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Hello, my name is Valorie. I have a Master's Degree in History and a license to teach-- I have been both university professor and public school teacher. Currently, I am a middle school social studies teacher. I love horror movies and spooky things. Every day is Halloween. I am also a passionate book blogger.

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Book Review: 23:27 by H.L. Roberts

Monday, August 11, 2008

Book Review: The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker

Title: The Hellbound Heart
Author: Clive Barker
Genre: Fiction- Horror 
Finished: August 10, 2008

Frank's pursuit of pleasure has trapped him in an extra-dimensional hell, and his brother's wife provides him the opportunity for escape. Frank's resurrection provides Julia with the opportunity for escape from the marriage she has quickly grown bored of. Rory, who naively adores his more worldly wife, becomes their innocent victim while Kirsty is drawn into this dangerous realm by her desire to protect him and show him the truth about Julia. Kirsty soon becomes the main character as she tries to save herself and Rory from the consequences of what Frank has unleashed.

Gross, scary and disturbing. I've always wanted to read this particular novel for the fact that I am a fan of Hellraiser and a fan of anything with S&M elements, especially horror. I wanted the literary experience of the Cenobites. Rather than pictures on a screen, I wanted my own imagination. This book was great. Gorey imagery, lots of horror, crazy people doing crazy things, and sadistic Cenobites promising a realm of sensation and pleasure beyond belief. It was chilling and I had nightmares when I went to bed after finishing... a sign of a good horror novel.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Book Review: The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Title: The Handmaid's Tale 
Author: Margaret Atwood 
Genre: Fiction 
Finished: August 8, 2008

In the Republic of Gilead, formerly the United States, far-right Schlafly/Falwell-type ideals have been carried to extremes in the monotheocratic government. The resulting society is a feminist's nightmare: women are strictly controlled, unable to have jobs or money and assigned to various classes: the chaste, childless Wives; the housekeeping Marthas; and the reproductive Handmaids, who turn their offspring over to the "morally fit" Wives. The tale is told by Offred (read: "of Fred"), a Handmaid who recalls the past and tells how the chilling society came to be. This is without a doubt one of the best books of all time. The US government has been crippled by nuclear war and overthrown by a Christian Theocracy, which subjugates women and persecutes anyone who does not subscribe to the stated belief system. It's strict and secluded. The theocracy claims to protect its people, its women from how the world used to abuse them through rape and sexualization, by blaming the women and then perpetuating a worse sort of lifestyle. This book focuses on the story of one Handmaid, Offred (a name given to her after becoming a Handmaid). You can tell that Atwood is coming out of the feminist movement, as well as the backlash against feminism... Serena Joy was a lot like Phyllis Schlafly, who was quite vocal in her sense of traditionalism for women (and popularly, her stop ERA movement). Offred wasn't born a Handmaid; she remembers what life was like before and how the US changed. Much like the political apathy of today, most people in the US just slept or shrugged their shoulders, convinced that their world would go back to normal soon enough. By then, it was too late. Atwood's way of drawing out Offred's emotions, of putting visuals and sensations captivated me. I couldn't put this book down it was that addictive. I really felt what Offred was feeling and I understood why and how she came to be what she was. I only hope that the ending is what I believe.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Book Review: Discipline (Devitations, #3) by Chris Owen and Jodi Payne

Title: Discipline
Series: Deviations
Book Number: 3
Author(s): Chris Owen & Jodi Payne
Genre: Fiction- Erotica
Finished: August 5, 2008

Tobias and Noah explore their relationships more deeply than they ever have, not just with their own dominance and submission, but with their friends. As Noah helps Tobias through the loss of someone dear, he finds Tobias helping him, too, leading him through some intense sexual games, breaking down the last of Noah's fears, and helping him face his biggest one. The cage. Meanwhile, Tobias' ex-lover, Phantom, becomes close friends with Noah as they discover and try to resist the simmering sexual tension between them. Their teasing turns to real support when Phantom reaches the breaking point thanks to the lack of a master in his life, something he desperately needs. While Bradford works to become that master, Tobias and Noah go to Paris, where they see the sights, go to sex clubs, and re-negotiate their contract.

So the relationship of Tobias and Noah grows and evolves, becomes ever more loving and strong. I found this book to be more about the romance and companionship of being a couple than about a relationship that is balanced between romance relationship and the requirements of a BDSM lifestyle. The power exchange aspect of their relationship is somewhat dimmed and deluded in this third novel. There are BDSM club scenes, yes, and fantasy play. But, there is little to none of that throat catching, lung gripping power exchange that I had loved so much in the first two, that defined the "them". Where is Noah on his knees in the kitchen while Tobias ate? Where is that quiet, calm voice of Domination? It was all words and reminders but little action! There's only so long you can say, "I am your Master" before you have to actually show it, Tobias, come on. Tobias never lets Noah forget who is his Master, but it isn't entirely due to power or Domination, at least, not here. That I know their relationship is about this, is based on D/s, saved the BDSM scenes from being a sexual act alone. Still, it was a beautiful book that reminded the reader that even a Master and his slave can have a loving relationship, that two can connect emotionally, that BDSM is as much an emotional and physical need for some people as sex. This book worked through a lot of their issues like caging with Noah and Tobas' pride. Phantom, also, had a lot to deal with... in fact, we're left with a bit of a Phantom-cliffhanger at the end. Master Bradford has yet to disclose what is wrong, so that's no doubt a plot saved for the next book. Did I love the book despite its excessive and repetitive gay sex scenes (which I like, don't get me wrong, but I'm really reading these for the BDSM elements) in exchange for BDSM scenes? Yes. And I am going to consume the fourth and love it, too.