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review 2017-10-13 16:36
Body armor
Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body - Roxane Gay

Today I'm going to attempt to form some coherent thoughts about my experience reading Roxane Gay's newest book entitled Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body. Some of you might have already had this book on your radar because of the huge amount of press that it got right after its release. This is an extremely personal account of Roxane's experiences as an obese woman in our society (which is obsessed with being skinny as you know). However, it's less a commentary on that than a self-exploration of her relationship with food and her body. You might recognize Gay's name from my review of her frank assessment of feminism and how she identifies herself (not just as a feminist but all-around human). I thought that she had pushed the envelope with her openness and willingness to 'go there' with that book but reading Hunger was a whole new experience. For one thing, this isn't a book about the trials and tribulations of being overweight in America and how she's planning on using this book as a tool to get her life back on track. No, this is a cathartic exercise in purging some of the darkness that she has had buried inside for too long. (I'm trying to not give away too much because her writing of the events of her life is kinda the whole point of the book.) This book will make you rethink the way that you look at your own body and how you make assumptions about other people based on their bodies. It is not meant to be preachy or shaming. It's one woman opening up about a horrific experience in her life and how that changed her forever. I think this is the kind of book that everyone should read because it opens your eyes to yourself, to others, and makes you think. 9/10 definitely recommend

 

What's Up Next: The Book That Changed America: How Darwin's Theory of Evolution Ignited a Nation by Randall Fuller

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2016-05-31 17:25
An entire chapter devoted to competitive Scrabble
Bad Feminist: Essays - Roxane Gay

I've recently delved into the world of feminist literature and so it was bound to happen that I would read Roxane Gay's Bad Feminist. Ya'll, this book will slap you in your face with its brutal honesty. It's a collection of essays about everything from what it's like to be a black female professor (or what the teaching profession is like at all really) to the pressures of being the 'right' weight in our society. It's a no holds barred look at how we place everyone into categories and what it's like when you're one of those people that defy this categorization. This is a look into what it means to be a flawed human (or a bad feminist to use Gay's terminology) who recognizes that it's impossible to get everything right. One can only try to be their best self and do their best to stay true to their beliefs. She talks about her struggles with the label of 'feminist' and how she has always chafed against being lumped in with this group as she doesn't fit all of the supposed parameters. However, there is no one definition of feminist. (Am I ranting? It feels like I'm ranting. And even this worry right here is a part of the problem because I have been conditioned to feel that expressing my opinions/feelings is something I should apologize for.) She covers a lot of sensitive topics such as rape and in particular gang rape. The discussion of whether or not the term 'rape culture' has helped or hindered our society in terms of making this a known issue but at the same time desensitizing us to its effects (mention of Law & Order: SVU may have been made). This book is real. If you only read one book labeled as 'feminist literature' then I hope this is the one that you pick up. 10/10 highly recommend. :-)

 

Note: More books on feminism coming up soon.

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2015-12-11 08:44
Tawni Waters
Beauty of the Broken - Tawni Waters

Beauty of the Broken is such an appropriate title for this intense story.

The blurb pretty much sums up this book:

'In this lyrical, heart-wrenching story about a forbidden first love, a teen seeks the courage to care for another girl despite her small town’s bigotry and her father’s violent threats.'

except its so much more than that! Mara seems so real (and completely and utterly bizarre) and she is going through hell. Her father is a monster, she has mixed feeling about whether she should love someone like him, or feel ashamed. Her mother isn't much better but is trying to make alright a terrible situation. Her brother is beyond complicated, with so many mixed emotions its hard to contemplate. Her home is filled with complete whack-jobs. Bigots, the worst kind of whack-jobs.

This story was painful, cringe worthy and occasionally disgusting but it was also beautiful, soulful and filled with such passion that it was breath taking. Beauty of the broken is taking the whole YA genre to a new extreme. Its all about discovery, Not just about who is Mara, but her sexuality, her morals, her values, her will, her beliefs and religion, what God means to her verses what he means to everyone else. It was a truly beautiful and completely bizarre story. The other characters aren't just page fillers either, they have their own unique and interesting histories and opinions, their diverse, some are wonderful and some are cruel.
(I loved Henry. I was worried about him being a cliche character, but he wasn't he was such an individual, and even if he was cliche, his dad alone would of separated him into a category of his own!! what a quirky trait, i wonder how the author thought of it?)

The writing was incredible. absolutely beautify. Lyrical i believe would be a more apt term.

The only complaint i would have (besides the very weird beginning which almost made me put the book down - i recommend reading past it, it gets better) is the open ending. Yea i can picture what would happen afterwards, but i would have preferred the author to write something, letting us know. I'm hoping for a happy ending, but
with poor Mara's luck who bloody knows?


3.5 stars. I almost feel like i should maybe give 4, this book is worth 4 stars, but for me i believe 3.5 is a better fit, maybe because of the topic's covered? it was painful to read, but I'm glad it was covered. It's such authentic topic and was pictured so vividly in this book, something i believe teenagers will appreciate while reading. something they may be able (unfortunately) be able to relate to in certain families. Hopefully it won't make them feel so alone.
The book was also weird as fuck on occasion as well, which may contribute to my rating. I feel 4 stars should go to an enjoyable read, something that made me feel uplifted. This was great, but uplifting it is not.
I'll be looking out for more book written by Tawni Waters, who is an incredible author. Kudos for doing such a fantastic job, where most people would shy away from such topics.

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review 2015-11-23 00:00
All Man
All Man - Jay Northcote

We already know Julian from Top Me Maybe?, and I was happy to read his own story.

And what could be wrong with a hot Twink meeting his total opposite and fall in love? Not much, in the grand scheme of things. And I enjoyed that part of the story. It was funny, it was sweet, it was hot.

But.

And I realize I should have gone with my gut feeling, and read the blurb more carefully. But the whole sexual assault plot was so not my thing. Because honestly, I'm tired of reading about rape/assault as a mere plot device that has nothing to do with core of the story. I'm not a fan of the" young reckless twink getting saved by the manly man"-trope. A character can grow and two people can get closer without this particular kind of drama. It's the same with "near death" situation outside of crime/mystery books for me.

I'm not saying authors shouldn't write about rape. All I'm trying to say is: If you want to write about that topic, make it the main theme of your book, handle it with care and sensibility, and let the reader know beforehand what he/she is getting into by picking this book up. But don't use it as a dramatic device to make your characters grow, change or get closer. And for the love of the deity you believe in, don't gloss over the effects an attack like that has on a person! There is no magic dick or magic big arms to cure you of the aftermath of sexual assault!

That's all.

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review 2015-09-27 00:00
Laurel Heights
Laurel Heights - Lisa Worrall

3 stars

Well, this was... different?

I'm really not sure what happened. I was looking forward to this one. Cops undercover, a romance and a mystery? I'm usually a goner! Here? Not so much.

Firstly, there were some things I liked. The writing was solid, the characters were "good" enemies and their feelings for each other changed quite nicely. Or more precisely, they gradually got their heads out of their asses. It's not easy to write a double-in-the-closet. You're bound to run into some repetitive issues, thoughts and problems and in general it was well done here. Bonus for the steam, that was really well written.

But quite some things didn't sit well with me. Let's start with the crime aspect. I've been in love with crime ans suspense for a long time. From Agatha Christie to Lee Child, from Kathy Reichs to Josh Lanyon, I tried it and loved a lot of myteries. And I'm aware of the fact that all these authors (except for Reichs maybe) are far away from being crime fighting experts, so I don't really expect to read perfectly realistic books regarding procedure, rules and training. But, and it's a big but for me, it has to be at least kind of believable. That didn't really happen here for me. Two cops - who hate each other, at least officially - are send undercover almost completely unprepared? Yeah, no. That just didn't fly with me. Also, it's fine that they have to keep their cover. So some PDA and play acting has to be done. But, come on! They are expected to play their part in a group orgy/partner swapping situation, even though both are firmly in the closet, therefore straight in public? Show me a straight cop who could pull that off convincingly! You can't play straight and you can't play gay for a little bit, then wash your hands off it and go back to "normal" just like that! And every supervisor knows it.

But okay, I tried to keep an open mind. It's just fiction, after all. Right? So I kept reading. And it wasn't really a bad read. Just... strange. Where was the investigating? The search for evidence? The dialogue with other members of the community? Most of it just happened, because everyone was basically over each other all the time. Also, what was up with their houses? Why did they even have them? It's not like anybody respected your closed doors. At all. Just no. And while the mystery itself was good - because it kept me guessing who the bad guy was until the end - I also felt somewhat cheated. Because it wasn't as if I had a chance of finding out who he was before he was revealed. The only way of guessing was the slow process of elimination. Not because of actual evidence, but because all but two men were mentioned by name in a way that made it impossible for them to be the villain. And the epiliogue threw me completely. That cliffhanger was just not cool. I was hurting enough for Todd before! Now this? I'm not even sure I want to read the second book.

Another thing were the "gatherings". I really don't have a problem with orgies, partner swapping or menage in my books. Sure, it's not my favorite thing to read about, but it also doesn't turn me off too much. If it were just the "gatherings" where people swapped partners, or came on to each other. But it wasn't! Everyone ate somebody else's face at some point! I even lost track who was with whom at one point, because I couldn't keep up with which one of the guys was "swapping" at the moment and who actually wanted to sleep with his own partner for a change. And everybody got irritated with Will when he finally set some boundaries? What?! I was cheering him on something fierce!

Talking about boundaries: I'm all for relationship development while working a case. Living and working together so closely is predestined for it. But it just didn't sit well with me how much relationship and sex was going on while they didn't get any kind of work done - except for calling their respective partners for research results. It got really bad when I read a passage about Todd that just about broke my heart, and was thrown into a hot sex scene between the MCs right after. It made me feel so queasy and I was actually tempted to skim it, because I was so uncomfortable. Which is NOT a good thing for romantic suspense. I was so not happy with this one.

One other thing that bugged me were the nicknames! After the first two or three, I was still somewhat grinning. But after a while it didn't just get old, it annoyed me. Especially because both did it, at least once every ten pages. Creative in the beginning, way too much in the end.

So, all in all, it was an okay read. I love the combination of romance and mystery, but the execution here just wasn't really for me. I can see why others loved it so much, I guess I just want different things when it comes to romantic suspense novels.

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