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.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Took a little break from Harry Potter before coming back to read the final book, but it felt so good to come back and all I have to say is WOW. This book was seriously sooooo good.

It’s definitely the best out of all of them. Seriously there was so much action from beginning to end, I’m not surprised at all that they decided to break it up into two movies.

I am so sad that so many characters had to die in the end. It was hard to read about the deaths of so many of them.

I really can’t believe I never read these books before now. I grew up with these books around constantly and I’m so sad that I missed out on the hype of the new books being released and the movies coming out, but I’m so glad that I’ve read them now. Better late than never, right?

Seriously this series is just so amazing and the writing is so good. Everyone should read these books. I can’t believe I’m done!

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall was one of those movies that really makes you think about your life and the way that you treat people. There are things that I said and did in high school that I 100% regret and wish that I could take back, and in this story Sam got the chance to change how she treated the people in her life.

It’s one of those stories that really makes you realize that everything you say and do can affect someone in a way that you didn’t intentionally mean, and that you should do your best to be good to others and honest about your feelings because you never know when it will be your last day on this Earth.

Basically, I really like this movie and I loved the book even more.

Even though I knew how the story would end, while I was reading I couldn’t help but hope that it would be different and that somehow both Sam and Juliet could be saved.

It’s definitely a sad story and I’m not going to lie, it was hard to read about a girl killing herself over and over again. But it’s a good story and it has a good message.

Seriously, why are people so afraid to live their lives the way they want? We should be able to speak our mind and tell people how we really feel without worrying about being judged for it by others. Why do people care so much about what others do? It doesn’t make sense.

Live your life the way you want, tell the people that you love that you love them, be a good person, and read this book 🙂

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

I watched the first season of 13 Reasons Why as soon as it came out on Netflix. It was hard to watch at times, but I absolutely loved the characters and that the show was opening up a dialogue about mental health issues. When I found out that the show was based on a book, I had to read it.

I’ll admit, I was a little disappointed with the book. Usually, when a show or movie is based on the book I love it because I get to learn more about the characters and how they’re feeling.

The number one thing that bothered me about the show was how long it took Clay to listen to the tapes. In the book, it’s too fast. It actually made me appreciate the show and how it gave you time to emotionally deal with each revelation. It make me realize that it was actually probably pretty hard for Clay to keep listening, which is why it took so long. In the book, it was just one after the other in one night.

I also feel like I don’t know anything about the people on the tapes from the book. The show did such a good job building these characters that it feels wrong to be judging them from one or two things that the they did to Hannah.

I felt bad for every one of them in the show (except Bryce) and Hannah makes them seem like they’re just horrible people all of the time. Although a lot of the things they did to her were awful and mean, I don’t think they really knew what all was going on in her life, and she didn’t know what they were also going through.

The book left me wanting so much more, so I’m really glad that the show exists and that the continued to build on these characters in the second season. In the book, you don’t even get to see how Clay reacted to being around these people after he finished the tapes and that’s what I was most looking forward to when I was reading it.

They really did such a good job with the show. I understand the controversy, but I think that parents can use it as a way to talk to their kids. The issues in the show are real things that happen to people of all ages. It’s definitely uncomfortable to talk about, but we need to be talking about them.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins


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.