January 5, 2018: ‘One Day in December’ by Josie Silver/A Review

I purchased this novel from Book of the Month
Length: 416 pgs.
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group

     ‘One Day in December’ by Josie Silver is a lighthearted (yet moving) tale about friendship, lost love, and heartache through the years. The story is based in London, beginning around Christmas 2008. Laurie is a young woman stuck in a thankless job in hospitality, and she heads home on a bus when she spies Jack waiting at a bus stop. Their eyes meet for a moment before the bus continues toward Laurie’s home. Laurie spends a year searching for her mystery man, and she eventually finds him a year later…as her best friend Sarah’s new boyfriend. The story then follows the lives of these three individuals throughout the decade, documenting the growth and pitfalls of their relationship.

     I picked up ‘One Day in December’ as my Book of the Month December selection. Admittedly, Romantic Literature is a genre I rarely venture into as my main reading preference. What enticed me into picking up this selection is that the story largely centers around the Christmas season, and I was searching for Christmas-related books last month. While the novel is sectioned off in years, each part naturally circles back toward the holiday season, which I deeply appreciated.

     ‘One Day in December’ is narrated in the first person, divided into Laurie’s and Jack’s perspective. The novel documents their feelings toward each other as they navigate the line of platonic friendship and hidden attraction while maintaining their relationships with Sarah. Since this is a love story, Laurie’s life takes unexpected (yet predictable) twists and turns as she searches for true happiness. Through it all, Laurie discovers that as long as you have a strong, emotional support system, you will never be truly alone in life.

     I enjoyed reading ‘One Day in December’, and I’m glad I bought this as my monthly December selection.

Rating: 4/5

December 27, 2018: My Review on ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ by Liane Moriarty

Novel received from Book of the Month

Length: 453pp.

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Synopsis:

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.

My Thoughts:

I usually don’t bother reading stories that are fixated on finding love. As soon as books venture into characters down-trodden and lost due to love, or moving on after a failed breakup, I put the book down. Yet reading ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ by Liane Moriarty was a nice blend of characters from different backgrounds drawn together, gaining empowerment after difficult life situations.

‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ follow the lives of nine individuals taking part of a pricey, 10 day wellness retreat at Tranquillum House. The workshops are run by an overzealous guru, applying her un-orthodox approach of healing to the attendees in order to attain transformative results.

The novel is written in the third person, each chapter taking the perspective of a different character. This made some parts of the story fast-paced, as a certain scene could be split in several chapter following several perspectives. This allowed the reader to see what the other attendees in the retreat were pondering at these tense moments.

Moriatry also delves into the lives of each person, revealing the inner truths of how Tranquillum House entered their lives. The story didn’t have a central ‘dark character’, if you will, for each person carried a personal life struggle which led to their self-discovery. Moriarty also writes in the perspective of the health guru and her consultants. Their input in this tale further opens up a window into the past that gives clarity to the bigger picture.

I also appreciated how Moriarty writes about the power of social media’s influence in our society. Ben and Jessica, a married couple in the wellness retreat, were attending Tranquillum House for marriage counseling due to the wife’s obsession in her appearance, leading to a constant need for ‘Likes’ on her Instagram account. Frances Welty, a once best-selling author, was attending Tranquillum House after suffering her first huge rejection and poor feedback due to (according to her publisher) a lack of online traffic and resources. Both women suffered from the harsh eye of the internet, but for different reasons: Jessica was at the mercy of comparing herself to beauty’s entrapment, while Frances struggled to thrive under a publishing company run by a younger, social-media savvy generation.

‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ was a pretty good read, even with the periodic slow pace it contained. Reading about relationship struggles normally isn’t a preference for me, but this didn’t take away from the story.

Rating: 4/5

Blogmas Day 20: Naughty or Nice Tag

I came across a fun, bookish tag on The Orangutan Library’s blog. I was not tagged to take part in this, I decided to answer these questions on my own. It’s all in good fun!

Jenniely is the creator of this holiday tag!

  1) Received an ARC and not reviewed it 
I’ve only done that to one ARC I’ve received.


  2) Have less than 60% feedback rating on Netgalley 
No, this hasn’t happened yet.


  3) Rated a book on Goodreads and promised a full review was to come on your blog (and never did) 
I always leave reviews on my blog, so this is a no.


  4) Folded down the page of a book 
Sadly, yes…this has happened!


  5) Accidentally spilled on a book 
No, this hasn’t happened.


  6) DNF a book this year 
Yes, I’ve done this, in the beginning of the year. I try to avoid doing that!


  7) Bought a book purely because it was pretty with no intention of reading it
No, doing that is a waste of content!


  8) Read whilst you were meant to be doing something else (like homework) 
Of course, constantly!


  9) Skim read a book
Sure thing!


  10) Completely missed your Goodreads goal
Yes, that’s happened!


11) Borrowed a book and not returned it to the library 
Nope, always retuned my stuff!


  12) Broke a book buying ban
I don’t believe in those, lol


  13) Started a review, left it for ages then forgot what the book was about
I think I did that once!


  14) Wrote in a book you were reading
I highlighted in my Kindle book selections. I guess that sorta counts…


  15) Finished a book and not added it to your Goodreads
  That used to happen, but I’ve gotten better at adding my finished reads.


16) Borrowed a book and not returned it to a friend  
No, this has happened to me though!


  17) Dodged someone asking if they can borrow a book
Yes, because of what happened above!


  18) Broke the spine of someone else’s book 
No way!


19) Took the jacket off a book to protect it and ended up making it more damaged 
Yes, this happened to me a few years ago.


20) Sat on a book accidentally 
Sure, but no harm done!