Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Husband's Secret

The Husband's Secret
by Liane Moriarty

Immensely satisfying, not predictable, 
wonderful writing style!

: Women's Fiction, Popular

Review: When Cecilia finds a letter from her husband, addressed to her, to be opened only upon the event of his death, she is curious. She tries to go about her daily life, caring for her three daughters, throwing Tupperware parties, acting as PTA President in her small town in Australia. When she opens the letter, she is in for a shock, and it is not what you'd expect. The novel also follows Tess, an ad exec whose husband is in love with her bff/cousin, and Rachel, an elderly woman who lives in Cecilia's town. Their lives will intertwine in unexpected ways. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Lumineers on the Catching Fire Soundtrack!

My favorite band has a song on the Catching Fire soundtrack!

The Lumineers' "Gale Song"

And don't you love this album cover art of Jennifer Lawrence at Katniss Everdeen?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

From the Shores of Scotland to Imperial Russia

The Firebird
by Susanna Kearsley

An intriguing tale set in past and present, Russia and England and more....

Genre: Historical Fiction/Contemporary Fiction

Review: Nicola is an art expert who is fluent in Russian and when she touches an object, she can see the past. An elderly woman brings a carved wooden box emblazoned with a Firebird; as Nicola touches the object, she sees a flash of a young girl named Anna and Empress Catherine of Russia. Tracing the story of this artwork brings Nicola closer to a man from her past. The book includes recurring characters from The Winter Sea (in the historical portion of the book) and Rob, the clairvoyant child from The Shadowy Horses, is now all grown up and good-looking! He uses his mind to look into the past and to tempt Nicola to develop her psychic powers.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A writer on writing

Something to Declare
by Julia Alvarez

Genre: Essays

Review: I first read this book years ago, and returned to it when I needed inspiration as a writer. Alvarez describes her journey developing as a writer, teacher, and person. She traces her storytelling roots back to the oral storytelling culture of her childhood and the Dominican Republic, and her experience learning English when she first moved to the United States, to "Nueva York." She shares the rhythms of her writing days, the development of her identity as a Latina, writer, and woman, and her writing doubts and challenges. If you are an aspiring writer or a fan of Julia Alvarez's books, you will enjoy this essay collection. 

More info: Author of How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents and Yo! among others!

Her website talks about her latest book about true story, about a friend's wedding in Haiti. She also writes middle grades and YA novels.

See my review of two of her YA books, Finding Miracles and Before We Were Free.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

From Paris to Tahiti: All Good Things

The elegant yet down-to-earth writing style
 is present yet again in Turnbull's second 
memoir after Almost French! 

All Good Things
From Paris to Tahiti:
Life and Longing
by Sarah Turnbull

Genre: Memoir

Review: Sarah moves to Tahiti with her French husband, Frederic. Her hopes are quiet yet vast: "a book and a baby." The memoir begins with a sublime description of swimming in the Tahitian sea, then follows her struggles as a writer, adjusting to life in French Polynesia, wondering whether to dash her hopes for a child after several rounds of IVF.  Her writing is honest, never self-pitying.  Sprinkled with contemplation, of what it means to live on an island and to find inspiration there, like Matisse and Gauguin, through light and sea and poetic beauty of atolls.

Song to Read by: "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by IZ

Almost French: Memoir, Comedy, Love Story

Almost French
by Sarah Turnbull

Genre: Memoir

Review: If you have any illusions about falling in love with a Frenchman and moving to Paris, this memoir will cure you. Sarah Turnbull, an Australian TV journalist, backpacked across Europe, and found love in Bucharest, Romania. She finished her trip and settled in Paris to give a relationship with Frederic a chance. 

Along the way, she learns to love meat and French cheeses and the countryside, navigate strange French friendships and dinner parties, and try to make new friends in a new culture. Her writing style is beautiful, and I love her sense of humor. 

Song to Read by: "Dance Me to the End of Love" by Madeline Peyroux

Turnbull comments on her writing in an article by the Sydney Morning Herald: ''There are two things about writing that give me a high,'' she says. ''One is the visual aspect: I see something so clearly and want to capture it and I feel fabulous when I've conveyed it - it might be just a line. And when I feel I have captured some sort of truth in a very ordinary experience. The backgrounds might be exotic but the experiences are just human, ordinary life, and I find that quite exciting.''

Read more:

Monday, October 7, 2013

Me Before You Book Review and Movie News

Me Before You
by Jojo Moyes

Genre: Literary Fiction

Review: Me Before You is an amazing, sublime, endearing, and sad novel. What literature should always be. It is well-written, humorous, compelling, with characters who you truly know, and want to know. Louisa Clark is a small-town girl in her twenties who has lived most of her life in one place.  A steady boyfriend but no career, she lives with her parents. Meet Will, a quadriplegic who used to lead a glamorous life, who dares Lou to step out of her comfort zone, while she tries to save him from himself. The unlikeliest love story you will ever read.

Film news: The book will be made into a movie. Read the announcement on Entertainment Weekly. No casting news yet as far as I can tell. 

If you loved the French movie, The Intouchables, read this book. 

Author website:

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Silver Star

The Silver Star
By Jeannette Walls

One of those rare books that will become a classic!

Genre: Literary Fiction

Review: Bean is the smart, spunky heroine you've been waiting for. When their mother disappears to "find herself," Liz and Bean ride a bus from California to a mountain town in Virginia to live in a rambling old farmhouse with their uncle. Bean finds out the truth about her father and befriends new family, enjoying small-town life.  The bond with her sister Liz resonated most for me. When tragedy strikes her sister, Bean is brave and tells it like is. Most of all, this is the story of sisters, the unbreakable bonds of siblings. 

The conclusion: Sharp-eyed yet emotionally resonant writing--you'd expect no less from thee author of the best-selling memoir The Glass Castle.

Song to Read by: "Down in the Valley" by the Head and the Heart