For readers around the globe. :)

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Subliminal

I'm pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed reading Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior. I'm also very surprised at how much it makes me miss being in college and sitting through psych class after psych class.
 
Personally, I was intrigued with the chapter, The Importance of Being Social.
It discusses things like how the brain reacts in certain situations, regardless of person. Most people have the same animalistic impulses that we see in most animals. This reminded me of the justice system.
 
We need social interaction to survive, we need human touch, we need conversation, we need to feel like we have some form of control over our lives. So when people are arrested, placed in a cell and stripped of their basic human rights, it makes sense for them to interact with other inmates like animals would. They form cliques, the offer/need protection, they find a sense of camaraderie just to survive on a day to day basis.
 
This was interesting for me to read because my field of study was psych and justice sciences. It was exciting to find information on a topic that I hadn't yet explored. I thoroughly enjoyed reading everything in this book. Leonard Mlodinow wrote this as an attempt to explain the unconscious mind and I believe that he kept everyone in mind while he wrote it. Even without any knowledge of neuroscience, anyone who is interested in the human mind, or behavior in general, will find this book easy to read and comprehend.

Friday, April 19, 2019

You

 
Well, I don't want to be that girl that says the show was better than be book, but honestly?

I'm kind of hoping the show is better.

So I decided I wasn't going to watch You on Netflix until after I read You and Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes. But I'm kind of unimpressed with this book and I don't exactly know why. So stay with me while I try to work this out.

I don't feel like I had any connection to these characters.
In the beginning, when Beck first walks into the bookstore and notices Joe, I kind of felt like I could be her. But then she just did a complete 180. But still, I tried to put myself in her shoes and she was just OBLIVIOUS to everything. Joe preyed on that, which is the basis of the book. He became infatuated with Beck. He had to know her every move, every word, every story. He needed to be near her. But even as he's stalking her, Beck is still doing weird shit and he's still loving it.

It was just odd the way everyone interacted and the way literally EVERYONE was so oblivious to their surroundings. They had zero regard for anyone other than themselves, which kind of makes sense given that they're all being stalked by Joe who preys on vulnerable people.

I just don't really know how I feel about this book.
I'm hoping Hidden Bodies brings me around to loving it.
I'm hoping the show holds my attention.

I just feel, eh about it.

Monday, April 1, 2019

The Good Girls

THIS MUCH EXAGGERATED DRAMA MAKES ME SO GLAD I'M NOT IN HIGH SCHOOL ANYMORE.

Okay, so obviously I gave The Perfectionists a terrible review.
The Good Girls is slightly better, but still nothing to rave about.

The Good Girls picks up where The Perfectionists stops, people are still dying all around this group of girls. They continue to be brought in for questioning and begin questioning if they can trust each other. Each girl has to go through an individual pysch eval with Dr. Rose. That's where the drama flares to life. This felt less Pretty Little Liar-y than the first book. The characters had more background and depth than when they were first introduced. So that was a nice touch. 

However, one of my biggest pet peeves is when people use the words prison and jail interchangeably, which Sara Shepard did repeatedly throughout this book. (Sorry, I have a degree in Criminal Justice and it just drives me freaking crazy) I assumed Sara Shepard would do research on something she was including in one of her books, but noooooooo. She threw a (presumably) 17 year old kid in PRISON and then said the kids parents couldn't BOND HIM OUT. 

UPDATE: YOU CAN'T BE BONDED OUT OF PRISON.

Then to make it even more annoying, another (presumably) 17 year old kid GOES TO THE PRISON TO VISIT THIS KID WHO THEY HAVE NO RELATION TO AND WITHOUT PARENTS.

OH. and this kid was thrown in prison within a week of the supposed crime.

Like stop, no. That is not how any of that works.
As for the mental health side of the story, I was unimpressed. Again, very little research was put into this aspect of the story and I was incredibly disappointed.

Anyway, I'm starting the show this week.
Wish me luck!

Looking for the rest of the series?

Looking for other books by Sara Shepard?

Thursday, March 28, 2019

The Perfectionists

Oh. My. God.

These books remind me just how happy I am to be out of high school and no longer a teenager..

So what in the hell possesses me to continue reading from the YA section?!

Alright, I'm giving The Perfectionists two stars for two reasons:

1) It's basically PLL 2.0
2) It's terrible

 We get a group of 5 girls who are casually planning the hypothetical murder of their classmate, Nolan (don't even get me started on the name; I swear to God I even typed out Noel trying to remember it because they're literally the EXACT SAME CHARACTER.)
Nolan ends up dead, just moments after all the girls were last seen with him, in the exact way they discussed. So obviously they're instantly guilty and start traipsing all over crime scenes and breaking into house and ruining their lives, because what else would a group of high-class prodigies have to do? 

Annnnnnnd that's the whole premise of the book.
Sound familiar?

I  read Pretty Little Liars as Sara Shepard was writing them. 
I only picked up this duology because I wanted to read it before watching the show (obviously I have a problem, let's move past it). But the similarities are so striking....

Let me just break it down for you:

-There's a weirdo teacher sexing up all this female students.
-This teacher is also into old movies and photography.
I'm sorry, are we all picturing Ezra Fitz?

-There's a girl with scars all over her face.
-How she got those scars takes FOREVER to be mentioned.
Does this maybe sound like Jenna Marshall? 

-There's a foreign kid who shows up out of the blue.
-There's a doctor who for some reason gets weirdly personal with patients.
-There's a dude in love with his brothers girlfriend.
Now, these are all separate characters but um they all sound like Wren to me.

This just wasn't original in any way, shape, or form.
It was basically the exact same book with some of the characters switched.
But since I want to watch the show with my bestie, I'll be reading book two very soon.

Looking for the rest of the series?
The Good Girls (book two)

Looking for other books by Sara Shepard?

Monday, March 18, 2019

Love Letters to the Dead

This book was suggested to me a few years ago via Stephen Chbosky's Goodreads account. It caught my eye in the library a few days ago and figured I might as well give it a shot....

Eh.

It was good, but not exactly memorable.

Starting a new school is hard; it's even harder after your sister has died.
Laurel is starting high school, trying to find herself, and forget about everything that's happened in the past. 
The death of her best friend, role model, and older sister May, really messed Laurel up. She feels guilty about her death (which is super annoying because we don't find out what happened until the last 100 pages).

Mrs. Buster gives an assignment to write a letter to a dead person.
Obviously Laurel should have written to her sister, but instead decides to write to Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Judy Garland, and many others. She's almost using these letters as a diary of sorts, a way to get everything off her chest. She chose these people because she feels like they might understand what she's going through. She can relate to the things they're singing about, the movies they're in, and her love for them.

But what she doesn't realize is how tragic their lives really were...
She doesn't grasp the reasons they aren't here anymore.
She tries, she really, really does. But she just seemed so shallow about the whole thing.
The most annoying thing to me was that in each letter she re-describes some aspect of their life, THAT SHE'S ALREADY MENTIONED IN A PREVIOUS LETTER.

This was such a sad book to read, but not in the bawling my eyes out way, but in the tragedy of it.
Shit got tough for Laurel and she didn't handle it very well.
None of the teens in the book handled their problems very well, if we're being honest.

I mean, this book was written in 2014....
I just felt like this had a very '70s type vibe to the way the characters were portrayed.
Now that may just be where my mind took it but regardless I wasn't thrilled with this book at all.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Parkland

I just want to give all these kids a hug.
The media was so involved with their lives that sometimes people forgot that they were just kids!

We all remember what happened at Parkland.
February 14, 2018, a gunman walked onto the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School campus and took the lives of 14 students and 3 staff members. 
(To stay in tone with the book, I will not be mentioning the gunman's name.)
Because of that moment, an entire generation began talking about gun reform. The Parkland kids wanted nothing more than to put this topic in the media. They wanted their peers to not be killed while trying to get an education. They wanted their congressman to understand that this is not going to stop happening until people start listening to those affected by mass shootings.

But these are KIDS.
They're teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18.
Young kids lost siblings.
Parents lost children.
Students lost teachers.
Teachers lost students.
Friends lost friends.

Instead of the traditional grieving process, these kids set off to make a movement.
March For Our Lives (MFOL) was born because of that fateful day.
These kids were in the news, on national tours, receiving international awards.

Every waking moment of their lives were now focused on one thing:
NEVER AGAIN.

Dave Cullen spent almost a year with the kids from Parkland. He saw how hard they were working to make a change. He saw how dedicated they were to getting their message to the world. He believed these kids were going to be huge, and he was right.

MFOL started a movement that kept gun reform in the media far longer than anyone had ever seen before. They wanted people to listen to them and would give it their best shot. They organized marches, rallys, walkouts, die-ins, and national tours. They spoke to congressmen, talk show hosts, politicians, activists, but most importantly, they talked to other teens. They partnered with urban city kids who were less concerned about getting shot AT school and more concerned about getting shot GOING to school. These kids wanted to focus all their energy on gun reform, in the hopes of this never happening again.

I was so nervous going into this book.
Dave Cullen is such an amazing nonfiction story teller.
The story he told here was how March For Our Lives came about.
He wasn't here to talk about "it."
He wanted to show how a group of teens could start a movement.

Want to learn more about March For Our Lives?
Looking for other books by Dave Cullen?

Monday, February 25, 2019

Other Voices, Other Rooms

I've never felt so captivated by a book as I did with this one.

Joel Knox is going to live with his absentee father after his mother falls ill and passes. Moving all the way from New Orleans to rural Alabama takes some getting used to, but everyone acts so different. For many days, Joel doesn't even get to meet his father because he "isn't well" but no one will tell him much else. Living alongside Joel and his father is his wife, Miss Amy, Cousin Randolph, and out in the cabin are Jesus Fever and Missouri (Zoo for short). Zoo and Joel strike up an unlikely friendship that Miss Amy and Randolph don't quite understand. They see Jesus Fever and Missouri as "the help." Keep in mind it is 1948 in Alabama...
 Along the way, Joel meets red-headed twins Idabel and Florabel Thompkins. Idabel was hot-headed and had no issues speaking her mind and standing up for what she believed in. She didn't need a dress to catch Joel's eye, just her sharp tongue and a will for adventure. 

Truman Capote tackles a wide variety of societal norms in Other Voice, Other Rooms. Death, alienation, slavery, sexuality, and friendship. This could definitely be considered a coming of age story given that Joel is a mere 13 years.

Since it's initial release, Truman Capote has come out and said this is a semi-autobiographical story, though he didn't realize it at the time of writing. Many characters are based on friends and family. Most famously, Idabel Thompkins is based on his good friend, Harper Lee.

Truman Capote is an icon to me.

I grew up in Alabama just a few hours from Monroeville. So Truman Capote and Harper Lee are a huge part of our literary scene and I absolutely love it.

Looking for other books by Truman Capote?
In Cold Blood

Looking for other books about Truman Capote and Harper Lee?
Tru & Nelle
Tru & Nelle: A Christmas Tale
No Saints in Kansas