I tried to bake a fabulous cake like this in order to celebrate . . .
but ended up with a bit of a wreck . . .
We’re all supposed to be reading Oh, The Places You’ll Go! today too, but Anne pretty much wrote the best review ever for that one, so I’m eating a birthday donut in lieu of cake and reviewing my favorite Dr. Seuss book, The Sneetches, instead.
In a world where bullying happens nearly upon birth, this is a story that should be required reading for all. With constant reminding, maybe kids will realize that there is no need to worry about having the hottest new trends . . .
Hear that little one? THESE . . .
were kinda a waste of your Christmas money.
One day you will see that:
“No kind of Sneetch is the best on the beaches.”
One day you will forget all about stars. And whether, or not, you have one upon yars ; ) ...more
THIS is the book that broke the record for highest first-week sales of all-time leaving Harry Potter in its wake??? Here's what Professor Snape thinks about that . . .
And here's what I think . . .
I picked up Girl Online for the simple fact that it was breaking sales records left and right. I had certainly never heard of "Zoella" before. And then???? Then I found out the "author" (maybe, seems she didn't even write this piece of garbage at this point) was someone who became famous via You Tube. No offense to all you YouTubers out there, but someone who became famous for vlogging is not someone I would automatically equate with having the ability to write a novel. Lucky for us all (not) - this is the age where every Joe Blow seems to be getting an automatic extension on their 15 minutes of fame in order to make an extra dollar or twelve.
But like I said, I didn't know anything about this book or the author upon starting. When I read the synopsis, I figured I would at least enjoy this little story. I read (and like) a lot of young adult selections and I'm 100% addicted to a certain program about a girl with a blog . . .
For those of you who (like me) are unfamiliar with this book, the premise is as follows: Penny is your average awkward teenager. She's a little clumsy and a lot unsure about her looks. In order to connect with others like herself, Penny starts a blog called GirlOnline where she can express herself anonymously. All is well until she starts blogging about a mystery man she met and romanced while visiting New York City with her family . . . and it turns out he is not only a little famous but also has a famous girlfriend to boot.
Sounds clichéd, but potentially adorable right? Yeah, notsamuch. While the clichés and overused storyline could have been forgiven, the horrible writing and terrible characters cannot.
Some of my issues were:
1. This "blog" by an anonymous rando goes from zero to 10,715 followers in less than a year. The problem? She writes about NOTHING - just her day-to-day bullshit life.
There's no way she'd get that kind of following. Now THIS chick???
She's someone who deserves a following. HI. LAR. IOUS.
2. Absentee parents. This time around they are disguised as overworked party planners, but they still let their 15 year old daughter go cavorting with a complete stranger in NYC.
3. Penny is sooooooo stupid:
"In a way, it's nice to know that "panic attacks" are an actual thing . . . "
"A really cold faraway land like Russia or Norway (it's cold in Norway, right?)"
"Black-and-white photos are my favorite - they're like little moments of history captured forever." (Uhhhhh, aren't all photos a little moment of history captured forever????)
4. And, of course, INSTALOVE.
"I still don't really know very much about Noah, on some deeper level it feels like I've known him forever. Is this what it means when people talk about meeting their soul mate?"
The one near positive about the whole mess? Penny's BFF and his voice of reason:
"How can you be in love with this guy if you only just met him?"
'Zactly. Unfortunately, even he wore thin after awhile.
According to Goodreads I've read 215 books this year. Girl Online will easily make the Top 10 worst of those books. The only thing I can say I truly enjoyed? This line:
"Prince Charming wasn't a cheater and Cinderella wasn't a ho."
Which was probably supposed to make me feel really sorry for Penny, but somehow had me cracking up instead. Whoops. ...more
It seems everyone but me is reading comic books these days. I'm even raising a tiny Sheldon Cooper with ginormous boxes full of nearly any superhero my heart could possibly desire and yet I still hesitate when it comes to that genre. Why???? I think it's because of my own personal superhero complex. You see, in my house it goes a little something like this . . .
When I saw Chew hope was restored that I too could learn to love the graphic novel.
Tony Chu lives in a world quite different from ours. After the bird flu struck the country bigtime, people were left with little choice when it came to chicken dinners . . .
(Too soon? Naaaaah.)
The lack of chicken never bothered Tony, though, being as he is cibopathic - a person who receives the life history of anything he eats. Due to this condition, Tony has always tended to stick to the one food that somehow doesn't project psychic imagery to him - the beet . . .
(Proof that there is a Jeff Goldblum .gif for any occasion. ALL HAIL JEFF GOLDBLUM!)
The general populous doesn't share Tony's issue, however, and chicken has become a hot commodity on the black market so restaurants are willing to do almost anything to get it. It's either get the real deal or be left serving up a fake chicken substitute . . .
As a detective with the Special Crimes Division of the F.D.A., it is Tony's job to track down the chicken smuggling ring as well as solve any other crimes that happen to pop up during the process. He only has to take a little nibble out of the victims in order to figure out whodunit . . .
Obviously I get a kick out of reading weird shit, and Chew is definitely weird. Buuuuuut, I have no clue how to appropriately review a comic, so you get what you get. The story was totally unique, the characters were enjoyable, there was great flow to the action in between the various chapters, and the artwork was quality . . .
And if anyone can fall in love whilst being vomited on, they're probably going to be liked by me.
Happy Holidays to all!!!! Here's a little non-review of a very fun little book.
Once again I was able to keep the Elf on the Shelf drunk enough that he couldn't report my true behavior to Santa. This year I also made sure to capture photographic evidence of his questionable choices in case I needed some blackmail material . . .
It worked. Santa brought me presents!!!!
Yay me! (FYI - He also brought me a kid who woke up at 5:00 a.m., so the day hasn't been all sunshine and daisies.) I didn't even know the little book at the bottom of the above photo existed until Jason wrote about it. Please make sure to direct all trollings and hate mail his way since an innocent gal like myself would have never read something like Creative Cursing if it weren't for the bad examples like him in my life; )
This book is exactly what the synopsis says - a flipbook of various words that when parsed together create an entire dictionary of new curses. It's 100% inappropriate. Even Walter White thought so and he cooks f&^%$#g METH . . .
And it's hilarious . . .
Unfortunately things took a turn for the worst when Mitchell noticed the new addition to our menagerie . . .
Meet Jack Skullington. It's awesome to have friends who really get me ; )
Mitchell hated him immediately and insisted that he get to choose the next new curse-word-combo . . .
Well, that's insulting : (
Hopefully once he runs through the options of ways to cuss me out, he will learn to accept our new family member.
As for me? I think this guy has the right idea . . .
but alas I am stuck in a never-ending loop of putting batteries in new toys, listening to the rapid gunfire coming from the Xbox in the basement, the incessant squeaky feet noise of the basketball game coming from the television in the family room and dealing with the aftermath of the tweaked out cat who somehow scored some catnip in his stocking . . .
Have no worries, though . . .
I just hope the turkey comes out better than it did last year . . .
WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF SWEAR WORDS
Hey look, it’s a controversial book. Mitchell never decides we should read these, so let’s see what’s up ; )
Okay, there’s obviously a giant pink elephant in the room with respect to Thug Kitchen. I’m going to address it and move on. There are A LOT of social injustices in the world. Issues like racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, etc. still run rampant and that needs to change. Luckily one thing everyone is still allowed is the ability to speak freely. People are entitled to be offended by whatever the f*&^ they choose (especially when it comes to a social media site) and I’m not interested in arguing with others who don’t share my opinion about something as stupid as a cookbook. Don’t like this one? Then don’t buy it. Pretty simple. As for me? I think it classes up my kitchen counter ; )
I’m not offended by much, so I took Thug Kitchen at face value for what it is – a gimmick, plain and simple. There are eleventy billion foodie blogs started each year. In order to get people to look at one over all the others and maybe eventually even turn it into a book, it obviously has to toss something special on the table. In this case it’s a bunch of mother*&^%#s. Yep, if you don’t like swearing, you best just back away from the cookbook immediately.
See? Bad words. This book has them. However, if you can get past the cursing, you’ll find a solid cookbook. Not only does Thug Kitchen contain recipes regular humans who don’t work in Michelin starred restaurants in their spare time can create, it also has helpful hints on pantry staples as well as various utensils and gadgets you actually need in your kitchen when starting out on your own. And it has pretty pictures . . .
Seriously, a cookbook with shitty pictures is a total waste of money.
The only downside? The recipes are all vegetarian, so the über carnivore probably won’t be delighted . . . but you can just tell them to shut the f*&^ up and chug back a delicious beverage instead of bitching about the fact there is no carcass on their plate come dinnertime . . .
There’s even recipes in there for the kids . . .
I keed, I keed. Don’t let your children read this book. What the f*&^ kind of parents are you people?!?!?! ...more
Surviving the Angel of Death is the true story of Eva Mozes and her twin sister Miriam and the place where they were raised . . .
"At Auschwitz dying was so easy. Surviving was a fulltime job. We gave them our blood, our bodies, our pride, our dignity, and in turn, they let us live one more day."
Eva and Miriam began their life as normal as you or I . . .
They were born to a middle-income family in Romania and were doted on by all for not only being adorable, but for being a matched set as well. When war broke out, many of Eva's relatives fled to Palestine in order to escape the rumored persecution of the Jews they kept hearing about, but Eva's mother held her ground and refused to move. By refusing to flee she signed the death certificate for nearly their entire family. Portions of Romania were eventually turned over to Hungarian rule and the family was relocated first to one of the many ghettos and eventually onto a train which would transport them to Auschwitz.
It is there the girls were put under the care of Dr. Josef Mengele.
The remainder of the book is Eva and Miriam's remarkable tale of survival. Ms. Kor tells of how she and her sister had to endure illness, starvation and experimentation at the hand of the Nazis. And amazingly, at the end of it all she talks about forgiveness . . .
"I hope, in some small way, to send the world a message of forgiveness; a message of peace, a message of hope, a message of healing. Let there be no more wars, no more experiments without informed consent, no more gas chambers, no more bombs, no more hatred, no more killing, no more Auschwitzes."
This story is such an important one and I applaud Ms. Kor's decision to write it in a style appropriate for children. There are no gory details or any added "shock and awe" factors other than the horrifying reality of life in a concentration camp told. The effect is still chilling. ...more
WARNING: THIS REVIEW ISN'T WHAT I'D CALL "CHILD FRIENDLY"
It's a snow day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
See. True story. That's my backyard.
Like every other snow day, I was woken up this morning AN ENTIRE F-ING HOUR EARLIER than our regular school-day "get up time" by a couple of screaming banshees. The youngest bounded out of his room hollering his plans to build an epic snowman . . . which reminded me of this little story.
"One wintery day I made a snowman very round and tall. The next day when I saw him, he was not the same at all."
Snowmen At Night tells what happens at night (duh) to the snowman you built during the day. The story is adorable, the artwork is quality . . . .
and apparently? It is terrifying. This book scared the crap out of my youngest. When he was just a wee little lad, he had a problem realizing that this:
was actually true.
Rather than thinking how fun it could be for snowmen to have adventures like this after he went to bed:
my kid had visions of these guys tromping up the steps to kill him in his sleep:
Boy am I glad that phase is over. Seriously, who's afraid of a little ol' snowman? They're not only friendly, but they offer some sage advice as well . . .
And if they give you trouble? It's pretty easy to destroy them . . .
“Then like Pandora, opening the great big box of the world and not being afraid, not even caring whether what’s inside is good or bad. Because it’s both. Everything is always both. But you have to open it to find that out.”
Melanie has been a prisoner for a long time. All of her days are the same. Guards come to her cell, strap her securely into a chair and wheel her down the hall . . . . to a classroom? Obviously Melanie isn’t your average student – and neither are any of the others in her class.
Although The Girl With All The Gifts had been on my to-read list for months, I had no intention of reading it anytime soon. I tried requesting an electronic version of this book (a paper version wasn’t available) from the library and waited FOR.EV.ER. When my turn finally came up, guess what? The format wasn’t Kindle friendly, so I decided to say screw it and ease on down the road to the other eleventy billion books on my list. But then Easy E and One Wicked Witch strong-armed me into a buddy read and even offered to supply the damn thing for me. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse.
I knew nothing about this book going in . . . except that it had been nominated as “Best Horror” in the Goodreads awards, that ONE HUNDRED THIRTY-NINE of my friends had already read it, and that the average rating from those friends was 3.94. My thoughts upon starting? “Ruh roh, Shaggy, someone’s gonna hurt me if I don’t like this one.”
My rating wavered at either a 2 or a 4 throughout the entire book. The good stuff was goooooood, but there was quite a bit of “meh” along with it.
I think both Edward and Shelby are going to differ from me on this one, but I seriously dug Melanie’s voice (except I thought it read around the 7-year old age mark rather than 10). Having this story told from the eyes of a small child helped serve up a little of the creepout factor I was craving . . . but then we started getting a military perspective, and a teacher’s perspective and a doctor’s perspective and I was all
I had the same reaction to the science and the world building. The “it’s the end of the world as we know it” vibe was strong and I motored right along through the “prison” and then beyond. And beyond. And beyond. And beyond. By the time these folks got done walking even my feet hurt. This tactic either works or it doesn’t. In this case (for me at least) it was overkill. There’s only so many times a reader should need a description of the landscape – if they still don’t get it after the umpteenth time it’s their problem, not the author’s. Same goes for scientific mumbo-jumbo. 9 times out of 10 some d-bag will pop up crying foul that “science doesn’t work that way.” Sometimes it’s best to just gloss over things and stop with all the talky-talky.
Alright, so there are my complaints. Now on to the good stuff. The bad guys were baaaaaaad. And fast. There were no lumbering halfwits roaming around. They may have been stupid, but they were going to catch you . . .
and then they would eat the hell out of you like you were the G.D. Sizzler.
“The hungries smell you, and then they chase you until they eat you. They can’t stop themselves.”
There was also a grey area. Bad wasn’t exclusively bad and good wasn’t exclusively good. And one of the baddest might just end up being one of the goodest (just go with it) . . .
Inappropriate humor. I love it and this book has it:
“She dodged through all kinds of irrelevant thoughts. A poem in a book: ‘I love little kitty, her coat is so warm. And if I don’t hurt her, she’ll do me no harm.’ She didn’t love little kitty all that much. Little kitty didn’t taste half as nice as the two men she ate back at the base.”
And finally, if you’ve bothered to glance at any reviews you had to have noticed comments about the ending. While the ending didn’t come as a huge surprise to me, I did still enjoy it and was glad it didn’t end up being a massive cop-out kind of wrap up I feared it would be around the halfway point.
So there you go folks. I’m giving this one a 3 because my opinion was one extreme or the other. However, EVERYONE liked this book so if you’ve been thinking about it, you should definitely give it a go.
EDIT - I forgot to included the best zombie link ever:
Okay, since I’m a robot that’s a bit of a fabrication. I did, however, get a little choked up and that’s pretty much as good as it gets when it comes to me bawling.
Francis has spent his entire life running . . .
“Running bases after the crack of the bat, running from accusation, running from the calumny of men and women, running from family, from bondage, from destitution of spirit through ritualistic straightenings, running, finally, in a quest for pure flight as a fulfilling mannerism of the spirit.”
He finally decided to run for good after the accidental death of his newborn son. Francis hit rock bottom and became a vagrant. He now spends his days doing as little as possible in order to earn enough to buy himself a jug each night in a futile attempt to rid himself of the voices of ghosts from his past.
“I’m sick of you all, [is] his thought. I am sick of imagining what you became, what I might have become if I’d lived among you. I am sick of your melancholy histories, your sentimental pieties, your goddamned unchanging faces. You ain’t nothin’ more than a photograph, you goddamn spooks. You ain’t real and I ain’t gonna be at your beck and call no more. You’re all dead, and if you ain’t, you ought to be.”
I feel more than a little crappy giving a Pulitzer Prize winner a 3 Star rating, but???? It is what it is. Here’s the deal . . . The first 75 pages and the last 75 pages of Ironweed are 5 Star worthy. The writing is some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen (and when you’re dealing with nothing but horrifying and revolting situations, that’s a major feat to accomplish), but the middle killed it.
You’ll notice in my synopsis I conveniently left out anything about the character “Helen.” While I found her to be a fine addition in order to add to the richness of Francis’ story (and apparently the movie version really beefed up her part being that Meryl Streep received an Oscar nod for the role),
I felt the book went a little off the rails having a featured segment of Helen’s history (along with padding Francis’ tale even further). Even the prose changed in the middle of the book. Maybe that change was intentional and I’m just too dumb to get it, but it felt like a bunch of filler to me.
My other complaint? The dialogue. This is a book that is filled with elaborate description and imagery that really made me feel like I was experiencing everything along with Francis . . . and then the characters started talking and I was immediately yanked right back to reality because the conversations seemed so stilted and read so false to me. The exception? The conversations Francis has with his “ghosts” – now some of those were heartbreaking.
If you haven’t yet read Ironweed and are already experiencing the holiday doldrums, I recommend keeping this pushed back a bit on your to-be-read list. After all, no one wants to come to someone’s house and find not only the turkey cooking in the oven, but the host trying to stick their head in there alongside it as well. ...more
John Green wrote a book about zombie unicorns?!?!?!?!?!
When this title popped up, things got a bit . . . . uhhhhh, SCREAMY.
Welp, turns out that Zombicorns isn't about undead one-horned magical beasts, but is actually a story of the zombification of regular ol’ people through the ingestion of corn. An anti-Monsanto statement, maybe???? Nahhhhhhhh. Well, maybe, but not really. It was actually about each individual’s “U.C” . . .
“What is your ultimate concern? What, ultimately, motivates your living? For what would you die? What is your capital-U ultimate capital-C concern?”
and about love . . .
“I came to the conclusion a while ago that there is nothing romantic or supernatural about loving someone: Love is the privilege of being responsible for another”
and about humanity as a whole.
John Green himself admits that he wrote this in a quick hurry and it’s not really all that good. He’s not lying. The story definitely doesn’t have a great flow and the zombie apocalypse is most certainly not Green’s forte. That being said, Zombicorns still makes you think a bit and even on his worst day Green writes YA better than 99.99999% of everyone else on the planet, so he gets 3 Stars. Bonus that this originally was written in order to raise money for charity. I know a lot of people think Green is overrated and pretentious and too-big-for-his-britches and blahblahblah, but as long as he keeps acting like a human every once in awhile I'll keep reading his stuff.
However, I do feel I was a teensy bit gypped, so I think it’s only fitting I get an actual zombicorn for Christmas . . .
And if a true zombie apocalypse should ever occur? I know where I’ll be . . .
After discovering my youngest child was fudging his nightly reading requirement (a cardinal sin in my house, as I’m sure you can imagine) by spending quality time staring at the walls or sitting on the dumper instead, I decided to take extreme measures and requested this ARC that we could read together. Both of my kids are fans of the Big Nate books, so I figured I wouldn’t have too much of a fight on my hands, but I still didn’t trust the little sneak to actually read it if given the chance to skip out and build a Minecraft mansion instead.
Let me start with the kidlet’s notes. He wants to make sure I give him credit for his contributions to this review so he can share in all of the zeros of dollars I make reviewing, so here goes:
1. The Big Nate books are FUNNY. If you have a kid who doesn’t like to read, they’ll probably still like these. Comics are much easier and more fun to read than just word books.
2. Nate is hilarious. He plays all sorts of different sports and thinks he’s really good, but he kinda sucks. He also doesn’t get along with his teacher and isn’t the best student, but when he gets in trouble it cracks me up.
3. I love the parts about Nate’s sister. She’s such a loser! And his dad is so nice, but he’s a dork. Poor Dad : (
4. It is so cool I got to read this book in December and it doesn’t come out until January. I’m telling everyone at school about this for share day!
So, there you have it.
You know what I found out after reading Big Nate? I’m raising him. Yep, file this one under “non-fiction/biography” because I’m pretty sure it was about my youngest.
Also? Big Nate can help you add some wicked “Yo Momma” jokes to your repertoire.
Lord give me strength.
ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, NetGalley ...more
“Nowhere was safe. No one. Violence lurked here as it did the world over, most often exacted by known parties. Intimate, familial, and unspeakable.”
The Silent Girls is a book that hits the ground running. The opening sequence is a deliciously gory stabbing scene committed by a very surprising culprit. The story then unfolds into a well-paced thriller revolving around a missing distant relative of one of the local cops in a small Vermont town. Former detective turned private investigator Frank Rath has been called in to help expedite the search and rescue in hopes of finding the girl alive while simultaneously hiding the fact that the case has been given preferential treatment. Frank hung up his badge decades ago when his own sister was murdered. Now, while trying to piece the background of the missing girl’s last goings-on, Frank finds him dealing with old unhealed wounds and his team discovers the mystery may be deeper than they originally thought when they realize there are actually five girls who are missing fairly close to their area. The only thing the girls have in common? They’re all young. Then a body surfaces . . .
Literally. Surfaces from the entanglement of brush she’d been buried under in a local creek and it is discovered she was gutted and carved upon with potential satanic images. Are the missing girls connected? Is a cult to blame? Can they piece the parts together in time to find their original missing girl????
According to Goodreads, The Silent Girls is 100 pages long. Yeah, that’s not correct. I actually bumped this one to the top of my reading list thinking I’d be able to breeze right through it and get on to my next book quickly. That wasn’t the case, but I ended up being okay with it. I am still curious about the page count, though - first, because I assume it was closer to 400 pages and second, because the one complaint I have about this book is that it could have been whittled down (which cost it in the rating department). There were a lot of plotlines . . . easily enough for two related (because of main characters), but separate books (and a third once you throw in the open-ending). I like a book with some twists and turns, but this one had umpteen of ‘em all at the end. One or two would have been plenty because the writing was goooooooood. There didn’t need to be a giant dog and pony show to serve as a distraction.
There were also a lot of unnecessary factoids with respect to the characters that didn’t end up being necessary. Frank’s bad back is mentioned once every other page and another character’s addiction to running is droned on and on about. I understand the author did this intentionally for deeper meaning, but really? In this case it didn’t really work and most of it could be left on the cutting room floor. And finally, there were a lot of instances of using italics that put the emPHAsis on the wrong syLLAble. In all fairness, however, I did read an uncorrected proof, so hopefully that issue will be corrected before final printing.
Bottom line? This was one of the better thrillers I’ve read this year and I’ll definitely look for more of Eric Rickstad’s stuff in the future.
ARC provided by Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review ...more
This retelling of Snow White was perfection. No other description. Gaiman at a whole ‘nother level.
Growing up I wondered who the f*%# would want to be this bitch . . .
When they could be THIS instead . . .
I always wanted to hear the story from the Evil Queen’s perspective. You know the old saying, “there are three sides to every story – her side, her side and the truth????” I knew the Evil Queen couldn’t be completely at fault and 100% bad. I mean, doesn’t a little part of all of us want to kill Kristen Stewart Snow White????
Now that I’m a grown-up I realize there are others who believe the same *fist pound to my girl Shelby*
Thank you, Neil Gaiman, for giving us the true story.
I wonder what Jack’s reaction would be to me giving his biography 3 Stars . . .
Yep, that’s probably about right.
According to Goodreads 3 Stars means “I liked it” and . . . . well, I liked it – I just didn’t like it like it. Part of me wants to say that it was because this book was more of a filmography rather than a biography, but I’m pretty sure that’s not it because I wanted to read about Jack’s movie career and already knew about/could have really given two shits about hearing more regarding all the chicks he’s banged. The problem with this book (for me, at least) was that it got so mired down in the details and mechanics of what it took to make each Nicholson film that it lessened my enjoyment. Being inundated with budget overages, failed production timelines, hiring and firing of various producers, directors, actors, script writes and re-writes is not my idea of what I want to read when someone offers me a “Jack Nicholson biography." All that Negative Nelly crap now said, Nicholson was still an interesting read.
“My work motto is ‘everything counts’ . . . My life motto is ‘more good times’.”
This book discusses EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. of Jack Nicholson’s movies. From the ones waaaaaay before my time, to the one that officially put him on Hollywood’s radar as the “next Brando” . . .
to his first Oscar win (and 5th nomination) . . .
to a change in attitude and acceptance of the fact that he was getting older and not thinner, which resulted in another Oscar win . . .
to playing one horny little devil . . .
to a BIG payday. . .
to one of the best movie quotes of all times . . .
Nicholson even tells us about all the movies Jack turned down (and holy crap did he turn some good roles down). This book is a great reminder that Jack has truly “been there and done that” when it comes to cinema. His dear friend Mike Nichols probably sums it up best:
“Jack is the hippest place in the universe, coolest place in America, the Independent Republic of Jack. The hardest thing to do is wear a gift well, and Jack wears it with a killer smile and a pair of shades.”
^^^^Okay, that’s the end of the “real review” (if you can call it that) – now I’m going to bore you with my personal history with Jack Nicholson.
If you follow my reviews you’re already aware that I know a whole lot about movies (and not a whole lot about much else). This is apparently a genetic defect that I inherited from one of my first best friends . . . my Uncle Rod. Let me tell you, Rod was a movie quoting mother*&^%r. We could hold entire conversations in movie speak and one of the most quotable of all Hollywood icons was none other than Jack Nicholson.
Rod was a drinking man and LOVED to quote Jack Torrance from The Shining. We constantly heard “ I'm the kind of man who likes to know who's buyin' their drinks” and EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. OF. US called each other “Lloyd” after the bartender. (He used that nickname so much that my other uncle his DAMN DOG Lloyd after Rod passed away.)
Back in the 80s before there were eleventy billion television stations to watch, families actually spent time together. Any time we attempted to play cards or a game we would be inundated with quotes of "PLAY THE GAME, HARDING!!!!" until someone finally broke and got pissed off. It never stopped being funny. Rod was our resident McMurphy . . . a little crazy, but the nicest guy you’d ever want to meet.
His love for pop-culture and gift of endless movie knowledge lives on through me, and I’m happy to say my children appear to have the gene as well. Thanks to you, Lloyd, for introducing me to Jack. I’ll see you on the other side where I hope to be greeted with “Wendy, I’m home!”
ARC received from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest (and apparently super-touchy-feely) review...more
“We’re different from other people. We only feel at home when we’re a little bit afraid.”
I requested We Are All Completely Fine for the simple reason that it kept popping up on my Goodreads’ feed due to other people reading it. Upon reading the synopsis explaining how the story revolves around group therapy sessions wherein the members are a “monster hunter,” a former victim of a cannibalistic family, someone who escaped a serial killer (but not before he filleted her and carved on her bones), a mass-murderer in the form of a firestarter and a dude who never takes off his sunglasses my brain was convinced it was going to be getting into something like this:
Not that there’s anything wrong with that – it’s just kind of become the horse that I want taken out of its misery already for being BEATEN. TO. DEATH. Another thing that wasn’t working for me??? That cover. You have to admit, it’s fug. And although it’s really not fair/is really shallow to judge a book by its cover . . . I totally do it all the time.
Lucky for me the bad cover was not a foreshadowing of what was to come once I got inside the book and doubly lucky for me just because a guy doesn’t ever take off his sunglasses it doesn’t automatically mean it’s because he shoots lasers out his eyeballs. What I found instead was a short, but deeply woven horror/mystery. Once again I’m probably the odd (wo)man out because I wouldn’t categorize We Are All Completely Fine as a “horror.” Horror is supposed to . . . well, HORRIFY me, and I think this book earned the moniker simply for the squick factor rather than the scare factor. At the end of the day this story is about finding out why these people were selected to become members of this particular therapy group. I mean, aside from coming to terms with the the typical stages of “forming, storming, norming, and perhaps, someday, performing” ; )
ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, NetGalley!...more
"Call me by your name, and I'll call you by mine."
If you want to read a real review (you know, one that actually has some quality to it), I recommend clicking over to Nick or Julio's instead of this one.
Still here? Don't say I didn't warn you.
Call Me By Your Name is the story of an all-encompassing love affair between a teenaged boy and an older guest who is spending the summer at his family's home. For Elio, this is a time of exploration and acknowledgment of never-before-felt emotions and attraction. For Oliver, it is a time of attempting to stave off the desires of what he realizes should be left as a mutual infatuation. For both it will be a few weeks which will alter their lives forever.
I'm not too hard to please when it comes to books - I read every genre and I don't require Pulitzer quality writing in order for me to enjoy a story - but this writing???? Swoon worthy . . .
"All I prayed for was for time to stop. Let summer never end, let him never go away, let the music on perpetual replay play forever, I'm asking for very little, and I swear I'll ask for nothing more."
I wanted to chew up every word and digest it. I found myself slowing down in order to make my reading experience last longer . . . and that rarely happens for me.
I'm not a huge fan of traditional "romance" novels - sure I like the occasional RomCom or piece of fluffy nothing to read by the pool - but I prefer my love stories to have a bit of heartbreak and a lot of substance if I can find it. Nick and Julio's linked reviews above turned me on to Call Me By Your Name and, lucky for me, the story did not disappoint. I expected a "decent" book with some depth, but what I would have never expected was to be completely blown out of the water. If you're looking for something hot and steamy, this probably is not the story for you . . . but if you're looking for intense, raw emotion that will leave your psyche bruised and battered by the last page, this is a winner.
And, speaking as a not-quite-young, married, straight lady - Call Me By Your Name is also a tale that proves when it comes to matters of the heart . . .
Yep, it’s another 1 Star review. Before I even begin – let’s get some things clear:
1. I review for me - for fun (but I've been lucky enough to make some great online buddies on Goodreads). 2. I don’t get paid to review (other than with free books) and don’t consider it in any way, shape or form to be my job – it’s simply a hobby. 3. I don’t have an agenda nor do I request books that I think I won’t like in order to flame them. I’m never “angry” when I write a review, but I am honest and willing to admit I don’t like everything I read. 4. I don’t have aspirations of being a writer – hence the .gif-laced reviews.
Now that all of that is cleared up, hopefully this review won’t be trolled.
Like I said above, although it seems at times that I request/accept every ARC presented to me, I do actually try to show some restraint and only look for books that I think I will enjoy. Forget Love was one of those books.
The synopsis is a familiar one . . . Penny wakes up in the hospital suffering from amnesia. While there she is tended to by both her ex-husband (Tom) and her boss (George). Not only is Penny faced with the problem of trying to get her memory back, but she’s also faced with the dilemma of figuring out which one of these fellas she loves.
I seriously thought I would dig this book. I figured it would go one of two ways. Either a sappy little love story like this . . .
or a funny little love story like this . . . .
I think the intentions of Forget Love was to be a mix of both, but sadly it fell short of the goal. There seemed to be a lack of focus which resulted in several problems, the first being there were too many ongoing storylines. Not only does Penny have the problem of amnesia, but more kinks are thrown into the works with the subplots of an unexpected pregnancy and a meddling mother-in-law. In addition, there were too many unnecessary characters for such a short novel. Excess friends/co-workers could have been eliminated in order to flesh out just a few. There were also some important questions that never got answered. Why were Penny’s friends so focused on Tom remaining the “ex”??? Penny discovers she was apparently a selfish asshole before her accident (although, again it’s not really elaborated on – you’re just supposed to take Tom at his word), but I kept waiting for some kind of confrontation with the jerky pals she had chosen to surround herself with. And speaking of jerks, if George the boss was truly the creeper he ends up being, I’m fairly certain everyone would have been well aware of that fact and, amnesia or not, they would have told Penny not to go near him with a 10-foot pole.
All in all Forget Love ended up being a big mess for me . . . but maybe that won’t be the case for all of you. The release date is today (12/02/14) and the Kindle price point is decent at $4.99 on Amazon (or $0.00 for Kindle Unlimited subscribers).
ARC received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, NetGalley! ...more
Once again it appears I’m the solo gal who didn’t absolutely fall in love with this book. Shaddup and let me ‘splain myself.
But first, let’s cover the synopsis for those who aren’t familiar with the story (which could easily be the case since this book has been published under THREE different titles).
Alex and Rosie have been besties since Kindergarten. They’ve managed to remain friends despite of the best efforts of Ms. Big Nose Smelly Breath Casey to keep them apart in elementary school, through the trials and tribulations of puberty, and even when Alex moved across the pond to America. They’ve stuck together and always told the other everything . . .
I mean EVERYTHING . . .
Even through that little mishap, Alex and Rosie managed to remain friends. They supported each other through marriages as well as divorces and always ignored that niggling little voice telling them they should maybe be more than just best buddies. But how long can you ignore a voice that is sooooo persistent?
SOME SPOILAGE AND RANTING ENSUES – CONSIDER YOURSELF WARNED. HOWEVER, BEING AS THIS IS STANDARD ROM-COM FARE, THE ENDING SHOULDN’T REALLY THROW ANY OF YOU FOR A LOOP
The answer to the question right above my spoiler tag? Apparently you can ignore that little voice inside your head until you are F-ING FIFTY!!!! 50!
That’s redonkulous and the main problem with this book. A story which should have been wrapped up at a respectable 300 pages just kept going and going and going all the way to nearly 450. Rather than having Rosie and Alex experience one bad marriage/failed relationship/whathaveyou each, Cecilia Ahern had them experience multiple failures and waste more than half their lives wondering “what could have been” . . . and it was super annoying to me so it gets only half the stars.
Now, let me just say if I were to judge the movie (based on the trailer alone, as I haven’t seen it yet), this would get 4 Stars minimum. From the looks of things TONS of pages were left on the cutting room floor WHERE THEY BELONG. I mean seriously, everyone is familiar with the story:
1. Boy meets girl; 2. Boy and girl become friends; 3. Boy and girl realize they could “ruin the friendship” if they take it to the next level; 4. Boy and girl date/marry other people; 5. Boy and girl’s marriages/relationships fail; and 6. Boy and girl finally realize they were meant to be together and live happily ever after.
I live for that shit when it comes to my movies of choice . . . but good grief, it ain’t Moby Dick. There’s no reason for it to drag on (andonandonandon). I loved Alex and Rosie. They were great characters that seemed like real people and were adorable and funny and everything that I want in a RomCom. They just didn’t know when to STFU and get down to the hibbidy dibbidy and therein was the problem.
I have a feeling this is one of the rare occasions when I will enjoy the movie more than the book. And hey, even if it sucks, it still has Finnick Sam Claflin . . .
Ahhhhh, stop yelling at me already and let me explain.
It seems everyone liked this book. I’m talking everyone. EVERYONE. Except me. I. Just. Don’t. Get. It.
Okay, not really. This is obviously a case of it’s not you, it’s me. Maybe I’m too mature for stories of the supernat . . . BWAHAHAHAHA! I couldn’t even type that without laughing. I don’t really know what went wrong, so I’m gonna play it safe and blame it on Sookie Stackhouse . . .
After riding out the horribleness which became the Southern Vampire series, I just wasn’t prepared to deal with yet another vapid waitress and her otherwordly interactions.
You see, Mac is a simple waitress from a simple small Southern town whose simple life gets flipped upside down when her sister gets murdered. Annnnnnnd of course Mac has to take it upon herself to travel halfway across the world in order to become an amateur Sherlock Holmes and find out “whodunit.” The problem? Well, Mac is an idiot. I mean, she made Sookie seem like a real braintrust, which is simply terrifying. Mac spends most of her time coordinating her ensembles with her nails, and don’t you know . . .
Yep, Mac referenced pink so much I thought I was going to barf Pepto Bismol.
Along the way, Mac meets a mysterious alpha male named Barrons who (like me) finds her insufferable, but (unlike me) somehow doesn’t follow his instincts to step aside and let her be murdered. Turns out that’s a good thing as Mac has some special powers of her own. Powers that detect the hidden Fae that walk amongst the normies as well as the ability to sense hidden Fae Objects of Power (OOPs for short).
Sidenote: My brain insisted on replacing OOP with O.P.P. – which is a VERY different thing. That song is still playing in my head. Are any of you even old enough to remember Naughty by Nature? Probably not *insert sad face* so here’s a little image that will show you how the song goes . . .
Okay, back on topic. Barrons recruits Mac in order to find the Sinsar Dubh – the most powerful of all of OOPs that can destroy the world as we know it. Talk about some serious pressure.
Get it? Anyone? Bueller? Under Pressure – Queen and David Bowie??? Hilarious!
Alright, so this book didn’t work for me and I didn’t like it, but I didn’t completely hate it either. Some things I enjoyed?
1. The writing wasn’t horrible and although I really don’t like first person narrative, I did like that Mac’s voice was well aware of the fact that she was telling a story that already happened. Seriously authors, if you are writing from first person it’s pretty obvious that person ISN’T DEAD, so don’t try to bullshit the reader into getting all nervous about whether they’re going to make it out alive.
2. Mac admits she’s a useless Barbie in times of crisis.
3. The setting. Although the world building was pretty lame for me, I’m assuming it gets better since there are a crapton more books in this series. However . . . Dublin???? That’s good – assuming Mac and Barrons ever leave the f-ing bookstore.
4. Mac’s superpower of detecting bad guys? She vomits. LOLOLOLOL. I got a kick out of that.
5. And last, but obviously not least, BARRONS. Duh, right? I haven’t yet read any reviews of this series, but I’m assuming there’s a lot of Joe Manganiello gifs to be had. For me, though? It was all about this dude . . .
and anytime I can’t get the image of Oded Fehr out of my head is a good time.
To all my homegirls out there who have read/are currently reading/or are re-reading this series – I’m sorry it didn’t work for me. I’m always the oddball : ( ...more
A story about a love triangle? And I kinda liked it? I’m pretty sure I’m going to Hell for this one. Let me check the good book to make sure . . .
Yep, the Bird Bible says I should get my handbasket ready ‘cause I’m going to burn for eternity.
99 Days is the story of Molly Barlow and the Donnelly family who have been friends forever. At some point Molly’s playdates with the three siblings morphed into a different sort of playdate with Patrick Donnelly, alone. The two were a couple forever, it seems . . . . Until Molly started thinking about attending a boarding school that was offering her a running scholarship, Patrick decided to break things off, and Molly found herself falling into the arms of Patrick’s brother, Gabe, for comfort.
I know, right? Everyone else is probably already hating this. Buuuuuuuut, in Molly’s defense . . .
and she quickly realized she had made a huge mistake. Molly thought her little snafu would be a secret she and Gabe kept forever, but her author mother decided to steal a little “inspiration” from her daughter’s situation and penned a bestseller that outed all the details to the world. Molly fled town, choosing to attend boarding school after all, in order to escape her problems. Now school is done and there are 99 days before college begins. She finds herself back in the same small town, still hated by Julia Donnelly and still caught in the middle of the two brothers . . .
I get that a lot of people aren’t going to like this book. I really do. There’s a good chance that I would have not liked it if I had read it at any other time, but 99 Days happened to be at the right place at just the right time. And while I won’t say that it had quite the same amount of magic that How To Love had, there’s just something about Katie Cotugno’s writing, and I really dig that she is willing to be so up front and just go there with taboo subject matter in YA romance stories. I’ve read enough of the “who will she choose” B.S. plotlines like in The Hunger Games and Twilight and on and on and on where the boys all sit around pining for the girl and her decision of who she will love. I was soooooo ready for the ugly truth of what happens when a person decides to “dip their toes in a couple of different swimming pools,” if you will. 99 Days dealt with the love triangle issue in such a realistic way. Molly realized she was a selfish butthole and knew things would eventually blow up in her face . . . but she couldn’t stop herself from having feelings for both brothers. And you know what? I didn't hate it.
ARC received through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review ...more
“Nature made us. Nature knows us. Every movement, every thought, Nature sees.”
Hmmmm, let’s see how many people I can offend this week, shall we????
So, if this . . .
and this . . .
and this . . .
all had one wonderfully f*&^%d up baby, it might come out looking a little something like Seed.
Seed is the story of Pearl Duggar - I mean, just Pearl. She lives in a utopia– a tiny community called Seed which provides everything she could ever wish for. The people who live in Seed work the land and the crops they produce provide not only nourishment for the residents, but also a surplus which is sold to “the outside” in order to purchase necessities that cannot be made inside of Seed’s confines. All of the goings on at Seed are supervised by their charismatic leader, known simply as "Papa S." At 15, Pearl has finally become a woman and now anxiously awaits the day she will become Papa S.’s newest companion . . .
But when a family from “outside” arrives – Pearl finds herself questioning everything about the lifestyle at Seed and all that she has been taught.
“How do you know what you need if you’ve never seen it?”
This little book kind of blew my socks off. I had zero expectations upon starting - Seed was offered up as a freebie and the premise sounded decent enough to give it a shot. I always try to make it a point to read as many new authors as possible (but generally there comes a point – usually WAY earlier than November – when I’ve read enough shitty first-timers and throw in the towel in order to return to familiar names). Lisa Heathfield’s first go ‘round sure didn’t disappoint, though. Seed was well written with good character development and a unique storyline. It grabbed my attention with the first paragraph and held it to the last page. I’m all for young adult books that break boundaries and open up discussion about things that happen outside of our own personal little utopias – and this one does just that. A very believable look at how easy it could be to fall into a “cult mentality” . . . especially if you never knew anything else.
ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, NetGalley!...more
Or maybe looking back is the only way to light the path of what is to come????
Audrey’s (a/k/a Odd) best friend Meredith died in a car accident and Odd has blamed herself ever since. Not only is she riddled with feelings of guilt about maybe causing Meredith’s death due to texting her while she was driving, but Odd is also dealing with the guilt she has for having an infatuation with Meredith’s former boyfriend, Chase. When Odd discovers Meredith’s diary in Chase’s truck, she decides to complete the “Great 8” (a bucket list, of sorts) she finds contained in inside.
Over the course of the school year Odd vows to:
1. Get noticed; 2. Go to one of the popular parties, play Truth or Dare, and make out with the hottest guy there; 3. Do something that scares the pants off of her (be fearless); 4. Make a mistake; 5. Broaden horizons (must locate horizon); 6. Be Meredith Audrey (without having to apologize for it); 7. Tell my parents I don’t want to go to Brown, then defer for a semester to travel Europe (this one will need to be switched up a bit since Audrey dreams of the Manhattan School of Music rather than a gap year); and 8. Fall in love.
I requested The Odyssey of Falling for the cover (and tried to ignore the original title of The Odyssey of Falling IN LOVE as I clicked said request button). Yep, I’m that shallow. It’s purrrrty and I’m a cheap sell. Thank goodness the book ended up being a pleasant surprise for me . . . and that change in title should have been my first clue I would like this a little more than I expected. This story wasn’t particularly deep or life altering, but it was a good glimpse into some realistic high school experiences. Audrey was definitely a little “odd,” well more like super naïve, but she was a relatable character simply trying to discover who she is and simultaneously worrying about popularity, grades, crushes, etc.
While discovering herself, Audrey also discovers some truths about those around her. Truths like:
“Let’s face it, the universe is kind of an asshole.”
or the discovery that Meredith may have been super-sweet on the outside, but in reality she was maybe a real bitch who didn’t have so many nice things to say . . .
or that her crush Mike Dexter Chase might not be the Mr. Wonderful she always pegged him to be . . .
or that true love was maybe there all along and she just didn’t see it . . .
If you’re looking for a quick little escape from reality and a YA with a little humor, a little romance and a lot of truth, The Odyssey of Falling might be for you.
ARC received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, NetGalley!
Oh, and just because there’s no way I’m using “Can’t Hardly Wait” .gifs and NOT including this one:
EDITED BECAUSE TROLLS SHOULD KNOW IF YOU POKE AN ANGRY BEAR TOO MANY TIMES SHE WILL BREAK HER RULE ABOUT BUMPING AND BUMP THE SHIT OUT OF HER OWN REVIEW JUST SO IT COMES BACK AROUND AND EVERYONE KNOWS WHAT BOOK NOT TO READ
Normally I feel a bit of remorse when I give a book a 1 Star rating, but this time????
Here’s why . . . First, look at that cover. How can something sooooooo pretty be filled with something sooooooooo bad. Second, the blurb that made me request the dang thing in the first place:
“Remy Galway and her daughter Olivia are rebuilding their life after a failed marriage in a 300 year old cottage in historic Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island. Little do they know, another occupant is lurking in the haven of their own home. Will the After House be their shelter or their tomb?”
Sounds awesome, right? I was stoked to begin The After House and bumped it ahead of a bunch of stuff I should have already finished a loooooong time ago but have not (because I’m a slacker). I was expecting a scary horror story and a ghost like this . . .
What I got instead? A ghost like this . . .
Buuuuuuuuuut, there were additional ghosts to be had. Once again, I thought the bonus duo might be something along these lines . . .
What I got instead? Not even this . . .
It was something more like this . . .
There was also a super-hard-to-solve mystery where someone was trying to kill the MC. There are like SIX adult characters in the entire book. One is the MC, two of them are the MC’s parents, one is her new/very pregnant friend, one is her new love interest, and the last is her abusive ex-husband who not only beat the crap out of her before she wised up and got a restraining order, but was living a dual life with a new wife and baby. Hrrrrmmmmm, wonder who it could be? Better call in the experts to solve this one . . .
And finally, speaking of the love interest. Grown-up books SHOULD NOT have “instalove.” Not even if you call it “finding your soulmate” instead. Dude and dudette get set up by the buttinsky mother for coffee and after a few days “it feels like I’ve come home” and “don’t want to live if you’re not here.”
The After House had no idea what it wanted to be. A romance, a horror story, a thriller? The combo of all of the above just made for one big mess. All that being said, this book has received a lot of high ratings, so there’s a good chance that everyone but me will like it.
ARC received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you NetGalley!
Oh, and because I've been accused of producing a "picture book" that didn't clearly explain my problems with the book, here's an explanation:
1. Pretty covers with little substance are a huge pet peeve to me; 2. The synopsis claimed the book would be scary, but it wasn't (hence the "Casper" .gif); 3. There was an extra ghost/wannabe angel apprentice attempting to get her wings and her superior which muddied the already muddied waters of a bad story even further (hence the "It's a Wonderful Life" .gif); 4. There was a VERY OBVIOUS mystery to solve (hence the "Scooby Doo" .gif); 5. And finally there was a crapton of instalove which made me puke (hence the barfing mayo bottle .gif).
I've also been accused of getting my jollies from bashing books. To that I say looky here I write crappy .gif-filled 5-Star reviews too. ...more
Who here is tired of people using Mean Girls .gifs in their book reviews?
Well, tough shit ‘cause I’m gonna use a bunch of them.
Anika Dragomir is the third most popular girl in high school. Think of her as Gretchen Wieners . . . .
True Mean Girls fans are probably screaming that Karen Smith was probably the third most popular girl in school or something of the sort. Have no fear, Anika’s best friend Shelli is the Karen Smith of this story. She’s not stupid, but she’s totally a slut . . .
Ahhhh, don’t get so worked up Shelli. You own it and are delightful.
Both Anika and Shelli fear the wrath of one Becky Vilhauer – the HBIC who will ruin their high school years with vicious rumors should they ever dare to cross her . . .
Seriously. Becky makes Regina George look sweet.
On the outside Anika’s life looks pretty great:
“On the outside I look like vanilla pudding so nobody knows that on the inside I am spider soup.”
Which really means she is your average teenaged girl. She worries about not looking right, not dressing right, not living in a nice enough house, not having a nice enough family, and really not having nice enough friends (when you spend your days in fear of someone who calls you the “immigrant” because you happen to have a Romanian father, that isn’t hard to do).
When former loser Logan McDonough moves back to town and (as far as Anika is concerned) has morphed from geek to chic, she’s torn between protecting her status and maybe taking a chance with this loner . . .
I know, right? Social suicide.
Anika also finds herself as the target of Aaron Samuels Jared Kline’s attention.
“I’m not standing in line to defile myself with him like all these other girls . . . but . . . I don’t mind looking at him. It’s kind of like seeing Jesus in a tortilla or something.”
But is Jared legit, or does he just want Anika to be another notch on his bedpost? And what’s the real story with Logan? Is he as dreamy as he seems to be, or is he hiding deeper, darker secrets???
This little book sure wasn’t what I was expecting. Actually, I wasn’t expecting anything at all. None of my Goodreads friends have read it yet, I don’t even know how it ended up on my to-read list, and I really don’t recall requesting it from the library. But one day I booted up the old Kindle and there it was. I’m so glad I gave it a shot. Obviously I’m kind of a Mean Girls’ superfan, so I would have been perfectly content with a fun bit of fluff. And I wasn’t disappointed with Anika – her voice was brilliant, she was hilarious and she cracked up up. I had no idea this book would get deep and touch on actual issues, though.
“You get one chance. You get to do this thing one time and you don’t even know when it goes from swirling forward and around and around in circles to just a plain cold stop and nothing more. This moment here. This is all you get. Before you are part of the sky.”
What a surprise . . . and it was written so well. Highly recommended to all young adults – be they a Regina George or a Mathlete or a Janis Ian. Can we get some love for all the Janis Ians?
You might be asking yourself, “why would a shriveled up old hag like her be reading Finding Cinderella????” The answer is quite simple:
Any author who has a memento copy of one of their books printed in “Ermahgerd” is someone who deserves to be read. Also, Finding Cinderella was free, so it was the obvious winner of the “which one should I read?” contest.
That being said, NA is soooooo not my bag. I am old and have a very low threshold when it comes to tolerating angst and I get a bit bitey when I read it . . . . but I totally understand the allure. If I were a young puppy again I would seriously love to be able to download freebies like this on the Kindle rather than being forced to steal my mom’s old Jackie Collins’ paperbacks in order to read something steamy. Now those things were horrible. *shudder*
I’m assuming if you are a fan of NA, Finding Cinderella is one that could receive a much higher rating along with a rave review, but please note a 3 Star rating from me is pretty dang solid. Even though I saw the big “a-ha” moment WAY before it ever came to light, it was still pretty much alright with me. Colleen Hoover writes a decent story with relatable characters who have great wit about them. I didn't have high expectations going in and was pleasantly surprised by how much I actually enjoyed myself. And while I assumed the main characters would have to experience "instalove" (if for no other reason than the fact that this was a novella), what I didn't expect was that I would end up kind of loving Daniel:
“She fist bumped me. It’s not my fault. She hates purses and she fist bumped me, then she made me push her on the damn merry-go-round. After that, she demanded to see where I had sex in the park, then she forced me to sneak into my own bedroom. She’s weird and half the time I can’t keep up with her, but she thinks I’m funny as hell. And Chunk asked me this morning if I wanted to love her someday, and I realized I’ve never hoped I could love someone more than I want to love her.”
(a leading male who isn’t a super-assholey-bad-boy??? who’d a thunk it????)
Yeah, yeah, I know: “Why don’t you have a seat over there” and all that jazz. I already registered myself on the sexual predator list, thank you very much Chris Hansen.
We’re back for Round 3 with Fox and O’Hare. The differences between this one and the first two???? Well . . . I got this one for free because I’M AWESOOOOOOOOOOOME! (okay – I got this one for free because I asked for it, but I like to tell myself it’s because I’m a special snowflake.)
The other difference?
Get the reference? Here, I’ll let The Lonely Island spell it out for you . . .
Yep, it takes place on a boat. If you’ve read the previous two Fox and O’Hare books (as well as the 14,726 Stephanie Plum books) you’re already aware that this book will follow the same format as its predecessors with the locale being the only thing that's fresh.
Things that work for me with this series? The “Ocean’s Eleven-ish” cast of characters (everyone from the Feds to former military special ops members to thieves to actors), Fox’s proclivity to borrow the names of 1980s pop culture icons for his fake identities (juvenile, I know, but it still makes me chuckle), and the very few wasted pages (I appreciate that Evanovich, Goldberg, the editors, the publishers and whoever else it is that realize they are dealing with short attention spans when it comes to these novels).
The things that don’t work for me? The narrow focus on ONE plotline. The magic that makes the Stephanie Plum series so successful after all of these decades is the vast amount of capers that occur in each book. Knowing who the bad guy is, how they’re going to trick him, and where the bust is going to go down doesn’t make for real page-turning excitement. Also???? We’re three books in – that’s like the equivalent of 74 dates. Fox and O’Hare need to poop or get off the pot when it comes to the lovemaking.
That might be true, Ms. Evanovich and Mr. Goldberg . . . but BARELY.
Bottom line? These books are pure brain candy. Sure, there’s no nutritional value, but sometimes you want to eat a whole bag couple hundred pages anyway.
ARC received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you NetGalley!!! ...more
Before I even get started, let me say this is not a book for everyone. Hell, it might not be a book for anyone except for Snotchocheez and myself. There is no middle-ground to be had here. This book is offensive and the characters are all vile and I expect opinions to be extremely polarized. And I totally respect that . . . but please have the decency to not troll my review and tell me how wrong I am or that I’m a pscyho. I’m already aware of those facts. Now on with the show . . .
You walk in to the bookstore where I work. Rather than picking up the shitty Dan Brown’s and other bestsellers that all the no-brainers are reading, you choose Spalding Gray and Paula Fox. You’re not only attractive – very reminiscent of Natalie Portman – you’re also intelligent. And as we exchange pleasantries while I’m checking you out (your books, that is), you prove to be witty as well. “If we were teenagers, I could kiss you. But I’m on a platform behind a counter wearing a name tag and we’re too old to be young. Night moves don’t work in the morning, and the light pours in through the window.” So you take your bag and go on your way . . . and I take a glance at your credit card receipt before shoving it through the cash drawer. “Guinevere Beck” – an usual name. “You are Charlotte’s Web and I could love you.” “The internet was designed with love in mind. It gave me so much of you . . .”
So there you have it. Joe is a stalker - a textbook example of the scariest version of one at that. He sets his sights on Beck and is willing to do anything to make her his. And I really loved him. No, not in the “boy do I wish I had some fucked up weirdo in my life who would break into my house and sniff my underpants” (I've been married to that guy for a long time now *rimshot*) kind of love him, but I couldn’t stop reading his story. Caroline Kepnes managed not only to write the most revolting character I’ve ever loved (move over, Herman Koch, you ain’t got nothin’ on this gal), but on top of it all she wrote the book from Joe's perspective. I hate that . . . but I loved this book.
Kepnes even managed to make me forget Joe was a total psycho on occasion. At times he was so relatable, and his opinions were spot-on . . . like when he and Beck went on an IKEA shopping spree together:
“Life at IKEA is not like life at IKEA in the movies. It’s a dystopian nightmare come true where all furniture is cut from the same hunk of cheap-ass wood, where all rooms were furnished with items that came out of the exact same factory at the exact same time. It smells like body odor and Febreze and baby shit and farts and meatballs and nail polish and more baby shit – doesn’t anyone get a babysitter anymore? – and it is loud.”
Joe is the only man I know who not only willingly references 500 Days of Summer, but dreams he could have a magical IKEA moment like JGL and Zoey Deschanel had in that movie . . .
Through all the crazy (and let me tell you there is A LOT of crazy), I held out hope for Joe – just like he held out hope for himself.
“Happiness is believing that you’re gonna be happy. It’s hope.”
And for a bit it looked like things might work out (after all – Beck was no prize in the normal department herself).
“We are a dream couple, we are what happens after Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks finally kiss, after cancer-free Joe Gordon-Levitt and sweet shrink-in-training Anna Kendrick eat their pizza in 50/50. We are Winona Ryder and Ethan Hawke after U2 finishes singing 'All I Want Is You'.”
But then Beck discovers his secret . . . in the form of a used tampon he saved - along with other not-so-normal keepsakes - and I realized there was never going to be a normal. And that I’m probably going to be considered certifiable for even admitting I enjoyed this book – let alone wishing for some kind of happy ending. I admit it. I’m nuts. This book made me crazy. It turned wrong into right and bad into good and I couldn’t stop reading it. I was mesmerized. It gets 5 Stars and it’s easily going down as one of the Top 10 books I read in 2014.
All I can think now is that it’s weird enough to admit to loving a story like this, but to be Caroline Kepnes and actually have this thing COME OUT OF YOUR BRAIN???? Oh, she has to be the most delicious weirdo I’d ever care to meet. Her writing is brilliant and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. ...more