Tag Archives: Relationships

#Bookreview TRULY, MADLY, GUILTY by Liane Moriarty (@Flatironbooks) What does it take to shatter a life?

Title:   Truly, Madly, Guilty
Author:   Liane Moriarty
ISBN13:  978-1250069795
ASIN:  
Published:  26th July 2016
Pages:  432
Genre:  Contemporary (Thriller and suspense although I wouldn’t say it is either)

Body of review:

Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty
Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Entertainment Weekly’s “Best Beach Bet”

USA Today Hot Books for Summer Selection

Miami Herald Summer Reads Pick

The new novel from Liane Moriarty, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Husband’s Secret, Big Little Lies, and What 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.

Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty
Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty

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 Secret and 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!

Book Review of a Romance. Violet Chain by J. Kahele. @JanelleKahele

Author: J. KaheleViolet Chain by J, Kahele
Title: Violet Chain
File Size: 1552 KB
Print Length: 243 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publication Date: July 17, 2015
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B011WHGT9K
Text-to-Speech: Enabled
Word Wise: Enabled
Lending: Enabled
Formats: Kindle
Price: $3.99
Genres: Romance, Contemporary Fiction
 

As always with any Book Review, these are one person’s opinions. That includes the great, the good, and the bad.

Violet Chain is a story of two people on roads to recovery. One to recover her self-worth and identity, and the other his life as a man and not a character he plays in the playboy world he’s created.

I received this book to form questions for an upcoming interview and not to do a book review. And truthfully I wasn’t intending to do one. But one of the mottos I’ve put forth is “Read a book, write a review.” And with that in mind I could not keep from writing a review.

Violet Chain falls into the genre of Romance. Throw in some sex and you’ve got what you might think of as your typical fare these days. For me, I look underneath the surface of a story to the characters center, what’s driving them. I am not setting centric as much a I am emotional and thinking centric when I read a book.

The book starts off with Violet Townsend, the leading lady of the book, walking in on her fiancé in a sexual situation with another woman at their engagement party. For Violet, the world flips upside down and her journey begins to define herself as Violet Townsend and not the girlfriend of someone. She’s alone. She’s hurting in a deep way. This guy has messed her up emotionally and mentally. She doesn’t want a man.

Not even 48 hours passes and she meets Chain Alexander, millionaire playboy builder of malls across North America. Self-made man who likes to be in control and doesn’t know how to live any other way. That is until the night he meets his best friend’s fiance’s best friend, Violet. The two forces meet and almost everyone tries to stop the inevitable from happening.

While one person attempts to become emotionally detached, the other finds himself feeling emotions he’s never experienced before. And he can’t do a blessed thing about it. From one night stands to one woman dreams.

The characters are believable on the level in which they are played. They stay true to who and what they are as the story goes along and as the characters grow in their emotional lives. Kahele does a great job of character building and giving them layers of personality. The supporting cast is great. Some are humorous at times, some annoying, and some you think were written about people you know. And none of them are perfect. In other words, we get real, albeit on a big rich people scale.

But the rich are people to and they get just as screwed up in life as the rest of us and have to deal with it. That’s what the author Kahele has recognized. People are the same no matter what, take a relationship and just put it in a setting you want to. We can all connect with characters that are authentic on the base emotional levels.

I believe there were only a very few areas of concern with the book and that was the speed of change in Violet’s character, her apparent personality that is pointed to throughout the book differs greatly from this new Violet that we see. I kind of see how it works being that there is an emotionally stressful situation that perhaps cracks her a bit or flips a switch during certain moments. That part doesn’t really take away from the story as it progresses, but it gave me pause for a moment so I am mentioning it. This was perhaps the only big issue of character believability for me.

The part of Harrison, the cheating fiancé, was a bit repetitive to me in his scenes and annoyed me to no end. Now this annoyance was intentional I am sure. You are not supposed to like the guy.

The final area is the ending. Now there is a sequel coming in November, so the ending isn’t as final and shocking with that in mind. The new Violet isn’t liked by everyone in the book, unlike the old Violet.

My favorite take away from Violet Chain is Chain Alexander. That could just be the guy in me. Kahele describes certain situations and emotions from a man’s perspective perfectly. I could actually feel what Chain was going through. The writing was urgent at times when it needed to be to convey what Chain was feeling.

I guess that is really the great thing about the book, the pacing of the sentence structure and word usage. Kahele does a great job of switching between the soft and touching to the hard and edgy to carry you along where she wants you to go. She divides the chapters up between first person in the first half of the chapter being Violet and the second half being Chain. I have to say I like this better than the full chapters that are done much the same way. These are smaller bites and don’t take you away from the either character’s perspective for too long.

When J. Kahele gave me the book, she warned me about the sex in it being edgy. She knows of my sensibilities. All I can say to that is, lady, you don’t know me as well as you think. The sex scenes are well done without being over the top and unbelievable and graphic. Some of the situations are awesome. Oh that balcony. Mm, mm, mm.

Recommendations

For the most part this is a safe book for most adults. Nothing too extreme. The ending disturbed me a bit. I’ve taken about a week to think about it and been able to decide that with a sequel coming, I can handle it. I might ask to read the next one to see what happens. A lot of Kahele’s fans trust her and have no problems with it so far, so I’m going to trust her as well to handle it as well as she did the rest of the book.

Character Believability: 4Violet Chain by J, Kahele
Flow and Pace: 4
Reader Engagement: 4
Reader Enrichment: 3
Reader Enjoyment: 3
Overall Rate: 3.6

The Rating– First off, a 4 out of 5 from me is a great book. The score is lower than I expected, but I think the reason is the ending for me personally, and just little factors that took away from my own overall enjoyment. The book was well written, great layers to it. Don’t let a 3.6 keep you from the book. I am a tough reviewer.

About the Author

j_kahele_author.jpg“I am a proud mother of three daughters who are my absolute complete existence. I write to relieve the scattered thoughts that stream through my mind, constantly. My biggest downfall is that I am a huge procrastinator, which makes my life at times hectic!”

www.janellekahele.com

 

www.facebook.com/J-Kahele

J. Kahele on Google+

 

About the Reviewer

Ron_LWIRonovan is an author, and blogger who shares his life as an amnesiac and Chronic Pain sufferer though his blog RonovanWrites.WordPress.com. His love of poetry, authors and community through his online world has lead to a growing Weekly Haiku Challenge and the creation of  LitWorldInterviews.WordPress.com, a site dedicated to book reviews, interviews and author resources.  For those serious about book reviewing and interested in reviewing for the LWI site, email me at ronovanwrites (at) gmail (dot) com to begin a dialogue. It may not work out but then again it might.

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@RonovanWrites

 © Copyright-All rights reserved by LitWorldInterviews.wordpress.com 2015

#Book Review by @RonovanWrites of Sex & Samosas by Author @JasmineAziz

sex-and-samosas-jasmine-aziz-review-feature1

 

  • Title: Sex and SamosasSex and Samosas book cover by Author Jasmine Aziz
  • Author: Jasmine Aziz
  • File Size: 541 KB
  • Print Length: 293 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0987735705
  • Publisher: Shubblie Publications (March 1, 2012)
  • Publication Date: March 1, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0085TJWQ6
  • ISBN-10: 0987735705
  • ISBN-13: 978-0987735706
  • Formats: Paperback and Kindle
  • Genres: Women’s Fiction, Romance, Romantic Comedy (Some might say Erotica but the way Ms. Aziz handles the subject, you just don’t get that from it.)

 

How did I happen to end up reading this book?

I’m not certain what I was expecting when I began reading Sex and Samosas by Jasmine Aziz. I didn’t read any other reviews or even a book description beforehand nor have I since. I had no preconceived ideas about what it was about, except it had the word sex in it and I was cautious. Having read an article about the author, I only knew I felt I could trust Jasmine Aziz to provide a good story. Me and a book with the title Sex in it would not normally be a match, but trust was given and thus here we are.

I learned of Ms. Aziz after having read about her through Dan McNeil, another great author I have interviewed and thought there was a great opportunity for a review and interview. (The interview is just waiting for me to format it. Look for it any day now.)

In the beginning.

“You never forget your first orgasm…”

Those are the first words you are going to read once past the opening credits. Yes, you will read this as if watching a movie, because it feels like a movie and will make a great movie with the right director, if only Nora Ephron were still with us.

Learning.

Not letting the books opening words give you too much pause, if you are of the more timid kind, (Waves hand. Okay, maybe not timid but a closet fiend.) you will read about the how and why of the orgasm in women. In truth men will learn just as much as women. Trust me men, and women, there is nothing wrong with learning things from books. They save a lot of time and unsuccessful moments.

This book takes the awkwardness out of unsatisfying sex and wanting to remedy that problem. Men, don’t be arrogant and think you know, because if you finally do really know how to make her happy, you will be the happiest you’ve ever been. Call it a mindgasm if you will; my word as far as I know. Aziz explains how things work, north and south of the pleasure equator.

Sex isn’t the only thing this book is about. You will find Sex is only perhaps a metaphor for what really happens in the book. The sexual awareness that occurs is a parallel path of something else.

The Who

We meet Leena, a South Asian woman married to Manny, also South Asian, who lives in North America but has a very traditional mother from the old country, India. They have been married for five years or so and have already settled down into the marriage routine. That revealing part from Leena had me laughing and for a while and I still laugh when I think about it.

But we also meet Mahjong, Mae Wong really but the mispronunciation from younger days stuck and it fits in more ways than one. Mahjong takes Leena to a Sex Party, a party that is not exactly what the name implies but does teach a lot. (Men, when you read this, take notes.)

You will learn a lot about some of the customs and even culture confusion of being South Asian and being in North America around a traditional South Asian community culture. You will also find Leena’s mother’s thoughts on religion interesting. I did.

What you get.

Family and community play an interesting role in the book and in ways I would not have expected. Yes, you will get surprises. The subject is handled well, with taste and humor. Some may be pleased the amount of profanity was at a minimum, which keeps the mind more on the story than taking away from it and leading one down that path of a pure sex book. And when any words are used they tend to fit the situation and the person speaking. They aren’t just thrown in there for shock value.

Again, this is not a sex book, but it is a book that includes the topic of sex, and in very descriptive ways.

Ms. Aziz handles the writing of the subject so well that you don’t feel uncomfortable reading certain subjects and think of it more like a classroom or documentary of sorts with a lot of humor along the way. And she makes it human. You will swear she is reading your mind at times.

Nothing is perfect. Sex isn’t perfect like a scripted movie. Things happen, and man, I am still dying over the what I call ‘on fire’ part of the book.

The book is almost just about as much about men as it is about women; at least you discover things about men that you may not realize. And Aziz nails it. (Pun intended after the fact.) Her honesty in sharing these thoughts and parts of her reality, you’ll know what I mean once you read about Ms. Aziz, took more courage, I believe, than the actual being involved in anything that occurs in the book itself. And for that, I thank Jasmine Aziz. I honestly think writing about sex in this manner is one of the most brave things you can do in this day and age. The final frontier if you will.

Recommendation:

I say anyone that might ever have sex should read this book once at the appropriate age. For a child of mine that might be 40. Okay, maybe 18 or as a senior in High School.

There are descriptions of sexual acts, tastefully so, and humorously at times, but be aware of that when purchasing the book for yourself or as a gift. You eventually don’t even notice it.

As readers here on LWI know, my reviewing is a bit tougher than some might be out in book review land. I like for my reviews to count for something. When I say I give an honest review, I mean it. If I am asked for a review and it doesn’t appear here then that usually means I couldn’t even finish the book and thus don’t want to do harm to a book’s sales because of an OPINION, which is all a book review is, even by a professor at Harvard or Yale.

Thus, follows my rating.

Character Believability: 5Jasmine Aziz Author of Sex and Samosas
Flow and Pace: 5
Reader Engagement: 5
Reader Enrichment: 5
Reader Enjoyment: 4
Overall Rate: 4.8

Just so everyone knows, I don’t normally give Ratings this High.

About Jasmine Aziz:

I’m a retired vibrator seller.

I’ve been writing poetry and short stories for years. Following a bad breakup and shortly after doing a “Bollywood Bachelorette” party during my days selling adult novelty toys, I was inspired to write my first full length novel. I’m currently working on my second book “Bring Your Own Batteries” – my memoirs chronicling the four years when I sold sex toys. I’ve seen a lot, I’ve lived through a lot, I’ve got much still left to say.

I reside in the town where I was born: Ottawa, Canada.

To watch a trailer for the book or even readings by Jasmine Aziz of sections of Sex & Samosas on her site, click the link below.

http://www.jasmineaziz.com/media.html

Make certain to connect with Jasmine through her Twitter

And Facebook at Sex & Samosas.

Book Review by: @RonovanWrites of ronovanwrites.wordpress.com

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7 books to re-think Life by @FTThum

Book n coffee
My favourite things…

 

I question my life. It is what I do – not in a ‘my life sucks’ whiny way, but rather as a search for clarity and meaning, to better understand my words and deeds. And please don’t get me wrong, it is not done in an angst-filled manner either. It is reflective.

I realise I have read many books about living life… some I agreed with, others not so. All have made me pause and re-consider. These books are not ‘how-to’ books but rather books that provoke thoughts, reflection, evaluation…

I have selected 7 books from my bookshelf to share with you, in the order they were read by me to the best of my recollection 🙂 .

An aside, ever wondered why ‘7’ is so popular in Eastern and Western cultures? I have used ‘7’ because it is my favourite number. It is an auspicious number in Chinese culture symbolizing ‘togetherness’ and representing ‘yang’ or masculine energy.

Now, the books:

  1. The Road Less Travelled by M Scott Peck

This is a classic on confronting pain and suffering, and the significance of loving relationships.

  1. Unconditional Life by Deepak Chopra

Consolidating different disciplines from quantum physics to ancient traditions, this is an exposition of the impact of consciousness on our reality and in turn, our health and wellbeing.

  1. The Call by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

An excerpt of the poem, The Call, from the book:

I have heard it all my life,
A voice calling a name I recognized as my own.
 
Sometimes it comes as a soft-bellied whisper.
Sometimes it holds an edge of urgency.
 
But always it says: Wake up my love. You are walking asleep.
There’s no safety in that!

    4.  The Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman

What makes you happy? What makes you a true warrior, a champion in life? Whether you agree or not, it’s a different perspective worth considering.

  1. Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart by Dr Gordon Livingstone

A collection of essays written by a psychiatrist, that is akin to ‘life lessons’. Definitely gets you thinking.

  1. Codes of Love by Mark Bryan

A look at the family and how it influences who we are, and how we are able to learn to re-connect with our loved ones, or gain deeper intimacy. Think your family’s normal? 😉

  1. The Good Life by Hugh Mackay

A social commentary on modern life, and in particular the Utopia complex we as a society and as individuals are buying into, by a modern philosopher. What makes a good life? A life worth living?

I hope you find little gems within the pages!

– FlorenceT

@FTThum
MeaningsAndMusings

Florence 2