Summer Reading

I’ve been driving to work this summer instead of taking transit so my reading time has been cut down significantly…but I haven’t done a books update all summer so I have a few to talk about!

In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

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Synopsis:

In a dark, dark wood

Nora hasn’t seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back.

There was a dark, dark house

Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen do arrives. Is this a chance for Nora to finally put her past behind her?

And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room

But something goes wrong. Very wrong.

And in the dark, dark room….

Some things can’t stay secret for ever.

Ehh, I didn’t love it. I was pretty disappointed actually because I felt like it had the opportunity to be awesome but it fell flat for me. I didn’t find anything about it new or innovative. It sort of reminded me of a RL Stine Fear Street novel or a Christopher Pike book from back in the day, but honestly it was not as thrilling and the plot wasn’t as good. The characters felt sort of flimsy to me and odd in an unrealistic way, especially the main character. I did not enjoy her at all. It wasn’t terrible, but it was not a favourite of mine.

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

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Synopsis:

One night, Mia Dennett enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn’t show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. At first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia’s life.

When Colin decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota instead of delivering her to his employers, Mia’s mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find them. But no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family’s world to shatter.

I really liked this! It was a refreshing read after that last book. Like many books in this genre recently, it’s been compared to Gone Girl which…just stop. Stop doing that. Not every book with a little bit of suspense is like Gone Girl. But it wasn’t what I was expecting at all, it felt fresh and different, and I got really into it. I definitely enjoyed. I’m also impressed it was Mary Kubica’s debut novel.

The Martian by Andy Weir

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Synopsis:

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.

Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate the planet while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded on Mars’ surface, completely alone, with no way to signal Earth that he’s alive. And even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone years before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, Mark won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.

But Mark’s not ready to quit. Armed with nothing but his ingenuity and his engineering skills—and a gallows sense of humor that proves to be his greatest source of strength–he embarks on a dogged quest to stay alive, using his botany expertise to grow food and even hatching a mad plan to contact NASA back on Earth.

As he overcomes one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next, Mark begins to let himself believe he might make it off the planet alive.

But Mars has plenty of surprises in store for him yet.

I read this after I watched the movie and I really liked both the movie and book. I thought they cast Matt Damon perfectly as Mark Watney, when I was reading the book I pictured Matt Damon in my head as I was reading and that felt natural. Mark’s humour was right up my alley and I loved the story. I only gave it three stars on GoodReads though (I would’ve gone for 3.5 if that was an option) because there was SO MUCH “here is the scientific explanation of exactly how I did this.” Like, I’m impressed you know those things, author, but I don’t care to. I didn’t think that amount of detail was needed. Sometimes we are talking entire chapters of a very scientific explanation of how something was rigged. So, there was some skimming happening on my part. The other thing was I had already seen the movie so I pretty much knew what was going to happen and that took away from the suspense a bit. But overall I really enjoyed it and would recommend.

You’re Never Weird On The Internet by Felicia Day

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Synopsis:

The Internet isn’t all cat videos. There’s also Felicia Day—violinist, filmmaker, Internet entrepreneur, compulsive gamer, hoagie specialist, and former lonely homeschooled girl who overcame her isolated childhood to become the ruler of a new world… or at least semi-influential in the world of Internet Geeks and Goodreads book clubs.

After growing up in the south where she was “home-schooled for hippie reasons”, Felicia moved to Hollywood to pursue her dream of becoming an actress and was immediately typecast as a crazy cat-lady secretary. But Felicia’s misadventures in Hollywood led her to produce her own web series, own her own production company, and become an Internet star.

Felicia’s short-ish life and her rags-to-riches rise to Internet fame launched her career as one of the most influential creators in new media. Now, Felicia’s strange world is filled with thoughts on creativity, video games, and a dash of mild feminist activism—just like her memoir.

Loved! I listened to this as an audio book and I loved the way Felicia told her story. Audio books narrated by the author are my favourite! Felicia is super relatable and likable. She is the creator of The Guild (a web series on YouTube based on World of Warcraft), and she also played Violet on Buffy. Ugh, the hate Felicia received for simply being a female gamer ENRAGED me. I didn’t know the background there, so reading that part of the book about all the hate Felicia received (from men) was really surprising (except not).

I have been known to be a bit of an internet geek and I got super into WoW a few years ago before I met Evan (and I found out Evan also played, haha.) I played it pretty religiously for about six months and I had two level 80s and even did some raiding — and then I realized that I was actually devoting my life to this game and there was no way to be just a casual player. I had to quit cold turkey if I wanted to be a productive member of society. Actually, I quit and then started my blog! This is a much more productive way to spend my spare time. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss it though. I still think about it sometimes, but I know that if I play it I’ll be sucked into the void again. It was a dark time. Evan and I have already discussed that when we are in a nursing home one day and have nothing better to do we will basically live in the game. Something to look forward to!

Anyway I loved the book, and I think you’d like it even if you don’t know anything about online RPG. Actually it inspired me to just buck the F up and finish the book that I’ve been working on already (of my cartoon stories) and to make my own internet dreams a reality (start a web comic).

There’s a few more books, including Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, but I’ll save ’em for next time. Read anything good lately?! Tell me!

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5 responses to “Summer Reading

  1. I really liked In a Dark Dark Wood once I got past the whole “you shouldn’t even be there” part about the main character. I especially liked that the ending wasn’t overblown like they do with thriller/mysteries. Loved Good Girl. Felt *exactly* the same about The Martin but I didn’t not picture Matt Damon at all. I read the book first though. I thought the dude was older and more rugged I guess? Felicia Day is on my to read list! It is kinda exciting that I read most of these!

  2. I had mixed feelings about In a Dark Dark Wood. On one hand, I tore through it–read it in 2 days because I just HAD to know what was going on. But once I got to the end, it was kind of meh.

    The Good Girl is one of my favorites that I’ve recently read! I thought it was so well done.

    Black Eyed Susans. LOVED IT. You should definitely check it out!!

  3. I literally just finished In a Dark Dark Wood. I read it in a couple of hours late one night (I had to get it back to the library…). I too was sort of meh about it… It just felt off for me? Like, the ages didn’t seem right – they didn’t sound like mid-twenties to me. And it was just sorta ploddy and the motive didn’t seem strong enough to kill over ya know?

    The Good Girl I read a while ago. I liked the twist at the end, but it wasn’t a stand out.

    I actually have been really disappointed with the ‘books everyone loved’ lately… I haven’t found anything I really loved in a while, though I do have Felicia Day’s book on my to read pile. I should move that closer to the top of the pile. 🙂

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