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review 2018-11-06 02:54
Rites of Winter (Inheritance #6)
Rites of Winter - Amelia Faulkner

This is the first book in a new "season" and it shows. (I didn't steal that line from Elena! She just got to her review first.) ;)

 

It was nice to pick up more or less where the previous book ended, and to see Laurence and Quentin start to work on some of their issues. Quentin especially is messed up from the events of the previous book, but Laurence has his own hangups he needs to work out too. I really would've liked to see more emphasis made on their emotional and psychological trauma, but that was mostly skimmed over in favor of focusing on their sex life. Which is also important because of what Quentin was forced to remember in the last book, and I don't want to discount that. I'm happy none of that caused a backslide. 

 

But look, I don't like D/s at all and this is getting very close to bordering on that and has been steadily going in that direction for awhile. I also have no idea what's supposed to be so sexy about mesh shirts. To me, they look like an overenthusiastic cat attacked someone's wardrobe. So none of this was working for me, and for it being such an important part of their relationship development it left me cold. Add onto that Laurence wondering when the hell he became so submissive and the theory I've been working with since the end of the second book, and this all gets unfortunately cringe-worthy. I could be totally off with my theory, but there is no way for me to know that at this point. All that combined means their sex scenes are the equivalent of dumping me into the Arctic Ocean.

 

The plot itself is well done and paced, and it was good to see more of Otherworld and see the various ways that fantasy and magic blend together in this world. I did think there was a little too much focus on the action at times, when it would've been nicer to see the emotional tolls some more. I'm not really sure what to make of Basil or Jon at this point, since they're not given much dimension. They're interesting though and I'm looking forward to seeing what they bring to the mix in the future.

 

There were a few missing words in this one, and one chapter's formatting was just wonky - but readable. I also don't remember Laurence being so excessive with the "baby" endearments in past books. I'm not one to quibble over that word like others are, but even I wanted to cast it into the fires of Mt. Doom after the third or fourth chapter.

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review 2018-11-02 03:25
Unmask Me If You Can (The Survivors #4) by Shana Galen
Unmask Me If You Can (The Survivors #4) - Shana Galen

Unmask Me If You Can (The Survivors #4) - Shana Galen 

 

At one point in her life, Olivia didn’t have more worries than to wear pretty gowns and attend the most fashionable balls. Now? Now she has more pressing, more important things to worry about, mainly her full of life and curious five year old son Richard. Jasper may have looked scary with that mask covering half his face but his considerate and honorable behavior was enough to bring down the walls Olivia had erected around her heart. 

 

I have to say that Jasper was not exactly how I imagined him, he was way better! I loved the way he patiently let Olivia trust him with her body and hers and her child’s life. He knew the ordeals she had gone through and so he painstakingly let her take the lead when it came to the intimate moments. That’s basically what I love the most about Jasper. Even though he was reluctant to let her love him at first, once he understood her needs he was more than willing to accommodate her, and not just because of his desire for her, but because he understood her and wanted to give her what she needed. If that’s not love then I may be reading the wrong books. He truly was the perfect lover for Olivia. 
Olivia, although not the smartest of women in my opinion, was resourceful and level-headed. Perhaps at times she didn’t make the right decisions and trusted the wrong people but she always considered all of her options. It made me really upset how the scheming of others affected Jasper, Olivia, and of course little Richard. That poor child had been so happy for the first five years of his life and all of a sudden his life turned upside down. The villains deserved so much worse than what they got but at least they got some kind of punishment. 


To top it all off, we get a little glimpse at the life of Lieutenant-Colonel Benedict Draven! Just as the men he leads, he may appear as a brooding man but if my hunch is correct, just like the other men in his troop, that is just a façade to keep all the feelings from pouring out. In all honesty, I cannot have enough of these men and I cannot wait to read the rest of their stories. 

*I requested and received this book at no cost to me and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher*
 

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review 2018-10-22 20:23
First Date by R.L Stine
First Date - R.L. Stine

Here we are again with body shaming, and shaming curly hair again as well (come on, what is so wrong with curly hair R.L Stine!?)

 

R.L Stine is huge with rape culture in his teen books. Yikes. I did not notice this when I read them as a preteen/teenager. It happens three times in this book. With the boys in the car, two guys in Chelsea's workplace and that scene with a drunk Sparks. (more details below) These are terrifying real-world situation that no person wants to be in. There is also an instance where they call another girl a tramp, so we've got slut shaming, too.

 


Body shaming:

The mom going "you're attractive... if you lost a bit of weight...and put on lipstick"

Um NO... you can call a person pretty, regardless of their body weight. That is a good way to mess your kid up. I can relate to having someone in the family always bringing up weight. It is really painful when the shaming comes from the last people who should ever shame you and can leave lasting damage.

I can also relate to having someone always trying to get me to put on makeup. "Oh hey, if you just put on a little makeup." or "Here, let me show you how to fix your hair." No, mom, you might mean well, but I'm fine the way I am, thanks. I'm an adult now, so I think I can figure out how I want to do my hair or if I want to wear makeup or not. (Spoiler, I don't 99% of the time!)

 

Don't do this. If you try to force someone to change their looks (by adding makeup..etc) when they don't want to, you are basically telling them they are not good enough the way they are.

Throughout the book, her weight and looks are mentioned. There is also a scene where she compares her lunch (a normal size lunch!) to Nina's lunch of yogurt and an apple, saying "Nina is going to think I'msoooo fat, but if I only eat what she has, I will be starving!"

(spoiler show)


Rape culture:

I'm not writing this word for word... but you get it.

Boy: How about a date?
Other boy: Plenty of room in here.
*boys laugh and make kissing sounds*
Boy: We're great. We're really great.
Other boy: Bet you're great, too.
Chelsea: Leave me alone!
Boy: Aww, that's not friendly?
Other boy: Don't you want to be friendly?
Chelsea: I'm warning you!
Boy: Aww, she's getting steamed
Other boy: That's not friendly!

This is rape culture. You know what these boys are doing and what they wanted to do to Chelsea, whether they would go through with anything or not is beside the point. It is disgusting that anyone would act like this.

Also, two guys do about the same thing to her when she is alone in her workplace.

Happens again later on when Sparks tells her to "be friendly" while he's basically chasing her around her workplace, saying and doing creepy things. He is also drunk.

(spoiler show)

 

Slut shaming:

Nina (The main character's oh-so-skinny friend) believes her boyfriend is going to leave her, because she sees him talking to another girl named Suki. Oh, the horrors! You know, he could have been asking help with homework, or Suki could be his friend, but no, jump straight to "he's cheating"

Nina says "Suki is such a huge tramp!" (I read another R.L Stine book that has Suki mentioned. She is kind of a stereotypical "hard rock bad girl" or maybe Goth (I can't remember) and acts/dresses differently and apparently has a reputation for sleeping around but it only feels this is so because of how Suki is stereotyped. In the other book, she is also treated the same way.)

(spoiler show)


I still love these books; yeah, I have a blind spot for them. I know they are outdated and problematic by today's standards. I'm reading them through nostalgia-colored glasses.

 

Afterthought: I just want to point out that the main character is mentioned as being "chubby" and the bad guy says she is "dark and chubby. Not real pretty but she's okay." The book talks about "fixing" her up by straightening her hair, wearing makeup and losing a few pounds.

 

These 80s & 90s teen books probably made a lot of people feel bad. Or if you were like me, you would just overlook the problematic stuff; it just went right over my head.

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review 2018-10-08 18:09
Bound Gods - Book 3, Betrayed
Betrayed - Adrienne Wilder

 

Good heavens...this just keeps getting better and better.  Phew.  Absolutely love this relationship! 

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review 2018-09-30 19:15
Not That Bad
Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture - Roxane Gay

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

This collection of essays is a very enlightening one: about people who were raped and/or sexually assaulted, about those who work with them, about the rape culture that permeates so many places and societies.

The latter especially is worth mentioning, because little gestures, little ‘jokes’, everyday sexism and attitudes and ‘if you wear those clothes then You’re Asking For It’ sayings are the foundations of something deeper, something that leads to rape, and make it so that no matter what, the victims are still the ones who have to justify themselves. Justify the amount of times they said ‘no’; or whether they said it clearly enough (apparently, for many people, a woman who says no actually means yes… and they never question it, and therefore make a decision based on what they want to hear). Justify and quantify their pain: if it was ‘so bad’, shouldn’t they be dead? And, since they aren't, shouldn’t they be grateful that ‘at least they’re not dead’ (as if that could erase and negate what was done to them)? As if this was but a trifle, something that you just can, and have to, get over with, because mentioning it will Make Other People Uncomfortable.

I guess I should be grateful that the ‘only’ aggression I had to go through dealt with random guys deciding that fondling my thigh in the train was something they had a God-given right to do. Or grateful that they ‘only’ flashed their dick in front of my face. It wasn’t ‘that bad’, right? Well, screw that. At the root of it, our stupid, crappy society is still stuck on Man Sees, Man Takes (sometimes women do that, too, but it’s nevertheless much more often the other way ‘round, because Boys Will Be Boys, and all that rubbish we dump into boys’ heads when they’re still so little). And as long as we don’t wake up and grow up for a change, this won’t go away.

The styles are varied, by various authors (female, male, trans), including even an essay in comics format, while being close enough to clearly resonate as a whole. They read quickly and easily in terms of grammar/vocabulary, and yet remain powerful and hard to stomach as well, due to the theme they explore and the pain they deal with, whether they are actually depressing or carrying some form of hope.

These essays are definitely worth reading: as an eye opener for some, as a reminder in general of what is at stake, of the day to day attitudes towards sexual harassment, of all the tiny ways well-meaning people can and will say/do the wrong things.

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