Book 398: Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes – Jules Moulin

Moulin, Jules - Ally Hughes Has Sex SometimesThis novel was such a fun quick read that I’m so glad I took a chance and said yes to the publisher when they reached out to me with a copy.* It didn’t hurt that they suggested I read this piece in the New York Times first and I laughed out loud multiple times (the animation is an added bonus!).

I had very little knowledge or expectations going into Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes other than thinking it was a quirky title and it was a debut novel. I didn’t even know it was set in Providence, Rhode Island until I started reading and did a double-take when they started naming locations around Brown University that I’ve been to. So obviously it got bonus points for that too! We all know I’m a sucker for books set in locations I have fond memories of.

Continue reading

Book 365: The Brontë Project – Jennifer Vandever

Vandever, Jennifer - The Brontë ProjectI’m not sure what it is about Brontë fan-fiction, but they’re just not as whimsical as the Austen fan-fiction. Looking at the subject matters and general ambiance of the works and the author’s lives it is fairly obvious, but when you think about it the options for fan-fiction are limitless. I picked this book (Amazon link) up in late 2012 and have finally gotten around to reading it.

The only other Brontë fan-fiction I’ve read include Solsbury Hill and The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë and they were both a bit ho-hum. I did enjoy the vilification of Charlotte in Michael Thomas Ford’s Jane Fairfax trilogy (here, here and here), but that could be the problem. Emily and Anne died so early and Charlotte had so much time to cultivate/purge their images in society that it’s all about Charlotte and not the rest of the family. (“What’s more, she [Charlotte] has become adept at spinning her own legend and constructing her image before the public.” (59) – and I would even argue spinning Emily and Anne’s images, obviously). Even this novel, whose main character, Sara, is in love with Wuthering Heights ends up being predominantly about Charlotte.

Click here to continue reading

Book 360: #First Impressions #Second Chances – Heidi Belleau

Belleau, Heidi - First Impressions, Second ChancesI grabbed a copy of this book for free from the Riptide Publishing website. I did this before I had an interaction with Riptide that left an incredibly sour taste in my mouth and has pretty much guaranteed I won’t read any of their books again, but I’ll save that for the end of this post (after the recommendation).

This novella’s synopsis (Amazon Affiliate link) was just too cute to pass up. You get a second chance with your first crush and they happen to be gay too? Add in the techno-crazy insta-celebrity age and of course it’s going to be adorable. This rings especially true if you’re main character is a somewhat neurotic shy guy who has gone out of his way to avoid social-interactions in person, but has a large online following. I mean come on librarians and bookstores, let’s just go ahead and create the sub-sub-genre “Socially Awkward Romances.” I’d be all over that.

Click here to continue reading.

Book 329: A Jane Austen Education – William Deresiewicz

Deresiewicz, William - A Jane Austen EducationWarning: Goodreads rant – skip to second paragraph. I’m not sure what jumped up everyone’s butts on Goodreads (I shouldn’t really be surprised), but this book doesn’t deserve as much vitriol as it has received on the site. So many people trashed it without even finishing the book, many obviously had read the synopsis (Amazon Affiliate link) and yet were shocked at what they read.

The book definitely deserves a lot of the criticism, but it doesn’t deserve the pure vitriol that Goodread’s reviewers thew at it. Sure, I wanted to smack Deresiewicz for being an insufferable grad student, but it’s very clear in the synopsis that the book was going to be full of naval gazing. He made a couple of questionable sexist and classist comments and he may have reduced a lot of Austen’s genius down to basics, but it would definitely work for people who are not familiar with Austen. Seriously, if you can’t find the good in a book, why bother finishing and trashing it? Just move on to the next book.

Click here to continue reading.

Book 323: Eclipse (Twilight Saga #3) – Stephenie Meyer

Meyer, Stephenie - Twilight Saga 3 - EclipseI’m not sure what to think of the series at this point. It’s not as bad as I thought, but it’s still not as good as everyone makes it out to be. I’m still not happy with how helpless Bella is and I am very glad no one mentioned her obsession with Wuthering Heights before now or I would’ve been forced to read the series a lot sooner.

I did, however, gain a bit more respect for Meyer. (Shock! Horror!) At the end of the novel, there was included a preview of The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide, which included an interview with Stephenie Meyer. In this she acknowledged one of the biggest faults I’ve seen in her writing: the lack of synonyms in her writing. I did notice in this novel that there weren’t as many issues and that either she’s progressed as a writer, or her editors became better at catching them, so that’s always a bonus.

Click here to continue reading.

A College Entrance Essay #TBT

2014 09-03 A Long Time AgoI think it’s hilarious that I discovered this on Wednesday so this post just happens to be on a Thursday. I guess we’ll just say this is my first, and probably last, #throwbackthursday.

While cleaning up my computer’s hard drive I re-discovered a folder titled “HS.” I knew immediately what that was, but not what was in it. When I opened the folder I found only a few files, mostly college application related, and it made me feel so old and thus the photo.

I feel like the application process was so long ago, as long ago as the photo on the left, taken in 1988 a month before my fourth birthday. In reality, high school graduation was only eleven years ago and the photo on the right is from some time during my senior year.  I was so baby-faced! And I guess still am when I shave and have had a haircut recently—I was carded for a lottery ticket in the last six months! But that’s not what this is about. this is about what I found.

Click here to read the essay and my thoughts on it now!

Book 281: Poster Boy (Theta Alpha Gamma #5) – Anne Tenino

Tenino, Anne - Poster Boy (Theta Alpha Gamma #5)I think this is by far my favorite of the Theta Alpha Gamma series by Anne Tenino and it’s definitely one of the best written of the series. I of course requested a copy from the publisher, Riptide Publishing as soon as I found out there was a new release in the series. It didn’t hurt that the cover had the cutest of all the guys in the series so far. Prepare yourself, a Goodreads observation/rant is about to follow, if you want to just read about the book and not my thoughts on female M/M romance writers and readers skip the next two paragraphs.

When I put in my star rating on Goodreads, I noticed that the overwhelming majority of the first page were female readers. I decided to look at the first 100, but there were only 60 written reviews, which I ignored for their general idiocy, and of those 52 of them were female. This really isn’t that shocking, as I’ve mentioned it before and I remember reading about it while studying for my Gender Studies degree, but I’m starting to find it really interesting which ones I like and which ones the female readers like. It’s almost always opposite and I’m not sure what that says about me, the females or about the writer.

Click here to continue reading.