Return of the exile – and fantasy novels, Twilight, Potter, Tolkien

Or should that be return from exile? I was going to add self-imposed but actually it wasn’t. I was exiled arbitrarily by Partner when he decided to accept the rubbish bin puppy the evening he was brought to visit us.

So, all Snowy posts wlll be over on Pippa’s blog, say a couple a week. Excerpts from Snowy’s Diary start from August when we took him, and continue to November. After that we’ll try and catch up in real time. If you don’t like dogs or puppies don’t visit. If you go ahhhh at silly puppy pix, there are plenty of those.

Spanish jab rules seem to be different to UK ones. I asked my neighbours about the timescale and it seemed to take longer for the whole lot to be completed. I had visions of being in Spain until Christmas or into the New Year.

His first jab was parvo. Then he had hardpad, distemper and another parvo.

Then we had to wait until he was three and a half months for his rabies jab and a chip. And another four weeks for his rabies booster. Which leaves him at four and a half months old before it is all completed.

But who’s complaining about three months in Spain? Not me. The weather has been a pain. It has been scorching until mid November, when the temps suddenly dropped to below 10 degrees. Thank goodness for that. Endless sunshine is so boring. We even had rain the other night.

Clothing now is jodhpurs, boots and grandma fleece jacket. Just as well, as I was recirculating the same pair of shorts for the best part of two and a half months, having originally come for a weekend.

For anyone not up on the plot, Partner decided it was time for another dog so that Pippa could educate a young one. Personally I think we should have had one six years ago when, Prince, the last of our Brit dogs died, but men have their quirks.

A couple of local attempts to home unwanted dogs disappeared into thin air, so we asked our vet. Within not very long I received an email from a woman who had found a puppy. Pedro, our vet, also sent us details of a Shar Pei cross but by then we had said we would take the pup unless anyone else wanted it.

Of course, there was the vaccination issue. We agreed that we would pay the vet if the Spanish woman would take him for jabs and chips. And then I sprained my ankle. Once I could stagger down the steps in our block we went back to Spain and agreed to see the pup, by then he was four or five weeks old.

So even though I couldn’t walk – hobbling around the finca barefoot – Partner cheerfully took said pup immediately. And thereby exiled me for three months.

Snowy is a Podenco. But you’ll have to read his diaries to find out more about him. Just one pic from me of us.

Snowy.  The  tough hunting guard dog - lapdog.
Snowy. The tough hunting guard dog – lapdog.

So I promised a summary of what I’ve been not doing for three months – apart from playing tugs and being bitten to death – which is gardening, reading, music, and cooking. Cleaning too but that’s of no interest to anyone, certainly not to me.

There is one good thing about having a sprained ankle. It is an extremely good excuse for doing nothing. As if I need one.

Let’s start with fantasy novels which I’m using as a very loose category. Basically anything that bears no resemblance to real life.

Harry Potter. J K Rowling

Title is irrelevant. Something Prince. Half Blood maybe. One of the later ones in the series.

I had colleagues at work 15 years ago who couldn’t wait to buy the latest book. I thought these were books for kids not 50-year-olds? (but read on for that).

Eventually I entered Potter’s World. Of Hogwhatsit. A Gib neighbour lent us a vid of the first film. It was quite enjoyable so when he gave us another (the second I think) we tried that too. Soporific or what? We looked at each other and ejected the DVD.

So with a Potter novel included in the pack of 70 free books we acquired I thought it would be an interesting read.

It seemed complicated. I had to keep back-tracking to check who was who and where they were and what they were doing. Too many characters. And just overly contrived. There seemed to be an awful lot of pages to say very little in the end.

Potter doesn’t get on with one of the teachers in the Magical Mystery School. The head loves him and takes him on a secret exped to hunt for some treasure that will counter baddies. The trainee magicians play a silly game on broomsticks which bored me to bits in the film and was no better in the book.

Score: 1/5. The book not the silly game.

I’ll read it again, maybe, but it totally failed to impress me and took days for me to read which isn’t the norm at all.

Let’s contrast it with Tolkien. The Two Towers. The second of the Ring trilogy.

I’ve not seen any of the films. I also shied away from Tolkien for years because the freaky names and strange small Hobbits sounded far too much like The Borrowers, which I loathed.

I’d had the idea of getting the first of the Ring books from the library to read them in sequence but in the end, I just started reading book two.

It didn’t take long for me to be engrossed. Entranced. Unputdownable. Hobbits, elves, dwarves, people, strange tree people. Brilliant.

If Potter was trying for magical enchantment, Rowling to me failed. But Tolkien succeeds beautifully.

The Two Towers is divided into two parts. The first part is full of lots of characters and lots of action. The little Hobbits are so cute.

I was wary about starting the second part, wanting to read more about the characters I had just met, whereas the second part is just Frodo and Sam, who didn’t even appear in the first part. But then Gollum appears. What an invention. I envision a cross between otter, weasel, who knows? He clearly has his own hidden agenda but the dialogue is brilliant.

‘Nice Hobbitses …. Nasty smart Hobbit’ (Sam). Frodo is idealistic and principled, Sam is pragmatic, but Gollum is the star for me. One of the best characters I have read for some time. The other one is Lynda La Plant’s DCI/DS James Langton.

But back to fantasy. Crime is for later. Far be it from me to accuse JKR of plagiarism. There are some odd similarities though. Good v evil. He who must not be named. Charms. Spells. Magic.

Anyway, Tolkien gets a top 5/5. Not an easy accolade from Roughseas. So if you want a good fantasy read that’s my top tip. If you like Narnia you will like this.

Back in May I mentioned the Twilight novels, but didn’t review them.

So, Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse, by Stephanie Meyer.

I do wish the neighbours upstairs who threw out 70+ books had included the fourth novel. I must hunt down Breaking Dawn.

So this is about the first three. And I don’t want any comments about the last one thank you very much.

I haven’t seen the films. I would never have picked up the books had they not been chucked out and free.

So, on second time of reading, what did I think? Because I have re-read them in exile. More than once.

Well, plot: basic. Teenage girl meets teenage vampire (who is obviously much older being a vampire) and they fall in love.

Our heroine, Bella, is slightly hard to believe. As soon as she knows that our hero, Edward, is a vampire, she wants to become one too. Naturally she isn’t frightened of him.

Our hero, Edward, is even harder to believe. Perfect. Sort of. Personally I found him a bossy, over-controlling arrogant sort of git. Devoid of emotion and cold as stone.

And how could anyone want to embrace, kiss, have sex with someone who is hard and freezing cold? Whacky.

Next there is the second love interest. Jacob, the soon to be werewolf. He doesn’t start off as one but it doesn’t take long. This is useful in terms of plot because vamps and wolves aren’t exactly the best of pals.

So Bella has a vampire and a werewolf in love with her, plus the odd few human males who are interested and don’t get a look in.

I like the Jacob character. He seems more real and honest and not preserved behind a stone-cold facade. I’d have gone for him. Plus he is like a big shaggy dog when he turns into a wolf.

Anyway various other vamps want to kill our heroine and everyone comes to her rescue.

Oh and natch, hero and heroine and second love interest all have big fall outs.

So there you have it. Three books of five or six hundred pages in a nutshell.

But – and this is the but – immensely readable. Interestingly the secondary characters are better, so Jacob the werewolf, and Alice, another vampire in Edward’s ‘family’, are really well drawn and totally plausible. As plausible as vamps and werewolves are.

Perhaps I was just drawn to the wolves. I wouldn’t have been drawn to the vamps as they don’t kill humans. Only animals when they are hungry. They are nice vamps. Sort of. Just as well Bella wasn’t vegetarian.

Not only that, these vamps don’t sleep in coffins. They don’t sleep at all. I think that would be the clincher for me. No sleeps? Get out of it.

To finish off the vamps and wolves. I probably think Eclipse is the best of the ones I have read. Or at least the most emotive. I cried. I didn’t cry when Edward (shithead) left her, or when they reunited, but when Jacob lopes off into the forest because she is going to marry the horrible vamp, I thought it was so sad. He looked after her when she was depressed after Edward left and was always there for her, and yet she can’t resist the lure of the beautiful vamp.

It was especially sad when she said she could see a normal life with Jacob and wanted that, but not enough to give up the nasty vamp. I mean really who, in their right mind, would want to be poisoned with vampire venom, be in agony for days, and spend the next few years lusting for blood? And then go hunting animals for eternity. And not sleep. Bizarre.
Yet, the first book is also good, the second one has hundreds of pages without Edward, but Jake (the werewolf) fills the gap, which is why it is so sad that the silly heroine goes running after nasty vamp at first opportunity.

I do wonder too though, when adults write novels as teenagers if we project our own experiences onto them. Because Bella in Twilight seems incredibly capable, as obviously does Harry Potter and half his gang. Bella comes in from school, goes shopping for food, puts the steak to marinate, puts the potatoes in the oven, and later makes a salad to go with it all. Meanwhile, in her spare time, she is diligently doing her homework. Really?

Score: 3.5/4.5 OK, make that a 4 but bear in mind that it is so-called teenage genre. But they read like adult novels. Hence a 50+ year-old enjoying them.

But onto other fantasy novels. I have also noticed that people growl and murmur a lot in these sort of books that involve sexual innuendo. Or say things softly.

When I was a trainee journo I tried to vary my words. ‘Nothing wrong with said,’ said a bossy senior reporter. So said it was.

But the growls and murmurs stand out. As does the basic format/plot.

Here’s another novel, totally different in setting, but plot is the same. Maybe not novel, but rather more trash romance.

Ribbons and Rawhide by Lisa Dane. Classic Mills and Boon formula. (M&B is soppy romance drivel for non-Brit readers).

Beautiful woman meets handsome man in unlikely circumstances. They are from different backgrounds, loathe each other on sight, and end up in bed. I should be careful before I dismiss this plot because my partner and I were from different backgrounds, I wasn’t exactly impressed with him, and we ended up …. However we were just average looking.

I lumped this one in with the fantasy novels, because I do think boy meet girl stories are just unreal. In both this one and Twilight, the woman wants to have sex and the man wants commitment. Well, I tell you, I have yet to meet the man who insists on commitment to a permanent relationship before he will have sex with you. Or maybe American men/vampires are different.

‘Hello Roughseas, I’d really like to have sex with you.’

‘Mmm, I’m interested too.’

‘Well, if that’s what you want, you just have to marry me first/agree to a permanent relationship and come and live with me. Then we can have sex.’

Er, I don’t think so.

Apart from the fairly obvious dialogue, the growls, murmurs, softly spoken words etc, and the predictable plot, there is some interesting history about ghost towns in Arizona.

My geographical knowledge of the USA has increased no end since reading about Forks and the Olympic peninsula (Twilight) and the Arizona ghost towns.

R&R is slightly more raunchy than Mills and Boon, although M&B may have moved on. Words like crap, shit and damn are scattered around, plus our heroine is no virgin and she is desperate to shag the handsome hero (the one with the unbelievable principles).

If you like romantic reads with some interesting background, ie the ghost town history, then Ribbons and Rawhide isn’t a bad read.

Score, given what it is, 3.5/5. If nothing else these sort of books are good for half an hour’s read before going to sleep. Totally non-taxing and no nasty nightmares about spliced nipples shoved wherever – but that review is for another post.

Update on Gib on next post. First Snowy diary over at pippadogblog


58 comments on “Return of the exile – and fantasy novels, Twilight, Potter, Tolkien

  1. You didn’t make much mention whether the sprained ankle had healed so I’m going to assume that it did. We are in total agreement on Potter and the Two Towers but as for the others, especially Twilight I’ll never know :-)
    Our weather’s taken a slide the past couple of weeks too. Single digits are as good as it gets–in fact the West of Newfoundland is currently digging out from around 40 cm. Not us, fortunately; sunny and a whopping 2 at the moment.
    Glad to hear the pup’s working out!


    • It’s healed well enough. I can walk around the beach, take the dog in to town to the vet, so yes thanks, I’m happy with it.

      I don’t think there is any comparison between Rowling and Tolkien from what I have read. I actually find Meyer a better read than Rowling, and I normally go for Brit authors. I have no idea what market Rowling caught, but it wasn’t mine. Meyer is better I have to say. But Tolkien, will be hunting out the others from the library.

      We got down to five the other day!! But daytime temps are high teens. No more twenties though. In Gib the temps are very different, or rather not very different, just a few degrees between max and min eg 12 and 16, whereas Spain can be 6 and 19.

      Pup is adaptable. Asleep on Partner’s armchair right now. I think Partner has been displaced :D


  2. Welcome back from exile.
    Puppy and sunshine, sounds like a rather enjoyable exile to me though :-)
    You’ve certainly been doing some reading. I’m not a book person as you know, but you’ve made Tolkien sound extremely interesting, I make have to take a peek, especially as his stories were supposedly influenced by the nearby Lickey Hills.
    The addiction of one of your colleagues for Harry Potter reminded me of an old work colleague of mine, who would book a day off work, so he could queue for the new releases.


    • Thank you V.

      Exile was good.

      Tolkien is good but long. Although didn’t take me long to read it. Wouldnt recommend Potter at all, but have to say I do think Twilight series is a good read. Hey Vic, how can you resist the wolves? :)


  3. Indeed. Nothing wrong with “said”. If you can’t create villainy with the quote, “growled” won’t do it. Natch (I know very few people who would use that word, thank you for becoming one of them).


    • Hiya Clare, good to hear from you again. I have felt quite isolated these past few months.

      I think the idea of growled, snarled, murmured, said softly, is all about seduction. And then they snicker. I thought horses snickered. Bizarre.

      Natch is prob very old, but I do succumb to it occasionally.


  4. With you 100% on HP – you may remember I moaned about the ghastliness of the whole caboodle several months ago. Can’t agree about The Borrowers, I loved them and wanted to be Arriety. Don’t know about Tolkein – fantastical stuff has never appealed so haven’t bothered – never liked A Midsummer Night’s Dream for this reason.
    Puppy looks really cute – and that’s from one who doesn’t know one end of a dog from another – much prefer them to cats though.
    Good to see you back and, presumably, walking without a limp? :)


    • Hello Jenny

      I don’t remember your moan so now I will have to look it up! I might like the Borrowers if I read them now, just hated them in school. Prob why I left Tolkien alone, I didn’t do silly small creatures. More into the Saint :D If you liked the Borrowers I am sure you would love the hobbitses.

      I did like MND but for different reasons.

      Dog ends? One has a nose the other has a tail. He is such a good boy though.

      Thanks, yup no limp. Maybe not healed perfectly but good enough. I can walk a few miles on it :)


  5. I’m glad the ankle has improved…and enjoyed aahing over puppy photographs too.
    We’ve just had a poodle puppy wished on us and have, of course, fallen for it hook line and sinker.

    I will, if desperate, read the ingredient list on the back of packets…but when offered a Harry Potter on one of those occasions when bookless and packetless I had to put it down in short order.
    Meretricious crap.

    Whereas Tolkien – first read when fourteen and I too started with the Two Towers – can be read again and again.
    The difference? Tolkein has a world with its own dynamics and has a passion for language….Rowling had a publisher friend…

    I don’t know the vampire stuff at all and am not likely to start on it, but I did try something of the R and R genre, having been seen a recommendation from someone whose light novels I enjoy.

    All I can say is that if that is what turns on the targeted readership they are leading a very dull life.


    • I’m not picky about dogs these days. But I’ve written a a post about that which will go up in the next week or so. All they want is somewhere to sleep, some food, and a little attention from time to time. If only people were so easily pleased.

      I am an inveterate reader of packets. Menus too. Even carniverous/pescetarian ones. Something I have never grown out of. Preferable to Potter. Meretricious is an excellent word to describe it. A bit like Bridget Jones. But I have a personal gripe there because Fielding went to my school (year above me) and I don’t see that she writes any better than a lot of us. Right place, right time, right crap.

      I left Two Towers at the finca otherwise I would get nothing done here in Gib. I’d already gone through the second part with Gollum a million times. There is a part in there where Sam asks Gollum where he has been sneaking off to. I was dying to copy the whole dialogue out onto here I thought it was so clever, but the post was long enough.

      You are right about the language. To be able to write descriptive text and keep the reader involved is no mean feat. But I was there all the time, wandering through forests, through murky marshes, climbing up to the tower, just superb. I need to get some new library books so fingers crossed they have got the other two books.

      I would never have chosen Twilight, but it was a good light read. Same goes for trash romances, they are what they are. A bit like watching soap operas or buffy or charmed. They are a distraction when you are feeling brain dead.

      I’m assuming the targeted readership is women out there who believe Prince Charming exists. Hence lumping them all under the fantasy heading.


  6. Happy to hear the real world even sans internet is as fulfilling as I imagine it to be ;) A few months of simple pursuits, even cleaning, sounds like heaven especially in sunny – even cooling off Spain. (Our weather was monotonously dry over the winter, early Spring, and we now have the usual eclectic November offerings).
    I’m glad you gave Tolkien 5/5. I read The Hobbit and the LOR’s later than many, in my 20’s, and even later saw a wonderful stage production of The Hobbit done with human puppets. And of course watched the films. I’ve never ventured far otherwise into the fantasy genres. My sister gave me the first Harry Potter as a gift – I read the first chapter and gave it back ;) I would never have considered reading the Stephanie Meyer novels but your insightful description of the characters gives them an attraction that makes me think again.


    • It seemed to drag part way through. I was getting fed up of limited cooking opportunities, and missing my boys. But mostly, it was extremely nice.

      You read Tolkien much earlier than I did! 30 years earlier in fact. I consciously shied away from him, thinking it just sounded off the wall, but it is so well written. I even left the free book until one of the last ones I read, and of course, now it is a favourite that will NOT be going to the car boot sale. I’m not sure I would want to see the films, because I have my own pictures in my head. Of course if someone gave/loaned me a free DVD I wouldn’t say no :D

      I am fascinated that no commenters so far like Potter novels. Perhaps that says something about my readership ;) As for Meyer, I wouldn’t go out of my way to read them, but they are a good light easy read It’s written in the first person so everything is seen through Bella’s eyes and it works pretty well.

      One of the advantages about free books is that I end up reading authors and books I would never look at normally, so it’s quite mind-broadening. Sort of.


      • Since I’ve Ben blogging and joined the book club at work, I’ve ventured into new reading territory, which I’ve enjoyed. However it eventuates, there is some merit in other peoples tastes and suggestions :)


        • I think that’s right. We can all be dinosaurs and stay happily in our cave with our favourite authors, but it is important intellectually and mentally to try something new. I have read a lot of books since acquiring free ones that I would never have even looked at, let alone picked up – and really enjoyed them. I don’t know that I could manage a book club – you normally have to buy them don’t you?! But I think the idea is interesting.

          My version of a book club tends to be (to Partner) ‘Read that, I’d be interested in your view of it,’ ‘You won’t like that so don’t bother’ and ‘I think you’ll enjoy this.’

          My other version tends to be on here of course, where I get interesting comments ie no-one seems to like Potter, so I am now waiting patiently for the one to stick their head above the parapet who says they do like Potter!


          • This is my first ever book club but as far as I’m aware social book clubs don’t require you to buy the books. Certainly in this case I usually borrow the nominated books from the library, we share between us, some have Kindles or like me use their phone as a Kindle, and or buy books from varying sources. The G:O. and I also share books, and a


          • Sorry ’bout that… sometimes Dad has a clean out of his book collection, and we have a look through that :) We mostly buy second hand books or from Book Depository, if we are after a particular book… just can’t justify retail and new :)


          • The book club one of my friends was in at work did buy books I think. It was quite a snooty pretentious middle class thing as far as I know, although probably good fun. I think they went for new publications, hence having to buy the books. And as they all lived locally, I doubt the library would have had 12 copies of whatever book they chose to read.

            We try and avoid buying anything books. But I’m a bit disappointed 70 books didn’t last me long. Shall have to go through them all a few more times, with a top-up from the library. Too busy this week though on catch up of everything, ie flat clean, washing, tidying, finance, and puppy walk every two or three hours.

            I used to like buying new books – which is why I have a house full of books. The main reason I won’t buy now is actually no space!


  7. So glad to hear from you again. Ankles are such a problem – once they are really injured it takes a while to recover – especially now (and if you just get tired of sitting still). Could blather on about the cute pup – but for other blog – he looks like a true albino?
    Sorry if this is disjointed, but large dogs careening around the house again this week….although they seem to be entertained watching Granny cat in the gated off room sometimes – it’s cat tv…without the cat ever moving..but doesn’t stop them from barking encouragement. Got up very early to get them out for an hour to run before the rain and sleet moves in…grim now.
    My older brother brought the Tolkien books back from college as they were all the rage then. I read them – flew through the later ones not as much due to fascination, but just to get it all done! They were the topics of conversations – and school themes, so you had to be able to discuss.
    Potter always seemed like the “new/slimmed down” version – and I did read them (easy fast reading while traveling on business – no problem putting down and then picking up quickly – no real concentration as opposed to Tolkien) I liked the first one and was ready to read more. But Potter is what it is – a series written for children. One good thing is it showed kids can/will read long stories – and got some kids interested in reading. (My company had the rights to sell the approved Spanish translation…there were many illegal translation instantly showing from S. America – some horrendously translated – some actually had clumps of English stuffed in among the Spanish. But they were available ASAP after the English releases)
    The Twilight series hasn’t appealed to me. For a younger audience…teen vampires and werewolves with morals and “higher purposes” (part of the author’s beliefs) a little too high school-ish …which is the point, but snoooozzzzze (Scary vampires so much more attractive)
    I’ll pass on the films of all of these.
    Ran across the Borrowers a while back. They weren’t read as much here ( even though Disney did a film?)
    I’ve picked up on a few good book titles from other bloggers’ reviews – but until all paws are still, no chance to read much of anything.
    The German is trying to type now…obviously wishes to send a bark over to Pippa.
    (and maybe arrange passage away from that bratty little Molly…now where is Expedia…)


    • Hello PMoth, Thank you for that. I am a veteran of ankles. It ain’t perfect but it’s good enough to walk on so that’s what really matters.

      Yup. He is albino. Our vet – similar age to us – has never seen a Podenco albino before and is totally fascinated with Snowy.

      My routine has changed here in Gib and is also an early start and a long day. Can’t just open the door and let Snows out on the terrace so need to pull on clothes quickly and run down the stairs to let him out for that early morning pee.

      I’m surprised I held out on Tolkien for so long, but perhaps I can appreciate it more at my old age than I would have done earlier. Everything happens when it does for a reason.

      I found I did have to concentrate on Potter. My mind would wander off and I couldn’t remember who was who, who was good, who was bad and where everyone was. Totally confusing.

      May have been written for kids, but plenty of adults reading it. Although not too many of my commenters! I think you are the first who has been quite kind about the books. Potter in Spanish would be quite funny I think.

      I did enjoy the vamps, ok I really liked the werewolves for obvious reasons, only the other day some Spanish kids asked if Pippa was a lobo. I thought the high school setting was there to appeal to teens, but in a way it’s irrelevant. The story is about relationships, life, making choices, personal development (aagh I sound like an HR course) with some fantasy chucked in over the top of it.

      I much prefer books to films, my only indulgence being the Bond ones and a few other staple faves.

      There was another set of small people stories, Pratchett or whatever he’s called? Reminded me of the The Borrowers too. Still prefer hobbitses.

      I do like reading about book recommends, so if you can weave some into your posts that would be interesting. Once the paws still of course.

      Pippa has delegated typing duties to Little Rat who is interested in both laptop and iPhone. He’s younger, I suppose he would be. That generation. Pippa is very excited to hear about the German’s desire to send a bark, and sends a gentle nose rub back. One to Molly too.


  8. Ah your puppy is so cute. Glad to hear the ankle is on the mend. I’ve sprained my ankles a few times and it sucks. As for the books, I actually got caught up in the Harry Potter mania. I know they didn’t work for you, but I fell in love with them. I’m not sure I’ve seen all the movies. Now speaking of movies, how in the world have you avoided the Lord of the Ring movies. Good for you. I really like the movies, but I admire people who don’t succumb to mainstream. Bravo. And Tolkien is the master of fantasy. Out of the authors you’ve mentioned, none compare to him.

    Now my confession. I actually liked the Twilight series as well. I want you to find book four so we can discuss it. I won’t say anything more, but read it. Now I would love to be able to go without sleep. Then I could get caught up on my reading and movie watching list. However, if I was Bella, I would have gone for Jake. He seemed nicer.


    • He’s cute when he’s asleep, lying on the big dog’s sofa right now with his paw over his nose. Not so cute when he is biting or in puppy manic mode.

      I’m a veteran ankle sprainer too, including a couple of ops for a fracture and a ripped ligament. I really couldn’t face all that again which is why I opted for time and letting it heal itself.

      I’m pleased you enjoyed Potter, I was beginning to think Potter mania was all a myth when most of my readers agreed with me!

      I don’t go to the cinema much. I don’t think I’ve been this year. Meant to go last year to watch Skyfall, but never did. Prefer staying at home and watching them on DVD in bed. Much quieter and we can stop it, eat, drink whatever.

      As well as Twilight I must chase up the first and third in the Ring series, plus other Tolkien books now I have been bewitched by his writing. Or at least by Gollum,

      I did glance at a wiki summary of Twilight but I can’t remember what it said, fortunately. So I will hunt out breaking dawn, do hope the library has it so I don’t have to buy it – the bookshops here may not even have it! I’ll be ordering from Amazon yet. Overall, I think Meyer writes well. There are flaws, like how can Bella be so clumsy and so low in self-esteem when all the boys are drooling over her? And perfect Edward is too unreal, but I suppose vampires are.

      I thought Jake was a sweetie. Fun, loving, kind, helpful, considerate, etc etc But to look at Twilight and Bella’s relationships from a societal perspective, aren’t we all taught to go for the handsome rich prince? Not the hick Indian living in a small poor house on a reservation. There was a comment at one point about him phasing and one of the others said Jake wouldn’t be able to afford another pair of shoes after he had ripped the last pair, or something similar. Contrast that with eternal life and beautiful rich Edward.

      I could do with needing less sleep too. Anyway, off to dance off with my completed tax form, and either a) face more paperwork b) chill reading a few blogs c) go to the library in search of Tolkien and Breaking Dawn, or d) start on your book. Decisions decisions.


      • My dog is much cuter when he’s asleep as well. Right now he’s snoring. I don’t mind when he snores during the day, but at night, he’s so loud!

        I’m trying to remember the last movie I saw in the theater. The Great Gatsby. The latest one, I’m not that bad. Still haven’t seen Skyfall. I heard it was good.

        What? Vampires aren’t real? I’m not giving up my garlic necklace. They are so popular right now. I’m currently watching two TV shows about them. Dracula and The Originals. I’m a sucker for vampire books and movies. I wonder why that is.


        • I didn’t even know there was a new version. It would have to be good to beat the Redford one, which is the only one I saw.

          Vampires etc are sheer escapism/fantasy – sometimes it’s nice to drift off into an unreal world.


  9. ‘Hello Roughseas, I’d really like to have sex with you.’

    ‘Mmm, I’m interested too.’

    ‘Well, if that’s what you want, you just have to marry me first/agree to a permanent relationship and come and live with me. Then we can have sex.’

    Er, I don’t think so.

    That is so frickin funny! I was beside myself. Wifey, just thinks I’m on one…she’s used to it, so ignores me most of the time. ;) She loves the twilight movies and I’ve watched them with her.

    I love your approach to reviews…could read them all day, but then I’d get nothing done for myself.

    Btw, I love your puppy! (definitely an “aww” moment) My cats get that a lot too, especially the way they look after they’ve broken something. (the little b******ds know I can’t get mad at them.) It’s a different story with Pat though and I end up defending them, then we all end up in the, cat house?
    Well, I’ve rambled enough. ;)


    • Oh well, if it gave you a laugh, that’s good. Always happy to entertain.

      In my not very extensive (sadly) experience, men don’t even ask about contraception, let alone ask you to marry them before you both dive into bed. Hence total fantasy. That is not the real world, unless I live in a different one.

      I read a great piss-take of the T films, I’ll try and find the links. It was funny. I don’t think I would like the films. I’ll be writing a review of the last book at some point, which I have been promising to do for TBM. You might be interested to read her blog btw as she is another author. Find her from my comments.

      Approach to reviews is one par of summary if that’s possible and then analysis. No point telling the story or else why would you read the book? What you need to know is good/bad impressions, style, and was it put downable? Or something like that. Thanks though :) I like reading book reviews, but I want to know what someone thought, not what the story is, so that’s what I write.

      Puppy has just got off the sofa. I am not taking him out again in less than two hours! Even I can last that long :D He’s a bit bigger now. I’ve got some pix of him from the woman who picked him out of the rubbish bin over on my dog blog, and she sent me a couple more recently, smaller than a coke can!! Anyway, he’s recovered from being abandoned as he is a ferocious little monster.

      You can swear on my blogs, should you choose to. But if you are comfier with ****s that’s fine too.


      • You’re a lot of fun, I’m glad we connected. What they don’t? (about men) But I thought…oh hang on, darn it wrong era…that was a past life. ;)

        I love piss-take films too…especially of horrors. I haven’t read anything though. I bought Pat the twilight books…they’re still collecting dust.

        I agree about reviews, no point in re-telling the story…I’ve done a few…I’m really not so keen. I have a hard time being negative so for the most part I don’t waste my thoughts on a review if I didn’t like the book.

        I’ll have to check the pics out. I’m not really big on swearing. I do swear, but, not habitually. But, when I get frustrated, the word gets repeated in rapid succession, like F*** F*** F*** (that’s my favourite because it’s something I like to do as well.) and if I’m really, really frustrated it’s more than three times. lol I’m done here.


        • You’re not the first to say that but it always amazes when people do say so. Probably because I don’t set out to be fun/funny, but I will admit to being overly sarcastic on occasion.

          No, they didn’t. Well, not the ones I met. And that was a past life too. These days they don’t ask whether I am married and when I tell them I am, they still don’t care about that either. I just attract the wrong sort :D

          Funniest horror film I remember is Hallowe’en. It was so ridiculous with bodies popping out of every cupboard that it was funny, couldn’t possibly be scary. Twilight books are just an easy read. Somewhat elongated given I summarised three books in one paragraph :D

          Oh I don’t have a hard time being negative at all. It just takes longer, I’m part way through a Breaking Dawn review (the last Twilight one) which is not exactly favourable. I think when being negative, you need to be fair and say what is wrong with it, rather than ‘this is a load of crap’. It needs to be, ‘this is a load of crap because of x, y and z’.

          Quite a lot of the writing bloggers circuit write reviews. I’m not so much an official member as my blogs are multi-topic, but I do read a few. And I do find it interesting to get other bloggers views about the books I’ve read. I enjoyed writing this post for the fun of slagging off Rowling (feeling pleased that I hadn’t missed anything by not reading Potter before), and of course the sheer brilliance of Gollum Tolkien.

          We do swear. I think it comes of not having kids and he works in construction. I will use it on my blogs to make a point. Sometimes another word doesn’t have the same effect.

          I discuss words quite a bit on Clouds (usually from a feminist perspective). This post has more than it’s fair share of four letter words, but it’s really because I was writing about swearing so it’s a bit difficult to do it full of ****s. Scroll down for the – short – bit about swearing if you don’t want to wade through the rest.


          • I enjoyed your post. I wish I could be as blatantly honest as you are. I admire you for it. I’m not dishonest, I just don’t speak my mind and usually just let people get on with, whatever and not say anything. Problem is, they tend to think I agree with them because I don’t say anything…pretty vain in my opinion and couldn’t be further from the truth. I really need to speak my mind more often than I do. I’m working on it though. :)


          • I’m just saying what I think about a few books on here. Hardly controversial. So I wasn’t impressed with Rowling. Seems I wasn’t on my own.

            Each to our own about what we say/write. I choose an up-front (?!) style of writing. Pros and cons. Hopefully for some it makes for an entertaining and sometimes thoughtful read.


  10. This is surprising. I was expecting you to tear into these books from a feminist point of view. They all seriously irritate me. Why JK Rowling chose to make her formulaic hero/fantasy book have a male lead, male baddie and male establishment figures, with the occasional token female sidekick and romantic interest, is beyond me. Makes me furious. I can’t read any of the Tolkien books and be submerged in a world where only males exist. And while I agree that the Twilight series is immensely readable and reminds every woman of having intense crushes at school, it’s utter trash and appalling writing. I won’t say anything else about possibly the worst example for girls ever set in a book, in case you still haven’t read the last one. Philip Pullman didn’t offend me. :)


    • Nice not to be totally predictable all the time. In fact, I don’t review books from a feminist perspective, but if I think it is very relevant, then I may add a comment. So for example, looking at the few pages of Ark’s novel, it appeared to me to be overly sexist (but he is, so hardly surprising). If I’d read the whole book, then I would have had a better feel rather than just three pages of prologue (re his post about language and marksman). Life is sexist because we live in a patriachy/kyriarchy. Moaning about it every minute won’t help.

      I just thought Rowling was crap. Yes it was stereotypical, but I thought the plot, turgidness, and writing style were the main reasons it was crap – to me.

      As for Tolkien, well, he was born in the C19. Well before the vote for women. Devout RC, odd childhood. There were some female characters (two I can think of offhand) in the one book I’ve read. Apparently one of his other books has a heroine based on his wife. I found TT fascinating, interesting, imaginative, captivating and I fell in love with Gollum:D So that takes priority over lack of balance in terms of gender. Most of my readers are NOT feminist so I’m not going to hit them over the head with it for book reviews. If they want to read about feminism, they can read Clouds.

      Sure Twilight is trash, but as you say, it’s readable trash. I don’t think the writing is appalling. It’s better than say, ellen schreiber. I did find BD at the library and started a blistering review but I’ve lost it on the computer and don’t feel like writing it again. Suffice to say I thought it was terrible.

      You can read about that one – and Pullman :D – here

      Loved Lyra, or maybe I loved her demon more?


      • I see what you mean. It’s just that these three authors particularly have always bothered me because of the role (or not) that women play. They would be almost top of my list for a literary sexism rant, so when I saw you had a post about them, I had assumed your reaction would be similar.

        Seeing as you’ve read Breaking Dawn, what do you think about the perfect relationship modelling for young girls, telling them to wait till they’re married and if the man hurts them and leaves them covered with bruises it’s just because he loves them and can’t control himself? WTF?


        • I just put writing first. Then vegetarianism/animal rights, hence my comment about Bella not being veg. Only when you have looked at a book on literary merits, which is always subjective anyway, can you start to criticise the rest. And for once, that isn’t my style. Do post one about literary sexism, many others do. I just think the field is too wide on that one. Don’t forget this is my nice face blog and not my ranty blog. Plus, it would be too tedious for words trying to explain why a, b and c are sexist books – even if unintentionally so.

          I knew exactly what you would be referring to with BD :D

          I thought BD was rubbish overall so it sort of washed over me. Stupid teenager marries ancient vamp, desperate to have sex with him even though she might end up dead or pulverized, and doesn’t notice she has loads of bruises because she is so mesmerised with sex and him?

          I did mention about her waiting to have sex on my post – because of him. I thought it was laughable, but as I said, maybe I’ve met different men. I think Meyer created a totally unrealistic wanker hero in Edward.

          But it’s not just the crazy physical violence (qv Buffy and Spike having sex and the rape scene), it’s the subtle nuances that bother me. The idea that women should choose a partner based on looks, intelligence and MONEY. That may not be ‘why’ she chooses him, but she does choose him, the inference is there that he is Prince Charming. And all the control freak behaviour.

          There’s an interesting thread on GoodReads about should Bella have chosen Jacob. If I ever find my part review I’ll post it, but I can’t be arsed to waste time starting again. I’ve got more interesting books to read and write about.

          I think Meyer is playing on a lot of sexual fantasies that women allegedly have about men being controlling and the confusion of love and violence. I read somewhere that the only women who think that are the ones who haven’t been abused. Tbh, what really pisses me off in novels is gratuitous and sadistic violence against women, the slicing them to bits type of novel. I think that is plain sick.


  11. Another great post for sure RS. I quickly scanned for Pippa’s blog and you’ll definitely hear more from me there as well. Serves you right. You shouldn’t write such interesting posts! :D

    Snowy is just adorable and so gorgeous and I am so glad you found him. Shame, what an awful time he must have had. Parvo is an ugly illness for any dog to have.

    Loved your reviews! Always thought I was the only one that hated HP. Watched the first movie but was clueless after that and didn’t watch any of the others.

    Strangely enough, I was the same with Tolkien and also because of the freaky names but loved the movies. Think I am reconsidering and may start reading the books as well. :D

    I have most of Stephanie Meyers ebooks and after seeing Twilight, it was more fun reading the book. Much more entertaining as well but at least I could imagine the characters as they were in the movie. Now that was fun! :D

    hahahahaha. You said it. They seem completely capable, don’t they? Also what always fascinates me most of the time is the fact that they always have so much time to do things they love and have all that money but they don’t have jobs … :D

    LOL @ the growls and murmurs. I get what you’re saying. hahahaha

    I loved reading Mills & Boon when I was pregnant with younger son. With oldest son it was Stephen King and Dean R. Koontz. LOL!

    Whahahahhaha! I totally agree with you on putting them in the ‘fantasy’ department. Now just to see a scene between you and that American man/vampire. LOL!

    Haven’t read any R&R but I like to read books that have that well researched history that’s woven around the story. One of those is Barbara Michaels (Barbara Mertz). I enjoyed her books a lot because she would write about antiques, architecture, towns, etc. and weave her story around it. I think the fact that she was an Egyptologist intrigued me. :)

    Commenting with a huge smile and lots of laughter in between. Loved this! Thanks! :D


    • Hi Sonel, missed this, soooo sorry. Not long after you wrote it, I ended up in hospital of course… You’ve reminded me I keep promising to post on Pippa’s, maybe tomorrow instead of, before or after writing out some bills.

      Thanks, I think book reviews are tricky to write. Some end up summarising the plot, others ended trying to produce a ph.d based on two or three hundred pages of mediocrity. Hopefully I’m in the middle somewhere.

      Tolkien is to get immersed in, such wonderful escapism. But that applies to all fantasy novels doesn’t it? Including Twilight.

      I’m not sure why the characters are perfect. Don’t they ever make a soufflé that goes flat for example? Not a good example as come to think of it mine never did. Thinks of bad cooking example, oh yes, beetroot mousse. Perfectly vile. But I was not marinading steak when I came in from school.

      Can’t remember if I have read king or not. Def not koontz, I’d remember the name!

      The soppy book would have been nothing without the ghost towns, but that inclusion made slop into a not bad read.

      So sorry about my late reply Sonel. And you have to thank the Ark for it at all as he just commented so I noticed yours!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. My German neighbour, Walter ( or ”Valter”) has lent me the first Harry Potter book three times. He insists it is a good book,is well worth the read,and has literally shoved it into my hands.
    Maybe it’s me, but I cannot even get past the opening paragraph. I keep meaning to ask if he has a copy in English.

    On the subject of fantasy, have you ever read The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant ( Stephen Donaldson?) If not, I have a sneaky feeling you would enjoy them.


    • There are books to read that may be difficult or a chore, but are actually worthwhile, eg some of the classics. Rowling does not fit into that category. Unless you are marooned at an airport, in hospital, waiting for a train during a train strike, and have no other book to hand, I would not go there.

      No. When I’m up to limping over to the library and up the stairs, I’ll look him up. I have heard of him, and not just from you. Won’t you be delighted if I say terrible! Such a bad rec from the Ark!


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