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.

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Bad by Chloé Esposito (Blog Tour)

Bad by Chloé Esposito

 

38213082Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publishing Date: 26th July 2018

Series:  Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know # 2 (read my review of “Mad” here)

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 384

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback

 

 

 

 Synopsis:

Alvie Knightly is back . . . and she’s hungover.

When Alvie discovers that her hit man boyfriend has driven off with the Lamborghini and two million euros, she does what any heartbroken, deserted, amateur assassin would do – she drinks everything in the mini-bar and trashes her hotel room. And then she gets to work.

A perilous cat-and-mouse game takes the pair across Rome, leaving a trail of collateral damage in their wake. But as she wholeheartedly embraces her dark side Alvie will have to figure out if Nino is her nemesis . . . or the only man bad enough to handle her.

Rating: five-stars

 After reading “Mad”, the first novel in this trilogy, I was desperate to read “Bad”, and I am also impatiently waiting for “Dangerous to Know”. Theoretically, very theoretically, “Bad” can be read as a stand – alone as there is a little intro where Alvie briefly summarize what has happened during one week in the first book but guys, really, “Mad” is so bonkers that you would miss too much not reading it. And also I think that you’re going to get a totally different feeling of Alvie.  

Alvie is back in “Bad”, and on the hunt for her lover Nino, who has left her not only without the  illegally obtained millions, clothes, car in the hotel apartment but also with one challenge. So Alvie sets off on this cat and mouse chase, leaving behind a trail of destruction…  Also, body of Beth is recovered, and some other bodies as well, so Alvie’s identity and safety might have dropped drastically. Will she manage to find Nino to get her revenge?

Alvie is Alvie, just take her or leave her. There is a very dangerous and dark side to her but also she shows more and more of this vulnerable side – I still think it is somewhere deep, deep inside her! This embracing and rocking her inner killer puts her into thousand of dangerous but also hilarious situations, especially – we must say that – she’s very accident prone, and if something is going to happen than you can be sure it’s going to happen to our Alvie. She’s in some ways mad and she must have seven lives like cats. She’s funny, she’s sharp and she knows what she wants, and when she wants something than there is nothing holding her back. She’s a real hot mess, a wrecking ball  and whenever she appears, it ends with either death or confusion. Her inner monologues are so brilliant that I can’t put into words how brilliant they are. 

As in the first book, the plot is absolutely crazy but the more impossible it looked like, the more hilarious it also was, and it is written in such a way that I couldn’t put the book down. In any other novel you’d roll your eyes and say yeah, right, whatever and stopped reading, but with Alvie and “Mad” it’s impossible – I was glued to the pages as I couldn’t wait to see what insane event is going to come after another insane event. I’m not sure how it works, but the more insane and far fetched it goes, the more believable it is – please bear with me.  

Chloe Esposito’s writing style is absolutely brilliant. It’s sharp and fast – paced and she brings her characters and locations so easily to life. It’s entertaining and so very vivid. There is all the time something happening in this book yet you don’t feel overwhelmed or too over – stuffed with things. It’s full of dark humour and the scenarios she concocts are probably one of the best I have ever read. And be prepared, this book is going to take you on a real roller – coaster ride where nothing is like you suppose it to be! It’s a must – read, no matter if you’re on holidays or at home, just do yourself a favour and treat yourself to this book (books).

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How Far We Fall by Jane Shemilt (Blog Tour)

How Far We Fall by Jane Shemilt

 

37806850Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publishing Date: 28th June 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 4384

Genre: General Fiction, Mystery

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 20.09.2018)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

From the author of bestselling phenomenon Daughter comes a thrilling exploration of a marriage consumed by ambition and revenge . . .

The perfect couple

Meeting Albie gave Beth a fresh start – a chance to leave her past behind. Now she has her new husband; an ambitious, talented young neurosurgeon.

The perfect marriage

Their marriage gives Beth the safe haven she’s always wanted – with just one catch. Albie has no idea of the secrets she’s keeping. He doesn’t know that years ago, Beth had an affair with Ted, the boss helping Albie’s star ascend. Nor that the affair’s devastating ending will have consequences for their own future.

The perfect storm

So when Ted’s generous patronage begins to sour, Beth senses everything she’s built could crumble. And she sees an opportunity. To satisfy Albie’s ambitions, and her own obsessive desire for revenge . . .

She’ll keep her marriage and her secret safe.

But how far will the fall take them?

 

My Review

 

Albie and Beth are married. Unknown to Albie, Beth has had a relationship with Albie’s boss, Ted, that ended rather dramatically. Between Albie and Ted, they have potentially found a cure for a fatal children brainstem tumour, however Albie doesn’t know what to think when Ted starts to take credits for his development, discoveries and hard work – Ted is more than a boss to Albie, he’s his mentor and friend, so he’s really hurt. This is where Beth senses her chance for a revenge – but is this going to change her and Albie’s lives for ever? How far will they fall?

The characters in this book were not the most likeable ones. They were all full of flaws, keeping secrets and telling lies and in fact not a single one of them would hesitate to bring the others down in the name of their career or revenge. But I think that Ted was the most obstinate of them all, being at the top of his game and being able to do anything to remain there. The story is mostly told from Beth and Albie’s points of view. Right from the beginning we know that something happened to Beth and she’s seeking revenge. We can also have a guess what it was that happened and with whom, and all my suspicions were confirmed. Beth was dreaming of a career as a surgeon but she’s a theatre nurse, however right now she’s enjoying her life, spending most of her time in her garden. Albie is a surgeon, working hard on finding a cure for cancer. Meeting him was like a fresh start for her – however here, guys, I am still not sure if Beth truly loved Albie from the beginning, or was it only the awareness that he was Ted’s best friend that made Albie interesting for her? Nevertheless, their characters were not too straightforward and it was so very well described how they affect each other. However, she brilliantly showed how human her main characters are – how lost they are, how helpless in the world and angry, but also how calculating they can be. Shemilt captured in an incredibly great way the conflicts of the characters, how tangled they felt, how important loyalty was to them and how far would they go to not inflict problems.
However, I think I’ve never warmed to any of them. They might have been in relationships and had feeling to each other but somehow they came across as clinical and without emotions, without conscience. I just didn’t get them fully – as well as the end, that didn’t sit with me at all.

But I don’t know guys, I can’t put my finger on what it was but I just felt confused by this story. However, it was a read with a difference and I can certainly say that never before have I read a story like this. It was confusing for me, yes, but it also was intense and interesting. It was dark and mysterious, and there were many moments that it was too medical for my liking, with many, many very detailed descriptions of procedures. There was also the case of the rats, like in animal testing, and while it felt really uncomfortable, hats off to the author for pulling it off like this, giving all the options and presenting both points of view, those of the researchers and those of the petitioners, without judging them. But back to this medical stuff – it was very literal and especially some of the descriptions of operations were really realistic. and I mean, really.

“How Far We Fall” was a thought – provoking story about ethics, morals and how far we – yes – fall to get our revenge. About power and revenge and ambition. It wasn’t predictable, oh no, on the contrary, I had no idea how it will proceed and in which direction it’s going to take us. The author has incredible way with words, the story is written in simple, short sentences but they’re exceptionally eloquent and she easily brings to life all the things she writes about. You’re going to feel hate, uncertainty, repulsion, anger and compassion. It was slow – burning but multi – layered. Tense and taut, and full of provocative questions about ethics and the author has created a claustrophobic, dark and heavy atmosphere and complex, multi – layered story. Recommended!

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Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling by Emer McLysaght & Sarah Breen

Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling by

Emer McLysaght & Sarah Breen

 

38885462Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publishing Date: 3rd May 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 368

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

‘There aren’t enough words for how much I love it’ Marian Keyes

Everyone knows an Aisling:

Loves going Out Out, but secretly scared of liquid eyeliner.
Happy to drink the bar dry, but will bring her own coaster if necessary.
Would rather die than miss a cooked hotel breakfast, but can calculate the Points in a Snickers at fifty paces.

Aisling’s the girl with a heart of gold, but a boyfriend who still hasn’t made a peep about their Big Day even after seven years.

But then a disastrous romantic getaway shows Aisling that it’s time to stop waiting around and leave John behind for the bright lights of Dublin. After she’s wailed her way through Adele’s Greatest Hits, that is.

Between glamorous new flatmates, a scandal at work and finding herself in a weird love square, Aisling is ready to take on the big city. So long as she has her umbrella with her.

Rating: five-stars

Apparently there exists a Facebook book called Oh My God What a Complete Aisling and it is so popular that the creators of this group, Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen have decided to write a book about Aisling – and I salute them for doing this, because this novel was one of the warmest, funniest and poignant stories ever – thanks girls for bringing Aisling to my life. I’m not Irish, and have never been to Ireland (yet! I promise!) and the closest I’ve ever been to an Irishman were probably Marian Keyes’s books, and it is thanks to her novels that I truly fell in love with Irish style of life and humour, and yes guys, Aisling was the best that could happen to me right now – I completely adored this book and the characters.

For all the uninitiated, Aisling is apparently a typical Irish country girl who never skips hotel breakfasts (well, she paid for them!), loves her Daddy, going Out and Out Out, and her boyfriend of seven years, John. As far as Aisling is concerned, they will get married soon, build a big house and have children. However, it turns out, John has other ideas. Ouch.
Aisling soon finds herself moving in with her glamorous colleague from work, Sadhbh in Dublin city centre and is being introduced to a very different life – glamorous and hedonistic. With the help of her new – and old – friends Aisling starts to realise what she really wants from her life.

Aisling, and also all of the background characters, were so very well developed and there was so much depth to them that I really did care about them and what happened to them. I kept my fingers crossed for them, I had fun with them at the pubs and bars and I cried with them, and believe me guys, it doesn’t happen often that I feel so much invested in characters’ lives, so it’s a sign of truly brilliant characters. Aisling’s personality and life approach was brilliantly captured and the authors brought her so easily to life!
I really liked the friendship between Aisling and Sadhbh and Elaine. I must admit that I was all the time worrying the girls want to make fun out of her, that there is something very bad going to happen but it turned out I was wrong and it was a real friendship, no matter what, through thick and thin. They were always there for the fragile Aisling, they helped her to face family dramas and crises, they wiped away the tears as she struggled to get over John. I can’t, to be totally honest, understand some of the reviews saying the characters in this book were under – developed because in my opinion they were brilliantly drawn and Aisling, even though not changing, was still broadening her horizons. And well, I never wanted her to change – she was just my kind of a girl and well, some of her antics were very familiar to me. Oh yes! What I absolutely adored was her family and her relationship with her parents – it made me laugh out loud and it made me cry crocodile tears, it was beautifully written and I simply loved it. She was so open and friendly and I loved the way she embraced her new friendships and how – maybe not exactly voluntarily and with some scepticism – she danced to techno music and went on a Berlin city break.

The only thing that bothered me a little was the various number of Irish words, phrases and references but it was only a minor blip and oh well, if I was so bothered than I could look it up, right.

“Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling” was completely my kind of read, blending humour with poignant moments, light and fluffy but also with some hidden messages, with this brilliant, clever Irish humour. I absolutely loved that there was no meanness in this story and that people took Aisling as she was – because why shouldn’t they? It was affectionate and with a grain of salt, kind, funny, genuine and honest, and with character that I think we can all relate to on some level. Under the cover – up of light – heartedness there was much, much more to this story, it was full of depth and emotions and be prepared to drop a tear or two as well. Sharply observed, tackling so many topics that are close to our own hearts – I simply loved it and can’t recommend it highly enough!

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The Stranger by Kate Riordan / #BlogTour

The Stranger by Kate Riordan

 

36476410Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publishing Date: 22nd March 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 320

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Historical Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Hardcover

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

ONE OF RED MAGAZINE’S TOP TEN BOOKS . . .

———-

Cornwall, 1940.

In the hushed hours of the night a woman is taken by the sea.

Was it a tragic accident? Or should the residents of Penhallow have been more careful about whom they invited in?

In the midst of war three women arrive seeking safety at Penhallow Hall.

Each is looking to escape her past.

But one of them is not there by choice.

As the threat of invasion mounts and the nightly blackouts feel longer and longer, tensions between the close-knit residents rise until dark secrets start to surface.

And no one can predict what their neighbour is capable of . . .

In a house full of strangers, who do you trust?

Rating: four-stars

“The Stranger” was my first novel by Kate Riordan and I was incredibly excited to finally, eventually get her novel in my greedy mittens – I’ve heard tons of great things about this author and it’s not a wonder that I wanted to see for myself what’s so special in her books. And I think that this story is a great start if you, like me, haven’t read Ms Riordan’s novels before.
The story follows three women of different ages, billeted in a house on Cornish coast in the 1940’s in Penhallow Hall, a house perched up on the cliffs. They were land girls, helping feed Britain during the Second World War when young farmers were away fighting. Jane is the youngest and she joined Rose and Diana as last, and it turns out she’s the member of the family owning the house, and it quickly becomes clear that there are some misunderstandings between her and the owners Ms Fox and her daughter Eleanor. Rose was married but her first loved lived at the island. And last but not least, Diana. The girl who’s meddling and stirring and doesn’t let sleeping dogs lie.

The book starts with Diana going missing and then takes us back in time, several weeks, and with each chapter that takes us closer to her disappearance, in a kind of a count – down, we get to know the characters, their backgrounds and history, and start to like or dislike them. I think the author painted Diana in such a way on purpose – a girl with two faces, a girl with a very vulnerable side to her and a girl who wanted everything to be about her, who wormed her way to a friendship, who meddled and used everybody and everything for her own ends. A girl who longed to be liked and accepted but also a girl that pushed people away. Very complex and complicated character and the author really well captured this diversity in her. However, I didn’t like her. I didn’t have compassion on her. I did get when she was coming from but the way she went through life just made me feel antipathy.

It was an incredibly descriptive novel – and I must admit, even though it was beautifully written, in such a gentle way with love to the smallest details, it made reading for me a little bit difficult. It has hidden all the action, put it in the background in my opinion, and it’s a pity, because it was a story with a brilliantly interesting storyline. However, it was also a novel that was hard to put down, guys.

“The Stranger” was a slow burner, but with brilliant descriptions and wonderfully developed characters with a depth and distinctive voices, a story that intertwined lives of different women. The author has managed to easily and effortlessly put all the frustrations, hopes and anger into words. This was a story full of secrets, some of them very dark, with a complex and ambitious storyline. The author had so beautifully captured the atmosphere of the uncertainty and mendacity. She also brought to life the beauty of Cornwall and the setting was one of the best things in this novel, you could so easily picture the sea, the village, the lighthouse. There were many turns on the way and the final twists were really interesting, though I’d say that, in comparison to the tense built – up, it felt too rushed. But altogether, this novel was very interesting and different and I highly recommend it to you all.

 

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The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond / #BlogTour

Hi guys, and happy Tuesday. Today I have something very special for you. As you can see, I am a part of a blog tour, and you can say, yes, well, that’s great but what is so special in being a part of a blog tour? Ha! Being a part of every blog tour is brilliant but this one is exceptional. Some time ago I was being asked if I want to try something new, something fresh, something different – an experimental blog tour! The Marriage Pact Challenge! If I dare – well, I am always up for trying new things!

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The rules of this blog tour are simple. As it is to do with the psychological thriller “The Marriage Pact” by Michelle Richmond, we are supposed to take part in the “marriage contract” featured in the novel. I must admit, I haven’t read the book yet as it arrived only few days ago so I was not sure what I’m agreeing to, nevertheless I decided to give it a go. I myself was intrigued what the outcome is going to be! And well, perhaps hoped that it’s going to refresh my marriage? So, for two weeks I lived by the rules – did they impact my relationship? For better or worse?

So here are the rules of a perfect relationship:

Always answer when your partner calls

Exchange at least two thoughtful gifts every month

Cook your partner dinner twice a week

Unfollow your ex on social media

Never spend more than two nights apart

Tell your partner all your passwords

Only wear clothes your partner deems attractive or appropriate.

Enable the ‘find my phone’ feature so your partner always knows where you are

Have no secrets from each other (and confess any old ones!)

Don’t even think about trying to escape…

OK, guys. So here it is. We are married for 7 years and together for 12, almost 13, this year. I really don’t know where to start, so maybe with the easiest one – my husband is not on social media. Not a single one. Heck, he even doesn’t have internet in his mobile phone and still doesn’t get the idea of WhatsApp. I didn’t have to unfollow him then. And of course didn’t have to enable the “find my phone” feature because it wouldn’t work on his mobile… However, just to ease your mind, he really always knows where I am – either at work, or at home, or chauffeuring our daughter to her “free time” activities… Yes. I know. My rock’ n’ roll life. Don’t judge me.

And well, usually I call him. It is always me that needs something 🙂

My husband doesn’t believe in gifts, grrrr. However, I’ve bullied him into buying me an early pre – Valentine gift and into giving me flowers, just because I like them. This eye – rolling! This whingeing! Really, guys, the things I have to bear up with! I, on the other hand, love buying gifts, and so he got a book (of course! What else! And his favourite series!) and his favourite chocolate, though, of course, there were comments that he doesn’t need anything. I think this rule of buying two gifts every month would kill me.

Cooking a meal is easy – peasy, as I cook every single night as my husband doesn’t cook. It was such a surprise to me when he told me lately that he doesn’t know how to peel the potatoes. God help me.

And well, we really don’t spend nights apart. Only when he’s away on business. Or I go on holidays with our daughter and somebody has to stay at home to look after the dogs. But believe me, after spending all nights together not spending them together is a kind of … I don’t want to say relief 🙂 But it’s not so bad. And spending them again together is even better.

One evening, to prove that I don’t have any secrets (rule number 9), I asked him if he wants to know my passwords. He looked at me strangely and asked if I want to know his passwords as well.

Let’s stay at rule number 9. Oh guys, I have secrets, I do! One evening, when he was very deep into searching for a new car in the internet I told him, haha, you know what, I’ve hidden a huge jar of Nutella behind my books, haha. He shrugged and said he’s not surprised. So now I have to look for a new hiding place for my huge jar of Nutella.

The rule about wearing clothes he likes. I let him to buy me a T – shirt. I won’t let him buy a T – shirt anymore.

Escaping? Thanks God there is no – one hounding me if I break the rules so there is no need to escape.  However, I would never ever sign such contract in my real, it would make me go crazy. But it was interesting two weeks, guys, that made me look and see things through different perspective, to see them sharper.

 

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Still Me by Jojo Moyes

Still Me by Jojo Moyes

 

36048240Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publishing Date: 25th January 2018

Series: Me Before You #3

Source:  Received from publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 496

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

Louisa Clark arrives in New York ready to start a new life, confident that she can embrace this new adventure and keep her relationship with Ambulance Sam alive across several thousand miles. She is thrown into the world of the superrich Gopniks: Leonard and his much younger second wife, Agnes, and a never-ending array of household staff and hangers-on. Lou is determined to get the most out of the experience and throws herself into her job and New York life within this privileged world.

Before she knows what’s happening, Lou is mixing in New York high society, where she meets Joshua Ryan, a man who brings with him a whisper of her past. In Still Me, as Lou tries to keep the two sides of her world together, she finds herself carrying secrets–not all her own–that cause a catastrophic change in her circumstances. And when matters come to a head, she has to ask herself Who is Louisa Clark? And how do you reconcile a heart that lives in two places?

Rating: five-stars

I absolutely loved “Me Before You” and “After You”, I didn’t have any problems with the second books like many others seem to have, and I was incredibly excited that Jojo Moyes is bringing Louisa back to us in a book number 3. I think that it’s the same with Louisa Clark as with Becky Bloomwood – haters will hate, lovers will love. I personally belong to the latest category and Jojo Moyes could write another three or more books about Lou and I would inhale them – I love Lou, and after finishing “Still Me” there is potential for another book for me there. And reading about Ms Clark is already like meeting an old friend – a brilliant feeling.
I’ve read this book few weeks ago so theoretically I could have posted my review then but it took me till today to really write it because I was scared – that I won’t do this book a justice with my words. And I’m pretty sure I didn’t but one thing is certain, guys – it was a gorgeous, perfect read and for me personally there is really a room left for another Lou’s story.

This time Louisa embarks on a new journey to New York, where she’s supposed to work as an assistant to a very rich and very influential family. Before she’s even unpacked, she finds herself jogging through Central Park, shopping for her employer and attending social events. To say that it is a totally different life style to the one she knows from England would be an understatement. Then she gets to know Josh Ryan, who looks exactly like… well, you can guess who, and their friendship grows. Is it going to jeopardize her relationship with Sam? Is Sam going to accept the changes in Lou?

Already the first chapter had me hooked – meeting Louisa at the airport was a brilliant experience and made me laugh so much! Be prepared to see her taking New York by storm, guys. She felt like the old Louisa, but also she seemed like a new one, with her new approach with her year of saying yes, taking Will’s words and lessons to heart. I loved seeing her meeting new characters – they were all larger than life, more or less likeable, real people made of flesh and blood. They were full of flaws and faults but that made them closer to life and more real.
Lou is still Lou, lovable and quirky, and she has this ability to see things with a pinch of salt, and she also doesn’t take herself seriously. She tries to balance her personal life with her new job, which of course is not so easy, as she’s on the other side of the world. It’s almost a shock for her to find herself in the company of the Gopniks, this influential family, and her life is now so very different to the one she has left behind in England. I loved the fact that Louisa was so normal, she has made mistakes and sometimes you could question her choices, but I think this makes her even more real and relatable.

What I also adored was discovering New York together with Louisa. You could think, with so many books set in The Big Apple, what could be so exciting and fresh, but Jojo Moyes had done here an incredible job. Seeing this city through Lou’s fresh eyes was like seeing it by myself for the first time. The descriptions of the city deserve a standing ovation, it was brought to life so easily, they were vivid and full of colours and flavours.

The hidden motto of this story are Will’s words “You only get one life. It’s actually your duty to live as fully as possible” – they are beautiful, pure words and I probably should have them tattooed on my forehead to finally start appreciate life just like Lou’s has done in this book. Because for me she did this – she’s come out of her comfort zones, she was taking chances and put all her eggs in one basket. Sometimes it paid off for her to be her own person, sometimes it didn’t but she didn’t give up and this is why wanted to hug her so much and tell her she’s doing so well.

I love Jojo Moyes’s writing style. It flows so easily and effortlessly, it’s chatty. It is witty, with a great dose of super humour, it’s elegant and incredibly engaging. It has immediately drawn me in and I felt like a part of the characters’ world, and I loved them like my own friends. From the word go I wanted to know what’s going to happen, I was intrigued with the Gopnik family, I wanted to know more about Agnes and see the developing relationship between Lou and Dean Martin. This is not a romance but it introduces us to so many shades of love – unconditional, honest love and what we’re capable of doing to preserve this love.

“Still Me” is a story of misunderstandings, lies, secrets, new and old friendships, broken hearts, forgiveness. It’s a real roller – coaster ride full of laughs, tears, frustrations and determination, disappointment and hope. For me this was a firm five – stars read and I would give it ten if I could – for me Jojo Moyes has done it again – written a beautiful, emotional, comforting story about brilliant characters. A story that shows that life goes on. That we don’t have to forget to live and be happy, we can live with happy and fond memories. That moving on is painful and can hurt but in the end it is worth it. That we have choices and that we can’t give up because the remedy or help can come in the most unexpected moment. It’s full of charm and kindness, but this is also Louisa’s way. She is not perfect, our Lou, but she’s relatable in the way she acts. She’s genuine, as well as the other characters in the story.

So let’s live boldly, people.