The Book of M by Peng Shepherd

Summary:
Set in a dangerous near future world, The Book of M tells the captivating story of a group of ordinary people caught in an extraordinary catastrophe who risk everything to save the ones they love. It is a sweeping debut that illuminates the power that memories have not only on the heart, but on the world itself.
One afternoon at an outdoor market in India, a man’s shadow disappears—an occurrence science cannot explain. He is only the first. The phenomenon spreads like a plague, and while those afflicted gain a strange new power, it comes at a horrible price: the loss of all their memories.
Ory and his wife Max have escaped the Forgetting so far by hiding in an abandoned hotel deep in the woods. Their new life feels almost normal, until one day Max’s shadow disappears too.
Knowing that the more she forgets, the more dangerous she will become to Ory, Max runs away. But Ory refuses to give up the time they have left together. Desperate to find Max before her memory disappears completely, he follows her trail across a perilous, unrecognizable world, braving the threat of roaming bandits, the call to a new war being waged on the ruins of the capital, and the rise of a sinister cult that worships the shadowless.
As they journey, each searches for answers: for Ory, about love, about survival, about hope; and for Max, about a new force growing in the south that may hold the cure.
The Book of MReview:
The Book of M was the book club pick for myself and a few local friends in the month of May. This month was my turn to pick a book and we decided on this one. I’d seen friends really like this book and I usually completely love dystopian/fantasy stories but this one was not my favorite. It’s disappointing because I thought this had potential to become a new favorite.
While I liked the story well enough, I have some issues. The first issue was the fact that there didn’t seem to be any rules or limitations to this magic aside from the magical acts costing memories. I didn’t like this. Magic needs limitations and in this book that did not happen it was wild and confusing and I didn’t like it. Part of this is because I wanted there to be a scientific explanation.
I also had an issue with the fact that the first half of the book felt SO. LONG. but then the second half felt really rushed. The pacing was just off. I was interested in the first half but I think there were better things that could have been more explained and other things that could have been less explained. There were character deaths that we only got brief overviews of rather than any actual explanations about what happened and that really bugged me.
Overall, I really wanted to love this book but I just didn’t. I wanted it to be different from what I got. I shouldn’t have gone into this book with expectations which is what I did. It was an alright book but I didn’t love it like I wanted to. But don’t let this make you not read it because two of the other girls in book club loved it!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

Summary:
Seeking women ages 18-32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed.
When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychological study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave.
Question #1: Could you tell a lie without feeling guilt?
But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she beings to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking.
Question #2: Have you ever deeply hurt someone you care about?
As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what in her life is real, and what is one of Dr. Shields manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.
Question #3: Should a punishment always fit the crime?
From the authors of the blockbuster bestseller The Wife Between Us come an electrifying new novel about doubt, passion, and just how much you can trust someone.
An Anonymous GirlReview:
I’ve heard so many good things about An Anonymous Girl so when it was suggested as the next book for my local book club I was beyond excited. So many people I know have really enjoyed this book, so I had a feeling I was going to as well. I was not disappointed.
I thought I had this book all figured out in the first fifty pages. But boy was I wrong. There were things that I guessed and was right, but then I’d find out that I was right except not really and we’d get another twist. There was so much going on that I stopped trying to guess what was going to happen next because I didn’t really know.
I thought there were a lot of aspects within the story that made me think more than I expected (and my book club girls confirmed this!) I didn’t expect it to be a particularly thought-provoking book. I don’t want to say anything specific because of potential spoilers but if you’ve read this and want to discuss let me know! The one thing I do want to say is that it certainly doesn’t make me want to trust any sort of psychologist in my life.
I really enjoyed the two different perspectives. Following the main character Jess as her life goes from mostly normal to absolutely nuts was interesting. I really liked Jess at first, the whole morality conversation was an interesting one and I think Jess really showed her limits and what she’d do to protect herself and her loved ones. I also really enjoyed the chapters told in second person. I thought that was a really interesting way to tell the story. It was complex and gripping. It had my sympathizing with someone who may not have deserved it.
Overall, I enjoyed this story. It was thrilling and interesting, complex and unpredictable. I flew through the pages and couldn’t stop until I knew how the story was going to end. I cannot recommend this book enough. I’m going to have to get my husband’s mom and sister to read this because it’s a book that fits their reading tastes.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

B&N Book Club – October

Hi book friends, Amanda here.

Today I’m going to share with you my first Barnes and Nobel Book Club adventure!

This month’s book club book is An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green. When I found out this was the book I knew I had to participate because I’m a die-hard fan of the Green brothers.

I also decided to participate because I’ve recently moved and I’m interested in attempting to make some bookish friends that I can hang out with in real life instead of just over the internet. In a perfect world, all my internet friends would live close to me, but we sadly don’t live in a perfect world.

So I’m writing this post the morning before book club and I will add more after I have attended the meetup tonight at seven pm! I binge read the book, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing (AART), last night because I let myself get distracted all month. I’m a huge procrastinator so this is pretty typical for me. I was mostly waiting for a solid block of time to spend with the story and characters.

Here are a few thoughts I had while reading this book:

“Wow, hitting on all the relevant topics.”
“I can’t stop reading parts in Hank’s voice because I totally adore him.”
“I love that April can recognize that she is flawed and imperfect. She acknowledges that sometimes her motivations were selfish and shitty.”
“Yaaas, NaNoWriMo!”
“I wonder if April May talking about writing and book events are ideas that he asked John about or learned while booktouring with John.”
“WHAT WAS THAT ENDING. HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO US HANK?!”

I wrote down quite a few more thoughts, but those will likely be included in my review which I will write after the book club meet up!

So, I’m super excited for my first time attending a book club. I’m not totally sure what to expect, but I’m happy to be doing something I’ve never done before.

The Next Day – 

Hi Friends! It’s now Thursday and I was too sleepy to finish this post last night. So I’m here with some coffee and ready to tell you all about the wonderful time I had last night.

Driving to book club, I was super nervous and anxious mostly because I didn’t know what to expect. I was worried that I would be the only younger person there. I was also worried that I would be the only one to show up.

All of these worries were washed away as soon as I sat down in the circle of chairs that had been set up for the meeting. I showed up early (because I hate being the one that shows up late.) I made sure to have time to walk around and maybe pick out a few new books to take home. (I did. I bought Pillow Thoughts Pillow Thoughts II by Courtney Peppernell and Wonder Woman by Leigh Bardugo.) Then I walked over to the B&N Cafe (it’s NOT Starbucks!) and ordered a ridiculous Starbucks coffee (I’m a Dunkin’ Donuts girl.) I even asked the cashier if he could spell my name wrong to complete the experience (he didn’t.) I asked him for directions to where book club was happening.

Making my way through the stacks with my coffee and my new books I started to get more excited. As the circle of chairs came into my line of sight I saw that three or four of them already had people in them. So I found an empty chair and took my seat.

There was an awkward silence here and there, nothing too unusual. The B&N employee (I’m so sorry, but I can’t remember her name.) showed up and we all had some casual conversation while we waited for it to be 7pm. We wanted to allow a little bit of time for any last minute stragglers. (Good thing we did because there was a handful of people that came right at or right after seven.)

We all introduced ourselves and added whether or not we enjoyed the book. I think I liked it the best out of everyone. Some didn’t like it at all, some thought it was alright, and some just liked it. I was definitely a little disappointed that the others didn’t love it as much as I did but to each their own.

It didn’t take long for us to get right into it. Barnes and Nobel provided us with some interesting discussion questions that we mostly disregarded after they were read to us and went off on our own tangents. Most of this meeting was spent with the four younger (ish) members explaining various things about social media and being YouTube famous and things like this. It was interesting seeing the difference in knowledge and understanding between the age differences. We spent a lot of time answering questions about the difference between traditionally famous people (sports players, actors/actresses, etc.) and internet famous people. (READ- famous for doing a job vs. famous for being themselves was what we decided the difference was.)

Overall, I had SO much fun. I laughed a lot. I talked a lot. I learned a lot. I will definitely be continuing to participate in this book club. I’m actually going to try to find another one because sadly the B&N book club isn’t as regular as I’d like.

The things I didn’t like:

  1. I left without finding out what the next book choice is going to be (not because I left early, but because there isn’t a specifically determined time for the next book/meeting.)
  2. (See above) – There is not an announced time for the next meeting or even a book chosen. WHY BARNES AND NOBEL WHY? (Supposedly because of the holidays, but I think the holidays are some of my favorite times to read. So lame excuse B&N.)
  3. This isn’t a regular thing. I guess I just assumed that this was a monthly book club. But they have had three meetings since May. So disappointing.

This is all I’ve got for things I didn’t like. Basically, I didn’t like that this doesn’t happen more frequently. Other than this I loved it. I had so much fun talking about a book I enjoyed by an author I love with people I didn’t know.

I am definitely looking forward to whatever book is chosen next! Did anyone else join the Barnes and Nobel Book Club? What did you think of An Absolutely Remarkable Thing?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.