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“Toxic Masculinity Ruins The Day Again…”

Image result for before the fall bookSynopsis

A struggling painter, a money laundering power couple, and a millionaire family that owns a news network walk onto a plane….

It sounds like this might be a joke but it’s actually closer to tragedy.

Here’s the breakdown. 11 individuals get on a plane to fly from Marthas Vineyard to Manhattan but 16 minutes in they find themselves crashing into the Atlantic. The only ones to survive are Scott Burroughs (struggling painter) and a boy named JJ (child to millionaire moguls). Not only do these two survive the crash but Scott finds a way to swim with the boy on his back to land without dying from hypothermia or a shark attack.

Neither of the two remembers what happened or the events that lead to the crash. Federal agencies, the private jet company, and the media go crazy for details but are left to come up with their own conclusions.

The remainder of the book follows these two characters through what becomes a complete media shit storm. Sprinkled between chapters are the stories of the individuals on the plane and what landed them on the private jet to begin with.

This novel dives deep (no pun intended) into our current media culture and how one person on screen can shape the opinions of millions. Specifically, one of the characters is known for starting ALC, a 24/7 news cycle with anchors who have strong opinions, little facts, and unethical actions. The author makes several comparisons to FOX News and Bill O’Reilly, which would have annoyed me but honestly it was what the teenagers call “on point.” I disliked one of my last books because the comparisons to our political climate were too much, but in this situation, I felt like it wasn’t the ENTIRE plot, more like a sub-plot.

Although this is a piece of fiction, it had me thinking about coincidences and fate. The relationship between the two survivors is beautiful and in the end, you could tell they were meant to meet and have a connection.

Compliments and Complaints (Spoiler Alert!)

Fucking toxic masculinity ruins the day AGAIN. (MFM reference to anyone not hip to the podcast.)

Don’t get me wrong, I loved this book. I think the author did a fantastic job pulling everything together and keeping me in suspense until the final pages. However, I was kind of hoping the ending wasn’t going to revolve around a lovers quarrel that ends badly. The copilot and stewardess are ex-lovers and when she turns him down he decides to take things into his own hands…. and fucking kill everyone on board. I mean that sounds like a reasonable reaction right? For goodness sake dude. Ever heard of the phrase “there are other fish in the sea”? (LOL get it? Fish? Sea? Because they crashed into the ocean..? I digress.)

When reading the copilot’s section and watching things unfold, I kept thinking “I really really hope that there aren’t men out there like that.”  Unfortunately, after listening to enough My Favorite Murder, I know that some men get their egos bruised and just simply can’t handle it.

All in all, I’ll take Before The Fall for what it is… a good story.

Tell me what YOU thought of the book?

Cheers,

Courtney

P.S. Fun fact: The author Noah Hawley is a writer on the FXX television series Fargo.

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Books · Movies · mystery · Reviews · suspense · Television · thriller

Yet again, crappy books win.

I wasn’t planning on covering “The Outsider” by Stephen King for multiple reasons.

  1. I didn’t finish the book. That hasn’t stopped me before but I stopped before the climax so I don’t really know how it ends. (I looked up the ending online BTW. So happy I stopped when I did.)
  2. This is my first King book and if I left a bad review I’m pretty sure his colt following would slash my tires.
  3. I was really busy in November and just didn’t have time.

However, since Good Reads came out with their “Best Books of 2018” list and The Outsider won, I felt obligated to tell the world how I feel.

To all 62,170 individuals who voted for this book, you have shit taste. Specifically shitty thriller/mystery book taste. This book was long winded and flat out boring. Stephen King starts with a superb plot: A little boy is found in the park and has been assaulted and murdered. The man the cops identify as the killer is arrested publically, only for the man to have a solid alibi. So the reader has to ask themselves, how can someone be in two places at once?

The plot was set up for success until you meet the characters and they decide it’s a demon doing the murdering. That’s where you lost me. (Sorry not sorry for the spoilers)

If you’re going to put it in a category, it should be science fiction and not mystery/thriller. I got zero thrills from this book. To add insult to injury, not only did it win on GoodReads, HBO also just ordered it as a television series.

Am I crazy on this? Or is this book legitimately terrible?

Please share your thoughts. Unless they’re different than mine, then keep them to yourself. (just kidding….kind of.)

Cheers,

Courtney

 

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It’s wine time, bitches

You know, it’s pretty tough achieving a “wedding bod” when you drink wine every day. Well not every day…. but most days. But I tell myself it’s for the sake of the blog. How will I get to be a big-time wine/book reviewer if I don’t put down the bottles now?

Anywhoooo… I tried two new wines this week that I’d recommend.

Wine | Matua. Sauvignon Blanc. $7.99 @ Fred MeyersImage result for matua wine

To be honest I grabbed this wine because of how the label looked, especially when I noticed that it had one of those temperature gauges that turns blue when it’s perfectly chilled. Fucking technology, man.

The brand is from New Zealand which was intriguing. The wine itself was sweet and includes tropical flavors, which I personally like. It is a bit sweet, so if that isn’t your thing then I’d skip it.

Dark Horse Rosé

Wine | Dark Horse. Rose. $10.99 @ Target

I purchased this bottle for my “Drinking Club with a Reading Problem” group meeting and loved it. It’s sweet but not over the top and paired perfectly with the charcuterie

board we had. Overall it has a crisp berry flavor that you can’t go wrong with. No complaints other than the fact that I realized they sell them in cans AFTER THE FACT.

I love a good canned wine.

Cheers!

 

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Books I’ve Started & Decided To Quit (part 1)

Book | Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

  • Format: Audiobook
  • Stopping point: Chapter 6 of 17

Reasons for quitting:

  1. I understand you’re a very talented individual, you don’t need to keep reminding me over and over again. Coming from a Greys’ fan, you know it’s bad when I say it.
  2. We get it, you love Beyonce. So does everyone else.
  3. You don’t like to do things? You like to stay on your couch? SHOCKER. Again, so does everyone else.
  4. This book could have been a short story, maybe even an Instagram post. Or summed up in one sentence: I’m a busy woman with responsibilities but I say no a lot — now I say yes and I have learned/experienced things I wouldn’t have if I stayed at home. Done. Boom. I am an author.

Book | The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll

  • Format: Audiobook
  • Stopping point: Chapter 2 of 25

Reasons for quitting:

  1. Not a fan of multiple narrators unless it’s done well.
  2. I REALLY disliked the main narrator. I understand why they chose her for the character but that was one of the main reasons I had to stop so early.
  3. The main character is a feminist and not just an “I believe in equality” type feminist but a “Man was put on this earth to criticize women and they hate us” type feminist. Too much hate in the first few pages of introducing this character that I had to stop.
  4. SO MANY CHARACTERS. Maybe if I had chosen to go the physical book route it would have been easier to manage but listening to all the names became too difficult to keep up.

Book | An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

  • Format: Audiobook
  • Stopping Point: Chater 2 of 30

Reason for quitting:

  1. Didn’t keep my attention. No shade, just not for me.

 

 

Books · Movies · mystery · nonfiction · Reviews · suspense · thriller · Uncategorized

Too close to home…

Book | Vox by Christina Dalcher

Image result for vox book by christina dalcher

Here’s the deal, I love a good dystopian thriller like the rest of em, but this book was a little much.

Let’s start with the plot. A new president is elected in the United States and things quickly turn to shit. This president has decided that women in the workforce are the sole reason for why we have famine, drug addiction, split families, etc etc etc. So instead of investing in social work and education, homie decides that women should be silenced. Literally. He starts by removing them from the workforce, creating schools that teach home economics only and limiting what they can read. Apparently, that wasn’t enough so he decides to install a 100-word maximum for all females in the country. All women have a Fitbit-style band placed on their wrist that shocks them at word 101 and by the time you get to 200 or higher you are shocked into oblivion.

What if you don’t agree? Too bad. You can’t leave. You can’t tell people how you feel. Hell, you can’t even get the mail without permission from your husband. This is all until Dr. McClellan (strong female lead) is given an opportunity to work for the government and have her wristband removed. This “work” that she’s doing is meant to cure individuals but it becomes clear that the government has other plans.

I won’t go into how things end because I want you to experience it but overall it kept my attention.

Now here’s my rant….

I know we’re in a tense political climate. I know people aren’t happy with the way things are going. But this… this took things to another level. The comparisons the author made to Big D (aka Donald aka POTUS) were not only obvious but annoying. I GET IT — you aren’t happy and you’re comparing our current president to someone who wants to silence half the population for his political gain. Do I think this would ever happen in the real world? No. Do I think the author draws minor comparisons that are happening right now? Sure.

I read for many reasons and to escape is at the top of the list. It took a lot for me to truly enjoy this book and not read too much into it (no pun intended). I wouldn’t recommend this book to a lot of people because I’m not sure they could read it the way I could.

I would absolutely love to hear from others who have read the book and see what their thoughts are. Message me and lets chat!

Cheers,

Court

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Happy Fall, Y’all!

What is a better way to start Fall than with a glass of wine, a pumpkin spice candle, and a spooky thriller? Add snuggles with a puppy and you’ve basically described heaven.

(Please note I do not like pumpkin other than in candle form. I don’t like pumpkin pie, pumpkin spice coffee, pumpkin bread, etc etc etc. I think that means I’m excluded from the “basic bitch” category, right?)

Wine | Lindeman Chardonnay, 2014

Wonderful! Fabulous! The best I’ve ever had!

Just kidding, this wine does the job. It’s inexpensive, at Fred Meyer, and has a cute label. Done deal in my opinion. Check it out and let me know your thoughts!

Book | The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

Every summer Camp Nightingale opens itself to teenage girls who most would call “rich bitches”. Imagine The Parent Trap (Lindsey Lohan version) but with all wealthy girls whose parents are Senators or fashion designers.

The exception to the rule is Emma, who is artistic and mostly ignored by her family — so Camp Nightingale is exciting and a way to avoid long summer days alone. Emma quickly becomes friends with her older bunkmates and attaches herself to Vivian, who is what I refer to as a “type A female”. Emma constantly seeks attention and approval from Vivian and sees her as an older sister. One day Emma and Vivian get into a fight, typical boy drama, and Emma is excluded when the other girls decide to sneak out of the cabin to explore the woods. Little did Emma know that as she watched the girls leave, it would be the last time she ever saw them again.

Cue dramatic music.

Fifteen years later, Emma doesn’t have answers as to why the girls left but feels tremendous guilt for what played out afterward. Franny, aka the camp owner, requests Emma returns as the art teacher. Now if it was me I would laugh in that woman’s face and stay as far away from that place as possible, but then again, that doesn’t make for a good thriller.

Every day Emma is at the camp she becomes more obsessed with Vivian and the lost girls. A series of events make her feel as though time is repeating itself and slowly she loses grip on reality. This mystery by Riley Sager will make you question every character and wonder, where in the hell did those girls go?!

I read Sager’s first novel, Final Girls, and it was decent but in this, he really came out to play. The characters had depth without long dragging paragraphs and at one point I think I questioned everyone for making the girls disappear — which is impressive!

I read this for my “Drinking Club with a Reading Problem” group and would highly recommend it. Take it for a spin and let me know what you think!

Cheers,

Court

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Drown yourself in wine if you plan to read Something in the Water…

Book: Something In The Water by Catherine Steadman

Image result for something in the waterErin and Mark are on their way to having an incredible life together as a married couple. They have a large wedding planned with their friends and family, a two-week Honeymoon on a beautiful island, and great jobs to come home to. Unfortunately, one day Mark comes home without a job and becomes mildly obsessed with their cash flow and future; after several blow ups the couple move things around and still manage to have the vacation of a lifetime.

While the lovebirds are snorkeling in the ocean they find something that will change their lives forever. It could solve all their problems, or it could ruin them. Catherine Steadman’s thriller, Something in the Water, follows this couple as they navigate what to do when you’re presented a huge opportunity that could threaten your life.

Reese Witherspoon’s book club, Hello Sunshine, chose S.I.T.W as their July pick and initially I really liked the plot and characters. Unfortunately that didn’t last long. My biggest complaint is that the author opens up with Erin digging a hole to put Mark in. Yep, she jumps right in and lets you know he’s dead. As a reader, I felt like Steadman showed her cards within the first 10 pages! Chapter two takes you back several months to provide background on the characters but you always have that in the back of your head.

My second complaint would be the main character, Erin. I think I’m more disappointed in the genre as a whole than in the author because time and time again you read about a woman so dense she can’t see her hand in front of her face. At every turn she is given evidence that SHOULD lead her to what is going on but of course she can’t seem to figure it out. It’s not fucking rocket science lady!

Overall, I didn’t find the characters likeable. Steadman attempted to have sub-plots that provided background knowledge, but it didn’t connect for me – I continuously wondered why she was bringing it up, especially in the end when she didn’t reference how things were resolved.

I would recommend this book to someone new to the thriller/mystery category because it’s a good start but for someone like myself who reads this genre almost exclusively, it just didn’t speak to me.

Good thing I have a MASSIVE to-read pile at home.

Currently reading:

  1. Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth
  2. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  3. The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin