In September, I got approved for LEGENDARY, an art book about the drag queen ballroom scene. I really liked the idea behind the book but the photography just wasn't my thing.
dr.a.g. (dressed as girl) is what LEGENDARY was trying to be--and failed. Oh my gosh, I don't even have the words to describe how gorgeous this collection was. The photography, the makeup, the costumes, everything.
It was all so amazing.
I think when most people think of drag queens and transvestites, they have this stereotypical image in their heads. Actually, BITCHFEST had an essay about this. Drag queens and trans MtF are only accessible in our society if they are identifiable as men. If they actually look like women, the article said, they are perceived as deceitful. Which is unfortunate. Because why should people be punished for trying--and succeeding--and being who they want to be? They shouldn't.
Some of the men in this book look like beautiful women. Some of the men are obviously men wearing feminine makeup and clothing. Some of them just look...well, strange. For that reason it's a really great collection, because this book doesn't conform to any stereotype about drag queens. All of the models look so confident and interesting. I loved how their poses and facial expressions kind of give you a clue to their personalities. It was really cool. :)
A couple of the models impersonate famous celebrities--and do a shockingly good job of it. There's a Marilyn Monroe impersonator, a Cher impersonator, and a Zsa Zsa Gabor impersonator. Some of the drag queens are famous, like Jeffree Star. Oh my gosh, the detail on the makeup and jewelry and hair and accessories were so amazing. This was so beautiful. I'm so happy I was approved for this!
Ava is thirty-five-years-old and has a sad because she can't get pregnant. Her husband, Max, is sexy as hell, but pretty vanilla. He thinks his wife--*gasp*--likes sex too much. Now where have I heard that before? Oh, right! *stares hard at TEARS OF TESS*
She's also been having these really raunchy dreams about being violated by tentacles. And they get her all hot and bothered. Which is maybe why she isn't freaked out when she gets abducted from her bed one night for real, and finds herself in the alien equivalent of a sex hot tub loomed over by King of the Tentacle Sex Monsters himself, Jagar.
He had two humanoid legs with webbed feet, four separate tentacle arms, and one other tentacle emanating from where his cock should be (10).
Which, of course, made me think of Yivo from that hilarious Futurama TV movie, The Beast of a Billion Backs.
Even if you don't like tentacle hentai, you should watch this movie. Futrama is the best thing ever. I've seen every single episode, cried over the season finale, and watched the TV movies about twenty times each. Plus, I've read one of the graphic-novels (yes, there are graphic novels), which was similarly awesome.
Unfortunately, SEEDING HER WOMB was not awesome. I wasn't expecting much, but the bad writing was so...well, bad. Random exclamation points, boring sex, tentacles going everywhere. Meh. Even Jagar isn't the beast of sexual prowess he seems to be. It takes him two times to get Ava "seeded." Maybe he was embarrassed at having to have sex in front of all those tentacle doctors...
No slut-shaming, a realistic portrayal of and SMART way of dealing with cyberbullying, a guy who actually works out several hours a day for his six-pa...moreNo slut-shaming, a realistic portrayal of and SMART way of dealing with cyberbullying, a guy who actually works out several hours a day for his six-pack, and a Mexican family that ISN'T cringe-worthily stereotypical.
Okay, here is something you should know. I have a thing about dystopian novels told in alternating "before" and "after" timelines. I'm actually writing one myself! And I'm reading ARCHETYPE, which is also told in that format, except with amnesia thrown into the mix. And now, THE BUNKER. Ohhh, so much wow.
Bottom line is: I'm kind of a whore for these things.
Initially, I was a bit scared to start THE BUNKER because a lot of the top reviews for it were really negative. But I don't let reviews sway me from reading what I want, and my likes and dislikes don't usually jibe with that of the Goodreads community as a whole (for proof of this, just look at my NA reviews).
So I started THE BUNKER with a grain of salt and practically no expectations. And at first the dialogue between the six main characters had me rolling my eyes as they called each other "gay" and "retarded", because, hey, aren't these douchebags in college? What is this, middle school?
WHERE IS YOUR SENSITIVITY TRAINING?
The six d-bags are all besties, and they are burying a time capsule in the woods to commemorate their friendship, or some shit like that. Anyway, they find a spot and are surprised when they hit metal. It's a door! And all of their names are engraved on the door. How creepy is that? After a moment of awkwardness and shock, they open the door and find themselves in a super secret underground bunker, and there are five letters addressed to each of them (yes, one's left out--and this is important).
They find out that, together, they are going to result in the destruction of the world. One of them is a tyrant. One of them creates a pest- and virus-resistant crop that causes a pandemic flu. One of them helps spread the doom food. And one of them is responsible for the forthcoming zombie apocalypse.
To prevent all this from happening, they use a time machine and write letters to their former selves. But some of the advice one person leaves conflicts with the advice that another person leaves, and all of the letters say "don't trust anyone else." So that kind of begs the question: are their motives really pure? Or is something far more sinister going on? And is it really possible to control your own destiny?
I dabbled in philosophy in college (for a while, it was actually my minor--until I realized that I didn't need a minor to graduate (curse you, guidance counselors!), and dropped that shit like it was hot), and even though my classmates really got on my nerves with their pseudo-intellectualism and pseudo-psychology (most of the dilemmas discussed in psychology don't really work on a psychological level; you can't separate emotion and logic like that, you just can't), there were some really interesting topics in that class. One of them was freewill and all the arguments and theories surrounding it. THE BUNKER ties into determinism, or the fact that everything we do is already ordained by a higher power (God, quantum physics, what have you), so we can't change our fates because everything we do leads us on a one-way path to that ultimate goal. We can't change our future.
Well, that's the big question, here, isn't it?
I'm a little annoyed that THE BUNKER ends on such a sadistic cliffhanger. I guess I'm going to have to stalk Netgalley (ha, as if I don't do that already), to see when the sequel comes out. BECAUSE I NEED TO KNOW HOW THIS HAPPENS, OKAY? JUST GIVE ME THE SEQUEL AND NO ONE GETS HURT. But seriously, this was really great. What a pleasant, wonderful surprise.
I'm not sure if this is supposed to be a parody, homage, or what, but it reads like a very sad attempt to milk the cash cow that the FSOG trilogy (unfortunately) became. The title comes from the fact that CEO, Christopher Reiss, recognized her, because there are fifty shades of blonde, and she is the special snowflake shade.
I knew from the first chapter that this book and I were not going to be well suited to one another, because in addition to bringing all the hot billionaires to the yard, her magical vagina also--horrifically--possesses the power of sight.
If you owned a vagina, you couldn't help but notice this man as he walked into the restaurant (3).
But then, what else would you expect from a woman who apparently has sex through her head?
Christopher grabbed a handful of my hair and pulled, not gently, so my head tilted back and he could drive himself all the way inside (6).
So she sees out of her vagina and has sex through the back of her head. Okay, makes perfect sense.
Then we have some eroticism of rape:
He could overpower me in a heartbeat and I'd have no chance in hell (5).
Some trivialization of sexual harassment in the work place:
"Do we not pay you enough or something?"
"No, and I want a forty percent raise or I'm suing you for sexual harassment" (10).
And some really stupid lines:
He was so tall, it was like he was permanently looking down at me (8)
And then some of these sex scenes just sound, well, painful:
Christopher pumped me slowly. With every thrust, my clitoris rubbed against the edge of the desk (5).
The nozzle was like having a million little vibrators directed on me at once (25).
Also there's this weird subplot about the CEO having some sort of bizarre connection to the mob. It doesn't really go anywhere, though. I think it was an attempt to squeeze in some sort of plot, so this book wouldn't just be about the smex.
...Unfortunately, it's just about the smex, anyway. And it isn't even particularly good smex.
0.5 stars. (Bonus half-star awarded for unintentional hilarity.)(less)