Review: Danger at the Border

Danger at the Border
Danger at the Border by Terri Reed
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I’m actually glad that I was provided with a free copy of this book by the publisher as part of the Goodreads First Reads program, in return for an honest review. I would hate to have bought it for myself. Why? Let’s just say that I really did not like this book.

It’s boring, poorly written, and there is no romance at all. I knew going in that it was a clean romance and I was cool with that, but I still expected some level of interaction beyond “Where are you from?” between the romantic leads. There really wasn’t. Well, that’s not completely true. There was some interaction. It was more in the form of “How do we not get killed?” and the pages dedicated to Tessa asking Jeff why he had kissed her. I was confused about why he kissed her, too. There was no chemistry between them at all. Sure, there was the whole fear that they could be killed by a drug kingpin type dude–or a couple of them, but there was no romance. I’m pretty sure that once the adrenaline wore off that they would both be wondering what they had gotten themselves into.

As a clean romance, I probably should have expected the references to modest clothing and all the talk about God and prayer. I didn’t, though. I didn’t realize that almost half of the book would be prayers. If I wanted to read a book that was half full of things that you shouldn’t do in life and half full of prayers, then I would have read the Bible. That probably would have been more exciting. If you’re skiddish about religion or you don’t want to be preached to, then you probably should avoid this book.

Other people who should avoid it include anyone who doesn’t like a gratuitous threat of rape. Yes, this is one of those books that puts an attempted rape scene in the book just to add conflict. Writers should really stop doing that. There are other ways to add conflict besides trying to rape or, as this author calls it, “abuse” the (usually) female characters. And, while we’re at it, if you are going to put a rape or rape attempt scene in a book, then you should be willing to call it what it is. I know that rape is an ugly word, but it is an important word to use when it comes to this sort of situation. People need to be able to recognize it for what it is. While rape is a form of abuse, not calling it rape diminishes that ability. This leads to people acting callously toward rape victims or towards victims being in denial of what they have actually suffered through.

There was some more ignorance thrown in the other parts of the book. The male lead (a Border Patrol agent) kept explaining the science to the female lead (a fish biologist), which was really annoying. It felt like she should be the one explaining science to him since she was the science person. There were also references to poor communication with their families. There was judgment of divorce and couples who choose that option. The male lead was able to tell just by meeting the female lead that her intelligence and gender made her high maintenance. The bad guy in the book threatens to sell the female lead to make money; an exact quote from this interaction was “There are men who would pay top dollar for a red-haired American woman.”

Speaking of ignorance related to the bad guy, the drug kingpin was forcing his “employees” to stay and work for him on his marijuana grow. This was recognized and identified as slavery. It was even mentioned that sometimes he kept the employees drugged so that they would work for him. All in the name of keeping his operation going and keeping the profit margin high. These are acts that most people would recognize as signs that this bad guy is really bad. Well, not our female lead. She didn’t realize just how horrible of a human being he was until he tried to sell her for a profit. At the end of the paragraph after that last quote, she made the following remark, “So you’re going to move from illegal drugs to human trafficking?” He was already involved in human trafficking, hun. Human trafficking is defined as, “a. sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age; or b. the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.” That she didn’t know this was horrifying. It disgusted me that she thought that her education or social status or anything else somehow made her more of a victim than these people who had been “recruited” into slavery because of their addictions or their poverty.

There was the “all drugs are bad” feeling that the book gave off. It also had a tendency toward the pro-nationalism that you sometimes see on the right. I don’t know if that was intentional, but that’s definitely how certain parts came across.

The book also followed some religious stereotypes. You have the strong male lead with the deep Christian faith. You have the weak female lead who has her doubts; she also has red hair, which is common amongst religious characters who have been objectified in some way. And you have the bad guys, who don’t believe in God and who have scarred bodies and faces. They have nothing to live for except their greed. Basically everything you learned in Sunday School. Not really imaginative. Not really ground-breaking. Not any good.

Do yourself a favor and skip this book.

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Hate On Me Hater

hate on hater
You expect us to believe anyone would want to date you, kiss you, touch you, and god forbid want to be intimate with you — even if getting your cherry was a conquest to them, most men have some sort of standard. They can use anything with a hole so why would they want you — you are telling ridiculous lies!

I’m trying to be a more positive person, but I figured I would give myself a chance to respond to such a kind and sweet comment.

First, I would like to thank you for your lovely comment. I’m sure that the email that you provided is fake, which is why I’m not sending this via email. I appreciate your ability to respect a fellow human being, especially when said human being admits something that isn’t particularly fun to admit. Way to go on your magnificent display of humanity. You’re a real class act.

It amazes me that you took some time out of your busy day in the Burton-upon-Trent/Derby area. It looks like it’s probably a lovely area. Maybe you should spend more time enjoying it and less time sharing your lovely personality with me.

Maybe it’s been a while since you got some, but you seem to have a lot of pent up energy. Maybe you should do something about that? There are these things called sex toys and they might work wonders for whatever rage causes you to leave a hateful comment on the blog of a stranger. Or if masturbation isn’t your cup of tea, then maybe get a dartboard. If you want, you can print out a picture of me and throw darts at it. Whatever it is that would get the bug out of your ass, you should probably do it. Unless it’s illegal.

Secondly, I appreciate that you feel that you are a more attractive person than I am. You may be physically more beautiful, but I’m probably a nicer person–which can occasionally trump physical beauty. I would suggest you work on your personality so that the inside of you matches the outside.

As for my assessment of my own physical appearance, I don’t hate it anymore. Yeah, I’m trying to lose weight, but I’m doing that for my health. My self-esteem has gone up over the past few months1 and I’m not going to let some asshole on the internet change that. I’m especially not going to change it for some stranger who is promoting the idea that the only thing that can be attractive in another person is their appearance & that there is one standard of beauty. You may feel that way, but I’m working on not feeling that way.2

I could launch into a spiel about how fat people are fucking all over the world right now, but that might disturb you. I could say that some guys prefer a certain body type. I could even say that extra weight can make a girl feel “tighter” for a guy and that’s a big deal for a lot of guys.

Finally, I’m not lying about what happened..3 I actually get a lot of attention from guys.4 They seem to think something about me is worth checking out. Some are probably douches who are asking/saying inappropriate things. Some might lie to date me or have sex with me. Some might be genuine. And, while I would love for them to all be genuine and pretty respectful, I know that that’s all part of the dating experience.

13 unanswered messages on OkCupid because I'm so unattractive
13 unanswered messages on OkCupid because I’m so unattractive.

I’ve been stood up for a date and I wrote about it. I’ve unknowingly been “the other woman”. I’ve almost been “the other woman” another time. I’ve had guys ask me if I squirt. I’ve had them try to convince me that it’s totally okay to have unprotected sex with total strangers. I’ve been asked in various ways why I was still a virgin. I’ve encountered more people using “cherry” to refer to sexual inexperience than I have people who label any red, fruity food/drink item as “cherry” in the last few months.5 All of that’s not going to make me stop looking for someone. And neither are your rude comments.

I trusted a bad guy. That’s bound to happen. I live and I learn and I move on. That’s what grown ups do.

Now, I think we’re done here. Don’t you? Don’t let the spam filter hit you on the way out.

  1. I actually have some. 

  2. Therapy works wonders. Just saying. 

  3. It’s really offensive to me that you think I would lie about this sort of thing. If you think that I’m saying all of this for the attention, don’t you think I could have gotten more attention by continuing to say that I was a thirty year old unkissed “virgin”? We have a belief in our culture that anyone who hasn’t gone through these experiences after a certain age is somehow a freak. Freak status is more of an attraction for attention. 

  4. I would say that I’m not bragging, but, after 20+ years of thinking I was unattractive, I totally am bragging. I’ve earned it. 

  5. The hymen is not a cherry. It does not get popped. In a lot of cases, there is no tearing whatsoever. And virginity is a social construct that is used to oppress women. 

o-WHY-MEN-CHEAT-facebook (1)

You Underestimated Just Who You Were Dealing With

There was a story last night on the news about Oktoberfest. There was some line about different types of beer. I remembered that the guy I went on that date with a few weeks ago was really into craft beers. Somehow that led to me checking out his Facebook profile. I saw that he had a new cover photo than he had had before our “date”. I saw that there was an interaction with a girl who had, as her profile picture, him kissing her on the cheek. That profile picture was from this past week. I ended up being extra weird and checking through her past profile pictures and saw that there was another past profile pic featuring them together being couple-y from a month ago.

From two or three weeks before the date.

I had already figured out that he wasn’t going to go out with me again, but more stuff from that date started clicking into place. The need to do laundry as soon as we were finished. Why he went from saying things that sounded like we were definitely going to see each other again to saying things that sounded like that was going to be a stretch. Why everything felt like it was choreographed–like there was nothing really personal about what was going on.

I was a bit pissed at being lied to, but I felt so bad for this other girl. I know I messed up by trusting someone that I didn’t know and by not asking enough questions beforehand, but this girl? This girl is with him. He means something to her, but I’m not sure that she means as much as to him. It just sucks for her. And if he fucked one girl behind her back, then he’s probably fucked others. That’s just really, really bad. I wish this was just me jumping to stupid conclusions, but I don’t think it is.

And this isn’t the first guy that I’ve encountered who wanted to hook up despite his being in a committed relationship. There was a married guy who lives about a half a mile from my house. I didn’t know he was married at first, but I did the whole Internet-stalk job on him. I found dating profiles for him on different sites. I also found his Facebook profile where he had a picture with his wife as his profile picture; his wife had a picture with him as his profile picture. I asked him and he claimed it was an open-marriage. It could have been, but I didn’t really trust when he said that it was. I eventually was able to tell him that I just couldn’t be with him because it made me feel uncomfortable. I told him that he seemed like he was a nice guy1 and I felt bad that I was saying no2 and I got this response:

it sucks, always wanted to be with a virgin

He wasn’t disappointed about my turning him down. He was disappointed that my vagina was no longer open for his business.

I have issues with the idea that I am as deserving of respect as other people. I have a tendency to let people treat me like crap and use me. I also have a tendency to get hella pissed when I realize that that’s what a person has been doing. When I read that email, I was hella pissed. When I saw that profile picture of the other guy with his girlfriend, I was hella pissed. What is up with all the schmuck-iness, people? Why do you think it’s okay to cheat on someone you’re in a relationship with? Why do you think it’s okay to totally objectify another person? And if you’re going to cheat on someone else, maybe you should make sure that your stupid Facebook profile3 doesn’t have a picture of you with them.

I wasn’t expecting romance and flowers with the situation, but I did expect some level of human decency. I don’t blame myself for any part of it other than being too naïve to anticipate the douchebaggery tendencies. I have got to stop trusting people I shouldn’t be trusting.4 But that’s not really a new issue for me. I’m just thankful for condoms and that this experience will keep me from leaping into things too quickly with another person.

Anyway, as I mentioned before, I’m going to use these experiences, as well as the one where I was stood up, in my writing. I will basically be turning my annoyance at these guys into book-form. I will totally “Taylor Swift” them for their behavior.

Oh, and in case someone from my family or my offline life is reading this and is now judging me, just stop. Everyone does something that another person won’t approve of–chances are there are stupid things you’ve done and wouldn’t want to be criticized for, so the same applies to me.

  1. other than the possible cheating 

  2. because I hate to upset people 

  3. or the profile of your significant other 

  4. I also need to trust the ones that I should trust. 

I’m Totally Going to Swifty You

Not to worry. I’m going to let this experience + the experience of having the “openly married” dude try to convince me to fuck him to inspire some work of literature that will hopefully make me lots of money. And the dedication shall read:

This book is dedicated to all the people who have cheated or tried to cheat on their significant others. Who’s the peasant now, bitch?

Or something like that.

via Tumblr

Review: Beneath This Man

Beneath This Man
Beneath This Man by Jodi Ellen Malpas
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

What. Did. I. Just. Read?

This book was not good. No, that’s an understatement. This book was very bad. It wasn’t the absolute worst book I’ve ever read, but it’s pretty high up on the list of sucktastic books. There is a lot about this series that I just hate. I was hoping this book would be better than the first, but it really wasn’t. The quality of writing was a bit better, but the story quality is still crap.

Ava needs to get new friends. Seriously. This is a woman whose best friend is totally cool with a guy stalking her, forcing her to move in with him, and being an abusive and manipulative jerk. Kate knows that Jesse treats Ava horribly, but she’s basically cheering him on with the abuse, stalking, and manipulation. I don’t know why Kate hates Ava so much, but it is very clear that she does.

Jesse blames his “not an alcoholic” behavior on Ava. She drives him to drink. Her leaving him drives him to spend four days downing shot after shot of vodka, so that’s her fault. His sex with other women during that time period is also his fault. He’s never felt like drinking so much in his life, but being with her makes him want to drink. He tells her this. His friends basically tell her this, too. This is not okay. He can’t take responsibility for his self-destructive behavior, so he puts it on her. And she seems to be okay with taking the blame. It sort of makes sense, since she’s also the one who is responsible for his forcible and coercive sexual actions on her. This kind of thinking is so horrifying that I just wanted to scream as I read it. That’s probably why it took seven days to read this book. It isn’t a hard read style-wise, it just sends the kind of message that victims of domestic violence and rape are responsible for the abuse that they face. You know, the despicable kind of thinking that we should be way past in the twenty-first century.

Remember when I said the writing quality was a bit better than it was in the first book? That’s true, but the writing quality is still pretty bad. There was a lot of repetitiveness. If you say that a character is dressed smartly in the first part of a paragraph, you don’t have to say it again two or three sentences later. The same goes for talking about a character being in tight white boxers. It doesn’t need to be repeated right away. The brand dropping was also pretty common in this book, which was very annoying. I get that she wanted to convey that Jesse lives a rather luxurious lifestyle, but mentioning all the brands was just so tacky. And the high fashion that was mentioned didn’t sound very fashionable. It definitely didn’t sound like the brands that were being described.

The whole book was a serious disappointment. Between the tacky writing, the god-awful story, and the heavy use of tropes, the book was just not worth reading. Unless you were really into the first book, I really wouldn’t recommend tackling this book. The only reason that I’m going to read the last book in the series is that I want to find out what things this group of social weirdos is going to do next. I’m guessing whatever they do, it will be horrible.

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