A Case of Literary ADHD

Rose Christo’s Gives Light Review

I’ve been itching for something light to read, so when I realised I’d bought a book titled “Gives Light” it seemed a no-brainer. I couldn’t for the life of me remember why I had bought it,  which I absolutely loved because I had no idea what to expect.

In the beginning, the book was capable of smoothing out the wrinkles of a shitty day.

Halfway through, it became apparent that I will not enjoy the book. Rose seemed to have had a bunch of various ideas which are perfectly OK, but she really should not have put them all in one book. It’s just too much, and the book ends up being about nothing and everything and about no one and everybody. It’s all over the place and no character is given proper attention due to this literary ADHD.

I will list all the things that were not given proper attention in Gives Light. And no, I do not care that it is the first book of a series because a series is a series, and a book is a whole in its own right.

  1. Skylar St. Clair is a mute teenager who got his throat slashed by a man who had killed his mother
  2. His father has disappeared without a word and Skylar is put in a custody of his paternal grandmother who lives on the Nettlebush Reserve
  3. Skylar’s mother was murdered on the Nettlebush Reserve by a member of the tribal council
  4. He was in fact a serial killer who had murdered several women
  5. The son of the murderer, Rafael Gives Light, lives on the reservation
  6. Native American customs and history are interspersed throughout the book
  7. For the first time Skylar becomes a true member of a community and makes friends
  8. Skylar’s new friend Annie has to take care of her two siblings because her mother is in the Army and her father is useless (it is mentioned somewhere that he had a stroke)
  9. Rafael Gives Light becomes one of his best friends
  10. Skylar’s father turns out to be a criminal who brings illegal immigrants into the country
  11. FBI and social services regularly visit the reserve and threaten the fragile stability of Skylar’s new life
  12. Skylar slowly falls in love with Rafael and Rafael returns his feelings
  13. Skylar is briefly conflicted about his feelings for Rafael – briefly because there’s so much shit going on in the book he has no time to deal with it for a longer period of time.

Imagine all this (and more – I avoided spoilers) crammed onto 285 pages, and do not forget to include descriptions, internal monologue and musings of a teenage boy who uses words such as “vociferous“.

Let’s go general and explore topics.

  1. Dealing with severe loss and monumental change
  2. Facing painful past experiences and achieving personal growth through adversity
  3. The treatment of Native Americans in modern society
  4. The importance of preserving the culturally and spiritually rich Native American customs and way of life
  5. Dealing with the fact that you are different and learning that “normalcy” is a matter of perspective/upbringing
  6. Treatment of crime and punishment in different cultures

I’m sure I could come up with more but I think this is enough to illustrate my point.

It’s a shame, really, because the book is well written. If the first list was cut down and one or two of the topics given proper prominence, I believe it would have been a really good book and I would have probably been half way through the second part of the series.

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How to Read the Bedwyn Saga

If I’ve ever wondered if there is such a thing as too much historical romance (I didn’t) I know the answer. There is. Really. I’ve read six and a half Bedwyn Saga books in a span of one month. It’s really difficult to say at which point I started feeling slightly mad.

If, at any point, you were (or are) interested in giving the Bedwyns a go, I will not dissuade you. I think that, if historical romance is your cup of tea, you really should. I had loads of fun, right until the moment I overdosed. And now, after going cold turkey a week ago, I am getting the shakes.

I am wiser now, though, and here I share my wisdom with you on how to read the Bedwyn saga:

  1. Read A Summer to Remember (#0.6) regardless of your interest/disinterest in the Bedwyns. It’s great. It really is. It’s true.
  2. Then go on to read Slightly Scandalous (#03)
  3. Take a break, breathe. Wear sunscreen.
  4. Go back to the Slightly Married (#01)
  5. At this point, if you’re not interested in Wulfric Bedwyn you should stop reading. If you are, jump to Slightly Dangerous (#06)
  6. If you’re feeling slightly bored, you might go on to read Slightly Wicked (#02) – it’s fun, although irritating at times.
  7. If you have developed any interest for Morgan (WOW!) go read Slightly Scandalous (#04) and if you actually managed to get “a feel” of Alleyne as a character (DOUBLE WOW!) you might (not sure, though – I’ve put it on hiatus) enjoy Slightly Tempted (#05).

I do wish I haven’t gone on this crazy binge because maybe, just maybe, I could have appreciated the series more. Actually, I’m almost convinced that would be the case.

Jason Bourne or David Webb?

Driving in a car.
Matt Damon without a shirt.
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Fight. Anguished Matt Damon/flashback.
JESUS CHRIST IT’S JULIA STILES.
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Computer mumbo jumbo.
Fight. Fast walking.
Some conversation. Driving in a car.
Fight. Fast walking. Flashback.
The Greek love Molotov cocktails.
Computer mumbo jumbo.
Fight.
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Matt Damon without a shirt.
High speed chase.
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Fight.
CIA is useless. It’s not even clear how they keep on existing.
High speed chase.
Tommy Lee Jones looking old and bored.
Fight.
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Attempt at raising the issue of privacy vs security. Failing.
Creative use of weaponry.

A boring, never-ending high speed chase which finally gives you an opportunity to think about the movie and realise Jason Bourne is not much of a movie. It really isn’t. The plot, non-existent as it is, is flimsy, unnecessarily sappy and very convenient. They invested minimum effort in the story.

Jason Bourne is a wild ride (no pun intended, but still – that’s what she said). Until the very end, It doesn’t let you think about the plot and about what’s actually happening. Until that car chase which seems even worse than the one in the Dawn of Justice (yaaaaaaaaawn).

Still, if you expect nothing more than a movie with Matt Damon in it, you’re not gonna be disappointed.

I Cannot Bitch

Expect the unexpected is not exactly what comes to mind when you’re looking for a frivolous summer read. It most certainly is not something you expect to be applicable to a book titled Lord of Scoundrels with such a cover (urgh).

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And yet… Mind. Blown. My mind is also blown by the fact that my mind was blown. So, Mind Blown Squared.

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Lord of Scoundrels (praise the Lord, it’s not Lord of Rakes!) is 171 pages long (short?) and on each page shit happened which I did not see coming. I’ve never read a romance which felt like a thriller – the suspense was killing me because I just could not foresee how things would unfold.

I’m still shocked by this book. It’s fun, intelligent and witty, well-written with awesome protagonists who just go around doing stuff protagonists in a book of this sort are not supposed to do.

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I have nothing to bitch about. I cannot bitch about Jessica Trent’s ineptness. I cannot bitch about idiotic and unnecessary sex scenes. I can hardly bitch about long-winded descriptions of characters’ appearance and/or attire. I cannot bitch about dimwitted dialogue nor rudimentary language skills. I could try to bitch about the presence of an actual plot, but in truth the only thing I can bitch about it the fact there is nothing to bitch about.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go and find out if this book is an aberration of cosmic proportions or something Loretta Chase does as a matter of course.

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Carry On, nothing to see here

Rainbow Rowell – Carry On (2016)

You can tell Rainbow adores Simon, Baz, Penelope, Agatha… she truly loves them all. Makes you love them. The kink is, she doesn’t really love the plot. Rainbow just wanted to have some reason to put her beloved characters together, and she was forced to come up with a plot.

The plot is introduced somewhere mid-book. Occasionally she completely forgets the plot-thingy, goes on a binge with character development, subtle comments about life and reality, with her subtle style which has underlying respect for readers’ capability to get a hint.

Oh. SHIT. She forgot the plot.

And then the plot comes back again, and it is supposed to explode. It is supposed to go overboard and overwhelm. But it doesn’t. It somehow flickers pathetically, and you can feel that Rainbow just couldn’t let it die, so she poked it every now and then with a stick.

Maybe the biggest fault of Carry On is the fact that it’s supposed to be fantasy. There be dragons, but dragons don’t make a fantasy book. They make a book with dragons in it. Not many authors are capable of migrating through genres seamlessly, and a fanfiction-ish, fantasy-ish book doesn’t really seem to be Rainbow’s cup of tea (yet?). I respect her for doing it, but for me this is what she does best (excuse my being a bit self-referential):

Well, Rainbow Rowell summarily executes willing suspension of disbelief by making you the protagonist of her books. She makes you feel like a hero, makes your life seem worthy of a book of its own. Because, most of us can find some portion of our lives, as small as it may be, that a little imagination and some wordplay can make into a good, maybe even a great book. And that’s what Rainbow tells you, what she reminds you of – your life is interesting, you have great friends, there is excitement behind that very corner, you just need to see it.

 

 

Would you look at that?

I liked the first Bourne movie. I liked it because I love Damon (that should be LOVE, but let’s be subtle and pretend that I am, in fact, objective). I liked it because seeing the sweet puppy-like Matt go around kicking serious ass was a sight to see.

Matt Damon and the LOVE were not enough for me to like Supremacy, and there was no amount of LOVE that could have made me like Ultimatum. Even so, I was giddy as a schoolgirl when I saw the teaser trailer.

How much am I looking forward to it? I’m looking forward to it more than I looked forward to Star Wars (just to clarify I was really looking forward to Star Wars, but I look forward to Jason Bourne the way crazy people like my boyfriend looked forward to Star Wars).

So why on Earth am I looking forward to Jason Bourne (2016) as much as I am?

Let’s get physical.

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See this?

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And this?

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How ’bout this?

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Yes, I’m looking forward to Jason Bourne enough to find time in my busy schedule as a socialite to make gifs. Also, I AM aware that there are other actors in this movie. I, however, do not care.

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What do you plan to do for the next couple of days?

Yes, this is a post in which the author (moi) will tell you how you should spend your free time in other to improve the quality of your life. I, however, will not list five things that you should do tomorrow to feel more energetic. I will not give you a map to a killer bod in two weeks. I’ll not make you a calendar in which you have to see one play, one movie, visit one art exhibition and read at least one edifying book that’ll change your perception or make you wonder about the realities of life and whether the term reality should even have a singular form. I will, however, offer a temporary fix. A piece or really high-quality duct tape.

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I will also wax philosophical about nothing for a while, because a post has to have some content to it and I seem to be lacking the words to write a deserving review of Billions.

What I’m trying to say here is, you should really drop your plans and take up watching Billions, because it’s awesome. Because, you won’t be able not to love the story in which two guys with huge egos get in a pissing contest. Why would you love a thing like that, you wonder? There’s Damian Lewis in it, for starters, and he’s disgustingly good. Then there’s Paul Giamatti who gives Damien a run for his money. A single conversation between them will give you more of a thrill than any sequence from a superhero movie. Billions will make you see you don’t need gunshots fired, cars smashed and entire buildings blown up to be on the edge of your seat. Oh yeah, and there’s money, sex, S&M, hot women, fast cars, boats, helicopters, money, and Damian Lewis. And he swears a lot, which is weird. But you’ll get used to it.

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I did not weep for Charlie, I wept for myself

Flowers for Algernon, 1958
Daniel Keyes

I knew what was coming. It was only a matter of time. Despite brief bursts of optimism, there was nothing to look forward to save hopelessness. Somewhere around page 220, my vision began to blur. Having reached page 238 I was sobbing desperately.

Flowers for Algernon has left me raw; nerves exposed to the harsh elements. It’s the heightened awareness that makes Algernon such a thrilling story to read. Even the sense of despair bears a bitter-sweet quality that I cannot really explain.

One of my greatest fears has always been the fear of losing my mind. I have never had nor will I ever have the mental prowess of Charlie Gordon, but I cherish my mind and my judgment, as flawed as they are, beyond everything else. The idea of losing that freaks me out. Not the idea of being without it, but the idea of that interim period of knowing you cannot understand or think the way you used to – that limbo in which you remember what you were and could do, but cannot reproduce it.

I did not weep for Charlie. I wept for myself, I wept because of the eventuality of decay.

All the faults I have found in Algernon disappeared on those last pages where it is impossible not to see a glimmer of your own future. Keyes finishes the story right at the point when it hurts the most.

It’s a strange sensation to pick up a book you read and enjoyed just a few months ago and discover you don’t remember it. I recall how wonderful I thought Milton was. When I picked up Paradise Lost I could only remember it was about Adam and Eve and the Tree of knowledge, but I couldn’t make sense of it.

 

 

Barely Lethal (2015)

As soon as I’ve seen the trailer, I knew that the possibility of me enjoying this movie was high. CAUTION alarm buzzed immediately. Unfortunately, expectation often leads to disappointment  when these kind of movies are involved.

However, I was not disappointed. The movie is good. It’s funny and fun, occasionally it’s smart. Jessica Alba actually doesn’t suck and the level of clichés is just about right. A real guilty pleasure, if stories about a teenage assassin turning normal teenage girl are your cup of tea.

The “assassin” part is rather refreshing and it gives the story we have seen so many times just what it needs – a nice little kick.

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Another perk – we get to see Sansa Stark do stuff, which is always a welcome change in my book, regardless of the context.

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This homage to one of the best movies ever didn’t hurt my appreciation of the movie. (Isn’t this girl so freakin’ cute???)

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If you know what I’m talking about when I mention Get Over It, I’m quite sure you’ll enjoy Barely Lethal. Also, if you don’t think that watching Mean Girls is a waste of your precious time, but is actually fun in a mindless sort of way, you should probably watch this movie.

Naughty Blogger

I’ve been a bad, bad blogger. Unfortunately, at no point during the time I spent as a naughty blogger did I look like the missus from the cover pic of this post. Darn!

What have I been up to? Livin’ la vida loca? Not really. I’ve read no books, I’ve seen no movies worhty of a blog post. I’ve been watching Smallville. Again. I love that show. Talk about your guilty pleasure there. Tom Welling is so freakin gorgeous. I still can’t believe Henry Cavill is Superman (actually he only thinks he is).

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Forgive me for I am tired.

As you might have noticed, this is a perfunctory post. It’s on AM and I’ve just decided that I’ve done enough work for today. Might as well have some fun typing about how I don’t have any fun? But, lo! I actually did have lots of fun lately. Hosted a party (it was good as far as I can remember), been at a party, went to the theatre, and all that in just one month. If that strikes you as not very fun, bear in mind I’ve been pulling these all-nighters (work-related) for some time.

The truth is, I love to work. Especially when I’m faced with something challenging, like crazy deadlines and new challenges. I’ve worked like crazy the last month or two (or more, I dunno) and I don’t think I’ve ever bitched less about the amount of workload I’m faced with. Because it awesome workload. I get to do new stuff, learn new stuff, test my boundaries and learn how to do it better the next time around.

It’s party time in nicollville.
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Well, would you look at that! I ended up writing a post about work which can be categorized as guilty pleasure. Go figure!

This being somewhat random, here’s another gif of Tom Welling.

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He so cute!