Sunday, September 30, 2018

Sunday Salon

I've decided to revamp the Sunday Salon post....again as a way to catch up with you all if I don’t manage to get any reviews posted. And as a way to combine books movies and TV because the separate posts for all that isn’t working. Ready?

Weather Small Talk: It's finally cooling off at nights which is glorious. The days are warm but not unbearable but it's still dry, dry, dry! It is supposed to rain next week though. I hope it really does and I hope it's lots of rain. We need it badly!

On The Idiot Box: I finished my first K-drama. The one I was talking about last week called Beating Again. It was so soap opera-y but so much fun. The ending was a bit of a cop out but I liked it. I also finished all the available episodes of The Frankenstein Chronicles. It's such a strange show but I liked it too. I Started American Horror Story The Cult and I don't know if I'll finish it. This show keeps getting worse and worse with each season.
Weekly Reads: I finished Before We Were Yours. It wasn't at all what I was expecting and I really liked it. I'm still working on Siege and Storm the second book in the Grisha trilogy. I'm liking it but it's one of those books that's so much fun while reading but if you put it down it's hard to pick back up. I squeezed in a Sarah Scribbles book and laughed my way through it and started Bloodlines by Richelle Mead on audiobook for when I get off my butt and go walking everyday.

Crazy Kitties: My cat Belly gave me a huge scare this week. I had the front door open because I was cooking steak and the house was all smoky (I'm so not a cook) and when I was done eating I went out to find her. She's scared of the front yard and never wanders more then 20 feet from the door unless she slips around to the backyard. Well, I called and called for her looking in both the front and backyard and nothing. I started panicking and my husband and I started looking in the neighbors yards and all over the street. I decided to check inside again (I'd already checked all her usual hiding places and remembered she sometimes squeezes under my dresser) but she wasn't there. Suddenly I turn around and see her head poking out of the closet. She'd found a new spot to hide and was behind a huge fuzzy robe hanging in there. Why? Why do cats do this to us?! Ugh!

This Past Week: I went with some of my friends to an author event my library put on with Camron Wright the author of the book I reviewed on Friday, The Orphan Keeper. It was a smaller low key event but a lot of fun...and as usual, I didn't take a single picture. 

Movie(S) of the Week: We saw The House With The Clock in its Walls which is not one I'd seek out but there isn't much out in theaters that I haven't already seen so we gave this one a go. It wasn't bad. It was cute and a little spooky and a whole lot of fun. 

Food Talk: Remember those steaks I mentioned? After trying and failing to make a decent steak without smoking up the whole house and attempting a roast in my crockpot the next day that turned our dry and rubbery with half the potatoes done and the others still crunchy, I swore off cooking and we went out to dinner the following two nights! 

Plans For The Upcoming Week: It's still pretty warm but I think I'm going to start winterizing my yard: Pulling up my annuals and putting up the yard furniture etc. I like all that cleaned up so it doesn't get in the way of raking leaves...and they're starting to fall. 

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Review: Big Mushy Happy Lump

Title Big Mushy Happy Lump (Sarah's Scribbles 2)
By Sarah Andersen
Genre Graphic Novel Comedy
Format Ebook
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Sarah is back with her hilarious and oh so real look into life today as an adult.

I love Sarah Scribbles and finally got my hands on one of her books. It was, as I suspected, hilarious. I love her look at life and how completely relatable it is. My favorite comic was this one and I'm sorry to any men reading my post if it makes you uncomfortable but it's so true and had me laughing the hardest.

Every. Freaking. Time! It's so true!

My only complaint was it was too short. I could read her comics for hours without getting bored.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Review: The Orphan Keeper

Title The Orphan Keeper
By Camron Wright
Genre Adult Fiction
Format Print
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Kidnapped as a young boy and thrown in an orphanage, Chellamutha tries to explain he's not an orphan but no one will listen. Adopted by a family in America he slowly adjusts to his new life. Years later memories come back and won't leave him alone prodding him to return to India and search for the family he can barely remember.

First Sentence 
The City of Erode was like a thousand others that dotted the vast landscape of India.

Another book club book. Based on the true story this one tells the story of a young boy. From his days in India to his life in America and a journey back to India to find the family he's nearly forgotten.

I did not expect to like this one. It sounded OK but also very much like the story the movie Lion was based on. However, I ended up enjoying it. The writing wasn't my favorite but the story moved along quickly and before I knew it, I was flying through pages wanting to see how everything turned out.

While I flew through the pages, I wasn't too fond of the writing, some of the characters fell flat and the story often felt rushed. So in the end this was a three star read for me. I liked it but didn't love it. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Review: The Woman In Cabin 10

Title The Woman In Cabin 10
By Ruth Ware
Genre Psychological Thriller, Mystery
Format Audiobook
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Lo Blacklock, a writer for a travel magazine, is going on the maiden voyage of the prestigious cruise ship the Aurora. With a recent break in at her home and her relationship with her boyfriend on the rocks Lo is finding her insomnia unbearable but lack of sleep or not she's sure of what she hears and sees one night on the cruise. A scream and a splash and something that looks like blood smeared on the balcony next to hers. Sure that something awful has happened to the woman in the cabin next to hers, Lo starts investigating but no one believes. As she starts to dig deeper the threats start coming but Lo can't give up on trying to find the woman in cabin 10.

First Sentence
The first inkling that something was wrong was waking in darkness to find the cat pawing at my face.

  This is my first Ruth Ware book and a friend of mine was horribly disappointed in it so I was reluctant to pick it up. But, as often happens, I needed an audiobook to listen to and it was available so here we are.

I actually ended up really liking the book. Mostly, I think, because the main character, while a bit naive, was likable: A rare thing in these psychological thrillers.

I also really liked the story. I wanted to know what was going on and who Lo could trust. The present day to past timeline added to the intensity as well.

I felt like I was reading an Agatha Christie book a little because you have this cast of characters isolated from the world and someone has gone missing. But where an Agatha Christie novel would have a investigator on board and everyone scared of everyone else this one was just a magazine writer against the whole company. No one else believed her and there was no record of anyone missing on board.

Anyway, it made for a fun read and I enjoyed it. I'm eager to try Ware's other books now.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Review: A Simple Favor

Title A Simple Favor
By Darcey Bell
Genre Adult Psychological Thriller
Format ebook
Rating ⭐️

Stephanie is delighted to have made a friend like Emily, She's elegant, sophisticated and seems to have it all with the perfect job and husband. So Stephanie is shocked when Emily goes missing. As the search begins for her friend, Stephanie will learn more than she bargained for about her, so called, best friend.

First Sentence
Hi moms!

I know it is no longer polite or politically correct to bash a book as bad as I'm about to but this book deserves it so get ready.

I first learned of this book because I saw a preview for the movie which looked silly but fun and I suspected it was based on a book. Of course it was, so I put the book on hold on Overdrive. Then I started seeing all the negative reviews of the book around and decided I wasn't going to read it. But I'd forgotten I put it on hold and it came in and well, I'm an idiot and glutton for punishment, apparently, because I decided to read it.

And what's worse is when it got stupider and stupider, I KEPT reading. Why?!

Most of these psychological thrillers have unlikable characters. Have you noticed? So the fact that this one was full of them was not a surprise or a deal breaker for me. What made me seethe with rage was the complete pointlessness of this one.


Emily claims she loves her son. Yeah. Right. Who would put their child through the trauma of making them believe you were dead? Really? I don't buy it. Plus she claims she wants to spend more time with him but runs away in hiding and becomes far more obsessed with her revenge and plans than with her son.  Then she shows herself to her son because, "She can't stay away" Therefore traumatizing him further because he thought she was dead then sees shes alive then when he tells people she's alive they call him a liar and suggest he needs therapy! Who does this to a six year old?!! Not someone that loves them!

Then, there's the whole insurance policy scam. That's why she pretended to be dead; to collect insurance money. When that starts to look like it won't pan out she goes nuts, kills the insurance agent, for no good reason that I could see, and then changes her story to get rid of her husband, get a divorce and lives happily with her son...but still spend all her time working so she STILL never sees her son. *face palm*

So basically she really doesn't know what she wants and accomplishes nothing but throwing her husband under the bus, allowing the only person she really loved to kill herself and traumatizing her son.

And then there's Stephanie. She was the stupidest character to walk the pages of a book since...Bella. I just didn't buy that she was that naive and malleable. Not when she had the secret she did and kept it all hush hush as well as she did...until she met Emily, that is.

*End of Spoilers*

The book was mess. There was no point and the characters were unbelievable and didn't act like actual people would. Not even psychotic people.

I was blown away that someone would read this monstrosity and think, "This would make a great movie". Just no.

However, I saw the movie (Glutton for punishment) and saw that someone obviously hated the book as much as I did but saw its potential and "fixed" it. I thought the movie was pretty stupid too but at least it had a point and ended much better then the book.

Which makes me wonder...why the hell didn't the author end the book like the movie? Did she actually think she'd written a great story here? Who the hell told her that? I'd be humiliated to have this story tied to my name in any shape or form. Yuck!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Sunday Salon

I've decided to revamp the Sunday Salon post....again as a way to catch up with you all if I don’t manage to get any reviews posted. And as a way to combine books movies and TV because the separate posts for all that isn’t working. Ready?

Weather Small Talk: It’s “sort of” cooling down now that fall is coming but the days are still so hot and dry. We have a huge wildfire in our mountains that’s barely contained and I’m desperately wishing along with everyone else in my state, for rain. So send us rainy wet vibes. We need it so bad!!

On The Idiot Box: Much to my friend Suey’s delight, I’ve started a Korean Drama. She’s been trying to get me to watch some forever it seems and I finally felt like I could commit. I KNEW I was going to get sucked into them and it is a commitment. I’m watching one called Beating Again (it’s on Netflix) that’s so soap opera-y but I’m loving it!!! I also started The Frankenstein Chronicles (also on Netflix) with my husband. We’ve watched 4 episodes and it’s a slow one but I’m getting intrigued. Frankenstein is my all time favorite book so I’m always so wary of spin-offs/retellings etc. but this one is good.
Weekly Reads: I rushed through The Orphan Keeper for book club that took place this past week and it was pretty good. I wasn’t blown away but I liked it. And another future book club book, Before We Were Yours, that I’d put on hold, came in so I’m listening to it and really liking it so far.

Crazy Kitties: My older cat,Buns, is quite the nuisance lately. I have to watch her like a hawk to make sure she uses the kitty litter. I’ve brought her to the vet and everything checks out but she’s just such a stinker about using the kitty litter. I think she hates sharing with our other kitty, Belly. And, yes, I have plenty of litter boxes for the both of them. I even added a new one to no avail. :( Belly is getting a touch more snuggly as the weather cools down. In the summer she hardly lets me touch her.

This Past Week: We’re selling our rentals! Ahhhh! I know, right? I thought we would have them for life but we’re investing elsewhere. We spent over a week getting one ready to put on the market and that’s kept me busy but it’s on the market and under contract already so here’s hoping all goes well. And now maybe I can take a breather.

Movie(S) of the Week: We saw The Nun on Sunday and it was fun...for a horror movie. I laughed a lot and even jumped once. We also saw A Simple Favor. Which was way better than the book but still pretty dumb. But if you’re going to pick you should just go see the movie. My scathing review of the book will be up on Monday.

Food Talk: Let me tell you a little secret: When you don’t have kids and you hate to cook you end up eating out way too much. I’ve discovered that the Italian salad dressing at The Texas Roadhouse is to die for. So I pour a butt-load of it on my salad and pretend I’m so healthy. ;)

Plans For The Upcoming Week: I don’t know!!! It’s so crazy when the summer winds down and I don’t have to mow at the rentals or take care of the pool. I think I might have time to actually read and binge watch my K-drama. Crazy!

Friday, September 21, 2018

Review: Shadow and Bone

Title Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy #1)
By Leigh Bardugo
Genre YA Fantasy
Format Print
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Alina Starkov always felt different but never suspected how much. When her regiment tries to cross the Shadow Fold, a stretch of darkness filled with monsters who feast on human flesh, her difference comes to light and she's whisked away to serve the Darkling and learn about the Grisha's. As she's pulled every which way by those who would use her as a tool she must learn who she really is and what she's really capable of.

First Sentence
Standing on the edge of a crowded road, I looked down onto the rolling fields and abandoned farms of the Tula Valley and got my first glimpse of the Shadow Fold.

This is one of those series I've been meaning to read since it first came out. I finally decided to pick up my copy and give it a go.

I'll be honest, it started out rough for me. I felt like I was reading a story I've read a million times before. Fantasy books have a nice little formula and this one followed the ingredients without wavering. I found myself a bit bored and having to force myself to keep going.

I'm not sure when exactly my feelings changed but even though it still followed that similar formula I started to care about the characters and story. I suppose that's why fantasy keeps being written and read and loved. It doesn't matter how formulaic it is, we seem to like it all the same.

I inhaled that last part of this book and am going to jump into the next book because I partly want to see what happens and partly don't want to forget what happened in this one; I'm afraid I won't remember much about it if I don't hurry.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Review: The Girl From The Well

Title The Girl From The Well
By Rin Chupeco
Genre YA Horror
Format Audiobook
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️

She hunts serial killers, child killers, kills them. It's her life's work...or her after life's work. Three hundred years ago she was murdered and thrown down a well. She's spent years hunting the type of man that killed her and wreaking her revenge. When a strange boy with arms covered in tattoos crosses her path she finds herself drawn to him and the evil thing that follows him. Can she be more than just a destroyer of souls and save one instead?

First Sentence
I am where dead children go.

We have another one of those elusive 3 star reads to review so bear with me. I think what defines a 3 star read for me is that I'm enjoying it but not on the edge of my seat or dying to get back to it after setting it down. Does that make sense? No? Yeah I don't get it either. Anywho...

Ever see that movie The Ring? With the creepy girl that climbs out of the well and then the TV and kills people? This is a book about her. Whether the lore from the book was true or made up for the book I'm not sure but basically this poor girl loved and served her master who then betrayed her and sold her to this awful guy that killed her and threw her down a well. Needless to say, she was a bit miffed.

This book is also about a boy who's mother bound an evil spirit to him to keep it from going on a killing rampage. So, yeah. Fun stuff.

I found it creepy and enjoyable and it kept me very distracted on my long drive to Oregon over Labor Day weekend.

However, I'm just not sure how memorable it will be. So far I remember it just fine but in a few months I might not remember much. I never blame this one a story though but I always wonder if a book's memorable impact says anything about its worth???? Anyway, if you like horror books and like The Ring, I'd definitely give this one a read.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Review: Genuine Fraud

Title Genuine Fraud
By E. Lockhart
Genre NA Psychological Thriller
Format Audiobook
Rating ⭐️

Spoiled rich girl and slightly psychotic girl equals a recipe for disaster.

First Sentence 
It was a bloody great hotel.

E. Lockhart is a hit or miss with me. I love her Ruby Oliver series but her serious books, We Were Liars and this one, apparently aren't for me. My biggest problem with this one, after the completely unlikable characters and the pointless story was, how similar it was with The Talented Mr. Ripley. It was a complete ripoff of that one. Some similarities would have been fine but this one was nearly identical.

Since I find The Talented Mr. Ripley pointless and full of crappy characters as well you can imagine why I didn't like this one.  Sadly, I really don't have much else to say. Lockhart is a great writer but sometimes her stories and me just don't get along.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

August Wrap-Up 2018

I'm finally getting a minute of downtime to do my wrap up post for August. Hopefully I can start getting some reviews written so there's SOMETHING going up on my blog. August was a crazy month!  With the trip to drive to Oregon at the end of the month looming and trying to get everything organized and packed my stress levels were through the roof. The trip went well, by the way, We made it there and back in one piece and after getting back home and both my husband and I crashing emotionally, I think we're finally back to finding some normalcy. Well, normalcy for us, anyway (we're painting at one of our rentals). Some how I managed eight books in August. Five of those were audiobooks which explains how I managed so many. Thank goodness for audiobooks, right?!

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart, Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer, Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz, Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris, First Comes Love by Emily Giffin, Moonlight Over Manhattan by Sarah Morgan, A Gathering of Finches by Jane Kirkpatrick and Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage.

Favorites of the month were Letters to the Lost and First Comes Love. Lease favorites were Bring Me Back and Genuine Fraud.