I had to leave off my current book, Last Of The Amazons, which needs a bit more concentration, in favor of a lighter read for a whole night’s vigilance in the I.C.U.    As I have volunteered for night duty in attendance to my ailing father, I figured an easy but interesting YA book would be just the thing to keep me wholly alert ’til the morn. 

Among my choices for the Once Upon A Time IV and Spring Reading Thing 2010 challenge lists, Hush, Hush just fit the bill.

Author :  Becca Fitzpatrick

Publication Date :  October 13, 2009  (Hardcover)

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing

ISBN-10: 1416989412

ISBN-13: 978-1416989417

No. of Pages :  400

The Story :

When God made man and Earth, some angels have looked on these creations with a consummate desire for dominion. A league of angels conspired to tempt Eve to eat of the Tree of Life, so God stripped them of their wings and cast them to Earth.  These fallen ones were denied  human perception of  the world  with all  its sensual clarity.   To experience the world through vivid sensations the way humans do — this what a fallen angel covets.

After the fall, a race emerged known as the Nephilim, immortals born of a union of angel and mortal. Only through the possession of the Nephilim can a fallen one experience the world as humans can.

For a Biology project, Nora is partnered with cocky, mysterious, and uncooperative Patch. She must get to know him enough to complete her project or risk failing the subject. While she knows almost next to nothing about him, he, disconcertingly, knows so much about her.

Forced to get to know him, she discovers dark and dangerous layers. For Patch is no ordinary boy. In fact, he isn’t even human. However, Nora can’t seem to shake off her dangerous attraction. Suddenly, her normal life doesn’t seem so normal after all. Someone is dangerously after her.  Who and why, Nora must find out to save herself.

The Review:

I can understand the allure this book has. The stunning cover hints of an irresistibly dark but sexy fantasy, which may not disappoint for some. This is primarily a romance with the supernatural as a very attractive component. As a deviation from the ubiquitous dark creatures like vampires, this time it is fallen angels, character concepts not often used and therefore a novelty for many young readers.

The protagonists are in their teens so this must contribute to the book’s categorization as young adult literature. But in my book,  the qualification for YA stops here.   As I have reiterated before, books in the YA category may have very adult concepts and jargon inappropriate for the preteeners and possibly, for those in their early teens. This book exemplifies this. Although there are no explicit sexual scenes, a lot of sexual innuendo exists. Moreover, there are hints of what some people may even consider as sexual harassment in the dialogues. The relationship between Nora and Patch may also be viewed as abusive at most or disrespectful at the least.

Although there is always something irresistible about the “bad boy” which ups those delicious romantic shivers in any romance, this particular characterization simply isn’t what one would want kids to admire in a romantic lead. To make it even more objectionable as YA,  the disrespectful ways of Patch toward Nora and Nora’s increasing attraction in spite of (or because of ?) it, feelings which I suspect may border more on lust than love, aren’t what I would rate as good fodder for teen and pre-teen minds.

However, despite my adult reservations, I feel this book is one of those  which young girls would gravitate to (the cover is simply irresistible).  The premise of fallen angels  and the dark romance are certain come-ons.   Writing is mundane, the characters not imbued with much depth; but these aren’t objectionable in a book designed to be  a 400-page breezy read.  They just makes reading effortless and fast.

Regardless of my misgivings on its classification, I  enjoyed Hush, Hush. I’m not saying it is a real page-turner but true to its bestseller status, it did keep me up and awake.  It was interesting enough in spite of its flaws.  Perhaps to like it, just suspend disbelief and go with the flow.

If you are a teen, chances are big that you will love it as it is.  As an adult in your thirties or beyond,  you probably will tend to be more judgmental of this book.

I won’t be surprised if this book morphs into a movie.  It just has that mass appeal to it.

As An Aside :

Becca Fitzpatrick is coming out with the sequel, Crescendo, this year.   For Hush Hush fans,  something to keep you on tenterhooks.  smiley

My Mark :  Good  —  Entertaining!

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Author :  Laurell K. Hamilton

Series   :  Book 14, Anita Blake Series

Publication Date :  March 27, 2007 (Paperback Edition)

Publisher :   Jove

ISBN-10: 0515142816

ISBN-13: 978-0515142815

No. of pages : 576

The Story :

Anita Blake thinks she is pregnant but doesn’t know who the father is.  Is it Micah, the wereleopard;  Jean-Claude, her master vampire;  or Richard the werewolf?  She is a human with vampiric powers and a variety of lycanthropic strains — wolf, lion, leopard, etc.  She is supposedly every woman’s erotic fantasy, possessing the powers of the ardeur, which unleashes a sexual desire so great that men cannot resist but fall desperately in lust and in love as well.  Lust is Anita’s food upon which she feeds and her orgasmic delights in turn feed  some of her partners whose very existence rely on her ability to arouse and drink in sexual pleasure.  Thus, her harem of men.

Sex and the ardeur is a necessity so that Anita is not a slut but rather a very important element in the supernatural community.

The Review :

If the synopsis sounds lame and vacuous, that’s because it really is. The thin,  feeble plot seems like an flimsy excuse for providing a story when the book is really just plain porn.   Events always necessitate sex and despite the author’s obvious attempt to imbue deep emotional dimensions on her characters, they come out as pathetically half-baked, sex-starved freaks who just can’t relate with each other without rutting — and rutting in all forms : straight sex, gay sex, threesomes, anal, a bit of SM and animal sex.  And since the story is character driven,  it falls utterly flat on its face with them.

This book practically reeks of sex, so much so that it becomes tiresome and entirely unerotic.  Hamilton comes out as a bad erotic writer (and a bad storyteller,  to boot) and this supernatural piece of porn does not tilltilate but bores.

However, this is the 14th book in the Anita  Blake series and for Hamilton to have published a book this far into her series  makes me  wonder if this particular novel is simply a dud in her  collection, and if her other books are actually great.

To Read Or Not To Read? :

Read, if you :

  • like written erotica  (and you don’t give a damn if it’s artistically done or not)
  • get off on supernaturals
  • are unrelentingly going through each book in this series and so just have to read this one
  • have nothing else to grab for the loo

Otherwise,  ditch this and spend your time on something more worthwhile.  Or get to know the first few novels and see how Hamilton managed to acquire a fan base to make it this far (book # 14).

My Mark :  Poor

Author : Douglas Carlton Abrams

Release Date (Paperback) : May 1, 2007

I picked up this book with the intent to read something light, funny, and a little bit naughty. The book hasn’t failed me on these three accounts; in fact, it has delivered a lot more.

The fabled Don Juan writes of his life as a galanteador (courtier) with the natural arrogance of someone who firmly believes he is God’s gift to women. But instead of being offended, I was intrigued and amazed by his ideas and perspectives on the female gender and ultimately on lust and love.

Don Juan is not your average rake. He is a rake, but one that genuinely loves women. He loves everything about them—their scent, their curves, their intellect, their eyelashes—everything! So by virtue of women’s innate beauty, he, Don Juan, takes it as his duty and life’s purpose to give the “ultimate pleasure” which they so deserve. (I wish men would think like this scrumptious guy).

His adventures, though, force him to question what the nature of passsion is. Can it be tied to love or is it a separate drive that has nothing to do with love? Is it possible to actually love and be true to one woman forever? Don Juan’s realizations to these age-old questions are tackled with lots of wit, humor, and surprisingly intelligent philosophy.

I certainly got more than what I paid for.  I got what I wanted : levity, sex, fun…plus artful writing and a good dose of food for thought, which I never thought I’d get from what I deemed as one of those “chick-lit” books. In fact, this particular passage was a little over my head:

“The greatest misstep in the dance of courtship is to believe it is our charm or beauty that is ultimately in question in this ancient fertility rite. Seduction and passion are simply Life longing for Life. It has little to do with our fears and faults. When we discover this Divine Secret, we realise that we are far less than we ever feared and far more than we ever imagined. Life uses us for its own satisfaction, and when we surrender to its will, we become a part of every kiss, whether or not it is made with our lips, and of every caress, and whether or not it is made with our fingertips.”

I only understood half of it. (I guess in crude terms it means: Go with the flow. ?) But hey, Mr Abrams does write prettily. Don’t worry, this is the only esoteric passage to me.

My Mark : Outstanding

Kudos to the author for a wonderful first novel.