If I had to use one word to describe this book, it would be UGH!
I would rather get on the Erin Express (a...more**spoiler alert** Crossposted at Booklikes.
If I had to use one word to describe this book, it would be UGH!
I would rather get on the Erin Express (and if you live in Philly, this tells you so much).
This book makes me fear for the human race. It makes me fear for the state of publishing. It makes me feel for the state of writing.
(I should note here that I read this book for work so it was more of an assignment).
How does book warrant a price tag of 16 dollars?
I get it is suppose to be erotica. I get it was fan fiction first. But if the book costs 16 bucks and runs 500 pages, it needs to be more – well – professional.
And how anyone woman thinks this is an S&M guide is beyond me.
While I do not think this book should be banned or pulled from any library, this book offends me on so many levels.
Here goes – and this is going to be a rant and totally unprofessional.
The writing, in terms of style and word usage, is just bad. Take for instance these sentences, “His bedroom is vast. The ceiling-height windows look out on lit-up Seattle high-rises. The walls are white, and the furnishings are pale blue.” (111) Or “I pause, fractionally too long” (77). Or “My blood is pumping though my body” (112) –um, you mean it normally doesn’t? Wouldn’t that be a problem? Or “I try to push him away rather feebly” (59). Or “he says phlegmatically” (66) – I’m not sure how that is attractive. At one point an elevator whisks her away at terminal velocity – so wouldn’t she be dead? The college she attends is variously –WSU, WSUV, WSUVA. There are people who have apparently have stone steps – sorry, there are people who have stone steps attached to their bodies. There is this, “He pops a fragment of ice in my navel in a pool of cool, cold wine” (193). It’s supposed to be erotica but it sounds stupid (cool, cold) and doesn’t make sense. Is her navel in a pool of wine? Also apparently it is a very big and deep navel a few sentences later. And what exactly is a sandle? This bring me to
How can this book be erotica when the writing is wince worthy and makes no sense? How can it be erotica with words like "inner goddess" (who talks way too much) and "oh my" and "holy Moses"?
I know there are people who are going to say that this gripe is unfair, but I don’t think it is. Jacqueline Carey wrote two erotic series that were also political fantasy with adequate if not good world building (granted drawn on European history). James places her story in the real world (she even gives a year), and it doesn’t make sense in any way shape or form. It feels so fake. I’m sorry but if Kate wants to be a reporter, she would be journalism major, not an English major. If she ran the student paper and the interview was important, she would not get Ana to cover it. I’m sorry but American professors are not tutors in the English sense of the word. No college holds a graduation ceremony in a gym, stadiums yes. Though this apparently magically becomes an auditorium a few paragraphs later. Ana has an IPod but not a computer of any type or an email address. If Ana is interviewing Grey because he is giving a speech at her graduation, how come she doesn’t know this at her graduation? If Ana had a job at the campus library (which means payment), why is she working in hardware store? Isn’t the library job connected more to her English major? What American uses the term in situ to describe parents who aren’t divorced or absent? Considering that Ana doesn’t know basic opera information, would she really know Carmen Miranda? Internships are not salaried jobs. Finally, despite what this book implies, Washington state does in fact have speed limits. I checked.
As a reader and a holder of an English degree, I am deeply disturbed by Ana’s attitude toward reading. One, she apparently has vastly misread Tess. Two, when asked her favorite books, she simply says British Literature. Three, Thomas Hardy is never, ever light reading. Though Ana wouldn’t know this because apparently Tess puts her to sleep. If Ana loves reading so much, why doesn’t she, you know, read?
For a book that is supposedly about, in part, a woman coming to terms with her desires, it is rather misogynistic. It even endorses rape culture.
In the course of the book, Ana, unattractive Ana, is desired by three men – Grey, Jose, and Paul. Ana has made it clear to both Paul and Jose that she is not interest. Paul, at the very least, harasses by touching her when it makes her uncomfortable. Jose sexually assaults her while Ana and her friends are out drinking, trying to force her to kiss him when she repeatedly tells him that she doesn’t want to. The assault is only stopped by the appearance of Grey. Jose and Ana are still friends after this. (The character of Jose and Ana’s relationship to him is problematic for other reasons. Jose, like all minority characters who make brief appearances, is a stereotype. Furthermore, while his actions towards Ana at the bar are wrong, Ana does use him. He services her car free of charge. Ana, of course, condemns Kate for how Kate treats Jose, which is the same way Ana does).
Grey’s stopping of Jose might make him out as the good guy. But it doesn’t. The following morning, when Ana wakes up he blames her. If she hadn’t been drinking, he wouldn’t have had to save her. She shouldn’t drink so much. And she really isn’t frightened by his tracking her phone. They’ve only met three times but the stalking is a turn on (WTF?). Grey does this blaming after he has slept besides the semi-dressed Ana. He took off her pants and put her to bed because she was sick after drinking so much.
Incidentally, Grey’s concern about Ana’s drinking (and she drinks like a fish) doesn’t stop him for using it against her. Every time he and Ana discuss the rules, or the potential rules for their relationship, he makes sure she is drinking. He manipulates her repeatedly. Part of this is the rules –which is a semi-legal contact (how Ana knows that is not really a legal contact without consulting a lawyer, I have no idea. Ana is stupid in every way. The rules themselves and the discussions about the rules are so repetitive and constant; any reader should want to throw up). The rules give Grey control of most, if not all, of Ana’s life. He gets her clothes, she must eat and exercise per his command, and birth control is her responsibility. He does include STD testing, but she just takes his word for it and doesn’t ask for the results herself. And he picks her doctor.
Seriously, what woman would let any man do that?
You could argue that the book is about Ana finding her role as submissive or as a sexual woman (she was a virgin before Grey), but this is problematic because she is not allowed to discover on her own. She is forced to discover per his terms. The first spanking is by his choice, not hers. She cannot talk to Kate about it, the rules forbid this. How is this discovery? Why is food a no-go area for her, but clothes are not? And there is a reason why she fears she is like a prostitute or a mistress, she is one. She is a kept woman. He controls her computer, her car, her phone, and her living arrangements. Every time she says she needs time to think, he makes a show of giving to her, but then shows right back up – including at one point forcing his way into her apartment. He stalks her. He abuses her. He ignores her use of the word no at times. He lies when he says he doesn’t want to change her – he does. He changes her in more than just a sexual awakening, and the only person to really notice this change is Kate, Ana’s “dearest, dearest friend” and roommate (and whom Ana seems to sponge off of).
Despite claims of Kate being Ana’s dearest friend, Ana sure doesn’t act like it. While Ana starts an affair with Grey that is based solely on the physical, Kate and Elliot (Grey’s brother) start a relationship as well. Kate and Elliot are hot heavy, and multiple times Ana wishes that they weren’t, that Kate should control herself. This is rather strange coming from Ana who is fucked by Grey during a dinner with his parents and, unlike Kate who seems to know about Elliot’s business, knows nothing and shows no real interest in. Furthermore, when Grey slut shames Kate, Ana does not say anything in defense of her “friend”. And Kate is a good friend, not only apparently paying Ana’s way in terms of living costs and allowing her to borrow clothes and cars, but by being concerned and actually pegging Grey for what he is. However, Kate’s real reaction (the only sense of reality in the book) is shown to be wrong while Ana’s mother, who basically tells her daughter to go back to Grey’s hotel room, is shown to be correct. This is the mother who Ana chose not to live with, preferring to live with her step-father.
In fact, the majority of people in power in this book are men. The hardware store is owned by a man (his wife, however, is mentioned), Ana gets a job with a male boss, Grey’s go to people are all men, all the women in Grey’s offices seem to be sectaries or PAs (and a housekeeper), and Ana’s favorite professor is a man. Ana’s only female friend is Kate.
There is a one exception to this, and that is the non-seen but present character of Mrs. Robinson, the older woman who introduced Grey to the whole S&M thing. Robinson, a friend of Grey’s mother, did this when Grey was 15. Ana does not think to call this what it is – rape – until over 200 pages after she is told of it. Truthfully, she uses the word molestation. This only occurs after repeated bouts of jealously – not worry, but jealously. It’s OMG is he still seeing her, jealous. This whole thing is problematic because it implies that man can’t be sexually abused, that people are only into S&M if they are mess up mentally and abused at a young age, and shows a complete utter endorsement of rape is okay because Grey keeps calling it seduction. (What Jose did too is seduction).
I will grant that there is something attractive in having things taken care for you. But there is a fine line between being taken care and being abused. Ana, herself, refers to the Grey’s stalker and control issues. Grey’s control issues are not control issues. They are abuse issues because Ana exists solely for him, even in her mind. She worries about his reaction to everything. When she finally “leaves” him, it is implied that it is because she isn’t woman enough, not that he hurt her or is abusive. Compare that to Jane Eyre in one of Ana’s British books. Jane Eyre leaves Rochester because what he wants his wrong. It violates her being. She becomes her own being. This is not why Ana leaves Grey, though James seems to want you to think so. Jane Eyre would have left Grey long before.
James is no doubt laughing all the way to the bank. Good for her. But don’t tell me that this book is erotic or female empowerment. It’s just recycled rape culture.
**spoiler alert** Full review at Booklikes Note, that there it is in two parts.
The things you do for online friends. I think my eyeballs will never fo...more**spoiler alert** Full review at Booklikes Note, that there it is in two parts.
The things you do for online friends. I think my eyeballs will never forgive me. This is the funny partof the review, a more detailed anaylsis will follow, as soon my eyeballs forgive me.
At least I didn't pay for it.
"Bring on your best bikini" - Bikini fight apparently.
Emily's sex growls (Loc. 82) Vagina dentata eat your heart out. Emily's vagina is a pitbull on a leash. (Which must make it rather hard to sit down).
Wait, no. I had that wrong. Emily's sex quivered. So it is an arrow. Does that mean she has a penis?
Yeah, I know, I know. Okay, so the first part of this review pointed out some of the typos and mistakes that could possibly lead to laughs. This second part of the review is more serious
First off, if you are going to charge 2.99 American for a book that would take anyone whose reading level is higher than second grade 20 minutes at the most to read, it better be damned good and not filled with fragments, confusing sentences, and independents clauses that just don’t make sense. (Please note, that I got this book for free. The list price on Amazon is 2.99).
Second, and more importantly, this book is a big solid endorsement of rape culture.
It’s the girl really wants to be dominated, abused, and raped trope.
That pisses me off. Fine, ignore the conditions between porn and abuse. Ignore the stupidity of a woman doing what Emily does, and even ignore the fact that an aspiring porn actress is okay going bare back – how is rape erotic? It’s not. It’s, at best, pornographic. And Emily is seen begging for her rape, there really is no other way to put it, twice in this thing. TWICE! (less)
As Erotica this works, somewhat. Personally, I don’t like rape in my erotica in any way, and quite frankly, Jane is legally raped once in this. It’s t...moreAs Erotica this works, somewhat. Personally, I don’t like rape in my erotica in any way, and quite frankly, Jane is legally raped once in this. It’s true, though, that it is quite clear that she is not giving consent and the relationship is not the ideal, but the whole sub-plot of the forced not desired suitor just annoyed. Additionally, Jane saying she was a proper Victorian lady is at odds with her history with Jonathan, so it doesn’t quite work. And she really seems to get out of those corsets quite easily. Still, the writing in terms of wording, grammar, imagery, hotness, is pretty good. My objections are mostly personal taste.
I have to say that this short story isn't the type of book that I usually read. I have to also admit that I picked this up bec...moreCrossposted at booklikes
I have to say that this short story isn't the type of book that I usually read. I have to also admit that I picked this up because it was free. It is not something that I would pay money for (simply because it is not my thing).
That said, while I didn't find it erotic, it was pretty clear of typos and other faults that seem to make their way into SPA work. Bell knows what editing is. I also have to give Bell credit and props for giving May a friend, and showing May actually working (even if I didn't quite buy her in the position).(less)
Who doesn't love hot Earl Grey? It makes everything else seem inferior.
Excuse me for a moment.
There, I put the kettle on. What did you think I was doi...moreWho doesn't love hot Earl Grey? It makes everything else seem inferior.
Excuse me for a moment.
There, I put the kettle on. What did you think I was doing?
I truly needed a laugh, and this book (which I brought because of Misfit's review and the author's comment on a dicussion) provided it. In order to enjoy it, you don't need to have read Twilight or Fifty Shades of Grey, just have a passing knowledge of both as well as the urban fantasy romantic trend that gave birth to them. The book isn't mean spirited, so even if you like the above mentioned, you should still enjoy this book.
The story centers around Anna Steal (note the name) and her relationship with Earl Grey. Mr Grey works in a steel and glass erection the likes of which do not exist in Anna's home of Portland. Sadly, all is not tip toe though the tulips for these loves; there are a few cow patties in the field.
He is older than she is, and he does have 50 Shames (#15 is the worse).
The book sends up every cliche you have ever seen about a socially inept girl and the rich man who deicides she is the one. The book is sly and witty.
It also has my new favorite line "I gaze into his gazing eyes gazingly like a gazelle gazing into another gazelle's gazing gaze" (33).
Look at it this way, even after finding out that the author worked (or did some work) for Maxim magazine, I still liked it.
Thank you so much Fanny Merkin (cough) and Andrew Shaffer!(less)
This is one of those backs where I think you are suppose to dislike the two main characters. I mean, honestly, look at the title. It is powerful becau...moreThis is one of those backs where I think you are suppose to dislike the two main characters. I mean, honestly, look at the title. It is powerful because it deals with different types of damage - in people and by people.
The writing was very gripping and kept the reader's attention. But I'm not sure if I would re-read it.(less)
**spoiler alert** So this one killed my desire to read romance books for several years, and even colors my review of romance even today. I don't care...more**spoiler alert** So this one killed my desire to read romance books for several years, and even colors my review of romance even today. I don't care if it was pre-feminist; I don't care that rape fantasies exist. I'm sorry, if she escapes one rape, and then is raped by a man who is really sorry, but he thought she was doxy - there is no difference between either of the men. Sorry. She should have stabbed them both, instead of just the one.(less)
So my GRF Elizabeth writes in her review (see here) about problems with reading with feeling.
It doesn't work with this book. It really doesn't. There...moreSo my GRF Elizabeth writes in her review (see here) about problems with reading with feeling.
It doesn't work with this book. It really doesn't. There are soooo many questions that one has to ask. So many important questions that reading with feeling goes out the window.
Like, would you really want to temper an Iron maiden with your touch? Wouldn't it be rather painful? Wouldn't it have a vagina dentia? Wouldn't that be like getting gelded? Wouldn't it be simpler to take a big ole fire and shove the stupid Iron Maiden into it?
If you're French, why in the bloody hell would you go to England? For a blasted tourney so you can get money for sister to get married? Why is long hair that is never cut and hardly washed considered too die for by the ladies? If you're named Fulk, why don't you Fulk something (and sheep don't count)? If you were named Lioba, wouldn't you change your name?
If you're a high ranking whatisit, why do you need to marry Miss Thingie? If Miss Thingie's land is so precious, why don't more men come knocking? Why doesn't daddy marry again to father a son if a son was so blasted precious? And why does Miss Thingie get all willy nilly at the sight of blood when she wishes to hit people with her lance, sword, or arrow (and why aren't those phallic symbols)?
And how can a woman be strong enough to left one of those heavy lances, but pretty and soft in all the right places?
After reading this, I checked out Ms. Half-Lady Lisa's website. It seems that this book was written after Midni...moreI won this though a Goodreads giveaway.
After reading this, I checked out Ms. Half-Lady Lisa's website. It seems that this book was written after Midnight Life in Chinatown. This surprised me.
First, the good. The idea or conceit behind this book is good, great in fact, and is one of the reasons why this book gets two stars, not one. Additionally, there is some good insight into the modern American political system. This would be reason why I didn't file it under "ick-attack".
However, Ms. Half-Lady Lisa, I say the following with love. GET A BETTER EDITOR!!!! YOU REALLY, REALLY NEED ONE!!!
Yes, I know writing in CAPS is horrible, but it bears saying. Ms. Half-Lady Lisa is a wonderfully creative person. I love the cover art for this book. It's crazy wonderful. The idea behind this satire is great. She seems really smart. The editing and because of that, the writing lets the book down.
Honestly, the editing is crimnal and makes the writing looks bad. It's not just simply editing, like catching spelling or word placement. There is major editing problems. A good editor would've pointed out the places where chunky and clunky writing gets in the way of the satire and humor. A good editor would've nudged the writer to show more and tell less. In some ways, the book feels like it was put though a spell-checker and that's all.
This is a shame because there is such a glimmer of something good.(less)
I'll be honest. This isn't the type of book I would normally pick up on my own. Over the last year, I've read deb...moreI won this on a First Reads Giveaway.
I'll be honest. This isn't the type of book I would normally pick up on my own. Over the last year, I've read debates about the legalization of prostitution, and this book fits into the topic.
I'll be honest, yet again. The subject matter and how it is handled is four stars. Ms. Half-Lady does a good job in presenting the life of a transgendered prostitute. She does this by combining fiction with storytelling. Her writing style, especially when she gets factual, is good. She could have used a better editor. There are many typos. Not enough to stop you reading, but enough to be annoying. Let me be clear, it's not the writing; it's the editing. Just a little better or a little more editing and this would be a four star, perhaps five star book. This is the only negative thing I have to say abou this book.
Half-Lady presents her characters quickly. She doesn't judge them nor does she judge the reader. While the book looks only at transgender prostitutes, her description of the life and her listing of the rules, no doubt apply to any type of prostitute. Ms. Half-Lady also highlights the fact that prostitutes can also be victims. Can they really go to the police? In fact, as I am typing this, my local news is reporting a story about a prostitution ring bust. Prostitutes have been arrested, but no clients.
In many ways, I think Half-Lady would do a wonderful job if she wrote a non-fiction book about transgender prostitutes or prostitutes in general. The book dispells mythes and doesn't make the job look attractive at all, in case you are one of the people who think the book endorses prostiution. The book speaks more to understanding, and understanding is important when discussing issues that affect the country as a whole. You can speak about prostitution in general terms, but people should also realize that (a) not all prostitutes are women (b) there are transgender (c) they are not sex addicts. Half-Moon doesn't focus on the illegal trade, but more of the social aspects and how it affects her characters.
Overall, a rather surprising read, but in a good way.(less)