The third novel in The Luxe series fell a little short at the beginning. Transporting the main characters and then some to Florida didn't particularly...moreThe third novel in The Luxe series fell a little short at the beginning. Transporting the main characters and then some to Florida didn't particularly work, and the initial storyline could have worked just as easily back in New York. In saying that, though, it was good to see the characters in a different setting, but once again, it felt a little forced.
Once the Schoonmaker party et al returns back to the confines of the city, the story does pick up. Lina/Carolina does become much more sympathetic in this novel, and in turn, Penelope becomes much more hateful. I enjoyed seeing Carolina face the prospect of being in a much worse position than serving in the Holland household, and, in a way, I am looking forward to seeing her perhaps finally become happy. Also, while I was initially a fan of Penelope, I'm unsure whether I hate her or love-to-hate her. I did laugh at her tantrum at the end of the novel, and some of my liking for her returned.
As for the Holland sisters, my wavering apathy for Elizabeth continues. Her situation at the end of the novel was curious, but I am a fan of the person she ends up with. I also give kudos to Godbersen for a certain part of the novel, and for daring to go there. As for the younger Holland sister, I still like the way Diana continues to be the romantic, typical sixteen-year-old girl, and her romance with Henry still amuses me, but I wish it wasn't depicted in the true love style that I know Godbersen is aiming for.
Overall, I am looking forward to Splendor, despite losing a little bit of interest at the start of the novel. I've never believed Goderbsen to be a fantastic writer, and I think she knows she isn't as well, which is a breath of fresh air. (less)
I tried to like this book, I really did. When I started it, it felt a little rushed. Peg quickly fell head over heels for her roommate, Julie, but the...moreI tried to like this book, I really did. When I started it, it felt a little rushed. Peg quickly fell head over heels for her roommate, Julie, but the superficiality of their relationship reminded me just why I find it difficult to find a good novel in the GLBT genre.
The girls relationship quickly moves into the U-Haul kind. Peg says early on that she doesn't want to be chained to someone, but that's just what happens. The girls rarely seem to enjoy each others company, and they both end up cheating on one another with two male friends. There is little explanation why, and although it's mentioned again, repeatedly, they make little progression.
The characters in the novel are highly unsympathetic. Julie is the one I found myself detesting the most. She takes no responsibility for her actions, and although she claims to love Peg, she refers to her as an experiment and repeatedly hurts Peg (who continues to let herself get hurt). She makes outrageous demands and expects Peg to follow her at her every whim.
Despite being in their mid-thirties at the end of the book, they both still act like the younger selves having just started to live together. Issues are solved unrealistically quickly, and the lesser major characters act and react more like cardboard cutouts. Timing is a major problem in this book, and it progresses in a rushed manner, as though the author wasn't sure how to move from one idea to the next.
Overall, the book started well, and there were good passages, but it reads like the author didn't know where to go with her ideas and has little experience with long distance or unhealthy relationships.(less)
I really would have liked to have enjoyed this book.
For the majority, Lawrence's style was easy to read, particularly given the date it was written. T...moreI really would have liked to have enjoyed this book.
For the majority, Lawrence's style was easy to read, particularly given the date it was written. This is for the most part.
Mellors' dialogue was nearly impossible to read at points, and I struggled to make heads or tails of any of the monologues he went on, particularly when it came to the village he lived in. I had to agree with Connie's sister when she told him to stop speaking like that. Furthermore, Lawrence seemed to enjoy going on about England's economy at the time, and that was a bore to read through. The sensation was akin to nails down a chalkboard.
Furthermore, Connie didn't live up to the intelligence she supposedly had, and she fell rather quickly in love with Mellors (who was meant to be as intelligent as her, and if that was the case, did it quite well given his poor language usage).
The only reason I give this book 2/5 as opposed to the 1/5 I feel it deserves it because of the mostly simplistic language, which was one of the limited reasons I was able to go through it, and the twisted relationship between Clifford and Mrs Bolton. If it weren't for the scandal is caused in 1928, I highly doubt this book would have achieved an recognition at all.(less)
This is probably one of the few Francesca Lia Block books that I didn't have a mind-bending issue with after reading it for the first time. It still h...moreThis is probably one of the few Francesca Lia Block books that I didn't have a mind-bending issue with after reading it for the first time. It still has that distinctive Block touch about it, and it definitely has that majestic, mystical, faerie-magic tint all over it, but it flows in a chronological order and it's easy to follow.
These stories, like most of Block's short stories, flow into each other. They're all linked, except the finale, which I felt was the low point of the series. I liked wondering how the next story was going to link in with the rest, how it was going to relate. So when the final short story didn't fit in at all, I was let down.
Still, this is a beautiful book, and perhaps one of my top ranking FLB books.(less)
Well, the truth about Emma is that I don't like her very much. She's manipulative, a little naive, despite the fact she won't adm...moreThe truth about Emma?
Well, the truth about Emma is that I don't like her very much. She's manipulative, a little naive, despite the fact she won't admit it, and she's spoilt. I couldn't like her. I wanted to, I really did, but she came off as being presumptuous and acts as though she's more mature than she really is. And the worst thing is, the narrator knows this and it's pointed out to him on numerous occasions, but he stills lets himself get won over.
I was hoping this book would be set when all this was taking place, or perhaps even over a series of police interviews. Unfortunately, this was set three/fours years after all of it happened, and Emma has faded into obscurity and she's being interviewed for a magazine article. I think it could have, would have been so much better being done in the setting of how I thought it was going to play out.
Furthermore, the ending- the last two pages specifically- made me want to find Gary Crew and slap him and punch him and ask him just what was he on when he wrote it. What the hell was that? My god. Gag me with a spoon.
I'm not a big fan of YA Teen novels. I wish I was, and if I was, I think I would have enjoyed this a lot more. Really, I would rate this a 2/5, but I reviewed this as the target audience, and so I edged it up to a 3/5. If you're a fan of the YA niche, you'll probably find it a lot better to read than I did, jaded as I am.(less)
I'm really quite surprised I enjoyed this book so much. I didn't expect to- I'm not really one for high school/teen books. In many ways, I disliked Su...moreI'm really quite surprised I enjoyed this book so much. I didn't expect to- I'm not really one for high school/teen books. In many ways, I disliked Summers' way of writing, her narrative, her storytelling. I found Parker (along with her first name) to be rather dramatic and ridiculously self-centered. What happened was tragic, yes, but I hardly reckon it was any reason for her downward spiral.
What I did enjoy was Summers' eye for detail. Parker's obsessive clicking, her perfectionist tendencies. Even her destructive nature was obsessively perfect. I also enjoyed the way that not everything worked out well in the end for Parker. It's far more realistic than girl-meets-boy, boy-solves-girls-problems, they-fall-in-love. Parker is still depressed at the end, and she finally admits (in a way) that she needs help.
It's not a literary great, and it's very simplistic, but enjoyable enough. Give it a go if you have nothing better to do.(less)
I was stuck between rating this a two because I didn't enjoy 191 pages, or a four because I really, really enjoyed the last page. I feel it doesn't de...moreI was stuck between rating this a two because I didn't enjoy 191 pages, or a four because I really, really enjoyed the last page. I feel it doesn't deserve a three. A three suggests I enjoyed it for most of the way, but I didn't. This is a very American novel, which I'm not a fan of to begin with.
I disliked the main character. Holden was suffering from a bad case of teenage angst to the nth degree. He spoke a lot about people being 'phonies', while he was the biggest of the lot. He continued to find himself in bad situation after bad situation, with little thought to look back and see what actions had put him in that place to begin with. Sometimes you have to suck up the phonies and get on with it, because that's life. Everybody is a sham in some way. We all wear a mask, and in this book, Holden wore the biggest of them all.
One part that got me thinking was the scene between Holden and Mr Antolini. At first I thought Antolini was merely drunk and slipped. Then I started thinking about it. Why was he drunk? People who become alcoholics do it because they're trying to run from something. What was Antolini running from? It's mentioned that his wife is sixty-five years older than him. I find that hard to believe, but I'd believe she was definitely much older than him. Given what little we know about Antolini, I find it difficult to believe that he would marry someone so much older out of genuine attraction. Furthermore, why would a teacher keep in what seems to be good contact with a former student and offer for him to stay over at his house? I'm not suggesting Antolini held an attraction for Holden, but he probably didn't see anything wrong with letting a sixteen-year-old boy stay at his house for an indefinite period of time. Does this mean Antolini is homosexual or ephebophilic? I'm not sure. But I think that was Salinger's point.(less)
I'm honestly surprised I enjoyed this book so much. I suspected I would (I'm a bit of a sucker for faerie novels), but I enjoyed it a lot more than I...moreI'm honestly surprised I enjoyed this book so much. I suspected I would (I'm a bit of a sucker for faerie novels), but I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. I'm not going to lie; the cover is what dragged me in, and then the promise of 'faerie romance', but this book is a lot more than girl-meets-faerie-boy, girl-and-faerie-boy-fall-in-love.
Maybe it's the fact that Aislinn doesn't fall in love with Keenan. Maybe it's the fact that Keenan is really an arrogant jerk. Maybe it's the fact that Seth and Aislinn stay together at the end. Or maybe it's the different Courts, or the fact that faeries are pretty freaking ugly and scary. Or perhaps it's the fact that Donia looks like a corpse. Or maybe it's the fact that Marr writes about oral sex.
Actually, I'm pretty sure it's the fact that Marr writes about oral sex.
This book is advertised as being for 13+. While I was reading it, I picked up pretty early that although faeries as a whole typically is a genre for pre-teens, the subject matter in the books goes far beyond that. Aislinn and Seth are rough around the edges, and a lot of the book deals with piercings, tattoos, suggested drug use, and ultimately sex. While the first two aren't necessarily adult only, and teens (and quite commonly, unfortunately, pre-teens) know about the latter two, Marr's frank approach about them is ultimately for middle to late teens.
This is more of an adult approach to faerie tales. No, it's not an adult book, but it's definitely in that direction. A better rating would be 15 or 16+. And that's what makes it so enjoyable.(less)
First of all, this is a horrible representation of a BDSM relationship. This is supposedly based on real events, but I find it more lik...moreWhere to start.
First of all, this is a horrible representation of a BDSM relationship. This is supposedly based on real events, but I find it more likely that's just to get tongues wagging. Seeing as I'm highly interested in the BDSM community and am in a BDSM-based relationship myself, I can say that this is nothing like what a real- and healthy- relationship is like. There is no discussion of safewords, and even when Elodie says she doesn't want to follow through with what 'He' says, He makes her do it. He beats her. He humiliates her. He whips her so hard she passes out and leaves her tied to a balcony. When she says she wants to love Him, He beats her. Not once does He ask about her well being, not once does He truly show that He cares for her.
While I place the majority of the blame on Him (and I hate capitalising it, but that's how he (He)'s addressed in the book), Elodie, the narrator, is also partially to blame. She doesn't know Him. She lets herself get overwhelmed with Him. She says she loves Him, but it reads more like a sick, twisted case of Stockholm Syndrome. There is not discussion about what she wants, what she can do to get out of it, and what He wants from her besides a fuck toy. Because that's what she is- a fuck toy.
I felt sick while reading this. I told my partner that if he even treated me slightly the way that's represented in this book, I would take him to court. This isn't a relationship. This is abuse. BDSM is not an abusive relationship. BDSM is not rape. This is what leads me to believe that this author- Marthe Blau- knows nothing about real BDSM relationships, has no history of it, and sees it more as one person using another. BDSM is not that.
I've read a lot of books about this topic, and so far this has been the best of all of them. Ma-Ling Lee is frank about the industry she works in, and...moreI've read a lot of books about this topic, and so far this has been the best of all of them. Ma-Ling Lee is frank about the industry she works in, and she says upfront that people who get involved in it are typically messed up or have some issues. I can easily count on two hands how many people I know who are involved in some way (whether it be stripping, prostitution, topless waitressing, subs and doms and even sexual abuse therapists), and most of them are messed up or know people who are messed up. From drug addictions, abusive relationships, mental health problems or poor self body image- and sometimes all four.
Lee doesn't gloss over any of this. While what she talks about may be considered quite dubious- is all of it true?- it is a very realistic look into the hard life of those in the industry. She doesn't make it seem better than it is. A highly educational read.(less)
**spoiler alert** I was unimpressed with the first half of the novel. One thing I find difficult to read about sci-fi novels (and Marianne de Pierres...more**spoiler alert** I was unimpressed with the first half of the novel. One thing I find difficult to read about sci-fi novels (and Marianne de Pierres novels in particular) is the tech-language and how things suddenly jump from Part A to Part B. The first novel was a rush and given it's been some time since I read the first two books, I was somewhat lost to begin with. Also, several characters have similar names- Bras, Ban, Bau.
However, I did like Parrish's stay in the club/brothel, and the random sex scenes between her and Glorious. Who can say no to spontaneous lesbianism? What I like about de Pierres' novels is that everyone seems to be innately bisexual. Parrish has had a history with women, and it's even implied in the first two books (the first in particular) that she has been raped by a women. She equally is attracted to and hates men and women.
The second half of the book, once she meets up with Mal and Bras, is easier to read. I have a feeling the two halves were written at slightly different times. The ending, though, felt a bit rushed. I felt the same with about the first two books. The last five or so pictures felt very rushed. Parrish spent most of the book looking for Brilliance, found her/it, and that's that.
There were two things I liked in this book. Firstly, Parrish ended up with neither Teece nor Loyl. I found her attraction to Teece to be a romantic friendship. She could have a life with him, and it would be steady (or as steady as Parrish's life could be). Teece loved her, but knew she was unhealthy for him. As for Loyl, it was purely sexual, on both parts. Ultimately, neither man was good for her. Parrish knew that, Teece and Loyl knew that, and thankfully de Pierres knew that. Secondly, I liked the way Parrish's issue with the parasite was never nicely fixed. It was taking over her, and at the end of the novel, Parrish knew it, and although she didn't accept her fate, she knew it wasn't going to be fixed. It was her destiny.
The first half of the book I'd rate 2/5, the second half 3.5/5. (less)
**spoiler alert** Of all the books about homosexuality/lesbianism, this has to be the most realistic. Despite being written over fifty years ago, it i...more**spoiler alert** Of all the books about homosexuality/lesbianism, this has to be the most realistic. Despite being written over fifty years ago, it is so much more true to life than books written in the 21st century. Beth can easily be seen as a true person- she only likes her husband as a friend, she hates her children, she is lost within her sexuality. There were certain aspects that I found difficult to swallow, such as Vega holding Beth at gunpoint all night, but beyond that, I really enjoyed it.
I felt Bannon lost her touch when Laura and Beth rekindled. I like that Beth's memory of her was tainted, and that Laura wanted nothing to do with her. I enjoyed that Beth and Laura's romance didn't continue on- with the whole realistic version of the book. Not all romances can be reignited after ten years have past. I'm not sure if I liked Beth moving onto Beebo, but in saying that, their relationship moved a lot slower than I find most lesbian novel relationships do. They took time to know one another, and have a friendship before hopping into the sack.
On that note, I found it strange that Beth would suddenly start drinking and then lose six days in a drunken haze. That felt out of character for me.
My interest in striptease in the 1930s and my bigger interest in Gypsy Rose Lee is what made me pick up this book. I have a fascination with burlesque...moreMy interest in striptease in the 1930s and my bigger interest in Gypsy Rose Lee is what made me pick up this book. I have a fascination with burlesque and the art of striptease during the Depression, and so I was happy to find a relatively cheap book (I picked this up in a second-hand book store) that was full of it.
Shteir doesn't disappoint. With over 80 pages of footnotes alone, she goes from the late nineteenth century right until The Pussycat Dolls of today. Her focus is primarily during the Golden Age of stripping- the late 1920s to the early 1940s. She also devotes an entire chapter to my favourite striptease artist, Gypsy Rose Lee. She presents the women involved in a favourable light; women who enjoyed their work, were good at it, and were able to make money off it until they retired (which some never did). She also focuses a little to striptease in the 1950s, with an emphasis on the adorable Candy Barr. Throughout the text, Shteir also continuously refers to Gypsy Rose Lee, Ann Corio, Sally Rand, Tempest Storm and Lili St. Cyr.
One thing I found very interesting was that the turn of the century, ballet was what introduced the art of stripping. When Francisque Hutin appeared on stage wearing tights and a loose skirt, she caused a scandal. This in itself isn't worth writing home about, but I found it interesting how Shteir stated this is what caused everything to evolve from.
I gave this book a three out of five due to the amount of information within. However, in terms of interest it sustained for me, I'd give it more of a two out of five. It was difficult to sustain interest. I would have liked more of a history to the leading ladies Shteir presents, and their life before stripping. She occasionally refers to their life pre-stripping, but never fully establishes their personalities beyond their working life. Shteir also briefly discusses burlesque and neoburlesque, but never fully develops her ideas. I found it surprising she never referred to Dita Von Teese.
Despite this, it's a very informative book, and worth a read if you have an interest in stripping and striptease.(less)
I've read more than my fair share of novels on Marie Antoinette, and so far this one has to be my favourite. Not only is this book quite descriptive a...moreI've read more than my fair share of novels on Marie Antoinette, and so far this one has to be my favourite. Not only is this book quite descriptive and provides quite a bit of anecdotes about her life. I enjoyed the way the chapters were titled after conversations between people or pamphlets. The photographic pages enclosed within the book were also appreciated.
Although I'm not a fan of the movie that was based off this book (though I do adore the costuming), I can definitely see how Sofia Coppola based it off Antonia Fraser. Certain scenes were lifted directly from the pages, and so I appreciated being able to see the history from these pages played out on the screen. If I were to go back and watch the movie, I think I may have a further appreciation for Coppola's work.
This book is a very easy read, and I found myself completing it in just a handful of days. Although I do think that the epilogue could have been cut by a third, this is a minor complaint in an otherwise very good novel. Fraser definitely made Marie Antoinette a much more human character than other novelists have done in the past. What needs to be remembered is that Marie Antoinette was just a young girl when she was made Dauphine, and still had her girlish characteristics and was untrained to become queen at such a young age. She was ultimately caught between a rock and a hard place, and Fraser made this realisation clear. I learnt a lot from this novel that I didn't know, and put a new spin on what I did know. Very enjoyable.(less)
There's nothing inherently bad about this book, except for the fact that it is. Most of it, especially the first few stories of ser...moreSo, where to start?
There's nothing inherently bad about this book, except for the fact that it is. Most of it, especially the first few stories of serial killers, feel as though they were written by high schoolers for their final essay. The chapters are riddled with grammar, punctuation and occasionally even spelling errors, which makes me wonder just what sort of editing process it was put through. Some of the chapters are also just based on myths, which makes me wonder what the point was.
The quality of the chapters improved slightly, but only just. Certain chapters were interesting and insightful, but a lot of it appears to be what the authors could find off the internet. Furthermore, the killers are localised to the UK and US only- not a very international perspective.
This is another book in the Killers Series, with a book I previously read, Serial Killers , part of the series. It's very easy to say that this book i...moreThis is another book in the Killers Series, with a book I previously read, Serial Killers , part of the series. It's very easy to say that this book is of higher quality. The way it is written is much clearer and of a higher written level, and there aren't any 'mythical stories' that Serial Killers had. That's not to say that this book is particularly groundbreaking or even very good. There are still numerous spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors that makes one wonder if this book was even edited. Furthermore, the author (who I'll mention later) is clearly anti-pornography and concludes the book with a quote from the Bible. The author does state that it is difficult to remain unbiased when writing about murders and murderers, but I feel that this leaning was unnecessary.
The history of the book is difficult to decipher. This Goodreads listing doesn't have a book cover that I can refer to, and the author of the book I have claims to be written by one Chloe Castleden, who I can find no information on. This Goodreads listing states it is by one Fraser MacDonald. The only similarities is the title (Sweetheart Killers) and the ISBN. The first book I read stated that it was primarily a collection of essays compiled into a book, but this one made no such comment.