322 Haunted By
196 Haunting
Stacia

Stacia in Progress

Sparkling water fanatic. Lover of random crap. Goodreads member curious to see if the grass really is greener on the other side.

Currently reading

Dreams of Gods & Monsters
Laini Taylor
Still Life with Strings
L.H. Cosway
Rated YA-MA : Adults Who Read Young Adult Fiction
Rated YA-MA 2854 members
A group for adult lovers of Young Adult fiction. We feature a different type of book for each mon...

Books we've read

Vampire Academy Vampire Academy
by Richelle Mead
Start date: September 1, 2013

Eve and Adam Eve and Adam
by Michael Grant
Start date: August 1, 2013



View this group on Goodreads »

It's Wordy Wednesday (my non-book question time)

Do you gamble? If so, what's your game of choice?

and

What's your favorite season and why?

Reading progress update: I've read 5%.

Grace and the Guiltless (Curious Fox: Wanted) - Erin Johnson

Now only two things : 

 

1. (doesn't apply anymore)

 

2. A few pages in, and I'm feeling like I'm stuck in a weird episode of Bonanza. The hint of revenge to come has me hoping that this will end up being more like The Quick and the Dead.

 

3, I like the new cover better (shown below). It's way cooler looking.

 

Grace

 

 

These Edits Somehow Didn't Make the Final Cut

Girl in the Bedouin Tent - Annie West
Clarissa Stacia Explains it All.


Yes, I am dating myself with that reference.

As I was reading GitBT, I found myself changing the meaning of scenes in order to entertain myself. Entire passages of dialogue and bland scenes were spiced up in my head as I made the Sheikh more of a jackass and the woman less intriguing than she was supposed to be. 

Here's the book as I saw it :

The book states - Amir had his pick of gorgeous women on six contents. He chose his own bed partners.

Translation - Amir knew that he had hos in different area codes.

The book states - Unusual was right. In Monte Carlo, Moscow or Stockholm her coloring wouldn't warrant a second glance.

Translation - Men always want what's different. If you feel unattractive, move to another country where people don't look like you, and you'll be an instant bombshell.

The book states - She'd stabbed him!

Translation - Foreplay!

The book states - "I prefer my women willing."

Translation - Fear and wealth make everyone willing. You'll get there soon enough.

The book states - "Come! You need sustenance." He didn't quite click his fingers, but his abrupt gesture made her step automatically towards a low, brass-topped table.

Translation - "Bitch, get over here!"

The book states - He trusted her with the blade? Or was it a trick to lull her into relaxing?

Translation - He thinks you're so weak, he'd have no problem overpowering you.

The book states - Her only hope lay in not giving up. She still had to find a way out of here.

Translation - Her only hope lay in getting laid.

The book states - It must appear we spent the night as lovers.

Translation - I have a rep to protect.

The book states - Amir shuddered as desire racked him.

Translation - He really had a seizure.

The book states - She dropped to the ground, her legs opening in perfect splits. Desire surged. He wanted her wrapped around him.

Translation - My translation would be the same here.

The book states - Only days ago the thought of Amir looking at her desire had made her reach for a knife. But now.

Translation - But now, she reaches for a vibrator.

The book states - Some strange version of Stockholm Syndrome?

Stacia thinks - You wish the explanation was so easily explained. That's all you.

The book was fine - everything was pretty much surface level, so we never got to really see more to the characters beyond basic and weak sexual tension. If I'd read Girl in the Bedouin Tent before I'd read Sheikh's Scandal, I might have given a more satisfactory rating. Even while Sheikh's veered off course with some hard-to-believe moments (not buying that a man abstained from sex for 3 years for a woman he didn't care about, when he had a harem at his disposal), at least I felt like there was some weight to the story itself, cheesy as it was at times.

Gone Baby Gone

Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn

HAH.

HAH.

HAH.

Well played, Gillian Flynn. Well played. You got me in the end.

Despicable characters. Dangerous games. Astronomical fallout.

It was kind of romantic. Catastrophically romantic.


What's this story about? Okay, here's the deal. A chick goes missing. Her husband is suspected of making her disappear. The story starts with a dual PoV from Amy in the past (diary entries) and Nick in the present. Things go from there. The reader is left to try and figure out how big of a role Nick did or did not play in Amy's disappearance. Is she even dead? 

I'm almost laughing at my original status update about Amy. My feelings changed and changed and changed - liking her, disliking her, coming full circle, then moving away again. Where did the wheel stop? I'm not telling. 

"I'm the bitch who makes you better, Nick."


Nick. I think it's safe to say that no matter what the outcome was (if he did it or not), he was just gonna be that character you love to hate. 

"You two are the most fucked-up people I have ever met, and I specialize in fucked-up people."


That's all I can say without spoiling. 

Oh, WAIT...there were lots of random musings which were great. These people were over-thinkers, but I kind of liked it in this story. 

Complaints...hmmm...the amount of all-knowing coming from both sides got tiring, but it's obvious that so much of the setup was born from character deficiencies, so I could excuse some of it away.

The ride was one I don't think I'd go on again, but I'm glad I took the trip. 

We are one long frightening climax.


Now I can see the movie and annoy my husband because I know what's going to happen and he doesn't. *edit* NM - the movie is changing the ending... WTF?!?

I Still Win More Than I Lose

Lady Sophia's Lover - Lisa Kleypas

The Bow Street Runners are simply not holding the same appeal for me that the Wallflowers or Hathaways series did. 

 

The start threw me off to the rest of the book. Generally, a Kleypas couple gets some time to banter around and build steam. I felt like I'd been thrown into the deep end right off, which set the tone in a way I didn't care for.

But, it's Kleypas. Enough said. I'll forgive this and hope her next book will reignite my love.

Every so Often, I'll Revisit My Childhood...Then I Happily Go Back to Adulthood

Rooftoppers - Katherine Rundell, Terry Fan

Rooftoppers was a fun read. If my ten year old self had read this, surely I would have rated the book 4 stars. My adult self wasn't as invested (since I wasn't the target audience; my opinion doesn't count against children!), even though I appreciated the charm of the story. Matteo reminded me slightly of a childlike Han Alister, or perhaps a far more innocent version of a scamp from Oliver Twist. 

Caught between the upper end of childrens' and lower end of middle grade, I'm shelving the book as childrens, although readers of both age groups might find something to enjoy with Rooftoppers

I might keep the book to gift to my younger son in a few years. 

The little illustrations present at the beginning of each chapter were a nice addition to the story. 

Probably the Final Straw (That Broke the Camel's Back)

The Golden Dynasty - Kristen Ashley

DNF just shy of 30%. Will not rate because I'm not sure if my expectations screwed with my ability to enjoy the book. I was curious to see if my issues with KA were strictly contemporary-related, but I realized that it's not going to matter what genre she writes - I just can't seem to enjoy enough about the story or characters to justify the problems which stick out. 

I'm not sure why I was expecting more of a high fantasy offering (maybe it was the repeated comparisons of the main characters to Khal Drogo and Daenerys Targaryen -Song of Ice and Fire this is not). Instead, The Golden Dynasty reminded me of the caveman book I'd recently read with its simplistic language and repeating sounds. 

Lahnahsahna reminded me of this scene (the part I'm referencing starts at 1:05) 

So maybe the book was on the more basic end of fantasy. I could probably try to overlook it, right?

But when you add in this...

Holy freaking moly...my husband was hot!

...I was pretty much done for.

I might have chalked the book up to being its own category and not a book trying to be high fantasy, if there hadn't been scenes in the book which were trying to be high fantasy. That kind of screws up the message.

Comparison number 1 : It is possible for a romance book to incorporate elements of high fantasy and do it well. I can easily offer up Lord of the Fading Lands, which is definitely more of a romance book than a straightforward fantasy, yet the author manages to incorporate a strong language, lush world details, and well-drawn racial characteristics to serve as a fantasy background. 

Let's compare :

Lord of the Fading Lands - "Ver reisa ku'chae. Kem surah, shei'tani." (Your soul calls out. Mine answers, beloved.) 

The Golden Dynasty - "Kay me ahnoo!" I snapped into his neck.
"Rayloo, kah fauna," Lahn murmured.


The base for the language in Golden Dynasty sounded childlike and primitive. One could argue that in Game of Thrones, there was a distinct difference between the Khal's people and the other kingdoms - perhaps what could be seen as a more primitive way of communicating - and that was high fantasy. I'd argue that George RR Martin also knows how to pull it off better. 

Comparison number 2 : It is possible for a romance book to incorporate the idea of sending a woman from our world to live in another world and not sacrifice on the creativity. Wicked as They Come tackled a similar idea (albeit more as a whimisical paranormal) and managed to do it with more flair. 

SPOILER ALERT!

This is Not the Hero You're Looking For

Hero - Leighton Del Mia

Adult review for erotic content. Warning : some spoilers will be present.

There are few story crimes greater than the one of wasted potential.



What I expected : Superhero by day. Sadist by night.

What I got : Passing mentions of a superhero by day. Manufactured Stockholm Syndrome by night.


This was dark erotica with no real direction. The book read like Batman fanfiction without the action and suspense. I need to make a superhero shelf at some point because I don't have it in me to shelve this as sci-fi. 

This book was about yet another TSTL female who couldn't make up her mind. It was about yet another TSTL female addicted to a man like he was a drug - for no reason other than he gave her an orgasm.

I'm not making this shit up. It's all right here in black and white.

My mind is as high as heaven...

"Fuck me," I tell him. "I'm so high on you."

I sigh, sated. "Is that what it's like to get high?"

His kiss is like a drug, feeding me, quenching my thirst, my never-ending thirst, my infinite void, and planting himself inside me again.


Prose, thy name is purple utterly fucking stupid. And don't get me started on the awkward ways the word "sated" was used. It was a verb, a noun, a thought, and a conversational reply.

Let me set the record straight. I like dark/taboo/mindfuck erotica - when it's DONE RIGHT. A big part of the draw when it comes to books like these is getting to dissect what makes a screwed-up character tick.

Hero himself wasn't the issue here. I knew what I was getting into when I picked up this book. I knew that he was a rapist. I knew that he was damaged. I knew that he was a contradiction between caring human and irreparable monster. I didn't flinch when he acted upon evil impulses...because...DUH. Taboo mindfuck erotica. It's an actual book category. I've read it many times before, and been able to (enjoy is so not the right word, is it?) understand the book for what it is.

It always comes back to idiot females. If a man rapes you and takes your virginity (oh and btw, you don't really know him, so there's no emotional connection to start) - that FEAR, that PAIN is real. 

It takes time to attach to an abuser. There was absolutely no time (I don't count the time she spent alone) for Cataline to attach. I'm thoroughly sick of dubcon being misused in stories as a means to jump ahead to an emotional attachment. The "no really means yes" type of story has it's own niche in erotica. No, it's not just used in monster porn (although, if I'm going to read dubcon, I'm more likely to seek it out in unusual places).

She got an orgasm, then turned into a cat in heat. The fear didn't even come close to overtaking her lust - not even for a second. The 

escape and suicide attempts came after the fact 

(show spoiler)

. She went from adamantly stating that she wouldn't give her body to Calvin, then begging for him to take her WITHIN A FEW PAGE SPAN. I'm not expecting full-on accurate realism in taboo erotica, but FFS, I want at least a shred of something that resembles how anyone (yes, even a damaged person) would react. Hell, let me give another taboo example to give some perspective. Take the bookComfort Food. In that book, it was at least explained how the chick would not be able to survive without human contact because she was internally wired to need the companionship of others, so she gave in to her tormentor out of fear of losing herself. It wasn't the most stable explanation, but AT LEAST IT WAS AN EXPLANATION. Cataline's reasons for wanting Calvin/Hero were shaky at best, and explained way after the fact, even though we were in her head and she didn't give me reason to believe she wanted Calvin, other than "it felt good."

Rapists - as long as they're hot and can get you off, it's all good. 

My brain hurts.

I wanted to like this story so much. With the right execution, we could have seen a good man fighting his demons with the help of a patient and caring woman. 

Taboo erotica is a viable subgenre of erotica. But it's not a trend to be written haphazardly. Unless a dinosaur is running up into the mix and causing havoc, there should be a rational thought process somewhere.

The "superhero" side of the story was COMPLETELY underdeveloped. Outside of a few small snippets scattered throughout the story and some explaining which takes place in the last 20% of the book, this could have been any other kidnap story. I say it all of the time with non-contemporary genres - RESEARCH, DEVELOP, COMMIT to the theme. If you're going to half-ass it, DON'T do it.

Did I mention already that the heroine was TSTL? That entire scene where she threw herself at Calvin and begged him for sex and told him she loved him after he left her alone for a while - that was simply painful to read. 

I never realized Hero was different from us.

Wait? Is this the same chick who kept WISHING FOR HERO TO COME SAVE HER? What kind of normal human comes to save the day when he doesn't know where you're at...unless he's DIFFERENT from the rest of you???

Yeah...Cataline. Not the brightest crayon in the box.

Surprisingly enough, the best and most emotional moments came from Calvin/Hero himself. Well, except for this gem of nonsense.
"I bet you taste like cotton candy."


He's the reason I'm not 1 starring the book. Sure, he was a rapist who gave his woman a serious bitch slap (I laughed, I'm not gonna lie). But I wanted to read about a disturbed man who had a shred of humanity deep down inside of him. And I got that.

If I let myself too close, there will be nothing to protect her from the monster that lives in me.

Every day I walk a line between my need to defend and my desire to hurt, maul, and kill. To kill a predator makes me high. What kind of a predator does that make me?

Cataline continues to shake, even after she falls asleep. Or maybe I'm the one shaking. I'm holding her tightly. Too tightly.

I've always loved you, since you were a little girl. I just didn't know I was allowed to.


If this entire book had been in Calvin's PoV and had a little more superhero action, it could have easily been 4 stars. The start of the book was interesting. The emotional connection at the end was actually engaging. 

It's really too bad Cataline was such a horrid character, which made being in her head a terrible experience...and it didn't help that most of the middle of the book was frustrating to the point of almost making me DNF.

Sometimes I like to chat things other than books. *gasp*

In one of my groups I ask random questions on Wednesday, just to chat with people and learn new things about them. I think it would be fun to learn random things about my friends in general, so here's a couple of questions :

Are you one of those people who loves or hates the taste of black licorice?

and

Ladies - fess up. Who here has had trouble getting pee into that cup at the doctor's office?

Oops, I Did it Again (forgot to review)

Vain: Book One of The Seven Deadly Series (Volume 1) - Fisher Amelie

I'm not sure what happened. I read Vain 2 or 3 weeks ago (don't even remember now) and UHHHHH...didn't review the thing?

I'm sure that I have quotes marked in my copy, but the distance of time has me super lazy to care enough to go pull them up.

Condensed Review Version : 

 

 

 


The cons -

Simplistic writing
Some minimal editing issues
Cringe-worthy start (almost DNF'ed) for the first few chapters (but I get the point the author was trying to make, so it's forgivable)
A character who unbelievably changed overnight (would have liked to have seen a slower change) from spoiled rich brat to empathetic, hard working, mature woman

The pros -

Very readable
Tugs at the heartstrings
AWESOME, strong, HUMBLE, caring, male lead
Attention brought to a part of the world that westerners could stand to learn more about

The second half of this book was a powerhouse of emotion. Seeing a materialistic girl become a person who cared about orphans whose lives were ravaged by war and genocide took the typical YA/NA contemporary standard and threw it out the window. 

While not perfect in execution, this story got the focus off of generic teen problems and took the reader to another place entirely. Even with the hiccups, I have to credit an A for effort. 

Reading progress update: I've read 50%.

Hero - Leighton Del Mia

No food updates this time!

 

I am both purging and gorging, my life seeping through my pores and Calvin's cum filling the void it leaves...

Not gonna lie. I've had crazier thoughts during sex. Sometimes it really is just THAT good. 

But I try to keep my bat-shit crazy sexual thoughts to myself. It just doesn't translate well over to the written page.

Reading progress update: I've read 10%.

Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn

a supermarket deli tray full of hoary carrots and gnarled celery and a semeny dip sits untouched on the coffee table, cigarettes littered throughout like bonus vegetable sticks.

I knew that the books I was reading were starting to blend together when my first thought was : I wonder if that dip was made with Batman semen?

I swear, I didn't mean to have 3 status updates in a row with strange food sex. 

Reading progress update: I've read 38%.

Hero - Leighton Del Mia

"I massage butter over her anus.

Sir, I believe that Fabio has a better alternative. 


I'm fading fast. The dub con scene was such an unbelievable whiplash from no to yes that it made me long for some legit monster porn.

 

Not related to my update, but did I accidentally stumble into p2p without knowing? I'm just curious.

Reading progress update: I've read 26%.

Hero - Leighton Del Mia

My rising urges to punish her, fuck her, and make her submit are at odds with my duty to protect her.

Why am I strangely amused by the idea of a "twisted" superhero? Why am I having a hard time computing in my brain that heroes might be sexual deviants? What's next, trench-coat flashing...or this?


 

You Can Keep Your Game Money. I Have Change for Gas to Get Outta This Town.

Panic - Lauren Oliver

Compare Panic to one sorority/fraternity hazing gone horribly wrong, and you'll know what you're getting into before you pick up the book.

Funny thing is, I started out noting a lot of positives (all of which were turned on their head). I was in love with the refreshing normalcy of the characters' behavior. 

1. Having beers out by the water
2. Bumming around at the mall
3. One of the girls got tired of waiting for the guy to kiss her so she asked him straight up if he was going to.

A few pages later... HAH. JOKE'S ON ME. THESE KIDS ARE ALL WHACKED.

I didn't even hate that, though. 

This isn't going to be the book for everyone. It's dark. It's contemplative. It explores character behavior outside of the actual game itself. Either you'll kind of appreciate what the author is trying to do, or you'll want to throw your book at the wall. Neither reaction is wrong, me thinks. 

I actually didn't mind the characters. I don't even think I minded how it got all wtf-ery up in the place toward the end. Roaming tigers and games of chicken? Ohhhhkaaaayyy. These things will certainly make for a crazy movie version. Is it sad that I'd almost hope the movie is taken off-kilter and done in the style of the cult classic Heathers? I'd almost want the scene at the end with the tiger and the head pat to mirror Winona Ryder pulling out that darn cigarette at the end of Heathers (Yay! Let's Watch it Again! - be prepared for language) No, the book and movie do not have the same ending, so I'm not spoiling anything. You're safe.

That's not to say that there weren't some entertaining (if bizarre) moments, but this was not as entertaining of a book as I'd hoped it would be. Maybe I've watched one too many made-for-t.v. movies where kids jump off water towers, play road chicken, or do one of a thousand other things for the sake of money, notoriety, a sense of belonging, admission into a secret society, etc. Most of those movies were more entertaining than this book was.

Do I think Lauren Oliver had a good idea in exploring the mindset of what drives people to do what they do? Yes. Do I think we could have wrapped this entire story in about 50 less pages? AB-SO-LUTE-LY. 

Where Oliver does succeed (as far as I'm concerned) is in creating unusual and interesting characters. I know that some people hated the characters, but I didn't. This is what Oliver does. I saw it in the Delirium series, and I saw it here. My complaints are rarely with her characters, but more about the story they are encased in. It just kind of sucked how things hit the downward spiral and I felt sucked into something almost un-redeemable. By the end, the game was out of control, and I hated that I was questioning everyone's motives and decisions. I didn't want to have to go there, especially after finding the characters so refreshing in the first half. It went dark, but dark had become a parody (which is why I'm rooting for the Heathers-esque twist), which I didn't fully appreciate. 

Yet, I think I kind of liked the book. It's just funny how I had to even stop to decide whether or not I liked it in the first place. Usually, you just know one way or the other. This time, I wasn't so sure. 

Who I would recommend the book to : People who like watching other people struggle with basic life decisions. You're going to be witnessing each character deal with their own demons, and you might be sitting in the dark with them as the game unfolds. 

Who I would not recommend the book to : Anyone who wants non-stop action, anyone who hates when books meander somewhat in the middle for the sake of character exploration, or anyone who needs to love the decisions that their characters make. Not everything is always as it seems upfront.

This book provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Am I Asking for too Much by Wanting an Epic Ending?

Killer Frost  - Jennifer Estep

I...uh...yeah. Breaking Dawn plot tactics, really?

What do I even say? What CAN I even say without spoiling?

As indicated by my star rating, Killer Frost was my least favorite book of the series, which is a bit of a shame for a series ender. Even so, 3 stars is still a halfway decent rating from me, so all is not lost.

FIRST, the not-so-great...

1. It took far too long to get to the point where the story grabbed me and took over. 

2. Logan Freaking Quinn (her words oft borrowed by me) was not as shiny as he'd been in the past. I almost forgot that he was there.

3. Breaking Dawn -

no one really dies who's important to the story, which is unrealistic when you go to WAR

(show spoiler)

 all up in a fight scene - no. 

BUT what I did like...

1. As usual, Ms. Estep put a lot of care and thought into her world and the characters who live in it. Groundwork that was laid in the very first book came back full circle. 

2. I appreciate the variety of mythological gods and creatures the reader gets to learn about (or revisit). You can tell that this author loves her mythology...maybe not on the same level as Rick Riordan, but still. I had wished for more information at times than just face-value name dropping, but I've (unfortunately) read much sparser "mythology" founded stories than this one, so I'm happy for the most part.

3. Since it was time to get things wrapped up, at least Gwen got to go out in a blaze of glory. She'd never be able to fill Rose Hathaway's shoes, but the kid's got some guts, nonetheless.

I'm ready to close the page on Mythos Academy. It was a fun ride, but the time was due to end the story. 

I'll definitely be curious to see what series is up next from this imaginative author.