Scrappy Little Nobody

Anna Kendrick’s Scrappy Little Nobody is the funniest book I have ever read. I went with the audiobook, which Kendrick read herself, because I am now convinced this is the only way to take on comedic or biographic novels. So thankful for this choice! Once again, a shout-out to my co-worker Ewa who recommended this book!

She just gets me 🙂

anna

Official Blurb:

A collection of humorous autobiographical essays by the Academy Award-nominated actress and star of Up in the Air and Pitch Perfect.

Even before she made a name for herself on the silver screen starring in films like Pitch Perfect, Up in the Air, Twilight, and Into the Woods, Anna Kendrick was unusually small, weird, and “10 percent defiant.”

At the ripe age of thirteen, she had already resolved to “keep the crazy inside my head where it belonged. Forever. But here’s the thing about crazy: It. Wants. Out.” In Scrappy Little Nobody, she invites readers inside her brain, sharing extraordinary and charmingly ordinary stories with candor and winningly wry observations.

With her razor-sharp wit, Anna recounts the absurdities she’s experienced on her way to and from the heart of pop culture as only she can—from her unusual path to the performing arts (Vanilla Ice and baggy neon pants may have played a role) to her double life as a middle-school student who also starred on Broadway to her initial “dating experiments” (including only liking boys who didn’t like her back) to reviewing a binder full of butt doubles to her struggle to live like an adult woman instead of a perpetual “man-child.”

Enter Anna’s world and follow her rise from “scrappy little nobody” to somebody who dazzles on the stage, the screen, and now the page—with an electric, singular voice, at once familiar and surprising, sharp and sweet, funny and serious (well, not that serious).

—                         —                         —

In some ways, Anna could be me and in others, she would definitely be my best friend. I love her. I wish I knew her IRL. Speaking of … Anna. Want to move to Canada?!

Things H & A have in common:

  1. We both lust after Tom Hardy
  2. Directionally challenged (both in terms of height and finding our way to places without GPS)
  3. Mostly anti-social peeps who prefer to be at home
  4. Neither of us can sail
  5. Nerds
  6. List-makers
  7. Awkward and riddled with self-doubt

One of the things that struck me the most about this book is that Anna is well-spoken and SMART! Not that I thought she wasn’t, but the more serious portions of her book are much deeper than I was prepared for and she appears markedly more self-possessed, driven and self-aware than I am myself.

I was also very surprised by the fact that she was still dirt-poor and living with roommates after her Oscar-nom for her role in Up in the Air. Listening to her describe this period in her life, when she was barely getting by but everyone around her spoke about her like she’d made it big, was definitely an eye-opener.

In Scrappy Little Nobody, Anna describes herself as a “Man-Child” who is perpetually three months away from maturing enough to take care of “shit”. I KNEW I couldn’t be the only one who stopped emotionally developing at a much younger age! She and I are experts at rationalizing ANYTHING. Make the bed? Why make the bed when you are just going to mess it all up again tonight? Do homework? Isn’t the point of going to school to learn? I can learn without regurgitating it all back to the Teach, who assuredly, most know this stuff already. So I’ll just skip that step thank you very much.

I have OCD so if I start something, it has to be done PERFECTLY or I will drive myself and anyone around me cray. It’s so much easier to just not start a project at all.

Scrappy Little Nobody doesn’t feel like a book. It feels like a conversation, albeit one where the listener is very good at listening and Anna is constantly “on”. Six hours have never passed so quickly and I am seriously contemplating just re-starting her book over again, because I am not ready for it to be over. It’s been 24 hours since I finished listening and I am still missing Anna like a friend who popped in for a short visit and was off again.

* * * * *

xx

 

Crossfire – Sylvia Day

The Crossfire series by Sylvia Day is a fast-paced, well written, dramatic romance series set in modern day New York City. It will greatly appeal to fans of Fifty Shades, but is considerably more entertaining and better written in my opinion.

The heroine is named Eva and she was raised by her mother and a series of extremely wealthy stepfathers. Her best friend / roommate is Cary, a charming and rising male top-model who is currently dating both a girlfriend and a boyfriend. Eva has serious trust issues, and a tendency to run away from relationship problems and commitments because she was sexually abused for years as a child by an older step-brother.

The hero is billionaire businessman Gideon Cross. He can understand and relate to Eva’s problems because he has a few of his own, after witnessing his father’s suicide as a child, and then being abused by his therapist as a teen. Gideon is ruthless, dominant

Bared to you is the first story in the Crossfire series, followed by reflected in you, and entwined with you, captivated by you, and finally, one with you. This series has been completed and the other does not intend to write anymore about Gideon an hour according to her social media posts so this is a great series to check out if you are tired of constantly waiting for the next book.

Top-5-Moments-Crossfire-Series-470

This series has a lot of sex in it,  and a lot of drama between two people used to fucking up their relationships. But despite this, G & E have a soulmate type connection and their love for each other is never in doubt. Day’s writing reminded me of the tale of Odysseus in some ways because Ewa and Gideon have so many trials they must overcome in order to just have each other’s company. Friends, family, and numerous witchy exes all try to keep them apart.

One of the most important aspects of a series for me is the world that is created, and secondary characters are huge factor in this. I love that I quickly grew to care about many of the friends of Gideon and Eva. I cared for Steven and Mark and Trey and Cary and Megumi and Arash and all the rest. I actually hope that a couple of Gideon’s friends have their own books or series one day, particularly Arnoldo or Arash.

I think anyone who has read Crossfire or 50 Shades will inevitably make comparisons between the two series. Both feature a character or two who has been abused as a youth in a sexual manner. Both male heroes are a rich businessmen who are aloof, and difficult to emotionally connect to, though they are highly sexual in nature as well. The heroines are athletics built, smart and educated, new graduates starting out their careers in the field of their choice. But this is where the comparison ends.

Eva is not the wishy-washy, virgin lead that you find in Anastasia. Eva loves sex just as much as Gideon and initiated it as often. The romantic scenes in the Crossfire series are not as kinky. There are no whips, no red room of pain, no sexual contacts. But there is a lot more sex to go with your story. Something I also loved about Eva and Gideon is that there issues don’t magically work themselves out. They go to counselling individually and as a couple because they know they have issues to work through and care enough to do the work so that they will have a stable relationship that will last.

The last book in the series is one with you. I thought that the author was working on another novel until I finished reading it so the series end came as a bit of a surprise to me, even though I mostly feel like it’s a timely end. I feel like today has finished on a strong note and there wasn’t much more to say. That being said, in the last third of this book there is a surprise twist that is very sad and it left me bawling my eyes out into my pillow. I didn’t feel like there was enough time for the reader or the main characters to recover from this plot twist and get over it. At the end of the day this is a romance novel and I like my romances to and happily. I thought this plot twist would have been more appropriate at the beginning of the book or in the previous one. I don’t resent that it happened, but I don’t think it was handled well.

Otherwise, I highly recommend this novel and the whole series to anyone who likes romance. It’s less kinky than my usual fare but still a fantastic read with lots of sex. 

* * * * * 

Xx

My (Not So) Perfect Life…

my not so perfect life

Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed.

Ok, so the real truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn’t really hers.

But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren’t they?

Until her not-so perfect life comes crashing down when her mega-successful boss Demeter gives her the sack. All Katie’s hopes are shattered. She has to move home to Somerset, where she helps her dad with his new glamping business.

Then Demeter and her family book in for a holiday, and Katie sees her chance. But should she get revenge on the woman who ruined her dreams? Or try to get her job back? Does Demeter – the woman with everything – have such an idyllic life herself? Maybe they have more in common than it seems.

And what’s wrong with not-so-perfect, anyway?

—                         —                         —

Sophie Kinsella is my favourite British writer by far. Her novels are always on-trend with modern-day life and completely relatable to me, as a woman and a young professional. Her books are laugh-out-loud funny and a great way to cheer up. Considering I usually read dark romances or heavy erotica, it is a lovely treat to sit down and read something completly different when Kinsella releases a new novel.

My (Not So) Perfect Life is the most recent book to be released and one that I have devoured. Kinsella’s books are fast-paced page-turners, filled with good feels, awkward situations and a happy ending.

When Katie is laid off from her job in London she is devastated. It may not be the perfect position, but she is starting out in the field of her dreams, living in the “best” city in the world and learning loads everyday. The last thing she wants to admit to her beloved father is that she has failed, especially since he is all too eager to have Katie move home and live locally.

This experience is similar to one I went through a couple of years ago. I was working a shitty job in the field of my dreams, learning and putting in time until I could rise up in the ranks. Then I was laid off (five days before Christmas mind you!) and absolutely devastated. Looking back, I can say that it is one of the hardest – and best – things that I have ever been through because it made me grow as a person and I have ended up in a better place. But at the time, I thought the world was ending and that I was the biggest failure going, much as Katie does.

My (Not So) Perfect Life was a real win for me. I am a country girl at heart and totally into the organic and environmentally-friendly lifestyle that is trendy at the moment. The fact that this was so heavily favoured in Katie’s branding of her parents’ new glamping business, and the fact that most of the book took place in the country, made this country-girl shine.

Some of the plot is overly predictable, but that isn’t what you are reading a Sophie Kinsella book for. This isn’t a book full of mystery or intrigue. The story is character-driven, as the author unravels new layers of each of the characters and focuses on the relationships between them.

If you are a fan of Kinsella and think you have read all of her books, check out the ones under her pen name of Madeleine Wickham.

* * * * *

xx

Yours and Mine by Christine Duval

Yours and Mine is the long-awaited sequel to Positively Mine. They are both books in the Freshman Forty Series.

yours and mine

Picking up from the dramatic ending of Positively Mine, Yours and Mine continues the Freshman Forty series as we meet Danny Santoro, Laurel’s baby’s father, for the first time.

It’s been almost a year since he last saw her, that sultry morning she walked off the beach before dawn had even cracked the August sky. It seemed from her silence, she was out of his life forever.

But Laurel’s timing couldn’t be worse to tell him he’s a father. The last year hasn’t been easy. Danny’s own father was arrested for a DUI, his mother moved out, and Danny started sleeping with his brother’s old high school, drug-abusing girlfriend.

After Laurel shocks him with the news, she attempts to relinquish Danny of any parental responsibility leading to a heated custody battle. In an unorthodox arrangement, an eccentric judge orders Danny and Laurel to spend alternating nights with each other for the upcoming school year.

Told from Danny’s point of view, Yours and Mine explores the second chapter of a romance that never got off the ground, the challenges of young parenting, and the hope of rekindled love.

—                         —                         —

I am so excited that Yours and Mine has finally been released! I have been periodically checking back on the author’s goodreads profile for a couple of years with no luck, only to find out this time that it was released at the end of last year! It was also pretty surprising that the entire book is written from Danny’s perspective, a character that we had barely met before.

But as surprising as this was, it worked. I like how the author planned it out.

This is a story of a custody struggle between two young parents. Its a story of growing trust and coming of age and working out relationships. It is the pinnacle of a new adult novel, and a fairly clean one. Yours and Mine starts the same way that Positively Mine ended, with Laurel telling Danny that they have a three month old daughter together.

Something that really stood out to me in this novel is that the characters stay very true to themselves.

Laurel is 3-4 years younger than Danny and has had much less responsibility throughout her adolescence, and certainly more financial privilege. Her experiences of being emotionally estranged from her father and of burying her mother as a pre-teen shaped her to be secretive and withdrawn. She has a difficult time sharing and recognizing other’s feelings. Especially since find out she was going to become a mother herself, Laurel relied only on herself and has a difficult time letting Danny into her and their daughter’s lives.

Danny has been working a fulltime job for years, and is now juggling that job with a Masters program in Homeland Security and adjusting to the news of fatherhood. He also has to worry about his mother and help her to recover from his father’s alcohol and gambling addictions.

Although Laurel is a good person and a good Mother, her relative immaturity is apparent. She often fails to communicate with Danny, and clings to the idea that she can be a normal college girl on the nights that Danny has physical custody of their daughter. When things don’t work out the way she had dreamed, she is initially heartbroken and doesn’t know how to move forward and make it right. Although changed by mommyhood, Laurel clearly has less experience in relationships and less confidence in herself. Her go-to move is to hunker down and completely withdraw.

I loved reading Yours and Mine from Danny’s point of view, but at times I wish we could have also had Laurel’s. It was a little funny to not be in her head at all, after the first book was entirely from her perspective.

At the end of the day I loved this book, but I can’t give it 5 / 5 stars because I felt that it was too short and that their problems were resolved too easily. I was expecting the same format as the first book, which covered the entire academic year, but Yours and Mine resolves by (American) Thanksgiving. The ending was also fairly predictable but I loved the happily ever after fans were left with so I can’t really complain about that.

I hope that the author writes another book, and that this time the wait isn’t so long!

Edit: I also love this cover! It is perfect in its simplicity and represents the story and characters wonderfully.

* * * * *

xx

Full Contact (Redemption book 3)

Full Contact is the third novel in the Redemption series, featuring MMA fighters and their lady loves.

full-contact

Blurb:

When you can’t resist the one person who could destroy you…

Sia O’Donnell can’t help but push the limits. She secretly attends every underground MMA fight featuring The Predator, the undisputed champion. When he stalks his prey in the ring, Sia is mesmerized. He is dominant and dangerous and every instinct tells her to run.

Every beautiful thing Ray “The Predator” touches he knows he’ll eventually destroy. Soft, sweet and innocent, Sia is the light to Ray’s darkness-and completely irresistible. From the moment he lays eyes on her, he knows he’s going to have to put his dark past behind him to win her body and soul.

—                    —                    —

I was really surprised that this novel was about Sia and Ray for some reason. Usually the main secondary characters in the previous books are leading into those characters’ HEA, so I was expecting Rampage to be the lead. I also suspected Penny and Ray could end up together but I like this match-up better.

I’m still surprised though, that Sia and Ray had their story told so early. Although the reader knows Ray (or at least thinks they do), Sia is almost completely unknown and Ray had yet to start training at Redemption in the first two novels. The story is written entirely from Sia’s POV, so it felt like I was starting a new series in some ways, even though Ray had been previously introduced.

Regardless …

Sia is overcoming a lot of turmoil in her past and has plenty of triggers that need to be worked through. I love the strong female characters in this series. We started with a female paramedic, then a lawyer, and now a tattoo artist. Each of the girls also start training MMA to one degree or another, as their interests are sparked by the man they are dating. None of these ladies wants to be a victim or a push-over, and I admire that resilience and determination each employs in facing life’s challenges.

Ray (minor spoiler but not really) is secretly a CIA agent. Explains where he got those master P.I. skills! I wish that he had been further explored throughout the story. I felt like Castille was building him up through the previous novel just to drop him and explain the relationship through Sia’s POV only. Not cool. It would have been awesome to explore his shadowy career a little more closely, and figure out how he manages to be a domestically-operating CIA agent while working as a corporate P.I. in a law firm and still fight in the underground circuit. Talk about a busy man!

Sia blossoms as an independent thinking throughout the story. She grows and learns to believe in herself and take chances safely. I also wish we could have seen more of her and Ray’s struggles to overcome her triggers during intimacy and Ray’s issues with this. I do feel like the dialogue is lacking a little in this series. The characters seem to argue over the same things repeatedly and then it just works out, without showing the steps and compromises it took to get there.

Hopefully this is something that will be rectified in the fourth book. It is the HEA of Rampage and Penny and I dearly hope it will be told from both of their perspective’s. According to the author’s facebook page this week, it will be due out in April 2017 and the title is listed as Fighting Attraction. Apparently Rampage is quite the scary Dom in his personal life. I will be ecstatic if it is finally the book to ramp up the edginess!

* * *

xx

In Your Corner (Redemption book )

This is the second book in the Redemption series by Sarah Castille. If you want to read about the first book, click here.

in-your-corner

Blurb:

He rules in the ring

Two years ago, Jake and Amanda were going hot and heavy. But when Jake wanted more, Amanda walked away. Jake immersed himself in mixed martial arts, living life on the edge. But that didn’t dull the pain of Amanda’s rejection-until a chance encounter throws them together.

A high-powered lawyer, Amanda was a no-strings-attached kind of girl. But two years after her breakup with Jake, she still hasn’t found anyone who gets her heart pumping the way he did. And then he shows up in her boardroom, hot as sin and needing help…

But can he rule her heart?

Jake is darker, sexier, and impossible to resist. As their chemistry builds, Amanda’s not sure if she can stay in control, or if she’s finally willing to let him claim her body and soul.

—                    —                    —

I read the first book in the Redemption series last week and it has quickly turned into a must-read series! I love the gritty-ness of the story and even though the dominance is a little tamer than I am used to, it is still present and HOT.

This one left me satisfied … and with a book hangover considering I was up until 4am to finish it !

In Your Corner features Amanda and Jake, who were recurring characters in the first novel. Because much of their back story as a couple is referenced in Against the Ropes, I would strongly suggest you read these books in order.

One of the main differences between the novels, is that most of the first book takes place in the underground MMA club Redemption, and in comparison, very little of the story is there in this title. Another difference is that Redemption is now a legitimate MMA training facility, sanctioned by the CSAC, and there are female fighters training there, with organized fitness/martial arts classes for both men and women.

Castille writes entirely from the heroine’s perspective in this series, seemingly uncommon of late, which helps the reader to develop a deep understanding of her female character, but Jake remains a bit of an enigma. I wish that we could have had more of the book devoted to him. Usually when a book is read, I feel as if I know the characters as friends, but Jake would be an acquaintance at best.

The heroine, Amanda, is a lawyer and you get to know her much more thoroughly. The author herself was a lawyer in her previous career so I found this to be a very interesting perspective and – at least to me – there were no glaringly obvious mistakes in the legal arena. The level of detail helped to create the character’s world and bring it to life because it was well-written and believable. I also loved that Amanda had a noticeably – but not obnoxiously – higher vocabulary than any other character in the series, which makes sense ‘cause hello! Lawyer! This was one of those little things that stuck with me and shows that the author is improving as a writer and cared enough to make sure that Amanda was distinct from the other characters in the series.

In Your Corner introduces a whole new cast of supporting characters to draw from. Amanda quickly opens her own legal firm after unpleasantness at her previous company, and her main P.I. and assistant follow her. Because everything is written from Amanda’s perspective, you get to know these new characters very well.

I would like to see the author expand on the emotional intricacies of a D/s relationship in later novels. Although the dynamic is present in this couple, as well as between Torment and Makayla in book 1, it hasn’t really been explored to my satisfaction. I think this would be a great next avenue for her to explore.

Speaking of, if you are looking for lots of updates on Torment and Mak, you will be disappointed. Although present in key parts, for much of the story they are off-page. Amanda and Jake are the stars now!

* * * *

xx

How kinky are you?

A couple of years ago I discovered this bdsm test online that seems on the up and up. It is found at bdsmtest.org and I think it started out as a research paper of some kind, seeking data. It certainly isn’t your garden variety buzzfeed test!

Check it out here.

So I just re-took the quiz. I don’t know what my results from last time were, but I have certainly grown as an individual, so I was curious what they would be now.

I like that the test responds to your choices and interests. If you indicate that you would like to learn more or reach out to someone in the lifestyle, it provides options for you to do that. I also provided my email address in case they create more tests of this nature, since I would like to participate in them.

To date, more than 100, 000 participants have been involved! It gives you great results based on this data to show how you answered in comparison to other respondents based on gender and age.

So here are my results! **bites nails, hopes not to be judged**  What are yours?

== Results from bdsmtest.org ==
98% Rope bunny
97% Submissive
75% Experimentalist
75% Brat
74% Masochist
48% Girl/Boy
45% Voyeur
45% Primal (Prey)
42% Slave
27% Ageplayer
27% Exhibitionist
22% Vanilla
11% Pet
11% Degradee
6% Daddy/Mommy
5% Sadist
5% Non-monogamist
4% Switch
3% Rigger
1% Dominant
1% Primal (Hunter)
1% Master/Mistress
1% Brat tamer
0% Degrader
0% Owner

If that gets you hot and steamy, some of the kinkiest books I have reviewed are located here:

His Witness by Vanessa Waltz – A review

Alexandr’s Cherished Submissive by Ann Mayburn – a review

Twist Me by Anna Zaires – book review

xx