The people who write "paranormal romance" should market themselves a little more honestly so those of us looking for urban fiction...moreOh, for f*cks sake.
The people who write "paranormal romance" should market themselves a little more honestly so those of us looking for urban fiction or literary fantasy know not to f*cking bother.
I am really tired of books with a female lead centering entirely on upon whose peni her life should rotate. So to speak. If the main character in this book had been a man, the story would have been mainly about a magic user from a long line of magic users who eschews his supernatural powers in order to make it in the human world using his mind, along the way discovering a secret and ancient book that describes the origins of all the supernatural creatures, giving them a source and a feeling of belonging in the world. Or whatever. But, because the character is female, we only get 18 pages in the book before she is throbbing with the power of some hot, ancient, broody man who will be rude and possessive and sexually magnetic for the next 600 pages.
Christ on a pogo stick: it IS possible to write a modern fantasy without weird love triangles and vampire sex. I swear. I wouldn't lie about this. Please try the works of Neil Gaiman or China Mieville. You can even have a fantasy book staring a woman in a modern setting who can use magic without it being about sex. I recommend as an example Practical Magic. Not the movie, though that's okay, but the book.
I don't think this would have bothered me so much except the author then takes us down the rest of the god-awful "paranormal romance" tropes. Or maybe it's "traps" because I can't imagine they all chose to do these things on purpose: the main character is constantly self-describing as independent and strong, but all she can do under pressure is cry and be rescued. And then somewhere along the way she discovers that she is TEH GREATEST WITCH E-VAR!!!1!!!1!!!OMG.
Also: I'm really tired of being disappointed in books. I really should stop having expectations. Is this book really a one star book? No. It's maybe a two star. Three, even if this is what I wanted to read. And sometimes, you know, I really do need something where I can just turn my brain off and go with. But I guess I was mislead into thinking this was slightly more literary and slightly less "Twilight for people who pretended to hate Twilight." Or whatever.
Like most Palahniuk books, this one is a little hard to characterize. It's the first-person narrative of a 13 year-old girl named Maddy. She is fat, v...moreLike most Palahniuk books, this one is a little hard to characterize. It's the first-person narrative of a 13 year-old girl named Maddy. She is fat, very bright, a little bitter, and consigned to hell for no reason she can think of. Her best guess is that she smoked pot once.
In life, she was an sort of accessory-baby to a very famous Hollywood couple who live in a very bizzare, morally disgusting reality where the rules are random yet exact, and in death Maddy finds herself in a physically disgusting place wherethe rules are random yet exact.
That's one of the fun bits, actually: the ways one can find oneself in Hell for all eternity. For example, no matter what else you may have done or said or believed in your life, if you used the f-word more than 700 times while alive you are damnned forever. No matter what sort of person you are otherwise, if you fail to wash your hands more than 300 times after using the restroom, you will be damned for all eternity.
It's actually funnier than it sounds.
A lot of this was unnecessary and, frankly, purposeless and underwritten. It's not a good book, but it's not terrible. I liked large parts of it, hence three stars rather than two, but I wouldn't really recommed it to anybody.(less)
In this particular instance, instead of re-wroking a classic novel, the author has re-worked the life of Abraham Lincoln, for a tongue-in-cheek re-imagining of the real motovations behind the actoins of one of the best-known US presidents.
it only works some times. When it does, this book is exciting, silly, and even touching. When it fails it's eye-rollingly bad. Like the author is trying far too hard to make his hipster audience interested.
It equaled-out, though. It wasn't a terrible book and really not a bad entry in this new fad of a genre. Recomended, if you're in to this sort of thing.(less)
**spoiler alert** Oy. I should have quit while I was ahead with this series.
Well, "series" is a misnomer. Heinlein wrote several books in a row which...more**spoiler alert** Oy. I should have quit while I was ahead with this series.
Well, "series" is a misnomer. Heinlein wrote several books in a row which were connected through both characters and concepts, but they were disjointed in their style and focus.
But no matter what you call them, this book is the last one. I think. I am willing to be corrected.
It tells the whole saga of Lazarus Long and The World as Myth all over again, but this time through the eyes of his biological mother, Maureen.
And one of his wives, Maureen. Same lady.
Look, I'm not a prude. I swear. But at some time in the series/non-series I felt badly that I was still squicked over the concept of incest. Oh, I understand that the technology was sufficiently advanced to guarantee no genetically screwed-up children... and I understand that their society was sufficiently advanced enough that there was no such thing as jealousy and everybody could love and sex-up everyone else and be one big happy family no matter if the one you were sexing up was your daughter or grandmother or son or whomever. Fine. But ... I can't get over my personal feeling that incest is a step too far; that the protective, nurturing relationship between parents and children should not become sexual. And I felt like an awful, close-minded, backward, prudish jackass for STILL feeling that way after I was done with the books. They all sort of hit one over the head with that message: you ARE an awful, close-minded, et cetera if you don't think it's a beautiful thing that one of the child-producing couples in the huge, multiple-partnered, immortal Long family is a mother and son.
While a lot of the book was interesting, though-provoking, and well though-out, and while I always love Heinlein's writing (hence the three stars,) the interesting and engaging story kept being interrupted by incestuous orgies through the ages. At one point, I just flipped through the middle of the book and read a sentence randomly. It was a father in the 1910's deflowering his daughter. Whee.
If you're interested in this sort of thing, or have read the rest of the books in the series, I would recommend this book. I love many of the characters, and the multi-universe concept is simply beautiful. Just remember you have to wade through siblings porking each other to get to it.(less)
A very small book. The kind you give to a friend who doesn't feel well. It says some very true things about how very, very powerful a thing it is to j...moreA very small book. The kind you give to a friend who doesn't feel well. It says some very true things about how very, very powerful a thing it is to just hold someone. Non-sexually and with sincerity, I mean. And it IS true. Hugs are seriously underrated in this society. maybe if we hugged more, we'd hurt less.
But what do I know.
Harmless, cute. Sweet.
Recommended. If you like that sort of thing.(less)
An excellent book. It was recomended to me by a future step-sister, which in doing so, recomended her to me. So to speak.
While not particularly resemb...moreAn excellent book. It was recomended to me by a future step-sister, which in doing so, recomended her to me. So to speak.
While not particularly resembling it, this book strangely though seriously reminded me of The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon: it's just an absolutly perfect snapshot of a very specific time and place. It felt rough and genuine.
Very well written. The characters felt like real people. Nasty, slefish, lonely, beautiful, thoughful, sincere people. Flawed and unique, without becomeing repulsive or alien. The people felt as real a the time and place they were set.
I didn't know what shelf to put it on, so I stuck it on the shelves I had that were the least wrong.
The first thr...moreAh. This one broke my heart a little.
I didn't know what shelf to put it on, so I stuck it on the shelves I had that were the least wrong.
The first three quarters of this novel is a well written, rather sad yet hopeful story about love. About how it can keep you sane, about how it can hurt you, about how romantic and platonic love differ (not as much as we'd like to admit), about how the love you put into a place can make it take on a life of its own, and how people are going to die even if you love them.
Then suddenly something REALLY AWFUL happens and the book takes a rather cold-sweat type of turn.
In the end, however, (and in my opinion) everyone got what they deserved... from a narrative point of view. Some people got freedom, some people disappeared, some people moved on, some people fell in love. Et cetera and so on.
I could not help but compare this book to one of my favorite books ever, The Thirteenth Tale. There are strange twins and secrets and good love gone bad and bad love made good and ghosts and English scenery. But while The Thirteenth Tale was satisfying and warm and, while rather twisted in places, familiar in an odd, dream-like way, this book was cold and rain-soaked and made me feel off balanced.
I really ought to add a "history" shelf to my bookshelves. I keep running into books which really ought to be classified as such. Even the works of fi...moreI really ought to add a "history" shelf to my bookshelves. I keep running into books which really ought to be classified as such. Even the works of fiction. Probably especailly the works of fiction.
So, I really liked this book. It's well written and in a style that feels genuine and fresh. The novel is supposedly dictated by an excessivly age'd Sir John Falstaff to one of four men who tend to rotate in and out. And, having been told to write down every word he says, there tends to be a good bit of very funny side business happening during the crux of tha narrative, which is the biography of the knight.
it's good. I won't kid you. Robert Nye knows his history both forward and backward and he has Shakespear down cold. It's a dark, sad, hillarious, very bawdy story.
My dad would love the hell out of this book. He's played Falstaff a couple of times and is a fan of this sort of novel, too. But I'm going to have to find someone else to give it to him. Call me a wimp, call me squeemish and silly or antiquated and prudish: but I can not give this book to him because there's sex in this book.
I know. Dumb. But there it is.
And there it is, indeed. There is a great deal of sex in the book. Some of it very graphic. But the way those pages are handled gives me an even higher opinion of the author. The sex is written as distant rememberances, fun, lusty, possible lies from an old man who grew accustomed to being an excellent self-promotor.
Anyhoo: if this is your sort of thing, then I would recommend this book.(less)
While not my favorite poet (that would be Kenneth Rexroth)... or even maybe in my top ten favorite poets of all time, I enjoy this collection very muc...moreWhile not my favorite poet (that would be Kenneth Rexroth)... or even maybe in my top ten favorite poets of all time, I enjoy this collection very much. I like to read Rumi's poetry aloud because the words always taste good in my mouth.
Brainless reading. But less angry-making than other books loosely associated with the genre. Was it well-written? Not particularly. Was it badly-writt...moreBrainless reading. But less angry-making than other books loosely associated with the genre. Was it well-written? Not particularly. Was it badly-written? Not at all. It had some very likeable characters and a very interesting take on scientific explanations of paranormal events. The protagonist was teetering on the edge of Mary-Sue-ism but manages to stay on the better side (no pun intended.) The book is silly and fun to read. It takes no thought and makes for good escapism. It will not win prizes, nor should it try.
What REALLY made me enjoy this book, I'm afraid, is my apparently new literary hobby-horse: an insidious bent in the paranormal and/or urban fantasy genre which I am choosing to call the Sexy-Sexy-Abusive-Monster-Sex Problem. It's apparently impossible for anyone anymore to write a fantasy novel set in a modern time period that does not involve the super-special forbidden love between a self-professed independent girl (who is really a brainless doormat)that turns out to be the mostest-bestest witch/vampire/fairy princess/girlfriend/whatever EVER and a broody, selfish, single-minded vampire/werewolf/ghost/wizard/whatever who will be controlling and mean to her for a couple hundred pages all in the name of their super-special love. Or, maybe, their lurrrrve. It's rare anymore, very rare, to have a modern-setting fantasy with a female protagonist that does not revolve around the promise of eventual monster sex. If the book isn't all about the relationship at the beginning, the relationship always tends to hijack what little other plot there ever was.
I'm not a prude. I swear. I like sex. Both in books and in my life. Whoo-hoo. "Yay Sex," and all that. But I can think of more interesting things to read about. I don't need the pages dripping with abusive relationship or monstrous fluids to reach optimal literary escapism. So I give this book three stars partly due to it being modern setting fantasy with a female lead and no monster peni. I liked it. It's dumb fun. And it's about a private eye who can see ghosts (mostly ... it's more complex than that) and tries to help a client over throw the leader of a sadistic vampire group (also more complex than that, but basically that's the plot.) And I gave it three stars because of what it's NOT. It's NOT about how the private eye discovered she can see ghosts, and now is entwined in a special-love thing with a ... I don't know ... a glow-in-the-dark demon or ware-elephant or whatever who wants to sex her up before the other people who are against their super-special love find them and tear them apart because of their super-special glow-in-the-dark lurrrrve. Or whatever.
Rant done. Sorry about that. Go on about your day. (less)
I'm pretty fond of this book. It is the height of my geekiness. It's an encyclopedia of words, places, families, and histories from the writings of JR...moreI'm pretty fond of this book. It is the height of my geekiness. It's an encyclopedia of words, places, families, and histories from the writings of JRR Tolkien. I'm interested in both useless knowledge and world-building, so this was right up my ally. Plus, of course, I really enjoyed reading the Lord of the Rings books when I was a little girl.
With this book I traced family lines and saw that Arwyn and Aragorn were direct cousins (ew). I read "lost" poems. I discovered the Hobbit holidays.
I didn't go so far as to lean Elvish, though. everyone has to draw a line somewhere.
In short, this little tome put me, for a little while, back into a comfortable old book-world from my childhood. It's worth four stars just for that. (less)
An art book with text. The story revolves around a pseudo-religious text outlining the creation and evolution of life on Earth via fantastic, allegori...moreAn art book with text. The story revolves around a pseudo-religious text outlining the creation and evolution of life on Earth via fantastic, allegorical poetry which was found in a dead spaceship orbiting the planet right around the year 3000.
Sort of. It's complicated.
The pictures are beautiful and the mythos interesting. The cosmology created by the author is complete and authentic-sounding. I've heard weirder creation myths before today, most of which some people actually believe.
Poorly written, predictable, wish-fulfillment trash romance novel trying to pass itself off as "chick lit."
The distinction is sometimes narrow, but th...morePoorly written, predictable, wish-fulfillment trash romance novel trying to pass itself off as "chick lit."
The distinction is sometimes narrow, but the differences ARE there between romance novels and chick-lit. Or, they should be. Not that I'm particularly a fan of either genre, I just think books shouldn't be marketed under false pretenses, so to speak. And, if those books marketed under false pretenses manage to be green lighted as such, I think they ought to be written with a minimum amount of evil maiming done to the English language.
I really don't recommend this book to anyone. I do think some people will like it, though. The book was published, so obviously there are people out there to read it. (less)
Yet another fictional non-fiction novel in my collection of books. It is an ethereal, whimsical, and informative bridge between science and the humani...moreYet another fictional non-fiction novel in my collection of books. It is an ethereal, whimsical, and informative bridge between science and the humanities; although, to be honest, I've never really seen that big of a gap there. (less)