Tag Archives: books

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!

Life is a Lottery – Part Four

person using green typewriter

Sam let out a groan when the alarm on his iPhone went off, surely it couldn’t be half six already, it only seemed like a matter of minutes since he had gotten into bed.

He grabbed his iPhone off the bedside table, he didn’t want to wake up Debbie, she was sound asleep next to him, so he quickly stopped the alarm. He grabbed his jeans and a t-shirt and dressed in the bathroom, after having a quick shave and wash.

On his way downstairs, he glanced at Debbie, she was still asleep in the bedroom and he crept out of the front door. Mission accomplished, he didn’t want to wake her as she had been out with friends and had got in late last night. 

Sam drove his car to his workplace, he was a General Manager at a printing warehouse, they were always busy and once a month he had to stocktake and unfortunately Sunday was the only day he had the time to do this. Debbie never made a fuss when he had to go into work, she understood that he had to do this and she accepted it. Their relationship of 26 years was still going strong, they were comfortable with each other and Sam felt that she was his best friend.

As soon as he arrived at the printing warehouse, Sam had the feeling that something wasn’t quite right. His assistant manager, Sandra, was already there, she had volunteered to do some overtime with him, he had heard rumours around the warehouse that she wasn’t happy in her marriage, so he wasn’t surprised to find her crying in his office.

“What on earth is the matter?” he asked her, “What is wrong?” “It’s Pete,” Sandra cried, “I’ve found out that he is cheating on me, with a girl from the local supermarket,” she exclaimed.  

Sam wasn’t very comfortable in this type of situation, he never knew what to do or say for the best, but she looked so vulnerable that natural instincts took over him and he reached out and pulled her into him, wrapping his arms around her waist, her head sunk into his chest as she cried and Sam let her cry for as long as she needed to.

It seemed like a long time until Sandra was ready to release the hold, Sam felt relieved as he felt the hug was going on a bit too long for comfort and he was beginning to feel uneasy about the situation. “Thank you so much,” Sandra said, “I feel a bit better now, perhaps working will take my mind of things, what do you want me to do?”

Sam told her what needed to be done and she left his office with his instructions. Sam returned to sit at his desk, deep in contemplation and thanking his lucky stars that his relationship with Debbie was rock solid…..








Easter gifts – the non-chocolate alternative

happy easter card

Just after Christmas, normally Boxing Day, the supermarket shelves are filled with Easter eggs of all shapes and sizes, some with chocolates inside, some with chocolates displayed on the front of the box, but nonetheless, they all contain lots of chocolate. My grandson will be four months old this Easter, so obviously I won’t be buying him a chocolate egg, so it got me thinking, “What can I buy him that’s not chocolate?” And that led me onto thinking about other members of the family as well…


My first choice is Mr Bunny’s Chocolate Factory;

“Mr Bunny does not treat his chicken workers very well and they decide it’s time they fought back. They want better conditions, more holiday and better chicken rights. When they go on strike, he realises he should be treating them better.”

This books is witty and has some wonderful illustrations and I am sure it will become a tradition to read this book over the Easter holidays as he gets older.  You can buy it from The Book People and is on sale at £4.00.

harryNext is clothing, which appropriately does come from Next

I saw this bunny cardigan and immediately fell in love with it, it just looks so cute with the bunny ears and you can get it personalised which is a lovely touch. It’s ideal for the warmer weather which is hopefully on its way.  It costs £18 and you need to order it soon as it takes longer to deliver as it is personalized.


For the older child, there is a range of toys called Playmobil Gift Eggs. There is a huge range of different ones to choose, from Fairies with Magic Cauldron, to Pirates with cannons. They have an age range of 3 to 10 and 4 years plus, so take a look at that before you buy one.  The added bonus is that they do look like an Easter egg! The prices range from between £5 to £17, so they fit all price brackets. I found a lot of choice on Amazon, and I have linked to this Fairy one.

But what about the man in your life? Then how about Easter socks in a bag from John Lewis.  They cost £7.00 and come as a gift bag, clever huh?



How about a cast iron daffodil bird feeder from Not On The High Street, priced at £19.99 for the gardener in your family or someone who loves to see nature in their back garden.

You can choose to fill the centre with seeds or water.



plant-potsOr if you are feeling crafty, there’s the Easter egg ceramic plant pots from Baker Ross, a box of four costs £5.95.

“These egg-shaped ceramic plant pots are ideal for growing herbs and small plants. Decorate using our porcelain paint pens or acrylic paint then give as a gift. Size 8cm x 8cm.”

pensAnd if you don’t have porcelain pens, they sell these as well, price: £8.99.




So there you have it – my non-chocolate choices. What do you buy for Easter? Are you a chocolate giver or a non-chocolate giver? I’d love to know, please comment below on your gift choices and remember:

Easter is the only time when it’s safe to put all your eggs in one basket.




As Shelby walked through the entrance to Fresh Foods supermarket, her eyes were drawn to the member of staff at checkout number nine. She could feel her heart skip a beat as she saw HIM, he was gorgeous, blond wavy hair, muscular build, she didn’t know the colour of his eyes yet, but she was sure they would be a perfect cornflower blue. 

 “Right, time to shop,” she thought, “Time to buy some sirloin steak, posh wine and a luxury pudding, so that I can impress the man on checkout number nine with my sophisticated taste.” Shelby walked around the supermarket picking up her shopping and then made her way to checkout number nine.

 There was a queue for this till and she noted that it was mainly women lined up behind each other, so Shelby patiently joined the end of this queue – but the wait was worth it!

 He started scanning her shopping, handling the steak as he did so, Shelby wished she was that steak. “I’m cooking that tonight,” she informed HIM, “I hope I don’t make a mis-steak!” Shelby laughed nervously at her own humour, but he just gave her a weird look and carried on scanning. She suddenly noticed his name badge, why hadn’t she ever noticed it before?

 Shelby tried to read the name without it seeming too obvious. “Jason? No, it says Jaxon.” “That’s an unusual name,” she commented to HIM, he looked down at his name badge and shrugged, “I suppose so, I’ve never really thought about it.” She would have liked to have exchanged views on the meaning of his name, where it had originated and its deep meaning, but Jaxon didn’t seem interested in doing this and the queue of women behind her looked like they were about to lynch her, obviously her allotted time was up.

 “That’ll be £22.50,” Jaxon said and Shelby felt a little faint, “That’s a lot of money to try and impress somebody,” she thought and wondered if her limited cooking skills would do justice to the £7 piece of meat she had just bought. “Well, at least I’ll do the wine justice,” she thought, “As it is a lovely Shiraz.”

 On her way home, Shelby popped into the local store to pick up some essentials. The store had been owned by the same family for years with Mary and Paul Crump, who ran the shop together with their son, Tommy.

 She walked round the store picking up some potatoes, carrots, cabbage, breakfast cereal, milk and her normal dinnertime choice, a meal for one and headed for the only checkout in the store.

 “Hi Tommy, how are you today?” she enquired, “How’s business?” Tommy looked up and smiled, “Hello Shelby, yeah, it’s all good here at Crump Towers,” he replied. This was the answer that Tommy gave every time and it made Shelby laugh every time. “That’s good then, any plans for the weekend?” she asked him, “No, not for me, a quiet weekend in with the parents, that’s all I’ve got to look forward to,” he replied.  “Yeah, I’m much the same, I’ll be found sat in front of the TV watching typical Saturday night television, well, have a good one, bye,” said Shelby.  “Goodbye Shelby, see you soon.”

 The sirloin steak wasn’t the best dinner she had ever cooked, but the wine tasted lovely and as she settled down on the sofa to watch the TV and drank a couple of glasses of wine, she slid into a sleep where she dreamt that she was in Fresh Foods supermarket, she was running to the wine section, filling up her trolley, running to the meat section and filling up with all sorts of different meats and then making a mad dash to the checkout, only to find Dale Winton sat there saying, “The next time you’re at the checkout and you hear the beep, think of the fun you could be having on Supermarket Sweep!” and as she looked down she discovered she was naked! Shelby woke up in a cold sweat, looked down, saw she was fully clothed, heaved a sigh of relief and then went to bed.

 A few days later Shelby was back at Fresh Foods supermarket, makeup freshly applied, smart but casually sexy dress and, of course, high heels. She glanced at her reflection in the store’s windows on the way in and was pretty pleased with what she saw.  After a peruse around the aisles, she decided on salmon this time, a white wine and cheese and biscuits for afters, she made her way to HIS checkout.

 Amongst the women in the queue that checkout number nine inevitably attracted, there was one hopeful male, Shelby hoped that he was in the wrong queue, that just wouldn’t be fair!

 It seemed like forever until Shelby was at the front of the queue, having noted that Mr. Hopeful, the male in the queue, had left the supermarket pretty quickly and she was unpacking her basket for HIM to scan. “So, we meet again Jaxon,” Shelby said, “This time I’m cooking salmon,” and she winked at him, in what she hoped was a seductive, suggestive way. Jaxon looked at her and asked, “Is there something wrong with your eye? I know that older ladies can get cataracts.”

 Shelby didn’t know what to get offended at first, the fact that he had called her an ‘older lady,’ or the fact that he mistook her sexy wink as an eye disease? She paid for her shopping, not even checking the price, that’s how mad she was and marched out of the store.

 Once in her car, Shelby looked in the rear view mirror at herself and said aloud, “Well, that certainly told me, I suppose I am a bit older than him, but there was no need for that.”

On her way home, Shelby stopped off at the local store to pick up some groceries and once her basket was full, she made her way to the checkout. Tommy was there, as usual, with his cheery smile, “Hey Shelby, wow, you look fabulous,” he told her, followed by, “Oh, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to be…” “No, don’t apologise,” Shelby cut in, “Thank you, it’s just what I needed right now.”

 “Well, anything to cheer you up,” said Tommy. Shelby took stock for a moment, Tommy was in front of her, she’d never noticed how nice looking he was, she recalled how he always had time to speak with her, how he would tell her a joke and make her laugh and she heard herself saying, “Hey, if you’re not busy tonight, would you like to come over for dinner?”  “That would be great, I would love to, do you want me to bring something over?” asked Tommy, “No, that’s fine,” said Shelby, “I’ve got some salmon in my car.”

 “You know we really should get rid of Jaxon, he’s not very good at his job at all,” said Natasha,  Fresh Foods’ Assistant Manager, “You must be joking,” replied Mark, the Manager, “He may not be very quick on the till, but just look at the queue, he attracts the customers better than any “Buy one, get one free,” offer that we can do,” and Natasha certainly had to agree with that!