Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins


Title: The Girl on the Train

Author: Paula Hawkins

Publisher: Doubleday Canada

Publication Date: January 2015

ISBN: 9780385682312

The Girl on the Train

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. 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. 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 offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?


There was so much hype about The Girl on the Train that when I saw a copy on the shelf a cute used bookstore, I couldn’t stop myself from bringing this book home to read. I can’t say I was blown away by Hawkins’ debut thriller, but it wasn’t bad reading. It’s a book written for the masses. It reads easily, the crime is shocking, and the protagonist garners our sympathy with her struggle. If you’re looking for a quick book to read, this is the one for you. It doesn’t have much in the way of substance, but the crime will pull you in.

Rachel is an unreliable narrator, as well as an unreliable witness in the crime. As an alcoholic, her memories are spotty and jagged. Even the reader can’t trust her to know what’s going on much of the time.  I did really like this aspect of the novel. It makes everything that comes out of the narrator, Rachel’s mouth, precarious. We don’t know if we can trust her experiences. The reader is, in a way, left to figure things out for themselves, because the truth cannot definitely be told by Rachel. Unreliable narrators can complicate a story, but in this case, I think Rachel’s struggle with alcoholism only adds to the brutality of the situation and the ongoing struggle to solve the crime. She is frustrating, but with the best intentions. She adds an edge of anxiety to the story as a whole because we don’t quite know how she’s involved and how she’s going to disrupt the process of solving the crime.

My biggest criticism is that you see the conclusion coming from a mile away. I knew who the perpetrator was from nearly the second the crime occurred and who likes to read a story when you already know the ending? I’m sure some of you out there do, but I can’t say personally that I’m a fan of knowing how the mystery will be solved just as the story gets going.

I got caught up in the hype with this one. There is merit to reading the mass produced, appeals-to-everyone kind of story, but I try to stay away from a lot of books like these. I much prefer the hidden gem, as opposed to the front and centre story. I definitely see why it appeals to so many people and why it’s gotten great reviews. All in all, this wasn’t a book for me.


Review: The Longest Night by Andria Williams


*I received this book on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Title: The Longest Night

Author: Andrea Williams

Publisher: Random House

Publication Date: January 12, 2016

ISBN: 9780812997743


The Longest Night

Synopsis from Goodreads:
In 1959, Nat Collier moves with her husband, Paul, and their two young daughters to Idaho Falls, a remote military town. An Army Specialist, Paul is stationed there to help oversee one of the country’s first nuclear reactors—an assignment that seems full of opportunity. Then, on his rounds, Paul discovers that the reactor is compromised, placing his family and the entire community in danger. Worse, his superiors set out to cover up the problem rather than fix it. Paul can’t bring himself to tell Nat the truth, but his lies only widen a growing gulf between them. Lonely and restless, Nat is having trouble adjusting to their new life. She struggles to fit into her role as a housewife and longs for a real friend. When she meets a rancher, Esrom, she finds herself drawn to him, comforted by his kindness and company. But as rumors spread, the secrets between Nat and Paul build and threaten to reach a breaking point.


Based on the true story of the only deadly nuclear accident to occur in the United States, The Longest Night tells the story of the men who work diligently to keep the C-15 reactor active and working properly, their wives, and their children. Idaho Falls is a small town. It’s one of those places where everybody knows everybody. News travels fast and gossip breeds quickly. This story is driven by the lives of the characters that inhabit this little place. There is nothing much to do, and relationships are everything to the inhabitants.

This story examines marital, professional, and romantic relationships. It addresses a post-war American and the effects of war on the psyches of the survivors. Alcoholism is used as a crutch, but it leads to the ultimate downfall of many men. Alongside the men, are the starkly contrasted lives of their women. This is a time where only single, young women work as secretaries and typists. Married women kept their homes and children for their husbands. Watching Nat Collier, we see that not all women were content with this life. In her husbands absence, Nat finds herself seeking more. It’s not enough to cook and clean and mind the children. Her longing for freedom speaks to an issue of wanting more of a purpose in life. Her friendship with both Esrom, the man who sparks much talk about the town, and Patricia next door are her escapes from the drone of everyday life. Patricia in particular is a fantastic character, although we don’t see much of her. We get the sense that she’s a woman who tells it like it is, without sugar coating things. I would have liked to see more of her and her influence in Nat’s life.

It’s hard to believe that this is WIlliams’ debut novel. The characters are full and well-rounded, the history accurate enough to bring this town to life, and the relationships–both positive and negative–are strong. You can’t help but connecting with these characters. Williams breathes life into them, so much so that you almost expect them to walk off the page. I can’t wait to see what else this author has in store in the future.

Review: Shattered Blue


*I received this book on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Title: Shattered Blue

Author: Lauren Bird Horowitz

Publisher: Skyscape

Publication Date: September 15, 2015

ISBN: 9781503949973


Shattered Blue

Synopsis from Goodreads:
For Noa and Callum, being together is dangerous, even deadly. From the start, sixteen-year-old Noa senses that the mysterious transfer student to her Monterey boarding school is different. Callum unnerves and intrigues her, and even as she struggles through family tragedy, she’s irresistibly drawn to him. Soon they are bound by his deepest secret: Callum is Fae, banished from another world after a loss hauntingly similar to her own. But in Noa’s world, Callum needs a special human energy, Light, to survive; his body steals it through touch—or a kiss. And Callum’s not the only Fae on the hunt. When Callum is taken, Noa must decide: Will she sacrifice everything to save him? Even if it means learning their love may not be what she thought?


Shattered Blue is the first book in The Light Trilogy by Lauren Bird Horowitz. It’s been a while since I’ve great a good story about fae and Horowitz’s novel was light, action-packed, and easy to ready. The story drew me in from the very beginning with a terrible tragedy that’s left Noe and her family reeling. Now, they are just trying to get their lives back on track. Noe’s life changes when a new boy shows up in her classes, keeping his distance, but inexplicably drawing her in.

Noa comes to learn of the existence of Fae. Their world exists outside of the human realm. In the human world the Fae can only exist by drawing power from humans. The portal between worlds requires a sacrifice to remain open. The Faes’ presence in the human world is a deadly and life-threatening scenario. Noa has already lost so much, but now she stands to lose even more. As people begin to disappear and strange events begin to take place, the characters must search for a way to right the balance.

I really liked Noa as a character. She’s puts her family first and she’s quick to act to protect the ones she loves. She’s a bit wishy-washy in the love department, her feelings not securely fixed on one boy. But she’s a genuine characters who looks out for the best interests of others. I love her relationship with her little sister. She cares for the toddler in a compassionate and self-less way, knowing that her sister trusts her completely.

If you’re looking for a new YA series full of faeries and magic, I’d definitely recommend this one. Horowitz’s world is thrilling and expansive. There is so much more to explore in future books. I can’t wait to see what comes next!