Book Review: I Hate Everything by Matthew DiBenedetti

8841773Have you ever woken up with the sun shining just right, the birds chirping a great tune, and your first thought is  I hate how perfect everything is today? Well have I got the perfect book for a pessimist like you. On a side note, this is also a great book if you are an optimist but need a gift for your Debbie Downer friend. Chances are though, even as an optimist, you might find the book to be a nice break from the bright light of happiness and keep it for yourself!

Matthew DiBenedetti quite literally hates everything,  from little pet peeves to realities of the world. He is an equal-opportunity hater. I mean, he is also the author of I Hate Everyone, which is now the next book I’m going to read. I Hate Everything is filled with over 200 lists of humorous hates. With such an extensive list, you will surely find something to relate to, to laugh at, and most certainly to loathe. There are even simple sketches with the lists to help get his hatred across. 

There are great one-liners:

I hate that once you use lip balm, you’re hooked for life. (This is one I totally relate too. I can’t go anywhere without my chapstick.)

I hate that stores put out back-to-school stuff while I’m still shopping for a bathing suit.

I hate that I breathe the same air as everyone else. (It is kinda weird when you think of it.)

But my favorite parts are when he ties together similar hates:

I hate that rainbows only come out when it rains. I hate that I’m only happy when it rains. I hate when a songs get stuck in your head. I hate when my iPod plays a song I really don’t like. I hate that I don’t have a good P’P’P’Poker Face.

The book is an easy read in a simple format so I can’t say too much without giving away all the hatred. I’m still giving the book 5/5 stars even though I hate that Amazon recommended the book for me. I hate that I bought the book. I hate that I read the book so quickly. I hate that I agreed with almost every list. I hate that this book can also be used to help end the barren coffee table epidemic.

5/5 stars

~Eddie

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Book Review: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson

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Let me start this review off by saying that I stopped reading books for a several years because my advanced English class in High School. It seriously made me hate books. I read a few here and there (thanks to recommendations from Vi), but never really got into reading on a regular basis. But thanks to a book left on a gifted Kindle, my life changed.

I didn’t know anything about the book or Jenny Lawson for that matter, but the cover caught my attention right away. It reminded me of the movie Dinner With Schmucks and since I loved that movie, I figured I might like the book. Once I started reading, I couldn’t set it down. I found myself captivated by every chapter, awkwardly laughing to myself in corners at work and home. Once finished, I became a spokesperson for the book, suggesting it to friends and even strangers. I even started a mini-book club about the book at work. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is the reason I’m excited to read again and the reason I can participate in the blog.

In the book, Jenny Lawson takes us through a magical journey through her life. We start with her strange but relatable (especially if you lived near farms in the Midwest like me) childhood. The first several chapters are filled with stories of her slightly crazy taxidermist father, bread sack shoes and her array of pets which included turkeys. The chapter about Stanley the Magical Talking Squirrel literally brought me to tears.  

As she grows up, we learn more about her anxiety disorder. Though it is a serious subject, she writes about her disorder in such a way that you can’t help but laugh when she hides in a bathroom at cocktail parties. And we’ve all been there at parties when it gets uncomfortable silent and our minds wander, but the silence causes Jenny to blurt things out like: NECROPHILIA IS BAD, and then proceed to talk about why necrophilia is bad. You find yourself sympathetic, amused, and charmed by her awkward social encounters. I wish I could invite her to every party I host.

The book if filled with humorous chapters from her high school days, her time in Human Resources, her fights with her husband (who I believe is a very patient man), and her daughter. But Lawson also uses her witty humor to  intermix the more serious moment of her life. Her anxiety disorder, her anorexia, her miscarriages, and the horrible chapter about the death of her dog (which also brought me to tears). Luckily she always manages to add some comment that will have you laughing on the next page. 

Throughout the book you’ll probably ask yourself numerous times: Did that really happen?  Did she really buy a giant metal chicken? Was there really a family of squirrels swimming down the river? While there are some pictures to verify some stories, don’t stress about the rest. Who cares if some parts were exaggerated. She said it was Mostly True anyways. So enjoy the book and appreciate the laughs it is sure to provide.

The book gets 5/5 stars for reminding me that the best stories come from books.

5/5 stars

~Eddie

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Book Review: Reality Boy by A.S. King

17332968Gerald is known as the Crapper. His family took part in a reality show when he was 5, his sister Lisi was 7 and his oldest sister, Tasha, was 11. It did not go well, not at all, to say the least

This is the most dysfunctional family you will ever come across! Tasha has made it her life’s mission to kill her fellow siblings, not figuratively but actually tries to kill them. The reality show they took part in cut out all the bits that they didn’t want the tv viewing public to see, like Tasha trying to kill her brother and sister, the mother’s lack of discipline and defending Tasha at every opportunity to the point of making Gerald looking retarded as to get off of being seen as a good mother. To say the family as a whole suffers is an understatement but the one who suffers the most it Gerald.

Dealing with sever anger issues stemming back from childhood, and retreating into Gersday, a fantasy where he eats ice cream, and everything is happy and good, He is now 16 and tries to keep his anger under wraps but fails. Tasha still lives at home, with her boyfriend and is a nymphomaniac who terrorizes the family. Mom Jill still defends her much to Gerald’s and father Doug’s dismay. Lisi, being smart left home and moved to Scotland to study.

Gerald struggles to hold onto sanity when he meets Hannah at work. He knows he shouldn’t get involved with her due to his anger issues but it seems that she has the opposite effect on him and is a calming influence. Hannah has her own issues at home and is known as the Junkman’s daughter. She is a misfit of sorts like him and they both want to escape from home and go somewhere where they can be free. What they learn is to accept their past and move forward.

I loved this book! Having recently read Everybody Sees the Ants recently, and thoroughly enjoyed that one as well, I was expecting something equally as good and wasn’t disappointed at all!

I received this ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

4/5 stars

Crash

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Joint Book Review: Yours to Keep by Serena Bell

imageThis is Serena Bell’s full length book debut. It is about Ana Traveres, who is an illegal immigrant. Her deceased mom let the visas of Ana and her siblings expire. Circumstances conspired against them that 1) did not allow them to return home to the Dominican Republic and 2) renew their visas in a timely manner. Ana works a couple of jobs as a Spanish tutor and as a teacher for an English as a Second Language (ESL) class. She requests payments by cash, of course.

Ethan is a widower with a teenage son, Theo. Ethan hires Ana to help Theo. Ethan’s a pediatrician who is trying to help one of his patients with a mysterious illness.

So that’s a quick summary. Let’s dig deep into this book. My friend, Clio from Random Book Muses, is here to share her thoughts too.

Ethan-
Vi: My main complaint against him is his thoughts on the “desperate mommies.”
“Generally speaking, there were two reasons women wanted to talk to Ethan: either they wanted to ask his advice, as a pediatrician, about a medical problem or they wanted to flirt.
“Desperate mommies were an occupational hazard, like parents who asked him pediatric questions as awkward moments.”
Ethan comes across as arrogant. I’m not sure if I liked him. His interactions with his distant son help humble him. Ana definitely helped humble him.

Clio: I’m sure I didn’t like him for the majority of the book. The “desperate mommies” was also the start of my dislike. He’s a Dr., isn’t it an understandable side effect of being one that you expect those kinds of questions? How exactly were the mommies desperate? I never got that from the descriptions in the book, I definitely got the dislike of the rich mommies but was unable to put my finger on why besides that they were rich.

Ana-
Vi: I liked her a lot. She was a pillar of strength for her family. She’s been saving money so that she can attend college. When her older brother, Ricky, wanted to buy a car to start a house cleaning business, Ana, unselfishly gave him the money. I felt her agony when she agreed to help Ricky.

Ana’s thoughtfulness and kindness led Theo to open up. This helped Ethan to re-connect with Theo.

Clio: I also liked Ana for the most part. I really enjoyed her interaction with Theo and seeing how she asked him questions that led him to talking about thing he never would otherwise. I wasn’t so sure about some aspects the author included – in particular the focus on a hot pink thong she wore to entice Ethan. It did not seem like something this character would do or like something Ethan would like.

The subplot of Ethan & his patient:
Vi: I really didn’t understand why there needed to be a subplot with Ethan’s patient who might have leukemia. If this is to prove that Ethan is compassionate, then it was not needed. I see that in his actions with his son.

If it was to prove his dedication to his profession, well, it was also not needed. His dedication led to the drift between him and his son.

Clio: Ditto.
This bothered me to the point of distraction during scenes that had nothing to do with this. I was left wondering what this had to do with anything else.

The subplot of Ana & her ESL class:
Vi: I also don’t understand why I needed to see Ana with her ESL class. If it’s prove that she’s an effective teacher, well, it was not needed. I got that with her interactions with Theo. Ana cooking with Theo showed well what a great teacher Ana was.

If it was to re-inforce how painful it was to be deported, I got the message. It sucks. By the time that her student’s daughter was deported, leaving behind a grandchild, I understood the plight of the illegal immigrants. Ana’s family was enough. Why bring in another example?

Clio: I disagree with this one. I liked the interactions with the ESl class. I thought it showed how much Ana enjoyed being with others that were like her and in similar situation but at the same time showed none of them felt comfortable in revealing all of their secrets. I liked the interaction with people besides her family and Ethan’s.

The romance:
Vi: I felt like the romance, the courtship, got lost amidst the subplots. They went on a date. Then they quickly ended up in bed. I wanted to see more of how they could sustain a relationship beyond the physical. Because so much happened externally, I felt that the declaration of love happened too quickly.

Clio: I was lost amidst the subplots! I wish the author had left out Ethan’s medical practice and anything to do with the desperate mommies. She also could have cut more of the ESL classes and concentrated on developing the romance more.

Grade:
Vi: 2/5 stars. This book could almost be women’s fiction. By the end of the book, I understand better what illegal immigrants were feeling than what Ana & Ethan were feeling about each other. I wish the focus was tighter so that the HEA was more believable.

Clio: I would give it a 2.5 stars if that makes much of a difference. I enjoyed Ana’s story of her home life and Ethan’s home life as well. I really liked how Ana dealt with Theo and how that in turn affected Ethan’s relationship with him. However, for a romance, it fell very flat for me.

Thanks, Clio, for joining me. Maybe we will have better luck with next month’s book.

~Vi

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Distant Fortunes

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Hey everyone, I’m going to shamelessly promote myself on here since you all are avid readers. I have had an idea for a comic book for a while now (I know, I know, it’s not something most of you are into, but hear me out) and with the constant support of my friends, I have decided to write out the story line.

Vi introduced me to Wattpad, which I recommend everyone check out. It’s an interesting website where budding authors write their stories and publish it as they go. Readers can provide feedback, vote for popular stories, and find ideas for their own works as well. I am in the beginning stages of my story, Distant Fortunes, and would love feedback from anyone… especially those who I don’t know.

Distant Fortunes is a dark fantasy fiction that is about the expectations humanity puts on itself when given powers and abilities that can either hinder or welcome its destruction. Every choice a character makes has an impact that is sometimes, readily identifiable… but more than likely, just out of view. Each character has a past they are trying to escape and a future they are trying to find. However, the ways in which they strive to succeed are not always in line with their own goals.

My goal is to reach 1000 reads by Christmas, but more so, to receive constructive criticism to better my writing and improve the story. You can leave comments directly on Wattpad, or comment on this post, or both! Please share my story with all your book-worm friends and let me know what you think!

Thanks, Eddie

Book Review: The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand

10893214Are you a fan of Coraline and looking for another book to satisfy your need for Young Adult Fiction? Well I will gladly help your through your addiction since I suffer from the same affliction. The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls will give you a quick and easy fix. 

The book is an excellent “curl up in your snuggie while you drink hot chocolate as the snow falls outside during the weekend” book. And for avid readers it’s more of a “I have an hour or two to kill while I wait for the prices to go down on Kindle” book. But regardless of which category you fall under, you should read it.

Right away you are introduced to the perfectly polite twelve year old, Victoria Wright and her skunk-haired, piano-loving friend, Lawrence Prewitt. Well, Lawrence is actually more of Victoria’s project than a friend, Friends were messy. Victoria hated messes. But Victoria’s perfect world soon gets disheveled when Lawrence suddenly disappears on a Tuesday, which just so happened to be her least favorite day of the week.

Now Victoria solve the mystery of her friend’s, I mean Lawrence’s disappearance. Her investigation is filled with even greater mysteries, strange grinning adults, and creepy black bugs who seem to watch her every move. And it isn’t long before her search for Lawrence lands her in The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls. The home ran by the overly charming Mrs. Cavendish and her weird sidekick Mr. Alice. Once inside, Victoria must use her manners, wit, and courage to save herself, the other kids of the town, and most of all, Lawrence. Every twist and turn in the home leads Victoria up to the final showdown between her and Mrs. Cavendish. Who will win? 

This is the first novel by Claire Legrand and I expect many more great stories from her to keep our addictions going.

I would have given the book 5 stars, but I made the mistake of reading the Epilogue. Spoiler Alert: There’s a predictable “cop out” ending in the Epilogue.

 

4/5 stars

~Eddie

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Stay with Me Sale & Author Incentive

STAY WITH ME by Elyssa Patrick is on sale for $1.99! This is Book 1 in the With Me series. If STAY WITH ME breaks into the Top 100 at Amazon, Elyssa will write the blackberry scene from Caleb’s POV.

I loved this cute, sexy NA book. Read it & you will fall in love with Hailey, Caleb & their friends!!

New Adult/Contemporary Romance – recommended for ages 17 and up.

With one look, I’m his . . .

With one touch, he’s mine . . .

With one kiss, it changes everything between us . . .

I’ve been famous since I can remember. Singing, acting, dancing–I’ve done it all. The tabloids cover my every move, but I don’t want that anymore. I want to be normal, whatever that is.

When I leave Hollywood for college in Vermont, I’m on my own for the first time in my life. This is my chance to figure out who I am and what I want in life.

But it’s a lot harder than I expected. I can’t escape my image. Classes are difficult, and I’m struggling. And then there’s Caleb Fox.

Sexy, intriguing Caleb Fox.

Caleb is the one man who doesn’t want to use me. He breaks down my walls. He challenges me. He wants me. And I just don’t know if I can give him the same–or if he’ll stick around when he finds out my shameful secret that the tabloids haven’t managed to uncover.

Dating him is risky enough, but loving him could break me.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Stay-Me-Novel-Elyssa-Patrick-ebook/dp/B00ES6A16A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1384121316&sr=8-1&keywords=elyssa+patrick

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/stay-with-me-elyssa-patrick/1116744319?ean=2940148752882

iBooks:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/stay-with-me/id683813319?mt=11

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/stay-with-me-16

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-staywithme-1220177-149.html