Book Review – Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Book Review – Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane MoriartyNine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
Published by Flatiron Books on November 6, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Women, Family Life, General, Thrillers, Domestic
Pages: 432
Goodreads
four-stars

I finished this one last week, but because I have a case of the cold/flu germy germs, I haven’t been able to focus on reading and/or writing till now. I read a few reviews about this book before reading – even though I was already convinced I’d find it interesting when I had a read of the blurb.

The reviews weren’t great. A few of them were indicating that ‘nothing happens’ and there is ‘no story’. I don’t think this is the case. A fair bit happens, but obviously the focus is on building up the characters and the story to the peak point.

Yes, it’s a little slow moving… which I actually think a lot of Laine’s books are to be honest. What Laine does very well is her characterisation and these characters certainly had personality. I think this book would actually be great as a movie adaptation. As usual, there is the underlying humour in Liane’s writing (which I love) and the characters were very varied, which made for an interesting read. Of course, there is more to everyone than meets the eye and you get to go deeper with each one.

This is not a thriller, it’s more of a drama and if you like a slower pace and a lot of different characters you will enjoy it. I also enjoyed that it was set in a wellness centre and all of the preconceptions about the centre were amusing and as I expected.

Not as good as Big Little Lies, but interesting…

It could have gone to darker places and I would have welcomed this, but, it was still entertaining.

Synopsis

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER 

“If three characters were good in Big Little Lies, nine are even better in Nine Perfect Strangers.” —Lisa Scottoline, The New York Times Book Review

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Big Little Lies

Could ten days at a health resort really change you forever? In Liane Moriarty’s latest page-turner, nine perfect strangers are about to find out…

Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amidst all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be.

Frances Welty, the formerly best-selling romantic novelist, arrives at Tranquillum House nursing a bad back, a broken heart, and an exquisitely painful paper cut. She’s immediately intrigued by her fellow guests. Most of them don’t look to be in need of a health resort at all. But the person that intrigues her most is the strange and charismatic owner/director of Tranquillum House. Could this person really have the answers Frances didn’t even know she was seeking? Should Frances put aside her doubts and immerse herself in everything Tranquillum House has to offer – or should she run while she still can?

It’s not long before every guest at Tranquillum House is asking exactly the same question.

Combining all of the hallmarks that have made her writing a go-to for anyone looking for wickedly smart, page-turning fiction that will make you laugh and gasp, Liane Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers once again shows why she is a master of her craft.

four-stars

About Liane Moriarty

Liane’s most recent novel Truly Madly Guilty was published in 2016 and also debuted at number one on the New York Times Bestseller list. Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon, together with their respective production companies, have once again partnered to option the film and TV rights.
Liane’s youngest sister Nicola Moriarty has also written three wonderful, gripping novels, Free-Falling, Paper Chains and The Fifth Letter.
Liane is now a full-time author. She has sold over 14 million copies of her books worldwide and her novels have been translated into thirty-nine languages.
She lives in Sydney with her husband, son and daughter. When she’s not writing she can be found reading, demanding coffee, clutching her forehead and occasionally falling to her knees on the soccer field sidelines (the grief, the joy, the drama!) demanding chocolate, skiing like she’s thirty years younger than she is, recovering from skiing injuries, doing the school run, walking around the block to avoid writer’s block, talking to old friends about getting old, listening to her children explain the wonders of MineCraft, watching TV series far too late into the night and reading, which has already been mentioned, but deserves a second mention.

Book Review – The Catch by Samantha Brett

The Catch by Samantha Brett
Published by Allen & Unwin on 2012
Genres: Family & Relationships, Love & Romance
Pages: 330
Goodreads
four-stars

Nope.

I’m not ashamed at all.

The truth is, I have read many dating books. Albeit, I have read them very quietly, on my kindle where no one can see me reading them…

Today is a new day. Not only have I read this dating book, but I am shouting it from the rooftops and reviewing it publicly. I may even do it again one day. Whilst I was reading this one and talking about it a friend recommended another to me and I think I’ll read it too.

The Catch really wasn’t hugely groundbreaking, but I enjoyed it and I took a few tips from it, which I am now actioning.

The book is a guide to becoming “The Catch”. An elusive being who men want to date and eventually marry. Now, I like to think I’m already a catch…in so many ways, I just haven’t met the right man yet. However, there were a few things I took from this book, the exercises (already done a couple and another is in progress) and tips throughout.

One such exercise I am using to stop the scum of the male species from invading my heart and vagina. It is a 30 day man free, date free, dating app free challenge. Or as some of my friends so aptly called it “Dry July”. This is one of the extreme measures the book suggests to keep dickheads at bay and start fresh only attracting lovely men. I also enjoy the fact that the book suggests to focus on me during this time and things I want to do or achieve – I mean…I kinda do this anyway, every day of my life, so this part wasn’t really new to me, but I did get some good ideas and motivation to look out for myself a bit more.

Another exercise the book suggests is a 30 day bootcamp – which is kind of the same thing…but a little more of an intense focus on me. I can’t wait. I’ll be running the world before you know it. Sucks to be you (all of my ex’s).

One thing I did not like about the book, were the stories about, I’m assuming, real women and their dating struggles/wins. The problem with these stories were that the women were not relatable in any way, on any planet. They were either models, had perfect bodies, were CEO’s or some such garbage. They may have been completely fictional for all I know but I’m sorry….I’m not really buying that the model has trouble attracting a man.

Are there better dating books out there? YES. Was this still a bit of fun with good tips? YES.

Synopsis

Sick of dating guys who want sex and fun without any commitment? Ever wondered how some women always have men chasing them?

These women are what dating guru Samantha Brett describes as The Catch: the ultimate single girl who knows her worth, doesn’t settle for less and doesn’t get caught up in the whirlwind of the dating game.

After the abrupt end of a fairytale eight-year relationship, Samantha found herself thrust back into single life. As part of the healing process she interviewed thousands of men, as well as the women they defined as the ultimate Catch. In the process she developed a foolproof method to help you become The Catch.

This book will teach you how to:

– move on from a break-up

– avoid the traps of the dating game

– become a stronger you through the 30-Day Catch Boot Camp

– get a man to propose in only six steps

Forget chasing him ever again!

four-stars

About Samantha Brett

Samantha Brett is a news reporter and bestselling author of six books. Samantha began her journalism career in New York as an intern at the Fox News Channel, before returning to Sydney to write Australia’s number-one lifestyle column for six years. Samantha has since gone on to file news reports for Sky News, CBS, CNN, and currently works for Australia’s Seven Network. Samantha has covered a variety of international stories and breaking news including the terror attack in Jakarta and the joint world rescue of stranded researchers in Antarctica. Samantha has written more than 1000 articles for newspapers and magazines around the world on a variety of topics. She is passionate about helping other women to achieve their dreams, and is a proud supporter of the Pink Hope Foundation and Mummies Paying it Forward.

Book Review- Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Book Review- Uglies by Scott WesterfeldUglies by Scott Westerfeld
Published by Simon and Schuster on May 3, 2011
Genres: Young Adult, Action & Adventure, General, Fantasy & Magic, Social Themes, New Experience, Science Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, Dystopian, Eating Disorders & Body Image
Pages: 406
Format: Paperback
Goodreads
three-stars

I don’t normally read young adult novels, but I had heard about this series of books and when I saw Uglies and Pretties at my work book swap I had to give them a read.

The last young adult books I read were the Divergent trilogy and prior to that was the Hunger Games. So I might have expected a little too much from Uglies. The main comparison is that all of these series are set in a dystopian world, but that is where the similarities end. I felt that Uglies isn’t quite as sophisticated as The Hunger Games or Divergent…but I still had fun reading it and I will continue with Pretties.

I think the main point the book is tying to make is to be happy with yourself the way you are. Tally, the main character so desperately wants to become a pretty, but she soon learns that all that glitters is not gold in the world of the pretties.

Yes, I wanted to know what was going to happen and I kept on reading, but I found myself at times wanting a bit more from the book. As I said I think it needed a bit more complexity, more twists perhaps? I kept thinking, there must be more to the story and there could well be, given there are four books in the series, but I don’t hold to much hope. I’m not sure why its a New York Times Bestseller… I needed more from it.

It is no Hunger Games or Divergent, so keep your expectations a little lower if you want to read it.

Synopsis

Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can’t wait. In just a few weeks she’ll have the operation that will turn her from a repellent ugly into a stunning pretty. And as a pretty, she’ll be catapulted into a high-tech paradise where her only job is to have fun.

But Tally’s new friend Shay isn’t sure she wants to become a pretty. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world– and it isn’t very pretty. The authorities offer Tally a choice: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. Tally’s choice will change her world forever…

three-stars

About Scott Westerfeld

Scott Westerfeld is me. I’m the author of twenty-two novels. Five are for adults, and the other seventeen for young adults. I’m best known for the Uglies quartet, set in a future where cosmetic surgery is compulsory at age sixteen. I’m returning to the Uglies world with four new novels, starting with Impostors, out Sept. 11, 2018.

Book Review – Parkland: Birth of a movement by Dave Cullen

Book Review  – Parkland: Birth of a movement by Dave CullenParkland by Dave Cullen
Published by HarperCollins on February 12, 2019
Genres: Social Science, Violence in Society, Biography & Autobiography, Social Activists, History, United States, 21st Century
Pages: 400
Format: eBook
Goodreads
five-stars

Confession time.

I have re- written this review approximately 3 times. Not because I was confused about what I felt about the book, but because this issue – gun violence – is particularly close to my heart. It makes me angry, frustrated, sad and curious. I wanted to be very aware of what I wrote, because it impacts so many and I really want things to change in the US in relation to gun legislation. School shootings, or any shootings for that matter, make my blood boil and my heart ache.

There is a reason Dave Cullen is one of my favourite authors. Obviously, the subject choice interests me (and infuriates me), although, this topic wasn’t a choice but I think, a necessity for Dave to write about, but there is something about the way he writes. It’s honest, fair, with great insight and understanding of his subject. Dave’s choice not to mention the killer’s name is also such a wise and wonderful choice.

I loved his book Columbine. Parkland is different, it feels so personal. The way Dave writes about these amazing young people – he writes about their quirks, sometimes their flaws, worries and talents. I loved learning about the young people I knew very little about. I’m so removed from gun violence in the US, living in Australia. I had no idea the extent of work the survivors from Parkland undertook to advocate for gun legislation change. I’m so thankful for it and for them. We all should be. They did it on their own. I’m absolutely in awe of them.

Why was it different with the parkland movement? Why did it take so long?These young people acted quickly, they had great timing, and a great platform (social media). Most importantly, they were young people who are the future. They were victims. There are more of them than I can name, but David Hogg, Cameron Kasky and Emma Gonzalez are just a few of these activists and names you need to know.

You need to read Columbine. You need to read Parkland: Birth of a movement. It doesn’t really matter the types of genres you usually read. This is important. Thanks to Dave Cullen for writing about it. I really hope that there will be a difference in our future. The March For Our Lives group gives me hope.

Dave is writing his next book about two gay soldiers and of course, I’ll be reading that.

five-stars

About Dave Cullen

Dave Cullen has been covering the blight of mass murders in America for two decades, first with Columbine, now Parkland: Birth of a Movement. Columbine was a New York Times bestseller and the consensus definitive account. Parkland is a story of hope: the genesis of the extraordinary March for Our Lives movement. Dave was with the students from the beginning, with unparalleled access behind the scenes.

Columbine made two dozen Best of 2009 lists including New York Times, and won several major awards, including the Edgar and Goodreads Choice Award for best nonfiction of the year. It now appears on several all-time True Crime Top 10 lists.

Dave has written for New York Times, London Times, Vanity Fair, BuzzFeed, Politico, New Republic, Newsweek, Guardian, Washington Post, Daily Beast, Slate, Salon, The Millions, Lapham’s Quarterly, etc. He has appeared on PBS Newshour, NBC Nightly News, Today, CBS Sunday Morning, Nightline, Morning Edition, CBS This Morning, New Day, Anderson Cooper 360, Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, Lawrence O’Donnell, Talk of the Nation, The Nineties, Hannity, etc.

Dave is a former gay army infantry grunt. Parkland struck while he was in year 18 of a book about two gay soldiers. He will finish that soon. Dave wrote Columbine in Colorado, then moved to NYC. He is uncle to 11 cool humans and 1 adorable corgi, Bobby Sneakers.

Book Review – Sister by Rosamund Lupton

Book Review – Sister by Rosamund LuptonSister by Rosamund Lupton
Published by Crown/Archetype on June 7, 2011
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Suspense, Mystery & Detective, Women Sleuths, Psychological
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Goodreads
four-stars

I really enjoyed Sister by Rosamund Lupton. I read this in paperback format (and realised I had become far too comfortable with my kindle and that I had missed reading physical books), mostly at home in bed and in the bath.

I was lucky enough to find this book in my street library and I really feel the need to either take it back or pass it on to a friend to share it, so it can be enjoyed by others. One of the most important things about reading for me is the joy of sharing the story. Whether it is just shared by talking about it, blogging a review, recommending it to a friend or lending it to someone – it’s such a great gift to give I think. I’m going to give Sister to my friend Lisa I think (hopefully she hasn’t already read it!).

I don’t know about this being a particularly “on the edge of your seat” thriller. I did get into the story and was engrossed in it pretty quickly, but I think it was the relationships I liked the most. One of my favourite aspects of the book was not the suspense, but the relationship between the sisters, Tess and Beatrice. I loved that throughout the book when Beatrice was telling the story about Tess’s disappearance and murder, she was telling it to Tess, talking to Tess as she would normally. I also loved how she would recount moments between them, emails, conversations and shared jokes. It’s what sisters do and I could relate to the moments shared between them.

Both Tess and Beatrice were likeable characters and I think this also helps. It was clear they were very different – like chalk and cheese – but I really like both of their personalities and traits. Of course, Beatrice’s relentless hunt for her sister’s killer was fantastic and made me want to keep reading to know the outcome.

I’d love to read more of Rosamund’s books (she has three more and another coming out in August) so definitely another author I need to be on the lookout for. If you are fairly new to the thriller genre, I think this would be a good book for you – it isn’t really the scary kind of thriller and I don’t think there is anything particularly shocking or different about the story – but it’s a great read, great characters and is well written.

Synopsis

When her mom calls to tell her that Tess, her younger sister, is missing, Bee returns home to London on the first flight. She expects to find Tess and give her the usual lecture, the bossy big sister scolding her flighty baby sister for taking off without letting anyone know her plans. Tess has always been a free spirit, an artist who takes risks, while conservative Bee couldn’t be more different. Bee is used to watching out for her wayward sibling and is fiercely protective of Tess (and has always been a little stern about her antics). But then Tess is found dead, apparently by her own hand.

Bee is certain that Tess didn’t commit suicide. Their family and the police accept the sad reality, but Bee feels sure that Tess has been murdered.  Single-minded in her search for a killer, Bee moves into Tess’s apartment and throws herself headlong into her sister’s life–and all its secrets. 

Though her family and the police see a grieving sister in denial, unwilling to accept the facts, Bee uncovers the affair Tess was having with a married man and the pregnancy that resulted, and her difficultly with a stalker who may have crossed the line when Tess refused his advances. Tess was also participating in an experimental medical trial that might have gone very wrong.  As a determined Bee gives her statement to the lead investigator, her story reveals a predator who got away with murder–and an obsession that may cost Bee her own life.

A thrilling story of fierce love between siblings, Sister is a suspenseful and accomplished debut with a stunning twist.

four-stars

About Rosamund Lupton

Rosamund Lupton is the author of four novels.

Rosamund Lupton graduated from Cambridge University in 1986. After reviewing books for the Literary Reviews and being invited to join the Royal Court Theatre, she won a television play competition and subsequently worked as a screen writer. Her debut novel Sister, was a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller and a bestseller in Europe. Sister has been translated into over thirty languages and has international sales of over 1.5 million copies. It was the fastest-selling debut of 2010 by a British author, a BBC Radio 4 Book at Bedtime and was winner of the Richard and Judy Best Debut Novel of 2011 Award and the Strand Magazine Critics First Novel Award. Film rights of Sister are currently under option.

Lupton’s critically acclaimed second novel Afterwards also went straight into the Sunday Times bestseller lists and was the No. 2 Sunday Times fiction bestseller of 2011, with UK sales alone of more than 200,000 copies.

The Quality of Silence her third novel was a Sunday Times best seller and a Richard & Judy bookclub pick

Book Review – The Bus on Thursday by Shirley Barrett

Book Review – The Bus on Thursday by Shirley BarrettThe Bus on Thursday by Shirley Barrett
on September 18, 2018
Genres: Fiction, horror, Literary, Thrillers, Supernatural
Pages: 304
Goodreads
four-stars

Welcome to a wild ride from Shirley Barrett.

Australian Author – check

Australian setting – check

Humour – check

Creepy weird AF story – check

I got this ripper from my Street Library and I don’t regret it. The protagonist, Eleanor, tells it like it is, with all the Aussie slang and references (as well as swear words) she can muster.

Written in a blog/diary entry form, it made for an easy read that was entertaining and kooky. It might be written a little too casually for some, but I enjoyed it and felt it was refreshing to read something a little more relaxed.

I mean, it is written by one of the directors of the tv show Offspring (Australian soap) and I certainly see some similarities in that Eleanor has an internal dialouge that isn’t unlike Nina’s in Offspring. Offspring is one of my favourite tv shows…so it all makes sense.

This book might not translate very well for international readers, due to Aussie terms and references. If you can get past that and the curse words you will enjoy the humour and weirdo storyline.

I don’t think I can say that Eleanor is a particularly likeable character, but she is relatable…well…sort of, if you can see yourself making passes at your elderly doctor or discussing exorcising demons at the local church. Eleanor finds herself in some interesting situations when she gets a new teaching job in a small town – most of which are funny, strange or confusing.

There were times when I didn’t know where the story was going or if it was in fact going anywhere, but I had gotten so far in that I didn’t mind the commitment and I had invested myself to reading Eleanor’s story. Perhaps I liked her more than I’m happy to admit.

The new town is full of crazy characters and whilst Eleanor might seem like one of the ‘normal’ ones, she herself has some questionable behaviours. Actually, she fits right in.

Just when you think things couldn’t get any more quirky in this story, there is what I like to call an “Evil Dead” moment. I’ll say no more, if you’ve seen the movie you’ll likely put two and two together. I’ll just say, I enjoyed it.

If you love the weird and wonderful, interesting characters and a touch of the supernatural you will enjoy this book – just don’t expect to be given all the answers and don’t take it too seriously.

Synopsis

Bridget Jones meets The Exorcist in this wickedly funny, dark novel about one woman’s post-cancer retreat to a remote Australian town and the horrors awaiting her

It wasn’t just the bad breakup that turned Eleanor Mellett’s life upside down. It was the cancer. And all the demons that came with it.

One day she felt a bit of a bump when she was scratching her armpit at work. The next thing she knew, her breast was being dissected and removed by an inappropriately attractive doctor, and she was suddenly deluged with cupcakes, judgy support groups, and her mum knitting sweaters.

Luckily, Eleanor discovers Talbingo, a remote little town looking for a primary-school teacher. Their Miss Barker up and vanished in the night, despite being the most caring teacher ever, according to everyone. Unfortunately, Talbingo is a bit creepy. It’s not just the communion-wine-guzzling friar prone to mad rants about how cancer is caused by demons. Or the unstable, overly sensitive kids, always going on about Miss Barker and her amazing sticker system. It’s living alone in a remote cabin, with no cell or Internet service, wondering why there are so many locks on the front door and who is knocking on it late at night.

Riotously funny, deeply unsettling, and surprisingly poignant, Shirley Barrett’s The Bus on Thursday is a wickedly weird, wild ride for fans of Helen Fielding, Maria Semple, and Stephen King.

four-stars

About Shirley Barrett

Shirley Barrett is a screenwriter, film director and novelist.

She has written and directed three feature films, including Love Serenade, which won the Camera D’Or (Best First Feature) at Cannes Film Festival in 1996. She has also directed television drama, including Love My Way, Offspring and A Place to Call Home. Known for her ability to elicit strong, truthful and detailed performances in both comedy and drama, her work is also striking visually.

Shirley has written two novels: Rush Oh! (2014) and The Bus on Thursday (2018).

Book Review – Life Will Be The Death of Me by Chelsea Handler

Book Review – Life Will Be The Death of Me by Chelsea HandlerLife Will Be the Death of Me by Chelsea Handler
Published by Random House Publishing Group on April 9, 2019
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Personal Memoirs, Family & Relationships, Political Science, Civics & Citizenship
Pages: 256
Goodreads
four-stars

I love her. I love her. I love her.

Chelsea Handler is my girl crush. Woman crush….whatever. I found Chelsea on You Tube, many years ago interviewing someone famous and I found her so hilarious, witty and accomplished. She oozes a confidence I admire and wish I had. I’ve followed her since I discovered her, through her Netflix specials, numerous books and I also stalk her on Twitter (told you, girl crush).

I have read all of Chelsea’s books. Some I found more hilarious than others, but all of them had me laughing out loud at some point.

Life will be the death of me is different. There were still some laugh out loud moments, but the overall tone is much more sombre. Chelsea is incredibly vulnerable in this memoir. It was a side I hadn’t seen (except when she was being interviewed by Ellen, who mentioned the death of her mother and she started crying). I did expect lots of laughs from this book, but there was a vast journey into grief and loss and how that has manifested into Chelsea’s life now.

As always, there were some side stories which were less emotional. I loved reading about Chelsea’s many dogs over the years (yet another reason to love Chelsea). One story in particular I found extremely hilarious was her dog getting high on a plane and running amok.

Nothing ever surprises me with Chelsea. Usually. In this book she is completely open about the work she has done with her psychologist, her flaws, her downfalls and it makes me love her more. Was this book my favourite of hers? No. Am I still a massive fan and respect her for writing about many losses and her therapy experience? Yes.

I think if you are a fan of Chelsea you will still enjoy this book. Just be aware that it’s a little more emotional and deep than her other books.

Synopsis

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The funny, sad, super-honest, all-true story of Chelsea Handler’s year of self-discovery—featuring a nerdily brilliant psychiatrist, a shaman, four Chow Chows, some well-placed security cameras, various family members (living and departed), friends, assistants, and a lot of edibles

A SKIMM READS PICK • “This will be one of your favorite books of all time.”—Amy Schumer

In a haze of vape smoke on a rare windy night in L.A. in the fall of 2016, Chelsea Handler daydreams about what life will be like with a woman in the White House. And then Donald Trump happens. In a torpor of despair, she decides that she’s had enough of the privileged bubble she’s lived in—a bubble within a bubble—and that it’s time to make some changes, both in her personal life and in the world at large.

At home, she embarks on a year of self-sufficiency—learning how to work the remote, how to pick up dog shit, where to find the toaster. She meets her match in an earnest, brainy psychiatrist and enters into therapy, prepared to do the heavy lifting required to look within and make sense of a childhood marked by love and loss and to figure out why people are afraid of her. She becomes politically active—finding her voice as an advocate for change, having difficult conversations, and energizing her base. In the process, she develops a healthy fixation on Special Counsel Robert Mueller and, through unflinching self-reflection and psychological excavation, unearths some glittering truths that light up the road ahead. 

Thrillingly honest, insightful, and deeply, darkly funny, Chelsea Handler’s memoir keeps readers laughing, even as it inspires us to look within and ask ourselves what really matters in our own lives.

Advance praise for Life Will Be the Death of Me

“You thought you knew Chelsea Handler—and she thought she knew herself—but in her new book, she discovers that true progress lies in the direction we haven’t been.”—Gloria Steinem 

“I always wondered what it would be like to watch Chelsea Handler in session with her therapist. Now I know.”—Ellen DeGeneres

“I love this book not just because it made me laugh or because I learned that I feel the same way about certain people in politics as Chelsea does. I love this book because I feel like I finally really got to know Chelsea Handler after all these years. Thank you for sharing, Chelsea!”—Tiffany Haddish

four-stars

About Chelsea Handler

Chelsea Handler is an accomplished stand-up comic and actress, as well as the bestselling author of My Horizontal Life. She is the star of her own late-night show on E!, Chelsea Lately; was one of the stars of Girls Behaving Badly; has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Night with David Letterman; and has starred in her own half-hour Comedy Central special. Chelsea makes regular appearances in comedy clubs across America and lives in Los Angeles.

Book Review – Bully Brother by Craig M Dial

I received this book for free from the author, Craig M Dial, in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Thank you to the author for the opportunity.

Book Review – Bully Brother by Craig M DialBully Brother Published by Independently Published on May 24, 2018
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Family Life
Pages: 258
Format: Paperback
Goodreads
three-stars

I had been meaning to read Bully Brother for quite a while. The author sent me a copy a long time ago. I misplaced it and he was kind enough to send me another copy. I’m glad he did.

I always make this disclaimer, but as with any memoir or personal story, I’m particularly sensitive to the fact that this is someone’s life and story – who am I to say what I think of that? I always feel terribly responsible and cautious when reviewing.

For me as a reader, Bully Brother was like exploring an era. I really like the fact that Craig asks readers to play the music mentioned throughout the book whilst reading to evoke that sense of being in the 60’s and 70’s. I thought it was a great concept and really gave me an idea of the mood and tone. The 60’s and 70’s being slightly before my time, I think this helped set the scene. I loved the music (most was familiar to me) and found myself waiting for the next mention of a song whilst I was reading.

I found the descriptions about Craig’s childhood and his relationship with his siblings familiar. Despite the fact that I grew up in the 80’s. Some of his stories were funny, some were a little worrying. The bullying by Craig’s brother David, was not as extreme as I expected it to be, but, I am used to reading things a little darker and more disturbing (so maybe it’s me and my dark mind?) and, once again, who am I to comment on someone’s experience? I’m sure it was horrible for Craig at the time.

I will say that the book was an easy read, but, I often wondered where it was going. I was waiting for the inevitable tragedy, but I found this was very close to the end of the book. I think I would have liked a hint of it at the beginning.

If you enjoy reading memoire you will enjoy this book. Particularly if you are interested in the 60’s and 70’s and family types of genres.

three-stars

About Craig M Dial

Craig grew up in Marin County in the late 1960’s and 1970’s where he experienced the hippie love culture from a child perspective. He is married and now lives near Sacramento, CA.

Book Review – After Anna by Lisa Scottoline

Book Review – After Anna by Lisa ScottolineAfter Anna by Lisa Scottoline
Published by St. Martin's Press on April 10, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Suspense, Domestic
Pages: 352
Format: eBook
Goodreads
four-stars

Another new author to me, but certainly not a new author – Lisa Scottoline has been writing thrillers (among other things) for years. I’m both disappointed and excited all at once. Disappointed because I didn’t read any of her books sooner and excited because it means I now have another wonderful author’s work to read!

I’m noticing that a lot of female authors appear to be quite skilled with the thriller genre…hardly surprising, us ladies do know how to be appropriately terrified. I once read somewhere that women are the biggest viewers of true crime on TV. It is certainly true of myself – I love true and fictional crime, in every format! podcasts, TV and books. The article I read pointed to several factors (from memory) that because women are typically less aggressive than men – true crime lets them explore a darker fantasy and women are more empathic, so they relate more to the victims of the crime also.

I do have to be honest here, I actually downloaded After Anna by accident! I was looking for a book called After Anna, but by a different author, Alex Lake. I still really want to read that book by the way, but when I began reading Lisa Scottoline’s After Anna, I became pretty engrossed straight away.

The book began in the courtroom and you already know…someone is on trial for murder, but there are so many more juicy details to come. I actually really enjoy books that have a bit of courtroom drama. Mostly because I hate lawyers and I love to hate them. I read all of their sentences with an annoying demeaning voice in my head.

The subject of the title, Anna, is the estranged daughter of Maggie. Anna returns to Maggie’s life and everything is roses…until it’s not. Some of the plot is a little predictable, but I was still very intrigued and curious about all the events Before and After Anna. Each chapter is either set in the recent past or the present, which I also enjoy. I don’t want to know everything straight away or I’ll stop reading.

I moved through this book quite quickly, partly because I was intrigued and partly because I think the book is pretty fast paced. There wasn’t a moment I was bored and waiting for more.

I think people who enjoy thrillers will like this book, it was a little predictable, but still an enjoyable read if you like family type thrillers.

I know my blog has been a little quiet of late but rest assured I’m still reading and have lots of great books on my TBR list – I need to do a new blog post for my TBR’s because the list is getting big and I don’t want to forget any I am especially excited about (or skip any golden missed opportunities with books I’m less excited about). I’ll be bringing you some different genres to spice things up a bit too!

Synopsis

Nobody cuts deeper than family…

Dr. Noah Alderman, a widower and single father, has remarried a wonderful woman, Maggie Ippolitti, and for the first time in a long time, he and his young son are happy. Despite her longing for the daughter she hasn’t seen since she was a baby, Maggie is happy too, and she’s even more overjoyed when she unexpectedly gets another chance to be a mother to the child she thought she’d lost forever, her only daughter Anna.

Maggie and Noah know that having Anna around will change their lives, but they would never have guessed that everything would go wrong, and so quickly. Anna turns out to be a gorgeous seventeen-year-old who balks at living under their rules, though Maggie, ecstatic to have her daughter back, ignores the red flags that hint at the trouble brewing in a once-perfect marriage and home.

Events take a heartbreaking turn when Anna is murdered and Noah is accused and tried for the heinous crime. Maggie must face not only the devastation of losing her daughter, but the realization that Anna’s murder may have been at the hands of a husband she loves. In the wake of this tragedy, new information drives Maggie to search for the truth, leading her to discover something darker than she could have ever imagined.

Riveting and disquieting, After Anna is a groundbreaking domestic thriller, as well as a novel of emotional justice and legal intrigue. And New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline will keep readers on their toes until the final shocking page.


four-stars

About Lisa Scottoline

Lisa Scottoline is a #1 Bestselling Author, The New York Times bestselling author and Edgar award-winning author of 32 novels, including her latest work, Someone Knows, which is coming April 9, 2019.

She also writes a weekly column with her daughter Francesca Serritella for the Philadelphia Inquirer titled “Chick Wit” which is a witty and fun take on life from a woman’s perspective. These stories, along with many other never-before-published stories, have been collected in a New York Times bestselling series of humorous memoirs including their most recent, I See Life Through Rosé-Colored Glasses, and earlier books, I Need A Lifeguard Everywhere But The Pool; I’ve Got Sand in All the Wrong Places; Does This Beach Make Me Look Fat?; Have a Nice Guilt Trip; Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim; Best Friends, Occasional Enemies; My Nest Isn’t Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space; and Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog, which has been optioned for TV.

Lisa reviews popular fiction and non-fiction, and her reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Lisa has served as president of Mystery Writers of America and has taught a course she developed, “Justice and Fiction” at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, her alma mater. Lisa is a regular and much-sought-after speaker at library and corporate events. Lisa has over 30 million copies of her books in print and is published in over 35 countries. She lives in the Philadelphia area with an array of disobedient pets, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Book Review – The Cry by Helen Fitzgerald

Book Review – The Cry by Helen FitzgeraldThe Cry by Helen Fitzgerald
Published by Faber & Faber on August 27, 2013
Genres: Fiction, Crime, Psychological, Thrillers, General, Suspense, Mystery & Detective
Pages: 320
Goodreads
five-stars

I absolutely devoured The Cry whilst on holiday. The Cry was recommended to me by a friend (thanks Lisa!) and from the moment I started it I was hooked.

The book is set in Victoria, Australia, so the names of towns were familiar and this helped me get into the story. The storyline was incredibly gripping, perhaps because it involves a baby and some big mistakes. Heartstrings are on the line straight away. There were times I was holding my breath, shaking my head and wanting to yell “no, don’t do that”. This isn’t a common occurrence for me, maybe while watching tv, but not when reading. I was invested straight away.

I really liked the protagonist, Joanna. There were moments where she might have become a bit tiresome, but this wasn’t the case. I felt like I was with her throughout the events and I wasn’t bored or frustrated with her. Sometimes characters can be whiney, boring or repetitive, Joanna was not and I empathised with her.

Like all fantastic stories right now, The Cry has been made into a television series. I haven’t seen it yet (slack I know! I’ m off my game) usually I would watch it before writing a book review to compare the two, but the book doesn’t really need anything to support it. I will eventually watch the show but the book is fantastic and I strongly recommend it for readers who enjoy psychological thrillers or crime genres.

I was also very excited to see that this is not Helen’s first time at the rodeo – far from it – she has written several thrillers which I am now very excited to read. I love finding new authors, but it makes my TBR list very long!

Synopsis

NOW A MAJOR NEW BBC ONE DRAMAThe Cry was longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award. 

When a baby goes missing on a lonely roadside in Australia, it sets off a police investigation that will become a media sensation and dinner-table talk across the world. 

Lies, rumours and guilt snowball, causing the parents, Joanna and Alistair, to slowly turn against each other. 

Finally Joanna starts thinking the unthinkable: could the truth be even more terrible than she suspected? And what will it take to make things right?

Perfect for fans of Julia Crouch, Sophie Hannah and Laura Lippman, The Cry was widely acclaimed as one of the best psychological thrillers of the year. There’s a gripping moral dilemma at its heart and characters who will keep you guessing on every page.

five-stars

About Helen Fitzgerald

Helen FitzGerald is the bestselling author of Dead Lovely (2007) and ten other adult and young adult thrillers, including My Last Confession (2009), The Donor (2011), The Cry (2013), which was longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, and Viral (Out Feb 2016). Helen has worked as a criminal justice social worker for over ten years. She grew up in Victoria, Australia. She now lives in Glasgow with her husband and two children.