“At one time there was a social contract that if you played by the rules (went to school, got a job, and worked hard) everything would be fine. That’s no longer true today. You can do everything right, just the way society wants you to do it, and still end up broke, alone, and homeless.”
Nomadland is the three year study of a subset of retirees living the above quote. Either due to losing (or never acquiring) a pension, the housing bust, market crash, divorce, or a handful of other unpredictable situations, these folks have chosen a lifestyle similar to “a modern-day version of The Grapes of Wrath.” Their homes????
Their work? Whatever the change in season and change of location brings. From the much advertised . . . .
For the Christmas rush to various harvests in the Fall . . .
To maintaining campgrounds and manning rides at amusement parks throughout North America in the summer . . . .
(Ouch, shoulda ducked there, fella.)
These are people with an incomparable work ethic who have chosen to do whatever it takes in order to get by. They have swapped $100,000 per year budgets for $75 per week and comfortable homes with sprawling lawns in suburbia for motor homes, modified delivery vehicles and pull-behind campers. Their stories are simply fascinating. Highly recommended to those who have never experienced more than a First World Problem as well as anyone who is looking for non-fiction with the page turnability factor like what was found in Evicted. ...more
When some bad seafood leaves everyone in attendance at Ami and Dane’s wedding saying . . . .
There’s no way Ami, the queen of freebies (*cough maybe when it comes to a buffet, you should go ahead and fork over some cash cough*), is going to let her honeymoon trip to Hawaii go to waste. Enter Olive and Ethan, Ami and Dane’s siblings. Lured by a ginormous hotel suite and an itinerary packed with everything from ziplining to snorkeling to the obvious spa treatments, the two figure there’s little chance they will have to, you know, interact with each other during the 10-day getaway. That is, until they run into Olive’s brand new boss and his wife one night and Dane’s ex-fiancé and her new fiancé the next. Then????
I absolutely looooooooooooooooooooooooved this book for the first 67% (that’s a whole lotta percents). It was everything I want in a pretend relationship trope and to top it off it was hilarious. I loved the snarky interactions and dialogue between Olive and Ethan and I loved it even more when some truth uhhhhhh popped up while they were pretending to be newlyweds . . . .
“What are you doing?” I ask under my breath. “God, I don’t know,” he whispers, pained. “Just go with it.” “I can feel your penis.”
And even though it took a loooooooooooooooooong time for these two to figure out they should take it to pound town, it didn’t result in me looking like this . . . .
Since I was having such a good time.
But then a bunch of drama with the siblings came up and drama about Olive’s job and . . . .
I think I read like three of these authors’ books before I figured out they are a writing duo and I think all three of them have had some extra summin’ summin’ that has caused them to go off the rails for me. I would be curious to know if one of them brings the funny and the other brings the shit I hate angst. If that’s the case I think I might be five starring a solo act....more
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 . . . .
I like to be messed up. Unfortunately stories like this tend to not work out so great for me because . . . .
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.
“It’s just life, Lily. You can’t be afraid of life.”
“Sure I can.”
Lily isn’t like most 19-year old travelers. She had no silver spoon in her mouth or bottomless trust fund available for her to backpack around Europe. However, she still had a wanderer’s heart so when an opportunity to teach in Bolivia appeared she was all over it. When the job fell through, she holed up in the cheapest youth hostel she could find and ended up falling for a local named Omar who will show her the Amazon most people only read about.
Expecting something picturesque like this . . . .
Lily quickly discovers life in Ayachero is more like this . . . .
Is surprised to find this . . . .
And even more surprised by others like this . . . .
Who have been trying to find a mahogany grove for ages which will lead to deforestation and obliteration of the Tatinga tribe.
I loved The River at Night by this author and loved this one just as much. I don’t care if it was farfetched or unrealistic or whatever else naysayers want to point out. All I know is that Ferencik’s storytelling is hypnotizing, I enjoyed the undertones regarding conservation and the fragility of the Amazonian ecosystem without being beaten over the head by an eco-warrior (looking at YOU, Barbara Kingsolver), and I am now pretty much ready to poison myself with insect repellant every time I go in my backyard after reading about what bug bites could potentially do to my body. That equals a high rating and a two-for-two author who I will definitely continue to read....more
Boy, this is a tough one. If you’re not familiar, Dear Evan Hansen is actually a story originally presented as . . . . .
And it is good. SO. GOOD. Like give them all the Tony Awards good. And the touring company is coming here soon and I’m sooooooo hoping tickets will be available so me and my fellow songlover kid can attend. But my reaction to the book?????
Here’s the pickle I’m in. This was so much more than a novelization. It was full length and well written to boot. The problem? Evan is kind of an awful unlikeable character for a goodly chunk (like 90% of the thing) until the reader/audience really gets to know what makes him HIM and you can become sympathetic to him making this just a cringey type of read. And the character who IS automatically the one you want to get to know more? Well, unfortunately he’s dead . . . .
So the chapters from his perspective are few and far between.
Obviously other things were missing in the print version as well. Like . . . .
And . . . .
That boy is just farking adorable.
I’m always looking for stuff to listen to during the commute, but since I only spend about 20 minutes in the car each way I’m pretty particular about what I want. Funny, short, or something I’m already familiar with in some way are generally winners. Probably goes without saying the narrator needs to not suck (narrator definitely does not suck here). If you’re a lover of YA you won’t be wasting your time here – same goes for if you’re a crazy completionist superfan (trust me, no judgment). As for me? My family is just happy I’ve changed up the playlist I sing while I’m dusting, vacuuming, washing dishes, doing laundry, taking a shower awake . . . .
I held off on reading this one due to my friends’ “meh” reactions. But that cover kept calling to me like a dang siren song so I eventually broke down and added myself to the library wait list. I lowered my expectations when my turn came around, but really all I really would have needed to prepare myself to enjoy this was to glance at the name dropping of V.C. Andrews. If you’re of a certain age, you probably know what I’m talking about . . . .
Oh, such trashy childhood good times were spent with a V.C. Andrews’ book in my grubby little paws. The comparison here is a fitting one too. You have to be ready for a seriously over-the-top reveal much like that your granny may have watched on her daytime “stories.” And you have to be in the mood to read about how the other half lives . . . . .
As you uncover the truth behind what really happened on the day Seraphine and her twin Danny were born and their mother threw herself off of the nearby cliffs.
This was 100% an escape from reality for me and I practically inhaled the thing. 3 Stars with a bonus half for that cover....more
Actual footage of my reaction when I realized I was once again going to be a naysayer on yet another Taylor Jenkins Reid megahit . . . . .
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 . . . . .
And a playlist such as this on a loop in my brain . . . .
(#nailed it on that second one – thanks Brain!)
So what was the problem?????? I was expecting - at minimum . . . . .
Truth be told I wanted sex and drugs and all sorts of bad decisions. What I got instead?????
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 . . . . .
And while I never got the appeal of Benjamin Bratt from a looks standpoint, after hearing him talk to me for infinity (because this thing never effing ended), I have this to say to him . . . . .
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
I read this like two months ago, but I am SUCKING at posting anything lately so I’m just now getting around to it. Let’s start with the overall GR rating, shall we?
Yeesh. That’s low. Of course that means I loved it. #wrongreader4eva
The story here is a fairly simple one. After being married to Jacob for ages, Lizzie finally had enough one day and offed him. Left with the conundrum of how to dispose of the body in a way that would leave no evidence, Lizzie decided to do the most sensible thing . . . .
Makes this lady look totally normal, huh????
The remainder of the book is about Lizzie’s (ever-so-graphic) consumption of Jacob with a side order of . . . .
When I realized that my husband was dead, I also realized I had a chance to live.
Obviously this is not a book for everyone and obviously I kind of love fiction that is a little dark or taboo, which is 100% why I downloaded this from the library as soon as I heard of it. What I didn’t expect was to be presented with a story that was surprisingly an über macabre version of . . . .
This last month, I have had something to do, and I have had love. I am very lucky. It has been perfect.
Full Disclosure: I totally dry-heaved at the eating of the foot. Not only because feet are disgusting when they are attached to living human beings, but because absolutely no detail was spared when it came to the prep work, cooking or ingestion. Consider yourself warned – this is not for the weak stomached so have your barfbags handy....more
To say I was not the correct audience for this book is a serious understatement. Don’t even call me a wrongreader either because the blurb was responsible for making me think it was going to go all . . . .
With a story about a dude who maybe killed his wife on the river and the two young fellas who happen to stumble upon him both with and without his better half accounted for that also included a side dish of . . . . .
To amp up the adrenaline.
What I didn’t expect was for nothing – and I mean NOTHING AT ALL – to happen for the first 25% of the thing aside from descriptions of flora and fauna, both surrounding the lakes/rivers where the story is currently taking place or about the ranch and maple tree farm (okay not really a farm, but only serious tree tappers are boiling freaking syrup all night) where the two main characters grew up. Oh, the berry picking and fishing and the list of what they had packed and how to pack it in a canoe and how to sit in a canoe and the name of the type of paddling they are doing in the canoe and also the name of the person who designed the paddles for their canoe and on and on and on . . . .
If you read and enjoyed Bearskin or think . . . . .
Is a great movie, this might be another winner for you....more
Can’t live with them, hard to get away with killing them.
Kim and Nicki meet on an international flight and after sharing all their woes with each other come to the conclusion that . . . . .
“We have the perfect solution, you know,” Nicki said. “Solution for what?” Her eyes glittered like broken glass. “For our problems. I kill your ex. You kill my mum. We both get what we want.”
You know what happens next, right?????
But nothing is ever as simple as it seems. Especially when . . . .
The blurb is spot-on saying You Owe Me a Murder is perfect for fans of One of Us Is Lying. I actually enjoyed this YA retelling of a classic a lot more than The Kind Worth Killing and felt the writing was more tightly woven and the various reveals and twists made it un-put-down-able. Recommended to fans of young adult thrillers for sure....more
All I knew about The Beach before beginning is that it was a movie I never watched starring little Leo that was released about 72 years ago and that it seems to be on many “if you want to call yourself a bibliophile, you better read this” type of lists. Now that I’ve checked it off my reader’s bucket list I’m a bit at a loss for what to say. This is a story that had A LOT of things that I typically enjoy.
Potential utopia that eventually turns . . . . .
A narrator who continually has you asking . . . . .
Idiots abroad who stumble across a giant pot farm . . . .
So why the mediocre rating? Well, it also had some things that I don’t typically enjoy such as a lot of underlying political/social messages the author was trying to get across . . . .
And that unreliable narrator mentioned above? What was his name again? Richard? Yeah . . . . .
More like Douche LaRouche.
Not to mention his fall into insanity or wicked trips or whatever the eff was supposed to be going on had me like . . . .
And I know it was supposed to be because he was obsessed with Vietnam via movies and whatnot rather than actually being there, but it was still stupid.
In a strange turn of events, I actually liked reading about the place more than about the people this time around. Which goes to show I might be the most unreliable narrator of them all since I just totally flamed a book for being too descriptive about the setting....more
I’m going to be 100% transparent here and admit to the fact that I had never heard of Lindy West or her writing or this book. What I had heard of, however, was . . . .
I have such a wicked crush on Aidy Bryant it’s not even funny. From being one of the driving forces behind the female counterpoint to The Lonely Island . . . .
To owning everything there is when it comes to playing oversexed teens . . . . .
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 . . . . .
Hindsight is 20/20 on that one!
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’m pretty sure the last time someone was as shocked as I am about a newfound love for Alaska was when Pharrell met Maggie Rogers . . . .
(Is that reference too obscure? Probably. Here’s a little Boob Tube Clickity Click so you can see what I’m talking ‘bout (it’s real long so skip the first couple minutes).)
2019 is the year Kelly has the Pharrell face because this is the THIRD book I’ve read based in Alaska. If you’re keeping tabs, they have all been winners and all from different genres. I highly recommend The Great Alone if you’re looking for a deeper storyline or The Smell of Other People’s Houses if you’re a fan of great YA. The Simple Wild is getting all the starzzzzzzzz because I wanted a romance (but not necessarily something porny), I wanted it to be different than others in its genre and I wanted it to completely suck me in and help me pass the time while doing housework and laundry *barf*
The story here is about Calla who has returned to Alaska after 24 years upon hearing her father is battling cancer. Calla’s life has always been in Toronto so she’s not so keen on spending more than a week or so with dear ol’ dad . . . . .
Her beliefs are solidified upon meeting her dad’s douchey right-hand-man Jonah . . . .
Who is the epitome of everything her momma ever told her about Alaskan “sky cowboys” . . . . .
Of course they fall in love, right? Right. But they do it in such a great hate to love trope that I couldn’t stop smiling . . . .
“So, if you’re charming, what would Bobbie consider an asshole?”
“There’s one right now.” I follow his nod and find a reflection of myself in the mirror.
Why don’t I read more K.A. Tucker? I think this is the third book of hers I’ve picked up and I liked them all. Why does Atria continually torture me and deny me their ARCs knowing I have a failing brain and won’t remember to request them from the library on their release date? Inquiring minds want to know. ...more
This book is a prime example of the importance of Goodreads’ friends whose ratings you can trust. There is ZERO chance I would have ever checked out A Friend Is A Gift You Give Yourself simply due to the fact that the title sounds like potentially the worst self-help book ever written and, despite the fact I’m well aware I could use some therapy, I ain’t the type who is going to get it via a book . . . . or a therapist. I’m more of the embrace the crazy variety.
But I digress. Thanks to SUSAN’s brief but persuasive wrap-up, combined with her 5 Star rating, I immediately asked the library to purchase a copy – and thankfully they did. This is one time where the blurb is spot on. This was absolutely . . . . .
Meets . . . . .
And it was so much fun.
The story begins with Rena, the widowed wife of a mafia kingpin, having to engage in a little ashtray to the head moment when her neighbor’s invite to come over for coffee turns into a porno watching, Viagra swallowing, rapey boner of a time, forcing Rena to make sure he is well aware that . . . . .
The certain death of said geezer also causes her to panic and head to her estranged daughter’s house for protection. Unfortunately, the timing there isn’t great either which results in a game of cat and mouse with Rena, her granddaughter Lucia and the former skin-flick star/neighbor Wolfie on the run in a stolen car with a trunk full of dirty money and multiple mobsters in pursuit trying to kill catch them.
What a rip-roaring good time. This thing was an action-packed, fast paced and sometimes hilarious ride. Despite the fact that it came to my attention my brain had cast people well over the age they probably truly were supposed to be, I couldn’t help but imagine Rena as . . . . .
And Wolfie as . . . . .
Half star deduction because I don’t like obnoxious, know-it-all teenagers (I already live with a couple of them so I don’t need any included in my fiction), and this one was no exception. Rounded up because Mo will definitely go down in the history books as one of my favorite characters of the year and I would 100% read more of her story....more
I have officially been revolutionalized and lemme tell you this Kool Aid is DELICIOUS! To be honest, since I have a theater/choir kid in my house I have been living The Hamilton Experience for quite some time now – I just never felt the need to become fully indoctrinated until I knew the traveling show would be coming to town. Unfortunately, I wasn’t aware that when the show finally was approaching the ticket prices would be so astronomical that my poor ass would still not be able to attend. So we’ve been settling for the best we can get. Playing the soundtrack on a never-ending loop and driving the non-theater lovers in the family crazy. Win win!
For those of you who live in caves, Hamilton: The Revolution is the story behind the musical. Specifically, how it went from a crazy idea for a concept album to a once-in-a-generation smash hit. It takes you inside not only Lin-Manuel’s head, but also Thomas Kail and Alex Lacamoire who completed the trifecta which brought Hamilton to life. As nearly everyone who has ever bothered listening to all FORTY-SIX songs in this nearly 100% sung production says . . . .
I opted for the audio on this one in an attempt to turn my frown upside down on my daily commute. I went in blind thinking Lin-Manuel himself would be doing all of the reading, but sadly he only did the footnotes (which, trust me, were well worth the price of admission). Mariska Hargitay wound up being the voice and while I realize she’s become some sort of pop culture icon I have to say . . . .
I still have no idea what television show she’s famous for or why she’s become such a go-to when it comes to “it girl” types of jokes by the cool kids crowd. All I do know is she read slow as shit and I had to speed her ass up to double time in order to not want to murder everyone around me. The content was still killer, though.
And let’s talk about content. Are you a Hamiltonian? What’s your fave? While Quiet Uptown makes water leak out my face errrrrrry dang time I hear it, I can’t ever get enough of King George . . . . .
An antilove song with a kicky beat? Oh yes please....more
Let me make sure y’all have some things straight before we get started. I am not a 20-something. I am not single. I am not British nor am I of Jamaican descent. And yet somehow when it came to this book . . . .
The jumping off point to Queenie’s story might ring a bell to many of you as it derives from a timeless classic . . . .
Except, you know, this show actually has black people in it.
The tagline for Queenie states it is Bridget Jones meets Americanah - a book which I have not yet read, but do own because . . . .
So while I can’t speak for the second, I actually am one of the few it seems who can see why the comparison was made to the first. As mentioned above, Queenie’s story begins with her “taking a break” from her live-in, three year long relationship with her boyfriend Tom. You then follow her as she moves physically from a shared flat to eventually back home with her grandparents and as she moves psychologically from a mindset full of self-sabotage (mainly of the horrifying casual sex variety) to admitting she needs some mental help and coming to terms with the upbringing that helped propel her poor decision making.
I loved Queenie – despite all of her flaws. She was a little Bridget Jones . . .
“I like your hair. It’s really long,”
“Thanks. I bought it myself.”
And since I have not yet read Americanah, I’d say another fair comparison might be a little Eleanor Oliphant . . . .
“The last time you came in here, you had vaginal bruising, some anal tearing, and bruises on your bottom and thighs.”
“Ahhhh, but at least I had my pride.”
Maybe I’m a wrongreader once again, but I think if people can get past the dark backstory and the graphic descriptions regarding Queenie’s bad choices, you’ll find she’s a character a lot of young women could relate to. If nothing else, we could all stand to learn that . . . .
Actual footage of my face when anyone at the office tries to recommend a book to me . . . .
In case you aren’t familiar, my mood tends to fluctuate between . . . . .
And . . . . .
When (literally) the nicest person I’ve ever worked with in all 417 of my years here on Earth told me I should read Bet Me I just knew I was going to break her perky little heart. Imagine my surprise when I actually liked this dang thing! Obviously this is not a selection that is Pulitzer worthy, but when you need a break from the smarty or heavy or stabby options, it’s quite a fun little palate cleanser.
The premise here is of the “I bet you can’t bag that broad” variety. The difference with this selection? The potential baggy just so happens to overhear said wager so the ol’ trope is immediately turned on its ear. Another difference? While the leading male is very much stereotypical rom com dreamboy material . . . . .
The leading lady is of the real plus-sized variety (not just the “ooooh my tummy pooch is sooooooo frustrating and I wish my thigh gap were bigger”) which had me like . . . . .
I will say I absolutely did not enjoy the added storyline of the two exes and thought that just created tons of additional unnecessary pages about people I did not like. Other than that, though, this was quite fun....more
I added this to the TBR after seeing some high ratings from friends. When my turn finally came around at the library and I went to Looker’s Goodreads’ page in order to mark my “Currently Reading” status, I was shocked to see this has a really low rating (for GR, I mean). Good thing I don’t pay attention to what strangers have to say. Also a good thing I don’t read reviews before reading books either because after taking a quick gander it appears a majority of the 1 Stars here have been awarded for one particular scene. I get some things are dealbreakers for readers, but why even choose a book like this at all? You have to assume something superbadawful is going to happen before it’s all done.
Now, about the book. The premise here isn’t necessarily fresh . . . . .
But it is a different spin on things as the main character is one of the look and don’t necessarily touch variety who is slowly yet surely losing her grasp on reality. And lemme tell you something about Laura Sims . . . .
This is a prime example of how not a lot has to happen in a story for it to be completely unputdownable. Heck, she didn’t even bother giving her characters names! With writing as sharp as a blade and not a paragraph wasted due to its compact size, Looker was nothing but win for me. ...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
Before anyone gets it twisted and starts throwing the term “hater” at me or saying (once again) that I suck turtles, let’s get something real clear. I am the target demographic for this woman’s viral videos, can relate to allllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll of them and have been pushing her on my friends for years. When I heard she was branching out into an actual traveling stand-up show I couldn’t have been happier and I was also the one who forced the library into buying this audio book for my listening pleasure. That being said, I checked this out believing it would be a (welcome) extension of Heather Land’s fifteen minutes of fame. I would not have been disappointed if it was simply a regurge of all of her videos from hating pumpkin spice to people in PJs at the Wal-Mart – just minus the Snapchat filter, of course. At minimum I thought this would be hilarious. What I didn’t sign up for was some sort of mutant inspirational, motivational speaker type mumbo jumbo with nary even a chuckle to be found. To that I say . . . .
I came upon this book when I went to the library’s website looking for an audio version of Tracy Morgan’s book which they did not have and they offered me this instead . . . .
I mean maybe just a lil’ bit. You would think there would be like 10,000,000 other former SNL cast member memoirs or middle-age stand-up comic bios to drop on me before a 30-year old podcaster, but whatever. I’m an easy sell so I downloaded it.
In case you couldn’t tell from the above, I had zero clue who this girl is. (But hey, at least I knew what Upright Citizens Brigade is since I’m a geezer and nearly every comic I ever loved either sprouted from there or the Groundlings (Ha! Sprouted from the Ground(lings) – so funny. Or not.).) People are always telling me about podcasts, but who the eff has time for that? I am old, I work full time and I also have a family to try and keep alive. Heck, I just started doing audiobooks like 17 minutes ago and ancestry.com said I am 100% Bibliophile so that makes zero sense. I wouldn’t have the first clue of how to even find a podcast – let alone a good one – and I seriously doubt there is one magical enough to keep my interest for multiple episodes (or whatever the fuck a podcast show is called). When I hear the word podcast I think of someone sitting in their mom’s basement/attic turned “sound studio” with some half-ass equipment that picks up sounds no one ever wants to hear like how they aren’t super great at breath control while speaking or that they are a producer of extra saliva. And while the production quality was sound (Ha! Sound! *isthisthingon???*), my listening experience was the equivalent of any time I ever dared to find out what any [insert any name at all here - I mean really ANY name because they are all exactly the same] wannabe famous YouTuber had to say about things – except I couldn’t see this broad make what I can only imagine were equally annoying faces to go along with her eye-twitch inducing delivery. These .gifs pretty much sum things up . . . .
There was a lot of this . . . .
With sprinkles of this . . . .
And if you took a drink every time she did this . . . .
You would die before the paramedics even got the tube down your gullet in order pump all the alcohol out of your stomach.
There was also a Bizarro World factor where this woman who is a decade younger than me somehow only talked about things that even I thought were dated. Seriously, was Carrie Bradshaw really that much of an influence on your life?????
If so, let me quote The Donald: #sad.
As for content? If a middle-aged white chick in flyover country doesn’t learn anything new, surely it can’t be that . . . . .
Maybe I would have found tidbits of interest if I had opted for the physical version. However, since I was so distracted by the bleeding out of my ears from listening to this torture session, I’m choosing to offer up a couple of other selections that might be of interest (and Imma do Netflix programs which is pretty much unheard of for me) to mix things up. For those of you looking for the answers regarding hair and why you can’t touch it, look no further than the sheer perfection which is . . . . .
I think I’ve watched this 10 times.
And for those of you who have an interest in culture, stereotypes and food . . . . .
It’s simply brilliant.
I’m giving this 2 Stars pretty much out of the goodness of my cold black heart and because, like I said above, I may have not wanted to drive off a bridge if I had read this rather than listened to it. But as far as the audio goes?????
Meet Matt and Marie. Married for over two decades, financially stable and parents of college-aged daughters, they look like they could be on a brochure advertising what a successful marriage should look like. There’s just one problem . . . . .
Turns out it might be a case of the first time being so nice, Matt decided maybe he should do it twice as readers discover not only has Marie taken a fall off a cliff, but that wifey number one died in a house fire that was intentionally set!
Like so many other books . . . . .
Things get TWISTY! Oh so twisty. I can’t really say much more because DUH the getting there is all the fun. (Such fun!!!!) I said in my 2018 wrap-up I thought 2019 would truly be the year of the domestic thriller for me and boy was I on the money with that statement.
4 Stars instead of 5 because (a) I get sick of the every man is a scumbag narrative rather than simply dealing with the one scumbag at hand – especially when the author decided to wait until ¾ of the way through the book before beating the horse to death with this message and (b) while the police were a necessary part of the story, the subplot of the one detective’s own history was 100% unnecessary. This book was good enough without additional bells and whistles. Still highly recommended as a perfect “beachy read” if you prefer the stabby side of life : )...more
After reading (and fawning all over) Waiting for Tom Hanks, I knew I would need more Kerry Winfrey in my life in short order. Per usual my best friend . . . .
Full Disclosure: That is the branch that is 15 minutes away from my house. My branch (a/k/a The Pornbrary) is not pretty . . . . But I digress. Long story long, the library had a copy of this one to lend me.
Note to all grown-ups: This is 100,000,000,0000% Young Adult so if you are not a fan, just stay far away. Note to all parents: This is a PG-13 selection that most would probably fine benign for even middle-grade readers.
As the title says, the story here is about Jolie. Born with a severe underbite, Jolie is scheduled to go under the knife in a couple of months in order to realign her jaw and hopefully ease some of the headaches and difficulty eating she has always had to deal with. She’s also banking on a transformation like you only see in the movies . . . . .
After viewing a “medical mishaps” type of reality show, Jolie starts to fear the worst and decides to make a little bucket list of sorts of things to accomplish before she either bites it or bites it . . . . .
Items include eating more than just the Chicken Wanton Tacos on the Applebee’s Happy Hour menu – to which I ask whyyyyyyyy???? They’re pretty perfect and cost like $3 . . . . .
Reading Jane Eyre. Doing something a little dangerous . . . . .
And most importantly of all . . . . .
Having her first kiss with Noah Reed. Little does Jolie know that she’ll find out so much more about herself, venturing out of her comfort zone, discovering that beauty truly does radiate from within and maybe the boy she was looking for was right there the whole time.
This book is for the teen who is simply looking for a sweet little romance. No angst, little drama, just a nice read : )
If you know me you know that I’m not a real big television watcher, but when I go in on something I. GO. IN. I loved Parks and Rec from the second it made it to air. I fell hard for Amy Poehler immediately upon her joining the cast of SNL and watched her in movies like Baby Mama, Deuce Bigalow and Blades of Glory until my DVD player committed suicide. There was no chance her new show wouldn’t be one of my favorite things ever. I was right. What I didn’t realize upon tuning in was that a woman who didn’t even have a speaking part the first season would wind up being my spirit animal.
Donna Meagle had me at the first side-eye she ever gave to her co-workers . . . .
It was her job to break the fourth wall – sans words – and she was GREAT at it. When she was finally allowed to speak? She ended up being pretty much me both professionally . . . .
As well as how she spent her free time . . . . .
And her attitude toward the internet? Samesies . . . .
Before she and Tom Haverford Aziz Ansari received the cult following which was created via “Treat Yo Self” – they had an exchange that somehow still strikes me as hilarious every single time I watch it . . . .
Tom Haverford : You can't say your favorite kind of cake is birthday cake, that's like saying your favorite kind of cereal is breakfast cereal.
Why is that so funny????? Because Tom and Donna are television magic, that’s why.
Speaking of magic? I found Retta over on the ‘Gram shortly after joining last year (I know, I know, I’m super late to the party). My favorite part of the day has become watching her make her cup of Dark Magic and singing a rendition of “Good Morning – Good Morning!” to me. And yet I was denied this ARC. Go figure, right?
Anyway, I don’t know if everyone will love this or if you just have to be nuts like me. Good news is, Retta herself is 100% relatable and she is more than happy to share deets regarding things like meeting famous people at various award shows and parties, slamming trolls on the web and becoming a Hamilton superfan . She is hilarious, her delivery is everything a fan could dream of and more and she has a fabulous potty mouth to boot. If you like something light for your daily commute, this might be a winner....more
If you follow me, you’ll know that earlier this month I read a book that made tears squirt out my own face and how unacceptable that was for me. Miracle of all miracles had this cover pop up right when I needed it most . . . . .
I mean, has there ever been a more perfect creation for a Kelly/Mitchell surefire success? I don’t think so. Between the cover, the fact it was written by Ron Rash and the thumbs up from my literary dream man David Joy, there was zero chance I was going to pass this up. And the plot????? Well, ol’ boy Travis is out fishing for some speckleds in order to cover his gas and insurance after getting fired from the local grocery store when he comes across a potential windfall over on the Toomey property . . . .
And he knows just the fella who can help take it off his hands . . . .
“Where’d you get that?” Leonard asked.
“Found it,” Travis said.
“Found it, did you. And you figured finders keepers.”
Resulting in a most unlikely friendship as the story progresses . . . .
As the blurb says, this is a story that is “harrowing yet ultimately hopeful” and it gets all the Starzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. ...more
“There’s something about first love, isn’t there? It’s untouchable to those who played no part in it. But it’s the measure of all that follows.”
I’m pretty sure the only reason I avoided this at first was because it had like an 11,000 person waiting list at the library by the time I had heard about it. I decided to give it a go after seeing debra's reaction, and now?????
If you know me, you know I pretty much get emotional about twice a year and usually that can be blamed on . . . .
Yesterday I opted to read this during the lunch hour, but remained seated at my desk due to work being just a little too worky to feel comfortable leaving my cohorts and retreating to my favorite hidey hole. The end result was a gal shoveling salad in her snot and tear covered face while I cried the ugly cry of a Kardashian.
This slim novel tells the story of two near lifelong friends – Michael and Ellis. The first half focuses on Ellis (the “Tin Man”) and is told in a detached/third person style (which lacks quotation marks to boot). The second half features Michael, presented in first person via a journal format. It definitely isn’t a book for everyone as it is very atmospheric and often the setting is the focus rather than the players. You’ll either be okay with the writing or you won’t. If you find yourself on the positive side of the spectrum, you’ll discover a story that reminds us . . . .
I’m not going to say any more. Only that this is the best thing I’ve read so far this year and also . . . . .
As soon as I saw this cover I was all like . . . .
And also I love the occasional cozy mystery so I knew I had to check it out. Then I did what I do best and let my library checkout expire not just once, but nearly three times before finally reading it. In my defense, these types of books are definitely “right place/right time” reads for me. Yesterday not only was I suffering from . . . .
But it was also NEGATIVE TWENTY-FIVE DEGREES OUTSIDE. WTF? Today is Fat Tuesday. How the eff am I supposed to swing my tatas around for beads if my nurps instantly freeze and fall off upon removing my shirt (and in case my children should happen upon this, Mommy is joking – even your daddy doesn’t get to see her nurps so strangers sure aren’t going to).
Anywho, the above amounted to the perfect day for something light.
Meet Lana. She’s a recently single 27-year old who became such after running into her boyfriend Christmas shopping . . . . while he was accompanied by his other girlfriend. She also has found herself working at her parent’s restaurant due to her former employer taking her “take this job and shove it” recommendation to heart. On about page 5 you hear in passing that one of the characters really has it coming to him and by the 5% mark he’s a stiff. Unfortunately the cause of death just so happens to be a severe allergic reaction to shellfish in some dumplings from, you guessed it, Ho-Lee Noodles – the family business . . . .
This had everything a cozy mystery is supposed to have – the “maybe you can go back home again” trope, a bazillion characters who all reside/work in a tightknit little community, MC/family/friends as the lead suspects which equates to the butting in of noses where they don’t belong, and a potential love interest (or two) for future books in the series.
Really the only problem I had with this debut was my own since the Ho-Lee family owned a Chinese noodle shop that my brain wanted to turn into a Thai noodle shop thanks to . . . . .
I know, I know . . . .
3 Stars is about as good as these get for me, so Vivien Chen has definitely made her mark and there’s a chance when it comes to book 2 (and 3 and 4) in this series, one day I may say . . . . .
You know what comment I hear a lot from strangers? “You should use more .gifs in your reviews. They are awesome and definitely show what an intelligent person you are.” Okay, y’all know that’s totally untrue, but I’m still pretty much going to only use .gifs to explain this book because I’m wording even less well than usual today.
I had never even heard of The Paragon Hotel until my friend SUSAN used the GR recommend feature to tell me about it and because SUSAN never bookpushes – like EVER – despite us having very similar tastes, I decided I should listen to her and immediately put myself on the library wait list.
Okay, let’s get on with the .giffery. Our story here is about Alice (a/k/a “Nobody”) and takes place in 1921. Born and bred in Harlem to a (literal) whore mother, Alice was quite the . . . .
Due to some unfortunate circumstances . . . .
Alice finds herself on a train bound for a destination as far as she can possibly get from Harlem . . . .
Much like Blanche DuBois, Alice must rely on the kindness of a stranger and ends up at the Paragon Hotel . . . .
“The Paragon opened in nineteen-oh-six, and is full to bursting of decent citizens and lunatic nomads.”
Like my new girlfriend . . . . .
And also happens to dabble a bit in . . . . .
Unfortunately for the all-black residents, their fine city has not yet embraced the moniker . . . .
In fact, it’s quite the opposite where it is actually on the books as illegal for any person of color to reside in their fair city at all, leading to a rise in . . . . .
Oh, and there’s also a missing kid, but seriously with all that other stuff going on who the eff even cares about him, right?
If you’re an idiot like me and tell yourself things like “but I don’t really liiiiiiike historical fiction” (first let me tell you that your brain is probably lying because A LOT of stuff falls into that category), this one might be the exception. Same goes for those of you who aren’t fans of dialogue-driven story progression. If the dialogue is as sharply written as it is here, you won’t be able to imagine it any other way.
“Success often lies not in what happens but in what you prevent from happening.”
Here is a case where the movie is guaranteed to be better than the book. No offense to Ron Stallworth, but Spike Lee does words for a living and you, my friend, were a policeman. I’ll catch the film . . . . eventually. Most likely when it hits the overpriced movie channels/subscription services I fork over my hard earned dollars for every month without ever really utilizing them since I am not a big movie watcher and generally choose to read my films (shocker, right?). For now, though? Trust that despite the presentation mainly consisting of . . . . .
And an overabundance of oversharing unimportant details (mainly in the form of initialization), the story of how a black man answered an advertisement and became a (literal) card carrying member of the KKK is most definitely an interesting way to pass the time. As with every memoir, I believe some liberties with the truth have been taken (specifically, pictures or it didn’t happen – “losing” what could be one of the greatest photos of all time doesn’t quite pass the sniff test.)...more
Since my daily commute is so short and I only listen to audio books in the car Monday-Friday, I’m always struggling to find a selection that works for me. When I saw my friend Matthew’s review of We the Animals, I thought it might be a good fit. I also thought it was a young adult book for some reason, but soon realized . . . . .
While the characters in this story are children, the content most definitely is not and focuses on growing up in a poor, mixed-race, abusive family in Brooklyn. Confession: I still thought it was a YA story until the parents had sex in front of their children, at which point . . . .
And logged onto Goodreads to confirm that this was not a children’s book.
This was a mixed bag for me. I enjoyed the vignette style of storytelling that presented snapshots of time rather than a flowing story – more so probably due to this being such a short book. I appreciate storytellers who don’t pull punches and are as brutal as necessary for the subject matter that they are presenting. But I don’t like writing that doesn’t feel effortless and Justin Torres most certainly was trying VERY HARD here. Almost like it was the last requirement before receiving his Masters in Fine Arts. The timeline also was hard to wrap my brain around. The reader is informed at the beginning that the children are “stair steps” of a sort with the youngest (our narrator) being around 7. By the end of the book (and the couple of big “shock and awe” entries which focus on a completely different subject matter than the first 80-90% of the book), I thought that same child might be around 16. There aren’t really any “in between” sort of selections to indicate age progression – you just make the hop. That was jarring enough, but it would make the older brothers of adult age and yet they are still present in the family home. I didn’t buy that one bit and it made other moments jump back to the forefront of my mind that had rang out as inauthentic as well.
In the end, this falls under . . . . .
And receives a satisfactory 3 Star rating. ...more