Adult, Books

Mini Used Book Haul~!

So if you saw my Monday Musing post you would know that I got a new job at a library.  I am starting my life as an actual full fledged adult.  As a reward to myself for doing something terrifying and putting myself out there for a job that I honestly thought I had no chance at all in getting (that I ended up getting!) I bought a few books.  I spent $12 on all of these so you can’t blame me too much.  It was buy 4 get the 5th free.  Who wouldn’t get stuff at those prices?

284066Alright I lied, this one I bought full price, well with my sweet, sweet Barnes and Noble Employee discount, but I swear all the rest of the books on this list were second hand.  Promise. The Wind Up Bird Chronicle has been going around booktube lately and it was one of the Murakami books that caught my eye.  I think Kafka on the Shore is still my current favorite but I have been collecting his other books in order to see whether or not there is something better.  This one might be a contender. We shall see.  This is such a beautiful copy and I had to have it.  I swear, pretty things will be the death of me.

16481836The next book actually counted as three because it is split up into 3 volumes.  2666 is often considered Roberto Bolaño’s best work.  I have been endeavoring to read more translated fiction and this has been one that I have wanted for a while.  When I saw all three parts sitting on that shelf I knew I had to get it even if it meant I would get 2 fewer books in the deal.  It is rumored that there was another part that Bolaño didn’t finish before he died.  I know it will be life changing whenever I get around to reading it, but again, three volumes, its huge.  I am still intimidated by big books.  This is something I definitely need to get over, especially since a number of the books on this list are quite large.

10357575Speaking of books published in volumes… also Murakami, IQ84 is also on this list!  I told you I was collecting his other notable works!  This is the bind up edition so I didn’t have to lose precious book counts with it but it is a huge book because of it.  I feel a little like breaking it down into volumes would make it easier to get through, because you feel like you are getting somewhere faster, I’m not sure.  In any case, another book I have of Murakami’s that I hope to get to.  I might have to dedicate a month this year to Murakami, who knows?

9328The House of the Spirits is the next book on this list.  Again, translated fiction!  I was so glad to see all of these great works by authors who speak other languages.  Isabel Allende is another big name in Spanish Speaking Literature.  I think this is her most popular work, or perhaps her most known in the English speaking sphere.  In any case I know it follows several generations of one family and has magical realism elements.  All things I like to read about so it was an easy pick!  Perhaps, as well as a dedicated month to Murakami I should do a dedicated month to translated works, although I think I have been doing a pretty good job of spreading those out this year.  I’ve already read several.

20312470The Storied Life of A.J. Fickery is one that I have heard much talk about.  Its a New York Time’s Bestseller so I know its popular.  I am not entirely sure what the plot of this one is, but I’m sure it follows A.J. Fikry around.  Sometimes I succumb to hype too guys.  I don’t know the plot though, so I can’t be too hyped.  In any case we shall see what I think of this one.  It was less than $2 so it was probably one of the free ones I got from the second hand store.  It couldn’t hurt.

Niffenegger_TTW_mech.inddOne of my closest friends in high school read this book and she really loved it so again, when I saw it and it was so cheap I had to pick it up.  The Time Traveler’s Wife is, as you would expect, a love story involving a time traveler, but from my understanding his time traveling is random and against his will.  I’m not sure exactly how the mechanics work but magical realism and a love story.  Let’s see how this one goes.  I bet it will be interesting if nothing else.  I trust her opinion in any case.

374147Now this is a book I already own.  So why did I pick up a second copy of Memoirs of a Geisha?  Because my original copy, also bought second hand but by my mother years ago, was missing the last two chapters.  Who would cut out the last two chapters of a book.  In any case I wanted a whole copy for my collection and I like this cover a bit better.  My other copy was the mass market paperback with the painted geisha face.  This one is much nicer in my opinion.  I’m thinking of doing a Flicks episode on this one because I have yet to see the film and I might reread it before watching it as well.  We shall see.

43641Water for Elephants is a book that I have wanted for a while.  I have not seen the film and yet I was intrigued.  A story that takes place in a circus.  Um, yes?  I hadn’t read many circus books in a while when Gretchen and I read The Gracekeepers and realized that I do enjoy the ambiance they give off.  I’m not sure whether this one will have the same feel but its always an interesting idea.  Who didn’t want to run off and join the circus at one point or other growing up… well me, it was scary, but I did fantasize about being an acrobat for a day.  I don’t think I would have liked it very much had I been part of it permanently.  In any case, another candidate for a Flicks episode if I get around to reading it soon.

19501This one I picked up because I needed a memoir for my pop sugar challenge.  I don’t read many memoirs and my mom read this one when it first came out.  She didn’t like it very much but said it had some interesting elements so I figured I would pick it up and give it a try.  At the very least I know it is readable because of its bestseller status.  There is also a movie with this one so, yay! another Flicks candidate.  This is one of the pros of picking up so many bestsellers which so often find their ways to second hand stores because people get caught up in the hype and then don’t want them.  Travel memoir should be interesting if not the best written.

You might have noticed that many of these books aside from being bestsellers are also pretty securely marketed at women or would be considered part of the Chick Lit category of fiction.  If you haven’t seen my Tuesday post on female spaces in literature I would recommend it because I wanted to talk about how these books are considered lesser than other fiction pieces simply because their target audience is women.  I want to read and discuss more because their intended audience shouldn’t discount the benefits or the merit of these books.  In any case, this is a really good haul for the price and I’m excited to add these to my shelves.  Will I get to them soon, maybe.  Will I get to them eventually? Definitely.  I don’t like having too big of a TBR on my shelves so its time to buckle down and read.

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Adult, Books

Happy International Women’s Day! a.k.a. Lady Pr0n?

Small disclaimer (Gretchen is on hiatus so you get just me for this #betwixtthebooks day)

So for this international women’s day I wanted to talk about a bit of my guilty pleasure… which shouldn’t honestly be that guilty. Paranormal Romance.

I discuss 4 authors and 5 series that I really love and have stuck with from high school on, but I also discuss female spaces and what it means for us to count Chick Lit, Romance, and Erotica as lesser genres.

I hope you enjoy it because it brings together a number of things that I really love and care about!

I will be back tomorrow with something… I have yet to decide… oooh mysterious!

Adult, Books

Uncommon Bodies Anthology ARC Review

I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review!

This book is already published if you want to read it by all means pick up a copy!

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Title: Uncommon Bodies
Author: Anthology (full list of authors on Goodreads)
Publisher: Fighting Monkey Press
Page #: 300
Genre: Short Story Collection

I spent a long time trying to figure out how I would review this collection. It is difficult enough to review a collection of short stories written by one author, but when there are so many people writing so many pieces the challenge becomes ever greater. I feel as if that is the beauty of this anthology though. There are so many different stories in it. Some of them I was confused by, others I was awed. Some terrified me and others had me sighing at the adorable protagonist and their love interest. All of these things are held in one book and I was dumbfounded as to how I could sum it all up, and perhaps I can’t.

I’m not going to go through all 20 stories, it would take me forever and I doubt anyone would want to read that so I will do my best to discuss what I think was done really well here, and what I think could have been improved upon.

As far as the collection as a whole goes, I definitely think that it had a great breadth of pieces. I also appreciated how many of the pieces were incredibly inclusive not only because of its seamless discussion of common ailment, disfigurements, and disabilities along side mythical or magical creatures, but its inclusion of different sexualities. I actually thought the relation of physical “deformity” with non-hetero-normative sexuality identification incredibly interesting and if I could go into more detail without spoiling you I would. It is perhaps something I will write a paper on at some point in my life.

I am not sure, however, whether or not I liked the order in which these stories were curated. The breadth of the tones and genres in here is astounding for sure but it was a little difficult for me to go from a romantic story to a horror story to a poem to something else entirely. While I feel like it does allow the book to keep the stories separate from each other it is also a little jarring.

If you want to know some of my favorite stories in the bunch then I would say that the opening and closing stories, We is We by Michael Harris Cohen and Scars: First Session by Jordanne Fuller were incredibly poignant. I think they book end this collection incredibly well. The first was moving in its portrayal of the duality of opinions in conjoined twins. Whether or not it is better to be a spectacle behind the glass or experience the real world. The latter was an incredible story about over coming years of mental and physical abuse. I also want to shout out Undead Cyborg Girl by Kim Wells for its ability to make me laugh and awe on cue.

Stories that I found uncomfortable were mainly only uncomfortable because they were not my preferred style of story. All The Devils by Keira Michelle Telford read a bit like Jack the Ripper fanfiction to me, not only because of its erotic overtones, but because the writing wasn’t pushed as far as I thought some of the other stories were, and Reserved by SM Johnson was equally uncomfortable but only because of the over-sexualization to the point of fetishization of disability. Now I don’t have a disability and I cannot say whether these stories accurately or inaccurately portray such fetishization because of this, but it made me uncomfortable and I would put that forward as my only grievance.

The stories were interesting enough to keep me engaged. I was able to read two or three a day and finish it within a week. If you have an interest in magical realism there is plenty of that in here for you, if you have an interest in connections between perceived deformity and assumed deformity I think this also has some interesting comments.

Overall I really enjoyed the collection and would recommend it to you all if you haven’t already to look into it!

Adult, Books

The Immortals After Dark by Kresley Cole Book Series Review

WARNING!

Oh may gosh these book have adult content.  They have the sexy times.  If you do not think you are old enough to read about sexy times then perhaps this series is not for you.

Because this series is aimed at adults I feel like I will take the liberty to swear more than I do here usually.  Just a little.  Perhaps more than necessary but I feel like I can.  This is a safe environment to do so.

You have been warned.

Okay so.  This series discussion is partially a throw back to my time in high school.  Right before my freshman year in high school I read that thing called the Twilight series and then I read the Vampire diaries series and then I was like what next?

My mom graciously gave me The Southern Vampire series (which I enjoyed up to about book seven and then was a little iffy on [I think I still haven’t read the last one and I’m not sure if I plan to]) and the Anita Blake series (which is still one of my all time favorite series of anything ever [I am all caught up and will keep on reading thank you very much!]).  However unlike those first series up there.  These two series were very much adult series.

There was sex.

When I finished Anita Blake, which at the time had nineteen books I found myself in a hole of wanting something similar.

Luckily I had a friend who lent me her favorite books in the paranormal romance genre. A handful of those books were from The Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole (and some other series which I may talk about later).

I read a handful of these out of order and I would say that this series in particular makes space for that.  While there is an overarching plot happening the books jump around in the timeline of that overarching plot quite a bit (and or are happening concurrently).  You may not get all of the referances to characters that are being made if you pick up the last book in the series first but Cole supplies a glossary of terms so that you can catch up on the rules of the world before hand. You will be perfectly fine.

This past month a new installment was released and I haven’t read it yet.  I will probably get it eventually but as has been apparent in many of my recent posts I have been drawing away from the paranormal romance genre in general.  It isn’t something that interest me right now, and if I’m not excited to read it, I don’t think I will enjoy it as much.

However, I did want to mention how much I enjoyed this series and perhaps talk about some of the issues I saw when thinking back on the books I had previously read when looking into that new book.

I’m going to supply these books in chronological order and tell you which I think are the strongest.

 

Title: The Warlord Wants Forever
Author: Kresley Cole
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Page #: 163
Genre: Paranormal Romance

I remember enjoying this short story as the whole however I don’t think it is much different from many of the other stories in this series.  It is I think only available as an e-book so if you like the rest of the series it would probably be a good fit however it is not necessary to read.  I would however like to say that Myst is one of my favorite characters in the series as a whole if that makes this more enticing.

Title: A Hunger Like No Other
Author: Kresley Cole
Publisher: Pocket Star
Page #: 356
Genre: Paranormal Romance

This was the first book in this series that I read and I have to say that it is the one that sold me on it.  It is will written with interesting characters.  One of which being a Scottish werewolf … what else do you need in a paranormal romance book?  To use some fan fiction terms here there is some questionable consent and a whole lot of angst but if you are into that then by all means.


Title: No Rest for the Wicked
Author: Kresley Cole
Publisher: Pocket Star
Page #: 356
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Look at these romance covers.  Aren’t they great folks?  People know what you are reading.  I had a substitute teacher tell me I was unclean because I was reading this baby while we waited for school to be over.  Unclean!  It is hilarious.  This book in particular is one of the most original in the series.  Here we get to learn about the lore a little bit and it includes basically a supernatural scavenger hunt.  I loved it.  Would recommend!

Title: Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night
Author: Kresley Cole
Publisher: Pocket Star
Page #: 359
Genre: Paranormal Romance

So far we have vampires on the left and werewolves on the right.  This is actually kind of amusing.  This book also takes place during the games like the last one however much of the plot takes place after the games.  More werewolf angst but Bowen is such a sweet heart I can’t stand it.  He is one of those characters I want to wrap up in a blanket and set by a fire with some cocoa to make happy.  I want all his happiness.  This story is super sweet so if you are into that.  This one is for you!

Title: Dark Needs at Night’s Edge
Author: Kresley Cole
Publisher: Pocket Books
Page #: 368
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Now this book I think is my actual favorite in the whole series.  It is extremely angsty and extremely sexually frustrating but it is also the sweetest book in the whole series.  I think that for the most unpredictable male lead he is also the most respectful of his “mate’s” wishes out of all of them.  Although I’m sure some people would argue with me on that front.  I think I also just have a specific kink for sexual frustration and this book delivers on that.  The female lead is an incorporeal ghost. *laughes*

Title: Dark Desires After Dusk
Author: Kresley Cole
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Page #: 368
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Plot twist this books male lead is not a werewolf.  He is a demon.  Perhaps better?  They have sexy horns.  If you are into that.  This book is painful because you watch these two fall in love and then the male lead utterly fucks up.  He does perhaps the worst thing possible.  You want to bash his head in for actually doing what he does.  However it all works out in the end.  These are romance books, they all have happy endings.  It is the one thing you can expect from all of them, even with the overarching plot appearing to be the coming of the end of the world.  (I think that is a trend in paranormal romance book series).

Title: Kiss of a Demon King
Author: Kresley Cole
Publisher: Pocket Books
Page #: 417
Genre: Paranormal Romance

From one demon to his brother.  This book is SUPER ANGSTY.  The female lead fucks up royally at the beginning of this book.  There is some more questionable consent/rape.  Depending on what part of the book you are talking about.  It works out in the end but it is kind of uncomfortable in that vein.  This book happens at the same time as the last one and describes what the other half of the Woede was doing while his brother woos his own mate.  I like the other brother’s story better but Rydstrom is kind of really sexy to me.  I’m not sure why.

Title: Deep Kiss of Winter
Author: Kresley Cole and Gena Showalter
Story Title: Untouchable
Publisher: Pocket Books
Page #: 256 (426 for both novellas)
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Here is another sexual frustration story, however I was less into this one.  I’m not sure why.  I still loved it and it is probably in my top five in the series despite it being another short story.  Here we have a female who can’t be touched by her male because she is of a species where his body tempurature would burn her.  Obviously they get around it in the end.  It is crafty how they do it though.  You should definitely check it out.  We also finally have a vampire over here on the right.  Woo!  Though his brothers’ stories are up there on the top left.

Title: Pleasure of a Dark Prince
Author: Kresley Cole
Publisher: Pocket Books
Page #: 431
Genre: Paranormal Romance

This book is a hunt story.  The girl constantly running from the guy.  Not because she doesn’t want him, but because she does and that is detrimental to her goals.  It was an interesting twist on what has up to this point been the same sort of story.  Guy wants girl, girl is unsure.  Although the last book had the guy being unsure.  Here we go back to the guy knowing what he wants.  The girl also knows what she wants, she just can’t have it.  Of course she will get it in the end won’t she.  She might also assist in the raising of an ancient evil deity?  Who knows?

Title: Demon From the Dark
Author: Kresley Cole
Publisher: Pocket Books
Page #: 430
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Now this is definitely my second favorite.  It is also one of the most unique plot arks in this series.  It also introduces an element that will be a main factor in the rest of the series and that has been almost nonexsistant in the books up to this point.  There is a faction of humans who know about the supernatural creatures and are capturing them to study them.  You will have to read how that plays out and effects the plot of this book with another huge sexy demon male.  (who may or may not have genital piercings… *coughs* he definitely does *coughs)

Title: Dreams of a Dark Warrior
Author: Kresley Cole
Publisher: Pocket
Page #: 515
Genre: Paranormal Romance

I haven’t mentioned up until now, but I actually really like these covers with the monochrome (sometimes grey scale covers).  I mean they are still obviously romance book covers, but they ARE romance novels.  What can you do?  This book introduces a new species of immortal to the mix.  One, not born or made but who earns their immortality.  It was incredibly interesting.  I recommend finding out how exactly that works out for him because this book is probably my third favorite.  The plot and characters are flawless.  Regin is my absolute favorite character out of them all.  I loved her with all my heart.  She is such a sarcastic little shit.  Best.

Title: Lothaire
Author: Kresley Cole
Publisher: Gallery Books
Page #: 468
Genre: Paranormal Romance

This book is one of my favorites in the series if only because it is one of the most satisfying to read.  It has as the male lead Lothaire (as would be expected) who has shown up in more of the previous books than any other character save for Nucking Futs Nix.  When you read the books you will understand that referance.  If you don’t get it already.  It has a little bit of kidnapping in it though.  The male lead is kind of Chaotic Evil/Neutral.  There is a reason his name is The Enemy of Old.  He is an incredibly interesting character, one of the best in the series.  Worth reading the book just for all of his lines and the ability to read from his perspective.  I also may have a soft spot for asshole characters but we won’t get into that.

Title: Shadow’s Claim

Author: Kresley Cole
Publisher: Pocket Books
Page #: 448
Genre: Paranormal Romance

I don’t want to say that this book was my least favorite because I liked all of them.  I enjoyed all of these books.  Every single one of them.  However, it is definitely one closer to the bottom.  We have some new/better/different vampires here.  It is definitely exciting.  However I’m not a huge fan of the main male lead fighting in a tournament to the death to have his mate.  It kind of defeats the purpose of the plot.  We know he will succeed.  He has to.  If you can look past that then it is still worthwhile to read.  If not, no big deal in skipping this one and reading one of the other ones.

Title: Macrieve
Author: Kresley Cole
Publisher: Gallery Books
Page #: 368
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Now this is the books that I have read most recently.  By that I mean that I read it like two weeks ago.  This sort of shows my trajectory of how long it will take me to get to the newest one.  I just have to be in the mood to read it.  I wasn’t particularly impressed with this one.  It was kind of taken out of context.  There was very little plot and a whole lot of EXTREMELY ANGSTY romance.  It didn’t feel like it had a proper story arch.  It just happened and then there was a danger thrown in out of nowhere in the last bit that was resolved almost as quickly.  I think this story was more to set up a future story that has more plot and give some background on some characters that have made appearances in other books than anything.  Another that could possibly be skipped.

Title: Dark Skye
Author: Kresley Cole
Publisher: Gallery Books
Page #: 432
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Here we have our newest edition.  I have not read it yet so I have no idea how it is.  Perhaps once I read it I will give it its own review, or just come back here and add it in.  Who knows?

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I really enjoy this series.  I know it can be a bit repetitive in the subplot of the novel at times.  There are definitely some gems in here though.  It also has one of the strongest overarching plots of all the paranormal series I’ve read.  There are also quite a few moments in many of these where the consent is questionable that many a feminist would shout about.  Can you look past that?  Is it okay too?

Have you read any of these?

Would you?

Do you read paranormal romance books or are they too “unclean” for you?

I have to say they are my popcorn reads.  I can read one of these in a few hours and come out at the other end pleased.  Well … that was a dirty pun I didn’t mean to make.  Whoops.

I think I’ll leave on that note.