May books

69. 50 Shades Darker – E.L. James.
Continuation from the first one. More romance, more fucked up relationship crap, less BDSM. This book is really pretty bad, I’ve got to say. I admit I quite like some of the email exchanges, they’re cute, but Christian needs a lot more therapy. And that this whole relationship is happening in the course of about two weeks? Wtf is that?
The other thing about this book that was terribly, humorously bad was the scene with crazy ex-sub Leila. Every time she said “Master” like that I just kept thinking of Dobby from Harry Potter….Master gave Dobby a sock! Dobby is free! You’re free too Leila, so run away and leave Christian to Ana! You’re well free of him.

68. 50 Shades of Grey – E.L. James.
I read this book because of the hype and…I don’t know. Got what I expected from it? It’s origins as a Twilight fanfiction are surprisingly obvious- the author has captured Bella’s voice well, and Christian Grey as a grown up human version of Edward Cullen is pretty clear. It’s also written like Twilight in that it rambles on and on (and on and on and on) without much happening and goes over the same things again and again. We get it, Christian is perfection personified (except for the whole whips and chains and spankings bit which Ana doesn’t want, until she does want it…) and Ana is beautiful and innocent and perfect herself…just get on with some kind of plot here!
I don’t have an issue with the BDSM in the book. Kink is kink, and between sane and freely consenting adults I’m all for people doing whatever you want. But Ana and Christian are NOT sane and consenting adults and there is too much in their relationship that is disturbingly obsessive and manipulative and even abusive. It’s all the same themes of obsessive love and possession that disturbed most rational people about the Twilight books, just played out in a slightly different context, and with a whole lot of sex thrown in.
Having said all that, I read it in a day and I’ll read the sequels. While the story itself might not be that brilliant (okay, the writing is kind of rubbishy for published fiction and I can already tell that I’ll finish the third book and be all you should have edited and cut this down to ONE book, if you had to publish it at all!) it’s fascinating to read it knowing the hype and think about what this popularity indicates about the feminine mindset.

And if anyone is interested in this generally, this is a really great piece about what is playing into people’s fascination with this book and worth looking at.

67. Thumped – Megan McCafferty.
The sequel to Bumped, which I read a few days ago…I knew there had to be a sequel! Actually, these two books really just felt like one story, as though they should have been published in the one volume- Thumped took place eight and half months after the events of Bumped, but it really brought a lot of the issues and questions raised in Bumped to the fore and tied up the loose ends of the story.
I won’t go in to the plot because then it will pretty much spoil any reading of Bumped someone might do- basically if you liked the first one then read this one because it goes with it, if you didn’t like the first one then don’t bother.
I would be interested to see if Megan McCafferty writes any other books about this particular dystopia- there’s probably a lot of things in her ideas that she could take further.

66. Prom – Laurie Halse Anderson.
Good characterisation, boring book.
It’s the story of Ashley, a girl who had no intention of going to the prom until her maths teacher stole all the prom money and thus the dance will be called off unless the prom committee can reorganise it for super cheap in a week. Something like that. Ashley gets involved because of her best friend/ next door neighbour.
Obviously being Australian I’ve got no personal experience of the whole prom thing, but I’ve been watching American movies and tv shows that feature proms my whole life. However I still couldn’t quite get in to the whole drama of organising a prom in this book…I mean, it’s ultimately a school dance and whatever.
On the plus site I did like the character of Ashley and some of the others- I’d read another book by this author and hope for a better plot line.

65. Bumped – Megan McCafferty.
Felt like I needed a break from all the vampires, and certainly got something different with this weird book! This tells the story of some future dystopian world where everyone becomes sterile by the end of their teenage years, so as a result teenage girls who can get pregnant and then hand their babies over to other couples are the most important people in the world. Girls are encouraged to get pregnant, condom use is illegal, and the smartest, prettiest, healthiest girls can command big dollars for their pregnancies with a highly ranked sperm supplier. In this background, the main characters are identical twins raised apart- Harmony who was raised by Church folks who do not believe in the new morality of ‘pregging for profit’ and Melody, who was raised to be the ultimately desirable preg professional.
It’s all kind of crazy and I wasn’t sure about it at first honestly. The characters didn’t really seem real, or maybe I just didn’t click with them (I’ll note an exception for Zen, Melody’s friend, who seemed a bit more real). In the end though the intriguing concept got me in and I read it quickly. The ending didn’t give me a feeling of resolution though- I think there must be a sequel because there has to be more to come.

64. Black Dawn (Morganville Vampires #12) – Rachel Caine.
Thought I may as well keep going with the Morganville vampires, since I had this book on my Kobo and the last one ended in a cliffhanger. I actually kind of hate books that do that really, I love reading book series but I’d prefer each book to be fairly self-contained.
This one was good, it continued the story from the last one about the draug, the creepy creatures that have come after the vampires. I like the relationships between the main characters in these books, and I do like the way the author has started including chapters from the point of view of other characters besides Claire. I think the author has been signed for another couple of books, and I’d definitely read them when I come across them.

63. Last Breath (Morganville Vampires #11) – Rachel Caine.
I read the first nine of these last year and enjoyed them quite a lot. No sparkly vampires here! The vampires in these books run the town, the humans get protection from them in return for regular blood donations. Of course nothing ever runs that smoothly though, so there’s lots of supernatural danger and mysteries. I’d forgotten a lot of what happened in the last ones so I was a bit lost at the beginning of this one, but I caught up okay. In this one there is a new threat to the town, coming in with the rain.

62. Twilight – Stephenie Meyer.
Ah, the classics…not quite! I do love myself some sparkly vampire melodrama though, for all the shame of it!

61. Forbidden – Tabitha Suzuma.
This book was just heartbreaking. It was about incest, which is an icky kind of subject matter, but somehow the author took Lochan and Maya and made you believe it.
I don’t know about recommending this book exactly- don’t read it if you’re looking for something fun, but if you want to weep and depress the hell out of yourself then you probably can’t do better.

60. Sleepovers – Jacqueline Wilson.

This book was lovely. It’s about Daisy, who has become friends with two pairs of best friends, and the five sleepover parties they have as each girl has her birthday. Daisy is worried about what her friends with think of her special needs sister Lily when they all come to her house. This was a beautiful story for girls about being friends, and acceptance and loyalty. I really should put it on the Kindle and let Emma read it, it’s probably meant for her age group.

59. Queen Camilla – Sue Townsend.

This was on a disappointment, honestly. Sue Townsend’s Adrian Mole is one of my favourite fictional characters ever, and the book The Queen and I (which sort of goes before this one, although there’s quite a lot that’s different between them) was really enjoyable too, but this one just felt stupid. In fact I enjoyed it so little that I didn’t really want to read it, and that’s probably why it took me so long to finish it.

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