The Bi-Advantage: You Get to Ask Twice

Bi Flag

“Um, Lance?”
He looked up from where he’d been pretending to do some actual work.
“Hannah, erm…” she was standing awkwardly in the doorway to the classroom, her top dragged down slightly showing more cleavage than she probably wanted. He swiftly turned his gaze back to her face and resettled the glasses on his nose, “come in please.”
“Thanks,” she said shutting the door behind her.
She clapped her hands together once as she approached his desk.
“Lance, I need a favour. I’m supposed to be covering Bethany’s Spanish afterschool class but-” He already didn’t like where this was going.
He was the go to guy if someone needed a lesson covering. Having spent his teenage years horribly wimpy, preferring the company of orcs and elves to actual people, he’d grown up to become a rather meek thirty year old, just a doormat.
But Hannah was usually nice enough. She seemed to like him and one day he might even pluck up the courage to ask her out.
“-I’ve got this date-” or maybe not, “-he can’t do tomorrow now so it would be great if you could-”
“I’ll cover it Hannah, it’s fine.”
She smiled. It was a nice smile, but a nice smile thinking about someone else.
“Thanks, I’ll make it up to you.”

***

“So what if she has a date? She’s not seeing him is she?”
Lance drank the rest of his wine and offered the glass back to Andrew to refill.
“Don’t know, probably. She wouldn’t be interested in me anyway.”
Andrew handed him back a full glass and he began to drink again.
“Nah fuck that mate, sometimes you just have to…” Andrew balled up his fist in a display of manliness that Lance could never pull off, “you know?”
He didn’t. Andrew and him had been in the same boat of awkward teens until Andrew had found a second home at the gym, his first being the flat they shared together. Overnight the chubby cheeks and double chin had gone, leaving him looking more like the kind of boys who would call him piggy when he walked home from school. Lance thought that was why he did it, some sort of revenge to just say: I can be just as good looking as you and still have room left over for a personality.
And he did look good, he had had a strong chin under all that fat which now had brown stubble growing around his smirking lips and across his stronger jawline and down-Lance was staring and quickly became very interested in his red wine, readjusting his glasses.
“Sometimes you just have to ask a girl if you wanna have sex.”
Lance scoffed, drinking the rest of his wine…again.
“I don’t think we’re allowed to anymore.”
“Well ask nicely like…oh I don’t know…”
“Do you think we could have sex sometime?”
Andrew snorted, “yeah that does sound stupid doesn’t it?”
Lance knew he could back down now, just laugh it off like some joke. He should have. But he was drunk and frustrated. And sometimes you just have to ask a guy if he wanted to have sex. So he kept looking straight at Andrew until he noticed.
“What?” Andrew said finally, his eyes flickering down to Lance’s lips.
‘This is a bad idea.’
“I said,” he started slowly, “do you think we could have sex sometime? Tonight-if you’re free?”
Andrew laughed breathily, “mate you better not be using me as a replacement for this girl.”
That wasn’t a no. Lance smiled and took off his glasses.
“I think it’s the other way around.”

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Carmilla and Laura: ARC Review

I was given an ARC copy of Carmilla and Laura in exchange for an honest review.

Carmilla and Laura

“I have been in love with no one. And I shall never be in love with anyone, I think, unless it be with you.”

Her lips touched mine. With the gentleness of butterflies upon petals, we kissed beneath the grove of trees, secluded from the world lost in time.

***

This is an interesting book, it is based on the 19th century gothic novel, Carmilla. The book is wonderful in its breath-taking description and poetic imagery, but I have no idea if what’s in the book is entirely new or just tweaked from the original book. I mean assume a lot of it is new because I don’t think this amount of sweet lesbian romance would be written in the 19th century. Though I also think being inspired by a book written at the time adds to the realism and authenticity of the writing about young women during that time period. I’ve always had a soft spot for classic romances, that pride and prejudice atmosphere of prim and proper intelligent ladies just makes me feel cosy enough to curl up and read as a cat,

The descriptive writing is definitely the book’s best feature. It’s a very easy read, despite the gothic tones it’s mostly a French 19th century romance rather than an actual vampire story. At points it can drag with how much it tries to envelop itself in its historic world but honestly, it’s mostly a lovely read with its great creative writing, it can create an atmosphere for anything from a summer’s day in the way someone dresses to a horrific nightmare in how someone talks.

A minor point is that the introduction and epilogue of the book, (which takes place in modern day) is quite jarring and not well explained. It took me out of the book with how strange it was and I wondered why it was included. The reason its included is because that’s how the original book was set up, yet if it was removed the book may actually be better for it.

While the writing style is an excellent reason to read this book, the plot is not. Again, it makes me wonder how much of the original manuscript was relied on, as the starting point of the plot is contrived to the point of farce which shadows the rest of the book which is quite good.

The main character Laura, an eighteen year old lady, is very passive which becomes dangerously disturbing in parts. She refuses to ask questions of Carmilla even when her childhood friends are being murdered. While this is annoying, there are parts where this passiveness becomes…uncomfortable. Carmilla blatantly wants a sexual relationship with her and Laura just lets her, touch her and kiss her and it makes it seem forceful which I’m pretty sure wasn’t the intention.

Yet despite the main character’s passiveness, the romance does pick up and it is both sweet and heart-breaking, given they cannot be together as Laura’s a woman and Carmilla is you know…a vampire. It becomes very passionate and loving, focusing more on their emotions rather than their actions. But on the other hand, Laura is torn as per the time period about the ‘sin’ she’s committing, it’s really sad.

However, the ending part is both where the story differs the most from the original and is the worse section. The romantic nature of the first two parts which made it a delightful read are gone to be replaced by rushed and heavy exposition. The magical elements are taken to the extreme in a way that reminds me of ‘so bad it is good’ fanfictions. It really puts a downer on what is mostly a decent and lovely book.

 

Carmilla and Laura is now available for purchase.

Finishing a Book: Deciding on a Genre

Genre is not necessary to writing a book. Your book will still be your book with or without a genre.

However, it will matter once you go through the gruelling writing and the gruelling editing. Now, all you need to do is the gruelling marketing.

Handing out books Continue reading “Finishing a Book: Deciding on a Genre”

I’m so Sorry Winner’s Curse. Please forgive me!

Synopsis: War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it with untrustworthy new allies and the Empire as his enemy. Though he has convinced himself that he no longer loves Kestrel, Arin hasn’t forgotten her, or how she became exactly the kind of person he has always despised. She cared more for the empire than she did for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she did for him.

At least, that’s what he thinks.

In the frozen north, Kestrel is a prisoner in a brutal work camp. As she searches desperately for a way to escape, she wishes Arin could know what she sacrificed for him. She wishes she could make the empire pay for what they’ve done to her.

But no one gets what they want just by wishing.

As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover that the world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and they are caught in between. With so much to lose, can anybody really win?

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Review: Okay it’s official, I love this book, I love trilogy and I confess it to the world! Let me start off by saying, I have had my doubts about this series since the first book and I had those same doubts going into this one. Doubts of cliqued arcs and relationships. Every plotline I rolled my eyes at. Every mention of love disgusted me. But I found it harder to do with this book, until finally told myself to stop trying to find bad things in great writing, because this is a great book. And I owe the Winner’s Curse trilogy and Marie Rutkoski an apology because the last two books have been good too.

(This is the bit where I apologise):

If you’ve seen my last two review of this series you may get the hint that I don’t like it. But no more, my thoughts on this series has been quite biased and slanted and truly after reading this, I realised how much I bloody loved the last two despite what I’ve said.

(Okay back to the review)!

My favourite thing about this book is that I didn’t know where it was going, the plot lines and steps the book take, feel very organic. The same can be said for the characters, they develop and grow very realistically and it made me genuinely sit on the edge of my seat for most of the final act. I cried and jumped for joy over these characters, their journey has mention SO much to me.

However, to mar a great book, the final few chapters of the resolution really were lacklustre. I felt that a lot of loose ends were not tied up, perhaps because they couldn’t be, perhaps they were too huge for the author to deal with. But either way, it left me feeling pretty empty after what was such a good final book.

Despite this, I implore you to read this. I’ve been on such an adventure with this series that I’d invite anyone to go on it too.

Love this book, love this trilogy.

comment-belowHave you read this series? Did you like it? Comment below!!

The Curse of Fantasy YA (Review)

A royal wedding should be a celebration, with fireworks and dancing till dawn. But for General’s daughter Kestrel, betrothed to the Crown Prince, marriage is a trap.

Just as they fell in love, Arin became her enemy. Kestrel aches to tell him the truth – that her engagement was the price she paid to save his life. But in a world of lies and intrigue, how can she trust him if she doesn’t even trust herself? The truth will come out, and when it does, Kestrel and Arin will learn the high cost of their crime…

Winner's crime

I have a confession. A horrible confession.

I hate the YA fantasy genre….

Okay granted it’s not something I keep secret but my point is, is that I expected all fantasy YA books to turn out the same. Same plot, same beats, same surprises. And this is because what feels like the same story a thousand times over. So, entering a YA book, I’m nervous and wary.

So, I feel I have to apologise to Winner’s crime because while it’s a good book, I can’t escape the worry that it’s plotline will be the same as every one of its pretentious. It’s good, even I’ll admit that. This world is immersive, it’s characters diverse. It was an interesting read for sure. Let’s try and go through it’s good point without being too biased.

  • Main protagonist: I like Kestrel, and really do understand the horrible situation she’s being put in. I like Arin for bad reasons: I like him because he isn’t a carbon copy of Kestrel, he’s actually kind of dumb, which made him interesting, but really, I never felt sucked into his storyline like Kestrel’s.
  • There’s a reason they can’t be together: I won’t go too into this, but the fact that they can’t be happily together is simple, common sense, actually. Doesn’t make it hurt any less but at least it has context.
  • It doesn’t really suffer from middle book syndrome…maybe: While the ending did essentially move the plot backwards, stuff did happen in this book and not all of it went to waste.

So yeah those are my main good points with the book, but all of that is over shadow by the looming threat of a predicable plot. I don’t want it to be predicable but…it is. It’s pretty and written beautiful but it’s predicable and I’m so afraid the next one will just ruin it all with the same finale that’s just like every other YA novel. I hope it’s not.

Only one way to find out…

In the end I’d recommend this as a great starting point for YA fantasy, it just shouldn’t be your 100th book.

 

What do you think? Would you read it? Have you read it? Comment below!

The Song of the Stork- review

Synopsis: Fifteen year-old Yael is on the run. The Jewish girl seeks shelter from the Germans on the farm of the village outcast. Aleksei is mute and solitary, but as the brutal winter advances, he reluctantly takes her in and a delicate relationship develops.

As her feelings towards Aleksei change, the war intrudes and Yael is forced to join a Jewish partisan group fighting in the woods.

Torn apart and fighting for her life, The Song of the Stork is Yael’s story of love, hope and survival. It is the story of one woman finding a voice as the voices around her are extinguished.

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Review: This book is an amazingly beautiful especially in displaying the bleakness of humanity. A lot of this book is spent talking about what is left of humanity when hope is gone and how evil anyone can become and this book never lets you forget how horrible the world is. It also creates incredicbly real, reable characters that truly drives the story. It isn’t a book of happy endings and romance, it is a book of harsh realities and this is what makes it so good.

I would recommend this book to anyone who can read and please tell me your own thoughts on the Song of the Stork.

Rose by Another Name – Review

Synopsis: Her worth decided over a game of cards, Lady Rosalyn Hayes has accepted her future. She will marry a duke she doesn’t know to protect her sisters’ reputations. But when a year of preparation for her debut vanishes in the blink of an eye, Rose flees her gilded cage in search of unrestrained adventure.

Lord Robert Phillip Clarence, Duke of Brighton, lives a life of debauchery far from his country estate, and even farther from the lady he must marry in order to restore his family’s ancestral lands. But when he is summoned home to meet his future wife, he realizes he hasn’t lived at all.

Rose and Robert do not meet when their eyes lock across a ballroom swathed in candlelight. They do not meet amid fine clothes, genteel manners, debonair charm, and chaperones. They meet, alone, upon Rose’s near death. It is this near-death experience that catapults the two nobles, disguised as servants, towards a romance that seems destined for failure.

They think they know each other. But when their true identities are revealed at a house party, will they live happily ever after or will the ton be shocked to see a lady run?

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Review: Rose by another name starts strong for the most part, continues that way. The story is woven into the time of its setting: of proper ladies and forbidden romance. It’s clichéd elements are easily ignored in a story so filled with beautifully immersive settings and the poetic emotional scenes.

It’s an easy book and a comfortable read despite its simple plot. In fact the simplty of its plot is what makes it so enjoyable, leaving more room for connection with our main leads and their romance.

However the novel’s finale let’s it down with an ending very much out of left field and clearly setting up for a series. I was confused by it, I barely could feel the character conflict and was left bewildered.

But despite its falling I enjoy the book immensely with its emotionally driven characters and rustic environments.

I’d like to thank Melaine Thurlow for letting me have an ARC copy of her book in exchange for an honest review.

Buy: Amazon