Another laugh out loud book from Janet Evanovich. It was interesting to see Stephanie and Joe as stand-in parents of a teenage boy whose mother was in...moreAnother laugh out loud book from Janet Evanovich. It was interesting to see Stephanie and Joe as stand-in parents of a teenage boy whose mother was in jail for armed robbery of a liquour store and was subsequently bailed and taken hostage. Lula was hilarious - any woman who wants to get engaged badly enough should follow Lula's example! After finishing the book I was left to wonder whose toes were amputated if they were not from the feet of the hostage - now that was a head scratcher. (less)
Evanovich's Stephanie Plum novels never failed to make me laugh until I cried and this is no exception. Some complain about the repititiveness of even...moreEvanovich's Stephanie Plum novels never failed to make me laugh until I cried and this is no exception. Some complain about the repititiveness of events but I don't mind at all as long as it makes sense and keeps me laughing. The only thing I would like to see is Stephanie move forward and finally commit to Morelli and perhaps even get married. Overall the series is still in top form and well-worth reading. (less)
After a very intense read I needed some light relief and this was exactly what I needed. It put me at ease straight away and had me laughing all the w...moreAfter a very intense read I needed some light relief and this was exactly what I needed. It put me at ease straight away and had me laughing all the way through. I loved Jane. I admire people who never lose their sense of humour even when things are rough.
Her mother reminded me a lot of mine in that after an argument she'll wait for me to apologise, realises I never will, then pretends it never happened. Mothers are weird like that. Her father was so nice and a very brave man to live with Jane's mother for so long without killing her and for the way he accepted Jane's new undead status.
I felt Jane's highs and lows as well as her jealousy over her male best friend. I could certainly empathise with her need to be around books, I don't think I could live without them either. I enjoyed Jane's friendship with Dick, his sense of humour and the way he needles her sire.
I whole-heartedly recommend this to anyone who needs a good laugh. It's good for the soul.(less)
Many people have been raving about this author recently so I took a gamble and read this book. It was interesting, intelligently written but it also m...moreMany people have been raving about this author recently so I took a gamble and read this book. It was interesting, intelligently written but it also made me smile and chuckle to myself a few times.
The relationships between the group of female friends were very entertaining despite their constant bitching and fighting, it was obvious they loved each other dearly. Plus, the main couple didn't jump into bed straight away so it got extra points from me just for that.
My overall impression is that this series gets better and better so I'll be reading that next book quite soon.(less)
I've had time to reflect on this one before writing a review. Up until now I've whole-heartedly enjoyed every single adventure with Stephanie though t...moreI've had time to reflect on this one before writing a review. Up until now I've whole-heartedly enjoyed every single adventure with Stephanie though throughout the last one I was beginning to wonder if she would ever grow up. And now I'm ready for her to move on it seems she agrees with me. Stephanie has hinted that she no longer enjoys being a bounty hunter and is considering her options.
There was a point in this book where I believed it to be the last of the series but I'm fairly sure it will be coming to an end soon, and I think it's time. Don't get me wrong there were still some hilarious scenes but certain things had begun to irritate me so I hope the series ends before I have to abandon it before I start disliking it.(less)
"I need to buy more gold!" Seriously, that was my first thought upon finishing You Slay Me. It's a fun, entertaining read. Yes, it had some ridiculous...more"I need to buy more gold!" Seriously, that was my first thought upon finishing You Slay Me. It's a fun, entertaining read. Yes, it had some ridiculously silly moments but I went in knowing what I was getting into so I didn't mind. It brightened my day and that's all I required from it. The sequel, Fire Me Up will be read very soon!(less)
I enjoyed this one better than the last but it still didn't match the greatness of the first book. I liked the humour surrounding the twins, some thin...moreI enjoyed this one better than the last but it still didn't match the greatness of the first book. I liked the humour surrounding the twins, some things were wrapped up a little too quickly and easily but overall I'm just glad the series is over.(less)
Never have my Western morals, pre-conceptions and beliefs been more challenged than when reading Stiff. No one wants to consider their own mortality a...moreNever have my Western morals, pre-conceptions and beliefs been more challenged than when reading Stiff. No one wants to consider their own mortality and make any arrangements for the afterlives of their bodies. Being confronted with the cold hard reality of nature, science and history of death was an uncomfortable, disgusting and enlightening experience. Those of a delicate disposition and strong religious belief will find this a particularly difficult and offensive read. But honestly, they should suck it up and read it anyway, hopefully with an open mind. My views were unexpectedly changed on quite a few issues. Nothing was as clear-cut and simple as I assumed they would be.
I share Roach's feelings towards cadavers:
’Cadavers are our superheroes: They brave fire without flinching, withstand falls from tall buildings and head-on car crashes into walls. You can fire a gun at them or run a speedboat over their legs, and it will not faze them. Their heads can be removed with no deleterious effect. They can be in six places at once.’
Cadavers can be:
✺ Used to train doctors. Historically, and currently, controversial. I was surprised by how much respect is shown by students to their cadavers, and I can completely understand why they hold memorial services for them as an emotional outlet for how disturbing it is to injure and deliberately disfigure another (albeit dead) human being. Digital anatomy instruction and/or plastination (I’ll explain later) may replace the dissection of the dead.
✺ Stolen from their graves and sold to medical schools. Thousands of body-snatchers or Resurrectionists (hehe!) made a career out of it, including the infamous murderers, Burke and Hare.
✺ Sex objects, i.e. necrophilia. Self-explanatory, that, eh? *wink, wink*
✺ Used to study decay on body farms, where cadavers are placed in controlled conditions and left to decompose, returning at pre-determined intervals to examine the results, which can later be used to determine cause and time of death.
✺ Embalmed. The ultimate plastic surgery, turning the old youthful once again. Morticians actually have to paint wrinkles on the elderly so their relations can recognise them. Morticians sanitize the body, plug the orifices ("Will we be suturing the anus?") and replace the fluids with formaldehyde, a toxic preservative. Much the same is done with the language used to describe their ‘clients’. Wrinkles are ‘facial markings’, a stiff is the ‘decedent’.
✺ Used to test safety as crash test dummies, improving vehicle safety and ultimately saving lives as a result.
✺ Used to determine the cause of plane crashes. Not all wreckage is recoverable and sometimes only the dead can tell you how and why a plane crashed. This chapter was particularly interesting, detailing many facts about the aerospace industry you really don't want to know if you ever want to fly again.
✺ Used to prove or disprove Jesus's crucifixion. Forgive me, but I believe Dr. Pierre Babet was batshit crazy. To put it more mildly, fanatically religious, obsessed devoted to Catholicism, and didn't much care about the people whose limbs he was cutting off, for perhaps mild injuries, to further his quest for the ultimate, undeniable proof that Christ was wrapped in the, now defunct, Shroud of Turin in 1931. If he did indeed amputate healthy limbs, it was uncalled for. No lives were hanging in the balance. So, for once, I can, while reading this book, definitively say that I would be sickened if this was so.
✺ Used to test munitions, though it’s taboo. The purpose is to take lives in order save lives. Ballistics gelatine and animals are the more common targets. The shooting and blowing up of live pigs and other animals for the training of military doctors, is also controversial. But which would you prefer: dead soldiers and alive pigs, or alive soldiers and dead pigs? I think if you had family and friends in the armed forces you’d rather those pigs die. Honestly, I was horrified when I heard about this practice on the news and yet after reading this, I completely understand why it's necessary. If there were no guns or bombs, surgeons wouldn't need these skills in the first place.
✺ Organ donors. Beating-heart cadavers are brain-dead (i.e. legally dead). On the one hand, one person can save many lives. Alternatively, the actual process is quite upsetting. Organs are removed while the donor still has a pulse, including the heart, which is the last to be cut out, and continues to beat ominously afterwards, for a few minutes. Although gender can be discerned from an ECG by a heart surgeon as they beat slightly differently, contrary to popular belief, transplant recipients do not begin to exhibit traits of their donor’s. A wildly inaccurate myth.
✺ Used to experiment with new surgical techniques. Head transplants have been attempted, both with humans and animals. Real-life Frankenstein here, people. Both disturbing and grotesque. I’m not religious, but even I was throwing out words like ‘unnatural’ and ‘barbaric’ while reading the various experiments. Shockingly, a transplanted monkey head was responsive for a few days before it died. Yes, it’s most definitely cruel, though I took Roach’s point that if a way was found to reattach the spinal column/cord, paralysis could be a thing of the past. Still, this head will only ever know one body and will hopefully remain attached until body and brain are decomposing.
✺ Used for food, i.e. cannibalism. Alive aside, this practice generally isn’t acceptable in the West in current times, apart from the placenta. Historically, and in the East, almost every body part was ingested in the name of medicine. Chinese women used to cut off a body part and cook it for their mother-in-laws. Today, the Chinese still find aborted human foetuses a delicacy. I really want to judge them for this, but wild animals eat their dead. Nothing’s wasted. Personally, I’d be worried about kuru, the incurable degenerative neurological disorder contracted via cannibalism.
Roach details the options for your body after death:
(Click table to enlarge)
Plastination, developed by Gunther von Hagens (you may have been to one of his exhibits or seen one of his TV shows), seems rather gimmicky to me and possibly expensive, though Roach never says how much it costs. For me, the tissue digestion seems the most 'natural', but I won't be surprised if human compost becomes popular since Roach notes the interest of the general public, many investors and funeral corporations, especially in Scandinavia. However, in the final chapter, I was swayed by the argument that it should be up to those you've left behind to decide what happens to your corpse. Or at least a compromise on what you're all most comfortable with to avoid conflicting moral or religious belief. That's if you have that conversation at all. Many don't, at least not in any real detail.
But there's another possibility. Even if you choose a traditional burial, future archealogists may dig up your bones hundreds of years from now and decide to display them in museums around the world. Not much you can do about that. And as I said in the table, a number of cemeteries have been moved or built over, so "your final resting place" may not actually be your final resting place. And in a world with finite resources, including the ever-decreasing acres of land in the face of rampant population growth, showing no signs of slowing, this is the most likely scenario. Better to pick something more permanent, if you ask me, or your naked skeleton could be eyeballed by your descendants, without your permission.
Informed consent is a tricky thing. In ye olde times, doctors and students took advantage of the poor and while performing surgery on them, did a little unnecessary exploration resulting in 'gratuitous pelvic exams' and 'superfluous appendectomies'. Donated cadavers were so rare that body snatchers were more likely to steal the bodies of the poor because the rich had the money to employ thief prevention techniques. Today, people want to know what will be done to their bodies when they donate it to science, and we should have that right, but the reality is so off-putting that you won't be told. You can only specify what it can't be used for.
Roach really takes a sympathetic approach to those that work with cadavers. You can tell she had real difficulty in the first few chapters, coming to terms with her first-hand experiences with the decaying and dismantled dead. Her humour isn't particularly humorous in those moments, because she's clearly uncomfortable and doesn't quite know how to process or write about them. I sympathised. Reading it was discomfiting, being there ... I'm not sure I could've merely observed as Roach did, without running screaming or vomiting my breakfast, especially while smelling the foul stench of decay. I'm fairly certain I could never watch the removal of organs from the beating-heart cadaver. The way it's described, it's too much akin to killing someone, even though you know they're brain dead and will never wake up.
It's hard to be judgmental when the author presents a balanced view on all topics. My initial gut reaction regarding a few things was most definitely disgust and horror, but after Roach told the other side of the story, I found some tolerance and understanding beneath the abhorrence. So if you go in with an open mind, you'll be rewarded.
I urge everyone to read this book, and to seriously consider the issues therein. It may help you decide what you want to happen to your body after you die. Anything that makes a difficult decision a little easier, is a good thing.
An essential, thought-provoking and educational read.(less)
An absolutely brilliant sequel to Pack Challenge. It's intelligent, funny (my ribs are sore from laughing so hard) and incredibly sweet without being...moreAn absolutely brilliant sequel to Pack Challenge. It's intelligent, funny (my ribs are sore from laughing so hard) and incredibly sweet without being overly so.
Miki is shockingly honest with no filter between her brain and her mouth but she's ball-bustingly tough (scary tough) and Mensa-smart so she's great to have in an impossible situation. Her geek friends are also scary, they may be wimpy in appearance but they sure can ruin your life if you get on their bad side. You gotta love 'em for their bravery in threatening Connall to take good care of Miki.
Connall was amazing, he didn't take Miki's comments too much to heart, he played her games and accepted all of her unwitting challenges. He pursued her with kind of determination you have to respect, only a brave man like him had the balls (and the willingness to lose them) to take on Miki. Whereas Miki is all work, Connall is all play so they made a wonderful match.
There are so many ROTFL moments that this is most definitely a keeper to read on dark days to cheer me up.(less)
Although it's not as great as the previous book, Go Fetch!, this was still a laugh-out-loud read.
What stopped me from giving a full 5 stars was Angeli...moreAlthough it's not as great as the previous book, Go Fetch!, this was still a laugh-out-loud read.
What stopped me from giving a full 5 stars was Angelina's fashion fixation, Miki's drugging fetish, Sara's mean streak in not telling Angelina where Nik was which really hurt her, and I didn't like where she dumped him even though many thought that was funny -I didn't in this case.
What I did like was the wooing tiger-style (BTW I LOVE tigers!), Angelina's way of dealing with unwanted attention and her ability to turn anything, and I mean anything into a weapon, Miki's trouble-making addiction and Nik's willingness to follow Angelina and live where she wants to.
I just have Irene's story to read and then...well, there are no more Magnus Pack stories. :((less)
Christmas Pride ~ 3.5 stars As teenagers they were best friends until Des moved away and was never heard from again. Twenty years later, Mace and Des...moreChristmas Pride ~ 3.5 stars As teenagers they were best friends until Des moved away and was never heard from again. Twenty years later, Mace and Des are older and wiser, and when they meet again after Mace's return from his stint in the Navy and he encounters her trying to arrest his sister for murder, all those old feelings return in full force.
Des is a fiercely independent (human) woman who refused to be tied to Mace. I had this image of him in lion-form, king of the jungle chasing down his prey and beating her into submission. Not one of my favourite of Laurenston's stories but still entertaining. I especially loved the "omega" tattoo, LOL!
Shaw's Trail ~ 5 stars Continuing on from Christmas Pride, Shaw wakes in the hospital to that intoxicating smell of the woman he encountered just before he passed out from his injuries. His state is such that he succumbs to what the shifters call the "fever", something that temporarily scrambles the brain but kicks lust into high gear. He practically pounces on this poor woman, who is unfortunately a wolf. Those female lions are not going to be happy to let go of one of their breeding males to a dog...
This one was hilarious. Oh the things the characters get up to in this. Laurenston has a great imagination when it comes to making you laugh. Just imagine seeing a lion trot down the street and then start dancing to Xmas music. And that's only the beginning!(less)
I was all set to give this one four stars just like its predecessor until I got to the part when Drake throws Aisling into the limo near the end. At t...moreI was all set to give this one four stars just like its predecessor until I got to the part when Drake throws Aisling into the limo near the end. At this point Aisling becomes incredibly selfish and immature.
I couldn't believe her behaviour. She made an oath, a commitment to not just Drake but to his green dragons. She acts like a selfish brat worrying about a career she hasn't even started yet, when her mate is about to lose everything with the possibility of even going to war.
And then she runs away and walks away from him. Again. Despite knowing the importance of her role to his species and the possible ramifications of her abandonment of her duties to both the dragons and humans. Ugh. I know this is supposed to be a light-hearted series but that really p*ssed me off.(less)
This is a charming little book filled with funny anecdotes, quotes, illustrations and facts about the ultimate rite of passage we all experience. It's...moreThis is a charming little book filled with funny anecdotes, quotes, illustrations and facts about the ultimate rite of passage we all experience. It's perfect for those quirky, weird people like myself who enjoys macabre humour, and has made me think hard about the way in which I (don't) want to die and what will (not) be done with my (hopefully) lifeless corpse.(less)