Friday, May 31, 2019

Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson


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4.5 Stars

Before we begin, let’s talk about this cover for a second . . . .



Now that that is out of the way, we can talk about the book – kinda – maybe. Per usual, this is one full of spoiley spoils I want to barf out all over the place and twists and reveals that if you knew about them beforehand would ruin all the fun of reading it, so I can’t say much.

What I will say is nosey neighbor meets the new people next door and immediately comes to the conclusion the hubs is a serial killer?????



I mean for real. I could read a book a week with this plotline. And should I ever run out of books? That’s what Shia Labeouf is for . . . . .



Well, that and this . . . .



But that’s more of a spank bank type of experience rather than a stabby one.

Where was I? Oh yeah this book I can’t talk about. I picked this one up because I enjoyed The Kind Worth Killing okay and wanted to give Swanson another go. I was not disappointed. You have the potentially murdery new guy, the neighborhood Nancy Drew sticking her nose into things she should probably leave alone, and to top it all off she’s not a particularly reliable narrator . . . .

“I was sure it was schizophrenia, because of your uncle. But turns out you’re just batshit crazy like everyone else in this family.”

However, at times she’s pretty entertaining . . . .

“What were you talking about with Matthew Dolamore?”

“He kills people,” she said.

“What?”

“That’s not news. I’ve already told you that.”


I will say that I did see the big reveal coming, but I still sucked this down like a fat girl me with cake . . . .



Recommended.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

The Au Pair by Emma Rous


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3.5 Stars

I held off on reading this one due to my friends’ “meh” reactions. But that cover kept calling to me like a dang siren song so I eventually broke down and added myself to the library wait list. I lowered my expectations when my turn came around, but really all I really would have needed to prepare myself to enjoy this was to glance at the name dropping of V.C. Andrews. If you’re of a certain age, you probably know what I’m talking about . . . .



Oh, such trashy childhood good times were spent with a V.C. Andrews’ book in my grubby little paws. The comparison here is a fitting one too. You have to be ready for a seriously over-the-top reveal much like that your granny may have watched on her daytime “stories.” And you have to be in the mood to read about how the other half lives . . . . .



As you uncover the truth behind what really happened on the day Seraphine and her twin Danny were born and their mother threw herself off of the nearby cliffs.

This was 100% an escape from reality for me and I practically inhaled the thing. 3 Stars with a bonus half for that cover.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Fuck Marriage by Tarryn Fisher


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2 Stars

I’ve mentioned enough times to turn the dead horse into nothing but a pulpy mess that Tarryn Fisher is a bit of a hit or miss author for me. That being said, she’s one of the only authors the pornbrary doesn’t stock on the regular so I know I will be one-clicking whatever her new release is the day it comes out. Such was the case with Fuck Marriage both for the aforementioned pulpy horse reasons, as well because when I began reading I discovered this was going to be the story of a cheated on divorcee who seeks revenge on her ex/his new fianc√© by . . . . banging him???? That’s unfortunate. I think the rational thing for a woman in that position to do would be double homicide, but hey I’m not the writer. I reset my sights and prepared myself for a super soap opera-ish good time. And that was 100% okay, because . . . .



And all was good – or at least readable – until about the halfway mark. Then . . . . .



Seriously. WTF happened? Did some bills need to get paid so this thing had to be released pronto? Did someone else write it? (For real, that’s what it seems and if that is the case, Dear Tarryn Fisher: Your co-writer is turrrrrrrrrrrrible at his (or her, but my Spidey Senses tell me it might have been a him) job.) I’ll still be first in line when The Wives comes out later this year, but this one?????




ORIGINAL "REVIEW:"

File this under awkward emails with husband . . .

ME: FYI I just bought a $4 Kindle book in case you see that random amount come through

HUSBAND: What did you get?

ME:


ME: Fuck Marriage

HUSBAND TWO HOURS LATER: *crickets*

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

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4 Stars

Red, White and Royal Blue is a story you might be familiar with . . . .

“Oh my God, this is like all those romantic comedies where the girl hires a male escort to pretend to be her wedding date and then falls in love with him for real.”

The only difference? This time it’s the Prince of England . . . .



And the son of the President of the United States . . . .



Who are forced to play nice after a melee between the two at a royal wedding goes viral, leaving the world questioning the state of affairs between the two allied countries. You know what happens next, right?????

“You are the absolute worst idea I’ve ever had.”



This book was absolutely adorkable. Surprisingly sexy (why do I keep getting fooled that these cutesy covers contain stories that don’t bring the heat?????), but low on angst and high on banter and pop-culture-referencey good times . . . .

“All this time, I thought I was the Ferris Bueller of this relationship.”

“What, did you think I was Sloane?”


This is a read that will have you saying . . . .



For anyone who wants to comment that this story isn’t realistic or what-have-you, I say: NO SHIT. It’s a romance, they aren’t steeped in reality. But wouldn’t it be nice to live in a world where it could be?

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

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman


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5 Stars

After reading Other People’s Houses I knew Abbi Waxman was going to be a go-to gal for me and I was all over trying to obtain an early copy of her new release. But alas the gods at the Galley of the Net declined me quicker than a jackrabbit on a date. Lucky for me I have a homey at Berkley (okay, full disclosure, I don’t think said person is aware that she is considered a homey of mine, but rest assured she definitely is) and I got a paperback hook up. And since I’m nothing but fail I read the publication date as 4/9/19 when I perused the “basket of shame” which contains ARCs, immediately panicked that I was over a month late to the party and proceeded to read it over the weekend. I just now noticed that this doesn’t come out until July - which kinda sucks because y’all need to add it to your TBR, but also is kinda perfect because summer is when you should read things that are light and fun and make you smile and this fits the bill perfectly.

The story here is of Nina Hill. She’s certainly bookish – both an avid reader by hobby as well as a bookseller by trade. Nina is perfectly content to live her quiet, structured life (√† la her heroine Monica Geller) consisting of various book clubs, participating in trivia competitions with her friends on their team “Book ‘Em, Dano,” contemplating the invention of the bullet journal and meaningful conversations with her cat Phil. What Nina would have never expected was to discover the father she never knew left her a legacy of a family she never thought she would have upon his passing or that actual romance might come her way rather than just the make-believe kind she was used to experiencing via Jane Austen re-reads and movie viewings.

Now I know you’re not supposed to quote early copies because they are subject to change before release date. However, (1) rules are meant to be broken and (2) I don’t think they should change one word so Imma post something in order for you to figure out if you’d like to add some Nina to your life this summer. (Spoiler alert: The answer is yes, you do want to add some Nina to your life.)

“I really shouldn’t drink at all; I’m hopeless at it. I get drunk right away, then hungover two hours later. I don’t do it well.”

“So, not a boozer, then, that’s what you’re saying?”

“I usually end up crying.”

“Wow. Then yeah, you should stick to soda.”

“Soda makes me fart.”


Very rarely does a book come along that has me saying . . . .



It made me have a “smiling’s my favorite” kind of day and I never wanted it to end. All the Starz.

Endless thanks to Berkley for putting this little slice of perfect in my hands early in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, May 20, 2019

I Ain't Doin' It by Heather Land

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1 Star

Before anyone gets it twisted and starts throwing the term “hater” at me or saying (once again) that I suck turtles, let’s get something real clear. I am the target demographic for this woman’s viral videos, can relate to allllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll of them and have been pushing her on my friends for years. When I heard she was branching out into an actual traveling stand-up show I couldn’t have been happier and I was also the one who forced the library into buying this audio book for my listening pleasure. That being said, I checked this out believing it would be a (welcome) extension of Heather Land’s fifteen minutes of fame. I would not have been disappointed if it was simply a regurge of all of her videos from hating pumpkin spice to people in PJs at the Wal-Mart – just minus the Snapchat filter, of course. At minimum I thought this would be hilarious. What I didn’t sign up for was some sort of mutant inspirational, motivational speaker type mumbo jumbo with nary even a chuckle to be found. To that I say . . . .

Friday, May 17, 2019

Those People by Louise Candlish


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5 Stars

Those People is the story of what happens when a picture perfect neighborhood like this . . . .



Is infiltrated by new people who have inherited one of the houses that happen to be a little more like this . . . .



What are the established residents to do????

“We’ve said we’ll give it till the end of the month and then . . . “

“And then what?”

“Then we kill them.”


Starting in the present where there is, in fact, a dead body and immediately reversing eight weeks into the past so the reader can learn exactly who is dead and how they came to be that way, Louise Candlish’s newest release might make some reminiscent of Liane Moriarty’s approach to storytelling in Big Little Lies. Simply put, this is my wheelhouse. I freely admit that as soon as I see a cover with a house in it, I’m all like . . . . .



And I’ll take any excuse to confirm that . . . .



I enjoyed Our House, but admitted the ending kind of lost me. However, the little extra added on here??????



This is a must add for some summertime fun. All the Starz!

ARC provided by Berkley in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Not the Girl You Marry by Andie J. Christopher


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4.5 Stars

There was part of me that was really having an internal struggle about rating this so high because it was clearly a remake of . . . . .



But then I thought – how many freaking P&P retellings have I read (answer infinity) and it never seemed to bother me with any of those that they were based on another story so this one is getting nearly all the Starzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz because it was exactly what I wanted it to be.

As I said before, this was How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days (and thankfully is being marketed as just that). It’s just been turned on its ear a tad where the male is the one with one final “How To” assignment in hopes of propelling his career to the next level where he’ll be writing some meatier stories. Hannah is his female counterpart and is an event planner who gets told by her boss she might want to, you know, at least have a boyfriend if she thinks she’s going to move into the wedding arena and make partner in the company. Both have two weeks to achieve their goal – him to do everything from sending dick pics and introducing her to the parents nearly immediately in order to make her dump him – her to ignore his manbearpig and Stage Five Clinger tendencies in order keep him on the line at least until the firm’s big Halloween party. Oh, and there’s one other little tidbit. Instead of our leading lady looking like . . . .



She looks like . . . .



REFRESHING!!!!

Another difference????



This is like the third time in recent history I picked up a book that I was just suuuuuuuuuure was going to be PG-13 that instead ended up steaming my glasses. Trust me, I’m not complaining!



If you are anything like me, this little book will have you going . . . . .



I’m just sorry you have to wait until November for it to be released : (

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Why Don't You Write My Eulogy Now So I Can Correct It? by Patricia Marx and Roz Chast


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3.5 Stars

Celadon Books was kind enough to send me a review copy of this just in time for Mother’s Day. Now, if you know me, you know I’m an easy sell for books like this. My desk at home features a shrine selection for my former cats and dogs who made their way over the Rainbow Bridge and you’re all aware of my other hobby. Pretty much there’s a book for everything and I think these are great little bits of fun to give either solo or in addition to the ever-present “scented candle” . . . .



For the woman who pretty much already has everything but will publicly shame you for life if you forget to bring her a present (a/k/a your mother).

They also would make a great filler for those of you with questionable morals who have items like the following in your lives . . . .




Why Don’t You Write My Eulogy Now So I Can Correct It was exactly what it was supposed to be . . . .



But I’m telling you the Introduction was gold. Patricia Marx should write a full length comedic memoir if she hasn’t already done so.

Copy provided by Celadon Books in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, May 10, 2019

The Invited by Jennifer McMahon


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3.5 Stars

Let’s start off by addressing the giant pink elephant which will make this book be a failure for many. As the blurb says, the story here is about a young couple who “abandon the comforts of suburbia and their teaching jobs to take up residence on forty-four acres of rural land where they will begin the ultimate, aspirational do-it-yourself project: building the house of their dreams.” What it doesn’t tell you is these two are literally building the house. Alone. Just the two of them. From watching You Tube videos . . . . . .



Seriously, this may be the most I ever had to suspend disbelief in my entire reading life. Not only is it completely unrealistic that a couple of schoolteachers (neither of whom taught some sort of VoTech subject) would be able to build a house – oh and dare I forget, not just a little shanty either, but . . . . .



FFS. Yeah, a SALTBOX because that's the fucking easiest design plan in the books just adding to the WTFery of this whole plotline . . . .



Grrrrrrr, but I digress. The thing that really irked me was that part of the story wasn’t even necessary. The rest of the plot is about digging into the creepy history surrounding the family tree that sprouted from this plot of land a long, long time ago. But all of the hinkyness of the past? It came in the form of either the goings on at the property itself or via discovered artifacts. Why couldn’t they just have remodeled an existing structure or had enough money to hire builders so I didn’t get my resting bitch face on every time they talked about framing and roofing and other completely unbelievable things that made me feel like stabbing someone??????

The second thing you need to know if you have this on your TBR is that despite this being marketed/shelved as horror . . . . .



This is NOT a horror. Sure, the premise automatically calls to mind other houses with dark pasts from the recesses of one’s mind . . . . .



And there most definitely is a little bit of is everyone going crazy????? If so, how far will it go . . . .



But at the end of it all . . . . .

“First, we’ve got a witch ghost, now there’s a buried treasure? Is this Scooby fucking Doo?”

I assume this will be a mixed mag of reactions. I know I have one friend who was reading it at the same time I was and had to abandon ship because the house building was so absurd. I have no clue how I was able to ignore it, but somehow I did. I also knew right away this would end up being more of a paranormal mystery rather than a horror (which is my personal preference). It probably also helped that it rained for 172 days straight where I live either and I read this curled up basking in the gloom of both the weather and the story.

1 Star for the idiocy of the house shit, 4 Stars for the page turnability = 3.5 Stars.

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

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich with Steven Levenson, Benj Passek and Justin Paul


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3 Stars

Boy, this is a tough one. If you’re not familiar, Dear Evan Hansen is actually a story originally presented as . . . . .



And it is good. SO. GOOD. Like give them all the Tony Awards good. And the touring company is coming here soon and I’m sooooooo hoping tickets will be available so me and my fellow songlover kid can attend. But my reaction to the book?????



Here’s the pickle I’m in. This was so much more than a novelization. It was full length and well written to boot. The problem? Evan is kind of an awful unlikeable character for a goodly chunk (like 90% of the thing) until the reader/audience really gets to know what makes him HIM and you can become sympathetic to him making this just a cringey type of read. And the character who IS automatically the one you want to get to know more? Well, unfortunately he’s dead . . . .



So the chapters from his perspective are few and far between.

Obviously other things were missing in the print version as well. Like . . . .



And . . . .


That boy is just farking adorable.

I’m always looking for stuff to listen to during the commute, but since I only spend about 20 minutes in the car each way I’m pretty particular about what I want. Funny, short, or something I’m already familiar with in some way are generally winners. Probably goes without saying the narrator needs to not suck (narrator definitely does not suck here). If you’re a lover of YA you won’t be wasting your time here – same goes for if you’re a crazy completionist superfan (trust me, no judgment). As for me? My family is just happy I’ve changed up the playlist I sing while I’m dusting, vacuuming, washing dishes, doing laundry, taking a shower awake . . . .







They’re a lucky bunch . . . . .