Murderous May: The Girl on the Train – BOOK REVIEW EXTRAVAGANZA!

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Book Review
Book Title: The Girl on the Train
Author: Paula Hawkins

Introduction: I have had this book on my shelf for AGES. I had been dying to read it but I never had the time. And then, with a hint of luck, I had to go sit during a long appointment and I had all the time in the world to read this book! And I read about 85% of the book in one sitting and finished it one day later. I not only wanted to read it because of all the fantastic reviews I had read about it, but because I want to watch the film adaption as well. I always love reading the book before seeing the movie – hence why I haven’t watched many movies lately! So many are based on good books!

Review:

This book has been compared to Gone Girl since it hopped on the suspense/mystery novel scene – and while you can definitely say they are similar (because of, you know, murders and mystery) they are both fantastic in their own ways. They are two separate entities that shouldn’t be compared! Unless you are using them in a list of the best suspense books in the last decade, then list them together!

This book follows Rachel, a drunk, angry, depressed, bitter woman who has been divorced by Tom. Slowly throughout this book we are introduced to her back story – a glorious tale woven so beautifully by Paula Hawkins. Tom is now married to Anna, the other woman in his and Rachel’s relationship, and it all goes downhill from there. When a girl that Rachel has seen is missing, Rachel decides that she has to help this mystery.

Reading this book from Rachel’s, Anna and Meghan’s point of view is truly incredible. Rachel isn’t totally reliable because of her being an alcoholic, Anna sounds like the not-so-perfect housewife Tom probably desired at some point, and Meghan gives an inside view to the outside view Rachel has been watching. These three tales woven together are just so beautifully written that it’s hard not to want to tell everyone to read this book just to show them how three separate characters who barely interact can have  their lives so entwined with one enough.

So is all this hype worth it? I would say yes. Don’t put this book in some high and mighty place in your mind and then be disappointed. I decided I would read this to see the movie – all the comparisons to Gone Girl made me quite suspicious so I didn’t leave my standards high. But, surprisingly, this book was excellent. If I would have given it silly expectations, I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much.

If I could describe this book in a few words, I would give it – insanity, murder, and suspicion. Every time I thought I had an idea of where this book was going, Paula had to go and shake it up like a magic eight ball. Typically I can see the ending from a mile away, and this book was different. I did NOT expect the ending. Will the reader guess it? Potentially, but it’s not a dead giveaway – which is why I like this book! Paula didn’t make it obvious and made the reader work for it if they wanted to guess.

Overall – this fast-paced, mind-blowing novel is definitely what I needed in my life! It lived up to the hype, and I’m excited to watch the film now! The psychological, murderous novel full of absolute insanity is spectacular! I can’t wait to read more by Paula Hawkins! Her and Gillian Flynn need to write a book together…because the insanity between the two of them in one book? That’d be killer!

Five out of five stars.

Positives:
1. Fast-Paced
2. Unpredictable Twists and Turns
3. Unreliable Narrators
4. Well Developed Characters
5. Complex Plot with a Layered Storyline
6. Unique Concepts

Negatives:
1. Comparisons to Gone Girl
2. Over-Hyped? Maybe.

Positive & Negative All Wrapped Up In One:
1. Dual (3 to be exact) POVs
2. Stereotypical Relationships
3. Black-Out Drunk Moments

Book Review: From Wedding to Funeral: Spouses who Murder by Mindy M. Shelton

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Photo via Goodreads.

Book Review
Book Title: From Wedding to Funeral: Spouses who Murder
Book Author: Mindy M. Shelton

Introduction: I received the entire series from Mindy M. Shelton as a trade for some honest reviews. Thank you for this opportunity!

Review:

This series of books is non-fiction. The books describe true crime murders that have been initiated by spouses. Like the previous encyclopedias, each chapter starts with a form about the Murderers and what they have done. The forms give information such as the date of the murder, the murder weapon, the sentence and any other information needed to give a basic insight into their situations. Following that, Mindy gives a thorough description derived from many trusted sources of every murder and the follow-up. Each investigation is explained in an unbiased tone, which makes this an excellent book to use for research or for citations.

Compared to the previous books in this series, I felt like this textbook in the series had a lot more description an writing in regard to the murders. This added ‘umph’ of explanations gives a better insight into what actually happened to these murders.

Overall, I really enjoyed this series as a whole. There weren’t any hiccups or negative aspects that I could find. I do hope Mindy continues researching and creating more non-fiction textbooks (whether it’s about murders, crime or any other subject) as I would love to continue reading them!

As always, I should include a disclaimer for individuals wanting to read  this book: This is NON-FICTION and is written as if it is a TEXTBOOK. This is not a fictional story or tale. Going into this book expecting a crime novel format will leave you disappointed because that is not how this book was written. If you are looking for a set of facts, or an encyclopedia to assist in research than this book is for you!!

Five out of five stars – what a wonderful “end” (for now? Maybe?) to this great set of textbooks!

Quick Book Review: Winning! A Guide to Games That Never Were by Brandon Barrows

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Photo via Goodreads.

This novel was a short, funny twist on gaming guides.

Every game in this book does not exist, which makes this book quite amusing. It is explaining cheats and how to progress through these games that were never made. Clearly some of these stories were parodying certain games on the market today, and that made it so much better. I have a few times where I wanted to chuckle at the stories and how they explained their games.

I definitely enjoyed this book! It’s a short, cute read and it is definitely more of a comedy book. People who are fans of video games would appreciate this book a lot more than the average reader!

Four out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Quick Book Review: The Most Important Thing: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor by Howard Marks

Let’s do a Throwback Book Review from a few years ago! #ThrowbackThursday

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Photo via Goodreads.

I never read books that are non-fiction and explain things to you (unless it is for school), but I found this book charmed me in a way that is hard to express.

This book explains to you thoughtful ways to invest, and how not to make mistakes when investing. While I found most of them to be quite obvious, when you put them all together it makes a lot of sense. It is very useful to use when you need help with money, and has made me think over my investments and where I spend my money during my schooling years.

A friend of mine who is studying Business also gave me lots of insight by telling me how true this book is, and coming from Columbia Business School (the “best” school for business, her words) that this book will be a good reference for future investments.

Overall, it was very helpful and thoughtful! Although it will not get me hooked on reading books related to business and how to make money or spend your money, I did enjoy the information I gained from it!

Four stars out of five.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Quick Book Review: A Different Kind by Lauryn April

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Photo via Goodreads.

This book was a good read, but I would not consider it to be one of my top reads.

The book started off rather slow, introducing the characters to a large extent, but in a very slow manner. Once the characters began to interact with each other and action was present, the story was much faster and much more enjoyable for me. I found the ending to be very lame though and not thought out well. The big build up to the climax was perfect, and then the climax made me feeling like half of the pages were ripped out of my book and I was missing the real copy.

Payton was a very relatable character. Her situation and her friends’ situations were believable and not far off from how society is today in high schools. I began to connect with the character on a deep level. During every turn of the story, I cheered for Payton and Logan.

The plot line, seemed believable for a story about aliens, but I felt as if the author just stopped the book because she ran out of space to continue the story. If the story would have had a bit more action, and a better climax and ending, the book would have made up for the slow and boring start.

Overall, I did enjoy the book, but it was not my favourite. I wouldn’t read it again, but I would suggest it to someone who wasn’t looking for a hard read but wasn’t looking for a book that would keep them attached at the hip to the book.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Quick Book Review: Finding Elizabeth by Taylor Fenner

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Photo via Goodreads.

Finding Elizabeth was a sweet, cute novel revolving around the idea that we are reincarnated, and true love conquers all.

I found this novel to be quite cute! It was a very romanticizing novel, for all the true romantics at heart.

While this novel does start out quite slow and boring at the start, it picks up speed rather quickly. The content of the book seems like it is more of a Young Adult than any other category. It isn’t for a very young audience, but it feels like it isn’t aimed at the adult audience either. But that makes this book more accessible to different audiences!

I did find that this plot has been redone a million and one times, but it was a sweet novel! It isn’t something I’d go running to pick up immediately, but as a nice, short read it was great! It didn’t wow me or stand out compared to other similar books, but it shouldn’t be left off the shelf! It was a good read!

Taylor Fenner did an excellent job with this novel, and I applaud her!

Four out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

HIS CUSTODY by Tamsen Parker Book Review

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Book Title: His Custody
Book Author: Tamsen Parker

Introduction: I’d be lying if I said Tamsen Parker wasn’t my favourite author. There’s many reasons why I love her (in a nerdy, fangirl type way) and many reasons why I respect her (as another female working their butt of in this funny world of business) but listing them all here wouldn’t do it justice. So, for a small introduction all I have to say is this: I LOVE supporting Tamsen and reading all of her books and posting my silly, little reviews for everyone to see. You can tell Tamsen is passionate about her books and she does an incredible job (she constantly raises the bars! She doesn’t stick to one topic and pump out fifty books of the same, old story. She changes it up!). I’ll continue reading every book she throws out until I can’t read anymore, and then I’ll find an audiobook and continue to devour every single novel she throws at me.

So thank you Tamsen for being such a wonderful author! From your little tweets that make my day, to the Valentine I got in the mail, to the very first time you offered to send me the rest of the Compass series to binge on. You are fantastic and I adore you and I appreciate everything you do (I don’t think people say that enough to anybody…so here’s my little appreciate two paragraphs to remind you ;D )! Keep up the great work!

Now it’s review time.

Review:

His Custody changes up the pace from Tamsen’s other books. We’ve seen the BDSM-type of novel, the voyeur novel, the F/F novel, and now this book is just a teeny bit different. And by teeny bit, I mean it’s a full 180. His Custody is what it sounds like – immediately you are thrown into this strange custody battle-esque scene where Jasper is trying to get custody of Keyne until she turns 18. I did NOT expect that, not at all. The title should have given it away, but hey, I’m not always looking for the most obviously reason behind the titles. I thought it might have been some sexy metaphor- but nope! Tamsen gives away the first scene in the title. She loves throwing me a loop, I swear sometimes she does this on purpose just to drive me insane! (Insane in a good way 😉 She’s keeping me on my toes…).

Bonus Marks: Jasper leaving Keyne a note. A hand written note! Oh, Tamsen loves playing with my heart strings.

Jasper is the knight in shining armor who is totally not the knight in shining armor. Drugs, kinks, all of that jazz that makes someone NOT the perfect knight in shining armor is Jasper. Yet he’s sexy as hell and works his butt off for Keyne. He’s not your typicaly goody-two shoes love interest, but that’s what makes him interesting! He’s not perfect, he has flaws. Slowly we’re seeing Tamsen develop her characters into bigger and better, and I love that!! Was he my favourite out of all her characters? No, but he’s still incredibly developed and written beautifully! (I still love the Compass series. Nothing has passed that yet…Cris from the Compass series fits my aesthetic).

Bonus Marks: “Mumbo jumbo” is used in this book. Finally someone else who uses my terminology!

This book is definitely another home run for Tamsen. She grows in her field, which is wonderful. I haven’t found many authors who continue to grow and share the knowledge their gaining without doing the same, old boring storyline over and over. She tries new things and experiments, which makes me respect her even more as an author. She goes above and beyond (and without spoiling), she goes to greater lengths to show pain, love, trust and other feelings in these characters where she hasn’t gone before.  This book is pretty deeper in it’s storyline and consequences. It’s a nice change to see a story with a little more pain than the past books, and it’s interesting to see how Tamsen deals with that in her stories.

Bonus Marks: “Hey, that guy has a penis”. The strangest yet funniest quote I’ve ever seen in a book.

There’s, of course, lots of sexy time in this novel. How would it be a Tamsen novel without the sexy time? It’s a splash of different compared to the other books. This book is harsh and intense, and the scenes between Jasper and Keyne fit that bill. It all ties in well with the dramatic scenes of this novel.

Frustrations: My frustrations are always silly with books like this. For example, my BIGGEST PROBLEM in this whole book is the name Andersson. Why is it two S’s? Why am I so annoyed by this? Why is this the BIGGEST issue in the whole book for me?! Who knows. It’s a great book! If I can say the spelling of a name is the biggest frustration of a book, you’ve done a good job!

My second frustration isn’t a book frustration – I know a female dog named Jasper, and for whatever reason I was not convinced that Jasper was the male leads name for the first twenty pages of this book. Silly frustration? Obviously. But again, if silly frustrations like this are my biggest frustrations, the book has to be good. Or at least on my level, it’s great.