The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty: Someone Please Spank the Author

This book was our Club Fantasci book of the month in November, and it’s written by Anne Rice. What a waste of time that was. You can read my cohosts’ reviews and see the video of our discussion at the Club Fantasci website. With such limited time for reading, I’d advise you to skip this one, it was, well, read on…

This is erotica? If you liked getting spanked, over and over and over and over, (yawn), you’ll love this book. It has a plethora of paddles, red bottoms and erections, but a lack of characters with a brain.

Sleeping Beauty was kidnapped (although her parents let her go, knowing what was going to happen – idiots), taken to a distant kingdom of fetishist spanking people, who paddled her behind every day until it was red-raw. One of her male counterparts, a prince from another land, who was also taken for this purpose, was not only beaten, but repeatedly raped to the point, in the real world, of death. How is this sexy? Ok, so there’s a few tantalizing descriptions of genitals glistening etc but generally I wanted to step into the book, seize Beauty’s mind and escape so I could go home, gather my army and return to the spanking kingdom to kill every last noble.

This book was unrealistic, repetitive to the point of boredom, and I didn’t particularly like any of the characters. The ‘good’ characters need to grow a backbone and brain and the ‘bad’ characters are just an appendage joined to a spanking paddle.

The only redeeming feature of the book was the last page, where something actually happened and I wondered what would happen next; oh and there were no typos. Seriously, don’t bother.

Urban yet Epic – Awakenings Gets 5 Pointy Stars

We recently had Edward Lazellari as a guest on Tweep Nation, but don’t let that fool you—my review is honest (just ask Amber how hard it is to get 5 stars from moi). This was one hellava good book. Read on…

I’m not normally into fantasy set in the ‘real’ world, as I love dragons and traditional fantasy worlds, however, this book changed that. The author is skilled at creating atmosphere and drawing a clear picture without overdoing it. Without giving too much away, the setting is in present-day United States with main characters who are of another time and place. I would call this an epic in the sense that there is a battle of good against evil and there is certainly a race against time. The tension present in this book ensures you’ll be turning the pages, eager to find out what happens next.

The characters were three-dimensional (thank goodness), the plot rich, and the pacing fast. This book had me turning the pages and forgetting the time—I always love it when a book does that. It is the first in a series, which isn’t stated on the cover, but I was aware, as I’d read other reviews. I’m eagerly awaiting the next book from this talented author and am very happy there are more books to come.

Tweep Nation has a Casual Catchup with Susan May

Today for episode 38, Susan May, author, movie and book reviewer extraordinaire, gave us the lowdown on JK Rowling’s new book The Casual Vacancy. We also discussed which movies to see and which to avoid. Amber’s a bit sick so she was unusually quiet until she voiced her objection to doing ‘Days of the Week’—she sure expended some energy then. Susan’s a friendly Aussie who had us laughing, but don’t ever ask her to mind your pets ;). Please join us for the usual laughs and some unusual ones.

Try and Avoid the Speed Bumps but Don’t Avoid This Book

Donna’s the man! Well, maybe not the man, but The Woman. She’s hilarious! While reading this book, I pretty much had a smile on my face the whole time and I laughed out loud, or for you social media whizzes I lol’d. Her take on every-day situations, some of them ridiculous in themselves and just waiting for someone to take the piss (that’s an Australian term for those of you who don’t know—it means to make fun of) was freakin’ hilarious. She covers everything from avoiding speeding tickets to contemplating a career as an animal psychic. There is something here to make everyone laugh. The only thing I could say Donna has not done successfully is avoid those speed bumps, but she sure bounces over them in style.

I gave it 5 big, round… speed bumps.

The Night Circus – A Rich Atmosphere with Bland Characters

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is a book that had me thinking it was fairly good until I really thought about what I did and didn’t like about it. I was initially impressed by the original theme and plot, and the writing is bordering on great but didn’t quite get there for me. Morgenstern’s descriptive language provides a rich atmosphere, but the rhythm overall is repetitive and, at times, monotonous.

The editing lets the book down. I know a lack of punctuation can be trendy, or speed up the flow, but only when used effectively. Tim Winton is a skillful writer who knows when to leave out punctuation, but Erin Morgenstern’s editor should be slapped with a wet fish. There were instances where sentences became unclear and I had to read them twice to make sure I understood exactly what they were saying—a comma can be a good thing. I also found a couple of run-on sentences, which a reader probably wouldn’t notice, but as an editor, I couldn’t help but see.

The characters were likable and I could picture them clearly, however they lacked depth and I didn’t love any of them. The love story between two of the characters had moments of intensity, but not enough for my liking (and I don’t mean it should have been more raunchy). It seemed like the author was keeping them apart to build suspense and it worked as I was thinking, come on when will they get to see each other again, but when they did reunite it wasn’t spectacular, it was just OK. I’m wondering if the focus on the circus took too much focus off the characters. The author has skillfully set the atmosphere and scene but it has come at a cost to character depth. Sometimes I wished she would just get on with telling the story, rather than describe every single tent in the damn circus. The circus stole some of the soul of the characters and none were as central to the story as it was, which I think is a mistake. To me, this book is a good example that characterization can be more important than plot and setting—give me lovable characters and I’d be happy to watch them lazing away on the beach, but give me boring ones and my heart won’t race even if they’re wrestling crocodiles.

OK, I know it seems like I didn’t like the book, but I liked it enough that I wanted to read the whole thing and I did enjoy parts of it, however it doesn’t make my ‘want to re-read’ list. This book, with a bit of work, could have been so much better. This book gets 3 not so twinkly stars.

I’m Glad I Made Time to Read A Time to Tell

I wasn’t sure what to expect from A Time to Tell as I have never read anything from this author before, but I’m so glad I did. It’s been the first book in a while that I couldn’t put down. I just had to keep reading to find out what would happen to the characters. If I had to label it, I would say family drama, contemporary.

There was always a lot going on, and a lot of it sad. I admit, at times, I did think that too much was going wrong—but thinking about what has happened to many people I know, I realised it never rains, it pours. The story was believable and unfolds at a good pace. The author deals realistically with themes of domestic violence, difficult familial relationships and the fact that so many people live their lives because of others’ expectations. As much as I raced to get there, I was sad to reach the end, because I wanted to watch their lives continue to unfold. I will certainly be reading more of Maria Savva’s work.

I give it 4 well-deserved, twinkly stars.

Life Knocks – The Review Craig Didn’t Want You to See (Ok so maybe I’m exaggerating)

“Life is like driving a bus into magicians; apart from the odd rabbit head landing on the bonnet, most of the moments you won’t see coming.”  Craig’s autobiography is peppered with his genius, colorful philosophies that give the book a unique and full-bodied flavour.  His memoir covers an intense period in his life, which is told with humility, humour and insight through the eyes of Colossus Sosloss.

After reading this you may ask, “What hasn’t Craig packed into his twenties?”  Answering the proverbial ‘knock at the door’ leads Colossus to moments of basking in the warmth of love only to have his eyebrows singed off, being mugged by drugs and alcohol, then systematically tortured by the tight-arse landlord from the planet of racist morons.  Colossus not only endures, but emerges with hope and a continuing love for his fellow man.

We can all learn something from Craig’s poetic, yet barefaced narrative while laughing and empathizing with his never-ending, sometimes self-imposed predicaments (he hasn’t learnt to say no).  I couldn’t put this book down and was annoyed at any interruptions such as having to eat, go to the toilet or sleep.

Craig’s second book, like his first (The Squirrel That Dreamt of Madness) has made it into my top ten, super duper, bestest books of all time.  This book’s a keeper, and it gets five, eyeball burning, super novas.