October 25, 2014

What Alice Forgot. Liane Moriarty

What Alice Forgot
Liane Moriarty
Publisher: Bolinda
Date: 2010
Format: Audiobook
Length: 15 hours 35 min
Narrator:  Caroline Lee
Genre: Women's Fiction
Source: Own audiobook

Alice Love is twenty-nine years old, madly in love with her husband, and pregnant with their first child. So imagine her surprise when, after a fall, she comes to on the floor of a gym (a gym! she HATES the gym!) and discovers that she's actually thirty-nine, has three children, and is in the midst of an acrimonious divorce.

A knock on the head has misplaced ten years of her life, and Alice isn't sure she likes who she's become. It turns out, though, that forgetting might be the most memorable thing that has ever happened to Alice.
My thoughts
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty  is the second book I have 'read' - listened to and I liked it very much.  The narrator does an excellent reading and enhances the whole experience.  I am going to actually read my next book by this author in paperback. I am wondering how that will stack up against the audio experience.  

Alice hits her head at the gym and when she comes to, she has lost the last 10 years of her memory, so now she thinks its 1998.  A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then!  Most of the book is about Alice trying to grasp who all these unknown people are in her life.  First of all her children - she thinks she is pregnant with her first child - but no, she has three!  She has a friend that it appears she has lost touch with and a friend who has died - and she has no memory of her.  She finds that her husband Nick and herself are separated, heading towards divorce.  The house they bought is now all perfectly renovated.  And that's not all, her mother has done something very unexpected, and Alice seems to have a man friend - Dominic the local Principal.  Elizabeth, her sister seems a little estranged and is dealing with her own problems of infertility.

So, the Alice of ten years ago meets the life she is now living ten years later.  She finds there are many changes in her life, she is no longer the woman she once was.  There are a lot of hard edges that the younger, softer Alice would never have dreamt of developing.  Who is Alice now?  As she unravels her life, she has choices to make.  No more, so as not to give the plot away - although as I have come late to this book, most readers probably know!

There are so many heart wrenching issues explored in this book - infertility, divorce, children, marriage, friendships, death and family.  It could be a serious, depressing book but its not.  There is humour and exploration of what could be and might have been.  Like any good author Liane Moriarty keeps you guessing until the epilogue,  and she left one satisfied reader behind.
5 stars

October 24, 2014

BookBlogWalkers October 24th 2014

This challenge is organised by Felicia over at the Geeky Blogger's Book Blog.

Well I had a better week and got some exercise in.

Saturday:  30 min walk                     8150 steps in the day
Sunday:  40 min lawn mowing         7797  steps in the day
Monday: 30 min walk                       7887 steps  in the day               
Tuesday: 30 min walk                      10 260 steps  in the day
Wednesday: 30 min walk                  9477 steps  in the day
Thursday: rest day                            5881 steps   in the day
Friday: 30 min walk.                         9194 steps  in the day

So there you have it and I am back on track!  

October 21, 2014

The Silent Sister. Diane Chamberlain

Book cover
The Silent Sister
Diane Chamberlain
Publisher: St Martin's Press
Date: 7th October 2014
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 352
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Add to Goodreads
Riley MacPherson has spent her entire life believing that her older sister Lisa committed suicide as a teenager.  Now, over twenty years later, her father has passed away and she's in New Bern, North Carolina cleaning out his house when she finds evidence to the contrary.  Lisa is alive.  Alive and living under a new identity.  But why exactly was she on the run all those years ago, and what secrets are being kept now?  As Riley works to uncover the truth, her discoveries will put into question everything she thought she knew about her family.  Riley must decide what the past means for her present, and what she will do with her newfound reality.
My thoughts banner

The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain was a compulsive, stay glued to the book read.  Small clues were drip fed through to the reader and to Riley as she started to glean that her family were not quite as they appeared to be.  What secret would be uncovered next?

Riley is the youngest in her family, with about 15 years between herself and her older sister Lisa, who was thought to have committed suicide when Riley was only 2 years old.  She has no real memory of her.  Riley begins to put her father's estate in order after his death, and then one discovery after the other happens.  The old couple in the RV park - why was her father paying Tom Kyle $500 a month?   Tom's wife Verniece tells Riley something she just can't believe.  Real estate agent Jeannie Lyons, turns out to be a lot more than just the real estate person helping her deal with winding up the estate.

Riley is close to Danny her brother, older by about 5 years than her.  He lives in an old trailer in the RV park.  He is a war veteran and is grouchy to say the very least.  He can't cope with helping Riley to close the estate.  After his sister went missing he grew up in a home that held tension and he is angry with his father.  However he has a soft, tender spot for Riley - this is the relationship I liked most in the book.  He helps her out at crucial times, and while he is a lose cannon in many ways, my heart ached for him.

The book alternates between Riley and her sister Lisa, and if you've read the summary, her suicide was faked.  But who was involved? Who knew what?  How did Lisa fare after this?  Gradually we are let in on her story and we are drip fed clues that are significant.  Her story is every bit as compelling as Riley's one. 

Lies, secrets, murder, abuse have taken a toll on every member of this family.  Riley is desperate to find family, she feels so alone, Lisa's heart aches for different reasons.  Others are slammed by the shock of revealed secrets they knew nothing about. 

The Silent Sister was a well crafted story, clues revealed slowly, viewpoints had to be weighed up - who was telling the truth?  The book was very well paced and written in a way that meant I couldn't leave it down for long.  
4 stars

October 20, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
Sheila at Book Journey runs It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Saturday was one of my favourite days of the year - our local book fair, when the local Lions group fund raise for various charities.  I am afraid I went and bought about as much as I donated in books for it, so I am now bulging on my TBR shelf.

Books by past favourite authors

Books chosen because I have been introduced to authors by bloggers.

New authors to me, ones I don't really know about.
I picked up the Diane Setterfield one thinking it was 
a Diane Chamberlain.  Before I noticed a woman
said to me "We read that one in our book club 
it was very good".  So I kept it for a read.

That's just some of them.  I snagged 8 J. D. Robb books, left my list at home, so was very relieved when I arrived home and found I had no double ups.  I spent just over $100, more than I intended, but its for a good cause.  Books in New Zealand are way more expensive than in the USA for example. I'd pay anything from $20 to $35 for each of these books in the shop for paperback.  I bought over 40 books for the $117. 

This week I read:  
Crime - non fiction
Excellent read.
A New Zealand crime - murder of a young girl
by her ex boyfriend.

Utterly fantastic.

At present I am reading:

Feels Like Family by Sherryl Woods   (part of her Magnolia series)

Still listening to Someone Else's Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson

Reading also a non fiction travel book - for The Eclectic Reading Challenge.

Storybook Travels: From Eloise's New York to Harry Potter's London, Visits to 30 of the Best Loved Landmarks in Children's Literature.

Up next:
I think it will be Unsuitable by Ainslie Paton.  She is self publishing this particular book, but as I really like her writing, I am quite happy to read this.  She is another awesome Australian author.

Anyone would think I am Australian at the rate I am reading Australian authors this year, but I am not!  

October 19, 2014

Far From Perfect. Barbara Longley

Far From Perfect
Barbara Longley
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Date: 2012
Format: Kindle
Pages: 348
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Own book
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Noah Langford narrowly survived the roadside bombing in Iraq that cost him his leg and forever his peace of mind. When his stepbrother Matt dies in a car accident, the loss feels like the final blow to Noah’s shattered soul. But then he learns about the girlfriend and baby living in Perfect, Indiana who Matt had never mentioned, and suddenly Noah has a new mission…

Ceejay Lovejoy was nineteen and pregnant when her boyfriend walked out. Since that day, Ceejay has devoted herself to giving her daughter a better life, avoiding any man who could threaten that security—until the day Noah Langford shows up on her doorstep in Perfect. His gentle spirit has an unexpected effect on Ceejay’s guarded heart, tempting her to take one last chance on love. But when a painful secret comes to light, it threatens to break the fragile bond growing between them…and to destroy a love powerful enough to heal them both.
My thoughts banner
Far From Perfect by Barbara Longley was an enjoyable read.  It is the first one in her Perfect, Indiana series.  I started with #3 when I read that one from NetGalley.  I liked that one sufficiently to go back and read the first two.

Noah is a returned soldier, wounded both in body, mind and soul.  He does not want to return to his father's major plumbing business.  Instead he elects to set out on a journey to find Ceejay and the baby his stepbrother fathered.  He finds Perfect a quiet wonderful place for healing and dealing for the PTSD he suffers from.  He soon falls in love with his little niece and she thinks he is rather special too.  They spend time together, and you just know Noah would make a great father.  He strikes up a friendship with Ceejay's cousin, Ted and as the story progresses they form an alliance that is going to take them into a new future. 

Ceejay has struggled pretty much all her life, but she is tough and she has reached important goals.  She has been brought up by her Aunt Jenny after her mother just dropped her there, then Matt her boyfriend on learning she was pregnant walked out.  With the help of her Aunt she has made a life for herself but she is not quite ready to accept on trust anyone, let alone Noah and later his family when they arrive.

I enjoyed the developing relationship between Ceejay and Noah, other family relationships and the way there were enough twists and turns in the plot to keep me engaged.  The values of family, love, trust and satisfying work shone through.  A very pleasant read.
4 stars
Perfect, Indiana
Far From Perfect
The Difference a Day Makes

October 17, 2014

What a Lady Needs For Christmas. Grace Burrowes

Book Cover
What a Lady Needs For Christmas
Grace Burrowes
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Date: 7th October 2014
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 416
Genre: Historical romance
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

To escape a scandal, Lady Joan Flynn flees her family's estate in the Scottish Highlands. She needs a husband by Christmas, or the holidays will ring in nothing but ruin.

Practical, ambitious mill owner Dante Hartwell offers to marry Joan, because a wellborn wife is his best chance of gaining access to aristocratic investors.

As Christmas—and trouble—draw nearer, Dante and Joan's marriage of convenience blossoms into unexpected intimacy, for true love often hides beneath the most unassuming holiday wrapping...
My thoughts banner
What a Lady Needs for Christmas by Grace Burrowes is #4 in her MacGregors series.  However it can be easily read as a stand alone - although it may be a little difficult to get your mind around the minor characters.  The focus of this book is Lady Joan, a member of the aristocracy, and Dante Hartwell, more of the working classes.  

Lady Joan and Dante meet on a train and find eventually that they are meeting at the same place - Balfour.  Dante has two children, Charlie and Phillip and his sister Margaret.  As the Christmas season celebrations are prepared for, Dante and Joan have the opportunity to become more acquainted with each other and soon know many details about each other.  Joan has a love of drawing and designing women's clothes and it is this that has run her into a scandal that she is fleeing from.  Edward has managed to rob her of her designs while plying her with drinking and leaving her thinking that he has robbed her of her virginity as well.

Dante and Joan decide on marriage as the way to protect her from the scandal and plans are made for a quick marriage.  Then comes a twist when Edward turns nasty and begins to blackmail Joan.

There a number of twists and turns in the plot which made for engaging reading, there was humour as Joan's family gave Dante a grilling, and then there were rabbits that made for some lightheartedness. There is also a sub plot involving Hector and Margaret - Hector being Dante's chief assistant.

This was a pleasant early Christmas story, it is a Victorian historical romance, so the changes of that time are appearing in the classes.  The last part of the book was about family, and working together and being triumphant.  

BookBlogWalkers 17th October.

This challenge is organised by Felicia over at the Geeky Blogger's Book Blog.

Well my worst week of the year!  Only 3 days of walking, although I did get up to 4000 - 5000 steps walking around school.  The school term just got of to a busy and somewhat energy draining start and I decided to cut back hopefully just for this week!

Saturday: 40 min walk
Sunday: 40 min  walk
Monday: Nada
Tuesday: Zilch
Wednesday: 30 min walk
Thursday: Zero
Friday: Nadir

Okay so back on the horse tomorrow!
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