Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Nomadland by Jessica Bruder

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4 Stars

“At one time there was a social contract that if you played by the rules (went to school, got a job, and worked hard) everything would be fine. That’s no longer true today. You can do everything right, just the way society wants you to do it, and still end up broke, alone, and homeless.”
Nomadland is the three year study of a subset of retirees living the above quote. Either due to losing (or never acquiring) a pension, the housing bust, market crash, divorce, or a handful of other unpredictable situations, these folks have chosen a lifestyle similar to “a modern-day version of The Grapes of Wrath.” Their homes????

Their work? Whatever the change in season and change of location brings. From the much advertised . . . .

For the Christmas rush to various harvests in the Fall . . .

To maintaining campgrounds and manning rides at amusement parks throughout North America in the summer . . . .

(Ouch, shoulda ducked there, fella.)

These are people with an incomparable work ethic who have chosen to do whatever it takes in order to get by. They have swapped $100,000 per year budgets for $75 per week and comfortable homes with sprawling lawns in suburbia for motor homes, modified delivery vehicles and pull-behind campers. Their stories are simply fascinating. Highly recommended to those who have never experienced more than a First World Problem as well as anyone who is looking for non-fiction with the page turnability factor like what was found in Evicted.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

2 Stars

Please be advised I am 100% a wrongreader of this one. However, as long as things like Book of the Month Club and Instagram and endless zero-cost-to-me reads from my library exist, I will continue reading everything available to me (generally without even looking at a blurb or a review first, as was the case here) for the rest of eternity.

Simply put, Ask Again, Yes is a family drama – or what I like to call . . . .

The story here follows two families for decades and decades and decades. It takes a turn with the occurrence of a superbadawful and continues on from there until it comes full circle. As I said above, I have read a crapton of books like these. Mainly because Oprah used to push them by saying stuff like . . . .

I like to be messed up. Unfortunately stories like this tend to not work out so great for me because . . . .

Now, there are exceptions (lookin at you, Ove), but generally I feel manipulated when I finish this type of book and it results in a low rating because I live for reads that truly make me feel the feeeeeeeelz, not ones that make me feel like a failure because no matter how hard the author tried, my robot heart just couldn’t get on board.

I would have given this three stars, but there was a decade-long timehop that wound up with everything that made the story take its second twist being glossed over and that was unacceptable to me. Rarely do I say books should be longer, but in this case a hundred or more pages would have been happily accepted.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

3.5 Stars

When some bad seafood leaves everyone in attendance at Ami and Dane’s wedding saying . . . .

There’s no way Ami, the queen of freebies (*cough maybe when it comes to a buffet, you should go ahead and fork over some cash cough*), is going to let her honeymoon trip to Hawaii go to waste. Enter Olive and Ethan, Ami and Dane’s siblings. Lured by a ginormous hotel suite and an itinerary packed with everything from ziplining to snorkeling to the obvious spa treatments, the two figure there’s little chance they will have to, you know, interact with each other during the 10-day getaway. That is, until they run into Olive’s brand new boss and his wife one night and Dane’s ex-fiancé and her new fiancé the next. Then????

I absolutely looooooooooooooooooooooooved this book for the first 67% (that’s a whole lotta percents). It was everything I want in a pretend relationship trope and to top it off it was absolutely hilarious. I loved the snarky interactions and dialogue between Olive and Ethan and I loved it even more when some truth uhhhhhh popped up while they were pretending to be newlyweds . . . .

“What are you doing?” I ask under my breath.
“God, I don’t know,” he whispers, pained. “Just go with it.”
“I can feel your penis.”

And even though it took a loooooooooooooooooong time for these two to figure out they should take it to pound town, it didn’t result in me looking like this . . . .

Since I was having such a good time.

But then a bunch of drama with the siblings came up and drama about Olive’s job and . . . .

I think I read like three of these authors’ books before I figured out they are a writing duo and I think all three of them have had some extra summin’ summin’ that has caused them to go off the rails for me. I would be curious to know if one of them brings the funny and the other brings the shit I hate angst. If that’s the case I think I might be five starring a solo act.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

You Owe Me a Murder by Eileen Cook

4 Stars

Can’t live with them, hard to get away with killing them.

Kim and Nicki meet on an international flight and after sharing all their woes with each other come to the conclusion that . . . . .

“We have the perfect solution, you know,” Nicki said. “Solution for what?” Her eyes glittered like broken glass. “For our problems. I kill your ex. You kill my mum. We both get what we want.”

You know what happens next, right?????

But nothing is ever as simple as it seems. Especially when . . . .

The blurb is spot-on saying You Owe Me a Murder is perfect for fans of One of Us Is Lying. I actually enjoyed this YA retelling of a classic a lot more than The Kind Worth Killing and felt the writing was more tightly woven and the various reveals and twists made it un-put-down-able. Recommend to fans of young adult thrillers for sure.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Into the Jungle by Erica Ferencik

4 Stars

“I’m scared to death of this place.”

“It’s just life, Lily. You can’t be afraid of life.”

“Sure I can.”

Lily isn’t like most 19-year old travelers. She had no silver spoon in her mouth or bottomless trust fund available for her to backpack around Europe. However, she still had a wanderer’s heart so when an opportunity to teach in Bolivia appeared she was all over it. When the job fell through, she holed up in the cheapest youth hostel she could find and ended up falling for a local named Omar who will show her the Amazon most people only read about.

Expecting something picturesque like this . . . .

Lily quickly discovers life in Ayachero is more like this . . . .

Is surprised to find this . . . .

And even more surprised by others like this . . . .

Who have been trying to find a mahogany grove for ages which will lead to deforestation and obliteration of the Tatinga tribe.

I loved The River at Night by this author and loved this one just as much. I don’t care if it was farfetched or unrealistic or whatever else naysayers want to point out. All I know is the Ferencik’s storytelling is hypnotizing, I enjoyed the undertones regarding conservation and the fragility of the Amazonian ecosystem without being beaten over the head by an eco-warrior (looking at YOU, Barbara Kingsolver), and I am now pretty much ready to poison myself with insect repellant every time I go in my backyard after reading about what bug bites could potentially do to my body. That equals a high rating and a two-for-two author who I will definitely continue to read.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Season to Taste by Natalie Young

4 Stars

I read this like two months ago, but I am SUCKING at posting anything lately so I’m just now getting around to it. Let’s start with the overall GR rating, shall we?

Yeesh. That’s low. Of course that means I loved it. #wrongreader4eva

The story here is a fairly simple one. After being married to Jacob for ages, Lizzie finally had enough one day and offed him. Left with the conundrum of how to dispose of the body in a way that would leave no evidence, Lizzie decided to do the most sensible thing . . . .

Eat him.

Makes this lady look totally normal, huh????

The remainder of the book is about Lizzie’s (ever-so-graphic) consumption of Jacob with a side order of . . . .

When I realized that my husband was dead, I also realized I had a chance to live.

Obviously this is not a book for everyone and obviously I kind of love fiction that is a little dark or taboo, which is 100% why I downloaded this from the library as soon as I heard of it. What I didn’t expect was to be presented with a story that was surprisingly an über macabre version of . . . .

This last month, I have had something to do, and I have had love. I am very lucky. It has been perfect.

Full Disclosure: I totally dry-heaved at the eating of the foot. Not only because feet are disgusting when they are attached to living human beings, but because absolutely no detail was spared when it came to the prep work, cooking or ingestion. Consider yourself warned – this is not for the weak stomached so have your barfbags handy.

Monday, June 10, 2019

I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney

1 Star

I already wasted my time reading this, so that's pretty much all you're going to get aside from mentioning the shock and awe twist at the end? Stupid. And gross. Easily the worst thing I've read so far this year.