Book Review: Sharp Objects

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Synopsis from Amazon.com:

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.

Stars:

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Book Review: Dark Places

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Synopsis from Gillian-Flynn.com:

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.”

Stars

4 stars

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Book Review: Gone Girl

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

Synopsis from Gillian-Flynn.com:

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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