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review 2017-08-18 01:04
THE NINE LIVES OF FRANK TIPTON by Teresa Powers
The Nine Lives of Frank Tipton (The Redn... The Nine Lives of Frank Tipton (The Redneck Fairy Tales of Shady Holler Trailer Park) (Volume 1) - Teresa Powers

Audrey is so in love with Frank when he asks her to move in with him.  During their time together, the love fades quickly.  Now all Audrey wants to do is kill Frank, no matter who gets in the way.

 

This is one of the funniest tongue-in-cheek books I have read.  I laughed out loud as Audrey makes her plans as well as her reasoning behind each plan.  I could hear this as an audio book and can hear the drawl as the story is told.  This is dark humor at its best.  I plan on reading more of this series.

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review 2016-11-01 10:19
Death Can Set You Free – Review for Sick to Death by Greg Levin @greg_levin @pumpupyourbook
Sick to Death - Greg Levin
 
Title: Sick to Death
Author: Greg Levin
Release Date: September 3, 2016
Publisher: White Rock Press
Genre: Thriller/Suspense/Dark Humor
Format: Ebook/Paperback
 .
MY REVIEW
.
Death Can Set You Free
.
The concept for Sick To Death by Greg Levin hooked me and the opening pages drew me in, keeping me on the edge of my seat until the last page was read. Death. Disease. Vigilantism. Terrorism. Retribution. Murder.
.
Over the previous six month, there was only one thing Gage has become more efficient at than killing…and that was dying.
 

In the lottery of life, Bob Gage has won a dead cat, an ex – wife and a cancerous pancreas! After finding out he has cancer and was given a death sentence, Gage comes out swinging.

 

According to my brother, I only became funny once I started dying.

 

A year to live.

 

What would you do with the time left. Probably not what Gage does! I knew what he was going  to do, but not the way he would go about it and I love it. Sometimes the only way to see justice done is to do it yourself.

 

Cancer has a way of ruining a perfectly good murder.

Diarrhea’s what happens when you’re busy making deadly plans.

 

A humorous accounting of one man’s decision to take matters into his own hands. And the outcome is very surprising.

 

I never anticipated the creativity and originality Greg Levin displays creating these wonderful characters that jump off the page and into my heart with their willingness to step up, sacrificing their last days on earth to leave it better than they found it. They were drawn together by their disease and death and had a camaraderie many could never understand. Death kept them living.

 

The moral issues are addressed in a way some could find agreeable, others would condemn them no matter the why.  What would it take to make you kill? What about the social and moral repercussions?

 

I laughed at ‘Tumor Terrorism’, ‘Metastaside’, ‘The Stage Four Slaughters’. Why not go out with a sense of humor and a few laughs.

 

I empathized with the gang. I have always loved vigilantes, loved the Charles Bronson movies, but, after reading Sick To Death I find why vigilantism is so bad, even when it’s good. Where do you draw the line?

 

I received a free copy of Sick To Death from Greg Levin.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos 4 Stars

 

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Source: www.fundinmental.com/death-can-set-you-free-review-for-sick-to-death-by-greg-levin-greg_levin-pumpupyourbook
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review 2016-05-24 01:20
Book 37/100: The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood
The Heart Goes Last: A Novel (Positron) - Margaret Atwood

Around the Year Reading Challenge Item #48: A Dystopia

Don't be discouraged by the fact that this book took me five months to read -- I was reading it on my Kindle, which is pretty much the "slow lane" to my book traffic. (I usually only read it in waiting rooms.) The writing style is accessible and it could be a "fast read," although it's up for debate whether it might be considered "light."

Like most of Atwood's dystopias, this one is thick with social commentary, particularly as regards to sex roles and the consumer packaging of sex. One of my friends gave up on the book halfway in because she felt like there was "too much weird sex stuff," and while uncomfortable in places, it is not purely gratuitous. The book is more dark satire than pure dystopia, so it calls for some suspension of disbelief as relates to the actual premise and the society that Atwood sets up. Atwood is making a point, not showing off her worldbuilding skills.

Still, while the men and women who populate this novel may read like caricatures at times, they are also uncomfortably recognizable. Stan and Charmaine are "average" folk who blunder into a surreal and twisted world during a time of desperation, and the piece ultimately ends up being a strange examination of marriage that manages to be both jaded and strangely hopeful.

I wouldn't recommend this as a first introduction to Atwood, as you almost need to have some familiarity with her work to take this one in context. But if you've enjoyed her in the past and don't mind a little humor in your dystopia or some major darkness in your comedy, you'll probably find this to be a satisfying enough addition to the Atwood science fiction canon.

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review 2016-02-26 03:58
Review: Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky
Kill the Boy Band - Goldy Moldavsky

Initial reaction: This is one of those books that could go easily either way: love or hate. I thought some moments were pure gold for dark comedy, and I was even laughing while I read this on my commutes. However, it had some issues pulling off the explanations for events. Plus, some moments in humored context didn't always work for me.

Full review:

"Kill the Boy Band" is a very interesting book I bought on a whim when I saw it in the book store. For one, the title screams "BUY ME!" The book jacket has the black background with pink lettering, while if you take the jacket off, it's a pink cover with black lettering that could pass for a fangirl's notebook. I was totally stoked about this being a dark humored parody of fandom culture. Even the blurb suggests that a group of girls encountering the least popular member of a popular boyband (The Ruperts, who you might as well say are a parody band of One Direction) goes in an absolutely horrible - and unintended- direction.

I would say after the entire reading experience that the execution of this is made of both great things...and not so great things. Dark humor can be difficult to execute well, because on one hand it has the potential to point out contradictions and ironies (which yes, this book did in several notations), but at the same time it may unintentionally be offensive depending on how it's expanded upon. The closest I can say this book comes with respect to its brand of humor is the Fox TV series "Scream Queens." If you've ever seen that series with its brand of horror comedy, that's exactly what you'll get in "Kill the Boy Band". Some iconic one-liners with some self-aware critiques and examinations included. Libba Bray's "Beauty Queens" did this as well, but I think "Beauty Queens" went over better for me as a whole because it covered a lot of ground and I clicked with it a little more (especially in Bray's own narration; that remains one of my favorite YA audio experiences.)

That's not to say that I didn't identify in spaces with "Kill the Boy Band." I've been a part of various fandom cultures for many years (yes, I've had the interesting experience of reading several RPFs.) Musical group fan culture isn't new to me, what with my love for certain J-pop/J-rock/K-pop groups. Ye Gods, I've been a part of that culture for a long time, it's kind of fascinating being able to reminisce about it. My experiences with Laruku included (I still faintly think HYDE could be the embodiment of a living vampire. His role in Moonchild with Gackt did not help dispel this theory back when I first watched the film in all its fandubbed glory. But I digress.)

So, the protagonist of this book - who often takes on the moniker of several 80s referenced heroines - is a part of a group of girls who are obssessed with the Brit boy band "The Ruperts". "The Ruperts" are all named that way because their first names are "Rupert" (designated from each other only by the first letter of their last name and their odd quirks. One of them doesn't even really sing, he just juggles during their live performances). They met on a reality show, a.k.a parody of One Direction. I'll admit that made me laugh with some of the details given for the band and how the protagonist profiled each of her friends and their various stats within partaking with the fandom.

Among the protagonist's friends are the curvy Chinese girl Apple (Oh bless Apple's fangirl heart that she frequently wanted to jump the bones of the Rupert she liked the most during a good part of this book - though the overt sexual humor really surprised me in places), Isabel (frequently curses in Spanish, she's Dominican), and Erin, the MC's best friend who has a really, really dark streak.

The four of them end up going to an exclusive event at the hotel which is rumored to be where the Ruperts are staying. Things go terribly wrong when Apple bumrushes one of the members of the band as he's at a vending machine, knocking him out. (My reaction: OMG!) Then she proceeds to drag him back to the girls' hotel room, where things quickly get complicated, including tying up the Rupert so that he won't "panic" when he wakes up (but of course he does), and things go downhill from there.

I could totally see this scenario happening in an anime series (*fangirl runs up to favorite boybander* "I LOOOOOOVE YOU" *smack* "CRAAAAAAP!"). And that's exactly how it plays out, in an over the top manner, but while the narrative has some decidedly lighthearted moments and snappy one-liners, it gets dark very quickly. Very, very dark. There were times I was laughing at the interactions, while others I was like "GIRL/DUDE, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?"

The characters are quite stereotypical, sometimes in ways that I think both work with and undermine some of the self-aware and pondering humor that could be taken for plays on morality and spot commentary in awareness of fandom culture. Some of the humor is offensive, including notations on race, sexuality, body type, and disability - which is why I had mixed feelings on the novel because some of it I could feel/see the intention, but others I was like "Nah...that's really not cool in the way that it was shown." It's one of those novels that I could definitely see people either loving or hating it for the mere execution of it. I still think (and am a little sad that) this book didn't quite go in more fun and open directions given its awesome premise, but it has moments where it shines. I appreciated the bit references I could pull from, plus some of the banter between the girls and boys. I don't think there's really a single character that comes out of this scenario as likable because they're all inherently flawed and OTT. The way the book goes in terms of the plot (including how one of the Ruperts ends up dead, but who didn't see that coming?) has some interesting points, but I think it struggled to get to answering those questions in places. I actually kind of appreciated the ending, because it's an interesting punctuation and notation to fandom writing culture. I don't know if it really goes as far as it could have or is as keen as it put itself off to be, but I took it for what it was.

Still, this left me on the fence for the experience. I definitely liked parts of it, but others I really wish I had more takeaway. It wasn't the *hold my sides, laughing until I had tears in my eyes* experience that I was hoping for.

Overall score: 3/5 stars.

 

End Note: Laruku is the fan name for the Japanese band L'arc~en~Ciel, in case anyone doesn't get that reference. :)

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review 2016-01-06 04:05
The Winter Girl
The Winter Girl: A Novel - Matt Marinovich
ISBN: 9780385539982
Publisher: Doubleday 
Publication Date: 1/19/2016
Format: e-book
My Rating: 4 Stars 
 
A special thank you to Doubleday and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Matt Marinovich delivers a deliciously evil creepy psycho-thriller THE WINTER GIRL, with cleverly infused family secrets, juicy suspense, "laugh out loud " hilarious, and twisted dark, sarcastic humor— far more entertaining than Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl’s couple, Nick and Amy.

Even though The Winter Girl's couple, Scott and Elise, have their own individual naughty plans, secrets, obsessions, and dangerous sexual games; they are partners in crime, even with their wacko personalities, and hidden separate agendas.

The Winter Girl has the addition of Hamptons' alluring winter setting, the perverted evil old twisted sadistic wicked father, Victor (who will not die)--continuing to plot his evil, even with cancer on his death bed. There’s also the other worthy characters: the nurse, and the mysterious winter girl to add a bit of spice, and horror. A dangerous game of mind-blowing cat and mouse—making this an ideal “book to film” adaption. The movie would be a riot.

It is winter in early December--Elsie’s dad has colon cancer metastasized, forcing them to leave their home to head to the Hamptons, to help with his care. Elsie is a speech therapist in Brooklyn. (not seeing a life worth much, they left behind).

Her dad, Victor is an evil perverted gross old man. Her younger brother, Ryder is in jail (they have a special relationship, speaking in their own code). Her mother had left her father a long time ago. Her mother Puerto Rican, father Caucasian. He married his housekeeper. He was rich. He was abusive. He is nasty.

Told from Scott’s point of view, he formerly taught at the New School, before they cut staff, then ended up photographing Asian newlyweds in Prospect Park. A gig he landed through a student; however, this was short lived.

Now, he has nothing but a house next door, an attempt to keep his marriage intact, and to hurry and collect the money from the old man. Victor and Scott despise one another.

Not a career driven or super couple, they are more about wanting the old man to die to inherit his millions, and cannot wait for him to rest in peace somewhere besides this earth. They hope he has not changed the will. In the beginning of the book, Elsie defends her father, and the by the end of the book, she is the one who wants him dead.

“The terrible thing about watching a parent die, one day you think they are ready to check out and the next they are on the five- year plan."
Appears they need to pace themselves or do something to accelerate the process.

They are staying in Victor's home, while he is in the hospital. With little incentive to do any photography, while Elsie is away at the hospital visiting her father; Scott is intrigued with the house next door. The two lights in the upstairs bedroom were on a timer-- they turned off at 11 pm every night.

Scott has nothing better to do all day, except drink all Victor’s liquor, watch the cooking channel, and imagine what is inside the vacant house. He decides he will satisfy his curiosity. The home is unlocked and makes his way in to explore. He dreams of photographing his wife nude at the pool, and possible some sex in the house in order to add some spice, to his rather dull marriage.

“The funny thing about the day I pretended to be a speech therapist is that it also turned into the first real argument between me and Elsie. I basically told her that she’d wasted seventy-five thousand dollars on a master’s in speech. She told me I’d wasted ten years of my life pretending to be a photographer. We made up later than night, but looking back, I realize we never forgave each other. Part of each of us was always keeping an eye on the other from then on, even after we got married.”

Scott gets excited, about the house. Forbidden fruit. Making him feel as though he and Elsie are back in college, stumbling around in the woods, after taking two hits of Ecstasy. He talks Elsie into joining him for a little quickie in the vacant house; however, they soon find out this happened to be a brutal murder crime scene.

Whose blood? Whose murder? They cannot go to the police, since they are guilty of B&E. They could have picked any of these homes and instead they had sex in a murder scene, in one of the less impressive houses.

The ongoing mystery. Where are the owners of the house? Yes, it is winter, however, when searching through the house, looking a bills, bank statements, and listening to their voice mail answering machine, it looks like they are not returning, and no caretakers. They imagine all sorts of of scenarios

Then old man Victor decides he wants to return home to die. This is when the fun and games begin!

A game between Scott, Elsie, and Victor. Victor controls everyone. He says he knows the person in the house. Who is THE WINTER GIRL, her story, and how does she link to Victor and Elsie? What is the mystery behind Elsie, her father, and brother? Who owns the house?

"When you share a secret with someone, the mystery is cut by half." He was still excited. Scott could not deny the thrill of it. Maybe this house could save their marriage. "He feels like a suburban astronaut, exploring an abandoned home in which the crew had gone missing. "

Besides the steadily growing affair and fixation with the house next door, there are many other disturbing developments to add to the complexity of the mystery.

Combined with a ceramic kitchen pig carrying a chalkboard, “The Best is Yet to Come,” the mysterious winter girl, devious Carmelita, the ex-boyfriend, the brother Ryder, Elsie’s dark mysterious side, the dry as a bone turkey, The Ensure, a mysterious key, numbers- odd/even, infidelity, violence, money, the Swains (Dick), and the evil deeds of the sadistic father…. A plot to murder—action packed.

“Everyone should have a winter girl.” “Secrets burn a hole in everything. They were burning a hole in my life before I was even born.”

Who is more twisted and evil: Elsie, Victor, Scott, or Carmelita? (Ideal for book clubs or further discussions).

Marinovich's wit, humor, and sarcastic one- liners set TWG apart—Devious twists, turns, shockers. I kept saying OMG, laughing -whereas with Gone Girl, I never cracked a smile during the movie or the book. If you are going to play sicko, combine it with good humor. Could not stop reading until finishing at 4am. Chilling and absorbing; yes, the ending is unexpected, however, is this not what readers come to expect with a book of this nature?

Psycho-thrillers are made for amusing its readers; escaping the ordinary…leaving room for the reader to explore and space for the imagination. Characters switching sides who cannot be trusted and average people thrust into strange or dangerous situations.

The Winter Girl accomplishes all of the above, plus more.

Have also pre-ordered the audio, narrated by Quincy Dunn-Baker, one of my favorite narrators of Linwood Barclay's crime thrillers. Should be entertaining!
Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/#!The-Winter-Girl/cmoa/567a113c0cf2c2b7798f18b4
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