The Angel by Tiffany Reisz

DNF at p55. I ran into a trifecta of trouble here, and I’m so bummed. I went into the first book in this series with no expectations – a little nervous bc it’s not something I’d usually read. And I fell in love with that book. The writing. The characters. The story. All were brilliant. Brilliant.
So I held off on book 2. I wanted to drag this series out a little. I was concerned I’d gallop through it bc I’d enjoy it so much.
Unfortunately from the first word it was a miss. The writing seemed silly. Forced. Nora didn’t feel true to herself. Now she’s all about a man. A man I couldn’t stand in the first book. The transition to Søren as romantic hero was grating. The Michael story line (which was a little weird in the first book – is now just creepy). There’s no Wes or Zach to balance it out. And then around page 50 I found a hard limit. A subject about which I cannot read and enjoy myself. Perhaps the book turned around after that – I have no doubt that Ms Reisz is an author who could pull off a huge save. She has talent in spades. But nothing about this book made me want to read another page.

An old review in anticipation of a new book

The Siren by Tiffany Reisz – bc i’m thinking of starting The Angel

I read this book Jan 14-15, 2016.

I’ll tell you that I’m an open-minded girl. Whatever floats your boat, and all that. But of course I have my prejudices. Preferences. And judgments. I also have my hard stops – at my parties there are no chips, dips, chains and whips. Ever. And I’m not down with the sharing. You love a fella. He loves you. It’s just that simple.
But this book was recommended to me by someone I trust implicitly. So without overthinking it I jumped in. I’m endlessly thankful I did.
Nora is a writer – among other things. Zach is her editor. Wesley is her neighbor. Søren is her priest. It’s that simple. And that complex.
The writing is superb. Out of this world. Nearly unparalleled. There were moments when I lifted my head surprised to find myself in my living room – shocked to realize it wasn’t real – Nora was so much more than a character.
The entire book reads like film noir. That’s a constant feeling of suspense. Waiting for it all to fall apart.
And then there are these startling moments of bliss. Just absolute beauty that you never saw coming. Breathtaking in their depth.
Nora was everything to me. She never had a crap moment. Strong. Funny. Smart. Sexy. Brave as fuck. Exactly what I want a heroine to be.
The fellas. Yes. I fell in love with one. Hated another. And then that all changed. While staying genuine. The characters came out to meet me. Showed me how wrong my assumptions were.
I sobbed at the end. Huge fat tears. I can’t wait to read the next book. This will be an all-time favorite – for the things i learned, the things I felt, and the prejudices I left behind.

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

There are 3 things that can separately make a story great for me – a strong character, a moving story or beautiful writing. Any one of these and i’m generally a happy reader. Bel Canto provided all 3. And then to show that she’s some kind of literary goddess Ann Patchett assembled an ensemble (go ahead – say it out loud a couple of times – it’s fun) cast where each character shown like a star in the night sky.
Our story begins at a birthday party in an unknown South American country. This party is thrown for a Japanese businessman to encourage him to build a factory in the region. Guests come from all over the world – and a famous opera singer provides the entertainment. Terrorists storm the party to kidnap a guest – who failed to show. Rather than a snatch and dash, the terrorists (three generals and their child) end up with a fancy house full of international hostages.
And thus our story unfolds. Things inside the house take on a dreamy surreal quality. Every day is the same – so what does it matter what you do? Relationships form and grow. The lines blur between the captives and their captors. And all the while there’s an underlying tension about the story’s resolution.
This book had one of my highest number of status updates ever. The writing was so beautiful – but more important it was sweet and funny and tender and moving. It was, most of all, human. Those little moments that capture who we are – not the big moments that we’d like everyone to see.
It wasn’t a sad story. Not overwrought. I think a lot of its magnificence came from its simplicity. An easy undemanding read that gives the reader far more than it takes.

But, AR, you don’t seem that Angry

It’s true. I don’t. And the reason that i’m the mostly happy Angry Reader is bc i found my Book SoulMate. We connected through GoodReads and FaceBook a few months ago – united by, you guessed it, a book. And as we compared Read piles and TBR piles it became clear that there were some startling similarities. A compatible sense of the quirky, the beautiful and the this-is-too-damn-sad-to-waste-my-precious-reading-time-on. (Quick tip – have immense book faith in anyone who loves Neil Gaiman. He’s a fabulous barometer of taste).

Shortly after we connected i entered a phase where i was reading a ton of contemporary romance – some okay and some really really bad. She didn’t read much of that, but she was amused by my reviews and reactions. As my Book SoulMate and i were gently nurturing our fledgling relationship, i read a brand new, and much anticipated, sports romance book.

Gentle Reader, i lost my shit. The book was one where the hero was to be applauded and admired for no longer participating in threesomes. There was a plot point involving our hero wanting to sleep with other women but his dick not allowing it. This was supposed to make me swoon. My updates were scathing. My review was vicious. And my little book-loving soul was battered and bruised.

In rode my BSM – a white knight on a shining steed. Through text and Goodreads she offered comfort, solace and reading recommendations. And holy shit – that’s when it became obvious that she wasn’t just a funny, quirky, and brilliant online chat buddy. This woman knows my literary soul. Everything she has recommended has delighted me. Thus, i am on a literary honeymoon. She’s gone through her favorite books, and i have a plethora of promising To-Be-Reads.

But fear not, Gentle Reader. She can’t ply me with books forever. Sooner or later i’ll be lured by the siren’s song of another shirtless male torso glistening on a cover. And your Angry Reader will be back – in all her snarky glory.

 

 

 

 

Eat Cake by Jeanne Ray

 

 

This book is, essentially, chicken pot pie for a reader. Maybe meat loaf and mashed potatoes. Steamed veggies and rice if you’re vegetarian. It’s simple and easy and palatable. It makes you feel all warm and happy inside.

This is the story of Ruth – a homemaker whose orderly life goes a little haywire – in the way that a lot of orderly lives do. Ruth uses cakes to soothe and work out her frustrations. She’s pretty timid and very kind. When new responsibilities land on Ruth’s shoulders she has to step-up in ways that are uniquely her own.

This book was a little odd for me in that i didn’t connect with any character. They were a likable cast – but i didn’t see myself reflected anywhere. And the writing, while comfortable, never stopped me in my tracks. The story wasn’t one that i could relate to in that i could see it happening to me. But the magic of this book is despite all that i loved it. It was essentially a one-sitting read – only interrupted by family commitments. It’s also something i could see myself reading again when i wanted to be taken out of my own head – but not in an abrupt or demanding way.

This book felt like Eat, Pray, Love to me – except more accessible. Ruth’s life and problems felt realistic. She could easily be that friendly neighbor that you chat with when you see each other at the super market. I can heartily recommend this book to anyone that loves cooking, comfort, and a sweet easy read.

PS – there’s a bonus recipe section at the end of the book. You’re likely to need it bc if you can read this and not crave cake you’re stronger than i am.

 

Angelology by Danielle Trussoni

DNF at page 50 with no rating. This is truly a case of “it’s not you – it’s me.” I’m not much of a fan of conspiracy fiction. And when I woke up this morning I had no fire to hop back into the angel book and see what was happening.
The writing was decent but, for me, the story lacked a hook. I need something to make me keep reading – beautiful prose, a consuming character, or a story that keeps me enthralled. That’s not to say this book wouldn’t have picked up for me in 8 pages. Or 10. Or 27. But with a glorious Saturday ripe for reading stretching before me, I’m ready to find something I want to read – or, even better, need to read.

The Obligatory List of My Favorite Books

 

A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving

The Fish Tales Trilogy by Suanne Laqueur

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Mystery Man by Kristen Ashley

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Still Life With String by LH Cosway

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

Real by Katy Evans

Kulti by Mariana Zapata

LOTR by JRR Tolkien

Thin Love by Eden Butler

The Sound and The Fury by William Faulkner

I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb

Corrupt by Penelope Douglas

Written in Red by Anne Bishop

After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The GoT Series by George RR Martin

Mayhem by Jamie Shaw

The Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward