Review: Captivated by You

Captivated by You
Captivated by You by Sylvia Day
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It’s the people you love who hurt you the most. This could be a good way to sum up the “plot” of the book and a good way to explain how this book was really disappointing.

This is one of my favorite series and authors, so it would be fair to say that I expect a lot from these books. This book did not deliver. It would have been more acceptable in a series I wasn’t a fan of or an author that I didn’t expect more from, but from Day? This book just wasn’t up to snuff.

Switching between the perspectives of Gideon and Eva was, shockingly, not that bad. That part was done well, but I did feel like Day hadn’t really thought out Gideon’s perspective on everything. His chapters felt less developed and some of the word choices during them (i.e. the continued use of lush to describe Eva’s curves) did drag things down a bit.

My biggest issue with the book was that it lacked a real plot. There was no real sense of purpose in the book. I knew in the beginning that despite their doubts Gideon and Eva would still be together in the end. I knew that they would get through their big obstacles. But I didn’t expect there to be as much of a cop-out in developing a real story. Gideon and Eva are both stormy characters and, even in the most dramatic of scenes, they were really weak in this book. There was no real bite in either of them.

I hate suggesting that she didn’t put enough effort into the story, but that is how it came across. Maybe she felt rushed or maybe she just needed to get certain plot points out before the next book, so she was just setting up the next one. I do know that I was very disappointed by it. I don’t know what exactly led to this book and the drop in quality, but I’m hoping that the next book makes up for it.

I would like to note that for anyone with a history of being abused or who is triggered by such things that this book has very graphic descriptions of sexual abuse. If that is something that might impact you personally, you might want to stay away for that reason. Also there is some casual mentioning of self-harm

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Don’t Rain on My Parade

My mom once told me that I was cute and I was pretty, but I wasn’t truly beautiful or attractive. This was one of the things that stuck with me over the years in a negative way. I’ve been able to move past it lately. I feel pretty, cute, beautiful, and attractive. I’ve even felt downright sexy with certain people who shall remain nameless. But, basically, my self-esteem in that area is up.

The other night1 she told me that I wouldn’t be a good mom someday. Her reasoning was that when I get upset with Amy for things like peeing on the couch that I “ignore” Amy. I recognize myself getting upset and I tell my parents to take care of her/keep an eye on her for a little while, while I calm down. I don’t yell at her. I just take a break. I pointed this out and my mom said, “With a kid, you can’t do that.” When she said this, I pointed out that as a child, she would put me in a playpen, leave the room entirely AND make sure the door was shut when she would get upset.2 I almost pointed out to my father, who was agreeing with her, that he had a bit of temper and tends to lose control of it, that maybe my handing off for a little while and cooling down isn’t the worst reaction to have.

And I realized that she was sort of moving on to my next insecurity.3 If the appearance thing doesn’t bother me as much as it used to, then she has to have something to give me a hard time about. I don’t even know if she realizes that she is doing it or why she does it, but I don’t particularly appreciate it.4 I can’t exactly bring it up with her because that would lead to an argument, which would lead to a “I’m so aggrieved” speech by her and a rehashing of everything that has ever gone wrong in this family. Quite frankly, I just don’t want to deal with that, so I just try to smile and not pay attention to this sort of thing.

I know I still have issues that I need to work on. I admit that. I also know that it’s possible that I wouldn’t be a good mom, but I don’t think it’s appropriate for her to decide to bring me down like this.

  1. Sunday 

  2. Her doctor told her to do this because, as a baby/toddler, I tended to apologize anytime my mom would be upset. 

  3. Not that she doesn’t still do the appearance one from time-to-time. I showed her the picture of me with red lip gloss on the other day that I was feeling confident about. She told me that I looked completely washed out and that I should never wear that color again because it looked so horrible. 

  4. I’m pretty sure the “you won’t be a good mom” thing was partly a result of Nana showering me with positive attention over my weight loss and treating me like I wasn’t the biggest person in the family anymore. It moved her back some. I’m pretty sure about this because the comments came just a few hours after the visit with Nana. 

Review: Anatomy of a Single Girl

Anatomy of a Single Girl
Anatomy of a Single Girl by Daria Snadowsky
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

There are some books in life that you know your life is better because of. This isn’t one of those books. To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have read this book if I hadn’t checked it out at the same time as I checked out the first book in the series. I didn’t like that book and I didn’t like the continuation of the neurotic drama that is Dominique Baylor’s sex life.

Like with the first book, everything was clinical. I know that Dom wants to be a doctor, but it almost felt like the author was trying to give the readers a sexual health lesson. It also had the tone of “we’re going to explore casual sexual relationships, but if you have them, then your life may be vapid/meaningless”.

Another repeating theme was the obsession with appearance. I know that Dom is 18 and that is a big emotional thing for an eighteen year old girl, so maybe it could get a bit of a pass. The big exception I have with giving it that pass is that it seemed to imply that because Dom was now at a lower weight than she was before that she was smarter and more worthy of praise than she was at the higher weight. It might give readers the idea that people who are bigger are less intelligent or less deserving of respect. It focuses on judging a person based upon their body alone and that’s a very dangerous path for thoughts to take.

The characters within the book are annoying. Well, there aren’t really any other characters than Dom. Sure, she’s staying at her parents’ apartment, she’s with Guy, she talks about Cal, and she has conversations with Amy, but it feels like everything has to center on pleasing Dom. With her very neurotic personality, it’s impossible to please her, so there are around 225 pages of Dom just whining. She’s a horrible friend. She’s extremely judgmental of anyone who doesn’t bend to her ideas. She regularly disparages Amy’s sex life (again) and continues on her sex-negativity even as she uses Guy as a sex toy for the Summer. She would actually judge Amy for simply talking to or flirting with a guy because (to Dom) this behavior is something that should happen between two people who are working towards getting married and having lots of babies one day. And when she realizes that this outcome isn’t going to happen with Guy, what does she do? She doesn’t stay away from him. She uses him to get off. He doesn’t sacrifice the cutesy stuff in the relationship to have sex, she does. And when he wants to do other stuff, she’s controlling and manipulative. It’s really like she becomes this huge train-wreck of a character.

The writing in this book wasn’t horrible, but it was worse than the first book. There was little actual insight and there was no real entertainment value. Because it wasn’t a complete suckfest, I’m still going to go with two stars, but it just barely earned that second star.

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Why can it not be easier to figure out if the person you want wants you back?

Where Is My How To Guide?

Life is so much harder than it seems like it should be. The things that should be instinctual aren’t always. For example, dating. It seems like a straightforward thing. Two or more people like each other. They hang out. They kiss. They have sex. Simple stuff. It should all be straightforward for you.

But it isn’t.

You know how you feel about the other person, but you don’t know how they feel about you. And if you’re prone to anxiety1 or shy2 or insecure3 or me4 , trying to figure out what to do can be an emotionally draining experience. And you don’t know how to figure out how to deal with the situation. You can ask friends5 or Google it6, but the only way to find out for sure is to ask the other party. This means you have to make yourself extremely vulnerable and expose what just might drive someone you like as far away from you as possible. This is risky. And only you can determine if it’s worth the risk.7

The willingness to put yourself out there in this way is scary and even more emotionally taxing. But you do it anyway. Then you wait. Or I wait.8 And that’s more stressful, but it’s better than sitting on your hands wondering what the fuck is going on.

Why can’t it be easier?

There isn’t an easy way to say, “Hey, I really like you and I want to know if you like me the same way. I want to know if there’s more to us than just smushing body parts together. I don’t need a ring or a specific number of dates with your or anything. I just want to know that if one of us is having a bad that we can call the other one and cheer that person up. And I want to know that if we’re smushing our parts together and we don’t have a condom or the condom suffers some kind of catastrophic failure that we don’t have to worry about going and getting STD checks because we’re only smushing with each other.”910

Why doesn’t that way exist?

It should exist.

It would make things easier.

Or maybe it would make things harder, because they might not like you enough to do more than the kissing and the sex. And how do you deal with that? Is it okay to keep going in a situation like that? What if you want more? Do you leave it, even if the sex is good and you really like the other person, if they end up saying they will never give you more?

Why can’t there just be an easy way to deal with this kind of stuff?

  1. like me 

  2. like me 

  3. like me 

  4. It’s my blog, so the fact that it’s ABOUT me shouldn’t shock you. 

  5. And this is really the best option until you start thinking that maybe you’re too neurotic for even the best of friends. 

  6. Don’t Google it. Between the RWNJ and the PUA sites, you end up hating yourself and the world so much if you do this. 

  7. When you have impulse control issues, it’s always worth the risk, even when it isn’t. 

  8. Because this is about me. 

  9. Obviously, referring to a use of backup birth control so that there aren’t any pregnancy scares–though, pregnancy scares can happen on backups or with condoms, which a lot of RWNJ and just regular people don’t even seem to know, but should. 

  10. I have totally over-used the word “smushing” for this post, haven’t I? 


What a Rip-off!

Nana has been receiving bills from Haband. The weird thing is that she’s never ordered anything from them. Ever. And the items aren’t coming to her. In fact, the shipping address that they’ve got is to a property that is owned by Orchard Brands. That property is in Massachusetts, a state she’s never even been to. Strange, right? That’s what my whole family has been saying.

And when we’ve tried to clear this up? They say that she’s ordered the stuff. How do you order stuff when you’ve never had a catalog or even heard of the company before? And why would you order it and send it to a place she’s never been? She doesn’t even know anyone who lives in Massachusetts. It really doesn’t make sense, but Haband is being stubborn and saying that the orders are legit.

They even want my grandmother to pay them $14.95 a month for their VIP club, which is another thing that they say that she ordered. Obviously, she didn’t, but I guess they want or have to bill her for it. It’s ridiculous and disgusting that they are billing an 81-year old who didn’t know about them before this incident and who definitely didn’t buy anything from them.

Review: Anatomy of a Boyfriend

Anatomy of a Boyfriend
Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I hadn’t really heard much about this book before I read it, so I definitely didn’t have any preconceived notions about what it would be like. I didn’t even read the reviews by others on here to see how they felt about the book, so there was no bias. And, when I started the book, the first fifty or so pages seemed okay-ish. It was certainly better than two stars at page 50 than it was at the end.

For a work of realistic fiction, it was very unreal. The characters didn’t act or talk like teenagers. Even awkward teenagers don’t act like this. Some of the scenes almost came off as clinical and robotic in nature. Actually, a lot of them don’t seem like they would fit in any story for children, teens, or adults. They’re just very boring and weird.

For a romance, it had a lack of romance. Wes and Dom love each other, but there’s no rhyme or reason to why. I know that you could argue that that’s true for all romances and for love in general, but this book is especially bad at telling the story of why this guy is even her boyfriend or her first love.

It has a very sex-negative vibe. Amy is almost always degraded for being open to different types of sexual activities. The relationship between Dom and Wes portrays sex as being something that is always painful and awkward for girls, where guys will have orgasms and girls will always have to fake it. I know a lot of women do have that sort of experience, but we don’t really need to teach young women that it has to be like this. Sex is something where if you expect it to be painful and bloody and awkward, then you are more likely to have a painful experience. I’m not saying that the book needs to be smutty or anything like that, but give girls some hope that they aren’t going to be injured in sex acts. It’s also really disturbing that any time that Dom is looking forward to or thinking about sex that something bad happens to her or to Wes. That is another sex-negative vibe to have.

As for other things that really bugged me: Playing up the trope of a redheaded female character as sex-obsessed was really annoying. That may seem like a little thing, but since it’s an actual recognized trope for works of fiction (and, worse, a stereotype of redheads in the real world), it really isn’t all that little. There was also a bit of fat-shaming. You have a character (Dom) starting her first year of college, so there’s the mentioning of the freshman fifteen, which might be okay. What isn’t okay is that her mother starts telling her that she should order certain foods so that she can me more like her old self. When the character asks if it’s about her weight going up, she finds out that it is. When she turns to her father for support he says (and does) the following:

He emerges from behind his menu. “I agree with your mom. Guys can be a little overweight,” he says, pinching his gut with his hand, “but girls can’t.”

This is for her gaining enough weight so that her clothes just snug on her. In other words, she might have gone up one size and her parents are giving her a hard time. She’s also just been injured when she was exercising. When it continues and she goes to leave the table her father does the following:

“Dom, you’re blowing this way out of proportion,” Dad reprimands. “We’re staying put, and let’s have a nice dinner, for Christ’s sake.”

She’s basically been told that she isn’t allowed to be offended by their comments. That’s just wrong. If parents act like this, it is totally fine to get upset with them. This behavior is reprehensible. That she’s eventually treated like she overreacted after their comments have (naturally) hurt her feelings is so disgusting. And she ends up feeling both ashamed of her body and of her feelings being hurt. That’s not okay. And the way it is portrayed is not okay either.

And there’s the somewhat minor character Calvin. He might become a friend or a future boyfriend for her. Who knows? But the way that he acted when they first met was a little on the creepy side. This is another thing that probably would be best left out of books meant for the young adult age group. This might teach young people to allow this sort of behavior in their interpersonal relationships, which is a bit twisted and potentially dangerous.

It isn’t all bad, but the good parts of the book just aren’t enough to overcome the bad parts. The plot is really flat. The development of characters is flat. There are some insightful paragraphs, but they are truly few and far between. And there’s a quirkiness to certain parts that I enjoyed, but by the end of the book, they had disappeared. The humor, the fun, and everything good about the book was gone before the book ended. That’s not good, so this book is getting two stars because it was not executed very well.

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