Posted in Books, My Book Reviews

Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffry Cranor

via Goodreads

Rated it: 3 stars

Read in: April

Note to people who’ve never listened to to podcast: I will not tell you that you can only enjoy this book if you listen to the episodes, though it would help.  From what I understand it’s marketed as a stand alone. Personally, I don’t mind if you disliked it. Only too easy to be confused and feel like an outsider. It’s a poor reflection of the podcast so please don’t let this discourage you from listening.

—-

When I say that I felt my mind bend several times throughout the book, I am not kidding. For some reason I still can’t put a finger on, I was skeptical about the entire thing. I could suppose that I was so trained to the podcast format that the setup for novel approach was … puzzling. Who am I kidding? Honestly it fell flat for me. There. I said it.

However, I am now satisfied in several respects with regards to the plots of certain episodes. For instance I can now file the away the speculation that The Man In The Tan Jacket is not actually Cecil’s long forgotten brother.

Thanks to The Man and his stupid note, Jackie’s become irritatingly aware of the oddness of her existence. Particularly pissed because because her boring routine life has been unashamedly demolished. The order and the peace of mind it brought, gone. It should be a damn crime.

Diane is more complicated. A single mother having to try communicate with an ever distant teenage shape-shifting son is nothing at all to sneeze at. Between that growing divide is the pothole of all potholes, his father Troy.

Continue reading “Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffry Cranor”

Posted in Books

The ‘Welcome to Night Vale’ novel is mine!

Lookie what I got!!!! #WelcometoNightVale #wtnv #wtnvnovel #josephfink #jefferycranor #book #bookstagram

A photo posted by How unpleasant (@devina_s) on

I can’t read this right now but it’s not stopping me from showing off. I’ve been a listener for about three years now and to hold this in my hands is a wonder. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about Welcome to Night Vale is a free, bi-monthly podcast available on iTunes and YouTube and lots more places. It’s totally weird fiction that’s not very far from real. A place to get lost in.

Check. This. Thing. Out.

Posted in My Writing

Runner

I ran like the horses, swift and wild, because I am my father’s child. My breath fogs the air in fluffy puffs, feet barely touching the ground. I feel the ocean to my left, beating a deep bass pulse like my own heartbeat. ‘Mr. Brunner’ said I’d feel better now that we know where I belonged at camp, more like in the hierarchy of things. The pain will stop, he said. And it has, I suppose. But it never really does, does it?

Thrusted into the limelight, I stick out like a barnacle on a ship. Now, I just let the dawn air pierce my lungs; my legs starting to burn a little, getting too hot. That’s okay, though. With a thought, I willed a slight chill over my skin and the clouds of my breath grew denser. I could do this because I am my mother’s daughter.

Continue reading “Runner”

Posted in My Writing, Poetry

Tiger Lily

Hey folks, things are pretty hectic right now, or at least on the inside and, believe me, I miss writing. There’ll be time soon enough though. Anyway, here’s my newest poem😉

Poet's Corner

… she sits so still but seems so fluid

Peering out from those Egyptian eyes

Her green gaze prowls and warns

Smelling like an old book,

and then slaps you with citrus

Let her alone, let her be

Tiger Lily will stare holes

Into your soul

You won’t like what she’ll see

© Devina S.

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Posted in Personal

Some things I’ve learned

Before you go further, I’d like to thank all those people who recently followed me. I mean, why? I’ve been active as a sloth in the summer (not sure how accurate that is, I know they are creepy looking and slow beyond comprehension). What I am try to say is this: thank you so much!

It’s not easy to communicate the way we feel especially to a person we trust. We worry about their opinion about us, because let’s face it it’s easy to say that ‘it doesn’t matter what people say’. I treat it as a blanket phrase. It matters when it’s someone we value, because they matter. I don’t know why I ever thought that writing about my problems should be any easier. I’ve started countless times only to scrap an entire post because I feel ridiculous and I realize just how much of a private person I am. I have read blogs where writers bare a good portion of their souls to perfect strangers and I think it’s both stupid and brave.

These days I’m hounding the scent of inspiration. It is what drives us, not only a good cause will be enough to stick to a goal; be it studying, to put in volunteer work, to work two jobs even if you don’t have to but because you think it will prove beneficial in the long run; to make your parents proud; to prove a point. We need the motivation, some of us need it as incentive to live another day, to not give up on ourselves. Let me share this quote I found:

People often say that motivation doesn’t last well. Well, neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily” – Anon

I don’t admire the girl I was for the past five or six years ago, if I could I would slap her silly and tell her to grow up fast. The quicker she learned that time is running out, how very far she’s yet to go, how much she’ll suffer in her own hands; I wish I was more aware of my mortality and (ironically?) my own indifference or obliviousness, or both if it’s not already the same thing. I’m thankful that I did, at any rate. At the same time I heeded the timeless advice of learning from my mistakes, most of the time anyway. That’s progress.  Continue reading “Some things I’ve learned”

Posted in Books, My Book Reviews

The House of Hades (The Heroes of Olympus #4) by Rick Riordan

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t read The Mark of Athena as yet, please don’t go any further.

via Goodreads

Rated it: ★★★★★

GR Blurb

At the conclusion of The Mark of Athena, Annabeth and Percy tumble into a pit leading straight to the Underworld. The other five demigods have to put aside their grief and follow Percy’s instructions to find the mortal side of the Doors of Death. If they can fight their way through the Gaea’s forces, and Percy and Annabeth can survive the House of Hades, then the Seven will be able to seal the Doors both sides and prevent the giants from raising Gaea. But, Leo wonders, if the Doors are sealed, how will Percy and Annabeth be able to escape?

They have no choice. If the demigods don’t succeed, Gaea’s armies will never die. They have no time. In about a month, the Romans will march on Camp Half-Blood. The stakes are higher than ever in this adventure that dives into the depths of Tartarus.

Okay. I don’t know what exactly to say (oh but I do), other than that events have certainly heated up, so to speak. The House of Hades is the darkest installment yet, it had me on the edge of my seat and in an almost dire state of emotional crisis. While The Lost Hero and The Son of Neptune introduced the new players and had healthy plots; The Mark of Athena saw all of the seven finally assembled aboard the Argo II as well as decent character advancement, this fourth book I observed a greater sense of growth in all of them though at varying degrees, most of all Frank (as anticipated) and Leo (I’m going to relapse in feels). AND ANNABETH AND PERCY ARE IN TARTARUS FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE.

I particularly appreciated how as the  story progressed the meaning of the prophesy takes on newer, more clearer and curiously personal meanings, completely different from what I thought before. Hazel is tested on her newfound abilities and after days of seasickness and worry we see her stepping up to the plate as she’s faced with decisions at crossroads and a farting polecat.

Piper really takes charge of her life, with her training and less focus on Jason and I gotta say I’m most pleased with her better sense of self, not as itchy in her role in the seven and as a daughter of Aphrodite. A certain snow bitch goddess didn’t know what she was stirring up.

We finally get a good feel for Jason‘s character, we see him shaping his identity against some of the traditional Roman values he was instilled with, and becoming more of his own man if you can understand that, instead of the guy they think he is and how how he should be. Palpably no longer the man he used to be. Am I happy? Bet your butts I am. 

His and Nico‘s relationship (not that kind, shippers I’m looking at you) is especially interesting. No one knew what to make of the son of Hades, the wild card, even his sister. So Jason, understandably apprehensive of the guy, having little choice but to “split” from the crew for a while with Nico had sort of … an education. Continue reading “The House of Hades (The Heroes of Olympus #4) by Rick Riordan”

Posted in Books, My Book Reviews

The Mark of Athena (Heroes of Olympus #3) by Rick Riordan

via Goodreads

Rated it: 4.5 stars

This was satisfying. Was that an understatement? Probably. We’ve got the POVs of Annabeth, Leo, Percy and Piper; I think Rick did a good job with their individual voices but I feel as if each were lacking the intensity when I compare The Heroes of Olympus to Percy’s in first five books, overall though it was well done.

I am so so happy to see more of Annabeth! I mean after all those years of Percy and here’s the brains of the operations; in wanted in her brains. Wish granted! I can appreciate her fears, not only about who and what she must face on her quest (and the gods know it’s terrifying), it’s the fact that she must do this alone and she hadn’t been that way since she was seven and on the run. Her intelligence and bravery are her knives and shield and she’s got a healthy dose of self doubt to temper her metal.

The Leo, Hazel and Frank dynamic was interesting. I recall a reviewer wondering why Frank, having understood how Sammy played into Hazel’s past, is still at odds with Leo. Okay, the fire thing aside, that Frank should give McShizzle a break. I agree. Thing is, I believe Frank’s intimidated with Leo’s loud personality, his energy and some of the jibes unintentionally that more often than not hit some sensitive spots. Leo is the opposite of Frank and while that may have problems they can prove to compliment each other.

Hazel. I love love love Hazel Levesque. Out of the seven she’s the most intriguing, for obvious reasons, Continue reading “The Mark of Athena (Heroes of Olympus #3) by Rick Riordan”

Posted in Interests

Happy New Year!

First thing’s first, I was locked out of my account because I forgot where I put my list of codes to log in (typical) and  the text code feature wasn’t working, so yeah, I couldn’t post during Christmas week. A shout-out to Kris, the Happiness Engineer that got me back in. You rock, dude.

Got this cuddly widdle guy from here

I know 2014 has been absolute nonsense to some of us, sprinkled with the good things that propelled us forward. It’s 100% a possibility that is an understatement for many of people. Just thinking of last year, how close it is to this one still, rouses up some upsetting feeling in the pit of my stomach. I don’t like it one bit. Personally, sure I was conflicted here and there but on a more general level, a more connected-to-humanity-level I am disgusted with the senseless loss of life born of ignorance and hate, saddened and hollowed with the people lost from the air disasters and the boat ones and the train ones and those guys in the stampede in Beijing on New year’s day.

I don’t know what it takes to be someone to govern a country, city or town but it has to take a lot of brass. Every leader has his or her own agenda that affects ‘the people’ but I reflect especially on Russia and Ukraine, on whose affairs I’m not qualified on any level to speak on with any authority but that of a concerned and curious outsider, I ask not only those two leaders but all those involved in peace making in that conflict to do one thing: look at the people.

Yes, aid has pouring in as best as it could and I am at peace inside that people sill care enough (what does that tell about my outlook on humans? A post for another time probably). Again, I have not a clue about the mind numbing effort it takes to organize and make treaties and attend talks and make decisions affecting the lives of billions. But for a moment, can we all just step back from the political and religious extremism (I am not pointing fingers here) that usually start all this clusterfu-

Look, just step back, okay? Boys and men, and the girls and women in the battlefield. No longer fresh faced and ready. Angry and blank. Hot and cold. And look at the children huddled under rippling blue tarp in a hastily put together shelter some places familiar and those others foreign, alien; lost family members, festering wounds, chapped lips and spasming bellies, meticulously portioned food; mothers and fathers sick with worry, elders with bleak eyes and maps etched deep into their faces, souls ready to skedaddle out from their ears.

I am not saying that these leaders aren’t seeing because they most obviously do Continue reading “Happy New Year!”

Posted in My Writing, Picture it and Write!, Poetry

On the wind

Hi people, if there are still any of you here (and thanks for sticking around!). I’m scrambled and uncertain and I don’t get to post as much as I used to, as much as I’d want to. A lot of what I do is writing but I’m not up to the actual posting, it’s become so exhausting but here’s something I just put together for Ermilia Blog’s Picture it and Write!

Not mine! Got it from the main post, see link above.

Gleaming eyes offer

the heat of a crackling fire

Ivory complexion, a reflection

of burnished moonlight

 

Lips like exotic blossom

Words like scented pulses

Laughter a riotous bloom

Petals of you ride this wayward wind

 

You are this aching welcome, a magnet

to you I come, but you fade, again

Elusive, intrusive, always there

Out of reach, every bloody time

© Devina S.

Posted in Interests, Music, My Writing, Personal

The Sea: An exercise in simplicity.

While studying, Charles Trenet’s La Mer  came on the radio. I had to drop my pen, sit back and close my eyes. I knew the English translation and I also know it meant more than what it says. A bittersweet melody. Behind my eyelids, in my mind’s eye memories fall like feathers. Monochrome movies, a tavern by the seaside and wind blowing in from the windows, and the scent of soap. I remember rainy days and reading about Harry, Ron and Hermione when I’d read all over the house to be at peace with my thoughts. A simple song can be a key to memories so precious that I’d tuck them away for safe keeping, tucked away so well that I’d nearly forgot.

This was an exercise I participated in one of my tutor group’s discussions. the topic was simplicity, saying more with less. The best thing is pulling work from memory, like I did here. We had to comment, or “self reflect” on our pieces, which was refreshing because though I’d usually make comments at the back of my mind while writing and editing (ohmygods I now realize I’ve been doing a crap job at that) I never actually pay attention. Hope you liked it.

On a side note, La Mer literally translate from French to The Sea but some of you might be familiar with the English version, Somewhere beyond the sea (listen to the Bobby Darrin, Robbie Williams and Kevin Spacey versions!), while still charming loses some meaning from the original, according from comments on YT.

Cheers,

Devina😉