Today I'm reviewing a couple more books that were purchase suggestions to my library!
The Enlightenment of Bees by Rachel Linden (2019)
After losing her job and being dumped by her boyfriend, Mia is given the opportunity to join a humanitarian trip around the world.
Unfortunately, I liked the premise of this book a lot more than the execution and details. From a young age, Mia knew she wanted to help others and make a huge impact on the world - and the reader is told this over and over again. I liked that she was inspired by her aunt, but I never really got the impression that Mia did any volunteer work when she was younger or had any sort of plan to do charitable work as an adult, so her proclamations felt a bit hollow. The humanitarian trip just kind of fell into her lap, and honestly it felt a little sketchy - the trip seemed a little disorganized, wasted a lot of money, and seemed too concerned with its social media image. It's not really a good sign when the volunteers themselves feel like it's a waste of time. It also rubbed me the wrong way that baking was Mia's passion, yet she felt it wasn't a worthy profession and that she was destined for better things. I felt she was being shortsighted.
However, there were things I enjoyed. Mia does experience a lot of growth during the book, and so I found myself liking her a lot more as the story went on. Also, her Nana Alice was the sweetest - I loved how encouraging she was. 3 stars
The Passengers by John Marrs (2019)
In the not-so-distant future, driverless cars are the norm in Britain. A hacker takes control of 8 cars, setting them (and their Passengers) on a collision course, leaving the public to decide who lives and who dies.
I love how John Marrs was able to take the idea of self-driving cars and perfectly articulate the main fear I have about them - that someone else could take control of the vehicle, leaving me powerless. He kicks it up a notch by adding this whole social media aspect to it, as people around the world follow along with the Passengers and vote for who they want to survive, using hashtags. The action and tension in the story move along at a fairly good clip for most of the book, except for the sections where we break away and learn more about the Passengers themselves. These chapters messed with the pacing a little, but it was really interesting to learn more about these people. It was a perfect character study in how people are not always who they appear to be and also gave insight into how the hacker was manipulating the entire situation.
One of my pet peeves with thrillers is when the villain is omniscient and omnipotent, and there was a lot of that here; the hacker seemed to always be 20 steps ahead. It made me roll my eyes a bit, but honestly, I was so invested in the story that I didn't care too much. This was a super-quick read that will have you guessing until the end! 4 stars