Never have I ever... had such a discrepancy between my opinion and that of the masses. No...moreYou can read more reviews at my blog, The Armchair Librarian.
Never have I ever... had such a discrepancy between my opinion and that of the masses. Not since The Sea of Tranquility. In fact, I think The Edge of Never bothered me more than Sea did for reasons I will soon go into.
Goodreads, how could you lead me astray?
(Never mind. Have you seen this latest review policy change? Apparently leading people astray is something you're very good at.)
Read the rest of this review @ BookLikes HERE.(less)
Red Queen features one of the bitchiest, sanctimonious, self absorbed, and narcissistic characters I have EVER encountered in literature. The winner...moreRed Queen features one of the bitchiest, sanctimonious, self absorbed, and narcissistic characters I have EVER encountered in literature. The winner of the Righteous Bitch award is Margaret Beaufort, Plantagenet and progenitor of the Tudors.
You can read the rest of this review @ BookLikes HERE.(less)
***edit//10/20/13/: Hi guys! So as you may or may not know, Terrorscape was removed by Amazon for content violation. I guess because of the dark, dist...more***edit//10/20/13/: Hi guys! So as you may or may not know, Terrorscape was removed by Amazon for content violation. I guess because of the dark, disturbing content (i.e. rape, torture, dub/non-con, murder, serial killers, mindfuckery, etc. etc. etc.). Welllll, since I know some of you were very upset and messaged me about where you can read this, I'm posting to let you know that I'm hosting a giveaway on Booklikes!
You can enter to win 1 of 100 - yes, that's right - *100* - copies of Terrorscape. So far, only about 25 people are applying, so that just means that 75 sad little copies won't have homes to go to. APPLY NOW! Because I'm just giving these away!
Note that they will be ebooks. I am too poor to afford 100 hard copies of my book. One day, God willing....
Anyway, thanks so much for the support! I hope you win. Please spread the word and tell your friends. :)
EDIT 04/21/2013: I have some new information about this book!
First: This book should really be classified as 'New-Adult' and not 'Young-Adult', since...moreEDIT 04/21/2013: I have some new information about this book!
First: This book should really be classified as 'New-Adult' and not 'Young-Adult', since it does contain situations and themes not really appropriate for younger teens. So this is just something to keep in mind. (Plus, I like to think of myself as a genre-bender, giving all those other NA books the ol' one-two! :D)
Second: the SEQUEL, Armed and Dangerous, (which I know many of you are excited about) should be ready by early to mid-May. I am working SUPER HARD on it right now, and have already finished about 25% on the final draft.
As always, I thank you for your support and consideration.
I started this book about six or seven years ago. I still remember what the original draft was like, and to this day I cannot think of it without cringing. Oh, the things that come out of a sixteen-year-old's keyboard.
Cloak and Dagger is my first published book. I guess that makes it my baby. But not a coddled baby. More like the baby who is misbehaved and is always throwing temper tantrums, and needs to be set down in the corner while author-mommy cleans up the mess and heartbreak, and angsts about how this was never how she pictured motherhood authorhood.
I didn't know how much work it was going to be. Years of revisions, building onto the original work, and then cutting it back down to size. I cut about twenty THOUSAND words from the final draft before submitting it for publication, and found out in the process that I have a rather inordinate fondness for lovingly placing extraneous adverbs within the text. Who knew?
C&D is the product of too many James Bond films, an annoyance of Stockholm Syndromesque romances, and the niggling question that fills each of our minds when reading darker romantic suspense: Why doesn't that gosh-darn 'bad boy' ever stay bad? I'm not going to sell this book as THE BEST BOOK EVAR!!1! because it isn't (that distinction is reserved for the Brontes and Jane Austen, thank you very much), but it was fun to write, and I hope people have fun reading it.
I am in bed right now sobbing the way I did when I read The Fault in Our Stars, or when t...moreYou can read more reviews at my blog, The Armchair Librarian!
I am in bed right now sobbing the way I did when I read The Fault in Our Stars, or when the wife in Up died, or when my sweet little kitty had to be put down, and I'm not even ashamed.
Before I Fall is one of the most beautiful stories I've read in a while. Everything about it, from concept to characterization, is perfect. It's hard to write a flawed protagonist and still make her likable, but Oliver does, and I found myself wanting to like Sam in spite of knowing I really shouldn't. It's got a great supporting cast, and she really captures how it feels to be a teenager.
Read the rest of this review @ BookLikes HERE.(less)
Once upon a time, there was a girl who read Twilight. And while she liked it--especially the creepier parts--she was annoyed by how sappy the male protagonist was and how easily the female got over his controlling, possessive behavior. And she thought to herself, "Wow, if this guy wasn't a vampire, this story would be totally effed up."
The Horrorscape series was born.
Well, actually, no. Not really. I'm lying. I started this story around '05 or '06, but it wasn't really fleshed out the way it is now until far later.
The premise is about a very young woman who gets romantically entangled with a boy whom she initially perceives as a twisted, tormented soul--only to realize that he's actually a burgeoning psychopath who's quite happy with the way he is, thanks, and by the way HAVE YOU SEEN MY BINDER OF WOMEN? No, seriously. He.... Well, that would be telling, wouldn't it?
Rather than the more usual route of the bad boy being softened by the good girl, Val starts to grow steadily more corrupt under his influence. She starts to develop some mental health disorders of her own, as a result of all the trauma he puts her through, a warped view of her own sexuality, and, ultimately, ends up far more cold and callous than the "nice" girl she initially was. I'm quite proud of this, and have taken great pains to portray him as unappealing as possible despite his attractive facade. While it was spurred on by books like Twilight and FSoG, it is really closer to Lolita or The Collector in tone because Gavin was never meant to be a real love interest, simply because, like the men in the two aforementioned books, he isn't capable of it.
When this was published online, I was often amused when people attempted to rationalize Gavin's sick and twisted behavior (sometimes the lengths to which they would go seemed rather, um, worrying. Men don't do things like this ((view spoiler)[e.g. murdering the friends of, sending threatening messages to, drawing graphic representations of (hide spoiler)]) to women they love). And saddened, because it just goes to show how thoroughly this "love trumps all" stereotype has permeated our culture.
It's definitely safe to say that the endless line of idealized abusive romances in YA and new adult romance prodded me into preparing this for publication. I'm a very contrary person, and my exact mindset at the time was something along the lines of, "They want abusive, border-line psychotic boyfriends? They'll get abusive, border-line psychotic boyfriends! IN SPADES!" Gavin is frightening--and the lengths he goes to possess the female character in this book and the others in the series are, well, horrifying.
Because the Horrorscape series is horror and while there are undertones of romance, the behavior of the characters contained within are far too dysfunctional and superficial to be considered love. And Lovescape doesn't really have the same sort of ring to it, does it?
This isn't a romance novel at all. It's a handy-dandy guide on what not to do as a w...moreI've figured it out, you guys.
No, seriously, I've figured it out.
This isn't a romance novel at all. It's a handy-dandy guide on what not to do as a writer, but disguised as a novel to underscore the point all the more effectively.
Ana, see, she's the epitome of Mary Sue - don't write your character like Ana!
Christian, he's the epitome of Marty Stu - don't write your character like Christian!
All that icky sex, like the tampon scene, the spatula scene, the soapy washcloth in the wahoo scene - all big no-nos! See how important it is to do your research? How else would you know that yes, you can get sex on your period, and that sticking soap up your cooch can give you a urinary tract infection?
I finally get what EL James meant, when she said she had "set the bar quite high in terms of storytelling." This is probably the most ingenious allegory I've seen since Animal Farm.
Everyone and their mother seems to love this book. I know everyone says that, but in this...moreYou can read more reviews at my blog, The Armchair Librarian.
Everyone and their mother seems to love this book. I know everyone says that, but in this case it's true. Thousands of ratings, and only 12 of them gave Sea of Tranquility one star. I'll be honest: that's intimidating. But because I've always prided myself on honesty, I am giving this book one star. I'll also admit I couldn't finish this book. Gladly.
Nastya is . . . well, nasty. She's a total bitch, and one of the most repulsive protagonists I've read in a while. I get that she's depressed and has a traumatic past and all (even though I couldn't finish, I did read the spoilers just to get some perspective), but come on.
You can have a horrible character and still make them interesting. It's hard, but possible. I just read The S-Word and that MC was a total witch. But she was interesting, and the plot was engaging, and I wanted to know what she was going to do next, how she'd change.
I had no such investment in Nastya. For starters, she's incredibly self-destructive and she brags about it. It's hard to feel sympathy for someone who is so quick to debase themselves. Gosh, I sure do love throwing up! Man, is it ever so cathartic.
Golly gee, dressing like a slut is a total hoot! I love pissing girls off by having their boyfriends ogle me, and LOL this way no decent guy is gonna approach me and I won't have to get hurt. Oh and bee-tee-dubs, I'm wearing cute undies, so oops! accidentally-on-purpose crotch-shot!
Look at those self-congratulatory sluts. Wearing pink like they think they're teen hooker Barbie. I'm not like that. I'm funeral parlor Barbie. That makes me so much better than them. Because pink is for skanks.
Apparently this started out as independently published, and was duly purchased by Atria once they got wind of its success. I could kind of tell, and kind of not. It's good for indie, but goes on and on about nothing. It reads, in other words, like the Myspace journal of a particularly embittered teen desperate for attention.
Plus, the execution begs many questions such as:
WHY are they letting this girl into a shop class with high heels?
WHY does her aunt give her free rein despite the fact that she desperately needs help?
WHY has she not had any therapy?
WHERE are this girl's parents? And WHAT the hell are they doing that's so much more important than taking care of their mentally ill daughter?
WHAT is the point of the male- and female-hating? Making all girls out to be sluts and all boys out to be pimps/johns is just disgusting to everyone.
WHY do all the POV switches sound exactly like the same person?
And so on.
I honestly don't see why this book is so popular. She's like a female Travis Maddox.
Oh, book. How do you piss me off? Let me count the ways.
1. You try to masquerade as a strong female fantasy nove...moreFeminist fiction you say?
Oh, book. How do you piss me off? Let me count the ways.
1. You try to masquerade as a strong female fantasy novel when your MC is a total bitch who spends all her time debating over whether or not to give her husband permission when he ravishes her or not (because it's not rape if you're married, folks!).
2. The MC's first husband sleeps around, but she's totally OK with that - until he starts giving her younger sister The Eye. Oh, but god help the MC if she ever decides to cheat. When she even looks at a guy wrong her husband comes close to beating and then raping her.
3. Borderline pedophilia. Because if she's got her monthlies, you can give it to her daily, apparently.
4. Merlin is a pimp in this novel. No, seriously. He is. "Cheat on your husband - he's going to be dead anyway soon and this guy is a total stud. Plus, who's the whore and who's the wizard here? Exactly. NOW SLEEP WITH HIM YOU SLUT. AND BEAR THE SON I NEED FOR MY PROPHECY!"
5. He's not a rapist. He just didn't know how to deal with the young beautiful girl he was saddled with as a wife. As soon as she stopped fighting him and calling it "rape" he was a perfectly nice man. No, that's not Stockholm Syndrome at all. It's marriage.
It's not even particularly well-written, either. I found it very heavy-handed and full of purple prose. The words were so tangled up in their own sense of self-importance that I found myself forgetting the plot so many times that I eventually just stopped caring.
Plus, all the rape and girly things and rampant sexism really grated my cheese, if you know what I mean. I just can't read a book that makes me want to do this:
. . . Reading this book actually made me angry. I had to stop, because I found it so horrendous, so utterly offensive, that I was unable to continue...more
. . . Reading this book actually made me angry. I had to stop, because I found it so horrendous, so utterly offensive, that I was unable to continue. Not because of the subject matter, because sex is something that should be discussed with teenagers, but because of the execution. The women-hating, putting men on pedestals, rationalizing abuse, slut-shaming, biblical prizing of virginity, and the discrimination . . . all of this was nauseating. It was a pandora's box of anti-feminist sentiments -
AND I OPENED IT! OH GOD THE HORROR
I have a weakness for dystopian science-fiction novels. I always have, because they can provide wonderful social commentary by taking the reductio ad absurdum approach (i.e. taking a problem and then magnifying it to the point where even its proponents will have to admit it's ridiculous; e.g. "You want drug free? FINE. WE'LL BE A DRUG-FREE NATION. NO MORE COLD MEDICINE. NO MORE VIAGRA. NO MORE CHEMO. TO THE MEDIEVAL DARK AGES WE GO!"). The advent of The Hunger Games hype/movie is a double-edged blade because (1) the books are awesome, (2) it has inspired some similarly awesome authors to publish some similarly awesome books, BUT (3) it has also inspired some not-so-awesome writers to publish tepid romance and then market it under the guise of being dystopian YA.
Originally, I was super-exited for XIV to come out. The concept is good - I will admit that freely. XIV takes place in a hyper-sexed near future, where the legal age for "consensual" sex is sixteen. There's also a caste system (called "tiers") that isn't really explained very well, but has to do with socioeconomic status, the places you're allowed to shop, what your parents do for a living, etc. Women are pretty much objects for the sexual gratification of men. Upwards mobility can be attained by marriage, and that's pretty much the only option for these girls. Apart from working for the government. Or being homeless. Or sex slaves. Oh, the agony of choice. On the surface, it is reminiscent of The Handmaid's Tale, except Atwood handles the subject with a bit more grace, and with a more likable protagonist. Because Nina, unfortunately, is anything but likable.
"Maybe I was too sensitive to things. Most girls my age worried about unimportant stuff - what to wear, hanging out with the right tier, using the right slang, and guys. They didn't think turning sixteen was something to worry about - not the way I did" (96)
Such a visionary, right?
Nina, our main character, is a repulsive, judgmental, whiny, idiotic rhymes-with-witch. I spent most of the book hoping that somebody would slap her. Heck, I was ready to slap her. Nina is fifteen, almost sixteen, and is absolutely dreading coming of age. She agonizes about how she's the only one who doesn't want to be objectified by men, and is scared at the prospect of sex . . . at least, until her love interest, Sal, comes on the scene. Then she's like, "Oh, I only want to be objectified by one man, but oh, he would never have me because I AM NOT WORTHY. *my creys*"
"I wasn't going to have a boyfriend if I persisted in being anti-sex-teen...I spent the next period in the bathroom, breathing in the smell of disinfectant and urine and feeling like it was all that I deserved" (173)
She deserves to smell pee because she feels pressured to have sex with her crush.
"Are you her boyfriend?" Dee said.
"Maybe." Sal grinned at her. "Does she need one?"
"All girls do," Dee said. "Especially when they're practically sixteen" (136)
Naturally, Nina reacts to this with a sweet innocent blush INSTEAD OF RUNNING THE FUCK AWAY OMG IT'S A TRAP IT'S A TRAP.
Virginity plays a key role in this book as well. In this sense, Karr does a pretty good job capturing the dichotomy of society's mixed standards. Women are supposed to be innocent and chaste, but they're also supposed to be absolutely awesome at sex the first time they ever try it (*COUGH* 50 Shades of Grey *COUGH*) because God forbid you come across as a *cue that horror movie scream* . . . PRUDE. Girls are not allowed to have sex until they get their XIV tattoo on their wrists to show that they're ready to be ravished. And they are. Ravished, that is. Whether they want to be or not.
"We're all supposed to be so excited about sex and willing to do whatever with practically any guy who asks" (23).
. . . we are?
"Men were known to use their illegitimate daughters as Cinderella girls, servants - and other things - for their legit families" (67).
Nearly all the men in this book are sex fiends, rapists, perverts, pedophiles, abusers, testosterone-laden jocks/thugs (called 'letes), and just basically horrible monsters and you're lucky if they even bother to glance at your wrists before knocking you to the ground. The only men who aren't bad are (of course) Nina's real dad and her love interest. Everyone else? Antichrist.
"When [my mother] refused to answer [him], [my step-dad] made her get out his box of [porn] vids. "You need a refresher course, babe," he'd said. Then he ordered me to take Dee next door to Sandy's. He never wanted his daughter to see what a horrible person her father was. Me, on the other hand, he didn't care about at all.
There is also a lot of slut-shaming, as I pointed out before. Slut-shaming is basically saying that any sexual abuse or unequal treatment is a result of the woman "asking for it" in some way . . . usually by dressing provocatively, putting herself in dangerous situations, or giving mixed signals that so confuse the poor male's libido that he is turned into a raging sex monster left with no choice but to rape her.
"I was under the impression that the candidates had to be virgins."
"I'm a virgin." Sandy looked the teeniest bit hurt at the implication.
"I know you are, dear." Gran gave her a hug. "It's just that dressing like that gives boys the impression that you don't want to be" (15)
"Look at your friend Sandy - see what sixteen propaganda has done to her? Why, two years ago she was as sweet and innocent as they come. Now she's on the verge of becoming a wild sex-teen" (109)
In other words, if you have premarital sex you are still a tramp, even if society is saying it's OK. What is going on here? I'm confused, and I can't imagine how those poor girls feel. And you know what? The sheer stupid factor of this book's characters made me not really care. I mean, there's this one scene where her abusive step-dad is threatening to kidnap Nina's eleven-year-old sister and take her away to make her into a Cinderella girl/sex slave, and she's like, "I don't wanna tell my grandparents - they might worry." THEY SHOULD FUCKING WORRY. YOU SAID YOURSELF THAT HE'S A PERVERTED MAN AND YOU'RE SCARED TO DEATH OF HIM. CALL THE GODDAMN COPS YOU DUMB BITCH.
That was pretty much the last straw for me. I mean, it was that or chuck the book out the window, and since this happens to be a library book I'd rather not pay the damage fees. So I stopped reading. Literally all of her decisions are like that. Selfish, or stupidly, moronically selfless. She has no personality and beyond Sal and whining about how boys like her too much, and how all her female compadres are whores, she has zero interests. In fact, she's a lot like a more judgmental Bella Swan.
And I really shouldn't have looked at the author's profile before composing this review because her first blog post says something about volunteering at an animal shelter. Great, now I feel guilty. Well. Not as guilty as I'd feel if she were working at a battered women's shelter - but STILL. God, I really hate it when authors who write bad books have GoodReads accounts, because then I'm afraid they'll read my review and get hurt feelings. Well, Ms. Karr, if you're reading this, all I have to say to you is this, "I'm sorry I didn't like your book. It wasn't for me. All the best to you, and your future endeavors."
I can't say my feelings are the same for this POS, though. RRRRAAAAAAAAAGH. [image error]
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.
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.
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!
HOLY SHI- WHAT IS THIS I DON'T EVEN . . . I THINK I'M GOING TO THROW UP.
I can't . . . I just . . . can't.
Don't make me review this. Noooooooooooooo.
....moreHOLY SHI- WHAT IS THIS I DON'T EVEN . . . I THINK I'M GOING TO THROW UP.
I can't . . . I just . . . can't.
Don't make me review this. Noooooooooooooo.
. . . OK. I . . .
I think I'll be all right now. *vomits*
American Psycho is about a psychopath. Obviously. He's Ivy League-educated, with a really good job, and an expensive apartment in the Upper West Side. Women love him, men want to be him. He spends the vast majority of his day trying to be really really ridiculously good-looking in the style of Derek Zoolander, or hanging out with his friends, all of whom have about as much depth as a mirror. But by night, he goes around torturing and killing men, women, children, and animals. And since this is written in first-person, there is no escape from this horrible narrative, no handy-dandy ellipses to trail off as the scene transitions to another character.
Just in case that wasn't enough, though, he's also a snob, a racist, a bigot, and a misogynist. You know, in addition to being a serial killer. Because the polite 'good old boy'-type killers who love their moms are hypocrites. Treat everyone like they're next on your list! The real irony is that Patrick Bateman (the psychopath) hangs out with such a shallow, jaded bunch of people that they figure he's just joking, or attempting to be shocking, when he drops sinister hints about what he does in his free time. Anyone else would raise an eyebrow, or at least maybe phone in a call to the police. But Pat's friends? Yeah, they just laugh - at least, until they start screaming. Everyone in this book is unlikable. Pat's just the only one who's an actual psychotic.
I'm not giving a summary because I'd actually rather forget what I just read. In fact, I'll be taking the next Nope Train to Fuckthatville because the sooner this book is forgotten, the better. In fact, I'm not even entirely sure why this is on the 1001-books list. It's like someone threw Clockwork Orange, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hannibal Lecter, and 1984 into a blender and had Chuck Palahniuk write it. WHY ARE THERE BARELY ANY HAPPY BOOKS ON THAT LIST? Yeah, it's important to be able to recognize the harm cruelty and violence and oppression can do - but I still think the 1001-list would be far more valid if it was filled with books about the triumph of the human spirit. You know, racial and sexual equality (or the struggle thereof), love, the pursuit of happiness, scientific and artistic creativity. It's kind of depressing, really.
And I'm so freaking tired of people saying, "No, you just don't get what they're trying to say here. The writer is trying to symbolize ________ and ________, through gratuitous but artistic ritualistic violence."
Because if that's what it takes to understand, I'd rather remain in the dark, thank you very much, Mr./Mrs./Ms. Pretentious. Quite honestly, I don't think Bret Easton Ellis is a very good writer, and the only reason this book is even on the list at all is because he decided to dance all over the lines of what constitutes morally acceptable in literature. (Which is kind of like giving a kid a place in a modern art museum for writing some really lewd and bigoted graffiti on a building.)
So . . . yeah. If you are easily offended, very religious, squeamish by violence, and do not want to see a rat eat its way through someone's vagina, do not read this book.
And because I made you go through all that, here's a cute baby penguin.
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.
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. ♥
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.
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?
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!
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.
Mean Girls+ She's All That+ Toddlers in Tiaras = Revenge of the Girl with the Great Perso...moreYou can read more reviews on my blog, The Armchair Librarian.
Mean Girls + She's All That + Toddlers in Tiaras = Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality!
Lexi is that girl. The one who all the guys want to be "friends" with but none of whom want to date. The one, in other words, with "the great personality."
Her younger sister, Mackenzie, is a seven-year-old pageant princess, and the apple of her mother's eye. Lexi's needs are constantly put on hold for the sake of her sister's. She has to work her own job in order to eat healthy and buy new clothes.
Luckily, Lexi isn't totally alienated. She's got Cam, a brilliant and beautiful girl who sacrificed the social scene when she realized how fake it was, and Benny, who definitely is not too gay to function. The three of them are totally adorable together, and I wanted to bake them all cookies.
They love Lexi and provide her with the support group she can't get from her family. But it bothers them that nobody seems to realize that Lexi really is a genuinely wonderful person. Benny makes her a deal: he'll suck up the courage to ask out his crush, Chris, if she gets a makeover every day for a week. So Lexi goes to her sister's makeup artist, Miss Lauren, for some tips...
And things will never be the same.
So why is this book the most awesome thing since sliced bread?
❀ Lexi really does have a great personality. You know how, after getting makeovers and accepted into the popular club (like Mean Girls), the girl totally becomes a bitch? Lexi doesn't. In fact, the overload of attention to her looks makes her uncomfortable and awkward, though she pretty much stays the same person as ever, and never once dumps her old friends. Isn't that awesome?
❀ She ends single. That's right, folks. It's a young-adult romance with a protagonist who willingly decides to be single until she can get her own life and confusions sorted out. I KNOW RIGHT? That seriously never happens.
❀ I loved how dressing up pretty gave her confidence to stand up for herself, and to her mother and younger sister, and that once she got accustomed to her looks and realized that not everybody was going to hate on her for dressing normal, she was able to find a happy medium.
❀ THE FEELS. I had so many feels throughout this book. It was a rollercoaster ride of giggling, clutching at my heart, screaming at my eReader, crying, and cheering Lexi on.
❀ It has some genuinely insightful and wonderful quotes about staying true to yourself:
"I'd rather be ugly on the outside than on the inside. I can be painted up to look like one of your precious beauty queens, but you're always going to be an ungrateful brat" (29).
"What does it say about a guy if he asks you out now because of how you look? All it took is some makeup to be treated the way you should be treated? It's pathetic" (99).
"I can take off the makeup, but I'm still a good person...but there's no such thing as a bitch remover" (242).
"I'd rather be single and myself than try to fit into a mold of a person that I'm not for a guy" (269).
Wanna read this book? Of course you do. As you well should.
edit//08/10/13: OK. I AM WRITING THIS. WOOT WOOT. I have like fifteen different versions of this puppy on my computer so editing should be interesting...moreedit//08/10/13: OK. I AM WRITING THIS. WOOT WOOT. I have like fifteen different versions of this puppy on my computer so editing should be interesting.......
edit//12/08/12: The AMAZING LOU made me another gorgey cover. Isn't it beautiful? It is so beautiful. I am not worthy!!!
After noticing that YA PNR and UF tends to follow the same template (*cough* Twilight *cough*), I kind of wanted to try my own hand at the genre. Which turned out to be a bad thing, as I ended up with this bloated behemoth of a book filled with ass-kicking, monsters, complicated magic, a made-up language based off Latin, Spanish, and WTFuckery, a magic-based cult that uses and abuses christian theology, and I don't know what.
Black Beast is the first in a series called The Shadow Thane, though he doesn't really show up until later (your pants will thank me, he's f**king scary). The main character is a girl named Catherine Pierce who lives in a typical nuclear family--except that her mother sometimes turns into a hawk, and her dad doubles as the family dog.
During adolescence, shape-shifters are supposed to "settle" into one form (kind of like the daemons from Phillip Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy) except that Catherine, for whatever reason, hasn't. The other shifter families are tight-knit so the Pierces have become somewhat alienated because of their daughter's abnormal development.
There are racial tensions between shape-shifters and witches, who are united only in their fear of Slayers, wariness of humans, and abject hatred of vampires. But the truce is a fine one, capable of being overturned at any moment. Which is exactly why Catherine is not exactly what one might call pleased when a manipulative, dangerous witch named Phineas Riordan barges into her life hurling wild accusations.
I'm pretty proud of this book. Catherine has a strong mind and isn't afraid to speak it. I really enjoyed researching the animals in this book and getting in their "minds" when Catherine transforms. As a child, Animorphs was one of my favorite series because of how realistic the animal scenes were. I want to recapture that same sort of "knowledge is power" vibe without sounding preachy or pedantic.