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Book Review: Beautiful World, Where Are You

Having now read all three of Sally Rooney’s books, I definitely think Beautiful World, Where Are You is my favorite! Normal People was a bit off for me because I had major trust issues with Connell. Conversations With Friends had more complex relationships and dynamics so that was cool. Beautiful World, Where Are You feels like it’s on another level entirely!

Vibes

As usual, Sally Rooney’s books are more vibe and character driven than plot driven, which is the same here. The vibes, though, are amped up in compared to the other two books. She goes into this cinematic panning out thing where it feels like you’re moving backward from the people involved in the scene to take in everything around them: the building, the nature/environment around it, the ocean. I love this kind of style, and I didn’t find it in her previous ones.

Structure

The structure of this book goes back and forth between Alice and Felix’s undefined relationship to Eileen and Simon’s best friends since childhood, girl next door, friends to lovers trope. In between their two stories, however, are lengthy email interactions between Alice and Eileen. I saw some Goodreads reviews that didn’t like these email exchanges. I found them a great tool for the author to insert her opinions and explorations on matters around her. She had interesting thoughts, presented them in a fascinating manner, and a platform that wants to know more of her philosophy, so why not!

Philosophical

There were a lot of mentions of Russian literature in this book. Being a fan of Russian literature, I have to say that this book even feels like something a modern Dostoevsky would write, with all the philosophical ponderings of the characters.

One topic that surprised me was religion. I seriously would never have expected Sally Rooney to start writing about Mass and Catholicism but there it was: Simon Costigan, one of her characters, is a devout Catholic! It takes a whole lot of courage and maturity for an atheist to view religious activities in a compassionate light, and vice versa. I have to say she did it quite well here, and I am very impressed.

Beautiful World, Where Are You has made me view Sally Rooney as not just an author but also a philosopher and leading thinker. As such, I’d be very interested to read more of her thought explorations via her next books.

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Adult Book Review: Wicked Beauty

Wicked Beauty by Katee Robert is the 3rd book in Dark Olympus series. In this series Katee Robert does a freestyle retelling of Greek mythology and Olympians. I’ve very much enjoyed the previous ones on the series: Neon Gods and Electric Idol, so I knew I’d enjoy Wicked Beauty also.

Achilles, Patroclus….AND Helen???

I am utterly convinced to get the full impact one must read Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles first. Get your heart utterly destroyed by the whole Achilles and Patroclus tragedy. Then, for a mood booster, pick this one up! It’s a happy ever after take on the two hot boys plus a certain woman for whom they went to war: Helen. Obviously, if you’re not a threesome person then this is not your thing. I found it quite fun 😀

Character Explorations

Katee Robert must have had so much fun with the archetype of these characters and turning them on their head. Achilles went through failure (gasp!) and picked back up his shattered ego for his loved ones. Patroclus faced his deepest insecurity, and the best character development of the three yet: Helen.

Our Helen in this book was just coming out of an incredibly toxic relationship with (who else) pretty boy Paris. Then her brother announced her to be the prize of the trials for the Ares position. In a truly feminist power roar, Helen enters herself into the competition. Her growth through the Ares trials and with the two men was sky high! Don’t expect a weak limpid Helen who just sits around looking scandalous. Expect Katniss Everdeen badassery in combination with Cersei Lannister’s sharp politic skills.

Steam

No need to doubt the steam with KR, she always delivers.

I’m a real convert to Katee Robert’s books and I’m so glad she has SO MANY. I’ll not tire of them anytime soon!

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Steamy Book Review: Electric Idol

Electric Idol is the highly anticipated sequel to Neon Gods from the Dark Olympus series by Katee Robert. I’m so glad to say I loved it. I picked this up after finishing The Folk of The Air series (review coming soon for that) and it’s the perfect little rebound book after the hollow emptiness of finishing a great series.

Plot

The plot of Electric Idol is a modern retelling of Eros (Cupid) and Psyche. Eros is the most dangerous killer who does his mother Aphrodite’s will, while Psyche is the “good girl” third daughter of Demetrius and Persephone’s sister. Aphrodite is jealous of Psyche, so she asks her son Eros to finish the girl off. As these stories go, they fall in love and pretty much kick Aphrodite out of the picture. Straightforward. But of course, we pick up Katee Robert for her brilliant balance of smut, steam, and worldbuilding.

Steam

Loved it. Off the charts, just like the first one. What I found surprising, though, is that Electric Idol is actually really “traditional” in terms of the sexual acts in comparison to her other books which usually have much wilder play. Here it’s just the two of them, no BDSM, no dungeons, no toys. And I think that’s where Katee Robert’s skills are really shown off: even with only traditional elements, the book is still super hot.

Plus!!!

Oh and. A real winning reason to pick this up is that Psyche is plus size!!! I’ll be honest this is the first steamy romance book I’ve read where the heroine is plus size with stretch marks and all. It’s really refreshing and totally liberating. I wish teenage me read more books about hot fat girls, that might have helped me to avoid 10 years of bulimia. Anyway, I’m going to be looking out for more such characters for sure. In the meanwhile, Katee Robert is now most definitely my favorite smut author.

Oh bonusies, I made this short video on my booktok account which viraled and got more than 10K views, yeay!

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Book Review: Sex at Dawn

Well well well, here we are. I started this book a couple of years ago but did not manage to finish it, and now I was determined to tick it off my list. In the book’s defense, I like all its main arguments, I really do. However…

Arguments

Since this is a book that you probably will never read (it’s kind of hard to find in Indonesia), let me give you a summary. Sex at Dawn is a study of human sexual behavior from prehistoric time until modern time. The authors draw from various researches and also make several comparisons with the sexual behavior of primates (chimps, baboons, bonobos, gorillas, etc).

Sex at Dawn, page 224

The main arguments are:

  • female sexuality in humans is highly repressed
  • monogamy is the cause of unhappiness, and polyamory is something which is more natural to human beings
  • human sexuality in general is repressed
  • love and sex are two different things

Honestly, I pretty much agree with all the arguments and the positions of the authors, polyamory, and polygamy included. As long as everyone consents, why not? What bugged me, and I remember now this was why I stopped reading the book in the first place, is that it’s quite clear the authors build a weak case.

The research they draw upon as evidence to support their arguments is cherry-picking and taken out of context. Their writing style is derogatory to the readers (are they trying to be funny?) and in my opinion: not cool. They try to be slick and naughty, while I would have just preferred more data and respect for the reader.

Hang On…

Another huge thing that I am surprised and disappointed that they did not address is sexually transmitted diseases. In a book about sexual behavior which promotes more unrestricted sex, it would be logical and responsible to talk about the results of such behavior aka sexually transmitted diseases! I would have liked to see at least a chapter on the rates of STDs in some of the communities around the world which they brought up as an example of societies with more sexual freedom.

Again, this is not because I don’t agree with their arguments, but because I truly want to know how a community can responsibly manage looser sexual culture while not having skyrocketing STDs.

Cuz come on, is having wild crazy sex worth contracting an STD? Not for me. Heck no. Give me boring sex and a clean hand any day!

So yes, I hear you, but no, I don’t like the way you’re saying it.

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How to Ditch a Party (Nikolai and Zoya Fanfic)

Warning: Adult! Mild Smut. Also Spoiler Alert for Rule of Wolves ending.

This Nikolai and Zoya fanfic is inspired by King of Scars Duology (from the Grishaverse by Leigh Bardugo) Fanfic. Happens sometime after the events of Rule of Wolves.

Nikolai and Zoya are attending one of Count Kirigan’s famous parties.


“You were ravishing on the dance floor,” Nikolai said to Zoya after she finished a round with Count Kirigan. Their host kept glancing towards her with puppy dog eyes, practically begging for another dance. Zoya sighed. Count Kirigan was a valuable ally within the Ravka nobility, but everyone knew he was head over heels with the ex-general turned queen.

“Blame Genya. Can you believe this dress?” Zoya tugged annoyingly at the blood red material which hugged her upper body tightly, even while supporting a plunge to show off her gorgeous cleavage. Genya had embellished it with Fabrikated sequins made to look like dragon scales. From Zoya’s right thigh downwards the material parted completely, and when she twirled it was a smaller version of the dragon taking flight. She had high-heeled black boots that looked like it could sever some knees if pointed in the right direction. Zoya had considered pointing it in several directions tonight, but decided it was not the impression the newly crowned queen wanted to make at their precious ally’s party.

“I can believe it. That one tailor is always trying to torment me,” he chugged down his glittering drink even as he winked at a cluster of young women across the hall. They were pointing and giggling. Oh, he knew their gossips. Even when he was still King, there had been rumors about his relationship with Zoya. Now that she was Queen, Nikolai was known to be the one who serviced her needs at night. Well, he thought, might as well give them a show. He reached towards Zoya and lifted her up in his arms. If he was going to be known for his services, at least he could make sure they were sky-high.

Zoya threw him a flustered look, and for a moment Nikolai thought she would breath fire on him. But her eyes calmed and she leaned into his chest. “Get me out of here,” she murmured into his neck. Her voice sent pulses straight down to his groin, where he could feel the rising need.

“You’re the queen,” replied Nikolai charmingly, even as his breath was quickening in anticipation. Zoya bit his ear lightly, and his knees buckled.

“Don’t drop me, demon boy,” Zoya warned. She wrapped her arms around his neck, pressing her breasts into his torso. She could feel her buds tightening, but it was not even close to enough. “Do I need to fly us out of here?”

“You would destroy the whole building in the process. And then we’d have no bed for tonight’s activities,” Nikolai calmly countered. He turned and began walking out of the ballroom. Nikolai could feel the eyes of every single Ravkan nobility following them. Good.

Understatement is overrated.


Honest question folks. Should I continue to the next scene in this Nikolai and Zoya fanfic, or stop here cuz tis suggestive enough? 😀

If you like this fanfic, try my Six of Crows fanfic from Jesper’s perspective!