Thursday, August 13, 2020

Something She's Not Telling Us by Darcey Bell


2.5 Stars

My first experience with Darcey Bell was not a good one (to put it lightly). But then I watched the film version and really (like really really) dug it so I definitely wanted to give her another go. About the only thing that can be said to sum up this sophomore experience for me is . . . .

Obviously this is no literary masterpiece, but I read it back before the temps were hot enough to immediately fuse your underwear to your butt on a Saturday morning out on the deck while imbibing copious amounts of coffee and found it to be sort of just the trainwreck I was looking for at that moment.

To sum it up briefly, this is the story about a family vacation that ends up with a potential kidnapping once the parties return home. It features picture-perfect couple Charlotte and Eli and their daughter Daisy along with Charlotte’s “rakish” (*cough drunken manbaby cough*) brother Rocco and his latest girl-of-the-moment Ruth, a Mexican Adventure where threats are made of possibly revealing long-held secrets and where at least one character might not be exactly what they appear to be. The story is presented via Charlotte, Ruth and occasionally Rocco's narratives with time hops all over the place so if that’s not your bag, this will annoy the crap out of you. Like I said above, this completely jumps the tracks into batshit crazy – but in a Lifetime Stabby Stabs sort of way where it’s truly just a page-turney sort of delicious disaster. Basically? Pure brain candy. Oh, and it has a horrible face cover that I hate . . . .


Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Fish and Chips by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux


4.5 Stars

As far as I’m concerned this book can be summed up in this one gif . . . . .

Holy sploosh.

This starts off with Ty and Zane having the sexiest sparring match in the history of pornography only to find out it is going to be the tropiest yum yum of all tropey yum yums and the only thing better than a fake relationship trope which is the:


And in case you aren’t familiar with these books, that means these two alpha male special agent Feds are going undercover as a married gay couple to catch some sort of potential art thievery ring and the whole thing takes place on a cruise ship. I don’t think my heart can take it. Or my underwear drawer. I was flying through panties faster than a toupee in a hurricane!

I will absolutely be reading the other books in this series.

Cut and Run by Madeleine Urban and Abigal Roux


4 Stars

Have you all met my friend Jilly???? If not, allow me to make a quick introduction here. You see, Jilly reads ALL SORTS of trash fine works. She’s also hilarious so she makes you want to read them too despite the fact that they often have simply terrible covers . . . . or titles . . . . or shapeshifting/alien main characters . . . . or plotlines. Basically, she’s this . . . . .

When I saw her reviewing this series last week I was super interested since I had actually heard of these before and discovered the pornbrary was all ready to hook me up with a checkout. (Confession: I really only wanted book 3 because it was tropey yumminess which I’ll talk about over on that review in about two seconds, but after reading about 7 pages of Fish and Chips I knew I didn’t want to skip the meet-not-so-cute between Ty and Zane). Previous sentence being written, these do work pretty well as standalones, but speaking from my own experience Cut and Run is not one to miss because about the thirty percent marker you’ll find yourself . . . .

Now I will come clean and say that I haven’t read much M/M, but I do read my fair share of pornos with a side of mystery and lemme tell you these two fellas??????

The sleuthing is about on par with any other “light” mystery – you get introduced to like 6 characters total so you know kind of right away who the bad guy probably is. Also these guys spent a lot more time banging in the shower than actually attempting to find a serial killer so you definitely need to have some serious leeway when it comes to whether a 40-hour work week is a requirement in your smut. But if you want to see if you can make your underpants combust simply via the written word, I highly recommend this series : )

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Beach Read by Emily Henry

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2.5 Stars

Shelby and I appear to be the wrongreaders (*gasp never*) on this one because most of our friends really dug it and then there’s us . . . . .

This should have been a winner for me. I love rom coms. I love chick lit. I love cartoon covers. I love when the characters are authors or booknerds. So what happened? Well, January and Gus and their summer at their neighboring beach houses happened. This book kind of got lost in what it was trying to be and ended up being a mish-mash that simply fell short and by the time I let go of my issues with it, sadly it was just a little too late for a full redemption.

Things started off poorly for me due to the fact that for a goodly chunk of this book I couldn’t get these two assholes and their ridiculous internet feud out of my head . . . .

I pretty much avoid reading stuff by either of them because they come off as such twats and they don’t deserve my time (or especially my money). The fact that the leads in this book were pretty much clones of those two as the “great American novelist” for him and the “chick lit romance bestseller” for her did not aid in my enjoyment level whatsoever.

Then there were the dead daddy issues . . . .

Oh my word you broken record. We get it already. It’s not like you’re 12 so get some coping skills and it’s not like you were even close so how the hell could this possibly shatter you so much??? See a doctor, homey.

The romance (a/k/a smexytimes) was aiiiiiiiight so this 2.5 will get rounded up simply for not making me want to invest in a chastity belt or poke my own eyeballs out due to gross intercourse.

But like Shelby stated in her review, a serious level of irk was generated with the other broken record message that . . . .

First, you just got a G.D. beach house bequeathed to you so STFU – you’re not homeless. Second, if you are seriously a bestselling author you should have at least five dollars in the bank. And third, if you don’t???? GET. A. FUCKING. DAY. JOB. There is nothing that aggravates me more than “authors” who cry all over Goodreads and Go Fund Me and Patreon that it is our duty as readers/fans to pay their bills so they can “create” while we go grind it out at various not-dreamy 9 to 5s. Having this chick whine about her money issues made me want to lump her in the badly behaving author category like those people.

Obviously YMMV and you’ll probably love this like everyone else did.

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, August 10, 2020

The Safe Place by Anna Downes

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2.5 Stars

When Emily finds herself unemployed, about to be evicted and cut off from her family’s pocketbook due to asking for assistance one too many times, she has no clue what will save her tail. Enter former boss Scott. Emily may have been a terrible receptionist at his company, but she has a good personality and might just be the perfect fit as a personal assistant for his wife at their French estate. Gardening, home decorating and helping keep an eye out on their solo child coupled with great food, drinks and lounging by the pool? Sounds almost too good to be true.

Okay, so really the only problem with this was . . . . .

If you have ever read a mystery or thriller – like EVER, even once in your life – you should be able to guess what the big reveal of this one is going to be loooooonnnnnnnnnng before it ever gets there. That being said, somehow this was still really readable so I’m going to round my average rating up to a three.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer


Oh 2020 – So far you’ve delivered a pandemic, swarms of locusts and murder hornets, cyclones, hurricanes (even a surprise July tornado a few miles North of me last week here in flyover country that had the sirens blaring), raging wildfires, social uprising, deaths of more than a handful of beloved famous people, etc., etc., etc. You’ve been a trial for sure . . . .

Sad as it may sound, Stephenie Meyer having a rethink about releasing the ol’ Midnight Sun may be just what a lot of us needed right now. I’m not going to bother discussing literary merit or writing ability generically, nor will I be opining on the “toxicity” of a fictional relationship between a Sparkle Vampire and a Mary Sue (I just know as an old lady my supernatural books tend to have a lot more penetration than these children’s novels). Hell, I’m not even going to rate it because *spoiler alert: Edward was sooooooo boring in this* All I know is I was absolutely compelled to be a completionist of this series, saved a gift card from Mother’s Day until August just so I could get my hands on it the day it released without any guilty conscience whatsoever and that it sucked two entire days of my life up in a time where the minutes drag on like years. It did exactly what it was supposed to do.

I would loooooooooooooooooooove to read New Moon from Jacob’s perspective next . . . .


And zero fucks are given. I am #twihard #twitard #twimom #teamjacob4eva #loser whatever other lame hashtags someone wants to throw at me and I diiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiie for this release.


Thursday, August 6, 2020

When We Were Vikings by Andrew David MacDonald

5 Stars

Ahhhhhhhh this little book . . . . .

If you are of the ilk that is offended by everything it’s probably best to just stay far farrrrrrr away. The protagonist here isn’t your average gal, her family is not your average family and their issues aren’t your average issues. There’s plenty to get butthurt about. For the rest of you with more open minds who are willing to take a risk, hopefully you will find yourself in the same boat as me and completely smitten by this story . . . .

My legend will show people that, even if you are not gargantuan, you can still be strong and brave and help others in your tribe.

And find yourself so wrapped up in the lives of characters such as Zelda . . . .

Her brother Gert . . . .

His on/off again girlfriend Annie (also known as AK-47) . . . .

And more than one bad guy who deserves something like this to happen to him . . . .

That you don’t ever want it to end just so they can stay in your life a little while longer.

All the Stars.

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

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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4 Stars

This place could drive anyone crazy.
Upon receipt of a disturbing letter from her cousin claiming she is being poisoned by her husband and trapped in a house full of rot and evil, Noemí is sent on a bit of a fact-finding mission in order to get Catalina any help she may need. Her arrival reveals a house on a hill a bit like . . . .

Ran by a woman with an iron fist and an entire laundry list of rules reminiscent of . . . .

Eventually followed by some pretty superb gross-out scenes I haven’t experienced since . . . .

Apparently this wasn’t a big hit for everyone. Color me surprised because I thought it was exactly as advertised - Lovecraft meets the Brontës. That cover alone is worth the price of admission. And yes I know I know I complain about face covers all the time, but these “ladies in pretty dresses” covers are simply the bees knees. I will say this is a slow roller that builds itself up to a frantic pace for the climax, so if you aren’t sucked in by the atmosphere, you definitely aren’t going to have a great time. Also, I apparently wrongread even when I think I’m reading it right so take my rating with a grain of salt.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Dream Maker by Kristen Ashley

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4 Stars

“It’s us from now on. The Dream Team. The Rock Chicks are cool and all, but we’re next gen.”

Okay, not really, but I have been able to avoid the last of the motorbike pornos due to their epic lengths and little plot and also all but one of the Rock Chick books. I even dodged this one for a minute because that cover?????

But Kristen Ashley’s siren song is one that is hard for me to resist and eventually I added my name to the library wait list along with all the other horny housewives and when my turn came up yesterday I read the whole dang thing cover-to-cover. And now????

Yeah, I recommend this series to any KA fans out there who happen to stumble upon this “review.” Not only was it splooshy with a typical alpha male sex god, but this one had an actual story too. (Here our leading lady Evan is a stripper with a heart of god who is scheduled to have a blind date with a dude who is maybe some sort of commando and finds herself (in)conveniently requested to “hold something” for her jailbird brother that becomes a whole thing of dope, kidnapping, shoot ‘em ups, etc., etc.) Sadly, KA is still addicted to the “honey” speak, but with cameos by the Chaos motorcycle boys and Nightingale Investigations even that got a pass from me.

And the teaser for the next book????

“I had it in me, you know, before shit went down when I was in the service. It went into overdrive after that.”


He glanced at me. He looked back at the road. Another glance at me. Then back to the road and, “I’m a Dom.”

“A Dom?” I asked.

“A Dominant. A Dom. In sex.”

I would like an advanced copy of that yesterday, please.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie

4 Stars

Today’s entry is brought to you by . . . .

At this point in my life I’m not much of a reader of the classics (and certainly not many smarty classics that would have been assigned back when I rode my dinosaur to school every day), but I’m pretty sure you get your mystery lovers club membership revoked if you haven’t ever read a Hercule Poirot. That being said, this was only my second Poirot story (the other being the obvious selection - Murder on the Orient Express) and this time around it was our favorite P.I.’s THIRTEENTH go ‘round. (Also of note the only reason I read this was because Peter Swanson told me to in Eight Perfect Murders.)

At the start of The ABC Murders M. Poirot (as he is so often referred) finds himself realizing he’s getting a little long in the tooth and contemplating potential retirement, but upon receipt of a letter informing him of an upcoming murder – going so far as to name the date and place – he figures it’s nothing a little Just for Men can’t fix so . . . .

What follows is a romp from cities A to D containing victims with the same initial as their murder locale. There appear to be no other connections and the method of killing varies as well. How will Poirot ever put the pieces together on this tricky puzzle???

This was simply a good time and I can’t believe how well Christie’s stories have aged over the (80+) years. The mystery was a fun one to chase and I’m glad Swanson twisted my arm enough that I gave it a whirl. If nothing else, it gave me a break from the one thousand and fourteen reincarnations of And Then There Were None that I read every year.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center

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4 Stars

I actually have an unread ARC of Katherine Center’s newest release, but it seems like that was a big turd for most of my friends so I’ve been terrified to read it. And despite my heart telling me . . . .

My brain thankfully has been pretty persistent in reminding me that I’m kind of a Grade A Asshole and I need to lower my expectations before diving into that one.

Unfortunately Happiness for Beginners didn’t help minimize my fangirling despite it being a “finding yourself” story combined with a May/December romance which generally aren’t my ideas of a good time. Maybe I should pull the trigger on the new one – at this point it’s pretty apparent that this is an author who might do no wrong for me.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler

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4 Stars

I’m not exactly what you’d call a Jane Austen fangirl like the folks in this book club, but I do have a sort of an unhealthy relationship with Pride and Prejudice along with any and all of its gazillions of retellings. So why did it take me so long to read this book? Well, basically it’s all Fern's fault. Have you ever been terrified of reading anything else by an author after having sort of a lifechanging moment with the first thing you read by them and you just can’t imagine their other stuff even being able to hold a candle to the other book’s greatness? Yeah, that’s pretty much what my problem was with this – despite it having a title that pretty much guaranteed the story within would provide at least a modicum of enjoyment for me.

It may have taken years, but I finally decided to nut up and read this out on the deck earlier this year when it wasn’t hot enough to fuse my underwear to my ass. I don’t know what I was scared of. It was exactly what I hoped it would be with characters who I would love know in real life. And while it certainly does not compare to We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves it shouldn’t have to. They are totally different stories that I wouldn’t even categorize in the same genre.


The Wife Stalker by Liv Constantine

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1.5 Stars

The Wife Stalker took its place at the top of my TBR over the eleventy other library books I have checked out due to the fact that after reading Your House Will Pay I was suffering a severe book hangover and needed some sort of buffer before moving on. These fillers can come in the shape of romcoms, thrillers or chicklit and trust me when I say I read a lot – and I mean A. L.O.T. – of “trash” and absolutely dig it most of the time.

The premise here was one that I should have loved. Husband and wife have a couple of kids and things are going well enough until a new chick comes into the picture. That’s all you get because between that one sentence and the title you probably can figure out where it goes from there. The low rating here comes from me whining to myself and making snarky notes on the Kindle the entire time I was reading it until the twist came near the end to make sense of things. These characters were totally undeveloped and the timeline was sooooooo fast-forwarded that I just couldn’t let myself get taken away by the over-the-top storyline like I usually can. Not to mention the extra twist that got thrown in (why authors???? why?????) And the dialogue? We’re talking a literary merit of something like . . . . .

I’m rounding up to 2 Stars for the very last paragraph that brought just a teensie bit of redemption and for the fact that I breezed through this in an evening.

Monday, July 27, 2020

We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker

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5 Stars

I’m not a child. I am an outlaw.

A couple of years back I picked up an early copy of a book that no one was really talking about and that little book (She Rides Shotgun) ended up being the best thing I read all year. I picked up this little book that no one is really talking about yet because my friend Shelley sent me a DM saying she thought it would be right up my alley and since she isn’t much of a bookpusher I took her seriously and requested a copy pronto. And then . . . . . 

While not really alike as far as comparisons go, much like in She Rides Shotgun, We Begin at the End featured a storyline with a dead mama, steering clear of a potential bad guy, lots of grit and a leading lady in the form of a young girl that I absolutely fell in love with. This will easily go down as one of the best things I read this year (and it’s the time of the ‘Rona, so your girl be reading ALL. THE. DAMN. TIME.) and will be one of the rarities that stick with me for years to come.

All the Stars and highly recommended.

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

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

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2 Stars

I’m pretty sure the wrongreading I did here was 100% my own fault. After being blown away by American Gods ages ago my hopes were super high that this would be yet another wild ride through Gaiman’s imagination as he revamped Norse tales from the olde days of yore. Now, these little snippets of ancient history did feature our favorite pals such as . . . .

But sadly, it was not a reimagining of the past, just a simple retelling instead. On my American Gods review, I said I was hoping for a Dogma type of experience and got just what I had hoped for. This one was like an encyclopedic rendering of Norse mythology that had me like . . . .

Gaiman is waaaaaaay too creative and talented to push out a basic regurge.

However, this knocked a pretty old selection off the TBR as well as was a recommendation for the library’s Summer Reading Program, so I’m still calling it a win. One of these days I’ll be able to go and get my free swag, right??? I’ve probably read 20 books at this point instead of the 5 required to obtain the major award.