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Search tags: Feminist-Rage-Trigger
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review 2015-05-11 16:28
Fool Me Twice, Shame on Me.
Overruled (The Legal Briefs Series) - Emma Chase

I have no one to blame for this but myself. I hated Emma Chase's Tangled (see my rage-review here), and so I just should have known that whatever Chase is selling, I don't want to buy. However, being a criminal lawyer myself, I'm kind of a sucker for romances involving prosecutors/defense attorneys (although, note to self, I rarely actually like these books as I find the legal plots rarely ring true), so I stupidly decided to check out this new series. Reading the blurb should have been all it took to warn me that this book would not be for me: Defense attorney Stanton Shaw takes his big city, Latina f*ckbuddy back home to Hicksville, Mississippi, to try to break up the wedding of his high school sweetheart.


As I should have expected, stereotypes abound.


Also as I should have anticipated (because Drew of Tangled was such a douchenozzle, and because the blurb basically tells us that Stanton brings his hoochie mama with him on a mission to win back his baby mama), the "hero" of Overruled was a total jackhole. What isn't clear from the blurb is that Jenny, the high school sweetheart, is not Stanton's ex -- he got her knocked up in high school, and they agreed that he would go to college and support his family, and that while they're apart they can have an "open" relationship. This has gone on for ten years, with Stanton catting around like a manwhore with anyone he likes, and paying only occasional booty calls on Jenny. This works fine for him, until Jenny falls in love with someone else, which Stanton gets all butthurt and betrayed about.


I didn't mind Jenny, but Sofia (the hoochie mama) was kind of a doormat. Like Stanton, she's supposed to be this brilliant lawyer, except that we never see her doing any actual lawyering. She spends the whole book talking about how she knows men because she's got three brothers, and she knows men don't like commitment or clingy women, so she's not going to make any demands on Stanton. That's all well and good, but have a little self-respect, please! No woman with any self-esteem or sanity would willingly accompany the guy they're sleeping with to help him win back someone else. Sofia keeps setting limits--I'll go with you, but no sex. Okay, once we get to Mississippi, no sex. Okay, absolutely no sex while we're staying with your parents--and then ignoring those limits, so she just came across as weak and ineffectual.


Stanton eventually sees the error of his ways and tries to make things right with both Jenny and Sofia, and readers who enjoy a good redemption story may be satisfied here. As for me, I solemnly vow: NO MORE EMMA CHASE FOR ME!

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review 2015-04-30 13:58
No. Just No.
Getting Out of Hand: Sapphire Falls book one - Erin Nicholas

This book has TONS of glowing reviews on Goodreads, and was recommended by readers of smartbitchestrashybooks.com, but wow, I just don't get it. I struggled to finish.


The first thing that irked me was the weird, casual sexism in almost every layer of the story. In the very first chapter, we learn that the hero, Mason, has been invited back to his home town -- along with 4 other men -- as a potential investor in a shopping plaza the mayor hopes to build. And, we soon learn, these five men have yet more in common: in addition to being successful and rich, they've all dated the mayor (or, in Mason's case, had a well-known crush on her in high school). Yes, the mayor is a woman, but she's the worst stereotype of a flaky, dizzy, shallow ex-cheerleader who does none of the actual work associated with leading the town. (The actual work falls to the heroine of the story, Adrianne, a nice girl who prefers to stay out of the limelight.)


Then, when Mason gets back to town and walks into the bar (the only place to get a meal after 8 pm), he finds an auction in progress, in which the men bid on dances with women (the money is supposed to go to raise money for this shopping plaza). Then the next night, Mason gets invited to a poker game with the guys, at which the women have cooked, cleaned, organized, and actually serve drinks and snacks at the game, but are not welcome to play.


And throughout the entire book, there are several examples where male friends and associates of Adrianne's (other than Mason, who as her lover might have some excuse) make casual comments about her physical assets, her breasts and legs and curves, and the narrative gives no suggestion that this is unusual or inappropriate or squicky, which IMO, it totally was.


Uh, no.


The second thing that bothered me is that the reader is constantly told that Mason is a genius who doesn't fit in with normal people and has always been a geek. In one of the early chapters, we're told that his IQ is 135. Um, what? I don't put a whole lot of stock in IQ anyway, but I happen to know my own IQ is slightly higher than 135, and I'd like to think I'm a fairly smart cookie, but I'm no genius. A quick internet search tells me that 140 is considered "high" IQ and 160 is "genius." Yes, I know this is a minor plot point, but it bugged me.


My third complaint is insta-love. Within forty-eight hours of knowing each other, after I think only three brief meetings, Adrianne and Mason were ready to declare their undying devotion to one another. Now, I'm enough of a romantic to accept the possibility of love at first sight, but if you're going to write a story about that, you have to make me believe it. The connection has to be intense, and based upon something more than physical attraction. It's not enough just to have the characters say that it's intense and goes beyond the physical. Also, and this is key, that rare and incredible bond has to be strong enough to resist the first conflict that comes up in the relationship.


Which brings me to my final complaint: the conflict in this story was manufactured, melodramatic, and could have easily been resolved through adult conversation. Here, when Mason's business partner shows up and tells Adrianne that his relationship with her is standing in the way of his big, important work saving Haiti, instead of saying, "Huh, let's talk to Mason about the problem and see what he wants to do about it, since he's a grown up and wicked smart and capable of making his own choices," Adrianne says, "Oh, okay. I'll break up with him in a humiliating public scene so that he'll be so upset he'll leave town and never talk to me again, and it'll hurt, 'cuz he's my One True Love, but it's what's best for Haiti, sooo...."


No. No no no no no. Just No.

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review 2014-11-19 12:48
Men Explain Things to Me - Rebecca Solnit

All of these essays are well-written, and most are thought provoking, but the collection is too short (particularly given the price).

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review 2014-11-17 17:54
Uneven, but well worth reading even 50 years later....
The Feminine Mystique (Audible Modern Vanguard) - Betty Friedan,Parker Posey

I have such a hard time reviewing audiobooks, for (at least) two reasons: 1) it takes me a lot longer to finish them than it would if I were reading and so my memory of the earlier parts of the book is not as clear when it comes time to write a review, and 2) I listen to audiobooks while driving, so I can't stop to make notes or highlight or bookmark sections I want to remember for later, so when it comes time for a review, I don't have much to say. This review, then, is just a broad sketch of my general impressions.


I've been meaning to read this book for twenty years, since my own days as a Smith student (Betty Friedan is also a Smithie), but I never got around to it until Audible made it a Daily Deal sometime this summer. Parts of it were very dated, as you'd expect, but most of it was still extremely relevant.


I don't know about the choice of Parker Posey as a narrator. She's a sort of high brow, intellectually superior, privileged white woman, and she speaks with a subtle but unmistakable undertone of Snark. This makes her very like Friedan, actually, but I think the message would be more accessible to a wider audience without the Snark. That's probably true of Friedan's writing, too.


I really enjoyed the introductory essays by Anna Quindlen and the 1997 foreword by Friedan. The 1997 reflection was fascinating, both in what it told of Friedan's reflection on her own work over time, but also my own sense--having missed the 1950s and 60s (when the Mystique was at its peak) but having come of age in the late 1990s and lived to the present--that feminism has lost ground since Friedan's 1997 essay. Friedan talks about the GOP's last desperate efforts to strike down abortion, for example, but the intervening years have seen those efforts become more successful and less desperate, alas.


I also liked the middle sections where Friedan eviscerated functional anthropology and Freudian theories used to keep women homebound and uneducated, though I found it ironic and unfortunate that, a few chapters later, Friedan bought into those same disqualified Freudian notions without question when she suggested that homosexuality was one of the regrettable side effects of the Mystique, because frustrated mothers can't help but twist and pervert their sons into homos. A product of her time, sure, but interesting that Friedan could be so skeptical of Freudian thought when comes to women and so blind when it comes to another marginalized group she didn't understand.


I kind of turned off in the later chapters about the psychological damage that frustrated mothers caused to themselves and to their children, probably because I don't put a whole lot of stock into psychology in general.


Still, it's an important book if you're at all interested in feminism or women's studies, and I'm glad to have closed this gap in my education.




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review 2014-05-24 04:06
Life is Too Short to Finish This Book.
Since the Surrender - Julie Anne Long

I'm giving up at 233 of 370 pages. I've jumped around in the Pennyroyal Green series, loving some, meh about others, but this is the first I've had to DNF. The main characters are bland (except for their penchant for exhibitionist sex, which doesn't turn my crank), as is the plot. The heroine's sister is missing, and you'd think that would be enough of a hook to make the reader care, but no. In all likelihood, the missing sister has been kidnapped into sex slavery, but no one seems that fussed about it, which makes this book weirdly disturbing as well as boring. Plus, there are creepy puppets. *Shudder*

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