Book Reviews: Hot Vampires, Cold War, Porn, and Heavy Metal Romance

Anonymous
To a donkey, straw is more valuable than gold.
(Though there’s some mention that it might have been Heraclitus.)

Exposure
Subtitled: A Sociologist Explores Sex, Society, and Adult Entertainment, and as one would expect from that, I came into this book thinking it would be a sociological study on the porn industry. It isn’t; I suppose one would read her doctorial dissertation for that, but once I adjusted that expectation, I found myself liking it more. What it turned out to be was a collection of stories about how she did her research, some of them hilarious, some gross, some both, all intriguing. If you look at the author’s photo, where she comes off as incredibly serious, you would not expect her to be in all these situations, but that belief is shattered by the stories of her childhood and college days, and of course her time on porn sets and award shows. If her goal was to prove that those  who have sex on camera for a living are people too, mission accomplished.
4/5

Vampirella Feary Tales
If ever there was a graphic novel you shouldn’t take too seriously, this is the one.
I’ve heard of this character, and might have glanced at a previous edition, but other than her glam looks and tiny costume I knew nothing about her. In this book she inherits a castle after killing a family member/bad guy. While checking out her new digs she finds a strange book called Feary Tales, which she promptly and literally falls into. Like Gumby, she becomes a part of the feary stories and must make her way through to the end to escape.
If you love puns, you must go out and get this immediately; even if you don’t, this is still chuckle- and groan-worthy enough to be fun. The running gag is that she can hear the narrator, who makes her quickly sick of the puns; in one story the guide takes it to another level by rhyming, which really ticks her off. At one point the narrator cooes, “Welcome back, gentle bleeders.” A lot of the humor is only chuckle-worthy, nothing huge, but there’s enough of it to make me enjoy it, kinda like an Airplane/Naked Gun movie.
The stories include Cinderella, featuring a Prince Charming with a gogo boot fetish, Snow White—snow way to treat your mother!—and Goldilocks and the werebears. There’s a Western with a mermaid, where she’s severely overdressed. . . Vampirella, not the mermaid. In Big Red Riding Hood, Grandma’s House is a strip club.
Despite being a full fledged vampire with witchy powers, half the time she uses her wiles, a different kind of magic. She’s full of snark, which takes the edge off her harsh demeanor. The descriptions of her are in a similar vein: voluptuous vampire vigilante, pulchritudinous protagonist, buxom beauty from beyond with vivaciously voluptuous assets (Remember, alliteration makes everything better). Considering how she’s dressed and the situations she gets into, you’d expect at least a kiss if not full-on sex, but I guess it’s not that kind of story. She’s definitely just drawn that way. . .
4/5

The Shadow: Midnight In Moscow
Some say The Shadow is the spiritual father of Batman; not having seen anything but a couple of movies about the character, just from the atmosphere and tone I can see why that’s said. That spirit continues in this graphic novel, to the point where I can hear the narrator’s voice in my head, as though this was a radio show, with dialogue appropriate to the time, for once. The artwork is just as stylized; I feel like I’m watching a film noir.
The plot really gets moving when The Shadow announces his retirement, though considering his nemesis is still alive—maybe—after not-so-killing him at the beginning, I didn’t buy it, especially since Moscow is in the title and he’s still in Noo Yawk.
Always a bit surprising when the well-dressed lady walks by the drug deal and then turns to put a bullet in the dealer’s brain. The snark is on at full power; my fave examples: “Simpson’s in the Strand has been a London landmark for over a centery. And like most culinary landmarks in the city, it’s never been any good.” And “London successfully defended itself against a nightly barrage of bombs from the Luftwaffe. . . while Paris rolled over and took the German invasion like a cheap whore.”
From Noo Yawk The Shadow and his lady friend go to London, then Paris, Berlin, and Moscow, as the title implies. Part of the plot deals with miniaturization; wish they’d done the same with this novel. It feels like a deliberate choice of style over substance. When they get to Moscow there’s a change in font, where they use Cyrillic letters in English writing. Whatever the idea is here, it doesn’t work. It feels like in trying to evoke the time and atmosphere of the original works they went overboard, so I didn’t like this as much as I would have otherwise.
I will say what happened to the bad girl at the end was delicious!
3.5/5

The Insider
Innocent—as in still a virgin—reporter gets a gig writing a behind-the-scenes story about a metal band, with seemingly everyone against her. By the end of the first day she’s no longer a virgin, so yes, this is a modern-day romance.
There isn’t much plot here, simply the bass player and the reporter apparently falling in love while he teaches her about sex. Even though she’s been pretty sheltered growing up, Toni is spunky and doesn’t mind being teased, once she realizes that’s what everyone’s doing. It’s that same naïve demeanor that ingraciates her with the cynical musicians and their assistants. Once she’s comfortable with that she gives as good as she gets, and her sense of humor is scintillating. And as expected she’s more open and fun in her journal entries, where she shows she can have no filter.
Truth be told, as much as I liked the romance—when they weren’t being idiots; every time he says something sweet, he follows it up by being an ass—and the erotica, the part I found most fascinating was the BTS look at the makings of a rock concert, as well as the stories told by the band members, showing them to be more human than their fans will ever credit them. I can only imagine the author had an experience similar to her heroine—I don’t mean sexual—to get that kind of info; according to her website she’s got plenty of previous stories about rock stars. The most amazing scene for me was the sound check; I know a few guys who do this for a living with whom I have to share this part of the story. But that scare near the end wasn’t right!
5/5

LOL
The cover of this short tome shows Einstein in front of a chalkboard with his famous equation over his head in small letters, while he points at “LOL=Laugh out loud.” Which is not an equation, but a translation. The author calls himself The Professor, which he certainly could be, but it’s not like he’s THE only one.
In the introduction it states that the average six-year-old laughs 300 times a day, while the average adult is between 15 and 100. So the basic premise here is everyone should laugh more.
The idea is wonderful; the execution, not so much. The problem: I hardly ever laughed. The only time I ever actualled LOL’d was the story about the guy who wanted his pants cut. I more often groaned, and not in a good way, at the cheesiness of the jokes.
2.5/5

;o)

Advertisements

One thought on “Book Reviews: Hot Vampires, Cold War, Porn, and Heavy Metal Romance

  1. Pingback: 15 Fave Books of 2015 | LoganBruin–An Unauthorized Autobiography

Tell me what you think I need to know. . .

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s