Monday, March 5, 2018

Review: Stay Hungry by Sebastian Maniscalco


3 1/2 - 4 Stars

I've been a big Sebastian Maniscalco fan for years and was super excited to find out he was writing a book. One of the main reasons i love his comedy so much, is that he comes across as so relatable. He talks about his dysfunctional Italian family - a subject i completely relate to - a lot, and I challenge you to find a more visually funny comic around (watch one of his Showtime specials, or just one of his clips on You Tube and you'll see what i mean). Having said all that, i was slightly worried how his brand of humor would translate into a book. The answer to that is, while not exactly seamless and perfect....it still ended up being a funny, charming look at his life and career.

Probably the best parts from this book were the tidbits about his life he never talks about in interviews, or in his act (his parents sudden divorce after almost 40 years of marriage, the 2 miscarriages he and his wife endured before the birth of their daughter). In those sections, while not told in great detail, he shows a different side of his personality that his fans rarely if ever see. The fact that this was written more as a memoir than just as a typical collection of essays also worked in his favor, since SM is a born storyteller.

My only issue with the book, were the times Maniscalco came off sounding more cocky and arrogant than just the larger than life comedian we see onstage. Possibly these sections just didn't translate to the page as they would have if he had just been working them  into his act. But they did pop up, especially towards the end, and were distracting.

 Would i recommend this to people not already familiar with his work? Not really.  I would instead suggest watching one of his specials, or even better....seeing him live on stage, to watch him truly shine.

Overall, this was an enjoyable look into the life and mind of one of the best comics out there.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Review: Grunt by Mary Roach



🌟🌟🌟🌟 1/2 stars

I am so thankful I stumbled across Mary Roach. I never would have thought I would enjoy a non fiction book about science...let alone one involving the military. But she has this way of making the most complicated subjects approachable, and so, so fascinating. 

Roach gives readers a glimpse at the science and humanity behind the people who go to war, instead of the war itself. 

I just love her to pieces. In fact, I may be developing a bit of a nerdy girl crush on her. #noshame. 

Book Haul Goodness



I don't have a problem. You have a problem. 

😁💙💙💙💙📖📖📖📖

Friday, March 2, 2018

Fierce February Reading Wrap-up!


Kind of a ho-hum month, to be honest. Only 2 or 3 real stand outs. 

Here's to a Magical March!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Friday, July 28, 2017

COVER REVEAL! K Webster - The Wild




Happy #CoverReveal to K Webster​! Coming August 7th.

Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2h6kfxU

Enter: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/5440a3541241/

Synopsis
I brought them to the wilderness because we couldn’t cope with our reality.
The plan was to make a new life that didn’t include heartache.

No people. No technology. No interference.
Just us.
A chance to piece together what was broken.

But the wilderness is untamed and harsh.
Brutal and unforgiving.
It doesn’t give a damn about your feelings.

Tragedy lives there too.
No escaping the truths that won’t let you go.

All you can do is survive where love, no matter how beastly, is the only thing you can truly count on.

Confusing. Wrong. Twisted. Beautiful. Sick.

Love is wild.
And we’re going to set it free.

Warning:
The Wild is an extremely taboo story. Most will find that the themes in this book will make you incredibly uncomfortable. This book is only for the brave, the open-minded, and the ones who crave love in even the most dismal of situations. Extreme sexual themes and violence in certain scenes, which could trigger emotional distress, are found in this story. If you are sensitive to heavy taboo themes, then this story is not for you.

About the Author
K Webster is the author of dozens romance books in many different genres including contemporary romance, historical romance, paranormal romance, and erotic romance. When not spending time with her husband of twelve years and two adorable children, she's active on social media connecting with her readers.

Her other passions besides writing include reading and graphic design. K can always be found in front of her computer chasing her next idea and taking action. She looks forward to the day when she will see one of her titles on the big screen.

You can easily find K Webster on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads!

Website: www.authorkwebster.com
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bllgoP
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorkwebster
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/KristiWebster



Sunday, March 12, 2017

Final Girls ~ Riley Sager

Final GirlsFinal Girls by Riley Sager
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

What it's about: The story revolves around a woman named Quincy, who was the lone survivor of a mass murder in a cabin in the woods when she was a teenager. Quincy has blocked out most of the memories from that night, and is now a baking blogger living with her boyfriend in the present day. Then she finds out one of the other 'Final Girls' (what the press has dubbed Quincy and others sole survivors of killing sprees) has killed herself and another suddenly shows up on her doorstep, desperately trying to make Quincy remember what happened that night in the cabin.

My thoughts:First of all, I'm never a fan of writing negative reviews. But, sometimes a book is just so disappointing and makes me so frustrated that i have to get my thoughts out, no matter how much of an unpopular opinion it may end up being.

**WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD**
I hated this book. Hated. It.
Which makes me sad, since this was one of my most anticipated reads of 2017. I've had it on pre order for months and i was squealing like a deranged fangirl when i received an ARC through netgalley. I was so excited that i dropped the other two books i was reading in order to dive right in to this one.

It started out promising enough. In fact, for the first 50-60 pages i was all in. It kept my eyes glued to my kindle and i was excited to see where the story was going.

Right around the time Quincy and Sam decided to be vigilantes in Central Park...my eyes started to roll. Then Quincy's behavior begins to spiral and i get the whole 'unreliable narrator' (a trope that is VASTLY overused and very rarely works) vibe and my spidy senses start to kick in that i might end up having a few issues with this book.

Damn those pesky spidy senses.

I don't even know where to begin delving into all the ways this story ended up falling apart.
It had nothing to do with the over the top nod to 80's slasher movies. I loved that. In fact, that was part of the reason i was dying to read this. Instead my first problem with this story was something i keep running into in thrillers; an unlikable protagonist and cast of equally irritating supporting characters. Quincy was a selfish asshat. Period. She only cared about herself, and what she went through...not about any of the other victims, both in the cabin and her fellow Final Girls. Sam was just a crazy beyotch, and the fact that after knowing her all of 5 minutes Quincy allowed her to come and live with her and her boyfriend and repeatedly took her side over said bf? Just another reason not to like Q OR the direction this book was heading in. Other characters, like boyfriend Jeff, intrepid reporter Jonah, all the victims from the cabin.... are all flat, cardboard characters. Even the only somewhat interesting character, hero cop Coop, comes off as someone plucked out of 50 random horror movies. We don't actually know very much...if anything...about these people. In fact, so non-fleshed out were they that it wouldn't have surprised me if they all turned out to figments of Quincy's imagination.

Most of the time...the behavior and actions of these characters Make. No. Sense. None. I understand the need for a heavy dose of suspension of belief here, but COME ON!!!!!
That is especially true of the final 25-30 pages of the book. The backstory given to explain the motives behind everything that happened was out and out absurd. Even a bad 80's horror movie would have handled the climax better than this mess.
It is honestly impossible for me to sit here and try to be calm while writing this review. Because it truly made me angrier than anything else i've read in a very long time. Gone Girl pissed me off....so did The Girl On The Train. But this one was far more disappointing to me considering how promising it seemed in the beginning.

***
This ARC was kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Devil Of Nanking ~ Mo Hayder

The Devil of NankingThe Devil of Nanking by Mo Hayder
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

6+ rocket ship to the top of my all time favorite book list, stars.

If ever there were a book that i could describe as life-changing...it would be this one.

Is it for everyone? Absolutely not.
There are sections of this book that are brutal. That are intensely hard to read. And there are themes throughout the book that might be triggers for some people.

But, for me this was easily one of the most beautifully written books i have ever come across in my life. I literally ran out of my trusty small post its due to all the sections I marked.

I am still trying to process my thoughts after finishing this several hours ago, but i do hope at some point to be able to come back and write a proper review to try and express just how much this book effected me.

These characters and this story will stay with me for the rest of my life. And i feel fortunate to have decided to take a chance on a book so far outside my comfort zone.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Head Full Of Ghosts ~ Paul Tremblay

A Head Full of GhostsA Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I'm kind of at a loss as to how to start this review/rant.
For the first half of this book, i was completely blown away by how much i was enjoying it. It takes a lot...A LOT...to freak me out/make me uncomfortable while reading a book, and this book...in the beginning at least, did both those things big time.
Around the 50% mark though, i started to get a weird feeling. A feeling that told me that this book was possibly going to start to go down a path I was not happy with. One that would have left me feeling both annoyed and have me rolling my eyes at the sheer predictability of it all. Well, what i ended up feeling by the end of this book was out and out anger. Angry at the fact that the book showed so, so much promise, only to have it turn into this massive, silly train wreck that made me feel like pounding my kindle into a wall when i turned the last page.

*deep breath*

Okay, i might sound a bit melodramatic here, but honestly....there is nothing i love more than a good, scary read. And because i am a huge horror movie fan, and have basically grown up watching any horror movie i come across, i tend to be more cynical when it comes to horror/suspense fiction. I can count on one hand the times i have considered myself to be unsettled by a book...and have yet ever really find myself being scared by one. But, the beginning chapters of Head Full Of Ghosts knocked me on my butt with how well the author set a genuinely creepy tone. There are scenes early on (especially between the 2 sisters) that were so well done, that i nearly had to stop reading because i felt like it was a bit too unnerving to take in all at once.

As i mentioned above, around the half way mark i started to get the idea that the story was going to take a turn i would have been very disappointed in. But, I was still enjoying the overall story so much that i tried to put it out of my head, and just kept going. It's worth mentioning that all of my issues with the book actually started around the time that the family started to film their reality tv show. I thought that might be an interesting aspect to the story, but it just came off as gimmicky....which might or might not have been intentional.

With the exception of one scene, the entire last 25% of the book turned into a completely ridiculous hot mess. It is almost mind boggling to me how much of a complete turn around this book took in my opinion. It's hard to get into the specifics of what happened that drove me crazy without giving away huge plot elements, so....

::MASSIVE SPOILER WARNING::







First off all....I got the impression that it was going to turn out that Marjorie faked being possessed. Which was the first thing that i wasn't happy about, because the book was so much more effective when it seemed like all the supernatural elements were true. Once the idea of her pretending started to creep into the story, it lost a lot of it's punch.
Also, it was VERY obvious that Merry had a lot of emotional and psychological problems. And it wasn't surprising in the least that she ended up being this mysterious blogger who posted her cynical observations on the authenticity of the reality show and the supposed exorcism. Unfortunately, that entire sub-plot of why Merry acts the way she does...why she seems almost childlike in her manner of speaking and the way that she interacts with the woman hired to help write her book....just ends up being one of the many loose ends that the book throws at us.
The actual ending of the book...the last 20-30 pages...is where i have my biggest problems. I'm okay with an author deciding to leave a book open ended, or up to interpretation, but this was just a case of a sloppy, poorly constructed conclusion. In fact it didn't even feel like any kind of conclusion...open ended or not. It felt like the author got to the end of a sentence and said, "You know what? I think that's a good enough place as any to end this." Are we to assume that Merry made up a lot of her story...the parts that didn't air on the reality show at least? That she in fact was the one who poisoned her family and it was just more convenient to let her poor, mentally unstable sister (or father) take the blame for it? Based on the reaction of the writer after she listened to Merry tell her "true" account of the story, i am also wondering if the writer herself wasn't a figment of Merry's imagination as well.

I am truly sick of the "unreliable narrator" trope being used these days. Very rarely, if ever have i come across a story that actually works well when this device is used and i for one hope to never find myself reading something along those lines again.

I hardly ever write reviews that are this negative, and i realize i have an unpopular opinion based on all the glowing reviews this book has received. I wish things had turned out differently. I wish this book had stayed on the course i thought it would...or would have at least found a way to resolve SOMETHING by the end of the book. I feel both cheated and angry that a book that showed such promise ended up being so cliched and so melodramatic .

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Fiery Cross ~ Diana Gabaldon

The Fiery Cross (Outlander, #5)The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3 1/2-4 stars.

As with the previous Outlander books, there were aspects that I loved, and some that I didn't really care for.

Pros:
I loved that the focus was on Roger a lot of the time. He is such a wonderful character and it was nice to see him shine a bit.
I loved the quiet moments between Jamie and Clare. I never get tired of their love story, and the love scenes, while fewer in number in the last couple of books, are always just the right mix of sweet and steamy.
The return of a beloved character...did my heart good. <3 br="">
Cons:
I have stated this before and will probably say it again after reading the rest of the books in the series....but DG seems to take an absurd amount of pleasure in torturing her characters. And in this book, the main object of her wrath was Roger. How many horrible things can happen to one character over the course of ONE book?
Some sections...especially towards the end...seemed dragged out to the point where i nearly started skimming. The cat and mouse game involving Bonnet is taking far too long to conclude. Although i really enjoyed the bit of revenge that Bree managed to get on him this time around.
Other readers have mentioned this in other reviews, but i can't help but throw my hat in the ring as well....the constant descriptions of Bree needing to breastfeed Jemmy. Of her leaking breastmilk....of changing Jemmy's diapers. It was all too descriptive and repetitive. Just...too much. DG seemed intent on making sure the readers understood how much a wee brat baby Jemmy could be. Message. Received.

This obviously wasn't my favorite book in the series. But, even with the issues that i have with certain aspects of the story...the Outlander universe is still one of my all time favorites.