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Search tags: Liz-Nugent
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review 2019-05-04 18:52
Meh to the Meh Meh Meh Meh
The Witch Elm - Paul Nugent,Tana French

How can I like a book when I disliked all the characters ? This book was so boring for 3/4 filed with mundane life experiences, moments of reflection and meh. A lot of words about a bunch of people who I cared not one speck for. The last 1/4 finally started to get some life, but i was already in the "I could care less about any of these people" stage. I will admit there was a twisted twist that I never saw coming that was creative. Yeh, but I was not into it because who cares what happens to these crappy characters. This was a shelf surfing failure for me.
I listened on audio the narrator was really good.

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review 2018-08-09 18:10
Lying in Wait
Lying in Wait - Liz Nugent
That was crazy good! What a twisted web of deep, rich characters that I just couldn’t get enough of (enter devilish laugh). The story goes back and forth throughout history and just when you think someone couldn’t get anymore warped, you read another passage and yep, their life takes another walk down Crazyland.
The novel opens with Lydia claiming her husband Andrew killed Annie but if you read a bit further you get the full details of this story. These three characters’ lives somehow mingle with the lives of a handful of another fascinating individuals making this book a fantastic read. This couple thinks they have everything under control, yet ….. they don’t. The lies just keep coming as their son Laurence lives at home and they all live with their own secrets.
Annie had a twin sister Karen, who went into modeling. Her husband liked the paychecks but didn’t like strangers looking at his wife. When Annie doesn’t show up for her appointments, her family begins to worry and Karen takes matters into her own hands. Annie’s has had some difficulties in the past but nothing like this.
Flashing back, we see Lydia as a child and some of the events that occurred to her and her family as she grew up. There is an aahh moment when I see a pattern emerging in Lydia’s behavior. I cannot read fast enough to see what will occur next in this novel as everything is twisting together as the characters and their lives come together. I begin to feel sorry for Laurence, being her son, but then I realize he’s not so innocent himself.
The story starts getting really intense as I found myself walking around reading this novel, all while I was doing laundry. I couldn’t put this book down! Man, ***** was crazy! Fricking off-the-wall! Aggghhh!
Such a great read, I really needed that. I’m not glad that it’s over as that was a great ride but I’m glad someone saw the light and put a stop to it. Phew!


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review 2018-07-15 23:44
Unraveling Oliver
Unraveling Oliver: A Novel - Liz Nugent
The first line of this novel and the cover sold me on reading it. From there, I should have stopped. As I read, I was seeking an explanation, a reason why, and I was expecting the novel to be twisted and dark because who in their right mind would say such a thing about their wife, unless they were, twisted and dark themselves.
After Oliver commits a crime, the novel reflects back over Oliver’s life and tries to piece together where this fiery episode originated from. Reading about Oliver’s previous life and listening to what individuals have to say about Oliver, was not surprising to me. The narration felt tedious after a while and I found nothing fascinating about him. So, what exactly set Oliver off, that made him hit his wife? Why couldn’t Oliver stop this behavior before he ended up putting his wife in a coma? What was up with Oliver?
As individuals help to strip down Oliver to his true identity and I attempted to see Oliver for who he truly is, I was hoping for something else besides what the author was providing me. When someone writes, “I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her.” I expect drama and an enticing read. This just wasn’t a good novel for me and from the reviews, I am the odd man (gal) out on this one.


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review 2018-06-24 21:58
Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent
Lying in Wait - Liz Nugent

This takes place primarily in the 1980s, in Ireland. On the surface, Lydia, her husband Andrew, and her son Laurence appear to have a perfect life. The whole family lives in Lydia's family home, a beautiful mansion. Lydia is a stay-at-home mom who is devoted (overly so) to her son, and Andrew is a respected judge.

This happy life is a facade. Andrew and Lydia hired Annie, a prostitute, to help them with a problem, and when Annie tried to blackmail Andrew he choked her and Lydia finished her off. Lydia proposed that they bury Annie in their garden, a perfectly safe spot since of course they'd never sell off her family home. Unfortunately, the family also has money problems, brought on by Andrew placing his trust in the wrong accountant. Cracks are beginning to appear in their pretty little life, and those cracks widen when Laurence sees news reports about Annie and begins to suspect that his father had something to do with her disappearance.

I picked up an ARC of this during a recent conference. Although it's been out since 2016, it looks like it was released in hardcover earlier this month.

I read this hoping for an exciting and tense thriller. What I got was sometimes achingly slow pacing, characters I didn't care much about, and boredom. I thought this would be about Lydia and Andrew's increasingly futile efforts to hide their part in Annie's murder. I suppose there was a little bit of that, but the story mostly turned out to be about Lydia and her deeply unhealthy attachment to her son (no incest, but there were a couple moments when I worried that that was where Nugent was going with all of this). Everyone's secrets poisoned everything around them, and the ending was just depressing.

There is no justice and goodness to be found here.

(spoiler show)

The book alternated between chapters from Lydia, Laurence, and Karen's POVs. Karen was Annie's sister, and probably the most sympathetic of the book's more prominent characters. Although I disliked her actions where Bridget was concerned, I wanted things to work out well for her.

Too bad this wasn't that kind of story.

(spoiler show)

I felt some sympathy for Laurence, who was clearly being suffocated by his mother, but that sympathy eventually evaporated. He was more like his father than his mother - he actually had a bit of a conscience, but it didn't stop him from doing horrible things and then finding ways to rationalize most of it later. I completely gave up on him when I got to the chapter from his POV about the first time he met Karen. This took place a lot later than the publisher's description led me to believe it would, by the way.

The bulk of the book was pretty boring. Despite the fact that Andrew made several enormous mistakes, he and Lydia didn't have to work nearly as hard to hide their tracks as I'd have expected. As time passed (the story took place over the course of about 6 years, I think), it seemed less and less likely that the mystery of Annie's disappearance would ever be solved. The story finally became more tense and interesting near the end, as everyone's lies started to unravel. Unfortunately, the ending was a disappointment.

I'll end this with a warning for readers for whom weight and weight loss in fiction are an issue. At the start of the book, Laurence is fat and bullied because of his weight. Throughout the rest of the story his weigh yo-yos. The descriptions of his weight loss bothered me - he struggled with a relentless appetite, but that appetite had a tendency to magically disappear after he started dieting, and deciding to diet also magically gave him the energy and ability to exercise.

All of this was actually addressed later on in the story, but it took a while, and until then readers had to put up with the implication that all Laurence needed to do to lose weight was exert a bit of willpower.

(spoiler show)

There were also lots of mentions of Laurence feeling repulsed by his own weight and of Laurence worrying that the women he was with were repulsed by his weight.


(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2017-12-30 03:35
Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent
Unraveling Oliver: A Novel - Liz Nugent

A special thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


Liz Nugent's dark and compelling thriller opens with the perfect hook: "I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her."  Told from multiple points, Nugent's debut is a chilling exploration into the nature of evil.  


Oliver Ryan is a handsome, charismatic, and successful children's author.  He is married to Alice, who illustrates his award-winning books.  She is a devoted wife, and their life is one of envy and privilege until one evening, Oliver knocks her into unconsciousness and beats her into a coma hovering between life and death.    


Those who know the couple are shocked and are trying to understand what could have driven Oliver to attack his wife so savagely.  With each chapter, the story unfolds, and the layers of Oliver's character are peeled away to reveal his manipulation, deception, and shame.


Nugent has a fresh approach to this genre—there is no question of whodunit, and there is no doubt as to what the crime was.  Instead she takes the reader on a ride to figure out what could have driven someone to commit such a horrific act.  For a debut, this is a solid effort, and I can't wait to see what Nugent writes next.  

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