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Category: Book Nook

Opal Carew – Total Abandon

Opal Carew - Total Abandon

Opal Carew – Total Abandon

After 50 Shades of Grey, the erotica genre really exploded and became mainstream. Everyone and their mother was reading about Ana and Christian, and it really was kind of gross, like watching pornography with your mother and your kids’ teachers. I don’t read erotica, but many of my coworkers do. I’m told that Opal Carew was one of the dirtiest writer, so of course this had to be my pick for my erotica read.

The Spiel

A woman gives up sex for a year after her divorce. On the anniversary of the divorce, she gets drunk with her friend and comes up with a list of her most desired sexual fantasies. She experiences a sexual awakening as she missions to cross off all the dirty deeds on her list, in explicit detail.

Why should I read this?

If you like erotica, then you will love this book. There are sex scenes every other page, with a loose backstory, and it touches on many of the most common sexual fantasies. Threesomes, voyeurism, bondage, dominance, and submission are common themes.


While the sex scenes are great, I found the characters unrealistic and the love story subplot ridiculous. While I understand that these books are a fantasy of what women want men and sex to be like sometimes, I could not enjoy the book due to my chortling at how one dimensional all the characters were, and how unrealistically they evolved. It’s like watching a really cheesy horror movie.

Myself, I prefer Judith McNaught’s books, because while there are good sex scenes, the plots are much more captivating. There is character development, and there is real conflict and resolution. Her characters are wild, funny, passionate, and charismatic, as opposed to the characters in Total Abandon who were purely sex-driven.


Read this if you want to read some porn (or erotic literature), but don’t read it for plot or characters beyond their physical appearances, because there are none.

Amy Tintera – Rebel

Amy Tintera Rebel

Amy Tintera – Rebel

For the first book of my 50 Book Pledge, I decided to stick to something I already knew. Rebel is the sequel to Amy Tintera’s “Reboot” which I picked up randomly a few months ago. Considering how the first one ended, I should have seen a sequel coming; nonetheless, I was surprised when I saw Rebel come out.

As you are probably very well aware, dystopian teen fiction is ALL the rage right now. Goodbye vampires, angels, and werewolves! Honestly, before the Hunger Games came out, I didn’t even know what dystopian meant. If you don’t either, here’s a definition for you, courtesy of Merriam-Webster:


noun (ˌ)dis-ˈtō-pē-ə

an imaginary place where people are unhappy and usually afraid because they are not treated fairly

I always described dystopian teen fiction as an alternate-universe with a post-apocalyptic feel. There is always action and usually an overthrow of whatever government or entity is in power.

The Spiel

The Reboot series is set in a world where an unknown virus takes over and starts killing people, kind of like a super aggressive flu. However, kids and teenagers with the virus start coming back to life after they die. The longer they’re dead, the stronger they are when they come back. The government rounds up these “reboots”, contain them, and force them to capture criminals for the government. They are treated like animals. The book follows the story of Wren, number 178 (the number of minutes she was dead), who was one of the highest numbers anyone had ever seen, and therefore one of the strongest reboots. The story is full of action and excitement.

Why should I read this?

I love that the female lead is portrayed as a strong and independent, albeit stubborn girl. I really love zombie movies, and even though it’s not about mindless drones coming back to eat brains, I really enjoy reading about how a society would deal with the dead coming back to life. These two books explore both how a powerful entity would deal with these beings coming back, stronger than regular humans, as well as how families react to their children becoming both dead and alive. Schrodinger’s Zombie. Teen books are great for a nice light read. This sequel had some nice twists and big shocks.


Of course, being a teen fiction novel with a female lead, there’s a love interest somewhere. Eventually all the blushing and “I kissed his lips lightly” get a little annoying. At one point in Reboot, it seemed to happen all the time, but thankfully, the author toned it down in Rebel. I usually just roll my eyes and barf a little every time I read a line about some PG teen romance. I get it, I get it, your heart flutters, goddamn. However, I did enjoy that even though they were in this weird relationship, both partners evolved into better, stronger individuals because of it, instead of becoming increasingly codependent and destructive.

Do not read if you don’t like reading series because it looks like this is going to be a trilogy. But, if you’re reading teen fiction, then you know it always takes teen authors more than one book to complete a story arc.


Read this if you like the Divergent series and Mockingjay, or if you’re looking for an action book that doesn’t require a lot of thinking.

Nick Cutter – The Troop

Cover art of The Troop by Nick Cutter

The Troop by Nick Cutter

I have never read a horror novel before. This is admittedly my first. I don’t know why I didn’t start with Stephen King, but this one was endorsed by him, so that makes it okay, right? Nick Cutter is a pseudonym of Craig Davidson, a Canadian author of novels and short stories. 

From the jacket of the book:

Boy Scouts live by the motto “Be Prepared.” However, nothing can prepare this group of young boys and their scoutmaster for what they encounter on a small, deserted island, as they settle down for a weekend of campfires, merit badges, and survival lessons.

Everything changes when a haggard stranger in tattered clothing appears out of nowhere and collapses on the campers’ doorstep. Before the night is through, this stranger will end up infecting one of the troop’s own with a bioengineered horror that’s straight out of their worst nightmares. Now stranded on the island with no communication to the outside world, the troop learns to battle much more than the elements, as they are pitted against something nature never intended…and eventually each other.

Let me just say that this book was all kinds of messed up. Of course, the summary intrigued me, especially after my zombie movie marathon a few months ago. The biggest advice I could give to someone who is looking to pick up this book is: Do not read if you have a weak stomach. The storyline is a mish-mash of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, action flick/video game Resident Evil, and a writing style that is reminiscent of David Wong’s John Dies at the End.

I am not usually a squeamish person, but the descriptions of these creatures and what they do to the human body, well, that would make anyone hurl. Not only does Nick Cutter appeal to our visceral responses, but the things that he forces these young boys to do and the situations that he puts them in is horrifying; quite fitting for its genre.

This book was a rollercoaster, not fast-paced, but the twists and turns you take as you’re unearthing what is really happening on this previously uninhabited island will make you squirm, and the gut-wrenching feelings you get when you see this group of young boys struggle to survive are heart-breaking. 

There were so many times I would be reading this book with a look of pure disgust on my face, and every so often an “Eww…” would slip out, that boyfriend would ask what happened in the book. I would read out the passage, and he would immediately regret asking. It happened quite a few times before he had to struggle between satisfying his curiosity or keeping his lunch.

That being said, if you are a fan of morbidity and the human condition, and are looking for a light, fun read, don’t be too afraid to pick up this book.

Click here to check out other books I’ve read on my Good Reads profile here!

One Week

One week. One week. One week.

There’s something terrifying, exciting, and anxiety-ridden about that last week of semester. Holy crap did I not see it creeping up on me, and like any old bird with its head on fire, I’m just thinking about all the stuff I have to do! I’ve got one big project that I’ve got to finish for Tuesday. Sure, I’ve got today, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Except that I go to school today, and work Friday-Sunday. Awesome. Let’s git ‘er done.

Except I feel like I haven’t accomplished much at all this semester except play catch up. I’m not taking a super full course load, and I’ve been spending so much time working that I look back and wonder, what have I really learned this semester? I bought a bunch of books that I haven’t had the time to read, work at a job that makes me want to read a bunch of other books, but again, no time. So what have I done this semester that I’m minutely proud of?

I’ve spent most of my time drawing these damn mushrooms.

As well as incorporating them into a poster series and pamphlet, both of which still need to be finalized before next week. Oh God. But aside from that, I’ve just got two exams in the first week of December and then it’s over. What’s that? The four most harrowing months of my life and it’s over just like that? For a few weeks anyway. For winter break, I’m planning on working a ton and improving both myself and my living space. Wow, I still haven’t written up about where I’ve been living for the last 7 months, have I? I’ll get that up once I finish putting up the final touches that’ll really make this place seem like mine. For right now, its just a place that I come home to sleep in.

But! I’ve got big plans for the 4 weeks or so that I’ll be off school.

I need a wall-mounted bookshelf because my proper bookshelf is full and I’ve been piling extra books on my desk, which is a monumental waste of space and makes my desk look cluttered all of the time. This bothers me.

With all of that space I’ll be clearing from my desk, I’ll have room for a tiny Christmas tree. 🙂 We’ll just have a couple of presents, but it’ll be nice to look at, make this place really feel like a home.

From the Pioneer Woman <3

I want to make some pesto at home. 🙂 I love basil. I love how pesto can be used on fucking anything. Plain pasta with pesto and chicken breast? AWESOME. Pesto pizza with some mozzerella, spinach, tomatoes, and balsamic? Double awesome. I haven’t cooked or baked in my kitchen for months now. It’s a right shame, really. Aside from the odd steak or bowl of cereal. 🙁

I want to read:

Graphic Design Books

  1. 100 Habits of Successful Graphic Designers – Sarah Dougher
  2. Graphic Design Manual – Armin Hoffman
  3. Sagmeister – Stefan Sagmeister
  4. Typographie – Emil Ruder
  5. Typography: Macro and Microaesthetics – Willi Kunz
  6. Typographie – Wolfgang Weingart
  7. Die Neue Typographie – Jan Tschichold (not pictured)

Other books:

Damn. It’s only after putting all of that together that I realise that’s a lot of fucking books that I want to read. I’m probably not going to get through all of them this winter. 🙁 But, left to right, top to bottom:

  • The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins This is being made into a movie soon (trailer’s out) and has been such a popular book this year that I’ll have to read it. And then I’ll be stuck and have to read the sequels Mockingjay and Catching Fire. It’s basically a futuristic Battle Royal type thing where in the future, there are a few city states that, each year, send out a candidate and they battle for whoever has control of the country-world thing. That’s what I’ve been told, but I haven’t actually read it myself. There’s a bit of romance interweaved as well as, from what I can see, a bit of political warfare.
  • 1Q84 – Haruki Murakami My coworker has been raving about this book since it came out a few weeks ago. He’s a big Murakami fan, so I figured I’d have at this 900 page beast. Murakami is HUGE in Japan and this book is the latest one to be translated to english. It’s Murakami’s take on 1984 by George Orwell mixed with some romance and parallel universes. Or so I’ve gathered from his ravings and other sources of knowledge.
  • Damned – Chuck Palahniuk From the back, about a fat little girl who ends up in hell and something about marijuana? I’ve read a few pages of this when I was supposed to be working but it looks hilarious.
  • The Birth House – Ami McKay I read the back and wanted to read this. It was apparently a really big book when it first came out and was one of the first books I picked up and read when I first came to work at the bookstore.
  • The Virgin Cure – Ami McKay So her newest book that came out a few weeks ago and it’s been selling like hotcakes, so I figured I should read this one too. The Virgin Cure meaning the belief that if you have sex with a virgin, it will cure you of your diseases.
  • Dollhouse – The Kardashians HA. Seriously. They wrote a book. We read the first 5 pages. Should a quick and easy read and mostly want to read it to make fun of it.
  • A Stolen Life – Jaycee Dugard  An autobiographical book by a woman who was kidnapped when she was a kid and was held away from her family for a number of years.
  • Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern I’ve been told it’s The Illusionist intertwined with a tale of star-crossed lovers. Interesting concept about a circus that only appears at night every once in a while and a girl who was being trained in the circus to kill a guy, but she doesn’t know it, and she ends up falling in love with him.
  • Half-Blood Blues – Esi Edugyan Just won the Giller Prize and was written by a Vancouverite.
  • The Sisters Brothers – Patrick DeWitt Just won the Man Booker prize and has been described to me as a modern Western.
  • The Cat’s Table – Michael Ondaatje Don’t know what it’s about, but been hearing such good things about it.
  • Snow Flower and the Secret Fan – Lisa See About a chinese girl who has a pen pal and they get really close and tell each other everything as they’re growing up but then something happens and their friendship falls apart. It sounds to me something along the lines and feel of Memoirs of a Geisha, maybe it’s because they’re both asian-y.
  • Tell it to the Trees – Anita Rau Badami A reporter goes to a house to reports of domestic abuse. I think this book is a suspense/thriller book. I’ve been told it’s pretty scary. Something about a body being found on the lawn.
  • Steve Jobs’ Biography – Walter Isaacson Self-explanatory.
  • The Art of Racing in the Rain – Garth Stein My coworker read this and said it’s really good. Also,  I’ve already been persuaded by the cover.

Well, I should probably get off my bum now. And do some things I’ve been meaning to do.

One. Week.


Things and things and things and things.

Just a short update. Tomorrow is my last day of school before my one exam and then I’m free! A whole month on break with the house to myself. What am I going to do with myself?

1. Books I want to Read

  • Dan Brown – The Lost Symbol
  • Kenneth Oppel – Darkwing (And maybe the previous three if I can get them down from Montreal)
  • Viktor E. Frankl – Man’s Search For Meaning
  • Rich Shapero – Wild Animus
  • Debbie Millman – How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer

2. Things I want to Cook

  • Thin-crusted tuna pizza with chili oil
  • Fancy sandwiches
  • Shrimp with sriracha
  • A pie
  • Shrimp and grits
  • Bacon pancakes
  • Homemade Caesar dressing

3. Things I want to Buy

  • Mittens
  • Doctor Who Season 5
  • Buddha Board
  • R4

3B. Books I want

  • Dirty Fingernails
  • Ned Vizzini – It’s Kind of a Funny Story
  • The Dieline – Box Bottle Bag
  • 100 Habits of a Graphic Designer
  • You Comma Idiot
  • David Mccandless – The Visual Miscellaneum
  • Michael Perry – Hand Job
  • Making and Breaking the Grid (I can’t believe I haven’t bought this yet)

4. Things I should be doing

  • Preparing for Claire and Adri’s visit
  • Trip to Buffalo for another fatass trip (Chili’s, Grovers, Cheesecake Factory?)
  • Building my portfolio website and business cards (This break’s big project)
  • Learn web basics for real aka how to use css style sheets and div tables. I might have to buy the dreamweaver book too. Wakka wakka!
  • Buying my own domain finally
  • Create my brand, properly
  • New freelance projects, woowoo
  • Teach myself how to write in left-handed mirror script.
  • Paint something.

All this and plenty of sleep is what I hope my break will amount to! And then it’s back on the old dusty trail to school.

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