Gift Guide for Book Lovers

Hey my loves,

in today’s blog post I am going to show you some of my book recommendations that make perfect gifts for your friends and family members who love to read. I personally enjoy gifting and getting books a lot, you are gifting so much more than just a few pages with words. You are given a new world, a new fantasy, an escape from your life risen from your own imagination. 

Books have the power to create a lot more for you. They tickle your inner child, your inner private detective, raise dreams and emotions and so much more. I tried finding a vast variety of books to put into this gift guide, so that there is something for everybody. 

I also posted a gift guide for your makeup loving friends, you can check it out here: Gift Guide for your Makeup Loving Friend

My Top 3 

The Circle, The Girl on the Train & Sharp Objects

When I read “The Circle” I was captivated, I loved the entire story, from front to back and I think I’ve read the entire book in just two days. It was that good! Sadly, the movie version sucked! You can buy it here: Dave Eggers – The Circle

“The Girl on the Train” is one of my absolute favorite books ever! It was truly amazing and Paula Hawkins is a gifted writer! I was so into the book, I actually read it twice! And the movie version is amazing as well, but that could be my love for Emily Blunt. You can buy it here: Paula Hawkins – The Girl on the Train

Gillian Flynn is a genius when it comes to writing dark and twisted stories. And “Sharp Objects” is definitely one of her best work. I really did not see that ending coming, let me tell you that. AND – the tv series with Amy Adams was truly amazing! Amy was the best choice for it, she shows so much vulnerability, I absolutely loved watching it. You can buy it here: Gillian Flynn – Sharp Objects

Other Great Books & Some that are on my own wishlist include

Paula Hawkins – Into the Water

This one has been on my list ever since it coming out, just haven’t gotten around to buying it! But Paula Hawkins is an amazing writer and I loved “The Girl on the Train”.

You can buy it here: Amazon


Stephen King – Gerald’s Game

Wasn’t the biggest fan of the movie version, but loved the book!

You can buy it here: Amazon


Stephen King – The Green Mile

One of the best movies I have ever seen and one of the many books on my wishlist because of that.

You can buy it here: Amazon


Shirley Jackson – The Haunting of Hill House

I love the TV show on Netflix, it was one of the best shows I have seen in ages and it was truly amazing to watch the story unfold. Highly recommend watching it!

You can buy it here: Amazon


Michelle Obama – Becoming

I mean… how can this not be on any girls wishlist right now! Definitely excited to get my hands on this!

You can buy it here: Amazon


What are some of your favorite books or books that are on your wishlist? Tell me in the comments, I would love to know and I am always open for any suggestions.

I wish you all a wonderful day!

XoXo, Jasmin.

10 Things you can do to relax

Hey my loves,

in today’s post I will talk about ten ways you can relax whether it’s after work or University. I love doing all ten of these things and they help me to unwind after a busy day or week of Uni.

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10 Things I do to relax:

  1. Read a book – I’m currently still reading ‘The Night Circus’, because I’m still working on some things for Uni so I barely want to read anything else besides that.
  2. Take a bath – I love having a bath, it relaxes me and my muscles. And it takes care of my body without any work!
  3. Pamper yourself – as with taking a bath, I also love taking care of my face and with that comes face masks. Here are two I currently love: L’Oréal Paris Pure Clay Masks Review.
  4. Treat yourself – whether it’s some chocolate or those boots you wanted, if you can afford get it.
  5. Watch Netflix  – or any streaming service! I’m currently loving ‘The Bold Type’ and started to re-watch ‘Criminal Minds’.
  6. Turn off your phone – sometimes you need to take yourself offline and in today’s world the best way to that is by turning off your phone.
  7. Go for a walk – leave your phone at home and take some me-time on a walk.
  8. Turn on some music and dance – if you are super stressed out I can highly recommend doing this. You will feel so much better!
  9. Do some Yoga, a workout or meditate – taking care of your body can be done in many different ways and one way is to train it and that you can do with your brain as well.
  10. Have a laugh with your friends – spending time with my friends relaxes me the most, I tend to just laugh about everything and I forget about my problems!

What do you do to relax? Share them with me and the others in the comments. I would love to know.

I wish you all a wonderful day!

XoXo, Jasmin.

5 Things that make me happy right now

Hey my loves,

I thought today I would share with you a couple of things that make me happy right now. One of my goals this year is to live my life more positively and have a better and more positive way of looking at things.

Being Busy

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At the moment I am really busy with Uni stuff and I have to say I absolutely love it and it makes me incredibly happy to be so productive. Especially at the end of the week when I can look back at what I achieved and accomplished I am super proud of myself for being super productive and not procrastinating as much. I also find it always helps with overthinking if I am busy. I literally have no time to think about thinks and that means I can’t overthink anything. And that’s just awesome!

Family

At the moment I’m sitting in the living room of my grandma enjoying the few days off between the new and old year, even though I have a really long list of to-do’s I always like to make sure that I see her around the holidays. And if Uni starts again I at least get over to her place once a week, I just love spending time with her and it always makes me incredibly happy to spend time with her.

Reading

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I’m currently reading one of the books of my reading list for 2018 (make sure to check that entry out). I’m reading ‘The Night Circus’ by Erin Morgenstern and I really enjoy it. It’s very different from anything that I would normally read and it captivates me in such another way than any of my other books. I am really happy that I decided to venture out of my comfort zone and try reading something, which I would normally never and that makes me happy.

New Hobby

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My grandma is currently teaching me how to crochet and although I’m not the greatest (yet – haha) I really enjoy doing this. One of my other goals is to find a couple of new hobbies and I think I will take crocheting on. I really enjoy producing something with my own hands, and it’s also something I never thought I would do. But it makes me really happy and it keeps my mind off and with so much to do that is really something great.

Blogging

Being back on here and writing blog post is making me really happy, because I get to share things that I love and it also is keeping me super inspired. I just really missed it and hated it to be so uninspired. I also missed writing on its own. So now typing this, thinking about all the things I could write about and planning out more blog post just brings a smile to my face.

I would love to know the things that make you happy right now. You have to tell me in the comments.

I wish you all a wonderful day!

XoXo, Jasmin.

Books: What I Want to Read 2018

Hey my loves,

in today’s post I thought I would share with you my reading list for 2018. I will be updating this along the way this year, but for starters I have a couple of books that made it onto my list for this year.

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I am currently reading “The Night Circus” and I absolutely love it, it feels so different to anything I’ve read so far. Mainly because I usually stick to the thrillers and haven’t read any fantasy lately (except for rereading Harry Potter, duh!).

What is on your reading list for 2018? Tell me in the comments.

I wish you all a wonderful day!

XoXo, Jasmin.

Chris Carter – The Crucifix Killer – Review

Hey my loves,

today I am going to review a book I recently finished reading and fell in love with. It’s ‘The Crucifix Killer’ by Chris Carter! If you are a big fan of the thriller genre then keep on reading:

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So let me tell you a bit about the story: It’s about the hunt for a psychotic killer whose name is ‘The Crucifix Killer’. It’s the first book of a series about the Homicide Detective Robert Hunter. Detective Hunter and his partner are trying to find out who this serial killer is and enter a hunt that is gripping, dangerous and definitely not for people who cannot handle distress. I don’t want to give to much away, so I think that is all you need to know about this book.

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I love a good thriller and this definitely is one of the best ones I’ve read in my life so far! I absolutely love the storyline and the characters! It’s super intense and I even cringed a few times about a some things in the story and that says a lot, because I don’t cringe easy! But that only made the book even more fantastic! You fall in love with the characters and root for them and the end, oh my god, the best part ever! You had absolutely no clue who the killer was and when it all unravelled you were left shocked, excited and completely overwhelmed! I love the detailed storyline and immediately bought the second installment of the series.

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If you love thrillers and a good detective story and aren’t of the squeamish kind you will fall for this book very hard! I would recommend this book to all the thriller lovers out there!

Have you read any of the ‘Robert Hunter Series’ books by Chris Carter? Let me know in the comments below. I hope you enjoyed this entry and if you did make sure to give it a thumbs up. I would really appreciate it!

I wish you all a wonderful day!

XoXo, Jasmin.

10 Things I do to destress

Hey my loves,

today I am sharing with you 10 of my destress methods, when I feel tense and stressed. Stress isn’t good for your mind, nor your body, so I try not to let it get it in my head too much, but you know, sometimes the world doesn’t move like you want  or you just have to much on your plate. So here are 10 things I do when I’m stressed and need a timeout:

Read a book

I’m a book sucker. I love reading and it’s one of the things I love most doing to destress. Other than watching a movie I really feel involved in the story line and my imagination just runs wild when I read. Simply put, you just don’t have time to think about your life, because you’re imagining this world created by an author. Here are 5 books I would recommend for you, that I absolutely loved:

At the beginning of this year I also took some time to write down book titles that I wanted to read. I thought I would share them with you! Have you read any of them? Let me know in the comments and tell me what you thought about them! Here are my Top 5 “Want to Read” books:

Listen to music

Music can just be as addicting as a good book. So of course this is on my list of things to destress. A good song can change your mood in seconds. Sometimes when I feel extremely stressed I pick one song (whatever one comes to my mind) and dance to it, you can literally feel the stress fading away. My playlist changes monthly, so here is what I’ve been listening to these past couple of weeks:

Coloring

If you’ve seen my January Favorites 2016 you know that a Coloring Book for Adults has been a favorite of mine. And it is a great way to destress! There are so many great options out there so everyone can find something they’re going to like. Here are 5 options of a coloring book:

Take a bath

I love a good hot bath! I usually go bathing once a week, mostly on Sundays! It’s so relaxing and you get to just lay there and do nothing or read a book! When I get the chance I use my favorite Lush bath bomb (Pink Bath Bomb) but anything that makes bubbles I love, there are even relaxing scents in the bath section in a drugstore near by! I love it!

Do Yoga

So, this has been added quite recently to be honest, but I’ve been doing Yoga for about 2 weeks now, and it’s strangely very calming. I follow the instructions of Adrienne, she has her own YouTube Channel called Yoga with Adrienne and I love her, she has a very calm voice and her Yoga for Beginners Video is the one I’m doing most of the time, but when I’m stressed I follow the instructions of this video:

Turn my phone off

Yes, that’s a thing! You can actually turn your phone off and trust me when I say it’s the most relaxing thing EVER! We’re so used to be connected with the outside world, that we don’t actually experience it anymore, so to turn your phone off, whether it’s for an hour or a whole day, changes a lot! I don’t do this regularly, but when I feel anxious and stressed, I turn my phone off and don’t use any device that connects to the internet! I just take a book, or a coloring book, and read or color in. It’s super de-stressing and the urge to look at your phone every 5 minutes is gone very soon! Trust me.

Go on a walk

Fresh air and exercise is probably one of the best things you can do when you feel claustrophobic and stressed! It clears your mind so much and I absolutely love to go on walks! Sometimes I go alone and sometimes I ring a friend up and walk with her. Nature is a very calming thing and to see something else than just the screen of a computer or whatever it is you do daily is a good way to destress!

Watch YouTube Videos

Now this might seems to be a bit out there, but it works for me. I love watching videos, my favorite kind are Vlogs or funny compilation videos. To have a sneak in somebody else’s life, especially when they are productive and positive turns my mood around in an instance and I want to do stuff. And to watch a funny compilation videos I mean who doesn’t do that, right? Laughing is, and always has been, the best medicine for everything. Who do you like to watch? I’m always on the look for new YouTubers to watch. Tell me in the comments.

Baking

I love baking more than cooking. Not just because I think I am a better baker than cook, but mostly because the result is much prettier. I love trying new things and explore the world of sweets and healthier options of my favorite things and I find it very relaxing to put together the ingredients and create something with my hands. Over the last couple of months I created a lot of new things and shared them with you, so if you want to give baking a go as a destress method, here are three of my baking recipes:

Hanging out with friends

Last but not least, hanging out with my friends. I love my friends, hence why they are my friends, but when I’m with them I always feel better and forget the world a bit, while we’re goofing around. This is probably THE BEST WAY to destress, hanging out with your friends, talking with them, laughing until you’re crying, watching a movie or try out the fun filters on SnapChat (by the way if you want to follow me there, my username is: xoxojasmin91).

I hope I could give you a good overview on the things I do when I need to destress! Let me know in the comments, what your ideas are!

I wish you all a wonderful day!

XoXo, Jasmin.

 

Gillian Flynn – Sharp Objects – Review – 2016

Hey my loves,

today I want to give you a review of the New York Times Besteller “Sharp Objects” by Gillian Flynn. As I told you earlier this month I wanted to read more this year and this book was the first one of my New Year’s resolution. And I loved this book! I read in about a week I think, probably would have finished it earlier, but I was busy with other things so I only read in the evening for about 30 min. or more. This is what the cover looks like:

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I loved this book so much it was dark, twisted, thrilling and fascinating at the same time. You had moments where you literally sat there and was like “WTF?? How? Why? Isn’t she a bit to young?” I was so sucked into the world of the main character – Camille Preaker – and my imagination played wild during reading. I would like to see this made into a movie, it was so compelling and the potrayal of the individual characters was so original. I just have to recommend this book for you if you like this sort of stuff – the dark, psychological, thriller ones – because I surely do, and this book might just be one of the best in that genre that I have read. Chapeau to Gillian Flynn, for her incredible work.

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I don’t want to give too much away from the storyline, so here is what’s written on the back of my paperback copy:

Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: She must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie group on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims – a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story – and survive this homecoming.

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Have you read this book? If you did, tell me in the comments what you think of it. If you haven’t read it and were thinking about reading it, definetely do so. It’s absolutely amazing and was the best book I good start of my year with.

Still Alice – A Review – @OriginalSGreenD

This year, Julianne Moore won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal in the movie “Still Alice”. When I went to see the movie at the theater with my mother, we didn’t yet know it was based on a book by the same name. My mother found the book by accident and immediately bought it because she thought, if the book is just half as good as the movie that was made from it, I need to have it. And she was right.

Now, if you haven’t read the book, it’s alright. The movie is an excellent adaption, the differences in content between the two mediums are marginal. Also, if you haven’t seen the movie either, no worries, you can read this entry anyways, because, logically thinking, there are no spoilers for this story. Alice is a woman who finds out she has Alzheimer’s disease, and once you learn this – which is very early on in the story – you know what’s going to happen. This is not a feel-good movie with a happy ending. Alzheimer’s is not curable, and its symptoms can only get worse as the disease progresses. Hence, you already know the starting and the ending point before you have even opened the book: the story begins with Alice showing symptoms like short-term memory loss and difficulty finding the right words, and it ends with Alice not remembering who and where she is. However, it’s not the ending that counts so much as the how she got there.

It begins with Alice Howland, renowned professor at Harvard with a PhD in Psychology (in the movie she is a linguist, while in the book she is a psychologist also researching in the field of linguistics and psycholinguistics; I guess for the movie they changed it for simplicity’s sake), holding a speech in front of hundreds of students, something she does every week, and suddenly missing the word “lexicon”. It will not come to her, no matter how hard she tries remembering. She ends up paraphrasing it and moving on without paying it much mind, but these kinds of issues start occurring more and more often. At one point she goes on a run around Harvard square, where she lives with her husband and has been working for the last 25 years, and suddenly loses orientation, not knowing where she is. A while later she forgets to visit a conference in Chicago that she had been preparing for extensively. Alice knows something is up, and she goes to see a doctor, and she is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease at only 50 years old.

From that point on, Alice’s symptoms grow steadily worse. And for Alice, losing her mind means losing herself. For someone who has defined their entire life and being by their intelligence, as a Harvard professor probably does, losing their memory means losing everything. Alice knows she will forget who her children are, and who her husband is, and to prevent that, she writes herself a list of questions, like “where do you live?” and “when is your oldest daughter’s birthday?”, and she says to herself, when I cannot answer these questions anymore, I will kill myself. The novel shows Alice’s progressing deterioration by letting her answer these questions frequently, and every time she gives these answers to herself, we see that every time a small piece of information is missing, right to the point near the ending when the answers are only fragmentary or downright wrong. But when Alice tries to kill herself, she is already too far gone and just forgets before she can go through with it.

This novel is very hard to read. Not because it is overly complicated, or because its style is poor, but because you read it and you feel it, you can understand and perfectly relate to anything Alice goes through, until the ending when Alice doesn’t recognize her family anymore, gives them nicknames like “the nice man” or “the actress”. You cannot help but get involved in the story, and it hurts. If a story can achieve this, it’s fantastic. “Still Alice” is a fantastic story, brilliantly structured, well written. I’m not sure if I’ll ever read it again, but if you haven’t yet, you should do so.

Miri

Follow Miri on her Twitter: @OriginalSGreenD

The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins – Book of the Month – June

Hey my loves,

“To Everyone else in this carriage I must look normal, I’m doing exactly what they do: commuting to work, making appointments, ticking things off lost. Just goes to show.”

Might spoil a little, but I tried my best to do not so. Please bare with me.

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So I just finished up reading “The Girl on the train” and I have to say what a gripping reading. I absolutely loved the psychological thriller parts. I was so clueless about the actual murder up until one big revelation between Scott and Rachel. So exciting, let me tell you. I would recommend reading this book not only because it is gripping but also because it gives a view in the life of a lost soul. At first I had trouble understanding what was going on in Rachel’s life but the more I got to know about her the more I was involved in her thoughts and her actions and the more I felt empowered for her to find the actual truth and maybe even a little peace for herself. Though I have to admit that at times when she was questioning herself about the events I thought maybe she’s the killer.

I absolutely loved the authenticity of the book. Infidelity, abuse, alcoholism, future fear.. All “real life” problems centered around “real life” people but with a psychological twist. It can truly change the way you look at other people and maybe even lets you think twice about telling someone off on the streets when they accidentally run into you. Maybe they’re just having a bad day. You never know what is going on in a strangers life. Nevertheless in the life of the people you care about and love.

Normally I am not a huge fan of switching  up the narrator to another person but in this case it helped a lot with understanding why things went the way they did and why the people were so “damaged”.

So if you haven’t already read the book you certainly need to. Here are links for you where you can buy it:

http://fave.co/1HeaQuJ (Amazon USA)

http://fave.co/1HeaV1y (Amazon UK)

http://fave.co/1Heb0SV (Amazon DE)

Tell me in the comments what you thought of the story and who you thought the killer was in the beginning. Also give this entry a thumbs up if you want me to give you guys a quick review about the books I read.

I wish you all a wonderful start in the weekend.

XoXo, Jasmin.

Book Monday – @OriginalSGreenD

“The World According to Garp” – John Irving

If you are familiar with Irving’s work, you know that in each one of his novels, there always are at least two prostitutes and a high chance of at least one trans-sexual or at least one bear or both, plus the treatment of several socially sensitive subjects like, for instance, sexism, racism, war, rape, and cheating on spouses. Now, in Irving’s fourth novel “The World According to Garp” you have ALL of the above, and the magic of John Irving is that he manages to treat the worst things imaginable with a sense of dark humor and an eye for the absurd that has yet to find an adequate match. Reading of the entire life of author T.S. Garp and his family, you will laugh and you will cry and you will never want this novel to end.


“Cider House Rules” – John Irving

Speaking of Irving’s treatment of socially sensitive subjects, this book deals with abortion, one thing that politicians and religions and generally every person on the planet has thought about and formed an opinion on. The story of orphans, birth control and the treatment of Afro-Americans is beautiful, realistic and shocking, and because this is Irving we are talking about, it is also hysterically funny and absurd and littered with historical observations of the early 20th century America and its societal structures. Sure, it is a thick book, but seeing it through to the end is not only rewarding, it’s an experience you will not want to miss.


“The Help” – Kathryn Stockett

Yet another anti-racist novel has made it onto my list. Never have I been able to understand the pain that black women went through in the 1960’s in the Southern States as well as when I read this beautiful story about civil courage and standing up against oppression. The novel by Stockett is relevant, but also heart-warming and, at times, extremely funny, without ever getting sentimental. An absolute must in every bookshelf.


“We Need to Talk About Kevin” – Lionel Shriver

This story about a teenager who stages a massacre at his school is anything but funny. It is uncomfortable, it is harsh and gruesome, and it talks about a subject that is so touchy I have rarely (if ever) seen it dealt with so consciously and out in the open: Kevin’s mother Eva hates her son and has always felt estranged towards him. The novel is composed in letters that Eva writes to her husband, and in these letters she spreads out her guilt, her confusion, her hurt, her hate. And even though the story is told in a loosely chronological order and culminates with what you already know (said massacre), you need to read it from beginning to end, because the finale is so surprising and painful to read it will stay with you for a long time.


“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” – John Le Carré

I am aware that British spy novels are not everybody’s cup of tea, but you need to give this masterpiece a chance to let it drag you into a dark, hostile world of post-WWII Great Britain and the inner workings of their Secret Service MI6. What I love so much about le Carré is that his writing challenges me. Let your attention slip for a minute, and suddenly you have missed an important detail and you need to re-read the last five pages to catch up again. It makes your reading experience of this story, told through a maze of flash-backs and conversations, gratifying, intense and exciting.


“Millenium Trilogy” – Stieg Larsson

Swedish crime novels have been widely successful and popular for a long time (look at Henning Mankell and Håkan Nesser) because of their gloomy atmosphere and unadorned depiction of violence and the dark recesses of human minds. But I did not get the hang of it until I read Stieg Larsson’s trilogy about Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. It must have something to do with the fact that, while the first installment “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” is a very dark and gruesome tale of murder and revenge with a nice spin, parts 2 “The Girl Who Played With Fire” and 3 “The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest” develop more and more into a legal and political thriller while still maintaining the dark and hostile atmosphere established in the first part. A must for thriller fans.


“It” – Stephen King

It is no secret that many literary critics have torn King apart, for his works are – allegedly – free of any content safe for the means to shock. Now, while that very well may be true for some of his short stories, it is not for this monumental novel about the evil in the world. “It” is not just the clown Pennywise, it’s the cruelty and hate that every being holds in its deepest secret primal form. The story is told on so many levels of time and space it is hard, if not impossible, to be grasped on film. Of course it is a horror story, and it’s shocking, but the most shocking thing is how true it is at times. Advice from me: do not read while you are home alone.


“The Mists of Avalon” – Marion Zimmer Bradley

As someone who is anything but a fan of fantasy stories, I am as surprised as you might be that this novel made it onto my list of all-time favorites, but this telling of the Arthurian legend is so perfect and gripping and epic that it has reached a somewhat Bible-like status for me. Furthermore, my mother was recommended to read this book when she was at college because it is a realistic depiction of what life had been like for educated women in the Middle Ages. The descriptions of Avalon are so intricate I can see it before my inner eye as if I had actually been there myself.


“The Lost World” Michael Crichton

It has to be the second installment of his Jurassic Park novels that is my favorite work of Crichton. The story, deviating entirely from the second movie (which was terrible), concentrates on fighting for survival in a hostile environment, the dinosaurs who pose the biggest threat in this environment, and, as is typical for Crichton’s works, the scientific background that put these dinosaurs there. The pages of discussion about chaos theory and natural selection are fascinating, but they can easily be skipped to delve right into an amazing action adventure.


“The Talented Mr.Ripley” – Patricia Highsmith

We have all seen TV shows like “Dexter” or “Breaking Bad”, so we know that there is something in these characters on the wrong side of the law that has us rooting for them. We can’t pin down what it is, but we do not want them to get caught. And that is in essence what this story about a 1950’s con artist who involuntarily turns into a murderer is about. Tom Ripley does terrible things, but the reader cannot help but like him, understand him, make excuses for him. The sequels are a satisfying read, as well, but the first installment of Ripley has got to be singled out as the best one in the series.

Go follow Miri on Twitter: @OriginalSGreenD