7 Books You Won't Be Able To Put Down

7 Books You Won't Be Able To Put Down

The best page-turners from genres of mystery, thrillers, and even romance.
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I have always loved to read. What I don't like to read, however, is a book that I could carelessly pick up and put down at any time — a story that interests me enough to keep reading, but only when I find the time to do so, but doesn't keep me up at night.

Here are books I've read in a matter of days (or less) because they are simply too good to put down, whether it be because of the suspense, mystery, or simply the need to find out what happens.

1. "The Art Of Racing In The Rain" by Garth Stein.

Our narrator, Enzo, is an aging dog, who tells his life story through the events of his owner, a professional racecar driver's, life, including dating, marriage, kids, sickness, and everything in between. Enzo reveals the life lessons he learned through the tragedies his family suffered, as all he could do was look on silently. This book is heart-wrenching, equally beautiful as it is devastating, and will forever change the way you look at your dog.

2. "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn.

Read the book before you watch the movie, if you can. Our main character, Nick's wife goes missing on their wedding anniversary, and almost immediately he becomes the prime suspect. What sets this book apart is it isn't a "who-done-it" mystery of trying to find the killer and the motive. It is painfully obvious what happened to Amy, but Nick is trapped in that no one will ever believe him.

3. "The Girl On The Train" by Paula Hawkins.

Known for its movie adaptation starring Emily Blunt, "The Girl On The Train" is much more of a dramatic thriller than it is a mystery. Our main character, Rachel, is a divorced alcoholic living in London, still pining for her ex-husband, who left her for another woman.When their neighbor goes missing, and her spouse becomes a suspect, Rachel takes it upon herself to vouch for his innocence, even though she has no idea what really happened... Or does she?

4. "Beautiful Malice" by Rebecca James.

This book has the most memorable and chilling first sentence, which kept me hooked ever since the first time I came across it: "I didn't go to Alice's funeral."

The story follows Katherine, who is traumatized by her younger sister's gruesome murder. Alice becomes her closest friend since the tragedy, which Katherine refuses to discuss... Until the truth comes out. This book is horrifyingly suspenseful and absolutely unforgettable.

5. "Impossible" by Nancy Werlin.

While I am usually not a fan of fantasy novels, this work of fiction employs only a touch of (somewhat dark) magic. The story follows Lucy, who was adopted when her birth mother became too mentally ill to care for anyone, even herself. While her mother lives on the streets, Lucy becomes pregnant by rape, but she learns it is for a reason. She discovers she must complete three very specific tasks, or she will fall into the same insanity her mother did, and her mother did before that. She must solve the riddle to break the curse, or her unborn baby will be subjected to the same.

6. "Parallel" by Lauren Miller.

This novel will mind-screw you so bad you'll still be thinking about it years later, as I am now. Our main character, Abby, was split on deciding whether to major in journalism or pursue a career in acting. Good for her, she gets both! Abby simultaneously lives her two different career paths in two parallel universes. In one, Abby is a Hollywood actress while still in high school, and in the other, Abby is rowing crew at Yale University. It may sound great on the surface, but life quickly darkens, and Abby learns how each seemingly small decision she makes can change everything she thought she knew.

7. "Dear John" by Nicholas Sparks.

I know most people wouldn't consider Nicholas Sparks novels thrillers. But "Dear John" is painfully page-turning, because it simply kills you to not know the fate of seeming soulmates. John is on furlough from his Army service when he meets Savannah, and it's the closest thing you'll get to love at first sight. But he must finish his tour of Afghanistan before they can be together. But then 9/11 happens, and John chooses to re-enlist. What will Savannah choose to save: her lover, or herself?

Cover Image Credit: StockSnap / Angello Lopez

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What Your Hogwarts House Says About You

Get yourself sorted and find out where you belong in the world of witchcraft and wizardry.
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Sorting at Hogwarts is a big deal. Being sorted into a house is essentially being placed into a family while you are away from home learning about witchcraft and wizardry. Your house is made up of the people you will live with, go to classes with, play Quidditch with and everything in between. You basically spend 24/7 with them. Your Hogwarts house is your home away from home.

When you get sorted into a house, it is based on your personality traits. The people in your house are typically like-minded people who display the same characteristics as you.

When you’re a first year at Hogwarts, the minute you set foot in the castle you are swept into the Great Hall to have the ancient Sorting Hat placed on your head. This Sorting Hat decides which “family” you’ll be spending your seven years with.

For some, it is very obvious which house they will be in, due to certain personality traits they possess. For others, they may exemplify traits that fit a multitude of houses and are uncertain where they may end up.

To find out where you belong, you can take the official "Harry Potter" Sorting Hat quiz at Pottermore.com. For all you muggles out there, these are the characteristics that the houses possess and what your house says about you:

Gryffindor: The house of the brave, loyal, courageous, adventurous, daring and chivalrous. Those who stand up for others are typically Gryffindors. Brave-hearted is the most well-known Gryffindor characteristic, and Gryffindors are also known for having a lot of nerve.

Gryffindors are people who hold a multitude of qualities alongside the ones listed, making them a very well-rounded house. People who are Gryffindors are often people who could fit nicely into another house but choose to tell the sorting hat they want Gryffindor (there's that bravery). "Do what is right" is the motto Gryffindors go by.

Being a Gryffindor means that you're probably the adventurous and courageous friend, and you are usually known for doing what is right.

Ravenclaw: The house is known for their wisdom, intelligence, creativity, cleverness and knowledge. Those who value brains over brawn can be found here. Ravenclaws often tend to be quite quirky as well. "Do what is wise" is the motto they strive to follow.

Though Ravenclaws can be know-it-alls sometimes, they most likely do know what the wisest decision is.

If you are known for being the quirky friend, the smartest in the group or just great at making wise decisions, you're definitely a Ravenclaw.

Hufflepuff: This house values hard work, dedication, fair play, patience, and loyalty. Hufflepuff’s are known for being just and true. "Do what is nice" is their motto.

Hufflepuff is known as the “nice house” and believes strongly in sparing peoples feelings and being kind. This is not to say that Hufflepuffs aren't smart or courageous. Hufflepuffs just enjoy making others happy and tend to be more patient towards people.

If you ever find that you are too nice for your own good and cannot bear to hurt someone’s feelings, congratulations, you are a Hufflepuff.

Slytherin: This is the house of the cunning, prideful, resourceful, ambitious, intelligent, and determined. Slytherin's love to be in charge and crave leadership. "Do what is necessary" is the motto of this house.

Slytherin is a fairly well-rounded house, similar to the other houses. They are loyal to those that are loyal to them just as Gryffindors are and are intelligent as Ravenclaws.

Slytherin house as a whole is not evil, despite how many dark wizards come out of this house. That is merely based on the choices of those wizards (so if your friend is a Slytherin, don’t judge, it doesn’t mean they are mean people). Slytherins do, however, have a tendency to be arrogant or prideful. This is most likely due to the fact that everyone in Slytherin is exceedingly proud to be there.

What Hogwarts house you’re in says a lot about the person you are, the traits you possess and how you may act in some situations. But in the end, your house is really just your home that is always there for you. Always.


Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

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Picking Passion Over Pressure Is The Answer To A Fulfillng Life

Don't crack under pressure, flourish with passion.

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What motivates your actions? The answer to this critical question can determine whether or not you are living a fulfilling life. Many of us follow a social script as if we are reading lines from a play. We succumb to the influence of those around us and roam aimlessly in the direction of the masses.

The concept of living within the confinement of certain "norms" is an expectation society calls us to uphold, and it is not an entirely negative idea. But when life becomes "a series of motions to go through", this expectation can become problematic. When you find yourself stressed out about doing whatever it is you think that you have to do, stop and ask yourself if it makes you truly happy. Are you pursuing your passion or are you just performing under pressure? To find true contentment in your life, pick passion over pressure.

Be an individual before an identity.

When people first introduce themselves to a new friend or group of people, they are quick to jump to aspects of their life that compose their identity. Many of us define ourselves by what it is we do, and not necessarily who we actually are. For example, this can include identifying as a member of a club or sports team or even defining yourself based on accolades and accomplishments you have achieved. While these are definitely adequate ways to distinguish yourself from others, have you ever stopped to look beneath the surface? It is important to know what unique qualities make you an individual and not just a part of a larger entity.

By viewing yourself as an individual, you will find your passions in life more easily and find genuine enjoyment in all that you do. Taking on an identity will only hold you under unnecessary pressure to fulfill a role that could leave you feeling unsatisfied later on.

Become self-aware.

To find out what makes you truly happy, you need to establish a clear sense of who you are. Fostering self-awareness is a journey, and it can be discovered through life experiences. In order to figure out what you love doing, push yourself out of your comfort zone to figure out what you don't love doing. This can mean joining a new club, taking a challenging class, or working in an environment that you are unfamiliar with. Once you begin to discover how you react in certain situations, use these personality traits to your advantage.

Don't make the same mistake twice, and avoid taking on a position that you know would not be compatible with your lifestyle. By becoming self-aware, you will discover your passion more easily and will be able to take on realistic opportunities that will prove to be fulfilling. When you try to become someone you are not, it will seem like there is always a lingering pressure to "keep up the act", and it will be harder to accomplish tasks because you don't truly enjoy doing them.

View outside opinions with a filtered lens.

Don't let others dictate your future. When you make life decisions based on what other people think is best for you, you will be pleasing everyone except yourself. Consciously decide whose opinions are valid, meaningful, and constructive to your life. This can include the wisdom of close friends and relatives, professors, or a boss that has known you for years. By finding out who knows you best and who truly desires the best for your life, you can tune out the background noise and hone in on the few voices that actually do matter.

Place value in what these people have to say, and take the words of others with a grain of salt. Avoid letting irrelevant or negative opinions linger in your mind. If you allow the influence of others to infiltrate your decision making, you will find yourself in many regrettable situations and unsatisfied with the outcome of your choices. By subscribing to the helpful advice shared by those closest to you, you can foster your true passion.

Practice positive thinking. 

You can't find out what makes you happy in life without actually experiencing what happiness is. To discover your passion, adopt a positive mindset. Get out of the habit of mentally putting yourself down, and take the word "can't" out of your thought process. The more mental blocks you put on yourself, the less likely you are to have good experiences. Release your inhibitions and train your brain seek positivity in any situation.

Don't allow minor inconveniences to disturb you, and remind yourself of the saying that "it is only a bad day, not a bad life." In doing so, the positive choices you make will lead you in the direction of your passion so that you can live a fulfilling life.

Be open to new ideas. 

Keeping an open mind will allow you to experience life from a new perspective. Even when something seems foreboding, treat it as a lesson. If you cannot think of a positive quality for the situation you find yourself in, then don't assign your circumstances any qualities at all. If you keep a neutral mindset, you will eliminate the possibility for disappointment. This will encourage learning and growth, which are essential in your journey to finding your true passion.

Being open to new ideas will help you avoid sticking to the status quo. By taking part in something you have never done before, you are less likely to find yourself confined by what others expect you to do.

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