• Book Reviews

    Meaty: a book review

    ✂️✂️✂️✂️/5

    We all have that friend. You know, the one that goes there and unapologetically says what needs to be said.

    Consider Samantha Irby that book friend.

    Meaty is a collection of essays ranging from dating, tacos, recipes, Crohn’s disease, diets, and unbelievable loss that Irby somehow manages to overcome. I laughed through the first few chapters and then it hit me – this woman has lived, lost, gained, and somehow came out on the other side as a beautiful person who is sharply funny and intelligent. She has a gift for taking even the worst and extracting the emotions and putting them into words.

    She is relatable even if she is shocking and raunchy at times. I had a few what?? moments while reading. But I believe that when someone endures tragedy, trauma, or another life changing event – they have earned the right to tell their story however they see fit. It’s not my job to censor their past or expression of their feelings about the event(s).

    Irby is a great writer even when she uses ALL CAPS TO MAKE A POINT. This is one of my writing annoyances but it didn’t bother me that much because at least she used them appropriately.

    Who would I recommend this book to? Well maybe I’m better off recommending who shouldn’t read this book – if you are easily offended, grossed out, or don’t like cursing – skip this one. If you enjoy acidic humor mixed with a steady dose of sarcasm to address some of life’s sad, funny, and unbelievable moments – this book is for you.

    If you enjoyed Shrill by Lindy West or My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh, you will love Meaty. An if you haven’t read these books, you should – after you read Meaty.

  • Book Club For Introverts,  Book Reviews

    Bitter Orange: a book review

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    The all-seeing eye. What has it seen? Nothing as interesting as the things I saw through the judas hole at Lyntons. But of course, the difference is privacy. The other women will complain and shout about being looked at without warning. But I think it is better to know when someone is watching rather than to live your life under an invisible gaze. Claire Fuller, Bitter Orange

    ✂️✂️✂️✂️✂️/5

    Is it possible to be reading and tread into psychological thriller waters without realizing such until you are immersed? Beautiful writing, rich imagery, a socially awkward woman, and a charismatic yet odd couple living in an old house with a history of its own make for an interesting plot. But the relationship dynamics of this trio were only the beginning.

    Told from Frances’ perspective as an old, dying woman with a failing memory, the reader is forced early on to decide if Frances is a reliable narrator. I decided she was because while her mind was fading, memories and the recounting of them are never 100% accurate. This turned out to be a common thread throughout the story.

    Frances is a 39-year-old woman who has little experience in the world. She spent most of her adult years isolated while caring for her ill mother. Throughout the book you get glimpses into their relationship and it does not appear to be a healthy one.

    Set in 1969, Frances’ mother has passed away and she takes a summer job at a crumbling British home. Her task: inventory the garden architecture and report back to the new owner, an American. Initially she believes she is alone in the house. And then she discovers Peter and Cara living below her.

    Peter has been hired to inventory the house belongings and Cara has traveled with him. Cara has a magnetic personality which often crosses into the outrageous. Frances begins to develop a friendship with the couple and appears to finally be experiencing the world.

    Remember the judas hole? Frances finds one in her floor that looks down into Peter and Cara’s bathroom. Between her stolen observations, afternoon picnics, and alcohol fueled dinners with the couple, she becomes obsessed.

    Cara has wild stories, Peter has contradictory versions, and Frances is haunted by her former life of isolation. The smartly dispersed psychological twists, sometimes only a sentence, make this book come to life. Multiple times I found myself stopping with a wait, what??

    •     •     •     •

    I enjoy unreliable narrators but rarely have I seen them written as well as Fuller does in this book. Combine that with the imagery, the detailed descriptions of the house and property, the character development, and the writing style – you have a unique and well crafted story. Fuller is a very talented writer and I’m looking forward to reading her other books soon.

    Because this plot shifts from present to past, there were a few times I missed the transition and had to reread to find my place in time. Or maybe that was the bourbon reading. This and a few loose ends were my only small annoyances with Bitter Orange.

    Who would I recommend this book to? Anyone who enjoys a well written book with unreliable narration and great plot twists. If you enjoyed Something in the Water, Where the Crawdads Sing, or Behind Her Eyes you will most likely enjoy Bitter Orange.

    •     •     •     •

    This book, about an introvert, was our Book Club for Introverts first pick. Our group is on Goodreads and is open to anyone. It was fun to read something shocking or surprising and then discuss it real-time in the chapter discussion threads. Almost like calling a friend but without the talking because, introverts.

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    Our book selection for December is Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty and we would love to have you join us. Look for my Instagram post soon where I’m giving away a copy of the book to two lucky book club members!

  • Bookish,  Lists

    Top Ten: the backlist edition

    aged antique book stack books
    Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

    Happy Friday! Today’s list is the top ten backlist books I want to read. I tend to read a decent amount of them already but here are the ten that are high on my list, a.k.a I should buy them.

    1. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson – I actually already own this one so I should probably add it to my TBR stack soon. I typically enjoy plots that have twins and this one looks really good.
    2. The Name of Rose by Umberto Eco – I don’t remember where I saw this book for the first time but the plot summary sounds like an early version of the Da Vinci Code.
    3. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead – I own this book and have started it and put it down a few times. I know it’s a great book; it’s just been a little hard to get into at first.
    4. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt – The cover alone makes me want to read this one. I have a pretty good track record picking books based on their cover art so I should probably go ahead and “invest” in this one.
    5. A List of Cages by Robin Roe – This one has been on my list for awhile. The subject matter is supposed to be tough which is probably why I have been putting it off.
    6. Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon – The cover alone is pretty awesome. The synopsis seems even better and also very important.
    7. Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman by Lindy West – “Shrill provocatively dissects what it means to become self-aware the hard way, to go from wanting to be silent and invisible to earning a living defending the silenced in all caps.” I should probably read this one ASAP.
    8. A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr – I have had this little book forever. I was reminded of it when it popped up in an author’s interview as one of their favorite novellas.
    9. The Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor – published in 1982 and currently lives on my Kindle.
    10. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett – Listing this one is a bit of a cheat as I’m 25% of the way into this one. I put it down and need to pick it back up again.

    What backlist books are on your to-be-read list? Or what are a few of your favorite backlist books?

  • Book Reviews

    Running From Scissors: a book review

    TCW

    ✂️✂️✂️✂️/5

    Running From Scissors (A Running Store Mystery #1) by T.C. Westcott

    How could I possibly pass up this Advanced Reader’s Copy with this blog name, Blunt Scissors Book Reviews, and my Instagram handle, @thatgirlrunswithbluntscissors ?

    I’m also a runner so a murder mystery that takes place in running group based out of a local running store was really appealing. Add to that, Staxx, the best friend of the protagonist, Lacy, owns a local bookstore that she and her brother inherited from their parents.

    • Scissors – check
    • Running – check
    • Books – check

    I’m in!

    Lacy, recently divorced, starts her life over in a small Oklahoma town. As part of her fresh start she takes up running. Her local running store hosts group runs on the weekends as well as during the week for all levels of runners.

    There are the usual group dynamics that are a part of any group including the queen bee and her friends. Marlene is not well liked outside her own little group of friends and even that is a bit questionable. Lacy has made her dislike of Marlene quite clear but remains a part of the group.

    Someone starts sending Marlene messages in the form of barber scissors; most notably a pair stabbed in her car tire. This is obviously troubling to Marlene and but life continues on.

    Then on a long trail race, Marlene never crosses the finish line.

    The whodunit commences here with a cast of characters from the running group and store all being examined for their motives.

    Ruby, one of the group’s older and slower runners, was a best-selling mystery author in her former life. She still has her mystery solving skills and ropes Lacy and Staxx and running a parallel investigation to the police investigation.

    From there, suspects are brought in, then eliminated, and brought back again once Marlene’s body is found and the missing person investigation intensifies into a murder investigation.

    This was my first exposure to the “modern cozy mystery”. If you’re unfamiliar with the genre, it’s basically a murder mystery without the gory details of violence and mystery solving using detective skills rather than the latest and greatest forensic testing.

    Ruby added an Agatha Christie flair to the plot which I enjoyed immensely as a life long Christie reader.

    This was a quick read with quirky characters in a quirky town. It was a nice change of pace after reading several sad and/or intense books.

    What I enjoyed about the book: the return to the cozy crime fighting methods. It was executed well in this book and Ruby was a wonderful character to bridge the gap between the old style and the more modern style of the genre.

    What I enjoyed less about this book: this is small because a character is who they are but Staxx, a character intended to be a bit over the top and rough around the edges, irritated me at times. Again, this is small in the grand scheme of things but I did find myself skipping some of her dialogue toward the end because I already knew that whatever she would be saying would be grating to me.

    Who would enjoy this book? Anyone who loves running (or not), appreciates the quirks of runners, and likes the cozy mystery genre. An Agatha Christie fan would be at the top of my list of someone to recommend this book to.

    This was a quick and fun read and I’m looking forward to reading more from this author.

    Thank you to BooksGoSocial and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader’s Copy that I received for free in exchange for my honest opinion.

  • ARC's,  Book Reviews,  Bookish

    Hope and Other Superpowers: a book review

    ✂️✂️✂️✂️✂️/5

    A book about superheroes, our current political landscape, and hope? And they go together all in one book?

    Yep.

    I have followed the author, John Pavlovitz since 2016, shortly after Trump was elected. He popped up in my Facebook feed and I headed to his blog to read more. He is viewed as polarizing pastor in some circles but oddly enough, it’s primarily the church circles who view him as such.

    So, a book review about politics, religion and a polarizing pastor? This should go well.

    It will. I promise. Because this book is about hope and I don’t know a single person, in the church or out of the church, who doesn’t need hope. I know I do.

    And did I mention superheroes? He uses all the well known superheroes to beautifully illustrate the points of his book. I’m a sucker for superheroes so I was hooked.

    What this book boils down to is how we treat each other and how we inspire and give hope to others. That issue is something that has been on my mind a lot lately, and really, the past several years.

    John gave an example of watching coverage of Hurricane Harvey and rescue after rescue – others helping others without a care as to what their political views were, what church they attended or didn’t attend, their race, or whether they were legal citizens or not.

    That was eye opening to me because he was right; I watched the same footage and I never wondered if the woman stranded in her home voted for Trump or Clinton.

    I would be lying if I said that my heart doesn’t hurt for how our president treats others or that I can support that behavior just because he is our president. I can’t look past it in favor of policy. But at the same time, I can’t directly influence a change in him either and that realization has been deeply dividing for our country.

    This book helped me to refocus.

    He wrote about activism; a word that scares a lot of people. But it’s really not frightening at all when it ends up as simply looking to help those who have been marginalized in your own community. I don’t have to 100% agree with someone to be kind and helpful.

    I don’t even agree with the author on every point but I took from the book what I needed for my heart, for my life. And that’s the approach I’m going to start taking on a daily basis. It’s hard to be angry and despondent when you are focused on helping others.

    From a writing perspective, John is a great writer. He is passionate and he has a way of conveying his passion through examples, like the Hurricane Harvey passage, and of course the superheroes.

    This was a fairly quick read and left me feeling better than I did before I started the book. I am still thinking about what he wrote and that is typically a sign of a good book – if it sticks with you after you turn the final page.

    Who would I recommend this book to? Anyone in need of hope; especially the weary and the hurting. And please don’t let the pastor thing scare you off. This book was written for everyone and quite possibly more for those who have been hurt and turned away by the traditional church.

    This book is available on November 6th which just happens to be Election Day. Well played, John Pavlovitz. Because no matter how the results come in, hope is still needed whether you are red or blue.

    Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher, Simon & Schuster, for the advanced reader’s copy. I received this ebook for free in exchange for my honest opinion.

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