I quite enjoyed this erotic romance – perhaps the first I’ve read where the erotic side of the genre is emphasized most thoroughly. The Cinderella chaI quite enjoyed this erotic romance – perhaps the first I’ve read where the erotic side of the genre is emphasized most thoroughly. The Cinderella character, Jaimie Newberry, has never experienced the joy of partnered orgasms, and her best friend, Lucy, is determined to help her meet her Prince Charming during a sexy weekend at Pleasure Manor.
11 questions you need to ask yourself before starting your next big project
I can't remember how I first discovered Tim Castleman, but I'm happy I did,11 questions you need to ask yourself before starting your next big project
I can't remember how I first discovered Tim Castleman, but I'm happy I did, because he's always unleashing unique new products like this one.
The Creativity Checklist is exactly what it says it is: an 11-step system that will help you put your ideas on paper and get them out into the real world. More than a simple checklist of "do this, then do that," it's actually a series of questions you can ask yourself about any large project you're considering, in order to help decide whether it's worth pursuing and what exactly its purpose will be. If you've ever struggled to finish writing a book, for instance, it's likely that you're unable to answer at least one - perhaps all - of the questions Tim presents.
Why waste your time wrestling with ideas and projects that will never work? And why waste time asking some guru or another to evalutate it for you when you can evaluate it yourself - with intelligence and honesty - by using this book as a guideline?
In short: this is a great tool for writers, idea people, and anyone looking for a way to find success on their own terms.
You know, it’s funny: I haven’t read 50 Shades of Grey yet – and have no intention of doing so, due to its famously tortured prose (although since I’vYou know, it’s funny: I haven’t read 50 Shades of Grey yet – and have no intention of doing so, due to its famously tortured prose (although since I’ve learned it’s been one of the Most Banned books of the year, right up there with Captain Underpants, I may read it just to spite the book burners of the world). I have, however, read a lot of book with the words “50 Shades” in them, cashing in on the success of the original and doing it one (or two, or a million) better.
50 Shades of Kink: An Introduction to BDSM is another title to add to the list of “What to Read Instead of 50 Shades of Grey.” But it should definitely be the first one you pick up if you’ve never tried BDSM and want to know what it’s really all about.
Amanda Palmer is a pretty polarizing person. Some love her crazy theatre-girl ways and commitment to a bohemian lifestyle of art at any costs. Some thAmanda Palmer is a pretty polarizing person. Some love her crazy theatre-girl ways and commitment to a bohemian lifestyle of art at any costs. Some think she's a poseur, a sell-out, a scammer. I'm somewhere in the middle, curious about what she does, interested in her artistic output, but not particularly keen on following in her footsteps.
When I heard she had a book coming out, I definitely wanted to read it. So I grabbed a copy, and tore through it in a couple of days. It was one of those books people like to refer to as "unputdownable" (though I really hate that word) or maybe "gripping" -- as in I was gripping the covers, refusing to let anyone pull it out of my hands.
I really enjoyed the book, as it gave me a lot of insight into Amanda's mind and personality, two things that fans will definitely have a lot of insider information on already. But guess what? The stuff she does won't work if she's not at the center of it all. She's found her tribe, and she's pulled each member in close by being real with them, one on one. Whether that was at live shows, in the signing line, via email (back when email was new and weird), on Twitter, or through "ninja" shows that she throws together at a moment's notice or by crashing at their house with her band, her success has clearly come from connecting with her people -- the people that get what she's doing and support it. And all of that is intensely interesting, as she details how she did all of this and why.
Some reviewers have noted that this is a book that will give you a lot of info about how things work for Amanda, but not for anybody else, and I would agree with that to some extent. However, that's also the point: this isn't a self-help or how-to book. It's a memoir.
That being said, if you think there's nothing you can apply to your own life after reading this book, you should read it again. There are lots of great things you can take away from Amanda's story (and the various mini stories woven in throughout), whether you're an aspiring artist, a struggling artist, a world-famous artist in need of some human connection, a fan or even a hater. It got me thinking about how I used to write, back before I went to school to study creative writing and "learn" how to be an artist. And it's got me pondering other things, too, like why it's so frustrating when people stand there staring at me instead of just saying, "Hey, can I ask you something?" or why my first reaction, a lot of the time, is annoyance instead of acceptance or compassion. Why I rebel against sappiness and oversharing, but also avoid those too clever for their own good. Why it's important to me that people be "real," but I am terrible at spotting the phonies. Why asking for things is, indeed, so difficult -- even when it will help, even when it's necessary.
Am I one of AFP's rabid fans? No. But this book certainly made me see her in a different light, and within its pages she has given me plenty to ponder, and therefore it is completely worthy of all 5 stars. Well done, Amanda. And thank you.
P.S. I love the "blender setting" analogy used towards the end of the book. It's a great way to explain fictional works to those that insist on reading them nonfictionally, and especially autobiographically....more
If you're a fan of old horror movies, campy goth chicks like Elvira, or have ever wondered if there was something far more sinister going down in Dr.If you're a fan of old horror movies, campy goth chicks like Elvira, or have ever wondered if there was something far more sinister going down in Dr. Frankenstein's lab, you'll dig Bigboobenstein. Part Frankenstein parody, part Bizarro fable, and 100% hilarious, you'll find plenty of insanity within these pages.
Poor Adelaide De Carlo is obsessed with breasts, thanks to her idiot boyfriend, Johnny. After a botched implant surgery goes awry, she morphs into the TIT-ular Bigboobenstein and there's hell to pay for this woman scorned!
This book is oddly feminist, taking the notion of getting breast implants for oneself instead of to please a man to its furthest extremes, and the stinger ending really nails it all home.
This collection of myth and magic had me hooked from page one. Which makes sense, as it begins with “Shimmer,” the tale of a girl who can change into a mermaid – and whose family works a fishing boat. Though Coral is misunderstood and hides her changeable nature from everyone, including Draven Manning – a boy her age who rescues her from drowning one night – it’s clear that she’s got a lot more weighing on her mind than the typical adolescent fears and anxieties about school and her relationships. Author Brinda Berry weaves a dark but delightful take on the classic Little Mermaid story that’s much different than Disney’s version, and much more enjoyable. I only wish we could’ve seen more of Coral’s underwater world.
The next story, “Between,” offers a peek behind the Royal curtains to see just what’s at stake for the rich, powerful and popular – in high school. Though Lucy craves affection from her mother, she knows the only way to achieve it is to become slim and join her school’s ruling elite, despite the fact that they’re terrible people who prey on their fellow students with cruel pranks and cutting insults. When she’s finally crowned Queen, she’s got to choose between her summer camp love affair with Natasha – a girl who accepted her just as she was – or the Royals crowd, where popularity is everything. Lucy’s bad decisions have terrifying consequences, but a genie appears to help. Karen Y. Bynum‘s story borrows elements from many different stories, creating something new for readers to enjoy.
Things get even darker in “Sunset Moon,” a story by Laura Diamond that incorporates traditional Blackfoot Nation myths into a modern story of teenage rebellion and rehabilitation.
As you can probably guess from the teenage heroines described thus far, this book is a YA collection starring troubled teens from all walks of life. While the classic fairy tales usually set readers up for Happily Ever Afters with princesses marrying their Prince Charmings, Lore gives us average girls looking to escape their everyday lives and problems at home. But that’s not to say that these girls are ordinary, or that their stories are a dime a dozen. Instead each of the authors in the collection have managed to spin fantastic tales around these girls, showing us just how extraordinary their lives can be.
The question then is whether the magic that helps them succeed in their journeys comes from within or from some outside source – and why?
I enjoyed the fact that these stories were darker than Disney’s versions, especially since the orginal folk and fairy tales were much more frightening than the cartoons suggest. By avoiding the princess cliché, each writer recaptures some of that original menace and fear, spinning a new story from Grimm threads. Additionally, though folk tales often contain a rather preachy lesson to be learned, these stories contain similar morals or guidance for a younger reader, but without the sanctimonious attitude. Told from the point of view of teenage main characters, it’s easy to see how these stories will connect with kids from the same age bracket who are fighting similar battles in their own lives.
Combining stories from a fairly diverse offering (Mayan culture, Native American folklore, Jewish golems, Irish Fae, and more), Lore offers plenty of twists and turns that will surprise and delight readers looking for an escape from the ordinary....more
Ahoy, mateys, it's time for this lusty wench to share her booty!
Frederica Beauchamp and Gaston Galette return to the high seas with lusty abandon in BAhoy, mateys, it's time for this lusty wench to share her booty!
Frederica Beauchamp and Gaston Galette return to the high seas with lusty abandon in Bound by the Buccaneer, the second book in Normandie Alleman’s erotic Pirates of the Jolie Rouge Trilogy.
Taking up with the crew of the Ocean’s Knave where Rescued by the Buccaneer left off, Freddie and Gaston have their work cut out for them as the first pirate couple to set sail together. Having captured the Captain’s heart, Frederica now stands by his side as a pirate’s mistress, participating in the plunder. Instead of robbing innocent victims, however, the crew now relieves fellow pirates of their booty!
Knowing they’re doomed if they continue to make enemies of every pirate in the realm, they head to the Bahamas to strike a deal with three other ships’ captains. Naturally, nothing comes easy in the rough and tumble world of piracy, and the three captains demand a night with Frederica to prove she is Gaston’s whore and not his lover.
Frederica is at first appalled by the idea; she’s clearly in love with Gaston and thought her Master felt the same. He assures her this is purely a strategic move, but he has two days time to “turn her into a proper whore,” and so he teaches his newly deflowered companion to suck and fuck like a professional.
It’s a unique twist on the virgin/whore dichotomy, particularly when you consider the woman is about to engage in a foursome not long after she’s given Gaston her V card. Without giving away the outcome, let’s just say that these pirates are much more sensitive to a lady’s needs than their prickly exteriors might suggest -- though certainly no less lusty for a fine wench!
If you’ve read the first book in the series, you already know that Gaston loves spanking Frederica, so it will come as no surprise that the paddlings continue in book two -- though, thankfully, Frederica’s whining is cut to a minimum. In addition, you’ll also find more BDSM scenes between the lovers, including some rope games and light domination.
All in all, this installment contains plenty of hot, sexy scenes that will have you wanting to board the nearest seaworthy vessel in search of a dreadlocked, eye-patched pirate of your own. Or, perhaps, a dreamy blonde pirate like Captain Miles Appling, an attentive and experienced older man like Captain Pugwash, or even a randy young seaman like Edward Chatham? Plenty of gents to go around here, ladies, so take your pick!
"A helpful husband is a SEXY husband!" Andrew McAllister hits the nail on the head with this line from Housework Harmony - a book about figuring out h"A helpful husband is a SEXY husband!" Andrew McAllister hits the nail on the head with this line from Housework Harmony - a book about figuring out how to divide up domestic chores.
Although I feel like my husband and I share the household duties in a relatively fair way, I was curious to read this book (which I received from the author for review purposes) and find out whether there were any tips or tricks for convincing an unwilling husband to do the dishes or pitch in around the house. As McAllister notes, the number one complaint of many wives is that their husbands will not help out with simple, regular chores like doing the dishes, laundry, vacuuming, or even simply clearing the table after a meal. Once they reach the end of their ropes (typically after some children have arrived and they've had to quit their "real" jobs to become full-time housekeepers and nannies in their own homes), they have total breakdowns and huge blow-out fights over the unequal housework divide.
Talk about a recipe for disaster!
Though he's been called a traitor by men eager to get out of domestic duties, McAllister give clear and logical arguments for exactly why men SHOULD help out around the house, with rational reasons that will convince even the most adamant of men. The best argument, in my opinion, is the "sexy husband" argument mentioned above. For many women, watching their husband help out around the house is a highly effective aphrodisiac. Plus, if your husband helps you do the dishes, you'll both have more time for "extracurricular activities"!
Highly recommended for stay-at-home moms with do-nothing husbands, ladies who'd like their man to lend a hand, and for any man interested in bettering his relationship with his wife....more
All summer I’ve been putting off writing my review of Herman Koch’s Summer House with Swimming Pool. It’s a technically proficient book, with many vivAll summer I’ve been putting off writing my review of Herman Koch’s Summer House with Swimming Pool. It’s a technically proficient book, with many vividly drawn scenes and rather realistic (yet truly terrible) characters, but ultimately it is not the type of book I enjoy reading.
Perhaps I should explain some of my biases.
I wasn’t always a poolside reader, the type who only reads for escape. I’ve read plenty of big books and I cannot lie: I do enjoy tackling them during the summer months, taking pride in my ability to engage my brain when it seems the rest of the world is intent on turning theirs off. I’ve read “important” books and “good” books and “classic” books, as well as plenty of genre fiction, and even books that take me outside of my typical reading comfort zone – many of which I then grew to love.
But Summer House with Swimming Pool is something different.
I suppose part of the problem I have with this book is the marketing behind it. This is of course not the writer’s fault, particularly as it’s an American translation of a Dutch novel. So perhaps it is my mistake to have read into the description some relationship between Koch’s novel and the death of Michael Jackson. After all, his book is about the physician to a celebrity who lands in hot water after his famous patient dies under his care. It is difficult to avoid spoilers when discussing this book, but without giving too much away I can certainly say this book is not about similarly clear-cut circumstances, and that any attempt to view it as an incredibly dark satire of that case would be flawed.
If anything, it’s precisely that gray area surrounding the medical procedure and the doctor’s psychological state that is meant to leave the reader with more questions about the good doctor and his Hippocratic oath. Indeed, as per an Amazon interview with Koch, he notes that his inspiration for the book was actually the concept of a “‘passive’ murder” by a doctor, created by medical error. That is, indeed, an intriuging concept, though I don’t buy Koch’s take on it.
It would seem that New York Times reviewer Lionel Shriver agrees with me: she states in her review that Koch’s central conceit is actually thoroughly careless pseudoscience.
So once the fictional plot is revealed to have as many holes as Swiss cheese, what can one really say about the book?
Janet Maslin snarkily compares reading Koch's previous novel, The Dinner, to “being stabbed in the eyeball with a hot needle,” and then notes that Summer House “is a book in which someone actually does stick a hot needle in his own eyeball.” True story.
Many readers are simply turned off by the unlikable cast of characters, and I can sympathize with their view. Dr. Marc Schlosser is not only an awful doctor, but an awful human being. And, being an awful human being, it never crosses his mind that he is such a terrible person. Shriver describes him as an “unappealing misanthrope,” which is spot-on, though I did find some of Marc’s loathsome monologues rather absurdly humorous. His continuous rants against the human body’s ugliness, for instance, offered this gem: “Buttocks, depending on their shape or shapelessness, can summon up tenderness or blind rage.”
Can anyone take such a doctor seriously?
At bottom, I think it is the description of this novel as “darkly humorous” that bothers me the most. A few cruel jokes and an overall nihilistic view do not qualify as dark humor, in my book. After all, one must still find the humor in the darkness. Summer House with Swimming Pool is not a humorous book, even for those who daily peer into the abyss. Perhaps, as some readers have suggested, it is only humorous to sociopaths – hopefully not Koch’s intended audience.
Having read so many positive reviews of Koch’s first book, which is also told by an unlikeable and unreliable narrator, I was hoping that Summer House would offer a similar feast. It seems, however, that most readers feel that Herman Koch is a one-trick pony incapable of creating likeable characters, much less breaking out of his unpleasant narrative approach. Such typecasting is unforgiveable for actors; why should we tolerate it in writers?
I, for one, am hoping Koch’s next book is a frothy, lighthearted beach read – one I can actually enjoy reading poolside.
(This review was originaly posted at Black Heart Magazine.)...more
If you ever enjoyed watching those "trading places" types of movies in the 80s, where the main character physically switches bodies with a best friendIf you ever enjoyed watching those "trading places" types of movies in the 80s, where the main character physically switches bodies with a best friend, family member, or random stranger, you're going to love this book. Its premise is totally ridiculous, if you are a student of Serious Literature, but this is chick lit! Relax and enjoy the ride. Read it, then share it with your BFF....more
Elaine Viets is one of my favorite cozy mystery authors, thanks to her "Dead End Job" series, and now this title in the "Josie Marcus, Mystery ShopperElaine Viets is one of my favorite cozy mystery authors, thanks to her "Dead End Job" series, and now this title in the "Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper" series.
Combining the fun of mystery shopping with the dark side of foot fetishes, Josie has to mystery shop Soft Shoe, where salesman Mel Poulaine is accused of fondling female shoppers' feet. She catches him in flagrante, and files the report that gets him fired - and next thing you know the man's found dead. Thankfully Josie isn't implicated, but her neighbor's perfect daughter, Cheryl, is. Cranky Mrs. Mueller - she of the twitching front curtains, always judging Josie's mystery shopper lifestyle and disguises - hires Josie to exonerate her daughter. Naturally, Josie discovers more than she bargained for while tailing "perfect" Cheryl across St. Louis.
A great little cozy mystery that explores the seedy underbelly of suburbia and what desperate rich housewives will sometimes do to earn a quick buck. Highly recommended....more
There's nothing more annoying than a book that claims it will work for everyone, without tailoring itself to everyone's individual needs. Nancy and MiThere's nothing more annoying than a book that claims it will work for everyone, without tailoring itself to everyone's individual needs. Nancy and Michelle avoid this trap with a clever way of breaking up the 55 different tools and techniques listed: it's all based on the writer's personality.
Are you the Emily Dickinson? The Tech Wizard? The Rock Star? The Best Friend? Once you decide which type best fits your personality, you can begin applying the information offered in the book to your best advantage.
While I've read many books that suggest they will help authors sell more books, the organization of this book is great for figuring out which bits and pieces will work for you, and then focusing your efforts on those that will bring the best returns, instead of overwhelming you with 55 things you Must Do Right Now.
This book is great addition to any author's marketing arsenal, whether you're a total beginner or just need a push in the right direction....more
This was the first book I bought in 2014, and I'm glad I did.
After ringing in 2013 by finishing Jessica McHugh's PINS, I was excited to discover thatThis was the first book I bought in 2014, and I'm glad I did.
After ringing in 2013 by finishing Jessica McHugh's PINS, I was excited to discover that The Maiden Voyage would be released on January 1, 2014. Naturally, I bought a copy as soon as it was available from Amazon, and read it ASAP.
McHugh's novella details the brief, wondrous life of a hybrid bee-man named Sigmund Black and his rise from drone/assassin to bodyguard for the head of the world's most powerful honey company, Barbara Holloway. With a steampunk backdrop and a jelly-powered version of the Titanic (yes, THAT Titanic), this is one crazy, mixed-up world, but I loved all of the Victorian details and bee tweaks.
Rewriting history can be a challenge, but McHugh does so with a nod to both her horror roots and the idea that even free men in Victorian times were not necessarily free to do as they pleased. Sigmund Black is just a drone - or is he? Can this up-and-coming "werebee" break free from his natural instincts and fly from the hive, or will be always be a product of his evolutionary heritage, just another cog in this era's huffing, puffing machinery? You'll have to read The Maiden Voyage yourself to find out!...more
Although I've written several books for Kindle already, I'm always interested in learning new tips and tricks for creating better books. Nancy's bookAlthough I've written several books for Kindle already, I'm always interested in learning new tips and tricks for creating better books. Nancy's book offers lots of excellent, practical advice for non-fiction writers looking to amp up their production schedule - in addition to writing stronger books that will keep readers coming back for more.
Nancy's book is a quick read, because it's eliminated the fluff and cut straight to the chase. She includes step-by-step information on the tools of the trade that she employs (updated for 2014, as noted on the cover, so it's not outdated like some other how-to manuals), as well as breakdowns on how much time you should devote to each phase of your writing process. It was really interesting to see how a fellow pro breaks down her work and approaches her writing goals. Even if you don't believe that you can write a book in just 72 hours, she's got the stats to show you exactly how this is possible. Better still, she'll show you what to do to reach the goal, even if you're a slow writer or researcher. Perfect!
All in all, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to write non-fiction books, improve their writing, or make a living writing books for Kindle....more