A Christmas Gift by Sue Moorcroft / Blog Tour

A Christmas Gift by Sue Moorcroft

 

 

41562375Publisher: Avon

Publishing Date: 1st November 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 484

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover

 

 

 

Synopsis:

‘I love all of Sue Moorcroft’s books!’
Katie Fforde

A sumptuous, festive read from the #1 bestseller, Sue Moorcroft.

Georgine loves Christmas. The festive season always brings the little village of Middledip to life. But since her ex-boyfriend walked out, leaving her with crippling debts, Georgine’s struggled to make ends meet.

To keep her mind off her worries, she throws herself into organising the Christmas show at the local school. And when handsome Joe Blackthorn becomes her assistant, Georgine’s grateful for the help. But there’s something about Joe she can’t quite put her finger on. Could there be more to him than meets the eye?

Georgine’s past is going to catch up with her in ways she never expected. But can the help of friends new and old make this a Christmas to remember after all?

Curl up with the gorgeous new book from the Sunday Times bestseller, perfect for fans of Carole Matthews and Trisha Ashley.

My Review

Georgine France’s life used to be a bed of roses, until her family fell from grace when her father has lost his construction firm, her mother left and she had to leave university and find a job. And recently, her ex – boyfriend has left her, leaving debts and bailiffs for her to deal with. She works as an event director at Middledip’s performing arts college Acting Instrumental and she loves her job, so she completely immerses herself into the organization of this event, trying to forget about her financial problems. Joe Blackthorn has just returned to the village to be Georgine’s new assistant. Nobody knows that he was someone else in the past, the child of two alcoholics, living in the wrong part of the village, often hungry and dirty. Also nobody knows that he’s a drummer of one of the most successful British bands, now back home to lick his wounds after a falling out with the band. He never supposed to meet Georgine in Acting Instumental – his old crush that he hurt when they were teenagers. Is he going to make her life even more complicated?

The characters were easy to like and they really felt so close to life and I liked how challenging their lives were and how deep the problems were. Both Georgine and Joe had unhappy pasts and they really knew some struggles, both in mental and financial aspect. I really connected with them and I fell for them, and their problems hit me truly hard. They were both so brilliantly passionate about things they loved.

There came a moment when the story started to be more of Joe than of Georgine, though I didn’t have any problem with this. I liked Joe and I’m sure I’d feel comfortable in his presence, just like Georgine did. Jeez, I must pay so much attention when writing this name, to spell it right, it’s really annoying. The name itself too. It happens sometimes, that I don’t like the main character’s name, and it was the case here but no worries, it didn’t affect my feelings towards her. Maybe I’ll just call her G. I appreciate the fact that the author touched upon some more serious issues but sometimes the way she wrote about them felt too patronizing, there was too much stressing on them and it made them feel not too natural. And it was also somehow not too real that so many of the characters suddenly had the same kind of problem with money. But hats off to Sue Moorcroft for touching upon such things as poverty and bailiffs at all, it isn’t a common theme in women’s fiction.
To be absolutely honest, the descriptions of the show and preparations were not my cup of tea and I’ve voluntarily skipped most of them – in my opinion, even if they were a part of G’s life, they were not so significant nor too important for the plot. I simply wanted more of Joe and G’s stories, they were much more interesting and had so many layers.

“A Christmas Gift”, although not too Christmassy, it succeeded in putting me in the festive mood. It was a warm, uplifting story about second chances, friendship, families, some harsh truths and living in poverty, but also about neglect and abuse. This is a book that has it all: bouncy, full of life characters, some romance, tons of troubles, humour and sadness. Sue Moorcroft’s writing style is so lovely and full of passion and compassion and she handles each of her topics with the same attention. There is depth to this story so please don’t expect only a fluffy Christmas romance, because there is much more to it, and I’m sure you’re going to enjoy this fact as much as I did.

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A Gift from the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson

A Gift from the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson

 

 

39783948Publisher: Harper Collins/ HarperImpulse

Publishing Date: 18th October 2018

Series: Comfort Food Cafe #5

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Cosy up at the Comfort Food Cafe for a romance that isn’t just for Christmas…

‘As cosy as a buttered crumpet’ Sunday Times bestseller Milly Johnson

Christmas has never been Katie Seddon’s favourite time of year. Whilst everyone else shares memories of families coming together and festive number ones, the soundtrack to Katie’s childhood wasn’t quite so merry.

But since she moved to the village of Budbury on the gorgeous Dorset coast, Katie and her baby son have found a new family. A family who have been brought together by life’s unexpected roads and the healing magic of a slice of cake and a cupful of kindess at the Comfort Food Café.

This year, Katie’s new friends are determined to give her a Christmas to remember, and with a gorgeous newcomer in town, Katie’s Christmas wish for a happy home for her son might just come true.

Rating: four-stars

Katie is a single mum to a little boy Saul. She moves to Budbury hoping to find peace there, to just have a simple life, far away from her childhood home and her parents’ constant fighting that outshone them the real needs of their daughter and the real sense of life. Katie doesn’t want such life for her son. Budbury is full of wonderful people that want to help each other, people who embrace Katie without asking, who accept her immediately. But can Katie leave her past behind? And can her past leave Katie behind? Is she going to find what she’s looking for in Budbury?

I really am not sure what to say more about the Comfort Food Cafe series that I haven’t already said. It is really hard to write another review about a book that you loved – and please, please, please don’t get me wrong, I could read books set in Budbury all year long – but they start to feel the same. “A Gift from the Comfort Food Cafe” is a brilliant, funny, uplifting story, with beautiful characters but for me there was nothing that I haven’t come across in previous books in this series.

But. Having said that I can only admit that Debbie Johnson has written another fabulous, full of feelings and emotions story. I loved getting to know Katie and her son Saul, though I must admit that the parts where the characters from the previous books entered the scenes brought me so much more joy, especially all the surprises. Katie, I think, was not the easiest character to like – she was challenging, with her moods and blowing cold and hot but it was, of course, absolutely understandable. Already at the beginning of the story we learn about her life and to say it was turbulent would be an understatement – hence the habit of running away when the troubles come. But now Katie found her place in Budbury – didn’t she? I loved seeing Katie coming out of her shell, leaving her comfort zones, to have the guts to do something new, to perhaps start to trust again. However, when the troubles came back to literally knock on her doors, she started reverting back, packing her bags and it was incredibly sad to see. On the other hand, I think Debbie Johnson has captured here the most realistic, genuine emotions – the need to just bury your head in the sand, to repeat the old pattern because they were working, and this is what Katie’s initial thoughts were, which was really understandable. It takes a lot of courage to overcome the old habits and it was truly brilliantly described by the author, and Katie felt so genuine, and I loved it. I think she just needs a chance, so please just give her some time, you will really like her and understand her.

Of course the story touches upon many sensitive issues and Debbie Johnson proves again that she can tackle them with so much sensitivity and also humour. I also adore this overwhelming sense of familiarity, belonging and community in her books. Debbie Johnson never disappoints with her stories, and the Comfort Food Cafe series is one of the best ever. They are books that you don’t want to end, that you immediately feel like a part of the characters’ world – that doesn’t feel fictional at all and reading “A Gift from the Comfort Food Cafe” was like being back with your old friends. Really, opening this book was like stepping back into a parallel world, a world that you know is just one page away. I immediately felt comfortable, as if I’ve came back to a place where I belong, and it is a great feeling.

It was a warm and feel – good book, perfectly mixing humour, fun and poignant moments. Despite some sadness, it was full of this overwhelming feeling of happiness and content and you know what, I’d love to be a character in Johnson’s books, even if there are many challenges awaiting them because at the end they always find love, luck, come out of their shells and feel good on their own skin. It was a lovely story about friendship, letting go, finding yourself – highly recommended, even if you haven’t read the other books in the series: every single one of them is a good start.

 

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult #WhoseChoice

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

 

 

cover144095-mediumPublisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Publishing Date: 30th October 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback

(out on 13.06.2019)

 

 

Synopsis:

The warm fall day starts like any other at the Center—a women’s reproductive health services clinic—its staff offering care to anyone who passes through its doors. Then, in late morning, a desperate and distraught gunman bursts in and opens fire, taking all inside hostage.

After rushing to the scene, Hugh McElroy, a police hostage negotiator, sets up a perimeter and begins making a plan to communicate with the gunman. As his phone vibrates with incoming text messages he glances at it and, to his horror, finds out that his fifteen-year-old daughter, Wren, is inside the clinic.

But Wren is not alone. She will share the next and tensest few hours of her young life with a cast of unforgettable characters: A nurse who calms her own panic in order save the life of a wounded woman. A doctor who does his work not in spite of his faith but because of it, and who will find that faith tested as never before. A pro-life protester disguised as a patient, who now stands in the cross hairs of the same rage she herself has felt. A young woman who has come to terminate her pregnancy. And the disturbed individual himself, vowing to be heard.

Told in a daring and enthralling narrative structure that counts backward through the hours of the standoff, this is a story that traces its way back to what brought each of these very different individuals to the same place on this fateful day.

Jodi Picoult—one of the most fearless writers of our time—tackles a complicated issue in this gripping and nuanced novel. How do we balance the rights of pregnant women with the rights of the unborn they carry? What does it mean to be a good parent? A Spark of Light will inspire debate, conversation . . . and, hopefully, understanding.

Rating: five-stars

It’s a confession time. I haven’t read a Jodi Picoult book before. So there, I’ve told this. I’ve heard of this author, oh my god, of course I’ve heard about her, and I have her novels at home but I haven’t read them yet. However, when “A Spark of Light” arrived as a surprise with a post, I almost immediately started reading it – it was the right time for this book and for this author.
This being a surprise book, I didn’t know what it’s going to be about. I know that Jodi Picoult is not afraid of controversial topics, and I also know that her books are clever, thought – provoking and challenging. I hope it’s not a spoiler when I’ll say that “A Spark of Light” is about abortion. It is a very hot topic, abortion, not only in the USA but also in Europe and probably all over the world, and everybody has their own opinion – me too. And hats off to Ms Picoult for deciding on writing this novel, for touching upon this subject and for doing it in the most perfect, as neutral as possible way ever. As I’ve mentioned, I have my own feelings about abortion that I’m not going to change, no matter what, but you won’t be pushed or asked to make a choice, to be Pro – Life or Pro – Choice and it is really worth appreciation. Jodi Picoult compassionately describes the thoughts of both sides, without taking sides, this of Pro – Life or Pro – Choice, giving us the chance to understand both of them. But I also think that this is not the point of the book, to convince us to one of the sides, but to offer us multiple points, to show us that things are not only white or black but also grey. We don’t have to agree but we should respect them.

In “A Spark of Light” Jodi Picoult tells the story of a desperate gunman, barging into Mississippi’s abortion clinic and taking its patients and staff hostage. As it quickly turns out, his daughter recently had an abortion and George is seeking revenge. Told in reverse and through multiple points of view, it tells us the stories of the characters, unveiling the fact what they’re were in the clinic for.

And what didn’t work for me in this book was the fact that it was told in reverse. For me it would work much better told chronologically, as, to be completely honest, knowing what has happened caused that the tension was not there and I had a feeling that I could skip on some information/passages without losing anything. The piecing together of some aspects and subplots was too easy and it would be more impactful when told differently. But that’s me.

There were plenty of characters in this book and yes, I admit, at the beginning it was not easy to keep up with them all. But their development, the way they were described, were incredibly compelling. They were all so different, they all had different life experience but fate brought them all together. There is Dr. Louie Ward who offers abortions because no matter what he believes in, he also believes it is his duty to offer women a chance, a way out; Joy, who’s at the clinic for abortion; Wren who came to the clinic with her aunt, seeking contraception; Janice, a Pro – Lifer who’s in the clinic under disguise, looking for confirmation that what they do there is as bad as others describe; Wren’s dad, who finds himself outside, negotiating with George setting the hostages free; Beth, who’s right now facing murder charges for illegally terminating her pregnancy. They, and many, many more will stay with you for long – it is impossible to forget them and about them. As you see, many points of view but all of them worth getting to know and to consider.

It was a special, important and powerful read. Jodi Picoult doesn’t play safe – she examines, and pokes and brutally honest tells us how it really is, and she always stays professional. She’s informative and always fair and yes, sometimes controversial and thought – provoking but I guess this is the point of this book. It will provoke discussions, I am sure about it, and you just won’t be able to walking away from this book indifferently. Thank you, Jodi Picoult, for writing this book!

 

The Other Sister by Elle Croft / Blog Tour

The Other Sister by Elle Croft

 

 

the-other-sisterPublisher: Orion

Publishing Date: 18th October 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 304

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

How far would you go…

Gina Mills is desperate to be a newsreader, but her boss – the director of the struggling Channel Eight, won’t help.

Walking home one night, Gina stumbles upon a dead body, and after calling the police, she makes the split-second decision to report the murder live.

When questioned by the police, Gina can’t remember specific details about her discovery, but these memory gaps are explained away as shock.

…to uncover your family’s deadly secret?

But when Gina finds a second body, it’s clear she’s being targeted. But why?

And how is this connected to the death of Gina’s younger sister so many years ago?

Fans of Friend Request by Laura Marshall, Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear, The Mistake by KL Slater, The Secret Mother by Shalini Boland and The Angel by Katerina Diamond will love The Other Sister.

Rating: four-stars

Gina Mills dreams of being a newsreader but right now she’s stuck at her PA job at Channel 8. She has reconnected with her brother, Ryan, after many years of radio silence, following the death of their younger sister Cassie. One night Gina walks home and comes across a body of a young woman. Yes, she does what’s required, calls the emergency number, but also logs into Channel 8 Facebook account and reports the murder live online – this must please her boss, right? But this decision is going to change her life in many different ways, and both good and bad attention comes her way. And then she discovers another body… Is it accidental? Or is someone targeting her? Is it connected with the events from her childhood?

The characters in this book are deeply flawed. They’re not likeable – you may feel pity or sorry for them but I don’t think it’s possible to like them. They’re full of dark secrets, they lie and are putting the blame on other people. But they are wonderfully, brilliantly complex and not straightforward, they are challenging and this is how I liked them to be. The story is told from a few points of view, those of Gina, Ryan, their mother Sharon, and also Adam, the police officer investigating the crimes. Our main character Gina is a very colourful one, and she made me feel confused many, many times. I really wasn’t sure if she’s honest, if she’s playing, or if she really has such a bad luck, and I really liked this, her not being straightforward but complicated and complex.  The story jumps between 1996 and the present and the pieces of information are scattered and slowly – but not too slowly – being dosed to us to eventually show us a picture that I’ve never seen coming.

I think I’ve never before came across this method of murder – to be honest, it made me feel such disgust, and even more so when the author, in a very detailed way explained the motives of those murders. Yes, I can probably see that this modus operanti may rise an eyebrow or two but let’s be honest, finally it was something different, something totally unique and unexpected, and it worked for me.
The writing style is captivating, flowing so seamlessly and effortlessly, in a great and compelling way peeling off  layer after layer, slowly putting the puzzle together, until we reach the finale. On the one hand, I wanted more from the ending, on the other it was great end that – please don’t judge me – made me smile under my breath. Sure, this story could be better in some aspects, there were moments it felt too far – fetched and some of the events and things happened just too conventionally but it kept me hooked and this is what counts.

For me personally this book was better than “The Guilty Wife”. It was a real page – turner that I couldn’t put down – well, I’ve read it in about eight hours, continuing deep into the night and all the time repeating “only one chapter more”. It was dark, twisty and unpredictable psychological thriller. The author has managed to pull wool over my eyes to be honest – I was extremely sure that I know who’s the killer and why and I think I don’t have to mention that I was wrong. Very wrong. I somehow guessed the “why” but not the “who”. I adored the way the author has made her plot so complex, throwing suspicions on different characters, once making them vulnerable and scared and in the next moment adding a red herring  that would change my mind about them. There were so many questions: why does someone murder the women? Why is it always Gina finding them? Is it a coincidence? Is she the target of the killer? What’s going to happen??? It was full of tension and suspense, secrets and intrigues and a totally surprising outcome.

I’ve raced through the pages, literally. I was totally engrossed in this compelling and gripping story. It was not only the pace that made me read so quickly, it was the plot, the characters , the changing moods and this feeling of uncertainty, of something bad that was going to happen, of simply wanting to reach the conclusion as quickly as possible. It was twisty, but not in your usual psychological thrillers way, Ms Croft has twisted her plot in the most clever, compelling and original way. It was very dark and also very literal, some of the descriptions may be putting off,  but just close your eyes and read further. “The Other Sister” is a book that’ll make you want more and more, to see more and more, to hear more. You’ll feel disgusted but also, in a teasing, sadistical way it won’t be enough for you. It was so refreshingly original, captivating, addictive and be warned –  it’s going to chew you  and spit you out  and yet you’ll still want more and more. Highly recommended!

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No One Cancels Christmas by Zara Stoneley

No One Cancels Christmas by Zara Stoneley

 

 

40496936Publisher: HarperImpulse

Publishing Date: 19th October 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 269

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Romance

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A holiday she’ll remember forever…
It’s the most magical time of the year, and for travel agent Sarah it’s also the busiest! But this year one man threatens to ruin Christmas for Sarah’s customers – Mr Grinch, Will Armstrong.

The Shooting Star Mountain resort is a magical place, and Sarah has fond memories of Christmas here as a little girl – visits to Father Christmas, husky rides in the snow and hot chocolate by a roaring fire. But as the resorts new owner, Will refuses to play snowball or to deck the halls with anything remotely resembling tinsel!

With customers complaining their Christmas is ruined, Sarah decides it’s up to her to convince Scroogey Will just how magical Christmas can be….

But getting Will into the Christmas spirit is hopeless – he is Bah Humbug personified! But as Sarah gets to know him better, she realises that underneath all the gloom is a man struggling with a pain of his own.

With the big day approaching, Sarah realises that the magic and sparkle can wait. This year, she’s going to spend Christmas day with someone special her very own Mr Scrooge…

Rating: four-stars

In “No One Cancels Christmas”, a new festive book by Zara Stoneley that brings back some of the characters from her previous novel “The Wedding Date” but is another stand – alone, we are introduced to Sarah, running her aunt’s travel agency. Following some very bad reviews of one of their resorts, the Shooting Star Mountain in Canada, that promises atmospheric, unforgettable Christmas but, as it turns out, the only thing they offer are cold cabins and no Christmas tree, Sarah decides to fly over to check the situation. Some of Sarah’s most painful, but also most beautiful, memories are connected with this resort. Will she be able to leave her past behind? And to bring back the resort’s high and established reputation?

As always, Zara Stoneley presents us with the most gorgeous descriptions of the characters and the setting. I love Canada and it is my biggest dream to travel there one day, and so I couldn’t be happier to read a book set in there, and even more during Christmas, and the author has done me proud with her vivid descriptions – I could easily picture the landscape covered in snow, the mountains, the snow crunching under your feet and the sun shining.

The characters were all full of live and they were really easy to like – even though it took me some time to get used to Sarah, to be honest. I think she didn’t start in this story too promising, I’m not sure why, I can’t put my fingers on it, she just felt too childish for me, but she’s developed through the novel and I simply adored her enthusiasm and passion, her spontaneity and her bossy ways around the brothers.
Ed has made me feel desperate, though there were tons of charm to him, and yes, I could understand the fascination all the women felt when in his company. His brother Will, the grumpy one, the Grinch, was his total opposite but guys, believe me, you could immediately see that there is so much more to him than meet the eye at first, and I was impatiently waiting to discover what has happened to make him behave like this. He had a great sense of humour, though, our Will, the emails exchange between him and Sarah were absolutely brilliant.
Sarah and Will worked together brilliantly but there wasn’t this sparkle between them that would make me go weak at my knees and all swoony – I am probably spoiled by reading so many books where the chemistry is so well captured – although I am not saying that it wasn’t great. It was, but for me it missed the final touch, and the switch from enemies to lovers happened too sudden for my liking and made it feel a little bit unbelievable.

After Sarah’s friends arrived in Canada the story slowed down for me and wasn’t as entertaining. Yes, there were still some great and hilarious scenes but it started to feel a little too flat and dragging on, especially the blossoming romance. But, having said that, I can assure you that this book was a fantastic, festive read and it brought me tons of joy – it was one of Zara Stoneley’s best stories, to be honest.
It was full of romance that felt even more romantic because of the gorgeous surroundings. The writing style was so, so good, easy to follow, light and inviting, so really, the book has it all – festive mood, gorgeous, wintery landscapes, some lovely huskies and cheeky cat, moody and broody men and brilliant winter Shooting Star Mountain resort in Canada, a quirky and bouncy leading character, was full of hilarious scenes and has a depth – what more would you want? Nothing – exactly! Just grab “No One Cancels Christmas” as soon as it’s out because I am sure you’re guys are all going to love it – it’s full of warmth, hope, snow and humour. Recommended!

 

An Island Christmas by Jenny Colgan

An Island Christmas by Jenny Colgan

 

 

39704349Publisher: Sphere

Publishing Date: 18th October 2018

Series: Summer Seaside Kitchen #3 (read my review of Book 1 here and Book 2 here)

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

Christmas on the remote Scottish island of Mure is bleak, stark – and incredibly beautiful.

It’s a time for hunkering down, getting cosy in front of whisky barrel wood fires, and enjoying a dram with the people you love – unless, of course, you’re accidentally pregnant to your ex-boss, and don’t know how to tell him. In what should be the season of peace and goodwill on earth, will Joel think Flora is a bearer of glad tidings?

Meanwhile Saif, the doctor and refugee from war-torn Syria is trying to enjoy his first western Christmas with his sons – but without his missing wife. Can the little family possibly find comfort and joy?

Travel to the beautiful northern edge of the world and join the welcoming community of Mure for an unforgettable Christmas.

Rating: five-stars

Flora lives on Mure and she runs the Seaside Kitchen, the most beloved cafe that offers the most delicious things ever. Her boyfriend Joel, the one who’s American, a high – flying lawyer with quite a few issues from his childhood finally start to open and feel happy. But then something happens – how are they going to cope with it?
Dr Seif and his two boys are still trying to settle into their new family life on the island, and even though the villagers are so welcoming, do they feel like at home? Maybe the school nativity play is going to help? Or not? Will the lovely doctor finally find peace and happiness on Mure?
And Fintan and Colton, who’s terminally ill, and then a very unexpected guest arrive – how are they going to cope with all the things that fate and life thro at them?

The Summer Seaside Kitchen series by Jenny Costello must be one of my favourite series ever and I would love to see more and more of them – and after reading the newest book “An Island Christmas” I see a lot of place and potential for another story. Or two. This book could be read as a stand alone but only just, and I would really heartily recommend reading all the other previous stories – they’re simply gorgeous, you’d miss beautiful stories and to get the characters and what make them tick it’s just better to read them in order.

It was brilliant to be back on Mure, this beautiful and wild island and this being December it showed us also the other face of it – darkness, never ending winds but still there was such a beauty to it, but the author so lovely and lovingly brings it to life and the descriptions of it, and the weather, and how it was like living there were atmospheric, vivid and it was such a great thing to see that the island somehow adjust to the things and events that happen to the characters.

Next to the characters that I know are going to stay with me for ever, I think, they all truly have place in my heart and that I adored to see again, the author introduces us to some new ones. I love how Jenny Colgan creates her characters – they may seem horrible and unpleasant but she still lets them open and blossom and in the end you’re going to love all of them, no matter what. I adored how they all seem rough and as if they don’t give a damn but in fact they all have hearts in the right places, they’re warm and quirky and genuine. I think I have already said it in my reviews of the previous books but the characters are exceptional – realistic, so different to each other, they represent different views and ideas, they have different life goals and this all makes the reading so much more interesting and deep.

Of course, I ended reading in tears. Jenny Colgan has such incredible way with words that they simply touch at your heartstrings and strike in all the right places.
As in the previous books in the series, here the author also touches upon heavier issues, and the way she writes about them, guys, it’s indescribable. She mixes lightness and sadness and seriousness in such a way that you would never expect. It was a special book, in many ways, poignant and cleverly funny, heartbreaking and heart – warming and I literally couldn’t put it down. Full of Christmas and festive mood, wonderful and full of heart characters, and not only the main ones but also the villagers of Mure have made me cry, as they’re simply amazing. It was one great rollercoaster of emotions and it’s really hard to do this book justice with a short review. Just treat yourself to it, you’re going to love it!

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

 

39325227Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publishing Date: 4th October 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 448

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 04.04.2019)

 

Synopsis:

One house. Nine strangers. Ten days that will change everything . . .

FROM THE WORLDWIDE #1 BESTSELLING AUTHOR BEHIND EMMY- AND GOLDEN GLOBE-WINNING HBO SERIES BIG LITTLE LIES AND SMASH-HIT NOVEL THE HUSBAND’S SECRET

AS FEATURED ON RADIO 4’S BOOK AT BEDTIME . . .

The retreat at health-and-wellness resort Tranquillum House promises total transformation.

Nine stressed city dwellers are keen to drop their literal and mental baggage, and absorb the meditative ambience while enjoying their hot stone massages.

Miles from anywhere, without cars or phones, they have no way to reach the outside world. Just time to think about themselves, and get to know each other.

Watching over them is the resort’s director, a woman on a mission. But quite a different one from any the guests might have imagined.

For behind the retreat’s glamorous facade lies a dark agenda.

These nine perfect strangers have no idea what’s about to hit them . . .

Rating: four-stars

“Nine Perfect Strangers” follows a group of totally different characters, such as a romance writer, teacher, midwife, retired sportsman and newly lottery winners at their 10 day wellness retreat. All of them check in under different ulterior motives, looking for different answers but all of them hoping to appear brand new people and to transform their lives. However, they do not expect that they are all in great danger… The owner of the health and wellness resort has something very unique in store for them…

All the characters were so incredibly human. Their stories were moving and poignant, and so very close to life. We have a washed up romance novelist Florence Welty, and it’s not only her career that is in jeopardy, but also her boyfriend has disappeared. Ben and Jessica are a young married couple who has tons of money but they don’t seem to be able to enjoy them and their lives. Schoolteacher Napoleon is there with his wife Heather and daughter Zoe, the whole family weighed down by guilt and grief. Tony, a former football star, divorced and lonely as lately he has lost his beloved dog. Carmel has four young daughter, in the course of divorce and losing not only a husband to a younger woman but also her own self – esteem and confidence. Lars is a family lawyer, representing only women. Then there are Yao and Delilah, the resort’s primary staff members, and Masha Dmitrichenko herself – a Russian immigrant who, after her near – death experience decided to change her life completely and started Tranquillum House. So many strangers, together in one house.
The group dynamics, when people with so little in common are thrown together, and then find themselves in extreme circumstances and have to interact with each other, was brilliantly captured and developed. Their actions and reactions might have been surprising, or cringe – worthy but they were genuine, coming from the bottoms of their hearts. The author’s ability to bring all the characters to life, to dissect their feelings, thoughts and emotions is simply extraordinary.

This book was a very slow burner. Very. Actually, it was the last quarter that felt incredibly fast and the tension was unendurable. However, don’t be put off by this. The author can easily and effortlessly take you on the journey and you just sunk slowly into the story and suspense. Yes, for the most of time we get to know the characters, their lives, what makes them tick – it’s a very character – orientated book, but don’t forget it is written by Liane Moriarty, so not only the characters are brilliantly developed but there are many surprises to them – they are like your friends, sometimes neurotic, sometimes snobby or silly but they just feel like friends. I think I can’t say that I had my favourite character – they were all so different, they had flaws and secrets but to be honest I think I even liked Masha, with all her extravagance and craziness – however, I missed the explanation what was hidden under Masha’s decisions. It was unclear to me. Why did she do something like this? Yes, indirectly, as we got to know her background and her story it was probably the factor but directly I haven’t found my answer to this question. What were her motives? But altogether, the characters were all so complex and so refreshingly unique and it was a great joy to get to know them slowly and gradually as the story continued.
As I have already mentioned, the group dynamics are so perfectly captured by the author. To create nine main characters, or even more, as we also have Masha, Yao and Delilah, and make them so distinctive can’t be an easy job. You are quickly going to find yourself completely immersed in their lives and stories, caught up in their attempts to heal and holding your breath at the very unexpected challenges that are coming their way.

“Nine Perfect Strangers” was entertaining and thought – provoking, refreshing and unique. Though I must admit that I’m having troubles to fit this book into any particular genre – it is a mix of a few of them, as you have a mystery, a bit of romance, suspense together with drama and funny moments. It was unpredictable and surprising, the way the story went, and altogether the slow burning, the slowly revealing layer after layer piecing everything together kept me on my tenterhooks. It was full of fun, much heavier issues and also what the hell moments and Liane Moriarty’s writing style and the way she created the story is simply superb. A story about love and hate, loss and gain, shame, guilt, addiction and insecurity that I highly recommend.