Book Review: Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

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cover; links to goodreads

Genres: literary fiction; magical realism; contemporary

Why I read it: The description. I’m a sucker for magical realism, and this sounded like something very relevant right now.

Who I’d recommend it to: I think this is one that I would recommend on a case by case basis, after getting an idea of the kinds of books a person usually like or dislikes. I don’t think it’s something everyone will enjoy.

 

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ (actual rating more like 3.75/5 stars)

 

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble


What it’s about:

In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors—doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through.

Exit West follows these characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are. Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, it tells an unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time.


Review:

I think the description was a little deceiving for this one, but I’m not entirely unhappy about that. The idea of the doors appearing transported people to other places sounded fascinating to me, but I wasn’t thrilled by the idea of reading a love story. **Possible spoiler alert** It wasn’t really a love story, though, or at least not for most of the book. Or, possibly more accurately, this wasn’t a love story The Notebook, or something like that.

My feelings are still so conflicted about this book. I loved a lot of it, but at the same time, I had a difficult time getting through it. Overall, it was a very well told, beautifully written, story, so I think my issue with struggling to finish it goes back to the description and my expectations. I spent a lot of the book just feeling a little confused. The description isn’t inaccurate, but it was a bit misleading. It might also have been the writing, which I enjoyed, but it just didn’t work for me as much as I would have liked.

This story was brutal at times, and very timely with the social commentary. It’s a dystopian, in a way, but not the kind you’re probably used to. Instead of some mythic, possible future (however distant or near), this book is much closer to the harsh realities real people are living in today. Though the country Saeed and Nadia are from isn’t named, it’s easy to draw parallels between their lives and the current Syrian refugees situation.

The refugee and immigration aspect of this was heartbreaking, mostly (although not entirely), and that alone would be enough for me to recommend this book to a lot of people. You want to see things from another perspective? Read this. I too often hear people talk about immigrants like they’re all less than human, and lump them together in some awful category (terrorists, etc.), and I think, or hope, that books like this might help people like that to see things differently. The world needs a lot more compassion, and hopefully things like Exit West will inspire more people to look beyond their prejudices and hate and be more sympathetic and kind.

Following Nadia and Saeed was kind of an emotional roller coaster. There were highs and lows, intense moments, quiet moments, and everything in between. I never had any idea what would happen next, or how things would turn out in the end. I liked both characters, and they both seemed so realistic. These were probably two of the most human characters I’ve ever read about, now that I think about it, and I was rooting for them throughout the entire book. I didn’t care much, either way, if their romantic relationship worked out or not, I just wanted them to find peace, safety, and happiness.

 

I thought this book was going to try to pack too much into too little space (the book is just a little under 250 pages), but that fear was unnecessary. I never felt like too little attention was given to any feeling or situation, even the little snippets we got of what other doors were like for other people from other places. Those bits were a little strange at first, but still enjoyable, and I actually kind of wish there had been a bit more to them.

I’m afraid to say much more because I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone, so I’ll just conclude by saying that, yes, I would probably recommend this.


If you’ve read Exit West, what did you think of it?

 

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Book Review: Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

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cover; links to goodreads

Genres: fantasy

Why I read it: The description really intrigued me. I mean, what lives are like for the kids who go through magical doors and then come back to our world? Yes, please!

Who I’d recommend it to: Almost anyone who likes fantasy, but especially other people who have wondered what it was like to go to a magical other world, then come back here.

 

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

 

 

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble


What it’s about:

Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.


Review:

I’ve seen this book everywhere online, and it felt like I was the last person to read it. It was on my TBR for a long time before I finally got a copy from the library, but then I was so not in the mood for fantasy I almost didn’t read it. *sigh* I hate genre slumps. But, finally, the night before it was due back, I couldn’t sleep and opened it to give it a shot. Then I ended up staying up all night because I couldn’t stop reading even though my eyes were burning.

The concept of this book is something I don’t think I’ve encountered before, but I’ve always wanted to. I mean, what was life like for Alice, or the Pevensie kids, or any other children/young adults who’ve stumbled through a magical doorway, had some adventures, but then come back to their original world? Every Heart a Doorway kind of gives us an idea of what it would be like. (Although I think in this book, most of the doors we’re familiar with were considered fiction.)

All of the characters were so unique, and dealt with coming back to this world in different ways, and they all had personalities shaped (at least in part) by their time spent in whatever world they’d been in. There were different categories for the types of worlds kids had visited, and some had more in common than others, even if their worlds were kind of categorized similarly. One thing that all of the kids had in common was that they were back in this world, but really wanted to find their doors again and go back to what they considered their real homes. It was kind of sad, and I wanted all of them–even the characters I didn’t like–to find their doors again to go home.

The writing was beautiful and atmospheric, and I loved it. The whole novella had a little bit of a creepy vibe to it (not like in horror stories, but it was definitely not fluffy all the time), which was refreshing for me because I don’t find that as often as I’d like in fantasy. (It was creepy, or eerie, in the way the Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray was at times, if anyone else has read that and knows the vibe I’m talking about.) I’m pretty sure that once I own a copy of this book, I’ll have tons of sticky flags marking quotes.

I didn’t really love Nancy, but I didn’t hate her. She was just…ok…I guess? I didn’t have anything against her, but I didn’t relate or connect to her as much as I thought I would after learning what kind of world she’d come from. Most of the characters were like that for me, except Jack. I was almost scared of how much I related to Jack at times, and she was absolutely my favorite character. See my love/fear in the tweet below…

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To illustrate my feelings about jack

(And yes, I did read the excerpt from Down Among the Sticks and Bones and might have screamed in delight because I’m excited, or frustration because it was not yet released.)

But I digress, so back to actually reviewing the book…

So, the concept was fantastic, the characters were all at least ok (some were fleshed out more than others, some I liked more than others, etc.), the writing and setting were great, and this was, overall, a delight to read. My only real complaint was that it was so short. I’m not really upset that it was a novella, but I would have liked to it to be a little longer. I also had the mystery figured out for the most part very early on, but having it all revealed was still interesting and a little surprising. (I won’t say more because spoilers.) I really want to know more about almost everything from this book, especially a couple of the worlds. (Nancy’s and Jack and Jill’s, in particular.)

Now that Down Among the Sticks and Bones is out, and seems like it’s going to focus on Jack and Jill, I am super excited to get my hands on it. I’m probably going to buy a copy of it and Every Heart a Doorway soon, because I can absolutely see myself re-reading this several times, and probably trying to make husband read it.

For uniqueness, great writing, interesting characters, and a fantastic concept, this has probably earned a place on my list of all time favorites.


If you’ve read it, what did you think of it?

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Must Read Mondays: June 26th

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Must Read Monday is a weekly thing I do here to recommend books I’ve read and enjoyed. I might sometimes throw in something I gave 3 stars to, but for the most part they’re books I gave a 4-5 star rating to. That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily amazing literature, but it does mean I liked them enough to recommend them to other people.


The Valiant by Lesley Livingston

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When I read it: February 2017

Genres: YA; historical

Recommended for: If you liked the show Xena, or have ever thought, “I wish I could read a story about gladiator girls,” this book is for you.

(I reviewed it here)

 

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

 


What it’s about:

Princess. Captive. Gladiator.

Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king, the sister of the legendary warrior Sorcha, and the sworn enemy of Julius Caesar.

When Fallon was a child, Caesar’s armies invaded her homeland, and her beloved sister was killed in battle.

Now, on the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is eager to follow in her sister’s footsteps and earn her place in the fearsome Cantii war band. She never gets the chance.

Fallon is captured and sold to an elite training school for female gladiators—owned by none other than Julius Caesar. In a cruel twist of fate, the man who destroyed Fallon’s family might be her only hope of survival.

Now Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries and deadly fights—in and out of the arena. And perhaps the most dangerous threat of all: her forbidden yet irresistible feelings for Cai, a young Roman soldier.


I had an ARC and devoured this in a day, then went out and bought the hardcover when it was released. It was that good. I want to say I had been in a slump and this was what got me out of it, too, but I could be remembering that wrong.

Quick story time: when I was a kid and teenager, I freaking loved Xena. Like, along with Buffy, Charmed, and a couple of Disney shows probably no one else remembers, it was my favorite show that I had to watch when it was on, whether it was new episodes or reruns. I would have almost sold my soul to have a book that was even a little like that show.

While this book isn’t exactly like Xena (it actually doesn’t have a lot in common with the show, from what I can remember now), younger me would have been obsessed with this book, and probably cried frustrated tears because it ended. (In all honesty, grownup me became obsessed and almost cried tears of frustration.)

I’m now anxiously waiting for more info about the sequel, because I’ll be all over that, and might even pre-order it, which is a thing I almost never do. So far it looks like it’s called The Defiant and has an expected February 2018 release date. (I’m screaming in my head because I. Can’t. WAIT.)

Girl fights that aren’t over a boy, strong friendships, strong characters (both because they’re realistic and well developed, and they can kick some ass), a bit of history and mythology, very little romance (it’s there, but not super important to the story), and a fast plot made this one of my favorite books read in the first half of the year. I definitely recommend it.


If you’ve read The Valiant, what did you think of it?

 

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First Lines Fridays: June 23rd

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First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

The Rules:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first

Finally… reveal the book!

 


‘Run! Now!‘ TJ shouted, yanking Allison’s sleeve. Her eyes were focused on the ground, where their friend lay twitching slightly. An arrow shaft stuck out of his chest. Her first thought was that it was all part of the game–just some elaborate prank for the newbies on their first outing. If it was, it wasn’t very funny. 


 

 

Interested? Keep reading to find out which book this is from.

 

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It’s All Fun and Games by Dave Barrett

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What it’s about:

When Allison’s best friend, TJ, convinces her to come along for an epic game of LARP (live-action role-playing), she reluctantly agrees despite her reservations about the geeky pastime. TJ’s weekends are filled with powerful wizardry, mystical creatures, and intense battles with his LARP group. Each adventure is full of surprises, but the goal is always the same: to defeat the monsters and find the treasure.

Not long after their quest begins, the friends discover that something has gone wrong. The fantasy world they’ve built has transformed, and the battle they’re in the midst of is no longer make-believe.
Now they must fight for survival against brigands, kobolds, and other deadly mythical creatures that come to life. Fortunately, the group’s once-fictional magical powers have also become real – including Allison’s newly acquired gifts as a healer. They’ll need everything in their arsenal if they hope to make it home alive.

(Cover links to goodreads)

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble


I came across this while browsing through the giveaways on Goodreads a few weeks ago, and was intrigued, so I entered the giveaway and actually won a copy. I probably would have eventually bought it, though, even if I hadn’t won, because this sounds kind of like the movie Nights of Badassdom (which I totally recommend). Basically, it sounds like something I’ll probably love and have a great time reading, so I’m excited to get to it ASAP.

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Harry Potter Moment of the Week: June 22nd

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This weekly meme was created by Uncorked Thoughts and is now hosted by Lunar Rainbows.

The topic this week is: Favorite Quote from Order of the Phoenix?


I’ve been debating about this for days (I almost didn’t do this topic because it was so hard!), and I finally settled on:

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“Don’t worry. You’re just as sane as I am.”

 

First, I love Luna. She’s one of my favorite book characters from any book/series, ever. Second, I like quotes that stand on their own, outside the context of Harry Potter, for prompts like this one.

(But mostly, there were just too many good quotes from OotP. I mean, the sass and snark in that book was unreal and I loved it all, especially all the ones related to Umbridge.)


Do you have a favorite Order of the Phoenix quote?

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T5W: Unlikable Protagonists

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T5W is a weekly meme created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey, now hosted by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. You can check out the goodreads group to learn more.

 

June 21st: Favorite “Unlikeable” Protagonists
— People always tear down “unlikeable” protagonists. But tell us the ones you pulled for!

 

Ugh, this topic has been torturing me all month, and I finally decided to just go with a couple of TV characters to get to 5, because I couldn’t remember 5 from books :/

As usual, these aren’t in any order, but I did like some more than others.


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Mathilde from Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff– I hated her a little, but overall I actually liked her. She’s a kind of terrible person, but I respected her commitment to the things she set her mind to do.

 

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Lestat my precious night child from The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice– He is a huge ass, he’s narcissistic, cruel, sadistic, and just all around terrible and I love him for all of it. He’s the reason I fell in love with vampires ❤

 

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Macbeth from the eponymous Shakespeare play– Full disclosure: I’m actually only just now reading this for the first time :O I think I like him? Probably?

 

 

 

giphy5Emma Swan from Once Upon a Time– Oh my gods, she was so freaking annoying the first season. Actually, no, she still annoys me (I’ve only seen what’s on Netflix), but I keep rooting for her. I mean, I’m a bigger fan of almost everyone else in the show, but I kept hoping she would get her shit together and eventually be happy and stuff.

 

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Meredith Grey from Grey’s Anatomy– Ok, Mere is probably one of the most unlikable protagonists I’ve ever encountered in TV that I’ve liked. (Or at least I’m assuming she’s unlikable because I rarely encounter someone who actually likes her.) I don’t always love her, but I’ve related a little too much to her at times to not want to see things work out for her.

 


Who are some of your favorite unlikable protagonists?

 

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Must Read Mondays: June 19th

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Must Read Monday is a weekly thing I do here to recommend books I’ve read and enjoyed. I might sometimes throw in something I gave 3 stars to, but for the most part they’re books I gave a 4-5 star rating to. That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily amazing literature, but it does mean I liked them enough to recommend them to other people.


Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

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When I read it: March 2012

Genres: non-fiction (more specifically: science, medical, a touch of history I think, and death); humor

Recommended for: I recommend this to almost everyone when I recommend non-fiction. But, if you’re very bothered by corpses, death, body disposal, funerary practices, etc., you’ll probably want to skip this one.

 

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble


What it’s about:

Stiff is an oddly compelling, often hilarious exploration of the strange lives of our bodies postmortem. For two thousand years, cadavers—some willingly, some unwittingly—have been involved in science’s boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. In this fascinating account, Mary Roach visits the good deeds of cadavers over the centuries and tells the engrossing story of our bodies when we are no longer with them.


I read this book more than five years ago, and I still talk about it at least monthly, I think.

I’ll be completely honest here: I like morbid stuff. Blame it on my little goth heart, or whatever, but I’ve always been more fascinated than frightened of things like death and bodies, and what happens to said bodies after our consciousness departs them. I strongly considered becoming a mortician after I gave up the dream of anthropology (forensic, specifically, and no it wasn’t because of Bones because by the time the show aired, I’d already ditched that dream).

This book, from what I remember, covered a bit of history about how bodies were dealt with from possibly ancient times all the way to the present. Mary Roach also researched a lot of different body disposal methods, and explained how they worked, where they originated, etc. I think she even took a trip to “The Body Farm” in Tennessee, which I think is awesome. (Am I creeping anyone out yet?) At the end of the book, I believe, there’s even some info on how you can donate your body to science when you die, which really excited me because that’s what I want to do.

While the subject matter is serious, the entire book is pretty funny. Mary Roach seems to have a great sense of humor, and it made this a very enjoyable read, as well as informative.

While this is about death and what happens to bodies, I don’t remember it being super gory. Maybe a little, but it was all pretty technical, I think. This isn’t like reading about a crime scene or a murder in a thriller/mystery/horror novel, but more like a textbook, if it was written in the most light hearted way possible by someone with a sense of humor.

So far this is still the only one of her books I’ve read (and I plan to re-read it eventually), but I have one other on my shelf, and I want to read most of her books.


Have you read this, or any of Mary Roach’s other books?

 

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Fandom Mashups: June 18th

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This is a weekly meme created by Lunar Rainbows. Every week there’s a new scenario and you choose 5 characters from 5 different fandoms to complete the task.

The topic this week is: The Moon is full, bright and it’s making you feel dreamy so you’ve decided to stay up all night and gaze at it.  Which characters do you think would want to enjoy this evening with you?


My picks:

 

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Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter– I know, totally cliche, right? But even ignoring her name, doesn’t moongazing sound exactly like the kind of thing Luna would be down for?

 

 

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The Creature/Frankenstein’s Monster from Penny Dreadful–
Why? Because he’s had a rough life with too few beautiful things, but he can still appreciate beauty, and I think he would be content to just have people willing to spend time with him. (I have a serious soft spot for any portrayal of Frankenstein’s monster/”monster,” but this one in particular :/ )

 

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Sookie Stackhouse from the Southern Vampire Mysteries/True Blood–
Assuming we could make it a “No uninvited supes, especially vamps, allowed” event, I think miss Stackhouse might enjoy actually being out in the moonlight without worrying about becoming someone’s snack. (We’d also have to figure out some way for her to not be bombarded by our inner thoughts, but whatever.)

 

 

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Lydia Deetz from Beetlejuice– I can see her being cool with hanging out, staring at the moon, and maybe writing (or reading) some dark poetry or something.

 

 

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Regina Mills from Once Upon a Time– Why her? Because she’s had a really crappy time, and she’s always stressed, she’s changed and grown a ton, and I kind of just want to take her to a year long spa retreat, but a night of just chilling under the moon, not being allowed to worry about anything, etc. will have to do.

 


Who would you take moongazing?

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Double Book Review: The Haunted/The Hunted by Cassie Alexander

 

 

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The Hunted; links to goodreads

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The Haunted; links to goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Genres: erotica; BDSM (sort of) erotica; paranormal

Why I read them: I was in the mood for something kind of mindless, and found these waaaay back in my Kindle (I think I actually won these like 2-3 years ago in the Erotica group on goodreads for some game or something I’d participated in). I remembered that The Haunted was ghost/human erotica and decided it sounded perfect for the mood I was in. For The Hunted, I just decided to go ahead and knock another really old book off my TBR. (Bonus points: both counted for my #RockMyTBR challenge!)

Who I’d recommend them to: Someone who isn’t all that picky about their erotica, and especially fans of paranormal erotica.

My rating (The Haunted): ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ (Maybe 2.75 stars)
My rating (The Hunted): ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ (2.5 stars)

The Haunted: Goodreads | Amazon        //        The Hunted: Goodreads | Amazon


What The Haunted is about:

The first in the Sleeping with Monsters series, about strong women and the monsters they love,The Haunted is a very hot modern take on gothic ghost stories.

Daphne Vance’s life is perfect — she’s a beautiful, devoted wife, and her husband has just bought her a vast countryside estate to start their family in.

But when her husband leaves on a business trip, it doesn’t feel like she’s alone in the mansion — she can feel eyes watching her, and hot hands trailing up her thighs. The domineering spirit of the mansion’s former owner is still present — and when she discovers her husband cheating on her, she doesn’t want to resist the Master anymore….


Review:

First of all, that line about Daphne’s life being perfect is a lie. (That’s not a huge spoiler because you realize how not-perfect her life is in the first page or two.) Her husband is gone all the time, and, honestly, he’s an ass. So what’s a lonely, young, new(ish) bride to do, all alone in her gigantic new manor, while her husband is away and not home putting a baby in her? Well, allow the resident ghost, known only as “Master,” to have his kinky way with her, of course!

Ok, all joking aside, I actually loved the idea of ghost/human sexy times. I haven’t read any PNR with that concept before, so it was a new and fun twist for me to read about. And, I’ll be honest, it got pretty dang hot a couple of times.

But, despite the amusing/interesting premise of this book, I didn’t love it. Maybe because my copy is so old, it’s since been updated and edited, but my copy needed a bit of work. There were some errors, maybe some typos, and a lot of sentences that just didn’t make a lot of sense without reading them multiple times (and some that never made sense). I found misused words a few times, too.

On top of that, there were a bunch of things not explained, and this one thing near the end that was totally unnecessary and just came out of the blue. (I won’t say what that thing was here, but if you want to know, I’ll probably put it in the spoiler tag on my goodreads review.) This is erotica, and it’s short, but that doesn’t mean I’m happy with having gaping holes in the plot. I don’t really read erotica for the plot, but I want what I read to make at least some sense. If you’re going to have something like a ritual to do a thing, I want a bit more explanation than simply telling me that a ritual happened and it involved x, y, and z, without any indication of how the person who did the ritual found out about it in the first place, etc. Ugh.

I never cared much at all about any of the characters. I think I liked the…uh…Ok, I can not remember what the servant dude’s name or actual occupation was, so I’m just going to say he was a butler. (I’m not 100% sure that’s accurate, but close enough.) Anyway, I liked him alright, but everyone else I was sort of indifferent about or deeply despised. Except the one drunken guy who tried to rape someone. I hated him and wished he’d died painfully. (More on this in the goodreads review spoiler tags.) I am never a fan of books in which the wife or whatever is desperate for a baby, but continues to hang on to her deplorable husband until he impregnates her, then plans to leave him. And that was a big part of this story. And while I’m fine with spreading the love and and someone having multiple sexual partners, it got a little weird in this one (especially with the desire for a baby thrown in). Like, I was cool with her sexing it up with her husband and the ghost, but then the gardener? (And the thing from the end that I’ll talk about on goodreads.) Passss.

Aside from my complaints, which might not bother other people, I actually did kind of like this one. It was a fun, super quick read (the book is only about 175 pages, so I read it in a day), and I was curious enough to continue on with The Hunted. However, I would still hesitate to recommend it, because of my aforementioned issues with the plot and need for more edits.


What The Hunted is about:

The second in the Sleeping with Monsters series, about strong women and the monsters they love, The Hunted is a BDSM-themed werewolf thriller.

As a call girl, Samantha never hoped for a happily ever after until she met Vincent. It didn’t matter that he was a mobster, for seven years their life was perfect – then he was betrayed and brutally gunned down by other members of the family. Now she’s on the run for her life, and the only thing she has to remember Vincent by is a silver locket with the phone number of a stranger folded inside.

Max is a queer mountain man — and a werewolf. For seven years he’s been living off the grid in exile after his pack threatened his then-boyfriend Vincent’s life. But when Vincent’s dying wishes send the beautiful Samantha to him for protection from the family, he knows what he has to do – honor his dead alpha’s wishes and keep her safe, no matter what.

In her grief, Samantha’s willing to do anything to get revenge, which Max tries to talk her out of – until he realizes his old pack was complicit in Vincent’s death. Then he’s as eager as she is — but they only have each other against the pack.

Is she strong enough to mate with him? And if she is, is he strong enough to kill them all?


Review:

I’m going to go ahead and say that I liked this less than The Haunted, and I’m considering lowering my star rating to 2/5 instead of rounding the 2.5 up to 3 stars.

This one has a bunch of time jumps and perspective shifts that took me over half the book to get used to, and I didn’t like the way it was written. I’m not a huge fan of multi-POV, even when it’s only two, anyway, but this one was really frustrating because it literally just repeated exactly what I’d just read from the other person’s POV, with an additional sentence or two added of their reaction or whatever. I ended up skimming over those after a few of them because it was boring for me to re-read the same thing again.

I didn’t really care much at all about any of the characters in this one, either. I’ll also say that the premise for this one was more boring for me, because I’ve read some shifter erotica and PNR before, so the whole, “Ermahgerd, she’s my mate! Must mount and claim! No, wait, she’s human, ugh, what to do? What to do?!” thing isn’t new for me and I kind of dislike it. A lot. Even when the “mate” is totally on board.

This one also suffered from not explaining things that were very important to the plot, apparently, like the werewolf knot thing. What the hell was it? More descriptive terms, please. Draw me a verbal diagram because what I imagined was probably not the thing the author envisioned, and seemed not only painful but kind of gross.

I don’t even know what to say about the whole, “My long-term boyfriend whom I loved deeply just died, but that’s ok, I can totally mate with his ex two days later!” thing that was going on in this book. It’s like insta-love on a whole new level, but also with insta-sex.

Speaking of the sex… What went down in The Haunted was way hotter, in my opinion, than this one. I’m fine with people using sex like a drug to escape for a while, but it was kind of boring in this one.

And I didn’t really like the “wolf thoughts” in this book. I’ve read some other shifter/were erotica and PNR that let us into the mind of the wolf side of the character, but this one creeped me out and had me rolling my eyes a lot. Not a fan.

 

Ok, I’ve decided that I am going to lower my rating for this one to 2/5 stars. The more I think about it, the less I liked it. I wouldn’t recommend this one. It just had too much going on, needed more editing, and kind of bored me.

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First Lines Fridays: June 16th

first-lines-fridays

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

The Rules:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first

Finally… reveal the book!

 


In a city swollen by refugees but still mostly at peace, or at least not yet openly at war, a young man met a young woman in a classroom and did not speak to her. 


 

 

Interested? Keep reading to find out which book this is from.

 

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Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

30688435What it’s about:

In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors—doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through.

Exit West follows these characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are. Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, it tells an unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time.

(Cover links to goodreads)

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble


I can’t even remember how this ended up on my radar because I feel like I’ve seen it everywhere. However I found out about, I read the description and was intrigued, especially when I saw it shelved as “magical realism,” because I’m always looking for more great magical realism reads. I have some theories about how that part will play out, but I’ve only read the first page so far, so I guess I’ll have to wait and see if I’m right.


Have you read it? What did you think of it?

 

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