Book Review: Sharp Objects


Synopsis from

Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming.

Sharp Objects is Gillian Flynn’s first novel and I think it’s her best. Gone Girl may have the bigger plot twist but this book not only had a great plot twist but also an amazing protagonist and plot overall.

There’s so many things I loved about this book I’m not sure where to start. First, Flynn’s mind for the dark and twisted never ceases to amaze me. I literally just finished the book and knew I had to write this review right now before I forgot this feeling of terrifying fear and shock this book has left me in.

Word to the wise, do not read this book right before bed. It’ll take you forever to fall asleep because you’ll either be too caught up in the book to stop reading or you’ll finish it and just find yourself lying in bed staring up at the ceiling wondering what in God’s name made Flynn come up with this insane story.

The combination of the scarred protagonist, Camille, her unkind mother, Adora, and Camille’s creepy younger half-sister, Amma, makes for a family dynamic that’s scarring, strange, and at times will sometimes make your skin crawl. Add in the mysterious murders of two preteen girls, a small town that’s filled with gossip and secrets, and an out of town detective with a lot of questions and this book will keep you on your toes the whole ride.

Then, just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, Flynn hits you with a twist that makes this freaky story go from strange to downright nightmarish.

Definitely a page turner and definitely worth every cent. I feel like I need to read this book again and look for every clue I missed. I’m blown away. If you haven’t read this book yet do yourself a favor and pick it up. And maybe only read it when the sun’s up or with the lights on. This one really messed me up guys. If anyone needs me I’ll be reading a nice romance novel to get over this.

Borrow or Buy: Buy this. Buy this right now. Go!

Favorite Line:

Problems always start long before you really, really see them.



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Book Review: Dark Places


Synopsis from

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived–and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who’ve long forgotten her.

The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details–proof they hope may free Ben–Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club… and maybe she’ll admit her testimony wasn’t so solid after all.

As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the narrative flashes back to January 2, 1985. The events of that day are relayed through the eyes of Libby’s doomed family members–including Ben, a loner whose rage over his shiftless father and their failing farm have driven him into a disturbing friendship with the new girl in town. Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started–on the run from a killer.

After reading Gone Girl, much like most people I wanted to see what else Gillian Flynn had to say. Apparently it was another crazy story. This one I didn’t like as much as Gone Girl but I still enjoyed it.

The story follows Libby, the sole survivor of the murder of her family. Well excluding her brother, Ben, who’s been locked up for life for the murders and her father, Runner, who was never really part of the family to begin with. Similar to Gone Girl, the deaths of Libby’s family is really a mystery.

Although at the start of the novel Libby wholeheartedly believed her brother was responsible for the murders, after meeting the Kill Club, a group of somewhat strange people who make it their mission to solve crime mysteries, and hearing other people’s thoughts on the murders and what happened that night, Libby starts to question herself and her memories. She knows she lied about seeing Ben actually commit the murders but could there be more she was wrong about?

It took me a second time getting this book from the library before I actually finished it. It starts pretty slow and despite all that Libby’s been through it’s hard to sympathize with her. She’s not a pitiful character that needs to be comforted. She’s an adult with hard edges who steals, lies, and does whatever it takes to survive.

The way the story is written is what really pulled me in. It alternates between Libby’s point of view in the present, Ben’s in the past, and their mother, Patty’s, also in the past. As Libby digs deep deeper and deeper in the mystery of the murders, the past is moving closer and closer to the actual morning of the murders.

It was interesting to read what leads up to the murders and how both Patty and Ben’s actions got misconstrued into something dark and terrible. I found the resolution of the mystery a little lackluster and was hoping for a bigger twist but it was still unexpected and still interesting. I definitely think the gotcha moment in Gone Girl was much bigger and more exciting.

Overall, Flynn once again dragged me into a murder mystery that once I was sucked in I couldn’t be pulled out of.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow. It was good but it wasn’t rock my socks good. I wanted more from the ending. I’m not sure what exactly, but more.

Favorite Line: 

“The truly frightening flaw in humanity is our capacity for cruelty – we all have it.”


4 stars

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POLL: Should books be adapted into movies?


It seems now more than ever books are being turned into movies. From Harry Potter to Paper Towns it’s gotten a little out of control. It’s almost strange now if a best selling novel doesn’t become a movie. But is this a good thing? Yesterday guest poster Shant Istamboulian discussed books that were turned into great movies but that’s not always the case.

How do you feel about books becoming movies? Is it a bad idea or is it cool seeing your favorite books becoming films? Vote in the poll below.

Results of last week’s poll:

Which is the best Harry Potter book?

This was probably the closest poll I’ve ever had on this blog, which isn’t surprising. With a majority of only 30.77% the winner is The Prisoner of Azkaban. Also, Happy Birthday Harry!

Five Great Book-To-Film Adaptations

*This is a guest post written by Shant Istamboulian, writer of Shantipedia. Check out his awesome post and fantastic blog. Thursdays are guest post day. If you would like to be featured email*
the color purple

Adapting popular books into films has always been a popular idea. Since the silent era, filmmakers have reached into the publishing realm to inspire their vision. D.W. Griffith’s infamous and controversial movie, The Birth of a Nation, was based on Thomas Dixon, Jr.’s equally incendiary novel (later play) The Clansman, while Cecil B. DeMille used the Bible as the impetus for his 1927 film based on the life of Christ, King of Kings.

Classics ranging from Ben-Hur (the silent version and the Oscar-winning masterpiece starring Charlton Heston) to Gone with the Wind, were all based on best-selling books that entertained and challenged readers young and old alike.

The trend continued this past weekend with the release of Paper Towns, the popular YA novel by The Fault of Our Stars writer John Green, while later in the year we’ll see the release of the eagerly anticipated final chapter in the blockbuster Hunger Games franchise, Mockingjay—Part II.

Books are constantly being turned into movies, sometimes great, sometimes not, but in the past 30 years there’s definitely been some standouts. Here’s my top five.


The Color Purple (1985, based on the book by Alice Walker)

When screenwriter Menno Meyjes set out to adapt the Pulitzer Prize-winning book of the same name, he was met with a tall order. Alice Walker’s piece is structured as a collection of letters written by protagonist Celie (played by Whoopi Goldberg in the film). How do you turn that into a feature film screenplay? The unenviable task was handled with care by Meyjes and the resulting film is touching and powerful from first frame to last and proved to be a classic example of how to adapt tricky material. Filled with wonderful performances by a great cast, including Danny Glover and Oprah Winfrey in early, career boosting roles, The Color Purple also had the distinction of providing a bridge for Steven Spielberg to segue from blockbuster filmmaking to more prestige films which would later include Empire of the Sun, Schindler’s List, and Saving Private Ryan.


FANTASTIC MR. FOX (2009, based on the book by Roald Dahl)

Roald Dahl was a children’s writer but his books always contained an edge missing from others published in its day. This is why adapting his books has never been easy as filmmakers desperately try to toe the line between the sweet and salty. Most Dahl adaptations are serviceable at the very best. (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is considered a cult classic but a great adaptation of a Dahl book it is not.) The one filmmaker to successfully translate Dahl’s voice from page to screen was Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel). His version of The Fantastic Mr. Fox is a great time, thanks to wonderful stop-motion animation, a collection of star talent (George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray) that gets the material, and the perfect blending of tastes between author and filmmaker. Anderson’s style is not for everyone, but I dare you to watch this Fox without a smile on your face.


GONE GIRL (2014, based on the book by Gillian Flynn)

It’s rare for an author to adapt their own book into a screenplay. Rarer still is for them to knock it out of the park as Gillian Flynn did with her script to her dark page-turner. Working with David Fincher (Se7en, Fight Club), Flynn perfectly eliminates all the fat from her novel to deliver a tautly-paced stunner that never lets up, even to those who read the book (the “shock” moment in the book’s climax still managed to get me in the silver screen version). The Gone Girl script serves as a master class on how to adapt a popular novel and it was unfortunate that the Academy failed to nominate Flynn for a much deserved Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar (she would’ve deserved the win, too).


JACKIE BROWN (1997, based on the novel Rum Punch by Elmore Leonard)

Crime novelist Elmore Leonard always seemed like the bridesmaid when his work was adapted into films. While some of his westerns (3:10 to Yuma, Hombre) became minor classics, his crime novels never turned out the way you expected. Anyone remember 52 Pick-Up or Cat Chaser? It wasn’t until the late nineties when a trio of his books were turned into films that are now modern classics. Between 1995’s Get Shorty and 1998’s Out of Sight, Quentin Tarantino adapted his comic thriller Rum Punch into Jackie Brown. The brilliance of Jackie Brown is how Tarantino made the source material completely his own, changing protagonist Jackie Burke, a white, blonde-haired Miami flight attendant, to Jackie Brown, a black Los Angeles-based woman, while still retaining Leonard’s voice. Jackie Brown was Tarantino’s follow-up to Pulp Fiction so it didn’t get the proper attention it deserves, but with outstanding turns by Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton, Robert De Niro, Bridget Fonda, and the one and only Pam Grier (in the role of her career), who makes magic with co-star Robert Forster in his Oscar-nominated role, this is a must watch. Better yet, read Rum Punch before watching Jackie Brown and marvel at Tarantino’s achievement.


MISERY (1990, based on the book by Stephen King)

A Stephen King film adaptation comes around almost every year but none have reached the perfection that is Misery. Director Rob Reiner tackled King for the second time (after Stand by Me) with a little help from Oscar-winning screenwriter William Goldman (All the President’s Men) to deliver a sometimes darkly comic, mostly chilling take on what it means to take fandom to its limits. James Caan (as novelist Paul Sheldon) and Kathy Bates (as his “number one fan” Annie Wilkes) are superb, playing the ultimate game of one upmanship. Goldman (against his will) even managed to soften the novel’s most brutal moment (SPOILER ALERT: in the book Annie chops off Sheldon’s foot and cauterizes the wound) without sacrificing its integrity and created an iconic moment in the interim. Bates won a well-deserved Oscar for Best Actress and her performance still tingles the spine.

Book Review: Gone Girl


*This book is part of my POPSUGAR 2015 Reading Challenge*

Synopsis from

Marriage can be a real killer. One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers of our time, New York Times bestseller Gillian Flynn, takes that statement to its darkest place in this unputdownable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong. As The Washington Post proclaimed, her work “draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction.” Gone Girl’s toxic mix of sharp-edged wit with deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller that confounds you at every turn.

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick Dunne’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick Dunne isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but hearing from Amy through flashbacks in her diary reveal the perky perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer? As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister Margo at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was left in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

Employing her trademark razor-sharp writing and assured psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.

This book was crazier than I expected it to be, which is saying a lot because I thought it was going to be crazy. I heard from multiple people that I needed to read this book and that I “wasn’t ready.” They were all right. I was not prepared for this.

I don’t want to spoil this book for anyone because this is a book that just shouldn’t be spoiled. What I will say is both Nick and his wife Amy are very interesting characters. I liked the use of both of their point of views and how the book was split into three different parts.

Gillian Flynn did an excellent job of keeping the suspense throughout the whole book. I wasn’t sure who to believe or who to trust. I wasn’t sure if Amy was dead, if Nick had killed her, or if something entirely different was happening. I’ve read a few mysteries/suspense novels in the past and I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that caught me as off guard as this book did. I wasn’t expecting any of the twists and certainly was not expecting the ending.

I haven’t watched the movie just because I felt like I needed some time to recover from the book before I tried to actually watch this book come to life. Even so, I’m excited to watch it and see how they take the book to film because the way the book is set up I think it is crucial to the plot development.

If you haven’t had a chance to read this bestseller yet please make the time. You won’t regret it.

Borrow or Buy: Buy! Once you finish it you’ll want to go back and look for clues. The library already took my copy back and I’m upset. Don’t make my mistake.

Favorite Line: 

There’s a difference between really loving someone and loving the idea of her.

Stars: 5 out of 5. The book was brilliant. The ending was perplexing but I still liked it.

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