Tuesday, December 31, 2019

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

48218191. sy475
5 Stars

Love doesn’t require a future.

This is most likely my final review of the year and although I failed by leaving more than 30 books on my “Currently Reading” shelf (which were 100% already read and only left there to serve as reminders of my failure to post things in a timely fashion), I can at least finish up the decade as a rightreader for once and a glowing recommendation for In Five Years when it gets released this Spring.

So here’s a little confession about a movie trope I love but don’t seem to find too often in books: The “WAKE UP WITH A DIFFERENT LIFE.” You know what I’m talking about? You go to sleep and when you wake up you live in a different house with a different spouse with either zero or additional children than what you had when you went to bed and you don’t know how it happened? Lordy be, that is a fave for me.

If you know me, you know I’m not really a blurb reader so the only thing I knew about this before begging endlessly for it requesting it was that it begins with Dannie falling asleep on the eve David proposes to her and when she wakes up . . . .

“It’s 2025, a man I’ve never met is my boyfriend, and I live in Brooklyn.”

I was like . . . . .

Then Dannie actually wakes up and apparently it was only an extremely lucid dream – but one she just can’t seem to shake as she goes on about her life up to the December 15, 2025 date where her future apparently has taken a turn her meticulous life-planning obsession hasn’t quite accounted for.

I’m not going to say much more other than readjust your expectations and don’t go in believing you’re going to get a love story, but rather a life story. I haven’t felt feelings like this since . . . . .

And the fact that Rebecca Serle caused the following to happen . . . . .

Means there’s no way she deserves less than 5 Stars. I avoided The Dinner List when it was released because I just wasn’t sure (still haven’t read that blurb, either). Now I think I probably should check it out.

Endless thanks to Atria and NetGalley for letting me wrap up 2019 with such an excellent story in exchange for this review.

Monday, December 30, 2019

The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany by Lori Nelson Spielman

3.5 Stars

The Fontana family has had a curse on the second-born daughters for over 200 years. Always to remain spinsters, true love will never be in the cards for them. Emilia has sort of resigned herself to the fact that the curse is a real thing as she remains consistently unlucky in love. Her cousin Lucy takes a different approach – quickly falling for whoever she is dating at the time. When their estranged aunt Poppy calls offering the two a trip to Italy and an opportunity to break the curse forever, they reluctantly agree.

I will admit I wanted this one as soon as I saw the cover, the word “Tuscany” and took a peak at the blurb. I had my hopes up for a cross between . . . . .

And . . . . .

And that is 100% what I got. Although I don’t live in an Italian villa, I was able to read this outside with a big ol’ cheap bottle of Moscato and escape for a few hours one Saturday and that was just what I needed.

ARC provided by Berkley in exchange for an honest review.

One Week 'Til Christmas by Belinda Missen

48055557. sy475
2 Stars

“The perfect holiday romance this Christmas!”

It looks like this has been changed to “an unforgettable winter romance” but still. Why even do that? You know the old saying about opinions, right? Reading is 100% opinions and reviewers like me are nothing but assholes, so using words like “perfect” right in the dang title are just sure to spurn disappointment. (I’d argue that this one was pretty forgettable too.)

I don’t particularly enjoy the “celebrity falls in love with commoner” trope or the “we can’t be together because we only have seven days” (even though it’s not the dark ages and people can communicate nearly like they are in the same room nowadays thanks to technology) so there was slim to no chance I would enjoy this one. Add in trips to the most cliché of all tourist traps for a week, cardboard cutouts for characters and super cringe worthy dialogue such as . . . .

‘I’d love a bag of pfeffernüsse.’ I smiled. ‘Who’s a goose?’ ‘You’re a goose.’

That’s a fail for me. My friends really enjoyed this one, so we’ll just chalk it up to either wrongreading (most likely the case) or that I actually dove into the Christmas romance pool headfirst this year and sadly We Met In December simply couldn’t compete with the others for me.

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

Dare Me by Megan Abbott

4 Stars

"Cheer taught me to trust my girls to catch me when I fall. It showed me how to be a leader."
I read Dare Me nearly five years ago and had a mediocre reaction to it. Then the previews for the television series started appearing and I realized that I remembered hardly anything aside from (a) cheerleaders that were (b) Megan Abbott’s signature mean girl type of teen since I have old lady brain. I set the DVR up to record the show and then by sheer luck was offered a chance for a review copy of the book and decided to give it another go. Well . . . . . .

Or, at minimum, a wrongreader because holy crap. WTF was I expecting the first time around? I can’t imagine it going any other direction and it was goooooooood. Like thank God I don’t have daughters like this trainwreck type of good, but oh so good. The TV version was highly disturbing as well. And only one episode in!

Recommended to those who don’t like their pubescent leads full of sugar and spice and everything nice and their cheerleading . . . . .

Copy provided by Little Brown in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Crux Untamed by Tillie Cole

38770822. sy475
3 Stars

Just as I was getting ready to start my Christmas staycay, we received a dumping of snow that would provide all of the excuse I needed to not change out of my pajamas for at least the first 24 hours of my freedom. I’m chalking it up to the fact that . . . . .

Since I had already decided it was going to be a day of . . . . .

I thought it was high time that I opened up the pocketbook and purchased this sucker that had been on my don’t-even-call-it-guilty-pleasure-because-I-don’t-feel-guilty-at-all-when-I-read-these TBR for eternity so I logged on to Amazon where . . . . .

Maybe sprinkle is more fitting since these aren’t expensive at all.

This series is such a fantastic timesuck. I especially love the fact that . . . .

I mean, we’re talking motorcycle club (and a real one to boot that does illegal things) and girls formerly in some sort of religious cult and kidnappings and drug cartels and sex traffickers and dudes who don’t have sex with each other, but always have their sex three-way style. Oh it’s just so very over the top. Your mileage may most definitely vary when it comes to your opinion of this series. Just know that it’s total farfetched brain candy and if one of them isn’t exactly your cuppa, another might be. A 3 Star rating from me equals I thought it was okay so please don’t troll me for not falling all over myself for the double penetration. It’s just that nothing can compare to my reaction to Ky and Delilah’s book.

This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper

5 Stars

I ran through Tropper’s books in short order quite a few years ago. Then this one was set to become a movie so I read it again. In what could only be called an end of days scenario, me (the not-a-re-reader) found myself in a situation a couple of days before Christmas . . . . .

Rendering me pretty much not only housebound, but restricted to the room closest to the bathroom. And despite having a plethora of books on the Kindle, I didn’t much have the mental capacity to start something new and retain any information. Plus, it was Christmas and nothing says Christmas like dysfunctional families so I downloaded the Foxmans from the library website (literally I was too lazy to go downstairs and obtain my own hard copy version and the thought of flipping pages to my fever-addled brain was the equivalent of some serious cardiovascular exercise). Basically . . . . .

And yes, these people feel like old friends to me at this point. I have loved everything Tropper has ever written and I’m a huge fangirl. I love dysfunction. I love the loveable loser. I love melancholy comedy. He delivers everything I could ask for . . . . except trailers containing meth labs exploding. He doesn’t write about that.

We Met In December by Rosie Curtis

44552942. sy475
4 Stars

Okay, now it’s time to talk about my favorite holiday read this year. I saw a bunch of complaints that “this wasn’t a Christmas book and people thought it was supposed to be a Christmas book and why wasn’t it a Christmas book?!?!?!” To that I say . . . . .

That’s like saying Bridget Jones isn’t a Christmas story . . . .

While it may run the course of all twelve calendar months, rest assured that We Met In December is 100% a Christmas romance following the budding friendship-that-you-just-know-will-end-up-being-more between Jess and Alex who find themselves roommates with three others in a giant old Notting Hill house. A bit of a spark can be felt between the two upon moving in, but house rules say no fraternization so Jess attempts to brush her attraction to Alex under the rug and goes on her Christmas holiday. Upon her return she catches one of the other roommates sneaking out of Alex’s bedroom and figures things truly weren’t meant to be. BUT OF COURSE THEY’RE MEANT TO BE because it’s a romance and this one does it in such a pleasant, slow rolling type of way with not a lot of drama and I just loved it.

We Met In December made me feel all warm and fuzzy like a mug of hot cocoa on a snowy day while wrapped in a Sherpa blanket and wearing my comfiest PJs. I sucked this right down while wishing someone would option it and make it a movie by next year so I could watch it on repeat for the entire holiday season until my family threaten me with bodily harm.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Holidate by Monica Murphy

2.5 Stars

Alright, let’s do another one. If you are so basic of a white girl that your family thinks your Pinterest only consists of things like when it comes to gift ideas for Christmas gifts you might wish for . . . . .

This is the book for you. It is 100% a Hallmark Christmas movie in written format. Gorgeous curmudgeon (whose family just so happens to own the local Christmas tree farm) gets paired with a Christmas loving philanthropist via way of some convenient amnesia, attend various holiday functions together and fall in love. Pick your favorite Hallmark hunk to picture or, if you’re like me, focus on your favorite leading lady . . . .

She is the Queen of Christmas, after all.

'Twas the Knife Before Christmas by Jacqueline Frost

3 Stars

You know what’s better than Hallmark Christmas movies? Hallmark COZY MYSTERY movies. Because those suckas play all damn year long. And Candace Cameron Bure stars in one batch of those too (Real Murders series - books by Charlaine Harris – if curiosity is killin’ yo cat). So does Aunt Becky and I’m soooooo sad that there will be no more Sunday editions of . . . .

Kids ruin everything!

Alright, here’s a little confession. Last Christmas I picked up The Twelve Slays of Christmas from the library and then saw that there was a book two – and immediately got butthurt and complained whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy didn’t the library have it and on and on because I am horrible. And then I turned around and looked in my “basket of shame” full of ARCs that I keep not reading despite always asking for more ARCs and . . . . .

Like I said, I’m horrible. Anyway, if you like cozies and you like Christmas this is sure to be a winner. This time the dead body is found stuffed in a “guess how many mints are in this big ol’ glass” and the suspect is the leading lady Holly’s bestie. And maybe Santa is in it. Or maybe not because that would just be crazy, right? I mean, everyone knows he’s not real.

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for a very untimely review.

Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

43996976. sy475
3 Stars

After being off the intertubes for a couple of weeks with the fam, Imma knock as many of these old reviews off the to-do list as possible before the end of the year when there becomes pretty much zero chance I’ll ever do a wrap up. Let’s start with what I read over my little Christmas staycay. Luckily, there’s not much since I kept finding myself falling down rabbit holes of reality television programs I have managed to avoid in the past but somehow winded up binge-watching in marathons over the last nine days such as . . . . .

I think Khloe might be my spirit animal. Fat Khloe, that is. The new Khloe wouldn’t sit around for seven hours in a row eating garbage like I kept doing.

I read Christmas Shopaholic on Christmas Eve and it was everything it was supposed to be. If you’re familiar, these books all sort of follow a zany, slapstick, over-the-top sort of storyline that covers whatever is going on in Becky Brandon née Bloomwood’s life. This time around it’s hosting her first giant family Christmas gathering. Per usual . . . . .

But this time around, Becky also discovers . . . .

This was exactly what I needed while I baked some last minute cookies and loafed around the house.

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

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle

33290383. sy475
2 Stars

(^^^^You had to know I was going to go there)

I have been able to avoid this ever since it was released because I just knew in my heart of hearts it wasn’t going to be for me. But then I saw the flippin’ Netflix movie commercial and I’m totally that bitch who has to read the book before she watches the movie so I went ahead and put it on hold in hopes that I could view the film during my Christmas vacay. I don’t really know anything about the movie, except that it features an ensemble cast and takes place during the holiday season. My hopes are that it is something like this . . . .

Or . . .

Or more realistically typical teenage fare such as . . . . .

And yes I’m totally the target demographic for that last movie and that is why it is one of my favorite pick-me-ups.

Before beginning this collection I perused my friends’ ratings to officially lower my expectations and lemme just say that Erin's first line is spot on. I haven’t seen this much product placement since . . . . .

Enjoy these novellas with a venti peppermint mocha frappé and a side order of loaded hash browns!

#1 The Jubilee Express by Maureen Johnson

Kind of sad that I could relate to the parents in this one because I just this year discovered . . . . .

And it’s not too much of a stretch to see me landed in the slammer attempting to acquire a limited edition “Shitter is Full” figurine if only 10 were to ever be released.

Unfortunately, this one featured a real judgey d-bag for the leading lady and all I could think throughout the entire story was . . . . .

2 Stars

#2 – John Green’s A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle (a/k/a the only reason people would ever by this book)

When Tobin’s parents get stranded at a convention in Boston and the promise of a bevy of cheerleaders and potentially a keg of beer await them at the local Waffle House, he and his friends JP and The Duke load themselves (and a Twister mat) up in old Carla for an epic quest through the snow.

Featuring typical John Green too cool for school types with a tiny little boybearpig of a bestie that you can’t help but love, generation butthurt will find plenty of things to be offended by, but I was raised by John Hughes and this had some of his vibes and was 100% the Christmas Can’t Hardly Wait I was hoping for. I’m most definitely an imbiber of the Green Kool-Aid so I’d give this one 4 Stars.

#3 The Patron Saint of Pigs by Lauren Myracle

About Addie – a self-centered buttmunch who wants her boyfriend to change for her because she is so deserving of grand gestures and for her friends to all accept her never being there any time they need her because she's a speshul snowflake and they should automatically treat her like the princess she believes herself to be. Basically . . . .

1 Star

Netflix has not failed me with teenage romcom books turned films as of yet, so I assume I’ll love the movie.

Been There, Married That by Gigi Levangie

46272062. sy475
2.5 Stars

I’ll be on vacay (at my house – don’t think you can rob me without me murdering you) until after Christmas so Imma knock another review out today and make me feel like I accomplished something this year by posting 200 reviews.

Been There, Married That is the type of book you pick up when . . . .

It’s the story of what happens when Agnes’ megahit Hollywood producer husband Trevor decides to divorce her, believing the grass is sure to be greener on the other side. What follows is a completely over-the-top tale that could easily be found in Webster’s next to the definition of . . . .

When I read this (a while ago, because you know I suck at timely reviews) I thought this would be a great poolside selection. Alice NEVER being serious (I mean EVER - even when in mediation discussing the potential of losing custody of her children) irritated the shit out of me, but I still stand by that opinion. Now that the holidays are quickly approaching, this might be a great escape from the stresses of the season as well. Got a house full of Griswalds? Run a bubble bath and soak in with Agnes’ antics.

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