The Book That Made Me Fall in Love With Reading!

 

Now that I think about it I feel like I should have wrote my review to this book a long time ago. Harper Lee is one of my all time favorite authors and the fact that it took me this long to realize that I hadn’t reviewed her books yet makes me sad!!

Before I get to the book review I think it’s only appropriate that I talk about the amazing Harper Lee herself!

Harper Lee is best known for writing the Pulitzer Prize-winning bestseller To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) and Go Set a Watchman (2015). Lee was born April 28, 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama. She is the youngest of four children, grew up a tomboy in a small town where her father was a lawyer, a member of the Alabama state legislature and owned a portion of the local news paper…hmm does that sound familiar to anyone?!? For most of her life however, her mother was said to have suffered from a mental illness (supposedly bipolar disorder) and she rarely left the house.

She grew up with Truman Capote (who would later also become a writer). During their childhood, Lee who was tougher than most of the boys she knew, often stepped up to protect Truman who was often picked on for being sensitive and not sharing many interests (if at all any) that other boys his age had. Though Truman and Lee were very different, they had one major similarity; they had touch home lives.

Fast forwarding to her college years; in her junior year at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, she was accepted into the university’s law school. The demands of her law studies however, forced her to give up things that she loved, such as writing for the Rammer Jammer and being it’s editor. After one year in the program Lee expressed that writing was her true passion.

Lee went to Oxford University in England as an exchange student, after returning to her law studies that fall, Lee dropped out after the first semester and moved north to follow her dreams of becoming a writer.

For several years she struggled in New York City, working as a ticket agent. However while she was there she was reunited with her old friend Capote who was one of literatures rising stars of the time and also befriended the Broadway composer and lyricist Michael Martin Brown, who later that year would offer her the best present an aspiring writer could ever receive; Brown and his wife offered to support Lee for a year so that she could begin writing full time. The Browns were also kind enough to help her find an agent who would later get a publisher (J.B. Lippincott Company) interested in her work. While working with the editor, Lee was able to write the manuscript, set in a small Alabama town, which would later become her novel To Kill a Mockingbird.

To Kill a Mockingbird is the book of Lee’s that I am going to be reviewing first (a review of Go Set a Watchman will be coming later!). I read this book for the first time when I was in seventh grade and I loved it. I enjoyed reading before I read this book, but I can honestly say that this book made me fall in love with reading!

Continue reading “The Book That Made Me Fall in Love With Reading!”

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#Millennials #GenerationY

Before we get started with this book review….yes I said book review (did the title throw you off?? #sorrynotsorry), let me start off with a little bit of background information for those of you who might not know what/who a millennial is.

Millennials, also referred to as generation Y, applies to individuals who reached adulthood around the turn of the 21st century. The term is credited to the authors of the book Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069; Neil Howe and William Strauss. They specifically defined the term as related to any individual that was born between 1982 and 2004.

Millennials grew up in an electronic-filled and increasingly developing online world filled with social-networking and caring about how many likes your statuses and photos get. Though most like to associate negative thoughts and ideas with millennials I feel that often times there are other aspects of this group of people that are often overlooked (also don’t forget you can’t just assume that someone born between ’82 and ’04 has every trait that a millennial is supposed to have…I don’t think I do and I was born in ;92!). Anyways, this generation is generally the most ethnically diverse generation and were raised in a time where they could be very tolerant to differences instead of lashing out or critical of people/things for their difference.

The biggest thing associated with millennials is technology. Unlike some generations, millennials grew up with computers and the internet. I remember being in middle school and rushing home to get my homework done so that I could spend hours making my AIM (AOL instant messager) away message was perfect…and then once it was I would sit there and wait for someone I wanted to talk to, to come on and I would suddenly come back from being “away”…yeah that was a thing. Oh, and please don’t even get me started on Myspace…..the top friends list….that was stressful…and the profile pictures….nope don’t even want to talk about it!  That leads me perfectly into what this book is about….

 

First of all the book is called Startup and is written by a writer for Buzzfeed, Doree Shafrir. This book is fittingly all about tech culture in New York City. But it is honestly much more than just a book about millennials and their life in tech culture in the city. It focuses on what it is like for journalists to chase a story down and get it up and running; it looks at how we use apps to navigate us through our daily lives…sometimes the simplest of tasks…there’s an app for that! But what I love the most about this book is how it focuses on how things have evolved throughout this digital age.

This workplace drama filled with Snapchats and anonymous Twitter accounts centers around a modern yet also timeless issue….love affairs in the workplace! It is also a story of youth, ambition, relationships and their fallouts, ethics in journalism, bromances, sexting, and so much more! The subtle twists and turns in this book are what really made it an enjoyable read for me.

I would really like to see another book in the future….after reading the book and pondering on it for a while I realize now that I have a lot of questions that I need answered. Which I will not share because if you are going to go get the book then well…it would spoil it for you and I don’t want to do that! But even with some unanswered questions, this was a good read and I hope some of you will check it out too!

Have you read Startup? What did you think??
Are you technically considered a Millennial? Do you agree or disagree with the definition of a Millennial?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Xoxo, Shelby

 

Sons of Anarchy Meets 50 Shades of Grey?!?!

How many people can say that they got the chance to interview an author of a book that they read and loved?!?! I am more than excited to announce that I had the opportunity to interview Stephanie Blakeman, the author of If the Key Fits. If you haven’t read this book yet….you need to, it was so incredibly good!

Before I get into the interview questions let me give you a little synopsis of the book!

Casey Calvert is living the life that she has always dreamed of after surviving a too close for comfort brush with death. She up and moved to a small town where she has managed to not only find her dream job, but the perfect fiancé, life seriously couldn’t get any better!! The best part? No one has any idea that she came from anything short of a respectable New York upbringing. Her not so perfect, perfect life, gets shaken up when she is confronted by Gavin, or Blaze as she once knew him.

Blaze was the only man that Casey had ever loved and was the one person that she trusted to get her out of trouble. However, when she was supposed to meet him to run away, she was instead greeted by her at the time boyfriend (and the head of the MC) Slayer….you could say that he was anything less than happy and this is where Casey found herself deep in trouble with the MC.

Gavin Matthews… broke the number one rule of going undercover…..don’t get personal. He is still struggling to put the time he spent with Sinner’s Breed MC (motorcycle club) behind him, even after being released from protective custody. Instead of moving on, he spends his days trying to figure out the ways that he could have saved the girl that he accidentally fell in love with.

When their connection is released from prison, once again Gavin is sent in to protect Casey. This time however is a little different. Underneath the person that she is trying to be, Casey is even more broken and damaged than she was before and Gavin knows that unfortunately he is the main source of her pain. While protecting her Gavin has a huge task ahead of him, he needs to convince her that he is still the same person that she knew before while also proving to her that he will do anything to make things right, no matter what that means.

They say that it takes a saint to save a sinner….sometimes, it takes a sinner to save a saint.

 

Continue reading “Sons of Anarchy Meets 50 Shades of Grey?!?!”

This book was literally Everything, Everything!

I hope at least one person got the title of this post….if you did please tell me in the comments below!!!

In case you didn’t….I’m reviewing the book Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. Yes I know it is also a movie, but I haven’t seen the movie. I’m the type of person that must read the book before I see the movie it was made into. Most of the time the movie disappoints me anyways because they always chose to leave out important things from the book that should really be included from the book but I’m not a director or a screen writer so that’s just my opinion!

Enough about that, let’s get on with the review! Just in case you have no idea what this book/movie is about let me tell you just a little bit…

Maddy has a rare and famous disease, she’s basically allergic to the outside world and is forced to be confined to her house. She has been stuck inside her house, with her mother and her nurse and occasionally a few other guests. However these guests have to go through extensive health checks before they can come into the house. This poor girl hasn’t left her house in seventeen years.

One day as she’s sitting in her house, she hears a moving truck pull up next door. She looks out her window and she sees a boy. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black – a black t-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that completely covered his hair. As she’s looking through her window, he catches her looking at him and stares at her. She stares back. She later finds out his name is Olly, and she knew from that very moment that she would certainly fall in love with boy. But she also knew that I would end in a complete and utter disaster.


To say that I loved this book would be an understatement. I read exactly half of it in one night….staying up way too late might I add! But I didn’t care! I didn’t want to put the book down.

The writing style with all of the different drawings and notes and the emails and messages back and forth between Olly and Maddy were some of my favorite touches of this book. I also really enjoyed how it had a similar feel to The Fault in Our Stars (another amazing book I may just have to do a review on…and that one I did see the movie….and loved it just as much as I loved the book…shocker!!).

The book began beautifully with diverse and interesting characters, who are falling in love but cannot act upon their feelings. Their relationship builds rapidly though all they can do is mime through the window and chat online with one another. I’m a sucker for a love story and I loved how much Olly and Maddy truly loved each other.

Now…I won’t spoil it completely but I will say that the ending had me both shocked and a little disappointed. In my own personal opinion it took away from the whole premise of the book. At the same time I can appreciate this special twist but I could’ve been happy with a different ending. I promise you that if you read this book (or maybe even if you see the movie because I’m sure they didn’t leave this particular detail out), you will be shocked by the ending too. My jaw literally dropped! I’m not going to lie part of me (the romantic side of me that always wants a happy ending for the couples in books or movies because I believe that everyone deserves happiness!) was happy that the book ended the way that it did!

Want to know how it ended?? Check it out for yourself! Have you read the book or seen the movie?? If so which one did you like better? Have you read any of Yoon’s books? If so which ones? I’ve also read The Sun Is Also a Star (and did a review on it already…go check it out!!) Happy Reading!

Xo’s Shelby

Mind…..Blown…..

Have you ever read a book and felt like you knew exactly what was going on the entire time?? Thought you had it all figured out….until the final few chapters and then all of a sudden the truth hits you out of nowhere? Yeah, that was this book!

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough is one of the most amazing, addicting, intriguing and consuming books that I have ever read. I can honestly say that I was consumed by this book. I stayed up way too late on one too many occasions reading this book. After the first night of reading the book, 92 pages in (30% of the book read at this point) I thought I had it all figured out. I wrote this comment on Goodreads “I’m addicted and starting to think I have a theory….don’t want to spoil anything for anyone but I feel like Adele has cancer or some other terminal illness at this point. She knows her husband is cheating but instead of getting angry she’s befriending his mistress and making a plan?”

 

Well….let me just say that I was so far out in left field with that guess that it wasn’t even funny! Okay maybe it was a little funny?? As I continued to read the book my mind did change a little bit and I think I came up with at least 10 other different scenarios that could’ve been possible. I’m not gonna lie for the longest time I honestly just thought that Adele was certifiably crazy! Then just like Louise I feel for her act and almost felt sympathy for her and began to think that David (her husband) was the crazy, manipulative and overbearing one in the relationship. But when I thought about that theory I thought to myself, that can’t be possible because he doesn’t treat Louise that way so why would he treat his wife that way?? Granted it could have been because he wasn’t happy in the marriage but why not just divorce her? David and Adele had some secret that was holding them together but what could be so terrible that he can’t divorce her??

I could talk about this book for hours….in fact I talked about it to a friend for a good hour! But I don’t want to give any spoilers! So here is the summary that Goodreads has on their website.

“Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone.

When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar…who says the kiss was a terrible mistake but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.

And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend, but she also just happens to be married to David. David and Adele look like the picture-perfect husband and wife but then why is David so controlling, and why is Adele so scared of him?

As Louise is drawn into David and Adele’s orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong, but Louise can’t guess how wrong – and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.”

After reading that I’m sure you know why I picked this book for my selection from Book of the Month! (I mean honestly this was the best idea ever….thanks Book of the Month for existing!!). This book clearly did not disappoint me one bit and I can promise you that if you read it, it wont disappoint you either!!

Have you ever read any other books by Sarah Pinborough?? If so what book was it and what did you think of it?? Have you read this book?? What did you think of it??? Leave it in the comments below!!! Happy reading!

Xo’s Shelby

1 Short Story With a Big Twist!

I opened this book and I will say the first line had me in….shock? I won’t tell you what the line is because if you read the book I want you to have the same first reaction that I did! But what I can tell you is that I absolutely loved this short story!

This was the first book by Gillian Flynn that I have ever read and The GrownUp did not disappoint one bit! I never knew that a 64 page book could give someone chills! (Yes I just said this book was only 64 pages!)

Flynn’s writing played with my mind the entire time I was reading this story. I kept thinking to myself that I knew exactly what was happening and what was going to happen. But the more I read the more I kept questioning myself. Originally when I completed this book I thought to myself, “I need more!!” But now that I’ve had some time to process…I’m glad that it was left open-ended.

There are some instances where explanations and closure are needed, and when it comes to books I am usually all about getting closure. This book was different, this book plays with your mind and gives you, the reader the opportunity to create your own truth and your own ending and I really enjoyed that.

In this novel a canny young woman is struggling to survive by perpetrating various levels of mostly harmless fraud. One rainy April morning, she is reading auras at the Spiritual Palms (where she works) when Susan Burke walks in. A keen observer of human behavior, our narrator immediately notices that Susan, though rich, is an unhappy woman who is eager to give her lovely life a drama injection. However, why this “psychic” visits the eerie Victorian home, the source of Susan’s terror and grief, she realizes that she may not have to pretend to believe in ghosts anymore. Miles, Susan’s stepson, does not help matters with his disturbing and sometimes terrifying manner and imagination. As you read this short story you will follow these three characters through a chilling battle to discover where the evil truly lurks and hat, if anything, can be done to escape it.

In case you couldn’t tell this is kind of a ghost story! Which was another reason I loved it!! I read it all in one sitting. Now…since this was a short story…I will leave you with a short review. I mean I could definitely talk about this book a little bit more, but I wouldn’t want to ruin it for anyone who wants to read it!

Have you read this book or any other book by Flynn? If so leave it in the comments below! Happy Reading!

Xo’s Shelby

 

271 Pages and Still I Needed More…

 

Have you ever read a book and not been 100% sure what was going on but you still wanted more? That was how I felt while reading Lucky You by Erika Carter.

I know that you’re probably thinking “umm if you don’t like it then why did you continue to read it?” Well, I can tell you that Carter’s writing was a huge part of what kept me reading. Her writing kept me glued and sucked in, so for that I loved it. But I also wanted so much more, and that was the worst part.

When I chose this book as my January selection for Book of the Month Club, I chose it because I felt that a book about twenty-somethings trying to find themselves would be right up my alley. I mean I am a twenty-something, granted I’m not trying to find myself but I felt like I might be able to relate a little bit. But I was wrong.

Before I get into my full review on the book I want to say this…

If you’re looking for a book about life, just something different from your own then this book might be of interest to you. There’s no big plot twist or anything that is going to completely blow your mind away, so if that’s what you’re looking for then look elsewhere.

I do feel that reading this book, a book that follows a group of people who make a choice to go off the grid for a year, especially in a world where we are so focused on technology and social media could be a good thing for everyone to experience. I mean haven’t you ever just wanted to unplug for just a day?!? I know I have! Sometimes the things I see on social media just drive me insane!

I challenge you to head to the library and check this book out. Give it a fair chance despite the other reviews that have been written online.

Now on to the review….

Part of me felt completely lost while I read this book. I couldn’t connect with any of the characters. I found that I couldn’t relate to any of them on a personal level. I kept waiting and wishing that something would happen to give them a different path. Something that would allow them to grow, to mature, something to change the path of the story..

As I continued to read I kept holding onto this false sense of hope that I would be able to connect with just one of the characters in this book. I desperately wanted to connect with even just one character, even if it was just for a moment. But the more I read…the more I realized that probably wasn’t going to happen. Making a small connection to any of the characters, finding something that would help me to like them probably would’ve helped me to like this book a little more…but….nothing. Not having that…made this book difficult to read.

I felt that Ellie, Chloe and Rachel were unpleasant people. The background stories of each character were unclear and lacking in detail. Maybe I couldn’t connect with any of these women because I have not experienced anything that they had went through in this book. I loved the whole idea of the book, I just wish I could’ve connected with them more.

Now I don’t want to go too much into detail about why they are where they are just in case you want to read this book. So I will end my review there.

How do you feel about reading a book that you can’t connect to? How do you feel about reading a book that you don’t particularly care for? I’m the type of person that when I start a book I have to finish it, no matter what! Tell me in the comments below if you feel the same. Happy Reading!

Xo’s Shelby

 

2 Types of People In This World…

There are two types of people in this world. The type of person who believes in science and facts. Then there’s the type of person that believes in fate and dreams. Or maybe you’re like me and you believe in both?? And there’s nothing wrong with that! Except that’s not what this blog post is about!

In the amazing book, The Sun Is Also a Star written by Nicola Yoon, we follow two very different people through a very interesting “love story” (I use those words loosely here!).

Natasha is the type of girl that wants nothing but the facts presented to her. No fate, no destiny, no dreams that will never come true. Her reasoning behind this is very understandable. Her family is less than 12 hours away from being deported from New York City back to Jamaica. This girl is desperate to do anything to help her family to stay. She wants to be in NYC with her friends, her whole life is in this city. On her way to meet with an attorney about her families problems, she runs into this boy on the street. Then she runs into him again….and again. Coincidence or is this something else? Natasha wants to blow it off completely. She has no time for foolish things like this. She isn’t the type of girl that would run into a boy, by chance, on a crowded NYC street, and fall in love with him….or would she?

Daniel on the other hand is the type of person who believes in fate, everything happens for a reason! He’s an aspiring poet, who spends his free time writing poems about heartbreak, even though he has never had his heart broken….at least not yet. He’s always been a good son, a good student and the one who has always lived up to the very high expectations of his parents. Until he met Natasha…there was something about her that made him believe that fate had something more extraordinary in store for him….for the two of them actually.

Natasha and Daniel are both funny, flawed and fully developed characters who feel as if they are old friends. However, as the day unfolds, so does their love story. This love story is anything but simple, and you will find yourself (much like me if you’re at all a sucker for romances….) rooting for them from the beginning until the very last page.

I won’t spoil it by telling you anymore than I already have. Will Natasha get deported? Will Daniel get his heart broken? Or will they end up happily every after? Find out for yourself by picking up a copy of this amazing book!

Ps. The Sun Is Also a Star has a style of switching narrative between the two main characters, which made the story flow very easily. I will say that I was a little skeptical at first because in the past I have not enjoyed books written in this style, but I loved this one so much. I only mention this at the end because I know that the style in which books are written can turn readers away. It used to turn me away.

If you’ve ever read this book, or any other book by Nicola Yoon please leave your thoughts in the comments below! And be looking for my review of Everything, Everything (the book…not the movie!) coming soon!

Xo’s Shelby

Why I Gave Good As Gone 5 Stars!

Good As Gone by Amy Gentry was my first book from my Book of the Month Club subscription (and no this post is NOT sponsored by Book of the Month – I pay for my subscription each month!).

When I heard about this subscription box I just knew I had to have it, and honestly I have not been disappointed yet!

Along with the book you receive a book mark and sometimes a card with a note from the judge that picked the book.

I received this book in October of 2016 and along with the book came a card from the judge, Liberty Hardy, the card said:
“Snuggle in and get cozy with this perfect mystery! Actually it’s more like mystery squared- it’s a mystery-in-a-mystery! There’s the question of what happened to Julie, but also has she returned?!? And if not, who is sleeping in her bed??? (Spoiler…NOT GOLDILOCKS!) This novel kept me guessing while repeatedly squeezing my heart! It’s so, so good!”

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars!

Review//Thoughts: 

I personally LOVED this book! I loved the way that Amy Gentry told the story of Julie backwards. I also loved the way that she focused in on each part of Julie and all of the different roles that she had to play over the years that she was gone. I feel that those “people” shaped her into the new person that she is now that she’s back home.

I’m not gonna like, I questioned at first if the woman standing on Anna’s doorstep was really Julie, even after learning a little bit about what happened at “their hold house” it never crossed my mind that Charlotte could’ve been the one that died. Part of me thought that Charlotte was posing as Julie for some reason. But as I continued to read and the story began to really unfold I realized that it really was Julie standing at their door and that she had been the one who escaped and finally made her way back home.

I loved reading this novel. I felt that the ending was absolutely perfect. It was amazing from beginning to end. I read some reviews online after I finished the book and read some of the comments in the discussion board on bookofthemonth.com and I noticed that some fellow readers were disappointed with the book. Some said that they were left wanting more about Jane (Julie’s sister) and her father. I understand where they are coming from, but at the same time I feel that the author told the story the way that she did for a reason. Yes, Jane and their father were an important part of Julie and Anna’s life but the were not a huge asset to the story. It was not her father’s “fault” that Julie ran away (nor was it her mothers). BUT I feel that Julie felt closed off from her mother, like the bond that a mother and a daughter are supposed to have was not there. I felt that she was trying to fill that void through conversations and her “relationship” with Maxwell/John David. That is why I feel we did not get more background on Jane and her father.

To be completely honest I am content with how the story ended and I am content with how the story was told. I did not feel cheated or disappointed because the fine details of two characters were left out. I felt like I got the complete story and I feel like the author did an amazing job telling it from start to finish.

I would highly recommend this book.

Have you read this book? If so what did you think?? Leave me a comment below!

Happy Reading!

Xo’s Shelby