The Circle

The Circle

Rating: 2.5/5

From IMDB:

A woman lands a dream job at a powerful tech company called the Circle, only to uncover a nefarious agenda that will affect the lives of her friends, family and that of humanity.

Review:

This movie confused the heck out of me, particularly Emma Watson’s character. I don’t understand how someone who obviously valued her privacy so much, with her lonesome kayaking and small circle of friends, could vouch for The Circle’s ideas and even promote them. Every time I thought she was having second thoughts she showed she was actually buying into all that stuff. That made the events towards the end feel anti-climatic, as there was no actual progression.

It saddens me to see such a great actress as Emma Watson in a role like this. I guess she did a terrific job with what she was thrown. Tom Hanks was superb as usual. Ty and Annie’s characters were the only ones that felt real in the middle of all those hollow-minded, social media obsessed people so they were okay as well, though fleeting. Most of all, it was quite a mess and I could not relate because no one seemed to see what was obvious to me – the question of invasion of privacy and why that would be bad – not even the main character!

The Circle succeeds in making us think what if in a very bumpy ride where not everything needed to be there and certainly not in the way it was presented.
Even when things start to get interesting and we begin to grasp the immensity of the consequences of what is being done, the conclusion is incredibly rushed and there is no proper resolution.

I had been looking forward to this quite a lot but ultimately left the theatre room disappointed. Still, with food for thought, which is not so bad.

Stacking The Shelves [12] April 29th

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Stacking The Shelves is hosted at Tynga’s Reviews and is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!


Hello, lovely people! I hope you had a wonderful week. Mine was good. Despite work remaining crazy busy I did manage to do a fair amount of reading, especially due to a bank holiday so I got a nice long weekend.

This week I also received only one book from Netgalley. I have been going through my list at a steady pace and managed to raise my feedback rate by 2% so easy does it! I am trying really hard not to let the total count of 56 remaining books intimidate me *bites nails*

I have the following week off work so I plan to unwind, relax, and read while it is pleasurable, not as an obligation, so we’ll see how it goes.

I hope you have a terrific weekend!


Netgalley ARC

Holding: A Novel by Graham Norton

Holding: A Novel
by Graham Norton

From Graham Norton, the BAFTA-award-winning Irish television host and author of the “sparkling and impish” (Daily Mail) memoirs The Life and Loves of a He Devil and So Me, comes a charming debut novel set in an idyllic Irish village where a bumbling investigator has to sort through decades of gossip and secrets to solve a mysterious crime.

The remote Irish village of Duneen has known little drama but when human remains are discovered on an old farm, suspected to be that of Tommy Burke—a former lover of two different inhabitants—the village’s dark past begins to unravel. As the frustrated sergeant PJ Collins struggles to solve a genuine case for the first time in his life, he unearths a community’s worth of anger and resentments, secrets and regret.

In this darkly comic, touching, and at times heartbreaking novel, perfect for fans of J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy, Graham Norton employs his acerbic wit to breathe life into a host of loveable characters, and explore—with searing honesty—the complexities and contradictions that make us human.

I do love when I am able to put a cover’s influence aside when requesting a book. I find that they can be quite devious!
Requesting a book without any reviews at all is a risk but this seems good as it appears to be character based and those are some of my favourite.


And that’s it for this week!

Have you read this book or do you plan to?

Are you excited about reading any particular books you got this week?

Please comment below and if you have a STS post please post it in comments.

Getting Artsy

If you follow my Instagram account you will have noticed a few days ago I went to a Tiger shop and got some art supplies:

Watercolour paper and crayons – oh, the possibilities!

I don’t know how to draw or paint but I still love this kind of stuff – there is just something about a blank sheet of paper and colours and just the potential for something beautiful.
I am not really drawn to colouring books and I had lost hope of finding something to fulfil this yearning but then I came across these and was so excited.

I was not 100% sure what I was going to do with them but when I got home an idea started forming. I would start with random abstract stuff, yes, that is really the only thing I can do eheh, but I would combine it with something I have been meaning to try for a while now, ever since I came across the work of so many talented people out there: making my own bookmarks!

Somehow the ones I get or come across otherwise are too small and I figured hey, this could be a good way to combine this desire to get artsy within my very limited capabilities and making something useful. So I present to you my first experiment:

I am not sure if it is because of the crayon’s quality not being too good but I did not get an effect using a brush, only my finger, and still it doesn’t look too good but I am pretty happy with the result considering it was my first attempt, and encouraged to keep going!

I am curious, have you ever tried this? Do you have any tips regarding materials, techniques or anything really?

The Ridge

Title: The Ridge

Author: John Rector

Genres: Contemporary | Mystery

Length: 284 pages | 3438 Kindle locations

Source: Netgalley

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publishing Date: April 25th, 2017

Rating: 3.25/5

Premise:

Megan was just going to talk with Rachel. But things take a terrible turn and something awful happens.
Except it didn’t. At least Megan’s husband doesn’t believe so and all evidence seems to support it.
Is Megan losing her mind? Or is something sinister happening at Willow Ridge?

Review:

In The Ridge we follow main character Megan around from what starts as a pretty ordinary scene of jealousy that morphs into something quite sinister throughout the story.

Megan doesn’t like Rachel due to her advances on her husband so she goes and talks to her. And that’s where what Rachel supposedly did stops being relevant and we begin questioning what the heck is going on in this tight community.
Megan knows what she saw but her husband’s comments about her mental health shine doubt on it. As she comes in contact with other neighbours, more questions arise, along with some clues, about what is happening.

The novel’s pace is good, as we watch Megan struggle with her relationship with her husband, hiding her secret and trying to make sense of what happened. And then there are those dreadful dreams about a little girl and a blue light that she just cannot make sense of.

This has some resemblances to the psychological thrillers out there because there is doubt about the main character’s mental stability as well as the good intentions of those around her. But that is pretty much where the resemblances stop.

The narrative is nice and fluid and though the first line bothered me due to the construction of the sentence, there was a connection to a later chapter that I enjoyed. There is no jumping back and forward in time here and that was refreshing.

As the story develops, there is a good amount of creepy factor and I thought things were getting really interesting. However, as the resolution approached, I was stuck with so many questions that I could not get complete satisfaction out of the book.

If they delete memories, how could Megan remember Julia? Why exactly was Rachel not right, as Megan put it, when she returned the first time? What happened to Mercer’s wife? If she was so important, being a founder and all, why didn’t they bring her back? Is it because the staff does not have those things implanted? Is that why they are not affected by the blue light? Or is there like a different frequency to each person? How does it work?? Why would Mercer’s wife show him the files like she was exposing an ugly truth when she was actually part of it? And why did Fiona not have a bit more stuff in her house to welcome her guests? I get why the rest of the house was empty but she could at least have some cookies and coffee, I don’t know. Not everyone likes tea. That did feel a bit like a plot device to add to the creepiness factor. Besides, Fiona was home when Megan called asking for a ride, so when exactly was she there? And why the heck does no one use cell phones??

So yes, as you can see, a lot of questions. Also, I didn’t really get some of Megan’s choices and that kind of thing usually bothers me quite a lot.

Still, I believe The Ridge is a book you need to appreciate for the ride, not necessarily the destination, as it can be quite enjoyable and an interesting approach on the Stepford Wife concept.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from April 27th to 29th, 2017
GR Review

The Abscission Zone

Title: The Abscission Zone

Author: Samuel Muggington

Genres: Science Fiction

Length: 338 pages | 4944 Kindle locations

Source: Netgalley

Publisher: Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA)

Publishing Date: December 30th, 2016

Rating: 1.5/5

Premise:

A couple of scientists stumble upon a plot for plants to take over Earth.

Review:

This is one of the rare cases where I wished I had looked up the reviews or even just the ratings for a book before I requested it. The blurb sounded so interesting that I just couldn’t resist.

Instead, I got one of the worst character building I have read, if not the worst, and a story that didn’t make much sense.
And the writing… Boy. At times it felt like a pre-teen wrote this book. It was just so underdeveloped.

I cannot begin to tell you how much these characters annoyed me. Every single one of them wanted to do bad things to everyone they came across. And they are such bad-asses in their own minds.

Examples:

Arnie (the boss): I wish you knew my pet name for you: “Dock the Dork.”
Dock: I don’t want to brag but I do know more about plants than almost anyone alive does.
Texie: After I kick that thing’s ass, I am going after you, you stupid (…) asshole. No one pushes me around like this.

And there is so, so much more.

These scientists talk and act nothing like scientists. The first couple of lines of the book were a hint: Texie Raynott raised her eyebrows as she stared into the microscope. Green stuff in cancer cells? That can’t be right. Stuff… That didn’t sound very scientific.

Throughout the first part of the story, random scientific-ish stuff is thrown out there but it feels more like it is meant to show the author did some research about plants because the characters constantly act like hormonal teenagers, kicking everyone’s ass, despite Dock’s constant ‘who knew I was going to die like this’ lines every time he comes across a particularly dire situation.

Some descriptions were quite entertaining and even pretty, but that is about it.

Then in the second part everything changes because for some reason people are able to travel to Mars and actually build a colony there with just 12 people. Things don’t improve much in terms of characters, they still act like teenagers, constantly throwing tantrums, pissed off at something or someone all the time, and think the world of themselves. Back on Earth, freaky assassin plants are replaced by freaky mutations and there are a few changes to human society, but there is no depth to anything, bizarre stuff is just thrown out there, for no apparent purpose other than surprise and enthrall the reader.
It didn’t work.

The book ends with many questions unanswered, so I imagine there will be sequel(s).
I am afraid I am not in the least curious to know what happens to Earth, Mars and least of all these characters.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from April 23rd to 26th, 2017
GR Review

Virginia

Title: Virginia

Author: William Esmont

Genres: Thriller

Length: 57 pages | 796 Kindle locations

Source: Netgalley

Publisher: Devious Productions, LLC

Publishing Date: February 13th, 2017

Rating: 3.5/5

Premise:

Ray Shelby’s wife is dying of cancer.
While visiting her in the hospital, Ray meets a mysterious stranger that gives him a card and tells him to call the number on it because they may help.
Desperate, Ray calls. They can indeed save Virginia… if Ray is willing to pay the price.

Review:

Virginia is an extremely quick read but an enthralling one. You can connect with Ray, feel his desperation towards his wife’s impending death. The coming to terms with her fate but at the same time not being able to perceive a life without her.

And then a stranger opens a door. What if?…

The way Ray is introduced to this mysterious organisation is quite well achieved. The way it develops sort of hints at something paranormal because there are things the organisation’s representative simply had no way of knowing but, as is the way with novellas, we don’t get closure on that front.

I wish Ray had been more curious about some things. Eli is pretty much dragged into a car and it doesn’t even seem to bother him. Not only is he not curious or even afraid for the guy but he doesn’t stop to think what kind of stuff he may have gotten himself into, and goes ahead and dials the number he gave him. Also, where was the contract Eli referred to and Ray admitted he didn’t read? I don’t recall it being mentioned, just the NDA.

There are some things that are justified by Ray’s desperation. Others by his denial. So the author did manage a good balance between keeping the author interested in the story and justifying why we don’t get to know certain things – Ray keeps fighting what is proposed and by the time he wants some answers he is unable to reach them.

Virginia is clever, disturbing and makes you deal with uncomfortable questions like how would you deal with the imminent death of someone who is really close to you and how far would you go to save them.
Recommended.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read on April 22nd, 2017
GR Review

Stacking The Shelves [11] April 22nd

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Stacking The Shelves is hosted at Tynga’s Reviews and is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!


Another fairly quiet week on the book front, I only added two books to my shelves.
I know I have been quiet, so sorry but work has been busy for a while now and will continue to be. I tend to want to get into my bubble and read or otherwise rest so I haven’t posted much. I hope you guys understand!

Without further ado, these are the books I got this past week:


Book Depository


Library of Souls : The Third Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs

Like its predecessors, Library of Souls blends thrilling fantasy with never-before-published vintage photography to create a one-of-a-kind reading experience. A boy with extraordinary powers. An army of deadly monsters. An epic battle for the future of peculiardom. The adventure that began with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and continued in Hollow City comes to a thrilling conclusion with Library of Souls. As the story opens, sixteen-year-old Jacob discovers a powerful new ability, and soon he’s diving through history to rescue his peculiar companions from a heavily guarded fortress. Accompanying Jacob on his journey are Emma Bloom, a girl with fire at her fingertips, and Addison MacHenry, a dog with a nose for sniffing out lost children. They’ll travel from modern-day London to the labyrinthine alleys of Devil’s Acre, the most wretched slum in all of Victorian England. It’s a place where the fate of peculiar children everywhere will be decided once and for all.

I pre-ordered this book over a year ago and have always planned to read Hollow City (book 2 in the series) and then this one right after. I have quite a list of paperbacks to get to but I plan to give these two priority so I don’t forget even more about book 1 than I already have. I remember I thoroughly enjoyed it, I was transported to Jacob’s world, so I am very excited about these.


Netgalley ARC

The Original Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig

The Original Ginny Moon
by Benjamin Ludwig

Meet Ginny Moon. She’s mostly your average teenager—she plays flute in the school band, has weekly basketball practice and reads Robert Frost poems for English class. But Ginny is autistic. And so what’s important to her might seem a bit…different: starting every day with exactly nine grapes for breakfast, Michael Jackson, taking care of her baby doll and crafting a Big Secret Plan of escape.

Ginny has been in foster care for years, and for the first time in her life, she has found her “forever home”—a place where she’ll be safe and protected, with a family who will love and nurture her. Though this is exactly the kind of home that all foster kids are hoping for, Ginny has other plans. She’ll steal and lie and reach across her past to exploit the good intentions of those who love her—anything it takes to get back what’s missing in her life. She’ll even try to get herself kidnapped.

Told in an extraordinary and wholly original voice, Ginny Moon is at once quirky, charming, bighearted, poignant and yet also heartbreaking and a bit dark. It’s a story of a journey, about being an outsider trying to find a place to belong and about making sense of a world that just doesn’t seem to add up.

I have been hearing about this book for a while now and when I read the blurb I immediately requested it. I love unique characters so this should be right up my alley. I have never read a book with an autistic character so I am excited about this one.


And that’s it for this week!

Have you read any of these or do you plan to?

Are you excited about reading any particular books you got this week?

Please comment below and if you have a STS post please post it in comments.

The Girlfriend

Title: The Girlfriend

Author: Michelle Frances

Genres: Psychological Thriller

Length: 352 pages | 4326 Kindle locations

Source: Netgalley

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Publishing Date: April 20th, 2017

Rating: 4.25/5

Premise:

Laura is a very lucky woman. Rich, has a job she utterly loves and a son who is her pride and joy.
One day, Daniel mentions he has a new girlfriend. Laura vows to do her best to welcome her because she wants her son to be happy.
As time passes, Laura senses that something is off with Cherry and the sense of unease is reciprocate. Cherry is determined to be happy with Daniel and that does not include her mother.
In desperation, Laura tells a lie that will change everything. How far will these women go to keep Daniel in her lives?

Review:

The Girlfriend started well enough for me. I found all characters very interesting and believable. The author did a good job of creating an extremely privileged family that is still relateable.

There were a couple of things here and there that I felt were plot devices, like the car. Right at the beginning, why did Daniel have to lend it to Cherry, why not just drop her off at work if his concern was for her not to be late as he put it? And later, why did Laura’s personal assistant change? If that person wasn’t new there is no way that stuff would have happened and there doesn’t even seem to be a reason for Willow’s appearance.

I wasn’t as happy with Daniel’s character as with the others because he had to behave a certain way for things to advance the way they did. I still don’t get why, with such a close relationship with his mother, he was able to spend so long without speaking to her. When was he willing to speak to her, his wedding day?

However, other characters were a pleasure to read about and they were so varied in their backgrounds that they brought a live dynamic to the story. I especially liked Cherry’s mother and Howard. They felt the most real to me.

I was mesmerised at the dynamic between Laura and Cherry and at their inner thoughts, justifying their actions to themselves. I could see why each had their prickle of annoyance towards the other and, as things escalated, I could totally see why it happened, despite the few plot devices mentioned above.

The Girlfriend can be quite dark and heavy at times and you can’t help but wonder how much further any of that will go. I did find it engrossing. The character building is the best I have read in a while. You actually get these people, where they come from, why they do what they do and why they find it justifiable.
The book is quite well-written and I think it has good chances of becoming one of the best psychological thrillers of the year.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Apr 17th to Apr 22nd, 2017
GR Review

The Lost Children (Detective Lucy Harwin #1)

Title: The Lost Children (Detective Lucy Harwin #1)

Author: Helen Phifer

Genres: Crime | Psychological Thriller

Length: 320 pages | 4066 locations

Source: Negalley

Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: March 24th, 2017

Rating: 2.5/5

Premise:

Lucy’s return to the police force is anticipated when a body is discovered in a terrible state.
Why was he found on the grounds of the town’s old asylum? Is there a connection to the horrid things that happened there all those years ago?

Review:

So we have another detective series beginning, this time featuring DI Lucy Harwin. I did not find her particularly likeable or otherwise; to be honest, she seemed kind of bland to me. Just your average single cop who lives for her job and goes home to ready made meals and a bottle of wine or vodka.

There was one thing that kept bugging me – Lucy is made to have this terrific sixth sense when really it’s all conjecture and the only way the reader can buy it is because she says those things after we know the killer’s perspective and therefore what exactly happened. Her ‘gut feeling’ is always on the money, even though there is nothing much to support it (example: an open gate).

The book focuses a lot on Lucy and her sidekick Mattie. When that happened I sped read because I wanted to get to the juicy bits and I found those utterly uninteresting. The blurb got to me with the mention of the asylum and I really wanted to learn more about that part. I wish it had been more developed.

I thought certain things were unnecessary clichés, like Mattie’s crush on her. Also, when well used, I don’t even notice swearing in the books, but here it felt completely out of place and unnatural.

I liked the structure of the narrative. The timeline switches between 1975 at the asylum and present day and there are a couple of entries from our killer after the crimes have been committed, which brings the reader a nice perspective. The story flows fairly well, slowly connecting the dots, though a bit slow-paced for my taste because there were just some things I did not appreciate and wanted to move on.

There are several red herrings, some don’t tie that well in the end, several things are unnecessarily repeated (like the mentions of Isabella and her mother) and the ending felt rushed. Although there are some exciting bits my overall assessment is that, considering the amount of series of the sort that are out there and done in a more appealing manner (to me at least), I do not intend to follow this one.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Apr 14th to Apr 17th, 2017
GR Review

Movies I Really Want to Watch [2]

Hello there, ladies and gents!

Well, I have to say I am pretty upset because two of the films I had been looking forward to watching the most did not premiere after all – A Cure for Wellness and Our Little Sister. I will continue to look for them but things are not looking up…

So during the past month I only managed to watch three movies out of my list. Click to see their reviews:

A Man Called Ove
The Handmaiden
Life


Alien: Covenant

Alien: Covenant

The crew of a colony ship discover an uncharted paradise, with a threat beyond their imagination, and must attempt a harrowing escape.

Alien is the horror movie I remember making the biggest impression on me – closely followed by Gremlins. Yes, I watched them at a very young age!
Anyway, that first movie, which came out in 1979 (can you believe it??), had several ingredients that made it the horror classic it is today, and since I have heard this film captures much of that I am looking forward to watching it, despite the nasty nightmares it will surely give me. I need to make sure I watch this early in the day!

 


 

The Circle

The Circle

A woman lands a dream job at a powerful tech company called the Circle, only to uncover a nefarious agenda that will affect the lives of her friends, family and that of humanity.

This one is actually not new to me, as last year I came across the short audio story We Like You So Much and Want to Know You Better by the same author, which basically introduces us to the novel’s world. I found the concept intriguing and wanted to know more so I will definitely watch this one. Also, it’s been so long since I have watched something featuring Tom Hanks! And Emma Watson does sound perfect for this role.

 


 

Get Out

Get Out

A young African-American man visits his Caucasian girlfriend’s mysterious family estate.

Have you watched this trailer?? Watch this trailer! Tell me it doesn’t freak you out!
I have got to watch this.

 

 

Viral

Viral

Following the outbreak of a virus that wipes out the majority of the human population, a young woman documents her family’s new life in quarantine and tries to protect her infected sister.

I know this is not going to be the most mind-blowing movie I have ever watched but it has been a while since I have watched an end-of-the-world flick so I think I may end up going for it. The idea of something messing with people’s brains to the point they turn them into something they are not has appealed to me for a long time.

 


 

Please let me know if you watched any of these and let me know what you thought – no spoilers, though!