These ‘about me’ sections, or even sections that inform you about blogs, have never been my forte. Much to my chagrin, I was never taught the unwritten rules of what you are supposed to say. The links at the side of the blog – Twitter and Goodreads, for example – are liable to tell you more than I could ever say in words.

Mostly, this will be a book blog. I read a lot, and I love to share my views on my most recent reads. I try to read a little bit of everything, but if you look closely you’ll notice I will occasionally become obsessed with one specific genre for a short period of time. Old books, new books, yet to be released books – I read them all. If you’re an author looking for advance readers or just wish for more reviews of a book you’ve already released, please feel free to contact me. There is a contact form at the side of my blog – if you scroll down below the Twitter and Goodreads sidebar you will find it – so drop me a message and I’ll be sure to get back to you in double time. After all, finding new authors is what makes the book world go around.

Thanks for taking your time to read this. With a little bit of luck, you will find my blog much more interesting than this mundane introductory section.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Review: After You

After You After You by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Me Before You hit me much harder than I had anticipated.

The book fell completely outside of my norm. I prefer stories about the darker side of life rather than tales of love, even when there is no happily ever after to be found at the end of the tale. I gave in, mostly, because of peer pressure. I wasn’t expecting much as there was so much hype, and nine times out of ten books fail to live up to the hype, yet in the end I enjoyed it much more than I had anticipated. There was such raw emotion in the book. There was a real representation of British life. There was a much deeper meaning to the book than most people seem to realise. Thus, having enjoyed it more than I’d expected I decided I was willing to give the sequel a try.

I didn’t go out of my way to read After You. I didn’t go on a crazy hunt to purchase it – in fact, only doing so because it was in an offer. Nevertheless, once I had it I was glad to read it. If the truth is to be known, I was more curious than I expected to be. The reviews for After You seemed to be much harsher, people seemed to believe it did not live up to the first book. This is often the case when people are crazy about a book, making it difficult for the sequels to please people.

I, however, adored After You.

It was a completely different kind of read to Me Before You, yet it had enough similarities to let you know it was an actual sequel. Whilst Me Before You was a heart wrenching read, After You had more hope. There were moments of melancholy, as you would expect, but as a whole it was a lot lighter than the first book.

Continuing the story almost two years down the line, we see what life had in store for the characters following the event in Me Before You. At first, I expected it to be a simple tale of our main character finally finding love. I was prepared for such a thing, ready to roll my eyes at the possibilities. However, as with Me Before You, there was more to this book than the mere romantic aspects. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised by the direction the story took. I wasn’t sure what I had hoped for in addition to the romance, but it wasn’t what I was given. It was unexpected and interesting. I admit it is something that has been overdone, but it was still fun to work with.

Don’t worry, though, I’m not going to give spoilers. I knew exactly what to expect of Me Before You due to people sharing information with me, down to the very fine details, and I promise not to do this to you. Just know this story is unlikely to be what you expected. Whilst it is not a standalone, it almost works as a single tale. Of course, you need to read Me Before You to understand it, but the way in which the story unfolds is a tale that would have worked as a standalone book in and of itself. It’s a story of finding yourself, connecting to others, and finding a place in the world.

Plus, if I’m being truthful, I did rather enjoy the romance in this one. I’m not the biggest romance lover, but every so often I find myself watching relationships unfold that I actually enjoy. Such was the case with this one. Even though quite a few things were expected in regards to the male love interest, I couldn’t help but enjoy him as a character. It is always great when such a thing happens, ensuring I enjoy the romance side rather than simply shaking my head at the desperation on the pages.

Honestly, I enjoyed it so much more than I expected, and I’m surprised to find myself in the minority.

I can understand what people mean when they say After You failed to enhance Me Before You, and yet I still enjoyed finding out more about the characters. I liked seeing where things went. I enjoyed this additional aspect to the story. I liked that it went somewhere different, went to some unexpected places, and I will not complain about such a thing. For me, I think it was a nice little read.

I guess the best I can advise is that you enter this one with an open mind. It is no Me Before You, but it is beautiful in its own way.

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