Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Little Lies by Liane Moriarty


Paperback: 450 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction 
Publisher: Michael Joseph 2014
Source: Lovereading Reviewer Panel
First Sentences: "That doesn't sound like a School Trivia Night," said Mrs Patty Ponder to Marie Antoinette. "That Sounds like a riot."
Favourite Quote:“It had never crossed her mind that sending your child to school would be like going back to school yourself.” 
Review Quote: Here at Company HQ we're all obsessed with Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. This juicy seaside-town murder mystery will be one of the biggest books this autumn (Company Magazine
My Opinion: Entertaining and compelling read

Please note this title is published as 'Big Little Lies' in USA and Australia.


Although you know right from the opening paragraphs that something dreadful has happened in Pirriwee, this compelling story keeps you guessing.  Tragic yet hilarious, so much more than a murder mystery this novel kept me reading well into the night, as I kept telling myself just one more chapter!

The protagonists Jane, Maddie and Celeste are all mothers of children at Pirriwee Public School, all very different but drawn together by events at school. Jane is the single parent, new to the area, with nothing to say about her son's father. Celeste is the happily married one, also wealthy and beautiful, the envy of all the other Mums. Maddie or Madeleine is the lively one, having problems with her teenage daughter from a previous marriage. The scene is set, disaster has struck, but to find out exactly what the author takes us back to the start of the school year to tell us the whole story. The characters and their relationships are all very realistic and sadly totally believable.  I say sadly as these are everyday situations that readers are going to be familiar with. Nobody's life is quite as it seems and as we are taken behind the scenes of the characters relationships with their partners and families one is pulled into the complicated webs of deceit.  Bullying both mental and physical is a sad fact of life, the added drama is that all through the book you know the result is catastrophic but you do not know exactly what happened until the very end!  

In conclusion an entertaining and compelling read, which gains pace as the dreadful facts emerge. Another good choice for book clubs as the story raises plenty of subjects for discussion. Fans of  Sophie Hannah and Jojo Moyes will probably find they like Liane Moriarty's writing.


LITTLE LIES by Liane Moriarty: One fateful night -- can you unravel the truth?       No spoilers.






Author Profile


Biography mainly courtesy of Goodreads Author Profile  To read even more about Liane click here

Liane was born on a November day in 1966 in Sydney, Australia. A few hours after she was born, she smiled directly at her father through the nursery glass window, which is remarkable, seeing as most babies can’t even focus their eyes at that age.

Her first word was ‘glug’. This was faithfully recorded in the baby book kept by her mother. As the eldest of six children, Liane was the only one to get a baby book. 

As a child, she loved to read, so much so that school friends would cruelly hide their books when she came to play. She does not go to sleep at night without first reading a novel for a very long time in a very hot bath.

She can’t remember the first story she ever wrote, but she does remember her first publishing deal. Her father ‘commissioned’ her to write a novel for him and paid her an advance of $1.00. She wrote a three volume epic called, ‘The Mystery of Dead Man’s Island’

After leaving school, Liane began a career in advertising and marketing. She became quite corporate for a while and wore suits and worried a lot about the size of her office. She eventually left her position as marketing manager of a legal publishing company business called The Little Ad Agency. After that she worked as a freelance advertising copywriter, writing everything from websites and TV commercials to the back of the Sultana Bran box.

She also wrote short stories and many first chapters of novels that didn't go any further. The problem was that she didn't actually believe that real people had novels published. Then one day she found out that they did, when her younger sister Jaclyn Moriarty called to say that her novel, Feeling Sorry for Celia was about to be published.

In a fever of sibling rivalry, Liane rushed to the computer and wrote a children’s book called The Animal Olympics, which went on to be enthusiastically rejected by every publisher in Australia.

She calmed down and enrolled in a Masters degree at Macquarie University in Sydney. As part of that degree, she wrote her first novel, Three Wishes. It was accepted by the lovely people at Pan Macmillan and went on to be published around the world. Her latest books are published by the equally lovely people at Penguin in both the US and the UK. Since then she has written two more novels for adults, as well as a series of books for children.

Liane is now a full-time author. She lives in Sydney with her husband, her daughter Anna and son George.



The biographical information and photo used in this post are with thanks to the following websites, where you can also find more information about the author and her writing.



Goodreads Author Profile      Liane Moriarty - Amazon Page  


Author's Official Website      YouTube - Little Lies


Facebook Profile - Liane Moriarty        Wikipedia - Liane Moriarty



Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Finding You by Giselle Green



eBook.648KB 410 pages in print edition.
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction.
Publisher: 
Yule Press (28 Mar 2014)
Source: The author in return for an honest and unbiased review.
First Sentences: 'When I call out to my son, walking ahead of me along the sandy shore, he does not stop or look back at me.
Review Quote: 
The Sun. 'A genuinely heart-wrenching and thought-provoking read.' 
My Opinion: Emotional family drama.



The sequel to Finding You and although it stands perfectly well alone if you have not read 'Little Miracles' personally I felt that I got much more from the story knowing what had gone on before. Sadly children disappearing is a fact of life these days and we all know the cases that have received a lot of media attention in recent years. Reading this emotional family drama and its prequel you cannot help but find yourself thinking of these incidents.

As the novel opens Julia and Charlie are delirious with happiness to have their son Haydn back with them. He had disappeared from a beach in Spain a year previously and they had been terrified that he would never be found alive. The three of them are trying to readjust to family life which brings its own problems for them all. Julia and Charlie both alternate in recounting the storyline, which adds to the interest and understanding of how both partners react differently to the situations they are presented with. Life is definitely not turning out as it should be for them as it seems that the abduction has affected Hadyn far more than the couple realise. Will they be able to return to the happy family life they had together before all this, or will it be impossible to move on? No spoilers from me so you will have to read the novel if you are interested in finding out about all the issues they faced and if they can be resolved. 

As mentioned in earlier reviews, Giselle Green is an author that I wish I had discovered way back in 2008, when her her first novel Pandora's Box was  published. So many books and so little time meant that unfortunately I did not read it until a few months ago! Making up for lost time now I am catching up and enjoying her writing style, enough to say that I would now recommend her to anyone that appreciates stories with a moral basis. I have seen her referred to as the UK's answer to Jodi Picoult, there are similarities, the strongest being that both of them cover emotive issues in their novels. The motive storylines are a reason that she is an author that is a good choice for Book Club selection as her novels evoke a whole range of subjects for discussion. Apart from being a recommended read for fans of Jodi Picoult and contemporary fiction, any parent will also empathise strongly with the storyline.

Link to my earlier reviews Pandora's Box  Falling For You   Little Miracles   



Author Profile




Born in Chiswick, London, UK.  Giselle Green was brought up in Gibraltar from the age of seven to eighteen when she returned to the UK to study Biology at King's College London, followed by an MSc in Information Science at the City University. She is also a qualified Astrologer, with a particular interest in medieval astrology.
Her début novel Pandora's Box won the Romantic Novelists' Association New Writer's Award in 2008. Her third novel, A Sister's Gift achieved best-selling number one slot on Amazon Kindle in 2012.
Her fifth novel, the sequel to Little Miracles - Finding You - was released on Kindle on the 30th March 2014 and will be published as a paperback later in the year.
Giselle now lives in Kent with her husband and their six sons.
A fuller biography appears on her website here

The biographical information and photo used in this post are with thanks to the following websites, where you can also find more information about the author and her writing.

Goodreads Author Profile       Amazon Author Profile     Giselle Green - Twitter


Author's Official Website - Giselle Green   Facebook Profile - Giselle Green Author



Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Little Miracles by Giselle Green






Ebook:  544 KB Print edition 416 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher:  
Avon (6 Mar 2009)
Source: Purchased from Amazon - May 2014
First Sentences: The child with the long hair. It is him.
Review Quote: ‘A Complex emotional tale that is both heartbreaking and uplifting’ Closer
My Opinion: A very eloquent novel that will tug at your heart strings.


Read this on the plane on the way to Hong Kong recently, as Giselle Green had kindly sent me the sequel 'Finding You'. I know the novels are written so that they stand alone but I was interested enough to want to read this one first. Personally I felt that having read 'Little Miracles'that I had more empathy with the characters thereby making the sequel more meaningful for me. A very eloquent novel that will tug at your heart strings, the inconclusive ending leaves you thinking and had me immediately reading the sequel.

The protagonists of the story are Julia and Charlie a couple whose young son Haydn goes missing on a beach in Spain and is assumed drowned. After the initial devastation and grief the couple deal with their loss in very different ways. The story is narrated alternately by Julia and Charlie, giving the reader the opportunity to see each viewpoint from the alternative perspectives. Julia has a strong need for answers, which I found quite understandable despite everyone including her husband urging her to move on. It was harder to empathise with Charlie and in some ways his attitude irritated me. He did have a lot of problems on his mind not just his missing son, but his and Julia's relationship with each other and his Spanish based family, plus his highly demanding job. It is not possible to go into more detail without spoiling the novel for those yet to read, so I urge you to do so if you are a fan of contemporary fiction.

Giselle Green is an author that I wish I had discovered way back in 2008, when her her first novel Pandora's Box was first published. So many books and so little time meant that unfortunately I did not read it until a few months ago! Making up for lost time now I am catching up and enjoying her writing style, enough to say that I would now recommend her to anyone that appreciates stories with a moral basis. An author that is a good choice for Book Club selection as her novels evoke a whole range of subjects for discussion. 


Link to my earlier reviews Pandora's Box   Falling For You

Author Profile




Born in Chiswick, London, UK.  Giselle Green was brought up in Gibraltar from the age of seven to eighteen when she returned to the UK to study Biology at King's College London, followed by an MSc in Information Science at the City University. She is also a qualified Astrologer, with a particular interest in medieval astrology.
Her début novel Pandora's Box won the Romantic Novelists' Association New Writer's Award in 2008. Her third novel, A Sister's Gift achieved best-selling number one slot on Amazon Kindle in 2012.
Her fifth novel, the sequel to Little Miracles - Finding You - was released on Kindle on the 30th March 2014 and will be published as a paperback later in the year.
Giselle now lives in Kent with her husband and their six sons.
A fuller biography appears on her website here

The biographical information and photo used in this post are with thanks to the following websites, where you can also find more information about the author and her writing.

Goodreads Author Profile       Amazon Author Profile     Giselle Green - Twitter


Author's Official Website - Giselle Green   Facebook Profile - Giselle Green Author



Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Soldier's Wife by Joanna Trollope


Hardback: 320 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Fiction
Publisher: Doubleday 2012
Source: Tywyn Public Library
First Sentence: Even before her eyes were open, Isabel could tell that the house was awake.
Review Quote: 
'The Soldier's Wife is a cracking read and has clearly been thoroughly researched. All the little details which animate a novel ring true. ....compassionate, humourous and topical' --Spectator, Feb 2012
My Opinion: A sensitive portrayal of forces life and how families cope with the aftermath of deployment. 


I am a long time fan of Joanna Trollope. Have been reading her novels since her first 'The Choir' was published in 1989 and always found her novels to be light and entertaining, 'Aga Sagas' used to be the popular term for them. In fact it is many years since I last read one, though I have a few reclining on my bookshelves, somehow they never got read whilst I was living abroad! Having now rectified this by reading this latest title, I now intend to catch up with her back catalogue just as soon as I can. Although the term 'Aga Saga' is not heard much nowadays it does still seem to describe her writing about contemporary relationships. Certainly 'The Soldier's Wife' is a sensitive portrayal of forces life and how families cope with the aftermath of deployment. 

Alexa Riley is married to Dan, a major in the British Army currently on a six month tour of Afghanistan. Coping alone with toddler twins and a teenager she is very much looking forward to his imminent return from deployment to have his support again with the trials and tribulations of family life. Dan though is a highly trained fighter and returning to domesticity is not an easy one, as he continues to focus on the problems faced by his unit rather than those of his own family. Failing to connect with Alexa, the couple seem to be heading for marital disaster as Dan continues to remain oblivious to family issues that need resolving. The 21C forces wife has changed and while Alexa is prepared to support her husband, unlike earlier generations who gave up everything to do so, she is determined to keep her own identity and lead a fulfilling life of her own. Will these issues be resolved?

Sadly the storyline in this novel is one that far too many forces families around the world face on a daily basis. It is impossible to fully understand the issues without personal experience but reading this will go some way to giving you an insight. Recommended to fans of contemporary fiction and anyone that wants to try to understand a little more about the difficulties of family life within the forces. 


I am including the link to a very interesting interview that Joanna Trollope gave to the BBC on the difficulties facing military families.  BBC Interview

Joanna Trollope introduces The Soldier's Wife.


Author Profile





Joanna Trollope was born on 9 December 1943 in her grandfather's rectory in Minchinhampton, Gloucestershire, England, daughter of Rosemary Hodson and Arthur George Cecil Trollope. She is the eldest of three siblings. She is a fifth-generation niece of the Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope and is a cousin of the writer and broadcaster James Trollope. She was educated at Reigate County School for Girls followed by St Hugh's College, Oxford. On 14 May 1966, she married the banker David Roger William Potter, they had two daughters, Antonia and Louise. In 1983 they divorced, two years later, she married the television dramatist Ian Curteis, they divorced in 2001.

From 1965 to 1967, she worked at the Foreign Office. From 1967 to 1979, she was employed in a number of teaching posts before she became a writer full-time in 1980. In 1996 she was awarded the OBE for services to literature.She now lives alone in London.


The biographical information and photo used in this post are with thanks to the following websites, where you can also find more information about the author and her writing.

Author Profile - Goodreads   Amazon - Joanna Trollope    Wikipedia - Joanna Trollope   YouTube Video

BBC Interview   Facebook - Joanna Trollope  Official Author Website