‘Beards’ Book Review

‘Beards’ is one indie book that I actually knew about before the author approached me for this book review (or maybe I hounded them until they gave me a free copy? Who knows, really?). Back when I was hoping to buy books and was unable to afford them, I had looked at ‘Beards’ and wondered if I would like to buy it, were I to have the means to do so.

Now, as a book reviewer I’ve tricked authors into giving me their books! Unlimited books muahahahaha!

Alright, in all seriousness, what’s the good, bad, and short stick of this book? Uhm, well… it’s kind of not well written.

Now I don’t mean this to be mean. But it all felt too short. Under-described. Character conversations were stilted and felt fake. And YET -> it still managed to be a good read.

Yeah, the characters sometimes felt a little bit like charicature-like lessons (I’m looking at you, Early). And sometimes the situations felt overly dramatic and predictably so. And yeah, the back and forth between the past and the present wasn’t always that ‘smooth’.

But you know what? It somehow still manages to be a good read. The author wanted it to be a bit of an lgbt timeline about acceptance, and it accomplished that, to a degree. And really, it made for a pleasant and entertaining read, DESPITE all its flaws. Which somehow boggles me. How did this author make so many mistakes and still make a book that’s entertaining? Must be the characters. Or their interactions. Or the funny premise of the book.

But all in all, this review is going to be short because that’s it, really. I could write up a giant list of flaws, yet this book still was in no way a waste of time. This book was fun, light, and really gave insight into the history of the lgbt movement in a vivid way. I would recommend it for young readers, for people trying to grapple our history in a more intuitive or ‘lived experience’ kind of way, without being all about protests.

I would also recommend the book to polyamorous couples/polycules, as it delicately bridges the gap between family and different kind of relationships that make them.

And that’s it folks! I hope this was interesting/useful!

 

Book Review – Ethan& Juliet

Hey everyone. Seeing as I’m closing down my other blog and transmuting this one into a messy home blog for everything that goes through my brain – BEHOLD! A book review!

This book review was requested by the author, but unfortunately they didn’t pay me a zillion cash to say nice things, so I’ll just say the truth. For those of you who like videos, Here’s my video version of this review!

This book did NOT captivate me at first. Nope. Not at all. It was painfully heteronormative in all the ways that hetero people don’t realize they’re being SO hetero. This was reflected in both their couple dynamics (guy chases girl who pretends not to be interested) and in their characters (girl is a yogi, a nurse and soon to be midwife, vegetarian, guy does rowing, is a doctor, and eats meat). Uhhh, barf. I wanted to throw this book at the wall.

To be honest, the doctor vs nurse gender thing is so old and used. I’ve been treated by an almost equal number of female doctors and psychiatrists as I have male ones, so even if there is a statistical slant, I don’t think it’s worthy of making the character job choices about. Second, really? Why is it the woman with the lesser education, the more ‘holistic’ and ‘intuitive’ job? It just, again, made me want to throw the book at the wall.

Again. SO HETERO it ached.

Also, their flirting dynamics really just sounded like ick to me. It went like this ‘oh, me urk urk guy. me like you’. “Oh, me sassy sassy gal. oh me so hot in my pants but oh, me won’t talk’.

Now, this ‘cat and mouse’ thing where the girl keeps saying no and the guy keeps insisting is way too close to rape culture for me. Sure, everything in this novel was consensual, but what about people taking a ‘no’ for a ‘no’ and just leaving someone the fuck alone and moving on with life? I’ve done that, and look -> happily married!

Now all that is about the beginning of the book. I’d say about halfway through, the cat and mouse dynamics drop off as they become a couple and some actually healthy dynamics kind of start. That’s nice. I liked that a lot.

One thing I also liked was how the two protagonists reacted differently to unsaid things, in ways that made sense for their stereotypical gender conformity. Typical hetero women leave things unsaid to protect themselves from the macho men’s outbursts (seen this a lot IRL) and that’s kind of what happened in the book. Meanwhile, typical hetero men think silence is an a+ sign (really dumb) and that’s again what happened in the book. But I liked this, because it shows the flaws of not communicating, added tension, and was realistic towards the characters she’d created.

The ending was cheesy, sweet, and ended on a nice note. Nothing to be said there except again, typical hetero notion of a cheesy ending.

So what is there to be said about the book as a whole? Really, if you’re looking for a staple hetero cheesy novel, this is what you’re looking for. It avoided lots of what we would call ‘indie’ mistakes, such as bad dialogue and nonsensical story turns. It reads pretty much as well if not better than some published Harlequin novels I’ve read. And honestly, the sweet part of the novels really do redeem it. When the story is good, it’s good, but the crappy parts aren’t too bad if you’re not a gender-obsessed person like me. A hetero non-queer person might really like it.

Overall, a pretty good book! Here’s the goodreads page so you can grab a copy!

Reading & Rambling/Book Review

These days, I’m doing a potentially hazardous activity for my health -> I’m reading a spiritual book. ‘Craft of the Wild Witch’ by Poppy Palin reads like one giant poem – and can get just as frustrating.

Now don’t get me wrong, I kind of like the ‘lyrical’ bladibla that gives it flow. It helps brings the concepts to life. But the hazardous part is the creepy, insidious stigma of mental illness. UGH!

Now, forgive me for not having marked down the exact pages of where& when she wrote this but the first ringer was when she said that schizophrenia/madness was just a manifestation of magic (I think it was specifically moon magic) getting out of hand.

I almost threw the book at the wall.

I mean, nevermind that on page 94 she singles out people with mental illness as potentially dragging along giant nasty energetic baggage, she has to go ahead and add to the myth that mental illness is some ‘magical’ problem.

Whoop de fucking doo.

Let me give my two cents about this (it’s my blog after all). Mental illness is not some magical fuckery. It’s brain fuckery. That’s an important distinction because as much as you can use magic to treat a physical problem, the root cause is physical. Which means a lot in terms of treatment, the amount of magic needed to fix it, and how one should visualize it.

Second -> mental illness does not mean icky magical hygiene. Yes, those with mental illness can suffer from dark thoughts. No, that doesn’t mean we walk around dragging heavy energetic thought forms along with us. We can cleanse ourselves, purify ourselves, and practice positive mental wellness (not the same as mental illness).

So this is all to say that I am halfway through this book and I am not impressed. He table of contents hardly helps you find anything. Her organization of topics feels hectic and jumbled. But worse of all, it feels like she hasn’t strayed far from the norm. Light is good, darkness is bad (a pet peeve of mine). The wiccan god is virile, the lady quiet and mysterious (why are women always quiet? Huh? Can’t they be virile and sexy?). These gender roles are achingly heteronormative and conservative. It’s kind of disgusting to read about this ‘deep kiss’ that is summertime. What is an asexual supposed to make of this? As a member of the LGBT + spectrum, I feel left out by her blinded persepective. I feel abandoned – willfully. Like, she hardly even tried to step out of the norm. She doesn’t even try and include a queer perspective.

Furthermore, her ‘trance’ sessions have nothing to do with traditional shamanic trances, but sound directly lifted from ‘white light’ New Age sessions that I have attended.  To which I beg a question. If we create our own astral worlds (as she says we do when we create our own ‘safe space’) then who the fuck are all the tree spirits and squirrels and pheasants and what have you that live in it? Huh? She just throws them in as if they live there but all I can think of is – where are they from? Who invited them into that world? She never mentions whether they really are alive, or if these guiding spirits that give you signs are really just figments of your subconscious. This sort of inconsistency… frustrates me.

Alright, I’m done ranting. Thank you all for sticking around with me, it’s been hectic and very busy on my side of the world. I’ll tell you in another post what’s been happening, haha.

Also, the thing I’m crocheting in the picture is a mermaid 🙂