May 6, 2011

Review | Dare to Surrender by Lilli Feisty

Title: Dare to Surrender by Lilli Feisty
Genre: Adult Fiction - Romance/Erotica
Publication: February 1, 2010 by Forever
Format: Paperback
Source: Won
Rating: ★★★

Synopsis: Art gallery curator Joy Montgomery has never liked her body's generous curves. And she's always been too shy to explore her wild side. But tonight, everything is going to change . . . Desperate to save her job, Joy approaches bad-boy artist Ash Hunter and asks him to exhibit his erotic work at her gallery. Ash agrees on one condition: Joy must pose as his model. But business soon turns to pleasure, as Joy experiences a passion beyond her wildest imaginings and Ash finds more than just inspiration in his voluptuous new muse.

Thoughts: This was another of my attempts at reading an erotic romance novel and I know for sure, it's not for me. I love Chick-Lit and Romance novels, but erotic novels go to a different level. I wasn't expecting a sexual encounter in the first 15 pages or so, but there was...there usually is. And I have a hard time connecting with characters when all they think about is having sex and then continuously have sex with each other. But I thought that this one might be a little different than the last one I tried reading, and although it was okay, still left me unsure on how I feel about erotic books altogether.

I don't know where to start really. Okay, Ash sounded like a very sexy man and if someone like himself made any sort of advances at me, I'd find it hard to resist. So it's totally understandable how easily Joy surrenders to him. There is some light  BDSM and that threw me off a little, but after a few scenes of it, it got a little repetitive and even...well, boring to read about. I would just skim through that, not because I was uncomfortable or anything, but because...been there, done that kinda feeling. I already knew their routine and although the author added a few different positions and/or objects, it was pretty much the same thing several times over.

Joy was annoying. I wanted to smack her most of the time. She was totally insecure of herself as a person and her whining was annoying. Its understandable that she was put down a lot by her grandma when she was young and that is why she wore a size 10 in clothes instead of a size 6 (?) but after a while, I didn't want to hear any more of her complaining. Ash on the other hand, was a very concrete, stable character. He knew what he wanted and although he was at times distracted, he was a man on a mission. He also had a lovely family that I liked (compared to Joy's) and I enjoyed reading his POV better.

The other characters were fun and I enjoyed Erika and Blaine's steamy side romance; theirs seemed a lot more realistic than Joy and Ash's. While Erika was also insecure, she was different to Joy, was totally tough and did not take shit from anyone. The way she cared for Joy was very sweet, and reminded me of myself and the way I am with my close friends, always trying to help them and protect them.

The story moved along really slowly because there was so much sex going on, that by the end of the book, I was still waiting something to happen. The conclusion was wrapped up quickly and it felt sort of rushed, but I guess I wasn't too disappointed with how things turned out for these two.

I have read plenty of positive reviews on this one, and although mine is not a negative one because I did like the book, I am not very familiar with this genre. I probably won't read too many other erotic books, but I wanted to give this one a try since I did get it for free. It was a different read for me and more than a little enjoyable, so I definitely recommend it to others who like this author or erotic novels.


May 5, 2011

Review | The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Title: The Glass Castle
Author: Jeannette Walls
Genre: Non-Fiction - Memoir
Publication: 01.09.06 by Scribner
Pages: 288 (9 Cd's)
Source: Library

Summary: Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn't stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an "excitement addict." Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever.

Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town -- and the family -- Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents' betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home.

What is so astonishing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.

For two decades, Jeannette Walls hid her roots. Now she tells her own story. A regular contributor to MSNBC.com, she lives in New York and Long Island and is married to the writer John Taylor.

Cover: A little plain, but somehow it fits.

Thoughts: I am not a fan of memoirs, biographies and most non-fiction. I specifically say that in my About page and I will usually stay away from that section at libraries or bookstores. Jeannette's Walls books though, are the exception. Last year, I read her second book Half Broke Horses, a true-life novel about her grandmother. I honestly wasn't too excited to read it, and only picked it up because it was one of my book club picks. I spent an entire day in bed reading it because I couldn't put it down. So I was pretty excited to pick up The Glass Castle when I saw it at the library.

I can happily say, I was not disappointed at all. I wasn't too sure what exactly to expect from reading the small synopsis provided on the back of the audio version, but I was captivated by Walls amazing story from the start. The first chapter begins with her recollection of when she was 3 years old and she burns herself while cooking. From the start we get a glimpse of what her parents are like and where this may lead her family. Living as nomads, they travel along the West Coast, always searching for the next adventure, but always falling on hard times.

Jeannette is a tough girl and along with her three siblings, she must learn to survive and be able to handle each situation they are thrown in by their parents. From being bullied and beat up to school, to running out of town in the middle of the night to escape the law, her family leads a very difficult life full of "adventures," which aren't always optional, but definitely memorable. It's hard to say that Jeannette is a "likable character" because she is a real life person, but she writes her story, her family and everyone else involved so well, that you feel a connection to each of them. Her writing is truly great, and as a reader I was able to feel like a part of the story, feel the hope, disappointment, and worry that she describes herself going through in amazing detail

She went through a whole lot in just a few years, and she was able to turn it into an amazing story for others to enjoy. She was a young brave girl, and although times were tough for her, the love she had for her family and her never ending hope that things would turn out better, made her into the courageous woman she became. Although for many years she was ashamed of the life she lived, and never spoke of it, she was able to finally tell it to everyone interested in such a beautiful way that it will captive every reader.

Favorite Quote: "Mom also believed in letting nature take its course. She refused to kill the flies that always filled the house. She said they were nature's food for the birds and lizards, and the birds and lizards were the food for the cats. 'Kill the flies and you starve the cats,' she said. Letting the flies live, in her view, was the same as buying cat food, only cheaper."