Quotes

Here are some choice quotes from the recently read The Actor and the Housewife, which was not my favorite novel, but had its’ moments:

Becky felt a stitch of jealousy – Melissa looked cool with torn clothing and wild hair, while Becky would have resembled a Care Bear beaten and left for dead.

Hale, Shannon. The Actor and the Housewife. New York: Bloomsbury, 2009. 30

We’ve all been there.

The lady stared. ‘Um, I’ve only been working here for a couple of weeks and I have no idea how to respond to that. Would you please pretend that I replied appropriately? Great. Here are your room keys.

Hale, Shannon. The Actor and the Housewife. New York: Bloomsbury, 2009. 273.

In general, the lines that were obviously supposed to be funny from The Actor and the Housewife weren’t, but these two made me giggle.

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The Fakest Romance Novel You’ll Ever Read

I recently read The Actor and the Housewife, by Shannon Hale, and it’s kind of hilarious. Not usually when it’s intended to be, but still, I had plenty of giggles.

actor and housewife

When I read the blurb on the inside cover, I immediately thought to myself: Hm, this sounds like at least half of the stories on Wattpad. I was right. This is the story of a plain, overweight Mormon housewife who keeps coincidentally crossing paths with the hunkiest hunky-hunk Hollywood hearthrob, and then they become BFFs!

In my mind, he looks like this. Particularly since his initials are F.C. and he's British. #ontoyouHale

In my mind, he looks like this. Particularly since his initials are F.C. and he’s British. #ontoyouHale

She ends up writing a rom-com (oh, yeah, she’s a screenwriter when she, you know, is bored b/c the kids aren’t around wrecking the house), which sells, and then she stars in it with her BFF Felix.

You guys, I'm not even joking.

You guys, I’m not even joking.

They both go through a tough time, and then Felix’s wife leaves him and Becky’s husband dies (remind you of another novel I’ve reviewed?), and then, THEN, Becky’s oldest child Fiona explains that God introduced Felix into Becky’s life so she could still get laid when God decided to rip the love of her life out of her life prematurely:

What if God knew that? What if he arranged for you and Felix to meet all those years ago, so that you’d be best friends, so that he’d be here for you after Dad’s death, and its be too late for you to shut him out? So that you could have someone to be with now, so that you could keep feeling lovedso that you don’t have to be lonely. I think that’s something God would do.

Hale, Shannon. The Actor and the Housewife. New York: Bloomsbury, 2009. 307 [emphasis added]

HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHAHAHAHAHA *giggle* *snort* *chortle* Why don’t you recommend mom get a bikini wax while you’re at it, Fiona? I bet Felix isn’t used to hair down there.

bikini wax interesting

The grammar and writing is generally a tad better than the majority of what you see on Wattpad, although the ending is either going to cause you to feel relieved or disappointed, depending on the kind of reader you are.

reader

I recommend this if you’re looking for a frothy beach read. It’s enjoyable enough. You might want to get it from the library, or via cheap e-book deal if that’s available, because I don’t know if you’re likely to want to read it again.

Try not to incur library fees; it's not really worth it.

Try not to incur library fees; it’s not really worth it.

Holy Shit, Y’All

On a terrible impulse, I purchased Tumbleweeds, by Leila Meacham, from the Barnes & Noble bargain section. And on an even more terrible binge-read, I actually finished the book. It looks like this:

tumble

Tumbleweeds is the long, rambling saga of three best friends, who meet around the tender age of 11, and form the inevitable love triangle. Except that only one character is likable. And he ends up becoming a priest, which means he doesn’t even get sexy times.

Even these ladies thought the punishment a bit exorbitant.

Even these ladies thought the punishment a bit exorbitant.

Tumbleweeds reminds me of the YA sagas I used to read, particularly the Sweet Valley High editions that gave a delicious, soapy, long history of a family within the Sweet Valley world in an attempt to cash in on the already wild imaginations of teenagers and supposedly give background and greater meaning to characters with whom those teenagers were already acquainted.

As a preteen, I read a lot of stupid shit.

As a preteen, I read a lot of stupid shit.

I don’t ordinarily read family sagas, because they’re generally not my cup of tea. I like salacious gossip regarding real and imaginary people as much as the next gal, but there is often an element of authenticity that is necessary but missing from the saga novels. So instead of feeling connected to the characters, I generally feel like I’m just wading through scenes to get to the sex, much like a romance novel.

engorged

There is nothing wrong with liking the predictability and steaminess of the romance novel, I’m just not much of a romance reader. Although, of course, a well written book is a well written book.

Unfortunately, Tumbleweeds is not a well written book. It’s a romance novel, replete with the predictable plot lines, but with hardly any sex.

omg

If you like the predictability of a romance novel, but are not a fan of the sexy scenes, you might want to pick up Tumbleweeds. Otherwise, I suggest passing up this novel in lieu of other fare. Even as fluffy beach reads go, there are so many better novels out there.

PassLogoOn my indeterminate scale for rating novels, Tumbleweeds earns the status of a used bandaid. #notafan

Ew.

Ew.

Clarity

grasping @ eternity

 Okay – what is this book about?

Is it an interesting supernatural novel? A run-of-the-mill romance? A combination of the two?

I feel like there is a disparity between the cover and the description. I have nothing against romance, but some of it is not meant to be taken seriously. While most of us will read anything at the beach, the cover is indicative, to me, of what is casually labeled a “beach read” – a fun read. The description, on the other hand, at least indicates melodrama, if not the idea that this novel is meant to keep the reader thinking after the last page has been turned.

There’s something about eternity (vampires? hopefully not – I’m feeling a bit inundated by vampires at the moment). There’s something about “doing the unthinkable,” except that that’s “explained” by some gibberish about past lives. Maybe this is a god/goddess thing?

Is it just me, or do you kind of wish publishers would just issue a blank cover if they can’t come up with a fitting image? Or is this novel’s description better than its’ premise?

Anyway, the person with the best elaborated description of the novel (based, of course, on its’ cover) gets brownie points! & even though you’ll probably never meet me in person, and probably wouldn’t know who I was even if you did, you know you want my approval. 😉

Wow.

I really don’t think there is another word that captures my feeling while reading The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club, which is supposed to be a mystery, but by the time the book gets around to the “who? what? where?” questions, you don’t really care, anymore.

I have a feeling this book was self-published, particularly because of the formatting. The author switches viewpoints between characters a lot, but there wasn’t even a paragraph break in the text when this happens, which is both disconcerting and annoying. Also, while I understand why the author switched viewpoints so often, it was not written particularly well.

So – Gordonston is an area in the city of Savannah, Georgia. This fact is completely wasted in this novel, however. If you have been to Savannah, you know that it is a beautiful city, with a lot of different aspects. This book focused on one area of Savannah, but did not really have much discussion of the landscape of the city. There were vague descriptions of a park that everyone takes their dog to, and a couple of mentions of the heat.

oblivious

If you have not been to Savannah, I recommend that you read Midnight in the Garden of Good and EvilMidnight… is such a good book, and does a great job of revealing the feeling of the Georgian city. Reading Midnight… is what made me want to visit the city, which I did after receiving my Bachelor’s Degree. (I highly recommend a visit to the Mercer house, which the Gordonston… book at least mentioned.)

"The Book"

“The Book”

The author tries to make the book interesting by creating “zany” characters. And these characters are pretty screwed up. [Warning: Spoilers are about to follow. Read at your own peril of being annoyed that you already know shit about this book.]

  • There’s the “gorgeous” chick who arranges for a vacation in Paris with the husband she has been dating since high school, without realizing he has a passport.
  • There are the two ridiculous, wealthy older ladies who vie for the attention of a man whose wife dies somewhere within the first 100 pages of the book (I wish I could be more specific, but I just. Can’t. Look through that book for details.)
  • There are numerous Nazi/Hitler references.
  • There is a nephew who pretends to be doing all of this awesome humanitarian work in poor countries, who is actually scamming money from people so he can have crazy adventures in Europe.
  • All of these characters are very (I repeat: VERY) self-involved, yet the reader is supposed to believe that these people have enough wherewithal to keep their dogs alive.
& I didn't even tell you guys all of the crazy shizz that goes on in this book.

& I didn’t even tell you guys all of the crazy shizz that goes on in this book.

That’s actually why I read the book. I was expecting a mystery filled with colorful characters. But while the characters are kind of crazy, it wasn’t really any fun to read about their crazy. Don’t get me wrong – I read the entire book. I wanted to know what the author was going to do next. But rather than I-must-keep-reading-this-book-is-amazing-OMG-how-can-the-author-wrap-this-up reading, I was more interested in continuing to read to see how much carnage the train wreck was going to create.

If train A leaves the station in Grand Rapids at 9 a.m., going 125 mph, and this book continues for another 120 pages, will I feel like chucking this book under the train when it rolls through Ann Arbor?

If train A leaves the station in Grand Rapids at 9 a.m., going 125 mph, and this book continues for another 120 pages, will I feel like chucking this book under the train when it rolls through Ann Arbor?

The mystery ends up consisting of which character is going to be killed, though there are supposed to be a couple of “twists” regarding the identity of the contract killer and the manager of a secret contract-killing business that all of the residents of Savannah know about that can be seen a mile away. And why the character who is killed is killed is also supposed to be a surprise, but isn’t really all that surprising, at all.

The book ended, and I realized that it had been a chore to read. Partially because the story was so forced. Partially because the writing was terrible. Instead of being simple and clear, or detailed and specific, the author chose to go the route of vague and unintentionally hilarious. There are descriptions (that I’m paraphrasing because I refuse to open the book again) like: “Kelly wore her long blonde hair in a very trendy style.” There’s also a line something along the lines of: “Kelly and Tom got plenty of exercise through making love, which was expected with a recently married couple, but because they were so attractive, was expected doubly so.”

But the point when I literally looked up from the book, puzzled expression on my face, and said: “Wow,” was another scene between the recently married couple. Kelly, the attractive blonde who could be a model if she wanted to, but works at the make-up counter at Macy’s, wakes up a few minutes before her husband needs to get up for work he thinks, but she’s going to spring their vacation on him that he can’t join her on because he doesn’t have a passport, which she should know since it seems they’ve been living together for a decent amount of time and also she’s known him since high school. (Run-on intentional; I dare you to read that sentence aloud.) But Kelly doesn’t know this when she wakes up and sees the early time on her alarm clock. Kelly wakes up excited, and full of the spunk that made Tom fall in love with her. She decides to wake him up “in his favorite way.” He wakes up talking about a weird dream, and Kelly “smiles secretly” and there’s some mention of a salty taste in her mouth.

Bitch, please.

Bitch, please.

Um, no.

No. No. No. No. No!

In case anyone was swayed by the author’s misguided attempt to portray how “frisky” and “fun” the young couple is, let me explain that since Tom was sleeping, and could not give consent, he was sexually molested by his wife.

In the same way that it is not okay for a man to have sex with his wife while she is sleeping, it is also not okay to give someone a blow job while they are sleeping. Basically, it is not okay to do anything to a sleeping person other than wake them up, and maybe cuddle. Maybe, depending on your relationship. If a person cannot consent to a sexual act, it is wrong to engage in that sexual act, even if you’re “sure” that person would be cool with it if that person was awake. That person is not awake, therefore, it is not okay to engage in that sexual act. Even if you’re married to that person.

rosemarys-baby-rosemary

I just felt I should be very clear & emphatic about that, because, we all know that not everyone seems to understand the need for consent.

Overall, The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club was a terrible book that I do not recommend to anyone. If you think you want to read it, you are probably wrong. I paid somewhere between $1-2 for it, and feel like I overpaid.

Teenage suicide & reading this book - don't do it!

Teenage suicide & reading this book – don’t do it!

Thoughts on a Book I Just Finished Reading

That’s right, folks, I’ve finished The History of Miss Betsy Thoughtless. And holy bovine, this book’s ending did not disappoint. Ah, the hilarity of a novel from the eighteenth century.

lol

During my last blog post about this novel, the hero of the story was courting a boring chick who I had secretly hoped would prove to be a lesbian, but whom he actually just married.

I'm assuming this is what hero Trueworth looked like on & after his wedding night.

I’m assuming this is what hero Trueworth looked like on & after his wedding night.

While Mr. Trueworth was busy being bored with the now “Mrs.” Snoozeville, the charming and vivacious Miss Betsy was being flirty and tempting possible rapists. This behavior worried her brothers – because, come on, you can’t expect men not to rape you if you’re going to be all beautiful and shit, right? The eighteenth century was possibly not the best time to be a woman.

Too bad, for Betsy, that it doesn't exist yet.

Too bad, for Betsy, that it doesn’t exist yet.

But don’t worry – Betsy’s brother’s weren’t worried for her physical and emotional well-being, or anything silly like that. In fact, they weren’t even particularly worried about her loss of virtue. They were worried she would be raped and people would find out about it and think poorly of the Thoughtless family – particularly, them.

Brothers.

Brothers.

Betsy’s brothers are so eager to get her married (and thus, off their hands & reputations), that they push her into a marriage with a guy who’s only pretending to love her.

Enter: Mr. Munden. #dundunduhn

Enter: Mr. Munden. #dundunduhn

Mr. Munden proves to be a real jerk, not giving Betsy much money, expecting her to pay for things for the house out of the pittance of an allowance he does give her, telling her she was being a prude when his friend he was hoping would give him money tries to rape her, and then having sexy times with a woman Betsy tries to help. Understandably, Betsy flees to her older brother’s house. Older Mr. Thoughtless allows this, because the woman Betsy was trying to help, and with whom Betsy’s husband committed adultery, was Mr. T’s former mistress.

Please don't tell my boyfriend I posted something Star Trek Enterprise related on this blog. I will never hear the end of it. #secrets

Please don’t tell my boyfriend I posted something Star Trek Enterprise related on this blog. I will never hear the end of it. #secrets

Some other stuff happens, but the important things are that Mr. Trueworth’s wife dies a few weeks after they’re married (smallpox), and Mr. Munden (Betsy’s husband) dies after their separation from some illness that’s never explicitly named, but sounds like “I’m-a-weenie-who-can’t-handle-my-karma.” Trueworth sees Betsy again for the first time in months, and realizes that not even frigid sexy times with his boring, now-deceased wife could help him get over Betsy. He still loves her, she’s really been in love with him since before she even married Mr. Villain, and after an appropriate grieving period, they get hitched.

A happy ending, wrought through 2 horribly painful deaths. #aw

A happy ending, wrought through 2 horribly painful deaths. #aw

Told you it was hilarious.

Book Review: An UnSetterfielding Disappointment

I was so excited to open the package that revealed I had been the lucky recipient of the following ARC:

So. Excited.

So. Excited.

For those who are unfamiliar with Diane Setterfield, she is the author of the bestselling novel The Thirteenth Tale. You should run to a library, or better yet, a bookstore (let’s get a deserving author some royalties!), and grab a copy of her previous novel. Particularly if you like gothic fiction and/or the novel Jane Eyre.

40440 (1)

I adored The Thirteenth Tale. I adored that novel so much that I was worried Bellman & Black couldn’t live up to Setterfield’s debut novel. For me, this worry proved to be correct.

Sometimes, it's hard to be constantly correct.

Sometimes, it’s hard to be constantly correct.

Bellman & Black is the story of William Bellman’s struggle with death. A death that he caused, the death of those he loved or knew, and, of course, his own. As a result, Bellman & Black is pretty depressing. There are books about death that are beautiful; in my opinion, this is not one of them. This book is bleak and odd and disconcerting, which is not inappropriate, given the subject matter.

death

Based on the blurbs of the book I had read, I was expecting a dark story that was full of magic. Yet, now that I have read the novel, I don’t feel these blurbs were very accurate. Or rather, I felt that the story alluded to a particular type of magic – that found in mythology.

ravens

In particular, the theme of ravens that permeates the novel has a feeling of mysticism, wisdom, and an unconquerable defeatism often associated with zombies.

Don’t get me wrong; Bellman & Black is not a horrible novel. It’s well written, the character of William Bellman is drawn with broad strokes, but is understood by the reader. It just wasn’t quite the novel I was hoping to read, particularly when the novel The Thirteenth Tale was.

I would maybe recommend this novel as one to borrow from the library. On the scale of suckage to awesome-ness, I give Bellman & Black 3 ripe bananas – it’s the type of book that’s good when you’re in the mood for this type of book.

bananas no pajamas