44 Chapters About 4 Men by BB Easton

File this one under “quirky” or “i needed a breather.” I’ve been reading some pretty intense stuff lately. So when i reader that i respect raved about this i gave it a try.

This book read like a night out with a friend. She gets drunky. And then regales you with tales of prior boyfriends. Thanks to her inebriation the stories are vulgar, silly, funny and over the top. As your friend loudly discusses positions and penis-size and break-ups you’re both horrified and delighted.

BB’s in a marriage slump – reminiscing about gentlemen-past. She’s a brash sassy gal. Her memories are both laughable and cringe-worthy.

This was a quick easy read. I enjoyed the little reality-break.

Confess by Colleen Hoover

A simple cons list –

– weak heroine
– instant connection
– ridiculous villains
– slut shaming

It was like reading a book through a telescope – everything was tiny and distant. i need a more stable foundation for my characters – or i need to feel why they were so suddenly swept up and willing to make bizarre decisions.

Pucked Over by Helena Hunting

I like this series – brazen, ballsy and in-your-face. Hunting writes big, silly characters and puts them in ridiculous snicker-worthy situations. Plus this book was a good opportunity to catch up on the characters from the first two books.

Story – pretty standard athlete-romance. He’s a whore. She’s just out of a relationship and gun-shy. But they are inexplicably drawn to one another all the while denying it.

We didn’t break any new ground here. And the women in this series are vulgar. Plus you shouldn’t read this unless you’ve read the first two (it’s a standalone, but a lot of the book won’t have context). And if you’re read the first two you know exactly how ribald this one is gonna be. All said – it’s a decent sports-romance with a loud tawdry voice.

The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza

Imogen is a 42-year-old magazine editor who, upon returning from medical leave, learns she’s been usurped. Eve is a techy – determined to take the magazine into the online future. Imogen is startled and unsure. Eve is grasping and petty. All of this wrapped within the packaging of fashion. As i said – i should have loved this book.

But i’m neither as old as Imogen nor as young as Eve. I fall into a weird middle-ground that made them both seem distant and foggy. My inability to truly see either character put the ole kibosh on any kind of enjoyment.

All of this said – i don’t want to dissuade anyone from reading this book. Check out other reviews. Give the book a try. If you’re older, younger, more fashionable or techier you may have a lot of fun with this one.

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

I’m not sure this book knows what it wants to be. Lots of sadness and self-pity for humor. But not quite deep enough for the real stuff. Still, it wasn’t bad.

Jessie moves to LA her junior year of high school – new kid problems. Strikes up an online connection, and then builds real life relationships. There is some romance, but it has a lot of coming-of-age. Jessie is dealing with the death of her mother and her father’s remarriage. She’s dealing with being an outsider.

I think the book would have been really good had it committed. But the stereotypes, shallow characters and generalizations kept it from the full-on emotional experience it could have been. And there was way too much sadness for this to be a rom-com.

There was a cute little mystery that kept me turning the pages when I would have otherwise surrendered. And I like Jessie’s emotional growth. (Although some of the issues were resolved with far too little work. It felt like boxes being conveniently ticked.) I didn’t love this book, but it was the right read when I was looking for something charming and unchallenging.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in A Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente

Do you ache for that scene in Willy Wonka when they enter the room made of candy? With the chocolate stream and the lollipop plants? Everything in gorgeous color. Everything a little…more. If that’s your moment then this is your book.

It’s a YA fantasy book. Prolly most appropriate for 11-12 year old girls. And slightly overwhelmed 36-year-olds who absolutely adore a good sentence. There were phrases in this book deserving of my highest praise – “tattoo-worthy.” Invoking imagery both so lovely and so moving that i could read them on my skin forever.

It was like Through The Looking Glass, like a Tim Burton movie, like something Neil Gaiman would write – but simpler, brighter and more pared-down. I’ve not read a book with such colorful, abundant, evocative imagery since James and the Giant Peach. This book was bright colors, beautiful phrases and sparkling images. I am excited to read more by Ms Valente – an imagination like hers is a rare treat.