Review ~ Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Phewf! Well, that was an intense week of listening! I’m going to hold my hands up shamefully admit that I’d held off from reading anything by the super popular author Liane Moriarty, simply because her fiction was so often labeled as chic lit. I conjured up aspersions of a bodice ripper type novel, empty angst or some other unfair generalization. Well, if this novel is classed as chic lit, then sign me the hell up! 

Big Little Lies follows a group of parents in a seaside Australian town. They have their rituals, meet at the school drop-offs, and have their cliques and issues. A new parent moves to town and soon makes fast friends, and indeed enemies. 

The novel starts off in an interview type manner, and we soon learn that something has happened at a school PTA quiz night. As we hear witness accounts of may or may not have happened that night, we are taken back to when Jane first arrives on the scene. 

What makes Moriarty’s novel such a hit, is not the plot; the plot, while good, is not one so unique that you wouldn’t ever see in a novel. No. Where Moriarty excels, is in her characters and their interaction. There is such razor sharp authenticity in how these parents and friends talk and act, that you really feel like you know them, and are there living with them. 

This is a brilliant novel that will keep you glued until the very end. If you’ve yet to start reading Moriarty, then Big Little Lies is a great place to start. 

~ Pegasus 

Big Little Lies

Review: The Pursuit by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg


I am addicted to these Fox and O’Hare novels. Federal agent O’Hare and genius criminal/informant Fox work together to catch super bad guys across the globe. Working so closely together, they’ve managed to peek into each other’s personal lives… and even fall in Like. 

The Pursuit gives the reader a double whammy. The pair finish a case in the beginning chapters and quickly land a new case… One they can’t even put on the books. One that sends them to Belgium and the Paris underground. It’s a con. Maybe the biggest con they’ve ever pulled. And their lives depend on them making zero mistakes. 

Part comedy, part MacGyver, and part Ocean’s Eleven, The Pursuit is the perfect light read to get me laughing and holding tight to the edge of my seat in the same chapter. I’ll read them as fast as Goldberg and Evanovich can write them. 

-calliope 

Buy THE PURSUIT

Review: Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris

15790837Oh my word. I just love David Sedaris. I would love to try to match wits with him at least a few times…perhaps pick up trash with him on summer afternoon. I love to enjoy his books via audio simply because he is just so delightful. His voice and his delivery is half the fun when it comes to enjoying his book.

This one is no different than any of his other books. I love hearing about his family. I marval at how he has moved beyond his wayward youth…

I also never giggle more with any other author. I am often shocked and outraged. So much so that I can’t stop laughing! Outraged or not, he is spot on! That’s what makes him so brilliant! If only we were all so brave to be so honest and open with the things we see around us…

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris

Review: The Little French Guesthouse by Helen Pollard


Emmy and Nathan take a trip to the French countryside to work on their relationship. But then Nathan gets, um, distracted. And then it all goes in the toilet and Emmy needs to find a better way to spend her holiday. Like maybe hanging out with the cute gardener, Ryan.  Or making friends with the older and wiser French maid. Or going into town and finding herself. 

I loved the food, the friends, the comraderie, the French phrases, the cute accountant Alain, and the eye candy in the garden. This is exemplar chick lit — light and sassy and easy, but with a substantial storyline, fleshed out characters, and sharp dialogue. 

My most favorite thing about this book is the Amazon listing that says it’s the first in a series. Yes! 

*happy dance… awaiting number two*

-calliope

Buy THE LITTLE FRENCH GUESTHOUSE (only 99¢ for kindle!)

Review: the one you really want  by Jill Mansell

  
Carmen is getting through the grief of losing her husband, her friend Nancy is getting over her ex-husband’s cheating ways, and the ladies are hanging out in posh Chelsea … where men seem to be popping up wherever they go. Some are eligible, some pretend to be, and some pretend NOT to be — all for the sake of love… and money. 

I loved the twists and turns in this romp through different levels of relationships. I enjoyed meeting the neighbors, the shelter folks, the gym rats, the long lost daughter… Mansell writes a fun cast of characters and dialogue that’s funny, tender, and believable. 

I appreciate Mansell’s talent for spinning a tale that’s pretty crazy, but just real enough that it could be true. And as always, I’m happy when the characters are happy, and sighing with joy when they live happily ever after. 

-calliope

Buy THE ONE YOU REALLY WANT

Review: Nobody But You by Jill Shalvis 

  
I never thought I’d love a Jill Shalvis series other than my First Jill Shalvis Series, Lucky Harbor. But I am falling in love all over again. Maybe it’s Cedar Ridge itself – sort of reminds me of Robyn Carr’s town of Virgin River, or maybe it’s the Kincaid brothers, but either way Shalvis has me hooked. 

In Nobody But You, military guy Jacob Kincaid returns home to his estranged twin brother and several other siblings (who are happier to see him than his twin pretends to be). Jacob didn’t realize there was more waiting for him in Cedar Ridge: one spit-fire Sophie Marren, recently divorced from her cheating ex-husband and living in a boat illegally moored at, yup, Jacob’s dock. 

Nobody But You reads total Shalvis: authentic and witty dialogue, lots of affection and competition among siblings, and great views. What sets this story apart from her others is the spice factor. Shalvis describes a lot more bedroom activity than usual, though not a gratuitous sentence in the bunch. Every kiss and caress reflects the passion Sophie and Jacob develop for each other, because of and despite misunderstandings and heartfelt fears of commitment. 

The only question I had at the end was Who’s Next to fall in love in Cedar Ridge now that the Kincaid brothers are taken? 😉 

-calliope 

Buy NOBODY BUT YOU

Review – A Long Way Down, by Nick Hornby.

10073People say that brain surgery is hard, and I agree, it probably is, but I also imagine that writing a story about suicide, and making it into a dark comedy, is also very hard!   Nick Hornby has achieved this major feat in his novel, A Long Way Down.   Now, this book came out 10 years ago, but it is the first Hornby novel that I have read.   I’d always been interested in picking up one of his novels (Hornby is perhaps most famously known for his novel, About a Boy), but it was a case of never pulling the trigger, so to speak.    Well, I’m certainly glad that I did!

The novel explores the lives and interactions of four characters that incidentally meet on the top of a building on New Years Eve; all have the intent of jumping off said building.    Hmmm…. Sounds pretty grim, huh?   Well, let me give you an example of what drew me in:

Can I explain why I wanted to jump off the top of  tower block?  Of course I can explain why I wanted to jump off the top of a tower block.  I’m not a bloody idiot.  I can explain it because it wasn’t inexplicable: It wasn’t a logical decision, the product of proper thought.  It wasn’t even very serious thought, either.

The first few lines of the book are full of dark humor, philosophy (actual, realistic philosophical thinking) and candor.   Hornby’s use of the first person narrative really draws you in and entices you into each character’s experiences and story.   Talking of which, the characters are a huge reason this novel works so well; each character is real.  They all have their flaws, and you will spend a considerable amount of time disliking them, wanting to slap them silly, but at the same time, wanting to give them a hug and talk things out with them.   I think when you’re story circles around such a profound and personal theme of wondering how your life has ended up the way it has and not seeing any way forward, the characters need to be real; they need to be human – someone we can relate to.

Hornby is British, so his humor is very dark, discrete and dry.  I personally loved it, but I can see how a lot of people may miss it, or simply not find it amusing.   However, I think this novel will have something for everyone, as it offers hope, perspective and a good old fashioned kick up the rear end.    It’s not all doom and gloom, but it also doesn’t offer a glossy shine on life.  Oh, and there is a film version of this book, on Netflix, and while it isn’t a bad  film, it doesn’t offer nearly the same amount as the book does (and in my opinion, the casting person for that movie should have read the book a little more carefully!), so steer clear until you have finished the book!

Until next time,

Pegasus.

A Long Way Down