Friday, February 28, 2020

Wilder Girls by Rory Power

2.5 Stars

I managed to avoid this one for quite some time despite it making the rounds on all the booknerd social media sites. At first it was mainly due to the cover. I know I’m in the minority, but seriously . . . .

Also when it comes to dystopian YA I have kind of been there done that and am aware that it’s not really my wheelhouse. That being said, take my opinion with several grains of salt.

Approximately a year and a half ago a pox – or a Tox, the case was here – fell upon the Raxter School for Girls. Since then, the girls have been undergoing a transformation of sorts. From scales to gills to double spines all kinds of changes have been happening. Since I’m horrible, I could not stop picturing . . . .

But that’s beside the point. The girls have lived in government-ordered quarantine, relying on the Navy to drop off supplies. To say the island has gone wild is an understatement.

That’s enough of a synopsis. This is supposedly about two friends going to find the third member of their trio when she goes missing, but that happens at like the dang near end and even though it's never indicated this was going to be the beginning of a series, it obviously 100% is which made me say . . . .

Good things were no instalove, the Tox itself was briefly explained as well as how it originated and superbadawful things creeping in the woods always bring the potential for edge-of-your-seat good times. Bad things were I did not like any of the three main characters, the aforementioned open ending, it was seriously lacking in terms of action and suspense despite all of the threats beyond the safety of the school fence, and the writing style ranged from trying way too hard to being overly simplistic. 2.5 Stars because it wasn’t terrible by any means, but rounding down because readers need to know that they are not dealing with a standalone.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

The Honey Don't List by Christina Lauren

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3.5 Stars

3.5 Stars

I bumped The Honey Don’t List to the top of the queue thinking it had already been published and I was late to the party. After I finished I realized it doesn’t come out until mid-March so yay to me for being such an overachiever. Christina Lauren is a duo that I request every time I see a new release. While their stories don’t necessarily knock my socks off, they are always a decent way to kill some time – especially when life gets too lifey and I need something light.

This kicks off with a fictionalized version of HGTV’s resident sweethearts. Married 26 years with two adult children, Rusty and Melly Tripp built a home remodeling dynasty in Jackson Hole, Wyoming on nothing but hard work and turned it into the Comb + Honey brand found at local Targets and Walmarts nationwide. Melly is known for making the most of a tiny space by utilizing modular design – I automatically thought of the tiny house shotgun bungalow with a retractable staircase . . . . .

Rusty is known for – well . . . . .

Now the couple is getting ready to launch a brand new television series. The only problem? What if instead of being like this . . . . .

Behind the scenes things look more like . . . . .

And much much worse.

Enter James and Carey – Rusty and Melly’s personal assistants. Their job is to basically babysit the duo in order to keep the truth of their failing marriage out of the press until the launch of the new series.

Notice how I talked ZERO about the main characters who are destined to fall in love? Yeah, this one will either work for you or it won’t. It was light on the romance as well as the angst and kind of written for a specific audience – those who are obsessed with Chip and Joanna Gaines (a/k/a me). I read it from start to finish yesterday and had a fine time doing so. I thought James was a bit of a pussy, but since I’m a gal who generally seeks out grunting cavemen motorcycle riders to be my book boyfriends, you should probably take that opinion with a grain of salt.

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

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

The Slow Burn by Kristen Ashley

3 Stars

Let’s get real honest. There’s only one reason I read Kristen Ashley . . . .

If you don’t like alpha men and caveman style dialogue featuring few words and a lot of growling she’s not going to be for you. Ashley is an author who most definitely a believer of the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mindset following a formula featuring the same sort of language, fella, instalove, and much of the sexytimes in each of her books. This time around the leading male was Tobias (the brother of Johnny from book #1 The Hookup). The leading lady was Addie (who just so happened to be the sister of Izzy from that same book). She’s a single mother struggling to make ends meet and his attraction to her is somehow verboten because stupid trope rules and all. Rest your pretty heads, though, because despite the title indicating this to be a “slow burn” these two end up banging by the quarter mark. Basically it’s a matter if you like the damsel in distress being rescued by a knight on a white horse. That’s not my fave, but bottom line is it still gets the job done if you know what I mean . . . .

Way to keep it classy, huh? Good thing I didn’t post this on a major religious holiday or anything . . . wait, whoops ; )

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

What Lies Between Us by John Marrs

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4 Stars

Boy oh boy was I looking forward to this one. I mean first – HOUSE COVER =

Second – SOMEONE CHAINED UP IN THE MUTHAFUCKING ATTIC! Um yes and you might receive automatic 5 Stars.

Third, I read The Passengers not that long ago and that dang thing was about autonomous cars murdering people so at this point all I can say is John Marrs – you are a freaking T.R.E.A.S.U.R.E.

I will say due to the fact that I watch only reality housewives and things on the Lifetime Stabby Stabs for Women I was a bit scared I was going to find this . . . .

I mean my level of crazy isn’t exactly the same as most people’s level of crazy (except for my Goodreads friends – they all batshit too). But great news! I haven’t had this much fun with someone locked up in a house since . . . .

That being said, I could absolutely see every single one of the big reveals coming well beforehand. Luckily it didn’t diminish my enjoyment at all. Read this when you are looking for an escape. I picked it up after having a couple of real butthole days at work and it totally turned my frown upside down. Yes, it’s 100% farfetched and ridiculous and whatever else Ron 2.0 might say about it, but hey . . . .

Thank you NetGalley for the advanced copy in exchange for my review. This was a fun time.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin

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3.5 Stars

I’m a little late to the party on this one and didn’t get around to reading it before its Pub Day. But as I always say: better late than pregnant never. For those of you who don’t dip your toes in the Young Adult pond, Foul is Fair is what would happen if . . . .

Had a baby with . . . .

And . . . . .

The result???

The story here is one of revenge after Elle goes to a party in order to celebrate her Sweet 16, is violated and comes out reborn as Jade. For those of you who are squeamish, please note no graphic details are provided and all atrocities happen off screen. That’s not to say this is a book for everyone. Those of you who would be triggered should be well aware this isn’t for you. The same goes for the writing. You’ll know right away if you are going to hate it.

This was a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge winner amongst my friends. I think I need to admit straight up revenge stories just aren’t my jam. And when a shoutout to an old fave like Heathers is added to the marketing campaign I can’t help but hope for a bit of dark humor. This was a solid first experience for me with this author, but maybe my hopes were set a bit too high. I think I need to check out her first book – a high school version of Henry VIII and his six wives.

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

The Tuesday Night Club by Agatha Christie

3 Stars

The Tuesday Night Club is a super shorty-short by Agatha Christie about a group of six folks (Miss Marple included – in her debut before she became the focus of her own book series) who decide to create a club that will meet weekly in order to discuss unsolved mysteries. The first case covered being . . . .

After a supper of canned lobster and a dessert of canned trifle, three people become ill and Mrs Jones is found dead.

You’re probably thinking what I was thinking – no mystery to be solved here, pretty simple answer . . . .

But you would be wrong.

Confession time: I picked this up because I am addicted to the stupid-as-hell-so-please-don’t-judge-me Aurora Teagarden movies that can be found on the Hallmark Murders & Mysteries channel (I’ve read a goodly chunk of the book versions as well). At some point I noticed the credits naming this little story as the inspiration behind Charlaine Harris’ series so I had to check it out. Obviously at less than 30 pages this wasn’t any sort of life changer, but it was a fun way to spend 15 minutes and discover where one of my favorite guilty pleasures sprouted from.

Friday, February 21, 2020

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez

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5 Stars

If you follow me, by now you should be well aware that my reaction to “Dirtgate” pretty much amounted to . . . .

However, I am a bitch who puts her money (or library card) where her mouth is and not only read (and loved) American Dirt, but also 100% sought out #ownvoices selections as well. Can’t say that I’ve noticed many of the bandwagon jumpers practicing what they preach and blowing up the intertubes with posts actually discussing books they have read themselves, but I digress.

I’m not going to bother “reviewing” this book (or even giffing it up to the extreme like I usually do). It has a 4+ rating, was a National Book Award nominee and there are thousands of other reviews. I’m simply going to say that this is one of the best Young Adult books I’ve ever read and I have never connected with a character like I did this one. Her prickly personality was like reading a biography about myself LOL . . . .

“If I end up being an office lady who wears slacks and changes into white sneakers to walk home from the train, I’ll just jump off a skyscraper.”

Preach girl.

We may have come from different cultures, socioeconomic backgrounds and had different skin colors, but holy crap was Julia someone I could relate to. I love a good coming of age story. Combine that with a bunch of family stuff and that’s what I call winner winner chicken dinner. And then . . .

Happiness is a dandelion wisp floating through the air that I can’t catch. No matter how hard I try, no matter how fast I run, I just can’t reach it. Even when I think I grasp it, I open my hand and it’s empty.

Oh lord this was good. Every Star and recommended to everyone from teens on up.

Okay, there's no way I can leave without addressing one of the biiiiiiiiig complaints about American Dirt was that every trope was troped for "tragiporn" purposes and no cliché was left untouched (*cough the Quinceañera cough*). Wellllllllll, lemme just say that EV.ER.Y.THANG. that happened in AD also happened in this one up to and including the party. Oh internet trolls, you are TERRIBLE at your job.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Pretty in Punxsatawney by Laurie Boyle Crompton

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2.5 Stars

If the Super Bowl confirmed one thing, it’s that Bill Murray is truly a national treasure. Twenty-seven years later and this commercial was everything . . . .

It’s no wonder I immediately had to snag this from the library as soon as I heard about it late last year. As the title suggests, Pretty in Punxsatawney is a mash-up of . . . .

And . . . .

The leading lady is even named Andie and she gets mad props for pointing out the one glaring fault of Pretty in Pink . . . .

I realize Andie made this prom outfit all by herself, and she was combining two very different styles, but the dress Iona gave her looked sort of cool on its own. This thing looks like it was sewn together by an ape.


The premise here is that Andie finds herself on a loop repeating the same day over and over again during her Senior year in high school. She believes she won’t be able to move on until she experiences “true love’s first kiss” but along the way she also finds herself helping her fellow students blur the lines of her oh-so-very-John-Hughes-movie-sorts-of-stereotype-high-school.

I’m obviously not the target demographic for this one, so I’m going to stick to a middle-of-the-road type of rating and round up to a three. As a mom I absolutely hated Andie’s mother and would like to give her negative eleventy trillion stars and I also didn’t like the idea that Andie started each day by attempting to be someone new. Young girls don’t need more of that message – just stay true to who you are and eventually you’ll find your people. And now I’ll excuse myself so you can all say what needs to be said behind my back – things like . . . .


Wednesday, February 19, 2020

A Bad Day for Sunshine by Darynda Jones

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3 Stars

100% honesty. I requested this as soon as I saw the cover. C’mon, it’s soooooo good.

Then I noticed who the author was and I read a few of her Charley Davidson books waaaaaaaaay back in the day. My previous experience along with the title indicating “Sunshine” might not be a great thing had my brain thinking this was going to be the story of a vampire Sheriff . . . . .

Don’t you judge me. Charley was a dang grim reaper so it wasn’t that much of a stretch. However, turns out Sunshine is a regular gal, not a supe. My second thought was this was going to be another love triangle that made me want to kill things, but I turned out to be 0 for 2 on my predictions because one (Quincy) was simply her BFF and the other (Levi) will absolutely end up being the target of some sort of hot/cold/on/off thing in books to come. Another dude did a drive-by of sorts in order to satisfy all of us perverted housewives, but it wasn’t anything worth putting your good underpants on for. The crime to be solved here was about a missing 14-year old girl and three days to find her. There were also other things to deal with like the local flasher and a possible custody battle of sorts regarding a rooster named Puff Daddy.

Ugh this boooooooooook . . . .

Since I absolutely cannot wait for the second one to come out that should say pretty much all that needs to be said to my friends. (Spoiler Alert to those who don’t know me: Homegirl generally don’t read past #1 in a series.) That being said, this book certainly did plenty to irritate me. The “secret” that was hinted about for eternity before finally being revealed was super obvious to pretty much anyone who has ever read a book before so that sure as heck shouldn't have dragged on forever. Also, I get that it’s Darynda Jones’ calling card of sorts to have sassy dialogue, but enough is enough at some point. I mean, this was supposed to be about a potential kidnapping, I could have lived without the Lenny Bruce impersonation. And without spoiling the ending . . . . .

There is a chance that I will have to set things on fire if the story goes in the direction that is clearly being hinted at. It’s gotta be a bait and switch, right? Please???????? I’m going with 3 Stars since I maintain hope this series will be a winner.

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

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Hard Cash Valley by Brian Panowich

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5 Stars

When it comes to hick lit, Brian Panowich is 100% an author who can . . . . .

And with a best pal who always has my back, I’m sure to be at the front of the line when it comes to requesting an early copy. As the blurb states, Hard Cash Valley once again takes readers back to Bull Mountain, but this time the focus isn’t on the Burroughs clan. This go around deals with a fella named Dane Kirby, a part-time employee of the GBI who gets called in to an investigation down in . . . .

Featuring a dead small-time criminal who bit off more than he could chew and (more importantly) a “beat the clock” sort of search for the dead dude’s missing little brother who is being tracked by some seriously bad hombres due to his uhhhhhhhhhhh special abilities . . . . .

Not much more can be said without spoiling all the fun, but let’s just say this kid wasn’t counting cards, the local Farm (as well as the people who run it) ain’t exactly what those of us in flyover country are familiar with, there’s a whole bunch of characters who get introduced and all of them have more to offer the story than first impressions would offer. My notes say “every character is amazing aside from poor depressed Dane.” Not that Dane didn’t have stuff to offer – it’s just not stuff like this . . . .

“Tater – Boner – Rooster – everyone up here sounds like they were named after cartoons. Is there a Tweety Bird out here, too?”

Now Ned looked offended. “Watch your mouth, Velasquez. Tweety is good people. No need to trash talk good folk.”

So as I said above, aside from Debbie Dane Downer and an ending that got just a weeeeeee bit sappy, this was everything I could have hoped for. The fact that I read it in one sitting and upon finishing went around my house declaring things like . . . .

Means it gets all the Stars. Keep writing ‘em, Mr. Panowich, ‘cause I wanna keep reading ‘em.

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

Friday, February 14, 2020

The Regrets by Amy Bonnoffons

3.5 Stars

What do I even say about The Regrets? Really the only way to even describe it for me is a “literary love story.” It’s certainly falls into the category of . . . .

And it’s a little bizarre to me that the above blast from the past courtesy of Sade has her as a mermaid because even though it made me all . . . .

The Pisces is another ill-fated little romance read that comes to mind when I think of who might want to give this one a go.

The story here is of Rachel and Thomas. She sees him at the bus stop for weeks on end, always with a letter to mail. Eventually she decides to follow him and they ride all the way to the end of the line together. He informs her that some bad things have happened to him that he’s not allowed to talk about and that he will only be in town for about another month. Her best pal assumes he’s either married or a criminal. She has a moment that I have no idea was intentional or not, but very reminiscent of . . .

And it truly tickled me.

He has a set of rules that are supposed to be followed, much like . . . .

But, boys will be boys and . . . .

That leads to a whooooooooole nutha set of unforeseen complications.

Again, not a book for everyone but I knew I wanted it as soon as I saw the cover. Absolutely no regrets here . . .

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

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Don't You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane

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4.5 Stars

HAPPY GALENTINE’S DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You know . . . .

So I know what you’re thinking. A day for the ladies and you pick a romance book? From the cover and description you might think this is your average romance – or an homage to The Breakfast Club . . . .

But that would be selling this soooooooooooooooo short. Yes, Georgina and Lucas eventually got their happily ever after for now, but I ain’t kidding when I say eventually. Like nearly the last page kind of eventually. And in all honesty, the entire premise of him “not remembering” her even though she clearly thought of him as her first love and was willing to present him with her V-Card would have infuriated me if that would have been the focus of the story because . . . . .

Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut, it wasn’t the focus and this was just so great and handled a couple of different serious issues in such a “user friendly” sort of way and I loved pert near every lady in this from Georgina to her sister Esther to her friends Clem and Rav and Jo to Nana Hogg (talk about LOOOOOOOVE – total HBIC) and Kitty. Oh lord, Kitty was a riot . . . .

“Oh my God, no one does that, what am I, some sort of Victorian person?! Yeah, like, I wrote my diary in my big death nightie and, like, ate mutton pie and that. Wrote it with one of those pens that are feathers.”

“What the hell is a big death nightie?!”

“Those nighties that ghosts wear and they put old people in. You know. Like in a Muppet Christmas Carol.”

“Hahahaha. The Muppet Christmas Carol. RIP Charles Dickens.”

“I know who Charles Dickens is!”

“Do you? My bad.”

“He’s the bear, he tells the story.”

I didn’t like Georgina’s mother much until nearly the end because she was a bit of a twat (I can say that since it’s British, right?), but she got her redemption arc. And Esther’s sweet husband and Dev and Lucas were all great too – and Keith . . . .

It was truly just a nearly perfect little comedy for me (with a couple of aforementioned serious undertones) that made me chuckle again and again and really celebrate how great gals are. Netflix needs to option this yesterday so I can watch it on a loop in my PJs until the end of time.

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