Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Authors to Note: Kate Morton

Australian author Kate Morton is one of my favourite authors for historical fiction. Her books always have a lovely mix of past and present stories which harbour a myriad of mysteries and secrets. I always find myself rushing to devour her rich descriptions and uncover the answers hidden amongst the pages. I think part of the appeal is the way she often combines these stories into family dramas, of secrets once hidden long ago only to be discovered by another generation. Her books have sparked images of Downton Abbey and Atonement in my mind and I think fans of this period of time will really enjoy her novels. Here are three of my favourite Kate Morton books:

The Forgotten Garden. Cassandra, grieving for her much loved grandmother Nell feels as if she has lost everything important to her. When a mysterious bequest from Nell is bestowed upon Cassandra it throws up questions about her family that she never knew she needed answers to. Travelling to England, the birthplace of her grandmother Cassandra is on a quest to discover who Nell really was. Aided by a book of dark fairytales that belonged to her grandmother, Cassandra is determined to find out the truth about her family's past. But what she doesn't realise is she will also discover a new future for herself in the process.

The House at Riverton. In the summer of 1924 two sisters Hannah and Emmeline Hartford witness the suicide of a young poet. The event would be the last time the girls ever spoke to one another again. Over seventy years later Grace Bradley, once a maid at Riverton Manor, is interviewed about the young poet's life for a documentary. Secrets, memories and ghosts, all pushed aside now come crashing back. What does Grace know about the girls and the suicide that threatens to come spilling out?

The Secret Keeper. Set between 1961 and 2011, Laurel spends her sixteenth summer in her childhood tree house dreaming of boys and moving to swinging London. But one sweltering day she witnesses a shocking crime that will change her family forever. Now grown, Laurel is a successful actress but is still haunted by the memories of that summers day. Unable to move on she returns to her family farm intent to make sense of what she witnesses that day. What Laurel discovers is an unexpected story tying three strangers Dorothy, Vivien and Jimmy together by chance during wartime London.

Have you read anything by Kate Morton? If you are a fan of historical fiction I suggest you check these titles out!

Monday, 27 April 2015

An Outback Drama: The Painted Sky by Alice Campion

Despite the fact that I've read many books over the years by Australian authors, I've read far less of Australian stories. I was excited to have won a copy of The Painted Sky by Alice Campion as its country setting and the relationship its characters have with the land is something I had never been introduced to as a reader before.

When Nina's uncle passes away he leaves her an inheritance of a dilapidated farmland property and a house stuffed with junk. The homestead was once the family house of Nina's father, who disappeared when Nina was a child. Nina travels to rural Wandalla to seek answers to the mystery of her father's vanishing act. But, the more Nina digs the more secrets she discovers the farmhouse and the small town of Wandalla holds. As Nina rediscovers her rural upbringing she is torn between unlocking the secrets of her father and returning to her city life.

Brimming with mystery and a cast of characters that each hold their own secrets The Painted Sky is a compelling read. Written by five authors under the pseudonym Alice Campion the writing is seamless and comes across as reading a single voice. I really enjoyed the mystery solving element to this story but more so the pull of Nina struggling to choose between her country roots or city life.

The story line is packed with mystery and does get quite dramatic towards the end of the novel but I really thought the character of Nina was the winning element in this novel. She is a girl lost, looking to find her place in the world and I really felt emotionally invested in what she was looking for. Originally she is searching for clues as to what has happened to her Father, but the longer she stays in Wandalla and the more connections she makes to people who were once in her life when she was young, Nina's soul searching is really for herself.

If you fancy a trip to the outback and a story that will suck you in for a good couple of hours I thoroughly recommend picking up a copy!

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Thoughts On Buying Books...

Over the last couple of years I've put myself on a bit more of a book buying restriction. Mainly due to the fact that when you've moved as much as I have lugging paperbacks around becomes sort of a chore (especially when you move countries). I think this forced restriction has made me be much more considerate before spending my hard earned pennies on novels but it has also made me want to have a really well curated book collection too. Here are some of the things I consider before buying:

Atmosphere. I absolutely can't turn down a book that is rich in atmosphere. Whether it's the setting whisking me away to Paris or transporting me back into another period I will never bore of an atmosphere that comes alive on the page even if I know the story like the back of my hand. Water For Elephants, Night Circus and the Tea Rose are all books whose atmosphere had me intrigued and certainly delivered within their pages.

Most loved authors. When JK Rowling wrote her crime novels under the name of Robert Galbraith it was a no-brainer for me to buy them. I've always loved exploring an author's back catalogue and it's even better when they cross genres and write something entirely unexpected. You can see some of my favourite authors here in my 'Authors to Note' series.

Re-readability. I could probably survive with only a handful of books on my shelf forever if they were the ones I truly loved the most. It's hard to know whether a book will make you want to read and re-read again and again before buying but there are plenty of books I had already read before purchasing a copy myself. Catch-22 and To Kill A Mockingbird are two titles I had read before I bought myself a copy.

Being universally loved. I have pretty mainstream taste in books, which is not something I think is a bad thing. Harry Potter, The Book Thief and Bridget Jones' Diary are all books that people just love to love. I also love having books on hand that other people want to read too!

What do you consider before purchasing a book?

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

5 Books For Lovers Of Magic

Because who doesn't miss the feeling of delving into their first Harry Potter book and discovering new awesome powers, spells and magic. Here are five awesome books (that don't feature Hogwarts) for those missing their magical fix.

The Paper Magician by Charlie N Holmburg. Despite having graduated top of her class, Ceony Twill is heartbroken to learn she will apprenticing in the art of paper magic, rather than metal. But as Ceony learns under her tutor Thane she learns her art can be more beautiful than she ever imagined. As she learns these wonderful spells she also discovers the dangers of forbidden magic. Magic she must learn to overcome to save Thane's life.

Dark Aemilia: A Tale of Shakespeare's Dark Lady. Shakespeare's lover Aemilia Bassano conjures the dark arts to save her son from the grips of the plague that sweeps through London. This historical novels dabbles in the dark side of magic and Aemelia soon finds that the price for a life does not come cheap. You can see my previous review of this book here.

Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I absolutely adored this book about the mysterious Le Cirque des Reves which appears overnight in a small town. Two apprentice magicians Celia and Marco have been trained since childhood by their instructors to defeat one another in a duel of magic. Unexpectedly the two fall in love, but the duel must be played and the lives of lovers, the circus performers and patrons all hang in the balance.

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen. The Waverley sisters are heirs to the magical apple tree that lies beyond their property. Claire has made peace with her family's unusual gifts from the garden - herbs and spices that have unusual effects on those who eat them. When Claire's rebellious sister Sydney returns to their hometown she will unsettle Claire's predictable life.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E Schwab. London comes in many forms. Magic flows through each London and the royals fight to control it. Kell is a Red Traveller and ambassador to Red London, In exchange for a fee Kell smuggles those looking for adventure between Red, Grey and White London. His underhanded hobby causes trouble and Kell flees to Grey London but runs afoul of Delilah Bard, who robs him before forcing Kell to take her on a dangerous adventure.

What are your favourite books featuring magic?

Monday, 20 April 2015

Addictive Crime Fiction: The Son by Jo Nesbo

Hook, line and sinker this novel had me caught from the opening pages into the complicated plotline of Oslo's criminal world and one man known as 'The Son'. At eighteen Sonny's life has spiralled into that of an addict. After the suicide of his father, a policeman whose corruption and subsquent guilt lead him to take his own life, Sonny turns to the criminal world - he gets all the drugs he needs and goes down for the crimes of others.

After twelve years of living the high life, literally, the truth is revealed to him in prison regarding the death of his father, he wasn't corrupt and he wasn't a police mole. Sonny knows what he has to do and will stop at nothing to bring down those responsible for his fathers death and the crimes he has been serving time for.

Nesbo has a nack for telling complicated storylines with ease and I was seriously invested in this story within the first few chapters. Throw in the sidestories of the Oslo investigators, corrupt prison warders and underground criminals all searching for Sonny and this novel really started to crack a pace. Combined with the fact that every character seems to be well thought out and so humanly brought to the page this is one of the best crime books I've ever read.

But Nesbo wouldn't be a crime writer if he didn't make a twisted ending for us. As Sonny goes on his rampage to avenge his fathers death, the truth about his father is revealed. I never would have guessed the multiple plot twists which really had me applauding this book as a fantastic crime read. If you have never been that into reading crime novels I would still fully recommend picking up The Son. With many mysterious elements and not much grisly or creepy bits it makes for an addictive read.

Have you read The Son or any of Jo Nesbo's crime novels? Let me know what you think!


Sunday, 19 April 2015

New Additions To The Beauty Shelf #2

I've been adding to my beauty draw lately as the weather has made the first signs of autumn appear. Enter darker lipsticks and smokey eye colours in abundance. Take a look at my new additions here:

MAC Eyeshadows in Antiqued and Cranberry. I made a wee duty free purchase on the way back through Auckland Airport in February and these two bad boys came home with me. I love the look of a daytime appropriate smokey eye which is where these shades of bronze and berry are perfect. If you have light coloured eyes they really make the colour pop, which is so pretty!

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water. I've been using the Bioderma Micellar Water for a few months now which is brilliant but really pricey. At first I thought nothing would be able to compare to its one-swipe makeup remover qualities, but you know what? This Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water is totally on par and only about half the price. Plus I can pick it up from the supermarket which makes it completely hassle free!

Simple Kind to Skin Hydrating Moisturiser. I've really gone back to basics with my skincare choosing either organic brands or skincare designed for sensitivity. I'm still using and loving the Moreish range for cleansing and masks/exfoliating but didn't want to pay $30 for a day moisturiser. I love I can pick up this Simple moisturiser for around ten dollars at the pharmacy or supermarket. It's super light weight and most of all sits well under my foundation.

Models Prefer Blusher. These baked blushers reminded me of the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushers, or that's the main reason I picked them up! For a fraction of the price they have the same beautiful marbled effect. I love baked blushers at the moment and chose the 'Autumn' shade and have added 'Winter' a light pink hue onto my wishlist.

MaxFactor Lipstick in Scarlet Ghost and Maybelline New York Lipstick in Bold Matte. The first lipstick being a pretty purple-ish berry shade is not too dark for my liking, while the bold matte is a tomato-red that withstood a night of drinking to completely stay put on my lips - just what I'm looking for in a red lip.

Bourjois Smokey Stories Quad. I have quite a few bronze and copper eye shades (see above for new additions) and love the thought of a grey/silver smokey eye. I just need to know how to perfect it...

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Reasons to Read: Historical Fiction

You know when you start compiling lists of things you love about your favourite book genres you're an out and out book nerd. But, hey we can't all be cool all of the time. Today's post is an ode to one of my favourite genres and the authors who recreate history for us. Here are my favourite things about this genre.

Reliving History. I was always a bit of a history buff at school taking both history and classics (although I failed classics miserably in my final year of high school, lets just say my passion for it didn't lie in the academic side.) I love that historical fiction allows us to time-travel, if only in our heads and experience other worlds, times and cultures.

Being Fascinated By The Ordinary. The daily lives of people hundreds of years ago is truly fascinating to me. Although I can barely remember how we survived without Google and mobile phones merely years ago, it's amazing to learn how people went about their daily tasks, washing, cooking and dressing pre all of our modern day technology.

A Rose-Tinted Outlook. Hey I'll be the first to admit that when I read historical fiction it's a usually a pretty rosy outlook on life back in the day. In reality I'd never want to live in a time gone by (too many lady rights to give up!) but it's also nice to wear rose-tinted glasses every once in a while too.

Meeting Famous Historical Figures. I love when historical fiction brings alive a really well known person from history. It's fascinating to get a glimpse of historical figures and not from a biographical point of view either. My most recent favourite example of this has to be William Shakespeare in Dark Aemelia: A Tale of Shakespeare's Dark Lady. Old Will is painted as quite the lad!


Wednesday, 15 April 2015

The Penguin Bookshelf

The 'Popular Penguin' series of books are some of my favourite to buy. Not only do they look tres chic on the bookshelf but at around ten dollars they are a complete steal. I've rounded up a few of my favourite from the orange and pink series (the pink covers donate $1 from each book sold to Breast Cancer research) and a few I'd like to add to my collection. 

Brideshead Revisited. This book was recommended to me by a colleague who also introduced me to 'All the Pretty Horses' by Cormac McCarthy, which is one of my favourite books (and authors) ever. So, I'm trusting his judgement again and adding this modern classic to my reading list. 

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer. This book has been on my to read list for about two or three years now. Jean-Baptiste is abandoned in the slums of Paris, his only blessing an incredible sense of smell. This gift leads Jean to master the art of Perfume making, but there is one smell that has always alluded him, the smell of a virgin, and one that leads him down a path of lust, desire and deadly obsession.

Lolita. Another classic that I have been meaning to read for ages. I've actually picked this up from the library on more than one occasion and then set it back. There's no denying that the subject matter is icky which is the main issue putting me off reading, but it's also lauded as one of the most beautiful pieces of writing from the 20th century.

Pride and Prejudice. One of my favourite classics that I don't actually own a copy of, I'd love to add this pink Penguin version to my bookshelf.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. I'm a huge fan of Huckleberry Finn but have never read this book. I love that Mark Twain's books are filled with adventure and so easy to read. This would be a great one for when I'm not in the mood for anything serious.

Breakfast at Tiffany's. I already own this book (in the orange cover version) but have included it here for any fans of the movie. Holly Golightly is just as sparkly - if not more - on the page and I fully implore you to read this Capote classic if you haven't already.

Love in the Time of Cholera. A passionate and sensuous book about not giving up on love, I would happily add this orange covered version to my collection.

Monday, 13 April 2015

The Satirical Fiction Book Review: Chart Throb by Ben Elton

Ben Elton is the ultimate writer of satirical fiction. Chart Throb is laugh out loud funny in parts and bang on the nail when it comes to mocking the world of reality television. If you are in the mood for a bit of snarky humour I thoroughly recommend picking this book up.

Chart Throb, a reality pop show has surpassed the popularity of it's predecessors Idol and X Factor and is now the biggest music reality show worldwide. It's three judges, (who all mirror the judges from these shows, you know the ones - the scary Simon Cowell's, mothering Paula Abdul's and bland as a dishrag other judge) are on a quest to find the UK's next Chart Throb. 95,000 hopefuls will line up and get their chance at stardom but there can be only one winner, one Chart Throb.

Except that the 95,000 hopefuls never really get to have their shot. Ben Elton takes us behind the scenes of the glitz and glamour of reality television and takes us into the murky world of Mingers, Blingers and Clingers, the codenames for all the saddos and desperados who desperately want to win a chance at fame. Because as Calvin Simms, the shows creator, always says it's not really about the music is it?

I loved every minute of reading this book. Elton pokes fun at every aspect of reality 'talent' shows from the manufactured drama to the personalities of the judges and contestants that whether you love them or hate them, you're pretty much guaranteed a laugh with this book. Elton has cemented himself as a king of satire, and in Chart Throb it's easy to see why.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

March in Review

So, I'm a little bit late with my March update but regardless here it is! March was actually a surprisingly slow-feeling month for me. I guess that's what happens when you spend half of February on holiday. Here are some things I have been loving during the month.

1. Pops of Colour. Despite the fact winter-ish weather is now settling in here in Australia, I have been enjoying seeing all the Spring pastels popping up on my favourite northern hemisphere blogs. I couldn't resist the pastel hues and ended up buying this gorgeous dress from Jack Wills. I am always a fan of colour whether it be winter or summer so I figure I'll pop some dark tights on and a blazer and be good to head out into the cool autumn air.

2. Free books! I am one of those people who never enter competitions for anything and then complain that I never win things. This month I entered a giveaway by the lovely folks at NSW Writers Centre and ended up winning a copy of The Painted Sky by Alice Campion. I have heard a lot of praise for this book so am really excited to give this a read!

3. Writing. I actually have three works in progress all in various stages (one is actually only in my head but I really can't wait to start working on it). It's taken me a while to figure out a writing process for myself and despite our house sounding like a demolition zone with all the renovations going on, finding a quiet time to sit with my laptop has become one of my favourite past times.

4. Exercising. I kind of fell of the bandwagon over the past few months with my exercise regime. I've found in the past few weeks I really need momentum to keep me going so the more I work out the more I feel like working out. I've been getting back into Blogilates and even giving 30 Days of Yoga with Adrianne (A Vivianna Does Makeup favourite) plenty of play time.

Let me know what you have been enjoying this month including any book recommendations!

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Love and Lies: The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

"Falling in love was easy. Anyone could fall. It was holding on that was tricky."

Cecilia Fitzpatrick's husband has a shocking secret. A secret he has been holding in for twenty years. When Cecilia discovers a letter, a confession, from her husband containing his secret it will threaten to unravel her life, her husband and people in their community. The book focuses on three women and the ways in which they are connected to the husband's secret.

This is the second book from Liane Moriarty I have enjoyed reading and once again she has an easy and light way of writing that draws the reader in. One thing I've quite enjoyed about this book is the characters she creates. Moriarty takes enjoyment from writing about the domestic lives of her characters, which may sound boring but these mini-dramas and observations she peppers through her book really help cement the characters as realistic people.

The only distraction from the book I found was that the husband's secret is actually pretty heavy and shocking which didn't seem to mesh well with the overall tone of the book. His horrible confession jars with the Moriarty's light easy-breezy writing. While his wife is shocked and trying to come to terms with where their families life is now heading, the tone of her writing pulled away from creating any real gravity to the situation.

Overall I would still recommend this book as I enjoyed reading it and actually found it quite funny in parts. I guess I just didn't feel like it was a book to really get lost into which is disappointing.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

The Bedside Table Stack #6

Things are taking a turn for the serious this month on the Bedside Table roundup, with offerings of murder, redemption, mysteries and lies. Perhaps the turning of the seasons is influencing my reading choices as the evenings are slowly darkening? Take a look at the books that will be appearing on the blog over the coming months:

The Son by Jo Nesbo. Having read a few of Nesbo's Harry Hole detective stories I was looking forward to picking up this stand-alone novel. The son of a disgraced police officer has spent twelve years of his life in prison in exchange for all the free drugs he can muster. Sonny has never been interested in living his life but when a confession from another inmate reveals secrets about his fathers suicide, Sonny decides those responsible must pay.

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty. I first discovered Liane Moriarty last year and love her take on family dramas. In this book, three families are connected by an event that one husband caused twenty years ago. His secret will rock his wife to the core and change the lives of his family, and others forever.

Burial Rights by Hannah Kent. Agnes Magnusdottir is awaiting execution over her part in the brutal murder of two men. But as her final days loom closer, Agnes' story is revealed to Toti, a young assistant reverend who is determined to salvage her soul before her death.

The Painted Sky by Alice Campion. I was lucky enough to win a copy of this in a Twitter giveaway but there has been plenty of hype surrounding The Painted Sky that I really am excited to read it. Written by five women under the pseudonym Alice Campion, this Australian novel follows Nina's search for understanding about her father's disappearance. After inheriting her Dad's property and farmhouse, Nina finally has a chance to solve her mystery.

Have you read any of these?

Monday, 6 April 2015

The Beauty Bible: Pretty Honest by Sali Hughes

If you are interested in makeup or beauty then Sali Hughes' book Pretty Honest belongs on your nightstand. As a journalist and a woman who has worked in the beauty industry her words carry weight. This is a beauty book like no other I have read. Filled with actual words (rather than pictures) Sali's honest advice on everything from eye creams (she doesn't believe in them) to makeup for everyone from new mums to fresh faced teens, she is a woman to be listened to.

What I loved about this book aside from the fact that it is overly word heavy - honestly I find beauty books filled with pictures to be entirely useless when their is a never ending array of skin tones, hair textures and colours in the world and most of the time they feature one generic light skinned, medium skinned and dark skinned model (if you are lucky) for each look -  is it can be picked up and read from chapter to chapter easily. Small bite sized bits of very informative and handy beauty advice and tips are laid out on each page. I read the first half of this book in drips and drabs and then binge-read the second, getting sucked into Sali's advice.

There is so much good stuff in here that I can see myself referring to her book time and again whenever I need answers. Sali is like the older, wiser sister every girl or woman needs to ask advice from but more than that it was actually just a real joy to read. Sali has a real passion for makeup that I think everyone from the beauty beginner to the beauty junkie will enjoy spending their time getting lost into. This is a book that I will be keeping close to hand for any of my future beauty quesitons I know that amidst its pages Sali will have something to say on the matter.

And, just to give you a wee taster here are five suprising things I've learnt from Sali through reading:

  • Sali doesn't believe in eye creams instead opting for a normal night cream in their place.
  • Razors should only be used five times before their blades need to be replaced.
  • Teeth whitening is more effective than a face lift in chanelling a youthful look.
  • Blue eyeshadow can be fabulous.
  • Compliments are like medicine. You may not want to take them, but ultimately they are good for you.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

April New Release Books

I've picked out a bunch of books that probably could not be more different from one another - from metal bands and murder to western outlaws, these are my favourite new release books for April.

The Thunder of Giants by Joel Fishbane. Set in 1937, Andorra Kelsey is on her way to Hollywood to become a star. At 7 foot 11 she has always been seen as an embarrassment to her family. Set to act in a movie about the life of Anna Swan, a giantess who toured the world in the 19th Century, Andorra and Anna's stories unfold as two different woman, both trying to prove their worth to the world as more than a sum of their proportions.

Boring Girls by Sara Taylor. Misfit Rachel finds her place in a heavy metal band and a kindred spirit in her friend and fellow metal-head Fern. But the metal scene turns out to be a dark and misogynistic place. A violent encounter leads the girls down a path of revenge, a path which they won't return from.

The Dressmaker of Dachau by Mary Chamberlain. With England on the brink of war, 18-year-old Ada Vaughan, an ambitious seamstress, dreams of a career in couture if only she can escape her dreary family life. Ada gets her wish after an encounter with the charming Stanislaus von Lieben and is catapulted into a glamorous and romantic life. But a trip to Paris with her lover quickly sees them trapped in France with a Nazi invasion on the doorstep. Ada is taken to a German slave camp and must survive the only way she knows how - by being a dressmaker.

The Winter Family by Clifford. Being a fan of Cormac McCarthey I've always had a soft spot for literary westerns. Spanning three decades, a ruthless group of outlaws traverse American from their beginnings during the American Civil War to their final standoff in the territories of Oklahoma.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

How to Get Out of a Reading Rut

Last year, before I had even started my blog I went through a bit of a reading rut. I was still reading books but it seemed like everything I picked up was uninspiring and I was losing interest merely chapters into any given book. For someone who loathes to leave books unfinished, I was barely giving them enough time to grab my attention before I would get bored and want to abandom them. So, in the course that I go through a lacklustre spell like this again, I've put together a few thoughts on how to get out of a reading rut.

Give yourself a break. Obviously if you have a book blog, a reading rut can effect more than just what you read (which is why it's always good to have some other topics to chat about). But I really think taking a break is the best thing. We read because we enjoy it and the day that it becomes more of a chore than an enjoyable past time is the day you should take up another hobby. Not forever of course but if you need a week or two off you may just find your interest returning.

Switch it up. I've burnt myself out before by reading too many similar books. I think I went through a period of reading lots of historical fiction set in post-WW1 Britain while at the same time watching Downton Abbey and everything started to resemble one another. Switch things up by going for a genre you wouldn't usually pick or...

Re-read an old favourite. Sometimes if I read a few books in a row that I haven't really enjoyed it's nice to revisit a well-loved book in my collection. And if I'm feeling uninspired and lazy reading a favourite is a sure fire way that I know I'm going to enjoy the book plus I don't have to work too hard.

Question your attention span. We live in a world of shortening attention spans. Spending time on social media, reading short and sweet blog posts and web articles all contribute. Less time spent on devices can greatly help me get back into reading as I find my mind isn't wandering off after 140 characters or wondering if something more exciting is happening without me. 

Try an audio-book. It's like reading but you don't even have to open your eyes! What could be better?

Do you have any great suggestions for getting out of a reading rut?

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Judging A Book By Its Cover

I am a terrible judger of book covers. Not terrible in the sense that I pick nice covers whose stories turn out to be totally pants but I am terribly judgemental of them. If things are looking too pink, too girly, too cursive writing-ish on the cover, I tend not to touch it with a barge pole. (This despite the fact that some of my favourite books come from the horribly-named Chick-lit genre).

A while ago while I was perusing through some books online, I came across two different covers of the same book. On seeing the first cover I immediately scrolled past it, passing it off as something not really for me. But, as soon as I came to the second cover it caught my eye and had me ready to drop my pennies.

We all know that old chestnut of not judging a book by its cover but actually (as we all know) cover art serves a very important part in the books we choose to pick up and in making an all important first impression. It's also something that marketing teams and publishing houses spend quite a bit of time developing in order to appeal to the right niche.

So, the book in question? Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. When I saw the first cover with it had an exploding candy lollipop on the front which made me automatically think it was too much of a chick-lit book for my taste. When I saw the cover art for the second cover, of a full moon over an ocean I was intrigued (I've also noticed I have a thing for calm yet mysterious looking book covers.) I went back to explore Moriarty's books and editions most of them (like many books) had several versions of cover art available and there was always one version over the others that caught my eye and would have influenced whether I picked it up or not.

Up until now I didn't realise how much the covers actually influenced me. Since then I've come to regard Liane Moriarty as one of my favourite newly discovered authors and this got me thinking about how potentially I might be missing out on lots of good books by judging their covers in such a way.

The next time I see cover art that immediately turns me off I've decided to make a mental note not to be put off by them, as who knows? They could be my next favourite read. I'd love to know what makes a good/bad impression on you when picking up books?
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