Book Review: The Westside by W.M. Akers

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Finally….. I finished reading the book and my original thoughts still stand.  I’m giving this book 3 out of 5 stars.

A young detective who specializes in “tiny mysteries” finds herself at the center of a massive conspiracy in this beguiling historical fantasy set on Manhattan’s Westside—a peculiar and dangerous neighborhood home to strange magic and stranger residents—that blends the vivid atmosphere of Caleb Carr with the imaginative power of Neil Gaiman.

I finished the book earlier this week…. hmm maybe even late last week and I wanted to sit with my thoughts before I posted a review.  I wanted to make sure I liked it or didn’t like it and I’m still not 100% sure I am fully comfortable with my decision.

The writing was great.  I enjoyed and connected with the way the author wrote the story. there are so many quotes in the book that resonated with me  and that gave the story that extra punch that I had to stop tagging pages or I would be tagging every single page. I thought the premise of the story was interesting and it actually was what sold me on this book.  The fact that little mysteries are most often than not the ones that are worth solving.  Well, yeah, that and the fact that it’s set in New York in the 20’s….. What more can one wish for?  However, that’s where I break paths with the book.

Although the premise of the story was great I felt confused reading it.  I was constantly being pulled out of the world trying to figure out what the author was trying to say.  It felt that every time I was immersed in the world and in the action, something would be pulling me right back out.  There were characters that were introduced whom I had no connection with and they appeared from out of nowhere.  There were things going on that I’m not sure added anything to the story and, in fact, they wound up only confusing me even more.  I actually started to feel that it was me.  Perhaps it’s not the right book for me or maybe not the right time for me to be reading this book.  This may be one of those books that I will go back to reading again and again and each time I’ll learn something new.  Maybe I do have to read it again.  I’ll have to give myself some time because right now the confusion is still very raw and I’m not sure I’ll give it the honest chance that the writing deserves.

I will be looking for more books from this author.  The writing was amazing …. here is an example from the first page of the book:

I stole a glove.  It dangled off a table in a decrepit leather shop in Thieves Makes on the East side of Manhattan in sweltering late September 1921, and it was in my bag before I even knew it was in my hand.

This sentence put me in the shoes of the protagonist.  I could feel the heat, I could see the glove and I understood how something just is done without a thought.  It just appeared in the bag….. even before she thought about it.

There are many other passages like this and these were the moments when I was taken to the world where Gilda Carr, our protagonist lives.  This was also the world where I needed to stay in order to understand her and everyone around her but the confusion and the need to bring myself back into the world was jarring.

I’m not giving up.  There’s gotta be something I’m missing.

I’m sorry I didn’t like the book more than I did.

XoXo

Ana

The Dakota Building – New York City

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A few days ago, as I was perusing books for my August TBR, I came across The Address by Fiona Davis, the author of the Dollhouse, I could not resist but request to be sent a copy for review.  I received my review copy this past week and quickly started devouring it.  The Address is scheduled to be published on August 1, 2017.  The review will be coming soon enough but I wanted to share a few “crazy” facts about this amazing building which still stands and functions today on the northwest corner of 72nd Street and Central Park.

  • The building opened in 1884;
  • Some of building’s most famous residents:
    • author Harlan Coben,
    • U2’s Bono,
    • Rex Reed,
    • Jack Palance,
    • John and Yoko Lennon
    • Rosemary Clooney,
    • Connie Chung,
    • Maury Povich

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  • The building was reported fully rented before it even opened.
  • The building had no vacancies for 45 years after it opened.
  • The building has no fire escapes – it’s reported that the Architect Henry J. Hardenbergh purposely avoided fire escapes by slathering mud from Central Park between the layers of brick flooring to fireproof and soundproof the building.
  • The apartment where John Lennon and Yoko Ono lived is rumored to have $30,000 buried under the floor.  The resident prior to John and Yoko buried it.
  • It has an in-house power plant which can heat every structure within a 4 block radius
  • Just because you’re a celebrity, you are not guaranteed acceptance as a resident.  Some famous applicants that have gotten rejected are:
    • Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas,
    • Cher,
    • Billy Joel,
    • Madonna,
    • Carly Simon,
    • Alex Rodriguez,
    • Judd Apatow,
    • Tea Leoni.

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This information and photos from an article in Business Insider.