Thursday, February 27, 2020

Wordy Thursday: Opaque

Young Adult/Paranormal Romance/Sci-Fi

Three out of Four stars for Online Book Club, 
Three out of Five stars for Amazon

If readers purchase a copy of this book through the above link, I will earn a small commission from Amazon.
This review is a duplicate of my Amazon review for this book.
I received an advance copy of this book for review purposes.

Read my exclusive Online Book Club review for this book here.

This story has a fascinating premise and compelling characters. Adam is a young man who is unaware that he has superhuman abilities until Carly comes to his school and teaches him the truth about himself. Adam initially presents as potentially being a sociopath and certain of his actions and their consequences (or lack thereof) are the reasons why I question whether this book should be categorized as a young adult novel although the protagonists are teenagers.

Adam experiences romantic attraction to his mother. Although the author avoids graphic detail, incestuous fantasies are a rather taboo subject, perhaps best left in adult fiction. At one point, Adam's disturbing behavior leads to the death of a young woman and he suffers no real consequences for his actions. I found this plot device unsettling.

The book suffers to a degree from The Twilight Problem. "You can redeem the bad boy" is a terrible message to be imparting to young girls. Carly, Adam's love interest, is so concerned with saving Adam that she ignores his abusive and violent actions. For a female character to be completely wrapped up in saving a significant other who presents a danger to her sends a dangerous and frankly sexist message. I am frustrated by stories which present female characters only as foils and helpmates to badly behaved males.

Further, I was appalled by the frequent references to Carly's apparently ample yet shapely buttocks and to the scene describing her stripping down to her underclothes. I found it unsettling to be reading a voyeuristic description of a teenage girl undressing.

I nearly stopped reading this book when the author made the unfortunate decision to use a psychological condition as an adjective to describe certain of Adam's behaviors that Carly found irritating.

"She sighs at his bipolar actions.”

The author is using the term "bipolar" to mean mercurial or changeable, and this is an utterly offensive thing to do. Individuals who live with bipolar disorder are as varied in their behaviors as those who do not have this condition. I am 55 years old and have type 2 bipolar disorder. I do not tend to present as mercurial or changeable and, in fact, I tend to present as staid and sedate. What people do not see below the surface is the fact that I am constantly fighting against low self-esteem and suicide ideation. The battles of me and others with this serious psychiatric condition should not be reduced to an adjective describing undesirable behavior on the part of a character in a novel. To do so is extremely dismissive and insulting. I would hope that no-one would ever say something like "she sighs at his cancer actions" to describe the behaviors of a person who is weak and tired. Why in the world would anyone think it's okay to do this sort of thing regarding psychiatric conditions?

Although I found the characters compelling, to a degree I also found them two-dimensional. Adam's father was the only character who wasn't Hollywood-pretty.

If the reader can overlook these faults, they will likely be drawn into the story. It is probably okay for older teens to read this book, but I would advise against giving it to anyone under sixteen.

Image copyright Open Clipart Vectors

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Suspending Literary Services

Howdy Solks...I mean Folks.

Due to recent changes in my health, including my cognition, I have opted to suspend my literary services except for those I do for Online Book Club. I make a small amount of money working with them. It was a grand total of about $5000 last year, but it's better than nothing.

Diabetes is a garbage disease. Just when you think it's done fucking you up, it will fuck you up some more. 

My guess would be that my time on this scuzzy ball of dirt will be terminated by something relating to diabetes unless I decide it isn't worth it to keep fighting the tide and decide to punch my own ticket.

That being said, I want to spend the remaining time I may have to work on my own writing and helping my son prepare for the time when I won't be around to assist him anymore, which may be sooner than I have anticipated. I worry about this because although there are some things he does very well, he will not do well being completely on his own.

If I still believed in God, I would bargain with the fucker. But from what I have seen, if he exists, he enjoys being a dick. So I'm not even going to include him in the loop.

I am not in a great place psychologically and haven't been for a while. 

No unsolicited advice, please. Like the kid in the picture above says, I really don't believe that chewing seaweed covered in whale urine while standing on my head and reciting ancient mantras backward is going to lead to my diabetes going into remission, my thyroid healing itself, my hair reversing its grayness, and me suddenly being converted from a hideous old fat hag with a face that could destroy worlds to a Conventionally Attractive Hot Supermodel of a Socially Acceptable Size as drooling dudebros literally beat down my door to get a piece of this. I fucking wouldn't want that shit even if I could have it for the asking.

Okay, I would take the diabetes reversal and the thyroid healing. As for the appearance stuff, fuck you if you really think I'm less worthy of being treated with common courtesy because I'm not young, thin, and pretty, and the dudebros banging on my door sounds like something out of one of my nightmares.

I'm kind of thinking it would be better if I put the kibosh on comments for this post because I really don't have it in me to deal with that shit. If I want to interact with you regarding these thoughts, you already have my email address.

So...yeah. Now you know what's going on with me, for what it's worth.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Fat Friday: It's Okay to Love Your Body, But...

Image by Christian Dorn from Pixabay

The following is a reply to Ragen Chastain's post about the kind of jackasses who defy the no weight loss talk rule in fat acceptance spaces.

“It’s ok to love your body but…”
Whenever anyone begins a sentence with that chestnut, I just know that I’m going to want to push them in front of a bus. Or more likely a tractor, since I live out in the middle of nowhere.

Furthermore, the idea of "loving my body" is such a foreign concept to me that you might as well be telling me to go dance on Jupiter. I can't imagine loving my body. It's a fight for me to even be neutral towards my body. 

I have to fight all the negative messages about my body several times a day every day and probably will for the rest of my life. Forget "loving" my body. I would be happy to be able to just ACCEPT my damn body and move on. But jerks who begin sentences with "it's okay to love your body, but..." do their level best every day to make sure that I will never even be allowed to just accept mine.

Fat and Ornery
Image copyright Open Clipart Vectors

Sly and Snarky
Image copyright juliahenze

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Wordy Thursday: Platonic Friendships are Important

The Ornery Old Lady is not a fan of WordPress.

Wordpress' overly aggressive Spam filter is the bane of my existence on many occasions. I attempted to leave the following comment on this post about the best fictional couples. The comment may have gone to a moderation queue, but I suspect it was eaten as Spam. 

Here is my comment.

My most recently published work is a buddy story rather than a romance, but I guess one could say there's a lot of bromance in this book. 

There's a fun pairing between a human ghost and a Lovecraftian creature who meet up with a couple of ghouls who are longtime friends. This odd bunch form a quartet on a quest to save the Universe from itself. 

The older I get, the more I prefer to write about platonic bonds rather than romantic ones. Romance seems so often to contain a toxic and possessive undertone. Admissibly, I may just be old and bitter. I never was any good at romance in real life.

Here are some further thoughts, and a bit of shameless self-promotion.

The Dreamlands Bro Squad consists of:

Ketil Nagel, the spirit of a Swedish underground metal vocalist who sacrificed himself to the vampire goddess Mormo on 6 June 1991, when he was 25 years old.

Robin Roberts, a ghoul who was a petty thief during his lifetime. Robin perished in London during the influenza pandemic of 1918. He morphed into a ghoul due to dabbling in the wrong magic for the right reasons.

John Tamboli, a ghoul who in life made what money he could by doing a variety of odd jobs. He wasn't particular about the legality of the jobs he was hired for. John also perished in London during the influenza pandemic and morphed into a ghoul for similar reasons to Robin's.

"Yitzy," a member of the Great Race of Yith. Yithians in their best-known form are long-lived asexual creatures who reproduce infrequently by means of spores. Yitzy is not in any way bothered by being perceived as masculine and would not be bothered by being perceived as feminine. 

There is not one sliver, scad, or iota of romantic interaction in this novella. But there is bromance aplenty. 

I find that platonic friendships tend to take a backseat to romantic ties. I feel that this is a shame. Bromance, sisterly love, and opposite-sex platonic friendships are just as important as romantic bonds. 

~Cie the Ornery Old Lady~

Ornery Owl
Image copyright Open Clipart Vectors

The Great Race of Yith were created by H.P. Lovecraft.
The ghouls referenced in this post are Lovecraftian ghouls.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

A Tasty Offer: MFRW Book Hooks + Tidbit Tuesday 5 February 2020

Geeky Gandy Stafford's lifelong fantasy comes true when he meets the otherworldly Dorma and Desyra. These last remnants of a botched extraterrestrial invasion discover that they require a great deal of energy to maintain their human forms.

The easiest way to obtain essential power?

Sex, and lots of it.

“Oh, good!” Gandy replied. “I...I probably wouldn’t taste that good anyway. My diet isn’t exactly stellar. I’m a bit of a junk food junkie. I could get you something to eat, though. Would you like some ice cream? Oh. You probably don’t even know what ice cream is, do you?”

“We wish to learn of your planet. Teach us what you know.”

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Weekend Writing Warriors/Snippet Sunday 2 February 2020

Click the Banner to read other snippets

The following snippet is from Team Netherworld's recently published novella, Ketil and Yitzy's Adventure in the Xura Dream House. The previous snippet from this story can be found here. Further details and a link to purchase the book will follow!

“Yithian, I fear the concept of ‘overly simplistic’ has evaded you. Your explanations are always quite detailed. However, I am tremendously pleased that you have decided to assist me. I did not know it at the time but embarking on this task which I have placed before myself is much more pleasant with a companion. Not just any companion, mind, but the right sort of companion. Perhaps it is so that the Universe felt that we ought to meet. As you have observed, it certainly seems that we can benefit one another. Now, shall we enter the house together?”

~Cie for Naughty Netherworld Press~

I have generally used the Weekend Writing Warriors blog hop to share WIPs up to the point when the WIP is published. However, the WIP I had been sharing has done some really weird things, and I am trying to get it under control. So, I am going to be sharing the adventures of Ketil and Yitzy for a while. I love this story, so it isn't as if it pains me to share it. It also gives me an excuse to share some fun pictures of members of the Great Race of Yith. However, I thought that this time I would share an image of Ketil that I created while messing about in Pixlr.

The amateur ghost photographer ran screaming from the building moments after capturing this image, which pleased Ketil to no end.

I won't take up too much space in this post rattling on about personal issues. If you're interested, you can catch up with me on Sunday at the Come as You Are Party.