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review 2017-05-22 16:47
One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva
One Man Guy - Michael Barakiva

I'm always on the lookout for cute LGBTQIAP+ books to read. I heard about One Man Guy a couple of years back but never got around to reading it. When my partner read it and told me that it was a cute read, I went looking for it at my library. I found it, read it, and agree. It is a cute book. However, I do have my problems with it.

 

The first being the writing. I am not in love with this writing style. It's almost too simplistic. To the point where I feel some sentences don't make sense. One sentence in chapter four reads, "He cheated his eyes open a sliver." Reading that is awkward. It doesn't flow well and you feel you need to reread it to make sure you didn't read it wrong. Barakiva did a great job in telling a coming-of-age story about an Armenian teenager discovering himself and his sexuality and I loved learning more about Armenian culture. but his writing style I just could not get behind. 

 

Another thing I had a problem with are the characters. Not so much the main character, Alek. He was sweet, kind, moral, and understanding. I liked him. But the object of his affection, Ethan, is another matter entirely. I didn't see the appeal to him. Seeing as how Alek liked him so much, I wanted to like him, too. And there were some things he did that I just was not a fan of. The way he talked about gay culture was a part of it. His use of the F-word rubbed me the wrong way. He said that if you're a part of that culture, it's okay to use such a word. And, yeah, okay, I get it, but I haven't met many people in the gay community who uses that word as if it were nothing. So it bothered me a bit. Another thing that upset me about Ethan was how he explained it's quite common for gay men to experiment with more than one person, even when they are already in a committed relationship. No. Just no. That's a harmful stereotype that's been perpetuated by our society. To say that gay men CHEAT on their partners is not only wrong but harmful. There are many gay couples who are in committed relationships and DON'T CHEAT ON EACH OTHER. As I've said in other reviews before, if you're in a polyamorous relationship, then it's fine if both partners involved are okay with having other partners. It's NOT okay to lump in every gay couple into being "experimental" with other partners without the other's consent! I did not like that Ethan was teaching Alek this terrible stigma about the gay community. And the last problem I had with Ethan was how misogynistic he was. He made comments when Alek didn't want to do something, he was acting like a girl. I didn't like how he treated Becky, Alek's best friend who is pretty awesome by the way, and thought of her immediately as "lesser" because she was a girl. It took her having to "prove herself" in order for him to show her respect. Just everything about his character was disgusting and I just didn't understand why Alek liked him so much.

 

An aspect that I did like about the book was getting to learn so much about Armenian culture. Especially the food! The food in this book sounds delicious. I've never had Armenian food before but I want to have some now! It was also interesting learning about the Armenian Genocide that happened in Turkey. That is a part of history I am not aware of. It was never taught to us in school, but I'm glad I know about it now. I love learning about history. Especially history that is different from my own culture.

 

Another aspect that bothered me, though, were how Alek's parents were. Oh, the hypocrisy with those two. And the fact that they complained about any little thing to the point where they didn't even want to drink water out of a plastic bottle, I was about to flip. Good thing they eased a tiny bit up towards the end. People like them upset me. DX

 

In short, I thought this book was good. I would recommend it to people who want to learn more about Armenian culture and food, who want to read a cute coming out story, and want a pretty quick read. Keep in mind that there are some homophobic slurs and racism towards Turkish people. These things are questioned and rebuked within the text and shows how it's not okay to do those things. The only thing not ever questioned is the sexism, which is a shame. Other than that, it's a good read so give it a shot if you're curious.

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review 2017-05-22 13:18
Poetry from High School
The Raven - Gallery Books

When I was in high school, I went to a private school that prepared an all-girl student body to go to college. I remember being assigned this poem in an English class and I remember some of the discussion, but when I reread this poem today, I looked up more of the words that I had just passed on when I was in high school. Why did I reread this poem? I am starting my prep for next year. I will have a high school freshman, an 8th grader, and a 7th grader. I am looking at the poem from a new perspective and realizing things from the poem that I had missed when I was in high school. 

 

Have you ever reread something you read when you were younger and thought about it in a new way? 

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text 2017-05-22 08:06
Booklikes-opoly | Roll #13!
Booklikes-opoly
Booklikes, the book blogging social platform

 


For my previous roll, Roll #12 on 5/20, I rolled a 3 and landed on the BL Square.  A further roll netted me BL Task 11, which read: Read for two!  The rewards for your next book are doubled - and half of the money goes to another player of your choice!

 

 


According to the rules, I did not get to read for this square, so the doubled rewards will go to the book I get from today's roll!  And let me tell you, as much fun as I've been having will rolling the dice for my next move, without a book to read for Booklikes-opoly, I felt kind of lost, and the wait until the next roll felt like it was going on forever!

Meanwhile, however, I was actually able to finish reading a non-challenge related book and it felt kind of good, to be honest.  Okay, that was a lie.  The book I read was totally for another challenge, even if for a more personal challenge that I'm frankly just using as a way to make myself finish reading series.  I'm totally not taking that personal series challenge too seriously-ish.  But it still felt good to get some reading done that I've been trying to get to since the beginning of this year.

Anyway...

I wasn't sure how I wanted to choose who to share my rewards with, so I was thinking about doing a random roll or something.  Ultimately, however, I decided to skim the game posts and the Bank Balances, and see if there was someone who could maybe use a little boost, even if a tiny one.

After some deliberation, I decided on Portable Magic!  It looks like the game's been kind of slow-going for her due to baseball season and all, so hopefully this will help give a small boost.  I know it's not much, but wanted to be helpful.  To Portable Magic, I will send you a private message in case you don't see this update, and then will let you know when I finally finish my book and have money to share so we can both cash in!


And now moving onto my Roll #13:

So I got so obsessed with the dice roller app on my phone that I found myself playing with it at random moments.  I mean, you can tap it, shake it, or swipe, and it will roll!  So rather than going back to Random.org to do my roll, this time I decided to switch things up a bit and use the app.

Doesn't it look kind of cool?  I played with the background, the color of the dice, even gave it a metallic shine!  Ahem...

 

 


So, I rolled a 7, which takes me from the BL Square to Adventureland 27.

 


Magnetic Monkey:  "Is this where Teddy Bear is supposed to go?"

Monkey might be a bit of a diva, being all up on my game board, but at least he's helpful.


For the book, it took a bit of a search until I realized that Nora Roberts would totally fit this game space.  There were several books that had trees on the cover, but I think I was more interested in reading another Romantic Suspense.

I went ahead and checked out two books from the e-book library so I could get started on reading immediately.

 


Carnal Innocence is 402 pages on the Kindle version, just enough pages to get me a $5.00 cash reward!  The Obsession is 464 pages on the Kindle version, which would also be $5.00.  Truthfully, I had wanted to read River's End, but it just so happens to have already been checked out, so maybe I'll just leave it for the next time I land on Frontierland 4 and need a book title that can spell 'River.'

I'm leaning more towards Carnal Innocence, so that is what I will probably end up reading, but I'm going to give both a short sample go and see which one draws me in more.

Either way, I will be earning a double reward based on my previous roll wherein the BL Task I got allows me to share half the reward with another player, that player being Portable Magic.  Once again, I will make sure to let you know when I've finished the book so we can both collect on the $5.00!  I know it's not much, but hopefully it'll help,

 

 

Current Bank:   $56.00

  • Roll #12 (5/20):  BL Task - Double rewards on next read & share w/ a friend / No book read.

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/05/booklikes-opoly-roll-13.html
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review 2017-05-22 03:37
The Sacred Willow by Duong Van Mai Elliott
The Sacred Willow: Four Generations in the Life of a Vietnamese Family - Duong Van Mai Elliott

This book would make fantastic supplemental reading for a course on Vietnamese history. The author chronicles more than a hundred years of the country’s recent past, using her family’s experiences as a focal point. It begins in the mid 19th century, when several of her male ancestors served as mandarins in a society that revered educational attainments; moves on to French colonialism and Japanese occupation during WWII; then to the Viet Minh struggle for independence, which doesn’t seem to truly divide the family despite their winding up on all sides of the conflict – the author’s father serves as a high-ranking official under the French while her oldest sister and brother-in-law join the rebels in the mountains, and her uncle, a wealthy landowner, puts his resources at the Viet Minh’s disposal. Then it traces the American intervention and the dramatic days of the communists’ takeover of South Vietnam, before ending with Vietnam’s struggles as an independent country.

It’s a lot to pack into 475 pages, and the author balances the story of her family with a broader historical perspective. The history appears well-researched, and based on her bibliography, draws heavily on Vietnamese as well as English-language sources. It also seems balanced; at times, when family members’ paths during the war diverge sharply, we get separate chapters covering the same events from different perspectives, and the author doesn’t seem to be advocating for either one over the other. Though the author’s parents threw in their lot with the French and later South Vietnam, she – like many Vietnamese – seems to respect the communists’ commitment, and while the American intervention was a short-term boon for middle-class families like hers, she ultimately seems to conclude that the communist victory was both inevitable and not as awful as propaganda had led the South Vietnamese to expect.

The book’s biggest weakness is that it is rather dry, much more focused on facts than building a dramatic narrative. Though it is in part a memoir, we learn little about the author herself; she tends to relate the facts of a situation with perhaps a bald statement of her feelings, but without developing any of the emotional detail that might allow readers to experience the story along with her. There are exceptions, though; her account of the dramatic last days before the fall of Saigon (through the eyes of several family members) is downright gripping.

Overall, I’d recommend this book, but more for educational purposes than entertainment. It is a strong answer to the rest of English-language literature about Vietnam, which tends to be from an American perspective and focused exclusively on the war.

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review 2017-05-22 03:18
Brief Thoughts: Under the Mistletoe
Under the Mistletoe - Jill Shalvis

Under the Mistletoe

by Jill Shalvis

Lucky Harbor #6.5 (novella)

 

 

JUST ONE MORE KISS

There's no place like home for the holidays.  And the Lucky Harbor Bed & Breakfast is bursting with festive lights and good cheer.  But for Mia, Christmas is turning out to be anything other than merry and bright.  Her recent break-up with her boyfriend Nick has made her return bittersweet.  But then a surprise arrives, when Nick follows her to town bearing gifts-and asking for forgiveness.

Nick grew up without a family of his own so he's overwhelmed by the love that Mia receives from all her relatives, gathered together to celebrate the season.  Under their watchful eyes, Nick finds earning back her trust the hardest thing he's ever had to do.  If he succeeds, he will receive the greatest gift of all, Mia's love for a lifetime.



I feel a little mean giving this novella such a meh rating, especially since it DOES also give us a brief glimpse of Chloe and Sawyer--my utmost favorite Lucky Harbor couple.  Unfortunately, the glimpse is simply too brief for my liking.

I know, I know.  Chloe and Sawyer already got their book.  This novella is about Mia and Nick.

It's a cutesy and teeth-achingly sweet short romance story, but the events and our main couple's behavior was so over-dramatic that I found myself rolling my eyes on several occasions.  To be totally honest, I was never really able to relate with Tara and Ford's daughter, Mia in the third Lucky Harbor book--her development wasn't entirely fleshed out.  And while I'm glad that she gets a nice Happily Ever After in a short story, I don't feel like this story was totally necessary.

AND it infringed upon Chloe and Sawyer's wedding day as well, which makes me a bit disappointed.  As my favorite Lucky Harbor couple, I would have liked for these two to get a special epilogue or novella for their wedding...

Er... yeah...  Moving along...

Anyway, like I said, the novella is cute and sweet, but I just couldn't find myself understanding what the conflict truly was, though I DO see what we were trying to make of the conflict.  That whole thing where Mia was always the one to pick the people in her life and never the other way around, and for once, she wanted someone to pick her.

Except, as an adopted child, even with feelings of abandonment, it doesn't escape my notice that... well, didn't her adoptive parents pick her to be a daughter, part of their lives?

Anyway, this short seemed like a pretty flimsy plot, with some super cheesy dialogue in the end when Nick was trying to win Mia back.  Still, once again, it's cute and it's sweet, so we get points for that.

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/05/brief-thoughts-under-mistletoe.html
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