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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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

 

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