August 18, 2016

What Happens Next • The Angels' Share + After You

The Angels' Share book cover
The Angels' Share by J.R. Ward
Series: The Bourbon Kings #2
Previous Book in Series: The Bourbon Kings
Publisher: NAL
Publication Date: July 26, 2016
Source: ARC downloaded from NetGalley

I had my first serving of the Bradford family drama last year with J.R. Ward’s series starter, The Bourbon Kings. Considering how that novel ends, and how much I enjoyed the Bradford siblings (and a few other individuals too), you can imagine how I felt when I cracked open the sequel The Angels’ Share. I was equal parts eager to find out what would happen to these siblings and hesitant to engage in more Southern family drama. Would I still be able to feel for these people in spite of their lavish, over the top, soap opera level circumstances? The short answer is, simply, yes. 

The Angels’ Share picks up right where the first novel leaves off, which means it’s best read back to back with its predecessor (which is how I wound up reading it). Fraught with power plays, emotionally charged relationships, financial intrigue and complicated family dynamics, being thrown back into the world of the Bradfords was definitely a culture shock considering it had been so long since I’d last been there. And yet, once I became fully immersed in their family drama, I was happy to sit back and watch it all unfold in front of my eyes. This story has some of the most over the top twists in the plot and relationships, and it definitely has soap opera potential. But that’s part of what makes it so compelling! Reading about these people who live in a societal level that I will probably never know, and seeing all of the bits and pieces that affect their lives within it is definitely hard to tear your eyes from. And I honestly couldn’t put it down once I’d started, particularly because the Bradfords were admirable and despicable and altogether incredibly complex individuals that I couldn’t stop being fascinated by. This novel was a strong sequel, in spite of the fact that I felt like I was left with more questions than answers. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing what happens to the Bradford clan in the next one! If you’re in the mood for some Southern family drama, definitely give this series a shot.

After You book cover
After You by Jojo Moyes
Series: Me Before You #2
Previous Book in Series: Me Before You
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Publication Date: September 29, 2015
Source: Hardcover bought at Barnes & Noble

Before we go into particulars, let me tell you what I think of After You: I personally really enjoyed it.

That being said, obviously, if you’ve yet to read Me Before You, you might as well stop reading here. Very slight spoilers are going to be coming your way, so I suggest you skip past the rest of this review.

After You is, at its heart, about Lou Clark, and what happens in her life after all that she goes through in Me Before You. It reunites readers with the spunky, lovely, unique gal who charmed her way into our hearts, and it allows them to witness how her life, once again, goes through a series of changes that will mark her forever. While I can’t quite get into specifics to prevent any real spoilers, I will say that I thought it was good. Yes, there are certainly moments that felt over the top or, and perhaps worse, contrived. But overall, I really like the approach Moyes took in her continuation of Lou’s story. Readers will sense parallels to the story of the previous book; but there are enough new additions to make this novel stand out too. It was, all in all, quite the journey, and I certainly found it compelling. But what really cinched my enjoyment of this story was Lou herself, as it was nice to be reunited with her and to get to experience her emotional, personal journey side by side with her yet again. That, my friends, is the biggest reason of all that I liked this book as much as I did! While reading this one is not a necessity (since Me Before You can be read as a standalone, for sure), I think, if you love Lou as much as I do, you’re definitely going to want to check out the rest of her story.


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