Category Archives: Book Reviews

Nine Perfect Strangers – Liane Moriarty

Published by Penguin Books – 7th March, 2019

Available from Amazon

The Synopsis:

Could ten days at a health resort really change you forever?

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.

As the weather has been so gorgeous lately, one of our book club members offered her back garden as a meeting place, so armed with a bottle of cider and a packet of popcorn, I headed over to her house. When I arrived, several others were already there and to my relief they had all brought some alcohol too (I didn’t want to be the only one) and so it felt like a proper book club!

From the start, I was a little worried about the number of characters and my ability to remember each one, there is obviously the nine in the title, but also three other main characters; the author introduced a new one after you had gotten used to previous characters, so it wasn’t difficult to remember them, each chapter was written from the perspective of a different character.

I have to say that I was looking forward to reading this book, I thought Big Little Lies was excellent, but halfway through Nine Perfect Strangers, I  became weary of the characters and their back stories and the story became a little far-fetched.  It was a little drawn out as well, the book could have done with being a bit shorter, I found myself looking at the page numbers to see how much I had left to read.

The thing that shone through for me was Moriaty’s humour in the book, I had plenty of chuckles as I read it and Frances, the failing romantic author was my favourite character, maybe because we found out more about her than the others?

The book was described as a pyschological thriller, which I beg to differ, perhaps more a dark comedy but overall I enjoyed it, would I recommend it to friends? No, I don’t think so.

A few comments from the Book Club members:

“A lame ending.”

“It was like Masha was the leader of a cult and Yao was her second in command, whom she had completely brainwashed.”

“I felt so sorry for Napolean, Heather and Zoe, it made me realise that I should listen to my children…”

Our Book Club rating:


Next book:

Available from Amazon

This is our next book, written by M.C. Beaton. The books have been made into a TV series starring Ashley Jensen – I’ve been wanting to read these books for some time, so am definitely looking forward to this one!

Beneath A Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan


Available from Amazon

The Synopsis:

Based on the true story of a forgotten hero, Beneath a Scarlet Sky is the triumphant, epic tale of one young man’s incredible courage and resilience during one of history’s darkest hours.

Pino Lella wants nothing to do with the war or the Nazis. He’s a normal Italian teenager—obsessed with music, food, and girls—but his days of innocence are numbered. When his family home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps, and falls for Anna, a beautiful widow six years his senior.

In an attempt to protect him, Pino’s parents force him to enlist as a German soldier—a move they think will keep him out of combat. But after Pino is injured, he is recruited at the tender age of eighteen to become the personal driver for Adolf Hitler’s left hand in Italy, General Hans Leyers, one of the Third Reich’s most mysterious and powerful commanders.

Now, with the opportunity to spy for the Allies inside the German High Command, Pino endures the horrors of the war and the Nazi occupation by fighting in secret, his courage bolstered by his love for Anna and for the life he dreams they will one day share.

Last night was our second meeting of the book club and everyone who turned up early couldn’t wait to get started talking about the book.

I enjoyed this book, it wouldn’t be one that I would pick up in a library or book shop and would want to read, I normally go more for the light romantic books. I loved the fact that it took place in Italy, which is not usually the setting for war films and books. The love story element that ran through the book, it didn’t really convince me, I didn’t feel their love and was sure that Anna was going to betray Pino at one point. At 17, Pino was truly gifted, he was an expert skier, mountaineer, car driver, translator and pianist.

I liked the historical aspect to it and feel like I’ve learned something about the war in Italy, about the Jews and the slavery that was prevalent.  I thought the writing was quite plain, it didn’t evoke any emotions in me and I thought that the delivery would have been better from Pino’s point of view.

There is soon to be a major film with Tom Howard (Spiderman) as Pino, which I will watch with great interest.

A few comments from the Book Club members:

“I was disappointed with the ending, I wanted to know more about Pino’s two marriages and how he met his two wives.”

“I felt connected with the story, as I had relatives who were in World War II and it educated me on the impact of war in Italy.”

“When I started reading this book, I couldn’t put it down.”

Our Book Club rating: stars


Next book:  

Available from Amazon


This is our next book, written by Liane Moriaty of Big Little Lies fame.






The Book Club



About six weeks ago, I was asked by a friend if I would consider running a book club. I wasn’t too sure about this, as I don’t seem to have the time to read a book nowadays, although I have written one, but I thought, “It’s about time I made the time to read a book,” and so our book club was formed.

Our first meeting was a month ago, we met at a local café, who kindly kept the doors open for us to purchase coffee etc., there were ten of us, all like minded people, who shared a love of books.

For a gentle ice-breaker I asked everyone to share which genre of books they all liked and the diversity was astonishing. The one that most people seemed to like was historical fiction with fantasy adventure coming in last.

We all agreed that we needed to read different genres, in an effort to broaden our minds and not stick to the same genre each time we choose a book.

scarlet-skyThen came the hard task of choosing a first book, something that wasn’t too heavy going and not too many pages. Amidst much debate, and a lot of going off topic, we decided on Beneath A Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan.

One of the ladies had already read it and she was sure it would be an ideal first read for all of us.

We already have a Facebook Group, but we also started a WhatsApp Group, just so that we could keep in contact and see how everyone is getting on.

I finished my book in three weeks, I still haven’t got much time, but I set aside a couple of nights each week to read it and judging by the WhatsApp comments, everyone was doing well with some finishing within a week of starting the book!

So at our next meeting, which is again being held at the local café, unfortunately it doesn’t have a drinks licence, so it’s coffee and tea all round, with maybe a slice of cake, we are going to discuss this book and share everyone’s thoughts about it.

We are each going to bring in the title of the next book we would like to read on a slip of paper and draw it out of a hat, in great, “And the winner is,” style. So after our next meeting, I will do a follow up blog which will contain the reviews from our book club and the next book we will be reading.

See you then!