Nine and a Half Weeks is a short memoir that some consider to be erotica. I suppose can see how it could be considered erotic, but for me it was far mNine and a Half Weeks is a short memoir that some consider to be erotica. I suppose can see how it could be considered erotic, but for me it was far more disturbing than sexy. It was short and well written, but very troubling. To me it was a story of abuse, manipulation, and cruelty. The unnamed male completely controls every aspect of the authors life and emotionally manipulates her into doing things she is incredibly uncomfortable with. This isn't a story of two people exploring and pushing their personal boundaries in an environment of respect. It is a story of him controlling her and using her as he sees fit with no regard for her wellbeing or personal limits. That is not the reason for my three star rating, however. I found the authors writing style enjoyable as it was open and honest without being weighed down with unnecessary detail. What I didn't like was the ending. I feel like it was too abrupt and stopped in a place where I was really wanting to know more. The book ended in what felt like it could have been the middle of the author's story. I wanted to know about the consequences of this relationship for the author and how she coped with it moving forward in her life. The ending seemed incomplete to me, but perhaps the author just wasn't ready to discuss the consequences ... or maybe she was still dealing with them. ...more
I loved everything about this book from the style and layout to the content. This was such a good way to portray a zombie apocalypse. I don't really wI loved everything about this book from the style and layout to the content. This was such a good way to portray a zombie apocalypse. I don't really want to call it a story since you don't get a plot and characters and the typical story layout. Still though, it does certainly tell a tale in its own way. In fact, it almost made me feel more emotional on some level than a typical story because a lot of the notes are in different peoples' handwriting. That added a personal touch that made it feel so real. Dead Inside is a book worthy of display on a coffee table! Since it is so quick to get through, I will definitely be reading it again soon. Anyone who likes zombie fiction needs this as a part of their zombie collection. ...more
Crime novels are generally not something that holds a lot of interest for me, but I have to admit that I enjoyed this one quite a bit. Box 21 deals wiCrime novels are generally not something that holds a lot of interest for me, but I have to admit that I enjoyed this one quite a bit. Box 21 deals with human trafficking and sexual slavery, so trigger warning for those who might have sensitivities to those subjects. The chapters were short and alternated between the perspectives of several characters which kept the pacing fast. I liked characters' who had perspective chapters where not just the main detectives (Ewert Grens and Sven Sundkvist) but also victims, criminals, and other people involved in the justice process. Having victims and criminals with their own chapters kept things interesting for me, and I think that is part of the reason why this crime novel held my attention better than others I have tried in the past. Or maybe my taste in novels is just expanding. Either way, it was a quick read and I was eager to know what happened next.
Despite not having a huge deal of experience with reading crime novels, I feel like this novel wasn't exactly original. That doesn't mean it was bad by any means though. Sometimes ideas are used a lot because they work and are entertaining. There were two plot twists that I predicted before it was actually explained, but I didn't mind because it made me feel like I was super clever to figure things out early, haha. My one complaint with the novel is that occasionally it felt a little awkward in the wording of things. I think is this more of an issue with translation than the actual story, but it was enough to make me notice and break my focus on the story. That is why I knocked a star off. I would read more in the Grens and Sundkvist series or more by these authors. ...more
When it comes to anything historical in nature, even historical fiction with more fiction than history, my interests are very limited. Unfortunately AWhen it comes to anything historical in nature, even historical fiction with more fiction than history, my interests are very limited. Unfortunately Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter didn't manage to capture my interest at all. I don't think there was anything bad about the book particularly, but it just wasn't for me. I liked the idea behind the book and the plot, which is why I give it two stars, but I struggled to get through it. The inclusion of vampires is usually enough to keep me interested in just about anything, but not so much in this case. Fans of American History might get a kick out of this twist on history. ...more
The Glory St. Clair series has always been light and fun, and this instalment was no exception. Glory, a plus size vampire, is comical and entertaininThe Glory St. Clair series has always been light and fun, and this instalment was no exception. Glory, a plus size vampire, is comical and entertaining, and her love life is often fairly steamy. My slight issue is that I feel like the series has reached its peak and is now heading downhill a bit. I think we have been on enough adventures with Glory that it would be safe to wrap up the series. Over the last couple books in the series, it has been made clear who Glory wants to be with romantically, and Glory herself has been well explored as a character. I don't think there is much room for development of the characters or the overall story anymore. It is just starting to feel a little dragged out. Real Vampires Know Size Matters was a fun, enjoyable read, and I still intend to read whatever comes next in the series. I just hope things reach a final conclusion soon because it is past time it did. ...more
Horrorstor is a book that I loved for the idea but not so much the execution of that idea. It is a twist on the classic haunted house story, but insteHorrorstor is a book that I loved for the idea but not so much the execution of that idea. It is a twist on the classic haunted house story, but instead of a personal residence being haunted it is an IKEA-esque furniture store. I was prepared to be dazzled by the uniqueness, terror, and humor of Horrorstor, but it was mediocre at best. The characters weren't all that likeable or interesting, and I found myself not even really caring what happened to them. The plot had some good ideas mixed in with some rather pointless ideas, but even the good ideas felt like they fell short of their potential. What I will say about the book is that the design is very clever. The whole book is done like an IKEA catalogue, and I found that delightful. Even though I wasn't super impressed with the story, Horrorstor will be getting a special place on my bookcase just for design and aesthetic reasons. ...more
Fat Vampire by Adam Rex starts off with a lot of potential. We meet Doug Lee, a chubby fifteen year old vampire who isn't the most popular or charismaFat Vampire by Adam Rex starts off with a lot of potential. We meet Doug Lee, a chubby fifteen year old vampire who isn't the most popular or charismatic teen. We also meet Doug's nerdy best friend Jay. For the first 50 -100 pages, I was quite amused by the struggles of Doug as a newbie vampire and by all the shenanigans Jay and Doug got into. Then all of a sudden Sejal, a love interest for Doug, and a bunch of other people including teens and older vampires got involved and it went downhill. The whole thing started feeling really disconnected and choppy, and I couldn't make myself care about all the side story going on. Doug also changed from a loveable and goofy underdog into.... well, kind of an ass. I'm not even going to get started on my problems with the ending. I'll simply say it felt like a really lazy way out for the author. If the story and characters had stayed closer to how they started in the beginning, it would have been far more enjoyable for me. ...more
A book like Snow Flower and the Secret Fan deserves a review that provides an in-depth analysis of the many poignant aspects of the story. UnfortunateA book like Snow Flower and the Secret Fan deserves a review that provides an in-depth analysis of the many poignant aspects of the story. Unfortunately I lack the skill and intelligence required to provide such a review. I will, however, say that this book is definitely worth reading. The story follows the life of Lily in 19th century China from childhood to her final years, focusing specifically on Lily’s relationship with her close friend Snow Flower. The characters weren’t always people I liked, but I did appreciate how the author used her characters to explore the complexities of love and friendship among women. In many ways, I feel like women (actually, people in general) have lost the ability to connect with one another on such a deep and meaningful level in our modern time.
I went into this book knowing very little about life in rural China during the 1800s, but I feel like I learned quite a bit. Lisa See clearly spent a lot of time doing some very thorough research on the subject because she painted an incredibly vivid picture how women lived during that period. The beginning of the novel focuses quite heavily on the tradition of foot binding. I was horrified and also completely fascinated. The author did an incredible job of describing the practice, conveying the agony with which the young girls suffered and also the pride they had in their resulting tiny feet. It made me think about how the standards of beauty change over time, and also the way that women specifically are impacted and limited by these ideals. After reading the first part of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, I spent a good hour and a half Googling real life accounts of foot binding and looking at photos. At the very least, I think that most readers will find the foot binding part of this book memorable. ...more
I was pleasantly surprised with The Darkest Touch. The previous book in the Lords of the Underworld series, The Darkest Craving, had been a bit of a lI was pleasantly surprised with The Darkest Touch. The previous book in the Lords of the Underworld series, The Darkest Craving, had been a bit of a letdown for me because there seemed to be less chemistry and heat between the characters, and the plot seemed lacking. There had also seemed to be bit of a different tone to it, as if the author had been in a different headspace while writing it. This one was a definite improvement, which I am grateful for. It was going to be the deal breaker or deal maker for whether I kept going in the series, and I now can honestly say I will keep going.
Torin, the Keeper of Disease, has been one of my favorite Lords throughout the series. I have been eagerly awaiting his story since the beginning. While The Darkest Touch wasn't my favorite book in the series, it was a fun and satisfying read. The heroine that Torin is paired up with is Keeleycael (Keeley for short). She's spunky and powerful, but I didn't love her. She grew on me by the end, but there were times where I found her to be condescending, arrogant, and kind of irritating. That's the main reason why this book got 4 stars instead of 5 from me.
Even though the steaminess was an improvement from the previous book, I still don't feel like it was as hot as the earlier books. There were still plenty of sex scenes, and they were descriptive, but there was just a little of that original spark that was missing. To be fair though, this could just be a symptom of me having less enthusiasm for Keeley than previous heroines of the series. Or maybe it was the disease factor that put me of a smidge.
The plot did move forward in this installment, and some exciting new elements were added into the mix. At times it did feel a little too convenient, but I am excited about these developments nonetheless. I was pleased that Cameo, William, and Baden all has small side stories. Hopefully they will all get their own full novels at some point.
Overall, The Darkest Touch is a solid continuation of the LOTU books, and it has renewed my interest in continuing the series. ...more
Fifty Shames of Earl Grey by Fanny Merkin seems like it would be a hilarious read. I mean, the title is funny and the author's name is funny, so it shFifty Shames of Earl Grey by Fanny Merkin seems like it would be a hilarious read. I mean, the title is funny and the author's name is funny, so it should deliver the laughs. Unfortunately, I found this book to be a lot less clever and humorous than I expected. I realize that the whole point was to show how ridiculous the Fifty Shades trilogy is. The thing is, I found a lot of this book to be far too silly to be actually funny. There was so much silliness crammed into a short amount of pages that I felt like the novel was slapping me in the face and screaming "LOOK HOW FUNNY I AM?" This is a situation where less would have been a lot more since it just felt like the whole thing was trying too hard. There were a few times where I did actually laugh, so I really do think the book had some genuine comedy potential. It certainly isn't the worst thing I have ever read. Perhaps this style of humor will suit other people more than it did me. ...more
This is one of the most desolate and bleak novels I've read, and I mean that as a good thing. The Road is set in a world that has ended as we know it.This is one of the most desolate and bleak novels I've read, and I mean that as a good thing. The Road is set in a world that has ended as we know it. Some unspecified event caused the death of the planet. Nothing lives in the barren and ashy terrain except for a few, often dangerous, humans. The story follows a man and his son as they trek towards the coast in search of a more survivable landscape.
While reading The Road, I felt a supreme gratitude for the earth. I even felt a genuine gratitude for human society despite it's many flaws. The way that simple things became so unobtainable in The Road really made me appreciate the ease and convenience with which we live our lives. For example, the characters often struggled to keep their feet and clothes dry. It rarely crosses my mind on a day to day basis that I should be grateful for dry feet and clean clothes. These are just givens in life, along with fresh food, water, personal hygiene, etc. However, for the characters in The Road, being wet and cold could be a death sentence. The novel did such a fantastic job of realistically portraying how every single facet of basic daily needs becomes a matter of life and death. Another important aspect was the constant search for food. At times it started to feel repetitive and like the entire plot was revolving around food. Then I thought about it, and I realized that for the characters that was all there was to life. It had turned back into a hunter-gatherer way of life, and even that was nearly impossible. In the world of The Road, there wasn't a lot that mattered, but what there was was of vital importance. McCarthy really has done a fantastic job of creating a lifeless wasteland, and by not specifying how it came to be, he has made it terrifying too.
The relationship between the man and they boy was beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. At one point the man is thinking about how he must seem so alien to the boy since he comes from a world that no longer exists and never will again. It really struck me how insightful and devastating that realization was. The boy has such a strong sense of right and wrong in The Road, and I really loved that. The man, I feel, was more bitter and selfish due to being more aware of the realities of the world and their circumstances. Still, the boy would only have learned the concept of right and wrong from the man. I think that speaks volumes about morality and also of a parent's need to protect their child and try to maintain some sort of innocence as long as possible.
My one complaint with The Road is the prose style. McCarthy writes with minimal punctuation. There are no quotation marks around dialogue. There are no commas. There are no apostrophes, so "won't" becomes "wont". This certainly doesn't make the story unreadable, and it some ways it even lends itself to the bleak atmosphere. Still, I do find that when authors write like that, it impedes the clarity and flow of the plot. There were times when I had to re-read a page just to make sure I was clear on who was saying what, and that takes me out of story.
The Road is a must-read for fans of post-apocalyptic fiction. ...more