Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Tell Me Lies by Carola Lovering

4 Stars

Full Disclosure: I never read a synopsis for this before I decided I had to read it. Full Disclosure 2.0: I 100% wanted this book as soon as I saw the cover . . . but I also 100% didn’t want it because of the cover. Tell Me Lies (from the cover alone) was a story that could have either gone really well for me . . . or gone terribly bad. Luckily . . . . . 

“I know what I know. Lust and love erase ethical parameters, and that’s just the way it is.” 

Yes please. Even Mitchell could get on board with a “romance” book like this. 

If you enjoy reading the darker side of love à la The Rules of Attraction, Tell Me Lies is a book you don’t want to miss. Told in alternating chapters by Lucy and Stephen, this is the story of a clinically depressed girl who fell in love with a narcissistic sociopath. It’s not very fast paced and there’s not a whole lot of action, but somehow it was still completely un-put-down-able.

Readers will be pleased to know that the pink elephant in the room is addressed and that the author doesn’t try to play dumb when it comes to the title. . . . . 

But since I am super young and definitely not a person who has Tango in the Night on vinyl, I had a couple of different songs playing the loop in my head. Classics from The Biebs and Brit Brit . . . . 

Okay, for serious I am super old but I did totally think of those other lyrics as well. 

4 Stars because there was a lil' something something extra added (that I won't spoil here) I found to be absolutely unecessary.

Oh and NetGalley, you can go ahead and decline my pending request for this one. The pornbrarian hooked me up.

Monday, June 25, 2018

The House Mate by Kendall Ryan

2.5 Stars

My reaction to The House Mate

And no I’m not being passive aggressive. Y’all should know by now that I’m pretty aggressive aggressive.

As with all romance books, this one has a pretty recognizable plot . . . .

♪♫♫♪She was working in a bridal shop in Flushing Queens,
´Til her boyfriend kicked her out in one of those crushing scenes.

What was she to do? Where was she to go? She was out on her
So over the bridge from Flushing to the Sheffield´s door.

She was there to sell make-up, but father saw more.
She had style! She had flair! She was there! That´s how she became
the Nanny!

Who would have guessed that the girl we´ve described, was just
exactly what the doctor prescribed?

Now the father finds her beguiling (watch out C.C.!)
And the kids are actually smiling (such joie de vivre!)
She is the lady in red when everybody else is wearing tan...

The flashy girl from Flushing,
The Nanny named Fran! ♪♫♫♪

It’s obviously not a story that’s going to change your life. Buuuuuuut, if you find yourself with a few hours to kill, a jug of margaritas, a pool for dipping your toes in this godawful 100+ degree weather and like your porn with little to no angst and a high-speed timeline when it comes to falling in luuuuuuuurv, this might be a winner for you. It definitely delivers when it comes to the . . . . .

2.5 Stars for me because I’m an asshole I didn’t really like either of the main characters.

Friday, June 22, 2018

The Serial Dater's Shopping List by Morgen Bailey

1 Star

This caught my eye over on NetGalley due to the following “31 dates in 31 days – what could possibly go wrong?” Maybe one of these days I’ll learn to look before I leap when it comes to clicking that request button because “SMASHWORDS” should have been my first clue . . . .

This storyline was one with potential and instantly had me thinking it might be a little reminiscent of . . . .

However, the execution was simply awful and Izzy was quite possibly the most superficial a-hole I’ve read this year. Not all books are meant to make it to the marketplace.

ARC received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Other People's Houses by Abbi Waxman

4 Stars

If you’re looking for a character like Madeline in Big Little Lies (but prefer to leave the dead body out of the picture) Abby Waxman’s Other People’s Houses might be the book for you. The story here is the aftermath of what happens when one of the neighborhood wives is caught in flagrante delicto by the carpool mom. So obviously there’s some real shit to deal with, but I’m going to choose to focus on Frances . . . .

You can decide for yourself if you would like to challenge me to a death match in a dark alley in an attempt to steal her from me. But I’m warning you . . . .

“Let’s not get into the atom splitting of who’s doing more work, stay-at-home parents or not; let’s just agree it’s a shit show for all of us, and move on.”

Wait, it gets better. Like analyzing your toddler’s fave television program . . .

She watched Steve do his thing, and continued her inner debate about how Salt and Pepper could have managed to conceive and produce both Paprika and Cinnamon. Salt was a crystal, pepper was a seed pod from a plant, paprika was also a seed pod. OK, so yes, she could see that, but cinnamon was the inner bark of a tree. She had wondered this before, which is why she had Wikipedia’d all that stuff and had, in fact, a fairly high level of knowledge about the international pepper trade as a result. It still bothered her, and she worried that Mrs. Pepper was a little tough on Paprika, especially once the baby came.

But the following is the line that sealed the deal . . . .

Frances pulled off her sweatshirt and bra, enjoying that first scratch of tit-freedom.

If you're an old lady with floppy mom tits, you totally know after that moment you're like . . . .

The only thing I didn’t agree with 100%???

“If you and I divorced, I would sew my vagina shut, get fifteen cats, and let myself go completely.”

Why get divorced? My husband and I have been married going on 22 years and I’m picking up a new kitten after work tonight . . . .

The other characters are nearly as good as Frances. Don’t believe me? Go read my friend Kristie’s Review. I can’t wait to read more by this author.

I checked my copy of this book out from the library, but this is one instance where I really wish I would have known about/requested/received/whatever an ARC so I could have been shoving it down everyone’s throat before it was even released . . . . but I wouldn’t have been able to share the magic which is Frances quotes so maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

3 Stars

Meet Leah . . . .

“I’m basically your resident fat Slytherin Rory Gilmore.”

You may remember her from the most perfect of all teenage romance books . . . .

Now it's Leah's turn to find love and let me tell you, it’s kind of impossible not to enjoy her . . . .

“I want to know who you like.”

“Trick question. I hate everyone.”

Teenagers are sure to love Leah on the Offbeat. Since I am old and bitter it was just okay for me. Seriously though, it’s really hard to make lightning strike twice and recreate the magic which was Simon. Also as a geezer it’s pretty clear that this won’t be a story that stands the test of time well as it is very “now” (for lack of a better term) when it comes to music/movies/fashion/etc. references. If you know me you know that I don’t often read sequels so that should be enough of a ringing endorsement for this one. And really, who wouldn't want to spend more time with these kids????

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Chaser by Kylie Scott

2.5 Stars

When it comes to my enjoyment of pornography romance novels, there are only a few things required for me to have an okay time:

1. A good cover;

2. A tired trope I approve of; and

3. Non-squicky sex. You know what I’m talking about – stuff NOT like this . . . .

Chaser gets an average rating due to the following:

1. The thumbnail of the cover looks like James Franco in Pineapple Express . . . . .

2. Tropey yum yum for me includes things like enemies to lovers/falling for the brother’s bestie/or the holy grail of them all – WOKE UP MARRIED TO A STRANGER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This one featured . . . . .

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOPE. I am fully aware of how much reality I leave at the doorstep when I read smut (I mean, I have been waiting for a sex-werewolf to show up at my door for like 15 years, but since it still hasn’t happened I’m starting to lose hope), but I just want to smack the already-pregnant-with-no-baby-daddy-in-the-picture broad who decides to start a new relationship. Not to mention the leading male in this third selection was introduced in the earlier books and simply put . . . .

And one with a whole lotta baggage I did not find smexy whatsoever to boot.

As for #3 – I read this one like a month ago so I don't remember all the deets, but I do know Kylie Scott writes the good sexuals so no complaints there. That’s why I’ll be first in line for whatever she releases next : )


Monday, June 18, 2018

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Lying In Wait by Liz Nugent

4 Stars

“My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.”
^^^That line right there had me like . . . .

I mean let’s be honest. I don’t care if the tramp deserved it – or if she was a tramp – or if the husband did or didn’t mean to kill her. I just appreciate any time someone is dead and I am given an early copy to read. As mentioned a time or a thousand before, I have a bit of old lady brain so I knew I had read Liz Nugent before, but I couldn’t remember what and I didn’t bother looking it up because I thought I had enjoyed her previously. Turns out I was right because this is the author of Unraveling Oliver. Go brain! You is smart sometimes!

Anyway, I didn’t bother looking her up before starting and it turns out I didn’t even have to because once I started reading I remembered who she was and what I had read before. I love an author whose voice is so distinct that you can recognize it without a Google search.

The story here is about that tramp chick above who gets whacked by dear ol’ hubs. It tells the who, when, why and how – and all by the 30% point which had me a little dubious. But then I remembered that it was Liz Nugent writing the story, so the thriller aspect was just the peel of the onion and the remaining 70% would be all the stinky deliciousness contained in the other layers. If you didn’t like Oliver, there’s a good chance you probably won’t like Lydia or Andrew or Laurence either. But if you did????? Oh such good times in a story that reminds us all that . . . .

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

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

All the Ever Afters by Danielle Teller

3.5 Stars

“Everyone knows the story about Prince Henry’s hunt for the beautiful girl he met at the ball, how he searched from house to house, asking every unmarried woman in five parishes to try on the glass slippers. That is a pretty tale. As usual, the truth is more mundane.”
Is there anyone out there who wouldn’t want to be like this rather than one of those mealy-mouthed princesses?????

Or even like this (who so happens to be the focus of this particular story)??????

Wait. I think I might already be her. I’m even attempting to adopt a new kitteh who looks kinda like hers rather than the all black which I generally gravitate toward . . . . .

No wonder I wanted to read her story, right?

My picture from the ol’ Instagram this morning shows that I’m kind of a hoarder fan of retellings (I tried to put the Lunar Chronicles in there too, but they were being a-holes and wouldn’t stand up so they got chucked) . . . . .

All the Ever Afters was an absolute must read for me. The story here is of Cinderella’s stepmother . . . .

“I do not set out to write the princess’s history, but my own, the only tale I have the authority to tell . . . . As for fables about good and evil and songs about glass slippers, I shall leave those to the minstrels. They can invent their own tales about Cinderella.”

So, there you have it. This is the life story of the woman who would one day become known simply as a “Wicked Stepmother.” It tells of her childhood where she was born into a family so poor they sent her to become a laundry maid for the nearest royal house - to her pulling a bit of a con in order for a chance to serve the local abbey instead - to falling in love and out of favor with the abbess via an unplanned pregnancy - to learning how to become an alewife - all the way to her return to the royal house. It even explains how her daughters came to be known as the “Ugly Stepsisters.” It is up to the reader to decide if she (and her children) were truly awful, or if Cinderella was simply a coddled brat.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

3 Stars

When 16-year old Lina’s mother passes away from pancreatic cancer, she is encouraged by her grandmother to spend the summer in Tuscany in order to get to know Howard – a father she never even knew existed. Lina would have never guessed she’d end up living in a cemetery, or that her mother left a journal regarding her own time spent in Italy or that she would be uncovering a huge secret during her summer abroad.

Love and Gelato was an instant “yes please” due to the title and adorable cover. The story was a little bit . . . .

And a little bit of this . . . .

With a little bit of this . . . .

In case you aren’t familiar with that last image . . . .

In YA format. It’s sure to be a huge hit with its target demographic. 3 Stars from me since I’m old and horrible and I got annoyed that the supposedly huuuuuuge secret was not only 100% obvious, but that it took almost half of the book for Lina to figure out what was going on.

Friday, June 8, 2018

The Line That Held Us by David Joy

5 Stars

Oh Mr. Joy, how I’ve missed you.

Perhaps the most ironic thing of all when it comes to this author is his name. If you were ever curious where the “Black As Mitchell’s Heart” moniker came from – David Joy’s stories are about as bleak as one brain could ever conjure. As my Bookwife stated over on her review, we pretty much have a Google Alert set for anything new in David Joy’s world, up to and including I now read what he tells me to (thanks again for turning me on to Larry Brown). We most definitely were in full-fledged “This Is America and We Want It Now” mode while waiting to be approved for The Line That Held Us and I am so happy to say that once again David Joy delivered the misery in spades – just the way I like it.

The story here is pretty simple – Darl Moody has been chasing after a dream buck for ages and has tracked him down to Coon Coward’s private property. What ol’ Coon don’t know won’t hurt him, though, so Darl waits until he’s out of town and sets about in the wee hours to do some poaching. The only thing he wasn’t expecting? Carol Brewer to be doing some poaching of his own – digging ginseng to be exact. Rather than face the crazy which is Carol's brother Dwayne, Darl does the only other thing he can think of – enlist his best friend Calvin’s help and bury the body . . . .

That might possibly be the best thing about David Joy’s books. You know there is not going to be a happy ending or that the characters will magically escape the superbadawful they have set themselves up for. I love how his stories are all different, but touch on similar themes of love, loyalty, family, friendship and religion (in the most shuddery way possible). He blurs the lines between what is right and what is wrong effortlessly. Not to mention, he really makes you feel like you are truly in the heart of the south . . . .

When it comes to hick lit, he’s the bees knees. Every Star.

Many thanks to NetGalley for approving me for this one before I stormed your offices!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Noir by Christopher Moore

3 Stars

Noir is a book that proves the old adage . . . .

The dame is “Cheese” – the fella hung up on her is Sammy Two Toes. The story takes place everywhere from a dive bar, to a national forest to Roswell, New Mexico.

I was real worried that I’d have to look like this . . . . .

Due to my “meh” reaction upon finishing, but it appears most of my friends pretty much felt the same as me. The one thing I can say is Christopher Moore most definitely knows how to stick to a bit. Go read Kemper’s review if you want actual insight. Not only does he know how to words way better than I do, but I could also totally picture this story becoming Archer Season 24 or some such . . . .