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Girl Walks into a Bar . . .: Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a Midlife Miracle by Rachel Dratch

So, I have not had good luck with comedienne memoirs. They were too serious, left me feeling sad, literally made me cry (in a bad way), just all around not the best. To be fair, I had read Bossypants, and that was hard to live up to already.  I had heard that Rachel Dratch’s book was really funny, so I decided to give it a go. Boy, am I glad I did! Oh, my! I cannot wait to discuss this book. Girl Walks into a Bar . . .: Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a Midlife Miracle, was exactly the book I needed. It was funny, had heart, had a character you could relate to, and even made you cry in the best way possible. For joy.

Rachel Dratch is a funny woman. She is someone who is often typecast (in her own words) as the best friend lesbian or overweight friend. That is unfair to such a beautiful, talented person. I do not know if I realized how funny she was until I read this book. I felt like so many times I was saying, I feel you, girl.

Dratch discusses growing up in her family, her stint as SNL, life after SNL, the struggles of acting, and life and dating after what everyone thinks is your prime. All of this is done with the best humor. If you can get the audio book, do yourself the favor and get it. She has actual clips from SNL and they are not to be missed. I love her part of Debbie Downer and how she broke character. I was laughing until I had tears.

Dratch was very open with her struggles with dating, and I appreciated that. Her crazy stories of odd characters she attracted made me feel better about my own life. Haha. The tales she shares make her relatable and feel like you are are having a good chat with an old friend.

This book was one of my favorite humorous memoirs. I only cried when it was a happy and sweet moment, not something that was depressing. I could read this over and over again, and I just might! I give this five shiny gold stars, and I highly recommend this book to everyone! Get the audio, she is a true gem as the narrator.

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Jenn McKinlay – The Cupcake Bakery Mysteries

I was on the audible website checking out a 2 for 1 sale, and I had found a book that I knew I would enjoy, but needed a second one to complete the deal. It was then that I stumbled upon a new series that I would come to love. The book was Sprinkle With Murder by Jenn McKinlay, and was a new cozy mystery series. This one is also based on food, cupcakes being the main theme. Mel(anie) and her friend Angie operate a cupcake shop, backed by their friend Nate. The three have remained friends from school age, through college, and as adults. They love to quote movies at random times, similar to my sister and myself, and guess what movie the quote came from. It makes for a fun read. The books are more like Stephanie Plum than Hannah Swensen. While it is a cozy mystery, there are still a couple of curse words, and more actual romance than a sweet kiss in this set of books. Sprinkle with Murder is just book the first in several by this author. She has a few different series, including one library series that I got and hope to read soon. Since this post I have read four of the five, or listened rather, available on audible. There are at least three more I am waiting to become available, and one that is coming out soon. This series is a lot of fun and while sometimes you know who the killer is before the ending, it is not halfway through like some cozy mysteries. I have actually been surprised a time or two with things that occur. I give this series five shiny gold stars. While some are better than others, and some of the stories do not make the most sense, it is still a great ride. One of my main questions was how they made money if it seemed they were never at the shop. Some of that gets explained, but not as much to my liking. If you are searching for a little change of pace, something to relax with while sitting outside on your porch swing, taking a nice trip, or want a light “beach read,” I suggest you check this series out. You will be glad you did.

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The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

My most recent read was a nice little fluff book that is perfect for a beach read. The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan has it all.It has romance, a little betrayal, the most adorable way to show love, beautiful settings, and above all… someone who loves books as much as I do.

For Nina, losing her job at the library was the best bad thing that could have happened to her. Without it, she would not have been able to realize her dream of opening her own bookshop. This is no ordinary shop. This is a van that travels to new locales each day, and she is able to find the perfect book for each customer that comes her way.

When Nina finds love in an unexpected place, the train tracks, she is immediately rushed into a whirlwind romance. This is looked down upon by her farmer landlord who has rented her a perfect little barn, which is more like a cottage. He seems skeptical of the train engineer and his motives. While he is hard to read and seems bitter, Nina is intrigued by him all the same.

This is a book that you will find a pleasure to read. I would give more detail, but if I did, I would give the whole book away! If you like books set in the UK, romance, books, and a chuckle or two, pick this one up soon!

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So many books… where should I start?

I have read several books since Amy Schumer’s book, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, but have not had the time to create a blog post. I will try and catch up on the books that I have read recently and find a way to post a review of them soon.

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The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

What can I say about this book? I read along with the book while also listening on audio. I had read in a review that the beginning was the weakest part, and then it got better and better. I am sad to say I thought the opposite. I would have read this entire book in one day, but I was exhausted after being up 24 hours, and had to go to bed early. But, I was up at 3:00 am the morning after it came out and did not stop until I finished. After the first 25% of the book I was texting and literally calling anyone who was up and awake, and some who sadly were not, and telling them how amazing this book was. “It is so funny!” I would say. I called it “amazing” to my friends and convinced them to all go out and get a copy. Then as it got towards the middle it seemed like the pace slowed down. I categorized it just now as steady, but I mean that in a slow, steady pace. By the time we got to gun control, I just could not handle it anymore. I wanted a funny, upbeat, sassy, and at times raunchy book. This had a few raunchy moments, but nothing like her comedy acts. This was more thoughtful and serious. I enjoyed the book, and I am glad I read it, but I will not be listening over and over again. This is no Bossypants. I feel I need to also clarify, I am one of her biggest fans, and I am glad she tackles big and important issues, but that was not what I signed up for when I bought this book. I still love you though, Amy!!

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Die Again by Tess Gerritsen

I think it was on the blog that I was saying that I tried to decide what to read next after I finished Last to Die. I do not know why I considered something different other than Die Again. This is the final book in the Rizzoli and Isles series up until this point. Part of me did not want the series to end, but I also wanted to know how it ended, for now.

In Die Again, we open up the book with a safari in Africa. This is not exactly my “thing” so I was not really interested or could figure out how it tied in to the story. We meet a group of travelers, two couples (one married, one not), two blonde young women who are friends, a young twenty something guy, and their two guides. The group have broken down in their jeep and are trying to survive life in the brush until help arrives. They soon find themselves not only trying to survive the elements, but also possibly from one another.

Back in Boston, Detective Jane Rizzoli has been called in on a case. A locate renowned taxidermist, and hunter himself, has been brutally murdered. The prizes on his wall are various big game that are intriguing and upsetting for some. Mara arrives and determines that the bucket containing parts of the deceased also includes the organs of something else. Why? This is just one of many questions that investigators have, and there will be more questions later. Several other bodies begin to be discovered. One has been dead for quite some time. How does this relate to the case, and why does it even relate to the case?

Rizzoli and Isles are taken on a journey that will lead them to zoos, around Boston, and even to Africa itself. This is one that starts out with a huh? And ends with an OH! This ride will not let you down and will keep you guessing until the very end. For someone who always knows whodunit, this was such a welcomed surprise. I highly recommend this selection to anyone who loves a good thriller. NOTE:  This can be very graphic and grisly. If that is not your thing, you may want to pass this up.

I give this story 5 shiny gold stars! While safaris is not exactly my idea of a good time, the story is amazing.

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Die Again by Tess Gerritsen

After I finished Last to Die by Tess Gerritsen I thought, what should I read next? I had gotten The Silent Girl, Last to Die, and Die Again as part of a collection on audible and all three books came together. I read the first, then read the second, and I have no I idea why I questioned not to read the third. So, I finally came to the conclusion, read the third! This is the final installment, at this time, of the Rizzoli and Isles series. I am sure, and I hope, that Tess Gerritsen has more books planned out, and I for one cannot wait to get my hands on them. I did read her stand-alone novel, Playing with Fire, and I thought that was an excellent book! I will have to check and see if I posted a review for that on this site. I know I read it as part of an ARC that I was fortunate enough to be part of. If you have not picked up that book, and you are a fan of a good thriller/mystery, you really should. You will not be at all disappointed. I want to talk about that book right now, but I should probably stop chasing rabbits and stay on topic.

Die again opens up with a safari scene. It is interesting, but I do not particularly care for it. I do not know why, I just do not find it all that interesting. Once we got to the Rizzoli and Isles part, then I was interested! Rizzoli is called to the scene of a homicide. A local taxidermist has met a grisly end. I am not going to go into details because that would ruin it for you, but it is pretty graphic. Needless to say, it is bad when even Rizzoli is not wanting to attend the autopsy. It will also make you think even more about living alone with pets and what happens when you die. I am just saying. I have thought about it many times myself, and this… well, it made me press my mother to make sure she calls everyday to make sure I am alive even more. I love my cats, but while I think Jax would hold off for a few days, I feel like Edward would go straight for my face, no questions asked.

I am only about 20% into this book, but I can already tell that this is not my favorite. It has just not grabbed me like the others in the series. We will see as the story progresses!

Happy Reading, Everyone!

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Last to Die by Tess Gerritsen

I just finished a great book by Tess Gerritsen in the Rizzoli and Isles series – Last to Die. Other than the book Body Double, this is my favorite book in the series. Up until around 87% I did not really know what was going on, and even then, I was not completely sure until the end. Very clever of Tess Gerritsen.

In book #10 of the Rizzoli and Isles series, we are greeted with the near-death experience of two young kids. Luckily they are saved by a guardian angel, and relocated to someplace safe. Why such serious precautions? They lost their families in a massacre a year ago a week apart, and then the death of their foster families next. When a third child is found in the same situation, Mara Isles makes the connection while visiting Rat at Evensong. Soon Jane is traveling through different states to determine what these three students could possibly have in common with the deaths happening not only in different states, but even over in London.

This was a great book by an author that I love. I give this book 5 golden stars! If you love a good thriller, this is the book for you. There is some gore and violence, but nowhere near the amount as in her other books. Pick this thriller up, and sit back and enjoy the ride!

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The Magpies by Mark Edwards

Hum. What to say about this book. I had such high hopes. I read the backstory for this book and how he came up with the idea online. It sounded scary and wonderful. The introduction was wonderful and while reading it in the dark of my bedroom I was thoroughly creeped out. Almost afraid. Fast forward to the rest of the book.

Jamie and Kirsty are a young couple who have moved into their first “flat” that is completely their own. They paid a good price, as the seller wanted to leave quickly we would later learn. Upon moving into the apartment, they throw a party and get to know several of the neighbors. Some are kind, some are odd. Mary a herbalist is quick to dispense advice on how to use herbs to heal the body. Kirsty who is a nurse in a children’s ward at the hospital is quick to say that it is a bunch of nonsense. Jamie who works with computers becomes an asset to one of the residents who works on children’s horror novels. A couple Lucy and Chris are friendly enough, but are strange upon meeting them.

When Jamie and Kirsty first begin to receive hoaxes such as packages of crazy books from Amazon, pizzas they did not order, cabs they did not request, they wonder who the culprit could be. As time goes on more and more disturbing things begin to occur. One particular is a total phobia of mine and I could hardly read it.

Soon, Jamie realizes that this is no cat and mouse game, this is deadly. Can they stop the monsters who lurk within their apartment complex before it destroys both of their lives?

I was not crazy about this book. The entire time I thought Jamie was such a wimp and needed to grow a pair. The ending was unsatisfying to me, not because it did or did not end with a pretty bow, but because I needed a main character with guts. I did not find this book to be scary or really that much of a thriller. It was just an okay book. Something to pass the time. I read it on audio, and the narrator did a wonderful job. I give this book three stars.

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The Silent Girl by Tess Gerritsen

I just finished The Silent Girl by Tess Gerritsen this past weekend. It was a good read, but not my favorite in this series. I enjoyed the Chinese culture part, but did not enjoy the entire execution.

In this novel of the Rizzoli and Isles series, a mystery woman is found on a rooftop in Chinatown after her amputated arm is discovered by some kids on a Boston ghost tour. Rizzoli cannot determine who this woman is, only that she is dressed all in black, the cuts to her body were clean and precise, and on her body are silver hairs that are not from any human. While trying to uncover the identity, Rizzoli meets two women who are familiar with the martial arts, and have backgrounds with swords, not unlike the one that could have made the cuts on the victim’s body. When the victim is discovered to be an assassin, Rizzoli must find out who she was after.

While working the case, Maura and Rizzoli make a chilling discovery. This case is related to a horrific crime that took place in a Chinese restaurant 19 year prior. There was a bloody massacre thought to be lead by a cook leading to a mass murder and suicide. While most believe this to be the case, someone does not. They are sending messages and obituaries every year to the victim’s families, and has taken out a full page ad proclaiming the cook’s innocence. Who is this person? What is the goal? Why are they doing this?

Along with that, there appear to be a group of missing girls. One is the daughter of the teacher in the martial arts studio who went missing 19 years ago as well.

Soon there is a vigilante on the loose who is out to not only save lives, but deliver justice as well.

Will Rizzoli be able to clear the cook of murder/suicide? And will she ever know the reason for the assassins in black? And most importantly, how do a group of missing girls tie into all of this, or does it?

Tess Gerritsen has done it again with a great page turner. I enjoyed the characters, the story, the culture that I came to know, and the storyline. But I had a problem with this book. Something just did not click for me. While I love this series, this was my least favorite so far. And I think I knew it would be. I had been putting it off for a long time and dreaded reading this one. I think it was because when it initially came out, so many people did not like it. The reviews I saw were not all great, and that affected how I saw the book. I am glad I read it, but it was not the best. I give this book 3.5, rounded up to 4, stars.

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