April Reads and Reviews

I don't know about all of you, but I've been reading like a machine lately. I typically get through a book and take a break for a while before picking up a new one, but now I'm just pouring through one after another. Maybe it's a way to escape the current world, or transport me around the world when I can't travel. I read some fantastic books recently and hope to have even more on tap for this month!  Here are my recent reads and what I thought of them.

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

As a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, Ani FaNelli endured a shocking, public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. Now, with a glamorous job, expensive wardrobe, and handsome blue blood fiancĂ©, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve. But Ani has a secret. There’s something else buried in her past that still haunts her, something private and painful that threatens to bubble to the surface and destroy everything.

This was a really easy read and I went through it very quickly. The narrative style of switching back and forth between present day and recounting the past was really well done, with a major part of the story tying the two together. I flew through the first half of this book until we got a big reveal of the "secret". After that, I feel like I was waiting for a big twist or something crazy to happen, but I was disappointed. It was a good book, I just wish the ending was a little more rewarding!

Rating : 3.5/5

I'm Fine..And Other Lies by Whitney Cummings

Here are all the stories and mistakes I've made that were way too embarrassing to tell on stage in front of an actual audience; but thanks to not-so-modern technology, you can read about them here so I don't have to risk having your judgmental eye contact crush my self-esteem. This book contains some delicious schadenfreude in which I recall such humiliating debacles as breaking my shoulder while trying to impress a guy, coming very close to spending my life in a Guatemalan prison, and having my lacerated ear sewn back on by a deaf guy after losing it in a torrid love affair. In addition to hoarding mortifying situations that'll make you feel way better about your choices, I've also accumulated a lot of knowledge from therapists, psychotherapists, and psychopaths, which can probably help you avoid making the same mistakes I've made. Think of this book as everything you'd want from the Internet all in one place, except without the constant distractions of ads, online shopping, and porn.

This was the second book club pick, and was sort of a Self Help/Memoir written by comedian Whitney Cummings. I thought that her writing was really great and she's a fantastic story teller. It was interesting to read about her life and all the crazy situations she's been in, and has a good way of turning that around into advice that anyone can relate to (most of us might not freeze our eggs or have breast reconstruction, but we can all relate to taking control of our lives and revealing our deepest secret to free ourselves). The only thing that I didn't like about this, and what I've found with most books written by comedians, is that there were too many jokes thrown in, and it was just trying too hard to be funny. Honestly most of it was hilarious, but sometimes I thought the sentence could just be, and didn't need to have a punchline.

Rating : 4/5

Recursion by Blake Crouch

Memory makes reality. That’s what New York City cop Barry Sutton is learning as he investigates the devastating phenomenon the media has dubbed False Memory Syndrome-a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived. That's what neuroscientist Helena Smith believes. It’s why she’s dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious memories. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience a first kiss, the birth of a child, the final moment with a dying parent.  As Barry searches for the truth, he comes face-to-face with an opponent more terrifying than any disease—a force that attacks not just our minds but the very fabric of the past. And as its effects begin to unmake the world as we know it, only he and Helena, working together, will stand a chance at defeating it. But how can they make a stand when reality itself is shifting and crumbling all around them?

Wow...this book was incredible. This is my second Blake Crouch (my first was the wildly popular Dark Matter) and my favorite thing is that he makes sci-fi understandable and attainable for the masses. This book discusses concepts related to time - is the present real? - and deja vu. The book jumps around in different timelines and story lines, but everything makes sense and is easy to follow. This is a fascinating book that I can picture myself re-reading in the future. My only caveat is that there are some darker themes that might be too heavy or hit too close to home right now, so if you're feeling a bit fragile I wouldn't recommend reading it right away.

Rating : 5/5

Less by Andrew Greer

You are a failed novelist about to turn fifty. A wedding invitation arrives in the mail: your boyfriend of the past nine years is engaged to someone else. You can't say yes--it would be too awkward--and you can't say no--it would look like defeat. On your desk are a series of invitations to half-baked literary events around the world.
QUESTION: How do you arrange to skip town?
ANSWER: You accept them all.

This is another amazing book, with a unique and fascinating writing style. While I was reading, I loved how the story line jumped back and forth from the present to a moment in the past that explained how the main character ended up in his current predicament. The were so many tiny details that were so clever to me that made me fall in love with the author, and made me completely understand why this won a Pullitzer. The story itself was so charming- following the main character around the world in order to avoid the wedding of his ex-boyfriend. In comparison to Recursion, I think this is the perfect book to read now- the travels of Less helped to transport me to different countries and feel like I was living his adventures while I'm not able to leave my house.

Rating : 4.5/5

What are you reading lately?


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