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I Let You Go Book Review

In a split second, Jenna Gray’s world turned upside down.

In the wake of a horrible accident, the only hope Jenna has of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows and start anew. She drives to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but her memories and fears continue to haunt her. The flashbacks of that night remain ever present, no matter how far she takes herself off the grid.

Ever so slowly, Jenna begins a new life in this quaint coastal town; however, her memories are far from the only thing chasing her…

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I Let You Go is a delicious thriller with more than one epic twist. One part murder mystery and one part romantic flirtation, this book will grab you from the first chapter and won’t let you go until the final words are uttered.

Told from the perspective of Jenna herself, as well as the lead detective on the murder case, I Let You Go brings to life a bittersweet story that will certainly tug at your heartstrings. It offers characters that are surprisingly flawed, real, and dare I say – relatable. It’s unlike most other thrillers in that way, which made me appreciate I Let You Go all the more.

A quick read that will keep readers engaged from start to end, I Let You Go is a moving story of a woman who tried to run away from what she knew only to end up finding what she needed.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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Her Again Book Review

It wasn’t until I saw The Deer Hunter that I was fully able to appreciate the talent that is Meryl Streep. Before that, the only big movies I saw Streep in were Music of the Heart, Julie & Julia, Doubt and The Devil Wears Prada. Now, I’m not saying she wasn’t great in those movies – because she absolutely was – I just thought, up to a point, that Meryl was…overrated.

I mean how could she be nominated for an Oscar for basically every single role she’s had since Kramer vs. Kramer? What was I missing? I mean, she was certainly talented…but worthy of nearly 20 Oscar nominations? I was skeptical.

But then I saw The Deer Hunter…and then I got it. Meryl Streep is a force. She completely immerses herself in every role, letting each part sink into every pour of her being. She’s funny, she’s bold and she’s utterly and completely fearless.

You might think, “yeah but she wasn’t always that way”…and, well, you’d be wrong. Streep has been a force to be reckoned with ever since she took her first steps on stage at Vassar College, then again at the Yale School of Drama. She’s the “Iron Lady” of acting, racking up hundreds of nominations, appearing in dozens of plays (sometimes two or three at a time) and has starred in countless films that have helped showcase her extraordinary talent.

Like most actors of her generation, Streep got her start on stage, acting alongside fellow no-names like Christopher Lloyd and Sigourney Weaver. Even in her teens, she heard the same criticism from her fellow actors that she does now: “Ugh, her AGAIN?”

To that, Streep only has one response: “DAMN RIGHT.”

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In his eye-opening and beautifully written biography, Her Again, author Michael Schulman (The New Yorker) explores the beginnings of Meryl Streep’s amazing career, prominently focusing on her time at Yale and in the New York theater scene.

Burning with talent and ambition, Streep has always stood apart from her peers. She was awarded back-to-back roles in Broadway plays, a handful of roles in Shakespeare in the Park productions and even received a Tony Award nomination before even starring in her first film.

Complete with several black-and-white photos and insight from Streep herself, Her Again is a captivating story of a woman coming into her extraordinary talents during a time of immense transformation. It briefly touches on her short-lived love affair with John Cazale, her marriage to Don Gummer, and the start of her Hollywood career, including her roles in The Deer Hunter, Manhattan and Kramer vs. Kramer.

Movie lovers all know Meryl Streep from something. They can quote her witty dialogue from The Devil Wears Prada or find sympathy with her tortured portrayal of a mother going through a nasty divorce in Kramer vs. Kramer. She’s played Shakespearean characters, public figures and your every day mother or teacher. What most of us know about Streep is what we’ve seen in her films; however, Streep is so much more than the sum of her parts, so to speak. She is a strong, confident woman who refuses to stop for anyone. She continually challenges herself, shining even brighter when she’s so clearly out of her comfort zone.

So, is Streep over-rated? Maybe. She’s even said so much herself. But there’s no denying she’s earned every accolade tied to her name. In Her Again, Streep’s talent shines through, showing how a little cheerleader from New Jersey would grow up to become a Hollywood icon.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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13 Magical Quotes from L.M. Montgomery

I was well over 21 when I read Anne of Green Gables for the first time. Filled with flowery, beautiful language about friendship, love and nature, this series of books touched my heart in a special way…and I was actually upset with myself for not discovering it earlier on in my reading adventures.

The author of “Anne with an E”, L.M. Montgomery, filled her books with quotable passages that literary nerds could pick out of a lineup any day; however, she also had little nuggets of phraseology that so perfectly encapsulate life, love and friendship. Here are 13 of my faves!

13 Magical Quotes from L.M. Montgomery

“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”

octobers
“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

“It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.”

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“Perhaps, after all, romance did not come into one’s life with pomp and blare, like a gay knight riding down; perhaps it crept to one’s side like an old friend through quiet ways; perhaps it revealed itself in seeming prose, until some sudden shaft of illumination flung athwart its pages betrayed the rhythm and the music, perhaps . . . perhaps . . . love unfolded naturally out of a beautiful friendship, as a golden-hearted rose slipping from its green sheath.”

“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”

flowers in the dark
“I love to smell flowers in the dark,” she said. “You get hold of their soul then.”

 “True friends are always together in spirit.”

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“There was something in her movements that made you think she never walked but always danced.”

“Well, we all make mistakes, dear, so just put it behind you. We should regret our mistakes and learn from them, but never carry them forward into the future with us.”

pearl
“After all,” Anne had said to Marilla once, “I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”

“Life is worth living as long as there’s a laugh in it.”

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“That’s the worst of growing up, and I’m beginning to realize it. The things you wanted so much when you were a child don’t seem half so wonderful to you when you get them.”

“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.”

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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The Tao of Bill Murray Book Review

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I have a list of celebrities I cannot bear the thought of losing: Jeff Goldblum, Michael Keaton, Tom Hanks, Julie Andrews, Carol Burnett, Jeff Bridges, Jack Nicholson, the list goes on and on. I grew up with a lot of these actors…I mean I’ve seen so many movies with Julie Andrews and Tom Hanks that I feel like I know them on some level. But I honestly feel nothing will hurt like the pain of losing Bill Murray.

Here’s the thing about Bill Murray. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t enjoy at least one of his movies. From Ghostbusters to Zombieland, and several before and since, Murray had racked up fans of all ages, sizes, genders, and walks of life. But why? What is it about this young kid from Illinois that appeals to movie-goers the world over?

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In The Tao of Bill Murray, bestselling author Gavin Edwards tries to find out. By traveling to the places where Murray has lived, worked and partied, Edwards goes in search of the most outrageous and hilarious Bill Murray stories from the past four decades, many of which have never been reported.

But this isn’t just a collection of wacky anecdotes…The Tao of Bill Murray puts the actor’s public clowning into a larger context, analyzing the 10 guiding principles of living the Murray way of life.

Sprinkled with personal stories from fans, co-workers, and Murray himself, The Tao of Bill Murray is an intimate look into the man no one can quite pin down. It’s an attempt to find out what makes him tick, what keeps him happy, and how we, as the general public, can embrace the lifestyle that is Bill Murray.

Throughout the book, several actors, directors, fans and friends attempt to break down the formula that gave birth to this amazing actor. Jon Favreau, who directed Bill in The Jungle Book, said Bill is “…completely available when you’re in direct contact. He’s an incredibly authentic, generous person who understands who he is, what he represents to everybody. He embraces it.” I don’t think it gets truer than that.

Also covering the wide range of Murray’s filmography, The Tao of Bill Murray also entertains with behind-the-scenes stories about his work on everything up to The Jungle Book (2016). Learn about the movies he disliked (Garfield, The Life Aquatic), the movies he loved (Lost in Translation, Broken Flowers) and all the mishaps and golden opportunities that got him to where he is today.

Though we may never really understand what it is that makes Bill Murray who he is, we can all take comfort in knowing he’s out there…showing up at parties, throwing people in pools, and kissing people randomly in restaurants. Is he an Oscar-worthy actor? Perhaps not…but he’s the man Hollywood needs. As Favreau says, he’s authentic and generous…and never fails to deliver, no matter what the project. And regardless of whether you loved Murray in Rushmore, Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, or The Life Aquatic, this book is a must-read for anyone who calls themselves a Bill Murray fan – which is to say, everyone.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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10 Happy, Simple Quotes by Roald Dahl

Yesterday we celebrated Roald Dahl’s 102nd birthday and today I just wanted to share with you some of his words of wisdom. These happy, simple quotes are great to keep in mind, no matter what your age!

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10 Happy, Simple Quotes by Roald Dahl

unlikely placesThe greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.

BOOKSHELF
So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,

Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.

life is good
If you are good, life is good.

magic
Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.

NOT ALONESo Matilda’s strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.

 

doubt
You should never, never doubt something that no one is sure of.

grasshopper
‘My dear young fellow,’ the Old Green Grasshopper said gently, ‘there are a whole lot of things in this world of ours you haven’t started wondering about yet.’

twinklyIt’s impossible to make your eyes twinkle if you aren’t feeling twinkly yourself.

POWER TO CHANGESomewhere, inside all of us, is the power to change the world.

music makers
We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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The Good Girl Book Review

Mia Dennett is just like every other girl…she goes to work, she buys groceries, she hangs out at the bar with her friends. But what Mia doesn’t know is that someone is following her…someone who knows her route to work, the name of her on-again, off-again boyfriend, the color of her eyes…and he’s about to change Mia’s life forever.

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The Good Girl was hailed as a book that fans of Gone Girl would love. A page-turning thriller with a twist ending…a story full of complex characters that you can’t trust…It’s a missing person story (like Gone Girl) with a somewhat untrustworthy family (like Gone Girl) and a heroine who seems a little off-kilter (like Gone Girl). Are we noticing a theme?

Now I loved Gone Girl. I thought it was intense and riveting and I loved every twist and turn along the way…so, needless to say, I really wanted to like The Good Girl. It had all the parts to make it a great story…but arranged in an order that made it seem a little too familiar.

Told from the perspectives of Mia’s mom, the detective investigating her case, and Mia’s own captor, The Good Girl – while slightly formulaic – is an entertaining read. There are good twists and turns, though for a lover of mystery fiction, they’re easy to spot a mile away. I actually found myself more engrossed in the romantic plotlines that become the focus of the second half of the book…and found the shocking (not really) ending appropriately emotional, bittersweet, and honestly kind of heart-breaking.

As a fan of Gone Girl, did I LOVE this book? No, not really. But I did enjoy it. It delivered a twisting story that would make a great beach read, but it wasn’t unique enough to haunt me like that blasted bitch, Amy Dunne.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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18 Creepy AF True Crime Books

When it comes to guilty pleasures of the literary kind, there’s nothing I like better than a good true-crime thriller.

Be it murder, mayhem, corruption or conspiracy, I’m all about those haunting stories that keep us up at night.

If you’re in the mood for something similar, check out this list of amazing true-crime books that will leave you itching for more…

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18 Creepy AF True Crime Books

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My Story, Elizabeth Smart

On June 5, 2002, 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart was taken from her home in the middle of the night by a religious fanatic. Elizabeth was chained up, raped and hidden from view until her rescue nearly one year later. This book recounts her amazing story of survival in her own words.

The Stranger Beside Me: Ted Bundy: The Shocking Inside Story, Ann Rule

Ann Rule was a writer working on the biggest story of her life, tracking down a brutal mass-murderer. Little did she know that Ted Bundy, one of her closest friends, was the savage slayer she was hunting.

Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, a Life Reclaimed, Michelle Knight

For more than a decade, Knight was kept hostage in a basement in Cleveland, Ohio. Kept in captivity with two other women, Knight and her fellow captors endured horrible torture and pain. Their escape in 2013 made headlines around the world and Knight’s account will leave you shook.

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In Cold Blood, Truman Capote

In November of 1959 in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by a shotgun to the face. There was no motive and there were no clues. As Capote tries to reconstruct the murder and the investigation that led to finding the killers, he generates great suspense and astonishing empathy, making this book a true classic.

Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders, Vincent Bugliosi

Prosecuting attorney in the Manson trial, Vincent Bugliosi, held a unique insider’s position in one of the most baffling and horrifying cases of the 20th century: the murders carried out by Charles Manson and his followers. This book recounts the story of these famous and haunting crimes.

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair that Changed America, Erik Larson

In this engrossing book, Larson intertwines the true tale of the Chicago World’s Fair with the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure victims to their death. A true must-read, especially if you’re from the Chicago area!

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Columbine, Dave Cullen

What really happened on April 20, 1999, the day two troubled teens decided to bring a whole arson of weapons into their school? Cullen, who was a reporter on the Columbine shooting for years, puts together an amazing account by combining first-hand interviews, insights from psychologists and the killers’ own words and drawings into a book that you’ll want to finish in one nail-biting sitting.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer, Michelle McNamara

Written at the time of her sudden death, this book offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history that sent chills down the spines of the entire west coast. A book that may have helped lead to the capture of “the Golden State Killer”, this page-turner is made all the more bittersweet in that McNamara couldn’t see the subject of her study captured.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, John Berendt

Filled with sublime and seductive language, this book is an engaging portrait of a Southern city torn. On the morning of May 2, 1981, shots rang out in Savannah’s grandest mansion. Was it murder or self-defense? Berendt journeys to find out…

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Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery, Robert Kolker

Award-winning investigative reporter Robert Kolker delivers a humanizing account of the true-life search for a serial killer still at large on Long Island and presents the first detailed look at the shadow world of online escorts, where making a living is easier than ever, and the dangers remain all too real.

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective, Kate Summerscale

In June of 1860 three-year-old Saville Kent was found at the bottom of an outdoor privy with his throat slit. The crime horrified all England and led to a national obsession with detection, ironically destroying, in the process, the career of perhaps the greatest detective in the land. This is the dramatic story of the real-life murder that inspired the birth of modern detective fiction.

People Who Eat Darkness: The True Story of a Young Woman Who Vanished from the Streets of Tokyo-and the Evil that Swallowed Her Up, Richard Lloyd Parry

Lucie Blackman – tall, blonde, and 21 years old – stepped out into the vastness of Tokyo in the summer of 2000, then disappeared forever. The following winter, her dismembered remains were found buried in a seaside cave. With a little something for everyone, this book is a non-fiction thriller, a courtroom drama and the biography of both a victim and a killer.

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American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land, Monica Hesse

The arsons started on a cold November midnight and didn’t stop for months. Night after night, the people of Accomack County waited to see which building would burn down next, regarding each other at first with compassion, and later suspicion. The culprit, and the path that led to these crimes, is a story of twenty-first century America.

The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple, Jeff Guinn

This is the story of preacher Jim Jones, the man responsible for the Jonestown Massacre – the largest murder-suicide in American history. Through FBI files, research and interviews, Guinn tries to piece together what led Jones to this tragedy at Jonestown.

My Dark Places, James Ellroy

In 1958 Jean Ellroy was murdered, her body dumped on a roadway in a seedy L.A. suburb.  Her killer was never found, and the police dismissed her as a casualty of a cheap Saturday night. James Ellroy was ten when his mother died, and he spent the next thirty-six years running from her ghost and attempting to exorcize it through crime fiction. In 1994, Ellroy quit running.  He went back to L.A., to find out the truth about his mother–and himself.

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The Midnight Assassin: Panic, Scandal, and the Hunt for America’s First Serial Killer, Skip Hollandsworth

In the late 1800s, the city of Austin, Texas was on the cusp of emerging from an isolated western outpost into a truly cosmopolitan metropolis. But beginning in December 1884, Austin was terrorized by someone equally as vicious and, in some ways, far more diabolical than London’s infamous Jack the Ripper. For almost exactly one year, the Midnight Assassin crisscrossed the entire city, striking on moonlit nights, using axes, knives, and long steel rods to rip apart women from every race and class. With vivid historical detail, Hollandsworth brings this terrifying saga to life.

The Road Out of Hell: Sanford Clark and the True Story of the Wineville Murders, Anthony Flacco

From 1926 to 1928, Gordon Stewart Northcott committed at least 20 murders on a chicken ranch outside of Los Angeles. His nephew, Sanford Clark, was held captive there from the age of 13 to 15, and was the sole surviving victim of the killing spree. Here, acclaimed crime writer Anthony Flacco―using never-before-heard information from Sanford’s son, Jerry Clark―tells the real story behind the case that riveted the nation. This book was also the inspiration for Clint Eastwood’s movie, The Changling.

The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder, Charles Graeber

When nurse Charlie Cullen was arrested in 2003, journalists were quick to dub him “The Angel of Death.” But Cullen was neither a mercy killer nor a simple monster. He was a son, a husband, a father, a best friend, and a valued caregiver. He was also implicated in the deaths of as many as 400 people, and may be the most prolific serial killer in American history.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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