Tag: comedy

Guest Review: 10 Dates by Emily James

Posted May 29, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: 10 Dates by Emily JamesReviewer: Tracy
10 Dates by Emily James
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: May 16th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Add It: Goodreads
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Joanie Fox can't wait to settle down and marry the man of her dreams. However, when her engagement starts to look more stalemate than soulmate, her best friend stages an intervention sure to make even the most hardened, serial daters wince: 10 Dates in 10 Days.

Statistically, if you kiss a lot of frogs there's bound to be at least one that's not a complete toad, isn't there? With nothing to lose, Joanie embarks on a crazy rollercoaster of blind dates. After all, what can possibly go wrong in the search for Mr. Right?

10 Dates is a standalone, sexy, laugh out loud romantic comedy with a happy ending. It is not for the feint hearted and is best suited for readers over the age of eighteen due to sexual themes and mature content.

Joanie’s been with the same loser boyfriend, Chris, for three years.  The guy has cheated on her, used her and her money and she still hopes that he asks her to marry him. Ok…   So Chris asks Joanie to put on a New Year’s Eve party which she does – spending all of her own money – because she thinks he’s going to propose and why not go all out on your engagement party, right?  Instead he announces that he’s leaving England to head to New York to promote his dating app.  Chris is shocked when Joanie is upset – but that’s not before he pops her in the eye (albeit accidentally) with a champagne cork and she falls into the cake at the party.

Joanie is arguing with Chris the next day in the lobby of her apartment building when a tenant comes out to make sure everything is alright.  Joanie is speechless as the guy is dripping wet and only in a towel but she manages to keep her tongue in her mouth.  That starts the interactions between Joanie who lives in apartment number 4 and her next-door neighbor who lives in apartment 6.  They have no idea what each other’s names are so they go by Four and Six.

Joanie’s best friends Melinda and Mikey decide (mostly Melinda) that Joanie needs to go on 10 dates in 10 days with guys that Melinda has chosen and there’s bound to be someone that Joanie connects with.  So begin the dates and they go from bad to worse.  While all of this is going on Joanie’s flirting with Six and she starts to think that something’s there.  Unfortunately some miscommunication sends the pair reeling and the two might never be able to connect.

This was a cute little romance.  I like Joanie a lot and thought she had an overabundance of patience with her best friends.  They were each going through their own relationship issues so they were all kind of working together to get through it all.

Joanie and Six’s friendship started off well and I loved their interactions. They were very cute together and I could see how they would be good together.  I wish that they could have spent a bit more time together on page but we did have to get through the dates.

Another issue with the book is one that might not bother anyone else.  I’m not a huge fan of slapstick comedy and this book had a bunch.  If something bad could happen to Joanie it did and she was constantly, slipping, falling, acting crazy, eating pot cookies – you name it – that would make her act silly.  Some readers might think it’s fun and funny but I just thought it made her look ridiculous and clumsy (although the pot cookies were not her fault. 🙂 ).

Despite my issues with the comedy and on-page time I thought the story and characters were great.  I really enjoyed reading Joanie’s journey through her dates and the romance between Joanie and Six.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5


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Review: One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

Posted April 10, 2012 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: One for the Money by Janet EvanovichReviewer: Holly
One for the Money (Stephanie Plum, #1) by Janet Evanovich
Series: Stephanie Plum #1
Also in this series: Two for the Dough (Stephanie Plum, #2)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: April 14, 2003
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: five-stars

Welcome to Trenton, New Jersey, home to wiseguys, average Joes, and Stephanie Plum, who sports a big attitude and even bigger money problems (since losing her job as a lingerie buyer for a department store). Stephanie needs cash―fast―but times are tough, and soon she's forced to turn to the last resort of the truly desperate: family...

Stephanie lands a gig at her sleazy cousin Vinnie's bail bonding company. She's got no experience. But that doesn't matter. Neither does the fact that the bail jumper in question is local vice cop Joe Morelli. From the time he first looked up her dress to the time he first got into her pants, to the time Steph hit him with her father's Buick, M-o-r-e-l-l-i has spelled t-r-o-u-b-l-e. And now the hot guy is in hot water―wanted for murder...

Abject poverty is a great motivator for learning new skills, but being trained in the school of hard knocks by people like psycho prizefighter Benito Ramirez isn't. Still, if Stephanie can nab Morelli in a week, she'll make a cool ten grand. All she has to do is become an expert bounty hunter overnight―and keep herself from getting killed before she gets her man...

One for the Money (Stephanie Plum #1) by Janet Evanovich

First, I need to get this out of the way: I do not like Katherine Heigl as Stephanie Plum. That could be because I don’t like KH period, but I think it’s much more likely it’s because she just isn’t who I pictured as Plum. When it comes out on DVD I might rent it just to see. On the other hand, I might not.

Also, I think the pricing on this novel since the movie came out is ridiculous. I bought a mmp (with the cover shown) for $7.99 a billion years ago. Now the only cover available on Amazon is the one with Heigl on it and it’s listed for sale at $14.99 (on sale for $9.98). This book is lighthearted and hilarious, but not worth $14.99 for a paperback. If I were you I’d pick it up at a used book store, or from the library.

Stephanie Plum is a little down on her luck. The Trenton, New Jersey girl has lost her job as a lingerie buyer for a sleazy department store, her car has been repossessed, her overbearing Italian mother is trying to set her up with a balding, fat butcher and she’s had to sell off all her furniture and appliances just to make ends meet.

As a last resort, she goes to her cousin Vinnie and blackmails him into giving her a job…as a bounty hunter. Steph doesn’t know much about being a bounty hunter, but she’s determined to get the $10,000 finders fee on the biggest skip-trace on the books. One vice cop, Joseph Morelli.

Thing is, Joe and Steph have a little history together, and Steph isn’t sure if bringing him is just business as usual, or a personal vendetta. The first time she met Morelli she was 7 and he dragged her into his parents garage to play Choo-Choo, and didn’t even let her hold the flashlight. Then, when she was 17, he nailed her behind the Eclair case at the donut shop she was working, then wrote all the dirty details in the men’s room at Mario’s sub shop. Four years later, Steph saw him walking down the street and ran him over with her dad’s Buick. So, yeah, bringing him down might be personal.

To make matters worse, Steph gets on the bad side of a psychotic deranged boxer name Benito Ramirez. But Steph is made of tough stuff and she isn’t going to let a 250 lb psycho keep her from getting her man…

This is the first book in a possible neverending book series about bond agent Stephanie Plum. It’s the perfect set up for the series and one of the funniest books I’ve ever read.

From Steph’s Mazda Miata getting repo’d by a sleazy guy she went to high school with, to her mother’s constant harping, this book is laugh out loud funny. In the first three chapters alone, I was laughing so hard I was crying. Let’s see:

Grandma Mazer, Steph’s 80-year-old grandmother decides to start wearing biker shorts and accidentally shoots the ass out of the chicken with Steph’s gun during Sunday dinner.

Steph goes to get a job with her cousin Vinnie and has to blackmail him into giving her the job by reminding him, “I know about Madam Zaretski and her whips and chains. I know about the boys. And I know about the duck.”

Steph “commandeers” Morelli’s car (read: steals) and when Morelli comes for it, he catches her the shower. She’s stolen the distributor cap and he wants it back. When she refuses to give it up he handcuffs her to the curtain rod – naked – and leaves her there. Hey, he’s not a complete asshole, he left her the phone.

Steph’s antics are enough to have anyone in stitches. Pick up the first book and give yourself over to the crazy world of Stephanie Plum. You won’t be sorry.

4.25 out of 5 (It’s not without its flaws, but the laugh factor alone is enough to make me score this in the high range)

Click here for the full series list and reading order.

As an aside: the first few books in this series are hilarious and very addicting. Unfortunately as the series wears on, the shine wears off. I stopped reading at book 12 and have no intention of going back.

This book is available from St. Martin’s Press. You can buy it here or here in e-format.


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Review: The Bro-Magnet by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Posted February 6, 2012 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Holly’s review of The Bro-Magnet by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Women have been known to lament, “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.” For Johnny Smith, the problem is, “Always a Best Man, never a groom.” At age 33, housepainter Johnny has been Best Man eight times. The ultimate man’s man, Johnny loves the Mets, the Jets, his weekly poker game, and the hula girl lamp that hangs over his basement pool table. Johnny has the instant affection of nearly every man he meets, but one thing he doesn’t have is a woman to share his life with, and he wants that desperately.

When Johnny meets District Attorney Helen Troy, he decides to renounce his bro-magnet ways in order to impress her. With the aid and advice of his friends and family, soon he’s transforming his wardrobe, buying throw pillows, ditching the hula girl lamp, getting a cat and even changing his name to the more mature-sounding John. And through it all, he’s pretending to have no interest in sports, which Helen claims to abhor.

As things heat up with Helen, the questions arise: Will Johnny finally get the girl? And, if he’s successful in that pursuit, who will he be now that he’s no longer really himself? THE BRO-MAGNET is a rollicking comedic novel about what one man is willing to give up for the sake of love.

I have to admit, I was turned off this book initially by the title and cover. If the author hadn’t contacted me with an excerpt, I probably wouldn’t have bothered to read it. Which is a shame, because this was a hilarious, engrossing read.

I struggled a bit through the first couple chapters. After that the story captured me. I actually laughed out loud several times while reading. I even shared passages with my husband, which he snickered at as well.

Painter Johnny Smith is forever a groomsman, never a groom. He wants to change this. Unfortunately for him, all men love him and all women hate him. His fate was sealed at birth, and hasn’t changed in all his 33 years.

Right from the start, I’ve been a disappointment to women.
Here’s me at my own birth:
On January 1, 1977, after thirty-two hours, fourteen minutes and fifty-three seconds of labor, most of it during a heat wave so bad there are citywide power outages – a heat wave that would have been perfectly normal in Florida, but in New England, not so much – my mother, Francesca Smith, gives birth to me at home at exactly 2:19 p.m.
She insisted on the home birth because she said it would be more natural.
Alfresca Tivoli, Francesca’s sister, is present as Francesca’s birthing coach because my father, John Smith, says it’s women’s work. Plus, he’s scared shitless.
As I emerge from between my mother’s legs – all thirteen pounds, eight ounces of me – Alfresca catches me. Then I do the usual baby stuff: I get my cord cut, I’m slapped, I cry, I get weighed and measured, someone wipes the cheesy stuff off my hairy head, and finally I get handed off to my mother.
“Oh,” Francesca says, gently parting the swaddling to examine my body further, “it’s a boy. This wasn’t what I was expecting at all. I was so sure, all along, I was going to have a girl.”
Then, she dies.

And so begins Johnny’s tale. The heroine, Helen, isn’t introduced until toward the last 1/3 of the book. The first 2/3 of the book is spent establishing Johnny’s bachelorhood for reader. Normally this would frustrate me, since I like my romance with the relationship well established before an HEA, but it worked here. I was so entertained I didn’t even realize until after the fact.

Johnny’s best friend is a lesbian named Sam who’s more often acts more like a man than he does. I was entertained by this on one level. There are some truly amusing scenes that are born out of the friendship.

“Oh, that’s sad,” he says. “Such a pretty girl. Beautiful, really.” A thoughtful look crosses his face. “You two ever…”
It takes me a while to realize what he’s getting at here, and when I do…
Sam?” I shake my head vehemently. “God no. She hits for the other team.”
“Oh,” he says wisely. “What? Red Sox fan?”
“No,” I say. “Lesbian.”
“Oh!” Enlightenment dawns. “Oh.” Disappointment. Then: “Well, that’s a shame.”
“Not really,” I say.
“How do you figure?”
“Well, if I worked with her and she liked guys but I never got with her, that could be depressing – you know, picturing her doing stuff with guys other than me. But this way…”
A light dawns in Steve’s eyes. “Free fantasy!”
“You got it,” I say. “Exactly. Like, if I picture her with some other girl, who am I hurting? Not even me.”
“I like the way you think, Johnny.

On another level, I was bothered by how the author used certain stereotypes in the book. Alice, the girl Johnny has had a thing for since grade school, is a total bitch most of the time. She also insists men need to change to get a woman. Billy, one of Johnny’s best friends, ends up marrying Alice. As soon as they get back from the honeymoon Johnny notices a lot of changes in Billy. He starts wearing Dockers and polo shirts. He says “Alice says” a lot. He owns a cat. While this was amusing, it was also frustrating at times.

As I step past him into the house I think that my friend looks nervous too for some reason. I also notice that he suddenly looks older. We’re exactly the same age, but his hairline’s starting to recede a little bit, he’s got a slightly well-fed overlap of his belt that I don’t remember ever seeing before, an honest-to-God striped polo shirt with not a single stain on it, and I swear there’s a crease in his chinos. He looks, for want of a better word, married.
“Hey, I like what you’ve done to the place,” I say following him into the living room.
This is not a strictly accurate thing to say since, as far as I can tell, they haven’t done anything with the place, unless you call stacking pictures to maybe be hanged later against the walls and scattering a few pieces of lawn furniture around the center ‘doing something.’ But it is what you say when you’re invited into a new home. I mean, what’s the alternative? ‘I don’t like what you’ve done with the place’?
“This is just temporary.” He waves his hand. “Between planning the wedding, the wedding itself, the honeymoon and having to sell both our places and buy this one, we haven’t really had time to make firm decisions on the interior design.”
“You have had a busy year,” I acknowledge.
“Plus, Alice wants everything to be just perfect. She says there’s no point in rushing to buy things just to fill space. She says if we do that, we might only end up regretting our hasty purchases. And then where’ll be? We’ll either have to live among stuff we hate or sell it all and buy new all over again. Alice says it’s best to wait until we find the exact items we fall in love with.”
No doubt. It sounds like Alice says a lot. Geez, I don’t remember her being so chatty growing up.

Eventually Johnny decides he must change in order to attract a girl. He meets Helen at a Yankee game he didn’t really want to be at anyway. She initially turns him down for a date, but his friend Steve puts them back in touch by suggesting Johnny paint her house. After several weeks of him painting, she asks him out. Normally Johnny is a sports and beer loving guy, who likes to work on cars and listens to talk radio all day. In order to keep Helen, he changes all that.

“Really, it doesn’t matter what you ask them, so long as it comes across that you’re soliciting their opinion. Women love to have their opinions solicited. Makes them feel like what they’ve got to say actually matters.”
“Make her feel like what she’s got to say actually matters,” I echo.
“Oh, but be sure to pay attention when she’s talking. There can be hell to pay if you don’t. Some women like to trip you up that way. Like you think they’ve answered your question? You know, maybe you’ve asked what her favorite color is? And she says blue right away, but then she goes on and on and on with details about it. Before you know it, your mind is drifting to other things, she changes her answer to yellow, you totally miss that part, her birthday comes, you give her a blue sweater, think you did great remembering her favorite color. Turns out, the part you didn’t hear was when she amended it to say blue used to be her favorite color, until her father was struck and killed by a drunken driver driving a blue car. Before you know it, the relationship’s over. Swear to God.” Maury holds up a hand. “Happened to me once.”
“Wow, that must have been rough.”
“Nah, it wasn’t too bad actually. She used to wear yellow all the time and I could never quite figure it out until the end there. It was like dating a yield sign. I never was crazy about yellow.”

It’s obvious to the reader – as it would have been to Johnny had he thought about it – that Helen is hiding something as well. They kind of muddle their way along, going to a Barn Opera (don’t ask) and visiting the carnival. Again, there are many amusing scenes. I can’t tell you how many times I literally laughed out loud.

There are some flaws. The writing was a bit off-putting at first – the style is very informal – and at times I wanted to smack the characters upside the head. I was especially bothered by the end. I don’t want to spoil it. but Johnny’s grand gesture was actually rather selfish and could have angered a lot of people. This bothered me because he was supposed to have grown over the course of the novel. His actions at the end made me think perhaps he hadn’t.

But overall it was an entertaining read. I’d definitely recommend it.

4.25 out of 5

This book is available from TKA Distribution. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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Guest Review: Bossypants by Tina Fey

Posted June 23, 2011 by Ames in Reviews | 3 Comments

Ames’ review of Bossypants by Tina Fey.

Before Liz Lemmon, before “Weekend Update,” before “Sarah Palin,” Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV.
She has seen both these dreams come true.
At last, Tina Fey’s story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on
Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon-from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence.
Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we’ve all suspected: you’re no one until someone calls you bossy.
(Includes Special, Never-Before-Solicited Opinions on Breast-feeding, Princesses, Photoshop, the Electoral Process, and Italian Rum Cake!)

I have been a fan of Saturday Night Live since the 90s.  But my favorite seasons were with Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph in the cast.  So it’s a no brainer for me to read Bossypants.

If you’re familiar at all with Tina Fey, you will be pleased to know that her humor transfers to the page.  Bossypants was a quick, funny read with some oddly touching moments.  She pens a love letter to Amy Poehler, her partner in wit.  She describes a scenario where Amy was telling a joke that someone else at SNL took exception too (it was raunchy and definitely not ladylike) and when someone told Amy that they didn’t like it, she promptly told them “I don’t give a f*** if you like it.”  Ballsy woman!  And this also highlights a theme throughout Bossypants.  Female comedians are treated differently (and not in a better way) than their male counterparts.  If a man was telling the same joke Amy was, you KNOW that the other male SNL staffer would not have made an issue of it.  But this theme isn’t bashed over the reader’s head while enjoying Bossypants.  In Tina’s sly writing, it’s just something that’s interwoven among her various stories.  But one has to laugh when male comedians were worried about more female comedians joining their improv troop because there wouldn’t be enough parts to go around.  In improv?  Ridiculous!

One touching (but still funny) chapter that I’m still thinking about is the chapter about her father.  He’s a rock-solid guy and you can tell he definitely had a lasting effect on his daughter.  She also, in a backhanded way, claims he’s partially responsible for raising an adult virgin.  LOL

And she also discusses the whole Sarah Palin thing.  I liked seeing what was going on behind the scenes there.

I’m not going to grade Bossypants because it’s comedy, either you like it or you don’t but it’s all in your own taste.  I really enjoyed Bossypants because I like Tina Fey’s sense of humor.  If you enjoy it too, there’s a good chance you just might enjoy reading this book as much as I did.

And I will leave you with a Tina Fey pearl of wisdom that I also follow:

12) The Most Important Rule of Beauty
If you retain nothing else, always remember the most important Rule of Beauty. “Who cares?”

This book is available from Little, Brown & Co. You can buy it here.

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