Wanderlust (Sirantha Jax, #2)

Wanderlust by Ann Aguirre

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


And the curse of the 2nd novel strikes yet again.
As a sequel, this book felt much drier.
If the previous one was “depressing with an edge”, this one is more of “depressing and just grey, and more depressing”. Where the first book fights and grasps, this book just takes punches and waits for the next one to take it out. Where the first book had time for humour and banter, this one only adds another type of heartbreak on top of already presented one.
It’s a lot of “go through one deadly danger-get stuck somewhere for some period of time-go through another deadly situation-get stuck somewhere again”.
Personally, I believe that ‘getting stuck somewhere’ should have been used as an opportunity to progress character relationships, but apparently they (relationships) stay frozen and we just get told how many days they spent stuck in one or other uncomfortable state. I’m more than a little disappointed with how character relationships were treated here in general. It’s like there is a constant dark cloud hanging over, and these relationships are constantly shadowed. Either strained or bleak. And repeating the same note over and over, without really working through it.
And that’s only the first part. The second part just went in a direction I liked absolutely nothing about.
Overall, even though I couldn’t put the 1st book down, this one was increasingly difficult to get through…
Maybe this is spoiler-y, but I have to say it…
There. Is. Not. A. Single. Uplift. In. This. Book.

Hence a drop from 4 stars to 2 for me.

Also, the title doesn’t fit at all.



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I sometimes manage to stay away from television, news, and real world in general so well that when I catch a glimpse of it by chance I suddenly find out that parts of country are being washed away with level 4 (out of 5) evacuation alerts, a number of very prominent and very famous tv figures got in organised crime-related trouble (which in this country means a big reconstruction on the tv scene because they will need to replace big tv shows that were in the same spots for many years and people who everyone was used to seeing all the time), and that some of my favourite (and very talented) musicians were arrested.

Feels like this world is never going to convince that there might be a merit in not living like an ostrich.

Crazy Hot (Steele Street, #1)

Crazy Hot by Tara Janzen

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


I could almost like this book. In the beginning.
It had a promising beginning—making me think it would be more of a ‘romantic story of a pair who had a mutual crush on each other for 15 years, reunited as adults (who each have been through their own hell) against the backdrop of a thriller of a crime fighting operation featuring stolen fossils, car chases, and gun fights ‘. Which this book almost was…but wasn’t.
… And so, firstly, I’m not made to read ‘romance’-type books without questioning reality of some details. Like having sex on the top of an overheated running car (so many things wrong with the whole scene), or choosing to drive the flashiest car while trying to lay low and hiding from mobsters, or kissing with having whole face painted, or the need for every positive male character (below the age of 70) to be hotter than sun, and the insistence that all women must like the car in red and hot pink (gag).
Secondly… Nikki. Oh how I wish we could just cut out the whole Nikki part and have the book without it. It’s both the character—psychopathic (voyeurism, violating other people through her cameras and ‘art’ without even thought about requiring a permission; no concept of propriety and personal integrity, or personal boundaries) egocentric, idiotic—and the whole ‘romance’ scene. Especially the ending.
I kind of wish Kid would’ve just knocked her out, gagged her, and delivered her where she needed to go in the trunk and never let her open her mouth. (Because, yes, yes, when an armed military man who came to protect you from bad people with guns tells you you need to leave now, let’s go looking for the cherry lip gloss in the bathroom, let’s also question his every request five times over, and then let’s freak out.)
Yes, I’m sorry, I dislike this character so much I actually got all riled up. Her behaviour sort of represents everything I hate in female romance characters—close-mindedness, false sense of self-importance, inability to listen or feel others….and so many more disturbing qualities.
Why did we need a character like this?
There shouldn’t have been any ‘romance’ involving Nikki. (On top of which, the whole scene was repetitive and not well-written at all.)
And then, the circumstances of Kid’s leaving and her reaction to it…
Brrr (shivers of pure disgust).
The whole book would be so much better off without this whole part.
Regan by herself might have been okay-ish (not perfect, but tolerable), but Nikki brings the level of that specific female-type idiocy so much over the top it ruins the impression of the whole book. Which is a shame.


Thirdly, the mess of the ending…with one stupid detail on top of another, one stupid dialog line on top of another, idiotic behaviour, pretty badly written ‘bad guys’ who just can’t wait to tell everyone what they do and how… Nope. Did not work for me at all.

I think the first part of the book was okay. Maybe even good. But then when we reached closer to the middle with whole unrealistic unhygienic car scenes and Nikki, the whole book just went down the drain.

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Yet, I believe what really grinds my gears, and prevents me from leaving this topic alone and not wasting my energy on thinking about it for 2 days already, is that if the situation was the opposite, as in, if the main characters were supposed to be from somewhere from Africa (or say Asia or Middle East), but instead white British actors were hired to play their roles, there would have been 10 times more outrage.

And then thousands of people who never even read the books would also flock to protest and express their outrage once they’d sniff it out, because how dare the tv producers not respect people’s races and cultures.

And I highly doubt the author would have been able to write her ‘proud post’ about how she thinks the cast is just right, and she never even remembered that her own main character had eyes of a specific colour. and that he is ‘right for the role in every way that matters’ (except race, because race doesn’t matter). Because she would just get stoned for that.

…In everyday circumstances, I would be among the first to say that race doesn’t matter. Because, in everyday life, I don’t really care (and, to be honest, my cognitive abilities are failing enough that sometimes I can’t tell Japanese people from foreigners when I’m outside…).

But when we talk about integrity of cultures and world settings… I think every culture and setting should be equally protected and represented as it was historically, or as it was written to be.

Since today happens to be ones of those days in a year when my apartment is to be invaded by inspectors of one kind or other that happens once a few months (water pipes, fire alarms, whatever they can come up with),

and I had to spend my weekend trying to pretend that I’m not a child of chaos and autism, and can actually keep my living quarters presentable enough for strangers to barge in and not stare in shock,

I’ve also been watching Netflix while trying to clean, which left me with a thought that I might have an easier time with living if I could convince myself that I was watching some weird Science Fiction every time I watch…practically anything.

It might save me from all the flinching and dread I feel each time when I watch something about humans and realize I can’t comprehend, can’t identify, and can’t feel any affinity.

It also made me sit and think about how I wish I could know what other humans feel when they watch other humans.

When you’re someone who (or in a stage) reads 20-30 books monthly (and also has trouble finding books that your sick and tired psyche can handle atm, so ends up discarding half as much as ‘read later when I have the right mood’, thus creating 80-90 book TBR piles on the top of your bookshelf), while also living in a small Tokyo apartment and not in an ancient castle with 2-floor library, opting for doing it through an ebook reader should be a no-brainer. The most logical, easiest option. The only acceptable option, some even would insist…
Not only it would save you from struggling to find a space to store all your books, but also, kindle versions are very often come 5-15 dollars cheaper than buying paper books (not to mention sometimes having to pay for shipping to Japan, though having Prime helps). Why, sometimes, they are even free on kindle.
So, really, a no-brainrer.
Or it should be.
…Unless you are also an aspie to whom the sensory experience of reading a book (holding it, touching the paper, smelling the paper, feeling exactly how much you’ve progressed) is as important as reading the words on a page and without it reading is not reading, and your brain actually misses chunks of content when you’re reading from an e-reader (tried and confirmed multiple times).
Then all bets are off and you can only improve your ‘finding places to put bookshelves’ game and hope he floor doesn’t give up during the next earthquake. Or in general.

My recent panic episode (triggered by newest medication messing with my heart rate and Japanese drug stores disappearing while I wasn’t looking and not selling anything that would let me measure and record it) led me to purchasing a ‘fitness’-type watch that now records my heart rate and sleep patterns, etc., constantly.
(Unfortunately it also now refuses to let me turn off GPS on my phone, which is bound to give me another episode some time soon, because I’m paranoid enough to want GPS to always be OFF on all my devices.)
There were a couple of interesting measurements, like the fact that there is a visible difference between me being at home and me not being at home (in general 20-40 bps difference between me sitting at home doing nothing and me sitting at work doing nothing at any point of time), or rapid spikes while I’m getting ready to leave in the morning…

But the thing I found most interesting is that since the program marks heart rate above certain number as “fat burning”,
according to it I’ve been “burning fat” every time I read today (I’m on a stressful action-sequence ending of a sci-fi drama),
and wouldn’t that just be the dream?

(Though, it’s all total bs, because if I was burning anything every time they say I do (more than 5h in a day), I wouldn’t be gaining weight from just thinking about food as I tend do, would I?)

I do hate this very common occurrence of an almost empty cafe filling to its capacity 30 minutes after I sat down hoping to write in piece and quiet.

It’s not like I even come right after the opening hours or right before lunch hours when it could be logically explained and expected.

Specifically looking for a quiet spot in a quiet book cafe just to see it get overcrowded in less than an hour after you sat down is…just sad, frustrating, and feels like an insult when you’re in an especially self-centered mood.

upd. It’s also the same with the toilet. Say you sit with a clear view of the cafe toilet (1 person at a time kind of deal) for an hour and can see that it’s not crowded and no one is waiting in front of it, in fact it’s rarely occupied. But the minute you decided to go, not only someone tries the door less that 30 sec after you lock it behind yourself (before you even manage to take your pants off), you emerge to see a 3-people line waiting for you with offended expressions.

It makes me feel stalked by a crowd of humanity.

And reminds me of that feeling when I was going around taking pictures in parks and more often than not some old man would start following around and stop to take pictures at the exact same spot at exact same angle I did a moment ago. I’m not even kidding.

Yes, I did mention an especially self-centered mood. But it’s hard to blame my moods when these occurrences keep piling up.

My specific brand of first-world problem: having about 90 TBR books in front of me and a rainy day off perfect for just curling up and reading all day, and wasting the whole morning absolutely unable to choose what I want to read and which book would fit into the mood of this day.

I’ve never let it bother me much before, but last time I was in new local supermarket they were having a マグロ解体ショー (tuna filleting display/show ?) there, calling people to watch it like a spectacle, and all I could think was “they’re making a show of dismembering a dead creature” and couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

I’m not a vegetarian (not that I didn’t try) and will definitely eat tuna, but it’s the whole ‘making it into a show’ aspect that disgusts me about humans

Has been bothering me all this time. Do people actually use the 5-star rating system in the terms Goodreads apparently wants it to be?
For the love of all bookish I see no sense in this “1 – did not like; 2 – it was ok; 3 – liked it; 4 – really liked it; 5 – it was amazing;” annotations they insist on.
I my head it was always: “1 – hated it/dnf; 2- did not like; 3 – it was ok; 4 -liked it; 5 – loved it;”.

Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #1)

Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


First, I’d like to say that there isn’t really anything negative to say about the quality of the book, writing and imagination. It’s a very well-written book.
The problem that I have with this book is that it’s a big gorey mess of malice and misery. I don’t think I’ve seen a single positive thing in the whole book. Rape, murder, manipulation, torture, control and humiliation, and children mixed into all of that. I’m sure there are people to whom it would appeal. I’m not one of them. In the end I had to force myself to finish this book just so that I would see its horrors be over and it wouldn’t haunt me. I also felt like I needed to wash my brain with gentle soap and warm water afterwards.

… It also occurred to me that a lot of people could be mislead by the title in combination with ‘vampire novel’ and buy this thinking it would be another half-silly paranormal romance… they’re in for a nasty surprise.



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I’m going to be mean now. I have a lot of anger pent up on this issue.

You know what really grinds my gears? That so many people think that if they can speak a certain language, it gives them the necessary skills to apply for such jobs as translation, proofreading, and editing in that language. And that the other idiots hire them and pay them money for it.

While both translating and checking other people’s translations are parts of my job, and I make a lot of mistakes and see a lot of mistakes there, nothing sets my nerves ablaze as much as checking ‘language debug reports’ that we get from other companies hired to check the localization quality.

While my favorite episode from last few months is still the one where someone reported ‘Good job, hon!’ as a mistake and said we should change it to ‘Good job, hun’ (and my co-worker turned and said ‘What, like Attila?), just another week in one day I had:

1) people pick up every em-dash in a very large text and say first that it’s ‘a 2bit Japanese character and should be replaced with commas’ and then in another place again, report that ‘hyphens in English are only used to connect two words, and these strange hyphens should be deleted or replaced with commas’.

While em-dashes are not exactly very common and are avoided by many people who don’t know how to use them correctly, and can be replaced easily with other punctuation, commas are usually not the way to go. Not even mentioning that instead of considering the fact that if a certain symbol is used in more than a hundred of places in the text there might be meaning to it you’re not aware about, they just think they can say ‘replace them all with commas’ without even thinking to check how the end result would look.

2) people who didn’t know about the existence of ‘no sooner … than’ and wanted to correct it.

(and 3 tons of other issues where they wanted to fix something that wasn’t broken)

The thing is, the people who ‘check’, the people who proofread and suggest corrections, should be held to a standard 3 times higher than the people who actually translate and/or write. They should have higher language knowledge to recognize mistakes, and they should remember the principle of ‘do no harm’.

Unfortunately, this is far from the case. Every time I go through such a report, I feel like some of these people just fill it with random useless suggestions (as in, not pointing out actual mistakes, but suggesting changing things that are no more than a matter of opinion) to create a bubble of illusion of them doing their work.

It maddens me that these people think they have enough knowledge regarding the use of English language to correct others. It maddens me that not only they make useless ignorant suggestions that they have no mind to check themselves on, but they also try to add mistakes to where there ween’t any by making outright wrong ones. It maddens me that I have to sift through hundreds of these unnecessary ‘corrections’ to get to the ones where they really did catch a typo or and extra space that needs to be corrected. It maddens me that if I didn’t insist on going through these bug reports, the developers would just make the corrections as they are told, and these people would just sabotage the final product and get paid for it on top of it.

I’m not delusioned about my own abilities. I might be a terrible language user in my own free time (as can be seen by this blog in particular…). I use wrong words in places, I make up words, I ignore rules of syntaxes and punctuation, and I herd typos. But at least I do know to look up grammar issues, where to look them up, and to not assume someone is right or wrong before I check it when it comes to work. Which I think should be the standard minimum in the field.

Not going to work on a weekday and staying in a place where there are only the standard TV channels and no option to stick my HDD into the TV got me re-acquainted with such pearls of morning TV as 30-min discussion of bows on toiler paper, even longer discussion of a somewhat-famous couple enjoying sakura viewing in a park (seriously, what the fluff goes through people’s heads when they think it’s necessary to take pictures of two people sitting on grass in a park and looking at trees and then discuss every angle of those pictures at length on national tv?), and a very detailed discussion of the Imperial couple’s outfits as they pay last homage in shrines around the country before abdication. (Still better than what I caught on CNN and BBC before changing the channel though.)

In short, it’s days like this when I really begin to despise that part of my broken mind that makes me unable to function without having some kind of TV noise in the background…because no matter how much I try to concentrate on something else, time after time I catch glimpses of something that just sends the ‘damn, I really can’t understand or feel any kind of affinity with this humanity’ thought shooting through my mind.