Book Reviews: Made in Manhattan, L.A. Weather & The Candy House

Made in Manhattan by Lauren Layne

Goodreads blurb: Violet Townsend has always been a people pleaser. Raised in the privileged world of Upper East Side Manhattan, she always says the right things, wears the right clothes, and never rocks the boat. Violet would do anything for the people closest to her, especially her beloved grandmother. So when she asks Violet to teach the newly-discovered grandson of her friend how to fit in with New York City’s elite, Violet immediately agrees. Her goal? To get Cain Stone ready to take his place as heir to his family company…but to say he’s not exactly an eager student is an understatement. Born and raised in rural Louisiana and now making his own way in New Orleans, Cain Stone is only playing along for the paycheck at the end. He has no use for the grandmother he didn’t know existed and no patience for the uppity Violet’s attempts to turn him into a suit-wearing, museum-attending gentleman. But somewhere amidst antagonistic dinner parties and tortured tux fittings, Cain and Violet come to a begrudging understanding—and the uptight Violet realizes she’s not the only one doing the teaching. As she and Cain begin to find mutual respect for one another (and maybe even something more), Violet learns that blindly following society’s rules doesn’t lead to happiness…and that sometimes the best things in life come from the most unexpected places

My take: 3.5 out of 5. Its a really cute romance. I love My fair Lady, so I was going to dig an adaptation of it, but once I rad it I was very surprised that I liked how much it differed from My Fair Lady, and that is a good thing! The characters were cute, even if a bit stereotypical, but they had some solid growth and the tension was very well written. A really cute quick read romance book. This is an ARC review thanks to a gift from the publisher, the book comes out January 18th, 2022

LA weather by Maria Amparo Escandon

Goodreads blurb: L.A. is parched, dry as a bone, and all Oscar, the weather-obsessed patriarch of the Alvarado family, desperately wants is a little rain. He’s harboring a costly secret that distracts him from everything else. His wife, Keila, desperate for a life with a little more intimacy and a little less Weather Channel, feels she has no choice but to end their marriage. Their three daughters—Claudia, a television chef with a hard-hearted attitude; Olivia, a successful architect who suffers from gentrification guilt; and Patricia, a social media wizard who has an uncanny knack for connecting with audiences but not with her lovers—are blindsided and left questioning everything they know. Each will have to take a critical look at her own relationships and make some tough decisions along the way. With quick wit and humor, Maria Amparo Escandón follows the Alvarado family as they wrestle with impending evacuations, secrets, deception, and betrayal, and their toughest decision yet: whether to stick together or burn it all down.

My take: 4 out of 5. I love a good family drama and this hit the mark. ITs also a Latin family drama which I like even more. Although it might seem a lot that all this drama happened in just one year, in the land of telenovelas this is mild drama so I kind of dug it and believed it. I especially enjoyed , that even though its quite a large cast of characters, there was some strong character development in multiple characters. The weather tie in throughout the story was quite clever and although there were some over the top storylines (i couldn’t get into the embryo debacle) all in all an entertaining book for fans of telenovela drama in book form.

Candy House by Jennifer Egan

Goodreads blurb: It’s 2010. Staggeringly successful and brilliant tech entrepreneur Bix Bouton is desperate for a new idea. He’s forty, with four kids, and restless when he stumbles into a conversation with mostly Columbia professors, one of whom is experimenting with downloading or “externalizing” memory. Within a decade, Bix’s new technology, Own Your Unconscious—that allows you access to every memory you’ve ever had, and to share every memory in exchange for access to the memories of others—has seduced multitudes. But not everyone. In spellbinding linked narratives, Egan spins out the consequences of Own Your Unconscious through the lives of multiple characters whose paths intersect over several decades. Egan introduces these characters in an astonishing array of styles—from omniscient to first person plural to a duet of voices, an epistolary chapter, and a chapter of tweets. In the world of Egan’s spectacular imagination, there are “counters” who track and exploit desires and there are “eluders,” those who understand the price of taking a bite of the Candy House. Intellectually dazzling and extraordinarily moving, The Candy House is a bold, brilliant imagining of a world that is moments away. With a focus on social media, gaming, and alternate worlds, you can almost experience moving among dimensions in a role-playing game.​ Egan delivers a fierce and exhilarating testament to the tenacity and transcendence of human longing for real connection, love, family, privacy and redemption.

My take: 3.5 out of 5. This is an objectively really good book with a very relevant and to the moment subject matter. The questions that it leaves you with haunt you for quite a few days later after putting the book down. They live rent free in your mind and make you question a lot of what we see as tech developments and how they could be misconstrued. That of the book was great. What I wasn’t fully into was the great amount of characters. I actually think thee story would have been better exposed with fewer of them. At the end I felt like a needed an intro page of character interconnections, like they have in 100 years of solitude, they were all blurring to me. I actually could have done without entire chapters, like Lulus spy story. There were so many superfluous characters and some I wanted to know more of. Like Bix, why did we not revisit Bix? Was my confusion because I didn’t read A Visit to the Goon Squad? maybe I should have picked that one up before but now we never know, but now after reading this I kind of don’t want to be even more confused. Send me your thoughts, should I pick, up Visit to the Goon Squad? This is an ARC review thanks to a gift from the publisher, the book comes out April 5th, 2022

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