Friday, March 28, 2014

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

3.5 Stars

This program is brought to you by The Corporation: Because Your Life Can Always Be Better™.

You probably know The Corporation for its awesome products

and barrier breaking television programs like “Girls Gone Rumspringa”

but this special episode brings us back to The Corporation’s roots - The Miss Team Dream Beauty Pageant!!!!

No one ever expected a plane full of Teen Dream beauty contestants would crash (don’t worry, most of them get killed off so you don’t have to follow the story of 50 different pageant girls), but crash it did.

Now the girls find themselves on what they believe to be a deserted island, but what is really The Corporation’s secret headquarters. Not only that, but the face behind The Corporation/the Miss Teen Dream pageant (now presidential hopeful) is there and may just be the devil in disguise . . .

[insert audible gasp] . . .

too soon? Naaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh.

Follow along as the girls not only perfect their talent for the pageant

but learn how to survive and maybe even kick a little ass

Oh, and make sure you stay tuned in so you don’t miss out on the super sexy pirates of “Captains Bodacious”

Whoops, I said SEXY pirate . . .

*End Promo*

Okay, have you been looking for a laugh and to read something that is NEVER serious (at all) and is just fun and fluff and completely over-the-top????? If so, read this. Completely adorable and so much better than I was expecting.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Winger by Andrew Smith

Ryan Dean West (“Winger” to the guys on the rugby team) is a Junior at a boarding school. He’s different than the other boys, though. He’s only 14. This is the story of Ryan Dean’s life-altering year – dealing with first kisses, first bullies, first love, first loss – all while trying to remove himself from the stigma that is being the “little guy”.

“It’s always that one word that makes you so different and puts you outside the overlap of everyone else; and that word is so fucking big and loud, it’s the only thing anyone ever hears when your name is spoken.”

This book . . .
“It’s about love, and maybe, not having it.”

I have to admit I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with Ryan Dean West for a good chunk of this book. He admits he’s a “skinny-bitch-ass” and, let’s face it, he’s a 14 year old boy. I’m quickly approaching the time when I will have one of those living in my house – I’m fairly certain I’m not always going to like him either. While reading, I kept wavering between a 3 Star or a 4 Star rating – thinking I’d end up with a 3.5. But then Ryan Dean changed and, although I knew what was coming, the book changed and I discovered that I’m not broken and I cried. And cried. And cried. At my desk, at work, on my lunch break. And all my frustrations with Ryan Dean from the first 90% of the book are erased, because HE’S A 14 YEAR OLD BOY FOR GOD’S SAKE!!!!

5 Stars.

“Crede quod habes, et habes” – If you believe in what you have, you’ll have it.”

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk

4.5 Stars


Just disappear. Leave behind everything that keeps you from creating your masterpiece. Your job and family and home, all those obligations and distractions – put them on hold for three months. Live with like-minded people in a setting that supports total immersion in your work. Food and lodging included free for those who qualify. Gamble a small fraction of your life on the chance to create a new future as a professional poet, novelist, screenwriter. Before it’s too late, live the life you dream about. Spaces very limited.
A group of strangers responds to this advertisement and find themselves locked away – literally. With no way out and a cast of characters who aim to make their own personal experience worse than anyone else’s, the group soon finds themselves with no heat, little electricity and, let’s say, only unconventional food sources.

A novel woven together with short stories and “poems” – a reader like me who generally doesn’t appreciate the short story gets the best of both worlds. This is Palahniuk at his best. Worst???? I don’t even know anymore. God he’s twisted. And awesome. And barf-inducing.

Whoops, wrong Barf.

Palahniuk immediately goes off the rails with the story “Guts”.

If you can make it through that tale, you’ll be able make it through the rest of the book – but not without asking yourself the question

If you’re extra lucky, you’ll find yourself being asked by your family members “why do you have that horrified look on your face?” and get a chance to share your experiences with the whole gang . . .

Family bonding at its best.

Oh Chuck, you sick bastard. When you’re on – you are ON, and I am left speechless. Recommended to????? If I want a clear conscience the answer should be ABSOLUTELY NO ONE, but in reality???? EVERYONE.

Texts from Bennett by Mac Lethal

It’s probably not really worth it, but I’m giving this one 4 Stars. 
When Mac Lethal finds out his aunt is about to lose her house, he invites her, and his cousin Bennett, to move in with him until they can get back on their feet again. The events that transpire during their co-habitation inspire this very untraditional story of family and falling in love . . .

Living in the same town as Mac Lethal, I discovered the “Texts from Bennett” blog at its inception and have been an unapologetic follower ever since. It’s offensive, and vile, and demeaning to women, and I should hate it . . . but it makes me laugh, and sometimes a good laugh is all you need. And I know there are grumblings that the texts are fake. To that I say – “who f-ing cares?” They are still funny.

I remember seeing posts about the book version coming out, but my addled brain once again failed me. Luckily, the library posted their review online and it reminded me I should go pick it up. Like the blog, Bennett is crude, rude, unintentionally racist and 100% cringe-inducing. Unlike the bits and pieces contained in the blog, you find out that he is also kind, loyal, hardworking (even if he’s not real) and hilarious.

If you aren’t a fan of the blog, you probably won’t find much to love about the book. If you are a fan – definitely check it out and enjoy the laughs. Remember to tell them “Hustla da Rabbit” sent you ; )

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I Don't Know What You Know Me From - Confessions of a Co-Star by Judy Greer

2.5 Stars
Right now someone might be reading this, asking “Judy Greer, she looks so familiar. Where do I know her from?????”

Maybe you watched her blossom from a Fern into a Violet . . .

or maybe you recognize her from one of her many best friend roles . . .

there’s a chance you were super stoked about M. Night Shyamalan’s follow up to “The Sixth Sense” only to find Judy co-starring in a real piece of crap . . .

or you saw her make out with one of your imaginary boyfriends . . .

or you watched the BEST. SHOW. EVER. religiously and got a bit cray-cray when it was canceled and wrote some nasty hate mail to the douchewads who would even dare to think about not continuing the Bluth family story only to learn that everyone else felt the same when you saw the Netflix commercial for the first time . . .

or maybe, just maybe you don’t recognize her face, but rather, her voice . . .

Bottom line is – a lot of you probably know Judy Greer from something. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance you have to kind of be a Judy Greer superfan in order to love this book. Unlike what the blurb tells you, Judy Greer is not the next Tina Fey or Chelsea Handler. This is not an “OMG this book is just soooooooo funny” read. It’s more like a collection of amusing, but not hilarious, anecdotes that your best friend ends up telling you over the years while you get a little boozy. (Excluding the chapter containing text messages she sends – those almost made me wet myself.)

As one of her best friends wrote: “I am the best friend of the girl who always plays the best friend – the girl in the movies that probably tons of girls think, “I’d totally be friends with her.” I am best friends with Hollywood’s go-to best friend." Yep, I love Judy Greer because she seems so approachable – she seems like she could be one of my best friends – and that’s why the book worked for me. Best friends (and all of their stories) are awesome – especially when they are like Judy Greer and will admit your boobs are bigger than theirs ; )

Friday, March 14, 2014

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

2 Stars
What if when this happened

the “mean girl” died, but didn’t go to that big ol’ malt shop in the sky?

What if her alarm went off and she woke up the day after her untimely demise? What if upon waking, she realized she was repeating the day she died. What if she died again - only to wake up the next day and find she was once again stuck in the same loop?

Sam only has this one day to do over. What can she change? About herself? About her friends? Her boyfriend? Her family? What would you do to make your last day on Earth perfect?

Round three of the “books guaranteed to make you bawl your eyes out” project and I failed, yet again. I was asked by a co-worker why I was reading so many “children’s” books and I told her screw off

But even as cool as I am, I was really have a rough go of it with this one. I gave up the dream of getting emotional and had a little drink with my new pal David Hasselmouse instead.

Once we were half in the bag, this book became much more enjoyable. Whether intentional or unintentional, chapter after chapter brought awesome movie images to my head. Yes, I am the twisted psycho who was amused by the story of the dead teenaged girl. From the obvious “Groundhog Day” and “Mean Girls” mentioned above to glimpses of the sheer genius that is “White Chicks” in the oft-repeated “cruising to our favorite hot jam” scene

to cheating, scumbag boyfriends and giant house parties

to one magical kiss

this book ended up being okay (if you have a heart, you’ll most likely find it to be wonderful). It would probably score 2.5 Stars from me, but I’m deducting points for it being waaaaaaaaaay too long and for the horrible cover art. I do tend to judge a book by its cover, and would generally pass one like this by.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

4 Stars
Ezra Faulkner had everything going for him – prom king, tennis star, hot girlfriend, etc., etc. A tragic accident leaves Ezra broken – both physically and mentally. Without his status as a top athlete, how will he fit in with his old friends Senior year? Does he even want to? When new girl Cassidy enrolls at his high school and an old elementary school pal pops back into his life, Ezra begins to realize maybe he wasn’t the person he has pretended to be all these years.

In what I thought was going to end up as yet another failed attempt at finding a book that would make me get all feely-feely, I realized my problem might be worse than I thought. I had been thinking I might be a robot, but then I wondered “what if the problem is even worse than that?”???

The first 10% of The Beginning Everything had me ready to throw in the towel. All I could think when I started this book was “good God Ezra is vapid”.

I don’t know, Kanye. I just don’t know anymore.

But . . . I am not a quitter, so I kept reading and then????

I slapped out of it. I got over the idea that I was going to find this novel “heartwrenching” like the blurb told me and just tried to accept it for what it was: a perfectly sweet tale of first love and first loss that make up the high school experience. And guess what? I more than liked it. (Ezra’s lack of self-awareness still grated, but he made up for it with Harry Potter references.) The saving grace that made me turn my frown upside down was how much I fell in love with all of the characters. So, instead of ranting with a 1 or 2 star rating, this one is getting a 4, because at the end of the day (although I didn’t cry) it made me have some good feels. Much like a John Hughes’ movie : )

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler

3 Stars
ARC received from NetGalley. Thank you NetGalley!!!!!

The story of four childhood friends (and one wife), their marriages and divorces, successes and failures, as they attempt to navigate their way through their early 30s.

Until the day I started reading Shotgun Lovesongs, I had no idea the story was inspired by the author’s friendship with Justin Vernon of Bon Iver fame. In all honesty, the book got bumped ahead of some others on the TBR once I discovered this fact. I thought perchance it would remove “Skinny Love” from playing on an endless loop in my brain.

Wellllllll, I’m still singing “Skinny Love” – probably even more so now since reading this made Bon Iver become my Pandora flavor of the week. What can I say about this book? What did it make me feel? Sometimes it’s best to let the book speak for itself: “Melancholy is such a dramatic sounding word, but sometimes it’s the right one. When you’re feeling both a little happy and a little sad.”. This book made me feel melancholy the entire time I was reading it.

Nickolas Butler definitely has promise – he put readable words on paper, but something was just a bit off or missing. A couple of things that stood out were how many narrators were speaking in such a short novel and the bouncing back and forth between the present and past sometimes had me reading a few paragraphs or pages before I knew if I was in the “now” or “then”. But for a debut???? Butler did just fine. I will be interested in seeing what he comes up with next.

If you’re a fan of Justin Vernon and want to get a sneaky peak into what he might have been like/might be when he’s not busy being “Bon Iver”, this book will probably make you fall in love with him a little (or a little more).

If you’ve stuck through this review and still have no clue who I’m talking about, go download “Skinny Love” and thank me later when it remains on your iPod shuffle list ; )

Monday, March 10, 2014

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

1.5 Stars
Anna’s father decides it would be in her best interest to study abroad her Senior year. Anna finds herself studying in Paris, but missing her life back in Atlanta. Gradually Anna becomes more comfortable with her new life and new friends – especially √Čtienne St. Clair. The more Anna finds her feelings for “St. Clair” changing from friendship to love, the more she is reminded of his serious girlfriend. Will Anna get a chance at romance and a “French kiss” before her time in Paris is up?

Everyone loved this book. Except me. I think I might be a robot.

All but one of my Goodreads friends gave this a high rating, and how it was so cute, and they just fell in love with the characters, and on, and on, and on. I was so excited. I just knew going in this was going to be fluffy and adorable and I, too, would be posting a rave review. Sadly, it wasn’t meant to be. I found Anna to be insufferable and St. Clair to be a two-timing, spineless, doucheface. What’s wrong with me?????