Summer Book Reviews: Falling, First Comes Love and After You

TATISTIDBITS BOOK REVIEWS

When summer comes along, my guilty pleasure, aka chick lit books come out, and this year two of my favorite authors, Jane Green and Emily Griffin had books out. Here are my thoughts on their new books, as well as thought on the book sequel of Me Before You, one of the movies of the summer.

Falling by Jane Green

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Goodreads blurb: When Emma Montague left the strict confines of upper-crust British life for New York, she felt sure it would make her happy. Away from her parents and expectations, she felt liberated, throwing herself into Manhattan life replete with a high-paying job, a gorgeous apartment, and a string of successful boyfriends. But the cutthroat world of finance and relentless pursuit of more began to take its toll. This wasn’t the life she wanted either.  On the move again, Emma settles in the picturesque waterfront town of Westport, Connecticut, a world apart from both England and Manhattan. It is here that she begins to confront what it is she really wants from her life. With no job, and knowing only one person in town, she channels her passion for creating beautiful spaces into remaking the dilapidated cottage she rents from Dominic, a local handyman who lives next door with his six-year-old son.  Unlike any man Emma has ever known, Dominic is confident, grounded, and committed to being present for his son whose mother fled shortly after he was born. They become friends, and slowly much more, as Emma finds herself feeling at home in a way she never has before. But just as they start to imagine a life together as a family, fate intervenes in the most shocking of ways. For the first time, Emma has to stay and fight for what she loves, for the truth she has discovered about herself, or risk losing it all.  In a novel of changing seasons, shifting lives, and selfless love, a story unfolds—of one woman’s far-reaching journey to discover who she is truly meant to be…

My take: 2 of 5. This was a rough book. I was force reading, making myself finish quickly so I knew what was going to happen but not really into it. It is not a great book, it is mildly serviceable. 70% of the book has a non existing plotline, with the last 30% making up for it a bit. There are better books out there. There are many great Jane Green books out there before you approach this one. That’s what is disappointing, I am such a Jane Green fan, but her newer work is just not getting to me as much.  The one lesson of the book: what a sisal rug is, because there is way to much interior decorating talk in this book even for a design lover like myself. I really don’t have anything more to say about this book, a bland beach read of a cheesy romance of which there are much better.

First Comes Love by Emily Giffin

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Goodreads blurb:Growing up, Josie and Meredith Garland shared a loving, if sometimes contentious relationship. Josie was impulsive, spirited, and outgoing; Meredith hardworking, thoughtful, and reserved. When tragedy strikes their family, their different responses to the event splinter their delicate bond.
Fifteen years later, Josie and Meredith are in their late thirties, following very different paths. Josie, a first grade teacher, is single—and this close to swearing off dating for good. What she wants more than the right guy, however, is to become a mother—a feeling that is heightened when her ex-boyfriend’s daughter ends up in her class. Determined to have the future she’s always wanted, Josie decides to take matters into her own hands.
On the outside, Meredith is the model daughter with the perfect life. A successful attorney, she’s married to a wonderful man, and together they’re raising a beautiful four-year-old daughter. Yet lately, Meredith feels dissatisfied and restless, secretly wondering if she chose the life that was expected of her rather than the one she truly desired.
As the anniversary of their tragedy looms and painful secrets from the past begin to surface, Josie and Meredith must not only confront the issues that divide them, but also come to terms with their own choices. In their journey toward understanding and forgiveness, both sisters discover they need each other more than they knew . . . and that in the recipe for true happiness, love always comes first.
Emotionally honest and utterly enthralling, First Comes Love is a story about family, friendship, and the courage to follow your own heart—wherever that may lead.

My take: 3.5 out of 5. Is this as good as some of Emily Giffin’s earlier works like Something Borrowed? Not really. Yet it is a beautiful story, well written, and with enough twist and turns around the corner of the page to keep you enthralled in the reading. It is also a fairly easy read, making it a most enjoyable beach and summer book. The characters, although at first appear quite caricatured, end up having some real depth  and layers one gets to peel through with the evolution of the book. There is also enough family drama to keep you entertained and amazed at their dysfunction.

After You by Jojo Moyes

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Goodreads blurb: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 Take: 3 out of 5 Sequels are tricky business.  On the one hand, you want to know what happens, how the story carries on, what happens in the lives of the characters we came to love/hate/get invested in. On the other side, expectations are too high and more often than not, not met or disappointed. The idea in your head gets crushed. This book is more of the latter than the former. As much as I loved Me Before You (Even if I hated the ending), this sequel just did not live up to the standard and expectations of its predecessor. I realized that outside the romance with Will and her whirlwind 6 months, louisa is actually a boring and insufferable character, that has terrible judgement and that I wanted to slap. Really her fashion sense was the only thing I approved of. I would have preferred she stayed in the Me Before You Bubble. Also there were way too many things that just didn’t seem right, plot turns that seemed forced and so many bad decisions that you just wanted to hurl the book (i didnt since i have my kindle that I love) to the wall. If you love to read everything in sight and are suepr curious like me, go ahead read this. If not, read Me Before You, watch the movie, cery and then move on to ther characters.

 

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