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Book Review: The Ghost Notebooks by Ben Dolnick

This story is impeccably delivered and written in a slow, steady, hyper-observant voice that is almost trance like. It reminded me of The Hours with Nicole Kidman. 

Two newlyweds trade in the New York City life for a slow pace experience: they're moving to an isolated town upstate to live in a museum, where Hannah will be the curated and her husband Nick is along for the ride. They envision a quiet life and a new start. But what they get instead is far different from what they imagine. 

The museum was once the home of Edmund Wright, who secretly had an obsession with spirits and was convinced that the ghost of his beloved, late son was still with him. The townspeople are protective of Wright's legacy. But Nick and Hannah's suspicion that the protection is actually the attempt to cover up dark secrets grows the longer they stay at the museum. When Hannah starts losing sleep and her obsession with Edmund Wright and the mysteries she uncovers grows, Nick watches his wife slowly slip away. 

What I found most interesting was how Nick was completely on the outside of what was going on with his wife and had no idea the demons that she was wrestling. But because of his determination and curiosity,  by the end of the book he himself was so immersed in what he discovers that he was finally able to connect with his wife again. 

Using excerpts from journals written years ago, Nick pieces together a mystery that others in the small town have been trying to forget. His devotion to his wife was so endearing.

The combination of Edmond Wright's diaries and Hannah‘s notebook entries were a mysterious element that created a ghost-like narrative that was a second, gripping layer to the story. I generally am not a believer in ghosts or spirits but I appreciate these stories because my imagination goes crazy. My favorite part in the book was when Nick saw his future with Hannah in a vision and it was the perfect way to tie up the loose ends.

What is your favorite ghost story? 

You can read more about The Ghost Notebooks on Belletrist's website or follow them on Instagram. The Ghost Notebooks was one of their picks! 

Book Review: Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

Sarah Jessica Parker said: 
"This book.
I read it in one day.
I hear I'm not alone."

Book review: 

And immediately to Amazon I went. "Buy now with 1-cick" and 2-3 business days later, I am three chapters in and can't stop reading. 

Immediately, I was enraptured by the main character Frances. She and her ex-girlfriend Bobbie  have a relationship that grabbed my attention. Are they together, or are they not? If they were once lovers, how can they be such close friends now? They perform spoken word poetry at various clubs around Dublin. I could picture them:  Bobbie, bold and confident, reciting the words that quiet, observant Frances wrote herself. When they are approached by a writer who wants to feature them in a magazine article, they quickly say yes and go to the writer's house for dinner. 

That dinner changes everything. There is a dramatic shift in the characters after that dinner, where Bobbie and Frances meet the writer, Melissa, and her husband, Nick. Frances is immediately curious about Nick and keeps a close eye on him. Eventually, they start emailing each other, attending each other's performances around the city. (He's an actor). 

What follows is part love story, part tragedy, as Frances and Nick play a cat and mouse game with high stakes. She is risking her sanity and her emotions. He is risking his marriage. They are both dealing with situations the other has no idea about, so when one is acting despondent and doubtful, the other assumes it's towards them. It's this combination of passion and the unknown that creates a riveting relationship that neither knows how to control. I  was reminded over and over of Jay Gatsby and Daisy. The parties, the conversations and the palpable tension drew me in, but also made me want to turn away at times, out of sadness or disappointment in the characters decisions, I wasn't sure.

What's compelling about Conversations with Friends is that though they sit at tables together and take photos of each other and ask each other intimate questions about love, politics, philosophy and everything in between, nobody actually knows what's going on behind the eyes on the person seated next to them.

Besides the relationship between Nick and Frances, her relationship with Bobbie also fascinated to me. The theme of friendship in this book has an undercurrent that you can't ignore. How well do you know your friends and what will you do (or not do) to keep them close and to be loyal to them?

I highly recommend.  

My favorite line: 
If two people make each other happy, then it's working." 

Book Review: Anatomy of a Scandal

Lovers of The Wife Between Us, It Happens All The Time and The Last Mrs. Parrish, there's one more you MUST add to your list: 

Synopsis: Sophie’s husband James is a loving father, a handsome man, a charismatic and successful public figure. And yet he stands accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is convinced he is innocent and desperate to protect her precious family from the lies that threaten to rip them apart.

Kate is the lawyer hired to prosecute the case: an experienced professional who knows that the law is all about winning the argument. And yet Kate seeks the truth at all times. She is certain James is guilty and is determined he will pay for his crimes.

Who is right about James? Sophie or Kate? And is either of them informed by anything more than instinct and personal experience? Despite her privileged upbringing, Sophie is well aware that her beautiful life is not inviolable. She has known it since she and James were first lovers, at Oxford, and she witnessed how easily pleasure could tip into tragedy.

Most people would prefer not to try to understand what passes between a man and a woman when they are alone: alone in bed, alone in an embrace, alone in an elevator… Or alone in the moonlit courtyard of an Oxford college, where a girl once stood before a boy, heart pounding with excitement, then fear. Sophie never understood why her tutorial partner Holly left Oxford so abruptly. What would she think, if she knew the truth?

My review: Great read, especially if you like this genre! This book is timely and helps bring light to the #metoo movement. The female character at the center is strong and determined. This is about the balance between lust and danger, which is a lot thinner than you might think. The time for men in power getting away with sexual assault is over and brave women taking control and telling their stories is as important and empowering as ever. 

Impeccably written in the way you love thrillers to be: suspicious, heart-pounding and dramatic.

Buy it here