Book Review: Still Me by Jojo Moyes

Sometimes, a book comes into your life at the right time. That was the case for me with the third installment of Jojo Moyes’s Me Before You series.
Originally, I decided to read this book with the hope of finding redemption for the main character Louisa Clark. If you read my review of After You, you probably know that I was not a fan. I’m glad to say that after reading Still Me, I felt the same connection to the story that I had with the first book. Other than mentioning a few characters that appeared in the second installment, this story veered away from the direction of the sequel.
Still Me follows Louisa as she sets off to New York City to begin a new chapter in her life. Having obtained a position as an assistant for a wealthy family, she finds herself immersed in a culture completely different from the one she left back in England. Finally able to put much of what had happened over the last few years behind her, she works toward a new beginning with her job and her personal life. However, the past has a way of reinserting itself whenever you least expect it.
It just so happened, I began reading this book at a time of transition for myself. After almost a decade, I left a job that I was comfortable in so that I could begin a new adventure of my own. As Louisa was figuring things out day to day, so was I.
Overall, I am glad that Jojo Moyes continued Louisa’s story in the way that she did. I recommend reading this, especially if you were a fan of Me Before You. 

Book Review: The Hunger by Alma Katsu

I hadn’t heard of The Hunger by Alma Katsu prior to checking Twitter at the end of March. At the top of my feed was a tweet from Stephen King giving praise to it, but what really caught my attention though was that he cautioned reading it after dark.
So, off to the bookstore I went. I’m the type of person who likes to physically hold a book instead of spending hours reading it on a screen after working on a computer all day. At checkout, the girl behind the counter asked about the book. My reply to her was, “Stephen King recommended it, so it has to be good. Right?” We left the store, and I couldn’t wait to start reading at least the synopsis and reviews on the way home. What stood out right away was a positive review from R.L. Stine on the back cover. Growing up, R.L. Stine was my go to author. I didn’t read many of his Goosebumps books, but I probably have most of his other books sitting on my shelf. My conclusion… If they both like this book, it’s definitely worth a shot.
The Hunger is a historical fiction horror novel based on the Donner Party. The book is an easy read and immediately held my attention; I’m all for a good book about wagon trains and settling west. What I was most disappointed about though, was that I didn’t find the book frightening or creepy at all (which was the main reason why I wanted to buy the book). I think maybe I’ve just watched too many horror movies, so I might be immune to what others consider frightening.
Taking the horror aspect out of the equation, I really enjoyed reading The Hunger. In my opinion, the author does a good job keeping the reader interested when the subject matter easily could’ve become blasé. I had a hard time putting the book down, and found that the ending was not what I expected at all.
If you’re looking for a good historical fiction novel, I do recommend reading The Hunger by Alma Katsu.

Book Review: Lily Collins Unfiltered

I’ve always been one to glamorize the Hollywood lifestyle; in fact, I’ve become kind’ve addicted to checking tabloid websites several times daily. It wasn’t until I saw Lily Collins in the movies The Blind Side, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, and Love, Rosie as well as the Amazon series The Last Tycoon that I decided to try her autobiography.
I’ll admit, when I first started reading it I didn’t think that I’d get very far. I mean, who really wants to read about a misadventure tweezing your eyebrows? However, I am really glad that I persisted.
This book is filled with stories of Lily’s inner struggles with self confidence, an eating disorder, her unhealthy obsession with working out (which is always what you want to be reading about while on the exercise bike at the gym), and how she battled to become her best self. In today’s society, if I had a pre-teen or teenage daughter this would be a book that I would recommend that they read. The constant reminders that your uniqueness is what makes you beautiful are empowering, and I found myself pulling strength from her words.
This is a good book to read if you struggle with insecurities. I, myself, struggle with self self-esteem issues, low self-confidence, and an almost daily battle with anxiety and/or depression. This is just a part of who I am, and I can’t let it dictate my life anymore. So, in honor of finishing this book, I plan to make 2018 the best year ever and not let my insecurities hold me back. I hope you give this book a chance, and are able to connect with it as well.

2018 Book List

As the end of 2017 nears, I’ve been compiling a list of books to read in the coming year. I’ve probably way over reached on my goal, but isn’t that how it always is? I’d love to hear what you all are currently reading or planning to read.

Here is what I’m currently reading:

On Writing- Stephen King (audiobook)
Down the Rabbit Hole- Holly Madison
Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me- Lily Collins

 

My 2018 List:

Outlander- Diana Gabaldon
Dragonfly in Amber- Diana Gabaldon
Voyager- Diana Gabaldon
American Ghost- Hannah Nordhaus (Thanks for the suggestion Lorelei)
Scrappy Little Nobody- Anna Kendrick (I might do an audiobook for this one)
Love, Rosie- Cecelia Ahern
This Side of Paradise- F. Scott Fitzgerald
Murder House- James Patterson
The Da Vinci Code- Dan Brown
The Nightingale- Kristin Hannah

Book Review: The Demon of Brownsville Road by Bob Cranmer and Erica Manfred

Being from Pittsburgh, when this book was first released in 2015 I remember seeing it all over the news channels. At the time I thought, “Wow! There’s a house this close that’s haunted enough to have a book written about it, I can’t wait to read it!” Unfortunately, life got in the way and over the last two years I’ve thought about it a few times, but it wasn’t until recently when some of my coworkers were discussing it that I finally picked it up.

To get into the review, there are some parts of this book that are creepy and moments when I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Truthfully, I can’t understand how the Cranmer family stayed in the house after dealing with years of having a demon terrorize their lives. If it were me, when things began to escalate I would’ve fled. The chapters of the book that I enjoyed the most were about the history of the house and the potential reasons that caused the demon to take residence inside. Dating back to the 1700s this place had quite a dark past and it only makes sense that they were still dealing with remnants of those times.

However, I think much of the book was filler. From a personal standpoint, I think a lot of the political and religious aspects could’ve been left out to create a better read. There was an insinuation that was made in the book that I took some offense to. The author was describing the change in his children, they were suddenly listening to loud music and wearing black clothes, he attributed this to demon influence. As a child growing up in the 90s myself, I can assure you that there was no demon influencing my decision to wear a lot of black clothing (and I still do) or listening to heavy metal/rock.

That being said, if you are looking for a book about a house that has a dark history and the steps that were taken to rid the premises of a demonic infestation and can look past the filler, then this might be a book for you. Personally, I think that if I had a second chance with this book I would pass and find a different one to try.

Book Reviews: Me Before You and After You

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

I loved this novel! Honestly, this is probably one of the best books I’ve read and one that I often recommend.
The story mainly takes place over a 6 month span, so things are not drawn out. It’s well written, and really connects the reader to the characters of Louisa Clark and Will Traynor. Their narrative unfolds in a unique way, and the twists found within these pages often left me yearning for more.
In 2016 this book was made into a movie and it did the story justice. Emilia Clarke and Sam Clafin portrayed the characters well, but in the end some of the connection between Louisa and Will didn’t translate well to the big screen (which happens a lot with screen adaptations). But, if you don’t read the book the movie is a good option.

After You by Jojo Moyes
After reading Me Before You I had high hopes going into the sequel, but I was quickly disappointed. In my opinion, this book takes away from the strength of Louisa Clark and most importantly I felt that it actually discredited the wonderful story of the first novel. To everyone that I have recommended Me Before You to, I have told them not to read the sequel.
There were a few redeeming qualities in this novel but honestly I wish I had never read it. Of course, these are just my opinions but After You was not what I expected.
I hope you find these helpful!

 

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