This post with only have three reviews as my previous review was quite long and these reviews are long as well.
As a reminder, here is how I rate my books:
- (★★★★★): Loved it
- (★★★★): Really liked it
- (★★★): Liked it enough
- (★★): Didn’t care for it
Another few notes: I will warn if there are any spoilers with (start spoiler) and (end spoiler) so you know when to stop reading and pick up again if you don’t want to ruin the book for yourself. I no longer go out of my way to watch adaptions, but will continue to mention them and their general critiques (from Rotten Tomatoes) in my reviews. Finally, you can always check out my book review index page if you’re looking for my extremely important opinion on any book in particular.
The Chain by Adrian McKinty
Genre: Fiction, thriller
GoodReads rating: 3.81 / 5 (37,000 ratings)
Medium used: E-book (borrowed from library via OverDrive)
Summary: A stranger has kidnapped Rachel’s daughter. To get her back, Rachel must abduct a child and their parents have to kidnap another child to keep the Chain alive.
Thoughts: Like most thrillers, this gave me exactly what I expected: a quick, engrossing read, but nothing terribly shocking. I really liked how the two halves of the book had two totally different tones: the first half had me in a constant state of anxiety while the second half was more of a slow burn, but still exciting. Some character bits (start spoiler) (chronic illness, addiction, etc.) (end spoiler) had almost nothing to do with the plot, so I feel the author could have done a bit more than that.
Other adaptations: Paramount has bought the film rights, I’m really looking forward to this one!
Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams
Genre: Non-fiction, travel, animals
GoodReads rating: 4.32 / 5 (20,000 ratings)
Medium used: E-book (borrowed from library via OverDrive)
Summary: “Join author Douglas Adams and zoologist Mark Carwardine as they take off around the world in search of exotic, endangered creatures.”
Thoughts: As a Master’s graduate in conservation, I have a lot to say about this book. I was really looking forward to this because although Hitchhiker’s Guide wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, I did like was the humo(u)r and looked forward to seeing it in a book of something I was really interested in. Unfortunately, this book fell a little short. The book didn’t start of on a good note constantly confusing venomous/poisonous in one of the first chapters, which is a crime in the ecological community on par with you’re/your. Also, the resident ecologist didn’t remember the word for Tiktaalik? Physically made me shake my head, that’s biology 101. 75% of the text is about his travels that had nothing to do with the animal in question with a lot of quintessentially British complaining thrown in. Which isn’t awful, but I didn’t pick up this book to read about travel, I wanted to hear more about the animals and their habitat. This book is nearly 30 years old so naturally the book is a bit out of date factually, but I enjoyed reading about the animal’s status at the time and quips from times of old like how hard travel used to be and computers with less memory than a modern low-end calculator. If you’re in the same boat, read The Sixth Extinction instead (it’s also far more recent) (and read the one by Elizabeth Gilbert, not to be confused with the thriller by James Rollins, which my best friend did).
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Genre: Fiction, contemporary, mystery
GoodReads rating: 4.27 / 5 (724,000 ratings)
Medium used: E-book and audiobook (borrowed from library via OverDrive)
Warning: This book contains themes of sexual assault and domestic abuse throughout.
Summary: Jane is a young mom new to the area and Madeline takes her under her wing to learn the ropes of this cut-throat town. A tragic accident happens at the school trivia night… or was it? Who did it and why? “Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the little lies that can turn lethal.”
Thoughts: This is the Gone Girl of inter-family relationships. Not that the plot resembles each other, but it sucks you in in a similar way. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time and there were points where I audible gasped. I’d recommend this book to anyone. Also, it’s worth mentioning that this is one of the few movie/television show book covers I prefer to the original.
Other adaptations: While reading this book, I also watched the first season of the HBO series with the perfect cast. The first difference is that the show is American while the book is Australian, but I didn’t mind as we got all those gorgeous b-rolls of the coast I’m so familiar with. In the show, I also felt the kids (especially Chloe) were a bit unrealistic at times, but nothing completely unforgivable. I was also initially confused to the casting of Ed, but Adam Scott really made the character memorable and his own. It was awesome to see him in a more serious role after only knowing him as the lovable, high strung nerd from Parks and Recreation. There were some minor changes made to the plot but nothing that took away from the quality of the story. Of course, the show was more dramatic than the book, which felt like a cheap grab. For example, in the book, everyone was unassuming which is why everyone was a suspect in the incident, but in the show everyone seemed to be out for literal blood. (start spoiler) The biggest difference was Jane’s assault. She didn’t consent to the roughness, but she consented to the sex so “other girls have it worse.” (end spoiler) Women (in this book and otherwise) are constantly downplaying their experiences as “not that bad” and the show didn’t capture that well, unfortunately. Finally, I feel the men should have been more involved in the incident (the book was constantly stressing that “it wasn’t just the women” and the show did a good job of setting that up, but not following through) and the series doesn’t need to be two seasons. I wish there was an episode or two more of closure and be done with it, but I’m not bothered to watch the second season at the moment.
Have you read any of these?
Photo by Radu Marcusu.