Liz Hewett

Liz is an avid reader and writer. She’s married to Keith and is currently living in Hampshire with their mischievous but loveable cat, Jeff. When she hasn’t got her head stuck in a book you can find her putting pen to paper and editing her own book that she wrote for Nanowrimo 2014. In fact, she has always loved writing and had her first article published at the age of 8 in a local church magazine. Liz absolutely loves reading to the extent that she has even made herself a reading area in their small house which is lined with masses of books and book inspired posters. Some of her favourite authors are: Sophie Kinsella, Freya North, Tess Gerritsen and J.D Robb (Nora Robert’s pen name).

Book Review: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

A Little Life

Picador, March 2016

When four graduates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their centre of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome – but that will define his life forever.

At 720 pages this is probably one of the longest books I have read in a while but it is also one of the most moving, well-written novels I have read for some time.

Hanya Yanigahara is a fantastic writer and this book is an emotional rollercoaster ride you will still be feeling even after finishing. This is not a happy, light read. It will break your heart at times and make you want to cry; it will also take hold of you, strap you in tight and won’t let you go until you make it to the end.

We meet the boys in their first dorm together during college. Their friendships are still reasonably fresh and new and we see each character as a young student working towards their chosen career. As the book progresses we see each of them start jobs, fall in love, break up, go on holiday and generally live their lives. However, the main focus of A Little Life is on Jude, who has many deep, dark secrets about his horrific past. As we see him grow older the past comes back to haunt him again and again and we see how he struggles to live a normal life compared to the rest of them.

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Book Review: In The Light of What We See by Sarah Painter

51iL7moKnpLBrighton, 1938: Grace Kemp is pushed away by the family she has shamed. Rejected and afraid, she begins a new life as a nurse. But danger stalks the hospital too, and she’ll need to be on her guard to avoid falling into familiar traps. And then there are the things she sees…Strange portents that have a way of becoming real.

Eighty years later, Mina Morgan is brought to the same hospital after a near-fatal car crash. She is in terrible pain but recalls nothing. She’s not even sure whom to trust. Mina too sees things that others cannot, but now, in hospital, her visions are clearer than ever…

Two women, separated by decades, are drawn together by a shared space and a common need to salvage their lives.

I came across this book after listening to Sarah Painter’s podcast called Worried Writer. This podcast is brilliant if you are a writer and I have been hooked since the first podcast I listened to. This is the first book I have read of Sarah Painter’s and after having finished this one I will definitely be getting hold of her backlog to add to my ever growing TBR (To Be Read) pile.

I have one word to sum this book up: amazing. You could tell that everything about this book was well thought out and I loved every bit of it.

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Book Review: The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins

Doubleday, January 2015

Doubleday, January 2015

Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.  Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar. Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train

Have you ever looked out of the window of a train at the houses passing by and wondered what sort of people live in them and maybe even created fictional lives for them? Rachel does this everyday as she catches the same commuter train. However, simple curiosity turns into something much more and she must decide just how far she will go to get involved in these people’s lives, of which, in reality she knows very little about.

Rachel, a divorced alcoholic still thinks about her ex-husband who still lives in their old home with his new wife and child. This is probably not helped by the fact she passes the house every day whilst on the train. Her ex husband, Tom also happens to live a few doors down from the couple that she becomes enthralled with and soon starts making up stories about in her head. With plenty of time on her hands whilst commuting back and forth she becomes a bit too emotionally involved in the woman she names Jess. Then when she witnesses something out of the ordinary her curiosity overwhelms her and she forces her way into the couple’s life.

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Book Review: Shopaholic to the Rescue by Sophie Kinsella

Shopaholic to the Rescue

Bantam Press, October 2015

Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) is on a major rescue mission! Hollywood was full of surprises, and now she’s on a road trip to Las Vegas to help her friends and family.

She’s determined to get to the bottom of why her dad has mysteriously disappeared, help her best friend Suze and even bond with long-time enemy Alicia Bitch Long-legs (maybe…).

As Becky discovers just how much her friends and family need help, she comes up with her biggest, boldest, most brilliant plan yet! So can she save the day just when they need her most?

Becky is back in the newest book of the Shopaholic series. The previous book, “Shopaholic to the stars” left us on a massive cliff hanger as we discovered Becky’s dad had run off to Las Vegas with Suze’s husband Tark and Bryce to find an old friend and put things right. Therefore, unlike the others in the series, to properly enjoy this one you should definitely read the previous book as a lot of story lines are continued on, a new style used by Sophie Kinsella

There is a lot going on in this book apart from the hunt for Becky’s dad from the fight to win Suze back after she starts spending more time with Alicia Bitch Long Legs to Tark’s apparent need for space and time away from Suze.

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Novel Kicks is a blog for story tellers and book lovers.

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