What I’m Reading: Nine Perfect Strangers

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From the book jacket:

Could ten days at a health resort really change you forever? In Liane Moriarty’s latest page-turner, nine perfect strangers are about to find out…

Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amidst all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be.

Frances Welty, the formerly best-selling romantic novelist, arrives at Tranquillum House nursing a bad back, a broken heart, and an exquisitely painful paper cut. She’s immediately intrigued by her fellow guests. Most of them don’t look to be in need of a health resort at all. But the person that intrigues her most is the strange and charismatic owner/director of Tranquillum House. Could this person really have the answers Frances didn’t even know she was seeking? Should Frances put aside her doubts and immerse herself in everything Tranquillum House has to offer – or should she run while she still can?

It’s not long before every guest at Tranquillum House is asking exactly the same question.

Combining all of the hallmarks that have made her writing a go-to for anyone looking for wickedly smart, page-turning fiction that will make you laugh and gasp, Liane Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers once again shows why she is a master of her craft.

My review:

While it started off a little slow for my liking, I really enjoyed the eventual build-up to knowing who all the characters are fully. It kept me reading and wanting more, to say the least!

Nine Perfect Strangers, in a nutshell, is a bit all over the place, but I think that really reflects the characters. Masha, is absolutely bonkers, and I was always curious to see what crazy tangent she would go on next.

The rest of the characters were all relatable in some way: Jessica being obsessed with social media and her appearance, Tony longing for what once was, Frances feeling heartbroken after being duped, Carmel just trying to survive as a single mom … In ways I felt sympathy for them and at times they frustrated me. (Like Napoleon the Coddler, for example.)

Over all, I kind of liked the ridiculousness of the story and Tranquillum House. I mean, there’s health resorts, and then there’s this place! I think Moriarty took the worst aspects of every health resort/spa in the world and applied them all to this one place. It was a little over the top in a way, but sometimes I don’t mind a little absurdity. I also really enjoyed that we got little glimpses of what happened to everyone post-Masha’s craziness. I hate how so many storylines just end and you don’t get to know what happened afterwards.

My rating: ★★★★/5

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What I’m Reading: Truly Madly Guilty

26247008From Goodreads.com:
Six responsible adults. Three cute kids. One small dog. It’s just a normal weekend. What could possibly go wrong?

Sam and Clementine have a wonderful, albeit, busy life: they have two little girls, Sam has just started a new dream job, and Clementine, a cellist, is busy preparing for the audition of a lifetime. If there’s anything they can count on, it’s each other.

Clementine and Erika are each other’s oldest friends. A single look between them can convey an entire conversation. But theirs is a complicated relationship, so when Erika mentions a last minute invitation to a barbecue with her neighbors, Tiffany and Vid, Clementine and Sam don’t hesitate. Having Tiffany and Vid’s larger than life personalities there will be a welcome respite.

Two months later, it won’t stop raining, and Clementine and Sam can’t stop asking themselves the question: What if we hadn’t gone?

In Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty takes on the foundations of our lives: marriage, sex, parenthood, and friendship. She shows how guilt can expose the fault lines in the most seemingly strong relationships, how what we don’t say can be more powerful than what we do, and how sometimes it is the most innocent of moments that can do the greatest harm.

My review:
This is the 4th book by Liane Moriarty that I’ve read and once again, she didn’t disappoint overall.

My first reaction after finishing the book? Whew! Like many other readers have noted, it took a while for things to take off and get interesting, but once you hit that point in the book it was hard for me to stop reading! The flash-forwards and flashbacks made me constantly scream inside my head, “WHAT HAPPENED?!!??” And then when it did my heart dropped and well, you’ll just have to read the book to figure out why.

This book also tugged at the heartstrings a little bit and makes you really think about people’s behaviours – a “don’t judge a book by its cover” sort of situation. It also made me think of how friendships are made and slowly evolve over time, changing as we do.

While I didn’t really connect with any of the characters they were still relatively likeable, although I would’ve liked more background on why Clementine decided she needed to do those talks of hers … the rest of the story could’ve went on without that part.

Still, I’m giving Truly Madly Guilty 4 stars out of 5. If you have the patience to get through the first half of the book it’s definitely worth picking up! 

What I’m Reading: What Alice Forgot

Image via Goodreads

From Goodreads.com:

Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child. So imagine Alice’s surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym (a gym! She HATES the gym) and is whisked off to the hospital where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over — she’s getting divorced, she has three kids, and she’s actually 39 years old. Alice must reconstruct the events of a lost decade, and find out whether it’s possible to reconstruct her life at the same time. She has to figure out why her sister hardly talks to her, and how is it that she’s become one of those super skinny moms with really expensive clothes. Ultimately, Alice must discover whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start over…

My review:

This is the third Liane Moriarty book I’ve read and while I still enjoyed it, it was my least favourite after Big Little Lies and The Husband’s Secret.

I felt that it was kind of all over the place; between the “main” plot of Alice forgetting the past 10 years of her life, Elisabeth’s journal entries to her shrink, and Frannie’s letters to her fiancé, it felt a little cluttered. I’m not so sure Frannie’s letters added anything to the storyline, although I appreciated Elisabeth’s.

Like I said though, I did enjoy book as a whole and it made me think about how much life and relationships can change, regardless of how solid you think they are. And how insane would it be if you woke up and thought it was 10 years previous, forgetting everything? I’d probably crap my pants if I woke up and suddenly I had three kids and was in the middle of a hostile divorce. I had a hard time putting the book down as I wanted to find out if/when Alice remembered the past 10 years and how she would react to what transpired.

I still gave What Alice Forgot 4 stars out of 5. It’s a good read and really makes you think about your own life!

Where do you think you’ll be in 10 years?