Consuming – Shelter by Jung Yun

Shelter

by Jung Yun

Published 2016

Genres: Fiction / Literary / Thriller

“He shakes his head and glances at Gertie, who hasn’t said a word since she turned toward the window. Her eyebrows are angled sharply into a frown, and her mouth is open as if she means to speak, but can’t.

“Is something wrong with the yard?” he asks.

Slowly, she lifts her finger and taps on the glass. “I think that woman out there – I think she might be naked.

 

Kyung is the son of Korean parents, and lives with his American wife and son. His upbringing, while lavish, was lacking in affection and warmth, and his connection with his parents as an adult is shaky. But when an act of unspeakable violence suddenly impacts the family, they find themselves thrown together and having to confront their issues from the past and deal with their internal demons.

 

Janelle says…

This book was such a pleasant surprise. I’m still thinking about the story and how much I loved it.

I was expecting a story roughly centred around Asian immigrants trying to make a life in America. I don’t know where I got that expectation from, but I was wrong. This is an exploration of family dynamics and secrets, particularly within non-Western cultures. It looks at both gender and race. It deals with grief and trauma, and it packs quite a few tough scenes. It’s certainly not an easy read, but it’s so thoughtful and moving, and leaves a lot to ponder.

What struck me most about this book was just how much it packed in, and how appealing it would be to a wide range of readers. You’ll notice I’ve categorised it as both literary fiction and thriller, and it’s true – I can’t completely dump it within either category. The plot kept me keen the whole way through, every time I had to put the book down I couldn’t wait to get back to it to find out what else it had in store. It had a few unexpected turns, and I questioned my views on various characters time and again. It kept moving at a steady pace which is something that’s important to me to keep my attention.

Shelter was both shattering and entertaining. It was just a solid, enjoyable read. It would be perfect for book clubs, I think you could discuss this with other people for hours. One of my favourite reads so far this year. Highly recommended!

 

Rating:

Did not like it  –  It was ok  –  Liked it  –  Really liked it  –  It was amazing

Did you know you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and NOW ON LITSY as littleblogofbooks for more bookish goodness??

Surreal – Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin

 

 Fever Dream

by Samanta Schweblin

IMG_20170317_104915_828

Published 2017

Genres: Fiction / Literary / Horror

“You’re confused, and that’s not good for this story. I’m a normal boy.”

“This isn’t normal, David. There’s only darkness, and you’re talking into my ear. I don’t even know if this is really happening.”

“It’s happening, Amanda. I’m kneeling at the edge of your bed, in one of the rooms at the emergency clinic. We don’t have much time, and before time runs out we have to find the exact moment.”

 

Amanda lies in a clinic, talking to the young David. What transpires between them is confounding, eerie, and unsettling. As they, and you, try to put the pieces together, they speak of grief, the family bond, and secrets. And they relive their mutual experience in an effort to find the key to it all – where they are, what they’re doing there, who David is, and what has happened to Amanda.

 

Janelle says…

 

I heard a couple of early reviews of this book, which seemed to be unable to go into specifics about the plot but emphasised just how strange the book was. I had to check it out for myself.

Strange doesn’t quite do it justice. This is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. At 183 pages long, I read it in one sitting, and if you’re going to read it too I suggest you do the same. It’s at its most powerful that way. Don’t look up from the page or you’ll break the spell.

Just like other reviewers before me, I don’t feel like I can talk about specifics either, and I still don’t quite know what it was about or exactly what happened. The only way I can describe it is by saying that our two main characters are searching for answers about the things that have happened to them, but their conversation doesn’t really make any sense. Certain details do seem to connect to each other and this connection becomes apparent as you go along, however their meaning is unclear.

But I enjoyed the experience. And that’s exactly what this book feels like, it’s not just a book, not just a story….it’s an experience. By the end I felt like I’d been on some kind of time-travelling acid trip, following the stream of consciousness recollections of the protagonist, Amanda, whose discussion with creepy David almost seemed like as if she were under hypnosis. I don’t recall a book ever making me feel the way this one did. It was so weird, and unsettling, and confounding.

I know how I’m describing it probably makes it sound awful, but I loved it. I just couldn’t put it down, from the first page I wanted to know what was coming next and where it was leading. I don’t how Samanta Schweblin (and translator Megan McDowell) has done what she’s done here, I can’t help but feel like maybe she knows some great secret that we don’t.

If you’re not into totally bizarre books that make you think “WTF?”, then steer clear because you’ll probably end up throwing it at the wall. But if, like me, that’s your bag, then you need to pick this one up because it will rock your world.

Rating:

Did not like it  –  It was ok  –  Liked it  –  Really liked it  –  It was amazing

Did you know you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and NOW ON LITSY as littleblogofbooks for more bookish goodness??

Intricate – The Summer that Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel

The Summer that Melted Everything

by Tiffany McDaniel

Published 2016

Genres: Fiction / Literary

“The lukewarm past had been overtaken by the scalding now. Gone was the perfect temperature. The breeze. All replaced by an almost violent heat that turned your bones into volcanoes, your blood into the lava that yelled their eruptions. Folks would later talk about that sudden onset of heat. It was their best evidence of the devil’s arrival.

The Bliss family live in the small, humble town of Breathed, Ohio. In the summer of 1984, local prosecutor Autopsy Bliss publishes in the town newspaper an invitation to the devil to come visit the town. Soon after, thirteen-year old Sal appears, alone and grubby on the courthouse steps, where he is met by Autopsy’s son, Fielding. The Bliss family take in Sal like he is one of their own, but there are others in town who are less than thrilled to hear that the devil has arrived. As a freak heatwave sends frustrations and patience simmering, a number of shocking incidents befall the residents of Breathed. But where will the blame be laid?

 

Janelle says…

This started out kind of comical, slowly building your rapport with the main protagonists, the Bliss family, so that you felt protective towards them as the story progressively got darker.

For me this book threw many questions out there – like what is good and what is evil, to what extent do they need each other and where does the line get blurry. And then we have the issue of labels, and group mentality. Young Sal, as the devil, is the scapegoat for every bad thing that befalls the town, the label applied to him enough to condemn him despite people not taking the time to get to know him. Is he really evil? Is it all really his fault? You’ll have to read it to find out.

Fear is a running theme. The fear of Stella Bliss, who refuses to leave her house because of a phobia of the rain. The fear of Grand Bliss, who has a secret in a time and place of hatred when he is likely to be misunderstood. The fear of Sal, who doesn’t want to own the label that is pinned to him and despite fearing the townfolk, tries to show love and compassion. The fear the town has of Sal, believing he has brought the heatwave and the spate of terrible events to them. Some of these characters will overcome their fears, some will succumb to them, some will not be able to live with them.

Overall, I’m still trying to gather my thoughts about this book and decide exactly what impression it’s left on me. But while reading it, there were a number of times I read over a sentence more than once because its composition was so clever. The writing was beautiful and intricate, many times I paused to admire how the author had put together the message, especially when in the mind of the main character Fielding and the dialogue of Sal. And a book that I still think about long after finishing it is always worthy of credit in my opinion.

 

Rating:

Did not like it  –  It was ok  –  Liked it  –  Really liked it  –  It was amazing

Did you know you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and NOW ON LITSY as littleblogofbooks for more bookish goodness??

Outrageous – Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

Furiously Happy

by Jenny Lawson

 

furiously-happy

Published 2015

Genres: Non-fiction / Memoir / Humour

 

“Okay. This magazine says that you can tell what you should do with your life if you just take away all thoughts of risks. So what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?”

“I’d be a Pegasus.”

“That’s not really how this works.”

“I’d be a brown Pegasus though, because if you were a white Pegasus you’d be hounded by Lisa Frank fans and nine-year-olds. And black Pegasuses are just as bad because they’re all badass and heavy metal bands would probably want to kidnap them. But no one wants a shabby brown Pegasus. I could just flap around the neighbourhood and no one would really care. And maybe I’d wish for back herpes so that people wouldn’t hassle me for rides.”

Victor looked back at his magazine. “I’m not going to talk to you if you’re not taking this seriously.”

“I am taking this seriously,” I said. “I’d be a rumpled, brown Pegasus with back herpes if I knew I couldn’t fail.”

“That’s not how it works,” Victor said. “It’s supposed to teach you what you really want in life.”

“That is what I want.”

“PICK SOMETHING REAL.”

Jenny Lawson, a.k.a. The Bloggess, recounts stories from her life that shine a light on the mental health issues she lives with. And in no way are they dark and miserable. She relates her stories with humour, humility, and honesty. Never thought you’d laugh at tales of someone else’s mental health problems? Think again. Somehow, in Furiously Happy, The Bloggess makes it ok to laugh.

 

Janelle says…

It’s been a long time since I laughed so hard that I cried. It’s also been a long time since I had to smother my face while reading at 3am so as not to wake up my family with my giggling. Both of those things happened while I was reading Furiously Happy.

Entering Jenny Lawson’s world was like entering another dimension while on a sugar high and surrounded by cuddly, jumpy puppies who are all holding balloons. I know, it makes no sense, but it sounds damn fun doesn’t it?!

In one way, it seems a bit off to be recommending that you go read this book because you will laugh yourself silly at this recounting of someone’s mental illness. But Jenny Lawson wants you to laugh. That’s at the core of her Furiously Happy movement. To not let her mental issues be an automatic pass into a melancholy state. She is determined to be not only happy, but FURIOUSLY happy. Just like her raccoon friend, Rory. Look at his delightful little face on the cover there. Does he not make you want to join in with whatever party is going on in his head?!

Speaking of Rory, the story she tells about purchasing him and then using him to pull pranks on her long-suffering husband is so funny that I’m laughing right now just thinking about it. As is the story about her going to an overnight sleep clinic to find out if she has sleep apnoea, which was so fantastic I read it twice. In fact, I’m having so much fun reminiscing in my head about this book, that it’s making me want to re-read it immediately!

I can’t do this book justice by speaking any more about it, it would be like doing a poor job of retelling an awesome joke. That “you had to be there” factor. But I’m telling you, you absolutely MUST go there. Please. And then come back here and tell me about it so we can laugh together.

Rating:

Did not like it  –  It was ok  –  Liked it  –  Really liked it  –  It was amazing

Did you know you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and NOW ON LITSY as littleblogofbooks for more bookish goodness??

Resonating – Leave Me by Gayle Forman

Leave Me

by Gayle Forman

aviary-image-1474923985249

Published 2016

Genres: Fiction

 

“What is the matter with you?”

“What’s the matter? I’m here alone all day with my mother and the kids and I still feel like shit.” She paused, waiting for Jason to respond but he didn’t say anything. “You’re never here. I can’t tell if you’re trying to avoid home, or if you think that a week in the hospital, a week of recovery, was enough luxury for old Maribeth.”

“What are you talking about?”

“You promised me a bubble,” she said, her voice cracking.

“I’m trying, Maribeth. But keeping you in the bubble and keeping the house running and keeping on top of my job is no easy feat.”

“Welcome to every fucking day of my life.”

 

Maribeth is like so many other mums – forever chasing a never-ending to-do list, always putting everyone else first, and rarely feeling appreciated. No wonder she didn’t even notice that she was having a heart attack.

At home on leave from work and trying to recover, Maribeth is finding that even now, life must go on and there’s no rest to be found. Why does it seem that only mothers can never catch a break? Even after having a heart attack, her family can’t cut her some slack. What if she had died? How would they ever cope if she wasn’t around?

So, she decides to let them find out…..

 

Janelle says…

This is one of those books that makes you want to scream “YES! I KNOW!” and then berate your husband for not understanding. Poor Maribeth – I feel you, girl! Not that I’ve ever had a heart attack and had to rely on my family being able to fend for themselves and let me recuperate. BUT I have often wondered just how well, or not, they would do under those circumstances.

The tasty thing about this book is that you get to live out that evil little fantasy vicariously through Maribeth, as she takes the plunge on your behalf. And it is satisfying as all get out. Maribeth actually does just pack up and leave her family to their own devices, heading off to who-the-hell-cares to do god-knows-what, just as long as it doesn’t involve looking after other people for a change. Regardless of whether you’re a parent or not, haven’t we all just wanted to throw our hands up in the air at some point and say “I’M OUT!”

So off she goes, with no real plan and not knowing how long she’ll stay away. She has to find a place to rent, a new grocery store, new friends, a new cardio specialist to keep an eye on her…..and for a while, she doesn’t seem to think about her family all that much, only writing the occasional un-sent letter to her children. But of course, with each passing day Maribeth examines her relationships – past, present and future – her own worth, and her happiness. We see her coming to realise that, even though they can be a pain in the arse and unbelievably inconsiderate at times, her family gives her life meaning and satisfaction that she can’t get otherwise. Having had them, she can’t go back to NOT having them. Being a mother and wife are integral to who she is.

I loved this book, it resonated with me so much and even weeks on from finishing it, I’m still thinking about it and realising new ideas to ponder in it. It’s an easy read, and if you love books that examine families and relationships and identity, then you must put this on your list.

 

Rating:

Did not like it  –  It was ok  –  Liked it  –  Really liked it  –  It was amazing

Did you know you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and NOW ON LITSY as littleblogofbooks for more bookish goodness?

Mini-reviews – what I’ve read in the past three months

img_20160812_210114

 

Janelle says…

I feel like I have been neglecting LBoB over the past few months. I think it’s been a combination of having had other activities I’ve needed to prioritise in my spare time, and feeling like my recent reads weren’t anything to write home (or to you!) about. I’ve actually been finding it difficult to concentrate in the act of reading, and I feel like I’ve become more impatient too – if not much is happening in a book and there are long stretches of seemingly useless banter, I get very cranky!

But I HAVE been reading, so I thought I would do a round-up of what I’ve read lately, or mini-reviews if you will. Here’s what I’ve read since my last individual book review back in July, and what I thought:

 

The Girl With All the Gifts – M.R. Carey (Fiction / Thriller)

5 stars

I just loved the premise of this book, and it didn’t disappoint. Something was happening every few pages in this book, all the while teasing you to choose sides and guess where it’s all leading, which inevitably is to a satisfying ending. Recommend.

 

City of Bones (Mortal Instruments #1) – Cassandra Clare (Fiction/Fantasy/YA)

4 stars

I had a craving for some fantasy YA, and found this on audiobook from my library. Even though it was a bit cliche in parts, I really enjoyed immersing myself in this world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders, enough to dip into the second book in the series a bit later….

 

The Midnight Zoo – Sonya Hartnett (Fiction/YA)

1 star

Another audiobook, this one was a very quick read and sounded quite sweet – two young brothers, stranded in a place annihilated by war, take refuge in a zoo where they discover a menagerie of talking animals. But no, it was just boring. I only bothered to finish it because I knew it was so short.

 

Uprooted – Naomi Novik (Fiction/Fantasy)

4 stars

On a fantasy roll! This one was on my wishlist for so long, and it just kept getting thrown in my face, in the end I had to just run to the library to get it. I actually would like to re-read this at some point, because I adored the mystical, slightly dark, super magical world that Novik has created (I believe this story is based on a traditional folk tale), but for some reason I really struggled to focus each time I picked it up. It may have been the weight of it (hardcover) combined with the small font. Would still recommend though.

 

City of Ashes (Mortal Instruments #2) – Cassandra Clare  (Fiction/Fantasy/YA)

2 stars

Back for more. I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the first in the series, there didn’t seem to be as much happening, and I just couldn’t be sympathetic to some of the teenager-problems going on. I’d still give this series one more crack though by moving on to #3, before I threw in the towel.

 

Bad Feminist – Roxane Gay (Non-fiction/Essays)

DNF

SO DISAPPOINTED. The essays in this book weren’t necessarily bad, in fact a couple of them were really entertaining (particularly the one about the intricacies of the professional poker world). But I went in to this expecting some strong statements about feminism in modern day culture, and most of the time I couldn’t see that represented in what I was reading. It felt more like a memoir to me, which is fine, just not what I signed on for.

 

Smoke – Dan Vyleta (Fiction/Fantasy)

1 star

All I knew about this one, is that it is set in a world where people’s bodies smoke if they are sinful or evil. That conjures up a lot of questions for me, so I just had to do it. But that general idea was as exciting as this book got. It got real confusing really fast, I had absolutely no idea what was going on or what the characters motives were, and even though I stuck it out to the end I still couldn’t really tell you what happened.

 

Shiver (Wolves of Mercy Falls #1) – Maggie Stiefvater (Fiction/Fantasy/YA)

DNF

I went into this hoping it wouldn’t be too Twilight-esque, and liking the idea of a girl having a human connection with a wild wolf. But about a third of the way through, I’d had enough of “the feelings” and how amazing they were. It was becoming clear that it was running too parallel to Twilight for my liking.

 

The Natural Way of Things – Charlotte Wood (Fiction/Literary)

2 stars

Oh, that cover. What could possibly go wrong? I nearly shrieked with joy when I saw this amongst the piles at the recent local bookfair. I dived into it straight away….and it was weird….and then it got weirder….and weirder and more confusing….and I was confused and a little disgusted too….and then it ended and I was more confused than ever. I know there are messages and ideas in here, but they were too abstract for my liking. There was no resolution at the end. I have questions. I need closure.

 

So, that’s what I’ve been up to for the past few months. There were a few good reads in there, but overall, it has been a disappointing reading time. I’m desperately hoping that I’ll pick some reads soon that really blow my mind!

Have you read any of the above books? Do you agree or disagree with my thoughts?

Did you know you can follow us on Facebook, TwitterInstagram and NOW LITSY (@littleblogofbooks) for more bookish goodness?

Satisfying – The End Of The World Running Club by Adrian J Walker

The End Of The World Running Club

by Adrian J Walker

26046368._UY200_

Published 2016

Genres: Fiction / Thriller

 

“You want to know how it feels to run thirty miles. You want to know how it feels to run thirty miles straight through mud and across scorched earth, dodging sinkholes and crawling beneath toppled trees, when you’ve already run the length of the country, when your ankle’s sprained, your fingers are broken, you’re blind in one eye and you’ve only had half a tin of baked beans for breakfast.”

Ed is a 30-something male, married, with two small children, and already in something like a mid-life crisis. It’s clear, through the way he drinks and tries to steal any time away from the house that he can get, that he’s not satisfied with where he’s found himself.

Then one day, the whole world changes. A spattering of asteroids hit Earth and devastate whole cities. Most people die. Life as it’s known, stops. But Ed and his family survive, just. When they are rescued after weeks holed up in their cellar, they are taken to an emergency evacuation centre to bunk down with other survivors. Everyone must do their bit to pitch in. Ed volunteers to assist with patrols and scavenger hunts, which also provides him with opportunities to get away from the family. But then a patrol he’s on returns to the centre to find everyone gone, including Ed’s family, taken by helicopter to the coast where ships await to ferry survivors to South Africa, and the chance to start again.

Ed, along with five other left-behind comrades, pursue the rescue mission on foot to reunite with the other survivors. Before too long, they are running in an effort to cross the country in time to get to the boats before they depart, and an unlikely but desperate running-club is born.

 

Janelle says…

I LOVED this book! It ticked all the right boxes for me – a post-apocalyptic setting, well-formed characters, fast-moving plot with twists and turns, symbolism and relatable themes, thoughts to ponder, and a satisfying ending.

My summary above seems quite long, but once I started to note down the main plot points of the story, I realised how full it actually is. A lot happens in this book, and I think it was because of that that it kept my interest the whole time, whenever I would sit down to continue on with the book I would wonder what was going to happen next.

The main character, Ed, starts out as quite unlikeable. Because of his selfishness and ignorance, his family very nearly almost doesn’t survive the asteroid pummelling. Even when they narrowly escape death, he still bemoans the life he’s found himself in and doesn’t appear grateful at all. It’s only when his family is taken away from him, that he changes his tune and truly comes to realise that he does want them in his life and would do anything for them. And by the time he does do the unthinkable to get to them, we’ve come to hope for him and cheer him on.

Even though this book is set in a world and scenario that hasn’t eventuated in our time (and hopefully doesn’t!), I felt like the characters, and their decisions and the way they process their situation, were all honest and believable. Maintaining realism in a book where the plot is determined by the choices of the characters, is something I don’t always notice if it’s going right, but if it goes wrong…..boy does it give me the irrits!

If you’re just after a really good read, something that will keep you turning the pages and leave you satisfied, then this would be a great choice. I can’t fault it.

 

Rating:

Did not like it  –  It was ok  –  Liked it  –  Really liked it  –  It was amazing

*I was provided with an ARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review*

Did you know you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more bookish goodness?

Lacking – The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith

The Last Painting of Sara de Vos

by Dominic Smith

IMG_20160414_145412

Published 2016

Genres: Fiction / Literary

 

“By the time Gabriel came to her with the commission for At the Edge of a Wood, she had saved close to ten thousand dollars – so she technically didn’t need the money. He said the present owner wanted an exact replica made but couldn’t bear to part with the original. She remained skeptical and told him that copying an artwork was not the same as restoring it. But when he produced three high-resolution color photographs of the painting in its frame she felt her breath catch – it was unlike anything else painted by a baroque woman.”

Split narratives intertwine to reveal the path of Sara de Vos’ illusive 17th century painting, At the Edge of a Wood, and its forged copy. From Sara’s life, struggles and motives, to the most recent owner of the painting, a wealthy Manhattan socialite in the 1950’s, to the naive student skilled in art restoration and living in 1950’s Brooklyn, to the modern-day exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales which could be the setting for the truth to reveal itself.

 

Janelle says…

 

The more time I have to think about this book since finishing it, the more dissatisfied I feel about it. I don’t even have a lot to say about it, because there’s really just not that much to say. Not much happened in this book!

There’s a painting from the 17th century, which has found its way into the home of a wealthy family in the 1950’s, only to be stolen and forged at the same time, and then in the 2000’s both the original and the forgery rise to the surface ahead of an upcoming exhibition on Dutch women painters of the 17th century at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Even after the reading the book though, there are still holes in my mind as to the movements of the painting, so that’s about the best I can do in outlining the story.

I heard about this book and actually assumed it might have a light thriller or mystery-type feel to it, and so I was excited when I found a competition to win an advance copy on the publisher Allen & Unwin’s site. And then even more excited when I actually won the advance copy! I bumped it to the top of my TBR list and started reading it, but I found it hard to stay focussed on the words. I realised I was bored, twiddling my thumbs waiting for something to happen, but I stuck with it because I was sure something would happen. It had the makings of an interesting and surprising story that I could get on board with – there were literary aspects, the touches of history and culture, museum life which is something to which I can relate to and understand…..all it needed was some kind of event or revelation. So I kept reading (slowly), and then when I got to the end, finally something semi-interesting did happen, but then the book finished quite suddenly in the middle of a scene, and what I thought could actually have been a great scene had it been allowed to continue! What the?

I can sniff undertones of feminism here, in both the scenes from the 1630’s featuring Sara de Vos, and the 2000’s when we follow Eleanor Shipley, but that’s something I’ve realised may have been there only since reading the book and trying to find some kind of message, they weren’t formed ideas that were clear during the reading of it.

It might seem an obvious recommendation to people who are into art or museum culture, but I’m not sure even those people would find this interesting. It wasn’t a total blowout. I didn’t hate it. It just didn’t leave any impression at all. Still, I’m going to stick with the rating I gave it on Goodreads straight after finishing it.

 

Rating:

Did not like it  –  It was ok  –  Liked it  –  Really liked it  –  It was amazing

Did you know you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more bookish goodness?

Loveable – Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley

Lily and the Octopus

by Steven Rowley

lilyoctopusimg400

Published June 2016

Genres: Fiction / Literary

 

“….Thursday nights are the nights my dog, Lily, and I set aside to talk about boys we think are cute.”

Ted lives with his long-time companion, his dog Lily, and through their years together they see relationships come and go, they share heartbreak, they have adventures and they ponder cute male celebrities. But with the arrival of the octopus, their world could completely change.

 

Janelle says…

 

It was the wonderfully weird synopsis on Netgalley that enticed me to read this book – “…a struggling writer finds himself unable to open up to the possibility of love – except through the companionship of his aging dachshund Lily. But with the unexpected arrival of a small octopus that affixes itself to Lily’s head, it soon becomes clear the invader is strangling the life from his dog and threatening the bond with his one true friend.”

Now who wouldn’t be intrigued by that?

I don’t really want to say too much about the story here for fear of giving away spoilers. What I can say is that this is the story of a long friendship between a single man and his dog, and that for both of them the relationship is the most important one in their lives.

The animal lovers among us will know that our pets are there with us through our challenges and triumphs, like any other member of the family or close friendship circle. You’ll empathise with the bond that these two characters share, although perhaps you might not have been absolute best friends with your pet like Ted is with Lily in this book.

The book certainly is strange, but there is a sad logic to the strangeness. Overall I just found it to be very sweet and I was immediately endeared to Ted and Lily. I laughed out loud in spots, and then in others I teared up. At times this book felt like a great big hug, and at other times I felt like I had been punched in the chest. And I’m not saying anything more! Other than if you’ve ever loved a pet, and even if you haven’t, I think this book is well worth your time.

Lily and the Octopus will be published in June by Simon & Schuster.

 

Rating:

Did not like it  –  It was ok  –  Liked it  –  Really liked it  –  It was amazing

*I was provided with an ARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review*

Did you know you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more bookish goodness?

Feels – Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Big Little Lies

by Liane Moriarty

2016-05-05 21.14.54

Published 2014

Genres: Fiction / Suspense

 

“Samantha: Parents do tend to judge each other. I don’t know why. Maybe because none of us really know what we’re doing? And I guess that can sometimes lead to conflict. Just not normally on this sort of scale.”

School dramas are not always isolated to the playground. The Kindy Mums at Pirriwee Public School are starring in a soap opera of their own making, with gossip, finger-pointing, cliques, and general bitchiness a daily occurrence. But some of them have secrets too. And when the truths start to come out, tensions will culminate in the death of a parent.

 

Janelle says…

FINALLY I have gotten around to reading Liane Moriarty, something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time, and now I can’t wait to read more of her work. This book floored me. I had so many feelings while reading it. I laughed, I cried, I sizzled with anger, I squirmed with discomfort. And I was right there with the characters, cheering for the ones I loved, booing for the ones I despised. Even when I wasn’t reading the book, I was thinking about the characters, wondering about them and how their story would unfold, as if they were real.

We follow three lead characters in this story – outspoken, loud, fun-loving Madeline; quiet, uncertain, plain Jane; and classy, nervous, beautiful Celeste. Each of these three friends leads very different family lives, and each has their secrets and worries. Their children and the school are the glue that brings them together, as well as the intermittent scandals of the other bitchier school Mums.

A warning – this is no catty, gossipy Mum drama. This book can get intense at times, and deals with some dark issues. There is teenager trouble, domestic violence issues, bullying and harrassment, self-image worries, sexual abuse…..and as mentioned above, death. But it deals with it all in such a real way, the internal murmurings of the characters dealing with these problems are honest and what I imagine would be true-to-life in those situations.

We find out early in the book that a parent has been killed, but we don’t know how, why, or even who, and the narrative eludes to the possibility of another parent being involved in the death but we don’t know any details for certain. There’s an added layer of suspense throughout the whole story, as we go back to the beginning and work our way towards the event in which a parent dies, learning facts as we go and trying to piece together the puzzle.

This was a wonderful piece of suspenseful fiction, which I feel does fit under the umbrella of literary fiction despite the plot being packed with events along the way. But I think you will get even more enjoyment from this book if you are a parent yourself. Your compassion, horror, disgust, grief, and solidarity with the characters will be all the more rich for having that in common with them.

 

Rating:

Did not like it  –  It was ok  –  Liked it  –  Really liked it  –  It was amazing

Did you know you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more bookish goodness?

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 42 other followers

Follow Little Blog of Books on WordPress.com