A Note:


I once told myself: IF I am accepted into grad school, this blog would no longer be updated. As it turns out, in April, I received news of my acceptance for the Fall 2013 semester, where I will attain a Master's degree of Science in Nutrition.

Running a blog, as many of you may already know, is a demanding side job once the excitement wears off. And once I fell out of the blogging community's loop (have you SEEN how many blogs there are now? Wow!), it was like the kiss of death. Despite my best efforts, I couldn't get into a blogging routine once this happened due to the disconnect I felt from the community.

So I took a break. I struggled with the loss and with missing my blog. And then I realized I didn't have to run Book Faery to still be a book reviewer; I could read my books and post reviews online. I'm still a book review blogger, just not in the traditional sense.

I'll still be online. You can chat with me on Twitter, where I'll be posting links to my reviews and talking books. I'll also be posting links to nutrition articles. And if you'd like to connect with me where I guarantee I will post reviews, just add me as a friend on Goodreads.

So that's all, folks! It's been a fun and amazing journey, and I thank you all for listening to my thoughts about books. I hope we all can keep in touch elsewhere :)


Sunday, August 8, 2010

(Day 8) Guest Post: Andrea Cremer


Welcome to another day of The Battle of the Sexies!  It is with much delight that I introduce today's wonderful guest, Andrea Cremer!  She's a debut author and creature of the paranormal YA werewolf story Nightshade.

"Andrea Cremer spent her childhood daydreaming while roaming the forests and lakeshores of Northern Wisconsin. She now lives in Minnesota, but she thinks of her homeland as the “Canadian Shield” rather than the Midwest.

Andrea has always loved writing and has never stopped writing, but she only recently plunged into the deep end of the pool that is professional writing. When she’s not writing, Andrea teaches history at a very nice liberal arts college in St. Paul.

In the little spare time she can find, Andrea stares up at trees, rescues infant rabbits from predatory cats, and invents names for pug puppies with her husband. She has an unfortunate tendency to spill things – white carpets beware!

Her debut novel, NIGHTSHADE, the first of a YA fantasy series, will be published in fall 2010 by Penguin (Philomel)."

Courtesy of Andrea's website.

Connect with Andrea:

Andrea Cremer: Seeing Double

            She watches him, her virgin’s heart fluttering as he peels away a shirt already tested to the limits by his brawn. Her creamy bosom heaves as she wonders what the searing prickles stirring quite a bit lower than her belly might mean. Surely she’ll understand once her own true love finishes unbuckling his belt and reveals the source of the passion straining against his leather trousers. Then he’ll teach her everything he already knows and she’s aching to learn.
            Sound familiar? It should.
            Now I love a good bodice ripper, so don’t get me wrong, but this post is about sexual double standards, why I have a problem with them, and why I think you should too. So bear with me while I stand on my soap box. I won’t be burning my bra but I will speak my mind rather loudly.
            The steamy scenes I write and read are among my favorites. It’s hard to appreciate a novel that doesn’t give you at least one good toe-curling moment. But too often these scenes are predicated on stereotyped characters: hero – sexually experienced to ensure his lady will always be satisfied, even during that trying first time; heroine – sexual novice, maybe she’s seen third base, but it’s likely she’s still hovering around first. Even if she’s a plucky fighter, she’s guarded her virtue, unwilling to give away her heart or her body until tall, dark, and sexually irresistible shows up to share his worldly ways with her.
            It’s a good formula, right? Maybe. Maybe not.
            The reason it works so well is that the titillation of inexperience, of discovery, of the forbidden is very appealing. But it also robs heroines of choice, power, and their own sexual journeys. If literary women are always swept away, it becomes a foregone conclusion that they lack the skills to do the sweeping. What’s even worse is that the standard presumes something would be wrong with them if they could do it.
            But the dangers go further than that. Sexual awakening, discovery, and experience are encountered by both women and men in their life journeys. Yet for some reason, our society still splits that inexperience, rendering each side’s expectations neither unrecognizable to the other. While it’s considered run of the mill for boys to hide porn under their mattresses and get…um…familiar with their own anatomy on a nightly basis, girls are loaded down with the weight of responsibility, getting advice about pregnancy, STDs, and maintaining reputations with nary a vibrator in sight. They’re told how to entice boys without giving away too much and god forbid they should know anything about how to make sex an enjoyable experience on their end of things.
            These expectations plague the heroes and heroines of many a book and the reactions to characters who step out of bounds reflects the problems these double standards create. One of my favorite series at the moment is Sarah Rees Brennan’s The Demon’s Lexicon and The Demon’s Covenant. Sarah has written some amazing posts about sexual double standards and she’s commented that her kick-ass protagonist Mae, who had the audacity to date and *gasp* even kiss more than one boy in the same book gets called a “skank” and “ho” while the boys doing the very same thing receive only praise.
            Let me say it now: this is not okay. It is not okay for women to be robbed of sexual power when men get to flaunt it. Women should be able to be sexually aggressive and experienced without being called horrible names for it. The playing field should be equal on all fronts.
            Here’s another example of what’s not okay. A romance novel I read quite a while ago, that will remain nameless, started out in this way: Man asks servant to find him a prostitute to sate his manly needs, man’s servant instead mistakenly brings in virginal lady. Man proceeds to rape virginal lady because he presumes she’s a “whore” who is just being “saucy” when he assaults her and she fights back. I kept expecting the “hero” to show up and stop this horrific scenario. But guess what? The rapist WAS the hero. The virgin only didn’t enjoy being raped because she fought him and also OOPS mister sexually experienced hero wouldn’t have been so rough with her if he’d known she was a lady and not a whore and also that she was a virgin to be sensitively deflowered. Yet somehow, this is the way she becomes enamored of him, eventually marries him, and lives happily ever after.
            Excuse me? No. Just no.
            Sexual double standards perpetuate the idea that sexual violence against women can somehow be justified. It. Cannot. Not. Ever. The fact that strong, sexy women are labeled “skank” and “ho” is a form of violence against them. Until the heroines of our stories can be sexy and sexual as the heroes without being villainized for it we’re dealing with a frightening patriarchal bias. Inequality on the page reflects inequalities in our world. Among my favorite authors writing now I’m starting to see those inequalities broken down and women’s sexuality being treated with respect. Because women should be able to roar, and purr, as they see fit.

One winner will receive an ARC of Nightshade.

Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she’ll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters’ laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything - including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

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  1. Great post! What I find the most frustrating is that it is readers that continue to perpetuate this nonsense. I've seen lots of posts on the Amazon romance forums about how the readers don't like it if their precious little heroines have "slept around" (defined as actually daring to have had sex - or even worse, liked it - with someone other than the hero). This makes me want to throw up. I just pray that these readers are grandmothers who grew up in a different age. Attitudes do change, but it usually requires a generation or two for that to happen.

  2. I completely agree! That's one reason I love the Riley Jenson series by Keri Arthur so much, she's sexually experinced but doesn't think bad of herself or let other think bad of her for it!

  3. You hit the nail right on the head here, Andrea. What an excellent post and I'm so happy someone has stood up and commented about it.
    While a lot of YA females are virgins, it shouldn't be a huge issue if they're not or if, God forbid, they kiss and touch more than one guy throughout the novel.
    If a guy can do it, why can't a girl? Gotta love Sex and the City for making promiscious women the norm.

  4. Yeah, Andrea. Gotta agree with you that story of the lady and the so-called "hero" that doesn't sit well with me, either. Ick. I've written shy, reserved heroines, but I'd *never* make her fall in love with a rapist. Just...ick.

  5. Great closing line. :) This post is extremely relevant, and makes me want to go out and write that saucy, kick-ass heroine.

  6. Great post.

    Oddly, I deal with a different kind of issue. Since I write m/m, I have to deal with the fact that gay men are stereotyped as overly sexual and promiscuous. Can be hard to find in writing a strong, monogomous m/m romance or main characters who have a lot more on their mind than sex and sexuality.

    And what about male virgins? Can't it be okay for a male to not have sex before he's 18?
    What about asexuals who don't have interest in sex at all (like me)?

    Great post and plenty to think about in the future.

  7. This. Is. Excellent! I've noticed the same disturbing trend and it's upsetting! Boys are "men" if they "get laid" but girls who "give it up" are "sluts"? Like Andrea said: No. Just no. It's disgusting and despicable and this world hasn't come as far as it likes to think it has. Ugh. Thank you for speaking up! Great post!

  8. I couldn't agree with you more and wish that more people shared your opinion.

  9. I agree with this post. Every story I've read about a girl is about the girl getting taken advantage of or being duped and naieve about sex. I kind of want to read a book where the guy is inexperienced and the girl has the audacity to you know, enjoy her life.

  10. Let me be the male voice here. There is something charming about the virgin girl in a novel, but I find most of these scenes are so unrealistic. First time sex is usually awkward and disappointing--even painful. These romanticized encounters must leave teen readers feeling inept when they actually have their first sexual experiences. In my writing, from the male perspective, I never say if the girl was a virgin or not, and the experience tends to be more clinical. And, since my male characters are usually not in very good places mentally, the girl tends to dictate the action in bed. Even when he takes charge, he's insecure about it. I also use the male description of sex to show where the guy is mentally. Graphic sex, it's about just that. True love, much more restrained, maybe no details at all. That's how real guys are, so that's how the characters should be. But I agree, all these fantasy experienced heroes pleasing the virgin--come on! They're high school kids. They probably ate Doritos after and watched Jersey Shore. www.wiliamfriskey.com www. williamfriskey.blogspot.com

  11. I love, love, love this post!!! Especially as a YA Romance writer, I'm astounded by the unrealistic sexual limits put on female protags so they can still be considered "likable". Then many male protags in contemporary YA get to express their horny thoughts and sexual conquests in more realistic ways and still be considered "nice boys" in the end. Female protags should be allowed the same level of thoughts, experimenting and fumbling when it comes to their sexual experiences. Otherwise how will the protag learn and grow?

  12. This is a great post and a fantastic giveaway. I really want to read this one.

  13. I keep seeing this cover all over the place. Thanks for offering the giveaway. I lost my connection while entering and might have entered twice by mistake.