Category Archives: Reading

Book Review – ‘Maestra’ by L.S. Hilton

Okay, so I didn’t read ’50 Shades of Grey’ but there was a lot of talk and hype around the, shall we say, erotic nature of some of the scenes in the book. Well, ‘Maestra’ is definitely in the same category, which I didn’t know when I picked it up (hahaha, picture yourself reading this book on the subway while you head into the office and then BAM – graphic sex scene. What a way to start a Monday).

With that being said, I really liked this book. It seemed mildly unrealistic at times but also had me a bit jealous of the main character, Judith Rashleigh, of her ability to con others and live the life of luxury. It follows her life from working in a boring art house to serving at an exclusive nightclub, the people she meets, the places she goes, and the drama she brings with her. She finds herself on a free trip to Paris, potentially involved in a murder mystery, running from the law through the Italian countryside … living on a yacht, scheming for millions – all in a few hundred pages! It’s hard to write a lot without giving much away, so I guess this is kind of a bad book review, huh? Look – if you like the following aspects to a novel, you’d like this one:

Femme Fatale
Thriller
Page Turner

The sequel to this book, the first in a trilogy, came out April 2017 so you know it’s on my list of books to buy!

Book Review – ‘Before I Go To Sleep’ by S.J. Watson

Another day, another blog post about books. Honestly, I could probably write a blog post every week about a book I’ve read but I try to keep it to the books that stick out to me or that I’ve really enjoyed. When you read a lot of books consecutively it’s hard to keep them all separate at times. S.J. Watson’s ‘Before I Go To Sleep’ has been on my to-read list for a while now but there were always other books I wanted to read more. So, after reading the book and then watching the movie – I have to say, as always, I liked the book a lot more. ‘Before I Go To Sleep’ follows the story of Christine, who wakes up every day following a traumatic accident, not remembering who she is, where she is, or what is going on in her life. The book goes through her journey of regaining her memory and who she can trust. I really liked this because it was consistently told from Christine’s viewpoint (it didn’t jump around to other characters) so it was easy to follow. I found it a bit repetitive at first, going over the same bits of information over and over, but I think it was written that way to help the reader to understand what Christine was going through. The twist was slightly unexpected, but I liked her discovery through the novel and how everything wrapped up. If you want to see the movie, I recommend the book first – it paints a better picture of the characters and building up to the different events (as is usually the case).

Book Review – ‘Into The Water’ by Paula Hawkins

Paula Hawkins is the reason why I’ve read 15 books this year. Yes, 15. Last summer I picked up ‘Girl on a Train’ after much hype and lead up to the movie. I wanted to read it before I saw the movie and I had just started a new job that had me traveling solo a lot. I figured what better way to kill time in an airport than reading a book. I wanted to try and unplug from being on Instagram and Snapchat so much, so I asked for a few referrals for books and Paula’s came up a bunch of times – it was perfect. It had been a while since I read a book so quickly and actually enjoyed it. It led me to read as many books as I could find in that genre and here we are, a year later still reading a book a week with no end in sight. When I found out there was a new book coming out by Paula called ‘Into the Water’, I didn’t even care what it was about – I pre-ordered it and patiently waited for it to arrive.

The storyline is about a mother that turns up dead at the bottom of a river that runs through town that has a history of being a place where people have died traumatically. It goes through the aftermath and the police investigation. Here are my thoughts:

Hardcover vs. Paperback

I hate when books are hardcover. I know this is so superficial, but I hate carrying large hardcover books during my commute. Plus, I know they’re just going to release softcover versions in a year but I can be so impatient sometimes. Also, funny story – I once wanted a book so bad but it was only in hardcover, so I went on Amazon and ordered it, super excited because I thought I found it in paperback, only to receive it and realize it was paperback … but was in large print. That went back real quick.

Viewpoints

I felt the book jumped around a lot from different viewpoints. This is fairly standard in these psychological thriller type books, but I found this one to be very disjointed and hard to follow the viewpoints at times.

Thrilling?

I didn’t find it as gripping and ‘page turning’ as ‘Girl on a Train’ and the twist didn’t excite me or surprise me like some others that I have read. This could be because I’ve read so many books in this genre that it’s not surprising anymore.

I think her first novel was such a hit that there was a lot of build-up and hype surrounding this once. I felt a bit let down and under-whelmed afterward. Would I read it again? Probably not. I thought it was okay, but I wasn’t upset when it ended (my telltale sign of a good book).

Book Review – Brain On Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan

It’s been a lonnnng time since I read a book for pleasure. As soon as my friend Andrea recommended ‘Brain On Fire: My Month of Madness‘ by Susannah Cahalan, I literally rushed out to Chapters the next day to buy it. If you’re looking for a good summer read, look no further. As a person who has seen what mental illness can do to someone, this book felt like an inside look at what someone dealing with that goes through every single day. That’s something I can’t even begin to relate to.

As a combination memoir and non-fiction book, it tells the medical mystery of Susannah Cahalan; a normal twenty-something with a steady job as a writer at a New York paper and new-found relationship. Her life seemed to be almost idealistic when she suddenly wakes up strapped to hospital bed unable to move or speak with absolutely no idea of how she got there, labelled as violent, psychotic, and a flight risk. This book pulled me in instantly, a dialogue of Cahalan’s ‘descent into madness’ and a lifesaving diagnoses that almost came too late.

I will add that although most of it is true to the events, because of the history of what happened, a lot of her writing is based on the personal journals, family writings, doctors notes, and what she could remember (which is prefaced at the beginning of the novel).

If I’m being honest, it was a very quick read but I think that’s because I was so into it, I read it every spare second I had and ended up finishing it in three days. The writing itself wasn’t overly complex – although you do hear a lot of medical and psychological terminology. Because it was a memoir, I found that it was written in ‘easy English’ – think reading through someones diary.

Overall, I’m glad I picked this up as quickly as I did. It’s been a while since I read a book that pulled me in like this one and highly recommend you also add a copy to your personal library.

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