Me Before You

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

“I will never, ever regret the things I’ve done. Because most days, all you have are places in your memory that you can go to.”

Goodreads’ Description:

Me Before YouLou 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.

Review:

This is one of the most hyped books in recent years. It is not my usual genre choice, straight romance, but with the movie currently in theaters and my grandma’s strong recommendation I decided to give it a shot.

Lou is one of those once in a lifetime kind of characters. She is so unique, bubbly, strong, kind and inspiring. I really enjoy brave and intelligent female characters but I absolutely love characters that are so beautifully weird that they make me want to embrace my own weirdness. I related to her feelings of unknowing and lack of contentedness with her dull life and I myself feel that nagging feeling of needing more of life, that Will instills within her.

With that being said. The ending bothered me. I wasn’t in love with the writing style. This book was way too over hyped and didn’t make me shed a single tear. 3 out of 5 Stars

3 Purples Stars

 

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The Short Drop

The Short Drop by Matthew FitzSimmons

“Hope is a cancer. One of two things happens. Either you never learn the truth, in which case it gnaws down to the bone until there’s nothing left, or worse, you do, and you go through that windshield at ninety because hope told you it was okay to make the drive without a seat belt.”

Goodreads’ Description:

A decade ago, fourteen-year-old Suzanne Lombard, the daughter of Benjamin Lombard—then a senator, now a powerful vice president running for the presidency—disappeared in the most sensational missing-person case in the nation’s history. Still unsolved, the mystery remains a national obsession.

For legendary hacker and marine Gibson Vaughn, the case is personal—Suzanne Lombard had been like a sister to him. On the tenth anniversary of her disappearance, the former head of Benjamin Lombard’s security asks for Gibson’s help in a covert investigation of the case, with new evidence in hand.

Haunted by tragic memories, he jumps at the chance to uncover what happened all those years ago. Using his military and technical prowess, he soon discovers multiple conspiracies surrounding the Lombard family—and he encounters powerful, ruthless political players who will do anything to silence him and his team. With new information surfacing that could threaten Lombard’s bid for the presidency, Gibson must stay one step ahead as he navigates a dangerous web to get to the truth.

Review:

With the current political climate in the US and around the globe, I needed a political thriller to help me see that things can always be worse. I was ready for a real mystery layered with political turmoil and espionage crime stopping action.

Sadly, I was very disappointed. I instead found a book filled with plot holes, confusing characters and an overall lack of interest on my part. This book was just not my cup of tea. I found it very boring and drawn out with an anticlimactic conclusion. 1 out of 5 Stars.

1 Purple Star

 

The Vacationers

The Vacationers by Emma Straub

“They had chosen to make the leap and, having leapt, were delighted to find that the world was even more beautiful than they’d hoped.”

The Vacationers

Goodreads’ Description:

For the Posts, a two-week trip to the Balearic island of Mallorca with their extended family and friends is a celebration: Franny and Jim are observing their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary, and their daughter, Sylvia, has graduated from high school. The sunlit island, its mountains and beaches, its tapas and tennis courts, also promise an escape from the tensions simmering at home in Manhattan. But all does not go according to plan: over the course of the vacation, secrets come to light, old and new humiliations are experienced, childhood rivalries resurface, and ancient wounds are exacerbated.

This is a story of the sides of ourselves that we choose to show and those we try to conceal, of the ways we tear each other down and build each other up again, and the bonds that ultimately hold us together. With wry humor and tremendous heart, Emma Straub delivers a richly satisfying story of a family in the midst of a maelstrom of change, emerging irrevocably altered yet whole.

Review:

I’ve been on the hunt for some good summer reads and this inviting bright blue cover immediately drew me in. I mean if a huge swimming pool doesn’t say summer, I am not sure what does. I haven’t heard much about this book but it sounded like a contemporary version of the popular young adult book, We Were Liars by E. Lockhart.

The beautiful backdrop of Mallorca serves as the centerpiece of this dysfunctional read full of deep dark secrets and family drama. I happen to really enjoy novels that dive into the depths of family drama and conflict, perhaps as I’ve experienced my share of it in my own family life and therefore tend to relate to the chaos. However, I wasn’t able to connect to any of the characters and frankly didn’t even like any of them, which makes it very difficult to enjoy the novel.

The great premise was there, crazy family and a tropical location, but it didn’t add up and the big secrets were not tantalizing enough to keep my interest. Therefore I give the book, 2 out of 5 stars.

2 Purple Stars

 

 

 

Room

Room by Emma Donoghue

Goodreads’ Description

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it’s not enough…not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son’s bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, ROOM is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.

My Review

I read this book, as I’m sure many have this year, because Brie Larsen won an Academy Award for her role in Room. I wanted to read this before I saw the movie. This book is intense. Really intense. It was so intense that it actually took away from me enjoying the book. I found myself really overwhelmed with the book and I barely finished it.

Donoghue writes a wonderful that book that really brings you into its world, and it is believable and terrifying. The writing is wonderful and very honest, if not a little vulgar. I was surprised with some of the word choice she used and that, in my opinion, took away from the overall book.

While some people enjoy being immersed in what they are reading, I found because of the intensity and sensitivity of the book, being immersed in this book was a little too much for me to handle. I don’t think I would recommend this book to everyone, it definitely takes a certain mindset to go into this book and that’s the caveat I would say when I recommend this book. 3/5 stars

Published: 2010, 342 pages.

3 Purples Stars

 

The Heir and the Spare

The Heir and the Spare by Emily Albright

*This review contains spoilers*

Goodreads Description

In this modern-day fairytale, Evie is on a path to figure out who her mom really was, while discovering for herself what the future will hold. Charged with her late mother’s letters, Evie embarks on a quest into her past. The first item on the list is to attend Oxford, her mom’s alma-mater. There, Evie stumbles upon a real life prince charming, Edmund Stuart the second Prince of England, who is all too happy to be the counterpart to her damsel in distress.

My Review:

Well this was really swoon worthy. A wonderfully romantic read, I read this all in one sitting (on a 5+ hr. plane ride) and it was worth it. I believe this is Albright’s debut novel and it is a great one! She writes the character’s beautifully and I absolutely adored Evie. Evie is a strong character who knows what she wants and will not be pushed around. I enjoyed the character development and the writing was simple, but it flowed well.

The only thing that I felt was a drawback was the ending. Albright does a really good job at prolonging their eventual romance and building suspense, and I really enjoyed that. The romance felt real and honest, but I felt the ending was really rushed and thrown together. After all that time, the last few pages felt like an injustice to their romance and relationship. Other than that, I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. It is a pretty clean read.

4/5 stars.

Published: 2016, 288 pages.

4 Purple Stars

Death in Sweden

Death in Sweden by Kevin Wignall

“This was the only real difference between the two of them, an empty apartment, and another full of life.”

Goodreads description:

Dan Hendricks is a man in need of a lifeline. A former CIA operative, he is now an agent for hire by foreign powers on the hunt for dangerous fugitives. It’s a lethal world at the best of times, and Dan knows his number is almost up. His next job could be his last—and his next job is his biggest yet.

The target sounds trackable enough: Jacques Fillon, who gave up his life trying to save a fellow passenger following a bus crash in northern Sweden. But the man was something of an enigma in this rural community, and his death exposes his greatest secret: Jacques Fillon never existed at all.

Dan is tasked with uncovering Fillon’s true identity—but can he do so before his own past catches up with him?

Review:

The premise of the story was intriguing but I found the writing style rather confusing.  There are many instances where I had to reread in order to understand what was going on. The main character was very one dimensional and there wasn’t any character development over the course of the novel. I usually really enjoy political, spy thrillers but this one didn’t do it for me. 2 out 5 stars. 

2 Purple Stars

The Royal We

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

“A wave of intense happiness washed over me, and I told myself to carry this moment as a talisman of a time in my life when I was both truly content and lucky enough to realize it.”

Goodreads Description:

American Rebecca Porter was never one for fairy tales. Her twin sister, Lacey, has always been the romantic who fantasized about glamour and royalty, fame and fortune. Yet it’s Bex who seeks adventure at Oxford and finds herself living down the hall from Prince Nicholas, Great Britain’s future king. And when Bex can’t resist falling for Nick, the person behind the prince, it propels her into a world she did not expect to inhabit, under a spotlight she is not prepared to face.

Dating Nick immerses Bex in ritzy society, dazzling ski trips, and dinners at Kensington Palace with him and his charming, troublesome brother, Freddie. But the relationship also comes with unimaginable baggage: hysterical tabloids, Nick’s sparkling and far more suitable ex-girlfriends, and a royal family whose private life is much thornier and more tragic than anyone on the outside knows. The pressures are almost too much to bear, as Bex struggles to reconcile the man she loves with the monarch he’s fated to become.

Which is how she gets into trouble.

Now, on the eve of the wedding of the century, Bex is faced with whether everything she’s sacrificed for love-her career, her home, her family, maybe even herself-will have been for nothing.

Review:

To say I am obsessed with England and the Royal Family is putting it mildly. My family is British and I was raised with the culture and deep admiration for the monarchy. I remember waking up at 5am on my final of freshman year in college, all my friends gathering in my dorm to witness the wedding of Will and Kate. It was magical!

The premise of this book is perfect. I love all royal romances, especially when they are turned into contemporary stories. However, sadly this book fell a little flat for me. I think my expectations may have been a little too high. The book was far too wordy and I struggled to get through parts. The character development seemed fake as did the romance between Nick and Bex. It turned into one big soap opera.  However, I love Bex. She is intelligent, charismatic and genuine and saved this book for me. 3 out of 5 stars.

3 Purples Stars