Both novels will be featured in this post today.

Suzanne’s Writings:
Hush Little Baby
No Ordinary Life


 

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Hush Little Baby
368 Pages in Paperback

Published: October 8, 2013
Dates Read: Feb 22, 2014- March 6, 2014

My Rating: 5 Stars

Book Summary from Amazon:

If I stay, he will kill me. If I leave, he’ll destroy Addie and Drew.

Jillian Kane appears to have it all – a successful career, a gorgeous home, a loving husband, and two wonderful children. The reality behind closed doors is something else entirely. For nine years, she has hid the bruises and the truth of her abusive marriage in order to protect Addie and Drew, knowing, if she left, Gordon would destroy her-destroy them.

When, in an act of desperation, she flees, her worst nightmare is realized, and she finds herself on the run with her two young children, no money, and no plan. With Gordon in hot pursuit, there is only one inescapable certainty: No matter where she goes, he will find her. Kill her. And take her children.

A riveting page-turner, HUSH LITTLE BABY exposes the shame and terror of domestic violence as well as the disturbing role manipulation and sabotage can play in the high-stakes game of child custody. Suspenseful and unforgettably moving, it’s a novel about the unbreakable bonds of family and the astounding, terrifying devotion of a mother’s love.

 

My review in 2014:
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I really enjoyed this book! Hush Little Baby had me pulled in from the beginning. It was intense the whole time! I did not know how it was going to end or what direction the story was going to go. Hush Little Baby shows what it can be like to be in a domestic abuse relationship, and makes me thankful I am not in one. Jillian’s thoughts show what a woman dealing with domestic abuse thinks and how having children can complicate what she may or may not do. The ending did get a little less realistic to me compared to the rest of the book, but I still enjoyed it and would recommend others to read it.

I also highly enjoyed that the chapters were short- the longest chapters were 6-8 pages. When there are short chapters I feel I can read a book quicker. I am not the quickest reader, but finished it an a little over a week.

 


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No Ordinary Life
400 Pages in Paperback

Published: February 2, 2016
Dates Read: May 20-June 11, 2016

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Book Summary from Amazon:

Faye Martin never expected her husband to abandon her and her three children . . . or that she’d have to struggle every day to make ends meet. So when her four-year-old daughter is discovered through a YouTube video and offered a starring role on a television series, it seems like her prayers have been answered. But when the reality of their new life settles in, Faye realizes that fame and fortune don’t come without a price. And in a world where everyone is an actor and every move is scrutinized by millions, it’s impossible to know who to trust, and Faye finds herself utterly alone in her struggle to save her family.

Emotionally riveting and insightful, No Ordinary Life is an unforgettable novel about the preciousness of childhood and the difficult choices a mother needs to make in order to protect this fragile time in her children’s lives.

 

My review:

With this novel, Suzanne Redfearn has become a Target Emerging Author Selection. That is awesome for a newer author! Congrats Suzanne!

This review will have some spoilers, so beware before you read this review.

I enjoyed Suzanne Redfearn’s first book, Hush Little Baby, so I was excited and anxiously awaited her second book to be released.  Last year(2015) there was also a contest where her readers could give input into the cover and title of the book. I participated.

I enjoyed that the chapters were short. That makes me feel I am reading the book quicker. It also makes it harder to put the book down when you see the next chapter is 1-4 pages!

I loved the premise of the book.

I was pulled into the book from the beginning and found it hard to put down. However, I had to suspend my belief while reading the book. Faye, the mother, was not very likeable for me. She came into the whole experience with such naivete. I mean, not even have a lawyer look at the contract when you know nothing of Hollywood?

Parts of the book seemed to be extreme in the situations that happened. Yes, you have one child discovered, but then your middle child can also act? I found that hard to believe as well. And, your boyfriend who works behind the camera ends up being a former child star?!?!

Despite the issues I had with certain parts of the book I did enjoy it and would recommend it. It was hard to put down. Unlike some reviewers, I did not have an issue with Molly’s lisp and the way it was put on paper. I LOVED Molly and could see how America fell in love with her in this book.

**I will continue to read Suzanne Redfearn’s books and look forward to her next one being released!!

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