by Gillian Flynn
Nikki’s Rating: 8 out of 10
Summary: Reporter Camille Preaker goes back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. Fresh out of the psychiatric hospital, Camille must face the demons of her family while trying not to relapse. As she uncovers the disturbing truth that the victims share a lot of similarities with herself, Camille realizes that these murders could involve someone in her own family.
8 Stalwart Things about SHARP OBJECTS by Gillian Flynn
(May Contain Spoilers)
As always with Gillian Flynn, she delivers compelling stories that are hard to put down and Sharp Objects is no exception. Sharp Objects is dark, disturbing, and yet intriguing with complex characters, good pacing, and shocking twists.
Characters in Sharp Objects are interesting, realistic, and intricate. Background stories provided depth and understanding of the characters’ motives, beliefs, and actions seen throughout the novel. And all the main characters were fucked up in their own ways. Really felt like a real family.
Camille is seen as a competent, perfectionist journalist who is actually uncomfortable prying and asking questions. It allows for readers to understand that many journalists may feel just as uncomfortable with asking questions as we all are in answering them. Really helped to drive home the idea that journalists aren’t there to pry or gossip but rather to do their job and report the news.
Sharp Objects touches on some of the darker aspects of humanity and how the sickness in our society can manifest in different ways. One area that this novel clearly shows is the cycle of trauma in regards to how generational trauma plays out. Camille’s grandmother was abusive and negligent to Camille’s mother, therefore Camille’s mother was abusive to her children, and now Camille and her sister have some major psychological issues that need to be treated professionally. Vicious cycle of someone being traumatized and then traumatizing another.
5. Acting Out
One thing that was briefly touched upon in Sharp Objects is that many individuals act out sexually due to experiencing trauma. While not a focal point in the novel, I appreciated that it was brought up because it is absolutely true.
Cutting is a tough subject to write and talk about and is especially difficult for non-cutters to understand. I’m unsure if Flynn ever struggled with cutting in her past or interviewed people who had but I feel like she captured the drive, need, and compulsion to cut fairly well. Flynn also did a good job of showing the stigma, blame and shame that comes with being a cutter, Richard took one look at Camille’s scars and never spoke to her again.
7. Munchausen by Proxy
Gillian Flynn also did an amazing job of portraying Munchausen by proxy in Sharp Objects. Flynn captured the difficulty for it to be recognized not just by professionals but by friends and family and even the victims. She captured the way the victims are manipulated into believing they are being helped and that they shouldn’t be difficult but rather passive, unquestioning patients. And lastly, Flynn really showed how dangerous this mental illness is, that it can cause a parent to kill their own child.
The ending to Sharp Objects was shocking! Once Camille put the pieces together and an arrest was made, there was a feeling of satisfaction and closure. But then another dead girl is found and you are like “what the fuck?!” Flynn, thank you for messing with our heads and keeping us on our toes! Look forward to reading another of your novels soon.
Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.
by Farah Naz Rishi
Nikki’s Rating: 8 out of 10
Summary: As Earth is put on trial for their crimes, humans face possible extinction in just a few days. As their days are counting down, everyone begins to question what is important to them and how they would like to spend their last days. Jesse continues on with his life of crime and conning but comes to realize that love is worth more than money. Following her mother’s wishes, Cate takes off in search of her father but finds herself instead. And Adeem tracks down his sister and truly comes to realize the importance of family.
8 Interesting Things about I HOPE YOU GET THIS MESSAGE by Farah Naz Rishi
I Hope You Get This Message focuses on 3 different characters, all from different situations, backgrounds, and areas but all 3 of them are part of a minority group. Jesse is part of the LGBTQ community. While the book does not explore whether Cate has any mental illness, she is part of that community being the caretaker of her mother who is mentally ill. And then Adeem is a Pakistani-American Muslim boy. Throughout the book there is mention of the difficulties that each of them experience due to being part of their minority such as Adeem often having people start speaking spanish to him due to his complexion.
Earth in I Hope You Get This Message is actually our world with a twist. It is revealed to be the location of an experiment, the experiment being us, the human race. We were created by the Almaens to test the viability of using planet Earth as a new home. I Hope You Get This Message opens with the Almaens debating whether to shut the experiment down and kill all the humans or to allow the experiment to continue and risk the humans possibly destroying planet Earth.
3. Crimes Committed
Essentially, humans are put on trial for the crimes of destruction of environmental resources, abuses of its own people, neglect of preservation and sustainability for future generations, armed attack and devastation without provocation, subjugation and slavery of free-thinking organisms, disruption of the peace, and elimination of a people’s right to self-determination. We would be found guilty without a doubt. This is a neat way for a novel to bring up our current issues of global-warming, war, waste, etc.
4. Mental Illness
Rishi touched upon so many important problems in our society and one of those is the stigma and isolation that people experience with mental illness. And it is not just those that directly experience mental illness but also their caretakers. As Rishi showed in I Hope You Get This Message, caretakers may be ashamed to share and process with others what they are dealing with and contribute to their own sense of isolation and shame, which could negatively affect their own mental health.
Another societal problem that Rishi touched upon in I Hope You Get This Message is that of the acceptance of those within the LGBTQ community. So many who identify as LGBTQ are ostracized, bullied, threatened, harmed, and/or killed in their communities simply for being who they are. While Rishi does not go too deep into the darkness surrounding this issue, she does show how crucial it is for the family of origin to accept any family member who does identify as LGBTQ and how painful it can be if it is perceived as unacceptable.
6. Children Taking On Responsibility
Through the 3 main characters, Rishi shows the negative outcomes that may arise in children who end up having to take care of their parents while they are still children. The best example in I Hope You Get This Message is of course Cate who is seen trying to convince her mother to take her pills, explaining her mother’s bizarre behavior to neighbors, and lying to the police to cover up how ill her mother actually is. This of course causes Cate to feel guilt and shame when she isn’t at her mother’s side all the time, selfish if she wants to do something for herself separate from her mother, and overall anxiety about life and the future. Not at all healthy.
One of my favorite things about I Hope You Get This Message is that the 3 main characters were connected in the end. While it appeared that the only connection was going to be them crossing paths in Roswell, their connections to each other went deeper than that.
Thankfully each character got their own version of “happily ever after.” While it may not have been what they set out to find, it is what they needed in the end. Having the book end without showing the outcome of the Almaens decision allows the book to end positively with the reader hoping that the light remains and their world continues.
Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.
by Maya Banks
Nikki’s Rating: 4 out of 10
Summary: Looking for a man to dominate her, Faith, is caught at a kinky sex club by her new colleague, Gray Montgomery, a previous Dallas cop. As Gray tries to deny their mutual attraction, he continues searching for the murderer of his partner. But then Faith is threatened and Gray will stop at nothing to protect and take care of her.
4 Swell Things about Maya Banks’s “Sweet Surrender”
(May Contain Spoilers)
1. Gray Montgomery
Strong, alpha male, who is dominate but also thoughtful, protective, and kind. While also being a sexy cop. Instant win!
2. Sub & Dom Relationship
Maya Banks’s “Sweet Surrender” focuses on a true sub and dom relationship, not just kinky sex in the bedroom but a relationship in which one partner is blatantly submissive to the other partner who is dominant in a manner that extends past the bedroom. A healthy sub and dom relationship is based on mutual respect and trust and can be deeply satisfying to both parties.
Erotic scenes in “Sweet Surrender” were kinky, passionate, and hot, hot, hot! A third player sometimes was featured too.
4. Sweet Persuasion
While “Sweet Surrender” happily concludes Gray and Faith’s story, Maya Banks continues her erotic stories in “Sweet Persuasion.”