Book Review: The Glass Hotel

The Glass HotelThe Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

From the award-winning author of Station Eleven, a captivating novel of money, beauty, white-collar crime, ghosts, and moral compromise in which a woman disappears from a container ship off the coast of Mauritania and a massive Ponzi scheme implodes in New York, dragging countless fortunes with it.

Vincent is a bartender at the Hotel Caiette, a five-star glass and cedar palace on an island in British Columbia. Jonathan Alkaitis works in finance and owns the hotel. When he passes Vincent his card with a tip, it’s the beginning of their life together. That same day, Vincent’s half-brother, Paul, scrawls a note on the windowed wall of the hotel: “Why don’t you swallow broken glass.” Leon Prevant, a shipping executive for a company called Neptune-Avramidis, sees the note from the hotel bar and is shaken to his core. Thirteen years later Vincent mysteriously disappears from the deck of a Neptune-Avramidis ship. Weaving together the lives of these characters, The Glass Hotel moves between the ship, the skyscrapers of Manhattan, and the wilderness of northern Vancouver Island, painting a breathtaking picture of greed and guilt, fantasy and delusion, art and the ghosts of our pasts.

Review:
I really wanted to love this book, but, unfortunately, I didn’t. The plot sounded interesting and mysterious, the setting wonderful, the author talented.
However, for me, this book was too meandery and the plot was not very strong. The story was told from various points of view over time, but it was all too loose for me.
There were good elements. The mystery of what happened to Vincent and who etched the mysterious words on the glass had potential. But somehow I didn’t bond with the characters.
The setting was amazing. As someone who has spent a lot of time on the West Coast of BC, this was my favourite part.
Parts of this book were good, but overall, this just didn’t come together for me.
Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for a review copy of this book.
Share this:

Book Review: The Wives

The WivesThe Wives by Tarryn Fisher

New York Times bestselling author Tarryn Fisher delivers a pulse-pounding, fast-paced suspense novel that will leave you breathless. A thriller you won’t be able to put down!

Thursday’s husband, Seth, has two other wives. She’s never met them, and she doesn’t know anything about them. She agreed to this unusual arrangement because she’s so crazy about him.

But one day, she finds something. Something that tells a very different—and horrifying—story about the man she married.

What follows is one of the most twisted, shocking thrillers you’ll ever read.

Review:

I heard so much about this book and the amazing twists that I was eager to read it.

The writing was good and fast paced, though, even after a few days of letting it settle, I’m not sure if I liked this book or not.

It was difficult to read about a woman who had given her life over so completely to a man — she had agreed to a polygamous marriage but existed only for the 2 days a week her husband stayed at her place. Because of the situation, she has isolated herself from friends and family, and does everything she can to keep her husband’s attentions.

It is hard to take this.

And, if it weren’t for the author interview at the end of the book explaining how this book is about exploring the patriarchy that women are spoonfed, I think I would have a very different view of it. Looking at The Wives from this point of view redeems it.

There are some interesting twists and it is fascinating to see how a woman can rationalize this situation, especially when it is not what she wants.

 

Share this:

Book Review: The Ten Thousand Doors of January

The Ten Thousand Doors of JanuaryThe Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

Lush and richly imagined, a tale of impossible journeys, unforgettable love, and the enduring power of stories awaits in Alix E. Harrow’s spellbinding debut–step inside and discover its magic.

Review:
This is a gorgeous book — starting with the enticing cover and finishing with beautiful, luxurious writing and an engaging, imaginative story. I love it when publishers put a lot of thought into a cover and this one is stunning!
I was captured by the story, the mystique of January and her life with Mr Locke, the way the doors open into different worlds, her notebook, and the sinister overtones and mystery to what is going on.
The different story lines and points of view really drew me in and kept me wanting more, eager to find out how they all came together. I was so invested in January and her desire for self discovery, her courage, and her plight. However, one of the most memorable things for me is her dog! I keep thinking about him.
This is a wonderful portal fantasy that weaves together past, present, and even different worlds in a beautiful way. It was a book I luxuriated in and was sad when it was over.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a review copy of this book.
Share this:

Book Review: The Authenticity Project

The Authenticity Project and green notebookThe Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley

The story of a solitary green notebook that brings together six strangers and leads to unexpected friendship, and even love

Julian Jessop, an eccentric, lonely artist and septuagenarian believes that most people aren’t really honest with each other. But what if they were? And so he writes–in a plain, green journal–the truth about his own life and leaves it in his local café. It’s run by the incredibly tidy and efficient Monica, who furtively adds her own entry and leaves the book in the wine bar across the street. Before long, the others who find the green notebook add the truths about their own deepest selves–and soon find each other In Real Life at Monica’s Café.

The Authenticity Project’s cast of characters–including Hazard, the charming addict who makes a vow to get sober; Alice, the fabulous mommy Instagrammer whose real life is a lot less perfect than it looks online; and their other new friends–is by turns quirky and funny, heartbreakingly sad and painfully true-to-life. It’s a story about being brave and putting your real self forward–and finding out that it’s not as scary as it seems. In fact, it looks a lot like happiness.


The Authenticity Project is just the tonic for our times that readers are clamoring for–and one they will take to their hearts and read with unabashed pleasure.
Review:
I loved the concept of this book, that of someone writing their authentic truth in a book and leaving it for others to find and do the same. In an age of social media and comparing our lives to what other people present, this idea is appealing.
And the book does a great job of delving into it!
I loved the cast of characters and how they were woven together all because of the little green notebook — which is almost a character itself — and how it made them want to connect and help and be authentic. The characters were fun and their stories were compelling. They make mistakes, they take chances, they help and look out for one another. I wanted to wander down the street and stop for tea at Monica’s coffee shop myself.
This really is a charming book about connection and the author did a great job exploring this theme. It’s easy to read and get lost in on a cozy weekend.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a review copy of this book.
Share this: