Monday, December 7, 2015

Book Reports: Winter, Career of Evil, Shopaholic, and The Dog Who Knew Too Much


-First up, Winter, the fourth of the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. I just loved this entire series.  AlthoughI didn't actually read Fairest.  Cinder was, by FAR, my favorite character and I thought she did fantastic in all regards in this one.  They're hard to talk about unless you've read them so I'll just say: give them a go.  Cinder is the first one and it's fabulous and not too long, so if you hate it, you're not out too much time.  But honestly, you'll love it.  They're all so good.  Winter came in at 800+ pages, but I blew thru them.  

I actually found Winter's story to be sort of bland and blah and her romance almost as annoying as Cress's, but I still loved it.  

My initial goodreads review: I love it.  LOVE.  A tad too happily every after for me, but I can overlook all that bc the ride was just totally worth it.  TOTALLY WORTH IT.  These books, man!

And I stand by the 'too happily ever after' because I am a horrible person.  I'm the one who thought Harry Potter might have been a tad better if one of the main three had died.  That's not even completely true, I thought Harry should have died. Please don't hate me. 

From the back of the bookPrincess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana. 

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won't approve of her feelings for her childhood friend- the handsome palace guard, Jacin.  But Winter isn't as weak as Levana believes her to be and she's been undermining her stepmother's wishes for years.  Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that's been raging for far too long.  

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

So yeah.  Put it on your list.

-Next Career of Evil by JK, third in the Cormoran Strike books.  Do I really need to say anything? NO.  Of course not.  It was fabulous and absolutely perfect in every way.  I spent the ENTIRE book convinced it was one bad guy after the other, in quick succession, over and over and over.  And at the end, I didn't feel cheated at all.  Perfection.

From the back of the bookWhen a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman's severed leg.
Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible - and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.
With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands, and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them...


-Then we've got Shopaholic to the Rescue, hundred a fifty millionth in the series by Sophie Kinsella. I loved it. And I'm not even embarrassed.  Well not TOO too embarrassed.  This was way better than the last one, but honestly, I love them all and I'll be a Becky Brandon nee' Bloomwood fanatic until the day I die.  If Kinsella keeps pumping them out, I'll get grabbing them at the library.  I don't understand the haters. 

Here's the back of the book, but if you're really looking for plotlines...surely you wouldn't be looking at a Shopaholic book? Becky’s biggest ever challenge takes her to Las Vegas and beyond in a fast-paced, fun-filled, road-trip adventure. Becky’s gone too far in the past - but now she's putting things right. She’s determined to track down her missing dad, help her best friend Suze, bond with her worst enemy Alicia Bitch Long-legs (maybe...) and work out how to play blackjack.

As she discovers quite how much her friends and family need help, she comes up with a brilliant plan. Becky is going to rescue everyone. But can she rescue herself?



-And lastly, what might be the best book out of the four.  Don't tell JK.  Career was AMAZING, of course, but that's no big surprise.  The woman can do no wrong.  This one caught me off guard- The Dog Who Knew Too Much, I think the third in the Chet and Bernie series by Spencer Quinn.

I don't like dogs.  I don't like pets in general.  But this blogger who I really truly respect and usually agree with harps this series ALL THE TIME, and a while ago (in a totally uncharastic move for this severe introvert) left a comment asking her if they really were THAT good.  She immediatly got back to me- yes.  READ THEM. (Here's some more of her book reports if you want some inspiration.  I really look forward to these posts of hers.)

She was right!!!

Anyway, what else can I say? These books are told from a dog's point of view and they're sort of detective crime mystery stories. This is the only one my library had and I wasn't going to pay for a book that I didn't know I'd love, so I started with it.  I'll definitely be buying the rest of them.

I don't know why it was so good.  It was very well written, and a good mystery, but c'mon, a dog?!?! But it works.  I guess because the writing really is brilliant, when you think about it.  And Chet's love and adoration for Bernie was just so refreshing and perfect- easily my favorite part of the story.  He REALLY loves Bernie.  That Bernie!!

Anyway, my original review: cannot even begin to describe this book without dying from embarrassment. The dog narrates it? And he's...a detective? I don't even like dogs!! But someone I REALLY admire recommended it, and this one is the only one my library has, so I gave it a go. 

And I loved it. LOVED. All caps. I can't quite figure out why, and I certainly can't explain how absolutely brilliant it was, but man oh man- it was rad. So good. I can't even think of a reason to give it four stars instead of five- there truly wasn't a single wrong note. Oh wait, the dog getting the keys in jail. That's right, I didn't like that. But other than that? ACES.



And from the back of the bookCombining suspense and intrigue with a wonderfully humorous take on the link between man and beast, Spencer Quinn's exceptional mystery series has captured widespread praise since its New York Times bestselling debut, 'Dog on It'. 

'The Dog Who Knew Too Much' marks the duo's triumphant return in a tale that's full of surprises.

Bernie is invited to give the keynote speech at the Great Western Private Eye Convention, but it's Chet that the bigshot P.I. in charge has secret plans for. Meanwhile Chet and Bernie are hired to find a kid who has gone missing from a wilderness camp in the high country. 

The boy's mother thinks the boy's father, her ex, has snatched the boy, but Chet makes a find that sends the case in a new and dangerous direction. 

As if that weren't enough, matters get complicated at home when a stray puppy that looks suspiciously like Chet shows up. Affairs of the heart collide with a job that's never been tougher, requiring our two intrepid sleuths to depend on each other as never before. 

'The Dog Who Knew Too Much' is classic Spencer Quinn, offering page-turning entertainment that's not just for dog-lovers.


And that last bit is obviously true: even non dog lovers can love this book.  I'm the proof.  SO GOOD.

Y'all read anything good lately?

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Comfort and Joy

When I saw the prompt seven things that bring you comfort I thought NAILED IT.  I am nothing if not a seeker of comfort.  That's why I'm forty pounds overweight and wear yoga pants and a tunic every day.

1. Zoloft.  Actually, modern medicine in general, but zoloft specifically.  Not even the effects that it has on my brain chemistry, but somehow just knowing that I took the steps to get help- that brings me a MASSIVE amount of comfort.  As does knowing I'm not alone, there are others out there who struggle the same as I do, and find comfort in modern medicine as well.

2. Candles.  I've been trying the whole hipster thing of using an essential oils diffuser to scent my house and cure all our ailments and bring world peace to all, but nothing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING smells better than a Yankee candle filling my entire house with soot and chemicals and the gorgeous memories of all things past and perfect.  You wanna talk about the memories that flood my tiny little mind when I light a Macintosh? Don't even get me started!!! ULTIMATE COMFORT YA'LL.  Ultimate comfort. Right now I'm obsessed with Apple Pumpkin and my last one is down to the final inch and I swear I might DIE when it's gone.


3. Satsumas.  The best thing about winter is satsuma season.  Why do they only work in winter? I think it's some sort of magic enchantment.  Maybe they know how much we need that citrus spark in the dark depths of winter? Who cares, I love them so.

I once at an entire bag of them in one sitting.  That's eleven satsumas.  At once.  They were so good, I'm not even embarrassed.  Much.

4. Reading.  Duh.



5. My bed.  I love my bed. My king sized bed, which apparently is big enough to fit me and Nick and three quarters of our offspring.

We have two sets of sheets, one so-so and one AMAZING and the amazing set doesn't have any tags on it and I have no idea where I got them and I want desperately to order another set, but sheets are so expensive, what if I order a set and hate them? I couldn't send them back, bc really, it takes a few nights of sleeping in them, plus a few washes, to see if you really like them.  So it's a huge, expensive gamble.  The struggle is real ya'll.  The struggle is REAL.


6. Tea.  Coffee.  "Hot beverages." Doesn't that make you think of Sheldon? I can't say I really 'savor' my coffee in the mornings bc basically I'm just trying to get the caffeine into my system, but on Friday afternoons Nick and I usually have a cup together after the school run and it's just so fantastic. I know they did a study or whatever that said that drinking a hot beverage doesn't actually warm up your body, but I'm calling bullshit.  It totally does.  And if not your body, then it warms YOUR SOUL.

Anyway, I usually drink tea every afternoon during the school run (either this boring regular tea or lately this yummy Christmas black tea that's to die for) to get me thru the afternoon without keeping me up at night, then after dinner is when the magic happens...this GLORIOUS herbal baggie of heaven. I've never tasted anything so good in my entire life.  For reals.  If you don't want to follow the link, it's called Pukka Peppermint and Licorice and you will die when you taste it.


7. All these little assholes snuggled up RIGHT ON TOP of me even though our couch seats twenty people.  I hate being touched by anyone else, but I just love these kids (and their daddy) so fricking much.



Linking up with Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writer's Workshop.