A copy of Tampa was provided to me by Ecco/HarperCollins for review purposes.
'The rage of lust was like an IV drip in my veins; I felt it beginning to...moreA copy of Tampa was provided to me by Ecco/HarperCollins for review purposes.
'The rage of lust was like an IV drip in my veins; I felt it beginning to spread inside me with the helpless awareness of someone realizing she's been slipped a drug.'
Celeste has the intensity of a psychopath or even a serial killer when it comes to her sexual obsessions. The desperation in doing whatever it takes to satisfy her need was disturbing to say the least. Her complete disregard for how her actions would affect others in her life was unsettling. Celeste is hands down one of the most warped characters in literature I have ever had the pleasure of reading.
Comparisons to Lolita cannot be helped (although it could also be compared to Belinda by Anne Rampling, one of Anne Rice's lesser known novels written under a pseudonym), despite the fact it's actually quite different it still manages to touch upon the same subject. Unlike Lolita, this is not a retelling of events or even a confession but a first person accounting of the main characters sexual forays. But be warned, Celeste makes Humbert Humbert look tame in comparison. Nabokov wrote a truly lyrical story that managed to win over many readers despite Humbert's wrongs; he became one to be pitied. Nutting has done the opposite with her character Celeste and does not ever intend for you to pity her or feel sorry for her affliction. She's extremely lewd and vulgar and the pages reek with indecency and she's not ashamed to admit it.
'I found that sometimes it was a relief to do something unattractive in private, to confirm that I'm deeply flawed when so many others imagine me to be perfect.'
She found anyone that had begun to show signs that adolescence was leaving them to be completely foul and disgusting and was utterly envious of the female children of her class. The fact that she was flawless and appeared much younger than her true age I think was the only mitigating factor that prevented her from personally disgusting herself as she took extremely good care of herself to avoid showing signs of her age for as long as possible. It could also be said that her sexual encounters with the younger boys was seen as a purifying or cleansing ritual in her eyes. Bottom line, she was an extremely disturbed individual.
Tampa is a book that opens up the discussion that women are obviously not always the victim, that they can be just as guilty and just as psychopathic as their gender counterpart. It's a topic that forces you to look at the stereotypes in society today whether it is gender stereotypes or even stereotypes based on looks alone. Also, it definitely brings to light how the pursuing of an older woman no matter the age of the pursuer has become slightly glamorized over time.
In an interview with Cosmo (incredible review, definitely worth a read), the author stated that there is a void in literature about female sexual psychopaths and she sought to fill it. I can't think of any books related to the topic either but I have to applaud the fact that Nutting tackled this subject head-on and didn't water it down simply to avoid controversy. The extensiveness of her sexual conduct did at times seem gratuitous and left you feeling just as empty as Celeste, however, there’s no denying this was an exceptionally scandalous yet efficiently written debut novel.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars Source: Purchased via Amazon
You have no idea how much it pains me to give this book only a 3 star rating. The Experiment in Ter...moreMy rating: 3 of 5 stars Source: Purchased via Amazon
You have no idea how much it pains me to give this book only a 3 star rating. The Experiment in Terror series is one of my favorites, ever, and I was anticipating this so very badly ever since I got hooked on this series earlier this year. I can't say for sure whether it was my extremely (and possibly unrealistic) expectations that made this not as good or not but I definitely had some issues that nagged at me.
I started reading this series because I love ghost novels especially because they aren't so paranormal as to be completely out of this world; that there are instances where you could really feel this being fact. I absolutely loved Perry and Dex as a team and I loved watching their relationship grow over installments. But what I loved the absolute most was the well-blended way that Karina Halle mixed the two together. It wasn't a paranormal novel and it wasn't a romance novel, it was a perfect amalgamation of the two. And therein lies the main issue I had with this novel: the lack of blending.
While Into the Hollow left Dex and Perry's relationship at an imbalance, I understood and expected drama to have to be sorted out in Come Alive. What I didn't expect was for it to take up practically the entire first half with no plot in sight. Now don't go get me wrong, I love me some Dex and Perry but it just felt way too focused on their crazy (and oftentimes unnecessary) drama and their equally crazy sex life. For those of you adverse to this, Come Alive toed the line of erotica and while I'm not against this, this is not what I've come to expect from these novels. If I wanted to read erotica, I would read erotica.
The other big issue I had: the point of view. I did read 'The Dex-Files' and while I enjoyed these short glimpses into Dex's point of view, they weren't my absolute favorite. I was a bit leery when I found out that Come Alive would be told solely from Dex's point of view but of course I reserved judgment. WELL. Dex is one crazy fucker, I think we all know that, but being inside his head and knowing each and every one of his (mostly sexual) thoughts was a bit much. He's just too much sometimes and can be quite intense. I wouldn't be completely adverse to a story from his point of view again, however, I think I'd like it more if it was shared with Perry's POV because, well, Perry is the absolute best.
Regardless, I'm still a die-hard fan and will gladly read anything Ms. Halle writes because she really is an amazing writer of truly entertaining stories. While this is not my favorite installment, the ending did hold much promise for future installments so this is far from my last Perry and Dex story.
Following the disastrous outcome of the events in Shooting Scars, Javier, Ellie and Camden are forced to team up to right the wrongs. Having the three...moreFollowing the disastrous outcome of the events in Shooting Scars, Javier, Ellie and Camden are forced to team up to right the wrongs. Having the three thrown together forces Ellie to finally choose between the two men that stole her heart.
Bold Tricks is the final installment of The Artists Trilogy where we finally get to see how everything culminates. Told from the sole point of view of Ellie, Bold Tricks maintains the violent and thrilling complexity we've come to expect. All loose ends are tied up sufficiently but without that picture perfect ending because that's the least you could expect with a cast of characters like this. Is there a happily ever after? Well... I suppose that depends on which Team you're on. I will say I was a bit disappointed at the portrayal of a certain character though, but won't reveal who. My guess is it was a way of making Ellie's choice a bit easier but that person's actions seemed too out of character and didn't fit as well with what we've come to expect.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, this is not my normal genre and if I didn't adore Karina Halle's writing from her Experiment in Terror series then I likely would have never picked this up. Contemporary Romance is not my go-to genre, but the fascinating cast of characters is what truly makes this series shine. They may be written in such a way that makes them incredibly realistic, but they are in no way average nor predictable. I'm incredibly sad to see this series come to an end and despite my slight disappointment, Bold Tricks is still a satisfying enough end and a fantastic trilogy overall.(less)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars A copy of Shooting Scars was provided to me by Netgalley/Grand Central Publishing for review purposes.
I read Sins & Needles...moreMy rating: 4 of 5 stars A copy of Shooting Scars was provided to me by Netgalley/Grand Central Publishing for review purposes.
I read Sins & Needles on a whim last year... it's one of those romantic suspense novels that appeared to be just like all the others but managed to shock the hell out of me with how explosive and thrilling it really was.
And as far as Shooting Scars goes... no middle-book syndrome here! Shooting Scars is an action packed follow-up that takes you on a thrill ride that refuses to let up. It's intense, exciting beyond belief and has the perfect amount of sexiness. This story is a definite favorite of mine... I love the rarity of flawed characters possessing such a mesmerizing story.
The dual-narrative was perfection and offered us the opportunity to witness Ellie facing head-on the issues that drove her and Javier apart... and how their reunion dredges up the same feelings that brought the two together in the first place. It also allows us the internal look at Camden's dark transformation and just how deep his feelings for Ellie are and of the things he's capable and willing to do to get her back. The ending will no doubt leave you anticipating the last piece of their story... it's bound to be intense there's no doubt about that. The Artists Trilogy is dark, seductive and extremely exhilarating. (less)
'It was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight.'
Lolita is likely one of the most controversial stories in 20th century literature...more'It was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight.'
Lolita is likely one of the most controversial stories in 20th century literature to date. Lolita has been coined as a 'love story' and even 'erotic'. In all honesty, this was simply Humbert attempting to convince himself (and others) that his actions were normal and completely justified. By the end pages, I could honestly say that Humbert believed wholeheartedly he truly loved Lolita, that he always had the best of intentions for her and that he was a good father to her. His version of love was of course far from normal and was quite sick and twisted indeed but because we're only seeing this story from his point of view it's obviously a biased and glamorized interpretation.
'We live not only in a world of thoughts, but also in a world of things. Words without experience are meaningless.'
But to me that was the most amazing part of this story. When you really think about this story as a whole, you know what he did was wrong, you know that he changed that 12 year-old girl irrevocably and you can almost despise him for the fact that he blamed her for seducing him initially. However, despite all that, I know I'm not the only reader that struggled to not feel at least a slight bit of sympathy for him. And that's the true brilliance of it.
'And the rest is rust and stardust.'
Lolita is a truly remarkably written story that was undoubtedly shocking after its initial publication in 1955. I can't help but find it severely unlikely though that it would have ever been published during this day and age.(less)