Friday, August 26, 2016

Girls On Fire by Robin Wasserman

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2.5 Stars

Hannah Dexter has lived in the same small town her entire life. As her father so eloquently puts it . . .

“You couldn’t shit your own bed in Battle Creek without your neighbor showing up to wipe your ass.”

The story takes place when the Real World was the hottest thing on television and Sun-In rather than Kool-Aid was a way for teens to change their hair color. It was a time when boy bands like this were popular . . . .


(I should be ashamed of myself for having spent my hard earned dollars on this cassette.)

Some things were still the same, however . . . .

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That is, until the new girl came to school . . .

“Lacy Champlain had a stripper’s name and a trucker’s wardrobe, all flannel shirts and clomping boots that – stranded as we were in what Lacey later called the butt crack of western Pennsylvania – we didn’t yet recognize as a pledge of allegiance to grunge.”

Lacy takes Hannah – or Dex as Lacy renames her – under her wing and shows her the wilder side of life . . . . maybe too wild for everyone to come out unscathed.

After reading this I have now discovered there may be only two kinds of people in this world – those who love Kurt Cobain and those who think that only good thing that ever came out of Nirvana was this guy . . . .

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There was a lot of focus on ol’ Kurt and I am just not a fan . . .



I know I know. Girls On Fire also suffered from the same overwriting that made me dislike The Girls so much . . . .

“I loved it. Loved it like Shakespearean sonnets and Hallmark cards and all that shit, like I wanted to buy it flowers and light it candles and fuck it gently with a chainsaw.”



In fact, the only thing I enjoyed was the “mean girl” - which I realize should not happen, but . . .

“She never gave a shit about you. All that energy you put into hating her, and still you were nothing to her.”

^^^^^YAAAAAAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.

I don’t know. I just was not feeling this one at all. I’d say I read it wrong, per usual, but since I actually was a teenager during the 90s so zero of the references were lost on me as well as the fact that I farking looooooove every teenage girl book written by Megan Abbott which this was supposed to be comparable to I’m not willing to take all the blame.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Reap by Tillie Cole

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4 Stars

The last time I read a Tillie Cole book, my review/updates went a lil’ something like this . . . .



But, you know, sub out Goodreads for Facebook.

In what is probably a sad turn of events for any of you poor schmucks reading this, I did not repeat the mistake of drunkenly reviewing this one. Normally after having a notsagreat experience with the first book in the series I’d give the remaining stories a wide berth. Dat cover tho . . . .



I mean for realz. Since I am nothing but a disgusting bookslut I totally downloaded Reap immediately when it popped up on my library’s “Recommended To You” window (see - even the librarians knows I’m a whore).

Okay, so about the book. This picks up where Raze left off. Luka (the artist killing machine formerly known as Raze) and Kisa are attempting to have their happily-ever-after, but Luka is haunted by the promise he made to his fellow Gulager/bestie/family’s arch enemy to avenge his honor. When Luka discovers another Kostava brother is still alive/enslaved by the fight club (shhhhh, don’t talk about the fight club) to be a super killing machine due to being injected repeatedly with a new drug he vows to save him. Which of course he does and brings him to the Tolstoi family vacation home in the Hamptons, currently occupied by his sister Talia. And then Talia is all . . . .



But it’s totally okay and not creepy stalkerish behavior at all since she has a vagina and is not a 100 year old sparkly vampire. No really, it is totally okay because this is a porno and DUH . . . .



There has to be some sort of catalyst in order for it to start happening, right? So that’s that. Boy saves boy and moves him in with sister. Sister creepily watches boy while he sleeps which morphs into giving him a spongebath with a happy ending, they fall in love and make much sex. Stuff and things happen, more sex, the end. Winner winner chicken dinner.

Now here’s the part all you ladies (and/or gentlemen) have all been waiting for . . . .

“His black hair fell below his shoulders . . . I could see defined high cheekbones and dark stububle covering his face. Even under the swelling and blood I could see that his lips were full. His skin was dark olive . . and he was nothing but hard muscle. Every inch of his tall frame, perhaps six foot six, corded with protruding veins and roping brawn.”

I’ve been around the porno block a time or twelve enough now to know that Jason Momoa is cast A LOT by horny old ladies to fill the role of the leading male, but this one was legit Momoa alllllllllllllll the way down to the three little moles under his eye . . . .

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To top it off, the leading lady was a petite long-haired blonde with brown eyes so most would probably have a splooshtastic good time fantasizing about this kind of thing . . .



Since my brain likes to march to the beat of a different drum, I kept picturing Talia more like this . . .

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Still worked. #trustme

The plot might have not been real deep, but luckily it made up for things with deep penetration instead. Reap also brought something new to the table (for me) – the “anti-Alpha.” While Zaal was built like a brick shithouse/killed errrrrryone in his past life/only made with the bangbang when ordered to for clients who liked to watch, he was 100% submissive in the sack and Talia took the lead. And also he was all . . .

“You are . . . for me. No other male. Just me. And me . . . for you. This is my, ‘I love you.’ These are my words from my scarred soul. They are not borrowed words, but words from my full heart, and my heart only.”

So y’all might want to invest in some plastic seat covers, because it gonna be like . . . .

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

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3 Stars

I’m going to begin this review by addressing the pink elephant in the room. In what could only be an effort to prove that the lowest lifeform on the planet is, in fact, the Subredditor, a smear campaign has been created in order to give Schumer’s book the lowest Amazon rating possible. Way to stay classy people who live in your mama’s basements (credit to the Huff Post for the basement dweller line). Now here’s what I think y’all should do . . . .

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Oh, and to the author of the speshul snowflake that has accumulated a whopping seven reviews on Amazon and an even more impressive six on Goodreads . . . .

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Now that that’s out of the way let’s talk about the book, shall we?

As most of you know I am an oldie (but a goodie) and also a reality television aficionado. Therefore I was present for Amy Schumer’s debut on Last Comic Standing and was even informed by a co-worker that I would probably burn in hell for belly laughing at the following joke from that show . . .

This old woman on the subway asked me, “Have you heard the good news?” She was trying to save me. I said, “Ma’am, I’m so sorry. My people are Jewish.” She said, “That’s okay, your people just haven’t found Jesus yet.” I said, “No, we found him. Maybe you haven’t heard the bad news.”

Schumer went on to be not-quite-so-funny in later episodes (winding up in 4th place), but she was also a fetus who was pretty obviously cast to fill the “cute young female” demographic required in all reality T.V. competitions. After her loss, she pounded the pavement and ran the gamut of comedy clubs (many of them “pay to play”) in order to hone her craft. And now she wrote a book . . . because that’s how it do what it do when you reach a certain level of fame as a comedian.

Amy’s book is a little different. If you liked Lena Dunham’s book (well, you know before the world collectively lost its shit about her looking at her sister’s vag) you might like this one as well. Have no fear, Schumer does not admit to being a pedophile – she just insults the entire population of Tampa instead. She is, however, another voice for young women . . . but I’ll get back to that.

As a lady of a certain age, I don’t go looking for my feminism in a raunchy comic’s autobiography. Thus the 3 Stars. I like Schumer because she tells a lot of vagina jokes and she writes catchy little diddies that you can sometimes find me singing while folding laundry or doing dishes . . . .

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♪♫this is where my poop comes out♪♫

I was expecting her to make me laugh with stories about her sex life. Which she did . . . .

“I was in heat, as they say. Who says this? I don’t know. Shut up and keep reading about my getting pummeled by this British superhero.”

I also expected her to make me laugh with self-deprecating statements regarding her looks. Which she did . . .

“. . . who resemble that eighties doll Kid Sister or one of the Garbage Pail Kids.”

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^^^^Hehehehehehehe. She totally effing does.

And I expected more self-deprecating stories regarding her not-model-perfect body. Which she did (in the form of footnotes attached to her journal from when she was 18) . . . .

JOURNAL ENTRY: “I wore this tube shirt from Zara that ties in the back.”

FOOTNOTE: “I remember this shirt. It was made of wool and thin brown leather straps with three ties in the back. It was insanely itchy and gave me a rash all over my body. It looked like what a poor commoner who gets raped by a soldier on Game of Thrones would wear. It was too short, so my belly stuck out, and I had no waist and was shaped very much like an old-timey radio, which I must have wanted to accentuate.”


It being the age of the interwebs I even expected her to make me laugh with comments about trolls. Which she did . . .

UNDER THE CHAPTER “THINGS THAT MAKE ME INSANELY FURIOUS” - #7. People who misspell the word “you’re” when telling me I’m fat (“your fat”).

Due to the fact that she’s one of the biggest up-and-comers in female comedy, I expected her to take a stance on the never ending “women aren’t funny” attitude. Which she did . . .

“I don’t usually like female comics.” That one really gets to me. It’s not like anyone would so casually say, “I don’t usually like black people.” Either way, it’s offensive to say this to a female comic. And let me guess, you’ve only ever seen one female comic in your life and it was in the eighties and guess what? You probably fucking loved her.”

Seriously dudes. Get over it. No one forces you to watch Trainwreck or the Ghostbusters remake (or to spend your entire fucking life trolling Reddit, for that matter). Doing this shit just makes you look . . . .

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Obviously I expected her to tell the story about the infamous lower back tattoo. Which she did . . .

“When I say it killed, no, it fucking KILLED. It was like being stung by a thousand bees every second, or dozens of tracker jackers for all of you young-adult fiction fans.”

I expected her to open up and confess some things the general public might not know about her. Which she did in the form of admitting she’s an introvert . . . .

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As well as a couple of kind of terrifying tales of being a blackout drunk . . . .

He said, “Amy, we each get two pillows,” to which I elegantly responded, “Not tonight, motherfucker!” Cue the Stevie Wonder song “Isn’t She Lovely.”

And I was stoked when I began the chapter “An Introduction to my Stuffed Animals.” Turns out her idea of “stuffed” is a little more traditional than mine, but she’s obviously still pretty fucked in the head just like me when it comes to the undead creatures she chooses to snuggle with . . . .

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The parts I really hadn’t planned on were talk about rape and domestic violence. I realize I’m coldhearted, but I grab comedy books for the funny, not in yo’ face real life shit (which is why I always recommend David Spade's book when someone wants a ha-ha). However, I do realize the importance of famous young women being a voice for other young women. Surprisingly, Schumer does a pretty damn good job of it too . . . .

“I know my worth. I embrace my power. I say if I’m beautiful. I say if I’m strong. You will not determine my story. I will. I’ll speak and share and fuck and love, and I will never apologize for it. I am amazing for you, not because of you. I am not who I sleep with. I am not my weight. I am not my mother. I am myself. And I am all of you.”

And on that note . . .

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Strangers On A Train by Patricia Highsmith

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2 Stars

In order to prove that NO, I DON’T ONLY READ PORNOS THANK YOU VERY LITTLE I begged Steve to pull me out of my downward spiral and buddy read this one with me. When my husband asked his nightly question “what are you reading????” I was so very proud to say a classic rather than smut. I also jumped at the chance to say it was a book written by the author of The Talented Mr. Ripley and that this novel became one of my favorite Hitchcock films. It was at this point my husband pointed out that in the course of our 20 year marriage there has been an annual Alfred Hitchcock movie marathon on Turner Classic Movies and that he was pretty sure the winner of first place in my heart was . . . .



He also pointed out during said movie marathons that no interaction with me was permitted during . . . .



And . . . .



And . . . .



And . . . .



And . . .



Either. So basically me saying “a favorite Hitchcockian masterpiece” pretty much amounted to diddly shit.

It was at this point I reminded him exactly what this story was about . . . .



Guy Haines meets Charlie Bruno on a train and shares a meal with him in order to pass the time. I know what you’re thinking - WHY THE EFF WOULD ANYONE DO THIS WHEN THEY COULD JUST READ A BOOK?!?!?!? Who knows? It was a different time when men wore hats and ladies had to worry about stuff like whether the seam on the stockings was straight. Basically, people were cray. Anywho, over the course of this dinner between strangers (*shudder*) Guy shares that he’s an architect sitting on the cusp of making it big, has a real beaut of a gal he’s planning on marrying and that the reason he’s on the trip is to finalize a divorce agreement with his first wife. Bruno’s story is pretty much that he’s a drunk with an Oedipus complex who would like someone to off his dear ol’ dad. Which leads us to the offer of a murder swap and Bruno mistaking a clearly stated no for YAAAAAASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS leading to turnabout being fair play and Guy getting blackmailed into fulfilling his half of the bargain as well.

Sounds like a real beaut, don’t it??? Yeah. It definitely could have been if it were about 100 pages lighter. There just wasn’t much to this one aside from the stabby stabby (or in this case the strangley shooty). The majority of the book was just “meh” page filler with little character development aside from each respectively losing their marbles.

The Hitchcock film, on the other hand? Magnificent. Please remember, however, that this is the man who could sniff out a masterpiece in an itsy-bitsy little 14-pager.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Adulting 101 by Lisa Henry

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4 Stars

Nick is an 18-year old high school graduate, spending his summer before college slacking off at his first real job while fantasizing about crossing one particular item off of his bucket list . . .

“Today’s life goal: blow Jai Hazenbrook.”

The story propels full speed ahead to a very awkward offer by Nick to do just that and an even more awkward moment of getting caught in the act in a not-so-romantic locale . . . .



And right there is where I knew I was in love. Oh my glob this story. How can I make you all understand how this book made me feel?????? Wait, I know! I’ll do it via an image (I know, so unlike me) . . . .



If you want to channel your inner Elf and realize that smiling is your favorite, then this is the one for you. And I’m telling you right now, spare me your complaints if you don’t end up liking this one because . . . .



I realize that Nick is more than a bit of a PITA when it comes to being a functional (almost) adult, but hell I’m not a functional adult a few days a week and I’m fucking ancient. If you ride out the story things do get explained, but seriously LIGHTEN UP. This book is all about fun, and in my case accidentally weeing in your pants a few times from trying to hold back the snortlaughs while reading at work . . .



^Truth.

Anyway, I’m not going to give much away. Just know Adulting 101 begins as a simple 10-week session of . . .



But in the end becomes something a little more substantial when it comes to learning about life, learning about growing up and maybe even learning a little about love . . . .



Many thanks to Wart for putting this gem on my radar.

ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Thank you, NetGalley!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

How To Say Goodbye In Robot by Natalie Standiford

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3 Stars

My library copy expires from my Kindle today so I figured I better barf up a review before I lost all of my notes and highlights and whatnot. Turns out I didn’t add any . . . .



This is a story about Beatrice, a high schooler who is new to town. While “Mean Girls” stories have become the norm, How To Say Goodbye In Robot was quite the opposite. Yes, there were “mean girls” (and boys) who had been calling fellow student Jonah “Ghost Boy” since they were wee little children, but somehow Beatrice was able to balance a relationship with the cool kids as well as the social leper (and amazingly she did it all without magic powers).

This story obviously didn’t resonate with me very much at all. I enjoyed the idea behind trying something new in the world of YA, but I can’t say I really liked the end product. While I realize angst and strife are going to sell a lot more books, I think the majority of kids probably float pretty freely through the world of high school and don’t experience a lot of the hardcore bullying which makes for juicy reading and I appreciated that this book didn’t try to capitalize on that kind of drama. I also appreciated that this wasn’t a “love” story. Sure, Jonah and Beatrice loved each other, but it wasn’t really a romance. That being said, the drama that was contained regarding Jonah’s family situation and Beatrice’s cray-cray mother as well as the way their relationship progressed actually became quite co-dependent and not a friendship someone should actually strive for.

Buuuuuuuuuuuut, I probably read it wrong. Go read my friend Rachel’s review for a non-geezer perspective.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

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3 Stars

“How can something so wrong feel so right?”
I actually wanted to read Tabitha Suzuma’s novel Hurt after seeing Rossy’s review a couple of months ago, but the library failed me probably because they spent their entire budget purchasing alllllllllll the porn anyone could ever dream of reading. I was sharing this minor inconvenience (a/k/a pitching a hissy fit) to my friendly neighbhorhood Spiderman Bookpusher who told me that although she didn’t have the book in question, she did have a copy of Forbidden she could lend me so I should probably STFU and get over my first world problem du jour. She also explained that the subject matter contained within would be très depressing and since we are both approaching AARP age, it might remind me of a Blast from the Past . . . .

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^^^^^^That’s Flowers in the Attic for all you noobs (or people whose cable package doesn’t include Lifetime Television for Women).

I was also informed that I should have the following reaction after finishing . . .

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Yeah. Notsamuch . . .

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This was more than likely a case of “it’s not you, it’s me” because Forbidden was just okay for me. Please note that a more appropriate title for this one might have been TRIGGERED because it kind of has everything but the kitchen sink thrown in to the mix in order to generate ugly cries: drunken absentee mother, poverty, kids raising kids, forbidden love (*cough incest cough*), etc., etc., etc. Most people will probably feel all the feels. Just not sociopaths like myself.