Because of Low by Abbi Glines My rating: 2 of 5 stars As I mentioned in my review for Breathe, I broke my boycott of books by Abbi Glines. I had been hoping that my disdain for the books I’d read was misplaced. And with Breathe, I figured out that it wasn’t. Considering how negatively I felt towards Marcus Hardy in that book, it doesn’t surprise me that in Because of Low, I also found him to be a loathesome, misogynistic miscreant. (Say that three times fast.) This book is so much more degrading toward women than most books by this author. That’s really saying something because it is a common feature of her books to have women portrayed as objects and toys for the male characters to manipulate, abuse, etc. So when I say that this book is absolute misogynist trash, believe it. Marcus is having family issues because his daddy decided to cheat on his mom. While he hates his father’s decision and often complains about it in his own inner monologues, his vitriol is unleashed on the other woman. The nicest things he calls her is: gold-digger, that slut, and his little girlfriend. He repeatedly calls her a whore. He even calls her a “paid-for” toy. He often suggests that his dad is being used for his money and that that indicates how he’s a sucker. He thinks one time that he might kill his father, but then he suggests that he might have an even more elaborate plan for his father’s girlfriend. That part honestly had me a bit freaked out because it took the sexism into a whole new level of awful. Marcus has an obsession with stalking and sexually accosting innocent girls. That too carries over to this book. But this time, the innocent girl is interested. He wonders things like if Low knows that her BFF “had bagged” a certain number of women that week. Bagging or being bagged is grotesque. It not only objectifies women, it makes sex sound like something that is done to one party by another, when it’s not. Even in power-play sexual relationships, sex doesn’t work that way. When sex is something done to a party by another party, it’s called by another word: rape. So, we either need to call the sex between Cage and various women sex or we need to call it rape. If it’s consensual, then we should go with sex. If it isn’t, someone should be calling the fictional police department of the fictional town of Sea Breeze to report this sexual predator. Marcus talks about how he has a righteous fury toward Cage over any possible sexual relationship between Cage and Low. He envies him touching her. Marcus fails to understand that Low is a grown-up. She gets to do what she wants with her body. He gets angry because Low wears cowboy boots when she goes out. They’re so hot on her that he can’t handle the thought of any guy being attracted to her while she wears them. He needs to stop this crap. He talks about going caveman, which is trashy book talk for basically wanting to take a woman back to his apartment/house/mansion and coerce or force a sexual act out of a woman because she’s either pissed him off or because he is feeling insecure. It’s really a degrading phrase for all of humanity. The author uses the term “female” or its plural “females” in many of her books to refer to women. This is sexist and transphobic language. It’s sexist because it breaks women down to their reproductive organs–female is the term for biological sex. It’s transphobic because not all women are born female and not all people born female are women. As usual with her books, there are also slams at single parents. Tawny is portrayed as so uncaring that she leaves her daughter’s care arrangements (baby-sitters being lined up) to her sister. She is portrayed as being a cruel individual because she kicks her sister out any time that her daughter’s father happens to be around, so she leaves her sister homeless. There are also references to Low’s mom dying of cancer, which is something that is not uncommon in her books. And Low’s dad is a deadbeat & Marcus’s almost turns into one; these are other things that come up quite often in her books. There are slams of people who have had plastic surgery–a lot containing talk about breasts being fake and how that makes women ugly or trashier. Low even does this with Trisha. She sees her as a sex object first and can only picture her being good at sex work. This sort of judgment doesn’t work both ways, as she respects her and takes up for her when the guys suggest Low might not be very smart. And if a woman is into casual sex? Oh, honey, don’t even go there. That must mean that she’s an airheaded slut because that’s how they all behave in these books. But the guys who like casual relationships aren’t portrayed as stupid. Lead male characters who have history of casual relationships are suggested to be lacking morally, but that doesn’t keep them from ending up with a girl who has only had and will only ever have sex with them. Yep, the douchebags always get the virgins. I feel like this plot was stolen from an MRA website. The male characters in the books need to learn to stop ignoring when women say that they aren’t interested. In this book, it was Cage who didn’t get it. But both Marcus and Cage spent some time talking about Low as though she was some prize in a contest, not a person. Cage also had a tendency toward trying to tear Low down. It was presented as a best friend being compassionate and caring, but it was a type of bullying. He tried to ruin any confidence that Low had about her relationship. If […]

Review: Because of Low

Breathe by Abbi Glines My rating: 2 of 5 stars Once upon a time, I decided that I was never going to read another book by Abbi Glines again after reading books in the Rosemary Beach series. They were books that degraded women and promoted sexist ideas, stigmatized mental illness, and suggested adoption meant that your adoptive parents weren’t your parents. Her books also tended to lack things like plot and proper grammar. Well, I changed my mind when I found the Sea Breeze books in my local public library’s catalog. I figured that if I didn’t have to buy the book that I wouldn’t feel quite as disappointed if it sucked. I was right. Of course, I went in with the expectation that the book would be pretty bad, so I shouldn’t have been disappointed at all. But there were still some slight feelings of disappointment. I think they were mainly due to the fact that I felt that a book like this one should not have been published in the first place. As you have probably figured out by now, I was not a fan of the book. As with other books by Glines, there were serious issues with her writing style. The dialogue never flowed right. Conversations were wooden; they felt forced. There was only one continuity issue that I found, which is better than some authors do. There were some grammar issues, of course. I was a bit taken aback by the capitalization issues with directions. It seemed like no one had been taught that regions get capitalized. I even wondered if maybe I wasn’t remembering my English classes properly. I wasn’t. It was just that the writer and/or the editor failed to recognize it. There was a lot of repetition going on. One example is the introduction of Dewayne. Over the course of two pages, his name was mentioned six times, including one time where it was misspelled. You would think with that many mentions of him that he was an important character. He wasn’t. I’m not even sure if he showed up at any other point in the book, but I digress. Another example of repetition, in the first twenty pages of the book, Sadie, the seventeen-year old lead female character, complained about the cost of the condoms she bought for her mother. She would go on to complain about that through the book, as well as her mom’s sex life. Speaking of things Sadie did that were annoying, she was extremely whiny and judgmental. She viewed herself as being superior to her mom because she had never been interested in dating. She was a “good girl” and her mom was treated like some sort of evil, unintelligent, lazy, slutty monster. It was clear fairly early in the book that her mom needed some therapeutic help, but Sadie just wrote her off as being spoiled and selfish. There was a dependence upon tropes and stereotypes. Marcus, who is four years older than Sadie, was described as a “nice guy” and he behaved in a way consistent being a Nice Guy™. He befriended Sadie when she first started working with him. He was her first friend and she didn’t feel attracted to him, but he was extremely attracted to her–or attracted to what she represented. He would tell her how she wasn’t like other girls, which Jax also told her. (Writers, can you stop using that line in books? No one is 100% like any other person.) As Sadie expressed her body image issues, Marcus told her that he hoped that she stayed “this way. Sweet and innocent.” He basically was telling her that her self-esteem issues made he attractive. No. No. No. Marcus also had a tendency to follow her around and always seemed to show up whenever she was crying about something–this was particularly disturbing because the crying typically happened after he shared some gossip about Jax. (He even had his sister stalk her for him.) He was actively working to end her relationship with Jax, which he knew hurt her, so that he could be with her. This is not acceptable. This is not what a nice person does, but it is what a Nice Guy™ would do. And his badness didn’t end there. Sadie told Marcus that she wasn’t interested in him as anything other than a friend. She told him that she wass in love with Jax. She actually rejected him a few times. And what did he do? He waits until Jax is out of town and Sadie is alone and he kisses her. This was after yet another time where she told him that she wasn’t interested. This is a type of assault. If she hadn’t run away, I wonder if he would have tried to rape her. You might think that with all this Marcus talk that he was one of the leads. Nope. He was a secondary character. Jax was one of the leads, but Jax was a poorly developed character. As a teen pop star, he had a life that he led in front of the cameras and a different life he led in private. It doesn’t get much more descriptive than that. There was talk of the “old him”, but it was mainly just little mentions of how he had changed at some point in his career. One of the frustrations that I felt towards his character was after the Marcus kiss attack, he flew all the way across the country to rescue Sadie. That felt like he was underestimating Sadie’s ability to take care of herself. In the whole time that they were together, the brooding pop star began making her more and more dependent upon him. And here’s where I get to another thing that really bugged me about this book. This book felt like Glines took different parts of all four Twilight books and mixed them up, then wrote a story. The love triangle between Marcus, Sadie, and Jax was so similar to Jacob, […]

Review: Breathe

The Destiny of Violet & Luke by Jessica Sorensen My rating: 2 of 5 stars I received an ARC from the publisher of The Destiny of Violet & Luke through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program in exchange for an honest review. I would say that this book was an extreme disappointment, except that it wasn’t. It was exactly what I expected from Sorensen. Her stories are extremely formulaic–from the swirling script font choice for the titles to the characters being horribly broken with abusive pasts to the plotless stories where you’re waiting for the inevitable coupling followed by some “cliffhanger” ending where they are torn apart or just the regular issues with things like grammar and spelling. (As this was one that was not self-published, I had hoped that the grammar would be better. That it wasn’t was actually a disappointment.) When it comes to sticking to her formula, Sorensen doesn’t disappoint. Unfortunately, her choice to write such formulaic stories is a disappointment because I think that Sorensen could actually write a really good story if she put a little more effort into it. There’s nothing truly special about this book or this couple. Yes, they are broken, but this is not any different from any other couple she writes about. The stigmatized virginal girl and misunderstood oversexed boy have been the leads in her Ella and Micha & Callie and Kayden books. The boy having a substance abuse issue isn’t all that unusual, nor is the girl engaging in self-destructive/parasuicidal behaviors and lying to those close to her. I could easily change the names of the characters to those of her other books and have the same stories that I’ve already read by her. There’s not really any respect for the issues that Luke and Violet suffer from. They’re just there to help advance the idea of these characters being poor unfortunate souls. The relationship and the attraction feels forced. It seems that she was so determined to hook these characters up that she didn’t actually feel the need to describe how these feelings were changing. Their love story needed a little more work, as did the character development. But, again, this is not any different from every other book of hers that I have read. There were no true surprises or developments in any other aspect of the story. The ending issue? It wasn’t something that threw anyone who had been paying attention for most of the book. The only “shocker” is that it drove them apart. It didn’t really change anything within their relationship and they had answers to some of their questions, but it shouldn’t have driven them apart. It seemed that the only reason that it did was that this would allow Sorensen to write yet another book about these characters; a book that will probably be almost exactly like this. But here’s the completely wackadoodle part of all of this: I still want to know what happens with them. The book may not be special and may be exactly what I’ve read before. The characters may just be the same ones she’s written over and over, but I want to know what happens to them. And THAT is why the book is getting a two-star rating instead of a one-star one. Sorensen has enough writing talent and story-telling skills that even with all this craptasticness I still want to discover what happens to these two broken souls. View all my reviews

Review: The Destiny of Violet & Luke

“Use the pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth. If that preference is not expressed, use the pronoun consistent with the way the individuals live publicly.” – AP Stylebook on Transgender Pronoun Usage via Tumblr

This is a hoe. It doesn’t look much like a person to me. It looks more like something you would use to garden with. (Or, if you’re particularly antisocial, as a weapon.) Calling a person a “hoe” means that you are calling them this gardening tool. Oh, but you meant to say “ho” because you think the person is a whore. As if you’re in a position to judge someone else’s sex life and/or occupation. You’re not. If a person dresses in a provocative way, then you shouldn’t judge them. If they have a reputation for being sexual, then you shouldn’t judge them. If they are a sex worker, then you shouldn’t judge them. The only person you have the right to judge in this world is yourself. via Tumblr

This is a hoe.

I always thought that in order to be accused of being a slave master that a person had to actually own slaves. If they didn’t do that, they would at least need to do something like be a pimp or help human trafficking in some other way. Apparently not. Apparently, I am a slave master. That’s right. Me. In what was perhaps the most unusual experience that I have ever had on Twitter, I found out that I am apparently promoting the slave trade. I guess I do that on the same days that the world spins backward. You know, the ones where I support the policies of Hitler, kill as many babies as a mythological troll, have sex with anything that moves because I can’t figure out how to close my legs, and prostitute myself for all those Big Macs that I eat. Yeah, to be the most unusual experience on Twitter, you have to really be saying something truly wackadoodle in nature, and this guy was doing it. As these incidents seem to always begin, someone brought up welfare and another person brought up abortion. I saw a tweet that I found strange, where a guy (I’m using male as a gender default here) said, “Think of how many millions of minority kids would be alive, if Liberals [sic] didn’t exist!!”1 Aside from the grammar issues2 and the blatantly racist idea that abortions are something that happen only with minorities3, this particular idea seems to suggest that liberals are actively trying to kill minority children or promote a service that is designed to kill minority children. I know that some people like to bring up the whole Margaret Sanger inspired Hitler thing that some RWNJs like to harp on, but that’s just promoting propaganda that has been debunked many, many times. Anyway, to this particular wackadoodle I said, “Liberals support social programs providing food, shelter, & education to underprivileged kids. I’m not sure how that would kill any minority kids.” This led to his first claim of my being a slave master by saying, “No, Liberal policies support voting certain segments of citizens into slavery & forcing them to pay YOU benefits, in name of poor!” Now, aside from the fact that this didn’t make a lick of sense to me, I took a bit of offense to being accused of being a party to slavery. Before his second question was received, I was responding with the question of “Which groups are liberals forcing into slavery?” His second question came through right as I sent off my first response, “You believe someone owes you free healthcare?” Now, let’s a take a second to remember that I am on disability for physical and mental health problems. I actively seek and receive treatment for these issues. I am trying to improve my life and my situation so that one day I might be able to get off disability, but I understand that this could be something that will keep me on disability permanently. I know that these issues are not going away. My answer to that was, “Yes, I do.” This triggered a secondary “battle” between our accounts. He felt that the people who are paying for benefits like free healthcare are slaves, which I felt was absurd as these people are not owned and are not being dominated in any way by me. As I was trying to help him understand it is ludicrous to consider oneself a slave when one is also calling himself a member of the 53%, he fired off another tweet: “Then the money that provides it to U, must be earned by another citizen, which enslaves them! U steal f/their families! #Sicko” Now, I almost made a quip about how it was nice that he was actually acknowledging my disability with the term “Sicko” but I didn’t. As I was trying to respond without glibness to his claims that I was stealing4 he sent another tweet, “They do or U wouldn’t be getting benefits they paid 4! U are the slave master stealing their earnings! U noble by leaving them some $?” I’m a slave master. I guess you can blame all those BDSM books I’ve read. Oh, wait. That’s a different kind of Master/slave dynamic. Anyway, as I tried to determine whether or not I should just laugh or go into full-on bitch mode, I decided that maybe I should invoke a folk-hero for the Right. No, I didn’t go with Won-Won. I went with Jesus. JC represented what could still be considered an extremely liberal social and fiscal policy. Also, bringing up the big J can lead to a bit of an implosion in the argument of wackadoodles. My full comment to him, cut up by his “slave master” tweet, was, “You know, I’ve heard that before so many time it’s ridiculous. It’s one of the funny reactions that so-called Christians have toward taking care of the sick and the poor, or as Jesus called them: the meek.” This is where the butthurt got even worse on his part because his response was: Christians?? Jesus said “Don’t Steal” He did not say, “Don’t steal unless u 1st vote 4 a Senator to steal on your behalf”!! Jesus was telling YOU to provide for the poor, Derp! Your wealth, not stealing someone else’s wealth for your personal benefit! Suggesting that my Senator ever does anything on my behalf was laughable. I pointed this out. His response, “Doesn’t matter, U low life! It’s your intent to steal benefits for yourself, at other citizens expense! #Fact” Now, here is where I had to get snarky. You see there’s this book called a dictionary and there are words in this book that are followed by what they mean. When you purposefully use a word wrong, don’t expect me to take it lightly. When the word you choose is fact, then you might actually want to use it to refer to something that can be proven. I […]

That Awkward Moment When: I Apparently Owned Slaves

Simple Perfection by Abbi Glines My rating: 2 of 5 stars Oh. My. This book was not good. It wasn’t absolutely horrible, but some of the things it seemed to promote were. As with the previous book in the series, this novel deals with the heroine’s fear of becoming mentally ill like the other women in her family. As with that book, it is filled with stigma about mental illness. The idea that mental illness signifies a weak individual was something that was stated over and over again. And when the character finds out that she isn’t going to inherit a mental illness, she makes a miraculous recovery from her anxiety and night terrors because apparently the only reason that she had them was the apprehension about one day becoming like those other family members. This dismisses the fact that not everyone with a mental illness is genetically predisposed to them. (Some mental illness is caused by trauma.) It almost felt like Glines couldn’t figure out how to give Della a happy ending if Della would one day have a psychiatric disorder, so she gave her this out. To me, that was a weak move. It weakened the entire “plot” of the story, which I already found wanting. The book also deals with issues like adoption. Did you know that a person not being biologically related to you means that they aren’t actually your parent? I’ve heard that argument from petulant children, but not from adults. It was a bit surprising to see an adult talking about adoptive parents not really being parents. Of course, this character also felt the biological parents were not really parents. It almost felt like a philosophical discussion à la chicken and the egg, except that the book wasn’t high enough quality for it to actually be a philosophical discussion. Instead it just felt like a perpetually whiny character being whiny. There was also more of the “girls shouldn’t be having sex or talking to boys that they aren’t in relationships with” stuff. Basically, boys can have all the sex that they want and they can have friendships with girls they aren’t dating, but for a girl to do that is wrong. It perpetuates the idea that women are in some way owned by men. That kind of idea should be disturbing to all men and women. Ownership is not love and love is not ownership. Both narrators need some serious counseling. Their codependency and other psychological issues are as horrifying as they are entertaining, much like a car crash. I know I’ve used that example in other bad books, but that’s seriously what it is like. The actual writing style, grammar, etc. is definitely in need of work. There are some really serious issues. I don’t know if the writer meant for the characters to occasionally slip into stereotypical hick language usage, but it happened…quite a lot. It also seemed to happen a lot for boys who went to a boarding school. Unless they were being educated by the Duck Dynasty guys or Charlie Daniels or George W. Bush, their language use was not what I would expect from guys who’d had a quality education. The book also lacked a real plot, but that didn’t really surprise me since the first one was also a bit on the plotless side. It was dull and annoying and I felt little empathy with the characters. I did cry at one point, but I cry pretty easily sometimes so I wouldn’t take my crying as being indicative of the book being worthy of praise. It definitely isn’t. I would only recommend this book to people who don’t care about grammar, don’t mind if a plot is missing, think that women can be owned by their significant others, and think that the mentally ill are somehow weak, defective, or deserving of being mistreated. If those things apply to you, then you should probably read this book. You also should never speak to me. View all my reviews

Review: Simple Perfection

No, I’m not actually going to try to make my “aunt” cry. I just felt the title was appropriate after her making the post about my birthday about her issues with me. She’s still at it, but I’m just finding her insistence that not having her in my life is somehow being my loss funny. I didn’t realize that she thought her supposedly ambiguous feelings toward me upset my life’s balance so much. I didn’t realize that she thought she had ever been that important to me. She hasn’t. Things she’s said to and about me have been more entertaining than anything else. She is one of the few people in the world who I can actually say that I don’t give a flying fuck what they think about me. I never remember feeling any kind of love toward the woman, or even liking her at all. Maybe it has to do with her being rude to my mother and calling her names? Or maybe it’s that she had been a bit cruel to other people in my dad’s life and left him feeling less-than-kind toward her? Maybe it’s that she was part of the reason that I got to go repossess a car when I was in middle school…no, the actual repossessing of the car was something I ended up finding a bit thrilling. No, I know what it was. It was the hypocrisy. She couldn’t be bothered to help out with the care of her brother, though she helped with other siblings. She couldn’t be bothered to give a flying fuck about him, the things he did, the way he was, etc. until he died. And then? Then she was the one who suffered this great loss and we were the villains. I may not have been capable of abuse when I was twelve, but I could detect when an ample load of bullshit was dumped in front of my nose. And she still acts like this. Revisionist history is a lovely thing for people who are unable to deal with their lives and their choices. For the people who have to deal with those people? Well, it can either be entertaining or infuriating. With this particular revisionist, I’m choosing entertaining. I’ve had almost twenty years to be pissed at her, but aside from the initial frustration, I haven’t really felt much toward her. She would probably say that’s because I’m some kind of sociopathic weirdo, but she would be wrong. So now I just get to sit and wait to see if she will just shut the fuck up already. My dad told me that she won’t let me get the last word. As a Morris, I both understand this type of behavior (I do it, too) and hate this behavior. My mom said I needed to block her, but I really don’t want to do that. Like I said, I find her entertaining. I try to save blocking for people who have hurt me in some way or who have just gone above and beyond when it comes to things like racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. Though I’m sure she’s probably done those things, I still think of her as good entertainment…maybe I am a sociopathic weirdo. P.S. Judy, if you end up reading this, I hope that you don’t cry ’cause crying sucks, but I hope that you finally get the idea that I really don’t care what think or how you feel about me. I hope that you realize that by co-opting my birthday so that you could remind the family what a shitty person you think I am that all you did was remind me how grateful I am that you aren’t in my life. I also hope that by the time you turn 70, later this year, you have learned how to behave like an actual adult. If I remember our last interaction, when you said I wasn’t your niece, you used the whole “I’m your elder, so I’m your better” thing that our family is so big on. Well, you may be my elder, but you are so not my better. P.P.S. I almost said toodles, bitch, but that just didn’t seem right. It didn’t seem very becoming of me. It did seem like it would have been fun, so I thought I’d include that I almost said it. I figure someone might think it funny. P.P.P.S No, that wasn’t a typo. P.P.P.P.S. Yes, p.p.p.s is the correct way to postscript an already postscripted postscript. And at this point, my postscripting is just being done for shits and giggles, so I thought I might as well include some grammar lessons. You might as well be rewarded with some grammatical trivia if you’ve gotten this far. I would give chocolate or cookies, but I don’t share chocolate or cookies unless they’re really bad. Yep, I’m probably a sociopathic weirdo.

Judy’s Turn To Cry