Monday, April 30, 2012

Ashamed of Erotica? Not me!

Have you heard of the book "Fifty Shades of Grey" by E.L James? It's probably the most popular book in the world at the moment and strangely --- it's erotica. I'm not sure of any other erotica book has ever risen to such dizzying levels of fame before. I's erotica! The closest thing to porn you can get in fiction. My husband will disagree with that though. He calls all romance books porn. He teases me about it all the time. I always tell him not all romance books are porn! Porn is 98% sex and 1% plot. Romance books have much more plot. Yeah, there's sex. But one or two sex scenes in a book does not make it porn. "Fifty Shades of Grey" though...from what I've read it has about 300 pages of sex. I have the book on my ereader waiting to be read. I am hesitant about reading it now. I'm not sure if I'm going to think it's okay, love it to death, or hate it. I've heard that's great and also complete garbage. People are calling it "Mommy Porn" which is an interesting label. I'm sure mothers read erotica before this book came out. People are claiming that most are buying the book on ebook because they're too embarrassed to be seen reading the hard back in public. Seriously? The front cover of Fifty Shades has a picture of a tie on it. A tie. I've seen erotica book covers and ven just plain old romances that have enough naked flesh on it to make you gasp! I bought Fifty Shades on ebook because I am trying to cut back on the number of paper books I purchase because I do not have space for them in my bookcases anymore. I am certainly not "embarrassed" to be seen reading it. I'm not a prude. When I was younger (and hornier) I read romances purely for the sex bits but now I'm bored with sex scenes in books. I've read it all. I even read a love scene that took place on the back of a horse once. THE BACK OF A HORSE. I skip a lot of sex scenes in books now. I am very curious about Fifty Shades and how much I will enjoy it. How hot is really? Some people claim its disgusting. Fifty Shades is not meant to be taken too seriously, I think. It began as Twilight fan fiction. Frankly, I'm surprised it ended up getting published at all considering how it started. What publisher would want to risk getting sued? Fifty Shades is written in an "alternative" universe to Twilight that has all of the characters in different roles and there are no vampires. They went through and changed all the names, apparently, but from what I've read on line there are still a lot of similarities in the characters and some scenes. It got me thinking I would not want to be E.L James. Imagine writing a trilogy of books that become insanely successful that were based off a fan fic? People are judging her for not inventing her own plot or characters. That would be a tough burden to carry on your shoulders. I wouldn't feel like a real published author. And imagine the pressure she must be under to write something original which you just know people will study up and down to see if she plucked it from somewhere else!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

First Echoes in the Wind review!

The people over at "You Gotta Read Reviews!" have been nice enough to review Echoes in the Wind! It's the first review that I've seen so far and I think it's pretty good! Check it out!

Echoes in the Wind Interview!

I've been interviewed for Echoes in the Wind at Fallen Angel Reviews! You can check it out by clicking here!

Romance Characters with "morals" -- does it spoil the fantasy?

I tried to read Colleen Houck's "Tiger Curse" series earlier this year after blogging about it here. I barely got through the first book. I kept bouncing back and forth between liking it, loving it, and hating it. Colleen has flashes of real talent. But she also makes massive rookie mistakes. She has long, boring, pointless scenes that do nothing other than drag the book out and make it longer. She has "Info dump" scenes which is when a character will either explain to the reader or another character an important part of the plot. She had those a lot. And the main character in her series Kelsey acts like a real bitch toward the end of the first book and makes you want to reach into the book and either shake her silly or strangle her to death. In the "Tiger" series Kelsey develops a relationship with cursed Indian Prince Ren who turns into a tiger every few hours throughout the day. In the first book when Kelsey realises she has feelings for Ren she panics and decides since Ren looks like a fashion model, is a prince and very rich, that it was only a matter of time before he cheated on her or broke up with her and broke her heart so to protect herself from harm becomes a rotten bitch and treats him like shit for the second half of book one before breaking up with him (even though they'd never reached the point of being in a relationship) at the end of the book and then runs back home to her America. Sound like a weird plot for a romance? Yeah, you bet. Firstly, what sort of heroine treats the hero like shit? And why would he just stand around and take it and still like her at the end of the day? In the second book I struggled through 177 pages of boring, pointless fluff before one moment made me put the book down and not pick it up again. It was when Kelsey said that she wanted to wait until marriage before doing it with Ren. Oh and I should mention that before she dropped that bombshell she acted jealous if Ren spoke to other women and still wondered if Ren was making a mistake being with her and wondered, again, if she should dump him "for his own sake" as if he is not capable of making up his own mind and understanding the consequences of some things. It wasn't until I got to the part about sex that I decided I could not read any further. When I read romances I want to be swept away on a ridiculous fantasy train ride of fun. I don't want to read about up tight, bitchy, "moral" heroines who want to save themselves for marriage. There's a market for that. It's called Christian Romance. And if that's what floats your boat, more power to you! But it's not me. I don't read romance just to read the sex scenes. Actually, I find the sex scenes rather boring and have started skipping them. It's the lead up to the sex that gets me in now. The flirting, the build up, that's what gets me. I have to like the characters and their relationship. And frankly I don't know how anyone could like Ren and Kelsey's relationship. I thought Kelsey was a believable, flawed character, she just was not likable. I liked Bella in Twilight more! And that's saying something considering she's as detailed and deep a a bit of card board! I almost felt a bit cheated with Colleen Houck's series. I don't know if it should have been labelled romance. Maybe it would have fitted better in Christian fiction? It certainly is tame and conservative enough. Kelsey not just runs from any sign of attraction or affection from Ren - she swings a wooden club at it!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Man believes he is Hitler's grandson

I stumbled across a fascinating article this morning. Philippe Loret was told 40 years ago by his father that his grandfather was Hitler. And man...check out his photo. All I've got to say is...FUCK. The man looks a lot like him. It's all in his eyes and in his nose. He has the same dark, piercing, slightly insane stare. Even his ears look similar. I wonder if this guy has ever seen Star Wars? If he has he must have really sympathized with Luke when he found out Vader was his father! It's totally the same situation! Being the grandson of Hitler is like being the grandson of Vader. I wonder if Philippe went ''s not true!" When he found out. I probably would have. All jokes aside, I can't decide if having Hitler as a family member would be something I would share with others or not. It would be scary and weird knowing that a family member of mine (and one not that far removed!) did so many horrible, horrible things. I would not be proud of it and would not bring it up for conversation. I certainly would not hang pictures of him in my house. Philippe says that he has pictures of Hitler up because he is a family member and he has accepted it. I think it's a little tasteless. The man was pure evil. If I was his granddaughter I would probably keep the knowledge to myself and just a few other close people. I don't believe in silly things like "evil" running in families. I wouldn't think that just because Hitler was a mad man that I would be destined to try and rule the world as well. Nah. I would accept he was family...and leave it at that. I'll say one thing for Philippe. His family line (while disturbing) is fascinating. It would make a great movie one day!

Monday, April 9, 2012

What makes a good romance book cover?

When I was in high school I started reading romance books around the time I was 14-15. My Mum got me into them. I used to LOVE THEM but I hated the front covers. I was so embarrassed by them. They were the cliche tacky ones with a bare chested man wearing tight leather pants fondling some woman with hair down to her ass and large, heaving boobs bursting against a tight bodice that looks about to burst. I used to try to hide the covers behind my hand when I read the books in school. I didn't mind the covers. I thought they were hilarious and corny looking, sure, very 1980's. What worried me was being teased by others for reading romance books. I was a shy, timid little thing in school. I got teased pretty bad in high school. Thankfully, no one ever noticed I was reading romance books. If they had I would've been teased for reading "porn" probably! Romance books are not porn but some people think they are. Eye roll!

With the invention of eBook readers people don't have to worry so much about being embarrassed by raunchy book covers because people can't see them! Ah, what a wonderful little invention! Women can now read their smut in peace. There is a God. If only there had been eBooks when I was in high school ten years ago!

What makes a good romance book cover? I was browsing Amazon when I came across this little gem!

There are so many things wrong with that cover I do not know where to begin. How about, firstly, the title? "An American Bull dog"? Really? The title is bad. It's almost as bad as "The Greek Seaman" Why, exactly? Because it conjures up all the wrong mental images. Just take a look at the front cover. Why is a bull dog center stage in the front cover? Why is there a half naked man with unbuttoned pants looking down at it lovingly? And why, why, is the woman in the book in the far right corner looking off to the side like that? Who exactly is the main character of this book? The dog? Or the woman? Who is the relationship about? The man and the dog? Or the man and the woman? Because the man looks more happy to see the dog. He is not paying any attention at all to the woman. The woman is the least important thing in the whole cover. Why, why, is the dog bigger than her? Shouldn't the dog be...I don't the far right? Not center stage? And shouldn't the man look more happy to see the WOMAN instead of a dog?

The book is actually doing really well on Amazon despite it's horrible cover. It's probably an okay book...but I can't get past it's god awful cover.

On the other side of the coin is this cover! "Plucking the Pearl" has probably the raunchiest most pornographic book cover I have ever seen! It's a great cover though. It's high quality, a lot of effort has gone into it, and most importantly it looks PROFESSIONAL and makes sense which "An American Bull Dog" was lacking!

At the same time, though..."Plucking the Pearl" is hilarious to look at. It goes a little too far in raunchiness. If it was my book after I got done laughing hysterically from sheer embarrassment, I would be proud of it...but also afraid, a little bit, to show it to anyone I know. Like my Mum for example. I've never seen a romance book with so much nudity on the cover! I am not a prude (far from it) but this one does make me blush! The good thing about this cover is that it attracts a lot of attention (both good and bad) to it. I don't know if I would like one of my covers to ever been that rude looking though! There's always the chance that Facebook (or another website) would not let me post it because they might think it's much too sexxxxy.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Idiots Upset About Black Characters in 'The Hunger Games' Movie

The movie adaption of Suzanne Collins best selling book 'The Hunger Games' was released recently in cinemas and some of the reactions from fans has been...well...just disgusting. It was reported here that some fans were surprised that a young African American actress was cast in the role of 12-year-old District 11 contestant Rue.

Despite being described in the book as having 'dark brown skin' and 'black hair' these idiotic fans thought that Rue was a little white girl. I am reading these books at the moment and the author makes it pretty clear that Rue and Thresh (The boy contestant from District 11) are black.

The comments made by these "fans" were just disgusting. One person said that it ruined the film. Another said that it made Rue's death not as sad because she was not a little white girl (WHAT.THE.FUCK) and one person said that they had originally pictured her as a little blonde girl. the books again and this time pay attention.

Maybe I've lived a sheltered life...but what does her race matter? Why is Rue's skin color so important? How does her being black make her death less sad? When I read that comment it actually made me feel a little sick. How could someone value the life of a little white girl more than the life of a little black girl? All because of their skin color? WHY? What makes white more desirable? What is wrong with these people?

I saw the Hunger Games movie before I read the book. The first thing I thought when I saw the actress who played Rue was "She is so small and beautiful!" and I immediately feared for her life. I was surprised that she lasted as long as she did in the film and her death was very sad and gorgeously filmed and Amanda Sternberg, the actress who played Rue, was perfect in the role!

The Hunger Games is a fascinating read about a future world where teens battle each other to death in an arena while the rest of the world takes bets on who will croak first. The book is about so many things - violence, oppression, freedom, and injustice. The one thing that is not in the book is race. Why, then, are these "fans" focusing on skin color when they should be asking "What sort of government could throw a bunch of kids into an arena and force them to kill each other?"