What a pickle this book has left me in! I should have hated it because it contained my (maybe only) dealbreaker plotline – one that 99.99999% of the time makes me . . . .
Since I received an early copy, common courtesy says not to divulge too much and ruin things for everyone else. Buuuuuuuuuut, Imma do it anyway because I don’t think it’s fair for readers to spend their dollars on books that they didn’t know contained subject matter that they would have steered clear of if they had known about it, and I don’t think it’s fair for authors to get blasted with 1-Stars due to readers picking up something they should have never touched with a 10-foot pole. But first, let’s briefly go over what this book is even about, shall we?
How Not To Die Alone focuses on 42-year old Andrew. Andrew works for the council as an organizer of “pauper’s funerals.” When someone dies with no apparent next-of-kin, it is Andrew’s job to sort through their homes (no matter how Hoarder-y or disgusting they may be) in search of contact information for any long-lost family or friends (or at least some stashed cash to help cover the burial costs). It’s a perfect fit for Andrew as his job provides plenty of time away from the office and less interaction with others – which is great when you accidentally created a fake wife and children due to not paying attention during your interview (years ago) and failed to ever correct said accidental fib. All that changes when new trainee Peggy is hired and assigned to job shadow Andrew. Funny, friendly, and full of life, Peggy makes Andrew see things in a whole new light.
Okay, so the thing that a lot of people are going to take exception to (myself included) is Peggy is married and has children, but is, at minimum, emotionally cheating on her spouse throughout the duration of this book (not to mention despite Andrew’s family being imaginary, as far as everyone is concerned he’s married too). I’m telling you I’m just not okay with some things. Married co-workers grabbing lunch together during the workday is questionable enough for me when there is clearly a sexual chemistry between the two, but going out to dinner sans spouses? Hell nah. That’s a date, bro, and also known as grounds for divorce. Maybe I'm just old fashioned, but I also think I'm the target demographic for this book and have a sneaking suspicion I'm not the only one with antiquated beliefs who will be interested in checking it out and find themselves a bit put off with this portion of the storyline.
But here’s that pickle I mentioned. I still loved this book. I mean, yeah I put it down/took a breather several different times and was very happy my husband wasn’t around to see the R.B.F. to the nth degree that was occurring as Andrew and Peggy’s relationship evolved, but at the end of the day the blurb was spot-on. This absolutely was “darkly funny” and “life-affirming” and, despite there being DOZENS of taglines on books out there saying they are “for readers of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine,” this one might actually fit the bill. I fell in love with Andrew and Peggy and the end result????
ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, NetGalley!...more
Actual surveillance footage of what I looked like while reading this book . . . . .
Meet Autumn. Six months ago she was struck with a feeling and pulled off some divine intervention that ended up saving Declan’s life. Ever since she’s sorta been stalking keeping an eye on him in order to make sure no danger comes his way. Pretty much she’s his self-declared guardian angel. A chance encounter brings the duo face-to-face and Autumn learns that . . . .
Or, in this case an “O Face” ; )
I first discovered this author courtesy of a stabby little agoraphobe who lived in a placed known as 6E. Later my mind was pretty much blown when I realized Moonshot wasn’t only a potential candidate for the OhHowILoveClaytonKershaw spankbank, but by the same author. Talk about a switcheroo! AND THEN! Then she melted my underdrawers clean off with Sex Love Repeat. Whew! Just thinking about that one . . .
Where was I? Oh yeah, I was at the point where I was a megafan so as soon as I saw this title (and most adorable cover ever, amIrightoramIright?) I had a mighty need. My wish was granted 48 hours before release and I since I was left to my own devices for a few hours last night before resuming my chauffeuring and maid services for my children I was able to read this whole thing in about a hot second. So now all of you only have to wait ONE MORE SLEEP until you can get it! And you need to get it. I mean, if you are like me and are looking for an escape during this hectic time of year in the form of a funny romance with loveable characters and smexy smexytimes and even maybe a couple of feelz thrown in for good measure.
All the Starz.
ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, NetGalley!...more
Normally I wouldn’t be posting a review so many months in advance of a book’s release (heck, let’s face it – normally I end up failing miserably and reading half of the ARCs I receive after their release date), but there was zero chance I wasn’t going to talk about this one on Valentine’s Day.
The story here is about Annie. Ever since she was a little girl she has dreamed of the moment she would meet-cute her one true love. She was always sure it would come in the form of a true “a ha” moment – with a man who may or may not live on a houseboat, possibly with a child, maybe after tragically being widowed. Either that or it would be in love to hate form via e-mail correspondence or some form of social media where she sparred unknowingly with the man who was to be her soulmate. But has Annie become so wrapped up in the fantasy that she won’t be able to recognize the real thing when she sees it???
As I told my husband, I have been waiting for Tom Hanks to come for me for the duration of our 22-year marriage (and after going on a .gif hunt for this maybe I’ve been waiting for Meg Ryan too????). There was zero chance I wasn’t going to do whatever was necessary in order to obtain this title. There was also zero chance I wasn’t going to then proceed to crap my pants in fear that I would hate it/it wouldn’t live up to my expectations. Luckily there was absolutely nothing to fear. Waiting for Tom Hanks was EXACTLY what I wanted it to be: a classic PG style rom-com, only in print format rather than projected on the silver screen. (However, please note this should immediately be optioned and someone should be calling Chris Pratt’s agent to see how many zeroes he would like at the end of his check in order to play the male lead.) If nothing makes your Grinch heart turn to goo like moments like these . . . .
Get your dollars ready come June.
Happy Hallmark Holiday everyone!!!!!
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Oh, and Berkley? As you know, this was a two-book deal. No pressure or anything, but if I don’t get the second one as soon as it is available?
A very short while back, my friend Bill was reading this selection and I was pretty sure I needed it in my life too. I gave Real Dan a big shove nudge in its direction too. I figured I would keep an eye out for a $.99 sale or until someone rewarded my oh-so-very-good-all-year behavior with an Amazon gift card come Christmastime and then treat myself. Lucky for me . . . .
But it’s more like where the saké drowns and the comedy porn chases your blues away because Dan got hammered and drunk-purchased this little beauty that he then kindly lent to me. (Isn’t he the best? Answer is yes he is.)
The story here starts with Ralph and Julie, a married couple. Things were perfectly okay in their relationship, until they brought a friend into their bedroom with them . . . .
Then it seemed Ralph couldn’t do anything without his little buddy guiding him along. When Ralph discovers Julie has been on internet dating sites trying to find some replacement smex, he does what any nutcase rational person would do and approaches a stranger to participate in some bad (emphasis on the BAD) intercourse with his wife in order to prove that old adage the grass isn't always greener . . . . but things don’t go quite as planned.
Ha! Who am I kidding? I love it! This story is exactly what it claims to be on the cover: a filthy comedic thriller. What it has in common with Strand’s other stuff? His signature dialogue-driven narrative. He’s one of the best at people doing the talky talky with each other, for sure. This won’t be for everyone – because it absolutely is porny and OTT, but if you’re brave enough to venture out of the “Strand is a HORROR writer” comfort zone, you might find his best stuff falls into other genres.
Undying gratitude to Dan for the lend. Let me know if I ever need to wear my biggest T-shirt in order to hide a gun in my pants for you! ...more
Okay, maybe not. But she is 26 years old and has never done the deed. When she was a teenager, it was because she had certain ideals and expectations . . . .
By the time she got to college, her attitude was a little different . . . .
But now that she’s on the downhill slide toward 30 with V-card still firmly in place????
Nearly EVERY dude she comes into contact with is a possible contender. The only problem????
Julia kinda has a hard time sealing the deal and not talking herself out of it when opportunities arise. Spending the summer with her spinster aunt in Durham, Julia has a whole new approach to things . . . .
“Scrolling through the stock pictures on the tourism part of the website, I saw one of a man and woman laughing at a candlelit dinner. Another showed a couple wearing bright T-shirts and lounging in each other’s arms and staring at a hot-air balloon in the sky. I thought, This is where I’m going to lose my virginity. It would be like going to another country; I would be completely anonymous.”
And now Imma let the blurb do some of the talking . . .
“For readers of Rainbow Rowell …”
Wait, what? Okay, not really. I think they’re trying to hook lovers of Attachments, but since that is Rowell’s lesser-known story this would probably backfire horribly and wind up horrifying a bunch of Eleanor & Park fans instead.
“… and Maria Semple”
Okay, that’s more like it. Just be forewarned that it’s less of the sheer brilliance that made up Where’d You Go, Bernadette and more of the Today Will Be Different or This One Is Mine vibe/humor.
It truly is “filled with offbeat characters and subtle, wry humor ... is about the primal fear that you just. might. never. meet. anyone. It's about desiring something with the kind of obsessive fervor that almost guarantees you won't get it. It's about the blurry lines between sex and love, and trying to figure out which one you're going for. And it's about the decisions—and non-decisions—we make that can end up shaping a life.”
With the focus on a pretty stereotypical millennial who MANY will find extremely hard to like. I appreciated her irreverent wit, however, so maybe you will too????
P.S. If anyone would like to hire me for an “if you liked this, then you might LOVE this” kind of job, I’m super available and obviously I will name-drop a shit-ton of books in one place : )...more
I wanted The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls for the title alone and was beyond shocked when I received an advanced copy back in October . . . . which I then promptly made sure to not read due to the blurbage that stated it was for fans of An American Marriage. Uhhhhhhhhhhh. With the release date quickly approaching I figured it was time to put on my big girl panties and let the chips fall where they may.
I opted to bite the bullet when I got home from work last Thursday (a night that I usually have alone, but thanks to endless ice/rain/sleet/hail/thundersnow (yes, that’s a thing) I had the family with me). Luckily a snow day for Friday had already been called and the hubs had a very important Iowa Hawkeye basketball game to watch so it was pretty much like no one was there anyway. It was a good thing too because I read this book cover-to-cover in the course of that evening – becoming so wrapped up in the lives of the Butler family that I totally ignored my own.
The story here begins with Althea and her husband Proctor being sentenced to the federal penitentiary for food stamp and charity fraud. What unfolds is the history of three sisters and a brother who grew up in a family who firmly believe in the principal . . . .
“The past is the past.”
The reader discovers the Butlers are a group who should have had someone willing to have a moment like this with their daddy . . . .
Or another sibling . . . .
Or even their spouse or momma . . . .
But much like The Color Purple this is a book with the lesson that . . . .
I will admit that there were some things I wanted to know moremoremoremoremore about – specifically Althea and Proctor's crimes. However, I fully understand that since those two characters were incarcerated it would have been more than a little far-fetched for them to share any additional details that had not been provided/alluded to. (Inquiring minds still want to know/are disappointed they don't, though.) But really, at the end of the day? Family drama is my siren song - 4 Stars.
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review....more
I was fully prepared to come to this space and present myself sort of like this . . . . .
Now that I’ve logged on I realize only one of my GR friends has read this selection and she didn’t even rate it because it didn’t work for her either. It was Instagram that was flooded with this one since it was a Book of the Month selection awhile back. What a great feeling to be able to tell myself (at least for a minute) that I read something right ; )
Seriously, though, I’m obviously a lemming and if something shows up on my feed enough (except here, because somehow the GR recs are totally on crack and they need to tighten that game up) I’ll take the bait. I’ve also confessed about eleven trillion times that I either (a) don’t read blurbs at all or (b) only read the first line or two – and duhhhhhhh, I’m a fast reader so it’s not like I really feel like I wasted my life on something even if I don’t fall all over myself about it.
Ghosted is the book that proves I should stop doing everything I mentioned above and completely change the way books get added to my TBR. I immediately dismissed the “when Sarah meets Eddie, they connect instantly and fall in love” because Eddie then went missing and I was super psyched for some . . . .
But that was not meant to be. What I got instead?????
Ugh. This was NOT. FOR. ME. I really want to give it 1 Star because it was truly turrrrrrrrrible and the worst form of tragiporn full of every cliché you could possibly throw in to one book and sooooooooooooooo not a romance I could be a fan of (and trust me, homegirl has been getting down with some romance books lately – and not just the hide-the-salami kind either). I’m going to be generous and give it 2, though, because I should have at least scrolled the first page of reviews and noticed all the 1s and 2s instead of blindly jumping off the cliff....more
I’m not even gonna lie and try to say when I first heard of this title, my mind didn’t immediately go . . . .
The book wasn’t afraid to go there as well . . . .
“Worstley is eighteen, white as milk, and tall and strong with wavy blond hair and earnest blue eyes that sparkle with a call to greatness.”
It wasn’t afraid to “kill” him for most of the story either. Which left the remaining ensemble cast to . . . .
And me with a reaction that was more like . . . .
I have to confess that I had to look up Kevin Hearne due to my unfamiliarity with his stuff. I still have no clue who Delilah S. Dawson is. What I do know is this book had some pretty killer swag that I wish I would have been a part of even if the book didn’t end up being a winner for me . . . .
That’s how you do a marketing campaign, kids.
Sadly, though, Kill the Farm Boy ended up being a fail. Not only did it seem to drag on and on without a lot of content to propel it, but apparently I’ve grown too old to endure endless fart and boner jokes. Well, maybe some fart stuff will always be funny . . . .
I wanted Monty Python - I ended up with Van Wilder. And it’s #1 in a series????
It appears the marketing blurb has been changed a teensie bit, because I’m positive when I decided I want to read #fashionvictim it was said to be “The Devil Wears Prada meets American Psycho.” Having now read this book, I can only say . . . .
I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to see a comparison that makes sense and not one that just barfs out it’s “the next Gone Girl.”
This may have been a right place/right time read for me but whatever, I’m going with it. From the cover to the hashtaggy title to the one-line seller . . . .
“Bitches get stitches.”
We’re talking pure campy good times as Anya does everything it takes to make her mark on the fashion world and get in Sarah's inner circle. All that's left to say??? Dear Amina Akhtar . . .
All we have to do now Is take these lies and make them true somehow All we have to see Is that I don't belong to you But if you keep writing like this you might have to belong to me
ARC provided by Crooked Lane in exchange for an honest review. ...more
I knew I was going to have to get my hands on a copy of Don’t Make Me Pull Over as soon as I saw the cover. I mean, who could really resist the siren song which is that of the family truckster . . . .
Being that I am of a certain age, my fondness doesn’t lie courtesy of film alone. No no, I was a willing victim passenger of the “way back seat” as a child. Much like the author, some of my best memories spurred from the place where only the youngest member(s) of the family were forced to ride. If you’re looking for a bit of nostalgia, Richard Ratay’s take on family trips might be for you . . .
“It wasn’t that we enjoyed spending endless hours imprisoned together in a velour-upholstered cell, squabbling over radio stations and inhaling each other’s farts. It was that we had no other choice.”
Funny how the timing worked out such that I was reading this right when my family is set to embark on a weekend road trip. Of course, their “must see” item on the road is where Last Chance U is filmed while mine would be something more traditional . . . .
Luckily Ratay was of like mind with me. You might find yourself a little bogged down with the history of not only how the automobile came to be mass produced, but also how roads themselves were developed/designed/funded. But right when you think it has gone off the rails, Ratay swings you back in the direction of his personal history and tidbits that make you chuckle from nostalgia. Like dodging Ol’ Smokey courtesy of the fuzz buster and CB radio . . . .
Or the holy grail of road trip time passers . . . . .
If you had one of these, you know time spent was precious because not only did it suck batteries like a G.D. hoover, but it also had no volume control and its use was sure to be permitted only momentarily before the elders in the car went batshit and snatched it away.
All in all, this served as a pretty decent trip down memory lane of all the fun that was had while trying to reach our destination . . . .
Korede has always felt it was her responsibility to look after her younger sister Ayoola. Not only is Korede older, but she’s also the sensible one, the one with the good job. And while she may not be the “pretty” one – at least she doesn’t have a habit of murdering her boyfriends.
Thus is the plot behind this compact little slice of fun. If you enjoy the stabby stabby over the bump and grind while sitting poolside, My Sister the Serial Killer might be right up your alley for a fun little time killer.
3.5 Stars because that cover deserves at least a half star all on its own . . . .
ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, NetGalley! ...more
“Really? Because I live in America, and we are NOT a skinny nation, hon.”
I know this was an ARC and I’m not supposed to quote it, but put two tears in a bucket and motherfuckit because that up there is G.O.L.D.
I have to admit that the ONLY reason I wanted to read this was due to the controversy. Please note I didn’t bother looking at the actual “oh this is so offensive and fat shamey” rant until AFTER I finished reading.
Now that I’m done what do I have to stay about the book? Well, let’s address the good and then we’ll get to the notsogood:
First, perfect title is perfect because whether it’s actually said out loud or simply thought in a “shaming” thought bubble – “Good Luck With That” is often the reaction people who continually say they’re going to change something about themselves – but never end up actually being able to (or being happy about) – receive. Be it losing 100 pounds or quitting smoking or chopping their long hair into a pixie cut because “it’ll be super cute now that it’s a different color” (<<<< can you figure out which one is me????) Anyway, right or wrong it sometimes happens.
Second, these friendships. We’re talking #lifegoals here people. These women were UNCONDITIONALLY supportive of each other. There was no “Oh Lord girl, you are TOO FAT now and don’t tell me it’s not because you eat two large pizzas every night” or “you’re going to get a divorce? You KNOW no one else is going to love your fucked up self” or “Really? A chef? You seriously think people are going to want to get a ‘healthy’ dinner delivered from a fat girl?” THAT is shaming and there was none of it.
Third, the list . . . .
(Please note this list is something that was written by a child, but seriously I never realized how monumental tucking in a fucking shirt could be until I got fat.)
Fourth, Kristan Higgins pretty much just GETS. IT. I’m not going to get banned from freebies forever by posting highlighted segments, but she gets it.
Okay, so what didn’t I like?
Well to begin with: If you’re not a fan of Chick Lit stay far farrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr away because this thing is so chicky it might as well have come with a free lifetime supply of tampons.
It also felt like it was about 47,000 pages long. It could definitely stand to take a turn on the chopping block.
Next, all three of these women needed massive amounts of therapy stat. The one who dies (not a spoiler, the whole story only happens because she dies like instantly) is the only one who actually acknowledged not only her unhealthy relationship with food but the reason behind it. The two survivors? Both had mommy/daddy/sibling issues and needed professional help since they were mid-30s and still crippled emotionally by their families.
Which leads to the WHY??????? If anyone wants to clutch their pearls and get offended, THIS is what should offend them. Why couldn’t at least one of them JUST. BE. FAT. Again, Emerson (the one who dies) eventually tells her reason and it’s one that makes sense. But seriously I’m like 99.99999% sure Marley would have never been “skinny” due to genetics because she was presented as someone who worked out and ate healthy and etc., etc., etc. so WHY ADD ON THAT TWIN BULLSHIT?!?!?!?! And if I really want to go ahead and re-write this author’s (perfectly fine) story for her, I kinda wish Georgia would have been presented as someone who was always not truly “fat” (more like a “plus size” 12-14 because her mom actually WAS a fat-shaming asshole) who ended up with body dysmorphia and an eating disorder because of it. However, that’s not how it was and they were all fucked up due to their families and apparently fat people can’t just be fat without superbadawfuls so like I said get pissed if you want because that was sort of grating.
Then, every single man in the thing was either an uggo (excluding potentially the brother’s husband, but he wasn’t in it enough for me to confirm that thought) or so jacked up that THEY needed therapy too.
Finally, wanting to change other people. Broken people SHOULD NOT be throwing stones from inside their glass houses FFS. Georgia with the nephew and Marley with Will. Annoying and unfortunately the moment never came when either woman was told to STFU and fix herself first before trying to fix someone else.
And again, super chick litty. But the message wasn’t meant to be a negative one so here’s to never being disappointed with what you see in the mirror : )
Now to address what started this whole mess . . . . .
Sit the fuck down. To other readers: PLEEEEEEAAAAAAASE be careful what bandwagon you jump on. People who get offended by something THEY HAVEN’T EVEN READ (and no, reading/skimming 1/3 of a book is NOT reading the book) are probably not well-informed when it comes to what was supposedly so offensive. And like 99.99999% of the time someone is “triggered” by some bullshit I instantly channel my inner Inigo Montoya because they keep using words that don’t mean what they think they do. Also, authors who get ranty about other authors aren’t necessarily looking out for anything but their own best interest. Half the time (and that’s being kind) they could give a shit about feminism or fat people or spreading some good word about love and light. Instead they bash a book only to follow said bashing in short order with an announcement that THEY have written something about the same topic and EVERYONE (*cough their mom, grandma and aunts cough*) says it’s sure to be a hit. The majority of the rest of the time THEY ARE STILL SIMPLY CAUSING AN UPROAR IN AN ATTEMPT TO GARNER ATTENTION FOR THEMSELVES/SELL THEIR OWN (*cough probably self-pubbed cough*) BOOKS. Bottom line, be leery of the person crying BBA if there’s a chance that THEY may actually be one.
EDIT TO ADD: I just scrolled through the top reviews and I'm happy to see people who actually HAVE read it are starting to counteract those uninformed 1 Star ratings. I don't give a crap if someone doesn't want to read this or ends up thinking it was garbage, but I'm more than a little tired of authors being told what stories they aren't allowed to write. And also thank you Goodreads for putting that block button right up at the top so I have easier access to it : )
ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, NetGalley!...more
You’re all familiar with the “Walk of Shame” right . . . . .
Oh wait, wrong genre. This book was about the other kind . . . .
Meet Taylor. She’s gone through high school pretty much like this . . . .
When she gets waitlisted to Columbia rather than immediately accepted, she doesn’t take it well and ends up not only . . . .
Or at least that’s what the entire school thinks when word gets out that Taylor woke up next to none other than super player Evan . . . .
Now Taylor just wants everyone to shut up about her – or even go back to thinking she was the “Ice Queen” like before her not-really-a-one-night-stand-one-night-stand. The way she thinks that can happen? Enter into a fake relationship with Evan until they are yesterday’s news.
I’m telling you if this were a Netflix movie I would watch the crap out of it. Actually the way I ended up reading this was because I got put on an eternal waitlist for To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before once I discovered that was a Netflix movie and I wanted instant gratification in the form of YA romance so I checked this one out instead. Obviously this wasn’t a life-changer and the writing wasn’t real great either. Buuuuuuuut, I enjoy the fake relationship trope enough that I found it to be a cute little couple hour time waster and . . . .
I now declare Young Adult Week on Goodreads officially kicked off! ...more
Hey David Joy, you should probably read this book. See how the book pushing works both ways???? The only difference is Joy won’t see this and I stalk see everything he posts. But seriously, if you are a fan of David Joy, there’s a solid chance Terry Roberts will work for you. Strange too because the two authors have very different approaches to similar types of characters/locales.
Char gets complete credit for me even hearing about this book, let alone braving my inability to work the interwebs enough in order to navigate my way through the request process over at the oh-so-not-user-friendly Edelweiss. The title alone sold me. And the title doesn’t lie – this absolutely was a story of a traveling troupe which were part revival show and part speakeasy. I was counting on it being my usual slice of fictional South and definitely found myself asking . . . .
Imagine my surprise when I found I was reading . . . . a religious story? Now let me put it on record that I am NOT a religious person. I was raised in the church and made my exodus as quickly as possible upon reaching adulthood. That being said, this story was magnificent so it didn't matter that I wasn't thumping my bible along with the beat. I caught on to the undercurrent of the scripture being thrown about as being more than just a gimmick pretty quickly – and yet I not for one minute ever wanted to put this down or felt like I was being bamboozled (*cough The Shack cough*) or had any sense of disappointment that this wasn’t the “grit lit” I had sought out. Instead I simply sat back and let the words pour over me. Words about family and friendship and loyalty and love and right and wrong and the grey areas in between - and, yes, even the word of the Lord. Words that made me feel some of the feelz and words that made me chuckle . . . Good words.
I’m giving this one all the stars.
ARC provided by Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. ...more
JFC I read this one a looooooooooooooooooooong time ago. This was my third Kara Thomas book and I’m happy to report each one has gained a Star on its predecessor (a reminder to all – especially myself – to not tank an author because of one mediocre experience). The title alone had me singing . . . .
The premise of The Cheerleaders goes a little summin’ like . . . .
“Some people say a curse fell over our town five years ago. What else could explain the tragic deaths of five girls, in three separate incidents, over the course of three weeks?”
I mean, really . . . .
“What are the odds that five girls from the same school, all friends, would die within a month of each other?”
When Monica, the sister of one of the aforementioned dead cheerleaders, finds an ominous note and her deceased sister’s cell phone hidden away, she decides she’s going to take it upon herself to . . .
“CONNECT THE DOTS. FIND THE TRUTH.”
Then it’s only a matter of time before she realizes . . . .
“If you look hard enough, you’ll find something that’ll make you wish you hadn’t.”
Before anyone gets all . . . .
Please remember this is a YOUNG ADULT mystery. Of course this gal is gonna get all up in the Mystery Machine in order to figure out if Old Man Jenkins had anything to do with all of this . . . . wait, am I mixing my metaphors or some such type of thing there? Whatever. Just go with it. Anyway, if you don’t enjoy YA there’s a good chance you won’t like this either. But if you do? I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised that it’s willing to go a little dark.
ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, NetGalley! ...more
“There’s need,” she said. “God knows there’s need.” Her voice was awesome, biblical. “God knows.”
Bastard Out of Carolina had been on my TBR for an age due its prevalence on the annual Banned Books List. I’m not quite sure why I never got around to reading it before now, but since I’ve rectified that situation I would be a strong proponent for this being taught as a companion piece to To Kill A Mockingbird in high school literature classes. After all . . . .
Much like Mockingbird this is an unforgettable coming of age story that will forever stand the test of time. It just presents a different take on things: What if you were told about the childhood experiences of one of the Ewell girl children rather than Scout Finch? Or as the book points out on a couple of different occasions – what if you read about the dirty white-trash Slatterys rather than the O’Haras in Gone with the Wind?
The Black As Mitchell’s Heart label should be taken into consideration 100% before picking this up because it is as bleak and brutal as they come and it absolutely shredded what’s left of mine. Credit to Ms. Allison's writing where it is due because some of the alluded to moments in this book are the most powerful - and the one scene that is absolutely in-your-face completely gutted me....more
Apparently all of my friends read this because Roxanne Gay told them to, but since I am not a big Roxanne Gay fan I wasn’t even aware she was recommending it. What I was aware of was that the title gave the appearance it might be one of my fave tropes – THE FAKE DATE TO A WEDDING!!!! And it totally was. I didn’t read the synopsis and I am such a moron I didn’t take the cover literally either (because seriously that cover looks like a Jane Austen knockoff). I just added my name to the long library list and waited my turn all the while picturing my favorite romance movie tall dark and handsome drink of water as the leading male . . . . .
Now, if you want to make all of the sexies with Josh Duhamel like I do, you will know his leading ladies tend to be a little – okay A LOT – alike. Girls like this . . . .
And this . . . .
And this . . . .
Imagine my delight when the female lead in this little romance ended up looking like . . . . .
It’s about fucking time. AmIRightOrAmIRight?!?!?!?!?!
As for the story itself? I can’t say it blew me away. It ended up being your basic “how do we make a long distance relationship work?” kind of tale. The characters didn’t have a lot of depth – the reason behind the commitment phobia on the male’s part was pretty thin – the sex was a bizarre kind of fade-to-black kind of not mash up. But if you’re looking for a couple of hour time killer because you are opting for a pool day while your family blows their fingers off tomorrow, it might be a winner. Lord knows I most likely read it wrong....more
Full Disclosure: I never read a synopsis for this before I decided I had to read it. Full Disclosure 2.0: I 100% wanted this book as soon as I saw the cover . . . but I also 100% didn’t want it because of the cover. Tell Me Lies (from the cover alone) was a story that could have either gone really well for me . . . or gone terribly bad. Luckily . . . . .
“I know what I know. Lust and love erase ethical parameters, and that’s just the way it is.”
Yes please. Even Mitchell could get on board with a “romance” book like this.
If you enjoy reading the darker side of love à la The Rules of Attraction, Tell Me Lies is a book you don’t want to miss. Told in alternating chapters by Lucy and Stephen, this is the story of a clinically depressed girl who fell in love with a narcissistic sociopath. It’s not very fast paced and there’s not a whole lot of action, but somehow it was still completely un-put-down-able.
Readers will be pleased to know that the pink elephant in the room is addressed and that the author doesn’t try to play dumb when it comes to the title. . . . .
But since I am super young and definitely not a person who has Tango in the Night on vinyl, I had a couple of different songs playing the loop in my head. Classics from The Biebs and Brit Brit . . . .
Okay, for serious I am super old but I did totally think of those other lyrics as well.
4 Stars because there was a lil' something something extra added (that I won't spoil here) I found to be absolutely unecessary.
Oh and NetGalley, you can go ahead and decline my pending request for this one. The pornbrarian hooked me up....more
Overdue book review #437. I read this IN JUNE. I suck so hard at posting shit this year. Good news is I kind of remember this one – better news is it kind of meanders a little bit of everywhere so there’s no reason to get wrapped up in the details. Basically, if your idea of a good time is reading about a 20-something housekeeper (with a side hobby of taking bizarro selfies in her employers’ homes) who volunteers at the local methadone clinic handing out clean needles (with a side of looking for love in all the wrong places) who moves across country to find herself (with a side of hippie dippie neighbors and a commune in New Mexico) then this might be the book for you. It earns every single one of its Stars from me for being unique (well, maybe an extra one for that title and cover because that's the only reason I picked this up in the first place). Originality is something that has become almost extinct but Jen Beagin delivers it in spades . . . .
Stay-at-home mom Frances doesn’t really fit in with the other Seattle private school mothers. To say her son doesn’t either is the understatement of the year. So when the fabulous Kate decides to take Frances under her wing, she’s absolutely delighted . . . . . until the past starts potentially catching up to the present and long-held secrets threaten to be revealed.
Now I’m not saying you need to have a vagina to enjoy this book, but I am saying it probably helps if you’ve been faced with this accusation before . . . . .
I requested this simply for the cover and title. I don’t think many avid readers of mystery/thrillers will be surprised by the reveals contained and there certainly were no moments like this . . . .
Good news is there weren’t a whole lot of moments like these either . . . . .
The three narrators and wibbly-wobbly timeline worked for me and even though there was not a lot of shock and awe in figuring out the goings on, I couldn’t stop turning pages. And really? Give me characters with internal dialogue like this . . . .
“She’d offered him her virginity, and he’d thrown it back in her face like . . . tickets to a Nickelback concert.”
And I’m all like . . . . .
ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, NetGalley! ...more
"You know, people come to Italy for all sorts of reasons, but when they stay, it's for the same two things."
"Love and gelato."
When 16-year old Lina’s mother passes away from pancreatic cancer, she is encouraged by her grandmother to spend the summer in Tuscany in order to get to know Howard – a father she never even knew existed. Lina would have never guessed she’d end up living in a cemetery, or that her mother left a journal regarding her own time spent in Italy or that she would be uncovering a huge secret during her summer abroad.
Love and Gelato was an instant “yes please” due to the title and adorable cover. The story was a little bit . . . .
And a little bit of this . . . .
With a little bit of this . . . .
In case you aren’t familiar with that last image . . . .
In YA format. It’s sure to be a huge hit with its target demographic. 3 Stars from me since I’m old and horrible and I got annoyed that the supposedly huuuuuuge secret was not only 100% obvious, but that it took almost half of the book for Lina to figure out what was going on....more
“Everyone knows the story about Prince Henry’s hunt for the beautiful girl he met at the ball, how he searched from house to house, asking every unmarried woman in five parishes to try on the glass slippers. That is a pretty tale. As usual, the truth is more mundane.”
Is there anyone out there who wouldn’t want to be like this rather than one of those mealy-mouthed princesses?????
Or even like this (who so happens to be the focus of this particular story)??????
Wait. I think I might already be her. I’m even attempting to adopt a new kitteh who looks kinda like hers rather than the all black which I generally gravitate toward . . . . .
No wonder I wanted to read her story, right?
My picture from the ol’ Instagram this morning shows that I’m kind of a hoarder fan of retellings (I tried to put the Lunar Chronicles in there too, but they were being a-holes and wouldn’t stand up so they got chucked) . . . . .
All the Ever Afters was an absolute must read for me. The story here is of Cinderella’s stepmother . . . .
“I do not set out to write the princess’s history, but my own, the only tale I have the authority to tell . . . . As for fables about good and evil and songs about glass slippers, I shall leave those to the minstrels. They can invent their own tales about Cinderella.”
So, there you have it. This is the life story of the woman who would one day become known simply as a “Wicked Stepmother.” It tells of her childhood where she was born into a family so poor they sent her to become a laundry maid for the nearest royal house - to her pulling a bit of a con in order for a chance to serve the local abbey instead - to falling in love and out of favor with the abbess via an unplanned pregnancy - to learning how to become an alewife - all the way to her return to the royal house. It even explains how her daughters came to be known as the “Ugly Stepsisters.” It is up to the reader to decide if she (and her children) were truly awful, or if Cinderella was simply a coddled brat. ...more
“You can’t get in trouble for thinking things. Because if you could, wouldn’t everyone in the world be in jail?”
I knew NOTHING about this book before requesting it from the library other than the title. That was enough for me. It popped up on the “recommended to you” front page of the website and I assumed it would be some sort of mystery/psychological thriller since it didn’t have a nekkid feller on the cover (because apparently those are pretty much the only two types of books I request). Having now read it, is it wrong that I would lean toward putting this on the romance shelf????
Oh stuff it, God Warrior.
The book even says . . . .
“What love story ends in a police station interview room?”
“You’d be surprised.”
(^^^^That was probably the point where I realized this was going to receive many of the Starzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.)
Our Little Secret is the story of what takes place during the hours while Angela is being interrogated regarding a missing person. As Angela states . . . .
“I’m telling this like it’s the beginning of a love story; I’m catering to your needs as a listener. But we both know that’s not where the narrative’s heading, right? I mean, it’s bound to get much darker – why else would I be telling it in a police interview room?”
And no I haven’t been dabbling in all the meth I like in my fiction when I say it reads like a romance – because it does. Angela tells the story of how she met HP, and their friendship and eventually their love . . . and then some other stuff and things . . . .
I got so wrapped up in Angela and HP’s story that I completely forgot that someone was missing and I wasn’t reading a romance. And even better? I didn’t care if the big reveal was done with bells and whistles, or straightforward and simple, or a complete red herring – I was able to sit back and just enjoy the ride. Bonus: For those who aren’t fans of the wibbly wobbly timeline, this one doesn’t have it. It’s simply Angela telling her story from past to present with no timehops.
Thanks for the rec, pornbrary! You never steer me wrong. ...more
The dame is “Cheese” – the fella hung up on her is Sammy Two Toes. The story takes place everywhere from a dive bar, to a national forest to Roswell, New Mexico.
I was real worried that I’d have to look like this . . . . .
Due to my “meh” reaction upon finishing, but it appears most of my friends pretty much felt the same as me. The one thing I can say is Christopher Moore most definitely knows how to stick to a bit. Go read Kemper’s review if you want actual insight. Not only does he know how to words way better than I do, but I could also totally picture this story becoming Archer Season 24 or some such . . . .
This is one of those times where the blurb name dropping might be a curse. If readers go into this expecting something warped like Gillian Flynn, there will be a lot of disappointed faces on the intertubes (except for one scene that had Mitchell like awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww yeah!!!!). I also get the idea of the comparison to Donna Tartt because Tara Isabella Burton has a distinct writing style, but once again it’s not very accurate. Why all the bells and whistles? Why not only say exactly what this is and leave it at that? In case you don’t know what the “that” is let me scream it out for you: Social Creature is a A MODERNIZATION OF THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY - (but with 100% more vaginas).
Louise meets Lavinia and gets swept up into a lifestyle of champagne and endless parties. She becomes Lavinia’s “pet” of sorts – someone to groom, dress up, show how the other half lives. But Louise can’t afford Lavinia’s lavish lifestyle and even though Lavinia always means well and plans on picking up the tab, cab fare, etc., it doesn’t always work out that way. When Louise’s real life world starts falling apart and the shine wears off their new friendship revealing some truths, desperate measures are taken.
Social Creature is what would happen if this . . . .
And this . . . .
And this . . . .
Had a baby. Now you can decide if you want to read it.
ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, NetGalley! ...more
A year or so ago I would have had trouble trying to figure out who to recommend Oh Honey to (well, aside from the usual suspect, that is). If there’s one thing that’s for certain, it is that the main character Jane is strange and unusual. However . . . . .
So I immediately was smitten with her. But after the breakout success of Eleanor Oliphant and the overwhelmingly positive response from all sorts of different peeps to that endearing little oddball, I have no problem book pushing this one.
As said above, the story here focuses on Jane. She works at a place like this . . . .
And . . . .
“Whenever I feel especially downtrodden at work I call the man who hates me. I call the man who hates me at least once per shift. I once called him twenty-two times.”
Bibliophiles might enjoy some of her alter egos . . . .
"Hello my name is Scout Finch. I am calling on behalf of—" They hang up. "Hello my name is Jo March. I am calling on behalf of—" They hang up. "Hello my name is Hester Prynne. I am calling on behalf of—" They hang up. "Hello my name is Sara Crewe. I am calling on behalf of—" They hang up. "Hello my name is Anne Shirley. I am calling on behalf of—" They hang up.
I appreciated her humor . . . .
"Hello my name is Mattie. I am calling on behalf of Krippler Incorporated. Today we are conducting a survey on feline diabetes. Do you, or any member of your household, own a cat?" The respondent breathes heavily down the phone. "What are you wearing?" they ask in a moan. "You’re disgusting," I say, "but nothing, you?"
To the point where I laughed out loud at work a couple of times . . . .
"How was your day?" I query politely. "Well, I didn’t get that job at Taco Bell," he answers, dejected. "But you know what? I am almost sure it’s because Taco Bell is run by the same people who are responsible for the Armenian genocide."
"You think that the Germans are responsible for the Armenian genocide?" He taps his nose. I then say quietly, mostly to myself, "You think that Germans are responsible for Crunchwrap Supremes?"
But much like Eleanor, Jane’s story is not all fun and games. There’s some darkness contained in this tiny little sleeper of a story and that ending????
“To compete in these mountains, you have to be strong and tall. Otherwise, you won’t be able to reach the light.”
The year is 1952. The place is Howl Mountain, North Carolina. Allow me to introduce you to a few of the residents. First up is Rory. He fought in Korea and was sent home missing a leg. Ever since he’s been back he’s been earning a livin’ runnin’ that rye whiskey all up and down the hills . . . .
Rory lives with his Granny May. She used to be known for this . . . .
But she’s since left whorin’ behind and has made a name for herself when it comes to folk healin’. In her spare time she does a little of this . . . .
And a lot of this . . . .
Rory’s momma has been out of the picture for an age ever since a superbadawful happened to her that took her voice and left her in the looney bin. She came out of it with a little souvenir, though . . . .
Rory’s become quite fond of the local preacher’s daughter, but he ain’t quite sold on their church . . . .
If you know me, you’re probably well aware of the fact that I like my stories to be a . . . .
So why the hell the fair to middlin’ rating, right? I will admit the problem here is most likely a result of my wrongreading. Taylor Brown’s writing simply painted readers into Appalachia. Thus was the problem for me. I read about this area as often as I can. I don’t need to hear about the land in great detail every other paragraph. When you have characters like those mentioned above (as well as Eustace, Eli, etc.) I was looking for a story that focused on the people, not descriptions of the place. Once you meet Granny May, there’s a chance you’ll feel the same way too . . . .
“Christ’s father let him die on that cross,” she said. “I understand why he done it.” She leaned closer, whispering in his ear: “But Christ never had no granny like me.”
That cover, tho . . . I might should round up instead of down for that alone . . . .
Obviously I wasn’t the target demographic for this book. My husband was. And he read it. Since we’ve been married 20+ years and he’s only finished three books that I can remember during that time, when he told me he thought I would like this one I had to give it a go.
Before I get to what I had to say, let me tell you that ol’ hubs would give this one the full monty. In an attempt to give full disclosure, you should know that he’s also a Rapaport superfan. He listens to his podcast, every movie dude has ever been in makes his fave list, he’ll watch a TV show just because Rapaport’s guest-starring on it. Major one-sided bromance. He’s also a fan of all sports in general and is a fucking know it all has Rainman capabilities when it comes to stats and trivia tidbits.
Me, on the other hand? I currently live in a house full of these types of people and I was raised by another army of them. My kids play sports and sportsball games or shows about sportsball games are always on the television so I have a general knowledge of the rules and the who’s who. Really, though? My one sports-oriented bucketlist item was finally achieved . . . .
In addition to the catchy title, this thing wasn’t too bad. I will say it was a little East Coast – for obvious reasons since that’s where dude came from. My fan experience has been strictly flyover country centered, so I got lost occasionally in not knowing the various New York players from the olde days of yore that he fawned over. The bright side was, he was brutal when it came to trash talking. From Tiger Woods’ downfall due to the voodoo punany, to the King of Flop . . . .
(Who I still have permission to make-out with if we should ever meet.)
To the dad everyone loves to hate . . . .
NOTHING was off limits for Rappaport.
I listened to the audio of this and I have to say the delivery was a bit like an old SNL skit . . .
I’ve been accusing the husband of selective hearing for YEARS. Now I’m pretty sure he just went deaf from over-Rappaporting his poor earholes.
I was going to throw this one a bone (that’s what he said) and hand out 3.5 Stars simply for the fact that a Real Housewhores segment was included proving to my husband that my addiction to watching EVERY CITY ON THE PLANET is absolutely A-Okay. But then Rapaport gave Bethenny Frankel – who yes is most definitely a boss, but she’s a fucking crybaby when anyone calls her on her shit and I just can’t tolerate that noise – the #1 ranking when it’s sooooooo obvious there’s a new HBIC . . . .
I actually read this a couple of weeks ago, but then I discovered Instagram and book pictures and now I’m completely and totally obsessed just a teensy little bit into this new hobby so I had to wait for it to stop raining for 40 days and 40 nights in order to go up to the library roof and take this . . . . .
Totally worth it and not psychotically addictive behavior at all.
Before I even begin here, I feel I should tell you all about my relationship with Tracey Garvis-Graves. Noooooo, we’re not related or even friends. But she did write On the Island, a book that my non-re-reading self will re-read every single summer until I die. It’s just oh so very Blue Lagooney and it makes me feel pretty much like this . . . .
That being said, it’s a nearly impossible task for this author to write another “kitten riding a unicorn” type of book for me.
The current blurb states . . . . .
“Love doesn't come with an instruction manual.”
I say this is book is an example that . . . .
It’s a different (simply for lack of a better word – please don’t get offended) type of love story. And I really loved it . . . . until I didn’t. I’m assuming the problems I had will probably be just that – MY PROBLEMS – but they are what they are. I just do not like the device that tore Annika and Jonathan apart. I can’t remember a book where I was ever okay with it. Call it a trigger or whatever catch phrase is most fitting, but it annoys the crap out of me and my hackles remain raised for the duration once I read it. And then to top it all off there was my second most hated thing that I really should have seen coming, but I wasn’t paying attention to what the dates were and when I finally realized what was going to happen I was all like . . . .
But do you see what I mean? These were obviously my issues. For the rest of you, The Girl He Used To Know will probably make you feel like . . . .
ARC received from St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.
My reaction to being offered an ARC of this book . . . .