Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

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3.5 Stars




If you know me, you will know that means it’s time for the (porny) library’s Winter Reading Challenge and my chance to obtain yet another free coffee mug to add to my hoard. Even though the library up in the ‘burbs is where I obtain most of my smut, the challenge this bitterly cold season is not to read all about hiding salami, rather it is . . . . .



WHODUNITS! Now if there is one thing I read just as much as I read porn, it’s mystery/thrillers. The Good Daughter had been on my TBR since way back when I somehow managed to abstain from clicking the request button over on NetGalley. Little did I know that upon its release I would be approximately nine trillionth on the wait list. Lucky for me, my turn came around just in time. Of course, being a thriller I can’t say allllllllll the things. (I even went and peaked at a couple of reviews as well as the synopsis to confirm that – NOPE – can’t even say the one thing.) Here’s what I can tell you (AND DON’T YOU FUCKING JUDGE ME!): The Good Daughter was like a blast from the past when I was in love with all things John Grisham . . .



Hey! I said don’t judge. I haven’t read Grisham in a fortnight, mainly because he started churning out stuff at a pace even Stephen King couldn’t keep up with and I was a little scurrrred he was going to go down the path of James Patterson. But back in the dizzy???? Remember A Time To Kill??? Oh, such good stuff. THAT’S what this made me think of with a school shooting and a poor man’s Atticus Finch (mixed with a little smooth-talking Harold Hill for good measure) and a local prosecutor who could give little possum-tailed Jeff Sessions a run for his money in the smarmy department and country folk and then . . . . . AND THEN!!!!! . . . . there’s this whooooooooooooooole other storyline going on simultaneously regarding a superbadawful (or actually quite a pile of superbadawfuls) that happened years and years and years ago that somehow will tie in to the present goings on. And that’s all I can tell you without spilling some beans.

I will say that according to Goodreads, The Good Daughter sits at over 500 pages. It doesn’t feel like it. I breezed through this in a day. Minor gripes are as follows:

1. There were no surprises. YMMV obviously, but if you read a lot of mysteries you probably will see everything coming too.

2. At around the 50% mark something happened (no spoilsies) and then the story did a bit of a rewind/retelling and that is not a tactic I enjoy. I didn’t enjoy it here either and I kind of stalled out for a bit and went and cleaned closets until I knew I would be able to find a rhythm again.

The good news is I fell in love with Charlie so hard that I either want to marry her or wear her as a skin suit . . . .

“A possum stared at me through the door all night.

“That’s Bill. He’s my lover.”

“Possums can transmit leptospirosis, E. coli, salmonella. Their scat can carry a bacteria that causes flesh-eating ulcers.”

“We’re not into the kinky stuff.”


Mitchell says skin suit but I’m still debating it.

Book # 1 in my quest for free crap (Hoarders, here I come!!!!). While I currently have about eleventy-four library books checked out and another ten thousand on my reading room shelves that will get me to my goal, I’m always open for suggestions when it comes to thrillers so feel free to comment with your faves. James Patterson novels need not apply : )

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds


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5 Stars

In case you haven’t heard, jasonwritesbooks(.com). More specifically, jasonwritesIMPORTANTbooks. Books that are RELEVANT and NOW and REAL and HEARTBREAKING. Books that make my non-book-lovin’ kid not fight me when it comes to reading. Books that give a voice to a population who so often is rendered voiceless. Books that when I muttered to myself on Sunday morning “what should I read next?” had said non-book-lovin’ kid running to his backpack and returning with Long Way Down in hand and yelling “THIS!” A book that he finished on his own instead of the fifteen pages a night clip he is obligated to read. A book that I read in less than half an hour due to its written in verse format. A powerful book. An IMPORTANT book that will let children know this is not true as far as Jason Reynolds is concerned . . . .



Every star. If Reynolds writes it we’ll read it.

ORIGINAL "REVIEW"

Because when your non-book-reading kid tells you that you HAVE to read this one right now you put your fluffy romance aside and listen to the boy.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff


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3 Stars


When I initially posted the "review" below (based solely on leaked segments) the day before Fire and Fury was officially released, I had no idea my little bit of nothing would get as much attention as it has. I also didn't really plan on reading the book. But then somehow the library decided it should order SIXTY copies of the thing and I went from 90th on the wait list to it being my turn before even a week was over (many thanks to the patrons who either removed their names from the list or made a point to return the book right away so everyone could get their chance) and there was a snow day so I had no excuse not to dive right in. So what do I think now that I'm finished? Well, I think we elected fucking Fredo to run our great nation . . . .



I stand behind everything I said before. This was indeed simply a "tell-all" as I originally believed and probably contained a "bigly" chunk of tabloid journalism (which surprisingly focused A LOT on the Bannon/Jared & Ivanka relationship). It's convenient that one of the most quoted figures in the book is Roger Ailes who is now dead. But at the end of the day does it really matter which quotes are real or who leaked what when it comes to sort of a "National Enquirer" type of bestseller? Trump said it best when he said the following about his supporters:

"I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters."

If nothing else has been confirmed for me since the inauguration (aside from the fact that Trump had the biggest crowd ever in attendance *eye roll*) it is Trump's own quote above and this point that Fire and Fury makes over and over and over again . . . .

"He could not even attempt to imitate decorum."

And THAT is something that no one will ever be able to fix when it comes to this 71-year old man. Let's just hope America wakes up by the next election before Trump turns our country into a "shithole nation." : (


INITIAL THOUGHTS:

Today our Führer is attempting to prevent this book’s release. People quoted in the book are also coming forth denying they said some of the things attributed to them. If a copy of this (literally) falls into my lap – like from the sky while I’m sitting on a park bench or something – I may read it. As for what has been leaked so far regarding its contents? All I have to say is . . . . .



OF COURSE Trump didn’t think he would win the G.D. election. No one in the universe did. He put his name in the hat as a marketing ploy for his failing brand. Unfortunately for America, no one drinks the Trump Kool-Aid as well as Trump himself so once he was told there was a chance he could win he brainwashed himself into thinking he was qualified for the job.

OF COURSE he sleeps in a different bedroom than Melania. Melania had ZERO intention of ever moving from her gilded penthouse in Trump Tower until the powers that be told her she was obligated to for the sake of public appearance. It’s not like she really hides her distaste when it comes to her husband . . . .



OF COURSE Rupert Murdoch called him a “fucking idiot.” HE IS ONE. I guarantee Tillerson called him a moron too.

OF COURSE he is so delusional he believes someone would poison him. Hell, it’s probably someone in his own family … or someone who married into his family only to be used as a patsy.

OF COURSE he hates the Obamas. Every single move he’s made since being elected is an attempt to delete Obama’s footprint from the history books. At this point one could only be thankful if the reasoning behind Trump’s disdain is because they were “very arrogant” rather than because The Donald wears a white robe and hood around Mar-A-Largo on the weekends.

OF COURSE Ivanka has her eye set on being the first female president. It’s pretty obvious at this point the Trumps like to fancy themselves as a new and not-so-improved version of the Kennedy clan.

OF COURSE Trump doesn’t read or “really even skim,” but instead engrosses himself in television viewing in order to see just how “fake” the news is that day in order to be able to Twat about it while taking his 3:00 a.m. constitutional every night after his handlers have retired to their beds. Is it really surprising Trump isn't a big reader? He is, after all, the dude who has “the best words” such as . . . .



OF COURSE Steve Bannon used him . . . .



Once again DUH MOTHERFUCKER. You were the only one stupid enough to believe a fucking white supremacist had the best interest of the country at heart.

OF COURSE everyone who works in the White House right now hates everyone else. Kelly hates everyone most of all. Thank Jeebus he loves this country enough to keep trying to stomp out the dumpster fire which is this presidency with his bare feet every day.

Was I the only person who equated this release to a Kitty Kelley sort “unauthorized biography????” Now, thanks to Trump and his merry band of minions – along with their cease and desist demands, this is sure to be a bestseller . . . .


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Everything Is Awful by Matt Bellassai

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4 Stars


When this popped up over at the pornbrary’s “Recommended To You” page I didn’t have to do anything other than look at the title before hitting the request button. I was ready to declare once and for all to the pornbrarian that . . . .



But then I realized maybe he/she doesn’t know me quite as well as I thought they did because there were like eleventy-four people ahead of me in the queue and I very much have the mindset that This Is America and OF COURSE I Want It Now! Mind you, I had no idea who Matt Bellassai was. I simply bemoaned the fact that my entitled butt would have to wait a hot minute rather than receive instant gratification. Then I did what I do best and forgot all about this book until finally my turn did come around and I checked out the synopsis.

Here are some things to know about me:

1. I still don’t really know who Matt Bellassai is, although his book made me laugh the terrifying “what if I lart” (definition below) laugh that happens when old ladies attempt to contain their guffaws whilst reading at work.

2. I’m not positive I know what a Buzzfeed is either and no I’m not interested in looking it up, but apparently that’s how this guy initially became famous. (I think there was some other Buzzfeed thing that I wasn’t familiar with and some of you tried to explain to me, but alas I am dumb and also maybe have early onset dementia so I don’t remember any specifics.)

3. I do not and will not ever (yeah yeah, immortal Bieberish words remind me to . . . .



but I feel pretty comfortable saying never here) spend my free time watching You Tubers or vloggers. (I started jotting down my ramblings simultaneously with reading this book, so I now know that Bellassai isn’t a traditional “You Tuber” – I think – maybe, but he did do a video on the internet that went viral so tomato/tomahto.) My husband and friends can’t even get me to watch Netflix and that is a simple button on my remote that I don’t know how to work, but at least I know exists. I refuse to use a computer once I leave the office and my phone is for making phone calls (and about twice a week to send a text it takes me 14 years to type out since I insist on using real words and punctuation). I have nothing against You Tubers or viral videologists – I’ll just be leaving the addiction to watching their videos to the youth of the nation. That being said, I have still not taken a gander at Bellassai’s (apparently People’s Choice Award winning) web series.

4. I frequently complain (even when I enjoy their stories okay) about youngsters who write memoirs because they haven’t lived long enough to have accrued experiences that fill a “life story” and instead seem to be cashing in before their 15 minutes of fame runs out. That’s why I’m choosing to call Bellassai an “essayist” à la David Sedaris. His stories may be about himself, but they are presented as snippets of life rather than an autobiography and also because I am allowed to be as fickle as I would like to be.

Okay, so now that you’ve had to endure allllllll of that overshare, here’s the point: I was not and am not familiar with Matt Bellassai – something I’m sure he would be completely comfortable with since I highly doubt middle-aged, fat, married women are his target demographic. That being said, this book was FREAKING HYSTERICAL – to the point aforementioned that I was more than a bit concerned I might laugh fart (a/k/a lart) since I was trying my best to not allow any raucous sounds to escape my body from one orifice and that those sounds would therefore choose a different one. And although I’m almost certain that I am nearly old enough to have birthed this boy (should I have chosen motherhood instead of high school), we are of one mind when it comes many different topics and especially to one particular terrifying entity:

“Say one wrong thing, however innocuous yet hilarious you think it may be, and you become Teenage Girl Enemy Number One. I’m chubby, gay, pale and a whole decade older than most of them, which means I might as well wear a sign that says, “Hello fellow Internet users, please destroy my entire life.”

If you are in need of something light that will confirm that - no, your new mascara is indeed not waterproof, this might be the book for you. Now I have to make an exception to everything I said up top and FINALLY Google this cat in order to watch the Drunk at Work or whatever the fuck his shit is called before my friend here at the office bludgeons me to death with my stapler : )

IMMEDIATE EDIT: Google search officially complete (or as complete as I want it to be which means I watched one video and now I'm going to figure out what book I'm going to read next). I deactivated my Facebook account around a month ago for all of the reasons listed HERE. Matt Bellassai is my Patronus.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Lie To Me by J.T. Ellison


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3 Stars


Hey guys – are you looking for the next . . . .



If so, this one kinda actually fits the comparison since it’s about a man who wakes up only to discover his wife is not in bed. Turns out she isn’t in the kitchen dutifully making his breakfast either, which in my house would probably earn him a . . . .



Or, at minimum . . . .



So what is the story? Did Sutton finally have enough of Ethan’s shenanigans and come to the realization that . . . .



Or did something nefarious happen?

Okay, so Lie To Me definitely wasn’t terrible. I enjoyed Gone Girl so this one having a bit of the same vibe was A-okay for me. It was quite the page turner and I can’t say I ever lost interest despite it being a bit lengthier than most domestic thrillers. The thing that lost me? All the “twists and turns.” Unfortunately I saw all of them coming from about a block and a half away, excluding the one on the very last page and that one left me feeling . . . . .



It was just too much. And I’m still not positive it makes sense when it comes to all the other things that happened in the book. But I probably just read it wrong.

The part that I absolutely read right (and the reason this gets a full 3 Stars rather than 2.5) was the “Badly Behaving Author” subplot. Ripped straight out of the pages of Goodreads (or True Reads or some such that I can’t remember because I forgot to highlight the name used in this book and I have old lady brain and now the library copy has expired), many of you will recognize the similarities to an actual event that took place here around four years ago when an author not only responded to a 1 Star review, but ended up at the reviewer’s doorstep. In my fantasy world J.T. Ellison is a pen name for that author – especially when I got to the part that (view spoiler) It doesn’t appear that’s the case, but it didn’t make that part of the story less enjoyable.

Monday, January 8, 2018

The Vanishing Season by Joanna Schaffhausen

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4 Stars

“It’s not up to you to stop it, not by yourself. You’re just one person, Ellie.”

“Yeah, but I’m the one he wants.”

The Vanishing Season would most definitely NOT pass the Ron 2.0 smell test . . . .



Some of the reasons include:

1. Our leading lady was the “one who got away” from a serial killer . . .

2. Who then grew up to become a cop . . . .

3. And yet somehow no one knows who she was . . . .

4. In a sleepy little hamlet where she has decided three missing persons cases are somehow linked to a copycat killer.

5. Our leading male was the FBI agent who saved our leading lady when she was a kid . . . .

6. Who flubbed his last case and is now on leave . . . .

7. But has decided to be all mavericky and lend a hand when it comes to solving these new cases . . . .

8. And of course no one stops him and he calls in favors and they send him files he needs and whatever else would never happen.

Guess what? Ron is totally right . . . .



For whatever reason, however, I kinda have a great time with these “Lifetimey” selections of whodunits. They are my version of the cozy mystery and . . . .



I enjoyed that Ellery was flawed (to the extent some readers might not even be able to sympathize with her character). I appreciated Reed and Ellery’s relationship in that they worked together, as equals, and there was never even a hint that things would turn sexual. I liked their dialogue . . . .

“I did not cheat on my wife with any live women.”

“That’s a creepy way to put it.”


The storytelling here was captivating and the page count was spot-on without a bunch of filler. Really, the only downside was I immediately knew “whodunit” – but when there are like four characters being focused on and you know three didn’t do it . . . .



It didn’t even matter, though. This was the perfect read for a rainy Sunday.

White Bodies by Jane Robins


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3.5 Stars

Despite having to wait months in order to obtain a copy and receiving frequent messages from my book bestie such as . . . .


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Amazingly, I was unspoiled on White Bodies before beginning.

All I knew was that this was a story about adult twin sisters Tilda and Callie – one of which had some bizarre methods when it came to making sure the two would be as close as possible. Those things made me think . . . .



And that I definitely didn’t want to drink anything Callie had to offer. . . . .



I had no clue the inspiration behind this story was going to be this . . . .





In case you aren’t familiar, that is the premise behind . . . .



Which is one of my all-time faves (and somehow I still haven’t read Patricia Highsmith's book, so I should kick myself in the ass for being a failure). I’m going to zip it before I spill too much, but I will say while White Bodies didn’t have any twists I did not see coming, it did have the ewwwww factor as mentioned above which earns it a half star bump for originality when recreating such an oldie-but-goodie. It also did a better job than the other Strangers On A Train revamp I recently read (The Kind Worth Killing) when it came to making that something old new again and it was definitely a page turner since I finished it while also making dinner and serving my demon spawn during Saturday evening’s football game . . . .



#rolltide