Saturday, May 25, 2013

Stacking the Shelves [5]

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to talk about the books we've won, bought, or otherwise received in the past week. It was a relatively slow week for me.... That is until today. I decided to take a walk to my local Goodwill store and, as usual, I bought way more books than necessary. But there's never such a thing as too many books, right?


Emilie and the Hollow World by Martha Wells
Blood and Snow: The Complete Set by RaShelle Workman

Kindle Books:

Beauty Touched the Beast by Skye Warren


Hook's Pan by Marie Hall
Training Their Mate by Vella Day

Goodwill finds:

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
The Awakening and The Struggle by L.J. Smith
The Fury and Dark Reunion by L.J. Smith
Nightfall by L.J. Smith
Shadow Souls by L.J. Smith
Midnight by L.J. Smith

Yes, I got all of those Vampire Diaries book during one trip to Goodwill. I definitely lucked out. What about you?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Swans and Klons by Nora Olsen

Title: Swans and Klons
Editor: Nora Olsen
Format: egalley edition
Pub. Date: May 14th 2013
Source: NetGalley & Bold Strokes Books, Inc.


Four stars.

In the future of the planet Earth, there is no longer a need for males. No longer are women subjected to the disgusting man creatures, and they don't have to go through the awful, painful, barbaric ritual of child birth. There are only women, chosen to be descendants of 300 superior females, and only from those 300. And then there are the Klons- the lesser minded, not-quite-humans that serve the Society and do the jobs that no one else wants to, like cleaning and driving. Light on rules and fairly peaceful, Rubric wasn't one to question the ways of Society, until together with her girlfriend, Salmon Jo, they uncover a disturbing truth- Klons may not be different from humans at all. The girls must decide where they stand, what they will risk, and how to unravel the knitted lies that they have been fed all of their lives.


I have to say, I'm quite impressed by this book. It falls in two of my favorite book genres- dystopian and LGBT. Though this book isn't without faults, I would definitely recommend it.

+ I love the combination of blending the two aforementioned themes. I am a huge fan of dystopian fiction, and this is the first book I have ever encountered with such a strong queer theme. It gave the novel a very unique plot line, and will make it stand out in my mind.

+Because of the lesbian motif of Swans and Klons, I found it more relatable than most other books of the same genre. I was able to more vividly experience Rubric's emotions- from love to separation and grief- since they were emotions directed at a female. I often thought of my own girlfriend and myself in their place. Like Salmon Jo and Rubric, one of us is very practical and no nonsense, and the other is artistic and almost too imaginative.... I won't divulge which of us is which!

+As with other dystopian novels, I like this book because it was disturbing. Books with futures that are almost utopias scare me more than horror books ever could, and this one was no exception. The unique twist of genetically identical people being created only to be slaves is creepy, at the very least, though I mean it in the best way possible.

-My faults with the book were few, but still hindered my reading experience. The first was the lack of romance and affection between Salmon Jo and Rubric. Often times they seemed blatantly cold and plastic towards one another. I wish there would have been more sweetness, so that I could dive deeper emotionally into the plot.

-The only other problem that I had with this book was a few word redundancies that got old really quick. The words "thicko" and "veruckt" were used with an alarming abundance. I'd definitely switch up those words now and then.

I sincerely hope that Swans and Klons is the first book in a series, or at least a two-parter. Nora Olsen has made a new fan in me with her new, queer-friendly take on dystopian fiction. Fans of books such as Beta or Uglies should check this book out. If gay themes or relationships offend you, than this is NOT a book for you!

Thank you to NetGalley and Bold Strokes Books, Inc. for my e-copy.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday [1]

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This is my first time participating, so bear with me :) This week's list is:

Top Ten Favorite Book Covers Of Books I've Read

So here we go, in no particular order:

The last two are almost the same, but I think they're pretty. The cover of Beta is shiny (not that you can tell) and that edition of Dracula is leather bound and I adore it.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Stacking the Shelves [4]

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to brag talk about the books we've won, bought, or otherwise received in the past week. Finally, I'm getting back into the swing of things! My first week back from school and I've already caught up with my three best friends, as well as some good reads. I hope the start of summer vacation is treating you all well too! Now, for my goodies!


Return to Me by Justina Chen
The Eye of the Sword by Karyn Henley

And now for the ebooks!

Kindle Books:

Stag Hunt by Laura DeLuca
The Art of Submission by Ella Dominguez
Geoducks Are for Lovers by Daisy Prescott
In the Air by Crystal Serowka


Love Me by Diane Alberts
Karma Gone Bad: How I Learned to Love Mangos, Bollywood and Water Buffalo by Jenny Feldon
Beauty and the Wolf by Marina Myles
The Miss Education of Dr. Exeter by Jillian Stone

I also got some pretty cool swag.
Anywho, keep cool guys, and if you're in the midwest, stay safe. The weather's looking pretty nasty. Have a great week.

The S-Word by Chelsea Pitcher

Title: The S-Word
Editor: Chelsea Pitcher
Format: egalley edition
Pub. Date: May 7th 2013
Source: NetGalley & Gallery Books


Four and a half stars, rounded up.

After she was caught in a hotel room on prom night with her best friend's boyfriend, Lizzie is labelled as the school slut. The students taunt her, and her locker becomes riddled with that word, over and over again. Slut. Shortly after, Lizzie commits suicide. Her best friend, Angie, cannot let sleeping dogs lie and begins to dig into the secrets of the school's student body, unraveling them bit by bit in an attempt to find out what really led Lizzie to end her life, and who was behind it. But can Angie handle what secrets she uncovers, and more importantly, will she be able to tame the raging, vengeful curiosity that has begun to consume her?


Wow. I wasn't sure how I was going to enjoy this one, but it was a raw, emotional ride from start to finish. I give it 4.5/5 stars, rounded up.

+I really enjoyed the writing itself. It was gritty and honest, and not always pleasant, but portrayed a gorgeous portrait of the darker side of high school. I found the language to be modern without trying too hard to be young, which is an issue I have with a lot of other contemporary novels.

+I honestly had no idea what was going on- and I mean that in a good way. Though this book isn't a traditional "whodunnit", there is still a mystery taking place. Up until the end, I had no idea how it would end. I had theories and thought processes that rearranged several times throughout the course of the book, and I was still taken by surprise. That is a great trait in a book for me.

+I'm pretty sure a large reason as to why I... Enjoyed isn't the right word. Why I connected to this book is because I've witnessed it happen, to a lesser extent. A girl in my high school committed suicide after a trio of her friends took a rumor as true and turned it against her. After her death, the friends came undone and grieved in the same way some of the characters do in this story. Though there was far less drama and vengeance in my real-life witnessing, I couldn't help but to picture my acquaintance as Lizzie. This is a topic that needs to be expressed more in young adult literature. Suicide, and slut shaming and bullying, are so much more frequent with technology what it is, but the stories seemed to be glossed over. It happens every day, and stories like The S-Word remind us of that fact.

+ As a member of the LGBT community, I really appreciated some of the queer themes that appeared, if only briefly, in this book. This was another part of the book that made me connect more strongly, and made the book more "real."

-The only real issue that I had with this story was the amount of digging and spying and lying that Angie went through. I understand the guilt and grief that she felt, but it was downright psychotic at times and made it a bit uncomfortable to read. As a whole, these parts helped to shape the novel, but at times they seemed just a bit too much.

I recommend this book to any young adult, and to any fan of young adult literature or contemporary story. Be warned, this story contains very serious topics such as rape, self-harm, LGBT identity, suicide, and sexual abuse. This isn't a light-hearted read. If any of those topics bother you, than give this a pass. Everyone else: Give this book a shot.

Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery Books for my ebook copy.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Lush by Lauren Dane

Title: Lush (Delicious #3)
Editor: Lauren Dane
Format: Galley edition
Pub. Date: April 2nd 2013
Source: Netgalley


Two stars.

Mary has no time for a serious relationship. Her catering business is finally taking off, and with the help of her friends she's finally making money doing what she loves. When rock star drummer Damien and Mary meet privately through mutual friends, she takes it as a one night stand. But over time, Damien wants more from her and learns that he'll need to do much more to impress her in order to be more than a fun fling.


Meh. I was really anticipating the release of this book, but Lush left me disappointed.

-This book has a plot that lately has been really overused- the rock star and the common girl. It was a nice idea the first couple stories I read, but now it's just become monotonous to read and too big of a cliche. That alone was enough to lose my interest from this story.

-The dialogues within this book seemed forced and fake. I didn't really feel for any of the characters, nor did I focus much on their conversations after awhile. It read like a bad sitcom...

-Except for the sex scenes, which were more vulgar but still awkward and forced. I didn't find the scenes to be steamy or erotic, but rushed and choppy. Not to mention the use of crass language just to be crass. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big girl who can read profanity without being offended. It was just like everything else in this story- overdone.

-The writing itself wasn't so smooth either, consisting largely of jagged, fragmented sentences and the same. Staccato. Writing. That. I. Hated. In. Fifty. Shades. Of. Grey. While I understand it's meant to show a thought process, it really just drew me away from the plot and question the structure of the novel.

-+ Neither positive nor negative, this is an observation that I also noticed in book two, Tart. There are a LOT of characters. Perhaps too many. Characters are constantly coming and going almost to the extent of confusion.

+Now, there are some positives. I am liking the whole "epicurean/chef/foodie" trend in romance novels and erotica right now, and Lauren Dane does a good job mixing her romance with food. I liked Mary's passion for her job, and how it carried over into other aspects of her life, from friendships to romance and everything in between.

+I enjoy that this is a familiar cast of characters, since this series follows the friends who call their little group Delicious. I like that each one gets a chance in turn to find love, and that all of the friends appear in each others' books. It gives a stronger sense of bonding and familiarity.

+Look at that cover. It's gorgeous. I'd love to have it on my shelf. It summarizes the plot quite nicely, looking both classy and sizzling at the same time.

Overall, this book was alright. It's not one of the worst I've read, but I won't rush out to buy it anytime soon. Do not just read this because you read Tart, or you will be disappointed. However, if you like rock stars or chefs, give this book a shot. It won't do anyone harm to read it once.

Thank you to Netgalley for my copy of this book.

Twice the Pleasure by Rachel Kramer Bussel

Title: Twice the Pleasure: Bisexual Women's Erotica
Editor: Rachel Kramer Bussel
Format: Paperback, 232 pages
Pub. Date: April 9th 2013
Source: Rachel Kramer Bussel


Four stars.

Twice the Pleasure is an anthology that contains 22 erotic short stories that all, in some way, contain scenes with bisexual women. Though not all of the stories in this collection scratched my particular itch, a majority of the stories proved to be quick, steamy, enjoyable reads.


+Though I'm not going to critique each and every tale in this book, I'd like to give a tip of the hat to the authors of my three favorites. The first story in my top picks is The Robber Girl by Lori Selke. This story contains sizzling scenes involving the mild use of blood and knives, giving a darker feel. The next story I liked best was Seduction Dance by Dorothy Freed, in which a curious, playful female pet explores her desires for another girl at a BDSM party, at the encouragement of her Master. The BDSM air of this story is one that I seek in adult literature, and I wasn't disappointed. The final story that rounds out the top three is The State by Tahira Iqbal, which contains a sexy female security guard in her undies with a gun- need I say more?

+ A majority of the other works in this collection were solid three stars- enjoyable but ones that will fade from my memory when I read another story.

-The stories that I didn't like (which I'm not naming in particular) each contained flaws that didn't personally rub me the right way. One contained an abundant use of an offensive gay slur which not only has negative connotations but shows lazy writing. Another was written from a perspective using "you", which made it hard to follow. Others still involved kinks that are not my forte, such as bathroom bodily fluids.

Overall, this is an anthology that I would read again, and recommend to other women in the LGBT (though primarily B) spectrum. Whether your thing is historical stories, trans*, crossdressing, BDSM, knife play, voyeurism, or more caring scenes, there is a story in this collection for you. The pros far outweigh the cons. This isn't my first Rachel Kramer Bussel collection and definitely won't be my last. This book fills a much needed hole in erotic fiction by focusing on bisexuality.

If LGBT scenes, kinky sex, or vulgarity aren't your pleasure, don't get this book. If you like a lot of steam in your short stories, with an extra helping of girl-on-girl play, than this book is one not to be missed.

Thank you to Rachel for my copy.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Stacking the Shelves [3]

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to brag talk about the books we've won, bought, or otherwise received in the past week. I apologize for the lack of posts this week, but boy has it been hectic. First I had finals, and then I had to pack up my room and carry all of my stuff down three flights of stairs to the car, then drive six hours to finally be home for the summer. But, what awaited me when I came home? A stack full of yellow envelopes. This week was an amazing haul- all six books that I received are signed!


Tutti Frutti by Mike Faricy
Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel
The Host by Stephenie Meyer
Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Received from Author:

Twice the Pleasure: Bisexual Women's Erotica by Rachel Kramer Bussel

I got some pretty cool ebooks this week too!

Kindle Books:

Dark Wolf Rising by Rhyannon Byrd
Stalk Me by Jillian Dodd


Awaken by Meg Cabot
Soul Stripper by Katana Collins
Some of Tim's Stories by S.E. Hinton
The S-Word by Chelsea Pitcher
The Gravedigger's Brawl by Abigail Roux

Well, I hope you all have a great week. Happy mother's day to all the lovely ladies out there, and happy reading!