Tag Archives: inspiration

Montreal

“Rester, c’est exister; mais voyager, c’est vivre. – Gustave Nadaud
“To stay is to exist; to travel is to live.”

2017 came around; I found myself standing and the world around me spinning. It was one of those things where I wanted to take a hold of everything; all at once. It took me until the end of March to realize that in my attempt to grab everything, I just got dizzier as I barely held on to anything. School, work, traveling, bills, trying new hobbies, self-care…I thought I could do it all. Yea, I thought wrong. Time sped and here we are at the end of April.

So much for not having a quarter life crisis.

Well as I sit here reflecting on the past few months, I look back to February when a group of friends and I took a trip to Montreal, QC, Canada. Montreal was perfect from the culture to the scenic views. At this time, I didn’t know I was on a spinning spree, but this trip was refreshing; made me even more addicted to traveling and getting away.

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It was five of us; not everyone was familiar with each other, but we all started the journey with an open mind. We decided to make it a mini road trip and left before the sun was even awake (four of us; one was flying and meeting us there.) It was a nice drive and we didn’t hit not one ounce of traffic which, we loved. While waiting at the border we cracked opened our windows, to take pictures of the Canadian flag, and the air felt fresher. It was like breathing in a sense of relief and exhaling all my problems and discontent. I felt happy.

As soon as we crossed the border the signs changed from English to French. I celebrated. Anyone who knows me knows that I become super excited whenever I see or hear anything related to the French language or culture. I was ready to practice speaking all weekend! Yes, I was about to get on everyone’s last nerve…in a good way though!

When we arrived, we couldn’t find parking for the life of us. Guess some things just don’t change in any country. Well when we finally did and figured out the ridiculously expensive street parking situation, turns out our Airbnb wasn’t even ready. So there we are looking like we just woke up and needing showers, in uggs, stepping on slushy snow. So what we do? We decided to walk and search for food and booze. Our first stop was Station 16 Gallery. Contemporary art at its finest. Everything was bold and provocative. Self-expression to the max. Check out the site. It’s worth a look.

After the gallery and stopping at a few boutiques, we found a place to eat. McKibbin’s Irish Pub turned out to be the perfect place to have our first drinks. I had a beer (of course) and everyone else had Irish Coffee. I think this is where it finally hit us that we were in Canada.

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Eventually, we got dressed and looked civilized. It felt amazing. Also, let me not forget to mention how in LOVE I was with our Airbnb. If I could dream up my own apartment it would look exactly like the place we were staying in.

We went to the airport to pick up the last person missing from our group, Jadira, who apparently was stranded, with a dead phone and not knowing any valid French to communicate. It was quite funny especially because she was coming straight out of her intro to French course. Well once she was rescued, we headed straight for Old Montreal where Igloo Fest was taking place at Jacques-Cartier Pier.

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It was a great beginning to our night! We enjoyed a beautiful picturesque walk around Old Montreal. We stumbled across a cute small restaurant, Restaurant Le Fripon, where we had Canadian beer and snails….YES, snails. It tasted okay…I think it was the cheese and garlic; a little chewy for the most part. When we finally got to Igloo Fest it looked like one of those raging festivals I had no business being at. Fortunately, It wasn’t that hectic (EDM just isn’t my thing and neither is raging.) We took some shots, enjoyed the outside view and headed back to get ready for the rest of our evening.

We ended our Saturday at Muzique, which turned out to be across the street from where we were staying. Okay, so what I learned? When a country allows drinking and partying at 18+ DO NOT go out clubbing. Unless you specifically know it’s a school night and the kids will be in bed. I felt like I was at a college party. It was incredibly crowded and everyone was out of control. The funny part is that the bouncer let us skip the line because we were 21+. Ironic right? We made the best of it by dancing and laughing at what was happening around us. Felt like a teen movie could have been made out of it all the wild things we saw.

Sunday welcomed us with perfect (not so cold) weather. We went to Fabergé  for brunch where we probably waited about an hour or more to get seated. The place was small and the line was long (felt like a good sign.) It was absolutely worth it! We had the most delicious Poutine (potatoes with gravy and cheese,) and ate so much food it was somewhat ridiculous! Shrugs. I’m sure we would all do it again without thinking twice!

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Next stop was Mount Royal.  First, i’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

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The view was absolutely spectacular and truly breathtaking. I couldn’t stop staring at it. In that moment, I wanted to stay in Canada. It was covered in cold and frost but filled with serenity. I can close my eyes and feel the happiness I felt from looking at Montreal. Moments like that is why I love to travel.

We headed back to Old Montreal where we stopped to take a few pictures of the Notre-Dame Basilica, the first Gothic revival style church to be built in Canada.

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Old Montreal is spectacular. It looked even more beautiful in the rain…something about the wet cobblestone made it look more alive.

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We went to Les 3 Brasseurs for dinner. It was probably the most fun we had thus far during our trip! We started off with the beer sampler, which had a mix of white, blonde, amber, brown and IPA beers. How we managed to taste ALL the beers? Let’s just say we decided to “Be-er about it…” sip and pass until the cup was empty! We finished before we even got our main courses. 

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That night, for some odd reason, we decided to give clubbing another try. We started off at Tokyo Bar and ended at Apartment 200. I guess because it was a school night, there were barely any kids out! So yes, the night was a total success and a complete 180 from Saturday night. I had so much fun that by the end of the night, I shed a few tears because I didn’t want to go home. It was definitely bittersweet for it to be the last night; yet such a fun night.

Waking up on Monday was a bit difficult but we managed to leave by 11am. Before hitting the road we picked up some smoked meat at Schwartz Deli and some more Poutine for me. It was tasty just too much meat for a small piece of bread.

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… but with the last bites of our sandwich ended our trip in Montreal. We walked to the car, got lost trying to buy some souvenirs and off we were to our 6-hour drive back home.

It was a nice getaway, but it left me wanting more. I wanted more adventure and more moments to capture. Therefore, my spinning continued and I quickly started planning my next trip.

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Love Illuminated

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I haven’t been the most fortunate in the game of love. So of course, when I came across Love Illuminated by Daniel Jones, the editor of the New York Times Modern Love column, I picked it up and decide to indulge in it.

I picked up the book hoping for some clarity, heck some divine intervention as to why I have been so unfortunate in this love mess. To my luck, in just the first few pages, he says that’s exactly what we should not expect in reading the book. Great, I still read it though.

The book is actually entertaining as Jones uses examples of a multitude of situations to discus pursuit, destiny, vulnerability, connection, trust, practicality, monotony, infidelity, loyalty and wisdom. After reading the book, I came to the conclusion that love is…well impossible to understand. It’s messy, annoying, consuming, tiresome,  a high, weird…to be honest I can go on for days. There are just so many different types of loves and ways of loving, no wonder some of us find ourselves lost and confused. We are weird creatures, sometimes even finding ourselves not really satisfied when we have something we’ve dreamed on for so long. Jones reminded me of all of this. He made me remember that I don’t have it as bad as I think I do.


“Let’s try to embrace love’s complexities as much as we try to explain them away” – Daniel Jones


I’m only 25 but it feels like I’ve been searching for love for years. In love with the idea of love; (ironic I know) I never find it in the right places. There are days I just get tired and want to give up. I’ll admit, I find myself crying some nights at how lonely I feel. That’s my problem though, I’m focusing too much on what I don’t have welcoming in people I don’t need. A lot of you could probably relate. feels like humans are addicted to love.

So in the end, I think you can say I learned a little something from this book. Embrace the complexities of love and take the experiences for what they are worth. Don’t fall in the search but fall in the moment. Most importantly, love yourself the deepest above all other loves.

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The fault In Our Stars

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Lately, I’ve had this need to travel, more than I usually do. It just seems as though the older I get, the more real things become like sickness and death; it’s a bright reminder that nothing in this life is promised. In other words, each new day is a blessing so embrace that blessing and live.

That’s why I told myself that this year, 2017, I’m going to take a trip a month. How? Well I’m figuring that out as I go, but so far it’s coming along.

In the middle of all this, I finished reading The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. I saw the movie a few years back, but reading the book gave me a new perspective on life, illnesses and love.

I found this story line genuine and full of hope. It didn’t focus on kids with cancer, but on their love; how apart from their circumstance it helped them live and experience something good. There’s so much negatives in this world, but if we can find that one good thing to experience, it can make it all worth living. Let us blur the negatives weighting us down; let us live and focus on what we do have and what we can do. That’s the lesson that stuck out to me.


“The marks humans leave are too often scars.” – John Green


I found myself thinking about the opportunities life grants us and how so many get taken for granted on a daily. We tend to find ourselves complaining, and cursing at situations that are really not that big of a deal. Selfish? Ungrateful? Let’s stop and think about it. We never take a second to contemplate things and realize that there are others who have it far worse than we do. We have too many scars we keep pressing on, instead of us allowing the scars to teach us and help us grow. Lets become better individuals by appreciating the beauty in life and the small moments we are blessed to see.

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Philly, Hey!

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly time flies. One minute I’m traveling; the next I’m back in school preparing assignments and presentations. Sometimes, I truly wish there were more than 24 hours in a day.

Last month, right before I started my my second semester as a Graduate Student, I decided to do a small weekend getaway trip, with some of my girls, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I booked us a really nice hotel room in Center City at Loews Philadelphia Hotel. We had such a breathtaking view of the city. It was one of those views that reminded you of the beauty of architecture and sunlight brightening up the sky, and the serenity created by skyscraper lights. Can you tell I love cities? Because I do. I’ll admit Philadelphia is far from my favorite city but on that weekend, it definitely grew on me.

We decided to walk to our first destination. It was supposed to snow in a few hours and we wanted to enjoy walking, while we could. It wasn’t too cold so it was perfect. In the middle of Midtown Village we came across Finn McCools Ale House.  Here I discovered and had my first White Russian. I don’t know much about cocktails, and at 25 maybe I should know a little more than I do,  but wow was it strong. Luckily, I shared the drink with my friend. We left Finn’s very happy and probably a tad buzzed.

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As we walked towards the Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens we came across beautiful murals and graffiti art. Had to stop and take pictures.

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The Philadelphia Magic Gardens is a beautiful project that started in the late 1960s by Isaiah Zagar. It’s a remarkably stunning work of art that opened up to the public in 2008. At first sight, you can’t help but to look in awe at how detailed everything is. Every corner, every inch, is truly magical. We literally stayed there for about two hours just mesmerized by everything. We took so many pictures wanting to capture every moment we created there.

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It started getting colder and that was pretty much our cue to walk back towards are next destination. On the way, we stopped by Strangelove’s Bar. I’m 100% a beer girl so I was more than enthusiastic to try something new. We ended up spending about 1.5 hours just talking and enjoying our beer selection. It was a nice spot and we clearly got sucked into the vibe.

Before heading to Philly, almost everyone I talked to told me to check out the Reading Terminal Market and that’s what we did next. At this point we were starving and all we wanted was food. The place was crowded and the options to eat felt endless. We ended up separating, half of us got Philly Cheesesteaks  while the rest of us got some Soul Food at Keven Parker’s Soul Food Cafe. I devoured my food. It was absolutely mouth watering delicious. There’s no other way of putting it. We couldn’t leave the Market without getting some famous Beiler’s Donuts. The line was insane but totally worth it.

It was early, around 7PM, but it was raining, and phones were dying, so we decided to head back to the hotel to charge for a bit. The plan was to head back out for a few more bar hops, before preparing for our evening festivities, but the bed felt too good for a few of us. The rest of the group headed down to the hotel bar. Never underestimate the hotel bar! You might just end up having a pleasant time with some fancy delicious cocktail, that you keep calling by the wrong name…yep, totally me.

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Eventually, we got dressed for the night. It was an interesting one to say the least. If I had to summarize the night in one word it would be random. We spent most of our night at Time Restaurant. It was a great place divided into three sections: one for dancing, one for live music and one for simply sitting and drinking. After that we somehow ended up at Wawa. That had to be the most crowded Wawa I’ve ever seen.

The next day, before heading back to my house we had Brunch at the famous, and highly loved, Green Eggs Cafe. Beforehand, we had mimosas at Caribou Café, a Parisian bistro, to kill the 1 hr and 45min wait we had at Green Eggs. It was such a cute little French place it took everything in me to not order food.

To end our Philly adventure we took a picture with the Love sign like any other tourist. It was absolutely freezing at this point and we couldn’t wait to get back to the car.

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Philly, was a good adventure. The trip definitely warmed me up to its possibilities. Philadelphia might not have the best public transportation system, but it’s not lacking great bars and places to eat. So if you want a nice weekend getaway why not give Philly a try? I did.

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Last Day In CA

“Normality is a paved road: it’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow.” – Vincent Van Gough

It was officially Monday; our last day in Los Angeles, California. We had to wake up super early to move our cars, and it was brutal. We were so tired from our hike the day before. On our search for a parking garage, by accident, we ended up driving by the famous Skid Row. It was by far the saddest thing I have ever seen in my life. All the poverty broke my heart. I was truly baffled and speechless. It was one of those experiences that made you grateful for what you have. A reminder to always give thanks for your blessings. At that moment I missed home.

We couldn’t find the right parking garage and it was already 9:00 am. We decided to just have breakfast. Of course, we couldn’t find non-meter parking (meter prices were ridiculous,) so we decided to get our food from Poppy + Rose to go. We really wish we could have ate there because it was a quaint spot; perfect for a relaxed morning with friends.

We ate our breakfast in the car and then head towards FIGat7th. I guess this is LA’s way of modernizing its downtown. Think of it as a mall. We didn’t stay long just stopped by Target, which by the way had a whole liquor area. I was pretty taken aback by that. I haven’t seen a Target with liquor in NJ.

At this point, we were wide awake and just ended up parking the car at a parking place right around the corner of the apartment. It was time to get ourselves ready for Beverly Hills.

Before heading out, we decided to find one of the Los Angeles Angel Wings, which is a part of the Global Angel Wings Project.

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We looked like total tourists and enjoyed every second of it.

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When we arrived at Beverly Hills we were in shock…talk about a total 180 from downtown LA. We parked and thought, “we’ll only stay for two hours max. What can we possibly do for a whole day here.” Yea, we spent our entire day in Beverly Hills without a single care in the world.

It was a perfect day in Beverly Hills. The weather was fantastic and the atmosphere was peaceful. First, we came across this small chocolate shop, Diane Krön Chocolatier. Damaris wanted to get some chocolate for her family. We started talking to the owner and to our surprise she was Jacqueline Kennedy’s personal chocolate connoisseur. She was an absolutely lovely woman with so much kindness. She allowed us to taste some of her delicious chocolates and nicely packaged the chocolates Damaris purchased. It was the perfect welcome to Beverly Hills.

Once we hit the main strip, we came across all the high-class expensive name brand stores that I would never shop at on a daily basis. Dior, Michael Kors, Tom Ford, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Vera Wang (wedding dress goals,) Tiffany & Co. It was all there!

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We walked in awe. Everything was beautiful and expensive. Surprisingly, we didn’t feel poor, even though we totally were compared to the riches we were surrounded by, which is probably why we didn’t go into any of the stores.

We had lunch at 90210 Pho – A Modern Vietnamese Kitchen. The food was good and prices were affordable. We had the funniest waiter who loved that we were from the East Coast. We considered doing a tour of the mansions but ended up not doing so. We walked around some more and then came across Amorino Gelato Al Naturale. Talk about tasting the softest and most delicious gelato ever!

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Before heading back to downtown LA, we drove past some of the Beverly Hill mansions and swore one day we would own one. They were spectacular! With dreams in the air, we parted ways with Beverly Hills and drove right back into reality.

We ended the night at the Ace Hotel Upstairs. It was interesting, to say the least. We didn’t stay long, even though we tried. I think it was 70’s night; not really our crowd. Just like that ended our final day in Los Angeles, California.

California was definitely a 2016 highlight. It has always been a dream of mine to visit the West Coast. I’m glad I was able to share that with some of my closest friends. We definitely learned a lot from our trip and were able to experience things we didn’t think we would anytime soon. It just goes to show that all you really need to make a dream come true is a little push to make it happen. So thank you Steph and Damaris because only by pushing each other did we make this a reality.

Last Few Days In Cali.

Time flies when you’re busy.

“Do something instead of killing time. Because time is killing you.” – Pablo Coelho

Seven months ago, I took a trip to California with two of my close friends, and since then time has been speeding; without caring for any stop sign in sight.
I never finished sharing the rest of my west coast adventures with everyone.
[Catch Up] So I figured, what better way to close 2016 than by reminiscing these next few days with my readers.

On Saturday, May 28, 2016, we woke up super excited because we were finally going to see the famous Venice Beach. We put on our cutest bathing suits ready to have our movie scene moment…you know, that scene where all you see is hot guys as you walk down the strip.

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After we ate lunch in the Los Angeles Flower District, in this small area they have closed off for food vendors (had some Salvadoran Pupusas and some fresh Horchata water,) we headed straight to Venice Beach. It took us a bit to find some parking, but when we did and got out the car, we couldn’t believe it… it was COLD! We chose the coldest day of our trip to go to the beach. Thank goodness I had my leather jacket!

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We walked the strip suffering from the cold, but enjoying our surroundings. It was a cool beach with a relaxing vibe. It was filled with all sorts of vendors and people exercising, biking, surfing, playing basketball, weightlifting; just doing all sorts of activities.

Afterward, we went into a bar to change into our night outfits, which were also a huge fail. We all wore maxi dresses and headed to Santa Monica, CA where it seemed to be even colder. When we arrived, the first thing we did was go to TJ Maxx to get Damaris a cardigan and myself a scarf. Luckily, Damaris found a decent cardigan but unfortunately, they just finished selling the last scarf. I was disappointed, scarfs are my lifesavers for any cold emergency.

We had dinner at this super chic Greek restaurant called Inotheke. The food was very delicious. It was one of those places where you wished the food portions weren’t so small because the dishes were just too good. Ye Olde King’s Head British Pub was our next stop for some drinks. We really enjoyed ourselves there to the point that we stayed till closing. Steph and Damaris played a few rounds of darts, while I mingled with the crowd. We ended our night with a stroll down the Promenade where we enjoyed some street performances since of course, all the stores were closed.

On Sunday morning we woke up starving…well at least I did. I was excited because I knew we were finally going to Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles. The wait was long and felt eternal! When we were finally seated and they gave me my glass of orange juice, I literally shed a few tears from how amazing it tasted! Till this day, I have not had such an amazing freshly squeezed orange juice as I did that Sunday morning at Roscoe’s. Needless to say, the food exceeded my expectations and I ate so much I probably gained a few pounds.

We headed back to Albert’s apartment to put on our hiking gear and head to Griffith Observatory.

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The view from the observatory was absolutely stunning. Amidst all of the people, it was still peaceful to be surrounded by such beauty. 

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Ready to workout all of the food we finished eating at Roscoe’s; we headed towards the Mount Hollywood Hiking Trail.

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The journey up was incredible. I kept wanting to stop and admire all the wonderful views. Probably why it took us forever to get to the top. There’s just something about a hike that makes you appreciate all of the small things. You realize all your troubles are small compared to how vast the world is. In a world that might never lack problems, hope is the one thing that we cannot lose. 

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The sun started setting and everything seemed to be shining. It was breathtaking.

By the time we started heading down we were all exhausted. The trail is about four miles up and four miles down. After eight miles, I was ready for bed, but Steph and Damaris were craving more crêpes. You would think we went to France with all the crepes they craved throughout our trip. I was suckered into getting one too at Crêpes Sans Frontieres. The restaurant was quaint and had an awesome French vibe. I couldn’t help but love it. My anything French obsession is beyond my capabilities of self-control.

Then they were craving ice cream. You all should have seen my face. I can’t help but laugh when I think back to it now. Albert took us to Peddler’s Creamery. Here they made fresh ice cream in a unique way. It involves a bicycle and someone having to ride it, simply to produce the ice cream. Click on the link and check it out because it’s super cool. In the end, I was glad we got the ice cream. 

Finally, exhaustion dawned on everyone. It was time to call it a night.

To be continued…

Gone Girl. – A Novel

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Have you ever read a book, or saw a movie, that completely played mind games with you? I’m sure you have a few suggestions in mind because I definitely do.

Awhile back I saw Gone Girl, the 2014 psychological thriller, directed by David Fincher. The movie starts Ben Affleck; yes I know we all have our own opinions on the man. Therefore, you can imagine my surprise when I was totally blown away by the film! The movie was great! It reminded me of how scary the human mind can be. Probably why I was never interested in studying psychology. My mind is complex enough….

Then I found out the movie was actually a book written by Gillian Flynnwho also wrote the screenplay for the movie. I Immediately took myself to Barnes and Noble and bought the book. I was super excited because, as per my previous experiences, movies never stick to the actual book….so I thought.


“Like a child, I picture opening her skull, unspooling her brain and sifting through it,
trying to catch and pin down her thoughts.” – P. 3


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Well, think again Tiffany! I couldn’t have been anymore wrong. The book was the movie. Of course, minus a few scenarios that I envisioned as deleted scenes unnecessary for the movie edition of the plot.

So what happened? It took me forever to finish the book. Not because it wasn’t good, but because I already knew exactly what would happen; the excitement was gone. The first section of the book dragged on! I couldn’t find the want/need to pick up the book. I carried it inside my purse for months. Eventually, I managed to get towards the second half of the book and it seemed to finally start picking up the pace! Spoiler alert: The wife is so crazy it was literally hard to stop reading! See the first half of the book, you have no idea that she’s insane. It involved a lot of exposition which, I already knew of. Once you reach the second half, it’s like “HA, I fooled you!” and all the action starts going down.

All of this still leaves me wondering, book or movie first? Just when I thought I had it all figured out. It’s a hit or miss. Maybe, don’t watch thrillers first, just read the book.

I would love to read people’s opinions on this. Thoughts?

Would I recommend the book? Absolutely! Great book and I can totally see why it was made into a motion picture.