Sex is Always a Touchy Subject Of the books I grabbed at that first trip to the library (that still feels weird to say - I'm 28 and can count on one hSex is Always a Touchy Subject Of the books I grabbed at that first trip to the library (that still feels weird to say - I'm 28 and can count on one hand how many times I've been to the library as an adult, and they're all in the past week), this was the book that I knew nothing about when I grabbed it from New Releases. It's got a pretty grabbing title after all.
Ally is a 31 year old professor with a 10 year old daughter, who has a whirlwind weekend of mind blowing sex with an ex-student while her mother and daughter were away.
10 years later she meets her daughter's famous boyfriend who brings that wonderful weekend back to her in an unexpected way.
At 41, Ally finally falls in love. At 41, Ally finally allows herself to fall in love. She finally learns to let go of not just her inhibitions but the control she's been forced to exert over her world since she became pregnant at 21. Ally has always been playing a balancing act between her mother who tells her she's only allowed one mistake and that her daughter is it. And her daughter who grows up sexually liberated. Finding that ground where Ally herself is comfortable being herself and not just a daughter or a mother is not easy for her.
Sex is scary, whether you're 21, 31, 41, and beyond. Sex is scary, but all of the risk and the fear can be totally worth it. There's even a question of whether or not Ally has really had sex other than at 21, 31, and 41. And each time she overcomes that fear, bad things may happen, but they're always worth it. A daughter. An unforgettable weekend. A love of her life.
The moral isn't "fuck everything that moves.". Don't get me wrong - there's a big part of Ally that believes and knows that sex is sacred. But the moral is more along the lines of, "don't get sacred confused for forbidden."
It really only loses half a star because it's tied up too neat. There's a little too much happily ever after for me....more
Stop being so annoying Oh dear Gods almighty, that main character was obnoxious.
Poor me! Poor me! I'm 18, I'm a genius set designer, but no one seeStop being so annoying Oh dear Gods almighty, that main character was obnoxious.
Poor me! Poor me! I'm 18, I'm a genius set designer, but no one sees my genius! Except for everyone on the sets of the major movies I'm working on! Poor me! My girlfriend has broken up with me 6 times and I think I might still want her back! Poor me! I was able to have someone drop $20,000 on set pieces for a movie and a gift for my brother! Poor me! My brother gave me his Venice apartment for the summer and wants me to do something epic, but I can't think of what to do!
POOR FUCKING ME.
Jesus fucking Christ, I hated Emi for the entire Goddamn novel. She just totally rubbed me the wrong way.
I loved her best friend Charlotte. Charlotte had a lot handed to her too, but she didn't act as though her entire world was always falling apart in her richer than God lifestyle. She has a dose of reality in the way she presents herself and at least attempts to call out Emi on her fucking stupidity.
The "mystery" sort of reads like a slightly older Nancy Drew story. It's fantastical in it's ridiculousness. Sure this could maybe sort of possibly happen in an alternate dimension. Not that the solution is impossible, but that they were able to solve the mystery of the letter in as little time as it took.
It was an entertaining read, but it really wasn't any more than that. So far, from the YA Book Riot Box, I've read 2, and enjoyed one thoroughly, while only finding this one entertainment value....more
To say this is a change from the last trades is an understatement. Which is both good and bad. WhiBaffled, I am. I am ... confused. I am ... torn.
To say this is a change from the last trades is an understatement. Which is both good and bad. While I enjoyed the other artists's run with Batgirl it was beginning to feel too much like she just wanted to be Batman and was perpetually chained to him - the storylines wouldn't really exist without him.
In Batgirl of Burnside, she is most definitely her own girl. The problem I see is that she seems to have gone back in time for where her maturity level should be. I'm hoping she grows hard in this new series, because she doesn't act like 21 year old Barbara Gordon, she acts like 21 year old club rat. On one hand I actually like this, because poor Babs never really got to be a kid - so having her act like a kid is sort of novel and nostalgic.
The artwork is fucking brilliant. It's totally amped up and so different than any other Gotham story I have ever read in my life. It felt a good deal like ... Marvel. Marvel has a slightly younger, more colorful look to its art. The artwork had me turning the page to see how pretty it could get.
The storyline, unfortunately was fairly mediocre. I didn't care even a little bit about the "big reveal" that happened halfway through the book. It was a "Jenkies!" moment that I didn't give a shit about. Though I did like the big tech baddie - I'm a sucker for the computers are taking over the world trope, it's something that seriously scares me a bit.
So, I'm conflicted. Babs is a more real girl, but a less real Batgirl. The artwork is beautiful, but the story was humdrum. Read for yourself I suppose....more
Riley survives, she doesn't know how or why, but she survives the Red Death. The rest of the world has been wiped out by plague, her3 and a half Stars
Riley survives, she doesn't know how or why, but she survives the Red Death. The rest of the world has been wiped out by plague, her two children, her ex-husband. She and Zoey, her faithful dog, set out for the city when they run out of water, though Riley doesn't actually know what she plans to do. What she does know is that before the phones went out, she called everyone she knew and told them that if they made it to her house that she'd leave them a trail. She leaves notes everywhere she stops, telling the people who she hopes will find her where she plans to go next.
In the city, she meets Conner, who had been in town on business when the plague closed the airport and wiped out everything he loved, across the pond. He brings her back to the hotel that he's been living in, that has a generator and therefore the food hasn't gone bad and there's running water. She finds herself drawn to him and stays with him, until someone does follow Riley's notes to them at the hotel. The new couple of people leave the hotel in the night, and not on good terms with Conner and Riley.
Riley and Conner decide to move on after having an experience in the city with the dead that they cannot explain. They go into the mountains to a "green" resort, figuring that it would be more likely to be sustainable and still have power. (Considering the world has been dead a couple months, a lot of these places seem to still have hot water) There they meet up with various people, and what follows makes the bulk of the story.
The book was pretty enjoyable, on readability and flow it gets five stars. On the creepy dead ghosts, it gets five stars. On the journey it gets five stars. Where it loses stars is that Riley must have a goddamned golden vagina. At one point in the novel, the romance becomes a love pentagram, for Godssake. Every male who meets Riley, wants her. Fucking ridiculous, and the romance ended up taking up a bulk of the story, the dead things were creepy as fuck and I wanted to hear more about them, have more experiences with them, anything to do with them, really.
Conner and Riley were sort of an oddball matchup. I enjoyed it, even though she kissed everyone else, but what I realized is that they're something like if Frannie and Larry Underwood were the main characters in The Stand, instead of Frannie and Stu.
The Stand, this book was not... Entertaining, however, this book definitely was....more
Well, I sure as hell wish I'd read Mrs. Dalloway before I read this. I felt like I missed a lot of references that would have enriched the story.
A dayWell, I sure as hell wish I'd read Mrs. Dalloway before I read this. I felt like I missed a lot of references that would have enriched the story.
A day in the life of three women from different times, so different they're like different worlds. Virginia Woolf, Clarissa, and Laura Brown.
Clarissa lives, I believe in the 80s (though it's never explicitly said). She is the most obviously Mrs. Dalloway-like. Her old friend, dying of AIDS, even calls her Mrs. Dalloway. She is planning a party for him because he has won a literary award. Her story was probably my least favorite. It seemed to fall flat, and I really didn't find myself particularly caring for Clarissa.
Laura Brown is a housewife in, I believe, the 50s. She is reading Mrs. Dalloway, and fighting bouts of depression on her husband's birthday, while attempting to care for her young child. This was probably my favorite storyline, the quotes in Laura's story about why she reads particularly hit home for me: "Laura Brown is trying to lose herself. No, that's not it exactly - she is trying to keep herself by gaining entry into a parallel world."
Virginia Woolf is writing Mrs. Dalloway. What I particularly enjoyed about this storyline was her husband and how well and deftly he was able to care for Virginia. In the tragic stories of writers, those that love them are often tossed to the wayside and it was wonderful to see it.
The "twist" at the very end of the novel made me go "duh!" I didn't see it coming at all, though it was so very obvious. I was impressed that I hadn't seen it from the very beginning....more
I won this book from Goodreads Giveaways and found myself thoroughly enjoying it. I started out intrigued by the style choices when reading from GraceI won this book from Goodreads Giveaways and found myself thoroughly enjoying it. I started out intrigued by the style choices when reading from Grace's point of view. She may have been 27, but she didn't curse, didn't smoke, didn't "talk dirty," was an all around innocent. It made reading her character feel a lot more like this book was a Young Adult novel rather than an Adult Romance. In fact, for the first quarter of the novel, Grace annoyed the bejeezus out of me: she was just too perfectly innocent. It was unrealistic that she'd made it to 27, from a mostly broken home, living in NYC and was still so Gods Damned Innocent. It's like she made it into the adult world, but only by the skin of her teeth and her attitudes had never aged beyond her 16 year old self.
However, Grace Grows was an appropriate title for the novel. As Grace's life pulls a 360 and falls apart, and she actually starts to pull it apart so that she can make the changes in her life that she wants, I began to like her more and more. Angsty, upset Grace was a much more believable, relatable, and understandable character. It makes her stubborn and cranky and unsure of herself and she becomes a procrastinator. Maybe I liked Grace when shit was hitting the fan because her coping mechanisms remind me a lot of my own: completely nonexistent. She tries to run away every time she's cornered into doing something good for herself that's going to hurt. She refuses to leave her chair. She cries for no reason and with no prompting. Sure it's dramatic, but she's self conscious and hurting; it was the way she coped with being forced to tear everything down to build it up that made me like her, made me think of myself. Don't real good books make you put yourself in the main character's shoes?
Tyler, the love interest, is a sparkly perfect sexy new-to-the-city dog walker that she meets on his first week in the city. He's moved to New York to try to sell his music. Slowly, but surely, he becomes a perfect rock star, with stalker fans and false news all over the internet. While perhaps he is too perfect and has too few flaws, his and Grace's relationship is shown perfectly through Grace's eyes. Her self consciousness comes out in thinking that he's sexually and socially over confident, which of course just makes her think that she couldn't possibly be good enough for the magic rock star. Even his perfectness (lack of flaws) can be attributed to seeing him through Grace's eyes. You know those boys that just make you want to crawl into yourself when they're at their most confident because then you can't feel good enough, not by a mile? They may love the girl and they may never do anything to hurt her, but she can't see past her own issues? That's Tyler and Grace.
Looking for a good Beach Read? This is perfect for that. It's simply written, but engaging and hilarious. I found myself giggling quite a few times. Romance novels are not always my cup of tea, but this was a Romance and a Coming of Age all rolled into one. It's sort of too bad that this doesn't come out until October, because it really would be a perfect summer read.
I do see this book succeeding on the strength of the voice of Grace, and the strength and unique characters of the people she is surrounded by....more
Wellllll. I muddled through this book, and it took me almost a month to read after receiving it from Goodreads Giveaways. It wasn't a terrible book, bWellllll. I muddled through this book, and it took me almost a month to read after receiving it from Goodreads Giveaways. It wasn't a terrible book, but it certainly wasn't a good book.
I enjoyed it for the first quarter of the book. Salma is trying to discover what it means to be at home, by living in Beirut for a year (where she was born), after growing up in the States for most of her life. She balances her personal feelings, family, tourism, relationships, friendships, albeit perhaps not well.
And then it got old. There's no real reason that I can put my finger on, but I got so sick of her. She just started to rub me the wrong way....more
I won this book from Goodreads Giveaways, and thought it looked at least a little interesting - that is, until I started reading the other reviews ofI won this book from Goodreads Giveaways, and thought it looked at least a little interesting - that is, until I started reading the other reviews of the book. Dear Gods, I was almost afraid to pick this book up, assuming I was going to hate it. For the first two, two and a half, chapters, I did - hate it, that is.
For one, I felt as though she tried to make her childhood out to be this overly unique, bohemian, experience, to hear the way she talks about it, you'd think she'd been raised by Travelers. Hate to break it to ya, her childhood wasn't that unique; it wasn't that bohemian. In fact, her childhood reminded me a lot of my own: privileged, with hippie overtones. She says at one point that the reason she took her shirt off for everyone in high school was because of her upbringing, and I sort of take offense at that. Comfort with nudity, comfort with sexuality is no excuse to, well, be a slut.
For two, the "slut" comes out rampant in the second chapter. She works for US Weekly and meets celebrities and name drops every four words. I don't care that you know Derek Jeter and were invited to a Robert Pattinson premiere, I just couldn't give a flying fuck. Also, just because someone's a free spirit doesn't mean that it's okay to sleep with everyone under the sun, while you're in relationships.
She just really, really, really, rubbed me the wrong way in the first few chapters.
Surprisingly, it took a 180 degree turn when she started dating the celebrity chef that is most likely the love of her life and soul mate, though completely impractical. The love story is written well. The lovers are very real. They mesh well, even when they fight. It's a very true telling of a crazy sort of love. Even when everything blows up, again and again, the relationship is clearly a real one.
I have a lot more trouble saying what I liked about a book rather than what I didn't. And I did like quite a bit, I mean, it rallied enough to earn three stars, after the first two chapters I was expecting 1 star.
Maybe I simply liked the rest of the book because she gets a little thrown from her holier than thou horse. She actually becomes relatable as she tried to save a clearly dying relationship. Her broken down, discovery of herself says so much more about her than any name she dropped previously. She may be a woman in the need of a good shake, but she is a woman who is on a journey to truly find herself.
Her journey through food is simply endearing. However, the recipes in the book were a bit on the disappointing side of the world....more
After my recent horrendous experience with The Rose Labyrinth, which had me wanting to claw my eyes outI received this book from Goodreads Giveaways.
After my recent horrendous experience with The Rose Labyrinth, which had me wanting to claw my eyes out after four sentences, it was wonderful to come across a novel with such a graceful writing style that was apparent from the first page.
For eight years I dreamed of fire. Trees ignited as I passed them, oceans burned. The sugary smoke settled in my hair as I slept, the scent like a cloud left on my pillow as I rose. Even so, the moment my mattress started to burn, I bolted awake. The sharp, chemical smell was nothing like the hazy syrup of my dreams; the two were as different as Indian and Carolina jasmine, separation and attachment. They could not be confused.
That being said, I was really torn as to whether this was a three star book or a four star one. In writing style it was a four. I really found myself sucked into it; it only took me 6 hours to read, and that in one sitting. In the plot, it was a three. The first half of the book's story was very good; the second half had sort of a nosedive as it became more and more predictable. In character development, it was a four. Victoria was well written and well explored. She had believable positive and negative quirks in her personality. In love interest, it was a three. Victoria is fickle and nonsensical and acts completely out of character when it comes to love and sex. I'm not sure she really truly loves him (view spoiler)[but ends up with him?! (hide spoiler)] Basically, I was torn.
It was like drinking a soda. I loved, loved, loved the beginning of the novel. It was fizzy and exciting and interesting (even though I've read a lot like it). Then somewhere is started to fall flat. The predictability stopped being endearing and the characters became more obnoxious....more
"'[Y]our wife. Let's say she's been through menopause and she's being eaten alive by hot flashes so her doctor gives her some Premacore. After that t
"'[Y]our wife. Let's say she's been through menopause and she's being eaten alive by hot flashes so her doctor gives her some Premacore. After that the same doctor finds that her bone density isn't quite what it should be and so he gives her some Ostafoss as well. But on top of that she's a little depressed. Can you blame her? She's just been through menopause, and you're working all the time, so he gives her some Singsall, just a touch just to brighten up the picture.' [...] 'She didn't pick this combination out for herself, it's given to her. Then one morning you wake up and you've got nothing in your arms but a nightgown.'"
What would you do with invisibility? If you woke up one morning and realized no one could see you, would you use your "power" for good, or would you shrivel up?
The quote above, from the Uncorrected Proof that I received from Goodreads Giveaways, pretty well sums up the entire plot of the book. Clover wakes up one morning and discovers that, due to a pharmaceutical snafu, she's invisible, not in a I feel invisible way, but in a tangible, my clothes are hanging on thin air, way. Her family, and most of society for that matter, doesn't even notice. The empty set of clothes walking around the house fixing breakfast and doing laundry attracts zero attention.
I was honestly pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed this book. The plot as I summed up above, seems gimmicky, and to an extent it really, really is. It's one of the most gimmicky, convenient plots, I've seen in quite some time, and I can't say I was expecting to enjoy the book.
However, somewhere along the way, the book that I thought was simply a convenience for the author was making a fabulous point. The plot of the book is sort of lame and gimmicky, but the point, goes so far beyond that. I was in NYC yesterday and because of this book was realizing exactly how little we actually truly look at the people around us, and yet, we all like to fancy that everyone is looking at only us. When the truth is, we barely look at ourselves.
Happily, this book is a quick read, with a poignant commentary on the way women see themselves, others, and the way society sees them....more
My screenwriter boyfriend tells me there is a certain way that stories are supposed to go, a certain formula of events, if you will. Read enough booksMy screenwriter boyfriend tells me there is a certain way that stories are supposed to go, a certain formula of events, if you will. Read enough books, see enough movies, and one begins to really believe that. The trick to good story telling is to have stories go in the way that they are supposed to go without giving away, too obviously, where it is going. Gold reads in exactly the way the story is supposed to go. I could have told you from the first 50 pages where the story line should go, and away it went.
Kate, Jack, and Zoe aren't cookie-cutter characters by any means and the plot isn't necessarily a cookie-cutter plot. However, the twists and turns that the story takes on it's track to the Gold, are like the strategic moves made by racers. The tone is set from the starting line, and it can only go a limited number of ways with the choices made by the cyclists on their quests for the Gold Medal.
Don't let the predictability of the story sell it short, however. One cannot help but fall in love with eight-year-old, Star Wars obsessed, Sophie, who fights leukemia and tries with all her little might to keep her parents happy. One cannot help feeling for (and as a fairly bashful woman, also relating to) Kate, her mother, who chooses to miss both the Athens Olympics and the Beijing Olympics for Sophie's health. Zoe's harshness and betrayals, while terrible traits somehow make her a character that you simply want to hug and then slap; her fight to receive a Gold Medal overcomes even her humanity. Jack, Sophie's father, deserved a good shake - I think.
In a lot of ways I felt as though I were reading a Jodi Piccoult novels. The way the story went is very reminiscent of her style; in some ways I was surprised - in a good way - that this was written by a man. Neither she nor Chris Cleave are fabulous authors but the can write a story well, with characters that you can believe and love. It's good book junk food: quick, easy, flowing, happy, "correct."
I received this ARC from Goodreads First Reads Giveaways....more
I received this book through Goodreads First Reads.
In 1957 Chairman Mao issued an order for all the intellectuals and artists in the community to comeI received this book through Goodreads First Reads.
In 1957 Chairman Mao issued an order for all the intellectuals and artists in the community to come forward so that China could become a stronger country. "Let a hundred flowers bloom; let a hundred schools of thought contend." While this was seen as cautious good news, Sheng was arrested for sending a letter speaking out against the Communist Party and was sent to a reeducation facility. He leaves behind his professor father, Wei, his herb healer wife, Kai Ying, and his young son, Tao. On top of the tragedy of losing Sheng, and not knowing if he lives or dies, Tao climbs a tree one morning and falls, breaking his leg. A historical fiction novel that takes place in China in 1958, A Hundred Flowers, by Gail Tsukiyama, is really just about an average family over the course of five months. Yes, shit happens, and it sucks, but it is a very average sort of family.
My biggest problem with this novel is that even though each chapter is told about a different family member, the voice stays the same. I think this would have been better served if each chapter were told in that family member's voice, rather than in the narrator's voice. It made the story very monotone.
The most interesting character was the 15 year old, homeless, pregnant girl. It isn't that her character was more compelling than the family, it was simply because she had the most unique story of all of the characters, because she wasn't a part of the family. Perhaps I would have enjoyed this book more if it had been told from her perspective, first and foremost and the rest of the family's secondarily, rather than vice versa.
All that being said, once the story picked up, it flew. It was easy to read because the words flowed together nicely. I was able to read the second half of this book in one sitting, once I knew and began to care about the characters. I wanted to see Tao walk without a limp and I wanted Kai Ying to find an apprentice and a daughter in the young pregnant girl. Somehow, Tsukiyama managed to make a horribly depressing and difficult time for a family hopeful.
That's what I took away from this book that I liked. hope. For all the time that the characters spent contemplating on the lack of hope for their family, for China, for the baby, for the pregnant girl, by the end of the book the theme had turned to hope. Who doesn't need a little hope in their lives?...more
Maybe I would have enjoyed this book more if I had been over the age of 9, and living in Britain, in 1996 when it was published. As it was, I spent aMaybe I would have enjoyed this book more if I had been over the age of 9, and living in Britain, in 1996 when it was published. As it was, I spent a good deal of the time reading this book trying to decipher the Shallow, Bitchy, British slang, from 1996. American slang in the 90s was weird enough, thanks. I do have a new favorite word, Squiffy - means drunk, but not stupidly so. So my new stages of drunk are: Tipsy, Squiffy, Blotto, Shitfaced, and then Blackout. I tell you, I am very affected by what I read.
My favorite character, by far, who has almost zero lines is Bridget's Granny, who at one point holds up a tube of Smarties and says, (view spoiler)["Oh look, a penis." (hide spoiler)] That was the only point in the book that I actually laughed out loud.
For the most part I just wanted to smack Bridget and tell her to get over herself. I felt a little bit of pity for her, but only in a rudimentary "this is what I'm supposed to feel," way. She was just ... awkwardly not funny, but sad. Anyone that gets that embittered I find more annoying than funny. I want to smack her and give her a hug all at the same time.
It was certainly a quick, mindless read, and that can be attractive sometimes, but I was simply bored by Bridget's character (or lack thereof). Also, One Hundred and Thirty Pounds Does Not Make One Fat! Gods, am I sick of reading about how insecure women are.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Just like with Twilight, I picked up this book because I wanted to see what the hype was all about (besides I don't get HBO to see any of the series).Just like with Twilight, I picked up this book because I wanted to see what the hype was all about (besides I don't get HBO to see any of the series). I still don't know what all the hype is about. I'm actually sort of embarrassed that my boyfriend watches this television show.
Let me sum up this book for you:
"In a world where vampires are an accepted minority, I am a small town, virtuous, girl. I can't even bring myself to say the word 'sex,' in normal conversation, even though I work at a bar. I say things such as 'by golly,' and 'Shepard of Judea.' However, I have a secret. I can read minds! I am a virgin because I cannot have sex without hearing my partner's thoughts. Well, I was a virgin until I met my boyfriend, a vampire whose thoughts I cannot read. While I am sexually inexperienced, he is sexy and my instinct never steers me wrong in the bedroom. He must be my dangerous soul mate, if vampires have souls."
This Stookie Stackhouse character is just as naive as whats-her-face from Twilight, and she's supposed to be an adult? She can't even talk about sex without turning purple with embarrassment, and every time someone looks at her funny she bursts into tears.