After Anna by Lisa Scottoline

After Anna by Lisa Scottoline ★★★★☆

Let me give you a summary taken directly from Goodreads before I get into my review:

Dr Noah Alderman, a widower and single father, is finally content after marrying Maggie. And they’re both thrilled when Maggie gets an unexpected chance to be a mother to Anna, the daughter she once thought she’d lost forever. But when seventeen-year-old Anna arrives, everything changes – and the darkest turn of events will shatter their lives in ways no one could have imagined.

Goodreads

Now let me start off by saying that I bought this book from a used bookstore in Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada this past summer for $1. The book is in perfect condition and I can’t believe what a bargain I got! This made me realize that I need to go to used bookstores more often, not just because of the bargain I got on the book but rather how relaxing and therapeutic walking through a bookstore teeming with books in every corner you look is.

Here’s a photo I took at the used bookstore in Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada where I purchased this book from (it obviously was not in this section of the bookstore since this novel is not a contemporary romance novel, although one could make the argument that it is). I would place this book as a psychological thriller.

For over half of the book, I literally could not put it down. Any time during the day when I had free time, I picked this book up and read it for as long as I could. Scottoline has an incredible grasp of how to write a thriller. The character development was my absolute favourite part, as well as the back and forth between the present and the past in each chapter, which was enthralling.

I felt as though the book kind of fell flat after the major plot twist was revealed closer to the end of the book, which I will not delve into, and this is why I gave it a 4/5 stars. I would still highly recommend it though. I find it somewhat difficult to write reviews for thriller / mystery novels as I don’t want to give too much away because that will ruin the surprise(s) so I’ll leave it there. Let me know in the comments if this book is something that you’d be interested in reading.

Week in Review (7)

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer in which bloggers are able to share news and happenings in their lives from the past week on their blog.

This week’s Sunday Post will mainly consist of me talking about what book I recently finished reading and what I’m looking forward to reading next.

As I talked about in my previous post, I have finally decided to come back to my blog, which I have missed dearly, as I have the time (somewhat) to write posts on a regular basis. Let’s see how long I can keep this up for.

I recently finished After Anna by Lisa Scottoline (which I bought for $1 at a used bookstore….what a bargain!) and I am in the process of writing a book review for this book so stay tuned for that!

I cannot wait to get into reading Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City by Tanya Talaga and The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley. I bought these two books from Indigo Chapters a couple of weeks back. And of course I’ll be writing a review for each once I finish reading it.

Let me know what books you’ve recently read / are looking forward to reading, I’d love to hear!

Week in Review (5)

sundaypostThe Sunday Post is a weekly meme by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer in which bloggers are able to share news and happenings in their lives from the past week on their blog.

It’s been an interesting week this past week! I’ve relaxed a lot, that’s for sure, since it’s the summer break! One of the books I ordered finally came in the mail. It’s called The Silk Roads: A New History of the World by Peter Frankopan. The following is a picture of cover as well as the summary of the book from Goodreads:

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“For centuries, fame and fortune were to be found in the west – in the New World of the Americas. Today, it is the east which calls out to those in search of riches and adventure. Sweeping right across Central Asia and deep into China and India, a region that once took centre stage is again rising to dominate global politics, commerce and culture.

A major reassessment of world history, The Silk Roads is a dazzling exploration of the forces that have driven the rise and fall of empires, determined the flow of ideas and goods and are now heralding a new dawn in international affairs. “

I will be reading this novel on vacation, so stay tuned for a review that will possibly be coming up soon. It seems like a great book for history buffs, judging off of the summary., but also for those who are interested in learning about history. I fall in the latter category!

Moreover, I have an interview coming up next week for a job at my university, so I have also been prepping for that this week.

I’ve also started watching Suits, and it’s honestly too good! I’m so excited to get into it since I’m still on season 1! 😃

Final thing, just as a little update, I’ve started a YouTube Channel a few weeks ago and I would love for you to check it out. I’ll be uploading every Monday & Friday, so be sure to subscribe if you would like to.

The following are three of my favourite videos that I’ve uploaded so far, and it’d be great if you could check it out when you have time.

Thank you so much for checking out my post, and please comment a link to your Sunday Post as I would love to check it out as well. Thanks again 💗

Stacking it up

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews where bloggers discuss the books that they have borrowed from the library or bought to add to their shelves. I personally think it’s a fabulous idea as you are able to learn about books that may not even have been of interest to you!

I have added a few books to my shelf this week, mostly from the library, but nonetheless I plan on reading these books very soon! The following three books are the ones I’ll be reading.

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Please leave your ‘Stacking the Shelves’ post link below. ⬇️

High School Semester In Review

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It’s been a while, but I’m back! I’ve been busying myself with school. Specifically, my finals and final tasks (summatives).

I’ve officially finished my first semester of grade 11. My courses were physics, data management, French, and accounting. I live in Canada, so my school is semestered. One semester I have four courses everyday and four different courses the next semester. At first, I thought I may be overwhelmed with the heavy focus on math-oriented subjects, but it was manageable.

I’ll go through each of my courses and explain the good and bad parts of each one.

Physics was pretty rough, not going to lie. Some units were fairly easy, and some were challenging. It was mostly lab experiments and tests. We had one project where we had to fashion an instrument to play “Mary Had a Little Lamb”. That was the only fun part of the class. My performance in the class overall was SO much better than I expected, but still not as good as I wanted it to be before I started the semester: 91%. I definitely will not be taking physics again because I know this is not for me. It’s far too logical.

Data management wasn’t the best either. The topics covered were sometimes confusing, like permutations. I had to do a lot of problem-solving questions involving them, and boy are they weird but fun at the same time. Many of the topics were straight-forward too, like analyzing graphs and finding the relationship between two variables. Unfortunately, my bad tests outweighed the good ones. Before my exam, I had a 91%. The exam was brutal and I just barely scraped up a 79%. My mark dropped one percent as a result, so I finished with a 90%. Again, it exceeded my expectations (as they’d been drastically lowered as I made my way through the course).

I love French. This year, it was different. No more memorizing and regurgitating. “Plug and chug”, that’s what my physics teacher calls it. Now, I had to analyze books and movies but in French. It was new, but I liked it. I was actually using my brain for once. This all came at a cost of course. My mark dropped this year to a 90% from a 94%. But I will definitely take French again for Grade 12, because if I’ve taken it for seven years so far, I think I can do one last hurrah.

Accounting turned out to be barely math-related at all, mostly just understanding. Once you get the primary concepts, you can pretty much teach yourself the rest of the course. I put in minimal effort, as did many of my classmates, and they too were successful. I passed this course with flying colours, a 97% to be exact. I will be taking accounting again next year because I now know it’s something I’m good at.

This semester, I have anthro/psych/socio, law, international business, and English. A very heavy focus on humanities this semester, so we’ll see how this goes. I’ll be sure to keep you updated.

Thank you for reading 🙂

Stay Up-to-Date with Current Events

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Keeping up with current events is an unwritten part of our role as global citizens. Current events shape what goes on around us, and how we function in society. These events shape our decisions as well as inform our perceptions of the world. An easy way to stay up to date with current events is through reading or watching the news.

Now how do you access the news / stay updated on the happenings around the globe?

We have a plethora of accessible resources right at our fingertips, yet we rely on the most unreliable sources for our news. This is not to say that platforms such as Facebook and Snapchat are inherently bad for staying updated, but rather that these sources do not always provide the full, accurate context or story of events. Use Facebook and Snapchat as a starting point for your information, and be curious. Turn to other platforms such as Twitter, news websites or even your TV news to find out more.

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Personally, I like to read the news on Flipboard (this post is not sponsored by Flipboard, I just felt the need to inform others of its’ usefulness). Flipboard is an incredible app that compiles news from various news outlets into a board-style layout, similar to the pinboards that you find on Pinterest (see the three screenshots below). Flipboard allows you to choose the news topics (i.e. Politics, Business & Tech, World News, etc.) that you’re most interested in reading about. This app allows me to read the latest news wherever and whenever I feel like doing so. It has never given me any problems, crash / bug-wise, and is the most convenient app to use.

I also like how Flipboard compiles articles from various news outlets as it tries to mitigate the bias that is so prevalent in news broadcasting. You need to read stories about the same event from a variety of articles to get a better sense of what occurred. Many news agencies have political ties, so evidently their articles will be skewed in favour of a certain ideology or political party. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read an article that was clearly so biased that I just stopped reading it because I knew I wasn’t getting the factual picture of what actually occurred.

That’s about it! There is a part two for this post, which will be uploaded soon. I hope you enjoyed this post, and let me know how you stay updated with current affairs.

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A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena

★★★☆☆

This was an absurd book. In an okay way. Let me give you a summary taken directly from Goodreads before I get into my thoughts:

Karen and Tom Krupp are happy—they’ve got a lovely home in upstate New York, they’re practically newlyweds, and they have no kids to interrupt their comfortable life together. But one day, Tom returns home to find Karen has vanished—her car’s gone and it seems she left in a rush. She even left her purse—complete with phone and ID—behind.

There’s a knock on the door—the police are there to take Tom to the hospital where his wife has been admitted. She had a car accident, and lost control as she sped through the worst part of town.

The accident has left Karen with a concussion and a few scrapes. Still, she’s mostly okay—except that she can’t remember what she was doing or where she was when she crashed. The cops think her memory loss is highly convenient, and they suspect she was up to no good.

Karen returns home with Tom, determined to heal and move on with her life. Then she realizes something’s been moved. Something’s not quite right. Someone’s been in her house. And the police won’t stop asking questions.

Because in this house, everyone’s a stranger. Everyone has something they’d rather keep hidden. Something they might even kill to keep quiet.

Home intrusion-related things always terrify me. There’s something so hair-raising about the idea of someone being in your house without you knowing. They’re right under your nose, but you’d never know they’re there. That’s the scary part. It’s kind of like a ghost. You don’t know it’s there, but it is. That spooks me out so much. So that’s why I picked up this book. I was looking for a nail-biter, something where I’m on the edge of my seat, ripping through the pages to find out what comes next.Image result for a stranger in the house

Honestly, I was disappointed in that respect. That part of the book, that I thought would be touched on throughout because of the title, was like trying to see stars in the city at night. It was barely there. I feel like I’m justified in wanting something more from the home-intrusion aspect of the book. It was lacking.

I haven’t read any other books from Shari Lapena as of yet, but I going to assume her writing style is similar through all her books. In that case, all her books could be read by a 10 year-old. I don’t mean the content itself, but the way in which she writes is so simple. When I read, I want a challenge. Something to test my vocabulary. I don’t want to read, what I think, is next to a children’s novel. Maybe her plan is to focus on the plot and not the wording. I think that writing style is important and it’s definitely something I look for.

Onto the story itself. I enjoyed it. There are many twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. That’s about it though. It wasn’t the most amazing thing I’ve ever read, that’s for certain. One thing I loved about this book is the tiny amount of characters. Usually, the amount of trouble I have remembering characters and their names is astounding. It was so easy to remember everyone. More books need to be like that. You really don’t need hundreds of characters to make a good book.

Overall, this book was very average. I’m not obsessed and I don’t completely hate it. It’s alright. This isn’t a recommendation of mine, though.

Thanks for reading!

My All-Time Favourite Movies

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Before I get started, let me make it clear that I’m no movie buff. But I have watched my fair share of movies.

I’m not going to give away the movies, in case you want to watch it. I’m really into action, suspense, and mystery movies. Also, you’ll notice a trend in these movies….because Christopher Nolan is just too good.

1. The Dark Knight (2008)

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This movie became a classic the moment it was released. I don’t think anyone can deny that this movie is amazing. I’ve watched it countless times and yet I still find things that I didn’t notice before. You can watch this movie over and over again and not get bored of it. You’ve got to love Heath Ledger’s Joker in this. He’s pretty much what makes this movie good, other than Christopher Nolan’s directing. Ledger’s role is iconic.

 

2. Dunkirk (2017)

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In 2016, I found out Chris Nolan was making a new movie (finally) and I was very excited. He hadn’t made a new movie in a few years then and I felt deprived. I discovered that the movie would on the the Miracle of Dunkirk. I’ve always been really interested war movies and war in general.

The film has minimal dialogue, but it works. The actors tell the story so well through their expressions alone. It’s a chilling recount of how Dunkirk really happened. It’s very different than how I learned it to be. This movie shows how it really was.

3. Captain Phillips (2013)

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This movie was absolutely crazy. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. It’s a true story, based on the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of a U.S. cargo ship. Barkhad Abdi’s acting as a Somali pirate, was amazing. The story in general is very interesting, and the film is created in such a suspenseful way.  If you’re looking for a film that constantly has you biting your nails, this is for you!

 

4. Inception (2010)

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I still don’t understand this movie. And that’s why I’ll never get sick of it. I watch it over and over and get a different understanding of it each time. It boggles your mind and makes you think. It’s about stealing secrets through dreams and that’s about all I get from it.

It’s quite long, about two and a half hours in length. But trust me, it’s worth every minute of your time. If you are looking for a movie that really makes you think, watch Inception!

(All of the images in this post are from various sources found through Google Images)