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Showing posts from January, 2014

[Book Review] Playing the Whore

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Playing the Whore : The Work of Sex Work / Melissa Gira Grant (Powell's Books)

Grant has written a treatise on sex work, workers, and the legal, social, and political issues surrounding the industry.  Playing the Whore is about the people and the lives they live, not just the sex they sell, and the sociopolitical pressures they face as organizations who try to outlaw and "redeem" them.  Well written and well informed, Playing the Whore brings a light to parts of sex work we don't see in the news.

Advanced Reader Copy copy courtesy of Netgalley; differences may exist between uncorrected galley text and the final edition.

[Book Review] Daddy

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Daddy : a memoir / Madison Young

Daddy is a book about growth, relationships, and self discovery.  Unlike most books on these topics, this one happens to be told by a world renown kink performer and porn star.  Reading Madison's story is voyeuristic, the words on the page a peephole into incredibly intimate and personal areas of her life.  The story will likely make you squirm, though it could be from discomfort or arousal, it may leave you confused, curious, interested, or disgusted.  Madison admits blind spots and flaws, and speaks frankly about the different areas of her life.

I recommend this book for people interested in gender and relationship politics, about what it could mean to live an alternative lifestyle, and people curious about Madison's life when she is not on camera or on stage.  If you open this book, keep an open mind about what you find on the pages.

Advanced Reader Copy copy courtesy of Netgalley; differences may exist between uncorrected galley text and the …

[Book Review] The Forever Watch

The Forever Watch / David Ramirez

Earth is dead, uninhabitable, gone.  Humans are making their way across the galaxy in a century spanning journey in the star ship ark Noah.  Genetic tinkering, mutation, and technology have changed the face of humanity, manifestations of psi abilities and distinct breeds of humans are the norm.  A mysterious death leads to the discovery of a history of unsettling events, grisly disappearances, and evidence of a cover-up by the highest levels of government.  What they find may endanger not only life as they know it, but endanger the survival of the entire human race.

A science-fiction thriller where a misstep may end mankind's last journey.

~*~

 The Forever Watch has a few issues.  While many authors have beautifully worked multiple related strands into a cohesive story, The Forever Watch falls short.    There are several important storylines that fight for dominance rather than work in concert to smoothly further the plot.

The story takes some tim…

OverDrive audio books to be solely MP3

OverDrive announces plan for audiobooks to be solely available in MP3 format

This is pretty big.  Currently there are various splits in titles you can borrow from OverDrive.  Books you can read on any device and books you can read on any book but Kindle.  Audiobooks you can listen to on any device (MP3) or audio books that you can only listen to on your computer or transfer to WMA compatible devices.  What makes me particularly happy is they are working to get the titles that libraries have purchased as WMA available in MP3.

Now, I don't know about most people, but I largely listen to audio books while I am driving... which does not do me a whole lot of good when I cannot listen to the book on any of the mobile devices I own (and know where they are... I miss you my sturdy little MP3 player).  Yes, a number of the WMA format audio books could be burned to CD, but when you get to books that are more than 200 pages long it gets really inconvenient. 

Say I'm on my tablet looking…

Virtual Speculation

I read a lot of books.  Some where in the range of 125-150 at minimum every year.  The topics and quality ranges all over the place, but my preference tends to lean towards the various sub-genres of Speculative Fiction.  I don't think that Sci Fi and Fantasy novels are automatically fluff, there are some absolutely amazing books in those genres.  They often also have some very interesting points of discussion woven in.

So to that end I've started an online virtual book club, Virtual Speculation, with a reading list for the rest of the year.  Right now the book club is a Facebook group, but we'll see how that works long run.  I have read many of the titles, and all of the choices stood out to me in some way.  The titles include high fantasy, hard science fiction, fable, near future, far future, and other facets of speculative fiction.

Reading List for 2014

February: The Last Unicorn / Peter S. Beagle
March: Nexus / Ramez Naam
April: Alif: the Unseen / A. Willow Wilson
May:…

[Book Review] A Steampunk's Guide to Sex

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A Steampunk's Guide to Sex / Professor Calamity, Alan Moore, Luna Celeste, & others (Combustion Books)
Prostitution, pornography, sex toys, dirty stories, BDSM, gay New York, can-can dancers, strippers,
tight-laced corsets, prudery, polyamory, consent, venereal diseases, piercings, birth control, aphrodisiacs, creepers, floggers, steam-powered vibrators, sex slang—mad historian Professor Calamity and his assembled crew of steampunk authors, artists, and performers share everything you want to know, and more, about sex under the reign of Victoria and sex in our modern subculture. This is a fascinating little book, a mix of the modern and the historical.  We tend to view our preceeding generations as generally prudish and puritan (especially when you live in a state founded by Puritans), but people have been getting it on and getting off for centuries, and not just for procreation.  As Heinlein said "Each generation thinks it invented sex; each generation is totally…

[Book Review] The Furies

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The Furies / Mark Alpert
For centuries, the Furies have lived among us. Long ago they were called witches and massacred by the thousands. But they’re human just like us, except for a rare genetic mutation that they’ve hidden from the rest of the world for hundreds of years.

Now, a chance encounter with a beautiful woman named Ariel has led John Rogers into the middle of a secret war among the Furies. Ariel needs John’s help in the battle between a rebellious faction of the clan and their elders. The grand prize in this war is a chance to remake the human race.

For fans of Michael Crichton, Justin Cronin, and Stephen King, The Furies weaves cutting-edge science into an ingenious thriller, showing how a simple genetic twist could have inspired tales of witchcraft and sorcery, and how the paranormal could indeed be possible. A family of genetically divergent women have lived among us for thousands of years, their rapid healing and long life marking them as targets of fear and …

[Book Review] Witch Hunt

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Witch Hunt : A Preternatural Affair's Novel / SM Reine
There are scratches on Cèsar Hawke’s arms, a discharged Glock on his coffee table, and a dead woman in his bathtub. Yeah, maybe he brought the waitress home for some fun—he was too drunk to remember it—but he knows for a fact that he didn’t kill her. He’s an agent with the Office of Preternatural Affairs. He doesn’t hurt people. He saves them.

The cops disagree. Now Cèsar is running.

Isobel Stonecrow speaks with the dead. She brings closure to the bereaved and heals broken hearts. But when she talks to the wrong spirit, the OPA puts a bounty on her head.

Tracking down Isobel is the last case assigned to Cèsar before he bolts. If he finds her, he can prove that he didn’t kill that waitress. He can clear his name, get his job back, and bring justice to all those wronged families.

She’s just one witch. He’s bagged a dozen witches before.

How hard can one more be? Cèsar is your average witch working to protect the average citizen …

[Book Review] Control

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Control / Charlotte Stein (Powell's Books)

When Madison Morris decides to hire an assistant to help run her naughty bookshop, she gets a lot more than she bargained for. Two very different men are vying for the position...and a whole lot more.

Andy excites her into grasping control, while Gabriel shows her how freeing it can be to just let go. Soon the lines are blurring and Madison is no longer sure who's leading and who's following. In the midst of kinky threesomes and power plays, can she’ll have to finally decide what--and who--she really wants.
Um, wow.  This is the book for the person who thinks that erotica isn't worth their time because it's not pornographic enough.  There is technically a plot, but it's more of an excuse for all the rampant wild sex shenanigans.  And they are rather hot and steamy.

A note to the reader, if you're not used to British slang you might get thrown off at a few points.

The premise is incredibly weak, though I lov…

[Book Review] Devil at the Crossroads

Devil at the Crossroads / Cornelia Grey

So as it turns out, when insomnia hits and I start browsing NetGalley at 3 am for something to read I end up with some random smut in the mix.  I'm also behind on my reviews, so this and my next review are on books with naughty times.

A man meets a devil at the crossroads at midnight to sell his soul to be a great blues musician and fame.  Six years later he has squandered his fame and the devil has come to collect his due.  Our musician learns a little about the importance of exact wording, is had seven ways from Sunday by a devil for one night, then sent back out into the world to become an actual great bluesman with little more than the clothes on his back and the guitar in his hand for the rest of his mortal life.

I think my favorite part was the play with word choices and bargain fulfillment.  Definitely a bit naughty, but to be honest, I expected a story where a devil uses someone as their sex slave (even if just for one night) to be f…

[Book Review] Red Rising

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Red Rising / Pierce Brown (Powell's Books)

Red Rising reads as if Spartacus was blended with The Hunger Games.  Our protagonist, Darrow is a young man of low caste, who believes that his hard labor is helping build Mars into a world that can one day be truly liveable and colonized.  Life is not wonderful - in fact the living conditions are down right oppressive, but he's young, in love, and good at what he does.  Then life as he knows it is stripped away from him and he escapes with his life only because rebels want to make use of him.

So in the hands of the Sons of Ares, feared terrorists and rebels against the slavery of society, Darrow learns his whole life has been a lie.  He his work has nothing to do with bringing about the terraformation of Mars, its been terraformed for centuries, with the highest castes living lives of obscene decadence.  His caste are nothing more than slaves who execute the backbreaking and undesirable physical labor.  He takes it about as well as he…