Impossible Views of the World by Lucy Ives

Published: August 1st, 2017
Publisher: Penguin Books

A witty, urbane, and sometimes shocking debut novel, set in a hallowed New York museum, in which a co-worker’s disappearance and a mysterious map change a life forever.

Stella Krakus, a curator at Manhattan’s renowned Central Museum of Art, is having the roughest week in approximately ever. Her soon-to-be ex-husband (the perfectly awful Whit Ghiscolmbe) is stalking her, a workplace romance with “a fascinating, hyper-rational narcissist” is in freefall, and a beloved colleague, Paul, has gone missing. Strange things are afoot: CeMArt’s current exhibit is sponsored by a Belgian multinational that wants to take over the world’s water supply, she unwittingly stars in a viral video that’s making the rounds, and her mother–the imperious, impossibly glamorous Caro–wants to have lunch. It’s almost more than she can overanalyze.

But the appearance of a mysterious map, depicting a 19th-century utopian settlement, sends Stella–a dogged expert in American graphics and fluidomanie (don’t ask)–on an all-consuming research mission. As she teases out the links between a haunting poem, several unusual novels, a counterfeiting scheme, and one of the museum’s colorful early benefactors, she discovers the unbearable secret that Paul’s been keeping, and charts a course out of the chaos of her own life.

Pulsing with neurotic humor and dagger-sharp prose, Impossible Views of the World is a dazzling debut novel about how to make it through your early thirties with your brain and heart intact.”

Review:

First, I would like to thank NetGalley, Penguin Books, and Lucy Ives for a free copy of this book before the publication date in exchange for an honest review.

Stella is a curator with a week from hell. To top it all off, her co-worker, Paul, goes missing. Finding a map makes her question everything about anything she knows. She deals with everything on her plate, while also finding out things about her co-worker Paul.

This book was not for me. I really, really struggled to get through this book. Even though it was a relatively short book, it took me some time to actually finish it. I wanted to like this book. The cover is beautiful and the synopsis definitely intrigued me. However, that’s about how far it got for me.

First, the writing style was too much for me. I can tell that Lucy Ives has the writing style of a poet. There were times where I had to reread because things were confusing for me. I never read poetry, therefore, it might be hard for another reader who is like me and never reads that kind of writing style.

Next, I felt like some of the writing was pretentious. It seemed like the character seemed like she was all high and mighty. I’m still trying to figure out if it was the narration, writing style, or the character, Stella, herself.

This book was classified as a mystery, and I agree that there were some parts that had mysterious accents, but not many. There were a few parts around 30% that grabbed my attention, but I felt like that might have been the only time. There were a few descriptions that this book had that wasn’t fulfilled.

I really wanted and tried to like this book. Unfortunately, the writing style made it hard for me to follow, along with the narration used. Towards the end, I was just reading to get to the end. Overall, I just couldn’t get into it. I wish I had liked it better, but it just wasn’t for me.

Rating: ★★

Follow Me Back by A.V. Geiger (#1)

Published: June 6th, 2017
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

“Tessa Hart’s world feels very small. Confined to her bedroom with agoraphobia, her one escape is the online fandom for pop sensation Eric Thorn. When he tweets to his fans, it’s like his speaking directly to her…

Eric Thorn is frightened by his obsessive fans. They take their devotion way too far. It doesn’t help that his PR team keeps posting to encourage their fantasies.

When a fellow pop star is murdered at the hands of a fan, Eric knows he has to do something to shatter his online image fast—like take down one of his top Twitter followers. But Eric’s plan to troll @TessaHeartsEric unexpectedly evolves into an online relationship deeper than either could have imagined. And when the two arrange to meet IRL, what should have made for the world’s best episode of Catfish takes a deadly turn…

Told through tweets, direct messages, and police transcripts.

Review:

This book is about a girl named Tessa who has trouble leaving her bedroom after something traumatic happens to her the previous summer. Eric Thorn is a superstar who wishes he wasn’t. Even though he became an international heartthrob and every girl wants him, he’s never felt more alone. He’s nervous all of the time due to a He sees on Twitter than the number one trend is something called #EricThornObsessed. It turns out that Tessa had written a fanfiction about the one and only Eric Thorn. While being confined to her bedroom with agoraphobia, she has picked Eric Thorn to be her entertainment. She has a twitter called @TessaHeartsEric with 30 thousand followers and growing. When Eric sees the trend, he gets angry and wants to know why they fangirl over him. He creates a fake account for himself called @EricThornSucks under the name Taylor. Tessa and Eric begin to DM over Twitter about Eric Thorn at first, but it quickly turns into more.

I absolutely loved this book. There were so many things going on that I didn’t know what was going to happen next. Let’s break down the things that I really loved:

Characters: Tessa. Tessa. Tessa. Tessa. She was the cutest human alive and I wanted to hug her. I couldn’t imagine going through what she was going through. Agoraphobia clawing at the insides of her brain making her dizzy by the time she gets to the top of her steps. There were some times where I was curious if that was who she really was. You will have to read to find out. Next, Eric Thorn was perfectly written. I feel like he was portrayed exactly how I would think a celebrity would feel. It’s known that a lot of celebrities feel like they are being used and that they have no privacy. A.V. Geiger wrote Eric so perfectly that I could imagine him as a real superstar. I could close my eyes and see a boybander like Harry Styles or Shawn Mendes thinking just like Eric Thorn did.

Story: This is a story unlike any other. I think that the synopsis is what drew me to this book originally. It’s very contemporary and very current with today’s society. It really connects to readers that know Twitter and fandoms. I think it was easier for me to read this because I live in a social media world where everything is known about each other. I’m guilty of that, as well.

Ending: The ending had me screaming. Let’s just say that I’m grateful that there is a sequel because if there wasn’t, I’d be livid. The last page is what really gets you. There are so many questions unanswered and I’m saddened that I have to wait until next year.

Overall, this YA debut was absolutely wonderful. I read it very quickly and that’s because it definitely kept my attention from beginning to end. The coolest part was when I posted a short review on my bookstagram and A.V. Geiger noticed me: 19883688_10210947915466507_164585678_n.jpg

A fun read, definitely check it out!!

All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg

Published: March 7th, 2017
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

“Who is Andrea Bern? When her therapist asks the question, Andrea knows the right things to say: she’s a designer, a friend, a daughter, a sister. But it’s what she leaves unsaid—she’s alone, a drinker, a former artist, a shrieker in bed, captain of the sinking ship that is her flesh—that feels the most true. Everyone around her seems to have an entirely different idea of what it means to be an adult: her best friend, Indigo, is getting married; her brother—who miraculously seems unscathed by their shared tumultuous childhood—and sister-in-law are having a hoped-for baby; and her friend Matthew continues to wholly devote himself to making dark paintings at the cost of being flat broke. But when Andrea’s niece finally arrives, born with a heartbreaking ailment, the Bern family is forced to reexamine what really matters. Will this drive them together or tear them apart?

Told in gut-wrenchingly honest, mordantly comic vignettes, All Grown Up is a breathtaking display of Jami Attenberg’s power as a storyteller, a whip-smart examination of one woman’s life, lived entirely on her own terms.”

Review:

Andrea Bern struggles through her life. It’s quite obvious. Things happen around her like her brother having a baby, her best friend getting married, etc., and she doesn’t want anything to do with it. She has all of these adjectives for herself that she won’t dare speak of out loud. Alone, drinker, a former artist, a shrieker in bed. She goes through life living on her own terms, not getting married, not having children, etc. I have to say that I had high expectations for this book, and for me it fell a little flat.

First, I believe that I was waiting for a moving story, but that doesn’t really happen. It really is just sad all the way through. Andrea does live life her way, but she’s unhappy doing so. I was expecting her to make some sort of a change or something along those lines. I was expecting a pretty fast paced, inspiring novel considering how short it was. I was disappointed to find that’s not what I got.

Next, I couldn’t like any of the characters. I couldn’t connect to any of them. Andrea especially was hard to grasp. The moments where the other characters were involved were extremely short lived. Andrea was just a girl who couldn’t take any other advice. She was a drinker, drug addict, and what seems like a sex addict. I really wanted to like her, but I like someone who accepts help when it’s needed.

Lastly, I can appreciate the honesty of this book. There was no hiding. Andrea was completely honest and upfront about everything she did. Maybe that was the point of this book, but I wasn’t really feeling it. It was only 197 pages, but it was extremely depressing all 197 pages.

Overall, I think this book had a lot of potential, but nothing happened for it to get a higher rating from me. I think it was extremely honest, but very, very sad. It didn’t grasp me from the beginning and I had a hard time getting into it. I wish I could’ve liked this book more.

Rating: ★★/5

The Other F-Word by Natasha Friend

Published: March 7th, 2017

“A fresh, humorous, and timely YA novel about two teens conceived via in vitro fertilization who go in search for answers about their donor.

Milo has two great moms, but he’s never known what it’s like to have a dad. When Milo’s doctor suggests asking his biological father to undergo genetic testing to shed some light on Milo’s extreme allergies, he realizes this is a golden opportunity to find the man he’s always wondered about.

Hollis’s mom Leigh hasn’t been the same since her other mom, Pam, passed away seven years ago. But suddenly, Leigh seems happy—giddy, even—by the thought of reconnecting with Hollis’s half-brother Milo. Hollis and Milo were conceived using the same sperm donor. They met once, years ago, before Pam died.

Now Milo has reached out to Hollis to help him find their donor. Along the way, they locate three other donor siblings, and they discover the true meaning of the other F-word: family.”

Review:

This story starts out when two lesbian couples go to use IVF to become pregnant. One couple have a girl named Hollis, while the other has a boy named Milo. They met at a very young age, and haven’t seen each other since. Milo suffers from severe allergies to many different things. Hollis has been dealing with a lot since one of her moms, Pam, died from cancer. Hollis’s other mom, Leigh, has been going a little out of her mind with the fact that the ghost of Pam still is with them, and when Milo reconnects with Hollis through Pam’s e-mail, Leigh believes it more than ever. It was a sign from Pam, according to Leigh. Leigh and Hollis hop on a plane to Brooklyn, New York where she spends a lot of time with her half brother and his best friend JJ Rabinowitz (winky face). When Milo and Hollis go through information, it turns out they have three other donor siblings (oh my god could you imagine!). Meeting again with the other siblings this time, they make a bond stronger than they’ve ever had before. This book was not only to show how donor kids feel (like they’re not good enough, etc.), but also shows that the other F-word – family, is the best thing you can have. Whatever life throws at you, your family is who will be by your side. I think this book definitely taught this very important lesson well.

There were many memorable moments in this book. I loved the fact that Natasha Friend brought some real issues and true definitions.

According to this article, “Regardless of socioeconomic status, donor offspring are twice as likely as those raised by biological parents to report problems with the law before age 25. They are more than twice as likely to report having struggled with substance abuse. And they are about 1.5 times as likely to report depression or other mental health problems.” Natasha Friend wrote about Milo who had this awful issue with allergies to food, pollen, etc., and it wasn’t his biological mother who had it, therefore, there would only be one option left. He felt excited to possibly know who his father was to get some answers about his medical history. Hollis was different than Milo. Hollis didn’t want to know who her father was because she got the feeling of being “damaged goods”. Her father didn’t want her. He went to this donor building, why? She wanted the answers without having to meet him. She was depressed, still reeling from her mother’s death seven years prior. Natasha Friend brought some real issues to light and I’m very glad she did so.

Next, I want to talk about the characters. The character development in this book was very well written. The way that Hollis was in the beginning of the book was frustrating. At 14, she is pretty out of control. I guess it’s possible to blame the fact she is depressed and dealing with bullying throughout the school day, but she is pretty reckless. At the end of the book, her character really figures out who she is. My favorite character in this book is JJ Rabinowitz. His dialogue actually made me laugh out loud multiple times. He has this “I don’t care attitude”, but yet he struggles with his own demons of being adopted. Again, Natasha Friend brought the struggles that an adopted child might feel into this book.

The only thing that I disliked (I wouldn’t even call it that) is the fact that each character was written seeming a little older than they actually were. Hollis especially was a little bad with this. There were times in this book where she was hooking up with a guy named Gunner and skipping class just to do that. I mean I guess I could see it today where things are pretty sexualized, but I think at 14 years old, that’s a problem. She has a loving mother at home, and she doesn’t realize that what she’s doing is wrong. I don’t see how it’s justifiable for a 14 year old. If she was written at age 16/17, I would’ve been better with it.

Overall, I think this book really hit a lot of great topics that need to be discussed: adoption, IVF, cancer, depression, anxiety, family, etc. Natasha Friend’s writing captivated me right from the beginning. The first few sentences had me wondering what was going to happen at the end. The end did surprise me and I definitely wouldn’t be mad if there was a sequel. If there isn’t, I think it’s great just the way it is.

Rating: ★★★★ 

 

Bitch Slap by J. Kenner

Published: June 1st, 2017

The first time I met her I wanted to slap her.

The second time, I knew I had to have her.

As for the third time, a gentleman doesn’t tell.

So I guess it’s a good thing I’m no gentleman … right?

Let’s get this out of the way, right off the bat: I love women.
I love the way they look. The way they smell. The way they feel. Especially the way they feel. And I’ve pretty much made it my mission to give each and every woman who shares my bed the ride of her life.

Then I met her. Bitchy as hell and completely uninterested in me. And damned if I didn’t want her. Crave her. I told myself I only wanted to tame her. That it was all about the challenge.

I never expected to break through that ice queen exterior and find the softness underneath. Never expected how wild she’d be between the sheets or the way she’d cry my name with such sincere intensity when I totally rocked her world.

Most of all, I never expected to fall for her.

But I did.

And the question is, now that I know I want her, how the hell do I go about keeping her?”

Review:

Very, very well written novel by J. Kenner. I really enjoyed this.

It was a very current and contemporary romance based on finding the wrong person in a restaurant using a dating app for one night stands. She thought he was looking for long-term, he thought she was looking for, well you know.

There were some parts in the beginning that had me a little confused. When they first meet at the restaurant, I was confused on who she actually was. However, when I understood, things really picked up. I read this in a day.

The ending was my favorite part of this book. It was so sweet and absolutely perfect. There was nothing I wanted more than that ending, and I got it so I was extremely happy.

Rating: ★★★★

Weekly Wrap-Up 7/16-7/22

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I would’ve had more reading done, but yesterday was my birthday, so this week has been pretty hectic. With the books that I did finish this week, I only liked 1/3 of them. Hope this week is better for books! Hope everyone has a great week! ☺

 

The Dinner by Herman Koch

Published: February 12th, 2013

“An internationally bestselling phenomenon: the darkly suspenseful, highly controversial tale of two families struggling to make the hardest decision of their lives — all over the course of one meal.

It’s a summer’s evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the polite scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse — the banality of work, the triviality of the holidays. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened.

Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act; an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children. As civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple show just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.

Tautly written, incredibly gripping, and told by an unforgettable narrator, The Dinner promises to be the topic of countless dinner party debates. Skewering everything from parenting values to pretentious menus to political convictions, this novel reveals the dark side of genteel society and asks what each of us would do in the face of unimaginable tragedy”

Review:

When reading the synopsis of this book, I thought wow. I thought it sounded really intriguing and would grab my attention right away. I kept this book in the back of my mind until I found out that it was apparently being made in to a movie. I just had to read it. I’m very disappointed to say that this will go down in history as one of my books that I rated under 3 stars. I rarely ever do that, and I hate doing it. However, I feel like this book really deserved this rating.

There were multiple times where I wanted to stop this book. It was very dry, and some people like that, but this really had trouble holding my attention throughout a lot of the book. It was very slow, and I understand trying to give the reader some anticipation for something big, I just feel like that never came. It was a bit predictable.

However, this book did show something that I do see a lot around me, and that is how far parents will go to protect their children. What they will do and how they will do it. The parents in this book were interesting, but I wish I could say that I liked them or related to them.

I wish I really enjoyed this book, but a book with this dry of a narrator and how much it interested me was just not in the cards unfortunately.

Rating: ★★