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Show Us Your Books, May edition: The one with all the time jumping

I love that this month’s linkup falls the same week as Book Expo America. I thought I’d be able to get there this year but alas, it was a no go. But chatting books with you guys is a perfect substitute. 

This month’s reads. I swear, they made me feel like I was driving around in a Delorean, trying to fill up my flux capacitor. Every single book I read had time jumping in it. ALL OF THEM. I generally don’t mind it as a way of telling a story but it’s a gimmick that gets old after the third consecutive book you read does it. It doesn’t mean they were bad books–most of them were quite good–but it became annoying. 

Admin note: Steph and I will be discuss Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy for the May 26th episode of The Armchair Librarians. As always, it’ll be spoiler free but just in case you want to read it ahead of time, you can. I’m also discussing it in this month’s recap if you can’t decide if you want to read it or not (unlike what I typically do in a review, I’m including a bit of a plot summary to help you out).

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Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy. This book tells the story of Alice, diagnosed with cancer, and Harvey, her lifelong friend and boy who’s in love with her. Thinking she’s going to die, Alice exacts revenge on those who’ve wronged her but then she goes into remission and she has to live with the consequences. I enjoyed the journey, told at different points in time, and the revenge fantasies she carried out but the way Alice used Harvey enraged me. As did the way he mostly accepted it. It wasn’t quite as good as Dumplin’ but overall, it was a very good, well written YA book. She writes strong, real characters and has a knack for dialog which carries the story when the plot falls flat. 

We’ve Already Gone This Far by Patrick Dacey. I thoroughly enjoyed this book of short stories about the residents of a hurting town. The stories all wind up being connected, and most can trace to a single event, and they’re just enough real, sad, happy, and weird to keep you engaged. If you’re a fan of short stories, definitely read this one. If you’re not a fan, I don’t know that this would be the best book for you to read. 

Liar by Rob Roberge. This is a NetGalley book (see, NetGalley! I do read the books I request!). At first, I was all “holy fuck, this book is incredible and I love it and this is how you do a book about mental health and addiction”. Then I was all “this book is too weird and this guy is seriously fucked up and how many more shitty things he’s done do I need to read about?” I mean, it was a very open and honest book about his struggles with rapid cycling bipolar disorder and a pretty serious addiction, and he’s a hell of a writer, but most of the time, I just fucking hated him. I mean, I get that his diseases made him do most of what he did that was so despicable but still. He’s not really a likable guy. And the time jumping made me dizzy. It was all over the place. OH! Stylistically, he wrote it in present tense. So that was cool and different. 

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad. I liked the idea of this book more than the execution. Lizzie, the main character, made me constantly sad and frustrated and while I enjoy varying POVs in books, including this one which had Lizzie looking at herself and her life at different phases like she was a different person, it just didn’t really work in this book. Also, it read more like short stories than a novel. I like short stories but when I want to read a novel, I want it read like one. BUT. I loved how the author addressed body image and happiness and how they’re not always connected (skinny does not always equal happy, for instance). And Lizzie was extremely complex and well written. Like an actual person. So, I can’t really decide how I feel about this book. 

How to Start a Fire by Lisa Lutz. I read this book because of Lauren. She read it last month and I told her it was on my TBR and now, here we are. This also had time jumping and different POVs but it worked quite well. Like The Girl on the Train, the book’s main characters are wholly unlikeable yet together, they told a weird, incongruent, messy story that I could not stop reading. Part mystery, part character study, part ugly facets of life, this book hit me in a bunch of different places. So much so, I stayed up until 1:30AM to finish it, fell asleep with 40 pages left and didn’t get out of bed the next morning until it was done. 

Currently reading Holding Smoke by Elle Cosimano. I got it from NetGalley. Don’t remember requesting it but when I checked my shelf, there it was. I think it archived so it made sense to pick it up.  

Now it’s your turn! Leave your link below and tell us what you’ve read. Non-bloggers, let us know in the comments. Don’t forget to visit some of the other participants, too!

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36 Comments

  1. Olya @ The Siberian American

    How to Start a Fire sounds like my type of book! I love a book that’s so good I end up falling asleep on my Kindle! Haha.

    Reply
  2. Erin

    I have How to Start a Fire on my tbr list as well. I think someone read it for a book challenge of mine (the 2nd or 3rd one). I should probably get to that eventually.

    You pretty much summed up what I felt about Side Effects May Vary. Looking forward to the podcast about it.
    Erin recently posted…I show you my books; you show me yours… vol.16My Profile

    Reply
  3. Tanya @ A Mindful Migration

    Adding How To Start a Fire to my TBR. I’d noticed Side Effects May Vary before but never added it to my TBR but I am now. Can’t wait to see what everyone’s been reading!
    Tanya @ A Mindful Migration recently posted…April Bookshelf: The Lovely Okey-Dokey MonthMy Profile

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  5. Rachel ¦¦ A Nesting Nomad

    Like everyone else, I’ll be adding How to Start a Fire to my wishlist! I need a good, gripping book. Mine have all been very much non-gripping lately. I’m the same as you, I get annoyed if I have too many books in a row in the same genre. Is time travel a genre?! I don’t know. But I know what you mean.

    Reply
  6. SMD

    Picking up Side Effects and How to Start a Fire this week from the library. Fire sounds like it might be podcast discussable??

    I can see why you can’t decide of Fat Girl.
    SMD recently posted…Show Us Your Books – What I Read in AprilMy Profile

    Reply
  7. Kristin

    Maybe I’ll listen to the podcast and THEN try Side Effects May Vary. Listening to someone talk about a book usually makes me want to read it.

    Reply
  8. Nadine

    Adding Side Effects May Vary to my TBR! You guys convinced me on Please Don’t Come Back From the Moon and Shotgun Lovesongs from your podcast last week. I hate when a book has a good premise but falls flat on execution.
    Nadine recently posted…Books LatelyMy Profile

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  9. Gwen

    I’m adding Side Effect May Vary (and maybe I’ll even get it read before your podcast!). Also adding How to Start a Fire, which sounds right up my alley.
    Gwen recently posted…Showin’ My Books – May ’16My Profile

    Reply
  10. Sarah

    Adding How to Start a Fire to my list! 🙂

    Sarah
    The Midwest Darling

    Reply
  11. carly

    I’ve heard so many mixed reviews of 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, and I’m currently on the waitlist to read it (hopefully sometime soon)– I’m definitely more intrigued after your review though! Also going to check out How to Start a Fire!
    carly recently posted…Carly Reads Here | April ReadsMy Profile

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  12. lisacng @ expandng.com

    I will definitely read Side Effects May Vary before listening to the new episode. I’m really new to short stories so We’ve Already Gone This Far left no impression on me. BUT that said, I’m not giving up on SS collections!
    lisacng @ expandng.com recently posted…Tweetviews – book reviews in 140 charactersMy Profile

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  13. Jess

    How to Start a Fire sounds good. I like when characters are unlikeable sometimes, as long as there’s a good story.
    Jess recently posted…What I’ve Been ReadingMy Profile

    Reply
  14. kathy @ more coffee, less talky

    i totally shit the bed with reading again…although i did manage to get in one book…and returned 4 books unread to the library 🙁

    Reply
  15. Ashley @ The Wandering Weekenders

    Side Effects May Vary sounds like such a good book! I’ve had it on my TBR list for a while, and I need to pick it up. I don’t think that I could get into Liar because it sounds like I would hate his character so much! How To Start A Fire sounds like a really good read that I would really like. I loved The Girl On The Train, even though the characters were all sorts of crazy!
    Ashley @ The Wandering Weekenders recently posted…Show Us Your Books- What I Read In AprilMy Profile

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  16. Kelli

    Wierd coincidence that all your books this month had time travel. I could see how that could get annoying.
    Kelli recently posted…It’s All About The Books – Vol. 14My Profile

    Reply
  17. Rebecca Jo

    I want to check out the 13 ways book now … you have me intrigued.

    Dang it – I was going to link up this time & totally forgot. I have so many books I’ve read lately too. More for the next link up.
    Rebecca Jo recently posted…Should you even bother? … my thoughts on the Biggest Loser Metabolism newsMy Profile

    Reply
  18. kristen

    thought i’d be able to get to book expo as well, very sad that i couldn’t make it happen. maybe next year? sigh. i’m glad you all mentioned that you’ll be talking about side effects may vary, it’s on my list but this gives me the push to read it. how to start a fire sounds interesting!

    Reply
  19. Heather @ I do what I want.

    I requested Side Effects May Vary so I’ll be ready for the podcast. When I added it to my to reads list on goodreads, I noticed that the author is a fellow Texan, so now I’m even more excited to read it!

    How to Start a Fire sounds like something I would like, added to the to read list, as well.

    Reply
  20. Mackenzie

    How to Start a Fire sounds interesting! Adding it to my list.
    Mackenzie recently posted…As The Page Turns: April EditionMy Profile

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  21. Allison

    A lot of those books sound really interesting (especially Side Effects May Vary), but I get SO FRUSTRATED with stories that have unlikeable main characters — like with Gone Girl or Girl on the Train, I felt a little like I was being tricked into reading.
    Allison recently posted…What I Read (April 2016)My Profile

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  22. Jackie

    How To Start A Fire sounds super interesting. Can’t wait to read it!
    Jackie recently posted…April ReadsMy Profile

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  23. Heather

    I really liked Dumplin’, so I am hoping to check out Side Effects May Vary sometime (even though I’m sure it is very different). Looking forward to hearing you girls talk about it too 🙂
    Heather recently posted…Recent Reads (Show us your Books link up!)My Profile

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  24. Lauren @ Oh Hey! I Like That!

    The Patrick Dacey book looks great! Adding it to my TBR!
    Lauren @ Oh Hey! I Like That! recently posted…Show Us Your Books: April to MayMy Profile

    Reply
  25. Kelly @ Noodle to the Rescue

    I agree that sometimes I get tired of the books that skip back and forth between two storylines, one past and one present – Seems like lately the past is always WWI or II. I like it sometimes but after so many books in a row with the same style I want to just stay put in time please!
    Kelly @ Noodle to the Rescue recently posted…Reading Roundup – April 2016My Profile

    Reply
  26. Emma

    I have the E-ARC of Side Effects May Vary somewhere in my digital cloud. I should probably read it. Adding How to Start a Fire to my TBR.
    Emma recently posted…April 2016 Reading RoundupMy Profile

    Reply
  27. Jenn @ Optimization Actually

    My “did not finish” book this past month was at least partially due to the other books I’d read before it. I had just finished I Am Malala, and I wasn’t in the mood for ridiculous, first-world problems and popularity contests.
    Jenn @ Optimization Actually recently posted…Books, Books, Books!My Profile

    Reply
  28. Lauren

    I just added 13 Ways yesterday, actually, and I was happy to see you had read it. Okay so How to Start a Fire… we must discuss! I almost stopped it because I couldn’t tell where it was going or what the point was, and I guess there kind of wasn’t one, but it was still okay. I loved the friendship aspect and part of me really liked weirdo Kate. Georgie seemed a little weak and she disappointed me, but that added to the reality of the characters – I wanted more for her, like I would a friend who was making questionable decisions in real life. But the time jumping – why? Would it have been boring without it? Looking forward to your readerly opinion.
    Lauren recently posted…what to read, what not to readMy Profile

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  29. Brie @ A Slice of Brie

    Ooh, How to Start a Fire sounds like my kinda book! It always amazes me how you can have a whole cast of unlikeable characters (like in Girl on the Train) and still really like the book. And staying up late to finish a book is always a good sign 🙂 Adding it to my list along with Side Effects May Vary!
    Brie @ A Slice of Brie recently posted…The Books I’ve Been Reading {9}My Profile

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  30. Nancy @ NY Foodie Family

    I read a Lisa Lutz book this month and thought it was only okay but How to Start a Fire sounds good. I thought Dumplin’ was okay, so may have to check out Murphy’s new book as well.
    Nancy @ NY Foodie Family recently posted…April 2016 ReadsMy Profile

    Reply
  31. Jessica @ Pleas(e) & Carrots

    Side Effects May Vary sounds good, adding it to my list now!
    Jessica @ Pleas(e) & Carrots recently posted…April BooksMy Profile

    Reply
  32. Jennifer

    How to Start a Fire sounds great!
    Jennifer recently posted…Show Us Your BooksMy Profile

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  33. Kristen

    I’ve had Side Effects May Vary on my “To Read” list for what feels like forever. I should probably just pick it up soon (and Dumplin’ too, of course).

    I added Liar to my list after seeing it on your judging covers post because it sounded like my kind of book. Unfortunately, they don’t have it at my library and I’m not sure if I’d be willing to buy it. I’m sure I’ll find a way to get to it eventually, but it’s definitely not making it to the top of the list any time soon.

    I’m adding How to Start a Fire. I really like stories told from multiple points of view, and, for whatever reason, I seem to really like books with unlikable characters. I guess this isn’t always true, but I feel like I’m drawn to them for some reason. (Or maybe it’s just dumb luck.)

    Reply
  34. Lori

    You know, I’m not a big fan of “time-jumping” books; but wait, maybe I am. I absolutely loved The Time Traveler’s Wife, so there’s that! I guess I’ll have to check out some of your picks! Thanks for sharing and hosting the link up!

    Reply
  35. Jackie @ My Sort Of Adult Life

    How to Start a Fire is also going on my TBR list! I’m on the fence about time jumping books but it sounds like a good one!

    Reply
  36. Rose @ Ramblin' Rose

    I don’t mind time jumping books, if they are done right. Sometimes they can be confusing but I love historical fiction that jumps from past to present.
    Rose @ Ramblin’ Rose recently posted…April 2016 Book ReviewMy Profile

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