Rant Review | The Night Before by Wendy Walker

Once again, I’m reading about emotionally wrecked women.

The Night Before is about a woman who is down on her luck, after leaving her high paying Wall Street job and life in Manhattan over a guy, sets to put herself back out there on the dating scene. She goes on a date and doesn’t return to her sister’s home the following morning. Worried that something might have happened, Rosie tries to find her sister and discovers more secrets than she could have ever imagined.

The perspectives of the chapters shifts from sister to sister and from the Night Before to the present day. A couple of times we get transcripts from sessions of Laura with her therapist, but they are just inserted in and we have no context for them.

Several times Laura is lured into a car with a man she doesn’t know well, including going back to his place ON THEIR FIRST DATE. Everything in me was screaming for her to get out of there. Everything in HER was saying get out of there but her inability to love herself makes her stay for the glimmer of a possibility that finally this man will think she is “enough”.

All of this behavior screams that she is a love addict. Her constant reassurances that the men she is with are well meaning, creating a tableau in her head of what they might be instead of who they really are.

The second half of the book came quickly and as a shock with reveal after reveal after reveal and then an over explained version of events in the last chapter. As if we could not infer what was going on from the last chapters.

I did love the sibling dynamics explored in this book. It’s possible to have a family and really not have a grasp on who they really are. It’s worse when they are struggling with the question for themselves. I think everyone knows what it feels like to be lost.

I enjoyed the complexity of the plot; using miscommunication as a plot device is also a pet peeve of mine but it was executed well here.

Overall it’s a good travel read. It’s quick and twisted.

Sunday Spotlight | Rave Review| Little Voices by Vanessa Lillie

Little Voices is about new mother, ex-criminal attorney Devony Burges. On the same day she is wheeled into emergency surgery to deliver her child, her best friend is murdered. As she recovers from the birth of her child and her adjustment to motherhood, she tries to solve the murder of her friend. No matter what the cost.

This has to be one of the best thrillers I have ever read. Ever. And from a debut author no less. I am shook. Can I give it more than 5 stars? Of course I can. This is my review. 10 stars.

My favorite thing about thrillers is their ability to shock and scare the mess out of me. I love it because it’s extremely hard to do. This book surpassed my expectations by a long shot.

The beginning of the book rockets you into the worst imaginable position a pregnant woman can be in. Blood, emergency c-section, siren blaring, pain searing. My pulse quickened and forgot to breathe.

The most amazing thing about this book is that you WILL NOT figure out what is going on. I say this has someone who reads thriller/mystery/suspense almost daily. This book was formulated with the readers in mind. I loved being in the dark about what was going on. Taking this journey with Devony was something I will never forget.

Most thrillers I don’t think I will reread because the only thing they have going for them is the major twist at the end but there are so many nuances.

Our protagonist Devony is an absolute badass. There is no question she is playing in a man’s world. There is no question that there is corruption all around her, but she works as hard as she can for justice.

I loved all the different characters that Devony interacted with. They were gritty and raw. The writing style was reminiscent of Kimberly Belle. I know that I’ve already said it. I CANNOT believe this is her first novel!

If this is her out the gate, I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next!

Rant Review | Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch

First, nothing made sense for the first like 60 pages.

Summer House with Swimming Pool is about a country doctor who is bored with his life and makes a mistake. Or is it a mistake? The blurb on Goodreads gives so much away that it’s hardly worth reading the book at all.

I loved The Dinner by Herman Koch. I didn’t love this.

I think this was just a victim of poor editing. The chapters jumped around from real life to flashbacks with absolutely no indication that it had happened. At its core, it’s a great concept. How much will a father do for his daughters? Can you really trust anyone?

These are fairly universal concepts. I am happy that Koch did not shy away from creating a character with complex viewpoints. Especially those that would be considered bigots in this age. I didn’t know how to take the ranting and ravings about the distaste and dislike of his own patients and people in general. As much as I love a narcissistic narrator, it felt like it was too easy for him to slip into sociopathic behavior. Like way too easy.

I also didn’t appreciate the anti-climatic ending. After confusing me for four and a half hours, you leave me with this open-ended thing? Really. I was so disappointed. But I won’t say that I didn’t appreciate reading this. It was interesting to see how girls grow up in the minds of their fathers. There aren’t a lot of father-daughter stories out there where the dad is not a piece of garbage so this was refreshing.

I would be remiss if I didn’t add that sometimes people do things that they shouldn’t, but does that mean we should be judge, jury, and executioner? Does someone deserve to die just because they have the potential of wrongdoing?

Review | Eligible (The Austen Project, #4)

Eligible (The Austen Project, #4) // Curtis Sittenfeld

Spoilers Ahead! Beware!

“You have no idea how lucky you are that someone like him would settle for you.”

First of all, this book is too damn long. 

It’s very funny to see Liz being portrayed as someone weak from what I remember from the original book she wasn’t weak and now we have her having an affair with a married man and fawning over Darcy. I’m not sure what I can say about her except that I don’t care for her because she’s not the oldest and yet she feels responsible for everybody.

There aren’t a lot of differences except what is considered acceptable has changed they are the same upper middle class white people however one is asexual the other is old and because of the age, that is where we get the insistence must be married. However all of that is very played out in today’s society. People are no longer using that marriage as a stepping stone to the next thing. If they were talking culturally about a different culture, maybe it would make more sense.

I find it frustrating that the thing Jane and Chip have a disagreement about is about whether or not James looks like an expensive gift from Chip and Darcy taking that to mean that she doesn’t love him. and the fact that her sisters tease Mary mercilessly about being gay because she has no interest in being matched. The fact that Liz has to do research about how to deal with a transgender family member, or what asexuality is, speaks to the fact that she’s not good at her job. She is riding for a feminist magazine Mascara and does not have any information about the transgender movement.

This book reads like it was written by someone who wanted to take all the things that the Baby Boomers were afraid of and stockpile them into one book. Jane is pregnant out of wedlock, Liz is sleeping with a married man, Mary doesn’t want anybody, Lydia is married to a transgender man, and Kitty is dating a black guy. All of Mrs. Bennett’s nightmares. I’m not sure if it was hinted in the original book that Mrs. Bennet was racist but the way they work to that end was awful.

[ Can we talk about Jasper’s incident, why were we accusing him of being a racist? I can understand him being a philanderer because that’s bad enough but because we wanted to make sure that the audience still like Liz after she was also in that affair and, coincidentally has no consequences for have a year’s long affair with a married man with a kid. 

It felt like a massive deviation from the plot. It felt like Sittenfeld didn’t know how to keep it current, considering that there was language from the original era peppered throughout the book. Making Georgie an anorexic was just a throwaway. Unconscionable. Because if you are going to bring up something serious like that; it has to be dealt with, not just mentioned. Splitting Wickham’s character into Jasper and Ham was a weird step in the wrong direction; the whole point of the tension between Lydia and Wickham was that he was a wicked man and everyone warned her but she didn’t listen. Creating a transgender man to take that place doesn’t really sound right.]

With all that said, I’ll give it a 2 out of 5 stars. There were so many things that I didn’t like that I could go on for ages but the main fact is that it was wholly disappointing and too long for what it could have accomplished in half the pages. 

2019 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge – A retelling of a classic
2019 ATY Challenge – 4 books inspired by the wedding rhyme: Book #2 Something New 

Regret Review | The Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk

Survival was a reread for me and I think it should be a lesson to me to not reread anything that I loved in my youth. Survivor felt like a mishmash of everything that I thought was cool when I was a high schooler. Everything taboo, everything shocking, everything sociopathic. But in the end, it was just a mishmash of religion bashing and Chuck writing about recipes and cleaning It does not stand up to the test of time. I think that this was Chuck Palahniuk’s attempt to replicate Fight Club, to create that same fervor, the same breaking away from the proverbial mold, but it wasn’t shocking. It was bad.

The narrator is a tubby ex-member of a Creedish death cult and on its own that as a premise seems like a great idea. It seems like you could go anywhere with that. But it just fell flat trying to make something four-dimensional out of something that wasn’t even three-dimensional trying to give stuff then where there just wasn’t any and it hurts because it was part of my childhood that I really loved. Chuck Palahniuk has always been one of my favorite writers when anyone ever asks me. but as I’ve gotten older I feel like, just as I have outgrown YA fiction, I’ve outgrown Chuck Palahniuk because it’s the same old diatribe society bashing. I don’t know what he would say about our world now. With the selfies, and the selfie sticks and the fake butt implants but it wouldn’t be kind. 

In Survivor, we have a woman named Fertility but that’s not her real name. Her name is Gwen and she charges men to have sex with her in order for her to get pregnant. But she’s barren. So does that speaks you are free to do? What we want to have sex whenever we want is that a bad thing is that why she’s punished at the end of the movie with fertility. The time to do everything all at once. And at the end of the day, it just fell flat, I didn’t enjoy it. I kept stopping the audiobook because I literally wanted to read anything else and that’s really sad and I’m sorry about that.

All in all, I give this 2 out of 5 it would be a 1 star but nostalgia’s sake, I added a star. 

2019 ATY Challenge – A reread of a favorite book

WWW Wednesday | November 6th, 2019

Hey! I’m behind…maybe it’s because I’ve been shopping for planner supplies. I’ve fallen down the planner hole! But I’m still reading!

WWW Wednesday is a weekly blog meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words. All you have to do to participate is answer three questions: 

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING? 

The Followers by Megan Angelo. I’ve picked this book up and put it down several times, I think that it will be good once I have a chance to really sit down with it!

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

The Need by Helen Phillips – I didn’t get this book at all. Maybe I’m not the target audience but it was just annoying.

Someone We Know by Shari Lapena is a classic whodunnit wrapped up in domestic suspense. This is the first book of Lapena that I have been able to sit through.

Recursion by Blake Crouch was a complete and utter mind melt. There were a couple of things that I didn’t like but overall, the hype is warranted with this one.

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

The Adventures of Peculiar Protocols by Nicholas Meyer is a historical fiction novel based on the journals of John Watson. I cannot get enough of Sherlock Holmes so this is going to be a real treat.

Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith – So I read these out of order, I read the Silkworm first and then I realized that it was the second book in the series, so naturally I have read all of the books in the series and watch the show on Cinemax.

Dig by A.S. King is a book about family. I’m not sure what this book is about but it’s supposed to be good. The hype is real for this one.

What are you reading next?

RANT Review | The Rhythm Section by Mark Murnell

This is a SPOILER FILLED REVIEW

I was looking for something to listen to during my work day. I love suspense, thriller genre books but… 

You have got to be joking with this one. 

We start the book with a plane crash, and then we meet Lisa, a drugged out prostitute who needs to be rescued by a man to turn her life around. A journalist who started out by just trying to get her story and who helped her get sober from drugs. I have no problem with that in and of itself, but the problem with this is that it starts a pattern that goes on throughout this book. She’s the only major female character in the book. 

It’s riddled with cliches and plot twists that are seen from a mile away and the pacing for an action book is all wrong. It goes SSSSLLLLLLOOOOOWWWWW. The general idea of the story itself wasn’t bad but the editor needed to be a little bit more strict. Some of the description is just too long and the self reflection language is not needed if it is shown instead. [ There’s a whole section when she is training for Magenta House, when she is daydreaming about having intercourse with her instructor, needlessly sexualizing the situation, when she has PTSD from being abused. There’s a whole section where she is described feeling herself up as she’s gotten more muscular from the training. ]Even the sex scenes were described as acts being done to her.

There are so many instances when she makes decisions and the author invokes her emotions, when they are framed as irrational for the long game. You can’t have your audience thinking your protagonist is a silly woman who needs saving. I was only rooting for her at one point, which was when she fell on the cliff and instead of quitting, she climbed back up the ledge with three broken fingers. 

The word terrorist was used 33 times. 33 times, and they were Palestinian. We get a human story out of Reza Muhammad and [ he dies RIGHT AFTER.] In the first chapter, the journalist refers to Reza Mohammad as a Muslim but doesn’t know his name or where he’s from. So you know the man’s religion but you don’t know where he is from. Seriously? 

Honestly, just throw the whole thing away. 

You have the redemption story from the prostitute to Mary Sue Avenger but she succeeds in all of this by mercilessly murdering people and it’s just glossed over like it’s nothing because they aren’t white. [ She literally pushes someone onto subway tracks and he didn’t even speak English. She murdered him in cold blood. ]

I stuck this out because of the challenge but I won’t be watching the movie version of this. This was awful. This was number 2 on best books turning into movies this year. 

But let me tell you, this mess is not it. 

2019 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge – A book becoming a movie in 2019