“Things were better from a distance. When you watched too closely, you saw things you didn’t want to see.”
Boy do I!
Meet the ladies of Pleasant Court. You have old pro Ange whose children have reached an age where they do things like watch other people play video games on the You Tube . . .
(Seriously, WTF? My kid does this like it’s his full-time job.)
Fran, who takes overprotective mother to a whole new level – especially when it comes to her husband . . . .
Essie, who is finding herself overwhelmed for the second time by a not-so-angelic baby . . . .
And new neighbor Isabelle, who doesn’t have any children at all leaving many of the other neighbors asking . . . .
If you are a woman of a certain age, the neighborhood might seem a little familiar . . . .
If you’re a reader (duh, obvi), you may find plenty of similarities to someone who writes nothing but bestsellers (even down to the point where this takes place in Australia just like her books do) . . . .
No matter what, you’re sure to say to yourself at some point while reading . . . .
I ate this one up in about a hot second. First, if you put a house on the cover Imma read it. It's like my crack. Also, any book that starts off with a frazzled new mother leaving her baby in the park “for just a second” in order to grab a cup of tea is probably going to be on the far side of the “chick lit” spectrum where I feel most comfortable. 4 Starz rather than 5 because these characters were so cookie cutter at times that I forgot who was who . . . but that’s probably the entire point. #wrongreader
Come on St. Martin’s and hook me up with a copy of The Mother-In-Law! ...more
“No life is easy, and no life is hard; it’s just what adjectives you choose to describe it.”
I would have never even heard of this book if it weren’t for my friend SUSAN putting it on my radar. Her 4 Star rating was all I needed in order to request this from the library. And the cover meant I didn’t bother reading the synopsis because trailer parks? Yes please. Those are where my type of people live . . . .
Imagine my surprise when things weren’t all methy and stabby like they usually are when wrapped up in a cover like this, but instead was historical fictiony?????
Despite its lack of meth (there is a little bit of a reformed pedophile eventually to balance things out), Sugar Land still receives nearly all of the Starzzzzzzz from me. The story here is of Miss Dara as you follow her life from Midland, Texas in the 1920s to . . . you guessed it . . . Sugar Land, Texas where she spends the remainder of her days until her death in 1981. From her time working in the kitchen of Imperial State Prison Farm, to marriage, to widowhood, to the trailer park (because yes, eventually there is one), to a second chance at love – Miss Dara’s life story is unlike any other. Call it historical fiction, fictional biography, chick lit, LGBTQ, tragicomedy or whatever other label you want to throw on it, it’s un-put-down-able as Miss Dara learns how to be true to herself while being surrounded by others who already are. 4 Stars because the last third of the book contains a simply wonderful biting humor that the first two-thirds was missing. I wish the entire book would have been in that voice....more
Sick of me yet? If so, I don’t blame you. The BLOCK button has been conveniently moved right up to the top of the page if you need it.
Anywho, I read this one awhile back but am always looking for something entertaining to listen to during my commute so I downloaded the audio version when I saw it at the ol' liburrrrrrry. Samantha Irby’s delivery might not be for everyone, but that’s perfect because I already declared dibs on her quite some time ago. She’s hilarious, crass, dry and droll and that’s what makes her my . . . .
Bonus: Half the book is about some ratchet-assed half dead kitten that was forced upon her and made her life a living hell as it plotted her demise. Samesies . . . .
(Photo of The Childish Gambino courtesy of my co-worker/former fosterbabymama/crazy cat lady who forced him into my life and slammed the door before I could throw him back at her. The only thing worse than a bookpusher is a catpusher LOL.)...more
“I doubt it would be easy to take a life. But I think if you had to—I mean, if we had to—we could absolutely get away with it.”
Look at that quote^^^. LOOK AT IT!!!!!! Did you look at it? Why the eff wasn’t I all over this when it was an ARC? I mean I realize I’m not super late to this party since it was just released ten days ago, but still . . . especially since it was a BOTM selection as well. Thankfully I jumped on the library right away, begged and pleaded while holding on to the pornbrarian's leg as she drug me around the suburban branch and was first in line when it was finally obtained. I have a feeling the wait list is probably about as long as my arm at this point. But about the book . . .
Okay so Natalie and Will are both aspiring attorneys whose first-date small talk consists of figuring out how to get away with murder. (Confession: I read zero blurbs about this so I was totally ready for another Strangers On A Train knockoff.) Fast-forward to the present where the two have been married for ages, have an eleven-year-old son and have fallen into a pattern of work and home that’s pretty much a snoozefest – despite the fact that she’s a criminal defense attorney for a living. Needless to say, that old conversation from the past has long since been forgotten. Until something happens in their community that calls for . . . .
Okay so that’s all I can give you without giving too much. I will say that there were some hints about as subtle as a skillet to the back of the head about a certain something that made my brain decide if this didn’t end the way my brain was thinking I was going to be super pissed, but then . . . .
This was awesome. I loved that there weren’t 50,000 twists and turns, I loved even more that mistakes were made and things didn’t add up and normal people didn’t somehow become criminal masterminds. But most of all? I looooooooved Natalie. Good lord she’s my number one fictional gal pal for 2018 fo sho! I gave this 4.5 Stars over on Instagram this morning, but that’s just stupid. It deserves all 5....more
“He doesn’t need therapy. He just needs someone to love him.”
Multigajillionaire Pen Raleigh has died, leaving his company, home and entire fortune in the hands of the last in the line of Raleighs - Bernie. Spoiler Alert: I fell in love with him almost immediately . . . .
“My personal policy toward most of humanity resembles the Army’s policy regarding homosexuals. I won’t ask; please, don’t tell me.”
For whatever reason, my brain cast my favorite Drunk Historian as the lead . . . .
Making me hear Allan McLeod’s voice in my head the entire time I was reading which only increased my level of adoration. I’m now officially declaring Bernie as my book boyfriend and I dare any of you to try and take from me because . . . .
I asked the library to buy a copy of Last Will after falling in love with all things Wavy and Kellen with the release of Greenwood’s All the Ugly and Wonderful Things. I don’t know why it took so long for them to purchase this one, but when they finally did I found myself terrified to read it. I mean lightning doesn’t always strike twice, know what I mean? As the days ticked by, the deadline for this selection to go “poof” off my Kindle approached, and a blizzard that happened to match the cover hit like a sign from above, I figured it was time to finally bite the bullet. What I found was my kind of love story . . . but very much NOT your typical romance. Full of quirky, broken people, this is a story about healing and acceptance and finding yourself and making a family. It won’t be for everyone because there’s not a whole lot of action to propel the story along. You truly have to fall in love with these people or it won’t be for you. A dry sense of humor probably wouldn’t hurt either because Greenwood is pretty hilarious in a very understated way. I was lucky enough to be approached for an advanced copy of this author’s next release – which again had me terrified upon receiving the offer. At this point, though? I think it’s pretty safe to say . . . . .
FantasticLand is getting every Star and I ain’t even sorry.
Like the blurb says, this story is a modern-day . . . .
Ha! I keed. It truly is Lord of the Flies meets [insert battle to the death book/film of your choosing here]. More specifically it is about . . . .
What happened in FantasticLand during the thirty-five days dubbed “The Battle of the Tribes.”
Here’s the deal: In the Fall of 2017 Hurricane Sadie was being tracked off the coast of Florida. It was anticipated she would be a wreaker of havoc, but no one ever anticipated her effects would be felt so far inland and just how powerful she would become. Basically, the only thing that could have been worse is . . . .
While the National Guard, local authorities and all humanitarian efforts were focused on the coastal regions, 326 employees of FantasticLand were left to their own devices. Weeks later, 207 were evacuated. This is the story of what happened, told in interview format by the survivors. It was oh so very . . . .
(If you haven’t seen that movie, you really need to rectify it immediately or there’s a possibility I will defriend you. j/k. *cough* maybe *cough*)
This was everything it should have been. Gory, nauseating, action-packed and a story that didn't miss a beat from the first page to the last. I luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurved it....more
Yeah, you didn’t stop me because you haven’t read anything like this before. The story here is of Millicent and her husband. She’s a real estate agent, he’s the local tennis pro. They live in a coveted neighborhood with their two teenaged children, Rory and Jenna. Oh, and . . . . .
Everything in their lives has been going swimmingly until the body of one of their victims is discovered. And then?????
“Here we go.”
Obviously I can’t give away much more without ruining everything, but you know how I complain a lot about too many twists and turns and not wanting the kitchen sink thrown in to my thrillers?
This truly is an exception to the rule. The fact that it is completely over the top and errrrrrrrythang that happens happens is exactly what makes it so fun. All the Starzzzzzzz (and sorry y’all have to wait until March for it to come out.)
Advanced copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. They obviously know who the crazies are. ...more
I think I may have broken free of the endless Sedaris loop which I have had playing in my car, but I’m sure I’ll return to it eventually. If for no other reason than to hear about . . . . .
I will tell you, audio is the ONLY way to go when it comes to stories about the youngest Sedaris – be it David or Amy’s impersonation, you’ll be hard-pressed not to look like a hysterical maniac if driving while listening.
When my sisters and I eventually left home, it seemed like a natural progression–young adults shifting from one environment to another. While our departures had been relatively painless, Paul’s was like releasing a domestic animal into the wild. He knew how to plan a meal but displayed a remarkable lack of patience when it came time for the actual cooking. Frozen dinners were often eaten exactly as sold, the Salisbury steak amounting to a stickless meat Popsicle. I phoned one night just as he was leaning a family pack of frozen chicken wings against the back door. He’d forgotten to defrost them and was now attempting to stomp the solid mass into three six-inch portions, which he’d force into his toaster oven.
I heard the singular sound of boot against crystallized meat and listened as my brother panted for breath. “Goddamned … fucking … chicken … wings.”
I called again the following evening and was told that after all that work, the chicken had been spoiled. It tasted like fish, so he threw it away and called it a night. A few hours later, having decided that spoiled chicken was better than no chicken at all, he got out of bed, stepped outside in his underpants, and proceeded to eat the leftovers directly from the garbage can.
I was mortified. “In your underpants?”
“Damned straight,” he said. “Rooster ain’t getting dressed up to eat no fish-assed-tasting chicken.”
It appears at this point in my life (at least until the road construction is completed and my commute stops sucking balls every day) I will be listening to each David Sedaris collection on an endless loop . . . . .
Okay, I do have to remark about how much tastes change. In my initial little blip of “I like it, it was gud” from years ago I commented how I enjoyed the final segment featuring tiny fictional selections. Who the fuck was I back then? While I still appreciate the story behind these stories (for those of you not in the know, Sedaris decided to start writing these for people to perform in Forensic competitions), there is ZERO chance I would ever want to sit through anything aside from “Six to Eight Black Men” if I was a parent forced to attend one of these events.
Now? It appears to be time to learn how to dress my family in corduroy and denim : ) ...more
Starting off 2019 with a 5 Star read got me like . . . . .
Go read my friend Liz’s review because that’s how I heard about Ohio in the first place and she says everything that needs to be said. (And I totally agree with the negative points of her critique, but somehow I was able to overlook every one of this novel’s flaws when it came to my rating.)
As the blurb says, Ohio is about one night when four former classmates all wind up back in the former steelmill glory/now drug and criminal addled hometown they all know as “The Cane.” Each gets their own narrative – Bill, former do-gooder activist and current mule; Stacey, the “lesbian” in high school who is now an eco-lit grad student; Dan, the boy-next-door who has returned from war minus and eye and with a lot of baggage; and Tina, prettiest girl in school who can’t get over her first “love.” What the blurb doesn’t tell you is not only is about that one night, but also the backstories of each character’s high school experience as well as what has occurred in their lives during the 10 years since they graduated. (You will most certainly find that you want less of at least one narrative and could have read an infinite amount of another – obviously YMMV on which character you feel this way about.)
This book truly was “lyrical and emotional” as well as brutal and B.L.E.A.K. If you are a reader who needs a trigger warning, add it to your never-to-read list because it has ALL of them. It is a bit long in the tooth and your attention my wane here and there, but by the time it all wraps up?????
Dear Other Books On My TBR: I hope you plan on bringing your A-Game.
I’ll review this tomorrow - maybe (y’all know I suck), but starting day 1 of the new year with a 5 Star? That’s purrrrrrty good stuff right thar! As my husband the optimist pointed out - “sucks to be the rest of 2019.” Hahahaha ; )...more
“I wadn’t aware that words could hold so much. I didn’t know a sentence could be so full.”
I cannot imagine a book that will end up beating Where the Crawdads Sing for my best read of 2018. Truly, this was a case where the entire thing was practically perfect in every way for me (the only minor quibble I had was with the snippets of poetry, but that’s because I hate poetry). Due to the fact that I am so absolutely strung out and hungover from this book, I’m going to do words even less well than I usually do.
The story here starts in 1969 with a dead body – and then it immediately timehops back to 1952. It’s there you meet Kya on the day her mother has decided to up and leave the family and the marsh behind. Kya’s siblings follow their mother’s footsteps in short order – as does her father eventually. It’s then that Kya becomes known as “the Marsh Girl” and the reader works their way back to finding out what exactly happened to that dead fella.
This was a true genre bender that had something for nearly everyone – coming of age, family strife, first love, first loss, and dare I forget – a potential murder. It was a modern day To Kill A Mockingbird and I feel so honored to have been approved for an advanced copy.
If you’re looking for an epic tale that spans over five decades, look no further than . . . .
“Way out yonder, where the crawdads sing.”
All the Stars there are to Star.
ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest (*cough blubbering cough*) review. Thank you, NetGalley!...more
I had never even heard of Meg until I took my kids to see my boyfriend Jeff’s new movie, Jurassic Park 47, and this popped up in the preview . . . .
Um, yes please.
I knew I had to get my hands on a copy. And not just a borrowed copy – I needed to own this and add it to the shark stack. Thanks to discoverbooks.com (no, I’m not affiliated, I’m just poor and this site enables me to add to my hoard on the cheap) I was able to obtain a copy just in time for Shark Week. I failed at posting a timely review because I’m now insane and post shitty book pics to Instagram (shameless plug for myself – get over it, I do what I do) and knew EXACTLY the right spot to take a photo worthy of this literary masterpiece. My schedule finally cleared up and I was able to make the trek over the weekend resulting in . . . .
But back to the book. The story here is about a dude who everyone thinks went cuckoo for cocoa puffs when he insisted the superbadawful that was responsible for a failed mission into the depths of the Pacific resulting in him being the only survivor was none other than Carcharodon megalodon. Fast-forward to the present and a new mission that will make everyone realize . . . .
They’re gonna need a bigger boat.
If you have ever thought to yourself: “Self, I sure wish Jaws and Sharknado would have a baby” then you need to look no further. Meg is sure to be a winner for you. ...more
It’s been a minute since I've done this, but Gale Massey’s debut novel gets all the Starzzzzzzzzzz.
The Girl From Blind River is the story of Jamie – a girl whose mother went to prison when she was just 10 years old, leaving her and her 9 year old brother Toby to be raised by their uncle Loyal. Now a young adult and out of high school, Jamie dreams of running away and hitting the pro circuit . . . .
All she needs is to cash in on her latest online winnings. When there’s a glitch in the system, Jamie “borrows” a bit of cash from Uncle Loyal and ends up owing him big time. And ol’ Loyal isn’t one to NOT cash in on favors owed to him – especially when it has to do with something as big as what he has to get rid of . . . . .
I knew as soon as I saw my friend Melki’s review that there was a very solid chance this would be a winner for me. When I scored a copy I about wet myself. I can’t believe this is a debut novel and I have absolutely nothing to nitpick. The Girl From Blind River had everything I love: trailer parks, poor folk, murder, cover-ups, family drama, and on and on and on. It was just the gritty type of story I was looking for. You know, something that makes me say . . . .
ARC provided by Crooked Lane Books in exchange for an honest review....more
“When did peanut butter become the grade-school equivalent of anthrax?”
Meet Jen . . . .
“At the ripe old age of forty-six, I have two girls in college and one boy starting kindergarten. And I’m the oldest mom in the grade. Oh sorry, the wisest.”
This is her second round of class mom duties, but the first time having a husband in the equation. You see, back in the day Jen spent her time uhhhhh traveling . . . .
Her oldest’s father may or may not have been Michael Hutchence of INXS fame (God rest his soul) and her second daughter’s father was definitely a roadie. But Jen is older and (as referenced above) wiser now, she’s a stay-at-home mom to little Max and is married to the love of her life Ron. Class Mom follows Jen’s antics during Max’s first year of school and her (hopefully) final year of being the class mom.
Let me first put a warning out there that this book is DEFINITELY not for everyone – because the main character????
The weirdest thing is this Jen is what I wanted People I Want To Punch In The Throat’s Jen to be like and what a strange little coinky-dink that this book takes place in my (well really Kemper’s) neck of the woods (but I have to associate with people from that side of the ‘burbs constantly due to kids’ baseball and they are JUST LIKE THESE WOMEN). Lululemon (or LaRoe, depending on budget) mommies who think that their Little Billy is the Best Little Billy Who Ever Billied and make you question your decision to ever let someone rent out your uterus since you’re now forced to interact with awfulness for 18 years. Jen says everything I wish I would say and, for the most part, I found her to be the most delightful kind of asshole. Spoilerish opinions ahead: The only things I really couldn’t get on board with was the flirty-text relationship with her former high school crush turned current fellow parent. Call me old fashioned, but I don’t approve of that behavior. I also could have lived without the big “life goal” being to complete a mudder because seriously????
But other than those minor quips, this thing is worthy of 4 Stars while you discover along with Jen that . . . .
“The grass is always greener over the septic tank.” - Erma Bombeck
Not only did this have me literally LOLing, but from what I can see of the author’s profile, she’s not from here but boy oh boy did she nail this portion of flyover country. And all the references to local places!!! I was fully prepared to chew my own arm off if she mentioned Garozzo’s one more time because . . . . .
*insert Homer Simpson drool noises*
But luckily I remembered the grocery store has the hook-up so I won’t even have to put on my Thanksgiving Pants in order to pig out . . . . .
The only thing she got wrong? Minsky’s pizza is pretty much the equivalent of Pizza Hut to me at this point since there’s one on every corner. She could have least given a shout out to Da Bronx or better yet, my personal fave Tim’s Pizza! Home of the Ballpark Pizza – polish sausage and sauerkraut. Don’t knock it ‘til you tried it : )
If you’re looking for a character like Madeline in Big Little Lies (but prefer to leave the dead body out of the picture) Abbi Waxman’s Other People’s Houses might be the book for you. The story here is the aftermath of what happens when one of the neighborhood wives is caught in flagrante delicto by the carpool mom. So obviously there’s some real shit to deal with, but I’m going to choose to focus on Frances . . . .
You can decide for yourself if you would like to challenge me to a death match in a dark alley in an attempt to steal her from me. But I’m warning you . . . .
“Let’s not get into the atom splitting of who’s doing more work, stay-at-home parents or not; let’s just agree it’s a shit show for all of us, and move on.”
Wait, it gets better. Like analyzing your toddler’s fave television program . . .
She watched Steve do his thing, and continued her inner debate about how Salt and Pepper could have managed to conceive and produce both Paprika and Cinnamon. Salt was a crystal, pepper was a seed pod from a plant, paprika was also a seed pod. OK, so yes, she could see that, but cinnamon was the inner bark of a tree. She had wondered this before, which is why she had Wikipedia’d all that stuff and had, in fact, a fairly high level of knowledge about the international pepper trade as a result. It still bothered her, and she worried that Mrs. Pepper was a little tough on Paprika, especially once the baby came.
But the following is the line that sealed the deal . . . .
Frances pulled off her sweatshirt and bra, enjoying that first scratch of tit-freedom.
If you're an old lady with floppy mom tits, you totally know after that moment you're like . . . .
The only thing I didn’t agree with 100%???
“If you and I divorced, I would sew my vagina shut, get fifteen cats, and let myself go completely.”
Why get divorced? My husband and I have been married going on 22 years and I’m picking up a new kitten after work tonight . . . .
The other characters are nearly as good as Frances. Don’t believe me? Go read my friend Kristie’s Review. I'm with her and can’t wait to read more by this author.
I checked my copy of this book out from the library, but this is one instance where I really wish I would have known about/requested/received/whatever an ARC so I could have been shoving it down everyone’s throat before it was even released . . . . but I wouldn’t have been able to share the magic which is Frances quotes so maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t....more
EDIT: Because it was this book's birthday yesterday and when a book finally gets released that will EASILY make your Best of 2018 list, you float it . . . .
Oh Mr. Joy, how I’ve missed you.
Perhaps the most ironic thing of all when it comes to this author is his name. If you were ever curious where the “Black As Mitchell’s Heart” moniker came from – David Joy’s stories are about as bleak as one brain could ever conjure. As my Bookwife stated over on her review, we pretty much have a Google Alert set for anything new in David Joy’s world, up to and including I now read what he tells me to (thanks again for turning me on to Larry Brown). We most definitely were in full-fledged “This Is America and We Want It Now” mode while waiting to be approved for The Line That Held Us and I am so happy to say that once again David Joy delivered the misery in spades – just the way I like it.
The story here is pretty simple – Darl Moody has been chasing after a dream buck for ages and has tracked him down to Coon Coward’s private property. What ol’ Coon don’t know won’t hurt him, though, so Darl waits until he’s out of town and sets about in the wee hours to do some poaching. The only thing he wasn’t expecting? Carol Brewer to be doing some poaching of his own – digging ginseng to be exact. Rather than face the crazy which is Carol's brother Dwayne, Darl does the only other thing he can think of – enlist his best friend Calvin’s help and bury the body . . . .
That might possibly be the best thing about David Joy’s books. You know there is not going to be a happy ending or that the characters will magically escape the superbadawful they have set themselves up for. I love how his stories are all different, but touch on similar themes of love, loyalty, family, friendship and religion (in the most shuddery way possible). He blurs the lines between what is right and what is wrong effortlessly. Not to mention, he really makes you feel like you are truly in the heart of the south . . . .
When it comes to hick lit, he’s the bees knees. Every Star.
Many thanks to NetGalley for approving me for this one before I stormed your offices!...more
If you are a person of weak constitution or with delicate sensibilities, I have one thing to say to you about Meaty . . . . .
Not even kidding. R.U.N. . . . . .
Because this author is the posterchild for . . . . .
However, if you are like me you will read the following (which appears on like Page 2) . . . . .
“I am irritated 99.8% of the time. I hate everything. I loathe everyone.”
And instantly have this to say to Samantha Irby . . . . .
By the time I got to this . . . .
“If you could wish for one thing, anything you ever wanted, what would it be?”
“An army of weaponized bees.”
I was like . . . .
But for the rest of you? I ain’t playin’ around. I’m going to let Irby’s own words sell her book, but PLEASE note these are benign examples and she totally overshares about many various sex things and diarrhea and don’t even think about telling me I Suck Turtles if you read this and get offended by it because it is REALLY going to offend a lot of people. Just not people like me – probably due to all of the turtle sucking I’ve done in the past. Anyway, let’s get on with this short shitshow and the sharing of a few quotes that made me really happy Jeebus invented Poise Pads . . . . .
“Do you own a pair of skinny jeans?”
“Yes, but after I saw a picture of myself in the newspaper wearing them last summer I am never wearing those assholes in public ever again.”
“I am obviously going to die alone, in giant panties that come up to my chin, with crumbs under my tits, and a half-eaten cat face.”
“My sister did Slim-Fast once and her farts were bad enough to singe my fucking nose hairs. She burned a hole through the seat of her jeans. Not even kidding. We had to keep a fire extinguisher next to the goddamned toilet. I know you think I’m making this up but there was literal fire shooting out of her butt! It was like living with a dragon. A skinny-fat, cranky dragon who could light the dinner candles with her asshole.”
And the pièce de résistance . . . .
“Every time I see a Cialis commercial I think, ‘Oh my fucking GOD, I bet the last thing that old broad wants to do is wait for that old dude to finish raking those leaves while his boner pill kicks in.’”
RELEASE DATE TODAY!!!!! (6/12/18) YOU KNOW YOU WANT IT.
When Georgina was only sixteen she thought she had found her one true love in Calvin. Things didn’t work out quite as planned, though, and he turned out to be a serial killer known as the Sweetbay Strangler. His first victim? Geo’s best friend, whose remains went undiscovered for 14 years. Once the body is discovered all sorts of skeletons start falling out of closets.
After reading Creep by this author, I knew I would need to seek out more of her stuff in the future. Good news is, I convinced the pornbrary that I cannot live on smut alone and they recently purchased some of her other books. Great news is I totally broke all the rules about how to act like a decent person and begged for an ARC of this one because stabby stabby in love with a freakin’ murderer?!?!?!?!
I. JUST. COULD. NOT. WAIT. for publication day. But then I was terrified I would hate it and get blacklisted from all ARCs for eternity and also probably receive an e-mail saying I’m the reason why I can’t have nice things. Luckily the first didn’t happen and seriously I would not blame anyone for doing the second. Simply put in order to prevent a whole lotta spoilsies . . . .
“In every story, there’s a hero and a villain. Sometimes one person can be both.”
Occasionally I fantasize about what I would fill my to-read suitcase with if I got to go to someplace like Mallorca and do things like this . . . . .
Rather than sitting in the middle of a sweltering dust bowl of a baseball diamond in Kansas watching my kids play ball all summer. Jar of Hearts is the type of book I want in that suitcase. I’m giving it every star. I couldn’t put the dang thing down and I was completely enraptured by alllllll of the different aged Geos I got to meet. I did figure out the first “twist” pretty quickly, but am happy to report I was a little slow on the uptake regarding the big shebang at the end and didn’t catch on to that until it was pretty much shoved in my face.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering: Yuuuuuuuuup. I have absolutely been singing Christina Perri ever since this arrived in the mail. My family really appreciates when I get to the part where I screech belt out . . . .
DON’T COME BAAAAAAAACK AT ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!
I probably could get a golden ticket to Hollywood if I auditioned for American Idol.
ARC provided by St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review. Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!...more
I was fully prepared to hate everything about The Figgs upon seeing a comparison made to . . . . .
Good grief but those are some big shoes to fill. However, the combination of my love for dysfunctional families along with the admiration of whoever had the cajones to namedrop Tropper like it was nothing was too strong to resist. And now that I’m finished? Well, I am happy to report I feel nearly the same way about the Figgs as I did about the Altmans . . .
(The only thing missing is a wicked crush on Judd.)
All June ever wanted for herself and her husband Randy was to be able to retire in peace – maybe sell the house and move someplace warm, or at minimum get to take that road trip she’s dreamed of her entire marriage. That’s been impossible, however, thanks to Tom, Vanessa and Derek – their adult children who still reside in the family home. We meet the Figgs as June is trying one last push to get the children to clean up all of their old crap and clear out of the house. Little does June know that rather than losing some family members, the house is getting ready for a plus one, in the form of Derek’s baby no one knew was even expected.
The remainder of the story is coming to terms with alllllll of their family’s history. Learning that . . . .
And to . . . .
While realizing that the Figgs might not appear as dysfunctional from an outsider’s perspective as they do from an insider’s . . . .
ARC received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, NetGalley! ...more
I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of Calypso from Little Brown, but KNEW I would have to hear the audio version in order for my experiencI was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of Calypso from Little Brown, but KNEW I would have to hear the audio version in order for my experience to be complete. I started this last Friday on my commute and remained plugged in on the way to and throughout my youngest's double-header on Saturday. I'm not a real chatty person to begin with (my husband even bought me a "Do Not Disturb" sun hat to wear to games in order to enable my introversion) - but even without the hat the gods smiled upon me and I was left alone with my earbuds until the entire book was finished.
This morning I got in the car and started it all over again from the beginning. There just aren't any words. Is it possible to feel nostalgic for a family you don't even belong to? At this point I feel I've been allowed to be such a part of David's life that Amy, Lisa, Gretchen, Tiffany (rest her soul) and "The Rooster" . . . . errrr, I mean "The Juicester" (who has managed to become my favorite) are somehow all related to me as well. If you've never experienced Sedaris, I don't recommend starting here. Instead I'd suggest you pick up Dress You Family In Corduroy and Denim or When You Are Engulfed In Flames. You'll know right away if you are a fan or not. If so, you'll run through his works in short order and find a giant tribe of middle-aged women who will embrace you into our fold waiting for you at the finish line. If not, you might want to keep that to yourself - pre-menopausal hormones can be a real bitch.
Because unlike what Bobby Bouché's momma might have you believe . . . .
Happiness truly comes from listening to a petite former elf tell you about his family....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????
Thomas Wolfe wrote you can’t go home again. Fitting that I wound up listening a book about a woman returning to her hometown during my 12-hour round-trip solo drive back to the place where I was born and raised for the first time in a decade. In The Flood Girls Rachel returns to a town full of trailer parks and alcoholics because she felt she needed to re-work Step 8. In case you aren’t familiar . . . .
I ended up in the local watering hole at some point during my brief stay, but I can’t say I took the same path Rachel did when I got back to my ol’ stomping grounds . . . .
However, I could relate to Rachel’s slice of Americana and had a great time learning all about the various Flood Girls as they tried to make it to the regional baseball tourney for the first time ever . . . .
As well as The Chief and his merry band of volunteer firemen . . . .
Not to mention young Jake. Man . . . . .
This was a winner for me. Many thanks to Melki for her 5 Star review. She’s kind of greedy with the Starzzzzzz just like me so when she hands them out, I tend to pay attention. My library system also deserves a kudo for nearly always having whatever my heart desires, in whatever format my heart desires . . . .
And now I’m back at work. I was trying to plug in and listen to porn until 5:00 while I did whatever tasks came to me, but instead I was just informed me that my taking three days off (which I informed everyone about in advance and made sure to not be either a Monday or a Friday) to attend a funeral was an inconvenience . . . .
Someone pass me a silver bullet. The beer, I mean, not an actual silver bullet. I don’t work with werewolves....more
To say that this is a biased review might be the understatement of the decade. Many of you are already familiar with my love for the Sedaris family. It began with Amy and Strangers With Candy before I discovered her brother was a writer. Having now read all but one of his collections – and more recently re-listening to several of them during my commute – I have no shame in admitting I am completely smitten with every single one of the Sedaris clan. So much so that when a conversation between two people who didn’t enjoy Sedaris popped up on my feed last week I practically had to cut my fingers off to not interject with a "butbutbutbut" and nearly had myself convinced that the parties must be aliens and I should probably report them to the proper authorities. Then I remembered that people are allowed to have opinions and since David himself is probably well aware that he’s not everyone’s cuppa I should resign myself to that fact too. All that being said, I obviously need mental help and my rating should probably be taken with a grain dumptruck of salt.
CalypsoIS good, though. A stand out, even. If you are a fan this should rise to the top of the ranks. With a reoccurring theme of visits with family (and Carol) at home in Sussex as well as at the “Sea Section” beach house in North Carolina, Sedaris delivers both humorous as well as poignant memories in spades – and even though I know I’m not supposed to quote an advanced copy as anything I was privileged enough to read could still end up on the cutting room floor, this little line sums things up perfectly . . . .
“Ours is the only club I’ve ever wanted to be a member of, so I couldn’t imagine quitting.”
Oh how I would love to be a fly on the wall during their “club meetings.”
By this point in my life I’ve actually received numerous offers by friends to attend one of David Sedaris’ public readings which are put on pretty much yearly here by a local bookstore and held at a giant, beautiful, non-denominational church. While I’m flattered that people like me enough to voluntarily spend time with me without being paid to do so, my response is always no. First, because of other humans . . . .
And second, but more importantly, because I’m terrified I would become this . . . .
At this point I don’t think I could settle for less than Thanksgiving at the Sea Section (I still agree with Paul that the Conch Sucker should have been the winner) on Emerald Isle (on the West side of the house where the visitors stay, of course - I’m not psycho). It is there we will binge-watch My 600-lb Life. Afterwards I will help dig a hole in the sand for the turkey deep fryer to sit in and make sure I have plenty of cash on hand to tip Amy while she performs my spa treatment after I kick alllllllll of their asses at Sorry.
I’m also fairly certain that I need a piece of driftwood art in my life like the one that will be featured on the cover . . . .
One-eyed raccoons. Such judgey little assholes, right? But you can’t deny the other option is sheer perfection . . . .
Oh, before I forget. I can't sign off until I mention the part about pants shitting . . . .
You might not have to love David Sedaris in order to be my friend, but you do have to find people crapping their drawers hilarious. No exceptions.
Man I can’t wait to listen to this one. Every Star.
ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Hope you don’t regret it!
Note to Little Brown from my husband: Please give my wife the new Jason Sudakis book so she'll shut up about it already.
Note to husband from myself: Please don't try to help ever again....more
“You’re saying that on Friday night I have an equal chance of getting vomited on as I do of getting kissed?”
“Welcome to high school.”
So this morning I proposed to Julie Buxbaum via Instagram . . . .
I haven’t heard back, but it’s probably just because we’re in different timezones. I mean, she’s definitely not getting a restraining order, right?
It was my friend AJ’s Review that put What To Say Next on my radar - nearly a year after its publication date. Who knows when (or if) I would have ever heard of it otherwise. Sad thing too, because I had read Buxbaum’s earlier book Tell Me Three Things and had a fine time, but alas I have zero ability to remember an author’s name, so I remained oblivious.
On the surface, this could easily be dismissed as one of these stories . . . .
(But, you know, the opposite. Sorry, I don't have a lot of free time to gif hunt at the moment or the ability to words well so just go get this book already.)
To be fair, it is that. It’s the story of David who tells you right on page one that . . . .
“In the 622 days I’ve attended this high school, not a single person has ever sat beside me at lunch.”
A synopsis would be honest in telling you this is what happened to David when Kit decided to sit at his table instead of with her friends one day. But really it’s about . . . .
“What if we took the time to get to know some of the other kids in the other cliques, like the artsy types or the theater dorks? What if we all jumped out of our boxes and chewed up our stupid labels? Who would we discover?”
And it does it in such a realistic high schooly, non-preachy type of way. Not to mention it presents a non-white main character as well as a main character on the autism spectrum along with some depression and a handful of other real-life issues in such a matter-of-fact kind of manner without a bunch of hoopla. Because guess what? Non-white kids and kids who are a little different socially and genius kids and average kids and quirky kids and bully kids are alllllllll the types of kids that you might meet in school so why shouldn’t books include every kind of kid????
If you fell in love with Charlie in Perks and just loooooooove to read about young love, What To Say Next might be the perfect book for you. It made me feel like Kristen Bell when she got to meet a sloth for the first time. You know what I’m talking about???? Her happiness looked a little terrifying just like mine . . . .
I had some notes highlighted, but I just fired up the ol’ Kindle and poof they aren’t there anymore so Imma have to wing it. I will flat out admit I wanted this one for the title alone – and also because Joe Lansdale stories pretty much equate this for me . . . .
(Too soon? Sorry, Coach K.)
But regarding that title: I mean what is a Fender Lizard and how can I be one? Are they recruiting? Would I have to jump someone in an alley with a shiv to get in? I’m pretty much up for whatever it might take. Luckily I didn’t have to wait long to find out thanks to my Good Buddy Dan and the power of the “lend” feature.
As for the story itself, Lansdale is known for his ability to spin a good coming of age yarn, but in books that are clearly written for adults. That being said, although I’m fairly comfortable in saying Fender Lizards would NOT probably reside in the Young Adult section of your local bookstore – that is precisely where it should be. Adults like me will happily lap the story up as it dishes up some surefire YES PLEASE! features such as high school dropouts with a daddy who went out for a pack of smokes and never came back and a sister with multiple deadbeat baby daddy and I was just like . . . .
And don’t get offended because those are TOTALLY my people and could probably be most of my relatives.
Also they lived in a place like this . . . .
Which is practically a dare to me to see if I can resist giving it an auto 5 Star rating.
They also worked at a super high-end establishment known as the . . . .
Where they had to do THIS . . . . .
And maybe, just maaaaaaaaaaaybe their chance at getting ahead in life would come from winning one of these . . . . .
Not to mention . . . .
To which the answer is: A little bit!!!
Can you hear me squeeing all across the country? Not even sorry.
This was super fun even though I'm an old geezer. If I had a teenage daughter I’d hold her down and sit on her until she finished reading this recommend this one to her.
Thanks again for the lend, Original Dan. You’re one of the good’uns!...more
The Rabbit Factory got added to my TBR due to David Joy’s recommendation. I don’t know if you’ve had the privilege of experiencing Mr. Joy’s stuff, but if you like it dark and gritty his books top the charts. I’m a charter member in the Church of Joy and after reading not only his own works, but now also his recommendations, I know if he’s passing out the Kool-Aid my response will definitely be . . . .
The library only had the audio version, but that was alright because I listened to this while sitting at this . . . .
To say The Rabbit Factory is a one-of-a-kind type of story is an understatement. I’ve been racking my brain trying to come up with something to compare it to and the closest thing I can think of is Pulp Fiction, but in the most generic manner possible. There’s 100 chapters and about eleventy-three characters that you follow - some who know some others, some who will interact with some others, some who are just thrown in there to keep you guessing maybe because they don’t have anything to do with the others. None of them are real pillars of society – and some are downright criminals and lowlifes, but when you mix them all together into a story without either a real beginning or ending, somehow it’s magic.
This one gets all the Stars and I’d give it a bonus 5 if I could for Tom Stechschulte’s narration. Simply brilliant. Dick lit at its finest and proof that cyberstalking pays off! Now someone approve me over at NetGalley for David Joy’s new book before I go apeshit on yo ass . . . .
Per the placeholder “review” below, the only reason Country Dark even pinged my radar was because of David Joy. Since Mr. Joy can’t churn out books at the one-per-month rate I’d like him to, I’ve been picking up his recommendations from time-to-time instead. What can I say about this one???? Well . . . . .
If you’re not a fan of “hick lit” I can’t say this will be the one that changes your mind. But if you are? Boy are you missing out if you haven’t already added this to the TBR. Don’t let the title scare you off either. While there is certainly some darkness to this story (one of the opening scenes is of a girl nearly getting raped) – it isn’t pitch black. It’s simply a story that spans the end of the Korean War to the ‘70s about family and doing whatever it takes to provide for them while living in rural Kentucky at the time . . . .
“The Tuckers were a good bunch with bad luck, same as a lot of hill families.”
Sadly, since this is not “the next Gone Girl” it wasn’t released with a mass market campaign, movie options and a gazillion advanced copy push. Unlike all of those so-called next-best-things, THIS story might actually be one of the best you’ll read.
ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, NetGalley
Because Shelby made me want David Joy's new book and then David Joy made me want this new book and now I'm gonna make Shelby want this new book . . . .
I think a bookpushing intervention is overdue....more
Being that I’m a hermit, I can’t say I’m much for movie going. I can’t say I’m much of a television watcher either and when I do sit down in front of the boob tube to partake in some Househoes of Any City on the Planet highly educational program viewing, it’s usually on the DVR so I don’t even see commercials or film trailers. Occasionally my buddy Ron 2.0 or my husband point something out to me. Such was the case with Three Billboards and my husband shoving his cell phone in my face quite awhile back. I responded in my usual loving manner . . . .
Until he finally convinced me to just STFU and watch what he was showing me.
When I saw an update that someone was reading this “book” I continually begged the library to buy a copy of it until they finally broke down and did just that. Little did I know that it was the screenplay. If you don’t like screenplays, I can’t guarantee you’ll like this. If you’ve already watched the film, there is literally ZERO additional info in this book as it is the film in written format and that’s all it is. But if you’re like me, you only know what was provided to you in the trailer. Those things are that it features some of your absolute favorites that you have loved since she was a very pregnant police chief . . . .
Or when he performed a song that has followed you to middle-age . . . .
(And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the acting.)
You knew the dialogue was absolutely your cuppa . . . .
And that despite the “three billboards” storyline, you’d still have the occasional chuckle . . .
What I wasn’t expecting???
And also this . . . .
Ugly crying in front of everyone on my lunch hour?????
Here’s a dramatic reenactment of me in the car going to hell Wal-Mart with the husband while simultaneously trying to describe my feelings about David Sedaris . . . .
Ever since I finally got brave enough to attempt audiobooks several months ago, I’ve methodically been revisiting Sedaris’ work. If you haven’t experienced his stuff before, I’m telling you audio is the way to go and Naked is David Sedaris at his best. From being a little kid with O.C.D. in a time where such behavior was dismissed as “quirky,” to a young man living at a nudist colony, to his mother’s cancer diagnosis - Naked will have you laughing until you cry and crying until you laugh. An added bonus is his sister Amy lends her voice to some of the selections as well. Talk about my fantasy audible ménage à trois. The only thing better than the Sedaris siblings? Their mother. Several years ago I used to wish I could be her when I grew up. Now I’m thinking my wish came true which I think is awesome, but probably terrifies my family. ...more
Oh my glob how much do I love books like these. I know, I know . . . .
Guess what? I don’t really care.
Meet Imogene . . . .
She also has a pretty severe case of arrested development . . . .
Imogene spent her high school days dreaming about leaving her ho-hum, middleclass life behind in order to attend a prestigious boarding school. When offered a job as a teaching apprentice at Vandenberg School for Boys after college, she jumps at the chance. What follows is the story of Imogene’s tenure at said school and her various interpersonal relationships – one in particular that readers won’t soon forget . . . .
“This was a bad habit of mine, falling in love.”
When this sucker popped up on my feed from St. Martin’s Press I knew I had to get my hands on a copy. Luckily, ARCs were available for request over on NetGalley and trust me when I say I clicked that button so quick smoke was probably flying off my fingertips. As a mother, believe me when I say if I ever even got a hint that one of their teachers was trying to have an inappropriate relationship with them I’d press charges so quick their head would spin and I’d probably wind up in jail for kicking all of the ass while waiting for the cops to get there. But when it comes to a work of fiction????
I can’t help myself. I love reading about the taboo. And this one? What a debut! The combination of Imogene’s age in relation to the students, her position of authority not necessarily being that authoritative, her lack of self-awareness/ability to interact with others and the smarm which was Kip all amounted to some serious . . . . .
And I just couldn’t help but feel sorry for Imogene at times while simultaneously cringing at her behavior.
Oh, and I can’t forget to mention that cover . . . .
Recommended to all y’all weirdos. You know who you are.
ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, NetGalley!...more