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ONE PLUS ONE by Jojo Moyes, Review and Giveaway
Jul 4th, 2014 by Liza Wiemer

ONE PLUS ONE18693716

by Jojo Moyes

Review and Giveaway

Buy it here: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound | Audible

 

From Goodreads:

One single mom. One chaotic family. One quirky stranger. One irresistible love story from the New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You
 
American audiences have fallen in love with Jojo Moyes. Ever since she debuted stateside, she has captivated readers and reviewers alike, and hit the New York Times bestseller list with the word-of-mouth sensation, Me Before You. Now, with One Plus One, she’s written another contemporary opposites-attract love story that reads like a modern-day Two for the Road.
 
Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied and your math whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t afford to pay for. That’s Jess’s life in a nutshell—until an unexpected knight-in-shining-armor offers to rescue them. Only Jess’s knight turns out to be Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. But Ed has big problems of his own, and driving the dysfunctional family to the Math Olympiad feels like his first unselfish act in ages . . . maybe ever.
 
One Plus One is Jojo Moyes at her astounding best. You’ll laugh, you’ll weep, and when you flip the last page, you’ll want to start all over again.

My 5 star review:

Did you like the quirky characters in ELEANOR and PARK by Rainbow Rowell? If so, you will LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the characters in ONE PLUS ONE.

Jess is raising her daughter Tanzie and her ex-husband’s son Nicky on her own. She struggles to make ends meet, working two jobs and is barely able to pay her bills. She cleans houses for a living, is a bartender at night, and makes Tanzie’s clothes. Nicky wears makeup and dyes his hair blue/black goth. 
Jess lives day by day, sometimes minute by minute, trying desperately to keep her family together. She has this odd optimism that is contagious. One that keeps her going, despite every reason to feel disillusioned and pissed off at the world that seems to knock her and her kids down. Nicky is bullied and beaten, Tanzie is a genius at math, but even with a 90% scholarship to a top private school that would help her thrive, there is no money for the remaining 10%.

And then Ed comes into Jess’s and the kids’ lives. Ed is awkward and miserable and has many quirky issues of his own. Yet, he’s perfect for this family. He’s perfect for Jess and Jess is perfect for him. But it’s not so easy. He’s had several crappy relationships and plenty of betrayals in his lifetime. He seems to have everything, when Jess doesn’t. But that depends on how you define wealth. These two work. Except . . . 
Well . . . you’ll have to read what happens.

Like other novels by Jojo Moyes, ONE PLUS ONE addresses issues of “class” and money, people who have money and people who do not. Money—its importance, what it can buy and not buy, how it separates us, what happens when it’s lost, how true love trumps money—is definitely a central theme of Jojo’s novels, including SILVER BAY, ME BEFORE YOU, THE LAST LETTER FROM YOUR LOVER and THE GIRL YOU LEFT BEHIND. I highly recommend them ALL!

ONE PLUS ONE adds up to PERFECTION. Here’s eleven reasons to read it:
1. Hope. When everything seems like nothing is going right, there are glimmers of hope and moments of incredible optimism and goodwill. This is a novel that renews the human spirit.
2. The portrait of a family. This is an unconventional family, but a family nonetheless. 
3. Love can be shown in many different ways.
4. Some people deserve second chances. Some do not. Not everything is always fair, but in the end, we can only hope things work out. Giving up is never the answer if something is truly important.
5. Sometimes parents are just lousy parents. Accepting it isn’t always so easy, but when you do, there can be peace.
6. Life is messy and complicated and people make mistakes. Own them.
7. It may seem like you don’t fit in ANYWHERE, but this world is made up of many, many, many different people. Eventually, you’ll find your tribe – people who think like you.
8. Being different/unique is GOOD!
9. Money is important, but it can’t buy love or happiness. (Duh.)
10. We might need to stand up for ourselves, but it’s even better when we stand up and help someone else.
11. ONE PLUS ONE isn’t a novel you’ll forget easily. It’ll stick with you a long, long time. Perhaps you’ll have a moment in your own life that challenges you, then you’ll think about these characters and find strength to work it through with the same optimism and strength Jess was able to muster. If so, a person will know that as long as there is life, there is hope of a better day, a chance at making amends, a chance for love, friendships and family. Whatever it might be, I think anyone with even a drop of optimism will find some great gems to hold onto from this novel!

Thank you so much to Pamela Dorman Books for a review copy of this novel.thumb.php

TO LEARN more about Jojo Moyes:

Her Website | Facebook | Twitter

GIVEAWAY (US only)

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Review: SILVER BAY by Jojo Moyes
May 13th, 2014 by Liza Wiemer

19802590A modern love story

from Jojo Moyes,

the New York Times

bestselling author of 

Me Before You 

SILVER BAY

By Jojo Moyes

 

Jojo Moyes became a household name with her breakaway hit, the New York Times bestselling Me Before You, and The Girl You Left Behind.  SILVER BAY  (Penguin E-book; On-sale April 29, 2014; $9.99; 978-0-69-8156357) now available in the U.S. for the first time, is a surprising and moving romance set in an old-fashioned seaside town on the verge of unwelcome change.

Liza McCullen will never fully escape her past. But the unspoiled beaches and tight-knit community of Silver Bay offer the safety she craves—if not for herself, then for her young daughter, Hannah. That is, until Mike Dormer arrives as a guest in her aunt’s hotel.

The mild-mannered Englishman with his too-smart clothes and distracting eyes could destroy everything Liza has worked so hard to protect: not only the family business and the bay that harbors her beloved whales, but also her conviction that she will never love—never deserve to love—again.

For his part, Mike Dormer is expecting just another business deal—an easy job kick-starting a resort in a small seaside town ripe for development. But he finds that he doesn’t quite know what to make of the eccentric inhabitants of the ramshackle Silver Bay Hotel, especially not enigmatic Liza McCullen, and their claim to the surrounding waters.

As the development begins to take on a momentum of its own, Mike’s and Liza’s worlds collide in this hugely affecting and irresistible tale full of Jojo Moyes’s signature humor and generosity.

My review of SILVER BAY:

Another absolute must read by Jojo Moyes, author of ME BEFORE YOU and many other excellent novels.

From the moment you begin this novel, the multiple characters narrating SILVER BAY will pull you into their story and keep you guessing. They’ll fill your mind with images of Silver Bay, they’ll teach you that people can be transformed, and they’ll make you long for an Australian vacation to watch the magnificent whales and dolphins in the secluded bay with a rundown hotel. You may even be able to get a taste of an ice-cold beer and smell the salty air.

This is so much more than a love story. There are multi-dementions and angles to the story. There are multi-generations that give their perspectives, each one adding their pieces to the whole for a richer, more interesting tale.

I can’t even begin to sing the praises of Jojo Moyes and her incredible storytelling talent. It’s bloody brilliant. Prepare to have a few kleenexes on hand. Prepare to fall in love with Mike and Liza, and Aunt Kathleen and Nino, and even the dog Milly. Most of all, eleven-year-old Hannah will grab ahold of your heart and keep you wondering about her life, not as it is now, but what it will be ten years from now. If you’re like me, you’ll want to think about her and her family and friends and Silver Bay and the future.

There is NOTHING Jojo Moyes writes that I can’t or won’t rave about to anyone who’ll listen. You might as well put all her books on your to-read list, that is, if you haven’t done so already!

About the Author

Jojo

Jojo Moyes signing at ALA

JOJO MOYES is the New York Times bestselling author of The Girl You Left Behind, Me Before You, and The Last Letter from Your Lover.  Her new novel One Plus One will be published by Pamela Dorman Books / Viking on July 1, 2014. She is also the author of the e-only novella Honeymoon in Paris as well as Silver Bay (Penguin / on-sale: August 26) and The Ship of Brides (Penguin / on-sale: October 28).  Moyes also writes for a variety of newspapers and magazines. She lives with her husband and their three children on a farm in Essex, England.

Praise for Jojo Moyes:

“When I finished [Me Before You], I didn’t want to review it: I wanted to reread it…Moyes’s story provokes tears that are redemptive, the opposite of gratuitous. Some situations, she forces the reader to recognize, really are worth crying over….Moyes’s heroine,  if Lou can be so styled, may not be heroic; her male counterpart may be nobody’s idea of a leading man—and yet with Lou and Will she has created

an affair to remember.”— New York Times Book Review

[Me Before You is] a hilarious, heart-breaking, riveting novel . . . I will stake my reputation on this book.”

—Anne Lamott, People

“There are books that you cannot put down. There are also books where you become so invested in the characters, you force yourself to stop reading to prolong the experience because you don’t want the story to end, and that’s what can happen when you read Jojo Moyes’…ME BEFORE YOU…. Moyes writes well-developed characters, and it’s impossible not to care about them. You’ll find yourself laughing, smiling, feeling angry and, yes, crying.” Associated Press

“We know from Moyes’ previous novel, the bestseller Me Before You, that this is an author worth following…THE GIRL YOU LEFT BEHIND is, well, impossible to leave behind…In this moving paean to daring, determination and perspicacity, Moyes keeps the reader guessing down to the last hankie.”

Los Angeles Times

New Cover Reveal & Review: THE LAST LETTER from YOUR LOVER by Jojo Moyes & Giveaway (US only)
Feb 11th, 2014 by Liza Wiemer

A Very Special Valentine’s Day read from one of my favorite authors:

THE LAST LETTER from YOUR LOVER by Jojo Moyes & Giveaway (US only)

Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books

Last Letter cover.med

From Goodreads:

A sophisticated, page-turning double love story spanning forty years-an unforgettable Brief Encounter for our times. 

It is 1960. When Jennifer Stirling wakes up in the hospital, she can remember nothing-not the tragic car accident that put her there, not her husband, not even who she is. She feels like a stranger in her own life until she stumbles upon an impassioned letter, signed simply “B”, asking her to leave her husband.

Years later, in 2003, a journalist named Ellie discovers the same enigmatic letter in a forgotten file in her newspaper’s archives. She becomes obsessed by the story and hopeful that it can resurrect her faltering career. Perhaps if these lovers had a happy ending she will find one to her own complicated love life, too. Ellie’s search will rewrite history and help her see the truth about her own modern romance.

A spellbinding, intoxicating love story with a knockout ending, The Last Letter from Your Lover will appeal to the readers who have made One Day and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society bestsellers.

Award:

Romantic Novel of the Year (RoNa’s) Award (2011)

Purchase:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

IndieBound

Audible

My Review: 5/5 stars

Jojo Moyes once again proves that neither time nor distance can put out the flames of true love, love that doesn’t just connect bodies, but souls.
Take Jennifer Stirling and Anthony “Boot” O’Hare. Anthony, a reporter for “The Nation,” joined Jennifer and her wealthy husband Laurence at their home on the French Rivera. From their rocky beginnings in 1960, a friendship and love is forged between Anthony and Jennifer, one that can’t be destroyed in twisted metal and broken dreams. There are no true winners or losers in this novel, just lives lived, lives lost and lots of navigation through life’s trials and tribulations along the way.

One of Jojo’s established strengths in her writing is connecting the past with the present, intertwining lives with similar situations and objects. In THE LAST LETTER FROM YOUR LOVER, the object, of course, is a letter that ties the generations: Jennifer and Anthony in 1960 to Ellie and Rory in 2003. The parallels are so fascinating and at the same time heartbreaking. But Jojo has this way of taking heartbreak and smoothing the rough edges so that the reader is left satisfied and hopeful. This is a remarkable talent, one that makes Jojo a storytelling star.

Jojo Moyes is one of those writers that has created a body of work that collectively is masterful and insightful into the human spirit. I would normally say that every novel must stand on its own merit. That’s absolutely true. Yet, in Jojo’s case, she has established herself as an author who has immortalized characters who will stand the test of time. Having read ME BEFORE YOU, HONEYMOON IN PARIS, THE GIRL YOU LEFT BEHIND and now THE LAST LETTER FROM YOUR LOVER, I see the connections between themes she explores in her novels, and even the characters. To me, that is a tremendous gift and the reason why I recommend reading everything Jojo writes. Obviously, readers may relate better to certain characters, but there is no doubt that if you read for more than the pleasure of entertainment, there is a lot to be gained from the insights Jojo illuminates in her stories. She opens the readers’ eyes to the serendipities of past and present, the lessons to be learned from the past and how they can alter the present and the future. At the same time, her novels remind us that we’re fragile beings, and even though we have only one life to live, what we do, what we create can be a major part of the future. To leave a mark.Me Before You.Cover

Jojo Moyes most definitely leaves a mark, one that will be read and seen for generations to come!

Jojo Moyes C Phyllis ChristopherTO LEARN more about Jojo Moyes:

Her Website

Facebook

 

Giveaway: Two winners – one will win ME BEFORE YOU and another will win THE LAST LETTER from YOUR LOVER (US only) Ends February 17, 2014, 11:59 p.m. CST. Thank you to Pamela Dorman Books for providing this giveaway.

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The BEST Books I Read This SUMMER & MEGA Giveaway
Sep 1st, 2013 by Liza Wiemer

                 The BEST Books I Read This SUMMER & MEGA Giveaway

(Three winners!)

I’ve read a lot of excellent books this summer (June 21-August 31), but not all of them are included in this list. That’s because they were ARCs and haven’t been published, yet. I look forward to putting together another post at the end of 2013, which will include those novels.

Each of the books or series listed below were memorable for different reasons and I want to share them with you. One lucky winner will get to select two books of choice or one audiobook via Audible and a book. Two winners will have a choice of a book or audiobook. International winners – you must have access to Audible or the book must be available through The Book Depository. Giveaway ends September 22, 2013 11:59 PM CST.

(Rafflecopter Below)

In no particular order:

16151178The Sea of Tranquility by 

Why it’s on the list: I love characters who go through major transformations.

Review: An exceptional story.

A note about the cover: It’s perfect for this novel. That’s melted ice cream that formed the outline of the faces on the asphalt. It fits so beautifully, so kudos to the designer and the publisher for going with it.

I am NOT going to talk about Josh. Or Sunshine. Or what happened to her in THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY by Katja Millay. I am not going to discuss the unfairness of what Josh faced over and over again. Many others have done so and done it extremely well. I second, third, fourth my agreement.
I will say this: THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY begs the reader to take action, to make a change, or a choice, even a small one like picking up the phone and calling a loved one to say “I love you.”

To read the rest of the review, click here: The Sea of Tranquility

 

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (AUDIOBOOK), performed by  and 13479365

Why it’s on the list: I’ll remember what happened to these characters for a very long time.

Review: Voices so real, it’s hard to believe this is historical fiction and not biographical.

I picked up this novel from the library, but then returned without reading it. That was nearly a year ago. I had heard that it would rip my heart out, and I wasn’t ready to grab the knife.
But when my dear friend Heidi from YA Bibliophile @hmz1505http://www.yabibliophile.com raved and raved and raved about the audio, I knew I had to listen to it.
Once again, Heidi was right. The readers brought this novel to life and had me riveted. I was drawn into the story of female spies and female pilots during WWII and the friendship between two women – Queenie and Maddie. As they both had their turn to share the sequence of events that led to their friendship and what happened when Queenie was captured by the Nazis was absolutely stunning. The characters seemed so real and their voices were so authentic, that it’s hard to believe that they were created in Elizabeth Wein’s imagination.

To read the rest of the review, click here: Code Name Verity 

15777621This Song Will Save Your Life by 

Why it’s on the list: Speaks to anyone who’s felt like they didn’t fit in.

Review: Wow, wow!

Can a song save a person’s life?
Hmm, you’ll have to read This Song Will Save Your Life to understand the magic of music. I was deeply impressed with the Leila Sales’ powerful portrayal of Elise Dembowski, a sixteen-year-old girl who has endured bullying and friendlessness for as long as she can remember. As the daughter of divorced parents who share custody, she’s scheduled in and synced to both parents’ lives. With her dad, she’s an only child. With her mom, she’s the big sister and a step-daughter. Elise is bright and creative, and music means everything to her. Her father is a member of a one-hit 70s band, still playing at various venues like cruise ships, bars, etc. while he also works at a music store. It is he, who gave Elise such a passion for music.

To read the rest of the review, click here: This Song Will Save Your Life

What Happens Next by 12819342

Why it’s on the list: Addresses a serious issue: Date rape after being drugged.

Review: Very realistic. Compelling. Painful. Serious issues. One of the best book boyfriends. Ever. Definitely recommend.

What Happens Next was recommended to me by Rachel fromhttp://rachelwritesthings.blogspot.com Thanks, Rachel!

I was immediately taken in by Sid’s story, a sixteen-year-old girl who goes on a school ski trip with her two best friends. While on the trip, the three of them split up and Sid meets a college boy named Dax. He’s fills her with lots of compliments and begs her to come to a party. Her friends are totally against it, by Sid ignores them. What happens next is absolutely horrible and real and a warning to girls to never go to a stranger’s place.
As Sid tries to figure out how to deal with what happened to her, she meets Corey Livingston, a boy who seems like a complete loser. But as the two of them take months to get to know each other, something special blooms between them.

To read the rest of the review, click here: What Happens Next 

16409311

Camp Boyfriend by 

Why it’s on the list: For anyone who has ever been torn between two boys or struggled with identity, this story will hit home.

Review: CAMP BOYFRIEND is . . .

authentic. Beautifully captures the difficulties of navigating friendships and relationships. So much more than a love triangle. (Don’t let that turn you off. It’s a huge plus.) This novel is about self-identity, self-worth, self-esteem.
I really want to see this in all middle schools/high schools/libraries.

CAMP BOYFRIEND does an incredible job of portraying the inner turmoil of a girl torn between two really good guys. But it’s also so much more. It begs the reader to ask, “What’s important to me?” Until that question is answered, it’s tough to know the bigger question, “Who am I?”

I am NOT going to summarize this novel. You can read that in the description. Instead, I want to share with you . . .
what I LOVED about CAMP BOYFRIEND.

To read the rest of the review, click here: Camp Boyfriend

The ENTIRE (to date) Covenant Series By 

Half-Blood (Book 1)

Half-Blood (Book 1)

(Half-Blood, Pure, Deity, Apollyon)

Why these books are on the list: The first line of my review says it all!

Review: Adventure, romance, heart-pounding action, and Greek mythology rolled into a captivating, unforgettable series.

Jennifer Armentrout created an fascinating world you’ll appreciate and visit on each page. I can’t imagine anyone not falling in love with Aiden and Alex.

Thank you, Jaime, from http://fictionfare.blogspot.com for sharing the first three books with me and to Spencer Hill for the fourth book APOLLYON and the novellas.

I read all four books in THE COVENANT series plus the novella ELIXIR over the past four days. That should say EVERYTHING. I was completely sucked into the Greek mythology and the incredible storyline told by the hyper, daring, courageous, snarky Alex (short for Alexandria). Alex is a half blood – someone who is born to a pure blood parent (from the Greek gods) and a mortal parent. Pure bloods and half bloods don’t mix. They’re forbidden to love and they’re most definitely a lower class. Half bloods can become slaves to pure bloods, losing themselves by being forced to drink elixir that takes away their ability to think and act on their own freewill.

To read the rest of the review, click here: The ENTIRE (to date) Covenant Series

615359Shark Girl and Formally Shark Girl by 

Why these books are on the list: Powerful portrayal of a teen redefining herself told through free verse poetry.

Review: SHARK GIRL will keep you captivated and will reel you in! Perfect for reluctant readers.

SHARK GIRL is about a girl named Jane who’s life changes in an instant when a shark attacks her and severs her arm. The story of that moment is told in free verse poetry. Throughout the novel, letters from concerned, compassionate people, along with reporters who want her story, are interspersed, breaking up the free verse poetry with the reality of what it means to be in the national spotlight. Jane shares her painful recovery, her deepest emotions, including her fears, frustration, and anger at the loss of her arm. Once a promising artist, she sees her future plans disappear as she has to relearn how to do everything with her left hand.

To read the rest of the review, click here: Shark Girl and Formally Shark Girl

Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm by  (AUDIOBO

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OK), performed by 10194157

Why it’s on the list: Fantasy at its finest!

Review: A captivating audiobook that kept me completely enthralled and invested in the story. Characters came to life.

About the story: Alina and Mal are two orphans who were raised in a Duke’s home (he takes in orphans who are “cared for” by a his servants. They rarely see the Duke.) Alina and Mal become each other’s best friends/family. Eventually, Alina and Mal come to serve the king as trackers. But when it’s discovered that Alina has a special talent, she’s whisked away from Mal and taken to the Little Palace to hone her skills as a Grisha and become the Darkling’s match. Putting their gifts together, they’ll be invincible. But Alina has a lot to learn before that can happen.
I loved the Grisha and their unique abilities. I could visualize the Shadow Fold and the nation of Ravka as well as the Little Palace, which isn’t very little at all.

To read the rest of the review, click here: Shadow and Bone To read the review for the second book in the series, click here: Siege and Storm

16270141The Boy on the Bridge by 

Why it’s on the list: A historical (romance) novel set in the former Soviet Union-USSR (Russia.) I don’t think many YA know about this time period in history.

Review: An accurate portrayal of the Soviet Union in the 1980s. Terrifying and heartbreaking. Highly recommend.

When Laura goes to Leningrad for a semester abroad program, she believes meeting Alyosha on the bridge leading to her foreigners only dorm is a chance encounter. She quickly develops deep feelings for him and it appears that he feels the same way. He and his friends are hungry for anything that connects them to America. Does he love her because she’s wonderful, bright, kind or because of what she represents as an American? There is danger lurking around every corner, people who are willing to get this young couple in trouble, especially Alyosha, for anti-Soviet sentiment. Alyosha longs for the freedom that he perceives America represents. What does this really mean for Laura? You’ll have to read the novel to find out.

To read the rest of the review, click here: The Boy on the Bridge

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes17572903

Why it’s on the list: Simply unforgettable – Like SARAH’S KEY by Tatiana de Rosnay.

Review: Part 1: Written on  7/20/13

Speechless.

I need to spend some time digesting this novel before I complete my review. I will say this – I am so glad I read the prequel (HONEYMOON IN PARIS) – See my review on Goodreads here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/…
More tomorrow.
Or the next day.
Must. Close. My. Mouth. It’s on the floor.

Part 2: Written on 7/23/13

Impactful. Eye-opening. Shocking.

Okay. Deep breath.
I’ve been thinking about how to review this novel. A lot. And why it affected me so much. I’ve come to the realization that there are several things that deeply impacted me. The characters and the experiences are so real, that, as the reader, you get completely absorbed in what has happened to them. This experience is similar to what many would say happened while reading SARAH’S KEY by Tatiana de Rosnay.

To read the rest of the review, click here: The Girl You Left Behind

16158528Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman

Why it’s on the list: A unique, page-turner story. The characters are some of the most interesting I’ve read.

Review: An exceptional novel that will leave antique lovers drooling, nature lovers longing for the outdoors, animal lovers running to make a donation to their local animal shelter or humane society, and hopeless romantics swooning.

I seriously can’t believe that I waited a whole month to read this novel. I should have picked it up immediately. Looking for Me is storytelling at its best. Teddi and her brother Josh grew up on a farm in Kentucky. While she loves to give new life to old things like furniture, Josh becomes a protector of nature. Their father fosters their passions while their mother begrudgingly goes along with it. As Teddi and Josh grow up, they take their own journeys away from home. Their stories are both heartwarming and heartbreaking. Some of the overall themes of this beautiful novel are the power of family ties, the bonds of friendship, and the power of love.

To read the rest of the review, click here: Looking for Me
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THE GIRL YOU LEFT BEHIND by Jojo Moyes, Review & ARC Giveaway
Aug 12th, 2013 by Liza Wiemer

THE GIRL YOU LEFT BEHIND17572903

by Jojo Moyes, Review & ARC Giveaway

Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books,

Pages: 384

Jojo

Jojo Moyes at her signing at ALA – Chicago

 

From Goodreads:

What happened to the girl you left behind?

In 1916 French artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his wife Sophie to fight at the Front. When her town falls into German hands, his portrait of Sophie stirs the heart of the local Kommandant and causes her to risk everything – her family, reputation and life – in the hope of seeing her true love one last time.

Nearly a century later and Sophie’s portrait is given to Liv by her young husband shortly before his sudden death. Its beauty speaks of their short life together, but when the painting’s dark and passion-torn history is revealed, Liv discovers that the first spark of love she has felt since she lost him is threatened…

In The Girl You Left Behind two young women, separated by a century, are united in their determination to fight for the thing they love most – whatever the cost.

My review – in two parts:

Part 1: Written on  7/20/13

Speechless.

I need to spend some time digesting this novel before I complete my review. I will say this – I am so glad I read the prequel (HONEYMOON IN PARIS) – See my review on Goodreads here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/…
More tomorrow.
Or the next day.
Must. Close. My. Mouth. It’s on the floor.

Part 2: Written on 7/23/13

Impactful. Eye-opening. Shocking.

Okay. Deep breath.
I’ve been thinking about how to review this novel. A lot. And why it affected me so much. I’ve come to the realization that there are several things that deeply impacted me. The characters and the experiences are so real, that, as the reader, you get completely absorbed in what has happened to them. This experience is similar to what many would say happened while reading SARAH’S KEY by Tatiana de Rosnay.

Moyes tells two stories in this novel, which eventually intertwine. The first takes place St. Pieronne, France in 1916/17 and is told in first person by Madame Sophie Lefevre. The men are away at war and Germans occupy much of France, including St. Pieronne where Sophie and her family live and run a hotel that’s been completely stripped of anything of value by the Germans. What Sophie does to protect/shield/feed her family and the village is incredibly heroic. What struck me to the core was how brutal the Germans were. I JUST DIDN’T KNOW. I know a ton about WWII. But I didn’t have a clue about WWI. Was I not listening in history class? Or wasn’t this taught? The Holocaust was HELL on earth, but I had no idea that the Germans did many of the same things during WWI – carting people off to camps, putting them in trains. And the brutality! It gutted me, but ultimately didn’t shock me. What shocked me was how the village people treated Sophie. You’ll have to read the novel to understand what I mean.

Now that I got that out of the way, let me explain that much of this story revolves around a stunning portrait of Sophie painted by her husband Edouard. The Kommandant can’t keep his eyes off the painting. It is this painting that connects the second story in this novel.

The second story takes place in 2006 and is told in third person. Liv Halston is a young widow in possession of Edouard’s painting of Sophie. His family wants it back. The twists and turns and the concept of reparation is an important issue, and a heated one, especially to Holocaust survivors or descendants who are fighting to get their families’ wealth back when it was stolen from them during WWII. But Liv’s painting had no connection to WWII. Yet Edouard’s family and the company they hired to get Sophie’s painting back, use this issue to sway public opinion and makes Liv a villain.
This ripped my heart out on so many different levels. I am deeply sympathetic to those who lost everything in the Holocaust. Yet, at the same time, I saw how absolutely wrong it was to throw the weight of this onto Liv’s shoulders. Horribly painful.
To further complicate things, Liv is in a relationship that has a HUGE personal implication and connection to this case.

This novel is . . .
so incredibly impactful and eye-opening!
deals with important issues.
filled with so many deep, personal wounds.

It brings up an intense need to have the characters, especially Liv, heal, live, and have HOPE.
I’m tempted to say more, but I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone.

Like Jojo’s previous novel that I reviewed, ME BEFORE YOU, THE GIRL YOU LEFT BEHIND will stay with me for a long time. I suspect I’ll be thinking about it and talking about it for years to come.
I highly recommend this novel. But be prepared, it will affect you!
Put this on your must-read list.
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Celebrating the Paperback Release of NYTBS ME BEFORE YOU by Jojo Moyes with a Giveaway
Jul 31st, 2013 by Liza Wiemer

Celebrating the Paperback Release ofJojo Moyes C Phyllis Christopher

ME BEFORE YOU

by Jojo Moyes

Published by Pamela Dorman Books

See my five star review below. This novel is unforgettable.

When I finished this novel, I didn’t want to review it: I wanted to reread it.” —New York Times Book Review, Liesl Schillinger

“Me Before You is the kind of book you simply can’t put down—even when you realize you don’t want to see it end.” —Bookpage

“A lovely novel, both nontraditional and enthralling.”—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

Me Before You.Cover

From Goodreads:

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 colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time

My review:

BRILLIANT! With its unforgettable characters, breathtaking storyline, and unconventional romance, ME BEFORE YOU will leave you standing with your mouth gaping. Expect to laugh, expect to cry, and expect to scream out “Jojo Moyes, how could you? Nooooo!” Most of all, expect a thought-provoking read that might challenge your perspective and definition of the quality of life. I absolutely loved ME BEFORE YOU. Don’t miss it!

This is the perfect crossover novel for older (YA) young adults—eighteen and older.

Some additional thoughts:

ME BEFORE YOU is a novel about changing perceptions and pushing the limits to maximize personal potential. It’s about inner growth and identity, what shapes and defines us. Many will be able to identify with the inner transformation of twenty-six-year-old Lou Clark from waitress to assistant of the once take-charge-of-the-world wonder boy, Will Traynor.

Another extraordinary highlight of this novel is the dynamics of Lou Clark’s and Will Traynor’s families. There were times I hated how Lou’s family treated her, reinforcing her faults instead of helping her and having faith in her to make good choices. But there were also plenty of moments where they rallied, pleasantly surprising me with their generosity and love. With Will’s family, I was in awe of Jojo Moyes’ portrayal of the internal struggles Will’s mother faced and how her hard-shell exterior would occasionally crack to allow the reader to empathize with her.

This novel is not only character driven, but plot driven — a perfect combination of the two. Even the secondary characters will make you think about your personal dynamics with others. For example, Lou’s boyfriend Patrick will make you think about love and relationships. Lou’s sister Treena will evoke thoughts about your siblings and the importance and influence they have had in your life.

Best of all, I was deeply moved by the relationship between Lou and Will. I refuse to spoil it for you. Read ME BEFORE YOU. Enjoy the journey and allow yourself to be swept away by this unforgettable novel.
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ME BEFORE YOU by Jojo Moyes – Review and Giveaway – An Outstanding Crossover Novel for YA & Adults
Dec 21st, 2012 by Liza Wiemer

ME BEFORE YOU

By Jojo Moyes

USA Publishing Date: December 31, 2012

REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY (One copy of the book and a poster – Thanks Pamela Dorman Books/Viking – USA only.)

I reviewed and Advanced Uncorrected Proof provided by the publisher at BEA. 

Brilliant! With its unforgettable characters, breathtaking storyline, and unconventional romance, ME BEFORE YOU will leave you standing with your mouth gaping. Expect to laugh, expect to cry, and expect to scream out “Jojo Moyes, how could you? Nooooo!” Most of all, expect a thought-provoking read that might challenge your perspective and definition of the quality of life. I absolutely loved ME BEFORE YOU. Don’t miss it!

This is the perfect crossover novel for older (YA) young adults—eighteen and older.

Some additional thoughts:

ME BEFORE YOU is a novel about changing perceptions and pushing the limits to maximize personal potential. It’s about inner growth and identity, what shapes and defines us. Many will be able to identify with the inner transformation of twenty-six-year-old Lou Clark from waitress to assistant of the once take-charge-of-the-world wonder boy, Will Traynor.

Another extraordinary highlight of this novel is the dynamics of Lou Clark’s and Will Traynor’s families. There were times I hated how Lou’s family treated her, reinforcing her faults instead of helping her and having faith in her to make good choices. But there were also plenty of moments where they rallied, pleasantly surprising me with their generosity and love. With Will’s family, I was in awe of Jojo Moyes’ portrayal of the internal struggles Will’s mother faced and how her hard-shell exterior would occasionally crack to allow the reader to empathize with her.

This novel is not only character driven, but plot driven — a perfect combination of the two. Even the secondary characters will make you think about your personal dynamics with others. For example, Lou’s boyfriend Patrick will make you think about love and relationships. Lou’s sister Treena will evoke thoughts about your siblings and the importance and influence they have had in your life.

Best of all, I was deeply moved by the relationship between Lou and Will. I refuse to spoil it for you. Read ME BEFORE YOU. Enjoy the journey and allow yourself to be swept away by this unforgettable novel.

(FROM THE PUBLISHER) SUMMARY:

ME BEFORE YOU (On-sale: December 31, 2012; Pamela Dorman Books/Viking; 978-0-670-02660-9; $27.95) is an emotionally powerful tale of an unlikely love affair between two people who represent each other’s last hope. Like Love Story and One Day, ME BEFORE YOU will remind readers that sometimes the best love stories aren’t fairy tales.  When it was published in the UK earlier this year, it became a word of mouth sensation and then a major bestseller. Its phenomenal success in the UK is only the beginning; so far, translation rights have been sold in twenty-eight countries. Readers in the U.S. will easily fall in love with the novel’s true-to-life characters and heart-breaking love story.

Louisa Clark (or Lou, as she’s known) lives a life about as big as the tiny English village she calls home. She loves being a waitress and figures she’ll eventually marry Patrick, her longtime boyfriend. When she unexpectedly loses her job, she must scramble to replace the income that her tight-knit family depends on. Out of desperation, she takes a job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor. Will used to live a life full of high-stakes deals, adventurous vacations, and beautiful women. Now, due to a tragic accident, his life is suddenly restricted beyond his control and he has lost all desire to live.

Will keeps everyone at a distance with his caustic and high-handed attitude. Unlike his family, however, Lou refuses to tiptoe around him and cater to his bad moods. Soon they become exactly what the other needs. Seeing how hopeless Will is about his future, Lou plans a series of adventures (and mis-adventures) to try to convince him that life can be worth living. In turn, Will attempts to persuade Lou that she doesn’t have to confine herself to the small existence she’s settled for so far. As they set about changing each other’s lives, what emerges is a love story that is as complex as it is beautiful.

It is impossible not to be swept up in the world that Moyes has created in ME BEFORE YOU. Though Will and Lou are the heart of the book, they are surrounded by a cast of characters who are funny, infuriating, and entirely memorable. Readers will undoubtedly recognize someone they know among the novel’s entertaining and memorable supporting cast.

JOJO MOYES is the author of The Last Letter from Your Love. Her follow-up, ME BEFORE YOU, was a Top 3 bestseller in the UK (12 weeks on the bestsellers list), a Richard and Judy Pick, a World Book Night Pick, and National Book Award nominee. She is a writer for the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail.  She currently lives with her husband and their three children on a farm in Essex, England.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON JOJO MOYES:  Website: www.jojomoyes.com, or follow @jojomoyes on Twitter
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