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

Quick Book Review: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

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Photo via Goodreads.

I love Gillian Flynn and her writing story! I decided to read this novel after I became obsessed with all things Gone Girl.

This novel, from my understanding, was the first one she had ever written that was published. Even for a first novel, it was amazingly thought out and had me hooked at every word. I found it to be a little short and I saw the ending coming, but I still found the book addicting and well planned.

There’s not much wrong that I can critique about the book, other than wanting more action to happen or the book to be longer (but I think that’s because I adore Gillian Flynn and I just want more books and writing by her out right now). I did see the ending coming from the very beginning, but that might be due to the part that I read and watch a lot of books and television shows about crime.

I found this book not to be as good as Gone Girl, but still an amazing read. For me, the book was a five out of five stars. A good crime novel mystery that made me want more out of Gillian Flynn immediately.

Wonderful novel! 5 out of 5 stars!

Book Review: The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events) by Lemony Snicket

In honor of the Netflix release of A Series of Unfortunate Events, here is a throwback review of The Bad Beginning!!

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Photo via Goodreads.

Book Review:
Title: The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events)
Author: Lemony Snicket
Date Read: October 4th – October 12th, 2016
Date Reviewed: October 12th, 2016

Introduction: I went to a local bookstore and saw that quite a few books in this series was on sale. Since I read these books a long time ago when I was younger, I figured rereading them now as an adult would be fun. I also figured since a new Netflix series is going to be coming around soon that I should go over this book series so I can watch the show!!!

Spoilers Ahead?: Yes.

Quick Summary: Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire face a horrible tragedy – their parents have passed away in a tragic fire and they must go live with the horrible, no good Count Olaf (who is not only a Count but an actor as well). When Count Olaf finds out that Violet has money from their parents in an account, he tries to marry her to acquire this money.

Evaluations: This book is an incredible children’s read that adults can also find humorous. For children, this book is full of action and adventure, and the situations seem “realistic”. They might have a horrible four times removed third cousin that could take them in!! Reading this book was quite nostalgic, but I find that it still stands. While it’s quite foolish and silly, it makes for a great adventure. Overall, I really enjoyed re-reading this book. It’s hard to imagine anyone but Jim Carrey as Count Olaf since the movie that was made was actually quite funny (and great in my opinion), but this book will make a great television series!

Plot: As an adult, the children seem boring. They have faced horrible circumstances and it seems like the children are to young to deal with it. For a child, this seems like a great adventure story. These kids have been put through terrible times, but they still fight back in child-like ways. If the reader goes into this book expecting it to be like Harry Potter (where it translates well for both adults and children) then the reader will not be impressed. This book was aimed at children, not adults, so most of the plot seems unrealistic and unimpressive. The kids are whiny, they’re constantly wallowing in distress, and they complain how they want their parents back – but aren’t mots kids like that? I work with kids, and when they have a bad day they act that way. Overall, the plot is not written to be a fantastic, adult novel. This is a children’s novel, so adults beware.

Characters: Violet, Klaus and Sunny are interesting characters within the story. I do not relate to them as much as I did when I was a kid (I used to think I was just like Violet, and now looking at these characters I can’t relate at all to any of them). Violet seems to be older and “wiser” in mature situations, Klaus seems to be more intelligent but whinier, and Sunny bites and can’t speak well. To a kid, this is essentially an Avengers roster of your average every day kids. To adults, it’s three archetype children. As an adult, I also noticed that after their parents die the children are almost perfectly fine. How I understood this concept, is that a child cannot grasp that death is forever, but an adult can. An adult understands these intense feelings, but a child cannot grasp it until it happens. So while many of the situations that occur may seem out of place for an adult, you still need to realize it’s aimed towards children. This is simply an adventurous novel for kids to read.

Count Olaf is strange, but I love him. He’s a wacky character and keeps the novel interesting. He brings a lot of the twists and turns about that keeps the reader interested. Yes, he’s inappropriate when you look at it from an adult point of view (why would he want to marry a pre-teen?..) but in a child’s point of view he’s a great, wacky villain. I like to compare him as the child’s Joker (from Batman). Wacky and strange, but they keep it interesting (of course the Joker is more intense and R-rated, but hopefully you get the point).

Themes/Creativity: This book is definitely creative! It brings a crazy and wacky plot together with some relatable child characters and then finishes it off with some silly villains. The only theme I might find in this book is family sticking together, but I’m sure there’s more hanging around for those theme heavy readers.

Uniqueness: Is this book unique? Absolutely! A book with thirteen novels in the series that kept changing it up is definitely unique. It fits in it’s own little category alongside novels like Harry Potter, Eragon and The Wizard of Oz for must reads! I would definitely recommend parents try to get their kids into reading with this series!

Strengths: This novel is definitely aimed at children! It does a great job mixing in child problems, silly villains and adventures for your child reader.

Weaknesses: This book might be considered unrealistic for adults. It definitely doesn’t transcend into the older age groups for a good, relatable read.

Score: Three out of Five.

I find that the relatable-ness factor brings this book down in score, and that the children are sometimes incredibly annoying for an adult audience.

Quick Book Review: Bone Idol by David Louden

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Photo via Goodreads.

Bone Idol (bohn ahyd-l), despite confusing me by the titles, was a really nice read! And by really nice, I mean it kept me hooked, interesting and on my edge about what was going to happen next to the main character.

I enjoyed reading about the main character as he grew up, but I sometimes felt a little confused as to what age stage he was at. I did my best to guess at what age he was at while I was reading it, but I sometimes found it a struggle to understand if he was still a preteen or a teenager yet.

I found the novel was just perfectly long enough to not get me bored and wishing for it to end. I was almost begging for more when I got to the last chapter. I would definitely want to continue reading this series if another book came out and followed the lead character or his family again.

One word of advice was that I would have liked a more clear plot. I wasn’t exactly sure what was going on for a complete plot, other than following the character as he grew up. Yes, I understand it was somewhat an autobiography but I would have loved a clear plot to the stories.

I did enjoy this book and I would recommend it to many readers who want a different read, that is a fictional themed novel but has a more real life setting while you follow the character.

Four out of five stars, due to the lack of a continuing plot and the age confusion I experienced while trying to figure out how old the lead character, Doug, was throughout the novel.

Amazing book nonetheless!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Book Review: Two Graves by Zoe Kalo

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Photo via Goodreads.

Book Review
Title: Two Graves
Author: Zoe Kalo
Type of Book: Novella (Approximately 70 pages)
Spoilers below?: Yes.

Introduction: I was really interested in the premise of this book. It sounded suspenseful, potentially spooky, and intense. As soon as I was able to get my hands on this book, I began my read and it shockingly didn’t even take my an hour (include probably about 30 minutes of checking social media in that since I got distracted).

Quick Review: The cover is absolutely gorgeous. I know you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, but if you are looking for something pretty to put on your shelf than this book fits the bill. The cover made me get the impression the book might be spooky, but it’s not as spooky as you might think. I found this book to be entertaining, but not what I expected from the cover and summary.

Plot: I was incredibly confused by the plot. I understood something happened to the main character’s son (which I thought was her brother? She was sixteen, so did she have her kid at twelve or thirteen? The way she talked it was like he was her brother, so was this supposed to be one of those situations where the grandparents raise the grandchild as their own?…) but then I was left confused as to what exactly happened. I re-read this book a few times trying to understand what happened, but I was left even more confused as my brain tried to put the story together. The book at least had my hooked at what supposedly happened, but to no avail. Then, after I got so thrilled to find out what was happening, the book kind of just ended. I know this is going to be a series, but it left me feeling a little sad. Was that the cliffhanger for the next book? I hope so! I want to know so much more! This was only a little seventy page novella, so I hope there’s more to come.

I was also very confused as to who the “Father” the main character was talking to. This “Father” left, so I was left assuming this was the Father of both the main character and her “little brother” (Apparently son as I read more reviews). But, she never gives him any form of affection or father-daughter like talk between the two, so I’m assuming he was the Father of her child? I would have liked if this was more specified. As much as I love putting the work into a good mystery, this wasn’t much of a mystery, and more of just some plot details left out. If this book was centered on finding how the relationships between the characters, then sweet! I’ll do the work for that. But this book did not give me this feel.

I found the sixteen year old version of the main character and the man she talked on the phone with sounded way to adult-like. I know there are very mature kids out there, but it just seemed odd. If these two had a kid together at a  very young age, I wouldn’t think they’d be acting super mature towards each other and playing the adult roles. It just seemed odd to me, but maybe it isn’t. That’s just my opinion.

Now here’s the real mystery that bugged me – why did  this woman want revenge and against whom? This person appears, but we never know why or who he is. It clearly wasn’t the Father of her child. Did this person do something to her child? That’s hinted at. There just wasn’t enough information for me to truly understand. I get wanting to leave a cliffhanger, but this felt like the entire plot wasn’t even addressed. It’s like, reading Gone Girl (spoiler alert……) and never finding out what happened to Nick Dunne’s wife and her never returning – she just leaves and disappears, Nick tries to find her, and then the end in the middle of his hunt. It didn’t seem right. Perhaps this was just an introduction to the rest of the series (and that could work!) but without a hint as to when the next book would come out seems unfair to the reader.

Overall: I expected a lot more and I hope more is added (whether it’s in this novella or a series of novellas or a series of books). This novella was super interesting, but it was just missing some bits and pieces that would have made it so much better! This author is incredible at describing wardrobes and pieces of music, it’d be a real shame to not see more of her work floating around in my local book shops!

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

This novella was fantastic, and I’m glad I got a chance to read and review it. I definitely want to read more since this book was so well written, and I’m sure there is more to this story lurking in Zoe Kalo’s brain. It’s intriguing, it left me speechless, and it had my brain working overtime trying to connect anything and everything to try to solve the story.

Quick Book Review: Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

In honour of the Inferno film release, here is my review of Angels and Demons!

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Photo via Goodreads.

As a swimmer I expected to like this novel, but sadly I found it lacking.

The story itself is incredibly amazing, but it lacked any form of excitement. It seemed to be more of an essay than a story about how the Three-Year Swim Club came to being and how they entered a quest to get to the Olympics.

The author did a great job researching and presenting this novel, but it was not what I expected at all. Despite the incredible writing and fantastic story, I just felt like it was lacking a good ‘umph’ to the story to make anybody want to pick it up and read it.

I expected a lot of explanation into swimming, but sadly there wasn’t much of that either. With the lack of exciting plot movement and swimming descriptions, I just felt let down.

I love non-fiction, and as a non-fiction novel it was fantastic, but it was just not what I expected off of the back cover.

Two out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Quick Book Review: Guilty:A Split Moment – A Split Family by Jane Bidder

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Photo via Goodreads.

** spoiler alert ** This book was an amazing take on having a family member go to prison.

This book started out very slow for me, and I did not enjoy the first quarter of the book. I found it very hard to get into, until Simon went to prison. Once Simon went to prison for texting and driving and in turn killing a woman, the book became very interesting to me and had my hanging on at every word. It gave a very interesting perspective on what happens to family relationships when one person is thrown into a prison.

I found the relationships in this book very believable, and I also found the plot line very believable as well. The conversations made sense, and along the way I had constant questions that were eventually answered.

The only way this book could have been any better was if the beginning was more catchy to hold onto my attention. It felt very slow and boring at the beginning, but it was an introduction.

I still have questions about what happened to the characters and there is a special place in my heart for them.

Four out of five stars! Due to the boring beginning.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.