I don’t read a lot of books, and when I do read, I like to explore a range of genres and authors so it’s rare for me to explore an author’s work past 1 novel. However, Liane Moriarty is the brains behind Big Little Lies, the book that went on to become a hugely successful TV show. I’m yet to watch season 2 (so little time!) but I was completely sucked into the mystery of season 1 so it’s definitely on the to-do list. I’ve also read Truly Madly Guilty, another of Moriarty’s novels. Whilst I didn’t love it, I could appreciate the author’s talent for spinning and unraveling a mystery so I knew I wanted to read more.
Although it isn’t one of her more recent books, I ended up choosing The Husband’s Secret. It’s been in my Goodreads list for a while now and seems to be one of the best rated books in Moriarty’s collection. 550,000 reviewers can’t be wrong, surely? The Husband’s Secret starts with introducing a host of characters, who all seem vastly different to begin with, but whose stories merge as the book goes on.
Cecilia lives a seemingly perfect life, great husband, great kids, successful business, beautiful house. Until she comes across a letter, written by her husband, addressed to her to read in the event of his death. She doesn’t open it – but when she mentions the letter to her husband, his reaction isn’t what she was expecting.
I feel like I shouldn’t really tell you much more, because there are lots of twists along the way and I might accidentally reveal things without meaning to. Just know that I highly recommend it! My biggest issue with Truly Madly Guilty was that there was clearly a big reveal that was building up, so much so that when the cat is finally out of the bag, it feels quite anti-climatic. This isn’t the case with The Husband’s Secret. I didn’t see the twist coming, so I was shocked but not actually surprised. However – that moment is just the start, and the drama kicks up a storm after that point.
I’m being really cryptic, aren’t I? It’s so tough to discuss stories like this without giving things away! Just know that if you’re a fan of the genre, this is one you’ll want to read.
I’m behind on my book reviews somehow so you’ll probably see two from me this week! I’ll start with Klara and the Sun, though. This was a read that was well out of my comfort zone, but seemed to be talked about so highly that my curiosity wouldn’t allow me to ignore it! Klara is an AF, or Artificial Friend, a robot designed to be a companion for a child. All AF’s have their own micro personalities and Klara is more observant than most of her kind. She’s fascinated by the window in the store of which she resides and she worships the sun and it’s healing powers.
What I liked most about this book is that it makes you work things out for yourself. There’s no explanation of what an AF is, why they were designed or what their main purpose is, we’re left to work that out for ourselves. It made the first couple of chapters a difficult read for me, but I prefer this approach than being spoon-fed information just for the sake of it. There’s a lot here that’s open for interpretation and although I’m not a member of any, I imagine it would be a great book of choice for a book club to read and then gather to discuss it’s themes!
Of course, it isn’t too long before Klara is purchased and she gets an owner and a home. This is where the story picked up the pace as we learn about Jodie and her health issues, as well as hints about a ‘procedure’ that children in this fictional world are often put through. The story is all told through Klara’s perspective which can get confusing at times, but it was interesting to read how she sees things.
I can’t say I loved Klara and the Sun though, to be truthful. There was a lot I enjoyed and found fascinating, but the ending wasn’t the revelation I was hoping it would be. I get the feeling that the point of the story is something much deeper, quieter and thoughtful but it was a bit lost on me. I’d still recommend it, though!
I’m going to make a deal right now – once April rolls around I’m going to stop complaining about lockdowns and feeling miserable – I promise! Just give me 2 more days because, well, I already wrote the posts and complained in them. So, during the long and depressing month of March I felt the need to be cheered up and also for my next book to be something light, fun and easy to read at night. Scrolling through the books I already had on my Kindle I stumbled across Big Sexy Love by Kirsty Greenwood and it ticked all of my boxes.
Olive Brewster lives a simple but happy life – she works with two lovely ladies at the local market, lives happily with her brother and his (slightly overbearing) girlfriend, and has an amazing best friend named Birdie. The problem is, Birdie is dying. Olive has known this for a long time but one day in hospital Birdie is upset. She knows she doesn’t have long left and asks Olive for the biggest favour she’s ever asked. To fly to New York, track down Birdie’s old childhood love, and deliver a letter to him. Olive of course accepts, but she’s never flown before or even left the city she lives in, and she’s terrified.
Loads of reviews I read claimed that readers laughed out loud constantly whilst reading Big Sexy Love and honestly I have to ask – have you ever laughed out loud whilst reading? I can’t say I have. It’s not to say the book isn’t funny because it is, but Ii feel like it’s an exaggeration. Anyway, I really enjoyed this, it was exactly what I hoped it would be and it would work so well as a movie – please make it happen movie gods!
I’d file Big Sexy Love into the ‘airport reads’ box which I hope doesn’t sound demeaning, it’s just that it’s fast paced enough to read quickly and the story is nice and light hearted. It’s no surprise that there’s a very emotional part towards the end but overall it would make a great holiday read, or, like me, a nice way to pull yourself out of a bad mood!
It’s been almost a full month since I last wrote a book review, because it’s taken me almost a full month to read my latest book! I’m a slow reader at the best of times but I also read exclusively at bedtime and I’ve been so tired lately I’ve only managed a few pages before my Kindle is literally falling out of my hands and onto my face. I promise it’s only tiredness that’s lead me to take so long to read The Last Wish though, I really enjoyed it!
The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski is the first book in a series of tales of Geralt, the Witcher. You might have already heard of the Netflix series starring Henry Cavil, and/or the series of hugely popular video games. I’ve poured hours upon hours into the latest game, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and as reluctant as I was to see the Netflix show – I gave it a go and was pleasantly surprised. I’ve heard only great things about the books and I’ve had The Last Wish on my kindle for over a year now since it was on sale, so I finally gave it a read.
This first book feels less a full novel and more a collection of side quests that Geralt finds himself a part of. It makes for really easy reading and fans of the show will enjoy the fact that it matches the first season quite closely. It has a strong resemblance to the detailed side quests that you find yourself on whilst playing the game. Geralt himself has a more much level head than I do when playing though, I’m so quick to take sides and the real Geralt really does take a step back. It’s going to make me think a little harder about my decisions when I next play the game.
As much as I’d lie to – if I read the entire collection of Witcher books it would most likely take me months and I’d like to read as wide a variety as possible. I’ll probably read the next book after a few others. All in all though I was impressed even though my expectations were already high. There’s something to enjoy for fans of the games, the Netflix show and even for readers who know nothing about Geralt!
So far, so good, I’m still on track for my Goodreads Challenge of 20 books read in 2021! For my next book I chose something more out of my comfort zone. At the time of writing, Where the Crawdads Sing has been in the New York Times Best Sellers list for 120 weeks. Can you believe that? It wouldn’t actually matter to me what the book was about, something that good would instantly be on my radar.
In a quiet fishing village called Barkley Cove, a young girl known locally as ‘the Marsh Girl’ fends for herself after the rest of her family has left her. She’s smart and resourceful and manages to get by. Running parallel to her story is a murder case, that of Chase Andrews, a young man who was very popular in the village. As they always do, the two stories combine when the Marsh Girl (Kya) is found to be a suspect.
I found this book to be very slow and difficult to get lost in to begin with. I had to keep flicking back to the start of the chapters to try and remind myself where I was in the story’s timeline. A few chapters in though, it clicked and there were some nights I found myself reading until I literally couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore. Ii felt so desperately sad for Kya and the hardship that she’s suffered. Not many people would be able to endure what she did, but she kept going.
If you read here often enough you’ll know I’m a sucker for a mystery so you’ll believe me when I say I found the murder case and the trial the most fascinating part to read. I won’t give anything away of course but it was a really satisfying end with a final twist that shocked me. I can definitely see why it’s been so popular and I have no doubt that movie rights will be snapped up in due course. Well worth a read!