Is zero stars an option? What a piece of rubbish. This is riddled with typographical errors (Properly Spaces shows up for example instead of Proper Sp...moreIs zero stars an option? What a piece of rubbish. This is riddled with typographical errors (Properly Spaces shows up for example instead of Proper Spaces. The book also has no plot whatsoever. Worse, descriptions jump all over the place so that it's often difficult to figure out what's going on in a scene. One minute the main character is standing outside an apartment, the next she's being carried by Bail, then it jumps back to outside the apartment.
The book is also filled with colloquialisms that no businesswoman would use or no Irishman would use since culturally they wouldn't be part of his vocabulary. And that is my final complaint: Bail could have been from Antarctica, there were so few distinguishing characteristics that identified him from any part of the world. He also behaved in ridiculous and illogical ways.
Save your money. 3 bucks will get you a good latte instead.(less)
Anastasia Steele is an inexperienced college student who falls into the hands of the rich and powerful Christian Grey when she agrees to cover a journ...moreAnastasia Steele is an inexperienced college student who falls into the hands of the rich and powerful Christian Grey when she agrees to cover a journalism assignment for a friend. Immediately, Ana is drawn under Christian Grey's spell. The only problem is, Mr. Grey is a man with very particular sexual preferences, and Ana is thrown into a world she never imagined.
I didn't come to Fifty Shades expecting high literature. I hoped for fun and titillation. In the end, there was not enough of either to make the read worth it. So here is my take on Fifty Shades of Grey--the good, the bad and the gray.
The Good If there is one good thing about Fifty Shades it is that it revived my love of book discussion. The writing is so bad and the scenarios so incredulous that this was the perfect book to chuckle over with girlfriends.
For all its flaws it was also a quick read and so I have to give it 2 stars for the sheer entertainment factor alone. Unfortunately,that is where anything good about this book ends.
Given all the press this book has received I was hoping to be shocked (excited even) by the sex scenes. Instead I found them to be uninspired and repetitive. While Christian and Ana are surrounded by all the trappings of BDSM, most of their encounters center around spankings or the threat thereof.
Similarly, the contract which Christian presents to Ana lays out a plethora of activities which they never really get to. Instead we are bombarded ad nauseum with Ana's vapid inner dialogue. And this is were Fifty Shades fails the most.
The protagonist is insufferable.
The problem with creating an impossibly magnetic character like Christian Grey, is that the author must then go to great lengths to convince us that the woman he chooses is as remarkable as he is. James fails miserably on this front.
We are told by random passersby that Ana is amazing. Christian too insists that she is fiery and headstrong. Ana continues to insist that she is not really submissive but it is never convincing.
Submissive and entirely lacking in self esteem are the only ways I can describe a young woman who has so little self respect that she lets a man she has just met arrange her first gynecological visit, and who must constantly be reminded to take her birth control.Forget the sex scenes, it is Ana's complete lack of selfhood that is most distasteful in this novel. Less repugnant perhaps only than Christian's ridiculously controlling behavior.
The characters' failures are exacerbated by the worst parts of James' writing. It is unbelievable that a college student in the 21st century is as technologically challenged as Ana is. There are mentions of "blue screens" and "booting up email programs" in ways that are just anachronistic.
Then there is the fact that no one in this novel ever changes clothes. Ana is forever dressed in the plum sheath dress. Christian is the only millionaire on the planet who wears flannel pants to every occasion and puzzlingly pairs this winter fabric with linen.
There are other details that made me wonder how a modern woman could have written them. Ana makes a point of telling Christian that it's okay for them to have sex while she's on her period because she took her pill this morning. Yet, the pill would be completely irrelevant because if she is bleeding it means she is taking her placebo pills.
Most egregious however are the mentions of stalking and pedophilia that are cast about with almost light-heartedness. I kept blinking and wondering if I was actually reading about a woman joking about her boyfriend's stalker tendencies.
Lastly, the book hinges on a half-formed premise. James cannot seem to decide if Domination is merely a sexual preference or a pathology. Couldn't Christian love being Dominant in the bedroom while still being a perfectly adjusted gentleman otherwise? James seems to say no.
This is problematic in a number of ways. Firstly it sets up a dynamic in which Ana's role is to "fix" Christian. But the way to fix Christian is to move away from open communication and consent into a grey area where no means yes and in which Ana and Christian are constantly and deliberately probing at wounds that each has asked the other not to venture into.
This seemed like the anithesis of what a healthy loving relationship would be built on, and which ironically Ana so desperately wants. Again, it was these interactions outside the bedroom that were more troubling than any spankings in the bedroom.
I found it remarkable that the book opens with Christian using the contract to ensure that their interactions are all based on consent. Yet, by mid-novel, the contract is mostly abandoned, safe words mean nothing and the two move deeper and deeper into territory where explicit requests and outright refusals are ignored.
Ultimately it is these faults which rendered the novel very unsexy.
Fifty Shades could have been fun but it was just too jumbled and amateurish to hit the mark. (less)
Ashizawa is a successful restaurant agent who prides himself on always being able to close a deal. His charm runs out though, when he tries to convinc...moreAshizawa is a successful restaurant agent who prides himself on always being able to close a deal. His charm runs out though, when he tries to convince Chef Shuichiro Tsubaki to become lead Chef at his client's new restaurant. What follows is a clash of wills that of course leads to romance.
I absolutely loved Eat or be Eaten. It was refreshingly different for a yaoi novel. Not only were the ins and outs of the restaurant world vividly described but the characters are realistic, with all the insecurities of real human beings. All the traditional roles are turned on their head. Slender, fine-featured Ashizawa is the one pursuing the much gruffer "seme" Tsubaki. He is confident and well-adjusted whereas it is Tsubaki who struggles with a painful past.
Though told from Ashizawa's perspective, the novel centers on Tsubaki and he is complicated and far from perfect. He is not smooth or charming. Instead, he hides his sensitivity and social awkwardness behind a rough exterior and Ashizawa must lure him out.
The plot was predictable but never boring as the characterization in this really makes it a great read. Even the side characters have you rooting for them. To top it off, the dishes Tsubaki makes sound absolutely mouth-watering. I would have given this one 5 stars if not for the first sex scene which I wish had been less of a "battle". Overall though, a nice change from the usual fare. 4.5 stars
Recommended for anyone who likes something a little different with their yaoi. :)(less)
This book managed to save itself at the very end but I thought for sure it was going to be a 1 star read. The writing wasn't bad; I'm just sick of yao...moreThis book managed to save itself at the very end but I thought for sure it was going to be a 1 star read. The writing wasn't bad; I'm just sick of yaoi novels where cruelty is passed off as kindness or love. Tokiwa mistreated Itsuki so much and yet not only did Itsuki not realize Tokiwa owed him an apology and then some, all he could think of was that he didn't want to inconvenience his partner. Grr. Could have been good if the seme wasn't such a jerk.(less)
This novel is not at all what I expected. I wouldn't call this a romance so much as a tale of obsession. Even for a yaoi novel where abuse and love ha...moreThis novel is not at all what I expected. I wouldn't call this a romance so much as a tale of obsession. Even for a yaoi novel where abuse and love have a tendency to mingle this one is pretty dark. There is raw sexual attraction and lots of mind games but nothing that comes close to love. That said, while The Guilty is not enjoyable in a romantic sense I thought it was well written and Toya's internal turmoil and self-loathing are realistic. The ending was not quite convincing but I think I will continue reading this series if only in the hope that Hodaka develops more humanity than we've seen from him.(less)
This was a surprisingly good read. I had really low expectations of this book when I first saw it and I almost didn't buy it. I thought it would follo...moreThis was a surprisingly good read. I had really low expectations of this book when I first saw it and I almost didn't buy it. I thought it would follow the pattern of the usual "Sheik captures uke" yaoi manga/novels in which the uke is not only taken to a far away country against his will, but while there he is also taken against his will by the seme yet still professes his love for his rapist in the end.
Eternal Love thankfully moved away from this formula enough for it to be enjoyable. Tomoyuki is kidnapped by Aswil but apart from one dubiously consensual scene, there is no rape. I also found Tomoyuki's inner turmoil, his resolve to return home even in the face of his conflicting feelings towards Aswil to be fairly realistic. I appreciated that he didn't spend his time simply pining for Japan but actually took concrete actions to try to get himself there.
Of course, with this kind of book there is always the problem of explaining how a person who kidnaps his lover is anything but an abusive tyrant but even this I thought was handled quite well. Aswil's motivations are not completely credible but the author gives enough glimpses of his own weaknesses and the societal pressures he feels to allow the reader to suspend disbelief.
Finally, there is a kind of poetic justice in the end in that to gain Tomoyuki's love, Aswil has to experience a loss of freedom similar to Tomoyuki's before they can find any semblance of happiness. This wasn't a perfect read by any means but overall I thought Eternal Love was a well-plotted story with surprising depth for its genre. (less)
This was a cute guilty-pleasure read. I would have given it more stars if the ending hadn't been so abrupt and left so much unresolved but overall I e...moreThis was a cute guilty-pleasure read. I would have given it more stars if the ending hadn't been so abrupt and left so much unresolved but overall I enjoyed this. Of course, the roles and plot are pretty stereotypical but I liked that the main characters cared about each other and it was nice to have a strong yet romantic and caring seme instead of the brutes we tend to see so much of in yaoi. 3.5 stars(less)
I'm so glad I bought Better than a Dream . I'd read the summary on amazon and the plot seemed pretty thin, but sometimes you just have a good feeling...moreI'm so glad I bought Better than a Dream . I'd read the summary on amazon and the plot seemed pretty thin, but sometimes you just have a good feeling about a book and I had that feeling about Better than a Dream . Something told me I would like it so I decided to give it a try.
Yuuki is the owner of a cafe in a small town. He's still mourning the loss of his lover to a tragic hiking accident when Kamishiro, a mysterious chef walks into his life. Initially, Kamishiro's resemblance to Yuuki's lost lover is what draws Yuuki to him but over time his feelings become more complicated.
What I appreciated most about Better than a Dream was the maturity of the main characters and the realistic portrayal of their emotions. Yuuki's grief and conflicted feelings especially rang true. In general this is very much a story about two adults slowly coming together. I thought it was paced well and everything came together in a way that made sense. Despite the simple-seeming plot, the author balances the suspense and the character development nicely. Don't think for a bit though that this means there was no steam. Far from it. Yuuki and Kamishiro sizzle off the pages.
In some places I would have liked a little more insight into Yuuki's thought processes but overall this was a really pleasant surprise on many levels, including the quality of the translation. If DMP keeps this up, I'll definitely be buying more of their novel releases. (less)
I think I got 80% through this one before flipping ahead to the end. Given the first book in the series I can't say I was surprised. The characters an...moreI think I got 80% through this one before flipping ahead to the end. Given the first book in the series I can't say I was surprised. The characters and plot are marginally better developed in this volume and so if I could, I'd give it 2.5 stars. Other than that, the same problems in A Bit of Rough are here too: too much sex, weird descriptions within the sex scenes and not alot of insight into character motivations. Like book one there's lots of potential but the execution fails.(less)
I've learnt to set the bar pretty low when it comes to my expectations of the slew of gay romances being published lately, so I'm not sure why I'm sur...moreI've learnt to set the bar pretty low when it comes to my expectations of the slew of gay romances being published lately, so I'm not sure why I'm surprised at being disappointed by A Bit of Rough.
James is a shy architect, who in a moment of impulse, picks up hunky friendly Bram at a bar. What follows next is supposed to be a journey past personal demons and to love. The problem with A Bit of Rough though like with so many other romances is that the love and the demons take a back seat to the endless sex. I was over 130 pages into this 233 page novel and only 24 hours had passed and 90% of that had been spent having sex.
It's a shame because Baumbach overall is a decent writer and the main characters themselves are pretty likeable. If you're used to reading yaoi then the dichotomy between James and Bram is typical: James is smaller and cuter; Bram is bigger, very protective and more aggressive. It's unrealistic but there is enough of a "guilty pleasure" aspect to it that it keeps you reading. However,there's only so far guilty pleasure can go. The weak character development and a plot almost devoid of real tension take away alot of the potential of this novel.
Add to that some purple prose that had me alternately chuckling and wincing and it's hard to give A Bit of Rough anything more than 3 stars. I give it 2 because as entertaining as the marathon sex was, in the end there really isn't very much here.(less)
This book was such a surprise. When I first glanced at it, it seemed very chick lit-esque, which usually isn't my kind of thing. But, it was $3.00 in...moreThis book was such a surprise. When I first glanced at it, it seemed very chick lit-esque, which usually isn't my kind of thing. But, it was $3.00 in the sale pile at Borders and when I flipped through it, the dialogue seemed funny and snappy. I thought "oh what the hell" and went for it. I'm so glad I did.
Midnight Brunch is actually the sequel to Acosta's first book, Happy Hour at Castle Dracula (which I now want to get my hands on). Our heroine, Milagro de Los Santos is dating a vampire--except vampirism in this world is a genetic disorder that causes blood cravings, super healing abilities and sensitivity to sun. There are no sharp fangs and a judicious application of sunblock is all the vampires need to stay healthy and happy.
We learn that Milagro accidentally became infected with the disorder in the previous novel and not only has she survived the infection (which is a very rare occurrence) but she's gained some special abilities as well. Needless to say, these abilities attract the attention of the wrong kind of vampires and Milagro must fight to stay out of their clutches.
This was such a breezy enjoyable read. Milagro is a funny sassy protagonist and the plot is transparent but not thin. You can guess what's coming a mile off but it's the cast of characters and the humor that really fuel the novel. Sure Milagro falls into traps that might as well have danger signs written all over them, but she does so more out of her sense of adventure than actual ditziness. She never becomes a weepy heroine and so even if the bad guys are obvious, it's easy to forgive. You'll find yourself chuckling with her along the way even as you hope that she really does find true happiness.(less)
One of my favorite romances for the sheer unconventionality of it. The heroine is plump, smart and bold and Malloren is a good match for her. Their ba...moreOne of my favorite romances for the sheer unconventionality of it. The heroine is plump, smart and bold and Malloren is a good match for her. Their banter and the troubles they find themselves in are quite amusing. Haven't read this in a long time but this makes me want to pick it up again.(less)