book blogger, book review, Books, books, Fiction, Literature

Book Review: Circe by Madeline Miller

Book Review: Circe by Madeline Miller

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Hello All,

I have wanted to read this novel for a really long time. I am a fan of Greek Mythology and what better way to enjoy it but in novel form!!! A bit of Greek mythology background before we get into the review. Circe is a goddess, daughter of Helios – God of the Sun and a titan. Circe was known to be a sorceress and master of potions. Moving forward we go to the book review, I LOVED it! It was such a great read I couldn’t put it down. Seeing all the other greek stories intertwined with this one made for a page turner. Madeline Miller also wrote also wrote The Song of Achilles which is on my TBR! For those of you that have read Circe what were your thoughts/feelings?

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Right off the bat we see that Circe is not like her vivacious mother or any of her siblings. She thinks her father is the light of everyone’s life and desperately wanted his attention. Throughout the beginning of her story we see her brothers and sisters leave their island leaving Crice all alone. The reader learns that if you are a God or Goddess you have a glow about your being, however Circe does not have this thus isolating her more. Her parents describe her as bird like and ugly.

Circe is on the beach one day and meets the mortal Glaucus. She became infatuated with him but the realization that he would die hit her hard. Throughout this love affair we learn that Helios and the other Titans feel belittled by the Olympians. They want to rise up against them and devise a plan to get close marrying Helios’s daughter to one of the sons of Zeus.

Circe went to ask her grandmother to help with this problem, asking her about the herbs that Zeus knew about that have magical properties. This made her grandmother afraid- what would be able to make a titan afraid? She goes on the hunt for these herbs which the blood of God’s grew after a battle. Crice finds them and is able to use these to make Glaucus a God.

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This backfires and he chases after another nymph. To get back at the nymph Circe turns her into an evil sea creature – not meaning to she just wanted to make her ugly. The Oymlpians get word of Circe powers and find this punishable. Zeus banishes Circe to an isolated island and he sends unruly daughters to the island for Circe to look after.

Not all was lost to Circe though. On this island she came into herself and harnessed/ developed her powers. She was able to be herself with no fear of repercussions. She was able to summon creates and create illusions.

Down the storyline her sister sent for her from Crete to help deliver her baby. Circe’s journey there was full of hardships, particularly when Circe meets the sea monster whom she was responsible for turning turning. When Circe arrives at Crete she learns that her sister’s baby is a Minatar hungry for flesh. Her and Daedalus built a maze under the city to cage the creature. This Minatar was used as intimidation to other cities. We get to see a nice crossover as Daedalus the famous and his son Icarus is an unfortunate story. Daedlaus built his wings out of wax so he could fly but Lcarus flew too close to the sun, melting the wax and plummeting to his death- a short version.

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In the next part of Circe’s story men come to her island and try to take it from her. She kills all 20 men using her magic. She is a strong independent Goddess! Enter Odysseus and as prophesied she took a potion colly Moly so when Circe went to harm the other men he was not harmed. They were able to strike a friendship in a way and became lovers. Circe was fascinated with Odysseus and his stories of one disaster he witnessed after another. He stayed on the island for a year hoping to find peace but alas it was not his fate. He must travel back home and cross the island where Helios keeps his forbidden cows.

After he leaves we find that that Circe is pregnant with his son Telegonus! He was born a difficult child always screaming. She was not lonely again. We learn that Athena sought to harm Telegonus but she could not kill the baby outright so she sent many toils his way. Circe protected her island with the spells she taught herself!

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Telegonus grew restless on this island and seeks to leave. He would rather live one day and die by Athena’s wrath than live a life lonely on the island. She goes and asks the old sea god for poison from his stingray to save her son- she self sacrifices and gets it. She put the venom on a blade and Telegonus was to use it against any God he may encounter. He travels to see his father but his father taught him a thief and runs into this blade- killing him. Athena’s prophecy of Telegonus is true, he kills her greatest love Odysseus.

Odysseus’s wife and son come to the island with Telegonus. Circe could not figure out why they would want to come to this island and stay with her but she learns that Athena will come for her son. Penelopy hoped she could keep her son Telemachus safe on Circe’s protected island with the beasts she commands to protect them.

Athena breaks through and does come her Telemachus but it is Telegonus that goes with her to become a great hero. He gets what he wants but breaks Circe’s heart in the process. Circe ends up with Telemachus on the island and she becomes mortal in the end to stay with him, but taking the same flowers she made Glaucus immortal.

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So what do you think? I left out quite a lot of details as Miller’s book was packed full to the spine with details. I found this such a great read and loved the crossover stories. Was this a great book for those who love Greek Mythology. If not I would love to hear your reasons. I am hoping this may be turned into a movie? Please feel free to leave any comments below! Would you pick up another book by Miller?

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Happy Reading!!!!

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

Top 5: My Favourite Self Development Books

Top 5: My Favourite Self Development Books

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Hello All,

I hope everyone is having a great Thursday! I received such great responses from my last post on self development books I first off want to say a huge thank you. I appreciate all the love and support out there in the book blog community. I never could have imagined all the positive feedback and the number of views I received for Self Development Thursday! It is truly humbling to see and I am excited others enjoy these genre of books as much as I do. I have decided to continue on with the Self Development Thursday theme. I bring to you today my top 5 favourite self development books of all times. Each book in their own way has touched my soul and helped me reach my potential- even in areas I did not think possible. So without further adieu, here we go!

1. Girl Stop Apologizing by Rachel Holli

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What a great women powering book!! Rachel outlines that it is okay for women to have aspiring goals that go outside the family group. Rachel also gives lots of tips and tricks to help you stay motivated and reach your goals! Some of these include having daily practices such as a gratitude journal, writing your goals down every day and the 5 to Thrive! If you listen to the audio book it is read by Rachel herself so you can hear the enthusiasm which empowers you even more!

2.Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins

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This wouldn’t be a top 5 self development book if there wasn’t a Tony Robbins shout out. The king of motivation and self development Tony Robbins has inspired and helped millions. This short read will be sure to motivate and inspire you to be the best version of yourself! My husband loves Tony Robbins. He has read a bunch of his books but highly recommends this one and I have to agree with him.

3.The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

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Probably one of the more famous books on this list most people have heard of The Secret. Maybe you’re more familiar with the movie but hey it’s actually a book. Not everyone may agree with the Laws of Attraction. Self development is the ability to take in knowledge and see what suits you the best. I enjoyed the Laws of Attraction for the main reason that it’s based in positive thinking. You get what you put out into the world!!

4.The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

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Another oldie but a goodie on this list is the Four Agreements! It is a self powering book that increases self awareness. The 4 agreements with yourself include: be impeccable with your word, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions, and always do your best. These seem so simple and we would already do these but hey it’s a lot harder than it appears. Don gives us tips and tricks to try and incorporate these into our everyday lives. All of these books sound like they promote daily habits – seems like my first Self Development Post!

5.The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

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This is a great book to learn to live in the moment and be present. It follows the mindfulness movement and outlines that our current emotional stresses are a result of our thoughts not who we actually are at the core. It’s a lot to wrap your mind around but its a super great and eye opening read. Worry and anxiety are a product of our thoughts and it’s our job to learn to live in the present moment and allows our thoughts to pass through our mind without reacting to them.

I hope these have opened your eyes to all the possibilities out there in book form to help you change your life- if this is what you are looking to do. If you have any self development books you would like to recommend I would love to hear from you. Also if you have read any of the above books please feel free to leave a comment below with your thoughts and feelings regarding the content!

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Happy Reading and Development!

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

Top 5: Movies that I didn’t know were based on books

Top 5: Movies that I didn’t know were based on books!

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Hello All

Another top 5 for this week’s post. I thought since there are so many movie remakes coming out and a lot are based from books I would do a post that covered movies that I didn’t know were based from books. While researching for this blog I discovered way more that 5 movies but I narrowed them down to the ones I was most shocked over. Now you may have already known the following top 5 were taken from books but I didn’t so no judgment lol Also if you have any you would like to add please feel free to add a comment. I would love to add to the list. Also I would love to hear from you which ones if any shocked you the most!

  1. Jurassic Park – book by Micheal Crichton Good reads 4.01

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So I think this one I really lived under a rock for. The movie has to be one of my favourite movies ever so how did I not know that it was based on I book eludes me lol. Knowing this was one of my favs I read the book. Waaayyyy different than the movie and I have to say I’m split as to which one I like more. I think that if the movies were truly based on the book I would like the newer version of the movie more than the original. Saying that I still love the Spielburg version and will continue to re watch it as many times as I can. I just recently purchased the second novel – you guessed it – The Lost World and can not wait to see if it is as different from the movie version as the first in the series.

2. Forrest Gump – book by Winston Groom Goodreads 4.06

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Okay so many under a rock again but wow. One of the most famous movies in history is based on a book – many authors are way up there for original thinking!! So I have unfortunately not read this book yet so cannot compare it to the movie version. For anyone who has please I would love to hear your comparison! From what I could tell just why looking up the book versus the movie the character in the book is a bit different than the movie version. Which I think is kind of sad as I loved the movie for the Tom Hanks Forrest Gump portrayal!.

3. Die Hard – book ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ by Roderick Thorp Goodreads 3.56

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So right off I want to say the movie was a movie adaptation which implies to my that it differs from the book a lot. I have not read Nothing Lasts Forever so once again I would love to hear from those who have. From what I could tell the book is a more somber version of the tale. The movie has all the fun lines that have made Bruce Willis so popular- .Yippee- ki-Yay Motherfucker!!!!! Nothing Lasts forever is the second book in a detective series. Also I know there are strong opinions out there by I do watch this movie around Christmas time lol.

4. Mrs. Doubtfire – book ‘Madame Doubtfire’ by Anne Fine GoodReads 3.65

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Oh Robin Williams, no matter how awesome the book version is I can’t help but love this movie more and all due to your amazing acting. This is one incidence where the movie is better than the book based on the actor! In my opinion no one could have made this character any better than Robin. Mrs. Doubtfire is a true classic straight from my childhood. I am glad they made this movie and I am making the choice not to read the book. I could not deal with the heartbreak of comparing the 2.

5. Clueless – book Emma by Jane Austen Goodreads 3.99

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Another movie adaptation Clueless was a breakthrough cult classic movie of its time. Clueless was loosely based on the famous Jane Austen’s Emma. Emma in her times is the queen bee of her setting. She is admired by all and is the ‘perfect’ wealthy girl. Emma than takes on a similar project to Cher making Tai popular. There are many character overlaps but Clueless was made for a ‘modern day’ audience. Love this book and love this movie for different reasons but no one can knock Jane Austen out of her social women powering pedestal. Ugh.. As if!!!

So what did you all think? Which ones shocked you and which ones did you already know. Did you like the movie better for some? Please feel free to comment!

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Happy Reading!!!!!

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

Book Review: By Chance Alone by Max Eisen

Book Review: By Chance Alone by Max Eisen

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Hello All,

If you have been following my blog you know that I have mentioned this book in my top 5 memoir books! I just recently started to enjoy reading WW2 books so I thought why not give this one a try. Man am I glad that I did! It was so emotional and eye opening! This personal perception of concentration camps was shocking and I found as I read more I was more and more shocked. I was utterly appalled at the sheer disrespect for human life. I know we have all studied the Holocaust in school and maybe some school went into more depth than mine. I guess I never really thought too much about the people affected just that it was a tragic point in human history. Well this book clearly changed my view and I am very glad that Max was brave enough to share his story with the world!!!

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By Chance Alone started off with the prologue of Max in present day going to Poland with his Toronto students to participate in the March of the Living. He goes back to Auschwitz and the barracks where he was held as well as Auschwitz II where the crematoriums were . What would that even feel like? He knows this is where he lost his family to a horrible death. What a brave man.

Now the story starts and we see Max’s childhood in Czech. He lived in a Catholic dominate village but most of the shops were run by the Jewish families. His grandfather taught him a great deal but of course like any little boy he had a rebellious streak. We see just how tight nit his family was with his extended family as well. The summer of 38 was when the Nazis invasion started. Britain and France at this point signed rights away to Hitler to avoid a war. March 1939 the Nazis troops invaded Czech and Max and his family find themselves thrust into a fascists system.

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1941 hit and Jewish males 18-45 were taken to labour camps. Max’s family is finally torn apart by the war. In the 5th year of the war 1944 we see that the Hungarian Jewish people did not know about the death camps. His grandfather said no to the ferester because it was passover – how their lives might have been different if he had just yes. Max was finally taken to the concentration camps. After being taken from his mother and sister he along with his father and uncle got tattooed and put on their uniforms. These made them feel like nothing as all of them were the same – all in order to control a vast number of people.

Throughout the weeks there Max’s father learned of the fate of his wife, 3 young children and his parents. Max was sent to Auschwitz 1 the bigger of the camps. There he saw the falling ashes coming out of the crematoriums. He realized it was human ashes from the extermination. The manual labour he faced here was astonishing. At this time he was the only living member left of his family as his father and uncle were sent to the chambers.

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During one of his laborious days he suffered a devastating blow to his head that in reality saved him. Up until now his father would send him scraps of food so Max was completely by himself. Dr. Orzesko saved his life by giving him a job in the surgery ward, not having to go back to the labour fields. Max saw all sorts of crazy heroic things here. One day a Polish woman was brought in and an abortion was preformed but Dr. O said she needed an appendectomy. Some humanity left in the world.

The next horrific journey for Max was the death march. Max describes 10 days of humiliating, degrading and cruelty of the Nazis. They had no food, minimal clothing and many died. Once again out of the camps Max was saved by the small kindness of others, Misha giving him a job.

At this time, after everything was over Max was still left in limbo in Marienbad . This allowed the survivors a safe place to heal both physically and emotionally – as much as they can.

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Now in Prague Max and his new friends tried to find forged passports to make to move to Canada. They got caught and sent Max to jail. At this point it’s hard to believe that this could really happen to someone who survived the Holocaust. How insane is life. After all this only to end up in jail most people would give up, not Max.

He got out and on his way to the American camp he had to pass through the area he had 5 years ago as a Jewish prisoner. He made it to Canada and got married, had a successful job. The resilience and determination to live that Max showed us through is memoir is a true triumph for humanity. Even through all the adversity Max was able to have a happy life.

At the end of the book he recalls the Nuremberg Trials and specifically a Nazis soldier he personally remembered. They amount of brain washing these soldiers had is sickening. Even after being caught and knowing how the world reacted to their actions this soldier did not accept his part in the killing of many. He simply said he was following orders.

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So for those of you who like reading about the strength of the human spirit Max’s story is for you. The amount of bravery not only to endure what he went through but to be able to remember it and tell the whole world is mind blowing. I hope that by sharing this review it will inspire more people to want to pick up Max’s story and continue the sharing.

I did leave out quite a lot of details. Max just went through so much I tried to pick out as many main details that people could link to history as possible. There are so many extra in his book I did not want to ruin it for future readers. If anyone else has read this book I would love to hear how it affected you! Please leave a comment below!! Thank you Max for being brave and sharing your story!!

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Happy Reading!!!!!

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

Top 5: Book vs Ebook

Top 5: Book vs Ebook

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Hello All!!

I bring to you one of the most controversial tops 5’s I have yet to publish. I know people have their preference when choosing the material they read with. I want to outline factors for each paper books and e books. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. If you don’t agree with anything that follows that a okay! I am by no means saying one is better than the other. Everything is personal preference I simply want to put out there the factors I consider when choosing which avenue to read through. If I have missed any factors please feel free to leave a comment! Also what one is your preference? Do you have different choices for different situations? I would love to hear from you!

  1. Convenience
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Ebook: they are easy to carry as they are light. You can put a whole library on them and not break your back or weight down your bag. They are my choice when I travel because they are lightweight and do not take up a lot of room in my suitcase or carry on. You can now also borrow most books in the e-book forum from the library. This makes it is convenient if you don’t have time to go pick up your book from the library. When you buy an ebook its downloaded directly to your device, no waiting for the mail to come.

Books: paper books are easier to borrow from your friends and family. It is also convenient to show off your collections if this is what your into. Also you can have the convenience of going anywhere and buying a paper book.

2. Experience

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Ebook: the new ereaders have awesome options from the colour of the paper, print size and awesome fun skins. They have great options for night and daytime reading which enhance the reading experience greatly!. You can stick to black and white book covers or some e-readers are colours now!

Book: The smell and feel of a paper book is something that no other experiences can compare to. I love the feel of physically turning the page. I also love the feel of a floppy paperback! The covers of paper books are spectacular as you can see all the textures some authors add to their books as well as cover inserts.

3. Price

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EBook: so relatively speaking e book prices are lower from the research I have done if not the same as books. I have found some amazing sites that offer free to super cheap books. Kobo has daily deals where you can find some great books for $2-5. They also offer some classics for free!. Bookbub sends you daily deals as well.

Books: We has all then there, when we are at our fav book store, we have a pile of books and have to put half back because the bill will be too expensive. Books do tend to be on the more expensive side. Now yes you can find great deals at places like the salvation army, book depository and others. Libraries are great for the people who are not wanting to spend money however the wait times tend to be longer for the more popular books.

4. Buying Experience

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EBooks: So the ebook buying experience has come a long way from when they initially came out. There are a great number of sites to purchase books from now! Even libraries like I have mentioned previously have jumped on the ebook trend and you can borrow online. This makes everything instantaneous and you do not have to wait to enjoy the book you want.

Books: One of my fav things is perusing a book store. I make it a date with my man or just a jaunt with my BFF. Looking through a book shelf after book shelf for my next read has a unique feel. It gives readers great joy to be able to physically look at something before buying it.

5. Different Generations Want Different Things

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EBook vs Books: so there is the most difficult part of my blog. I talked to a lot of people about their preferences. Younger people are torn because they like the look and feel of books but they like the convenience and ease of an ebook. The older generation was torn as well. Some find it hard to learn new technology but others like the challenge and like the instant access to magazines/ papers. They find going to the store harder for them than just clicking on a link and having things directly accessible!

So here are the factors I thought of when choosing a book over an ebook. For me it’s completely situational preference. Travelling and work I love my ebook. Curling up at home I do love me a book though. What do you all think? Have I missed anything when considering a book vs an ebook? Please tell me your preference and why!

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Happy Reading!!!!!!

book blogger, book review, Books, books, Fiction, Literature

Book Review: The Lost Night by Andrea Bartz

Book Review: The Lost Night by Andrea Bartz

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The Lost Night has not gotten a lot of hype around the bookish community. This was a friend’s recommendation and I must say I didn’t hate it. It was not the most mind blowing book in the world but it was an enjoyable read. Andrea Bartz was an unknown author for me to read and to be honest I don’t know if I would read anything else from her. She was originally a journalist and co-author of a book called Stuff Hipsters Hate. Her other fiction novel is the Herd and its sounds meh.

The story starts off as a self narrator Edie reveals that she is not the happy go lucky socialite everyone thinks she is. It’s a diary style entry that also tells us she is not very connected with her friend Lindsay anymore. Then bam Edie is dead, thought to be a suicide!. Fast forward to present day. Lindsay and Sarah- a friend from Edie days, reconnect around the time of Edie’s death anniversary. Lindsay finds out that Sarah didn’t think Edie’s death was a suicide. She found Edie in her underwear which was very strange to her as Edie was always put together. She also found a gin drink in her right hand however she was left handed.

This sparks Lindsay to feel nostalgic and she starts to read over all her old emails from Edie. The reader notices the power difference between the two in the friendship. Turns out Lindsay was actually going to ‘break up’ with Edie. Edie was overbearing and bossy. Lindsay then found her flip cam and watched everyone bad mouthing Edie the night she died! Alex- Edie’s ex boyfriend at the time was also vocal about his dislike for Edie. Doubt seems to be creeping up as to who was responsible for Edie’s death.

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Greg- another friend from the group- point of view comes through. He met Edie by chance and became instantly infatuated with her over Craig’s list. Greg thought that Lindsay was a creepy brunette roommate. At this point the reader is starting to get suspicious of so many people in Edie’s death, especially Lindsay. We find out that Lindsay grew up in a right wing family very comfortable with guns. The gun that killed Edie belonged to another friend from the group Kevin and was easily accessible.

We find out that Edie had a miscarriage and Kevin was the one who took her to the hospital. She was dating Alex at the time and cheated on him with Lloyd, whom Lindsay liked. Linday found out about Lloyd by talking to Edie’s mother. Lindsay is being a little detective trying to find the truth of the night no one can remember. This book outlines each circle of friends have dirty secrets and brings to light the question of how well you can really know someone.

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Edie was dating this older gentleman for along time – Greg. While Lindsay was stalking him to find out what he knew about Edie’s secrets she stumbles upon Josh. He is cute and asked her out ! More detective work goes on and Lindsay thinks that Alex is being shady when he says that he was okay with his and Edie’s breakup- especially since she has seen the lost footage of everyone trash talking Edie. Is she being paranoid as everyone seems guilty of having a beef with Edie. Which beef is big enough for murder?

So the video clip where everyone was bashing Edie had some inaudible parts in a different location. Lindsay’s friend put it through filters and where they heard’ heavy senile skies’ turns into be ‘ have you seen Alex!”. So Alex was missing the night Edie died. Now as a reader my suspicion is so confused. I started off thinking it was Lindsay and now I may think it was Alex. Great writing technique!

Talking to Kevin Lindsay found out that after her miscarraige Edie confessed to him it would suck to die young because you have not truly lived. Why would she then commit suicide. Trying to find the truth Lindsay confronted Alex. He said that Edie had flunked out of the spring term and her mother found out and showed up trying to convince her daughter to come home.

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So trying to figure out Edie’s death Lindsay, Sarah and Alex are all having lunch together. Sarah thinks that Lindsay is being paranoid. Sarah says Edie was just a shitty friend and she told Sarah Lindsay’s deepest secret. The Warsaw incident was that Lindsay clawed someone’s face while she was drunk. We also see her anger come out when Lindsay goes out with Josh gets drunk and pushes him into traffic.

Teresa is Lindsays good friend and is trying to help Lindsay with all this confusion. She helps hangover Lindsay and tries to comfort her asking her to give up this wild goose chase. Lindsay finds an email on her computer sent from Edie? Teresa puts a tracker on her computer and finds out Lindsay sent it to herself. Now Lindsay is crazy and blows up at Teresa. She is pushing people away just like Edie did. We also learn from Teresa that Lindsay was a troubled child and pushed her mother down they stairs. Seems like Lindsay has a violent past. Now my suspicion is placed back on Lindsay. The author is great at redirecting the murder suspect keeping the reader intriuged.

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We are now at the climax of this book and what a twist we read. Teresa goes all psycho on Lindsay. It seems like Teresa is trying to make Lindsay paranoid and blame herself but we learn that Teresa is really Jenna – Edies old roommate!. She killed Edie because Edie dropped her from the friend group then moved out. She started dealing drugs for a local named Anthony. This is how she was able to get close again to Edie asking for forgiveness then bam shot her staging it as a suicide.

Jenna/Teresa then befriended Lindsay to keep tabs on her- Lindsay saw everything that night but was too drunk to remember. Jenna used Lindsay’s sketchy past to keep the suspicion on Lindsay and off her. Drugged Lindsay goes to shoot Jenna and blacks out ending up in the hospital. Here is where things get really confusing for Lindsay. When she wakes up ‘Teresa’ says she had another drunken moment like Warsaw and Josh and shot Teresa by mistake. What do we believe as the reader. Is the previous event just a figment of Lindsays’ imagination or did they really happen?

Lindsay spills water on her laptop. She takes it to a Geek squad to get fixed and learned that Teresa is actually tracking her every move. She confronts Teresa about this and we learn than once again Teresa is really Jenna! Jenna is arrested and Lindsay now tries to heal from all this craziness.

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So this book was really good at confusing the reader. It made use distrust the voice of the narrator- Lindsay- by making us question the dependability of Lindsay’s perspective. By making up question the sanity of the narrator it also made us question whether she was a reliable storyteller. I really liked the twist at the end which made me even more confused and the suspension was great. What did you all think of this book. Yay or nay? Please feel free to leave comments below! I would love to hear from you!

Happy Reading!!!

book blogger, book review, Books, books, inspiration, Literature, self development, top 5

Top 5: Self Help books for Healthy Habits

Top 5: Self Development books for Healthy Habits!

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Hello All

I know this does not look like a typical blog post and it’s not!!! I am so excited to roll out something new on Bookfestishsite! I love reading – ha! I love reading all kinds of books and self help/motivation books are right up there. I know my page has focused on fiction and non fiction mostly but I really want to bring to you posts that could help with your daily lives and be a healthy individual. So I invented ‘Self Help Thursdays!” The self help book trend is so big right now I hope to intrigue at least some of yo out there! If you are self help book guru or new to the genre I hope you find the information on my Self Help Thursday’s useful!.

For the new fall season, back to school and back into a routine I thought I would kick off the Self Help Thursdays with my top 5 books to help you develop healthy habits. I have read ⅗ of these books and the other 2 come with great recommendations and are now on my TBR or shall I say TBL (to be listened) to list. My preference for self help books is listening to them. My husband and I have an audible account and love it!!

  1. Atomic Habits by James Clear Goodreads 4.31
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First on the list is a book called Atomic habits. This was one of the first books I listened to on habits. James covers how small daily habits that you don’t think really matter when practiced consistently make a huge difference in your future. He breaks down the importance of habits in order to live a happy successful life. He outlines how to make good habits and break bad ones. He takes a system approach that is easy to follow. After this book I started off making my bed every morning and doing the dishes before bed not thinking it would make a big difference. I can honestly say that now practicing this for 4 months these habits have given me a sense of calm and made my morning more enjoyable!. If you visit https://jamesclear.com/atomic-habit his website elaborates on his concept and offered printable worksheets that he discusses in his book! Run time is 4 hours, which is a shorter book on this list so great for those trying out personal development books for the first time!

  1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey Goodreads 4.09
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This is a great read/listen! Both my husband and I have listened to the 7 habits and found this book extremely helpful! It has been a popular book for 30 years and people are still finding it relevant today! It is a lengthy listen 11hours in total but think of all the knowledge that you receive!!! It followed 3 major areas in life where we can develop great habits: independence, interdependence and continual improvement. The 7 habits outlines and elaborate each one which include: be productive, begin with the end in mind, put first things first, think win-win, seek first to understand then be understood, synergize, and sharpen the saw/growth!. The may seem abstract or too simple but with the explanation in this book it sets the reader up to be the most productive/successful version of themselves.

  1. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg Goodreads 4.08
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The Power of Habit is one of the more popular books on this list. This book follows success stories of people building success from nothing. Charles explains how habits have helped all these stories end with a huge success! He takes a holistic approach to habits and how we can rewire our neuro state to develop healthy habits! It soo great that he gives examples of how these habits help successful people come to fruition. It also is a longer book 10 hours but pop those earbuds in and listen on your bus ride to school or your daily run!

  1. Rewire : Change your brain to break bad habits by Richard O’Connor Goodreads 3.8
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I have not listened to this book yet but it’s definitely on my wish list on audible. I have just recently finished another rewire book – for anxiety- so I thought I would enjoy this one as well. Richard explains why bad habits are so hard to break. He then goes on to discuss how to ‘rewire’ your brain to break these and make new ones. I do believe this book is a bit more technical on the science and neurology side so great for the super nerds like me out there! Once again it is a run time of 10 hours. I know this can be daunting but hey I think you get the most for your money with audio books. I play them when I am cleaning or hook it up so I can play them on my long drives. My husband gets stuck in daily traffic so he loves these to pass the time over the radio!

  1. Make Your Bed: Little things that can change your life by William McRaven Goodreads 3.96
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A shorter book on this list with a run time of roughly 2 hours is great again for the readers newer to self development books. This one follows the basic principles as the others that small daily habits truly change your life for the better. Admiral McRaven outlines the 10 principles he learned while in training to be a Navy SEAL! He discusses his stories as well as others throughout the book covering healthy habits and change.

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So what did all of you think about this new Self Development Thursday’s post? Yay or nay? If you like this and want more please please comment below so I know. I have a lot of ideas for future post! If you have any self development genres you want to know more about please also leave a comment below! I am open to great discussions. What are some of your healthy habits or even bad habits – no judgement here. A bad habit that I have and find hard to kick is definitely binge watching Netflix when I could be doing more productive things oh and too much screen time haha! Also if you have read any of these I would love to hear what you thought on the books!

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Happy Reading!!!

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Top 5: Memoir Books

Top 5: Memoir Books

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Here with another top 5 I bring you my fav memoir books that I have read over the years. Now I already know that some people will add the Micheal Obama’s book and Shoe Dog to this list. Unfortunately I have not read them yet but from what I have heard about their reviews they are amazing. I have just recently gotten into reading biographies and memoirs and I am finding I really enjoy them. It’s something about the awe inspiring life stories and the strong spirited people in this world that make for a great read. Some of the stories really put your life into perspective. I think it takes a lot of courage for the authors to put their lives on display for millions to read. Whatever feels you get from reading their stories I appreciate the work that goes into each book and hope by mentioning the books below you have a change to appreciate them as well.

  1. By Chance Alone by Max Eisen Good reads 4.51 stars
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This has to be my favourite memoir book! By Chance Alone puts the Holocaust both leading up to, during and afterwards into sickening reality. What Max and his family went through was unspeakably evil and hardships. Throughout the book we see that he was able to survive on the kindness of strangers and pure determinations. When the story is so dark it’s nice to see glimmers of light scattered throughout. I found it incredibly shocking how resilient the mind and body can be without breaking while still being about to live a ‘normal’ life after the events occurred. To see how trivial human life was treated and what other humans can do to each other was a real eye opener. We all learned about the Holocaust in high school but to read of first hand accounts puts things into a different perspective. The trial at the ends was another injustice for the survivors.

2. Educated by Tara Westover Goodreads 4.49 stars

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I got this gem for Christmas last year and what a great present it was. Tara shares her past with us and what it was like to grow up in a doomsday Mormon household. I found it baffling to read the hardships both mental and physical Tara and her brothers/sisters went through growing up on their farms. To the multiple car accidents to the many injuries sustained on the junk fields it’s crazy to think they all survived with minimal health care- in some cases none. To see Tara struggle in adulthood and the shear powers and determination to change was inspiring. To break habits and beliefs has to be one of the hardest things to accomplish. This an inspiring read of overcoming hardships in the quest for a better life and a life one truest to oneself.

3. A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindout and Sara Corbett Goodreads 4.22 stars

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This was the first memoir I has to opportunity to read and wow what an intro it was. A House in the Sky is the heart wrenching story of worst case scenarios. Amanda was kidnapped while doing journalism in Somalia for 460 days! The utter thought of being kidnapped is unthinkable but to add being tortured is unbelievable. They only way she survived is to take herself out of her body to the ‘house in the sky’. Even when all hope was lost that the government would step in Amanda was able to hang on to hope that one day she would be back home. Once again we see the resilience the mind and body exhibit when pushed to the limits.

4, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelo Goodreads 4.22 stars

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One of the more well known memoirs this was on Oprah’s book club list. To relate to modern day this is an older version of the Me Too movement. Maya is open with all her life hardships with poverty and racism. She tells of all the tragic events that take place but shows how her strong spirit prevails over all. If you are looking for a read when a woman can overcome all obstacles this is the book for you!!!

5. Mourning Has Broken by Erin Davis Goodreads 4.15 stars

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Mourning has Broken is the story of how Erin Davis (A Canadian radio host) lost her beloved daughter. Her journey through grief is revealed all the way through to its core. I may have cried a few times while reading her openness with death and tragedy. Erin’s real and raw emotions were so well told I felt her loss through the pages. It is refreshing for someone to say everyone grieves in their own way and it’s not wrong if you grieve different than what people expect of you. My takeaway is never tell someone who has lost a loved one an ‘at least’ statement. When in doubt say nothing!.

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I hope these have given you a great insight to how wonderful life stories can be. Whether you are reading a tragic life story or a story of overcoming hardships there is a lesson to learn in all of these authors’ courageous books. The resilience of everyday people is amazingly inspiring! If you have any other memoirs you enjoyed please comment below!!!

Happy Reading!!!!!

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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 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 !!!!!