Booksters, it’s time to say ba-ba-bye to January and hello to the month of the Valentine. BRING ON THE CHEESE, PEOPLE. Anyway, let’s move past this episode of cheesession and on to the wrap-up.
Wait.. did anyone say burrito?
No, silly. A bookish wrap-up.
Oh well, my inner Joey is riding strong today.
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Genre: YA, fantasy
Rating: 5/5 stars |“If I cannot be better than them, I will become so much worse.” Well played, Black. Well played. This is my very first Holly Black book and all hype considered, I should have known better than to expect an alright book. Because this book wasn’t just alright. Not by a long shot. The Cruel Prince was grrrrrrrreat. Great as in waking up earlier than usual to squeeze some pages before I get up and the day can finally start. Black thrusts the reader into our beloved world of Faerie once again, but be smarter than to expect pretty faerie lords and magical court balls. This book was way darker than I expected. Murder, deception, secrets, hatred, anger, revenge and PLOT TWISTS. And speaking of twists, we are possibly talking about the most twisted array of characters I have encountered in a long long while. At some point I was honestly doubting all of them. Their reasons, their actions, where their loyalty lays. These characters are many many different layers of bullshit. A dangerous one, I may add. I can’t think of anything to complain about, honestly. I was not Jude’s biggest fan but I believe Black wanted her to be complex and conflicted. And it’s hard to like someone that’s trying not to hate herself in the first place. But even I don’t adore her, I do admire her character. Specially considering all the shit they put her through, so I have to give her that. As for the Prince at hand, Cardan… Well let’s just say I ended up having a teeny tiny crush on him for the sake of leaving this spoiler free. So, if you pick up this book… trust no one, for you shall be deceived.
Women & Power. A manifesto by Mary Beard
Genre: nonfiction, feminism
Rating: 5/5 stars |“…just how deeply embedded in Western culture are the mechanisms that silence women, that refuse to take them seriously, and that sever them from the centres of power. (…) When it comes to silencing women, Western culture has had thousands of years of practice.”
Sexism has been deeply integrated into our society for so long, that most of the times, it can hardly be noticed. This is not the first time I talk about feminism, and I don’t want to rant and ramble, so summarizing what I often say: society is inherently sexist. Inequality of genders is inherent in the way we live, the way we are raised and the way we see life. In some cases more than in others, yes, but it remains that way. Whether or not we want or are able to see it.
Recently, I created a user account in a quite big and known newspaper in the country where I am originally from. Leaving out names and details, this is a newspaper read by basically anyone and everyone, all backgrounds and ideologies, so I expected diversity of opinions in the comments section. What was my surprise when, whenever an article touched in any way feminism or sexism, there was a wave of comments saying things along the lines of “these feminists think any excuse is a good excuse for bringing up their cause” or “anything a man does is sexism now a days” or my favourite “feminists are men haters”. I could go on, really, but you get the idea. What was not a surprise was the fact that all users leaving the comments above were men. To some I replied, I tried to argue and discuss, to make them see that that those ideas and that way of seeing things is the reason why feminism exists. The reason why I was telling them that they have no right to say feminism is about us hating men. Well, not even ONCE, a man left a comment agreeing with me, even if they did, because I am certain most men would agree with the point I made. Quite contrary, those against me (I want to believe) would fest and try to bring me down telling me how wrong I was and how much a man hater I am.
You know, at some point I stopped replying. Much to my dismay, I was silenced because honestly, one woman alone is only able to fight against so many.
I am only going down story lane, because this is a point Mary Beard makes. A woman’s speech, because of her gender, is not meant to success. Women have been silenced and put aside along history. Men and women have raised and fell for so long within this pattern that eulogise great men and forgets great women that now it’s nearly impossible to break free from it.
“You cannot easily fit women into a structure that is already coded as male; you have to change the structure.”
In Women and Power. A Manifesto, the author addresses all this and backs it up with some references from Greek and Roman literature and culture. To be completely fair, this manifesto feels rather short because it only brushes over the examples and then quickly concludes with how this has affected women to achieve success and power in the world we live in today. It reads like an article or review publication than a book, but hey, it is a manifesto after all.
“It is not just that it is more difficult for women to succeed; they get treated much more harshly if ever they mess up.”
The reality is obviously not as dark and gloomy as it was 1000 or even 100 years ago, but there is still a tone of work to do. And the worst part is that as much as we (as a few) are aware of this inequality, there is not much we can do when we are silenced or bullied or trolled when we speak up. So I ask you to speak up. And I know that it doesn’t help that whenever you look up, to those world leaders that are the epitome of power, you only see pants and suits and ties. So what I ask you is to shoot to the stars. Become those leaders you want to see, raise your girls to do as well and your boys to find that natural. Because if we want to break that pattern, things must change from the beginning.
My best friend’s ex by Meghan Quinn
Genre: Romance, contemporary
Rating: 3/5 stars | I’m going to be real with you, okay? I realize I may be a little bit, let’s leave it at old school, and believe me when I say that I am not proud of this but I am a weird mix of conservative and “go girl and break all the stereotypes”. Here I go: I can’t deal with a begging female lead. Specially not when the male lead/love interest is still not over his ex. And there’s nothing wrong with it, I know. The part I am not proud of is the fact that if this was the other way around – male lead begging for heroine’s love – well… I would actually enjoy it. Like, I would actually LOVE that. Trust me, I don’t want to think much about what that says about me. Anyway, this book was sweet and all, but at some point the male lead was just teasing and playing hard to get while he was still a mess over his ex/traumatic break-up. I love a complex male lead that needs saving, but this tug-of-war these two had going on was too much. Particularly when the heroine is coming back for more suffering *sigh*
Kiss Cam by Anie Michaels
Genre: Romance, contemporary
Rating: 4.5/5 stars | Wow! This book took me by surprise. It was a free kindle day and let me tell you, it’s probably the best free deal book I have ever compulsively gotten. Trust me on this, if you are after a well written instalove with the sweetest hero that has a bit of an alpha male side and falls head over heels with a smart, likeable and hardworker heroine, then this is for you. A lil treat for your cheesy side, so treat yourself! Kiss Cam is sweet, simple, drama-less, corny at times, sexy and hot. Or in other words, uncomplicated romance bliss! And the writing? So smooth and sparkly and great. Anie Michaels, I am putting you on my radar.
A part from those, I also reread one of my favourite New Adult series: Titan by Jennifer L. Armentrout (you know I can’t go more than 2 months without reading one of her books) and I also read one of the newest releases by Lauren Blakely: Most likely to Score (goodreads review here) and Something so Irresistible by Natasha Madison due to a case of cover lust that unfortunately turned out a bit meh (but seriously, I am not a meat on cover supporter but dang – check it here).
Have you read any of these books? What are your thoughts on them? Please leave your comments below and remember to subscribe to receive all the bookish goods.