Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Take A Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

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5 Stars

Let’s take a minute to address my reaction to the FIRST BOOK IN THIS SERIES and the fact that . . . . .

I mean, it’s not always the case, but when it comes to romance series that focus on different main characters each book I try my darndest to not throw the baby out with the bathwater before giving an author another chance. Unless said author made me want to kick a puppy or something because their stuff was complete crap. That wasn’t the case with Talia Hibbert and the Brown Sisters series – I thought Chloe was insufferable in the first book and her beau Red definitely didn’t make me want to drop my panties anytime soon, but there was some potential there for sure.

This second go ‘round featured Chloe’s sister Dani agreeing to a fake dating bit of tropey yum yum with Zaf. And it had everything I felt was missing in the first book. I looooooooooved Dani and wanted to bang the weiner right off of Zaf. Not to mention this was seriously LOL sort of funny at times. Pretty much everything I expect in a fluffy summer selection wrapped up in one of these adorable cartoony covers. I’m giving it all the stars because it was just the escape I was hoping for.

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

Monday, June 29, 2020

Anna K: A Love Story by Jenny Lee

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3 Stars

I never bothered picking up Anna Karenina – not even when . . . . .

There is absolutely zero shame in my game when it comes to admitting that 1,000 page books are not my jam and also that . . . . .

I’ve also never watched an episode of Gossip Girl which is maybe unfortunate because that probably would have been my idea of a good time and I totally ate up the reality version of it a few years ago when it aired on Bravo . . . .

Ummmmmm, notsamuch. More like I love a good dumpster fire.

Truth be told this was all over the interwebs a while back and I have FOMO to the nth degree and could not resist the urge to pick it up. While obviously not a literary classic like its inspiration, I found this to be kind of a delightful timesuck. 3 Stars for the story, 1 Star for the fugass cover.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Always the Last to Know by Kristan Higgins

5 Stars

Oh Kristan Higgins . . . . .

I am super late to this party, but I’ve been making up for lost time and this is the fourth novel I’ve read by this author and every single one of them have been winners for me.

The story here is a “maybe you can go home again” sort where daughter Sadie returns to her hometown after her father suffers a severe stroke. The narration is presented by three different women – the aforementioned Sadie, her sister Juliet and their mother Barb (with the occasional bit offered by John, the father), and gives each of their personal histories as well as the familial one as a whole. Basically, I looked like this when reading . . . . .

I love family stories, I love humor, I love a bit of romance and I really really really loved Barb and her best pal Caro. If you don’t have a Caro in your life, you need to rectify that situation immediately.

Note that this is about as “Chick Litty” as it gets, so if you have an aversion, stay faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar away. Me, on the other hand???? Well . . . . .

I’m giving this one all the stars.

Monday, June 22, 2020

The House That Pinterest Built by Diane Keaton

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4 Stars

I can’t remember where I originally saw this book a couple of weeks ago, but I knew if the library had a copy I definitely had to check it out. I mean just the idea that Annie Freakin’ Hall could become addicted to Pinterest like me was a mindblower. I love a catchy title and coffee table books full of pretty pictures so this was an absolute win for me. That being said, we certainly do not share the same design aesthetic. Really, the only thing I have in common with Diane Keaton is . . . .

She’s just too cool for school and I am one step removed from the average Pinterest addict which features the most basic of white girls who are into things like . . . .

And . . . .

The true Star generator for this book was the tiny little quotes section at the end . . . . .

That brought the lolz because they were all the same things I was thinking while flipping through the pages. Kudos to Keaton for at least being self-aware.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The Trouble With Hating You by Sajni Patel

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3 Stars

Around Day 4,742 of lockdown I found myself getting a little burned out on reading and had to look for another way to pass the time instead. Oh, and for the first time in 20+ years I was living in a truly C.L.E.A.N. house and had a yard full of green grass and flowers so homegirl was truly in dire straits. That was the moment when I discovered . . . . .

The plethora of Indian romantic comedies on Netflix. Ummmmmm yes please. I’ll have all of those.

As you can see from the 40 or so books marked as “currently reading” (despite me being a one book at a time kind of gal), I’m back in the swing of things and my library card pretty much has smoke coming off of it at this point from overuse. Buuuuuuuut, I still like a romcom (and I lean toward the fade-to-black PG-13 sort in my movie choices despite being a reader of porn) so when I saw this book I knew it would be right up my alley. The Trouble With Hating You followed a trope that was used in many of the romcoms I have viewed so far – the “our parents want to arrange our marriage to each other but thanksbutnothanksokaybye” – which you know means they will eventually fall in love on their own. A super cute way to waste a few hours for sure.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

More Better Deals by Joe R. Lansdale

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2 Stars

I know they can’t all be winners, but for this unpolished turd of a cliché with hardly a story propelling it forward to have come from the mind of the man who created Hap and Leonard and who is capable of writing some seriously stellar grit lit is practically a crime. If you’re looking for some modern noir, might I recommend dipping your toe in the lady pond and picking up Sunburn, because this one????

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

One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London

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3 Stars

Despite being a true purveyor of trash television, I come here confessing to all of you that I have never watched even one episode of either The Bachelor or The Bachelorette. From what I can see via the commercials, SNL pretty much has nailed it on the head when it comes to its skits regarding this franchise. The females became super famous for things like . . . .

And now have lucrative careers such as . . . .

Who have zero chance of retaining their position on the show if they confess to things like . . . . .

Or don’t wish to engage in behavior like . . . .

The only excuse I have for not being addicted to this garbage is that it is too time consuming and in the evenings my family takes over all of the remote controls for various sportsball and shoot-em-up type of viewing while I read. When I saw this book (and that cover – such a cute cover) offered up for an early peek I couldn’t resist. And as a chubby gal, I am ALL. ABOUT. the inclusion of plus-sized leads in my romcoms. I kept picturing . . . . .

Oh Liam. You get it, girl. Such yum.

Where was I? Oh yeah . . . . .

Anyway, the potential Mr. Right here wasn’t a Hemsworth, but nearly as good . . . .

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, One to Watch is the story of Bea, a size 20 influencer (I know, internet famous = barf, but she’s not a total asshole so it’s okay) who rages out on the interwebs about the lack of diversity in fake dating shows like Main Squeeze only to be offered a chance as the next star. Can a girl who only signed up to change the narrative and take her brand to the next level find love?

I read this in a couple of hours out on the deck one Saturday before temps started reaching hot lava levels and thought it was a perfectly fine way to kill some time.

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

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

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4 Stars

I’m going to be completely forthright and let you all know that I never had any intention of reading this book until I watched peaceful protestors get teargassed in my city. When I logged on to the library website to see what recommended selections might be available for the Summer Reading Program (and my endless quest to win free mugs/glasses bi-annually) the main page featured books about race instead. This book had no waiting list so I checked it out.

Between the World and Me is a letter from Coates to his adolescent son. It is a matter-of-fact statement of what it is like to be a black man in the United States at this moment in time and offers no promises of a fairytale ending or utopian future to come. His observations hit the nail right on the head . . . . .

Never forget that we were enslaved in this country longer than we have been free. Never forget that for 250 years black people were born into chains—whole generations followed by more generations who knew nothing but chains. You must struggle to truly remember this past in all its nuance, error, and humanity. You must resist the common urge toward the comforting narrative of divine law, toward fairy tales that imply some irrepressible justice. The enslaved were not bricks in your road, and their lives were not chapters in your redemptive history. They were people turned to fuel for the American machine. Enslavement was not destined to end, and it is wrong to claim our present circumstance—no matter how improved—as the redemption for the lives of people who never asked for the posthumous, untouchable glory of dying for their children

The truth is that the police reflect America in all of its will and fear, and whatever we might make of this country’s criminal justice policy, it cannot be said that it was imposed by a repressive minority. The abuses that have followed from these policies—the sprawling carceral state, the random detention of black people, the torture of suspects—are the product of democratic will.

“It only takes one person to make a change,” you are often told. This is also a myth. Perhaps one person can make a change, but not the kind of change that would raise your body to equality with your countrymen.

Again, to be completely honest, Coates’ writing style is not the type I enjoy. Most likely it’s because I’m not intelligent enough to truly “get” it and I fully admit it – I just appreciate a more direct delivery and “purple” prose is not my idea of a good time. I would definitely struggle with his fictional work for sure and will most likely avoid it in the future since I’m not a reader who seeks out books intentionally just to complain about them. However, the message presented is worthy of all the stars, which is why it is receiving so many from me.

As I said above, I picked this up after watching the current state of events in the United States. I fully admit I’m no sort of activist. I don’t even participate in social media aside from here and Instagram which are both solely dedicated to talking books. I am not a fan of political rants conducted by Keyboard Commandos, have made that very clear in the past, and do not want to ever be mistaken for one. But the one thing I can do????

I will never understand what it’s like to be a black person, but the very least I (and all of us) can do is listen . . . . .


Monday, June 1, 2020

I Found You by Lisa Jewell

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2 Stars

First day of June – first book finished for June annnnnnnnnd . . . . .

It’s a swing and a miss!

I’m not going to say much because I fucking looooooooooooooooooooved Watching You and The Family Upstairs
was pretty much A-OK with me too. This had a temporary amnesia trope which . . . .

Two different timelines . . . .

And not two but THREE storylines which appear to be unrelated, but duh of course they are all interconnected somehow. Add to that a main character who I thought deserved a pretty solid punch in the throat for being absolutely horrible at adulting and that is 2 Stars at best.

I’ll gladly pick up whatever Lisa Jewell releases next due to me having such a great experience with her other stuff and simply file this away as “you can’t please all the people all of the time.”