#FictionalWorldTravel: The first challenge for Bout of Books!

Hellllllo, you may have seen earlier in the month that I’m taking part in the Bout of Books readathon which I entered with little thought to what I was letting myself into. On finally researching into said readathon I found that there are a number of challenges that you can partake in. Today’s is from Between Library Shelves and it’s to list 3-6 books that take place in different countries than you reside on. I am currently living in Stoke-on-Trent, in the UK so that was out of bounds but I managed to find a couple that would fit.
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#FictionalWorldTravel
  1. Phoning home, essays by Jacob M. Appel (Set in NY City)
  2. Chocolat by Joanne Harris (Set in a village in France)
  3. The Penguin history of Modern Russia (Set in… Russian)
  4. Winter Birds by Jim Grimsley (Set in Northa Carolina)

There are my five books for the #FictionalWorldTravel challenge, and also my first book for the Bout of Book readathon will be ‘Little Women by Louisa M Alcott. Exciting stuff; if you’re taking part in #boutofbooks let me know below in the comments!

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BOUT OF BOOKS 2K15

 Bout of Books 14

I thought it was time to finally declare that I, Lizzy at MLBB will this year be participating in the Bout of Books read-a-thon. I’ve wanted to do one of these for a while but I’m always a little late to the party. Not this timeee; if you want to join me in this bookish mission step forward and sign up on the Bout of Books blog!

annnnd for those that don’t know what Bout of Books is… here you go:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 17th and runs through Sunday, August 23rd in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 14 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

I’m not quite sure how many books I will get completed but it’s going to be a lot of fun.

Progress:

Monday

Books Read: 0

Pages Read: 105

Total Read: 105

Minutes Read: Lots of little bits so I’m not too sure.

Notes: I participated in the Fictional World Travel Challenge and I’m currently reading Little Women by Louisa May Alcott which I am really enjoying.

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Tuesday

Books Read: 0

Pages Read: 67

Total Read: 172

Minutes Read: I forgot to time this as before 

Notes: Ended up going for a raucous night out with the lovely people I call my friends up in SOT so I failed a little on the reading count. If I finish Little Women and get more stuck into 1Q84 I’ll be a happy bunny.

Progress:

Wednesday

Books Read: 0

Pages Read: 145

Total Read: 317

Minutes Read: Couple of hours

Notes: Feeling much better about the challenge as of today although still have lots to get read. I’m reallly enjoying little women but I understand totally why I struggled so much with it as a younger reader. An evening in with T I didn’t get quite as much done as I wanted but hopefully Thursday we get a bit more done!

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Progress:

Thursday

Books Read: 0

Pages Read: 655 (325)

Total Read: 642

Minutes Read: A few hours 

Notes: I still haven’t finished a book because I switched and instead read The Death of Danny Daggers by author Haydn Wilks (@haydnwilks.) I’m really enjoying Little Women but it is a bit full on and I fancied something a bit lighter in terms of the language used. However, because TDODD it’s an ARC and a PDF copy the writing seems to be super big so although I did read 655 pages, I’m not sure this is a fair showing of how many pages so I’ve divided it by two. Which brings my total so far to 655 #holla.

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Progress:

Friday

Books Read: 2

Pages Read: 330

Total Read: 972

Minutes Read: A few hours 

Notes: Today I finished reading The Death of Danny Daggers by author I Haydn Wilks (@haydnwilks.) I’m really just got into it, got my head down and polished it off. Brilliant book with some superb writing, characters and a really gritty feel. I also finished Little Women, I think I was in such a daze reading it that I didn’t realise I had only one chapter to go, so on the way home to Milton Keynes I finished it off. Pretty perfect.

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Progress:

Saturday

Books Read: 2

Pages Read: 170

Total Read: 1142

Minutes Read: An hour or so

Notes: Apologies for the lack of updates over the weekend. I was at home for the weekend celebrating my sisters birthday and I just didn’t have a minute to get this updated. I didn’t have a lot of time for reading but I started reading ‘What Milo Saw’ by Virginia Macgregor. It’s beautiful so far.

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Progress:

Sunday

Books Read: 3

Pages Read: 249 

Total Read: 1391

Minutes Read: Just over two hours

Notes: After a busy weekend, T and I travelled home for a good rest and although I was so very tired I just about managed to polish off the last of What Milo Saw, and I was so close to tears. I need to write the review up today before I forget how beautiful it all was but yes, three books, read lots more than I thought and I’m tempted to write a close up piece to this challenge. Maybe, we’ll see.

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The Escort Next Door: Clara Jones

Evening little bloggers. Just a word of caution, this is going to be a review of a different kind today for mylittlebookblog, as this review will be the first review of a book from the ‘erotica’ genre. Gasp of horror? Well, that’s the whole reasoning for this new outlook on books focusing on lust and romance of the slightly more intense variety. The idea is to get more bloggers reading, reviewing and most importantly talking about erotic literature. Since the 50 shades epidemic, more and more erotic literature is being written however it isn’t being discussed or reviewed as much as it should be. I got involved in this through twitter after seeing the hash-tag #SexMeUpReadathon. I was intrigued, and after reading the numerous tweets signed up. Now, the idea is that we book bloggers start blogging more about this seemingly less talked about genre! If you do have Twitter, I would really encourage you to take a nosy and see if you can get involved. As the host of this ‘readathon’ states it doesn’t matter if you read one or ten different books it’s about raising the profile of said authors and their books.

I guess it’s important to start this review with my original thoughts on erotic fiction. My first real encounter with this genre was, as I guess is the same with many, through ‘The 50 Shades of Grey,’ trilogy. I remember sitting with my friends, reading out the worst passages and rolling around on the floor laughing. I did eventually read the first, and the second book in the series but gave up before finishing the series. I disliked the control that was enforced and at times found the whole experience rather humiliating and hurtful. Dropping the book down the side of my bed one night after a particularly rough scene I am pretty sure it will still be down there, collecting dust as I type. It is fair to say that when I started this book, on the train back up to Stoke On Trent, that I was slightly surprised. Reading the first couple of paragraphs I stopped, shut the book and looked again at the title, yes, still the Escort Next Door. The book opens incredibly gently. I don’t know what I expected but instead of a saucy entry we rather casually meet Julia who apparently has the seemingly perfect family; a successful husband and three wonderful kids. From the outside all seems well, but behind closed doors things are anything but ordinary. Julia’s marriage has become distant and she finds stunning evidence about her husband’s actions on his business trips. Julia wants to escape and decides to make a decision that will change her life forever.

I think what really surprised me about this book was that the story really covers a number of different emotions. Not only does it follow the ultimate betrayal by her husband in which we see her helpless and distraught. But the feelings grow immeasurably through to angry, then panicked. However we see a stronger side, filled with maternal emotion that pushes through to create this new empowered, strong and determined female. It surprised me that in such a short narrative story so many different themes and emotions could be explored. Additionally although I found the story ultimately unrealistic, I think it is due to the main character changing from naive and wholesome to sex-starved goddess in a matter of pages, that the book covers a lot of background and works on developing the supporting characters. This is seen in the descriptions of the children, and the weaving in of the back-story of the best friend. This gave the book some depth and weight which helped to cement me as a reader into the story line. Although the book is short, it doesn’t feel like the book is stood on weak foundations, but there is a web of emotions and feelings that helps to sustain the unrealistic plot line and therefore makes the story a little more believable or at least distracts the reader a little.

I thought the scenes that do depict the sex scenes are written with a sense of understanding of how two people enjoy each other, unlike it’s 50 shades counterpart, and without being too strong it manages to describe the event rather strongly but without becoming to smutty. When starting this book I worried that the erotic scenes would become too strong and overpowering but they have just enough description to entice the reader without it all becoming a little too much. I don’t know whether I am not used to erotic fiction or whether it is the nature of the story that made me feel a little uncomfortable but for someone just starting as a reader of this genre it was just enough to peak an interest without scaring me off. The only thing that really caused a rift in my reading was an ethical side to the story; the female in the story becomes an escort due to knowing that without her husband she is nothing. For me, the manipulation of her needs as a mother was a little distracting, and I did think to myself at points that the story was stood on a incredibly difficult situation that didn’t quite work for me as a reader in this particular genre . I did find myself thinking, escort? Potentially a part-time job would have done. Although I have only read the first book in the story and I would be surprised if the author didn’t delve into this more in the following books, it did take a little away for me.

I think the main aspect I have taken from this is that erotica can be interesting and can revolve more around the relationships built and the intensity created that what you would normally expect. I understand as a reader that my views have been tainted by the farcical 50 shades, and although I know have mentioned it a lot, I think it is important to state that reading a book of this content has really changed my mind on erotic fiction. Although for me it was a little clichéd, it was a strong difference to the latter erotic fiction I have found myself reading and I think with the right book I would continue to explore the boundaries that writers and bloggers are pushing. I think what surprised me most was the strength of the writing; although I don’t think writing about sexual relationships wholly is difficult I assumed much like 50 Shades, that there would be a lack of build up of the story, however instead I found myself being drawn into the narrative and thinking ‘what would I do in that situation?’

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