Book Review: Nine Perfect Strangers {Liane Moriarty}

Hi!

I am writing this from the peace and quiet of my living room. Husband at work, both kids back at school after winter break. Candle burning, Pandora playing. It’s so peaceful here on this rainy Monday morning.

I’m missing my family today. I haven’t been home alone like this in weeks! As nice and peaceful as this is….I would so much rather have everyone here with me. This morning it’s just me and the hamster.  And she’s sleeping.  Perfect time to work on my blog!

And now as previously promised…the book review of Liane Moriarty’s newest release:

**If you haven’t yet, I would suggest reading my previous post before reading the following review**

I heard such negative things about this book. In fact, I truly hadn’t heard any positive! So when I began reading, needless to say my expectations weren’t very high. Not high at all.

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

My Thoughts

4 Stars

I loved it.

Yes it was weird. Yes it was dark. Yes it was twisted.  Yes it made me uncomfortable.  But…It was so brilliantly written, so very interesting, and extremely captivating! The short chapters, the different perspectives, and the colorful characters came together to create a fascinating story.  I high recommend this one!  I know I’m in the minority here but I truly thought it was GREAT.  One of the best books she’s written.  Bravo, Liane!

The ONLY real criticism (and hence my 4 star review) I have is that there are just so many characters and as a result, certain characters were much more developed than others. It was hard to keep everyone straight, especially with their backstories. I found that I had to keep looking back at previous chapters for refreshers. I HATE when books make me do that. I think this book would have been better with say 5 or 6 perfect strangers rather than 9.

Bottom Line

After reading, I now never want to go to a health resort. Like…Ever. You shouldn’t, either. Nope. Not for me. Or you. Ever again. Hard pass.

Have you read this book?  Are you planning to?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

I will have FANTASTIC book giveaway for you on Wednesday morning!  Make sure you stop by, you won’t want to miss this one!

Xo,

Jenny

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Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link.  When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

My Love/Hate Relationship with Liane Moriarty

Oh Liane. You and I have such a complicated relationship. At times I absolutely love you, at times I absolutely loathe you.

*This post contains affiliate links. Click each image and link below to read the synopsis and order the book through my Amazon affiliate link.  When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo*

2014 was when I read The Husband’s Secret .  Like most people, I absolutely loved it!  Truly couldn’t put it down.  I have a very vivid memory of my daughter napping in her car seat while I was devouring this book for hours in the front seat…all while parked in our driveway.  Such a good book!  I was so sad when it ended.

The next book that I read was Big Little Lies.  I read it in 3 days, it was so amazing.   I remember eating meals while reading, reading long after I should have been asleep, and so many other times throughout the day.

(On a side note, I still haven’t seen the HBO miniseries!  Have you?  I’ve heard it’s fantastic!)

At was at this point that I declared Liane Moriarty to be my favorite author and my mission began to read every single book she had written.

Next up for me was The Last Anniversary. I really liked it. Not nearly as amazing as the previous 2, but it was very good.

And then…

I read Three Wishes.

Hated it. So much. It was just so BORING, painfully dull, and long.  I faithfully read until the last sentence because I had already declared Liane Moriarty to be my favorite author and how could I not read every word written by my favorite author??

My faith in Liane was 100 percent restored when I read What Alice Forgot. What a beautiful book that was! It gave me so much to think about and I truly loved everything about it.  Have you read this book?  I highly, highly recommend it!  I still think about that book’s message years after I finished reading.  Absolutely loved that book. Beautiful.

I read The Hypnotist’s Love Story during the summer of 2015. I was bored. Read half. Never finished.

HOWEVER, this was also the time when I was pregnant with my son and unless it was something about babies, breastfeeding, or nursery furniture, I wasn’t able to focus on reading anything else.  Looking back, I’m not sure if my review of this book is entirely valid. I probably should re read it at some point now that I can give it the full attention that it deserves….but I just remember being so bored with the first half that I don’t have the desire to try again.  Have you read this book all the way until the end?  What did you think?

When Liane announced that she was releasing her newest book (Truly Madly Guilty) in 2016, I immediately preordered my copy on Amazon. It arrived exactly on its release day and I literally tore the box as I ripped it open! I even wrote a Facebook status asking if anyone could get over here STAT to watch my children and dog so I could sit and read (nobody did. Apparently I need some new friends).

I hated that book. It was heartbreaking, depressing, and awful. Her attempts to lighten the story fell flat. I was so sad…I had been REALLY excited about reading this one for months. How could she do this to me???

And here we are, today. January 2019. Liane released her newest book Nine Perfect Strangers in October. The whole world seems to be reading this book right now! Have you read it?  I have. I have many thoughts. I’ll share them with you on Monday!

How do you feel about Liane Moriarty?

Do you agree or disagree with my thoughts on her books?

Xo,

Jenny

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Birthday of a Book Blogger

My birthday was yesterday and the entire perfect weekend was filled with fun, love, and joy.

Friday was spent with my favorite shopping partner, my mom!  We had our annual visit to our favorite craft and gift fair and it was glorious as always. It happens over my birthday weekend every year and it’s such a fun way to start off the weekend.

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I came home with such treasurers!  4 unicorn hair bows for my daughter, 3 bags of beef jerky for my husband, a new set of fancy sheets for our bed, and a new scarf for me because I can’t ever go shopping without buying myself at least 1 new scarf.  Scarves are  favorite accessory of all time although by this point I own way too many and I really need to stop buying more. Can’t. Stop. See this post for more details on the background of my obsession: The Ultimate Throwback to my 20’s and Early 30’s Book Series

I bought my son a custom Mickey Mouse CD where the characters sing each song using my son’s name.  The man at the booth told me that the characters will say or sing his name for a total of 70 times throughout the songs on the CD!  I wish I had taken a video of the look on my son’s face when we were driving yesterday afternoon and he heard the CD.  “MOMMY!  Mickey knows my name!” “MOMMY!  Goofy knows it too!”  Best $22.00 I have spent in a very long time.

Another booth had these gorgeous handmade wooden boxes, hand painted mason jars, and different types of flowers.  So many colors, so many sizes, so many sayings.  I spent a LONG time choosing the perfect combination and I could not love it more:

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We came home from the craft fair and soon were off to the biggest event of the day…my daughter’s school talent show!  She was one of the youngest in the show and while she was up there dancing, I watched in awe through the blurred vision from my tears.  Her confidence amazes me.  She did a solo act!  She nailed it, she looked beautiful, and the best part…she had so much fun.  There are those special moments as a parent where you can literally feel your heart bursting with pride and love and Friday night was a perfect example of that for me.  Aaaaand now I’m crying as I type this.  I love being a mom so much.

How sweet are my in-laws?!?

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Saturday proved yet again that nobody has better friends than I do. It was pouring outside, it was freezing outside, and there was traffic. And yet…my girls were determined to take me downtown so the 4 of us could have a city day in honor of ME! I offered numerous times to change our plans but they simply wouldn’t hear of it. So they picked me up and downtown we went (over an hour drive) into the most gorgeous city in the world. I lived in downtown Chicago for 8 years before I got married and a piece of my heart still lives there. My favorite city in the world. It’s gorgeous all year round but during the holidays the whole city absolutely sparkles. It’s just so magical down there. We shopped, we laughed, we ate. A perfect day.

Rain didn’t stop us:

4 Jewish girls with 1 stunning tree:

Grand Lux Cafe for dinner:

I came home after the kids were in bed and noticed this note on my daughter’s door (apparently she hid my presents under her bed):

Sunday morning on my actual birthday my husband and I were woken up quite early by 2 very excited children singing “happy birthday”. They climbed into our bed as I was still half asleep and my birthday began with homemade cards, balloons, gifts, and a unicorn cake. Perfection.

My daughter’s gift blew me away as it does every year. She is the most thoughtful little girl I have ever met. She had Jon take her to a bookstore, went to the new release table, and picked out the book with what she thought had the prettiest cover. As surprised as I was to receive this gift, she was even more surprised when I told her that Liane Moriarty is one of my favorite authors and I’ve been DYING to read her new release!!! In fact, I commented on that just last night when my friends and I were at a bookstore in the city! How did she know???  Mothers and daughters just have that special connection 🙂 Have any of you read this yet? She also bought a Junie B. Jones box set for her and I to read together. She told me that she wanted me to have some new books to put on my blog 🙂 Sweetest girl! A perfect gift. Truly touched my heart.

Aaaaaand my 2.5 year old son’s gift for me. He picked it out all by himself:

I don’t particularly care for trucks but guess who does…

Amazing.

And the balloon he bought for me. We’re Jewish, lol.

My sweet little boy.  LOVE!

My husband’s gift was exactly what I ask for every year: something fun for us to do together as a family. So in a few weeks, the 4 of us will be spending the night at Great Wolf Lodge in a suite and we all can’t wait! Perfect.

I’m over wanting fancy purses or expensive jewelry for my birthday. Quality time with just the 4 of us is EXACTLY what I always want and that’s exactly what yesterday consisted of.

The 4 of us went out for breakfast (my favorite thing. I always LOVE going out for breakfast and we try to do it at least once per weekend). I ate lox, drank coffee, and watched my daughter get the hiccups from laughing at my son who was shoving banana slices directly into my mouth with his sticky syrup fingers.

Our next adventure was Legoland! We spent hours riding rides, building with Legos, watching 4D movies, and so much more. It’s so amazing there and a perfect way to spend the day.

There was one point where the kids were playing together on the climbing structure and they were laughing so loudly. I turned to my husband with tears in my eyes and told him what a perfect day it was.

Rainforest Cafe for lunch. We sat by the gorillas, bought toys in the gift shop, and my kids loved every second.

Home for a unicorn cake and singing happy birthday with 2 excited kids on my lap the whole time.

How gorgeous is this cake???

It was so delicious.

And then…the day switched. My birthday was over and suddenly HANUKKAH was here!

Our menorahs. Jon and my daughter made hers when she was 1 and him and my son made his last night while I was downtown! Both were Hanukkah presents for me. I cried when my daughter gave me hers and all of these years later I cried when my son gave me his. So, so special.

My daughter’s has melted wax all over it from it’s many years of use and with each new bit of wax, I love it even more because of it’s memories. The year that Jon and I got married, I bought us a gorgeous silver traditional menorah that we used for a few years. Once my daughter made this one, it’s the only one we’ve used since. And now we have 2! One parent holds 1 kid while they light the candles while the other parent holds the other kid while they light the candles. And to the kids, picking out the candle colors is always part of the fun. I love Hanukkah so, so much.  Always have.

When I was a little girl, my parents used to wrap all of my presents and put them out for me on the first day. Each night for the eight nights, I was allowed to choose one gift to open. I remember making charts and obsessively thinking about which gift I would open that night during the school day. Should I open the big silver one tonight or save that one for tomorrow night and open the tiny pink one tonight? Thoughts such as this would consume me for the entire eight days and it was so much fun. I always knew that it when I had my own kids, I would absolutely continue this tradition. Jon and I have done this for kids since my daughter was born. Whichever gift she would put her hand on when she was a baby was the one she “chose” for that night! Now her choices are a little bit more strategic. My son absolutely loves opening gifts but doesn’t quite understand why he is only allowed to open one each night, LOL.

This year, things were a bit different. My daughter has been begging us for years for a hamster and this was the year that my husband and I decided to make her dreams come true! She’s been telling us for months that she has this vision where she would come downstairs to all of her gifts and one of them would have holes poked in it… and she would open that one right away because her hamster would be waiting to meet her! So we did exactly that. See video below (make sure your sound is up). ***the hamster was wrapped up like this for only about 2 minutes before the box was opened***

 

I’m trying hard to keep my kids and their names off of my blog for privacy reasons so I’m not going to share the video of when she came downstairs. Just know that it was amazing and a moment that none of us will ever forget.

Welcome to our family, Fluffy Rose!

Birthdays in my 20s were filled with alcohol, body glitter, dancing, leather pants, bars, and hangovers. Birthdays in my 30s were filled with learning to celebrate while holding new roles in my life…first as a new fiancee, and then as a new wife and finally (twice!) as a new mom. Birthdays in my 40’s are now filled with the 3 most important parts of my life: love, family, and friends. It’s about surrounding myself with the people that I love the most and who love me right back. It’s about taking the time to reflect upon my life and how much I truly am able to celebrate all of the day to day beauty it contains. If you would’ve asked me 10 years ago where I saw myself today…I’m exactly where I have always wanted to be. Married to the love of my life and a stay at home mom to my 2 beautiful children. Admittingly I never envisioned the hamster in this scenario but I’m welcoming the new addition 🙂

The very best part of the entire weekend? As I was about to make a wish and blow out my candles, I was struck with the realization that there was truly nothing I wanted to wish for.

I already have everything I could ever want.

Xo,

Jenny

A very Happy Hanukkah to all who celebrate!

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