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Lies My Memory Told Me

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This just didn't do it for me. The writing didn't keep me entertained, the plot was just a little too blah. I just couldn't get into it.
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Title:   Lies My Memory Told Me
Author:   Sacha Wunsch
Genre:   YA
Rating:  3.0

Enhanced Memory changed everything. By sharing someone else’s memory, you can experience anything and everything with no risk at all: learn any skill instantly, travel the world from home, and safeguard all your most treasured secrets forever. Nova’s parents invented this technology, and it’s slowly taking over their lives. Nova doesn’t mind—mostly. She knows Enhanced Memory is a gift.

But Kade says Nova doesn’t know the costs of this technology that’s taken the world by storm. Kade runs a secret vlog cataloging real experiences, is always on the move, and is strangely afraid of Nova—even though she feels more comfortable with him than she ever has with anyone. Suddenly there are things Nova can’t stop noticing: the way her parents don’t meet her eyes anymore, the questions no one wants her to ask, and the relentless feeling that there’s something she’s forgotten…

This was just a meh read for me. Nova never felt like a real person to me at all. She just let things happen to her, and then was astonished. The other characters, especially Kade, felt like mere shadows of people, and there was just so much that felt unfinished. Even the ending was…lackluster.

Sacha Wunsch is a bestselling author. Lies My Memory Told Me is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Inkyard Press in exchange for an honest review.)
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What I Loved

I love the premise of Lies My Memory Told Me by Sacha Wunsch.  Technology is rapidly changing and expanding, and people have become more and more reliant on it.  A story about technology that lets you experience other people’s memories of places and activities doesn’t feel like that big of a stretch – just one or two steps past VR.   I find this a very intriguing premise and loved exploring the downside to such technology.

This very slow-burn sci-fi thriller could have been a dicey reading choice for me as I have found that my patience with slowly unfolding stories is often shorter than it takes for the story to pick up in intensity and pace.  This almost happened to me while reading this book. Still, just as my interest in learning about this new technology started to wan, the mystery is brought to the foreground, and everything about the story ramps up from that point onward.

The story is told in first-person narration through Nova, the daughter of the married couple who developed the EM (Enhanced Memory) technology. I loved that she is a teen who is not angsty or drama-ridden. This method of telling the tale is very effective as she is in the middle of all aspects of the story, including the many aspects of the technology.  Third person narration would only have distracted the reader from many important nuances of the story.

Characters

Nova is well-developed and drives the story.  She is afraid of so much and is so timid. I couldn’t help but feel sympathy for her and then rejoice when she starts taking chances and experiencing all that life offers.  She grows exponentially as the story unfolds, and it is a remarkable thing to witness.

What I Wish

I would have loved more thrills from the beginning, but that’s a personal preference rather than a critique.  I could see where this story could have been a jaw-dropping, action-packed thriller, but I also recognize that a change in approach would have changed the whole story in subtle and profound ways and respect the author’s choices.

To Read or Not to Read
If you are looking for a compelling sci-fi thriller that will make you look at technological advances in a new light, Lies My Memory Told Me is a book you will not want to miss.
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Lies My Memory Told Me is an interesting techno-mystery-suspense-thriller mix.

Nova's parents invented a technology called Enhanced Memories which enables people to access someone else's memories. This allows them to learn new skills, travel, have adventures, and a wide variety of other uses without leaving their current location and at no risk to themselves. You can also have your memories saved so they are always accessible. Use of Enhanced Memories has taken off like wild-fire, with an ever growing number of people spending more and more of their time using the technology.

Nova, a teenager, enjoys using Enhanced Memories as entertainment herself, but her enthusiasm dims as her parents continue to spend the majority of their time on or using the technology, spending little time with and barely acknowledging Nova. She meets a boy who is strongly opposed to the technology, calling it dangerous. How can that be? What do you mean? The more they talk, the more questions Nova has about it all. Is there truth to what her new friend is saying? With her parents becoming more disengaged with real life and acting stranger as time goe on, Nova sets out to learn the truth behind Enhanced Memories. Is the technology as risk free as it is advertised? Can Nova find the answers she's looking for without putting herself and others in danger?

I'm not sure what the intended audience for this book is meant to be, but I think it would be a hit with middle-schoolers and teens. Doesn't quite check all the boxes for this adult reader, but it was still an entertaining read.

My thanks to NetGalley and Inkyard Press for allowing me to access an ARC of this novel which is scheduled to be published on 10/19/21. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and are freely given.
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Overall rating: 2.5/5 (rounded to 3)
Short Chapter rating: 3/5

This book started out really interesting and I was intrigued by this idea of enhanced memories. It’s about Nova a 17 yr old whose parents invented the technology who starts to feel very alone as her parents stop connecting with her, and she meets Kade who starts to get her thinking the enhanced memories are bad for you.

As I think about this story, not a lot actually happens. It stays very surface level and didn’t get to the level of information needed to make it great. I think had the author gone deeper into her parents or this company and created a true villain and more action (more suspense), I think it would have made the story stronger. I felt myself getting a bit bored. Even with all the details coming together in the last few chapters, it felt rushed and made it a bit chaotic. Unfortunately, it felt a bit flat for me.

I would say it’s ok. 

Is this book for you? If you like YA, sci-fi/tech stories, then give this book a go. 

Thank you Net Galley for the advance reader copy in exchange for my honest review.
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This book is great! Would definitely recommend. Thanks so much to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
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With a slow build to a quick resolution, this book will appeal to science fiction lovers and those who have questions about the trajectory of our dependence on social media.
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This story is definitely a ride you don't want to get off of. The lies my memory told me is about a memory machine that let's people live through others memories. Which is actually kind of terrifying to me because with the way technology advances I could see this actually happening. The whole premise of the story was really intriguing. It starts at a pretty steady pace and the story flows really well. I definitely found it hard to put down. 


As for characters this is where I feel like it lost a star. The main character, Nova, tends to be a little too self centered at times. She gets pushes people to do what she wants and tell her things she wants to know even when they don't want to. But when she doesn't like what she hears she acts childish. It really annoyed me to be honest. Thankfully the other characters and the plot redeem that aspect a lot. 


Overall this is a really good novel. I enjoyed a lot of it. I really like how it makes you think about how technology effects our lives and how it can take it over people's lives.
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This psychological YA novel focuses on Nova and her parents, who created a special and unique technology that allows its users to experience anything they want using others memories.

Going in to this I knew it was a young adult novel, which I used to devour a little over five years ago, but hadn’t been into any lately. I thought the premise of this sounded really neat, so I decided to give it a go, but was ultimately let down. It was too immature feeling and the excitement/allure of the Enhanced Memory technology was a disappointment.

Thank you to Netgalley and Inkyard Press for my copy.
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The first half was slow and almost read a bit amateurish. But the second half was great and I began flipping through much more quickly! However, even though the second half was written much better and with more suspense, I felt that topic could've been delved into a bit deeper with more complexity. This may be because I personally have a read a lot of other books and seen other shows about the topic of "downloading" and/or "saving memories" and uploading them. For someone else, especially teens, this may seem a lot more original and therefor just great as is. I'll certainly recommend it to my teen library patrons!
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📚 Book Review 📚

Lies My Memory Told Me by Sacha Wunsh is a debut book by this author. Nova’s parents created a program called Enhanced Memories (EM) that would allow people to live out experiences by watching different memories of other people. Nova realized that her parents are spending more and more time with this program and less and less time with her. When she meets a new friend, she starts to realize she feels so comfortable with him that she feels as if she knows him during their first meeting. Their relationship makes her start to question EM and feel as if something is off. 

Things I liked: 
📋 The first half of the book was intriguing and  kept me reading for more. 
📋 I enjoyed the concept of the book because it was something outside of the ordinary with a love story included. 
📋 I believe this book discussed addiction in a very healthy way. 

What I wished: 
📋I felt like the end of the story was difficult to believe. 

Release date: October 19, 2021
Trigger Warning: addiction 

⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
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**I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

Sara Wunsch's debut does not disappoint. Nova parents designed Enhanced Memories as a way to help memory patients. It has since become common place for people to use EM's in place of actual experiences. People can now "download" others memories through the use of EM's, allowing them to learn a new skill instantly, travel the world without leaving home, and experience adventures without risk of injury. 
Then Nova meets the mysterious Kade, who refuses to use EM's and posts his real experiences to his anonymous vlog. As Nova gets closer to Kade, and sees her parents using EM increasingly, to the point of ignoring her and everything else, she begins to question the safety and usefulness of this new technology.  
Nova has questions: Why does she feel like she is forgetting something important? What is happening to her parents? Who is Kade, really? Are Enhanced Memories safe?  
With Kade's help, Nova searches for the answers. 

I cannot wait to put this psychological mystery page-turner in the hands of my students. I believe they will love it as much as I did.
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I had a difficult time rating this one. It’s not a bad book at all, but I didn’t wow me as much as I expected it to.

Nova was a well-written protagonist. She was instantly relatable despite being the daughter of two celebrity scientists. Her (partially self-imposed) social isolation and awkwardness at the beginning of the story made her instantly likable and endearing. 

I did struggle to get into the book at first, and I think that was partially because of how Enhanced Memory was explained. Nova literally watches a video consisting of interviews where people are talking about EM, which I thought was a little odd considering her parents invented it. I understand that the videos were supposed to be foreshadowing, but it really took me out of the story.

I also think that this book tries to fit into too many genres (sci-fi, mystery, suspense, psychological thriller) when it should just be the YA thriller that it is because the writing is perfectly YA. 

Overall, it was a fun read that I would recommend to my friends who enjoy YA novels that avoid the typical tropes and cliches.
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When Nova's parents created Enhanced Memory, a technology system that let people experience the memories of others as if they were their own, the world was irrevocably changed. Now people learn new skills with a single memory, or travel to faraway lands from the comfort of their own homes. In the two years since, Nova is certain that Enhanced Memory is a gift to the world. Her opinions begin to change, though, when she meets Kade, a vlogger who decries the recreational use of Enhanced Memory and urges users to take caution. Suddenly, Nova's life seems to be falling apart: her parents are obsessed with memories, her friends don't think Enhanced Memory can be dangerous, and she's beginning to have strange headaches...

There is one thing that I (usually) don't take relish in while review-writing, and it's giving bad reviews. I fully believe that every book has a reader somewhere, and acknowledge that authors often put their hearts and souls into their novels. But I don't have another way to say this without beating around the bush. This book is bad. I had high hopes for it when I requested an arc, and was excited when I was approved, but it didn't take me long to realize that if I didn't feel obligated to read this, I would've given up right away. 1 star.

There are so many things I want to say, and so many half-formed thoughts that I want to share, yet I'm struggling to put them together in a cohesive, concise way. I guess the easiest way to do it would be to say: There was nothing particularly outstanding about Nova. Even as our sole narrator, Nova manages to be the very definition of bland. She has no discernable personality--everything that I might say about her is what she's told us about herself, instead of letting readers figure out who she is. Her actions don't match with the way she describes herself, and she's surprisingly and painfully ignorant, to the point of offense, in some cases. (Like someone saying that Enhanced Memory could be addictive, and she's like ???? "but it's not cocaine." Also, I'm paraphrasing.) Unfortunately, her supporting cast is no better. They're little more than amorphous cardboard blobs.

Furthermore, the writing was just lacking for me. I couldn't help but feel like there was a serious lack of flow within the storyline. It is choppy and often hard to follow, with scenes that did not feel necessary. Nova's narration was awkward and inauthentic. Many conversations were excuses for info-dumping, or explaining seemingly obvious things to our clueless heroine. And, while I'm being nitpicky, there are way to many filler words. An example: "this is like ____ or something/anything.) I couldn't help but wonder if it was a result of the author trying to authenticate the teenage voice, but I must say that it was distracting.

And lastly, it felt like the story didn't know what it wanted to be. Was it a low science fiction? Was it a psychological thriller? Did it want to produce dystopian vibes, or did it want to be more contemporary? The plot felt rather aimless, any twists could be seen a mile away, and the ending was rushed.

(An aside, because I have to say this but don't know where to put it in this mess of a review: if it's only been two years since Enhanced Memory became a thing, why is everyone acting like they've never done anything remotely dangerous, like ice skate or go to a concert???)

Of course, the version I read is still an arc, so some of these things may be improved upon or edited in that time frame. But at the same time, some of these things are going to be difficult if not impossible to edit in such a short time frame.

Posted to Goodreads 9/21/2021
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Before we get into the bulk of the review, I want to say a quick thank you to both NetGalley and the publishers over at Inkyard Press for giving me an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Lies My Memory Told Me is about a girl named Nova whose parents invented the technology of Enhanced Memories. With Enhanced Memories, you can experience skydiving or bungie jumping or any other number of exciting adventures without the risk. And as Nova’s parents sink deeper and deeper into EM addiction, she meets a boy who wants to have real experiences again. As she gets to know Kade, he opens her eyes to a problem that just might be lurking inside her very own mind. This book comes out on October 19th and is available for pre-order now.

That premise is what made me request the ARC. But I have to say that the execution wasn’t well done. The writing felt basic and juvenile. I know this is written with YA readers in mind, but I would have felt this way about the writing as a young adult myself. The book was also pretty repetitive and it got pretty old pretty fast. I know that Nova and Kade need to have conversations about their differing view points, but I feel like it can be done without arguing the same points over and over. It also felt like the plot was predictable. I knew pretty much the answer or the twist the whole time which made it a little less satisfying at the end.

I did enjoy the technology and the whole premise of what that could turn the real would into. It felt a little like the tech from Hank Green’s A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor. And I like the idea of people wanting/needing an escape so badly that they lose sight of the real things that matter. This book also brings up questions of identity and the sense of self. I wish we could have gotten more of that from Nova as everything was unfolding. I did like the way it ended on the idea that people may say you only have two options from here, but Nova knows that there are really three and she chooses to take that third one.
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Published via thesarahberg.com 
Published on August 27, 2021

Nowadays, Netflix’s hit TV show Black Mirror doesn’t seem like a distant warning of technology’s danger. Robotic dogs have taken over, and biomedical tech has become a worrying issue of ethics as of late. There’s no denying our reliance on technology. Still, more than ever, the advances we’re making are starting to look more and more like an episode of Black Mirror. 

And this is where Sacha Wunsch’s upcoming YA thriller “Lies My Memory Told Me” comes in. Enhanced Memory, technology allowing for anyone to experience or learn anything without any risk, is the hottest tech on the market. Users can travel the world, learn a new skill, or go zip lining without even leaving their couch–what’s not to love? Nova doesn’t mind EM all that much–her parents created the tech, and she sees the good in it, although the work seems to be taking over their lives. 

Then Nova meets Kade–an enigmatic risk-taker who was formerly addicted to EM tech and runs a secret vlog recording real experiences. Despite their growing connection, Kade seems almost afraid of Nova. Unanswered questions, witnessing strange treatments at her job, and the feeling of forgetfulness lead Nova down the rabbit hole into the secrets of EM, her parents, Kade, and herself. 

More than this being a cautionary tale of technology, “Lies My Memory Told Me” is a story of the human experience and the risks we’re willing to take to feel more. Yes, Wunsch’s Enhanced Memory tech perfectly aligns with the rise of the smartphone. Still, there are elements of current biomedical tech and its gray areas. Although a YA novel, Wunsch articulates the ethical and moral issues of Enhanced Memory without dumping high-brow, philosophical rants. 

Throughout the novel, layers are pulled back on EM’s permeance in society and its effects on users, but with little suspense. With just a tad more suspense and danger, “Lies My Memory Told Me” could’ve been just as thrilling and nerve-wracking as a Black Mirror episode. 

Even with the big reveal–an intriguing one nonetheless that definitely took me by surprise–there was too little build-up to the climax. The secrets revealed are more of a footnote than the monumental moment it could’ve been with the right amount of suspense sprinkled throughout and emphasis on the big reveal. 

What makes for an intriguing read on the dangers of tech and the human experience is that it lacks the punch it could’ve landed. Nevertheless, “Lies My Memory Told Me” will transport you into a spectacular Black Mirror episode.
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What a ride, you thought Nova was just a girl that felt abandoned and didn't fit in, but it was so much more. I enjoyed the thoughtfulness behind the Enhanced Memories and how people craved the experiences without the danger.
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Hello Again!

This is going to be my second ever phone book! So about a month or so ago now, I decided to start reading a book on my phone, when I am waiting for an appt, when I am out and about but do not want to carry my Kindle, when I have a few minutes in the morning or at night, etc.. It has honestly been really great! Sometimes I even pick up my phone book while I am just on the couch as my kindle is charging so I can continue to read! For my second phone book I decided to pick up Lies My Memory Told Me! This is an E-ARC the publisher sent me in exchange for my honest opinions, so a huge thank you to the publisher! I really enjoyed my time with this story, so without further ado let’s jump into it!

SPOILERS AHEAD

Nova might be the luckiest or unluckiest kid in the world depending on how you look at things. Nova’s parents created enhanced memories! A new technology that is literally sweeping the nation. Basically users can experience memories as if they were there. Things like skydiving, cliff jumping, going to Paris, and more! This technology has so many applications like helping people preserve memories and helping people experience things that might be afraid to or never have the opportunity to. It has surged in popularity since it’s debut and many people are consumed by it, including Nova’s own parents. Everyday for months now Nova comes home and they say they are beta testing but they are just hooked up to there enhanced memory machines and the house is a mess. Nova cleans the house up, and carries on with her life. But when her parents miss her play at school she is really upset and goes out with her friends to an enhance memory bar. A place where people can use different enhanced memories but together. Here, Nova gets a memory of a haunted house but its kind of off compared to what she is used to but she can not quite put her finger on what is wrong. On her way out she meets a guy, and they agree to meet up for again (maybe for a date)! But when Nova learns that he does not used enhanced memories and why, she thinks he is crazy until she starts looking around and wondering if maybe he is right?

I absolutely loved this story! At first I was kind of like hmm I do not know where this is going but by chapter three I wanted to read more and found myself picking it up often until I had like less than 100 pages left and I stayed up really late one night to finish it! There is a rather large twist to the story and admittedly somewhere in my mind I started to get a feeling things were further off base than the characters and plot were letting on. But I was unable to put my finger on exactly what was wrong with the picture I had before me. But once a few more things fell into place, I absolutely knew what was happening and I honestly only enjoyed the book more! I want to give a huge thank you to the publisher for this E-ARC in exchange for an honest review and I can not wait to see what this author writes next!

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars
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What an excellent read! I loved everything about this story from the characters, the plot, the setting, and the twists.  Reading this novel really made me think about the importance of memory and how it helps to create one's identity. This book was very well done.
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Thank you for giving me the chance to read this. I read the first two chapters and never clicked with the story. The writing was jilted along with the characters and their actions. The prologue was really weird with the ways the characters interacted with one another, and I knew I wouldn't be able to read the whole book.
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