Category Archives: Uncategorized

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith

3.5 stars

I’m sure most of us have asked ourselves that question. Spent those millions in our heads as we went to sleep dreaming of hitting it big-time. (If I wasn’t so cheap that I never buy tickets..that’s beside the point.)

This story is about that big win really happening. To an eighteen year old boy. It’s Teddy’s birthday and his closest friends Leo and Alice are headed to his birthday party. Alice has been in secret love with Teddy for awhile now…so she buys a card and writes down how she feels. She feels that she needs something to go with it and buys a lottery ticket. Once at the party Teddy opens that card and presently loses it under his fridge. Yep, Teddy is pretty clueless.

Fast forward to the next morning. They realize that ticket was a winning ticket.

One hundred and forty million plus dollars.

Teddy and Alice both have had some hard knocks in life..so you totally are on board with something good happening to these characters.
But then money does change people, no matter how they think it will not.

This was a really cute book. The characters were all like-able..almost to the point where it was over the top.

I mean..dang they are kids. OF course Teddy was going to act a fool with that much money. I’m a whole lot older than he is and I would act a fool. Books for everyone! And Sephora would totally be bought and put in my basement.

I hate when youngun’s try to be more mature than I am. That cost this book a star.

Booksource: From the publisher in exchange for review.

 

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zenter

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

This author wrote one of my all time favorite books…The Serpent King. If you have not read that one just go now. I’ll wait.

So my expectations for this one were pretty high.

And it made me feel like an old hateful woman. I’ll get to why in a bit.

(This is not a spoiler either-so cool your drawers) Carver sent a text to his three best friends. Where are you guys? Text me back
That text is more than likely what caused his friends to be in a fatal accident. So Carver has the guilt. Then he finds out that he may actually face charges of negligent homicide for contributing to their deaths.

I hope no one reading this is still texting and driving. Because it gets me ragey.
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BUT the book is done well in telling the young adult world the dangers of that stuff. It hurts. Jeff Zentner brings hurt to the table like no other young adult author that I’ve ever read.
He writes the feelings that Carver and the remaining family members go through very much in a way that made even my hateful heart break.

Then I kinda got to the point where I felt like my feelings were being deliberately manipulated and I felt like the line got crossed.
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Another thing that really bothered me in this book was the fact that these boys were supposed to be seventeen. Then we get flashbacks (yes, I do know that some of them were years old)..where I felt like they were twelve. I have a teenage boy and have raised two others. I know what dumb-butts they can be..but then they tell the fart jokes and then you have a passage where the main character sounds like an educated adult? I reflect on the mundane rituals, laid end to end, that form a life. We work to make money and then hopefully use that money to buy ourselves memories with the people we love. Simple things that bring us joy.

There was good in this book though, no insta-love and no common tropes. Zentner is way better than that. I’m torn on how to rate this so I’m just going with the middle ground and giving it three stars. I’ll still read anything he writes.
Don’t milk me for tears next go round though.
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Booksource: Netgalley and Crown books in exchange for review.

Burying the Honeysuckle Girls by Emily Carpenter

Burying the Honeysuckle Girls by Emily Carpenter

Althea Bell has come home to Alabama, she is fresh off a stint in re-hab for a drug addiction she has battled her entire life. Once home she is not greeted with open arms. Her dying father is yelling about how she is evil and something about her turning 30. Her snobby sister-in-law and political brother Wynn both loathe seeing that she is home. They inform her that her father’s will specifies that she must go into a mental institute when she turns 30 or she will inherit nothing.

What is it about turning thirty with the women in her family? Several generations of her female relatives have all turned up at the local mental institute called Pritchford once the clock tolls on that birthday..and Althea’s thirtieth birthday is just days away.
She must battle with her addiction and her family’s determination that she needs locked away to find out the secrets her family shelters. (I totally wrote that fancy didn’t I?)

Althea’s battle with trying to prove she is not mentally unstable reads so well that I felt that trapped feeling along with her. She doubts herself at times and the people around her completely think she is borderline of finally crossing the line. What happened to parading our crazy on the front porch in the south is one thing I wondered about. (Not that it really happens-even in my state there is an old mental institute that has been long closed down because of some of the terrors that took place there.)

Anyways…that sinking feeling…
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Then there is a cigar box full of ‘clues’ that her mother left to her the night that she disappeared and later died. Along with the words “Find the honeysuckle girl.”
(That honeysuckle girl part drove me nuts turning pages to find out how it was going to wrap up.)

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The women in Althea’s family all had stories and they didn’t really turn out like they all hoped. The history of how women were treated in the time period made me pretty ragey on their asshole male relatives.
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Overall, this was a decent story that kept me reading. The only faults were that sometimes I felt like it went over the top and the ending wrap up seemed like a carbon copy of too many stories.

Booksource: Netgalley in exchange for review.

 

Shacking Up by Helena Hunting

Shacking Up by Helena Hunting

Ruby goes to her best friends sorta engagement party. She goes to the restroom and when she comes out she is kissed by Mr. Hot himself. She finds herself sorta kissing him back. Quit judging the girl. She had some alcohol. His date at the time..Whoreface is all ticked off because she was sure she was going to be hooking up with him. The thing is..he was sick and all doped up on some flu meds.

Ruby gets sick from kissing Mr. Awesome Kisser and ends up upchucking all over the director at her audition. So now she is faced with a few choices. She is losing her apartment so she can be homeless, go running back to her rich daddy, or try and snab a job at her besties fiance’s buddy’s house, house-sitting his pets.
You know who that is don’t you? Yep, and he is a former Rugby playing rich kid too. BUT I will give these few characters something. They are pretty likeable. Ruby doesn’t want to go to Daddy and will almost starve herself to keep from doing so and the hottie himself. (His name is Bancroft) is a pretty decent guy too. I likey.

Now I will admit..some of these characters, including the guy that her bestie is marrying are total douche heads.
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I wanted to punch his face.

But I digress. Ruby gets the job of taking care of Bane’s animals. Now I have the major wants of a new pet..thanks Ms. Author. My husband hates you now.
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Ruby and Bane don’t get the insta-love because he is leaving the country for five weeks and they do some video chatting that kinda had me wanting to mash their body parts together.
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But noooo this sucker is a slow burn. They don’t make the sexy time for a long time. BUT when it finally does happen…
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So..I’m starring this one a four. That’s pretty good in sexy time book. It had some funny parts (always a win) and two characters that I actually really liked.

I may actually start a new religion. The Church of Bane Cock.
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Booksource: Netgalley in exchange for review.

Soux Chef: 24 Hours on the Line by Michael Gibney

Sous Chef by Michael Gibney

I’ve always been fascinated with chefs. I’m a bit stalkerish as I watch or read anything I can get my hands on with them in it.

Rawr! They have food! Good food! And they make the magic and make dishes that I would never dream of. That I don’t have to clean up after.
Not that I can afford to eat in the 75 dollar per person restaurant.
I used to sorta fantasize about doing it myself but the hours are just unreal. Even if I wasn’t an old lady with a million kid. AND I know that all restaurants aren’t dream jobs. They work your butt off for low pay and no compensation.

This book gives you 24 hours in the life of a sous chef. Not the high glamour one that you see on TV. (Thank gawd)..this is the real deal.

You are with him when he goes in that morning to check the coolers.

Then when the pandemonium of service finally begins..you are in the heat of the action. I felt like I needed to be cutting up some vegetables at this point. Really, really fast.

Then when the day ends..there really isn’t much of a break.

I loved this inside look. The author addresses the reader as “you” so you feel like it’s you that observing and participating in this high action world. Now I just wish I could have tasted some of that food.

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

I know you love the internet. I love the internet too.

BUT FOR THE LOVE OF HELLO KITTY DON’T GET SPOILED IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO READ THIS BOOK! You know some turd is going to do it…so stay far away from the reviews.

I’m going to try to not spoil nothing but I’ll gif the heck out of the review and annoy half of Goodreads anyways.

These three main characters are not your friend. At least I hope the heck not. They are some selfish, mean ass characters.

Sorry, Janis..these people are both types.

Then they get themselves in a big old hot mess.

But I didn’t care! BECAUSE

And that ending. Hell to the yeah. That was one of the best endings I can remember in awhile.

I almost gave this sucker five stars..but at times it does get overly talky and it has some plot holes bigger than my butt. I don’t give a crap though it was gooooood. 4.5 stars!

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

I would have a totally awesome quote inserted right here. Except for the fact that Kelly ‘the book pusher’ and Mitchell may really share parts of my brain. I checked and she had already stolen them. I’ll let her slide since she threatened me bodily harm if I didn’t hurry up and read this one. Because it’s just pure goodness. (Don’t read this ‘head in the oven’ book and look at us weird. We were already weird to start with.)

This book starts off with fifteen year old Lane after her mother’s suicide. She lives with the neighbor drag queen for a minute before the state steps in and tells her she must have a legal place to go. And guess what? Her long lost grandparents not only will take her. They want her.
So off she goes to rural Kansas and her new home.

Roanoke.

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She is greeted by her cousin Allegra, who has lived with the grandparents since birth. When he mom took off right after her birth. She learns that Roanoke girls either run or they die.
That sounds like the perfect type of girls doesn’t it?
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Gran is there also. She is one of those perfect types that would die if her hair wasn’t in place.
Then the grandfather. Who is described as handsome but I think he is majorly creepy as heck. *shudders*
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I can’t tell you much more because that would make me a spoilery butthole. Just know that this book is family drama times infinity.
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I’m gonna go take a bleach shower now.

Booksource: I received a copy from Netgalley and Crown books. In exchange for review. But really because I have no shame in my begging for a book like this.

Imperial Valley by Johnny Shaw

Imperial Valley by Johnny Shaw

Getting a new Johnny Shaw book always puts me in a really good mood.
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Especially if it’s one featuring two of my all time favorite characters. Jimmy and Bobby. Those two pretty much guarantee a good time.

They haven’t changed much…
I had always tried to do the right thing, even when I seemed to consistently make things worse. Now it was time to do the wrong thing. I hoped that worked out better.

Jimmy starts off the book by finally marrying Angie. You think things would be calm now that he has settled down and they are in the middle of newlywed bliss. You’d have the wrong book if that was your plan.
Drug lord Tomas comes calling for the after wedding with a present for Jimmy. Some cash, a pre-paid trip and he has found Jimmy’s adopted son’s true grandfather. They just have to go to Mexico to find him.

That works out pretty much as expected after Bobby and his girlfriend shows up. These two guys attract trouble like no one else. One thing about it though, they are ALWAYS there for each other. No matter how stupid the other may be.
It’s hard to review this one without going spoilery and it’s way too much fun to get spoiled on one of these books. Just know that Bobby is his usual self…full of helpful tips.
“You have no idea how hard it is to find good muscle.”
“Have you tried Craigslist?” Bobby said. “Look in the ‘Hoods and Flunkies’ category.”

Then throw in all Jimmy’s buddies, Snout, Buck-Buck, Mr. Morales, Tomas and a few new wonderful characters that also fit into Bobby’s motto of..“I’ve been waiting my whole life for a fight like this. Finally. It’s finally time to fuck some fuckers the fuck up.”

These are the guys I’d want as friends if the crap hit the fan.

I’d bring plenty of beer so calm down.
(P.S. You can read these as stand alone’s but honestly you would miss the backstory. Go read them all.)

Booksource: Netgalley in exchange for review.

The Weight of This World by David Joy

The Weight of This World by David    Joy

David Joy’s debut book Where All Light Tends to Go kinda left something wanting for me, but dang, he stepped it up in this one. *4.5 stars*

This book opens with young Aiden McCall’s parents dying violently before his eyes. He ends up in a group home and runs away. He takes to the woods and is found by his friend Thad. Thad tells him to come live with him now, his mom won’t care since she and his step-father have given him a trailer on their land to keep him out of their hair.

That sets up the boys friendship. They stick together no matter what. Even after Thad comes home from being deployed in Afghanistan a changed person. They never really stand a chance in life, both of the boys are known screw-ups in the mountain town they live in. Thad’s red hair lies to the tale that his mom told him about his dad being a Native American. But there is that red-headed deacon at the church that gives his mom the eye during church.
Thad’s mom April now lives up in the house by herself, wishing for a way out of the mountains that she feels trapped in. She put up with a husband that beat the crap out of her because she felt she needed the help he provided, she also never really loved her son Thad. She and Aiden are now sleeping together.
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Sounds like a crazy train already doesn’t it? But wait, it gets soooo much worse.

Thad and Aiden are bored and tired of stealing copper out of foreclosed houses. When they show up at the dope man’s house and stuff and thangs happen, they end up with a ton of dope and cash.

Do they do something smart with the money/drugs? Umm the answer to that would be…. no.

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Then the real fun begins, once the two go on a drug filled binge things start to spiral. They end up with two girls. It ends badly.

Then stuff really starts getting bad.
At about 56% into the book I had to take a break.
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Then I picked the sucker back up. Because no matter how dark (AND THIS FUCKER IS DARK) this book got I couldn’t look away. I at times hated these characters. That’s understandable with them. I mean, most of the time they are drugged out of their minds with not much care as to what kind of crap they stir up. Then stinking David Joy did something with this book that completely took me by surprise. He made me actually really sort of care about these messed up losers.

Then he tore my heart into little pieces and laughed.

Booksource: Netgalley in exchange for review.

The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

For all the horror of the official reports she and Albrecht had seen, with their language of “extermination” and “elimination,” they could not come close to conjuring this. How could they? There was no point of reference. Later, such footage would come to be so familiar it became unseen-a kind of placeholder for human evil. The first black-and-white glimpse of barbed wire, dirt, and nakedness cautioned viewers,look away. But in this moment, in the first unveiling, it was nothing she or anyone else had ever seen. And it was impossible to look away. She looked and trembled in her seat.

I’ve always heard it discussed on just how could the German people all condone what was going on in their country under Hitler’s reign. This book takes you there. And sadly I’m probably not going to be able to convey how powerful the book is.

It starts in a Bavarian castle at a party.
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Marianne and her husband Albrecht are hosting, news comes to them of destruction taking place that will later be known asKristallnacht. Marianne is not a woman that lets things go on around her without knowing what is going on, so she enters a room where her husband, her best friend Connie and others are talking about how scared they are of what is becoming of their country. They don’t agree with Hitler’s politics. Connie (who Marianne is secretly in love with) introduces later his new fiance. A poor girl named Benita. He makes Marianne promise to him to always look after his wife and son should something happen to him.

Things do happen. Connie and Albrecht join in on a plot to assassinate Hitler and it fails. They are put to death and Benita is thrown into prison, even though she was totally clueless.

Marianne fights to find their child and get Benita back so that she can fulfill her promise.

They make their way across a war torn Germany back to the castle, which is now crumbling. Along the way they pick up Ania and her two sons.
There is a whole lot of secrets bound by these women in that castle. They know that the world around them is deeply changed forever but so have they.

This book isn’t a pretty picture of anything. It tells how each of these women faced what they were challenged with wide open eyes.
She felt the pulse of the lives lived inside the mean little houses she passed: selfish or generous, kind or unkind, ugly or tolerable, almost all of them sad. And she saw the histories of the people passing by like x-rays stamped on their faces-ugly, mutinous tracings of dark and light: a woman who ratted out a neighbor, a man who had shot children, a soldier who had held his dying friend in his arms. Yet here they were, carrying groceries, holding children’s hands, turning their collars up against the wind. As if their moments of truth-the decisions by which they would be judged and would judge themselves-hadn’t already come and passed What a sham this new German present was! An irrelevant time-a mad scramble to cast votes after the verdict had already been reached.

Some of this sounds so familiar to me. They say history repeats itself. I hope this time in history stays never repeated forever. Not forgotten though, educate yourself. Step back from your hate (even though you don’t see it as hate) and educate yourselves. You would hope that with all the ways to learn that are available today that people would.
But….
On the news and my stupid Facebook feed though you would wonder. I see hate from BOTH sides. No one will admit that they have the wrong viewpoint. They become keyboard commandos for their cause and never see that they might just be preaching some of that hate that they so strongly oppose. What they are saying is right and nothing else will do.

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Booksource: I received a copy of this book from the publisher and then promptly lost it. I’m glad I found it again.