Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Serena by Ron Rash


2815590
4 Stars

“You men notice so little. Physical strength is your gender’s sole advantage.”
Allow me to introduce you to Serena . . . . .



Aint’ she sweet?

Serena has moved to North Carolina to start a new life with her husband, the owner of a timber company . . . .



(Don’t worry – this ain’t a kissing book.) Upon arrival, Serena proves she’s not your average Depression era rich bitch lady of leisure. She wears pants, lives in camp with the axemen, rides a white stallion, and has a pet eagle that she teaches cool tricks . . . .



She’s also just a little . . . . .



Okay, maybe not a little. Serena pretty much embraces the idea of being a badass every day and she doesn’t care what or who she has to destroy in order to get what she feels should be hers. She’s a character you’re probably supposed to hate, but somehow you can’t help loving instead. Easily one of most wicked women I’ve ever read and I wouldn’t even have known about her if it weren’t for my favorite little witch recommending this to me for the Winter Reading Challenge. If you want something gritty and a lil’ chickenfried with shady business dealings, an illegitimate baby, and a handful of murders thrown in for good measure, this is the story for you.

Book two in my quest for a new coffee mug complete!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

7723542
5 Stars

It’s time once a year for my library’s Winter Reading Challenge and my chance to score a FREEEEEEEE coffee mug. (Yes, I am the cheapest date you could ever imagine.) This year’s theme????



Basically any book that became a movie or television program. It turns out this is apparently the list of recommended reads I grab onto each year because I had read a bigly portion of the suggested titles (and had less than zero interest in some of the others). I had put A Dog’s Purpose on the wait list after seeing the preview when I took my kids to see Sing - a movie everyone else apparently loved but I thought was super . . . .



My eternal hold finally ended and it was my turn at the perfect time and I read this book on Day 1 of the challenge. And pretty much looked like . . . . .



The entire flippin’ time I was reading.

The story is about a dog who . . .

“Was seized with an inexplicable question, a question of purpose. This didn’t seem like the sort of thing a dog should think about, but I found myself returning to the issue often. Why? Why did I harder a nagging feeling that as a dog there was something I was supposed to do?”

Which leads to discovering that . . . .

“Of all the things I’d ever done, making ____________ laugh seemed the most important. It was, I reflected, the only thing that gave my life any purpose.”

And then . . . .



Followed by the dog being reincarnated only to discover . . . .

“This was, I decided, my purpose as a dog, to comfort the boy whenever he needed me.”

And . . . . .



But not only did the dog provide comfort . . . .

“My purpose, my whole life, had been to love him and be with him, to make him happy.”

And oh my god . . . . .



Then the dog came back AGAIN and began to question . . . .

“Could a dog have more than one purpose?”

Leading to . . . .

“I was a good dog. I had fulfilled my purpose.”

By this point I looked like I had been punched in the face and my family was like . . . .



But the story wasn’t over yet and I bet Kleenex stock prices went through the ROOF this morning. I don’t often have emotion (other than happiness and anger), but when I do everyone should watch the eff out.

Please note I realize this is not necessarily a “good” book – it’s written from a dog’s point of view so it’s pretty simple and it definitely is designed to make you feel all of the things, but I give zero shits. I love dogs and I hate almost all people so it worked great for me.

#honeybadgerdon'tcare #evenrobotscry #trollmeandi'llcutyou

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton


32706661
4 Stars

“Evil doesn’t have to be loud, son. In fact, it reserves that for the merely boorish. Evil is quiet, stealthy – it sneaks up on you, smiles, and pats you on the back while pissing down your leg.”


Let me tell you the tale of how this ended up on my TBR. It was a cold and snowy New Year’s and the family was all in the reading room to make as much noise as possible in order to distract me from my ‘puter watch me churn out one of my super professional book reviews when my husband (the non-reader) began pelting me with “Have You Read [fill in name of book]???” questions. After the fourth title (two of which were quality reads of mine last year and two of which I had never heard of) I asked where the eff he was getting these selections. He then informed me it was his co-worker’s “Best Reads Of 2016” Facebook post. Recognizing that two of the choices came from my own brilliant mind I thought I should take his other two suggestions seriously as we appear to have the same taste and asked my husband to repeat the titles – which I then looked up on Goodreads. The only thing I saw when The Secret Wisdom of the Earth blurb came up was APPALACHIA and I was all . . . . . .



Which led my husband to have a “You Serious, Clark?” moment. Yep. Dead serious. I’m a cheap sell.

Now that that overshare is over, let’s talk about the book . . . .

“Heard your momma’s gone crazy cause your little brother died,” he said, looking hard at me.

“She’s taking it kind of bad.”


That’s the reason young Kevin and his mother are spending the summer with his granddad Pops. The rest of the story is a mix of a coming of age tale in the spirit of Harper Lee where Kevin learns that unfortunately people don’t always believe that . . . .



With a little Jack London, Bill Bryson and just a hint of Barbara Kingsolver’s eco-warrior thrown in for good measure.

Since I’m not a fan of humans, I don’t even know the name of my husband’s co-worker, but I owe him a thank you. I would have never heard of this book were it not for his recommendation and that would have been unfortunate because . . . .




Note to everyone with normal human emotions: This one is a real gut-wrencher. We’re talking a brutal accidental death and a hate crime and black lung and poverty and abuse and everything else that’s wrong with the universe that might make you have the feelz. You’ve been warned.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

A Step Toward Fallign by Cammie McGovern

24605853
3 Stars

The snowpocalypse doomsdayers are predicting an ice storm to roll into town some time tomorrow, which is making me pretty much feel like this . . . .



So I’m going to go ahead and barf out this review before I die from being impaled by a falling icicle.

I’m the first of my friends to read A Step Toward Falling, but I have a feeling there’s a whooooooooole bunch of snowflakes out there who will be oh so offended by everything contained within its pages. Dear People, the world is a big place – expand your horizons . . . .



The basic lesson to be learned in A Step Toward Falling is . . . .



Along with a pretty healthy dose of learning you can’t always judge a person by what’s on the outside . . . .



The story goes as follows: A fellow student attempts a sexual assault on a special-needs student named Belinda which is “witnessed” (quotes explained momentarily) by Emily and Lucas. Due to their failure to “tell someone” (quotes explained momentarily), Emily and Lucas receive 40 hours of community service (so like 10 times the punishment Brock Turner received) where they will work with young adults with disabilities in a class that focuses on socialization and relationships.

Alright, let me take a sec and ‘splain the quotes. THIS IS A TEENSY SPOILEY SO BE WARNED. First, the timeline of what happens to Belinda is seriously jacked and needed a Beta reader/editor with a better eye. To begin with, Lucas WASN’T EVEN PRESENT when the assault took place. Some other stuff and things were happening during halftime near the locker room tunnel and Lucas tried to get Belinda the heck outta Dodge to no avail. By the time she was getting groped, he was already back on the field – which means Emily’s timeline is effed too because even though she supposedly saw what was going down, she thought Lucas was going to tell someone. All of that is just fucked and it made my rating go down. Second, Emily DID try to say something. Again, whacked out timeline aside, when she saw what looked to be a superbadawful getting ready to go down she immediately tried to get a teacher’s attention. Buuuuuuuuuut the teacher was a douche and was too busy watching the game in order to bother paying any attention to a student who was obviously in distress (and ended up shutting down due to a panic attack which was the reason Belinda had to save her own ass – literally). Teacher of the year there, kids. Bottom line is I don’t think EITHER of those children should have ever been punished/felt responsible for failing Belinda. However, there wouldn’t be a story without the two getting punished for their “failure.”

Despite the pretty glaring problems stated above, I’m still giving this book 3 Stars. I liked that (as much as it may offend the aforementioned snowflakes) the teenagers’ voices all seemed pretty realistic. (I’m the mother of a teen and even though he’s a pretty great kid, he (and his friends) are still kind of assholes.) I appreciated having the main character with disabilities be so relatable rather than being “dumbed down” (for lack of a better term). And let me tell you even though Belinda was a bit different from the other students at her school, she was definitely my type of girl . . . .

“If I talk too much about Colin Firth, for instance, it gives teachers uncomfortable thoughts.”



And also . . . .

“I always eat the same thing, which is spaghetti noodles, butter, and Parmeson cheese. I used to think this was a healthy lunch because I used to think spaghetti was a vegetable but it turns out it’s not. That’s okay, though, I still eat it every day.”




Preach, child!

Although the catalyst to this entire book is a pretty adult subject, it’s handled very delicately. The writing style and the morals of the story read very young to me. Obviously it will be up to individual parents whether they feel their child is mature enough to read this or not, but I think this would be better received by late middle-graders rather than high schoolers.


The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon


28763485
1 Star

Looks like people are really creaming their jeans over this one. Everyone except me and a certain someone who are both giant assholes . . . .



Where do I even begin?????? Let me start by saying I even though I am a horrible old wretch, I really thought I would enjoy this and was super pissed at NetGalley for denying me the ARC . . . .



(^^^^There’s some good troll bait, right there. To clear things up - no, I don’t think I’m anything special, but yes I do want to get approved for all the ARCs.)

Anyway, I was kind of a fan of Everything Everything and requested this immediately without even reading the synopsis due to the author’s name alone. Also note I drink the Kool-Aid of the Green and Levithan by the gallon (and I just 4 Starred a YA romance earlier this week) so it’s not like I was smoking crack thinking I would love this too. But sadly love it I did not . . . .



Since I hadn’t spoiled myself of what The Sun Is Also A Star was about before starting I didn’t know this would be the insta-loviest tale that ever insta-loved. You see, this is the story of Natasha and Daniel and 12 hours they spent together. To put it bluntly, Natasha’s family . . . .

“are undocumented immigrants, and we're being deported tonight.”

Natasha is on her way to throw one last hail mary pass in order to keep her family in ‘Murica (illegally by way of “good” social security cards which means cards “with actual stolen numbers printed on it instead of fake ones” because let’s make sure to really make Kelly feel like an effing Alt-Right Movement member since I can’t really cheer for a family of identity thieves).

Daniel is on his way to a college interview in order to live up to his family's expectations. When his train shuts down and the conductor instructs the passengers they should maybe find God, followed by Daniel seeing a girl with a “DEUS EX MACHINA” (or “God From the Machine” for those not familiar) backpack he thinks it’s a sign. And let the instalove commence . . . . .

“There's a Japanese phrase that I like: koi no yokan. It doesn't mean love at first sight. It's closer to love at second sight. It's the feeling when you meet someone that you're going to fall in love with them. Maybe you don't love them right away, but it's inevitable that you will.”

(In this case koi no yokan = soulmates within half a day.)

I’ve read some contrived stories in my time, but this one takes the cake. This thing was absolutely ridiculous (™Ron2.0) and I’m amazed I didn’t concuss myself with all of the rolling of the eyes into the back of my brain. Everyone else loved it, though, so just chalk this as another fail for Kelly due to the fact that . . . . .



Even though I really disliked this book I have to give credit where credit is due and say Nicola Yoon writes some good quotey quotes . . . .

“If people who were actually born here had to prove they were worthy enough to live in America, this would be a much less populated country.”

 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Reaper's Fire by Joanna Wylde


27188165
2 Stars




My husband said this one failed because I’ve been reading too many non-pornos lately. I say it failed because it was fucking stupid.

So the premise here was that “Cooper” (real name Gage, but he’s going all incognito) has moved to town in order to infiltrate of the various “sub clubs” or whatever the hell they call them. His way of getting access is by infiltrating the vagina of the sister of the miniclub’s President as well as a cover story that he’s going through a rocky divorce and wants to be close to his (imaginary) kids. He takes a job with Tinker (these effing names man, I’m telling you) as a handyman of the apartment complex she owns in exchange for free rent and some under-the-counter pay and immediately wants to do things like stick his finger up her butt (his words not mine), but can’t because the whole “LET’S DO IT FOR JOHNNY, MAN!” - errrrr, I mean let’s do it for the Club plotline.



So I figured I’d end up liking this just fine even with all the shenanigans. But then basically dudebrah banged some other chick for a solid half of the book before the two MCs got together and immediately flipped the script from being a real pussy slayer to a one woman man who wanted Tinker as his “old lady.” Not to mention the supposed superbaddanger reason for Gage/Cooper being sent to town to begin with wrapped up in about one page with pretty much zero details of WTF was even so terrible. (Please note I’ve read #1 and #4 of this series and this was #6 so all this shit was probably talked about in the missing volumes, but I do what I want and the term “series” has always been super loose in these types of pornos - meaning they should all work as standalones since they focus on different people each time.)

I appreciate the author trying something different, but it just didn’t work for me at all. And basically it was Gage/Cooper’s fault. I’m all for alpha males when it’s a story where they either ride motorbikes or howl at moon a few days a month, but this dude?????



Not only was half the book spent dealing with a gross attitude that “a wet hole was a wet hole,” but when he finally decided to come clean to Tinker he was more than a little too sure of himself (*cough* kind of rapey *cough*) forcing Tinker to have quite the Thelma and Louise moment . . . .



Not to mention his inner dialogue said things like how it . . .

“Imagined shoving a piece of caramel up her cunt just so I could suck it back out again.”



And there was also the issue of . . .

“Fire exploded as my dick met her stomach. I started grinding against her.”

AGAINST HER STOMACH?!?!?!?!?!?!



I would give Reaper’s Fire 1 Star were it not for Tinker. Dumbfuck name and the fact that she ended up falling victim to the Magic Penis aside, she was my idea of a good female lead. Not only did she run her own successful business as well as ditch the zero who was her ex-husband, but she also cracked me up when dealing with the rumor mill which comes with small town living . . . .

“Yet another woman I’d gone to school with, because, God knows, you wouldn’t want to have any fucking privacy!”

“They could all kiss my ass.”


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

11459962
4.5 Stars and rounding up.



^^^^^ I know, right? I bet you never would have expected that out of me! I’d blame it on my period, but I wasn’t buddy reading with Aunt Flo. Maybe I hit my head like Alice. *shrug* Whatever the reason, I just loved this story.

What Alice Forgot is about . . . .

“The day Alice Mary Love went to the gym and carelessly misplaced a decade of her life.”



Actually, it happened in spin class but Swifty eating it on the treadmill makes me laugh real loud.

When Alice wakes up she discovers 10 years of her life missing. No longer 29, pregnant and enamored with her spouse, Alice is now pushing 40 with three children and a pending divorce. And that’s not all . . . .



Why yes, McFly. Alice has indeed become an asshole – a/k/a an overachieving supermom of the most hellish variety . . . .

“A bull terrier? How had she changed so much in just ten years? She was more like a Labrador. Anxious to please and overexecited.”

With her memory misplaced, Alice decides to take the bull by the horns and get her old life – and more importantly her husband – back, but she’ll have to navigate her way through co-parenting in the interim . . . .

“Are you children always this tiring?”

“Pretty much.”




I don’t know if it was simply a case of right place/right time or what, but I enjoyed this book so much. Alice (and her sister and grandmother) were relatable (and sometimes hilarious) and I ate it up . . . .



Really the only thing I didn't like was the whole "Gina" storyline. I didn't think it was particularly interesting, and it seemed like a copout for Alice becoming such a douche. This was also my first Liane Moriarty (I'm on an eternal library hold for Big Little Lies) and it seemed like she was trying to create some sort of "mystery" vibe rather than being willing to fully grab the Women's Fiction genre by the balls.

Super chick litty, but still bigly recommended.

My buddy Ron 2.0 tends to add a little inspirational song stylings to his reviews. Normally music doesn’t play in the background while I’m reading, but since I just discovered this is in the works to be a movie I haven’t been able to get “Once In A Lifetime” by the Talking Heads from playing on an endless loop . . . .

And you may ask yourself, well
How did I get here?
Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by, water flowing underground
Into the blue again after the money's gone
Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground




Same as it ever was . . . . .