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review 2017-05-05 09:18
The more I though, the more I raged
Casino Royale - Ian Fleming

I have so many issues with this. The rampant misogyny, of course. The fact that, personally, I find the whole espionage reason d'etre detestable. And generally, the part where this was not the story I was expecting.

Let's say I waive away the misogyny with a bit of dark amusement (passing the middle-point, I just wanted Vesper to stick it to Bond; and then there is the line "sweet tang of rape" that should be killed with fire, you can get some great examples under the spoiler tag), and take the spy tale on the hope that it'll be some fast action cheap-thrill. I did not get even that. I got a lot of card-playing, torture, and then a mess... I don't even know of what category, certainly not romantic, maybe melodrama. Hell,  I though it was already cheap that a woman couldn't be competent unless she was evil, but it was something (see, even lowering my standards to not be an angry female, what a waste), and then Vesper couldn't even rate to Femme-fatal. So no, there is no way to waive the misogyny. It's entrenched into the plot.

Someone could argue it's truer to the real world and the era, either the unexciting grimness or Bond's stance. I say fuck all that. Let us please have no more Vespers in real life, no more Bonds being glorified in fiction. Let us find other icons.

 

You can find some the shout-inducing bits here

Women were for recreation. On a job, they got in the way and fogged things up with sex and hurt feelings and all the emotional baggage they carried around. One had to look out for them and take care of them.

 

Charming, huh? Another beauty:

 

And luck in all its moods had to be loved and not feared. Bond saw luck as a woman, to be softly wooed or brutally ravaged, never pandered to or pursued. But he was honest enough to admit that he had never yet been made to suffer by cards or by women.  One day, and he accepted the fact he would be brought to his knees by love or by luck. When that happened he knew that he too would be branded with the deadly question-mark he recognized so often in others, the promise to pay before you have lost: the acceptance of fallibility.

 

Women, if they defeat you, take away you self-assurance.

 

This was just what he had been afraid of. These blithering women who thought they could do a man's work. Why the hell couldn't they stay at home and mind their pots and pans and stick to their frocks and gossip and leave men's work to the men. And now for this to happen to him, just when the job had come off so beautifully. For Vesper to fall for an old trick like that and get herself snatched and probably held to ransom like some bloody heroine in a strip cartoon. The silly bitch.

 

He really likes that word.

 

'Torture is a terrible thing,' he was saying as he puffed at a fresh cigarette, 'but it is a simple matter for the torturer, particularly when the patient,' he smiled at the word, 'is a man. You see, my dear Bond, with a man it is quite unnecessary to indulge in refinements. With this simple instrument, or with almost any other object, one can cause a man as much pain as is possible or necessary. Do not believe what you read in novels or books about the war. There is nothing worse. It is not only the immediate agony, but also the thought that your manhood is being gradually destroyed and that at the end, if you will not yield, you will no longer be a man.

 

The bad guy has more respect for a woman that the "hero". Women are more difficult, not because of some chivalrous bullshit, but because men are so attached to their organ *eye-roll*. And for the WTF crown:

 

And now he knew that she was profoundly, excitingly sensual, but that the conquest of her body, because of the central privacy in her, would each time have the sweet tang of rape.

 

It's supposed to be romantic. But then, this is just the inner character commentary, you have to still contend with the plot if you can go past that. Fuck this, I'm done.

(spoiler show)

 

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review 2017-03-01 13:01
Cyber World: Tales of Humanity's Tomorrow
Cyber World: Tales of Humanity's Tomorrow - Paolo Bacigalupi,Stephen Graham Jones,Alyssa Wong,Saladin Ahmed,Cat Rambo,Nisi Shawl,E. Lily Yu,Madeline Ashby,Joshua Viola,Jason Heller

[I received an e-copy of this book through NetGalley.]

A collection of short stories with virtual reality, AI and technology themes in general. Despite the 'cyberpunk' flair, I agree with the curators: it's not so much cyberpunk in its original meaning, as dealing with various ideas that fit our current societies more than the 'old cyberpunk' feeling.

* "Serenade:" 3/5

A hacker decrypting data on an old USB sticks realises that said data is not about future useful information, but memories.

* "The Mighty Phin:" 3/5

In a prison ship controlled by an AI, not everything is as it looks, and truth may be more difficult to stomach than the characters think at first. Bit of an abrupt ending, though, when I think about how it could've been more developed.

* "Reactions:" 3/5

What a drone pilot pumped up on battle drugs goes through when the operation he's on is suddenly cancelled... but not what's still lingering in his organism. I found it interesting, although, like the story before it, I'd have liked some more development (especially regarding the soldier's decision to break his family).

* "The Bees of Kiribati:" 5/5

Chilling because even though this doesn't exist (yet), the principles behind the murders in this story could very well be applied in other ways. It also raises the old but still accurate ethical question: would you kill a few people, even babies, if it meant being able to save many more?

* "The Rest Between Two Notes:" 2/3

Promising theme (a teenager killing her mother repeatedly in virtual reality), but I found the plot too muddled in places. The resolution brought at the end wasn't too clear--I wouldn't mind in a novel, but in short stories it's another matter.

* "The Singularity is In Your Hair:" 5/5

Touching and horrible. A girl suffering from a degenerative disease, who can only experience living through virtual reality, performs jobs and meets people thanks to an AI who may or may not be so benevolent. The promise of one day being fully uploaded to virtual space, and leaving the meat behind instead of facing the prospect of her impending death, keep her going. And she desperately hopes this will come true sooner than later.

* "Panic City:" 5/5

In an underground city that is both a refuge and a prison, people have been living for generations following models and using technology that are gradually failing. When something threatens to break an opening into this 'homeostatic' environment, the AI controlling the city has to make a decision: is their original programming really ideal in this case?

* "The Faithful Soldier, Prompted:" 4/5

A veteran from corporate wars receives prompts on his augmented reality system, even though the war is over. While such defective prompts are known to be useless, and should be discarded, these seem different... and so he follows them, desperate in his hopes that the rewards will save the woman he loves. I liked the writing here--even the prompts sounded poetic.

* "Your Bones Will Not Be Unknown:" 4/5

An assassin is sent to kill a rival boss, knowing full well there are little chances of success here. But what the boss has in mind for them is not necessarily death, and could even actually be a gift.

* "Staunch:" 2/5

A group of kids-hackers-rebels, led by a doctor who used to be part of a legendary team, travel through what's left of the UK to save the life of one of their own. Though the plot itself was a bit weak, I liked the technological problems used in it (replacement organs shutting down if the firmware's outdated or the copyright has changed hands, etc.)—definitely freaky.

* "Other People's Thoughts:" 2/5

About empathy, telepathic powers and gender fluidity. Good themes, and I would've loved actually liking the story, but it was more descriptive than actual plot, and I found it too weak to hold my interest.

* "WISYOMG:" 1/5

Almost skipped that one. The style and character weren't appealing, and I'm still not sure what was the idea. Warning people against body mods and fads? It was hard to follow, so I'm really not sure.

* "We Will Take Care of Our Own:" 2/5

Of corrupt politicians and corporations trying to make money by officially solving problems, and officiously sweeping them under the carpet. Again, good theme, especially since the politician has a skeleton of her own in the closet, but in terms of plot and development, it wasn't strong nor long enough.

* "A Song Transmuted:" 3/5

A young musician comes up with a new concept to be music, rather than simply playing it—spurred by her relationship with her grandfather, his way of encouraging her to meet other people and play music with her, and this in spite of a dishonest colleague stealing her idea. Good, though not groundbreaking.

* "It's Only Words:" 2/5

A sort of neo-Luddite theme, of a boy writing his school project on paper when everybody else is constantly connected to the web and not doing anything in an "analogue" way anymore. I'm not sure where this story was going, though: I felt that something was missing, that the point wasn't strongly made enough at the end, because nothing really changes, and the people targetted may not even have understood what was happening?

* "Small Offerings:" 5/5

Horrific but fascinating. A story about the means that may be necessary, in a future and over-polluted world, for people to carry healthy children to term, by sacrificing others.

* "Darkout:" 2/5

Good build-up to something bigger, in a society where everybody's living under the camera's eye... but the end just fell flat, and nothing really happened.

* "Visible Damage:" 3/5

A hacker goes on the trail of a nascent AI, in the hopes of finding it before everyone else obliterates it. Interesting, but a bit confusing.

* "The Ibex on the Day of Extinction:" 4/5

A man far from his family comes home to find everybody and everything gone—no GPS, no radio, no internet, and only empty clothes left behind.
I kind of suspected what had happened early on. Still, I liked this story. Sometimes all I need is for the conclusion to vindicate what I'm already thinking.

* "How Nothing Happens:" 1/5

Kind of what it says on the tin? I get the basic idea, but the way it was developed didn't grab my attention.

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review 2017-02-21 18:50
Warning train wreck ahead...
Jumping In - Cardeno C.

But on the upside I've learned something about my self. I really, really hate writing reviews for books that I didn't enjoy. I know...I'm not alone. I've been procrastinating and putting this one off. Seriously did you know I have a million and one things that I need to do before I can get this done...ok, not really but I wish I did.

 

So here goes short version. In theory this sounded good, cute a nice feel good story about love at first sight...insta-love, whatever term you want to use. I was ready to settle in for a cute, feel good read that would leave me sighing happily and smiling. Sadly that did not happen.

 

In execution what I got was a story about a small town deputy who had the day from hell, crashed his ex's engagement party because even though he was sent an invitation he wasn't actually suppose to go, got drunk and honestly I don't blame him. If I'd had his day I'd have been heading for the bar as well. Then he ended up being taken home but the deputy mayor whose name was Hawk Black and let me just say we're not having this conversation because I've deleted it twice. Anyways, so Hawk Black who is the deputy mayor and laid eyes on Clint once then proceeded to close his business as a political and managerial consultant in DC and move across the country from Washington DC to New Mexico based on seeing a guy once to pursue him..."HELLO!!! Can we say STALKER!" and this is where the story went from cute and fluffy to a big old clusterf*ck of a train wreck for me. 

 

I needed not to know this...If dear, sweet Hawk Black had moved to New Mexico for the job and discovered that Clint floated his boat, I would have been all over this. I know it's just one  teeny, tiny, little detail but for me it's a biggy. It's the detail that took this from aaaahhhh!!!! to eeeewwww!!!! Because not only did he move half-way across the country to pursue Clint but he basically continued to stalk him and then picked him up when he was drunk under the pretense of taking him home but instead took Clint to his place to 'sober him up' so they could have copious amounts of sex...what-the-hell? Where's the relationship?

 

Ok so now that I'm over my little hissy fit about this story. I just want add that while this story obviously didn't work for me, I know it worked for a lot of other people so at the end of it all am I saying this is a bad story...no, it's simply not the story for me. I've read a few other stories by this author and I've loved them and I plan on reading more. This for me is a case of we all got the same words and just didn't read the same story.

 

********************

An ARC of "Jumping In" was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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text 2016-10-22 15:55
Blog Tour Stop for Stirred by Sylvie Fox with Guest Post and Giveaway

stirred-bt-ban

 

Today’s post is for Sylvie Fox’s Stirred. We will have info about the books and author. A great guest post by Sylvie . As well as a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.

Happy Reading :) 

 


AbtheB

 

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Warning: One kiss can lead to another...

Quirky cartoonist, Zoe Andreis puts her life on hold, flying back to the States to care for her ailing father. Spending her post-college years gallivanting all over Europe while capturing her adventures in comic form, Zoe grapples with the notion of being shackled to one city.

When she encounters Max Kiss, Zoe's true adventures begin. Although Max would love to branch out and take carefree and crazy chances of his own, he too is tied to LA, tending to his aging father. Stirred by Zoe's zest for life, Max longs for a future full of love and spontaneity.

While they struggle to find balance between caring for their parents and living a life of their own, Zoe and Max form a strong and sensual bond. When tough challenges surface, Zoe and Max search for a way to have the life they want without feeling the burden of guilt. Can they find of balance of duty and excitement while building a future together?

 

 

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Buy Links

 

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geust

 

 

How I Chose an Illustrator for Stirred

 

Stirred is the fourth book in my L.A. Nights series. When I wrote the first two books, Impasse and Unlikely, two years ago, I never thought there would be more to the series. A single reader asked about more books in the L.A. Nights world and days, weeks, or months later I conceived the ideas for the final three books in the series.

Zoe Andreis, the heroine of this book, was always the outlier in her family—the artist, the rebel. As I wrote her story, I started to think, what if she (and I the author) could share the comic strips she drew, the ideas and jokes that bounced around in her head.

Usually, a character’s job and background are hinted at, maybe shared, but are not a part of the story that readers see.

Inspired by fellow author Jenn LeBlanc, who writes romances illustrated with her own photographs, I decided to include Zoe’s comics.

Why?

Why not?

The biggest barrier to sharing her ideas with you was bringing the concepts to life. I may have a number of talents, but drawing is not among them. I often draw with my first grader, and let’s just say, our skill levels are about equal.

So I put out a call for illustrators. The response was amazing and overwhelming. I narrowed down the choices and had Zoe’s signature cartoon (the one on her t-shirt at the start of the story) drafted by the artists who were finalists. At the end of that process, there were two artists who I liked.

 

1 2 3

 

Both took a terrible sketch (mine) and made it into something a comic strip artist would be proud to call their own.

The choice, then, came down to these two artists. They were both talented and willing to work on a tight turnaround schedule to produce the thirty plus comics needed for the book.

Ultimately, I chose Josh Bauman, the illustrator of the last cartoon. The decision rested on a single difference. He’d taken my original concept and added a twist. In the last panel, he spelled out ‘Greek’ in Greek.

It made the comic funnier, more irreverent, and just plain better. Although we chose not to use that final version in the book (because the Greek word probably wouldn’t be obvious to most readers), it made me laugh.

Josh did a great job on the two strips: Wanderlust and Canoga Park. The book wouldn’t be the same without him.

 

 

Abouttheauth

 

 

sylvie-white-background

 

 

Sylvie Fox is the author of smart women’s fiction. Her compelling stories are boldly told, designed to keep readers turning the pages. Whether you’re reading romantic women’s fiction or legal thrillers, written as Aime Austin, she wants you to enjoy the heroine’s journey.

She splits her time between Los Angeles and Budapest, where she enjoys yoga, knitting, farm-to-table cooking, and life with her husband and son. When she’s not writing, her nose is stuck in a book.

 

Links 

 

Facebook***Twitter***Pinterest***Goodreads***Instagram

 

 

GA

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

 

October 19th    

Natalie The Biblioholic   Review

A Taste of Sin    Excerpt

What Is That Book About            Excerpt

October 20th    

Loves Great Reads Blog Review

Read Your Writes Book Reviews               Excerpt

Paulette's Papers            Excerpt

October 21st     

Movies, Shows & Books               Excerpt

SBB Reviews       Reivew

Books,Dreams,Life          Review

October 22nd   

The Silver Dagger Scriptorium    Excerpt

SnoopyDoo's Book Reviews        Playlist

My Slanted Bookish Ramblings  Review

October 23rd    

Barbara's Book Reveiws               Excerpt

Book Junkiez      Excerpt

The Pervy Ladies Book Blog        Review

Ashley Book Blog            Review

October 24th    

Cruising Susan Book Reviews      Review

Romance Book Nerd      Excerpt

Adventures in Writing    Excerpt

October 25th    

Naughty Book Eden        Excerpt

A pair of okies   Excerpt

Octoer 26th       

G&T's  Indie  Café            Excerpt

Jax's Book Magic             Excerpt

Reading in Sarah's Corner            Guest Post

The Phantom Paragrapher          Review

Read-Love-Blog Excerpt

 

Source: snoopydoosbookreviews.com/blog-tour-stop-stirred-sylvie-fox-geust-post-giveaway
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review 2016-05-19 19:42
Of Scions and Men
Of Scions and Men - Courtney Sloan

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

First volume of what seems to be an interesting series. Not the best urban fantasy novel I've ever read, sure, but it has political hooks that could very well lead to a few big bangs in the future.

When the world went to the dogs, vampires revealed themselves and stepped in to keep the cattle, sorry, the humans in check—after all, there's no point in letting your bloodbags kill each other with mass-destruction weapons. Decades later, in the aftermath of that explosive situation, Earth is pretty much governed by said vampires, some of them using more human employees than others, but all determined to keep their own just as much in check. Well, at least in some parts of the world, including the USA, where the DEC (Department of Energy Conservation) sends people patrolling the streets in order to stop rogue vampires from feeding illegally and killing their preys.

Rowan Brady is one such agents, partnered with shapeshifter Lyle, and also the scion of vampire Devon: a human bonded to a vampire, able to use part of his powers, but also never, ever truly alone in her mind anymore. A sure recipe for a clusterfuck, especially since a lot of "purely human" people tend to view scions as blood whores, a lot of scions play the part as well, and Rowan does her best not to become a walking cliché. All for the sake of her little brother Will, after their parents' sudden death in an accident left them orphaned, and Rowan unable to take part in the Cup (a competition that, depending on her final rank, would have opened her a lot of doors... and conversely).

In general, I quite liked the relationships between Rowan and the male characters. Rowan/Devon bordered more than once on the vampire romance-type relationship, but it never become the infuriating kind of romance that makes me roll my eyes. Devon's a pretty decent guy, all things considered (even though his "cherie" speech mannerism was annoying, I guess the French in me just finds this a bit silly), playing the social and power-related role that a lot of vampires thrive in, however he never veered into the territory of "domineering alpha-male who abuses his partner/servant". And when he tries to play white knight and protect his scion by telling her to "stay at home for your own good"? He ends up needing her anyway, and she ends up kicking ass anyway. Then there's the werewolf pack leader and a fellow DEC agent: a positive alpha male, maintaining his position through benevolence and thought-out decisions, and not strutting around being all "me big strong violent male, me is your boss, female". Yeah, I am rather tired and jaded when it comes to male characters acting all over the place in very macho ways (or the "I'm dark and dangerous and I'm seducing you through coercion and being rough" type).

On the downside : some info-dumping, and a tendency on Rowan's part to be slightly exaggerated (too sarcastic and mean at times, too obsessed, too bent on doing things absolutely alone even if it meant running into trouble). Not many other female characters in there either, apart from Nadia who, so there's a risk of having a more typical woman-surrounded-with-male format in later books. I was also less satisfied when it came to Lyle, because I think there's a lot more to him than just "flamboyant gay blue jay shifter"—hopefully there'll be more in the next book ! His relationship with Rowan is sweet, in a "best friend/I have your back" way, and it'd be great to see him more developed: where did he find the strength to make his coming out in a society like his, did anything happen in the past that threatened him or, on the contrary, made him stronger and able to stand up to his peers ? Etc. Finally, I couldn't care less about Curtis. I can only hope he'll remain a secondary character, and that he won't end up being part of some dreaded love polygon.

Conclusion : 3 stars. I found myself wanting to keep reading, and interested enough in the world and its characters. There's real potential for intrigue, in more political ways than is usually found in urban fantasy. Some of the foundations behind that world, though, are a bit flimsy (at some point you need to exert suspension of disbelief and focus on the "now" rather than the "then" and "why"... but I've seen worse), and it could all just as well devolve into cookie-cutter UF. I'll keep an eye on this series, even if I won't buy it.

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