After the End

By Clare Mackintosh

After the End by [Mackintosh, Clare]

5 out of 5 stars

I have enjoyed Clare Mackintosh’s first books immensely. They are thrillers you can’t put down. This is totally different but you won’t put it down until you wipe that last tear.

Max and Pip’s 3 year old son Dylan has been battling cancer. When he is taken off of a ventilator he has been on for a while, the doctor tells them the cancer has grown. They have the decision to try and continue treatment to maybe give him a little more time, or end it and let him die. Max wants to prolong it and Pip wants it all just to stop. It ends up in court and as we await the decision, we are taken along the two separate timelines, the whatifs.

I loved how we got to see it through the lens of both sides. You always wonder in a story what would happen if only it went the other way. Neither was perfect. Neither was wrong. You put yourself in their place. What would you do? I loved both characters very much. I wasn’t angry at either. I was sad an awful lot while reading. I think the book might be tear-stained now.

I also love how we got to look into the doctor’s point of view, as well. Leila was exactly what you would want in your doctor. She was straight and to the point, yet she cared so deeply about them, even as she dealt with her own life struggles. I loved how observant she was while watching Max and Pip. She picked up on the subtleties.

You will feel everything when you read this lovely book. You will feel it deep into your soul, especially if you are a parent. Even if you are not, we all have to make decisions that we wonder about. I know I did when I had to decide on what to do with my mom at the end of her life. When you reach the Afterword and find out that the author had to make this decision for her child, you will really understand the depths of what you just read. This is a lovely, sad, uplifting book. You need to read it.

Thanks to Netgalley and Putnam for an advance copy of this lovely book.

Recursion

By Blake Crouch

Recursion: A Novel by [Crouch, Blake]

4 out of 5 stars

NYPD Detective Barry Sutton arrives on the scene of an attempted suicide by jumping. It is not his beat but he is the first one there. Must be a reason for that…When the woman tells him about her “false memory syndrome” and the memories that she had from another life before she dies, something sticks with him. He begins to look into it and uncovers more than he could ever imagine.

Helena Smith is working on a chair to enhance memories. Her mother has Alzheimer’s and she is hoping to preserve her memories. When Marcus Slade comes in the picture offering her more money and resources than she can imagine, she jumps at the chance. But Slade has other plans for the chair.

Thus begins our memory/time travelling story and I have to tell you, I was utterly confused and utterly fascinated! It reminded me of Ian Malcolm (the wonderful Jeff Goldblum) in Jurassic Park saying  “but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.” The eagerness to discover the unimaginable leads to complete mayhem. I had to stop a few times because the time jumping was crazy and trying to remember just where or when something happened was making my head spin. Yet, I kept turning the pages. This is a fascinating look into science. It is a fascinating look at humanity. Don’t we all have things we would go back and change? If I was Barry, I would have went back too. I have to say that the underlying thing that kept me reading was the love story. It was unexpected and the ending was perfect.

Thanks to Netgalley and Crown Publishing for a copy of this book.

Neverworld Wake

By Marisha Pessl

Neverworld Wake by [Pessl, Marisha]

5 out of 5 stars

I bought this book after doing one of those online “what should you read next” quizzes. I had no idea about it. I had not heard a thing which is weird because I loved her other books, especially Night Film. Her books are not the norm. Her imagination and way of writing are unlike most authors.

In this story, Bea meets up with friends she has not seen since the death of their mutual friend Jim. After a night out, they are in a car accident. They all feel lucky to be alive but they aren’t! They are in the Neverworld , they have a certain amount of “wakes”  and the keeper tells them that they must choose between the five of them, who is the only one to live. As they are in between wakes, they each handle it differently but we follow Bea who is watching all of them. She knows that the one thing they need to figure out is Jim’s death.

The story is so strange and so riveting. There is a twist I did not see coming. The characters all had their secrets and watching how they all dealt with what was happening was perfect. I almost felt like a voyeur with Bea as she lived the wake over and over trying to see what everyone else was doing.

I am so glad I took the quiz and bought the book!

 

I’ll Never Tell

By Catherine McKenzie

I'll Never Tell by [McKenzie, Catherine]

4 out of 5 stars

A family tree can be a wondrous thing with it’s branches spreading out and leaves sprouting up. It also has roots, roots that can get twisted and tangled. Such is the family tree of the MacAllister family. The siblings have reunited at the summer camp their parents owned and ran, on the anniversary of their tragic deaths. The will is being read and a memorial service is being held. When their lawyer lays out the details of the will, the family has to deal with repercussions of an accident that happened years ago at the camp to a friend of Margaux’s, Amanda. Their father believes their brother Ryan was responsible and they have to vote on if they also believe him or not. The truth will be revealed but it might not be what any of them really want to hear.

I really enjoyed how the book was told in the different siblings’ voices and also Amanda’s version of what exactly happened that fateful night. There is also a timeline, a schedule of where each person was supposed to be at the time. Your suspicion will go back and forth between all of them until the very end. There were some surprising things uncovered along the way. It is a great whodunit with some family drama mixed in. Having a strained relationship with a few of my siblings, I really understood where they were coming from.

This is another notch in the ladder of Catherine McKenzie’s books. You will not be disappointed in any of them.

Thanks to Netgalley and Lake Union for a copy of this book.

Mrs. Everything

By Jennifer Weiner

Mrs. Everything: A Novel by [Weiner, Jennifer]

4 out of 5 stars

Mrs. Everything is really about everything that is a woman. It is every stage of womanhood from daughter to the end of life. It is what we see ourselves as. It is what society sees us as. It is finding yourself and your place.

Jo and Bethie are sisters and different as anyone can be.  The story follows them from the 50s through today. Their ups and downs. Their pains and sorrows. Their loves and joys. Following their lives, you really get to know the characters to their cores. Bethie has something extremely tragic happen to her and throws her life into chaos. Jo, always attracted to women, lives a somewhat “normal” life of marriage and kids. Watching them go full circle is the complete joy of this book.

It is a long read. It slowly takes you through the changes of the decades, ones I remember so well. Each character is given their voice in alternating chapters so you see the world from both sides. We go from women waiting on the man of the home to a woman running for president. Wow. Times do change but one thing that does not change is you will enjoy a book by Jennifer Weiner until the very last page.

Thanks to Netgalley and Atria Books for an advance copy.

Have You Seen Luis Velez?

By Catherine Ryan Hyde

Have You Seen Luis Velez? by [Hyde, Catherine Ryan]

4 out of 5 stars

In this crazy world, we all need that light in all the dark. This book will shine some peace into your soul.

Raymond Jaffe lives with his mom, stepdad, and sisters in the same apartment building as 92 year old Mildred Gutermann. One day, he sees her outside asking if he knows Luis Velez. Something about her sticks with him and he goes back to talk to her. Luis used to stop by and do errands for Mildred, who is blind and alone. Raymond strikes up a friendship with Mildred and makes it his mission to find Luis. It takes him to places he has never seen and in the process, he finds himself in ways he never knew he could.

There is just so much hope in this story. Even in the sadness, the kindness in the people Raymond meets , brings joy. Mildred imparts such simple yet profound truths to Raymond and watching him grow was perfect. You cannot read this without walking a way with a ray of hope.

Thanks to Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for a copy of this book.

The Favorite Daughter

By Kaira Rouda

The Favorite Daughter by [Rouda, Kaira]

5 out of 5 stars

Yowza!!! I just read about the most narcissistic , crazy  mommy dearest and I could not put it down!

Jane tells us her story. Her older adopted daughter Mary died a year ago. Her daughter Betsy  does not live up to Mary, in her eyes. Her husband David is having an affair.  So Jane sets up an elaborate trap for them. She thinks she is the smartest one in the room and she will tell you so. As you read, you begin to see the cracks in it all and you just know, Jane has done so many bad things and nothing will stop her from getting what she wants.

Jane’s lack of feelings gave me chills. It was like watching Psycho and seeing Anthony Perkins at the end, staring at that fly. Kudos to Kaira Rouda for writing a character that made me turn every page with a sense of dread. Makes you want to hug your mother. I loved the first person style with this book because I don’t think I would have been as terrified otherwise. I was just hoping throughout that it was going to work out the way it should.

You will not be able to put it down.

Thanks to Edelweiss and Graydon House for this deliciously creepy book.