Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Achy breaky heart

Yeah, you now have Miley Cyrus' Dad's lone hit playing on endless loop in your head now. You're welcome.

deadpool,song,stop in the name of love,Super-Lols
Deadpool is a shite.

Poets, lovers and philosophers spent centuries pondering and describing the agony of heart break. Lost love, death and failures, despair and disappointment, all could break a person's heart. The pain is literal; many report a heaviness in the chest, difficulties in breathing and a host of other unpleasant physical symptoms. The thoracic discomfort is so keen that for the longest time people thought that heart break actually affects the pumping organ. Since mental distress is often fueled by the stress hormone cortisol, the elevated blood pressure, constricted blood vessels etc manifest into cardiovascular problems for those susceptible to it.

Lament and dirges are written as paeans of tribute to heartbreaks. Emo kids slash their skin, widows throw themselves on funeral pyres (male wishful fantasy), Johnny Walker consumed by the barrel, entire Afghan poppy fields injected into the blood stream, etc etc was committed because emotional pain can be so overwhelming.

And now scientists show that your heartbreak is all in your head.

Brain signature of emotion-linked pain is uncovered - health - 14 January 2015 - New Scientist


Ehehehe ... *the snicker of the heart-whole*

Friday, December 12, 2014

"If I leave you alone you will leave England."

Awaiting the FireAwaiting the Fire by Donna Lea Simpson
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

If this book was written as a "horrid novel that corrupt innocent young feminine minds" in the Victorian times, I think it would have been a bestseller. It has all the requisite: a feisty heroine, a dark, brooding hero, a tempting yet menacing villain, isolated grand mansion/castle, supernatural entities, perilous moments, misunderstandings and torrid resolution.

Sadly, I find the melodrama overwrought, the heroine AND hero annoying in their inconstancy and immaturity, the plot unnecessarily plodding and tiresome, the exposition clunky and the deux-ex-machina unsatisfactory. Not to mention that I've never enjoyed any books that feature Judeo-Christian angels anyway.

Seriously, I should stop being surprised at how much blurbs and recommendations by "notables" can disappoint.

Male protagonist: 2/5 stars
Female protagonist: 1/5 stars
Storyline: 1/5 stars
Pacing: 0/5 stars
Fun Factor: 1/5 stars
Repeat Reading Factor: 0/5 stars

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"I parked there yesterday and my Range Rover exploded."

Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1)Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There's a reason I didn't read more book in 2014 and it's because of this author. I just got this book a few weeks ago and it's now pretty dog-eared, thanks to the multiple re-reading because I enjoy it just *that* much.

The novel is set in a world where magic is real and is the main currency for power and wealth. A small-time private investigator was tasked to persuade a powerful pyromage to surrender to his family after a series of high profile arson. She has a competitor in the chase, another catastrophically powerful mage who can level cities. A lot of mayhem and high octane action, peppered with tickle-your-ribs humour and steamy sexual tension.

The book is peopled with characters who are not just larger-than-life but also wonderfully likeable. The primary characters sucked me in and kept the book glued to my hand up to the very end. C'mon, how am I to resist when the male protagonist was described as such:

He'd traded the suit and shoes for faded jeans, a pale grey t-shirt and heavy, dark boots. The effect was staggering. The suit had toned him down, smoothing harshness with a veneer of wealth and civilisation. Now he was all rough edge and rugged strength. He looked like he needed some jungle ruins to explore or some bad people to hit with a chair. Trouble was, he was the bad people

I also adored that the female protagonist was no Mary Sue; she had a complement of vulnerabilities along with kick ass determination, wilyness and intelligence. Her Mom was a magically enhanced sniper, her Grandma talked to tanks and the heavy weaponry that she crafted, and a cybermage cousin as her sidekick. Her family was insane and fun and I can't wait to see more of her crazy sisters and cousin in the next books.

Even the psychopath was pretty endearing and made you want to root for him.

Pierce did have devil eyes. Deep and dark, the rich brown of coffee grinds, they were unpredictable and full of crazy.

Burn for Me is a new tangent for the husband-wife writing team, a book that is closer to a traditional romance in the action-adventure genre. However, the romance aspect developed more slowly, paying out over a three-book series. By the last page you are jonesing for the next book and gosh, can't they write any faster?

Favourite quotes:

1. "... Had I known that you were going to pull a pretty ribbon out of your sleeve like some two-bit magician, I would have shot you. Many times."

"Two-bit magician?"

"Men like you enjoy being flattered."

2. Small talk with the dragon. How are you? Eaten any adventurers lately? Sure, just had one this morning. Look, I still got his femur stuck in my teeth. Is that upsetting to you?

3. "I was conceived because my mother skipped bail. Her boyfriend at the time threatened to call the cops on her, so she had to do something to keep him from doing it."

4. And then he had felt her. She was warm and golden and she tore through the sterility of the ascent and reached for him. She kissed him and as she shared all of her fears and wants, he felt alive. He had shrugged off the cold serenity for her, and the world around him bloomed.

Seriously. Go get this book. You won't regret it.

Male protagonist: 5/5 stars
Female protagonist: 5/5 stars
Storyline: 5/5 stars
Pacing: 5/5 stars
Fun Factor: 5/5 stars
Repeat Reading Factor: 5/5 stars

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Hanging out in Tartarus by the river of fire would be a jolly thing to do

Styxx (Dark-Hunter, #12)Styxx by Sherrilyn Kenyon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had this book in my keeping for over a month before I cracked it open. One is because of its size: at 930 pages and at least 2.5 inch thick, I worry that if I accidentally drop it on my face when reading, I might break my nose.

OK, spoilers ahead. You have been warned.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Hurrah for gun laws.

Sepucuk Pistol Di Dalam LaciSepucuk Pistol Di Dalam Laci by Hadi M. Nor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I find myself picking up Malay books and discarding them by page 45. I have lost my tolerance for slower pacing, preachy drama and annoying plot devices.

But I found none of those peeves in this anthology; a marvelous cornucopia of romance (of the weird kind), urban fantasy, sprinkled with a good dose of homicidal mania and sheer hilarity.Suspend your disbelief and just enjoy the ride. 

Thanks for lending me the book, Hanies!

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NoLa on my mind ...

Dawn Encounter (Masters at Arms #2)Dawn Encounter by Jennifer Blake
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I don't read very many Americana historical romance. Primarily it's because the more I learn about the victimisation of the indigenous people of North America, the harder it is for me to read about the romantic half breed yearning for the blonde homestead daughter. So that takes the cowboy genre out of circulation for me and except for Pamela Morsi and Rebecca Paisley, I rarely come across other settings for Americana historical.

I liked the premise of New Orleans prior to the War Between the States and Ms. Blake did an excellent job of painting the atmosphere and society of the Deep South. I also liked that she didn't whitewash slavery in the premise and did it without contemporary moralising.

However, the female protagonist annoyed me with the way she vaccilated between being so die-away and bull-headed assertion of her independence. A bit like a spoilt brat, but I gave that a pass judging by her age and background. The male protagonist was a total dyed-in-the-wool hero; brave, self-sacrificing, painfully honourable etc etc, but a bit cookie cutter. I think that both characters could have done with greater character development, but alas, that territory was not ventured.

Male protagonist: 3/5 stars
Female protagonist: 2/5 stars
Storyline: 3/5 stars
Pacing: 2/5 stars
Fun Factor: 3/5 stars
Repeat Reading Factor: 1/5 stars

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Like molasses ...

... is the progress of my writing ...

*hangs head in shame*

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

E is for English

... and its myriad accents the world over. From Manglish to Singlish to Aussie to Kiwi to the Indian subcontinent, the language is flavoured by the first language of its speaker. There are ten times more non-native English speakers than there are native English speaker (I pulled this number out of thin air, so don't quote me) so it is not logical to think that there is only one way to use (and abuse) the language.

Methinks that standard English pronunciation exists only in the imagination of snobbish purists.

Monday, May 26, 2014

G is for Gender

(find the lyrics to Arcade Fire's We Exist here)

No, I am not a fan of Arcade Fire but this video caught my eye for obvious reasons (Andrew Garfield, duh).


This song was the anthem I bopped along to during my pre-u days when Damon Alban and the rest of the second wave of British Invasion ruled the airwaves. We innocently sang along to it without real thought to the underlying meaning of the lyrics.

I enjoy dreams where I am a man (except the time I morphed into John C Reilly complete with flannel shirts); it is amazingly liberating to be so physically dominating, let me tell you. Do men ever dream of being women, I wonder.
"Girls can wear jeans and cut their hair short, wear shirts and boots. ‘Cause it’s OK to be a boy. But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading. ‘Cause you think that being a girl is degrading. But secretly, you’d love to know what it’s like… Wouldn’t you? What it feels like for a girl."

I am among those who benefit from this sexism. I can keep my hair ear length  and no one blinks when I buy my shorts from the men's section (women's shorts are too indecent. They barely cover my fat bum). However, all these didn't do squat to make me manly nor do I ever want to abandon my bright lipsticks.

Some people may say that gender is nothing more than a social construct that depends on your location. In some parts of the world, men keep long hair (e.g. Comanche, Iroquois nation) and wear dresses (the Arab men robes are damn comfy and I love wearing them too). Hence, outward manifestation of gender is a fluid thing and has time-place setting parameters to them (Georgian men in Europe used powder and maquillage).

What's it like to be a girl? What's it like to be a boy? For those who do not experience gender dysphoria, these are silly questions. But for those who have felt like they have been in the wrong body for their entire life, it's no laughing matter. It's a terrible discordance to live with and one I wouldn't wish on anyone at all.

The transgender community are often victims of violence and untoward aggression. They are discriminated against not just in terms of service provision, but also in employment and other social mobility. This often pushed them into doing sex work where they are made further vulnerable to violence and limits their economic advantage.

I think we should strive to be kinder to transgendered people. I know that many use religion to smack down transgenders, but if you consider gender dysphoria as something organic, don't you think that it's God's will that they are they way they are? It's not their fault, nor is it something they sought after. So why can't we leave them be and just accept them as they are?