Monday, 30 May 2016

Forbidden Fantasies: Lulu - Markus S. Fredericks

                Forbidden Fantasies: Lulu is a book about exactly what the title suggests. The main character is Oscar, a middle-aged father in a boring marriage who plays at being a photographer while his wife brings home the actual money. He meets his new next door neighbor from Britain and begins to fantasize about her. The problem is that she is only fifteen. She also starts a relationship with his daughter. It’s a very convoluted situation. I believe it’s supposed to be a bit reminiscent of the classic erotic novel Lolita but other than being about a middle aged man with pedophile tendencies, there are few similarities. The erotic parts often seem to be written by a teenage boy in the throes of puberty.  The dialogue is not at all believable. Any British people I know really don’t use the stereotypical words and phrases that Lulu and her family use and it tends to take away from the story. Oscar, the father, is so unlikeable that when, at one point, he has a life threatening situation I was hoping he would not make it and just die. I guess I expected something different and instead just found it to be a book about a dirty old man with fantasies that I don’t think normal fathers would have about their daughter’s girlfriend. At one point he watched them together sexually and it was truly disgusting. It was definitely not what I expected.  The cover fit the theme of the book and the digital format worked well on my ereader.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Planet of the Stupids - Robert Newton

Planet of the Stupids is an odd little book. Interesting but definitely odd. Having never read any of the previous works by this author, I picked the book up because of the interesting cover and title. One of my all-time favorite books is Animal Farm and this sounded quite a bit like it so my interest was piqued. There are two characters in the book that are in previous books by this author but I found there was little explanation as to who they are as if it’s assumed the reader will be aware of their back story. There was little character development in this book because it is mostly observations of the world that is written about in the book. Then again this is not a typical story with a beginning, middle and end. James, the main character, spends the book observing life on a parallel Earth that is run by the animals, in particular the Nazi-like pigs. As time flows by, corruption and greed take over, the animals move away from spirituality and basically life begins to go downhill for all of the other animals that aren’t high in the pecking order. Everything mirrors what has happened on Earth and I did find the book quite interesting. It certainly makes the reader think and somewhat question different aspects of how we live our lives. I agree with much of what is written but find some of it to be a bit “conspiracy theorist”. Then again I didn’t always understand what the author was trying to get across so maybe I misunderstood some of the writing. The whole book did give me food for thought which is what I think the author was trying to do. If you’re looking for an easy read this is not the book to pick up. It is challenging and thought provoking but that is also what makes it interesting. I read this book in the digital form and it worked well on my ereader. As I previously said, the title and cover is initially what drew me in. 

The Book I Can't Finish - Elliott Hopp

                I chose this book to read because the synopsis says it’s about helping teenagers and young adults deal with anxiety and depression and other things that will affect how they perceive themselves and the world around them. As someone who had experienced both depression and anxiety in my early life I was interested in seeing what kind of suggestions Mr. Hopp had for people in this situation. I’ve never been a big believer in affirmations. Looking in a mirror and repeatedly telling myself that I am smart, I am successful, I am kind, and etc. has never beaten good old fashioned hard work to achieve these things. This book is completely full of affirmations that are repeated over and over again, sometimes with different wording but having the same idea. There is lots of bold print and highlighted text (visible on my digital copy) and reading it made me feel like I was at a self-help seminar. I guess my disappointment was due to thinking this book would have more information about how to deal with anxiety and depression and not be a book full of only affirmations. However I will say that we all learn differently and for some people who find that the affirmation method works for them this book will be helpful. I’m not sure most teenage brains are developed enough to have interest in this type of book. The cover and title are quite enticing and are what drew my attention in the first place. I read this book on my ereader and it formatted well showing all of the highlighted text and bold fonts.

I Am Enough - Cheryl Miguel

                If this were a book of fiction I would be very disappointed in the characters and probably wouldn’t even like them very much. Instead this is the true story of one woman’s struggles dealing with the devastating disease of lupus. It is a very sad story as well as an eye opening one because I hadn’t realized how debilitating lupus can be to one’s life. The author writes about her life before and after the diagnosis, the people in her life who essentially become her caregivers, such as her daughters, and how she finally came to accept her illness. I saw myself in her a lot as I’ve also had a life altering illness, but it was the way that she constantly saw herself as the victim and how she treated others that made this book very hard to read. When one boyfriend informs her off his cancer diagnosis early on in the book, it seems as if she is much more concerned about how it will impact her life and not how he is dealing with the information. It’s things like this that makes this book one more about how not to act rather than how to deal with illness. I do like the style of writing. It’s fast and easy to read and the author writes with a nice flow. There are personal photos included which make it enjoyable to put faces with names in the book. I did enjoy reading this as it did leave me much more aware of how horrible lupus is as a disease. I read this in digital format and it worked well on my ereader, including very clear pictures. The cover is very eye-catching and lends a personal touch to the book. 

Monday, 9 May 2016

Girls Can't Be Knights - Lee French

                Girls Can’t Be Knights is the first book in the Spirt Knights series geared towards young teens (although I had fun reading it as well). This is an entertaining paranormal adventure about a group of individuals called the Spirit Knights whose job it is to get rid of nasty, evil spirits that may try living inside a living being’s body and harming the person or animal. Justin is one of these knights and when he meets Claire he immediately feels a connection and knows he must protect her. Claire is a foster kid, shuffled from home to home, and often in trouble. She meets Justin after some troubling events and finds out that she may actually be one of the Spirit Knights. The problem is that Spirit Knights can only be male.
                There’s a little bit of everything in this book to keep a teenager’s interest, including some romance, mystery, action, and…a talking horse. It’s a fun and easy read that, as long as you suspend the need for believability, is thoroughly enjoyable. The characters are interesting and as realistic acting as they can be, considering they are from a paranormal story. Claire’s tiny crush on Justin is written just as a teenager would feel and Justin’s need to walk a fine line between friend, protector and father figure is particularly realistic. The world created by the author is well thought out and the various aspects of it are explained well. I read this book on my ereader and it formatted perfectly. The cover is interesting and relates to the book well. I look forward to reading the second book in this series.