Tag Archives: Bird Box

‘Bird Box’ Movie Review

10 Jan

Movie Poster via IMDb

It’s been a few years since I read Josh Malerman’s book Bird Box for my book club. Our amazing leader picked it as a spooky October read, a favorite tradition of ours. With the Netflix release of a movie version starring Sandra Bullock, I was pumped. A huge surge in views of those past posts shows a lot of people were curious about the book so I’m looking forward to this comparison and seeing what the rest of you thought as well.

Things I Thought Were Awesome

Sandra Bullock. She was amazing. The stress she exuded was palpable and she made me uneasy and on the edge of my seat the whole time. I loved how she played Malorie.

Boy and Girl growing up. In the book, we skip from their birth to the river trip. The movie gave us a few glances of them growing up with Malorie and Tom, learning about being outside and life before the invasion. I liked these little touches.

Changes That Didn’t Really Bother Me

The quick invasion. The book had a slower invasion and Malorie and her sister losing contact with their parents and others before experiencing it themselves. The quick invasion was much more exciting and made for a great movie moment. It was a bit too similar to War of the Worlds for me, but that’s also a great sequence.

Book Cover via Goodreads

Things That Were Taken Out and I’m Still Wondering Why

The creatures getting in. In the book, the characters are always worried about the creatures getting into their houses through doors. When they come inside, they created an ‘airlock’ of sorts to make sure the creatures weren’t there with them. They got rid of this completely in the movie. My husband, who hadn’t read the book, asked me about it and I told him the book solution. He thought that seemed more logical.

Things That Changed Too Much

Tom’s death. Maybe my memory is off, but I thought Tom died in the ‘Gary Incident.’  Him living longer gave us a great battle with the mentally deranged people but didn’t add much to the story. It also made it weird, to me at least, when Malorie gives Boy the name Tom.

Having to look. That was what was so scary about the river journey in the book! You had to look at a fork in the river and Malorie had to believe that she could do this. I wish that had been kept in. Again, the rapids made for a great visual sequence but having to look was downright terrifying!

I’m so glad this awesome book was turned into a movie. Maybe it would have been a better Halloween release, but Netflix has seen amazing success with it. Reader, have you seen the Bird Box movie? What did you think?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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Book Club Reflection: Bird Box by Josh Malerman

27 Oct

Reading a local author is fun. Especially when he sets his book in your local area (though you’re unable to identify the river in the book) and one of his friends from high school is in your book club! If only my tweets had gotten him to join us.

There were a lot of comparisons to ‘The Walking Dead’ in our discussion. A fellow member and I were reminded of Terminus when Malorie reached the school. We were both afraid she’d be eaten! The man at the end is even named Rick, the main character from ‘The Walking Dead.’ In fact, this book was ready to publish in 2007 but publishers delayed publication date because they felt the market was too saturated with the genre. Fortunately, it has been optioned for film. I’d be curious to see how this could be made into a film when so much of it is about not being able to see.

We talked a lot about the title. The bird box didn’t seem to be a very big part of the plot, but the author thought it was important enough to merit the title. We thought it was an allegory for being on your own in a small, dark little world, but Malerman has come out and said that’s not true. The box is very similar to how the housemates lived in the house, shut off from everything outside and afraid when something came near.

People in the book either died violently and quietly. The contrast between Tom’s daughter and George are startling. We think some died quietly because they knew what they were going to see, they knew they were risking something when they opened their eyes or peeked. We suspect some of them killed themselves before completely losing their minds so they couldn’t kill others. Or maybe, as Gary suggests, people are affected differently and some of them wouldn’t get violent. I don’t like the idea of Gary being right about anything.

The scene where Malorie almost blinds her children was disturbing. In reality, why wouldn’t she? The children would be much safer and live better lives if they didn’t have to worry about seeing something that could kill them. We thought it was a sign of hope that she didn’t take their eyesight. She had to believe that things would get better to keep their eyes. Not giving them names could be construed as a sign of hope as well; that they would someday live in a world where names to distinguish one Boy from another were needed. Though we also would have been able to guess the climax from their names and would have known they weren’t twins. Malerman commented on this as well and said Malorie didn’t name the children because names were a luxury to her. They didn’t help her survive so she didn’t need them.

We had a lot of discussion about the creatures. Were they real? Was Gary the monster? Or was Gary right and it was the idea of something that was scaring people? We thought the ending scene where Malorie’s blindfold is lifted off her face implied that they are real creatures with real mass. That begged the question: Do these creatures know what they’re doing? Are the purposefully destroying humans on earth? We suspected this was the case only because of a scene toward the end. The birds that die in the skies have survived for more than four years. With how quickly a human died when looking out a window, we suspected that the creatures could choose to affect someone or something and chose to affect the birds to cause Malorie and the children distress. If the effect was mental like Gary thought, the animals wouldn’t be affected but the blind would.

Gary came off as very odd and less developed than the rest of the characters. We thought this was purposeful because our conclusion is that he was crazy. He was crazy enough not to be affected, like the man on the river. Some of us wondered if the man on the river was Gary, but we thought he would have said something creepy to scare Malorie and she likely would have recognized his voice.

A few members were dissatisfied with the ending of the book. They felt it was lacking and to an extent, I agree. The whole book, the reader is trying to figure out what these creatures are and we never find out. It felt like the school was a very contrived way to end everything neatly. Though how the ending could have been satisfying is hard to say. For a while, we thought Tom was going to be alive because Malorie heard his name on the speaker and we didn’t know about his death yet. That might have been satisfying, but not fitting.

In the end, how much better off was Malorie? It still could have been a Terminus kind of situation, she had no reason to trust the people there. How much longer could Malorie have survived alone? It seemed like her food supply should have run out long before the children were four. She’d have to have a lot of trust in these people she’s just met. What if there’s a breach again and they want to blind her and the children? She might have been better off alone.

We enjoyed the pacing of the book. It was enough to keep us on our toes and a lot of people (like me) raced through the book. There were a few characters we didn’t think were necessary to the plot, specifically Felix and Cheryl. The only thing this book lacked was sexual tension and that seems like something they could have added. You could argue there might have been something between Malorie and Tom, but I never felt like that was going to happen.

Our next book is Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I’m listening to the audio now and didn’t realize how much I’d forgotten since I read it in high school. It’s sure to be a fun discussion.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 14-October-2015

14 Oct

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


451Currently reading:  I’ve made a bit of progress on Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell but I’m stuck in the middle of the book, in the Hawaii section, and so overly uninterested that it’s a struggle to keep going. I’ll keep making my way as best I can.
No progress on I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. Stand by.
I’m getting close to finishing The Samurai’s Garden by Gayle Tsukiyama. I might even finish it today I’m so close!
I’m going to jump on Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson as soon as I finish Samurai. I’m excited to get back into it.
I made major progress with Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States by Bill Bryson while driving to and from Indiana for a conference this weekend. I’d like to think my progress with this book makes up for my lack of progress with Samauri and Cloud Atlas but I’m not sure it works that way.
I began a new audiobook for Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury on Sunday. I was going to read my physical copy of this book, but listening to the audio will give me more time to get through some other physical books I’ve been slacking on. So far the narrator’s really good and I’m enjoying Bradbury again.

Talk About RunningRecently finished: I finished up the last twenty minutes What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami as I drove to Indiana. I liked this one and related to Murakami as a writer and athlete. I especially liked when he talked about triathlons! Yes, major geek moments for me.

And two book reviews for you all this week! Please check out my reviews of Bird Box by Josh Malerman (5 stars) and Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng (3 Stars). I know a lot of you had been asking me what I thought of these so let me know if you agree, disagree, now hate me, etc. I’m about caught up on reviews and there will be one more tomorrow!

SenseReading Next: For an audiobook on my phone, I still plan to pick up Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. Yes, I’m pushing this back a little bit, but I do want to get to it.
I’ve been meaning to read Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen for ages. I have a really cool copy of the book that shows you where to fold the pages to make book-art out of it to spell out Love. That proably doesn’t make a lot of sense, but I’ll be sure to post pictures when I finish.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Review: Bird Box by Josh Malerman (5/5)

12 Oct

It’s been a long time since I found a book I couldn’t put down. Even some of the books I’ve read recently that have gotten 5 stars weren’t so engrossing I couldn’t put them down. Bird Box was a welcome surprise. I actually turned down pizza and cornhole to finish this book. Yeah, that’s right. I had twenty pages left, how could I stop then?

Bird Box

Cover image via Goodreads

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Summary from Goodreads:

Something is out there, something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse of it, and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.

Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remains, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now that the boy and girl are four, it’s time to go, but the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat–blindfolded–with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. Something is following them all the while, but is it man, animal, or monster?

I was skeptical at first. I’ve read a lot of books that jump forward and backward in time and have been annoyed by it. So I started out with a bitter taste in my mouth but that quickly went away. The past story is rushing to catch up with the present story and it helped the books pace a lot for me. You see the beginning of the creatures and you see how bad it got and the whole time you’re asking yourself, “How could it get this bad? And where did everyone go?” Well, I’m not going to ruin that for you because it all comes rushing out at the end in a wonderful mass of story. I know that doesn’t make sense. Just read this darn book, okay?

I liked Malorie and the other housemates. There were resourceful and found ways to do what they needed to in order to survive. I was surprised not all of them were as cynical as Don. I found him very believable. He was scared, rightfully so, and wanted to protect himself. The others seemed more giving and trusting ad I’m truthfully not sure I could have been so welcoming.

Tom was my favorite character. Maybe because he was Malorie’s favorite, she got me to like him, but he was a good leader for the house. He helped them establish a way to live in the house without daily fear, but he was also determined to make things better for the all. He was progressive but not overly so. He was worried about ending up like George and trying something too dangerous.

The idea of being afraid of something unknown is universal. It might be a blind date or a new job or your first day of college, but most humans have felt that sense of unease or fear when something is going to happen that you’ve never experienced before. I related to that feeling in the characters though situations I’ve been in were less deadly. It’s a feeling no one likes and no one is really comfortable with and I think that’s a great element of horror to use in a book such as this.

Image via Twitter

Josh Malerman. Image via Twitter

I don’t want to give too many details about my favorite part of the book because it comes right at the end as Malorie is about to find what she’s been searching for. She was so brave in that scene and reading about her overcoming something so frightening was encouraging and helped me see her strength as a character and a mother.

There’s one basic part of this story that bothered me. How did people know it was looking at something that caused the madness? This theory seemed to have been established very early on in the world and I didn’t get it. Why not an airborne virus? How did they know it was seeing something? This kept bugging me the whole time and I never felt it was properly answered, especially because people didn’t know if there were really creatures at all for a long time.

I also wondered why her children were referred to as Boy and Girl for so long when they obviously had names in her mind. They didn’t know their own names. I felt that was very removed of mother and children. It made me sad.

And the title. I know what the Bird Box was, but I’m not sure it deserved the title. Just a personal opinion.

Fear of the unknown is almost universal. I’m sure there are people who don’t fear new situations, but there are those like myself who are uneasy at a facing something for the first time, be it a person or a situation. For years, Malorie let her fear control her. She let the unseen creatures and her lack of knowledge about them and what they could do keep her hidden. Overcoming that fear can be terrifying and we might need something to motivate us to do it. For Malorie, it was her children who kept her focused and determined. It was for them that she overcame her fear. Being a mother kept her alive.

Writer’s Takeaway: I enjoy the short chapters. In suspenseful books, it helps keep the book moving well. It also serves well for jumping forward and backward in time like Malerman was doing. I’m a fan of this part. I think he did a good job of building an antagonist that we were afraid of without knowing anything about. That can be hard to do, but the fear was real in me. I was camping when I read this and I was snuggling deeper into my sleeping bag, terrified those in the tent near me were going to come over and kill me. It was great!

Couldn’t stop reading, couldn’t put it down. Loved it, a full Five out of Five stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Debut Book of the Month: May- Bird Box by Josh Malerman | twenty7
Bird Box by Josh Malerman | Kate Conroy
Review: Bird Box by Josh Malerman | Bibliophile Gathering
Review: Bird Box by Josh Malerman | The Savvy Reader

Challenge Update, September 2015

1 Oct

Fall is a good time for me to catch up on reading and I’m having a blast doing it. There’s more time inside snuggled up with a book to look forward to. I’ve made some good progress in September! You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in September:

The Invisible Bridge // Julie Orringer
The Boleyn Inheritance // Philippa Gregory
Bird Box // Josh Malerman
The Silkwork // Robert Galbraith

Not the best progress as far as finishing books, but I made a lot of forward progress with books I’m in the middle of.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

13/13
This is my challenge to read a book from 13 different time periods. You can read about it here. My timeline will track all of my books and show which time period they fall into, but it’s a little behind on the updates. AND I’M DONE! I was aiming at finishing this challenge early and I’m really glad I was able to do it. This is really fun when I’ve done it the last two years but I might not do it again unless I can drum up some more interest. Anyone out there interested?

Goodreads Challenge

43/50

Six books ahead! I’m still riding the high of last month and all the books I finished. I hope I can keep this going.

Book of the Month

Bird BoxIt’s easy to pick Bird Box by Josh Malerman. It’s been a while since I was so engrossed in a book. Loved it!

Added to my TBR

For the second month in a row, I haven’t added anything. I can tell book sale season is approaching and this will only ramp up soon, but I’m enjoying the shortening list for now. Keeping it to under 150!

How are your challenges going? I hope you’re doing better than me! If you love historical fiction, give some thought to my challenge, it’s fun!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 30-September-2015

30 Sep

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


SamuraiCurrently reading:  At least I can say I read some of Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell this week though it’s embarrassingly little. It’s honestly stalled for me and I’m having trouble being engaged.
I guess you can figure out I didn’t read any of I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. To be continued…
I picked up with Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng again. I’ll get through it soon, I’m enjoying the story.
I picked up The Samurai’s Garden by Gayle Tsukiyama for my book club on Tuesday night. I’m looking forward to reading this one as another woman from our club has enjoyed it.
I needed a new ‘in between book,’ one I pick up in between reading book club books. I grabbed Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson from my shelf, one I’ve been meaning to read for a while. I hope it’s good!

Bird BoxRecently finished: Two finished! One physical and one audio. I got through Bird Box by Josh Malerman on Friday. I was waiting for my husband at our campsite for our bike event and I couldn’t put it down! A full 5 out of 5.
I also finished The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith on Monday. I liked the story, but I felt like I wasn’t given enough information to try to figure out the killer by myself. Oh well.

One book review this last week. It was The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer. Please let me know if you’ve read it and what you thought.

451Reading Next: Well, it’s time for the next book club selection! We’re going with a classic this time and I’ll be picking up Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I read this my Sophomore year of high school and don’t remember much so it will be fun to pick it up again as an adult and see what I think.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 23-September-2015

23 Sep

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Bird BoxCurrently reading:  I honestly am embarrassed at how slowly I’m getting through Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. I checked it out again, but I’m not sure I got through anything new with it. I haven’t had a lot of chance for an eBook lately. Maybe soon?
I guess you can figure out I didn’t read any of I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. To be continued…
No progress with Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. I hope to finish it up soon, though!
Making great progress on The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith! This one is really great and has grabbed my attention. I read on Galbraith/Rowling’s Twitter feed that the third in the series will be coming out soon so I’m excited to get my hands on it quickly.
I started copy of Bird Box by Josh Malerman Sunday night. Not too far into it yet, but I’ve heard it’s a hit-or-miss book. I’m inclined to like it because it’s the perfect time of year for a creepy book and the author’s hometown is 20 minutes from me!

Boleyn InheritanceRecently finished: I finished The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory on Sunday. It was a solid read, what I’ve come to expect from Gregory’s Tudor series. I think I’m close to reading them all now, but new ones keep coming out!

Another week of two book reviews. This time around it was Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian (3/5) and The Scorch Trials by James Dashner (3/5). Let me know your thoughts on these titles as well.

SamuraiReading Next: I’m missing my next book club meeting because of a test, but I’m picking back up again soon after. We’ll be reading The Samurai’s Garden by Gail Tsukiyama. I’m looking forward to it as one woman read it before and really liked it!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 16-September-2015

16 Sep

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


SilkwormCurrently reading:  Slow going on Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. I don’t have a lot of time to read it so I’m not sure how soon I could finish this. My hold expires soon and I’m not sure if I can renew it so this trend might continue…
I haven’t look at I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai yet because I’ve had Cloud Atlas. If the hold expires, I’ll get back to this one soon, but I’m almost hoping I can power through Cloud Atlas first.
Getting really close to the end of The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory. I’m enjoying it a lot. Katherine Howard’s character is really fun to read. I hope to finish it up really soon!
I’m stopped about 2/3 of the way through Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. It’s still interesting, but I’ve set it aside for my new audiobook…
I got The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith! I’m really excited about this one. It’s the same narrator as The Cuckoo’s Calling which is really nice. I’m enjoying the focus on publishing in this one. I bet it’s something Rowling/Galbraith knows a lot about!

Recently finished: Nothing finished this week. I know, I know, it’s my own fault because I keep putting books on hold. This is true, I can’t fight it.

Though I put out two book reviews since last week! Please check out my reviews of The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton (3 Stars) and Dark Places by Gillian Flynn (5 Stars).

Bird BoxReading Next: My book club met on Monday and I got my copy of Bird Box by Josh Malerman. I’m going to pick it up as soon as I finish The Boleyn Inherritance. I’m not putting another book on hold!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 9-September-2015

9 Sep

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


CloudAtlasCurrently reading:  Not much going on with Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. The middle is dragging for me again. I liked the middle of the first half and I’m hoping that if I get past this section, it will improve again.
I checked ou I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai again, but I’m probably not going to read it until Cloud Atlas goes away again.
More than halfway done with The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory. I really like it. I hoped I would because Gregory’s books about the Tudors are usually my favorite.
About halfway through Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. I like it enough, but it’s not my favorite. It’s very character driven, which is fine, but the flashback style isn’t working for me.

Invisible BridgeRecently finished: I finally finished  The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer! This one took me a while for a few reasons. Being interrupted a lot didn’t help, but I felt this one dragged a lot, especially at the beginning. I’ll write up a full review later, but know it won’t be glowing.

Just one book review in the last week. You can check out my thoughts on Jeannette Wall’s The Glass Castle. My book club recently met on that title so look for a book club reflection in the next few weeks.

Bird BoxReading Next: Still waiting on The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith on eAudio. After so many of you told me you enjoyed it last week, I’m looking forward to this one!
I’ve got another book club selection sneaking up on me so I’ll be reading Bird Box by Josh Malerman for our October meeting. It looks like a great creepy read!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!