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Showing posts from April, 2014

[Book Review] The Profesional

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The Professional / Kresley Cole (Powell's Books)

After reading and reviewing Parts I and III, I finally was able to both review Part II and read The Professional in completion.
The highly anticipated complete novel of The Professional—the first installment in #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole’s scorching Game Maker series, an erotica collection that has readers asking: How hot is too hot? I'd say The Professional could be considered rather hot, though for some reason I thought it was an incredibly racy romance novel rather than straight up erotica.  I guess that wins the book points for plot?

Natalie Porter is an intelligent and lovely woman, juggling three part time jobs while working on her PhD in history.  Men, dating, and drama?  She does not have time for that (and besides, thanks to the growth in women-positive porn and sex toy shops, she can take care of that basic itch on her own).  She works hard, and while occasionally lonely for an intimate companion,…

[Book Review] Cipher

Cipher / S. E. Bennett (Powell's Books)

Cipher Omega is brilliant, but her curiosity, dyslexia, and ability to experience the full range of human emotions, including anger and aggression, mark her as a failure among the community of clones she lives within.  Extraordinary by any other standard, she alone dreams of life above, pictured only through the limited feeds shown to the residents of the Basement, the world that benefits from the technology and scientific advances developed by the docile but brilliant clones.

Then one day the feeds are hacked, showing a masked man talking about the lies of the government instead of the happy families and green fields, followed by the literal explosion of the only world Cipher has ever known.

She wakes up in a hospital, reeling from shock and agoraphobia, suddenly famous as the only survivor of community that no one new existed.  The world that she has arrived in is nothing like what she was shown, and she doesn't know this world's r…

[Book Review] Jacob Smith is Incredibly Average

Jacob Smith is Incredibly Average / Erin Hayes

Jacob Smith truly is an average boy.  He's not really horrible at anything, but never really shines.  No matter how hard he studies he never manages to be more than a B student.  His skills at football will never stand up to the extraordinary talent of dedicated athletes.  Even what he likes can be considered average.  Life's still has its ups and downs, the joys of teenaged hormones and high school bullies in particular stand out, but nothing exciting or out of the ordinary happens in Jacob's life.

Then the dreams start, nothing too weird, but enough to leave Jacob unsettled, and what follows is a cascade of changes turning Jacob's life upside-down.  It turns out that a race of aliens have plans for Earth, plans that do not fare well for the survival of humanity, and the key to their machinations is a specific human specimen, the most average person in the world.

Suddenly being average is not quite so average anymore.



Jaco…

[Book Review] Fool's Assassin

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Fool's Assassin (Realm of the Elderlings: Fitz and the Fool Trilogy) / Robin Hobb (Powell's Books)

For those who know FitzChivalry Farseer, this novel is a must.
FitzChivalry—royal bastard and former king’s assassin—has left his life of intrigue behind. As far as the rest of the world knows, FitzChivalry Farseer is dead and buried. Masquerading as Tom Badgerlock, Fitz is now married to his childhood sweetheart, Molly, and leading the quiet life of a country squire.

Though Fitz is haunted by the disappearance of the Fool, who did so much to shape Fitz into the man he has become, such private hurts are put aside in the business of daily life, at least until the appearance of menacing, pale-skinned strangers casts a sinister shadow over Fitz’s past . . . and his future.

Now, to protect his new life, the former assassin must once again take up his old one. . . . Fitz has grown up from the boy we first meet in Assassin's Apprentice, and has left the life he lived in the…

[Book Review] Mistress of Night and Dawn

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Mistress of Night and Dawn : An Eighty Days Novel / Vina Jackson (Powell's Books)

When encountering a novel that is touted as "Bared to You meets The Night Circus" I expect beautiful poetic prose, magical romance, and some raunchy smut.  Let's modernize some D. H. Lawrence and go wild.

The prose was lovely but also confusing, passages made obtuse through questionable word use (for example, "As if aspirated by their wake, Ange felt obliged to follow them").  The sex failed to leave an impression.  I know there were acts that titillated the characters and made them feel strong longing, arousal, passion, mind-shattering orgasms.  But I have to actually think to come up with scenes with explicit descriptions of the carnal acts the participants engage in.  A number of scenes left me trying to figure out the physical mechanics and unable to think of a way that people could actually accomplish the acts described without the ability to phase shift.

Mistress of Night …

[Book Review] Losing It

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Losing It : How We Popped Our Cherry Over the Last 80 Years / Kate Monro (Powell's Books)
In an increasingly sexualised world, how we lose our virginity remains an untold story. Inspired by her Cosmopolitan award-nominated blog, The Virginity Project, Kate Monro sets out to ask men and women from every walk of life, how did it happen for you? Losing It brings together an astonishing collection of stories.

From the experiences of Edna, who lost her virginity in 1940 aged 25, to Charlie, a young, disabled punk rocker whose first-time experience many able-bodied people would envy, Kate reveals the poignant, funny and often surprising truth about other people’s most intimate sexual stories. Reminiscent on some level of My Secret Garden, Losing It tells stories of discovering sexuality and intimacy over the years.  The chapters are loosely categorized into different scopes of experience and discussions of virginity, in particular the range of what people define as loss of virgin…

[Book Review] The Truth About Alice

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The Truth About Alice / Jennifer Mathieu (Powell's Books)
Everyone knows Alice slept with two guys at one party. When Healy High star quarterback, Brandon Fitzsimmons, dies in a car crash, it was because he was sexting with Alice. Ask anybody.  Rumor has it Alice Franklin is a slut. It's written all over the "slut stall" in the girls' bathroom: "Alice had sex in exchange for math test answers" and "Alice got an abortion last semester." After Brandon dies, the rumors start to spiral out of control. In this remarkable debut novel, four Healy High students tell all they "know" about Alice--and in doing so reveal their own secrets and motivations, painting a raw look at the realities of teen life. But in this novel from Jennifer Mathieu, exactly what is the truth about Alice? In the end there's only one person to ask: Alice herself.The Truth About Alice tells a story about adolescences and rumors.  We learn Alice's stor…

[Book Review] Debbie Doesn't Do It Anymore

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Debbie Doesn't Do It Anymore / Walter Mosley (Powell's Books)

I'm left feeling conflicted about this book, and I can't say whether I liked it or not.  There is nothing wrong with Mosley's prose or his pacing.  The exact passage of time is a little difficult to follow, but since we're following the story of someone in a state of emotional shock and turmoil, this lack of temporal grounding fits.

Debbie Doesn't Do It Anymore evokes memories of the "golden age of porn" - thoughts of Debbie Does Dallas rise to the surface just from the title, and a director named Linda Love makes one think of Linda Lovelace in a moment of painful irony.  The problem is that these names come with expectations and that have little to do with the story beyond a connection to pornography.  As a reader I found this dissonance jarring and distracting from the story itself.

Then comes the concept of Debbie Dare herself, a veteran of adult films at 31, and with over a decade in …

[Book Review] The Fan Fiction Studies Reader

The Fan Fiction Studies Reader / Karen Hellekson and Kristina Busse (eds.)

The Fan Fiction Studies Reader is a scholarly look at the who, what, and why's of fan-fiction.  The authors look at reasons fans create these works, be it reflections of gender politics, personal expression, or literary explorations.  Even beyond that the authors look at the development and growth of fan fiction, and the relationships between the fans, the shows, and the producers.  The authors touch on different areas of fandom, but most commonly discuss the body of work of Kirk/Spock fan fiction.

An interesting read, both for those curious about fan fiction and those part of fan fiction communities.

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

Link Smorgasbord, March 2014

Should You Sue Your eBook Reviewers?
I mean besides the gut response of "no" or "are you shitting me?" in response to that question, the article itself is pretty well written.  In the past year I've begun following a number of reviewers who have sharp wit and don't pull their punches when reviewing books.  During this time I've come across some incredibly poor behavior on the parts of authors who attack these reviewers for their very well thought out and explained reviews.  There are now a number of authors I don't intend to read because of their behavior in this regard.  Yes, getting negative reviews sucks, but calling someone a troll for a reasoned review does not end well, and I find that reading the negative reviews to often be just as informative as the positive ones.

The Rebranding Of SOPA: Now Called 'Notice And Staydown'
I'm not sure if anyone is surprised that they're trying again.

After Building A Powerful Recommendation Sy…