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review 2015-08-20 23:00
Stung
Stung - Bethany Wiggins

I have had this one on my to-read list for a few years now but have never gotten around to reading it, never even tried looking it up at the library to take out. Sometimes I think it’s a sign that if you don’t get to a book right away it might be best not to bother with it at all. However, in my recent attempt to shorten my ever-growing to-read list I decided to finally go to the library and search up a copy of “Stung”. Oddly enough I got through it really fast, because it was easy to read, but I had so many issue and frustrations with the book that after finishing I was so glad I didn’t buy a copy of the book for myself.

 

“Stung” is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty more in practice than in theory. The strongest link to the original was probably the fact that Fiona passed four years in a coma-like sleep before waking up to find out everything was completely different from what she remembered. That’s where the similarities basically end. There are no parallel characters for the evil fairy or any of the other original fairytale characters, and I got a tad mad for the incorrect marketing that was surrounding this book as people who go in looking for a retelling that’s close to the original will find nothing of the sort.

 

The story is dark and the writing vivid in describing the grime and shabbiness of the new world Fiona finds herself in. Originally I was very happy with this, but about fifty pages in, with still no clear understanding on what was going on or where the plot was going, I began to feel frustrated and wished the author would introduce something to the story that would grab my attention, which by then was stuck in a landscape of sewers and feces as described endlessly in the book. It’s a problem that persisted throughout the whole story and became a crutch when it should have been a strength. The plot was sacrificed for the gritty, repetitive details. In the same category of poor writing is the way in which the plot of the whole epidemic is explained. After finishing the book I was having a quick cup of tea in the kitchen when my mom came over and asked me for my impression on the book and what it was about. It was in retelling it, when I began doubting out loud whether it was the new bee’s sting or the vaccine that caused the mental insanity of the population, that I realized just how difficult the answers were to extract from the writing. The information was tossed out quickly at the most unusual moments that thus made for very complicated storytelling. Beyond that, I thought the whole plot in general had several ridiculous details. For starters the whole modified new bee species as a solution to replenishing the decreasing bee population, followed by the whole story about why the cure didn’t want to be discovered. The latter, in my opinion, was the most ridiculous of all. Much of the plot line you had to go along with as a reader and take it for what it was, messy, often illogical, and being revealed at a slow pace that makes one impatient.

 

Speaking of impatience, Fiona and Dreyden were the second huge source of displeasure for me in the book. The two were written using a heap of character stereotypes and clichés that ended up all meshing together and providing nothing new in the character landscape. The tipping point for me was Fiona deciding to fire the gun at a supposed attacked and to her horror realizing her mistake. It was when this happened, around page 200, that I understood just how downhill the writing was going. The author took a lot of time to stress the fact that Fiona played piano, yet the point of that detail still alludes me. It only seemed to serve as the explanation of why Dreyden and her ended up the way they did in the book as Dreyden told her he’d enjoy listening to her playing and only tease about the piano playing because he didn’t know how to begin talking to her. A big cliché titled “boy next door syndrome”, familiar too many a reader with many a book falling victim to it. I didn’t buy the whole childhood connection story – it felt too much like insta-love to believe any of the “I didn’t see you when we were younger” vibe that Dreyden was giving off. Fiona as a main character, as a Level Ten who’s supposed to be feared and special because she hasn’t turned yet, is actually very weak and cookie cutter. It was difficult to care for either of them given their stereotypical personalities.

 

Beyond that the book was, as I said, easy to read but only because it didn’t offer much food for thought. I didn’t stop to digest a single part of the plot. Sure I still didn’t get by the end the whole deal with Arrin/Arris and which one it was at the end. I also predicted every single “plot twist”/surprise so it was an open book from start to finish in that regard. The story offers nothing new. The characters are stiff and flat, not once leaving the page and feeling like they could be actual, real characters. The plot was undercooked, containing a lot of glaring loopholes that makes one raise an eyebrow at confusion on why it’s something so ridiculous in the first place. I won’t be reading the next installment as I didn’t enjoy “Stung” very much and can’t see where the plot might go from where it ended off. I feel like it might go even worse and I’d much rather move on to read something else than struggle with the companion to a book I didn’t enjoy nor care much about.

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review 2015-07-06 01:10
Stung - Review
Stung - Bethany Wiggins

I don't remember going to sleep. All I remember is waking up here -- a place as familiar as my own face.

At least, it should be.

 

Fiona wakes up in her bedroom, but nothing is as it should be. Her room is filthy and seems like it has been neglected for a very long time. As she walks around her house, she realizes it has been abandoned. Her reflection looks like her older sister, like a woman. Last thing she remembers, she is thirteen. She has no idea what is going on when suddenly she hears a noise and is attacked by a man acting like a beast. She barely escapes with her life. And all of this happens in Chapter 1.

 

We gradually learn that this world is barren & deserted and it is dangerous to be female. Fiona is constantly in danger and trying to figure out what happened to the world she remembers, what she needs to do to survive and who she can trust.

 

I don't want to give anything away. I went into this book not really knowing what it was about and it swept me off my feet page 1, Chapter 1. I loved Fiona and found her character very believable. The fecs and the beasts were scary and dangerous. The premise of the story seemed possible. I even believed the attraction Fiona developed for the boy trying to save her. And there is no love triangle, which is a relief.

 

I enjoyed this so much that I immediately stared reading the sequel. And I looked on the author's website to see if there would be any more, so I could know what I was getting myself into. Would I have to wait for book 3? Good news and Bad news. There are only two books in the series and the author isn't planning on writing more. This is good because I just finished the second book and loved it just as much. Bad because I really enjoyed reading them. But, it was a good place to end. The story was over. No need to push it too far. Not every story has to be a trilogy.

 

Recommended to:

Fans of dystopian stories, young adults and people (like me) who enjoy reading young adult novels. This one is worth reading.

 

Note: This book is on the Sunshine State Young Readers Award nominee list for grades 6-8. We often have some of that list in our elementary school for 5th graders. This one has some sexual innuendo. It might go over 5th graders heads, but I will recommend to our librarian not to have this one in the elementary school.

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text 2015-06-24 04:40
Reading progress update: I've read 37 out of 304 pages.
Stung - Bethany Wiggins

This one really started out at full speed.

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review 2014-04-25 16:51
[REVIEW] Stung: Winter Special by K.A. Merikan
Stung: Winter Special (Zombie Gentlemen) - K.A. Merikan

Stung: Winter Special by K.A. Merikan 

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Read from April 23 to 25, 2014 — I own a copy, read count: 1



This shorty serves as an epilogue of Stung. While it does not exactly spell out the answers readers are seeking for this unconventional pair of lovers, we at least get a taste of what they are both like when their life is not at stake.

Crunch decided to pay Victor a visit in the city. It was a reunion after a long parting between him and Victor subsequent to the liberation of the Honeyhill prison camp. He wasn't sure if he would be welcome with open arms by the man who fills his every waking moment. The liberated Victor now might not be the needy Victor back then when they first met at the camp.

Right. We get all of Crunch uncertainties and conflicting thoughts in this piece as opposed to the first book where Victor was the center of attention. This is great as we get deeper understanding of Crunch and his motivations. It was good to know outside of his tough demeanor, he is very much like us -- afraid of rejection and getting hurt.

The authors seems to make Victor's feelings less pronounce by intention of building up Crunch and the reader's anxiety over their long awaited reunion. I was just as anxious as Crunch to know how much Victor had changed and if this visit will be a fruitful one. I like that this pair of ingenious authors always knows how to end their stories and it always takes me by surprise. This is one of the many reasons that make it worthwhile to read their books. I love unpredictable and original stories. I would say K.A. Merikan is a worthy investment because you would be sure of not buying yet another recycled story with predictable plot-line and ending.

I am glad to get more of sultry Victor with his simple, honest man Crunch. I could never tire of their playful teasing ways towards one another. Read it to find out if they leave the bed ablaze. Right now, I am craving for some lemon curd scones *sucking at curd blissfully* Crunch is a man with great taste.



BOOK DETAILS:
Title: Stung: Winter Special
Author: K.A. Merikan
Publication Date: January 8th, 2014
Publisher: Acerbi & Villani Ltd
Type: Short Story, approximately 9,000 words
Genre: Dystopian homoerotic romance, M/M, Gay, Erotica, Contemporary, Consensual
Main Characters:

Crunch (MC) and Victor Sheppard (second MC)

(spoiler show)

Tags/Keywords:

alternate universe, reunion, anal sex, blowjob, romance, lovers, age difference, social status difference, upper and lower class social status, rich love interest, poor main character, beauty mark, victorian, gentle and loving sex, adoring lover

(spoiler show)


Description:
It's been a few months since Crunch and his comrades liberated the mob-run prison camp HoneyHill. But content as he is, Crunch can't forget Victor, the beautiful prisoner with whom he shared a brief affair. Taking a leap of faith, he shows up at Victor's door, but will it turn out he really was missed?
*
This short story is set a few months after the events described in our novel, 'Stung'. It could be read separately, but we advise to read the novel first, as it is not a stand alone.
*
The book contains explicit M/M erotic content.

Wordcount: 9000



This review has also been cross-posted on my blogs:
  


WHERE TO PURCHASE:
★|| SMASHWORDS;; ||★|| ALL ROMANCE EBOOKS ||★|| BARNES&NOBLES; ||★|| AMAZON;; ||★



* Reviewed on April 25th, 2014

*:--☆--:*:--☆:*:--☆--:*:--☆--:*:--☆--:*:--☆:*:--☆--:*:--☆--:*


View all my reviews

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/816689328?book_show_action=false
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review 2014-04-25 00:00
Stung: Winter Special
Stung: Winter Special - K.A. Merikan
This shorty serves as an epilogue of [b:Stung|18664776|Stung (Zombie Gentlemen)|K.A. Merikan|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1381618180s/18664776.jpg|26487679]. While it does not exactly spell out the answers readers are seeking for this unconventional pair of lovers, we at least get a taste of what they are both like when their life is not at stake.

Crunch decided to pay Victor a visit in the city. It was a reunion after a long parting between him and Victor subsequent to the liberation of the Honeyhill prison camp. He wasn't sure if he would be welcome with open arms by the man who fills his every waking moment. The liberated Victor now might not be the needy Victor back then when they first met at the camp.

Right. We get all of Crunch uncertainties and conflicting thoughts in this piece as opposed to the first book where Victor was the center of attention. This is great as we get deeper understanding of Crunch and his motivations. It was good to know outside of his tough demeanor, he is very much like us -- afraid of rejection and getting hurt.

The authors seems to make Victor's feelings less pronounce by intention of building up Crunch and the reader's anxiety over their long awaited reunion. I was just as anxious as Crunch to know how much Victor had changed and if this visit will be a fruitful one. I like that this pair of ingenious authors always knows how to end their stories and it always takes me by surprise. This is one of the many reasons that make it worthwhile to read their books. I love unpredictable and original stories. I would say [a:K.A. Merikan|6150530|K.A. Merikan|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1338448338p2/6150530.jpg] is a worthy investment because you would be sure of not buying yet another recycled story with predictable plot-line and ending.

I am glad to get more of sultry Victor with his simple, honest man Crunch. I could never tire of their playful teasing ways towards one another. Read it to find out if they leave the bed ablaze. Right now, I am craving for some lemon curd scones *sucking at curd blissfully* Crunch is a man with great taste.


image

BOOK DETAILS:
Title: [b:Stung: Winter Special|20489870|Stung Winter Special (Zombie Gentlemen)|K.A. Merikan|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1389156609s/20489870.jpg|40700136]
Author: [a:K.A. Merikan|6150530|K.A. Merikan|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1338448338p2/6150530.jpg]
Publication Date: January 8th, 2014
Publisher: Acerbi & Villani Ltd
Type: Short Story, approximately 9,000 words
Genre: Dystopian homoerotic romance, M/M, Gay, Erotica, Contemporary, Consensual
Main Characters: Crunch (MC) and Victor Sheppard (second MC)
Tags/Keywords: alternate universe, reunion, anal sex, blowjob, romance, lovers, age difference, social status difference, upper and lower class social status, rich love interest, poor main character, beauty mark, victorian, gentle and loving sex, adoring lover

Description:
It's been a few months since Crunch and his comrades liberated the mob-run prison camp HoneyHill. But content as he is, Crunch can't forget Victor, the beautiful prisoner with whom he shared a brief affair. Taking a leap of faith, he shows up at Victor's door, but will it turn out he really was missed?
*
This short story is set a few months after the events described in our novel, 'Stung'. It could be read separately, but we advise to read the novel first, as it is not a stand alone.
*
The book contains explicit M/M erotic content.

Wordcount: 9000



This review has also been cross-posted on my blogs:
image   image


WHERE TO PURCHASE:
★|| SMASHWORDS;; ||★|| ALL ROMANCE EBOOKS ||★|| BARNES&NOBLES; ||★|| AMAZON;; ||★



* Reviewed on April 25th, 2014

*:--☆--:*:--☆:*:--☆--:*:--☆--:*:--☆--:*:--☆:*:--☆--:*:--☆--:*
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