Book Reviews

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

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.

Blogathons · Book Reviews · TV Shows

TMP Television Edition: Book to TV Adaptations

Thursday Movie Picks

These Thursday’s sure do roll by pretty quickly since I started taking part in Wandering Through the Shelves’ Thursday Movie Picks! If you didn’t know already, the last Thursday of the month is dedicated to TV Shows. I don’t get to watch as much TV as I used to but I’ve definitely seen enough to recommend 3 great shows today.

I’m giving an honourable mention this week to Game of Thrones, as it’s probably the biggest and most popular example of a Book to TV adaptation, but my love of it has waned over the years. Too many bad decisions were made and although I’m looking forward to seeing the last season this year, I’m kind of glad it’ll all be over soon, to be honest.

Anyway, let’s talk about these 3 great shows!

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You (2018 – ) Based on You by Caroline Kepnes

If you haven’t seen You on Netflix yet there’s no doubt you’ll have probably heard of it by now. There’s only 1 season out so far, although a second is in the works, and it’s perfect for binging whilst ill – which is, funnily enough, how I ended up watching the entire lot in 2 days. Penn Badgley plays a bookstore manager who becomes obsessed with a girl and begins to stalk her both physically and digitally. It never goes as dark as you may perhaps wish it to, but it’s definitely worth a watch.

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Big Little Lies (2017 – ) Based on Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

I love a good mystery story, I love a star-studded female cast and I love the beach, so Big Little Lies was made for me! Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and Shailene Woodley are the leads in this show which starts with a murder and ends in the answers. I’ve heard a second season is in the works with this one too but I’m not sure how to feel about that, I think it worked perfectly as a one-off. Don’t over-think this one, just enjoy the ride and let it surprise you!

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13 Reasons Why (2017 – ) Based on Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

This one comes with a warning – I’m only including this one for the first season. I thought 13 Reasons Why was one of the greatest shows to ever grace our screens when it came out. It was compelling and it had such important messages for struggling teens. In the show, Hannah Baker has committed suicide and left behind 13 tapes which record the reasons why she did it. Each episode is a different tape and it works so well. So well in fact that it got renewed for a pointless second season which made no sense, and we’re also getting a third. Sigh!

Book Reviews

Book Review: Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty

I’ve been putting off writing this review for so long, that I’ve actually finished reading another book already. Thing is, I don’t like being a negative nelly, but I had such a love/hate relationship with this book. Picking a book to read is so much different than picking a movie to watch. With a movie, you know the cast, you’ve seen at least 1 feature trailer, and you’ve got a pretty good idea about the plot.

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When it comes to a book, you don’t know any of the characters, and personally, I like to make the decision from the blurb on the back and recommendations alone. It’s fun to go in as blind as possible. I haven’t read enough to know what my favourite book genre is yet, but when I read the blurb for Truly Madly Guilty, I got a little bit giddy with excitement. It sounded like my favourite kind of movie! Here it is if you’ve never heard of the book before:

“Despite their differences, Erika and Clementine have been best friends since they were children. So when Erika needs help, Clementine should be the obvious person to turn to. Or so you’d think. For Clementine, as a mother of a two desperately trying to practise for the audition of a lifetime, the last thing she needs is Erika asking for something, again.

But the barbecue should be the perfect way to forget their problems for a while. Especially when their hosts, Vid and Tiffany, are only too happy to distract them.

Which is how it all spirals out of control…”

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Essentially, you have 3 couples who meet one day for a barbecue. Each chapter focuses on the viewpoint of one of these characters, first in the present day, dealing with the aftermath of what transpired, and then on the day of the barbecue itself, and as the book goes on you slowly start to learn just what happened that has caused so much chaos and upset.

The main issue I had was just HOW LONG this book was, and how many pages were used telling me nothing at all. I think it was over half way that I finally learnt what happened, and by then my reaction was sort of ‘is that it?’. It was a terrible thing that happened of course, but given so much time to come up with theories, I genuinely thought a murder had happened that someone was trying to cover up.

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I spent every day reading this having a not so quiet rage about how I still didn’t know what happened, and when I did, I raged about how it shouldn’t have been that big of a deal. Plus, by the time I learned what went down, I kind of stopped caring all together. There was a final twist towards the very end that struck a chord with me, but it was built up to in such a way that you kind of assumed it was coming.

What also didn’t help was that every character is easy to hate at multiple parts of the story. That wouldn’t matter so much if there was a lot going on, but so much time is spent just describing these characters in their day to day lives, that they just grate on your nerves a little.

Still, I think it’s a book that’s worth reading, but the key is setting your expectations at the right level before going in. Perhaps that’s my fault for going in practically blind, or expecting a Gone Girl style twist, but I expected too much. If you can focus on every chapter and enjoy it for what it is, I imagine it would be a very enjoyable read! It hasn’t put me off Liane Moriarty as a writer though, because I’ve heard her other novels are great, so watch this space.

Going Off Topic

Going Off Topic (#2) I need a Panic Room of my own!

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I watched Panic Room last night for the first time. It’s a movie I’ve been dying to see for ages, because I’ve lost count of the amount of people who have recommended it to me. For some reason, when I tell them the kind of movies I like, this is the first thing that springs to mind. So, I enjoyed the movie plenty, but I think I expected more? I guess I know how the people disappointed with La La Land feel.

Now I’m sounding ungrateful, I know. It was a very suspenseful movie and if I saw it at the cinema I would have been wetting myself. It was also one of the very few roles that I liked Jared Leto in, and has got to (surely?) be the only movie Kristen Stewart has been in that she hasn’t been given stick for!

This week I feel like I could do with a Panic Room of my own to hide out in. Doesn’t it suck when the actual real world and adult responsibilities gets in the way of having fun, watching movies, and blogging? I hope I can tell you more soon, but the house move is progressing rather quickly! We had a meeting with our Solicitor to go through the contracts and we had to pretend that we knew what he was talking about, so we nodded at the right moments, frowned in thought often and signed our lives away several times.

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Now we just have to wait for a date! Meanwhile, we should be packing, but ain’t nobody got time for that? It’s best to wait till moving day and just throw everything into a van, right?

In movie news, if you have a Netflix subscription and you haven’t watched Michael Bolton’s Big, Sexy, Valentine’s Day Special yet, you really ought to. I was hooked from the first musical number about Christmas being only 10 months away. I also watched The Founder which I enjoyed more than I thought I would. Man was I craving a cheeseburger the whole time though. We had to head straight to a family birthday party when it finished and I came so close to taking a detour it’s not even funny.

I’m behind on book reviews, because I’ve finished Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty and started on Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick. Truly Madly Guilty is one of the most frustrating books I think I’ll ever read, but the payoff at the end made it worth it. I think. I’m not sure how to review it without sounding like I hated though, so watch this space, and don’t ever take me seriously. The mere mention of the word barbecue probably brings my Husband out in a rash, because he was the one to face my daily rants whilst reading that book. Sorry, honey.

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Enough about me though. Apologies to my favourite bloggers who’s posts I’ve missed, but I’ve been catching up over the weekend and I’ll be back in full force soon enough. Here are some of the great posts I’ve read lately:

Natasha at Life of this City Girl reviews my favourite movie of 2016, Hunt for the Wilderpeople.

Mickey at Our Movie Life shares 10 Hollywood Celebrities he’d like to have dinner with. I feel like a list of my own coming soon!

Brittani at Rambling Film has cast her 2017 Oscar Predictions. I won’t be able to watch this year so I’ll look forward to her reactions post!

Sean at Assholes Watching Movies was later to the John Wick game than me, but he’s seen and reviewed John Wick 2 already, so we’ll call it a draw.