Tag: humor

October 2, 2015

10 Reasons You Need to Read “You Deserve A Drink” Today

10 Reasons You Need to Read “You Deserve A Drink” TodayYou Deserve a Drink: Boozy Misadventures and Tales of Debauchery by Mamrie Hart, Grace Helbig
Publisher: Plume, May 2015
Pages: 288
Format: Hardcover
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The riotously funny debut from the drinking star with a YouTube problem
Since launching her YouTube channel “You Deserve a Drink” in 2011, comedian Mamrie Hart has built an intensely devoted following of more than half a million viewers. Like her bawdy and bacchanalian show, Hart’s eponymous debut pays tribute to her boozy misadventures with an original cocktail recipe accompanying each hilarious tale. From the “Leaves of Three Martini,” commemorating the hookup to whom she accidentally gave poison ivy, to the “Bizzargarita,” in honor of the time she and a friend were approached by two uber-Republican couples who wanted to “swing” while on vacation in Mexico, You Deserve a Drink is as useful as it is entertaining.

1. Having a bad day? Mamrie’s quick, witty narrative is guaranteed to make everything better.

2. After reading the stories about Topless Tuesday, Tuesday will never be the same again.
3. Get tips on how to pass French, break the ice at a bachelorette party and deal with internet trolls. 


4. Find out how to talk your way out of a ticket, courtesy of Mamrie’s mama. 
5. Your worst travel story is nothing compared to Mamrie’s overnight layover in Malaysia.
6. Each chapter begins with a new cocktail recipe!


7. Missed spring break in college (or want to relive it)? Her spring break tales are hilarious
8. Her focus on the importance of friends reminded me to be grateful for mine.
9. Tip – always check for poison ivy.
10. You deserve a laugh.

5 Stars

Posted October 2, 2015 by Ellen in reviews / 0 Comments
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September 24, 2015

Review | Wicked Charms by Janet Evanovich

Review | Wicked Charms by Janet EvanovichWicked Charms by Janet Evanovich, Phoef Sutton
Series: Lizzy & Diesel, #3
Publisher: Bantam, June 2015
Pages: 308
Format: Hardcover
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Lizzy and Diesel return once again in an all-new adventure in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Janet Evanovich and her co-author, Phoef Sutton!
Murdered and mummified more than ninety years ago, bootlegger Collier “Peg Leg” Dazzle once found and re-hid a famous pirate’s treasure somewhere along the coast of New England. A vast collection of gold and silver coins and precious gems, the bounty also contains the Stone of Avarice — the very item reluctant treasure seeker, Lizzy Tucker, and her partner, Diesel, have been enlisted to find. While Lizzy would just like to live a quiet, semi-normal life, Diesel is all about the hunt. And this hunt is going to require a genuine treasure map and a ship worthy of sailing the seven seas . . . or at least getting them from Salem Harbor to Maine.
Greed is eternal and insatiable, and Lizzy and Diesel aren’t the only ones searching for the lost pirate’s chest. There are people who have dedicated their entire lives to finding it, and are willing to commit murder or make a deal with the devil, just to hold the fortune in their hands. One of those people may even be Wulf, Diesel’s deceptively charming and enigmatic cousin. Wulf desires the Stone of Avarice. He also desires Lizzy. It’s hard to say how far he’s willing to go to gain either one.
It’s a swashbuckling adventure full of raiders, monkeys, minions, and mayhem. Lizzy and Diesel are going to have to do everything they can to keep their heads above water and hope they are living a charmed life.

I had mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, I adore Evanovich: the queen of wacky characters, fun plots, and hot sexual tension is high on my favorite authors list. On the other, I kinda sorta maybe felt like I read this book before.

We rejoin Lizzy and Diesel as another stone is revealed (in a pirate museum, of all places) and the hunt begins. This time, there’s a creepy man who is convinced he’s the demon lord of greed, his wacko sidekick who is more than a little mentally unstable, and our heroic duo trying to save the world. 

The pirate lore was interesting, but I felt the story went a little too far when Glo and Lizzy find themselves locked in a rotting ship’s hold. This act of violence didn’t quite fit the story and, to be honest, felt unnecessary. Actually, quite a few elements (plot and character) just didn’t need to go there. 

I enjoyed the trademark Evanovich elements: wacky plot, strong banter in the dialogue, and the sense of fun. I do wish that Lizzy and Diesel’s relationship (or whatever it is) would progress, even just a little. This standstill is starting to get old.

Maybe this is just me (and it very well may be), but I kept getting Lizzy and Stephanie Plum confused. They sound the same. Joe calls Stephanie cupcake. Lizzy makes magic cupcakes. The relationship between Lizzy and Diesel is a lot like that between Stephanie/Joe and Stephanie/Ranger.

Just me?

Will I read the next one? Probably. Curiosity and a love of the Steph Plum books will keep me coming back to Evanovich’s books.
3 Stars

Posted September 24, 2015 by Ellen in reviews / 0 Comments
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September 14, 2015

Mini Monday | “The Wedding of Wylda Serene” by Esther M. Friesner

Mini Monday | “The Wedding of Wylda Serene” by Esther M. FriesnerMy Big Fat Supernatural Wedding by P.N. Elrod, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher, L.A. Banks, Rachel Caine, Lori Handeland, Susan Krinard, Esther M. Friesner
Publisher: St. Martin's Press, October 2006
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
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Werewolves, vampires, witches, voodoo, Elvis---and weddings
An "ordinary" wedding can get crazy enough, so can you imagine what happens when otherworldly creatures are involved? Nine of the hottest authors of paranormal fiction answer that question in this delightful collection of supernatural wedding stories. What's the seating plan when rival clans of werewolves and vampires meet under the same roof? How can a couple in the throes of love overcome traps set by feuding relatives---who are experts at voodoo? Will you have a good marriage if your high-seas wedding is held on a cursed ship? How do you deal with a wedding singer who's just a little too good at impersonating Elvis?
· L. A. Banks· Jim Butcher· Rachel Caine· P. N. Elrod· Esther M. Friesner· Lori Handeland· Charlaine Harris· Sherrilyn Kenyon· Susan Krinard
Shape-shifters, wizards, and magic, oh my!

“The Wedding of Wylda Serene” was completely unexpected.  The story of a young woman, born to a young widow whose husband married her for revenge, and her chaotic wedding ceremony, complete with Greek mythological figures, was a fantastic, fun read on its own. There was one element that boosted “The Wedding of Wylda Serene” from fun to a favorite: the narrative. 

The narrator, never quite described, played a role that reminded me of Nick in The Great Gatsby: he commented on the activities of others, but never quite played a defining role in the events themselves. Instead, his slightly snotty narrative voice created a unique atmosphere in the story, adding an ironic portrayal of the upper class that is funny and occasionally accurate enough to earn a good laugh. 

“The Wedding of Wylda Serene” was fun, but when the wedding occurs, it’s downright hysterical. Friesner pulls in the personalities of Greek deities, mashing them in a ceremony taking place at a country club that once had a sphinx. As each one was revealed, more character traits made sense, and the crazier the story became.

If you need a fun, quick, and hysterical read, “The Wedding of Wylda Serene” is perfect. Freisner creates the perfect mix of mythology, strong narration, and a touch of silly to make an amazing story.

 

4 Stars

Posted September 14, 2015 by Ellen in reviews / 0 Comments
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November 2, 2014

Fall Reading Challenge | The Deception of the Emerald Ring by Lauren Willig

Title: The Deception of the Emerald Ring
Author: Lauren Willig
Publication Date: November 2006
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Series: Pink Carnation {Book 3}
Source & Format: Owned; paperback
Links: GoodReads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The year is 1803 and England and France remain at odds. Hoping to break the English once and for all, Napoleon backs a ring of Irish rebels in uprisings against England and sends the Black Tulip, France’s most deadly spy, to the Emerald Isle to help. What they don’t know is that also in Ireland is England’s top spy, the Pink Carnation, who is working to shut the rebels down. Meanwhile, back in England, Letty Alsworthy intercepts a note indicating that her sister, Mary, is about to make the very grave mistake of eloping with Geoffrey Pinchingdale-Snipe (second in command of the League of the Purple Gentian). In an attempt to save the family name, Letty tries to stop the elopement, but instead finds herself swept away in the midnight carriage meant for her sister and is accidentally compromised. Geoff and Letty, to each other’s horror, find themselves forced into matrimony. Then, Geoff receives word that he is to travel to Ireland to help the Pink Carnation and disappears immediately after their wedding ceremony. Letty learns of Geoff’s disappearance and, not to be outdone by her husband, steals away on a ship bound for Ireland, armed and ready to fight for her husband…and to learn a thing or two about spying for England.


Letty Alsworthy is the good girl. She solves problems, keeps her family’s household afloat and her nose clean. She worries about having enough candles to get through, enough food, and whether they can have to sell of the last of the family jewelry to keep the Alsworthys’ reputation intact so her sister, Mary, can be married. The last thing on Letty’s mind is her own marriage. There is something so familiar about Letty’s worries that I immediately identified with her – maybe it’s the worrywort gene. 


Letty saw herself as practical and resourceful, but never pretty or desirable. Without these traits, Letty wouldn’t be half as fascinating as she is. She entrances the reader with her simply kind nature (one that doesn’t exactly lend itself to a spy’s life). I loved the depth of character found in her – she was so much more than the sister who held it all together. 


The romance between Geoff and herself starts out on rocky footing, but that only makes me want to cheer for them more. They were the underdog story – not even Letty thought they could pull it off. I loved the long, slow descent into friendship, respect, and trust that developed between the two; it made the story all the more sweet.

Willig takes a turn in this installment, focusing on the Pink Carnation’s movements and enveloping different aspects of historical events at the time. I loved this journey to Ireland and the Pink Carnation’s silent battle with the French spy, the Black Tulip. It created an amazing sense of adventure in the plot – I wanted to join them in all the swashbuckling fun!


In the modern day story, Eloise’s life really piqued my interest in The Deception of the Emerald Ring. She had some fun elements before, but the tension in her romantic life starts to take an upswing. I found myself looking forward to her chapters more and more. 


THE RATING:


Posted November 2, 2014 by Ellen in Uncategorized / 0 Comments
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October 18, 2014

Fall Reading Challenge | The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig

Title: The Secret History of the Pink Carnation
Author: Lauren Willig
Publication Date: December 2006
Publisher: New American Library
Series: The Pink Carnation {Book 1}
Source & Format: Owned; paperback
Links: GoodReads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Deciding that true romantic heroes are a thing of the past, Eloise Kelly, an intelligent American who always manages to wear her Jimmy Choo suede boots on the day it rains, leaves Harvard’s Widener Library bound for England to finish her dissertation on the dashing pair of spies the Scarlet Pimpernel and the Purple Gentian. What she discovers is something the finest historians have missed: a secret history that begins with a letter dated 1803. Eloise has found the secret history of the Pink Carnation the most elusive spy of all time, the spy who single-handedly saved England from Napoleon’s invasion.
The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, a wildly imaginative and highly adventurous debut, opens with the story of a modern-day heroine but soon becomes a book within a book. Eloise Kelly settles in to read the secret history hoping to unmask the Pink Carnation’s identity, but before she can make this discovery, she uncovers a passionate romance within the pages of the secret history that almost threw off the course of world events. How did the Pink Carnation save England? What became of the Scarlet Pimpernel and the Purple Gentian? And will Eloise Kelly find a hero of her own?
The Secret History of the Pink Carnation has been one of my favorite books since high school, but I haven’t made the time to reread it in a long time. In the years since I opened Willig’s debut novel, I had forgotten the little nuances, magic, and reference that made me fall in love with the story of a modern-day history grad student obsessed with spies and her 19th century counterpart. 
The two heroines of this story really make The Pink Carnation stand above other historical romances. Eloise, the determined, yet slightly clumsy grad student, is hunting down the Pink Carnation, the spy of her dreams. I immediately clicked with Eloise in the first scene as she tumbles into some guy’s lap in the Tube. Her romantic nature made her easy to cheer for, and her determination to find the truth about the Pink Carnation gave us all something to search for. 
Her counterpart, Amy, has the same personality, but a different standpoint. Losing her father to the French Revolution gave her a mission – to join the league of the Scarlet Pimpernel – and from childhood, she taught herself disguises, tricks of the trade (so she thought), and dreamed of the day when she could return to France. Amy’s naivete and determination mix to create a bright, energetic character who can’t wait to live out her childhood dreams.
The romance between Amy and Richard, the Purple Gentian, is adorable, heart-stopping, and simply wonderful. The tensions between the two of them as they dance around each other in Bonaparte’s court brought the story to life – I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.
The mystery of who is behind the Pink Carnation I’ll leave to you – I don’t want to spoil the mystery. 
THE RATING:

Posted October 18, 2014 by Ellen in Uncategorized / 0 Comments
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September 15, 2014

Review | The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Title: The Princess Bride 
Author: William Goldman
Publication Date: 1973
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Source & Format: Library; hardcover
Links: GoodReads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

What happens when the most beautiful girl in the world marries the handsomest prince of all time and he turns out to be…well…a lot less than the man of her dreams?

As a boy, William Goldman claims, he loved to hear his father read the S. Morgenstern classic, The Princess Bride. But as a grown-up he discovered that the boring parts were left out of good old Dad’s recitation, and only the “good parts” reached his ears.

Now Goldman does Dad one better. He’s reconstructed the “Good Parts Version” to delight wise kids and wide-eyed grownups everywhere.

What’s it about? Fencing. Fighting. True Love. Strong Hate. Harsh Revenge. A Few Giants. Lots of Bad Men. Lots of Good Men. Five or Six Beautiful Women. Beasties Monstrous and Gentle. Some Swell Escapes and Captures. Death, Lies, Truth, Miracles, and a Little Sex.

In short, it’s about everything.



The Princess Bride is one of my favorite stories from childhood. The masked man, the stubborn, beautiful princess, and the crazy situations they get themselves into make this story one for the ages. However, reading the book was a completely different experience…one that I loved


Why? 


1. True love. No romance is complete without it.
2. A mean, nasty bad guy who enjoys violence in the form of Prince Humperdinck (hard not to laugh when I say his name…).
3. “AS…YOU…WISH…” (come on…I know you echoed it in your mind). 
4. The depth of the secondary characters’ stories, especially Inigo Montoya. I loved the background of the six-fingered man, his father, and the sword. 
5. The adventure keeps the story moving quickly.
6. I don’t know about you, but I just love the scenes with the Sicilian. 
7. The way Goldman uses humor to tell the story. The occasionally slapstick comedy keeps the plot moving quickly and uses laughs and witty retorts to reinforce themes and motifs in the novel. 

In the end, there was so much more depth, background and hilarity in the novel form of this story that I quickly fell in love. I know without a doubt, this is a story I will read over and over again. 


THE RATING:


Posted September 15, 2014 by Ellen in Uncategorized / 2 Comments
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August 29, 2014

Review | Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich

Title: Plum Spooky
Author: Janet Evanovich {website}
Publication Date: January 2009
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Series: Stephanie Plum { Book 14.5}
Source & Format: Library; hardcover
Links: GoodReads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Turn on all the lights and check under your bed. Things are about to get spooky in Trenton, New Jersey.
 
According to legend, the Jersey Devil prowls the Pine Barrens and soars above the treetops in the dark of night. As eerie as this might seem, there are things in the Barrens that are even more frightening and dangerous. And there are monkeys. Lots of monkeys.
 
Wulf Grimoire is a world wanderer and an opportunist who can kill without remorse and disappear like smoke. He’s chosen Martin Munch, boy genius, as his new business partner, and he’s chosen the Barrens as his new playground.
 
Munch received his doctorate degree in quantum physics when he was twenty-two. He’s now twenty-four, and while his brain is large, his body hasn’t made it out of the boys’ department at Macy’s. Anyone who says good things come in small packages hasn’t met Munch. Wulf Grimoire is looking for world domination. Martin Munch would be happy if he could just get a woman naked and tied to a tree.
 
Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum has Munch on her most-wanted list for failure to appear in court. Plum is the all-American girl stuck in an uncomfortable job, succeeding on luck and tenacity. Usually she gets her man. This time she gets a monkey. She also gets a big guy named Diesel.
 
Diesel pops in and out of Plum’s life like birthday cake – delicious to look at and taste, not especially healthy as a steady diet, gone by the end of the week if not sooner. He’s an über bounty hunter with special skills when it comes to tracking men and pleasing women. He’s after Grimoire, and now he’s also after Munch. And if truth were told, he wouldn’t mind setting Stephanie Plum in his crosshairs.
 
Diesel and Plum hunt down Munch and Grimoire, following them into the Barrens, surviving cranberry bogs, the Jersey Devil, a hair-raising experience, sand in their underwear, and, of course . . . monkeys.



I read this on my day off. To be entirely frank, this wasn’t on my blog calendar and I didn’t intend to read it anytime soon. I found it hiding on my library’s shelves and decided to grab it, just in case the mood struck me to read a Plum novel. This book was the perfect remedy after a long week of managing and waiting tables. 


Now, this book (and the entire Stephanie series) is fluffy. 



Fluffy in a Hugh Grant romantic comedy kind of, you-know-what’s-going-to-happen, way. The writing itself put me in a good mood: Lula’s one liners and Stephanie’s inner monologue is always a good read. What I really enjoyed about Plum Spooky was the addition of Diesel and Wulf from Wicked Appetite.


Yeah, the supernatural elements don’t really fit in the series…well, at all. There’s a little leeway allowed because the book is placed during Halloween, so I can roll with it. The supernatural elements were a fun side plot from Stephanie’s normal antics. The plot follows the basic Evanovich outline: I had a feeling what was going to happen, when and where, but it was the journey itself (complete with monkeys) that made it fun. 


The interactions between Stephanie and Diesel make me yearn for him to return more often to the series. The hilarity that Stephanie gets herself into on her own is at least doubled when this supernatural bounty hunter is by her side. These two complete each other in ways that Stephanie’s other two men don’t: they are both borderline walking disasters. 


THE RATING:


RECOMMENDED FOR:
Those who need a fun, fluffy break. 

Posted August 29, 2014 by Ellen in Uncategorized / 0 Comments
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August 17, 2014

Review | The Geek’s Guide to Dating by Eric Smith

Title: The Geek’s Guide to Dating
Author: Eric Smith {website}
Publication Date: December 2013
Publisher: Quirk Books
Source & Format: Library; hardcover

Links: GoodReads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble 

You keep your action figures in their original packaging. Your bedsheets are officially licensed Star Wars merchandise. You’re hooked on Elder Scrolls and Metal Gear but now you’ve discovered an even bigger obsession: the new girl who just moved in down the hall. What’s a geek to do? Take some tips from Eric Smith in The Geek’s Guide to Dating. This hilarious primer leads geeks of all ages through the perils and pitfalls of meeting women, going on dates, getting serious, breaking up, and establishing a successful lifelong relationship (hint: it’s time to invest in new bedsheets). Full of whimsical 8-bit illustrations, The Geek’s Guide to Dating will teach fanboys everywhere to love long and prosper.


“What was once a derogatory terms for a socially inept person has now been taken back by a community of people proud to wear the title….We’re eccentric, enthusiastic, intelligent, and, occasionally, kinda awkward” (Smith, 19). 


My favorite kind of people. 


The Geek’s Guide to Dating is a down-to-earth, kind, funny book that makes dating not so scary. Ladies, although the book is guys, Smith makes a point to include the “gal geek,” especially as he begins his advice. There are some sections that are more appealing to the dudes then the girls (I figured I could skip the facial hair tips), but the overall advice spoke of general dating tips, ideas that appealed to me, a “gal geek.” 


This book stood out from the gobs of other dating advice for two reasons: one, it is aimed a particular demographic (but still delivers reliable dating advice) and two, has one of the best narratives I’ve found. Smith’s narration was never dry or dull; as only a minor geek (M says I’m more of a nerd than a geek), I didn’t pick up on a lot of the inside references to video games or lore, but reading this book on break felt like I was talking with a good friend instead of sitting outside with my salad. The easy nature of the narrative gave way to quick puns, clever tips, and made it easy to read Smith’s work. 


One of the book’s potential downfalls is the fact that it relates only to a certain demographic: the geeks. However, the advice inside the covers was stellar: I particularly loved the geek breakdown (the book nerd was my favorite!) and the date planning portion. Planning a date (especially an early date) is terrifying, but Smith’s ideas, framed in geek references, makes it look simple and fun. 


THE RATING:


WHY:
– Loved the fun narrative
-Solid relationship and dating advice that can be used by everyone
– A fun read

RECOMMENDED FOR:
Geeks, nerds, tweebs and whatever other term is out there (is tweeb even a word? Or is that from a Molly Ringwald movie?) who need a little extra help with love and dating. 

Posted August 17, 2014 by Ellen in the canon talks, Uncategorized / 0 Comments
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August 2, 2014

Review | The Bride Wore Size 12 by Meg Cabot

Title: The Bride Wore Size 12
Author: Meg Cabot {website}
Publication Date: September 2013
Publisher: William Morrow
Series: Heather Wells {Book 5}
Source & Format: Library; paperback
Links: GoodReads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Heather Wells is used to having her cake and eating it too, but this time her cake just might be cooked. Her wedding cake, that is.

With her upcoming nuptials to PI Cooper Cartwright only weeks away, Heather’s already stressed. And when a pretty junior turns up dead, Heather’s sure things can’t get worse—until every student in the dorm where she works is a possible suspect, and Heather’s long-lost mother shows up.

Heather has no time for a tearful mother and bride reunion. She has a wedding to pull off and a murder to solve. Instead of wedding bells, she might be hearing wedding bullets, but she’s determined to bring the bad guys to justice if it’s the last thing she does . . . and this time, it just might be.



It’s a mixed bag for me when a series ends. I’m disappointed that there won’t be any more installments, but when a series finishes with such a grand send-off as Cabot’s Heather Wells Mystery series does, it’s hard not to smile and laugh. 


On Monday, I mentioned how Heather’s character development was the underdog of this series; when I finished The Bride Wore Size 12, this really hit home. Heather has evolved from the sensitive and slightly insecure ex-pop star into a confident (and still hilarious) heroine that I love to read. Well, I’ve always loved this series, but the evolution of her character charmed me. If the Heather from the first book faced the plot of the fifth, she would have reacted in an entirely different manner. My favorite example? Her interactions with the ever-grumpy yet lovable Detective Canavan, Virgin Hal (one of my favorite scenes) and her Very Important Resident’s head of security. All of these strong male characters provide a canvas for us to see exactly how strong Heather has grown…and how witty her retorts have become. 


I’ve always been a fan of Cooper Cartwright, Heather’s fiance, but in The Bride Wore Size 12, I lost my heart to him completely. His protective nature is the example girls should be fainting over, not that abuse (ahem…Edward) in Twilight or God forbid, Fifty Shades of Grey (don’t get me started). Cooper defends Heather, but allows her to stand up and defend herself first and foremost. This give and take is an excellent example of a strong, loving relationship instead of that…stuff that a majority of the female population is fawning over. I loved that their relationship was a give and take, a meeting of equals, and was built on love. I might go reread that last scene again, just so I get the warm fuzzies all over…


To say that the resolution of the mystery plot was unexpected is an understatement. The true killer blew me away; I was focused on another character entirely for a majority of the book. Again, Cabot’s storytelling skills shine through as she leads us into another fascinating mystery, complete with humor and cleverness. The plot incorporated a few more current events, which I enjoyed; the Very Important Resident and his story added a human element that helped the already lively plot come to life. 


In the end, I loved how the series completed the circle, closing off all plot points introduced throughout the books. One of the most memorable includes Heather’s family drama; the resolution was at once heartbreaking and a bit of a relief. The send-off into a happily-ever-after was the perfect way to leave Heather



THE RATING:

WHY:
– Series plot resolution was PERFECT
– Loved Heather’s character development
– Witty, clever narration that kept me reading 

Posted August 2, 2014 by Ellen in Uncategorized / 0 Comments
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July 28, 2014

Review | Big Boned by Meg Cabot

Title: Big Boned
Author: Meg Cabot {website}
Publication Date: January 2007
Publisher: William Morrow
Series: Heather Wells Mysteries {Book 3} 
Source & Format: Owned; paperback
Links: GoodReads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Life is reasonably rosy for plus-size ex-pop star turned Assistant Dormitory Director and sometime sleuth Heather Wells. Her freeloading ex-con dad is finally moving out. She still yearns for her hot landlord, Cooper Cartwright, but her relationship with “rebound beau,” vigorous vegan math professor Tad Tocco, is more than satisfactory. Best of all, nobody has died lately in “Death Dorm,” the aptly nicknamed student residence that Heather assistant-directs. Of course every silver lining ultimately has some black cloud attached. And when the latest murdered corpse to clutter up her jurisdiction turns out to be her exceedingly unlovable boss, Heather finds herself on the shortlist of prime suspects—along with the rabble-rousing boyfriend of her high-strung student assistant and an indecently handsome young campus minister who’s been accused of taking liberties with certain girls’ choir members.

With fame beckoning her back into show business (as the star of a new kids’ show!) it’s a really bad time to get wrapped up in another homicide. Plus Tad’s been working himself up to ask her a Big Question, which Heather’s not sure she has an answer for.



Being the assistant hall director in New York City can’t be an easy job. With all the drama that young adults bring with them to college (believe me, I know all about it), I can’t imagine trying to run a dorm smoothly. Being an ex-pop star and overseeing a hall nicknamed “Death Dorm” is asking for trouble. Maybe that’s why I’ve fallen in love with the Heather Wells Mysteries series. The storytelling itself is phenomenal – memorable and hilarious – but it’s the main character that keeps me coming back for more. 


Heather Wells is your typical girl…well, as typical as a ex-pop star can be. All she wants is to live the quiet life with her gorgeous landlord (and ex-boyfriend’s brother), write songs, and get her degree. Of course, nothing goes quite as planned for her, especially when she runs “Death Dorm.” Reading Heather’s narration is like sitting down and catching up with a good friend (one who has some crazy adventures). There’s something warm and familiar in these books, something that makes me want to return to them again and again. 


Heather herself goes through some drastic character development in Big Boned, but it doesn’t take a huge role in the story; only now that I’ve finished the fifth book (review on Saturday!), I notice how she’s changed and evolved from Size 12 is Not Fat. The biggest representation of her evolution is in her love life: she is head over heels in love with Cooper Cartwright, the private investigator and black sheep of her ex-boyfriend’s family, but instead  dates Tad Tocco, her “vigorous vegan” math professor (I laugh every time I see that). Tad’s a nice enough guy, but he doesn’t fit Heather’s personality. Her character development all hinges on this relationship with him and how she handles it


I loved the mystery plot of Big Boned. Following in its predecessors’ footsteps, this installment has the same kind of hilarity and chaos surrounding the mysterious death, but underneath it all, there is a well-crafted mystery at work. All of the elements of a good mystery are there, from the red herring to the mistaken identity. The lack of grisly violence leaves the focus on the case itself, motives and suspects. The detective element of the plot evolved well and merged with the side plots (Heather’s love life, the drama with the graduate student workers, and Heather’s family drama) to make a strong, cohesive story that kept me thinking about the book long after I put it down. 


THE RATING:

WHY:
– Strong, engaging storytelling
– Loved the narration
– Well written mystery

RECOMMENDED FOR:
Fans of Janet Evanovich, Meg Cabot and Lauren Willing, and those looking for a light, fun, chick lit read. 

Posted July 28, 2014 by Ellen in Uncategorized / 0 Comments
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