6. A book by an author you’ve never read before.

Dear Amy

by Helen Callaghan

“It was impossible to tell whether this was subtlety or social denseness at this point.”

This book could’ve been on the number 3 spot of this challenge, because I picked it up because of the cover. It was absolutely intriguing to me. The synopsis made it even more interesting.

It’s about a teacher, Margot Lewis, who writes a ‘Dear Amy’ column for a local newspaper. One day she receives a letter from a girl who went missing 20 years before, a day after one of her students goes missing as well. The letter is signed by Bethan Avery and the handwriting matches a sample of Bethan’s that the police has kept as evidence. No one had heard from the girl since her abduction. Margot is worried for both Bethan and her missing student Katie. Together with the police she tries to figure out whether the cases are connected. But then Margot is targeted herself.

The first half of the book has you glued to the pages, but the end was too obvious for me to be a real plot twister. The book is certainly well written, so I hope I’ll get a chance to read Helen Callahan’s next novel some day.

dear amy

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5. A book published this year

Meet me at Beachcomber Bay

by Jill Mansell

“Sometimes it only takes a split second for a state of absolute calm to turn to one of horror and panic”

I think it’s nearly impossible for Jill Mansell to let me down. This book was another page turner, made me laugh and cry, sometimes even at the same time. There was a plot twist I didn’t see coming (and one that was obvious, but I wouldn’t have it any other way).

There’s something in her books that makes me buy them as soon as they’re published. I then proceed to read them, sometimes even in one sitting. My first was 15 years ago and I’ve been hooked ever since. In the beginning the stories were rather the same, girl meets boy, girls meets another boy, girl chooses one of the boys and lives happily ever after. Jill has a great sense of humour and I love her writing, every single book made me laugh. Then suddenly there was a change. I read ‘To the moon and back’ in 2011 and I cried. I cried actual tears. The story was so moving, I didn’t expect that when I bougth my copy. And I’m glad it did, because Jill made me love her stories even more, every book over and over. And yes, I laughed a lot too!

 

beachcomber bay 2

Thank you for being my friend

I’d like to take a moment to thank Google for being such a good friend all these years. All my questions, however random they may be, are answered. Sometimes even before I write the whole sentence. You always know where I am and direct me to where I want to go. 

Next I’d like to thank Facebook for taking such an interest in my life. Is so nice of you to always ask how I’m doing,  what I’m doing, and telling how the weather is going to  be today. Wishing me a good morning or goodnight each time I look at you.

I know I’m not the only one being torn between wanted to keep in touch and keeping my personal private space intact. I really feel we should think before we post:

  • Is it appropriate? 
  • Is it harmful?
  • Who could I hurt? Myself? Someone else?
  • Do I want to risk the possibility that the whole world knows this?
  • Is it helpful and positive? 

Recently I found this picture here. And I think the I for Inspiring can also be used for Illegal. Today we live in a world where fake news is not easily recognised and people don’t take enough time to verify what they comment on or even read about what they share or retweet. 

I strongly believe in sending out positive vibes, however I also want to speak up for a better world.  Which means I also share things that make me angry in the hopes that it will inspire others to think about these issues. Still, in my opinion,  we should think about the necessity of doing so. The kindness of it. Do you truly believe in the things you share? 

21. A book with a great first line

The Gunslinger – The Dark Tower book 1

by Stephen King

“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.”

This is the first line of an epic fantasy/horror series by Stephen King. It’s an absolute favourite of mine, I’m currently on my second journey to the Tower. The first time was mind-blowing and life altering, some books have that quality about them to make you look at life differently, deeper somehow.

*****SPOILERS FROM HERE*****

The story tells of a gunslinger, Roland Deschain, who is chasing a man in black. During the hunt he meets different people, kills a lot of them, encounters a talking raven and happens upon a boy. The boy is Jake Chambers, he doesn’t know how he came to Roland’s world, but knows he will die there, because Roland needs to catch up to the man in black. In the end, Jake fall to his death after telling the gunslinger: “Go then, there are other worlds than these.” Roland is conflicted, but pursues his hunt for the man in black. He feels guilt, because Jake put his trust in him, however his need for answers is greater. In the end he reached the man in black and he turns out to be an old acquaintance: Walter. They palaver and Walter informs Roland of his future, afterwards he tries to get Roland to renounce for the Tower. Roland refuses and Walter sends him west. The story ends with Roland arriving at the shore of the Western Sea.

For all you Tower-junkies out there: I contemplated switching the way each challenge was numbered so this one would be 19. In my mind it is.

gunslinger-new1

3. A book you solely picked because of the cover

The Muse

by Jessie Burton

You have this light, and when it switches on I don’t think you even realize what it does.

This story. It’s SO beautiful. Absolutely intriguing, grips you from the start and doesn’t let go. Initially I fell in love with the cover, I barely read the synopsis on the back of the book. It took me two days to finish reading the story and needed two days to recover from the exquisiteness of the prose.

I was drawn to the gorgeous colours and the way the design was executed on the cover of the book. Looking at it more closely now, I recognize the story in the picture. I noticed there’s a yellow version as well, but I think this blue one is more fitting.

the-muse-jessie-burton

2. A book that was made into a movie

The girl on the train

by Paula Hawkins

“There’s something comforting about the sight of strangers safe at home.”

First of all, I never saw the movie. I’m not sure I ever will, not because I don’t want too, but perhaps because I don’t want to see the characters that came to my mind while reading, brought to life. I would never have given Rachel the face of Emily Blunt. I just don’t see it, but maybe that’s why I should go and see it. (I do like Emily Blunt, though.)

*****SPOILERS FROM HERE*****

Now for the story. I’m conflicted between liking it and hating it. I didn’t like Rachel at first, but I got to understanding her. Especially when I learned what happened between her and her ex-husband. What a horrible man. But Rachel is no angel either, and neither are “Jess and Jason” or Anna for that matter. It was a mess of a situation, it made it a mess to read too at some points. The narrative wasn’t always easy to follow, however that might be more because of Rachel’s condition.

I’m leaning towards not liking it, since the story ended rather perfect and somehow happily. Of course, a girl died and the circumstances of her demise were shocking and scandalous, yet all’s well that ends well. Rachel knows the truth, Anna knows the truth.

the-girl-on-the-train

18. A book with a blue cover

The Happiness Project

by Gretchen Rubin

“The time to start exercising, stop nagging, and organize our digital photos was when everything was going smoothly. I didn’t want to wait for a crisis to remake my life.”

This book was absolutely inspirational to me. Gretchen takes she through a year of her life, through the search to be more happy, to find happiness in her day-to-day life without radically changing anything. Some people move to another town, embark on a journey around the world, or find another job. I liked that she didn’t want to do any of these things, but tried to make the life that she has now better, tried to life fuller and love deeper. Her honesty was much appreciated, she’s fully aware that she might be more privileged than others, because she works from home, has a good marriage and two lovely children. Her project fits with her job as a writer, but it never felt as if the project would be something I couldn’t do myself. I don’t work from home, do have a good marriage as well, and I “only” have a fur baby. So maybe her privileges are not so far from mine after all.  However, no matter what your background might be, Gretchen gives great advice on how to start for yourself and make your own happiness project a success.

Her main goal was to live lighter, so she would be better prepared for hard times that would undoubtedly occur. I learned this years ago from Dr. Phil (whose book I have yet to finish, maybe that one could be in this challenge as well).

She gave each month their own chapter, added a theme, and made subcategories with goals for that particular month. My favourites were January through December, the book made me happier just by reading it. Gretchen didn’t make it look easy, she actually made it easy. I learned so much through her experiences. Most of the issues she writes about are relatable and that makes it that much more accessible for her readers. First thing I did? I joined a gym near my home. And the second? Started working on my blog again! And hopefully I’m less nagging nowadays too. The digital photo collection organization will have to wait awhile..

the-happiness-project-revised-edition-