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.

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.

Waisted

By Randy Susan Meyers

 

Waisted: A Novel by [Meyers, Randy Susan]

4 out of 5 stars

This one really hit home for me. Being a larger woman, I could related to all the feelings of not being “perfect” in the eyes of society and frankly, of ourselves. Alice and Daphne struggle with their weight amidst a husband who wants the thin wife he married and a mother who has always pushed being thin. When they both enter a weight loss program called “Waisted”, they are into more than they bargained for. The harshness of words, the lack of food, the nine hours a day of workouts, is a cruel experiment gone bad. They are being filmed in the acts of humiliation but they do find themselves in ways that they never had before. It’s amazing what two or more together can accomplish.

It was hard to read some of the agonizing things these women went through. I cringed a lot. I loved how we saw weight through the eyes of different cultures and different expectations within those cultures. Some points were totally me. The author always has a great way with different perspectives. I can’t say it made me think differently about weight than I do but it was a good read.

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

The Editor

By Steven Rowley

The Editor by [Rowley, Steven]

4 out of 5 stars

Imagine if you walk into your publisher’s office, unsure of what is going to happen, and they tell you they have an editor for your book! Now imagine that the editor is Jackie Kennedy Onassis! That is exactly what Steven Rowley does in this very charming book.

James Smale has written a thinly veiled story about his mother and their relationship. Ms. Onassis takes his hand and helps him to realize so much about life and love and family. Their working relationship develops into a friendship, as much as that can happen, and James begins to understand the mother-son relationship. I love how his relationship with his mother progresses through the story. We think we know everything there is to know about our parents in our lop-sided view but we really don’t.

Growing up Catholic, I have always been fascinated by the Kennedy family, and although this is a fictional account, it rang so true for me. From the descriptions of her attitude, to her home, to her dress, it was exactly as I picture Ms. Onassis, right down to the sweater thrown across her shoulders.

It is a funny, touching gem of a book.

Thanks to Netgalley and Putnam for a copy of this book.

 

 

In the Blink of An Eye

By Jesse Blackadder

 

In the Blink of an Eye: A Novel by [Blackadder, Jesse]

4 out of 5 stars

I am not going to lie, this was a very hard book to read. Losing a child has to be the hardest thing to ever happen to a family. After little Toby is found in their pool, this family has more than it’s share of guilt and blame. Like the title says in the blink of an eye, your whole life can change.

Finn, Bridget, Jarrah, and Toby have moved from New South Wales to Tasmania to begin afresh after a little indiscretion. I don’t honestly think they have found what they were looking for but they are living their lives and starting over. After the accident, the three remaining family members each fall into their own space of grief. Each one is different. Can their lives ever go on again?

This book really shows you the ache and pain of grief. No one’s grief is the same, even as you mourn over the same person. This book clearly shows us that. It is raw and at times hard to read but it is very honest. I loved the glimmer of hope that it did leave me with. Having grieved a few loved ones, I totally got every emotion.

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press for a copy of this book.

Me For You

By Lolly Winston

Me for You by [Winston, Lolly]

5 out of 5 stars

Lolly Winston definitely knows how to take a sad thing like grief and make it into a beautiful story. As she did in Good Grief (I highly recommend it), she has done again in this lovely book.

Rudy wakes up one morning at the age of 54 to his wife lying next to him. He goes about chattering about breakfast and things, as one does, and after a while, realizes she still isn’t stirring. His beloved wife Bethany has passed away in her sleep. Rudy is lost. The world as he knows it has crumbled. What do you do with such a loss? He still goes to his part time job as a piano player at Nordstrom’s. He has a wonderful friend there in Sasha, a woman who has seen her own share of loss, but he is losing his grip. His daughter arranges for him to enter the hospital for a while to work through his depression. The scenes in the hospital are just so touching. Everyone is so kind and everyone is working through their own pain. It shines a light on mental health.

His doctor says something that sticks with me. He said that we have to think of grief as a chronic disease. You know it is always there and sometimes it rears it’s head. That is so very true! That made me cry because I have so many of those moments.

This is such a wonderful book. It is sad and emotional but it is also very uplifting and hopeful. I think, in fact, that hopeful is the word for this book. The characters are all wonderful, so well written. You will laugh and you will cry. You will feel everything and that is always the sign of a great book.

Thanks to Netgalley and Gallery Books for a copy of this lovely novel.

 

Good Riddance

By Elinor Lipman

Good Riddance by [Lipman, Elinor]

4 out of 5 stars

Daphne’s mom leaves her an old high school yearbook when she passes. It isn’t just any old yearbook, it is from the first year that her mom started teaching at the local high school. Her mom went back to the class of 69’s every single year and every year, she would add little connotations to the names of the students. Daphne, never understanding her mom’s need to do this, tosses the book into the recycling in her building. A neighbor picks it up and this begins a story filled with laughter, secrets, and a lot of fun.

This is really a delightfully fun read. I was laughing throughout the whole thing. It wasn’t heavy, even as the secrets were revealed, and I really enjoyed that. Daphne is a great character. For what she has gone through, even in her fanatical way of thinking, she really comes out on top. All the characters are great. I loved her interactions with all of them, including the yearbook thief Geneva. With all the heaviness in this crazy world right now, this was the perfect remedy.

Thanks to Netgalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for a copy of this book.