Professor Hardwigg: Good news, everyone! I've discovered an ancient code that will take us into a forgotten world beneath a dormant volcano full of un...moreProfessor Hardwigg: Good news, everyone! I've discovered an ancient code that will take us into a forgotten world beneath a dormant volcano full of unspeakable dangers! You'll be coming with me as my guinea pi — I mean, fellow “adventures” (ahem) — to help me go down in faaaaaaame.
Harry: Awww, Uncle! Can't I stay home and wait until it comes on the Discovery Channel? I'm allergic to danger!
Professor H: Shush, you ninny. Are you a man, or are you a woman in men's clothing? To the volcano!
Harry: I'm tired!
Professor H: Shut up.
Harry: I'm hungry!
Professor H: (Ignores)
Harry: We're running out of water!
Professor H: It's a cave thousands of miles below the surface. There's got to be water around here somewhere.
Harry: We ran out of water! We're going to die!
Professor H: Here. Take this last bit of water. I was saving it for myself but I'd rather die of dehydration than listen to you whine a moment longer.
Hans: Ég fann vatn! Ég mölva vegginn!
Professor H: Drengurinn er weakling. Ættum við að gefa Harry vatn?
Hans: Já. Ef það er hættulegt dýrið niður hér, mun það borða hann fyrst.
Harry: What's that you're saying?
Professor H: How invaluable you are to us on our journey.
Professor H and Hans: Heh heh heh...
Harry: I'm lost!
Professor H: Oh, thank God we found you! (Damn, so much for losing the whiny bastard...)
Harry: Look! An underground sea! But what's with all these bones?
Professor H: Fossils. Nothing's alive down here.
Professor H: Look, Hans caught a fish!
Harry: I thought you said—
Professor H: This is a species of fish that has been extinct for thousands of years. Fascinating.
Harry: That you've discovered a new form of life?
Professor H: No. That such a rare and ancient breed of fish can still taste like common tuna. Evolution isn't all it's cracked up to be.
Harry: You don't think that there's anything else alive down here, do you? Anything...dangerous?
Professor H: Thar she blows! The white dinosaur! Quiquag — I mean…Hans — fetch me my harpoon!
Harry: I'm hungry again!
Professor H: I think we're almost out of the earth!
Every so often, I come across a young adult novel that is not only well-written and meaningful, but also an existential experience that perfectly capt...moreEvery so often, I come across a young adult novel that is not only well-written and meaningful, but also an existential experience that perfectly captures what it means to be human. This is my first John Green experience (and he is, if nothing else, an experience), and it took a major toll on me. When my book-buddies found out I blogged about YA books but had never read John Green the reaction was unanimous protest and outrage. I was promptly ordered to read him at once!
Well, I just finished The Fault in Our Stars, and I'm all sniffly because I literally spent the last 150 pages crying, interspersed with brief respites of laughter and smiles that quickly became more crying. In case you couldn't guess from the summary or the reviews, this is a book about cancer. It is a book about teenagers with cancer, but not a Cancer Book. The characters don't found major charities, or touch people's hearts, or make miraculous and heart-warming recoveries. They just try to survive- and make the best of the time they have left. Green writes with a quiet dignity, portraying the characters as strong even in their lowest lows. He isn't afraid to talk about G-tubes, or cannulas, or oxygen tanks, or amputations. This makes the novel so much more realistic, and comforting, because in a way I think all those happy-ending inspirational stories hurt more than they help- because if you don't make it, does that mean you didn't try hard enough to "live strong?"
"I'm a grenade and at some point I'm going to blow up and I would like to minimize the casualties, okay?...I'm a grenade...I just want to stay away from people and read books and think and be with you guys because there's nothing I can do about hurting you; you're too invested, so just please let me do that, okay? I'm not depressed. I don't need to get out more. And I can't be a regular teenager, because I'm a grenade" (p. 99).
Hazel is a sixteen-year-old girl who's come to terms with the fact that she's living on borrowed time. She makes the best of what she has: she goes to college(!), she reads, she attends her cancer support group, and she tries her best to maintain her social relationships at her parents' prodding. One day, at the support group, she finds out that her friend Isaac- who is about to go blind because of his ocular cancer- has brought one of his friends for moral support: Augustus Waters, another survivor (of osteocarcinoma, which resulted in the amputation of his leg).
He can't take his eyes off her and Hazel is surprised when the two of them hit it off almost immediately, falling into a fast and furious love that is far deeper and more touching than the typical young adult relationship. No, I'm not just saying that as a "Cancer Perk." What Hazel and Gus have is real. The two of them not only complemented each other, but also loved each other in spite of (or perhaps because of) their flaws, in addition to their strengths.
"I'm in love with you, and I'm not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I'm in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we're all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we'll ever have, and I am in love with you" (p. 153).
Seriously. Is that not one of the most beautiful, perfect admissions of love you have ever read? Yes, it's dark. But life is dark. And love is that candle that briefly lights up our way.
Oh God. I'm starting to cry again...
"It would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you" (p. 176).
The main plot of the book is how the characters' relationships develop, and how they react (or *MILD SPOILER* don't) to their treatment plans for the path for recovery/remission. Hazel and Gus also end up going to Amsterdam as one of Gus's Cancer Perk wishes, in order to visit the author of a book that inspires them, and understands them. A book about a tongue-in-cheek girl with leukemia who refuses to be confined to stereotypes and forms a foundation for cholera. The novel ends mid-sentence, implying death, and the unanswered questions have haunted Hazel for years. The author is not what they expected, and neither is the trip.
I'm not quite sure what else to say. I loved this, obviously, even though it made my heart hurt and I'm probably going to have to read about twenty happy books to stop feeling so sad. It was worth it though (just make sure you have tissues handy). I love knowing that there are authors out there who see the world as it is, in spite of how it can be a sad place sometimes, and still make it look so beautiful. I can only hope that my review did this book the justice it deserves.
Okay, you know what I think? I think the only reason this book is as popular as it is is because it's about AIDS. I think it's over-hyped as hell, and proof that having a good agent can turn even the shittiest of novels into a best-seller. I think that if this was self-published, people would be tearing it a new one because of the terrible way it approaches AIDS and morality in general.
I think this book is crap.
***Spoilers to follow***
June Elbus is a truly bitchy excuse for a fourteen-year-old. She wants to live in medieval times because she thinks it was so much better then than now. (Seriously? Does she know nothing about this time period? Nothing?) She treats her sister, Greta, cruelly, and her sister does the same. She spends all her time in her self-absorbed little world. The only person she cares about in the whole entire world is her Uncle Finn, a world-renowned painter who is also dying of AIDS.
At her uncle's funeral, she sees this strange man there. He's her uncle's lover, Toby, who is British and an ex-con, and who also has AIDS. June's family hates him, but June is morbidly curious and eventually ends up becoming his friend. What makes this creepy is that Toby entices her to meet with him by promising her presents and stories about Finn, and tells her specifically not to mention any of this to her parents or sister. When they hang out together, he gives her cigarettes and alcohol, and makes jokes about how people think they're a 'couple.' There's this really creepy scene where we find out that Finn had a basement lounge built below his apartment for Toby to stay in when June and her family were over, because June's mother threatened to cut him out of his nieces' lives if his boyfriend was around. Toby tells her to come down into the caged basement with him, and June tries to decide if he is an axe murderer or not, eventually deciding not because if he was, he wouldn't have told her about the cage; no, he would have tried to bribe her with a puppy. I kid you fucking not. It was like something right out of a new adult novel, and the whole time I kept shaking my head and going, Really, June? Fucking really? I know pedobear is before your time, but you literally see no problems with this situation at all? No blinking lights? No sirens?
We also find out that June really, really loves her uncle. She wants to bone her uncle. She seriously has a romantic attraction to her uncle. Which, I'm sorry--what? Her jealousy of Finn, for Finn, was just revolting on so many levels. Her level of possession, her sense of entitlement and ownership--it's all a bit much, topped only perhaps by the revelation that Greta feels equally jealous about her sister, for her sister. What the actual fuck. Is this the incest edition of Married with Children, or what?
My other problem with this book is that, despite the praise about this book raising awareness about AIDS and the LGBT community--it does nothing to detract from the stigma about AIDS and the LGBT community. In fact, I'd say that it adds to the harm.
Nobody specifically gives the hows and whys about AIDS at any time. Everyone in the book is freaking out about it. We see Greta's mother slap her daughter when she sees her using Finn's chapstick, we see June washing her hands a bajillion times after touching her uncle and freaking out that she might get AIDS from him if he kisses her on the cheek. We see the entire family fighting over whether Toby gave Finn AIDS or vise-versa, but never get any actual confirmation on how it fucking happened. Everyone in this book freaks out about AIDS and horrible things happen to the people who have it. When Toby is hospitalized for pneumonia from his failing immune system (something else the book never explicitly states, but I know, because I do know about AIDS and how it can and can't be transmitted, and how it actually works), the author makes a point of saying how Toby was put in the AIDS ward and all the patients seem to be men, who are all by themselves, and who look ashamed. WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT? WHAT THE FUCK? WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK? How is that raising awareness? All I see is the author conforming to the stereotype that only "fags" get AIDS, and that it's something to be ashamed of. Is that any message to send? That not only is it bad to be gay, but that if you're gay, you're going to get sick and die alone? What the fuck?
Let's also talk about how the homosexuals in this book are viewed. Finn dies of AIDS. Toby is an ex-con, who lures little girls out after dark and plies them with drugs and alcohol, and encourages them to break their parents' trust and maybe even run off with him to England. He also, eventually, dies of AIDS. Nobody at any time comes out and says, "Hey, you know, maybe we were wrong about this whole thing. Maybe the most important thing isn't who you love, or how you love, but simply that you love." Nope. It's just bitch-fight after bitch-fight, and we're treated to all these wonderful scenes about Finn's sister having to hide his sexuality from his douchebag father, and, eventually, even she turns on him too by threatening to cut him out of the family if he doesn't ditch his boyfriend.
Yeah, that's tolerance.
Let's also talk about how June defaces a painting worth almost $1 million dollars and doesn't get in any trouble. She thinks she's completely entitled to it because Finn painted it, and since she loves him most fuck her family, fuck the fact that her family might need the money. She's going to scribble on the painting because--why fucking not? She throws huge fits every time her mother talks about having it sold or even valued, and why? Because it would mean sharing Finn with someone else.
I just...I can't. This book was insufferably bad. I don't understand why it's as popular as it is. It's offensive, it feeds into the already plentiful negative stereotypes about AIDS victims and homosexuals, and teaches teenagers incredibly questionable morals. There is nothing redeemable about this book except maybe the writing, and even then, only if you don't have problems with pretentiousness that rivals even John Green's level of navel gazing.
In philosophy, there is something called "The Liar's Paradox." Basically, it involves a s...moreYou can read more reviews at my blog, The Armchair Librarian!
In philosophy, there is something called "The Liar's Paradox." Basically, it involves a statement that is doomed to be incorrect no matter how you look at it. If a man says, "I am lying," he is either telling the truth, or he is lying. If he is telling the truth, then the statement is false. If he is not telling the truth, then the statement is still false. Paradox, either way, ad infinitum.
While reading Confessions of a Sociopath, the Liar's Paradox kept returning to mind, because sociopaths are by definition manipulative, charming, conscienceless liars by nature. So whenever Ms. Thomas seemed to be making a point to have me warm up to her, either with insecurities or abusive home environments, I could never get past the fact that it was probably a calculated attempt on her part to appear less harmful than she actually was: as if she was consciously thinking, "There, this will show people that sociopaths aren't so bad."
And who knows, maybe she was.
There were parts of this memoir that were engrossing, others that I found utterly repulsive. I was irritated by her attempts to rationalize her behavior through religion and economics. Her repeated claims that the sociopath brain might, in fact, be better than the so-called empath brain had me rolling my eyes. It was quite clear, from her narrative, that she was missing something crucial. As the creepy cover shows all too viscerally, the face looks human but the soul is gone.
While I was posting status updates about this book, I received some interesting comments and took part in some intelligent debate with some people on my friends list about psychopathy and sociopathy. It's a very tricky diagnosis, for the exact reasons that make the sociopath so dangerous: they are adept liars. Therapy doesn't work, because if you send a sociopath off to therapy they tailor their responses to what the therapist wants to hear, and became that much better at faking chagrin or remorse. As of today, there is no successful rehabilitation for sociopaths; quite the contrary: they tend to repeat the same crimes over and over because they have no sense for consequences and learn nothing from punishment.
I feel like this flat, distant way of looking at the world really showed in the narrative. It was chilling, and creepy, and downright unnatural: it was as if I was being followed by one of those portraits with the moving eyes, like in Scooby Doo. The detached curiosity or annoyance by emotional displays, the utter bewilderment by unwritten social codes and mores--it was very alien.
Ironically, while sociopaths may be good at manipulating and faking at being empaths, I think empaths are actually better at projecting themselves into the minds of sociopaths. Because that's the nature of empathy, being able to put yourself in somebody else's shoes and see the situation from their perspective. Thomas sees emotions as weaknesses, but then why would so many people have empathy if it was an evolutionary disadvantage?
edit//11/14/12: ENDGAME IS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE OMFG. I'M DONEEEEE. YOU GUYS HAVE NO IDEA- HOW- HOW- HOW GOOD THIS FEELS. ;_____;
You can obtain a co...moreedit//11/14/12: ENDGAME IS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE OMFG. I'M DONEEEEE. YOU GUYS HAVE NO IDEA- HOW- HOW- HOW GOOD THIS FEELS. ;_____;
You can obtain a copy for Kindle HERE. I would be absolutely honored. ♥
When I tell people I'm a writer (which I usually don't, because the usual response is a sneer), their first question is generally, "Oh, so you must write romance novels."
I take great pride in being able to say, in my super girly-girl voice, "Nope! I write spy thrillers, cyberpunk, urban fantasy, and, like, gothic horror?"
Their response is usually: O_______O
Me: 1. Sexist: 0.
The first useful writing advice I ever got was "write what you know." I can't remember who said that to me, but I remember the advice. I also played a lot of video games as a child. Hours and hours. And hours. Last summer, both ideas culminated in my messed-up little brain, and in a three-day writing frenzy fueled by Dr. Pepper and excessive boredom, I churned out the rough draft of this puppy.
Since it was written in three days, it didn't make a whole lot of sense at first, but there were some good ideas in there. Part of being a writer is that you also have to be a good archeologist. Except, instead of excavating bones from dirt, you're excavating prose from ...unmentionables.
This story is not yet available (it will be- soon!), but I wanted to show off the fancy-pantsy cover my wonderful graphic design major friend made for me. (She also designed the cover of my other book, Cloak and Dagger) I stare in awe at her talent. Thank you, Louisa. ♥
VIOLET IS BLUE was a terrible book. It's the epitome of everything that is wrong with the new adult genre.
"What a freak! He totally pawed through your phone, V." Ivy shivered and made a face. "He's so gross." "He's not that bad," I said (15).
Violet is eighteen-years-old, and has a stalker. He sends her flowers and creepy poems and calls her up on the phone to tell her all the nasty things that he wants to do to her.
Sounds like the pretext for a romance story, right?
Of course, it doesn't help that all the men in Violet's life are total creepazoids. Like Devon, who takes her phone and makes inappropriate comments about the pictures on it; pins her against cars and walls and tells her how much he wants to fuck her; and even breaks into her friends' backyard to crash the party & stalk her. There's also her jerk ex who keeps flirting with her in a creepy jerk way even though he cheated on her with another girl. There's also the older boy who works for her stepdad, Patrick.
I didn't want to be one of THOSE girls who people whispered about in the halls or at parties (31).
Violet slut shames everyone and anyone, which is made even more painful by her own hypocritical behavior. When Devon corners her in a library and makes creepy comments about Jack Ripper and orgasms caused by vaginal tearing during birth, Violet gets so turned on by this, and his rape threats, that she has to run to the bathroom and masturbate.
Her stalker is from the creepy mouth-breather school of perverts, and rather than freaking out or ignoring him, Violet has phone sex with him. When he tells her he's outside her bedroom window, watching her, and asks her to touch herself, she pulls up her shirt and starts playing with her breasts while her stalker jacks off in the shadows. Creepy much? I think so.
Later, the stalker sends her sexy lingerie. She puts it on and stands in the window and gyrates, only to be seen by one of her neighbors. Violet goes to bed and wakes up in the morning to find out that her stalker broke into her bedroom in the middle of the night and macked on her scantily clad sleeping body.
Even more disturbing is how everyone in the book jokes about the abuse.
" Yeah, maybe [the phone creeper] has been fantasizing about you for months. I mean he's in your house all the time, he sees you almost every day. Maybe he even spies on you, like when you're changing or in the shower." Giggling, she hugged herself. "God, I have to stop it, or else my ovaries are going to explode" (26)
When she finally tells her parents what's going on--and even then, this is only after her stalker totals her car, puts her ex in the hospital, leaves her threatening phone messages, breaks into her car to fill it with rose petals, breaks into her bedroom to watch her sleep, and eavesdrops on her masturbating in a public restroom--her stepfather tells her that she was asking for it, and that he doesn't want to send an innocent boy to jail because she was being a tease. Her mother slaps that asshole, thank God, but then later they joke about how all men are assholes. Um...
No, they aren't?
Just the ones in this book.
I really, really loathed this book because:
A) It reinforces the idea that it's OK for men to be assholes.
B) It is full of women hate and slut-shaming. Even Violet's friends are always calling her a slut.
C) The climax is sickening. I mean, really, truly sickening.
D) The climax doesn't make sense either. Plotholes up the wazoo, guys.
E) Devon, the love interest, is a psychotic asshole who is basically a Travis Maddox-in-training. When he grows up he will be either a serial killer or Christian Grey (basically the same thing).
F) It trivializes the real victims of sexual abuse and violence by suggesting that these women are somehow bringing it upon themselves. Violet's behavior left me feeling physically nauseated. I just can't believe in good faith that a girl, or the people (especially her female friends and mother) around her, would blow off such aggressive sexual overtures. Especially breaking in to her house!!!
This was a terrible book, even for new adult. I actually felt dirty after finishing it. And not the good kind of dirty, either.
I tried reading Madame Bovary for the first time about five years ago. I got annoyed and put it down. Lately, people have begun telling me that I must not like a book because I'm "too young" to get it (yeah, tell me again how literary Fifty Shades of Grey). However, they *might* have a point. It's my understanding that literary tastes do change over time. But not this one. In fact, I gave up in the same exact place (my bookmark was still there).
So clearly, the fault does not lie with me but the book. And what is wrong with this book? WELL. I looked up a synopsis on Wikipedia real quick. So let me tell you.
1. Emma marries a kind-hearted man named Charles who is a little clumsy and dull. 2. Emma resents him for not being like the romantic heroes in her books. 3. Charles takes her to a new city in order to please her. 4. Emma is bored and not pleased. 5. Emma becomes a mother. 6. Emma does not like being a mother. 7. Emma has an affair with a man who shares her love of pretentiousness. 8. The affair ends because the lawyer thinks Emma is too much of a harpy. 9. Emma is bored and not pleased. 10. Emma starts another affair with an asshole. 11. Emma intends to elope with the asshole, but the asshole doesn't want commitment. 12. Emma is heartbroken, bored, and not pleased. 13. Emma starts an affair with the lawyer again. 14. Emma maxes out her credit card. 15. The asshole and some of his asshole friends conspire to get Emma to take out a mortgage on her husband's property to pay off her debts. 16. Emma is heartbroken, bored, not pleased, and penniless. 17. Emma decides to take the selfish way out and kill herself. 18. Emma's daughter and husband are sad.
IS THIS FEMINISM? I DON'T THINK SO. IT REEKS OF THE MADONNA/WHORE COMPLEX TO ME. ESPECIALLY SINCE, THIS WHOLE TIME, EMMA IS CONGRATULATING HERSELF ON BEING SO MUCH BETTER AND MORE SOPHISTICATED THAN EVERYONE AROUND HER. OH- AND GET THIS- SHE THINKS SHE'S 'PURE' EVEN WHILE CHEATING ON HER HUSBAND BECAUSE SHE'S CONVINCED THAT HE DESERVES IT/DISSOCIATES FROM THE WHOLE THING BY SAYING IT FEELS RIGHT.
THIS IS STUPIDITY.
I HAVE NO IDEA WHY THIS IS A CLASSIC.
PLEASE. EDUCATE ME. I WANT TO KNOW WHY THIS IS SOMETHING TO ADMIRE/ASPIRE TO.
The book has two alternating timelines - one features Jerome has a young, rich playboy/motivational speaker. The other, has a middle-aged, rich advertiser. In both timelines, he has the distinct (and dubious) privilege of being one of the most unpleasant, misogynistic, disgusting, hate-filled, loathsome excuses of a male narrator that I have ever seen in my twenty years of reading.
Much of this book reads like hypersexual fanfiction of AMERICAN PSYCHO. Despite its literary pretensions, 80% of this book is smut. Imagine if you told an adolescent boy to sit down with his friends and write erotica. (Note: for the sake of literature, do not tell an adolescent boy to sit down with his friends and write erotica.) This would be the result.
"If I was one of those Hentai octopus monsters with like 20 tentacle penises, I'd fill every hole with tentacle penises and pump her with semen until she explodes (209).
I look at my pink toro sashimi, the most expensive cut of sushi at this restaurant. It is the color of pomegranate sorbet, and, in my imagination, Maddie's nipples, her pussy, and her asshole (11).
Her asshole is the color of pomegranate sorbet (76).
The sex in this book is so unsexy, and yet it is repeated so much throughout that I couldn't help but wonder whether it was meant to shock or titillate. Or is AND THEN RUN the product of Fifty Shades of Rape Culture that has become embedded into our society? Is it okay to treat a woman like a sex object without a mind or a soul as long as you're adverbily attractive?
I want to kill my enemies. I don't want to apologize to them, or to women, or to anyone. I want to conquer my foes and take their women as my chattel, and make them do every porn thing I can think of (44).
I am not Casanova. I am no seducer. I am a raw, primal warrior. I am like Achilles claiming Briseis after killing her guards, or Og the caveman claiming Ug the cavewoman after killing a saber tooth tiger and some rival cave warriors (56).
There is nothing on earth that I want more than to live in a primal fantasy world and rule over Madison through her libido. I absolutely, definitely do not want to be "better" than that. The only way to get anything better would be if I could rule over like 10 women through their libidos, or just through fear, and also fight people to the death (and win) like every day (89).
I was born for sex, and I was built for killing (89).
Jerome is a womanizer with fantasies of polygamy. He keeps between 3-5 girlfriends at a time, lying to others about the seriousness of his relationships with the women.
"I would say that if a man has inherently polygamist desires, and he does monogamy in response to social pressure, then his soul has been neutered" (205).
One of the things I actually did like about this book is his weird anarchist views. Jerome has some truly funny observations about society and societal norms. I think his motivational speeches and his media manipulations were some of the best passages in the book, and I thoroughly enjoyed them.
But then, everything came back full circle to these weird, twisted sex fantasies.
He forces his girlfriends to have anal sex with him and threesomes, and rapes them or threatens them with physical violence when they do not comply. 99% of these encounters end up with the women crying. They plead for him to pick one of them and put the matter at rest once and for all. Jerome refuses, gets angry at the women for trying to force him into their "monogamist fantasies", ignores their calls or kicks them out of bed, and eventually the women always come crawling back, because he's sooooo rich and sexy, you guys.
At one point, one of the women actually apologies to him for getting upset about him raping her.
""I'm sorry I raped you," I mumble.
"If you hadn't, I would never have forgiven you," she replies (198).
Here's where the similarity to AMERICAN PSYCHO comes in. Jerome's friends, Paul and Aris, are enablers. They know their friend is an asshole- and possibly a murderer- but they don't do a thing about it. Rather, they seem to admire their friend for having the balls to do what they secretly want to do themselves, but are forbidden from doing legally, socially, etc. In that sense, I feel that AND THEN RUN is misandrinistic and misogynistic. Why?
Because it paints men as objectifiers and women as objects.
It gets worse, though. Jerome gets so frustrated with his American girlfriends that he decides to go to Cambodia and score some underage pussy.
[I]t might be interesting to buy a girl from Kenya or Cameroon or Cambodia. Or better yet, kill her village and take her as my prisoner. And her sister (251).
He ends up purchasing two child brides, ages 13 and 15. He sends them to an expensive hospital on the pretense that they were raped to make sure that they are really virgins. Then he has sex with both of them- at the same time.
That's right, you guys. Jerome Esterson is a pedophile.
I suddenly feel like I'm being ripped off in my own relationships. Why in the fuck am I settling for twenty-four year olds when I prefer fifteen year olds? (213)
"I plan to do the thirty-five year olds in the form of two twelve year olds and one eleven, obviously" (316).
Here's more quotes from Prince Charming.
The movie Shallow Hal is playing. That's the movie where a guy gets hypnotized so that he only sees inner (i.e. nonexistent) beauty. Making us satisfied with monogamy isn't enough. Now they need to make us satisfied with monogamy with disgustingly fat girls (179).
He thinks fat girls are gross! At one point, while picking up a chick at a bar, he makes a comment and she thinks he's calling her fat. He's like, if you were fat, I wouldn't be talking to you, because that would be gross. And she thinks he's soooo funny, because he's soooooo good-looking!
Maybe there is such a thing as true love. Or stupidity. Or maybe they are the same thing (276).
Women equate our desire for multiple women to their desire for multiple men. Which they have. But it's not like ours. Not just because it's harder for a guy to do it. As they say, if one key can open many locks, it's the master key, but if a lock gets opened by many keys, then it's a shitty lock (279).
Between the slut-shaming, fat-shaming, pedophilia, rape, misandry, misogyny, and pointless violence (he isn't a serial killer. He's a guy who loses his temper and kills people), I could not get on board with this book.
What was this book meant to be? A work of literature? Or a depraved sexual fantasy?
The ambiguity does not benefit the work.
Quotes were taken from an ARC and may or may not appear in your edition.
Even though I finished this yesterday, I decided to sleep on the review because otherwise it would have consisted en...moreOh. My. God.
Even though I finished this yesterday, I decided to sleep on the review because otherwise it would have consisted entirely of incoherent babbling.
I used to eschew romance entirely. I was a horrendous literary snob, and believed historical-romances were nothing but silly bodice rippers for people to read at the hair salon or whatever. But then I befriended two lovely ladies named Myrika and Louisa, and their glowing accolades of regency romance--as well as the high GR ratings of the book--made me wonder if I was missing something.
Long story short: I was. They were right. I was wrong. Being a literary snob does not pay. Being a fangirl does.
(Well, not really.)
Lily Lawson flaunts convention like it's a silly hat. She drinks, hunts, and swears with the boys, leading her family to shun her and the ton to fix her with the Side-Eye of Disapproval. However, her light-hearted devil-may-care attitude masks a terrible secret: she lost her daughter years ago, to the man who first broke her heart.
Lord Alex Raiford (NOM NOM NOM) is still haunted by the death of the woman he thought he loved. When he sees Lily, who looks quite a bit like his departed Caroline, he has quite a shock. He makes up his mind to dislike her on the spot. His horror when he discovers that she is the sister of his bride-to-be is hilarious. Particularly when he tries so hard to mask his sexual attraction beneath a veneer of contempt.
Lily decides to break up the wedding between Alex and her sister, Penny, because she thinks he's a cold-hearted bastard who will turn her wallflower sister into a shrinking violet. She pretends to be engaged to the boy her sister actually loves as a scheme to get the two of them together.
When Alex kisses Lily in the kitchen in the middle of the night?
When Lily ties Alex to a bed to keep him from preventing the elopement?
I died again.
When Alex bets fifteen thousand pounds against her spending a night with him in his bed in a game of cards?
Kleypas toed the line between Byronic hero and emotionally abusive boyfriend. For a while, I was really worried that he was going to rape her--or her sister. But he didn't. Thank God. And despite his callous exterior, Alex genuinely comes to care for Lily. The way he treats her at the end just made me totally giddy because, hello? BOYFRIENDS DON'T HAVE TO SMACK YOU AROUND TO MAKE FOR A GOOD ROMANCE NOVEL.
Sexy sex scenes without abuse?
And the romance scenes are well-written. Extremely so. You can tell when an author isn't comfortable writing them because their style changes and they resort to florid prose and repetitive word use to dance around no-no words like "come," "nipple," "vagina," and "penis."
This was especially refreshing because I just read Teresa Medeiros, and I literally flinched at some of her... um, interesting alternatives. Like "lapping at her dew," or "crashing with her against the shore," or "plunging into her softness." Ugh.
Kleypas's style is consist throughout. She writes some pretty raunchy stuff, and it starts to get a little crazy towards the end, but it's well-written and in-character, so guess what? PWP?
(Don't worry, though, she doesn't sacrifice the plot. But there's a LOT of filler. Sexy filler.)
Let me start out by saying that my readers, old and new, from GR are largely responsible for motivating me to write this. I was stumped about this story for the better part of four years, and to those who have been waiting all that time for the sequel, I apologize. Before I got started on its sequel, I really wanted to polish up Cloak and Dagger. It's a really bad idea to work on a sequel when you're revamping the prequel. Plot-lines, sequences of events, names, characterization--all these things change, as they did in the case of C&D. I'll be the first to admit my writing's not perfect, but I'm pretty happy with how the revision came out. Others seem to be, too.
Anyway, my main goal in writing this is to prove that I am, in fact, writing this, and also to thank everyone for their support and encouragement. Every time I see a review for C&D, I get so excited. It literally makes my day to see people buying my books, reading them, and writing about them. So thanks. I couldn't have started this without all you wonderful people. Especially the persistent ones among you.
Sometimes a writer has *too* many great ideas, and they try to cram all those ideas into one book and the end result overwhelms the reader. Brian K. V...moreSometimes a writer has *too* many great ideas, and they try to cram all those ideas into one book and the end result overwhelms the reader. Brian K. Vaughan's Saga is proof that this can work.
It's hard to describe, actually, because there's SO MUCH going on. There is a planet full of winged people with super-badass technology who are at war with the "moonies": animal-like people with magic spells and weapons. Also there are robot people who are like the Blue Man Group with TVs for heads, assassins, demonic-looking mercenaries, and cats who double as lie-detectors. Oh. And tree rocketships.
That's right. Fucking tree rocketships.
I know it sounds like something someone might come with after a drop or two of acid, but this was absolutely amazing. Alana and Marko, the two star-crossed lovers from opposing sides of the battlefield, are an amazing couple. I knew it was going to be great when it starts off with Alana's pregnancy and she's like, "AM I SHITTING?"
Seriously. They're the best couple EVER. So respectful of one another, and yet replete with all the flaws of normal relationships like stinky morning breath, awkward past relationships, and not always looking your freshest and bestest. IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.
The ghost babysitter, Izabel, was no less lovable. I loved the twist with the horrors, and the nightmarish "meet the parents" turn at the end. Hoo-boy. Talk about awkward.
Okay, you're right. I'm not calm. I'm fangirling my brains out right now.
WHERE THE 'H' IS VOLUME 2? I WANT/NEED IT NOW.
Oh--and guess what else? The main character, Alana? She likes reading trashy romance novels. You hearing this? She's a woman trained like a soldier married to a powerful renegade magician, and she likes reading trashy romance novels about rock men who hook up with miners' daughters.
I KNOW RIGHT
...Whatever, it's still a better love story than Twilight.
"One top and one bottom are selected from each territory for a total of f...moreYou can read more of my reviews, faster, at my blog, The Armchair Librarian.
"One top and one bottom are selected from each territory for a total of fourteen offerings. Only one makes it back. The rest die in a blaze of lewd behavior and murder (23)."
To be honest, I'm not even sure where to begin. I expected this to be bad, but somehow the book managed to exceed my expectations in a nightmarish frenzy of violence and rape and abuse that one would think was an elaborate attempt at trolling -- except ... it's not. That just makes it worse because -- well, you'll see. God help us, you'll see.
The Hunger Gays reads like very bad slashfiction written by a sadistic thirteen-year-old girl. It takes place in a world where young men are forced to compete in sex-matches to the death. How does this work? Basically the same as The Hunger Games -- except you're garbed in fetish gear, and you have to fuck your opponent before you kill them. Players are equipped with sex toys and weapons to use at will.
It's like something out of one of the Marquis de Sade's wet dreams.
Aspen, our gay Katniss, is an ordinary teenage boy -- he frets about the size of his penis, worries about his dad and little brother, and in his free time, he masturbates with a screwdriver. He also gets violated by just about every character in this book. So if you, you know, like The Hunger Games series, you probably won't be too keen on the part where he has a threesome with the Haymitch and Peeta characters, gets sexually harassed/molested by the Caesar Flickerman and Effie Trinket characters, and sucked off by the Cinna character ("Your penis is huge! How do you not know how well-endowed you are? I practically choked on it!").
Are you crying yet? What? You are? Already? But we haven't even gotten started yet!
Just take a look at this book's interpretation of the Tracker Jackers!
"There are black spider bots in there...The nest is extremely fragile and any little hit can wake the sleeping mechanical spiders within, which are trained to go for our bums and stimulate our prostate (146)."
Of course, even without the bum-fucking spiders and screwdriver-masturbation, there's still plenty of rape and violence for all. Not just in the arena -- which features a massive gangbang cum orgy -- but also just in the G Territory (District 12, for all intents and purposes -- which is just sad, because if you wanted to be really clever, you could call it L Territory. You know, because L is the 12th letter of the alphabet). Aspen is abused not just by the Peeta character (who basically rapes him and treats him like a whore), but also by the guards.
"The Guards of Cardinal City are abusive. The sexually assault the men after the celebration is over and the offerings are selected. They do everything from pinching our asses to raping us in the alleys (17)."
The Effie Trinket character even makes a joke about it! Because rape is funny! Especially when it happens to men! Haw haw haw!
"Tough crowd tonight, eh?...What do you guys have stuck up your asses? One of the guards' fists? (39)"
This book doesn't even have a disclaimer warning of the explicit, offensive, and abusive content on Amazon.
Hopefully no children find this book and end up scarred for life.
One of the things I'm proudest about of this story is the fact that the so-called love interest is a no-holds-barred psychopath. What at first seems like insta-love is actually psychotic obsession based on delusion. This is not a love story in the tradition sense because the two main characters are both so screwed up love isn't even a possibility.
Horrorscape is the sequel to Fearscape and takes place almost four years afterwards. Fearscape was actually written AFTER Horrorscape, since one of the main criticisms of the original work was that there was not enough backstory and what originally was supposed to be the prologue birthed an entire prequel because man, do these two MCs have issues.
Whole bucketfuls of issues.
This is probably the darkest story I've ever written, or ever will write, and the funny thing is that it originally started out as a romance that I wrote *sigh* when I was seventeen. And while it enjoyed its fair share of popularity back when it was serialized online, many of my readers had some qualms with the execution. My readers really helped make this series what it is today, so if any of you folks from Fictionpress are reading this right now, I salute you!
If I have a weakness, it's probably for stories about out of control women...moreYou can read more of my reviews, faster, at my blog, The Armchair Librarian.
If I have a weakness, it's probably for stories about out of control women doing crazy hijinks. I even have a shelf for it on Goodreads. I was lured in by the pretty title, the shiny cover, and the hype. Everyone seemed to love this book - maybe I would love this book, too! I should have stepped back, taken a deep breath, and thought to myself, Yeah, and everyone loved The Edge of Never, too, and look what happened when you read THAT.
Where the Stars Still Shine is derivative, it is cliche. It is 2 parts The Edge of Never and 2 parts If You Find Me, minus the bitchy step-sister and the bratty younger sister.
Callie was kidnapped from her family by her crazy mother who has some sort of vague mental illness that is diagnosed as borderline personality disorder in the book, but smacks more of mania with clinical paranoia. Every time she feels trapped, she and Callie jump ship again to some shitty slum where people don't ask questions.
Also, Callie's mom's boyfriends tend to find their way into Callie's room for a rapey good time, which is why Callie tries to leave the house whenever her mother is entertaining "company."
Anyway, due to police intervention she ends up with her Greek family again. Of course, she falls in love with the first bulkily muscled dude she sees. Of course, he's the town playboy and she is warned away from him almost immediately by her insta-friend slash cousin, Kat, whom Callie treats like shit.
Her family - especially her father, Greg - are so welcoming and kind and understanding that it will just about move you to tears. Does Callie care? No. She resents the rules, like having to tell her parents where she's going and having a curfew. She's always lying to her father, and doesn't really feel any guilt about it.
She treats one of the other boys, Connor, like shit. Jerking him around, basically trying to tear his clothes off in a field. And when he resists, she takes it as an insult and runs him crying because "he thinks she's too ugly to sleep with." She ends up sleeping around with Alex, that shirtless babe she saw on her first day in town, and it turns out that he is her fucking step-uncle. That's right, he's her stepmom's brother.
And she and him start humping in the kitchen, with her toddler half-brothers just down the hall.
If that is not fucked up, I do not know what is. And Callie wonders why her stepmom is loathe to trust her with her two young boys. Newsflash! I wouldn't either!
I don't mind books with unlikable protagonists - they can be fun, because you're just like, whatever the deuces are wild. But you can't have it both ways. Having an unlikable protagonist who constantly plays the sympathy card and essentially says with her behavior, "It's okay that I'm treating you like crap because my mom was a drug addict. It's okay that I behave in sexually inappropriate ways because I was molested. It's okay that I don't care about anyone but myself because I'm afraid of being hurt."
Why? Because that is not okay. And maybe if there was some sort of character development going on in the background I could forgive even this, but nope. Callie gets everything she wants, no matter how badly she treats the people around her. She is a Mary Sue of the worst kind: an Entitlement Sue.
I had no idea what I was getting into when I applied for and got approved for this by net...moreYou can read more reviews at my blog, The Armchair Librarian.
I had no idea what I was getting into when I applied for and got approved for this by netgalley.
Our protagonist (I feel funny calling her that because at no point in the story was I rooting for her at any point in this story) is Myra from Canada. She is sixteen-years-old. (Keep this in mind as it will be significant considering the gratuitous amount of sex in this story.) The story starts out with Myra and her family vacationing in Key West.
While there, she meets a freaky Rastafarian guy named Elijah, who starts molesting her with his ocarina (that's not a metaphor for penis; he uses an actual ocarina to poke at her through her swimsuit) he invites her back with him to his sleazy motel. Like a fool, she goes with him. She has to pee so she goes to the bathroom but she can't go until she gets into the shower and turns on the water (ew). When she comes out of the shower, Elijah is naked. Instead of running away, she just chills on his bed and lets him rub against her through her swimsuit. Then he pees on her head. After this, she gets a little weirded out (but just a little) and leaves. He curses her out and tries to stop her, shouting, "Come back here, little bitch."
Myra reallllllly likes being called a "little bitch" and masturbates furiously while repeating that phrase in her head over and over. She goes back to the motel and finds out that Elijah has a girlfriend named Gayl who is bleeding copiously from her vagina. She slaps Myra in the face and for some reason it breaks out into a pussing, bloody mess (STD? we never find out).
Like a fool, Myra leaves her address and phone number with Elijah so he can find her in Canada. He calls her up on the phone and says creepy sexual things to her, asking her when she got her period and what size her bra is and whether she has hair "down there." Then one day he shows up at her school and instead of calling the police (the sensible thing to do) she goes over there and gives him a handjob in front of her horrified friends.
Her friends call her parents later on, in tears, because Elijah stalked them after she left, saying lewd things to them, and threatening them if they went to the police. Myra gets angry at them, tells them to mind their own fucking business, yells at her parents, and then stops hanging out with those friends. Instead she hangs out with her sleazier friends, slut-shaming them even as she sleeps around and fools around with Elijah and so on.
The climax of the book happens when Myra finally sleeps with Elijah and finds out that his girlfriend (who is named Gayl) is videotaping the whole thing to turn it into a porno. The two of them are from an African underage porno ring who market middle-class white girls getting raped and beaten to Africans who feel vindictive about white people so they can get off on seeing their so-called oppressors being subjugated.
After Elijah does a number of gross and perverted things to her, his girlfriend, Gayle, beats her up. Myra loves the whole thing, of course, and comes back a few days later to make another video only to have the police do a bust. Elijah and Gayle are then taken to jail.
Myra, ever the camera whore, makes a documentary about her experiences as a porn star for a class assignment.
I don't even have words for this. It's racist. It's misogynistic. It actively participates in slut-shaming. Worse still, it perpetuates the idea that women who are raped or assaulted put themselves into those situations, or are "asking" for it. I also hated the fact that the author turned the whole thing into a race issue for the same reason that so many people hate the book "Revealing Eden." It taps into the perverted savage stereotype, portraying people of other ethnicities as bestial or uncivilized.
The writing is terrible, and the fact that this is being marketed as high-brow erotica and literature just makes it all the more painful. There is nothing redemptive about this book. At all. And it isn't because I'm a prude. And it isn't because I fear the literate and the erudite.
It is because this is a festering cesspool of depravity, debauchery, and detritus.
My first thought upon seeing this cover was, "Wow, that looks like Robert Pattinson's jaw...moreYou can read more reviews at my blog, The Armchair Librarian!
My first thought upon seeing this cover was, "Wow, that looks like Robert Pattinson's jawline." Which I suppose makes sense, given that this originally started out as Twilight fanfiction. Gotta have those subliminal cues to pander to your intended audience.
Did I mention how much I hate P2P fanfiction? Because I really hate P2P fanfiction. It's just so uncreative. Worse, it entails leaching off the work of others. You're taking established character templates somebody else created and making them your own simply by changing their names.
Beautiful Bastard has relatively good ratings, but books like these tend to gather cult followings who don't care about the plot as long as there's gratuitous sex with some good-looking asshole and a dippy Sue whose empty head is perfect for self-insertion.
Several of my friends were reading this and their status updates and quotes, combined with what little I read of this book, succeeded in convincing me that I would hate Beautiful Bastard with every inch of my being. I need a good plot to keep me engaged, and I'm not interested in reading rehashed versions of books I was only lukewarm about in the first place.
It pisses me off that books like these become so popular when there are plenty of independent authors with their own characters, and creative plots, who are far more deserving of appreciation.
Does anybody remember when people used to post stories on Quizilla? The popularity peaked shortly after the release of Interview with the Vampire...yo...moreDoes anybody remember when people used to post stories on Quizilla? The popularity peaked shortly after the release of Interview with the Vampire...you know, with Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise? The hunky vampires beforeTwilight. Anyway, I used to go on that site all the time when I was fourteen (you can try to guess my age - but a lady never tells). There were a lot of vampire stories on there. Most of them were pretty horrible. Even as a fourteen-year-old, I recognized that there were some pretty common themes: namely, some alternative girl from the counterculture(who usually has an abusive family or cuts herself because her mom makes her drive the Subaru minivan to school - NOT COOL) gets attacked by a sexy vampire who has decided that her non-conformity makes her teh hotness, he turns her into a vampire, and because she is a special snowflake, this means that she immediately comes in to all these powers that she should not have (but does), which makes all the other vampires want to make her his mate. The one who rapes her the least amount of times is the good guy. They get married, he buys her a lot of shiny things to apologize for his previously cold-blooded ruthless self, and they pop out babies.
Reading this book was like reading those vampire stories written by horny teenage girls that I (sadly) used to read on the internet. Except, the bonus about reading them on the internet was that they were free. I could not allow myself in good conscience to buy this book. It was so horrible - not just in terms of writing, but in values. Tons of name-dropping and woe-is-me and "I'm a girl, I need a man to make me feel better about myself because I am a member of the inferior sex." Like, gag me with the Susan B. Anthony dollar.(less)
something about this book rubbed me the wrong way. i didn't like either of the main chara...moreyou can read more reviews at my blog, the armchair librarian.
something about this book rubbed me the wrong way. i didn't like either of the main characters. ella is a selfish brat who is always looking for the easy way out of things. micha is an over-sexed jerk who we're supposed to like because he treats all other women like sex objects except for ella.
all new-adult seems to follow the same basic template. it's not a template i like, and this only serves to exacerbate my dislike of the genre. i am annoyed by people shirking off their responsibilities and obligations, i am annoyed by selfish recklessness, i don't feel sorry for teenagers who whine about their first world problems.
I remember when TWILIGHT first went viral, everyone was falling over themselves to make fun of the genre. And someone wrote this hilarious blog post about what it would be like if Stephenie Meyer wrote a romance novel about Bigfoot. I don't remember the specifics, except that the MC would live in the middle of a national park because she was the daughter of a forest ranger, and the Bigfoots would be beautiful, mostly hairless, bearded men--and I laughed my ass off a lot. I did a cursory search for the OP but couldn't find it anywhere, so maybe the OP removed it, which would be a shame. Maybe they figured that they might want the book after all and removed the post so nobody would steal their idea. Maybe it's already published. But if it is, CUM FOR BIGFOOT is not that book.
karen is such a bad influence on me, I swear. She finds the strangest books on Goodreads and makes them sound so good (or so bad) that I just can't help myself--I have to read them. I blame her for starting the monster porn craze. I had no idea how many different kinds of monsters people out there want to write sex about. All of them, apparently. Everything from zombies to unicorns.
I got CUM FOR BIGFOOT free for download from Smashwords. (Now that my e-reader is finally getting cleared of Netgalley ARCs, I have a chance to actually look at some of my freebies.) The book starts out with three boys and three girls in the woods with a stepfather chaperone. Does one of the girls immediately start fucking the chaperone? But of course! This is porn!
Christopher's stepdad was a naughty daddy. His finger in my pussy was driving me wild, as I quivered with pleasure and need (9).
Who's Bigfoot again?
His huge tool was thrusting and demanding. He took me roughly, his balls smacking against me.
"That's it. Thatta girl. Take daddy's cock, you nasty girl" (12).
Screw Bigfoot (literally).
Sometimes, you just have to channel your inner-V.C. Andrews. And speaking of channels--
He drove deep, practically banging on the door of my cervix (13).
The end suddenly erupted, and wild splashes of whitened cream were tossed out haphazardly into my face, sprinkling my tongue (14).
So the MC fucks stepdaddy-dearest, and NO ONE MUST KNOW because otherwise his wife might find out and get mad (gee, ya think?). Next morning, post-coitus, the girls go out in the woods for fun hiking and camping experience...and get drugged! OH NOEZ!
When they wake up, they find themselves in a cage. Standing outside the cage is a crazy old woman with a stockpiled collection of lubricating oil and sex toys, and her son, Leonard.
From within the tufts of matted hair, the creature released a huge pale cock that defied logic. It was riddled with intersecting veins and bulging on the end like a tennis ball. That massive cock was going to be inside Shelly in a matter of moments, and we were powerless to help her (19).
A.K.A. Bigcock--I mean, Bigfoot.
The MC watches from her cage as Bigfoot rapes her two best friends while the old woman stimulates them with the vibrator.
"Whoooaaarrrr!" roared the animal. A second later, he pulled himself from her. "Aaaarrrhhhhhh..."
He held his gleaming tool as he pointed it at Shelly's belly, spurting a shocking amount of semen, which doused her abdomen and breasts with milky fluid. It was like a fully loaded water gun.
The MC is the prettiest, so she gets saved for last. Bigfoot attempts to woo her, taking her in front of the fireplace, even doing some foreplay before demanding that she suck his water gun. The MC enjoys herself immensely, all thoughts of naughty step-daddy erased from her brain. The two cuddle together and when she wakes up her friends are still traumatized.
But it's OK! She has a great idea! They can have a foursome with Bigfoot, and then run away!!!
It's so easy.
OR IS IT?
My reaction at the end of the book can pretty much be summed up thusly:
The writing is bad, the story is bad, the sex is bad...it's so bad it's almost good, but not quite. Also, there is rape. AND AN OLD VIBRATOR-HAPPY WOMAN WHO SEEMS TO GET OFF ON MANAGING HER SON'S SEX LIFE. WHAT THE HECK IS UP WITH THAT???
I am disturb.
karen, how could you have led me astray? :P (less)
When I read Sharp Objects, I was really impressed by the sheer weight of the plot, and how well-researched the psychological angle was. A lot of peopl...moreWhen I read Sharp Objects, I was really impressed by the sheer weight of the plot, and how well-researched the psychological angle was. A lot of people get the details wrong in psychology--in fact, it's become somewhat stigmatized because of horror novels and mysteries--so it was really great to see a book from an author who took the time to actually do the research.
And oh my God, this is creepy. So creepy. Rape your soul creepy.
I didn't like Dark Places quite as much as Sharp Objects, but it was still really good, and very original. Libby Day is the sole survivor of a tragedy that took place over twenty years before, when her entire family was slaughtered like farm animals. She testified at a trial that her brother was responsible, thus sentencing him to a life behind bars. But then a mysterious group called "The Kill Club" approaches Libby. They believe her brother is innocent and are willing to pay her to dig up factoids for their real-life version of Clue.
The Kill Club had me rolling my eyes a little at first, but as Flynn went more in depth about the group, I was better able to suspend my disbelief. People are weird. The idea of a morbid group of Comic Book Guys collecting relics from solved and unsolved murders isn't as outlandish as one might wish. Libby is suffering for money. She came from a poor family and all her mother's life insurance money went towards paying the lawyers for Ben's trial. So for some extra cash she's (reluctantly) willing to start digging up the moldering past.
However, as Libby digs, she begins to learn disturbing secrets about her family, and the town. Secrets about pedophilia, Satan worship, drugs, false memory, and false testimony. Secrets that might prove her brother was innocent--or, worse, far guiltier than she ever imagined.
I loved the twist at the end. I thought I knew where Ms. Flynn was going with this (view spoiler)[I was (wrongly) convinced that Diane, Libby's aunt, was the murderess (hide spoiler)], and I thought wrong. Which is awesome. I love being wrong when I'm reading a mystery. It means the author isn't being so formulaic that the baddy is apparent from page one.
Libby Day is a distinctly unlikable protagonist, very morbid and angsty and tortured and mean. She's a bundle of issues wrapped up in lies and neuroses and half-healed wounds.
Now, Avril. That's not nice.
Actually, everyone in this novel was awful in their own way. And yet they were never so awful that I threw down the book in defeat. She even managed to work the multiple perspectives in, and in a way that wasn't too kitsch. All in all, I have to say I was rather favorably impressed.
The Divergent-y cover had me giving this book the side-eye from the get-go, but since that was probably more a marketing ploy on the part of the publishers and less the fault of the author, I decided to go ahead.
This is going to sound incredibly hipstery but I liked dystopian fiction novels before THE HUNGER GAMES became so popular. They used to be pretty hard to find, too! Some of my favorites were THE GATE TO WOMEN'S COUNTRY, ALAS BABYLON, GRASS, THE DAWNING, SILVER METAL LOVER, THE LONG WALK, and of course, my childhood favorite, AMONG THE HIDDEN (even if it's full of plotholes, I adore that book).
Suddenly, THE HUNGER GAMES became popular and the market was bursting with dystopian novels. I used to have to explain to people what dystopian meant and after delving into their memory banks to retrieve lessons from high school humanities, they would give me the side-eye and be all, like, "Ew, how depressing, why?"
Getting back to PARADIGM...well, I kind of feel sorry for the book. Because it is terribly boring. It has so many things working in its favor--London setting (as opposed to the U.S.), male and female MCs from separate timelines who don't appear to be love interests (although maybe one of them will wrest a time machine or get frozen or something and then book #2 will be a total wankfest), dual timelines that actually show the creation of the dystopian world from a recognizable near-future into an unrecognizable dystopian horror show. It could have been good. Could have. But wasn't. Sigh.
So basically, London suffers hurricanes that destroy the city with wind and flooding and all that fun crap, which England is totally unequipped to deal with. Alice Davenport lives with her mother in London, who prostitutes herself for money and resources, but when her mother is killed in the storm along with most of the rest of the city, she is forced to fend for herself.
To deal with this, a creepy organization called Paradigm Industries (later shorted to The Industry, IIRC), creates this underground warren as a sort of shelter, and to help rebuild society. (Because of course, underground warren thingies are the best places to be when there's flooding).
LOL, guess again.
So in the future, we have Carter Warren, who has been training his whole life to be Controller General, which I guess is something like a Prime Minister or the President in the future. He reminded me a lot of Ender, from ENDER'S GAME, especially later on in the book when he's being hailed as the man--er, boy--who will change everything. His smugness is very grating and you just want to punch him in the face. But at least in the beginning it makes sense. He's brainwashed and this is the future and he is happy enough with this turn of events to want to micromanage all the details of it.
So he gets frozen...(I'm not sure how the freezing in this world works exactly--it seems like people are frozen when they're adolescents...to maybe isolate them while their family dies while they're in the tube, so they won't have any emotional connections to the outside world and can just focus on doing their job--which is creepy if it's the case, but it's never explicitly spelled out either, and the rules of freezing are really weird. It appears most people are frozen once, but some people are frozen multiple times if they're useful. But freezing can also be a punishment? So is it like a time-out chair ("COOL OFF!" lol), or is it like a compliment they pay to people who are really useful? It doesn't really make sense and since this is an integral part of the world-building it is very confusing.)
Carter comes out of his freezing room and the world has changed, and everyone he knows is dead. (And apparently he has children now? Lol, what the fuck. He's fifteen. WHAT IS GOING ON.) He starts doing job shadowing in preparation for this controller general business and immediately starts running into people who are starting some kind of counter-revolutionary movement. You'd think he'd report them for brownie points, because you know, feather in the cap, gold stars, he needs all the points he can get if he wants to be Controller General. But he just stops and goes, "Hmm, that's weird" and continues on his merry little way, because he is so excited to begin his New Life!
UM. But wait a minute here. That doesn't make sense...because in the beginning of the book, he has no trouble reprimanding a selfish old man who doesn't want to be frozen while his family dies when he's in the tube. Carter gives the old man a speech, like, "Do you think you're better than everyone else who has to make the same sacrifice? One man can make all the difference. Blah de blah." So wait, one man can make all the difference? THEN WHY THE HELL AREN'T YOU REPORTING ALL THIS SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY GOING ON AROUND YOU? I mean, we're constantly told how talented he is, but the thought doesn't even cross his head.
And then he gets mixed up with these other kids who are also doing Suspicious Things like art work (which is also forbidden, apparently) and they totally trust him with the secret of their friend. Meanwhile, Alice is fighting off the advances of this creepy retired military type personnel who alternates between sending her out on missions and then makes a move, which results in his getting shanked and Alice going into the warren that will become Carter's future.
About halfway through, I decided that enough was enough. PARADIGM isn't badly written but it isn't interesting and it's poorly plotted. It relies solely on the popularity of dystopian fiction to keep the plot moving and suffers from many of the flaws of costume dystopians. Like, in DIVERGENT, we're like, "Wait, so this is Chicago? What is going on outside of Chicago?" The same problem holds true in this book. London might as well be a separate planet as far as the rest of the world is concerned. Secondly, it relies on spooky intimidating names like The Industry and Controller General to show how authoritarian and evil this future world is, but there's more tell and less show. I mean, in Stephen King's THE LONG WALK, there were soldiers in riot gear with guns shooting up people while the passerby just munched their food from concession stands and cheered for blood. In this, there's an escalator and a dull voice on the loudspeaker that says, "DON'T PUSH."
LOL HOW TERRIFYING. DON'T PUSH. I CAN REALLY FEEL THE OPPRESSION.
I could probably force myself to finish this book but I doubt it would make much of a difference unfortunately. While I am grateful that I got to receive an ARC for review from Netgalley, and understand that this is the author's debut effort, that's really no excuse for putting so little thought into the world-building. This is what people will be judging the author on when deciding whether to buy more of her work in the future and I hate to say it, but this is a really terrible first impression.
"Grownups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be...moreYou can read more reviews at my blog, The Armchair Librarian.
"Grownups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them" (p.8).
This is one of those children's books I haven't gotten around to reading until now, although upon starting it I came to the immediate conclusion that, like The Velveteen Rabbit, Bambi, and the legions of other kiddie books responsible for scarring children everywhere under the ages of nine, that this is one of those disillusioning books that forces you to See How Things Are. That is, death is not something reserved for Disney villains and Hitler. It Could Happen to You.
(Cue crying toddlers.)
Our narrator is a man who is clearly still a child at heart. He dreamed of being an artist, but the grownups around him destroyed that dream, and so he became a pilot instead. Except he ends up crash-landing in the Sahara desert. Oops. While there, he encounters a strange little boy who calls himself The Little Prince, and who comes from somewhere beyond the stars.
As the two protagonists wander through the Sahara, the Little Prince recounts his travels from his home planet - replete with a flower, three volcanoes (one extinct), poppies, and insidious baobobs - to other little asteroids peopled by peculiar grownups with their own off-brand delusions. Each inhabitant is an exercise in philosophy and morality. For example, the businessman who is determined to number the stars with the intent of owning them all some day -
"And what good does it do you to own the stars?"
"It does me the good of making me rich."
"And what good does it do you to be rich?"
"It makes it possible for me to buy more stars if any are discovered."
"I myself own a flower ... which I water every day. I own three volcanoes, which I clean out every week (for I also clean out the one that is extinct; one never knows). It is of some use to my volcanoes, and it is of some use to my flower, that I own them. But you are of no use to the stars..."
This allegory is not exactly subtle, though de Saint-Exupéry never actually gets preachy to the point where he could be considered to be beating the dead horse.
There is a fox, which I pictured as a Fennec fox, especially when the prince says that the narrator drew the ears too pointed.
The Little Prince wishes to befriend the fox, but the fox tells him that he cannot be friends with him because he has not yet been tamed.
Over the next few days, the fox becomes tamed, and the Little Prince realizes that the very same quality which has now made him stand out to the fox from the rest of mankind is the same quality that has made his dear beloved flower stand apart from the haughty roses he encounters on his journey.
"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye" (70).
The Little Prince also deals with the idea of loss, as this revelation makes the prince realize how much he longs for his little asteroid. Despite the pain that accompanies loss, there is something about it that is sweet, too. Knowing that something can be taken away - that something is ephemeral - makes it a matter of consequence. It keeps us from taking it for granted.
It makes us appreciate the transient beauty that is inherent to existence.
"If you love a flower that lives on a star, it is sweet to look at the sky at night" (84).
If mankind were not mortal, what motivation would they have to live - really live?
Right around page 65, the passages start to lose a bit of the whimsy and become poignant and bittersweet instead. That sent off little alarm bells - I started having post-traumatic flashbacks to Velveteen Rabbit - and yes, sure enough, the book takes a dive off the deep end of sorrow.
NOOOOOO - DON'T THROW THE BUNNY IN THE FURNACE.
...Okay. Okay, I feel a little better now that I've had a good, hard cry.
All that talk of taming is a trick, a prelude. Why? Because it applies to books, and the aspiration of every writer who writes them. When you begin a book, you have no emotional investment in the characters. They are a work of fiction, indistinguishable from the billions of other fictional characters that populate that fictional world. It is only when they tame you - when you become familiar with them, and even grow to love them in a way - that you begin to care. That you open yourself up to hurt. I allowed myself to be tamed by the narrator and the Little Prince - and they broke my heart.
"One runs the risk of weeping a little, if one lets himself be tamed..."
i don't get it. i really don't get it. i read and liked the pillars of the world (not to be confused with pillars of the earth)--her other book about witches and elves. it wasn't great, but the draws on greek mythology were captivating and made me want to read more, to see if her style developed and grew. many of the reviewers, however, complained bitterly that it was a pale shadow of the 'talent' she showed in daughter of the blood. wow, i thought to myself. well, if tpotw was a mere three stars, dotb must be an easy four stars--maybe even five!
i triiiiiied to like this book. i poured myself endless cups of coffee and sequestered myself away from my other books, but it was no use. i-i-it... it was t-t-terrible. D:
at this point, i must point out that i did not finish the book. i usually like to finish, because i feel like it makes the review fairer, and more balanced, but i literally have piles of books waiting to be read, and this author--unlike some of the debut authors whose books i am lucky enough to win in giveaways on occasion--already has a solid fanbase who will adore her stories for me. so i don't need to finish. i got through 100 pages. i can't do another 300.
i can't finish. it was--i'm sorry, ms. bishop--bad. really bad.
at least, it was for me. everyone has different tastes. obviously the people who recc'd this book to me enjoyed the black jewels series. however, if you share my literary tastes (as many of you who have befriended me over the years claim to), you might want to give this one a miss and try the tir alainn trilogy instead.
so why don't i like this book? several reasons. each is bad enough on its own, but in combination, they made me want to hurl daughter of blood against the wall.
1. magic people are speshul. and some of them are more speshul than others. they have pretty jewels to designate their caste and ability in magic, which reminded me painfully of that old 1980s tv show for girls called princess gwenevere and the jewel riders. in this world, the darker the jewel, the more powerful you are. black, therefore, is the most powerful, although nobody worthy of that stone has been around for years...
guess what color stone our female main character possesses? yup. black. she is the chosen one. do people's jaws drop in amazement at everything she does? yup. no, really. everytime she appears, somebody's jaw drops in astonishment, incredulity, and disbelief. well, my jaw dropped at how many times their jaws dropped. don't they know how hard that is on your jaw muscles?
2. magic penis jewelry. that's it. MAGIC PENIS JEWELRY.
3. violence that serves no purpose. in the first chapter, someone's balls get eaten by rats. why? because... because... SHUT UP OR YOU'RE NEXT! but seriously, who is this guy? if he were on star trek, he'd be a red shirt because one of the main characters kills him soon after we meet him. because obviously, life without balls is not worth living anymore. (seriously. that's his rationale behind the 'mercy' killing.)
if the poor guy's gotta die in such a horrible fashion, at least give him a story or, you know, a purpose. know what i mean?
4. the names. jaenelle angelline. daemon sadiablo. lucivar yaslana. saetan sadiablo. somebody named surreal. ok. i'm just saying that you can be the best writer in the world, but i'm not going to be able to take your characters seriously with names like that. i mean, angel, demon mcdevil, lucifer, satan mcdevil, surreal mcdevil--that's what their names sound like to me. i feel like i'm reading terry pratchett's rendition of the apocalypse... or a fangirl's poorly written self-insertion fic.
5. mary sues and marty stus galore. none of the characters had any substance, or if they did it seemed heavily contrived, mostly based on situations that seemed designed to give them some sort of inner-conflict ('i'm sad because women only want me for sex!' 'i've been sexually abused so i lock myself away from everyone else and this makes me appear mysterious!' 'i'm old which makes being evil too exhausting which makes me realize that being good is not so bad').
this can work, but personality is NOT driven entirely by situation. and when these characters are out of their element, or resolve whatever conflict is generating their personality of the moment, they instantly revert back to being boring little plot-driving monkeys again. yay.
pillars of the world was so much better. yes, some of the same things that annoyed me so much here were present there, as well, but they were toned down. i looked at ms. bishop's profile, but her birthday isn't listed (nor is it on wikipedia, either). however, i'm going to guess that she was a young(er) woman when she first wrote this series--and it shows. it also shows how much her later works have matured. which is good. but it doesn't make me like this particular book any more. because i don't. however, i have respect for authors who are able to repair their weaknesses in storytelling rather than turning a blind eye to it.
in other words, it's not you, ms. bishop. it's me. actually, it's both of us.
VOICEOVER My fellow Americans, your girls are being targeted by a very dangerous enemy. Young lives are at stake. And what's to blame?...moreCOMMERCIAL BREAK
VOICEOVER My fellow Americans, your girls are being targeted by a very dangerous enemy. Young lives are at stake. And what's to blame? Books.
(Close-up of Ladybird Hope, standing in the foreground of an empty classroom with a prominently hung American flag)
Now, as y'all know, I'm all for education and the four Rs—readin', writin', 'rithmatic and razzmatazz. I'm all about that, you better believe it. I'm a mom, just like y'all, and when I'm not living in my six million dollar house or shootin' the wildlife from my pink helicopter with my rhinestoned semi-automatic from Cartier's limited edition Rock and Load™ collection, I'm taking my kids to and from school and soccer practice.
But recently, seditious materials have been circulatin' through the schools. Anti-American materials. When I first saw BEAUTY QUEENS at the store, I thought, bless my stars, this is just what these girls need. Positive, American role-models to teach our youth to feel great about self-hate! But don't be fooled, Americans! This book is a cover for lesbian communist propaganda! It's full of lies made with the purpose of bringing everything we, as Americans, stand for:
If you love your daughter, you'll keep her far away from BEAUTY QUEENS, and other books stemming from the lesbian communist movement and the homosexual agenda. Or your daughter might end up like this.
(Pan to a girl with close-cropped purple hair and mismatched fatigues shouting into a megaphone, wielding a sign that says, HOMOPHOBIA is not a PHOBIA—you're not scared, you're sexually-impaired.)
(Pan to an old woman sitting in a darkened apartment full of cats. She is reading JANE EYRE. The camera zooms in on the book for a moment, then cuts to a black-and-white wedding photo of a handsome man with a different woman. Zoom out. The woman smiles, picks up one of the cats, and begins to make out with it.)
Or even, this.
(Pan to ugly girl in white lab coat. She wields a beaker triumphantly, and says, “I've just discovered the formula for disproving the existence of God!” A lightning bolt strikes her down and the lab catches fire.)
Not too pretty, eh? Remember—your children aren't just what at stake's here: other people's opinions about you based on your children are. And you wouldn't want anyone thinkin' y'all are a bunch of God-hatin' pinko, anti-American proponents of the homosexual agenda, would you? (She smiles) Of course not. After all, this isn't Europe.
Look at that cover. Just look at it. Isn't it gorgeous? A beautiful girl surrounded by sparkles and butterflies, glittering with liberal use of the p...moreLook at that cover. Just look at it. Isn't it gorgeous? A beautiful girl surrounded by sparkles and butterflies, glittering with liberal use of the photoshop dodge tool. It's absolutely stunning. I want butterflies to chill out in my hair. I'll be perfectly honest. I'm a shallow person; I judge books by their covers, and I wanted to read Exiled based on the cover alone. Unfortunately, that glorious, shimmering, magnificent outside did not match what lay on the inside.
This was another offshoot of my "free Amazon kindle downloads" binge. UnEnchanted was another, and if you're curious, you can access my review of it here. I pretty much downloaded all that they had, which was mostly YA and questionable-looking romance-novels. BUT. The most improtant fact is that this book is available for free download for the kindle. Yay!!! Free books! However, before racing to press that "buy now" button on Amazon, you *might* want to see if Exiled is for you. It's longer than most ebooks, and a bigger time commitment.
WARNING: SPOILER HEAVY (PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK)
Venus (*cringe*) is a Kelarian, an alien from a planet far, far away. Her people eventually become kelvieri, or immortals (basically gods), following a ritualistic ceremony. Venus is just setting off for hers, when she suddenly and inexplicably finds herself on Earth, where the air is toxic for her to breathe and enemies of the throne are staging a coup to steal her position as rightful crown princess.
I know what you're thinking.
Marooned on a planet where she is doomed to die, Venus learns that her planet's "gods" refuse to help her - unless she can help a boy named Michael find true-love. Unfortunately, Michael happens to be the disgruntled asshole who she encounters in the woods, drunk, crass, and completely heartbroken from being dumped. Michael is seriously damaged goods. He's abused by both his mother and his father - that is, until his father leaves and his mother takes over the job as stay-at-home-psychopath. He reads a lot of literature, but this intelligence is not really reflected in his day-to-day decisions. And he's on male PMS 24/7.
FUCK EMOTIONS! I'M A MAN!
Does this mean that he's a love interest?
. . . Is Christian Grey fifty shades of f***ed up?
Jigglypuff does not approve.
Oh, and if that wasn't bad enough, there's a group of evil kelvieri going around killing humans for the fun of it. And scientists get wind that there's an alien murderer wreaking havoc on the third rock from the sun, and once they get wind of Venus, they naturally assume it's her and pull an ET where they're like, "It's an alien so it doesn't feel pain and even if it does, fuck it! We torture in the name of science and have a damn good time doing it! TEAM ASSHOLE SCIENTIST!"
Originally, I was thinking this was gonna be a three-star book. Then a two-star book. But the ending whittled me down to 1, maybe 1.5, stars.
Granted, this is always a problem with self-published books as many of them don't have an editor, but there are some things that should just be common sense. As with UnEnchanted, the author does not seem to know how to properly quote dialogue spanning multiple paragraphs.
Also, she spells "okay" as "K." And "all right" as "alright." And hyphenated compound words mysteriously lose or regain their hyphens at will. Sometimes in the same paragraph.
The slang was, as with UnEnchanted, very bad. For example, one of the characters constantly says "Cheese!" instead of cursing. Yes, she's an earthling. Cheese, you guys! Don't you think I know an earthling when I see one? Are you cheesing kidding me?"
Michael, despite coming from a bad home, never curses. He only says "freaking" or "effing." As I have said in other YA book reviews, it is admirable if you come from a family that does not advocate cursing, but the fact of the matter is that people - especially teenage boys - do curse.
I really liked Zaren, Venus's other love interest. Unfortunately, that little subplot went nowhere. She treats him with condescension because he cares about her and wants to love her. She wants a real man - one who has emotional mood swings, will jerk her around, and make her feel like crap. Yeah!
. . . When she ended up with Michael -
- I just lost all respect for the book. Why? Well. -He's needy and suspicious of everyone. Even when he's not 100% sure he doesn't want to get back with Cheverley (the name of his ex - and yes, she's an earthling, too), he still is uber-possessive of Venus.
-Someone close to him gets murdered. Even though it goes against what he knows of Venus's character, Michael assumes that she did it and immediately decides to kill her. Makes sense, right?
Ash reads this scene aloud from his Kindle. Pikachu and Brock are horrified.
-Not a "nice killing" either. He sends her out to scientists, who plan to vivisect her. What a sweetheart.
-Oh, and when he helps her escape - he chases after her, thus leading the evil scientists straight to her. Zaren is understandably angry. What is Michael's excuse? "B-b-but I love her!"
-Which is precisely why he sneaks onto the spaceship to Venus's own home-planet, even though he knows the air there will kill him.
Venus wasn't much better. She was just so clueless. And she was a bit of a Mary Sue. Everyone around her kept nodding and saying they could totally see why she's a princess, she totally acts the part, but me? I don't get it. She has no sense of responsibility. She's reckless, and naive to the point of being developmentally challenged. She has poor judgment and even worse taste in men.
Looks like they're letting anyone be a princess these days.
Really, she's a bigger bubble-head than Sailor Moon. But at least Sailor Moon could defend herself! (Once she stopped mooning over Darian, that is - but Darian is actually really dreamy, so I can't really fault her for that, either)
If you are an older YA reader, or prefer your science-fiction and fantasy novels with strong female protags, you will probably not like this book. Likewise, if you are a hardcore grammar Nazi, and think that chatspeak in literature should warrant a punishment of being dangled from a very short participle, you should definitely not read this book. Just gaze lovingly at that pretty cover . . . and wonder about what could be.
The Notebook is one of those unfortunate pieces of pop culture that has become a "phenomenon," on par with Twilight and The Book That Shall Not Be Nam...moreThe Notebook is one of those unfortunate pieces of pop culture that has become a "phenomenon," on par with Twilight and The Book That Shall Not Be Named in terms of prevalence and the sheer vomit-inducing factor of how yark the storyline is.
My problem with this book isn't because it uses practically every conceivable cliche (amnesia, first love, forbidden love, mandatory kiss-in-the-rain scene, sensitive man whose testes could easily pass for ovaries, etc.), because if done well, a writer can take a cliche and make it seem like it's never been done before. In fact, that's the hallmark of an amazing writer.
My problem is that this is bad writing. It's hackneyed, over-dramatic, and pretty much like something a thirteen-year-old girl might write. The character development in this book is zero.
And while I respect that some people love this book to pieces, I honestly can't see where they are coming from at all. I suppose the purpose of this exercise is to write characters so vague that the readers can insert themselves--and their love interest--into the places of the two main characters, in the literary equivalent of Mad Libs.
(Your name here) was excited to move to (place you've always wanted to go). She had just been commissioned to work as a (your dream job); now her talents had finally been recognized!
The first thing that (your name here) noticed was that her boss was smoking hot. He was (your ideal height in a man), with (favorite color) eyes, and (second favorite color) hair, and gorgeous (your own racially/ethnically biased dating inclinations) skin.
(Your name here) and (favorite male name) got into (favorite place to have sex). His (synonym for engorged) (prudish synonym for penis) was (emotion). It was (no. inches) long and hard as a (noun).
(Your name here) came (no.) times. (Favorite male name) smiled (adverb) and said, "That was the (superlative) sex I've ever had.
They got married and had (no.) babies and also he bought her a castle.
It seems a bit silly to have to point this out, but so many people seem to prefer to stick their heads in the sand, or their fingers in their ears, and go, "La la la la no they don't, I can't hear you!"
Teen sex is one of those things that people really fear for some reason. I think Republicans fear it almost as much as the apocalypse. "NOT MY CHILDREN!" they say. So they cut funding to planned parenthood, campaign against abortions, and limit sex education to "have sex and you'll get the AIDS, and probably a bunch of other bad stuff, too, so wait 'til marriage."
Because if we pretend teen sex doesn't exist, it's going to stop.
So I was pleasantly surprised to see a book on Netgalley devoted to the topic, because I feel like teen sex is an important issue for parents--and also for teens. My expectation was that this was going to be a pop cultural history of teens and sex that touched upon both sides, the yucky extremes that make people take an absolute "no" stance (i.e. underage sexting and child pornography) and then close with a discussion about how teens can pursue a sexual relationship healthfully, with parental approval.
The title is incredibly deceptive. "From rainbow parties to sexting," it says, making you think that it's going to touch upon everything in between. Well, yes--provided that by "everything in between" you mean "sex bracelets." KIDS GONE WILD touches upon only three facets of teen sex.
Sex bracelets, rainbow parties, and sexting.
And that's all. Everything else might not even exist if you take this book into consideration. And oh man, is the author obsessed. He has all this "research" about sex bracelets, charting out the frequency of how often the coded meanings of the various colors appear, and whether they are consistent. He also includes testimony and comments from people claiming to be teens who are either like, "Yes I used sex bracelets! Black means I went all the way!" to "well no I didn't but my friend's friend did! SLUT! LOL!" And of course, all these transcribed interviews from Oprah and daytime television.
In case you didn't know, sex bracelets (or "shag bands") are jelly bracelets of different colors. I wore them back in junior high--everyone did--and apparently each color stands for a different sexual act that you're willing to perform. If someone breaks the bracelet, that means you have to perform the act.
(Do people still wear these? I thought they went out of style years ago.)
Rainbow parties, on the other hand, are sex parties where each girl puts on a different color of lipstick and then the guy at the end of the party with the most colors on his peen "wins." I'd actually heard of rainbow parties before but only because of a book of the same name RAINBOW PARTY, which is about a rainbow party, and appears to be based off this idea that was first started on Oprah. According to Wikipedia, it's an urban legend.
Sex bracelets appear to be an urban legend, too. And Best even concedes that rainbow parties and sex bracelets are probably not real issues. But he goes on and on about them, and all the terrible things that people say about them, and I feel like the point is going to be lost on a lot of parents who are a little too quick to hysteria and panic.
Sexting actually is an issue, but the author only spends about one chapter talking about it, and kind of takes the Mr. Mackey approach to sexting. Like, "Sexting is bad, mmmmkay?" He talks about how a lot of girls do it to appear sexy and fun, discusses how it can sometimes be called child pornography.
The information in this book seems like it's several years out of date. I also didn't understand why the author spent over 100 pages talking about the evils of rainbow parties and sex bracelets despite mentioning that they probably aren't even real problems outside the realm of daytime television talkshows.
Best also said something that really upset me. He basically said that often times conservatives and liberal feminists agree about teen sex and pornography...because they both find it immoral.That is so not true. Feminists (most feminists) want teens--especially teen girls--to embrace their sexuality. They don't find sex immoral. Sometimes they are disgusted by pornography but only because it tends to be male-centric, focus only on male pleasure, and often promotes unrealistic and unhealthy body images for women. Conservatives don't like pornography and teen sex because it goes against the traditional family module, which is based on christian ideals that evolved from our puritan ancestors'.