Love


Porn Star by Laurelin Paige My rating: 3 of 5 stars This is another book where the authors have good intentions, but don’t really execute them that well. I think it’s wonderful that Laurelin Paige and Sierra Simone wanted to write a book that includes the very real issues within the adult entertainment industry, including rapes and sexual assaults. I think that if they had done a little more to, no pun intended, flesh things out, then the book would have been excellent. I loved the comparison of Devi/Logan to mythology and astronomy, but I think that sometimes it wasn’t as developed as it could have been. Of course, neither were the characters. Each felt a little flat, which was disappointing because I could tell that they were aiming to build these really strong characters. Instead, Logan becomes the epitome of a NiceGuy stereotype and really isn’t as in touch with respecting women as he thinks he is, while Devi comes off as whiny and immature. Even the villains/antagonists in the story aren’t fully-formed. When I finished reading the story, I felt almost like I had wasted hours of time on reading this book. I hate feeling like reading a book was a waste of time, especially when it is a book that could have been excellent. The sex scenes were okay. They weren’t over-the-top or even all that racy like you might expect with a book on porn stars falling in love. They were just okay. I couldn’t understand how the characters were having mind-blowing sex when the writing wasn’t really all that mind-blowing. Some of it was gross, but a lot of it just seemed blah. I know it was meant to shock and titillate, but it was, like porn, too over-the-top. It didn’t seem like realistic behavior, and all seemed like it was a performance. A lot of it was also grossly coercive, which doesn’t promote the sex-positive message that the writers were intending to share via the story. There were some elements that were a bit racially insensitive and a little bit off on how bisexuality works. The idea that Devi is “exotic” fetishizes her for displaying traits associated with the Persian ancestry on her father’s side. I’m sure that Paige and Simone didn’t mean to say anything racially insensitive, but they did make statements that were cringe-inducing. The descriptions of bisexuality really dumbed down the research. While I appreciate the attempt to address the research that shows women are rarely heterosexual when it comes to arousal, saying all women are bisexual based on arousal is untrue; most are bisexual, followed by homosexual, and then heterosexual, but that doesn’t define their sexuality. Yes, most women can be turned on by other women, but sexual orientation isn’t just about arousal. The same studies that determined that women are rarely heterosexual also say that most men are either heterosexual or homosexual in their arousal, which effectively erases bisexual men. They also show that women can become aroused by watching animals having sex, which could be used to suggest that women are into bestiality, and that’s just interpreting the study in the most literal way possible. It dehumanizes women and bisexuals. It also engaged in bi-erasure by suggesting that if a person is more attracted to one gender than another, that they cannot be bisexual. Devi enjoyed sex with women and fooling around with women, but she preferred men, especially Logan more. In fact, she based her identity as heterosexual solely on the attraction to Logan. Enjoying sex or preferring sex with a particular person or with a particular gender does not make someone not-a-bisexual. Dating one person exclusively or marrying them does not change their sexual orientation. Bisexuality is hard enough for most who identify that way without encountering these stereotypes & common misconceptions. It was mentioned toward the end of the story that the romance developed over the course of two months, but it seemed like it was closer to three weeks. Maybe there was more going on that wasn’t included in the story, but I think I might have found the story more believable or realistic if there was more of a sense that they were doing more than just having sex and talking about astronomy. It was also a little weird that the one who was more wealthy was Logan. Porn is one of the few industries where women out-earn men; top female talent make $2000-2500 per scene, whereas the most well-known male stars make $1500 per scene. To live the lifestyle he lived, he would need to be working more often and investing a good deal of his check. The only reason Devi would be making less is (1) the refusal to work in heterosexual porn and (2) the lack of experience. Otherwise, she would be out-earning him. I think the book had an interesting premise and I might recommend it if you just want to read something a bit smutty, but I wouldn’t tell anyone to have high expectations for it. Maybe it won’t disappoint you if you don’t go in expecting too much. View all my reviews

Review: Porn Star




I don’t know why I needed to know her name, but it didn’t find long to discover it. A few details and suddenly this woman who had been dehumanized by someone who was once her friend had her name and history restored to her. She was whole again. I know a fake name was likely meant to “protect” the privacy of her family, but it just seemed like a way to further diminish her.  “Leah” deserved more respect than Amanda Lauren gave her. She was more than her disease and she deserves to be remembered for more than her mental illness. She was a person. She was also a daughter, sister, friend, writer, actress, yoga instructor, and graduate of Tisch at NYU. She was loved. This is how we should remember her.  In the obituary, her family asked that donations be made to the Stella Adler Studio of Acting at NYU-Tisch. If you want to do so and can afford to do so, then I think that would be an awesome way to remember this young woman. 

How We Remember 


4
Sometimes I wish I could tie you up and take control of your whole life.  I doubt most people are ever told something like that. Well, those people aren’t me. My mom just said it.  She wants to control me completely.  She got upset because I received a package today; a book.1 She was less than thrilled over my receiving a package yesterday; an alarm clock.2 She would probably be pissed if she knew that I bought my own sheets and a blanket a few months ago.3 So she told me she’d like to control me completely.  I mumbled that she already does a good job of that.   She got pissed because I was mumbling, so I had to repeat the line to her.  Apparently that doesn’t make sense to her. She lets me talk to whoever I want to online. She doesn’t stop me from going outside by myself for walks.  When I mentioned how she manipulates me & uses guilt trips to get me to do things she wants, she denied it. She doesn’t see herself as manipulative. She says she never uses guilt trips to exert control. She said that I could point out when she uses manipulation & guilt trips to control me so that she can figure out if she really is doing so. I told her that I have done this and she always says she wasn’t trying to manipulate me. And her response to that was that I’ve never told her anything about how she manipulates me. This is all two days after she tried using both to convince me that I should be in a serious relationship. She was using my insecurities about not being loved or liked enough for someone against me. It’s not the first time. Typically she throws in some subtle digs at my health issues or my lack of money. Or she will suggest that she is afraid that something will happen to one or both of us if I leave.4  Or she threatens to keep Amy if I talk about moving out. It reinforces fears and insecurities, which guarantees that I will always be there to take care of her, because my being her personal servant is all she really wants.  It isn’t what I want and has actually been a source of a lot of stress for me. What happens if I’m allowed to break free one day? I can’t leave her behind completely. She’s my mom. I love her even when she treats me badly. I know that what she says and does is meant to hurt me. And I don’t have many people in my life who actually want to be around me, so cutting her out would leave me almost totally alone in the world.5 I feel like I have to accept her mistreatment of me to guarantee that I won’t be by myself or unloved. For me, manipulative love is better than no love at all.  Photo credit: tobym via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-ND One book, not a bunch of books. A single book. ↩My father decided in 2012 that he would take my alarm clock that I’d had since I was six years old when his quit working. I’m replacing that. ↩I bought those because old ones were falling apart & I couldn’t get anyone to understand that I needed new ones. ↩She’s threatened suicide a few times. Given her history, I take it seriously every time. ↩My greatest fear in the world is being completely alone. ↩

‘Cause It’s All About Control



Most of these pictures are from Nana and Granddaddy’s 40th Anniversary Party, which took place in January 1991.1 There are a few images from other days2 in this album, so I’ve included them as well. If I remembered what they were for, I put it in their caption. I turned 7 that February. ↩Including ones from before I was alive. ↩

Nana’s Red Photo Album (40th Anniversary & Miscellaneous)


Should Kim Davis, Rowan County Clerk, be in jail for refusing to grant marriage licenses to LGBTQ couples? Was her refusal to do so an example of injustice? Should she be applauded for standing up for what she believes in? Is it hypocritical for her to oppose marriage equality when she has been married four times?



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



It’s not unconditional love if you treat a child like they are broken or fundamentally flawed. If you love your child, you accept your child. If you don’t understand what they are going through, talk to experts, check out support/outreach groups, read about it, Google it, and listen to your child. Make sure they know they can come to you and that you will love them no matter what. Create an environment where they can tell you what they are going through, where your support and love are evident. If there are toxic influences that might harm your kid or have harmed them, including religious groups, it is your job as a parent to leave those groups. If it means cutting out extended family members, ending friendships, losing social status, do it. Your child is more important than all of that. There are a lot of things that are difficult for parents, but loving your child should never be one of them.