Wednesday, June 13, 2018

What's Next, Wednesday (108)

  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.


38728225

I'm looking forward to... 

A Tycoon's Secret by Avery Laval. In this third installment of the Sin City series, two old flames are reunited. With so much history and a broken promise, the two will either work it out or have to call it quits for good. I'm excited to read this juicy romance and switch up my reading list a little bit. If these summer thunderstorms lay off, maybe I can even enjoy a little outside reading! 🌞

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Teaser Tuesday (319)


Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.


39671266

Three Shoeboxes
(Kindle 11%)
    - Steven Manchester

He couldn't breathe. He couldn't think. There's something wrong, he finally thought, I... I need help. He searched frantically for an enemy. There was none. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

The Hypnotist's Love Story

23751850Ellen O’Farrell is a professional hypnotherapist who works out of the eccentric beachfront home she inherited from her grandparents. It’s a nice life, except for her tumultuous relationship history. She’s stoic about it, but at this point, Ellen wouldn’t mind a lasting one. When she meets Patrick, she’s optimistic. He’s attractive, single, employed, and best of all, he seems to like her back. Then comes that dreaded moment: He thinks they should have a talk.

Braced for the worst, Ellen is pleasantly surprised. It turns out that Patrick’s ex-girlfriend is stalking him. Ellen thinks, Actually, that’s kind of interesting. She’s dating someone worth stalking. She’s intrigued by the woman’s motives. In fact, she’d even love to meet her.

Ellen doesn’t know it, but she already has.

*May Contain Spoilers*

The Hypnotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarty takes the idea of a romance and twists it with complication. From two points of view, Moriarty gives readers opposing views of a budding romance. Though it isn't what readers normally expect as the two points of view are the current girlfriend and the ex-girlfriend, who can't seem to move on. 

Ellen is the current girlfriend of Patrick, a widower with an eight-year-old son. Ellen's personality blends the ideas of new age and classic. She's incredibly understanding, supportive, and tries to maintain a positive outlook on life. Readers will connect with her as she begins a new relationship, becomes intrigued by her boyfriend's stalker, and takes part in a complicated love story. 

Patrick is a father who lost his wife just months after their son was born. As it happened so suddenly, Patrick struggles to navigate the re-creation of his life. Though he doesn't get his own point of view, Ellen shares specific aspects about Patrick that will cast him in a certain light for readers. This means that for most of the novel, readers feel nervous (right beside Ellen) as it seems that no woman will ever compare to his first love. However, if this book does anything, it presents the complexities of relationships and when Patrick gets a chance to speak for himself, readers will form a new opinion of his character. 

Saskia is Patrick's ex-girlfriend and current stalker. What makes Saskia an interesting character is the fact that Moriarty makes it incredibly easy to understand why she acts the way she does. I always find it so interesting when I can connect, or at least understand, the 'villain' of a novel. And though Saskia doesn't seem evil, she does terrorize Patrick, making life hard for him to enjoy. Still, readers will feel a sense of understanding when it comes to Saskia, feeling sorry for her while simultaneously hoping that she can find a way to bring happiness back into her life. 

The plot of this novel follows the relationship of Patrick and Ellen, while Saskia interferes and inserts herself into their love story. Though there are a few side stories with supporting characters, that is the main storyline. I think readers who enjoy a surprising romance, or an unconventional plot will enjoy this novel. It's surprising, it's honest, and it has a happy ending. I would definitely recommend this book to readers who enjoy that sort of combination. 

Rating: 3.5/5 Cups

Friday, June 8, 2018

Summer in a Cornish Cove

39152061Set against the stunning backdrop of the glorious Cornish Rivieria, this summer will change their lives for ever! The book to fall in love with this summer - perfect for fans of Fern Britton, Liz Fenwick and Veronica Henry.

Oliver Foxley is an acclaimed movie star, global heartthrob and one half of Hollywood's golden couple. But under the glare of the spotlight his 'perfect' life is slowly starting to crumble.

Cara Penhaligon is a struggling young Cornish artist, and widowed mother of two children. Life has been unbearably harsh to Cara, but meeting Oliver might just give her a second chance at the happiness she deserves. As each begins to heal the other, the pieces of Oliver's frustrating jigsaw puzzle effortlessly fall into place. But as the Cornish summer draws to a close, Oliver faces the toughest of choices, and no one emerges quite as they were at the start.

*May Contain Spoilers*

Summer in a Cornish Cove by Kate Ryder is a novel of escape and new beginnings. The main characters, Cara and Oliver, each have an invisible weight on their shoulders that keeps them struggling to find happiness. Maybe one summer together can change that... 

Cara Penhaligon is a beautiful woman, wonderful mother, exemplary artist, and devastated widow. Though she finds fleeting moments of happiness with her children and her painting, Cara is still severely impacted by her husband's sudden death. Readers will connect with her through this horrible experience and feel respect for her as she moves on, feeling as if her late husband is with her, almost as a guide to finding happiness again. 

Oliver Foxley is a famous actor that suffers from deep depression. He's managed to keep this aspect of his personality a secret, but it demands constant attention, often leaving Oliver alone for days as he struggles to find his way out of the 'grey mist.' His wife tries, but she doesn't exactly understand how much it effects him. Readers will understand his suffering as they witness the depression seep in and dictate his emotions and actions. 

When Cara and Oliver meet, the attraction is instantaneous. Oliver immediately feels like he can be himself around Cara and Cara feels like she can find happiness again with him. While Oliver takes top billing in a play circling Cornwall area theaters, they spend the summer rediscovering what it feels like to be free from invisible weights. And though Ryder writes the story like a tale of happily ever after, there are a few dark moments in the book and negative aspects that caught me off guard. 

First, I didn't exactly like that Oliver was cheating on his wife who had previously supported him and his career, putting hers on hold so she could be there for him. One experience even leads Oliver to have a stalker (an overly obsessed fan) which ends in tragedy. I felt like this took away from the story of Oliver finding relief from his depression. And I know that the way the book ended was probably more realistic, I just didn't feel satisfied with how it all played out. I also am not sure (spoiler alert) that I believe Cara was okay with how Oliver left her after the summer was over. Finding happiness again equals happiness in my book while finding happiness for a few months and then losing it again does not. 

Because of these negative aspects of the book, I felt unsatisfied when it was all said and done. I thought the story was going to be about a summer of finding love and happiness, with a few trials, but nothing as serious as suicide and cheating on a spouse. Like I previously pointed out, maybe the way it's written is more realistic, but I wasn't exactly happy with it. I just had different expectations. 

Rating: 2.5/5 Cups

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

What's Next, Wednesday (107)

  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.

39671266

I'm looking forward to... 

Three Shoeboxes by Steven Manchester. With the short story teaser still fresh in my mind, I'm excited to have this new release up next in my reading list. Manchester's stories never disappoint and always leave me with a smile on my face. In this new book, Mac suffers from anxiety and PTSD which threatens to destroy his familial relationships, including his marriage. Hopefully, Mac will find a way to overcome his demons and save the life he used to love living. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Teaser Tuesday (318)


Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.


23751850

The Hypnotist's Love Story
(Kindle 8%)
     - Liane Moriarty

Ellen looked around at the shadowy areas under the bridge for a lurking woman. She noted that she was experiencing a slight buzz: a pleasant burst of adrenaline at the thought of Patrick's stalker secretly observing them. 

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Short Story Sunday - "Not Fair"

39671266"Not Fair" by Steven Manchester is a short story that works as a teaser for his novel, Three Shoeboxes. In this story, readers are introduced to Mac, a father struggling with severe anxiety. By reading this story before the book's release, I feel that there is a foundational connection with the main character. I haven't even started the novel yet and I already feel empathy and sympathy for Mac as he struggles to live his life without alcohol to ease his constant worry and fear.

Manchester also sets up conflict in this story as Mac's marriage and the relationships he has with his children are all strained by his anxiety. Through the story, Manchester demonstrates how close Mac and his wife were early on in their marriage. He then shows how much has changed which creates an emotional conflict that will undoubtedly be expanded upon in the novel. The struggle to connect with and be there for his children was the aspect of the story that hit me the hardest. This short story, a few pages about Mac taking his children to the county fair, presents a family falling apart. It succeeds as a teaser for the novel as readers of the short story hope that Mac can face his anxiety, share it with his family, and find a way to overcome it.



Synopsis for Three Shoeboxes:
Mac Anderson holds life in the palm of his hand. He has a beautiful wife, three loving children, a comfortable home, and a successful career. Everything is perfect—or so it seems. Tragically, Mac is destined to learn that any sense of security can quickly prove false. Because an invisible enemy called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has invaded Mac’s fragile mind and it is about to drop him to his knees. He does all he can to conceal his inner chaos, but to no avail. Left to contend with ignorance, an insensitive justice system, and the struggles of an invisible disease, he loses everything—most importantly his family.

One shoebox might store an old pair of sneakers. Two shoeboxes might contain a lifetime of photographs. But in Three Shoeboxes, a father’s undying love may be just enough to make things right again.

(Access to this short story is available by signing up for Steven Manchester's mailing list.)

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

What's Next, Wednesday (106)

  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.

31685809

I'm looking forward to... 

The Parking Lot Attendant by Nafkote Tamirat. I requested to review this new novel about an Ethiopian immigrant in NYC so hopefully, that will be approved and I'll get a copy soon. I'm writing my Master's Thesis about immigrant literature so I'm very interested to get my hands on this book. :) 

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Teaser Tuesday (317)


Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.


Summer in a Cornish Cove
(Kindle 29%)
   - Kate Ryder

This is a secluded spot, well off the beaten track, and their phone number is ex-directory, but just how easy would it be for her to discover where he lives? 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

What's Next, Wednesday (105)

  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.

39152061

I'm looking forward to... 

Summer in a Cornish Cove by Kate Ryder. I got my copy for review and I'm ready to start it today! I have a three day weekend and reading and relaxing are at the top of my to-do list. I can't wait to start this later and read all about a famous movie star falling for a widow with two children. Though the falling in love part is just what I'm hoping, it has yet to be confirmed. What is everyone reading for their long weekend? 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Teaser Tuesday (316)


Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.


39671266

"Not Fair" (p.8) [Short Story from the world of Three Shoeboxes
    -Steven Manchester

"Everyone gets scared or feels anxious at times, Beans," he continued. "The trick is not to let it stop you from doing anything, or taking over your life." As soon as the words left his lips, he felt like a fraud.


Monday, May 21, 2018

Mind Me, Milady

38085332Jane Larson is an attorney on the Upper East Side of New York City, and the Gentleman Rapist has chosen her to receive his calls announcing each conquest. He also reminds her in chilling terms that he will one day twist his wire around her throat and bend her to his will.

Jane has professional and personal problems of her own, but she is forced to try to catch this monster when he stalks her newest client. Susan is a sweet young woman who cannot remember large time periods of her past and who has dreams about a prior life in which she was raped. Soon, the Gentleman escalates to murder, and Jane wonders if he was involved in Susan’s forgotten past, or if Susan is simply a means to get to Jane. Either way, Jane is caught in the deadly game of stopping the Gentleman before another woman feels the wire at her throat and hears his sinister whisper to Mind Me, Milady.

*May Contain Spoilers*

Jane Larson has returned with an array of new clients in Mind Me, Milady, by Anne Rothman-Hicks and Ken Hicks. In this mystery, a young woman is targeted for memories of a past life while Jane is also fighting back against a serial rapist who soon ups his crime spree to include murder. If Jane can figure out how it's all related, then maybe she'll have a chance at stopping the monster who keeps her informed of his every misdeed. 

Jane Larson was first introduced to me in Weave a Murderous Web and her character is just as persistent and determined as before. Maybe even more so now that she's cleaning up her mother's client list. What connected me most to Jane was her emotional realization that she was both proud of her mother and more inclined to be like her mother in terms of being a lawyer. As the book progressed, so did Jane's emotional evolution. She learns that she likes helping people who need it rather than helping businesses or people who are assigned to her by her boss. And in this story, there are lots of people who need help. Jane's emotional strength and intelligence work in her favor as she tries to help the young and inexperienced Susan. Though Jane can be a little harsh, she has her client's best interests in mind. Couple that with her other likable personality traits and Jane becomes a character that can be respected. 

The storyline of this novel begins with Jane finishing her mother's cases after her death. While doing so, Jane becomes entwined in several plot lines that do get a bit confusing at times. There is a wide cast of characters that frequently come and go, making them a bit hard to remember. The main story involves Susan and the inheritance of her Aunt's estate and a serial rapist who keeps contacting Jane after every incident. Jane feels the two are related somehow but doesn't know exactly. The only thing a bit bothersome about the book was it's incredibly heavy focus on detail. I usually like having all the details but I felt bogged down by the systematic info dumps that didn't seem to contribute to the plot of the book. I feel like that kept me from seeing this book as un-put-down-able. The main reason I think this bothered me so much was because when the criminal was revealed at the end, I didn't remember him being a part of the book. That disappointed me the most. 

Though I would recommend this book to lovers of the mystery genre and to those who have read the previous books about Jane Larson, I think I'd accompany the recommendation with a warning that it moves slowly because of the heavy explanations. I'd also include that the Kindle version (at least the one I received) did have a few errors in it that were a bit distracting, like Jane being called Kate, just to point out one example. Overall, I did feel the connection with Jane initially established in the previous novel was built upon and that the storyline was intriguing, while just confusing enough to not be predictable.

Rating: 3/5 Cups

Read the review of Weave a Murderous Web
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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

What's Next, Wednesday (104)

  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.

39152061

I'm looking forward to... 

Summer in a Cornish Cove by Kate Ryder. Hopefully, I'll be putting this on my reading list soon! After a couple of serious reads, I'm ready to switch back to something easy and fun. Obviously, I like to keep my reading list guessing! haha. Seriously though, love stories and summer adventures are a great switch up after murder mysteries and dramas. In this book, a popular film star meets a widowed mother of two and it may just end up changing his, and her, life. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Teaser Tuesday (315)


Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.


38085332

Mind Me, Milady
 (Kindle 33%)
    - Anne Rothman-Hicks and Ken Hicks

"Did it work? Were you able to learn anything?"
...
"Your name was Sarah. You lived as some sort of servant, many years ago, at the time of the American Revolution." 

Monday, May 14, 2018

The Kite Runner

77203Amir is the son of a wealthy Kabul merchant, a member of the ruling caste of Pashtuns. Hassan, his servant and constant companion, is a Hazara, a despised and impoverished caste. Their uncommon bond is torn by Amir's choice to abandon his friend amidst the increasing ethnic, religious, and political tensions of the dying years of the Afghan monarchy, wrenching them far apart. But so strong is the bond between the two boys that Amir journeys back to a distant world, to try to right past wrongs against the only true friend he ever had.

The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.

A sweeping story of family, love, and friendship told against the devastating backdrop of the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years, The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful novel that has become a beloved, one-of-a-kind classic.

*May Contain Spoilers*

I should have known after I read And the Mountains Echoed that The Kite Runner would be a great book. Khaled Hosseini does an amazing job crafting a story that is both hauntingly beautiful and powerfully terrifying. To be honest, I was nervous to read it before because I'd heard about the brutality that moves the book forward, but overcoming that uncertainty rewarded me with a story that will stay with me. 

The main character, Amir, isn't the most likable or relatable, but for half of the book, he is a child who doesn't know better. Or, at least, I found myself giving him that excuse. He's a little cowardly, yet intelligent. He's a beautiful writer but suffers from selfishness. He loves his best friend, Hassan, but still recognizes that, in society, Hassan is beneath him. However, I think Amir's best trait is his guilt. Though it takes Amir a long time, years actually, Amir does get the chance to make up for everything wrong that he believes he did as a child. Emphasis on the 'as a child' phrase. As a reader, there's not as much blame to cast on Amir as his character thinks. In the face of adversity and evil, a young boy doesn't have much of a chance. And this is what is haunting about Hosseini's writing: the morally gray area that his characters live and die in. As Amir shares the truth of his childhood from a present-day point of view, readers will see that as a child, he didn't have as much power as he thought. Therefore, his lack of bravery and courage won't be seen as marks against his character, but rather as traits that had not developed yet. When those traits do appear, as an adult back in Afghanistan charged with rescuing another young boy who is being abused, Amir would choose death over inaction, demonstrating that he has evolved into the man he always wanted to be. 

The plot of this novel begins with Amir's life as a young boy and how he grew with feelings of personal disappointment. When Afghanistan becomes really dangerous, Amir leaves the country with his father to make a new life in the U.S. After he marries and settles into his adult life, Amir learns that his favorite family friend from childhood is dying and travels back to his home country. There he learns of his childhood best friend's death and the tragedy of his son. With everything to lose, Amir chooses to try to save the boy in order to pay for his past sins of not saving the boy's father. The combination of Hosseini's writing style with the realistic nature of this book, marking it as almost autobiographical, gives The Kite Runner a power that condemns, forgives, and overcomes. Though I want to say I'd recommend this book to everyone, there are a few graphic scenes that make it inappropriate for all readers. Though it truly is an extraordinary book of friendship, love, and atonement. 

Rating: 4.5/5 Cups

Friday, May 11, 2018

Fallout Girl (Hollywood Lights #5)

38205327The day she buries her mother, Miranda George jumps on a plane from North Carolina, telling no one where she’s heading. She wants to disappear and start over. She arrives on the Los Angeles doorstep of college friend Daphne Saito, and even though Miranda hasn’t seen Daphne in years, Daphne welcomes Miranda into her home and her makeshift L.A. family.

The problem is, Miranda is on the run from family. All family. Family, in Miranda’s experience, can get you killed.

Miranda takes off again, but this time her plan is much more sinister. She certainly doesn’t expect her friends to track her down. When they bring her back from the edge, the question remains: will Miranda be able to save herself and her newfound friendships? Or will she remain strangled by the past?

*May Contain Spoilers*

Fallout Girl, by Katie Rose Guest Pryal, introduces a strong female lead who suffers from a mental illness to the series and to the group of Hollywood friends. Miranda George was raised by a mother suffering from bipolar disorder and is now aware that she, too, has the mental illness. With firsthand experience from trying to care for her mother, Miranda is determined to stop her illness from hurting anyone she cares about, but that doesn't include herself. 

Miranda is portrayed as a blunt, brutally honest, and incredibly intelligent young woman. However, her bipolar disorder also makes her reckless, overly adventurous, and prone to push people away. When she arrived in L.A., Miranda thought she was escaping to an old college acquaintance who wouldn't care enough to try to save her. Luckily, she was way off base. Miranda, instead, finds a group of people who are caring, loyal, and willing to accept her as a friend. Through these personality traits and the events of the book, readers will, without a doubt, connect with Miranda. Though her mental illness isn't discussed at length, the author demonstrates the symptoms through Miranda's actions. This gives readers an in-depth, realistic look at bipolar disorder and how it can affect those who have it. Readers will not only understand why Miranda is acting the way she is, they'll witness moments when her mental illness takes over. With that kind of openness, readers will form a strong bond with Miranda and want her to heal as the book continues. 

The plot of the novel begins after Miranda has already arrived in L.A., where the series takes place. Miranda is determined to escape her mental illness using drugs, danger, and sex while she forms a plan to take her own life. Yet, the people she meets while crashing at Daphne's apartment (an old acquaintance from college) begin to care about Miranda and notice that something is happening to her. With good intentions and help from Miranda's brother, the group tries to help Miranda accept her mental illness and move toward a life that allows her to control it. 

Though Fallout Girl has a very serious storyline, it is an incredibly entertaining and interesting book. The mental illness aspect is represented as realistically as it can be while still allowing the book to have an enjoyable air. There is a romantic aspect of the book that will also have readers cheering for Miranda, even though her destructive nature threatens her chance at a relationship multiple times. With various layers of interaction, shifting point of views, and serious undertones, Fallout Girl is a book that seriously represents living with bipolar disorder and presenting friendships that grow and evolve with the people who are a part of them. 

Rating: 4/5 Cups

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

What's Next, Wednesday (103)

  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.

38085332

I'm looking forward to... 

Mind Me, Milady by Anne Rothman-Hicks and Ken Hicks. Switching gears after my current read to another thriller/mystery. In this book, an attorney has been chosen to be the social contact of a serial killer, with the promise that one day she'll also be his victim. I'm excited to get to this one but I feel like it's going to be one of those books that demand breaks because of the fear factor. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Teaser Tuesday (314)


Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.


38205327

Fallout Girl
 (Kindle 74%)
    - Katie Rose Guest Pryal

"I needed a job. I have one now."
"You don't need a job. People like us don't need jobs."
"Never say people like us. It induces vomiting."