DATING MY VIBRATOR (and other true fiction)
on March 16, 2011
Despite the controversial title, Dating My Vibrator isn't the smutty tale you would expect. Instead, it is a collection of nine short stories about dating after a long marriage. Some of the stories, some sad, some a little bit of both! Tyrpak's sense of humor with subjects and situations that I myself am all too familiar with was refreshing and fun.
The first short story in the novel, Downhill, cracked me up, mainly because I have been in that situation myself. Tyrpak captured the situation and the feelings perfectly. Rock Bottom, the second story, was much sadder, and again,... I could relate. The next story, Not Nirvana, was both sad and extremely funny, once again perfectly capturing the conflicting emotions post-divorce. I didn't have a Dharma Dan in my life, but the story was absolutely hysterical, and more than a little creepy to know that these stories were based on real experiences! Dust of Souls was another heartwrenching story, but I felt it was a powerful one, perfectly depicting the loneliness that post-divorce life can bring. A Tiny Romance was one of the funniest, starring Sam, a post-divorce man who has sworn of women and romance. Double Date described every creepy, sketchy guy I dated, and made that particular story all too relatable! Phantom Library was definately different from the rest of the stories and I am not really sure I understood that one fully. It was very poetic and interesting to read, however. The final story in the collection was the titled story, Dating My Vibrator. This was my favorite in the collection, the one I most related to. Involving bad dates with a hypocritical guy who completely misrepresented himself, I came away from it shaking my head in sympathetic understanding!
All of the stories were very well-written and so relatable to anyone who has been through a divorce. I highly suggest reading this fun collection!
An Epitaph for Coyote: A Novel
on Aug. 21, 2011
An Epitaph for Coyote is one of those novels that just gets under your skin and into your head and makes you take a long look at your own life. The story is centered around Henry Pluck, an average young guy with no small amount of neurosis. He lives alone in a house devoid of personaility where everything is "just so". He works as a finance clerk in an office, never happier than when he is at work. There is a humdrum, "sameness" to his life that has seemingly dulled him to actually living life. Until Rosa Santana comes into his life. She is everything he isn't. She's passionate, free-spirited, and determined to get the most of life. Against all odds, they bond, first as friends and then later as lovers. Rosa opens Henry up to experiences he would never have had without her, expanding his little world. Henry can't help but fall in love with her, even though there is so much about her he just doesn't understand. And Rosa shows her own love for him in her own, unique way.
This book is beautifully written, making you, as the reader, consider your own life and it's meaning. At times, the story is poignantly sad, at others light and humorous. Although Henry is on the extreme end of the "square" scale, there is so much about him that all of us can relate to. While Henry and Rosa are the main characters, there are other, more minor characters that are equally as interesting. Vince, a former friend of Henry's deceased father, has become Henry's friend and father figure. He is the epitome of a grumpy, old man, and reminded me of my own grandfather in many ways. Carlos, a resident of the nursing home that Henry visits, is another grumpy old man, but a likeable one. The loneliness that each of these men felt made my heart ache at times.
As I read, I marked one of my favorite passages in the book to share. As I prepared to write this review, I noticed that the author had shared the same exact passage on his own site. It is a bit of sage advice that Vince gives to Henry and I thought it was wonderful.
"You won't be remembered by your job title. Forget `Henry the Accountant.' If you're going to be remembered you'll be remembered by other titles. `Dad' or `Friend' or `Husband' or even `Grandfather,' those are the titles you'll be remembered by. Or not remembered by."
on Sep. 07, 2011
Red is the latest novel from Kait Nolan, not part of the Mirus series, and I think it just may be my favorite so far! The story had a little bit of everything: romance, twists and turns, teen drama, action, unexpected villians. Loosely based on the Red Riding Hood tale, Elodie and her father have lived on the edge of society for the last several years after learning about a curse that has been passed for centuries along the femaie line. When nothing happens as the curse says it should, Elodie begins to question the truth of the curse. But eventually, things begin to change in her, things that can only be explained by the curse. Meeting Sawyer, and falling for him, seemed to happen at the worse possible, especially when it becomes clear that someone is trying to kill her,
Elodie is such a strong character, and I love that. She accepts her fate and the responsibility that comes with it, always putting those she loves ahead of herself. Sawyer has problems and secrets of his own, but is inexplicably drawn to Elodie. The two together are a great couple, lots of romance, without being overly steamy. Sawyer is strong, but never overbearing, a fine line that is often crossed in YA romance. Instead, his strength is in the form of support and guidance, a refreshing change.
One of the things I love most about Kait Nolan's books is that, while the paranormal is the main thrust of the plot, there is so much more to the story. Elodie's problems with Amber had nothing to do with the paranormal side of the story, but was a really emotional subplot that had me feeling for Elodie. The back and forth between Elodie and her dad and between Sawyer and his dad were also a huge part of the story, even without being focused on the paranormal.
The action is non-stop, and the twists and turns are fantastic. The unexpected bad guy completely threw me and I loved that! Definately pick up this book and give it a read! It was FABULOUS!
Limerick: The Shimmer Trilogy, #2
on Jan. 12, 2012
Limerick is the second book in the trilogy and my favorite. This is novella-length, at roughly 55 pages, but, in my opinion, the length does not detract from the story. The story is full and the characters are fully formed.
There is far more action than romance in this book, but that fit with the direction of the story. I like that this book doesn't necessarily follow the "good vs. evil" formula of most fantasy. There is that theme, of course, but the lines aren't clearly drawn. There were times when those who were supposed to be "bad" were cast as "good" and vice versa. It kept the story interesting and the plot engaging. Definitely a little bit darker. Next up is Oathbound.
on Feb. 12, 2014
This book has gotten a lot of mixed reviews, but the subject matter is so different from a lot of contemporary YA fiction of the non-paranormal genre that I was intrigued. Sometimes these intense subjects can be glossed over or sanitized for the YA book, so I was interested to see how that was going to play out in this book.
The underlying "secret" of this book is a dark subject and one that was probably as tough to write as it was to read without getting extremely emotionally invested in the main character. Oakley is clearly a girl who is haunted by something in her past, but we don't know what that was for much of the book. The hints were subtle and that made the reveal that much more shocking and upsetting. An interesting twist to this story was the fact that Oakley doesn't speak. At all. For that matter, she has virtually no communication with anyone of any kind. Her isolation was so complete that, although she had a cell phone for texting, she never used it. Every night, Cole texted her and she always answered him... but never sent them. I didn't understand why that was until the end, which I won't share for fear of spoilers. That isolation made me wonder how the story could possibly progress well with a character who had no verbal communication. How can she maintain friendships and relationships, trapped in herself the way she was? The answer was simple. She couldn't, not really, outside of her brother and her best friend Cole. It was tragic, her isolation.
There is romance in this book, and it is touching and sweet, but I think that the rest of it was more of the central focus of the book. And I liked that. I liked that there was much more to the story than teenage romance and angst.
This is a story that is, in my opinion, character-driven. There were characters I loved and there were others that I hated with a passion. Like in real life, there were points at which I hated/loved a particular character and then later in the story, my feelings would flip. Oakley's parents are a perfect example of this. As a mom, I felt like their hands off approach was a bit unbelievable. But as the story progresses and you learn ore there are questions that get answered and make you understand.
Things to love about Silence...
--The subject matter. Not that one can truly "like" the subject matter, but I liked how it was handled throughout the story.
--Knowing Oakley. As I said, I wondered how Oakley would be as a well-rounded character without communication and I was truly impressed with how much of a non-issue that turned out to be.
--The relationships and characters. Whether you loved them, or hated them, they evoked a response and that is important.
Things I wanted more or less of...
--More Cole. Technically, the chapters of this book are done in POV-style, chapters for Oakley and chapters for Cole. But Cole's POV doesn't come into play until Chapter 11, more than halfway through the book.
Some quotastic goodness...
--Silence consumed my whole life ; it suppressed things I could never express. My silence was responsible for my family’s happiness. Silence was my prison (1).
--We couldn’t be together. I would never be good enough for him. He was perfect , and I was broken (18).
--I loved her so much. More than anything in the world. Enough to let her go (211).
My recommendation: This was a moving story that I think is more than worth a read!
Beyond New Eden
on June 18, 2014
I love dystopian fiction and this novel did NOT disappoint. What I found most interesting was the blend of themes that are woven together in this story line. The world of Beyond New Eden is post-apocalyptic, what is left after a war that devastated the entire world. At first the world inside the dome seems as close to utopian as possible. It is a peaceful, ordered society. Class systems do not exist in a society of clones, each person the same as the ones before and after them. But we soon discover that, as with most utopian worlds, there is much that is dystopian in nature.
Adam and Eve 142 are at the center of this books, two paired clones. A horrible tragedy causes them to be banished from the city for six months. During the six months that they are gone, they discover that the world outside is not as much of a wasteland as they were taught, even finding other humans that have survived, even flourished.
The characters are fantastic, the foils between those inside and outside New Eden fascinating. Those inside the dome are not devoid of emotions, but they are seemingly dampened, especially when compared to those in the outside settlements. It is through those other humans that Adam and Eve learn more about themselves and humanity itself. Their romance was very sweet and innocent as they discovered what it really meant to be human.
Things to love...
--The world of New Eden. It was perfectly created.
--The emotional growth of Adam and Eve.
--The secrets and twists.
Things I wanted more/less of...
--More explanation of the supplements.
--More explanation of why the lifespans are the way they are.
My Recommendation: I loved the twists and turns, the intrigue of the story line. The ending suggests that there is more to come and I hope that there will be! I gave it 4.5 mugs!
This review originally appeared on my blog: http://thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=10091.