Book review: Bossypants by Tina Fey

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I think Tina Fey is hilarious. Mean Girls. Saturday Night Live. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. The couple of 30 Rock episodes I’ve actually seen. (It’s on my list, okay?) Other things I’ve seen her in that I currently can’t remember the names of. As a comedy writer and actress, she’s amazing. But this book? It had its highlights, but overall, I was disappointed.

There are a number of legitimately, laugh-out-loud hilarious sections. The part about how you can tell how much New Yorkers like things based on how disgusted they are is absolutely true and very funny. I live in New Jersey, and it’s the same here. But there are other sections that are flat-out racist. Or mean-spirited. And large chunks are just… boring.

Celebrity memoirs are hit or miss. I still love Tina Fey, even if I didn’t love her book. On to the next.

#mm18: one word

Final rating: ★★☆☆☆

Top Ten Tuesday: Things that instantly make me want to read a book

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! Today’s theme is actually “top ten books I could re-read forever,” but since we all know I don’t do re-reads, I decided to go with one from the archive instead: top ten things that instantly make me want to read a book.  Prepare yourself.  This could get fangirly.

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1. Any kind of romance with the brother’s best friend or the best friend’s brother.  It’s kind of taboo but not really and it usually has some searing sexual tension. Bonus points if there’s been a crush for literally forever.

Examples: Boomerang Boyfriend // The Boy I Hate // Personal Escort

2. Emails or texts in the blurb. Give me some insight into the personalities of your characters right in the blurb and I’ll probably drop everything to read your book.

Examples: I Hate Everyone But You // Over Us, Over You

3. OH MY GOD, THEY WERE ROOMMATES. It just adds another layer of tension to a relationship. I love it when they’re dancing around each other and they’re both feeling the attraction but neither of them wants to be the first to admit it.

Examples: Cocky Roomie // Famous // Roomie Wars

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4. A setting in Wisconsin. Nobody sets their books in Wisconsin.  It’s my homeland.  If your book is set there, I’ll probably pre-order it.

Examples: Arrows // Little House // American Gods

5. Or a setting in the New York / New Jersey area. This is where I live now, and I love reading about places that are familiar.

Examples: Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares // Remember When // The Diviners

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6. Anything having to do with music. Is one of the characters in a band?  Do the characters talk about their mutual love of a certain genre? Does it take place at a music festival or concert?  Just take my money.

Examples: More Than Music // Blow // Eleanor & Park

7. Road trips. I honestly love road trips… when they’re with the right people. Driving across the country with your parents isn’t ideal, but a group of friends going somewhere fun, with snacks and music and random stops along the way? Yes, please!

Examples: Seven Ways to Lose Your Heart // Lovers Like Us // The Temptation of Adam

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8. Epistolary novels. I don’t know what it is about them, but I love reading correspondence between characters. It gives a whole different vibe to the book!

Examples: The Perks of Being a Wallflower // Attachments // Where’d You Go, Bernadette

9. Written by one of my favorite authors.  This is probably cheating, but I don’t even care. My favorite authors could write about grass growing or paint drying, and I’d still buy their books.

Examples: Turtles All the Way Down // We Were Liars // Heartless

10. A really good cover. I know, I know, don’t judge a book by its cover. But sometimes I can’t resist and end up reading a book just because the cover was so perfect.

Examples: The Big F // A Million Junes // Seven Days of You

Book review: Breaking Him by Sherilee Gray

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Every day, Abigail Smith does her best to keep her family’s ranch afloat.  She’s having some trouble what with the drought and the skyrocketing costs, but her lone employee, Elijah Hays, is a horse whisperer.  The townspeople might think of Elijah as something of a monster, but Abigail knows that he would never hurt a fly. He’s her gentle giant, and regardless of what people might say, she longs to be his.

Well, this is the most erotic erotica I’ve read in a long time.  Possibly ever.  At the beginning, as the sexual tension builds, this was fine.  Even for the first few chapters, as Abigail and Eli had their first sexual encounters, it was fine. As the book dragged on, though, it got to be kind of repetitive and boring.  (And, let me just say, a book that’s less than 200 pages should never drag or be repetitive.)  I mean, in how many different positions and locales can one couple have sex?  That said, I truly feel that I’m in the minority here!  70% of readers gave this book either four or five stars, so take my opinions (as always) with a grain of salt.

As for the characters, I liked how open-minded and level-headed Abigail was.  That’s really all I can say about her, though, because when we’re inside her head, we just get a constant mantra of sex sex sex sex sex sex sex.  Eli was the real winner here.  He’s sweet, he’s gentle, and he’s never been with a woman before. This was my first virgin hero book and I actually loved that aspect of it. The only thing I wished for Eli was a little bit of time in his head. We were intimately acquainted with every thought of Abigail’s, but we never learned very much about Eli.  What a shame, since he was a great character.

All in all, the book was fine, but I wish there would have been a better plot-to-sex ratio. As it stands, at least two-thirds of the book is made up of either Abigail and Eli actually having sex, or at least Abigail thinking about it. While some of the scenes were admittedly pretty sexy, others were just so far from my comfort zone that I found myself reading with a weird expression on my face. I’ve never been a big fan of BDSM anyway, and the hero jumping straight from virginity to Dom left me a bit puzzled.

My rating is really more of a 2.5, but I can’t bring myself to round up to 3, so it’ll stay at 2 stars.

Final rating: ★★☆☆☆

Monthly Motif: February update

Monthly Motif: February update

If I would’ve been thinking clearly, I would have picked three one-word titles for this month’s Killing the TBR. Obviously, I was not thinking clearly, because the three books that I chose were all multi-word titles, which meant no consolidation here! Just a lot of stress.

I read twenty books in January and almost a third of them counted toward January’s prompt. But February? This month kicked my butt and I struggled just to stay on top of my TBR pile. I’m not sure if I would have finished even one book toward this prompt if my hold on Tina Fey’s Bossypants hadn’t come in.

Now, to be fair, there are a couple days left in the month. If I’m being totally honest, though, no more one-word titles are coming.

Books read:

  • Bossypants by Tina Fey (review coming February 28)

Books not read:

  • Any of the approximately 800 one-word titles that have been hanging out on my TBR forever

Book review: Trophy Husband by Lauren Blakely

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After being dumped for a much younger woman the day before her wedding, McKenna’s ready to get her revenge. No, she’s not going to get violent. There will be no stalking or retaliation against the new bride. No, McKenna’s plan is to get herself a trophy husband to prove that it’s not just men who can play that game. To find her candidates, McKenna solicits the help of her friends and her blog’s followers – but she never planned on actually falling for someone mid-crusade.

I have a bunch of Lauren Blakely on my TBR. This was actually one of four of her books that I bought and then just… didn’t read for some reason. I know she’s a big name in romance and I’m not really sure why I’ve never picked up any of her books, but I’m glad that I finally did. This book was a lot of fun! There’s relatively little drama (just enough to keep things interesting) plus a lot of bonus factors like good dogs and a fictionalized version of Ellen.

There were, of course, a couple things I would have changed (when are there not, though, I know I’m picky) but overall this was a really cute book and I liked both McKenna and Chris. I actually have a couple of the other books in this series, so keep an eye out for those reviews too once my life slows down a bit.

Final rating: ★★★★☆

#killingthetbr: 5 months on shelf

ARC review: The Schemer by Avery Flynn

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Tyler Jacobson is a self-made multi-millionaire from the wrong side of the tracks. Growing up in poverty in the wrong part of town, Tyler made it his mission to do so well in life that nobody would ever question his judgment. Now a big-name real estate developer, Tyler’s newest goal is to lend his services to Italian hotelier Alberto Ferranti. The trick? Actually getting a meeting with him.

Enter Everly Ribinski, a tenant in one of Tyler’s buildings and the most annoying woman he’s ever met. Everly is everything that Tyler wants to forget about his childhood – unpolished, brash, and quick-tempered – but she’s also one of the sexiest women he’s ever met. Tyler’s instantly attracted to Everly despite knowing that she’s entirely wrong for him. But when Tyler finds out that Everly has a connection to Alberto, can he convince her to play nice and get him the meeting he so desperately needs?

So, I didn’t realize that this was book three in a series when I initially requested it on Netgalley, but it’s okay because there’s no prior knowledge of the series required to have a good time. All of the characters from past books are introduced and THANK GOODNESS because usually I’m good about checking for this stuff, so I don’t know what happened here!

The book was fine. It’s my first by Avery Flynn and while I enjoyed her writing style, I don’t think that this story was the ideal introduction to her work. The characters were pretty frustrating – both of them are wrapped up in their childhood drama (and trauma) and get into petty arguments or just flat-out refuse to hear what the other is saying. I’m not really into books about grown adults that act like preteens, but I was also in kind of a bad mood when I read this, so take that with a grain of salt. I’m not going to be too harsh in my rating because even I can objectively say that I typically would have enjoyed this kind of book more than this.

Even though I didn’t love this book, I think it would be fun to go back and read the first two books in this series. I’ll add them to my eighteen-mile-long TBR.

Final rating: ★★★☆☆

I received a free copy of The Schemer from the publisher (via Netgalley) in exchange for my honest review.

ARC review: At the Stroke of Midnight by Tara Sivec

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Cynthia prides herself on perfection. Even though she grew up in a trailer park with a stepmother who openly hated her, once she married Brian, the most important things in her life were her pearls, her PTA meetings, and her volunteer work.  Then Brian disappeared.  He ran off with the babysitter and left her and their daughter alone with no money and no plan. Now, her neighbors are getting suspicious, bill collectors are hounding her, and she needs to find some way to put food on the table, so she decides to toss aside her pearls and do the one thing she can: start stripping.

It isn’t easy.  Cynthia’s become a little straight-laced over the years and forgetting everything her horrible mother-in-law taught her takes some work. But with the help of two friends and one grumpy (but gorgeous) man, maybe Cynthia can finally get back on her feet.

What can I even say about this book?! It’s my first by Tara Sivec and I certainly hope it’s not my last because I cannot wait for Belle’s story. The book was really well-written with great, even pacing… but I wasn’t totally convinced at the beginning.  The thing is, PJ is the world’s biggest jerk (maybe second biggest if we include Brian).  It took some time for me to stop seeing him as a jerk and start accepting him as Cynthia’s love interest. But once I did? Someone grab me a fan – or maybe a bucket of cold water – because he is some love interest. Wow!

I loved that throughout the book, there was absolutely zero slut shaming, zero derision directed toward stripping as a profession, and zero insinuation that PJ would somehow “save” Cynthia from the indignity of it all.  Cynthia is proud to do this for herself and her daughter. She’s happy to have the control back in her life and honestly, it was so empowering! This is the first book I’ve read with a plot even remotely like this and I loved it so much.

Cynthia was a wonderful character, but I also fell in love with our other two main girls, Ariel and Isabelle.  Ariel is bold, brash, and unabashedly herself. I can’t wait to read about her romance with (I’m guessing) Eric.  Isabelle is this quiet, unassuming librarian who spouts off random facts when she gets nervous, and I am eagerly anticipating (like give it to me NOW) her romance with (again, guessing) Beast.

This was such a fun, funny, and empowering read. I highly recommend it.

Final rating: ★★★★☆

I received a free advance copy of At the Stroke of Midnight from the publisher (via Netgalley) in exchange for my honest review.