This book is really only a quarter of a novel. Half of it is what's on the cover, which ends abruptly and isn't long enough to have developed a plot,This book is really only a quarter of a novel. Half of it is what's on the cover, which ends abruptly and isn't long enough to have developed a plot, and the other half is an "excerpt" from another book. The continuation of Sea, sex and You is in volume two, which you have to purchase separately. What the hell?
Even in French, which is a second language for me and harder to pick apart stylistically, this story (the quarter of it that's in this book, at least) is cheesy and uninspired. I would have read the whole thing if it had actually been in this book, but I feel cheated and am certainly not going to bother with the rest of it now. ...more
Interpol agents Angelo and Roshan are being systematically hunted down by a drug smuggler recently escaped from prison. Roshan is gay, and Angelo is aInterpol agents Angelo and Roshan are being systematically hunted down by a drug smuggler recently escaped from prison. Roshan is gay, and Angelo is a womanizer who goes home with a different "nana" every night. Circumstances pull them together in a sexual way, and the teammates are forced to deal with the emotional implications while attempting to track down the man who's out to kill them.
This book has possibly the most ridiculous cover ever, but it's surprisingly readable. It is in French, which gives it a boost of credibility (isn't everything classier en français?); it would seem insufferably silly in English, at least to someone who isn't super into romance.
I can't say this was a mind-blowing or even realistic read, but the plot is fast paced, and the sex is decidedly sexy. I appreciated Angelo's struggle with his sexuality, which caused a major crisis for him despite the fact that he believed he had no bias against gays. I think it's a strong statement on the general mindset about homosexuality in modern culture that both men considered (view spoiler)[Angelo being raped by another man (hide spoiler)] to be a fate worse than death. I did feel the author was being melodramatic about it, and that men trained as Interpol agents in real life would take it as an understood risk, but their reaction added another level to the story and elevated this book to a better-than-average read.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Sofia Claremont, a seventeen-year-old redhead with a crazy mother and absent father, is abducted by a vampire while taking a late-night walk on the beSofia Claremont, a seventeen-year-old redhead with a crazy mother and absent father, is abducted by a vampire while taking a late-night walk on the beach to angst about her unrequited crush. Made prisoner on an island where it is always night, Sofia becomes the slave of the Prince of vampires, Derek Novak, who awakens from an ensorcelled 500-year sleep to bring a golden age to his people.
I found this listed under Kindle bestsellers in France, so I bought it to catch up on the language, which I haven't studied for some time. It is written at about a seventh-grade level, which made it very readable, but I question French preteens if they think this is a great book. It is not as well-written as Twilight (which is really saying something), and it borrows heavily from that series as well as Anne Rice's vampires (Lestat's Night Island, anyone?). This book also assaults readers with a constant barrage of fist clenching, trembling, and, oddly, nervous swallowing. Truly, I've never seen so much nerve-induced spit movement. I hope it's not catching.
There is no real plot to speak of, and I found the characters unrealistic and the vampires particularly unvampiric. Though he's over 500 years old, Derek has a modern conception of gender roles and seeks period-inappropriate equality for his subjects, not to mention the fact that his language is not in any way antiquated. Because Shakespeare would sound exactly like us, apparently, if he were to wake up Rip Van Winkle-style in 2016. Although Derek craves blood, he doesn't have to drink it if he just exerts enough willpower; the same is true for Sofia's mental/emotional/information processing issues. And despite being hundreds of years old, the vampires act like spoiled teenagers. At least they don't sparkle, though, right?
I did finish this book, but only because I was enjoying the French; I would not recommend this series to anyone above the age of 12, and only particularly silly ones under that age....more
I was given an advance reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. In all truth, it wasn't to my taste. The cover makes it look like aI was given an advance reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. In all truth, it wasn't to my taste. The cover makes it look like a trashy romance, which intrigued me because there was a dragon involved, and how could this go wrong? These are two of my favorite things in life!
But the book itself is short on sexiness and long on starving refugees and strange religious restrictions. Our protagonist, Terebin, practices a religion that, like Jainism, prohibits the killing of living things, including insects and plants. I'm fine with quirky religious issues, but Terebin obsesses over them to the point that it became distracting to me, and it made him seem squeamish and twitchy instead of appealing. Though the sex scenes are fairly good, Iskan really carried them for me because I just couldn't think of Terebin in a sexual way.
There is also a lot of intriguing backstory here involving sorcerers and war (not to mention how the world is now inhabited by giant, bloodthirsty beasts!) but the author barely lets us in on it. I feel like there's a lot of good stuff here that just isn't explored, and I think I would have liked this book if it had been. I'm always complaining about info dumps, but I really could have used one here; the details are just too scant for me to envision this world or feel personal involvement in it....more
A lot of reviewers are criticizing this book for not being as good as Cline's first novel, the compulsively readable Ready Player One, and though I doA lot of reviewers are criticizing this book for not being as good as Cline's first novel, the compulsively readable Ready Player One, and though I don't like to judge a book based on an author's other work, the comparison is unavoidable in this case. Cline uses the same writing style, and his narrator sounds so similar to RPO's Parzival that I felt at times that I was reading the same book. Pop culture elements are also referenced in the same way, with the same formula being used of bringing disparate individuals together to form a team in order to save the world (this time, literally). But whereas RPO blended these elements into something wholly original, this book reads like your typical Hollywood blockbuster reverse engineered into a novel.
Like your average top-grossing summer sci-fi flick (think Armageddon or Independence Day), this book is large on action and CGI effects but lacking heart. The characters are forgettable, and the plot recycles so many common sci-fi elements that it comes across as vastly unoriginal. I did have a fun time reading Armada since it reminded me of my mid-2000s fangirl days ("LEEEEROOOOYYY JENKINS!!!), but it's nothing I haven't read before....more
A young man known only as "Kid" takes a trip to the city of Bellona, where inexplicable fires fill the sky with smoke, two moons hang in the sky, andA young man known only as "Kid" takes a trip to the city of Bellona, where inexplicable fires fill the sky with smoke, two moons hang in the sky, and time runs sideways. There, he meets a cast of characters representing both Greek mythology and stereotypical modern personalities. Written in the 1970s, we see a lot of "unapproachable" topics of the time touched on: gender, sexuality, race, religion, and mental illness are just a few.
Dhalgren is really a love-it-or-hate-it sort of book, and a notoriously difficult one to review. The narrative is nonlinear (perhaps even cyclical), which only becomes apparent toward the end, and given Kid's mental state, readers are left to wonder whether any of it happened at all. This is not an easy book to read, and there were multiple occasions when I wanted to throw it across the room. It is a fascinating read, though, truly one of a kind, and now that I've finished it, I'm glad I stuck with Kid and all his one-shoed misadventures. Think Kerouac's On the Road mixed with Slaughterhouse 5 on an acid trip, and you might come close to the experience.
Despite the truly progressive (perhaps revolutionary?) depictions of sex and sexual desire, the way this book deals with race is uncomfortably backwards, which is the reason I can’t give it five stars. Kid refers to black characters as "negros/negresses" and "spades," and constantly points out race as an identifying factor, as though society's defined categories are inescapable. Why set the characters free sexually but constrain them racially, to the point where (view spoiler)[ the moon and sun (hide spoiler)] are representations of the quintessential "buck" negro and "innocent" white girl? Perhaps this is all the 1970s had to offer, but this focus hindered my enjoyment of the novel.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This book makes a lot of poor choices that turn an epic tale of an undead scholar from ancient Babylon into an eye-roll-worthy yawnfest. Taking a cueThis book makes a lot of poor choices that turn an epic tale of an undead scholar from ancient Babylon into an eye-roll-worthy yawnfest. Taking a cue from Interview with a Vampire (which I adore), this book is a story within a story, where a paranormal creature relates the story of its life to another person, who is tasked with telling the world. The problem with this iteration is that the man who receives the tale is a boring and unrelatable old professor. He meets the ghostly Servant of the Bones, Azriel, while deathly ill after having inadvertently stranded himself at his snowy mountain retreat while finishing his latest history book. He is prone to fits of overindulgent description, and he goes on constantly about how attractive Azriel is despite the fact that HE IS NOT GAY NO SIR. Yeah, tell it to the judge, mister.
I found the tale of Azriel’s relationship with his patron Babylonian god, Marduk, fairly compelling, and I would have liked to have heard more. Instead, we hear about the Jews who are exiled to Babylon, and they’re frankly all asshats. If I had been Azriel, I would have left my Jewish family, who clearly don’t love me if they’re willing to (view spoiler)[ offer me as a human sacrifice (hide spoiler)] in return for getting into Cyrus’s good graces. If anyone tells you (view spoiler)[ getting coated in poison-laced gold and being pitched into a boiling cauldron (hide spoiler)] is love, run—do not walk!—the opposite direction.
The story happening in the present time (mid-1990’s) involving the Temple of the Mind is uninventive. Paranormal murder mystery? Been there, done that. And though I accept the possibility that the ideas were fresh when this book was published, (view spoiler)[ man-made epidemics (hide spoiler)] and religious cults are really played out. Given Azriel’s ability to change his appearance that he demonstrates at the beginning of the book, it was easy to figure out how the book was going to end. His subsequent, Interview-with-a-Vampire-esque Louis-and-Armand-style (view spoiler)[ destinationless wanderings (hide spoiler)] were a letdown.
Though billed as a "modern masterpiece of romantic suspense," this novel bored me throughout the first half. The narrator, a meek young lady who marriThough billed as a "modern masterpiece of romantic suspense," this novel bored me throughout the first half. The narrator, a meek young lady who marries an older, rich widower, feels overshadowed by her husband's first wife, the charismatic Rebecca, who died in a freak boating accident. The new wife spends most of her time hiding from the staff of her new homestead, Manderley, and fantasizing about being old. "Masterpiece" and "suspense" were not quite the words that came to mind while reading it.
And then the first half ended. Chock full of action, uncovered secrets, blackmail, and murder, the second half more than made up for the preceding dullness. I have to wonder why the author drew out the opening of the book for so long, boring us with exposition, because if she had condensed the first 200 pages into 100, it would definitely have been a five-star read....more
The multi-billionaire creator of the virtual reality universe OASIS, James Halliday, has died, and in his will, he has bequeathed his entire fortune tThe multi-billionaire creator of the virtual reality universe OASIS, James Halliday, has died, and in his will, he has bequeathed his entire fortune to whoever can uncover the easter egg he planted in the system. Enter Parzival, awkward teenager and long-time gunter (slang for "egg hunter"), who searches for the egg to escape his life of abject poverty. Along the way, he teams up with some new friends who, hidden behind the faces of VR avatars, may not be quite as they appear. Throw in the Sixers, employees of the corrupt IOI Corporation who want to take over the OASIS for corporate gain, and you've got a novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat in anticipation. And did I mention the whole thing is packed with amazingly nerdy 1980s pop culture references?
Covering topics like religion, sexuality, global warming, the food crisis, and the ever-increasing isolation created by our modern world, this book is highly relevant to today’s issues while offering homage to the era that set current events in motion. With a cast of highly likable (and thoroughly geeky) characters and plenty of plot twists, it is action packed, thoughtful, and worth every bit of acclaim it’s received....more
I enjoyed this book, but I wasn't able to fully suspend my disbelief because of a few little things that kept niggling at the back of my mind. First oI enjoyed this book, but I wasn't able to fully suspend my disbelief because of a few little things that kept niggling at the back of my mind. First of all, I didn't believe the medical possibility of a child being born with supernatural hearing on account of being exposed to loud noises in the womb. Maybe this is possible, but the author didn't convince me-- it just seems too fantastical.
Also, the idea that castrati lack all sexual desire and/or sexual ability is contradicted by historical and medical accounts. During the height of their popularity, castrati were well-known for their sexual appeal to both men and women. While they probably didn't have much of a sex drive from the lack of hormones, most of those who were not castrated at a particularly young age could and did have sex. I felt as though the author was intent upon depriving his character of sexuality in order to accentuate his sense of hearing and the pleasure he derived from it, but why? It seemed cheap to me.
So I have this problem with white cheddar Cheez-its. I take a handful and munch on them, and then I take another handful, and even though I know they'So I have this problem with white cheddar Cheez-its. I take a handful and munch on them, and then I take another handful, and even though I know they're garbage, before I know it, I've eaten the entire box. I'm pretty sure they're made with crack. This is the same way I feel about this book.
Men in November's woman-deprived dystopic world are so desperate to find "carriers," hermaphroditic men who are able to bear children, that they will literally kill to marry one. Being married grants a man better housing, more job opportunities, higher social status, the chance for sexual fulfillment, and, of course, a family. But do these men treat their carrier "wives" well once they get them, appreciating the gift they're acquired? Of course not! They lie to them and beat them and treat them like generally subhuman creatures. Almost as if the carriers were (*gasp*) women!
The writing is amateurish, the plot nonexistent, and the premise a rehashed Handmaid's Tale, but I found myself wanting to read more. I was disappointed when it ended, partially because there had clearly been no plan to the book and I felt robbed of an actual story, but mostly because I wanted more. Maybe it's just nostalgia for my younger days of reading questionable fanfiction until three in the morning, but I found the dysfunctional relationships, as icky as they made me feel inside, utterly engrossing. If this author figures out how novels work, I think she could really have something here....more
This book is Anne Rice at her best. She goes places you don't expect (and wouldn't think publishers would allow) with this moving and well-researchedThis book is Anne Rice at her best. She goes places you don't expect (and wouldn't think publishers would allow) with this moving and well-researched book. One of the marks of great historical fiction is that it makes me interested enough in its subject matter to to start looking into it on my own. I have never had the least bit of interest in opera, but I have been listening to recordings of Alessandro Moreschi, one the last castrati and the only one to have made solo recordings, all weekend. Give his stuff a listen, and you'll see why their voices caused such a stir-- they they sound like nothing else in existence.
This book had a steadily-advancing plot, though the novel covers about 10 years, so it is by no means a whirlwind tour. If you need nonstop capers and mayhem to keep you from getting bored, this is not the book for you. Cry to Heaven is also decidedly not for people who have closed minds about sexuality, which has likely led to the many accusations of it being "porn" on Goodreads. Yes, there is sex. No, this depiction is not unrealistic based on historical sources, though castrati likely would have had limited sex drives due to their lack of hormones. I found Tonio's struggle with his body and the sexual urges that went with it to be particularly poignant and surprisingly relevant.
While I couldn't internalize Tonio's nearly uncontrollable feelings for (view spoiler)[the English widow Christina (hide spoiler)], I loved his interactions with all of his other adopted "family" members as well as his feud with Carlo. I did not expect the ending, which was a nice surprise for me because so many stories of this type (view spoiler)[end in tragedy, whereas this one left me feeling hopeful and exhilirated (hide spoiler)]. I could not possibly give this book fewer than five stars.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Clever, blond, innocent narrator meets snarky, cursed, dark-haired love interest, and you can guess the rest-- no need to read it! I'm shocked that boClever, blond, innocent narrator meets snarky, cursed, dark-haired love interest, and you can guess the rest-- no need to read it! I'm shocked that books this silly can get published. Everything about it is cliche and sloppy and had me rolling my eyes at the author's lack of writing ability. This book is trying to be a mix of Luck in the Shadows and Magic's Pawn, which I suppose it accomplishes, though with less skill in narration. (Note: I didn't like either of those books, either.)
Lord of the White Hell's characters are one-dimensional, the dialogue is stilted, and the whole thing comes across as a mediocre fanfic. Never does it seem realistic; the adolescent melodrama is overwhelming. I was going to try finishing the book until, on about page 105, I read a description of a character's mermaid tattoo that bore the inscription "wet fuck," and it was just too much. I call shenanigans....more
This was a clever idea for a book, but it feels more like an idea than a book. The main character is fairly well fleshed out, but he isn't likable. InThis was a clever idea for a book, but it feels more like an idea than a book. The main character is fairly well fleshed out, but he isn't likable. In fact, no one in this book is. Everyone wants to forget the tough parts of life, or make someone else forget, instead of trying to actually solve their own problems. There are no heroes here. And even if there were, no one would be able to remember them, anyway. Everything and everyone in this book starts out, continues to be, and ends up crap. Or maybe it doesn't... but who can remember?...more