Murder On The Orient Express – Agatha Christie

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Oh Mon Dieu! Wasn’t this a magnifique read! This was indeed a delicious read from beginning to end.

This book is about a luxurious trip that brutally turns into a murder investigation. One night, Mr Rachett had been stabbed twelve times in the chest. Famous Detective Hercule Poirot embarks on a journey of investigating the crime in question, by questionning every passenger on the train before the murderer strikes again!

I don’t know how to start expressing my feelings about this book. First, I very much loved how every chapter title is a summary of the chapter the reader proceeds to read, preparing them for what’s to come.

Second, who doesn’t like reading about train thrillers? I mean I loved The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins and Strangers on A Train By Patricia Highsmith but they surely do not compare to this.

When I read Crooked House right before this book, I didn’t think it could be topped. But here, and somehow with Poirot present, everything is so much better.

No Poirot, no fun.

It was indeed very satisfying to just live in those scenes in the dining-car, as Poirot fetches the train passengers one by one. And It struck me at first how none of them seemed to be telling lies while speaking about their whereabouts the night of the murder and about their knowledge of the Armstrong affair.

What was really intriguing in the first hundred and fifty pages is that, although every suspect on the train answered every one of the Detective’s burning questions, nothing was exactly adding up, but neither Poirot, nor Dr. Constantine and Mr. Bouc, the director of the Wagon Lits company stop here. And it only gets interesting from then on because the reader begins to be acquainted with the fact that there’s a lot of elements involved in the story such as the intensity of trust, fidelity and also the architecture of the crime, especially how cleverly it was plotted and the amusing way Poirot decides to handle the case after actually discovering the guilty party.

I believe Murder on The Orient Express is the ultimate thrilling and terrifying read I’ve ever experienced. And I therefore highly recommend it.

 

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WE WERE LIARS – E. LOCKHART

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There were numerous fascinating aspects about this book.
I like how even though it’s YA genre, it’s also filled with thriller vibes and mystery. And the writing! It was beautifully articulated and so cleverly written. Our main protagonist Cadence Sinclair is one of my favorites from anything YA I’ve read; her emotions are clearly complex and she often tends to do this thing where she explains herself using fairy tales, which was a strange and yet very exciting thing to read. I couldn’t wrap my head around how it ended, a very dark ending that teaches the reader so much about what it’s like to choose to do what you’re afraid of, the effect of the quarrel of love and hate among family and how tragedy can turn one into a completely different person.
It was a lot of fun at the beginning but then it all converts into seriousness and consecutive catastrophies.
I 100% recommend this read, and I certainly can’t wait to see the adaptation in 2018!

ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE – GAIL HONEYMAN

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Eleanor is completely fine as long as nothing comes between her and her daily routine – work days ending with a meal at home, a book or tv show; Friday afternoons with pizza and vodka, and weekends spent with what’s left of the vodka bottles.
Almost nobody comes by her house. That way she feels almost disconnected from the world, and therefore happier, until Monday comes around to bring her back to reality.

The book features experiences of how people with anxiety go through- worrying about the smallest things -an upcoming unexpected phone call, visitors; being misunderstood by others and fearing the unknown.

Once a particular incident involving Eleanor and her work colleague Raymond saving Sammy, an unconscious old man on the street, the book starts to develop into the idea where under certain rules, contact with other particular people can be quite pleasant. Eleanor knows she’s fine on her own, but she discovers how healthy it was for her to be, as I like to call it, selectively-social, which was shown when she went with her work colleague Raymond to visit his mother Mrs Gibbons.

All throughout her chaotic journey of social encounters – from visiting her colleague’s mom and meeting with Sammy’s family to going to Sammy’s son’s birthday party, Eleanor suddenly finds herself exploring this new world where she has to integrate with other people. And sooner rather than later, she’s acquainted with the consequences of social interaction. Does it cost you things? And if so, is it worth it?¬†Will she remember the causes of her constant depression and face them once and for all?

I like how the book teaches a lot of things such as what it means to have a friend, the decision to accept one’s help when they genuinely offer it and how to banish your fears from being an obstacle to your well-being.

This is a perfect read for introverts. It really does help you understand that it is not obligatory to be just like everyone else and become a social person. Instead, you can stay exactly as you are and still own sufficient confidence to guide you through your life moments.

This read was just so brilliant, filled with both humorous and heart-wrenching moments. It made me laugh and cry. It may only be fiction but it is also completely realistic and relatable.

Are you sleeping – kathleen barber

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Thirteen years ago, Josie’s father Chuck Burnham was murdered. His killer, according to Jo’s sister, Lanie, is their neighbor Cave Warren. Lanie claimed that she saw Warren Cave pull the trigger and shoot her father.
On present day, reporter Poppy Parnell has started a series of a podcast called Reconsidered, where the one being considered is Chuck’s murder, in order to uncover the truth and possibly prove Cave Warren’s innocence.

Jo’s family isn’t perfect, and in fact their life is only going to get worse…
There’s Erin, the mother, who is marked by the horrors of her past, having to watch her brother die in front of her, losing her parents and then going through her husband’s murder.
Lanie, the rebellious sister, has been a complete mess ever since she was a teenager, with a love for satanic music, booze and drugs. And also, thirteen years later, sleep deprivation, and hauntingly confusing dreams which I think are the main liaisons to the book’s title Are You Sleeping?, which makes the reader wonder, was Lanie awake when she saw the murder in front of her eyes, or was she sleeping, seeing it all in a dream?
And then there’s Josie who, abandoned by both her mother and sister after the death of her father, tries to escape this life of misery. So she changes her name and moves to a new home with Caleb, her loving boyfriend, to whom she had lied about her family and her past.
And it isn’t until this podcast ‘Reconsidered‘ starts bringing up Chuck’s death, Erin’s mental illness and Lanie’s dark past, that Josie begins to be haunted by the things she has tried so hard to forget.

From the beginning, it was obvious that it wasn’t all just about finding the truth about who the killer was. It was much more than that. Kathleen, through this brilliant thriller, not only thrusts suspenseful scenes and entertains the reader with impeccable writing, but she also carefully tackles important subjects like the importance of family, especially the bond of sisterhood, sacrifice, and also how lies, indiscretions and a death of a family member can all present themselves as the beginning of the end.

But whose fault is it? To what lengths will the guilty party go to punish themselves?

Only when I thought that it had all come to an end, one character’s letter is uncovered and it was enough to wreck my mood. It was the perfect ending, but also sad as hell.
I had been longing to read more about this character ever since the start of the book, for it was so clear their role was quite a crucial one in the story, and so I was slightly disappointed as I leafed through the pages because they weren’t given the chance to say their part of the story, until there was this letter that connected all the dots and made everything fall into place. Obviously, Kathleen Barber knew what she was doing, and where to place each character. She’s just that kind of a genius.

Sure, everything sought in the beginning is discovered at the end, but clearly it is not all sunshine and rainbows; the last ones standing still have flaws and doubts provoked by the past, and are clueless about how they’re going to go from here.¬†Also, how will things be after numerous truths have come out? Will the characters be able to start over like all of this never happened? Will they be able to move on?

The Fact of A Body: A Murder and a Memoir – ALEXANDRIA MARZANO-LESNEVICH

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Never ever have I read something like this. Personally, there wasn’t a page in the book that didn’t touch me deeply.
The narrator of the story Alexandria talks about memories of her with her family from the time her father was still a government lawyer to the time where he opened his law practice after settling in a new house. And then she moves to another chapter where she speaks about Ricky Langley’s life starting with the crime he committed, where a young boy named Jeremy Guillory is the soul victim and how Ricky’s life and a whole cast of characters’ changed after that, until the last verdict is announced.

Alexandria describes every move, every reaction and emotion experienced by Ricky with a sharp analysis of the various going-ons around him. She details how Ricky continues to take multiple measures to discover who he really is and why does he does what he does, and also mentions the times when she finds it difficult to understand him in situations where he’s provoked to do and say things that are shocking and that do not sound like the Ricky she’s just starting to know. His reactions to some things strange to him are some of the daunting parts described in the whole book.

The reader later becomes acquainted with the fact that the reason for Alexandria to know more about Ricky’s case begins to alter because of the new discoveries that emphasize how the truth about this man wasn’t what it always seemed. It was much more than she ever thought.

I think fans of the true crime genre will find The Fact of A Body interesting. As you read, you may find yourself sympathizing with too many people. And at the end of the book, it is easy to instantly feel overcome with emotions.
Quite the read of the year.

The Child – FIONA BARTON

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One of the top reasons I decided to read Fiona’s second book is Kate Waters. I loved The Widow, and Kate made an impression since the beginning, and it becomes clear to the reader what a likeable and sometimes relatable person she can be. So I definitely had to learn more about how she evolves as she now embarks on a new journey, featuring in Fiona’s new book The Child.

The story talks about a case revolving around a baby whose body had been found dead on a building site. Reporter Kate Waters is investigating and she can’t help but believe that there is a big story behind the case that will attract The Daily Post’s readers’ attention.

The different thing between The Child and other crime books is that the case in question is an elusive one. There is no promising evidence and nothing whatsoever to speculate on.
After we are acquainted with all the characters and their past, you might find there are numerous people to suspect, but then none at all (does it make sense?) but I found that that’s what made the story more engaging.

Fiona brilliantly created these characters who turn up to be flawed and touched by something unpleasant that changed them completely. But I was mostly intrigued by Emma’s back story, especially with Jude, and their mother-daughter relationship’s outcome years later.

I noticed that the reader must be very attentive when it comes to dates -the 70s and 80s – because that’s where half the clues lie.
The author sort of used them through a particular first person narrator -which I couldn’t help but get suspicious about, but not for the actual thing she’s later accused of- who tends to speak about someone who in reality is someone else completely. But we don’t know that until the end, which was unpredictable and sharply descending towards an explosive twist.
A total ‘it couldn’t be’ moment.

Everyone in the book had an essential role in the development of the narration. There’s such pure originality to the story. The beginning was an elusive puzzle and in the ending all the pieces fell into place.
It was all so cleverly written so you can’t bring yourself not to miss all these characters that made you a cluster of various emotions. Therfore, The Child is with no doubt a highly recommended read.

Final Girls – RILEY SAGER

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I’ve read many thrillers this year, but this one consumed me entirely. Believe me when I tell you that you won’t be wasting any time with this one.

Quincy is a Final Girl who, years ago, survived a massacre that occured in a Cabin where she went to vacation with some of her friends. Now, when another Final Girl who survived the same tragedy is found dead, Quincy receives an unexpected visit and suddenly her world turns upside down.
The killer might just be around the corner.

It is not just the smart writing and the perfect creation of the story’s characters that drew me in, but it’s also the way the author drops bombshells when you least expect them throughout the book, and also the ending that was completely satisfying. I find myself spending my non-reading time suspecting a couple of characters based on some deeply suspicious traits they were given by the writer, but the ending was something else and it turned out to be shockingly explosive.

I highly recommend Final Girls to all thriller fans. You will not regret it.

*Big thanks to FirstToRead for an advanced copy of Final Girls in exchange for an honest review*