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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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Book Review: The Silence By Tim Lebbon

Book Review: The Silence By Tim Lebbon

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This is a creature feature apocalyptic book which is right up my alley! I first saw this on netflix as a movie – based on a book as always! I wanted to read the book before seeing the movie. Spoiler alert the book is better than the movie as most books to movies adaptations are. Interesting fact about Tim Lebbon he wrote a novel that connects the movie Alien to Aliens starring Riddley! Can’t wait to read that one! Other popular books by this author include : The Edge and Coldbrook! I went into this book with no expectations just what I saw on the netflix preview. I was quite surprised by the story even with the common theme of prehistoric creatures taking over the world. Lebbon puts a great twist on a timeless theme.

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So this story starts off with a news broadcast of a discovery in an uncharted cave system. The main family watching this discovery includes Ally who we find out is deaf. Throughout the story we learn that she was not born deaf but was in a car accident with her grandparents who died. She had to learn a totally new way of life. Ally showed resilience that will play a key factor in the family surviving throughout the story. The other members include a brother Jade, father Huw and mother Kelly, and Lynne Kelly’s mother. As they watch the horror of the new discovery unfold on the TV they see creatures from the dark rip apart everything on the screen. They soon realise it is not a stunt or prank but a real life episode.

Thinking they are safe as this cave system is all the way in Moldova they don’t take it so seriously in the beginning. However as time goes on they see that these reptilian creatures called Vesps hunt by sound and are spreading quickly over the continent. Lebbon really plays into the social media aspect here. It is interesting to think of how connected we are today and how if this really happened the speed in which we would all receive live data. We would be way more prepared to anticipate the ‘end of the world’ than say 20 years ago.

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They also learn a lot of life saving information from others posting on social media, not so much the news. People post on Facebook and Twitter that Vesps hunt by sound, they lay eggs in the dead and this is how they spread which are both vital points for the family surviving the Vesp Plague. They decide along with Huw’s friend Glenn to move across the country side to where there is no noise, away from the cities. Live feeds show mass hysteria in the cities, fighting, looting, and people killing each other over supplies. This is a typical apocalyptic scene which I totally believe would happen in real life. It would start off as an every man for themselves attitude. What so you all think? Would humanity help out each other or have the cut throat survival attitude?

We see humanity break down as a man attempts to steal the family’s car and points a gun at Ally. This in turn forces Huw to steal a car in order to get to their destination. The suspense is building at this point as they are nowhere close to their destination and Ally is keeping track of where the Vesps are on social media. The time crunch is on!

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As the pressure to get to safety sets in because Vesps are now in London a horrible turn of events happens. Glen rolls his SUV pinning him in. Moral dilemmas set as Huw and his family decide not to leave him even though the Vesps are almost upon them. They barricade Glen in the best they can and take shelter in their SUV. Ally gives her family a prep talk 101 on how to be silent, her forte now. Her experiences help them understand what to anticipate and how they are going to feel now being able to verbally communicate. As the Vesps descend upon them their dog Otis, who is Ally’s helper, starts to bark. Vesps swarm their SUV and try to break in. Glen can hear the commotion and in a shear act of selflessness he starts shooting his gun to attract the Vesps to him. This is the ultimate sacrifice that restores the readers faith in humanity for a while. Otis however keeps barking and Huw has to make the hard decision to kill their beloved family pet to save themselves. Turn on the tears! At this point they need to draw the Vesps away. Huw blows up Glen’s SUV and the family hightails it for the forest.

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The family comes across a farmhouse. The occupant tried to ward off the ‘intruders’ and ends up attracting Vesps and dying. Everyone finds shelter and safety in the house since the first broadcast of the cave discovery. Huw and Ally try and go to town to find supplies. Two major things happen while they are on their trip. 1. They find out the eggs do not hatch until they are stimulated by noise 2. They find out when it rains the rain disoriented the Vesps giving them a chance to get away. They are slowly finding the Vesp’s weaknesses which gives the reader hope they may defeat their enemy!

On the way back to the farm Huw and Ally meet a different kind of enemy: The Reverend. It is one of the themes in the post apocalyptic stories, the crazy religious cult who justifies what happened as a matter of judgement day. Huw and Ally see first hand the lengths the Reverend will go to survive, he cut his own tongue out!!!! The Reverend now wants Ally so she can teach them sign language, which is the best way to communicate in the silence!!! Huw of course says no and they go on their merry way.

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As night falls the Reverend attacks and throws ringing cell phones into the farmhouse. I thought this was a brilliant crisis causing event! How well thought out of Lebbon. Mayhem ensues as Vesps get in and each family member tries to fight them off. During the chaos the cult followers steal Ally away. Lynn, the reader having learned she has end stage cancer, also self sacrifices and tackles the attackers, screams and sends them all to their death to save Ally. The story ends with the family being on the road again to find their quiet place- haha . Winter is coming and hope is restored that the cold weather will kill off the Vesps.

The Silent was in some ways your typical creature feature but with a modern twist of silence and social media. I really enjoyed this book. Now the movie – meh. It was good, some deviations from the book. Not my most favourite book to movie adaptation but not the worst either. Have any of you read it? What are your thoughts? If you would like me to do a top 5 fav apocalyptic books please let me know!! Please feel free to leave any comments below !

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Happy Reading!!!!!!!

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Book Review: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owen

Book Review: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owen

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This little diddy of a book was such a great pick. We just finished this for our book club and I cannot wait to hear what all my book peeps have to say about it. Reese Witherspoon’s book club has really great picks. The author studies animals in Africa and wrote a bunch of memoirs. This is her first try at fiction and wow did she deliver. It seems I have reviewed a lot of first books for authors lately. Where is Crawdads Sing is a great coming of age wrapped up in a murder mystery with a dollop of nature! P.S. Reese is making this book into a movie !!!!

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This story takes place in the 1950s to 1970s. It starts off outlining a murder of a local boy Chase Andrews who is found in the swamp in 1969. He is the town’s golden boy. Star football jock, parents own the local automotive shop and of course he married the local pretty girl.

1953 the main character Kay is the youngest of 5 children who all live in poverty in the marshlands near Barkley Cove. Their mother leaves which puts them in the care of their drunken father. All of her siblings eventually leave so it is just her and her Pa.

Being left alone with her abusive and absent father Kay has to learn to survive on her own. What does a young girl do when she is left to her own devices? Kay learns to care for herself, stretch a penny and cook grits.

She was so alone that when she stepped on a rusted nail she had to treat it by herself. She used everything from the marsh, which became like a mother to her and the gulls became her friends.

Jump to the crime scene in 69- no fingerprints or footprints were found. Looked like the scene was wiped free or someone familiar to the marsh committed it. There was no blood on the bars and the floor door was left open.

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After Pa lest Kay as well and the money ran out Kay has to learn to make money for herself. She dug up muscles and sold them to Jumpin a local merchant. What seer will power and survival skills Kay exhibits to figure this out herself.

As time goes on she sees no one but someone keeps leaving precious feathers out for her to find. It turns out that it was a local boy Tate, who was Kay’s older brothers friend. He teaches her how to read and becomes her one true friend besides the gull and march creatures.

I love when the title is explained. Somewhere near the middle of the book Where the crawdads sing is explained – its far in the bush where critters are wild, still behaving like critters- hide there. I’m taking it as Kay living in the marsh being the truest form of a human and where humans still behave like humans. Where as in town everyone is concerned with status and money Where the Crawdad’s sing is about getting to your roots and living your most true self- feel free to disagree with me, it’s just my opinion

Kay and Tate’s relationship blooms and soon they share one of the most romantic first kisses I have ever read. In the marsh with flowers and leaves flying around in the air. 1960 Tate has to go off to university leaving Kay alone again, just like everyone else in her life. It is just as heartbreaking for the reader. All I wanted for Kay was to have someone to love her after being alone for so long but alas out heart breaks again.

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1965 enter Chase. This is when Chase firsts notices Kay now 19. He finds her wild and unconventional being intriguing and wants to be the first to ‘peg her’. It was Chase her took Kay to the fire tower where he would later be found dead. Kay gave him a shell necklace there that was not on his body when he died. He talks about marriage with Kay and strings her along for his own selfish reasons.

Tate comes back into Kay’s life to warn her about Chase’s intentions. He sees Kay’s march collection and believes she could get a book deal with all her knowledge. Tate reveals that he was selfish and scary and a coward to leave Kay. Kay not knowing how to forgive as everyone in her life has let her down and abandoned her dismisses him. But she soon finds out through the local newspaper that Chase is indeed engaged to another girl.

Tate comes back once again into Kay’s life to see her published book on local seashells. They have always shared a love for the marsh, A book about marsh books is to follow for $5000, she got to furnish her shack.

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Now this is where the book picks up and changes its feel. I’m not going to lie, I did find the beginning of the book a bit slow but still good. The second half of the book is fast paced and exciting.

The second half of the book is Kay being on trial for Chase Andrews murder. The local sheriff tried to get a motive – Chase not choosing Kay. He has her getting on and off the bus to meet her publisher but it also gives her a time frame to meet and push Chase. There are red fibers found on Chase, could be from Kay’s red hat.

1970 as the trial starts to comes to light that Chase tired to rape Kay and it was seen by local fisherman. Being an outcast it was easy for the town people to pin all the behaviour on Kay and not their golden boy Chase.

Tate continues to visit Kay while in jail. Waiting for the verdict in jail is a different kind of loneliness for Kay. She can see and smell her beloved marsh through the bars in her cell.

The verdict comes back not guilty to everyone’s surprise. Tate and Kay live out their lives in their beloved marsh together, finally. Jodie her brothers keeps in contact and visits often. Finally Kay has a loving family she longed for for so long.

Kay died in her 60’s fittingly drifting off in her boat along the waterways of her march. Take then finds the shell necklace that Kay once gave Chase and a poem outlining that she really did kill Chase.

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All in all, I really enjoyed this book. It was such a heroing tale of loneliness, survival and the importance of family ties. Not going to lie, I enjoyed the ending and finding out that Kay really killed Chase. I am not in any way condoning getting revenge but in a novel it was a nice twist. How did you like the book? How did you like the book? Please feel free to leave comments below .

Happy Reading!!!

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Book Review: The Silent Patient By Alex Michaelides

Book Review: The Silent Patient By Alex Michaelides

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This is Alex’s debut novel and what a debut !! I read this back in April and it still is my favourite of this year. This psychological thriller will definitely deliver all the shocks and on your seat reading! He is a screenwriter that wrote The Devil You know (2013) and The Con is On (2018). If Alex keeps pumping out books like The Silent Patient he will move up fast in the bestselling author world. I can’t wait to read what he puts out next!!!

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We start off with a bang, literally. Alicia is a well known artist who lives with her successful photographer husband Gabriel. Years years ago Alicia shot her husband in the face, then refused to talk. Alicia was found with her wrists slit and Gabriel was tied to a chair. She is sent to a psychiatric hospital in hopes with therapy she will talk, think again. Enter Theo a new psychiatrist transferred to the hospital where Alicia is residing called the Grove. He does this because he says he was interested in her case 6 years ago and he thinks he can help her talk now.

Theo discovers through his digging that after the murder Alicia’s painting changed. The one immediately after is based on the Greek Mythology called -self sacrifice . Was this her way of coping and expressing her feelings after the murder?

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We see that Theo himself has some mental health issues. He has addictions like smoking and marijuana use. He also has some past issues. Early psychoanalytic therapy has saved him. Alicia also has some childhood issues so maybe he sees himself in her broken psyche. Is this what would happened to him if he did not get help? Does he want to save Alicia because someone has saved him? His view on psychotherapy is that it is his job to feel the patient’s feelings then send them back to the patient. Does he feel Alicia’s feelings?

We get a character view of Alicia through these mysterious journal entries. We see that she loved Gabriel very much but this may have turned into an obsession – she started painting him in Jesus’s image. Theo is also exhibiting an obsession with Alicia even after she attacks him after a 1:1 and he has her medications decreased.

Obsession seems to be a common theme throughout this novel. Theo is obsessed that Kathy is cheating on him. Instead of talking things out with her he proceeds to stalk her and read through her computer. Alicia becomes obsessed that a man is stalking her and she cannot tell anyone.

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We find through the journal entries and through Theo interviewing Alicia’s friends and family Alicia had previous suicide attempts. After her father dies to tries to kill herself, she has had many suicide attempts at the Grove. We learn further in the book that her mother drive herself and Alicia into a wall, killing the mother but not Alicia. Alicia’s father then blames Alicia for killing her mother and she is dead to him – where her mental health issues started.

While reading this book I was thinking of so many different possibilities for the ending – which makes this a great thriller. When the reader cannot guess the ending because there are too many possible endings it’s a great book. The endings of this book is freaking amazing. Huge spoiler alerts ahead. So we learn that the person Kathy was cheating on Theo with was Gabrielle. Yes it gets better. Theo then stalks Kathy and Gabrielle and he is the man that Alicia sees outside her window. Wow And Theo goes bat shit crazy , breaks into into Alicia’s home to tell he that her husband is cheating on her. He ends up tieing bot Gabrielle and Alicia up and gives Gabrielle a chance to choose between saving himself or Alicia. He chooses himself. Theo then gives Alicia the gun and tells her she has a choice, shoot a man who does not truly love her and is extremely selfish. (Hence the greek mythology Alcestis reference). She ends up shooting Gabrielle but what a twist to get us there!!!!!!!

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So what did you all think of the Silent Patient. Did you love it as much as I did or was it not your favourite? As always feel free to leave comments below ! If you have any suggestions for psychological thrillers please leave them below.

Happy reading!!

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Top 5: Books for Book Club

Top 5: Books for Book Club

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Hello all. Here we go with another top 5 list! May I say I really enjoy researching and writing these! This list I have chosen to do a book club approach as I have recently started a book club at my work. I love discussing the books we read each month with my co workers. However each month a new person chooses a book to read and sometimes they have problems choosing this book. They want to choose one that opens up the conversation and is a really great read. I have researched the following books and actually have read all of them. I can see how they are great books for great conversations. I have included questions that may help you open the conversation up in your book clubs are just questions to keep in mind while reading the book yourself. I hope you enjoy!!!

  1. Educated by Tara Westover
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I really enjoyed reading this memoir by Tara Westover. Tara recounts her life growing up in a strict mormon household that also is a doomsday prepper family. She especially highlights that they do not go to school and they are so off the grid they do not have birth certificates. The reader watches as she constantly struggles to follow her parents teaching but also to try and live a normal life and learn. Her father’s beliefs are so ingrained into Tara that even in adulthood she has a hard time coping with regular day activities of a ‘normal’ person.

Questions/discussion topics

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  • how your childhood experiences follow through with you to adulthood and how these affect the man/woman you are becoming.
  • How would you feel if you broke away from your family to have the life you wanted
  • How would you think it feels to not even know what the Holocaust was
  • How would you feel if your parents did not believe you when you told them your own brother was abusing you?

2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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To Kill A Mockingbird has to be one of my absolute fav books and it is definitely one that I would take with me to a desert island. The shear innocence of Scout is heartbreaking and invigorating at the same time. It truly is a classic masterpiece outlining the rampant racism and privilege on the old South in the 30’s. Also new for its time outlines what it is like to be a single dad as it was not as common as it is now. Scout’s dad Atticus is a lawyer wh0o defends a local ‘black’ man accused of raping a local white girl. Scout depicts her upbringing and is an awe-inspiring coming of young age tale.

Questions/ Discussion Topics

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  • What parts of this novel did you really like? Which parts did you not find interesting?
  • How do Jem and Scout’s view of Boo Radley change throughout the novel?
  • How do you think Atticus managed the role of being a single parent? Compare what it would be like for a single dad in the 30/s and present day.
  • How did the trial change the town? Did it change the town?

3. The Life of Pi by Yann Martel

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For me the Life of Pi ranks up there with To Kill a Mockingbird. It follows Pi and his family while they immigrate to Canada (go red and white!!!). They ship capsizes and the story then follows Pi trying to survive when all is lost. He is stranded or 227 days and to his account he is stranded with a bunch of animals from their family’s zoo.

Questions/Discussion Topics

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  • Are the animals real or are they metaphors of real people in Pi’s life that his brain concocked to deal with the trauma?
  • What if any are the religious cross over into the storytelling?
  • How do the people in your life reflect any of the animals and their characteristics?
  • How is the concept of Richard Parker echo that of overcoming one’s fears?

4. Still Alice by Lisa Genova

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Still Alice was a very different read. I do not think that there are too many books out there shining a light on what a person with Alzhimer’s experiences- first hand. Alice is a cognitive psychologist at Harvard and she recognizes that she is exhibiting signs of Alzhimer’s disease. The story expressing her journey of from the signs to diagnosis to progression of this relenting disease. It also lets the reader see how her family cope with the news and how this changes their lives and relationships.

Questions/ Discussion Topics

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  • How would you feel/react if you did not recognize the place you where in?
  • What do you feel or think it would feel like to recognize what is happening to you, knowing you were getting the devastating disease and the horrible outcome?
  • How do you feel about the family’s reactions? How would you react if someone in your life received this diagnosis?
  • What do we gain from seeing this story through Alice’s eyes? Does her job play into this view?

5. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

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I loved loved loved this book! I have read this one soo long ago but instantly thought of it as a great book club book! The setting is a circus. The story is told by Jacob who is 93 and lives in a nursing home. Jacob recounts the years he lived in the circus as he watches a circus set up camp beside his home. He becomes a vet to the circus and becomes romantically attached to the star Marlena who has an equestrian show. She had a jealous husband August who is the animal trainer. He also forms an attachment to an elephant Rosie. It gives the readers all sorts of feels!

Questions/ Discussion Topic

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  • Is this story an adventure, love, or survival story and why
  • Does this book change your point of view of the circus, especially in the recent light of the Ringling Brother’s shut down.
  • Who where your favourite characters, animals included
  • Where you surprised at the ending? Why? How would you have liked the book to end?

For all of those out there in book clubs or thinking of starting one (I will have a blog post at a later time regarding how to start a book club) I hoped these books and questions have helped. Even if you are not a member of a book club you can always keep these questions floating around your mind and answer them while you read the book. It may help to bring a deeper understanding of view of the book you are reading. Some of these questions are standard so they can be applied to any book not just the 5 I have mentioned. As always feel free to leave comments below. If you are in a book club what are some exciting book that sparked a great discussion with your members?

Happy Reading!!

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Book Review: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Book Review: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

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So there was a lot of hype around this book in 2017. I was a bit late to read this as it is now 2019 lol. Better late than never I guess. I found this book a bit slow at times but all in all I really liked the story. This book is a trilogy called the Winternight trilogy. It incorporates mythical folk tales into reality. The tale follows Vasya a wild child who’s stepmother and local priest want to rid their town of her ‘devilish’ ways all the while the winter King a frost demon has his eyes on her. It has a lot of terms I did not understand. Arden was smart and added a glossary of terms to help the reader discover the magical Russian folklore background.

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The story opens with Vasya’s nanny Dunya telling the tale of the winter king who brings death. The tale is told to children to scare them into behaving….. Or is it. Maria, Vasy’s mother was the daughter of the Grand Prince of Moscow. Pyotr Vasya’s father is a lord on the outskirts of the forest a long way from Moscow. Maria died in childbirth leaving Vasya motherless and free to roam wherever as she grows up.

Vasya spends all of her time in the forest talking to the folklore forest nymphs and fairies. These creatures are said to protect the houses of the people who worships them and leave food out for them. The Domovoi is the oven creature who helps protect the house. She comes across a weird tree one day and meets the elicude Frost King who saves her life.

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Her father who is worried that she is growing up wild decides it is time to remarry. He travels to Moscow to find a wife who ends up being the Grand Prince’s daughter. Anna also see these mythical creatures just like Vasya can. They set out on the long track home. Sasha, Vasya’s brother meets a priest in the city and asks to stay but Pyotr says no.

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Once back in their village Anna does not fit into the hard labours life. The only time she feels safe from seeing the ‘demons’ is in the church. The sightings have gotten worse since coming to the forest so Anna becomes estranged from the villagers and her new family. She seeks solace with the new priest Konstantin that has come to look over the village. The priest sees Vasya as unclean or evil as she spends so much time in the woods. He thinks he hears ‘God’ talking to him one night. This voice tells him that the villagers have lost their way and he needs to instill fear and doubt. The voice says their worship of the chyerti is wrong and to discipline this villagers in the way of God. Spoiler alert here the voice is really the brother of the Frost King. He is an evil one eyed bear that wants to take over the earth in darkness.

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Here the book picks up and the story unravels faster. I found the first part of the book a bit slower but necessary to set up the last part. Pyotr tried to wed Vasya to Kyril – a very brute and ‘manly’ villager. He is cruel to his horses. Vasya knows this because she can read the horses as she was taught by one of the cheryti. He finds Vasya’s behaviours hard to deal with and calls off the wedding. As the reader I would have hated to see Arden marry Vasya off and chain her up in a house.

So the 3rd part of the book is the battle between Vasya and the Bear devil. We see that the people of the village grow to hate and blame Vasya for all the people dying. Really it is their lack of believe and offerings to the Cheryti that allow the Devil to come into their homes. Finally the frost king saves Vasya from the Bear and brings her to his frost home. An aside- why are there a lot of frost kings and beings in fantasy novels. We see the frost ‘white walkers’ in the Game of Thrones books.

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In the end Vasya fights the bear Devil, known as Medved. We other cheryti originally follow Medved but Vasya was able to persuade them to follow her as she has been nice to them. Konstantin brings Anna to the forest as bait because Medved needs a ‘seer’ to be killed to free him. In the end Vasya’s father dies offering his life to save his daughter. At the end she leaves the village, be able to drive Konstantin off first. The villagers still think she is a witch and Vasya does not want to make trouble for her brother who is now taking over the village. The last scene was very interesting as she goes back to the frost Kings home and he lets her in.

All in all I really enjoyed this book. I have never read anything like it so it was nice to read out of my comfort zone. What did you think of this book? Like or dislike? Feel free to leave a comment below> I would love to hear your thoughts.

Happy Reading Everyone!!

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Book Review: The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer

Book Review: The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer

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Pop up Thursday post!!

This historical movie centers around Nazi occupied Poland. I love love love myself a historical fiction novel, This one is a love story that follows the main character throughout the past to the present. If your into tear jerks this one ‘s for you!! It gives great insight to how the war tore families apart and the long lasting sacrifices the generation had to make. Kelly Rimmer has also wrote The Secret Daughter, Me Without You and Before I Let you go. This is the first novel I have read by this author but from the titles of her other books it seems like she writes soul touching story.

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This story follows Alicia in present day. Her babcia is sick in the hospital. She has a daughter Pascale and a son Eddie, who has autism. Considering how forefront the Autism awareness is right now I think it was a great addition to a modern day family. The novel outlines the struggles of just going to the grocery store and then the hospital with an Autistic family member.

There are 2 timelines in the story. The second is a flash back to 1938 where a couple Alina and Tomasz are in Poland. Ah young love! Tomasz is going off to med school and he romantically promises Alina he will always love her, no matter the time or distance.

Flash forward to the present where babcia is trying to tell Alicia something after her stroke. She utilizes the ipad communication system Eddie uses and tells Alicia to find Tomasz, but her grandfather died 12 months earlier. So off Alicia goes to Poland because it is the dying wish of her babcia.

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Sept 1939 a bomb hits Alina’s home town and thus enters the first glimpses of the war. The Nazis then start invading towns, killing their leaders. In this case Tomasz’s father thus instilling fear into the town’s people. We find out that Alina’s mother was a rebel. She was preserving extra food and hiding it from the Nazis for her family to survive. Alinia has not seen Tomasz for so long. She goes to town and tries to find word of him. He comes to her window that night and she learns that he has been hiding in the woods. A Jewish family helped him escape and he is helping them hide in a local’s house. This could get them all killed.

Any WW2 novel brings to light the hardships and sacrifices people who lived through the war went through. I could not even imagine not seeing my husband for years on end. Always wondering if he was alive or dead. I don’t know what would be worse, wondering what has happened to him or knowing where he was which was being in constant danger and starvation.

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The reader learns that Alina lives close to Birkenau, she sees the pillars of smoke not knowing the reason behind them. The Nazis end up taking her parents and Alina and Tomasz try and escape. They strike a deal with Henry, an American photographer smuggling people out of Poland. The Jewish family Tomasz is hiding gets found out and the Nazis kill the wife and baby daughter, leaving Saul the husband alive.

In order to get Alina out of Poland she needs new papers and a new name, hence the name Hanna- we find out that babcia is Alina and Tomasz is her lost love. But who at this point is Alicia’s father

Jump back to present day. Alicia find Tomasz’s sister still alive. She tells Alicia of the true Tomasz, who did not leave in the truck with Saul and Hanna/Alina but stayed behind and gave himself up in order for Alina to get away. He was shot in town square- start the water works. At this point I was bauling. Alicia then realize the man she thought was Tomasz her father was Saul.

The trip to Poland for Alicia was more than finding out about her heritage. It was also to find herself again. Alicia was so dedicated to her family and maintaining a normal schedule for Eddie she lost who she was. She did not believe that her husband would ever be able to follow Eddie’s strict routine. It turns out that yes Wade (husband) did struggle and realise what Alcia did for Eddie but Wade also pushed Eddie out of his boundaries and Eddie learned to do new things.

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By the end of the book I probably went through a whole box of tissues. When Alicia went back and told her babcia what she found I lost it. Haha What a great novel about family ties and sacrifices. Have any of you read this book or any others by this author? I love it when you all leave comments about your thoughts and feelings so please feel free to leave a comment below!

Happy Reading!!!!

book review, books, Fiction, Literature

Book Review: No Exit by Taylor Adams

Book Review: No Exit by Taylor Adams

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This book was popping up all over Bookstagram so I thought I would take a crack at reading it. This is only Taylor’s third novel and wow what a great thriller author. There are so many twists and surprises that this was a fast great read!! Taylor started off being a short film writer and transitions into books. Thank god he did because 2019 would not be a great reading year without this jem!

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Setting the scene: Christmas time in the Rockies. Main character Darby is driving in one hell of a blizzard to visit her mother in the hospital. Darby’s mother is dying of pancreatic cancer. Darby feels guilty as the last conversation her and her mother had did not go well. As the blizzard worsens and her car is skidding in snow she loses a windshield wiper. Darby is forced to stop at a rest stop and this begins the worst night of her life.

At the rest stop she encounters 4 people, a man Ashley, a man Lars and man Ed and his possible wife Sandi -later learn they are cousins. All of them are stuck at this rest stop with an emergency broadcast saying it could possible be 10 hours until snowplows reach them. Darby tries to get a signal to reach her sister at their mother’s hospital bed. Landscape is all trees and a huge cliff. By page 21 Darby sees a cage in a van in the parking lot with a little girl in it. From here on the book is just one tension filled disaster after another!!!

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From her Darby has a decision to make get involved and try and help this girl with no possible backup from the police or be silent and not do anything. If we were in her position, what would be do? Would we try and be a hero with the possibility the kidnapper could kill us or would we not do anything and save our own life. I’m not saying any choice is the correct choice. This would be an extremely hard position to be in. Of course it wouldn’t be an enjoyable book without Darby choosing to save the girl.

She now has to try and figure out which of these 4 strangers has the possibility to be a kidnapper. So to get a better idea, even though she suspects the creepy guy named Lars, she goes back to the van. She breaks in with a shoelace and interacts with the girl. The girls name is Jay and she is in Lars van. Ashley returns to the rest stop needing to get help so she tells Ashley. They concoct a plan to knock out Lars but Ashley doesn’t follow through. When Darby goes back to check on Jay bam she finds out there are 2 kidnappers and guess what, the other is Ashley.

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This starts the book’s cat and mouse game between Darby and Ashley. He is the real brains behind the operation and his brother Lars just follows orders. At this point Darby has a decision to make. Continue to fight for the girl or wait for the plows to hopefully open the roads and report it to the police. Self reflecting the reader may ask his/herself what they would do in Darby’s situation. Would you play the hero and possibly get killed or would you play it safe letting the girl go to her doom.

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It would not be a suspenseful thrilling book if Darby played it safe so off she goes to play the hero. She breaks into the van once again and tries to save Jay but the brothers are onto her following her to the van. She ends up giving Jay her swiss army knife in hopes to cut the ties on her cage. The plot unfolds and we see the shady history of Ashley and Lars childhood with his weird uncle.

Jay told Darby before she gave the knife to her that the brothers chose this rest stop for a reason, it’s not by accident. Ashley demands that Darby find Jay who has now escaped because she will freeze and die in the blizzard, losing the money they would get from the kidnapping. Darby escapes and goes back to the restroom to find Jay there and bam another twist, Sandi was in on the kidnapping the whole time. It turns out she was Jay’s bus driver and helped the brothers plan the ransom gig. Twist after gut wrenching twist.

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In the powerful climax Ashley has shot Ed, pinned Darby in a door all to find the keys to his van so they can get away. Jay and Darby gang up killing Lars. The cops finally show up just as Darby is about to shoot Ashley and shoot her thinking she is the killer, ba ba baaaa!. However justice is served and Jay ends up shooting Ashley in the face. Now here is where our heroine really comes through. Before the passes out in the snow she writes the address of the creepy uncle Ashley is taking Jay to. It turns out that the uncle sells this girls in his basement to sick truckers. Not only did she stop the 2 crazy brothers but she also stopped a sex/ murder ring thus saving girls in the future!!!!

So for those of you who have read No Exit what were your thoughts and feels throughout the book. I for one loved his debut novel and can not wait to read more from Adams. As always feel free to leave any comments below!!

Happy reading!!!

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Book Review: Women Talking by Miriam Toews

Book Review: Women Talking by Miriam Toews

 

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I know that I normally only posts Mondays but in celebration of reaching 100 followers I decided to do a Special Thursday post!!!! I am so grateful for all of you that follow, comment and like my blogs. Here’s to another 100 followers and more importantly all the book reviews and lists to come. (PS I’m super excited about some of my future content 🙂

There is a lot of hype around Women Talking so I picked it up at the library and gave it a shot. Miriam Toews is a Canadian author! Represent!!! Miriam also wrote A Complicated Kindness and All my Puny Sorrows. Funny enough this book is about the Mennonite community and she was the daughter of Mennonites. Women Talking is based on true events of 2005-2009 in the Manitoba Colony. A group of women stood up to the oppression they faced in their community. It was super interesting to see each woman’s view regarding leaving and how their lifestyle affects their thought process.

 

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So the premise of the novel starts off with 8 women in a Mennonite colony getting together to discuss their future. They find out that the Mennonite women were being drugged and raped by the men in their colony. As per their culture they are not allowed to stand up to the men. They, for obvious reasons have issues with this. They want to protect themselves as well as their children. They don’t want to feel prisoners in their own home fearing for their lives. So these 8 women from 2 families meet in a barn to discuss their 3 option: say nothing, stand up and fight or leave. They enlist the help of August Epp a colony outcast to write down the minutes of the meeting.

 

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August uses symbols for the women to understand because as per their ‘culture’ the women do not know how to read and write. August was excommunicated from the community when he was 12 years old for his parents having photos of art art, giving them out and his mother teaching things not approved by the church. August then went to college but got kicked out and thrown in jail. He was homeless and went to the library to research suicide. He met a librarian and she told August that not only did he get rejected from the Mennonite community but it also seems like he got rejected from the worldly community. What a blow would that be? She told him to go and ask for forgiveness from his original community to find peace in his life. This is how he became it outcast taking the women’s meeting minutes.

 

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The women are already at wits ends in the very beginning of the meeting. Right from the start their religion seems to play a huge role in the pros and cons of each option. They want to keep with their religion and be able to enter the gates of Heaven. However they feel they cannot forgive the men of their community for the acts they have done. The men have not even spared the children. Salome tried to kill one of the men after finding that they violated her 3 year old daughter who now is very sick. They argue that do they not have the right to protect their children while still being true to God and his teachings.

If they choose to leave they will be leaving their children and other women in harm’s way and is this worse than turning a blind eye. You can see how this way of thinking can easily spiral out of control which is not good for the women as they are on a time constraint. The men are only in the city for 2 days trying to post bail for the other men that got charged- the same men Salome tried to kill.

 

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Throughout the 2 day debacle we see each of the women’s personalities shine through. Some are more vocal and want to fight like Salome while others are quiet and try to think about things rationally like Ona- PS she was one of the victims and how is pregnant because of the rape.

Throughout the novel the comparison the women make of themselves to their livestock is shocking. They think they are of no more value than their livestock their husbands keep. Animals may even be held higher in value. I could not even imagine living in a community where this is the thought. The women learn to rise up and value their lives and their contributions/skills. Overcoming their ingrained views that they are nothing is to me truly heroic and brave.

The logistics of choosing to leave set in. The have to fear that the other women in their community who do not share their views will rat them out to the other men. No unity shown here. They also know nothing outside of the community. They do not even know how to read a map. They have to decide whether or not to take their children and what age to cut off. However they keep going back to the 3 reasons to leave which put their arguments into perspective. These 3 reasons are: Save our children, Keep their faith, and time to think.

 

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In the end the decision was made to leave after they know for certain nothing would change. Mariche’s husband comes home and wants to sell their horses (the lady’s get away car) to post bail money. After Mariche says she let them out and does not know where they are her husband beats her and her daughter. August finds them a map and uses symbols to depict what are landmarks and directions.

 

In the end I thought it was kind of sad. August comes back to the community to find peace while the women leave to find it.

 

As always I would love to hear your comments and thoughts on this book. What did you think of the real trials and tribulations that still rock communities in our world?

Happy reading!!!

 

 

book review, books, Fiction, Literature

Book Review: Run Away by Harlan Coben

Book Review: Run Away by Harlan Coben

 

 

Run Away

Run Away was on my anticipated spring read list blog post on April 8th. This is a thriller/ suspense book and it does not fall short of the suspense. It was a fast paced thriller that kept you guessing the who, whats and whys. Run Away was the first Harlan Coben book I have read and I enjoyed it so much I will definitely seek out his other popular novels.

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So this story follows parents Simon and Ingrid who appear to have lost their daughter Paige to the dangerous would of drugs. Their family is picture perfect, even to them, however after going to college Pagie changes. She becomes distant and meets an older guy named Aaron who introduces her to drugs. She cuts contact off with everyone including her brother and sister.

Simon gets word that Paige is singing for money in the Strawberry Fields at Central Park. He goes there to try and get her to go to a rehab program. This is against the wishes of Ingrid who seems to wash her hand of her daughters problems. Simon approaches his daughter but her boyfriend Aaron gets in the way and he punches him. Unbeknownst to him someone took a video of this and leaked it to youtube with the caption of rich putting down the poor and it goes viral.

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Let just point out Harlan incorporates an all too real issue many people face in our social media driven society. Everything and anything we do can and will be recorder. This viral fame Simon receives only doe shim more harm when Aaron is found dead with his throat slash. Since his previous encounter the suspicion falls to him. The story then goes on from there to follow Simon playing private detective to try and find Paige as they fear she is in danger.

The story subplots to follow Ash and DeDe who appear to be hitman. As the story develops we see that these 2 people play a bigger role in the overall plot.

Simon and Ingrid so to Paige’s apartment and get details about their drug dealer. They then go to a sketch warehouse to see if this drug dealer will tell them where he thinks Paige was and bam bam Ingrid gets shot by a random guy–or is he?

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A third sub plot twists in with Simon’s. Elena was hired by a businessman to find his son Henry Thorpe. Elena ends up going to Paige’s apartment just as Simon goes back to look for more clues. It turns out that Henry and Paige had been talking to each other just before they both disappeared. They both come to the conclusion that Paige turned different after she went to college and this correspondence happened when she was at college so it cannot be a coincidence. Simon talked to some ex-roommates and finds out 2 things. One that Paige was really interested in genetics and genealogy and second she may have been raped or sexually assaulted at a college party. When her roommate asked why Paige is acting all weird she blames it on stuff at home.

Elena also finds out that Henry new someone at a tattoo parlor (Damien) and guess what, Ash and DeDe killed him! As we find out more about the backstories of Ash and DeDe we learn that DeDe is part of a cult called Truth Haven. It consists of the leader called Truth and his 2 sons Volunteer and Visitor – the trinity.

5 Disturbing Cults You Can Still Join Today

So here is the huge spoiler alert. The cult leader ‘rapes’ I guess is the best word the females in his cult and his kids with them. If they are males they are entitled to inherit the money the cult had accumulated over time- apparently millions. The ‘prophecy’ states that the 2 oldest sons, not necessarily the 2 prophet sons’ can inherit the money – the Truth is dying. So the sick and twisted plot is that Aaron, Henry and Damien found out they are fathered by the same person through genealogy- enter Paige. Paige puts her DNA sample in too and see that Aaron and her are related on the maternal side. BaBaBa!!!!!!! So starts the crooked relationship of Aaron and Paige – half brother and sister.

At the end of the book Paige comes to see Ingrid in the hospital. Paige goes on to tell Simon that Ingrid put her in a reclusive rehab program she herself went in when she left the cult. This is why Ingrid told Simon not to find Paige. Ingrid could not tell Simon where Paige was without then telling him she was part of a cult before she met him.

I did leave out quite a few details of the book. Harlan has written such an intricate tale that it is best to read the book to get the full weight of the complex tale.

How did all of you feel reading the book. I had mixed feelings. I was kind of angry at Paige. Her family loves her so much and she put them through hell. However this brings up the question what would you do for the ones you loved? Please feel free to leave comments below! I would love to hear from you!!!!!!

Happy Reading!