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

Mandy’s Miscellaneous Flavours: Griffin & Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence by Nick Bantock (Review)

Griffin and Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence

Nick Bantock

Chronicle Books- September 1991

Hardcover

Romance/Mystery/Illustrated novel/epistolary book/fantasy/Paranormal

28 pages

Image

Griffin: It’s good to get in touch with you at last. Could I have one of your fish postcards? I think you were right — the wine glass has more impact than the cup. –Sabine

But Griffin had never met a woman named Sabine. How did she know him? How did she know his artwork? Who is she? Thus begins the strange and intriguing correspondence of Griffin and Sabine. And since each letter must be pulled from its own envelope, the reader has the delightful, forbidden sensation of reading someone else’s mail. Griffin & Sabine is like no other illustrated novel: appealing to the poet and artist in everyone and sure to inspire a renaissance in the fine art of letter-writing, it tells an extraordinary story in an extraordinary way.

***

I have to admit I’m not quite sure where to begin with this book, but I do know that I wish I could take a picture of each page and post it here, but I’ll refrain myself. This is a book blog after all, not a picture album (also imagine the copyright issues, yikes!)

With that said, I should probably begin this review by saying that Nick Bantock’s book isn’t for everyone.

If you’re the type who prefers their books to have a clear plot and narrative, Griffin & Sabine is unfortunately not for you. However, if you’re up for an unconventional form of storytelling, and have an appreciation for art, then you should give this book a try. I know I don’t regret it.

 Also as the title suggests, yes, it’s a romance. Yet it’s so typical of me to finally read a romance “novel” that isn’t truly a romance novel.

I haven’t encountered any books like this one before, so its peculiar format instantly caught my eye. An epistolary novel, the story unfolds (literally) before the readers’ (viewers?) eyes as a series of postcards and removable letters.

Without giving too much away, Griffin and Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence, is exactly what it sounds like. Griffin, a postcard designer from London, has his life turned upside down after a cryptic postcard from Sabine Strohem, a woman he has never met. Claiming to be from the Sicmon Islands, Sabine adds a splash of colour and intrigue to Griffin’s grey and dreary existence. So of course they begin to correspond regularly, leading the two to ultimately fall for one another.

As Griffin writes in one of his handmade postcards: “Why doesn’t this alarm me as much as it should?”

I can honestly say I was thinking the same thing.

As the readers, we are not given any more insight into the characters’ or story’s development. All we have to rely on are the letters that we have before our eyes, and the unfounded trust in the words of Griffin and Sabine. We are forced to be some kind of detective, putting the pieces (or rather letters) together to better grasp what is happening. Despite being so restricted of material, it is notable how heartfelt and believable the connection is between the two star-crossed lovers. However, the “realness” of the exchanges is forever disrupted by subtleties that add to the mysterious and even mystical feel of the book. For example, a major difference between the letters of Sabine and Griffin are how they are dated. Griffin’s always have a date, Sabine’s never do. This shouldn’t really matter; however, Sabine’s timeless and dateless letters only build up Griffon’s theory of his slow descent into madness. His final letter to her is heartbreaking, while Sabine’s last letter basically says:

Shit’s gonna go down.

With all that said, the world has changed since then. This book was published in September of 1991. Now we live in a time of emails, texts messages, instant chat and tweets. Ultimately leaving one to wonder how a book in this format would be received if it were written today.

Seriously, when’s the last time you handwrote a letter?

I thought so.

Mandy

The Seldom Diaries: The Edge of Never by J.A Redmerski

the-edge-of-never-ja-redmerskiThe Edge of Never
J.A Redmerski
Published by Createspace
November 15th 2012
Paperback
Romace\New Adult\Contemporary
426 pages

Twenty-year-old Camryn Bennett had always been one to think out-of-the-box, who knew she wanted something more in life than following the same repetitive patterns and growing old with the same repetitive life story. And she thought that her life was going in the right direction until everything fell apart.

Determined not to dwell on the negative and push forward, Camryn is set to move in with her best friend and plans to start a new job. But after an unexpected night at the hottest club in downtown North Carolina, she makes the ultimate decision to leave the only life she’s ever known, far behind.

With a purse, a cell phone and a small bag with a few necessities, Camryn, with absolutely no direction or purpose boards a Greyhound bus alone and sets out to find herself. What she finds is a guy named Andrew Parrish, someone not so very different from her and who harbors his own dark secrets. But Camryn swore never to let down her walls again. And she vowed never to fall in love.

But with Andrew, Camryn finds herself doing a lot of things she never thought she’d do. He shows her what it’s really like to live out-of-the-box and to give in to her deepest, darkest desires. On their sporadic road-trip he becomes the center of her exciting and daring new life, pulling love and lust and emotion out of her in ways she never imagined possible. But will Andrew’s dark secret push them inseparably together, or tear them completely apart?

… … …

So I feel like I haven’t read anything completely romantic in a while. This one had caught my eye during the summer when I was frequenting the bookstore. The black and grey tones of the cover, along with the cursive writing of the last word of the title made me think of Paris. I haven’t been there yet, but that’s just what came to mind. The only problem I had with it, was the fact that when you look quickly, the ‘N’ in never doesn’t stand out as much as the rest of the writing. I had thought it was The Edge of Ever.

The book itself. I loved it. Though, I have to admit that I liked Andrew, Camryn’s love interest more than I liked her. I feel a little guilty. Reading romance novels\chick lit, I feel as if there’s a silent imaginary girl code where you have to automatically like the main character for support. A little illogical and unreasonable, yeah- probably. I just feel that way when I crack it open. I think I may have stopped reading them for a bit because all the women just seemed like the same kind of person with different names. A little depressing, but in this book, Camryn nips that comparison in the bud.

Camryn isn’t your typical damsel in distress. She is a likeable character, and throughout the book, I like her a lot more than I did in the beginning. She just comes off a little cold? I guess there’s a point to it, probably having to do with character developement and all that jazz. At the Underworld- an exclusive club that she and her best friend Natalie and Damon, Nat’s BF wiggle their way into, Camryn trots off to the sex room or sex balcony (I couldn’t really gather the description properly) to talk with bartender Blake to talk. Camryn is usually standoffish when it comes to guys, even going as far to tell them that she is a lesbian so they won’t start up a conversation. I’m a little shocked when she decides to chat up Blake boy, but as the reader I roll with the punches.

Later, after a fight with her best pal, Camryn just absolutely has to get away. She has no idea where she’s going, she just knows that she needs to go. I think this is the part of the book that I adored. I can relate to that feeling of just wanting to pack a bag and go anywhere. To read it on paper, or in this case on my cellular device, it was refreshing to read. Now! Andrew finally comes into the picture. But unlike the chatty Cathy that Camryn was with Blake, she tries her best not to talk to him until of course his music shoves her out of her beauty sleep.

Their dynamic changes though when they acknowledge their attraction for each other? It’s pretty sweet, Andrew is this pretty laid back, laissez-faire kind of guy. With tattoos. And plays the guitar. Swoon. Anyway. Besides his misuse with the word ‘babe’, he was totally adorable in that sexy knight in shining armor kind of way. After Andrew saves Camryn from near assault, or dreadfully much worse- they decide to spend the rest of their road trip together. Winkwink. They travel to New Orleans where Andrew coaxes Camryn to conquer a few of her fears while they conquer each other through the sheets. Was that a lame line that I just dropped?

Yes, it was

.The sex scenes were a little weird. I thought J.A was going to border the BDSM craze. She didn’t, but I thought she would.

Though, I think things moved way quickly, but I suppose that’ll happen on a roadtrip with stranger. This book was a tad inspirational in the aspect that after reading it, I immediately wanted to get up and do something I’ve never done. Great motivation. I should take it to the gym. Half kidding.

xox,
Sasha

Michelle’s Paper Garden: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Title: Neverwhere

Author: Neil Gaiman

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

Year: 2003

Type: Paperback

Number of Pages: 370

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Horror, Fantasy, Adventure, Contemporary

Summary: When Richard Mayhew stops one day to help a girl he finds bleeding on a London pavement, his life is forever altered, for he finds himself propelled into an alternative reality that exists in a subterranean labyrinth of sewer canals and abandoned subway stations. He has fallen through the cracks of reality and has landed somewhere different, somewhere that is Neverwhere.

[http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/14497.Neverwhere]

Review:

Slight rant before beginning: that is a ridiculously short summary. The Time Machine had a longer summary than that and the book is half the size of Neverwhere. Hmph.

This is one of my favourite books. Thank you, that is my review.

I’m just kidding! Okay so this book is weird. Basically, there is a whole hidden world under our world and each station of London’s Underground is something different. How cool is that?

The main character, Richard, is a little annoying because he doesn’t really do much, but there is an array of better characters in the book like Lady Door who can magically open doors anywhere and the Marquis de Carabas who is my favourite character. Lady Door is clever and a strong female lead. Thank you for the strong female lead. I am so sick of reading about damsels in distress. Give me a girl who can hold her own. Marquis is odd and a little two-faced. The only reason he even helps Door is because she will have to owe him a favour. The villains of Neverwhere were creepy and twisted and gave me the heebie-jeebies. They love blood and torture. They are a pair of sick cookies and they will stop at nothing to kill Door. I loved them, especially after reading American Gods where the villains were less than scary. (That is a review for another time)

As for the story, you have to go in knowing that it is going to be weird. Think world of Alice in Wonderland or Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and with about the same level of randomness. Question nothing and all will be well, though the world building is very impressive; it almost seems plausible if magic was a real thing and all. Anyway, the world and the eccentric characters fascinated me and the story kept me hooked.

Oh a word of caution: Stay away from the graphic novel and the miniseries.

5/5

Like I said, this is one of my favourite books. Neil Gaiman is godly and the sooner you accept that, the sooner you will find true happiness.