logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Mario
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-06-03 01:39
ARC Review: Symbols by Mario Kai Lipinski
Symbols - Mario Kai Lipinski

Gosh, I wanted to love this book. I mean, read the blurb - the bullied kid who's spent his days hiding from everyone slowly falls for the gentle giant at the high school they both attend, until an act of violence threatens to tear them both apart... yeah, I signed up immediately for the ARC.

And for the first half or so, this book held me in its grip, as the story between Matt, the bullied kid, and Shane, the gentle giant, unfolds, as Matt begins to trust Shane, as they fall in love and forge a path together.

Yes, sure, there were some issues with the dialogue, which I attributed to the author not being a native speaker and not living in the US so research into how teens talk these days would have been tricky. And yes, sure, the principal pontificates to Shane when he first starts about there being a zero-tolerance policy at the school, and yet she has no idea that Matt has been bullied for years, hiding in corners, shaking and utterly miserable, terrified, in tears, something that even the cafeteria cashier has noticed, yet the principal has no clue - how's that possible? And why wouldn't the cafeteria cashier talk to an adult at the school? Many of the bullying incidents happen in hallways or inside the cafeteria, and yet nobody addresses it.

Still, it was engaging, and was invested.

However, right about the time, Matt is beaten up and ends up in a coma in the hospital, this book took a massive nose-dive. The asshole detective that arrests Shane for allegedly causing Matt's injuries (he didn't), the subplot with Shane engaging Matt's long-time nemesis to find the real perpetrator, the court date, the dramatic last minute rescue by Shane's former friend, the drama with Matt's mother's reaction to Shane's size, the nasty old woman on the bus, and, and, and - it was just all too much and too over the top and too unrealistic in how much was piled on Matt and Shane's shoulders.

Look, I got that the author tried to make the point that one shouldn't judge a book by its cover, i.e. a teenager by his size and tattoos, but good grief, that point wasn't just made so much as hammered home time and again. And Shane, whom I adored, just took the judgments time and again, making all kinds of excuses for people's reactions to him. I hated that he did that. I hated that people would judge him just based on his looks and not his actions. For Matt's mother to think that Shane had hurt Matt, for anyone to think that Shane would hurt a fucking fly just because he's super tall, just pissed me off.

And yeah, I knew who the villain was going to be, but the reasoning behind the violent attack was pathetic. The perpetrator's characterization up to that point didn't indicate anything like what was given as a reason - I didn't buy it at all, and thought that it was just too convenient.

I loved both Matt and Shane, and I loved how gentle Shane was with Matt, and how Matt came out of his shell over time, and became the stronger one of the two. Their relationship was well done, and the author did a fantastic job bringing across the emotional bond between the two young men. What I didn't like so much were the multiple incidents of miscommunication and false assumptions that both of them make, but I chalked that off to them being young.

I think it can be very difficult for a non-native speaker to successfully write authentic dialogue as language continually evolves, especially in this day and age, and that the manner in which teens talk cannot be gleaned from, say, books, TV shows, or movies.

The premise was fantastic - the execution not so much. Still, three stars is nothing to scoff at. I did enjoy reading this book for the most part, and I did love Matt and Shane.


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-06-01 23:31
The Godfather
The Godfather - Mario Puzo

Don Corleone put his hand on the man’s shoulder. “Good,” he said, “you shall have your justice. Some day, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do me a service in return.

A classic among the modern classics, which I had woefully ignored, I barely even remember watching the film. Clearly, the whole Godfather cult had passed me by.

 

That is, until the stars aligned and I had a new interest in all things Sicilian and Troy proposed The Godfather as a buddy read. It was an additional omen when I landed on a BL-Opoly square that fitted the book, too.

 

Well, the good thing about the book was that it was fast paced and made for utterly compelling reading - from beginning to end. There were a few parts that were less interesting to me such as the whole Johnny Fontane (i.e. Frank Sinatra) side story or the sudden shift from fast paced action tale into flashbacks of Don Vito Corleone's early days. These parts fleshed out the book and gave a little more complexity to the story, but they also slowed down the book for me. Without them, I am sure I would not have set the book down. I even once debated whether it was worth getting up from my "reading chair" to get a cup of coffee!

 

The more I got into the story, tho, the more problematic reading the book became.

 

All of the main characters, without exception, are despicable human beings, and I repeatedly wanted to punch them. Hard. I guess it was just lucky that part of the story was about how they would try to kill each other in some phony attempt at revenge for some or other character not being "respectful" enough. The whole idea of honour and respect was just warped to the extreme. Of course, as the whole community existed and worked outside of society, it was free to define terms like "honour" and "respect" along with other concepts and rules for itself, but this also worked to question those concepts and how they applied to any society. 

 

In that respect, Puzo's book is rather fascinating, too, and I have to say that this was probably the most surprising aspect of the read. I went into the book expecting horrible people doing horrible deeds, but I did not expect to marvel about Puzo creating this hook that would draw me into an alternate reality that may or may not exist (or have existed) for real. And the potential realism is as daunting as it is depressing.

The ruthlessness, the sheer disregard for any values, implied a man who considered himself completely his own law, even his own God.

The only aspect that was more depressing than the unsettling realism was the marginalisation of outsiders in the setup of this alternate society, whether they are non-Sicilians, or women, or any other group. For the most part even, these outsiders accepted their role as valueless disposables. Even characters that had a choice to leave somehow willingly submitted into this web of oppression, which resulted in one of the worst proposals of marriage:

You’ll be my wife but you won’t be my partner in life, as I think they say. Not an equal partner. That can’t be.

I really wanted to poke these characters in the eye. Repeatedly. But by the same token, I have to say that watching these lives unravel is part of what makes this book such a gripping read. It's just that I also had to think of the status of the story as one of the cult classics that has been adored for its imagery , much like Fleming's famous creation. And as with James Bond, there is only one thing that I am taking away from The Godfather: We need new icons.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2017-05-30 11:49
Reading progress update: I've read 80%.
The Godfather - Mario Puzo

I enjoyed the beginning, I fought through the middle, and now I just need this to end.

 

This has definitely lost a lot of steam...

 

(Also, we're now firmly back in the kind of sick-bucket territory where even Fleming's Bond looks like an enlightened human being.)

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2017-05-29 10:57
Reading progress update: I've read 58%.
The Godfather - Mario Puzo

This story has slowed right down since the main plot turn. The last quarter of the book has been a lot of backstory and sideline explanation, which has made the story drag a lot.

 

I hope this picks up again soon. At the moment, it just feels like nothing is happening because no one is allowed to act in this web of intrigue...which is quite a good description of the whole setup but does not make for interesting reading.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2017-05-24 23:32
Reading progress update: I've read 8%.
The Godfather - Mario Puzo

Dang, I have to get up in 6 hours, because of an early call with the other side of the world, but I don't want to put down this book. 

 
For all its overblown machismo, it is rather gripping.
More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?