Opal Carew – Total Abandon

Opal Carew - Total Abandon

Opal Carew – Total Abandon

After 50 Shades of Grey, the erotica genre really exploded and became mainstream. Everyone and their mother was reading about Ana and Christian, and it really was kind of gross, like watching pornography with your mother and your kids’ teachers. I don’t read erotica, but many of my coworkers do. I’m told that Opal Carew was one of the dirtiest writer, so of course this had to be my pick for my erotica read.

The Spiel

A woman gives up sex for a year after her divorce. On the anniversary of the divorce, she gets drunk with her friend and comes up with a list of her most desired sexual fantasies. She experiences a sexual awakening as she missions to cross off all the dirty deeds on her list, in explicit detail.

Why should I read this?

If you like erotica, then you will love this book. There are sex scenes every other page, with a loose backstory, and it touches on many of the most common sexual fantasies. Threesomes, voyeurism, bondage, dominance, and submission are common themes.

Pitfalls

While the sex scenes are great, I found the characters unrealistic and the love story subplot ridiculous. While I understand that these books are a fantasy of what women want men and sex to be like sometimes, I could not enjoy the book due to my chortling at how one dimensional all the characters were, and how unrealistically they evolved. It’s like watching a really cheesy horror movie.

Myself, I prefer Judith McNaught’s books, because while there are good sex scenes, the plots are much more captivating. There is character development, and there is real conflict and resolution. Her characters are wild, funny, passionate, and charismatic, as opposed to the characters in Total Abandon who were purely sex-driven.

Conclusion

Read this if you want to read some porn (or erotic literature), but don’t read it for plot or characters beyond their physical appearances, because there are none.

This is the book 2 of my 50 Book Pledge.

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Amy Tintera – Rebel

Amy Tintera Rebel

Amy Tintera – Rebel

For the first book of my 50 Book Pledge, I decided to stick to something I already knew. Rebel is the sequel to Amy Tintera’s “Reboot” which I picked up randomly a few months ago. Considering how the first one ended, I should have seen a sequel coming; nonetheless, I was surprised when I saw Rebel come out.

As you are probably very well aware, dystopian teen fiction is ALL the rage right now. Goodbye vampires, angels, and werewolves! Honestly, before the Hunger Games came out, I didn’t even know what dystopian meant. If you don’t either, here’s a definition for you, courtesy of Merriam-Webster:

dys·to·pia

noun \(ˌ)dis-ˈtō-pē-ə\

an imaginary place where people are unhappy and usually afraid because they are not treated fairly

I always described dystopian teen fiction as an alternate-universe with a post-apocalyptic feel. There is always action and usually an overthrow of whatever government or entity is in power.

The Spiel

The Reboot series is set in a world where an unknown virus takes over and starts killing people, kind of like a super aggressive flu. However, kids and teenagers with the virus start coming back to life after they die. The longer they’re dead, the stronger they are when they come back. The government rounds up these “reboots”, contain them, and force them to capture criminals for the government. They are treated like animals. The book follows the story of Wren, number 178 (the number of minutes she was dead), who was one of the highest numbers anyone had ever seen, and therefore one of the strongest reboots. The story is full of action and excitement.

Why should I read this?

I love that the female lead is portrayed as a strong and independent, albeit stubborn girl. I really love zombie movies, and even though it’s not about mindless drones coming back to eat brains, I really enjoy reading about how a society would deal with the dead coming back to life. These two books explore both how a powerful entity would deal with these beings coming back, stronger than regular humans, as well as how families react to their children becoming both dead and alive. Schrodinger’s Zombie. Teen books are great for a nice light read. This sequel had some nice twists and big shocks.

Pitfalls

Of course, being a teen fiction novel with a female lead, there’s a love interest somewhere. Eventually all the blushing and “I kissed his lips lightly” get a little annoying. At one point in Reboot, it seemed to happen all the time, but thankfully, the author toned it down in Rebel. I usually just roll my eyes and barf a little every time I read a line about some PG teen romance. I get it, I get it, your heart flutters, goddamn. However, I did enjoy that even though they were in this weird relationship, both partners evolved into better, stronger individuals because of it, instead of becoming increasingly codependent and destructive.

Do not read if you don’t like reading series because it looks like this is going to be a trilogy. But, if you’re reading teen fiction, then you know it always takes teen authors more than one book to complete a story arc.

Conclusion

Read this if you like the Divergent series and Mockingjay, or if you’re looking for an action book that doesn’t require a lot of thinking.

Nick Cutter – The Troop

Cover art of The Troop by Nick Cutter

The Troop by Nick Cutter

I have never read a horror novel before. This is admittedly my first. I don’t know why I didn’t start with Stephen King, but this one was endorsed by him, so that makes it okay, right? Nick Cutter is a pseudonym of Craig Davidson, a Canadian author of novels and short stories. 

From the jacket of the book:

Boy Scouts live by the motto “Be Prepared.” However, nothing can prepare this group of young boys and their scoutmaster for what they encounter on a small, deserted island, as they settle down for a weekend of campfires, merit badges, and survival lessons.

Everything changes when a haggard stranger in tattered clothing appears out of nowhere and collapses on the campers’ doorstep. Before the night is through, this stranger will end up infecting one of the troop’s own with a bioengineered horror that’s straight out of their worst nightmares. Now stranded on the island with no communication to the outside world, the troop learns to battle much more than the elements, as they are pitted against something nature never intended…and eventually each other.

Let me just say that this book was all kinds of messed up. Of course, the summary intrigued me, especially after my zombie movie marathon a few months ago. The biggest advice I could give to someone who is looking to pick up this book is: Do not read if you have a weak stomach. The storyline is a mish-mash of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, action flick/video game Resident Evil, and a writing style that is reminiscent of David Wong’s John Dies at the End.

I am not usually a squeamish person, but the descriptions of these creatures and what they do to the human body, well, that would make anyone hurl. Not only does Nick Cutter appeal to our visceral responses, but the things that he forces these young boys to do and the situations that he puts them in is horrifying; quite fitting for its genre.

This book was a rollercoaster, not fast-paced, but the twists and turns you take as you’re unearthing what is really happening on this previously uninhabited island will make you squirm, and the gut-wrenching feelings you get when you see this group of young boys struggle to survive are heart-breaking. 

There were so many times I would be reading this book with a look of pure disgust on my face, and every so often an “Eww…” would slip out, that boyfriend would ask what happened in the book. I would read out the passage, and he would immediately regret asking. It happened quite a few times before he had to struggle between satisfying his curiosity or keeping his lunch.

That being said, if you are a fan of morbidity and the human condition, and are looking for a light, fun read, don’t be too afraid to pick up this book.

Click here to check out other books I’ve read on my Good Reads profile here!