Surprise Find & Book Review in Place of Twofer Tuesday

I am still listening to “Bad Monkey” by Carl Hiaasen.  I have to say I LOVE this book.  Perfect plot for an audio version.  Arte Johnson is superb.  He’s doing voices same as I did when I read to my kids.  LOL.

Bedtime stories for adults during the daily commute.  I am not commuting this week but I am mobile so as I go out and about frolicking in the Spring Break fun amid the Covid-19 plague, I hear snippets.  The whole section on the bad money’s aka Driggs origin and family lineage scene has me in stitches.  Too cute that he was related to the monkey from Friends and a few other monkey descendants that were part of Ace Ventura Pet Detective.  Driggs himself has a stint as the monkey from the Pirates of the Caribbean.

On more than one occasion I have laughed out loud despite the sometimes mature theme.  I won’t spoil the surprise but Chapters 22 and 23 … wow.  I did not see that coming.  I am mid way through CD 7 of 9 meaning light at the end of the tunnel.  Not that I want the light to come on.  In fact, this is Mister Toad’s wild ride and I have enjoyed every single minute.

Therefore I am using this post as my pseudo review.  I am purposefully vague in my reviews any way after the “We Need to Talk About Kevin” debacle.  I will never ever again ruin a book for someone.  I surprised myself being able to follow along and actually think I got more out of listening.  I am at times guilty of speed reading always getting more out of a book when I read it more than once.  As far as ratings, I give this book two thumbs up or 5 stars.  A typical detective caper at its’ heart made ever more entertaining thanks to the late great Arte Johnson and his narration.   Go on read it or listen to it.  You’ll be glad you did.

Oh and the surprise find is completely unrelated to the book.  I have two shoe racks in my closet and usually recycle the shoe boxes.  I hung onto two for Operation Shoebox 2020.  As I was putting up clothes today, the what I thought were empty shoe boxes came tumbling down.  Out pops a brand new pair of navy blue Sketchers with gray bottoms … my new thing that I do because OCD does not allow me to have white bottomed shoes anymore.  They get too dirty; same as non-white soles but at least the dirt doesn’t show.   The receipt was still in the box.  Deeply discounted and use of rewards made the total a whopping $17.98.  Date on the receipt was October 16, 2016!  Sacribleu.  And I’m walking again which means I was about to buy new shoes.  Now I don’t have to.  Yay for me!!

As always, more to come.

 

Decisions Decisions of the Book Club Variety

The pace of my reading is dramatically reduced in 2020 but I knew that going in.  My goal for this year’s Goodreads challenge is only 12, one per month.   I am behind schedule thus far despite book club suggestions (one of which I did not finish ).  Life’s too short to waste on bad books she said as a former must read to last page or I will die type reader.

Each month I get the Prime freebie.  I’ve quite a collection to break into since each month I download a pick but I haven’t read any of them in a while.  For March, my choice was “The Club King: My Rise, Reign, and Fall in New York Nightlife” by Peter Gatien. I’ll report back sometime later.  The offerings were stellar this month, adding the following to my TBR queue:

  • “Rain Will Come” by Thomas Holgate
  • “The Last Bathing Beauty” by Amy Sue Nathan
  • “The Other Family: A Novel” by Loretta Nyhan

Too cheap to pay but maybe the library will have these gems eventually or perhaps a Goodreads giveaway.  I keep going for those.  Filling up the Want to Reads.  Ah, now that’s the sweet stuff.

As always, more to come.

#SAS Twofer Tuesday 3/3/20 ~ On Hiatus

No more Jack until June 2, 2020.  I will being using my free Sirius XM until then.  I bet you’re wondering why then doesn’t she post the last two songs of the commute from Sirius?  What difference does the station make?  Well I’ll tell ya.  Since Sunday, I have been listening to an audio book.  A first for me!

Arte Johnson (yes that Arte!  The guy from Laugh-In fame) is reading Bad Monkey by Carl Hiassen to me.  Sadly Arte passed away in July of 2019 at the ripe ole age of 90.  Yet his voice and life’s work lives on.  How cool is that?!?!?

I’ll report back on the audio book once we’re done.

As always, more to come.

Easily Amused

I got a new book Saturday. I mentioned to B that I expect him to be around while I’m reading because the book is very scary. So much so that it’s says to read it with the lights on. In typical B fashion he asks me “well how else are you supposed to read it? In the dark?” Cracked me right up. Yep I’ll be reading in the dark. Duh 🙄

Proof this is part of the liner …

I’m not scared … yet.

As always more to come.

J-Dub’s Review of “Before and After” by Judy Christie & Lisa Wingate

I finished in one day! That’s how good is this book. My new word “un-put-downable”. These are real-life stories of children used as commodities of a corrupt system. Georgia Tann was a monster in my opinion. Yet despite what happened, we see the human connection. These stories told from the adoptees POV are riveting. I’m glad the authors took that route by giving them a voice after years of being somehow less than. The psychology of it all is fascinating. I’m convinced now more than ever that people do the best they can with what they’ve been given. Flawed humans aren’t we all. Still triumph of the human spirit endures. Tears 😭 both happy and sad. My rating 5 out of 5 stars ✨!!

As always more to come.

J-Dubs Review of “Hope: A Tragedy A Novel” by Shalom Auslander

In place of tunes we have book club. Yay to multi-media. Time to get started.

I almost didn’t review this book calling it un-PC but in actuality the story is satire. Or my layperson’s definition of satire. Kind of cool that the kidlet recommended even though he couldn’t finish the book. He said he’ll pick it up again once his own personal demons pass. He’s very astute and realized what would happen before it happened. The theme in a way mirrored his life last year. Or perhaps just too close for comfort.

I’ll try not to spoil the story for anyone though this book has been out some time. Solomon Kugel is the proverbial sad sack or schmuck. Sort of “Death of a Salesman” Willy Lowman like. Sol trudges through a job he hates to afford the American dream he really doesn’t want while caring for his aging mother and trying to make everyone happy.

He carries around a small pocket sized notebook and pen so he can write down his possible last words as things strike his fancy. He borders on obsessed really. He knows the famous last words of several celebrity types. Some of his entries are so wrong they’re right. Funny too.

He has a warped relationship with his mother. Well don’t we all? She’s right off her rocker. Well yes I am. 😂 There’s a long suffering spouse and plucky only child. He has a sister who’s missing in action leaving their mother’s care mainly to him.

I think some fantasy was woven in with Professor Jove his psychiatrist who I believe never existed and the realtor Eve. She seems to have made a deal with the devil selling houses with a special surprise in the attic. The tale starts and finishes with fire as a theme of arson is carried on throughout. Though dark and twisted, there were parts which were literally laugh out loud.

I sometimes joke Hope is a fickle bitch. Sol Kugel would likely agree. I didn’t get a lot of quotes for my commonplace book. Instead I got one rather long passage that expresses to me that the past can be difficult with which to come to terms. I’m not the only one who might wish for a do-over occasionally.

If only there was a Miracle Away for the past. A Forever Gone for brutalities, atrocities, indignities great and small. A lemon-scented life, that was what he wanted; for Jonah, for Bree, for Mother, for Anne. A pine scented, clean, polished, revitalized life. Leaves no residue. Resists finger prints. Sixty-four ounces of new, price on Amazon – who cares? Click to add to cart. Rush delivery.

May not be for everyone but I’d read it again. I’d probably pick up some new gems. Sol is a tragic character who you laugh with … to keep from crying maybe. My rating 4.25 of 5 stars.

#SoCS for 11/30/19 ~ “shade” part two

Songs go in a perpetual loop in my brain.  And weird things spark different tunes.  I just finished reading Dangerous When Wet: A Memoir of Booze, Sex, and My Mother by Jaime Brickhouse.  I wrote a little review on Goodreads.  Very short and sweet:

Unconditional love of a mother for her child. We should all be so lucky to have a “Mama Jean” in our lives.

Though in hindsight, maybe not.  The expectations of perfection may have driven him to drink but those same expectations may have also saved him.  If I have learned anything in my short life, one cannot save someone who does not want help.  Recovery is a tough nut to crack.

When is the shade coming up Jilly?

Well, as I read this memoir I thought of the fictional Less Than Zero by Bret Ellis Easton.  Debauchery.  Not saying Jamie (IRL) is Julian (fictional) though there could be some similarities.  What got me to shade was the soundtrack for the movie based on the book.  Bangles covered the song “Hazy Shade of Winter” most excellently. Haunting and fitting for the theme.  The original was a Simon and Garfunkel gem.  I now share both, beginning with the homage.  Hope you enjoy!

rules and ping back

 

Habits and Happy Thanksgiving

Now here is how to start off Thanksgiving.  See my feature image.  M’m veeeerry good.  I am drinking a Houston blend in an Austin PD “No Thanks I’m Driving” cup.  This cup is over 35 years old and it is still my favorite.  I’ve cut back significantly on my coffee consumption but the mug works for hot tea or hot chocolate too.

My brother and brother in law were policemen for the city of Austin Texas.  That’s how I got the cup.  The one that I had to have!  My dad had been gifted one years before and I used it exclusively when I visited.  Then one day, I was surprised with my own.  I’m still not sure how my brother got me the discontinued cup.  But he did.  How sweet it is!!

Since they worked holidays, we’d have Thanksgiving dinner at one of their houses.  We’d eat at a non-traditional hour.  That way they could stop by during their shift to eat with us then skedaddle back to protect and serve.  Later in their careers when they got the day off, we moved the party to San Antonio.

The Friday after was not a shopping day for us, instead we’d head for the place aka deer lease.  A tradition that carried over after I got married, just a different place – B’s grandpa’s “El Soldado” ranch.  El soldado means the solider for that is what Grandpa John was first and foremost.  Or maybe good Catholic, father, then solider.  Still makes me sick to my stomach that his legacy was sold.  Even the mom from The Glass Castle a Memoir by Jeanette Walls kept her inherited land despite extreme poverty in her own home.  Some say crazy … crazy like a fox.  LAND what a precious commodity.

No use bellyaching about sold inheritance.  Especially on this fine day.  Where all is right with my small microcosm of the world. I am extremely “pinch me I must be dreaming” blessed.  I am thankful! Every. Single. Day!

As always, more to come.

J-Dub’s Review of “Change of Heart” by Jodi Picoult

I think Jodi Picoult always does a fantastic job researching her work and making fiction feel more like non-fiction. Her stories are ripped from the headlines. They touch on sensitive subjects which usually cause heated debate. “Change of Heart” is no different. I won’t spoil it by giving away too much. This book has been out some time reducing the ability for spoilers anyway.

Death row inmates, double murder, the jury system, child in need of transplant, medical ethics, priest questioning his faith, child abuse, single female lawyer with disapproving mother … anyone of those stories could stand alone. My one and only critique is sometimes too much is packed into a single book. The subplots can be distracting.

I read this book faster than appears. I had another book which had an earlier due date so I started, stopped and started again. A quick pace, kept my interest the entire time. Packs an emotional punch which makes reading the book worthwhile even if you disagree with some of the points made.

I rated 4 of 5 stars.  Goodreads is 3.93.

J-Dub’s Review of “Baby Teeth” by Zoje Stage

The novel “Baby Teeth” by Zoje Stage was the September book club selection of the month for Shaefer’s Sippers.  The method to select is automated via library search engine.  We’ve now read three books in a row about mothers and their child/children.  Someone asked for a change of pace.  D is going to add different criteria for October.  Personally I could go for some lighthearted comedy with tons of cursing dropped in.

I was all prepared for the been there done that sameness.  However this book took a most sinister path.  I am not sure what it says about me that I enjoyed this book.  Mostly because the book let me escape.  No matter how awful things get around here we are not as hard up as these people.  Am I awful?  Or am I using self preservation?  Not that I feel good about someone else’s misfortune.  I DON’T!

Moving along to the actual review … no spoilers from me.

The book is written in alternating chapters from the POV of Suzette (mommy) and Hanna (daughter).  Starts in the middle and doesn’t really end.  The pace was quick enough in that I finished in less than a week.

Entertainment Weekly got it right in saying this book is “We Need To Talk About Kevin Meets Gone Girl Meets the Omen”. I could just picture this sprite little girl who is vastly different on the inside than her appearances let on. More confirmation for me than ever that you never really know anyone. Even more confirmation that we can’t change some facets of ourselves.  The whole nature versus nurture debate again.

My take is that we are all predisposed to be a certain way and the catalyst can be either innate or external.  We are all a mystery. Chilling when the seed is bad.

The book had no true ending. That is my only critique. Not sure what I wanted to happen but I was left feeling hopeless … almost as if redemption was not even a remote possibility for squirrel y girl.

Goodreads rating is 3.64.  I rated as 4 stars but wish I could give 1/2 stars as I might of rated 3.5 with this one.  Recommended read though for anyone who enjoys the psychological thriller.