July 2021 Book Reviews

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Book Review: 8 Stalwart Things about SHARP OBJECTS by Gillian Flynn

Sharp Objects

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.

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8 Stalwart Things about SHARP OBJECTS by Gillian Flynn

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Writing

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.

2. Characters

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.

3. Journalists

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.

4. Trauma

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.

6. Cutting

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.

8. Twists

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.


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

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Book Review: 7 Horrors of THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE by Shirley Jackson

The Haunting of Hill House

by Shirley Jackson

Nikki’s Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary: Four strangers come together to spend a summer at Hill House. Hoping to observe paranormal occurrences, they may have gotten more than they bargained for. Rooms covered in blood, personal messages written on the walls, the house appears to have a mind of its own.

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7 Horrors of THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE by Shirley Jackson

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Quick Read

All in all, The Haunting of Hill House is a quick read and I’m extremely grateful for this as I do not think my anxiety could deal with a full-length horror novel.

2. Horror

The Haunting of Hill House is an effective horror story and is really quite disturbing to read; makes the reader think and question if they have ever experienced a house that might have been sentient.

3. Description

Nothing can drag a story and bore the reader than too much description. However, Jackson uses description effectively. While description could be heavy throughout The Haunting of Hill House it did not appear to be drawn out past what was necessary for the reader to know and understand.

4. Characters

There are a few rather vile and hated characters in The Haunting of Hill House and Jackson writes them well! Character development is no easy feat in a short story as there is less interaction with the characters overall but Jackson does an amazing job with her unfavorable characters. Just thinking about Dudley makes me cringe.

5. Build Up

One of the reasons The Haunting of Hill House is an effective horror story is because Jackson is a masterful writer in that she builds the intensity. At first Hill House is strange, then there is some unease that eventually grows into feeling like there is an actual sinister presence which leads to all out fear.

6. Eleanor Vance

Another extremely effective piece of The Haunting of Hill House is that readers are left questioning whether Eleanor’s demise was because of an evil presence that is Hill House or her own psychological break.

7. The Beginning is the End

The book begins and ends in exactly the same way and it is quite unsettling:

“Hill House itself, not sane, stood against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, its walls continued upright, bricks met nearly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.”

(p.3 & 235)

As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

10 Greatest Things about Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”

The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

Millennium Book 3

by Stieg Larsson

NIKKI’S RATING: 10 OUT OF 10

Summary: Shot in the head and fighting for her life, Lisbeth Salander must now prepare for the trial of her life. Facing charges for 3 murders, Mikhael Blomkvist is desperate to prove Lisbeth’s innocence. But now it is not just Lisbeth’s father they will expose, but the Swedish government. The clock is ticking as government agents move to silence Mikhael and Lisbeth forever.

10 Greatest Things about Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. the writing

As with the other books in the Millennium series, “The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” was a thrilling masterpiece. Hard to put down, this novel was a rollercoaster of emotions and anticipation.

2. Lisbeth Salander

An unforgettable heroine who continues to push on with strength and determination regardless of being the victim of traumatic abuse at the hands of so many men in her life.

3. Sexuality

Throughout the Millennium series, Lisbeth’s character never conforms to a label on her sexuality and openly opposes the idea of giving herself a label. She consistently displays a healthy acceptance of herself and her fluid sexuality without judgment.

4. Polyamorous

The Millenium series also includes a portrayal of a healthy polyamorous relationship that is presented in a nonjudgemental manner with the characters being mature and respectful of each other.

5. Sexism

Larsson uses his characters and their stories to portray the sexism that many women experience every day in real life. From questions about their sexuality and other sexual comments to believing that their work is less than simply because they are a woman; sexism leads to violence against women.

6. Violence Against Women

Larsson’s most important theme throughout the Millennium series is that of violence against women. Larsson includes examples of rape, assault, stalking, and harassment of women in the series.

7. The Characters

The whole Millennium series includes characters readers become invested in and truly care about. Characters with depth, with both irritating and endearing qualities; readers fall in love with them, regardless of their faults.

8. Corruption

“The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” accurately portrays how easy it is for a group of people, especially in the government, to be seduced by the idea of their own power and importance. Without proper oversight and transparency, corruption is easy and can have devasting effects for many.

9. Sweden

While by no means a detailed account of Sweden, it was enjoyable and interesting to read a book that was placed in modern-day Sweden.

10. The Ending

Happy to report that while Larsson intended for the Millennium series to continue and then unexpectedly died after completed the transcripts for the first 3 novels, “The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” concludes satisfyingly and has an overall happy ending with no cliffhangers to drive readers mad.

What are your favorite things about “The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”?


Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

10 Gutsy Things about Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl who Played with Fire”

The Girl who Played with Fire

Millennium Book 2

by Stieg Larsson

Nikki’s Rating: 10 out of 10

Summary: Working on a story about sex trafficking, famous reporter and publisher Mikhael Blomkvist, stumbles on sensitive information that gets a colleague killed. Lisbeth Salander’s past catches up to her and she is framed for the murder of a Swedish couple. Now Mikhael and Lisbeth must use all their skills of espionage, blackmail, hacking, and researching to solve the murders before one of them is the next victim.


10 Gutsy Things about Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl who Played with Fire”

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Lisbeth Salander

Lisbeth is a badass. This genius hacker takes no bullshit from anyone and although small, can hold her own in a fight. While rough around the edges and abrasive, she cares for those around her fiercely and loyally.  Lisbeth is one of my favorite heroines with her sarcasm, brutal honesty, and devilish thinking.

2. Sex Trafficking

Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl who Played with Fire” centers around the issue of sex trafficking, having this be the topic main character Mikhael Blomkvist is researching and reporting on. In the real world, there are about 25 million victims of sex trafficking globally and it is the fastest growing crime.

3. Violence Against Women

Another important theme seen in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series is that of violence against women. Having witnessed a young girl being gang-raped at the age of 15, Stieg Larsson was a feminist and used his books to portray the abhorrent violence many women are subjected to.

4. The Characters

Stieg Larsson creates characters that are so in-depth, realistic, and relatable. Even the main characters are seen with positive qualities and some pretty major faults.

5. System Failure

Stieg Larsson also touches upon the issue of system failure, especially that in the mental health field. Lisbeth’s backstory includes her being placed in a mental health facility and instead of treatment she received more abuse and trauma at the hands of professionals.

6. Thrilling

While the mystery/thriller genre is not a favorite of mine, putting “The Girl who Played with Fire” down was nearly impossible. Very well written, Stieg Larsson provided an intriguing and complex murder-mystery with an unforgettable heroine.

7. Zala

An interesting and realistic power-hungry villain with the twist of being Lisbeth’s sadistic father.

8. Friends

While lacking in a love story, “The Girl who Played with Fire” features so much love amongst friends. Touching and inspirational, characters consistently provided limitless love and support to their friends throughout the story, even when it caused a danger to themselves.

9. No Romance

While a huge romance genre fan and a sucker for love stories, it was refreshing and surprising that the main male and female characters were not starcrossed lovers trying to achieve their happily-ever-after. Continues with the feminist ideals that a woman is strong and worthy on her own, no man needed.

10. The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

Thankfully this is not the last of Lisbeth Salander and there is Millennium Book 3: “The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.”

What are your favorite things about Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl who Played with Fire”?


Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. And if you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.