Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

I really don’t know why, but it took me forever to get through this book. I think it may have been because it was so similar to the show that it wasn’t really interesting to me, or didn’t really add anything to the story enough for me to stay interested. Honestly though, that’s a compliment to the show because it means they did really well with the details!

I will say, the story did get a lot more interesting once we got to the murders and what Grace did remember. I did also like that we got to see Dr. Jordan meeting with more people that knew Grace and that he went to the house where the murders took place.

I expected the hypnotism to be more exciting in the book, but I guess it can’t be too sensational if it’s supposed to be believable. The acting in the show was perfect and made this scene so creepy!

One thing I really didn’t like was how both Jeremiah and Dr. Jordan kind of fled after the hypnotism. It seemed like both of them were trying to be helpful and then it was like they both just gave up. I really thought that they would help her get out sooner, but I guess since this is fiction based on a true story we wouldn’t be able to have her get out of the penitentiary earlier than she actually did.

It was also disappointing that Dr. Jordan’s memory was affected in the war, resulting in him being no help to Grace whatsoever. Honestly it made his whole role in the story pretty pointless. I’m not sure how much of this is historically accurate, but if this is what really happened then that really sucks.

Although I’m not sure myself whether Grace was innocent or if she was suffering from some sort of mental/post-traumatic stress disorder, I am glad that she was pardoned and was able to live the rest of her life with some sort of freedom. She definitely was very unlucky in life, so it was nice that she sort of had a happy ending. Not sure that I wanted her to end up with Jamie, but honestly it could’ve been way worse.

I hope she did have a happy ending. It would be nice to know what really happened.

After by Anna Todd

I’m really not sure where to begin with this one. I guess I’ll start with a little explanation.

My mom told me a few months ago that she had watched a movie called After on Netflix and she thought I would like it. Honestly it didn’t sound that great from the description, but after spending an hour trying to find something to watch I decided to give it a shot.

Honestly I was surprised at how much I actually liked the movie. I guess I think that since I’m an adult I won’t like these teen love stories anymore, but really I should just admit to myself that they get me every time.

Obviously, I was excited when I found out that it was originally a book series and that there were multiple books in the series. UNTIL I stumbled across the Wikipedia page where I found out that this was originally written as Harry Styles fan-fiction.

I will say, I’m a big Harry Styles fan and definitely had a crush on him when he was in One Direction. I’m just not really usually impressed by fan-fiction and honestly would never have put two and two together that Hardin Scott was modeled after Harry Styles.

Even after reading the book, it’s hard for me to understand why Anna Todd would turn Harry Styles into this horrible, manipulative character. I mean, are we really supposed to believe that the guy who wears flowery suits would act this way towards a woman that he truly loves? I definitely had to disassociate my idea of Harry Styles from the character of Hardin Scott when reading this book.

That being said, I actually really enjoyed reading it. Hardin is horrible and Tessa definitely shouldn’t have stayed with him this long. He’s crazy manipulative and controlling, and the way he is with her is borderline abuse, but I found myself unable to put this book down. Honestly Tessa isn’t much better. They both overreact whenever they argue and even though she tries to see things from his point of view, she still seems to be unwilling to change for the relationship even though she asks him multiple times to change for her.

This really isn’t some great work of literature, but it is entertaining. I’m definitely going to read the next book. Since there are 5 of them, I’m assuming she forgives Hardin again and takes him back. I’m sure they’ll fight more and break up about a million more times, but I do kind of need to know what comes next.

So even though I’m conflicted about the inspiration for the story, I have to say Anna Todd does really know how to keep someone interested with her writing. Maybe it’s sort of like a car crash you can’t look away from? Anyone else feel this way reading it?

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

I remember being little and watching The Haunting when it first came out in 1999. I’ve seen the movie about a million times since then and honestly can’t believe that I never knew it was a book.

It wasn’t until Netflix adapted it into a series that I realized it was based on the novel of the same name and absolutely decided that I had to read it. (Side note: Netflix is becoming a bit of a theme here isn’t it?)

The movie is definitely a closer adaptation of the book than the show was, but I feel like all three were done really well and told the story of Hill House.

I actually don’t think I’ve ever read a “horror” novel before, so this was a first. It was really creepy and I really liked the little scenes here and there that showed the house was haunted.

All of the characters had very strange, very different personalities. It was interesting to see how their personalities meshed together. It was obvious from the beginning that Nell was being affected by the house the most. I honestly was absolutely positive she was going to jump off that tower (probably because of Nell’s fate in the series).

The crash at the end happened pretty quickly, so I wasn’t sure that Nell had actually died. I hoped that she didn’t, or that if she did there would be a little bit about her ghost.

It’s super creepy how the house seems to consume the people in it. The series did a really good job showing that too.

I’m interested in seeing what the next season will be about since they’ve stated that it’ll be an entirely different storyline. It’s kind of sad honestly because I really fell in love with those characters, but it did have a good ending.

I did really like how there were subtle nods to things in the book in the series like the cup of stars, throwing rocks at the glass greenhouse, and the poem that the flapper woman recites.

Highly recommend the book if you’re a fan of the show. It was definitely worth the read.

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

I definitely jumped on the Bird Box bandwagon when this movie first came out on Netflix. It was crazy how much it blew up on social media and how popular it became so quickly.

I really enjoyed the movie but there were a few things I had questions about, so I hoped that reading the book would explain everything better.

There were a lot of differences right off the bat. The story starts a lot slower, Malorie is living with her sister for awhile when it all starts happening around them and she saw an ad in the paper that mentioned a safe house. Definitely understand why they sped things up in the movie. I’m not sure it’s very believable that with all this panic going on someone took the time to go out and pay for an add in the newspaper.

The whole thing with Gary was really crazy, both in the movie and the book. I definitely liked how it was written better than how it was portrayed in the movie. It just didn’t make sense that he seemed normal and then was crazy out of nowhere. The book explains that he’s sort of immune to whatever is going on outside and believes that others can be immune too. That just makes more sense to me.

I can’t believe that after they kicked him out he was hiding in the attic and that Don was the one that pulled down all the curtains and blankets. I also can’t believe that everyone died and Malorie had the patience to wait that long by herself with babies before attempting to go down the river.

Ending at the school for the blind is definitely interesting. I’m curious why the author  chose to have people there who blinded themselves. It’s definitely understandable given the situation, and she understood because she almost blinded the babies. Maybe it makes her trust them because she could relate and they’re honest about it? Just felt like a weird detail to throw in at the end.

This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald

In high school I was assigned The Great Gatsby and absolutely fell in love with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s storytelling. My grandmother had a collection of his short stories and I read through them pretty quickly. I’ve always meant to read more of Fitzgerald’s work, but have definitely let other books take precedence over them.

I finally decided to sit down and read This Side of Paradise.

From the beginning, Amory is an odd child. He’s definitely privileged, thinks he’s smarter and better than everyone else. He doesn’t believe that the people around him, other than his mother, can hold intelligent conversations with him.

He believes that he thinks differently than other people. I’ve read that Fitzgerald based Amory on himself, which is actually kind of funny because I do think that creative people believe that they think differently from other people and that others won’t understand their ideas. I feel like I’ve felt that way about myself a few times, not to say that I’m necessarily the most creative person in the world, but I think my brain sometimes works differently than others.

The story continues and Amory moves to Chicago where he meets a girl that he sort of likes. Throughout the story, he basically will fall for every girl that’s beautiful and slightly different from how he expects a woman to think or act. I guess this relates back to him thinking that he’s different and he’s attracted to anything that also seems to stray from the norm.

He eventually goes away to school and again doesn’t fit in with anyone. He still has this mindset that he’s a free-thinker and that he’s above everyone and everything, doesn’t really try to fit in. It’s surprising honestly that he finishes college.

He then goes to war. I was a bit surprised that there wasn’t much to this part of the story. I guess maybe Fitzgerald didn’t think it was relevant enough?

Amory returns home and falls in love with Rosalind. Once again it’s a very quick and sort of shallow love. She was probably right that it wouldn’t have lasted, but he couldn’t accept it because he wasn’t the one to end their relationship.

It’s hard to feel sorry for him honestly. He’s so entitled and really makes poor decisions very spontaneously. After Rosalind breaks his heart he feels sorry for himself, becomes an alcoholic, loses his job, and spends the rest of his family money on alcohol.

By the end he’s still struggling to fit into society and there’s a long conversation he has about socialism in the back of a taxi.

I’m just not really sure what this book was about or if there was a point to it. I guess Fitzgerald was just sort of writing about his personal feelings and things that he’s experienced in his life. It was interesting, but it’s sort of shocking to me how much people seem to love this book. I’m not sure that I’d ever recommend it to someone or that I’d choose to read it again.

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (Series) by Jenny Han

After hearing a lot about the movie, I finally sat down one day and watched To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before on Netflix. I absolutely loved it. It was so cute and relatable. It made me laugh and cry. I just really loved it.

Of course I had to read the books. They were so good, I could seriously read about Lara Jean and Peter all day long. I actually wish that was an option in life.

I read the three books in this series so quickly that it doesn’t make sense for me to make three separate posts about how great they were and how much I loved each one. Definitely light reading compared to some of the other books I’ve read, but they were all so so enjoyable to read.

I was actually pretty upset after reading them all that Jenny Han said she wouldn’t be writing any more books about Lara Jean. I want to know about Korea, college with Peter, the rest of their lives, etc.!

I’m so glad that Netflix announced they’d be making the second movie and the cast looks really great. Definitely looking forward to it’s release!

The Shape of Water by Guillermo del Toro

So this is actually pretty interesting because I believe Guillermo del Toro released the book after the movie came out. If I’m wrong about this, please let me know.

I was at Books A Million one day and they had a whole table full of books that had been adapted into movies and I saw The Shape of Water there. It wasn’t until later that I actually downloaded it onto my Kindle and realized that it was more of a movie adapted into a book. At first I was a little put off by it, to be honest. I really enjoyed the movie and just felt like maybe del Toro did this to explain things better and to me that meant that he felt he didn’t explain it well enough in the movie.

The beginning of the book was really slow for me and it actually took me a really long time to read it because of this. I just didn’t care about the tracking of the creature in the Amazon or Lainie’s move to Baltimore. The only parts I was interested in reading were from Elisa’s point of view because she was deaf and it was actually interesting to read her thoughts.

It’s actually funny that I had to drag myself through Lainie’s parts at the beginning because she ended up being one of my favorite characters. She didn’t have a large role in the movie from what I remember, so it was nice to get to see her story line evolve in the book.

The second half of the book was much more interesting to read. I usually don’t read science fiction-type stories, but I actually liked the love story between Elisa and the creature and how they went through awful things to end up together. I think that’s relatable enough for a reader, without hoping you’ll one day meet the fish man of your dreams.

Despite some parts being slow, this was incredibly well written from the different points of view. You really get a good sense of each character’s personality and that’s really important to telling a good story.

The fish/creature/man’s point of view was pretty weird though. It definitely added to the story, but it was an odd choice to make when the lack of communication between it and everyone else was such a strong focus. I also find it hard to believe that it’s thoughts would be in English.

Overall really interesting to read and definitely added something to the movie. Would 100% recommend to anyone who loved the film.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Man, Gillian Flynn really writes about the worst women. I mentioned in my last post that I watched this movie when it came out and wasn’t really impressed, but I must have totally forgotten the ending. Maybe I just wasn’t paying attention or it was too hard to follow?

This story was much more graphic than Gone Girl and Sharp Objects. I actually read the majority of this book while I was waiting for/on my flight home from Scotland. I was worried that the guy next to me on the plane would read it over my shoulder and judge me because of it (lol!).

This book was really so good. I really enjoyed how it jumped back and forth between the past and the present to slowly tell the entire story. It helped build the suspense and really made me want to keep going to get to the next part of the story, if that makes sense.

I really felt bad for everyone involved in this one. At the beginning I felt like Libby was very unlikable and acted childish, but she’s actually very easy to relate to and I did really like her by the end. The only person I didn’t care much for is Diondra.

The entire thing with Ben and Diondra sucked. I wanted to scream at him for being so dumb and going along with her on everything. I really felt so bad for him, and it was all her fault.

This story really shows the chain reaction of how one thing could change your entire life and that you should be careful how you treat people and what you say about others. It’s really sad how so many people were affected by what happened.

I do wish there were more details about the other sisters. I feel like I didn’t really care about them so much because I didn’t know anything about them. It mentions that one liked to gossip and the other liked pretty things. I just feel like that’s not enough. I guess Libby wouldn’t really know much, so I’m not sure how they would have done that.

I really need to go back and watch the movie now because I completely forgot the ending.

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

I really enjoyed Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, so when I heard that HBO was making a show based on another one of her books I was definitely intrigued. I watched the show before reading the book and absolutely loved it. The acting was so good, and I was completely shocked with the ending. Of course, I had to read the book afterwards.

There were so many more details that helped explain things in the show. Meredith talking about Amma’s biting explained the teeth pulling so much better, and it was something I was curious about when the show was on.

I don’t think I realized that Amma was only 13. Maybe because the actress looks a lot older and I definitely wasn’t doing the things she was doing when I was 13. It’s pretty crazy to think a person that young is capable of doing the things that she did. I wonder how much of it was because of her mother and the way she was raised.

The book had so many more details in the ending, so I’m really glad that I did read it. The show had a few flashes at the end revealing Amma and her friends as the murderers, but the book really goes into detail about what happened after Camille figures it all out. It was definitely an enjoyable read.

Pretty sure I’m going to read Dark Places next. I saw that movie when it came out and wasn’t really interested in the story, but I’m thinking it may make more sense if I read the book. Plus Gillian Flynn is obviously a great storyteller and I kind of just want to get my hands on anything she writes at this point.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

I’m back again with some new posts! I really try to keep up with this blog and I’m constantly reading. It’s just always a struggle for me to motivate myself enough to log in and post reviews (so lazy, I know!). I’m not really sure anyone checks out this site, other than my Grandma and a few people who have mentioned seeing it to me here and there. I really appreciate any one who’s looked at any of my posts since I started this a few years ago.

Hopefully one day I’ll get myself into shape and have a schedule for posting regularly. I do have lots of plans for where I’d like to go with the posts and moving past just the reviews, so bear with me, we’ll get there eventually!

Anyway, back to the review! I read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes really, really fast. The dynamic between Will and Lou was really interesting and Jojo Moyes definitely did a good job creating chemistry between the two characters.

I had seen the movie before reading the book (sort of my thing, isn’t it?), so I knew how their story was going to end. Sometimes I really hate knowing how a book is going to end, but I also think that you know it’s a good book when you know the ending and you’re still really hoping that something will change. I definitely felt that way about this book. I really wanted a happy ending for Will and Lou.

It’s definitely interesting to read a story about assisted suicide. I can see how it could be a touchy subject, and I understand family and friends wanting to keep their loved ones alive. I just think that if someone really wants to die, assisted suicide is probably better than them doing it themselves and their family members having to find them that way. Especially if they’re in pain or their quality of life won’t ever be the same. I’m curious what other people think about this topic. Anyone want to share their opinion in the comments?

I really, really enjoyed reading this book and seeing how Lou and Will’s personalities mixed. I think there were two books after this that focus on what Lou did after Will’s death, but I read some reviews online and it seemed like the general consensus was that people didn’t like the other books as much as the first one. I’m not sure if I’ll read those or not. At this point I probably won’t, since there are so many other books that I want to read and it sounds like they’re not great anyway. If anyone disagrees and thinks they’re worth the read, let me know! Change my mind 🙂