Book Review: The Wrong Man by Kate White

I rated it 4 out of 5 stars.


Overview: New York Times bestselling author of Eyes on You and The Sixes delivers a compelling thriller of mistaken identity and psychological suspense about an accomplished career woman who thinks she's met the man of her dreams--but instead he turns out to be her worst nightmare.

Bold and adventurous in her work as one of Manhattan's hottest interior decorators, Kit Finn couldn't be tamer in her personal life. So, while on vacation in the Florida Keys, Kit resolves to do something risky for once. Flirting with Matt Healy--the rugged stranger she literally bumps into at her hotel--is one thing. Going back to his room after their date is another.

Instead, Matt offers to cook her dinner when they're both back in the city. But when Kit arrives at his luxury apartment ready for the date of a lifetime, who is the man who opens the door?

Kit's usually so good at reading people. How could she have been taken in by the deceptions of a con man? And why has he targeted her? Piece by piece, Kit realizes that this treachery goes a lot deeper, and gets a lot deadlier. Now the only way out is to expose the vicious puppet master who's turned her life upside-down.

Adrenaline-charged and filled with harrowing twists at every turn, The Wrong Man will leave readers guessing until the final page.


Review: Big thanks to Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency and friend, Karla Gomez for giving me an ARC for The Wrong Man, expected to hit the shelves on June16th, 2015! If you're into romantic suspense, thrillers, and mysteries, then this is one you'll want to tuck into your bag and read any chance you get. Nicely paced and polished, with clever twists and turns, this book will keep you engaged from start to finish.

With a likeable main character, Kit, who isn't the type to take things laying down, you'll be at the edge of your seat as you go along her real-life nightmare situation she finds herself in. Add in the minor characters and the cast is both intriguing and interesting. With a carefully devised plot, you won't be disappointed. This is the perfect escapist read for the summer. And come on, aren't you dying to know who the one night stand is? Because I sure was!

Book Review: Veronika Decides To Die by Paulo Coelho

I rate it 3.5 stars out of 5.


Overview:

In his latest international bestseller, the celebrated author of The Alchemist addresses the fundamental questions asked by millions: What am I doing here today? and Why do I go on living?
Twenty-four-year-old Veronika seems to have everything she could wish for: youth and beauty, plenty of attractive boyfriends, a fulfilling job, and a loving family. Yet something is lacking in her life. Inside her is a void so deep that nothing could possibly ever fill it. So, on the morning of November 11, 1997, Veronika decides to die. She takes a handful of sleeping pills expecting never to wake up.

Naturally Veronika is stunned when she does wake up at Villete, a local mental hospital, where the staff informs her that she has, in fact, partially succeeded in achieving her goal. While the overdose didn't kill Veronika immediately, the medication has damaged her heart so severely that she has only days to live.

The story follows Veronika through the intense week of self-discovery that ensues. To her surprise, Veronika finds herself drawn to the confinement of Villete and its patients, who, each in his or her individual way, reflect the heart of human experience. In the heightened state of life's final moments, Veronika discovers things she has never really allowed herself to feel before: hatred, fear, curiosity, love, and sexual awakening. She finds that every second of her existence is a choice between living and dying, and at the eleventh hour emerges more open to life than ever before.

In Veronika Decides to Die, Paulo Coelho takes the reader on a distinctly modern quest to find meaning in a culture overshadowed by angst, soulless routine, and pervasive conformity. Based on events in Coelho's own life, Veronika Decides to Die questions the meaning of madness and celebrates individuals who do not fit into patterns society considers to be normal. Poignant and illuminating, it is a dazzling portrait of a young woman at the crossroads of despair and liberation, and a poetic, exuberant appreciation of each day as a renewed opportunity.


Review: This year, I've been really bad at posting my book reviews soon after I've read them, so this one's been sitting in the draft pile for a while. To begin, I was never really interested in Coelho's books. My sister recommended I read The Alchemist, but somehow I couldn't bring myself to. One night I was flipping through movie trailers and I came upon the film adaption starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. I didn't watch the movie, but it did ignite my curiosity to read it. Never having read the back blurb or anything, I expected a psychological thriller.

It was not.

I figured that out pretty quickly in the first few chapters, but it still kept my interest. What drew me in was the characterization of Veronika and what drove the doctor to do what he did (sorry for the cryptic sentence, I don't want to spoil it!). Though this was a work of fiction it had a philosophical appeal to it, which I enjoyed. It also had an interesting commentary about society and the individual versus society. In short it's a book that makes you think a lot and contemplate about life and death. If you want something thought provoking then this is it. If you're looking for a plot packed story, this is not it. All in all, pretty quick read though sometime the pov switched which bogged me down at times, but over all worth the time.

Book Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

I rated it 4 out of 5 stars.


Overview: Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble;it has been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems beside the point now.

Maybe that was always beside the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn't expect him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?
 
Review: During the month of December, I started about ten books, but didn't connect enough to finish any of them. This was a major problem. I love to read, and when I have time to read I want to devour anything and everything I get my hands on. I used to be a 'finisher' as a child (reading books to the end even when I didn't like them), but when college came around I just didn't have time to pleasure read. Still I snuck them in during my breaks between classes, but because I was pressed for time, I started to quit the books I didn't enjoy. I call it my 1/3 rule. If I'm not going to like it by a third of a book, I move onto the next. If I'm still undecided I'll read up to halfway, but by then a decision needs to be made.
 
Luckily that didn't happen for this book! I've read Rowell's Fangirl and really enjoyed it. I tried to get into Eleanor & Park, but for some reason I couldn't get into it. I've heard a lot of great things about Landline so I thought it'd give it a try and I'm glad I did because after a month of not finishing books, I finally started off my January finishing one! Hopefully my quitting streak is over!
 
Rowell does a great job with her characters. They're vivid, flawed, and I feel like I know them. I also like how the flashbacks weren't noticebale, rather they were cohesive in the story. Though the timeline wasn't linear, the storytelling was. Also, don't mind the magic phone. Sounds silly, but Rowell makes it works and I found it a refreshing way to explore dynamics between two people.
 
If you want a feel good about two people falling in love, and then back in love, this one's a quick pleasure read!

Book Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I rated it 4 out of 5 stars.

 

Overview: On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

Review: Wow, I am so glad I was able to read this without coming across any spoilers. I think I would have been so heartbroken if someone told me the twist before I had the chance to finish it. So thank you, I will not do the same and spoil it for you.

Originally I didn't even want to read this. I picked it up at B&N and thought, jeez, maybe this is just a tad too dark for me. But then I went to the movies and saw the Gone Girl  movie trailer starring Ben Affleck.


The trailer made me want to read it and I'm so glad I did. The layers of complexity in the characters was great. The two POV's worked well for me. I like being in the head of the wife and husband. My only complaint was the ending. I just thought it fell kind of flat and I wanted some sort of justice to be exercised. Nonetheless, it's a book I would recommend if you're into crime and thriller novels.

Can't wait to watch the movie!

Stickin' to it and finishing.

I'm really bad at sticking to one thing and doing it well. I think I get bored easily or maybe I always get excited about something else that I forget about everything else entirely. For example:

Piano? 2 years. Flute? 3 years. Volleyball? 6 years. Soccer? 4 years. Vegan? 30 days. Vegetarian? Approximately 90 days? Pescatarian? 1 year. Competitive running? 1.5 years. Guitar? 5 years. Hot Yoga? 3 months. Boxing? 2 months.

What does this have to do with anything Michelle?

Well, because I have a difficult time staying passionate about one thing, it makes it really difficult for me to finish anything. And this is a real big problem because writing a novel takes commitment and time.

I wrote the first and second draft of M2 in like 5 months. But when it came to draft three I finished 2/3 of it in a month, and then just stopped writing for two months. I crashed and burned. I was just falling out of love with the story and feeling burnt out. And the more distance I put between myself and finishing draft three, the more anxious I was starting to become about getting back to it.

Source: caffeineglaore (tumblr)

I binge read to cope, but in the back of my mind all I kept thinking about is whether or not I'd finish.

Then my YA workshop class ended. I had been using the class as an excuse for not writing, but now that it finished I really had no excuses, did I? Work was finally starting to slow down, and now I had three-day weekends for the summer. If I was going to finish, this was the time to do it.

So I settled my hiney down and finished the last third of draft 3 in a week.

Let me repeat that: one friggin week.

All this time I was so anxious and worked up when really it would just take a week. Draft three isn't perfect and what not, but the point is I finished it. It really put into perspective for me that finishing something isn't so scary. That it's possible to finish things as long as you keep trudging forward. And that sometimes a break (like a crash and burn) is needed to get you right back where you left off.

It really just makes me want to laugh that I was so worked up about it. Anyone ever feel that way?

The Fifth Letter


It was a bit like oncoming spring—the rain dries up, but it’s still damp and chilly, reminding you that winter never quite goes away. And those that had been around me for that winter were quickly drying up. The friends that had ceased to be friends were now acquaintances and memories, droplets in a particular season in a given year that would most likely be forgotten.
And little did I know, you could be too.
                “Just a drink,” I said, pulling you by the arm. “I never see you anymore.”
                You hesitated, and I could see you debating with yourself through the creases in your forehead and the faraway look in your eyes.
                “But T—,” you protested.
                I frowned, realizing how much I disliked your girlfriend and not understanding why you continued to be with her.
                “Are you serious B—? You have to come celebrate with me.” I had just changed out of my performance dress and was ready to hit DeVerre’s, my favorite bar in Davis. “Just one drink, we need to catch up anyway,” I reasoned, though I also craved company. Real company. Not the false pretenses I was used to with everyone else, but the one where someone solid, someone genuine could laugh with me, listen to me digress about the world, and someone who I could confide in.
                You smirked. “All right. Let’s go.”
                I smiled triumphantly as we walked towards downtown. It was slightly cold, but I still felt warm and giddy from the night’s performance. We talked like we normally did, catching up like kids who had known each other for years instead of a few months, and it always surprised me how we managed to do that.
                We sat on one of the brown couches in the back where the bookcases were. We met a few other friends of mine who drank celebratory drinks with me, but soon left since it was still a school night. I didn’t feel like leaving though. I was still holding on to that temporary happiness that often comes from a good night and I wanted to hold on to it as long as possible. And when I looked over at you, I could see that you were holding on to it too.
                So we had another drink, just you and I. And soon, the barriers fell, crashing all around me. But as it fell, something within me was reaching out towards you. It was an affirmation of trust. I knew that I could,  and I wanted more than ever to confide in you, hoping you could see me full circle, not just what you had observed.
Like a tidal wave, it crashed into you.
                I told you everything.
                The dark things, the things that I tried to hide away, the things I could not face, the memories that had consumed me, and everything I was afraid of.
                You looked at me in a way I could never forget. There wasn’t sympathy in your eyes, or an expression of being overwhelmed by the onslaught of new information, rather you were awed and said, “That’s how I know you’ll be a writer. Because you’re broken.”
                You explained how that gave me the ability to truly feel and write so that others would be able to relate and you showed me that through confiding in me, telling me the things that you wouldn’t dare utter out loud.
                With the barriers no longer there, we talked for hours, and within another drink my mind became hazy.
                After, we took a walk outside, the night air made me shiver.  Overhead the stars watched us and in the distance we heard the echoes of the music from a nearby bar. We walked in a comfortable silence without direction; just being in the moment.
                But then all of a sudden, you stopped. You turned to me and said, “You’re everything I want and you’re everything I’ve been looking for.” Your eyes were honest and pure. “You’re perfect.”
                I stopped too, and inside my heart hammered, but my mind reasoned with it reminding me that I was broken. I was too lost. I could never allow myself to love or care for anyone again.
You searched my eyes, waiting. Waiting for what? I did not know, but somehow I felt like you could see right through me, for the imposter I was.
                “B—, I am far from perfect. I will never be.” I turned away from you, afraid that I would change my mind and say something I would regret, or something I wasn’t ready for.
                Then I remembered that we had too many drinks, and I wondered if what you had said was the truth, or out of passion. You remained silent, like the rest of the stars that watched us.

 ***

                Time passed before we met again, but when we did you smiled as you always did. We exchanged pleasantries and bits of our lives that the other had missed out on.
                “How are you and T—?” I couldn’t help, but ask.
                “Still together for now, but I really don’t know what’s going to happen once I graduate.”
                I nodded all the while gritting my teeth, wondering how you could still be with her when you realized that there was more out there. There was me. So I allowed myself to see it. You and I, but quickly took a step back, afraid. I was not ready.
 
***

                “We should always keep in touch. Write letters or something about our adventures and all the places that we go,” I suggested.
                “You know what? I really miss writing letters. No one does that anymore so yeah, I would be up for it.”
                When the time came, and the rain returned I wrote you the first letter and you replied with the second, the third, and then the fourth. But through the cold winter, I had forgotten to reply. So time went on, the seasons changed, and it was only when the leaves began to fall did I remember you and the time we sat looking at the leaves fall in the quad, mesmerized by their dance.
                So I wrote the fifth letter, but knew that I may never get a reply and realized then that you were perfect.
Perfect in the way that you were always yourself and perfect in the way that you continued to remain true to who you are. Because those were things I was never able to do. Those were the things that made me so imperfect, so afraid to love, so afraid to lose.



It was a bit like oncoming fall—the leaves fall, reminding you that winter is not far away. That the time for recollection nears, reminding me that you will never be forgotten.