Thursday, July 27, 2017

I Can't Make This Up: Life Lessons by Kevin Hart


33347428
4 Stars

“You can’t control the events that happen to you, but you can control your interpretation of them. So why not choose the story that serves your life best?”
Let me begin this by saying I’m not what you’d call a big Kevin Hart fan. I have a couple or so young(ish) children who already will have a proclivity to swear words due to the simple fact that I am their mother, so when Hart’s stand up specials started to hit the cable channels several years back I actively avoided him. Then we started having an experience which has jokingly been dubbed “The Annual Ice Cube Black History Month Film Festival.” I know what you internet trolls are thinking . . . .



Before you start asking me what size white sheet I wear on the weekends, please take note of the following release dates:

1. Ride Along – January 17, 2014
2. Ride Along 2 – January 15, 2016
3. Fist Fight – February 13, 2017

All of which were showing on the kids’ winter Teacher Institute Day, and two of which co-starred Kevin Hart. My old lady brain is failing me and I can’t recall what we ended up seeing in 2015, but I do remember having multiple arguments about how my massive psychic abilities were assuring me The Wedding Ringer (starring none other than Kevin Hart) was not going to be okay for young humans even though the name was very similar to The Wedding Singer. I also know at some point we had a Barbershop/Beauty Shop movie marathon in our family room because I had failed as a parent and the children had not yet watched those films and #3 was getting ready to come out.

Soooooo, I was familiar with Kevin Hart, but I found him to be more than a bit of a shrieking harpy and a handful of Tylenol were required before I could view his films. I also thought for a really long time the super short thing was a gimmick and that he actually wasn’t as petite as he actually is. I don’t know how to defend that . . . .



And since I’m nothing if not an over-sharer, I also always thought Hart looked like someone who would have chronic halitosis and since he is so screamy, his rank breath could probably be smelled for miles. Obviously there’s no reason for me to have this impression aside from the fact that I’m insane, but I is what I is.

Really, the only times I truly luuuuuuuuurv Kevin Hart is when Jimmy Fallon is making him do something that terrifies him. Such as . . . .



Or . . . .



I am woman enough to admit both of those snips made me wet my drawers a little.

That giant ramble above is to show that I had little expectations going in to this, but since I do tend to pick up comedian autobiographies there was absolutely no reason for me not to grab this one as soon as it was released. It’s also to say that if you are a Hart superfan and have this on your TBR strictly for the funny, there’s a good chance you’re going to be disappointed. Honestly, the only thing I can remember really giving me a chuckle is the following:

“If I ever get into wrestling, Young Pygmy Dynamite is gonna be my ring name. “

“So far in this book, I’ve only been in fights with women, children, and old white men. If Young Pygmy Dynamite actually was in a wrestling league, he’d definitely be the villain.”


In reality, I Can’t Make This Up is about exactly what Kevin Hart says it’s about . . .

“These are the stories behind the jokes, and a few lessons I’ve figured out about life, success, family, and relationships along the way.”

He tells of growing up poor to an overworked, single mother and an absentee, drug-addicted father and how he hustled his ass off until he finally made it to the top while simultaneously flailing around in a dysfunctional/abusive relationship for years. It’s very clear that Hart realizes any famous person is only guaranteed 15 minutes, and he’s capitalizing on his. If you want to laugh, this probably isn’t the book for you. However, if you want some sound advice for either yourself or to pass on to the youngsters in your life, Kevin Hart (surprisingly) supplies an abundance . . . .

“To commit successfully, you don’t have to always believe in yourself – because, let’s face it, we all have our doubts at times. But you do have to believe in something higher than yourself: your purpose. If you believe in your purpose, you can survive the most challenging times, because God or destiny or your will – or whatever you prefer to believe in – is on your side.”

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Smut by Karina Halle


29381926
3.5 Stars



“His smile is infectious. Then again, so was the plague.” 
I’m pretty sure my husband tried to sext me last night while I was finishing this book . . . . 



He should know by now that nobody puts Baby in a corner interrupts my reading.

He should also be thankful it took me so many days to actually read Smut because things might end up working in his favor after all. I had every intention of reading this on Friday, because not only was it my birthday, but I had to work and I was just dying for the chance to answer the daily “What are you reading, hmmmmmm?????” question with “SMUT!”, but then work got worky and Cottonmouths was waiting at the library and then maybe Michael Phelps was going to be eaten by a shark on live television and I had to catch up on Big Brother, so I finally circled back to this on Monday. It probably ended up being the best thing that could’ve happened with respect to my enjoyment level too ‘cause the outcome did not look so good when I first started.

It all began with a sad attempt at a proposal . . . . 



Followed by projectile vomiting from our female lead that made it pretty clear the answer to the popped question was a definite negatory. Things then fast-forwarded to a creative writing class where our h is disgusted on the daily by the local manbearpig H pretty much just because he exists. Normally that would annoy me, but he drove a car he called “Mr. Mean” and had a British accent that appeared would only come out when he talked about “arses,” so I was kind of crossing my fingers for some more of that vomit and for it to be pointed right his direction. Not that the h wasn’t tired as eff too – with her “cayenne pepper and cinnamon” colored hair . . . . 



Let’s just say I was not feeling things. Everything felt like it was trying waaaaaaay too hard. However, when I picked this up after my brief hiatus, things got better. Amanda and Blake got partnered up for a class project (because duh), we learned that Blake was in need of some quick cash and we met Amanda’s roommate Ana . . . . 



As well as Blake’s roommate Fluffy . . . . 



Things really started looking up when Blake convinced Amanda to team up with him and write some self-published erotica in order to get the albatross of debt that was strangling him off his neck. Their quest for a pen name had me giggling . . . . 



Even though they should have went with the obvious choice – Dick Butkiss . . . 



Their descriptions of male and female main characters in most pornos was spot on . . . 

“Dirty talking alpha male. Extremely large penis. Built like The Rock. A millionaire is good, but a billionaire is better. Make sure he donates to Africa or does some charity work, even though he’s an asshole with a damaged past.” 

“Must be a doormat and void of personality or any interesting characteristics so that the reader can interject their own selves. A virgin is preferred, but she must be able to get off on command. Condoms aren’t necessary, but ropes and whips are. She must refer to her vagina as ‘her sex’ and be clenching constantly.” 

By the time they started brainstorming plots I thought I might piss my pants . . . . 

Spread Open: A Gynecological Love Story - Nelson Dunsmuir was one of the world’s best Navy Seals. But when a mission goes wrong and he loses his best mate, he quits the Seals and decides to go back to his first career – gynecology. The moment Pender Galiano walks into his office needing a pap smear, Nelson knows he has to have the gorgeous virgin. But when old enemies rise up, Nelson has to protect Pender at all costs, even though loving her may cost him his life.” 

That’s not to say things were perfect - especially when the two had their first kiss and we learned that Amanada . . . 

“tastes gorgeous, like mint and orange.” 

Excuse me? MINT and ORANGE?!?!?!?!?!?! Like . . . . 





Gross.

But then stuff and things happened . . . . 



And I pretty much forgot alllllll about everything hat had bothered me because this sucker was hot . . . 



3.5 Stars, but rounded down because it took quite a while to remove the initial bad taste in my mouth – even worse than toothpaste and orange juice. Eventually, though?????



Yep. I could. I also got a perverse enjoyment from the talk about 1 and 5 Star reviews when a book isn’t even out yet as well as some spilled tea about someone who “all this time she’s had a blog and leaving authors all sorts of nasty reviews, then gives her own books five stars” . . . . . 



I’ll definitely be picking up more Karina Halle in the future. Hear that, porny librarian? I bet you’ve missed me and my demands. It’s been like three days since I harassed you for a new book.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Cottonmouths by Kelly J. Ford

31212951
5 Stars

“How’d you get mixed up in all this anyway?”
“Same as you, I suppose.”
“You got student loan debt too?”

My advance apologies for the mess which you are about to receive. The second I first saw Cottonmouths went a lil’ summin’ like so . . . .



Alas, it was not meant to be and I was immediately denied the ARC. And then the pestering of the porny librarian began. I tried to get so many libraries to buy this in so many formats I got the interweb equivalent of a cease and desist message something kinda like “WE GET IT BITCH! STAHP ALREADY.”

I just couldn’t help myself, though. I mean, I live like the most generic, vanilla lifestyle of anyone in ‘Murica, so when I see a story like this, it allows me to fully embrace my inner outer Fat Amy . . .



To show just how amazing some humans are still capable of being, on Thursday night (which was my birthday eve) I got a text message from the Queen of the South telling me I needed to send my address to Kelly J. Ford because she was going to send me a copy of Cottonmouths. After making sure Ms. Ford wasn’t locked in a basement (or maybe a singlewide, since that would be more fitting to the situation) and I wasn’t either (1) going to be charged as an accessory after the fact or (2) need to wire some bail money pronto, I proceeded to run around the house screaming with glee like a lunatic.

Then my husband and children went out of town and I received word from the porny library that they are, in fact, terrified of me and a copy of Cottonmouths was waiting for me to come pick it up and OF COURSE I went ahead and got it instead of being patient because . . . .



I is one greedy heifer and I already had plans on spending the day avoiding the 116 degree heat by the pool, which I did and officially named “cooking with meth” . . . .



So there’s the long story short of how when the mail came yesterday, this ended up happening . . . .



And also how even though I did get a free copy of this book, I was under absolutely zero obligation to pad my rating since I read the library copy instead.

I should probably talk about the book at list a smidgen at this point, huh?

Emily left town with high hopes of earning a college degree and never looking back. But when she flunks out and the collection agency comes sniffing around for her overdue student loan payments, Emily has no choice but to eat a big ol’ serving of crow and return to her hometown of Drear’s Bluff. When things go south between Emily and her parents, she’s left with no option but to turn to the last person she wanted to ask for help – her former best friend Jody who has become quiet the uhhhhhh entrepreneur . . . . .



“This is like the worst stereotype of the South come to life. All you need is a Confederate flag over the fucking door.”

I have to say there is nothing quite like the booknerd anxiety that is experienced once you finally get your hands on your most anticipated read of the year. Things could have gone sooooooo poorly. Thank Jeebus that was not the case. While Cottonmouths wasn’t action-packed or over-the-top like many of the other grit lit selections I have enjoyed in the past, it absolutely lived up to my high expectations and I was blown away with a story about not only meth, but also about first love and emotional manipulation and blurring the lines between what is right and what is wrong depending on certain circumstances and family who will drop a person like a hot potato for not being who they want them to be. In fact, when Shelby asked me how it was going, my reaction was . . . . . .



And that we had to figure out where these poor kids lived in order to get them away from all that mess because you just know there is no chance things are going to end well. 5 Stars. This sucker deserves every one of them.

Endless thanks to both Kelly J. Ford and my authorstalking bestie. I’d say I’ll be your ride or die, but let’s get real . . . .

 

Monday, July 24, 2017

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon


28458598
4 Stars

All Dimple can think of is venturing out on her own and out from under her mother's thumb (as well as her search for the I.I.H. or “Ideal Indian Husband”) by heading to Stanford. Even better is when she gets a six week headstart to participate in Insomnia Con . . . .



All Rishi can think of when he gets to Insomnia Con is an arranged future with someone who is guaranteed to provide a “long, sustainable partnership.”

Which leads us to the inevitable Dimple and Rishi not so meet/cute . . . .

“Hello, future wife,” he said, his voice bubbling with glee. “I can’t wait to get started on the rest of our lives!”

That has Dimple thinking something along these lines . . . .



Except, ya know, actually throwing her drink in the face of this rando strange and his creepy marriage-proposal-at-first-sight nonsense.

But since this is a rom-com the two obviously meet again, and are paired up to develop an app together which is the entire point of Insomnia Con, and eventually come to the realization that although there isn’t such a thing as instalove in real life, there most definitely is sometimes . . . .



And then somehow everything culminates in a talent show . . . .



Which shouldn’t work, but by the time you get there you’ve eaten so many unicorn farts that you are like “OF COURSE THERE IS A GODDAMN BOLLYWOOD DANCING SCENE! THAT’S TOTALLY NOT RIDICULOUS™ AT ALL!!!”

If this is on your TBR, go in knowing this is simply a book that will make you say . . . .



I didn’t realize this was so polarizing, and I really can’t explain why. Some people might expect more than just fluff from their fiction. Some people enjoy hate reading/reviewing. Some people get offended by nearly everything. At the end of the day (unless you are the author worried about making that bank, yo) does it really even matter????



If you (or your teenager) is looking for something cute and sweet with no angst, a leading lady who (thank the tiny 8 lb. 6 oz. Baby Jeebus) isn't a manic pixie dream girl and a leading male who makes you want to watch allllllllll da Dev Patel movies – this might be a winner. Or not . . . .



I liked this one enough for several people.

Many thanks to my book fairy for the gift!

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

31084
5 Stars

“There is no room for mistakes at court.”
I have owned this book since Jesus was a toddler but never got around to reading it – mainly because every time I even come close to the “puppy squisher” bookshelf, this guy gets a little antsy . . . .



I have a vague recollection of being envious of ScarJo’s magnificent boobage in the film version . . . followed immediately by what I do best once I decide to watch a movie: fall asleep. Anyway, I hadn’t really planned on ever reading The Other Boleyn, but when I logged on to the library website to cyberbully the porny librarian until she finally puts a copy of Made for Love in my hands, this one popped up on the available now/recommended to you page. I planned on starting it (possibly poolside) once my family went out of town for the weekend since I had a feeling that once I started it would be like book crack and I wouldn’t be able to put it down. But I could not avoid its siren song and . . . . .



Since there are over 15,000 reviews for this sucker, I’m not going to waste a whole lotta time here. The story goes a little something like this . . . .

♪♫♫♪ Howards, meet the Howards. They’re the vilest of families. From the land of England. They’re a page right out of history♪♫♫♪

WILLLLLMAAAAAAAA!



The Other Boleyn Girl takes place in the olde days of yore when King Henry VIII was married to Catherine of Aragon and a young Mary Boleyn caught his eye. The “Howard family ambition” rules all and Mary is instructed to become the King’s mistress and deliver him a son he might claim since his aging wife is quickly approaching the dreaded change. When Mary proves to be foolish with dreams of love rather than power at the forefront of her brain, Anne Boleyn steps in . . . .



And the rest is history. Sort of. This isn’t what you’d necessarily call historically accurate, but seriously . . . .



If you’re like me and your husband has had to dig an old burp rag out of the cupboard in order for you to wipe your drool after watching seven straight hours of The Tudors . . . . .



Or you have a DVR filled with the househoes of any given city or you’ve contemplated learning Spanish more than once simply so you can watch Telemundo, this might be the train wreck for you.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory


32842453
4.5 Stars


“Once, we were Amazing.”
As soon as I saw this title on NetGalley I had what I’d like to call a “♪♫♫♪ I want something just like this ♪♫♫♪” moment . . . .



When I saw the author was Daryl Gregory, who I’ve had pretty decent luck with a couple of times in the past, my decision to click the request button was solidified.

Spoonbenders is about exactly what the title would lead you to believe – maybe . . . .

“That was just an act. A stage show. They got debunked.”

“Did they? Perhaps. But perhaps they merely stopped performing.”


Back in the day the Telemachuses (Telemachi???) were all the rage. Led by the patriarch Teddy and his beautiful bride Maureen, the family wowed audiences with not only their talents, but also with the skills of their children Buddy, Frankie and Irene. Unfortunately all of that went to hell in a handbasket when the family’s powers were debunked on the late late show. Fastforward to the present and an aging Teddy who might be getting involved with the wrong type of people . . . .



Buddy, who has been doing his best Harpo Marx impersonation for ages. Frankie, owner of a failing telecommunications network/“goji berry juice” distributorship . . . . .



Irene, who has learned that . . . .

“Nothing killed nostalgia for your childhood home like moving back into it.”

And the newest person to discover their unique gift, Irene’s son Matty. It’s too bad his newfound ability to “travel” only happens when he’s otherwise preoccupied . . . .



It’s even more unfortunate the object of his affection just so happens to be someone really close to home . . . .



As I said above, I was interested in this from the getgo. (Dear NetGalley: You can go ahead and decline my review request since I went ahead and made sure I was the first person to check out the library copy. Kthanksbye.) A family with telekinetic powers????? SOLD! Then I read the following . . . . .

“You know why I’m raising you kids to be Cubs fans? Any moook can be a fan of a winning team. It takes character to root for the doomed.”

At that point I officially declared . . . .



Then, I got not only the story of the Telemachus family in the here and now, but also in the past thanks to the use of some . . . .



(Sidenote: Did you know there’s going to be a female Doctor now? Bet you didn’t. It’s hardly been mentioned at all and people definitely aren’t freaking out about it.)

Where was I? Oh yes, the family history. There were a few moments where I thought a heavier-handed editor could have been beneficial (hence the 4.5 Stars rather than the whole shebang), but by the time I got to the ending it all made sense and had me going . . . .



Well played, Mr. Gregory. Well played. My enjoyment of Spoonbenders already had me interested in reading more of this author's work and I didn’t have to look very far thanks to my nemesis coincidentally reading something by him as well (but don’t hold your breath for an actual review, it’ll probably take 12 or 15 years for him to get around to writing one.)