Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Everything You Want Me To Be by Mindy Mejia

4 Stars

EverythingGIRL You Want Me To Be (name change courtesy of Ron 2.0 because really this is one of those times where it actually might be “the next Gone Girl” or Girl on the Train or some such GIRL story) already has people talking. And for good reason.

Have you ever read a Megan Abbott or some similar author/story about an awful teenage girl and think to yourself “man, I wish someone would just kill that little be-atch?” If so, this is the book for you because the MC gets offed in the second chapter! That made Mitchell and me look a lil’ like this . . . .

The story here is about Hattie (soon to be dead Hattie YIPPEEEEEE!) and how she met the love of her life on the magical intertubes . . . .

In this case maybe more of an accidental Humbert Humbert. You see, Hattie’s virtual flame becomes a red hot inferno of reality once Hattie puts two-and-two together and realizes she’s been making the sext with her English teacher. Good ol’ teach attempts to put the kibosh on things (mainly so his wife doesn’t catch wind of what he’s really been “working” on in his home office every night), but Hattie isn’t on board with that plan . . .

(^^^But with less rabbit boiling.)

I know what you’re thinking. You already know who did it and what’s the point in reading this and it’s another stupid ass thriller that won’t thrill you at all and wordswordswordswords. Normally I’d agree with you because I bat about .300 when it comes to finding thrillers that meet my standards. And this one isn’t perfect. Without spoiling things I’ll tell you the book had a very clear ending point for me and I was all . . . . .

It was the ending that made the most sense/the one you would declare you saw coming, but it was done in an absolutely delicious manner. But then there were more pages. Shelby (who gets credit for strong-arming me into all of my recent NetGalley requests – especially this one because Atria is well aware of the fact that I read everything wrong and never approves me so I wasn’t even going to waste the effort of clicking the button), Jan and Michelle all flipped their wigs over this one and gave it the full monty of Stars. Y’all know I’m horrible so I’m sticking at 4 rather than 5 due to the (in my opinion unnecessary) additional twists and turns. But we’re talking a solid 4 Stars. Mindy Mejia did an excellent job of writing three very distinct narrators. And Hattie??????

“I’m good at being what people want me to be. Watch me . . . You’ll see.”

She was indeed everything girl I wanted her to be.

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

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh

2 Stars

When I saw David Sedaris had recommended Eileen as a must read - well . . . .

♪♫♫♪I came in to the library like a wreeeeecccckkkkkkiiiiiinnnnnng ball. ♪♫♫♪

Now that I’m finished? I could have saved myself a lot of trouble and simply read the synopsis because it TELLS. THE. ENTIRE.STINKING. STORY. Not even kidding. The only thing you’ll gain by reading the whole book rather than only the blurb are all of the up-close-and-personal descriptions of various odoriferous atrocities that, trust me, you will be able to smell alllllllll the way through the pages . . . . .

Don’t get your tinsel in a tangle and tell me I read this wrong because this is one of those extremely rare occasions where I’m nearly certain I did not. You see, this should have been my idea of a great time. The unreliable narrator is my favorite narrator of all, the mere mention of this story taking a “Hitchcockian twist” had me squeeing like a schoolgirl, and boy do I prefer the dark and stormy over the sunshine and unicorn fart. Eileen is a book that will draw polarized ratings/review and it all boils down to how the writing strikes you. Sadly the writing struck me as pretty much “meh.”

Not only was I not drawn in by the wordsmithing, but there was also the problem I had with Eileen herself. I realize she was a sad soul who had created (or felt force to create) this unsexed, frumpy, almost revolting persona in order to protect herself from hinted about harsh realities of her life, and I’m not so inhuman I couldn’t pity her – but I also didn’t really give a rip about her story.

No one is more disappointed than I am that Eileen was a fail for me. Not only do I now have to tackle the issue of both of our long-term relationships AND the teensie little fact that David is not sexually attracted to women before I can be with my soulmate, but now we don’t even like the same books . . . . .


Because David Sedaris said to.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Leave Me by Gayle Forman

3.5 Stars

Okay I’m pissed at myself for being a big fat pile and refusing to log on to the computer in order to yack out a review before this thing expired from the library because I KNOW Maribeth provided some pretty quotable quotes that made me laugh. Oh well . . . .

Let me start this half-assery by telling you that Maribeth is not for everyone. Different strokes for different folks and all that jazz so I won’t judge you if you aren’t able to enjoy her, but for me???? At this point I think she may be related to me . . . .

Well, except she’s more put together.

In case you need two hands and a map to find your own butt and haven’t figured it out yet, this is Maribeth’s story. Overworked, underappreciated, stressed out mom of (kind of awful) twins and a pretty incompetent husband, Maribeth not only brings home the bacon, but also fries it up in a pan and then cleans the entire house, runs kids to neverending extracurriculars, organizes horrible things like parents club (shudder) and strokes her hubby’s fragile ego to the point where she has a coronary. Literally. Thinking she might finally get some much needed R&R (at least for a few weeks), Maribeth is thrown for yet another loop when she gets home from the hospital and pretty much is expected to do everything except go to work after only a couple of days' rest. The solution?????

Maribeth pulls a wad of moolah she received as an inheritance out of the bank and gets the eff outta Dodge. That’ll teach ‘em, right? Well, eventually. First, everyone has to learn that valuable lesson that . . . .

Leave Me earns 3.5 Stars, but gets rounded down due to the fact that the first 1/3 of the story had a very Where’d You Go, Bernadette? type of OTT vibe/humor which kind of diminished a bit as the book went on. There was also a bit of a “cheating” issue (only a kiss, more emotionally cheating than anything) that I thought cheapened things. I wasn’t put off by it, it just made it harder to remain committed to Team Maribeth. All in all, though, this was a very relatable story and one that I’m sure many of us harried moms have dreamed about a time or twelve. Lucky for me, my family just ran away for a few days so I was able to stay in the comfort of my own home in order to reboot. If only everyone I work for would do the same . . . .

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin

4 Stars

"How can we be friends if we don't gossip together?  Just a little?"

To quote the immortal words of one Clairee Belcher . . . .

And if you really don’t have anything nice to say, you should probably go sit by Truman Capote.

If you take a peek at my bookshelves you probably would be a little shocked to see this being added to my to-read stack, let alone getting a 4 Star rating. You wouldn’t be wrong necessarily – I do need to give credit where credit is due and admit I read The Swans of Fifth Avenue because a co-worker asked me to. Buuuuuuuuut, here’s a little confession: I’m kind of obsessed with stuff like this. Not so much that I’m willing to weed through the trash in order to find the treasures without a firm shove from an outsider, but this era and those who were famous during it???? Keep on dropping those names, yo . . . .

I’ve also decided that presented the opportunity I’d like to come back as one of these marvelous rich bitches in my next life. I’ve done the poor thing, so now it’s time to see how the other half lives. I mean really . . . .

So about the book. This is the story of Truman Capote and the gaggle of “swans” he surrounded himself with as he rose to fame in 1950s New York. Specifically, it is about his friendship with CBS founder Bill Paley’s wife Babe . . . .

The story follows Capote’s ascent to high society beginning with Other Voices, Other Rooms (as well as various stage work) and a continual rise with Breakfast At Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood all the way through his fall from grace with the short story "La Côte Basque 1965" which appeared in Esquire magazine in the Fall of 1975.

It’s delicious in its gossip mongering and I ATE. IT. UP. . . . . .


Recommended to: Bitchy queens like myself.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Nourishing Meals by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre, MS, CN

2 Stars

In case you haven’t heard the word on the street, I read nearly everything wrong. Allow me to prove the point by showing you Exhibit A of what happened on the night I planned on making something out of this cookbook . . . .

Why yes, I will take my nourishing meal with both extra gluten and dairy thank you very much. (And yes that photo was just taken yesterday and yes I know Thanksgiving hasn’t even happened yet and I already have three Christmas trees up and no I do not give any shits about killing baby reindeer due to my early decorating.)

I hate to give a bad rating to something I was able to obtain for free, but I believe that honesty is the best policy and to be honest there is zero chance I would have ever purchased this for myself. Bigger is not always better and just because a cookbook offers 365 recipes doesn’t make it automatically worth the money. Call me shallow, but I believe cookbooks are definitely a chance to make appearance-based judgments and a combination of this being a real inconvenient puppy-squisher in size, paperback-style cover rather than hardbound, 75 pages of info dump instead of getting down to the nomnoms and barely any photos once it was time to finally do some bidness, this just wasn’t appealing. So what were the recipes, you might ask. Well . . . . .

Believe it or not I actually kept looking even after being faced with my arch nemesis. Once again, to be perfectly honest I didn’t have a Pavlovian type of response to very many of the recipes contained in this book either. And when I did????

I discovered a recipe wasn’t even really needed. (Spoiler alert: The only thing involved with creating this is sprinkling the salmon with salt, lemon juice and tandoori seasoning and cooking it in a baking dish with ½ cup of coconut milk.) There were also quite a few simple recipes that have been done a time (or twelve) before . . . .

^^^That’s Martha Stewart’s version of a Greek salad with chickpeas because . . . . well, it’s Martha and I would maybe make a human sacrifice if it would earn me reviewer copies of her cookbooks . . . .

Seriously. Goddess.

I’m bummed this didn’t work for me and I also understand since I don’t have dairy or gluten allergies it’s easier for me to be judgey on it, but let's get real - if I wasn’t judgey I would be much of anything at all. If this seems like something you’d be interested in, check it out . . . .

That concludes the review portion – now let’s go on a field trip.

Obviously one can’t simply get a body like mine without working extremely hard on it for years and years – carbo loading for those marathon chair sitting/reading sessions, wallowing in a gallon of ice cream because a simple bowlful just will not do. But that doesn’t mean I’m incapable of eating stuff that’s good for me. In fact, since I’ve bragged enough about the library in my fair city allow me a second to show you another one of our treasures – The River Market . . . .

If you ever make it to flyover country for a weekend – hop on the streetcar and go peruse the offerings of the Market just a few blocks away . . . .

You only need to bring about ten bucks with you in order to get enough produce to last the week.

Copy provided by Crown Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai

4 Stars

For those of you who know me, you might remember last year I discovered my youngest was failing to get his required nightly reading completed by opting to sit on the toilet and stare at the wall for 20 minutes every night rather than ever opening a flippin’ book. That little revelation led to us buddy reading Wonder. Unfortunately the boy child still appears to have been swapped with someone else’s baby and has yet to discover the wonderful world of book loving, so we are buddying up again this year. After having much success with The Outsiders and All American Boys he took his teacher’s recommendation and we ended up with this one - and wow what an important and timely little book it was.

Told in verse, Inside Out and Back Again is about Hà, a young girl growing up in war torn Vietnam. With the fall of Saigon, Hà’s family realizes they can no longer hold on to the hope of remaining in their country and flee to America via ship. Upon reaching a refugee camp in Florida, Hà’s mother chooses Alabama as their final destination in hopes that her children can have the life she dreamed of – college, families, careers, etc. This is the story of Hà’s first year in America.

First things first, since this was told in verse my kiddo was able to read it in only a couple of days which made him feel AWESOME so thank you Thanhha Lai for that format. And most importantly, to the messages presented. . .

“You deserve to grow up
where you don’t worry about
saving half a bite of sweet potato”

“Everyone knows the ship
could sink,
unable to hold
the piles of bodies
that keep crawling on
like raging ants
from a disrupted nest.
But no one
is heartless enough
to say
because what if
they had been
before their turn?”

“Mother says,
People share when they know
they have escaped hunger.
Shouldn’t we share
because there is hunger?”

They are something we should all be thinking of . . .

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Now I need a little bit of help choosing our next book (I’m leaning toward Sherman Alexie, but not 100% committed). We’ve definitely found a formula that is working – topics that are relevant to today, the shorter the better so dude feels like he’s making progress and maintains interest, NO instalovin’ mumbo jumbo, NO dystopia, would prefer something that is not a potential “required read” (i.e., The Lord of the Flies, The Chocolate War, etc.). Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Suicide Squad Volume 1: Kicked In The Teeth by Adam Glass (Writer), Federico Dallocchio (Illustrator), Cliff Richards (Illustrator), Clayton Henry (Illustrator), Ig Guara (Illustrator)

2 Stars

I put myself on the ol’ wait list for this about eleven thousand years ago and my turn finally came around. Now I sorta wish it hadn’t (*sad face*). To anyone who is seeing this due to the new site features that show you strangers rather than your friends, allow me to give you a teensie bit of backstory regarding me: While I’ve read a handful of “pitcherbooks” I am most definitely not anyone who claims to know anything about the world of comics. However, I have surrounded myself with GR friends who do and I am happy to say most of them agree this was a stinking pile so odds are I didn’t read it totally wrong.

Now, about the story. Being a comic noob I didn’t get the memo I was supposed to hate the as-of-then-not-yet-released Suicide Squad movie, so like I said above I requested Kicked In The Teeth well in advance of the film release (and after viewing said film thought I would luuuuuuurv the comic as well). I mean, after all these are kinda my peeps . . . . .

(Usually Mitchell is the psychopath sitting next to me, but you get my drift.)

In case you are new to this planet and aren’t already aware, the Suicide Squad is a group of baddies who live in a sprawling estate maximum security prison known as Belle Reve and have been presented an offer they can’t refuse: Work on super secret government stuff in order to earn time off for good behavior – or refuse and get their heads blown off by a bomb planted in each of their necks. Their mission(s) in this volume?????

I mean really. Just look at her . . . .

Definitely a threat to ‘Murica’s safety.

Anywho, the Squad has to stop a bunch of even badder bad guys (and zombies, because when all else fails add some G.D. zombies to the mix).

Who makes up the Suicide Squad, you might ask? Well . . . .

As with the movie, Harley Quinn and Deadshot are the featured players, but this mahfah seriously packs in just about errrrrryone you’d never care to know more about. You’ve got Boomerang . . .

And Yo-Yo . . . .

And Black Spider . . . .

And Savant . . . .

And the whiniest bitch in the history of the universe, Diablo . . . .

The only thing Kicked In The Teeth had that I enjoyed? King Shark . . . .

But it gets 2 Stars instead of one because at least it wasn’t as effing vapid and pointless as Squirrel Girl!

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

4 Stars

“I have to tell it this way, in pieces. I have to work my way up to it. Work my way back to it. I have to show you the beautiful things before I get to the ugly.”
Before I even start let’s get something taken care of real quick like . . . .

“Like the spellbinding psychological suspense in The Girl on the Train. . . “

STFU already about the most boring alcoholic on the train who can’t get over the fact that he’s just not into her. Seriously. Dear Girl on the Train . . . .

Now that that is taken care of guess what? I can’t tell you diddly squat about this book without ruining it because it is a dun dun dunnnnnnnn mystery and people who spoil mysteries are the worst people in the world aside from this guy . . . .

(The Cheeto-colored one, not the green fella)

The basics of All the Missing Girls is that Nic has returned to her home town in order to help prepare her childhood home for sale in order to get enough money to pay for her father’s assisted living facility. While there a young woman goes missing – bringing back memories of the past and another missing girl.

That’s all you get. When I saw this was told in reverse my immediate reaction went a little like . . . .

Buuuuuuuuuut, since it wasn’t the typical wibbly wobbly past to present that is used in nearly every mystery/thriller I was willing to give it a shot. And boy am I glad I did. While All the Missing Girls wasn’t a high adrenaline thrillride like Memento, the backwards storytelling really worked well here. There also wasn’t a giant jawdropper of a reveal, but that worked for me too and I appreciated being presented an ending that made the most sense rather than one chosen simply for shock and awe.

Highly recommended to fans of this genre.

P.S. To the eleventy trillion trolls who have told me how I screwed the pooch by reading Elizabeth Is Missing in the wrongest way possible, please note THIS is how you write a mystery featuring a character with dementia. If Elizabaeth would have been marketed as a “book clubby” or “chick lit” type of selection I probably wouldn’t have hated it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Wikihistory by Desmond Warzel

3 Stars

When it comes to attempting to rewrite history, one should always remember . . . .

Unless you’re a keyboard commando, that is . . . .

Read this one for free HERE. It only takes about 5 minutes.