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Review: After You (Me Before You #2) by Jojo Moyes

Thursday, September 29
My rating:



“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.

****

A matter of be careful what you wish for.

Did Gone With the Wind get a sequel?

Sure. (Ok... the author was different, but sequel it was.)

Did it suck?

Sure.

Sometimes, you need someone around to tell you when to walk away.

What I loved:

- Kudos to Jojo Moyes for giving Lou & Will fans what they wanted. We all want to know how a heroine like Lou fares post-epilogue, and it was a testament to her that she put in the some effort to deliver.
Quote…“I’m still a doughnut, okay?” I said. “I want to be a bun, I really do. But I’m still a doughnut.”

- I thought Sam was quite a good character. Good, but I probably won't remember all that much about him passed whatever I read next.

What I didn’t love:

- I didn't love that Lou turned into generic cornflakes. I knew what she was meant to be, but she was just a weaker, more brittle, more bland version. And bitter! Jesus. The way she seems to constantly paint herself as the victim in Will's situation drove me to drink.
I'm just playing. I've been drinking since 3.
- The old surprise kid chestnut. Just... what? Where were Ms Moyes friends when she brainstormed that goodie?
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- I believe that JM was trying to share a life lesson with readers, because the other two books I read (The Last Letter from Your Lover and Me Before You) were both generously obvious with their take-home message. For the life of me, I don't know what this book's central message is. I just don't fucking get it. Unless it's:
Sometimes the silver lining is actually just another, somewhat whiter, cloud, and not the sunshine you were lead to believe it would be.
That's what I took away from this story, and I don't want to spend a day reading that.
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- Lily was just a standard, self-involved teen. Of course she had a painful background to share but suck it up, buttercup.
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Overall…

The writing was good but the story was slow. Lou's life was a disappointment, and even when she moved on it all felt like settling. Sometimes a sequel is a bad idea.

Review: Me Before You (Me Before You #1) by Jojo Moyes

Wednesday, September 28

My rating:


Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.

**** 

4 or 4.5 stars - I can see why this one is so loved! I made a deal with my niece that if she'd read the book with me, we could watch the movie. She ended up liking the book way, way more!

Books 1, movies 0 ♥♥

Overall…

This isn't my usual type of read, hence why I put off reading it until I had a reason to. To be honest, I like gritty, smutty, and a Happily-Ever-After. This one isn't gritty, it definitely isn't smutty, and I don't think this is a spoiler but just in case... SPOILER > there is definitely no Happily-Ever-After. < SPOILER

Having said that, I can appreciate a beautifully written, emotional story even if it's not even close to being up my alley. This is definitely that.

What I loved:

- Of course JoJo Moyes can write the bejesus out of a story. The Last Letter from Your Lover was a gorgeous story, and this one is no different. JM's stories have a peaceful tempo - they take their time (some might call it slow-paced, but I don't think it's that?) and kind of meander. I never get stressed reading her writing. And the editing is impeccable.
- The plot could have come across as manipulative. Like, lets see how much depressing shit we can throw at these readers. I found that because the subject matter was handled so thoughtfully, it was more of an insight into a different POV than anything else. I personally don't agree with Will, but it was extremely helpful for my niece to see this issue through new eyes.
- Part of why I avoided reading this was because it looked cheesy. I don't read a lot of chick lit (off the top of my head, probably only What Alice Forgot in 2016) for that reason. If a quote makes me cringe, I'll probably avoid the book. A lot of the quotes I've read from Me Before You made me cringe, but the book itself actually has very little cringe-factor!
- It was funny and thought provoking and emotional and frustrating in the best possible ways.
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What I didn’t love:

- I doubt I'll ever read another book about physician-assisted suicide. I didn't like it as subject matter, but that's not the book's fault.

Review: Lord of Scoundrels (Scoundrels #3) by Loretta Chase

Tuesday, September 27
My rating:


DETERMINED LADY

Tough-minded Jessica Trent's sole intention is to free her nitwit brother from the destructive influence of Sebastian Ballister, the notorious Marquess of Dain. She never expects to desire the arrogant, amoral cad. And when Dain's reciprocal passion places them in a scandalously compromising, and public, position, Jessica is left with no choice but to seek satisfaction ...

LORD OF SCOUNDRELS

Damn the minx for tempting him, kissing him ... and then forcing him to salvage her reputation! Lord Dain can't wait to put the infuriating bluestocking in her place --- and in some amorous position, And if that means marriage, so be it! --- though Sebastian is less than certain he can continue to remain aloof ... and steel his heart to the sensuous, headstrong lady's considerable charms.

****


Overall…
This was a brilliant historical romance, with quirky, unique characters, lots of action, and all the glorious you can't do that!! moments I crave in this genre. That's the beauty of regency romance - these characters can get away with so much!

What I loved:
- Dain as a baby. And Dain as a teen. And Dain as a man. All of Dain was awesome.
- Jess was what I love in a female character. She wasn't a swooner, she wasn't a doormat, she wasn't anything that annoys me in a heroine. She had backbone, and drive, and her own life plan. She knew what she wanted, and how to get it, and I admired her. Especially when things got tough. And the scene when she gets her revenge on Dain. Ah, glorious.
Quote…Only Dain could get away with it, just as only he could clear the field of rivals simply by telling
them, without the smallest self-consciousness or subtlety, to go away.
And only she, besotted lunatic that she was, would find it all dizzyingly romantic.

- Of course, the writing is excellent, and Loretta Chase has a fantastic sense of humour. I enjoyed all the chuckle moments.
Quote…He went to work with speedy efficiency on the other glove. “I must be besotted,” he said evenly.
“I have the imbecilic idea that you’re the prettiest girl I’ve ever seen. Except for your coiffure,” he
added, with a disgusted glance at the coils and plumes and pearls. “That is ghastly.”
She scowled. “Your romantic effusions leave me breathless.”

- The parts where Dain speaks Italian. Sweet & Holy Jebus, he's hot.

What I didn’t love:
- I did not love how Dain talked about SPOILER > his kid < SPOILER. That was not cool. Fortunately, he more than redeems himself later, so stick with it!!
- I also did not love Dain's father. Fuck that guy.
- I don't think I'm fully buying the reason Jess suggests for SPOILER > Dain's mother leaving him when he was a kid, and running off with her lover. < SPOILER Something about that is hinky. I think the real reason is what he's thought all along, but who am I to rain on his sexy parade with my wet blanket self?
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Overall… (...Again)
Yes. Yes. Yes. It was amazing, and I can see why it's such a classic amongst Regency fans.

Review: Worth the Fall (The McKinney Brothers #1) by Claudia Connor



My rating:


They meet on a beach. . . . Abby Davis isn’t wearing a skimpy bikini or sipping umbrella drinks, not when she’s busy chasing around four little ones. And Matt McKinney isn’t looking for fun—he’s a Navy SEAL, a grown man with a long list of missions . . . and fallen brothers.

They only have a week. . . . Abby has brought her children to this beach to start over, to give them the enjoyable memories they deserve. Matt’s been sidelined by a combat injury, and haunted by the best friend he lost and the promise he made: to remain a SEAL—focused and dedicated. This leaves no time for what he’s always wanted: a family.

But a week is all it takes. . . . Matt opens her heart while Abby soothes his soul. And though they plan to say good-bye when the week is over, something magical happens on that beach, something neither can forget. Something utterly, completely worth falling for.

****

Mostly too good for 3 stars, but not enjoyable enough for 4.

What I loved:

- The kids were cute, with their chatter and their tantrums and their authentic kidness. Also, if I'm going to read a warm & fuzzy romance like this one, I love the solo-parent trope, and Claudia Connor does it brilliantly, and creates kids with all the awkward hilarity they have in real life.
Quote…The boy took a step closer to Matt, stared at his toes and dug them into the sand. "I can't catch," he mumbled.
Based on that one throw, the kid was right, but Matt wasn't going to say so.
"You'll get it. You just need to practice. Maybe your dad could throw with you or something."
"Nope. He can't throw. He's dead."

- I really enjoyed the family dynamic, and felt for the kids in how they responded to Matt, because of how their own dad had been.
- Matt was awesome. I'm all for men in uniform, and he's a Navy SEAL at that, so of course this was going to be my ball of yarn. On top of his occupation & general hotness, he was also attentive, thoughtful, and possessive.
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What I didn’t love:
 
- Wasn't a huge fan of Abby. I didn't hate her, but there were so many times that I thought her background got the better of her. Matt tried so hard, and she was just sort of... there. I like assertive characters, and she was not assertive at all.


- I can't be the only one thinking that if Abby wasn't pregnant with 4 kids in tow, Matt wouldn't have looked twice. Dude wanted a family, and lamented missing his chance, so how fortuitous that an insta-family fell in his lap.

Overall…
 
Parts of this were wonderful for me - heart warming, nourishing, sweetly delicious goodness. Early on, I loved the banter. Other parts were a bit slow, and sometimes even in my try not to be bitter and cynical headspace, I couldn't fully come to terms with Matt & Abby as a legit couple.

Reads by Mood: Regency

Saturday, September 24

I avoided Regency Romance for a long time. Too old fashioned, too ponce-y, too blah, and didn't they not bathe for like weeks at a time? ThanksI'llpass. And to make matters worse - I didn't know there were sexy times in Regency!

No, I mean... I'm not thick. Based on the earth's population, and the fact that England and Scotland weren't bred off the map, I knew people back then had sexy times. I just didn't think anyone would be writing about them.

Anywho. I was wrong about Regency Romances. Blissfully wrong. The stories can have depth and drama, mystery and intrigue, plots and character afflictions that would probably get someone jailed nowadays. 

If you haven't already, I strongly urge you to give these goodies a try - you won't be disappointed. These are what I read when I'm in the mood for some good old Lords & Ladies, Rakes & Scoundrels-type dirty.


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