Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books

Book Review – Still Me (Me Before You #3) by Jojo Moyes

June 8, 2018 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2018 4 Comments

Book Review – Still Me (Me Before You #3) by Jojo MoyesStill Me by Jojo Moyes
Series: Me Before You #3
Published by Pamela Dorman Books on January 30, 2018
Pages: 400
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Format: Hardcover
Source: Gifted
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads

Also by this author: Me Before You, The Girl You Left Behind, One Plus One

five-stars

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Jojo Moyes, a new book featuring her iconic heroine of Me Before You and After You, Louisa Clark

Louisa Clark arrives in New York ready to start a new life, confident that she can embrace this new adventure and keep her relationship with Ambulance Sam alive across several thousand miles. She steps into the world of the superrich, working for Leonard Gopnik and his much younger second wife, Agnes. Lou is determined to get the most out of the experience and throws herself into her new job and New York life.

As she begins to mix in New York high society, Lou meets Joshua Ryan, a man who brings with him a whisper of her past. Before long, Lou finds herself torn between Fifth Avenue where she works and the treasure-filled vintage clothing store where she actually feels at home. And when matters come to a head, she has to ask herself: Who is Louisa Clark? And how do you reconcile a heart that lives in two places?

Funny, romantic, and poignant, Still Me follows Lou as she navigates how to stay true to herself, while pushing to live boldly in her brave new world.

Me Before You Series

Me Before You (Me Before You #1) by Jojo Moyes [Purchase|Review]
After You (Me Before You #2) by Jojo Moyes [Purchase]
Still Me (Me Before You #3) by Jojo Moyes [Purchase]

‘Once upon a time there was a small-town girl who lived in a small world. She was perfectly happy, or at least she told herself she was.’

Louisa is back, but this time she’s living in the big city after deciding to start saying yes to all those things that were forever holding her back from experiencing life, with a little help from Will, of course. She’s left Ambulance Sam back in England along with the rest of her family, confident that she’ll be able to create a life for herself while maintaining the old. Her job this time involves New York high society where she’s working for Agnes, the affluent Leonard Gopnik’s second, and much younger wife. Despite the constant demands of her new job and the usually excessive hours, Louisa still manages to make some important connections within the city that never sleeps: a friendly doorman who introduces him to her family and a whole other slice of the city she had yet to perceive, an irascible old woman with a pug named Dean Martin, and a couple of girls she bonds with over a love of vintage clothing.

‘I thought about how you’re shaped so much by the people who surround you, and how careful you have to be in choosing them for this exact reason, and then I thought, despite all that, in the end maybe you have to lose them all in order to truly find yourself.’

There are some books you pick up that you expect to obtain a certain experience from; I picked up Still Me with the intent to read something light and undemanding, yet, that couldn’t have ended up being further from the truth. Of course, there are parts that really are light and undemanding: Louisa’s internal dialogue about a city that fills her full of wonder, the descriptions of her always spirited wardrobe (yes, the bumblebee tights do in fact make an appearance), and her incurably charismatic sense of humor. Still Me is less about the romance (although that of course, plays a factor) but it’s much more an inspiring tale of being true to yourself, finding what sincerely makes you happy in life (we only get one, after all), and to always wear your stripy tights with pride. This book was a pleasant roller coaster of emotions that completely ran the gamut that I would gladly ride again.

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Early Review – One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

June 28, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2014 7 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – One Plus One by Jojo MoyesOne Plus One by Jojo Moyes
Published by Pamela Dorman Books on July 1st 2014
Pages: 384
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Funny-ha-ha
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Me Before You, The Girl You Left Behind, Still Me

five-stars

One single mom. One chaotic family. One quirky stranger. One irresistible love story from the New York Timesbestselling author of Me Before You
 
American audiences have fallen in love with Jojo Moyes. Ever since she debuted stateside, she has captivated readers and reviewers alike, and hit the New York Times bestseller list with the word-of-mouth sensation, Me Before You. Now, with One Plus One, she’s written another contemporary opposites-attract love story that reads like a modern-dayTwo for the Road.
 
Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied and your math whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t afford to pay for. That’s Jess’s life in a nutshell—until an unexpected knight-in-shining-armor offers to rescue them. Only Jess’s knight turns out to be Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. But Ed has big problems of his own, and driving the dysfunctional family to the Math Olympiad feels like his first unselfish act in ages . . . maybe ever.
 
One Plus One is Jojo Moyes at her astounding best. You’ll laugh, you’ll weep, and when you flip the last page, you’ll want to start all over again.

Jess is a resolutely optimistic single mother who struggles with two jobs and two kids after her husband, seemingly suffering from depression, leaves them to move back in with his mother. When her daughter Tanzie gets the opportunity of a lifetime at a prestigious school, the only way the tuition can get paid is if Jess gets her to a Math Olympiad in Scotland. The only problem is, they don’t have a car nor the funds to get there. Ed, a tech millionaire who’s house Jess cleans, has gotten into a world of trouble involving being accused of insider trading and he needs to get out of town in hopes that his troubles blow over. Ed ends up offering to drive Jess, her two kids and they’re stinky dog Norman to Scotland in what ends up being one seriously stressful yet hilarious road trip.

In this hysterical and emotional tale of opposites attract, Jojo Moyes continues to solidify her spot as one of my favorite authors. Her portrayal of life as a single mom struggling to keep her kids fed was sobering but terribly relatable if anyone has ever struggled financially. Jojo Moyes also tackles the topic of economic differences, bullies and deadbeat dads with ease. Her characterization is unerring with each and every character well-written and detailed without managing to tread too far into predictable territory. Her stories have always managed to throw me with their unexpected twists and One Plus One is no different. The two main characters both possess enough wittiness and differences which cause their attraction to not be immediate. The romance is a slow, subtle build that even though you’re expecting you still won’t really see it coming.

One Plus One’s summary would suggest a typical, formulaic chick-lit story of opposites attract but culminates into a simple and pleasing page-turner that fans of the genre won’t want to miss.

The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella {Purchase}
Sweet Nothings by Janis Thomas {PurchaseReview}
Vanity Fare: A Novel of Lattes, Literature, and Love by Megan Caldwell {PurchaseReview}

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Book Review – The Lemon Orchard by Luanne Rice

April 11, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2013 2 Comments

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review – The Lemon Orchard by Luanne RiceThe Lemon Orchard by Luanne Rice
Published by Pamela Dorman Books on July 2, 2013
Pages: 304
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads


two-stars

From bestselling author Luanne Rice—a captivating and sexy novel of love, both enduring and unexpected

Year after year, Luanne Rice’s fans eagerly await her next book. Their enthusiasm is soon to be rewarded with The Lemon Orchard, Rice’s romantic new love story between two people from seemingly different worlds.

In the five years since Julia last visited her aunt and uncle’s home in Malibu, her life has been turned upside down by her daughter’s death. She expects to find nothing more than peace and solitude as she house-sits with only her dog, Bonnie, for company. But she finds herself drawn to the handsome man who oversees the lemon orchard. Roberto expertly tends the trees, using the money to support his extended Mexican family. What connection could these two people share? The answer comes as Roberto reveals the heartbreaking story of his own loss—a pain Julia knows all too well, but for one striking difference: Roberto’s daughter was lost but never found. And despite the odds he cannot bear to give up hope.

Set in the sea and citrus-scented air of the breathtaking Santa Monica Mountains, The Lemon Orchard is an affirming story about the redemptive power of compassion and the kind of love that seems to find us when we need it most.

Julia is still reeling five years after the death of her daughter and husband. While visiting her Aunt and Uncle in Malibu she forms a bond with Roberto, a man who is also suffering through the loss of a daughter. Julia’s daughter died and is truly gone, however, Roberto’s daughter was lost in the desert while attempting to cross over into the United States from Mexico.

The relationship between Julia and Roberto was initially very moving and their bond was very apparent. I loved seeing the two come together and heal one another because of shared grief but their relationship quickly became stagnant and never developed (as relationships typically do). The characters in general were never unrealistic but they definitely lacked a convincing quality that made me invested in their story.

What played a huge part in this story is Mexican immigration and I can honestly say if I had known this I would have never picked this book up. It’s just not a topic of interest for me, especially when it’s portrayed in this manner. At one point in the story it’s stated that the Irish immigration is just like the Mexican immigration because of the similar types of prejudice that they face. Now, I’m no history professor but that gave even me pause. Based on my understanding, immigration laws were vastly different in the 19th century and not only that but the Irish didn’t have welfare programs to take advantage of like there are in existence today. When the Irish immigrated to America there weren’t laws in place that prevented them legally from doing so and they had to work hard and be self-sufficient in order for them and their families to survive. The current immigration from Mexico does not conform with our current laws so that alone is a huge difference and should prevent any sort of comparison so I’ll just leave it at that.

The Lemon Orchard is clearly outside of the author’s comfort zone, touching on hot topic issues like immigration, the stereotypes associated with individuals that immigrate and the mixing of different social classes. While I can appreciate the fact that these topics are being discussed, I’m not sure it succeeded in challenging anything (except for succeeding in following the same stereotypical path) and never quite made me sympathetic as I’m sure was intended.

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Book Review + Giveaway! The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

August 31, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Giveaways, Read in 2013 0 Comments

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review + Giveaway! The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo MoyesThe Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes
Published by Pamela Dorman Books on August 20th 2013
Pages: 384
Genres: Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Romance
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Me Before You, One Plus One, Still Me

three-half-stars

What happened to the girl you left behind?

In 1916, French artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his wife Sophie to fight at the Front. When her town falls into German hands, his portrait of Sophie stirs the heart of the local Kommandant and causes her to risk everything - her family, reputation and life - in the hope of seeing her true love one last time.

Nearly a century later and Sophie's portrait is given to Liv by her young husband shortly before his sudden death. Its beauty speaks of their short life together, but when the painting's dark and passion-torn history is revealed, Liv discovers that the first spark of love she has felt since she lost him is threatened...

In The Girl You Left Behind two young women, separated by a century, are united in their determination to fight for the thing they love most - whatever the cost.

“Once it is done, it cannot be undone.”

1916
In the midst of WWI, a small French town is overtaken by the Germans and Sophie and her sister Helene are forced to make the soldiers extravagant meals every night. When the portrait of Sophie that her husband painted of her catches the attention of the Kommandant, he begins showing her a kindness not afforded to any others. Sophie decides to take advantage of that kindness in hopes that she will be able to help free her husband from the ravages of the prison camp. For his help though, it will come at a steep cost.

‘Sometimes life is a series of obstacles, a matter of putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes […] it is simply a matter of blind faith.’

2006
Liv is still grieving for the husband she lost unexpectedly 4 years prior. She meets a man that she feels she could actually move on and be happy with only to find that he’s been searching for a long lost painting that Liv’s husband gave to her while on their honeymoon. He was hired to recover the painting when the descendants came forward when she was discovered as being stolen from the family during WWI. Liv begins researching information on the girl in the portrait in hopes to uncover the truth behind it’s origins.

I’m a huge fan of dual narrative stories, especially when you have a wonderful mix of old with the new. This is perfect for fans of historical fiction and/or contemporary because you get both genres intertwined. I personally was a bigger fan of the 1916 storyline and all the aspects of WWI, plus I felt Sophie’s story was simply a better written and riveting tale. Sophie’s story was heartrending as war tales typically are. Liv’s story was equally distressing but lacked a clear understanding why she was so adamant about keeping the portrait.

I picked up this story after being thoroughly enchanted by ‘Me Before You’ however, this is a vastly different type of tale with much more focus on the historical aspects. I would recommend this read to fans of Sarah Jio and Susanna Kearsley as both typically focus on dual narratives and/or the blending of past and present.

The Girl You Left Behind is the tale of two women, both surviving trying times, joined through decades by a remarkable portrait. A portrait that brings to light what’s right and wrong and how there is oftentimes a middle ground, a grey area.

This is for my personal (ARC) copy of The Girl You Left Behind.
Open to U.S. addresses only. Sorry international followers!

Giveaway ends September 14th, 2013!

To enter use the Rafflecopter form below.
Remember to come back for more entry opportunities daily!!

 
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Release Day Feature + Giveaway! The House at the End of Hope Street by Menna van Praag

April 4, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2013, Release Day Feature 0 Comments

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Release Day Feature + Giveaway! The House at the End of Hope Street by Menna van PraagThe House at the End of Hope Street by Menna van Praag
Published by Pamela Dorman Books on April 4th 2013
Pages: 293
Genres: Chick-Lit, Fantasy, Magical Realism
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads


two-stars

A magical debut about an enchanted house that offers refuge to women in their time of need

Distraught that her academic career has stalled, Alba is walking through her hometown of Cambridge, England, when she finds herself in front of a house she’s never seen before, 11 Hope Street. A beautiful older woman named Peggy greets her and invites her to stay, on the house’s usual conditions: she has ninety-nine nights to turn her life around. With nothing left to lose, Alba takes a chance and moves in.

She soon discovers that this is no ordinary house. Past residents have included George Eliot and Beatrix Potter, who, after receiving the assistance they needed, hung around to help newcomers—literally, in talking portraits on the wall. As she escapes into this new world, Alba begins a journey that will heal her wounds—and maybe even save her life.

Filled with a colorful and unforgettable cast of literary figures, The House at the End of Hope Street is a charming, whimsical novel of hope and feminine wisdom that is sure to appeal to fans of Jasper Fforde and especially Sarah Addison Allen.

“If you stay I can promise you this. This house may not give you what you want, but it will give you what you need. And the even that brought you here, the thing you think is the worst thing that’s ever happened? When you leave, you’ll realize it was the very best thing of all.”

Alba, Carmen and Greer all recently experienced life-changing events that they never thought they could possibly persevere over, and that’s when they discovered the House on Hope Street.To me, magical realism is based in contemporary with subtle magical undertones. When well done, magical realism has the ability to absorb you so completely in the story that all of the magical elements become real and possible. With ‘Hope Street’ it was so magical and at times far-fetched in the belief department I would almost go so far as to consider it a lite-fantasy novel, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

From the very first page, I knew that this novel would require a suspension of disbelief when Alba walks into a strangers house and immediately accepts the offered invitation to stay for 99 days so she could get her life back on track. Alba had never been there before and had never seen the house before, yet had felt safer within those walls than she had in a long time. Hm. What I never quite understood was their complete acceptance of the ‘out-of-the-ordinary’ events that were taking place in the house. Like the talking pictures of deceased individuals or the letters that the ‘house’ would leave for them. I would’ve at least liked a moment of aw by these characters in regards to the amazement they felt towards the house rather than an immediate blind acceptance without question.

Much is disclosed about all of the characters, yet I had a hard time liking or ‘feeling’ anything for any of them. Alba is an intellectual prodigy and is fighting internal battles over a personal secret, Carmen is from Portugal and has run away from a bad situation but it always manages to follow her, and Greer is healing after heartbreak and trying to discover what she wants in life. In addition to the women, there are two incredibly tortured male characters that provided additional yet unnecessary drama. Albert had an affair with a woman two decades ago, fathered her child, yet she ended up returning to her husband and forcing him out of her life. He spent the rest of his life waiting and hoping she would come back to him. Blake has resolved to never marry and frequently cheats on whoever he’s with in order to avoid feeling anything for her. He says he does this because his mother left him when he was young. The amount of dramatic effect that was added to all the characters was in excess. It made them less realistic and made me less likely to empathize with them.

The frequently alternating POVs (I wasn’t even trying to keep track of the different POVs but I remember 9 just off the top of my head) was distracting at first but once you get a handle on the chaotic mess of characters it did become slightly easier to follow. I did think that each character section was far too short and ultimately created a jarring effect whenever the switch in POV was made. Also jarring, was the fact that it felt the story jumped around in time and I was always unclear how much time had passed.

I was hoping for a light, fluffy read, something that would fit that cutesy cover that drew me in to begin with. There were some good bits where I found myself really enjoying it but unfortunately, the chaotic mess of characters with a ridiculous amount of problems and the implausibility of the whole thing lessened my overall enjoyment.

Giveaway Details
1 copy of The House at the End of Hope Street open to U.S. and Canada addresses only!
Giveaway ends April 18th, 2013
To enter use the Rafflecopter form below. Remember to come back for more entry opportunities daily!!
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Early Review – Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

December 4, 2012 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2012 3 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – Me Before You by Jojo MoyesMe Before You by Jojo Moyes
Published by Pamela Dorman Books on December 31st 2012
Pages: 369
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Girl You Left Behind, One Plus One, Still Me

five-stars

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.

My heart was not prepared for those kind of feels… *sigh*

‘The thing about being catapulted into a whole new life – or at least shoved up so hard against someone else’s life that you might as well have your face pressed against their window – is that it forces you to rethink your idea of who you are. Or how you might seem to other people.’

Louisa’s life is lackluster and she’s completely content with ‘playing it safe’ at life. Not that she’s ever allowed herself to contemplate how different things could possibly be. She goes to her job at the tea shop, she goes home to her windowless room at her parents house, and she occasionally spends time with her boyfriend Patrick who is far more concerned with his exercise regiment than he is with her. But when she loses her job at the tea shop she accepts a temporary 6 month position as a caregiver to a quadriplegic, Will Traynor.

Louisa and Will are complete opposites and the first few weeks of them knowing each other the quite truly hated each other. Will was oftentimes irrationally difficult and Louisa was ready to quit, but she stuck it out and slowly they developed an extremely touching friendship.

All I can say is that you make me…you make me into someone I couldn’t even imagine. You make me happy, even when you’re awful.I would rather be with you- even the you that you seem to think is diminished- than with anyone else in the world.’

Their blossoming romance was one of the most convincing I’ve read in a long time and was truly uplifting. They changed each other in massive ways in such a short period of time. Louisa gave Will happiness that he hadn’t experienced for a very long time and Will gave Louisa the determination to do something with her life and not let it go to waste.

Calling this book chick-lit isn’t doing this book any sort of justice; the subject matter is simply far too thought-provoking for that kind of label. The real meat of the story focuses on Will’s decision to end his life by assisted suicide, which is the reason behind Louisa’s ‘temporary’ position as he promised his parents he would give them another 6 months but no more. Convinced that he just needs something to live for, his parents hire Louisa who is bright, fun and talkative in hopes that she can convince him that he still has something to live for.

“You only get one life. It’s actually your duty to live it as fully as possible.”

It was certainly a tough subject matter to read but was so well written and managed to actually make me laugh out loud at several parts. I loved Louisa and Will’s wittiness and constant banter, it was the perfect addition to this poignant story. It was hard not to picture what it would be like if you were put into a situation such as Louisa and Will’s. What you would do, if you would actually do anything different. All I know is that they both had an incredibly difficult decision to make and either way was bound to lead to heartache.

This was an incredible story that was so painful (in that crazy heart hurting kind of way) to read but I simply could not put it down. Me Before You is a heartbreaking story about finding what makes life worth living and making the decision whether it’s truly enough. Definitely a new favorite and one that my heart won’t be forgetting any time soon.

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