I picked up Sweet Damage and was hooked by the second page: gorgeous, evocative writing (in parts reminding me of Kirsty Eagar), an effortlessly likea...moreI picked up Sweet Damage and was hooked by the second page: gorgeous, evocative writing (in parts reminding me of Kirsty Eagar), an effortlessly likeable Aussie male protag, gothick-y and twisty plot (I did not guess the reveal), above all this book does what it's genre should do best: sucks you in and keeps you up all night. James knows how to plot and how to keep those pages turning. 4am finish for me <3(less)
I love the premise and inspiration for this novel:
Two years ago Liane Moriarty stumbled upon a fascinating article about real life deathbed confessio
...moreI love the premise and inspiration for this novel:
Two years ago Liane Moriarty stumbled upon a fascinating article about real life deathbed confessions. She learned about Christian Spurling, who confessed on his deathbed to faking a notorious photo of the Loch Ness Monster. There was a famous songwriter who was dying of cancer and wrote a letter admitting, after years of adamant denials, that she had plagiarized a lullaby melody. Then there was the hapless man who, after suffering a stroke, confessed he’d killed his neighbour thirty years earlier. The only problem was that he didn’t end up dying. After he was released from hospital he went straight to jail.
This article helped inspire Sydney-based Liane to write her latest novel, The Husband's Secret which we are publishing in April.
Cecilia Fitzpatrick, Sydney wife, mother and P&C President, discovers her husband has a secret so dark it could destroy her blissfully ordinary suburban existence. We all have secrets. But not like this… The Husband’s Secret is a stunning, complex novel guaranteed to cause debate and controversy. This book will have everyone asking, “What would I do?” (taken from Pan Macmillan's press release)
Some of the best highlights of my reading life over the last 7 years (it was in 2005 that I stumbled upon Three Wishes, an all time fave) has been snapping open a new Liane Moriarty. My love for her prose and characters and unique stories brings with it high expectations. You guys, I am SO EXCITED to be sharing my review of this book with you as there has never been a better time to get with the program. The Husband's Secret was so divinely awesome, so surprising, so deliciously funny and genuinely heartfelt that it seriously blew me away, me - a devout fan with sky-high expectations.
So you think you know what this book could be about? Think again. It is so mysterious and even after the Big Reveal (ie the reading of the letter) it's even more unexpected and surprising. Even more addictive. How does she do it? Liane has a niche on the market for intelligent women's fiction ~ utterly original, superbly creative and just so good, so good.
This book had the magic combo for me: that feeling of wanting to rush ahead and devour it all, desperately hanging out for the reveal, and also wanting to slow down and savour all it's brilliance. (confession: I decided to savour this book. 24 hours after cracking open that first chapter I was done. I couldn't stop thinking about when I had to tear myself away, and I'm still thinking about it now.)
I love so much about Liane's books. But I often find myself in a scatterbrained mess trying to articulate just how brilliant they are. Here's a few points :)
1. The storytelling! Moriarty is a master storyteller weaving together three perspectives which eventually criss-cross each other paths. It has that gorgeous touch of whimsy, coincidence and fate. It's also insanely addictive storytelling - reveals in just the right places, humour sprinkled in perfectly alongside the heartbreak the tension building and the climax exploding.
2. The humour is so delightful, it's wicked and empathetic and intelligent and smiley and it just nails it, every time.
3. The characters. They come to life in such a way that they are lovable even in their unlovable moments. I truly was invested in them. I felt their sorrow and ached alongside them <3
4. Those swoony moments. With a few deft sentences, the romance in this book just had my heart, it also left me bereft (but hopeful) at times. Which is the perfect kind of love stories, all good and bad and swoony and unpredictable.
5. The Sydney (and Melbourne) setting. Just gorgeous. So spot on, I could feel myself walking along those streets and doing the school run.
6. The more I was drawn into the book, the more I got caught up in the shades of grey. And wondering just what was the right thing to do? How was Liane going to make this whole thing turn out? The answer is: in an unexpected and unforgettable way...
I recommend this book so much. I am excited for it to be out, excited for everyone to read it. And already hanging out for my next Liane Moriarty fix. (less)
Paper chains has so much cool going for it: Set in London! And Australia :) and other snippetty travel scenes and flashbacks.
Two mysterious girls (ladi...morePaper chains has so much cool going for it: Set in London! And Australia :) and other snippetty travel scenes and flashbacks.
Two mysterious girls (ladies) both holding secrets. What is going on?
Those gorgeous moments of serendipity that I adore.
Prose that you sink Ito, sentiments perfectly captured.
Most ever so importantly, characters to care about. To get under your skin. Two gorgeous girls, so different. And all their worlds (including their sexy, at times, estranged men) and family.
It also has bone crushing moments of absolute despair. At times, I felt it was hard to breathe, smothered with the weight of it. Paper Chains tackles some very real, and very depressing issues. But Moriarty would bring flashes of whimsy and the shyest of smiles to lighten the load.
There were moments of silliness and absolute charm. Flashbacks to the cutest and sexiest of meet-cutes (crazily love that Luna park scene). And then there was complete devastation and broken-heartedness of the kind that you are not sure anyone can ever really recover from.
There's a rare moment where I go from being cocooned in a fictional story and soaking it up, to suddenly realizing I have completely placed myself in the story and am crying right alongside the characters. This book didn't just include certain issues, it feels like the author poured her soul and ever fibre of her emotions into bringing Hannah's feelings to the page. It was, at times, unrelenting and eye opening. It kind of ripped me wide open.
Now for the cheesy confession: I don't like to wax poetic about reading being therapeutic or whatever. I honestly read because I happen to love reading, but Paper Chains went above and beyond and I felt so liberated, so affirmed after finishing. From things I didn't even realize I was holding onto. Failures or perceived failures. Secret thoughts and pressures. Doubts and expectations. I just felt like everything is okay, is going to be okay, and life is good. Those final chapters with Hannah were just perfect. And India, just LOVE.
I am sorry to be cryptic but I don't want to spoil anything in any way.
I so thoroughly enjoyed this book. It had the perfect little addictive pull that my favourite reading experiences require. It had so much emotion and heart and just the perfect amount of whimsy. It had characters I am still buzzing about and I will, for sure, be revisiting it again soon and passing my copy onto all my fave reading buddies, who I only pass the absolute best books on to :)
Paper Chains is on my favourites list for 2013 and my favourites list for always. (less)
Hands down best book I've read this year. My gosh, I loved it so x
Oh, so you can see I liked it. More than just a lot.
Every now and then a book comes...moreHands down best book I've read this year. My gosh, I loved it so x
Oh, so you can see I liked it. More than just a lot.
Every now and then a book comes along that just is the perfect fit for me.
A book that reminds me how much I love to read.
How much I love falling in love with characters.
How much I love gorgeous and funny and whimsical and perfectly put together prose.
A book that I cannot keep away from. And when I have to leave it, I am finding any moments in my day to squeeze in a few more sentences.
Even better, this was a book where, upon finishing, I went back through for the next couple of days. Just not ready to move on from the characters and the world.
I truly, sincerely, crazily loved this book. Just thinking about it now has me smiling and sighing, remembering the good times the book and I had together.
This book is just so utterly charming.
It had it all for me. I ached (surprisingly, a lot) with genuine sadness and regret. I swooned (oh my swoon!). I laughed. I felt inspired. I loved every single thing about this book.
There's mystery elements, murder, sky-diving, manic-like shoplifting, grief, love, people behaving badly, mixed-messages, possible ghost-lingering, quirky coincidences and despair all wrapped up with humour, fun, sincerity and whole lot of heart. I loved the plot, original and true and slightly bizarre. But, more than that, I adored the characters. And when I fall in love with characters, that provides the ultimate reading experience, because for that moment, while I am with them, they are real to me. Very endearing flawed characters.
What a gorgeous, life-affirming, moving, whimsical, original debut. With one book, Nicola has bounded on to my all time fave authors list.
Things you might want to know:
Free Falling is my favourite book this year (followed closely by an Aussie YA novel which I plan to talk about next week ;))
Nicola is one of five sisters, two of whom you may be familiar with: YA author Jaclyn Moriarty, and author Liane Moriarty. I love all three of these Moriarty girls, they are SO my kind of authors <3
I plan on rereading this very soon. In fact, I feel nostalgic about it every time I think about it, haha.
Oh, so, no review-type synopsis from me. You can find them in reviews on goodreads. I much prefer to just chat (or in this case, gush) about how much I loved this book so. (less)
Where Have You Been is a Australian psychological thriller.
Susan's older sister was last seen on the night of her high school formal and her...more3.5 stars
Where Have You Been is a Australian psychological thriller.
Susan's older sister was last seen on the night of her high school formal and her disappearance sparked investigations (which led nowhere) and left her family shattered: eventually her parents divorced, her mother descended into obsession and a mild madness.
Twenty years later, Susan is the picture of domestic bliss: happily married to her college sweetheart, two children & financially well-off. Until her mum dies and leaves half the (sizable) inheritance to her missing (long presumed abducted/dead) sister.
So... dun dun dun... her sister (or an imposter) appears after an announcement in the paper.
And this appearance acts the catalyst for a series if events that rock Susan's whole world.
This catalyst causes the main characters in the story to review their lives and beliefs and re-visit their past. There's some quieter domestic kind of mid-life crisis and questioning of their lives and happiness in general. But the driving force of the story is the bubbling undertones that Susan's sister is not who she says she is and not to be trusted. That she will end up taking more than just the money...
I was equally compelled and frustrated while reading this. Things that were obvious to the reader remained cloudy to the characters. I suppose this added suspense with that feeling of dread but it also made me want to scream at the characters for making such dodge-y and plain idiotic choices. They were gullible and far too trusting and easily allowed themselves to be used (although I suppose if they made the right choices, there would be no premise for the story).
I felt the suspense was handled really well (and was perhaps the main reason I read it so fast ~ it wasn't for love of the characters). I loved the different (often short) changes of POV. I had wished for it to be a little more creepy/climatic than what it was ~ although I do not think that was the author's intent.
I quite enjoyed the prose ~ it was often sparse ~ crisp and sharp ~ reminiscent of Lisa McMann's style in the WAKE, FADE, GONE books ~ although not as constant or intense.
This book has been long-listed for the Ned Kelly award :D
For some reason i am pairing in my mind with Rebecca's James ~ which is a YA/cross-over thriller also set in Sydney ~ although largely different in themes and audience it had a similar vibe.(less)
Before my review, here's what Liane has to say about writing this book (which is in lieu of me composing my own synopsis, haha):
I had always wanted
...moreBefore my review, here's what Liane has to say about writing this book (which is in lieu of me composing my own synopsis, haha):
I had always wanted to write a story about time travel but I found the logistics made my head explode. Then I read a story about a woman in the UK who lost her memory and behaved like a teenager – she didn’t recognise her husband or children. I realized that memory loss is a form of time travel. So I came up with the idea of a woman, Alice, who loses 10 years of her memory. She thinks she is 29, pregnant with her first child and blissfully in love with her husband. She is horrified to discover she is 39, with 3 children and in the middle of a terrible divorce. It’s like the younger Alice has travelled forward in time. Readers tell me that what they liked best about this novel was how it made them think about the choices they’d made and wonder how their younger selves would feel about the lives they are leading now.
I know (!) I ADORE time travel novels as well (and amnesia stuff) ~ and the whole concept of this one is just so brilliant ~ travelling forward to meet yourself ten years in the future. sigh. And while a premise like that could get complicated and messy ~ it didn't ~ it's written so effortlessly with that genius Moriarty touch where all the plot threads come together just so cleverly.
It's not just the concept that had me falling COMPLETELY in love with this book.
It was pretty much EVERYTHING that has me gushing about it:
The writing. Oh ~ yes, Liane Moriarty is the sister of my fave YA writer, Jaclyn. They both have a GIFT with words. They write in a whimsical style which just has you loving the turns of phrase and sentiments. It's prose you can sink into and sigh about. it's also funny-clever-delicious writing. I am in awe and envy over the prose.
The characters. Liane is like some kind of anthropologist. She GETS people and their quirks and finds tiny truths in those little moments as if she's been inside your own head (and in your kitchen during the mad morning scramble).
Mostly ~ I ADORED Alice and all her family. Nick is the kind of HOT male lead that has you swooning one moment and completely in love with him and then the next he is an absolute douche bag, but it's his flaws that make him all the more endearing and real to life. The family scenes were stunning ~ I could read those kinds of anecdotes all day. I honestly fell in love with Alice's children ~ just delightfully done.
The mystery ~ things unravel as we try to discover along with Alice just all the things that happened in the ten years she lost. Some you can guess and others will surprise you.
It's this whimsical blend of fun (sometimes incredulous, but none-the-less cool) but also has a deeper meaning under it all that makes you stop and consider your life and your priorities and all that stuff.
Perhaps similar in concept to Sophie kinsella's But whereas Kinsella's is commercial, stereotypical rom-com (a fun, guilty-pleasure kind of read), What Alice Forgot is gorgeously written, and a story that will resonate.
I really couldn't put this book down and I love it hard.
Liane Moriarty is my favourite chick-lit type writer. And not only is What Alice Forgot one of my fave reads this year ~ it's on my list of all time fave books.
ALSO: the film rights to this book recently sold (!!) It's going to be BRILLIANT!
OH! and the grandma has a blog and ARGH it's truly hilarious ~ and the comment section is laugh-out loud funny and there's even a commenter who's a secret admirer. Too funny. (very reminiscent of some of the blogging in Jaclyn Moriarty's
*this is one for people who love their chick-lit well written, breezy and fun and also a little bit deeper at heart. Also for fans of Jaclyn Moriarty who are looking for an adult read :D(less)
I often find it hard to review books that startle me with their brilliance. It's as if my own use of the English language can not conjour up anything...moreI often find it hard to review books that startle me with their brilliance. It's as if my own use of the English language can not conjour up anything eloquent enough to match the beauty of the book.
I have been a long time fan of Sonya Hartnett. I have vivid memories of the first time I read her work (Sleeping Dogs ~ I was 14 and reading that book stirred something deep deep inside me & the reading of it is a favourite reading memory of mine).
I am not entirely sure why she has been labelled YA. Her work really does transcend all ages and genres. I am pleased that her books are easily in reach of teens (who will find magic in her books) but I also think her work will resound with all humans in general ;)
I have mentioned on here before how much I ADORE Sonya Hartnett. In fact, she is my most top-read author (according to goodreads ~ alongside John Marsden) having read 14 of her books. I love her so much I find it hard to choose a favourite book of hers but can happily say that The Midnight Zoo carved a new little spot for itself up among my top faves of hers.
The Midnight Zoo is set during WW11, but it doesn't feel like it is particular to that time. The use of magical realism, a fable-like style and the story being told from the POV of two young boys lends the whole tale to an enchanting other-worldy era.
I always prefer to steal into Hartnett's books completely blind ~ with no sense of where she might be taking me (for that reason I don't want to hint much at plot).
What I mainly have to say about this book is it is simply astonishing, utterly gorgeous and deeply moving. It was a truly sensory experience, being transported to another time and place.
I felt such a tenderness and protectiveness towards Andrej and Tomas (gosh, they were brave and daring and scared and perfectly endearing). I was so rooting for them and invested in them, they scampered right into my heart and set up camp there :)
The animals in the zoo are absolutely charming and mystifying. They can talk to the boys and they all have their own shining personalities and stories to tell. This aspect of the book was handled with such eloquent ease and finesse I was just astounded.
The other thing I loved about this book is it is completely unpredictable. Knowing Hartnett's other work, I wanted to hope for a happy ending but knew it wasn't guaranteed. Also ~ her spectacular use of magical realism adds a new dimension in taking the story to somewhere truly gasp-worthy. I felt an ache and tremendous satisfaction at the end.
It's life-affirming and a tear-jerker and achingly hopeful and a simply brilliant story to spend your time with.
It could easily be studied in high school because it is full of gorgeousness and themes and I am sure each re-read (I will re-read this for sure) will show new layers of meaning and depth.
THE MIDNIGHT ZOO has been short-listed alongside some of my other favourite favourite books for the CBCA Book of the year for older readers (2010) [alongside [bookcover:Graffiti Moon|7863274] . It is available internationally. It is on my favourites shelf at home and I absolutely completely love it.(less)