After Ever Happy by Anna Todd

What a roller coaster this series has been. The fourth book in this series definitely had more ups and downs than any of the others. Major spoilers ahead! You’ve been warned.

So the story picks up with Hardin finding out that Vance is his father. He absolutely loses it and ends up on a bender and abandoning Tessa yet again. She’s fed up, ready to be done with Hardin and goes home only to find her father dead of a drug overdose in their apartment. WHAT? I swear my jaw dropped when I read this part.

Hardin comes back and is finally ready to change, but Tessa isn’t ready to take him back. Really who could blame her? It’s not like he has a great track record and he apologizes over and over for the same things. It does seem like he’s changing this time.

Tessa ends up moving to New York with Landon and Hardin comes for a visit. Everything seems good UNTIL she finds out that he’s written a book about their love story. She reads it and seems to love it, but then we time jump and find out that she didn’t take him back yet.

They still love each other and decide to get married, but then they don’t. The ending time jumps a few more times (not a fan, by the way) and eventually you find out that they did get married and they have two biological children even though the doctor told her she would struggle to get pregnant.

I’m happy with how the story ended. I wish they didn’t have so many time jumps at the end. It would’ve been fine I think to just have one time jump in the epilogue that showed Hardin with little Emery and Tessa pregnant with Auden. We didn’t need the rest of that really.

I’m going to read Before next just because I’m interested in what that could possibly be about and how it’ll make me feel about Hardin now that I love the new and improved version of him.

I may also read the Landon series. I haven’t completely decided yet, but I like how Anna Todd set it up and didn’t really tell us who he was married to. I’m guessing this was in anticipation of the spin-off series. Are Tessa and Hardin in it too? I’ll definitely read it if they’re in it too.

Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

I had always heard that Frankenstein was boring for a horror novel and that it wasn’t really what most people expected. Though I am a huge horror fan, I haven’t read a lot of horror fiction and this was never really on my list of books I wanted to read.

One night recently I was looking for a movie to watch and decided to start the 2017 movie Mary Shelley staring Elle Fanning because the trailer looked pretty good. First of all, I thought the movie was great and I was kind of shocked to learn that most of what happened in the movie was true to Mary Shelley’s life. The reviews online aren’t great, but I really enjoyed it.

So after watching the movie I decided to finally read Frankenstein. I have to say, it wasn’t at all what I expected.

Maybe I wasn’t reading closely enough, or maybe it was intentional, but I felt like the creation of the creature went by really quickly and I wasn’t even sure that it had actually been done when Frankenstein says that it opened its yellow eyes. With him rushing out and leaving the creature behind, I wasn’t sure if it was something that he had imagined doing or not, especially when it was missing once he finally came back.

For a while I questioned the existence of the creature. When his brother was murdered and Justine was found guilty and executed for the murder I still thought that maybe Frankenstein was just mad and paranoid.

Honestly it wasn’t until he actually had the conversation with the creature that I believed it even existed. The creature’s story was really sad. He just wanted someone to accept him for what he was and not run away because of his appearance. You can kind of understand how he would end up so angry with Frankenstein after trying over and over to prove that he wasn’t some monster.

Just want to say here that it doesn’t make any sense for the creature to have learned to speak so well. That was the only thing that bothered me about the whole story. Curious if anyone else thought this as well when reading.

I understand that Frankenstein didn’t want to create another monster to put out in to the world, but also understood why the creature would be so upset to learn that his creator refused him some sort of happiness.

Frankenstein ends up losing everyone he loves to the vengeance of the creature and then spends the rest of his life hunting him down. There is a nice moment at the end when Frankenstein dies and the creature feels sad and regretful that he took away Frankenstein’s happiness and ultimately made him waste his life. It was pretty interesting that they both sort of felt this regret that they had caused each other so much pain.

I didn’t think the story was boring at all, and I actually found myself wanting to keep reading after finishing a chapter. It wasn’t very scary, but it was definitely interesting and well written. I can’t believe Mary Shelley was 18 when she started writing this. Kind of incredible honestly.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

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When I first started seeing trailers on TV for The Girl on the Train, I was super excited to see the movie. It reminded me a lot of Gone Girl, which I loved, so I was hoping for the same type of story. The Girl on the Train isn’t quite on the same level as Gone Girl, in my opinion, but I still really enjoyed it.

Usually when I read a book that a movie is based on, it’s because I saw the film version first and didn’t realize or have interest in reading the book before. In this case, I made the decision to wait to read the book until after I saw the movie. I feel like when I read the book after seeing the movie I fall in love with it more because it gives so many more details and insight into what is going on with the characters. In this case though, I found myself wishing I had read the book before.

I felt like the book didn’t have as big of an impact on me because I knew from the beginning how it was going to end. It was a strange feeling for me, because I often read books after seeing the movie and have not experienced this sort of thing before. I kind of think that I just wanted to experience the shock I would have felt while reading the book, and that because I already knew, it didn’t have such a big climax for me.

That’s not to say that the book wasn’t as good as the movie. I actually think that the book was better than the film version, and liked that there were some little differences between the two. The main difference was that the book took place in London, while the movie took place in New York. I thought that was an interesting change they made, and that Megan definitely seemed more like what I think of as an “American” girl. It’s possible that I just imagined her that way based on the actress that played her in the film.

I also liked that the book went into more detail about how far Rachel’s relationship with Scott went. The movie sort of hinted that this was what happened, but I really liked knowing for sure what was going on between the two of them.

Which brings me to Rachel. I really liked her, even though she is an unreliable narrator. You really want to root for her and trust that she didn’t do this to Megan, even though her pieces of memory suggest otherwise. Even when watching the movie, I never felt like she was the one who killed Megan. I actually really liked Megan too, and mostly just felt sorry for her. However, I really hated Anna throughout the whole book. Her reminiscing about being the other woman and missing that feeling of having someone want her in that way were kind of annoying. Even at the end she thought about letting Tom kill Rachel just so that she would have him to herself again, even though she knew that he had cheated on her too.

I also think that the book did a really good job of disguising Tom as the killer. Even though I knew from the movie, there were multiple times when I questioned it while reading the book and even thought that maybe they had changed the story for the film version. I had actually guessed it about half way through the movie and the book kept me questioning it right up until the end.

Even though The Girl on the Train wasn’t as crazy of a story as Gone Girl, I really enjoyed it. I liked that there were twists and that the characters all had their own interesting stories and points of view. I liked that I got to see what was going on from all sides of the story and really liked how it ended. Would definitely recommend to anyone interested in these types of thriller/suspense/mystery stories.

“Letters to Wendy’s” by Joe Wenderoth

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This story/series of letters was extremely disturbing to me. Some in my class found it funny, but I think most felt the same as me. If I worked at Wendy’s and received these letters in a comments box, as I assume they were intended to be written for, I would be so freaked out. This man would probably be banned from Wendy’s forever if this was true.

I feel like the whole point of the letters was to shock whoever reads this. Once again I’m a little concerned about my professor and the stories he decides to assign us.

The writing was good and there was a definite flow, but I could not get over how creepy this guy was. I also kind of wish that he wrote more about his life in the letters. I wanted to know if he was in a relationship that wasn’t working out or if he just had some serious issues he was dealing with. He does discuss that a little bit when he writes about his mother spanking him, but I wanted to know more. The whole thing kind of felt like he was just trying to be weird and write about his strange sexual fantasiesSide note: My ex-boyfriend worked for Wendy’s and I honestly could never eat there again after hearing him talk about it. Never eat the chili.

The Prophet from Jupiter by Tony Earley

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This story was very monotonous and had elements of a stream of consciousness that made it sort of hard to follow. The narrator would be talking about the present in one sentence and then go to a memory from the past in the next sentence without any sort of transition. I had to pay closer attention to the little details than I usually do and had to do a little more work on my part to figure out what time frame he was talking about.

Even though it was hard to follow, the story was good. I felt bad for the narrator who had experienced all of this and seemed like he was having trouble accepting all of the things that were going on around him. He was very good at remembering details and conversations that he had with people. I think it would be difficult to have this monotonous stream of consciousness and still produce a story that creates a bit of emotion, but Tony Earley was successful in doing that with me.

Demonology by Rick Moody

c260f1e60123f1475bc17dfc95658746I enjoyed reading this story. From the very beginning it hinted at something possibly happening to the sister. I think the mood and tone of the story really suggested at that.

The way that this story was written was kind of hard to follow. It seemed like it jumped around a little bit and I wasn’t very sure of the time period/frame that things were happening in.

However, the way the narrator was describing the different memories sort of reminded me of how it is to be at a viewing and look at the boards of pictures around the room. Seeing these photographs would bring up all these memories, and if that was what Moody was doing, it was a clever way to hint at a funeral.

I thought that the photographs and describing them were an interesting way to bring more realism to the story. People can relate to seeing photographs of their loved ones and having memories return to them.

The realism element definitely made me feel some shock and emotion when the sister died. If the story had been completely fictionalized, the feeling associated with her death may not have come through as well.

A Perfect Day for Bananafish by J.D. Salinger

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I think that J.D. Salinger is a very good writer and that he succeeded with making the dialogue in “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” really sharp, in order to make up for the lack of inner monologue. Not having that step into the characters’ heads really allowed for me to think about what was going on and figure things out for myself, which I really like. It also gave the reader a sense of mystery, I found myself wondering what was going to happen. I definitely did not expect that ending, but looking back it makes sense for him to die after talking to the little girl about how bananafish gorge themselves on bananas and then die.

I think that I knew something was wrong with the soldier when the girl’s mother kept asking her if she was okay and if he had done anything to her. At first it seemed like she was just an overbearing mother, and that is how the girl kind of portrayed her by blowing off all of her questions. However, it seemed like the mother was being serious and that she was really worried about her daughter.

I also found the conversation between the soldier and the little girl very interesting. I’m sure that it was meant to show that he could better communicate with children and that he felt more at ease around those who had not yet lost their innocence. This is definitely something that would make sense for a person who was probably suffering from some sort of post-traumatic stress disorder and could no longer relate to the “grown-ups” around him. However, in a modern day and age, and I guess my own modern views he bordered on creepy for me. I guess back then it was socially acceptable to leave your child on a beach alone and maybe for people to interact with that child, but the soldier kissing the child’s feet borderlined on pedophilia a bit too much for me. Maybe I’m just taking that the wrong way and its supposed to just be this sweet moment and last connection the soldier makes before he decides to kill himself.