Monday, February 27, 2017

Behind Closed Doors

 Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris Audiobook review by Tomes and Tequila Blog
For the first time in months and months, I actually have an Audiobook review for you!! Yay!! I decided to do the Free Month Trial of Audible through Amazon which gives you two free Audiobooks, with the caveat that I had to start listening while at work or on the treadmill etc. I don't have a commute to work, so I don't have as much time for Audiobooks as a lot of folks do. I barely have time for one song on my morning drive! But I enjoyed the free trial enough that I stayed on once it was up. I figured that the $14.95 monthly fee is basically the cost of one book...and with that fee you're given the credit for one as long as I'm actually listening to them, it's worth it! So my little Audible promo was basically my way of saying you'll be reading more Audiobook reviews in the future (my guess would be one a month! LOL). 😊

This month I used my credit for the book Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris. I've been trying to help get a new Book Club up and running on the base here and this was their pick. It had been on my "Want To Read" list on Goodreads for quite awhile so I was super jazzed to get my hands on it finally.

The first thing you need to know about this book is that if you are bothered by physical and/or emotional abuse of any kind in your fiction, this is not the book for you. I don't feel like that's a spoiler, as it's billed as a psychological thriller similar to Gone Girl. But I do have a few friends who might be taken aback by the content of this particular thriller. I don't know if it was worse listening to it on an Audiobook, but I could see it being a little too much for some folks. Consider this my trigger warning.

Jack and Grace Angel appear to be the perfect couple. Jack is a fabulous good-looking lawyer whose never lost a case, a champion for abused women. Grace is his beautiful new wife with a big heart. She loves her 17-year old sister Millie who has Down Syndrome, and intends on taking care of her once she and her new husband have settled down and her sister is of age to leave the home she's been living in. It's the stuff jealous girl talk is made of...

But is everything as it seems?

From very early in we realize that Jack Angel isn't the champion he initially presents himself to be upon meeting and woo-ing Grace...but to say to what extent would be far too spoilerish for one of my reviews. Let me just say that this is a fast paced sinister thriller that doesn't hide a twist from you, or try to sneakily change things up just to be clever. Even listening to it, which slows down someone like me who can read faster than an Audiobook, it was still a very quick straightforward psychological thrill ride. There was just something about it that kept me rapt, waiting to see just how bad it was going to get before someone broke.
 Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris quote from review by Tomes and Tequila blog
As for structure, this is one of those books that goes back and forth between time periods, which I thought was going to be very difficult in an Audiobook but truly wasn't because it actually said "Past" at the beginning of those chapters! Kudos for setting up the book that way, as it made it far less confusing when listening. So there were no stumbling blocks for me with the format I chose...I enjoyed the narrator and she did a great job giving voice to the different characters. I will probably forever hear the name George Clooney in her Millie voice!!

I'm giving this one a solid 4 stars. I've really been enjoying suspenseful thrillers lately, and this one kept my attention. I really do wish people would stop comparing books to Gone Girl in Press Releases and promotional blurbs though. Can we just call it a Thriller now and leave Gone Girl out of it?? Please??? And I know a few people thought it read like a Lifetime movie on Audiobook, but I think that says more about the people reading it than the actual book. It deals with abuse, and I hate when people write things in reviews that are akin to "why didn't she just leave?!". But once again, as they say in Doctor Who...spoilers. 

Are you sick of books being compared to Gone Girl??? Or is it just me?? Got a good Thriller you think I need to read next? Let me know in the comments here or over on my Facebook page

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Recipe Club

Another Book Club down and this one consisted of a rather large amount of ACTUAL discussion of the book!! 

For those who aren't a part of a book club (you're really missing out!) some books lend themselves to conversation more than others...and sometimes you have more real life excitement to dish than the amount of time spent speaking about a book can vary greatly from month to month. I've been in clubs where we've had pre-planned questions, and others where the flow and topics were very on the spot. I don't think any one is better than the other, as long as everyone has read the book and is game for a little bit of analysis. 

As for the book I read with the neighbor gals this month, The Recipe Club by Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel, I think the conversation was better than the book, although it wasn't bad. I think the other ladies liked it a bit more than I did. But I give the book conversation an A+!! And the recipes that my friend Michele made from the book were terrific, so that's a big plus also. 

The Recipe Club was the story of Lilly and Val, two friends from childhood. It is told in the form of e-mails and letters between the two, with the last couple of chapters written like a normal story (for lack of a better phrase). Peppered throughout are recipes sent back and forth between the girls for their Recipe Club. 

You are told in the beginning that something happened that broke their incredibly tight friendship up, and then go back in time to see how close they were in the past...then returned to the future for a resolution. There is an intense co-dependency in these girls who both live in dysfunctional homes and rely on each other, in completely different ways, for the affection they aren't receiving from their parents.

The adults in this story were in a few cases not fleshed out fully and in others either completely unlikable or just so wrapped up in their own drama that they were unable to parent the girls...something a few of us could relate to in our own lives. 

Had the writing been a bit better, this book could've been extremely good because it brought up all sorts of great talk...from first sexual experiences and our own families, to whether we were more like Val or Lilly. It seems like a lot of girls relate to one of these stereotypes. 

Polar opposites, Val being very smart and conservative, nerdy to a fault and Lilly being wild and experimental, always out there trying new things...the life of the party, it's a good example of opposites attracting and how, when not in the throws of dysfunction, in a relationship like that you can bring out the best in each other and grow to be better and more well-rounded people.

But it was very interesting to see how a friendship could grow and morph from early childhood through, I believe we figured they were in their 50's at the end of the book.

I think I'm going to give this one 3 Stars. The writing wasn't quite up to snuff for me. The girls didn't have unique enough voices to really know who was writing without seeing a signature, plus they didn't write like 8 year olds in the beginning...or grow as it went along. I think some of my issues also stem from reading the Kindle edition, as formatting could be a problem with a book like this. I noticed the paperback had font changes that might've helped a tad. But it was a great book to discuss with friends, so not a waste of time by any means.

Do you enjoy books written in the form of letters or emails? Have a favorite book about friendship? Let me know in the comments here or over on my Facebook page.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Another Batch of Favorite Children's Books

I'm sure it always looks a tad odd to see a book blog with Tequila in it's name writing a blog post about children's books. Or at least, I feel like it looks odd. I'm over here going...hey, I know I post photos with tiny tequila bottles in them all the time, but I also read a boat-load of little kid books, and I really like listen to my recommendations!! 

As I've said in previous children's book posts, I do Story Time at The Library every other week and in order to choose which 2 or 3 books I'm going to read to the  munchkins, I go through a stack of 12-30 books on a given theme. Do I completely read all of them? Absolutely not. If I open them up and they have way too many words on a page, I put them off to the side as a no-go. My Story Time's are for the preschool set and long books just don't do the trick. 

I LOVE children's books that rhyme. I LOVE ones that are funny. I LOVE ones that are silly enough you might just get the parents to giggle too. And if they can get the kids involved in some way, that's even better. Do they all fit that bill? Probably not, but those are the ones that are pretty much a guaranteed pick for me. 

So, for my readers who still have little ones at home, or who just might be picking up books for other people with little are a few of the Easy Readers that have caught my eye in recent Story Times...

 You Don't Want a Unicorn review by Tomes and Tequila blog

For this lovely book you get the picture I snapped really quick for my Instagram after I read it while cataloging this week. The fun part of my job cataloging books is that I get to lay hands on everything that comes into the I take quick peeks at the story books that catch my eye as soon as they arrive in the building. This one had me laughing so hard it got passed around!! It is the incredibly silly story of all the reasons why you really do NOT want to have a Unicorn. It includes things like...the Unicorn pooping nasty cupcakes all over your house. The Unicorn eating your walls and furniture...getting its horn stuck in things. Being lonely and inviting it's Unicorn friends over for a party (it even includes a very Rainbow Brite looking one!). It's not kid tested...yet...but I sure thought it was funny!!

 Good Morning Yoga with a review by Tomes and Tequila blog

I recently did an exercise themed Story Time that was almost exclusively yoga themed. These mainly 2-4 year old kiddos took to it like pros! I started with this book, Good Morning Yoga...and only read the large text which says things like "Today I am a fiery volcano reaching high" and shows an illustration of a person stretching up to the sky. It is accompanied by a smaller print explaining breathing and a more in-depth description of the move, but the children really did great just with the large text, photos and a little prompting by me that today we were going to get all of our wiggles out and move around a bunch. When we finished up I told them we had done "Good Morning Yoga" which they promptly repeated with much pride. I was surprised by the amount of yoga related kid's books out there that really got the little ones excited, and I highly recommend taking a look for one that fits your style as both the boys and girls really found it enjoyable! 

 This Book Just Ate My Dog with a review by Tomes and Tequila Blog

Here's another one that just cracks me up. When we finally got a copy of it in the library I had an impromptu Story Time at the Circulation Desk with a few kids who happened to be close by, and I believe they may have been giggling more just because I was so tickled by it! I think books that include the physical book you are holding in the story are just plain old clever. And I think children are definitely smart enough to get the joke. In this one, the central binding of the book starts gobbling up the people in the story, starting with the little girls dog...and after a little shaking and maneuvering they come back hilariously garbled. I don't know just makes me laugh. Clearly my hypothetical grandchildren are going to have a slightly twisted book collection...

 Dooby Dooby Moo Review by Tomes and Tequila blog

I am a huge fan of the books in this series, but I think I enjoy reading this one out loud more than any of the others...mainly because it allows me to sing incredibly silly to a bunch of little kids who don't care what my singing voice sounds like! They are the best audience a girl could ever ask for. It is just fun to sing "Dooby Dooby Mooooooo" like a crooning cow. Or Born to Be Wild consisting solely of Quacks! The barnyard animals REALLY want to win a trampoline at the local talent contest...and as usual Farmer Brown tries desperately to keep an eye on the situation but Duck is far more clever. Great for any animal loving kids. 

 The Forgetful Knight review by Tomes and Tequila blog

This book is described as "Monty Python-style", and I couldn't agree more. I think with the right overly dramatic storyteller this book could be off the charts ridiculous. The narrator of the story is incredibly forgetful and keeps messing the story up to much hilarity. Does he have a sword or a sandwich? Is he slaying a cactus or a dragon? The rhymes are incredibly fast, and the illustrations are pretty clever too. I think this one might go over the heads of the super little ones, but the slightly older kids will find it pretty funny. 

 Moo Baa La La La

Okay, this last one is a board book and not a book for Story Time, but I'm putting it on here last for sentimental reasons. This was my son's favorite book as a toddler, and I recently proved to my coworker that after 20+ years I still have it memorized. I LOVE Sandra Boynton's illustrative style and this cute little book of animal sounds struck just the right chord with my son. He loved it until it was falling apart! I have purchased many copies over the years...for a daycare I worked at so I could read it to the little ones, for friends baby showers, etc. I'm sure I'll continue buying it and wowing people with my ability to remember the words to this cute little book. But it's hard to not finish off with "It's quiet now what does Boogie say?" instead of "what do YOU say?". 

So that's it for this Edition of my Favorite Children's Books. Do you have any good Story Books you think I should check out?? Any ones you can recite verbatim?? Let me know in the comments here or over on my Facebook page

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Superhuman by Habit

Superhuman by Habit written by Tynan with a review by Tomes and Tequila blog
I just HAD to go and buy myself another self-help book. I'm sorry/not sorry's a compulsion I've had for many moons. I'm not sure that they're doing any good really, but I so love reading them. This newest selection is about a subject I very much need to work on despite this not being my first book to delve into it...and that subject is Habits. 

I have got to be one of the absolute WORST people in the world when it comes to good habits and habit building in general, and it's something I desperately want to work what do I do? I buy yet another book about habits! This one being a small paperback called Superhuman by Habit: A Guide to Becoming the Best Possible Version of Yourself, One Tiny Habit at a Time by Tynan

Now I've previously written about Gretchen Rubin's book on Habits called Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits--to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less and Generally Build a Happier Life. I think that's a great book with terrific concrete steps to help you set up new habits and stick with them. Have I done a great job at implementing them, and completely changed my life for the better?? So I figured a new book was in order. 

This new book, Superhuman by Habit, is a whole lot smaller and infinitely more basic than Gretchen Rubin's book...but I'd still say it's a useful tool to have in your arsenal if you're someone like me, and you really struggle with structure in your day and forming good solid habits in your life.

The author really breaks down how having a solid routine of regular habits in your life frees your mind from constantly having to make decision after decision. He also lists his rules for establishing good routines and sticking with them including things like not missing two days in a row. There is also a section where he analyzes what he deems to be some good habits worth trying to include in your life. 

Despite being recommended by more than a handful of folks in a Facebook group of like-minded self-help addicts, at only 101 pages this book didn't really tell me a whole lot I didn't already know, so I'm giving it 3 1/2 stars. If you're looking for a starter book on building better habits, this would be a great first book to pick up, but if you're looking to delve into it a bit more this one probably isn't going to give you too many applicable gems. 
 Superhuman by Habit written by Tynan with a review by Tomes and Tequila book blog
It's not a bad book by any means, there just weren't enough big "aha!!!" moments in it for me. A few great nuggets...but there were also parts I skimmed...and for it's small size I didn't feel that should happen. So good and practical but not amazing. If I were having a better day and didn't have a headache, I might be inclined to raise it up to 4 stars 😜

Now I just think I need to read The Power of Habit!! 

Do you have any good self-help/personal-development books you think I might like? If so, let me know in the comments here or over on my Facebook page

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Big Love...Small Post

This is a book blog...and most of the time I'm very good at keeping this blog all about books but it's Valentine's Day (well, Night)...and I just wanted to make a very small post professing my love to my people.

My people (you know who you are)...I may not be the best at showing it, but I want you to know that not a day goes by that I don't think I am so lucky to have met the people I have over the years. Being married to someone in the military, you really make your own family moving all over the place...and I have the absolute BEST and most supportive self-made family a girl could ever possibly hope and dream of.

Somehow you all just KNOW when I need that little something extra, and you're always there for me. And truly, I wouldn't be here without you.

So on this here Valentine's Day, sitting home alone waiting to hear from the hubby on our regular nightly Skype call, I just wanted to tell you all that I love you.
And with that, I'd like to wow everyone with a few of the bookish items that I recently received from my beloved people...just because they love me. I hope that every single one of you are feeling as loved today as I am, and that you've realized that the love of friends is just as important if not more so than romantic love.
Tomorrow I'll be back with my regular book related content 😊 I'm just feeling sentimental and sappy tonight!!!

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Girl Before Review

 The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney with review by Tomes and Tequila Book Blog
Giant pet peeve...people giving away too much information about a book in their book reviews. 

I try so very hard to not give away too much information when I'm writing about a book. I want to give you an idea of how the book feels but I definitely don't want to give you so much of the plot that there's zero build-up of tension as to where it's going...or you feel you know the characters too well before they're even introduced. If you ever feel like I've gone over the line...please tell me. I don't want to be a book spoiler.

I think I read too many reviews about The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney before I picked it up. I was looking for similarities to other books due to a few reviews, and really second guessing my personal take on characters because people were just putting too much of the plot in their reviews without that giant SPOILER WARNING sign at the beginning to warn me away! If it's a suspenseful thriller book, maybe don't put so much of the twists and turns in your reviews folks...

So watch me try and get you intrigued without giving anything away...because despite knowing a little too much before picking this book up, I still enjoyed it, and it looks like Ron Howard plans on making a movie out of it so chances are this book will have some staying power. 

The Girl Before tells the story of a house in London, the Architect who built it, and two very different women who reside there.

Edward Monkton is the uber-minimalistic and more than a little neurotic architect who designed the house at One Folgate Street. In order to live there one must abide by a very strict set of rules and answer and insanely personal set of questions on a regular basis. But the payoff is cheap rent and a house full of cutting edge gadgets designed to make you live a better life.

Jane has just lived through a very personal tragedy and needs a major change in her life. In comes One Folgate Street and Edward Monkton. But when she hears about the girl who lived in the house before her, Emma...and her untimely death...she is intrigued. They lived in the same house, slept with the same man, appear to look very similar. Despite being warned off, she can't help but try to get to the bottom of the mystery of what happened to The Girl Before.

*insert creepy mystery music here*

The book alternates chapters between Emma and Jane, showing both the similarities and the vast differences between the two women who live in this crazy minimalist residence. There are times it feels like the book is just toying with you...trying to make you like one more than the other, and then switching things up to make you change your mind. In the end I can't say I liked any of the characters really...but I was definitely intrigued by the whole thing.

I won't go into which books this one has been compared to because I honestly didn't think they were valid comparisons. If you have sex in a book they compare it to one. You have a twist in it and they compare it to another. I don't think it's fair really.

But it does have some sexy stuff in it, so if that's not your thing I'd pass on this one. It also covers some very sensitive subjects such as rape, miscarriage, and abuse. Honestly I think it would make an interesting book club selection just for the sheer amount of conversation fodder. Due to the sensitive subject matter and my own personal experiences, one of the characters pissed me off so thoroughly I was practically yelling at the book. Take from that what you least you know it was written well enough to invoke some serious emotion!

I'm rounding this 3.5 up to a 4 stars. If it's important to like your characters a lot, this one might not be for you...but I thought it was a fairly solid suspenseful thriller. Not a straight-up whodunnit, but enough of one to hopefully satisfy those who are fond of that genre. Plus it was a fairly quick read.

Have you read any terrific new books lately? If so, let me know in the comments here or over on my Facebook page. I'm always looking for more to add to my TBR pile!!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Bookish Goodies Vol. 6 The Austen Edition

*this post contain an affiliate link, please check out my review policy for more info

I have a friend and co-worker who is a HUGE Jane Austen fan. I mean, she wears a t-shirt to work occasionally that says "Straight Outta Pemberley"...which is the sort-of thing you can get away with wearing when you work in a Library. Her birthday is coming up later this month, so I thought I'd make a Bookish Goodies guide full of cool Jane Austen items in her honor. I'm an Austen fan, but not nearly as big of one as she is. 

Etsy is FILLED with really cool items inspired by Jane Austen's work. So if you or someone you love is a big fan of her books, hopefully you'll see something you like. Or you can always buy my friend Kat something for her birthday 😊

So without further are my favorite Austen items from the glorious institution that is Etsy.

 Baby's Guide to Pride and Prejudice on Etsy in guide by tomes and tequila book blog

I am completely enamored with the Etsy shop SweetSequels and their cloth baby books! I will probably do a short post just filled with their beautiful items because I can't get over how gorgeous they are. The pic I chose doesn't necessarily do them justice, so please follow the link if you know anyone having a baby soon. This cloth Baby's Guide to Pride and Prejudice for $35 is made to order with gorgeous hand painted illustrations, and would make an incredible keepsake. 

 Emma Bracelet on Etsy review by Tomes and Tequila blog

This aluminum bracelet has a quote from the book Emma engraved on it..."I may have lost my heart but not my self-control". I think it's a beautiful statement piece for $15 from thewinsomewordsmith

 Jane Austen Book Purse by Novel Creations on Etsy review by Tomes and Tequila blog

I have a beautiful Jane Eyre book purse that a friend bought for me from NovelCreations on Etsy so I can personally testify to the quality of their work. They are definitely worth the money, and far prettier in person than any photo could do them justice. This Jane Austen book purse from NovelCreations costs $60 complete with choices in styles of handles and buttons. These are must-see statement bags...I can't say enough about them really. 

 Emma Tote bag on Etsy review by Tomes and Tequila blog

You can never have enough Tote bags really, and this incredibly girly pink and purple tote complete with Emma quote is the perfect bag to use for your library books...or to take shopping with you. Why not let the world know you're a fan of Romance?? You can find this tote on CanisPicta for $35+

 Pride and Prejudice Sweatshirt on Etsy with review by Tomes and Tequila blog

I love this Pride and Prejudice sweatshirt. It says "Love like Darcy. Fierce like Elizabeth. Charming like Wickham. Dance like Bingley. Kindhearted like Jane". This really sums up that book I'd say. Mind you, I read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies last, so I might be mixing things up in my head a tad. You can find this on theavantmarket for $39+.

 Simply Austen iPhone Case on Etsy with review by Tomes and Tequila blog
I think cool phone cases are a great way of showing your personality. I have a beautiful watercolor bird case on my phone at the moment. If you're an Austen fan, why not show it off with this sassy Simply Austen iPhone case from SimplyCharly for $25? The shop also has Darwin, Shakespeare, Twain, Sartre and case Austen isn't your thing (how dare you!). 

 Pride and Prejudice Bath Salts on Etsy with review by Tomes and Tequila blog

These Pride and Prejudice White Tea and Ginger Bath Salts look beautiful, and I'm sure they smell gorgeous also. They come packaged in a muslin bag labeled "Library Bag Bath Salts" which sounds like perfection to me. You can find them on TeaSoapBooks for $10.

 Jane Austen Print on Etsy with review by Tomes and Tequila blog

I LOVE this "I would rather have nothing but tea" Jane Austen quote..and I think this print would look beautiful framed on your buffet next to your mugs and Keurig. It's perfect for the tea drinkers I know, who are sick of seeing beautiful coffee signs everywhere and no love for tea. It can be found, along with plenty of other beautiful prints, on the AbbieImagine shop for $8.37+

 Jane Austen Mug on Etsy with review by Tomes and Tequila blog

It wouldn't be a Bookish Goodies guide without a cute coffee mug. So here's the perfect Bookish Jane Austen that would look terrific filled with a steaming hot beverage next to a glorious book. (If you buy it, take a picture for Instagram and tag me in it PLEASE!!) This mug was made for the bibliophile in your life...Austen fanatic or not. You can find it on IvoryPaige for $16.  

 Jane Austen T-shirt on Etsy with review by Tomes and Tequila blog

Last but not least I have a new T-shirt to eclipse the "Straight Outta Pemberley" one my friend is so fond of. This Rock and Roll Jane Austen shirt is AMAZING!! I can't even complain about it being in Juniors tiny sizes because it even comes in MENS sizes up to 3XL! LOL So there is literally nothing I can say wrong about is perfection. Thanks to boredwalk where it starts at $25.

So there ya go...a Bookish Goodies for the Jane Austen fanatics in my life. I hope you like it. 

Let me know if you have a fandom you'd like me to do a guide for. I have way too much fun perusing Etsy for these. Plus it helps to keep my shopping compulsion in check. Leave me a comment either here or over on my Facebook page

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Some Thoughts on Reviewing Books

I have something on my mind that I'd like to talk to y'all about, and it might not be incredibly popular with some of my fellow bloggers...but I feel incredibly passionate about it. It's something that has both come up recently online with book bloggers in general and with me personally. We'll call it integrity in reviewing, with a small dose of the question of whether book reviewers are marketers or not.

Now, I feel it's important for me to say from the get go that I am very new to book blogging. I have been doing this for about 8 months now and I'm not heavily "connected" in the Book Blogosphere. For all I know, I could be going about everything ass-backwards from everyone else. I didn't do a lot of research beforehand...I just picked up a book, read it, and then decided to write my thoughts up for everyone to see. Ta-Da...instant professional blogger!!

But I can tell you unequivocally, and this is the reason for this post, that I am always honest with you when it comes to my thoughts on books...regardless of how that book came to be in my hands.

And I don't know if some of this stems from my day job at a library, but I'm a blogger for the READER. I am here for you and you alone. Is it cool to occasionally receive a book from Netgalley or an Author before it's released, in the hopes that I can be the first to tell you that you need to run out and GRAB that book ASAP??? Of course it is. Do I flip my lid when an Author reads my review, or retweets me on Twitter? Heck yeah, I usually lose my shit! But I am not a blogger for AUTHORS. I think there is a difference here, and it might make me a less popular blogger.

Now here's the recent story that will hopefully illustrate what I mean, as I'm sure a few of you are scratching your heads right now trying to figure out what on earth I'm talking about.

I was recently sought out by a first time author to review his upcoming book, in the hopes that I would publish my review in conjunction with an online "launch party". This is a common practice, especially with smaller release books...and I have no problem with it because I enjoy the idea of helping get the word out about a new author. My response was that I'd love to take a look at it and hopefully I'd have a chance to read and review it in time for his launch but I never promise good reviews, etc etc...which is what's in my review policy. I have stated that life's too short to read bad books, so I definitely don't guarantee a great review. He said no problem, sent me the book and all was good.

So...I open the book.

Now, let me go on record again as saying, I'm not a book snob. I don't think any book/genre is greater than another book/genre and everyone has different taste in books. We don't all like reading the same things. A lot of book bloggers have very specific tastes and keep their blogs to a particular type of book...I am just all over the place because that's how I read. But there IS such a thing as a bad book. There just IS. If people say there isn't, they're just trying to be overly nice. Now maybe it's bad because it just needs a better editor or proofreader but that doesn't change the fact that the writing isn't very good. Some bad books have made a crap ton of money and been on the best sellers list for AGES, but that doesn't change the fact that they aren't written well.

And you know I'm not pissing on romance novels or anything like that because I read fluffy stuff sometimes. But trust me when I say, there are very well written romance novels and then, just like everything else, there's stuff that's just bad. It also goes both ways. Just because a book has big ole words in it and is difficult to read, doesn't make it "Literature"...doesn't make it a great book.

So I open the book...and it's just bad. The story may have been okay but the writing just was not good. I have two adult children and have proofread my fair share of papers, and the glaring mistakes that would normally be caught in a first read through were all still there. Reusing words, grammatical errors, etc. Once my eyes caught the first mistakes I just couldn't unsee them. I tried to lose myself in the story but I couldn't do it. I was just way too distracted by the mess.

I get about 3 chapters in and I just can't do it anymore. But my soul hurt because I know this book is the author's baby. I know he is proud of his work...he has slaved over it...and here I am. I can't even get to chapter 4!

If I would've checked this book out from the library, I would've written a short review on the blog and said I didn't like it and advised y'all not waste your money on it. If I'd have received it from the publishing company through the very impersonal Netgalley, I would've done the same thing. I would've submitted my review to them stating that I didn't think it was any good, etc. BUT, since I received it from the author...after much debate with myself and advice from my friends...I wrote him and told him that I didn't want to slaughter him in print basically, so I'd decided to just decline writing a review. I was polite, and he was polite in response.

BUT...and this is the real meat of my writing this long meandering blog post...this particular book currently has 32 ratings/26 reviews and an average score of 4.25 on Goodreads!!! It was released February 1st and all the reviews are from people who received the book for free before it was published. And I am sitting here wondering what on earth these people are smoking?!?! Did they all receive a different book than I did?!?! It honestly kind-of pisses me off.

You see, I have friends who read my blog who had never read a blog...let alone a book blog...before in their lives, but most of them had read a review on Goodreads or Amazon. As someone who works in a library, we don't have time to read everything before it comes out. We rely heavily on early reviews and word of mouth to decide which books we're going to spend our precious few dimes on. And the more time I spend blogging about books, the more I see behind the curtain...and I'm not 100% happy with what all I see.

Recently the blogosphere was sent into a tailspin/uproar over a comment spoken on a very popular book segment of a women's magazine's Facebook page. Someone left the page stating that they were unhappy with all of the book bloggers on there since they were "marketers" and not "real readers". This, of course, caused such a huge brouhaha that it turned into a trending topic on Twitter. But in a way I can see what she meant. And that's coming from a book blogger.

I think the problem that I've mentioned with the "bad book" that was sent to me, and it's glowing reviews on Goodreads, is part-of why this backlash is happening. If I knew that the reviewer I read regularly was always going to give a book 4 stars if it was given to her, I would probably lose faith in what she was saying...and believe she was a marketer also. I just would! I don't think it helps anyone really! But then I'm the woman who used to tell the ladies that came to her Pampered Chef parties that the $1 knife cut the best 😊

When I review a book, I want to try and give you an idea of what the book was like more than anything. I know you're not going to like every book I do...and chances are I'm not going to like every one that you do. I mean, I'm normally not going to bash an Author....but that's just because I'm nice, and I know these are their babies. But I'm always going to tell you what I honestly thought of the book. Because I would be horrified to know that I caused you to waste your hard-earned money on something that I knew was shit.

So if I have a point, and I'm not even sure if I have one or if I just needed to get this off my chest, it's to do your research. If you're going to look to a blogger to help you figure out what book to grab next, try to find one that reads the same sorts-of books you do...and one that gives you the good with the bad. If you're looking on Goodreads, pay attention to whether all the reviews come from advanced reader copies. It's not necessarily a bad thing...but it's added knowledge in your noggin. Know that Amazon has started refusing reviews that state the book was given to them, so a lot of people have started leaving that out of their maybe check to see if it's a verified purchase (although not all of mine are because I'll review a book I checked out at the library).

I feel like now is the time for a shot of Tequila....
Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to say that everyone is a sham and there aren't good honest book bloggers out there. Clearly I'd like to have you come back to this blog to see what I have to say about The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney and I promise I'll tell you whether it reminded me of Fifty Shades of Grey, or whether the sexy bits turned me off (they didn't). I just feel so damn passionate about books and honesty...and it gets me very riled up. Most people would probably wonder why I'd get so worked up over something as silly as a few book reviews, but to me it's an integrity issue.

I'm just trying to lift the veil up a little for you because I wasn't aware of some of this before. And know that sometimes that Bookstagrammer with the largest following doesn't necessarily know the best books to get...she just takes the best photos so the publishers send her a lot of free books...and she might not even read all of them. So if you research before you read, maybe keep some of this in the back of your mind. Or peruse the bookstore/library and just choose a book by it's cover. I still do that sometimes.

Let me know your thoughts, and sorry this one was so long. Don't forget to follow me on Facebook.

Monday, February 6, 2017

My Lady Jane

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 My Lady Jane Review by Tomes and Tequila Blog
Sorry, once again, for being MIA this past week. Having pneumonia isn't a whole lot of fun. I wouldn't really recommend it. I have trouble reading when I don't feel I can't even enjoy my sick days by catching up on my TBR stack! But I'm starting to feel like a human again, and I need to get caught up on my reviews!

I am trying to help get a new Book Club up and running on the base up here, and the first book that was picked for it was My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows. This is the first Young Adult book I've read in quite awhile, and I was pleasantly surprised by how well it kept my attention. We'll see if I give a description that does the book justice because when I tried to explain it to my daughter over the phone all I received was silence.

My Lady Jane would best be described as twisted historical fiction. They've taken a period in time, complete with historical figures, and twisted it on it's head...turning it into a totally different and slightly hysterical beast. If you're a fan of historical fiction, you would probably enjoy this just for the laughs that come with something familiar to you and yet so different and far fetched...or at least I did. Plus, the book has my all-time favorite word in it...but I'll get to that in a minute.

The book tells the story of Lady Jane Grey, her cousin Edward (the present King of England) and Gifford (he likes to be called G) the man she is to marry due to the ill health of the King. If you think you know this story, think again because this isn't anything like what you learned in history class.

If a sure sign of a good book is whether it keeps you entertained, then this is a good book. I'd say it would be like the result of a union between The Princess Bride or Monty Python and your 8th Grade History Class. Said union produced a very funny offspring that is this book, complete with the groom-to-be turning into a horse and spouting Shakespeare. It is silly, and most assuredly NOT historically accurate but you just keep turning the page because you are dying to know what they're going to do with the story next.

I really don't want to ruin anything about this book, so I'm going to be extremely vague and not give a whole lot away as to the plot. I can tell you that it doesn't end with Jane losing her head...or anything else that you think you know from the history books. Instead of Catholics and Protestants fighting you have Verities and EΓ°ians. The EΓ°ians have the power to shapeshift into various animals, and the Verities hate them for it. This explains the horse I mentioned earlier. It results in moments of both hilarity and suspense for our main characters. 

Numerous shenanigans ensue, as is expected. Like I said before, I hadn't read a YA book in a long time really and this one didn't disappoint me at all. Yes, Jane was a bit silly and headstrong...Gifford was sort-of a one note guy...and Edward really only cared about getting his first kiss, but I thought it was a cute book. I'm giving it 4 stars because I read it in one sitting...and it's not a tiny book.

OH, and I'm going to drop a quote in here with hands-down my absolute FAVORITE word of all time.
You're welcome.

I would've loved to hear how the other ladies in this new book club felt about our first selection, but no one really attended the first meeting. We've had a lot of interest, but occasionally it's hard to get folks out of their houses in the winter. But I did get to meet a very cool lady named Jessica, who in addition to feeling almost as passionately about books as I do...makes cupcakes on the side! And that's with a little one at home!! So it wasn't a complete loss. But I am curious if anyone liked the book besides our library staff 😊

So, how do you feel about historical fiction with a twist? Have you read any Young Adult books lately? Let me know in the comments here or over on my Facebook page.

Thursday, February 2, 2017


I just wanted to publish a quick note to say I'm so sorry I've had zero content for y'all this week. I have pneumonia, and am recuperating just the act of sitting here for a minute to write this took me til the end of the week to accomplish.

I have been cracking lot's of jokes about being the outbreak monkey, having the plague, or since recently reading My Lady Jane for a book club I have "The Affliction" or someone has been "poisoning my blackberries". But I couldn't help myself when it came to the above photo.

So, I hope to be back up and writing soon. I should have reviews for My Lady Jane and The Girl Before next long as I can sit here for more than a few minutes without coughing up a lung.

Take care, and keep reading 😊