Man, I don't get it. Snoozeville. I've read both an Anne Hillerman and a Tony Hillerman now. I'll move on to the much better stuff out there waiting tMan, I don't get it. Snoozeville. I've read both an Anne Hillerman and a Tony Hillerman now. I'll move on to the much better stuff out there waiting to be read and loved....more
Was this a competition of who could be weirder? Why did Hopper's paintings inspire nothing but bizarre-o, even horrifying, or simply sad flights of faWas this a competition of who could be weirder? Why did Hopper's paintings inspire nothing but bizarre-o, even horrifying, or simply sad flights of fancy in each author but one? It's all shadow, no sunlight....more
The novella was wonderful. The remaining short stories were a study in marital misery. She has such a gift for drawing you into an intense, defining mThe novella was wonderful. The remaining short stories were a study in marital misery. She has such a gift for drawing you into an intense, defining moment for her characters. Keep in mind, though, these are merely an artist's sketches compared to her brilliant, emotional novel masterpieces. ...more
What a strange book...published in 1998 almost 20 years ago, a forgotten book I picked up somewhere that I meant to read some day. I was drawn by a prWhat a strange book...published in 1998 almost 20 years ago, a forgotten book I picked up somewhere that I meant to read some day. I was drawn by a provocative cover (not this one used on Goodreads) and was curious about a female author writing a tough, hard-boiled female PI. Her protagonist, Demeter "Dutch" O'Brien is definitely grittier than most of the various Nancy Drews that became long, successful series (Kinsey Millhone, Kay Scarpetta, Stephanie Plum, V.I. Warshawski). This book is quite good. She gave more attention to colorful characters than plot, but who cares. So did Raymond Chandler.
I wonder why it never became a series, and in fact, Joyce Burditt didn't write much more. She was already a successful TV producer of venerable mystery series such as Matlock, Perry Mason, and Father Dowling Mysteries. By the way it ended, it was meant to be a series.
A solid three stars. I actually laughed out loud at the big reveal of whodunit. It was fun....more
Merry Mansfield (really?) is another great, hilarious, strong, female lead character from Carl Hiaasen. Her sassy banter with the disgraced police detMerry Mansfield (really?) is another great, hilarious, strong, female lead character from Carl Hiaasen. Her sassy banter with the disgraced police detective male lead is superb. My problem is, after reading five Hiaasen humorous novels, I’m a little over his over-the-top comedy shtick no matter how infrequent I space them.
This book made me smile, no doubt, but I can’t help but wonder if it might be better with more bittersweet poignancy thrown in as anchors amidst all the inanity, or if the poignancy and inanity in more equal measures would balance and enhance each other. This is like a dinner entirely of sugary snacks.
The other thing about Hiaasen’s novels is he never strays from his formulaic plots and stereotypes, simply switching out the names for the various scumbags, henchmen, heart-of-gold leads. Merry is the newest reincarnation of Honey Santana from “Nature Girl.” And I fell in love with her immediately. You knew she would be dancing a merry jig around all the stupid men the minute she begins slamming three 5-Hour Energy shots at a time. Toh-tally relatable. ...more
I came across an SEP I haven't read before, and I could have cried tears of joy. This lady is simply the best there is at contemporary romantic comedyI came across an SEP I haven't read before, and I could have cried tears of joy. This lady is simply the best there is at contemporary romantic comedy. While other authors manage to get a half-smirk smile or even a wry grin out of me, SEP makes me actually LAUGH, and then I have to read that part to whoever is around to make them laugh, too!
BIG HONKING SPOILER ALERT: The scene where the heroine's 5-year-old son is confiding to a reverend that he hit the hero in the back of the head with his Stellaluna book because the man was kissing and squishing his mommy was comic perfection. The reverend couldn't figure out which question to ask first! After a little more info, we cut to the young pastor's internal thoughts, just one word, in italics, which is -- Damn. Hahaha. (No doubt!) Then he's trying to explain to the little boy that, well, grown ups can squish each other if they want to, right?
SEP manages to be raw, hilarious, gritty, smart, desperate, and life-embracing all at the same time. I don't know how she does it, but her stories rip your heart out of your chest, stomp up and down on it, then put it lovingly back in place with a kiss and a smile. Wth.
This particular story begins with the hero contemplating suicide with a gun in his mouth and ends with the same man laughing on a mountain top, surrounded by his very pregnant wife, adopted little son, various adopted stray dogs and cats, his brothers and their wives, and his parents. Love, people! Oh my God, love. ...more
If you see that I've read another sappy romance and gave it 1 or 2 stars, know that I'm still reading-discarding my way through that box of old paperbIf you see that I've read another sappy romance and gave it 1 or 2 stars, know that I'm still reading-discarding my way through that box of old paperbacks from my mom. Hoarding lousy books sucks! Lol. BTW, the title has nothing to do with the story -- what winter lodge? The one the heroine went to in the last 10 pages?
This one is really 1-star because it's uneven, contrived, clunky, boring, but gets a whole additional star due to the very creative way the Polish family bakery recipes are incorporated into the story. I've read chick books before that wove in recipes, and they brought nothing to the story. They're like a novelty added in last-minute, a plastic ring in your box of Cracker Jacks.
This time, it was done well...with a recipe that adds a bit of spice -- cayenne -- to give the ginger cookie extra bite, a sugar cookie with lavender sugar made "from scratch," a friendship "starter" bread, a wedding cake, funeral hot dish, a celebration cordial. Did you know chocolate melts at very near body temperature?
Obviously, the baking/cooking is a metaphor for life. Things take time and care and effort...love. That aspect of the book is really lovely.
I’ve never read an Ann Coulter book. Is she just another abrasive, snarky media personality lined up in her assigned spot on the right? Whether you liI’ve never read an Ann Coulter book. Is she just another abrasive, snarky media personality lined up in her assigned spot on the right? Whether you like her or not, and whether you’re a D or an R or an L or a C, this book is the best collection of evidence I’ve seen, painstakingly gathered and footnoted (223 footnotes), to show how:
1. The American media, both sides, tried to manipulate a populace to elect (or not elect) a certain candidate. 2. Both political parties are corrupt and do not represent the views of their members, or even care what they are. 3. An entire infrastructure of political consultants, think tanks, pundits, and pollsters prop up their side and siphon off the money. How are they going to shake down donors now?
One chapter is titled “Political Consultants’ Three-Card Monte.” Another, “No Policy Specifics!,” was my favorite and included an exhaustive timeline of the dates of 45 instances when a media personality from MSNBC, FOX, CNN, ABC, NBC, PBS, NPR, Bloomberg et al asserted Trump had no specific policy details, juxtaposed with the dates of releases of his detailed policy papers on the Trump website. I was shocked, which is weird because I usually believe nothing in the deafening echo chamber, but I believed perhaps, you know, he had no policy specifics, lol. Each time this statement was made was a lie.
I raced to his website – yep, 15 policy papers total, sitting right there, with more detail than I’ve ever seen from any other political candidate. (And, btw, detailing every single thing he’s doing now as POTUS and why.) There should be no surprise or shock. Too bad your media didn’t read or report it or even acknowledge its existence, but instead did everything it could to deny the existence of the information, actually suppress it.
The appendix titled “Geniuses” includes 74 instances in which an “expert” in the media claimed that it was IMPOSSIBLE for Trump to win the party nomination and why. Trump received the most votes in Republican history, and every one of those “Republicans” defied the Republican Party, conservative media, and conservative establishment (rich donors, “smart” experts) to cast that vote. Coulter makes an excellent case that they’re really tired of being mocked from every direction.
To say Trump is a wrecking ball is an understatement, haha. I never thought I’d see the entrenched political establishment smashed in my lifetime. ...more
This is unbelievably horrible. It's...unnecessary. And a total disgusting money grab, but I can't figure out for whom and why.
Instead of writing the nThis is unbelievably horrible. It's...unnecessary. And a total disgusting money grab, but I can't figure out for whom and why.
Instead of writing the next Cormoran Strike novel (a series which is AWESOME and its proceeds go to wounded warrior charities, from what I understand, because JK Rowling has so much money she doesn't care anymore), JK spent the year collaborating on this garbage and the Fantastic Beasts movie.
God, people, let her move on and do other amazing things! I want my next Cormoran Strike story! lol
It was page 260 that I threw this book down and yelled “I cannot TAKE this book!” I hit my head against a wall for a while, regrouped, gave myself a pIt was page 260 that I threw this book down and yelled “I cannot TAKE this book!” I hit my head against a wall for a while, regrouped, gave myself a pep talk, then got back on it for the finish.
Ja-himiny Cricket, what this woman is doing to traditional contemporary romance tropes (often overused plot devices) is turning the industry on its head. There’s a hell of a lot reality in this here romance – ugly, make-your-skin-crawl kind of yuck. Voted 2016’s best romance on Goodreads with almost 60,000 votes, this book takes us on the very real, very contemporary slog of a young woman, raised by a wife-beating father, who finds herself in the same type of relationship her mother had. First, she’s in the mom’s victim role, then feels she’s sliding into the cruel father’s role. So heavy.
It’s a nightmare exploration of what entices you sexually, hidden deeply in a damaged psyche, and what feels normal to you, can ultimately destroy you.
What is Hoover saying with this novel?! Is she challenging the traditional romance narratives with the intense, passionate, demonstrative, bold men and the women who love to push their buttons? You can’t turn a lion into a rabbit, right? I mean, people who are driven, ambitious, aggressive, and successful don’t just turn their personality off suddenly in intimate relationships. I don’t want to read about a boring, sweet, sensitive hero – where’s the plot conflict to be resolved? I don’t know, I’m as confused as the heroine Lily! It’s a JOURNEY.
This is not your grandmother’s romance novel....more
Semple has real insight into the middle-aged woman’s life in today’s world, which is she’s disconnected and distracted, her brain and body atrophying,Semple has real insight into the middle-aged woman’s life in today’s world, which is she’s disconnected and distracted, her brain and body atrophying, as she struggles to be present, kind, calm, and healthy. Perhaps many of us have lost ourselves, our dreams and choices, amid unraveled careers, unraveling marriages, and the relentless social and self-inflicted pressure to be Something Else, to be Everything, or at least to be Perfect Mom. There’s a bigger context at play in Semple’s novels, that humanity is losing its humanity. (You see, it’s not just the women on the verge of snapping...here the unflappable surgeon-husband reaches his breaking point as well and attacks a yoga teacher on a football game sideline and a male poet-adjunct professor character dramatically quits his second job hawking food samples in a Costco.)
“Where’d You Go, Bernadette,” her previous novel, was also a brilliant essay, a hilarious examination of how bad our society has become at communicating (which is pretty key to maintaining humanity). The entire narrative is conveyed through written emails, media articles, official medical and legal documents, post-it notes, bills, department memos, TED talk transcripts, etc., illustrating how one of our most important skills today is “reading between the lines” of our so-called communication. That book was flawless, as the daughter searched for her missing mother literally and the mother searched for her own lost self-identity figuratively.
So here again we have a different Modern-day Heroine at center, who is depressed, anxious, scattered, angry, fearful, and self-absorbed. We follow her around on a day she has vowed to be different (she’ll not wear yoga pants all day, she’ll actually do yoga, she’ll initiate sex with her neglected husband, pay attention to her child, etc.). Yes, it’s funny and bright and intriguing. What I felt were flaws is the main character was at times too nasty to gain my sympathy, too superior while loathing her own superior attitudes, too depressed and hurt to be funny. However, points to Semple for her uncompromising, brutal honest depiction of today’s experience.
The biggest problem is the ending was just borderline offensive to me in the heroine’s extreme reaction to her atheist husband secretly turning to religion as his best attempt to regain his humanity in this modern-day struggle to regain one’s humanity, one’s inner spiritual essence, well, call it happiness. The wife had suspected an affair – Semple’s heroine feels threatened that her husband is replacing her role in his life with church, is even jealous of his new peace, and reacts in an embarrassing public display that made me cringe.
Why was I covering my eyes at this part? Is Semple actually advocating church in her heavy-handed satire? Or just throwing it out there as a viable solution for some that is worthy of literary examination? I felt sad, I guess, as a result of Semple’s ruthless skewering of today’s anti-church position in much of America. Church is so uncool, so naive, so nauseatingly good that a character’s embracing it causes his wife to feel shocked, embarrassed, and betrayed, and it’s the wife’s nutty reaction which makes for the hilarious satire, haha. Man, I agree with it and thank Semple for shining the light on it, but wow, I didn’t enjoy it.
Is it fair to give a four-star book only three stars because it made you feel sad and uncomfortable? I don’t know (shrug). Probably not. However, Semple is now on my list to read whatever she writes, regardless of little stars awarded.