Rancher’s Remorse (which is what I felt after reading it)

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Rancher's Remorse (Culpepper Cowboys #2)Rancher’s Remorse by Merry Farmer
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Okay. *sigh* So when I finished this book last night I was literally mad. Like pissed off. (And I do not use the word literally unless I mean it.)

I started reading this series because the next book in the River’s End series doesn’t come out until next week and I’ve always been a fan of Kirsten Osbourne and the series’ that she writes with other authors. When I was reading the first book in the series, Wyoming Wedding by K.O., I started to have some misgivings about the series in general but I was so excited to find a series with like 15 books in it that I overlooked the fact that the lead male called his manly bits his ding-a-ling upon first meeting his so-to-be-bride. I should have just stopped right there. But no, I was bound and determined to give it the benefit of the doubt. And then he did it again. A few times. Anyway, I finished that book even though it irked me and started the second one, hoping that the series would redeem itself. It didn’t. Which just annoys me to no end because the premise is good!

So, Rancher’s Remorse… Where do I begin? Basically both the male and female lead characters in this story were so stupid that I’m pretty sure if they were real people they wouldn’t be smart enough to live. Like they might forget to breathe. That’s how dumb these characters are. It was actually painful to read. I’m including spoilers here so if you plan to read these books you might want to go away now.

Let’s start with Faith, the second sister in the Quinlan Quads. She makes dolls. Super realistic dolls with porcelain limbs and faces that she sculpts and then fires in her kiln. These dolls have apparently swept the nation and now her business is famous. She repeatedly tells her idiot husband, Cooper, that she makes dolls and that she has a kiln being delivered any day now but for some reason he thinks the kiln is like a glorified crock pot and that the dolls are rag dolls. She is scared to tell him about her business for some reason that I never quite understand.

Anyway, Faith is also under the delusion that she can’t have children because of using her kiln. Apparently, her creepy and borderline abusive mother took her to the doctor and had the doctor tell her that because she was working outside the home making these dolls and selling them on the internet, that the kiln had dried up her womb. And she believed them. Despite the fact that this story does not take place in the 19th century. This is contemporary fiction. Meaning it’s happening now, in current times. So this modern woman, who knows nothing about sex but is somehow familiar with porn, went to college and has access to the internet yet she never googled whether or not using an electric kiln would shrivel up her baby factory?!

And Cooper! Lord, let me get to Cooper. This man is so crazy that he must be “out of bed by 530, in the shower by 531, out of the shower by 538, bed made by 541, dressed by 545, and at the table eating breakfast by 550.” Because cows.

Then, then!, he decides that the big secret Faith is keeping from him isn’t that she’s head of a national brand of dolls, nope, he decides that she’s stealing babies and selling them on the black market. And the next logical thought is that Faith’s sisters and Cooper’s own mother are helping her. Because obviously he thinks so poorly of his sweet mother that he assumes she could be coerced into selling black market children by four women she met less than a month ago! At one point he even thinks that perhaps she is mailing the babies in boxes through the post office. He actually storms into a cafe and accuses his wife of stealing and selling children out loud in front of other people.

In the end Faith learns the error of keeping secrets and Cooper learns the error of jumping (or leaping headfirst) to ridiculous conclusions. Oh, and that nonsense about Faith’s withered up lady bits is finally revealed as hogwash when Faith ends up knocked up within weeks of getting married. So yay for morons breeding and having more moron babies; that’s just what the world needs, fictional or not.

Basically I was so mad at the end of this book that I wanted to throw my kindle across the room. Had I been reading an actual book and not my precious electronic device, I would have happily thrown it against the wall. I’m sure some of the other 13 books in the series are good or have some redeeming qualities, but if they do I’ll never know because I will be damned before I read another book in this series. I feel like both Wyoming Wedding and Rancher’s Remorse were written by middle school girls during lunch in a Lisa Frank spiral bound notebook with pink and purple glittery gel pens. (not that there is anything wrong with Lisa Frank notebooks or glittery gel pens.) I kind of feel like even though this book was free with Kindle Unlimited, like Amazon or the author should refund me anyway.

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The Time of My Life

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The Time of My LifeThe Time of My Life by Patrick Swayze
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve been meaning to read this book for years but just never got around to it. I grew up with Dirty Dancing, Red Dawn, The Outsiders, and Roadhouse so I was definitely a Patrick Swayze fan. I was upset by his cancer diagnosis and eventual death, but it wasn’t until a few years ago when a friend of mine was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that I realized just what that diagnosis had meant for him.

What I liked most about this book is that is focuses on his early life and his career up to his diagnosis. I didn’t realize that Swayze had danced ballet professionally, though I knew he was a dancer. I enjoyed reading about his experiences while working and why he chose to make the films he did. He definitely wasn’t as prolific as some actors and it’s because he make movies he really believed in, even if they weren’t mega blockbusters. He could have made many more movies if he had allowed himself to be typecast but he really didn’t want that. He liked to make different kinds of films to stretch his abilities and to learn new things.

I also enjoyed reading about his relationship with his wife. They had their problems but they worked things out together through it all. In a time when a lot of Hollywood marriages don’t last more than a few years, it’s refreshing to read about a couple who truly loved, respected, and supported each other.

I have always enjoyed memoirs and autobiographies. Call it my nosy nature but I like the behind the scenes info people share about their lives that I wouldn’t otherwise get to know. I would have liked a bit more background on his family and I certainly felt that the loss of their baby could have gotten more than a couple of paragraphs but I imagine that even all those years later, it must have been incredibly difficult to write about.

Overall, I’m glad I read the book but it makes me sad too, to think of the loss of such a talented man, gone much too soon.

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Backstage with the Original Hollywood Square – DNF

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Backstage with the Original Hollywood SquareBackstage with the Original Hollywood Square by Peter Marshall
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I grew up watching Hollywood Squares and loved it. It was definitely one of my favorite games shows and as an 80’s kid I was a game show junkie. I was excited when I found this book on Kindle Unlimited but at 24% done, I’m adding it to my DNF shelf and giving it up. I am bored. to. death. reading this book. It’s not that I was expecting any shocking revelations or anything but this book is as dry as Aunt Suzy’s meatloaf. I’ll stick to finding old clips of Squares on Youtube.

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Top 5 Wednesday on Saturday

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Top Five Wednesday was created by gingerreadslainey and is now hosted by Thoughts on Tomes! Visit the Goodreads group if you’re interested in joining! This week’s topic is:

December 28th – Characters You’d Invite to Your New Year’s Eve Party
Pretty self explanatory. Who would you want to your NYE bash and why?

I’m writing this on New Year’s Eve while watching Star Wars with the volume turned up so loud my neighbors can probably hear it. Why so loud? Because I have a terrified lab/pit mix puppy that cowers every time she hears someone celebrating with fireworks or gunfire. She is currently hiding under the bed so I could probably turn the volume down a little since she’s back in the bedroom but that would require finding the remote and who knows where it’s gotten to.

So it’s Saturday and not Wednesday but I’m sure you’ll all forgive me for going back and tackling an old topic.

My first guest would have to be Ramona Geraldine Qmag-article-largeuimby, from the Ramona books written by Beverly Cleary. I’ve wanted to meet her since I was a little girl. And from reading about her, she sure seems to know how to have fun! I think Ramona and I would have been great friends if we had grown up together. She has been one of my favorite fictional characters for close to 35 years. I used to imagine that we lived in the same neighborhood and could walk on coffee can stilts and play brick factory together. This would be grown up Ramona though, but I’m pretty sure she’s still just as fun as she was as a kid. (And while I’m on the subject, I’d totally invite Beverly Cleary to my NYE bash too even though she’s not fictional and she’s 100 years old.)

150710-1-1My second guest would be Stephanie Plum, from the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. Stephanie has a great sense of humor, heavy on the sarcasm which I personally enjoy, so she’d probably be fun to hang out with. Plus she might bring Joe Morelli or Ranger with her as her date and you can never have to many hot guys at a party. (I guess, I haven’t actually been to a party in like 10 years.) And Janet Evanovich could come and hang out with Beverly Cleary. And let me just point out that while I did not particularly agree with Katherine Heigl being cast as Stephanie in the travesty that was One for the Money, this picture kind of does look like Stephanie in my head. Only her hair should be bigger. And there should be blue eye shadow or something. And definitely more eye liner.

fred_and_george_weasley_hbp_promo_2My third and fourth guests would be Fred and George Weasley, from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. (Don’t bother telling me Fred is dead; it’s my party, I’ll invite who I want to. Besides in my world Fred is still alive. I like to pretend the seventh book never happened.) Clearly the twins know how to liven things up and have a good time. In fact the whole Weasley clan can come, including Molly and Arthur. (They are the reason my Mollywobbles has her name after all.) But if Ginny brings Harry, he better not start whining about being an orphan or having to fight He Who Must Not Be Named, or whatever else he whines about all. the. time. It’s a party, ain’t nobody got time for that. (And it goes without saying that J.K. would be invited as well because, well, because she’s J.K. freaking Rowling.)

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And for my fifth guest I’m going to cheat and invite Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter, from the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. Because really, you can’t invite one and not invite all of them. I’d have to invite them because they are the exact opposite of the weak we-need-a-prince-to-rescue-us princesses that Disney has given us pretty much forever. (until very recently) Granted they all fell in love and couldn’t have done what they all did without the help of Prince Kai, Carswell, Wolf, and whatever-his-name-was that loved Winter, but they are all still kick ass female characters. I’m sure we could talk them into telling us some great stories about their adventures and Carswell would definitely be fun at a party, though dealing with Prince Kai’s security detail might be a pain. (And of course Marissa Meyer is invited because I can’t invite all the other authors and not invite her! Besides I’d love to pick her brain about writing.)

So, that’s who I’d invite to my NYE bash. Now you must excuse me, I have a real bash to get ready for. And by that I mean, it’s time to put on my pajamas, put in The Empire Strikes Back dvd, and bake brownies. Happy New Year bookworms!

2017 Ultimate Popsugar Reading Challenge Log

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popsugar-logo-pink The main list is 40 prompts long. Most participants read one book for each prompt but the challenge is up to each individual so some people will use the same book to fulfill multiple prompts.

1. A book recommended by a librarian
2. A book that’s been on your TBR list for way too long
3. A book of letters
4. An audiobook
5. A book by a person of color
6. A book with one of the four seasons in the title
7. A book that is a story within a story
8. A book with multiple authors
9. An espionage thriller
10. A book with a cat on the cover
11. A book by an author who uses a pseudonym
12. A bestseller from a genre you don’t normally read
13. A book by or about a person who has a disability
14. A book involving travel
15. A book with a subtitle
16. A book that’s published in 2017
17. A book involving a mythical creature
18. A book you’ve read before that never fails to make you smile
19. A book about food
20. A book with career advice
21. A book from a nonhuman perspective
22. A steam punk novel
23. A book with a red spine
24. A book set in the wilderness
25. A book you loved as a child
26. A book by an author from a country you’ve never visited
27. A book with a title that’s a character’s name
28. A novel set during wartime
29. A book with an unreliable narrator
30. A book with pictures
31. A book where the main character is a different ethnicity than you
32. A book about an interesting woman
33. A book set in two different time periods
34. A book with a month or day of the week in the title
35. A book set in a hotel
36. A book written by someone you admire
37. A book that’s becoming a movie in 2017
38. A book set around a holiday other than Christmas
39. The first book in a series you haven’t read before
40. A book you bought on a trip

For those who want to try to read 52 books in the year, there is an advanced category with an additional 12 prompts.

Advanced
1. A book recommended by an author you love
2. A bestseller from 2016
3. A book with a family member term in the title
4. A book that takes place over a character’s life span
5. A book about an immigrant or refugee
6. A book from a genre/subgenre you’ve never heard of
7. A book with an eccentric character
8. A book that’s more than 800 pages
9. A book you got from a used book sale
10. A book that’s been mentioned in another book
11. A book about a difficult topic
12. A book based on mythology

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To Count or Not To Count

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I’ve seen a few different blog posts and articles over the past few days that question whether or not one should set a yearly reading goal  so I thought I’d weigh in with my two cents. Or maybe four cents depending on how long-winded I decide to be.

I admit it, I’m a big fan of Goodreads. I’ve been a member since 2007 and I have shelved every book I’ve read since then by the year I read it. I’ve also participated in the Goodreads Reading Challenge every year since 2012 by setting a goal of how many books I want to try to read. I also participate in other reading challenges such as the Ultimate Popsugar Reading Challenge which sets out parameters for books to read. For example, in the 2017 Popsugar challenge, I am supposed to read a book with a red spine, listen to an audiobook, and read a book written by more than one author, among other things.

My goals vary from year to year and sometimes I even change them throughout the year. Some years, if I’m particularly busy or going through a depression that causes me to be unable to focus on reading, I read far fewer books than in other years. If Goodreads lets me know that I’m behind in my goal reading, I don’t let it bother me. If I catch up, great. If I don’t, maybe I need to lower my goal.

In 2016 my original goal was 100 books. I haven’t read that many books in the past couple of years and I wanted to read more this year. When I hit 100 books, I upped my goal. No stress. Some books I read in a day or two. Some books I read in a week. Some books I’ve started months ago and not finished yet. I’ll pick them back up later. Reading is my relief from stress not a source of stress!

I’m sure there are other people out there who feel pressured by the goal but for me it’s just fun for myself. Sure, I can always use how many books I’ve read in a meeting where we’re forced to tell some ice breaking fact about ourselves and, yes, it’s always fun to see the look on people’s faces when I say I’ve read 317 books so far this year, but the fact is, I read for my own personal enjoyment so I track what I read for my own personal enjoyment too.

I also don’t stress out about the length of the books I read or the seriousness of the topic or whether or not I read only classics or great literature. I read mass market paperbacks and I’m proud of it! I even occasionally buy books at the grocery store or the drug store. (I’ll post more on book snobs at a later date.)

I like to try to read more this year than I read last year. I like to read a variety of different genres. I like to read about different topics, people, events. I just flat-out like to read. I read paperback books, hardback books, and e-books. I read YA books, kids books, adult books, novels, anthologies, short stories, books published by major publishing houses, and self published kindle books. I read good books, average books, amazing books, terrible books, and books I don’t finish (because life is too short to read a book you hate).

If setting a goal stresses you out and making reading less enjoyable for you, don’t set a goal. But if you can set a goal and have fun with it, do it. Just read!

2016 Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge
Cindy has
completed her goal of reading
300 books in
2016!
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