Friday, April 10, 2015

Because Sometimes You Just Want to be Entertained

You know how much I love literary fiction and classics. And it seems like I'm reading a lot of nonfiction lately, too. But there are times when I just want to get lost in a good story.... maybe a psychological thriller or family story full of deep, dark secrets. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough with these two recent reads.



The Girl on the Train
by Paula Hawkins
source: borrowed from the library

The Girl on the Train is attracting a lot of readers right now. It's touted as the next Gone Girl, but since I never read that one, I have no idea if it's an apt comparison. An intriguing plot summary and unreliable narrator drew me to the novel. I thought it was well-executed, plus it kept me guessing until close to the end. But then again, I rarely figure these things out!

Bottom line: An entertaining psychological thriller.... nothing mind-blowing or earth-shattering, but good for a couple of afternoons at the pool, a bus or train commute, or a long plane flight.

My rating:





Bittersweet: A Novel
by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
source: purchased

"Suspenseful and cinematic, Bittersweet exposes the gothic underbelly of an idyllic world of privilege and an outsider’s hunger to belong."

This is my kind of beach read and it would make a great summer movie, too. As far as I'm concerned, Bittersweet  has it all - a wealthy family with secrets, love, friendship, manipulation, a murder (maybe two) and a summer compound on a lake in northern Vermont. This novel didn't get much buzz when it was released last spring, but maybe the upcoming paperback release will lead to renewed interest.

My rating:




44 comments:

  1. I will get to The Girls on the Train one of these days. Bittersweet, though, wasn't on my radar -- and it sounds like something I'd really like. Thanks.

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    1. Beth F - Bittersweet is the kind of book I love to read on vacation.

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  2. I enjoyed Girl on a Train (that Rachel...LOL) and have a copy of Bittersweet I hope to get to soon.

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    1. Diane - I'm still shaking my head over Rachel, lol!

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  3. An incredibly smart man I used to work with once said that people who read a lot are allowed to read anything and everything they like, for any reason (he said it more intelligently than that, of course!) I've always remembered that conversation with great joy!

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    1. Audrey - A smart man, indeed! We all need a little variety in our reading.

      PS - Loving Barchester Chronicles DVD! I imagined Mrs.P to be a larger woman and Mr. S to be more unattractive... but what fun!

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  4. I've heard a lot about The Girl on the Train, but Bittersweet is new to me & sounds like a great read.

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    1. Lisa - They're both fun summer reads!

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  5. I totally agree - sometimes you just need something that will make you turn the pages! That had been pretty lacking for me this year...until recently when I started focusing on some lighter things for my upcoming summer reading list. And - it's been such a nice change! And - Bittersweet is one of my all-time favorite beach reads! Eccentric rich people, secrets, betrayals! I think it got totally overlooked last summer when it was released in hardcover, but hopefully the paperback will get some attention this summer (it really is more of a paperback kind of book). It was one that I recommended to lots of IRL friends and every one loved it.

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    1. Sarah - I think A Hundred Summers is still my favorite beach read of recent years, but Bittersweet was very good, too... all the elements I like in escapist reading!

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  6. oooh - thanks for the book recommendations. The end of April, will be my turn to suggest books for my book club. The Girl On The Train was already on my list (as well as a couple of others you've reviewed).

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    1. Pat - I'll be curious to see what your book club decides to read :)

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  7. I really liked The Girl on the Train but somehow missed hearing about Bittersweet. It sounds like something I'd like too.

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    1. Kathy - I hope Bittersweet's paperback release gives it a big shot of publicity!

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  8. I also enjoyed The Girl on the Train, and the more I hear about Bittersweet, the more I want to read it. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Laurel-Rain Snow - Bittersweet is the type of novel I always enjoy.... I've reached for this kind of story every summer for decades!

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  9. Bittersweet is on my radar and I think I knew about it last year, but simply forgot. My experience with TGOTT was OK enough.

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    1. Kay - I don't read enough thrillers to really judge TGOTT, but it kept me turning the pages and I enjoyed the experience.

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  10. I enjoyed The Girl on the Train very much! A fun, intense read. I have yet to pick up Bittersweet, though I hear good things about it. Good post!

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    1. Rita - The Girl on the Train made me think I should read more thrillers. It's usually only one or two a year for me...

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  11. The Girl on the Train has about 60+ holds at my library. I'm coming to accept that I may never read that one until another book comes along saying it is the next "Girl on the Train". Glad you liked it - sometimes, that's all we need, something different and light or thrilling or exciting in the middle of our usual kinds of reads.

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    1. Athira - Wow, with 60 holds I hope they have multiple copies! It is fun to throw a thriller into the mix every now and then.

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  12. Bittersweet looks like something I'd like. I'm putting in on my TBR list!

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    1. Monica - Bittersweet really is my kind of summer/escapist reading!

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  13. I felt the same way about The Girl on the Train, and I loved Rachel's narration. Bittersweet looks like one I need to add to my list. :)

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    1. Kathy - Unreliable narrators seem to be very popular now! I really loved Rachel's narration, too.

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  14. Think I'm going to give The Girl on the Train a go, too. It's in my local supermarket for les than £5. Enjoyed your review.

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    1. Vintage Reading - Sometimes we need a break from all the literary fiction... TGOTT was a nice change of pace!

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  15. Both these are on my list, Bittersweet because I saw it on another of your posts I think. They sound good. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Emma

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    1. Emma - Hope you get a chance to read one of these... both are fun!

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  16. Thank you for the reviews. Amazon has been recommending both of these to me in their ' recommended for you' and I've avoided them because I didn't want to give Amazon the pleasure! But - now it seems I will probably give in - your comments on Bittersweet make me want to try that first. I've got some time over the next week or so to get into a good read.

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    1. Tamara - LOL! I know that feeling. I sometimes avoid amazon's recommendations just because they are amazon's recommendations ;-)
      Hope you enjoy Bittersweet, too.

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  17. The Girls on the Train is on my to-read list (so is Gone Girl!). It looks like an exciting page-turner of a read. Hadn't heard of Bittersweet, though!

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    1. Belle Wong - So there are two of us who haven't read Gone Girl yet! I'll get to it eventually. Bittersweet is a great "rich people behaving badly" kind of book.

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  18. Love your title, that's so true! That's why we go see crazy movies, like... ah... Gone Girl. The Girl on the Train's movie rights had already been snatched up by DreamWorks. I have a feeling nowadays, some writers tend to write in a 'ready to film' kind of style; the bonus is, of course, for the author to adapt it into screenplay, just like Gone Girl. ;) – Arti of Ripple Effects (when I'm commenting and look at the 'Preview' it showed that I'm 'Anonymous.'

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    1. Arti - The Girl on the Train would be an interesting movie... could literally see the scenes as I was reading! Bittersweet would make an excellent summer movie, too. You're probably right about the 'ready to film' writing style these days.

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  19. I too was pretty entertained by The Girl on the Train. It's nothing amazing, but sometimes like you said, being entertained and having a good time reading are the most important parts!

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    1. Jillian - Sometimes all I really want out of a book is to be entertained... Girl on the Train was a lot of fun and filled that need nicely. Bittersweet did, too.

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  20. Nothing wrong with just wanting to be entertained every once in a while! I haven't broken down and gotten The Girl on the Train but I imagine it's only a matter of time. The Rosie Project and Bernadette were my recent entertaining reads. Both such a delight!

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    1. Trish - Bernadette was such fun and you're tempting me to reread on audio. The Rosie Project has been suggested to me as a "recovery" book option... a good choice following a very heavy read.

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  21. Sorry for my screaming in the last comment (stupid caps lock). I'd like to read both of these!

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    1. Stacy - Both books are fun... and LOL at the caps. I thought you were just very enthusiastic about The Biltmore ;-)

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  22. Oh yeah, books that pull you in and take you on a ride are just the thing sometimes!

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    1. Lisa - I'm sure I'll be in the market for more entertaining reads this summer!

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