Search

I swoon over fictional men

DNF: ‘The Dark Ones’ Rachel van Dyken

thedarkones

Okay, okay…I know some of you will question what exactly I was expecting when the book has a cover like this, but for those of you who have been with me since I swoon over fictional men’s birth, you’ll remember that, initially, I reviewed nothing but paranormal romance.

I guess my DNFing (it’s a word, shut up) of this book maybe shows just how much I’ve grown as a reader throughout the duration of 2017; life’s too short to read books you’re not enjoying! At the tail end of 2016, I realized reading was becoming something of a chore because I was hesitant to read outside of my ‘preferred’ genre…and it dawned on me that with many of the books that I was reading, I was essentially rereading the same story over and over again, just with different characters in different locations.

I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions, but on 1st January 2017, I pledged to read more widely and boy, have I read more widely since then. I’ve been reading drama, horror, sci fi, non-fiction, poetry…

…but I still enjoy the odd bit of romance now and again and following my reading of Archangel’s Viper, I felt my romance fix hadn’t been entirely satisfactory, so I decided to browse the Kindle store for some new titles.

And that’s where I stumbled upon The Dark Ones. On paper (or on screen, I should say) it sounded like your average, run-of-the-mill paranormal romance. Vampires, immortal kings, conflicts, drama, the ‘chosen one‘…The Dark Ones has it all and as I’m your stereotypical poor student, when I saw it was free, I hit ‘Download’ quicker than I make a cup of tea when I wake up in the morning (which is pretty fucking quick).

As I settled into my reading of it, though, I found myself becoming increasingly uneasy and it was when I hit the 35% mark that I realized I just couldn’t read anymore. It was depressing me and I’m depressed enough as it is without my method of escapism making me feel even worse. It wasn’t just the superficial, archetypal characters that very often populate the realms of paranormal romance (y’know, the darkly troubled, brooding asshole that everyone lusts after etc)…it was more the sheer oppression of the female protagonist that was bothering me.

The Dark One’s protagonist is a woman called Genesis and despite her being a two dimensional, annoyingly whiny character, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. The author’s treatment of her epitomizes everything that I hate about this genre when it’s done wrong. Let me explain:

1. She has no free will. The moment she steps through the door that leads her to the immortals, Genesis is stripped of the scraps of free will she’d possessed in her previous life. The male immortals barter for her ‘services’ like she’s nothing more than a slab of meat, all while she stands, shaking as terror naturally courses through her body. If that doesn’t sound horrific enough, Ethan then ‘has to’ forcibly ‘mark’ Genesis to make her his ‘mate’ because it’s so obviously the only way to save her from Cassius….she has literally known Ethan for about half an hour by this point. Oh, and the greatest thing about all of this? She doesn’t understand the implications of his actions until afterwards, which leads me quite nicely onto my second point…

exasperated3
Me when I read this entire section

2. Being an immortal’s mate is quite literally a life or death situation and not because the immortal world is teeming with blood-thirsty vampires and rabid werewolves. Oh no. The actual process of becoming an immortal’s mate is life-threatening. Genesis’ life hangs in the balance through no decision of her own and why, you might ask, do the immortals need humans? Well, conveniently to the plot…

exasperated5
I’ve seen this disturbing plot play out one too many times

3. …immortals can only have offspring with humans. She’s essentially being forced into sexual slavery. Cassius wants Genesis so he can breed with her and, at one point, she’s actually referred to as ‘a breeder’.

exasperated2
Me around 10% in

4. Ethan treats Genesis like shit. I dunno, maybe their relationship improves later in the book but certainly in the 35% that I read, he was a class A dick to her. One minute, he’s leaning forward about to kiss her, the next he’s throwing a temper tantrum and stomping around downstairs because she doesn’t truly ‘love’ him (calm it, buddy, she’s not even known you 24 hours!). His emotions are about as predictable as a forest fire (which I imagine aren’t very predictable? Correct me if I’m wrong) and while I’m not a psychologist, I can imagine being subjected to that kind of behavior would make a person extremely frightened and insecure.

exasperated1
Me when it comes to archetypal characters in paranormal romance

5. Soul-consuming lust. This is something that kinda ties in with my first point; Genesis not only loses free will over her life, but she loses free will over her body too. Her mind is literally fighting against her body’s yearning for Ethan and this yearning is something that, initially (because no doubt she’ll realize she does actually love him later in the book), is a result of his forced ‘marking’ of her. I don’t even need to explain how many shades of creepy and messed up that is.

exasperated4
“Did I actually just read that?”

So there we have it. Rant over, guys. What books have you recently DNFed? 

 

 

Advertisements

Blank – a poem

One of my latest pieces (originally published on Mirakee).

‘Archangel’s Viper’ Nalini Singh

archangelsviper

Once a broken girl known as Sorrow, Holly Chang now prowls the shadowy grey underground of the city for the angels. But it’s not her winged allies who make her a wanted woman – it’s the unknown power coursing through her veins. Brutalised by an insane archangel, she was left with the bloodlust of a vampire, the ability to mesmerise her prey, and a poisonous bite.

Now, someone has put a bounty on her head . . .

Venom is one of the Seven, Archangel Raphael’s private guard, and he’s as infuriating as he is seductive. A centuries-old vampire, his fangs dispense a poison deadlier than Holly’s. But even if Venom can protect Holly from those hunting her, he might not be able to save himself – because the strange, violent power inside Holly is awakening . . .

No one is safe.

underline+(transparent)

Potential spoilers!

Considering the Guildhunter series is one of my favourites and Archangel’s Viper was released back in September, it has taken me a hell of a long time to get around to reading it…was the wait worth it?

Yes and no. Let me explain.

The Guildhunter series began way back in 2009 and the first book is the book in which we, the readers, first meet Holly. I was a bit of a latecomer to the series, reading Angel’s Blood in 2014, but throughout the next eight books, I always found myself wondering about Holly and Venom. There was just something beneath the taunts that they threw at one another, something other than simple contempt and resignation in being lumped with one another for Holly’s training.

And in Archangel’s Viper, the truth is revealed. These are two people unlike anyone else in the brutal Guildhunter universe. Venom, a vampire with snake-like eyes and impossible speed and agility and Holly, a not-quite-vampire cursed by the tainted essence of Uram, an archangel gone mad (understatement of the year *laughs nervously*)…these are two individuals who both captivate and horrify those around them, but find understanding and acceptance with one another, even if it is begrudgingly prior to this book.

The storyline itself is great. Holly may be a fictional character, but seeing her evolve from the broken, self-named Sorrow into the rainbow-haired, badass woman that she is now has been incredible. Strong female characters are often lacking in paranormal romance fiction, but the Guildhunter series is full of them…from Elena to Honor, from Ashwini to Mahiya, from Michaela (whose a bitch, but is still amazing) to Lijuan (who you can go on a date with here). There isn’t a single woman in these books – mortal, angel or vampire – who isn’t powerful in her own right and what makes these books even better is that the men in this series support them 100% and don’t feel ’emasculated’ by the fact that their female friends and partners can stand their own ground.

However.

The romantic element to Holly and Venom’s relationship was an ember that didn’t get stoked into a raging fire until about 80% of the way through the book (I was reading on Kindle). There was a lot of teasing and a lot of suggestive comments, but Venom didn’t start making her samosas or chai tea from scratch until the near end and while these scenes were touching in all their sweetness and cuteness…it just felt a bit rushed. Venom letting down his defenses and telling Holly about his past and about his Making seemed to come out of nowhere. I just feel that if Archangel’s Viper had been maybe fifty pages longer, I could have believed in their relationship more.

I felt the same about a specific plot element; the bounty on Holly’s head seems to play an integral role in the story as she and Venom prowl the dark underbelly of New York, searching for information regarding the person offering five million for her. They get sidetracked by other things (which I won’t reveal because it’d be a major spoiler), and the whole thing is forgotten about until the end of the book, when it’s quickly explained that it was merely a ‘flunky’ in Charisemnon’s court taking a shine to her because of her connection to Uram. What initially began as a major plot element devolved into nothing and was explained away in the space of two pages.

Archangel’s Viper isn’t my favourite, but it’s a good addition to a fantastic series.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Song: Nine Inch Nails’ Dead Souls (the lyrics just fit perfectly with Holly, plus it’s on the soundtrack of one of my favourite movies)

reviewgif3

This book is available on Amazon in both paperback and e-reader format.

 

My current reads

So very exciting, I know! I can feel your jealousy, guys. It’s so potent it burns!

Sarcasm aside, I’m having a break tomorrow night and intend to catch up on the recent posts I’ve missed. I also have an upcoming review!

Hope everyone’s good in the World of WordPress. In a bizzle, peeps ❤️

‘The Amityville Horror’ Jay Anson

51JGWSQoIWL._SX303_BO1,204,203,200_

The classic and terrifying story of one of the most famous supernatural events–the infamous possessed house on Long Island from which the Lutz family fled in 1975.

underline+(transparent)

SPOILER ALERT!

Okay, so this was meant to be my Halloween special review (you can check out last year’s here), but because I’m shit, I’m 11 days late (doing the review, not that kinda late. Don’t worry, there’ll be no baby Jazzs, thank God). Better late than never, though, right?

So The Amityville Horror was gifted to me on my birthday way back in early October and I was super excited to get stuck in. My favourite kind of horror stories are the kind that are supposedly built upon a foundation of truth (and I use the term ‘favourite’ very loosely here because how can something that scares the metaphorical shit out of me possibly be my favourite? Some mysteries will have to remain unsolved).

The book begins in December 1975, with the Lutz family moving into their new home at 112 Ocean Avenue in the town of Amityville. However, just over one year prior, on 13th November 1974, the spacious family home bore witness to a grisly mass murder at the hands of Ronald DeFeo. The Lutz family aren’t superstitious, though, and while they think the crime tragic and unfortunate, they’re nonetheless excited to move into their new home with their three children.

112 Ocean Avenue was to be their home but for a mere twenty eight days.

What I found chilling about The Amityville Horror is that it doesn’t play out like your stereotypical, run-of-the-mill horror. The events described within it predate horror tropes that began to creep into movies and books of the same genre in much later years (like the green Jel-o type substance seeping down the walls, which instantly put me in mind of Slimer from Ghostbusters, a movie which was released in 1984, seven years after this book). There were also some events – like the black water in the toilets and the front door being violently warped and ripped off its hinges – that I have yet to read of in other books and its the originality of these events that add an air of authenticity to this book. I found myself reading The Amityville Horror and thinking “This sounds pretty convincing” and when you can actually imagine those types of events happening to yourself and your own family, that’s when the chills really begin to seep into your bones.

The horror is a slow-burner. There are multiple occasions when the Lutzs dismiss their experiences as tiredness or their imaginations and what makes for a real edge-of-your-seat horror story is that by the time they realise that something quite other is at play, it’s too late.

What I find most interesting about this story, outside of Jay Anson’s book, is that subsequent owners have reported no such events as the Lutz family described. What do you think? Do you think the Lutz family simply wanted their 15 minutes of fame? Do you think their prior knowledge of the house’s history influenced their perception of otherwise natural occurrences? Did the entities that DeFeo claimed ‘spoke’ to him see something of DeFeo in George Lutz? Let me hear your ideas in the comments below!

Rating: 5 out of 5

Song: Roger Daltrey’s Don’t let the sun go down on me (because who’d want to spend a night in that house?)

reviewgif5

This book is available on Amazon in a shit ton of different formats (okay, like five)

 

 

 

 

My new blogging schedule

Hey, guys!

Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t been posting anywhere near as much lately and there’s a number of reasons for that, feeling down/uni assignments/tiredness to name but a few.

I’ve decided to try and be a bit more organised with my time and try and get back up to speed with things. I know some of you will say “But it’s only a hobby, don’t sweat it!”, but my lack of activity on the blogosphere has been giving me a lot of anxiety. I feel bad that I haven’t been commenting on other people’s posts anywhere near as much as I used to and because I’ve made some great friends through blogging, I worry about losing those friendships.

So I’m going to maybe do one review/post once a week and comment on other posts on another day of the week. I’m going to be trying this system for the next couple of weeks to see how it works. I’m doing a review tonight and then tomorrow I’m going to be catching up with other people’s blogs, so please don’t be angry if I don’t get round to your blog tonight. I’m trying my best and I’m sorry for being shit.

pandahug
Thanks for understanding 

‘The Sun and Her Flowers’ Rupi Kaur

51TFpnE+fHL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_

From Rupi Kaur, the bestselling author of Milk and Honey, comes her long-awaited second collection of poetry. Illustrated by Kaur, The Sun and Her Flowers is a journey of wilting, falling, rooting, rising and blooming. It is a celebration of love in all its forms.

underline+(transparent)

It seems that the world had been eagerly awaiting the publication of Rupi Kaur’s the sun and her flowers in the wake of the New York Time’s bestselling success that was milk & honey (for which you can see the review of here). I thoroughly enjoyed Rupi’s first collection of poetry, finding the combination of simple yet powerful prose alongside equally simple yet powerful illustrations to be something unlike anything I had ever encountered before in poetry.

I wasn’t 100% sure of what I’d think of the sun and her flowers, if I’m really honest. I found that in the wake of milk & honey’s success, a lot of poets, particularly on platforms such as Instagram, were trying to emulate Rupi’s very distinct style. I find being inspired by a person is a wonderful thing; I myself tried my hand at micropoetry and found the challenge of trying to incorporate as much emotion into as few a words as possible to be refreshing. As a writer, it’s always good to experiment with different styles…but as I said, I found a lot of people were trying to emulate Rupi herself. This isn’t a criticism of these people in any way, but I think it’s so important to find your own voice and style too. Being inspired is great, but drawing on that inspiration to forge your own style is even better. Basically what I’m trying to say is that I’ve read so much Rupi-esque poetry following my reading of milk & honey that I was half expecting to be sick of it by now.

But I wasn’t. the sun and her flowers is a thicker volume than milk & honey and it expands upon and adds to the hard-hitting themes explored within its predecessor. There’s themes of abuse, self-neglect, lost love, moving forward, racism, sexism…basically, it’s a collection in which everyone, regardless of their gender, age, sexuality or race, will find a poem or two with which they can relate. In particular, I found the poems regarding Rupi’s parents to be interesting albeit often painful. Their experiences of starting a new life in the USA are experiences that are still relevant today within the current climate, a climate in which immigrants are too often looked upon with scorn and suspicion. It makes for a powerful message.

As with milk & honey, I have no doubt that the sun and her flowers will draw its fair share of criticism. If I stop slurping my tea, I can almost hear the naysayers with their cries of “But it isn’t real poetry!”…but how do we define poetry? Poetry is about the creative expression of thoughts, feelings and ideas and I find it unfair to judge Rupi’s work against the likes of, as I saw in one review, Byron. They’re two completely different people living in vastly different ages. As with everything, poetry has changed vastly over time and while it’s fine to appreciate the works of long-dead poets, it’s also completely fine to appreciate the works of living, up and coming poets.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Song: David Guetta’s (feat. Sia) Titanium 

reviewgif4

This book is available on Amazon in both e-reader and paperback format.

I got published!

During my little break, I headed back up the road to see my family and when I rocked up at my grandparents’ house, I found the anthology in which a flash fiction piece of mine is published had arrived! (wow, that was a really long sentence…and breathe)

What makes it even better is that my best friend’s story is printed on the opposite page. We’re planning on releasing a collection of short stories early 2018 so watch this space 🙂

22550024_10155192837879624_5798609758012559733_n

Taking a little break

breeeeeak

Hey, guys. Just a quick post to let you know that I’m going to be taking a break for a week or so. I’ve been feeling very low lately and to top things off, I also have a UTI so have been feeling even more crappy. I’m going home to see my family this weekend and while I’m going to catch up on comments (I’m really, really behind so I’m really sorry), I won’t be doing any posts. I’m hoping I’ll be feeling okay soon! In the meantime, though, if anyone wants to keep in touch, feel free to chat with me through my personal Facebook. I always love hearing from you guys ❤

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑