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review 2018-04-25 02:38
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood (Audiobook)
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood - Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah narrates his own autobiography with humor and passion. Even when he's describing things as crippling as apartheid, racism, and domestic abuse, he's able to relate the events in a way that not only educates the listener about the horrible cruelty that crippled a country under the laws of apartheid but also allows the listener to laugh - or cry - with him at the absurdity of some of the situations. 

 

As an American, I know very little about apartheid, except that Nelson Mendela helped bring it to an end and that it made Jim Crow look like a Sunday brunch. Trevor Noah explains the ways that the South African government, ruled by the minority white population, overcame the majority black population, split them up and took the power from them. He's able to convey the lessons he learned growing up in this system - which made his very existence as a half-white/half-black child a crime - and how his mother found ways to get around the system time and time again. 

 

In a lot of ways, there are many things here that many can relate to - your first pet, feeling left out of the crowd, struggling to make ends meet - but the constant presence of apartheid and its aftermath turns those things on their head. His observations on life, people, the power of language and empathy, and the laws that surround us and shape us are astute and timely, even today. Maybe even especially today. 

 

I wasn't sure what I was going to get with this story, and didn't realize that Noah was that guy from the Daily Show until after I finished it, but I enjoyed this a great deal, which is a weird thing to say about a book filled with such heavy topics.

 

“Nelson Mandela once said, 'If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.' He was so right. When you make the effort to speak someone else's language, even if it's just basic phrases here and there, you are saying to them, 'I understand that you have a culture and identity that exists beyond me. I see you as a human being.”

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-04-25 02:18
R@pe, Pedophili@ and Incest
One Hundred Years of Solitude (Oprah's Book Club) - Gabriel García Márquez
WARNINGS WARNINGS 
I don't recommend this book if you feel uncomfortable with books that depict graphically

* Pedophilia/rape [ A 9 year old girl forced to marry and later bear a child to a grown man (hide spoiler)]

* Incest/child abuse [ The Buendia family members are constantly falling in love with close cousins, half brothers, nephews. An older woman Amarantha makes out with her underage nephew (hide spoiler)]
* Non sensical Violence [ including the cruel death of a newborn, and that's the ending scene. This book leaves you feeling disturbed (hide spoiler)]
*Prostitution
* Cheating
* Bestiality
* Women treated as objects sometimes by their own parents


description
description

If you like me grew up reading marvelous books like Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Twilight, The Hunger games, which are all extremely strong in terms of characterization and character development and which are at times trashed by the same critics that praised this piece of cr%p, I doubt you'll enjoy this book because:

* No plot, everything is a messy mix of twisted, and I mean TWISTED, disturbing, cringe-inducing family anecdotes
*No character development. 
* Poor character presentation. Other than I know that Amarantha is somehow fierce it's difficult to describe the rest of the characters personalities. What are their goals? What do they want? What do they fear? Who are they? What are their motivations?
* Poor worldbuilding. Am I supposed to know how Macondo, the setting of this book looks like? All I know is that Macondo founders were trying to reach the sea and they couldn't and were tired of travelling so I know there's no sea close to this town. The rules of this world don't seem to follow a logic, either. It's like Garcia Marques just smoke weed and added whatever he saw when he was under the effects of the weed to add magical elements here and there. I rarely notice worldbuilding issues in my reads because I have a strong imagination. Even books that don't describe the rules of their worlds or the setting properly don't turn me off, but since this book is universally praised as a "master piece" I was expecting more. 
* No coherent timeline, Little to No dialogue
* Author breaking the rule of show don't tell 98% of the book

description


I should have tried to convince my professor to change this assigment. I should've told him that this kind of topics are potential PTSD triggers for me (which is 100% true, although usually books don't activate triggers for me, certain kind of music and smells are triggering for me) or that they are against my religious beliefs (that'd been a lie, but I wish I had lied) Maybe it wouldn't have worked and still I'd been stuck to read this horrible book, but these professors should be more responsible when assigining this kind of disturbing readings and forcing people to read them taking away our sacred right of DNF a book we don't enjoy .

I'm aware that the author won a Nobel Prize, but it seems to me that it was more like the academy thought it'd be rebellious and edgy to give an award to this author leaving other more talented authors out, therefore steering controversy. Sort of like they did when they gaveBob Dylan the Nobel Prize even if he's a songwriter and poet more than a book writer.

I don't even know who is supposed to enjoy this book. I think that some Hispanic readers might find something good in this book because it seems to me that the author at times was talking about Colombian/Hispanic political issues in a metaphoric way, but honestly there wasn't enough of that.

Also, the opening line of this book is supposedly matter of study in English literature courses around the world 


'Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.'


I can see why some readers might find that intriguing and get hooked from there, but I read a lot of books with great opening lines/paragraphs in commercial literature. Angefall by Susan EE, Divergent by Veronica Roth, Maze Runner by James Dashner have strong opening lines that get you hooked. I think every reader gets hooked by different opening lines, so why critics and scholars think this opening line is better than any is beyond me. However, I'll say that the ending scene was strong and extremely disturbing. It's a scene that will make you feel haunted and in search of a happy reading because [ A newborn is eaten by ants. You're supposed to imagine the ants carrying only the carcass of what was moments before a lovely baby ... who was born with a pigtail O_O (hide spoiler)]

I'm only writing this because I need to organize my ideas for my essay. I doubt that writing my honest opinion about this trash will earn me a good mark, so I'm trying to find an angle to write about. Maybe I can write about the role of women in Garcia's books. The other Garcia's book I read was Chronicle of a foretold death which was thankfully short and somehow realistic, but still 100% misogynist. An oudated view of women is common in this author's writings.
My recommendations if you are forced to read this author:

* Write notes for each time a new Buendia appears. There are at least a dozen characters sharing almost the exact name and that is confusing
* Don't expect character development, don't expect world building
* Don't expect brilliant dialogue, although you can expect beautiful monologues
* Expect a lot of info-dumping and exposition
* Expect a lot of magical elements, but not the kind of magic that makes you want to live in this world.
* Expect a lot of misogynism It's like the author comes from ancient times or the Taliban and his views on women are very outdated. As a demi-feminist some scenes were hard to stomach.
* Keep an enjoyable read at hand because sometimes you're tired of this world and you want to get out of it by reading something good.

Long story short, this book is way Overrated. Overrated doesn't cover it. I think the author, may he rest in peace, might have written it under the effects of the weed.


description

Best reviews I found on GR:
Martine's

Adam's

 

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1814633475
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-04-25 02:10
Rape, Pedophilia and Abusive relationship
Captive Prince: Volume One - C.S. Pacat,S.U. Pacat

TRIGGER WARNINGS ALERT Stay away from this one if you prefer safe reads. Don't read my review if the word "rape" makes you unconfortable, because I use it a lot, because this book has a lot of that. My review contains spoilers so beware.

description
I don't recommend this if you feel uncomfortable reading about:

Pedophilia Nicasius is only 13 and he's used as a sex slave. The worst is that he is supposed to be willing to be forever a sex slave because the king, his master, gets tired of children when they grow up and Nicasious is eagerly searching for a new master. 

Rape and Sexual violence Damianos the Main character is entered in a slave contest where the loser gets raped. He gets drugged by Laurent "his love interest" so that he'll get weakened and lose the contest and Laurent can watch when Damianos gets raped...publicily!! In this book the court takes rape as a sport. Later Damiano's forced to receive oral sex from another slave to the enjoyment of Laurent. I repeat, Laurent is the "love interest". 

No romance  by the end of the book there's not even a kiss

Stockholm Syndrome Erasmus, A sexual slave, gets raped all the time but he supposedly enjoys being a sex pet and is all grateful when he gets to serve another master because said master treats sex-slaves "better". Sorry but in what sick world a sex-slave enjoys being a slave?How is that romantic or sexy? 

Extreme violence  Laurent, the MC "love interest", is a Prince and he gives orders to whip Damianos. This is vividly described and Damianos spends some time recovering from his injuries. How is that romantic? 

Double standards So Christian Grey gets the sh*t here in GR although he NEVER raped ANA, (although, to be honest he pushed her consent, but NEVER raped her) yet Laurent gets nothing but praise??? So dubious consent, sexual violence, and rape are okay when the characters are male? NO JUST NO!! That's not feminist at all, that's not fair. If the main character had been Princess Damiana everyone and their dog would be screaming murder. "Oh the abusive relationship in romance!" But because the victim is a male then it's okay? How is that fair? 

Unsafe reads This is supposedly a slow-burn-romance between two males, but there's a lot of cheating and disloyalty. [ In the sequel of this rape -fest Laurent who is Damianos owner and master, "lends" Damianos to a group of women warriors so that they can use him for reproductive purposes. Laurent's not even slightly jealous! He laughs with joy when Damianos returns to their tent worn-out from having sex with a lot of women in just one night. Damianos is attracted to Laurent but he is more attracted to women than to males. So we the readers don't get a little bit of cute jealousy and the couple doesn't kiss until way into the second book. 

I'm not the most articulated, coherent reviewer, so I invite you to read these reviews if you want more info on the problematic issues of this book.

Cait's review
Lainey's review

This book makes me angry. The writing is exquisite and clever, but it's the most disgusting portrayal of an M/M relationship. Contrary to what this book portrays, Homosexual Men have healthy, committed relationships . This is not the best book to portray diverse couples, because, as it is, a lot of people think wrongly that homosexuality and bisexuality are against nature and that Bisexuals and Homosexual aren't capable of loving, committed relationships. This book only re-inforces the idea of sexually "degenerated" characters. In real life gay people aren't like this. Not at all.

I gave two stars to the sequel because the graphic rapes aren't present. It's cleverly written and it's addictive, but it's still a harsh read because poor Nicaise. It's not fair what happened to him.

Final note: There are reviewers here in GR who praise this book to no end, and yet get all angry and write rants about romances like Twilight, Hopeless, FSOG, Beautiful disaster and other romance books of the romance genre. At time it feels like some of those reviewers are trying to make the people who enjoy, for example, FSOG bad with themselves because "they are supporting a book that portrays an abusive relationship". Yet they go and praise this very abusive book. 

This isn't about me having a problem with the people who like this book. I think it's okay if people enjoy this kind of books because

* Everyone has different tastes and opinions and all opinions are equally valid. You enjoy this book? That's fine.
* WE ALL ARE SMART! WE ALL KNOW HOW TO DIFFERENTIATE REALITY FROM BOOKS. We all know that In real life rape is wrong. The people who love this book to death aren't supporters of rape, this is just a book. But just like the the captive prince fanbase knows the difference between reality and books, the FSOG fanbase knows better than go and get themselves in abusive relationships because of a book.

My problem is when the double standard comes:Contrary to popular GR belief the people who enjoy books that portray abusive M/F relationships are as smart as the people who enjoys Captive prince. Just saying. 

So anyone who enjoys FSOG or any other bad-reviewed romance, but never says it aloud for fear of how their opinion will make them look in a site like GR where people trash "abusive relationship" books, should say it aloud. Most of FSOG bashers are top reviewers who praise this rape-fest so there's nothing wrong with liking FSOG or any other poorly-reviewed romance. 

If you like me feel unconfortable reading certain topics, ignore most of the 5 star reviews, very few of them mention the problematic issues of this book and most lack trigger warnings. Read some 3 stars reviews and some triggers warnings before deciding if this book is for you or not

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1942116707
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text 2018-04-25 01:29
Multiple Trigger Warnings
One Hundred Years of Solitude (Oprah's Book Club) - Gabriel García Márquez

WARNINGS WARNINGS 
I don't recommend this book if you feel uncomfortable with books that depict graphically

* Pedophilia/rape [ A 9 year old girl forced to marry and later bear a child to a grown man (hide spoiler)]

* Incest/child abuse [ The Buendia family members are constantly falling in love with close cousins, half brothers, nephews. An older woman Amarantha makes out with her underage nephew (hide spoiler)]
* Non sensical Violence [ including the cruel death of a newborn, and that's the ending scene. This book leaves you feeling disturbed (hide spoiler)]
*Prostitution
* Cheating
* Bestiality
* Women treated as objects sometimes by their own parents


description
description

If you like me grew up reading marvelous books like Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Twilight, The Hunger games, which are all extremely strong in terms of characterization and character development and which are at times trashed by the same critics that praised this piece of cr%p, I doubt you'll enjoy this book because:

* No plot, everything is a messy mix of twisted, and I mean TWISTED, disturbing, cringe-inducing family anecdotes
*No character development. 
* Poor character presentation. Other than I know that Amarantha is somehow fierce it's difficult to describe the rest of the characters personalities. What are their goals? What do they want? What do they fear? Who are they? What are their motivations?
* Poor worldbuilding. Am I supposed to know how Macondo, the setting of this book looks like? All I know is that Macondo founders were trying to reach the sea and they couldn't and were tired of travelling so I know there's no sea close to this town. The rules of this world don't seem to follow a logic, either. It's like Garcia Marques just smoke weed and added whatever he saw when he was under the effects of the weed to add magical elements here and there. I rarely notice worldbuilding issues in my reads because I have a strong imagination. Even books that don't describe the rules of their worlds or the setting properly don't turn me off, but since this book is universally praised as a "master piece" I was expecting more. 
* No coherent timeline, Little to No dialogue
* Author breaking the rule of show don't tell 98% of the book

description


I should have tried to convince my professor to change this assigment. I should've told him that this kind of topics are potential PTSD triggers for me (which is 100% true, although usually books don't activate triggers for me, certain kind of music and smells are triggering for me) or that they are against my religious beliefs (that'd been a lie, but I wish I had lied) Maybe it wouldn't have worked and still I'd been stuck to read this horrible book, but these professors should be more responsible when assigining this kind of disturbing readings and forcing people to read them taking away our sacred right of DNF a book we don't enjoy .

I'm aware that the author won a Nobel Prize, but it seems to me that it was more like the academy thought it'd be rebellious and edgy to give an award to this author leaving other more talented authors out, therefore steering controversy. Sort of like they did when they gaveBob Dylan the Nobel Prize even if he's a songwriter and poet more than a book writer.

I don't even know who is supposed to enjoy this book. I think that some Hispanic readers might find something good in this book because it seems to me that the author at times was talking about Colombian/Hispanic political issues in a metaphoric way, but honestly there wasn't enough of that.

Also, the opening line of this book is supposedly matter of study in English literature courses around the world 


'Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.'


I can see why some readers might find that intriguing and get hooked from there, but I read a lot of books with great opening lines/paragraphs in commercial literature. Angefall by Susan EE, Divergent by Veronica Roth, Maze Runner by James Dashner have strong opening lines that get you hooked. I think every reader gets hooked by different opening lines, so why critics and scholars think this opening line is better than any is beyond me. However, I'll say that the ending scene was strong and extremely disturbing. It's a scene that will make you feel haunted and in search of a happy reading because [ A newborn is eaten by ants. You're supposed to imagine the ants carrying only the carcass of what was moments before a lovely baby ... who was born with a pigtail O_O (hide spoiler)]

I'm only writing this because I need to organize my ideas for my essay. I doubt that writing my honest opinion about this trash will earn me a good mark, so I'm trying to find an angle to write about. Maybe I can write about the role of women in Garcia's books. The other Garcia's book I read was Chronicle of a foretold death which was thankfully short and somehow realistic, but still 100% misogynist. An oudated view of women is common in this author's writings.
My recommendations if you are forced to read this author:

* Write notes for each time a new Buendia appears. There are at least a dozen characters sharing almost the exact name and that is confusing
* Don't expect character development, don't expect world building
* Don't expect brilliant dialogue, although you can expect beautiful monologues
* Expect a lot of info-dumping and exposition
* Expect a lot of magical elements, but not the kind of magic that makes you want to live in this world.
* Expect a lot of misogynism It's like the author comes from ancient times or the Taliban and his views on women are very outdated. As a demi-feminist some scenes were hard to stomach.
* Keep an enjoyable read at hand because sometimes you're tired of this world and you want to get out of it by reading something good.

Long story short, this book is way Overrated. Overrated doesn't cover it. I think the author, may he rest in peace, might have written it under the effects of the weed.


description

Best reviews I found on GR:
Martine's

Adam's

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1814633475
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review 2018-04-03 23:46
Release Day ARC Review: Sweet Nothings by T. Neilson
Sweet Nothings - T. Neilson

At first glance, this seems like a sweet and cute romance, with an MC who's starting over in his smallish home town of Lake Balmoral, and the bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks being the love interest. Throw in some freshly baked goods, like tarts and muffins and such, and you might think you'd be able to settle in for a nice, easy ride to happy ever after.

You'd be right. But you'd also be wrong.

Sweet Nothings is a sweet and cute romance, no doubt, but it's also a lot more than that. It's about starting over, about family ties, about older brothers, about finding your own way, about not judging a book by its cover, about forgiveness, about trust, and about love. 

When Tristan flees his current life and his fiance in NYC to return home to Lake Balmoral, we don't know much about his reasons, other than that Christopher, the ex, is controlling and manipulative, and that Tristan felt stifled and smothered and needed to get out of the relationship. He buys the old bakery with his savings and works toward the reopening. 

He meets Jake, a car mechanic, on his first day home while shopping for groceries. It's a real meet-cute, even though Tristan's flirting techniques are rusty and even though he's warned off Jake by the store clerk and everyone else. Tristan doesn't care what others say - there's immediate attraction between him and Jake, and he's all too willing to find out where this might take them.

Meddling family notwithstanding, Tristan works hard to get the bakery business off the ground, taking wholesale orders from his oldest brother Simon and the nice couple who owns the coffee shop next door, while cleaning and sprucing up the place. And getting closer to Jake.

Jake has a history, a bad one, and the reader finds out fairly quickly that Jake's been to prison, but is now released and working for his sister's garage, living in an old travel trailer behind her house, to get back on his feet. The reason for his prison stint isn't immediately clear, but nothing about Jake screams criminal, and his whole persona was one of kindness and consideration, and keeping his nose to the grindstone. He knew, of course, how people looked at him in town, but he wasn't willing to prove their assumptions right - he kept on working and doing the right thing. Good guy, Jake is. 

The further I got into the book, the clearer it became that Tristan was afraid of his ex, and for good reason. When he finally tells the truth about what pushed him to leave NYC, to end the relationship, I might have sniffled a bit, and I might have wanted to reach into the book and wring Christopher's neck. What also upset me was Simon's behavior toward his little brother - Tristan didn't need a father; he needed his brother to be on his side and stand by him. Sure, Simon changed his whole attitude once the truth came out, but his grumpy ass should've known better. 

As you can see in the blurb, the bakery falls victim to a fire. I'm not going to tell you here why there's a fire, or who's responsible for it, because that's pretty clear once you get into the book, but I was struck by how the author chose to use that moment, and how it really made it clear that Tristan believed Jake, and that he stood up for him. I truly loved that scene!

As for Jake, his truth also comes out, and we are told why he went to prison, why he made that choice, and what it has cost him. I might have sniffled a bit once more, but thankfully the author didn't delve too deeply into his experiences in prison. 

So... while this is superficially a sweet and cute romance, it's actually much more. The 3rd person narration, switching between Tristan's and Jake's POV worked well for me, and the writing isn't overly flowery. I enjoyed this quite a lot. 

And I think you should definitely give this book a try. Perhaps you'll love it like I did, and then end up in my position - anxiously awaiting the next installment when grumpy Simon gets hit by the love bug. I can hardly wait!


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher in exchange for an honest review. **

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