Category Archives: Books

The Sum of All Kisses [repost]

romance novels

[Written in 2014.]


The only reason I slogged through this more boring than a boring boring book by Julia Quinn is because I’m on vacation and have plenty of free time to read. Also, it started out slightly promising by giving us a hero with exceptional math ability, which, as we all know, is hot.

Now, I’m the first one to admit that my own writing is somewhat lacking in the plot department, but that doesn’t mean I want to read someone else’s novel that has no plot whatsoever. TSOAK had nothing. It was a repulsive romp through a couple weeks in the lives of ridiculously rich, titled people back in 1820’s England ~ people that no one could possibly care about, ever.

The premise is that the brilliant hero Hugh gets drunk off his ass and forgets the cards he previously memorized, loses a game, and accuses his friend of cheating. Hugh is such an arrogant jerk about his “perfect” memory he can’t for a minute even consider the possibility that he messed up. There’s a duel, the guys shoot each other accidentally, and the story begins three years later with their vapid relatives and friends dealing with the etiquette involved in facing the two dudes at various parties and weddings. That’s the plot, plus a stupid twist at the end to create another hyper-charged, meaningless situation to pull the lovers apart for a couple hours.

The heroine Sarah is a silly, selfish girl. She “hates” Hugh even before she meets him because she blames him for the fact that three years ago she couldn’t have her debutante season and snag a husband. Apparently, since her cousin was the other duelist, her family had to stay on the down low for a while. Now she’s an old maid of 21, waaah! Also, major drama ~ Sarah hates playing the piano in the family music ensemble thingie, so will she be able to finagle her way out of the next command performance or not?! Wow, stay tuned. (Geddit?)

Sarah’s a spoiled, complaining princess, while Hugh is a grumpy, self-hating oaf. And the other characters are all fluff-brained people with meaningless lives who flit about from one ritzy estate to another. OMG WHICH CARRIAGE AM I RIDING IN?!? Also, there’s a constant theme of who can make the wittiest, snarkiest comment, and even that gets old quickly because there is nothing of substance happening, ever.

There was no actual interesting math either ~ Hugh keeps quickly multiplying big numbers in his head for people’s amusement. Blah. I’m never reading another Julia Quinn book. While you can’t really expect a romance novel to be deep and meaningful, they are supposed to be diverting and FUN.

Oh, there was serious cake, but even that didn’t save this book. Tragic.

~*~

Book cover image is mine. Kiss image source unknown.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Ian Fleming [April A2Z]

Ian Fleming

Welcome to my April A-Z! This month I will be posting about James Bond 007 every day except Sunday, mostly focusing on the movies, not the books. Enjoy!

Today’s post is in honor of the British writer Ian Fleming, who created the James Bond 007 character and wrote the original Bond novels. Ian was born on May 28, 1908 in Mayfair, London and died on August 12, 1964 in Canterbury, Kent on his son Caspar’s 12th birthday ~ Caspar committed suicide at age 23. Ian was only 56 years old at his death, but he had been a heavy smoker and drinker all his life and suffered from heart disease.

Like many writers, Fleming had a complicated background. He came from a wealthy family, but he didn’t do well at school, where he was bullied and had physical problems. He also hated the food. He began Eton College in 1921 and excelled at athletics; he also edited a school magazine. But he still had problems with authority and ended up leaving early. Ian next went to the Royal Military College where he dropped out after catching gonorrhea. Next, his mother sent him to schools in Austria and Switzerland. In Geneva, Fleming began a relationship and became engaged, but he broke it off when his mother disapproved. He then failed the exams to enter the Foreign Office, but mommy got him a job as a sub-editor and journalist with Reuters. Finally, he went into banking due to family pressure.

Ian had a long relationship with Ann O’Neill (née Charteris), who was married to a baron and had numerous affairs. After divorcing the baron, Ann married a viscount, while still carrying on with Fleming. Eventually, the viscount caught onto their shenanigans and divorced her, at which point Ian and Ann finally tied the knot themselves and had a son. But they both still constantly cheated on each other.

Ian worked for Britain’s Naval Intelligence Division during WWII, where he picked up many of his ideas for his 007 books with their complex plots and layers of bad guys. He wrote his first Bond novel Casino Royale in 1952 and it was a success. He quickly followed up with eleven more Bond novels and two short story collections. The Bond books are ranked among the best-selling fictional series and have sold over 100 million copies worldwide. Fleming also wrote the children’s story Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang as well as non-fiction. In 2008, The Times ranked him as 14th on their list of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945.

Two of Fleming’s 007 books were published posthumously, and there have been more since, written “in the style of.” The originals are the best, imo. The films don’t necessarily follow the novels closely except for the basic character of James Bond. You don’t mess with 007!

Tune in Monday for more A-Z Bond!

PS: Sorry about all the errors in this post ~ I am grateful for my careful readers and appreciate any catches.

~*~

Information and images from Wikipedia and Pinterest.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

South on Highland [repost]

Freeway night

I read Liana Maeby’s book South on Highland a few days ago. It’s hard to explain how I felt about it ~ basically, I loved the writing and disliked the story. How does that make any sense? Idk, but it’s the best I can do.

Maeby’s writing is fresh and interesting. She really knows how to develop a story. Pacing, metaphors, style… all that. Wonderful!

But I simply did not like the story she told. This may be the first time I could so clearly separate writing from story in this way. Many times, I’ve started to enjoy a story but didn’t finish the book because the writing was so awful. The plot and/or characters were interesting, but there were so many errors in spelling/tense/grammar that I couldn’t focus. Not the case with Maeby ~ her writing is perfect.

And it isn’t that Maeby’s protagonist was merely unlikeable ~ I actively despised her. I knew I couldn’t hope she would die because the POV was in first person, but still… ughhh. Spoiled princess abuses substances to the extreme, squanders her talent, goes to rehab. Loads of promiscuous and stupid sex abound. Creepy and despicable supporting characters hover. Etc. We’ve all read a story like this before and seen one on TV. Yet… yet… the writing was so damn good. I had to finish the book.

And finally… the ending. A semi-redemption. Not going to say a word about it because I think you should read this book for the writing and I hope the ending blows you away too. It didn’t cause me to like the protag any better but goddamn was that a surprise and… it made me envious that someone could write like that. When I start to feel those green claws scratching at me, I know I’ve discovered a good writer.

I found this interview of Maeby and was happy to see that SoH was less of a memoir than I had assumed. It made me like the author more to read that she spent three years writing this book, sober, and the story began as a satire of the recovery culture, but morphed into something serious. Cool. I can totally see the seeds of satire now that she said this.

~*~

Image from Pexels.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

The Rosie Project [repost]

computers technology monitors

The Rosie Project is an interesting book by Graeme Simsion. It’s a romance novel, but it’s written in first person and 100% from the man’s POV. Not just any man though ~ the narrator Don is on the spectrum. He makes plans and lists, scheduling his time for maximum efficiency. Although he is very judgmental about other people’s inefficiencies, brainpower, and BMI, which could have been annoying to read, the narrator infuses it all with humor, and Don is often able to engage in a bit of inadvertent self-mockery. Those factors make TRP fun.

At the start, Don begins a “wife project,” which reminds me of dating site questionnaires and tests. There’s nothing that weird about Don’s method, except he devises his own complex questionnaire rather than going online and doing a canned version. Of course, the method fails, as they do, because love doesn’t spontaneously generate from a pile of matching scores. I don’t mind the predictability of this because it is a romance, after all, and true to formula, but at a certain point I become a little bored.

I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll just say that The Rosie Project turns repetitive toward the end. It also suffers the fate of all first-person romances, which is that while we are treated to Don’s thoughts and feelings in glorious detail, we’re never in the heroine’s POV, so her moods and actions are as inexplicable to us as they are to Don. What are we supposed to make of Rosie’s abrupt changes of mind? Idk, because she may or may not be telling Don the truth ~ perhaps she isn’t sure of it herself. Don has a difficult time processing other people’s confusing behaviors, and since we are in his head, it’s hard for us to do that as well. In that sense, it may be a good portrayal of someone on the spectrum, yet it lags a bit as a romance novel.

Given that, TRP was entertaining overall and I recommend it.

~*~

Image from Pixabay.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.