Category Archives: General Fiction

Review: Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins

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Wow. This book? So depressing. Sooooo depressing.

I bought this book via a rec from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books…but actually from reading Everything I Know About Love I Learned from Romance Novels. Damn. This book makes me re-think any contemporary rec she/the site gives. Cause I pretty much hated this book. I wish I had bought it in DTB format so I could have thrown it against the wall! And I don’t normally have that reaction.

Let me digress.

This book is well written and a lot of people love it…but it’s not a romance. It’s chick-lit. And the fact that it’s being touted as romance burns me up.

Guess what?? There’s NO romance here. None. Zip. Zilch. Nadda.
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Review: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

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Catch-22Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
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Catch-22 falls into the category of books I can’t believe I didn’t read sooner. I loved this book. It made me laugh aloud multiple times. Reading it so soon after All Quiet on the Western Front added a sort of poignancy, but did not in any way detract from my ability to enjoy and be amused by the antics of Yossarian and the others. The name Major Major Major was one I have long heard, but now can truly understand. Milo, the black marketeer operating out of the camp’s mess hall is one of my favorite characters. Among other antics, he is frequently involved in different incidents on both sides, the American and the German, but he keeps himself in good with both by telling everyone they are “part of the syndicate and everyone gets a share.” The highly confused chaplain who just wants to go home to his wife and children is another favorite. The book is not always so lighthearted though; there are some scenes which are filled with horror, and when they came along I found myself consistently shocked. They are mixed in skillfully, though, and added to the story while still being jarring. Overall, this is a smart, funny book which deserves its place in the canon.

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Review: Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer

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“Okay, Shane,” Agnes said as Brenda’s clock gonged midnight. “I got Joey in the kitchen, a cop in the front hall, a dead body in the basement, and you in my bedroom. Where do you want to start?”
— Agnes and the Hitman, page 23

What happens when you take a cranky, homicidal cook with anger issues who loves to swing cast iron skillets, a hitman with family issues, an unsolved murder and a crazy ex-mobster’s wife and put them all together at a mob princess’ wedding? Lots of laughs, death and great food!

Agnes (AKA Cranky Agnes) is a nationally syndicated gourmet food columnist who is trying to plan her god-daughter’s wedding in her back yard. Agnes has staked her entire net worth in making sure this wedding goes off without a hitch so everything needs to be perfect. Unfortunately for Agnes, a crazy man with a gun breaks into her house one night trying to steal her dog – and Agnes finds herself in the middle of a downward spiral of murder, mayhem, and mother-of-the-bride hell.

Luckily for Agnes, hitman Shane is called in. Shane shows up to protect Agnes but as he inspects the dead body in her basement, he realizes he needs to protect more than just Agnes – he also has to protect the people that make Agnes angry.

“Angry welts on the face. Agnes and her hot raspberry sauce.
Blood underneath the dirty hair. Agnes and her frying pan.
Neck twisted and broken. Agnes and her unknown basement with no stairs.
Joey’s Little Agnes didn’t need protecting, but he might stay and put up some warning signs for unsuspecting intruders. Something like BEWARE OF THE COOK or AGNESS KILLS.”

As time goes by, several people die and Shane gets to taste Agnes’ cooking, he realized that he’s found the love of his life: someone who cooks a mean rib and has just as many homicidal tendencies as he does. And she doesn’t make him talk about his feelings, lol.

“…Agnes came around the counter, her arms full of food, looking like she had every dish in the refrigerator, and dumped it all on the table between them.

“This is my kitchen,” she said, an edge of hysteria in her voice, “and enough goddamn people have been shot in it. You are my family, you’re the only family I’ve got, so you’re going to put those guns away and eat something right now. Or there’s going to be hell to pay.”

She slapped a loaf of bread down on the table and looked at them both, blood in her eyes, and Joey and Frankie both hesitated. “You do not want me angry,” Agnes said, and then both nodded once and, like the unhappy, dysfunctional family they were, they put the guns away together.”

I loved this book! Very funny and different. It reminds me – in some ways – of the movie Grosse Point Blank at a wedding but the characters are all related in some way (except for the romantic ones!)

I could see this as a movie, actually! It’s also more of a novel than a romance – meaning that I could see a guy reading it…especially if he got it in ebook format. 🙂 I think the pink flamingos might just scare a few guys off.

This book has it all. There is romance, comedy, guns, hitmen, strippers, cash, mobsters, death, missing persons, rocket launchers and things (and people) getting blown up. And a wedding. So, don’t judge a book by its cover, ignore the pink flamingos (who wish they weren’t there, either) and read this book!

Best & Worst Books I Read in 2011

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So, this is the time of year everyone posts their best & worst lists together. I decided to get in on that. After the jump, you can find my list. Each item has a link to my explanation for why it’s here. Enjoy!
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You say Tomato, I say WTF?

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Tomato Rhapsody by Adam Schell

After having read this, I am left with nothing but a profound sense of loss. As if millions(alright, maybe dozens) of my brain cells cried out at once, and were suddenly silenced.

It’s just so… bad.

Let me see if I can explain why. Read the rest of this entry

Review: The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

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The Things They CarriedThe Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
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Incredible. Parts of “How to Tell a True War Story” come to mind regularly. I love Tim O’Brien‘s writing. Those were the three things I had to say about The Things They Carried when I initially “reviewed” this book. I hold to all of those. This is my third reading and I found the book even better than it was eleven years ago. “How to Tell a True War Story” has probably influenced my views on writing and literature more than anything else I have ever read. There is a beautiful clarity and painful honesty that permeates this book. I can’t say enough good things about it.

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