ARC REVIEW: Gonzo Girl by Cheryl Della Pietra

by Cheryl Della Pietra
Published by Touchstone Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
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Long after the last drink is poured and the final gunshot fired, Cheryl Della Pietra's novel inspired by her time as Hunter S. Thompson's assistant will linger in your mind.

Alley Russo is a recent college grad desperately trying to make it in the grueling world of New York publishing, but like so many who have come before her, she has no connections and has settled for an unpaid magazine internship while slinging drinks on Bleecker Street just to make ends meet. That's when she hears the infamous Walker Reade is looking for an assistant to replace the eight others who have recently quit. Hungry for a chance to get her manuscript onto the desk of an experienced editor, Alley jumps at the opportunity to help Reade finish his latest novel.

After surviving an absurd three-day trial period involving a .44 magnum, purple-pyramid acid, violent verbal outbursts, brushes with fame and the law, a bevy of peacocks, and a whole lot of cocaine, Alley is invited to stay at the compound where Reade works. For months Alley attempts to coax the novel out of Walker page-by-page, all while battling his endless procrastination, vampiric schedule, Herculean substance abuse, mounting debt, and casual gunplay. But as the job begins to take a toll on her psyche, Alley realizes she's alone in the Colorado Rockies at the mercy of a drug-addicted literary icon who may never produce another novel and her fate may already be sealed.

I went into this book with some Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas baggage. I was beyond bored and unimpressed with the film when I was in high-school and had to hide my true feelings about it so I could be cool and fit in with my friends. Every time so-and-so made a reference to the film, I just nodded in agreement about how cool it was or whatever. Kind of like in college when I pretended to know and understand all the kool kid references to The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Every time it came up in conversation at a party or study group gone rogue, I just nodded my head and was like, Oh, yeah. Of course I’ve read that! Who hasn’t?! In reality, I was like what the frug is everybody talking about?! Kool-Aid Acid whaaat? I finally looked up the author and synopsis and new in a heart beat that it wasn’t my type of lit. It was the same way I had felt about Fear and Loathing, so I was skeptical going into this fictionalized ”memoir” of a fresh-faced journalist’s live-in experience with Hunter S. Thompson.

Las Vegas

It’s good to know I’m not quite as dorky as I used to be. For the most part, I was able to read this book and understand most of the drug and pop culture references of the 90s. The author’s clever and cynical voice is where the gold is at. Honestly, I didn’t give a squirrel bum about the story line. But I was so drawn in by the author’s witty script that I couldn’t seem to put the book down…until the last fifty pages. I kind of blurred through the last fourth of the book because the scenarios were repetitive and predictable by then, and the wonderfully sarcastic style in which the narrator speaks wasn’t enough by then to keep me totally invested.

I LOLED hard at the scene below:

I make my way back to the blanket where Larry sits. “You look nice. Coming down that hill, the light behind you…”

“Yeah, like a tampon commercial for the American West.”

“You’re not one for ‘moments’, are you?”

“I am if you need someone to kill them.”

The author is marvelous at recreating the atmosphere of Hunter S. Thompson’s world in the late mid/late 90’s. There were times I thought Man, this chick is dumb while reading, but I liked the MC for the most part. I think Pietra genuinely captured the kind of feelings/thoughts/emotions that would be going through any young lady’s mind if they were thrown into Thompson’s world: Do I act cool and go along with this even if I’m scared shitless and my mother would die if she knew? 

I’m not gonna lie. Midway through the book, snorting a few lines before a breakfast of vodka tonic started to sound appealing. Hunter S. Thompson just has that effect on the junkie-life, I guess. He makes it look perfectly manageable. I will also say (as a warning to any Hunter S. Thompson idolize-rs out there) that this book fully reinforced in my mind that Thompson was an egoist, selfish, primadonna prick.

If you are a fan of Thompson’s writings and loved Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and The Rum Diary, then I highly recommend this book to you.

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This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
REVIEW: Collide by Gail McHughCollide by Gail McHugh
Series: Collide #1
Published by Simon and Schuster on January 18, 2014
Pages: 395
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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A missed first encounter…

Colliding with a second chance…

On the heels of graduating college and trying to cope with her mother’s death, Emily Cooper moves to New York City for a fresh start.

While harboring secrets of his own, Dillon Parker takes care of Emily through her grief. Knowing he can’t live without her by his side, he’s sweet, thoughtful, and everything Emily has ever wanted in a man.

Until she meets Gavin Blake—a rich and notorious playboy who is dangerously sexy and charming as hell. Emily tries to deny the instant connection she feels, but Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome is not inclined to let go so easily. Recovering from his own painful past, Gavin will stop at nothing to win Emily over.

This unexpected encounter compels Emily to question her decisions, forcing her to make a choice that will destroy friendships, shatter hearts, and forever change her life.


Omigosh! I loved this book. I really did, but…

Emily. She got on my nerves quite a few times. She really needed to grow a backbone. When it came to Dillon she just rolled with the punches. She never stood up to him and that made me not like her very much. In the end though I started to warm up to her.

Dillon was a total douche canoe. To say I didn’t like him is an understatement. He was a big jerk and treated Emily terribly. Why she stayed with him after the way he treated her is beyond me. Even thinking about him now pisses me off haha

Gavin on the other hand was Zomg. Amazing! I loved everything about him. He’s described as Mr. Tall, Dark, and Fuckable Handsome. He’s portrayed as a player in he beginning, but I didn’t get that vibe from him. I really liked him and I wanted Emily to pick him.

Together these three make this story really, really good. It’s a love triangle and there’s a lot of back in forth on the heroines part.

This story sucked me in from page one and didn’t let me go until the end. One thing I didn’t like about it was that it ends with a cliffhanger. There are things that are left unresolved and need to be addressed and I’m hoping that will happen in book two. I’m really looking forward to reading it and am happy to say that it’s already been released.

Overall, Collide is a great read by a new to me author. It was recommended to me and I’m glad I took a chance on this one.

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I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Release Day, Giveaway & Review: Loving Cara by Kristen ProbyLoving cara by Kristen Proby
Series: Love Under the Big Sky #1
Published by Simon and Schuster on 2014-01-21
Pages: 352
Format: eBook
Source: Netgalley
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In this new Love Under the Big Sky series from a USA TODAY bestselling author, Cara agrees to tutor her former classmate's nephew—and learns some lessons in love!

Josh King is an expert at running his family’s multi-million dollar ranch in Montana. (And all that outside manual labor has done wonders for sculpting his six-foot-three body, too.) But as sure footed as he is when it comes to the ranch, Josh doesn’t know anything about how to deal with an adolescent boy—so when his twelve-year-old nephew, Seth, is dropped off on his doorstep, looking scared and acting surly as hell, Josh knows he needs help in straightening him out.

Cara Donovan loves her quiet life as a teacher in her sleepy hometown, so she jumps at the chance to make a little money over the summer as a tutor. But when she learns she’ll be teaching Josh King’s nephew, Cara’s sweet summer job gets a little bit hotter. Cara tries to focus all her attention on tutoring Seth, but Josh proves to be a delicious distraction, while Josh’s memories of the shy girl he once teased in high school are nothing like the beautiful woman he’s facing now. Can he persuade her that there’s more between them than a summer fling?

My thoughts…

Loving Cara is the first book in Kristen Proby’s new series “Love Under the Big Sky.” I’m going to be honest. I really wasn’t quite sure what to expect with this one. I read the synopsis, but I didn’t know if this book would be comparable to her “With Me in Seattle” series which I love. This series was picked up by a publisher whereas her other books are self-published.

After starting Loving Cara I realized I had nothing to worry about. Ms Proby sucked me in from page one and kept my turning page after page. This was a really fast read for me. I read it in less than 8 hours which is pretty fast for me considering I’m a slow reader. I enjoyed it so much I had to see what would happen next with these characters.

Speaking of characters… Not only did I love the hero & heroine, I loved the secondary characters as well.

Heroine: Cara. She’s a school teacher whose agreed to tutor Josh’s troubled nephew. I found her to be really likable. She was great with Seth (Josh’s nephew) and was able to really connect with him. Seth had a lot of issues going on and Cara was able to get him to open up.

Hero: Josh. A tall, sexy cowboy who wears Levi’s instead of Wranglers, a ball cap instead of a cowboy hat. I really liked him. He’s the type of guy who takes care of his family and loves with his whole heart.

Together: Cara & Josh dance around each other. Cara is reluctant to start anything with Josh because she is employed by him to teach Seth. The tension between these two was strong. At first I thought this book was going to be one of those insta-love stories, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Smexy Times: The sexual scenes within this book are pretty much adult mainstream. They are not overly explicit in nature (which is different from Kristen’s other books), but are still enjoyable to read.

Overall: I really, really liked this book and it’s characters. I am so looking forward to book two. It’s Lauren & Ty’s book and I can’t wait to read it. This is going to be a fantastic series.

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About Kristen Proby

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Kristen Proby is the author of the bestselling With Me In Seattle and Love Under the Big Sky series. She has a passion for a good love story and strong, humorous characters with a strong sense of loyalty and family. Her men are the alpha type; fiercely protective and a bit bossy, and her ladies are fun, strong, and not afraid to stand up for themselves.
Kristen lives in Montana, where she enjoys coffee, chocolate and sunshine. And naps.