Friday, February 27, 2015

Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart

1 Star
Holy shitsnacks! What a snoozefest!

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Super Sad True Love Story is not a book I’d normally choose to read, but since I needed a final selection in order to complete my library’s Winter Reading Challenge I picked it up. Dear Library Winter Reading Challenge: I should cut you!


I’m fairly certain I’ll be accused of being too stupid to understand all of the “hilarious political satire” contained in this novel, so here’s a pitcherbook confirming I’m an idiot and explaining why I hated it.

Super Sad True Love Story is a book about how America is destined to go in the toilet in the next week or so.

Although Americans stood up and said they were going to make a difference . . .

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Instead, we kept being assholes who worshipped people like this . .

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Wasting all of our money on awesome leisure suits and Mr. Rogers’ sweaters . . .

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Spending much of our free time socializing with our BFFs . . .

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And dreaming of being lucky enough to get a job in RETAIL . . .

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While making sure to simultaneously remain attached our äppärätti . . .

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Where the new rage was connecting via Globalteen, a program that made “verballing” almost a thing of the past . . .

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We also spent a lot of time worrying about our carb intake . . .

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In order to make sure we would still look supes hot in the latest trend . . .

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However, we also made sure to follow the news for current events . . .

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Like how America is AWESOME and definitely not going to be taken over by another country anytime soon . . .

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Yeah, that didn’t end up working out so well. My enjoyment of this story obviously didn’t work out so well either. But hey, as long as there's still a chance old dudes can bump uglies with young chicks 'Murica will be A-Okay!!!

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell by Tucker Max

1 Star
Hey, do you guys know about the website PicMonkey? I always use it to crop/auto adjust my photos, but I had no idea it offered up this awesome feature . . .

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Ha!!! I’m Kathy Bates in American Horror Story Freakshow !

(In case you were wondering, this review is brought to you by . . . BEEEEEEEEER.)

Mitchell got to pick our latest buddy read, but I can really only fault myself since I was the one who purchased I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell and placed it on a shelf within his line of sight. I was not familiar with Tucker Max beyond the fact that I was aware people hate him, and the only reasons I bought the book were (1) the title and (2) it cost a quarter.

Turns out this is a book about the sexcapades of a 20-something year old law student. If that isn’t a precursor to you knowing the narrator is going to be a huge douchecanoe, I don’t know what is. Tucker Max spends his nights saying things like this . . .

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Knowing the reaction will be something like this . . .

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My personal stance is: If I choose to read something that I KNOW is intended to be offensive, the one thing I don’t allow myself to do is complain about being offended. What I am allowed to complain about is the fact that this is a book filled with one-liners drowning in hundreds of pages of unfunny, bad writing. I expected drunken frat boy stories and chauvinistic comments – kind of a Man Show in book format, if you will . . .

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. . . and I thought it would be a laugh a minute, not a laugh every 37 pages.

Here are some examples of things I found funny . . .

With regard to Vegas:

“We had an awesome roll the night before, but this day luck was not with us, and I ended up losing like $500. Whatever, I had at least 12 drinks, so I clearly came out on top. Stupid Vegas, they don’t know anything.”

That line made me giggle. Unfortunately, it was the only giggle to be had in a SEVENTEEN page story.

With regard to some girls trying to talk them out of going to a strip club:

Girl: “Don’t go to a strip club. You know those girls don’t care about you.”

Tucker’s Friend: “That’s not true. They sit on my lap and tell me they love me.”

It took 5 pages of story to get to that one chuckle-extracting exchange.

Then there was a story of the girl who one-upped Tucker Max. The girl made the mistake of thinking Mr. Max was more than a roll in the hay and then made a scene in a bar where Tucker promptly belittled her in front of everyone. She turned the tables, however, by faking a positive chlamydia test result, forcing Tucker to go get tested. Said test involved sticking a giant metal Q-tip up his peehole. Hilarity ensued, but sadly it once again took 5 pages of crap to build up to the ending.

The segment generically titled “Sex Stories” should have been a source of massive guffawing, but instead offered up this one sexist (but funny) moment:

Girl: “What is your favorite sexual technique?”
Tucker: “Well, I’m not sure. Probably where I pretend like she isn’t there, get off as fast as possible, she does my laundry, cleans, and then leaves.”

I know I shouldn’t laugh at that, but I did. Sadly, it was once again in the middle of 12 pages of drivel.

And last but not least, “Tucker Goes 3-Minute Dating: Hilarity Ensues.” It’s in the title, so it has to be hilarious, right????? Yeah, notsamuch. His 3-minute exchanges offered up one gem:

Girl: "So, have you ever done this before?”
Tucker: “No, never. I was supposed to do it last month, but my damn herpes flared up, so I waited until they went away. That Valtrex isn’t as good as advertised. I can’t kickbox or kayak.”

Before I end, let’s touch on the subject of just how many chicks Tucker Max has supposedly banged. The Rule of Three states if an average dude claims to have had sex with numbers in “the low 100s” you should divide that by three, resulting in a man who has actually had sex with around 30 women. Since Tucker Max is a guy who isn’t particularly attractive, “dresses up” for going out by wearing white Hanes undershirts, and gives zero shits about ever NOT partying ‘til he pukes, I assume his reality should probably be divided by three yet again (if for nothing but the simple fact that projectile vomiting (or diarrhea, as the case may be)/passing out/uncooperative whiskey dick = no hook-up).

If you get strong-armed into reading this book like I did, I encourage you to skim over everything but the diarrhea segments. I know it’s sooooooo sophomoric and lowbrow, but Jeebus I love a good public pooping shame story!

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To be honest, I’m more than a little bummed that I didn’t like this book. I tend to like everything that everyone else hates. I think I’m going to reward myself with a little present . . .

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Oh, and in case you are wondering – Mitchell sold his soul to the devil a long time ago in order to guaranty there would, in fact, be beer in Hell. We’ll save you guys some good seats : )

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh

5 Stars
“For fans of Gillian Flynn . . .”
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Seriously. Just stop it.

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Right. NO ONE likes this. It makes me feel all . . .

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And in this case (like most) it isn’t even true. Now, I am admittedly a drinker of the Flynn Kool-Aid. I think she kind of shits the bed when it comes to her endings, but she provides a wild ride for 99% of the story, so I have been forgiving. McHugh’s writing on the other hand . . . What can I even call it? Grit lit? Hick lit? Who the hell knows. All I know is it kept my attention like a slap to the face and made me incorporate words like “HOOOOOO-DOGGIE!” into my language.

“You grow up feeling the weight of blood, of family. There’s no forsaking kin. But you can’t help when kin forsakes you or when strangers come to be family.”

A simple synopsis is this was a two-fold story of the Dane family and their small community in the Ozarks. Part I of the book was told through the voice of Lila (in the past) and Lucy (in the present). (Usually the wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey stuff has a tendency to get on my nerves since it’s sooooooo overused, but in this case it worked.) By the end of that section I looked a little something like this . .

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Parts II and III were told through alternating voices of nearly every character who was introduced in Part I. Not only did the additional narratives add depth to the story, having added perspectives was necessary because of . . . . reasons.

The Weight of Blood will be given the generic label of “mystery” for the simple fact that the present-day story loosely revolves around a murdered girl and the flashback story revolves around the disappearance of one. Since that’s the case, I’m pretty much going to tell you diddly squat about what happens. I will say that I never read a synopsis, another review, and don’t remember what made me put this book on hold at the library, so I read 100 pages before even realizing I was reading a “mystery.” This wasn't a book that tried to hide the bad guys. In fact, it pointed the finger right at them and listed out examples of why they were terrible. The end result was a story about the community I was so caught up in that I forgot all about the poor dead girl!

Not to mention how invested I became in the characters. Especially the women. These broads were no shrinking violets. You’ll have to read between the lines a bit on the following quote, but let’s just say the snake didn’t end up having such a good day ; )

“That so?” he sneered. “Didn’t see one single thing all day? Not one thing that caught your eye?”

“Maybe I saw a snake,” she said, “laying in the dirt. But the next time I looked, it was gone.”

I hemmed and hawed all evening about what rating to give this one. I can’t come up with any legitimate complaints, so it’s getting all 5 Stars. And y’all know I don’t hand out 5 Stars very often. What’s that old saying? “The sun shines on a dog’s ass every now and again”???????

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Big Nate: Say Good-Bye to Dork City by Lincoln Peirce

4 Stars
If you are the parent of a kid who doesn’t enjoy reading, you’ll try anything to turn things around (especially when you are someone who spends ALLLLLLL of your own free time with your face in a book). The Big Nate series has been a saving grace for my sanity. These books are funny, fast, and the comic book format eliminates some of the “I’m booooooooooored” complaints heard during reading time. Next year my youngest will have to choose from the Truman Award Nominees for his reading selections. While those books might be more fun for me I will miss the effortless buddy reads and moments like this that Big Nate brought to my life . . .

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Endless thanks to NetGalley for keeping my little one a little one just a bit longer : )

Locke and Key Volume II: Head Games by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez

4 Stars
It’s time for another visit to Keyhouse : )

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Head Games is the second volume in the Locke and Key series. While I’m still holding firm to the hope that this will end up being a 5 Star collection, this particular volume only earns 4 . . . Which is still good, so lay off! After a gut-wrenching and action packed debut, Volume II settles down a bit in order to go over some much needed, but not as exciting, backstory. In order to move forward, it is necessary to learn about Zack and his past – and said past isn’t in any way, shape, or form dull, it’s just not a driving plotline like the story of the house. I mean, really, you can’t deny the main character in this set is the house . . .

Luckily, there was a side story in play featuring another key . . . the Head Key. This key was A-W-E-S-O-M-E . . .

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Yep. So awesome. And the artwork was once again stellar as well . . .

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Not to mention the things this little key could make possible . . .

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Wouldn’t it be tempting to to remove things from your memory you don’t want? I’m sure this idea won’t backfire (/end sarcasm)

Once again, highly recommended - Especially for fans of horror/suspense who haven’t yet had the courage to dive into the deep end of the graphic novel pool.

Monday, February 23, 2015

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

4 Stars
If you are a grown-up and decide to give All the Bright Places a shot, take my advice and go into it as the following kind of grown-up . . .

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Theodore and Violet meet on top of the school’s bell tower. Neither are quite sure if the other really intends on taking the leap and plummeting to the death, but in the end they end up climbing off the ledge together. The two wind up working together on a project to find the “natural wonders” that exist within the state lines of Indiana. I’m assuming their teacher was related to this lady . . .

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It is on those journeys that both Violet and Finch begin to deal with their personal demons . . . but is Violet enough to save Finch from the darkness which sometimes consume him?

I’m sure many will say these teens have “unrealistic voices,” but I’m so f-ing over that being a blanket excuse not to like a book it’s not even funny. You know what isn’t realistic? Riding a dragon. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to read a book where I can pretend to do it!

I could have easily been a judgey butthole and given this book a low rating, but this is a time when I can say I was not the target audience and therefore must let some of the things that annoyed me slide and instead focus on the positive. Like the fact that these kids don’t fall into instalove, but instead develop a friendship/romance over time, and that a real issue was being dealt with instead of just fluff and nonsense. This book might even make you shed a tear or twelve . . .

“You deserve better. I can’t promise you I’ll stay around, not because I don’t want to. It’s hard to explain. I’m a fuckup. I’m broken, and no one can fix it. I’ve tried. I’m still trying. I can’t love anyone because it’s not fair to anyone who loves me back. I’ll never hurt you . . . But I can’t promise I won’t pick you apart, piece by piece, until you’re in a thousand pieces, just like me. You should know what you’re getting into before getting involved.”

If you’re a cyborg like me you need not worry about frying your circuits ‘cause you probably won’t cry . . .

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Most importantly, it serves as a reminder to teens that . . .

"Today is your day. You're off to Great Places! You're off and away! Your mountain is waiting. So . . . get on your way!"

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If you or someone you know is being abused, please make a call to 1-800-4-A-CHILD or if you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call to 1-800-273-TALK. Making a call could literally save a life.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Painless by S.A. Harazin

1 Star
I was having such a good run with YA books . . . and then I requested an ARC of Painless . . .

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You'd think having a main character with CIPA - a disease that makes it so instead of things like this happening . . .

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things like this happen instead . . .

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would make for an interesting book. Unfortunately that was not the case with Painless.

Let me start with the good stuff . . .

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Oh yeah, there wasn't any.

This is a prime example of why I wish my crazy brain would allow me to quit a book. It was horrible - the writing was so amateur, the characters were undeveloped and one-dimensional, not to mention the main "issue" at hand was whether or not the MC, David, would be allowed to continue living on his own should his grandmother die or he would have to go to an assisted living facility. David was 18 and therefore legally an adult, he WAS NOT mentally handicapped in any way (although the simplistic writing style made him seem like he was about 9 years old), his life expectancy was THREE so no one really expected him to live to be old and gray, and he was wealthy. There's NO WAY anyone could make him move to a group home. The story was filled with "conflict" upon "conflict" that instead of developing into plot twists that developed and sparked my interest were instead resolved instantaneously (and generally on the same freaking page where they began).

Here are some examples so I don't get trolled by people saying all I do is "write a picture book" and don't back-up my opinions:

1. David (the MC) has a personal assistant that is supposed to do his best to keep David from croaking. Said personal assistant is in a band. David would like to be in said band. Therefore, an additional character/bandmate conveniently dies in a car accident freeing up a spot. Note: ALLLLLLL of this activity happens within two pages.

2. David's grandmother dies and her horrible sister comes to loot check on everything. She accuses David of giving his grandmother an overdose of pain medication and conducting a "mercy killing," but the grandmother's nurse finds the full pill bottle under the bed clearing his name. Again, this ALLLLLLL takes place over a couple page span.

3. A side effect of David's medical condition is he can't regulate his body temperate. He and his assistant get stranded on the side of the road on a 98 degree day. He fears his temperature is about to the point where he will seize out when a van stops and the driver just happens to have a couple of gallons of water to dump in the radiator. I mean, this is all just so ridiculously convenient and this time it ALLLLLL happens in just one page.

I could post at least a dozen more examples, but I'm bored with this review so I can only imagine how you people reading it feel.

Out of the entire book there was ONE good quote:

"God shouldn't allow a person to die until they've seen the sunrise over the ocean," Luna says. "And at least a hundred other miracles."

Oh wait, I take that back. There's another quote I liked:

"From the look on her face, you'd think she was reading the worst book ever."

Obviously I liked that one for a different reason : )

When 1 Star reviews are posted, reviewers often get accused of being "angry." To put it bluntly, we are. I have over 600 books on my to-read list. I don't like wasting my time something terrible. That doesn't mean I have it out for the author, though.

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Much Loved by Mark Nixon

5 Stars
Thanks to Carmen this little book was brought to my attention. She didn’t rate it so high because she is a horrible horrible person. BWAHAHAHAHA! Just kidding. It definitely takes a special kind of weirdo to want to immediately battle an ice storm and run to Barnes & Noble in order to obtain a copy of this overpriced little gem . . . And that special little weirdo just happens to be named Kelly : )

What better accompaniment to my menagerie of death than a coffee table book filled with imagery of well-loved zombie pets?

Like Zombie Giraffe . . .

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Or Zombie Teddy Bear . . .

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Or Zombie BunnehCarrotTopBoyDollNightmareInducingHybrid . . .

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EDIT: After forcing sharing this book on with my children I was reminded of a most horrific Big Bird that belonged to my husband back in the Paleozoic Era which was presented to my youngest several years back by his grandmother. Per the comments below, the poor child was traumatized enough that he still remembers said Zombie Bird. Unfortunately, I was unable to locate him. I assume he's currently hiding in our ventilation system with the zombie hamster biding his time until he decides to murder us in our sleep. I was, however, able to find my oldest son's beloved green dog . . .

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who spent years being carted around wherever we went. Look at those stains! God I hope no one ever runs a blacklight over him. He's probably covered in urine and fecal matter : (

As for me? I'm sticking with a different type of “stuffed” animal. Isn’t that right, Pauly?

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