Luckiest Girl Alive – Jessica Knoll

This book has also been compared to Gone Girl. What I don’t understand is the fact that girl on the train and this book they may have the same genre however in my opinion none of these stories can remotely be compared to awesome gone girl. All of these books have their own specific characteristics. I was hugely disappointed with Girl on the Train but I liked this novel a little bit better than that.

luckiest girl alive book cover

Synopsis:

Ani FaNelli who is 28 years old has a perfect life. She has a perfect fiancé (rich) and has a glamorous job and is in a perfect body shape that people envy. However, she has a dark past. She was originally called Tiffani.

Tiffani gets thrown out of her old school just over the fact that some girls are caught smoking and her appearance was more of a mature girl (thanks to her breasts which developed early) she gets thrown out. Then determined to leave her past and have a new start she joins another school. There she makes friends and things happen. Not only to her but also to the entire school. She makes friends and enemies along the way. This leads to the story title I think luckiest girl alive because she survives. Why? And under what circumstances? Go ahead and read the book. Then there is this film/documentary maker who wants to personally interview her and one other survivor just prior to her wedding. She realizes it will open up her dark secrets and one of the film makers is none other than her new schools teacher who was young at that time and she had a crush on. She also learns that he is engaged to the other film maker. Furthermore she comes to know that the other person being interviewed is her classmate who has a dark secret of his own with Tiffani.

My review:

I liked the book. It was an easy read and although always wanting the book to take its pace I liked this novel. The author Jessica Knoll also mentioned in an interview that the she was also gang raped and that is how she incorporated this into the book. However, there are lots of incident in this book not only this. It is not so dark but it tells a story of a girl who due to some bad experience learns how to survive in this world. The book goes back and forth where what happened in the past and what is happening in the present come together. She finally puts her demons to sleep in a cunning manner. She does this to gain more attention or just to feel at ease after all these years is unknown. In my opinion she does it to gain more attention. It is not a bad read.

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The Forgotten Girls – Owen Laukkanen

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First of all I would like to say that I enjoyed this book however I accidentally read this book due to confusion with the book that I intended to read having the same title. I was supposed to read the book The Forgotten Girls by Sara Blaedel however both having same name I picked this book instead.

I finished this book and I am currently reading the book by Sara Blaedel.

After finishing the book and after realizing that it is a different one I searched the internet and came to know it’s the sixth book in the series.

My Synopsis of the Book:

The book starts with a girl named Ash getting off a train and meeting a man who talks and then kills her. After finishing a case Kirk Stevens and Carla Wildermere who are Minnesota based FBI agents who work for Criminal Apprehension Violent Task Force get a case of a girl found along the train lines dead for some time. While investigating the case they realize same Modus Operandi (MO) found among various cases (unsolved) dating back to years and years. They come to a conclusion that it is a case of a serial killer who kills along the high line trains and the victims are usually runaways who are not sought after when they vanish (forgotten). Ash has a friend named Mila who was train hopping with her and considered her a good friend. She and Mila get high on trains and at a place where train stopped she vanished and Mila assumed that she must have changed her route. Mila accidentally sees a man carrying the same knife that Ash owned (given to her by her grandma). She knows it her knife because using that knife she once saved Mila and that is how they became friends. To justify Ash’s death she goes on a hunt to kill the man who killed Ash. The story goes parallel where on one hand Mila is getting closer and on the other hand the FBI agents are learning more things and getting to know who the killer is and also Mila going on her own.

My Review:

Overall I liked the book. Although as I mentioned earlier that I accidentally read this book I enjoyed it. It is by a Canadian mystery author Owen Laukkanen and the book is Stevens and Wildermere series. It gets a little bit lengthy because I love watching crime shows and they end in less than an hour but the detailing and the description is spot on. Thank god it can also be read as a standalone novel. I like how the story starts out having two distinct situations and both going to find the same culprit and how in the end everything comes together and the story ends.

 

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Unfiltered – Lily Collins

This is probably the first of many celebrity author books that I will read. The main tag line of the book suggests it is Lily Collins being unfiltered with no shame, no regrets just her. Well she has tried to bare it all about her life however here is my review. The format of the book is she starts with a quote of her own and then a new chapter begins.

unfiltered lily collins

 

“THE QUIRKY THINGS THAT MAKE YOU DIFFERENT ARE WHAT MAKE YOU BEAUTIFUL.”

What I liked:

It is a good read and she shares her failed relationships, battle with eating disorder (can’t wait to watch the movie To The Bone) and her carefree nature. What i loved about her is that fame caught on to her and she has been rejected for movies and TV series (shock for me was she was not selected as Jenny Humphrey) and how from an awkward teenager she has grown into a beautiful soul. She talks a lot about her relationships and how her mother is a pillar in her life, how she has plucked her eyebrows to fit in (which she regretted) and how she has been in submissive relationships and how we should realize that one failed relationship doesn’t mean end of the world.

In short she talks about everything that we must have done during our teens to fit in and how every time that was difficult and we lost a part of who we actually were. Then her media life where she has been in attention. Then comes her relationships with people who were addicts and how she felt she was doing something wrong when the other guy ignored or ghosted her. Then comes how along the way she learned to let go and be happy and do all the weird things that makes her happy. She is also a good cook.

What I disliked:

It is same old story of how the celebrities are like us humans. How they love the small things in life. Once you keep reading it you come to know how it is repetitive. She frequently talks about her addict ex boyfriend a lot and also how we should take control of our life and not get into the stereotypical notion that the world is structured.

What i hated reading:

I expected the book to be more of telling us stories about Lily Collins life but it disappointed me in this regard. She mentions something and then again it seems like a self help book where she keep on saying we should live life the way we want and not think about what happened and not be concerned about what people expect and what they might say. It becomes repetitive.

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Truly Madly Guilty – Liane Moriarty

truly madly guilty

 

It is the usual Liane Moriarty story of friendship, love and complicated relationships. The format of the book is the same where the story goes back and forth and something drastic or some incident happened that changes lives of people in and around that day. The main event is as I like to call it “The Day of the Barbeque” or what the novel calls it “Unfortunate Barbeque incident”.

There are three couples are Sam and Clementine, Erika and Oliver, Vid and Tiffani and there is a neighbor an old man.  Sam and Clementine were best friends. They still are although they have drifted apart. Vid and Tiffani are Erika’s neighbours who have a daughter named Dakota. Dakota seems smart for her age. Finally Clementine and Sam where the whole story revolves around and they have two daughters. One fine day Erika meets Vid who asks Erika and her husband to their home for barbeque and along with them he mentions why Erika doesn’t also invite her Cellist friend (Clementine). Erika has something to ask to Clementine and has been looking for an opportunity and right time to talk to Clementine. Everything comes down to that afternoon. Erika asks Clementine and after their awkward talk they go to the barbeque. There Sam and Clementine’s private talk is overheard by Oliver. All the guys are enjoying Tiffani’s old stories about how she was a dancer. Clementine is flirting with Vid and vice versa. Everybody is enjoying themselves until the incident happens.

The story moves back and forth so the incident happened and since then all three couples have not been in contact. The neighbor also plays a major role. The story depicts how actually their life is. Sam and Clementine have a dry mundane life nothing to spice up their life. No one makes an effort. Erika has always felt shadowed by Clementine and her perfect family life since childhood. Since the time Erika and Clementine (who initiated) to be friends because Erika’s mother is a hoarder and she had bite marks all over her body due to it. Erika has always adored Clementine’s family although she feels intimidated inside. She has always felt inferior. The thing that Erika and Oliver heard, the incident, the choice that Clementine was expected to make and what went on between the three children and the bystander neighbor who saw everything.

It is a pretty interesting book. I like reading Liane Moriarty’s book. She is not my favorite of author and may be in couple of year’s time when I will still be reading her book I might actually know all the plots and I might get tired of the same style of writing. But I liked this book not loved it. I saw the new book on Reese Witherspoon’s instagram post where while she was shooting critically acclaimed Big Little Lies (Which by the way I loved the miniseries and it was more detailed than movies that they make). So it’s exciting to read the book although it was not a page turner for me. It has twist and turns that people love. I loved how there are not many characters. Overall, a good book. After you are done with the book you realize that cover of the book explains all.

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child By J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany

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The wait is finally over!!!

I did had a chance to buy the book in Nepal but as I was pre occupied I forced myself not to buy. Then I bought after my work was done. I bought it yesterday and as the book is a page turner I completed the book about 2 hours ago. It is a very easy read.

The summary is now then teenagers Harry Potter, Hermione Granger (now married to Ron), Ron Weasley and Draco Malfoy are 40 year old’s. Draco has a son named Scorpius. Ron and Hermione have two kids Rose Granger Weasley and Hugo. Harry and Ginny have 3 children James, Albus Severus and Lily. The three family are here to drop their kids off to Hogwarts.

The story is about a son Albus who is sorted into Slytherine house and  to his dismay considers this as a bad thing. He constantly looked down by every student as he is not as smart as his father and he is suppose to be a legacy. This burden brings him down. On the other hand his best friend is Scorpius who is part of the family of now past death eater Draco. Scorpius is nothing like Malfoy family he is kind hearted and very knowledgeable like Hermione. Scorpius is constantly looked down too not as a legacy but because people believe that he is not the son of Draco but of Voldemort. Then there are fathers Harry and Draco. Harry on one hand is trying to manage his son but somehow cannot live up to his sons expectation. Whereas Draco just wants his son to be happy and the rumors about him being son of Voldemort to be removed so that his son can live a free life.

Albus who feels he is a constant disappointment as a son over hears Amos Diggory father of Cedric Diggory complain to Harry as Cedric was just a spare and he should get the Time Turner and bring back Cedric as Cedric did not deserve to die. Then accompanying Amos is Delphi  who encourages Albus to meet her. Tired of living like this and having a bad relation with his father Albus along with Scorpius he leaves the train and travels to Amos’s old age home and meets Delphi and they travel. The steal the Time turner from Hermione’s library with Scorpius solving all the riddle.

Then meddling with Time Turner constantly as it only allows 5 minutes into the past leads to many changes.

  • Cedric dies again and in the next becomes a death eater.
  • Ron and Hermione although who love each other are never married and Ron is married to someone else.
  • Hermione is cruel and a strict teacher.
  • Rose and Hugo are never born.
  • Albus is in Griffindor.

No matter what these two do the future  is not what they wish to be and slowly the dark lord is gaining power and is rising.

It is a beautiful book with lots of craziness. If you have read the Harry Potter series then this book will make you wonder what if. In the end the book is about fathers and sons who have to rekindle their relationship.

The only disappointment for me was the end part where Harry witnesses everything again. If the book could include Hagrid’s visit to Godric’s  Hollow and how he talks with young Harry why wasn’t the part where Severus coming to the house and crying over Lily’s dead body included ? I personally felt that it should have been there .

A beautiful play/book. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure by Sarah Macdonalds

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Book : Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure

Author: SARAH MACDONALD

Year It Was Published: 2002

Story: The story follows Sarah who backpacks at the age of 21. As part of her rites of passage she travels the world :Europe, Egypt, Turkey and spends two months in India among many other places. She hated India during her travel, the country and its people and she vows never to come back again. There while waiting for the train a beggar gives Sarah and her friend a “hand Job” where he foretells that her friend will get married soon and have two kids. Whereas, Sarah will find love very late and will have a busy career and will come back to India. She storms off giving the finger but 11 years later she comes back to India to be with her boyfriend Jonathan who works in Australian Broadcasting Company. 

Her boyfriend is busy travelling around the world for news. this is a story of Sarah with glimpses of people around her and her experience. The comic story follows of her learning to adapt and getting sick, hospitalized and some more predictions come true. She sees the culture and traditions and is amazed of the conservativeness and how in a country so many religions prevails and each and every religion has their own beauty and own interpretations. From being molested in the airplane and the air hostess asking her to deal with it Sarah enters a culture where it is a pure male dominated society where women have few to say and the women are fine with the dominance. It is okay for a guy to stare at a women’s chest and scratch his crotch in public. Sarah learns to respect the culture and wear a shawl over kurtha and makes friends, travels from Kashmir to Himachal Pradesh to south India.  The book ends with her meeting the biggest stars of bollywood like Amitabh Bachchan, Amir Khan and Preity Zinta. In the end through many experiences she discovers herself her inner self. All the scary moments of Jonathan’s work and her struggle to survive in India the challenges she faces at meditation center and being a part of a group/cult. She finds herself a new.
My View:

I found the book okay to read. Living in India for 7 years while studying has made me aware of how she must have felt during early 2000’s. India is a land of wonders. I can relate to the stare in women’s chest by guys/ mens in public. The look that they give when they know you are not “Indian”. I have been called a “Chinky” (small eyed) a thousand of times which is derogatory for me. Wearing clothes like shorts and skirt was also not comfortable. But just like the author after dealing with all the bad happenings I can proudly say that the country shaped me too. It made me bold and daring and I can proudly say i have beautiful and amazing friends from there. The richness of culture is very prominent.
You can read the book and you will enjoy it. But at times I found it superficial that the author managed to incorporate every religion in her way and travelled all across India. I felt like she was trying too hard to balance her story by being inclusive of all religions. Book is a good average read.

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“None of us ever know all the possible courses our lives could have and maybe should have taken. It’s probably just as well. Some secrets are meant to stay secret forever. Just ask Pandora.”

“This was how it could be done. This was how you lived with a terrible secret. You just did it. You pretended everything was fine. You ignored the deep, cramplike pain in your stomach. You somehow anesthetized yourself so that nothing felt that bad, but nothing felt that good either.”

The story starts with Cecilia Fitzpatrick who is with her three daughters in her home and her little daughter (Polly) has recently taken into account the Berlin Wall history. She visited the place where the wall once stood and has a small stone as token of remembrance which she decides to give it to her little daughter. She goes to the attic to get it and she is a well managed girl who labels things and while taking the box out she also finds a letter with her husband’s handwriting which says to be opened only after his death. She calls her husband and decides not to open the letter trusting her husband John-Paul. All of her daughters study in St Agnes School.

The second story is of a mother Rachel who’s daughter in law and her son(Rob) announce that they are going to New York for about two years as Lauren got a good job. She is angry because she does not have anyone and the only person she has left in her life is her son and grandson. Her daughter (Janie) was murdered more than twenty years ago and she still feels that the last person to see her daughter Connor Whitby is the murderer. She also works in St Agnes school and recently about more than a year back Connor Whitby joined the school as the new PE teacher.

The third is the story of Tess who works with a small advertising company owned by her husband (Will) her cousin (Felicity) own. She has a small boy named Liam. Since childhood Felicity and Tess have been inseparable (their mothers are twins). Even after marriage since they own a company together Felicity has always been with the family. Then Felicity decides to lose weight and loses about 40 Kilos of weight and now is attractive. One fine day her husband and her cousin decide to tell her that they both are in love and they have just kissed but have not slept together. Tess leaves the home with her son and goes to live with her mother and enrolls Liam in St Agnes. There she meets Connor Whitby her ex boyfriend who is fit and a PE teacher.

The story moves on the past and present. The story recounts the last day form Janie’s perspective and how she was deciding whom she loves John-Paul or Connor Whitby. Then everyone has a secret. Once Cecilia opens the letter she is devastated. She cannot function properly and is shocked that her husband wanted Cecilia to live with the secret. Rachel finds an old tape of re run shows and deciding to watch them as it was Janie’s favorite she finds a video of Janie and Connor Whitby and is determined that he killed her daughter. Tess starts sleeping with Connor.

One fine day when everything comes together there is an incident and the secret is out and there are more than one casualty.

The book overall is good. I liked the book more than Pretty Little Lies. But the same writing structure in the two books has made me feel like I will not be reading Liane Moriarty’s other books anytime soon. It is like reading Nicholas Sparks or Danielle Steel novels that center in the same manner. A so so book to read. It is all the same with few (3) stories intertwined and one big climax and story ends.

What I liked about was the end of the book where the author mentions all the secrets that the characters will never know. Also how Janie’s death was only partial murder the real reason is revealed. I like how she mentions there are secrets that we will never know.

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