The Nest

For those of you who want to know more about this book with a lot of hype…

The  NestThe Nest is the story of the Plumb family who are all middle aged adults, hoping to cash in on their promised fortune which each and everyone of them have bankrolled their futures against.  This is a fine idea until Mumma raids the kitty for the favourite son, and all their futures start to look a little different.

There were some things I really enjoyed about this book, but the main, selfish sibling Leo, wasn’t one of them.  Kind of shame really because it would’ve helped.  I don’t necessarily think you need to like him but even to despise him would’ve helped.  For me he was a little insipid and perhaps typical of the person in life whom you are constantly disappointed by so I was then frustrated when the other siblings thought so much of him.  The other brother also had is pathetic moments but was a well redeemed character by the end of the novel.  Unfortunately I didn’t feel his relationship was overly convincing.

So then there is the sister’s – both caught up in their own selfish little universes.  I guess as I write this they all are and perhaps that is what so many love about this novel.  But when so many people are really like this (not my siblings for the record!), why not read something a little more aspirational?  All families have their quirks but no thanks on this one for me!  And what grown adult is stupid enough to bankroll their future on someone else’ cash.  Why not work hard and get it done, aren’t dreams achieved more satisfying when you get there yourself?

Do I think you should read this?  Some of you will love it, I just wasn’t really in the mood for it.  It is well  written and the characters are fairly believable (perhaps that’s my issue).  I’d give it 3.5 stars.

Happy reading x

You sent me a letter

you sent me a letterI have a feeling this was billed as the next “Gone Girl”, and yes, absolutely a psychological thriller but nothing is ever that weird!   But this was close!

Dawson’s book is about a woman is sleeping one night and gets a visitor (the really creepy kind) who simply hands her a note and makes clear his message and disappears.  She is unequivocally aware that her every move is being monitored and she has less than a day to fess up to whatever has triggered this before her birthday dinner that evening.

What I loved about this book… the twists, the gumption of the baddie, the naivety of the central character and those around her.  The pace was also quite good and there is a magical dress (not literally), but who doesn’t love the magical dress that makes you feel perfect!  I loved the Mum too.

I didn’t love all the characters, but I think that is the point of this book because like ‘Gone Girl’, even when you think you get a resolution you are still not sure.  Dawson did that really effectively.  Unlikeable characters can be a really good thing.

I didn’t love the central event or the evening (don’t want to story kill), but in a sense that doesn’t make or break the book.

Would I recommend it?  Yes, holiday read for sure.

Happy reading x

Before I met you

Before I met youFinally, reading rut broken.  Thanks Jill for the recommendation.  After 2 months of barely a book I finally found something I wanted to read in every spare minute and was back to disappearing to bed at 8pm to read as much as I could… and then wake in the middle of the night to read some more!  My sleeping habits might be a little out of whack but hey, it’s a long weekend and it’s nice to be able to do your own thing a bit.

Before I met you is the story of Betty, and it is the story of Arlette – Betty’s step grandmother.  Arlette is an old, cranky woman who dies early in the book and leaves Betty with a puzzle to solve and she jumps at the chance of an adventure and spreading her wings from the tiny, cloistered life she has led on the Isle of Guernsey.

Betty moves to Soho with the mission to find Clara Pickle, but life gets a little distracting and there are some realities for her – like money.  Fortunately (because it is a nice piece of chic lit), these have some cleanish resolutions in fairy tale type ways but Betty is also strong enough to be her own person so it isn’t a total sell out. The style of the story jumping between Arlette and Betty worked really well for me and I wanted at times for it to concentrate on one character more than another but the narrative is nicely woven together.

The book isn’t ever going to make it to the classics but I really enjoyed it and the escapism.  We all need different things at different times and this was exactly what I needed.  It rate it 4 stars and a great beach/holiday read.

Happy reading x

My name is Lucy Barton

Another book with a whole lot of hype.  It is getting incredibly good reviews everywhere so I amMy name is Lucy Barton going to put down my review as an anomaly.  Then I am going to blame that anomaly entirely on a huge reading rut.

Without boring you with personal details… my magically amazing work life balance is way out of whack at the moment and I have my head in paperwork a little more than normal.  Added to that I have been totally sucked into the new series of House of Cards (which is freaking amazing! – get watching).  Oh, and a bit of Scandal, Suits & Billions… and everything I pick up to read just bores me.  This has been going on for  weeks and so I though My name is Lucy Barton would be the book that turned it all around for me.

The book is about Lucy Barton (!) It is incredibly lame in my opinion as she goes on about herself and the hard bits of life, alludes to some horrendous growing up years but never dishes the dirt on these and what they actually involved, seems to have highly dysfunctional relationships with most people and the ending was so forgettable I can’t remember the point of the book.  So would I rate it?  NO!  Again!  Only 2 stars but truly, maybe I missed something as it is getting great reviews and Margo over at Lectio Me had a totally different opinion and we usually have quite similar tastes.

Perhaps check out some broader reviews than mine if you think you’d like it!

Happy reading x

 

 

Gold Fame Citrus

Gold Fame CitrusI literally read this book months ago but my reading has gone on such a ridiculous go slow (more about that later), that I haven’t got around to reviewing it (again, more about that later!

I really wanted to be able to tell you I loved this book and when I got into it I wanted to tell you it was a cautionary tale about refugees & environment, which it is to an extent.  But honestly, I just didn’t love it.  In fact, in the end I barely even liked it.   Why push through?  Because there was so much about it that I could’ve liked.

The characters weren’t one though… they were absolutely detestable.  Yet, I loved Girl on the Train and she was pretty unredeemable.  I just wanted to scream at them ‘don’t do it… this can only end badly’ on so many occasions… with the baby… heading off into the desert.  Really, how stupid can two people be!  And how did they get themselves into this situation in the first place.  Why weren’t they more pro-active in being in charge of their own destiny.  Perhaps that is part of the author’s point, that if we can think that tragedy cannot befall us.

So a bit about the plot… you can probably read a more intriguing plot descriptor elsewhere but this is mine.  Two people go live in someone else’s house as most of the West Coast of America is coming to ruin because of environmental issues (which the author labours over and never really makes a winning point of).  It is a pretty cool house of some mega rich Hollywood actress but that part of the plot can only take you so far.  They make a decision that means they have to move on but really, have left their run way to late and it gets a bit border line conspiracy theory with no resolution for my liking.

Would I recommend it?  NO!  I’d give it about 2 stars at best.  Sorry… but save your reading for something better.

Happy reading x

American Wife

American WifeCurtis Sittenfield (author of Prep – an all time fave for me), has written a big (500 page!) novel ostensibly about Laura and George bush… but not really, it is about Alice Lindgren, a librarian in a small American town who just happens to fall in love with a cad, who buys and manages a baseball team and then becomes president! (Yep, so it’s all about Laura Bush).

Before this might totally cut you off – because they are not a family I was overly interested in reading about, read on… Sittenfield is a great writer and the novel is as much about what it was to be a women in that era.

I loved the way Sittenfield took you into the life of Alice and to be fair it made me look at George slightly differently.  It made me think of the TV show ‘Scandal’ a little – who makes a president?  Are they just so manufactured that it is a combination of right place, right time, right connections, right money?  Certainly it seems the case when you are reading this book.  What really kept me reading this book was the strength of Alice.  I think I wanted to be a bit like her; smart, independent, self aware, capable and confident.  But no one’s story is easy either and that is what gives this a depth.  Sittenfield has a beautiful and very real way of tackling the hard issues, and Alice has her share for someone who may seem quite privileged.

For me there was also something a little bit Gatsby about the excess of the life of ‘George’s’ family and especially their summer place.  And Alice should be the voice of Nick –

remember that all the people in this world haven’t had all the advantages that you’ve had.

Alice let me down here… she should’ve fought harder for ‘all the people in this world.’  But that’s just my opinion!

Read it – 4.5 stars

Happy reading x

Sunshine Blogger Award

So I got nominated for this!

I see all these types of things on other people’s blogs but wasn’t quite into it… now I am thanks to Margot over at lectito.me.  The idea is that you answer 11 questions and nominated 11 others.

  1.  What do you love most about reading?
    The easiest and most difficult question I will answer.  What I love about reading is the total escape from life it is, that I can turn out the lights, blink on the kindle and submerge myself in another universe that requires my whole attention (not 12 minute blocks between ad breaks), for as long as I desire.  I love that I can do it anywhere.  I love that it can capture any mood I am in – to escape into some other woman’s life, to be a teenager again, to be smarter, to live in an alternate universe, another time or momentarily live in Manhattan.
  2. Why did I start book blogging?
    I started book blogging because I wanted to read a book a week. It had been a goal of mine for a long time but I thought by creating a blog it would give me more accountability.  I also did it because so often I forget what I read and I get asked for recommendations so often that this was a way of sharing these and keeping track of books.
  3. What’s my favourite thing to do besides read?
    Sleep
  4. Where am I from and what’s something most people don’t know about my hometown/city?
    Vexed question… so I’ll go with where I am currently living.  I live in Darwin in the Northern Territory, Australia.  You probably know about the crocs!  What you may not know is that Darwin was bombed over 200 times during World War II and many people left a fledgling city, 30 years later it was again destroyed by Cyclone Tracey and left almost deserted again.  Today it is coming into it’s own.
  5. Who’s your favourite local author and why?
    Helen Garner – ‘cos she’s written so many books that have captured my imagination and attention.
  6. If I had to get a book quote tattoo which would I pick?
    I’ll just put it out there… I am not getting a tattoo.  So let’s imagine me with a permanent poster above my bed instead!  That’s surely a big enough commitment!

whenever

 

7.  What three books should everyone add to their reading pile?

The Alchemist – Paul Coehlo
The Wife Drought – Annabel Crabb
Quiet – Susan Cain

8.  What’s your favourite ‘classic’ and why?
The Great Gatsby – it’s just so beautiful and so lonely all together.  I think it holds the magic and possibility of life as well as the angst we can all feel all in one.  Plus, it is the first classic I read that I truly loved & understood so it wins!

9.  Name a book that left you sleepless…
The Natural Way of Things is probably the most recent one.  I often spend hours awake thinking about what I’ve read.

10.  Seventh sentence on the current page of the book I’m reading…
‘It was important to have a project, Ray said, no matter how frivolous.”  Gold, Citrus, Fame.

11.  Show us a picture of your favourite book cover?

The_Giving_Tree

Thanks so much Margot for nominating me… I’m just a bit pumped 🙂

The rules are:

  • Thank the person who nominated you!
  • Answer the 11 questions you were asked.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and let them know they were nominated.
  • Ask the nominees 11 questions

So I nominate:

Drizzle and hurricane

Georgia @ The bibliomaniac

Nicola @ Literary ramblings

Fork in my page

Jacklin @ the Bibliophagist

Anje @ love thy shelf

read & survive

Lynn @ smoke & mirrors

Lianne @ eclectictales

Alicia @ a kernel of nonsense

readingmama @ a bookwormy Mama

My 11 questions for you all…

  1. Why do you read?
  2. What happens when you go into a bookstore?
  3. What is a book that you love the look of (cover) but probably won’t read?
  4. What is a bookish quote that still speaks to you?
  5. Hard copy books or ebooks?
  6. Why do you follow other blogs?
  7. Who is a blogger you really like?
  8. What is it that motivates you to blog?
  9. What gets you up in the morning?
  10. Top 3 books everyone must read…
  11. Cover art to die for… (pretty pics please)!

Can’t wait to hear from you and I’ll provide a link on my blog back to your comments.

Happy reading x

 

 

The Farm

The FarmThis has been on my reading list since June last year and I am so glad to finally read it I did it in a day… okay that day did include a 6hr flight which helped!

The Farm is the story of a young man’s parents who go off to live on a farm in Sweden.  Ostensibly the reasons for going there are pretty straight forward – they’ve always been gardeners (professionally and for a hobby) and the mother grew up in Sweden until she moved to the UK at age 16.  Out of the blue she calls her son and says that she is coming to visit, not to tell anyone and wait for her.  His father also calls and warns him that his mother is mentally ill.  The son also has some secrets of his own.  The novel is the unfolding of the mother’s story.  It is the story of the son making a choice who to believe and navigating the secrets and stories of his parent’s together.  There is a very small element of a coming of age story to this… but not in self understanding so much as in understanding one’s family and that life is often complex.

This is a gripping and attention grabbing read.  It is not to long and would definitely fit into the mystery/thriller category.  If you liked Gone Girl, The Grown ups or Disclaimer I would recommend this to you.  Sometimes books are more ‘girl’ reads or ‘boy’ reads (sorry to pander to the gender stereotypes I so hate but this I would say guys who like fiction would enjoy.  The story is both complex and simple all at the same time.  Without killing it… there is an ending so for those of you who hate books that leave you hanging you will be satisfied with this one!

I’d give it 4 stars.

Happy reading x

The Selection trilogy

The SelectionA trilogy!  Woohoo… and I read all three J  Loving that!  I have already recommended these to my sister who is a big fan of this genre and she has given me the thumbs up on them.  So if my recommendation is not enough… maybe hers will give you the incentive you need.

These books have been reviewed everywhere and they are not my typical style but I needed something different – a bit of fantasy/teen fiction did the job just perfectly.  I felt reviewing them together was fairer.  They are certainly books that lend themselves to reading all three.

The story is of the heir to the throne who rather than seek his own bride, is given 30 to choose from.  In this version of the world there are 30 districts (or the like) and within the districts, 8 castes.  The 8th caste are the homeless, the seventh the help and we go on down from there until we get to the 1st – the elite.  Our heroine is from the fifth class and is in love (unbeknowns to her family).  Her boyfriend and family all insist she put in for the selection, obviously expecting her to miss out but she is selected and this is where our story begins.  She is feisty and unimpressed by the process but makes and immediate ally in the prince and so would seem more set for success than expected.  The story takes the three books to unfold but is simple, pacey and engaging.  Whilst fantasy it is just imagineable and the characters are multi dimensional.

Would I recommend them… absolutely yes for a nice easy little escape from the rest of the world.  Curl up on the couch under a doona just like I did and you’ll be through them in no time.

Happy reading x

P.s.  there is a 4th I’ve just downloaded but if I tell you the title it’ll give too much away 😉

The Other Side of the World

Wowowoowowowow!  What a lovely start to 2016.  Thank you Anna for lending this to me. The other side of the world This is a great and somewhat timeless tale.  I’ve spoke to 3 people who read it and they all got something different out of it.  Before I go into that though… a brief plot summation. Oh… and let me tell you the writing itself is just beautiful.

The book begins in England where Charlotte falls in love with an up and coming college professor.  After the birth of her first baby it would seem she has post natal depression, though given the time setting of the story it is most appropriate that the author does not refer to it thus.  After the birth of the second child the house is small and the cold wears on them all.  The glossy brochures promising a better life in Australia are alluring for Henry and he pressures Charlotte to move.  Charlotte however, is accustomed to the landscaped.  Perhaps accustomed is not a strong enough word because the eventual move is difficult for the family and Charlotte’s heart never really seems to make the journey with them.

What the story is about though is multi-layered.  One reader I spoke to resonated strongly with the sense of finding home and where home might be.  What makes a place home?  Another resonated strongly of the description of the long hours at home with small children.  What mother can’t at times?  I remember reading another book The Mother’s Group where the author said that:

the years go so quickly but it is the minutes and the hours that go so slowly.

Who has not clock watched after a long day spent with children whom you adore?  Finally, another reader talked of the juggle of self and her own identity as a person as against a mother and wife.  How do you balance your own passions so they too do not become another task?

I think there are also interesting themes and topics to discuss given the time of the book – racism for one, family responsibilities (extended family in particular) and the infamous “ten pound pom” offer.  It would be an excellent book for a book club – something for everyone.  I think too, there is enough in this for a male reader too.  The challenge of balancing work and family and pursuing professional interests is all here too.

Should you read it?  For sure… I’m only going 4.5 stars, I could be very tempted for 5… but the bar is very high!

Happy reading x