Saturday, September 1, 2012

2 Books finished

I finished two books at almost the same time.  It's been a while since I've had so many book going on at once, and I can see how my memory was so much better back then because when you put down one book and pick up another a bit later, it really takes a lot of brain power to remember what was going on!  :-)

I just finished the following two books:
  •  Story of O by Pauline Reage
  • The Phoenix Rising: A Survivor's Story by Olivia Burgess
It wasn't as difficult as I thought to read two books at once as i remember... I found so many similarities in these books that it wasn't like I had to totally switch my way of thinking for either one.  Both had very strong female characters in different ways.  I don't think I can really talk about both of them coherently, so I'll just start off with the first - Story of O.

I actually borrowed this book from a co-workers after she and I started to talk about the Fifty Shades books which she had just started reading.  She had asked me if I had ever read this book - Story of O - because she said that she found some of the books similar.  Well, now that I've read both, the Fifty Shades series and Story of O, I can see some of the similarities.  Both were about the world of BDSM (if that what it's called - well, whatever, you know what I mean) but each book had a completely different story.

You all know that I'm not all that crazy about the Fifty Shades books because of the unrealistic happy-rainbows, singing lolly poops, fairy tail ending.  Story of O, on the other hand, is exactly how I would expected a book with characters like Christian Grey to behave.

In Story of O, our main character, simply named O, is introduced to this whole nasty world of submission, whippings, and total obedience by her boyfriend of two years, Renee.  Renee claimed that he loved O, and she was stupid enough to continue believing him even after she received her first whipping and wanted to continue to please him because for some strange reason, she felt that she still loved him in turn.  She did find some kind of strange attraction to being shared by different men, and though she didn't like the pain of being whipped, knowing that is made Renee happy, she was happy as well.  It's a stupid way of thinking, but hey, my personality would never put up with that kind of crap, so I wouldn't and could never understand.

Unlike the Fifty Shades books, O learns that total obedience that Christian wanted at first from Ana.  Ana was a teeny bit smarter by not letting herself become a mere object like O became, but I still think that if Ana and Christian existed in real life, that a relationship like that would have never lasted.  Since I talk about a bit of realism associated with the story of O, then you can guess that Renee did not stay with O for that long term relationship that she was hoping for.  The story takes an interesting twist, but I'm not going to spill too much!  :-)

One thing that I did appreciate in this book was that all of the sexual encounters were not super detailed like I saw in Fifty or many of the modern day romance novels that you can pick up anywhere.  The writer did leave some to the imagination, but it was still in the "erotic" category, just not the letters to Playboy or whatever that magazine is, type of bad.  There was some taste with this book, but I'm not sure if it has something to do with the fact that this book was originally written in the mid 1950's or that it was originally written in french.

Because this book was translated, I'm not sure exactly how much could have been lost.  I can't remember taking so long to read a book in a long time.  The reading was a bit difficult and it really slowed me down.  But then, I've also read Fanny Hill and that was written in English - but it was still damn hard to read!  So, in a way I kind of liked the writing, thought the story was okay, but didn't care too much for the subject content.

Okay, down to my favorite part - talking about the characters.  All of the characters were so perfect that I don't think they knew how to fart!  There was really nothing unique with these characters other than they were all mentally sick.  I admired how much shit O was able to put up with for her "love" for Renee, and I can understand to a small extent how being a submissive was important for her... but come on!  Since I do  not know anything about that dominant/submissive world (other than from fictional books), are there people that are really like that and have their roles take over their lives?  I mean, if there was a guy that liked to play dominant in the bedroom at home, does he take that to work and treat any woman he works with or deals with in a daily basis like shit as well?  What about a woman?  Well, if a woman took that dominant type of personality to work, she's be considered a bitch, and unfortunately some companies in corporate America still require women that want to move up in the ranks to be like that because they have to prove themselves ten times more than men to succeed (but that is a different subject for another day).  Anyway, I was not really impressed with the characters.  They were like what I like to call  - puppets - other than O who screamed and cried whenever she was beaten or whipped, no one really had much emotion.

I think one of the most annoying things when I read a book that makes me really judge a writer is in their ability to write dialogue into the story.  And this writer's ability for that was lacking.  I shouldn't say ability, because maybe she can write dialogue wonderfully in other books, but this book could have used a little more... no, make that a lot more!  Maybe this is why it took me so long to read this book - there were just too much that got on my nerves.

This book did have a certain aura to it though... it reminded me of a series by Ann Rice - the Sleeping Beauty series.  No, it's not the Disney version - this is on a completely different universe.  It's the same type of sexual slavery type of genre, but Ann Rice puts more detail in her writing.  I'm actually a bit surprised that the Beauty series did not start this whole 'mommy porn' trend.  It also had ridiculous characters with a true fairy tail ending too.  Maybe the it was a little too dark?  I don't know what starts the trends, but I've read enough of this genre to keep me away for a little while.  :-)

Okay, the next book is called Phoenix Rising.  I find it funny that the main character of this book also has a name with the letter "O" - Olivia - who is also the writer.  This is her story and how she survived abuse in every way you can imagine.  She was sexually abused by her stepfather, emotionally neglected by her mother, and just messed up in her head all around by both.

When I mentioned earlier that both characters in these two books were strong, though O put up with a lot for what she thought was love, well, Olivia's strength comes from that rawest form of humanity that is in all of us that makes it possible for some people to survive.  Olivia's story was hard to read on the emotional aspect.  It's difficult for me to read about children suffering and especially when they're stuck in a situation that they can't easily escape from.  This book also took me a while to read as well, simply because emotionally, I just had to put the book aside for a little while because it was too much for me.

I admire how much details the writer shared in this book.  It was well written and I liked the flow of the story, but I don't think I can read another book like this for a long time.  I would find myself shaking with anger when Olivia had to deal with her mom.  I can't understand how she still wanted to have a relationship with her mom, especially when her mom put her through so much.  I've never walked in her shoes, so it's not up to me to judge, but I can have an opinion, right?  :-)

I was kind of hoping that Phoenix Rising would have had a little more story on Olivia's husband and other children.  They were just kind of like accessories in the story and not really part of the main story at all.  I found that a little sad.  I can understand that Olivia needed to get everything out on what was going on in her head, and obviously dealing with what her stepfather did too her and how her mother was in total denial about what her husband did to her child and not being involved enough in her life to have noticed - well, that's a lot for a person no matter what their age to deal with.  If her emphasis was on these characters is what it took for her to heal and get better to become the wife and mother that she needed to be, then i guess I can accept that.  But it was still a book - and I like to be able to see my characters in color and unfortunately the people in Olivia's direct family were cardboard cut outs in black and white.

There was a lot that could have been improved with this book, but I kind of feel funny writing about it... simply because this book is such a personal account of a true story.  I'm sure the writer put this book together with so much emotional attachment that the last thing I'd want to do is to sound like I'm disrespecting what she did and what she survived.  I think this is probably why I didn't mind writing about both books in this blog... I don't really want to talk about this one too much.

I did just get the next book from one of my all time favorite authors of all time - Terry Brooks.  I can't wait to read this one!  I'm back to my comfort zone - fantasy fiction.  Yeah, this series has a lot of stuff that is hard to believe, but then, it's fantasy fiction - almost everything is hard to believe!  :-)  :-)  So, I'm off to read and satisfy my fantasy fiction itch that I've been ignoring for way too long.

Happy reading,


Monday, August 27, 2012

Scarry stuff...

No, I'm not writing about a book tonight - though I'm reading two at the same time right now.  I'll let y'all know my thoughts on one of them when I finish...

I did feel like writing about something in my personal life - yeah! gasp!  Me - writing about my person life?  I haven't done that in a long time.  I don't know why I don't really write about my personal stuff, but I just felt like writing about it tonight.

Almost two weeks ago I went in for a regular ole, yearly, routine, something that every woman over 40 needs to do though it's torture, mammogram.  I went went it, got tortured, then left without thinking about it anymore.  I expected the usual response that I got earlier that week for the other stuff - all hunky dori normal and I didn't have to think about it anymore until next year.

Well, I wasn't so lucky...

I was told that I had something show up on the mammogram and that I needed to go back for followup mammograms and should see a specialist just to make sure everything was okay.  I really thought everything was going to be okay because my first mammogram showed some weird stuff in it too and they just said that it wasn't anything to worry about.

I don't know why this time is so different, but I've had more appointments in the past few days than I'd ever care to have for the rest of my life!  On Friday I have one doc say that she didn't see anything and that everything is fine.  She even went on to mention that the report she got didn't match what she saw on her ultrasound... but today I had not only another painful mammogram session, and had another ultrasound - and I actually saw something on there!!!!  I thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest... everything else around the tissue was just kind of grey with some white going through here and there - but that black spot stood out to where an untrained eye like mine could see it.

Now, I was told that most likely that it's a lymph node and that there's nothing to worry about, but they wanted me to come back in 6 months just to make sure.  If this whole thing is "nothing", why do I need to go back in 6 months?

Oh goodness, I don't need this kind of stress.  I just want the next 6 months to pass so they can say "Okay, it really is nothing to worry about - see you again in a year!". 

When I was first told last week that the mammogram last week was not normal, it's true that the nurse didn't explain it very well to me and I misunderstood something, but it really freaked me out.  I felt so bad for my co-workers and manager.  I am not usually such a cry baby, but I've broken down crying in front of my co-works 3 times already!  I've only been there for 6 months!  Yeah, I think I'm back to cry baby status.  All I could think about was what was going to happen to my husband and kids if something happened?  I didn't worry about myself, all of my thoughts concentrated on my family.  Oh crap, just remember that day has started the water works again...

So, in 6 months I'm expecting my own fairy tail happy ending with puppy dogs, rainbows and singing lolly pops when my doc tells me that I don't have anything to worry about.... but in the mean time, I'll continue just doing what I always do. 

Take care,


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Hidden Witch - Modern Witch Book 2

Yep, I went ahead and read the second book of the series.  I know I had my problems with the first one, but hey, what can I say?  I know what I like to read.  :-)  This bit of rambling, though, will sound much better than the first.  I still have my usual complaints about the characters, but I think some of them came out a little more in this book.

I just finished reading A Hidden Witch by Debora Geary.  I noticed that my write up on the first book got a whopping 13 views!  That's almost a record for me.  :-)  So, I guess that means that this book series is a bit more popular than I thought if I had that many views.  :-)

Okay, back to the book.

I have to admit that this writer's style is starting to grow on me.  I feel that this book was a bit more playful than the first one.  Some of the characters' personalities started to pop a bit more, but there were just as many puppets walking around as well.  For example, what's the scoop with Sophie?  I know that she's a healer and trained with Aunt Moira, but what is her story?  Why does she live by herself and doesn't feel comfortable going back to Nova Scotia?  I know it has something to do with Elorie, but she never really got into much detail other than Elorie's jealousy of Sophie being a witch and she not.  But that's no reason to give up your family, so I know that there has to be more to it.  I'm sure that she can have a pretty good story there and I hope that the writer will take the time to give us a glimpse into her world, but for now I'm sad that she is still one of those puppets I just talked about.

The focus on this book is on another character rather than Lauren.  Lauren is just a minor character in this book, but our favorite witching mom, Nell, and her little trouble maker Aervyn are still pretty major characters in this book as well. 

Some of the new characters are kinda neat in this book.  My favorite is probably the one that no one else likes - which with me it would figure - and that is old uncle Marcus.  This is the kind of character that no one really likes and makes children cry (no, really, it said in the book) so it makes me like him instantly.  And no, I'm not so evil that I like to hear when old geezers make children cry on purpose, but it always cracks me up that characters like this are always written the same - they are so incredibly uncomfortable around kids that they don't know what to do and therefore, instead of trying to get the kids to like him, he just acts his usual grumpy self and scares the kids to tears.  :-)  Ha, ha!  Love it.  But then, on the other hand, these same types of characters usually soften up during the story as well.  Sigh... and that's always a pity.

Yes, one of my hero's is Gru from Despicable Me - and uncle Marcus kind of reminds me of him - and yes, even when he gets that soft spot for the kids.  But thank goodness that our writer kept some grumpiness in him even through the end.  :-)  Yaye!  :-) 

I find is fascinating that in so many of these genre of books that there is almost always someone that is stinking rich.  And in this case, it's Nell, Jamie and their family.  They make plans to go to Nova Scotia and move up the trip at the last minute - and they can afford to do that!!!  Jamie uses his shrinking magic to make jewelry sized iphones so that they can be put inside jewerly.  It must be nice to be able to spend that kind of money in real life but I don't know... and even if I did have the money, I'm so cheap that I may not want to buy a dozen iphones for a bunch of people that I may not know that well.  :-)  :-)  I also found it interesting that Elorie and her husband, who run a local bed and breakfast, always seem to be feeding a whole bunch of people at once.  I wonder how they can afford that?  I'm wondering if they're loaded too.  :-)

What made this story a little more interesting is the new type of witch magic that is discovered in this book.  It's a technology based magic that has everyone scratching their heads at first, and it takes one of the Nell's 9 year old triplets to help figure it out.  I cracks me up how this child is supposed to be only a year older than my own son and she's a total genius and knows how to code internet games, set up networks and computers and all of that fancy technology stuff.  Sure, my son can figure out how to use my phone better than I can, but he's still trying to figure out his mutiplication tables and how to write in cursive.  This girl almost puts Doogie Howzer to shame!  :-)  :-) 

Sure, fantasy books are pretty unbelieveable, but hey, so are comic books and look at the popularity of those!  :-)  This was a fun book to read, but I'm ready for a break.  I need something with a little less playful, kids, cookies and chocolate ice cream.  Maybe another Revenloft book is in my near future?  :-)  :-)

Happy reading,