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book review


Be your own hero – U Star Novels review

November 13, 2014


Have you ever dreamed of starring in an action packed novel? Or maybe in a steamy romance? Or maybe you’d like to surprise your lover or your bestie? You can have all that with U Star Novels.

You can choose from a selection of hot steamy novels, classical literature or even books for kids and be the hero. For my trial, I selected Fever in France by Oliver Cook, described as a James Bond style story with some sexiness thrown in for good measure.

The process is very simple – when you select your preferred story, it prompts you to provide some personal details, such as eye colour, favourite cologne, favourite car, etc. Some of the books even allow you to pick a preferred cover and I picked a fairly discreet cover for this one.

I thought this process was a lot of fun and gave me a few laughs while imagining how they would turn out in the book. If you are getting it as a gift for a friend or your partner, you can also have a dedication written on the front page. How’s that for a perfect gift? If you are thinking of getting one of these books as a present, make sure you order a couple of weeks in a advance as it does take up to 10 days to be delivered. Also, if you are reading this in Australia or the US, they have dedicated websites where you can order from.

I’m planning on doing a couple of readings while getting cosy by the fire with a glass of wine. Oh, what fun it will be to read out loud some of the sections in the book to the boyfriend:

“He looked back up the hill, thinking about the black Mercedes that had driven away, it had obviously stopped at the scene. Had they driven off with Sara, or had she escaped up the bank and into the forest? E scrambled up the rough slope, he had to check. After searching for what seemed like an eternity he saw something lying in the dirt a few metres away. It was a pink piece of fabric and covered in dust; it was Sara’s bikini top. He picked it up and held it to his face, it smelt of Miss Coco Chanel, her favourite perfume.”

I know, right? Sounds much better than 50 Shades already, I can tell you.




Joseph Ari Aloi AKA JK5 – a book review

May 8, 2014







A week ago I marched down (or “trained” as I didn’t really go on foot and took the train, badum tisshhhhh) to London to meet up with Joseph Ari Aloi, the artist I interviewed a couple of weeks ago, and attend his book signing at the opening of Seven Doors Tattoo, on Fashion Street. I wanted to get some nice photos of the event but it was so crowded I didn’t even take my camera out. I have committed everything to my memory though, and I am so glad I didn’t miss this event.

Meeting Joseph has been an interesting experience in itself – you see, he is a very creative and complex person and his creative energy is extremely contagious. I don’t think anyone can remain indifferent to his character and intense personality, I know I haven’t. After I read the book it all made even more sense and I saw, by reading all the essays by other people, that I’m not the only one. Joseph is the kind of person with such a good and intense vibe that you can’t help but feel it. This time I didn’t get the chance to have a tattoo done by Joseph but it’s on my list of things I want to do in the future (maybe the next time I’m in NYC?). More importantly, I have gained a friend and those can be hard to come by.

The pages on his notebooks are a reflection of what goes on in his mind, always imaginative, always searching. The visual and verbal puns are extremely funny and clever – the ever present Star Wars references and the Hello Kitty ones especially made me chuckle. There are so many layers to Joseph’s work that you can stare at these pages for hours, go back and still find something new, some new meaning, a tiny hidden character or symbol. His spirituality, ideas, pain and happiness are all there, in an honest and overwhelming visual torrent, that is impossible to absorb in its entirety. His visual language is full of references, pop culture, logos, spirituality, toys, Star Wars, sex, symbols and rune-like pictograms. Some can be hard to decipher or understand the meaning of but that doesn’t take away from how visually stimulating it all is.

The book is a beautiful edition by Rizzoli, 240 pages of pure visual delight, a monograph of Joseph’s life and work over the last 12 years with a few pages of the previous years. You can find it on Amazon and selected bookstores everywhere – get it, you won’t regret it. I know I haven’t.

If you would like to know some more of Joseph’s work head on to: Tumblr blog and website.


Sasha Grey’s Juliette Society – a review

May 2, 2014

I bumped into this book by mere chance. I had gone into the discount book shop ‘The Works‘ and they had a 3 for £5 discount. I didn’t know that Miss Grey had written a book so I thought I’d bring it home to have a look (mere scientific curiosity, you see?).

For those who don’t know: Sasha Grey is one of the most popular adult film actresses of the last few years (I’m not linking up to her website- it’s quite NSFW). She started very young, at 18 in that industry and left it at 21. Ever since then she’s been participating in other films such as The Girlfriend Experience and making experimental ambient music with the  project aTelecine (I like their music, I’m a weirdo what can I say), among other things. Not the first adult actress to do move to mainstream cinema- remember Traci Lords, who was in Cry Baby? (If you can consider a John Waters film to be mainstream but that’s another story). So, my curiosity was been piqued and I wanted to see what her literary talents were in the erotica genre. 

The book is described as the story of a young film student (Catherine), who gets drawn into the claws of a powerful men’s sex club called Juliette’s Society, the name a reference to Marquis de Sade. I was halfway through the book, and hadn’t read a word about the said Juliette Society. I would say this is more about that girl’s exploration of her psyche, how contradicted she feels about it and her coming to terms with it- long gone are the days of bra burning feminism, in which any woman worth her salt should be a female eunuch… Fortunately nowadays feminism has moved on and you’re no longer seen as a lesser woman if you enjoy the carnal pleasures (let’s not get into a discussion about modern feminism as this is not what this post is about). Somehow, Catherine still feels like her desires are strange and unusual, until she meets Anna and gets introduced to an entirely different world – people, places and makes her question her feelings even more.

There is a lot of internal dialogue in the book -lots of descriptions (very vivid ones) of her fantasies, as she seems to have an unfulfilled sex life with her boyfriend, the friendship with another fellow student (Anna) who is into all kinds of kink and lots and lots of references to cinema, art etc. I get it. I understand why a parallel was established between the way Catherine feels and the character played by Catherine Deneuve in Bunuel’s film Belle de Jour, and that’s because I’ve seen it. I understand why certain references are mentioned because I know them, however, I feel that this might not be a book that’s understandable to anyone without a background or an interest in the arts. This is OK, not all books can be read by everyone (I certainly wouldn’t understand a book on Quantum Physics or whatever) but at the same time I don’t think I should have a PhD in art to be able to read a book like this (ahem, smut). To me, it feels like she needs to prove that although she was an adult film actress, she also has brains. Sasha, you have the smarts, stop trying to prove it to the world, your art will be a lot better if you stop trying so hard.

When finally you get introduced to the Juliette Society, things end up wrapping up rather quickly and I don’t know if it was because I was distracted but I was left a little bit confused with the conclusion. Still, it was an entertaining book, it reads rather well and in some bits, kinda hot.

In conclusion: Still a better love story than Twilight, still better written than 50 Shades of Grey…

If you want to buy the book, go here.