Penguins

It’s Penguin Awareness Day.

Brian Bilston's Poetry Laboetry

They were sighted off the south-east coast,
drifting in towards the port;
their boat, a snapped-off block of ice,
melting slowly in the warmth.
 
By the docks, a crowd had formed itself;
mob-angry, it looked on.
Placards were thrust. A chant began:
GO BACK TO WHERE YOU’RE FROM.
 
‘They’re just economic migrants,’
declared a spokesman for the right.
‘They’ve come to rob us of our jobs.
It’s as clear as black and white.’
 
‘Tragic,’ said the Home Secretary,
mock-sadness suppressed his smirk.
‘We’d let them stay but here’s the rub –
they have no paperwork.’
 
‘They’ll undermine Our Way of Life!’
The warnings raged on Twitter.
‘They stink of fish.’ ‘They’ll rape your wife.’
‘There’s bombs beneath those flippers.’
 
‘PENGUIN CLAIMS “MY HOME IS MELTING!”’
The Sun printed in disgust.
‘But whose fault is THAT – except THEIR OWN?
What’s that to do with US?’

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Review- Soul Taker Part I

Okay, Dear Readers, here is the first review of the new year.

After long years in the line of duty as a ‘Soul Taker’, Kate is worn out. 

When she gets a new job offer from the ‘Powers Above’, she accepts her new job as a Guardian gratefully without knowing that her teacher is one of the most powerful beings in existence, the Archangel Raphael.

Along with Raphael, she takes on her new task and the connection between them grows.

Raphael helps, protects and supports Kate, but suddenly, she becomes a target for the Demons of Hell.

Raphael realizes that Kate means more to him than he expected, which causes him to fight furiously against danger. If he fails, Kate’s future will contain eternal darkness, evil, and torture. ” Amazon

138 pages of if not quite hell definitely not heaven. There is a typo in the dedication, the dedication. The author lists DSM Publications as the editor and this man has a lot to answer for, but not as much as the author who has compiled a hot mess of at times almost incoherent, simplistic, predictability.

This is a book about angels supposedly but Alexander’s angels, or Angels since she insists on capitalizing the word, are merely badly drawn human characters with wings. There is nothing grand or glorious, fierce or fearsome about these angels, excuse me “Angels”. They are merely Angels because the author says so.

If you want angels read Nalini Singh’s Guildhunter series or Thomas E Sniegoski’s Remy Chandler series. These are angels.

So our heroine is Kate, a Soul Taker, which is an Angel who goes around gathering up the souls of the dying. (Remind me to tell you about this amusing little series about a woman who delivers souls to their proper destinations) I’m not quite sure how she does it because it’s never fully explained but when we meet her she’s tired of it. It depresses her. Mind you, Kate wanted to be a warrior Angel but gathering souls depresses her. I wonder what she thought warriors do, tickle their enemies into surrendering?

As Kate is wandering around gazing soulfully and sighing her boss happens along and offers her a new position as a Guardian. Of course she accepts it at 3% of the book, so why is it called Soul Taker? Making sense is not a strong point of this book.

“I was nearly in tears, found myself lonely, sad, bullied.” Ye-ah. Whatev. Never does she explain this. The girl is over 300 years old and she doesn’t have a friend? And bullied? How? Where? Don’t ask because you will not find an answer here. “I loved my looks, I had only wished that, once in a while, someone would take the time to look behind my mask of pure beauty and try to fathom my feelings, emotions, brains, guts – and whatever else was there.” Cue soundtrack, “Feelings”. “Whatever else was there”? What? Brain matter? Blood? Veins? Hair?A vacuum between her ears? I’ll take the vacuum for a $1000, Alex.

“My lips pulled back from my teeth, and I took in the clean, fresh air like some drowning helpless victim.” Uhhh. Okay, the clean, fresh air where? There is never any clear description of where these Angels spend their time when they aren’t gathering or guarding or fighting or whatever else. On earth, in heaven, on a fluffy cloud? Your guess is as good as mine.

Let us just say that her world building has a condemned sign on it.

Back to Kate. She accepts the position and her now former boss introduces her to her new boss or teacher or mentor or something. It’s the archangel Raphael and he dresses like a cowboy. Do not ask why. He’s also a hugger. And not George Clooney. I can’t believe I read this.

So he says they’ll be working together for the next 3 or 4 years and we will now stop. The timeline in this hot mess was nonexistent. You can be reading along and suddenly days, weeks, month have passed. But she seldom tells you, you have to stop and figure it out from the text. I think the timeline is well over 18 months but I can’t be certain.

So Rafe whisks her away to show her the job which is the only time , how much time I don’t know because to the nonexistent timeline. There’s a night watchman, a castle full of soldiers, two churches, the castle again, a hospital. It’s disjointed, confusing, and unintentionally hilarious. “I nudged the younger man, who suddenly got up, walked over to the others and explicitly declared: “Madame, Doctor- you WILL perform the surgery and do it properly! I, Sheldon Foss III, will fully cover this woman’s surgery and her hospital stay!”  Ye-ah. No. There are a couple more examples of what the author fondly believes shows the inspirational calling of her Angels but they follow in the same overwrought pattern. “He smiled at me with winning charm and asked, with a dark and manly voice as if he was some kind of doctor: “How are we today, Sweetie?” A dark and manly voice? As if he was some kind of doctor? What the hell?

“”And still, you’re answering so convincedly.”” Her editor’s name is Don Massenzio.

Now here is something I haven’t seen before:

If it looks like the word contemptuously has an attached link, it does.

I had been wondering if Alexander perhaps didn’t speak English but she claims:

Let us continue. So we see her job and then Mr Dark-and-Manly-Voice grabs her. It’s a demon. You would think it would be hard to not write an interesting demon but somehow Alexander manages it. I weep. And here I will recommend R J Blain’s Whatever For Hire, Blain’s Satan is deliciously funny and witty and devious.

Torture ensues, mainly of the reader but a little bit to Kate. She is rescued, damn it. When she wakes up there is an IV in her arm. An angel. I guess divine healing isn’t what it used to be. I hope she has good insurance. When she recovers she rehabs in a fully equipped gym. And once again I ask where? Heaven, earth, fluffy cloud?

A good writer can get away with some iffy stuff but a bad writer just makes it light up like neon in Vegas.

So she recovers and now is moping around when an angel visits and informs her she’s in love with cowboy Rafe. “I grabbed his shirt with both hands as I did never want to let him go again”. Did I mention she had an editor? And he charges for this.

“Before I had time to answer two things happened nearly simultaneously. Thunder, lightning followed by the little airplane Raphael had saved falling from the sky”. Thunder, lightning, plane falling, isn’t that like, you know, three things? Not the first time this author has had a problem with her numbers.

“The weight pressed me down, but there was neither nothing nor anyone there.” She gets attacked and faints. A lot. There is a reason for this, the attacking not the fainting, she’s a special little snowflake. You know, one of those characters so special that you just want to vomit. “”I was informed that this very special ability and unique part of personality needs a lot of strength as well as modesty. That’s why no Archangel has obtained it except for Angels with not only the right humble character, but also the will, strength and loyalty to our Creator. This is you, Katie! Our Father has had very disappointing esperience with vanity and envy. He counts on you to not betray him or his gift. Your experience has shown he made the right decision. You are a unique gem amongst Angelkind”” Kate is so, so special.

“This Archangel was the teensiest bit intimidating. he had the features of a wrestler, mocha colored skin, nearly black eyes and his wild ebony locks were falling onto his shoulders.” Scary black man? And then, describing another angel: “”You have never seen him joking around as Darth Vader – or wearing Jeans, Flip-Flops, and a pink net shirt, acting as if he was gay.”” I can’t even. I won’t even. You shouldn’t even. Remember this is YA.

“”We both might need a coffee – and the best is at my place.” Then several paragraphs later, “”I’m on my way to Aylah’s place to have a coffee with her” And I’m not sure where Kate’s place is because she had a fight with Rafe (she’s “brave” for shouting at him) and she was bemoaning she had no place to go.

So things roll boringly along until Rafe informs her she’s pregnant. He has to tell her much like that other angel told her she was in love with Rafe. “The entire Hall was decorated with blue flowers and golden tresses.”  Hair? Angels decorate with hair? Oh, A.J., that word does not mean whatever the hell you think it does. Did you know she had an editor? Oh, the flowers and hair were for her wedding, a little something that the Archangel who didn’t want to tell her he loved her while her teacher because he didn’t want her to feel pressured because of his position sprang on her without so much as a by your leave. He did gift her a beautiful new dress so I guess that makes it okay. Afterward Rafe tells her he wanted to legally bind himself to her and, and, angels. Legally bind? Sounds like they had a ceremony at City Hall. These. Are. Angels. Or at least the author wants us to believe they are.

“And even though Raphael treated me like a raw egg from time to time,” The deathless prose!

So basically Kate wanders through this “book” being told all the major things she should be able to figure out if she had half a brain, has a baby, keeps getting attacked by demons and the Devil, is a special little snowflake, and dispenses rainbows and uplifting words of wisdom at the drop of a purple pen.

“”And we both fathom, no matter how many women there were, ‘the one’ was not among them. The one who will touch you, hug and kiss you, full of love and dedication and any time of the day, she was not one of them. And still, love will find you! Your lady of heart will meet you when the time has come.””

Gives that endorsement the side eye.

So I recommend Singh or Sniegorski or Blaine and just leave this shambles of a “book” alone. Here endeth Part I. You remember my post about second chances, well now, that is Part II.

Second Chances

I believe in second chances. I think almost everybody deserves one. Contrary to what some people believe I will give someone the benefit of the doubt almost every time and I struggle when it becomes apparent that the second chance looks to be in vain.

I wanted this one to work, I thought it would but it looks like the path traveled before will be the path traveled again. I guess if you can surround yourself with enough people that tell you you did nothing wrong and all those people who “attacked” you, who “harassed” you, who pointed out your missteps and mistakes were just being “mean” and “jealous” then you can move comfortably ahead down that same path towards the inevitable.

I admired your restart, your dedication to what you built, but maybe the red flags were there in the timeline. You have worked hard but for what end? 

No self-awareness, no professional growth, no fucking clue.  

Book review soon.

Review- Blending In

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I just finished reading this book and I have to say, “BUY IT”. Now I know that humor is subjective and not everyone will appreciate what I find funny but give this book a try. I’ve read two others in the series and both are fun, enjoyable reads with entertaining characters and fast moving plots.

Blending In is the newest installment in Blaine’s Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) series. It takes place around the Christmas holidays so it’s perfect for those seeking a fun holiday themed read. 

“Dr. Harvey sighed. “Did you not learn anything from observing your mother?”

“I’ll acknowledge I should have paid more attention.”

“Women are simple, Chase. Feed them at appropriate intervals, tell them you love them at least once a day, do not steal their food, do not ever, ever steal their food, don’t make messes they need to clean, and there’s something about pillows and thermostats, but I’m choosing to forget what.”-Blending In

“Thanks to a jealous divine, whenever Chase Butler comes anywhere near Miriah, she turns into a chameleon. While her hopes of having a happily ever with Mr. Right are dashed, she’s determined to have the next best thing: a perfect Christmas.

Finding a puppy for her son, dodging the unwanted attention of her divine fling of an ex, and keeping on top of a holiday charity drive for local pet shelters sure is complicated when prone to transforming into a twelve-inch lizard with a severe allergy to snowbanks.

Since blending in has gotten her nowhere fast, she’s going to have to pull out all the stops to get what she wants, even if it lands her on Santa’s naughty list.

Warning: This holiday story contains excessive humor, action, excitement, adventure, magic, romance, and bodies. Proceed with caution.” Amazon

Make this a gift to yourself for the holidays, at $4.99 it’s a steal.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.  -John McCrae