novella

Fighting for Your Right to Be Who You Are

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Okay, I know the title makes it appear that this is a political post, but bear with me. I am not going to discuss our current political climate; I am going to review Walker Long’s upcoming work, Swapship Troopers:

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Swapship Troopers is available for pre-order on Amazon, slated for release on Thursday, January 19. I had the privilege of reading an advanced copy of this work, and in a snapshot, guys: I highly recommend.

Swapship Troopers is a satiric take on Robert A. Heinlein’s work Starship Troopers. Private Quantrill is in the marine corps, putting his life on the line in the war against Bugs. These aren’t your regular, disgusting creepy crawlies. These bugs are gigantic alien species who can easily render even the most skilled fighters lifeless in a matter of seconds.

In addition to having their lives on the line, there is also the question of whether or not they’re doing much living. In the midst of war, there is one thing, in particular, that people tend to miss: la petite mort.

Luckily for these soldiers, there are some genetically altering drugs that allow for some fun times…

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This work is fun. You don’t have to have already read Starship Troopers in order to enjoy it (although you might enjoy the work more if you have read it; I actually cannot comment on that, since I haven’t). Yet, this book is not simply an erotic fiction; it is a piece of fiction that happens to contain erotic scenes. Due to the opportunity at first thrust upon him, and later provided to him, Quantrill learns about himself, while simultaneously having to deal with the preconceptions and expectations that come with the very idea, as well as embodiment of womanhood.

I was impressed with the manner in which Long portrayed the developing romance and Quantrill’s self-awareness, which add an element of sweetness to the story. This sweetness is juxtaposed with the brutality of the war being fought, as well as steamy sex scenes.

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#steamy

I really liked this novella. Have you read it? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Sex Ed – A Novella on Sex in the Fifties

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I recently received an ARC of Educating His Bride, and erotica novella written by Cara Bristol, from Netgalley.

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To be honest, reader, at first I didn’t like it. The protagonist makes claims of unfairness and talks of being in love with no evidence.

 

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Mm…kay

The newly married “Meggie” (awful nickname) pleasantly remembers a Honeymoon to visit the streets on the Monopoly Board in Atlantic City.

 

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That’s weird; also, stay off my streets, bitch!

There are a few instances throughout the story, particularly in the beginning, in which it is a little too obvious that the author has done her homework.

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EXPOSITION! It all feels like EXPOSITION!

And the main male character basically admits that what he loves about his wife is that she is somehow the embodiment of the madonna whore complex:

Despite the kink, she retained an aura of innocence. He loved that about her.

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Yet as the story continues, it portrays an increasingly complicated portrait of women in the fifties, and the way that they view themselves and they are viewed by men. In the end, feminist ideas have been liberally sprinkled throughout the narrative in a way that shows why women in the fifties may have been feeling unrest (although no mention is made of the “happy pills” many of them were consequently prescribed by doctors, and which arguably helped delay the feminist movement a couple of decades). Many of the female characters within the narrative have been embarrassed, some have been mistreated, yet the novel ends on the note that it is okay to be comfortable with yourself sexually and that, regardless of what other people may think, important to feel safe and loved in your relationship.

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Which, in the fifties, often meant married…

This novella is erotica, as I have mentioned previously, and has overt sexual scenes as well as themes of “discipline.” As such, if you find either of these things offensive, I suggest refraining from reading. If, on the other hand, you have a liking for the professor seducing/teaching the student type situations, I recommend this novella. Despite some of its’ early problems, I have a positive impression of the novella, overall. In particular, the ending was very well done. And while a story that starts off well and ends on a bland or distasteful note is severely disappointing, a story that has a bit of a rocky start and ends on a great note can be worth a read.

Book Review: Light a Candle for the Beast

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As someone who’s written a re-telling of Rapunzel and a variant of The Sleeping Beauty, it should come as no surprise that I like fairy tales. Due to this predilection, I recently downloaded and read Echo Shea’s Light a Candle for the Beast: A Beauty and the Beast Retelling. It promised to be a dark re-telling of a tale most of us associate with a Disney movie featuring talking housewares.

A_Bela_e_a_Fera_-_The_Beauty_and_the_BeastImage by Giovana Milanezi from Criciúma, Brasil [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons.

Unfortunately, Light a Candle for the Beast wasn’t for me. The story has numerous five-star ratings on Amazon, and the writing of the story has its moments, it just… wasn’t for me.

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Light a Candle for the Beast is a gothic novella, with witches, dark spells, a need for vengeance, and regret for what could have been. The beauty has been beaten, disfigured, and ultimately, killed. The beast has been punished, broken, and only wants to die. The protagonists of the fairy tale are discussed by a biased third-party who has also been punished by her association with them.

Not bad concepts, it just… didn’t hold my interest. Have you read it? What did you think? Do you have any favorite fairy tale retellings?