Tag Archives: adult

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe Book Cover Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe
Melissa de la Cruz
Fiction
Wednesday Books
October 17, 2017
240

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe from New York Times bestselling author, Melissa de la Cruz, is a sweet, sexy and hilarious gender-swapping, genre-satisfying re-telling, set in contemporary America and featuring one snooty Miss Darcy. Darcy Fitzwilliam is 29, beautiful, successful, and brilliant. She dates hedge funders and basketball stars and is never without her three cellphones—one for work, one for play, and one to throw at her assistant (just kidding). Darcy’s never fallen in love, never has time for anyone else’s drama, and never goes home for Christmas if she can help it. But when her mother falls ill, she comes home to Pemberley, Ohio, to spend the season with her family. Her parents throw their annual Christmas bash, where she meets one Luke Bennet, the smart, sardonic slacker son of their neighbor. Luke is 32-years-old and has never left home. He’s a carpenter and makes beautiful furniture, and is content with his simple life. He comes from a family of five brothers, each one less ambitious than the other. When Darcy and Luke fall into bed after too many eggnogs, Darcy thinks it’s just another one night stand. But why can’t she stop thinking of Luke? What is it about him? And can she fall in love, or will her pride and his prejudice against big-city girls stand in their way?

 

Review:

I’m giving “Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe” a three because it’s cute – for someone on the younger end of the ya reading group.  I’m not really sure how it got classified as adult romance, but it does not belong there.  It’s a two at best when in that category.  There really isn’t anything else for me to say about it. Not recommended.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

Rescued

Rescued Book Cover Rescued
Peter Zheutlin
Pets
Penguin
2017
256

"In the follow-up to his New York Times bestseller Rescue Road, acclaimed journalist Peter Zheutlin offers a heartwarming and often humorous new look into the world of rescue dogs. Sharing lessons from his own experiences adopting dogs with large personalities as well as stories and advice from dozens of families and rescue advocates, Zheutlin reveals the often surprising and inspiring life lessons rescue dogs teach us." -- Back cover.

 

Review:

I’m an animal lover and strong advocate for rescue animals.  “Rescued” is written for anyone like me.  Instead of focusing solely on the dogs it focuses on rescuers and how the dogs have impacted their lives.  Recommended for all lovers of second-hand dogs.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

I, Eliza Hamilton

I, Eliza Hamilton Book Cover I, Eliza Hamilton
Susan Holloway Scott
Fiction
2017-09
400

In this beautifully written novel of historical fiction, bestselling author Susan Holloway Scott tells the story of Alexander Hamilton's wife, Eliza--a fascinating, strong-willed heroine in her own right and a key figure in one of the most gripping periods in American history. "Love is not easy with a man chosen by Fate for greatness . . ." As the daughter of a respected general, Elizabeth Schuyler is accustomed to socializing with dignitaries and soldiers. But no visitor to her parents' home has affected her so strongly as Alexander Hamilton, a charismatic, ambitious aide to George Washington. They marry quickly, and despite the tumult of the American Revolution, Eliza is confident in her brilliant husband and in her role as his helpmate. But it is in the aftermath of war, as Hamilton becomes one of the country's most important figures, that she truly comes into her own. In the new capital, Eliza becomes an adored member of society, respected for her fierce devotion to Hamilton as well as her grace. Behind closed doors, she astutely manages their expanding household, and assists her husband with his political writings. Yet some challenges are impossible to prepare for. Through public scandal, betrayal, personal heartbreak, and tragedy, she is tested again and again. In the end, it will be Eliza's indomitable strength that makes her not only Hamilton's most crucial ally in life, but also his most loyal advocate after his death, determined to preserve his legacy while pursuing her own extraordinary path through the nation they helped shape together.

 

Review:

“I, Eliza Hamilton” is a beautifully written historical romance about one of our favorite families.  While it is fiction, the historical aspects are well-done and thoroughly researched.  It felt as though you were right there with them as history happened.  While it’s listed as an adult novel, if you have an advanced middle school history buff they will enjoy it.  Highly recommended!

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

The Creeps

The Creeps Book Cover The Creeps
Fran Krause
Comics & Graphic Novels
Ten Speed Press
2017-09
144

A follow-up to the New York Times best-selling Deep Dark Fears: a second volume of comics based on people's quirky, spooky, hilarious, and terrifying fears. Illustrator, animator, teacher, and comic artist Fran Krause has touched a collective nerve with his wildly popular web comic series--and subsequent New York Times best-selling book--Deep Dark Fears. Here he brings readers more of the creepy, funny, and idiosyncratic fears they love illustrated in comic form--such as the fear that your pets will tell other animals all your embarrassing secrets, or that someone uses your house while you're not home--as well as two longer comic short-stories about ghosts.

 

Review:

“The Creeps” is filled with cartoons depicting various fears ranging from the rational to far beyond the irrational.  I don’t think anyone can go through it without finding something they relate to.  Some of it is funny, some of it is horrifying, and I finished it having some creepy crawly fears I had never even considered before.  It’s an especially fun read for the Halloween season.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

Emma in the Night

Emma in the Night Book Cover Emma in the Night
Wendy Walker
Fiction
August 8, 2017
320

"Both twisted and twisty, this smart psychological thriller sets a new standard for unreliable narrators." –Booklist, Starred Review One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn't add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister's return might just be the beginning of the crime.

 

Review:

“Emma in the Night” is a taut psychological thriller that kept me reading from start to finish without putting it down.  Not only did I keep second-guessing my theories,  I kept feeling ill-at-ease in my own home.  It’s difficult to say much more than the book synopsis because to spoil it even a little would take away from the fun.  If you like thriller mysteries, you will probably enjoy this.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Park Bench

Park Bench Book Cover Park Bench
Christophe Chabouté
Comics & Graphic Novels
Gallery 13
September 19, 2017
336

With his masterful illustration style, bestselling French creator-storyteller Chabouté (Alone, Moby-Dick) explores community through a common, often ignored object: the park bench. From its creation, to its witness to the fresh ardor of lovers, the drudgery of businessmen, the various hopes of the many who enter its orbit, the park bench weathers all seasons. Strangers meet at it for the first time. Paramours carve their initials into it. Old friends sit and chat upon it for hours. Others ignore the bench, or (attempt to) sleep on it at night, or simply anchor themselves on it and absorb the ebb and flow of the area and its people. Christophe Chabouté’s mastery of the visual medium turns this simple object into a thought-provoking and gorgeously wrought meditation on time, desire, and the life of communities all across the planet. This could be a bench in my hometown or yours—the people in this little drama are very much those we already recognize.

 

Review:

With the only words in “Park Bench” being book titles and scribbles on the bench, it is the purest form of a graphic novel.  I can’t even begin to describe how beautiful this book is.  No words could do it justice.  I laughed and I cried and I felt despair for the human race and hope for the human race and etc.  I can’t recommend this enough.  It is truly something you will never forget.  If only there were 100 star ratings.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

All the Dirty Parts

All the Dirty Parts Book Cover All the Dirty Parts
Daniel Handler
Fiction
Bloomsbury USA
August 23, 2017
144

From bestselling, award-winning author Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket), an eagerly anticipated, gutsy, exciting novel that looks honestly at the erotic lives and impulses of an all-too-typical young man. Cole is a boy in high school. He runs cross country, he sketches in a sketchbook, he jokes around with friends. But none of this quite matters, next to the allure of sex. "Let me put it this way," he says, "Draw a number line, with zero is, you never think about sex, and ten is, it's all you think about, and while you are drawing the line, I am thinking about sex." Cole fantasizes about whomever he's looking at. He consumes and shares pornography. And he sleeps with a lot of girls--girls who seem to enjoy it at the time and seem to feel bad about it afterwards. Cole is getting a reputation around school--a not quite savory one--which leaves him adrift and hanging out with his best friend. Which is when something startling begins to happen between them--another kind of adventure, unexpected and hot, that might be what he's been after all this time. And then he meets Grisaille. A companion piece to Handler's Why We Broke Up, the bestselling Michael J. Printz Honor novel, All The Dirty Parts is an unblinking take on the varied and ribald world of teenage desire in a culture of unrelenting explicitness and shunted communication, where queer can be as fluid as consent, where sex feels like love, but no one knows what love feels like. Structured in short chapters recalling Jenny Offill's Dept. of Speculation or Mary Robison's Why Did I Ever, the novel gives us a tender, brutal, funny, and always intoxicating portrait of an age in which the whole world is tilted through the lens of sex. "There are love stories galore," Cole tells us, "and we all know them. This isn't that. The story I'm typing is all the dirty parts."

 

Review:

“All the Dirty Parts” is one of those books that you will either love or hate.  I’m in the LOVE camp.  Warning: Don’t buy this for a kid thinking “Lemony Snicket.” This is not a good present from Grandma, though I can promise you it would get read.

Most of us know what it’s like to wait for the dirty part in a movie, book, story your friend is telling, or even our own lives if we’re honest about it.  It seems like that’s the good part.  The genius of “All the Dirty Parts” is that is exactly what the name implies:  all of the dirty parts of Cole’s life.  The problem is, when you only look at that, your perception of him as a person is not very good.  He seems like a jerk, and probably is, but you can only he has some redeeming qualities about him since he has friends and good grades.  We just don’t know what they are.  He doesn’t even know what they are.  There are a lot of things he doesn’t know about himself, but I’ll leave it to you to learn them.

This book is listed as an adult novel, and that is definitely the correct classification.  That being said, there are a lot of lessons in literature that can be taught using it for the older young adult and new adult crowd.  It’s also certain to make some banned book lists and become a coveted book for teenagers to acquire.  I’m ok with that.  Maybe they’ll accidentally learn something.

Highly recommended!

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Content Warning:

I don’t normally do content warnings on adult books, but be aware that this one is filthy.  The words aren’t minced and the sex is graphic.  Proceed at your own risk.

 

 

Maladies and Medicine

Maladies and Medicine Book Cover Maladies and Medicine
Sara Read, Jennifer Evans,
History
Pen & Sword Books
October 19, 2017

Maladies and Medicine offers a lively exploration of health and medical cures in early modern England. The introduction sets out the background in which the body was understood, covering the theory of the four humors and the ways that male and female bodies were conceptualized. It also explains the hierarchy of healers from university trained physicians, to the itinerant women healers who traveled the country offering cures based on inherited knowledge of homemade remedies. It covers the print explosion of medical health guides, which began to appear in the sixteenth century from more academic medical text books to cheap almanacs. The book has twenty chapters covering attitudes towards, and explanations of some of, the most common diseases and medical conditions in the period and the ways people understood them, along with the steps people took to get better. It explores the body from head to toe, from migraines to gout. It was an era when tooth cavities were thought to be caused by tiny worms and smallpox by an inflammation of the blood, and cures ranged from herbal potions, cooling cordials, blistering the skin, and of course letting blood. Case studies and personal anecdotes taken from doctors notes, personal journals, diaries, letters and even court records show the reactions of individuals to their illnesses and treatments, bringing the reader into close proximity with people who lived around 400 years ago. This fascinating and richly illustrated study will appeal to anyone curious about the history of the body and the way our ancestors lived.

 

Review:

I wanted to enjoy “Maladies and Medicine,” but it was a struggle to maintain focus and keep my mind from drifting.  It’s way more technical than I was expecting and seemed aimed more at professionals than the average lay person.  There were some interesting facts in the book, but I can’t recommend it.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

The Witchfinder’s Sister

The Witchfinder's Sister Book Cover The Witchfinder's Sister
Beth Underdown
Fiction
Ballantine Books
2017
336

Essex, England, 1645. With a heavy heart, Alice Hopkins returns to the small town she grew up in. Widowed, with child, and without prospects, she is forced to find refuge at the house of her younger brother, Matthew. In the five years she has been gone, the boy she knew has become a man of influence and wealth—but more has changed than merely his fortunes. Alice fears that even as the cruel burns of a childhood accident still mark his face, something terrible has scarred Matthew’s soul.

There is a new darkness in the town, too—frightened whispers are stirring in the streets, and Alice’s blood runs cold with dread when she discovers that Matthew is a ruthless hunter of suspected witches. Torn between devotion to her brother and horror at what he’s become, Alice is desperate to intervene—and deathly afraid of the consequences. But as Matthew’s reign of terror spreads, Alice must choose between her safety and her soul.

Alone and surrounded by suspicious eyes, Alice seeks out the fuel firing her brother’s brutal mission—and is drawn into the Hopkins family’s past. There she finds secrets nested within secrets: and at their heart, the poisonous truth. Only by putting her own life and liberty in peril can she defeat this darkest of evils—before more innocent women are forced to the gallows.

Inspired by the real-life story of notorious “Witchfinder General” Matthew Hopkins, Beth Underdown’s thrilling debut novel blends spellbinding history with echoes of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale for a truly haunting reading experience.

 

Review:

3 1/2 Stars Rounded Down

Having had an interest in witch trials for as long as I can remember, I was thrilled to get my hands on a copy of “The Witchfinder’s Sister.”  Unfortunately, it did not live up to my expectations.

Parts of the book were interesting, as well as horrifying, and the characters were intriguing.  The problem is the other parts were just so slow and dull that it cancelled out the good parts in my mind.

If “The Witchfinder’s Sister” sounds like something you may like, then by all means give it a try.  It may be that the problem with the story was me.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

Death Need Not Be Fatal

Death Need Not Be Fatal Book Cover Death Need Not Be Fatal
Malachy McCourt, Brian McDonald
Biography & Autobiography
Center Street
May 16, 2017
272

Before he runs out of time, Irish bon vivant MALACHY MCCOURT shares his views on death - sometimes hilarious and often poignant - and on what will or won't happen after his last breath is drawn. During the course of his life, Malachy McCourt practically invented the single's bar; was a pioneer in talk radio, a soap opera star, a best-selling author; a gold smuggler, a political activist, and a candidate for governor of the state of New York. It seems that the only two things he hasn't done are stick his head into a lion's mouth and die. Since he is allergic to cats, he decided to write about the great hereafter and answer the question on most minds: What's so great about it anyhow? In Death Need Not Be Fatal, McCourt also trains a sober eye on the tragedies that have shaped his life: the deaths of his sister and twin brothers; the real story behind Angela's famous ashes; and a poignant account of the death of the man who left his mother, brothers, and him to nearly die in squalor. McCourt writes with deep emotion of the staggering losses of all three of his brothers, Frank, Mike, and Alphie. In his inimitable way, McCourt takes the grim reaper by the lapels and shakes the truth out of him. As he rides the final blocks on his Rascal scooter, he looks too at the prospect of his own demise with emotional clarity and insight. In this beautifully rendered memoir, McCourt shows us how to live life to its fullest, how to grow old without acting old, and how to die without regret.

 

Review:

Words cannot even begin to describe how much I adore Malachy McCourt.  First introduced to him through my all-time favorite book, “Angela’s Ashes,” it’s been a wonderful journey learning more about him through his own works.  This is a bittersweet novel about death that evokes both tears and a lot of laughter.  It’s a memory of a life well-lived.  He is the last of the McCourt boys and I hope he is with us all for many years to come.  No matter what, it is good to know that he is at peace with death and not afraid.  I only wish I could be so brave.  Highly recommended.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.