Book Review: Gone Girl by: Gillian Flynn

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Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they’re fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl. For a long time Cool Girl offended me. I used to see men – friends, coworkers, strangers – giddy over these awful pretender women, and I’d want to sit these men down and calmly say: You are not dating a woman, you are dating a woman who has watched too many movies written by socially awkward men who’d like to believe that this kind of woman exists and might kiss them.” – Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn

Initial thoughts: For whatever reason, I delayed and delayed to read (and eventually dark-1844951_1920finish Gone Girl). I had Gone Girl recommended to me at least three times by three different people. Generally, murder-mysteries aren’t my thing. But, as I was soon to find out, Gone Girl is more than a murder-mystery.

Plot Summary

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl 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?Goodreads

The Review

 I had placed Gone Girl on the backburner for so long that I ended up watching the movie first. I know this is a major faux-pas rule for any bookworm. If I could go back in time, I would tell my past self “don’t watch the movie until I had read the book.  Unfortunately, I don’t own a time machine, though chances are, I would probably use it on something more important. 
Usually, I don’t spend two months on one book. As much as I loved the storyline, I found myself putting the book down for a week or two, then picking it up again. I just couldn’t bring myself to read it consistently. When I got to the last 150 pages, it didn’t take long for me to finish the book. But honestly, the middle of the book is extremely slow and hard to get into.

Continue reading

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Book Review: The Strange and Deadly Portraits of Bryony Gray by: E. Latimer

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Initial Thoughts: I was so excited when I won an advanced copy of this book from the Goodreads giveaway. I love novels thvintage-1895895_1920at take place in the Victorian era, especially classic novels that were written during the 1800s in Victorian England. The Strange and Deadly Portraits of Bryony Gray is a retelling of Oscar Wilde’s novel The Portrait of Dorian Gray, with a twist.

Plot Summary

Bryony Gray is becoming famous as a painter in London art circles. But life isn’t so grand. Her uncle keeps her locked in the attic, forcing her to paint for his rich clients . . . and now her paintings are taking on a life of their own, and customers are going missing under mysterious circumstances.

When her newest painting escapes the canvas and rampages through the streets of London, Bryony digs into her family history, discovering some rather scandalous secrets her uncle has been keeping, including a deadly curse she’s inherited from her missing father. It turns out, Bryony has accidentally unleashed the Gray family curse, and it’s spreading fast.

With a little help from the strange-but-beautiful girl next door and her paranoid brother, Bryony sets out to break the curse, dodging bloodthirsty paintings, angry mobs and her wicked uncle along the way.” – Goodreads

The Review

As I had mentioned, The Strange and Deadly Portraits of Bryony Gray is a retelling of Oscar Wilde’s novel The Portrait of Dorian Gray. Rest assured, you don’t really need to have read The Portrait of Dorian Gray before reading this book. I still haven’t read Wilde’s novel, and I was able to read this novel without feeling as if I were missing out. Of course, for whatever reason, I completely neglected to notice there was a connection between Bryony Gray and Dorian Gray until I was midway through the book (call it a reader’s forgetfulness).

british-2023201_1280Bryony Gray wishes she could be an ordinary girl Continue reading

Book Review: Elixir by: Hilary Duff

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Who are you?” I asked.
“You know who I am,” he replied. “I’m yours.” – Elixir, Hilary Duff

rain-930262_1280Initial thoughts: The moment I see an actor/singer/Kardashian releasing their new novel which they clearly didn’t write, I find myself wondering… exactly what part of the novel was conceptualized/written by the celebrity? When I was a kid, I was a fan of Lizzie McGuire and Hilary Duff’s music. But, how does her book (which was ghost written), Elixir, measure up?

Plot Summary

Clea Raymond has felt the glare of the spotlight her entire life. The daughter of a renowned surgeon and a prominent Washington DC politician, she has grown to be a talented photojournalist who takes refuge in a career that allows her to travel to the most exotic parts of the world. But after Clea’s father disappears while on a humanitarian mission, Clea’s photos begin to feature eerie, shadowy images of a strange and beautiful man—a man she has never seen before.

When fate brings Clea and this man together, she is stunned by the immediate and powerful connection she feels with him. As they grow closer, they are drawn deep into the mystery behind her father’s disappearance, and they discover the centuries old truth behind their intense bond. Torn by a dangerous love triangle and haunted by a powerful secret that holds their fates, together they race against time to unravel their pasts in order to save their lives—and their futures.

The Review

I think I knew deep down that even attempting to read this book was a bad idea from the start. Obviously, Hilary Duff isn’t a writer, she is (was?) an actor/singer. But, I thought that the fact that Elise Allen was the ghost writer (i.e: the actual writer), this book would have at least been decently written. Well, I was wrong. 

Clea Raymond (probably Hilary Duff’s alter-ego) Continue reading

Book Review: The Young Elites by: Marie Lu

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“Be true to yourself. But that’s something everyone says and no one means. No one wants you to be yourself. They want you to be the version of yourself that they like.” – The Young Elites, Marie Lu

woman-641528_1280Initial thoughts: I adored Marie Lu’s Legend series, and her newest novel Warcross. As far as I am concerned, there is nothing she cannot write. She is one of those writers who can turn a manuscript into solid gold. But how does her novel The Young Elites measure up?

Summary

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

The Review

I was really not expecting this sort of novel from Marie Lu after reading Legend. Legend is a science fiction dystopian novel set in futuristic Los Angeles. I was expecting the Young Elites to be similar, because lets face it, once an author is brilliant in one genre, usually they do not write outside of their genre. The Young Elites, to my surprise, is a fantasy novel (with some elements of dystopia) set in the fictional realm of Kenettra.

Scarred by the blood fever from a young age, Adelina Amouteru has always lived in the shadow of her beautiful younger sister, Violetta. Continue reading

Book Review: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by: Roald Dahl

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Whipped cream isn’t whipped cream at all if it hasn’t been whipped with whips, just like poached eggs isn’t poached eggs unless it’s been stolen in the dead of the night” – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl

Initial Thoughts: I don’t know how many times I watched Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, as well as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I had both movies on DVD, and on rainy days, I would sometimes watch them back-to-back. For whatever reason, I neglected to read the original novel by Roald Dahl… until now…gobstopper-pile

Summary

Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory is opening at last!

But only five lucky children will be allowed inside. And the winners are: Augustus Gloop, an enormously fat boy whose hobby is eating; Veruca Salt, a spoiled-rotten brat whose parents are wrapped around her little finger; Violet Beauregarde, a dim-witted gum-chewer with the fastest jaws around; Mike Teavee, a toy pistol-toting gangster-in-training who is obsessed with television; and Charlie Bucket, Our Hero, a boy who is honest and kind, brave and true, and good and ready for the wildest time of his life!” – Goodreads

The Review

Could this story get any better? Apparently, it can. When I began reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I was flooded with childhood nostalgia I had from watching the movie adaptations. Both movies capture the essence of the book rather well, though it turns out that the 2005 adaptation (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) is closer to the book.

Charlie Bucket is a poor child with a fascination with Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. For years, Charlie has seen the factory whip up marvelous candy creations. Continue reading