Showing posts with label New York Times Bestseller. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New York Times Bestseller. Show all posts

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

The Pillars of the Earth (Kingsbridge #1) by Ken Follett 


4.29  ·  Rating details ·  506,883 Ratings  ·  26,741 Reviews
The Pillars of the Earth (Kingsbridge #1) by Ken Follett download or read it online for free
The Pillars of the Earth (Kingsbridge #1)
by Ken Follett
Ken Follett is known worldwide as the master of split-second suspense, but his most beloved and bestselling book tells the magnificent tale of a twelfth-century monk driven to do the seemingly impossible: build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has ever known.

Everything readers expect from Follett is here: intrigue, fast-paced action, and passionate romance. But what makes The Pillars of the Earth extraordinary is the time the twelfth century; the place feudal England; and the subject the building of a glorious cathedral. Follett has re-created the crude, flamboyant England of the Middle Ages in every detail. The vast forests, the walled towns, the castles, and the monasteries become a familiar landscape. Against this richly imagined and intricately interwoven backdrop, filled with the ravages of war and the rhythms of daily life, the master storyteller draws the reader irresistibly into the intertwined lives of his characters into their dreams, their labors, and their loves: Tom, the master builder; Aliena, the ravishingly beautiful noblewoman; Philip, the prior of Kingsbridge; Jack, the artist in stone; and Ellen, the woman of the forest who casts a terrifying curse. From humble stonemason to imperious monarch, each character is brought vividly to life.

The building of the cathedral, with the almost eerie artistry of the unschooled stonemasons, is the center of the drama. Around the site of the construction, Follett weaves a story of betrayal, revenge, and love, which begins with the public hanging of an innocent man and ends with the humiliation of a king.

“Having faith in God did not mean sitting back and doing nothing. It meant believing you would find success if you did your best honestly and energetically.”

“The most expensive part of building is the mistakes.”




Reviews


I devour books. That is my euphemism for being so OCD that I can't put it down and live my life until I finish it. For shorter books, that's generally not a problem, but for the 974 page Pillars of the Earth...well, let's just say we ran out of food, my children clung to my legs asking for food, and the floors did not get vacuumed for a good five days while I whittled away at this book.

CLIFF HANGER: This book is not a cliff-hanger at the end of every chapter kind of book, which makes it easier to read it in multiple sittings. However, Follett does such a masterful job of character development, that I found myself wanting to know what was going to happen next whether the end of the chapter contained a cliffhanger ending or not.

CHARACTER DEV'T: Each character is so beautifully defined and fleshed out, that they become almost real. I felt that I knew them personally, that I could accurately predict how they would react in different situations. None of them were 100% good or bad, just like in real life. Some priests were holy, others evil; some were rich people with big hearts, others with small minds and evil intentions; some poor farmers were judgmental, w/narrow-minded attitudes, others opened their doors to strangers.

PLOT/PACE: Foreshadowing was a very powerful convention that Follett skillfully weaved in and out of every chapter. It gave subtle hints, but never so overt as to suggest that the reader may be an imbecile. Backstories meander and come to closure at such a nice pace, that it always feels like something is happening and things are being resolved, for better or for worse.

THEMES: My favorite theme was that natural consequences followed the actions of the characters. (I'm still a bit out of sorts after reading the deus ex machina riddled Breaking Dawn, where all the natural consequences of three books worth of actions were completely erased-ugh.) There was a natural ebb and flow of triumph and misfortunes in Pillars of the Earth. Good things happened to bad people and bad things happened to good people, just like in real life. Follett does not try to save his characters from themselves, or from each other, and I enjoyed that very much.

STRONG WOMEN: I absolutely adored the strong women in this book! What a joy to read about Aliena, carving out her own future after her world had been turned upside down! Life knocked her down plenty, but each time, she got up, made a plan, and triumphed eventually. Ellen, and Agnes in her own way, were also strong women.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: As strange as it sounds, with all of the despair and misery that took place, the overarching take home for me, was HOPE. In the face of overwhelming adversity, these characters triumphed. The road was hard and the journey was long, but they CHOSE hope. They CHOSE faith. And in the end, that was all that mattered.

Pillars of the Earth will be on my favorite books list for a very long time.
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     “The most expensive part of building is the mistakes.”


Look, it's difficult to explain exactly why I liked this book. Seriously, if you take a look at the blurb, note the 973 pages, and the fact it's a very long story about building a cathedral in Medieval England, you might think I've been smoking something. But for me - and I'm assuming for a large number of other readers - it was so damn compelling.

I'm going to get the crap out of the way first - if you are sensitive to scenes of rape, DO NOT READ THIS BOOK. Medieval England is a shitfest of misogyny, violence, accusations of witchcraft and, yes, rape. One of the scenes is especially disturbing and graphic; I actually had to take a break from the book after reading it.

I should say that it is not portrayed as a positive, or even a normal, thing. Scenes of rape and brutal violence in the book largely serve to make us despise William Hamleigh with a ferocious passion. It turns out that a deep, seething hatred can really keep you turning pages, waiting for that bastard to get what he rightly deserves.

Anyway, yes, the main plot is about the building of the fictional Kingsbridge cathedral. But, really, it is about all the characters that come into contact with Kingsbridge, its cathedral, and Prior Philip - their loves, desires, ambitions, conflicts and heartbreaks. I was pulled in from the very dramatic prologue when a young woman arrives at a hanging and curses the three men who guaranteed her beloved's execution.

There are love stories in here, as well as tales of ruthless ambition, and betrayal. Follett has created some incredible and unforgettable characters: Tom Builder, Philip, Ellen, Jack, Aliena, and Waleran Bigod. And, of course, that snivelling stain on humanity that is William Hamleigh.

I haven't read any of Follett's other work, but it is not surprising to hear he was a thriller writer before beginning The Pillars of the Earth. He has carried that with him into this story. Just when everything seems to be going right, some catastrophe happens to throw a spanner in the works. Just when it looks like Philip is going to succeed, some more shit happens. But it was an effective way to keep me looking over my shoulder.

It's a strange book because it's a bloody, heart-pounding page-turner wrapped up in a 900-page, serious-looking, cathedral-building package. Strange, and yet I find myself wanting more. I guess I'll have to read World Without End.
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This book was so completely fantastic that I almost forgot the outside world existed when I was reading it. I’ve never be so emotionally invested in a story, as I was with this. It’s a rare book that does this to me. I think it’s because it follows the characters through such a large proportion of their lives, resulting in a large amount of intimacy and investment with them. Indeed, this novel spans a massive period of forty years and has 1000+ pages; this is no light reading; it is deep, emotive and completely brilliant.

The intense story
So much happens within this novel. It’s impossible to lay it down in a brief summary; these characters, quite literally, go through hell. Such is the life of commoners in the period. They are good folk, and are just trying to erect a church for the betterment of their town. However, the corruptness of the local nobility, and the church hierarchy itself, almost prevents them from achieving their aim. Prior Phillip and Jack the Builder are forced to seek out the aid from their monarch, but because of the turmoil of the civil war, this monarch keeps changing. They have a choice of two royal courts to appeal to. Both are convinced they have the legitimate claim to England’s throne. Picking the wrong side would lead to the ultimate ruination of a folk that simply want to live in peace, and celebrate God’s glory on earth.

Well, this is the mere surface level of the plot. This book is so much beyond it. It is a story of betrayal and seduction; it is a story of love and hardship; it is a story of human nature and the all-encompassing morals that imposes. It is just fantastic in every sense. The characters are real, and their hardships are even realer. These are truly some of the most human characters I‘ve ever read about; these people could have existed.
This is no less true for the villains of the book, William Hamleigh in particular is characterised superbly. For all his ruthless aggression, and sense of entitlement, he’s still a coward at heart. He’d never admit it to anyone, but the reader knows of what he is; the reader can see his blackening yellow heart. He is a product of society, and his parent’s ruthless ambition. He doesn’t deserve sympathy because of this, but the reason why he is the man he is can be seen by looking at his origins. His parents ruined him; he has no restraint; he has nobody to tell him no. So, to his mind, he can get away with anything. He even has a Bishop who will gladly absolve all his sins. He’s actions have no consequences; he can murder and rape without feeling the consequences. This is an incredibly dangerous mind-set, and one that almost destroys the protagonists of the book. He's a nasty man.

The strength of the church

Follet also weighs the potential power of the church. I love the way he contrasts godly Prior Phillip with the twisted Bishop Waleran. It shows us two routes the church could take; it shows us two possibilities for God’s monument on Earth. Prior Phillip is everything the church should be; he is kind and forgiving; he is benevolent and just: he is a true believer of Christ’s teachings. He is in the church for the simple reason that he is a man of faith. Contrastingly, Bishop Waleran is a tyrannical despot. He represents evryhting the church shouldn’t be; he is the personification of its potential evil. The Bishop is vain, greedy and ambitious. In this his will is his own; he is completely self-serving. He abuses his power to meet his own ends and self-aggrandisement. So, he is slightly corrupt. He’s only in the church for its political power and rewards. In this, he is not a true believer of his own faith.

By contrasting these two characters Follet demonstrates how the church has the power to do great good and also great evil. This, for me, is quite a strong message to take from the book because it shows us the dividing nature of man, of life, of good and evil; it shows us that all things can be benevolent or terrible. It also hints at redemption. If something is this bad, it can be made into something good once more; it has the potential to be as it should be in the right hands. I do love this story. It shows that if people can come together, to achieve something greater than themselves then humanity is not lost despite the backdrop of war, corruptness and general chaos.
Jack begins the novel as a mute boy with little human socialisation. At the end of the novel he is a respected builder and farther of the town. He is the anchor of Follet’s story telling. Everything centres on Jack, and his family history. His narrative questions the restraints the common man lived under in the period; it highlights the injustice the legal system exerted in the time. He cannot marry his love without a written divorce from his horrible step-brother who’d sooner see him live in misery than have the happiness he couldn’t achieve. The church doctrine almost prevents him from being a farther to his child. But, he perseveres and overcomes the restrictions of the church, his awful step-brother and the corruptness of society itself. Jack’s story is one of human perseverance and fortitude; it is a story of a man who somehow managed to survive a system that was completely against him.

“Nevertheless, the book gave Jack a feeling he had never had before, that the past was like a story, in which one thing led to another, and the world was not a boundless mystery, but a finite thing that could be comprehended. ”

This is a phenomenal story, and though that I’ve got hundreds of books I want to read in my lifetime, and little enough time to read them in, this is a book I will definitely be reading again in the future; it’s a story that I simply have to revisit regardless of its vast length. This is a book I just have to read again.
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Confession time: This is not a book I would have picked out for myself. First of all, look at the size of this kitten squisher! Second of all, Amanda's hate-filled review of it is one of my favorite reviews on Goodreads. However, it's one of my girlfriend's favorite books and when she suggested I give it a read, I knew what was good for me. Lucky for me, I enjoyed it.

Pillars of the Earth is a multigenerational tale about the construction of a cathedral in a fictitious English town in the 1100s. Many threads are followed for it's nigh-1000 page girth. Tom Builder goes from being an expectant father to a widow to a master builder. Philip becomes a prior and the ruler of Kingsbridge. And lets not forget Jack, Aliena, Richard, Waleran, that bastard William Hamleigh, or any of the many other characters.

Ken Follett was primarily known as a thriller writer before Pillars and it shows. Every time things appear to be going right for the good guys and it looks like the cathedral is back on track, another monkey wrench is thrown into the works. For a book with very little in the way of action, I was enthralled. You can squeeze a lot of plot complications in nearly 1000 pages and Follett jammed in as many as he could. I have to admire the kind of planning it took to write something like this.

As I said before, I always found the size of this thing daunting but I probably shouldn't have. It's a best seller, and best sellers aren't known for being difficult reads. Since Follett is a thriller writer, he tended to keep things to the point for the most part, though I thought he was ignoring Elmore Leonard's rule about not writing the parts people skip a few times.

I don't really want to say much about the plot for fear of spoiling anything. It's a long read but the ending is worth the time it takes to get there.
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Ahem.
"Pillars of the Earth" is a very long book. It's got a lot of soap-opera-like twists and turns - no amnesia, but just about everything else, including mistaken identities, illicit marriages, illicit lack of marriage, illegitimate children, questionable parentage, love triangles, revenge, greed, power, a few murders, rape, witches, politics, knights, swords and horsies. OK, that last bit is not so soap-opera-like. There's also lots and lots of architecture. And it's a very long book.

Main story follows a single family of stone masons for (roughly) three generations, and the extended families associated with re-marrying, etc. Around this family revolves an aspiring monk/prior, a powerful but morally questionable bishop, a ruthless Earl (title, not name), and several kings. The thing is, even with all the re-marrying and such, there are so many evolving inter-relationships between these main characters as the struggle for political power unfolds, and of course everybody grows up, has children, etc - that EVERYTHING seems to happen to this small group of people. And just when you think things have settled down for a while, something else happens, or attempts to happen. And these things keep happening for approximately 980 pages.

Along the way, you learn a lot about medieval culture - particularly the role of religion, the political power of a monestary, priory, or diocese - how life is funded, and just how much it sucks to be a serf. There's also quite a bit of focus on the reason for, and the means to, building cathedrals - Follett muses in his Foreward that one of the things he never could understand is why people in such destitute times would have put so much energy into buildings of such scale, and this book addresses that. You also learn a lot about architecture and the evolution of cathedral-building. I can also now tell you the difference between a nave, chancel, transept, cloister, and clerestory. Oh, and probably 7 different words for "horse".

Really though, I very much enjoyed it, despite its very lengthy nature. Very full of words. Long. Not a day went by I didn't read at least 50 pages (note - at that rate, it will still take about 3 weeks to finish).
The building is a constant, its a reason to keep the central family of masons from wandering off and having more illicit marriages, and its a reason for the ongoing political power struggles. It's essential, but it's not distracting, and the cathedral is not the focus. The people are. They're engaging, you feel for them, you assign labels (good, evil) you change labels several times (he's pretty self-serving and conniving for a "good" guy), and you constantly wonder just what more can possibly happen to these people. There's also an underlying mystery that keeps you wondering... right up until 100 pages too soon.

My only complaint is this - the big climax occurs, the mystery is revealed, it all comes together - and there are still 100 pages to go. The last part of the wrap-up, the rise and fall, takes a while, has an interesting but probably unnecessary historically accurate reference to English church vs. king to give the whole novel an air of "this could have really happened in some obscure English medieval village somewhere, I wonder which cathedral this is supposed to be? Can I go see the real thing?" But it loses momentum right at the very end. Loose ends nicely tied up, but it wasn't the gripping page turner it had been in the first 900 pages. By that time, though, you've got so few pages in your right hand you just keep going because the end is in sight.
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How does one review a book that one cannot even describe?

So many times after gushing about how good Pillars was, people ask me, What’s it about?

And I, swirling in the happy aftermath of a mind so blown away that it’s still traveling near the speed of light, struggle to gather what’s left of analytical thinking and dumbly blurt, “Um, it’s about building this cathedral…”
Way to not to sell a book.

I still have trouble really describing Pillars in a way that satisfies. Because while it is about building a cathedral, it’s about so much more. It’s about love, hate, sacrifice, duty, honor, sorrow, ambition, dreams… It’s about cold, hard life in the Middle Ages during decades of civil unrest where both good and bad people, downtrodden and as hungry as they are, still dream and compete and seek a sense of accomplishment in their lives.

People like you and me, just some centuries and a culture apart.

And like life, not everything is pleasant.

There are many ups and downs in the novel, so many that you learn to brace yourself for the worst when someone emerges victorious because you know that there will be payback. The characters go through a lot of hardships, and it’s pretty darn painful to read. The devastation that Prior Phillip felt when some part of his cathedral project was foiled is just as heartbreaking as the physical violation of Aliena’s body.

On the flip side, when the characters felt joy, it was extremely acute. When Tom finally landed a job, I breathed a sigh of relief. When Aliena got revenge on the priest who was supposed to “take care” of her father’s money, I felt a ruthless surge of satisfaction. It’s like I’m with these characters, that they are real and I am next to them. Their life is not a bucket full of cotton candy. It’s bitter, vile, and hard; but it’s also sweet, gentle, and satisfying in turn.

Pillars does dramatize the lives of these characters by placing them in a zero sum system; when one gains, the other has to lose. What resulted was an intricate web between the characters, some more attached to one than the other. Each move that one character made had a profound effect on the other. While this may have been contrived for some, I found it fascinating to follow these lives and see how much they crisscross and tangle. The concept that every action has consequences is something that is definitely fleshed out in Pillars, which I think is a life lesson that not many people dwell on.

Despite their differences, what every character had in common was that the thread of their lives all intersect at the focal point of this one cathedral. Every significant action in the novel is somehow directly or indirectly connected to the construction of this cathedral.

And my, what a construction project it is to build a cathedral! Ken Follett really studied up on this subject and did a fantastic job depicting the grandeur and openness of cathedrals. Cathedrals really are complicated works of architecture. Even the darker, more foreboding ones of the early middle ages were incredibly expensive and a huge pain to build. The type of “open air” cathedral with flying buttresses and colored glass that so amazed Jack is really a sight to behold, even in modern standards, with their intricacy and careful architectural balancing. Some of Follett’s best writing emerges when he describes the smooth arches, the interior of the nave, the structure of the transepts, and the light streaming in through elongated windows that brightened darkened corners, an innovation thought to be structurally impossible in a stone building.

The book does have its faults. Follett’s writing was not all that consistent. It was jarring to read Follett’s grandiose descriptions of cathedrals and then, on the next page, read about William Hamleigh fantasizing about violating women. The violence was graphic, almost to the point of being gratuitous, but then again everything about Follett's writing was graphic. I personally take no issue with graphic violence, but people who do should take note that the prose of this novel is in-your-face blunt.

My overall impression of the novel is that it is a tour de force of storytelling; a story that weaves together the lives of enemies and friends who are not all completely evil or good, who have their own dreams and ambitions, and who are willing to do dirty yet necessary things to achieve their ends. Some are more good than others, some are almost saintly, and others are steaming piles of doo. But somehow, amazingly, they are all parties in the construction of this one cathedral, and the cathedral connects them in both death and life.

Faults aside, the sheer force of the story compelled me to give this five stars. It’s not a perfect novel, and the novel doesn't showcase perfect writing. But it’s a really good story, something so grand and epic that it can’t be adequately captured in just a few sentences.

FIVE SHINY GOLD STARS AND HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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There aren't many things left to say when it comes to Ken Follett's masterpiece. The Pillars of the Earth is one of the most beautiful, haunting, exquisitely well-written novels of all time. It is a ''showstopper'' book not only in the Historical Fiction genre, but in Literature in general. Still, for an obsessed reader of historical novels like yours trully, it can become the standard by which all other historical sagas are measured. I don't know whether this is just and right, but it does happen to me every so often.

It is a rare occassion when you have a multitude of characters and every single one of them has something to offer and attract the reader's interest. Not even A Song of Ice and Fire in all its glory has achieved this, in my opinion. However, here we have good characters with whom we agonize over their fates, evil characters whom we hate with passion, and characters that stand in a gray area, driving the story forward. Aliena is one of the best female protagonists in Literature, and Waleran with William Hamleigh fight for the title of the ''best villain'' in the genre. The TV-series adaptation was really good, with a plethora of excellent casting choices. Ian McShane, Matthew McFadyen, Rufus Sewell and David Oakes steal the show.

If you haven't read it yet, a) under which rock have you been hiding?, and b) read it as soon as you can. Thank me later;)
Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5043.The_Pillars_of_the_Earth

Tangled by Emma Chase

Tangled (Tangled #1) by Emma Chase

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  91,980 Ratings  ·  8,761 Reviews
Tangled by Emma Chase download or read online for free
Tangled by Emma Chase
Drew Evans is a winner. Handsome and arrogant, he makes multimillion dollar business deals and seduces New York’s most beautiful women with just a smile. He has loyal friends and an indulgent family. So why has he been shuttered in his apartment for seven days, miserable and depressed?

He’ll tell you he has the flu.

But we all know that’s not really true.

Katherine Brooks is brilliant, beautiful and ambitious. She refuses to let anything - or anyone - derail her path to success. When Kate is hired as the new associate at Drew’s father’s investment banking firm, every aspect of the dashing playboy’s life is thrown into a tailspin. The professional competition she brings is unnerving, his attraction to her is distracting, his failure to entice her into his bed is exasperating.

Then, just when Drew is on the cusp of having everything he wants, his overblown confidence threatens to ruin it all. Will he be able untangle his feelings of lust and tenderness, frustration and fulfillment? Will he rise to the most important challenge of his life?

Can Drew Evans win at love?

Tangled is not your mother’s romance novel. It is an outrageous, passionate, witty narrative about a man who knows a lot about women…just not as much as he thinks he knows. As he tells his story, Drew learns the one thing he never wanted in life, is the only thing he can’t live without.

“She talks like you. It’s not every day you hear a four-year-old say Prince Charming is a douchebag who’s only holding Cinderella back.”

"That’s my girl.”

“For God's sake, don't let her watch Cinderella. What kind of example is that? A mindless twit who can't even remember where she left her damn shoe, so she has to wait for some douchebag in tights to bring it to her? Give me a frigging break!”





Reviews


Amazing. A must-read. Every single sentence from that guy's brain/mouth is priceless.
My mind is in awesome-coma, so I'm gonna try to show my feelings the best I can :))

Best book ever to be written completely from the hero's POV!
I don't remember the last time I had so much fun reading something!

Seriously people, don't read too many reviews, just go in blind and read the book!!!!!!! You'll love it more!!! And it is completely awesome!!!!
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Hilarious, romantic, all-out FUN!!

Think Wallbanger meets Beautiful Bastard :)

You smiling yet?

I was hooked from the first line and smiling wide by the end of the first page. If you are a fan of enemies-to-lovers stories, you will LOVE Tangled!

I swear half my book is highlighted. I laughed out loud, grinned till my cheeks ached and just generally loved it!

The story is about Drew. In real life, Drew is a clean-shaven, well-groomed, expensive suit wearing professional. But, at the start of the story, he’s a miserable un-showered, un-shaven heap locked in a messy apartment overflowing with old pizza boxes while claiming to have the flu.

Right.

What he really has is a bad case of the Break Up.

See Real Life Drew was once a player. Why settle for one when there were so many willing ones tripping over themselves to be with him?

“I’ve never seduced a woman before.
Shocking, I know.
Let me clarify. I’ve never had to seduce a woman before, not in the typical sense. Usually it just takes a look, a wink, a smile. A friendly greeting, maybe a drink or two. After that, the only verbal exchange involves short, one-word phrases like harder, more, lower… You get the point.”
But he’s fallen in love. Finally. Problem is, she’s getting married… to someone else. Hence the miserable, moping, un-shaved heap. This is his story.

It starts off going back in time to when they first met. Drew meets Kate at a club one night and, despite the flirting, she walks away. When Kate gets hired by his office, it puts him in a frustrating situation because office romances are on his no-no list.
     “Kate Brooks is officially scratched off my list of potentials. She is forbidden, untouchable, a no-way-never. Right next to my friends’ ex-girlfriends, the boss’ daughter, and my sister’s best friends.
    Well, that last category is a bit of a gray area.”


We are told the story by Drew. He can be a bit of an asshat but you really just can’t help falling for him – he’s that lovable. He both narrates the events and breaks the 4th wall by talking directly to us as the reader. It’s totally awesome! It’s like he’s right there telling you the story. There are times when his commentary on what was going on just had me in stitches. Here’s a random quote:
     “Once again, to the ladies out there — here’s a fact for you: Men pretty much have sex on the brain twenty-four-seven. The exact figure is like every 5.2 seconds or some shit like that.

    The point is, when you ask, “What do you want for dinner?” we’re thinking about screwing you on the kitchen counter. When you’re telling us about the sappy film you watched with your girlfriends last week, we’re thinking about the porno we saw on cable last night. When you show us the designer shoes you bought on sale, we’re thinking how nice they would look on our shoulders.

    I just thought you’d want to know. Don’t shoot the messenger.” 
And if you like strong heroines, you will LOVE Kate. She is smart, confident, sassy and absolutely determined not to become another notch on Drew’s bed post. She has plans, dreams, goals and no time for a playboy.
     “If we’re going to work together, Drew, I think we’re should get a few things straight. I’m not your sweetheart. My name is Kate — Katherine. Use it. And I’m not a kiss-ass. I don’t have to be. My work speaks for itself.”


Their banter and ‘sparring’ was just priceless! Tangled was essentially an enemies-to-lovers story about guy falling in love for the first time with a girl who goes toe-to-toe with him on everything. I loved watching them work through their issues. And when Drew finally decides to fight for Kate’s heart, the lengths to which he goes are just laugh-out-loud awesome!

    “It makes me want to kiss her and strangle her at the same time. I’ve never been into S&M, but I’m beginning to see its benefits.”


The book wasn’t always funny per say, but the whole mood was light hearted. The sex was hot, the characters were lovable, the writing was witty and it has a happy ending :)

If you are looking for a FUN read, this is it!!!!

4.5 stars
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Poor Drew. He looks like a zombie when he's got the flu. *pets* *evil grin*
Isn't it strange that every man who's got the flu is dying--right in front of your eyes. A sick man is always moaning a woman's ears off. Terrible.
Reminds me of my two little guys and my ex…all their antics…tsk-tsk...
My mom told me once that if men would bear kids, then the couples would never have more than one child. Men couldn't withstand the pain, they would cave in after the first delivery.

I apologize in advance for adding too many quotes and for getting a tiny bit long-winded. There's something you need to know, though. Drew is the perfect man-whore and Baba is the perfect quotes-whore. Ramps up the fun factor, it's all good. *cough*
     But I have rules—standards, you might say. One of them is no screwing around at the office. I don’t shit where I eat, I don’t fuck where I work. Never mind the sexual harassment issues it would bring up;  it’s just not good business. It’s unprofessional.
    
    And she works here. In my office, where I have sworn to never…ever…screw around. Her warm, soft hand slides perfectly into mine, and two thoughts enter my head simultaneously.
    The first is: God hates me.  The second is: I have been a naughty, naughty boy for most of my life, and this is my payback. And you know what they say about payback, right?
    Yep. She’s one hairy bitch.
    
    “Well, you could do the noble thing and bow out.” Yeah—like that’ll happen.
    “In your dreams.”
    I smirk. „Actually my dreams involve you bending over something…not bowing.”
    She makes a disgusted sound. “Could you be any more of a pig?”
    “I was kidding. Why do you have to be so fucking serious all the time? You should learn how to take a joke.”
    “I can take a joke,” she tells me, sounding insulted.
    “Yeah? When?”
    “When it’s not being delivered by a childish jackass who thinks he’s God’s gift to women.”
    “I am not childish.”
    God’s gift on the other hand?  My record speaks for itself.
    “Oh, bite me.”
    I wish.
    „Nice comeback, Kate. Very mature.“
    “You’re a jerk.“
    „You’re a…an Alexandra.”
    She pauses a second and looks at me blankly.
    “What the hell does that even mean?”
    Think about it. It will come to you.
Kate walks into her office and closes the door, leaving me standing on the outside. This is where men got the shitty end of the stick, people. When God gave Eve that extra rib? He should have given us something extra too. Like mental telepathy.
I once heard my mother tell my father that she shouldn’t have to explain why she was pissed.  That if he didn’t already know what he’d done wrong, then he wasn’t really sorry for it. What the fuck does that even mean? Newsflash, ladies:  We can’t read your thoughts. And frankly, I’m not entirely sure I’d want to. The female mind is a scary place to be.

Oh yeah. Just one more little detail you should know: I haven’t gotten laid in twelve days.
Twelve days.
Two hundred and eighty-eight sex-free hours. I can’t calculate the minutes—it’s too depressing. Remember all work and no play makes Drew a cranky boy? Well, at this point, Drew is practically a goddamned psychopath, okay?

Because you know how some people have gay-dar? Well, I have dump-dar. That means I can pick out a recently dumped female a mile away. They’re easy pickings. All you have to tell them is that their ex is an idiot for letting them go, and they’ll be begging you to nail them.'
 Just so you know, men don’t expect a woman to smell like Winter Pine or Niagara Falls or whatever the fuck those feminine products say. It’s a pussy—it’s supposed to smell like one. That’s the fucking turn on.

I read an article once that said having sex extends the human life span. At this rate, Kate and I are going to live forever. I’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve done it. It’s like a mosquito bite—the more you scratch, the more it itches.
I’m just glad I bought the extra-large box of condoms at Costco.
***********************************************************************************
 So after seeing this book completely TAKE OVER my newsfeed in what could only be described as “ Goodreads Tangled-Gate of 2013”…
 5+++ Fantastic and Hilarious Stars!!!
If you are like me and you adore the lovable assholes, the jerks, and the manwhores... then Drew Evans is just the guy for you!!! This book had me hooked from the very first page and I couldn’t get enough! Being inside Drew Evan’s head was amazing! One of the funniest and most enjoyable stories I have read in a really long time!
Meet Drew Evans. He is a successful business man, a handsome guy, he’s got great friends, a loving family, and as many women as he could ever want. Drew is hot and Drew knows it. Drew doesn’t do relationships. He never makes promises, he just does his thing.
Throughout this story, Drew gives us a ton of fun facts and info:


    Men are visual. We wouldn’t be fucking you if we didn’t want to look at you. You can write that down.

    I control my dick. My dick does not control me.

    I sleep naked, by the way. You should try it. If you haven’t slept naked, you haven’t lived. But thats beside the point.

    For those ladies out there who are listening, let me give you some free advice: If a guy who you just met at a club calls you baby, sweetheart, angel or any other generic endearment? Don’t make the mistake of thinking he’s so into you, he’s already thinking up pet names. It’s because he can’t or doesn’t care to remember your actual name.

    Deep down- I’m a momma’s boy. I’m man enough to admit it. And trust me, I’m not the only one. Explains a lot, doesn’t it?

    Here’s a fact for you – once I’m done, I’m done. I’m not the kind of guy who rides the same rollercoaster twice


You get the idea of what kind of guy he is, yeah? Well, Drew hasn’t been himself. He has ‘the flu’. The last week he hasn’t been well. And it all has to do with one woman.   
Kate works with Drew. She is new at the firm and she is ready to succeed. She is smart, beautiful, feisty and she intrigues Drew in every way. There is something different about Kate. While competing against each other for the same account, these two bicker and banter back and forth... its hilarious! There is also some major sexual tension going on, but there are complications. They get to know each other better and Drew decides he wants Kate. Drew screws up a ton, but he is a guy, what do you expect? He goes through some great lengths to make it better.
Some of the BEST lines:

    It makes me want to kiss her and strangle her at the same time. I’ve never been into S&M. But I’m beginning to see its benefits.

    Edward Cullen can take his stupid heroine and OD on it. Kate is my own personal brand of Viagra.

    Twelve days. Its a frigging record. I haven’t had a drought like this since the winter of ninety-nine.

    “God! Oh God!”

    “God’s not the one fucking you, baby.”
    “Drew... Drew... yes... Drew!”
    Much better.

    “You have no sense of self-preservation, do you?”
“No, not at the moment. I’m too focused on... fornication.”

    I blame Adam. Now theres a guy who had the world by the balls. Walking around naked, a hot chick to satisfy his every whim. I sure hope that apple was tasty, ‘cause he really fucked it up for the rest of us.

I can’t tell you how impressed I was with this debut novel! I don’t think I have ever read a book that has made me smile and laugh so much. I love the male pov and it was a treat to have the whole story written in the male’s pov! The whole time I was reading, I felt like Drew was talking to me. Drew is the best kind of character. He is funny, sarcastic, sexy and sweet! I couldn’t get enough of him! And I liked Kate too lol! The whole thing- It was great! Can I say there was nothing I didn’t like about this one! Loved everything it! Going on the favorites shelf for sure. Emma Chase- I will read ANYTHING you write lady! This was fantastic! Looking for a fun and awesome read... pick this one up!!!
Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18297707-tangled

Wallbanger by Alice Clayton

Wallbanger by Alice Clayton


4.1  ·  Rating details ·  147,417 Ratings  ·  12,004 Reviews
Download or read online for free Wallbanger by Alice Clayton
Wallbanger by Alice Clayton
The first night after Caroline moves into her fantastic new San Francisco apartment, she realizes she's gaining an intimate knowledge of her new neighbor's nocturnal adventures. Thanks to paper-thin walls and the guy's athletic prowess, she can hear not just his bed banging against the wall but the ecstatic response of what seems (as loud night after loud night goes by) like an endless parade of women. And since Caroline is currently on a self-imposed dating hiatus, and her neighbor is clearly lethally attractive to women, she finds her fantasies keep her awake even longer than the noise. So when the wallbanging threatens to literally bounce her out of bed, Caroline, clad in sexual frustration and a pink baby-doll nightie, confronts Simon Parker, her heard-but-never-seen neighbor. The tension between them is as thick as the walls are thin, and the results just as mixed. Suddenly, Caroline is finding she may have discovered a whole new definition of neighborly...

In a delicious mix of silly and steamy, Alice Clayton dishes out a hot and hilarious tale of exasperation at first sight...

“He was wooing me. And I was letting him woo. I wanted the woo. I deserved the woo. I needed the wow that would surely follow the woo, but for now, the woo? It was whoa.”

“Fucking Wallbanger,” I hissed, frozed on the spot.
His grin slid off as well as he played place-the-face for a moment. “Fucking Pink Nightie Girl.”

“You done with work?
Yep, at home waiting for you.
Now that's a nice visual...
Prepare yourself, I'm taking bread out of the oven.
Don't tease me woman...zucchini?
Cranberry orange. Mmmm...
No woman has ever done breakfast bread foreplay the way you do.
Ha! When you coming?
Can't. Drive. Straight.
Can we have one conversation when you're not twelve?
Sorry, I'll be there in 30
Perfect, that will give me time to frost my buns.
Pardon me?
Oh, didn't I tell you? I also made cinnamon rolls.
Be there in 25.”





Reviews


5 HUGE STARS!!!!

LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS BOOK!!
EVERYONE HAS TO READ IT!!!

This book was brilliant!!
Pure gold!
I’m in love with Simon.
Completely, utterly in love.
My cheeks ache from laughing.
My heart is happy.
Did I mention I love this book?

This book was pure, decadent, lighthearted, un-put-downable, FUN!! A well-written, perfect blend of all things happy, romantic, sweet, funny (hilarious, really), melty, swoony, witty, steamy, with just enough tender, deeper moments to make my heart squeeze. I fell in love with everything – the characters, the writing, the story… and Clive. The most awesome cat ever to grace the pages of a novel.

It was just one winning line after another. I swear to freaking God, more than half my book is highlighted. No joke!!

The banter! The chemistry! The flirting! The texts!!!! *melt* The nooking! The wooing! … this book is just loaded with win!

I read most of it with a big stupid grin plastered on my face and pretty much just alternated between squeeing, squealing, giggling, snorting, crying, shaking and cackling with laughter.

What’s this book about though? Now, usually, I write my own descriptions, but I love the official blurb too much so here it is:

Caroline Reynolds has a fantastic new apartment in San Francisco, a KitchenAid mixer, and no O (and we’re not talking Oprah here, folks). She has a flourishing design career, an office overlooking the bay, a killer zucchini bread recipe, and no O. She has Clive (the best cat ever), great friends, a great rack, and no O.

Adding insult to O-less, since her move, she has an oversexed neighbor with the loudest late-night wallbanging she’s ever heard. Each moan, spank, and–was that a meow?–punctuates the fact that not only is she losing sleep, she still has, yep, you guessed it, no O.

Enter Simon Parker. (No, really, Simon, please enter.) When the wallbanging threatens to literally bounce her out of bed, Caroline, clad in sexual frustration and a pink baby-doll nightie, confronts her heard-but-never-seen neighbor. Their late-night hallway encounter has, well, mixed results. Ahem. With walls this thin, the tension’s gonna be thick…

Simon “Wallbanger” Parker. Cocky, charming, sexy as all hell, confident… and once we got to know him better, sweep-you-off-your-feet swoony. I adored him, its that simple. He has made me list of top book boyfriends ever! I loved that his character had depth. At first you kind of wondered if he was just a bit of a manwhore but I loved that there was a whole background to him. And its hard not to love a man who is obsessed with baked goods.

“You want me to cut you a piece — okay, or you could just do that.” I frowned as he took a giant bite out of the end.
“Thif if mine, righ?” he asked, spraying crumbs.
“How do you function in normal society?” I asked shaking my head as he took another monster bite.

I loved Caroline too. She was sweet yet feisty and refreshingly direct about everything. Brain, Heart, Nerves, Backbone, and of course, O were brilliant additions to the story!

I loved how casually Simon and Caroline’s relationship developed. They were seriously one of the sweetest couples ever but there was no falling into bed on first sight for them.

“Now, you listen, mister.” I said, trying for a more adult tone. “I’m not going to spend every night listening to you try to crash your girl’s head through my wall with the force of your dick alone! No way, buddy.”

They went from cockblocker/wallbanger to truce status to friends to lovers. The whole process just warmed my heart. And throw in a healthy dollop of sexual tension and innuendos out the wazoo and you pretty much have a recipe for awesome.

“I like that we’re taking things slow. You give good woo,” I whispered.

I never once felt any urges to throttle a character, or yell at them.. no eye rolling. Nothing. I was just one purely satisfied reader … Oh, and “Simon goes commando. God bless America.”

Flaily Pink Nightie Girl and Mr Wallbanger Snorey Pants will always have a special place in my heart <3

Guys, READ THIS BOOK!!!!!
***********************************************************************************
BANG BANG BANG!


Oh God............


BANG BANG BANG!!


Oh God................


BANG BANG BANG!!!


OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD OH GOOOOOODDDD!!!!!!!

THE WALLS ARE SHAKING, PICTURES ARE FALLING DOWN!!!! RUN FOR COVER PEOPLE!!! GRAB YOUR FAVOURITE BOOK, SHOVE IT DOWN YOUR DRESS AND HIDE UNDER THE TABLE!! I THINK WE'RE HAVING AN EARTHQUAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


BUT Wait A Sec...........Not an earthquake...........nope, definitely not an earthquake.......One, only one wall is shaking.....LIKE SOMEONE'S BANGING ON IT!!!!

Let's take a closer look, Shall we?

“OH, GOD.”

Thump.

“Oh, God.”

Thump thump.

What the…

“Oh, God, that’s so good!”

“Mmmm…Yeah, baby. Right there. Just like that…Don’t stop, don’t stop!”

OH! OH! OOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Mystery solved, readers!


Meet NOT The Wallbanger.....
BUT THE WALLBANGER!!!!!!!!!!!
 Name : Simon Wallbanger Parker

Age : 28 years

Occupation : Freelance photographer

Interests : Pleasing the ladies by doing it in a rattling-the headboard-shaking-the-wall-making-a-woman-meow-and-giggle style with maybe some spanking thrown in!!! He can definitely bang it home, ladies!!!
Meet 'O'. This Orgasm (O) is the....

Property of: Caroline Pink Nightie Girl Reynolds, a 26 year old interior designer.

Missing since: Last Six Months

Culprit: Cory Weinstein. The machine-gun fucker who’d hijacked the O

Description of the event by the victim: This was the worst kind of sex. This was machine-gun style: fast, fast, fast. This was thirty seconds on the tits, sixty seconds on something that was about an inch above where he should have been, and then in. And out. And in. And out. And in. And out.

But at least it was over quick, right? Hell, no. This horribleness went on for months. Well, no. But for almost thirty minutes. Of in. And out. And in. And out. My poor hoohah felt like it had been sandblasted.
Remedies Tried: Jason Bourne, Matt Damon, George Clooney.....

ALL OF THEM HAVE FAILED!!!!!!

WHAT TO DO NOW??????????????

Let's look for someone closer to home........
Simon Wallbanger meet Caroline. Caroline meet Simon Wallbanger!!!!


Problem solved!!!! YAYYY!!


But, NO WAIT, WHAT'S THIS?


“Why are you such a manwhoring asshole?” I asked.

“Why are you such a cockblocking priss?” he asked
NOOOOOOOOOO...........NOW, HOW WILL WE EVER FIND....
Oh no.........I'm not crying.......Alright, yes I am......but how can I not when I'm laughing so hard!!!

[image error]


So, readers....why don't you continue the search while I LA-U-GH MY HE-AD O-F-F!!!!!
WARNING: 1)Beware of one-night stands that could make your 'O' go on a vacation for a long time or even forever. :0

2)Be aware of the walls you build
and what could be on the other side

3) Clive, the cat too is trying to find his 'one and only' Purina ever since he heard the 'meow'ing through the walls and fell in love or maybe lust(so what if he's neutered? He's allowed to have feelings!!)!!......He is now following in the footsteps of the Wallbanger!!!! So, beware, he's one hissy and horny ball of lust and fur!!

Clive: I allowed myself to dream. Of her. The one that got away...........
***********************************************************************************
Chapter 1
So, what do you think about me?
Well you weren't short at all :D
Well yeah I'm pretty long... and thick...
Just about average I'd say
Pfttt you are average missy! Didn't you like all the humor?
Yeah it was good I guess, the scene with Dr. Ross was the best :D
Ohhhh yes, makes me think of dirty things, that man. I wish I had my O back :(
Yes, I wish it too! Your O brought more frustration to me than it did to you!
Whatcha sayin'? You didn't like all the sexual frustration? How is that possible?
How is that possible indeed -.-
And what about my story? What did you think of that?
Story? What story? Book, all you talked about was the lack of orgasms, flirtation, sexual frustration, sex... I may have forgotten a sexual thing or two that were mentioned :P
Mmmmmmm sexxxxxx. Me wants the big O :(
Hello book! Focus! I am talking to you!
Talking? Talking about sex? Mmmmmm sexxxxxx. Me wants the big O :(
I am facepalming here! Can you try to have a nice conversation without thinking of sex?
Me? Thinking about sex? Mmmmmmm sexxxxxx. Me wants the big O :(
Sigh. I give up.
Did you just write "sigh"???
Well that's a hell of a time to start noticing!! :P
Chapter 2
Blacky, Simon, Caroline, The Cat, The Book and The Friends are on a road trip, traveling in the car together:


Blacky
OMG I have to endure several hours in the car with Mr. Horny and Ms. Hornier and the CatfromHell. Ughhh. The friends are interesting though, but even they think of nothing but sex. I see Simon is looking at Caroline in a smouldering way. His eyes don't stop twinkling for goodness sake!

Simon
Why am I thinking about Caroline all the time? Hm must mean I want to wallbang her too. Damn that will be tough cause she can't stop arguing with me. Why does she hate me so much? Oh yeah, I bang girls like crazy. Mmmmmmmm. Banging... Walls... Why doesn't this car have walls?????

Caroline
Simon keeps touching the inside of the car, I don't think he likes it. He does like f*cking girls through the wall though. I want to be f*cked through a wall :( Wait, no! I don't! I hate Simon! But he's so pretty, my lower Caroline says... I don't care! He's a jerk! But I keep flirting with him all the time, my lower Caroline says... So what! I can flirt and do whatever I like 'cause I don't have my O anymore. Oh O how I miss you :(((

The CatfromHell
They don't have a clue *evil laugh*. I will make their lives misarable *evil laugh*. The girl loves me, but I don't plan to let her have her O back with the arrogant man *evil laugh*. I will spoil all their plans eventually *evil laugh*. My throat hurts from all the evil laughing *coughs*

Simon
Did that cat just evil laughed at me???? I must be hearing things. Oh well back to thinking about sex. And Caroline. Damn, I'm hard. Will she stop looking at me with those hungry eyes? Damn, I'm even harder now. Must. Squirm. In. My. Seat!

Caroline
Simon keeps squirming all the time. What is his problem??? He's got to have a big hard-on just for me. Too bad I can't give it to him cause he's a jerk and I don't have my O back. But I feel some suspicious fluttering, my lower Caroline says... YAY! I'm gonna jump him as soon as I can! Without actually having sex with him! Ahhhh I just love that sexual frustration...

The Friends
They are all so stupid ahahahaha we have found our someones to have sex with ahahahahaha we don't suffer any sexual frustration ahahahahaha

Blacky
OMG these people are driving me crazy! Simon is trying to hide his hard-on, Caroline is talking to her belly, the cat is making some funny evil noises, and the friends are probably high or something, they can't stop laughing. Jeez :((( Is anything going to happen here that doesn't have anything to do with sex or having sex or the lack of sex???
Guess not :(

The Book
I am so happy :D Everyone is horny and thinking about sex! So awesome! I am never going to let anyone do it ever again! Well, maybe The Friends will. But man oh man, there's nothing better than blue balls and frustration! Just love it! Oh I have to think of a few scenes (well make it dozen at least), where they'll want to have sex but couldn't do it for some reason! Oh yes! I think I will form an alliance with The CatfromHell. Awesome!
Chapter 3
Oh! Mmmmm.. Yes, more to the left! Harder! Yesssssss... Oh yes, that's soooo gooood! Harder, yes, there! Push it! Ohhhhhhhhh I just love going to the masseur! You'd THINK I was doing something naughty. But no.
Lots of these in the book too :DDD
Anyway let me tell you what I thought about it in general.
No plot whatsoever.
Too much sexual frustration.
Humor was OK, but would be better if there was just a bit less of it, you know, sometimes too much of a good thing can make you sick :D
I don't really mind the fact that they had to wait practically for the (view spoiler) Read lots of books like that, didn't mind it. In this case, all the sex talk and sex thought, and lack of orgasm talk, and lack of orgasm thought, and flirting all the freaking time, and getting it on a few times, just to stop at the good part... No. A bit f*cking no for me. Every damn chapter was about the things I said above, nothing else. It may be good to read this in small doses, but a whole book? No. Thanks. Sorry.
Chapter 4
What I liked:

My favorite scene from the whole book is when they watched the Exorcist, and they slept together in her bed. Very very lovely, and I think the only scene that was nice without some sexual overtones. Maybe there were a few, but nothing that stood out. Perfect scene in my opinion :)
When they went to Spain :) Even though when I read that they'll go through all the bases before the deed... I lost a few million neurons from that, my brain kinda had a stroke or something cause I wanted to burn the damn book if only I had the paperback. Lucky for me I have an e-book reader so I felt too sorry to smash it to bits. But I was tempted!!!!
Anyway, the ending of Spain was great, very realistic and I'm glad the author did it that way!
The style of writing was VERY good, can't say anything about that, I just wish the humor and sex-everything was a little toned down, and if there was a story thrown in. But oh well, can't have everything, right??
Chapter 5
Text messages between The Book and Blacky

So you didn't like me very much then? :((
I did like you, you poor sex-obsessed thing! But I guess I wanted a bit more from you...
Blacky, you just have lousy taste in books, admit it! I am awesome!
Hey, won't argue with you there :D You might be awesome, but to someone else.
And I sure am! Look at all the other great reviews I have :P
I am! I did! And I hope my review won't turn anyone from the book, it isn't my fault my brain couldn't cope with it :((
Nice of you to admit your deranged brain Blacky! I knew there must have been something seriously wrong with you if you didn't like me! Phew! Glad to know now eheheheheh
Hey just don't spread it around OK?!
No problemo, my Blacky :D I will just continue my sexless scheming for other people! Oh yeah!
***********************************************************************************
I was an addict craving her dose.I was lost in a dull world full of mundane stuff for so long I almost became a mundane myself.After a month of abstinence from reading and severe book deprivation,after long days and bookless nights,the time came to return where I belong.
And I had to celebrate!I wanted something light.I wanted saucy and funny and Wallbanger promised to deliver them all.And oh boy,it did!But it also delivered sweet,and fluffy,and dreamy and a new book boyfriend that reduced me into a puddle of goo.It's official people,I'm in love!Again!
     “Fucking Wallbanger,” I hissed, frozed on the spot.
    His grin slid off as well as he played place-the-face for a moment. “Fucking Pink Nightie Girl.”


Caroline has a wonderful job and wonderful friends and a wonderful new apartment and a wonderful cat and her life would be-guess what-wonderful if it wasn't for two things:her missing O and her neighbor's loud midnight activities.

    “The girl next door was meowing. What in the world was my neighbor packing to make that happen?”


What sucks though is that the aforementioned annoying but gifted neighbor is super hot.Sahara hot.And that Caroline is forced to play nice with Simon despite wanting to bang his head on the banging wall but at the same time she wants him to bang her against the god-banging wall.See the problem here?

    “You gonna bang my walls, Simon?” I laughed.
    “You have no idea,” he promised.”


The result?Tension,innuendos,sexual frustration,banters,tension,laugh-out-loud moments,tension and did I mention tension?
Oh,and a really horny cat!
Alice Clayton's writing is freaking hilarious,I can't remember the last time I laughed this hard!I had permanently a huge grin plastered on my face and I hosted a butterfly party in my stomach and that wasn't the work of Caroline and Simon's off-the-charts chemistry alone!The way their feelings developed and unfolded was really heartwarming and sweet,a slowly burning process that made Wallbanger a really romantic book!They cooked together,they watched movies together,they shared their secrets and hopes and then they gave in to their animal attraction.I must admit I never expected a guy named Simon to be this sexy!Oh how I wish I had a wallbanging neighbor but alas!,the closest house is my late grandfather's house.If I hear those walls banging,it will be the beginning of a Supernatural episode and not a great romance.Unless Sam Winchester pops up and rescues me.That would be nice.
My point is,if you want to laugh and swoon and escape stupid reality,this is the book for you!Plus,you're going to meet a very interesting cat...
Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15858248-wallbanger

The help by Kathryn Stockett

The help by Kathryn Stockett


4.45  ·  Rating details ·  1,636,495 Ratings  ·  78,723 Reviews
Download or read online for free The help by Kathryn Stockett
The help by Kathryn Stockett
Be prepared to meet three unforgettable women:

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women — mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends — view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don't.

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”

“Ever morning, until you dead in the ground, you gone have to make this decision. You gone have to ask yourself, "Am I gone believe what them fools say about me today?”




Reviews


Here is an illustrative tale of what it was like to be a black maid during the civil rights movement of the 1960s in racially conflicted Mississippi. There is such deep history in the black/white relationship and this story beautifully shows the complex spectrum, not only the hate, abuse, mistrust, but the love, attachment, dependence.

Stockett includes this quote by Howell Raines in her personal except at the end of the novel: There is no trickier subject for a writer from the South than that of affection between a black person and a white one in the unequal world of segregation. For the dishonesty upon which a society is founded makes every emotion suspect, makes it impossible to know whether what flowed between two people was honest feeling or pity or pragmatism. An eloquent way to describe Stockett's intentions for this novel. I know most reviews will probably focus on the racial relationships in the book, but to me the most haunting statement was that when you are paying someone to care for you and their livelihood depends on making you happy, you can't expect an honest relationship.

I did not expect this book to hit so close to home. After all, I did not grow up in the South and completely missed the racial mind shift in the country. But the book isn't just about racism and civil rights. It's about the employer relationship too. And I did grow up in South America with a maid trying to keep herself out of poverty by making our crazy family happy. As much as we loved her, I can see so many of the pitfalls from these complex relationships in my own history. I know our maid was stuck between pleasing my mother and raising us the way she believed appropriate. I know it was physically hard to work from sunup to late everyday and emotionally hard to never relax because she wasn't the decision maker of our home and at any moment she could be reprimanded for making the wrong decision. She had absolutely no power, and yet she was all powerful to shape and mold us.

I needed her, felt bad for how much I imposed upon her, but I never voiced how much I appreciated or loved her. I took her for granted. Even though she was paid to love us, I know she did. We were her children, especially my youngest brothers. And yet when she moved back home, we lost contact. Was it out of laziness of our own narcissistic lives or was the complexity of our relationship so draining she cut the tie? It is my fear that she thinks we did not return her affection and only thought of her as the maid. I often think about her, we all reminisce about her wondering where she is, and more than anything, I just want to know that she is happy and tell her thank you. It is so strange that someone who is such a vital part of your childhood can just vanish out of your life. "They say its like true love, good help. You only get one in a lifetime." I know. Believe me, I know.

The story is strong and real and touched something deep inside me. I could so relate to the motherly love from Constantine to Skeeter, see that pain in the triangle between Aibileen and Mae Mobley and Elizabeth, feel the exasperation of Minny toward Celia, and understand the complexity of the good and bad, the love and hate, the fear and security. Stockett captured all these emotions.

I also loved the writing style. When style compliments plot, I get giddy. I don't always love grammatically incorrect prose or books about an author trying to be published, but here it works because it's honest. The novel is about a white woman secretly compiling true accounts of black maids--and the novel is in essence a white author trying to understand black maids. The styles parallel each other as do the messages. The point of Skeeter's novel is to make people see that people are just people no matter the color of their skin and Stockett's novel beautifully portrays that with both good and bad on both sides. The fictional novel cover is decorated with the white dove of love and understanding. To get us there, Stockett gives us three ordinary birds, a picture of ordinary life asking to be accepted for its honest simplicity.

This book is Stockett's masterpiece, that story in her that was just itching to get out. From the first page, the voice of the characters took vivid form and became real, breathing people. I loved Aibileen, but think I loved Minny's voice more because she is such a strong character. Besides the maids, I loved Hilly as a portrayal of the white Southern belle with the ingrained belief that black people are not as good as whites, verbalized as "separate but equal" so it doesn't sound racist. My favorite scene was when Hilly says they have to be careful of racists because they are out there. She's a bit over the top, but if you've been to the South, not that far of a stretch. I just would have liked to find some redeeming qualities in her from Skeeter's perspective.

While there are some instances where I felt Stockett was squeezing historical facts into the novel, forming the plot around these events instead of letting them play backdrop, and occasionally I could read the modern woman in this tale pushing her message too hard, Stockett's sincerity to understand and appreciate shines through. She lived this book to some extent and the story is a part of her. Because it's important to her it becomes important to me.
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“Ever morning, until you dead in the ground, you gone have to make this decision. You gone have to ask yourself, "Am I gone believe what them fools say about me today?”

Color me surprised. I’m not one to read many historical fictions, especially when they don’t include any fantasy elements. They read like nonfiction, and nonfiction is only good for me if I’m in need of sleep. B-but…

The Help is different. It doesn’t only describe the life of housemaids, in the second half of the 20th century, in Mississippi; it’s overflowing with raw emotion. It doesn’t put every white person in a box and every black person in another… It underlines the difference of thought between people, but also how similar we actually all are. We all want to live our lives the best way possible and be treated with respect.

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”

I really felt it, when Aibileen and Minny talked about their work, how they wanted – needed – things to change and how hard their lives were. It made me sad, of course, because they just didn’t deserve the animosity that was directed toward them and that’s why I was so eager to turn the pages: I couldn’t wait to see some things change over there.

Miss Skeeter is also an important part of this story. She’s not loud, she doesn’t look for trouble, but she does have a weapon no one expects her to use in her advantage: her writing. She faces obstacles, so many of them, but does she ever back down? No, because when she believes in something, no one can kill her spirit.

I can’t believe the author never made Skeeter and Celia interact: they would have connected from the start! And was Stuart’s character’s purpose only to make us see how differences in ways of thinking can drift people apart? He is the most frustrating part of the story, really. We hate him, we love him, we like him and then we hate him for the rest of the book.

Never fear, the underlying themes of the story are extraordinary and that alone should make everyone want to read this book. Equality. Freedom. Racism. Respect. They’re all so fascinating because they are cleverly developed and included and intertwined in a way that makes this story such a precious and worth perusing one.

I would also like to take advantage of this space offered to me and recommend the movie. Seriously. Breath-taking.

“All I'm saying is, kindness don't have no boundaries.”
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Enthusiasm!!!
This book and i almost never met. and that would have been tragic. the fault is mostly mine - i mean, the book made no secret of its existence - a billion weeks on the best seller list, every third customer asking for it at work, displays and reviews and people on here praising it to the heavens. it practically spread its legs for me, but i just kept walking. i figured it was something for the ladies, like sex and the city, which i don't have to have ever seen an episode of to know that it's not something i would enjoy. i figured that this book was on the ladder one rung above chick lit. so i am to blame for my snobbish dismissiveness, but have you seen this cover?? what is with that sickroom color scheme? and i hate those stupid little birds. what is chip kidd so busy doing that he can't just pop over here and lend a hand?? it is not my fault for thinking it was a crappy book when that cover wanted me to think it is a crappy book.

but this book is good. really, really good. again, i thank you, readers' advisory class, for fixing me up with this book. it has been a long time since i have read such a frankly entertaining book. (if a book about the emotionally-charged early days of the civil rights movement can be called entertaining.) this is just an effortlessly told story, split between three different women, whose voices and perspectives never run together - the secondary characters are also completely believable and are all different brands of repellent, with some token sympathetic characters tossed in for the halibut. i don't even know what to say, i just feel all "aw, shucks, i loved this book" about it - there were several times i would catch myself grinning at a turn of phrase or a situation, and every time i would start to doubt myself, that maybe i would like sex and the city. or buffy the vampire slayer or all these things i have formerly judged without having read/seen/eaten. maybe i am like these white women in the book, taking their help for granted and assuming they have nothing to say to each other because of their unwillingness to talk to them and know them as human beings. maybe buffy and i have so much to learn from one another...

then i would snap out of it and remember that my gut opinions are 99.99% foolproof.

so for you other people, who need to be swayed by hype - i give you hype. this book's hype is merited - it would be a perfect book to read this summer when you are melting from the sun and need a good story.. this is a very tender and loving book, about hope and sisterhood and opportunity, but also about beatings and terror and shame.

still hate those birds, though.
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One of my co-workers, a guy who isn’t much of a reader, borrowed The Help from the library based on his English professor’s recommendation. The guy just couldn’t stop talking about the story, so I decided to borrow the audio book. It’s not very often I get to discuss books with people in real life and I wasn’t going to let this opportunity slip by. Audio books are good for me. I was so engrossed in the story and characters that I drove the speed limit on the highway and took the scenic route while running errands. Sometimes I went out at lunch and needlessly drove in circles, or sat in the parking lot at work, waiting for a good place to stop.

It is 1962 in Jackson, Mississippi. Twenty-two year-old Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan has returned home after graduating college to find that Constantine, her family’s maid and the woman who raised her, has mysteriously disappeared. Aibileen is a black maid in her 50’s who works for the Leefolt family and cares deeply for their daughter, Mae Mobley. She is still grieving for her young son, who died in a workplace accident. Minny is Aibileen’s closest friend and a wonderful cook, but her mouth keeps getting her into trouble and no one wants to hire her, until Aibileen helps secure her a position with Celia Foote, a young woman who is new in town and unaware of Minny’s reputation.

The story jumps back and forth between the three characters, all of them providing their version of life in the South, the dinner parties, the fund-raising events, the social and racial boundaries, family relationships, friendships, working relationships, poverty, hardship, violence, and fear. Skeeter’s mother wants her to find a nice man and get married, but she’s more interested in changing the world. Her plans to anonymously compile a candid collection of stories about the maids’ jobs and the people they work for will risk her social standing in town, her friendships, and the lives of the maids who tell their stories.

I loved this story! The characters really came alive for me, and the author did a good job acknowledging actual historical events which lent richness and authenticity to the story. I laughed and cried, felt despair and hope. This is an important story that is a painful reminder of past cruelty and injustice. It shows how far we have progressed and how much more we still have to accomplish.
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I read this book at least 4 years ago... and now I'm going back to ensure I have some level of a review for everything I read. It's only fair... if the author took the time to write it, and I found a few hours to read it... I should share my views so others can decide if it's a good book for them.

That said... did anyone not love or like this book? I'll have to check out some other people's reviews... And I wonder how many people just watched the movie... Oh well... I'll keep this review short and not in my usual format, as probably everyone I'm friends with on here has already read it! :)

The only reason I'm not giving it a 5 is because I felt like some of the stories needed a better or stronger ending. I truly think it is a fantastic book, and it makes you really think about what happened in the not-so-distant past... and probably still happening in some parts of the country today. Scary thoughts, but in the end, at least the right people got something back they deserved, even if it wasn't as much as it should have been.

The characters are very clear and strong. And when there are upwards of 10 to 12 supporting or lead female characters, an author has to spend a tremendous amount of time creating distinct pictures in a readers mind. Stockett did a great job with this task. Each and every one shows you a different personality: leaders and followers, movers and shakers, smart and silly, strong and weak, tolerant and intolerant, thirsty for all the world has to offer and content to stay the same for an entire lifetime.

When a writer can shuffle this many people throughout a story, they have invested themselves into the book, the characters, the setting, the theme, the future.

I haven't read anything else by this author, but just thinking about this book, and realizing I haven't looked at her other works makes me want to run to her profile now and pick one. Perhaps that's what I'll go do
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"I know what a froat is and how to fix it."

Aibileen Clark knows how to cure childhood illnesses and how to help a young aspiring writer write a regular household-hints column for the local paper. But she's struggling mightily to deal with grief over the death of her 20-something son, and she SURE doesn't think conditions will ever improve for African-American domestic-engineering servants in early-1960s Jackson, Mississippi or anywhere else in the South.

Aibileen's good friend Minny has been a maid since she was very young, and on the first day of her first job her mother admonished her that sass-mouth, especially her degree of it, is highly dangerous--but it's not long before she's just gotta mouth off....and look for another job. As Minny's first "episode" of the book opens, she is yet again looking for a new job, and this time an opportunity pretty much falls into her lap. Celia Foote needs a domestic engineer, but she also needs a friend, a real ally, even a confidante. Oh, one more thing: she needs to keep Minny a secret, at least for a while. I think this plotline was my favorite part. Celia's husband had formerly gone with (even been engaged to?) somebody else; did any of you wonder how they would have gotten along if he had married her instead of Celia?

But, really, which is the worse attack from Minny: a good sass-mouthin' or a good slice of her extra-special chocolate revenge pie?
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Kathryn Stockett has created this wonderful story that depicts life in America’s South during the early 1960s. 
A mix of humour and social justice, the reader is faced with a powerful piece on which to ponder while remaining highly entertained. In Jackson, Mississippi, the years leading up to the Civil Rights Movement presented a time where colour was a strong dividing line between classes. Black women spent much of their time serving as hired help and raising young white children, while their mommas were playing ‘Society Lady’ as best they could. Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan may have been part of the clique, born with a silver spoon in her mouth, but she held herself on the periphery, at times looking in. Skeeter was unwed and with few prospects, though her time away at college left her ready to tackle the workforce until an eligible man swept her off her feet. Skeeter returned to Jackson, only to find her family’s help left under mysterious circumstances and no one was willing to discuss it. Skeeter sought a job as a writer, prepared to begin at the bottom rung, but not giving up on sleuthing around to determine what might have been going on in Jackson. Skeeter scored a job writing an informative column in the local newspaper, giving cleaning tips to housewives in need of a little guidance. Who better to offer these tips that the hired help of Jackson?! Skeeter fostered a slow friendship with one, while building up a trust, and has an idea for a book that could offer a unique perspective in Mississippi’s divided society. Skeeter sought to write a tell-all from the perspective of the hired help, in hopes of shining a light on the ongoing domestic slavery taking place within a ‘freed’ America. With secret meetings taking place after working hours and Skeeter typing away, a mental shift took place and the idea of class became taboo, at least to some. Full of confessions and struggles in Mississippi society, Skeeter’s book may just tear the fabric of what has been a clearly demarcated community since after the Civil War. However, sometimes a book has unforeseen consequences, turning the tables on everyone and forcing tough decisions to be made. Stockett pulls no punches in the presentation, fanning the flames of racial and class divisions, as she depicts a way of thinking that was not only accepted, but completely sanctioned. A must-read for anyone ready to face some of the treatment undertaken in the name of ‘societal norms’, Stockett tells it like it was… and perhaps even still is!

Race relations in the United States has long been an issue written about, both in literature and pieces of non-fiction. How a country as prosperous as America could still sanction the mistreatment of a large portion of its citizens a century after fighting a war on the issue remains completely baffling. While Stockett focusses her attention on Mississippi, the conscious reader will understand that this sort of treatment was far from isolated to the state. One might venture to say that racism continued on a worldwide scale, creating a stir, while many played the role of ostriches and denied anything was going on. The characters within the book presented a wonderful mix of society dames and household help, each with their own issues that were extremely important. The characters bring stereotypes to life in an effort to fuel a raging fire while offering dichotomous perspectives. The interactions between the various characters worked perfectly, depicting each group as isolated and yet fully integrated. The household help bring the struggle of the double work day (triple, at times) while the society dames grasp to keep Mississippi from turning too quickly towards integration and equality, which they feel will be the end of all normalcy. Using various narrative perspectives, the characters become multi-dimensional. Additionally, peppering the dialogue with colloquial phraseology pulls the story to a new level of reality, one that is lost in strict textbook presentation. Stockett pushes the narrative into those uncomfortable places the reader hopes to keep locked in the pages of history, pushing the story to the forefront and requiring a synthesising of ideas and emotions. This discomfort is the only way the reader will see where things were, likely in a hope not to repeat some of history’s worst moments in America’s development. However, even fifty years after the book’s setting, there remains a pall of colour and class division promulgating on city streets. While racism is not as sanctioned in as many laws, it remains a strong odour and one that cannot simply be washed away by speaking a few words. This book, as entertaining as it is in sections, is far from fictional in its depiction of the world. The sooner the reader comes to see that, the faster change can occur. All lives matter, if we put in the effort and have the presence of mind to listen rather than rule from our own ivory towers.

Kudos, Madam Stockett for this wonderful piece. I am happy to have completed a buddy read on this subject and return to read what was a wonderful cinematic presentation.
Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4667024-the-help

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty


4.21  ·  Rating details ·  402,999 Ratings  ·  31,756 Reviews
Download or read online for free Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive

“They say it's good to let your grudges go, but I don't know, I'm quite fond of my grudge. I tend it like a little pet.”

“All conflict can be traced back to someone’s feelings getting hurt, don’t you think?”






Reviews


 Probably the funniest book about murder and domestic abuse I'll ever read. 
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This one was 480 pgs. that read like less than 300. I was thoroughly captivated, found this to be brilliant in plot, structure and tone. Gulped it right down.

On the surface this was about a group of parents whose children were starting kindergarten. We have the typical cliques, the do-goobers and many, many who think their children are oh so special.Over parenting to a T. Working moms against stay at home moms, fulfillment vs. involvement. Humorously told, there are so many times this book had me laughing, some of these moms were so over the top, absolutely absurd.

Under the surface was another layers, the author tackles many issues, among them bullying, spousal abuse and others. These women and their marriages all have issues, problems with their marriages, dealing with traumas from the past. Considering everything that was tackled in this book it should not have worked but it did, and that is to the author's credit.

Everything leads up to trivia night at the school and that will bring revelations, disasters and many will find themselves changed. Loved every minute of this one.
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Liane Moriarty has done it again – written a book that kept me up way too late because I couldn’t put it down. 
She has a knack for creating characters who are so believable they could easily be someone you know. Big Little Lies is a story of parents acting badly. It is also a smart and witty story about the real lives of children, teens, friends, husbands, wives, second wives, and exes. You are teased from the beginning with something awful that happens at the annual Pirriwee Public School fund raising. You know the what but not the who or the how. Along the way you discover some of the dangerous little lies that people tell just to be able to face the day. I couldn’t wait to get to the end to find out what happened that night but at the same time I was sorry that I wouldn’t be reading any more about the inhabitants of Perriwee.
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You know how sometimes you get to the end of a book and you wish you could wipe it from your mind, just so you could have the pleasure of reading it for the first time again?

This is one of those books.

I can't think of another author off the top of my head who does relationships so well and with such humour as Liane Moriarty. Her characters love and laugh, rub each other up the wrong way, extend the hand of friendship, spread gossip, resolve to do better, cry and keep secrets -- just like real people.

In Big Little Lies, the little lies we tell ourselves and others -- sometimes to disguise the big ones -- blow up into murder and mayhem at the P&C Trivia Night at the local public school. Though we know someone has died from the beginning of the novel, we don't find out who it is till the end, as we go back through the histories of the participants to uncover the nagging jealousies and seething problems that led to the fatal moment.

So we spend the book in a state of breathless anticipation and worry. Who died? Was it bubbly Madeline, struggling to connect with the teenage daughter of her first marriage? Or beautiful Celeste, whose perfect life hides an ugly secret? Or was it single mum Jane, trying to start afresh, who finds that playground bullying isn't just for the kids any more?

Moriarty will keep you up late flipping pages as you follow the story of these three and the colourful characters who surround them, desperate to find out who died -- and why. The answer is enormously satisfying.
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I think Stephen King summed up Big Little Lies perfectly when he said it is "a hell of a book, funny and scary." I found it to be like the first two seasons of Desperate Housewives before the show started to slowly fall apart (and I've seen every episode so I feel like I'm right... right about the comparison to the book and the fact that the show was never all that great after the first two seasons, but the bigger question is why did I watch all of the show in the first place, and I'll never really know the answer to that question, but I'm OK with it and can live with myself).

The moms in Big Little Lies are written so well. I loved all the different stereotypes represented in each of them and how the different dynamics played out between them and their families. I'll admit, I was a little confused early on and could have used a family tree to help me see who belonged where (and that only got messier along the way), but Moriarty kept me updated in subtle ways to make sure I was tracking with her as the story unfolded.

Hang on, taking a quick coffee break.

Alright, much better. There are a couple of other takeaways from the book I want to share.

First off, the whole suburban-everything-is-awesome facade in which the book is firmly nestled, and in which I find myself now. I really loved how the book started out in a fun, whimsical way by introducing me to the various characters and making me feel like everyone has everything together and life is just so swell all the time. Then, as the book rolls along, more and more is revealed from the past, mysteries are solved, and you learn that these women's lives just aren't what you thought they were. And, man, isn't that life? All of us walking around all carefree making sure everyone thinks we are just fine and dandy thank you very much, and maybe there aren't things as dark as some stuff in this book happening, but we are all stressed out with kids and jobs and life and whatever. Anyway, I just liked that slow descent into the darker layers of the major characters in the story. That's all I'm saying.

So no spoilers, but I thought it was important for me as someone who isn't a woman to read about how events can shape the lives and thought of someone who is a woman. That's a lot of unnecessary words. What I'm trying to say is you never know how much your actions can impact another person. In this case, the words and actions of men had a deep emotional impact on women. Some of it was tough to read, and to know that stuff is happening that we often don't even know about is scary. It's bad enough that so much evil and darkness exists out there, but what about all the stuff that hasn't been brought into the light yet? Life is hard.

And, last but not least, the minor characters chiming in at the end of many chapters to kick in a little foreshadowing was an excellent plot device. That trivia night was something I was anticipating from the very beginning. The timeline worked down to that single night, and there was lots of statements from police questioning sprinkled in early so the mystery slowly rolls down to that night and a little beyond. It made the book so easy and quick to read, but it wasn't some mindless page turner to just get through for mild enjoyment. It was written really well, and the payoff in the end was worth it.

I may have to get some more Liane Moriarty in my life. I never thought I would say that out loud, but here we are. Looking forward to the HBO series!
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     "A murder. A tragic accident....
    Someone is dead. But who did what?"


WOAHHHH!!!! This book was freaking amazing!!!

It was a total genre change for me -- this is women's fiction and mystery, not romance -- but I was just in the kind of mood where I was craving something totally different than what I usually read.... so I tried this one! And I was BEYOND impressed with it.

Like holy WOW impressed.

The writing was  fantastic  — starkly honest, detailed, introspective, observant, multi-sided… the story kept me guessing right up until the end. There were these  twists  that totally shocked me (I mean like jaw-drop omgdidnotseethatcoming shocked) and I just had these chiiiiiiills run through me at some of the reveals.

This author really just "gets" people and interactions on a very deep level in a way I’ve seldom seen before. Gah. It was powerful . I mean really. Holy woman power!!! I loved the writing, I loved story, and can honestly say that it had one of the single most satisfying endings ever. EVER.

So... what's it about?

It has a large cast of characters, but focuses mostly on three women's lives. They all have children entering Kindergarten in the same year. They're lives are vastly different but closely connected in ways that even they don't realize at first. And there's a murder. Someone dies at a trivia night. But you don't know who. And you don't know who killed them. No clue! Part of the whole mystery is figuring this out, and it's done in such a cool way -- a fascinating mix between the story of the weeks counting down to that night mixed in with snippets of interviews being given after that night of people describing what happened.

I'm not going to say a word more but I will assure you that the ending delivers on every level!

This whole book really highlights how the same event can be seen in so many ways, from so many different perspectives, and from each of those sides, it can appear vastly different. You never really know what someone else is thinking or going through, what they're capable of, what secrets they're keeping...

Gah. Fascinating!!!

Just so you know, this is not a dark read at all. It's very serious at times, very light at others. But it's also not dark and it's not scary. A few people were asking me so I thought I'd clarify that.

Actually I saw someone describe it as a "juicy drama" and I think that's the perfect description!

It's just the kind of story that raises a million questions in your mind. It makes you THINK, keeps you wondering, theorizing, questioning everything. It's detailed and engaging. Can you tell I loved it?

There are some very serious themes -- domestic violence, single parenthood, motherhood in general, bullying, murder, secrets, and more. It's almost scarily accurate in many of it's depictions.
Hehe this was my status update from 91%:

    GAAAASPPPPPPPPP — did NOT see that coming!!!! Holy SHITTTTT!!
    CHILLS. O_O
    HOLY. FUCKING. SHIT.
    I mean WOAH. WOAH. WOAHHHHHH.



This author is just so skilled. The plot was cleverly woven and it just delivered all the right details at all the right times. In fact, I think I actually have all of a certain chapter highlighted. ALL of it.

It was an incredible reading experience. I totally get why they’re making it into a movie (with Reese Witherspoon & Nicole Kidman) because I could literally picture it in my mind as I was reading.

I have a ton of quotes highlighted in my book, but in case you're wondering why I don't have them included in this review, it's because in retrospect, I realized that given this type of story, they might not make sense out of context. So I'm just going to let you read the book for yourself and read them that way!

I've also read another book by this author, The Husband's Secret, and even though I thought that one was really good, I actually loved this one more because I was much happier with this ending. This one left me with such a strongly good feeling while The Husband's Secret left me feeling a little... unsettled (like the price paid was too great)... but this one was just WOW.

I highly recommend it!

Rating: 5 STARS!!
Standalone women's fiction/mystery (not romance).

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No lie...I loved this book :)

I read this book almost exactly a year ago. I didn't write a review as back then I usually updated that I read a book and gave it a rating. Plus it had a zillion ratings so I didn't bother. Looking at the reviews it seems to have quite a range of ratings.

But recently I decided to write a short one as I recently heard what I thought was exciting news. Well exciting for me as a lover of this book!!

I was looking through the new line-up of fall TV shows and came across a 2016 TV series entitled "Big Little Lies". At first I thought it was a coincidence but then looked on IMDb and it said for the series summary:

Things take a dark turn for a group of moms whose perfect lives begin to unravel.

So far not a lot more information but it does say it's starring Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon. I love Reese and l am so excited to see her in this. I love the fact that it is a series and not just a movie!

Now as I'm typing this I'm wondering if this is old news. I read through some reviews and didn't see it mentioned but if it was oops... it's new to me though!!

Murder at a school trivia night ....

I loved the characters and story-line and I was guessing right up until the end. Full of wonderful brilliant characters, lots of school gossip and politics, drama, mystery and humour.
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I can't NOT give this book 5 stars. There's truly nothing I didn't like about it. It's one of those special books that completely captured my attention—while I was reading it, I was lost in the characters' lives. 
And that's one of the things that makes this book soooo good: the characters. Moriarty is a master at crafting vivid characters from the first page. I felt like with each introduction of a new character, I had a grasp on their personality pretty quickly. But they weren't boiled down to that single moment of characterization; they were complex, flawed people who you could root for and empathize with. On top of that was a well-crafted, engaging and suspenseful plot that kept you turning the pages. I was never bored. And her writing style was substantial and had a lot to say about real issues. This book isn't afraid to go to some dark places, but it brings with it a bit of comedy and sometimes even a little sappiness that satisfies your appetite for a little bit of everything in one book. It's definitely a book that compelled me to read on, and also to want to read more from this author...and I'm sure it'll be one that stays in my mind for a long time.
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5 huge stars. I’d give it 6 if I could!

This was one of the most captivating books I’ve read. An emotional joy-ride and an absolute favorite!
Based in a small exclusive coastal town in Australia. It’s orientation day into kindergarten when one boy is accused of choking a little girl. For the parents it’s a moment when bonds are formed and lines are drawn in the sand.

A full complement of emotions are cleverly weaved throughout. Laughter, tears, smiles and pain. Three wonderful friends (Madeline, Celeste and Jane) brought together on that orientation day by their children. The adventures they share together as well as their private struggles at home. Broken dreams, broken hearts and broken families. And the healing of hearts and souls.

"Every relationship has its glitches. It's ups, its downs."

Everything revolves around something as simple as trivia night at the school. Then a situation arises that has both police and media questioning everyone present. The responses from the interviews are hilarious! I was always on the look-out for more of these little gems as a tasty bonus, near the end of every chapter.

There are two distinct sides to this book. The fun, whimsical side that leaves you with a permanent grin on your face, desperately wanting to be part of this group of friends. Then, of course, there’s the dark side that proves you never really know what goes on in the privacy of one's home. Even between the closest of friends.

There are three sides to every person…the side we show to everyone else, the side we show to friends and loved ones, and the side we show only to ourselves.

In other words, this book is simply about life. Those we love and those that make us crazy. Very often, one in the same!

I loved every minute of this book. Occasionally shaking my head at the silliness.

Never expecting a twist in this story...I got a delicious jaw-dropping moment! Like icing on a cake.
I absolutely adored this book! I am so sad it's finished. Now onward to the TV series!
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*4 Stars*

Big Little Lies is an engaging story filled with murder and mystery, centering on the lives of three “school moms” and their problematic circumstances.

I've never watched the show, but this book gave me a sort of sinister, Desperate Housewives vibe.

This story is told in third-person narrative and methodically shifts focus between these three unstable women as the plot slowly creeps up to the night of the murder.

The writing was fantastic: Intelligent, realistic, and held my interest pretty securely. The characters were believable and imperfect. I felt that each of their reactions to the problems they were given were spot-on…maybe even a little too perfect, at times.

For example: Each character displayed predictable responses to certain "conditions"—reacting exactly how you’d expect them to, given their circumstance. On top of that, everyone’s backstory seemed to thoroughly explain their future behaviors and I couldn't help but feel it lacked some originality.

What I loved most about this story was the natural ease of the dialogue and the truly mysterious plot that kept me guessing straight to the end. Not only are we unaware of the identity of the “murderer”, but the murdered remains a mystery for the majority of the read, as well.

The cattiness between this cast of women was well-executed, as was the degree of competition amongst them. There was plenty of drama to go around. I LOVED the journey, even though I felt the outcome wasn't quite as fulfilling as the buildup.

That said, it has been a couple days since I’ve finished this book and I find that I’m still thinking about it—a sure sign of a great read!

Kristin (KC)
Oct 29, 2014
Kristin (KC) rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychological-thriller, thriller
*4 Stars*

Big Little Lies is an engaging story filled with murder and mystery, centering on the lives of three “school moms” and their problematic circumstances.

I've never watched the show, but this book gave me a sort of sinister, Desperate Housewives vibe.

This story is told in third-person narrative and methodically shifts focus between these three unstable women as the plot slowly creeps up to the night of the murder.

The writing was fantastic: Intelligent, realistic, and held my interest pretty securely. The characters were believable and imperfect. I felt that each of their reactions to the problems they were given were spot-on…maybe even a little too perfect, at times.

For example: Each character displayed predictable responses to certain "conditions"—reacting exactly how you’d expect them to, given their circumstance. On top of that, everyone’s backstory seemed to thoroughly explain their future behaviors and I couldn't help but feel it lacked some originality.

What I loved most about this story was the natural ease of the dialogue and the truly mysterious plot that kept me guessing straight to the end. Not only are we unaware of the identity of the “murderer”, but the murdered remains a mystery for the majority of the read, as well.

The cattiness between this cast of women was well-executed, as was the degree of competition amongst them. There was plenty of drama to go around. I LOVED the journey, even though I felt the outcome wasn't quite as fulfilling as the buildup.

That said, it has been a couple days since I’ve finished this book and I find that I’m still thinking about it—a sure sign of a great read!

▪  Genre/Category: Adult Contemporary/Mystery
▪  Steam Caliber: No steam
Romance: Not a romance
▪  Characters: Well constructed
▪  Plot: Murder mystery that follows the lives of three school-moms who've become friends.
Writing: Fluid, intelligent, engaging.
POV: 3rd Person Perpective
▪  Cliffhanger: None/Standalone
▪  HEA?
Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19486412-big-little-lies