Book 41: One More Thing – B.J. Novak

Novak, B. J. - One More ThingThis was quite possibly the strangest and quirkiest book I’ve read in ages. The majority of it comes from the randomness of the collection of short stories, but a lot of it comes from Novak’s rather odd, but incredibly witty imagination. My friend Caitrin lent me this ages ago and I finally got around to reading it.

The first I heard about it was on the podcast Dinner Party Download where Novak read a few of his short stories and then he was in Boston for a reading and book signing and Caitrin and a few friends went. I didn’t go as I’m super selective over what books I want signed, my bookshelf space is severely limited, but I would definitely go to hear him speak now, having read the book! Doesn’t hurt he’s a local boy from Newton and went to Harvard so even more reason to pay attention (never really followed The Office so wasn’t familiar with him at all).

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Book 32: Poster Boy (Theta Alpha Gamma #5) – Anne Tenino

Tenino, Anne - Poster Boy (Theta Alpha Gamma #5)I think this is by far my favorite of the Theta Alpha Gamma series by Anne Tenino and it’s definitely one of the best written of the series. I of course requested a copy from the publisher, Riptide Publishing as soon as I found out there was a new release in the series. It didn’t hurt that the cover had the cutest of all the guys in the series so far. Prepare yourself, a Goodreads observation/rant is about to follow, if you want to just read about the book and not my thoughts on female M/M romance writers and readers skip the next two paragraphs.

When I put in my star rating on Goodreads, I noticed that the overwhelming majority of the first page were female readers. I decided to look at the first 100, but there were only 60 written reviews, which I ignored for their general idiocy, and of those 52 of them were female. This really isn’t that shocking, as I’ve mentioned it before and I remember reading about it while studying for my Gender Studies degree, but I’m starting to find it really interesting which ones I like and which ones the female readers like. It’s almost always opposite and I’m not sure what that says about me, the females or about the writer.

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Book 16: It’s All Geek to Me – J. L. Merrow

Merrow, J. L. - It's All Geek To MeWhat a quick fun read! I thoroughly enjoyed this book and if Merrow were to expand this story into a longer novel, or even a series of short stories, I would definitely check it out. I received a copy of It’s All Geek to Me from the publisher, Riptide Publishing and received nothing in return for my honest opinion.

From the adorkable premise of the comic book store to the “aww” worthy ending, I couldn’t help but smile through this quick novella. I of course loved the two main characters, the gorgeously described Welshman Rhys and the adorably emotionally fragile protagonist Jez. Merrow did a great job building the tension between the Rhys and Jez and adding in a (not completely) unexpected turn. I wasn’t quite sure what the hidden secret was but I was so worried it was going to be something completely different and the actual reason was so adorable and their reactions were so adorable that I couldn’t help but smile.

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Book 12: Significant Others (Tales of the City #5) – Armistead Maupin

Maupin, Armistead - Significant Others (Tales of the City #4)Coming back to Maupin’s San Francisco is like going home after a really long vacation. There’s something comforting and something genuinely nice about being back on Barbary Lane. (See the first quote under Additional Quotes).

I can’t believe it’s been almost three years since I binge read Tales of the CityMore Tales of the CityFurther Tales of the City and Babycakes. And like everyone else who has ever read a single one of The Tales of the city books, I’m finally taking the time to catch up on the series, which has spanned five decades so that I can read the final (I’m assuming) novel in the series The Days of Anna Madrigal released at the beginning of 2014. I won’t binge read them, but they’re such quick reads I plan to read them all this year.

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Book 73: All My Friends Are Superheroes – Andrew Kaufman

Kaufman, Andrew - All My Friends Are Super HeroesWhat a great book! I’m not sure where or why I decided I needed to read it but I’m glad I did. I think it was on one of the blogs I follow or one of the podcasts I listen to (I think it might’ve been Pop Culture Happy Hour, but I’m not positive), but either way I’m glad I read it.

One reason I thoroughly enjoyed this book is that it reminded me a lot of Perry Moore’s Hero. The heroes in both of these novels are not your standard superheroes, they have unique talents and abilities. What this novel did differently than Hero was to explain why the most mundane tasks are actually superhero worthy. Kaufman talks about choosing a superhero name and speaks to the mundane portion of superheroes regardless of their talents and reminds us that they are (mostly) all human.

“The final stage of finding your superhero name is accepting how little difference it really makes. Okay, there’s this one thing you can do, a thing you can do like no other person on the planet. That makes you special, but being special really doesn’t mean anything. You still have to get dressed in the morning. Your shoelaces still break. Your lover will still leave you if you don’t treat her right.” (77-78)

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Book 51: A Woman Lost – T. B. Markinson

Markinson, T. B. - A Woman LostIn general, I have steered clear of self-published works and I have done so for two reasons: fear of a horribly written novel and fear of a horribly edited novel. In this instance both of those fears were proven wrong. T. B. Markinson (link to her new author blog), aka TBM as I’ve known her from her wonderful personal blog, asked me to provide a review of the novel, for which I received no compensation. So let’s get on to the book and my thoughts.

Once again I either didn’t fully read or, most likely, misinterpreted the blurb for the story. For some reason I got it into my head that this was going to be a traditional mystery novel. Clearly, I was wrong; I mean you could argue there was a bit of mystery, but if anything it was more just the suspense of romance. What this novel is, and what it was great at, was a fast-paced and entertaining romantic comedy of errors.

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Book 49: Winger – Andrew Smith

Smith, Andrew - WingerOver the past few weeks this book started appearing on a lot of the book blogs I follow. As I noticed the ‘score’ of the book pretty much unanimously being high and the general excitement and fervor surrounding the reviews and responses I knew I had to read this book sooner rather than later and I am very glad I did.

If you haven’t read this book yet, you should. Everyone should read this book; and I do mean everyone. I honestly believe that any reader can find something to identify within this book. And as an added bonus not only is it hilariously laugh out loud funny, but it also wrenches many of your other emotions whether you want it to or not. Smith has created such a tongue-in-cheek character you can’t help but identify with him and love him and want him to do well.

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