Book Review: The Cretin Gene

Our external reviewer Chris is making up the most of these reviews as I get ready to move into a new home and I am super grateful for that. This time, he read a book called The Cretin Gene by Brendan Hall.

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Synopsis:
Al Horowitz, ageing cartoonist and self-styled ninja, is catapulted from peaceful dotage to national notoriety when a dissident’s assassin disguises himself as a benign Horowitz vegetable character. Reviled in the press and hunted as a murderous agent of North Korean dictator Boh Gi Mon, Horowitz is soon on the run with his nephew ‘The Kid’, a reclusive arch-nerd geneticist, battling a plot to cretinise the populace through customised junk food additives and media programming. As the zombified masses rise in effigy-burning rage against Horowitz and his supposed fifth-columnist cadre, young lab colleague ‘Technicia’ joins the fight to save intelligent life in the UK while also juggling two male egos and her own secret of the heart.

It made me laugh many times. It was also clever. What a treat!

Each chapter is told from the viewpoints of one of the two main characters: Al and The Kid aka Dr. Grossman. In each of their narratives, they cast themselves as the hero while casting the other in a lesser or even bumbling role. Reading their respective versions of the same events, and of how they perceive themselves vs how the others perceived them, was amusing.

Chapters by The Kid, who is nerdish in the extreme and can quote pi to a thousand places (probably more but I wanted to work in a Weird Al reference), are written with sesquipedalian loquaciousness; that is, lots of big words in long sentences reminiscent of a Victorian writer who was trapped in their house by the plague with only a thesaurus for company. To write as The Kid would be a lot of work. Indeed, later chapters by The Kid are considerably less loquacious than the first few chapters, but still notable.

Another thing that made the book a good read were the many cryptic and not-so-cryptic references to poetry, to history, to chess, to books, to songs, to old war ditties and to movies. There were references to Stephen King works, veggie-tales, the Benedict Cumberbatch alternate name game, “1000 Years of Annoying the French” (maybe), a Spanish insult I haven’t heard since my high school days, original Batman tv show, and references to Victorian poems including two I mentioned in my review of The Frightful Verses. https://breakevenbooks.com/2020/04/17/book-review-frightful-verses/

Al Horowitz’s name is shared by a deceased real-life US International Master who was a prolific chess author in the middle of the last century (there’s a chess game at the end). For a long time, Horowitz’s chess books were the only easily available English language chess books.

A Cool Hand Luke (also Smokey and the Bandit) reference could have applied to my initial reading. “What we have here is a failure to prognosticate”. I hadn’t read the synopsis—just jumped in. I didn’t understand why everyone was rioting over the murder of a cartoon character. I didn’t understand why a science-based novel about a plague could get key terms wrong—it’s a gene, not a genome! For some unknown reason, I have a plague on my mind.

Then CLICK, I realized I was reading a Douglas Adams-type novel where serious and ludicrous work together for humorous effect. For example, people who have been “cretinized” have severe reactions to books. Books that rile them up to even higher levels of aggression and cretinization include self-help manuals, romance, and teenage vampire novels (lol!). Other books, from encyclopedias to Chaucer, result in lethargy to outright extermination (if you’ve attempted Chaucer potential extermination is an understandable outcome). Quoted poetry was like Vogon-inspired torture to the cretins. https://hitchhikers.fandom.com/wiki/Vogon_poetry.

A side chapter satirizes some of political extremism seen in politics today. Tabloid journalism, shock jocks are spoofed along with their attendant racism, bigotry, and anti-intellectualism. Modern day culture takes a hit too.

We… we see cretins. All the time. They’re everywhere. Walking around. Shouting. Taking selfies. They don’t even see each other, they just press the buttons. They only think what they’re told to think, Dr. Grossmann. Then they share it on MeFace in phonetic spelling and caps lock. You see, they don’t know that they’re cretins…” (movie reference alert).

At the final confrontation, the evil genius responsible for the mayhem, and good genius Dr. Grossman play a game of high stakes chess. Given all the references in this book, I thought there may be a hidden reference (see position below). Nope, or I missed it.

If your reading preferences include books by Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett you’ll probably enjoy this book. Some good chuckles, an enjoyable diversion, and clever.

Bonus material for chess fans (White to move)

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Opening is B44, Sicilian Defence. Based on a 2.5 million game database the first time this position arose was in 1983 by chess prodigy and UK Grandmaster, Nigel Short, who won with White. Short’s game was only recently found and put online in March 2020 so the book isn’t referencing a fellow countryman.

After that, the next games to reach this position started in 1998. From then to March 2020 there are 994 games. White wins 30%, Black wins 33%, Draws 37%. That’s a respectable win ratio for Black, which is the side The Kid was playing.

Deep Rybka (an analysis engine) assesses the position game as equal.

The real Horowitz doesn’t appear to have reached this position in any of his games.

Book Rating: 5/5 stars

You can buy this book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in ebook format by the author to read and give an honest review.


Check out Lisa King’s brand new novel called The Vanishing Hour which is available now on Amazon! She is a Canadian author from London, Ontario and I am super excited to share the love on her new book! If you like post-apocalyptic books, then this one is for you!

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You can buy her book here: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B081ZHCPGF/



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If you have read the Hunger Games series or watched tho movies then you will be able to understand! I did a tiered ranking of all the characters and how I felt about them. Check out the video below:

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Book Review: Dork

Can’t come out tonight? Why? Because I am all booked up! I am busy reading Dork by Will Winkle.

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Synopsis: Ray Cooper is graduating from college and doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life – stop me if you’ve heard this before. Besides his impending graduation, Coop also has the problem of trying to start a new relationship in the shadow of his last one. Plus, his term project is due in two weeks. He’s also losing his hair. Alright, he has a few problems. Over a weekend, Ray attends the birthday party of a girl he isn’t sure if he knows, meets odd people at bars, and looks forward to the last hurrah he and his friends have planned for Saturday when the local bars are offering discounts to anyone with wristbands sold for charity. There’s no way any of this could go wrong.

This book was half and half for me because I am a very plot-driven person when it comes to books and this one was kind of lacking in the plot department. However, its main protagonist was very humorous and a lot of thought was put into his character which evened out the playing field.

I also enjoyed that they had little footnotes at the bottom of some pages to kind of break the fourth wall and add little funny descriptors that lightened up the mood of the book and from time to time brought a smile to my face. I will say that footnotes are not for everyone and know that they bring some people out of the story but I think they complimented this one well considering there was not much plot to follow.

It also gave me a bit of nostalgia for my college days when I would go to parties and drink on the weekends (a lot more than I do now). Some of the routines the people had in this book as college students were spot on. And yes, we Canadians do call Mcdonalds “Don’s”.

Imagine having a guy carry around a camera in a fraternity house all day and then show you that movie. This book would be that end result. You will see the life of a college student and get some laughs out of it (including his struggles of trying to get the girl).

Book Rating: 3/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me in an ebook format by the author to read and give my honest review.



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Time to show off what I am reading in March!! I’m getting more ambitious each month. Soon I will be reading 10 books a month (haha yea right). What are you guys reading?

Book Review: One Queen Of An Ending

I started this series and finished it in the same year. Very thankful to Zachary Ryan for reaching out to me to see if I wanted to read his book. I had never read a book with this much drama and I loved every second of it. Now I have read the final book in the series, One Queen of an Ending, and it did the series justice.

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Synopsis: It’s time to say goodbye to our Johnson Prep favorites before they all head off to college.

After the gossip-worthy events of graduation and the shocking death of one of their classmates, it seems The Queen of Queens wants to give Danielle, Bethany, Calvin, Tucker, and Aman one last hurrah.

Will everything have a happy ending, or will one of our favorites end up 6 feet under? How will the war end with the salacious arrival of returning students, Andrew and Jasmine? They all had one lesson left to learn: Just because high school is over, doesn’t mean the high school drama ends. They’re all about to take their curtain call, but will it end as a comedy or a tragedy?

I want to start off saying that I really enjoyed this book series as a whole. There was so much drama and it was narrated by a witty, comeback queen which gave it that extra bit of awesome.

The last book wraps up all the storylines of all the characters and gives them an ending that they rightfully deserve. I am sad to see this series come to an end but it was one heck of a ride.

I do believe that this book could have had a little bit more too it. I find that I feel this way a lot of the time when I know a series is coming to an end. This one just didn’t have as much “WOW” factor to it which makes sense since I had read 2 books just like it before this one. This was the slow path to the end.

After reading this series, I am excited to see what else Zach has to offer. I find his writing style very unique and am looking forward to reading his other books.

Overall, I would recommend checking out the High School Queens trilogy. It will give you all the sass you will ever need 🙂

Book Rating: 3.5/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author in physical format to read and give an honest review.


It’s a new year and a new me! This is the year I will crush my TBR jar….hopefully. Check out what I am reading this month and let me know what you are reading 😋

Author Interview: Charlie Laidlaw

Welcome to the month-long mega tour for Charlie Laidlaw’s newest book, The Space Between Time, due for release on June 20th! There will be fantastic bloggers participating, who will be posting interviews, excerpts, reviews, and other exclusive content!

Additionally, there are loads of goodies being given away, so be sure to enter at the bottom!

Book Cover

The Space Between Time

Expected Publication Date: June 20th, 2019

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ Dark Comedy

There are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on Earth…

Emma Maria Rossini appears to be the luckiest girl in the world. She’s the daughter of a beautiful and loving mother, and her father is one of the most famous film actors of his generation. She’s also the granddaughter of a rather eccentric and obscure Italian astrophysicist.

But as her seemingly charmed life begins to unravel, and Emma experiences love and tragedy, she ultimately finds solace in her once-derided grandfather’s Theorem on the universe.

The Space Between Time is humorous and poignant and offers the metaphor that we are all connected, even to those we have loved and not quite lost.

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Excerpt

Timescale for a Closed Universe

It wasn’t an afternoon that I like to remember, and not just because of my shrieking tantrum. Once I’d calmed down, Mum told me I’d been very silly, because it was all make-believe on a cinema screen. I reminded her that she’d cried when Bambi’s mum died, and that was a film and a cartoon. Mum said that it wasn’t the same thing at all. But I wasn’t being silly because I wasn’t old enough to know the difference between pretence and reality.

Dad had looked pretty dead on the screen. The blood on his chest had looked pretty real. If it had been a different dead person, I would have been OK. Children don’t really know where make-believe ends and the real world begins and, partly because of who I am, it’s remained pretty hazy ever since. I also don’t like to remember that film because it was the moment when I realised that our lives were about to change, and I didn’t know if that would be a good thing.

Sounds strange, yes? Here’s something stranger: I am a child of the sea, I sometimes think, and have done ever since we first moved to live beside it. I feel subject to its vagaries and tempers, with its foaming margins framed against a towering sky. I am familiar with its unchanging mood swings. That’s how I like things; I find the familiar comforting. I find change threatening.

I am the daughter of someone who, not long after that ghastly cinema outing, became one of the most famous actors of his generation and, importantly for me, the granddaughter of a rather brilliant but obscure physics professor. But despite their overachievements, I have inherited no aptitude for mathematics and my father positively hated the idea of his only offspring following in his thespian footsteps. He knew how cruel and badly paid the profession could be. But I still look up to my grandfather, and think of his ludicrous moustache with affection.

Gramps once told me that there are more stars in the universe than grains of sand on Earth. Just think of all those sandpits, beaches and deserts! That’s an awful lot of stars. He then told me, his only grandchild, that I was his shining star, which was a nice thing to say and why I remember him talking about sand and stars. On clear nights, with stars twinkling, I often think about him.

I still believe in my grandfather, and admire his stoic acceptance in the face of professional disdain, because I believe in the unique power of ideas, right or wrong, and that it’s our thoughts that shape our existence. We are who we believe ourselves to be.

I gave up believing in my father long ago, because speaking other people’s words and ideas seemed like a lame excuse for a job, even if he was paid millions, and met the Queen on several occasions. She must have liked him because she awarded him an OBE for services to film, theatre and charity. Charity! Who the hell told the Queen that?

I stopped believing in him one Christmas Day, a long time ago, when he simply didn’t turn up. It wasn’t his presents that I missed, or even his presence, but the warm, fuzzy feeling of being important to him. During that day of absence and loss I concluded that his wife and daughter couldn’t much matter to him, otherwise he’d have made a bigger effort to get home. That Christmas Day, my father was simply somewhere else, probably in a bar, immaculately dressed, his hair slicked back, the object of male envy and the centre of every woman’s attention for miles around.

In that respect, Dad was more tomcat than father, except that by then his territory, his fame, stretched around the globe. I know this: by then he had a Golden Globe to prove it. He gushed pheromones from every pore, squirting attraction in every direction, and even women with a poor sense of smell could sniff him out.

I feel mostly Scottish, but am a little bit Italian. It explains my name, Emma Maria Rossini; my dark complexion, black hair, the slightly long nose, and thin and lanky body. Obese I am not, and will never be, however much pasta I eat, and I eat lots. It also explains my temper, according to some people, although I don’t agree with them, and my brown cow’s eyes, as an almost-boyfriend once described them, thinking he was paying me a compliment, before realising that he had just become an ex-almost-boyfriend.

But mostly I am a child of the sea. That’s what happens if you live for long enough by its margins: it becomes a part of you; its mood echoing your mood, until you know what it’s thinking, and it knows everything about you. That’s what it feels like when I contemplate its tensile strength and infinite capacity for change. On calm flat days in North Berwick, with small dinghies marooned on the glassy water, and loud children squealing in its shallows, it can make me anxious and cranky.

The sea, on those days, seems soulless and tired, bereft of spirit. But on wilder days, the beach deserted, or with only a hardy dog-walker venturing across the sand, with large waves thundering in, broaching and breaking, then greedily sucking back pebbles into the foam, I feel energised: this is what the sea enjoys, a roaring irresponsibility, and I share in its pleasure. We are all children of the sea, I sometimes think, or we should be – even those who have never seen an ocean or tasted its saltiness; I can stand for hours and contemplate its far horizons, lost within myself, sharing its passion. In the Firth of Forth is the ebb and flow of my past and my existence, wrapped tight against the west wind. It is what I am, placid and calm, or loud and brash.

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About the Author

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I was born in Paisley, central Scotland, which wasn’t my fault. That week, Eddie Calvert with Norrie Paramor and his Orchestra were Top of the Pops, with Oh, Mein Papa, as sung by a young German woman remembering her once-famous clown father. That gives a clue to my age, not my musical taste.

I was brought up in the west of Scotland and graduated from the University of Edinburgh. I still have the scroll, but it’s in Latin, so it could say anything.

I then worked briefly as a street actor, baby photographer, puppeteer and restaurant dogsbody before becoming a journalist. I started in Glasgow and ended up in London, covering news, features and politics. I interviewed motorbike ace Barry Sheene, Noel Edmonds threatened me with legal action and, because of a bureaucratic muddle, I was ordered out of Greece.

I then took a year to travel round the world, visiting 19 countries. Highlights included being threatened by a man with a gun in Dubai, being given an armed bodyguard by the PLO in Beirut (not the same person with a gun), and visiting Robert Louis Stevenson’s grave in Samoa. What I did for the rest of the year I can’t quite remember

Surprisingly, I was approached by a government agency to work in intelligence, which just shows how shoddy government recruitment was back then. However, it turned out to be very boring and I don’t like vodka martini.

Craving excitement and adventure, I ended up as a PR consultant, which is the fate of all journalists who haven’t won a Pulitzer Prize, and I’ve still to listen to Oh, Mein Papa.

I am married with two grown-up children and live in central Scotland. And that’s about it.

Charlie Laidlaw | Facebook | Twitter


Author Interview

What is your top read of 2019 so far?

I’m rereading The Corfu Trilogy by Gerald Durrell.  It’s an affectionate look at the island and its inhabitants (human and otherwise) in the 1930s.

What is your favorite book friendship?

Jennie by Paul Gallico.  A boy is transformed into a cat and forms a close friendship with a girl cat.  It’s both beautiful and tragic and was, perhaps, the book that first properly got me into reading.

Most anticipated book release of 2019?

The Space Between Time(June 20th, me!) and Love Potions and Other Calamities(November 7th, also me!). A distant third would be Joanne Harris and The Strawberry Thief, the 4thbook in the Chocolat series.

How many books are in your TBR Pile?

Not a huge number.  I have about six beside my bed but, I’m ashamed to say, there are dozens and dozens on bookshelves that I’ve never opened.

Who is your favorite author?

Too many to list.  Ernest Hemingway would be one, and perhaps the writer who got me thinking about trying my hand at writing. I don’t know why, but I keep buying new books and never get around to the older ones.

How did you start writing?

I’ve been writing from my early teens.  My first was a mystery set in England. Luckily, I burned it before anybody could read it. I wrote my second in my later teens, and I still have that. My third in my early twenties. All were utter rubbish!

Where is your favorite reading spot?

I have a home office.  That’s the only place I write.  But I also think about what to write…out walking, in the car, wherever.  The best ideas are often the ones you have when you’re not actually writing.

How long have you been an author?

See above: forever.  It took me years to write my first proper book, and more years to find a publisher.  For most of us, the journey to publication is long and fraught!

What do you like about reading?

I like reading that surprises me.  I like finding a new writer whose style or voice is utterly distinct.

If you had to describe yourself in a book title, what would it be?

Chocolat.  Unfortunately, I do rather like the stuff!


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I have 2 signed copies of The Space Between Time to giveaway, 3 fun coffee mugs featuring all 3 of Charlie Laidlaw’s books, and 3 digital copies of the book in the winner’s format of choice! Amazing right? Click the link below to enter!

*Open Internationally – Giveaway closes June 30th

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Blog Tour Schedule

June 3rd

Reads & Reels (Review) http://www.readsandreels.com

The Writer’s Alley (Review) https://www.jacobrundle.com

Yearwood La Novela (Excerpt) http://yearwooddailybookreview.wordpress.com

June 4th

Tranquil Dreams (Review) http://klling.wordpress.com

Little Tinklabee (Review) https://littletinkablee.com/

Jun 5th

Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/

June 6th

Cup of Toast (Review) https://cupoftoast.co.uk

Gwendalyn’s Books (Review) http://gwendalynbooks.wordpress.com

June 7th

Breakeven Books (Interview) https://breakevenbooks.com

June 8th

Didi Oviatt (Excerpt) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com

June 9th

Life at 17 (Review) https://lifeat17.wordpress.com

June 10th

Where Dragons Reside (Excerpt) https://kernerangelina.live/

Inked and Blonde (Review) http://www.inkedandblondeonline.co.uk

Go By the Book (Review) http://gobythebookblog.wordpress.com

Novel Lives (Review) https://novellives.com/author/literacybatmanlives/

June 11th

Valerie’s Musings – https://valeriesmusings.com/

June 12th

Misty’s Book Space – http://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com

June 13th

Brianne’s Book Reviews (Review) http://briannesbookreviewsvideo.wordpress.com

June 14th

Love Books Group – http://lovebooksgroup.blog

June 15th

Wrong Side of Forty (Review) http://wrongsideoffortyuk.wordpress.com

The Eclectic Review – http://eclecticreview.wordpress.com

June 16th

The Bookworm Drinketh (Review) http://thebookwormdrinketh.wordpress.com/

The Reading Chemist (Review) https://thereadingchemist.com/

June 17th

Erin Decker (Excerpt) http://erindeckerblog.wordpress.com

Reading Nook (Excerpt) http://readingnook84.wordpress.com

June 19th

Banshee Horror Blog (review) www.bansheeirishhorrorblog.com

The Faerie Review (Review) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

June 20th

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Interview) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com

June 21st

Sawdust & Spoons (Review) http://sawdustandspoons.com/

June 22nd

Tsarina Press – https://www.tsarinapress.com

June 23rd

The Hufflepuff Nerdette (Review) https://thehufflepuffnerdette.wordpress.com/

June 25th

*Yearwood Novela – http://yearwooddailybookreview.wordpress.com

Kim Knight (Review & Interview) http://www.kimknightauthor.com

Quirky Cat’s Fat Stacks (Review) https://quirkycatsfatstacks.com/

June 26th

The Photographers Way (Review) http://www.thephotographersway.org

June 27th

Daily Waffle (Excerpt) http://www.dailywaffle.co.uk/

I’m Into Books (Excerpt) https://www.imintobooks.com/

June 28th

Scarlett Readz & Runz (Interview) https://scarlettreadzandrunz.com/

B is for Book Review (Review) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

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I had my friend Elizabeth join me to do the first sentence challenge and had so much fun making this video! We tend to get goofy around each other so prepare for shenanigans!

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Book Review: Hippo Ocracy

Welcome back to the blog, bookies. We have a new review for a graphic novel called Hippo Ocracy by a company called Bad Aura. They sent us two graphic novels (the other will be reviewed tomorrow) and we are more than happy because graphic novels are the best.

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Synopsis: Khipo leads the hippo kingdom with his energetic blonde hair, political savvy, and lackadaisical demeanor. Along with his rhino wife Ronda and their half-breed, pacifier sucking son Rhipo they rule with total devotion from their subjects.  Watch the insanity within his kingdom unfold as elephant royalty visits, and enemies from the past threaten to destabilize everything. All along the way, you will be introduced to fantastic over the top characters and subplots. Will the hippo’s triumph over their enemies?

Honestly, this graphic novel was hilarious. Yes, it may have been a very simple storyline that didn’t have much substance to it but it was very creative in the way it portrayed many huge media references. Such references include:

  • the hippos building a wall to keep the crocodiles out (Trump’s wall)
  • A reporter showing up during the battle called Clark Potamus (even had the classic hair swirl that Clark Kent aka Superman has)
  • The enemy crocodile leader wearing crocs to battle (this was just funny)

The hilarity even went as far as a zebra being a referee due to its obvious colors. He then gets mad and uses beavers as chainsaws to wreak havoc on the battlefield. I was laughing out loud while reading this and kept snorting while enjoying this lovable, slightly ridiculous, fun comic book. It really reminded me of Happy Tree Friends.

I would recommend this comic book to literally everyone because it gave me about 20 minutes of complete entertainment. It is a very quick read.

Book Rating: 4.5/5

You can find this book on the Bad Aura website!

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us by Bad Aura in physical format to read and give an honest review.

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Book Review: Songs from Richmond Avenue

Book reviews, for the win! We have another here at Breakeven Books for a book called Songs from Richmond Avenue by Michael Reed. This book is summed up as a Houston love story with beer and a couple of dead folks thrown in.

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Pages: 181

Synopsis: If the adage “nothing civilized ever resulted from the drinking of beer” requires further proof, one needs to look no farther than down Houston’s pothole-infested Richmond Avenue. There, the blurry-eyed denizens of the Relix Club while away the hours engaged in their two favorite activities – drinking and betting.

Until recently that was good enough for our storyteller, a journalist of questionable work ethic, who undergoes an epiphany following a bus stop meeting with pretty Michelle, a woman he declares has “skin so perfect I doubted she even had pores.”

Could she be his redemption? Maybe, but first, he’d better contend with her baseball bat-wielding former beau, her nihilistic stripper roommate and the suspicious death of a friend, who fancies himself the father of Brute Generation poetry.

Mostly satire, often wildly unpredictable, the only real long shot in Songs From Richmond Avenue would be for its protagonist to put down his beer long enough to learn anything of true value.

This book was interesting. The writing style itself feels like the story is told through the blurred vision of the main character. It’s a blurred vision because the main character is drinking pretty much the entire book. And boy can he drink.

I didn’t find that there was much of a story to the book; it just felt like we were taking a peek into the main characters life for a day or two. None the less, it was entertaining to read and I enjoyed the new writing style that I am not used to.

My favorite character was probably Honey because she didn’t give a shit and just said whatever she wanted to whomever she wanted. I also really liked Strummer, the very chill dog that just wanted to have a home.

That being said, I did get a little bored reading this book. It wasn’t one that I couldn’t put down. I did put it down many times to go do other things but I am glad I finished it because I liked the ending to it.

If you are looking for a book that is a nice break from a long series or just an in-between book, then this is a good one. It’s not that long and will give you a laugh.

You can find the book on Amazon!

Book rating: 3/5

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me in physical format to read and give an honest review. 


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Book Review & Giveaway: Rats, Mice and Other Things You Can Take To The Bank

I finished another book guys! I did it. I read a lot 😀

This one was called Rats, Mice and Other Things You Can Take to the Bank by Leslie Handler. If you read the blog regularly, then you would have seen my post on the book highlight.

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Synopsis: Part memoir, part essay collection, Rats, Mice, and Other Things You Can’t Take to the Bank is written with both wit and charm. It will take you on a ride from finding a mouse in the house to the mortgage crisis, from a smile to a chuckle and from a few tears to the feeling of being wrapped in a blanket sipping a warm cup of cocoa on a cold winter’s day. Handler offers a rich, touching, heartfelt and reflective read that will leave the reader with an indelible uplifting spirit.

I really enjoyed this book. Reading this book was like sitting down with a good friend and chatting about life while having a coffee. It reminded me of the nice warm evenings spent in playing games and spending time with family.

Leslie speaks about her life and all the things she has encountered such as battling cancer, raising a family (more than just children, lots of pets), how she met the love of her life and how to cope with trends and technology among other things. All of her writing is very humorous and I found myself laughing a lot. She has a lot of good advice and it comes at you with a comforting motherly tone.

I would recommend this book to give yourself a boost in your mood. It will have you smiling in no time as you relate to more than one funny instance that we have all dealt with just like Leslie.

And you have the option to win it! She sent me two copies so I am hosting a giveaway! Click on the link below to enter and a winner will be drawn on May 31st!

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Alright well thats it for now. Talk to you later Bookworms and goodluck with the giveaway! I hope you win …..yes you.

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Book Highlight: Rats, Mice, ​and Other Things​ You Can’t Take To The Bank

Hey guys, so I have received 2 copies of this book Rats, Mice and Other Things You Can’t Take To The Bank by Leslie Handler. I will be hosting a giveaway with the other copy starting next week! For now, I will be giving you a highlight of the book.

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About the Book: From an award-winning syndicated columnist comes a collection of essays – sometimes nourishing, sometimes passionate, sometimes humorous, and always relatable. Read this book if you are feeling sad. Read this book if you need a good chuckle. Read this book so that you never ever feel like you’re alone.

In one of the essays, the author summarizes her embarrassment for not being supportive of her husband. She writes “When your sad, you get the kind [of tears] that roll down your cheek flowing freely.They drip down your collar and snot up your nose. No. These were different. These were tears of shame and embarrassment…These were tears that didn’t want to puddle or roll. These were the tears that didn’t want to come out at all but couldn’t help themselves as they reluctantly dripped sideways into the hairline instead of following gravity down the face. These were my tears.”

These essays shine light into the soul and leave it wide open for all to see. This gifted storyteller is a keen observer of her own human nature and is not shy about sharing it. Part memoir, part essay collection, Rats, Mice and Other Things You Can’t Take to the Bank is written with both wit and charm. It will take you on a ride from finding a mouse in the house to a mortgage crisis. It’s so engaging that you may just find yourself wondering how your own personal stories ended up in it!

About the Author: Leslie is a 2015 Society of Newspaper Columnists award winner. She’s an international syndicated columnist with Senior Wire News Service and a frequent contributor to WHYY and CityWide Stories. She freelances for The Philadelphia Inquirer, ZestNow, and BoomerCafe, as well as blogs for HuffPost. Leslie currently lives smack dab between Philadelphia and New York City with husband Marty, dogs Maggies, Hazel, and Ginger, a collection of fish, said husband’s cockatoo who she’s been trying to roast for dinner for the last 33 years, and a few occasional uninvited guests. You may follow her blog and read published essays at LeslieGoesBoom.com.

She also donates a portion of her book sales to the National Alliance on Mental Illness so buy her book and support a great cause!

Click on the image below to check out her book on Amazon!

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Book Review: Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi

Thanks to Netgalley for sending me this copy of Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi. This book was really good and I loved the writing style 🙂

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Synopsis: For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.

Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.

When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.

I reeeeeaaaally enjoyed how this book was written. Each chapter alternated between the two main characters. Their thought processes were very much so how a young 20-year-old would think about and make decisions. And when it came to Penny, she always had a list of options to choose from for situations that were awkward to her. Her brain was like a compendium of pros/cons lists.

Penny was very funny and awkward. She deals with problems in unusual ways which just makes her that much more interesting. Sam has had a hard life and is making the best he can out of what he has. His heart has been broken and he is just trying to figure out how to take the next steps in his life while keeping his head above the water. Also, he is an excellent baker 😛

These two meet each other through a mutual acquaintance and become friends that only text each other but don’t hang out. They are essentially support systems for each other hence the title “Emergency Contact”.

If you want a cute love story set in modern day about two social misfits, then this book is for you. It was published by Simon & Schuster Canada and you can find the book on Amazon.

Book Rating: 5/5

Disclaimer: I was sent this book by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review – Peanut Butter and Jelly by Ben Clanton

I recently read Peanut Butter and Jelly (A Narwhal and Jelly Book #3) by Ben Clanton. It was a short graphic novel about the friendship of a narwhal and a jellyfish. This was an ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) and it will be published March 27th, 2018.

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Synopsis: Narwhal and Jelly are back and Narwhal has a new obsession . . . peanut butter! He’s so obsessed he even wants to change his name to . . . that’s right . . . Peanut Butter! Ever-sensible Jelly isn’t so sure that’s the best idea but is all for Narwhal trying new things (instead of just eating waffles all the time, no matter how delicious waffles are).

In this third book, Narwhal and Jelly star in three new stories about trying new things, favorite foods and accepting who we are. Always funny and never didactic, this underwater duo charms again through their powerful combination of positive thinking, imagination, and joyfulness.

This graphic novel was really fun! It is very simple so great for young readers and it had a lot of wit to it. There were some puns which made me laugh and the narwhal’s element of just pure innocence puts a smile on your face. And you can’t go wrong with waffles and peanut butter, these are just two amazing food options.

The characters reminded me of some classic duos where there is a funny and serious portrayal. The one creature is the serious and methodical one (Jellyfish) and the other creature was humorous and spontaneous (Narwhal).

Overall, it was a fast-read with fun characters and a simple storyline that would be great for a younger audience.

Book Rating: 4/5

Disclaimer: I received this ARC through NetGalley for an honest review.