Wednesday, April 09, 2008

How to Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale by Jenna Jameson

Title: How to Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale
Author: Jenna Jameson
ISBN: 0060539097
Publisher: Regan Boks
No. of pages: 579
Rating: 7/10

Synopsis(from Amazon):
The current queen of the adult entertainment industry intimately and candidly offers up lifetimes worth of sexual experience - from her days as an under-age Las Vegas stripper to her present position as CEO of her own adult entertainment empire - in a hot, fun and informative guide on how to make love like a porn star. Jenna Jameson reigns as the queen of the adult entertainment industry. Not only is she today's most popular female adult star, but she may be the most recognisable porn star of all time, owing largely to her crossover into the mainstream. Jenna is bringing the adult entertainment industry out from behind closed doors and sexing up American pop culture. In her new book, Jenna will personally bring her audience into the bedroom for a lesson in love making that only Jenna could give. Jenna's book will be the opportunity her fans have been waiting to get intimate with her.

Not only will Jenna share with her readers an unparalleled wealth of information, but she will also take her readers through her own sexual development with personal stories of firsts, hilarious and charming recollections of days spent naked in front of the camera, nervous moments on stage as a teenage dancer in Las Vegas, her first experiences posing for Playboy and Penthouse, and her personal stories of love off-camera and on her own. More than a book of sex tips, this will be the story of how Jenna Jameson became the sex star that she is today, allowing her readers to learn from her life and experiences and parlay those lessons into an improved and open sex life with men, women, or both. With hot, fun and detailed instructions on acts of love and lust ranging from strip-teasing to oral sex, Jenna's book will draw on her trove of experiences with both men and women to give her readers an intimate understanding of how Jenna gets down, and how they too can love like a porn star.

I actually really enjoyed this book - it's very frank, yet not as explicit as you might expect from a porn star. There are a couple of odd chapters which are written entirely in script form, where Jenna, her brother and her father are reminiscing, and those sections, as a result, don't read quite as well, but overall it's a very interesting read and she comes over quite sensitively. Ultimately, I cam away from the book with a real respect for her and the choices she'd made in her life, even if they were choices I would never have made for myself.

It's quite a chunky read, but it's very easy to read and, as a result, it doesn't take all that long to read. There are also loads of gorgeous photos of her and some of her family too. And no, none of the pictures are explicit (there are a few that would have been, but they have strategically-placed stars, which will no doubt ruin it all for those who were expecting an eyeful!).

If you're looking for an insight into the porn industry that doesn’t just say, "Oh, my life is ruined and the porn industry sent it spiralling even further down into a life of shame and degradation", then this is it. Jenna revels in her sexuality and makes no apologies for the person she is. She gives it to you straight - all her faults and addictions laid bare, along with the positive aspects of how she discovered herself and became a major player in the adult film industry.

Highly recommended.

The Gatherer by Jerry Bayne

Title: The Gatherer
Author: Jerry Bayne
ISBN: 9781419687365
Publisher: Book Surge
No. of pages: 330
Rating: 6/10

Synopsis (from back of book):
In Italy, the Catholic Church unearths a subterranean chamber during an archaeological dig in which a primeval scroll is found, dusted off, and taken to Father Frank Daniel in New York City for interpretation. The father, with the able assistance of Dr. Cary Blake, an ancient languages expert, reveals the scroll's sinister message: an unholy entity has been unleashed and is roaming the earth... When the bodies start mounting up in Boston, Detective Mike Sams is at a loss until he joins forces with Dr. Blake in order to make some sense out of the mayhem and terror. As sparks fly between the detective and the linguist, the devastating task of destroying the indestructible looms before them.

I'm a big fan of supernatural horror, so I was expecting a little more from The Gatherer than what I actually got, which was a bit of a disappointment. It has all the right ingredients for a terrifying read, but then just doesn't deliver. At all times, I was just too far ahead of all the characters and felt that I was waiting for them to play catch up. Even so, their uncovering of the scroll's message seemed to come way too easy once they had begun, despite the fact that from the pieces they put together at the start, they should have been able to guess at what was being revealed at a painstakingly slow pace in about five minutes flat.

The burgeoning relationship between Blake and Sams was a bit too twee and mushy, as well as happening far too quickly - the characters weren't really given enough time to get to know one another properly before declaring their love for one another (which they then continued to do on every other page for the rest of the novel).

Still, there were just enough surprises in there to keep me going to the end, if only to try and find out the answers to a few questions that seemed to be ignored completely by the characters (those questions never did get answered, by the way, leaving me a little frustrated).

If you're looking for an easy way to kill a few hours without having to think too hard, then you could read worse, but don't expect miracles from The Gatherer.

Nameless Night by G. M. Ford

Title: Nameless Night
Author: G. M. Ford
ISBN: 9780060874421
Publisher: William Morrow (Harper Collins)
No. of pages: 338
Rating: 7/10

Synopsis (from back of book):
Discovered lying near death in a railroad car, his body broken, his mind destroyed, Paul Hardy has spent the past seven years living in a group home for disabled adults, his identity and his past lost - seemingly forever. Then, after a horrific car accident, he awakens a new man, his face reconstructed, and his mind shadowy with memory. With only a name and a vaguely remembered scene to guide him, he goes on a cross-country quest to find out who he really is. But his search for the truth makes a lot of people uncomfortable - from the DA's office to the highest levels of the government. Soon Paul is being tailed by an army of pursuers as he finds himself at the centre of a government cover-up that has claimed too many innocent lives - and the numbers are mounting. It's the kind of thing that could make even a man on the outskirts of society feel the pull of justice that might be worth killing for. Or dying for...

From the shocking opening scenes to the dizzying heights of the finale, Nameless Night had me hooked - I just couldn't put it down! Watching the lead character of Paul slowly uncovering the secrets of his identity, never sure of where the next lead might take him or what the consequences might be, was breathtaking and wouldn't have been half so engrossing if handled by a writer with a lesser skill.

The writing is taut, the action is fast-paced and the character interaction is completely believable at every step. There's danger at every turn, not only for Paul, but for those he comes to know, trust and love. There's a real feeling of frenetic activity that has been captured perfectly - I was actually breathless at moments and found myself turning the pages faster and faster just to find out what would happen next.

Despite the darkness of the subject, G. M. Ford manages to pull it off with a lightness of touch that is surprising and refreshing, making Nameless Night something a little out of the ordinary.

The Somnambulist by Jonathan Barnes

Title: The Somnambulist
Author: Jonathan Barnes
ISBN: 9780061375385
Publisher: William Morrow (Harper Collins)
No. of pages: 353
Rating: 7/10

Synopsis (from Amazon):
'Be warned. This book has no literary merit whatsoever. It is a lurid piece of nonsense, convoluted, implausible, peopled by unconvincing characters, written in drearily pedestrian prose, frequently ridiculous and wilfully bizarre. Needless to say, I doubt you'll believe a word of it.' So starts the extraordinary tale of Edward Moon, detective, his silent associate the Sonambulist and devilish plot to recreate the apocalyptic prophecies of William Blake and bring the British Empire crashing down. With a gallery of vividly grotesque characters, a richly evoked setting and a playful highly literate style this is an amazingly readable literary fantasy and a brilliant debut.

If you like your historical crime fiction packed full of mystery and intrigue, then you could do a lot worse than picking up The Somnambulist and losing yourself between the covers. From the outset, the anonymous narrator of the tale uses misdirection and half-truths to both draw the reader and throw them off the scent without ever having realised there was a scent to begin with.

It's a cleverly-written whodunit that borders on the paranormal without ever fully crossing that line and, despite being filed with characters that wouldn't be out of place in a Victorian circus sideshow, it never quite ventures outside the realms of possibility (or, at the very least, it seems that way during the reading). Characters are wonderfully, humanly flawed and inspire a mixture of sympathy, hatred, fear and loathing, and yes, occasionally even a little love and inspiration.

Next time you're looking for something a little unusual, give this one a try.