#ThrowbackThursday: The Girl On the Train by Paula Hawkins

throwbackthursday

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

EVERY DAY THE SAME
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.

UNTIL TODAY
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.

 

#ThrowbackThursday | Review: Deception Point by Dan Brown

throwbackthursday

It’s Thursday once again and we’re back with my newest 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 love some science fiction and drama, so I chose Deception Point by Dan Brown.


Deception Point
by Dan Brown

When a new NASA satellite spots evidence of an astonishingly rare object buried deep in the Arctic ice, the floundering space agency proclaims a much-needed victory…a victory that has profound implications for U.S. space policy and the impending presidential election. With the Oval Office in the balance, the President dispatches White House Intelligence analyst Rachel Sexton to the Milne Ice Shelf to verify the authenticity of the find. Accompanied by a team of experts, including the charismatic academic Michael Tolland, Rachel uncovers the unthinkable: evidence of scientific trickery — a bold deception that threatens to plunge the world into controversy.

But before Rachel can contact the President, she and Michael are attacked by a deadly team of assassins controlled by a mysterious power broker who will stop at nothing to hide the truth. Fleeing for their lives in an environment as desolate as it is lethal, their only hope for survival is to find out who is behind this masterful ploy. The truth, they will learn, is the most shocking deception of all.

Rachel Sexton is one tough woman who isn’t fazed by her own powerful senator-father. NASA makes a very interesting discovery, one that might change one’s beliefs about aliens. There’s a conspiracy within the political ranks and the powers that be were doing their best to keep NASA from being dismantled.

A year after Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code was turned into a movie, I got the chance to read this other book with sci-fi distinction. It was only then I realized that this book came first before A&D and Da Vinci. I never thought Brown could write something like this. I liked that the use of cutting-edge technology and futuristic fighting equipment was prolifically translated in the book.

This book leaves you wondering what’s coming next, and makes you feel like watching a great flick instead of just reading it. Well, actually, this book reminded me a lot of X-Files (Moulder and Scully!!! – ugh, I feel old!)

Overall, if you’re into science fiction and astronomy stories, this book is for you. I hope to read other books by the author (the last book I read of him was Da Vinci Code) and hope to understand what makes people tick when they read Dan Brown. Admit it or not, he is quite controversial, don’t you think?

 

ThrowbackThursday: The Devil Who Tamed Her by Johanna Lindsey

throwbackthursday

It’s Thursday once again, the first one in July and I’m back with my newest favorite book meme, #ThrowbackThursday created by Renee of It’s Book Talk (https://itsbooktalk.com/) This is 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 🙂

I wasn’t able to do the whole TBT meme for the month of June as I had been knee-deep at work and at home. I scheduled mostly of my posts (promo tours, reveals, etc) and had lesser book reviews last month. This July, I hope to be more productive and engaging at the same time.

So for my #ThrowbackThursday book – it’s from one of the all-time favorite romance bestseller, Johanna Lindsey, The Devil Who Tamed Her.

The Devil Who Tamed Her (Reid Family 2)
by Johanna Lindsey

Johanna Lindsey presents a spirited Regency-era novel about the transforming power of true love.

 

Ophelia Reid is an incomparable beauty and a ruthless gossip. Having purposely wrecked her arranged engagement to future marquis Duncan MacTavish, Ophelia wants to return to London’s marriage mart and make her own choice of a wealthy husband. But on her journey home, something unexpected happens….The heir to a dukedom, Raphael Locke is the most sought-after young lord in England. When MacTavish claims that Ophelia will never be anything but spiteful, Rafe bets his friend otherwise. Whisking her to his country estate, Rafe shows his furious, sharp-tongued “guest” the error of her ways and discovers the surprising reasons for her bad behavior. When Rafe champions the new and improved Ophelia’s re-entry to London society, marriage proposals pour in. But has Rafe gone and fallen in love with Ophelia himself?

What will change her mischievous ways: prudence or passion?

 

This second book from the Reid Family series (I haven’t read the first one, silly me!) is exquisite. Ophelia is a character that you would surely love to hate and eventually hate to love. No wonder young Raphael Locke, Viscount Lynnfield, heir to a dukedom, (wow, that’s a mouthful!) is having a hard time with his feeling while taming “Her Royal Shrewdness.” Misunderstood at first, Ophelia gradually healed the wounds that she herself had inflicted before. What started as a bet might just end up with no winners at all. Sounds kinda familiar, but the feelings of butterflies in my stomach always turn me into a gushing little child.

This is a nice read, perfect bedtime story or when lounging on the sofa waiting for an appointment. I wish I have read the first book so I could very well understand why Ophelia was hated by almost everyone. For sure there’s a reason behind this. I myself wasn’t sure I’d like her in the beginning, but eventually, she warmed up to me.

As for the young Viscount, he’s always welcome to bet on me anytime. Kisses from him would be the ultimate reward. Ha!

Johanna Lindsey really knows how to tickle everyone’s imagination. A regency romance like this is always a welcome respite on a hot summer day. Looking back at those previous books written by Lindsey, I’d say this is actually tamed. But still titillating nonetheless. That’s why I always go back to her books when I feel blue.

ThrowbackThursday: A Walk To Remember by Nicholas Sparks

throwbackthursday

It’s Thursday once again and we’re back with my newest 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 🙂

In my case, I decided to re-read and feature my favorite book of all time. Yes, whenever someone asks me what book really got me, it’s none other than Nicholas Sparks’ A Walk To Remember.

A Walk to Remember
by Nicholas Sparks

Every April, when the wind blows from the sea and mingles with the scent of lilacs, Landon Carter remembers his last year at Beaufort High. It was 1958, and Landon had already dated a girl or two. He even swore that he had once been in love. Certainly the last person in town he thought he’d fall for was Jamie Sullivan, the daughter of the town’s Baptist minister.

A quiet girl who always carried a Bible with her schoolbooks, Jamie seemed content living in a world apart from the other teens. She took care of her widowed father, rescued hurt animals, and helped out at the local orphanage. No boy had ever asked her out. Landon would never have dreamed of it.

Then a twist of fate made Jamie his partner for the homecoming dance, and Landon Carter’s life would never be the same. Being with Jamie would show him the depths of the human heart and lead him to a decision so stunning it would send him irrevocably on the road to manhood…

I was supposed to re-read this last month, being April was the special month for Landon Carter and Jamie Sullivan. But my busy daily routines got in the way so I had to postpone it. Good thing I finally got to squeeze some time for Nicholas Sparks, and here I am bawling again.

I don’t know why I never get tired of Landon and Jamie. To me, they are proof that love beyond time is possible. That love is something we can always hold on to until our last breath. Their love story always touch my heart. A Walk to Remember is my ultimate favorite book of all time. It’s always my number 1.

As a Christian myself, I loved Jamie’s character. She wad very inspiring; she didn’t lose hope. She was able to reach out and changed Landon’s character for the better. There was not a single moment that I did not cry. And there’s no one else to blame but Nicholas Sparks. I’ve read this book so many years ago even before it was made into a film, and I make it a point to read it every year.

I always wonder how a guy could ever write something as cheesy as his writings! I always thought women authors were better writers because they are more adept to everyone’s feelings. Nicholas Sparks proved me wrong. He is a work of art, his writings are masterpieces. Although many people tell me his characters always end up dead or getting sick and senile and sometimes, no promise of a happy ending, I still want to read his books over and over again. Because his books serve as my anchor to reality, to truth, to God and to life.

I’ve read almost all of Sparks’ books and would still be reading them even when I get old and grey.

Throwback Thursday: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Throwback Thursday is a new meme 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. I started joining last week and I loved the idea so I am participating again.

Today, it’s Agatha Christie’s turn for some mystery and suspense. Here’s one of my favorites from her Hercule Poirot series, Murder on the Orient Express.

 

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Title: Murder on the Orient Express
Series: Hercule Poirot #10
Author: Agatha Christie

“The murderer is with us – on the train now…”

Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. One of his fellow passengers must be the murderer.

Isolated by the storm and with a killer in their midst, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer amongst a dozen of the dead man’s enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again…

I’ve read books featuring Orient Express, and I’ve always been intrigued with its reputation. The first time I heard about this was on the book, Dracula by Bram Stoker, if my memory serves me right, where Dracula escaped to Paris using the renowned train. When I got this book in College, I knew I had to read it because it involved murder and mystery and mayhem.

This had been one of my favorites from Agatha Christie. I liked Hercule Poirot not only for his wit but also for his abrasive personality. This dapper Belgian detective was quite a character, who had the audacity to refuse a certain malevolent millionaire Samuel Ratchett, simply because “I do not like your face, Mr. Ratchett,” he says. Ha! Burn!

I’m sorry if I seem to have enjoyed that particular scene, I was just amazed by Christie’s protagonist’s over-the-top personality. Well, of course, the dead man happened to also be a kidnapper, so I couldn’t blame Poirot if he wasn’t as enthusiastic as he was when he first met him.

Furthermore, the way Poirot handled the murder scene investigations was impressive and meticulous. He used his charm and wit to his advantage in order to solve the case. Every chapter, my guesses shift from one person to another, until that moment when it hit me, I never guessed the murderer correctly.

Overall, I thought this was a well-thought up mystery that only Agatha Christie could deliver. I wouldn’t get tired reading her books!

Throwback Thursday: A Time To Kill by John Grisham

Throwback Thursday is a new meme 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. I started joining last week and I loved the idea so I am participating again.

This week, I pay tribute to one of my favorite crime-novel authors, John Grisham with A Time To Kill.

 

ATimeToKill

A Time to Kill (Jake Brigance #1) by John Grisham

The life of a ten-year-old girl is shattered by two drunken and remorseless young man. The mostly white town reacts with shock and horror at the inhuman crime. Until her black father acquires an assault rifle — and takes justice into his own outraged hands.

For ten days, as burning crosses and the crack of sniper fire spread through the streets of Clanton, the nation sits spellbound as young defense attorney Jake Brigance struggles to save his client’s life…and then his own.

Dateline: Clanton, Mississippi. Early 1980s.

One day, ten-year-old girl Tonya was found almost a breath away from death. Two vicious drunk drug addicts had earlier assaulted, raped and tied her and they thought she was already dead. Fortunately, she survived and the men who violated her were caught and arrested.

That’s where lawyer Jake Brigance came into the picture. Carl Lee Hailey asked for his help to bring the evil thugs to justice. But Brigance noted that Carl was a black man and he was barking on two white supremacists, thus there was a possibility that they could be freed. Pissed and mad about the discovery, Carl took matters into his own hands and killed her daughter’s perpetrators.

Brigance formally took Carl’s murder case, the townsfolk not entirely on their side because, in this quaint little town of Clayton, black people weren’t really welcomed. Thus began the grueling, life-threatening journey of Carl, Tonya, their family and the entire black race.

This was the very first John Grisham courtroom drama that I have read almost 20 years ago after watching the movie adaptation. (Okay, I admit, I had a huge girl crush on Sandra Bullock at that time and I found Matthew McConaughey quite dapper when he was still wearing clothes & Americana suit. Spare me the ridicules because he was totally different back then. LOL)

Anyway, earlier this year, I re-arranged my super disorganized book shelf (or should I say, book box) and found this classic treasure sandwiched in between Sidney Sheldon and Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. I couldn’t help but read it again. John Grisham has been one of my early favorite authors, next to Nora Roberts and Sidney Sheldon. A Time To Kill was one of the first books he wrote and he wrote it with intensity, candor and audacity. Grisham clearly knew what he was writing and he took care of people’s race and dynamics in every situation. He made me believe that I was part of the jury and a questionable justice system.

Racism, justice, morality and thought-provoking questions grabbed me from the start. Twenty years ago, I was dazzled by the book and the movie. Twenty years later, Grisham still had the same effect on me. Impressive!

Throwback Thursday: The Stars Shine Down by Sidney Sheldon

Throwback Thursday is a new meme 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. I decided to join in the fun as I am fond of reading and rereading old books, most of which were by authors John Grisham, Sidney Sheldon, Nora Roberts and the like. Special thanks to Dee of Dee’s Rad Reads and Review (https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpress.com)for introducing me to this meme.

This is my first week of joining TT and my pick this week is:

 The Stars Shine Down by Sidney Sheldon

yes, that’s my battered copy but thoroughly loved book by Sidney Sheldon. It’s been on my possession for more than a decade.

 

Lara Cameron is a famous powerful wealthy New York building developer who struggled from brutal poverty in Glace Bay, a banker who took her body as part of her first deal, to Chicago, banker Keller whose love she takes lightly for granted. As her skyscrapers and boutique hotels tower on earth, she is at the top of a male dominated field. She lies and cheats to close a deal, making cruel enemies. She is forty, beautiful, glamorous, insecure, ruthless, vulnerable, secretly generous, rich – and still wants more. She marries an international concert pianist, the Lochinvar of her childhood dreams, but someone puts him in the hospital and threatens to take down her empire.

 

 

The Iron Butterfly would do everything – everything, including the use of her body – in order to get that prime location for her business deals. The Iron Butterfly if Lara Cameron, a modern day ruthless Cinderella who thinks and works like Trump and don’t give a hick to what others would think, as long as she gets what she wants.

From rags to riches, from Nova Scotia to Chicago to New York, Lara Cameron is an enigma. She has been one of Sidney Sheldon’s anti-hero protagonist heroine that you would love to meet and break. This book, The Stars Shine Down, has been one of the few Sheldon books I’ve owned and would occasionally read for deep thought reading. While many would think that Lara Cameron is monstrous, I thought she was a force to reckon with. Location, location, location – that’s what it all matters to her. And when she meets the pianist that match her audacity, I knew that I would never forget a woman like Cameron.

Worth reading over and over again!