Book Review

Book Review: The Girl on the Train

I recently finished the novel “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins.

the girl on the train paula hawkins

Here is the book description from Amazon:

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?

Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

I couldn’t put this book down. It’s written with narrators that change each chapter so you learn things from different perspectives and come to find why all their lenses are so very different.

Like “Gone Girl”, this is a book I’d recommend you NOT read any spoilers about or it’ll ruin the reading experience. I was told early on that there was a ‘big twist’ and kept looking for it with each turn of the page. But, be patient Grasshopper – it takes a good damn while. Just relax and enjoy the story as it unfolds.

Suffice it to say, “The Girl on the Train” is the book next in line after “Gone Girl” and “The Husband’s Secret” of obsessive reads and breakout bestsellers that soon “everyone” will be talking about. Be the first on your block to read “Girl on the Train” and remain the trendsetter that you are.

Speaking of “Gone Girl”, it’s only $4.99 for Kindle right now if you haven’t read it yet 😉

This whole review and talk about spoilers and big events reminds me that I need to re-read “Every Last One” by Anna Quindlen from several years back. It’s one of my personal Top 10 Reads of All Time. It won’t be as good the second time since I already know the spoiler but, man, was that a good book!

I’m always tempted to Google when people talk about big events or spoilers in a popular new novel but I’m always glad that I don’t give in to it. I love that feeling of suspense and turning pages quickly to get to whatever it is, and I want my reaction to be natural to its unfolding. Spoilers take the fun out of everything, don’t you think?

Happy reading and let me know what you think about “The Girl on the Train”!

Books: 9 Bestselling Kindle Books for $2.99 Right Now!

There are lots of bestselling books on sale for Kindle right now, in case you need some new reading material. Just click on the highlighted link and it’ll take you right to the book on Amazon.

“Into Thin Air” by Jon Krakauer for $2.99

into thin air jon krakauer

“Memoirs of a Geisha” by Arthur Golden for $2.99

memoirs of a geisha arthur golden

“Fight Club” by Chuck Palahniuk for $2.99

fight club chuck palahniuk

Sorry, I can’t talk about it.

“American Psycho” by Bret Easton Ellis for $2.99

american psycho by bret easton ellis

I haven’t read this one and I think it’s pretty brutal, just to warn you. But his early book “Less Than Zero” was one of my favorite books in my 20s. (It shows pub date of 2010 but it was written in 1985).

“The Poisonwood Bible” by Barbara Kingsolver for $2.99

poisonwood bible barbara kingsolver

I haven’t read this one but her “Prodigal Summer” is a great book and Kingsolver’s “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” is on my bookshelf to be read. Old school style, LOL.

“White Oleander” by Janet Fitch for $2.99

white oleander janet fitch

“All the Pretty Horses” by Cormac McCarthy for $2.99

all the pretty horses cormac mccarthy

“Girl, Interrupted” by Susanna Kaysen for $2.99

girl interrupted susanna kaysen

“High Fidelity” by Nick Hornby for $2.99

high fidelity nick hornby

So these are some older books but EXCELLENT books so I wanted to tell you they’re on sale in case you missed them on the first time around. Or if you’re like me, on a mission to reduce your bookshelf and replace some beloved hard copies with Kindle versions 🙂

ETA 01-26-15: Oops, in the title of this post I originally said “novels” but changed it to “books” since “Into Thin Air” is non-fiction. Sorry ’bout that!

Books: “Wild”, “If I Stay”, “Me Before You”, and 3 Other Bestselling Kindle Novels for $2.99 or Less!

I love “Bonanza” days like this on Amazon! I pretty much refuse to pay more than $6-7 for a Kindle book and most bestsellers are normally $9-11 so I snag them up when they’re cheap. If you want to grab any of them, just click on the link above the book cover.

“Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” by Cheryl Strayed for $2.99.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

I’m not normally a “life’s an adventure” type reader but I’ve heard such good things about this book, I’m going to give it a try. One of my favorite books ever was an “adventurous” book I didn’t expect to like – “Into Thin Air” by Jon Krakauer – so who knows? I just heard they’re making “Wild” into a movie starring Reese Witherspoon – cool!

“If I Stay” by Gayle Forman now $2.99.

If I Stay gayle forman
I started this book and, honestly, couldn’t get into it. Then I saw the movie and it made me want to try again so it’s back on the “to read” list. This is the first in a series; the next book is “Where She Went (If I Stay, Book 2)”.

“Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes for $2.99.

me before you jojo moyes

Get this book! It was SO good in a totally unexpected way. Yes, it was sad but also life-affirming.

“Belong to Me” by Marisa de los Santos only $1.99.

Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos

I read this book years ago and it was a favorite. I highly suggest you read “part one” caled “Love Walked In” first, though.

Now for a couple “YA” books that are great for adults, too:

“Divergent” by Veronica Roth for $2.99.

divergent veronica roth

This book has over 13,000 5-star reviews so I guess that speaks for itself 🙂 It’s Book 1 in the Divergent series; here are the other 2: Insurgent (Divergent Trilogy, Book 2) now $6.99 and Allegiant (Divergent Trilogy, Book 3) now $6.99.

“The Giver” by Lois Lowry now $2.99, usually $8.99 for Kindle.

the giver lois lowry

I read this book, written in 1993, over 10 years ago upon the recommendation -no, INSISTENCE – of a work friend. Again, this is not my usual genre but it was a quick read and one that really made me think so I heartily recommend it. Pick it up and I’ll bet you finish it this weekend 😉 There are Books 2, 3, and 4 to this series but they weren’t written until the 2000’s and I (skeptically) assume they were written to cash in on the YA book series trend.

Hope that gives you some good ideas for Kindle books and saves you some dough. Enjoy!

Books: Great Deal on 3 Best-Selling Kindle Novels! Gone Girl, Unbroken, All the Light We Cannot See

I noticed that 3 very popular best-selling novels are only $4.99 for Kindle right now!

“GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl

I’ve read this book twice. It was just made into a movie with Ben Affleck (which was excellent, by the way). My advice if you’re going to read it is: Don’t get any spoilers and DON’T see the movie first! There’s a good twist and if you spoil it, the book won’t be as good.

“UNBROKEN” by Laura Hillenbrand


The full title is “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption”. I’ve heard this book raved about since it came out but haven’t read it yet. I did recently download the free sample and loved that so I’m happy to now get the whole novel for only 5 bucks.


I don’t know that much about this book but, again, keep hearing great reviews of it. I’m so happy when they lower the prices of best-sellers 🙂

Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Do you plan to get any of them for this great price?

Blogging: Why I Started the “Blessed Not Lucky” Blog

So. This is a fairly new blog, just a few months old and not many entries yet. I have lots of work to do – publishing posts and getting my blog to look the way I want it to – but I’m so happy to have gotten started!

I’ve actually been blogging since 2007 and have two other active blogs – one about my hobby and one for my work-at-home business (transcriber / blogger / virtual assistant).

I *love* blogging which brings together two of my favorite things to do . . . 1. Writing and 2. sharing about the things I love:

– photos
– music
– gratitudes
– writing
– blogging
– weight loss
– travel
– etc.

Photo courtesy of

Obviously, those aren’t things I get to talk about much on my other blogs – because those are very focused on the topics at hand. I don’t like to mix in too much personal stuff on them because it dilutes their purpose.

But I keep finding myself frustrated that I can’t write or share about all my favorite things listed above. Dang.

So I decided to start THIS blog – “Blessed Not Lucky” – where I could talk about all that fun stuff. I also very much want to connect with other bloggers and blog readers.

Along with all this, I love to laugh about the absurdities of life and have a very sarcastic sense of humor. So we are gonna’ have us some fun!

My dream is for this blog to get better and better, to make some new friends, and to express myself in a more creative way than I’ve been able to in the past.

What’s in it for you? Well, I hope you enjoy reading what I share. I hope you feel blessed by my blog. I hope I make you laugh so hard that coffee shoots out your nose 😀

Wish me luck and I hope you’ll become a regular reader! Do we have anything in common? What types of things do YOU like to read about? I would absolutely LOVE IT if you’d leave a comment below . . .

BnL Book Review: “Help, Thanks, Wow” by Anne Lamott

I read Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott last year but it came to my attention again because it’s a Kindle deal. You can get it here for only $2.75 right now.

help thanks wow anne lamott

I snagged it right away because I loved this book! It was one that I’d borrowed from the library and read through twice before I returned it 2 weeks later. And then I kept thinking about it for months. Yeah, it was THAT good. Plus, it’s a quick read. BONUS!

This is one of those books you want to shove in your friends’ faces and make them read – ha! Yes, it’s a book about prayer and spirituality but I think unless you’re really offended by those topics, you’ll enjoy it. Anne is SUCH a gifted writer. She puts big concepts like prayer, gratitude, amazement, and pleading for help into such real, everyday, meaningful terms that you can relate exactly to what she means.

I came away – both times I read it – laughing, appreciating life more, feeling sadness for people’s suffering but peace at the same time. I think it’s an especially good read for memorykeepers because we’re already the types who want to savor our “moments” and realize how quickly time passes, how blessed we are even in our struggles, and are looking for meaning in how we live our lives.

So PLEASE read this book! It’s quick but powerful. I think you’ll love it like I did. And it’s cheap right now. No brainer.

BnL Book Review: “Attachments” by Rainbow Rowell

I think a new book has been added to my “Top 20 Books of All Time” list. It’s “ATTACHMENTS” by Rainbow Rowell.

Book Review:

This was a book I couldn’t put down. I had a very busy weekend and lots of other things I was supposed to be doing. But I kept grabbing my Kindle and reading this book. To me, that’s the sign of a great one, yeah?

Here’s the book synopsis from Amazon:

“Hi, I’m the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . ”

Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It’s company policy.) But they can’t quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O’Neill can’t believe this is his job now- reading other people’s e-mail. When he applied to be “internet security officer,” he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth’s and Jennifer’s messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can’t help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he’s falling for Beth, it’s way too late to introduce himself.

What would he say . . . ?

This book was written in 2011 and I’m, like, legit mad that I haven’t heard of it and read it until now. Grrr . . .

The story is unique, the characters SO well-written (I want to meet Lincoln’s mom – and eat her cooking!), and it has a main character you can love. Sure, Lincoln has his issues. At one point, I wanted to send him to the doctor for some depression meds. But he’s so stinkin’ likeable, you can’t help but root for him to figure it all out by book’s end.

The friendship between Beth and Jennifer, told entirely in e-mails, is touching and real. The sub-plots involving fighting against inevitable motherhood, being the band-boy’s girlfriend, and Lincoln’s varied friendships that sustain him are engaging and full of people you’d love to meet and have a coffee with someday.

And I laughed out loud. A lot.

This book wasn’t overly happy or overly sad, it was just real everyday life. I would highly recommend this book and am now seeking out other novels to read by RAINBOW ROWELL. Immediately after finishing “Attachments”, I downloaded “ELEANOR & PARK” and I’m sure “LANDLINE” will be next.

Book Review:

And I found her blog. And followed her on Twitter. Yep, I have become her “FANGIRL”. (Ugh, sorry! It had to be done).

If you’d like to read “Attachments” by Rainbow Rowell, you can find both the paperback and Kindle versions on Amazon, along with her other 3 novels. Currently, the Kindle versions other than “Landline” are under $5 – which I love because I’m cheap, LOL. But you know Amazon, that could change at any time.

Happy reading!

Blessed Not Lucky: Weekly Roundup 08-31-14

Just some random-ness from my week on the web . . . hope you enjoy 🙂

– Here’s to GOING SLOW ON PURPOSE . . .

THIS is going on the Christmas wish list for this beach girl.

– Some of the loveliest singing I’ve ever heard. Don’t click Play unless you have some free time right now. You’ll be sucked into finding all their other videos on YouTube 😉

– From one of my favorite writers . . .

– I’ve heard good things about THIS BOOK. And it’s only $1.99 for Kindle right now, just might snap it up.

– Well, dang. There goes THAT PLAN.