Posts filed under ‘Books’
I read Pleasure Unbound as part of the Virginal Fantasy book club. I read it after the group had, but that was my library’s fault. So there. I don’t often post reviews of the scifi erotic type of books that I read because they are all very similar and I read a lot of books so culling out the scifi erotica on my to do list has made the list much more manageable. However, lately my reading has decreased significantly and so culling is not as necessary, plus I thought this series had some unique aspects to it.
She’s a demon-slayer who hungers for sensual pleasure-but fears it will always be denied her. Until Tayla Mancuso lands in a hospital run by demons in disguise, and the head doctor, Eidolon, makes her body burn with unslakable desire. But to prove her ultimate loyalty to her peers, she must betray the surgeon who saved her life.
I liked how demonic did not necessarily equal bad. It reminded me of Whedon’s show Angel. Demonic is more similar to alien than necessarily evil. They even have an underground network to take care of each other, including the aforementioned hospital. The hospital has a spell on it so creatures who normally don’t get along can’t fight each other there. It reminds me of Lorne’s karaoke bar on Angel. I dislike that the brothers are exempted from the no fighting rule, seems an unnecessary exemption, the author just wanting to write some fight scenes. If you are the models for the demon society, maybe you should be modeling peaceful interactions? But what do I know.
The demon slayer is your typical, I don’t really know what’s going on, type of characters. But I did like that when she begins to understand how her organization may be corrupt she investigates further and wants more knowledge. She doesn’t stick her head in the sand. The sex scenes are appropriately power struggle filled, but didn’t really stick out in my head. Honestly, the book would have been fine without them.
In my mind this series is part of the Buffy/Angel universe, just a part we never heard about before. It has some similar organizations and story line aspects to Whedon’s shows. It was enjoyable and I plan on reading more of the series.
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein will be going on my all time favorite books I read in 2013. It is a deliciously written, heart wrenching tale, of women working for the British War Effort. An historical fictitious tale, Wein writes the struggles of two friends as they help their country in a time of need. The story is written from both girls’ perspectives, and I guess it could also be termed an epistolary tale, as it is told from the letters one girl writes and the reports another girl writes.
I don’t want to give too much away, because the story reveals itself beautifully, in a complicated and wonderful voice. But I will say that I enjoyed that the story was told from two different perspectives, and Wein did a great job of making their way of writing completely different. I really felt I knew the girls because of the way they wrote and from the perspective of the other person writing about them.
I haven’t read a lot of historical fiction lately, because it often is so much about the history that the story is lost and the voices of the characters and their emotions are lost. But, if this is the start of a new and fresh take on historical fictions, I may reconvert to reading the genre again. I recommend picking up this book even if historical fiction or young adult fiction are not your normal cup of tea. This is just a really good book and reaches past the boxes it has been labeled as, and tells a wonderful heartbreaking story.
io9′s top 10 science fiction TV spin offs that were great in their own right. Such as Xena. Booyah!
How cool is this flexible seating? Pretty cool. However, I’m not sure how comfortable it would be. It looks like cardboard.
Now for some cool book stuff. Like this pretty pretty book land! Or a cool mobile library. A great photo of raining books. I hope no books were harmed in the production of this photo. All of these cool book things were found on Ned Hayes Pinterest boards. You should go follow him.
I may need to take these kid geeky costumes a little more seriously now that I have a four year old in my daily life. This R2D2 Princess costume is adorbs.
Check out this 3doodler, a 3d printing pen that is totally awesome. I WANT ONE!!!
Nerdy Love Song with Kitten Bombing. This video is just too cute for words. [via The Mary Sue]
Austenland is being made into a movie. This looks cute. I do really like Kerry Russell. [via The Mary Sue]
Agents of Shield, the spin-off from the Avengers because Agent Coulsen is the BOMB! Gah, I think I’m drooling!
Old Boy remake Starring Josh Brolin, Samuel L. Jackson, Elizabeth Olsen and Sharlto Copley. The problem with these type of movies is that I really want to watch them to find out the mystery aspect of the movie but I have to keep my eyes closed for much of it, because there is a lot of graphic violence. Also, there is some nudity. So the trailer is NSFW.
I’ve just read Cinder and Scarlet by Marissa Meyer and I’m in love. While I was writing my review, I got an urge to look up some fan art on this unique fairy tale reimagining, and I found some excellent pieces of art on the interwebs. I recommend picking up Cinder and going to town on this series!!
Ink and watercolor rendition of Cinder in her shop, really great artwork here!
Scarlet Benoit, looking mysterious and sexy. Just how I imagine her.
Scarlet Benoit, looking dangerous. I really want her hoodie even though I never wear red because I don’t think it looks great with my complexion.
And because, history and cool pictures, a copper engraving of a Cyborg from the 1500s for your viewing pleasure.
I was happy to discover that I had won Cinder by Marissa Meyer in an online giveaway because I had been wanting to read the book for a while, but hadn’t gotten my hands on a copy yet. I tried not to get too excited, though I’d heard so many good things about the book, because I didn’t want to be disappointed if it wasn’t as good as I had heard. Well, I failed, I got way excited and then way relieved because it was every bit as good as other people had told me. Cinder is a fairy tale retelling of the classic Cinderella story, but this one has cyborgs, plagues, and a Moon Queen threatens the Earth’s existance!!!
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.
This book has all sorts of elements that I absolutely adore. It had cool sci/fi centered around androids and cyborgs, a dystopian future because of a plague, and a really cool take on retelling fairy tales. I really enjoy robots in stories and I can see this type of future existing at some point. Cinder is a cyborg, she was in a terrible accident when she was younger and a lot of her bodily parts were replaced with robotic parts, and she has some sort of cyborg interface in her brain. I love that she uses her robotic parts and cyborg interface to be the best mechanic in the city. I like that her job is dirty and greasy and not a usual occupation for female protagonists. I also was intrigued with the social dynamics between people who had robotic parts (cyborgs) and humans without such parts. Because of the social structure creed by royalty cyborgs are treated as less than human and only slightly better than androids. Social stature depends upon being free of the plague and being free of robotic parts. The treatment Cinder receives because of some of her parts is sadly dehumanizing and a great commentary and what makes us human. Is it our parts? Or something more?
I also love dystopian future tales. Here an extremely contagious plague is sweeping earth, decimating the population, and there appears to be no cure in sight. Cinder becomes involved in trying to find a cure and it all has something to do with the evil Lunar Queen (in my mind she looks like a bee). I enjoyed the origin story of the plague that plays out over the course of the series. It had some elements that reminded me of other stories, in particular The Knife of Never Letting Go, but at the same time was a unique history for the world that Meyer’s created.
But my favorite element in this book was the retelling of the classic fairy tale. Not only is the setting modern, but it is futuristic. Yet, Meyer’s has many little throw backs to the original tale, that if you catch are quite charmingly funny. For example, Cinder finds a beat up old orange VW Bug that she wants to fix up to get away from her stepmother. Her android helper is not so excited about the mechanics of the car, “I’m not sure I would label it a ‘survivor,’” said Iko, her sensor darkening with disgust. “It looks more like a rotting pumpkin.” It’s little pieces of prose like that which show Meyer’s carefully structured wording, world building, and sense of storytelling.
If you enjoy dystopian futuristic stories with cyborgs based on fairy tales, beautiful prose, and story telling that delves into social structures and what it means to be human, check out Marissa Meyer’s Cinder.
Trained since childhood in advanced biocyph seed technology by the all-powerful Crib empire, Edie’s mission is to terraform alien worlds while her masters bleed the outlawed Fringe populations dry. When renegade mercenaries kidnap Edie, she’s not entirely sure it’s a bad thing . . . until they leash her to a bodyguard, Finn—a former freedom fighter-turned-slave, beaten down but never broken. If Edie strays from Finn’s side, he dies. If she doesn’t cooperate, the pirates will kill them both.
But Edie’s abilities far surpass anything her enemies imagine. And now, with Finn as her only ally as the merciless Crib closes in, she’ll have to prove it or die on the site of her only failure . . . a world called Scarabaeus.
I read Song of Scarabaeus by Sara Creasy as part of the Vaginal Fantasy’s book club selection and got my copy from the library. Usually the Vaginal Fantasy selections have one book that is heavy on the sexy times and one book that is heavy on the scif/fantasy and this was the book that was heavy on a scifi plot. I just give this warning, because when I pick up what looks like its a light fun urban fantasy book that mayhaps have a sex scene or two and I find myself reading some nitty-gritty biology (the author has a background in it) and there is like one or two kissing scenes, and I don’t get what I expected, I’m a tad disappointed. If I had understood there were be very little sexy times and I was going to learn about terraforming, and wettech verses hardware and electrical pulses that tether people together and biocyph technology I maybe could have wrapped my mind around the story a little bit quicker.
The author does an excellent job of setting up the world that all of this takes place in. The different planets visited are detailed and have their own personality. The crew/pirates are unique and interesting. I also like the different ships that are used. One of the secondary characters is a pilot and she is all about the ships and made them interesting without a lot of info dump. I also found all the techy stuff cool, up to a certain point. Then when things go haywire (sometimes literally) I would loose some interest. I tried to imagine what all the nerve synapsis were doing and I lost track along the way and then boom, there is a consequence and its awesome and maybe there should be an imaging aid for this book and my mind would have to imagine how another mind with cybertechnology in it works (you know like how they follow through the body in shows like CSI or House).
I also thought the main characters were interesting and I liked how their backgrounds were revealed, but I thought it would have made for a more interesting story if that had been the main plotline and the seeding of planets had been the secondary plot instead of the other way around. I would consider this more hardcore sci/fi because of that, where I prefer urban fantasy with the relationship as the main focus. For example, the author basically skims over the male protagonists background, yet the female falls for him and we are supposed to too? Because he’s a good guy? Because he has a sad past? I never felt particularly emotionally connected to him, not even as much as I felt towards a planet!
However, Edie’s background is delved into with greater detail, and I really appreciated that, because I felt like I knew where she was coming from. Edie is an awesome character. She is so strong! I liked that she was a strong character mentally, and didn’t have to run around in leather with knives to fit into a masculine idea of strength to be considered strong. She has basically a computer brain and has this really cool job terraforming planets, with her brain, and then when she realizes she’s been used as a tool she decides to do something about it. Edie is a really cool character!
There are some really strong elements to this book. It has a really good solid plot, interesting biology related science fiction, and a strong female character. If you like strong science/fiction oriented stories with interesting characters you should check out Song of Scarabaeus.
I loved the Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. I thought it was an amazing story with a really interesting mythology. Here is a sample of the audiobook available on Audible. I may need to get it and listen to this story again.
*I got this book through my Amazon Kindle App for free
**Usually I keep this blog PG-13 friendly with the occasional NSFW link thrown in. Today, I talk a little more grown up. If you don’t want to read that stuff or are too young to decide this on your own please check out some of my other posts. May I suggest searching for Doctor Who. That should keep you entertained for a while!
***Spoilers on the romantic aspects of this story*** (I almost didn’t put this. This is a romance book, if you are really upset by these spoilers I suggest not reading reviews.)
I’m a big fan of the romance genre. I like reading about people working on relationships, the good and the bad. I’m not even turned off by bad and cheesy hand holding book covers. However, even though this book was free, I felt it didn’t do the romance genre justice. Usually I try to avoid writing reviews about books I don’t like because, I figure, just because I didn’t like it doesn’t mean someone else won’t like it, and I can’t write really funny bad reviews like this one, so I just refuse to rate them and spend my time reviewing them. But, a couple of things stuck in my claw about this book, and I wanted to say a few things. And this is my blog, and I can do that.
Here is the GoodReads synopsis of Love in Bloom:
Dr. Paige Conrad needs Clay Reynolds’ help. However, he can’t give it because she and the rest of the town of Langley, Maryland, might discover his secret. Clay has no memory of the first 25 years of his life. The past and his father’s rejection is behind him. Digging it up brings back nightmare he has fought for ten years to control. After spending three years in underdeveloped countries following her parents vision of healing, Paige has come to Langley to gain perspective on her life and help an old friend with his medical practice. Learning Clay was involved in a rock climbing accident and went through the rehabilitation process, she wants him to share his experience with a trouble teenager to give the boy hope.
Paige and Clay are inexorably drawn to each other. But can Clay trust Paige and share his secret? Can Paige dare to follow her own dreams.
Sounds interesting right? Someone with a medical problem, retrograde amnesia. A doctor trying to figure out who she is, and where she belongs in this world. A couple of subplots about old friends and a troubled teenager. The makings of a decent romance novel right there. Where the book fails is in its execution of its own characters. I felt like the author thought, what are some cute ways a couple could be forced to spend time together, wrote those moments, and then wrote filler paragraphs in between the moments she wanted to write about. Character development throughout was rather poor, but then she would have these really sweet moments. A book, life! (and art of any form is a reflection of life), is more than a few sweet moments. Plus, thunderstorms or overbearing mother are not conflict unless there is a reason for them other than, oh I guess there should be conflict in this moment. It would have been awesome if Paige and her mother had a really well drawn out back story, if there had been more than a few paragraphs about their relationship before the drama of it, if her mother hadn’t shown up out of the blue, left when it was convenient for the author and then showed back up again when, hey I guess there should be conflict here. Life and stories aren’t just about the big moments and waiting in between, life is actually what happens in the between moments, in the quiet and the stillness, and the reflection of who we are as people.
But, OK, I’ve read plenty of romance novels where the characters are not fully fleshed out, but still enjoyed the book, so why did this one not reach that level of such badness it was awesome? Well, perhaps because they were not fully *fleshed out*, hehehehe. (Sorry, sometimes I can’t help myself.) I’m going to spoil something here, Paige is a virgin. Oh LAWDY, clutch my pearls and gasp, this was soooo unexpected. While, I think it is fair to say American’s have a very puritanical view of sex (seeing as many of us came from puritans, I personally came from a religious sect called the Anabaptist, so same difference), she grew up a nomad surrounded by many different cultures. Even though she has not grown up in American she holds on to those puritanical views, even though she went to med school in Chicago and was away from parental supervision for years! Now, I’m not knocking those people who choose to wait until the time is right for them to express their own sexuality, but it is a weird phenomenon in the romance genre that virginity is held up to be this kind of holy grail. I personally don’t believe that is true or realistic. And I really felt it detracted from the story rather than added to the plot. Paige becomes even more aloof than she already is because she hasn’t been with a man yet. While virginity is a spectrum concept and everyone has their own version of what it means, it appears Paige hasn’t even done much kissing! (Which is just a shame.) As a result Paige she doesn’t know how to deal with men other than a lot of begging, getting upset, and then ignoring them. Blech.
Ok, so we have virginal sex, which doesn’t do much for me in the way of epic romances or doing the grown up in books. But then she has awesome sex on the first try. Which isn’t even described in any detail. I just. What? No one I have ever talked to has had an AWESOME first time experience. Having good sex takes practice and learning to understand the partner that you are with. It means discussing the grown up while having clothes on, expressing desires and wants, and being vulnerable. Paige does none of these things and has awesome sex that is less than a paragraph long.
So on top of underdeveloped characters, the virginity holy grail issue (that I admit, may be solely my own issue), the romance has unrealistic sexual encounters that aren’t even written with any detail. Furthermore, they do not add to the plot except to teach that virginity loss leads to marriage. ::Headdesk:: No decent plot line, little to no sexy times, I mean what *should* I be looking for in a romance book but these things?
Is this a horrible book? Not by any means. The writing isn’t too bad, and I think the characters have potential. However, the story has some holes and the characters are underdeveloped. In addition, Paige suffers from the virginity holy grail plot device and the sexy times are unrealistic and not very sexy. In the end, the best I can say is that this is not the greatest book I’ve ever read.
*I read this book on my Amazon Kindle app after seeing that it was a free download.
Life isn’t bad for psychic Jolie Wilkins. True, she doesn’t have a love life to speak of, but she has a cute house in the suburbs of Los Angeles, a cat and a quirky best friend.
Enter Rand Balfour, a sinfully attractive warlock who insists she’s a witch and who just might turn her life upside down. Rand hires her to help him solve a mystery regarding the death of his client who also happens to be a ghost. Jolie not only uncovers the cause of the ghost’s demise but, in the process, she brings him back to life!
I’m picky about what I download and spend my time reading, even if it is free. I was hoping Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble by H.P. Mallory would be a fun quick read with a light romance and some interesting supernatural elements, and I was not disappointed. I enjoy reading about psychics because I find them fascinating. Typical of a first book in this type of series, Jolie does not know how powerful of a psychic she is and must discover how to believe in herself. While I was expecting this behavior, I prefer when female characters know who they are a little more than Jolie does. But as the book progresses she quickly adapts to the situation, something atypical of this type of series, so I applaud her resolve and reactions to the crazy that starts happening. The quirky best friend is a typical Judy Greer role (in my head she’s Judy Greer not Christa, so I will be calling her Judy). Judy is sexually liberated, unlike Jolie, but she’s also a ditz and she kind of takes advantage of Jolie and the situation. She has some endearing qualities and I understand why the author keeps her around, but at times I wondered why Jolie kept her around.
Rand is the typical male lead with lots of repressed heat and mystery. I know I keep saying typical, but it was pretty much what I expected, so I wasn’t disappointed by it. I was a little disappointed at Rand’s lack of character growth or development in the story, there isn’t even much in the way of background as to why he is the way he is. I think even a little of this and the story would have been just that much better. The way the character develops also made me re-realize that this is the first in a series. While I appreciate that authors know they have a span they can spin their story along, his character felt slightly underdeveloped and because of this the ending was rather abrupt. However, the magic he was able to do was very cool and Mallory has a universe with set rules that she adheres to and makes her tension revolve around. I enjoyed that a lot. I also like her writing, it was easy and fun without being pandering or poor writing. Sometimes these light urban fantasy novels aren’t the best written and I wonder if most ebooks ever even get an editor, but not with Mallory’s writing. I was engrossed in the magic and ghosts and vampires, oh my!, the entire time.
I also enjoyed the different settings the characters explore from Los Angeles to Chicago to England, this story spans time and space and I thought that was great. Jolie is a fun character who learns to stand up for herself and I always give that a thumb up! I wish the main characters of series like this would be as sexually liberated as their Judy Greer sidekicks, but if wishes were horses we’d all eat steak (that’s a Firefly reference, I’ve never eaten horse). Rand’s mystery was frustrating at times, but also exciting and sexy. A fun read involving vampires, warlocks, and psychics, Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble has cool characters, fun locale, and an interesting world to explore.