Thursday, March 31, 2016

Yesterday vs. Tomorrow by Angel Gelique

2.5 Stars
Let me begin by saying Angel . . . .

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Unfortunately this story didn’t really work all that well for me. So here’s the deal – when I saw the disclaimer regarding 17+ readers/crude humor/adult content/etc. I was like YES PLEASE!. Being that I am a disgusting filth monger I thought the warning meant I’d be experiencing a lot of this . . . .

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Sadly (for me) that wasn’t the case. This is why I hardly ever bother reading a blurb (and also proof once again that I really do read nearly everything wrong). After seeing how dark and twisted sweet little Angel can go with her writing, I just assumed she go to a super porny place when writing a romance. Instead I found a perfectly sweet little HEA with a whole hell of a lotta catfight leading up to the grand finale.

Yesterday vs. Tomorrow is the story of 30-something Amy. Not only is it bad enough that she has a mother who constantly reminds her about her ticking biological clock, but when she meets handsome new co-worker Grant she’s immediately informed by her other co-worker Valerye (“with a Y”) that she doesn’t stand a chance due to the fact that Amy is a dried-out old hag of “tomorrow” and Valerye is still a youthful and desirable “yesterday.”

I had a few problems with this story. First, I didn’t really like any of the characters. Grant was a total boner killer and I couldn’t imagine even wanting to breathe the same recycled office air as him let alone try to get him in the sack, Amy was an insecure douche and Valerye needed someone to make an emergency call to . . .

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on her behalf. Second, this was a dialogue-driven story and those are real hit or miss for me to begin with so it was a roll of the dice whether I’d like the conversations *shrug*. Last is what I already mentioned above . . . .

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The one thing I really did like was the thing that probably almost everyone else will complain about: Amy’s reactions to Valerye. I’m sure there will be plenty of ranty-raging regarding all of the “slut shaming,” but seriously if some bitch had the nerve to say things like . . . .

“Why would he want you when he could have me?”

Or . . .

“You keep telling yourself that. That’s just what the ugly girls say to make themselves feel better.”

I’d be all . . .

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And you know what? If it walks like a slut duck and quacks like a slut and tries to wear as little as humanly possible in order to get into new dude’s pants rather than exhibiting any sort of redeeming character traits or personality, then it probably is one. Oh and don’t bother telling me what a bitch I am for daring to “not be supportive of all women” because first it’s a two way street so calling me a bitch kinda invalidates the whole “women should be nice to other women” argument and second . . . .

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I don’t think so. Keep doing you, Angel, and I’ll keep reading.

Copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Watchers by Dean Koontz

2 Stars
Somehow I’ve managed to live over five and a half dog years without ever reading a Dean Koontz novel. However, when I was presented with the opportunity to do a buddy read with . . .

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I jumped at the chance. What do I have to say now that I’m finished?????

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I mean LOTS better because I really had a pretty horrible time while reading this one. In case you too have spent decades ignoring Koontz, here’s the lowdown of what Watchers is about. We start with Travis, a supposed former Delta Force member who must have suffered some severe head trauma or something that made him no longer be awesome. Then we meet Bella Swan Nora. Poor Nora is a special snowflake who was forced to live as a recluse by her crazy ass aunt. Now that evil Aunty has finally kicked the bucket, Nora can let her freak flag fly. Ha! Not really. Nora can pretty much only drone on and on and on and on about how difficult things were for her while Travis tells her how much she is smart, she is kind and she is important. (I would like it to be on the record that I will gladly volunteer as tribute to deliver the bitchslapping to Nora that she sooooooo deserves.) Finally, we get to meet the star of the show – a/k/a the smartest pooch ever grown in a lab. No offense el doggito, but there can only be one Einstein . . .

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Anywho, the whole story is about how Travis finds supermutt and then finds Nora and fall into instalovey loveytimes and discover the Einstein is a real Einstein all while trying to keep it on the downlow that they have the dog everyone and their . . well dog is looking for while trying to avoid an abomination that was also created by the government known as “The Outsider” and not to mention not get whacked by a mafia hitman. You’d think with all that going on this would’ve been interesting, huh? Well, you’d be wrong ‘cause it was boring as shit. . . .

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Basically this was eleventy trillion pages of a lesson on man’s inhumanity to man written by a dude who seriously had a thing for dogs. Like so much that I’m pretty sure he’s one of the people all the right-wing nutters were thinking about wanting to marry his pet when they were trying to keep gay marriage illegal.

Save your breath if you want to troll me. One thing I know for certain is . . .

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Just ask Edward. Okay, maybe not him. Ask Shelby instead. I’d tell you to ask Delee but her interwebs is broke, Ron 2.0 disagrees with me 100% of the time out of spite and it will be October before he gets a review posted anyway, and Stepheny is on like Chapter 1 still so she doesn’t even know the snoozefest she’s about to subject herself to.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Ruthless People by J.J. McAvoy

3.5 Stars
In the immortal words of one smushy faced former A-List Hollywood actress: "You had me at hello" errrrrr, I mean . . . . .

"Mr. & Mrs. Smith meets the Sopranos."

I mean for realz yo. When I read that I was seriously like . . .

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Or momma. Whatevs.

Meet Melody Giovanni and Liam Callahan. She’s the daughter of the Italian mob boss. He’s the son of the Irish version. The two have been made an offer they can’t refuse – an arranged marriage which will bring the two families together so they can really run Chicago. Liam expects a new missus who will spend her days shopping, attending charity events and the like. Melody expects her days to be spent doing things that are juuuuuuuuust a bit different from her hubbie’s plans . . .

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What neither ever expected was . . .

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I mean these two seriously knew how to go 'head girl go 'head get down and I was all: Praise Jeebus! Me pantaloons – they doth disintegrate.

If you like your porno with a real poopton of torture and your MCs to be bad to the bone, this is most definitely the selection for you. If you are a flippin’ nutter one of the abundance of 1-Star reviewers for Ruthless People who expect their pornography to be "a realistic depiction of the mafia," you should probably just eff off because seriously?

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Don’t harsh my buzz. My hubs is digging the new porny Kelly . . .

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(Mitchell? Notsamuch.)

(3.5 Stars instead of 4 because if you're going to charge people $5.00 for something, there really shouldn't be so many typos and also because really with the instalove? You're damn lucky my underwears exploded from the smexy parts and made me fuggetaboutit.)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

It Had To Be Murder by Cornell Woolrich

4 Stars
How did I not know this was a short story????? I’m such a failure!

Nothing in this world makes me happier than a rainy night, warm P.J.s, a bowl full of popcorn and an Alfred Hitchcock movie marathon. While I love the campy wonderment which is The Birds and Farley Granger’s horrible acting in Rope, my all-time fave most definitely is Rear Window. Nowadays my husband and I refer to that moment when you tell yourself you’ll only watch five minutes of a movie and then wind up sucked in until the final credits roll “Getting Shawshanked.” Back in the day it was probably referred to as “Getting Rear Windowed.” When I saw my buddy Dan read this a few days ago I knew I had to get to it pronto. (Sorry buddy read group, but really y’all should already be well aware of the fact that I’m horrible.)

Call it my bias coming through because although I’m not a huge fan of the shorty-short I really enjoyed this one. For only being fourteen pages long, it really packed in the suspense and provided quite a full story to inspire the film. Of course, since this was only fourteen pages, it was missing some of what made the film so much fun. Mainly the neighbors. Of course, a certain couple was very much still a part of the story . . .

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But the humor that was delivered by others - mainly . . .

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And . . .

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The unforgettable score provided by . . .

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As well as the Debbie Downer which could be found in . . . .

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Was most definitely missing.

But in all actuality? The real important stuff was still there . . .

Kudos to Cornell Woolrich for being able to pack such a wallop into such a little package and kudos to the Master of Suspense for giving it life on the big screen. Today is my Friday and it’s supposed to rain tonight. I think a trip to the video store might be in order . . . .

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Round House by Louise Erdrich

3 Stars
First things first, yes I am going to use gifs even whilst reviewing a real modern day classic. Don’t like it? Suck it.

Okay. Now that that is out of the way let me ask you all a question: Are you a lunatic like me and sometimes actively seek out something in hopes that it will make you feel bad? If not, let me ‘splain things. I was born with a bit of a deficiency . . .

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It takes a lot to make me have any emotion aside from happiness or anger. The combo of a new position at work, Spring springing which equals a busier kid schedule and also snotty-faced allergy head for me, the time change effing with me for several days, and then OH NO MY PERIOD! other stuff that made me all . . .

I wanted an excuse (in the form of paper) to mope around about. The only problem was the combo of all of the above made it take forever for me to get through this book. There’s a real good chance this could have been 4 Stars (or on the flip side 2) if I would have been able to power right through it. But since I could not, a 3 is what it shall receive.

The Round House started off great for me. There was the storyline I knew about that had drawn me to the book originally – that of a Native American mother who was brutally raped. (Since I’m me that was the extent of my knowledge about this story before beginning.) I appreciated that there wasn’t much mystery surrounding the identity of the bad guy and I really appreciated the mother’s realistic reaction to the life-altering attack . . .

Can’t you get up? Can’t you . . . come back to life?

No, she said immediately, as if she’d thought about this too. I can’t do it. I don’t know why. I just cannot do it.

(That’s probably the part where normal people cry, but alas I am a robot and had zero feelings.)

I also loooooooooooove a good coming of age story and Joe’s narration most definitely brought that to the table. I didn’t even mind the lack of punctuation (since I suck at punctuation it makes me feel better about myself when authors eliminate it altogether). But then the story went from simply adding in some additional plot points or twists and ended up getting a bit too far off the rails for me. Obviously the whodunit it had to be explained, along with the why – but I really didn’t need to get sidetracked with Native American folklore or a million and one ancillary characters and their personal histories. I wanted Joe and his friends' story. Period. Once I started hearing about Linda and the priest and Mooshum and on and on I was like . . .

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I’m sure I read it wrong. After all it won the National Book Award and errrrryone knows awards are never handed out to anything other than books which should be 5 Starred by the entire universe. I'll stick to Sherman Alexie stories from now on if I'm looking for Native America coming of age.

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Bet by Rachel Van Dyken

4 Stars
If you know my history with romance novels, you’ll know I’m not real good at reading them right most of the time. Mainly because . . .

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One exception to my ongoing list of failures has been Rachel Van Dyken, so when I saw my library had a selection I had not yet read I was all . . . .

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This is the part where I talk about the tired trope and whatnot. If you are still a naïve thinker who believes NA romance stories can be “spoiled” it’s probably best you leave now.

Still here? Alright, let’s roll. The plotline for The Bet is that Kacey has agreed to go back to her hometown and pretend to be her former bestie Jake’s fiancé for the weekend. Due to some stuff and things that happened in the past, our leading lady is a bit worried that she will end up taking her role too serious and fall for Jake’s charm. Upon their arrival we meet Travis – Jake’s brother. Brothers, you say????? Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh YES PLEASE AND THANKY BABY JEEBUS! . . . .

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Travis spent his childhood tormenting Kasey, but momma’s little baby is all groweds up now. It doesn’t take long for Kasey to realize that her worries of crossing a line with Jake are pretty much nonexistent as he has become a superdillhole. Travis, on the other hand, is nothing like he was as a kid . . .

“Don’t forget to buckle up, princess. I drive like I ride.”

You know what that means, right????? (Spoiler Alert: BOOOIIIIINNNNNNNNG!) I had to spend some quality time in the bathroom ‘cause Mr. Kelly had a shot of getting some action!!!!!

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Throw in a sassy granny, the inevitable will they/won’t they drama, plenty of humor, a great delivery and pretty perfect pacing and I’m one satisfied customer . . .

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Many thanks to the porny librarian who keeps me in supply of no-cost smut!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Lust & Wonder by Augusten Burroughs

4 Stars
“You are my disease piñata, my Death Star, my everything.

“And you are my catastrophist.”

When I saw Augusten Burroughs had a new book potentially available for me to read before it would even be released, my reaction was a bit like this . . .

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Yes – my husband is quite the lucky man. I didn’t even have to know what it was about to know I wanted to get my chubby little paws all over the dang thing. When I saw it was a memoir about love I was officially on the hook. If you aren’t familiar with Burroughs’ history, let’s just say it wasn’t what anyone could ever call normal – especially in the “love” department. Yikes! Buuuuuuuuuut, through the help of a period of alcoholism and some mass quantities of therapy (with a side of Adderall), Burroughs was able to leave his past in the past and find love just like an Average Joe . . . .

“My feeling was, if you’re in the same zip code, you and I have enough in common.”

Well, kinda . . .

“Hey, so, I’ve been stalking you on AOL and I know you’ve been trying to hook up with other guys, because I’ve been posing as those other guys. I also cheated on you four times, but that doesn’t really count, because it was self-help.”

Lust and Wonder takes you through Burroughs’ falling in – and out . . .

“The cleft in Mitch’s chin that I’d previously admired and considered one of his best features suddenly became an asshole on his face.”

of love a few times over that eventually culminates with the story of how he found his happily ever after . . .

“Crack was nothing compared to this high. Booze was less than zero.”

All while occupying a “Grey Gardens” type of love nest.

I’ve been known in the past to question why some people believe their personal histories are worth putting to paper and charging others to read it. That’s not the case with Augusten Burroughs. I was lucky enough to discover his writing when my library’s recommendation software generated his name after I ran through several David Sedaris books in short order. (Please note SOME places actually recommend books you might someday want to read. I shudder to think what other places would come up with after reading the likes of a Sedaris memoir – probably Mein Kampf or some other cringe-worthy selection.) Burroughs’ story was like a train wreck. I simply could not stop reading. Also, even though he’s a gay, bald male living in NYC and I’m a chubby, straight woman living in flyover country, it somehow always seems like I’m having a coffee with my BFF when I’m reading his stories. He meanders through his tales of romantic success and failures in a conversational tone and offers ZERO apology for the random thoughts that pop into his brain at the most inopportune moments . . .

“Briefly, I wondered, is a terrorist attack a poor reason for taking our relationship to the next level?”

He leaves book/movie quotes and pop culture references in his wake with no explanation. You either are going to get it or you aren’t . . .

“I’m not living with you. We occupy the same cage, that’s all.”

I adore him and I’ll read ANYTHING he writes.

Many thanks to NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review. I’m obviously honestly enamored with Augusten Burroughs.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Annie's Day by Andy Weir

4 Stars
When I first saw this pop up on my feed yesterday I was all . . . .

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Let’s face facts - I haven’t had much success with Andy Weir shorties in the past. But then I logged on this morning and errrrrrryone was reading the damn thing and I’m nothing but a lemming so I jumped off the cliff with my friends because . . .

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So what did I think? To quote the extensive vocabulary of one Donald Drumpf, I thought it was “amazing” and “pretty great.” This is obviously the exception that proves the rule, I guess, when it comes to me hating Weir’s little tidbits of writing. So much cringe-worthy fun wrapped up in such a small little package. Oh, and to you Annie??????

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Yep. I just slut shamed a fictional character. Annie was a smelly pirate hooker and she deserves it. Don’t like it?????

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Read the story and find out for yourself:

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Harrison Squared by Daryl Gregory

3.5 Stars
“You know what killed the cat? Me.”

Thirteen years ago Harrison Harrison (or Harrison Squared, if you prefer) and his family set out from the shores of Dunnsmouth for a three hour tour . . .

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when a storm kicked up and stuff and things happened that caused Harrison to lose his leg and his father to lose his life. Fastforward to the present where H2 and his mother have returned to Dunnsmouth in order to for his mother to research the Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni - or in layman’s terms the “colossal squid” . . .

You’re probably thinking: “I’ve seen enough Hentai to know where this is going!” To which I reply – ewwwww. Good grief you perverts, does everything have to be nasty? It’s a young adult book for cripes sake!

Because this is a young adult book, the leading male is a . . . . you guessed it YOUNG ADULT. That means he’s stuck suffering through as the new kid at high school. Let’s just say his classmates aren’t too interested in making new friends . . .

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Ha! Just kidding. They aren't THAT bad. Lucky for Harrison, not everyone in town is a d-bag (especially after his mother goes missing like IMMEDIATELY after their arrival) and he’s able to enlist the help of his new buddy . . . .

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in order to figure out exactly what happened.

After reading We Are All Completely Fine I was most definitely interested in seeing what else Daryl Gregory’s crazy brain could come up with. When I heard that he would be taking the leading male from a very grown-up sort of story and putting him in the wayback machine in order to create a YA novel my curiosity was really over-the-top. I’ll be the first to admit, that I wasn’t sure Gregory could pull it off – but boy did he. This was a solid story and since it was written by a guy NOT known for young adult books, he didn’t fall into the tired trope of a stupidass love story. Nope. This was all about solving the mystery, building the world of Dunnsmouth, filling the reader in on H2’s (and the town’s) past and leaving enough breadcrumbs for there to be a future with the series. That’s really the only part that lost me. I am a fan of the standalone so I’ll be a jerk and round down due to the potential for a part two.

If you have a youngster in your life who appreciates a little action and adventure, I highly recommend this one. You might even want to read it to, because Gregory is pretty awesome when it comes to dialogue . . .

“Superheroes wear masks – they don’t try to get credit for everything they do.”

“Aquaman doesn’t wear a mask.”

“Lub, I hate to break this to you, but no one cares about Aquaman.”

“Wow. Hurtful.”


Man all this talk about fish is making me hungry!