The Seldom Diaries: The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by Anne Rice

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The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty
Anne Rice
Published by Plume
May 1st 1999 (first published 1983)
Paperback
Erotica/medieval fantasy/fairy tales/horror/adult fiction
253 pages

From bestselling author Anne Rice, writing as A.N. Roquleaure. In the traditional folktale of ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ the spell cast upon the lovely young princess and everyone in her castle can only be broken by the kiss of a Prince. It is an ancient story, one that originally emerged from and still deeply disturbs the mind’s unconscious. Now Anne Rice’s retelling of the Beauty story probes the unspoken implications of this lush, suggestive tale by exploring its undeniable connection to sexual desire. Here the Prince reawakens Beauty, not with a kiss, but with sexual initiation. His reward for ending the hundred years of enchantment is Beauty’s complete and total enslavement to him as Anne Rice explores the world of erotic yearning and fantasy in a classic that becomes, with her skillful pen, a compelling experience.

… … …
I love the original Sleeping Beauty. At least, the Disney version. It’s one of my favourites. When I saw this on the shelf with that little erotic twist, of course it caught my attention.
I hadn’t realized that this was previously written in the 80s. On the cover, it says that Anne Rice actually used the pseudonym A.N Roquelaure. I’ve always wanted to introduce myself to some of her works, but never really have for some reason. So I added the book to my pile with gusto. There was no better time!

I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. I obviously knew that this version had the kinky twist to it, but I just had no idea when it was about to kick in. I didn’t have to wait very long. I have to tell you though, the scene threw me off that I considered not reading anymore then and there.

Of course, I’ll tell you why…

As the Prince marches through a silent, dormant castle, he finally finds the chambers where the famous Sleeping Beauty has rested for the past hundred years. Instead of the tale that you and I both know: prince charming kisses the princess. She wakes up and they live happily ever after. In the beginning of this trilogy, the Prince takes things further. Maybe the journey to the castle made him a little frisky? He ends up cutting and ridding Beauty of her dress until she’s naked. (still asleep at this point, mind you!) He has sex with her. When she’s otherwise occupied, he finally kisses her awake.

This was not sexy to me. It was actually kind of disturbing to read. But despite my frowns, I tried not to judge the beginning too deeply. I continued on!

Now with her kindgom properly restored, the Prince declares that he’s taking Beauty as his tribute. She’s to go with him back to his own kingdom. The king and queen don’t seem to put up that much of a fight, which is odd. Especially when tells them that Beauty is supposed to be naked the entire time. Village to village, her naked body paraded around for all to see. If she disobeys, she gets punished. Once they reach his homeland, Beauty becomes the Prince’s very first sex slave. Unluckily for Beauty, Queen Eleanor hates her on sight because of her son’s immediate infatuation.
For most of the book, I couldn’t help feeling sympathetic. I don’t seem to appreciate the sexuality in BDSM like some people do. My bad. I don’t mind the erotica genre. I get a kick out of it for the most part. I don’t think this one in particular was my cup of tea. I’m still not quite sure what to think of it.

I do have to give Anne Rice a hand for making this her own though. What do you think of this type of genre being written?

Xox,
Sasha

Some Things I Love About Working in a Bookstore

It was recently my second year anniversary at work and like all jobs there are some things that annoy you (messy clients) and many things that you come to love. Here are some of the things I love about working in a bookstore!

  1. BOOKS.
    A pretty obvious choice but come on. How can this not make the list? You’re surrounded by all kinds of books and everyday is an adventure! There are tons of books that catch your attention and all of a sudden your “To Be Read” Pile went from two books to forty in a week. Hand-in-hand with this point: Employee Discounts (especially during employee appreciation week) :D.
  2. MY COWORKERS.
    Being surrounded by people (Book Lovers) who have similar interests as you, who geek out with you no matter what time of the day it is (I work at 6 am… sometimes it’s hard to geek out so early in the morning) is amazing. I don’t know how else to describe it. The atmosphere at the bookstore I work at is something that will mark me forever. I mean, I don’t have much experience in retail, but the little I did have (before the bookstore) left something bitter in my soul if you know what I mean.
  3. HELPING/RECOMMENDING
    I’m not part of the Sale’s Team anymore, usually only during the holidays/peak season, but being that detective for all those: “The cover is blue with a bird on it i think?” cases and solving them correctly just fills you with pride (Or maybe that’s just me). That… And recommending books that people actually enjoy in the end and come back asking you specifically for another recommendation!
  4. ALL THE EVENTS WE HOST.
    -cough- Like Harry Potter events… I’m so sad that’s over. Does this really need elaboration?
  5. Last one: CUSTOMERS – (but not all of them)
    Most customers are pretty awesome, and I actually find a lot of my favourite books through their recommendations. You know, sometimes when they say “The customer knows best” it’s true! :D

Bookmammal made a similar list back in October and shared it with me so check it out [here] ! :D We have a few similarities~
That’s all for nowwww~
Until next time
Sam

P.S: Most of us on this Blog will be on “vacation” for a while because Finals are on the wayyyy… Most of us are busy studying our lives away haha. :)

Judging a Book by its Cover

We all do it.

We say we don’t, but we do.

Our minds are drawn to beautiful or interesting visuals.  That’s just the way it works.

So first, I want to look at those oh so beautiful ‘leather bound classics’ that Barnes & Noble sell.

They are wonderful.  I would buy them all, if it wasn’t for the terrible shipping rates to Canada!

Here are the ones I do have:

2013-07-30 15.57.312013-07-30 16.02.43

As you can see, I went for the same type of collections. Fairy tales and children’s stories!

This one, I’m hoping get rereleased.

narnia

Now, I’d love to talk fairy tales, and their impact on both writers and society as a whole, but I’ll save that for another post because I have tons to say about it!

This is all about the cover art.

I believe having shelves of old books, with decorated spines and beautiful imagery is a romantic idea that many people have.  Finding old books for a cheap price however is not easy! Now these books are not old, though the stories inside them are.  They are however beautiful, and are really like a piece of art in a way.

This brings me to a question though.  Do you prefer having your shelves filled with a variety of sized and styled books, or do you like the uniformity of having, let’s say, all the Barnes & Noble leather bound collection.  That would be all your classics, styled in this way.  Does that appeal to you?

As much as I think they’re beautiful, and I do want to get a couple more of them, I think having too much of the same would probably not be to my liking.  It would be too intentional, and would become more about the art, than the books themselves.  What do you think?

Another great cover:

Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane

This one is gorgeous.

ocean-at-the-end-of-the-lane-neil-gaiman

A.G. Howard’s Splintered

splintered book cover2

So I haven’t read this one yet.  This is one of those cases where my thought process went: Oh wow, that’s beautiful! Oh, it’s about Alice in Wonderland.  I’m interested!

So clearly, that’s good marketing!

Hopefully the book is gripping as well.

 

And of course, no post would be complete without a mention of George RR Martin’s book series A Song of Ice and Fire.  Walking into the fantasy section of a bookstore can feel overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re looking for.  Though this is changing now (possibly do to Martin’s covers), most fantasy covers tend to feel like they all started from the same template.  There will be a guy (or once and a while a woman) wielding some fancy sword, hair whipping around in the wind, determined look on their face.

You see the same kind of generic art in Romance covers, and it can be off putting.  Maybe the book is great, but I don’t know that when I’m looking at a cover, and I will not be inclined to read it.  So what sets Martin’s books apart, at least until everyone catches on and does the same, is that they don’t have typical fantasy art . Just a single image, on a plain background.  That’s it. Nothing fancy, and yet totally gripping!

A_Game_of_Thrones_Novel_Covers

Another fantasy writer got me this way as well.  Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy:

the-first-law-trilogy

They are so simple, with only the title being the focus, that I immediately was drawn to them.  And that’s what a good cover does, it makes you pick up the book, and read the synopsis (which is hopefully well written!).

This has worked in many genres.  Just look at how Fifty Shades of Grey, and other erotic/romance novels have used this kind of cover to grab an audience.  It really works!

As I’ve said however, people will catch on to this, and soon there will be too many books using this kind of cover, and then its impact will be lost.

 

So, when you walk in to a bookstore, what catches your eye?

What book on your shelves do you think has the best cover design and art?

Let me know in the comments!

 

Until next time,

Sarah

 

Curiousity Corner: Dracula by Bram Stoker

I’ve said this before – vampires are delicious. I may be paraphrasing. Now it’s no surprise that I would want to read this. It might just be my love for Gary Oldman, or my curiousity with all that good supernaturally stuff  that brought me here. Both, probably.

Since I saw the movie when I was much younger, I didn’t realize it was based off of a book. Though it’s actually one of my favourite movies (no matter how not great it was) so I’m going to make an exception and give it a read at some point. Dracula is supposed to be one of the original bloodsuckers…or as far as I know, at least one of them. I would like to see where Bram takes his imagination with this. I’m not sure if it was the same in the novel or something they changed in the film, but I liked the background that Dracula was given. I think it fit well with the story line. In the book, I just have to wonder if he’s just a lonely vampire wanting what everyone else has? Aww. Sad. Anybody have that problem with books and their movie selves?
Happy Halloween!

Xox,
Sasha

Halloween Reads!

Halloween is just a few days away so I thought it’d be nice to list books that could/would/does get us all in the mood for this creepy holiday (and to be honest, my least favourite holiday from the bunch– I am the resident scaredy cat here…). * Note, I won’t be reviewing these books. Just naming some that I think are fun for the season.

First on my list is:

The Child Thief by BROM (I do have a review of this one from a while back).

This book makes the list because it’s a dark twist on a very mischievous character Peter Pan. I think that fits well enough with the season. Think of it as a nice blend of trick-or-treat and horror movies rolled into your favourite candy surprise.

Second:

One for the kids that’s pretty popular at work is:
Scaredy Squirrel prepares for Halloween by Mélanie Watt

It’s cute, fun, and prepares kids for Halloween! What’s not to like? I like this scaredy squirrel series because, as a scaredy… well I could have related very well to these books as a child.

Third:

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

This one also pretty much speaks for itself. I mean what’s not Halloween mood-ish about it? A boy lives in a graveyard and it raised by ghosts and stuff! If that doesn’t sound like a perfect spooky season read, I don’t know how to help you.

Fourth:

Another Neil Gaiman book, Coraline.

I’ll admit, I haven’t actually read the book… but the movie was pretty good and definitely something I think fits the Halloween criteria! Am I right or am I right?? Plus, how can Neil Gaiman NOT get on a list twice (look at Michelle’s list the other week!)?

Last one:

Let’s go with a classic —
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

I think the title is enough of an explanation, no?
:)

What are your favourite Halloween Reads or Recommendations?
You probably noticed I didn’t suggest any horror stuff… well I stay true to my claim, I’m a scaredy cat… I don’t read horror. I barely watch horror movies haha.

Until Next Time!
Sam

Biggest Book Turn-Offs

Hey there!

So this is eight hours late, but better that than never??

So a while back I noticed some people posting their top ten book turn-offs (a Top-Ten Tuesday?), and wrote up this list.

So here it goes:

1) The line often seen in YA literature: “she let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding”. Why are so many teen girls holding their breath all the time? Is this a part of teenage development that I missed out on? Perhaps it’s just because almost EVERY teen book I’ve read has some variation of this line in it, but it’s an immediate eye-roller for me now. You’ll notice it too, from now on. I’ve ruined it for you. Sorry! (not really :p)

2) Characters losing weapons by accident, just to make sure their situation is more dire than it already was when they had one. Repeatedly in one book. So clumsy, guys… and yet these characters are also equally skilled with every weapon/tool you put in their hand. Incredible, but clumsy fighters? I am trying to extend my sense of belief here.

3) The character who is only in a book to give important information at the “right time”, even though the right time is really about two-hundred pages too late, cause the protagonist could have really used this info before everything went to hell.
I LOVE putting obstacles in my characters way, it’s what makes a story interesting, but I want to have a believable and intelligent plot line, that won’t make me go “BUT YOU COULD HAVE SAVED THEM FROM ALL THIS TROUBLE IN THE FIRST PLACE. NOW I MUST THROW THIS BOOK ACROSS THE ROOM”. The usual suspects: best friends, lost but found parents, wise old wizards…

4) The word “quest” in any title. Just no. I will judge this book by its cover. I’m sure many of the books out there with the word quest in the title are very well written, but when I see it, I just don’t even want to try. So let me know if you have any good recommendations! Free me of my prejudice!!

5) A POV that only shifts once or twice in a book because there was no way to communicate what happened through your protagonist. I’ve seem this done well, but more often than not, it’s done badly. Disjointed and sometimes even giving away important information about the antagonist that should have been given another way!

6) Long run on sentences that become paragraphs and that don’t end for over a page, and continue in this fashion for the entire novel, communicating a lot of unreliable nonsense and sometimes even describing things to death and all because stream of consciousness is so edgy that we absolutely need to forget the use of punctuation and refuse to give the reader a break because the mind doesn’t take breaks, now does it? I tried to make that sentence much longer, but just couldn’t. Hopefully you know what I mean!!
(Not referring to Woolf or Joyce. I bow down to their mastery of stream of consciousness. There are however, several classics that are written in this way. I can’t say it’s wrong. I just personally find it irritating. )

7) Endings that magically tie together all plot lines, often forgetting certain obstacles or character traits so that it can all be resolved in a way that was made clear to be impossible 200 pages before.

8) The too happy, happy endings. Unrealistic. I like when characters have reached their goal, become better people, fallen in love, sure. I just don’t want it to be “and they lived happily ever after, with all evil gone forever, and magical resolutions to all world problems.” I can just watch a classic Disney movie for that.

9) Flat, boring, unimaginative love interests. Can they not be more than what’s on the surface? And I mean more than just angsty boys with only sarcasm and brooding to offer.

10) This character never met one of their parents?! This parent is going to resurface at the climax of the novel!?! They’re evil too!?! Omg.
Okay. Stop. This totally easy to see coming plot line is overused. To be clear, I’ve enjoyed books that use this, but I definitely wish it came up less. Every time I hear a character never knew a parent, I get an anxious annoyed feeling that I’m about to read a book filled with all the other typical plot twists out there as well.

TO BE CLEAR, I’m not bashing the authors who choose to use some of these in their books. I have loved many a novel/series that have one, if not more of these used. Even my favourite books have things that can get on my nerves. I think as a writer though, these will be the things I look out for in my own writing, as things I don’t want to do.

So that’s it.

What are your biggest book turn-offs?

Let me know in the comments.

Have a great week!

Sarah

Michelle’s Tantalizing Treats

Because I have no time to read anything outside of the textbooks I need for class, I have decided to write about all the books that I want to read, but can’t because school is evil.

These books aren’t in any particular order. I looked around my room and picked the first four books I saw. Also note that these are not the only books that I own, but have yet to read. I have about thirty others, but that would make one hell of a long list and nobody likes long lists.

Firstly, there is Sever by Lauren DeStefano.

Though the second book was not fantastic, I have to finish the series. The last book ended on a cliffhanger, so I need to find out what happens next.

Then, there’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is my favourite author and everything he touches is magical, so why wouldn’t I want to read it. I am just waiting for the price to go down a little bit. It’s less than 200 pages and yet it’s nearly $30.

On the same note, The Graveyard Book also by Neil Gaiman.

Again, everything he makes is magical.

Lastly, I really need to read John Dies at the End by David Wong.

A friend of mine recommended this book to me during the summer, but I haven’t had time to dive into this one. I got through the first few pages and I was immediately hooked. It was a bit of a shame when I had to put it down, but Game of Thrones was calling me. This one is first on my reading list, though last in this list.