Tuesday, 31 January 2012

What's Next? See You At The Show by Michelle Betham

See You At The Show
Michelle Betham
Published August 2011

There’s not much I love more in life other than alcohol and classic rock (other than books and the beach, of course.  And maybe zombies, I love zombies, too.  And my dogs.  And dogs in general, really.  And Taco Bell.  Oh, and Starbucks.  I think I’ve actually had too much coffee today, now that I think about it). 

True story - a few years ago, when I got married, I walked down the aisle to an a capella version of a Journey song.  A song that I loved way before Glee and college girls with perky tits made cool again, might I add.  I swear this was because I wanted everyone to know I was still a wild and free spirit, and not because I wanted to piss off his very strict Catholic mom.

I swear that isn’t why we divorced.  Pretty sure, anyway. 

I’m certain his family sits at the dinner table and says sentences like “We should have known, not only did she not want to get married in a church, but she forced you to walk down the aisle to some Heathen rock song!” 

I’m also certain that at no point does the conversation get continued with “... it’s too bad we can’t blame the divorce on that and not on you being able to keep your dick in your pants, Dearest Son .“

Back to the matter at hand.

A book with rock stars and sexy politicians?  This may be too hot for me to handle.  It may also be just what I need after a long, long, looooooong winter of no "heat", if you know what I mean, wink wink, nudge nudge.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

What's Next? Catch Me by Lisa Gardner

Catch Me
Lisa Gardner
ARC - Release February 2012
Published by Dutton

Usually, I’d be getting ready to dive into some juicy zombie or post apoclyptic action right about now, but my mom was politely persisting (aka NAGGING!  Yeah, I said it Ma) I read my ARC of Catch Me by Lisa Gardner ASAP.  When asked why she’s rushing me to read it, she gave me some bullshit line about it almost being February and that’s the release date and I should be a good little girl and have it read by then so that I’m not, get this, “tardy”.

I’m 30.  I’m in the middle of a horrible divorce.  I’m living in my parents dining room, on a pull out couch, in a cabin in the woods and my concern should be about being tardy?

I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that my Ma has a shelf full of Lisa Gardner books and looooooooooves this author and genre.  I’m also sure it has nothing to do with the other bitties at her Monday night card games (who ALSO love Lisa Gardner) “finding out” that I may have the “new release” and she wants to look cool.  And of course, it also has nothing to do with the fact that my 7 month stint on my parents couch is up soon and I (aka my books) will be leaving in the next few weeks.

“Oh, is it almost the end of the month already?  You should read as much as possible before you go so you don’t have as many books to pack.  “

She’s been counting down the days until she gets her dining room back for months, and suddenly she forgot I’m leaving so soon.  Right.

I’ve read Lisa Gardner’s books before, but it’s been awhile, and I’ll be honest - all I remember is that I didn’t hate them.  I’m loving the tag line though -

“In four days, someone is going to kill me .. but the son of a bitch has gotta catch me first.  “

This one’s for you, Ma!

Monday, 23 January 2012

Review - One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

One for the Money
Janet Evanovich

Published 1994
St. Martin’s Press
320 Pages
Fiction - Suspense

Like I said in my pre-review, it took me a long time (and a movie trailer) to notice One for the Money, by Janet Evanovich.   My track record for “noticing things” isn’t the greatest (see: pre-review for other, more personal things I didn’t notice, like my husband’s affairs).  When I realized that the new movie with Katherine Heigl is also the first book in the best-selling Stephanie Plum series, I thought I should probably get with the times.

The book was first published in 1994, people.  I’m so far behind the times, I might as well be my mother (holla Ma!).  Not only was it published 18 years ago, but there’s also been, you guessed it, 17 books to follow in the main series.  I figured I’d read the first book in the Stephanie Plum series, and if I hated it, perfect - I can write at least 17 books off of my Should I Read This? list. 

I started the book off, almost willing myself to hate it so that a) I wouldn’t have to catch up to said 18 freakin’ books and b) I could go back to mocking Katherine Heigl for continuing to make poor movie-role choices. 

Page 23 sinched it for me.

“I couldn’t imagine him hurting me, but the possibility of being mortally embarrassed was extremely high.  Not that I’ve ever let a little embarrassment stop me from forging blindly ahead on any number of dumb projects ... like my ill-fated marriage to Dickie Orr, the horse’s behind.  “

I like my female characters like I like my real life friends - sarcastic, funny, strong and believable.  Stephanie Plum was all of those, and I not only wanted to continue reading her story, I immediately wanted to be her friend.  It’s rare when that happens for me, and I’d be hard pressed to find more than a few characters off the top of my head that I wish were real live people so I could track them down, stalk them, beg and bribe them to be friends with me. 

I thought maybe I’d get a little tired of the Jersey Girl atmosphere in the book, knowing that both a lot of non-Jersey and Jersey writers try to do this and it gets old quickly.  I worried for no reason, because at no time did I think the author laid it on too thick.  However, this is coming from someone that’s a bit of a Jersey Shore fan (Vinnie, call me), so if I can handle them on a weekly basis, I can probably handle something a little more authentic (Side note - I love when the Jersey Shore crew goes to Italy and hates it because it's "too Italian").

The anticipation between Stephanie and Joe slayed me.  Would they hook up?  Are they gonna hook up?  What about now, will they hook up now?  When when when?  The realism to Janet Evanovich’s writing of their situation was just that - real.  After reading so many novels and plot lines where characters either get it on right away or play hard to get for no reason, it was nice to read something that held the romantic side as an undertone to the story instead of making it the main detail.

One of the other things I really liked was that in a lot of other books, the strong heroine/subtle hero story plays well right up until the Strong Heroine is in a Real Mess and needs Subtle Hero to Save Her At The Last Minute.  None of that was apparent in this story - Stephanie didn’t need a hero, no matter how subtle.  It was a great change, and again, made both the characters and the story itself more believable.

I’m not sure if I like that aspect because I admire strong women doing it for themselves, or because I’m still really bitter from my divorce and never want to rely on a man again in my life ... either way, it’s a refreshing change.

So, bottom line?  If you haven’t discovered this series yet, or haven’t been paying attention (it happens to the best of us), read this book.  Preferably before the movie comes out in a week. 

I hope the rest of the series is as good, but with so many, I have reservations that the momentum will keep up at a believable pace.

Now, excuse me while I go find my whiskey and crank some Salt N Pepa.

(This video probably won't work without Flash, sorry)

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Coffee and Conversation - I used to be ..

Once upon a time, when I was in about Grade 6 (sixth grade, for you Americans reading this), our teacher gave us a writing/journaling task to do.  He wrote it on the board, and then has us write in our journals, filling in the blank and explaining it.

I freakin' loved it.  I got to work right away, writing a super serious answer and pouring my heart into it.

Then, we had to read it out loud, and my heart froze in my chest - I was way too shy for that kind of crap.  Not only that, but the people that were taking their turns before me weren't even taking it seriously.  I was crushed!  When it was finally my turn, I glanced at what the person at the desk beside me wrote, and then said that answer, joining in on the snickers of how lame this exercise was and ignoring the glares from the girl beside me.

Now that I'm 30 and can think for myself, I'd like to do it again.  And I'd like to hear what you guys have to say for it, as well.  Leave your answers in the comments!  I'll go first.

I used to be _______, but I'm not any more.  

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

What's Next? One For The Money - Janet Evanovich

One For The Money
Janet Evanovich
Published 1994

Sometimes I don't pay enough attention, to put it mildly.  In the same way I had no idea my husband had an array of girlfriends on the side, I also had no idea that the new Katherine Heigl movie One for the Money is actually from the first book in the Janet Evanovich gimmicky-number series.

"That movie looks good!" I said to a friend. 

"Yeah, I wonder if it will be as good as the book?" she responded.

"What book?" 

You should note that this conversation took place as we were both standing in our little community library, and I was shelving a book.  Not just any book, of course, but the latest Janet Evanovich gimmicky-number book.

True story.

Maybe it's time I caught up with our girl Stephanie Plum, yes?   Is she worth the hype?  Will the first book make me want to catch up on all EIGHTEEN books in the series?  Will the movie make me love Katherine Heigl again like I did circa the Izzy/Denny times?

Man, Denny was so sexy.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Review - The First Days by Rhiannon Frater

The First Days (As The World Dies #1)
Rhiannon Frater
331 pages
First published online 2008, re-published 2011 by TOR (
Buy it here from!

I know I have eclectic taste (eclectic is the new black, I say - now how do I trademark that?).  I’m not sure how many other divorced thirty-somethings salivate over books that describe the world ending at the hands of viruses or zombies (or both), as well well written, feel good Chick Lit.  Add in a spattering of regular horror, most books on the Best Seller lists, YA, etc ... and I like pretty much everything.

However, I never in a million years thought I would find a book that encompasses my true loves - zombies, The World As We Know It Going To Hell, and Chick Lit - but I have.  Oh my, have I ever. 

As I mentioned in my pre-review, the Semi-BFF scouted this particular book out, read it, and immediately passed it on to me, knowing I would love it as much as she did. 

Here’s what I loved - The First Days is written from the point of view of not just one, but two females.  While I love my The World As We Know It Going To Hell books immensely, I get very tired of hearing about what the men would do.  Let’s be real here - men are easy to figure out, we already know what they would do.  But what would women do?  What would Adele do if she was faced with a throng of zombies?  What would Chelsea Handler do?  I bet those stories would be a lot more entertaining than what Spencer Pratt or Justin Bieber would do.

I kind of wish zombies did attack, because I know my Ex Husband wouldn’t survive, but that’s probably really selfish of me to say.

Back to the story at hand (although I am sitting here with a satisfied smirk on my face, picturing ... well, never mind).  Katie & Jenni meet by complete and utter luck at the beginning of the zombie onslaught, and manage to just barely get out of the city unbitten and undead.  Katie, the high powered, confidant lover of women, and Jenni, the abused wife and mother are trying to survive in a world where the zombies aren’t exactly like the ones in the movies, and trying to make their way to save Jenni’s stepson. 

There’s only a few things that I found issue with, and I know a few other reviewers did as well.  Katie is first described as a lesbian, but when she’s introduced to one of the smouldering hot male characters, she soon after reveals she’s bi.  I found this a little convenient, timing wise.  Jenni, on the other hand, is a long-time abused wife who not only thrives in The New World As We Know It, but starts to really enjoy killing the reanimated dead.  Given what she had gone through all her life, and the recent images of her own kids coming back from the dead to attack her, her quick segue from Typical Abused Wife to Thriving Zombie Killing Jedi is hard to swallow.  However, given the lack of research on how abused wives would handle zombies, it’s hard to actually find this unbelievable, but it does give me pause. 

Also, for some reason, when I picture Jenni in my head, she’s played by Ginnifer Goodwin

Rhiannon Frater wrote this book in bits and pieces, never really intending it as more than a story on her blog.  You can really see her writing, and the story itself, evolve as you read further and further into the book, which really impressed me.  I found the beginning to be such an easy read, but by the time I got to the end, I had to go back and read the last few pages over and over because I just couldn’t believe how intense the plot had become. 

This book is wrought with tough women, close calls, adrenaline, zombies, and sexiness.  I wish the sex scenes were a little smuttier, but that’s probably because I haven’t gotten laid in entirely too long, and considering this book has everything else going for it, I don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth (I’m not entirely sure what that means, but in my world it means shut the fuck up and enjoy your Zombie Chick Lit).  I fell in love with the characters (Team Juan!) surprisingly easily, and found myself skipping ahead to make sure my favourites were still intact. 

Zombies.  Action.  Emotions.  Sex.  Tequila.  Guns.  Trucks.  Tenderness.  All from the female POV.  Jesus Eff, I may have found the perfect book. 

P.S - Like the same kind of books I do?  Leave me a comment so I know I’m not alone in my strangeness.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Coffee and Conversation - The Night Circus

I have a secret, and I'm almost scared to tell you.  No matter what happens, promise you'll still love me?  Wait, let me just take a deep breath and a deep swallow of Jack before I continue...

Okay.  Here we go.

There.  I said it.  It's now out in the open for all to see.

I've mentioned to others that while I enjoyed the premise of the book, and really enjoyed the vividness used in describing the characters, settings and details, I found the story itself anti-climatic, and a little boring. 

I'm definitely in the minority here, and I'm okay with that.  Not everyone enjoys every book - what a boring world that would be!  

So tell me - did you enjoy The Night Circus?  Why or why not?

Can you think of a book that you didn't enjoy, but seemingly everyone else raved about?  Vice versa?  Leave a comment and let me know!

Saturday, 14 January 2012

What's Next? The First Days by Rhiannon Frater

The First Days
by Rhiannon Frater

The Semi-BFF (Semi because I share joint custody of her BFF status with someone across the pond) and I are kind of an odd pair - we talk about the world ending a lot.  Not in the emo, depressing way, but what we would do if the zombies attacked (um, which when you read it out loud, does sound a little emo & depressing).  We're open to the idea of the world ending in ways that don't involve zombies, but that's the one we always come back to.

A lot of women meet for lunch and cocktails with their nails done and hair did, looking good with the blush of friendship and alcohol, and talk about .. well, I'm not sure what they talk about, to be honest, but it's probably not zombies.  And if it is, I need to start introducing myself to more of these women.  Because that's what Semi-BFF and I spend our lunches doing - talking about Zombies and What We Would Do If The World As We Know Went To Hell.

Please note - we are not as hardcore as this chick on Anderson Cooper:

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Seriously.  I'm just going to let you digest that video for a moment, and then reiterate that we?  Are not that hardcore (She probably shouldn't have used her real name, because if the zombies DO attack, I bet she's going to have a lot of people knocking on her door, amiright?).

So when Semi-BFF told me that she found a zombie series written from the female perspective and that it was AMAZINGAWESOMEREADITRIGHTNOW, she piqued my interest.  As soon as I saw her next, she passed the book into my hands and demanded I read it ASAP.

Will it be as good as promised?

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Review - Baby, Drive South by Stephanie Bond

Baby, Drive South
By Stephanie Bond

329 Pages

While in my local small-town pharmacy and waiting somewhat impatiently in a line with the sloooooooowest cashier on earth, I picked Baby, Drive South by Stephanie Bond up, glanced at the hottie on the cover, skimmed the back (hot men and a small town, I’m in!  Literally.  Wait, where’s the hot men in my small town?) and tossed it into my basket just in time for it to be my turn at the cash.  It was also just in time for the cashier to go on her “break”, but that’s probably not this point of this particular rant.

Here’s the thing about this book - I knew it was going to be fluffier than what I usually like.  Three brothers, who happen to be super hot ex-military men, are re-building their hometown after it was completely ravaged (and not in the good way) by a tornado.  Making good headway with their crew of a hundred or so male workers, they realize they’re lacking something - women.  They post an ad in a Northern town, and of course, the women come down in droves.  One brother is faced with the task of making the heart broken and “not so pretty” doctor stay, and well, we can see where that’s going, right?

The transparent story isn’t my issue with this book.  The issues I had with this book were small ones, but there were a lot of them, and it added up quickly.  There wasn;t much depth to the story - again, somewhat expected (of cooooooourse all the women in the caravan were good looking!), but the formalness to the conversations was hard to take.  So not only did I not really find any emotional attachment to the characters, I also found them unbelievable (even for such an already un-believable plot). 

The three main men in this story are hotties.  I get it.  Except every time the main male character of the story, Porter, is mentioned, so are his bulging biceps.  Or rippled abs.  Or broad shoulders.  Or cleft chin.  Every. Single. Time.  I get it, he’s hot - please stop hitting me over the head with it.  The same goes for the main female character, Nikki, the less-pretty doctor.  I know most women compare themselves to other women, but this was a bit extreme.  Not only did she think lowly of herself physically, but every time the men mentioned her, they always had to mention or think about how un-knockoutish she was.  Really?  We’re left to believe that a lot of Nikki’s low self-esteem comes from being dumped by a jackass for a stripper, but HELLO?  I may know a thing or two about that (although I don’t think any of my Ex-Husband’s girlfriends are strippers, one of them very well could be).  You definitely wonder what you did wrong, could have done better, what you lack, etc etc etc .. but after a certain point, you also realize some men?  Are just jackasses that want strippers with big boobs. 

Huh.  Where was I going with this?

Oh, right.  Personally, I like my female characters written with a bit more strength to them, or at least a bit more ... something.  Common sense?  A hundred pages in, and still no other “smart” women had been part of the caravan.  Just the Doc, and although she was smart, she wasn’t pretty.  You see where I’m having issues, don’t you?

The sex scene was decent, although I tried not to think about the logistics of it too much.  But again, it felt like it was written hurridly ... he didn’t come quickly, but it sure ddin’t take long to read.   I felt a little disappointed, like that time with ... well, nevermind.

I do like Stephanie Bond as a writer, and I’ll probably end up reading the next two books in this Southern Roads trilogy (Baby, Come Home & Baby, Don’t Go, respectively) because the plot line had just enough to make me want to know what happens with a few characters.  I just hope we see a bit more depth as we go on - otherwise, this light and fluffy read may float right out of the Whiskey Haze known as my memory.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

What's Next? Baby, Drive South by Stephanie Bond

It's weird what divorce does to you, isn't it?  It runs you to the ground, exhausts you, tramples over any self-confidence, ruins any fun, and makes you a crying, sobbing, drunken mess for months.

Well, if you're me, anyway.  I don't know what it does to anyone else.  

To combat the insane rage and constant self-examination of what's become of my "life", I like to read really flimsy, really fluffy Chick Lit.  As soon as I saw the premise for this little paperback by Stephanie Bond, I knew it would be a good fit:

The hardheaded Armstrong brothers are determined to rebuild their tornado-ravaged hometown in the Georgia mountains. They've got the means, they've got the manpower…what they need are women! So they place an ad in a northern newspaper and wait for the ladies to answer their call….

Porter, the youngest Armstrong, is all for importing women. Still, he's so blown away by the sheer numbers, he falls off the water tower. Luckily there's a doctor among the newcomers—sweet and sexy Dr. Nikki Salinger.

And Porter has every intention of checking out her bedside manner….

There's a fine line between fluffy, mindless entertainment and completely re-dunk-u-lous-ness.  
Does this book cross that line?  I'll let you know in a few days!

Friday, 6 January 2012

Review - The Passage by Justin Cronin

The Passage
Justin Cronin

766 Mother-freaking pages

Here’s the thing about this monstrosity of an apocalyptic book - I can’t get it out of my head.  Like the heartbreaking wail of Adele’s haunting lyrics, this book has taken up shop in my head, kicked off it’s shoes, and made me a believer in the ruins of the world to come.

It didn’t start out that way.  No sir, it did not.  I mentioned in the pre-review that I bought this book last Summer right after I left my husband, and then it promptly sat on my shelf and waited until I was ready to take it on.  I would pick it up once in awhile, read the back cover for the umpteenth time, and then pick something else to read and obsess over (Hunger Games, I’m looking at you).  I finally started reading it just before the holidays, and almost wrote it off.  The beginning of this book, up until just after 250 pages, reminded me so much of Dean Koontz and Stephen King, as if they had met in a dark and dingy dive bar one night and passed a notebook back and forth, writing a story one line at a time.  That’s not a bad analogy, since I quite enjoy most books of each of them and especially enjoy their imaginations, but I just wasn’t in the mood for 766 mother-freaking pages of that (I have Stephen King’s latest to look forward to for when that urge hits).  I trudged through, not wanting to quit so soon, and if I’m honest, slightly curious about what was taking place on the pages.

And then the vampires showed up.  At this point, I actually rolled my eyes and sighed loudly.  How did I miss that this was a story about freakin’ VAMPIRES?  I must have been drunk when I bought this book, and clearly blind when I looked at recent reviews.  VAMPIRES.  Not only was I blindsided by an element that I’m beyond sick of, but it was made worse by the scene of a nun listening to an almighty voice (hers?  God’s?  PTSD?  Evil Vampires?  Good Vampires?  We’re left to decide for ourselves here) telling her to run off and distract said freakin’ Vampires so Little Girl can be saved.

Annnnnnnnnd I’m done.  Except I hate quitting books, especially so soon (percentage wise).  So I sighed loudly again, turned the page, and 500 pages later, my mind was OFFICIALLY BLOWN.  Suddenly, we’re introduced to characters that I slowly fell in love with (Galen Strauss turned out to be my favourite), a setting that was described so realistically that I felt like I was there, and a plot line that had me emotionally intrigued.  Oh, and the vamps that I hated so much?  Turned into almost zombie type creatures, as compared to Human Beings with Feelings That Sparkle and Fight the Urge to Drink Blood, so it almost felt okay to like them.

It took me three weeks to finish this book, which I at first chalked up to it being the Holidays, and a lot of distractions around (spiked egg nog, how you doin’ baby?) and of course, the rage and tears included with my first Holiday season without my husband (did I mention that whiskey helps heartbreak?).  Then I realized something - I was reading it slowly because I was savouring it.  Yes, I was distracted, but I wasn’t in a rush because the characters and the story were staying with me until well after I’d marked my page and put the book down for the night.  I didn’t have to rush through it to see what happens, because I was enveloped in the story itself. 

I’ve never had so many mixed emotions from one book - the highs and lows I went through in reading this book were equal to that of the highly over-used comparison to that guy you can’t decide if you love or hate.

It’s not a perfect story.  Some things I still have questions about, or don't understand.  Like why the group always runs into more survivors that help them continue to survive, yet never survive themselves.  Or what Auntie’s purpose in the story really was, other than someone to tell the readers some of the things that happened in the past.  Also, the amount of secondary characters can really get confusing - I almost wished for a character tree to refer to.

Long story short (ha ha!) - get your bottle of Jack and sit down, because this book is going to fuck with your head.   I can’t wait to continue this crazy ride this summer when the sequel comes out.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

What's Next? The Passage by Justin Cronin

I picked this book up last summer, right after my marriage ended.  I wonder if it's a coincidence that my interest in Post Apocalyptic books became almost an obsession around the same time I had to move to a cabin in the woods because I caught my husband cheating?  

This book sat on my lovely little book shelf, waiting patiently while I wailed and sobbed and spilled drinks on the floor for 7 months while I "healed" (if that's not the loosest term I'll ever use, I don't know what is) my broken heart and deflated pride, never judging, just waiting for the time when I would be ready to take on this 766 page monstrosity.  

The time has come.  I'll post a full review next week, but I'll leave you with these two words to sum up my experience of this book:

Mind. Fuck.