Archives for June 2015

Belinda’s Book Nook Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins


Title: The Girl on The Train
Author: Paula Hawkins
Copyright: January 13, 2015
Genre: fiction, psychological thriller
Format: book (borrowed from my friend Maria) Pages: 336

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

A debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives.

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?

A compulsively readable, emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller that draws comparisons to Gone Girl, The Silent Wife, or Before I Go to Sleep, this is an electrifying debut embraced by readers across markets and categories.

My Thoughts:

I started reading this book because it is my June book club selection. If you ask me before I read it would I have picked it up – I would say no. Has my opinion changed after reading it? No.

From the very beginning the characters in this book were a hot mess. I don’t have any family members with alcohol problems but for some reason I kept finding myself putting the book down after I had my fill of the troubled alcoholic in this book. And because she was the main character, I had to ride the ride with her throughout the book.

All of the characters were all deeply flawed and the author moved between characters in chapters to build the story and keep the suspense. In the beginning it wasn’t so bad but after a while I just wasn’t into it. I know this is one of those books that many seem to be praising but I have to say I am not. I was drawn in towards the end to find out what happened but figured it out before it was revealed.

The author did a pretty decent job creating motives for any of the characters to keep the reader guessing. This is what I think most that enjoyed this book liked about this book. But I felt like after awhile I wanted to know who did it and why rather than drag on the story.

I don’t like to bash books and I won’t start now.  I always think that reviews are hard because there are so many factors (audio, book, my mood, what I just read before). So perhaps if one of those things changed I would have had a different experience with it. But this is how I feel right now.

I think some may enjoy this book if they like psychological thrillers and can see passed the alcoholic. Remember the movie Leaving Las Vegas with Nicholas Cage. What a great performance? But I found it hard to watch his character get pulled down deeper and deeper into depression and alcoholism.

I put this book down so many times, that I have to say I will give this book 3 butterflies.


Happy reading my friends!


In My Garden: Pretty color pallette


One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.

– Dale Carnegie

One thing I do all summer is try to find interesting angles to take photos in my garden. I love my flowers and I have always enjoyed seeing how different angles change the experience of a photograph.

The yellow of the coreopsis make me do the happy dance every time I see them. I love the contrast of the deep purple of the Heuchera. It makes the yellow really pop. I just love these photos so I thought I would share two today.

birdbath2Have a blessed day!


Birthday blessings!


packagesThis year, I hijacked my birthday by telling Leao and the boys I knew exactly what I wanted for my birthday.  I wanted books, craft products, lunch at my favorite Japanese restaurant and to adopt two elephants.  Once they were on board, I ordered my goodies and as each package arrived I put them in a bag and set them aside.  This required a lot of strength that I really didn’t know I had until yesterday.

Leao took the day off to spend with me so after we dropped the kids off, we went for tea at Starbucks. Then we came back to open my presents.

pencilssketchbooknotebooksI love pretty notebooks and this cute trio set make me smile so I can’t wait to use them.  I have also always wanted a Copic sketchbook. I have made my own but this one is already bound on Copic paper and it’s the perfect size to carry around. The pencils are so cute. They say things like “Don’t Steal this pencil”.


You know I love books and I am great at finding them at low prices. I ordered some from Amazon marketplace, Bookoutlet and Book Depository.  I really had to sit on my hands at times as they arrived over the past week. This has to be the largest book haul I’ve ever had. I’m set for summer reading.  The books are a mixture of Japanese fiction, new fiction, fantasy, poetry, mystery and I think a contemporary.

craftgoodiesThen I received some craft supplies that I have had my eyes on. Can’t wait to play with them. There are actually a few more craft goodies that haven’t arrived yet.

Then we attended Nicholas Science fair at his school. It was so much fun seeing all the different projects. After that Leao took me to my favorite Japanese restaurant.

lunch1 I love sushi and miso soup for starters.

lunch3Leao always tries to convinced me to eat the raw ones. But I am still whimpy. I like avocado rolls and shrimp tempura sushi but the raw – nope.

lunch2I had my first glass of alcohol since my cleanse and I was a light weight before but I think it hit me even harder this time!


I had fun and then I even squeezed in some reading before pick up.

My best friend, Natana called and we talked a while which was a treat because the past few weeks we have been playing phone tag trying to catch eachother with the 3-hour time difference. So it was great to catch up.

Earlier this month I adopted two elephants from an Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. I received the adoption papers on my birthday. How cool is that? I will be writing a post with photos and sharing more with you soon.

The second half of my day was spent with the boys while Leao went to a Red Sox game with friends from work. So the boys and I ate dinner and we went to an exclusive viewing of Disney’s Inside Out movie, 3 days before the movie is released to the general public. It was so much fun and the movie was excellent.

The final gift I received was an order from my Etsy store while we were at the movies.  What a great day right?

I am grateful for all the blessings and I hope you are having a great day today.


Belinda’s Book Nook Review: Bingo’s Run by James A. Levine


Title: Bingo’s Run
Author: James A. Levine
Copyright: January 7, 2014
Genre: non-fiction,
Format: audio book  Voice talent: Peter Macoo Pages: 304

Synopsis (from Amazon):

For fans of Dave Eggers, Teju Cole, and James McBride, comes this extraordinary novel of morality and the redemptive powers of art that offers a glimpse into an African underworld rarely described in fiction.

Meet Bingo, the greatest drug runner in the slums of Kibera, Nairobi, and maybe the world. A teenage grifter, often mistaken for a younger boy, he faithfully serves Wolf, the drug lord of Kibera. Bingo spends his days throwing rocks at Krazi Hari, the prophet of Kibera’s garbage mound, “lipping” safari tourists of their cash, and hanging out with his best friend, Slo-George, a taciturn fellow whose girth is a mystery to Bingo in a place where there is never enough food. Bingo earns his keep by running “white” to a host of clients, including Thomas Hunsa, a reclusive artist whose paintings, rooted in African tradition, move him. But when Bingo witnesses a drug-related murder and Wolf sends him to an orphanage for “protection,” Bingo’s life changes and he learns that life itself is the “run.”

A modern trickster tale that draws on African folklore, Bingo’s Run is a wildly original, often very funny, and always moving story of a boy alone in a corrupt and dangerous world who must depend on his wits and inner resources to survive.

My thoughts:

I came across this audio book while browsing on Overdrive on my Kindle. I loved the cover and listened to a sample and was hooked. The voice talent for this book was so pleasant to the ear and I have never read much on the drug world in Nairobi or any African countries for that matter. So although this is a work of fiction, I knew it could still shed some insight. I also knew that this book would fit into my reading resolutions for 2015.

I immediately fell into the story while listening to the voice talent. He did a great job of doing the voices for all the characters. I listened to this while working at my craft table and while working in my vegetable garden. It made the time fly even faster.

I like books that help to bring to light how complicated life can be. Especially for this young boy who lost both of his parents in turmoil at a young age and the extreme poverty. It helps to understand why he might have made the choices he did about dealing drugs.  There were a few sections of violence but overall it was about Bingo and him trying to survive and grow in such a stressful life.

Even though he was a drug dealer, I found myself wishing for him to be well, find true happiness and love. He had no one to guide him and the circumstances created so many choices for him that he would have better thought through had he had guidance.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I think the audio version really boosted it more for me. So I give it 4 butterflies.


Happy reading!



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