#ThrowbackThursday: The Girl On the Train by Paula Hawkins


It’s Thursday once again and we’re back with my favorite book meme, #ThrowbackThursday created by Renee of It’s Book Talk (https://itsbooktalk.com/) as her way of sharing some of her favorite oldies but goodies books that were published more than a year ago. Check out her blog to see her TBT recommendations this week 🙂

Today, I’m featuring the mystery thriller, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins which was made into a movie a year ago. Take note, I haven’t seen the movie so this review is purely related to the book.

The Girl on the Train
by Paula Hawkins

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

Everyday, Rachel Watson rode the train, with alcohol in her hand, reliving the moments of her day, wove stories in her head and somehow still wished she was still married to her ex, Tom. She was an alcoholic and often had blackouts. Everyday, she passed by “Jess and Jason’s” house and imagined their perfect wonderful life. Until one day she saw something that shocked her and changed everything she knew about the people in her old neighborhood.

Megan and Scott didn’t exactly resemble the happy family that Rachel imagined them to be. Megan had issues with her neighbors, her job (or lack thereof), her husband. Megan’s disappearance in the story came as a shock and Scott’s abusive nature gripped my throat.

Anna Watson, Tom’s new wife and mother of their child, was something else. She’s unreliable, pretentious, insecure. I can’t say much about her because really, there was nothing likeable about her in my opinion. So there.

The characters were so unsettling that for the first time in my life, I didn’t favor any of them, wasn’t at all thrilled at anyone,  In my eyes, Rachel Watson was desperate, Anna Watson was unforthcoming, and Megan was erratic. Tom and Scott were both horrendous, that’s all I could say about them.

But darn it, I wasn’t expecting that ending! Sure I’ve had my fair share of mysteries and thrillers, I thought I have already mastered the art of eliminating the possible suspects and guessing whodunnit. But I was wrong. Once again, I was left with my mouth hanging open at the turn of events.

The Girl on the Train had been a great read, quite disturbing and somehow  I found the whole story gripping and madly disturbingly awesome.



ARC Review: Paper Tigers by Meg Collett

Paper Tigers
(Fear University #4)
by Meg Collett

Fear University has created a new monster …

The infamous fear switch research started with me, Patient Zero. But I am a failure. My mind adapted and now I move through the shadows like the creatures I was created to hunt. I spent my entire life in a cage with scalpels in my brain, but I am finally free—thanks to the Commander.

I am Zero, and I will make the bad men at Fear University pay.

I, Ollie Volkova, have returned to Fear University to rebuild and restore the school to its former standard of protecting the world against monsters, both human and aswang. But something new is killing Original families all over Kodiak Island and nearly assassinated the president of my university. The hunters call it a ghost, but I know she’s something more. Something worse than monsters and men. Something like me.

Fear University is my home, and I will kill to protect it.


If you’ve been following my reviews about the Fear University series, I’ve declared all my love and admiration to this woman who had encapsulated Filipino folklore in her novels, Meg Collett. And the mere mention of aswang in the story easily gives me the creeps. The crazy kind of creeps that makes me shiver in fear and anticipate in excitement. I haven’t met any other author who had written a story about aswangs, manananggal, kapre in an intricately detailed and extensive manner, much scarier and more nerve-racking than the one featured in Grimm TV series. I kid you not.

Now on to the fourth installment in the series. Paper Tigers.

The aswangs are back, and so are the aswang hunters and the halflings. Ollie had convinced Dean to let the halflings enter Fear University, against his bitter judgment, completely certain that aswangs are monsters, not half-good, not half-monstrous.

And then there’s Zero. She had wormed her way in the university, and Dean almost cost his life, but still lived, gripping in fear. Zero had found him, and he was sure he’d soon die in her hands. In her daughter’s hands. But she didn’t anticipate The Fearless One and the One Who Don’t Feel Pain. And for that, Zero is back to being zero.

The fight scenes, the aswangs, the shadows, the fear switch, the antidote, the lovestruck pairs, the traitors, the war, the confused daughter, the Queen!

I am fumbling here, I know; I wish I could narrate the entire book and tell you how awesome Paper Tigers is. But I must stop before I blurt out the whole story. You need to read this for yourself. You need to meet the woman behind this amazing series.

OMG, this has been a crazy ride and I can’t stop myself from screaming. Meg Collett is a genius and I want the whole world to know that. For me, she could be the next Sarah J. Maas. Paper Tigers is a must read. ’nuff said.

Review: Back Roads by Tawni O’Dell


Back Roads
by Tawni O’Dell

coffeesynopsisdHarley Altmyer should be in college drinking Rolling Rock and chasing girls. He should be freed from his closed-minded, stricken coal town, with its lack of jobs and no sense of humor. Instead, he’s constantly reminded of just how messed up his life is.

With his mother in jail for killing his abusive father, Harley is an orphan with the responsibilities of an adult and the fiery, aggressive libido of a teenager. Just nineteen years old, he’s marooned in the Pennsylvania backwoods caring for his three younger sisters, whose feelings about him range from stifling dependence to loathing. And once he develops an obsession with the sexy, melancholic mother of two living down the road, those Victoria’s Secret catalogs just won’t do the trick anymore. He wants Callie Mercer so badly he fears he will explode. But it’s the family secrets, the lies, and the unspoken truths that light the fuse and erupt into a series of staggering surprises, leaving what’s left of his family in tatters. Through every ordeal, the unforgettable Harley could never know that his endearing humor, his love for his sisters, and his bumbling heroics would redeem them all.


His mom is in jail after she killed her husband. So Harley’s got full responsibility to his three sisters who are quite a handful. The eldest finds solace making out with boys in their living room couch.. The second one couldn’t be moved and the youngest is alarmingly as sweet as syrup. These girls need guidance from a woman, in my honest opinion, but all they got is Harley who isn’t particularly happy nor charmed with the setup. But he’s got no choice but to be the man in the family, and man, he needs all the boost he can get, especially with that lovely mother he’s recently got his eyes on.

Now if only he can give sympathy to his siblings without thinking of strangling them one by one. And if only his mother didn’t fired up that gun…..

I bought this book almost 10 years ago when I learned that this was part of Oprah’s Book Club. I thought, if Oprah liked it, I guess I would too. But as I read the pages one by one, I got this inexplicably sick feeling about Harley and the way he treated his sisters. I couldn’t point my finger on it, I just knew it was giving me the creeps. A week later, I realized I’ve been stuck at the same chapter for a couple of days and couldn’t bring myself to proceed. So I abandoned this book and left it on my box of DNFs. 😦

Now my sons found my old stash and I saw this book, like it’s begging me to read it. So I decided to reread it. Now I realize why I wasn’t able to finish this book before. It was about a dysfunctional family struggling with a series of unfortunate events that befell them. But this aint’ magical like the other book – no, Back Roads is gritty, dark, brutal, savage. My mind couldn’t handle it then, honestly, i still can’t, but I did it! I’d like to think that I am now more mature and open-minded and so I was relieved when I finally finished reading this book. My mind exploded into small pieces, you’d be picking my brains scattered on the floor.

This.Is.Mindfuck. Is it HEA? How I wish! Ugh. This is still giving me a headache. I wonder how Oprah managed to finish it.



Review: Cruel and Unusual by Patricia Cornwell


Cruel & Unusual (Kay Scarpetta #4)
by Patricia Cornwell

Virginia Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta is called in to autopsy the body of convicted murderer Ronnie Waddell after his execution. Several days after the execution, a young boy is discovered murdered in the fashion of Waddell’s earlier killings, with Waddell’s prints near the body. Scarpetta, along with FBI Agent Benton Wesley and Detective Pete Marino, try to discover how a dead inmate could have possibly committed another murder after his death. As the story progresses she seeks the assistance of her 17-year-old niece Lucy after she discovers a strange folder on her computer.


Kay Scarpetta steps up her game in this series. She confronted the most bizarre of the many controversies involved in her body of work yet. Everyone wonders how Ronnie Joe Waddell’s unique fingerprint appears at the murder scene of Eddie Heath a few hours after Waddell was executed. Dr. Scarpetta, together with her expert team consisting of the charismatic Pete Marino, Benton Wesley and her niece Lucy, they went to great lengths to investigate and expose the murderer, but not without her getting practically destroyed.

Among the female crime writers I’ve read, I think the legendary Patricia Cornwell is my favorite. She’s got to be an exceptional author who uses her expertise in the investigative field to make sure that there is substance in the novels that she write. I like how her stories get me engaged until I have reached the last page of the book. Truly this has been a nail-biting suspense mystery that readers and thrill seekers would appreciate and enjoy.



Review: Deadly Love by Wesley Robert Lowe


DEADLY LOVE – A Chinatown Haunting
by Wesley Robert Lowe

I’m Jasmine Huang, an actress from Beijing. Five years ago, I was murdered while rehearsing for an audition. Everyone thinks it was my ex who killed me, but I’m not positive it was Chris… or maybe I just don’t want to accept it. But I just have to know the truth… even if it kills me again.


I am blown away by this chillingly haunting story about an aspiring Chinese actress, her overzealous pianist boyfriend and her cunning ambitious father. Deadly Love features Jonathan aka Liang who followed her father’s footsteps and dreamed of making it big in the theater as a director but ended up broke, disillusioned and dead. His daughter Jasmine Huang also suffered tragically but surprisingly, she still had her life after murder, after death, after pregnancy! Unbelievable, yes, but in the netherworld, it is possible!

She died after a believable fight with her boyfriend Chris Mathers during their theater rehearsal. The different paths that Chris had undertook to escape Jasmine’s ghost and to prove his innocence was no easy feat. Everyone believed he killed Jasmine, everywhere he went, he saw Jasmine, every person he encountered was connected to Jasmine.

Ugh, this was such a heavy and eerie story, I felt my chest heaving and crushing through every page. This book ain’t for the weak and scaredy-cat. This is terror.

From US to China, from Paris to Singapore to Vancouver Canada. You’ll really go places with this. book. Mr. Lowe clearly has the talent to dig deep into the paranormal. A supernatural genius who knew how to tell a hauntingly real, surreal and unreal story.



Review: Monster Mine by Meg Collett


Monster Mine (Fear University #3)
by Meg Collett

officialsynopI, Sunny Lyons, am chasing my best friend’s ghost.

Or at least I thought I was until Ollie calls me on the phone and tells me to come to Anchorage, Alaska. We find her in a renovated warehouse surrounded by halflings and Hex, her father and the greatest aswang warrior who has ever lived.

While trying to protect Ollie from the people who want to use her as a weapon, I stumble across a secret the halflings will kill to protect—a secret that could save the man I love. I may be the Cowardly Lyon, but I’m willing to do whatever it takes to protect my friends—even if it kills me.

My name is Ollie Volkova, and I am not broken.

Though my friends may say otherwise after I spent three weeks with a sadistic madman. They think I’m crazy, but when a monster called the Manananggal surfaces on the outskirts of Anchorage, my father offers to tell me about my mother in exchange for my help in hunting down the winged creature. It’s a deal I can’t pass up. Not when my mother’s past is so important to my future.

But the more I learn about her, the more I discover about my monster’s soul, and when my father reveals the final, darkest truth, the decision I make will change the course of my life.

officialreviewMeg Collett must have been raging mad when she wrote this. And I love her even more for that. Monster Mine is the best monster book I’ve read this year. Not because there was a Manananggal on the loose. Not because there were halflings or part-aswang, part-human walking in and out of Fear University. Not because Sunny stole the sunshine and limelight in the story. Not because Luke had become the better man I wanted him to be. Not because Hatter did all these crazy little things that made me of think of … well, crazy little things about him. And definitely not because Ollie Volkova was a monster.

No, this is the best Meg Collett book I’ve read and I love everything about aswangs, manananggal, tikbalang, halflings, Luke, Hatter, Sunny and most importantly, Ollie, the Hunter.. And everything else written in this book. I love how Meg Collett had done an extensive research about Filipino folkloric creatures and had come up with a suspenseful thriller that left me waiting with bated breath, reading at the edge of my seat and screaming like a banshee. This.Is.A.Highly.Recommended.Read!

My Rating: 



Promo Blitz: The Holiday Killer


Crime / Thriller
Date Published: December 7, 2015

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Happy Holidays…
Around the world, Christmas Eve is a time of joy, hope and new beginnings, where children open presents, parents smile, and all is right with the world.
Except in Matryville.
Holidays are dreaded, rather than anticipated. A killer is on the loose, and he strikes as parents hide their kids, fearing the bogeyman’s wrath…
Liz Rhodes, Special Detective at the Matryville Central Police Department, is heading the investigation of the Holiday Killer. She’s close on his tail, a suspect in her grasp…
… and then her son is taken.
Will Liz be able to track down the Killer before it’s too late? Or will Jamie pay the price for her arrogance? Only time will tell…
A young boy, five years old, sat sleepily behind his mum’s recliner, watching the fireplace in front of him. On the clock behind him, midnight ticked slowly closer. The Christmas decorations around the room were gaudy, tired, and past their lifespan, but they were heirlooms and well-loved, so his mother continued to pull them out every year.
The boy tilted forward a little, yawning. It was well and truly past his bedtime, but he was definitely going to stay up to see Santa Claus.
The clock ticked over to midnight, and a rustling emerged from the chimney. Tom looked up, suddenly wide awake, and peered around the armchair to the chimney. Grains of soot dropped from the chimney into the fireplace below, and Tom hid a little more, watching the fireplace with trepidation.
Then the rustling stopped, and Tom watched the fireplace. But nothing happened.
He peeked out a little more, his heart starting to sink with disappointment. Maybe Santa didn’t come if you were waiting for him?
Suddenly the front door clicked open and Tom gasped, hiding behind the chair, watching. He could hear the door creaking open, and feel the slow gust of cold as the wind from outside crept into the warm house. A large, bulky man stepped into Tom’s view, dressed in a red suit, but lacking a beard or white hair. Tom watched him with one eye from behind the chair, and stared. Santa!
The man turned to look at him, smiling, and gestured for the boy to follow him. But Tom hesitated. This man was dressed like Santa, but his parents had taught him to be wary of strangers. Should he go? Or should he run upstairs and tell his parents about this?
The man gestured again, then reached into his large sack and pulled out a small present, perfectly wrapped, and held it out to him.
Tom emerged slowly from the chair, stepping slowly toward Santa. The bulky man smiled and headed for the front door, gesturing after him for Tom to follow. Tom looked at the present and cautiously followed the man to the front door, looking out. He couldn’t see the man, but that didn’t mean he was gone.
Suddenly something grabbed him from behind, pinning his arms to his sides and covering his mouth and nose with a large hand. Tom tried to scream, to wriggle out, but the man was much stronger than him, and he was cutting off his air.
The man carried him from the house, managing to steer him out without the kicking boy knocking anything over, and threw the boy into the trunk of his car. Winded, on the verge of passing out from oxygen deprivation, Tom weakly gulped in air as he watched a second shape carefully shut the door to the house, leaving behind no sign.
About the Author


Butcher by day, author by night, Holly spends her days off writing, playing in her garden and watching superhero cartoons. Holly lives with her husband Matthew and her cat Talia al-Kitty in a two-bedroom flat crammed with comics, video games, books and movie memorabilia. An active cosplayer, Holly and Matthew take time out of their days to entertain kids as various DC comics characters, and make their own costumes (when Real Life allows).
Contact Links
Purchase Links
eBook Copies of previous 6 novels.


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