Sunday, May 27, 2018

weeks late

I've been reading bunches and am now way ahead of schedule (in your face, GoodReads count!) but have been doing a poor job writing things down.  Trying to get myself caught up a bit on that front.  

The prisoner in the castle by Susan Elia MacNeal.Ugh, nothing happened in this book. The main character wasn't integral to the plot at all, she was merely the vehicle through which we watched the story. She didn't find the bad guy, she didn't do a good job protecting her fellows, and she didn't [spoiler alert] even take down the bad guy on her own: he met his demise accidentally while she was trying to escape. This character is a strong, educated, brave woman when she's the leading lady; this book wasn't about her at all.

I keep reading these books because the first few were so good and I keep hoping a new installment will be a pleasant surprise. I really need to stop.

On highland time by Lexi Post.  I thought this would be a fun little bit to take on vacation-- romance! and time travel! But it's too full; there's also secret societies and other mentioned-but-not-explained mystical and magical powers. There is way too much going on to even be able to get into it.

True fiction
 by Lee Goldberg.  omg, this was horrible. Who is the intended audience for this? The book is plot-based, which is not my normal cuppa, but I can see that the pacing is pretty good. Although there's not much in the way of character development, actions are taken and the world is changed; things are different at the end of the book than they were at the beginning.

What is horrifying is how any non-main character is defaulted to a sex object. The waitress is introduced by her hair color and a description of her posterior. A henchman is described with height, eye color, and how masochistic he may or may not be in his intimate relationships. Bad guys are hacking private information to track down a side character; they find her glee club record, her parking tickets, and a specific model of vibrator she recently bought on Amazon. I have no problem with explicit content when it makes sense, but this makes no sense at all: there are no romantic relationships, and comments aren't made in the context of romance or consent. All these comments and asides are shoe-horned in; they don't fit and they are jarring, throwing off the flow of the narrative. It's like this author embodies the myth that guys think about sex every 7 seconds and he's... what? Trying to prove he's a man by showing how often he thinks about it? Hoping to captivate lowest-common-denominator readers who, he assumes, will get bored if we go more than two pages without explicitly commenting on someone's ass? I'm working up to a good angry about the social implications, and I'm properly angry about how clunky it makes the storytelling. Without this shameful fascination with all things sexual, this could have been a 3-and-a-half-star book with a likable, humorous main character and an over-the-top, Bond-villain-esque bad guy, all good fun for summer lounging. All crass comments are made about female characters, about inanimate objects, or are characters bragging, except for one comment made about a male character. This objectification is not ok, and shame, shame on the author Lee Goldberg and on the publisher Thomas and Mercer.

Kiss of the spindle by Nancy Campbell Allen.  I distinctly recall that the review I read about this was in a journal under "Romance." The subject headings on Baker & Taylor also specify "romance." For clarification, this is not a romance by any stretch of the imagination. It's steampunk with world-building and adventure, and it's a good book. It captures what the Soulless series offered before the author sold out.

Although marked as book two of a series, this completely stands on its own. It would be more accurate to say that the two (so far) books take place in the same universe, but do not have to be read in order.

Food pharmacy: A guide to gut bacteria, anti-inflammatory foods, and eating for health by Lina Nertby and Mia Clase.  There appears to be a lot of information in this book, but in the first quarter, there are no citations.  Many sentences include variations on "studies show" or "reserchers are finding" sorts of statements, but no specific studies, researchers, or articles mentioned.  There is a "References" section at the end, but it's only three pages of widely-spaced text and doesn't seem adequate for a book of this size.  Since neither of these writers are health professionals in the first place, this is the type of book that seems to rely on the reader feeling its truthiness.

No comments: