The Circle by Dave Eggers Review

The Circle by Dave Eggers
Published by Knopf on October 8, 2013
Pages: 504
Genres: fiction, science fiction
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 the world—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.

REVIEW

I just finished reading the Circle, and oh my goodness I have such conflicted feelings about this book. It had such an incredible concept but sadly it just failed to execute. Personally, I found this book to be a massive build-up to something that did not exist, the entire time I was anticipating it to end with a bang, but I was thoroughly let down…

So I have to give it to Eggers, for his undeniably supreme concept, social media and technology being used to control society and ultimately the world. We need a book that explores the consequences of widespread social media, and I thought The Circle would be that book, but it wasn’t. This novel tackled some pressing issues but presented them in a way that wasn’t impactful or impressionable. Instead, I found The Circle to be more about the high-tech advancements that we as a society could eventually be moving toward, and some consequences of that, but I was hoping for a more dramatic take, something more along the lines of actual world domination. I wanted to watch the world fall apart at the hands of this social media empire, to watch it crumble and for society to revolt against this undefeatable supremacy.

Despite what you may think, I actually did enjoy the majority of this book, I was planning on rating it 3/5 stars until the ending that is. I found it intriguing learning about these technological advancements that could possibly become a reality someday, reducing crime rates, kidnapping, sexual assault and all other aspects of injustice. Although I found the writing to be overly lengthy and descriptive at times, there was always something that just drew me in, and new components were being introduced left right and centre. Following Mae climb the ranks of The Circle brought with it new opportunities and greater power, and I couldn’t help but want to know where Mae was heading. But you see, that ended up being this book’s downfall, the entire time I was anticipating something huge to explode out of nowhere. I could sense this epic build-up just waiting to hit me in the face and for panic to ensue. But it never came… Instead, this book ended abruptly in the span of five pages, and I kept thinking no, this can’t be the end. But alas, it was. And so the entirety of the story fell to nothing in the short span of those five pages.

So overall, The Circle was a book that had the potential to be revolutionary, but it lacked that punch, rendering it ineffective. The story was adequate until I was let down by the conclusion, I don’t think I’ll be watching this one in cinemas.

★★

The Friday 56 (3)

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is a meme created by Marcia of To Be Continued, you can find the dedicated blog here.

Physical Books

And I Darken by Keirsten White

No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwyla likes it that way.

Ever since she and her brother were abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman sultan’s courts, Lada has known that ruthlessness is the key to survival. For the lineage that makes her and her brother special also makes them targets.

Lada hones her skills as a warrior as she nurtures plans to wreak revenge on the empire that holds her captive. Then she and Radu meet the sultan’s son, Mehmed, and everything changes. Now Mehmed unwittingly stands between Lada and Radu as they transform from siblings to rivals, and the ties of love and loyalty that bind them together are stretched to breaking point.

The first of an epic new trilogy starring the ultimate anti-princess who does not have a gentle heart. Lada knows how to wield a sword, and she’ll stop at nothing to keep herself and her brother alive.

The Friday 56 (3)

The Blogger Recognition Award

Thank you so much to Ally @ Ally Writes Things for nominating me to do this tag, be sure to check out her blog as it’s amazing!

Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Select 10 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created.

 

How my blog started

I always wanted to start a book blog, I discovered the book community back in 2012 and I loved seeing all these people sharing their passion for reading, it really brought my love for reading back to life again. So ever since then, I’ve silently been following along with the book community, watching booktube videos, following bookstagrammers and connecting with other book lovers on Goodreads. From the beginning, I always knew that I wanted to be a part of this extraordinary community, and it wasn’t until March of this year when I started this book blog. It was the perfect timing, I was reading more books than ever, I had a lot of free time on my hands and I had just begun receiving a couple e-arcs from NetGalley. I’m so grateful for my decision in choosing to launch a book blog, it’s so much more than I imagined it ever would be. The people I get to connect with are incredible, and I really enjoy posting fresh new content on my blog every week.

 

Advice to new bloggers

  1. Blog because it’s something you enjoy. Don’t blog because you want to eventually gain a mass following or to receive free goodies. Do it because it’s genuinely something you enjoy and it’ll be 100000x better. If you keep obsessing over your follower count or trying to get free arc copies, you’ll end up disappointed and your blogging experience won’t be enjoyable, do yourself a favour 🙂
  2. Have a schedule. By no means do I mean have a strict, step by step schedule, but create some sort of routine that will help as a guideline for your blog. Because trust me, you’ll most likely keep procrastinating and that review that you were meant to post three days ago hasn’t even been halfway written. Here is my blogging schedule as an example (I don’t follow this to a T, but even just loosely basing my posts around it helps heaps):

Monday: Mailbox Monday

Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday: Review

Friday: Book Beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56

Saturday: Review

Sunday: Tag/award

 

I Nominate:

Nadwa @ Painfully Fictional / Priyasha @ Books And Co. / Chelsea @ Spotlight on Stories / Emmie @ Tea With Mermaids / Lyndsey @ Lyndsey’s Book Blog

The Friday 56 (3)

 

 

 

The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey review

The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey
Published 
by  Allen & Unwin on May 24th
Genres: mystery, fiction, crime
Pages: 440
Goodreads

In a suspense thriller to rival Paula Hawkins and Tana French, a detective with secrets of her own hunts the killer of a woman who was the glamorous star of their high school.

Rose was lit by the sun, her beautiful face giving nothing away. Even back then, she was a mystery that I wanted to solve.

The lead homicide investigator in a rural town, Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock is deeply unnerved when a high school classmate is found strangled, her body floating in a lake. And not just any classmate, but Rosalind Ryan, whose beauty and inscrutability exerted a magnetic pull on Smithson High School, first during Rosalind’s student years and then again when she returned to teach drama.

As much as Rosalind’s life was a mystery to Gemma when they were students together, her death presents even more of a puzzle. What made Rosalind quit her teaching job in Sydney and return to her hometown? Why did she live in a small, run-down apartment when her father was one of the town’s richest men? And despite her many admirers, did anyone in the town truly know her?

Rosalind’s enigmas frustrate and obsess Gemma, who has her own dangerous secrets—an affair with her colleague and past tragedies that may not stay in the past.

I won this book in a giveaway hosted by Books on the Rail so thank you so much to them! This in no way affects my thoughts and opinions of the book.

REVIEW

The Dark Lake is an intriguing crime novel set in the scorching heat of a small town in Australia. Complete with a deeply flawed lead female detective and secrets bursting to be unveiled, you won’t suspect the killer until it’s too late.

I wholly appreciated the setting of The Dark Lake, being from Australia myself, I could relate to the dry blistering heat of December, alongside the bushfires and countless other references to Australian culture. Although I’m not from a small town, I’ve visited aplenty and could envision the rural town of Smithson. This aspect of the novel allowed me to immerse deeper into the story and its familiar atmosphere.

The characters of the Dark Lake, although not always likeable were distinct and the further we pursued in the story, the more secrets began to unravel. Everyone appeared to be withholding something, and characters pasts were unwillingly dug up, fueling the spectacle at hand. The protagonist, Gemma Woodstock, a 28-year-old detective leading the case of Rosalind’s murder was a flawed character, but a fierce investigator. Gemma was far from perfect, with concerns revolving around her family, relationships and alcohol. And as readers, we are slowly introduced to Gemma’s past and some unthinkable mistakes on her behalf that may somehow intertwine with Rosalind’s murder. Gemma was an intriguing character, her life is practically turning to shambles, she’s very much detached from other people, except her coworker Felix, even though she may be physically present at a location or event, her mind was always just somewhere else completely. Gemma continuously appeared as if she was on the sidelines, carefully observing and analysing situations rather than joining in. However, in stark contrast to her personal life, Gemma was an incredibly determined and diligent detective. She stopped at nothing to solve the mystery of Rosalind’s murder and made large sacrifices toward the progression of the unsolved case. Understanding Rosalind’s death proved to be exceedingly difficult, Rosalind was an intricate enigma and no one could say they truly knew or even understood her. These perplexing and mystifying characters constantly ignited my curiosity, as mysteries were gradually exposed.

I haven’t read many crime/thriller novels to date, and to be honest I was anticipating more suspense and action within The Dark Lake. The book as an overall wasn’t thrilling, but there were some startling moments scattered throughout, as well as a plot twist that I wasn’t expecting and had me gasping in pure shock! I never did end up guessing the murderer, although I did have some unsuccessful predictions.

Ultimately, The Dark Lake was a solid debut crime novel with convoluted characters and moments of suspense set in the summer of an Australian small town.

★★★

The Friday 56 (3)

Book Beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rosecityreader and The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice, be sure to visit their blogs!

The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey

Book Beginning:

When I think back to that summer something comes loose in my head. It’s like a marble bouncing around in there, like my brain is a pinball machine.

Page 56:

I prefer to be at autopsies when I can; it sort of feels like it’s the least I can do to pay respect for the victim. I’ve never told anybody this, but when it’s a child I always go. I have this thing about them being lonely and scared and needing some semblance of maternal comfort in that horrible, airless room.

 

The Friday 56 (3)

Tome Topple Round 4 TBR

After participating in my first readathon (the BookTubeaThon) last month, I’ve decided to partake in the Tome Topple readathon this August!

Dates: August 4th – 17th

Challenges:

  1. Read more than 1 tome.
  2. Read a graphic novel (still over 500 pages!)
  3. Read a tome that is part of a series.
  4. Buddy read a tome.
  5. Read an adult novel.

TBR

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows

Challenges: 3 & 4

The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.

At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane is about to become the Queen of England.

The Circle by Dave Eggers

Challenge: 5

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.

 

Are you participating in Tome Topple round 4? What books are on your TBR?

The Friday 56 (3)

August 2017 TBR

August is a fairly chill month for me, so I should be able to get a lot of reading done. This month I’m participating in the Tome Topple readathon, the second readathon I’ll be participating in!

The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey

In a suspense thriller to rival Paula Hawkins and Tana French, a detective with secrets of her own hunts the killer of a woman who was the glamorous star of their high school.

Rose was lit by the sun, her beautiful face giving nothing away. Even back then, she was a mystery that I wanted to solve.

The lead homicide investigator in a rural town, Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock is deeply unnerved when a high school classmate is found strangled, her body floating in a lake. And not just any classmate, but Rosalind Ryan, whose beauty and inscrutability exerted a magnetic pull on Smithson High School, first during Rosalind’s student years and then again when she returned to teach drama.

As much as Rosalind’s life was a mystery to Gemma when they were students together, her death presents even more of a puzzle. What made Rosalind quit her teaching job in Sydney and return to her hometown? Why did she live in a small, run-down apartment when her father was one of the town’s richest men? And despite her many admirers, did anyone in the town truly know her?

Rosalind’s enigmas frustrate and obsess Gemma, who has her own dangerous secrets—an affair with her colleague and past tragedies that may not stay in the past.

The Circle by Dave Eggers

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.

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jody Meadows

The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.

At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane is about to become the Queen of England.

 

The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obssession in the Amazon by David Grann

A grand mystery reaching back centuries. A sensational disappearance that made headlines around the world. A quest for truth that leads to death, madness or disappearance for those who seek to solve it. The Lost City of Z is a blockbuster adventure narrative about what lies beneath the impenetrable jungle canopy of the Amazon.

After stumbling upon a hidden trove of diaries, New Yorker writer David Grann set out to solve “the greatest exploration mystery of the 20th century”: What happened to the British explorer Percy Fawcett & his quest for the Lost City of Z?

In 1925, Fawcett ventured into the Amazon to find an ancient civilization, hoping to make one of the most important discoveries in history. For centuries Europeans believed the world’s largest jungle concealed the glittering kingdom of El Dorado. Thousands had died looking for it, leaving many scientists convinced that the Amazon was truly inimical to humans. But Fawcett, whose daring expeditions inspired Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, had spent years building his scientific case. Captivating the imagination of millions round the globe, Fawcett embarked with his 21-year-old son, determined to prove that this ancient civilisation–which he dubbed Z–existed. Then his expedition vanished. Fawcett’s fate, & the tantalizing clues he left behind about Z, became an obsession for hundreds who followed him into the uncharted wilderness.

For decades scientists & adventurers have searched for evidence of Fawcett’s party & the lost City of Z. Countless have perished, been captured by tribes or gone mad. As Grann delved ever deeper into the mystery surrounding Fawcett’s quest, & the greater mystery of what lies within the Amazon, he found himself, like the generations who preceded him, being irresistibly drawn into the jungle’s green hell. His quest for the truth & discoveries about Fawcett’s fate & Z form the heart of this complexly enthralling narrative.

If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Lena Wise is always looking forward to tomorrow, especially at the start of her senior year. She’s ready to pack in as much friend time as possible, to finish college applications and to maybe let her childhood best friend, Sebastian, know how she really feels about him. For Lena, the upcoming year is going to be one of opportunities and chances.

Until one choice, one moment, destroys everything.

Now Lena isn’t looking forward to tomorrow. Not when friend time may never be the same. Not when college applications feel all but impossible. Not when Sebastian could never forgive her for what happened.

For what she let happen.

With the guilt growing each day, Lena knows that her only hope is to move on. But how can she move on when tomorrow isn’t even guaranteed?

Welcome Home by Eric Smith

Welcome Home collects a number of adoption-themed fictional short stories, and brings them together in one anthology from a diverse range of celebrated Young Adult authors. The all-star roster includes Edgar-award winner Mindy McGinnis, New York Times bestselling authors C.J. Redwine (The Shadow Queen) and William Ritter (Jackaby), and acclaimed YA authors across all genres, like Adi Alsaid, Lauren Gibaldi, Sangu Mandanna, Karen Akins, and many more.

 

 

 

Odd & True by Cat Winters

Trudchen grew up hearing Odette’s stories of their monster-slaying mother and a magician’s curse. But now that Tru’s older, she’s starting to wonder if her older sister’s tales were just comforting lies, especially because there’s nothing fantastic about her own life—permanently disabled and in constant pain from childhood polio.

In 1909, after a two-year absence, Od reappears with a suitcase supposedly full of weapons and a promise to rescue Tru from the monsters on their way to attack her. But it’s Od who seems haunted by something. And when the sisters’ search for their mother leads them to a face-off with the Leeds Devil, a nightmarish beast that’s wreaking havoc in the Mid-Atlantic states, Tru discovers the peculiar possibility that she and her sister—despite their dark pasts and ordinary appearances—might, indeed, have magic after all.

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

Magical realism, lyrical prose, and the pain and passion of human love haunt this hypnotic generational saga.

Foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender. Ava—in all other ways a normal girl—is born with the wings of a bird.

In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naïve to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the Summer Solstice celebration.

That night, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air, and Ava’s quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo.

First-time author Leslye Walton has constructed a layered and unforgettable mythology of what it means to be born with hearts that are tragically, exquisitely human.

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkowski

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love
They were never meant to be together. As a general’s daughter, seventeen-year-old Kestrel enjoys an extravagant and privileged life. Arin has nothing but the clothes on his back. Then Kestrel makes an impulsive decision that binds Arin to her. Though they try to fight it, they can’t help but fall in love. In order to be together, they must betray their people . . . but to be loyal to their country, they must betray each other.

Set in a new world, The Winner’s Curse is a story of rebellion, duels, ballroom dances, wicked rumors, dirty secrets, and games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

The Friday 56 (3)