Tag Archives: science fiction

Nope on a Rope [repost]

books

I grabbed these bookish questions from Kristian ~ anyone can play!

1. Ending: A book ending that made you go NOPE either in denial, rage or simply because the ending was crappy.

Gone Girl comes to mind, but I still respect the writing. Not crappy! Just argh!

2. Protagonist: A main character you dislike and drives you crazy.

Dunno. Compellingly terrible protags are a good thing. Like in GG. The Sopranos. Game of Thrones. Etc. When they’re boring or too “Mary Sue,” then, Houston, we have a problem.

3. Series: A series that turned out to be one huge pile of NOPE after you’ve invested all of that time and energy on it, or a series you gave up on because it wasn’t worth it anymore.

I read the first four Game of Throne novels and the fourth was a hugely tedious slog. I’ve given up now and will just finish watching the wonderful show on HBO. Update: like everyone else, I was disappointed in the finale.

4. Popular pairing: A Ship you don’t support.

I love naughty Archy McNally in the Lawrence Sanders mysteries but I don’t support Connie’s forgiveness of him every time he cheats on her (pretty much every book). I get that he’s irresistible, but I want her to grow a spine!

5. Plot Twist: A plot twist you didn’t see coming or didn’t like.

Can’t think of any except GG. If I didn’t see it coming, then that’s a good thing. Mostly in romance I see them, but that’s okay. They are popular because of the predictably happy endings, not in spite of them.

6. Protagonist action/decision that made you shake your head nope.

In The Dogs of Babel ~ why didn’t she just get an abortion? Loved the book, but I didn’t understand why she didn’t even consider a termination vs suicide. She wasn’t religious or anything.

7. Genre: A genre you will never read.

Never say never. Generally horror with the King exception. Religious stuff in general, unless it seems really interesting. I didn’t used to like science fiction or fantasy, but then dragons came along…

8. Book format: Book formatting you hate and avoid buying until it comes out in a different edition.

I’m not a huge fan of the wholly epistolary style. Unless it’s written by an expert, it can get pretty tedious.

9. A trope that makes you go nope.

Twins mix-up. Getting back with an ex (even though I’ve written this myself). Shape shifters of any kind (also have written some). Motorcycle club love. Military love. Love in the winery. Pirate love. The sexy blonde and the Native American guy. A woman returning to a small town for whatever reason and falls for the guy from high school who’s now the sheriff or whatever. Nazis.

10. Recommendation: A book recommendation that is constantly hyped and pushed at you that you refuse to read.

Books by politicians and other celebs. These people don’t have enough money? Plus, they probably didn’t even write the books themselves.

11. Cliche/pet peeve: A cliche or writing pet peeve that always makes you roll your eyes.

Excessive commas. Excessive exclamation points. The “as you know, Bob” info dump. Info dumps right at the beginning when you haven’t begun to care about the protagonist yet.

12. Love interest: The love interest that’s not worthy of being one. A character you don’t think should have been a viable love interest.

Can’t think of any. Doesn’t everyone deserve love? Well, except Nazis.

13. Book: A book that shouldn’t have existed that made you say nope.

Propaganda.

14. Villain: A scary villain/antagonist you would hate to cross and would make you run in the opposite direction.

The Night King! (GOT)

15. Death: A character death that still haunts you.

Robb’s pregnant wife getting stabbed to death at the Red Wedding (GOT).

16. NOPE! Author: An author you had a bad experience reading and have decided to quit.

I can’t stand Nicholas Sparks. I don’t know why anyone reads him when there are plenty of good romance writers. He’s absolutely awful.

~*~

Image is mine (Powell’s Books, Portland).

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

The Octopus Essay

Octopus treasure sea

“Don’t you dare come!”

“Any closer?” I asked Sandy. She’d been working on this octopus essay for a week. I wanted to stop by her place and pick up my medium sized jewelry box. This was really starting to rankle me.

“In fact, I just discovered a vast trove of new info,” Sandy told me haughtily. “All about the Cephalo Age when octos ruled the world before the Great Upheaval.”

Personally, I was skeptical that octos ever ruled the world, but I couldn’t say that to Sandy because she insisted that she had many sources for this nutball belief. “Can’t you just leave my box outside? Then I can get it without bothering you?”

“No,” she said. “That would interrupt my flow of thought. Goodbye.”

Dang these squid and their inky endeavors!

~*~

Written for Fandango’s Story Starter.
Image from Happy Color.

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

Quickies 6

coffee notebook pen write list

Welcome to my quick reviews ~ a mix of short takes on movies and books I’ve recently watched or read. Note that I don’t have a problem blabbing spoilers, so if that bothers you, skip this post. Also, if you’re wondering why I am formatting my list like this, it’s because every time I allow the block editor to create an automagic list, it’s a complete disaster.

1 ~ Trust Fund. This 2016 movie stars a bunch of actors you haven’t heard of. The title is fun because it’s not just about the financial aspect of a trust fund, but also a reservoir of trust that gets depleted and refilled. Reese, the heroine, is a gorgeous young woman who is being supported by her mega-rich father while she “writes a novel.” She has a sister Audrey who works hard every day in their father’s PUBLISHING COMPANY and resents Reese for flitting around and wasting her life. Reese discovers that their deceased mother actually left the sisters a pile of money that her father has been doling out in a plan to make them productive citizens. Eff that, thinks Reese, and steals her half of the money. She immediately jaunts off to Italy and hooks up with a sexy criminal. Predictability ensues, and Reese ends up returning home with nothing. But because this is a silly romcom (sort of), it turns out she is actually a fabulous writer, churns out a best-seller that her father’s new wife (also a publisher) publishes, and remembers that she actually loves a cute guy she’s known since childhood. Sort of a sugary meaningless movie, if you feel like watching one of those.

2 ~ Traitor Born by Amy A. Barton. This book is intense! It’s total fantasy sci-fi, which I don’t always like, except when I do. I read the first book in the series a while back and received a notification that the next two were available. This is the second one. It’s fabulous! Every chapter is filled with exciting action, roiling emotions, and stunning descriptions of life in the fictional universe. It’s completely unpredictable, which makes for an interesting read. Amy goes into great detail regarding people’s looks, clothing, housing, weapons, social status, etc., and all that grounds the reader in this bizarre world as fantastical things occur. I have the third one in my queue to read as well. Five stars!

3 ~ Rebel Born by Amy A. Barton. Welp, I couldn’t resist diving right into the last book of the Secondborn trilogy as soon as I finished the previous one. It did not disappoint. Full of action and unexpected twists, this final story delivered the reading goods for me. And as an extra treat, this book veered into the philosophical realm, which pleased me even more. First-rate fantasy sci-fi right here folks, not to mention a love story as well. Five stars. Highly, HIGHLY recommend the three books (begin with Secondborn). What I’d really like to do is gobble up more of Amy’s books, but I’m trying to pace myself and read the other books in order in my Kindle queue.

4 ~ Zack & Miri Make a Porno. This 2008 romcom stars Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks. It kept coming up on my Prime list, so finally I said OK and clicked. It’s so predictable and stupid. Maybe I’m old now, but all the crude sexual stuff just makes me cringe. I did enjoy the “love story” last quarter of the film however. There were a few other parts I liked… when they riff over what to name their porno and when Zach comes up with the Star Wars spoof script and funny names for the characters. Amusing wordplay. But mostly? Barf. It was a struggle not to turn it off during the first fifteen minutes.

5 ~ The Father, starring Anthony Hopkins. This 2020 movie is so good. It’s not a “fun” movie, nor an exciting one; it’s very sad and very profound. We experience daily life through the eyes of a man afflicted with dementia, and the film is shot in such a way that makes us feel as disoriented as he does. Why are the chairs in different places today? What happened to the picture over the fireplace? Who is that man sitting in my living room? Why hasn’t my youngest child visited me in so long? Time passes differently. What happened 10 years ago might be yesterday and vice versa. We don’t remember what someone told us a half hour ago. This movie brought back vivid memories of my father. He suffered from dementia for many years and ultimately had to go into an assisted living home. Anthony Hopkins won Best Actor at the Academy Awards for this film, and it was well deserved.

~*~

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.

Quickies 5

coffee notebook pen write list

Welcome to my quick reviews ~ a mix of short takes on movies and books I’ve recently watched or read. This time all 5 quickies are book reviews.

1 ~ Baby, It’s Cold Outside by Shyla Colt. This is a short romance story, more of a novella than a novel. It’s very sweet. There are three distinctive elements. One, the protags are Black, though this isn’t addressed in any way other than physical descriptions. And I’m good with that because everything doesn’t need to be political. Two, the hero Sam is from a hugely wealthy family and his mom is a Senator. This is addressed only from the standpoint that his mom accuses Delta of being a gold digger. Three, Sam is an aspie. This is the most interesting and “different” element compared to cookie cutter romances, and it’s handled very well by Ms. Colt. I learned some valuable info about how aspies cope with being over stimulated. Speaking of, there’s a bunch of hotsex in this book, which is pretty standard for the genre. Fun read overall.

2 ~ Last Stop: Storyville by our very own Sharon E. Cathcart. I was disappointed in this book ~ because it was so short! Usually, I’m happy to be done with something and eagerly clicking on the next, but I was really digging these stories. First, there is a fun time-travel shortie; and second, there is an excerpt from Sharon’s novel Bayou Fire, which is so interesting that I’m going to buy the book (on Kindle). I really enjoyed the abundant descriptions of time and place and character. You need these “grounding details” in a fantasy story, imo. And you need them in romances too. Well done, Sharon! Five stars.

3 ~ The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth. Since we aren’t in a critique class and Sally is never going to read this, I am starting with the negatives. First, I can’t stand first-person accounts from DEAD PEOPLE. Wtf is up with this lately? The very first thing we learned about writing is not to say “And then I died,” unless we’re talking about a vampire. Second, why is there an irritating trend of writing novels in present tense? Third, I’m not a huge fan of the chronological back and forth every chapter. Pick one and stick with it for a while. This flipping is also trending, unfortunately. But you know what? This story was so good, so interesting, that it overcame these annoying elements. Pretty much. Yep. I really liked it! Lucy and Diana were complex characters who surprised me in good ways and the murderer was someone I had not expected. Didn’t give it 5 stars though because reasons.

4 ~ Extraordinary Treasures by Beth Black. I know Beth personally and she’s a superb writer. After reading so many sloppily proofed ebooks, it was a pleasure to find zero mistakes in this short story collection. But for whatever reason, none of them really grabbed me. I don’t know why, since they were expertly written. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for science fiction. If you are, check out this book.

5 ~ Cara Awakened by H. Parker. This was pure pr0n, or as we prefer to call it in the biz “erotica.” If you’re not into that, definitely give this book a pass. If you are, Cara has a more interesting “plot” than the usual fare in this genre and I was surprised by the ending (that’s a good thing). Parker did an excellent job describing characters and setting scenes. The problem for me was absolutely godawful proofreading. Aren’t people embarrassed to put out books with such a mess of mistakes? Not saying mine are perfect and every so often I’ll find an elided word or missing comma. But Cara had mistakes on pretty much every page and it was a chore to slog through it. Apparently, this is a series, but I’m not going to continue reading it.

Catch ya next time!

~*~

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.

Graduation [tlt]

Graduation

She had been a very lackadaisical student, more inclined to party than study, and almost dropped out during sophomore year.

But then she visited the rogue science lab and on a whim agreed to try the experimental DNA uplift process.

And today she graduates as Valedictorian, strong in mind and body, and determined to make her own individual mark on the world, in one way or another…

~*~


Image from Unsplash.
Written for Three Line Tales 277.

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

Quickies 3

coffee notebook pen write list

Welcome to my quick reviews ~ a mix of short takes on movies and books I’ve recently watched/read.

  1. The Girl Most Likely To… I picked up this 1973 “black comedy” DVD on eBay. Watching the film was an enjoyable experience for several reasons. One, I love Stockard Channing and Ed Asner. Two, it is fun to return to a 1970s setting before cell phones, etc. Three, it’s basically about bullying and people being horrible, a topic to which I can relate very well. I was bullied in my early years, though we didn’t call it that then, and no one cared enough to address it, not even my parents (not that I told them about every incident). Though TGMLT takes place during college years, it exposes the SOP of people ostracizing and mocking anyone whose physical appearance doesn’t meet the standards of the day. I cheered when the victim began getting even with the folks who had made her life miserable. The ending is golden as well. I had forgotten many things over the years, including Fred Grandy playing an idiot plumber (Gopher!). Jim Backus was great as the Professor (yep, Mr. Howell was the Professor here). The whole cast was good. I have a minor criticism, which is that Stockard’s peppy narration doesn’t match the trauma she endures. Sure, some people build up a funny, sarcastic persona as a defense, but there should be moments of despair imo.
  2. Vanilla Sky. Yup, another movie. This 2001 flick was available on Prime, and I liked the title as well as the star ~ Tom Cruise. But this wasn’t his best work. The premise is a woozy, confusing series of flips between dreams and reality. Sometimes I can enjoy that, but here TC annoys me with his two modes: giant grin or horrific screaming. Ugh! His costars’ performances are better. Cameron Diaz does an excellent job as a psycho stalker, and Penelope Cruz steals scenes as a somewhat sensible alternative. Kurt Russell is fine as the psychologist. It wasn’t a terrible movie, just a bit irritating. My friend says I would probably enjoy the original Spanish version, so I may give that a try.
  3. Quantum of Solace. Another movie and a Bond! This is one of the ones I missed, and I want to catch up before the new 007 arrives this fall (No Time To Die). I now understand why QoS received such crappy reviews and I previously gave it a pass. There is no gun barrel sequence at the beginning (just a brief hint at one), no Q/gadgets, and no “Bond, James Bond.” Ugh! I’m not going to judge it on the ridiculous plot because most of them are ridiculous, but it truly is a mess. However, I appreciate the reference to Vesper ~ both that Bond felt something for her and also describing the “Vesper Lynd” martini. Very nice. Another enjoyable aspect is the emotional interplay between Bond and M, illuminating how they care for each other, and setting the stage for Skyfall. So it wasn’t all bad, just mostly bad.
  4. Sunburn by Laura Lippman. I grabbed this novel on sale when a friend mentioned it on FB. Really enjoyed this unpredictable book! Just when I thought I knew what was going on, it switched up again. Top-notch writing on setting, characterizations, interior dialog, etc. The protags were not particularly likable, but I don’t mind that if the story is compelling and the writing is gripping and authentic. The ending was superb. I didn’t give it 5 stars though (only 4) due to too many coincidences. Writers really need to watch that. One or two, okay. When everything becomes a series of lucky breaks (or unlucky ones), I can no longer suspend disbelief, which knocks me out of the story. It’s as bad as introducing a vampire. Remember that in a love story the fact the protags meet at all is coincidence #1. You don’t have that many more to use up before the reader goes OH COME ON.
  5. Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro. This was the best book I’ve read in ages! I received it for my birthday and finished it yesterday. OMG, such a fantastic story… sci-fi, or was it? I mean, it was totally believable. I think the best sci-fi is. You wonder if the future really will be something like this. The story takes place in some unnamed location that I first thought was London, but it might have been New York. It is entirely and perfectly told from the point of view of an AF ~ Artificial Friend. Privileged children had AFs as companions in this story and we go from there. While Klara, the AF, waits in a store to be chosen by her person, she observes her surroundings, learning and understanding objects as well as human beings, in a limited way, as she processes the data. The AFs are solar-powered, so everything about the Sun is of crucial importance to Klara. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Read it! I now want to read everything else by Kazuo.

~*~

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.