Title: After You
Author: Jojo Moyes
Published: 2015
Genre: Fiction

Rating: 2 out of 5

Synopsis:

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.

Review:

This book is the sequel to Me Before You, a novel which I loved. I was so excited to see that Jojo Moyes had released a follow up book. And then I read it…

I did not enjoy this book. I found it completely unrealistic; with unhappy story lines and characters I didn’t really like. I just did not get into this book at all. We return to the life of Lou; Lou, who is depressed and mourning Will. He is a haunting her, all the time; and in a moment of craziness – to make herself feel alive – she tries to walk along a ledge at the top of a several storey high block of flats drunk, and she falls. Where will life take her next? She meets a lovely paramedic, she meets a member of Will’s family she knew nothing about and spends all her time trying to help her, and her Mum seems to have a midlife crisis.

I think there was too much going on in the book. There were too many story lines, too many people suffering and having some major crisis. The story about her Mum finally stepping out of her shell, of “finding herself” was too much for me. I didn’t care that she wasn’t shaving her legs. For me, it didn’t add anything to the story.

And the story of Sam, the lovely paramedic. Would she really have been allowed to go in the ambulance with him? Probably not. And would she have seen what she did? Helped out like she did? I doubt it. For me, it seemed so unrealistic. And this spoilt the story for me.

Gosh, I don’t seem to have much that is positive to say about this novel. I finished it… I wanted to get to the end. I guess I wanted to know how Lou’s life was going to turn out. But at the same time I was reluctant to pick this book up. This book is sad. It is quite unrealistic. And actually, at times I was bored. I really wanted to enjoy this book, but I didn’t.

I am rating this novel 2 out of 5. To be honest, (and I write this sadly) I wish Jojo Moyes had just left this sequel well alone.

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Title: The Magician’s Nephew
Author: C. S. Lewis
Published: 1955
Genre: Children’s novels

Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis:

The adventure begins…
On a daring quest to save a life, two friends are hurled into another world, where an evil sorceress seeks to enslave them.
But then the lion Aslan’s song weaves itself into the fabric of a new land, a land that will be known as Narnia.
And in Narnia, all things are possible.

Review:

This is the first book in the wonderful Chronicles of Narnia series, written by C. S. Lewis. It is the second time I have read this book as an adult – although I remember having this collection of stories growing up so I must have read them as a child too. My review of this book, from 2008, is here.

I loved this book. We meet Aslan, and we see Narnia created. I was enjoying the story up to that point, but as soon as we met Aslan and he sang Narnia into being, the beginning of the book was basically forgotten for me! It is beautiful. One of my friends said that is her favourite chapter of all time, and it is easy to see why. The magic and the wonder are breath taking.

This series of books is meant for children, but they are wonderful reads. I was drawn in, and transported into those other worlds with ease and enjoyment. Like a lot of people, I know the story of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe really well, and this novel, The Magician’s Nephew, gives us a lot of background information and ties very neatly into the series. It is in this book we learn about The Witch – an evil, angry, proud woman who just wants power and minions; we discover how the lamp post arrives in Narnia; and how the wardrobe becomes the entrance into Narnia.

As when I last read this book, my favourite character is Aslan. He is fierce, yet gentle. He is powerful, yet so caring. When he was talking to Digory, who was sad that his mother was so ill, Aslan was compassionate and kind. The character of Aslan is based on God – our Heavenly Father – and it was an amazing read, and a great reminder of who God is, and what His character is like.

I loved this book. It was an easy read, but so enjoyable. I can’t recommend it enough. The highlight for me was the creation of Narnia – its just a shame that the Witch and Uncle Andrew had to feature at that point! I am rating this book 4 out of 5, and cannot wait to read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

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Happy New Year! Welcome to 2016! I hope you had a good Christmas and new year.

Here are my reading goals for 2016:

Goodreads Challenge

Last year I completed my Goodreads challenge, to read 50 books, so I am aiming for the same again!

Mount TBR Challenge

This year, I am only aiming to read 12 books in the TBR challenge. I failed last year, so going for a smaller number this time.

I would also like to read all the Narnia books, plus finish my Secret Seven and Roald Dahl challenges. But we will see what happens! Keep up with my progress here.

I wish you all the best in 2016!

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