Sunday, June 25, 2017

How to Party with an Infant by Kaui Hart Hemmings

Title: How to Party with an Infant
Author: Kaui Hart Hemmings
Genre: Chick Lit
Published: August 9, 2016
Publisher: Simon & Schuster


The new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Descendants—a hilarious and charming story about a quirky single mom in San Francisco who tiptoes through the minefields of the “Mommy Wars” and manages to find friendship and love.

When Mele Bart told her boyfriend Bobby she was pregnant with his child, he stunned her with an announcement of his own: he was engaged to someone else.

Fast forward two years, Mele’s daughter is a toddler, and Bobby and his fiancée want Ellie to be the flower girl at their wedding. Mele, who also has agreed to attend the nuptials, knows she can’t continue obsessing about Bobby and his cheese making, Napa-residing, fiancée. She needs something to do. So she answers a questionnaire provided by the San Francisco Mommy Club in elaborate and shocking detail and decides to enter their cookbook writing contest. Even though she joined the group out of desperation, Mele has found her people: Annie, Barrett, Georgia, and Henry (a stay-at-home dad). As the wedding date approaches, Mele uses her friends’ stories to inspire recipes and find comfort, both.

How to Party with an Infant is a hilarious and poignant novel from Kaui Hart Hemmings, who has an uncanny ability to make disastrous romances and tragic circumstances not only relatable and funny, but unforgettable.

My toddler son at a house party.
That's his father in the background.
I got a copy of this book for my sister-in-law for her baby shower, but then I didn't give it to her because I forgot. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Also, it was so hilarious when I started reading it that I was loathe to part with it. She probably wouldn't have had time to read it after the baby was born anyway. 

Now I consider myself something of an expert when it comes to partying with infants, I've done my fair share of it after all. I've basically been the parent of the year for the past eight years running. It's a streak that I'm rather proud of. But my partying has nothing on the partying in this book, probably. 

I honestly really related to Mele in this book. Like it's hard to raise kids and keep your sanity without wanting to get blackout drunk on a somewhat regular basis. I'm just lucky enough to have my kids father in the picture so I can actually do that on a semi-regular basis while he stays sober. I can't imagine doing it as a single parent. 

This is me playing beer pong while
holding my toddler daughter.
What I didn't get was why she didn't resist her baby daddy's behavior more. Like he's been a complete asshat since the baby was born, and now all of a sudden he wants to be part of his daughter's life because he's getting married. That's not how parenthood works. If you're not going to be there for the midnight feedings and blowout diapers, you don't really deserve the cuteness to feature as a major player in your wedding. If I were Mele, I would have absolutely refused.

In the end, I guess I understand why Mele was trying to be the bigger person. I mean it set a good example for her kid, and that's something you're supposed to do as a parent, I guess, I'm not really sure. But it had to be hard to do, especially since she was basically still in love with her ex. 

But like I said at the beginning, the book was hilarious and I definitely recommend it. 5 out of 5 pacifiers. 

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About the Author

Kaui Hart Hemmings has degrees from Colorado College, Sarah Lawrence, and she was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. Her first novel, a New York Times bestseller, THE DESCENDANTS, has been published in twenty-two other countries and is now an Oscar-winning film directed by Alexander Payne and starring George Clooney. She has also published a story collection, HOUSE OF THIEVES. Her novel, The POSSIBILITIES, is an Oprah and People magazine "must read" and has been optioned by Jason Reitman. Her debut YA novel, JUNIORS, has been published by Penguin Putnam. Her most recent novel is HOW TO PARTY WITH AN INFANT. She lives in Hawaii. Follow:

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Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

Title: Royal Bastards
Author: Andrew Shvarts
Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: May 30, 2017
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Pages: 352


Being a bastard blows. Tilla would know. Her father, Lord Kent of the Western Province, loved her as a child, but cast her aside as soon as he had trueborn children.

At sixteen, Tilla spends her days exploring long-forgotten tunnels beneath the castle with her stablehand half brother, Jax, and her nights drinking with the servants, passing out on Jax’s floor while her castle bedroom collects dust. Tilla secretly longs to sit by her father’s side, resplendent in a sparkling gown, enjoying feasts with the rest of the family. Instead, she sits with the other bastards, like Miles of House Hampstedt, an awkward scholar who’s been in love with Tilla since they were children.

Then, at a feast honoring the visiting princess Lyriana, the royal shocks everyone by choosing to sit at the Bastards’ Table. Before she knows it, Tilla is leading the sheltered princess on a late-night escapade. Along with Jax, Miles, and fellow bastard Zell, a Zitochi warrior from the north, they stumble upon a crime they were never meant to witness.

Rebellion is brewing in the west, and a brutal coup leaves Lyriana’s uncle, the Royal Archmagus, dead—with Lyriana next on the list. The group flees for their lives, relentlessly pursued by murderous mercenaries; their own parents have put a price on their heads to prevent the king and his powerful Royal Mages from discovering their treachery.

The bastards band together, realizing they alone have the power to prevent a civil war that will tear their kingdom apart—if they can warn the king in time. And if they can survive the journey . . .


I bought a copy of this book thinking that it was the next book in the Game of Thrones series (why I didn't look at the author's name I don't know) but it's not! On the bright side, that means that some of my favorite characters at least survived the story. 

In spite of the fact that I quickly realized that this book is NOT in the Game of Thrones series, I still had a hard time really convincing myself that they two aren't at least a little bit connected. Arya, I mean Tilla, likes to explore the tunnels beneath the castle (I bet she spends an inordinate amount of time chasing feral cats too, to be quite honest), and she loves her half-brother Jon Snow, I mean Jax. Clearly the similarities are pretty blatant here. Just look at that cover. It's got a sword and a freakin' throne on it, and everyone knows that George R.R. Martin has a copyright on that particular cover motif (probably.) And then the whole, parents wanting their children dead, that's so typical Tyrion Lannister. So basically, this was a YA rip-off of Game of Thrones...but that's not necessarily a bad thing, because all that death and treachery is not something that impressionable children should be exposed to, am I right? 

Much like Arya in A Game of Thrones, Tilla is my favorite character in Royal Bastards. I feel really bad for her that dad turned into such a jerk when his legitimate children were born though, but I mean, at least he didn't throw her out on the street like he could've done. 

So basically, if your kids have been bugging you to let them read/watch Game of Thrones, give them this book instead. 

I give this book 3 out of 5 Iron Thrones. 

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About the Author

Andrew Shvarts is an author of novels and video games. He has a BA in English Literature and Russian from Vassar College. He works for Pixelberry Studios as a designer, making mobile games like High School StoryChoices, and more. Andrew lives in San Jose, California, with his wife, toddler, and two kittens. Find him on Twitter @Shvartacus.

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Creatura by Nely Cab

Title: Creatura
Author: Nely Cab
Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: June 14, 2015
Pages: 300


When seventeen year-old Isis Martin is having trouble sleeping due to perturbing dreams of a horrific growling beast, she decides to confront her fear. But what Isis discovers is something other than a menacing entity.

The human-like creature offers Isis assurance that he is not a figment of her imagination. Unwilling to accept his avowal, Isis sets his words to contest by asking the entity to prove himself—a dare, he readily welcomes.

It is in her dreams that Isis innocently stumbles upon the silent existence of the divine lineage of those that man has long forgotten.

In a quaint town, deep in south Texas, this story leads Isis onto the path of impermissible love and captivating life-changing truths. Isis Martin's journey is sure to leave any reader ravenous for more.


My husband brought me a copy of this book back from his first deployment in Iraq, and frankly, I'm surprised that the Army let him do it, because it's about freakin' ISIS!!! But maybe they didn't really read it first, I don't know. But I can't really blame them, because frankly I couldn't even finish this book (although I at least read far enough to find out it's about ISIS before I stopped reading.) 

I wanted to like this book, I really did. I've heard from people, who I thought had good taste because they like chocolate chip cookies, that it's a really good book (and one person who has very clearly horrible taste because she likes oatmeal raisin cookies, but I figured that was a fluke). But you know, you'd have to basically be a psychopath to like a book about ISIS (you know what, now that I think about it, all those people that have told me this book is great are kind of kooky, to say the very least). 

I tried to give this book a chance in spite of the fact that it's about ISIS, but by about a third of the way through the book I realized that I was supposed to freakin' empathize with ISIS, and that was just not happening. I mean it's one thing to write a book featuring ISIS, but it's quite another to expect me to empathize them (because really, they can totally be the bad guys in a book, because we all know they are the bad guys, so that makes sense). At that point, I threw the book into my non-existent fireplace where it belongs and burnt it to a crisp. That book is no more. Good riddance. 

Overall I give this book one bomb because that's exactly what it was. A great big bomb. 

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About the Author

Nely Cab is a Writer of stuff, a Master Coffee Drinker, a Food Maker & Eater, an Imaginary World Conqueror, and an Air Breather. She talks to herself—a lot—in her South Texas home while she plots stories about fantasy worlds and sips coffee from a pitcher. She’s known for cooking far too much food and has a tendency to overdo…well, everything. It is rumored that she is fabulous. Nely Cab is the best-selling author of the Creatura series.

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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Title: Uglies
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Genre: YA Dystopian
Published: 2005
Pages: 425


Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. In just a few weeks she'll have the operation that will turn her from a repellent ugly into a stunning pretty. And as a pretty, she'll be catapulted into a high-tech paradise where her only job is to have fun.

But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to become a pretty. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world-- and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally a choice: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. Tally's choice will change her world forever...


I received a copy of this book on my sixteenth birthday, but the present didn't say who it was from, which clearly means one of my "friends" thinks that I'm ugly and doesn't have the guts to tell me to my face if you ask me. But they always say to never look a gift horse in the mouth, so I read the book anyway. 

I had a hard time relating to Tally, probably because my parents didn't have the money to get the plastic surgery to make me pretty, although the accidental nose job I got myself when I was fifteen helped a little bit, but it was countered by the accompanying burn scar on my right thigh. Like my parents wouldn't even let me dye my hair blonde like all the other girls in my class, and it took coating my hair with my own blood in a car accident to convince my mom to even let me dye my hair red. So I had an easier time relating to Shay, because I eventually had to convince myself that I didn't want to be pretty like everyone else anyway to help in my efforts to pretend to be happy. 

So I fully understood Shay's decision to run away from home and all the pretties. I mean, sure, she said she wasn't sure if she wanted to become a pretty, but that was probably just a front to cover up an inability to make it happen. We don't even know what the authorities do behind the scenes in this world, and like, Shay's parents probably weren't willing to make the sacrifices that would have been needed for Shay's operation (I bet youth has to be sacrificed somewhere.) And I don't think Tally is a very good friend for not being more supportive of Shay. I realize the authorities put her in a shitty place, but she still could have rebelled. Katniss Everdeen would have. 

So, like, I give this book a 3 out of 5 because it was entertaining, but it kind of brought back some real bad memories for me. 

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About the Author

Scott Westerfeld's teen novels include the Uglies series, the Leviathan and Midnighters trilogies, and the so-called "NYC Trilogy": So Yesterday, Peeps, and The Last Days. Scott was born in Texas, and alternates summers between Sydney, Australia, and New York City. His next book, Afterworlds, comes out September 23, 2014.

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The Mummy by Anne Rice

Title: The Mummy
Author: Anne Rice
Genre: Horror
Published: 1989
Pages: 480


Ramses the Great has reawakened in opulent Edwardian London. Having drunk the elixir of life, he is now Ramses the Damned, doomed forever to wander the earth, desperate to quell hungers that can never be satisfied. He becomes the close companion of a voluptuous heiress, Julie Stratford, but his cursed past again propels him toward disaster. He is tormented by searing memories of his last reawakening, at the behest of Cleopatra, his beloved queen of Egypt. And his intense longing for her, undiminished over the centuries, will force him to commit an act that will place everyone around him in the gravest danger.


While vacationing in London, I found a scroll on which this book was written tucked away in a rather large and conspicuous cranny in an old church. I mean, I probably should have left it alone, but no one saw me take it, so is it really theft? 

Anyway, I've never read a book in scroll form before, and the paper that it was written on was rather flimsy. It also used a whole lot of emojis, so some of my translations may have been a little off, but I still got the basic gist of the story I'm sure. (Side note, did you know that platypuses were quite popular in ancient Egypt? Also butt plugs, but I'm sure the two are not connected.) 

So there were parts of this book that confused me. Like when Ramses is reawakened at Big Ben, he's doomed to roam the Earth forever trying to drink the blood of virgin rabbits, but this isn't his first reawakening. Like how can someone who is going to roam the Earth forever be reawakened more than once? It makes no sense y'all. And then trying to bring back crazy cat lady Cleopatra was just dumb, and kind of cruel. Forcing his love to live his same cursed life hunting virgin rabbits for sustenance is absolutely not the sign of true love. If my husband did that to me, I'd stake him myself, and the fucker would deserve it. Then I'd chuck his body into a church so that he could never be reawakened again. But that's just me. 

So anyway, I give my translation of this scroll, 2 out of 5 unicorns because aliens have big feet. 

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About the Author

Anne Rice was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. She holds a Master of Arts Degree in English and Creative Writing from San Francisco State University, as well as a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science. Anne has spent more of her life in California than in New Orleans, but New Orleans is her true home and provides the back drop for many of her famous novels. The French Quarter provided the setting for her first novel, Interview with the Vampire. And her ante-bellum house in the Garden District was the fictional home of her imaginary Mayfair Witches.  

She is the author of over 30 books, most recently the Toby O'Dare novels Of Love and Evil, and Angel Time; the memoir, Called Out of Darkness;and her two novels about Jesus, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt and Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana. (Anne regards Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana as her best novel.) ---- Under the pen name, A.N. Roquelaure, Anne is the author of the erotic (BDSM) fantasy series, The Sleeping Beauty Trilogy. Under the pen name Anne Rampling she is the author of two erotic novels, Exit to Eden and Belinda.

Anne publicly broke with organized religion in July of 2010 on moral grounds, affirming her faith in God, but refusing any longer to be called "Christian." The story attracted surprising media attention, with Rice's remarks being quoted in stories all over the world. Anne hopes that her two novels about Jesus will be accepted on their merits by readers and transcend her personal difficulties with religion. "Both my Christ the Lord novels were written with deep conviction and a desire to write the best novels possible about Jesus that were rooted in the bible and in the Christian tradition. I think they are among the best books I've ever been able to write, and I do dream of a day when they are evaluated without any connection to me personally. I continue to get a lot of very favorable feedback on them from believers and non believers. I remain very proud of them." 

Anne is very active on her FaceBook Fan Page and has well over a million followers. She answers questions every day on the page, and also posts on a variety of topics, including literature, film, music, politics, religion, and her own writings. Many indie authors follow the page, and Anne welcomes posts that include advice for indie authors. She welcomes discussion there on numerous topics. She frequently asks her readers questions about their response to her work and joins in the discussions prompted by these questions. 

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Sunday, June 4, 2017

Reaping the Harvest by Robbie Cox

Title: Reaping the Harvest
Author: Robbie Cox
Genre: Fantasy
Published: February 28, 2013
Pages: 203


On his way home from a moving job, Rhychard Bartlett heard a scream and ran to help. That action changed his life forever and tossed him into a war between the Way and the Void. Given the Guardian Sword, assisted by an ellyll who only stands two feet tall, and bonded to a mind speaking coshey the size of a Newfoundland canine and a taste for pepperoni pizza, Rhychard must stop the demon Vargas from carrying out his plans. Once he finds out what they are, of course. In the meantime, he longs for the girlfriend who left him because he suddenly had too many secrets. Not only must he save the day, but he also must convince Renny Saunders he's not the cheating lover everyone thinks he is.


This book magically appeared on my bookshelf one day, I think. I don't know. Maybe I bought a copy of it at my thrift store and just forgot about it completely. That has certainly been known to happen before. In any case, one day it was on my bookshelf and I needed a book to read and decided to give this a shot. 

Alright, so I think this story is about a man who travels between worlds, one that is like ours with smart phones and shit, and then one that's super medieval with swords and crap. But obviously he can't tell people about that because they'd think that he's freakin' crazy, because that's freakin' crazy. 

This book has a whole lot of action, but I didn't really feel drawn into it. It was almost like I was watching from another world (you know, this one). I just don't think I'll be continuing reading this series after this because there just wasn't that much that appealed to me, and that's really weird because normally I would be super into anything remotely fantasy related. I think it's the fact that Rhychard was still trying to live his normal life too that really pulled me out of the fantasy of the story. It just didn't work for me. 

If you're a fan of time-travel type stories, you'll probably like this book, but I just don't apparently. So I would suggest caution before starting this book, but that's just me. Obviously you can do whatever you want, especially if the book magically appears on your bookshelf. 2 out of 5 stars. 

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About the Author

Robbie can be found on his back porch enjoying a cigar, a scotch, and a good story. He derives pleasure from his large family and his crazy group of friends that provide the inspiration for his blog The Mess that Is Me. He writes fantasy, erotica, mystery, and memoirs and when he is not writing, he is out Messing through adventures with those he cares about.

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Kissing Sassy by Gracen Miller

Title: Kissing Sassy
Author: Gracen Miller
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Published: August 30, 2016
Pages: 140


Wild and free, Cajun thought he was content.

Cajun Wolfe doesn't have time for trouble in five-inch stilettos, but that's what he gets in the form of Hollywood's leading lady. When Olivia Scott waltzes into Blue Creek's shifter bar seeking his expertise for help with a stalker, Cajun's convinced she's a thrill seeker and he scorns her request. Soon he realizes he might've just met his match in a human, who also happens to be his mate. Olivia's not just sassy, stubborn, and unpredictable, she has a temper to match his too.

Then Olivia showed him what he was missing.

Olivia Scott has had it with arrogant men. Cajun scoffing at her genuine need for help is the final straw. Determined to find another that'll take her seriously, she storms off only to be attacked in the parking lot. Playing the part of unlikely hero, Cajun defeats her assailants. Meeting her mate in the form of a snarly wolf-shifter with a bad attitude is rotten luck. He's also a weakness she can't afford.

Trouble never looked so fun...
Their troubles are only beginning. A new danger arises and Olivia's secrets are revealed. Can Cajun convince her to gamble on a mating so inconceivable it might just be a pairing that'll save the world? Or will all be lost?

...or came with so much baggage.


I picked up a copy of this book at this tiny hole-in-the wall bar in a tiny town I can't even remember the name of. I feel like it referenced water somehow, something like Purple River, Orange Pond, something like that. Anyway, I probably should have just left it where it was, because I didn't really like it all that much.

Maybe I'm weird, but I never really understood the appeal of wolf shifters. I mean, they're just so freakin' hairy. Really, what is the appeal in that? Also, what happens if they shift mid-coitus, and why does that NEVER happen in a story? Am I really supposed to believe that at the height of passion these shifters don't lose control of themselves and shift? I just don't buy it. 

So all that shifter nonsense aside, the chemistry between these two felt forced and unnatural (and that had nothing to do with the fact that Cajun is a freakin' wolf shifter). And I can usually accept the insta-love idea when shifters are involved, but Olivia should have felt it too, and it just didn't come across that way to me. And the idea that them doing the dirty would save the world is just absurd. Like seriously. 

I wish I could recommend this book to you, but I just can't because I couldn't connect with any of the characters, and felt like they were forcing things that shouldn't have been forced. If you're really interested in a shifter book, I suggest looking elsewhere. 2 out of 5 stars. 

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About the Author

Gracen is a hopeless daydreamer masquerading as a "normal" person in southern society. When not writing, she's a full-time mom for her two sons and a devoted wife to her real-life hero-husband. She has an unusual relationship with her muse, Dom, but credits all her creative success to his brilliant mind. She's addicted to writing, paranormal romance novels and movies, Alabama football and coffee...addictions are not necessarily in order of priority. She's convinced coffee is nectar from the gods and when blending coffee and writing together it generates the perfect creative merger. Many of her creative worlds are spawned from coffee highs and Dom's aggressive demands. To learn more about Gracen or to leave her a comment, visit her website at

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