Friday, October 18, 2013

Book Club Friday: More Than Jamie Baker

Earlier this week, More Than Jamie Baker by Kelly Oram came out. I was lucky enough to receive a digital ARC in exchange for my review, just like I received a copy of the first book, Being Jamie Baker. I reviewed this first book a few weeks ago, which you can find here. If you haven't read Being Jamie Baker yet, I can't promise this review of the sequel will be spoiler-free, since even the summary alone gives away some plot points.

Book Summary: Jamie Baker, the only girl in the world with superpowers, has now accepted who she is and learned to control her power. Not to mention she has the best boyfriend on the planet. Life is finally looking good. But the day she witnesses an accident and decides not to save the guy out of fear of being exposed, she realizes that simply being Jamie Baker isn't enough.

After seeing Jamie so wrecked with guilt, the ever-helpful Ryan Miller decides it's time to make all of his fantasies about turning his girlfriend into an honest-to-goodness superhero become a reality.

Of course, coming up with a decent Super Name and fending off all of Ryan's attempts to get her into spandex aren't the only problems Jamie faces. The more her alter ego starts to make headlines, the harder it becomes for Jamie to hide her extracurricular activities from her best friend, the government, radical scientists, and the mysterious new guy who is determined to steal her from her boyfriend.

This book was just as much fun as the first one. I love the moral dilemma that Jamie has to face in regards to how to use her superpowers. Her uneasy alliance with a previous enemy makes me laugh, and I can't help but find her former enemy is endearing.

Again, like I mentioned in my first review, there's a plot/character arc that Kelly writes very very well, and I'm looking forward to analyzing it in detail in a few weeks. She writes a common plot scenario in a really nuanced way that is sadly lacking from most popular books.

The only part I didn't absolutely love is a theme common in young adult novels: the idea that teenage love is incredibly powerful and lasts forever. I know it's silly to complain about a lack of realism in a science fiction novel, but I'm over the trope of True Teenage Love.

Overall, More Than Jamie Baker is a kickass sequel to Being Jamie Baker, and I'm dying to read the third novel!

Comme d'habitude, I'm linking up with Heather at Blonde Undercover Blonde and Katie at The Nerdy Katie for Book Club Friday! 

Post contains two Amazon Affiliate links, just in case you're so inclined to purchase either book via my links.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Love Is... (Two-Year Anniversary Edition)

I remember when I first wrote about Beau becoming my boyfriend.

I fought tooth and nail against being in a long-distance relationship. I wanted to be single, damn it! Spend time focusing on me! Explore my blossoming sexuality that I had suppressed for so long in the face of southern conservatism.

But I couldn't help it. I knew there was something wrong with me when I stopped wanting to make out with other people, a feeling I discovered after our first skype date, ten days after I had said good-bye to him my last night in the Midwest. We started talking more and more and more until I realized I was falling in love with him. A few weeks later, he asked me to be his girlfriend, and, as they say, the rest is history. 
I sometimes still feeling like the teenage girl who had never been kissed and who had never had a boyfriend. It's hard for me to believe that I actually found someone who loves me as much as I love him.
I never really believed that I needed a man to complete me. I've always felt like a complete person, but when I was single, I sometimes yearned for something more.
That something more turned out to be unconditional love.
Beau loves me for who I am. 
I have Crohn's Disease. I ruin movies by pointing out all the sexist plot points. I sob uncontrollably if I have to talk about being sexually assaulted. I never shut up about France. I'm bisexual. I like to stay up late at night and sleep in the next morning.
I'm far from perfect. I have major flaws.

And yet, despite it all, Beau still loves me.

I am grateful every single day to have found someone who accepts me for who I am. Someone who encourages me to be better, but still be me.

Happy two-year anniversary, my love. ♥

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Virgin Myths: Nerdy Virgins

Cherry graphic via

Apparently I completely forgot about my blog series on virgin myths.

Looking over the seven myths I've already tackled, I discovered my problem. I ran out of myths that were not true for me as a virgin, and since the vast majority of my blog is based on personal experience, I temporarily ran out of material.

But I am not like all other virgins, and they are not all like me. So I googled "stereotypes about virgins" and found myself some new material for my first blog series!

Myth: Virgins are nerds.

Beau and I are both nerdy and proud of it. We've been to two Comic Cons at this point--in costume. Our favorite dates include going to science museums and the zoo. We dressed up as characters from Star Trek: The Next Generation last year for Halloween. I can answer any question about any Harry Potter book, I have written Harry Potter fanfiction after years of reading it, and I went to the midnight showings of movies GoF, OotP, HBP, and DH2, in costume for all except OotP (I was living in France when DH1 came out, and my city only played the dubbed version). And Beau is an engineer, which is possibly the nerdiest of all professions.

Grown-up Hermione at the Yule Ball.
But our nerdiness isn't connected to our virginity. We're not virgins because we're both huge dorks who can't get laid. We haven't had coitus yet because we decided to save it for marriage. And before I met Beau, no man had ever seen me naked nor had I ever performed fellatio because I was saving those actions for trust and for love.

Most of my friends fall somewhere on the nerdy spectrum. Some are definitely nerdier than others. But there's no correlation between nerdiness and virginity among my friends.

So am I a nerdy virgin?

Yes, and proud of it.

But are all virgins thus nerds?

Nope, not even close.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Book Club Friday: Two Novels by Robin McKinley

I'm surprised I haven't reviewed any of Robin McKinley's books before, aside from listing Sunshine in my list of Fantasy Fiction Recommendations. She's basically the queen of retold fairy tales, which usually feature strong female protagonists, and her children's fiction is so brilliant that even adults can enjoy it.

Thanks to my awesome local secondhand bookstore, I've had the chance recently to read two more of her books.

Deerskin is based on the fairy tale "Donkeyskin" by Charles Perrault, which I had actually never read before. The fairy tale, and thus the novel, is actually pretty dark.

Book description: As Princess Lissla Lissar reaches womanhood, it is clear to all the kingdom that in her beauty she is the image of her dead mother, the queen. But this likeness forces her to flee from her father's lust and madness; and in the pain and horror of that flight she forgets who she is and what it is she flees from: forgets almost everything but the love and loyalty of her dog, Ash, who accompanies her. But a chance encounter on the road leads to a job in another king's kennels, where the prince finds himself falling in love with the new kennel maid . . . and one day he tells her of a princess named Lissla Lissar, who had a dog named Ash.

The Outlaws of Sherwood is obviously a retelling of Robin Hood, but told in such a way that it feels like a genuine work of historical fiction.

Book description: Robin is an apprentice forester in the woods of Nottingham, but the sheriff's men harass him at every opportunity. When he accidentally kills a man in self-defense, he flees into Sherwood Forest, knowing he will live the rest of his days as a hunted man. But his friends believe the disaster is also an opportunity: an opportunity for a few stubborn Saxons to gather in secret under Robin's leadership and strike back against the arrogance and brutality of the Norman overlords.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Communication Skills (And a Lack Thereof)

My Comments on Your Blog

Apparently I'm stuck as a No-Reply Blogger.

It wasn't always this way.

When I first got my blog, I carefully included my email address so that other bloggers could reply to me via email. 

Later on, I decided to integrate my blog with Google+. It seemed like another way to connect with readers.

For awhile, this was fine. I still received replies in my inbox from when I commented on other blogs.

But then Casey told me I was a No-Reply Blogger. I did a quick hack--I disconnected from Google+, redid my email settings, and reconnected--and for awhile, it worked.

Alas, I found out from Jess that I'm once again a No-Reply Blogger.

I get a small but steady number of page views from Google+, so I don't want to disconnect my blog from it. Until Blogger and Google+ get their act together, I will continue to be a No-Reply Blogger.

My Comments on My Blog

Most bloggers email replies to the comments left on their blogs. After all, that's how Casey and Jess both realized I was a No-Reply Blogger. They tried to reply to my comments and realized they couldn't.

I prefer to reply to your comments within my blog. I realize that y'all don't get notified of my replies. I realize that if you want to see a reply, you have to check my blog post again. I realize that sometimes I take awhile to reply (or go on vacation and just decide not to reply to the backlog, SORRY), and it's frustrating to check back multiple times.

Blogger has updated the comments recently, so you can opt in to receiving a notification when I reply. I highly recommend this.

I reply to your comments within my blog because I frequently receive the same questions, and I want my answers to be accessible.

I reply to your comments within my blog because my controversial posts create a dialogue, and I want everyone to see the entire conversation.

I reply to your comments within my blog because I'm held accountable to what I say if everyone can read it.

Your Comments on My Blog

I moderate my comments. In my 2+ years of blogging, I have only decided twice not to publish real comments. I receive a ridiculous amount of spam, which was the primary motivation to moderate. However, the increase in hateful, anonymous comments led to my updated policy.

I know I'm not everyone's cup of tea. That's fine. I write stuff that might make you uncomfortable, or even piss you off. I didn't start this blog to make friends, although it's been a lovely side effect. I started this blog to provide a feminist perspective to virginity, which has evolved to include a feminist perspective on pretty much everything. And I'm not going to water down my opinions just to be popular.

I have decided not to publish a comment that technically didn't violate my commenting policy. It's one I received on Hayley's guest post on catcalling. Yes, he used a name rather than remain anonymous, and his comment was more rude than cruel, but I'm not publishing it.

When I have time, I will address it in its own blog post, so I have the chance to explain how he's wrong. But I will not let anyone be abusive to my guest posters. 

Most of my guest bloggers have been very courageous and vulnerable in their posts for me. My blog is supposed to be a safe space for them. Thus I won't tolerate flippant, or dismissive, or abusive, or rude, or cruel comments on their posts, by anyone, named or anonymous.

Your Emails to Me

I read them. Sometimes I read them many times over. But I don't always reply to them. Why? The few emails I have returned took 1-3 hours to compose. I love y'all. My readers are my best. Y'all remind me that no matter how much shit I'm given for my strong stance against sexual assault, that I'm doing the right thing. I'm so incredibly grateful for the reminders that my writing matters to you.

But I've been dealing with some incredibly stressful stuff with my family, like to the point that I've had trouble eating, spent over 24 hours crying hysterically, and uncontrollably fantasized about cutting myself.*

JCP has demanded so much of my time that I put in my two weeks notice. I can no longer handle working such long hours.

Some happy stuff has been going on too, that I can't talk about here, but it's happy stuff that's really really time-consuming.

So as much as I appreciate y'all's emails, I don't have 1-3 hours to reply to each of them.

Do you have a commenting policy? What do you love and hate about your commenting system? How do you feel about my reasons for everything I do?

*I'm pretty sure I have mild OCD, based on a long history of being unable to control images and fantasies in my mind, often of a violent and self-harmful nature. I know I have CSP, which is often related to OCD.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Book Club Friday: Being Jamie Baker

By now y'all know my love for bargain e-books and YA novels, especially the fluffy teen romances.

Two of those books this year have been by Kelly Oram. I first discovered her writing with V is for Virgin, and this summer, I read The Avery Shaw Experiment

Kelly Oram has a great relationship with book bloggers. I was happy to buy her books, but thrilled to sign up to receive a (digital) ARC of More Than Jamie Baker, plus an e-copy of Being Jamie Baker. Getting books for free, by an author I already love, in exchange for reviews I would already write? Yes, please!

And to celebrate the debut of More Than Jamie Baker (coming soon!), you can buy the first book for just $.99. A total steal!

More Than Jamie Baker, the second book in the Jamie Baker series by Kelly Oram, is almost here! 

Haven't read book one yet? No problem! 
For a limited time Being Jamie Baker (Jamie Baker #1) is available for $.99 on Amazon and Barnes&Noble!

Don't miss out on this electrifying tale of superpowers, bad guys, and heart-stopping kisses. Literally, heart-stopping...

An accident that should end in tragedy instead gives seventeen-year-old Jamie Baker a slew of uncontrollable superhuman abilities. 

To keep her secret safe Jamie socially exiles herself, earning the title of Rocklin High's resident ice queen. But during a supercharged encounter with star quarterback Ryan Miller she literally kisses anonymity goodbye. Now the annoyingly irresistible Ryan will stop at nothing to melt the heart of the ice queen and find out what makes her so special. 

Unfortunately, Ryan is not the only person on to her secret. Will Jamie learn to contain her unstable powers before being discovered by the media or turned into a government lab rat? More importantly, can she throw Ryan Miller off her trail before falling in love with him?

Y'all, I seriously loved this book so much. Part of it is definitely my interest in the genre of "fiction that's completely realistic except for this one thing that makes it totally unlikely and yet, it still seems pretty realistic." See: Meg Cabot's The Princess Diaries and All-American Girl for other examples.

I loved it so much that I lost sleep over it. Yeah. I haven't stayed up late to finish a book in ages!

Although I obviously stay up late to blog, seeing as it's after midnight as I write this.


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