The Girl on the Train

Lately, everyone I’ve seen is carrying around this book! I have been traveling a lot this summer and airports, resorts, and beach goers have this book in hand or their nose in deep.

This is a thrilling novel that kept me reading page after page. A web of affairs, lies, and hatred left me guessing and wondering throughout the entire book from start to end.

The first 50 pages or so talks a lot about the main character, Rachel, and her commute back and forth to “work” every day. I had no idea what Paula Hawkins was setting me up for. The plot begins to twist and thicken and before you know it, there is a ghastly murder and Rachel is determined to figure out who the murderer is.

In the process, she gets herself in a big mess with strangers, cops, and people that once loved her. Her drinking and disheveled life leads people to dismiss anything Rachel says, but little do they know how valuable her input and information is.

While reading, I was filled with curiosity, anxiety, and fear….those are all good things though, right?! Especially when reading a book! I could not put this down and ended up finishing it in 2 days.

Do yourself a favor and read this before the summer ends!

Has anyone else read this? Thoughts?

Thoughts on Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

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I’ve read three Gillian Flynn novels thus far: Gone Girl, Sharp Objects, and Dark Places. I finish Dark Places late last night and definitely could not go to sleep based on what happened at the end of the novel. While I was up, I thought a lot about her three books and decided that Gone Girl is my favorite, Sharp Objects comes in close as my second favorite, and Dark Places is my least favorite.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Dark Places, but there were times where I skimmed over some pages because I thought they were too drawn out or getting a little chatty (know what I mean?) I didn’t feel like that at all with the other two books. Not to mention, this story line was GRUESOME. It creeped me right out!

Libby Day is the only survivor of a mass murder that occurred when she was 7-years-old. She was able to escape out a window while her two younger sisters and mother were brutally killed in the middle of the night. Her brother Ben was the only real suspect and was put behind bars due to Libby’s testimony claiming she saw Ben kill her family. This is a lie.

The novel places Libby being 30’ish years old where she meets a young guy in his early 20s named Lyle. Lyle is part of some bizarre Kill Club where famous murders are studied….Libby’s family being one of them. Lyle and his group members are convinced that Ben is NOT the murderer after studying the case for years. They begin to intrigue Libby with new evidence and cause her to think back on that fearful night. She realizes she didn’t actually see anything and that the lawyers pressured her into saying she saw Ben kill.

As the novel progresses, Libby goes to the end of the earth to find answers and closure about what happened to her poor family. She herself is caught in some dangerous and life threatening situations and learns more than she wants too.

Rumors about satanic worship, molestation, and desperation come to light and it is almost too much for Libby to handle…

This is definitely a book to read, especially if you have read other Flynn novels!

Has anyone read this? What did you think compared to the other novels?

Sharp Objects Review

I was pretty amped up about this book since I read Gone Girl and absolutely LOVED it. Gone Girl was also written by Gillian Flynn and it is by far one of the top 5 books I’ve ever read.

I read this 254 page book within 24 hours because I couldn’t put it down. I was not expecting the plot to play out the way it did and I certainly was shocked at the end! Suspense was constant and the idea that this happens in real life made it creepy and interesting.

The crux of the novel is basically about a young (30’ish) newspaper reporter, Camille, who is sent back to her home town to do a write up about two murders that have taken place in the last 2 years.  After living at home with her deranged mother and psychotic half-sister, Camille realizes a lot of strange things happening in her family home that have connections to the murder cases.

Camille is a smart and intuitive reporter who doesn’t take no for an answer which inevitably results in her solving the case, but not without some difficulties. She risks her own life to get back at someone in her past. We learn near the end why the book is titled “Sharp Objects” and it definitely has double meaning and is ironic.

The bizarre circumstances revolving around the murders, including teeth being pulled out of dead little girls’ mouths, and the fact that her own sister died years ago makes this novel an eye-catcher and one you can’t put down! It will haunt you and leave you thinking about what happened for days.

Has anyone else read this? If so, did you like it?

Startling Review of The Goldfinch

The Goldfinch by Donna Tart

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I am always looking for new books to read for my pleasure and also for my students’ pleasure. I incorporate an independent reading component into my classroom, therefore, it is imperative I have a large and expansive classroom library. I never order books via a Kindle or my Ipad because I love being able to hold a physical book and then keep it and add it to my classroom library.

I browse the New York Time’s Bestseller’s List quite frequently and this particular book has been listed in the top 5 for awhile. I ordered a bunch of books for summer reading including this one.

To my dismay, this novel, comprised of over 750 pages, was a disappointment for me. I kept reading hoping I would fall in love with the novel since so many others seemed to enjoy the plot, but by the time I finished, I was excited to be done so I could start a better read.

The novel starts out okay…Tartt describes a horrific tragedy that takes place in a NYC museum with Theo Decker and his mother. The two are separated and in the mean time a terrorist attack takes place and Theo’s mother dies. As Theo struggles to find his bearings and leave the building, an older man, Welty, whom he saw earlier gives him a ring and tells him to go see a man named Hobie. Confused by Welty’s directions, Theo takes a painting of The Goldfinch and leaves the building just as another explosion occurs.

With his mother dead and a deadbeat, alcoholic father, Theo has no one to live with except the Barbour’s, family friends with a son Andy who Theo went to school with. As time progresses, Theo musters up the courage to go see Hobie and becomes friends with the older gentleman. All the while Theo tells no one of the stolen piece of art because it has made headline news across the country that millions of dollars worth of famous art was stolen from the museum. Theo looks up to Hobie and finally feels like he is settling into life without his mother being around when out of the blue his father shows up with his new girlfriend, Xandra, and whisks Theo to Las Vegas where he now lives.

The entire novel is completely unrealistic and boring at times as 13-year-old Theo illustrates dramatic and intense occurrences in his life. He finds one lone friend, Boris, in Las Vegas and goes into detail about how addicted they both become to alcohol, prescription pills, cocaine, meth, and marijuana. Being hungover and scrounging for food becomes popular while Theo’s father and girlfriend leave him alone for days at a time.

As the novel continues we find out Theo’s dad dies, Theo sneaks onto a bus and makes his way back to NYC, and is still hiding the painting. He gets into some serious trouble with the painting and unrealistically “fixes” his problems.

I felt like I was reading a kid’s journal about all of the fantasies he had. There was no point of real suspense and the plot dragged on quite a bit. Some of the novel didn’t even make sense!

Maybe I am the sole minority here, but did anyone else read this? Did you feel the same way?