Thursday, May 28, 2020

Steak by Mark Schatzker


Remember the olde days when meat didn’t cost $87.00 a pound? Yeah, me neither. Anyway, here’s a #tbt (that’s Throwback Thursday to all you Boomers) from a time before quarantine and pandemics and pay cuts . . . . .

Good news is the library is back open for pick-ups so you know this a-hole’s trigger fingers are going nuts requesting allllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll the books today.

(No rating on this one because my non-synopsis reading self thought it was a cookbook, but it was literally a nonfiction story about a dude and steak.)

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Godshot by Chelsea Bieker

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3.5 Stars

“You smell like hell rolled in going nowhere fast.”

To put it real bluntly, if it’s about a cult then I’m gonna read it. I actually didn’t request Godshot until I found out it was culty. The cover had me thinking it was going to be trash like Glitter - remember that????


And if I would have read the blurb I probably would have avoided it because White Oleander was not my cup of tea and there’s zero chance this is the result of that book having a baby with Geek Love. (I haven’t read Cruddy yet, but I’m fixin’ to go request it from the library now that I am allowed to go in there and pick stuff up again.)

Anyway, somehow in passing I found out this was about a cult and then I read it the very next day. The story here centers around 14-year old Lacey May and her community of Peaches, California – a town who truly believes “In Vern We Trust” – even while living through a drought of biblical proportions. But this is more than just a story of a creepy preacher and a dying town. More importantly it’s a story about mother/daughter relationships. From Lacey May and her own excommunicated mother to Grandma Cherry who says things like . . . .

And . . . . .

“Don’t touch them animals in there. Them’s my specials.”

(There’s probably a chance I’ll grow up to be her which I realize is terrifying.)

There was so much more to this book than I had imagined when starting. And the drought????

I think I drank a gallon of water while reading this.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk

1 Star

So I accidentally did a thing today and read the Nobel Prize Winner for Literature without knowing that’s what I had chosen until I started it. All I knew beforehand was that title was pretty much giving me life. And now I’m done and all I have to say is . . . . .

Who sits on the board or whatever it is that decides who gets this award? PETA????

If you know me you know I’d usually rather do anything than talk about politics. The one thing I enjoy even less? Having a political agenda forced down my throat via Fiction. As a meatasaurus I really wasn’t on board with the message that hunting (for FOOD – not sport) is evil. Yeah, sorry bruh, not gonna happen.

Go read Sam’s review if you want more words. All I can say is this one was not for me.

And before any of you vegan treehuggers get your panties in a twist due to my strange addiction as pictured in my profile, rest assured that they were like adoptions from the local animal shelter. I was raised with a hunter and have eaten my fair share of meat not purchased at the local grocery, but all of my “friends” who reside in my reading room were castoffs and rejects acquired from thrift stores and consignment shops.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Date me, Bryson Keller by Kevin van Whye

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3 Stars

If you know me you are aware that I’m not much of a television watcher. Especially since the invention of subscription services - mainly because I’m terrified that I might become one of these people . . . .

At this point in quarantine I’m finding myself easily getting through a book in a day and since I am an old lady my eyeballs be B.U.R.N.I.N.G. and begging for a reprieve. Now comes dilemma #2 – the husband and I have remained (fairly) happily married for nearly 25 years due to the fact that we accept that we are complete opposites and don’t attempt to fix things that aren’t broken. I’m the reader, he’s the television/movie watcher. We come together for the occasional Survivor episode, but he pretty much just wants to watch shoot ‘em ups or films where only about five other words aside from “fuck” are used in the dialogue and me???? Well . . . . .

And if you think there’s any chance of our old fat asses indulging in some “Netflix and Chill” you are sadly mistaken . . . .

The good news? Kindle not only provides me easy breezy reading at the push of a button, but I just discovered there’s also a Netflix app. Now we can sit in the same room, he can watch his mafia hitman do their thing and I can watch movies meant for teenagers.

And when I find myself needing moremoremoremoremore of the light and love while I’m trapped at my computer waiting for work requests to be emailed? That’s where books like this come in. A tried and true trope of “dating on a dare” turned into a possible lurrrrrrv match. This time starring two boys. It’s just the thing my old miserly heart looks for in a teenage romcom so I thought it was adorable.

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

Friday, May 15, 2020

Mystery Man by Kristen Ashley

4 Stars

Last week I discovered Tik Tok and now most of my afternoons are spent looking like this . . . .

I figured it was high time to stop reading actual books and get something porny. Kristen Ashley is an obvious go-to girl as I tend to at least tolerate her characters/storylines and the pornbrarian has a bevy of options available for download. What I did not know was this was the introduction to the Chaos motorcycle club books that I have been splooshing over for years.

Mystery Man is just that – a dude who picked our leading lady Gwen up in a bar a year and a half ago and who has been making occasional nighttime pleasure visits ever since. When Gwen finds herself caught up in a heap of trouble actually belonging to her sister, mystery man “Hawk” shows himself during daylight hours and stakes a claim on Gwen as his official woman. There’s only one problem – or make that two – Tack and Lawson, who both not only happen to have an involvement with the trouble brewing, but also an interest in our leading lady.

So there’s the basic plot, now let’s get to the important stuff that makes people read this shit in the first place . . . . .

Okay, so first of all Cabe “Hawk” Delgado is some sort of former commando turned question-marky “good” guy who owns a security company, lives in a ginormous warehouse and drives hot cars. Basically, he’s . . . .

(Ranger from the Stephanie Plums if you don’t read all the literary classics like I do.)

And where there’s a Ranger, there has to be a Morelli, right? Enter Lawson the law man. (Think that’s lame? The other law guy’s name is Leo. Like Law Enforcement Officer? The creativity of KA is severely lacking.) When we meet him he’s described wearing a turtleneck so immediately all I could ever picture was . . . .

And in attempt to maybe do an anything you can do I can do . . . more of (????) there’s not two guys vying for Gwen’s attention, there’s . . . . .

Here comes Tack. He gets his own book with Motorcycle Man later that really started me on this downward spiral of KA Kool-Aid drinking, but here he’s just one of the gang. He’s described with short hair a long goatee of the salt-and-pepper variety, but I can’t help imagining this guy whenever he’s mentioned . . . .

And don’t you judge me because back in the day Kevin Nash was fucking fly for a white guy and he’s also about 7 feet tall and probably has a huge ding-a-ling so just STFU.

So there you have it regarding the dudes. My complaints about the substance are the same per usual when it comes to these books: (1) They are WAAAAAY too long (and a true LOL moment came when the author not only plugged her own series (Rock Chick), but also had Gwen (a book editor) say she would love a chance to work with the author. JFC – so do all of us readers. My kingdom for an editor to trim some of the fat!). (2) The are 100% formulaic with grunty caveman leading males who cannot speak in complete sentences and (again because they are never-fucking-ending) that gets tiring. (3) The sex is kind of terrible the more of them I read. I mean really these dudes are all supposed to be champs in the sack, but none of them know how to seal the deal without some external diddling???? (4) Break-up/make-up once is cool – three or four or seven times in one book is exhausting. But Imma still give it 4 Stars because I needed a timesuck and this delivered, I hopefully am not going to be on the predator watch list for continuing to watch questionably-aged young men airhump for me on the internets, I now know I will read the rest of this series, and Elvira was in this one.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

A Good Girl's Guide To Murder by Holly Jackson

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4 Stars

Welcome to this week’s episode of Conversations with Kelly and Mr. Kelly.

KELLY: Hey, get me THIS when you’re at Wal-Mart:

HUSBAND: Why do you need yarn?

KELLY: Don’t worry about it.

HUSBAND: I have the power this time around. I won’t buy it if you don’t tell me.

KELLY: I need it to make a murder board.

HUSBAND: What’s a . . . . . you know what? Never mind. I’ll get your yarn.

And then I went in for my one day in the actual office and made a murder board on my lunch break . . . .

Now on to the book. Five years ago Andie Bell went missing and when her boyfriend Sal Singh promptly offed himself it was just assumed he did it and the case was closed, despite never finding Andie’s body. Pip chooses to take this unsolved mystery on as her senior project. She’s old enough to realize in most cases the simplest answer is the correct one (and, come on, the husband/boyfriend always did it, right?), she has some theories she wants to research in order to get an A and her shoe-in to early admission at Columbia. Said theories?

(1) “A third party killed Andie, but Sal was somehow involved, like an accessory after the fact, helped bury the body. His guilt leads him to suicide, and the evidence found on him implicates him as the perpetrator, even though he isn’t the one who killed her. The actual killer is still at large.”

(2) “A third party killed Andie, and Sal had no involvement or awareness at all. His suicide days later wasn’t motivated by a murderer’s guilt, but maybe by a multitude of factors, including the stress of his girlfriend’s disappearance. The evidence found on him—the blood and the phone—have an entirely innocent explanation and are unrelated to her murder.”

(3) “Andie is murdered by a third party on the Friday. The killer knows that Sal, as Andie’s boyfriend, would make the perfect suspect. Especially as Sal seems to have no alibi for over two hours that night. The killer murders Sal and makes it look like a suicide. They plant the blood and the phone on his body.”

(4) “Theory four is the most far-fetched of the lot.” She took a deep breath and did it in one. “No one killed Andie Bell, because she isn’t dead. She faked her disappearance and then lured Sal out into the woods, murdered him, and dressed it up as a suicide. She planted her own phone and blood on him so that everyone believed she was dead. Maybe she needed to disappear for some reason.” 

So there you have it in a nutshell. Are any of these theories close to being accurate? Or was the case truly as open and shut as the police believed.

I hate to say things like “for young adult, this was real good” because I read a lot of young adult and a lot of it is real good. That being said, this might be “real good” even for people who don’t generally pick up YA. The mystery was solid, as was the writing, the pacing was great and it didn’t get super Scooby Doo. Of course, the characters did put themselves in harm’s way like morons occasionally and didn’t face nearly as many obstacles obtaining information/putting two and two together as would likely happen in the real world, but hey it ain’t true crime so that can’t really be a complaint as far as I’m concerned. This required waaaaaay less suspension of disbelief than the majority of whodunits I’ve read.

Monday, May 11, 2020

All This Could Be Yours by Jami Attenberg

3.5 Stars

All This Could Be Yours is the story of an estranged family who gather together (or avoid even further, in the case of one) at the family patriarch’s deathbed. This is dysfunction at its best as everyone comes to terms with either being raised by or married to a guy like . . . . .

Jamie Attenberg isn’t an author for everyone, but she’s an auto-request for me. Her stories aren’t necessarily life-changers, but boy oh boy are they full of characters you won’t soon forget and pages that practically turn themselves. If you like drama of the nuclear family sort, this may be a winner for you.

Sorry for the lack of “oomph” here. What can I say????

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

Friday, May 8, 2020

Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan

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4 Stars

I requested this thinking I was a total longshot at getting approved. I mean this Kevin guy might have a career in writing, know what I’m saying? If you know me you know I’m not super big on books in a series so I’ve been awaiting the day Kwan would break out of the Crazy Rich Asian world and introduce us to some new characters. I about pooped myself when I received the approval and couldn’t wait to start. Especially after coming off a book high with The Heart’s Invisible Furies I was 100% interested in something light and fun in order to cure my book hangover.

This may not have been a Rachel and Nick story, but from the cover alone I knew I was going to get to experience the opulence my real life contains zero of. You know what I’m talking about . . . .

What I did not know I was getting? A modernization of my favorite book of all time . . . .

That was like “pass the smelling salts please ‘cause momma ‘bout to pass out from excite.” You might want to take my rating with a grain of salt, because I am absolutely biased here. That being said, I read a lot of modernizations (usually P&P, but I do mix it up with Shakespeare retellings and others occasionally) and thought this one was well done and oh-so-much fun. It doesn’t come out until July (sorry), but that’s the perfect time to soak up some sun and read about rich people vacationing in Capri and the Hamptons anyway so add it to the TBR if you need to treat yo self.

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

Thursday, May 7, 2020

The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne

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5 Stars

HUSBAND: What’s your book about today?

ME: So bored we’re going to have book club, huh?

HUSBAND: *glares*

ME: Okay, okay. It’s just about a guy’s life from birth to death . . . but it’s fiction not a biography.

HUSBAND: That sounds terrible.

ME. . . . .


So that’s how quarantine is going in my house.

As for this book. I avoided it for eternity because . . . . .


Even though I totally loved A Ladder to the Sky. (Also, nearly 600 pages ain’t usually my jam.) But oh Mylanta. What a story! Cyril is officially my new best friend (to me he was a fictionalized David Sedaris and there is ZERO I will ever not love about that), and while this may not be a book that sucks everyone in, I don’t want to hear about it if it didn’t work for you because lockdown is makin’ me a little stabby and this story made me feel all the feels and now I have a raging book hangover. All the Stars.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Gods In Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson

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5 Stars

There are gods in Alabama: Jack Daniel's, high school quarterbacks, trucks, big tits, and also Jesus.
When it comes to the question of if I want another “maybe you can go home again” story, my answer is always a resounding . . . .

And when it comes to other items contained within these pages, my thoughts go a little summin’ like . . . . .

Meet Arlene. Back in the day she was quite the town bicycle (you know, because ERRRRRRYBODY got a ride). That’s okay, though because . . . . .

She also had her reasons, but you have to read the book to find out what they are. Arlene shook the dust off of her home town and never looked back . . . until a former schoolmate comes banging on her Chicago apartment door asking about a long-dead former high school football star. That’s the catalyst that drives Arlene (and her black beau) back to her home town and the sins of the past. Gods In Alabama is a story full of unforgettable characters, quirk, humor and heart and one that I can’t recommend enough.

My first Joshilyn Jackson was Never Have I Ever, which was a trashy delight. However, I would have never guessed this author would deliver such great Southern fiction (and I believe this one was her debut which is even crazier). I’m officially a fan and will be picking up all of her other books in the future.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

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4 Stars

This past week I have been in fear I was quickly approaching this moment . . . .

But then I discovered even old people can appreciate the wonderment which is Tik Tok so I think I’m good for at least another 30 days. I’ve been feeling sort of the same about books and trying to pick up stuff that’s been on the TBR that I really have no excuse to continue avoiding being as I’m locked in the house all damn day. Born a Crime is one of those selections. Full disclosure – I do not watch The Daily Show (not even when Jon Stewart was the host) and I have not had any other experiences with Trevor Noah either. But this book was highly recommended so I finally took a chance because if all of my friends jumped off a bridge, well . . . . .

And everyone was right so it worked out great. It’s extremely interesting and informative regarding growing up during apartheid. I would like to crawl around Noah’s mother’s brain for a bit and figure out why exactly she made some of the choices she made, but that’s a different book, I guess. I’ve been told repeatedly the audio is the way to go for this one, but unfortunately neither library had that option available so I had to settle for the paper (or paperless, as the case was) copy. This has a crazy high rating and a billion reviews. Not much more needs to be said by someone like me other than I’d recommend it if you enjoy reading biographies.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley

5 Stars

“When it comes to timing, love doesn’t give a flying fuck.”
Yesterday I was all like . . . .

And declaring my love for all things unlovable and stabby and druggy and culty and on and on and today I’m . . . . . .

I know, I know . . . .

My only excuse Fridays are for fluff and I totally woke up yesterday thinking it was Friday - and trust when I tell you that today I have a MAJOR sad that it’s Friday 2.0 because unlike my pals Craig and Smokey . . . . .

I do have a job and it requires me sitting and waiting in my “home office” for potential work requests when it is 80 degrees and sunny outside. If you’re in the same boat and are looking for an escape, this might be just what the doctor ordered (well, that and a shot of Lysol to disinfect your insides).

Close Enough to Touch is the story of Jubilee who was diagnosed with an allergy to human touch as a child and upon graduating high school . . . .

“I didn’t really go anywhere. I just sort of stayed in my house.”

“What – for a couple of months?”

“A little longer.”

“How long?”

“Nine years.”

When Jubilee’s mother dies (as well as the support checks she’s been sending Jubilee all that time) she’s forced to re-enter the world. It’s there that she finds a job, finds friends and finds Eric and Aja – a duo who share their own story in alternating chapters throughout the book.

This is a story that will make smiling your favorite. If you love quirky stories about life with a smidge of love thrown in, this is sure to be a winner. All the stars.