Book Review: After You (JoJoMoyes) – CONTAINS SPOILERS –

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Plot: 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.

Rating: 8/10

The events of After You take place after Will Traynor’s assisted suicide in Me Before You. Louisa Clark, his handler and eventual love interest, is dealing with the aftermath of his death. Society is no different than usual and judges her for her actions, thinking that she benefited from his death and perhaps should have done more to have stopped him. But they aren’t on ground zero with Louisa. They don’t know how hard she finds it to cope and to live to up to the expectations she can feel from beyond Will’s grave to live an extraordinary life. An accident makes her parents wonder whether she was planning to commit suicide as well, and despite her best assurances she still attends a support group for bereaved people to ease her parents’ mind. Slowly, life starts to normalize and even look more positive, but the appearance of someone who she thought impossible usurps her life once again. Can she fix herself one more time? Move on from Will?

On the new character front Sam appears, and I can now list him as a book boyfriend. I loved him. I knew from the get go that this couldn’t be the guy Jake was referring to. I knew somehow somewhere there was a gap in communication, and serve Louisa right for thinking the worst. Sam was decent, trustworthy, dependable, really hot and not without scars. Someone perfectly whole wouldn’t have been a good choice for Lou. She’s seen too much and gone through a lot of heartbreak. I was ready to write all the angry letters to JoJoMoyes during the last few chapters in the book, but it would have been for nothing as the end result really pleased me.

The biggest shocker of the book is the existence of Lily, Will’s daughter. I immediately pitied Lily. Her mother was clearly horrible at parenting, she had no foundation and everything she needed to turn into a stable kid was removed at her mother’s whim. Discovering that she had a father that became quadriplegic and chose to end his own life couldn’t have been a joy, and realizing that the family he left behind was neither whole nor perfect sure was a shocker too. I called most of the eventual developments on this character, but that doesn’t mean that I am not happy she ended up with Mrs. Traynor. They both needed something to get them through life, and they are perfect to depend on each other.

Lou’s family is still a driving force in her life. Her brilliant sister, saddled with a young boy so early. Her mother discovering her feminism and her father’s objection to it causes some hilarity but is also a reminder of how life must look for women who spent their entire lives looking after their children. I really liked that these characters remained in the book as it was such a central part to Lou’s character.

I really liked the pace and development of each character. After You certainly is more conventionally romance than Me Before You was. I was reminded of how I thought Marian Keyes would be if she chose to write about normal things. JoJoMoyes has the ability to get you unhealthily involved. I was so stressed about every character in that book. Her support characters are as well developed as her main characters, and she writes them with empathy and humor. You can’t help root as hard for Lou’s mother who is refusing to shave her legs as you are rooting for Lou, worry about Jake, think about Donna and most of all, wonder about the wellbeing of the Traynor family.

I was a huge fan of this book. It made me sad when it ended. I would have loved a third instalment. I checked but I seem to be unlucky in that regard. I recommend naturally that you read the first novel first (the movie doesn’t do it justice) and then read this one. Both are compelling reads that will touch your heart.

PS: Can I please have a Sam?

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Movie Review: Me Before You (2016)

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Plot: 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 color. And neither of them knows they’re going to change each other for all time

Rating: 6/10

If you read my review of the book here, you’d know that I enjoyed the book. Me Before You is quite the controversial book with a whole lot of people being upset about the approach to both paraplegic patients and euthanasia. I’m definitely pro euthanasia, and while I certainly understand why people are against it, I DO feel that people often look at it from the survivor’s perspective and not from the patients’ perspective. This is however not a debate about that, so let’s talk rather about the film.

It lacks the personality of the book. Some filler information was left out of the film, which was a good thing because there are times where the book does feel winding. It does leave out some things that should have been included though – you are never privy as to why the bond between Lou and Will becomes so strong. You also never see how sick and uncomfortable Will is, and how much he lost after his accident. Despite the impressive acting from Sam Claflin, he still at times comes across as a petulant rich white kid in a wheel chair, which isn’t what Will was in the books.

I did like that the relationship between Will’s mother and father is much better in the film. The book has them on the edge of divorce and I think that the story has enough melodrama without a crumbling marriage as well.

I didn’t like that they underplayed the difficult relationship Lou has with her sister. They are basically frenemies in the books, and turned into besties in the film. Lou’s home life is pretty bleak in the books, and apart from the discussion of some financial woes, you never really get to understand how much Will changed Lou’s life.

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The two main characters were well cast. I find Sam Claflin a really accomplished actor and he is able to bring Will to life as much as the script writers allowed him too. I had some issues with Emilia Clarke – her facial expressions were all over the show. She did manage to be Lou though, and I liked that.

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I loved the adaption of this scene! Really exactly what I imagined in the book. It was sweet and hilarious and showed the difference between Will and Lou’s frankly terrible and egotistical boyfriend.

Why the low rating you ask when I keep mentioning the things I liked? I thought it didn’t reach the emotional depths of the book, it didn’t show us why the two characters became so attached, it never really displayed how much Will actually lost after his accident. Basically if you see this film you will be a little sad, sure, but reading the book broke my heart in the way only a really good story can. What I’m trying to say here is that Me Before You is not a terrible adaption, but it does lack the heart to make it truly heartbreaking.

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December 2016: Watched, Read, Loved

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Happy 2017 everyone! I pretty much disappeared from the blog in December. I needed a break. I often am way too harsh on myself about blogging – wanting desperately to post five times a week. It is important to remind myself though that blogging is supposed to be fun and for times where I actually have the time. So I gave it a bit of a break and I am back feeling all refreshed!

It was also quite a sad December globally with the deaths of George Michael and Carrie Fisher. It seemed like 2016 kept knocking everyone down and I am really glad it ended. Let’s hope for a peaceful and fantastic 2017.

Series Watched:

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Vampire Diaries Season 5: I am currently stalling with this season. It is a pretty rotten season and by far the worst of all the seasons so far. I need to finish it up but definitely not feeling all the bullshit of the season.

Alias season 1 and 2: EEK! I am having so much fun! It is so much fun! I can’t wait to review this.

Movies Watched:

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Rogue One: A Star Wars movie. It was good, great excitement and all. I did like The Force Awakens better though.

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Memento: This was my second last blindspot for 2016. It is mind tingling and interesting, well directed and acted. Definitely worthy of watching, despite me taking ages to get it done!

Annie: I put this on for my mother to watch. It was okay – very singy and full of children but not overly offensive. It’s definitely a film that parents can watch with their children without wanting to cry because it is so boring.

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Twilight: I had such a weak moment! Want to review them all at some stage again.

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Scream 1, 2 and 3: this was so much fun. I’m planning to do the fourth one soon. Great entertainment!

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A Nightmare on Elm Street: Same here. I am having way too much fun with these old school thrillers.

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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies:  second time watching this and I loved it way too much.

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The DUFF: I am racking up the watches on this film. I showed it to my mom and my bestie on separate occasions and they both really enjoyed it. Why so much hate against this film? I know it is completely different from the book, but the additions worked really well.

The Departed: The Departed is a film my bestie has told me to watch or be disowned. So I watched it with her just to make sure she had the evidence and everything 😀 did I like it? Yeah. Excellent performances and directing all around. I got a bit exhausted with the length of it, and that is about the only thing I didn’t like.

Me Before You (2016): after reading the thought provoking book I was quite amped for the film. I pushed it back when the reviews didn’t garner the most promising reviews I pushed it back. Bestie and I watched it on our visit, and it was okay. Not really bad, but Me Before You doesn’t carry as much emotional baggage as the book does.

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Cruel Intentions: What a deranged film. I enjoyed it, but wow, deranged. Not something to watch with your parents, if you weren’t already aware.

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Ocean’s Eleven:  I really liked this! Heist films done right is a treat for the soul man. Clooney and Pitt together? There can’t be a better idea out there.

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Seven:  I got to see a young Brad Pitt as the excitable and young cop and Morgan Freeman as the intelligent, calm cop. It’s quite dark and deals with a demented serial killer. It had a dark and depressing atmosphere.

Books Read:

Dawson’s Creek – this is a compilation of short stories based on the series. I’d love to watch the series at some stage, but the book isn’t worth reviewing.

The Collaborator – Margaret Leroy – I can’t wait to post this! I really loved the book, and was so unhappy when I finished it.

The Martian – Andy Weir. The Martian was my favorite film of 2015, and I really wanted to get my hands on the novel. However, I’m struggling at this stage to get through it as it contains some unnecessary jargon in my opinion.

What were you up to in December? Tell me!

June 2016: Watched, Read, Loved

Hello! You might have noticed my blogging has been terribly limited lately. I planned to only blog three times a week for a few months, because life is truly speeding at this point and I barely have breaks. I haven’t even really managed three times a week for the past month and that depresses me a little, but I might have a bit more time for a few weeks so that will mean more time to spend on blogs. I’ve missed you!

This is pretty much a roundup of what I’ve been up to – entertainment wise and life wise. As mentioned, life has been hectic this June! I was away for two weeks on study time for my degree, and it always feels like such a time warp. It really is difficult removing myself from my life and living in another town for such a long time – it isn’t holiday so there is no relaxing and very little partying. I mostly end up missing my life and responsibilities, typically having moaned about them only weeks before!

In some more educational news, I passed both my semester exams! I danced and sang and danced some more. I actually got a distinction for this one lame ass subject, which is probably quite exciting when I really think of it, but I was way happier about the cardiovascular physiology that I also passed – I assure you that present me would go back a few years and stop past-me from choosing physiology as one of her majors #whatWasIThinking. I studied myself silly for that subject and it was good to be rewarded for it.

I’m also back to eating healthy – I was starting to slip back into my awful habits of eating all the nonsense out there. It’s hard, but I’m hoping it gets easier within a few weeks – I am assured that it will

I ended up watching a ton of movies that I’ve wanted to see for quite some time. I also got to watch Finding Dory in cinema, and I absolutely loved it.

A list of movies I really want to see in cinema:

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Warcraft – I don’t think I’ll make this one, but I am definitely interested in seeing what is going on there.

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Me Before You – it falls in either the hate or love camp at this point. I think there is some valid outrage and that disabled people really have a point, but I thought the book was done well enough and explained more eloquently what Will Traynor was about, and the movie

That is pretty much it, but there are a couple of great films also coming out (they will hopefully be great), including in particular Suicide Squad.

Movies watched at home:

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Furious 6:

I’m finally done with the Furious franchise (although it might be running for a while still on the blog), and I need to properly rank them. I think my favorite remains Four, regardless of what IMDb thinks. Five is good but seriously unbelievable, and six and seven are so over the top I was rather a bit annoyed with it. Not nearly as bad as Tokyo Drift or 2 Fast 2 Furious (DON’T get me started), but I think they went way too far now.

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As I mentioned above, they are going too far. I thought the tribute to Paul Walker was very sweet, but that is about the only thing I truly loved. I also think that the end was better than killing him off in the franchise. As with Mr. Darcy I would rather have him dead than not committed to the cause.

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Pretty Woman

It is the first time I ever saw this film, and it ranks so highly now on my list of movies that I love! It is definitely not a film in the 2016 climate where everyone is offended, and that really contributed towards my love of it.

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The DUFF

The DUFF was surprisingly hilarious and cute, and I really loved how it went to great lengths to not put the character through yet another makeover cameo that reinforces the belief that you should not be yourself.

The Guest

Second time watching this, and completely loved it again. Man, that Dan Stevens.

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Laggies

I actually managed to review this film here. It was horrible, with a completely unrelatable character.

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Quantum of Solace

QoS got a whole lot of hate online, and I’m not sure why. It’s not as good as Casino Royale, but it isn’t that bad.

Thor: The Dark World

I think I was pretty harsh on this film when it came out. It isn’t nearly that bad. Sure, it doesn’t come close to the other Marvel films but it was a fair bit of fun.

Series:

I am still working through The Vampire Diaries, and it is going painfully slow. It is not a reflection on the quality of the show, it is a reflection on the amount of time I actually have to watch the show. It’s still good though, Damon is as compelling as ever, Niklaus is endlessly fascinating and even Stefan isn’t as annoying this time around. I hope to get through all the seasons I have and do reviews on them, but I need to actually finish them up for it to happen!

I’m going to try and catch up with GoT at some point – however, I’ve accepted that with this show you either need to watch it immediately or accept that you will see spoilers. It is just too big at this point and the information is everywhere.

I also really need to get to Vikings. I loved the first season, and somehow ended up never even touching the rest. It is a damn shame.

Books:

I reread Whiskey Beach from Nora Roberts. It was one of my least favorite new releases from her when it came out, and I really thought it lacked essential things like good writing. I am revising that because this time around I felt a lot more charitable to it and I actually really enjoyed it.

I’m currently reading The Obsession by Nora Roberts and having the best time with it. I am really happy right now that I spent the cash on it, because I’ve been pining for this book for MONTHS.

I am also currently reading a whole lot of books at the same time. There is A Respectable Trade from Phillipa Gregory, which is really good when I actually sit down to read it, and a book by an Irish author (who I should write down), which is fine but pretty basic. I also really want to get to the sequel of You Before Me, and see how that goes down. I also got New Moon on a special at my local book store, which means I will get to that some time too (don’t judge). And there is another vampire novel. And I should finish this list. I should just read forever, really.

What have you been up to lately??

March to May: Watched, Read, Loved

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I was all over the place with this post , claiming that I would do some monthly rundowns. I was planning to, I really was, but as you know life is a busy little bastard and all you can do sometimes is hold on for dear life and hope not to fall off the wagon.

In Cinema:

I’ve been to cinema quite a lot the last couple of months. There were a few films I wanted to watch before the internet spoiled everything, and for the most part I walked out relatively pleased.

  1. Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice

The biggest problem with Batman vs. Superman? It lacked heart. Not all films should be lighthearted, but BvS had no comic relief and no passion – you need either of the two. I didn’t hate it though, but I do think that DC should have worked a little harder if they really plan to have a fighting chance in an environment so dominated by their biggest rivals.

  1. The Huntsman: Winter’s War 

I will definitely watch this again – it is easy, comfortable watching, not necessarily great but it was quite fun. It also contains my husband, and that can’t be ignored!

  1. The Jungle Book

Beautiful and charming, it impressed me with its gorgeous CGI and traditional storyline. Not my favorite Disney live action film, but it was good nonetheless. I am still the most excited for Beauty and the Beast next year. I CAN’T WAIT.

  1. Captain America: Civil War

Woohoo!! This was so great! It probably deserves a higher score from me, because on reflection I had a blast with it.

At Home:

Blindspot:

March: Love Actually – it was OKAY. Not really my favourite romantic comedy and I won’t be watching it again.

April: Home Alone – not gonna lie, I hated this. I am way too old for this shit

May: Warrior Sooo good, but not something I’d recommend as a pick me up.

Other films:

Begin Again (2013) – I really enjoyed it! It is surprising and not really as close to a romcom as it might sound, and I especially enjoyed the track.

The Fast and The Furious (2001) – This way Throw Back was the best and entertaining. I had the best time even though it is as ridiculous, gawdy, a murky story line and terrible acting. It’s all about investing in the future films, you see.

Wild Child (2008) – Wild Child is a favorite movie of 2008 for me. It has everything – the teenage drama, the love story, the gorgeous hero, friendship, everything! I had to force myself not watching it again right after!

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Series:

I’m rewatching The Vampire Diaries at the moment and having a complete and utter blast.  I stopped half way into Season two to focus on exams, but I am so onboard getting my ass to season 7 eventually! Can we just say #teamDamon all the way?!

Reading:

Last Chance Salloon (Marian Keyes) – hmmm, not my favorite Marian Keyes. It was good in some places but it took me ages to get through it – long, laborious reading.

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Me Before You (JoJo Moyes) – surprising and good, well thought out, not overly sloppy.

The Welcoming (Nora Roberts) – for the life of me I can’t write a review on this for some reason. It is very bland, definitely some of Nora’s most basic work. It isn’t bad or offensive, just pretty tame and nearly put me to sleep in some places.

I finally finished Big Magic after months of searching for it! I’d love to read it again, with a highlighter and a note pad.

Currently also reading:

Evening Class by Maeve Binchy. – this book is a real drag, to be honest. I don’t get why the author is compared to the likes of Marian Keyes – Binchy writes books that make me fall fast asleep. I thought perhaps this book was different from the other one I read by her, but it is shockingly the same – the exact same format and story if you take away all the frills.

Collaboration:

I reviewed over on T9M’s site The Help (2011) – such an awesome flick!

I also reviewed for Kim and Drew‘s 80’s blogathon – When Harry Met Sally – what a great film, definitely worthy of a classic status.

What have you been up to?

Trailers worth Discussion: Round 1

Happy Friday!

So, I’m titling this little series as Trailers worth Discussion. Basically I am going to put up the latest trailers and say what I think of them, my excitement levels and if I think it will be a success or not. Yep, my highly patented opinion. Let me know YOUR opinion on these below!

Trailer 1: Me Before You, starring Sam Claflin and Emilia Clarke

What I think: So I’ve ordered the book – this trailer seems like someone is going to die. I just want to know before I head into the cinema. I can handle a death, I just need to know. Terrible, hey? I am also really interested to see Emilia Clarke as something other than the mother of dragons, because that particular show will not see my patronage anytime soon.

Excitement levels: 4/5

Will it be a success? I do think so. Strong romantic dramas tend to do quite well for dates, and really hope both Claflin and Clarke get a chance to break out of the roles they are now very well known for.

Trailer 2: Suicide Squad Trailer #2

What I think: After the colossal (okay, not quite that bad) failure of Batman vs. Superman, DC must really work it to convince me to be interested. This trailer looks interesting, but I’m not all that sure I can invest in going to the movies for this.

Excitement levels: 2/5

Will it be a success? Likely, since the world isn’t tired of superheroes. yet.

Trailer 3: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

What I think: I’m reading the entire Harry Potter series again. I wish the magic could live on forever. I am not convinced that it can. It is sad, but I think continuing this series is a terrible idea. What is perfect should remain perfect.

Excitement levels: 1.5/5

Will it be a success? Yes, because the pseudo Potter fans weren’t raised on the books and don’t get the original magic quite that well. But I might still be impressed. I just don’t get why they must take it to America. Stupid.

Trailer 4: Doctor Strange

What I think: It seems like this is a role for which Benedict Cumberbatch was born for.

Excitement levels: 4/5

Will it be a success? I don’t know if the movie will work, I have no knowledge of the material. I do think it will be a success, because, Marvel.

Let me know what you think about these upcoming movies!!