Tuesday, August 28, 2018
Wednesday, August 22, 2018
The 90-day rule.
Okay, this came along in the story before it even made sense; leaving me with a bad taste in my mouth every single time it was mentioned, which was often.
At least initially.
Sloan decides to wait 90 days to have sex with her newly found, boo, Titus, a la Think Like a Man, Act Like A Woman.
This seems to be the focal point for this quick-moving insta-love relationship, along with absolutely cringe-worthy sex when it gets down to it, see: love juices and love passage.
First, let’s backtrack a bit.
Sloan meets Titus at a speed dating event, and quite frankly he rubbed me the wrong way right off the bat.
He’s supposed to be this really sure of himself, cocky, but interesting kind of guy. But he just comes off as an asshole. I believe that’s due to lack of development and backstory but I’ll get back to that.
The implication is that he’s used to getting what he wants—which I am fine with, HOWEVER, make him likable while we’re doing it.
He’s not very likable, not initially.
Sloan is supposed to be this business-oriented woman, with her usual together, aside from the lacking love life.
In all honesty, her character contradicts her description. She’s not confident. She’s slightly immature, lacks understanding and is not a good example of a solid character.
None of this is to say I hated this book or its characters, it just lacked depth and structure which failed this novel.
Everything happens so quickly, without background, without merit, full telling, and it took something away from the enjoyment of it.
But the sex scenes...took me right out.
It read like a historical romance from back when your grandma was reading it with heaving bosoms and love tunnels.
This author goes into cringe-worthy detail of love juices and my not-so-favorite, see: hate, also see: puss.
Look here, do you boo boo. When it comes to creativity and being inventive in novels I am all in. Here for it.
But the way the sex was described had me giggling in complete delusion. I was trying to make light of the fact that I was completely disturbed. There are just certain terms that will always rub me the wrong way. I am not alone. I rounded friends to talk about it, and before I could fully voice an opinion. They too were cringing—called Sloan a juice box actually.
It’s a fairly accurate description.
Some quotes: (Reader description is advised.)
“...Reaching to the depths of her love passage, Titus’ manhood pushed against her clit causing spasms that generated a flood of love juice from Sloan’ chamber...”
“...the slap of his male fortitude against her wet puss...”
“...Titus roared against her and inside her, spilling his life juice into her womb.”
Just stop. Full stop.
I can’t talk about this anymore. I feel like I’m reading my parent's description of sexy times and I’d much rather not.
Aside from my discomfort, which luckily only occurred a handful of times—this book lacked depth and development. The conflict of the novel was trivial. You don’t really get to know the characters because you don’t get enough backstory to really engage and invest time.
It’s not the worse but it wasn’t the best.
Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Monday, August 20, 2018
Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Monday, August 13, 2018
Eraser Tattoo- Jason Reynolds- 3 stars
I’m not quite sure I understood the intent or the point of this short story. It was however of course well-written but too short for me to grasp its greatness.
But in this case, let’s hope young love wins.
Meet Cute Malinda Lo- 3.5 stars
Another story that’s strong point is diversity. It’s short but lengthier than the first story. An LGBTQ story that tackles the nervousness of two teens who share a love of things comic con related, but on a quick chance meeting find they like more than just their shared similarities.
For its length, it was pretty entertaining and the ending was pretty adorable.
Don’t Pass Me Eric Gansworth-5 stars
This is my favorite so far. It had what the previous two didn’t have enough time to capture, that’s depth. I related to and understood the MC’s struggle. The struggle of being a person of color in a world where people don’t get that. When he mentions being darker in certain areas because he tried to scrape the color off, as a younger child—I felt that. Outstanding, and that ending—yup that’s writing right there.
Be Cool For Once Amina’s Mae Safi- 5 stars
Another love. The painful joys of having a crush on the boy that seems unattainable.
The author did a great job of capturing Shirin’s confident yet nervous personality. Thoroughly impressive and well flushed out for a short story. Another five star read.
Tags Walter Dean Myers- 5 stars
This was the most heartbreaking and current of the bunch. Gritty and raw with a sharp edge, Tags was not what I expected and would love more of. It brought to mind the recent black lives matter-esque novels recently released.
I liked what he did with this one, alternating conflicting and powerful voices. Well done.
Why I Learned To Cook Sara Farizan- 3.5 stars
A quick story on culture and acceptance. The family aspect was the best part of the story, and I’m sure this story will touch a couple of readers for its tough realness. Another LGBTQ story.
A Stranger At The Bochinche Daniel Jose Older-4 stars
Quick yet fun with a Spanish flare, would have liked more of this sci-fi tale. The writing was pretty stellar. A good fit for fans of Cassandra Clare's, The Mortal Instruments series.
A Boy's Duty Sharon G Flake- 3 stars
I liked the historical feel of this story but I honestly didn’t much understand or enjoy it.
A Something In Between Story Melissa de Cruz - 2 stars
This story was a reaaacchh. It tried so hard to depict the struggles of colored people struggling against the consistent presence of racism but it failed, terribly. Not only did it feed the stereotypes it was claiming to rebuke, it was not engaging or realistic. It was unnecessarily angry and aimless. Not my favorite.
Paladin Samuri Gene Leun Yang- 2 stars
Seems youthful and easy to follow but I don’t quite get the point.
Catch Pull Drive Schuyler Bailar- 3 stars
I know one gay man personally. He’s not transgender or anything and I didn’t know him well at first, as don’t most people when they first meet them. But I knew he was gay without him uttering a word. I just knew. It didn’t matter. He was a person who would later become my person. When he came out to me he was nervous, and cautious, and I was no one to fear. But we later laughed about it when I told him I knew and brushed him off to discuss a more impeding topic, like what we should have for lunch. It was the fact that we were still friends and that I reiterate that, that seemed more important than harping on the fact that he preferred men over women.
This story was kind of like that except it didn’t capture those same realistic and intense emotions for the person coming out. But it did perfectly capture the stereotyped reactions of ignorant and non-understanding teens.
It tried to emulate the process of transition and coming out but it could’ve done better in my opinion.
Super Human Nicola Yoon- 5 stars
This last story was a doozy in its intensity and in the way it’s written. Beautiful, succinct—to the point. I really would have loved to see this story fleshed out or even written as a series. This story is what I expected this anthology to capture. Great read.
As a whole, the anthology attempts to teach us about diversity, to implore inclusion. While I didn't find that all of the stories did this well, some of them did, really well.
I would definitely recommend even if for just some of the stories. I think this is something that should be ongoing--and is worth reading.
Sunday, August 12, 2018
Let me tell you something. I’ve been reading for a very long time, and I think I’m having more fun reading now, in my thirties than I have in a long time.
No Holds Barred allowed me to enjoy the types of characters I never knew existed but so desperately wanted and needed. The importance of diversity is never lost upon me, every single time I pick up one of these books and whisper to myself, they get it. They got it and they’ve given it to me.
Hunter Valentine is what I would imagine I want my husband to be. Intelligent, business-oriented, successful, caring and fine as all get out.
Hunter strolled his tall sexy black behind onto the pages and I damn near fell out. He was intense and melinated and I rejoiced. I’m still rejoicing.
What I enjoyed most about Hunter and about his character was the fact that he was the complete opposite of the portrait society wants to paint of the black man.
He’s not in jail or selling narcotics. He has his ish together and he’s so well put together. We all want him. Hell, you’ll want him.
His character was strong and domineering. He was very assertive in a not so chauvinistic Christian Grey-esque way.
He paid attention. He was attentive. He was sexual—Y'all was he sexual—and he was raised well.
When he and his brothers donned aprons to serve the women at the table, I became ooze and slithered out of my chair. I wish. I want.
Camilla was a journalist with a bright smile and an open heart. She was a perfect fit for Hunter—and though she was pretty much the MC I can’t stop focusing on Hunter, and the black love story Stephanie created for her readers with him at the helm.
I really want to take a second to one thank Stephanie for giving me a story that made it hard to sit still and tired out my fanning hand—but also for creating a cast of characters that were black and not stereotyped.
It may not seem like a big deal, but it is when there is such a lack of such characters and I still have to hunt them down.
This story is well-written and downright steamy. I might have burned a finger or two under the scrutiny and heat of Hunter's eyes, and the chemistry between Hunter and Camilla.
The chemistry between Hunter and Camilla is this novel’s strongest suit. There isn’t a strong emotional feel to it, but between the chemistry, and Hunter’s character, I didn’t much miss it.
The author maintained my interest and gave me a romance to ship.
Well done, and I look forward to trying some of the other books in this series.
My favorite quotes:
“You smell good enough to eat,” she said.
“Let me know if you want a taste, and I’ll be more than happy to oblige.”
“Believe it or not, Angel, it only takes being without you for a few minutes to want you there again.”
Oh, and did I mention he gives her one of those frequently used nicknames, and it did NOT get on my nerves. It flowed right into the story and fit the mood every time. That’s usually not the case. So, thanks, Stephanie for changing my mind about pet names from wealthy/well-to-do men in books.
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