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A while ago I reviewed Dream Wide Awake by CJ Zahner, a fantastic crime thriller that was original due to its paranormal edge. Now I’ve got another great book by Zahner to share with you, however this time she’s stepped away from crime. Friends Who Move Couches is the exact opposite – modern domestic fiction.
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“Have you ever struggled with friendship? This is a story of love, laughter, family, friends and surviving rejection.
Nikki Grey suffers from epilepsy, but she worries more about friendship skirmishes than her health. Married to a workaholic and the mother of three rebellious children, she forgets her problems one afternoon, smokes marijuana, and has a grand mal seizure. She loses her driver’s license and becomes imprisoned in her home, staring out the window at the neighborhood women who have ostracized her.
Her true friends encourage her to concentrate on herself, but Nikki is her own nemesis. She embarks on a plan to win neighborhood friends back and instead becomes the butt of their jokes. Her ache for their friendship escalates. Not until her two-timing husband asks her a question that catapults her frivolous suburban life into a tailspin, is she forced to stop reaching out for others and stand on her own. Friends Who Move Couches is a story for all women.”
(Taken from Goodreads)
It’s actually really nice to see an author write different genres. There seems to be a misconception that many people have where they think that authors can only stick with one and, as someone who enjoys writing multiple types of novel, I have to disagree. I think some people feel the writing won’t be as refined, but CJ Zahner easily disproves this.
Dream Wide Awake was absolutely excellent – one of the most innovative thrillers I’ve read. And, as it turns out, so is Friends Who Move Couches! The book grabbed me from the moment I picked it up, and loved the storyline so much that I found myself wanting to cancel my other plans just to read it.
Friends Who Move Couches is a book that could be described as “memoir-esque”. It’s not a true memoir, as Nikki Grey is a fictional character and the plot is fictional, too, but many of the events are based on true situations that have occurred within Zahner’s life. Some of the characters are based on people that she knows in reality. This isn’t something I’ve seen much before, which is surprising. We all borrow from our own experiences, as writers, but not usually as explicit as this. Knowing that the book was a blend of fiction and non-fiction gave it more gravity, in a way, and I felt very emotionally connected with it.
Nikki is such a great main character to follow – she’s a complete klutz (which is probably why I related to her) with her dependence on her friends something that’s impacting her life in a negative way. Her flaws are obvious from the start, but she’s endearing and interesting and it’s impossible not to empathise with her. I didn’t relate so much to the dependence on friends (I’m that person that meets with her friends once a year if I remember to) but it was still engaging as the plot is just so dynamic and exciting.
One thing I really liked is how real all of the characters feel. They are so well developed, with emotive and believable personalities. There are a lot of characters – Nikki has a family of five, with so many friends and neighbours involved in the storyline in some way. Aside from Nikki I loved Evy and Jody, two of her best friends, and also Blake The Pro, a professional golfer that has to put up with all sorts of clumsy antics when Nikki reluctantly plays with her husband.
I also enjoyed the humour, as Zahner has such a way of conveying situations in a laugh-out-loud way. Each chapter has a name and starts with a quote from her real life (usually humorous). Whilst I don’t usually like that sort of thing, it worked really well here. Knowing that some of the embarrassing situations happened in real life from those quotes makes it even funnier, in a way (sorry, Cyndie!).
I think it’s pretty clear that I enjoyed this one! Friends Who Move Couches is such a cozy and page-turning read and it really added something special to my evenings. It’s one of those books you can’t help but feel sad about ending because you want it to carry on. Definitely for anyone who loves modern domestic fiction, and will appeal to chick lit, and women’s fiction readers as well.
If you’d like to purchase a copy of Friends Who Move Couches then you can do below:
“Cyndie “CJ” Zahner is a digital-book hoarder, lover of can’t-put-down books, runner, author, and Mensa wannabe. That last trait explains the inspiration for her first novel, The Suicide Gene. Her second book, Dream Wide Awake, was inspired during long runs on Presque Isle State Park in her hometown of Erie, Pennsylvania. She is a proud mother of three and an even prouder grandmother of one.
Before becoming a novelist, CJ worked as a grant and freelance writer. Her articles varied from business to women’s health to the paranormal . Her most popular articles can be found on her website.”
(Taken from Goodreads)
Which of CJ Zahner’s novels do you think you would prefer – the modern domestic fiction or the paranormal thriller? You might also enjoy the following reviews: