Monday, May 30, 2016

The Anatomy of Jane by Amelia Lefay

3 Stars
The Anatomy of Jane wouldn’t have even popped up on my radar if it weren’t for a comment by Kathleen on another friend’s status (about something totally unrelated, of course). When I saw this plot was regarding the ol’ ménage à trois my reaction was a little like this . . .

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Now that I'm finished????

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Our female lead Jane has worked as a bartender/bookkeeper/seamstress/ for a local stripjoint. While Jane has tried to keep things on the up-and-up, unfortunately her loser boss has not been doing the same. Jane finds herself in need of an income and becomes a maid to the rich and famous. Enter Maxwell and Wes. Maxwell is a famous anchor of the Fox News variety. Wes is a Michelin starred chef. The two are in a closeted relationship (due to Maxwell), but due to a confidentiality agreement are not scurrred to make with the bangbang while Jane is doing her duty. When Jane catches them in the act, a confession ends up coming about . . .

“You and I have always been honest with each other about everything.”

“And . . .”

“And I want her. I want her in bed with us, and I know you want her, too.”

Which leads us to discovering just how many licks it takes to get to the center Wes and Maxwell’s tootsie pops . . .

And some other stuff that made me go . . .

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I was expecting a whole lotta bang bang into my room I wanna go bang bang all over you, so imagine my surprise when this actually had a plot too. Stuff like family secrets and owing money to the wrong people and yada yada, but you’ll have to read the book to find out all the details for yourself.

I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this as much as I did. The sexystuffs were freakin’ sexy and while a polyamorous relationship generally is not my bag, I separated myself from reality and put myself in the fantasy enough that this one worked just fine. The only thing that really didn’t work????

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Now I realize this was clearly marked as #1 in a series so I knew a cliffy was possible, but good Christ can a new tired trope get invented because the one used here is soooooooo overused and makes me want to get stabby.

Oh, and because I just know it’s coming from some freaking millennial who “doesn’t like labels” or wants to cry about some other offensive blahblahblah with respect to the terms I’ve used to describe this imaginary relationship while sitting their unemployed dumpers on their parents’ couch . . .

Kiss off, you bloody donkey.

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

Friday, May 27, 2016

Ranchero by Rick Gavin

3.5 Stars
“The nexus between Aw-fuck-it and I-don’t-give-a-shit is a beautiful place to be.”

When Nick Reid shows up to repossess a rental television, the last thing he expects is to get cold-cocked with a fireplace shovel. Actually, Nick probably would expect something like that. The thing that’s really unexpected is for the non-payment making resident to take off in the vintage Calypso Coral Ranchero Nick’s landlady let him take for a spin. This is the story of attempting to track down and steal back that cherry ride . . .

“A Ranchero is essentially a glorified Fairlane, which never rated glorification. It’s sort of a low-slung, boxy coupe in the front and a shall truck in the back, not fit on the one end for a proper family or on the other for legitimate cargo.”

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I wanted to give this 1 Star out of spite because Shelby dared to not enjoy my special James Renner Kool-Aid mix, but I just can’t . . .

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Ranchero was what would happen if Hap and Leonard and Stephanie Plum had a baby. It featured an amazing road trip through the Delta and one of my most favorite new subjects . . .

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Put some meth in a storyline and you really have to poop the bed in order for me to hate it. It also featured two unforgettable main characters who, despite being complete opposites in appearance, went together just like peas and carrots . . .

If you’re looking for pure fun and a compact size, Ranchero might be just the story for you . . .

“So you’re hauling around what? Ephedrine and ether? On a stole tag? Ever hear about those killers who get caught from parking tickets?

“That’d be some shit, wouldn’t it? Eugene said, and then added, “I’m careful where I park.”

Just make sure you stop by the local Sonic and stock up on coney dogs before reading . . .

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Monday, May 23, 2016

First & Then by Emma Mills

4 Stars
Last week’s trip to the library/NetGalley was all due to status updates by Goodreads’ friends that hooked me like a fish immediately and had me clicking the request button without looking at ratings, reviews, synopses, nada, so it’s those friends who are owed the credit (Blame??? Guess the perspective depends on whether you like me or hate me) for this week’s reviews. First & Then got snatched up from the ol’ liburrrrrrry due to Liz adding it to her TBR with the note . . .

“Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights


When I saw that, I was more excited than Kristen Bell getting a surprise visit from a sloth. (Google it if you’re not familiar. So worth it.) My reaction upon finishing? I loved this sucker more than chicken nuggets and that’s saying a lot because . . .

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Liz was right – this was somewhat Pride & Prejudice-y and it definitely had more than a bit of football and it was just soooooooooooooooooooooo sweet. Adorably sweet. Don’t agree with me????

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Just kidding. Maybe.

Now, I know the younger kids are going to see my picture and think, “what would an old hag of 29 like this woman know about being a kid?!?!?!” Well, diddly shit probably, but I do know that my general state is anywhere between annoyed and full-on stabby, but somehow this book made me feel so smiley and it was so flippin’ cute I couldn’t put it down. If you have a young adult in your life, I highly recommend this one. And you should definitely listen to me, because I’m super hip and am down with all the things kids like . . .

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If nothing else, I am aware of the fact that . . .

“Close your eyes, real tight, and then count to three hundred. That’s all you have to do. You just count to three hundred, and when you open your eyes, five minutes will have passed. And even if it hurts or things are shitty or you don’t know what to do, you just made it through five whole minutes. And when it feels like you can’t go on, you just close your eyes and do it again. That’s all you need. Just five minutes at a time.”

Ugh. My feeeeeeeelings again. Abort! Abort!

Friday, May 20, 2016

True Crime Addict by James Renner

4 Stars
This is a hard one to review. If you want to read something that makes sense, do not pass go and just move directly to Dan’s page since he knows how to use his words. As for me and my experience with True Crime Addict, it goes a lil’ summin’ like this . . .

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The backstory for the above gif is that back in 2014 I took my friend Trudi’s advice and picked up The Man From Primrose Lane at the library. Then this happened . . .

Fast forward to the Fall of 2015 where I received a private message from James Renner himself asking if I would like to receive an advanced copy of his new release The Great Forgetting. My reaction to said message?????

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Renner went two for two with books that blew my cranky ass away. But we allllllllll know the hat trick of readability is an elusive achievement. Especially when the tables are turned and the author decides to leave fiction and go back to his roots of writing about true crime. Good news is, I enjoy an occasional true crime story. Even better news is, Renner is the bomb diggity when it comes to putting pen to paper. True Crime was as much Renner’s life story as it was about the missing young woman Maura Murray. I’m going to spoil things a bit and say it’s a good thing he wove the reasoning behind his addiction to unsolved cases into this one because this remains a cold case so there is no solving the mystery to be had upon turning the final page.

I’m not sure this would work for everyone if you’re not already a Renner fan. That being said, he’s one of very few authors I recommend wholeheartedly, so give one of his other books a chance and you’ll probably end up like me and want to know what makes him tick. Like Dan said, I too will read anything this author writes. Better keep up my A-game so I don’t get passed up for the next ARC . . .

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Obviously an advanced copy of this book was provided to me by the author, but it didn’t influence my opinion at all. The only thing that did bother me this whole experience was having someone who I blocked ages ago use a mutual friend to private message me and see if I wanted her to send me a copy of this book. Uhhhhhhhh, yeah person who I don't even want to associate with on the interwebs, let me give you my address. That’s not creepy at all . . .

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Lumberjanes Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson

3 Stars
Allow me to introduce the Lumberjanes. They aren’t your typical girl scouts . . .

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Nope, these girls aren’t interested in selling cookies. They want ACTION and ADVENTURE!!! It’s action and adventure they will find at Miss Qiunzilla Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet's Camp for Hard-Core Lady-Types. Follow along as the girls face one quest after another and use their smarts . . .

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To make it past any obstacle in their way . . .

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Even stuff you always thought only existed in your nightmares . . .

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This was just about the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen. While the plot was kind of a bit all over the place, Lumberjanes was pure fun. I made a new friend . . .

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And confirmed something I’ve known for a long time . . .

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I keeeeeeeeeeeeed.

The only things to really complain about is that something that can easily be read in less than 30 minutes costs so much money (Thank Jeebus for the library!) and that I might have a bit of a volatile reaction should I ever hear the phrase “what the junk?” again . . .

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I don’t care if they are children.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer

3 Stars
“We all live in a kind of continuous dream. When we wake, it is because something, some event, some pinprick even, disturbs the edges of what we’ve taken as reality.”
Welcome to the place that lies outside of Trump’s wall that Mexico paid for. It is known as Area X . . .

“Our mission was simple: to continue the government’s investigation into the mysteries of Area X . . . We were the twelfth expedition.”

After my failure yesterday I was looking for a palate cleanser. Annihilation was not only due back to the library today, but it was really short so I knew even if I ended up hating it at least it wouldn’t be much of a time suck. Unfortunately for all y’all this is a story that not much can be said about without ruining the whole thing. I’m going to leave it with the following: (1) if you don’t like world building, stay the eff away because this sumbitch is nothing but, and (2) if you hated Bird Box you’ll hate this too. For me? Well, my reading experience last night looked a lil bit like this . . .

If you decide to give Annihilation a go, I highly recommend clearing your schedule and reading it in one sitting. I read three-quarters last night and then my family came home and expected me to like talk to them and stuff (how rude, right?). When I picked it up again this morning, the creepy factor had definitely lessened and my rating dropped. All in all, however, it was still decent. I also really appreciate the fact that although this is part 1 of a series it worked perfectly fine as a stand-alone, leaving me with zero regrets about maintaining my stance on not reading past the first book.

I decided to give Annihilation a go based on my friend 11811 (Eleven)’s rating. See that Goodreaders? When you really get to know what someone likes/doesn’t like they don’t even have to write words to make you add their latest reads to your TBR. Thanks Eleven!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Redemption Road by John Hart

2 Stars
First things first: Dear co-worker who sits across from me - I apologize for what you had to experience upon me finishing this yesterday . . .

The office is really not the place for that type of outburst. And to all of my friends who have already read and loved this book – I wish I could join your ranks.

Here’s the deal. Redemption Road got put on my TBR simply for the author name. Although I have not yet read Hart’s first novel, I have owned it for some time and it has prime seating on the “I will save this in case I ever become housebound” shelving system. When I noticed friends enjoying this (4.80 collective rating – holy crap!) I immediately grabbed it from the library without even bothering to read a synopsis. All I knew was errrrrrrryone loved it and that words like “dark” kept getting tossed around. I love dark. It gives me a reaction that is a complete 180 of this chick . . .

(Ha! Told you I’d work that in somewhere this week, Shelby!)

My reaction after wrapping up the aforementioned bitchfit????

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Basically, this is the synopsis of Redemption Road . . .

“A story about dead brothers, bored housewives, and a town full of dirty little secrets.”

The problems I had were several. First, John Hart pales in comparison to Dennis Lehane and Redemption Road was trying really hard to be a Lehane story. Second, having not read a synopsis, I didn’t realize at the end of the day this was simply a whodunit with everything but the kitchen sink added in to supposedly keep readers on their toes. I’m not going to spoil anything, but there was a gaping hole the size of the Grand Canyon that basically worked as a flashing neon sign pointing out the bad guy. I assumed since it was so obvious that meant the story would get twistier and turnier, but that was not the case. And finally, as for the “dark” storyline. Here’s a selfie of my heart . . .

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The plot points here barely even reached a shade of grey on my scale of dark.

Per usual, I probably read this wrong. I definitely recognize I went in with my expectations set way too high. The good news is that this is ‘Murica and . . .

ARC requested and promptly denied by NetGalley because they like to keep me guessing about what they will/will not give me.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Hustler by Meghan Quinn and Jessica Prince

2 Stars
If you know me you already know that I hardly ever read synopses or book blurbs. I am woman enough to admit that I added Hustler to my want-to-reads for one reason and one reason alone – DAT COVER! In all honesty, actually there were a couple of other reasons – (1) I have a massive girl-crush on Meghan Quinn and her books have always been the best kind of fluff, and (2) I somehow read the word hustler and my old lady self thought it was going to be a book about . . . .

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Don’t ask. The only explanation is that either my brain hates me or it really wants to read a story about a male prostitute who finds love. I realized my mistake before even starting and then was excited to read a smexytimes story about this . . .

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Once again I was mistaken. (I thought a good poker player was called a card shark?????) Anway, it didn’t take long to realize . . .

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Turns out this story was not about Fast Eddie Felsen, but rather it was about a CARD SHARK named Gavin who not only is a professional high-stakes poker player but somehow has a job that suspends reality and has him working for a casino as an under-the-table kind of loss leader expert to make sure no one is cheating . . .

Forget about the fact that that would never happen and allow me to introduce you to the leading lady. When Nell moved to Vegas she had big dreams of becoming a star in one of the Cirque productions. Unable to get her big break, she’s had to settle for a job that pays her bills . . . .

Just kidding. She’s a waitress in the high stakes poker room. It’s there she meets Gavin and eventually gets to the hibbidy dibbidy.

As I said, I really have loved every other Meghan Quinn book. This one just did not work at all for me, however. Allow me to ‘splain myself.

1. Sassy leading ladies. I dig ‘em. EXCEPT when said sass-mouth (and her parents she helps support) would be living on the street if she lost her job. I’m all for talk like this . . .

“Two fingers of whiskey.”

“Hmmmm . . . I was kind of hoping you were a three fingers kind of man.”

Until she follows it up with behavior that is more relatable to a petulant teen than a grown-ass woman.

2. Alpha males. I dig ‘em too. Especially when they are werewolves or ride motorcycles. But this dude? He was just a douche.

3. Dirty talk. I don’t dig it. Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut, I can generally stop my eyes from rolling and just gloss over it. This time, though? Dude had zero class. You talk about my kitty and your rooster in public around people I know you’re going to be answering one question - what did the five fingers say to the face motherf*&^%$!!!!

4. Nick Bateman. Believe me when I say that most women who read pornos have no problem casting the lead in their head. That being said, the author IS NOT ALLOWED to do it for us. Especially when it’s Nick Bateman. He is reserved for only my most delicious of fantasies (*cough Ugly Love cough*). Name dropping him as the role of Gavin was pornographic blasphemy.

In case anyone is interested, I pulled my back out a week ago and laid in bed watching reality television all day since I couldn’t get up. In my head, Gavin was TOTALLY Craig from Southern Charm. Super douchey, but still bangable. Kind of like this guy . . .

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Only less stabby.

5. Which brings me to my final issue which is kind of a crockpot full of failure stew due to all of the above. The sex was just not sexy for me. I don’t want to be ass-slapped without knowing it’s coming. I don’t want to hear how tight my meow meow is. I don’t want to know how dude brah could really fill up a rubber with his man juice. My poor lady garden. She had much disappoint . . .

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Good news is that if this book follows the path it looks like it could (with a hate sex story followed by a doesn’t do relationships story), I would sooooooooooooooooooooooo read the crap out of the next two stories. This was a fail, but I have hope there will be more good stuff to come in the future.

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

Friday, May 13, 2016

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

4 Stars
A modern-day retelling of Pride and Prejudice, you say????? Well . . . .

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Quick confessional: I may have just a weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee bit of a P&P addiction. I meant to take a shelfie, but . . . well, stupid and also I stayed up way past my old lady bedtime last night finishing this so I forgot. Anywho, I have a habit of buying multiple copies of the same book, but usually it’s by accident. With P&P it’s truly a sickness. I have the paperback I’m allowed read, leatherback that I’m not, the cheapie (yet cute) $9.99 Austen collection from B&N, Kindle versions, zombie versions, hell I even have this made out of it . . .

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When I heard about Eligible (I’ll give credit where it’s due at the end), I was all over getting a copy. So much so that I might have practically knocked down gently nudged a woman out of my way who was taking too much time browsing the New & Notable shelf at the library. Luckily it was totally worth the pending assault charges because I simply adored this retelling.

The basic storyline is the same – a tale of the gaggle of unwed Bennett girls and their social-climbing mother’s attempts to wed them off. This go ‘round the sisters are all back at the family’s large Tudor after their father has undergone heart surgery and learn that the latest eligible bachelor even played one on television – as the bachelor on a reality show called “Eligible” . . .

Bachelor Chip didn’t manage to snag himself a wife, but he did go down as the cryingest mah fah in the history of ever. That’s no deterrent for Mrs. Bennett, however, as she quickly sets her sights on getting one of her two oldest girls, Jane or Liz, to the alter with the young doctor post haste. As per the original, things go swimmingly between Jane and her new beau, but not so great for Liz and Chip’s bestie for the restie, Fitzwilliam Darcy . . .

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However, since this was written today rather than 200 years ago, Liz and Darcy use their dislike for each other in a much more productive fashion . . .

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Hear that? Fangirl squee.

Eligible also tackles (albeit, not a whole lot deeper than surface level) some other modern-day topics such as the biological clock, interracial relationships, gender and sexuality. Much like the original, I still found this to be true of Mrs. Bennett . . .

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I’ve read a lot of books in my day and Mrs. Bennett remains one of my most hated characters. What a twat!

Anyway, this was a whole heck of a lot of fun and Darcy was still soooooooooooooooooooooo Darcy . . . .

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Only with a twist . . .

“I’m in love with you. It’s probably an illusion caused by the release of oxytocin during sex, but I feel as if I’m in love with you. You’re not beautiful and you aren’t nearly as funny as you think you are. You’re a gossip fiend who tries to pass off your nosiness as anthropological interest in the human condition. And your family, obviously, is a disgrace. Yet in spite of all common sense, I can’t stop thinking about you.”

Many thanks to Kemper, the person I would have nominated as least likely to read (or enjoy) this story, for putting it on my radar . . .