Saturday, June 3, 2017

The People We Hate at the Wedding – Grant Grinder

Product DetailsThe People We Hate at the Wedding – Grant Grinder


"Relationships are awful. They'll kill you, right up to the point where they start saving your life.
Paul and Alice’s half-sister Eloise is getting married! In London! There will be fancy hotels, dinners at “it” restaurants and a reception at a country estate complete with tea lights and embroidered cloth napkins. They couldn’t hate it more.
The People We Hate at the Wedding is the story of a less than perfect family. Donna, the clan’s mother, is now a widow living in the Chicago suburbs with a penchant for the occasional joint and more than one glass of wine with her best friend while watching House Hunters International. Alice is in her thirties, single, smart, beautiful, stuck in a dead-end job where she is mired in a rather predictable, though enjoyable, affair with her married boss. Her brother Paul lives in Philadelphia with his older, handsomer, tenured track professor boyfriend who’s recently been saying things like “monogamy is an oppressive heteronormative construct,” while eyeing undergrads. And then there’s Eloise. Perfect, gorgeous, cultured Eloise. The product of Donna’s first marriage to a dashing Frenchman, Eloise has spent her school years at the best private boarding schools, her winter holidays in St. John and a post-college life cushioned by a fat, endless trust fund. To top it off, she’s infuriatingly kind and decent.
As this estranged clan gathers together, and Eloise's walk down the aisle approaches, Grant Ginder brings to vivid, hilarious life the power of family, and the complicated ways we hate the ones we love the most in the most bitingly funny, slyly witty and surprisingly tender novel you’ll read this year."

I generally like books about dysfunctional families. They tend to make me appreciate my own dysfunctional family even more. But this book was so out of left field that I very nearly decided to give up on it, but kept plodding through it just to see how it would end.

The premise was somewhat confusing once you started reading this – yes it did deal with exactly what the synopsis claims, but the ‘why’ of it all was so stupid that I wanted to scream.

Most of this book seemed to dwell on Paul and Mark’s relationship and sexual antics. The sex part was somewhat explicit but not over the top for this sort of book. However, this made for short shrift in dealing with the other members of this family. Oh, Alice got her own part and boy was she a bit whacko, but nothing compared to her brother! And the mother, Donna, well we don’t get much on her at all.

Then there is the not so beloved step-sister Eloise (and this is where I don’t see how this could come together to make a story, even a fictional one) who is hated by her younger brother and sister. She is hated because her father left her well-off? Because she wasn’t there for her step-sister’s emergency? Well so what of it? He wasn’t their father so how could they have such horrid reactions? She had her own problems (such as they were) when her sister had her emergency. Just plain jealousy is what it all turned into.


These are three of the most unlikeable characters I have met and I think had I ever net someone like this in real life I would run not walk away from them as fast as I could run. I have never felt less for character’s as I felt with this bunch…ALL of them. Even during the worst the world threw at this crew, I felt nothing for them. They were shallow, flat, unlikeable drug addicted, drunks, and attention prostitutes.

There is some closure, but not enough.
ARC supplied by publisher/author

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Rich People Problems: A Novel by Kevin Kwan

Rich People Problems: A NovelKevin Kwan, bestselling author of Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend, is back with an uproarious new novel of a family riven by fortune, an ex-wife driven psychotic with jealousy, a battle royal fought through couture gown sabotage, and the heir to one of Asia's greatest fortunes locked out of his inheritance. 
When Nicholas Young hears that his grandmother, Su Yi, is on her deathbed, he rushes to be by her bedside—but he's not alone. The entire Shang-Young clan has convened from all corners of the globe to stake claim on their matriarch’s massive fortune. With each family member vying to inherit Tyersall Park—a trophy estate on 64 prime acres in the heart of Singapore—Nicholas’s childhood home turns into a hotbed of speculation and sabotage. As her relatives fight over heirlooms, Astrid Leong is at the center of her own storm, desperately in love with her old sweetheart Charlie Wu, but tormented by her ex-husband—a man hell bent on destroying Astrid’s reputation and relationship. Meanwhile Kitty Pong, married to China’s second richest man, billionaire Jack Bing, still feels second best next to her new step-daughter, famous fashionista Colette Bing. A sweeping novel that takes us from the elegantly appointed mansions of Manila to the secluded private islands in the Sulu Sea, from a kidnapping at Hong Kong’s most elite private school to a surprise marriage proposal at an Indian palace, caught on camera by the telephoto lenses of paparazzi, Kevin Kwan's hilarious, gloriously wicked new novel reveals the long-buried secrets of Asia's most privileged families and their rich people problems.


What can I say about this book...well first thing it would help a lot if you make sure you read the first two books in this series (?). It might help you keep the myriad of characters straight. You might also want to be happy with foot-notes, a LOT of them. And let me tell you it is no picnic reading a book with foot-notes on a Kindle.

You need to be happy with constant advertising of items that the hoi polloi (like me!)wont know about, but with a book such as this it is the norm or how else would we know that these people are filthy rich if it wasn't for all the advertising???

There are a about a skagillion character's (it seems) and it is sometimes very difficult to keep them all straight, but the main character's of Nick and his sister Atstrid will grab you and they are fairly well written- not too fleshed out but enough so you can empathize with them.

In the long run this was a bit more boring than I would have thought a book of this type would be. It is also somewhat long winded, but again for a book of this type it is understandable.

I did love learning about Ah Ma and her past. She should have a book all to herself -it wouldn't be a funny one, but it sure would capture me!

I think that this author has so much more inside and could branch out from these ironic books, to something just as entertaining but with a little bit more to say.
ARC from Author and/or Publisher

Monday, May 22, 2017

Sycamore by Bryn Chancellor

Sycamore"Out for a hike one scorching afternoon in Sycamore, Arizona, a newcomer to town stumbles across what appear to be human remains embedded in the wall of a dry desert ravine. As news of the discovery makes its way around town, Sycamore’s longtime residents fear the bones may belong to Jess Winters, the teenage girl who disappeared suddenly some eighteen years earlier, an unsolved mystery that has soaked into the porous rock of the town and haunted it ever since. In the days it takes the authorities to make an identification, the residents rekindle stories, rumors, and recollections both painful and poignant as they revisit Jess’s troubled history. In resurrecting the past, the people of Sycamore will find clarity, unexpected possibility, and a way forward for their lives."
I'm not sure what exactly to say about this book. It is obvious that many people just loved this novel, but for me it was a very difficult read.

Yes this was a very literary, beautifully written and very deep novel and not something you would want to take on vacation to perk yourself up or to get lost in. The book does not really end well -or at least it doesn't end in any way other than the one which we already figured out right fro the beginning. As a matter of fact, in some ways it was a deeply disturbing novel - (this is a bit of a spoiler but needs to be said as it is missing from the synopsis) -there is a pedophilia aspect to this book that some will find...disconcerting? upsetting? contrived? brilliant? 

It was an interesting choice of the author to tackle something like this subject, but it is not the main crux of the book...it just seems to be that way since the topic is so controversial. 

I struggled to get at least half-way though and them at about 80% I just started skimming to find out for sure how this was going to conclude.

My problems mostly stem from the fact that this book is told from so many different view points and the time frame switches back and forth from the year 1991 to the year 2009 (and I think we even did a horizontal time shift at one point. LOL).

Another thing I had difficulties with is that most of the main character's seem to need heavy doses of anti-depressants and top notch psychiatrists - there was not a single person who didn't have some sort of angst problem, which for me made this a very depressing read. Yes, this is normal in any town -large or small, but it might have helped to have one person who doesn't go off the deep end, who can keep their cool even during the worst that life can dish out. 

I do understand that not everyone's lives are filled with sunshine and roses, so this is another reason why this book is going to be a hit. It really deals with real life in all of it's uncomfortable nakedness.

For me, I need something that takes me away from the problem's in my life and being reminded for this many pages on how bad it is out there just made me more depressed than I usually am.
*ARC supplied by publisher/and or author.



Thursday, May 18, 2017

Not a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf

Not a Sound

A shocking discovery and chilling secrets converge in this latest novel from New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf 

When a tragic accident leaves nurse Amelia Winn deaf, she spirals into a depression that ultimately causes her to lose everything that matters--her job, her husband, David, and her stepdaughter, Nora. Now, two years later and with the help of her hearing dog, Stitch, she is finally getting back on her feet. But when she discovers the body of a fellow nurse in the dense bush by the river, deep in the woods near her cabin, she is plunged into a disturbing mystery that could shatter the carefully reconstructed pieces of her life all over again.

As clues begin to surface, Amelia finds herself swept into an investigation that hits all too close to home. But how much is she willing to risk in order to uncover the truth and bring a killer to justice?

New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf has been described as "masterful" and "intelligent" and compared to Lisa Scottoline and Jodi Picoult. Introducing her most compelling heroine yet, she delivers a taut and emotional thriller that proves she's at the top of her class.


ReviewI really don't know what to think about this book. If you are a fan of Nora Roberts and have read Angels Fall then you will be as astounded as I was that "Not a Sound" was so similar to the other. The only main differences between the two books is that the protagonist in this book was deafened in an accident and that she knew the murdered woman.

I liked the idea of a deaf protagonist and the author was very adept at making us see the world through Amelia's eyes, and the author does a great job of making us understand the nursing world, However, I was annoyed at some of the plotting - the great leaps of logic that Amelia made seemed nonsensical to me; the rehashing that she did of certain things just seemed like filler to me and did nothing to add to my enjoyment of this book.

Angels Fall:

Starts with frightening prologue.

The protagonist Reece, was a chef and was traumatically changed by being in a mass murder.

Reece was considered 'nutty' because her behavior changed after the murders.

She moved to a small town and there she witnessed a murder.

Nobody believed her.

She was stalked by the murderer and had things done to here that made her seem crazy.

Hot romance.

She over-thought things and put herself into the investigation of the murder.

Chase scene at the end of the book.

Not a Sound:

Starts with frightening prologue.

Amelia was a nurse who became deaf due to an accident.

She became a drunk due to the ramifications of her deafness and even when she became sober nobody really believed what she had concluded about the murder.

Mild romance.

She was stalked by the murder.

Chase scene at the end of the book.

Do you see what I mean? I liked the book well enough, I just couldn't seem to read it without thinking and comparing it to Angels Fall.

*ARC supplied by publisher.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Gwendy's Button Box


by 

The little town of Castle Rock, Maine has witnessed some strange events and unusual visitors over the years, but there is one story that has never been told... until now.
On a bench in the shade sits a man in black jeans, a black coat like for a suit, and a white shirt unbuttoned at the top. On his head is a small neat black hat. The time will come when Gwendy has nightmares about that hat... 
Journey back to Castle Rock again in this chilling new novella by Stephen King, bestselling author of The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, and Richard Chizmar, award-winning author of A Long December. This book will be a Cemetery Dance Publications exclusive with no other editions currently planned anywhere in the world!



Although this should have been categorized as a novella it was not and it was a very, very short read.  However short it was, the story telling was intense and the concept of the story was very interesting.  The character of Gwendy was fully fleshed and the time span made this a very interesting book for those of us who had lived as adults or young adults through the ‘70’s.

The “what if” theme is one that has been done numerous times, but the way Mr. King and Mr. Chizmar handled it made it seem new and fresh.  The story does make the reader think very hard about how they would react to having this much power at their disposal and if the reader could handle it as Gwendy did.  

I really enjoyed and was captivated by this book.  It really did make me think ‘what would I do’.  I think it is going to be right up there with my other Stephen King go-to-reread: The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon.

So many popular authors are collaborating lately. And a lot of them work out very well (Agnes and the Hitman Aug 21, 2007 by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer) for one.  It amazes me that so many readers are finding it repugnant the Mr. King has done so and it really isn't his first time (The Talisman: A Novel Sep 25, 2012 by Stephen King and Peter Straub) or his last (Sleeping Beauties: A Novel Sep 26, 2017by Stephen King and Owen King).

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

23.99 For The Kindle Edition??? Ma Speaks Up: And a First-Generation Daughter Talks Back - by Marianne Leone

Product DetailsThe acclaimed actress and author of Jesse: A Mother’s Story tells the story of her outspoken, frequently outrageous Italian immigrant mother.
Marianne Leone’s Ma is in many senses a larger-than-life character, one who might be capable, even from the afterlife, of shattering expectations. Born on a farm in Italy, Linda finds her way to the United States under dark circumstances, having escaped a forced marriage to a much older man, and marries a good Italian boy. She never has full command of English, especially when questioned by authorities, and when she is suddenly widowed with three young children, she has few options. To her daughter’s horror and misery, she becomes the school lunch lady.
Ma Speaks Up is a record of growing up on the wrong side of the tracks, with the wrong family, in the wrong religion. Though Marianne’s girlhood is flooded with shame, it’s equally packed with adventure, love, great cooking, and, above all, humor. The extremely premature birth of Marianne’s beloved son, Jesse, bonds mother and daughter in ways she couldn’t have imagined. The stories she tells will speak to anyone who has struggled with outsider status in any form and, of course, to mothers and their blemished, cherished girls.



 This book actually made me angry. When I chose to read this I figured this was going to be right up my alley. Nope. I was never as spoiled and selfish as this woman was. I would never have thought to talk to my mother or any of my family in this manner. I am a daughter of a second generation Italian father and Hungarian Mother. I am about the same age as the author. I grew up in the same type of ethnic neighborhood as the author and the house as my Hungarian Greats and Grands and an Aunt and Uncle. The Italian Greats, Grand etc lived a few houses down. I never felt shame for any of my family, lest of all my mother, for what she was and how she behaved. Not did I feel for any shame that my grandparents couldn't speak proper English or hold better jobs than what they found. My friends grew up the same way (and so did the author's), what the heck is there to be ashamed about???

I can't get over that this book is trying to make this out as a 'poor me -I am growing up different from everyone' book. Marianne Leone grew up exactly as everyone else in her ethnic neighborhood, she was NOT different and to use this as an excuse to take it out on her mother was a travesty.

This synopsis is totally misleading. The mother never speaks and there is no humor in this book, the author was not an outsider.

This book started off interesting and went downhill to the point that at 75% I was skimming.

The best part of this book was the three recipes at the end.
ATTL supplied ARC

Saturday, April 22, 2017

White Hot (book 2) by Ilona Andrews

White Hot by Ilona Andrews

White Hot: A Hidden Legacy Novel by [Andrews, Ilona]
The Hidden Legacy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews continues as Nevada and Rogan navigate a world where magic is the norm…and their relationship burns hot Nevada Baylor has a unique and secret skill—she knows when people are lying—and she's used that magic (along with plain, hard work) to keep her colorful and close-knit family's detective agency afloat. But her new case pits her against the shadowy forces that almost destroyed the city of Houston once before, bringing Nevada back into contact with Connor "Mad" Rogan. Rogan is a billionaire Prime—the highest rank of magic user—and as unreadable as ever, despite Nevada’s “talent.” But there’s no hiding the sparks between them. Now that the stakes are even higher, both professionally and personally, and their foes are unimaginably powerful, Rogan and Nevada will find that nothing burns like ice … An Avon Romance




I just wanted to say that is if you are following this trilogy, reading this book is really going to be worth it.

Luckily for fans, the last book in this trilogy 
Wildfire is going to come out only two months after this one comes out. (July 25, 2017)

What I did want to say is that with reading this book I see sooo many parallels to the Kate Daniel's books. I can't wait for you to read this to see if you see it too.

The only thing this trilogy gives us that is different from the Kate series, is real sex (not in the first book, but in this one), not just the sex being talked about in hints and the abstract. (I am not so happy with the particular word usage for Nevada's lady bits, but what can I say? My issue, my problem.)

I would love to see a novella or book that looks at the action in this trilogy through Conner's eyes.



This is a wonderful fantasy trilogy – it is all about magic, the highest magic users and what the world is like for the haves and have-nots. It is a great mystery -  the trilogy has a new mystery   with each new book, while still drawing out the biggest mystery (who is trying to bring down the Houses of Houston).  The mystery we are delving into with each new book.

If you have not read the first book in this trilogy -I suggest that you do. You don’t really need to since the author’s do a fantastic job of bringing you pretty much up-to-date. But it will go a long way of describing this new world and give you very good insights into some of the important characters. (plus, it is quite inexpensive at the moment!!!)

In this the second book in this series, we find even more character and world building.  Nevada is really coming into her own and is showing to be almost as mercenary as Kate is (from the Kate Daniel’s series by the same author’s) as far as certain things go.  They really are very similar character’s.

Conner is a bit more--- I was going to say Alpha than Curran, but that really isn’t the correct word! Conner is just broodier and angstier than Curran.

The story line in this book is a fascinating one starting with Nevada and crew being hired to solve the murder of the wife of a minor character in the book before this one (who now becomes so much more!) and turns into something so much more complicated…but since it is almost all of the story-lines are tied up at the end it really works. (note that I said, ‘almost all of the story-lines’)

One thing I want to mention is that the character of Augustine Montgomery is such a perfect melding of Ghastek Stefanoff and Saiman (I would really love to see a book or novella just on Augustine).


So, all in all this was a very sexy and satisfying, complicated but not too complicated read and I cannot wait for the last book in the trilogy.