Lady Aislinn is a lady...except when she's not. And this is usually when she's fucking the satyr that lives in the woods outside her manor. The story opens up with her clothes being super uncomfy because she can't wait to tear them off and have sex with him! And they do that. But then her father's steward comes in and starts talking to her about boring things like dresses and shoes while the satyr is busy giving her oral sex under the table. When the steward finally goes away, the satyr tells her that she has to make a choice. She can be a lady, or she can be a wanton sex-goddess. Which will she choose?
The answer is (not) surprising!
Ordinarily this book costs money but Smashwords is having its semiannual Summer/Winter sale, so I got it for free. Woo. I probably wouldn't have picked this out for myself, but I read it as a buddy read with my friend and fellow writer, Wart.
Since this book does ordinarily cost money, I feel like I can be a little harsher about it. The writing was good. There were no typos (most of these quickie erotica tales are horribly written, with typos, homophone errors, and tense irregularities). It was also nice to see consensual sex for a change, as most monsterotica tales are quite rapey. Lady Aislinn knows what she wants and isn't afraid to take charge. So in that sense, SHE CRAVES THE SATYR was refreshing.
I do think that this story is horrendously overpriced, however, considering the page count. Especially since the last few pages are...you guessed it--ads!
I was kind of hoping that this was going to be a lactation/tentacle porn hybrid. Unfortunately, it's just run-of-the-mill lactation erotica with an alien twist. Jane wants to go to college but her parents confiscated the keys to her car when they went on vacation because they want to keep her confined to the farm.
Ryvan is part of an alien species called the Xore who thrive off human milk. It's like crack to them. Sweet, juicy, taboo crack. And they use a magic lactation-inducing spray to cause humans to lactate who wouldn't ordinarily lactate.
They're supposed to do it when the human is unconscious, but Jane wakes up in the middle of it. She decides to go along with his plan, though, as long as Ryvan agrees to take her away from her awful parents when his plan is over and done.
ALIENS NEED MILK TOO is at a disadvantage. It's not particularly sexy, or interesting. People read these weird fetish erotica for one of two reasons: to be titillated, or to laugh. ALIENS NEED MILK TOO fails on both accounts. It isn't terrible enough to be funny, and it isn't good enough to be sexy (or horrifying).
"Sweeping historical romance" is a bit misleading, as the romance in this book plays a very minor role. Avery Roe is a witch of Prince Island, descended from a long line of witches. For years, she and her female ancestors have protected the island and watched over the sailors, and they, in turn, have been respected and revered by the island's occupants. But all that has changed.
Each Roe witch has a special gift, and Avery's is being able to tell the prophetic nature of dreams. And she has just learned that she is fated to die.
Her only ally is a foreign boy with tattoos and a harpoon, Tane. He has magic of her own, and Avery hopes that it will be enough to break the curse that binds her to the island and come into her full powers before it's too late.
SALT & STORM is like a cross between WISE CHILD and BURIAL RITES. I loved the raw earthiness of the magic in this book, and how practical it was. Harry Potter is fun, but it's not as believable as, say, curses, charms, and spells designed to affect the passage of every day life. The Roe witches cast spells for calm winds, for love, for safety, protection, and doom--and the way it was done was so real that I'm tempted to buy an evil eye bracelet.
I also liked the idea of having to experience pain in order to achieve your powers. Peter Straub did that in his book, SHADOWLAND--the magicians in that book had to make powerful and unpleasant sacrifices in order to unlock their magic ("your wings or your song"). The fact that it's stayed with me all these years shows what an impression the concept made on me. True talent often comes at a price, whether it's the years of practice and time spent honing it, or lack of socialization/love/etc.
SALT & STORM is a debut novel and it does read a bit like a debut novel in the sense that the pacing is extremely uneven (the last half really drags), the character's motivations are questionable at times, and I often felt like the novel was a little "cluttered" (too many things squeezed into it at once).
However, the writing was beautiful and I loved the ideas that SALT & STORM had to offer. I really hope to see more from this author, as I'm sure that, like a fine wine, she can only improve with time.
I applied for this book because I thought it was going to be a juicy expose about the creator(s) of Instagram, kind of like what The Social Network was to Facebook. Nope!
Instead, with RICH KIDS OF INSTAGRAM, we are treated to a grueling new adult saga about a bunch of rich kids who...have far too much money and blow it all on stupid things while making bigoted and intolerant comments about everyone around them.
Racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, slut-shaming, classism, and just jerk behavior in general can all be found in this book. There isn't much of a plot, but then, I guess you don't really need one--because...rich kids!
I was buddy-reading this with my friend and fellow author, Sam Mariano, but I just couldn't get through this one. We got about 1/3 of the way through and could not believe that 2/3 more awaited us. The pace was so slow! And each character (oh yeah, POV swaps, every chapter) was worse than the last! We eventually decided to throw in the towel because oh my God.
The writing was very bad too. Apparently this was picked up by a traditional publisher? It doesn't read like it. It reads like mid-to-low quality indie. For example, the author has a huge problem with your/you're. There were several incidences where she wrote "your" instead of "you're." Now since this is an e-galley, I'm assuming (I'm hoping) that these typos will be fixed in the final draft. But it was still a nasty surprise to receive something so unpolished from Gallery Books, who, until now, I always associated with quality.
I knew the plot twist from the get-go because my sister had to read this book foYou can read more reviews, faster, at my blog, The Armchair Librarian.
I knew the plot twist from the get-go because my sister had to read this book for college and she was talking about her essay analysis in the car. Of course, then she was like, "Oh, you haven't read Fight Club? Here you go!" And my friends were like, "SHE TOLD YOU THE TWIST?! YOUR SISTER MUST DIE." I was like, "Someone has been reading too much Palahniuk... Chill, bro. Chill."
Because Palahniuk, in case you haven't figured it out yet, is kind of an asshole. I mean, he must be, because his characters all have the same voice and I'm starting to think that that voice must be Palahniuk. Just as Meg Cabot's books are always about some plucky down-to-earth heroine with a gift for the gab, who sounds suspiciously like Meg Cabot, his books are always about some garden-variety sociopath, who likes hurting people and setting things on fire, and basically delivering one big giant middle finger to the population at large because fuck da police.
After reading Fight Club, I guess I can say that FC is one of the better books in the batch. There are some interesting literary devices and messages in here, even if I don't agree with them at all. In some ways, knowing the spoilers was interesting because it allowed me to read the book with a new lens, looking for clues like a book-obsessed Sherlock Holmes.
Still considering? Picture a dinner party between Ayn Rand, Holden Caufield, and Hannibal Lecter, and all of them are hopped up on some kind of stimulant.
One of my good friends swears by R. Lee Smith, & kept pushing me to read her as well. Somehow I never really got around to it, so said friend ended up lending me to Scholomance to read on my Kindle. I was wary but intrigued—a school for demons, a sociopathic woman looking to get her best friend back? I shouldn't have questioned her judgment. This is, after all, the same woman who pushed me to read BLACK ICE.
THE SCHOLOMANCE is like a cross between THE HUNGER GAMES, DIVERGENT, and HARRY POTTER, except geared to adults...morbid adults, who don't mind a lot of gore and a lot of angry, gross, insectoid/reptilian demon sex. Because there is a lot of that in this book. Oh, boy.
(Ki)Mara Warner has always been different—as beautiful and as cold as ice, she has never cared about any person before except for her childhood friend, Connie Vitelli. Connie was fascinated by Mara's psychic abilities and it led to an obsession that took her to a magic school situated in Romania. After she left, nobody ever heard from her again...except for Mara, when she receives a letter from Connie that basically says, “I was wrong, please come get me.”
The demon school is only open on Halloween, and so Mara books a flight and finds herself in Romania. In order to get to the school, one must climb an impossibly high mountain, and it is actually encouraged for students to kill one another because they are, in essence, weeding out the weak from the strong.
I don't often find books that really have a great Machiavellian system, but SCHOLOMANCE does. I loved the complex interactions between all the demons. I loved how their morality completely transcended those of humans, and how they were not afraid or guilty to flaunt that in front of Mara just for funzies.
I loved the magic system, and the completely novel take on psychics. Mara's Panic Room, and the energy and health monitors and the Mindstorm were all incredibly inventive and so realistic.
And the gore and violence—it wasn't there just to shock (although I'm sure that was part of it); it contributes to, rather than takes away from, the story. Some of the passages made me wince and cringe, but I couldn't stop reading because I had to know what would happen next. Would Mara find Connie? Would she be murdered by her jealous classmates, or by the demons she was so intent on fucking with? Who would she choose in her bizarre little love triangle? Horuseps, or Kazuul?
God, this book...it was amazing, and beautiful, and dark, and I loved it, even though the damn thing had to be close to 1,000 pages. And the ending was surprisingly poignant....more
I am rating this book not on the quality of the writing but just on how engaging it was. I had the pleasure of hearing Ms. Grandin speak and her lectuI am rating this book not on the quality of the writing but just on how engaging it was. I had the pleasure of hearing Ms. Grandin speak and her lectures were utterly fascinating. I just couldn't reach that level of interest with her book.
On a side note, this would be an interesting read paired with Eric Schlosser's book, Fast Food Nation, as both mention the psychology behind the conditions in slaughter houses - and have some very contrasting views regarding the subject....more
It's official: I have a literary crush on Nicholas Nickleby. I can't help it. He's just so damn likable. He's educated, kindhearted, witty (his dry, iIt's official: I have a literary crush on Nicholas Nickleby. I can't help it. He's just so damn likable. He's educated, kindhearted, witty (his dry, ironic tone was so delightful--I love sarcasm, and Nicholas is fluent in it), and his devotion to his sister is amazing. But he's not without flaws; at first, he is painfully naive (although as the story progresses, he becomes more jaded and world-weary) and has a very quick temper that results in him beating up a couple people (but don't worry, they deserve it!). When he leaps to the defense of the children at Dotheboys and pummels the evil Mr. Squeers, I wanted to cheer! And when he attacks the lascivious Lord Mulberry Hawk for sexually harassing his little sister, I wanted to dance around my room to Auld Lang Syne!
But the rest of the cast is just amazing. I fell in love with Kate Nickleby, who has got to be one of the strongest female characters I have ever read in a Dickens novel. Even in the darkest of times, she never loses heart, or her sweetness. I admired the portrait painter, Miss La Creevy, who struck me as the type of grandmother who would bake her grandchildren cookies, but stab anyone who attempted to harm them with the very knitting needles she used to make their Christmas sweaters. Smike was so cute! I wanted to draw him as a Japanese chibi character with a little chappie hat. And Newman Noggs! At first I thought he was going to be one of the villains, but the only thing he was devious about was kindness! Oh, and how I loved/hated Mrs. Nickleby's absent-minded foolishness. Sometimes she made me laugh, as she reminded me of a senile Mrs. Bennett (from Pride and Prejudice) but how could she possibly be so blind to her daughter's suffering?
The villains are just as good, too. Mr. Squeers is the worst kind of villain, because he's able to convince himself that everything he's doing is for the best (he gives all of his children scarlet fever so that when the doctor comes to treat the injuries Nicholas gave him, they get added into the lower cost of treating children!!). And then there's Miss Squeers, who tries to abuse her power of being daughter of the schoolmaster to seduce Nicholas. Oh and Ralph--he's the most terrifying of all, because there are times when you suspect that he's not all bad. He's like Mr. Scrooge before his revelation: all he cares about is money, money, money, and whenever something appeals to his emotions it creates a cognitive dissonance that's so strong he attempts to freeze it out, or rationalize it.
I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH!! I couldn't put it down for a moment. The pages just flew right on by, and I found myself constantly wondering what was going to happen next. It's amazing, really, that this book was written almost two hundred years ago, and yet it's still so accessible. I guess that just goes to show that while times may change, people don't, and you can still find characters like Nicholas Nickleby or, god forbid, Mr. Squeers, walking around at the Safeway....more
This is a pretty trippy book. It revolves loosely around a young, precocious girl named Sophie (at least for the first half — but I won't say anymoreThis is a pretty trippy book. It revolves loosely around a young, precocious girl named Sophie (at least for the first half — but I won't say anymore than that) who starts getting mysterious letters from a philosopher. He forces her to rethink things she has taken for granted about her world with a series of philosophy lessons that cover everything from Democritus to Darwin.
I liked the elements of magic realism in this book. Not knowing what is real and what isn't was a good accompaniment to the philosophy element. When Alberto Knox started talking about surrealism, I kind of smirked to myself and thought, “Oh, you mean like this book.” Actually, that's probably the most ingenious thing about Sophie's World. Everything that happens in this book is a demonstration of some principle of philosophy — for example, he uses the “DRINK ME” bottle from Alice and Wonderland as an example of “individualism” (drinking the bottle makes each blade of grass look like its own little universe), and so on.
Having dabbled in philosophy in college myself and been forced to read the awfulness that is Hume and Kant (determinism! Skepticism! Ahhh! I'm having flashbacks to finals week, when I had to write ten-page term papers!!) in GRAVE DETAIL, it was fun to revisit the subject matter in a more lighthearted way. Alberto Knox's dry wit and witty banter reminded me of my History of Psychology professor, which was one of my favorite classes in college. If my philosophy textbook had been this engaging, I'm sure my class would have been much more enjoyable. As a novel, it wasn't so great. Sophie was kind of boring, and I felt that the mystery behind Alberto was revealed too soon. The translation of my edition was excellent, but the dialog came out sounding stilted — and I'm not 100% sure whether this is because of the translation, or because the author actually intended this to be a “Dialogue” (like those between Socrates and Plato).
I have to admit that towards the end I began to get bored. Gaarder has this big twist that TOTALLY flips the novel on its head (literally — if you've read the book, you'll know what I mean), and then the book got even crazier. Seriously, Disney Characters? Capitalist-pig Ebeneezer Scrooge getting attacked by a little commie peasant girl? I got really confused, because I thought I had the book figured out and then Gaarder shakes his bearded head, slaps a detour sign (written in Norwegian) in front of me, and sends me into the borderless land of philosophy (which looks suspiciously like Wonderland, except everyone's wearing togas and making even less sense than usual). You want to understand the book? He seems to say. How can you have any hope of doing that when you don't even know who you are? I suppose it was a good ending for a philosophical lecture, but I wanted a novel — and a novel's ending....more
I love it when everyone hates a book except me; it makes me feel like I'm championing a cYou can read more reviews at my blog, The Armchair Librarian.
I love it when everyone hates a book except me; it makes me feel like I'm championing a cause.
Big Girls Don't Cry is one of the lesser works by Fay Weldon, probably best known for her book The Life and Loves of a She Devil. I haven't read that book yet (but I really want to), and the general consensus seems to be that this is a lot darker and nastier and less funny than TLaLoaSD. Maybe I've got a sadistic sense of humor, but I found this book quite hilarious.
It's difficult to summarize the book, but it starts in the 1970s when women's lib was just taking root. A group of ladies band together to form a feminist publishing company. I KNOW RIGHT. HOW COOL IS THAT? They try to stick to their guns, but they're also human and to err is human so they basically sleep around, make mistakes, make enemies, slut shame, fail, pop out babies, play Suzy Homemaker and basically end up talking the talk and not walking the walk.
And then one of the ladies dies.
Fast forward ten years and the daughter of the lady who died is now a media mogul in her own right; she owns a feminist magazine, that is markedly more successful than the Medusa publishing group her mother was peripherally involved with, now on the verge of bankruptcy. She's pissed off about her mother's death and wants to know who to blame.
Revenge, when it comes, is both swift and sweet.
I really enjoyed this book. Which says a lot about me, really, considering how much of feminist lit has me rolling my eyes. It pisses me off that the status quo of fem lit seems to be that a) either you're a raving loon and/or drug addict who ends up committing adultery and/or suicide, or b) you're a macho manly man with boobs, and spend all your time bitching about your own gender.
This book raised a really good point: you can't be in power and claim to be the victim. You have to choose. The characters in this book made their choices, and sometimes those choices ended badly.
I haven't read a book so wickedly funny since Catch-22.
edit/07/16/13//: GUESS WHAT I'M UPLOADING TO CREATESPACE AND THE KINDLE STORE???
It ended up being 100 pages. I don't like to pad things out, 'cause ifedit/07/16/13//: GUESS WHAT I'M UPLOADING TO CREATESPACE AND THE KINDLE STORE???
It ended up being 100 pages. I don't like to pad things out, 'cause if the story (or book in this case) is done, it is done. Good news is, it will be $.99 instead of $1.99! Yayyy!
edit/07/16/13//: Added a summary! It is from the preface!
I finished writing it! I put a lot of effort into each story because I want this to be as helpful as possible since I know a lot of the people on my friends list are interested in publishing their books some day too.
It isn't a grammar guide so much as a list of things that I found helpful and wish I knew from the start.
Jessica, the MC, encounters Club Shadowlands by accident when her car gets stalled on a dark and rainy night. If that sounds cliche, it kind of is. She takes shelter at the club nearby, and the sexy manager gives her a set of clean clothing after toweling her off rather invasively. He informs her that it's a private club and gives her a thick packet of rules, which he tells her to read. If she doesn't want to abide by them, she can wait in the corridor with the bouncer. As Jessica explores the club, she quickly discovers that it has a rather interesting theme. BDSM. Dun, dun, dun.
Master Z, owner and participant, cannot get enough of Jessica's curvy bod. He knows that if she gives him the chance, she'll be the perfect submissive. But he wants her to come to him freely, even if that means giving her the chance to run away screaming lol.
What follows is a night of bacchanalia that wouldn't be out of place in ancient Rome. People get whipped, spanked. There's simulated rape (although Jessica and Z do not participate). There's medical erotica, including a staged gynecological/breast exam. There's exhibitionism, voyeurism. Sinclair manages to incorporate a whole bunch of different subsets of BDSM sex, talking about what's typical, what's not, and how it all is fair game as long as the adults are consenting and abide by CSS.
(Consensual, safe, sane.)
The writing is much better than I was expecting. No typos. A little cheesy and over-the-top in parts, but the sex scenes more than made up for it. I didn't really like Jessica's character. Her reluctance didn't bother me--I thought her hesitance and shyness were quite well done--but the fact that she kept kicking people, and attacking people in defense of the women being "attacked" was a little silly and dumb, although the reasons behind this were later explained. It was also annoying to have a small, big-boobed, curvy heroine whining about how "ugly" and "fat" she was.
As a 5'9" woman, I have little patience with tiny people who whine about being found unattractive to men. There are tons of men who won't even consider dating a tall woman, no matter how attractive she is, just because she's tall. And if you're tall and curvy, you can pretty much forget about it.
But again, that's kind of a personal peeve. Similarly, I had to suspend my disbelief when Master Z was portrayed as a mind-reader. It got to the point where I was wondering if there was a supernatural element to this book--psychic? vampire? Nope. He is a psychologist. Buddy, I hate to say it, but being a psychologist does not make you a psychic. So that annoyed me as well.
Still, CLUB SHADOWLANDS is a great book for those who want to know more about the BDSM scene. I found it very informative, and loved the way the participants were described. There are some bad eggs who participate, but they usually aren't welcomed by the group (and are often disbarred from clubs). Most people who participate in the BDSM scene are just ordinary people looking for a way to kick back and blow off steam with their favorite kind of sex. Which happens to be BDSM.
I would consider reading other books in this series.
Even though I finished this yesterday, I decided to sleep on the review because otherwise it would have consisted enOh. 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.)
Kill for Me is a difficult book to rate because it's really three stories in one.
1. Teenage sex traffickers.
2. A family feud spanning several generatiKill for Me is a difficult book to rate because it's really three stories in one.
1. Teenage sex traffickers.
2. A family feud spanning several generations rooted in incest, corruption, and violence.
3. A rape victim learning to find love and trust again.
523 pages is both too long and too short for such intensive storylines and the book both drags and races (dragraces? Haha). It just doesn't work.
For a romantic-suspense novel, this is also remarkably dark and violent and features the most effed-up family you'll likely see outside of a novel by Gillian Flynn or V.C. Andrews. My god. I think I'm going to have to give everyone in my family an extra hug tomorrow, just for not being psychotic. This definitely is not for the faint of heart.
I must say that Luke is supremely hot. Oh my god. He's Greek. And he's a cop. Mmmmmmm. The scenes between him and Susannah were flawless, and when he brought down The Box from the closet I nearly died. Take that, Christian Grey's Red Room of Pain!
I'd recommend this to people who like James Patterson and Iris Johansen.
Thanks to certain Asians that shall not be named (*cough* Louisa *cough*) I've found myself on a regency jag. It's like reading Jane Austen fanfictionThanks to certain Asians that shall not be named (*cough* Louisa *cough*) I've found myself on a regency jag. It's like reading Jane Austen fanfiction--and it's SO GREAT having something to ship again. Also, I'm quickly finding out that Lisa Kleypas is to romance as Derek Craven is to love-making. Thank goodness her books are available through my library. Otherwise, I'd be broke, because, like Betty White, I just can't say no.
At least, when it comes to books.
Derek Craven is a difficult man to like. I was indisposed towards him because of what he did to Lily in book #1 (pimping out to Lord Raiford as if she were a whore--and because of jealousy and spite, no less!), and his addictive personality. Some women love their literary bad boys. Me, personally, I've never been a fan. My book boyfriends run more towards Mr. Darcy and Mr. Tilney than Mr. Heathcliff and Mr. Rochester. Those so-called Byronic heroes make me want to pee myself.
And not in an I'm-so-aroused-way, but in a I-don't-ever-want-to-come-across-you-in-a-dark-alley way.
Which is ironic, because that is exactly how Sara chances upon Derek for the first time. In a dark alley. In the worst part of the ton. Why? Because she's a writer. She conducts "research" on the dregs of society to write Upton Sinclair-esque romances about poverty, prostitution, and pestilence. Naturally, they're best-sellers.
Derek is in the midst of some free cosmetic surgery courtesy of his spurned lover, Lady Ashby, when Sara encounters him. She--Lady Ashby--isn't going to stand being turned down by a commoner, and devolves into a mindless, psychotic fit of jealousy. Anyway, Sara happens to carry a pistol in her reticule and she shoots one of the attackers in the throat and sends the other one off.
Considering that Sara is your rather typical bluestocking spinster character with a case of Sexy Librarian Syndrome (once the glasses come off, blammo--instant sex goddess), it's a surprise that someone as, um, continental as Derek finds himself so attracted to her. But he is.
75% of the novel consists of heartwrenching will-they? won't-they? moments, designed to toy with the reader's emotions.
The last 25%, as with Then Came You, consists of nonstop sex, a belated climax (in more ways than one hurr hurr hurr), a resolution, and a sappy, fluffy-wuffy epilogue full of kisses to end all kisses, twu wuv, and the joys of fatherhood.
Unlike many people, I liked Then Came You better, and I think it's because Alex was a much more compelling character for me. His relationship with Lily was just so intense and drawn-out. It was kind of hard to top. By contrast, I felt that Sara was rather tepid in her affections, and I still don't really like-like Derek. He's kind of a poopy-head. Plus, that lactation fetish thing towards the end conjured up bad memories regarding certain erotica novels reviewed by certain goodreads reviewers regarding certain WHY-GOD-WHY topics.
Don't click on those links, btw, unless you, too, wish to be scarred for life. (Actually, you should--as long as you're not at work--she's one of my favorite reviewers on this site.)
As it turns out, my historical romance reviewing spree might be put on hold temporarily. I've been suspended from my online library for reading too muAs it turns out, my historical romance reviewing spree might be put on hold temporarily. I've been suspended from my online library for reading too much. Apparently there's a cap on how many books you can check out within X number of days, and I've gone over it. As you can imagine, I'm devastated. Oh, well. At least it gives me time to catch up.
Everything and the Moon is going to be tricky for me to review. On the one hand, it's a great story that borrows from Jane Austen's Persuasion. On the other hand, there were many things about this book that really irritated me and I filled up several pages of angry notes in my handy-dandy Tesco notebook venting out my hatred of Robert.
The story starts out in the sappy, light-hearted spirit of a Nicholas Sparks novel: two white people from different socioeconomic classes, who want to be with each other very, very much but their evil parents don't approve. Robert is the son of an earl, and Victoria is the daughter of a vicar. Victoria's dad disapproves from the start: he's afraid that the nobleman only plans to add her as another notch in his bedpost. The earl is no less displeased: he believes Victoria wants to steal his son's title and then spend all his money--the evil little temptress!
He tells Robert that if he does marry Victoria, he runs the risk of losing all his inheritance and says, snidely, that at the very least this will teach him whether Victoria really loves him for who he is or for his money. Victoria is not happy to learn this, and doesn't want to be the cause of their falling out. She pleads with him to talk to his father and get his permission in the match, which, of course, only drives the wedge of doubt planted by Robert's father in further. He says cautiously that he will do this but only after they elope.
However, on the night that the two are going to run away, Victoria's father catches her packing her bags. Fearing for her honor and livelihood, he ties her to the bed and locks her sister in the closet so neither of them stands a chance of getting Victoria free. Robert comes by the house and sees Victoria in bed and thinks she's blown him off. When Victoria goes to the Earl's house, he tells her that Robert's gone to London to take a wife since his attempt to seduce her failed. He then advises her to leave town before her reputation is sullied, which she does, tearfully.
All of this takes place in the first chapter.
Seven years later finds Victoria working as a governess for a lady with social aspirations. The boy is spoiled and snobbish, and takes great delight in being as horrible to Victoria as possible. He leads her into the hedge maze and then skives off once he's gotten her well and truly lost, leaving her alone. In the dark. Miserable and terrified.
Robert, invited because of his title as Earl, is playing coquette with a lightskirt, only to practically trip over Victoria. He's shocked when he recognizes her as the girl who broke his heart all those years ago, and annoyed to find out that she isn't nearly as torn up inside as he feels she should be. Worse--she seems to feel that she's the victim.
After making her life hell, attempting to force himself on her, treating her like a whore, embarrassing her in front of her employer, and tarnishing her reputation, Victoria only hates him more than ever. Robert wants her to be miserable--he also just wants her, if you know what I mean--so he decides to kill two birds with one stone, trick her into befriending him, seduce her, and then get her fired for being in a compromising position so that she'll have no choice but to be his mistress.
Oh--and this plan? It almost gets Victoria raped.
Eventually the idiot Robert learns out what really happened all those years ago and is understandably horrified to realize what a cad he's been. He hates his father more, though, and blames him for the bulk of it, in spite of his own terrible behavior. How does he decide to make things right again? By forcing her to marry him.
The next 75% of the novel consists of: -emotional abuse -staring at her through her window for hours -making disparaging remarks about how poor she is -damaging her reputation so no one else will want her -buying her inappropriately expensive gifts (including lingerie) -kidnapping her -trapping her inside a building -locking her inside her room -delivering self-serving ultimatums -victim-blaming (she's at fault for believing the "ridiculous" notion that he'd try to push her into having sex with him only to toss her aside because he said he LOVED her dammit!) -invading her personal space and her privacy -making her decisions for her -not letting her voice her own opinion -manipulating the people around her into helping him -etc. etc.
The fact that this is accompanied by nonstop petty squabbling masquerading as witty banter makes this no less tedious or annoying.
Victoria isn't entirely faultless, though. Not because of her confusion or her physical attraction to Robert because that, annoying though it is, is at least somewhat understandable. I mean, she did love him and now he's back, and she still has that image of who she wanted him to be superimposed over who he is now.
No, Victoria is guilty of "no means yes" syndrome. She tells him to respect her as a woman, even as she subconsciously puts herself in positions for him to take advantage of her. She tells him to respect her opinions and then sits back voicelessly. It comes across as rather hypocritical and disturbing. Especially this one scene where she sleeps with him for the first time because he looks sad. How does he react? Afterwards, he tells her that now she has to marry him because what if she's pregnant? No other man will take her then!
What a charmer. How could she possibly resist such an offer? *sarcasm*
Sorry if this comes off as bitter, but these kinds of relationships bother me a lot because they're so abusive. You don't need to hit somebody to be an abusive boyfriend. Emotional abuse and excessive manipulation can be just as bad. Their position is never equal, and Robert is constantly lording his title and her subservience over her.
So why does this get three stars, then? It's not badly written, and the story itself is quite entertaining. Beyond pissing me off at times, though, I didn't feel any real emotional connections with the characters. But the story was good. Julia Quinn is a good writer and I'm definitely planning to read more books by her (Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever is actually my next victim). Hopefully, they'll be less annoying.
So the internet now shuts off at 12:15 in my house now, which is ridiculous, especially since I usually get home around midnight from work, so my time to do author stuff is basically nil. Let's see if I can crank out this review in twenty-seven minutes.
I've been reading THE GIRL WHO WAS SATURDAY NIGHT for several weeks now, and it's in that book purgatory where I didn't hate it, but I didn't really like it, either. It's kind of like when the TV switches over from the news to daytime television, but you're too lazy to get up and find the remote, so you end up watching Jerry Springer or Maury Povich. It's not good, but you can't stop watching, or it's not terrible enough that you actually want to take an active role in ceasing its being on the television.
So it was with this book.
TGWWSN is about two French-Canadian people in their early twenties who are twins. If they were American, you'd probably call them white trash. They're famous in Quebec only because their father was a Bob Dylany/Crash Test Dummiesy-type folk singer who never really let go of his allotted fifteen minutes of fame. No, he dug his claws in and hung on for dear life, leaving the kiddies without a parental hand to hold.
Nicolas and Nouschka are attractive and coast on their looks and the remainder of their father's fame. But soon they start to grow up -- either because of their own initiative, or against their will, and they learn that being an adult, with consequences!, pretty much sucks. It means giving up your dreams, or finding out you're no longer as sexy or attractive, or that you can't get off the hook with a winning smile, or that people expect more of you, and no, you can no longer get away with murder.
At first, I liked TGWWSN, although it was really (REALLY) reminiscent of her first work, Lullabies for Little Criminals. Both of them had a very strong WHITE OLEANDER set in Canada vibe that was really hard to ignore. I like loss of innocence as a motif, especially in literary fiction (high brow Maury Povich, bitches), but it has to bring something new to the table, and O'Neill had a lot of writing tics in this book that really annoyed me. Like her constant attempts to sound twee and profound. Or her overdependence on ridiculous similies (THEY HAPPENED EVERY OTHER PAGE). Examples:
...he glowed, like a baby that was fat on breast milk and about to pass out (299).
The smoke swirled inside [the bong], looking like a mermaid trapped in an aquarium, banging on the walls (255).
[The swan] held its wings in front of it, like a naked girl with only her socks on, holding her hands over her privates (161).
[The cat] looked like a boy at a funeral whose suit was too small for him (60).
[The] white Pomeranian [had] a face like a chewed-up tooth-brush (64).
The dog was trembling with excitement...like he was waiting to add a detail to your anecdote (64).
These occurred pretty much every other page, although sometimes as many as three to a page. These aren't even the worst one. The last author I read who did this was Vikas Swarup in his book, SIX SUSPECTS. I thought he went overboard, but O'Neill may have done it even more.
On the other hand, there were some beautiful passages like these:
There was a feeling, when we were together, that we were little kids dressing up as adults. That the universe was something that we drew with crayons and there was no such thing as tragedy (191).
Love is like this small room where a child brings you to show you all their treasures. First the child shows you all the new toys that are bright and shiny and top of the line. But then she shows you all the stuff that has ended up at the bottom of the trunk. There are dolls with eyes that wobble, hair that is falling out of their heads, and dirt behind their ears. Their fingertips have been chewed off by dogs and they have been drawn on with ballpoint pen. It has been so long since they have been held or anyone has told them that they are lovely. They lie at the bottom of the toy chest, hidden and ashamed. You are either going to be disgusted by them, or you are going to be so filled with love for them that your heart almost breaks (228).
When you are young, you can dress in rags and stand on the table and piss in telephone booths. In a young person, these are the traits of a poet. But if you exhibited any of these behaviours at forty-five, people would think you are a degenerate (341).
TGWWSN was an interesting read, but not particularly good. It definitely suffers from second book syndrome, and is proof that you should not let critical acclaim go to your head, or make you think you are invulnerable. Instead of continuing to be edgy and daring, like her first book, O'Neill stayed with what was comforting and got lazy. The result was extremely disappointing.
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 ...more
Walter Potter's work traverses the line between creepy and cute. Even though he was not the best of taxidermists, he was definitely an artist at heart and was able to instill in his pieces a sort of human touch that makes them look eerily lifelike.
(I'm not surprised that so many people find his work morbid. Taxidermy definitely falls in the uncanny valley.)
WALTER POTTER is full of pictures of Potter's more famous works, along with descriptions of the pieces and the history behind them. I found it interesting how Potter obtained the animals he used in his various tableaux. When his own pets died, he added them to the pieces. A lot of his specimens were donated to him, especially the "ephemera", or mutated animals with supernumerary limbs and heads. At the time, people with pet rabbits and cats only kept one baby animal per litter, and all other animals were destroyed, so Potter had a steady supply of baby bunnies and kittens. :(
One of the main points of contention, back when the Walter Potter museum was still in existence, was that it supported animal cruelty. The museum tried very hard to persuade people that the animals added to the tableaux were dead already and had not been killed for the displays, but that is probably not true, especially in the case of the red squirrels and rats, which were considered pests.
I think my favorite was probably "Kittens' Croquet and Tea Party." The detail is amazing, and the kittens are so cute. (I tried to pretend that they were not actually kittens, but dolls. "The Rabbits' Village School" was also great for the same reasons, although, again, said if you think about how he came across those baby bunnies (I really hope Khanh doesn't read this review--I know she loves teh bunniez). It made looking at the picture a little less heartbreakingly sad.) "Death and Burial of Cock Robin" was also incredible. This one is based off a nursery rhyme in a book that his little sister owned, and lots of his other tableaux share that motif.
When Potter died, his estate hired an antiques dealer to sell off some of the curiosities. The dealer was James Cartland, who is apparently related to Barbara Cartland. Yes, that Barbara Cartland. (It's funny; if I hadn't gotten up with the vintage romance novel crowd, I probably wouldn't have known who she was.)
I was so excited when I saw that the Potter Museum had a modern incarnation, but my hopes were quickly dashed. I'm eleven years too late. The people who managed the museum were no spring chickens and when they retired (or, sadly, died), they were forced to sell the collection. D: D: D:
They could not manage to sell it as a complete collection (there was a last minute bid, but the guy who made it was too busy bragging to the press about what a humanitarian he was that the Potter people didn't get the memo--oops), so the pieces were auctioned off one at a time, and continue to circulate to this day, fetching double, or even triple, what they were originally bought for.
The last chapter, Ephemera, shows all the pictures of the bizarre specimens that Potter collected, and wouldn't be out of place in the Mütter Museum.
AMONG THE THORNS is a retelling of a lesser-known fairytale from The Brothers Grimm--"The Jew Among Thorns", or "Der Jude im Dorn." It is an absolutely charming tale about a boy with a magic fiddle who uses it to torture a Jew by making him dance in the thorns until he forks over all his gold. The evil fiddler boy escapes to a town but the Jew follows him and proclaims him a thief. The boy pulls out his fiddle again and tortures the Jew some more until the Jew says he is the thief, and is then hung.
Ranks right up there with Cinderella, right? I think there is a reason this story is doomed to obscurity. But part of history is learning to avoid repeating past mistakes, and Schanoes tells the story with chilling coldness, showing that sometimes a hero is nothing more than a villain standing in flattering light.
And the villain--well, he might just be the victim.
Set in seventeenth-century Germany, the story is narrated by Ittele, the daughter of the murdered Jew. When she discovers the fate that has befallen her father, she swears revenge on the fiddler and the town that gave him refuge. Through a powerful goddess, Ittele receives the magic she needs to counteract the powerful fiddler's magic. And then...well, that would be telling.
I was blown away by this story--it's darkness, the lyricism of the prose, the amazing character development (an astounding feat considering the length of the story), and the fact that this fairytale retelling--a very, very sub-genre of fantasy--introduced me to a fairytale that I wasn't familiar with. (There's another antisemitic fairytale called "The Good Bargain", btw.)
I had never heard of this author before, but I shall be keeping an eye out for her future works.