Monday, April 17, 2017

The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty

How do you know if your friends actually like you?

Joni, Deb, Eden and Trina try to catch up once a year for some days away together. Now in their thirties, commitments have pulled them in different directions, and the closeness they once enjoyed growing up seems increasingly elusive. This year, determined to revive their intimacy, they each share a secret in an anonymous letter to be read out during the holiday. But instead of bringing them closer, the revelations seem to drive them apart. Then a fifth letter is discovered, venting long-held grudges, and it seems that one of the women is in serious danger. But who was the author? And which of them should be worried?

THE FIFTH LETTER examines the bonds of women's friendship groups, and the loyalty and honesty they demand, along with letting go of relationships that once seemed essential but are now outgrown.

A new Nicola Moriarty! I have read and loved Nicola's previous two novels. Free-Falling was charming and whimsical and Paper Chains was mysterious and emotional and both have been highlights of my reading life. I have been hanging out for Nicola's latest, even more so when Mands from The Bookish Manicurist emailed to say she was loving it and it was Nicola's best book yet. 

The Fifth letter has a captivating opener which grabbed my attention and then held it resulting in me having to stop everything I had planned for the next 24 hours until I had finished the book. It is one of those up-all-night, can't-put-it-down books, the pacing and reveals sprinkled throughout only adding to the tension and need-to-know-answers vibe. The Fifth Letter has a much stronger mystery/suspense angle than Nicola's previous novels. It definitely sucked me in (evidenced by the speed in which I tore through it) but I did miss the more character-driven aspect that I loved in her first novels. I enjoyed reading about these characters, but I didn't fall in love with them. 

I love that amongst the twists and suspense and reveals, Nicola still writes with a touch of whimsy and smiley surprise. She has a flair for sneaking in little details which play out in deliciously satisfying ways. The novel touches on some heavier topics and humour is used in all the right places to add levity and charm. 

I thought I had things figured out a few times throughout the novel, but the rabbit's hole always went deeper and I love how I thought things were headed one way and then they perfectly maneouvered somewhere else ~ somewhere better, more interesting and unexpected. It really was the mystery and reveals that kept me glued to the pages. 

The novel centres around four women who have been friends since high school and as the story unfolds there are numerous flashbacks to teenage years, making this a perfect novel for fans of both young adult and adult fiction.

The Fifth Letter is brilliantly plotted with sneaky reveals and a really fun (unexpected) climax and ending that left me smiling and content with time well spent. I am so happy Australia has fun and unique authors such as Nicola Moriarty and am (as always) looking forward to what Nicola has for readers next.

The Fifth Letter is available everywhere now :)

The Fifth Letter @ goodreads
The Fifth Letter @ HarperCollins Australia (including free excerpt)
Nicola Moriarty's website

The Fifth Letter: Australian, US and UK editions. Available everywhere now.
Many thanks to HarperCollins for my gorgeous review copy!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

March Favourites

The first half of March was a beautiful, dream-like reading month. Back to back good reads and two new fave reads! The second half was littered with DNF books (which means I did get through a lot of titles that are no longer waiting on my TBR). After too many disappointing attempts in a row, I turned to re-reading some old faves which held up on the reread (occasionally a reread doesn't hold the same magic and the book can fall flat). 

Total reads: 9 books and 4 audiobooks

Fave reads of March:

By Your Side by Kasie West 
Light, swoony and unputdownable ~ with just the right amount of character development to add some ache and depth. This is a rainy day comfort read kind of book that was perfect for my reading mood.

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
A mesmerising blend of gorgeous writing and mysterious happenings,  this contemporary/fantasy/magical realism/genre-blending novel completely stole my heart. I was hooked after a few chapters but I did not anticipate how much the characters would endear themselves to me. Laura Ruby is a born storyteller and some parts had me feeling like I was inside a fairy tale. This book not only had achey, brilliant, shining characters to fall in love with, but it was also unpredictable and daring and wholly original while remaining full of heart. 

Fave Audiobook for March:

I really enjoyed listening to Salt to the Sea, which has four narrators to match all four teenage perspectives. The story was engaging the whole way through, effortlessly transporting me to another time and place, but it wasn't until the end that I really felt moved. I am absolutely glad I spent time with these characters and heard their stories, this is a story that will linger and that deserved to be told. 

Fave Rereads

I am such an Elizabeth Scott fangirl and I love to periodically revisit her work. Perfect You is one of my faves of hers and it always delivers. She captures teen voice so well, and Will is so dreamy! Ha! Tell Me Three Things was a fave read of 2016 and I'm still loving it <3

How was March for you? Any new fave reads?