Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Garden Spells

Author: Sarah Addison Allen
Pages: 286

Rating: PG-13 (this is definitely an adult novel. There were a few too many curse words, and I wasn't pleased with the descriptiveness of the sex in it. It's not extremely graphic, it doesn't go on and on for pages, but the little that there is I felt was too much. I like my sex references in books to be super vague.)

The Waverleys have always been a curious family, endowed with peculiar gifts that make them outsiders even in their hometown of Bascom, North Carolina. Even their garden has a reputation, famous for its feisty apple tree that bears prophetic fruit, and its edible flowers, imbued with special powers. Generations of Waverleys tended this garden. Their history was in the soil. But so were their futures. A successful caterer, Claire Waverley prepares dishes made with her mystical plants - from the nasturtiums that aid in keeping secrets and the pansies that make children thoughtful, to the snapdragons intended to discourage the attentions of her amorous neighbor. Meanwhile, her elderly cousin, Evanelle, is known for distributing unexpected gifts whose uses become uncannily clear. They are the last of the Waverleys - except for Claire’s rebellious sister, Sydney, who fled Bascom the moment she could, abandoning Claire, as their own mother had years before. When Sydney suddenly returns home with a young daughter of her own, Claire’s quiet life is turned upside down - along with the protective boundary she has so carefully constructed around her heart. Together again in the house they grew up in, Sydney takes stock of all she left behind, as Claire struggles to heal the wounds of the past. And soon the sisters realize they must deal with their common legacy - if they are ever to feel at home in Bascom - or with each other

My Thoughts: I felt like this was a good story, I really enjoyed the little bits of magic laced in, and I thought the characters were well rounded, etc. As I said above, I wasn't comfortable with how descriptive the sex scenes got, even though it wasn't bad enough for me to close the book and say I'm done. I liked how the book switched perspectives several times so you get to hear from each character. I'm going to check out more by this author, because she came highly recommended, but I'm hoping her other books are better. I wasn't super enthralled by this one.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Me Before You

Author: Jojo Moyes
Pages: 369
Rating: PG-13 (There's one time the main character has sex with her boyfriend, but it's not descriptive. I was much more bothered by the fact that the F-word is in this book probably 10-15 times.)

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

My Thoughts: So this book, and it's accompanying movie, has been all the rage lately. I probably would not have picked this up except that my book club chose it for the month of July, so I read it.

I do have to say that it is very well written. I read the whole thing in 3 days. It never gets boring or tedious at ALL and it's very emotional. You really understand the way everyone is feeling.

That being said, I'm not sure if I particularly like the story. Will is not just wheelchair bound, he's a quadriplegic. Everything has to be done for him. He has to be fed like a baby, bathed, moved around, everything. He's totally helpless. And, the worse part is, even though he can't MOVE his body parts, he can still feel pain in them. Will wants to commit an assisted suicide. When Louisa finds out, she sets out to convince him that life is worth living, even if it's not the life he intended for himself.

Spoiler, Spoiler, Spoiler...if you don't want to know how it ends, STOP READING NOW!

Surprise, surprise, Louisa ends up falling in love with Will, despite his paralysis. And, Will falls for Louisa. However, none of this changes his mind. He still wants to commit suicide. It's heartbreaking to read how his mother feels about all this, how Louisa feels. And I agree with Louisa when she tells Will he is being selfish. He tells her that her love is not enough for him. He can't stand to live life like this even with the love of his family, of Louisa, and with so many things that he CAN do. It frustrates me because his brain is still there, the essence of who he is still exists. In the end, he does go through with the suicide, and everyone just has to accept it, because that's what will make him happy. The book is apparently supposed to be giving us an idea of why it would be ok for someone to commit an assisted suicide. And I don't really know how I feel about it, especially in a situation such as was presented in this book. I don't think you should end your life just because it didn't go the way you wanted it to. I think about how I would feel if a loved one of mine wanted to do something like that and I just can't even stand it. It's really horrible. 

So anyway, if you choose to read this book, you'll definitely not be bored, but I don't really know how I feel about the overall message of it.