logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Sexism
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2016-11-12 12:36
Women, surgery, love, and mystery, Scottish style.
Black Widow: A Jack Parlabane Thriller - Christopher Brookmyre

Thanks to NetGalley and to Grove Atlantic for providing me with an ARC copy of this novel that I freely chose to review. I have read several books written by Christopher Brookmyre years back and I loved them. I discovered him by picking up The Secret Art of Stealing at Liverpool Airport on the strength of reading the description and a few lines. The book had me laughing out loud within a few pages, and since then I’ve read a few of his novels, although I haven’t followed any of his series in full. I couldn’t resist the chance to catch up with his newest book, although I hadn’t read any of the other novels in the Parlabane series. And he delivered once more. I loved this book. There were the funny and witty moments the author had me accustomed to (although it is, by no means, his funniest book), the complex and tri-dimensional characters, the Scottish background, the complex plot with twist and turns that keep you guessing. I particularly liked the different points-of-view used to tell the story. Two of the points of views (although one only very briefly) are narrated in the first person, and the rest, including Parbalane’s and the female detective’s, are in the third person. I am fascinated by narrators and their roles in novels, and the way Brookmyre uses the different voices and points-of-view in this novel is a beautiful illustration of how the different options can be put to the best of uses. We get to see the same facts and events from different points of views, some directly involved in them, some who are investigating or being told the same, some at the time and some recounting what happened some time ago. Brookmyre puts the brains of his readers to the test, making them try to create a single consistent story from the different versions of events and different timelines, a bit like trying to complete the picture in a jigsaw puzzle from the disparate pieces. The story is cleverly composed sharing clues that wrong-foot us often, and we keep changing our minds as to our sympathies, suspects, and who the goodies and the baddies are. I can honestly say I kept trying to work out if I was being taken for a ride by the narrators or if I was just being given very partial accounts of the events. It’s difficult to talk in detail about this novel without giving any spoilers away. Being a doctor, and a woman, I felt particularly drawn to one the characters, the female surgeon who tells her version of the story in the first person, Diana Jager. She is by no means perfect and due to her determined actions has come to be feared and disliked, but I empathised with her experiences and her feelings about the career and the inherent difficulties women have to face (I remember as a medical student training in a hospital where one of the surgery firms would not take on female trainees, the only female surgeon with a regular post was known to be the lover of one of the surgeons and never did a day’s surgery in several months I was there, and among women the accepted wisdom was that women had to work twice as hard as men to get less than half the way up the ladder than they did. I hope things have changed since but I’m not confident). But the rest of the characters are equally interesting and non-standard. Although as I mentioned I haven’t read any of the previous Parlabane’s mysteries, I didn’t find that was an impediment to my enjoyment of the book, although I’m sure those who follow the series might enjoy it even more (if that’s possible). The story is dynamically told, and if anything, I thought it accelerates towards the end (as is usually the case when we see the resolution coming). I can’t say I saw what was going to happen from the beginning, although I sometimes beat Parlabane to the post, but just by little. I enjoyed the cleverness of the story and the way was written too. A case of form perfectly matching content. An involved and intriguing story, beautifully told, full of local detail and complex characters, that reflects on serious themes and will keep you guessing until the end, recommended to lovers of mysteries and thrillers. Another great book by Brookmyre.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2016-10-08 14:58
The Hit - Melvin Burgess

This book is trash.

(TW: Rape mention.)

 

I was really disappointed by this. It had a great setting, a great storyline to start off with. The synopsis was pretty thrilling to start off with. Basically, there's a drug called "Death". It costs thousands to buy, and once you take it, you will experience the greatest high of your life. For an entire week, you'll be over the moon, you feel as if you can do everything you want, you'll be living life for the fullest...

 

Why is it just a week, may you ask? Oh, because after a week you're dead. The drug kills you. Taking Death means you get a week of absolute euphoria and then die.

 

And this book is set in a kind of...well, a kind of society where there are riots and people are getting fed up and angry at the corporations taking their money, and so young people are taking Death and experiencing life like that.

 

I didn't really follow that part, to be honest. The society didn't seem much different than now and you don't see teenagers taking this drug which will inevitably kill them. But whatever.

 

It started out great, it really did. Our protagonist - wait, let me just look up his name again - oh I remember now. Adam. 

 

Adam is a bit of a fuckboy to be honest. He's an ass. He's our main protagonist. He goes with his girlfriend to a party, pressurises her for sex at the end of the night. Of course, she's not impressed and throws it back in his face. He also gets beaten up by a gangster at the party, takes too much of a certain alcoholic substance and has a panic attack (or at least as close to it as our author can muster).

 

Basically, he's had a shit night and hates himself. So when he gets hold of a load of free Death pills...he takes one.

 

Pretty bad decision. Pretty stupid. Because for the next week he's on top of the world! He also knows he's going to die after the end of the week.

 

So he makes a bucket list. Which includes....ah, having sex with multiple women, getting his girlfriend pregnant (because, according to him, he "wants to leave something of himself behind"), killing someone who deserves to die, all these other items...

 

His girlfriend Lizzie isn't that pleased when she finds him climbing up to her bedroom in Romeo and Juliet style, all suddenly full of energy and confessing that he wants to do all these things. Especially not that he wants to fuck all these other random women. Or get her pregnant.

 

And she goes along with it anyway.

 

Christ. I don't know why she does. The whole time, Adam is constantly saying "I love you, Lizzie, I love you" like some kind of mantra. No, really. He never shuts up about it. He says it about 12 times per chapter. (Okay I'm exaggerating here but he says it a hell of a lot.)

 

Various events unfold throughout the story, including how Adam and Lizzie rob a shop for booze, get drunk (apparently if you're on Death, you need TRIPLE THE NORMAL AMOUNT to get drunk) do some other stupid shit, get arrested, sneak out again, go to another party...

 

Right, here's the main flaw with the book here. There's a lot of damn sexism going on here.

 

I'm not talking about the "if a guy's on Death he's automatically going to want to have sex with a load of women". I'm talking more about all the violence directed solely at women throughout the book. One chapter starts with a woman being beaten up. Another chapter has a woman being stabbed on the news live on camera, for the sole purpose of shocking Lizzie. The only female character who doesn't get beaten up, tortured or killed, is his own mother.

 

Later on, Lizzie is resolved to find the antidote for Death, to cure Adam (even though no sure cure exists). The gangster she met at the party tells on the phone he'll give her an antidote - on the condition that she has sex with him.

 

She agrees to this without much thought about it at all.

 

What. 

 

It should be worth mentioning that Adam doesn't even want an antidote at this point - nor is he even WORTH saving, he's such a terrible character - and she's going to allow this gangster to rape her to get an antidote? Which doesn't exist? Seriously?

 

I'm going to quote from the book here:

 

"What sort of a bitch would she be to let Adam die, just because of sex? It was the old story. Boys went to the rescue with a gun in their hands, girls with their knickers in their pockets. So which was worse? This way, she thought, at least no one was going to get hurt."

 

Oh sure, the gangster is just going to rape you and possibly kill you too, no one's going to get hurt. Fucking hell.

 

Actually, it turns out that he keeps her prisoner and beats her to a pulp - he tries to rape her but can't manage it because he can't get himself up. I'm not sure if this is supposed to be funny or something?

 

The thing is...the villains in this book are actually pretty comical. They have these running gags and I was sympathetic towards them at first. One of them is insane and has to make medication. Oh, and they kill a guy in a wheelchair too. And beat up women. And may be serial rapists. So I guess they're no longer funny now.

 

Seriously, don't try to make your villains comic relief - and THEN show that they're mass-murderers, women-beaters and potential rapists. Do one or the other. It doesn't mix!

 

...Boy, I really started hating the book after that. I skimmed the rest.

 

If you're wondering about the end, it turns out that the Death pill that Adam took was a fake, and so he's not going to die after all. And some shitty message about how life is precious to you. (Another female character blows herself up, too btw. Because they can't get through one chapter of this damn book without torturing another woman.)

 

The violence wasn't even very realistic, to be honest. Another gangster comes round to Lizzie's cousin's house and beats her up. Like, breaks all her ribs along one side. Breaks her nose. She should be screaming in agony by this point.

 

Except she isn't screaming, she's still talking normally as if he only slapped her or something. It's just...badly done. It's like the author wants to see these characters tortured, but can't quite handle the definition of what happens AFTERWARDS.

 

There's a scene where the gangsters have forced Lizzie to urinate in a potty in front of them, whilst chaining one hand to the bed after they've smashed her face in.

 

I'll be honest with you here - that just sounds like the author's kink or fetish or something. I mean come on.

 

Oh, and by the way, Adam still never stops saying "I love you" to her - even AFTER he's had sex with another woman (which he does, the same woman who blows herself up a few chapters later). He also makes it clear to the reader that he fully intends to screw around with more girls behind her back.

 

This book just makes me angry. It doesn't make sense, the main character is the one who should be tortured for all his shitty actions (not his girlfriend, who almost gets raped), the villains are either highly comical or highly violent against women when the plot needs them to be, the remaining characters aren't great...

 

And really, what disappoints me is that the premise of this book sounded good at first. It was just executed so poorly. Avoid this please.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2016-09-27 20:29
Feeling empowered!
Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History - Sam Maggs

Back in August, Quirk Books reached out to ask if I'd be interested in reviewing a nonfiction book about extraordinary women from history. Of course I said yes. (Who wouldn't have their interest piqued by that pitch?) So they sent over an advanced reader's copy (ARC) for me to check out. XD

 

Wonder Women by Sam Maggs includes stories about 25 women who looked convention in the face and laughed at it. When one looks at STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) careers, it is easy to believe that women have had little to no impact. (The historical record has a few flaws.) Maggs completely turns this notion onto its head by showcasing women who not only braved these disciplines but completely rocked them (many times before men even had a clue). She doesn't just discuss women scientists and inventors but also women adventurers. Those that dared to dream big and push themselves forward to attain those dreams despite all the odds being stacked against them. It's the same struggle that women the world over are still fighting against except for these women lived in times that were even more daunting (I'm talking B.C.E. through the 1940s, ya'll.). These women were not given equal opportunities for education much less employment. Their families, spouses, and society were dead set that they would stay exactly as they always had...in the shadow of men. The biographies are broken up into subsections and at the end of each section are bite size bios and a Q&A with a woman who is currently working in that discipline. Oh and did I mention the art at the start of each biography? An artist's rendering of each of the ladies in the ARC are depicted in black and white but I believe in the on-sale version color has been added. They make a great addition to the book as well as the informal jargon (if you've been on Tumblr and enjoyed it then you'll feel right at home). It was a fun, quick read that showcased some truly kick butt ladies doing some really kick butt things. 9/10

 

You can pre-order Wonder Women today (it comes out on October 4, 2016!) and as an added bonus receive downloadable wallpapers by Jen Bartel and Paulina Ganucheau. O_O

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2016-08-25 18:44
Waiting for Romeo by Diane Mannino
Waiting for Romeo - Diane Mannino

Tropes: 24

The second book, Waiting for Romeo suffers from the same issues as the first book. A "perfect" heroine. A hero who is barely a character, since his purpose is to tell the heroine how perfect she is, and how she changed his life. It continues with the slut-shaming.It adds some tropes as for the new adult genre, making the story even less original and even more bland. Apart from what mentioned in my review for the first book, this (and the first, too) suffers from uneven pacing (think glacier speed), awkward and lazy writing.

In the second book there is a bit mystery going on, but it's not much of a mystery (I guessed it even in the first book what was to come). Emilia has to face something from her past, but that isn't incorporated into the story until the last 20%, and several things that happened before with other characters are never resolved. The story becomes blander, the characters duller (if possible), and the story never seems to go anywhere, or have any sense of direction.

What I kept thinking while reading the second book was that it should've been one book. The first book barely has a plot, and it moves too slow, and the second is haphazard at best. The author should've written one book: it would've made for a tighter and smoother story and it would've had an actual, solid plot.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2016-08-20 17:49
How I became Lotus Raine...the porn star by Erika Ashby
How I became Lotus Raine...the porn star - Erika Ashby

After having read Moving Forward by this author, I wasn't sure I was going to give her another chance. The above mentioned book didn't sit well with me. Mostly due to its endless shaming of women, especially sexually active women. Then I saw the title of this one.

I was intrigued. My hopes were that this book would be nothing like the one I'd read before by this author. A book about a porn star (/sex actress) and that industry. Perhaps this would be a more complex representation of women, sex, and the porn industry. Adress the virgin/whore dichotomy.

Let me start by saying this: I was wrong.

She was dressed way more revealing than I’d ever attempted. I’m confident, but damn, I didn’t want to get molested.


I wanted him to feel somewhat special. Even though that’s only something females tend to feel


"Every girl wants to fall in love. And most books are about just that.”


Never mind there's a grammatical error on the first page (and they continue throughout the book), this book does not offer a complex story with nuanced characters or a good message.

The book is a interview done by the heroine after she becomes a porn star. Our heroine, Lucy, used to work for a company doing research for authors. Lucy's latest assignment: follow the daily life of a sex actor: Brent. As a part of this deal, Lucy goes to live with him for a week. Here's the twist: she already met him, and they almost had sex at a club. So when they meet at his home, sparks are flying all over the place. What follows is tension between them, Lucy at times uncomfortable with his profession, and at the same time morbidly curious. Regardless of her feelings, Lucy is determined to go make the best of her assignment.

Here's the thing: Lucy is horrible. She's the typical ultimate judgmental heroine. She constantly judges other women (unless they're her best friend, of course) even if she's never spoken to them. There's a (possible) backstory to why she detest women who have multiple sex partners. However, that particular part of her past is more about her own fears about being sexually active, and it's not explored in the story as a believable reason to why she'd loath women on sight. Instead, her endless shaming of other women seems unnecessary and only adds to the easy of disliking her.

Her hypocrisy is clear by the following example, from the book. Lucy is interested in Brent, the sex actor, and while at time she might wonder and ignorant of what his profession entails, she never quite judges him for it. She tries to see beyond his profession, which, props to her, but when she meets the first female sex actress, it's hate on first sight. Simply because this particular woman dresses a certain way, acts a certain way, and is a sex actress. Conclusion: According to the heroine, it's okay for men to be sex actors, but not for women.

The story, if we look at it instead of the characters for a second, is not much to write home about. The interview part was strange and not quite necessary except to throw a couple jabs at readers who likes to read books that feel real (and in extension, logical).

I didn’t get how readers could be so blunt when in disagreement. Usually the point of reading was to escape everyday reality. But once some cross that line, they get so hell bent over something they don’t find logical. Well, let me tell you something—life isn’t always logical.


The funny part about it is people push aside these real life possibilities while reading a fictional story. It makes absolutely no sense to me. Just freaking go with it folks.


A few things: Yes, people can read to "escape everyday reality", but some of us likes to do so with realistic stories. Realistic doesn't mean you have to get married, get 2.5 children, have house with a white fence... you get the deal. It simply means the story should feel real to the reader. (And I agree, life isn't always logical, but there's a different between illogical and unrealistic.) Second, "just go with it" is an argument I'm not buying. Like, let's all write racists, sexist, abusive, and whatnot, it's cool, just go with it. Basically, what these two quotes say is this: Don't dare say anything's wrong with a book, and if you think something is, you're reading it wrong. Given that the heroine had a job to make sure authors wrote realistically about certain themes, this doesn't go with her personality, either. (I'm not saying the author intended for this message, but it is what it is.)

About ten pages in, it was clear what the outcome would be. Given the heroine's shaming of women who have multiple sexual partners, it was easy to guess when she became interested in Brent what the outcome would be, or rather how Lucy approached her own new profession as a sex actress. I promise, it's not a hard guess.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?