The Girl on the Train (Paula Hawkins)

The Girl on the Train

EVERY DAY THE SAME
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

UNTIL TODAY
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

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The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins has been one of the hottest book club picks around for a couple of years now. It is a thriller written from the points of view of three complicated, troubled women: Anna, Megan, and Rachel (the main character).

I picked this book to read because it has been so popular for such a long time, and I like to keep at least sorta-up on to date on these types of books, considering that I work as a library clerk. It makes it easier to chat with customers about different types of books, and make recommendations if I am well-read in more genres that just my favourite one or two. And lately, I’ve just been in a bit of a book rut so it was time to read a few outside of romance / erotica!

I liked the pacing of The Girl on the Train. It is an easy read that I got through in two sittings. I felt that the outcome of the novel was hidden for most of the novel, although I did suspect the killer’s identity several chapters before Rachel did.

One of things that I appreciated was the author’s decision to not make any particular characters the “good guys”. Every single character from the Rachel to the police officers and the “red-haired man in the train station” were flawed people, everyone with something to hide, to prove, to overcome. It helped the story to stay grounded in my opinion and stopped me from assuming the character’s POV as my own. I didn’t particularly cheer for any one or root against the other.

Overall, I did find this book to be entertaining but I am not sure why it received as much attention as it did. I can definitely name several books along this line that I would recommend much more strongly to another reader, The House Between Tides for one. This story was good, I just didn’t find it to be particularly memorable.

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Deepwater Horizon (2016)

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Synopsis from IMDB:

On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explodes in the Gulf of Mexico, igniting a massive fireball that kills several crew members. Chief electronics technician Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg) and his colleagues find themselves fighting for survival as the heat and the flames become stifling and overwhelming. Banding together, the co-workers must use their wits to make it out alive amid all the chaos.

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I was expecting Deepwater Horizon to be an intense movie. The events happened not that long ago and I remember seeing the trailer in the movie theatre and turning to my friend and saying “it’s too soon”. Well, it was definitely intense! More so than I expected, that’s for sure.

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I don’t know if it’s ever been mentioned on this blog but I am a huge environmentalist. I studied it at University and got my undergraduate degree in that field. So when this tragedy happened most of my focus was on the pollution and the devastation to the ecological systems that were affected in the Gulf of Mexico and up the coast line of the United States.

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The movie didn’t actually touch upon this at all though. It starts with the crew arriving on Deepwater Horizon and takes place all on the same day. The plot of the movie takes you through the different key players who were on the scene and the things that failed. A large part of the movie was the surviving crew trying to stabilize the rig by cutting off the oil that was fuelling the fires, and then getting the hell off and into rescue boats.

As intense as I expected the movie to be, it was so much more so. I can’t stress enough how well portrayed the events were of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. It is a high-action movie with a lot of big name stars, including Kate Hudson, Kurt Russell, and Mark Wahlberg.

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Amy Schumer’s The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo

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The Emmy Award-winning comedian, actress, writer, and star of Inside Amy Schumer and the acclaimed film Trainwreck has taken the entertainment world by storm with her winning blend of smart, satirical humor. Now, Amy Schumer has written a refreshingly candid and uproariously funny collection of (extremely) personal and observational essays.

In The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, Amy mines her past for stories about her teenage years, her family, relationships, and sex and shares the experiences that have shaped who she is – a woman with the courage to bare her soul to stand up for what she believes in, all while making us laugh.

Ranging from the raucous to the romantic, the heartfelt to the harrowing, this highly entertaining and universally appealing collection is the literary equivalent of a night out with your best friends – an unforgettable and fun adventure that you wish could last forever. Whether she’s experiencing lust-at-first-sight while in the airport security line, sharing her own views on love and marriage, admitting to being an introvert, or discovering her cross-fit instructor’s secret bad habit, Amy Schumer proves to be a bighearted, brave, and thoughtful storyteller that will leave you nodding your head in recognition, laughing out loud, and sobbing uncontrollably – but only because it’s over.

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Normally I don’t go for books like this – memoirs and anecdotal stories – but Amy Schumer’s book came highly recommended from a friend. She listened to the audiobook, which is read by Amy herself, and was laughing her head off beside me at work. Humour is communicated so much more honestly via conversation than as words on a page, so with books like this, I really feel that the only way to take it in is via an audiobook. Something funny sounded great after the emotional story ( The Light Between Oceans ) that I listened to last, and the decision-making process stopped there!

The girl with the lower back tattoo is at turns witty, insightful, educational and of course, laugh out loud funny. I wasn’t too sure what the book would be about. It’s about Amy and her life of course, but she clearly states at the beginning that this is not her autobiography because she has decades of life still to live. The woman is only in her 30s after all. I think that in the end it is a collection of stories about Amy but I agree that I wouldn’t call it an autobiography. The timeline jumps around, but you get a sense of her childhood and upbringing, her early years struggling to become a comedian who actually gets paid for her stand-up, and where she is today after the global success of Trainwreck.

My friend was correct in pointing out that this was one of those rare books that is actually funny. I work as a librarian and humourous books are the hardest type to help a person find because – in my opinion – humour doesn’t translate as well on page as it does in conversation. So, unsurprisingly, Schumer’s stories were less funny than I expected and more along the lines of heartfelt stories and sarcastic asides. That isn’t to say that this book isn’t funny though, it is and I particularly liked the story of her lower back tattoo. But you get to see who the real person is behind the pen and this was charming.

I didn’t not know very much about Amy before I started this book. I knew she was a comic, and she was that girl in Trainwreck. But I didn’t know that she had written the movie. I didn’t know that she was a successful comic before the movie was ever filmed, or that she had written for magazines.  I certainly did not know about her undying love affair for the island of Manhattan.

Some of the topics that Amy discusses throughout this novel are her very uncharitable reasons for volunteering at a camp for disabled children and adults one summer as a preteen, balancing a type one introvert personality with a career that demands you give everything to everyone. She also discusses how the future and ideology of an entire gender of our species been placed on her by journalists with questions such as how do you think the success of your movie shape the future of Hollywood for other women. As she points out “Um, hello?! I am just one woman. Not all women”. And women’s place in Hollywood won’t change until people stop asking questions like this.

Two of the most difficult portions to listen to are the ones surrounding her father’s MS and the two women who were shot and killed at a showing of her movie in Lafayette. When something like that happens I’ve always thought of course the actors and directors and producers, anyone associated with creating the attraction, must feel terrible to be attached to the tragedy, even though they are in no way responsible for it. But to hear how difficult it was for Amy, in the following weeks, her genuine desire to reach out to those families, and the fact that she carries the pictures of the two women who were killed makes her much more human. I also never knew that she was so involved in efforts across the United States to create legislation that would prevent mentally ill people with criminal records from accessing firearms.

The girl with the lower back tattoo is not a typical biography. It is funny and heartwarming and at times brought a couple tears to my eyes. It definitely challenged my preconceptions of who this woman was and is and I have a lot more respect for her now. I can also relate to Amy on a personal level. I definitely recommend this book, specifically the audiobook, because humour is just communicated so much more freely through this medium.

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Free Book Alert 21/7/17 – 31/7/17

One hot Russian Dom, one feisty American sub, endless kinky possibilities.

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Ivan’s Captive Submissive (Submissive’s Wish, #2)

When Gia Lopez signs up for the Submissive’s Wish Charity Auction she has no idea that she’s about to be bought by a Russian Dom who will do anything to make her fantasies come true. Including staging an elaborate kidnapping that Gia believes is real. Ivan is instantly drawn to Gia and he wants to be the best Master she’s ever had. As he spends time with Gia he begins to have intense feelings for the strong, independent, and sexy American woman. He’s only won a week of her service but wishes to keep her forever.

Unaware of Ivan’s true feelings, Gia fights her growing emotional attachment to him. All she wants is to settle down with a nice Dom in the United States, continue her career, and live a normal life. However, Ivan sets a plan into motion that will push Gia to all of her limits and take her on a global journey of self-discovery, extreme pleasure, and love.

Warning: Contains Erotic Spanking, Subspace, f/f situations, a devastatingly sexy Dom who knows what he wants, and a submissive who just might be ready to give him what he needs.

Buy Links-  

Amazon US

Amazon Canada

Nook

Google Play

iTunes

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I have reviewed a few books from this author, and Ivan’s Captive Submissive is the first book in my favourite series! Not even just my favourite series from this author, but My . Favourite . Series  !!! Definitely get it while it is FREE 🙂

 

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Crossfire – Sylvia Day

The Crossfire series by Sylvia Day is a fast-paced, well written, dramatic romance series set in modern day New York City. It will greatly appeal to fans of Fifty Shades, but is considerably more entertaining and better written in my opinion.

The heroine is named Eva and she was raised by her mother and a series of extremely wealthy stepfathers. Her best friend / roommate is Cary, a charming and rising male top-model who is currently dating both a girlfriend and a boyfriend. Eva has serious trust issues, and a tendency to run away from relationship problems and commitments because she was sexually abused for years as a child by an older step-brother.

The hero is billionaire businessman Gideon Cross. He can understand and relate to Eva’s problems because he has a few of his own, after witnessing his father’s suicide as a child, and then being abused by his therapist as a teen. Gideon is ruthless, dominant

Bared to you is the first story in the Crossfire series, followed by reflected in you, and entwined with you, captivated by you, and finally, one with you. This series has been completed and the other does not intend to write anymore about Gideon an hour according to her social media posts so this is a great series to check out if you are tired of constantly waiting for the next book.

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This series has a lot of sex in it,  and a lot of drama between two people used to fucking up their relationships. But despite this, G & E have a soulmate type connection and their love for each other is never in doubt. Day’s writing reminded me of the tale of Odysseus in some ways because Ewa and Gideon have so many trials they must overcome in order to just have each other’s company. Friends, family, and numerous witchy exes all try to keep them apart.

One of the most important aspects of a series for me is the world that is created, and secondary characters are huge factor in this. I love that I quickly grew to care about many of the friends of Gideon and Eva. I cared for Steven and Mark and Trey and Cary and Megumi and Arash and all the rest. I actually hope that a couple of Gideon’s friends have their own books or series one day, particularly Arnoldo or Arash.

I think anyone who has read Crossfire or 50 Shades will inevitably make comparisons between the two series. Both feature a character or two who has been abused as a youth in a sexual manner. Both male heroes are a rich businessmen who are aloof, and difficult to emotionally connect to, though they are highly sexual in nature as well. The heroines are athletics built, smart and educated, new graduates starting out their careers in the field of their choice. But this is where the comparison ends.

Eva is not the wishy-washy, virgin lead that you find in Anastasia. Eva loves sex just as much as Gideon and initiated it as often. The romantic scenes in the Crossfire series are not as kinky. There are no whips, no red room of pain, no sexual contacts. But there is a lot more sex to go with your story. Something I also loved about Eva and Gideon is that there issues don’t magically work themselves out. They go to counselling individually and as a couple because they know they have issues to work through and care enough to do the work so that they will have a stable relationship that will last.

The last book in the series is one with you. I thought that the author was working on another novel until I finished reading it so the series end came as a bit of a surprise to me, even though I mostly feel like it’s a timely end. I feel like today has finished on a strong note and there wasn’t much more to say. That being said, in the last third of this book there is a surprise twist that is very sad and it left me bawling my eyes out into my pillow. I didn’t feel like there was enough time for the reader or the main characters to recover from this plot twist and get over it. At the end of the day this is a romance novel and I like my romances to and happily. I thought this plot twist would have been more appropriate at the beginning of the book or in the previous one. I don’t resent that it happened, but I don’t think it was handled well.

Otherwise, I highly recommend this novel and the whole series to anyone who likes romance. It’s less kinky than my usual fare but still a fantastic read with lots of sex. 

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Xx

The Light Between Oceans

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After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

M. L. Stedman’s mesmerizing, beautifully written novel seduces us into accommodating Isabel’s decision to keep this “gift from God.” And we are swept into a story about extraordinarily compelling characters seeking to find their North Star in a world where there is no right answer, where justice for one person is another’s tragic loss.

The Light Between Oceans is exquisite and unforgettable, a deeply moving novel.

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I just finished listening to The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. It was read by Noah Taylor and his narration was fantastic. I was surprised at first by his Australian accent – which is probably strange considering that the book is set in Australia, about Australians and written by an Australian – but it made such a difference that I would recommend to anyone that they listen to this book rather than read it. It sounded like Hugh Jackman was in my ear for 10+ hours, whispering sweet nothings. Magical. Taylor has spot on portrayals of male and female characters, particularly little Lulu, and I felt that each of the characters had their own “voice”. I would be open to listening to future audio books just based on the fact that he is the narrator.

The Light Between Oceans is a beautifully written tale of love and the connections it weaves between people, often unseen over many years. It is also a story of heartache. The pain of parents who lose children, of children who lose parents, and the bitterness that can develop between two people who love each other, when life gets in the way.

Stedman pulls and tugs at the strings between a loving, committed husband and wife, and manipulates those ties. Will they break? How much is too much to overcome? And how far will someone go against their personal code, to meet the needs of the person they love most in the world?

I found myself questioning what I would do in place of Isabel and Tom. Would I have kept the child who washed up on the only shore within a day’s sailing, seemingly in answer to my prayers? More to the point, would I give her back, after learning her mother is alive and desperately searching for her?

The ending of the Light Between Oceans is sad, more than I expected it to be, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I bawled my eyes out throughout the final chapter. Prepare to have a few tissues handy if you have a sensitive soul.

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