The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

train

source: personal copy
title: The Girl on the Train
author: Paula Hawkins (twitter)
pages: 323
genre: mystery/psychological thriller
published: 2015
first line: There is a pile of clothing on the side of the train tracks.
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4 out of 5 stars

blurb:
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?

my thoughts:
Today is the perfect day to sit at my computer and write up a post about my latest read. The snow is falling outside as Blizzard 2017 is in effect. I hope those in its path are staying safe and warm. Having a snow day, I’m home with my family, the crock-pot is on and there’s something to be said about staying cozy inside in your pajamas during the snow fall.

Onto my review….
Alternately narrated by three characters, Rachel, Megan and Anna, The Girl on the Train had me wondering from page one. Rachel is a thirty something alcoholic divorcee who is “the girl on the train”. Having lost her job a few months ago because of her drinking problem, she continues to take the train daily pretending she is going to work so that her roommate does not find out. She is somewhat obsessed with her ex-husband Tom who left her for another woman, Anna.

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Things We Lost in the Fire Stories by Mariana Enríquez

thingssource: ARC via AmazonVine
title: Things We Lost in the Fire
auhtor: Mariana Enriquez
published: Hogarth (February 21, 2017)
pages: 200
genre: short stories/fiction/mystery/suspense
rated: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
Macabre, disturbing and exhilarating, Things We Lost in the Fire is a collection of twelve short stories that use fear and horror to explore multiple dimensions of life in contemporary Argentina. From women who set themselves on fire in protest of domestic violence to angst-ridden teenage girls, friends until death do they part, to street kids and social workers, young women bored of their husbands or boyfriends, to a nine-year-old serial killer of babies and a girl who pulls out her nails and eyelids in the classroom, to hikikomori, abandoned houses, black magic, northern Argentinean superstition, disappearances, crushes, heartbreak, regret and compassion. This is a strange, surreal and unforgettable collection by an astonishing new talent asking vital questions of the world as we know it.

my thoughts:
Things We Lost in the Fire is a quiet, intense and at times disturbing collection of 12 short stories. I dipped in and out of this one intermittently. I’ll cover a few of the stories here in my post.

The Dirty Kid was about a woman who lives in an old house handed down to her by her family. The neighborhood in Buenos Aires which used to be nice, is now seedy and riddled with crime. A five-year old child and his drug addicted mother are homeless and sleep on dirty mattresses in the neighborhood. The narrator here cannot help but become involved and tries to help the five-year old.

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The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

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source: purchased
title: The Five People You Meet in Heaven
author: Mitch Albom/ Twitter
published: Hachette Books (April 7, 2003)
pages: 196
first line: This is a story about a man named Eddie and it begins at the end, with Eddie dying in the sun.
rated: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
Eddie is a grizzled war veteran who feels trapped in a meaningless life of fixing rides at a seaside amusement park. His days are a dull routine of work, loneliness, and regret.

Then, on his 83rd birthday, Eddie dies in a tragic accident, trying to save a little girl from a falling cart. He awakens in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a lush Garden of Eden, but a place where your earthly life is explained to you by five people. These people may have been loved ones or distant strangers. Yet each of them changed your path forever.

One by one, Eddie’s five people illuminate the unseen connections of his earthly life. As the story builds to its stunning conclusion, Eddie desperately seeks redemption in the still-unknown last act of his life: Was it a heroic success or a devastating failure The answer, which comes from the most unlikely of sources, is as inspirational as a glimpse of heaven itself.

In The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom gives us an astoundingly original story that will change everything you’ve ever thought about the afterlife–and the meaning of our lives here on earth. With a timeless tale, appealing to all, this is a book that readers of fine fiction, and those who loved Tuesdays with Morrie, will treasure.

my thoughts:
The Five People You Meet in Heaven is one of my daughter’s favorite books. After she read it in school she raved to me about it and insisted that I read it too. I read this one quickly and now I can also add it to my list of favorite books as well.

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Among the Lost (In Dante’s Wake) by Seth Steinzor

among
source: Free review copy courtesy of Poetic Book Tours
title: Among the Lost (In Dante’s Wake) by Seth Steinzor
genre: poetry/fiction
published: November 2016
pages: 228

blurb:
Among the Lost, set in the modern American rust belt, is a meditation drawn from Dante’s Purgatorio. To Dante, Purgatory was the mountain where souls not damned went after death to cleanse themselves of sin in preparation for entering Paradise. What, Steinzor asks, are we preparing ourselves for, having lost the fear of hell and the hope of heaven, in the course of our daily urban existence? And whatever that is, how do we go about preparing for it?.

my thoughts:
Among the Lost (In Dante’s Wake) is book 2 in Seth Steinzor’s trilogy based on Dante’s Inferno. I haven’t read Dante since high school but I remember some of the storyline.
Dante guides the narrator here as he goes through the motions of daily life. Birth, death, family, love, religion and politics are some of the themes encountered within these pages.

This second installment, based on Dante’s Purgatorio, takes the reader through Purgatory. It starts off with a husband in a hospital room while his wife is in labor. The narrator sees life and death in the hospital, like yin and yang. I have always found the idea of purgatory to be a fascinating and terrifying one. The thought of a soul being stuck midway like that, neither here nor there, in limbo.

The narrator is looking for his love Victoria and on reading the foreword, I found out the author based Victoria’s character on a girl he loved in real life who sadly, tragically passed away.

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A Week to Be Wicked by Tessa Dare

week
source: purchased
title: A Week to Be Wicked Book 2 of 5 in the Spindle Cove Series
author: Tessa Dare
genre: regency romance
pages: 322
published: March 27, 2012
rated: 4 out of 5 stars
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first line: When a girl trudged through the rain at midnight to knock at the Devil’s door, the Devil should at least have the depravity-if not the decency-to answer.

Blurb:
When a devilish lord and a bluestocking set off on the road to ruin…
Time is not on their side.
Minerva Highwood, one of Spindle Cove’s confirmed spinsters, needs to be in Scotland.
Colin Sandhurst, Lord Payne, a rake of the first order, needs to be… anywhere but Spindle Cove.

These unlikely partners have one week
to fake an elopement
to convince family and friends they’re in “love”
to outrun armed robbers
to survive their worst nightmares
to travel four hundred miles without killing each other
All while sharing a very small carriage by day and an even smaller bed by night.

What they don’t have time for is their growing attraction. Much less wild passion. And heaven forbid they spend precious hours baring their hearts and souls.

Suddenly one week seems like exactly enough time to find a world of trouble.
And maybe…just maybe…love.

My thoughts:
A Week to Be Wicked is book two in Tessa Dare’s Spindle Cove series. Having read and enjoyed book three, A Lady by Midnight a few years ago, I happily dove into this one when I was in the mood for a nice regency romance. I know I’ve been reading this series backwards but they are standalone reads so it hasn’t made much difference.

In this installment we have Minerva Highwood from Spindle Cove who wants to stop  Colin Sandhurst aka Lord Payne from marrying her sister. Minerva thinks the notorious ladies man Payne is not the right match for her sister. She thinks that Payne is looking to marry so that he can get his inheritance so Minerva makes him an offer he cannot refuse.

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