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review 2018-01-08 14:20
"The Liars Club" by Mary Karr
The Liars' Club - Mary Karr

The Liars' Club is steeped in a strong blend of Texas scenery [oil rigs and nutria rats], sounds ["He's not worth the bullet it'd take to kill him"] and it's stifling stickiness as much as it is run through with the horrors and trauma Karr experienced as a child. 


What is worth the price of admission though is Karr's writing. She draws on the rhythms and turns of her Texas dialect to craft sentences that are evocative and unexpected. And they always serve the story, from the heat of a Texas summer to the smell of her stepdad's breath the whys of the story and the imagery of it are always linked in ways that make for a really engaging book. Even in framed stories, anecdotes her father is telling at the bar and she is passing down to us, his shape and movement, the intrusions of his friends in the titular "Liars' Club," add to the story in a way that is more than just a painted background on which to picture the story.


Karr's story is full of sweet, heartfelt moments, absurdity, humor and trauma.  It's easy to picture a very different book with the same material, but the way Karr structures her telling moves the trauma away from the center of the story. It makes the book about her family and not what has happened to them, and also makes those moments more impactful. 


"That afternoon, for the first time, I believed that Death itself lived in the neighboring houses. Death cheered for the Dallas Cowboys, and wrapped canned biscuit dough around Vienna sausages for the half-time snack."


If you've heard about the book you may have heard about the more lurid incidents, her mother threatening her with a knife, for instance. These scenes are major parts in the story, but they never feel central in the way they might in a tell-all by the subject of a story that got national media attention, or a book that will get made into a typical Lifetime-style movie. For one, you don't see them coming. The only one she forecasts in detail is the night with the knife, but there are several other deeply disturbing incidents throughout the book. The story about the knife itself arrives suddenly at the end of one of Karr's long chapters. Others kick off chapters. At least one comes suddenly in the middle of the chapter.


It's a shock to read at times, but may be the healthier way to write. We are so used to building to such dramatic moments, but there is no inevitability to an assault, or an emotional breakdown, sometimes things just happen. It's terrible, but it's also a way of keeping your own story. Karr is not a sum only of these abuses, she's also her father's storytelling, her mother's erudition, a take-no -shit-attitude and much else besides. Which makes it more appropriate when Karr ends years later with her family still together. Her mother who held the knife, her father who got too drunk, Karr and her sister, sharing their traumas and the many other experiences that make up their lives. I think a hopeful note is the tendency for the ending of memoirs, but it rings true here because throughout the book Karr has always seen through the worst times as a bug not a feature.


If you've not gotten onto The Liars' Club yet, I highly recommend it. It's a straight shame I hadn't moved sooner to read Mary Karr after hearing her interviewed and reading and excerpt from The Art of Memoir. 


Side note: I picked up my copy of Mary Karr's memoir in the last indie book shop in San Antonio [Twig Book Shop at the Pearl Brewery if you're ever in town]. I try to find local bookshops any time I travel and buy something of local interest. I have trouble explaining my intentions sometimes — I'm more interested in fiction or memoirs that happen to be here than the local "Images of America" installment — but it starts a conversation and leads to some unexpected treasures.

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review 2017-06-26 23:00
Very Brief Thoughts: The Mysterious Twin
Mysterious Twin - Leona Karr

The Mysterious Twin
by Leona Karr
Book 1 of Double Exposure
(HQN Intrigue miniseries)




Masquerading as a nanny for her glamorous twin sister went against Ashley Camdon's prim-and-proper nature.  The quiet academic lived life on the sidelines, but her sibling's "simple" request now put her life in danger and her heart on the line when she met her employer's darkly handsome retainer, Kyle Stone.

An undercover agent, Kyle's orders were to keep close tabs on the new nanny who was implicated in an illegal scam. Yet nothing about this quiet beauty fit her high-living profile. When passion flared between them, her honest kisses exposed their lies.  And made him see that the only life he now wanted…was with her!

The Mysterious Twin is, honestly, one of those books that you read, laugh at all the clichés, mutter about the frustratingly dated romance, and roll your eyes about the standard, stereotype, carbon-copy characters.  It's a book you read that DOES get interesting with progression, but remains a bit on the 'meh' side of actual enjoyment.

It's forgettable.

I suppose I'm also kind of surprised by how quickly I finished reading this book; although, the truth is, it was pretty bite-sized.  In a way, I think I kept reading because I just wanted to know how the book wrapped itself up with the twin-switch deception.  But then, when the resolution DID come around, it was fairly abrupt, to the point that it felt like the author realized she hit her allowed number of pages and needed to end things immediately.

There were a lot of things that I felt like the book could have addressed, like maybe the strained relationship between Ashley and Jill.

But this book is a romance, first and foremost, so we spend the most of the short book detailing how Ashley and Kyle manage to fall in love in spite of all the deception and secrets.  And, honestly, the romantic development was a little weak.

I DID appreciate the rapport that Ashley develops with the children she's pretending to be nanny to.  And I like lighthouses... although one was mentioned and detailed, not much happens around it, so that particular detail was moot.

Anyway, The Mysterious Twin was a nice rainy day read, that really just amounted to "something to do to pass the time."



Roll #20:
One of the characters in this book is a millionaire/billionaire.

Page Count:  256
Cash Award:  +$6.00

Updated Bank Balance:  $103.00





Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/06/very-brief-thoughts-mysterious-twin.html
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review 2017-06-05 00:00
Tied - Kim Karr James knows how to be a playboy, but can he handle being a husband? Tied was my introduction to author Kim Karr and what an introduction it was. Lindsay and James ran the gamut of sweet, salty and fire. From the first word, the stage was set for a charmingly sexy love story that was picture perfect.
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review 2016-12-24 00:00
Hollywood Prince
Hollywood Prince - Kim Karr Hollywood Prince - Kim Karr description


Amelia Waters is looking for her "happily ever after" and if that means kissing a few frogs along the way it's a small price to pay. That's how she finds herself at a club on New Year's Eve meeting a blind date her friend set her up with.

Amelia and Logan hit if off, but when she learns some disturbing information about her family she is on the next plane out to California to confront her brother. Once there she runs into Hollywood Price and bad boy Brooklyn James. Also known as her brothers BFF.

Sparks fly between Amelia and Brooklyn and they decide to throw caution to the wind and start a secret affair. No strings, no baggage, no messy ending. But good intentions don't always go as planned and soon things start to get complicated. Can Amelia and Brook find their HEA or does Amelia's destiny lie back in NY with good guy Logan??


This was one of those books that puts a smile on your face from page one and keeps it firmly in place for the entirety of the story. The writing was fantastic. The characters were likable. The sexual tension was off the charts. The sex scenes were hot. It was sweet. It was romantic. It had a bit of angst, and it had a heart melting epilogue.

Honestly, I don't know what else to say about it. I simply loved every chapter, every page, every sentence, and every word of this one. Two HUGE thumbs up from yours truly.


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review 2016-11-02 00:00
Bedwrecker - Kim Karr Bedwrecker - Kim Karr description


Maggie is in New York City to celebrate New Year's Eve with her friends. Just dancing, having fun and drinking whiskey. That's until she lays eyes on "Mr. Tall Dark and Handsome" and he is headed her way.

It's a small World when Mr. TDH turns out to be Sam's best friend, and her roommate's brother Keen Masters. The sparks fly between these two which leads to one unforgettable night. Not wanting the connection to end they make plans to text and for Keen to come out for a visit in 2 weeks.

But when Keen stops answering Maggie's texts all she is left with is the pain of rejection and a broken heart. When Keen suddenly shows back up in her life six weeks later, can Maggie put that hurt and anger aside and give Keen a second chance?


I enjoyed this book immensely. It was smoking hot. It was well written. The plot moved along quickly and I never felt the need to skim. It had likable and endearing characters.

I wasn't too sure about Maggie for awhile there, girl can hold a MEAN grudge, but she softened up on Keen fairly quickly. Keen was a sweetheart. Even though the move he pulled was worthy of the "douchenoodle" title, you had to feel for the guy. We also get some fun side characters. Makayla and Sam from No Pants Required are in it a lot. I'm also curious to see what happens with Keen's brother Brooklyn.

Overall, just a really sweet, fairly low angst, and fun read. Two thumbs up from yours truly.


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