Book Review: “After You” by Jojo Moyes

afteryou

 

Title:  After You

Author:  Jojo Moyes

Series:  Sequel to “Me Before You”

 

Synopsis (from bn.com):

When one story ends, another begins. After You is the Charming sequel to Me Before You” (People Magazine).

“We all lose what we love at some point, but in her poignant, funny way, Moyes reminds us that even if it’s not always happy, there is an ever after.” —Miami Herald

“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 thoughts:  Jojo Moyes returns with a lovely sequel to the wonderful “Me Before You”.  At the end of “Me Before You” Will Traynor passed this amazing advice on to Louisa Clark  “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.”

This book is an amazing journey through Louisa’s attempts to find her life and her living after Will’s death!

This book brings us a wonderful story of grief and grieving, its process, its timing, its ups, its downs, its moving forward, its moving backward, its triumphs, . . .

In this review I am not going to retell the story or give a synopsis of the characters and storyline, I am simply going to share how this book made me feel, what it made me think of . . .

I love how this book portrayed deep, profound grief . . . it is a process that every individual person must do in their own way, there is no formula for it, there is no timeline for grief!  It is different for every individual – which was beautifully portrayed by a number of characters in this book including Louisa who struggled mightily in her grieving Will and the different members of the Moving On support group Louisa attends.

This book is about grace, redemption, taking chances, moving on, letting go, love, loss, . . . I could go on all day!

If you allow yourself to really let go into this book you can find lovely metaphors throughout the story that reinforce the themes . . . (of course perhaps the author didn’t intend these at all but I am going to pretend she did) . . . Louisa works in an airport bar watching plans take off and soar into the sky everyday taking people into their lives while she herself is stuck, grounded in one place . . .

I thoroughly enjoyed this sequel . . . beautiful, profound . . . and yes I now have a book hangover where I simply am missing my characters, the story, I want them back, . . .

And remember,

Books are life,

Heather

 

 

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Book Review: “Fatal Chapter” by Lorna Barrett (Booktown Series #9)

fatalchapter

 

Title:  A Fatal Chapter

Author:  Lorna Barrett

Series:  Booktown Series #9

Synopsis (from bn.com):

New York Times bestselling author Lorna Barrett presents another page-turning chapter in her Booktown Mystery series. This time mystery bookshop owner Tricia Miles is about to find out murder is no walk in the park…

While out walking Sarge, her sister’s bichon frise, Tricia is led by the agitated dog to a man lying in a gazebo. She’s startled when she recognizes Pete Renquist, the president of the Stoneham Historical Society, who appears to be suffering from cardiac arrest. When Pete later dies in the hospital, the discovery of a suspicious bruise and a puncture mark on his arm suggests he may have been murdered.

Haunted by Pete’s enigmatic last words to her, Tricia begins to consider who had a motive to kill her friend. Did Pete take his flirting too far, only to have a jealous husband teach him a lesson? Or did he discover something in the town’s historical records that his killer wanted kept secret? Tricia is determined to get to the bottom of things before someone else becomes history…

 

 

My thoughts:  The latest installment in the Booktown Mystery series.  I must admit that while I enjoy this series a great deal – because let’s be real what reader wouldn’t enjoy a series set in a place called Booktown which is basically filled with cozy book shops, cafes, restaurants, etc – this wasn’t my favorite in the series.

It seemed to drag a bit for me from the very beginning – I’m not sure why.

And I admit that while I generally love all the characters in this series Tricia’s sister Angelica drives me crazy.  In this book particularly since she has become the Chamber President she things she is too good for everyone and she just seems mean, belittling, and demeaning to Tricia and I know it seems silly since these are just book characters – but I hate it.  Treat my Tricia nice!!!

I of course will tune in for the next book in the series as I am hopeful that it will include a Grand Opening Ceremony and opening of Tricia’s newly refurbished store after the fire!

Overall a great series – this one just fell a bit flat for me!

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

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Book Review: “The Wedding Shawl” by Sally Goldenbaum (Seaside Knitters Mystery #5)

weddingshawl

Title:  The Wedding Shawl

Author:  Sally Goldenbaum

Series:  Seaside Knitters Mystery #5

Synopsis (from bn.com): 

Summertime’s salty breezes and the sun’s golden threads bring inspiration to the Seaside Knitters of Sea Harbor, Massachusetts. But when an old mystery washes ashore, they must cast their needles aside and bring some heat back into a cold case…

Izzy Chambers is head over heels. She’s about to marry the love of her life, but much remains to be done before their big day. So the Seaside Knitters have pitched in to help and are even knitting Izzy a beautiful lace wedding shawl.

Meanwhile, Izzy’s aunt, Nell, has hired a gardener to spruce up the backyard where the wedding will be held. The gardener, Claire, is just returning to Cape Anne after a long absence, hoping to put a dark secret to rest and find peace for herself.

But the wedding plans get complicated when the wedding party’s hair stylist, Tiffany, is found dead. Rumors start to circulate about Tiffany’s past and her connection to an unsolved murder years ago. Is Claire’s return part of this pattern? Or are there more secrets simmering in the summer heat?

All the Seaside Knitters know is they must rally to find some answers, so the whispers about town can be replaced by wedding bells.

My thoughts:   Well the Seaside Knitters – Izzy, Birdie, Nell, and Cass – are back in action for another wonderful Seaside Knitters mystery!

I truly, truly love this series not necessarily because of the wonderful stories and plot lines, but rather simply because of the characters, the location, and the overall feeling that the book gives me.

I absolutely love the characters in this cozy series.  They are wonderfully kind, charming, empowered female characters who as a reader I want to be with.

I also love that this series truly lives up to its name as a cozy mystery.  Is there anything more cozy than the Friday night dinners these characters have on their deck, overlooking the water, friends, family, talking, relaxation .  . .

Everytime I read one of these books I come away feeling good . . . and wanting to just be in these books, live with these people, and be a part of their family!

Truly a great series .. .

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

 

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Book Review: “Dead to the Last Drop” by Cleo Coyle (Coffeehouse Mystery #15)

deadtothelastdrop

Title:  Dead to the Last Drop

Author:  Cleo Coyle

Series:  Coffeehouse Mystery #15

Synopsis (bn.com):  After the White House asks coffeehouse manager and master roaster Clare Cosi to consult on the coffee service for a Rose Garden Wedding, she discovers a historic pot was used as a CIA “dead drop” decades before. Now long-simmering secrets boil over, scalding Clare and the people around her…

Clare’s visit to the nation’s capital is off to a graceful start. Her octogenarian employer lands her a housesitting job in a charming Georgetown mansion, and she’s invited to work with a respected curator on the Smithsonian’s culinary salute to coffee in America.

Unfortunately, Clare’s new Village Blend DC is struggling to earn a profit, until its second floor Jazz Space attracts a high-profile fan—the college-age daughter of the U.S. President. Clare’s stock rises as the First Lady befriends her, but she soon learns a stark lesson: Washington can be murder.

First a stylish State Department employee suspiciously collapses in her coffeehouse. Then the President’s daughter goes missing. Is she a runaway bride or is something more sinister in play? After another deadly twist, Clare is on the run with her NYPD detective boyfriend. Branded an enemy of the state, she must piece together clues and uncover the truth before her life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness come to a bitter end.

My thoughts:  I absolutely love this series . . . but I will have to say that “Dead to the Last Drop” has got to be the best one in the series yet!  LOVED IT!

Welcome to the Village Blend, DC coffee shop and Jazz club – yes!  Welcome to a new location, new characters, new intrigue – Yes!

I absolutely love the fresh perspective that this installment takes having our wonderful coffeehouse characters Clare, Matt, Quinn, and the gang taking their show on the road for a new Village Blend opening in Washington, DC.

I loved the wonderful blend of new characters based in the DC coffee shop and our favorites based in New York!

I must say I am a huge cozy mystery fan and often find they can easily tend toward the formulaic, cheesy side . . . but not this one.  This Coffeehouse Mystery felt as if it totally broke from the cozy mold and almost felt to me like a true mystery/thriller than any type of cozy.

I loved the intrigue of the Washington DC scene . . . I loved the historical perspective of learning about DC, its landmarks, Presidential politics and the like.

Are you getting the overall impression that I loved this book . . . then you are right!

Best book in the series . . . and of course I very much look forward to seeing where #16 takes us.  I’m a little sad I have to leave my coffeehouse friends for another year!

Get your hands on this book now!

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

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2016 Reading Challenge time: Cruisin’ Thru the Cozies Reading Challenge

January 1 marks the time to choose my reading challenges for the year.  Needless to say given my love of all things cozy I’m joining this challenge once again.  I’m feeling hopeful this year and am entering at the level of:

Level 4 – Sleuth Extraordinaire – Read 21 or more books

Time to get reading!  Have fun all!

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

 

Welcome to the sixth annual Cruisin’ thru the Cozies Reading Challenge! Six years later and I’m still loving those cozies! I hope you’ll join me in this challenge.

To find out exactly what a cozy mystery is, check out Cozy-Mystery.com. This site is dedicated to cozy mysteries and does a great job of defining them as well as giving a list of cozy mysteries. This challenge is NOT restricted to what is on their list, it’s just to be used as a guideline in case you need some hints on what to read.

So, here are the rules…

1. Choose the level you wish to participate:

Level 1 – Snoop – Read at least 6 books

Level 2 – Investigator – Read 7-12 books

Level 3 – Super Sleuth – Read 13-20 books

Level 4 – Sleuth Extraordinaire – Read 21 or more books

2. The challenge runs from January 1, 2016 and ends December 31, 2016.

3. You don’t have to choose your books in advance. If you do, you can change your list at any time during the year. Books can overlap with other challenges.

4. Books can be in any format – paper, audio, ebooks…it all counts!

5. You don’t have to post a review, but I’m sure others would love to know about the books you are reading and may even want to add it to their reading lists.

NOTE: If you don’t have a blog and want to participate, that’s fine. You don’t have to have a blog, just post in the comments section as you finish books. If you belong to a site like Goodreads and review the books there, that’s fine too. Just leave us the link.  I also have a group for this challenge on Goodreads and you can sign up by clicking here.

6. If you do have a blog, take the button above, put it on your blog and post about the challenge. Then add your name to Mr. Linky below. Please use the link of your challenge post, not the link to your home page.

7. I’m going to have one link for signing up, one link for completed reviews and one link for your wrap up posts. I won’t be having a monthly link, just one for all reviews read for this challenge.

Have fun!

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2016 Book Challenge Time: 2016 Full House Reading Challenge

The first day of January is upon us and that means it is time to choose my reading challenges for the year . . . I did this Full House Reading Challenge last year and had a great deal of fun with it so I’m jumping on board again.  I really like the new categories she has this year!  Here we go . . .

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

 

Challenge Guidelines:

  • Challenge will run from Jan 1st to December 31st 2016
  • Write and publish a post stating your intention to participate. In the post please include the Challenge graphic and a link back to this post. Then link your intention post at the bottom of this post.  Make sure it is the actual post and not just a generic link to your blog.
  • Add your reviews back here on the link in this post. At the end of every three months there will be a U.S. $12 prize with a book of your choice from the Book Depository or U.S. Amazon voucher, for the entries. There will be a new linky then for the next quarter and so on to the end of December.
  • Reviews are not mandatory and if you prefer to keep a list of the books read and the category they cross off the card, then you can still enter for the completion of a Full House by linking to that list on the final linky or in a comment.
  • Jan – March Link Up     now live.
  • April – June Link Up
  • July – September Link Up
  • October – December Link Up
  • Each review can only be linked up once in the year. However it doesn’t matter when you read the book in 2016 – which month, just link as you remember or have time. So if you read it in January you may not get around to linking it until say… May. That is fine.
  • Books may cross over from other challenges that you are doing.
  • There will be a final post to link in a summary post for the challenge for those who have completed a full house. This will close on the 2nd January 2017  and a winner will be chosen using random.org for a U.S. $30 prize which again can be used to buy books at the Book Depository or be received as an Amazon voucher.

                            Link Full House post here

  • Complete the card below.  You can do it in any order you wish.  You are allowed “one free exchange”, if there is something on the square you really dislike you may change it to something of your choice. Once you have played this free choice that is it. Mention the exchange in the final summary post.
Full House Reading Challenge Grid 2016
* Self Challenge means setting a challenge for yourself for this square. For example I might set read a book my a male author, because I hardly ever do that. Or …
* Setting beginning with B. This can be a country, a state, a place, a street. Or it could be a beach or the bush or a bookshop. Long as a good part of the book is set there, the whole book might be, but it doesn’t have to be.
This is a challenge designed for fun rather than stress! Just keep reading and see how many just naturally check off a square. That’s how I play this kind of card. I don’t set out to do it – it just happens in my reading year. Mostly!

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2016 Book Challenge Time: Mount TBR Reading Challenge

Let me hear the applause readers . . . it is that time of the year to choose our reading challenges for 2016!!  And being an avid reader we all know I have an embarrassing number of books on my shelf waiting to be read . . . so I absolutely have to participate in the Mount TBR Reading Challenge!!  I believe I will enter at the level of:

Mount Blanc: Read 24 books from your TBR pile/s

Unfortunately, even I read 24 books from my TBR pile it won’t even make a dent . . . but tis is the life of a reader!!

Won’t you join us!

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

Mount TBR 2016

This will be the fourth year for the Mount TBR Reading Challenge and I don’t seem to be getting those mountains moved at all. Despite the fact that I will have knocked over 100 books off of my 2015 Mount TBR by the end of December, there are still whole mountain ranges waiting to be conquered. As fast as I read ’em and get them off the stacks, my bookaholic ways help me replace them.

So, once again, I plan to concentrate on reading primarily from my own books in the coming year. And you’re invited to join me in knocking out some of those books that have been waiting in the wings for weeks….months…even years.

Challenge Levels:

Pike’s Peak: Read 12 books from your TBR pile/s
Mount Blanc: Read 24 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Vancouver: Read 36 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Ararat: Read 48 books from your TBR piles/s
Mt. Kilimanjaro: Read 60 books from your TBR pile/s
El Toro: Read 75 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Everest: Read 100 books from your TBR pile/s
Mount Olympus (Mars): Read 150+ books from your TBR pile/s

And the rules:
*Once you choose your challenge level, you are locked in for at least that many books. If you find that you’re on a mountain-climbing roll and want to tackle a taller mountain, then you are certainly welcome to upgrade.  All books counted for lower mountains carry over towards the new peak.

*Challenge runs from January 1 to December 31, 2016.

*You may sign up anytime from now until November 1st, 2016.

*Books must be owned by you prior to January 1, 2016. No library books.

*Rereads may count only in the following circumstances: If you did not own the book when you read it long ago and far away [based on your age, you can decide what that might mean–definitely not within the last five years…my arbitrary pick for a limit] and you bought the book pre-January 1, 2016 intending to reread it now that it’s your very own.  [To clarify–the intention is to reduce the stack of books that you have bought for yourself or received as presents {birthday, Christmas, “just because,” etc.}. Audiobooks and E-books may count if they are yours and they are one of your primary sources of backlogged books.]

*You may count any “currently reading” book that you begin prior to January 1–provided that you had 50% or more of the book left to finish in 2015.  I will trust you all on that.

*You may count “Did Not Finish” books provided they meet your own standard for such things, you do not plan to ever finish it, and you move it off your mountain [give it away, sell it, etc. OR remove it from your e-resources]. For example, my personal rule (unless it’s a very short book) is to give a book at least 100 pages. If I decide I just can’t finish it and won’t ever, then off the mountain it goes and I count it as a victory–the stack is smaller!

*Books may be used to count for other challenges as well.

*Feel free to submit your list in advance (as incentive to really get those books taken care of) or to tally them as you climb.

*There will be quarterly check-ins and prize drawings!

*A blog and reviews are not necessary to participate. If you have a blog, then please post a challenge sign up and link THAT post (not your home page) into the linky below. Non-bloggers, please leave a comment declaring your challenge level–OR, if you are a member of Goodreads, I will once again put together a group for the challenge there. Feel free to sign up HERE. At the beginning of the year, I will once again have a sidebar link for called Mount TBR Review Headquarters for 2016 reviews and progress updates.

 

 

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