September Reading Log

So, 6 books read this month, and none of them audiobooks. I don’t know why, but I didn’t want to listen to audiobooks at work this month. Seems pretty heavy on the Young Adult this month, with what could be considered 2 memoirs thrown in. One less YA, and I could have claimed full house.

The Body Institute – Carol Riggs

In the future, being more than 20 pounds overweight for more than 3 months will get you fined. The good news? You can always go to the Body Institute and get a Reducer to help you out. Your mind gets stored, and the Reducer takes over your body, exercising and eating right, to help you lose the extra weight. Three to six months later, you’re back in your own body, which is now thin and toned. Sounds, great, right? Too bad there’s a few problems.

So, this was another Bookbub deal, and I’m glad I went for it. It’s an entertaining read, and an easy one. The world Morgan Dey lives in is an odd one. It’s like ours, but different. There are phones that do many things, but almost no one owns a car. The cities are split into zones, and certain colours are more appealing to live in than others. Being more than 20 pounds overweight is fineable, and the more overweight you are, the higher the fine.

Morgan’s a sympathetic character, who starts out naive and trusting of the body Institute, but wises up pretty quickly. The changes she undergoes during the book, especially of her view of people, and how the world is treating them, is interesting, and timely, when we live in world where fat shaming is a thing.

It reminds me a little bit of Dollhouse, the tv series, but with a less sinister ending. Morgan doesn’t get a full happily ever after, but the book wraps up nicely, without you feeling like there has to be a sequel.

Perfected – Kate Jarvik Birch

Set 20 minutes into the future, the US Government has passed legislation allowed genetically engineered humans to be sold as pets. Short, petite, and beautiful, these pets sell for high amounts, and billed as “lifelong companions” to the families they’re bought by. In short, they’re a status symbol. One pet, named Ella by her family, finds that life as a pet isn’t quite what she’d been told. There’s the issue of the previous pet having to be taken back to the kennel, people wanting to liberate pets, and her finding Penn, the son of her master, extremely interesting and attractive.

This one’s just okay. The premise is interesting, but ultimately, it’s an enslaved girl falling in insta-love with her master’s teenaged son. There is conflict, there are questions about the previous pet, there is discussion of whether or not pets are people, or are too genetically modified to be people.

Ella is kind of dull. She’s created to be window dressing, and in the manner of many of these teenage characters, she’s also a musician. A pianist, specifically. Lots of musicians in YA lately. The book is a normal length book, but it feels like it covers so little.

Tarnished – Kate Jarvik Birch

Sequel to Perfected. I actually bought this one first, thinking it was the first book. I actually found it as “other books you might like” in the back of The Body Institute. So, I had to go buy the first book and get through it.

More happens in this book, Ella starts to show her mettle, and people start to debate whether pets are human, or well, pets. Ella gets to see her beloved Penn again. There is drama, there is running, and there is the part I like best: tarnished pets. It’s what happens to pets when their owners can no longer care for them and they can’t be returned to the kennels that they were bought from. It’s the more interesting part of the book. You can guess what some of the pets become, but others do different things. It’s not a very nice picture. This was a more interesting book, but still felt like not a huge amount happened.

A Shade of Vampire – Bella Forrest

Some writer friends of mine were talking about the author, trying to figure out how Forrest gets the success she does. They decided it’s simply that she’s Bella Forrest, and left it at that. I went to check out the book to see what it was like.

Sofia gets kidnapped on her 17th birthday, and is spirited away to an island inhabited by vampires and those that serve them. The sun never shines, the vampires live in trees, and coincidentally, Derek, leader of the vampires, is being woken from a several hundred year old slumber. He wants to eat her, but she makes him regain control of himself, and he finds himself drawn to her. Because of course.

The book is only okay, and that’s probably because I’m not in the target market. Also, it reminded me way too much of Twilight, and I didn’t like Twilight. Sofia is kind of bland, although her Low Latent Inhibition disorder is interesting. Too bad once she gets to the island, we don’t see her becoming overwhelmed, or affected by it. I guess everything is quiet enough?

There’s a love triangle, a jealous brother, a prophecy to fulfill, and other things, but it just didn’t keep my interest. The alternating points of view were also annoying.

Some Girls: My Life in a Harem – Jillian Lauren

I’d wanted to read this book for a while. New York girl goes to Brunei to entertain the sultan’s younger brother, and essentially spends a while in a harem.

It sounded better than it was. There’s a lot of navel gazing, and getting off track. I understand the author had made some decisions that might have been questionable, but I don’t know how much of it we needed to gread about. There wasn’t a huge amount of material on her time in Brunei, which I found disappointing. What she does talk about is fascinating, and I wish there had been more of it. I realize time passed between the experience and the book, and she probably wasn’t thinking about writing a book about it while she was there, which is why there aren’t a large number of recollections about that time. Still, I was disappointed.

Love Wins: The Lovers and Lawyers Who Fought the Landmark Case for Marriage Equality – Debbie Cenziper, Jim Obergefell

Wow, what a long title. Costco had this book, and being a woman married to another woman, I knew this was required reading. So many people fought so long, and so hard, to allow me, and millions like me, to have the right to marry. The least I could do was read about them.

The book is great. It alternates between the story of Jim Obergefell and John Arthur, the couple behind the first major case (being listed as married on a death certificate), and the life of Al Gerhardstein, the lawyer who took the first of the cases to court. It ties in to to many of the other cases that ultimately lead up to the allowance of gay marriage in the country. I was crying at the end, it was a really moving book.