I received a copy of this book for an honest review.
Jubilee Year-A Novel is the story of what would happen if our sun had a long-lost twin that had been traveling the universe and was now on its way back home. And governments knew it but didn’t tell the populace. Elite saw it coming and were prepared for its happening but the general population was left on its own. In Jubilee Year Gerrard O’Neill gives us a taste of what happens when a few people discover the truth and try to survive the coming catastrophe.
18 years old Storm just wants to figure out what to do with his life while dating 22 years old Penny. Penny’s father is director of one of the most famous observatories in the world and thus in a position to see what’s happening in the solar system we live in. That knowledge throws Storm into an adventure he never expects as he gets caught up in protests, paramilitary groups, and a super-secret agent of the Australian government.
The relationships in the book are not bad. Although the Storm and Penny dynamic leaves something to be desired at times. The other connections in the book are pretty good with the exception of how a character named Darren turns out. I was a bit surprised about him and that seemed a little forced to me. I could see sort of why it was thrown in but maybe it could have been handled better, maybe not so rushed.
I don’t know science of the nature discussed in the book, but I don’t think you need to. It is all explained well and made you believe what is being stated. That’s what counts.
The main issues I had with the book were the head hopping within scenes where I couldn’t tell who was talking or thinking. And there are some proofreading issues that are evident. These two factors made reading not as enjoyable as it could have been.
Overall it was a good story idea, a quick read that kept you turning the pages to see what would happen next.
Rating and Recommendation:
I gave Jubilee Year-A Novel 3 out of 5 stars instead of a 4 because of the head hopping. It really took away from the flow of reading. The story itself is good and even being over 400 pages I read it in one day. So I do recommend the book for those who like the apocalyptic type of genre.
The new novel from Liane Moriarty, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Husband’s Secret, Big Little Lies, andWhat Alice Forgot, about how sometimes we don’t appreciate how extraordinary our ordinary lives are until it’s too late.
“What a wonderful writer―smart, wise, funny.” ―Anne Lamott
Six responsible adults. Three cute kids. One small dog. It’s just a normal weekend. What could possibly go wrong?
In Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty turns her unique, razor-sharp eye towards three seemingly happy families.
Sam and Clementine have a wonderful, albeit, busy life: they have two little girls, Sam has just started a new dream job, and Clementine, a cellist, is busy preparing for the audition of a lifetime. If there’s anything they can count on, it’s each other.
Clementine and Erika are each other’s oldest friends. A single look between them can convey an entire conversation. But theirs is a complicated relationship, so when Erika mentions a last minute invitation to a barbecue with her neighbors, Tiffany and Vid, Clementine and Sam don’t hesitate. Having Tiffany and Vid’s larger than life personalities there will be a welcome respite.
Two months later, it won’t stop raining, and Clementine and Sam can’t stop asking themselves the question: What if we hadn’t gone?
In Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty takes on the foundations of our lives: marriage, sex, parenthood, and friendship. She shows how guilt can expose the fault lines in the most seemingly strong relationships, how what we don’t say can be more powerful than what we do, and how sometimes it is the most innocent of moments that can do the greatest harm.
Here, my review:
Thanks to Net Galley and to Penguin UK- Michael Joseph for providing me with a free copy of the novel in exchange for an unbiased review.
I confess to having checked some of the reviews of the book and noticed that many of the comments compared this novel to some of this Australian writer’s previous work, particularly The Husband’s Secretand Big Little Lies. This is the first of Moriarty’s novels I read and therefore I don’t know if this might be a disappointing read for those who have read the others.
The novel is clearly set from the beginning around something that happened at a barbeque (this being Australia, I guess it’s to be expected). The chapters alternate between the aftermath of the said barbeque (weeks later) and events that happened at the time, although we’re not told exactly what that was until half way through. It is evident that it was an event that affected everybody involved, but the author cleverly (although perhaps annoyingly for some readers) circles around the details and the circumstances of what happened without quite revealing it (and no, I won’t either).
The story is narrated in the third person from the various characters’ points of view, mostly those who were present at the barbeque (that includes Dakota, the young daughter of the couple who had invited the rest to their house), but also some that we only later realise were either involved in the incident or know something about it others don’t. I know some readers don’t like too many changes in viewpoint, although in this case the characters and their voices are sufficiently distinct to avoid confusion.
The three couples present at the incident are very different from each other. Erika and Oliver are a perfectly matched couple. Both grew up with difficult parents and survived disrupted childhoods, although not unscathed. They are organised and methodical and they do everything by the book (or so it seems). Clementine and Sam are the ‘opposites attract’ kind of couple. She is a musician, a cellist, and he doesn’t even like classical music. She is the artist and he is more down to earth. They have two daughters and they are impulsive, free for all and relaxed (although perhaps not as much as they seem). Camilla and Erika are childhood friends, although their friendship was instigated by Camilla’s mother, who became Erika’s heroine and role model, perfect motherhood personified. Camilla feels guilty for resenting Erika’s interference in her childhood because she’s aware of her family circumstances. But she still feels put upon. Erika’s feelings towards her friend are also complicated, mixing envy, disdain and some true affection.
The third couple, Vid and Tiffany, are Erika and Oliver’s neighbours, very rich, very loud, and seemingly perfect for each other. They enjoy life to the full and don’t mind bending the rules for fun or to get their own way. Although on the surface they seem harmless and good fun, they represent temptation and we later discover they might be darker than they appear. They don’t know the others very well but even they are affected by what happens.
The novel shows how a seemingly unimportant oversight can have an impact on many people’s lives, putting an end to innocence and burdening all with guilt, and how we all keep secrets, sometimes even from ourselves. The guilt we carry, justified or not, can put a terrible strain on relationships and lives and can affect people’s mental health. The story builds up slowly and perhaps because of the emphasis on the event (that is not easy to guess and is kept under wraps for very long) it might result somewhat anticlimactic once it is revealed. For me, it works like a puzzle where the pieces are being fitted together slowly, with an insistence on fitting first the outskirts of the picture rather than the centre of it. How much of the detail is necessary is debatable, and it also depends on how much you care for the characters, that are interesting but perhaps not that easy to identify with. There were flashes of humour, but very few and I understand from comments that the author’s previous books were funnier.
I enjoyed the ending that I found unexpectedly positive, although it is not earth-shattering. Some of the couples learn from the event and move on, but not all, although we get to understand the microcosms and all the characters much better by the end of the novel as they have grown more rounded and human . Although I don’t think this is a novel for everybody and it is not a page-turner, I hope to get to check the author’s previous work and I appreciate the quality of her writing, which is descriptive and precious.
Ratings: Realistic Characterization: 3.5/5 Made Me Think: 4/5 Overall enjoyment: 3.5/5 Readability: 4/5 Recommended: 4/5 Overall Rating: 4/5
Buy it at: Format & Pricing: Paperback: $16.99 Kindle: Not available in Kindle format on Amazon. com yet Audible: $39.54 Hardcover: $ 16.19
I shared this review on my own website and there was plenty of interest. I must admit the style of the writer interested me more, as a writer, than the story itself, but…
Thanks so much for reading. Remember to like, share, comment and CLICK!
As you know I try to bring you writers who mainly publish in Spanish and whose works have been translated to English to help you discover their wonderful offerings. Today, I have the pleasure of bringing you Carmen Grau, a writer from Barcelona (like me) who after travelling widely (and she keeps travelling) now lives in Australia. Therefore the interview title is a bit of a misnomer as she has written it in English, but I thought you’d find it fascinating. And it’s a topic fairly different to the fiction I usually bring you. If you have children you’ll find her take on children’s education pretty interesting too.
And here, without further ado, I introduce you to Carmen.
Carmen Grau was born and grew up in Barcelona, Spain. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Barcelona and a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Providence College, R.I. She writes in English, Spanish, and Catalan. She has traveled extensively and lived in different countries like the USA, Singapore, Malaysia, and Australia. In the year 2000 she set out on an unplanned journey around several Southeast Asian countries, and a year later she wrote “Amanecer en el Sudeste Asiático” (Sunrise in Southeast Asia), the number one ebook in all travel categories on Amazon Spain in 2012 and 2013. In 2004, she wrote the novel “Trabajo temporal”. In 2013, she published a second travelogue, “Hacia tierra austral”, which tells her journey on board some of the most legendary trains in the world, from Barcelona, Spain to Perth, Australia. The novel “Nunca dejes de bailar” is her most recent work, published in February 2015. She writes regularly in her blogs: elblogdecarmengrau.blogspot.com, in Spanish, and raisingchildreninfreedom.blogspot.com, in English. Apart from writing and traveling, Carmen has many other passions like cooking, walking, and reading; most of all, spending time with her two unschooled sons, Dave and Alex. She is a child advocate and a firm believer in the right of children to self-education. When not traveling, Carmen and her two sons live in Dunsborough, a small town in the South West of Australia.
When and where did you start writing?
I started writing when I was little. I remember writing my first book when I was eight. I don’t know what happened to it, but I still keep the journals I started when I was ten or eleven. I never stopped, but I did burn some of the later journals so that my siblings would stop wanting to read everything I wrote. I find this very ironic now because they are not interested in reading my books. I don’t mind and we still get along great.
Tell us about your experience as an independent writer
I published my first book Amanecer en el Sudeste Asiático (now available in English as Sunrise in Southeast Asia) on Amazon in 2012. I wrote it in 2001, right after my seven-month journey around Southeast Asia. I tried to get it published in Spain with no success. In the meantime, I kept travelling and living life. I also got distracted with marriage and kids. One day it dawned on me that the book had been sitting in a drawer for ten years. I only gave it to read to friends who knew about it and asked for it. One day a writer contacted me. She had heard about my book through a common friend and wanted to read it. She liked it and encouraged me to do something about it. So I decided to try again to get it published in the traditional way. I sent it to over thirty literary agents in Spain. Four of them replied and one said they loved it and would be happy to represent me. However, they did not manage to find me a publisher and blamed it on the current economic crisis in Spain. It was then, at the end of 2011, when I decided to self-publish my book using my small second-hand book business name, Dunsborough Books. The book finally came out in April 2012 and started selling on Amazon straight away. Soon it became number one in all travelling categories on Amazon and has remained at the top since its publication. After that, I was encouraged to keep self-publishing and, of course, writing, which I had never stopped doing. Since then, I have been contacted by traditional publishers who are interested in my work, and I might consider trying this other way, but for the moment I am happy as an independent author and publisher.
Do you have a particular moment about your experience as a writer that you remember with particular affection?
I can’t think of one precise moment. I have lots of anecdotes regarding my readers which I cherish. Once a reader found one of my books on a bench. He picked it up, read it, loved it, and wrote to me to let me know all this. Another time, my sister went to Thailand for a month and she met a couple who started telling her about this great book they had just read. It was my book!
Do you have a favourite genre (as a reader and as a writer)
As a reader, I don’t have a favourite genre, but there are genres I wouldn’t read even if they paid me. I read a lot of non-fiction. I love travel books, but also psychology and science books. And I love reading fiction too, mainly literary fiction. As an author, I aspire to write good quality contemporary fiction and also non-fiction about the things that interest me, like education and travelling.
What made you decide to translate your book? And how did you go about it?
The Spanish version of my first book was so successful that I thought I should try to have it translated into English. Besides, all my English speaking friends asked me for it. At the time, I didn’t think I would have the patience or skill to translate it myself, so I looked for a professional translator. Someone recommended me one that turned out to be quite unprofessional. I saw that straight away, so nothing was lost. Then I did some research myself, through Linkedin. I found a translator that seemed very talented and professional and started working with him. It was a great experience and I will be recommending him to a lot of people.
Any advice for other writers?
Have your book read, proofread and revised by as many people as you can, prior to publication. You’ll be surprised at how disparaging your friends’ opinions will be. In the end, though, you decide what changes to make. Write for yourself, you’re the first one who has to like it. If you like it, many other people will like it too, because you’re not that unique. That’s what I do, anyway.
Links to follow Carmen and read more about her book:
Book in paperback (and you can also get the e-version matched for price if you get the paperback)
“If God is too indifferent, or too non-existent to take care of His creation, then clearly it’s up to Me.”
This is Morgen Tanjenz, a lawyer with a God complex, or maybe Devil complex… or simply misunderstood? As he intervenes in the lives of those around him, his life intersects with Detective Sergeant Peter ‘Blacksnake’ Fowler who has problems of his own not least the woman he loves is having an affair. With a serial killer on the loose, Fowler is under intense pressure, and the pressure valve is sure to explode when taunted by the likes of Morgen?
This is an edgy crime novel set in Sydney – dark and interspersed with moments of humour. The protagonist and other characters are quirky and believable, a twist from the usual crime novel characterisations. And what’s with the cicada on the book cover…and the reference throughout to these insects prominent in the Sydney-scape in summer?
Deans once again has enthralled his readers with his dark sense of humour and unusual perspectives. A book for those willing to explore difference and open to the less than beautiful side of life – its sexual overtones and drugs usage. Morgen is not a lovable character, I don’t think, but captivating. I want to be on his side. Compelling read as I begin to invest in Morgen’s life – curious to know what happens to him, not wanting anything negative to occur to him. Persuasive writing.
Definitely a worthwhile book to read, especially if you enjoy intense dark crime novels with drama and humour.
LWI Rating: Realistic Characterization: 4/5 Made Me Think: 4/5 Overall enjoyment: 3.5/5 Readability: 3.5/5 Recommended: 3.5/5 Overall Rating: 4/5
You’ve seen her picture over there in the author’s section, well now you know who she is if you didn’t check her out already.
This is what she says about herself:
“Psychotherapist, educator, lawyer, and a student of writing with a passion for books and music as well as an insatiable curiosity for learning and everything else.”
Yes, she’s here to a) try and make my writing look good when I remember to ask her to look at it before I hit ‘Publish’ and b) because she has a lot of talents that will benefit us greatly. She will be doing reviews of various genre including non-fiction subjects such as Psychology.
You have to admit, we’ve got a pretty good team here. The U.S. of A., South Africa, and now Australia. I’m covering the globe with some great people.