Liane Moriarty

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Talking About Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty with Chrissi Reads

Published April 14, 2019 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

Could ten days at a health resort really change you forever? In Liane Moriarty’s latest page-turner, nine perfect strangers are about to find out…

Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amidst all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be.

Frances Welty, the formerly best-selling romantic novelist, arrives at Tranquillum House nursing a bad back, a broken heart, and an exquisitely painful paper cut. She’s immediately intrigued by her fellow guests. Most of them don’t look to be in need of a health resort at all. But the person that intrigues her most is the strange and charismatic owner/director of Tranquillum House. Could this person really have the answers Frances didn’t even know she was seeking? Should Frances put aside her doubts and immerse herself in everything Tranquillum House has to offer – or should she run while she still can?

It’s not long before every guest at Tranquillum House is asking exactly the same question.

Combining all of the hallmarks that have made her writing a go-to for anyone looking for wickedly smart, page-turning fiction that will make you laugh and gasp, Liane Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers once again shows why she is a master of her craft.

What did WE think?:

CHRISSI: There’s been mixed reviews of this book. Did that affect your opinion going into the story?

BETH: I hadn’t actually realised there had been mixed reviews until you told me – haha! I’m a huge fan of Liane Moriarty although I’ve only managed to read a couple of her books – the incredible Big Little Lies and The Husband’s Secret (although I have Truly Madly Guilty on my shelves). I have to be honest and say that because of that, I probably look at the author’s work through rose-tinted glasses and was determined to keep an open mind, ignore the haters and try and make up my own mind about the novel as I read my way through.

BETH: I found Moriarty’s dry wit brought something a bit more interesting to this story. Do you agree?

CHRISSI: Interesting question. I think without dry wit this book would have puzzled me even more. I think it made the story more cold? If that makes sense. It wasn’t a heart-warming story. It was almost clinical for me. I hope that makes sense, I know what I mean. I felt like the way in which the book was written, didn’t really make you feel for the characters. It was almost like Liane Moriarty was making fun of her own characters.

CHRISSI: Why do you think the author chose to tell this story through multiple perspectives? How would it have changed your view of each of the characters if the story had been told through just one voice?

BETH: I always love a story told through multiple perspectives. You get a much more rounded view of the situation as it happens and a true view of each individual personality. I think if it had been told through one voice, you would have that individual bias of how just one character saw a situation and other people around them. It does make it more exciting too – especially if you’re not a fan of a particular individual but you’re keen to get back to another one’s point of view.

BETH: Who was your favourite character in Nine Perfect Strangers and why?

CHRISSI: Oh wow. This is a tough question because like I said in my previous answer to your question, I felt like I didn’t feel for any of the characters. That disengagement meant that I didn’t have a favourite character. I guess, if I had to pick I would pick Yao because I found him the most intriguing.

CHRISSI: Discuss the pros and cons of the retreat’s ban on technology and social media. What do you think the author is saying about the effects they have on society?

BETH: I’m not sure about the author’s personal views on social media and technology but I find it crazy sometimes how much they take over our lives. Obviously having blogs, we probably spend a good deal of our free time on social media. I know I post a lot on Instagram, try to blog hop every day and re-tweet other bloggers posts every day but I can also remember a time when we didn’t have the internet and I got my kicks by watching Top Of The Pops on a weekday night and recording the TOP 40 off the radio on Sunday afternoons! In a way, the fact that we have constant access to information (and funny animal videos which I have a particular fondness for!!) has isolated us slightly from those around us and I do try to restrict the time I spend on my phone and have normal, face to face conversations too. From the point of view of Nine Perfect Strangers though, it is fascinating to watch how individuals cope when these things we now take for granted are taken away from them.

BETH: I sympathise with your struggle to give this book a rating. Why do you think you’re torn in this way?

CHRISSI: I think it’s because I wanted to love it. I love Liane Moriarty’s writing and I know she is highly thought of. I also really enjoy reading her ideas. I just felt for me this book was too ridiculous and unbelievable. Not every book has to be believable, but something like this got too far fetched for me. I wanted to love it, I didn’t hate it…so I’m somewhere in-between. I think if I could have connected with the characters, then it might have been completely different.

CHRISSI: Would you ever go on a retreat like Tranquillum House? Why/Why not?

BETH: Maybe not EXACTLY like Tranquillum House haha. However, I could see myself doing something like this. I love the idea of getting away from the world and learning new techniques to relax. As long as I had a big pile of books to accompany me, I think I would quite enjoy a retreat like this. For now, I’ll take pleasure in my reading holidays to Malta with you my sister! 🙂

BETH: Would you read another book by this author?

CHRISSI: Yes! I do like her writing and I’m not put off at all.

Would we recommend it?:

BETH: Probably!

CHRISSI: Yes?

BETH’s Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

CHRISSI’s Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

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Book Tag – Shelfie By Shelfie #1

Published September 26, 2017 by bibliobeth

Image edited from: <a href=”http://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/frame”>Frame image created by Jannoon028 – Freepik.com</a>

Hi everyone and welcome to a brand new tag – Shelfie by Shelfie that I was inspired to create late one night when I couldn’t sleep. If you want to join in, you share a picture (or “shelfie”) of one of your shelves i.e. favourites, TBR, however you like to organise them, and then answer ten questions that are based around that particular shelf. I have quite a large collection and am going to do every single bookshelf which comprises both my huge TBR and the books I’ve read and kept but please, don’t feel obliged to do every shelf yourself if you fancy doing this tag. I’d love to see anything and just a snapshot of your collection would be terrific and I’m sure, really interesting for other people to see!

Anyway – on with the tag, here is the top shelf of my first bookshelf:

And here are the questions!:

1.) Is there any reason for this shelf being organised the way it is or is it purely random?

Okay, so you might find when I eventually show you all of my “shelfies,” that sometimes there is no rhyme or reason to the way I organise books. Sometimes there is method in my madness and I have a few special shelves where things are organised a lot more logically but generally, it’s a bit of a mess that I will sort out one day. I will. I will! On this top shelf, I like to keep a few hardbacks and larger books that take up a lot of room, like the beast that is James Herbert’s Ash up there and a couple of Faery/Fearie Tale short story collections that I’m really looking forward to getting to. The paperbacks up there, including the Liane Moriarty and the Lionel Shriver are up there simply because I ran out of room on my shelves. Eek!

2.) Tell us a story about one of the books on this shelf that is special to you i.e. how you got it/ a memory associated with it etc.

There are a few books I could pick here but I’m going to go with The Puppy by Sevenoaks Press. I’m a bit of a dog nut and my boyfriend bought me this book many years ago to try and curb my cravings for a puppy. We just can’t have one at the moment and that makes me sad! However, when I look at this book, which is filled with close up “strange ratio” photographs of 190 different breeds of dogs, it never fails to cheer me up. For example:

Awwwwwwwwwwwww.

3.) Which book from this shelf would you ditch if you were forced to and why?

Tough, tough, tough as the majority of these books I still have to read! I’m going to go with the book on the left hand side, second from the top which is Julie Orringer’s short story collection How To Breathe Underwater. The reason I would ditch it? Easy! I’ve already read it and while it’s an absolutely brilliant short story collection, I’m not sure if I would read it again in the near future.

4.) Which book from this shelf would you save in an emergency and why?

It would be The Notable Brain Of Maximilian Ponder by John Ironmonger which I read in my pre-blogging days. This is a wonderful novel that I thoroughly enjoyed about a twenty one year old man who decides to shut himself away and catalogues his entire brain with no outside influences at all save from his reluctant friend Adam. Definitely due a re-read of this!

5.) Which book has been on this shelf for the longest time?

That would be Ash by James Herbert. I used to be a huge Herbert fan, my favourite reads being The Rats series, Moon and The Shrine but I haven’t read (or re-read) anything by him for ages. It’s always the case of too many other books to read, too little time!

6.) Which book is the newest addition to this shelf?

There are a couple of new additions (paperbacks) but the newest one would be The Mandibles by Lionel Shriver. I saw this in Waterstones recently as part of their 3 for 2 offer and thought I would give it a go after loving We Need To Talk About Kevin and The Post Birthday World by the same author.

7.) Which book from this shelf are you most excited to read (or re-read if this is a favourites shelf?)

The Maker Of Swans by Paraic O’Donnell. I’ve heard so many great things about it, the synopsis sounds amazing and the cover is gorgeous!

8.) If there is an object on this shelf apart from books, tell us the story behind it.

Yes, there is an object and it is my book clock right on the top in the middle there. I got this for Christmas a few years back from my mum and although I often forget to replace the batteries, I just love the way it looks on my shelves. It’s a clock that is also a stack of books – what could be better?!

9.) What does this shelf tell us about you as a reader?

I think it says that I read a wide variety of books? We’ve got short stories up there, fantasy, non-fiction, literary fiction, horror….and a random book with weird pictures of dogs! I have quite an eclectic taste in books and I think it shows.

10.) Choose other bloggers to tag or choose a free question you make up yourself.

As this is my first “shelfie,” I’d like to tag some of my favourite bloggers but please don’t feel obliged or under any pressure to do this tag, I rarely participate in tags myself and will not be offended! I’d love it if you link back to my post too so I can check out your “shelfie” in all its glory.

Chrissi Reads, Cleopatra Loves Books, Snazzy Books, Always Trust In Books, Stephanie’s Novel Fiction.

COMING SOON on bibliobeth : Shelfie by Shelfie #2

 

 

 

Little Lies – Liane Moriarty

Published February 25, 2015 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

Top ten bestselling author Liane Moriarty returns with another gripping read.

She could hear men and women shouting. Angry hollers crashed through the soft humid salty summer night. It was somehow hurtful for Mrs Ponder to hear, as if all that rage was directed at her . . . then she heard the wail of a siren in the distance, at the same time as a woman still inside the building began to scream and scream . . .

When a harmless quiz night ends with an act of shocking violence, the parents of Pirriwee Public School can’t seem to stop their secrets from finally spilling out. Rumours ripple through the small town, as truth and lies blur to muddy the story of what really happened on that fateful night . .

What did I think?:

Liane Moriarty first came to my attention with her fantastic book The Husband’s Secret which I devoured in a very short space of time, therefore I was very excited when I heard about this new novel which is also published as Big Little Lies (not sure of the reasons behind this). Again, there are a number of different and very interesting characters to get your head around – Jane, a single mother who has recently moved to the area with her son, Ziggy after the break-up of a relationship, Madeline, outspoken mother of three who has her own issues with her ex-husband but a heart of gold and Celeste, beautiful mother of twin boys, who appears to have everything you could ever want, but again, as with the other women, nothing is as it first seems.

When the story begins, we know that a shocking incident has taken place at the local school on what was supposed to be a fun quiz night for all the parents to dress up, relax and get to know one another a little better. All we know in the beginning is that someone has died and the police are interviewing witnesses, so any information we get at this stage is small (and exciting) tid-bits that indicate the event was a culmination of factors stemming from an earlier incident involving one of the mother’s children. The themes running through this tale include bullying, playground politics, the importance of friendship and family, the horror of domestic violence and the danger of exclusion and cliques. It turns out that adults are not above acting like children on some levels and indeed, that children learn from their parents what behaviour is right and what is wrong.

There are a multitude of layers to this story, which I loved, and with each chapter seems to come a new surprise or a new area of a particular character that is revealed. This is only my second Liane Moriarty novel, but I’m starting to recognise that along with a very strong and compelling plot-line her characterisation and moving prose is second to none. That is, even the minor characters felt strong and well thought out and I felt like I knew them all intimately. As a reader, this meant that when certain secrets came out, I felt more devastated than I thought I would be as I felt a connection between each of them. Aha, maybe this was what she planned for all along?! Well, I’m not embarrassed to admit she’s hooked me. I shall definitely be dipping into her back catalogue now to see what other goodies I can find, and I can’t wait.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

 

 

October 2014 – Book Bridgr/NetGalley/Kindle month!

Published October 1, 2014 by bibliobeth

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I can’t believe it’s October already, where has the year gone? Okay, so this month I will be attempting to read very specifically, books that I have been sent by Book Bridgr or NetGalley and other books I have had on my Kindle but haven’t got round to yet. Here is the list of books I shall be reading this month, click on the link to get to my review (if I’ve managed to write it yet!) or if not, the link will take you to the book on GoodReads.

 

The Good Children – Roopa Farooki

Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel

Little Lies – Liane Moriarty

Ironheart – Allan Boroughs

The Brotherhood – Lawrence Deering

Dangerous Boys – Abigail Haas

The Long Shadow – Mark Mills

Broken Forest – Eliza Tilton

Stay Where You Are And Then Leave – John Boyne

A Discovery Of Witches – Deborah Harkness

The Summer We All Ran Away – Cassandra Parkin

Songs Of Willow Frost – Jamie Ford

I’m really looking forward to starting some of these books which I have heard great things about, especially Big Little Lies, Dangerous Boys and Songs of Willow Frost. Have you read them and what did you think? I’d love to know!

The Husband’s Secret – Liane Moriarty

Published February 13, 2014 by bibliobeth

The Husband's Secret

What’s it all about?:

From the author of the critically acclaimed What Alice Forgot comes a breakout new novel about the secrets husbands and wives keep from each other.

My Darling Cecilia
If you’re reading this, then I’ve died . . .

Imagine your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret – something so terrible it would destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others too. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive . . .

Cecilia Fitzpatrick achieved it all – she’s an incredibly successful business woman, a pillar of her small community and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia – or each other – but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s devastating secret.

What did I think?:

I haven’t read any of the authors previous work, so I was unsure what to expect from this novel. My sister and fellow blogger Chrissi Reads got the book as an ARC, loved it and urged me to read it, and when it was chosen for part of the Richard and Judy Autumn Reads 2013 AND won the readers vote as the favourite book on the list I knew I could resist it no longer. There are a lot of different strands and characters involved in this story, but the main thread involves a woman called Cecilia, who seems to have it all – a brilliant career, revered by the local community and school which her children attend, and happy in her marriage to John-Paul. However, cracks begin to show when Cecilia happens upon a letter written by her husband to be opened only in the event of his death, containing a terrible and life-altering secret. We find out the secret fairly early on in the book but I won’t spoil things by revealing it. The rest of the novel focuses on how John-Paul’s secret affects his wife, family and others around them, mainly Rachel an elderly widow, and Tess who has recently separated from her husband but finds herself falling for an old flame.

I really loved how there were so many sides of this story with multiple characters to get to grip with. This may sound confusing but I think the author pulled it off beautifully, at no time did I feel overwhelmed with the amount of information or mixed up with the characters lives. For me, it felt an incredibly “real” read, and I think the main themes of love, death and marriage were dealt with authentically with a certain rawness of emotions that often accompanies these things. Although I may not have liked certain characters, they were all portrayed honestly and with that sense of mystery that kept me intrigued and kept me turning the pages. Actually, I must have finished this book in record time, I just couldn’t bear to put it down and needed to know how things were going to be resolved! This is a thrilling, captivating and immensely readable tale that I highly recommend. Now I’m dying to check out What Alice Forgot.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

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Richard and Judy Announce Their Autumn Reads 2013

Published September 1, 2013 by bibliobeth

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Richard and Judy are back for the Autumn with eight new titles for the Book Club. I always enjoy seeing what they have to offer, and again there’s a great selection:

The Shining Girls – Lauren Beukes

Snow White Must Die – Nele Neuhaus

The Husband’s Secret – Liane Moriarty

The Twins – Saskia Sarginson

The Last Runaway – Tracy Chevalier

Never Coming Back – Tim Weaver

Heartbreak Hotel – Deborah Moggach

Instructions For A Heatwave – Maggie O’Farrell

Looking forward to digging into these, if anyone wants to join me for a read-along, they are more than welcome!