Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – Book Review

Me Before You (Me Before You, #1)Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There’s an article by Jojo Moyes in the back titled ‘Erich Segal’s legacy: movies that make you weep’. Moyes discusses her love of books (and movies) that she refers to as ‘weepies’ – my sisters and I call these ‘heartstompers’, which I tend to prefer because they really do feel as though your heart has been ripped out and stomped on. I LOVE these kinds of books and movies. Crazy, I know. I love to feel all of the feelings and bawl my eyes out in the process.

Although there were a few moments throughout Me Before You that made me cry, I didn’t bawl my eyes out at the end as much as I wanted to, hence the 4 stars and not 5. But maybe that’s my fault. Perhaps I didn’t choose the right moment to finish the book. Perhaps I didn’t set up my reading time and situation for the full potential – I like to be alone, in nearly complete silence so that I can almost hear my own pain (the further this goes on the crazier I’m sounding!). My focus has to be on point. And perhaps it wasn’t. Perhaps I was buzzing a little too much from the chai tea that I’d just consumed. Whatever the reason, I simply didn’t cry deep, heaving, I-can’t-breathe-so-I-need-to-stop-reading-for-a-minute-to-compose-myself kind of crying. But this book was still great.

I really liked Lou. I’ve read other reviews where people complain about her being an immature brat who didn’t want to do anything with her life. But come on guys, it’s not like she never had a job or didn’t want one. She simply didn’t want to reach for the stars and experience the possible brilliance that is out there. She wanted a life of safety and comfort, and is that really so bad? Life is scary and Lou is just one example of a character who wanted to hide from it a little. We can’t all be brave souls who put themselves out there and try anything and everything, and hey, she got somewhere in the end anyway!

I also liked the dynamic between Lou and her sister Treena. They were both adults who fought like teenagers, and this is probably what I would be like with my own sisters if we still lived with our parents in our twenties. They were also completely different and sometimes clashed, but they always pulled through for each other in the end and I think that represents a true relationship between sisters.

Will. I liked him. But why did he have to be so rich and handsome? On the one hand, woo, he’s rich and handsome, awesome! But on the other. Would Lou still have fallen in love with Will if he wasn’t rich and handsome? The handsome part is perhaps arguable because people have different perceptions on attractiveness and there isn’t exactly a set of rules for what constitutes a good looking person. But why did he have to be so rich? Part of it was that some things wouldn’t have been possible without him and his family having money, but I don’t think it was necessary for him to be rich. I guess I’m just tired of stories representing these rich, entitled men that are oh so attractive. They’re all one great big Cinderella story that I believe are sending out the wrong kind of vibes to women. There are plenty of intelligent, amazing men out there that aren’t all dripping with money and incredibly handsome. And I know that in Will’s case he didn’t exactly have the life he wanted being confined to a wheelchair, but plenty of people with disabilities are awesome and funny and smart without being rich. So I just kind of wish that there wasn’t the whole money thing because then the story becomes a bit more of a fantasy and a little less real. And in the end, maybe that’s why I didn’t cry as much.

Now to decide whether or not I’ll read the next installment!

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F*ck Love by Tarryn Fisher – Book Review

F*ck LoveF*ck Love by Tarryn Fisher

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

F*ck Love is pretty much the first book I’ve read of Tarryn Fisher’s (‘pretty much’ because I have read Never Never, which she co-authored) and it gave me a good look at Fisher’s writing style and the reason that so many readers love, not just her books, but the author herself. Her writing is engaging in a way that forced me to keep reading and barely stop let alone breathe until I was finished. I read this book within 24 hours. I’ve been addicted to books before, but this was a bit different. It felt as though the main character, Helena, was telling me her story all in one anxious breath with barely a toilet break allowed (and indeed, I did hold in my pee for two hours because I kept telling myself that I’d just get to the next chapter before going to the toilet – that happened at least five times).

Despite the need I felt to keep reading, I liked this book but did not love it. My main issues (as is often the case nowadays) were the plot holes and inconsistencies – these things are mistakes that make stories less believable and less authentic and almost always cause me to give a lower rating than I would have otherwise. Here are some that I picked up on in F*ck Love (feel free to comment if you have an explanation or correction):

NOTE: I read the iBook version on my phone so page numbers may not match your own version.

* Page 263-264 Della says: ‘What the hell do you mean you’re moving to Washington?’ But then on Page 268 we have this: ‘I haven’t told anyone but my parents where I’m going.’ No need to explain this one further really, obviously a change was made at some point and this part needed to be adjusted but was missed.

* Page 316 Helena says to Greer: ‘He’s dating my friend,’ I tell her. ‘I don’t know him very well; they hadn’t been dating for too long before I left.’ But we know that Kit and Della have in fact been dating for at least 8 months as we were told when Helena, June, Kit and Della all go to an estate sale back in Chapter Eleven. I’m sure that Helena is just trying to play down how well she knows Kit, and that makes sense, but the last part ‘they hadn’t been dating for too long before I left’ doesn’t really add up. We could argue that ‘too long’ could mean just about anything but I think in this case that it’s really just a mistake that wasn’t picked up when editing.

* Kit and Greer confuse me. Sometimes it seems as though they still communicate and are on decent terms such as when Kit apparently asks Greer to bring Helena along to his cousin’s wedding, but then at other times it’s as though they don’t communicate at all like when Greer shows up at Kit’s apartment and asks him why he didn’t tell her he was back. While Greer is at his apartment she also tells him that their dog died … how long ago did this happen? Obviously it was before Helena arrived in town otherwise there would be mention of a dog living there too, so why didn’t Greer tell Kit about the dog at the wedding or even before then when they had obviously communicated about said wedding?

* Page 572 ‘A month after Kit’s swift departure back to Florida, a package arrives for me at the cannery …’ but by this time, Helena has returned to Washington after being back in Florida for months where she took care of baby Annie and Della, so this doesn’t make sense at all unless Kit came back to Washington at some point and then left again, but really I just think it’s a mistake.

* I also started questioning the absence of Kit’s family, I mean why didn’t they appear at some point to meet Della especially when it’s discovered that she is having Kit’s baby? And why didn’t Kit and Della visit Port Townsend so that Della could meet his family and even meet up with Helena? Even though Helena and Della aren’t on great terms, I feel as though Della is the kind of person that would be really pushy about meeting Kit’s family especially considering how much she wants to stay with him. And, if she was worried about Helena and her relationship with Kit that would be all the more reason for Della to go along to Port Townsend to make sure that Helena isn’t trying to insert herself into his family. That brings me to my next question, which is, why hasn’t Helena come across any of Kit’s family members in Port Townsend? If it is such a small town, and especially with her being so friendly with his ex, Greer, wouldn’t she bump into some of his family at some point? Or I’m sure that there would have been a time where Helena was with Greer and had Greer point someone out saying: ‘Oh, by the way, that lady over there is Kit’s mother’.

Here are some thoughts on some other parts of the book that weren’t necessarily mistakes or plot holes but things that I questioned nonetheless:

* The cult leader, Muslim. I’m not sure why he was even in the story. I had no idea what was going on at the end of the book when he drove up in a car, had a quick chat to Helena and then took off again. Sure, after all that happens it’s said that he is a cult leader and Helena almost ran off with him, but it was just weird and I didn’t think it added anything to the story at all. Perhaps his purpose was to force Helena to question her feelings for Kit and steer her off course, but it could’ve been the homeless man that gave her a cigarette that did this rather than some cult leader that we’re introduced to near the end who only adds confusion to the story.

* I’m kind of going backward here but the dream that sparked all the change in her life felt pretty insignificant by the end. I was almost convinced for about half of the story that the ‘dream’ was somewhat real, in that Kit had actually grabbed her hand and then forced this ‘dream’ on her, and I am almost certain that there was somewhere better that the story could have gone if that idea were explored.

* Helena’s crazy, awkward personality felt too forced. I really like a good quirky character but it felt like a bit too much in this story. Plus, throughout we kept getting told how boring, predictable and reliable Helena always is, yet I don’t really see any evidence of that. She’s always running late or completely blowing off the people in her life, sometimes for weeks on end, and she forgets plans. Maybe we could put this down to the fact that when we begin this story she experiences something (the dream) that changes her, but even so, her craziness (sock drawer, constant Harry Potter references, always running away, talking to herself in public) seems to be who she is and that feels contradictory to the person that we are told she is.

* A message to Kit – Why oh why did you not use protection when having sex with Della if you felt so unsure about her? These kinds of things (indecision, stupid decisions, inability to end a relationship) do actually happen in real life so I can’t really fault them being written into the story, but god damn they bugged me!

This review got really damn big so I’ll just say that I did enjoy this book but I would’ve liked it much better without the mistakes and plot holes. Oh, and since reading this book, I keep thinking about socks …

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Risk by Fleur Ferris

BOOK REVIEW: Risk by Fleur Ferris


Risk Book

Risk by Fleur Ferris is a young adult novel about a teenage girl that decides to meet up with a guy that she had only chatted to online, and after meeting with him she disappears. It’s a story about the dangers of the internet and how, young people in particular, are easy targets for online predators, but in addition to that, it’s also a story about grief. This quote really hit me: Something black is inside me, lurking just out of reach. I can’t quite grasp it, but it’s there, heavy, filling every crevice as I move. (Page 100.) I’m pretty certain that if I wasn’t already crying by this time, I was very close to it.

Ferris was able to capture reality and bring it to life on the page so successfully that at the beginning of the story I was cringing at the way Taylor and Sierra spoke and acted as well as the way that their feelings changed so quickly from one minute to the next. I was cringing because that was me when I was a teenager. I would gush and jump up and down and squeal and get excited over any boy that simply looked my way. As much as I’d like to think that as a teenager I spoke like the characters from a John Green novel (note: I’m a big fan of John Green’s books!), the truth is that I spoke and thought just like the characters in Risk.

I thought that the interaction between Sierra’s mum, Rachel, and Taylor was really well done because parents are human too, and their ways of grieving and their reactions to tragic events aren’t perfect or always what we expect. It would have been easy for Ferris to portray Rachel as forgiving and understanding in her grief, as I think that is the way that most of us would like to be in such situations, but it would have been much less honest. And that’s really what I love about this book, it is an honest interpretation of teenagers and parents dealing with a tragic event that could happen to anyone.

It was so accurate that it was frightening, and it made me glad that Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat etc. didn’t exist when I was a teenager because it was hard enough just dealing with all the heightened emotions and changes that a teenager goes through without having such a public place to share absolutely everything for the whole world to see. Even though I could totally relate to Taylor and Sierra, I’m not so sure that I would have met up with a stranger that I had only spoken to online. That kind of thing has always freaked me out a bit, and I don’t know if it’s simply that things have changed and that people now growing up with the kinds of technology that weren’t around when I was a teen (hell, digital cameras were only just creeping onto the mainstream market when I was in high school) are just automatically trusting of it, but I’ve always been aware of the danger in meeting up with a stranger. The internet and social media have become such an integral part of people’s lives that they are now main forms of communication. And no matter the reasons or the problems associated with technology, it is important that we, as a society, ensure that there is an understanding of the risks that we all take when we communicate or share things with people online, and this book is helping to make teenagers and parents alike aware of the dangers as well as precautions that can be taken. I really applaud Ferris for writing this book, it was highly enjoyable and educational all at the same time.

Fleur Ferris spent the first seventeen years of her life growing up on a farm in Patchewollock, North West Victoria. She then moved twenty times in twenty years. 

During this time, Fleur sometimes saw the darker side to life while working for a number of years as a police officer and a paramedic.

She now lives a more settled lifestyle on a rice farm in Southern New South Wales, with her husband and three young children.

Fleur’s colourful and diverse background has given her unique insight into today’s society and an endless pool of experiences to draw from.

Risk is Fleur’s first novel for young adults.

Visit Fleur’s website here and her Facebook page here.

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

BOOK REVIEW: The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton


The Luminaries

For although a man is judged by his actions, by what he has said and done, a man judges himself by what he is willing to do, by what he might have said, or might have done – a judgement that is necessarily hampered, not only by the scope and limits of his imagination, but by the ever-changing measure of his doubt and self-esteem.’ (Page 142)

I kept putting off reading this book, mainly because of its enormity, but also because it was the 2013 Man Booker Prize Winner, and sometimes prize winners, like that of Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, although brilliant (which makes perfect sense being prize winners and all!), often require a vast amount of brain power to get through.

I did not, however, have this problem with The Luminaries once I started reading it. I mean, it is a mystery so of course I kept trying to put all the pieces together, but knowing that the answers were coming just made me want to keep reading. It was addictive reading at its best because not only was it a page-turner, but it was also beautifully written in the style of some of the classics that I love, which is a feat in itself since Catton’s writing felt as authentic as that of Austen and the Bröntes whilst not having lived through the time period herself.

Some have criticised that point exactly stating their preference to read such novels written by people who were alive at the time, but I find that kind of statement rather ridiculous, unimaginative and restricting and not really a worthy argument at all so I’ll say no more about it.

The Luminaries is the kind of book that I think many literary authors would read and think, gosh I wish I could have written that. It is so complex with a multitude of characters involved, yet so simple in the way the story all comes about and is explained.

There are so many great things about this book that my lack of vocabulary will simply not do it any justice so I won’t say too much except that if you endeavour to read this book then ensure you know what you are in for.

I read quite a range of genres and enjoy them all for different reasons and in different ways so I knew what to expect to an extent. But if you pick up this book because it is a prize winner yet your reading habits are more akin to popular fiction or crime/thriller then it’s quite possible that you won’t like it.

If, on the other hand, you enjoy a good story that isn’t always about a big lead up to a magical, exciting and/or explosive ending but rather a story that observes its characters and their connections with others while uncovering small amounts of information at a time, then you might just find The Luminaries to be as brilliant as I did.

When You Find Me by Melissa-Jane Pouliot

When You Find MeWYFM-BackFinal-sml

When You Find Me is the second installment in Melissa-Jane Pouliot’s ‘Rhiannon McVee Mystery Series’, and I was lucky enough to have an early read of it. I’ve talked previously about Pouliot’s earlier books as well as her passion for missing people, and my respect for her as an author only grows more with every new book I read.

Pouliot’s voice has become stronger and more refined with each book and the characters grow and develop naturally as if they could actually be real people in the real world, which is something that I have always marvelled at with Pouliot’s writing.

When You Find Me follows on from Find Me with a return of not only main character Rhiannon and her family, friends and colleagues, but also a continuation of the stories of missing people, Keely and Toby, as well as some new cases encountered by Rhiannon along the way.

In amongst the stories of the missing people and Rhiannon’s detective work in Kings Cross, When You Find Me sees much-loved couple, Rhiannon and Mac, experiencing some ups and downs. Anyone who has experienced a long distance relationship would know that ups and downs are a regular occurrence for most, and Rhiannon and Mac, although seemingly the perfect couple, are not exempt. Navigating the politics and corruption of the police force as well as the lives of those that end up missing, are all interwoven in Rhiannon’s story of love, loss, missing people and new beginnings. Once again I am left wanting more and I eagerly await the next chapter in the life of Rhiannon McVee.

Check out my review of Pouliot’s first book Write About Me and her second book Find Mewhich you need to read first if you really want to grasp the characters and context within When You Find Me. 

Check out Melissa-Jane Pouliot’s website if you want more information on her books, her story and her passion for missing people.

The Astrologer’s Daughter – addictive reading!

BOOK REVIEW: The Astrologer’s Daughter by Rebecca Lim


I would have finished this book within a day if I had had the time to read non-stop when I started it a few days ago. As it was, I read over half in one day because I simply couldn’t leave it alone. I tried to do other things, I truly did, but my thoughts kept wandering back to The Astrologer’s Daughter with Avicenna Crowe and Simon Thorn and Joanne Nielson Crowe, so I had to pick it back up again so that I could reach the end and find all the answers! Did I find all the answers? Kind of … not exactly … but the ending did feel as though all those little threads of story lines throughout, that perhaps didn’t seem all that hugely important at the beginning, were all tied up in a nice little bow at the end. Except for, of course, those things that I still want to know, but won’t mention because I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone.

So, what I’m saying is that I think there should be another book, or maybe multiple Avicenna Crowe books because I would love to read more about these interesting, quirky characters. Oh and, of course, I was very excited that Words with Friends was a little feature in the story as I was a tad bit addicted to the game myself a few years ago and am now seriously considering downloading the app again so that I can play!

Rebecca Lim is a writer from Melbourne, Australia. She also wrote the Mercy series that I absolutely loved, as well as a bunch of other books for children and young adults. I can’t wait to read more of her work – I hear that her next book is due out in June.


Rebecca Lim: image from:

Rebecca Lim: image from Goodreads

BOOK REVIEW: Find Me by Melissa-Jane Pouliot


Melissa-Jane Pouliot. Image from:

Melissa-Jane Pouliot. Image from:

I’m a big fan of Melissa-Jane Pouliot’s work, and not just because she is a fellow MJ, but because she has turned a family tragedy into a passion – a passion to educate and spread awareness of missing people and those who are affected by such tragedies. You see, Pouliot’s cousin, Ursula Dianne Barwick, was last seen on Friday 14 August 1987 (Pouliot, Write About Me, pp. 251-253), so this is an issue that sits close to her heart. Since the release of Pouliot’s first novel Write About Me, her popularity has led to increased media attention for missing persons and I can only hope that this is the start of a successful journey for Pouliot.

Pouliot’s second novel Find Me, I found to be just as enjoyable as the first, and no less important. I really liked  Find Me  a lot and I love the character of Rhiannon McVee. The scenes from outback Australia were so wonderfully descriptive and I felt completely immersed in the story and the characters, and although I tried to take my time because I didn’t want the story to end, it was just too addictive and I couldn’t put it down. As with Write About Me  as well, I really appreciated how close to reality this story read. It was easy to imagine the characters being real, and I loved being able to recognise so many typical Aussie names, places and things. But it wasn’t just the way the story read that I enjoyed, it was also the fact that the story is so important. ‘When one goes missing many more are lost’ is what reads on the front cover, and I found this simple quote to be so very powerful. It’s hard for me to even imagine what it would feel like to have a loved one go missing and to never find out what happened to them, but Pouliot’s stories give the reader some insight into how one missing person affects so many others. I only hope that there is a Rhiannon McVee out there helping families of missing people today, what a wonderful character she is – I can’t wait to read more of her stories!

You can find out more about Melissa-Jane Pouliot and her writing by checking out her blog and you can find more information about missing persons in Australia from the following websites:

The Next Harry Potter!

BOOK REVIEW: Half Bad by Sally Green

Half BadHalf Bad by Sally Green has been dubbed not only as ‘the next Harry Potter‘ but has also been predicted to, ‘do for witches what Twilight did for vampires’ as said in a Guardian article written in November of last year, months before the official release of the book. Even more extraordinary, the movie rights were also snapped up well before the actual release of the book and snapped up it was by none other than Fox 2000 with the producer being Karen Rosenfelt, who also produced Twilight and The Book Thief, according to Publishers Weekly.

So how good is the story really? Well, I wasn’t sure if I was going to love it or hate it, I didn’t quite know what to expect and I’m not one to be sucked into all the hype. But, Half Bad is really not bad at all (yes that was a terrible attempt at a joke), it is actually quite a refreshing read for the young adult genre that I find to be so saturated with a lot of ‘ok’ stories lately. Half Bad is edgy and much darker than Harry Potter, and don’t get me wrong, I love, love, love Harry and I’m not saying that Half Bad is better, rather that I don’t actually see the need for the comparison. Half Bad stands on its own. Not once while reading it, did I think of Harry Potter. I enjoyed it for what it is; a story about witches, either white or black (good or bad) and the real underlying issue of: is good versus evil really so black and white?

Nathan, the main character, who is a half black/half white witch, struggles through every day of his life because of who his parents are. He is treated unfairly even by some that he has been brought up with for reasons that are beyond his control.

Sally Green: image from

Sally Green: image from

Yet the part that I really look forward to further in the series is Nathan’s struggle to find himself, something that all teens go through (witch or human alike).

I think most importantly I felt that the story wasn’t written to please the readers. Horrible stuff happened to Nathan, stuff that I didn’t want to happen, but it was all necessary for the story and for that I thank Sally Green. She didn’t seem to waver from the genuineness of the story just because an alternative might be nicer for the readers. I say that now, but I suppose I will have to wait until I get to read the next two instalments before I can really make that judgement on the series as a whole, but for now, I am feeling very impressed by Sally Green and her world of witches. I highly recommend it.

Sally Green only discovered her love of writing in 2010 but since then hasn’t been able to stop. You can follow the journey of Half Bad and Sally herself on the Half Bad World website where Sally regularly posts updates.

‘Write About Me’ by Melissa-Jane Pouliot. Tissues are a must!

BOOK REVIEW: Write About Me by Melissa-Jane Pouliot

Write About Me4 stars out of 5

Write About Me is a young adult story about a teenage runaway. But it isn’t just another YA story about love and boys and heartbreak and it certainly isn’t fantasy.

It is an important story.

Perhaps this seems so important to me because the life of the main character Annabelle and those around her are so close to reality that they could be real people. And in fact, the story is loosely based on the disappearance of the author Melissa-Jane Pouliot’s own cousin, Ursula Dianne Barwick who was last seen on Friday, 14th August 1987.

From within the first few chapters of Write About Me, it is clear to the reader that Annabelle’s mental state is not quite right. She has conversations in her head with ‘Anna’ and ‘Bell’ who are both very controlling and are the ones who continually set Annabelle on the wrong path. I found myself so frustrated with Anna and Bell, and Annabelle for not being able to stand up to them, but in reality, people who suffer from mental health problems, are controlled (to differing degrees) by their disorder, unless they seek help. It is a sad truth.

It is obvious in the honesty of the story and the words that it is something very close to Pouliot’s heart, which is probably why the earnestness of the reaction of Annabelle’s mum, Lee, really got to me. And I mean, how would you cope with so much loss? Lee lost every one of her children, so when her legs gave way and she couldn’t stop crying it was a stab to my own heart for anyone that has been through or is going through the disappearance of a family member.

There are so many important elements in this story: the loss of a child, the difficulty in finding good help from the authorities in locating missing teens, undiagnosed mental health problems, domestic abuse of children and drug and alcohol use amongst teens. I feel as though most people can relate to at least one of those issues. I know I certainly can.

In spite of all the sadness though, there were light-hearted, happy moments and those were what really created the much needed balance whilst reading such a devastating story. I personally loved the characters of Bessie and Christine. The kind-hearted madam, working in King’s Cross trying to provide a home for her workers and the loveable prostitute who managed to have fun in spite of her difficult childhood. Then there was Big John and Lins, the loveable truckie and his wife who took in a number of children and tried to set them on the straight and narrow.

I could talk for hours about this book, but instead of giving too much more away you had best read it for yourself and discover all the highs and lows that I myself felt while reading this story.

You can find the author, Melissa-Jane Pouliot on Facebook here

‘The Road’ by Cormac McCarthy. Brilliant? I’m not so convinced …

BOOK REVIEW: The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Road

3 stars out of 5

So, it’s taken me a long time to decide what star rating to give ‘The Road’ as I know that it is a favourite of so many people. For me, although I liked it, I just didn’t see the brilliance in it that others see, and I thought long and hard on why that is but maybe I’m just missing something? Or maybe it simply comes down to personal likes?

Regardless of the fact that maybe I am missing something, here are my thoughts: the writing in The Road, was, in an unusual way, simple, yet elegant at the same time. There was beauty in much of the story, but there were also times when the repetitiveness of the conversation between the man and the boy became annoying and almost ridiculous.

There really wasn’t much to the story and I know that that was the point, but it really lacked any kind of complexity, especially within the characters. And maybe McCarthy was stripping down the man and the boy to simple creatures who were just trying to survive in a world mostly destroyed and lacking, because that is what he believes they would become in that situation, but it just didn’t have the depth that I expected. Perhaps that is a part of my disappointment as well; my expectations were too high. We, as individuals may like to think that we aren’t swayed by the reputation of something but I think that it happens all the time. Seeds are planted in our minds from what we hear about a book (as well as many other things of course) and they do make a difference to how we view and analyse it. In this case, I believed that I would be reading something great, something that would make such an impact on me that the story would stay with me for a very long time, but it just didn’t turn out that way.

You can also find my review and star rating on Goodreads here.

Peace out!

Melissa-Jane Fogarty