Try as I did, I couldn't make it through this entire book. I got halfway through the second to last story. They were so dull. I kept getting annoyed bTry as I did, I couldn't make it through this entire book. I got halfway through the second to last story. They were so dull. I kept getting annoyed by little things, like his penchant for describing things as Indian and his flat descriptions of all the women in the stories. Not a good read at all....more
Meet Saylor Oz. Yes, like the place where the wizard lives. And no, it does not help that Saylor, a sex therapist, is a rather small person. Of courseMeet Saylor Oz. Yes, like the place where the wizard lives. And no, it does not help that Saylor, a sex therapist, is a rather small person. Of course, people like to nickname her Munchkin.
She's really more of a poking-into-things kind of person, like Dorothy. When Saylor's oldest friend, Gwen Applebee, is found to have committed suicide, Saylor is sure that it was a setup and that Gwen was murdered. For what, she doesn't know. But Gwen would never be caught alive with a fanny pack on her waist --- and that's what she's been caught dead in. The police won't listen, so Saylor enlists her best friend and roommate, Benita "Binnie" Morales, to help solve the mystery.
Just as soon as Saylor starts digging around, Gwen's murderers grab her and give her an ultimatum: she has seven days to hand over Gwen's tablet. Saylor has no idea what the tablet is or how she's going to find it, but she and Benita are determined to figure it out and save their lives.
That's enough for any girl to handle, but Saylor also has normal things to do, like work (she's hosting a party to sell Do-Me-Good sex toys). There are all the guys she's meeting and dating. Eldridge Mace, a bad boy boxer, is a curious one, and then there's the famous Hollywood director whose biggest reason for wanting to date Saylor is that she's not gorgeous like all the other women he's gone out with.
As Saylor and Binnie unravel more pieces of Gwen's mystery, they learn the real reason she was murdered. It seems Gwen's latest hobby and passion was perfume. Not only did she collect it, she was also working on developing her own. The tablet Saylor is searching for may have something to do with an ancient formula for a perfume that's more like a love potion, thanks to a love goddess older than Aphrodite.
While the Manhattan sex therapist uses her own knowledge on people and relationships, she comes closer and closer to clues leading to Gwen's tablet, both useful ones and failures. She and Benita learn more about a friend they thought they knew well, and they are led to more friends and foes, all of whom could have a tie to this strange perfume.
This sexy, exciting race against time is a gripping, fun read that is hard to put down. Just when things get a bit too tough, we, along with Saylor, are treated to a little romantic reprieve. There is just enough going on to keep the story interesting, but it never gets close to being smutty or too heavy-handed.
Obviously comparable to Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum novels, APHRODISIAC (the first in a sure-to-be successful series) has a bit more substance and more going for it. It is certainly more diverse, with characters of different ethnic backgrounds and sexual orientation. The Brooklyn setting lends itself to an array of different moods and supporting characters. Saylor's and Benita's lives are refreshingly like the lives of a lot of people --- there's some fun and glitz when you can manage it, like attending the launch party of a brand-new designer fragrance, but there's also the pressure of keeping track of friends and family, performing well at your job and paying rent. That depth makes the book a great read.
The plot was fun and just believable enough while being fresh. I've certainly never read another crime novel about perfume, and I'm excited to see what comes next for Saylor....more
I appreciated this book as a writer, but I can't imagine how a non-writer would look at it. Though I appreciated how it was written, I found that I diI appreciated this book as a writer, but I can't imagine how a non-writer would look at it. Though I appreciated how it was written, I found that I didn't like many of the stories as stories. I'm still interested in reading his novel, but I found that many of these stories were too ugly to hold my interest as a reader....more
This is most easily compared to Animal Farm, I think. Kind of interesting. Cute and clever. A fun, easy read once you get past the first few boring pThis is most easily compared to Animal Farm, I think. Kind of interesting. Cute and clever. A fun, easy read once you get past the first few boring pages....more
There are some moments of this book that are dull or not so great, but all in all, it was lovely. It scared me at the beginning to identify so much wiThere are some moments of this book that are dull or not so great, but all in all, it was lovely. It scared me at the beginning to identify so much with the protagonist, and also to see how easily I myself might become either her or her mother. It was a fresh take on plot and character that I really appreciated while reading....more
I didn't expect much from this book, because I thought CHARMED THIRDS was a huge letdown after the fantastic SLOPPY FIRSTS and the worthy SECOND HELPII didn't expect much from this book, because I thought CHARMED THIRDS was a huge letdown after the fantastic SLOPPY FIRSTS and the worthy SECOND HELPINGS.
Still, something made me want to read it. Jessica Darling is the best heroine of my generation, I think. So I decided to torture myself and read FOURTH COMINGS anyway, and instead I found it to be not only bearable, but actually enjoyable. In the last ten years, Jessica has only aged six years, but her slower aging has allowed me to catch up. In the same way that Harry Potter grew and graduated with my generation and my graduating class, Jessica Darling's angst consistently fits with my own. I know a fifth book is in the works, but I feel settled with this version of events as well....more
This was unexpectedly good. Not the most literary of novels, of course, but THE TRUTH ABOUT DIAMONDS was interesting and had a unique POV. Told by a fThis was unexpectedly good. Not the most literary of novels, of course, but THE TRUTH ABOUT DIAMONDS was interesting and had a unique POV. Told by a fictionalized version of Nicole Richie herself, the story follows Chloe Parker, a girl who rises to fame and quickly falls again. The plotline may not be the most unique, but the accuracy the narrator had was different than authors who just try to portray the world of the rich, the famous, and the drug-addicted. Nicole speaks matter-of-factly about drug use and how it feels to be addicted, and she obviously knows a lot more about fame and Hollywood and how people in the business act. Yes, the story could have used some better description and characterization, but it was really not half bad. It's enjoyable enough for a summer read....more
I have mixed feelings about this book. I think this book has mixed feelings about itself.
Craft-wise, it's pretty excellent. I haven't read her other bI have mixed feelings about this book. I think this book has mixed feelings about itself.
Craft-wise, it's pretty excellent. I haven't read her other books yet, but Smith seems to have a knack for good, subtle characterization and is obviously good at inserting race and cultural issues into a book that isn't categorized as "Black fiction" or other such crap. I think non-white writers of "literary fiction" find themselves in the difficult position of appealing to the "average" reader, which of course is white, and being "true to their culture." (Please excuse all of the horrible quotations in my review, but it's hard to do sarcasm on the Internet.) As a black girl who was raised in a culturally mixed (but not at all black) family, I see the difficulty. I commend Smith for her achievement there.
That said, the most annoying thing about the book, which permeated all of its 400+ pages, was her that she clearly does not have an ear for language, or at least linguistics. I've yet to read a Brit who can write convincing American dialogue. What's interesting is that in the book's narration, Smith does mention something about the Belsey children and their being brought up in a trans-Atlantic household, and her characterization and speech of the two older children, who are more British, was pretty good. I've known American children of Brits, and they do mix both "languages." However, in her entirely American speakers, Kiki, Carl, to a certain extent Levi, and other minor characters, she misses the mark completely and continually gives them Britishisms, British grammar, and a British lexicon. This may not be noticeable to a less picky reader, but I found it jarring in my reading.
Although I'm a university student, I go to a horrible state school that I'm too smart and snobby for, and I have no idea of the inner workings of academia when you work at a university. I'm also not having a mid-life crisis, nor am I married with children. But you can write what you aren't, and certainly you can read what you're not as well. Still, On Beauty is confusing, and it alternates between being really well done to having too much going on. Smith may have insight on interracial relationships, politics, or academia, but she clearly does not understand the US quite enough to write a convincing book about it. Some things really do require that you stick to what you know....more
So good. At times made me think about what I know about Walker and her daughter and their relationship, which makes you look at Celie and Shug's relatSo good. At times made me think about what I know about Walker and her daughter and their relationship, which makes you look at Celie and Shug's relationship in a new light. While the plot is not the easiest to follow, the book is also not really about the plot so much as it is about the issues, and it's just so good....more