Totally bought this for the cover picture, and the conversation I had after finishing it lead one friend to tell me, "you should read better things!"Totally bought this for the cover picture, and the conversation I had after finishing it lead one friend to tell me, "you should read better things!" Not fair, I do! But sometimes, I also read "trashy" romances, and sometimes, they turn out to be exactly that.
I loved the premise. Rockabilly girl is hired to do a BDSM photoshoot for an art book and falls for one of her co-models. And that is almost what I got - except I forgot to account for the terrible BDSM etiquette that permeates the romance genre, which means that Addie signs a contract with apparently zero specifics, scenes are not discussed in advance, and soft limits are totally ignored - but it works out because romance Doms are psychic. ALSO, I'm sorry, but if her contract says there will be no sex, I rather expected that there would be no sex on the set (Kinky BDSM, yes. Steamy longing, yes. Sex, no). Granted, there was not PIV sex, but there was DEFINITELY sex. Good lord, was there unquestionable sex. And yet, all three characters seemed willing to pretend that unless a penis enters a vagina, then sex is not happening. Yes, three - don't forget the photographer.
I didn't hate it, but it was not what it says on the tin. Sometimes, I wish romance cover copy were better at hinting at the actual content/dynamics of any given book. Though now that I know these are ~fantasy~, don't-try-this-at-home BDSM books, I might read another in the series....more
Although it started off very cute, I lost interest as it proceeded. I finished the novel mainly out of curiosity about a subplot. I enjoyed Juliet wheAlthough it started off very cute, I lost interest as it proceeded. I finished the novel mainly out of curiosity about a subplot. I enjoyed Juliet when she was dealing with her business and interacting with her friends. Unfortunately, I did not find her interactions with the guys particularly compelling. (Plus, Cal's decision to make a move only after it seems like Juliet is well and truly taken with Gideon is a dick move. So I was already inclined not to like one of the leads.) Worse, too much relationship development happens between chapters. Most of the forward motion between the characters happens off page, leaving me a bit unsold on their unusual relationship arrangement - particularly along the Cal-and-Gideon front, who are thrown together out of affection for Jules. If you want me to believe they fall for each other as well, you're going to have to show some of that!
**spoiler alert** Interesting, but has an awkward punchline ending. I wish it had either ended sooner or continued on for a few more chapters after th**spoiler alert** Interesting, but has an awkward punchline ending. I wish it had either ended sooner or continued on for a few more chapters after the Queen reveals her urge to write as well as to read....more
I can see why everyone fell in love with this book this summer. It's gorgeously written, for one. The main character is a reader, and I love reading aI can see why everyone fell in love with this book this summer. It's gorgeously written, for one. The main character is a reader, and I love reading about other readers. The quotes and allusions are like hidden gems waiting for the initiated. The book also feels historically accurate, though I'm hardly an expert on the thirties -- all my knowledge comes filtered through Marjorie Hillis's self-improvement guides and Dorothy Sayers's novels. (This historical accuracy extends to racial terms since fallen out of favor, jarring to me as a modern reader even while reading those books actually written during the time. On the positive side, this fictional New York has not been whitewashed, but it would have been even more impressive if some of the nonwhite characters moved out of the background. Class lines were crossed, recrossed and blurred. Racial lines, not so much. At least, not by our POV character.)
Rules of Civility is not my usual book pick - I don't read very much non-genre fiction without a book club pushing me along. This book contains no magic, no mystery to solve, and, despite being relationships-focused, is not a romance. If I had to describe it in a few words, "introverted reader turns social climber" might feature prominently. Or "a non-love story." Or perhaps, "a story of reinvention and the intersection of metropolitan anonymity and glamour." Maybe mostly that.
But you don't have to own a railroad to shorten or lengthen your name.
Teddy to Tinker.
Eve to Evelyn.
Katya to Kate.
In New York City, these sorts of alterations come free of charge.
Kate feels very real, authentic even when she's crashing high society parties or when she's making life-changing decisions almost on a whim. Some of those sudden direction changes were embarrassingly relate-able - that sudden realization that one simply cannot endure [a job, a relationship, a living situation] for even one more day. She's likeable, even when she's behaving terribly. Her friendships, business relationships, and romances are all very well-developed and not at the expense of each other.
She's a character I would love to spend more time with, even though the ending was perfectly satisfactory, with the framing story wrapping up the few loose ends remaining. ...more
I spent the three days between acquisition and completion of this book reading the opening line aloud to various coworkers in an attempt to entice theI spent the three days between acquisition and completion of this book reading the opening line aloud to various coworkers in an attempt to entice them into reading the series. Also, my new manager had her first true glimpse of "Ginger immersed in bookworld" when she tried to interrupt to ask me something during a lunch break. Yeah, if the book's entertaining, you're going to have to actually say my name to get my attention. Probably more than once.
I love Esther Diamond. She remains a terrific character - charming and clever, acting career-focused and self-aware. I especially love her playing the role of Fenster & Co's (a major department store's fictional stand-in) only Jewish elf for their Solsticeland multi-holiday display (well, multi-holiday in name, mostly Christmas in execution, much like its real-world inspirations). The job is terrible and ridiculous by turns, and her reactions to holiday madness made me laugh at the retail season to come. (Terrible and ridiculous, but also challenging and sometimes even fun when one is not dressed like a scantily clad elf.)
Esther on-again, off-again flirtation with Detective Lopez continues to be a strong subplot of the story. Despite my yearning for a final resolution, the unsettled nature of their relationship added necessary complications to the main plot and has yet to wear completely thin.
Despite allusions to previous adventures and the inclusion of many characters from the prior books, this particular novel seems as though it could be read as a stand-alone without losing too much. So if you, too, are about to experience the retail holiday season, it might be a good time to pick up this book....more
Not nearly as entertaining as the author's 'Live Alone and Like It.' This particular self improvement piece is much more tied not just to a particularNot nearly as entertaining as the author's 'Live Alone and Like It.' This particular self improvement piece is much more tied not just to a particular time, but to a particular class and culture. Also, the tone of this book is much more chiding women's magazine than clever and put-together friend. My budget certainly never stretched to the minimum standards set in the book, and there's really only so many times one can be told that one is impoverished and therefore beyond the scope of the budgeting book before it wears thin....more
I may come back to this, but the writing is just so flat! It's unfortunately like reading my actual teen years' diary - accountings of where the POV cI may come back to this, but the writing is just so flat! It's unfortunately like reading my actual teen years' diary - accountings of where the POV character spent the day and with whom and occasionally how she felt about an event, but with no particular joy in the language. And at over halfway through the book, remarkably little story to make up for it. (Give me engaging plot/characters, and I will read workaday prose without complaint. Give me a futuristic pastoral, and I'm going to need some pretty word pictures at least.)...more
It feels odd to give a collection of advice columns a four star rating, especially as I'd already read most of them in their original state on The RumIt feels odd to give a collection of advice columns a four star rating, especially as I'd already read most of them in their original state on The Rumpus. But the writings are just as powerful, just as heart-wrenching, just as uplifting as they were the first time I'd encountered the works off the recommendation of my friend Darlene. Sugar has a way with the pithy turn of phrase, but her columns come across as heartfelt rather than glib. Sugar's message is clear - mistakes will be made. Tragedies will occur. Bad decisions and events outside our control are part of what makes us, but they don't define us. We do. We owe it to ourselves and our world to be the best selves we can.
And yes, Sugar has a 'real' name now, but Sugar is the voice I know, like, respect. Pseudonyms can be powerful things. ...more
A lovely book with the kind of terrific visuals that make me both long for and fear a film adaptation. (Oh, an animated version! Pardon me while I dayA lovely book with the kind of terrific visuals that make me both long for and fear a film adaptation. (Oh, an animated version! Pardon me while I daydream.) ...more
Well, I did pick it up based on a review that warned me it was a bit weak, so.
Part of my problem is that I don't particularly like books that switchWell, I did pick it up based on a review that warned me it was a bit weak, so.
Part of my problem is that I don't particularly like books that switch POVs frequently. Sometimes, alternating between first and third works for me -- like Jo Walton's Small Change series which I love and can't imagine any other way. However, in this book, the third person chapters seem to exist to provide exposition dumps. Most of the info contained in the chapters from other characters' POVs could have been incorporated into the first person chapters -- especially since the main character is less than self-aware. Ah, well....more
1) I read this because I needed a break from the slog which is Fifty Shades of Terrible and wanted a reminder that I do like the erotic romance genre.1) I read this because I needed a break from the slog which is Fifty Shades of Terrible and wanted a reminder that I do like the erotic romance genre.
2) "Pillow Talk" by Maya Banks is available separately as an ebook. As I enjoyed it significantly more than Shayla Black's "Her Fantasy Men," I recommend going that route. ("Pillow Talk" is the four star story. "Her Fantasy Men" on its own would have warranted a low three.) "Pillow Talk" shows the organic growth of multiple romantic/sexual relationships out of an existing, somewhat-kinky couple and their friends, complete with stubbed metaphoric toes and grown-up conversations leading to the resolution. "Her Fantasy Men" has a sexually-reserved woman falling into bed with her sexy neighbour, her boss, and her childhood best friend over the course of a week, and a happy poly ending that seems a bit pasted on.
3) I find polyamory stories without any bisexual attraction/contact a bit weird? Though fascinating, in a way. Both stories are about women forming simultaneous relationships with three guys (hence the name of the collection), with all three guys in the room and involved during at least one sex scene in each story... but no attraction or even contact between any two guys. (Though in "Pillow Talk," the guys are at least depicted as close, albeit platonic, friends. In "Her Fantasy Men," they view each other as rivals pretty much all the way through.) An example of infinite diversity in infinite combinations? Or maybe just YKINMK......more
My original, two-thirds-finished review follows below the asterisks. Now that I've reached the end of the book, I agree with everything my frustratedMy original, two-thirds-finished review follows below the asterisks. Now that I've reached the end of the book, I agree with everything my frustrated self said earlier. Grey is terrible. Just terrible. There's no backstory in the world that's going to make me okay with his behaviour outside of scening. (Alternating reading this book with a book that features women killing abusive spouses only made my "Red-Flag! Alert! Alert!" reaction all the stronger when Grey would pull his next dick move.) He is possibly also the world's worst dom. The writing is terrible, the kink (what little there is) is boring, and the characters should just avoid one another forever. In fact, I'm not going to read the follow-up books, so I can pretend that that's what happens next.
*** Gah. Ok, LOOK. I am reading this because it seems like everyone with double X chromosomes is required to form an opinion of it this summer. I am halfway through and truly questioning every. single. fan.'s taste. Grey is not a mysterious, sexy dominant. He is an asshole. A Dom who does not understand "no" even outside of a scene is not forceful and intriguing; he is a walking red flag. A person who attempts to cut someone off from their friends is not a person anyone should date. A person who withdraws emotionally when someone fails to cater to their whims is the opposite of sexy; he is a dangerous toddler. (And no, the hinted-at, possibly-tragic backstory does not excuse anything, even if it winds up explaining some things -- which I seriously doubt.)
I am more than willing to read stories that incorporate fantasy BDSM scenes which do not match the real world requirements of "safe, sane, and consensual." But there damn well ought to be something more interesting going on than someone failing to clean her plate at a restaurant when those guides go out the window. Run, Ana, run! (UGH, I KNOW YOU WON'T; THERE ARE TWO MORE BOOKS OF THIS.) And to be frank the kink so far has been both mild and uninteresting.
I have little to say about Ana, because she is ... surprisingly not present for the POV character. Her virginity is a big deal? I guess? I've only just finally hit a chapter where she shows signs of personality, but I worry it won't last longer than her next oh, my... holy shit! For a sexy or articulate interior life, please look elsewhere.
I rather wanted to like this book, because the initial media saturation included so much "gasp, women read porn" hand-wringing. Women are people -- a healthy interest in sex is not newsworthy! (Fanfiction: also not shocking!) But at this point, I am still reading out of sheer bloodymindedness rather than interest. And alternating pages with better written books. I can finish this. I can....more
A fascinating book, and a good reminder of how far we've come - and how quickly - for whenever the distance we have yet to go starts to feel overwhelmA fascinating book, and a good reminder of how far we've come - and how quickly - for whenever the distance we have yet to go starts to feel overwhelming. Oddly, I feel as though I came away from this book with a better understanding of my mom's (somewhat fraught) relationship with her mother. Highly recommended, easy to read in fits and starts due to the episodic and anecdotal arrangement of the chapters....more