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29 February 2016

Rambling About.. No Regrets, Coyote by John Dufresne

Title: No Regrets, Coyote         Author: John Dufresne
Publication: 15 July 2013 - W. W. Norton & Company
First Line: My friend Bay Lettique, a sleight-of-hand man, does close-up magic.
Faves on 4s:
p 24 - Dad sang a halfhearted and halting rendition of "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" that included the lines, "Bring us some friggin' pudding / And a bottle of beer."
p 74 -  I decided I'd get the year off to a flying start by making a list of everything I ought to do. Turned out I had eighty-eight items on my list, from Colonoscopy to Organize the garage.
p 154 - I don't believe in the efficacy of magical thinking, but what I do like about this kind of pre-logical associative thinking I was engaged in is that it was lead you to places you would never have gone on your own. And who doesn't love a surprise?
p 224 - That must have been a chapter in The Scumbag's Manual: pitch a royal fit if you get caught, scream till you're blue in the face, act like a persecuted innocent, and later forgive you mark for his unwarranted, unseemly, and vicious attack.
p 274 - In life we always want to know what happened in the past in order to understand the present, but in stories we don't need to know. We trust the storyteller, who does know.

Ramble: I cried like a baby on and off for days when Elmore Leonard passed away. His books were my escape when life got to be too much. I've seen most of the movies and television shows based on his books multiple times (even though I'm still miffed at the casting of Jennifer Lopez as my beloved Karen Sisco). When my parents decided that we were going to up and move from New York to Florida it was fine by me. After all, Florida was the Land of Leonard.
Fortunately, it's also the Land of John Dufresne.
In fact, the only Dufresne I had read before now was his contribution to the ever-so-lovely Naked Came The Manatee. Gosh, I wish I had a copy of that to re-read ....
I picked up No Regrets, Coyote after being approved on NetGalley to read the second one in the series early. I don't even remember hitting the little button saying that I wished it was available, but apparently I did because a couple of weeks ago this popped up on my screen:
Of course, I can't dive in to book two of a series knowingly so I hopped on to Amazon and used some gift card balance to order No Regrets in hardcover off the Marketplace for a mere penny (plus shipping).
Best damn penny ever spent.
Wylie is a therapist who works with the local police from time to time as a consultant. He's not necessarily magical or psychic -- just really good at reading people and surroundings and figuring things out. Along the way we get to meet a freaking crap-ton of characters including Wylie's sister and her oddball husband, their father who is battling Alzheimer's, some ex-girlfriends and an ex-wife, corrupt and not-so-corrupt police, mobsters, sleazy lawyers, gamblers, and several of Wylie's therapy patients. Oh, and the homeless guy named Red who's living on Wylie's lawn. It's enough to make a lot of people confused but I didn't have a problem with it -- possibly because of how I'm already familiar with the super-mega-humongous casts of Leonard and, well, life. Too many times the characters in books seem to live in little sparsely populated bubbles. Dufresne has created a great big messy bunch and I found myself drawn to even the most despicable of them ... at times.
Yes, there's a crime. Several, in fact. Horrendous ones. This is no ordinary whodunnit, though, where the crime is laid out and then the investigation clips along and it's all tied up with a pretty little bow at the end. There's no pretty little bow here. Not to say that things don't get solved, but there's definitely nothing pretty about how it all comes about. It makes for a nice change of pace from the cozies and helps to fill the void left by Leonard. I could totally see Wylie meeting up with Raylan Givens at some point ... which now makes me want to marathon watch Justified. 

26 February 2016

Book Beginnings & Friday56 -- Sharon Karaa's Stupid Cupid

Amazon Description: Annabelle Pearson was in love. For three years, she’d worshipped the sexy but aloof Nicholas Nattrass from afar, wistfully dreaming of a time when he’d love her back, or at the very least notice she existed. All that was about to change, however, when she starts seeing things that she shouldn’t, things that couldn’t possibly exist, like the Grim Reaper and the Tooth Fairy, for example. The last straw comes when she spots Cupid, about to shoot his arrow at her beloved, and in a desperate bid to save her dream, she wallops him one with her handbag. 
Dealing Cupid an almost fatal blow means someone has to take his place, and that someone is her! Will she complete her mission and save Cupid’s life? And will she manage to win the love of Nicholas Nattrass, or would the esteemed “Doctor Love” have her committed to an insane asylum? 

Ramble So Far: At this point I'm only at the 30% mark (or so) of the book because I keep getting distracted by anything and everything. So far it is cute, though, and I could totally see myself being friends with Annabelle if not, at one point in my life, actually being a lot like Annabelle (.... you know, but without the fictional and supernatural characters making appearances and such). I'll still likely finish it before the weekend is done since I won't have as many distractions around. I hope. It's at least good enough that I already plan on picking up more of Karaa's books to add to the ever-growing TBR pile! THAT'S always a good sign.
As always, Friday 56 (share a blurb from the 56th page or 56% mark) is hosted at Freda's Voice & Book Beginnings (share the first few sentences) is at Rose City Reader

25 February 2016

Rambling About.. Something The Cat Dragged In by Charlotte MacLeod

Title: Something The Cat Dragged In
Author: Charlotte MacLeod
Publication: 1 September 1983 - Doubleday // August 1984 - Avon (paperback) // 6 November 2012 - MysteriousPress (digital)
Amazon Description: An unpleasant man in every respect, university professor Herbert Ungley is exceedingly vain. One morning, his landlady catches her cat coming in with Ungley’s hairpiece between its teeth. It’s clear something has happened to the old grouch, because he would never be caught without his toupee.
Ungley is found in the yard behind his social club, with his head bashed in and his baldness plain for the world to see. Although the police are content to call it an accident, sleuthing horticulturalist Peter Shandy is unconvinced, and finds there are too many unanswered questions. How did Ungley come to have such a bulging bank account? Who was Ungley’s long-lost heir, and what did he have to do with the professor’s lost hair? And whose is the second body in the woods? Shandy must answer these questions and more if he’s to find who pulled the rug out from the balding corpse.

First Lines: "Edmund! You know better than that. Dragging in some poor, dead creature just as I've finished mopping the floor."
Faves on 4s: 
14% - Anybody who'd take the trouble to stack forty-eight paper clips in neat rows of six apiece within their little box would not be apt to leave the sofa pillows askew.
44% - "The organ may be gone, but the music remains. That's what my great-aunt Mabel used to say after they took out her whatevers."
74% - "You deserve a slap on the back, Ottermole. Keep it up. Try the pumpkin pie."
84% - The chief regarded the warrant fondly. He must have been yearning for years to wave one of these under some miscreant's nose.

Ramble: Before this blog officially started I wasted the time (and, likely, tested the patience) of the handful of readers I had at my diet/health blog at the time. I never seemed to have anything worthwhile to say there that was on-topic so I would fill the space with whatever I was doing when I wasn't exercising and watching what I ate -- so, pretty much, reading. I started this in December 2014 and the first book I rambled about was the first book in Charlotte MacLeod's Peter Shandy series -- Rest You Merry. Something The Cat Dragged In is the fourth book in the series and I have six more to go. I'm stretching them out as much as I can since there won't ever be any more but it's hard because I'm still so madly in love with Peter Shandy -- and, as the series progresses, with his boss.
I mostly read my paperback version but pulled the "Faves on 4s" from my digital copy since it seemed like every page that ended in 4 in the actual book was riddled with spoilers. To quote Thorkjeld Svenson: URRGH!
Actually, all of my favorites could easily have been Svenson-centric this time around even though he only made a smattering of appearances. He's quite the quotable fellow.



See? Isn't he just .... everything?

All in all, I loved this book just as I've loved everything else of MacLeod's that I've read so far. Not only is Peter Shandy still adorable and Thorkjeld Svenson is still a burning hunk of Viking hotness, but we also get to know some of the secondary characters from previous books a bit better and are introduced to some new characters that I certainly hope to see again. Likely not to happen in the next installment since it's supposed to take place off campus, but the sixth one, hopefully....

And now I suppose I should read one of the ARCs I've recently acquired. Or start another MacLeod series (I have two started and two not). Urrgh.

19 February 2016

Reading With John : Jonny Jakes Investigates the Hamburgers of Doom

From John:

From Mom: We both absolutely loved Jonny Jakes Investigates the Hamburgers of Doom by Malcolm Judge and illustrated by Alan Brown -- set for release on March 1st. We received our copy for free from NetGalley but that never influences our opinion.

Jonny Jakes is not the main character -- but it is the main alias of the main character, a loner student who writes a newspaper for his school that mainly focuses on uncovering scandals. He also uses the alias of Fiona Friend as the editor of the paper. MY John thought that it would be fun to do his review under his girl alias of Ann Dalso, which we came up with since he uses the phrase "and also" a lot. When a new principal is suddenly hired for the school, Jonny sets out to get the scoop on the newcomer and makes some unexpected friends in unexpected ways in the process. All in all it was a fun story that had us both roaring with laughter on several occassions and we can't wait for the next book in the series!

Book Beginnings, Friday56 & A Mini-Ramble : Amy Avanzino's Wake-up Call

Amazon Description: Sarah Winslow wakes up with a terrible hangover…and a kid in her boyfriend’s bed. She makes the horrifying discovery that, due to a head injury, it’s not a hangover. She’s got memory loss. Overnight, five years have disappeared, and she’s no longer the hard-living, fast-track, ad executive party girl she thinks she is. Now, she’s the unemployed, pudgy, married, stay-at-home-mom of three kids under five, including twins.
As she slowly pieces together the mystery of how her dreams and aspirations could have disintegrated so completely in five short years, she finds herself utterly failing to manage this life she can’t imagine choosing. When Sarah meets the man of her dreams, she realizes she’s got to make a choice: Does she follow her bliss and “do-over” her life? Or does the Sarah she’s forgotten hold the answers to how she got here…and how she can stay?
Mini-Ramble: I haven't finished the book yet but Azanzino would have to have majorly screwed something up in the last 35% to make it be something that I wouldn't recommend to anyone who enjoy's chick lit. Sarah goes from 28 to 33 overnight -- including five years of life experience with marriage, kids, and stay-at-home momness in the 'burbs. I keep thinking about how I would have freaked out if I had gone from my own 28 to my own 33. 
Yeah ... serious freakout (especially since I didn't live in the same city yet or know my Tom even existed at the time).
It's definitely been an interesting read seeing how she and everyone else works on adjusting. Sometimes hilarious ... sometimes frustrating ... sometimes heart-wrenching. Basically all the making of a great chick lit!

As always, Friday 56 (share a blurb from the 56th page or 56% mark) is hosted at Freda's Voice & Book Beginnings (share the first few sentences) is at Rose City Reader.

17 February 2016

Rambling About.. Cooking For Mr Right by Susan Volland

Title: Cooking for Mr. Right
Author: Susan Volland
Publication:2 August 2005 - New American Library  
Goodreads Description:
At twenty-six, Seattle-based chef Kate Linden still has the urge to dye her hair blue and learn to play electric bass. But when she's abruptly fired from the city's hottest restaurant, and her ex-boyfriend, Gaston, announces he's getting married to a woman he's only recently met, Kate feels life's opportunities slipping away. Suddenly she's convinced that Gaston may be her last chance at a happy walk down the aisle. So she cooks up a scheme so grand her ex will be eating out of her hands in no time...
It's the perfect recipe for happiness. Until some unexpected ingredients fall into the pot-including a man she'd rather be cooking for.
First Line: I'm sitting on the edge of the tub with my feet in the toilet, banging my head with the cordless phone and vowing to make serious changes in my life.
Faves on 4s:
4 - My bones hurt, and I'm thinking about packing my bags and moving to Mongolia. Fermented yak milk is supposed to be delicious once you acquire a taste for it.
44 - He will walk on broken glass for a lamb chop or perfectly seared duck breast. Dip them in a béarnaise sauce, and he might gobble up an entire deck of playing cards.
94 - His face is weathered and wrinkled in that handsome, rugged manner that makes some women want to just suck on a Botox syringe and die with envy.
114 - Lucky thing I left my knives at home, or I'd slit my wrists.
154 - A stooped old woman with huge glasses and deep, furrowed frown lines is hell-bent for the kitchen. She uses her sturdy, four-footed cane like a third leg, and she's moving darn fast for someone with such obviously decrepit knees.
184 - His compliments fill a void in me that I didn't even know was there. A hollow spot in my heart trembles and thumps.

Ramble: I admit that I first got this book it fit the "V" for my A to Z challenge. The reviews were hit-or-miss on it but that didn't much matter to me because people like different things .... and I loved this! A couple of chapters in I couldn't help but think what a perfect Hallmark Channel movie this would make. You know, the feel-good with humor and romance where everything is so flipping obvious from the get-go but you still have to watch it just to see how it all plays out? Yep .... someone from Hallmark needs to contact Susan Volland and offer to buy the books. I've even started to cast it in my head (of course, with other Hallmark movie staples since they seem to use much of the same cast over and over). I keep trying to think if there was anything that I didn't like about this and honestly can't come up with a single thing. Yes, it was obvious how things were going to turn out to some degree but that doesn't bother me. I spend practically every weekend devouring Hallmark Channel flicks, after all. What DOES bother me is that Susan only seems to have written two novels before returning to her own cooking focus. (The woman is an absolute genius when it comes to sauces!)

14 February 2016

Rambling About... Kirsty Greenwood's The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance

Title: The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance
Author: Kirsty Greenwood
Publication: 9 April 2015 - Pan Books
Format: epub - Book Bazaar Reader - 228 pages
Goodreads Description: 
Jessica Beam is a girl who knows how to party. Only lately she's been forgetting to turn up for work on time. Or in clean clothes. Down on her luck, out of a job and homeless, Jess seeks the help of her long-lost grandmother.
Things aren't going well for Matilda Beam, either. Her 1950s Good Woman guide books are out of print, her mortgage repayments are staggering and her granddaughter wears neon Wonderbras!
When a lifeline from a London publisher arrives, the pair have an opportunity to secure the roof over their heads – by invigorating the Good Woman guides and transforming modern, rebellious Jess into a demure vintage lady.
The true test of their make-over will be to capture the heart of notorious London playboy Leo Frost and prove that Matilda’s guides still work. It's going to take commitment, nerves of steel and one seriously pointy bra to pull this off... 

First Lines: I have done many unwise things in my life. And while sex with the new neighbor less than two hours after meeting him is definitely not the most ridiculous of those things, it's quite high up on the list.

Favorites on 4s: 
34 - Did I just shout ‘knob-prince’ at a Booker-prizewinner’s book launch? ‘Knob-prince’ isn’t even a real swear. I just made it up right this minute!
74 - I glare at them both as if they’re mental. The very idea of hanging about here for longer than the two days I had intended, learning this strange new grandma’s version of manners and style, trying to chase after some bloke and get him to – puke – fall in love with me? It’s literally abhorrent, the complete opposite of anything I would ever want to do with my time.
94 - What I see before me is not a freak of nature, but sort of a more elegant version of Jessica Rabbit.
134 - There are few things that a good night of sleep cannot remedy. Life always looks better in the morning!
174 - Feelings. Urgh. I can feel them, these feelings. Whizzing around my insides and making me feel excited and scared and worried and super horny and like there might be something to look forward to, maybe.

I could easily have done more "Favorites on 4s" but didn't want to get spoilery.
What a gloriously hilarious read this was! There have already been a ton of reviews and the description from Goodreads above that give the basics for plot and such. I'm not going to bother rehashing all of it. I did adore the book, though, and even stayed up late last night so I could finish it. "Cockwaffle" and "knob-prince" are already on my "must say" list ... I have a huge craving for pear cider (which is something in and of itself since I haven't had any alcohol in a decade) ... and the soundtrack for Grease 2 is pretty much stuck on repeat in my head (and I still mad crush on Adrian Zmed). I will warn you that Jessica's favorite word does appear to be "fuck" and I know that the super-uppity out there probably won't like the amount of swearing that takes place, but they can stuff it.

12 February 2016

Book Beginnings & Friday56 -- Kirsty Greenwood's The Vintage Guide to Love & Romance

Finally! Another Friday so time for Friday 56, Book Beginnings, and in just a handful of hours I get to go home and throw on my rattiest t-shirt and sweatpants and stay in them until Sunday! I know, not necessarily ladylike. Matilda Beam would probably scoff. Maybe I'll learn something by the time I finish The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance (besides some new awesome swear phrases that will surely slip into my lexicon)...
As always, Friday 56 (share a blurb from the 56th page or 56% mark) is hosted at Freda's Voice & Book Beginnings (share the first few sentences) is at Rose City Reader.

10 February 2016

Rambling About.. Holly Martin's One Hundred Proposals

Title: One Hundred Proposals       Author: Holly Martin
Publication: 25 June 2014 - Carina UK
First Line Prologue: 'Okay, you can open your eyes now,' Harry said.
First Lines Chapter 1: I put the phone down on another excited client and sighed. It was February 11th and we'd had a surge of customers all desperately wanting to propose on top of the Eiffel Tower on Valentine's Day. I felt like screaming.
Favorites on 4s: 
4%: Two years was way too long for unrequited love.
14%: 'Well a near death experience is adrenaline filled. My heart was pounding, there was close, physical contact. It's not a proposal I'm likely to forget.'
24%: 'So the noodle hair, is this a new look you're trying out? I think I prefer the onesie.'
54%: It took every muscle, every fibre of my being to physically stop myself from screaming yes at the top of my lungs.
64%: You hear about this sort of thing all the time; couples that were madly in love slowly getting bored with each other, to the point where one of them or even both start plotting ways to kill the other one.
74%: Kirsty MacLennan says: I agree with Megan, snog her face off, you'll get a definitive reaction then.

So here are the basics: Suzie started the website/business the.PerfectProposal.com after a not-so-perfect proposal. Harry is her best friend/web designer/partner in crime. He decides that it would be a good business gimmick to try and find the perfect proposal for Suzie by proposing to her one hundred ways and blogging about them on their site. After one goes viral on YouTube the proposals are able to get even more outrageous as the two travel the world with him proposing to her over and over and over again.

I absolutely positively without any doubt loved this book. It tore my heart to shreds and made me spurt coffee out of my nose on numerous occasions but it was so worth every agonizing second. It's all I can do to hold off until my Christmas in July to read the follow-up!

And that, my dear friends, is all you get out of me. A little blip and the random quotes above (oh, and the teaser from Tuesday). You'll have to fork over the dollar yourself to find out more ... like why I claim a tutu-wearing cow is my new spirit animal ...

09 February 2016

A Very Valentines-y Top Ten Tuesday & Teaser Tuesday

It's a Valentine's Day Freebie this week for The Broke & The Bookish's Top Ten Tuesday and  I'm reading a Valentines-y-ish chick lit right now that I have been chomping at the bit to use for MizB's Teaser Tuesday. I love a good schmaltzy feel-goodie heart-achey chick lit and what's more schmaltzy feel-goodie heart-achey than Valentine's Day? SO I'm doing my Top Ten Chick Lits I'm Excited About Potentially Getting My Heart Ripped Out Over ... right after the teaser for the book currently shredding me to pieces!

Holly Martin -- One Hundred Proposals

and, in no particular order ...

Top Ten Chick Lits I'm Excited About Potentially Getting My Heart Ripped Out Over

08 February 2016

Rambling About.. Carol Wyer's Life Swap

Title: Life Swap
Author: Carol Wyer
Publication: 22 April 2016 -- Bookouture (thanks for the early read through NetGalley!)
Amazon Description: Handsome prince, beautiful house, fabulous job? Polly has none of these. All she has to her name is a string of failed relationships and she’s up to her ears in debt. She sees herself as a hopeless case and would do anything to change her luck. 

Simon is approaching the big 50. He’s off his game at work, his kids don’t seem to notice he exists and his wife seems to think he’s made of money. As for sex …what’s that? 

So when the opportunity comes for both of them to swap their lives for a life of luxury, they jump at the chance. For Simon a life of helicopters, fast cars and hot babes beckons. For Polly, it’s all diamonds, spa days and celebrity parties. What more could they want? 

Trouble is, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Is life in the fast lane more than either of them can cope with? 

First Lines: Simon Green was drowning in a large vat of fluffy white marshmallows. He flailed beneath the killer's powerful hands, which were forcing him deeper into the gooey, vanilla depths, each marshmallow stifling his ragged breaths and blocking his respiratory passages.

Favorites on 4s: 
4% - Polly MacGregor had been an angel for an entire week and hated every moment of it. It wasn't that she was a bad angel; she was simply not a very good one.
14% - "My eyes are the colour of old white knickers that have been washed too many times. My face is too round and my nose is crooked. If I look in the mirror and don't like what I say, how can I expect anyone else to like me?"
34% - "Many a man has lost his senses when it comes to a comely wench with big bazongas."
54% - The situation was peculiar and her cut instinct was to walk away from it.
64% - His conscience was muffled by the throbbing sound of blood pulsating in his brain. Mutely, he allowed himself to be led to the bedroom by this seductive woman he barely knew.
74% - "There's more to life than big houses, dumb pink cars and having loads of dough."

Now, this is where I would normally give a little bit of a "this is what it's about ... this is what I liked ... this is what I didn't like ... blah blah blah ...."

I just can't.
It's so twisty and turny and full of "WHAT the *$&#%?!?" that my brain just isn't functioning properly.

Yeah, I loved the main characters ... except for when I didn't ...
and the plot was sweet/disturbing/touching/hilarious/terrifying ... except for when it wasn't.

I know!!!!

It's like chick lit a la Christopher Moore...
(except for when it's not.)

Do yourself a favor and go to Amazon and hit the order button on Life Swap. I know, it doesn't come out until the endish of April but if you pre-order it now then it will automatically show up on your Kindle (or app) then and you can read it and thank me. (Added bonus: it's only 99 cents. Believe me ... I would be telling you to go pre-order it if it was 5 times that!)

05 February 2016

#BookBeginnings & #Friday56 - MRC Kasasian's The Curse of the House of the House of Foskett

I had read the first book in the Gower Street Detective series back in May (you can read about it HERE). I finally started the second one and just in time for another Book Beginnings & Friday 56!  Friday 56 (share a blurb from the 56th page or 56% mark) is hosted at Freda's Voice & Book Beginnings (share the first few sentences) is at Rose City Reader.

03 February 2016

Rambling About.. Alice Brown's Lessons in the Curious Art of Dating

Title: Alice Brown's Lessons in the Curious Art of Dating
Author: Eleanor Prescott
Publication: 1 April 2012 - Quercus
Format: epub - 516 pages

First Lines: “Where are all the men?” Kate whispered as she clutched her orange juice and looked nervously around the room. She tried to stop the disappointment reaching her face.
Favorites on 4s:
14 - If you’ve not bagged a man and got yourself pregnant by thirty-five, you might as well skip straight to the end and reserve a single room in the retirement home.
94 - There were so many average women to wade through. Nobody in the matchmaking business ever dared say it, of course, but it was true.
264 - “What are you talking about? The only revenge-thing I know about Sharon Osbourne was that she pooed in someone’s . . . Oh my God. What have you done?”
474 - He visited his parents every month, his fingernails were always clean, and—most importantly—he was single. Operation Fornication-with-Mr.-Nice-Guy was all systems go!
484 - She stiffened with shock. Audrey was never touched, other than by mistake. And she couldn’t remember the last time anyone had touched her like this. She was being hugged, she suddenly realized . . .

Mini-Ramble: Alice works for Table For Two - a matchmaking company founded and owned by Audrey. Audrey isn't a great boss, nor is she a great matchmaker. She herself is perpetually single and hires John from a local escort agency to take her to corporate events. Alice is a great matchmaker for others but not so much for herself. Kate decides to join Table For Two as a client with her list of perfect "Prince Charming" criteria in spite of her best friend, Lou, thinking it's a ridiculous waste of time. Throughout the book the chapters alternate between focusing on Alice, Audrey, John, Kate and Lou as they work on learning more about the 'curious art of dating.'
Like in real life there were so many twists and turns that within a matter of minutes I found myself hopeful, furious, sad, and tickled. SUCH a roller coaster of emotions -- often when least expected. I laughed, I cried, I had to find a murder mystery as my next read in order to give myself time to recover emotionally.

01 February 2016

Rambling About.. Mark Svartz's I Hate You, Kelly Donahue

I absolutely bought this on a whim. I had a gift card and it fit the little bit I had left on said card and had an awesome cover.

It's a spiral bound notebook that looks and feels like a journal. The pages are handwritten or drawn or have things "taped" to them ... and it's hilarious.

I don't know why he hates Kelly so intensely so immediately... but he does and he relishes every plan her makes for her ultimate demise. And he makes a LOT of them.
Mouth lice? Really?
Well, at least it fits my whole Valentine's theme for February....
He stalks her. He's nice to her. He's seemingly spending every waking moment (and non-waking moments) figuring out how to rid the world of her (and still with no inkling as to why). He even DATES her.

For the better part of the year he plots and schemes (and writes hilarious journal entries) ...

And then .......

Like I would actually put a spoiler of such epic magnitude here.
You're new here, aren't you?

I read it during a bus ride home from work. Less than an hour. Well worth the time.