The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

TrainI am a sucker for a good mystery thriller and I was very intrigued when I saw a huge display of Paula Hawkins’ thriller in the bookshop. This novel is Paula’s first attempt to crack the thriller genre and having shot to the number one spot on the New York Times best sellers list almost instantly, I figured that I had to give it a go.

The story follows Rachel, the main character in the book, who takes the same commuter train into London every day. On each trip she takes in the goings on of the same row of houses on one particular stretch of track to the point where she feels like she knows their inhabitants. She even goes so far as to create names and personalities for them. Then one day she witnesses something and just like that the train moves on and the moment has gone.

Unable to let it go Rachel becomes involved in more than she could ever have imagined and what follows is a story filled with more twists, turns and nail biting moments than I can count.

I was not disappointed by this book and while there were a couple of parts where I got a bit frustrated (although this could be down to the fact that I am very impatient) I definitely enjoyed Paula’s first attempt at a darker, more sinister novel. I really liked how the story was written from the perspective of all three women involved in the murder and how I was kept guessing right up until the end (quite unusual as I can almost always guess who did it).

Although I hate having to put down a good thriller once I start reading it, the reality is that with two small children I can’t spend hours at a time reading. What I liked about this novel is that while the story has been written from three different perspectives, it wasn’t so complicated that I would have to backtrack every time I wanted to carry on with the story after putting it down (even if it had been a couple of days).

If you are a fan of a good murder mystery I would recommend this book and I will be keeping my eye out for Paula’s next novel (hopefully there will be one).

Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Riverhead Books (January 13, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1594633665
ISBN-13: 978-1594633669
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Spot the Dog by Eric Hill

wheres_spot__fullSpot the Dog is a classic book that most parents will remember from their childhoods and there is a reason why it has stuck around for so many years, still topping many top children’s book lists.

In this book young readers have to help Sally look for Spot the Dog by lifting up flaps to see where he is hiding. My 2 year old LOVES looking for Spot and despite having read it with her what feels like a hundred times she still squeals with delight every time I turn the page and she gets to lift another flap. The illustrations are bright, colourful and simple and I can really see why this book has appealed to children over the last 30 or years.

The book is also a wonderful tool for teaching children spatial awareness as they can see how the different animals can fit into the various hiding spots in the house. I also love how since reading this book both of my daughters love hiding in various places all over the house (although I don’t enjoy it as much when I am trying to get out of the house in a hurry).

If you are looking for a new book to buy for your toddler (or as a gift for a baby shower or someone with a toddler) then this should be it. There are a number of other books in the series you can also buy to add to your collection.

Age Range: 1 – 3 years
Series: Spot
Board book: 12 pages
Publisher: Warne (June 30, 2003)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0399240462
ISBN-13: 978-0399240461
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