I realize I am one of the very few dissenters in the ranks, but the book says it all . . .
“Worst hostages ever. You’re the worst hostages ever.”
So the whole premise here is about a failed bank robbery and how said bank robber ends up with the worst hostages ever and it all takes place after the hostage crisis has been averted and the would-be robber has become MIA and it’s all six degrees of separation and somehow also is about a super serious subject like suicide and it all gets delivered in a quirky little package full of obtuse police interviews and absurdities like giant rabbits and piles of blood that need to be accounted for and things that are supposed to make you feel all of the feelz that gets tied up with a pretty little bow of “awwwwwwww” at the end and OH. MY. GOD. IT. WAS. EXHAUSTING.
I loved Ove. And I mean looooooooooooooooooooooooved. Almost unhealthily. Like there’s a 12% chance it might come to fisticuffs after I tell you to “cash me outside - how 'bout dah” if you tell me you hated it and I’m having a bad day. But after failing at yet another Backman new release that I was highly anticipating I need to admit he is just not for me. There’s nothing wrong with being a one-hit wonder. Karens all over the world can attest to that fact with their favorite sing-along . . . .
The entire theme of this year’s Summer Reading Program at my library was a bit confuzzling to me, so I guess it makes perfect sense that this was one of the selections. “Live the Fantastic” was the idea and reading suggestions ran the gamut from graphic novels to tales of the Norse gods. It was . . . . eclectic to say the least and apparently was simply designed to help readers find good storytelling . . . .
Baba Dunja is probably not someone I would have ever met were it not for this challenge. This quirky little story was about a community who has returned to a post-Chernobyl village and find themselves in a bit of a pickle when a stranger comes to town. It was a perfectly okay way to spend a couple of hours (due to its compact size), but I’m obviously once again a wrongreader because I don’t get all the 5 Star reviews whatsoever. I’ll remember it simply for being such an oddity and for its enjoyable ensemble cast characters – and obviously because it was my final hurdle to jump for free swag . . . .
Guaranteeing a nearly perfect rating from the masses and broadcasting my wrongreader status far and wide. The premise here starts off fairly simple . . . .
“A cloudy September afternoon in 1969. That’s the day the old deacon, known as Sportcoat to his friends, marched out to the plaza of the Causeway Housing Projects in South Brooklyn, stuck an ancient .38 Colt in the face of a nineteen-year-old drug dealer named Deems Clemens, and pulled the trigger.
What follows is a story about the neighborhood surrounding the Five Points Baptist Church and the various characters who reside near there. Church ladies, maintenance men with a government cheese side hustle, bumbling hitmen, a mobster known as the Elephant, and on and on. Serious messages are delivered with humor (sometimes to the point of being the annoying slapstick variety) as you meander through the interconnected tales of a possible missing treasure and missing Christmas club cash.
This was my second go around with McBride and at this point I feel comfortable saying my lack of stars comes from a place of enjoying the tale but not the telling. I just don’t connect with his writing. This had a lot of potential, and maybe it fell victim to the hype train for me....more
I’m pretty sure the wrongreading I did here was 100% my own fault. After being blown away by American Gods ages ago my hopes were super high that this would be yet another wild ride through Gaiman’s imagination as he revamped Norse tales from the olde days of yore. Now, these little snippets of ancient history did feature our favorite pals such as . . . .
But sadly, it was not a reimagining of the past, just a simple retelling instead. On my American Gods review, I said I was hoping for a Dogma type of experience and got just what I had hoped for. This one was like an encyclopedic rendering of Norse mythology that had me like . . . .
Gaiman is waaaaaaay too creative and talented to push out a basic regurge.
However, this knocked a pretty old selection off the TBR as well as was a recommendation for the library’s Summer Reading Program, so I’m still calling it a win. One of these days I’ll be able to go and get my free swag, right??? I’ve probably read 20 books at this point instead of the 5 required to obtain the major award.
So I accidentally did a thing today and read the Nobel Prize Winner for Literature without knowing that’s what I had chosen until I started it. All I knew beforehand was that title was pretty much giving me life. And now I’m done and all I have to say is . . . . .
Who sits on the board or whatever it is that decides who gets this award? PETA????
If you know me you know I’d usually rather do anything than talk about politics. The one thing I enjoy even less? Having a political agenda forced down my throat via Fiction. As a meatasaurus I really wasn’t on board with the message that hunting (for FOOD – not sport) is evil. Yeah, sorry bruh, not gonna happen.
Go read Sam’s review if you want more words. All I can say is this one was not for me.
And before any of you vegan treehuggers get your panties in a twist due to my strange addiction as pictured in my profile, rest assured that they were like adoptions from the local animal shelter. I was raised with a hunter and have eaten my fair share of meat not purchased at the local grocery, but all of my “friends” who reside in my reading room were castoffs and rejects acquired from thrift stores and consignment shops. ...more
This should have been a winner for me. I love rom coms. I love chick lit. I love cartoon covers. I love when the characters are authors or booknerds. So what happened? Well, January and Gus and their summer at their neighboring beach houses happened. This book kind of got lost in what it was trying to be and ended up being a mish-mash that simply fell short and by the time I let go of my issues with it, sadly it was just a little too late for a full redemption.
Things started off poorly for me due to the fact that for a goodly chunk of this book I couldn’t get these two assholes and their ridiculous internet feud out of my head . . . .
I pretty much avoid reading stuff by either of them because they come off as such twats and they don’t deserve my time (or especially my money). The fact that the leads in this book were pretty much clones of those two as the “great American novelist” for him and the “chick lit romance bestseller” for her did not aid in my enjoyment level whatsoever.
Oh my word you broken record. We get it already. It’s not like you’re 12 so get some coping skills and it’s not like you were even close so how the hell could this possibly shatter you so much??? See a doctor, homey.
The romance (a/k/a smexytimes) was aiiiiiiiight so this 2.5 will get rounded up simply for not making me want to invest in a chastity belt or poke my own eyeballs out due to gross intercourse.
But like Shelby stated in her review, a serious level of irk was generated with the other broken record message that . . . .
First, you just got a G.D. beach house bequeathed to you so STFU – you’re not homeless. Second, if you are seriously a bestselling author you should have at least five dollars in the bank. And third, if you don’t???? GET. A. FUCKING. DAY. JOB. There is nothing that aggravates me more than “authors” who cry all over Goodreads and Go Fund Me and Patreon that it is our duty as readers/fans to pay their bills so they can “create” while we go grind it out at various not-dreamy 9 to 5s. Having this chick whine about her money issues made me want to lump her in the badly behaving author category like those people.
Obviously YMMV and you’ll probably love this like everyone else did.
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. ...more
But then I discovered even old people can appreciate the wonderment which is Tik Tok so I think I’m good for at least another 30 days. I’ve been feeling sort of the same about books and trying to pick up stuff that’s been on the TBR that I really have no excuse to continue avoiding being as I’m locked in the house all damn day. Born a Crime is one of those selections. Full disclosure – I do not watch The Daily Show (not even when Jon Stewart was the host) and I have not had any other experiences with Trevor Noah either. But this book was highly recommended so I finally took a chance because if all of my friends jumped off a bridge, well . . . . .
And everyone was right so it worked out great. It’s extremely interesting and informative regarding growing up during apartheid. I would like to crawl around Noah’s mother’s brain for a bit and figure out why exactly she made some of the choices she made, but that’s a different book, I guess. I’ve been told repeatedly the audio is the way to go for this one, but unfortunately neither library had that option available so I had to settle for the paper (or paperless, as the case was) copy. This has a crazy high rating and a billion reviews. Not much more needs to be said by someone like me other than I’d recommend it if you enjoy reading biographies. ...more
No, June. My roots of being a wrongreader. Or maybe not so much this time because this book seems to have been a mixed bag for my friends as well.
On the surface, A Good Neighborhood is about an argument between neighbors over a tree. In reality it’s about race relations and socioeconomic status and gender roles and on and on. If you follow me you know that I am hit or miss when it comes to tales of the “tragiporn” variety. Obviously this was not a winner. The problems I had here? Caricatures rather than characters – with the good being soooooooo absolutely squeaky clean they read like wholesome family teens from 1950s family television programs while the bad encompassed every awful trait one could have (stereotypical used car salesman, bigot, pedo, etc.) – with a storyline that featured a multitude of twists designed to bring the feels that instead came off as trying waaaaaay too hard to make the point(s). This just didn’t work for me . . . .
^^^^tearjerker survival kit – copious amounts of snacks, Kleenex, tea (to drink and save the bags to put on your puffy eyeholes), warm fuzzy cuddly thing, etc.
In yet another display of how much I channel my inner Cartman on the regular and do what I want, let’s get real unconventional and “review” two books at once. I read these about a week or so apart. They have similar covers, they both have the modus operandi of destroying the reader via emotional manipulation, they both deal with a cheating aspect of sorts, both had female leads who were more than a bit self-centered. However, I loooooooooved You Were There Too and did not enjoy The Light We Lost much at all.
The Light We Lost was my mother-in-law’s book club book last month. They pick all sorts of stuff – sometimes I have read them, sometimes I have no desire to ever read them, sometimes I go ahead and get them from the library as was the case here. I didn’t know anything before beginning aside from the fact that it was a romance and I thought that was a pretty odd choice for a book club selection and that it begins with two people meeting in NYC on September 11th and then follows their story for 13 years. I have no idea if the ending was supposed to be a shocker, but I knew immediately upon starting what the “big reveal” was going to be to due the style of delivery used by Jill Santopolos. I also wanted to punch the narrator Lucy right in the babymaker and that never makes for a good time. I appreciated 9/11 simply being used as a jumping off point that brought two strangers together rather than some horrible manipulation at the end, but sadly there was plenty of attempted manipulation still to be had.
The flipside was You Were There Too. I received an advanced copy of it basically because I am a greedy whore who wants all the free things. I then completely missed the release date and forgot I even had it until people started posting pictures on Instagram and I saw it staring at me from across the room on my “shelf of shame.” As I said above, Mia was more than a bit focused on numero uno as well, and yet somehow I didn’t want to physically harm her like I did poor Lucy. I actually didn’t foresee all the reveals of this one – even the ending that could easily be predicted by most snuck up on me because I was so invested in the story. The “I’ve met you in my dreams” is what I call tropey yum-yum so this had that going for it as well. And most of all, it made me have the feelz. In order to maintain my street cred, Imma go ahead and blame that one on . . . .
In theory Blackwood should have been a slam dunk for me. I mean the damn thing starts with a kid walking in on his dad attempting to hang himself. Now if that ain’t bleak, I don’t know what is and y’all know I love bleak. Add in some questionable drifters and a small Southern town with a creepy vibe and this sucker should have been everything I was looking for. So what went wrong???? At first I thought . . . . .
Because this is the third Michael Farris Smith book I have attempted that I just couldn’t seem to connect with on a deeper level. Please note 3 Stars is a dang fine rating for someone as judgey as myself, and I will absolutely continue reading him because there’s nothing at all wrong with his storytelling. Not to mention the fact that I blew through this sucker in a few hours since he’s also not an author who wastes time with a bunch of filler. I simply can’t help but compare Farris Smith to other grit lit authors who blow my socks off time after time in order to give him more stars. Bottom line? I think my experience can once again be chalked up to the quote one of my trolls made infamous. Now . . . . .
Eeeeeesh. Okay, I’m really the wrongreader here. A bunch of my friends really dug this one. I’m going to go ahead and take this opportunity to blame my local gifthorse for my experience : )
You see, this is the time for the annual Winter Reading Challenge from my local library. While the only real requirement is to read five books in three months, a “theme” is selected each year and I try my best to play along for the most part. It gets me out of my comfort zone and takes books off my TBR that were quite possibly destined to stay there for eternity – never to even be thought of. The problem is, my approach to reading is very much . . . . .
Meaning, I’m a mood reader and I 100% was not in the mood to “Imagine That” via fantasy books. I thought maybe paranormal fantasy or urban fantasy might help push me toward the finish line, but turns out I have maybe lost my taste for those as well . . . . .
So the story here is a honeybadger a tiger and a non-shifting shapeshifter walk into a bar . . . .
Okay, maybe not exactly like that, but three sisters of the aforementioned variety are in a pickle due to their scumbag daddy scamming the wrong people and getting a hit put out on them. At first I thought I would dig it and it would be a little reminiscent of . . . . .
And it never stopped and never had any sort of a plot aside from fight scene after fight scene and eleventy-seven characters being introduced just to get the crap kicked out of them or killed and . . . . .
Welllllllllll. Here we are again. Good news is, I liked this one more than the badgers. Bad news is, I still kind of read it wrong. Positives include my type of people like werewolves and vampires and shifters without all of the . . . . .
And a heavy on the whodunit while being almost nonexistent when it came to the romance. Buuuuuuuuuuut, these people were kind of terrible at being supernatural creatures and it was one losing battle/tranquilizing/kidnapping after another that made this seem A LOT longer than 300 pages to me.
However, it did achieve the goal getting me yet another step closer to my Major Award . . . .
Boy Swallows Universe was already on my TBR for receiving a bunch of accolades when it came out from various sources which I can’t remember because my brain is made of Swiss cheese. And more importantly because I thought it was a Young Adult novel (Apparently it isn’t??? I still argue it is) that was written by an Australian and I’ve had pretty good luck with the Aussie YA novelists in the past. Then a friend of a friend recommended it so I went ahead and pushed it to the top of the heap in order to play the guinea pig since I’m the faster reader. Hindsight being 20/20, I should have made her read it first. It was her pal who said how great it was, after all.
In theory this book should have been a clear winner for me. It had so many things that usually generate a high rating . . . .
Okay, that’s a lie. I read every dang page. But that’s really my biggest complaint. Reading this was like driving on a highway full of potholes. Things were moving along just fine and I found myself getting to know the characters and invested in the goings on and then WHAM – the pacing just went right out the window while the author droned on and on and on about crap that didn’t have anything to do with the story (*rinse - repeat* ad nauseum). I also don’t really buy that much of this was inspired by any real life events and when it came to some magical realism being thrown in as an afterthought I was like . . . .
The fact that this one didn’t even make it to my “Currently Reading” list probably says everything that needs to be said about how much I enjoyed it. I picked this up during Nonfiction November as a challenge to myself to break away from my usual “nonfiction” selections which generally take form as comedic memoirs. I knew Dopesick had won a bunch of awards and I will admit I was hoping for a reading experience like I had with Evicted. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. What I got instead was the Lifetime Television for Women Mothers version of the opioid epidemic which centered around the addiction and/or death that they discussed regarding their children (one who only took ONE PILL and it killed him because – yeah, that sounds legit). While the history of Oxy was barfed out like a high-school term paper and there was a dealer or two thrown in for good measure, they were but blips on the radar. Nope - Dopesick wants to pull on the heartstrings and sadly for it . . . . .
Holy crap, the recommendation feature actually barfed out something that looked appealing??? And speaking of looking appealing, there were definitely some visual similarities that also piqued my curiosity . . . .
And I think I have just read/watched it one too many times. There were no real twists or turns and despite having a then and now timeline, it felt very stagnant to me. The good news is it was very dialogue driven which equaled me reading it in just a few hours while I supervised some horribly boring document comparison project that was running on my computer. Please note, however, that I’m also so dumb I didn’t even put this on my currently reading list, so you probably shouldn’t trust my opinion.
Buuuuuuuuut, to anyone else who might think it’s a bright idea to copycat a megahit’s name and artwork like what was done here, I say . . . .
Me no likey. I’ll gladly take the wrongreader title here, because everyone else looooooved the writing and I felt it was flat. They loooooooved how fresh the story was, but I thought it was stale. They looooooooved all of the social commentary while I thought it was nothing but the usual dose of tragiporn (with an extra helping of 9/11 in case you weren’t aware just how miserable you were supposed to feel). This is the problem with having booknerd social media accounts along with a terminal case of FOMO – you end up reading books that you should have never even added to your TBR. ...more
The story here is about a man named Ben who lived in a place called Jerusalem’s Lot (located about 20 miles north of Portland) back when he was just a kid. An experience with a place known to the locals as the Marsten House has always stuck with Ben and now as an adult (and as an author), he returns thinking there might be a story there. What he could never expect is his return to the Lot coinciding with another new arrival in town which would eventually result in nearly the entire population becoming . . . . .
Sounds great, right? Yeah, well when I was a teenager I thought it was. I think I’ve officially learned my lesson as far as re-reading Uncle Stevie goes. I’m not so sure I would be a fan of a lot of these books now that I’m an adult. This one definitely missed the mark. I knew things weren’t going great almost immediately since the first 150 pages were dedicated to introducing a billion one-dimensional characters simply for the point of being able to recognize the future victims . . . . TWO HUNDRED PAGES LATER. (My recollection is I enjoyed this set-up in Needful Things, but I’ll be damned if I voluntarily wrongread that one again just to make sure!) And even when it looked like he might be picking up the pace . . . .
Like, at one point this was (even to me) considered to be primo writing. But now?????
“Make love to me? Do you want to?”
“Yes,” he said. “I want that.”
“Here on the grass,” she said.
She was looking up at him, her eyes wide in the dark. She said, “Make it be good.”
I was going to go ahead and give this 3 Stars, but I read the version that contains all the pages that found their way to the cutting room floor rather than the book and that is where all the effing interesting stuff was apparently left so I’m giving this 2. Bottom line . . . .
Save your trolling. I’ll most likely just tell you to go F*&^ your own mother and then block your dumbass so you can’t come at me twice. For anyone else who may be skeered to post your honest opinions, here’s my advice to you . . . .
Before you get your rotten tomatoes ready for throwing at me, let me say I totally get why this book worked for everyone else. (Christine wrote the most excellent review ever and I wish I would have liked this more if for no other reason than I don’t like that I was such a wrongreader of something she loved so much.) If you can relate to any of the characters (sisters, mother, daughters), you’re going to have a different experience than me. Or if it makes you nostalgic because you’re of a certain age . . . .
Simply stated, this is a story that follows two sisters over the course of their entire lives. It starts in 1950 and doesn’t end until 2022. It just wasn’t my cuppa. I promise you guys I didn’t pick this up with the intention of being contrary. I was already one hundred millionth in line at the library because the buzz was saying I would like it so when the opportunity to snag it from the “New and Notable” (a/k/a no reservations allowed) shelf came about I immediately grabby-handsed it and read it that weekend. If you’re a fan of Jennifer Weiner . . . well, you probably already own this so I probably shouldn’t even be worrying about you guys. If you’re like me and have read her before and both loved and hated it, I can’t say what side you’ll fall on here. I will say I’m fickle and can easily overlook glaring plotholes and suspend disbelief to the nth degree if a book has sucked me in, but things like this . . . . .
Make me pert near apoplectic if I am not loving it. Nitpicky asshole, party of one???
I will also take a stand here and say if someone is going to be in an internet fight for a bazillion years regarding why their work should be considered literary fiction, that person should probably know that simply writing a bunch of pages and covering a large timespan doesn’t magically morph their story into one that is not . . . .
And, once again, don’t jump my ass. At least I’ve read Jennifer Weiner before. I’ve actively avoided Jonathan Franzen all these years for his part in this dumbass troll-off – despite the fact that I am repeatedly told he writes books that people think I would love....more
Am I in a book slump? It seems my “mehs” are seriously outweighing my yeahs at this point : (
Alright, so I’m the naysayer when it comes to the Akin party. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Aside from the aforementioned possible slump as well as the fact that I consistently suck turtles. I mean, there’s zero doubt that Emma Donoghue knows how to tell a story – unfortunately I just didn’t connect with this one.
Maybe my expectations were too high? I was lucky enough to read Room before the hype train left the station and no one had ever heard of it and I picked up (and really enjoyed) The Wonder upon my reaction to Room. I actually took a gander at the blurb (after wiping the drool off my face from that gorgeous cover) and went into this expecting a feel-good tale in the form of an elderly curmudgeon obtaining a new lease on life courtesy of a sassy whippersnapper. Well, I got the sassy whippersnapper . . . .
“It’s an, rather than a, when it’s followed by a vowel: an atheist.”
“Like, you’re AN asshole.”
He supposed he deserved that one.
And I guess I got the “feel good” – but not in the form I was expecting (we’ll get to that in a second). However, the elderly curmudgeon I was hoping for????
It starts with our main character Noah preparing for a trip to the South of France where he was born. He’s forced to alter his plans – adding a plus one – when a never-before-met great-nephew named Michael emerges needing an emergency interim caretaker due to his mother being in the slammer. Things got awkward for me immediately upon the arrival to Nice, which either was already pre-planned as one of the most boring walks down memory lane EVER or went off the rails into a Nancy Drew episode upon Noah discovering some old photographs while cleaning out his recently deceased sister’s things that he decides must be monumental or she wouldn’t have kept them (despite her being described as a bit of a packrat with boxes upon boxes of mementos that hold absolutely no sentimental value to Noah). Now, mind you, these two are staying here . . . .
But it’s like the author has ever been there (despite having lived there and being very vocal about how much she loves the South of France) because very little regarding the fact that it is a paradise is mentioned. Instead they go searching for the source and story behind these old pictures. Noah eats stereotypical touristy types of food that an American with a real “daring” palate would eat – like snails (Michael is a child so he pretty much only wants French fries). Young Michael also proves to be the real brains behind the organization and can take one gander at a photo and instantly know what it is/where it might be despite the fact that he’s ELEVEN years old and has never been to Nice. This is the second book I’ve reviewed in as many days where the characters didn’t feel authentic and had me wondering if Donoghue has ever met an eleven year old. This kid read more like 14 or 15, aside from the fact that he did do that really effing annoying thing all kids seem to be doing now . . . .
(Michael called it “ballgazers” and that actually made me laugh a little – but I’m sure would not please most parents and teachers. My kids just say “that’s a neck” and then karate chop the shit out of you for looking.)
Michael’s unfortunate familial circumstances also get whitewashed because apparently this is a book about an adult/child relationship that is very unlike Room in that no darkness should dare to tread. The “mystery” of the photos could have been something that resulted in an amazingly skillet-to-the-face type of reveal, but no. Again, this book is all about love and light. Except when it came to any time Noah talked about his nephew (and Michael’s father) . . . .
What makes a book literary fiction? Dense writing? Bogged down in unnecessary details? Filled with unlikeable people? Repetitive? Too many pages for the subject matter being tackled? Pretention? An author who has a day job at the New Yorker? Beat-you-over-the-head-super-preachy-but-trying-to-be-cleverly-hidden social commentary? A narrator who feels like an afterthought the majority of the time and who jumps the train off the track by choosing to begin telling her story at some point rather than the one she is supposed to be telling? If so, this checks all the boxes. It also had me like . . . . .
No point in attempting a review. I’m quite sure I was too stupid to “get” this book so I’ll save the trolls some typing. I didn’t like the characters– I didn’t like the writing – I didn’t like the message . . . . or rather the way the message was delivered. I didn’t like one thing about it and that’s my opinion. End of story....more
I mean, really. If you truly believe you need more, this is the story of four children who run away from the Lincoln Indian Training School in Depression Era Minnesota. It’s about their search for home, and those they come across, while making their way to the mighty Miss.
This book has a 4.50 rating on Goodreads, so chalk my mediocre reaction up to the usual turtle sucking. Blame it on all of the required reading I had to do back in my school-aged days and how this book is an amalgamation of all of my least favorites. Excluding East of Eden, but truthfully I only threw that title in there because of WARNING ACTUAL SPOILER THAT WILL SPOIL THE ENTIRE DAGGONE BOOK IF YOU CLICK IT(view spoiler)[the mother reveal and the whorehouse. (hide spoiler)].
Word to the wise for other curmudgeons: This story is 100% not realistic, so if you’re a stickler for believability you might want to take a pass. (Y’all know I kind of give a rip about whether or not something is plausible – 99.9999% of my ratings come from page turnability alone.) If you enjoy your coming of age with a lot of luck in the form of narrow escapes, coming across the right people at the right time and landing monetary windfalls when they are needed most, this might be a winner for you.
I’ve noticed high marks from many of my friends regarding one of this author’s other books (Ordinary Grace). Maybe that one will be more my style. ...more
EDIT 9/9/19 BECAUSE IT CAME TO MY ATTENTION OVER THE WEEKEND THAT THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED TO IRA LEVIN. NO WONDER IT'S AN IRA LEVIN KNOCK-OFF. I STAND BY MY RATING BECAUSE NO AUTHOR SHOULD BE REGURGITATING SOMEONE ELSE'S STUFF WHEN THEY ARE ONLY ON BOOK #3, BUT I AM ALWAYS WILLING TO ADMIT I'M AN IDIOT AND I WOULD HAVE MAYBE BEEN A LITTLE MORE LENIENT HAD I KNOWN THIS WAS ALL DONE ON PURPOSE.
WARNING: I AM GOING TO SPOIL THIS STORY. FOR REAL. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.
Right when Jules finds herself both jobless and homeless (thanks to an unfaithful boyfriend banging some strange in the middle of their apartment), a too good to be true opportunity pretty much falls in her lap – apartment sitting in a luxury building. In order to maintain the appearance of 100% occupancy and prevent any potential shenanigans until new tenants can be found, the co-op board of Manhattan’s Bartholomew pay a hefty sum for people to reside in empty units. Jules hops at the chance for free Central Park living that will net her a profit of $12,000 to start over after her three month stint is over. But what secrets are hiding within the Bartholomew’s walls? And what has happened to the other sitters who came before her?
Okay, so literally yesterday I wrote a review of a book that had a handful of similarities to other books that 100% did not bother me at all. I don’t know if it was the old “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” mumbo jumbo or that it was fresh enough that they seemed like shout-outs rather than rip-offs or what. It doesn’t really matter. What does matter is . . . . .
In case you haven’t figured it out I am the people in question here. I am fickle, I am a fuck and so is my “meh” rating.
Let’s start with the good first, though, shall we? To begin with, I read this LAST NIGHT. Like, I got off work, ran by the grocery store, pre-heated the oven to start dinner and opened the book. I was finished by 8:30 and had fed the humans I'm responsible for keeping alive annnnnnd washed the smelliest uniforms in the history of the world. Now, I know I read fairly quickly, but this was legit a fast read. Second, the book's timeline was fast too. Everything took place within a week which helped not only with the page turnability, but also when it came to the big reveal (no matter how RIDICULOUS *trademark Ron 2.0* it might have been). And finally, while I don’t live in NYC, I do work in a “city” and in order to get to the office I turn down this quaint little tree-lined street in the middle of high rises and ewwww that features a coffee shop and a corner restaurant/jazz bar and lofts with a little courtyard/fountain area that I immediately pictured as the building in question here . . . .
(And I literally just looked at the cover (because I read the Kindle version, but also checked out the hardcover in order to take a lameass book picture for Instagram) and saw Ruth Ware’s blurb comparing the two so it must be even more apparent than I thought.)
Obviously that had to be some sort of red herring, though, because it was waaaaaaaay too easy to sniff out. I will admit that I did not see the twist coming. However, when it did . . . . .
Urban legend????? Oh lort. I’m giving this one 2.5 Stars because I was highly entertained by that ending – just maybe not in the way the author intended me to be. (Rounding down because I could have really lived without the missing sister nonsense that didn’t go anywhere.) Please note I am TOTALLY in the minority here. Most of my friends gave it 4 or 5 Stars. Also note I’ll happily pick up whatever he releases next since they are fast and fun. 2 Stars = “it was okay” and it was absolutely okay for me....more
In case you aren’t familiar, very briefly The Nickel Boys is “the story of two boys sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida.” It is based on a place that actually existed and tells of the “teaching” that went on there. The school was segregated, so the two boys who are the focus of this story are black. Everyone and their dog has been reading this. Even Barry . . . .
I’m not going to get super detailed and pick apart this book because I read it wrong didn’t hate it. At all. It just didn’t really make me feel all the things it was supposed to make me feel. And the ending?????
I get that the ending was supposed to make me believe in hope and YES WE CAN and feel all the feels. But I have always been pretty clear that I don’t like to be emotionally manipulated – especially when 99.9999% of the story was supposed to be based on facts. You can’t throw in the unfathomable and expect me to swallow it down.
Maybe this would have worked better for me if it had been completely non-fiction rather than historical fiction based on reality. I’m almost certain the novella length did me no favors. Or heck, maybe Colson Whitehead is just not the author for me. He blew me away with The Underground Railroad, but also wrote the most boring zombie book in the history of the universe and now I feel mediocre about this one. I’ll still most likely pick up his next release since the library is only a couple of blocks away, but I’ll lower my expectations from this point forward.
That being said, I agree this is an important story to tell. I would highly encourage high school teachers to recommend it to their students. While the plot may be dark, details have been spared so I believe older teens would be/should be a target demographic for this one. After all, they are the ones who can change the world and they need to remember to . . . .
Make a career of humanity. Make it a central part of your life.
If you are looking for another book (I don’t feel comfortable calling it “true” since it appears the author may have pulled a James Frey regarding his “nonfictional” life story) of the atrocities that happen to boys in a juvie home that then follow them throughout their lives, I can’t recommend Sleepers enough – either the book or the film....more
I picked up The Body In Question after reading JanB’s amazing review (proving once again that Goodreads has some seriously talented bookpushers in its midst). I followed her suggestion and went in blind, but fully admit I had presuppositions (is that the word I’m looking for? probably not) since this was a book that focused on the jury rather than the accused, victim or attorney parties that it would be a bit . . . .
If I had read the publisher’s blurb – which literally tells THE ENTIRE BOOK – I may have steered clear. Bottom line? If Juror C-2 and I ended up the same room together, she’d probably have something like this to say to me . . . .
Please be advised I am 100% a wrongreader of this one. However, as long as things like Book of the Month Club and Instagram and endless zero-cost-to-me reads from my library exist, I will continue reading everything available to me (generally without even looking at a blurb or a review first, as was the case here) for the rest of eternity.
Simply put, Ask Again, Yes is a family drama – or what I like to call . . . .
The story here follows two families for decades and decades and decades. It takes a turn with the occurrence of a superbadawful and continues on from there until it comes full circle. As I said above, I have read a crapton of books like these. Mainly because Oprah used to push them by saying stuff like . . . .
Now, there are exceptions (lookin at you, Ove), but generally I feel manipulated when I finish this type of book and it results in a low rating because I live for reads that truly make me feel the feeeeeeeelz, not ones that make me feel like a failure because no matter how hard the author tried, my robot heart just couldn’t get on board.
I would have given this three stars, but there was a decade-long timehop that wound up with everything that made the story take its second twist being glossed over and that was unacceptable to me. Rarely do I say books should be longer, but in this case a hundred or more pages would have been happily accepted.
I should have known better than to tempt fate after my miserable failure with Evelyn Hugo, but it was all over the Instagram and I am an easy mark.
I’ll be more than willing to take some of the blame for my experience here and say that from the cover/description I had definite opinions about what I was hoping the story would be like. Mainly in the form of . . . . .
How was no one else not completely bored with this? What a snoozefest! I was sure the high ratings were going to end up being just a Bookstagram thing because most of those young’uns are young enough that they might not realize this story/the delivery really wasn’t a fresh idea and was 100% done before . . . .
But most of my fellow oldsters over here loved it too. I’ll just go suck some turtles, I guess.
All that smacktalking aside, there is one thing about Daisy Jones that is deserving of all the Starzzzzzzz and that is the audio. Making it to the end of this selection had I opted for the print version may have ended up being one of the greatest struggles of my life (first worlder here), but the full cast audio was amazing. Too bad I hated the story they were reading to me : (
Seriously, though, who my age didn’t have a crush on . . . . .
Somehow after double fails, Maybe In Another Life is still calling my name. If that one ends up as a wrongread like these other two have, someone take me out of my misery if I ever mention reading another book by this author....more
Aidy Bryant is a continual over-the-top laugh-out-loud force every week on SNL and has become a quiet force in proving both the “women aren’t funny” and “fat people are disgusting” troll armies wrong . . . .
When I heard she was getting her own television show I was thrilled – followed by nearly immediately being crushed because I am not a subscriber to the Hulu. So I did what I do best and I looked to see if Shrill had started off as a book.
I started listening and thought this was going to be a little memoir on navigating the world as a fat female. Being that I myself am a fat female, I have definitely spent my adult life embracing my plus size and trying to present a confident/body positive image no matter what trolls might have to say otherwise about the subject. I was pretty sure I would like this book. And I did . . . . until I didn’t any more. Body positivity = good. Believing overweight people should be declared a protected class????
Again – this is coming from someone who is probably around the same size as Lindy West, but I’m not about to let my white privilege show through so much that I’m going to back her up on that argument.
Wishing comedians didn’t joke about things like rape = good. Spending 1/3 of a book arguing that you believe in free speech while kinda doing whatever was possible to take away other’s (albeit disgusting uggos) free speech = notsogood. And speaking of that part of the book. On what planet does Daniel Tosh deserve more attention than he already has received? At some point I think that turd would have dried up and blown away by now if it weren’t for all the attention he receives in response to his “bad boy” brand of humor. Oh and dare I forget the focus on the boypig Tosh (or even better the sour grapes presented to the non-offensive Patton Oswalt simply for being famous enough that people listen to him when he speaks) while Louis C.K. gets a pass . . . . .
I ended up not being the target audience for this “fat, feminist, abortion story” – obviously YMMV. If I didn’t have such a hair trigger when it comes to wanting instant gratification I would have taken a second to look at the blurb and see that West is Lena Dunham’s kind of girl which means she probably wouldn’t be the kind of girl for me. Guess that ol’ hindsight works for me here too ; )...more
I think my expectations may have been set a little too high here due to the fact that epistolary novels (confession: I just learned that word about a week ago – I always used the term “mixed media” as my descriptor of stories like these (and probably will continue to do so after this)) have become sort of my bag. The premise here is a decent one: Iris Massey has succumbed to cancer at the young age of 33. In passing, she has bequeathed to her former employer a blog she started upon learning she was not long for this world . . . . .
If you think this is any good, feel free to publish it. No pressure just because I’m dead.
What comes next is said boss Smith’s attempt to save his flailing business, his interactions with Iris’ half idiot/half mastermind replacement and his ever-evolving relationship with Iris’ sister.
This was a giant win for my friends who have read it. Unfortunately, it fell in the “meh” category for me. It took me a good 20% before I even felt like there was a chance I would become interested in any of the characters, I never did grow to like the blog posts and it didn’t make me have any feelings (and I totally just had a feeling about a porny the other day so I do get stricken by them every once in a while). If you want something light and cutesie (I know, creepy term to use about a death book, but it is fitting), this might be just the thing you’re looking for. ...more
There is very little chance I would have picked up the “girl with umbrella” version. Let me also say that the comparisons to Eleanor Oliphant or Where’d You Go, Bernadette? miss the mark as well. At best, this could be compared to specific moments such as . . . . .
I’m giving The Two Hearts of Eliza Bloom 2 Stars simply for my own personal enjoyment. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the writing and a modern Orthodox Jewish main character was certainly refreshing and not the cookie-cutter norm when it comes to female leads. However:
1. I don’t like twatty dudes . . . except occasionally when I pick up a motorcycle/shifter porno.
2. I don’t tolerate liars . . . . except occasionally when I pick up an unreliable narrator type of thriller.
3. I don’t accept cheating. Pretty much EVER.
That being said, my reaction to pretty much this entire thing was a big ol’ . . . . .