by Gillian Flynn
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Why I Read It: I had enjoyed Flynn’s other two books and thought I should read all 3.
On January 2, 1985, Libby Day runs away from her house as her two sisters and mother are brutally murdered. The only other Day child who makes it through that night is Ben, who is identified as the murderer by seven year old Libby. The twenty five years since that night have been uneventful for Libby. She’s lived off pity donations from strangers and gave her name to a motivational book, allowing her enough money to drink her way into oblivion and ignore the gruesome memories of that night.
When the money dries up and Libby turns to a nefarious group of murder enthusiasts called the Kill Club, she has to confront the ghosts of her past and discover the truth behind her childhood memories of that night.
Gillian Flynn writes some amazing mysteries. Every character is suspicious, and her plots are always twisted. The pacing is fast, the stories are intricate, and the books thoroughly suck you in. Flynn’s books make you question the way you think. Like Sharp Objects, Dark Places delves into the dark, twisted dysfunctions of family (unlike Gone Girl, which focuses on marriage).
I didn’t like this book as much as Gone Girl or Sharp Objects, mainly because I felt I couldn’t identify as well with the protagonist. She’s lazy, she’s untrustworthy - she isn’t someone I would necessarily like to read about. Her story, though, was sublimely interesting. Ben, her brother, is also a highly interesting (and major) character. Because of him, I felt like Dark Places could appeal to men as much as women, unlike Flynn’s other two books. The point of view switches between Ben, Libby, and their mother Patty, as well as from present-day to that fateful night in 1985, which kept the story interesting.
Altogether, Dark Places is another great book from Gillian Flynn!
Anonymous asked: I understand that your URL is directed at the books being beautiful, but my word... you are wonderfully gorgeous as well, dear.
Thank you, lovely Anon! This has made my WEEK! :)
That awful moment when you remember that you just bought a ton of great eBooks but left your Kindle at home. :(
Hello lovely followers!
To celebrate gaining over a hundred followers recently I thought I would do a giveaway of a few of my favorite books. There will be three winners and each will choose which book she/he wants according to the order that they win.
To enter the giveaway:
1) You must live in the United States. I would love to open it for everyone but I don’t have the money for international shipping, sorry!
2) You must already be a follower
3) Reblog this post
Winners will be chosen on May 15th and will be selected randomly. Please have your ask open so I can contact you if you win.
Hey guys, don’t forget to enter. The giveaway ends in five days!
Hooray for giveaways!
So I’m cutting my long red hair and changing to something short and blonde. The process takes 4 hours. Currently in the salon and SO GLAD I packed the last Sookie Stackhouse book. :)
The Book Corner, the great little store that sponsored the Mary Roach book signing I went to in Philly!
The Time of My Life
by Cecelia Ahern
Genre: Irish Chick Lit
Why I Read It: I’m a long-time fan of Ahern’s work.
Cecelia Ahern is one of my favorite authors, and I do believe this is one of her best books yet.
Lucy Silchester is a mess of a woman. Driving an old, beat-up car, living in a studio flat reeking of fish, working as a shoddy translator for an appliance company, still fancying herself in love with her ex-boyfriend who dumped her three years before, feeling cut-off from her friends and like she’s the biggest disappointment to her family, it’s hard to believe Lucy is almost 30 years old and hasn’t been able to put herself together.
Enter Life. With the magical twist Ahern writes into most of her stories, the author has created a character that is literally Lucy’s life. Life (also known as “Cosmo Brown,” when being introduced to Lucy’s friends) is a man whose entire existence is dedicated to her. He spends his days cataloging what happens to her, filing interactions she’s had with her friends and family, and watching from afar as she ruins things for herself. It’s a really strange concept to grasp (and to explain, for that matter), but basically Life enters the story to give Lucy a reality check. Following Lucy around, calling her out on all her bad decisions, lies, and flaws, helping her find her true value as a person, Life helps Lucy get back on track.
I didn’t like Lucy at the beginning of the book. A pathological liar who blatantly makes bad decisions against her better judgement, it was hard to relate to her. As the book continued, however, and Life was introduced, I began to like her a little more. The premise and the plot are really what made me love this book, though.
This book was humorous, romantic at times, and inspiring. I’ve been reading books (very slowly, hence why they haven’t shown up on my blog yet) about quarter life crises, and this was a fictional account of a woman who survived hers. It really got me wanting to kick my life into action: go out and get some business cards, sign up for networking events, write to that manager at work who runs a department slightly out of my league.
Listening the the audiobook was a special treat. I love Irish audiobooks because I like to mimic the accents. I love audiobooks in general because I like to act out the dialogue in my car while I’m driving to and from work. This book had me working through such a range of emotions, I think I’m very qualified to star as the leading lady should this book ever become a movie :)
I’d recommend this for all chick lit lovers and 20-somethings feeling a little lost themselves.
I know, right? Things definitely pick up towards the end, but the first 80% of the book seems rather stagnant. To be honest, I’m rather surprised they had enough content to last the full 2.5 hours for the movie, but I imagine it’s mainly going to consist of music, dancing, and stunning imagery. Which is fine by me, I love a pretty picture, but the length of the film is surprising nonetheless. :)
The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Genre: Classic Fiction
Why I Read It: The movie hype had me wanting to refresh my memory of the storyline.
Nick Carraway is a Midwesterner who has recently arrived in New York City to pursue a career in bonds. With a distant cousin as his only relation in the city, he spends time with Daisy, her husband Tom, and their circle of friends as he acquaints himself with the metropolitan lifestyle of the Roaring Twenties.
Nick’s next door neighbor, Jay Gatsby, is a man who seems to have been born to revel in the Jazz Age. His infamous parties are the talk of the city, and everyone who’s anyone makes an appearance. His stunning mansion, exquisite gardens, and over-the-top soirees simply hint at the millions he has earned in his mysterious business dealings. When Gatsby strikes up an unlikely friendship with Nick, Nick gets an inside look at a lifestyle where money can buy almost everything – friends, power, position in society – except love.
The Great Gatsby is a classic, but it’s not my favorite. The imagery is great, but the book is a bit too artsy for my taste. I like my books to have a little less poetry and a little more plot. I have no doubts that the movie is going to be utterly fantastic, though. Lasting an impressive two and a half hours, the movie will probably cover every little detail in the mere 180 pages of the book, so I didn’t really have to go back and re-read it, but hey, at least it’s something to add to my GoodReads challenge.
by Gillian Flynn
Genre: Fictional Thriller
Why I Read It: Book Club
Camille is a journalist in the Windy City who receives an assignment to report on the murder of two young girls in her hometown of Wind Gap, MO. Despite coming from a family of wealth and prestige in the town, Camille has never felt at home with her overbearing mother and emotionally distant step-father. Now that she has a little half-sister back home, she feels even less like she belongs.
Despite her reservations, Camille returns home to unravel the mystery behind the two preteen girls’ strangulations. With their nails panted and teeth removed, the crimes are unusual to say the least. While Camille knew the family situation at home would be tense, especially as the town grows suspicious of everyone, she isn’t prepared for the influx of bad feelings that arrive when she begins to relate the murdered girls to the untimely demise of her beloved sister.
This book sucked me in from pretty much the beginning. I finished it in a day, and when I wasn’t reading it, I was itching to read it. The book was fast-paced, dark, twisted, and a bit surreal. While I loved this book and the little pieces Gillian connected at its conclusion, I have to admit that it was NOT as good as Gone Girl. I’m sorry, there’s really not much that can compete with the jar of crazy Gillian unleashed in that book. Sharp Objects, however, has many of the same themes: insanity, devotion gone awry, etc.
I would recommend this book for men and woman alike who can appreciate a fast-paced thriller (but not as much as I would recommend Gone Girl. . I also think this will make for a fantastic book club discussion, and I really look forward to talking it over with my friends in a few weeks!
I loved how Gillian incorporated Camille’s cutting into the story. The words she etched into her skin years ago seemed to hum at different points in the novel, highlighting different themes and feelings. I also loved how twisted Camille’s relationship with Amma was. Though Camille is the older sister by a decade or two, their roles seem to flip-flop often, with Amma being the pretty, popular sweetheart and Camille being her dog of a follower.
Throughout the whole book, I thought I knew who the killer was, and Gillian did a great job at leading me astray. After a whole book pointing the finger at Camille’s mother, a woman who openly admits that she doesn’t love her children and only cares for them when they’re sick, whose daughter died of mysterious circumstances, and whose relationships with the two victims is murky at best, we find out that the killer is, in fact, Amma, who flew into a jealous rage every time her mother seemed to like another girl more than herself. The revelation that the missing teeth were hidden in Amma’s dollhouse as her mother’s ivory floor was the icing on the cake and a perfectly tied up loose end.
How to Make Love Like a Porn Star
by Jenna Jameson
Why I Read It: Who could resist a title like that?!
Jenna Jameson is a world-wide star of the pornography industry, and this book is the story of how she got there. From the early loss of her mother, her emotionally-distant father, the steady stream of new and abusive step-mothers he invited into her life, the gangsters that threatened her and her brother, and her family’s frequent moves across the country, Jenna’s childhood was anything but easy. Still underage, she left her turbulent family life to move in with her tattoo artist boyfriend and become a stripper. From her short-lived career as a Vegas showgirl to stripping to porn magazines and finally to moves, Jenna Jameson has created her brand and rose up from pretty much nothing to become a millionaire and starlet.
I was expecting a light-hearted story about the sex industry, but even though How to Make Love Like a Porn Star ended up being an in-depth autobiography about a woman I hadn’t even thought of before, I was pretty much absorbed in the story from the moment I picked it up. Jenna overcame drug addictions, rape, kidnapping, and anorexia, and she holds nothing back from her biography. Some things were hard to read, such as when she’s passed out and raped by a classmate, stealing her virginity, and she appreciates it and decides to date the boy afterwards. Another tough read was the amount of time, money, and love she invested in relationships with men that so clearly wanted to use her and then dump her. Despite these turbulent periods, Jenna was able to prove herself as a star. This is the story of a woman who worked with the hand life dealt her, and while most people looked down on her life choices, she was able to make that hand work for her all the way to the bank.
The sex industry here in America is beyond intriguing, and this book offered a few behind-the-scenes stories about how it works. From the injuries strippers sustain during their performances to the “suitcase pimps” who feed off the insecurities of young women in the sex tape business, Jenna’s book was pretty thorough. For all the men and women looking to get into the industry, as well, Jenna included some helpful tips about how to make it.
Along with some pretty detailed celebrity gossip, tips about how to give the best blow job of your life, and diary excerpts from Jenna’s insecure childhood, How to Make Love Like a Porn Star was an immensely interesting, fast-paced read that offered a bit of everything. It wasn’t what I was expecting, but it was a lot more interesting, and the fact that I finished it in a day despite its size should be a good indicator of how absorbing it was.
However, this is not a book for the faint of heart. There are a lot of graphic sex scenes that Jenna describes and tons of topless photos of herself scattered amongst the pages. I would recommend the book for the risqué reader looking for a new addiction.
Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man
by Steve Harvey
Why I Read It: Co-worker’s Recommendation
Steve Harvey has a vision: to see men and women in happy relationships. He knows it’s not easy: one of the biggest parts of his radio show are the “Strawberry Letters” submitted by frustrated women asking for relationship advice and clues as to how to get their men to open up. Harvey’s answer? This book. With chapters entitled “Men Respect Standards – Get Some,” “First Things First: He Wants to Sleep with You,” and “Why Men Cheat,” Harvey’s approach is a bit tough love at times but definitely well-needed.
Harvey’s approach: men are simple. Men are driven by three things: who they are, what they do, and how much they make. Women come in fourth, after they feel like they’re on the right career path and pretty settled when it comes to a job an income. All of those years that women spend trying to juggle school, getting started in a career, setting out on one’s own, finding a guy, calming the ticking of their biological clock, taking care of aging parents, etc. – men are just focusing on their careers, which pretty much define all 3 of the things they’re really concerned with establishing. This struck a major chord with me as I had recently begun to read 20-Something, 20-Everything in which the author, Christine Hassler, made a similar argument. Women: we really do bear the weight of the world on our shoulders, especially during these early years on our own.
Another very important simplicity statement by Harvey: men are usually going to tell you up-front what they’re looking for. They’re not into mind games. If some guy approaches you at a bar and says he’s looking to have some fun that night, the odds of him calling you back the next morning are not in your favor. If a guy’s telling you, “I can’t picture myself settling down,” when you first meet, you’re not going to change his mind. I know we women all think that we’re special and, I don’t know, emit some personality-adjusting pheromones, but really, when’s the last time you really succeeded in changing a guy’s mind about his direction in life?
Also discussing the different ways men show love (through protecting you, providing for you, and “professing” - calling you their lady in front of friends and family), how to get your guy to propose (make him do it), and how to balance your status of an independent woman with your desire to be whisked off your feet, the book contains a lot of interesting theories about how men are going to behave in relationships and how women should react.
I’m certainly not the person to say whether or not the advice works, but I could understand the logic behind what Harvey was saying. Overall, it felt like he was telling women that there are plenty more fish in the sea. As a girl who always tries to make bad matches work (a bit like trying to force a square peg into a round hole), I took a lot away from his no-nonsense approach. A guy is just looking for a friends-with-benefits situation and I’m not? I should drop him and find someone else. Some guy I’m dating is constantly putting me second to other people in his life? I should move on.
I was talking about this book with one of the guys I work with (a 25-year-old flirt who still goes back to his college every weekend to party with young women - a real catch), and he said that he thought Steve Harvey was a bit old to be giving out dating advice. In some ways, I could see that. When he was discussing wooing women and bringing them flowers, I was skeptical to say the least. The only time a guy has bought me flowers was on a first date with a virgin 7 years my senior. Harvey also recommends a woman wait 3 months before “giving up the cookie,” which seems reaaaaally unrealistic in today’s day and age.
I appreciated Harvey’s “don’t sell yourself short” sentiment, the book had an interesting perspective, and it was a rather quick, enjoyable read. Some of the advice seemed a little brash though, and it definitely targeted a specific demographic that I am not a part of. While I appreciated the confidence boost I got while reading it, I’m not quite sure I’d incorporate too much of his advice into my own ideas of dating.