Category Archives: Book Reviews_

[Book Review] Sex with Kings by Eleanor Herman

Sex with Kings: 500 Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, and RevengeSex with Kings: 500 Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, and Revenge by Eleanor Herman

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book is a hot mess. The chapters were subdivided as such:

1 Sex with the King
2 Beyond the Bed–The Art of Pleasing A King
3 Rivals for a King’s Love–The Mistress and the Queen
4 Cuckold to the King–The Mistress’s Husband
5 Unceasing Vigilance–The Price of Success
6 Loving Profitably–The Wages of Sin
7 Political Power Between the Sheets
8 Red Whores of Babylon–Public Opinion and the Mistress
9 The Fruits of Sin–Royal Bastards
10 Death of the King
11 The End of a Brilliant Career and Beyond
12 Monarchs, Mistresses, and Marriage

which served no purpose but to hide the fact that the author favored the stories of some mistresses over others. The chapters weren’t even linear chronology, making it hard to keep track of anything. Names were dropped everywhere, crossing centuries and continents.

It would have been better, comprehensively, to either write one chapter per king or mistress tackled in this book, with one chapter at the end for all the mistresses mentioned only once or twice throughout, written in  biography style; or,if insisting on the current table of contents arrangement, to break each chapter up into sections per king.

I doubted if I was truly reading non-fiction, if this was really written by an historian. Not because I found anything hard to believe, but because a lot of parts of this book were written like it came from a tabloid. The author wasn’t objective as well, favoring some over others, you could feel her gossipy tone for some mistresses made more stark with the change of tone to a lighter, more positive note for the most famous royal mistress currently alive.

Nonetheless, it was an interesting read and I did come out of this more knowledgeable than I was before I read it.

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[Book Review] Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and LifeBird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

FINALLY.

Yes, I know the only way to improve and be a writer is to keep writing, to write everyday, to make it a habit. But this book shows you a process, lets you understand more than general “just write” or “show, don’t tell” advice (which are both very helpful, honestly, but damn frustrating at the beginning, when you think you should only write when inspired and haven’t taken lit classes to know the difference between ‘showing’ and ‘telling’ in writing). In Bird by Bird, there is concrete plan that you can do/follow to keep writing. Of course, it may not work for everyone, but it’s a process that works for some people and just by that example alone, it gives motivation for you to find your own process.

I like how this book comes with advice, not just on writing (as the subtitle says), but on handling writer’s egos, pitfalls, and talks about the frustrations about writing, being a writer, and how apt her descriptions are of the highs, of why people write, despite the frustration, the emotional turmoil, the headaches it brings along.

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[Book Review] Delta of Venus by Anaïs Nin

Delta of VenusDelta of Venus by Anaïs Nin

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

My review stems not from the fact that this covers sensitive topics such as pedophilia, rape, bestiality, and other fetishes (because, hello, I’m reading erotica. Of course there’d be a number of taboo topics) but from the fact that some of the latter stories in this collection went nowhere fast.

The first few stories were good–short, succinct, and stayed with the plot. The latter three or four, I think, got away from the author and she tried developing a series of interconnected stories with them–that while if the characters had depth, actual characterization, would have worked, but as they didn’t, it felt like you were getting dragged into one long story with no point (which really was a stark contrast to the first few short stories).

WhatI liked: the repeated themes of first sexual awakenings (whether it was happening in real time, through flashbacks or dialogue), entering into taboo territory without the pain factor, women are acknowledged sexual creatures–not as objects.

It’s only a two here because THOSE LAST THREE STORIES. SO DRAGGING. SO BORING.