Me Before You
by Jojo Moyes
Louisa Clark finds herself with no job and no prospects. She finds a position as a caregiver for a paralyzed, depressed man named Will. I knew the premise of this one and honestly it didn’t sound appealing. It sounded depressing and a bit gimmicky, but it was so good. The story has a way of getting under your skin though. The characters are struggling to make things work in their own lives and don’t realize how much they need each other.
BOTTOM LINE: A fast beach read that defied my expectations.
by Ann Brashares
The Sisterhood series was one that I loved in college. The girls’ ages corresponded with my own in most of the books. I loved that they faced big issues, like divorce, suicide, self-doubt, death, but they also dealt with the joys of growing up and falling in love for the first time.
This is the fifth book in the series and I wasn’t really drawn to it when it came out. When I finally read it I realized that the girls’ ages still almost corresponded with my own. They are all about to turn 30 and the issues they’re faced with are big ones that I recognize.
The book takes an unexpected turn right from the beginning, but it’s a rewarding story by the end. Brashares has never shied away from tough subjects in this book and I loved the way she handled the situations each girl went through.
BOTTOM LINE: I loved returning to their lives and I was so glad I got to see how they were all doing. I don’t think the series needs another sequel, but this installment provided a wonderful conclusion to their journey.
by Joshilyn Jackson
Rose Mae is a minor character in Jackson’s Gods in Alabama. This novel tells her story. After a childhood filled with abuse, she finds herself trapped in an abusive marriage. She decides it’s time to take action after a gypsy reads her fortune in an airport. Rose Mae’s situation is a familiar one for many women. It’s also terrifying to think about being trapped in a life like that.
BOTTOM LINE: I didn’t enjoy this one as much as Gods in Alabama. It was a quick read, but the characters didn’t ring true for me in the same way. It felt more like a Lifetime movie.
Daughter of Smoke & Bone
by Laini Taylor
I wanted to like this one more than I did. It’s a fascinating concept. Karou is a girl living in Prague with a few strange chimera as friends. She runs errands for them, collecting teeth and getting information. She’s an art student with an extraordinary skill. An angel named Akivia sees Karou and is enthralled by her. Soon their paths cross and everything she knew about her life begins to unfold.
The first half of the book was interesting, but I was never fully invested. When we switched the telling the older tale I was really hooked and fascinated. Unfortunately at that point I’d already been struggling to want to keep reading.
I felt like one thing that really held me back was the relationship between Karou and Akivia. For quite a while I thought the big reveal was going to be that he was her father. They whole thing felt icky to me. It made sense when it was revealed, but early on she’s still a 17-year-old girl, while he is quite old in actual years.
BOTTOM LINE: Good in concept and a very unique story (not in overall theme, but in the details). For that reason I’m tempted to keep reading the series, but I’m not sure if it’s worth it.
Night of Cake & Puppets
(Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy)
by Laini Taylor
My favorite character in Daughter of Smoke and Bone was Karou’s best friend Zuzana. This short story gives readers a look at the first date that’s mentioned but not described in the novel. It’s told from the point of view of both Zuzana, who makes puppets, and her love interest. She creates a series of clues for him to follow throughout the city of Prague on a snowy night. It’s sweet and offbeat and I really loved the whole story.