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review 2016-04-22 04:56
Barren Cove, by Ariel S. Winter
Barren Cove: A Novel - Ariel S. Winter

I didn’t know when I started Barren Cove, by Ariel S. Winter, that it would be the second book in a row that dealt with existential crisis. The difference between this book and The Elegance of the Hedgehog is that the protagonists in Barren Cove are almost all robots. Winter’s brief tale is a retelling of Wuthering Heights. But, you know, with robots...


Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for review consideration.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2015-10-19 16:09
REVIEW: Barren
Barren - Elizabeth Miceli



Recommended for ages 16+. Includes scenes that depict drug use, self-harm, teen sexual situations, and sexual assault.

This book contains mature content and depiction of a seventeen-year-old girl’s rape at the hands of another student. It is a chilling, first-hand fictional account of an incident – the likes of which occurs across the country at parties just like the one depicted in this story - and one we wanted to feel as raw and as devastating as incidents which occur in real life. We also understand that these scenes may be difficult and uncomfortable for some. We recommend this novel for readers ages sixteen and older.

“I cried, praying for him to finish. I closed my eyes and tried to envision myself somewhere else… somewhere where I was happy. I thought of my family all piled around our tree on Christmas morning. I thought of singing with my band. I thought of Caitlin and me baking cookies and watching movies together. But after just a few seconds of pretending, Mike would hit me or thrust deeper, and I would be back in reality. I was being raped. I was all alone. I was a damsel in distress. And there was no one there to save me.”


My Thoughts

3 Hearts/5: A Good Book

3/5 Sensuality Rating: There is sex, but not explicit.




Barren, oh my god, what a book of emotions.


In this full novel we met Stacey, she’s in high school and has a typical high school experience of boys, friends, drugs, insecurities and whatever else comes along with being a teenager. A teenager especially in this day and age.


* Warning this book does have trigger warnings


Stacey has been through a lot. She’s going through changes from the beginning of the book and she has her problems like almost every teenage girl. She has her ups and downs and reading through what happened to her was hard. Stacey was trying to find her way, trying to find out who she is and why a guy who she really likes doesn’t like her. Why was she raped? She had normal questions, like was it her fault, did she do something, wear something too slutty?


Stacey had problems, on top of problems and high school was the least of them. After a while though the throwing up stopped and she now developed cutting her self, another problem developed after the rape. And  lets not forget that Stacey would sleep with anything that would show her any kind of attention. I was literally screaming at Stacey for most of the book because of her decisions. I mean I get her decisions, Stacey had demons, big bad ass demons but still, I felt bad for her.


Boys, I felt should have been the last thing from her mind. Instead it was like she drowned herself in them. In the first half of the book, there were maybe two love interests and by the 50% point there was a new boy like every chapter. All these boys from school, all these boys calling her pretty but of course she doesn’t see it because of her insecurities. All these boys wanting a little more from Stacey who can’t deliver because she’s not their mentally and emotionally.


Physically Stacey is experimenting heavily with sex. All these new, mixed emotions since the guy who raped her took her virginity. All these feelings she had to work through by herself and I get how scary that would be for her.


What I didn’t like with this book is that Stacey told many of her peers that she was raped and no one really tried to push her to talk to someone. No one pushed her to report what happened. Maybe this Mike does that at every party he goes to then disappears. Even her best friend and everyone else around her acted like this wasn’t a big deal. News flash, Rape is a very big deal and this book, Stacey and her friends pushed it under the carpet. 


I mean no one out of all the twenty people that she informed of what happened, mentioned anything about her reporting it. That just confused my brain. The only reaction she got was her band members who said that they would find him and kill him. And Stacey was content with her band members hypothetically stringing Mike by his dick and beating him.


And then don’t get me started on Devan. I don’t know why Stacey liked him, he was an asshole and even after she told him what happened and they kissed, I thought okay…. But then he takes her to this house party, gets Stacey drugged up, drunk, then leads her into a backwards room and commands her to go down on him. Like are you kidding!?


And since Stacey has no sense of self worth, she does it. I was so livid at that point. Oh and Devan, the shit face, asshole was the only guy, or only person out of the 100 people who knew and told her that she should get help. But once again he said it in such an ass hole way, that even I felt really bad for her. He showed barely any compassion for her situation.


This book gives you a lot of drama and keeps you interested enough. Like for me, I wanted to know if there was light at the end of this long, long, dark tunnel. Was Stacey gonna wake up and realize her mistakes? Was she finally gonna talk to someone? I thought maybe her sister would find out and force her to talk to a therapist and get her help. I mean I was begging the author to give me something and then one of Stacey’s boyfriends die. 

Near the end Stacey finally tells someone who will do something about everything and that is her mother. Mother’s know best. And then I guess we’re kind of fast forwarded to a time and place where everything is semi-okay. Stacey is going to a therapist and she has finally chosen one guy and is settling down.


It would have been nice to actually see her changing, verses the author telling us that she has changed. I think the book would have had a bigger impact for me.   

Stacey dealt with a lot of serious triggers that a lot of girls deal with in real life. The friends didn’t take certain situations that serious, except for Devan… maybe.

Don’t hold it in, talk to someone!


Below are some recent resources for victims and survivors of college sexual assault.


Organization: PACT5
Documentary: The Hunting Ground
PSA: Till It Happens to You with Lady Gaga
PSA: It’s On Us: One Thing

Enough is Enough: New York State legislation on college campus assaults

* I received this book in an exchange for an honest review



Source: slbookreviews.tumblr.com/post/131279934686/review-barren-by-xomisslizzi-hosted-by
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review 2015-04-08 16:31
Anna Hedley – Barren
Barren - Anna Hedley

Reviewer: Vivian

Genre: M/M Fantasy


Whip out your dodecahedrons, it's time to ROLL!


An epic fantasy adventure that has a character cast that reads like a D&D campaign with a king's quest:

Blair, the Human barbarian
Ren, the Felin scholar
Adon, a Naiad cleric
Chicken, the Goblin
Eli, the mute healer


The group is diverse and has a complementary skill set that will prove invaluable as they journey across Yarn. Blair and Ren both come across as bigoted and prone to conclusions without really analyzing the actual facts. Dynamic duo or combustible cocktail? Along the way they assemble quite the team in their search to determine why all the women have died. This mismatched pair and the tone are amusing.

"What? I'd never put you in any undue danger."
"Which is why we're going to look for a healer. I have no idea how much danger you believe I'm due."

Prejudice. Each character has it and expresses it. The story makes the point quite clearly that past experiences color our views and new interactions. The quest has many moments where characters realize that prejudice. They also realize that giving it up isn't easy.


There are many creatures to meet and questions to ask about the tragedy. Felins, who have been pressed into slavery for the last couple generations. Nymphs who are objectified for their beauty. Dryads whose militancy is still a factor since the last war. Mages who came under scrutiny and blamed when the women died. Finally, the innocuous Amorphous who are everywhere. Servile and yet... they see everything and share all information, but why?


I liked the complexity of the characters and the interwoven mess of relations between the different species. There were several places where this story could have tripped up badly, but didn't. And the dynamics between Blair and Ren are great. It could have fallen into trite, but bypassed that and gave me a surprised smile instead of some meh sex. This isn't a chaste book, but it also doesn't revolve around sex. The pace is good with one trial or tribulation after another pushing the story forward. And I adored the fact that the reasoning behind the death of women doesn't have misogynistic roots--really love this. 3.5- 4 stars and I'm rounding up because it succeeded in places where the traps led me to believe it would fail.


Overall, an action oriented fantasy novel that highlights how misunderstanding and stereotyping restrains and hinders progress.


Favorite quote:

"How much evil will you commit in the name of doing good?"


Source: heartsonfirereviews.com/review-anna-hedley-barren
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review 2014-07-13 09:14
Review: Windwalker by Natasha Mostert
Windwalker - Natasha Mostert

Through me you pass into the city of woe:
Through me you pass into eternal pain:
Through me among the people lost for aye.
Justice the founder of my fabric moved:
To rear me was the task of power divine,
Supremest wisdom, and primeval love.
Before me things create were none, save things
Eternal, and eternal I shall endure.
All hope abandon, ye who enter here.
-Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy

This life’s dim windows of the soul
Distorts the heavens from pole to pole
And leads you to believe a lie
When you see with, not through, the eye.
William Blake – The Everlasting Gospel




Haunting and elegant. I have head Ms. Mostert’s works described this way before, by other reviewers. This, and so very much more, is the work of Natasha Mostert. For she has a voice that is deeply evocative, an exceptional, mystical writing style. Natasha’s turn of prose is both otherworldly and sensual, a voice that sends chills down my spine and reaches into my soul, making a home for itself in the sweet, dark recesses of my existence. Her writing comes to mind over and over, in the dark of night or the bright light of day, a paean to her brilliant style, as her ability to paint rich, intriguing portraits with words which steal into my awareness in the most common of moments. Words which bring me to my knees, to weep and sigh, to long deeply and without respite.

Kepler’s Bay. A remote and forbidding town in a remote and forbidding land, bitter and forlorn. Perched on the razor edge between the Namib and the sea, Kepler’s Bay clings to the edge of the world with barely restrained ferocity, much as do the creatures of the great desert upon which it backs. Kepler’s Bay. The melancholy call of the soo-oop-wa, the never-ending wind, maddens, takes piecemeal grains of the soul, eventually leaving behind naught but a dry, desiccated husk – a body walking with no spark within.


The Namib, oldest desert in the world, ‘The land God made in anger,’ say the San people. But he had always thought that only a god in pain could have imagined a place like this. And from this land of soaring dunes and brutal winds one day appears a wild man, filled with pain, with fever and madness. Madness and passion. Violence and death. Samuel Becket said: “All men are born mad. Some remain so.” And is madness not pain, turned in upon oneself?


Across the desert, in the lush green of the English countryside, a woman arrives. Lost and maddened in her own right, she arrive upon the doorstep of a sad and haunted estate. As she sinks into the stories of this place of madness, fratricide and pain, broken shadows and haunted rooms, one soon cannot truly discern where the house leaves off and the woman begins. Quiet desperation. Ghosts and haunting images through a camera’s lens.


They are so close, and yet so far apart. So very, very far apart. Has it been this way, lives upon lives, sinking into the past? And what of unintended consequences, the vagaries of fate and karma?


Yet ah! why should they know their fate?
Since sorrow never comes too late,
And happiness too swiftly flies.
Thought would destroy their paradise.
No more; where ignorance is bliss,
‘Tis folly to be wise.
Thomas Gray - Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College


Through our lives, do our souls search? Do they seek desperately, yearning for that which was, which could have been, or which shall never be? And is evil merely the absence of good, demons playing bones with our lives?


Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars. – Khalil Gibran


How many paths must we walk, how many lives to be lived? How long must we suffer before paths may cross, before we might know peace? Do our souls wander alone, searching beyond ourselves for knowledge, deep in the rending silence of the night? A photography of insanity may be a shard of light. Questions and blood and dreams of deaths long past, pain and ancient desire. All are spread before us between these pages. Allow her words to reel you in, to touch and tease, sooth and savage by turns. To think. To dream. To sorrow.


To hope.


This book was provided to me by the author in return for a realistic review. It touched me more deeply than any of her works yet have – and those have been absolutely brilliant. I hate reviews that begin with “If you like the works of” to be honest, but if the interspersed quotes touch your soul, I strongly, very strongly, encourage you to read Windwalker. And then her other works as well. I don’t believe, once you have read this one, that you will be able to resist.

Source: soireadthisbooktoday.com
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