Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Fear: Trump in the White House by Bob Woodward

2 Stars

“Can you come with me up to New York?”
“For what?”
“To see Donald Trump.”
“What about?”
“He’s thinking of running for president.”
“Of what country?”

If you have ever bothered tuning in to the fake news, or read any failing publication or interacted with another human being in the past few years at all, nothing contained within the bindings of Fear will be new to you. I’m not a “let’s talk politics” on social media type of person and I’ve already blurred the lines of my own comfort zone enough by opining on Fire and Fury. I don’t have much more to say about this one . . . . pretty much because they are the same damn thing. Of course Woodward is a “respected” journalist so he claims to present a book full of facts and sources. Yet somehow it seems he just can’t wait to dive in to Pissgate and once again relies on using “deep background,” which although apparently mostly recorded (maybe) still relies a lot on the “I was in the room and heard this guy say this about this” type of telephone game sourcing rather than direct information.

At this point the only thing I’m interested in is what I quoted above. How the hell did we even elect someone like this into office . . . .

Are Americans really so stupid to believe in a snake oil salesman like Trump? Were they just so opposed to the status quo that they were willing to not only rock the boat, but potentially blow the whole motherfucker up in order to be heard? Was he simply the lesser of two evils? I know that’s what Hillary was for me.

As soon as Trump threw his name in the ring I told my husband he never planned on winning. I will stand by that statement until the day I die. Running for President was simply a marketing ploy for Trump. He wanted to revamp his brand and there was no bigger platform in which to do so. His appearances proved it – wheeling steaks, water, etc. onto various stages – revamping a former post office into a luxury Trump hotel within walking distance of the White House. What I want to know is at what point things changed and he decided he wanted the big prize. I never believed the polls – partly because until a few months ago I still had a landline which received 99.99999% polling calls while our cell phones received about .00001% so I knew there was no a diverse section of society was necessarily being reached – but also because were people ever really going to admit they were voting for Trump? That’s what’s great about our election process – anonymity. It appears at least some of the powers that be felt the same – requesting donation money be diverted to Republican Senate campaigns generically and away from Trump. But at some point I think Trump began drinking his own Kool-Aid. I will never believe that on election night he expected to lose. What I do think is he had no idea how government operates or what was ahead. It’s clear he still doesn’t. He simply wanted to win and make everyone admit that he’s “the best.” Eventually Trump will no longer be President and actual sourced information will be divulged. Hopefully I’ll stop taking the bait on these damn books in the interim. Until then my new hope will remain that in addition to being 35 years old and a natural born citizen of this country, we also implement a “must be able to pass an 8th grade civic exam” as a requirement for running for Head of State in order to avoid a debacle like this in the future.

Monday, September 24, 2018

George by Alex Gino

4 Stars

Y’all got your banned book ready? No time like the present. I have been reading at least one banned or challenged book during Banned Books Week for years now. Mainly to make sure my children always know that no one’s voice should ever be silenced. This year I chose George - mainly because it made this list . . . .

The premise behind George is pretty simple . . .

It was such a short, little question, but she couldn’t make her mouth form the sounds. Mom, what if I’m a girl?

George is advertised as a middle-grade book, but really unless you’re one of the buttholes who doesn’t want the thing in schools at all, it would be perfect for older elementary students. It’s not a story that gets preachy with a message, the characters are too young to be interested in boyfriend/girlfriend relationships so there’s no kissing or sex, it doesn’t insist on understanding all of the ABCs regarding gender identity – it simply asks for acknowledgment. I thought it was wonderful and once you got to know George, it was hard not to support her. If everyone took a second to think of the human behind the issue rather than their black and white view of the issue itself, maybe the world wouldn’t be such a crummy place.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Putney by Sofka Zinovieff

5 Stars

I’m not even going to bother with a review. I am going to say the blurb is about a million and a half paragraphs too long. Do yourself a favor and only read the first one and skip all the oversharing that could potentially ruin the entire reading experience. It tells you everything you need to know before deciding whether or not you want to give this book a chance. Putney truly is explosive and thought provoking and it certainly is about an illicit relationship between a grown man and a young girl. My only comment regarding the comparisons to Notes on a Scandal or Mrs. Fletcher are that Lolita was probably too obvious so the “blurbists” chose to mix things up a bit. Truly, though, Lolita is what can’t help but come to mind – only this version follows everyone for the next 40 years.

That’s all you get. This is a love it or hate it novel and, sadly, one that people will choose to judge without even reading a page due to the pearl-clutching type of storyline. There’s no point in wasting my breath . . . or manicure, I guess would be the case here. I have a feeling most discussions with the anti-Putney sect would only result in me looking something like this . . . .

All the Stars.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Snap by Belinda Bauer

4 Stars

On August 20, 1998, Jack’s mother leaves him in charge of his two sisters when their car breaks down on the highway while she goes for help. When she doesn’t return, the children venture out to track her down, but instead find only . . . . .

Fastforward to 2001 – pregnant Catherine wakes in the middle of the night thinking there’s an intruder in her house. She returns to bed where she finds a knife on her pillow along with a note . . . .

“I could have killed you.”

The remainder of the book is how the two characters’ lives intertwine – all while Jack is trying to figure out what ever happened to his mother and simultaneously trying to care for his siblings.

As often happens, I have no clue how I ended up requesting this book. I’m assuming it was from the library recommendation software when I was trying to check out something that was currently unavailable. I will say that I thought this was a young adult novel the entire time I was reading it. Then I discovered it’s on the Booker Prize longlist . . . .

I’m not sure if my rating/reaction would be the same if I had known going in this was supposed to be a smarty-farty novel. Pretend you don’t know either and enjoy it for what it is – a quality thriller with a finely woven storyline featuring quite an unforgettable kid lead and doesn’t throw the kitchen sink at you when it comes to finding out the whodunit.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero

3.5 Stars

“For fans of John Dies at the End and Welcome to Night Vale”
I’ve never experienced Welcome to Night Vale (its fanbase has been pretty hardcore when it comes to deterring readers who aren’t podcast listeners), but when it comes to John Dies at the End?????

Seriously folks, this is the one time where there was a 100% spot-on comparison and it’s pretty much the only reason Meddling Kids even pinged my radar.

Thirteen years ago, Peter Manner, Kerri Hollis, Andrea “Andy” Rodriguez, Nate Rogers and a dog named Sean made the front page:

“Teen Sleuths Unmask Sleepy Lake Monster.” “Uncover Criminal Plot.” “Haunting Debunked.”

You know how it goes . . . . .

But in the present, that little niggling feeling that everything wasn’t on the up-and-up remains . . . .

“What about the house? The pentacle? The empty coffins? The symbols written in blood?!”

You know what happens next right????

“We’re putting the band back together.”

And I was all . . . . .

The end result ended up being a mixed bag. There’s zero chance I’m not giving this a fairly high rating simply for the nostalgia factor. I don’t really give a rip that many of the plot points were knocked-off of “Spooky Island” from the live action film. However, I can’t round up due to the vastly different reactions I had to the writing. Like how can this overwritten nonsense . . . .

She was joyfully drowning in Kerri’s hair, its fragrance and softness pounding on her senses like a cheerful Mongol army banging on the gates of Baghdad.

Possibly be from the same person with such an easy humor???

“So this is a witch’s house?” she said. She checked the spiraling ornaments of the porch lamps and the handrail, the silent wooden wind chime, the withered Christmas wreath on the door. “Looks like the place of an old lady who never got married.”

“That’s Puritan for ‘witch,’ ” Nate said, and he knocked again.

Not to mention the weird formatting where dialogue somehow goes from novel format to script format . . .

“Kerri! Get a foothold!”
KERRI: Tim, don’t fall!
ANDY: Kerri, get a foothold, please!

Or the ridiculous word inventions spattered throughout like “tragichuckled” or “deminodded” as well as all of the mentioning of Kerri’s hair having a personality of its own and the fact that it should have probably been more like a novella size because it seemed to drag on and on. All of that stuff made me want to take off my glasses. And you know what the result of that is . . . .

I'm sticking with 3.5 Stars for the wayback feelz, but I hope the author recognizes this is a one-hit wonder and should definitely not be the beginning of a “A Blyton Summer Detective Club Adventure” series.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

How It Happened by Michael Koryta

4 Stars

I received an ARC of this one about a century ago and promptly put it on the backburner due to my friends’ “meh”-ish ratings and reactions. But then something popped up on my radar that changed my mind . . . .

Uncle Stevie don’t spout off too often and I most certainly drink his blend of Kool-Aid.

The story here starts with a young woman in an interrogation room confessing her part in a pair of murders. She provides every detail regarding the where, when, why and how. The only problem? When searched, it’s discovered the bodies aren’t in the place she swore they would be. Now it’s up to FBI Agent Rob Barrett to figure out truly how it happened.

So I think I know what happened to at least some of the people who didn’t loooooove this one: THEY READ IT WRONG. Ha! I keed, I keeeeed. But seriously, if a reader picks this up expecting . . . .

There’s a very good chance they could be disappointed because this story? It’s 100% . . . .

(That’s code gif for police procedural.)

I dug it.

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

Monday, September 17, 2018

One For The Money by Janet Evanovich

4 Stars

Dear Janet E:

Actually, that’s a boldface lie. I obviously have no desire to ever give up on our one-sided relationship. I mean, I’ve faithfully read about Stephanie Plum, her exploding cars, her gun-toting Granny, her former ho bestie, and her will she-won’t she relationships for over 10 years now. Not to mention all of her other series I’ve dabbled in, as well as some of her romance books, and dare I forget the pretty godawful movie version of this one that I just haaaaaad to watch . . . .

When I saw my friend Beverly was giving this a listen, I thought it might be right up my alley. Since my commute isn’t very long, I prefer shortie shorts that don’t require me to remember a lot of details in order to stay involved in the story. My mind tends to wander when dealing with the spoken rather than written word. You know what I mean . . . .

Twenty-plus books into this series, I forgot how solid this first one was. The slapstick level had not yet appeared, nor had the never-ending love triangle. Lula was still an actual ho and Stephanie had to contend with a pretty rough bad guy instead of the flashers of her future. But the most important thing? Lori Petty’s narration . . . . .

Holy crap she was good. Which means I’ll probably end up falling down this dang rabbit hole and re-experiencing these all over again . . . .