Tuesday, February 28, 2012

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥: Love At Absolute Zero by Christopher Meeks

Love At Absolute Zero
Christopher Meeks

Release Date: July 22nd, 2011
Publisher: White Whisker Books
Page Count: 304
Source: Complimentary copy provided by author, via Bewitching Book Tours, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review, as part of the Love At Absolute Zero virtual tour

Love At Absolute Zero is the story of Gunnar Gunderson, a 32-year-old physicist at the University of Wisconsin. The moment he's given tenure at the university, he can only think of one thing: finding a wife. This causes his research to falter. With his two partners, Gunnar is in a race against MIT to create new forms of matter called Bose-Einstein condensates, which exist only near absolute zero. To meet his soulmate within three days—that's what he wants and all time he can carve out—he and his team are using the scientific method, to riotous results.
What Stephanie Thinks: When it comes to the social scene, particularly the female social scene, Gunnar Gunderson has never had the luck. He likes women, he's sure—in fact, he likes them a lotbut having grown up a dorky little science geek, as an adult, his charisma is slightly lacking to say the least.

As a character, I absolutely adored Gunnar! He's perfectly awkward and well-intentioned and adorable. I could definitely relate to some of his mishaps
how his life never plays out the way he imagines it. Just because he's a physics professor doesn't mean he's not imaginative. And in a sad way, I learned, just because he is thirty-two, a grown man, doesn't mean he's not naïve. One too many times, he's had his heart fooled, which may be the bane of his inability to score. But he needs game, he discovers. Call it a mid-life crisis, but he needs gamehe needs a womanand he needs it now.

With the help of supportive (even if ludicrous) fellow-science-nerd friends, and a rock-solid mom and sis, Gunnar learns that the true meaning of love cannot be defined and planned accordingly; that the true meaning of love lies subjectively within the individual, and that it never, especially in the beginning, plays out how you will expect it to.

Meeks's writing, I feel, isn't highly laudable. I admire how he can incorporate humor and physics together into a love story (now that I think about it, that feat itself is pretty impressive), but the style is a little stiff, doesn't flow very well. Nothing that keeps me up at night. The story's very readable, though; I didn't have any trouble getting through it, and didn't have to force myself to keep turning pages.

If you're in for a rather untraditional happily-ever-after love tale with a little bit of science geek innuendo and a whole lot of genuine emotion
something we rarely see from the male perspective, but what I think Meeks does an incredible job at conveyingthen pick up Love At Absolute Zero to give it a try!

Stephanie Loves: "'The most painful state of being is remembering the future, particularly one you can never have."

Radical Rating: 8 hearts: An engaging read; highly recommended. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Friday, February 24, 2012

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥: King of Paine by Larry Kahn

Release Date: April 26th, 2011
Publisher: North Atlanta
Page Count: 353
Source: Complimentary copy provided by author, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you!)

A desperate patient. A rumored cure. How far would you go to find the fountain of youth?

Frank Paine is not your prototypical FBI agent. He's an ex-Hollywood stud with a kinky past, an irreverent wise-ass who craves forgiveness from the woman he loves. When a ruthless stalker uses Frank's indiscretions to ensnare him in an erotic cat-and-mouse death match, his investigation points toward a missing biochemist. His hunt for her secret haven takes one tragic turn after another, until he finds himself facing an impossible dilemma. Someone will die as a result of his decisions, and it may be his soulmate. Or him.
What Stephanie Thinks: Can I first just say that the blurb of this book, as well as the cover, really, doesn't do it justice? The blurb makes it sound like a fantasy novel, and the cover, something incredibly sex-targeted. While sex is one of the main themes of this story, it's not what you're thinking; it's not just another piece of erotica. The "fantasy" aspect isn't so over-the-top, either. In fact, it's very scientific, very legal, in a way that I never expected just from the cover. Even with the sensitive issues of BDSM and euthanasia, I think King of Paine makes for brilliant, overall completely satisfying suspense science fiction—one that enters the mainstream, and one that ought to be way better-recognized.

Frank Paine is basically the ideal romantic suspense hero. I know this book doesn't come off as a love story—that's another thing to add to the list of what one wouldn't expect from this novel—but beyond the FBI cracking down clues and delusional serial killers carrying out heinous sex crimes, King of Paine is a love story. Paine has the good looks and the charm and the mentality. What he doesn't have, is atonement for his past, nor riddance of the ghosts that haunt him of the woman he screwed up with majorly many years before, but still loves, even to this day. But when she, Jolynn Decker—former small-time actress now-turned bar dancer, thanks to his fuck-ups—suddenly shows up again after all this time, the fact that her entrance is ill-timed to the case he's working on, can't possibly be a coincidence. The top-secret case involves humiliation, sex humiliation, via the dangerous world of online BDSM chat rooms and other methods of kink. And both Frank and Jolynn turn scarlet as they remember their own kinky past. However, Frank realizes he can't allow his past with Jolynn to impede his dilemmas now. Because if he keeps extracting his old ghosts, he won't ever be able to progress in the present.

I know some of you are wincing right now. BDSM and sexual internet perversion in a mainstream novel? Yessir. Trust me, even though the topics are a little racy, the story is more than just twisted fiction. I seriously think King of Paine is the most canny and intelligent suspense piece I've ever read. Kahn's literary style is, I cannot stress enough, very impressive, and his organization and consistency of thought (which are the essential elements of a good whodunnit) amaze me. His diction is grandiose, never boring and always intriguing, but he does all this without sounding unprofessional or perverted, in the way that many authors of similar genres do.

What I think I'm keenest on, is how this book covers so many branches of interest. Not just the sex, but also the federal suspense, the science of youth, the medical world, the secrets. Accolades to Kahn for his ability to somehow weave all of these together.

As for characters, the two I like best, surprise surprise, are Frank and Jolynn. Frank, while he is the typical sexyass hunk (you know how fond of them I am), is also just in my opinion, the perfect man. Not perfect as in flawless, because he has many imperfections as we humans tend to, but perfect as in respectable and admirable even with his mistakes and shortcomings. He doesn't let his status—both social and physical—get to his head, which I love about him. He stays grounded by the woman he loves fiercely, even though he knows she'll hurt him most, and that kind of courage pulls at my heart. Jolynn's character on the other hand, isn't as deeply probed, but I think she would be the kind of person I'd get along with well in real life. Witty and beautiful in that ethereal, unattainable way, she's another character I fell in love with and rooted for during the entire book. The secondary characters (Frank's coworkers, the prime suspects, the old friends) are likable also, and I think characterization is another one of Kahn's many strengths.

I really don't think my review does this book justice either. It's just THAT good. Sorry if my thoughts are a bit messy, but if my review isn't clear enough, you must go check this one out. At times, some of the scientific facts and law-related data become dull, but overcoming them heightens the adrenaline of its plot, trust me. This book will become your newest obsession as well as your biggest nightmare. Yes, I fucking dreamed about it. It is a medical suspense and a legal thriller and contemporary literary sex propaganda all rolled into one. It is fucking fantastic, not only for its stunning depth and complexity, but for its all-encompassing message that love, even when all hope is lost, shall prevail, but only if you really try, and only if you are willing to sacrifice all you have now and all you worked for in the past, to make it work out.

Stephanie Loves: "Running a hand through his clipped hair, Frank knew in his heart Jolynn was not playing him, at least not in the way Jero imagined. The problem was that his heart had betrayed him before."

Radical Rating: 9 hearts: Loved it! This book has a spot on my favorites shelf. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

the sweetest revenge

Is it more potent to stay silent and smile my tears away, or to act cool but plot a secret and more destructive vengeance? I'm never one to stand to the side, but then again, Korea isn't my playing field, so maybe just this once, I shouldn't fight back.

The problem is, this isn't just once; this is the second time I've been screwed over by a stupid guy. I've never not had a chance with a guy I'm interested in. Boys I like have always liked me back, and in the States, always pursued me. The rules here are a bit different though. This is the first time I've been teased. I have never been "the other girl" because I'm so used to being the girl. I don't like this new feeling much.

It isn't like I've ever been looking for a relationship, either. But the opportunities keep arising, and then are snatched away just as fast.

This is the longest time -- six months -- I've gone without a relationship. Unless I count the few guys here and there I've gone out with. But I don't -- they were trivial and I had a little fun with them, nothing more.

I hate the feeling of being single.