"Secrets. Scandal. Betrayal. In Paradise, pleasure comes at a dangerously high price...
Three couples each receive an exclusive invitation to the fantasy holiday destination of a lifetime...
The host: Martin McKenzie, global billionaire and media mogul. Charismatic, powerful and always gets what he wants.
The location: A breathtakingly beautiful undiscovered island, nestled in the Aegean Sea. Private, secluded and not quite as it seems.
The details: Seven days of pure hedonism, five-star luxury tailored to every desire, also includes... secrets, lies, and infidelity. As the guests begin to enjoy everything the luxury island has to offer, cracks begin to surface between the three couples. But that is not all. Someone is watching them."
So, I'm going to confess I was drawn to Pleasure Island from the cover. I thought it looked really summery and the perfect book to read when I was relaxing in the sun (granted, not on Holiday, but still.) The blurb intrigued me and then I saw fellow bloggers tweeting about how much they'd enjoyed it, I decided I couldn't wait any longer and started to read it.
I'm so, so glad I did as it is bloody brilliant.
This is the first book in a fair while that's hooked me in, in an all-consuming way. When I wasn't reading it, it was all I could think about, and I'd sneak as much time as possible to read (even if it was just a few pages) so that I could keep going, as I just HAD to know what happened.
The story follows media mogul Martin McKenzie, who invites three couples to his luxury, private island for a holiday. What they don't realise is that the entire island is rigged with secret cameras and they are being watched by a select group - 'the super 8', who have all paid good money to be involved in the 'experiment', which forces the holiday-goers into situations to see how they react, all the while them not knowing they are being filmed. While most enjoy the endless glasses of champagne, luxury spa and free designer clothes certain guests begin to suspect not is all as it seems on the island - and they have a right to be worried. They have been hand-picked by Martin McKenzie because in some way, they have done him wrong. As a reader, you begin to see what they have done to 'deserve' a place on the island, and how they are all connected to each other.
The characters in Pleasure Island are brilliant - all completely differ from one an other and add another layer to this fantastic storyline. Some are pretty extreme like Martin McKenzie, who is downright evil and quite frankly is a little bit mad. He is a force to be reckoned with and we begin to see just how far he will go to ensure things go his way. Then there's Billy-Jo who is fame-hungry, willing to do anything to become a 'big star', with the wealth to go along with it. She was an irritating character and the extent of her greed was unbelievable at times, but she certainly stood out in the story. When you hear about her difficult upbringing it kind of makes it more understandable, but still didn't detract from her outright selfishness.
Over all I think my favourite character was Nate, the former footballer. He was kind and genuine and not up himself like a lot of the 'cast'. He is trapped in a marriage to Billy-Jo that he didn't really want to be in, and overall I just hoped that by the end of the story he'd end up happy. I enjoyed seeing how he reacted to certain situations throughout the story, and he becomes good friends with Angelika, another guest on the island who is, like Nate, level-headed and nice - a contradiction to some of the other guests on the island.
My one concern was that due to the title of the story, the book would be filled with sex scenes and not much else, but that wasn't the case at all. There's the odd one or two as part of the scenarios the 'cast' are put through, but they actually weren't as detailed as I'd expected and so didn't detract from the main plot line.
I loved the plot of Pleasure Island, it's just brilliant- unique, gripping and original and I really enjoyed reading it. There's such a mysterious edge to the story, you never quite know what's going to happen and there's plenty of twists and turns that keep you on our toes. Pleasure Island is the perfect beach read - make sure you have some spare time on your hands when you start this though, as you won't want to put it down! If you haven't purchased this already, I'd highly recommend it - it's not to be missed!
A big thank you to Bookouture for providing an advance copy via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.