Sunday, November 10, 2013

I’ve Joined BookLikes – Announcement & a Short Review

Actually I did that already in August, but I needed some time to make it look presentable.

I imported my books from Goodreads, but it made a bit of a mess, so I had to edit the shelves and then edit all the reviews manually. And since I’m an idiot, I synchronised it with Goodreads before making the changes, so it messed my Goodreads in turn, but now I have finally tamed everything into some semblance of order.

I am not planning to leave Goodreads (for now), but BookLikes caught my eye with its tumblr-like platform, so I guess it will serve as an alternative/back up.

Just what I needed, you’ll say, another thing to distract me from blogging, but at least it is a book-ish thing and maybe its less formal feel will help me get my blogging & reading mojo back.

Things I like about BookLikes:

  • A tumblr-like platform with an integrated blog and various kinds of posts you can make.
  • There is a public view – what other people see and a ‘dashboard’ view' – which enables you all the editing etc, and brings the feed from people you follow. And I like that you can customise what is displayed in the public view.
  • A lot of options how to shelve your books.
  • A great review-writing interface, you can easily add tags, decide if a post is a review or not, hide spoilers, oh and you can connect each post with up to 10 books, which is perfect for all sorts of Top Ten lists.
  • Fast implementing of new useful features.

Things I miss in BookLikes:

  • The ability to edit a post from the public view.
  • The option to switch between book editions like on Goodreads: You can do that when importing, from the imports page, but not from later on from your shelves, so if you want to change edition you have to delete the existing one or else you have duplicates. .
  • Duplicates finding tool would have been great as well.
  • On the whole, the book base is not as good as on Goodreads, but they are working on it, so it’s getting better, I think.
  • Oh, and I’d love if they enabled removing multiple books from the so-called thematic shelves, but not from your library altogether. (For example, I decided to split my borrowed shelf into books borrowed from friends and those I borrowed from the library. It’s easy to select multiple books and add them to a new shelf, but you can’t bulk-remove them from the ‘old’ shelf because that removes them from your library completely, so I had to manually un-tick the borrowed-from-the-library shelf for each of the books I moved to borrowed-from-friends shelf.)
  • Maybe more easy-to customise theme options. For now there are only thee themes which you can customise, and I did try something, but I don’t have enough coding etc. knowledge for anything fancy.

I have probably forgotten other things, both those I like and those I miss, but BookLikes is still growing and developing, so I’m sure it can only get better. I guess I’ll see. Also, I’m still getting the hang of it, which is why it may still look a bit dishevelled. Plus I need to really start and explore it and follow people, etc.

Anyway, if you are on BookLikes, give me a shout, so I can follow you and make my experience better.

Feel free to follow my BookLikes profile, if you’d like.
(I also made a nice new social button for it to fit with all the others in the sidebar.)

And if you are on BookLikes, what do you think about it? Do you have any tips for me?

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Eighty Days Yellow (Eighty Days #1) by Vina Jackson

NOTE: This is a review of an adult erotica book, neither the review or the book are intended to be read by those under the age of majority.

SUMMARY (from Goodreads):  Caught in a frustrating relationship with a man who can't accept her for who she is, passionate, flame-haired violinist Summer finds release in her music. She spends her afternoons busking on the underground, lost in the works of Vivaldi or Mendelssohn. When her violin is damaged beyond repair, Summer receives a surprising proposition from Dominik, a university professor with powerful desires, who has been captivated by Summer ever since he heard her perform. Dominik will replace her priceless violin, but only if she agrees to play for him in a private concert.

Unable to deny the chemistry between them, Dominik and Summer embark on an intense affair full of daring twists and turns, as unpredictable as it is thrilling. For Summer it is a chance to finally embrace her long-denied dark side, but she'll soon learn that where there's pleasure must come pain. And can a relationship born of such all-consuming passion, ever really survive?

MY OPINION:

This books was actually a  birthday gift from a well-meaning friend, who got persuaded by a salesperson in a book store to pick this book over another one from the same genre.

Now, I do like a good erotica occasionally, as you may have noticed from this blog, but this book was a complete disappointment. I scarcely ever give one-star ratings, but for this one I feel like even one star is one too many.

The beginning is actually intriguing with Summer’s love for music and her total losing herself in music while playing her violin. But that’s about it, from then on, it goes just downwards. We hardly learn anything about Summer, her background, why she feels compelled to explore her sexuality in the ways she does, which are mostly self-destructive.

I realize this is erotica, but that to me does not mean it should be entirely empty of any meaning whatsoever in any form of relationships between people, not only lovers, but also between friends or family members. Everything in this book is just bland.

As for the sex and BDSM, it hasn’t done anything for me but left me disgusted. I had read much, much better porn and BDSM in fanfiction.

In addition, Summer as a person is obnoxious and so are her friends and Dominik. Summer, for example, judges people by the food they like or dislike, which is so ridiculously prejudicial that I couldn’t even believe it. When she loses her job, she simply waves it off. Her friends are not really her friends, again, they are just as prejudicial as she is. Instead of being there for her and supporting her as she displays obvious signs of (identity) crisis, they judge and abandon her. And Dominik has absolutely no appeal to me, though I guess a male protagonist in an erotica novel should have at least some.

All in all, the characterization in general is awfully superficial. Again, it is erotica, but that doesn’t mean it can’t have well-written characters, at least the main characters. However, even that little what we learn about Summer is contradictory; for example, in the beginning, Summer’s mother is supposed to be absent - I was under the impression she is dead, whereas later Summer suddenly talks about her parents in plural.

To top it all, Eighty Days Yellow is poorly written with quite a limited vocabulary and confusing narration. The POV alternates from the first person POV for Summer and third person limited POV for Dominik, but then somewhere in the middle of the book we also get third person POV for Summer and it’s all a big mess.

Finally, I have only finished this book because it was a gift and I felt badly about not finishing it, but I’m definitely not reading the rest of the trilogy.

1 star

RECOMMENDATION: If you are tempted to read this book, don’t. The summary/blurb is highly misleading and I believe there is plenty of better BDSM erotica to be found. This is, of course, as always only my personal opinion. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.  

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