Tag Archives: reviews

Fan of… Fairs!

This is for Jez’s fan challenge. Join in!

I love fairs, which may strike you as strange since I’ve said repeatedly that I enjoy silence and small gatherings. But fairs aren’t forced socializing ~ in fact, you don’t really make nonsense small talk at fairs. You chat about what’s there, more often than not, or you simply observe.

Yesterday I went to the Orange County Fair, which I usually do every year, though not always. I was pleased that my foot handled all that walking around without too much soreness (but it is definitely not all better). My two friends and I who arrived early loved the exhibits of crafts and products.

Here is an owl made of belts. This pretty much made my day.

Owl

Giant cookies looked delicious!

Giant Cookies

But we opted for the healthy fried zucchini. Gotta have your veggies.

Fried Zucchini

And one friend shared her corn dog with us…

Corn Dog

While my other friend commented that she’s seen “big ones at Disneyland.”

Hmmmm.

Moving on. Here’s a cool first prize-winner table setting with lots of science info.

Electric Water

And now we have some sweet miniature donkeys grooming each other.

Miniature Donkeys

Mary, we found your lamb right here…

Little Lamb

Along with Daenerys’ horse from Game of Thrones.

White Horse

I decided to audition for “Bennie and the Jets.”

Mohair Suit

We had really all gathered to attend a night concert however, and more of our group wandered in as the evening approached. Some went on rides, but that’s not my thing these days. Finally, it was time to take our seats at the Pacific Amphitheatre and listen to the awesome orchestra followed by a super fun show.

Weird Al Yankovic

Hooray for the fair! See you next year! 😀

~*~

© 2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Thank You, Ashley 💖

I’m so excited! One of my favorite bloggers Ashley of Mental Health @ Home has written a lovely review of Fiona’s Fling. Please go check out what she says! She also includes some interesting info about the romance novel genre itself.

Thanks so much, Ashley. 🙂

Rockumentaries & Things

I love musical movies… Hair, Chicago, Walk the Line, The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, Across the Universe, Mamma Mia (1 & 2), The Lion King, Grease, Fiddler on the Roof, etc. There are lots I haven’t seen and still want to ~ Meet Me in St. Louis, for heaven’s sake!

But that’s not what I came here to talk about today. Lately I’ve seen a bunch of rockumentaries, which is a class of movie I’ve avoided in the past because it seemed eh boring, like something from the History Channel. But first I watched one on Joan Jett and it was interesting! Last summer I saw The King in Long Beach and enjoyed that too. It was more an overview of the times than a laser-focus on Elvis, but even so. Good stuff, despite the history content.

Then I meant to see Bohemian Rhapsody on my Movie Pass, but it died so I didn’t. I watched it on Prime for $6 last month though, and it was great! I’ve always loved Queen’s music. RIP Freddie.

Next I went to see Rocketman. Wow. It was incredible. Taron Egerton did such a fab job portraying Elton John. The music. The costumes. All spectacular. And Elton as a little boy was just heartbreaking too.

Last weekend I saw Yesterday, which isn’t in the same category because it’s a romcom with a fantasy element, but regardless it’s entirely themed on The Beatles, so I say it goes in this post. I dare you to disagree! I loved it, btw. Super fun and adorable. Lots of Beatles’ songs throughout to keep a fan happy.

Yesterday I saw Echo in the Canyon, which is about the California music biz in the 1960s. Jakob Dylan interviews a bunch of old-timey musicians and plays clips of their songs, and he also recreates some of their tunes himself. He’s super talented… wonder where he gets that from? I’ve loved him since the first Wallflowers album, so I may be biased there. I highly recommend this movie to all music fans. Honestly, Jakob needs to do a sequel because there’s just so much more!

During the previews to Echo, we saw that there’s a new movie coming out in August sort of like Yesterday but without a fantasy element and themed on Bruce Springsteen. Guess who is gonna put Blinded by the Light on her must-see list?

🎶😀🎶💖🎶

PFF5 ~ Holy Matrimony!

Welcome to my Friday Flashback! This post originally appeared here on July 5, 2014. I hope you enjoy the romance novel review even if you aren’t a fan of the genre.

At The Duke’s Wedding

At The Duke’s Wedding [dead link deleted] is a collection of four novellas, all set at a grand old English estate during the week of festivities surrounding the wedding of the Duke of Wessex. Each novella has a different author.

 

WARNING ~ SPOILERS ABOUND ~ CONTINUE AT YOUR OWN RISK!

 

1. That Rogue Jack by Maya Rodale. This story is incredibly, tediously stupid. Jack is a gorgeous moron who misplaces the heirloom wedding ring he picked up for the groom from a jeweler. Inexplicably, the bride-to-be requests great grand Aunt Whozis’ companion, Henrietta, to get moronic Jack to hand over the ring. They spend days sneaking around trying to find it because Jack, who is a moron, can’t remember where he put it. As they do this, they fall in love. That’s the plot.

2. I was going to stop reading after that first awful story, but decided that wasn’t fair to the other authors. Glad I continued. In P.S. I Love You (by Miranda Neville), the witty and poetic scarred-face Christian reluctantly agrees to write love letters to Rosanne for his boring but good-looking cousin Frank. Of course Chris falls in love with Rosanne because her letters are so charming, and she with him, though of course she thinks he’s Frank. When they all meet at the Duke’s place, complications ensue. Predictable, but actually good.

3. When I Met My Duchess by Caroline Linden.  This story is about the Duke himself, who is not some old gross gouty fellow but young and beefcakey, and how he falls for his betrothed’s hot and unconventional sister the moment she steps down from her carriage in front of his house. Oopsy. I liked it. 

4. How Angela Got Her Rogue Back by Katharine Ashe. The title is misleading and also clunky ~ unforgiveable! But let us proceed. This story involves time-travel, which I don’t mind at all, if it makes some kind of sense. Even a little bit of sense will do. Modern-day Angela materializes at the Duke’s party 200 years earlier after reading a weird book and falling into a Michigan river. That was OK, but less so was the convoluted blackmail scheme she thwarts to save Viscount Studmuffin’s family. What really bugs the crap out of me though is when Angela ~poof~ vanishes again for no reason. I totally lost interest in the story right there. But I finished it of course, and read the teaser for an upcoming story, which has the Duke’s little sister finding Angela’s cell phone…

Onward!

PFF3: POV PP

Paula’s Friday Flashback this week is a post from June 21, 2013, wherein I rant about point of view switching within scenes. Enjoy!

Minor peeve. I was careless with “only” in my post. Sorry about that.

Point of View

Sorry, got distracted.

One of my huge pet peeves while reading is a mid-scene POV switch. This shouldn’t be a problem in a first-person novel (one would hope), but writers will switch deliberately or sloppily while writing in third. Grrrr! In olden days, it was acceptable to write in scattershot POV, but the contemporary way is to keep to one character’s viewpoint per scene (and sometimes per chapter).

This makes a lot of sense if you think about it. The reader can relax and trust the writer to put you inside one character’s head at a time, with sensory data and thoughts being processed by him or her (or it, if non-human). You only know what that character knows during this time, feel what she feels, etc. If the story is a romance, you’re there with her wondering if the hero will ever return from his quest. If the story is a murder, you’re right there with the detective putting the clues together.

I recently read a short story in workshop where two men were involved in a tense situation, involving a possible murder, and the POV flipped from one to the other. It was difficult to get “into” the story fully because of this and it also led to confusion about who was thinking/feeling what at times. When we know the writer has stuck us inside only one character’s head, these problems are mitigated simply by the fact that anyone’s thoughts or feelings are THAT guy’s. We don’t have to wonder.

Someone said that wrt to a novel you should write a scene from the POV of the character who has the most to lose at that point. I’d like to say this is a Jennifer Crusie quote, but I can’t remember and CBA looking it up at 5:30am. It makes a lot of sense and doesn’t only apply to romance novels of course. Though I find it the most irritating when a romance novelist (either deliberately or stupidly) has a switch in a sex scene. It’s so distracting. This is the perfect example of a time you need to stay inside one character’s head for the duration of a scene and not mess up. I think this is why I had to give Animal Attraction only two stars on Goodreads. That just bugged the hell out of me. And Shalvis is not a beginning writer, so no excuses.

I’m not sure how any of this applies to second person. I haven’t written anything that way, too annoying, nor did I read BLBC. I think second is like first though, but with this hipstery distancing thing going on, right? I don’t know. Can’t deal with it.

Whatever. DON’T SWITCH MID-SCENE. Ever. This is one of those rules that you don’t break even when you are all jaded and above following rules.

PFF2: Crabby Book Review

Welcome to the second edition of Paula’s Friday Flashback! For this one, I present a crabby book review I wrote on June 14, 2013. What makes this funny (to me) is that just yesterday I was defending the entire romance novel genre from that twit Nicholas Sparks, but here 6 years ago I was disgusted with it myself! Hah. That’s probably because I was dating back then and trying desperately to blame my poor choices on anything other than my own bad judgment. Oh, it must be because I was overly influenced by romance novels. Sure, Jan.

Or maybe I’m just inconsistent. Whatever!

*

Animal Attraction

By Jill Shalvis. I gave this book a 2-star rating (“it was okay”) on Goodreads even though I enjoyed it for the most part, but I’ve given better books a 3-star, and I want to have some sense of fairness in my ratings.

As I thought objectively about AA, and disregarded the fact that I ripped through it because it was fun and sexy and had a kitty (and lots of other aminals too ~ hero Dell was a vet), I realized it had one of the Fatal Flaws of romance novel writing. The “plot,” such as it was, hinged on the premise that there was an End Date looming, a date at which our heroine Jade absolutely had to leave Sunshine, Idaho and return home to Chicago, therefore preventing Jade and Dell from becoming emotionally entangled, which they would resist in any case since Dell was one of those emotionally unavailable kind of guys we all break our hearts over in real life though in RNs they always become available which upfucks the brains of women who read these STUPID BOOKS but I digress, and they both knew this. (Of course Jade tried not to become physically involved with him either, but that didn’t work. Obviously.)

But as it turned out the End Date was totally arbitrary ~ Jade didn’t have to leave. She had made a promise to her family she’d come home, mostly because they’d been nagging her unreasonably, and since she was a 30 year old woman, it would have been totally acceptable, if not downright advisable, for her to tell them, dudes, I found a good job, a cool apartment, and a great boyfriend here in Idaho, so BACK OFF, I’m staying indefinitely. And so basically there was no plot if you discount this made up out of thin air date. If you do discount the date, then the whole story becomes this whiny thing of ermahgerd I gotta go, can’t let myself fall for hunkyvet, and him thinking why must she go, everyone abandons me just like mommy. Bleh.

Plus there were sloppy POV switches within scenes (annoying and unforgivable!) and missing quotation marks, super-distracting. Upside, the dialog was great and witty, and there were fun minor characters. Shalvis has a ton of books available and I can tell from the blurbs and reviews (however positive) that they’re all gonna be about the same. But one was enough for me.

~*~

Check out Fandango’s FF, where this whole idea originated. It’s all his fault! 😂

Another Award! 🤩

A big bouquet 💐 of thanks goes out to Tanya of Salted Caramel for nominating me for this award! Very lovely of her to think of me. I enjoy her blog as well.💖

Now I’m to talk about how my blog began. As I’ve mentioned, this isn’t my first blog; that one started way back in 2003 or so, simply because other writers had one. Yep, I’m a follower, not a leader. My posts were snarky and intended to start arguments in order to generate traffic, which they did, but it was still low compared to the hot blogs at the time. Back then, I was obsessed with stats.

But I got hoisted by my own petard, as they say. (Do they actually say that? And what is a petard anyway?) Long story short, I ended up in an huge kerfuffle over pit bulls, of all things, and my comments got hacked… it was quite a mess.

I don’t like mess. What I generally do when things get messy, ugly, yucky, or in any way unpleasant, is GTFO. And Ultrablog was no exception. I archived and deleted it.

A while later, I began a second blog. This one was incredibly boring. Deliberately so. I posted only about cats, cupcakes, and shoes ~ in fact, that was the name of the blog. But I did have a private one where I posted more personal things and invited selected readers whom I trusted.

After my mom died, the private blog had pretty much served its purpose, and I was bored with CC&S. So, I began Light Motifs on Blogger. I held the WordPress address just in case… and then it turned out I wanted to switch over in 2009 due to some annoyances with Blogger.

Back then, I posted infrequently compared to now, maybe a few times per week. I’d post song lyrics and other people’s poetry, book reviews and excerpts, etc. It was all regarding my emotional state at the time, which was a mix of hope and despair over a romance. After that ended and I went onto dating sites, this blog became a pit of bitching about that. I went through several cycles of deleting those posts, which is why the years between 2012-2017 have giant gaps in them.

Since I’ve quit dating and facebooking, I’ve not deleted any posts here. I’m more mindful of what I write in the first place, which is my first piece of advice to new bloggers (we’re supposed to give two bits of advice in this award post). Even if you don’t have many followers yet, try to keep in mind that your posts are public and envision an audience when you write. Make each post the best it can be, and give something of yourself to your audience, whether it’s a personal anecdote or an original creative writing or photo. Don’t just link to another site without comment. That’s no fun. 😢

And for heaven’s sake, never mention pit bulls! 😱🐶🤯

I’ll stop here because I don’t like to tag people for awards. I hereby nominate all my recent commenters for this one ~ you’re recognized! Grab the award and make a post. G’wan… don’t be shy! 😀

The Most Important Lesson from GOT

***WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS GAME OF THRONES’ SPOILERS!***

It’s sport for GOT fans to mercilessly drag every episode of this last season, in gory detail, and I agree with the main criticism ~ the ending is rushed. The show runners spent 7 long seasons setting up an intricate story, and now they’re zooming to finish, stuffing two wars into three episodes out of six, and leaving lots of loose ends.

Meanwhile, I’m basically enjoying the eps, besides wishing there would have been more of them. I don’t share the common criticism that the plot twists and character arcs are “unearned.” The first seasons generally followed the books, so if you’d read them, you weren’t shocked by twists. Ned’s beheading was accepted because those of us who read the books knew it was coming, but normally the sudden death of a beloved character early on would have generated criticism from fans.

So, when I read today that people are upset about Varys’ death, I roll my eyes. The dude was a great character, but he was always plotting and scheming against rulers, and it was inevitable one would discover it and kill him. You have to wonder why it took so long really, except for the fact that he was smarter than all of them. Littlefinger was also, but Varys was not evil and selfish, so he caught more breaks. Both men were lucky they lasted as long as they did.

People who are carrying on today about Daenerys going “mad” haven’t been paying attention. She has stated all along that she was going to take what was hers “with fire and with blood.” She has torched people throughout the show, but that was okay with us because we didn’t like them. Her character has been stable, her mission unchanged, and her vision focused on one goal.

If you want to pick apart the military strategy of Euron and his crew, I get that. One day he takes out a dragon with his first shot and sinks the entire opposing navy; in the next encounter, he’s totally inept. What the hell happened there? Gotta say though I enjoyed his rambunctious battle to the death with Jaime. Good stuff, though I did think Euron would have mentioned the baby he thinks is his. Might have thrown Jaime off-balance.

Okay, so Jaime fooking Lannister, amirite? People are yelling about his character arc. Pffft, I say. You know what? It’s perfect. The more I think about it, the more perfect it is. Here we have a handsome, spoiled, rich jerk who is in love with his sister and does horrible things for a long time. Some of these things he does for her and some he does just because he’s an arrogant ass.

Then, Jaime gets captured, tortured, and has his comeuppance and epiphany. He begins to be a slightly better person. He sees that he could maybe love a woman who isn’t a monster and be loved in return. He could fight for the people instead of his shitty family name. Some of his interior ugliness is replaced with goodness.

But then… then… bratty, snotty Sansa (more about her in a sec), says nyah we’ve taken King’s Landing and your sis is gonna die! Jaime immediately reverts to form, dumps his new sweet love and breaks her heart, and gallops back to his wicked twin. Why?

Because people don’t change!

That’s the lesson here, folks. And it’s a good and important one. Dany never changed, not one iota. Jaime appeared to change, but he didn’t really. And what about Sansa, who began as a pretty wounded bird and allegedly turned into a strong confident woman? Nah fam. She’s still a petty, snide, gossipy bitch. Dishonest and backstabbing.

Jon/Aegon never changed either. He can’t help but be a noble, relentlessly honest lump of boring. Tyrion is still the same brilliant little scamp who puts his family first no matter how terrible they are. And he does sometimes back the wrong horse, especially when it’s very pretty. Sandor had one main mission in life, and though he did get sidetracked with other tasks along the way, ultimately he refocused on his goal, the Cleganebowl.

Arya? Let’s see what she does in the final ep. Any predictions? I admit I was wrong when I predicted Jaime would kill Cersei, and I’m glad to be wrong. I love that they stuck to the “people don’t change” theme instead, and decided to ignore Maggie’s prophecy. Now, the prediction is that Arya will kill Dany. I don’t know… What do you think?

Thanks for reading all this!

The Weekly Smile

Sharon gave me a lovely early birthday gift last Sunday: tickets to Fiddler on the Roof at the Pantages in Hollywood! This was a mommy-daughter afternoon, just the two of us, which we haven’t done since my granddaughter arrived. So much fun to spend time with my sweet girl! And what a fantastic show!

I’ve seen Fiddler on the screen a zillion times and practically have it memorized. It’s one of my favorite musicals. But the stage show is slightly different. Forex, the part of Perchik, the communist scholar, is much funnier. Actually, I thought the actor who played Tevye, Yehezkel Lazarov, made his lines funnier too. This was apparent in “Tevye’s Dream,” which was totally hysterical. The entire cast did a fabulous job. 💖🎶😀

The Pantages itself is a beautiful, comfy venue, plus it was fun to be in Hollywood. We got to walk down a portion of the star sidewalk, which was neat. When I go to Los Angeles these days, I generally visit my fam and then come right back.

Still smiling! 🎉😀 🎶

Z is for Zany [A2Z]

Zany, madcap, wacky, screwball, etc. are all great words to describe What’s Up Doc? This is a super hilarious romantic comedy from 1972, starring Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neal. Madeline Kahn (RIP) costars brilliantly in the same kind of role she plays in Young Frankenstein: the OCD uptight fiancée who is made to appear less desirable than the manic pixie dream girl (before we called them that).

The movie opens in San Francisco and begins with four identical plaid suitcases. One belongs to Ryan’s Dr. Howard Bannister and contains special rocks he needs for a science conference. Another is filled with top-secret documents and belongs to “Mr. Smith.” A “Mr. Jones” is chasing after these documents. The third bag is filled with expensive jewelry. The last bag belongs to Barbra’s Judy Maxwell and contains clothing. Judy chases Howard around his hotel, both to try to find her bag and to score free meals.

At the same time, two hotel employees are attempting to steal the bag they believe has the jewelry, while Jones is trying to get the document bag. Everyone ends up with the wrong bag, of course! Howard’s fiancée is having trouble understanding why Judy keeps popping up all over the place. There is a rival for a science grant who tries to take advantage of Howard’s predicament. It’s all so wild!

Since it’s a romcom, there is a happy ending for Judy and Howard, yayyy. 💖

And with that, I am finished with the alphabloggery, thank Godzilla.