Dancing Words

Mechanic (Breeding, #2) by Alexa Riley

— feeling wink
Mechanic - Perfect Pear Creative, Aquila Editing, Alexa Riley

Well, At least it was honest about its over-the-top-ness, it really prepared me for what's to come. I liked Joey and Law's story more. I wished it was about them. Short and smutty. Just what I needed.

 

3.5 stars

Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights? (All the Wrong Questions, #4) by Lemony Snicket

"Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights?" (All the Wrong Questions) - Lemony Snicket, Seth

The biggest surprise in this was not the big reveal, it was realizing all along that Snicket knew who Hangfire was from the very beginning. He only hoped that he was wrong in his suspicion.

 

I loved the unraveling of the mystery surrounding Stain'd-by-the-Sea. I was impatient for everything and the release of every installment was far apart enough that by the time read the next one, I have forgotten every clue that was shown.

 

There were still unanswered questions (as usual) at the end of the book but what really bothered me were:

 

Why would you sink a dying town even lower when you're just as distressed as everyone else with everything that has happened?

Why would you even want power over such a town?

Why avenge the wrecked environment by making the world a wild and lawless place?

 

And lastly,

 

What kind of parents left their children in a dying town and be too scared to go back for them??

 

4 stars

So you want to become a creative writing or creativity enhancement coach and train brains?

Reblogged from annehart:

1

 

Books by Anne Hart

 

© 1995 by Anne Hart, M.A.

 

Some people may work for demanding employers and co-workers who put the squeeze on you, asking you to deliver more in less time, the leaders who put unrealistic deadlines on your work or time, hoping you catch the "hurry sickness." Perfectionist and bully bosses don't encourage you to do your best. Instead, they make you feel as though you can't do anything right and will never live up to their demands. If you think re-entering the workplace after 40 or 60 means getting away from such personalities, think again. The high-tech industry, the arts, and the business or professional world, even volunteerism at your local museums could be loaded with bosses, directors of volunteers, or co-workers who are perfectionists or bullies.

 

Give them what they lack, and don't criticize

 

Career advisors say the best way to handle ornery personalities is to give each what they're lacking. Bullies are in need of boundaries and ultimatums and perfectionsts have the need to be thorough and efficient.

 

Be careful not to attack or criticize the boss. You'll get the same attitude right back. Instead, let the boss know his or her reputation is dependent on making some changes.

"Bullies in the workplace are team ringleaders. They need followers, and nobody's going to follow them if they lose their reputation as a top dog.

Women over age 40 in a re-entry job may refrain from independently asking a contrary boss to make a host of behavioral changes. A newcomer would do better to gather a group of other people to sign a petition asking for changes. Employees acting together have the power to affect the boss's public reputation. Inform the person that if he or she makes the right changes, then his or her reputation will be positively affected.

 

If a confrontation with a bully or perfectionist boss would do you more harm than good, consultants say daily interaction with the person should also be focused on meeting the person's needs, thereby giving yourself and your boss some degree of consistency and control. Perfectionists and even bullies are the kind of people who are interested in concrete results, not abstract ideas. With that in mind, Don't ask what you need to start next. Ask what you need to finish next. Even something as simple as showing up on time every day will do much to defiise a difficult boss and turn the impatient leader to your side.

 

Do your best to act with efficiency and to cooperate with others in your office in ways that any productive employee would adopt anyway. When problems arise, explain them in black and white terms. Draw on the talents of others on your team. Avoid excessive complaining, and be sure to give your boss the respect that individual's position deserves.

 

In some ways, intense rivalry among computer science and engineering companies breeds these personalities. Managers who feel overwhelmed by stress are likely to transfer their anguish to the people they supervise. The managers most susceptible to this kind of distress include two distinct personality types: perfectionists and bullies.

 

Dealing with Perfectionists

 

Perfectionist bosses worry so much about their own performance that, to make themselves look good, they expect their employees to produce more than is humanly possible in the time available. They reduce deadline time while condemning workers for not accomplishing enough. The truth is, however, they don't feel they are getting enough done themselves. Similarly, bullies are overly concerned with their public reputations. They need followers who look up to them, and they tend to perceive everything as black or white, right or wrong, with little tolerance for ambiguity.

 

Sometimes perfectionist bosses also have minimum respect for others' personal space. One thing that bully and perfectionist bosses have in common is that they take away your control over your job. Whereas they possess the capabilities for success, both bullies and perfectionists lack self esteem. Does your boss fear his or her inability to compete in the workplace? Perfectionism can make the perfectionist sick in some cases. In other cases, perfectionism in an employer can make the employee sick. It depends upon the individual's physical, metabolic, chemical, and genetic (inherited predisposed) reaction to perfectionism or the fear of inadequacy in the face of competition for scarcity of employment or scarcity of customers and an abundance of employers with more capital and more and superior product access.

 

Because perfectionist bosses are so consumed with self-doubt, perfectionists' actions and comments infect those they supervise -- including re-entry women of middle age or retirees returning to the workplace as well as first-time employees graduating into the workforce. Perfectionists and bullies alike search for any new employee or client to show the first signs of feelings of inadequacy.

 

Then they cut loose by projecting their own feelings of not measuring up by ordering you to produce more than is humanely possible in less time. They hope to make themselves look good by showing higher numbers in their own job evaluation file by forcing you to do the work that they fear they can't do themselves.

 

Don't lose your confidence if you have a perfectionist or bully supervisor. Not all perfectionists are bullies, and not all bullies are perfectionists. Some people may work for perfectionist bosses who also become bullies if the employer senses a worker with little experience, an overqualified worker, someone who is afraid of age discrimination at work, or a person who lacks experience and is working for the perfectionist boss to gain experience.

 

Companies in the computer industry and other high-tech workplaces rely on fast-paced production. Almost every newspaper advertisement from clerk to content writer emphasizes you'll have to work under pressure and prioritize multi-tasks. Does this mean you'll also have to confront the difficult supervisor?

 

As the intensity of demands grows, so too will a difficult boss's need for control. Perhaps the boss feels so out of control inside that the individual also must control your actions. Experts say the best way to deal with a bully or perfectionist boss is to avoid falling under the influence of one in the first place. You can walk out or confront your boss with witnesses or video tape. How many will really do that?

 

Digging up the info

 

Your best bet is to keep a diary of events and record it in your permanent file each time an act of perfectionism occurs that can't be explained away as a drive to efficiency. You are not supposed to lose your autonomy and opportunity to learn more when your boss asks you to be more efficient.

When making the decision to take a new job or a promotion, first research the manager to whom you'll be reporting. What do others think of that person? You can find that out from networking at professional and business associations or other gatherings of people in your line of work who work or have worked for that firm. If the manager allows and encourages your autonomy and teamwork, that's autonomy and not merely teamwork--that's positive. A boss who doesn't encourage autonomy is not obsessing about control disguised under the banner of teamwork.

 

Research from the Northwestern National Life Insurance Company (in 1998 called the Reliastar Life Insurance Co.) revealed there may be truth in this logic. Its1993 study found that an environment which lacks teamwork furnishes poor supervision, discourages employee input, and expects heavy employee output produces in time employees who have a problem finishing even the most simple tasks.

 

Experts encourage people to look for companies that emphasize balance. Move toward the companies that want you to take up after-work relaxation classes or programs. Join the company that provides social opportunities for you by offering health plans that cover stress management.

A perfectionist manager is a stressed-out or burned-out manager. You won't see a stressed-out supervisor when you go for your job interview. Interviews cover behavior. Chances are you'll deal with a difficult boss sometime in your career, whether you work inside the house or outside, and whether it's for pay or as a volunteer.

 

Career experts tell you to handle ornery personalities by giving the bully or perfectionist what the person is most lacking. Bullies need boundaries, and perfectionists have the need to be thorough and efficient.

#

Anne Hart is the author of  91+ paperback books, including Winning Resumes for Computer Personnel, Barron's Educational Series, Inc., 2nd edition, NY, 1998, 30+ Brain-Exercising Creativity Coach Businesses to Open, and Employment Personality Tests Decoded, and other nonfiction books and novels. See Anne Hart's Facebook Group Page at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/healthresearchnews/

 

What does it take to become a certified brain performance coach?

 

Back to school to become a certified brain performance coach.
Illustration and photo by Anne Hart

Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined by Stephenie Meyer

Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined - Stephenie Meyer

Oh, my. What have I gotten myself into?

 

I read Twilight and I.. liked some parts of it. Looking back, I think I romanticized the idea of reading a book I once liked, ever more, a reimagined one.

 

Boy, was I wrong.

 

I tried to read this a new book. I tried hard not to remember that it is just a reimagined Twilight so that I may "enjoy: it but it literally just switched the names of (almost) all the characters. There is nothing new here!

 

The problem with Twilight isn't the gender of the characters, it was their one-dimensional personalities. Nothing is going on for them except their "love", they are consumed by it. And it grows old. FAST.

 

They speak of "love" but I only see their superficial reasons. Little do I see the selflessness/depth of Beau when I am attacked by descriptions of Edythe's unworldly beauty every other sentence. Please, don't make me believe that helplessBella/Beau is someone special when all she could do is not give you what she's thinking.

 

So, excuse me while I go back in time and punch myself in the face for thinking that talking in your sleep is cool.

 

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Why Not Me? - B.J. Novak, Greg Daniels, Mindy Kaling, Mindy Kaling

I waited impatiently for this to come out. I love love love her first book. It was full of funny anecdotes and a lot of sense. Sadly, I cannot say the same for this, although that last chapter was the bomb and caused me to raise my rating from a 3.5.

 

Somehow, I am more interested in Mindy in her first book. I could totally relate to her especially in her journey towards her dreams. It also helped that she drew inspirations from her 20s that's why it was funnier and more relevant to me

 

The punchlines were also predictable. This one is in a more serious note so maybe it's hard to insert jokes here that areactually funny. I could see the punchlines coming from a mile away.

 

I wanted to know the continuation of her's and Jocelyn's friendship (yes, I am that invested in them. Thank you very much) and it was exciting to see them in formal attires (and in a full body picture!) but that was pretty much all I got. It was also sad that there is no more David in here. ( I mean, he got you Harry Potter tickets! That must mean something, right?)

 

I love neurotic Mindy in the first book! But I think a large part of why it didn't work for me is because the Mindy here already has her shit together and, well, I still haven't.

 

4 stars

Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman

Odd and the Frost Giants - Neil Gaiman, Mark Buckingham

After reading The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel, I was in the mood for another Neil Gaiman masterpiece. I was surprised at the short length of this book, I wanted more - just when I was enjoying myself, the story came to an end. And part of my knocking off a star was there are still some things I didn't get (hmm).. or am I just over analyzing this? Anyway, it piqued my interest in Norse mythology.

3.5 stars

Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

— feeling misdoubt
Ugly Love - Colleen Hoover

Seriously? You made me read someone's internal monologue on being a fuck buddy? Because by the looks of it to me, here's what happened:

 

Oh my God. He has eyes like the Caribbean sea and the V. (Don't forget the V)

I'm so lucky he wants to have sex me.

Oh no, I'm falling for him.

Wait, he wants sex. Let's put HIM first.

I deserve more.

He wants sex again.

He'll come around.

Sex sex sex

I just know he loves me

He said his ex's name during sex with me - oof!

This is enough.. but I'll still pine for him

Hey, he finally admits that he loves me! Yay!

 

Good God. Girl just doesn't know when to draw the line. I mean, really, this goes on for 80% of the book. They have sex, she's having second thoughts on this arrangement, then she forgets all about it once they have sex again. Again and again. AND. AGAIN. 

 

Here's a tip: when they want you just for sex, they want just you for sex. If you're positive that you have serious feelings for this guy, you do not agree to a sex-only arrangement. Don't go around feeling hopeful and trying to fix his issues so that he will be able to return your feelings.

 

Then, there's Miles' chapter to justify his crappy treatment of Tate. I don't really believe that Tate could Miles' love for him. For one, twice or thrice during sex Miles hurts Tate by being too forceful into her.

 

He thrusts himself inside me so unexpectedly hard and fast I practically scream into his mouth. He doesn’t stop to ask me if it hurts. He doesn’t slow down. He pushes harder and deeper until there isn’t any way we could possibly get any closer.

 

She practically screams in pain. Does Miles ask her if she's okay? Of course not! Emotionally wounded guys like me have no time for that. We are busy in our own pain.

 

Also, we are under the impression that Tate is a strong, independent woman. Ending her previous relationship because she chose her career and embracing her sexuality by being able to agree to a booty call and she knows what she deserves. She checks all the boxes and then we get this

 

I absolutely don’t like either of those rules. They both make me want to change my mind about this arrangement and turn and run away, but instead, I’m nodding. I’m nodding because I’ll take what I can get. I’m not Tate when I’m near Miles. I’m liquid, and liquid doesn’t know how to be firm or stand up for itself. Liquid flows. That’s all I want to do with Miles.
Flow.

 

He leads. I let him. Because he’s a solid and I’m a liquid, and right now, I’m just his wake.

 

 

What's frustrating is she knows that everything is wrong with the arrangement and that she couldn't handle it but she still agrees. Given the fact that she has feelings for the guy, but she still presses on! She gets hurt when he fails her. It's the classic martyr of a woman, always putting the guy first. She never realizes that her feelings are valid and that her needs are important. Only his pain and suffering is what matters.

 

Miles' reason is also held from us until almost the end because if it were revealed in the beginning I would've been even more frustrated since the solution was very obvious! 

Hint: Guys, if you really, really like a girl, you would do everything to be with her. You do not make these lame excuses just so you can have sex with her and send her mixed signals while you're at it. A sob story is never an excuse to be a jerk.

 

Teenage me would have lapped this all up. I would have taken this for genuine romance (ugh) and for a long time, this would have been my standard for a romantic relationship. All the drama and the issues and the passions. I am afraid of what teens of today would take away from this, with the abundance of this type of stories. I hope that they will know better and we need to show them that they are worth it.

 

 

The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel Volume 2 by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel, Volume 1 - Neil Gaiman, P. Craig Russell

The Graveyard Book is my second Neil Gaiman book, the first being Coraline. After reading Coraline, I thought that Neil Gaiman is the new Stephen King. Writing stories that creep and horrify, but after reading The Graveyard Book I realized I was dead wrong. Now, I am a fan.

 

This book has opened my eyes to a lot of things and I am better for them. So you can imagine my excitement when a graphic novel of a favorite book of mine came out. I reveled in the story once again and my love for it was not diminished but increased even more.

 

My favorite takeaway from here is that failure and disappointment is a part of life,

 

Things may become unbearable and sometimes we wish we were dead

 


For only when we are at the end of our days are we perfectly safe.

 

And remember, we all face the same end, no matter our ranks in life

 

You know where to go when life weighs you down

 

So go ahead, live. Life is one big adventure.

 

 

When a Scot Ties the Knot (Castles Ever After #3) by Tessa Dare

— feeling love
When a Scot Ties the Knot - Tessa Dare

Truly, Madeline is the greatest ninny to ever draw breath in England. She doesn't have the courage of Izzy in Romancing the Duke nor the steely resolve of Clio in Say Yes to the Marquess. She is frightfully shy and even worse than Izzy in imagining her happy ever after.

The first 3/4 of this book is a solid 3.5 stars for me. That is, until ,Logan and Maddie have admitted their feelings for each other. I was confused with all their inconsistencies. If this were set in a modern time, I would have rolled my eyes at them. But this is historical romance, it is understandable that they are not granted the liberties we have today.

Maddie and Logan's moments were intoxicatingly sweet and hilariously witty. In Tessa Dare's trademark humor, this story had me laughing loudly. I would have never endured the way Logan treated me if I were Maddie. But, thank God, she did. They may be really meant to be for one another to be able to stand each other in the beginning. For when they truly let go of all their inhibitions from each other, a wonderful sotry was made.

Most of all, Grant is favorite person too. It is really heartbreaking to see that after a particularly bad hit, he could no longer hold a thought after that. So, I was really glad that by the end of the book, he's on the way to recovery.

This is such a bad review - I could not string together sentences that make sense. One thing's for sure, I am especially sad that I don't get to be part of their growing family anymore.

The Graveyard Book Volume 1 (The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel #1) by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel, Volume 1 - Neil Gaiman, P. Craig Russell

A graphic retelling of a book I absolutely love. This helped me picture out the scenes more vividly since when I read it, I was reading as fast as I could to know what happens next. As a result, the scenes I created inside my head were all kind of blurry; what with all the suspenses and creepiness, it was the best I could do. Thankfully, this was published and I could relish again in all its wonder.

Mounted by a Monster: Under Her Bed by Mina Shay

Mounted by a Monster: Under Her Bed - Mina Shay

This was so ridiculous, I enjoyed it!

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl - Jesse Andrews

When I heard that this is going to be turned into a movie showing this September, I scrambled to read this. Also, it was in my TBR for a long time now, so.. two birds with one stone.

Having read TFIOS, which I liked, I was prepared to have a dose of reality. While TFIOS was good, I agree that it painted teenagers in a very mature way which was a little unbelievable.

However, although this is closer to reality, this is not my brand of humor. I was in a perpetual state of Excessive Modesty Mode.

Nothing is stupider and more ineffective than Excessive Modesty Mode. It is a mode in which you show that you’re modest by arguing with someone who is trying to compliment you.



Instead of just focusing on the story, I would get commentaries from Greg of how his book sucks and how you would do better by finding him and smashing the book on his head for making you read his crappy writing. It seems to me that he's trash talking himself and he wants someone to contradict him and tell him that his book is not bad, in fact, it was great. It was exhausting.

The moments I like best are the ones when he is interacting with anybody than his own thoughts. Scenes with Rachel, and Earl, and his Mom, and Madison, and..basically anyone. Just don't leave him alone is fine with me.

And with Earl's upbringing you would think the Greg would fare better than him, but no. Earl is still much, much better than him. For one, it did not take a dying girl for him to realize that he needs to deal with his shit first before he could help his family.

"I’m surrounded by family members doing stupid shit. I used a think I had to do shit for them. I still wanna do shit for them. But you gotta live your own life. You gotta take care a your own shit before you get started doing things for errybody else."

"They got shit to figure out before I can help em. I love my mama, but she has problems that I can’t help her with. I love my brothers, but they need to figure they shit out before I can help em. Otherwise they just gonna drag me down."



Earl is really the most interesting person in here. And seriously said to Greg what I've been wanting to say,

"God damn I’m sick and fucking tired a watchin you treat this girl like she some kind of, some kinda burden, when she the closest thing you fucking have to a motherfucking friend and she about to die on top of that. You know that, right? You dumb motherfucker. She home now cuz she about to die. That girl lyin there on her goddamn deathbed and you come to my house all whinin and cryin and shit about some irrelevant bullshit. I want . . . to kick your ass. You hear me? I want . . . to beat the fuck out of you right now."



It took me awhile to write this review and I'm glad I did. I had time to ponder on Rachel's death and on the book's epilogue. The more I think about Rachel, the more that I am saddened about her death. I guess, this what it really feels like to lose someone, especially when she lost all the will to live and fight her sickness. It kinda turned up some ugly emotions from me, too. Oftentimes, life can make no sense.

3 stars

Say Yes to the Marquess (Castles Ever After, #2) by Tessa Dare

Say Yes to the Marquess - Tessa Dare

After reading Romancing The Duke, I was pretty excited for the next installment.. in which I was disappointed.

I loved Romancing The Duke and I was prepared to love this even more. Sadly, passing about the halfway mark, I was so confused with everything that I just read faster just to get it over with.

On one hand, royal rebel and prizefighter Rafe was using all his self-control to keep his feelings in check for his brother's intended of 8 years, Clio - who wants out. After realizing that her preparation for being the lord's future-wife gave her the tools she needed to be independent and open a brewery when she inherited a castle, she's done waiting. Over the course of the week, it was a battle for Rafe on who he loves more - his brother or Clio. Before the week was almost done and finally convincing Clio that his love for his brother keeps his hands off her (and that she must be brave enough to tell to Pier's face that she no longer wants to get married), he claimed her.



I mean, WHUUUUT?! So everything you said was just lip service? I thought I was finally reading something new butnoooooooo. It had to be the same old thing, at least it was consensual. *siiiiigh* This had so much potential.

The three-star rating deserves an explanation. One, it was funnier than the previous book.

". . . She’s so innocent and tightly laced, she probably bathes in her shift and dresses in the dark. What would I do with a woman like that?”...

“Indeed.” Bruiser rolled his eyes and dusted off his hat. “Definitely no years of pent-up lusting there. Glad we have that sorted.”



And it made STRONG points on what it feels to be a woman,

“And you must want to get married. What else could you hope to do with your life?”
She laughed into her sherry. “What else, indeed. It’s not as though we ladies are allowed to have interests or pursuits of our own.”



“I’m a woman. Everyone judges us on our measurements.”



I’d been given so many gifts. An education, a fortune, a castle. Who was to say that simply because I was female, I couldn’t make something of those gifts myself?”



Not to mention familial ties,

“Just because they’re family doesn’t mean they won’t hurt you. It means they know how to cut deep.”



It also packs some awww-inducing scenes when their passions are not close to the surface,

“I’ll tell you who you are, Rafe. Anytime you find yourself in doubt. And I won’t even leave you bleeding.”



Mostly because it made me realize why I keep coming back to historical romances. Our heroines belong to the modern world. They refuse to conform to the restrictive standards society has put on women. They are class and rebellion in human form. Our"modern" heroines will do well with the circumstances our HR MCs are going through. Seeing as they, even without the constraints these HR women experiences, our YA/NA women succeed in limiting themselves when they have little to fuss about. HR would kill for these freedom when they so blatantly give them away to "capable men".


3 stars

Romancing the Duke (Castles Ever After #1) by Tessa Dare

Romancing the Duke - Tessa Dare

Ah, historical romance never fails me! I may not read this often but that does not mean it's not my favorite. The thing is, I am picky with this kind of genre. I only want the best. I don't want anything marring my starry-eyed adoration with these stories and this one definitely kept it intact.

I am so giddy! This racy and cute ( I never thought that I'd say racy and cute in a single sentence) romance had me all over the place. I was fanning myself in one steamy scene, the next my eyes misted by the unshed tears. Such a delight!

I loved every single character, from Izzy to Ransom (eventually), I loved their development. And the fact that

Izzy is the true author of The Goodnight Tales!

(show spoiler)

, I especially loved that bit. This could pass as a contemporary romance as I keep forgetting that we are in 19th century England. Fandoms and conventions abound, it was very amusing.

Also, this is the familiar formula of the innocent woman and the broody, sexually experienced man, which is kinda a bit of a disappointment for me but Ms. Dare made it work with sexy humor, 

There was exactly one reason his blood was pounding, and it had nothing to do with “please.” It had to do with “yes” and ”God, yes” and “just like that, but harder.”



a little bit of insight here,

She’d always envied beautiful women. Not solely for the beauty itself but because when attributes were parceled out by whatever deity assigned them, beauty seemed to come tethered to confidence. She craved that more than anything.




and tugs at your heartstrings everywhere.

She smiled. That beautiful smile. How could she ever doubt her effect on him?



“Of course you don’t deserve her. No man deserves a woman like that. He mortgages his very soul to win her and spends his life paying off the debt.”



And basically, I am Izzy.

“Why must this be so mortifying? Oh, that’s right. Because it’s my life.”




Losing sleep for this was worth it.

3.5 stars

Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell

— feeling big smile
Rooftoppers - Katherine Rundell

These are the stuff dreams are made of. 

A better review will come up once I am coherent. 

4.5 stars

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel - Anthony Doerr

After finally getting over my book slump, I decided to read a highly-rated book, All the Light We Cannot See.

I wished I picked better. You see, it took me a month to finish this. When I started, I was three books ahead of schedule in my reading challenge; and now, I am just on track. I don't know if it was just because I am still recovering from my book slump that my brain couldn't handle multiple plot lines or if it didn't work for me.

Its greatest fault is in the way the story is told. Alternating between the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, not to mention the alternating time frames, makes for a very disorienting read. Picture this: I am invested in the character, I am finally able to see the working of their minds, the emotions they are feeling. The tension builds, the plot thickens.. and you rip me off to another equally interesting character?? I was like a child, kicking and screaming while being dragged away into something that I would like sooner than later. Then, you'll do it again!! How was I supposed to enjoy that?

Therein lies the strength of this book: its characters and its lovely, lovely writing. I could bask in this author’s words all day - if only I wasn’t upset in the process.

They say that Marie-Laure's character was better that Werner's, I disagree. While Marie is smart, she is sheltered and simple-minded. Even participating in the resistance's activities, the story focused more on her thoughts about mollusks, her father (who was imprisoned), Jules Verne, her father, the sea, her father. Blind since the age of six, her father made miniatures models of their villages to help Marie navigate its streets alone. This is where my admiration ends. I understand that in her life, she only has her father. But we are in the middle of a war, more importantly, a siege! The dangers were not only glazed over but all I hear are the luxuries that were stolen. The secret broadcasts all over France were not made to be risky, there was no feeling of fear of the German army, no inkling if they knew they were broadcasting these news or if the Germans were closing in. With Marie-Laure, there's just this hint of fear. Nothing extraordinary. In her words,

“When I lost my sight, Werner, people said I was brave. When my father left, people said I was brave. But it is not bravery; I have no choice. I wake up and live my life. Don’t you do the same?”



Werner, on the other hand, I'm more interested in. The complexity of his situation engrossed me. So did the people around him: Jutta, Frederick and Volkheimer - each with their own difficulties in life. I find it heartbreaking when every one of them had a not-so-good conclusion when the only options they have are to die or to serve the Führer. Picked from the Childrens’ House by a lance corporal, Werner’s life is turned upside-down when he is admitted to an elite Nazi military school, the very people Jutta disliked. Having a knack for radios made Werner take special lessons with Dr. Hauptmann that made him somewhat special. His story details the experiences he’s gone through this school, from meeting Frederick, a sensitive boy with a fervent love for birds, him questioning everything if this was the right thing to do, to being at the front lines. It was ironic because it was Frederick who knows that their live no longer belong to them but he was the one who kept on showing his humanity and principles while Werner, who still clings to his dreams of doing what he really wants, unquestioningly follows every command.

 

”Frederick said we don’t have choices, don’t own our lives, but in the end it was Werner who pretended there were no choices,”



It was startling to see that the characters are very self-aware that they echo what I’ve been thinking.

The alternating POVs were so distressing that whenever I arrive to a new perspective, I would put the book down so I could get rid of all the emotions that have been brewing and I can start anew with another life. That’s why it took me a month to finish this.

When everyone’s lives finally met (around the 75% mark), it was so short and unsatisfying that I let out a sigh. This was not the end the build-up promised. Fortunately, the following chapters followed a single POV and a timeline that I enjoyed it already. The succeeding events are still lovely and heartbreaking at the same time. This is how it’s supposed be! Lovely writing such as this shouldn't be made to end abruptly, rather, they should flow continuously. If only that were the case, this would be such a beautiful book.