Thursday, February 27, 2020

Wordy Thursday: Opaque



Genre: 
Young Adult/Paranormal Romance/Sci-Fi

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

Disclosure:
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



Monday, February 24, 2020

Money Monday + About Me Monday: WTF is an Influencer?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

In my quest to try and return to blogging about ways to make and save money, I headed to the Rakuten website to copy my referral code. For those who aren't aware, Rakuten, formerly known as Ebates, is a site where you can save money when you shop through their links. You can also get an extension for Chrome which will cue you if there is a potential to save money through Rakuten at a site where you are shopping.

There was also an invitation at Rakuten's site to apply to become an influencer.

At this point, most of us have probably heard the term "influencer." But like me, many of you may be saying "that's nice and all, but WTF is an influencer, really?"

According to this Quora site, an influencer is "a person who has the ability to make a group of people follow him and take him as an example due to his personality, authority, success, goals, values, abilities etc. He inspires people and becomes an anchor that keeps people together in other words he builds a community around him."

So, you know, probably not me.

According to YouTuber Critical, as seen in the video at the end of this post, an influencer is generally an egotistical douchebag who will go to extremes to feed their own narcissistic need for adulation. Hopefully, that isn't what people think of me.

Generally, I tend to see "influencers" as being fake. I don't do well with fake. I have no desire to be seen as a trend-setter. I don't care whether or not people think I'm attractive, and I am certainly not the height of fashion. I'm more like the anti-fashion broad.

I have something to say, but if I have to pretend to be something I'm not to get followers, then those are not the followers for me. I don't necessarily even want to be seen as a "leader." I make plenty of mistakes and if I decide to jump off a cliff, I don't want people jumping off after me just because I thought it was a good idea at the time. If I had my druthers, I'd like to be seen as a teacher who had the capacity to entertain.

I'm not an expert on...well, anything, really. I do know a little about blogging but I have a bit of a prickly personality and I don't play by the rules. I've been following a blogger named Janice Wald for several years now and I would recommend her to bloggers wanting to learn how to build a social media presence and monetize their online efforts.

There is a link to one of Janice's books at the end of the post. If you purchase the book through the link, I will receive a small commission from Amazon.

Janice has a weekly blog hop called Inspire Me Monday. I won't be linking there this week because this post isn't entirely family-friendly. My language didn't get too spicy, but my pal Critical definitely turns the profane heat up to Habanero!

Your Ornery Hostess with the Mostest,
Aunt Cie


Friday, February 14, 2020

Fat Friday: Thoughts from an Irritating Overweight Woman

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

As my fan club of -666 readers knows, I review books for a living, such as it is.

I was presented with a book to possibly review, and was, initially, excited. It was a collection of short stories about a group of female friends.

The short story is an undervalued art and female friendships are an undervalued treasure. I was interested in reading this until I saw one of the characters described by another reviewer as "an irritating overweight woman."

The comment about the "irritating overweight woman" gave me pause. Why is her weight such a determining factor in her characterization? Many authors tend to write large people in a negative light. As a person who fights with my abusive partner ED (Eating Disorder) constantly, I don't really need to read works that vilify people who look like me. It's a shame because a good short story collection about female friendship sounded like just the ticket.

I decided to give the book a hard pass.

Authors (like society as a whole) love to scapegoat, stereotype, and vilify large people. I have enough problems wrestling with ED on a daily basis. I don't really need to read fiction putting down people who look like me yet again. ED does that quite often enough.


Fat and Ornery
Image copyright Open Clipart Vectors

Sly and Snarky
Image copyright juliahenze @123rf.com


Friday, February 7, 2020

Tan Renga Wednesday on Friday: Last Leaf


a last leaf
swirls on the wind towards the east -
first snow falls gently
the falling snow is pleasant
the icy roads are not so

~Chèvrefeuille & cie~


notes
The Hokku stanza was written by Chevrefeuille. The Ageku was created by me. I do like the snow, but I hate driving on icy roads. I've had a couple incidents when doing so which left me with a bit of PTSD. I tend to tense up when I have to drive on icy roads, which makes doing so a bad idea.

I will try to catch up with the poems over the next few days. I was working on a short story for blog.reedsy.com. If you are looking for a short story contest with no entry fee, they have a weekly contest here. Go to the apps section of the page and choose "story prompt."

Also, if you're looking for help with editing or publishing your book, you can look at what Reedsy has to offer here. Using that link will get you $25 credit on any of Reedsy's services.

I believe I may have had another TIA. There always tends to be a cognitive shift when one of these happens. It's hard to explain. It isn't as if I'm having short term memory issues (well, no worse than I ever did). It's simply that the WAY I think changes. At this point, I find myself needing to be a little more measured in my output. I get tired very easily. It's frustrating because although I've never been a Type A personality by any means, I've always been very productive.

I know that I'm vulnerable to vascular problems because of my diabetes. Well, I'm perfectly happy to keep my blood sugars in check, which I can do if I have, you know, ADEQUATE INSULIN! Which my health care provider and Medicaid seem to be conspiring not to provide me. Going without insulin for weeks at a time is, I don't know, a bad thing when you're diabetic. 

The elite devils in charge of things don't care about that, though. They want the poor and the handicapped dead. Of course, then they won't have anyone to do the menial jobs that they revile, but I wouldn't give them too much credit for being smart.

Yeah, I said "handicapped" instead of the more politically correct "disabled." I honestly don't see what the difference is. I can apply both to my own condition, and I don't find either one offensive. Sometimes people become so busy picking nits that they forget to work on the issues that really matter.

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 @123rf.com

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Carpe Diem Haiku: Love Senryu for a Troubled World


love to change the world
in this troubled atmosphere
hope for better dies

~cie~


notes from nuts
I don't even have the strength to begin addressing all the reasons I feel this way.