Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Review: THE GOOD LIFE by Jodie Beau

“I was more of a life planner. I didn’t sit by and idly watch life happen to me. I grab the wheel and let me happen to life.” (9)

Roxie is quirky, neurotic, and has a strange obsession with the “high” life. The ode to shoes was bleak and annoying. She is strict about how she wants her life played out, but one thing she didn’t plan was a divorce. What she doesn’t realize is that this was her chance to do the things she’s been sitting around planning. The “good life” is the single life. 

The list was bold, daring, and fun!

“I’m not gonna like you any less if you tell me what’s on your mind. If you ever have something to say, say it. If there’s something you want to know, ask me. If you’re mad about something, tell me. It doesn’t have to be complicated.” (118) Love Jake! He was a straight-up, honest, and caring guy, and what an amazing summer they have!

Funny and witty, The Good Life is a story about letting your hair down and having fun. A sweet, light-hearted romance.

My rating: 4 stars

Review: THE GREEN TICKET by Samantha March

Alex is a smart, driven, independent college junior, who knows what she wants and doesn’t want to live off her big sister forever. You can relate to her strive to make a buck and her ambition for something better.

Specializing in business, Alex treats the whole job hunt with delicate precision, organization, and dedication. You got to admire her fierce professionalism. The only thing that bugged me was that she was way too enthusiastic and chipper. Her friends were the embodiment of the classic drunk, party drones so typical in college life.

Still, you root for Alex all the way. Of course, working in a spa wouldn’t really suit me, but Alex loves it. Too bad the job turns out being more than she can handle. The truth was I think she was too “green”—too young, too naïve—for a management position. Then she soon realizes that the business is cold and dirty. Her boss is a chauvinistic playboy creep that thinks he can get away with a pay-off. What’s a new manager to do?

Alex will get the rancid and bitter taste of the real world, putting a damper to her “marshmallow and lollipop” fantasies. The stress of dealing with a jerk of a boss always berating and belittling her will take its toll. Being overwhelmed and too tired to even eat are things we all can relate to. That’s why I would never take a management position because everything falls on you. Where she works can be described in one word: toxic.

I wish I’d catch my boss having an affair. Of course, I wouldn’t feel comfortable working for him anymore, but I’d definitely take the $10 grand and quit. Screw morals!

Certain parts of the story lagged more than others, and the dialogue was mediocre, but the basis of the story was endearing and inspirational.

My rating: 3.5 stars

Review: 30 DAYS TO 30 by Courtney Psak

“We’re going to have to ask you to seek new employment.” Well, if that ain’t just a snobby kick in the face?

That’s exactly how it all starts off for Jill Stevens, who is just one month away from her 30th birthday. On top of that, she finds her boyfriend has been cheating on her and gets kicked out into the street. As Jill would say, “I guess this is what rock bottom feels like.”

Now back to square one: back to mother’s house. Of course, you’d feel like a failure at this point. But maybe a list is just the thing to get her out of this funk. “Thirty things to do before I’m thirty.” 

Some of the things on her list sounded fun, like skydiving or riding a rollercoaster. Write a book, travel the world, learn another language—all things on my bucket list. Of course, how the heck was she going to complete all this in 30 days?

At first, things don’t go as well as she hoped. Well, do they ever? But with the help of her best friend and an old high school boyfriend, who looks better now than back then, Jill surpasses her fumbling, harebrain attempts and learns to take them in stride, enjoying them and even laughing a little.

For the most part, I enjoyed this book. Readers will root for Jill to complete her list, even though that, realistically, it may not be possible. But, like she said, “[the list has] been the only thing keeping [her] going lately.” (103) I especially liked that, for once, Jill is trying out all the things she’s wanted to try but never had the time. Perhaps advice for us all? Certain areas lagged a bit but did not detour from the story.

Ultimately, this is a story of nostalgia and regret and putting a slamming twist to it all. Perhaps we should all make a goal to do something new every day. Full of humor and wit, 30 Days to 30 is a great read for anyone battling a midlife crisis, those seeking confidence, reassurance, and a lost self. It just makes you want to get up, get out there, and do something. Live it up!

My rating: 4 stars

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Review: SO...THIS IS AWKWARD by Timothy Tuttlesmith

These are the true stories of one man's "dating faux pas...only some of which he can blame on being English." This sounded mildly compelling.

But "why should you continue to read these ramblings of yet another strange individual talking about how girls are confusing, and how he learned new things about them, and how those things still don't make any sense? Good question. Erm... Well for one there will be some humorous accounts of kinky sex later. Everyone loves humorous accounts of kinky sex, right?" (13) Uh, not really, no.

Like Tuttlesmith indicates, these tales are merely his observations on women and relationships, his explorations and his lessons. It is a dating memoir.

Beginning with bland pleasantries, this book takes you on a strange, confusing ride filled with internet dating, bar hookups, and rowdy sex toys. I would've been better off not hearing about the kinky sex. Seriously...Ewe!

Although I can see the author's attempt at humorous, coarsely inept anecdotes, I couldn't gather any enthusiasm for it. In other words, it didn't turn me on. I just could not get into his story.

My rating: 2.5 stars

Review: LEAVING LONDON by Garry Crystal

“Seize…”  Those were the words uttered by a complete stranger while getting it on with some woman on a plane going down.

Then Cal wakes up.

This certainly had a refreshing start, but it kind of fizzled as it progressed. Instantly, the story tosses back and forth between past and present, relaying a tepid and mildly amusing plot. Frankly, I couldn’t really drum up enough interest to sustain Cal’s story. So the guy’s running around London, drinking and smoking, and, in the interim, falls into bed with some local chicky. Where’s the hype? I guess I would’ve enjoyed it more if the writing wasn’t so dry and if the characters were more invigorating, more developed and certainly less forgettable.

I just couldn’t get through it.

My rating: 2 stars

Monday, November 23, 2015

Review: SARA’S GAME by Ernie Lindsey

“Are you ready to play the game?”

Compelling from the start, the game begins with Sara’s three missing children. An anxiety-riddled mystery greets the reader and whisks you away on a fast-action thrill ride of craft and intellect. Sara was like Bruce Willis in Die Hard.

Could Sara’s husband, who went missing years ago, be involved? Or is it a jealous, competitive co-worker who’s behind this calculating scheme? I loved the riddles and clues. They really made you think while combating the clock.

I also liked how it incorporated video game theory and analogy.

An exciting read! It makes me want to continue the series. What other games await Sara?

My rating: 5 stars

Review: MELTING STEELE by Kimberly Amato (Book 2)

Jasmine Steele is your run-of-the-mill detective, a regular CSI, a Law and Order chick. Personally, I don't find these hard-core mystery thrillers particularly interesting, but I'm always willing to give one a shot every now and then.

It all begins fairly standard--with a dead body, a case to solve. Although I applaud policewomen in action, I had some trouble drumming up interest as the story was rather mundane and languid. It mainly consisted of police protocol and forensic evidence--nothing too stimulating. It then progresses to a convoluted and unmemorable plot.

Ultimately, I just wasn't that excited by the premise. Perhaps I would've felt different had I read the first book in the series. In fact, that's typically my preference, but I couldn't figure out how to open up the Mobi file on my e-reader. In any sense, I doubt my opinions would've differed any because the first book sounded pretty much the same.

All in all, this was a good effort, but it just didn't suit me.

My rating: 2 stars