Monday, August 21, 2017

The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker


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5 Stars

The Fourth Monkey popped up on my radar months ago after a friend 5-Starred it. However, due to the fact that I’m well aware that my friends are much kinder and way less judgey than me, I didn’t bother requesting an ARC. Then more 5s started appearing, including one from a certain someone who is judgey like me . . . but who also has a well-known love for evil monkeys so I still wasn’t 100% sold. It was also too late to request a reader copy so I had to put myself on hold at the library. It seemed another friend was doling out alllllllll the Stars daily by the time my turn came up Saturday night . . . . 



Ouch. But sticks and stones because it turns out I wasn’t the one to poop the party! Who will the honor go to???? (Spoiler Alert: Probably Ron 2.0.)

Our story escalates pretty quickly when the local serial killer has an unfortunate run-in on his way to mail a package . . . . 



Detectives Porter and Nash have been working the “Four Monkey Killer” case for the past five years ever since the first white package was delivered. Those packages have arrived fairly regularly ever since . . . . 



Well, seven really, but the whole story here is finding the eighth before she croaks since the perp can’t really tell anyone where she’s being held.

This thing was just flat out awesome. I’m a hard sell when it comes to thrillers, because they ALWAYS crap the bed somehow. And while this one wasn’t exactly perfect when it came to the big reveal (if you want to talk in spoilers in the comments below, I’m more than happy to because maybe I just missed something), in the end it didn’t really matter.

The bad guy was amazingly bad . . . . 



The brutality of the murders was deliciously squicky. And while there was an obvious comparison to “What’s In The Box?!?!?!?!”, the fact that it was acknowledged made it all A-Okay . . . . 

“Open it up, Nash.”

“Maybe we should flip for it. I had to open the last one.”

“No, I insist. I saw Seven – if Gwyneth’s head is in there, the image will be stuck in my mind for months. This is all you. Be a man.”
 


^^^Great, right? Which brings me to the humorous undertone that was present throughout . . . . 

“Are you escaping?”

“What?”

“You’re wearing scrubs and you look a little rough to be on staff.”

“No, nothing like that. [SPOILER OMMITTED] stabbed me in the leg with a kitchen knife, then left me for dead in my kitchen. I couldn’t find my clothes, so I took these.”

“Smart-ass.” 


Porter and Nash were excellent leads, but the real magic came from the surrounding cast of characters. Especially Kloz, the computer programmer turned detective who wasn’t afraid to engage in some questionable activity in order to find what he was looking for.

Not to mention the clues that were presented were so minor, and yet all made such sense in the end . . . . 

“Some change, a dry cleaner receipt, a fedora, the pocket watch . . . . what does it all mean?”

“Puzzle it out.”
 


Oh, and it’s not what you might be thinking . . . . 



There was even an awesome soundtrack provided that had a kickass explanation . . . .



I’m not a girl who likes a kitchen sink thrown in to the mix at the end of a whodunit, but even an exception for that has to be made here because dat lil’ summin’ summin’ more?????



Okay, really my reaction was probably more like . . . . 



Recommend to ANYONE who likes a bit of the stabby stabby.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Comfort Food by Kitty Thomas


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4 Stars

“Today I found something beautiful and decided to break it. I wanted to see it shatter in my hand and crumble at my feet.”
I have owned this book for nearly five years and have only considered reading it twice. I picked it up when my friend Sammy pointed out it was free one day without bothering to read the synopsis. Once I did I put it on the backburner knowing it would have to be a “right place/right time” type of read for me. The right place/right time ended up being right after a book was banned from Amazon for being soooooo offensive – when in reality it was more eye-rolly (new word) than anything else. (And for those in the cheap seats, NEITHER of those offenses should result in book banning.) I decided to finally give Comfort Food a shot now due to it being another selection about “offensive” subject matter – but somehow that subject matter has become one of the greatest love stories of all time to humans around the globe . . . .



The story here is about Emily, a self-help guru who knows that you should never leave your drink unattended at a bar – but never thought something nefarious would happen to her at a mixer after her own speaking engagement . . . .



Emily wakes up locked in a basement - held by a man who never speaks to her, but only brings her . . . .



The rules are simple: Comply with his wishes and be fed. Don’t??????



(^^^^Changing your perspective about your fave Disney romance yet, kids?)

The more she’s willing to tolerate, the better her treatment will be. The menu will improve as well – from chicken noodle soup to actual fried chicken, taters, biscuits and all the other trimmings . . . . .



She just has to do whatever he wants.

Okay, so here’s the deal. This is shelved by most Goodreads users as erotica and per the disclaimer at the end of the blurb apparently it was marketed as erotica as well. I’m telling you right now that I don’t get it. I don’t see many readers picking this up because they’ll get off on it. It is, however, a pretty dang good rendering of Stockholm Syndrome. 4 Stars because there were things that didn’t jive for me that I think were included in an attempt to morph it into some twist on BDSM when really it should have just been left as fucked up dark fiction.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Lingus by Mariana Zapata


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3.5 Stars

“You need some cock in your life, and he knows what he’s doing!”
Mariana Zapata is an author who has popped up on my feed every now and again ever since I joined GR. Unfortunately, the porny librarian has not yet stocked any of her titles. When I saw this title shining like a beacon over on Amazon for a measly buck, I one-clicked that sumbitch lickity split. The other morning I started reading it while waiting for my morning fix to come out of the fancy barista coffee maker when I was startled by one of the senior partners asking what was the book of the day. My reaction was exactly what you would expect it to be . . . . .



Thank Jeebus he was classy enough to leave me with my smut and a response of “nevermind.” What can I say? A girl has to mix things up every once in a while.

The story here is about Kat and Tristan, two strangers who have quite the meet cute at a porn convention. While waiting on her bestie to get the porn star of her dream’s autograph, Kat’s undies start creeping so she backs herself into a nearby table in order to take care of the problem. Now I ain’t sayin’ she’s a gold digger, but Tristan just so happens to be seated at said table and makes his presence known . . . .



After recovering from their awkward meet/cute, Tristan and Kat run into each other a few times over the course of the day, and then Kat discovers Tristan’s alter ego – a porn star known as “Robby Lingus” . . . .



Tristan acknowledges he’s not really interested in a girlfriend and Kat acknowledges she’s uncomfortable dating a dude who bangs chicks for a living as we readers embark on a “friends to lovers” trope.

As with all porny selections, there’s a bit of reality that has to be left at the door. This go around, our leading male is a porn star by weekend/whenever he gets hired for a gig and an intern/law student by day. Now, if you’ve ever worked in a law firm you are fully aware that the background check they do on you before you are officially hired will dig up any and everything you’ve ever done in your life, up to and including that one time when you farted in a crowded elevator (totally a friend of mine – not me). So obviously your initial reaction will be . . . .



But you’ve gotta figure out how to just go with it.

Things that worked for me with Lingus was that it was humorous and that I’ve developed quite the obsession with a certain (more than likely) sociopath this summer while watching Big Brother with my family . . . .



So even though the description of Tristan didn’t match that of Cody, my perverted brain made it happen anyway. That pretty much amounted to my internal voice screaming . . . .



Which leads to the problems. These two did not get together until the EIGHTY-NINE PERCENT MARK. That’s a lotta blue balls. I’m sure some will disagree, but I do not pick up porn when I’m looking for a “good story.” That’s always a plus, but at some point I want to get the show on the road. I don’t want to spend nearly 500 pages waiting on some penetration FFS. All that makes me do is start focusing on things that shouldn’t even be a blip on my radar. Things like how many times these two “snorted” while laughing. In case you were wondering – there were NINETY-SEVEN references to snort laughing. Good thing I didn’t take a shot every time they did it . . . . .



3.5 Stars for being cute with enjoyable characters, but rounded down due to the aforementioned issues.

ORIGINAL “REVIEW:”

Why yes, I absolutely did just one-click this as soon as I saw the title . . . .

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Made for Love by Alissa Nutting


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4 Stars

In case you couldn’t tell from my placeholder “review” below, I reaaaallllllyyyyy wanted to read this one. Naturally that equated me being denied an advanced copy. Please note I’m not so first-world-problemy that I believe I am entitled to every freebie I request, but it does boggle my mind at times the things I am approved for and those I’m denied. I mean, I have continually crapped my drawers about Tampa so I thought I was a shoe-in for whatever Alissa Nutting’s cray-cray brain could churn out next. Alas, it was not meant to be and so for the past eight months my life has pretty much gone something like this:

♫♪♫♪ “I’ve been alone with you inside my mind . . . .” ♫♪♫♪



As I said above, I have wanted this ever since it was called “Untitled” with no synopsis or release date. Then the cover was revealed and it brought back all of my white trashiest memories of “Railroad Days” and airbrushed t-shirts . . . .


(^Classy!)

The following gif is actual footage of me once I finally received word this little beauty was on hold for me at the fancy downtown library . . . .



Imma be 100% straight up and tell you all that I stopped reading the blurb as soon as I found out Made for Love was about a woman who leaves her husband and has to move back in with her father and his new *cough* girlfriend . . . . .



Really, Nutting could have re-written an old telephone book and I still would have put myself on the wait list, but a middle-aged woman moving into a trailer park . . . . oh excuuuuuuuse me “mobile home community” full of senior citizens and their Hoveround scooters made me squee with glee. I went into this thinking it was going to be sort of a female version of a Jonathon Tropper tale – I had zero clue it was going to get all “mind meldy” or that it would contain a subplot featuring an additional character named Jasper . . . . .



Upon finishing, I was a little like . . . .



While not quite bizarre enough to be categorized as bizarro fiction, Made for Love is most definitely not like anything you’ve ever read before. I have a feeling the reviews and ratings on this one are going to be extremely polarized and there will be tons of people who just don’t get it because it’s so effing strange. As for me? I dug it and all of its crazy. Especially dear old dad . . . .

“It’s heavy as hell. The deliveryman asked me if rocks were inside. I said, ‘Nope, I ordered a new girlfriend!’ and he really cracked up. He had no idea I wasn’t joking.”



Recommended to?????? Weirdos, I guess.

“ORIGINAL REVIEW:”

I just told a friend to use this tactic to score a freebie, but here's the time when I'm willing to do anything myself for an ARC. AN.Y.THING. . . . . . .

 

Monday, August 14, 2017

She Rides Shotgun by Jordan Harper


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5 Stars


“Get your keys. I’ll get the bear.”
On Thursday morning I rushed to the library as soon as it opened in order to retrieve a reserved copy of my most anticipated book of 2017. Upon finishing that one Friday afternoon, I was at a loss for what to read next. She Rides Shotgun
(best title ever) was on what seemed to be an eternal hold at the porny library, but for whatever reason (*cough* kismet *cough*) I decided to roll the dice and check availability at the “fancy” library as well. And then? Well, then I got smacked right in the face with what turned out to be the sleeper of the year. I started reading it at work (shhhhh, keep that on the DL), got home and put my “going to Wal-Mart clothes” (a/k/a jammies) on and didn’t put it down until I was done. When I finished I had one thing to say . . . .


She Rides Shotgun is the story of Nate, a man who is set to be released from prison after serving time for armed robbery. Days before Nate’s freedom, he’s presented an offer he can’t shouldn’t refuse from the local Alt-Right Movement skinheads, the Aryan Steel. However, Nate isn’t exactly what you’d call a team player, so refuse he does – which leads to a “greenlight” being put on not only him, but also on his ex and his 11 year old daughter . . . .
“You think you can turn this around? Hell, you’re already dead. You’re a goddamn zombie walking.”
When Nate discovers his ex (and her new husband) have already been brutally murdered, it’s up to him to save the little girl, and an unlikely partnership is formed while attempting to remove the marker from their heads . . . .
“I’ll be back. Something goes wrong, you run.”
“I won’t leave you.”

“Fuck that noise. You’ll run.”


Which eventually leads to me really channeling my inner-Mitchell and being willing to declare ol’ Nate dysfunctional father-of-the-year . . . .
“He was all she had and so he was all that mattered. And maybe she was all he had anymore, and maybe that meant she mattered.”

If She Rides Shotgun
was food, I would have looked pretty much like this while reading it . . . .


Although I’m married to a huge movie buff, I’m (obviously) more of a reader. I had a very rare experience with She Rides Shotgun . . . . .


This sucker played out like a film in my head. That means there was not one break in character where they did something I didn’t think that character would do, or went someplace I didn’t think they would go, or said something I didn’t think they would say. And they were so three-dimensional that the actors cast themselves in the roles. I’m not one who wants to make the sexy with Charlie Hunnam, but he was the only person I ever imagined as Nate. Same goes for Eleven Millie Bobby Brown as Polly, and Michael Rooker as Crazy Craig, and Danny Trejo as Boxer, and John Cho as Park and Tommy Lee Jones as Sheriff Houser and on and on and on and on. Jordan Harper, I’m telling you, if this was a movie my husband would watch the shit out of it. He tried to claim he might even be interested in reading the book, but that’s just crazy talk and even Mitchell said so. As for my feelings for you? Well . . . . .


You might want to go ahead and get a preemptive restraining order in case you aren’t already working on your next novel. Mitchell and I aren’t really well-known for our patience. Or you can take us up on our offer and stay in our dungeon guest room. We’re all for making sure new authors find the following they deserve . . . .


Just ask Adam Howe. We let him out every now and again. Sometimes long enough for him to even be the one who finally wears us down and makes us pick up a new release - like what happened here.
Every Star. Best book of 2017 for me.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

His Alone by Alexa Riley


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2 Stars

Goodnight am I behind on posting reviews. I’m going to keep this short and sweet.

Dear Alexa Riley:



Yeah, I think it’s probably time we break up. Since you have eleventy trillion superfans I’m sure you won’t even notice. The problem here is 100% mine. I mean, I KNOW AR is the go-to-gal for OTT, instalovin’, “breeding” (*shudder*) good times. Why in Jeebus’ name did I think this would have a plot????? But that’s exactly what I thought after meeting Ryan and Paige in Everything for Her. This had soooooo much potential.

1. They both kick ass (literally) for a living.
2. They hate each other.
3. Paige and her bestie have nicknamed Ryan “Captain” because he looks like Captain America and he’s the good guy.
4. She wants to make with the stabby on behalf of her boss (because reasons that make sense even, but I don’t want to do spoilsies here).
5. He’s an alpha – both at work and in the bedroom.

Alllllllll of the above should have equated this . . . . .



Assuming it didn’t follow the standard AR formula – which, if you aren’t familiar, goes a lil’ summin’ like . . . .

1. Virgin.
2. Instalove.
3. Bang bang choo choo train light me up I’ll do my thang.
4. Two pages worth of story.
5. HEA (generally with bonus miracle baby).

I don’t know what magic Kool-Aid I drank that had me thinking this would be different, but it wasn’t. Oh well, on to the next. Thanks porny librarian for always having my back and saving me dollahs, yo!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Wild by K Webster


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RATING WITHHELD BECUASE OF REASONS




When a friend of a friend of a friend (or some such fuckery which creates the Goodreads’ feed) posted a status about how this book had been banished from the world of Kindle due to it being so controversial, I knew I wanted a piece of the action. In case you are seeing this little blip due to the same friend of a friend of a friend bullshit, I’m not one who typically shies away from “books that should not be read.” Don’t believe me? Take a look at EXHIBIT A. I read that like 27 seconds after the author showed up at a stranger’s door for daring to give her preshus a negative review. Basically, I ain’t scurrrrrred of any subject matter (and I still can’t wrap my brain around why that author chose to shoot herself in the foot with her own crazy because I farking dug her book.)

I’m withholding my rating here due to the fact that I only read the first 20% freebie which was offered over on Smashwords. I don’t really give a shit if other people rate books they didn’t finish, but since I have never DNF’d a book before, I don’t think it’s fair for me to rate this one. All I have to say about The Wild is . . . .



This thing (well, the first 20%) was soooooooooo stupid. I can’t imagine it going anywhere but downhill. First, let’s address the fact that this family of wannabe Bear Grylls basically pull about 20 feet off the road and then proceed to nearly die. The finger of God helps remove mommy from the scenario so daddy and baby can eventually get to the boot-knocking without a third wheel. Buuuuuuuuut, that’s not before daddy’s little girl GETS FUCKING IMPALED ON A GODDAMN TREE THAT SHE HAS TO LITERALLY CLIMB UP A BIT IN ORDER TO REMOVE FROM HER ABDOMEN. And then dear old dad wads up a dirty dirty t-shirt, plugs it in the hole, calls it good and the two take a nap. WTF?!?!?! From what I’ve read it gets even worse with some inbred breach baby that needs turnin’ before birthin’. I mean, give me a break.

All that aside, let’s get down to what you’re all here for – the pink elephant in the room. I’m no author, but I do know if you want to write something that succeeds in being “dark” or “taboo” you reeeeaaaallllllyyyyy need to be willing to go balls out. There is no way in hell any father would ever wake up one day and decide to have sex with his daughter. Therefore, we readers need to know dude is fucked up like IMMEDIATELY. He can’t be a loving father turned child molester – he has to be a child molester first. If you’re going to go black, it has to be as black as Mitchell’s heart. You have to tell us how this man conditioned his daughter to look to him as his one-and-only from the time she was a little girl. He has to not care about societal norms. He has to be 100% self-centered and not give a shit about how twisted he is. Either that . . . or she has to be a Lolita and he has to be her new stepfather because normal dads don’t do this and even in erotica there’s only so much reality that can be left at the door.

If you want some selections that might test your moral boundaries, allow me to suggest the following:

You – because you never knew how much you wished you had a stalker until you meet Joe.

The Hades Hangmen Series – because nothing gets your motor churning like a girl who was raised in a rapey cult.

Tampa – because you’ll never know how cringey a teacher banging a 13-year old could be until you meet Celeste (and also because the buttonhole cover that looks like a vagina from a distance might be the best cover to be caught in an elevator or on the bus reading).

Nine Minutes – because abduction and Stockholm Syndrome are the purest form of love.

Don’t waste your money on this, but maybe waste it on This is War, Baby because that one has been on my TBR for quite some time and I think I finally need to read it in order to give this author a fair shake.

Artemis by Andy Weir


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3.5 Stars




Hey look. It’s “Mark Watney Goes To The Moon.” Now with 100% more vagina!!! 

Artemis is the story of Jasmine (Jazz) Bashara, a young woman who has lived on the moon ever since her family immigrated there when she was six years old. Jazz’s only dream is to rich, a goal she is trying to achieve one “slug” at a time working as a porter (with a little smuggling on the side). When Jazz is offered 1,000,000 slugs to sabotage the local aluminum company’s anorthite ore harvesters she can’t refuse. That’s when the poo begins to hit the proverbial fan and Jazz finds out that someone out there is willing to do anything - including murder - in order to keep what everyone thought of as a nearly obsolete industry going. But why????? 

As I said before, if you enjoyed The Martian, there’s a solid chance you’ll like this too. Dial back your expectations a bit and know before going in that you haven’t experienced a caper like this since . . . . .



The jokes and antics of the cast of characters are very much over-the-top, and – much like its predecessor – Andy Weir proves that . . . . 



I’m not one who researches the “what ifs” when it comes to books. I am smart enough to know dinosaurs probably can’t be created from fossilized, prehistoric mosquitos, but that didn’t make me love Jeff Goldblum Jurassic Park any less. That being said, I have a feeling that the majority of Andy Weir’s science might be real. And boy does he like talking about it! In case you were wondering, yes I am fully aware of the fact that I’m saying there was “too much science” in this one after giving 5 Stars to a book that taught me (in great detail) how to grow potatoes with my own poop.

The good news is, Artemis is inclusive without being super IN YO’ FACE about it by having not only a female lead, but one who is also Saudi Arabian, and who is surrounded by a cast of characters of various races and sexuality. Not to mention, you haven’t seen a bad guy like this one in space since . . . . . 



I have to admit, I was a bit terrified that Weir’s sophomore novel wouldn't hold up after being somewhat inundated by his super shorts that have been released en masse since The Martian hit it big. The positive side of that was, (1) he didn’t take advantage of his fans by charging for those little few-pagers and (2) he kind of hit one out of the park with Annie’s Day. All in all? I give Artemis two thumbs up . . . .



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