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review SPOILER ALERT! 2020-03-11 06:23
Review: Recursion by Blake Crouch
Recursion - Blake Crouch

WARNING: This review will contain spoilers. Mild ones, epic ones, tiny ones, big ones, and even gigantic ones. This is your one warning. Okay, I might give you another warning before the biggest one, maybe.




This book was quite an endeavor for an author to take on, the concept of it is intimidating. So I have to give the author a lot of credit in trying to tackle such an immense idea. A lot of it worked. The last 150 pages didn’t.


I have never read Blake Crouch before and didn’t make the connection between this and the Wayward Pines books/show until after I got the book. This was an impulse buy. I was drawn in by the interesting cover, read the blurb and thought “Hmm, this is an intriguing idea.” I really enjoyed the way Crouch writes. It is engaging and informative without dragging the story down in extraneous details. This is a difficult balance to maintain. Especially if you are trying to explain (and probably failing to explain, because who actually could understand this stuff except a super genius) complex things in a way that makes sense to the masses, while knowing that you will have to alter any basis in science that it has in order to keep your narrative intact.


I recognize that the “science” in the book is overly simplistic, but for a novel it needs to be. I was not looking for a scholarly paper on the theory of reactivating memories in Alzheimer’s patients. So yes, I totally understand the complaints that “curing” Alzheimer’s isn’t as simple as just memory. The brain degradation goes much beyond just memory. But for the purpose of the story, this is what Helena was trying to do. Trying to find a way to recover the memories that these patients lost and then reactivating them to fight the disease. Simplistic notion? Of course. But it’s enough to get our story going.


I really enjoyed the cat and mouse game between Helena and Slade, and then later between Barry and Slade. Basically, Slade discovers that’s Helena’s memory reactivation program actually sends the consciousness of the person back to the memory they were re-living. It was interesting because it takes place over several timelines. And the idea is that if you get shuffled back into a memory of the past anything that you’ve already lived becomes a “dead” memory and on the date you originally made the jump all those dead memories come flooding back. Not just for you, but everyone involved in those other memories. Naturally this leads to chaos as people suddenly find their brain filled with memories of a life they didn’t live. I was rooting for Helena and Barry to succeed and I was excited to see how they might accomplish this monumental task. How do you stop a man who can jump back into time to get another chance at stopping you?


Things took a turn for the worse when it becomes like something out of the movie Inception. Multiple people making multiple jumps back in time, over and over and over. And expansive descriptions of memories that no longer exist and new ones that do, until the next page when those “new” ones are now dead and overwritten. I had a really hard time following any of it. Then we come to the end game. Helena and Barry hide out, working on solving the problem of the returning “dead” memories so that world doesn’t end, and then Helena going back to her teen years to try again when they fail. This portion got incredibly repetitive. The two of them having the same conversations, doing the same things, as they realized they failed and had to try again.


Here’s where my biggest problem came in. and here’s your SECOND WARNING:  This is the big spoiler. It literally spoils the entire ending.




The logical way to end this is to go back to the event that precipitated the first timeline shift and change it, right? Apparently, no one in the book has figured out how to do that. Because that timeline is now a dead memory and they can’t figure out how to send people back to dead memories. Barry confronts Slade about it, because he heard that Slade might have a solution, and Slade basically says “Go back to the original memory. The day I killed Helena to steal her invention.” Barry says he can’t, that’s a dead memory. And all Slade says is “I did.” Barry runs to tell Helena and finds she’s already made the jump and he’ll have to wait until this memory returns to his mind the next time to tell her so they can try. Problem if, the next time Helena has died. So by the time Barry remembers, she is already gone and he’s on his own. Then he just figures it out apparently. No seriously, that’s what happens.


Barry is lying next to Helena’s grave, taken a bunch of pills to end his life, and then decides that he has to try to reactivate a dead memory and fix things once and for all. So, with dwindling time until those pills kick in, he runs to the lab and tries to map a dead memory. It succeeds, he goes back in time and stops the original event and everything is set right again. All in about 5 pages. And it made me mad.


We just spent an entire book with you telling me it’s impossible to go back to a dead memory. Then you find out that, maybe, it’s not impossible after all but you have no idea how to do it. And then figure it out in five minutes? But Helena who had literally been working out a solution to this for over a hundred years couldn’t figure that out? It reminded me a Stephen King ending. Blake Crouch got tired of this book, wanted it to be over and was just like “And so, there was a giant spider, the end.” I felt pretty ripped off and it lowered the rating of the entire book for me. It didn’t pay off. So even though I largely enjoyed the book, the ending tainted it for me.


I will probably read other books by Blake Crouch, I find his ideas and execution interesting. Hopefully his other books have a decent ending.

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review 2017-01-24 03:03
Begin anew
Deja Vu (Titan World Book 0) - Cristin Harber

This is a book from the new Titan World series.  This is where series that are alike come together with those of the Titan series, created by Cristin Harber.  If you are already familiar with the Titan series, this is going to be a joy for you.  If you are as of yet unfamiliar - I am curious, where have you been?


James has had a lot of business with the CIA.  This one is new to him since he cannot prevent himself from being attracted to Allie.  His job is not to get to know her, but to help her stay hidden.


Allie just wants her memory back.  She did not know she would have the hots for the doctor that seems to understand her.  If only the sparks would stop flying....


This series is incredible!  All the Titan related novels are full of heat, intrigue, sexy times, and of course, suspense.  I really loved that this book started with a fast paced story and ended with a bang.  True to form and really drool worthy.  I am very excited to read the rest of the Titan World!  I give this story a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!



***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review only.

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review 2016-06-26 00:16
I find myself wondering "If I took away the memories of the love I have...
What Remains - Garrett Leigh

What Remains...and is it enough?


Try to imagine, if you will, suddenly having your memories of your entire life for the past five years wiped out, gone in the blink of an eye. Honestly, you can try but whatever you're imagining is probably only a fraction of what it's really like. I know I've been there and thankfully for me the memory loss only lasted for a few hours and yet over 25 years later the thought of it can still reduce me to tears...tears of fear that it could have lasted much longer and tears of gratitude that it didn't. Ironically the memory of those few hours are still so vivid for me and the thought of sitting there in a hospital bed not really knowing who I was, who my husband was or if I was even married and that I had a child. Things that I would have told you in a million years nothing could ever, ever make me forget and yet in the blink of an eye something happened that did just that it made me forget everything that I held most precious in this world...now try to imagine those years getting stolen from you again. Look at your husband and your children and think who are these people? Why are they here? Do they know me? Do I know them? Will they hurt me? and yes, don't forget the most important questions...who am I? and what's happened to me? Imaging not being able to answer those questions...any of them.


In 'What Remains' that's exactly what Garrett Leigh does. She shows us what can happen when one person's world is ripped away in an instant and the people he loves are left to try and help him find a new reality. 


Jodi and Rupert are basically living the life. They met by accident and what started as a friendship with a strong dose of attraction turned into love. Life couldn't be better...well, maybe Rupert's ex could fall off the face of the earth but other than that everything's pretty idyllic. They've got each other, Rupert's daughter, Indie who they both adore. Jodi's ex and current BFF, Sophie. They've made a home together in Jodi's loft. What more could they ask for everything's perfect...until it isn't. In one unguarded moment for Jodi it's all gone. He doesn't remember who Rupert is what they're suppose to mean to each other or Indie and what the hell when did Sophie stop being his girlfriend? 


For the first part of this book the author took us back and forth between the beginning of Jodi and Rupert's relationship and events leading up to Jodi's accident. While I'm not normally a fan of time shifts, in this instance it worked as a highly effective way for the reader to not only get the background information but for the author to bring us into the events that are going to reshape the lives of Jodi, Rupert and those around them and while I really enjoyed this part of the story it was at the point where the story stayed in the present that I found myself becoming truly involved. 


'What Remains' is a love story, there's no denying that but it's also a story about second chances, facing adversity and overcoming life's obstacles, pain/comfort/healing and believing that while it may not be all you need, love can be the cornerstone upon which to build or re-build your life.


I loved that this story asked questions many of us either don't want to or never ask or if we do the answer is given without realizing what it could truly mean... 'if I could do it all over again, would I fall in love with you?' or 'if something happened to me and I wasn't who I am now, would you still love me?'


And more than anything I loved the realism that came with this story. What happened to Jodi and  how it affected him. The fact that while Rupert was awesome he wasn't perfect we saw his frustration and inner turmoil over how things did or sometimes didn't seem to change, the tole that events took on him...personally and professionally. The impact that things had on Sophie and even Indie and most of all the ending. This was not a fairytale HEA ending where things suddenly got fixed. The HEA that these MCs got was won through hard work, sheer determination, endurance and love. Jodi wasn't magically all fixed but with time and effort he began to get control of his life again and accept how it had changed allowing him and Rupert to find their way back to each other. 


'What Remains' was my first read for this author and has definitely left me wanting to read more of which, thankfully, I have many. 



An ARC of this book was graciously provided by the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

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text 2015-01-05 23:28
Slated - Teri Terry

Definitely worthwhile. Not only is Kyla is a memorable character, her friends and the plot are bound to stick with you. I highly recommend it to lovers of YA and memory loss. (I for one love memory loss stories) Go ahead and read it!

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review 2011-10-30 00:00
Thirty-Nine Years of Short-Term Memory Loss: The Early Days of SNL from Someone Who Was There
Thirty-Nine Years of Short-Term Memory Loss: The Early Days of SNL from Someone Who Was There - Tom Davis,Al Franken Captivating for its often hilarious and, in the very least, entertaining stories about life as a writer for Saturday Night Live in its earlier years.

Thirty-Nine Years of Short-Term Memory Loss is an autobiography of sorts, sketching out Tom Davis's life with a patchwork of details. Davis was Al Franken's long-time writing partner. The duo formed up early in their lives, working out bits that garnered them, if not fame and fortune, enough notoriety to attract the attention of SNL's producer Lorne Michaels.

Davis is a natural writer, so the book is interesting enough on its own, but once the stories featuring SNL alumni kick-in...that's when the good shit hits the fun-fan! There are plenty of oddball and incredible tales that many of the principles would no doubt rather weren't published. If you enjoyed the show in the 70s and 80s, this is for you.

Where Thirty-Nine Years of Short-Term Memory Loss falters is...well...it's in the title. Davis took a lot of drugs when he was young, not all of which were entirely beneficial, especially in relation to his current state of coherence. The latter half of the book gradually succumbs to his disjointed mind, as the stories flitter from one topic or time period to an entirely different one without the slightest segue or any seeming purpose. Occasionally a story ends for no apparent reason at all. At other times you're left wondering just how reliable Davis' memory is and how skewed the facts may be.

Even with all its failings, if you get through just half of this book you'll have consumed a chunky collection of prime-grade comedy.
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