Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Mister Tender's Girl by Carter Wilson

3.5 Stars

When Alice was just a little girl she was attacked by twins who were trying to please “Mister Tender.” While Mister Tender’s Girl flat out states in the blurb that it was inspired by the true events surrounding a brutal stabbing of a young girl by two classmates who claim they did it in the name of the “Slender Man” – the character of Mister Tender reminded me less of this . . . .

And more of this . . . .

(If you don't know who that is, we may have to reevaluate our friendship.)

Combined with this . . . . .

As Mister Tender was a comic book …. errr excuse me graphic novel creation of Alice’s (the stabbing victim) father in the form of a friendly neighborhood bartender who could give you anything your heart desired – as long as you performed whatever task he requested of you in return.

Years have passed, Alice is now grown and moved across the pond to the States, owner of a coffeehouse as well as her own home and has done everything possible to escape her personal history – until a package arrives that won’t allow her to keep ignoring it.

I will attempt to avoid spoiling things here, but you do need to be forewarned that this sucker goes off the rails pretty darn quickly into unbelievable territory. And Alice????

If you can check reality at the door you might find this to be a pretty stabby fun time. 3.5 Stars for me, but rounded down because apparently even some things are too ridiculous for me to accept.

ARC received about 114 years ago from NetGalley that I just now got around to reading since I suck. Thanks NetGalley!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

I'll Be Gone In The Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara

2 Stars

I had a feeling I would be the dissenting opinion on this one right from the start when the author performed a Google search for some stolen cufflinks based off of a sketch (not an actual picture) and swore she found the exact items (for a bargain price of $8 even) and that she would be able to identify the original owner/identify the perp due to the fact that “names starting with the letter N” weren’t very prevalent on the Top 100 Baby Names list at the time and also thought it was perfectly reasonable to Ziploc baggie the things and present them to the police (because DNA evidence would still be present 30 years later??? Zoinks). I stopped watching Nancy Grace once my firstborn started sleeping through the night and I wasn’t held prisoner by the lack of viewing options at 2:00 a.m., thank you very much.

I feel I need to disclose that I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of Patton Oswalt’s book . . . . that I still have not read because he broke what is left of my dried out rotten apple of a heart when his wife died unexpectedly and he shared how shattered he was and I can’t bear to even think about picking the damn thing up to this day. That being said, I understand why getting I’ll Be Gone In The Dark to print was so important to him. But it’s MY belief that reviews should be honest - and honestly??? I don’t get the hype. I don’t think McNamara’s writing is particularly brilliant unless you are interested in what type of clothing and music were popular at the time of a crime rather than details of the cases (not to mention the fact that she only wrote half of it before she died, making it EXTREMELY choppy); the timeline itself is 100% disjointed and hops from past to future to past again without rhyme or reason; despite the “EAR” or “ONS” or “EAR/ONS” being responsible for 50+ crimes hardly any are covered in this book; and last, but certainly not least, McNamara doesn’t seem to have had too much insight into the case at all, but rather an obsession/borderline addiction where conjecture rules and fellow couch commandos are considered experts (if you’ve ever been on a site like Websleuths or the like, you’ll know the exact opposite is true).

Bottom line is: I don’t think this would have ever been published were it not for her husband being famous and making it happen as part of his grieving process. Good news for everyone involved is that the Golden State Killer wound up being caught which gave I’ll Be Gone In The Dark new life and a sort of cult following and very few people who want to go on record as “poo poo-ing” it due to McNamara’s untimely death. Obviously I drank the Kool-Aid because I read the thing too. I’m just also willing to shit on everyone else’s sundae.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Pretty Mess by Erika Jayne

3 Stars

Dear Erika Girardi . . . .

I offer up zero apologies for reading this. I have been addicted to EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. of the Housewhores franchises from inception. Be it table flipping and prostitution whores to the Broke Black Bill Gates I watch them all in nearly religious binge-type marathon sessions (in the bed with coffee and donuts) once I have a backlog of several saved up on the DVR and all the male humans out of the house on a weekend morning. Some “characters” (because lord please tell me they are at least somewhat putting on a show) I love to hate (like that fucking Siggy Flicker – UGH!) – some I love to love (Lisa Rinna and Kandi Burris – I mean come on how could you not????) – some I want to love (Dorinda Medley) – and then there’s Erika. I think I love her because . . . . .

Just like me!

Unlike me, this bitch is a fucking boss who literally . . . .

Pretty Mess tells Erika’s story from her childhood in Georgia to working the circuit in Jersey . . . .

To a “trophy wife” status that has lasted nearly 20 years (how long the rest of them haterasses been married, amIrightoramIright???), who created an alter ego pretty much out of boredom and nearly at middle-age after she ran out of things to remodel in her house that currently stands in the record books as Billboard’s #42 dance track artist of all time.

Obviously this wasn’t any sort of life changer – and truthfully it really it didn’t even offer much insight with regard to things I’m dying to know about (like WHERE did the Glam Squad boyzzzzzz come from and how much do they get paid to be awesome and are they just on call all the time or does she schedule them like three days out and how do they find things like designer latex blouses and oh my god I am so in love with those fellas). However, I’ve nevereverever felt compelled to read one of these Ho’s books before so it gets 3 Stars. After all . . . .

Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Outsider by Stephen King

3 Stars

“Doesn’t look like a monster, does he?”

“They rarely do.”

First things first: I don’t know if I simply lucked out or if the library is officially terrified of me at this point and placed me first on the waiting list, but whatever the case I am truly grateful to have received this on release day. On the flip side, since I was fortunate enough to be one of the first to get my grubby paws on The Outsider, there aren’t a whole lot of opinions (from people who have actually read it) floating around out there. My assumption? Reactions will be pretty split between those who loooooooved it and make reference to “classic King” and whatnot and wrongreaders like me.

The story starts off with a bang – a little boy has been murdered (gruesomely!) in a small town. Everything – I am talking EV.ER.Y.THANG. – points to the local little league coach. Witnesses, DNA, you name it. A decision is made to go in fast and furious with a side of public humiliation added in for good measure and make an arrest at the big game in front of as many residents as possible. But then????? Dude has an alibi and it’s a solid one. Which led to me posting my one and only status update while reading this book . . . .

And then? Well, unfortunately for me the wheels kind of started to fall off when King brought back a main character from a place where he recently performed a literary hat trick and the story went from a crime thriller to a “horror” (I guess - I have a hard time using that word if a book isn't scary) and I noticed that he saves himself from having to flesh out characters by introducing readers to so many of them and I realized will go to my grave declaring the majority of King’s books could do with a good whacking (The Outsider could easily have been cut down to 350 pages and probably earned more Starzzzzzz from yours truly because you don’t really get anything except more pages with the additional 200 here - except a hand cramp if you opted for the hardback version rather than an e-Copy) and even the superbaddie wasn’t his own creation which was a little disappointing and last but certainly not least . . . . .

What can I say????

And also I cannot even type one text without a typographical error.

Yeah, I confirmed I liked it better the first time I read IT . . . .

(Glad to know he still shits the bed on the very-not-so-dramatic ending with this one, though – NOT.)

Hell, even the book warns you early on that . . . .

“I’ve been here before. It’s kind of like reincarnation.”

I’m sure many readers will delight in this trip down memory lane and I truly wish I could be more like them. I generally enjoy nostalgia as much as the next person and, despite not being an Annie Wilkes, I am Constant Reader enough that I pick up on (some of the more obvious) Easter Eggs that are scattered through King’s stories. This one was just too much of a regurge for me so 3 Starz it shall be (and if it wasn't King writing it, I'd probably give it 2).

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Our Little Secret by Roz Nay

4 Stars

“You can’t get in trouble for thinking things. Because if you could, wouldn’t everyone in the world be in jail?” I knew NOTHING about this book before requesting it from the library other than the title. That was enough for me. It popped up on the “recommended to you” front page of the website and I assumed it would be some sort of mystery/psychological thriller since it didn’t have a nekkid feller on the cover (because apparently those are pretty much the only two types of books I request). Having now read it, is it wrong that I would lean toward putting this on the romance shelf????

Oh stuff it, God Warrior.

The book even says . . . .

“What love story ends in a police station interview room?”

“You’d be surprised.”

(^^^^That was probably the point where I realized this was going to receive many of the Starzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.)

Our Little Secret is the story of what takes place during the hours while Angela is being interrogated regarding a missing person. As Angela states . . . .

“I’m telling this like it’s the beginning of a love story; I’m catering to your needs as a listener. But we both know that’s not where the narrative’s heading, right? I mean, it’s bound to get much darker – why else would I be telling it in a police interview room?”

And no I haven’t been dabbling in all the meth I like in my fiction when I say it reads like a romance – because it does. Angela tells the story of how she met HP, and their friendship and eventually their love . . . and then some other stuff and things . . . .

I got so wrapped up in Angela and HP’s story that I completely forgot that someone was missing and I wasn’t reading a romance. And even better? I didn’t care if the big reveal was done with bells and whistles, or straightforward and simple, or a complete red herring – I was able to sit back and just enjoy the ride. Bonus: For those who aren’t fans of the wibbly wobbly timeline, this one doesn’t have it. It’s simply Angela telling her story from past to present with no timehops.

Thanks for the rec, pornbrary! You never steer me wrong.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Less by Andrew Sean Greer

3 Stars

“Just for the record: happiness is not bullshit.”
I picked up Less for one reason and one reason alone . . . . .

“You won?”

“It’s not Pew-lit-sir. It’s Pull-it-sir. Holy fuck, Arthur, I won.”

Occasionally I like to prove that I don’t live on porn and murder alone and venture out. The world of award winners has generally worked out pretty well for me and, although I’m not a zealot about it, I try to squeeze in a Pulitzer, Man Booker or Edgar Award winner a couple times a year.

The story here is about Arthur Less. Quickly approaching 50 with one former partner dying and another getting married, Arthur feels he has no choice but to do one thing . . . .

Except the staying in more part. No, on the contrary Arthur will be going out more. A lot more. And all over the world. From Paris to Berlin to Morocco, Arthur will become quite the globetrotter in order to avoid facing the facts that he’s not getting any younger . . . or more successful . . . or better at relationships.

Less has the hardware that proves unarguably that I read it wrong. I don’t even have a valid reason, either, because the “off the top of my head” excuse why I didn’t fall over myself loving this one is that I didn’t really relate to Arthur. Obviously I can’t truly relate to all of the meth manufacturers, moonshine runners, cannibals and serial killers who manage to make their way into my cold, dead heart either, so like I said – invalid argument. I guess my main problem with poor Arthur was . . . .

“You talk like a child. You look and act very young.” . . . “Maybe you never grew up.” Maybe he never did.

I guess there’s no place in my life for middle-aged manchildren. It still gets 3 Stars, though, because even I couldn’t eff up and read it wronger than that ; )

Friday, May 11, 2018

Meaty by Samantha Irby

4 Stars

If you are a person of weak constitution or with delicate sensibilities, I have one thing to say to you about Meaty . . . . .

Not even kidding. R.U.N. . . . . .

Because this author is the posterchild for . . . . .

However, if you are like me you will read the following (which appears on like Page 2) . . . . .

“I am irritated 99.8% of the time. I hate everything. I loathe everyone.”

And instantly have this to say to Samantha Irby . . . . .

By the time I got to this . . . .

“If you could wish for one thing, anything you ever wanted, what would it be?”

“An army of weaponized bees.”

I was like . . . .

But for the rest of you? I ain’t playin’ around. I’m going to let Irby’s own words sell her book, but PLEASE note these are benign examples and she totally overshares about many various sex things and diarrhea and don’t even think about telling me I Suck Turtles if you read this and get offended by it because it is REALLY going to offend a lot of people. Just not people like me – probably due to all of the turtle sucking I’ve done in the past. Anyway, let’s get on with this short shitshow and the sharing of a few quotes that made me really happy Jeebus invented Poise Pads . . . . .

“Do you own a pair of skinny jeans?”

“Yes, but after I saw a picture of myself in the newspaper wearing them last summer I am never wearing those assholes in public ever again.”

“I am obviously going to die alone, in giant panties that come up to my chin, with crumbs under my tits, and a half-eaten cat face.”

“My sister did Slim-Fast once and her farts were bad enough to singe my fucking nose hairs. She burned a hole through the seat of her jeans. Not even kidding. We had to keep a fire extinguisher next to the goddamned toilet. I know you think I’m making this up but there was literal fire shooting out of her butt! It was like living with a dragon. A skinny-fat, cranky dragon who could light the dinner candles with her asshole.”

And the pièce de résistance . . . .

“Every time I see a Cialis commercial I think, ‘Oh my fucking GOD, I bet the last thing that old broad wants to do is wait for that old dude to finish raking those leaves while his boner pill kicks in.’”

I am in love with this woman.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Bluebird Bluebird by Attica Locke

4 Stars

“Bluebird bluebird take this letter down South for me.”

Upon winning the Edgar Award, Attica Locke was quoted as saying: “My books are very black, very Texan. I didn’t think there was a place for them.” I hate to admit that were it not for my recent obsession of stalking Little Brown for David Sedaris Calypso posts on Instagram, I might not have ever heard of Bluebird Bluebird myself. Those of you who are a lot more hip than I probably recognize Locke’s name from a certain lil’ television program she wrote for . . . . .

But I rely on my peeps at Goodreads and the local liburrrrrry systems to provide my entertainment so I haven’t been fortunate enough to stumble upon Locke’s work until now. Boy oh boy am I glad I did. The story here goes like so . . . .

“Let me get this straight … a double homicide with serious racial overtones, a sheriff’s department that initially gave short shrift to the killing of a black man, and the Texas Rangers send in an officer on suspension – “

What comes next is the unraveling of not only the murder cases, but also the history of the one-horse town where they occurred that features a Jim Crow era black-owned restaurant on one end and a watering hole frequented by the Aryan Brotherhood a quarter mile down the road.

Now give me just a second here . . . .

Because I’m about to make Goodreads history and recommend this to a bunch of not-easy-to-please readers. Obvs. Shelby and I share a brain and I figure she’d pretty much dig this one, so I’m pulling out the big guns in order to prove I think this was the shit. Original Dan, Dan 2.ÖØÕʘṎΩϴѺỘ (whatever the symbol is this week) and Kemper???? All three of y’all should give this one a spin. There’s no Lifetime Television for Women supersleuth housewives – no ridiculous™ plot twists – it’s just guuuuuuuuud. And to sweeten the deal for my You Tube lovin’ frenemy . . . . .

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The Drowning Girls by Paula Treick DeBoard

4 Stars

“We’ve both been hiding things,” I pointed out. “We’re the same kind of awful.” “I don’t know,” she said, backing toward the stairs. “I think we’re different kinds of awful.”
The Drowning Girls is about Liz and Phil – average Joes who score some sweet digs when Phil gets hired as the “community relations specialist” for an extremely exclusive gated community. While Phil basks in the attention and settles into his new faux wealthy lifestyle, Liz struggles with fitting in. And when the neighbor’s teenage daughter goes from being focused on becoming besties with Liz and Phil’s daughter to Phil instead, the following is raised . . . .

A question: What’s the difference between a pedophile and an innocent person accused of pedophilia? What about a rapist and a person accused of rape?

Okay. How did I not know about this book for TWO YEARS?!?!?!?!?!

It’s pretty much this . . . .

Meets this . . . . .

And I should have been like this over on NetGalley back in 2016 when the dang thing came out . . . .

The only think I can think of is that it fell victim to the much overused catchphrase . . . . .

Don’t let that steer you away. If you’re looking for some soap opera-ish good times while doing this over the summer . . . . .

The Drowning Girls could very well be a winner. Think of me while you’re relaxing poolside and I’m suffering heat stroke at a baseball complex in the armpit of America . . . . .

Friday, May 4, 2018

Tell Me I'm Wrong by Adam Croft

1 Star

If a book's cover tells me I’m going to have to answer the question . . .

“What if you discovered your husband was a serial killer?”

I expect to discover that my husband is a serial killer. I WANT to discover that my husband is a serial killer. I mean, doesn’t every red-blooded American woman?????

What I don’t expect is . . . .

That is so poorly executed you can tell instantly what is the false flag . . . . .

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton

4 Stars

This is one of those times where the blurb name dropping might be a curse. If readers go into this expecting something warped like Gillian Flynn, there will be a lot of disappointed faces on the intertubes (except for one scene that had Mitchell like awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww yeah!!!!). I also get the idea of the comparison to Donna Tartt because Tara Isabella Burton has a distinct writing style, but once again it’s not very accurate. Why all the bells and whistles? Why not only say exactly what this is and leave it at that? In case you don’t know what the “that” is let me scream it out for you: Social Creature is a A MODERNIZATION OF THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY - (but with 100% more vaginas).

Louise meets Lavinia and gets swept up into a lifestyle of champagne and endless parties. She becomes Lavinia’s “pet” of sorts – someone to groom, dress up, show how the other half lives. But Louise can’t afford Lavinia’s lavish lifestyle and even though Lavinia always means well and plans on picking up the tab, cab fare, etc., it doesn’t always work out that way. When Louise’s real life world starts falling apart and the shine wears off their new friendship revealing some truths, desperate measures are taken.

Social Creature is what would happen if this . . . .

And this . . . .

And this . . . .

Had a baby. Now you can decide if you want to read it.

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

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

5 Stars

When Georgina was only sixteen she thought she had found her one true love in Calvin. Things didn’t work out quite as planned, though, and he turned out to be a serial killer known as the Sweetbay Strangler. His first victim? Geo’s best friend, whose remains went undiscovered for 14 years. Once the body is discovered all sorts of skeletons starting falling out of closets.

After reading Creep by this author, I knew I would need to seek out more of her stuff in the future. Good news is, I convinced the pornbrary that I cannot live on smut alone and they recently purchased some of her other books. Great news is I totally broke all the rules about how to act like a decent person and begged for an ARC of this one because stabby stabby in love with a freakin’ murderer?!?!?!?!

I. JUST. COULD. NOT. WAIT. for publication day. But then I was terrified I would hate it and get blacklisted from all ARCs for eternity and also probably receive an e-mail saying I’m the reason why I can’t have nice things. Luckily the first didn’t happen and seriously I would not blame anyone for doing the second. Simply put in order to prevent a whole lotta spoilsies . . . .

“In every story, there’s a hero and a villain. Sometimes one person can be both.”

Occasionally I fantasize about what I would fill my to-read suitcase if I got to go to someplace like Mallorca and do things like this . . . . .

Rather than sitting in the middle of a sweltering dust bowl of a baseball diamond in Kansas watching my kids play ball all summer. Jar of Hearts is the type of book I want in that suitcase. I’m giving it every star. I couldn’t put the dang thing down and I was completely enraptured by alllllll of the different aged Geos I got to meet. I did figure out the first “twist” pretty quickly, but am happy to report I was a little slow on the uptake regarding the big shebang at the end and didn’t catch on to that until it was pretty much shoved in my face.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering: Yuuuuuuuuup. I have absolutely been singing Christina Perri ever since this arrived in the mail. My family really appreciates when I get to the part where I screech belt out . . . .


I probably could get a golden ticket to Hollywood if I auditioned for American Idol.

ARC provided by St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.
Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!