Long time geek, fangirl, mother, and reader. I've got a lot to say, you might not like it all, but it will be honest and hopefully helpful.
Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Trigger Warning: There is a transphoic comment at the start of the book that implies misgendering transwomen. Ellie says some homophobic microagressions to a gay man who is her friend and a few bits of internalized racism. She also is openly confused about what is or isn't feminist, sometimes getting it wrong, but there are some genuine moments when she gets it right. And she even comes to some very spot on conclusions about misogyny in mainstream culture.
Over all none of these missteps ruined my reading experience, but that absolutely could ruin it for some if they read without prior knowledge.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I got this book from NetGalley and at first I was rolling my eyes at the Ellie referred to her vagina as a VJ and how convinced she was that a STD test was the height of maturity. But after the first chapter I gave myself a hard slap to the face, because I was being WAY too harsh.
See, I was 19 when I had sex with a man for the first time, i.e. what mainstream heteronormative culture considers "loosing your virginity." It was messy, hilariously ridiculous circumstances, and I can still remember being so determined to get it over with because like Ellie I was sure it would make me some how better. Ugh. The lies we tell ourselves. So once I knocked myself off my sexually experienced high-horse I was able to really relate to Ellie and then as the book went on I REALLY identified with Ellie to the point I was shrinking so far into myself with mortification that at one point I became a human turtle. Oh yeah, so been there.
Virgin is great. Well written, funny, and very relevant to our time. Even thought the protagonist is a virgin she is frank about her body, and sex. I really appreciated how detailed she was in all the many adventures she had with four play, masturbation, body hair, and all the things we rarely see young women deal with in an honest, authentic way.
Ellie is funny, earnest, and I think a lot of women of many ages can relate to her confusion and struggles. I found her determination to be so refreshing. She was scared some times, and hesitated, but in the end she pushed through it to get what she wanted. That alone sold me on the book.
I especially could related to her as a woman of color. Ellie deals with so many things that are unique to being a WOC. Everything from thick, epic amounts of body hair that resists removal. Feeling fat and unattractive in comparison to your thin, blonde, white female friends. [spoiler]Not to mention having most white men not even see you as more than a friend or buddy, even when they're fucking you. (Yeah, that was my human turtle moment, it still stings a bit).[spoiler]
This isn't the kind of a book I usually pick up, but it was well worth venturing out of my comfort zone. I recommend this to fans of the Bridge Jones diaries, Jane Austen, and anyone looking for New Adult novels that focus more on realistic female experiences. This is not a romance, but rather a New Adult coming of age story. I really wish there were more books like this in that genre.
This is a solid 3.5 stars for me, a good book that I enjoyed, but found a few problematic bits.
"It usually takes an author decades to win fawning reviews, march up the best-seller list and become a finalist for a major book prize. Helene Hegemann, just 17, did it with her first book, all in the space of a few weeks, and despite a savaging from critics over plagiarism.
The publication last month of her novel about a 16-year-old exploring Berlin’s drug and club scene after the death of her mother, called “Axolotl Roadkill,” was heralded far and wide in German newspapers and magazines as a tremendous debut, particularly for such a young author. The book shot to No. 5 this week on the magazine Spiegel’s hardcover best-seller list.
For the obviously gifted Ms. Hegemann, who already had a play (written and staged) and a movie (written, directed and released in theaters) to her credit, it was an early ascension to the ranks of artistic stardom. That is, until a blogger last week uncovered material in the novel taken from the less-well-known novel “Strobo,” by an author writing under the nom de plume Airen. In one case, an entire page was lifted with few changes."
But it's not Plagiarism, it's "mixing."
Trigger Warning: Racism and Harassment.
Author Brad Thor has sent his followers after anyone disagreeing with his views on Ferguson and the murder of Mike Brown. @RebeccaSchinsky is being harassed and threatened by his followers (even as I type).
You can see his disgusting anti-black rants on his Twitter feed.
What a piece of garbage.
PS Thor is published by Atira Books. Feel free to tweet and tell them how you feel about them supporting the voice of a bigot.
Trigger Warning: Mentions of Domestic Abuse, and Victim Blaming.
Rat Queens co-creator and artist Roc Upchurch has been arrested for domestic violence after allegedly beating his ex-wife.
Arrested in Henry County, Upchurch was charged with “Battery- Family Violence, First Offense Misdemeanor” on October 31st. After the incident, Upchurch’s ex-wife wrote a blog post detailing the night of the arrest.
Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Trigger Warnings: This book has graphic, gory depictions of physical and psychological torture. There is a ton of ableist slurs in reference to mental illness. Some problematic portrayals of the main character’s mental state and a bit of internalized misogyny.
At first I was intrigued by this book. The opening of the story is dark and heavy on visceral horror, giving it a the gritty feel of a modern horror movie (like Hostel or Saw). Which puts it more into the Urban Fantasy genre, than Paranormal or Super Hero genres. This story is all about the ugly, dirty bits. Almost to the point that it felt like it kept wanting to shock me, over and over, which isn’t necessarily an issue. However, since I didn’t know any of the characters or stakes in the story it is in fact completely gratuitous. Where I should be given insight and empathy into who Verity is, I got what she is with no real depth.
Because of that, I couldn’t finish the book because I just didn’t care about any of the characters or the story. While I liked the super creepy feel of the opening the narrative lost all its nuanced charm once Verity got home to her brother, Adonis. Seriously, these are the actual names of the characters not super hero personas and that’s at once hilarious and deeply disappointing.
The already slow pace of the story regularly comes to a screeching halt for random pockets of info dumping. Worse, none of the information was all that interesting or original.
I can see where the idea for this story came from, and how the characters and set up took shape. My biggest problem, which I own as a personal preference and expectation of the Super Hero genre, is the story lacks the fundamental qualities of what super heroes/vignette crime fighters are and why I personally find them appealing . It’s a lot of themes and tropes of the genre piled into big mess of ideas that end up contradicting each other and making no sense.
Verity is part of a group of pretty, privileged, crime fighters who also have special powers that make them outsiders in society. So they hide in plain sight as super heroes? Rich, Of course they’re rich and in the public eye. OF COURSE!
Never mind that Verity never explains exactly why she is a crime fighter, nor does she actually you know FIGHT CRIME. It’s just the family business, along with a multimillion dollar corporation that does or makes what? I don’t know. Like crime fighting, I guess it isn’t an important detail.
Honestly, all of these things could have worked. I mean they’re all plucked directly from comic books and shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The difference between those stories and this book is they have enough world building to make all of wackiness believable. Scorched doesn’t really having any tangible world building.
It props up some cardboard thin, vaguely familiar settings and ideas around boring cliche characters that are equally underdeveloped. Which leaves the reader doing all the heavy lifting when it comes to buying into the world and characters. That’s a way too much work for any reader, much less an impatient one like me.
Maybe if I had stuck in there a little longer it would have all made sense. Maybe if I could have just slogged through all the boring overwrought descriptions and unnecessarily details descriptions of Verities mental trauma. Maybe there’s something amazing, buried in this story that would redeem it for me. But I’m never going to know because the lazy world building and slow pacing bored me to sleep before I could get to it.
Overall, I’m just so disappointed. I really wanted to like this book, but I just couldn’t.
I think a lot of people agree with Ariel's points, which is why I wanted to post my response here. So that people who believe this can see it from a different perspective.
What are your thoughts on reading the "classics?" Feel free to comment below. :)
ETA: Someone deleted their comments from the comments thread below. In the interest of preserving the context of the conversations involving those comments I'm including some screenshots of those comments for reference.
Trigger Warnings: Sexual abuse, child abuse, and toxic levels of privilege.
In her best selling novel, Lena Duham documents how she "using her little sister at times essentially as a sexual outlet, bribing her to kiss her for prolonged periods and even masturbating while she is in the bed beside her." There are disturbingly detailed excerpts in this article taken from Dunham's book.
It takes an astounding amount of privilege and arrogance to document the sexual abuse and exploitation of another woman, her own sister no less, to feed her fame and career. The fact that Dunham obviously doesn't fear prosecution or even see her actions has anything more than humorous says a lot about how wealthy and privilege distorts even young women, supposed feminist, view of their own treatment of other women.
I already didn't like Dunham, but now I have even more motivation to not like or support her work.
I am not interested in supporting the work of sexual predators.
Let's not forget an author drove to a bloggger's home, called her at work & posted an essay that drove that woman into hiding.
We are making this official and we hope you'll take this stand with us.
We as book bloggers will not give Kathleen Hale any publicity. No book tours, no interviews, no cover reveals, no reviews, not a shred of work from us. What she did is heinous and we can fight back in our own way. She has a new book coming out next year. Let's ignore it completely.
Please join us. Come to Twitter & declare #HaleNo. Say No to Kathleen Hale.
(Credit to Cuddlebuggery for the epic tag)
Yesterday, I made a post about my rather unfortunate experiences as the client of one Olga Filina of the Rights Factory. Today, I received a rather unsettling email. Behold:
That's right, "legal options." I'm not entirely sure what she could justifiably sue me for, but that's not the point.
The point is that my immediate reaction was fear, and that's what this email is about. Look how she brings up my career and how I could "sabotage" it. (Note: Shotgun submissions can sabotage a person's career. Having your damn manuscript in the hands of fifty people at once can sabotage a person's career. You'll excuse me if I don't really think her concern is for me here.)
What she wants is for me to be silent. To retract my post. To hide the truth. I'm not going to lie; this scares the bejeezus out of me. We don't have the money to deal with a lawsuit. I suppose I could just fold, just let her censor me. But no one ever speaks out against TRF's behavior. We're all afraid of exactly this, and not only do I not want people to have that kind of power over me, but I don't think I could live with myself if I went silent and allowed other people to put themselves in the line of fire. Because my silence means other people will be treated this way by TRF.
I won't let other writers be hurt, no matter what the consequences for me. Hell, I'm not sure I want much to do with the industry after this, anyway.
I have to wonder, what is she so afraid of? What did I say that could possibly bring TRF's law department down on me? After all, I'm just some nobody on the internet.
This is a warning for all writers. Avoid The Rights Factory. One thing is for damn sure: They don't give a flying fuck about your rights.
(If you have the time and inclination, please signal boost. Writers deserve to know what sort of shenanigans are going on here.)
[I'm using donotlink to avoid giving The Guardian hits for exploiting a reviewer for money.]
Trigger Warning: Graphic details of stalking.
Author Kathleen Hale explains how she stalked a reviewer, who left unfavorable review for her book, online and eventually in person at the reviewer's home.
What's even more horrifying is the authors and readers defending and applauding Hale for her actions. WTF?
Kathleen Hale stalked a reviewer who gave her book 1 star. She defamed her, harassed her and turned up at her house, claiming she was 'catfishing' her.
What she did is not okay. It's never okay, and it wasn't okay for the Guardian to let her brag about it.
Oh, and she also cites Stop The Goodreads Bullies.
Read more on the site.
A fantasy novel set in Asia, with Asian characters written by an Asian writer? YES PLEASE!
I had recently heard of Scale Bright, but wasn't sure if I would like it. But then Elizabeth mentioned (more like gushed over) it today on her Friday Reads video. So now it's on my TBR and I thought I'd share her enthusiasm with you.