Sunday, 1 December 2013

Music Video of 2009

I'm such a copycat.

Above all else I love to read good romances. This music-vid. The song is nothing special. But the video is utterly something else. 1 guy...involves 4 beautiful of them the singer. Mesmerizing. His eyes at the end! What is that all about. And yes. That is the only way to have a row with your partner. (Pouring too much sugar into your coffee. tee hee)

The blurring of the images and the skipping of the track are all part of the original video.

Friday, 14 December 2012

The Hobbit...The movie

It's not that its that bad. And I hardly noticed the long running time because I usually like a good story. What I absolutely hated were the endless animations. This is not a film for adults.

Just some of the animations; The trolls. The wargs. Goblins, orcs. The Pale Orc King. The flabby goblin King. The animals of the Green Wood. The proto-Ringwraith. The pathetic scenes with the Storm Giants. And yes. Because he's one of them, Gollum. I'm sick of his schtick.

I hated them all. Because they are so dated. Because they are so obviously people in plastic prosthetics.

But more more than that, I hated the way Jackson badly ripped off so many scenes from his own LOTR trilogy for this piece of tripe. A few of the offending scenes being; the dwarves chased by the wargs over scrubland is a pale ripoff of Gimli and co meeting Eomer in the Riddermark, the completely ludicrous chase through the orc kingdom with the dwarfs slaying hundreds of orcs without even one of the dwarfs being injured is a complete and totally second rate ripoff of the chase through Moria in LOTR.

Also no new music. The score from the original LOTR trilogy is basically regurgitated for The Hobbit. wtf!! Yes the music is Exactly The Same!!!

And finally. I looked at the titular lead actor. I could not see how the morose Freeman Bilbo Baggins could ever become the happy giggly Ian Holm Bilbo. The Freeman Bilbo Baggins is a miserable nonentity. The Holm Bilbo Baggins exuded personality. I think that is called miscasting. But you know what. I don't actually believe that was Ian Holm's voice in The Hobbit. It sounded completely different in many scenes.

Such a disappointment. Along with Prometheus and TDKR. But at least they were movies for grown-ups. The Hobbit is just infantile poop.

Well. That needed to be said.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Into The Crossfire by Lisa Marie Rice

Warning! Unlike many other reviewers I am going to give this book a totally glowing review! That is because (unfortunatley) I seem to be the only reader in the whole universe who appreciates its brilliance. So there.

A relatively short book with big print. All the action and the whole romance takes place over about 3 amazing days. Like. 3 days that changed Sam and Nicole's lives forever. Basically beautiful classy Nicole becomes the target for some chillingly ruthless tangos and uber-protector Sam rescues her. That's the plot.

When I first got the book I was so happy to be reading a Lisa Marie novel again (despite the fact that I hated the last one 'Desperate Drake') that I guess I was just too excited to read the story properly. And basically missed all the detail and subtleties that make, particularly, the romance work.

So 2 weeks after the first read, just as I was typing out another indifferent review I picked it up again...

Despite the story being quite short many pages are used to reinforce the notion that the hero, Sam, a big overwhelming type of guy would never never, under any circumstances harm or coerce a female in any kind of way. So all the info about Sam running some kind of Underground Network for survivors of spousal abuse has a purpose to convince the reader that the heroine, Nicole, never comes under any kind of pressure to sleep with Sam, apart from the call of her raging hormones.

In a way it didn't really matter for me because it was made clear throughout the novel that Sam was getting as much from being with Nicole as she was from being with him. If in the future they go their separate ways that's ok because they both made each other very happy for the time they were together. (I hope they don't break up though.) The reason I say this is because Sam and Nicole have completely different backstories.

Remember Jack from Dangerous Boiler? Well, Sam has some of his characteristics. In that he basically fell for Nicole from the first time he saw her. And engineered his entry and exit from his office to coincide with Nicole going into her office across the hall for the whole month after she rented it. And. He calls her 10/20 times after their one night stand together.(ie discretely obsessive.)

However Nicole is also totally effectively characterised. A reader is left in no doubt that she is capable of off-loading any guy she doesn't like. And having told Sam she has no time for romance in her life she then agrees to a one-night stand for no other reason than strong mutual attraction. Her hesitation at Sam's office door the following day is probably an indication that she would have come round to being with Sam in the future. Even without the cataclysmic events that happened next. Then of course there's the fact that although she was grateful to 'low-life' looking Sam she wouldn't have dreamt of going on a date with him if he hadn't told her he owned the successful security company across the hall from her office...AND had the Mayor of San Diego give him a character reference. (And what a standout scene that was!)

Absolutely without Sam there would be no more Nicole. She is riding a total cockamamie speeding juggernaut to oblivion. Not that she seems aware of it. First. She's about to be shot dead by tangos. Second. She's in danger of being brutalised by real low-lifes living in the rooming house across the street from her. Third. Her father's illness would probably have bankrupted her in the end. Sam rescues her from all three. But just so the average reader doesn't think that beautiful classy privileged Nicole gets off too easy, she gets physically thrown across a room by one of the bad guys. Which I thought was a horrible thing to happen to a romance heroine.

Again. All the bad guys, although somewhat cartoonish in a first read turn out to be very capable and horribly efficient people. Although I knew from the very beginning that everything would be all right I really felt Nicole's terror in the deserted warehouse. Mr Paul Preston had better meet a nasty painful death in the final Protectors novel.

Being me. I just totally loved the richness of the incidental details in the book. The references to Geneva, Lebanon, philosophy professors, Louis XV Philippe Starck consoles (huh?)...and Thuraya satellite cell phones. Thank you for sharing.

There's even an insignificant thread running from the beginning to the end of the book. I missed it on the first read. When Sam first saw Nicole he noticed her bare ring finger and thought that if she was his girl he'd buy her a huge stone to show other guys she was spoken for. In the final chapter, yup, he's the guy that's bought her the egg-sized diamond. This so-called short book even has space for a happy little epilogue.

Presumably Mike and Harry will be getting their own Protectors novels. I struggled on the first read with Sam calling them his 'brothers' when they clearly were not and the three guys didn't even serve together when they enlisted. I think the brotherhood idea is supposed to explain why Mike and Harry are willing to drop everything to help Sam rescue Nicole before she gets shot. Their presence allowed Sam to loose his cool a little without compromising the race to find Nicole. Most writers wouldn't bother with details like that.

There's also just the right amount of technology in the story and just the right amount of weapon use. There's 3 big love scenes and they are par for the course for the author. One of Sam's more unusual idiosyncracies is that he has quite good visualisation skills...along the lines of...what if this or that terrible thing happened to Nicole...Make of that what you will.

Lastly. Nicole can sometimes read as being too helpless. But what else could she do with her father's life at stake? I'm not a big fan of romance heroines being slaves to their parents but in this case the construct worked. Mainly because it was made clear that Nicole had already had a good life of her own and that caring for her father was a time-limited activity seeing how he was terminally ill. And she could think under pressure. It was she who discovered the file with the info about the tango target. Bless.

Of course, now, I keep reading my favorite pages over and over again.

It'll be 2011 before the next Protectors novel comes out. Shame! I absolutely loved this one. Hope you do too.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

More DNFs

Two ridiculous books. Both of which received good reviews on other sites. So readers might still enjoy them.

First. Untamed Rogue, Scandalous Mistress by Bronwyn Scott. Which means girl-friend and boy-friend are sleeping together almost from the beginning. I didn't really like it almost from the start. Perhaps because the hero, Crispin, is at a cross-roads in his life and doesn't know what to do with himself. Except he is absolutely sure he doesn't want to settle down with a wife and kids. But we all know he is going to be wedded by the end of this short novel. And the heroine, Aurora, declares ' I don't need a man.' Again. The whole novel is completely about her and a man, Crispin. What's more. Her attitude stems from the fact that she had been 'let down' by a guy (guys) in the past. Rather than from any sense of self-empowerment. She makes a living giving riding lessons to young women. And as far as I could tell was completely dependent on guys giving permission for their daughters and wives to have those lessons. Her name is Aurora but she is known as Rory to most people. So she's sort of pretending to be a guy. I lost interest in all her hypocritical posturing. The previous novel in this series had a wonderful background story of conniving murderous Russian tsarists. Nothing like that here.

Second. The Making of a Duchess by Shana Galen. A servant girl has to masquerade as a member of the aristocracy in order to discover if the hero, Luc, is a spy for France during the Napoleonic Wars. Utterly ridiculous. The heroine, Sarah, lives in the hero's house and spends her time searching through the rooms for evidence of his treason. Very early there's a scene where she pukes into a vase. Does she go to clean herself up? No. She drinks a cup of tea, offered by the hero who at the same time notices her full soft lips. Only in a novel could that happen. Any person with an ounce of sense would have been suspicious of a woman who had lived in Italy but couldn't speak Italian, couldn't dance, couldn't remember what was going on with her parents, Not the hero, Luc, though. Which made him more of a twit than her. I didn't really understand who Sarah's employer was. Northrup or the Mertons. Nor did she ever ask how the Widow had come to be shot. But it was the relentless snooping around in someone else's house and lying that eventually antagonised me. Why would Luc want to wed someone who behaved like that? Plus. Add in the plebian names of Luc's friends and the whole story seemed to be like reproduction of a Hogarth cartoon...full of fugly people doing fugly things. Not really helped by all the work that went into describing the heroine as borderline ugly at the start of the story. I just lost the motivation to read further than about page 122.

However. This story provides an interesting insight into the mind of a servant who believes she has no choice but to obey her employer in his wishes. Spying...betrayal...theft. She seemed to have no sense of right and wrong and was only worried about being made destitute. That was the power that the Church gave to ordinary men and women of those days. And that is partly why it became so powerful. It gave them morals and the power to say no to unreasonable requests. That's what I thought anyway.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Secrets of a Scandalous Bride by Sophie Nash

I absolutely did not like this story. Of the heroine, Elizabeth, making preparations to marry a man she hated all the whilst doing the deed with 'her one true love.' It didn't help that the bad guy, Pymm, was a national hero second only to Wellington at Waterloo. And the lover, Rowland Manning, seemed to have been a baddie in a previous novel written by the author.

Elizabeth was being blackmailed by Pymm because she received letters from her uncle, Napoleon's commander at Waterloo. Are you telling me that no-one else knew she was related to this soldier? And you know what? I myself might feel suspicious of Elizabeth in such circumstances. Elizabeth also believed that Pymm had used the cover of battle to murder her father. But there was very little development of that plot throughout the book. I have no idea why Pymm was so obsessed with Elizabeth. Nor was it explained why Elizabeth believed it was her fault that her father and Pierce Winters had been killed. Nor could I understand what on earth Sarah was doing in the plot, apart from maybe being prepared to be the heroine of the next book by the author. Why would anyone be interested in the plodding romance between granny Ata and Brownie. None of these side plots were ever developed in any way. Mysteries were dangled in front of the reader...and just be continued elsewhere. Was I supposed to care?

Sarah was going to pimp herself out to Pymm so that Rowland would get the money owed to him by the Cavalry. Why would she do that? She's met him about a week ago. It's not as though he saved her life or anything like that. Basically she just felt sorry for him for various reasons. There were too many references to Rowland's previous nasty deeds to his brother and the brother's fiance for a reader to feel that he deserved such a sacrifice. And just a thought. Maybe Pymm himself had also had a difficult upbringing. The reader was given no choice to decide who was the better person between him and Rowland.

It was good that Elizabeth understood all Rowland's strange habits and that he fell in love with her. But what they should have done is just eloped and then sailed to the colonies in the New World to start a life away from from the stultifying expectations of titled friends and relatives.

In the end it became increasingly painful to read of Elizabeth's deceptions to both Pymm and Rowland. For the sake of a lot of money? And as I said before, the reader basically had to take Elizabeth's word about the murder of her father. What was the evidence for that belief?

The characters in the book kept each other in the dark about their various motivations, the reader was kept in the dark about the many on-going threads in the book and in the end I was just exasperated with the whole story.

The big mistake in the plot is to make the friend of a national hero into a baddie. While the main couple seemed to be of no better character than him...a novel with no cultural heart.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Masked by Moonlight by Nancy Gideon

I skim-read this story after about chapter 3. Which is why I almost missed the part where the heroine, Charlotte, pistol-whips her guy, the hero Max. Because she thought her good friend, the conniving nun, had died. The next day he forgives her.

Yes it is so much that type of relationship between Max and Charlotte. They hump and declare their love for each other. A few pages later they lie and hide the truth from one another. Max, in particular, seems to have emerged from an abusive relationship with Jimmy, his common-law adoptive father, only to start another with Charlotte, who is basically wacko. Mind you, Max's servility to Jimmy is also pretty cringeing to read. An image of Norman Bates and his mom kept creeping into my mind.

Oh, and Charlotte is also a serving police detective. Unable to solve any crime until someone anonymous hands her a brown envelope full of incriminating evidence against some poor schmuck. I struggled to get over the construct of an officer of the law sleeping with a major hoodlum, her colleagues know and she is not suspended from work and is even allowed to investigate alleged crimes committed by her lover, Max.

The novel is set in New Orleans. Which almost explains the totally bonkers plot. A mash-up of grand-guignol and southern gothic. Featuring off page grisly murders, gang-rape and arson. Plus a few ick factors. Fairly entertaining if you like that sort of thing. But for me...less is more.

What went wrong...

Charlotte is called different names by the different people in her life. The author calls her Charlotte or CeCe completely interchangeably. Like she couldn't make up her mind about her character. She also got called Lottie and Ceece.

For a moment. I actually thought tough brainy police detective Charlotte was going to allow herself to be raped despite the fact she had a weapon and her attackers did not. Thank goodness Max saved her. Like she was some kind of simpering miss.

For the first half of the novel the reader can get the impression that Charlotte became a cop to pay back Legere for her brutalisation. I thought psych tests prevented that sort of person from being a cop. (Thankfully.) Anyway that thread was dumped when Jimmy got shot by his relative. (A complete anti-climax.) And it made the heroine look demented.

Why would a working police detective even want to dress 'almost like a hooker.'

For most of the novel Max is a tearful weenie. He's a grown man who has chosen servility. Yuk. And that part about how Max's mom started hooking to buy him shoes is utter bilge.

I hate to defend slime but spousal abuse is not a capital offense. And could be said to be a whole lot less serious than racketeering. Which is what Jimmy and Max were involved in.

Some scenes were just ludicrous...Max introducing Charlotte to all the gangsters. Charlotte stopping a fellow detective from questioning Max, in the police station, when they all knew she was sleeping with him. The woman had no shame.

Towards the end of the novel, Charlotte suddenly had a realisation of the conflict of interest between her job and her relationship with Max. Lasted about a microsecond.

The love scenes weren't very hot...or descriptive. They were more about athleticism than emotion. And Max seems to have developed a pash for Charlotte when he rescued her from the gang-rape. Ick!

I absolutely didn't get who killed Ben Spratt or why. Or why Mary-Kate felt she should also die. I realise that that was all sequel bait. But that wasn't really made clear either. Just so annoying.

Why did so many characters have french names? Was some insult intended upon cajuns?

...but as a big positive. A whole lot happens in quite a short book. And for readers who like unlikeable (cod) serial victim heroes and heroines it was actually an interesting story. A variation on the theme of 'its so bad its probably a best-seller.'

Friday, 16 July 2010

Eye of the Beholder by Jackie Weger

I've been re-reading some of the older romances on my faves list.

Arctic Enemy by Linda Harell has lost its lustre. The journalist heroine now seems media-standard selfish and self-serving. Although the setting itself and the story is very exciting.

However Eye of the Beholder is still just absolutely wonderful. It's basically the story of how stick thin, itinerant Phoebe gets her man, Gage Morgan. This novel is just so much full of love and family. If only real-life were this happy and straightforward. Phoebe and her folks have absolutely nothing. They have all lost their jobs at the cotton mill. So what does Phoebe do. No, she does not let her mom pimp her into an arranged marriage. Phoebe packs her younger brother and sister into a pickup and goes to look for work. Bless her. And bumps into miserable Gage Morgan, the hero. Although basically, the story is 80% per cent about Phoebe.

Jackie Weger wrote an even better romance. On a Wing and a Prayer. Also on my list. The hero of that story actually lived in a trailer. And he was still wonderful. One of the few romances where both the hero and the heroine had minimal material possessions. But the characters in both stories were pretty similar. Crochety hero. Optimistic heroine with a heart full of love for children. And of course the sassy granny.

I don't know why the media prefers to portray the american under-class as being scarey (Hills Have Eyes, Texas Chainsaw, Deliverance) or immoral (Bens Wildflower).

Most of Jackie's other romances were bog-standard middle-class stuff. As was she herself. But those two mentioned above are a couple of 22-carat gems. And the best way to view both Eye and Wing is as sublime Works of Art. Cos there's no way they were an easy write.