#13 The Circle

The Circle by Dave Eggers

18302455The description from Goodreads:
When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. 

As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO. 

Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in America – even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.

I really wanted to like this book but I’m just not sure what I think of it. I liked certain parts of it, but as a whole I wasn’t that impressed. I finished it thinking, was this book just okay or did it go completely over my head?

I really liked certain aspects, like how detailed Eggers describes the campus. However, I found that in-depth detail to be tedious when describing other things, like the different projects the main character Mae is working on. The premise of the book is great, but I think it got bogged down in a lot of supporting story for example, the water/sea symbolisms. While I understood why they were used,  I don’t think they added more to be the story.

There are some very eerie parts of the book but they fall flat on the 2 dimensional characters. I think that’s what made this book so hard for me to really get into because I kept doubting myself. Are the characters supposed to be distant seeming and submissive or is this book just lacking character development and interaction?

There were a lot of WTF elements for me, Kalden’s appeal to Mae, Francis, where did the parents go? That list got longer and longer the more I read.

The end was what I thought and didn’t disappoint or excite me.

Overall, the dislikes outweighed the likes. I’m excited to watch the movie, which also has very mixed reviews just like the book.

I give this book 3 stars.

 

 

 

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#12 Fierce Kingdom

Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips

33155777The description from Goodreads:
An electrifying novel about the primal and unyielding bond between a mother and her son, and the lengths she’ll go to protect him.
The zoo is nearly empty as Joan and her four-year-old son soak up the last few moments of playtime. They are happy, and the day has been close to perfect. But what Joan sees as she hustles her son toward the exit gate minutes before closing time sends her sprinting back into the zoo, her child in her arms. And for the next three hours—the entire scope of the novel—she keeps on running.
Joan’s intimate knowledge of her son and of the zoo itself—the hidden pathways and under-renovation exhibits, the best spots on the carousel and overstocked snack machines—is all that keeps them a step ahead of danger.
A masterful thrill ride and an exploration of motherhood itself—from its tender moments of grace to its savage power—Fierce Kingdom asks where the boundary is between our animal instinct to survive and our human duty to protect one another. For whom should a mother risk her life?

My worst nightmares are kidnappings and mass shootings so of course I fed into my own neurosis and bought this book.

Fierce Kingdom is very well written, you can picture yourself right there, the atmosphere is described so well. I really enjoyed that the book only took place over the course of a couple hours.

I found the pace was odd at times, there were parts that seemed to drag on then other parts that I felt more could have been added. It was also a little wordy in spots, but usually that was attributed to the little bit of character development there was.

I spent the whole book agreeing and disagreeing with Joan’s choices, when to run, when to hide, and I couldn’t stop thinking if that were me, what would I do? Where would I go? Clearly I was really into it because after reading for a couple hours two nights ago, I dreamt of swimming with polar beers and being really scared but really excited.

Fiona Barton is quoted on the book jacket as saying “It tore at every maternal fiber in my body. I couldn’t put it down.” and it’s true, this book fills you up with maternal feelings of survival, you can relate to the main character Joan, who does all she can to keep her son safe.

KINDA SORTA SPOILER ALERT BELOW…

I felt there was a lot of ends that weren’t tied up. I would have liked the ending to include the husband (but maybe that would have been to cliche). Also, what happened to Robby? The baby? Mrs.Powell?

OK, SPOILERS ARE DONE

I think a book like this could have had more of a grand, heroic end and it just kind of ended all the sudden, which disappointed me a bit.

I give this book 4 stars.

#11 Our Little Secret

Our Little Secret by Roz Nay

33305530The description from Goodreads:
For fans of In a Dark, Dark Wood and All the Missing Girls comes Our Little Secret, a compulsive and thrilling debut about a missing woman, a tangled love triangle, the secrets we keep and the secrets we share.
The detective wants to know what happened to Saskia, as if I could just skip to the ending and all would be well. But stories begin at the beginning and some secrets have to be earned.
Angela is being held in a police interrogation room. Her ex’s wife has gone missing and Detective Novak is sure Angela knows something, despite her claim that she’s not involved.
At Novak’s prodding, Angela tells a story going back ten years, explaining how she met and fell in love with her high school friend HP. But as her past unfolds, she reveals a disconcerting love triangle and a dark, tangled web of betrayals. Is Angela a scorned ex-lover with criminal intent? Or a pawn in someone else’s revenge scheme? Who is she protecting? And why?
Twisty and suspenseful, Our Little Secret is an intense cat-and-mouse game and a riveting thriller about the lies we tell others—and ourselves.

HOLY SHIT! I brought Our Little Secret to work with me today so I could read on lunch and much to my delight it was extremely slow. Here we are, 4 hours later, I’m done the book and in literary love!

The story between Angela and HP was so delicious and exciting, reading about their budding teenage love wrapped me up in sweet nostalgia blanket and I was hooked from the beginning. The characters are so well written (I know I say this a lot, but seriously). I loved how ruthless, unlikable and obsessive Angela is. She’s such a manipulative narrator, I felt how she felt and I hated who she hated even though I knew it wasn’t right. Saskia is so sweet and oblivious but I hated her because Angela did, all up until the end.  HP is the epitome of teenage cool and I was yearning for an HP perspective chapter so I could get more insight into him. There’s one scene in the interrogation room between HP and Angela that was written so well I felt like it was happening to me.

The current and past perspectives was done so well, during each chapter I was quickly reading to get to the next perspective and so on. The interrogation room was a perfect setting, you could feel the confines of that sterile room and it made me so nervous. Our Little Secret read like a movie in the best way possible.

Sorry for the manic sounding review, but I literally just finished it and I LOVED IT! I can’t believe this is a debut novel.

I give this book 5 stars!

#8 I See You

Quick update:

I feel out of the reading loop. I spent April and May in vacation planning panic mode.
I went to Paris and Rome for 2 weeks with two girlfriends and while it was amazing and everything I could have hoped for, the book I brought was totally ignored.
When I got home I spent two weeks feeling really blah and endlessly scrolling through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I finally said enough was enough and fell back into reading and buying too many books.

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I See You by Clare Mackintosh

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The description from Goodreads:
You do the same thing every day.
You know exactly where you’re going.
You’re not alone.
When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it’s there. There’s no explanation: just a website, a grainy image and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it’s just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.
Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make . . .

I read I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh last year and really enjoyed it so I was looking forward to I See You and it did not disappoint.

The pace of this book I found similar to I Let You Go, it’s definitely a slow burn. It starts off pleasant and easy then somewhere in the middle it picks up speed and you’re tuning the world out, frantically turning pages trying to figure it all out.

Clare Mackintosh does settings and characters well, the places felt quaint and familiar and the characters were well developed and likable (and equally unlikable). Dual POVs are sometimes tricky to navigate but they were seamless in this book.

There was a lot of moving pieces in I See You but in the end everything fit like a puzzle and made sense. I love a good whodunnit and didn’t anticipate the two major twists in the end, even when I was sure I figured it out.

I give this book 4.5 stars.

 

 

#7 The Marriage Lie

The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle

asdfasdfasdfadsfasdThe description from Goodreads:
Even the perfect marriage has its dark side… 

Iris and Will’s marriage is as close to perfect as it can be: a large house in a nice Atlanta neighborhood, rewarding careers and the excitement of trying for their first baby. But on the morning Will leaves for a business trip to Orlando, Iris’s happy world comes to an abrupt halt. Another plane headed for Seattle has crashed into a field, killing everyone on board, and according to the airline, Will was one of the passengers on this plane. 

Grief-stricken and confused, Iris is convinced it all must be a huge misunderstanding. But as time passes and there is still no sign of Will, she reluctantly accepts that he is gone. Still, Iris needs answers. Why did Will lie about where he was going? What is in Seattle? And what else has he lied about? As Iris sets off on a desperate quest to find out what her husband was keeping from her, the answers she receives will shock her to her very core.

I saw this book mentioned in a magazine so when a friend asked for a recommendation, I mentioned this book. After her and our other friend both finished it in 2 days, I knew I needed to read it right away.

The Marriage Lie is a very easy, quick read. The story line is interesting, full of twists and turns and SO engrossing. The book has a really good pace and the author does a very good job at building suspense with her writing. 

The characters were really well developed (I feel like I write this a lot) and likable. I liked Iris the most and her need to know everything was definitely relatable to me. I spent a lot of time thinking which celebrities would play each character in a movie and that only happens when the characters are lifelike with well composed personalities and thoughts etc. 

I finished this book quickly, it kept me hooked until I finished it and I liked the end. 

I give The Marriage Lie 4 stars. 

 

 

 

#6 The Girl Before

The Girl Before by J.P Delaney

28016509The description from Goodreads:
Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.
The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.
Emma
Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.
Jane
After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home’s previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before.
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I’m surprised because despite the good reviews on Goodreads, I really didn’t enjoy this book.

I couldn’t relate to The Girl Before at all, which may have something to do with how much I disliked it. I couldn’t get a good read on the characters or the setting itself. There was also some plot lines (the Japanese restaurant?!) that I felt lacked sincerity. It was as if they were added just for shock value which came across crass to me.

I felt the story had good premise but the book lacked suspense and that thrilling element that made it feel like a thriller. I remember reading and thinking ‘I should feel scared or at least eerie right now’ but it kind of just fell flat.

I couldn’t get past the 50 Shades of Grey vibes this book was serving. The ‘rules’ for the house and relationships were offputting and because of that, it had an overall ughhh factor for me.

I found it hard to keep track of who was who in the dual perspective narrative (which I usually love). Perhaps because I couldn’t connect with the characters, it took me a while to figure out who was who.

All in all, I think this book was both overdone and underdeveloped at the same time.

Ron Howard has signed on to direct the movie so I’ll definitely be watching it so see how it translate on screen.

I give it 2 stars on premise alone.

#4 The Best Kind of People

The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall

bestkindofpeopleThe description from Goodreads:
What if someone you trusted was accused of the unthinkable?
George Woodbury, an affable teacher and beloved husband and father, is arrested for sexual impropriety at a prestigious prep school. His wife, Joan, vaults between denial and rage as the community she loved turns on her. Their daughter, Sadie, a popular over-achieving high school senior, becomes a social pariah. Their son, Andrew, assists in his father’s defense, while wrestling with his own unhappy memories of his teen years. A local author tries to exploit their story, while an unlikely men’s rights activist attempts to get Sadie onside their cause. With George locked up, how do the members of his family pick up the pieces and keep living their lives? How do they defend someone they love while wrestling with the possibility of his guilt?
With exquisite emotional precision, award-winning author Zoe Whittall explores issues of loyalty, truth, and the meaning of happiness through the lens of an all-American family on the brink of collapse.

This book has been really popular on Indigo.ca as well as in stores because not only is it a Heather’s Pick (the CEO’s book picks) which are always very popular, but the book is a Scotiabank Giller Prize nominee, which is a prestigious award given to Canadian authors. My mom ended up getting it for me for Christmas and even though I vowed to get through the books that were sent from Netgalley first, I couldn’t resist anymore.

I really liked this book. I liked how messy the story  was and how uncomfortable it made you feel. I couldn’t help but form my own strong opinions, disagree with the character’s opinions and feelings and question how I would act or think if I were in the position.

The characters were so well developed they felt like your own friends and family. The setting was also really well written, I could imagine the house and the town and the school so well it was as if I’ve been there.

I thought the author did a good job at tackling rape culture and how complicated and sensationalized it’s become.

I feel like I could say so much more but I would be giving up parts of the story that should come organically so I’ll just say, that end, COME ON!!!!!

It grabbed me from the very start and I had such a hard time putting it down.

I give The Best Kind of People 5 stars, simply for the fact I liked the writing and couldn’t find any flaws to pick at.