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review 2019-10-27 22:39
Review: No Strings Attached [DNF]
No Strings Attached - Harper Bliss,Angela Dawe

I tried.


I really tried.  


It started interesting, but immediately the best friend became the annoying overbearing I-know-what's-best-for-you friend trope.  And then the protagonist falls for a person who had been an absolute dick to them when they first met.


Then the love interest turns out to be pretty okay (first meeting was still a dick move though) and the protagonist turns into a clingy, whiney, we-slept-together-once-and-now-I-want-a-committed-relationship trope.


I tired to hate-listen, but every one of the characters just got on my nerves and I just couldn't even.


I hated that the best friend got to decide when it was time for the protagonist to come out as bi or a lesbian and to immediately get out there and start dating.  I always thought every person needed to do things at their own pace.


I hated that the protagonist let her best friend push her into something she wasn't necessarily ready for.  And then she fell in love with the first woman she slept with, even after the woman made it VERY CLEAR that she was not looking for anything more than a friends-with-benefits relationship for various reasons, one of which was that she was always travelling for work and wasn't around long enough to commit. 


I hated that her new boss's wife decided to set her up with one of their friends without even clearing it with her first.  She shows up for dinner and chats with the boss while they wait for her wife to arrive.  Low and behold the wife arrives with a "friend" they've been thinking about setting her up with.  After that I was just out.  


This was not enjoyable for me.

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review 2019-08-25 01:06
Review: 30 Days of Night
30 Days of Night - 'Ben Templesmith','Steve Niles'

This was okay. There was a full cast, but they didn't do enough to bring the story to life. I was left wondering and couldn't picture much save for what I remembered from the movie version.


A group of vampires come up with the brilliant idea too use a small town in Alaska as a  smorgasbord for the 30 days they experience zero daylight. Never once stopping to think of the consequences of destroying an entire town.


There are shenanigans and the townspeople vary between fighting back and hiding until an "higher up" vampire comes to town and rips the group a new collective asshole because of their stupidity. More shenanigans and one of the townspeople uses the blood of a vampire to turn himself so that he can take out the group and save his wife.


Great concept. Good movie. Audioplay, meh.

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review 2019-08-20 01:49
Review: The Invisible Man
The Invisible Man - H.G. Wells

The Invisible Man was a jerk who was mean to people and tortured a cat.  This pissed me off and has left my mentally incapable of leaving a more detailed review.  I expected better.

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review 2019-06-14 01:41
DNF: The Last Exit To Normal
The Last Exit to Normal - Michael Harmon

It's been a really long time since I've either given up on a book or disliked it so much that I couldn't even hate-read it through to the end.


Ben is the protagonist who's father came home one day and announced he was gay.  Mom walked out--which just effed up.  Ben, having had his world fall apart, goes full-on delinquent, alcohol, drugs, general terrible behavior.  After a while dad forced them into therapy, they have some breakthroughs.  Things get a lot better, not perfect, but better.  Ben cleans up his act and has even gotten used to his stepdad, whom he calls momdad, even if he doesn't love the situation.  He has one slip-up and they decided it's a good idea to move a teenaged city boy to the middle of nowhere Montana.


So we're talking two gay men moving back to one's hometown--the town he moved away from for very good reason, and they bring their son/stepson with them.  They move into his childhood home with his mother, who doesn't like that her son his gay, but he's still her son, so there's that.


Bonnie Mae, or Miss Mae, is old school country, respect is demanded, manners are insisted upon, no cussing or sarcasm, beatings and/or starvation as punishment.  Yeah great idea for a smart-assed teenager with two dads.


This books is just a mess.  Verbal threats, physical abuse, starvation, and forcing Ben to sleep in the woodshed.  And this is all from Miss Mae.  And dad just sits back and lets this woman do this to his child.  Like, what?!  I don't care what lame excuse you want to use, "they do things different," "she's from a different time," "we're guests in her home."  I'll be damned if I let someone lay a hand on my child.  You'd best not even discipline my child, especially if I'm close enough to be called to handle a situation.


Miss Mae is an asshole.  Dad is an asshole.  Ben is an asshole.  The only one who's decent is Edward, who willingly came back to the town that tortured him throughout his childhood, just to help his partner's child stay on the straight and narrow.  The neighbor is also an abusive, homophobic asshole, who beats the living daylights out of his son because Ben was talking to him, even after the boy told Ben to leave him alone, even after Ben told the man that he had approached the boy who didn't want to talk to him.  


I didn't think I would finish it because I didn't even care if there was character growth or a redemption arc.  But I toyed with the idea of slogging through it anyway.  And then the little neighbor boy shot a stray cat just because.  That's it.  Just. Because.


I "noped" out of that book and cannot recommend anyone to read it.

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review 2016-07-13 21:29
The Hero With a Thousand Faces
The Hero With a Thousand Faces - Joseph Campbell

The idea that there is no such thing as an original story isn’t even original in of itself. Joseph Campbell may have coined the monomyth, but writers and orators have been following set standards and conventions for thousands of years. What set THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES apart is that it applies these conventions to worldwide religious/mythological beliefs and human psychology.


Whether or not the titular hero is a worthwhile concept depends entirely on how much the reader likes seeing Nietzsche’s übermensch conflated with the Aristotelian tragic hero and Freudian id. Campbell draws from a wide variety of sources for his analyzes, and he correlates them all to spirituality and a shared subconscious with some success. At the same time, Campbell’s comparative approach makes multi-faceted classic heroes and gods appear dull and shallow in contrast to the one-off monsters or problems they encounter. If Campbell has to remove key elements of his examples in order to make them fit his theory, shouldn’t that invalidate his claims of the hero’s universal appeal?


Campbell’s thesis is compromised by the time in which it was written. HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES primarily uses Freudian psychanalysis to support his claims, and he unfortunately embraces very outdated conventions in the process. Perhaps due to the academic writing conventions of the time, he also tends to over-describe everything. The end result is that Campbell goes on and on about evidence or theories that I, as a modern reader, know for a fact are inherently flawed without his adding any significant insight.


The biggest problem with the book is that Campbell wildly misinterprets his subject matter. While it’s easy to grasp basic ideas Campbell presents, the text itself fails to substantially support them. His ideas often prioritize the functions of gender or hierarchy, but the numerous supporting examples he gives prioritize action and effect instead. The discrepancy could be explained by overreliance on 20th century gender roles, but Campbell is the first to claim that gender doesn’t matter. The contradictions are rarely resolved because he goes on to write about the dreams of random strangers or completely different myths instead. It’s telling that best written parts of the book are where Campbell focuses on obstacles instead of archetypes.  


Many of his sources date from the 1930s or before, and it shows. Even though he goes out of his way to condemn some of his peers’ imperialistic attitudes, Campbell can be just as judgmental. His opinions and exotification of aboriginal practices in particular is damning enough, but his some of his scientifically improbable “sources” read more like propaganda or bad pulp fiction. It wouldn’t be a problem if these segments weren’t used to support huge chunks of the monomyth. The issue is not a matter of offensiveness; if I can’t trust the accuracy of the material, I cannot trust the analysis thereof either. 


My pagan book club had a lot of fun discussion about the book, though, so at least I’m not walking away with a completely negative experience. Not recommended for solitary reading, in any case. 

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