The Secret by L. Marie Adeline

I wish that there were more erotica novels of this calibre.

4/5 stars.
ebook, 288 pages.
Read from July 12, 2017 to July 13, 2017

When I first started reading erotica I was ready to ditch the genre completely as I was tired of the slew of bad writing and bad romances (cue Lady Gaga). A friend of mine who seemed to understand my woes made this recommendation. The book sat on my TBR pile for a very long time until I had actually almost forgotten about it. As fate would have it, my library happened to an ebook copy while I was in the midst of a reading slump and I thought, why not? It has been one of the best erotica pieces I have read so far.

“Sex creates chemicals that can be mistaken for love. Not understanding that about our bodies creates a lot of misunderstanding and unnecessary suffering.”

Cassie is in her early 30s and the only sex she has ever had was from her previous deadbeat ex-husband who has since passed away. Cassie works long shifts as a server at a small cafe and has no idea where she is going in life. Feeling lost and insecure Cassie seems to have resigned herself to her dreary and mediocre life. She yearns for some romance and excitement, even a good fuck would satisfy her at this point as it has been years. At work, she watches this one couple that comes in from time to time and they are completely in love.  It makes her heartache.

One day, the young woman in the couple leaves behind a journal of sorts.  Cassie peaks inside to discover what appears to be a record of some seriously hot sex scenes! Embarrassed, Cassie pretends she has not read the journal and gets it back to the owner who was equally as embarrassed. Little did Cassie know, that this little mistake, would open up her whole world. Shortly after another woman approaches her at work and describes an organization that exists to help women feeling exactly like herself, though it isn’t exactly your typical support group. The organization helps to act out the selected women’s fantasies in an effort to increase their confidence again. Each task and fantasy is rewarded with a bracelet charm. Not sure if the whole idea is a dream come true or something completely insane, Cassie follows her instincts…

I have to admit this is a really creative way to get all sorts of sex into one erotica novel. It caters to a lot of different types of fantasies (public, celebrity, etc) as well as appealing to one feeling most women are familiar with, insecurity.  What makes this novel exceptional is that is isn’t a man that makes everything better for the female protagonist, it is her. She makes the decisions that ultimately change her life and how she feels. She isn’t whisked off her feet and ‘saved’ by some rich, hot man who wants to do everything for her. She comes to find confidence all on her own through the exploration of her own sexuality. Now that’s hot! This is what I am talking about when it comes to erotica! I mean, yes, something like this would never happen in real life but the choices and the feelings that Cassie has is very real.

This novel is the perfect mix of story and sex making it an ideal erotica. The story is compelling enough it keep you interested but not overpowering in that you lose out on what you really came to read about, the sex. Cassie also isn’t a helpless, shallow character either. You are really rooting for her as a reader because you know exactly what it feels like.

If you need a recommendation into the world of erotica I highly recommend starting with this book. It’s steamy, exciting and has a story that empowers the female protagonist. Heck, I might even read the other two books in the trilogy I enjoyed this one so much! Overall I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this novel and wish that there were more erotica novels of this calibre.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Don’t panic.

4/5 stars.
Paperback, 193 pages.
Read from June 29, 2017 to June 30, 2017.

October 12, 1979 – that is when this book was first published. Meaning it is almost 40 years old. I had no idea. I can see now why this book is such a timeless classic regardless of its genre.

Author Dent is your normal, everyday bloke. One day his friend, Ford Prefect, demands that he leave his home (at the most inopportune time) to have a pint with him. Ford’s urgency is created by the fact that he is actually an alien that has been trapped on Earth for the last 15 years and has been waiting for a coming UFO to hitchhike on. That, and Earth is about to be destroyed. As Ford considers Author a friend he saves him by bringing him along. Arthur soon finds himself from the pub to travelling in space, learning that his friend is an alien and that Earth has been destroyed in a matter of minutes.

Ford has been travelling to different planets trying to work on and update the popular compendium, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy before he became trapped on Earth for 15 years. His return back into space was nearly statistically impossible and on a ship that is not welcoming to hitchhikers. Good thing Ford knows a thing or two about getting around from all the work he has been doing. However, he ends up putting both him and Arthur in a sticky situation.

Even those that don’t like science-fiction would enjoy this book. It is so insanely imaginative, especially when you think about when it was published. It was long before the smartphones or before computers were a household item and even before the creation of the internet. It is easy to see how this book inspired so many other stories and movies after it.  It made the science-fiction genre accessible and readable to everyone. It’s hilarious too! Think Guardians of the Galaxy meets Shaun of the Dead type of humour.

“You know,” said Arthur, “it’s at times like this, when I’m trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse, and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space that I really wish I’d listened to what my mother told me when I was young.”

“Why, what did she tell you?”

“I don’t know, I didn’t listen.”

The writing style is light and easy and the story is a nice humorous take on the speculations of our universe. While I do not feel inclined to read the rest of the books in the series (admittedly I am not usually one for series) the book was an enjoyable escape and I appreciated the witty antics of the characters.

This book is classic that is definitely worth adding to your bucket list if you have not already read and loved it. Even if you don’t enjoy science-fiction, this book is still a worthwhile read.

 

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

“Of course it was Loki. It’s always Loki.”

“Odin blew some of the mead out of his behind, a splattery wet fart of foul-smelling mead right in Suttung’s face, blinding the giant and throwing him off Odin’s trail. No one, then or now, wanted to drink the mead that came out of Odin’s ass. But whenever you hear bad poets declaiming their bad poetry, filled with foolish similes and ugly rhymes, you will know which of the meads they have tasted.”

4/5 stars.
Hardcover, 297 pages.
Read from June 23, 2017 to June 29, 2017.

Short and easy read. Check!
By Neil Gaiman. Check!
About Norse Gods. Check!
Full mischief and debauchery. Check!

I could add a few more reasons as to why I wanted to pick up this book but I think those are great place start. Full of Gaiman’s charm, this novel recreates the stories of the Norse gods that is appropriate for nearly any audience.

Starting with the Norse version of Genesis, the creation of the world and the gods themselves, each chapter is a short story in and of itself. Odin is the highest ranking and wisest god, while his son Thor is strong but not the most tactful god. Loki, who is always mischievous and beguiling, causes more trouble than he is worth and yet somehow the rest of the gods keep him around. I suppose he is the best at manipulating after all. There are many other masterful gods, giants and even dwarfs mentioned in the stories.

Did you know that the names of the seven days of the week have a Norse influence? They also have a Roman influence but here is basic break down:

Sunday comes from Old English “Sunnandæg,” which is derived from a Germanic interpretation of the Latin dies solis, “sun’s day.” Germanic and Norse mythology personify the sun as a goddess named Sunna or Sól.

Monday likewise comes from Old English “Mōnandæg,” named after Máni, the Norse personification of the moon (and Sól’s brother).

Tuesday comes from Old English “Tīwesdæg,” after Tiw, or Tyr, a one-handed Norse god of dueling. He is equated with Mars, the Roman war god.

Wednesday is “Wōden’s day.” Wōden, or Odin, was the ruler of the Norse gods’ realm and associated with wisdom, magic, victory and death. The Romans connected Wōden to Mercury because they were both guides of souls after death. “Wednesday” comes from Old English “Wōdnesdæg.”

Thursday, “Thor’s day,” gets its English name after the hammer-wielding Norse god of thunder, strength and protection. The Roman god Jupiter, as well as being the king of gods, was the god of the sky and thunder. “Thursday” comes from Old English “Þūnresdæg.”

Friday is named after the wife of Odin. Some scholars say her name was Frigg; others say it was Freya; other scholars say Frigg and Freya were two separate goddesses. Whatever her name, she was often associated with Venus, the Roman goddess of love, beauty and fertility. “Friday” comes from Old English “Frīgedæg.”

As for Saturday, Germanic and Norse traditions didn’t assign any of their gods to this day of the week. They retained the Roman name instead. The English word “Saturday” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “Sæturnesdæg,” which translates to “Saturn’s day.”” – Live Science

For those like American Gods, (spoilers) you can see where Gaiman came up with some names for his characters. This is the third book that Gaiman has written about gods and Norse gods in particular (American Gods, Anansi Boys).

Many of the stories in this book are very humorous while also offering some sort of moral or philosophical piece of advice to walk away with as well. The quote I have already mentioned above, about drinking Mead that came out of Odin’s ass, actually made me snort out loud on the bus. I may have received some funny looks.

Trickery, violence, mead and trying to get women to marry are the main themes in this book; accompanied with relatable, silly and inspiring gods at the centrepiece. Gaiman has managed to keep the content about the gods while interweaving an engaging and exciting story. You really can’t go wrong! If you like Norse mythology, gods, fart jokes, Thor, Loki or just a really easy story then you will appreciate this novel.