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Book Review: The Girl before

Title: The Girl Before

Author: J.P. Delaney

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A damaged young woman gets the unique opportunity to rent a one-of-a-kind house. When she falls in love with the sexy, enigmatic architect who designed it, she has no idea she is following in the footsteps of the girl who came before: the house’s former tenant.

The eerie parallels in the two girls’ lives lay bare an enthralling story…and make this novel the must-read thriller of the season. (Source: Goodreads)


The book The Girl on the Train paved the way for mysteries, where the main role is an unreliable woman. And The Girl before follows this trend. In the flood of similar mysteries, this book is one of those who tries to combine the themes of different successful books.

The story switches between two personal stories. Personally, I really like reading books with multiple perspectives, even if it’s hard to separate from them at the beginning. I always struggle with who is who. In this book, I did not have a problem with the separation between the two women, even that their stories are very similar. Some things even repeats but one perspective is written in past and another is told in present.

The house is the main theme connecting personal stories, which I found interesting, but at the same a little bit bizarre. I mean, I loved the idea but at the same time I had difficulties to imagine a house or why should anyone wanted to live there.

The main characters are Emma and Jane. We are following Emma’s story in the past, while Jane’s is told from the present time. And the only thing that connects them is a particular house.

Both had personal tragedies, they are mentally at the bottom … Since the synopsis promised similar story as Gone Girl or Girl on a train, a reader knows that they are unreliable as a character and that we can expect a certain turnaround. At first, Emma and Jane seem different, as if they have nothing in common, except the house, but it turns out that it is not. Like most crime-like creatures, we did not like Emma, neither did Jane. I simply can not identify with such a type of woman.

 I did not expect much from this book. I read it very quickly because the chapters are short and it’s truly a quick read. Somewhere in the middle of the book, I thought that the book was actually very predictable, but then it began to get complicated on the next few pages. After that, the author began to exaggerate. With each new chapter came to a new twist and after a while, I didn’t know anymore who is lying and who is talking the truth or what was really happening.
I would recommend this as a summer read. It’s perfect for readers who like mysteries but still want to enjoy somewhere on the beach and not think too much about the story itself. It was fun and tense enough that I enjoy it.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Did you read this book? What did you think about it?

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Book Review: Rosemary’s Baby

Title: Rosemary’s Baby

Author: Ira Levin

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“Rosemary Woodhouse and her struggling actor – husband Guy move into the Bramford, an old New York City apartment building with an ominous reputation and only elderly residents. Neighbours Roman and Minnie Castavet soon come nosing around to welcome them and, despite Rosemary’s reservations about their eccentricity and the weird noises she keeps hearing, her husband starts spending time with them. Shortly after Guy lands a plum Broadway role, Rosemary becomes pregnant and the Castavets start taking a special interest in her welfare.

As the sickened Rosemary becomes increasingly isolated, she begins to suspect that the Castavet’s circle is not what it seems.”

Source: Goodreads


Despite the fact that both, the book and the movie, are considered classics, I had no idea what this book (or movie) is about. According to the title and genre of the book, I concluded that it would be about baby, a devil (?) and that would be tense or creepy.

The book is quite short, so I read it quite quickly. It was fantastic from the first page and if I would have more time, I would probably read it in one sitting.

The tension is rising through the story. It starts innocently when Rosemary and Guy are searching for an apartment, and they find a perfect one but later hear a lot of unpleasant things about it. Nevertheless, they move in and Rosemary is beyond excited. She focuses all her energy on the decoration and the idea of having a baby. At first unusual neighbors, soon become part of their new life.

I didn’t found book neither scary or horrifying. I was just excited about what was going to happen. Since I didn’t know anything about the story, with each page I expected a shocking twist. As the thrill grows, the story becomes more mysterious until it reaches its peak. And during reading, we get to know Rosemary, who is a central figure in the book.

Rosemary is a girl/woman who would I consider as a person with no character. This is also a reason why she finds herself in this peculiar situation. It’s quite easy to manipulate with her because of her character. She is completely subordinate to her husband – although she would probably have claimed otherwise. But she is completely dependent on the husband, both financially and emotionally. She doesn’t know how to stand for herself, so she becomes a victim.

The story is actually rather simple, but it’s written so fantastically that I understand why it’s considered a classic. It does not contain turnarounds or unexpected situations. Ira Levin simply wrote the story so fantastically that it doesn’t even need them. Everything is in place. At first, I was a little bit disturbed by the ending, which seemed to me to be very average for such a book. But after thinking about it, I came to the realization that the ending is excellent. It’s simple, just like the story itself. But it still shocks the reader.

 

Rating: 5/5 stars

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Book Review: The Dry

Title: The Dry

Author: Jane Harper

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Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there’s more to Luke’s death than there seems to be, long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them. And Falk will find that small towns have always hidden big secrets.

(Synopsis is taken from Goodreads page. I changed it a little bit).


After only a few pages, I completely fell into the story. How could I not? The reader soon discovers, that there is something else going on, not just a story we read about. And that things aren’t the way they seem.

Location, where the story unfolds, makes everything more interesting and intense. A drought increases the tension in sleepy little town and it also supposes to be the cause of double murder and suicide. It’s a story about a small town with their typical inhabitants, where everyone knows everyone and where the past is never forgotten but it’s also affecting present even thoug people try to escape it.

It’s the same with federal agent Falk who tried to escape his past by leaving the town and moving to the big city but he’s back for the funeral of his best friend. Now Falk has to deal with unexpected death, his past and it’s secrets. Falk is not one of the most interesting detectives I read about. Actually, none of the characters stood out in any way. They are extremely good or bad. Those in between are almost irrelevant and do not have too much influence on the story. Falk as a character seems rather plain and it’s difficult for a reader to create an opinion about him. We can learn the most about his character from the records of his youth when he is described by his friends.

But the story was still tense enough for me, that I keep reading with interest. It was a quick read that kept me in tension until I read it. The ending was maybe a little bit unexpected because I surely didn’t foresee such an ending. Still, it was good enough that I will read another book about Falk.

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Ops, I did it again…

… I didn’t forget about this blog, but there was some major change in my life and I really didn’t have time. Not just for writing, but for reading also.

If I look back, to the year 2017 it was a good reading year. I set a Goodreads challenge to read 50 books and I completed it. Altogether, I read 52 books. The first half of the year was really good, but later I didn’t have time. I read all Famous Five books which helped me achieved my goal. Otherwise, I could never reach it.

In November, I gave birth to a lovely little girl and from then, I’m spending all my time with her. Of course. Rarely I have time to read. Still, I’m trying.

I hope that I would continue with writing here. But I can’t promise anything. I think it’s obvious, that if I have free time, I want to read, not write here :)

On Goodreads, I set a goal of reading 50 books this year – again. I think I am too ambitious, but I’ll do my best.

And… I have finally decided to read Harry Potter series, haha- it’s strange, reading HP books for the first time when I’m over thirty but I’ll admit – I’m enjoying it. They’re lovely and fun read.

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The Famous Five Series: Mini reviews of books 1-5

As I mentioned before, this year is the 75th anniversary of The Famous Five series by Enid Blyton. That’s why I decided that I will re-read all 21 books from the series. I’m slowly finishing with reading – I still have one book to read. But here are my mini-reviews of first five books in the series. Synopsis and pictures are from the official site.

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Five on a Treasure Island

Julian, Dick and Anne are spending the holidays with their tomboy cousin George and her dog, Timothy. One day, George takes them to explore nearby Kirrin Island, with its rocky little coast and old ruined castle on the top. Over on the island, they make a thrilling discovery, which leads them deep into the dungeons of Kirrin Castle on a dangerous adventure. Who – and what – will they find there?

This is the first book and as expectedly this book is more of an introduction of all the characters. We get to know their personalities and setting, their adventure remains behind. Still, it was a nice read.

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Five Go Adventuring Again

In their second adventure, the Famous Five find a thief at Kirrin Cottage. They think they know who it is, but need to prove it. Will the discovery of a very old map help uncover the true culprit?

I thought this adventure was quite boring, especially for the second adventure in a row. Maybe it was because of the winter time and the fact, that friends were limited with outdoor space. Still, it was fun to read about secret passages and mysterious map.

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Five Run Away Together

The Famous Five discover that someone has been on George’s island. And what is locked in the mysterious trunk hidden on Kirrin Island? The Famous Five think they’re on the trail of smugglers – until they hear a child scream…

This book was really interesting. The bad guys were interesting characters and I enjoyed reading about our friends spending time on George’s island. They are so independent and what a lovely housewife Anne is! This adventure was intriguing and it kept me hooked until the end.

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Five Go To Smuggler’s Top

The Famous Five stay at the large old house at Smuggler’s Top. They discover secret hiding places, underground tunnels, and one night they catch people signalling out to sea! Are there still smugglers at Smuggler’s Top?

This book was dark! And because of that, it was amazing! Such a dark settling, with wonderful descriptions of marshes and creepy old house. The adventure was entertaining and full of twists. Not to mention spooky Block and new friends of our five friends. I was really entertained while reading.

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Five Go Off in a Caravan

The Famous Five go on a caravan holiday. When they stumble across a circus troupe, the gang are thrilled. But some of the circus people have more sinister plans than just clowning around…

The new location, a new adventure. As far as I love mysteries in Kirrin or Kirrin Island, I also love it, when Five go around, traveling and meeting new people. At first, I didn’t like this book, because I thought that kids were a little bit pushy. But after a while, reading became fun again. And there are smugglers in adventure again!

 

Did you read any of Famous Five books as a child? What did you think about them then and what do you think about it now? Do you remember any of this five books mentioned here? Please, share your thought with me!

 

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Book Review: Turtles All the Way Down

Title: Turtles All the Way Down

Author: John Green35504431

Aza is a perfectly normal teenager who is investigating the disappearance of a millionaire, with a help from her best friend Daisy. They started with an investigation because there’s a reward for any information about disappeared millionaire Pickett. They’re lucky because Aza hanged out with Pickett’s son Davis when they were younger.

But the disappearance is not the only thing that occupies Aza. She suffers from anxiety, a mental disorder that makes her everyday difficult and affects relationships with her loved ones and friends.


Two stories are intertwined in the book. The first is the story of Aza, which is actually a rather average girl who suffers from anxiety and OCD. The other is the story of the investigation of a missing millionaire.

Green decided that he would discuss the topic of mental illnesses in his book, which is great. Mental illnesses are common and much present today, but they are rarely discussed, especially in YA literature.

I believe it’s difficult for young people who know that they have problems, to define what is actually wrong with them and how to deal with their disorders, or where they can seek help. It’s important to know what we’re dealing with and how to verbalize our feelings and mental state. And Green is quite good at this. And yet, it seemed to me that he was exaggerating. And I am saying this from my own experience because anxiety has been a part of me since I can remember. Nevertheless Green’s good intentions, I could not identify with Aza’s character and what she was experiencing.

Nonetheless, Aza seemed as a likable character through which Green attempts to portray what people with anxiety are facing and how thoughts can have a negative impact on the person and his everyday life. And how negative thoughts can actually control a person. What really disturbed me in the book was Aza’s rejection of medical treatment. Many people don’t have the opportunity to seek help or to treat their mental illnesses. Still, despite the privilege of having this opportunity, Aza consciously rejects treatments. Do not understand me wrong, I know that healing is only a small step towards improving the conditions and that it is a lengthy process that does not end. A person has to live with such disorders every day until the end of his life. However, treatment is an important part of this process, which should be more obvious from reading this book.

I’m also aware that every mental illness is shown in a different way, but I could not identify with Aza’s disorder. It seems to me that she reacts all too easily in certain situations and she’s living a simple life – her mental illness just makes her more introverted than others. But, as has already been said, it is likely that each illness is indicated in a different way. However, I am interested how people who never had any problems with anxieties would comprehend everything written and how the ones who are living with it will.

The disappearance of the millionaire is the frame of the story, which, however, fades somehow through the book. I understand that Green wanted to devote to other topics, but he ignored something that led to the plot itself and the story of the book. And the fact that he put the basic story on the side, didn’t make a good impression on me. In the end, it seems like Green has given himself too heavy task, which he couldn’t accomplish. The disappearance only helps as a driving force to another situation, and in the end, it all seems tepid. It looks like book wouldn’t have a common thread, and I had a feeling that nothing much is happening in the book.

If I mention language and writing style, I don’t have any complaints. Green certainly does not underestimate its readers of different ages. He also knows how to create charming characters who are not fake. Yes, they are all unique, because obviously, it can’t get without that. Still, they don’t stand out in the way that this would disturb the reading. They are confronted with the problems that all people in real life have and sometimes they are not successful. They live lives like we all do. However, it seems to me that at times he is exaggerating with incorporating of philosophy, especially in dialogues. In my opinion, this makes dialogues fake and unrealistic.

I gave this book two stars because I thought it was ok reading, but it was also just a regular read.

Rating: 2/5 stars

 

Did you already read this book? What do you think about it?

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The Famous Five 75th Anniversary

This year is the 75th anniversary of The Famous Five series by Enid Blyton. I adored reading about Famous Five adventures as a child and I read all the books numerous times.

There are 21 books in the series and I wanted to reread them for a long time. When I find out about the anniversary, I decided it’s finally time.

I will make a mini review for every single book, probably for five books in a time.

If you’re interested, you can also check Enid Blyton’s official site, which is gorgeous and amazing. You can also find coloring pages there and a checklist for all Famous Five books (and many other things).

Of course, you can also read about Blyton’s life and her other books. You can find a link to the page here. Please, check amazing new covers made for the 75th anniversary. Seriously, I can’t believe how gorgeous they are (I will read translated versions of books from my local library)!