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Book Review: All We Ever Wanted

Book Review: All We Ever Wanted

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Hello Readers!

This week I bring to you a book review by author Emily Giffin. This is the first book I have read by Giffin and I totally enjoyed it! A lot of fellow readers at work read her so I decided to jump on the bandwagon. I found the social issues covered throughout this story very prevalent and relatable to present day. I love discovering a new author- Emily Giffin is not new but new to me! I can’t wait to read more from her!

Other book by this author: Something Borrowed, Something Blue, First Comes Love

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The story starts off following Nina and her description of how her relationships with her husband has changed. Nina’s husband has made a lot of money and they live a very lush lifestyle. Their son Finch has applied to Princeton and they actually wrote a cheque to help him get in. Second family this book follows is Lyla who goes to the same private school Finch does but she does not come from money. She is a super smart kid who received a scholarship to go there. She was raised by a single dad -Tom- who is a carpenter.

Finch and Lyla are at a party and Finch snap chatted a photo of Lyla drunk, passed out with her clothing partially off exposing a breast. Lyla is Hispanic and the caption for the photo read- Looks like she got her green card” There was a green uno card beside her.

Now in today’s social media age this is a huge issue. With the Me Too movement in full swing, what better time to read a book like this. The rest of the book follows there characters trying to figure out how to deal with the repercussions of this event on so many levels!

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When the parents of each side find how mad chaos ensues. Kirk and Nina approach this different ways. Kirk tries to throw his money around to get Finch out of trouble. Nina is more towards the moral side saying Finch should be punished. Behind this also is Nina’s experience while she was in college. She was drugged and raped so she sympathizes with Lyla. Tom is beyond furious and wants Finch expelled. Lyla tried to talk her dad out of making a big deal of this. She does not want the other kids in school to treat her different.

All these different approaches makes you wondering A) what would you do in this situation being the parent and B) Do you think all of these approaches actually happen in real life!!! It kind of makes me a bit uneasy but I believe that all these happen. I read this book back in May before the Me Too movement really took off. It just goes to show that some people in today’s society really think money and power can buy anything.

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Nina feels so guilty about what her son did she goes to apologise to Tom in person. Little does she know that Kirk bribed him to keep silent. Disgusted Nina takes Finch to apologise to Lyla in person. He then says that Polly- his ex girlfriend- took the picture and now he really wants to hang out with Lyla. Finch takes Lyla to a concert being Nina’s back. All of this covers can money really buy happiness. Nina’s son does not respect her and thinks money will solve all his problems as does Kirk.

The tangle webs we weave get deeper. It initially looked like Finch set up Lyla to win her over but now he promises to come clean with Polly and tell her to come clean about the photo. Poor Lyla is so confused but just likes the feeling that a ‘cool’ guy is into her. They all have a meeting with the principle and everything gets more confusing. Polly is saying she did not take the photo. Is Finch lying or is he telling the truth?

Nina decides to get a divorce from Kirk. She asks her top notch Lawyer best friend Julie to represent her. The end of the story Lyla finds out that it was really Finch who maliciously took the photos. He had been lying to her this whole time. She gets worried about Polly and approaches Nina. Together they go and find that Polly tried to commit suicide!!

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So it turns out that money really can’t buy happiness in Nina’s case. The epilogue is 10 years later. Lyla is a lawyer and Nina and Tom start a business together to build custom tree houses. They also open homes for abused women with some of the money. Tom and Nina do not appear to be a couple- boo I really wanted them to end up together. Lyla admits that Nina saved her life in the end. They are at an award show and Finch shows up. He finally realized his mother was right after he finds out his father gets caught up in a financial scandal.

So for those of you who have read this book about did you think. The core concepts of this book are deep and controversial! I really enjoyed how this book make me think about money, privilege and true happiness. Please feel free to leave comments below. Also I would love to hear if any of you have read other books by Emily and what are your favs!

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Happy Reading!!!!

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book blogger, book review, Books, books, Fiction, inspiration, Literature, top 5

Top 5: Fall Reads 2019

Top 5: Fall Reads 2019

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Oh wonderful fall my most favourite time of the year. From the beautiful colours, the cozy sweaters to pumpkin spices everything the only thing I do not like about fall is its too short 😦 This fall also promises to be a killer for anticipated reads. The following 5 are just a few on my not anticipated reads list. There are so many more! I would love to hear from you guys as well. Please comment on the books you are most looking forward to!

  1. The Testament by Margaret Atwood September 10, 2019
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There is not too much information out in the book world. From what I could gather, it is a continuation of Margaret’s Handmaid’s Tale, a classic. This story takes place 15 years after Offered steps into the mysterious van on her way to an unknowing future. It follows the testaments of 3 females from Gilead. I cannot wait to read this book!! I loved the first book and I love the TV series. I will be so interesting to see if the TV series and the second book connect somehow.

Also by this author : The Handmaid’s Tale, Cat’s Eye, Oryx and Crake

2. Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell release September 10,2019

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A nonfiction book for the conspiracy lovers!!! Malcolm Gladwell has a well known podcast called “ Revisionist History”. This novel covers the scandals from Fidel to Hilter and everything in between. He discusses about our true understanding of historical events. This guidebook covers how our understanding of these events may be riddled with doubt that is caused by our misguided way we interact with people. I think this will be such an interesting read even if your not into conspiracy theories.

Also by this author: Outliers, Blink, and What the Dog Saw

3. The Institute by Stephen King release September 10, 2019

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September 10 is a huge day for book releases and this one has to be my most anticipated read of 2019!!. This is a kid group orientated book that seems to be a mix of firestarter, It and the new mutant movie. It is set in Minneapolis and follows a by named Luke. One night his parents were killed and he is kidnapped. He wakes up at the Institute and his room looked identical to his own back home, except it has no window. There are lots of other rooms all that house kids. All these kids have special talents and the director Mrs. Sigsby tries to find the source of these powers. A group of kids band together with Luke and try not only yo find a way out but also try and stay out of the Back Half- kids go but never come back!!! Love love love it!

Also by this author: It, The Stand, The Shining, Green Mile

4. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo release October 1, 2019

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Not my only fantasy novel on this list Ninth House deserves a look into! It follows a girl who drops out of school and makes one bad decision after another. After surviving a homicide she is in the hospital when some strange people come to give her a second chance. She must now go to Yale and watch the students of Yale in their secret societies. She finds out just how sinister they are and how far their read goes …magic!!! What a great twist on an old theme of secret cults.

Also by this author: Six of Crows series, Nikola Duology

5. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstein release November 5, 2019

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AAAAAA she has finally release another novel!!! I loved loved loved the night circus, so imaginative. (See my blog top 5 books that should be made into movies for a description of the Night Circus). This is another love story with a magical setting. Zachary reads a book with a story based on his childhood. He then goes on a quest to find out more. Along the way he uncovers a secret library hidden underground. It is a secret realm. Zachary and a guardian Mirabel somehow join together on this quest!! What a great fantasy mystery book.

Also by this author: The Night Circus

So which ones are you looking forward to. I would love to hear your picks and add to my ever expanding TBR.

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Happy Reading!!!!

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Book Review: The Woman in the Window by A

Book Review: The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

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Better late the never I say. Yes I just recently read one of the best selling suspense books of 2018. It was worth the wait. I have heard a lot of mixed reviews but I really enjoyed this book. There were a few predictable ‘scares’ but all in all, I enjoyed the building suspense and chaos filled climax. As a lot of the books I review this was the author’s debut novel. With so many talented writers coming out the next few years seem to be a reader’s paradise!!!!

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We are introduced to the novel by the narrator who we learn is looking out her window and spying on her neighbours. She is watching the wife have an affair with the handyman in one house and a kid playing a cello in another house. The narrator (Anna Fox) talks about Ed and Olivia who seems to have left her. Anna has agoraphobia from some episode which is pinnacle in the backstory of this novel. The reader learns that before she was stuck in her house Anna was a prominent child psychologist. Now she helps out fellow agoraphobic people on a website.

Some new commotion goes on across the neighbourhood, a couple and their teenage kid move in! Enter Halloween Anna is of course at home watching her old movies. Kids start to throw eggs at her house. Anna becomes so enraged she actually tries to go outside to stop them. She becomes dizzy and disoriented from the open space causing her to have panic attacks. The new neighbor comes to the rescue. Jane Russell ushers Anna back into her house and a strange connection is made between the two.

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The next day Jane’s son comes over and brings a lavender candle from his mother. Anna makes a connection with Ethan as well. She psych senses tingle and she guesses Ethan is troubled at home, possible with an abusive father. In the next few chapters the reader gets a glimpse into Anna’s backstory. Her therapist Dr. Fieldings brings up a trip. All we get is that Anna thinks if they did not take that trip their family would still be together… bababa. We also see that through the Agora website she started to form a relationship with a user called GrannyLizzie. All key information to understanding the story’s ending.

She admits to herself that she spies on the neighbours not to be nosey but its a window for her into the world. A way for a recluse to keep in touch with what’s going on outside in the real world. I could not imagine how it would feel to be kept inside and not be able to go out and experience things. Having panic attacks myself I know the debilitating feeling so having a panic attack triggered by open spaces, horrible. We also see that she drinks a lot, I mean way too much. She mixes her meds and alcohol with she knows it is not good. I love the fact that this book opens up the foe paye regarding mental health that as a society we do not like talking about all the time.

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Jane comes over and the girls bond over booze and chess. Jane’s controlling husband comes over to see if she was at Anna’s house. Then catastrophe hits, Anna hears a scream coming from the Russell house. She sees Jane bleeding with a sharp object protruding out of her chest. All this time Anna has been drinking and mixing her pills as she usually does. Police called and no one believes a drunk recluse. Mr.Russell says that Anna has never met his wife. ‘Jane’ comes over and to the readers shock this Jane is not the same Jane that came to play chess. Is Anna delusional ? It does seem fitting to the reader because at this point we know she heavily drinks with very potent pills.

As the plot thickens Anna/s basement tenant and her get cozy, well sleep together. She goes into his room and finds a pearl earring that looks like the one Jane was wearing when they had the chess day. So much confusion is thrown into this story which makes for a great mystery read. Anna then follows not Jane into a coffee shop – leaving the comfort of her house because she is determined to find out the truth.

The plot thickens as Anna finds a picture of herself sleeping on her phone. The police still does not believe her and actually thinks she took it to look for attention. Anna has hit rock bottom. This is when we learn the true backstory of Ed and Olivia. It turns out that Anna had an affair on Ed and this northern trip was supposed to bring them together. However, Anna had driven off a cliff in a storm ultimately killing Ed and Olivia. She has such bad PTSD she developed agoraphobia. She was actually talking to Ed and Olivia’s ‘ghosts’.

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Now the climax of the book. We find out that Ethan, the innocent troubled child is severely mentally unstable. He was the one who took the picture and it was his biological mother that was stabbed – he was adopted. Wow it was a good twist. He is also GrannyLizze! There is a fight scene where Anna has to go outside in order to survive Ethan’s attacks. She ends up killing him and gets the help she needs to come to terms with her agoraphobia and PTSD. The end of the book was very hopeful as Anna was venturing out on her own terms into her garden.

So for all of you who have read Woman in the Window what did you think of the book? Yes it did have some predictability in it but there was some great twists like ‘Jane’ being Ethan’s biological mother, I did not see that one coming. What did you like and did not like about the book? It kind of reminded me of Gone Girl in some way. What other books were along these lines? I also thought it was a great mental health book. Please feel free to leave any comments below I would love to hear your thoughts!!!

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Happy Reading !!!!!

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Top 5: Must Read Classics

                                                       Top 5: Must Read Classics

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Hello All

So here is yet again another top 5. This top 5 will outline my favourite classic fiction. Classic fiction has stood the test of time for sooo many reasons. Whether the stories can be applied to present day, how beautiful the writing is or how mind blowing the stories are, classic are timeless!!! Now I know classics are not for everyone, especially the writing styles and language but if you can get through these struggles these authors are quite brilliant for their time. The following 5 books are my favourite must read classics which you may or may not enjoy, I hope you do though.

  1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte 1847 4.11 stars on good reads
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So this book was the first classic I picked up to read for leisure outside of school requirements. It was also one of my first big reads as the book is on the longer side. The book is set up in 5 phases of the main character Jane’s life: childhood, education, time as a governess at the Thornfields hall, time at the Moor house and the reunion with Edward Rochester. So not going to get into too many details but this book is full of drama, hardships, love, rejection and personal growth. This is also one of the best known love stories of all time along with anything Jane Austin writes.

2. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 1868 4.06 stars are Goodreads

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Probably one of the first women coming of age novels. Story focuses around four women which each have such different distinct personalities. They go through the trials and tribulations of leaving childhood and breach into adulthood. The story’s timeline is one year, Christmas to Christmas. I could compare this story to a modern day Judy Bloom story! It outlines a totally different view due to the era it was written. Not only do these girls go through changes but they face them in a hard financial war ridden time. The girls have to face life without their father for a year! The 2 eldest then have to work in order to make ends meet. Great story!!

3. 1984 by George Orwell 1949 4.17 Stars on Goodreads

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This is one of the first dystopian novels published, way before Hunger Game times! It touches on the social issues such as the government’s reach into people’s everyday lives, repression, and how the government wants to control thoughts so no one has an original idea. George Orwell was a brilliant author with crazy insight for his time. It is set in an imagined future where civilization was damaged beyond repair by civil unrest. The leader Big Brother- the government- tries to control any individuality and the main character wants to be an individual. Great read for anyone not yet into classical fiction.

4. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte 1846 3.84 Stars on Goodreads

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This is a newer classic read for me. My friends all have differing opinions on this book. I thought it was kind of similar to other tragic forbidden love story books of its era. However it is still an easier classical fiction read and makes my top 5 list. Main character falls in love with a difficult and rude man who does not initially love her back or shows he loves her. Heathcliff, the poor mannered gentleman, allows Lockwood to stay at this house after seeing the ghost of his lost love Catherine. He falls ill and the love story is told by the housekeeper. Catherine loves Heahtcliff but it would have degraded her to marry him. Heathcliff overhears this conversation and runs away from the manner. She ends up marrying someone else and is unhappy. The story unfolds with a whole slew of debauchery, betrayal, revenge and mixed matched relationships.

5. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin 1813 4.25 stars on Goodreads

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This story follows 5 daughters of Mr. Bennet. He is trying to get at least one of them married off so they may inherit his house and estate as he has no sons. It follows Elizabeth Bennet and her love story. It outlines the issues of marrying for love or for wealth which surprisingly is still in the spotlight today. The story has it all, love, betrayal, loss and humor. A read all around read for anyone to enjoy. From balls to cottages the settings in this British novel are great! All you could want from a book set in this era!!!!

What are some of your favorite classic fiction. What makes you apprehensive to read them. The old language is something to get used to but the stories stand the test of time!!! Please feel free to comment on your favourites below. Or did you not like one of the ones I listed? I would love to hear why.

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Happy Reading!!!!!