August 10, 2016

The Lessons of Love and Loss • Results May Vary (+ Giveaway)

Results May Vary book cover
I just finished reading Results May Vary minutes ago (it's nearly one in the morning as I shape this review), and it might be accurate to say that I feel like I was completely transported into this story. Not only did I feel like I was invested in discovering the final outcome of the heartbreaking situation that main character Caroline finds herself involved with, but I also feel like my perspective on quite a few things has been shaken, challenged and potentially transformed in ways that I may not even be able to see yet. It is a rare pleasure to read a novel that really makes you think; it is rarer still to read a story that portrays these characters and their situations in so authentic a manner. Chase succeeds on both counts with Results May Vary, and the end result is, to me, one damn good novel.

Results May Vary starts off with Caroline discovering her husband's infidelity - with a man. It breaks her heart, tearing apart the very foundations of their marriage and causing Caroline to question a great many things about herself, her husband and the life she thought they shared. What I particularly like about Chase's approach to Caroline's story is that she manages to make it unique to Caroline, and yet relatable to any reader who deigns to pick up and follow the story. It adds a layer of readability to the novel that I wasn't expecting, particularly since I had known going in that it was going to tackle a tough situation in general. Personally, I was drawn to Caroline's story and found that I just had to know what was going to happen - which meant I read the entire thing in the span of a day. 

A lot happens within the three hundred pages, give or take, of this novel, but Results May Vary is definitely heavily character-driven. It is Caroline, in particular, who readers get to know intimately. Her personality. Her outlook. Her character. Her thought process. Her feelings. It felt, in a way, like we were privy to Caroline's innermost thoughts, like we were reading her journal, and I liked that a lot. Her perspective is not always easy to read, since she has moments where she does or says or thinks things that can make a reader uncomfortable or angry. But the one thing that it is, always, is real. She felt like a living, breathing human being, a woman who leaps off the page and straight into your heart, and it was all too easy to get invested in what would become of her by the end. (And as to that, I found the way things wrapped up to be tremendously satisfying.)

In case you couldn't already tell, I was extremely impressed by Results May Vary. Even though it tackles an uncomfortable situation, it does so with a brutal honesty and lots of heart, and I respected the hell out of that. It is also, when it comes right down to it, a readable novel that you will find impossible to set down. I definitely think Bethany Chase is a name in women's fiction to look out for, and would recommend checking out Results May Vary (and her debut The One That Got Away) if you're in search of a new author to fall in love with.

Results May Vary by Bethany Chase
Publisher: Ballantine Books | Publication Date: 08/09/2016
Source: ARC from the publisher/author (Thank you!) 

Aside from sharing my glowing review for Results May Vary, as part of the official blog tour, I'm also incredibly honored to be sharing Bethany's thoughts on the importance of art. Art plays a huge role in this story! While I'm no artist myself, I do have a heart for art and both respect and admire the hell out of all creators in any field. Without further ado, I'll let Bethany take it away...

The art world setting of Results May Vary, like the architectural backdrop of my first book, The One That Got Away, came from my own personal background. My love for art has its earliest origins in my upbringing in a family of artists—my mother, father, aunt, great uncle and great-great-aunt were not only talented artists, but were celebrated within our family for being so. Visual creativity, and the appreciation of it, are in my DNA.

That being said, though, it took a long time for me to realize how much art really meant to me. I was a writer, and then an English major, with a soft spot for pretty old houses. And then, my junior year of college, I went to Europe for the first time. I spent the year studying among the golden spires of Oxford, and traveled from there to London and Paris and Rome and Florence, where I prowled some of the finest art museums in the world, and I fell in love. Standing in the Indian and Islamic galleries in London’s Victoria & Albert museum, staring dumbstruck at the richness of pattern and color on display everywhere I looked, I felt something catch fire inside me that hasn’t gone out since. I came back from my year abroad and, since I’d managed to finish nearly all the requirements from my English major in my three first years of school, I took seven art history classes in my senior year. Indian & Islamic art; East Asian art; Egyptian art; a two-part introductory survey of Western art; medieval European art; 18th & 19th century European art. I devoured everything I could get my hands on; and then, belatedly, considered how I might go about trying to get a job in this field I loved so much.

It wasn’t until several years later that, while still trying to channel my obsession with art and color and pattern into a viable career, I discovered through interior design classes that I did have some artistic talent of my own, after all. But, very much like Caroline, I know that talent is modest; and the need to create art for its own sake has never pushed at me. I am quite happy to study it and marvel over it and interpret it and feel it, the way it was meant to be felt. And now, as an author, it gives me deep delight to tap into that passion and meld it to a story I can share with readers. It is something that I hope my books will always do.

Thank you for sharing your lovely thoughts on art, Bethany! I honestly didn't develop my appreciation for art until I was a little bit older (think towards the last of my years in university), but I definitely understand that feeling of passionate love and admiration for art that can be sparked by one particular piece.

And now, in other exciting news, I've been given leave to host a giveaway for a finished copy of Results May Vary! You're definitely going to want to win a copy of this book, y'all. Now, the rules are fairly straightforward: the giveaway is US ONLY and the publisher will be shipping it straight to you. All you've got to do is enter via the Rafflecopter form below!


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