Posted in Books & Reviews

Books #135-#137: meh!

I’m beginning to understand why some people prefer to download books online rather than buy or even borrow them from the library. Some books are a total waste of time for they don’t live up to the hype that you sometimes expect. I’m on a book buying ban until my TBR goes down, but I bought two books recently: true crime stories written by James Patterson and John Grisham. I can’t wait to get started on them, but first, these books that I’m about to pass judgment on. 

Image result for gif spencer reid reading

Book #135: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Image result for all the light we cannot see

This book was ten years in the writing and the author won the coveted Pulitzer Price. Although well written and polished, I didn’t anything. It felt too long at times and it dragged. I couldn’t wait to finish and I started speed reading at some point.

The book was beautifully envisioned but it fell short.

Main themes in this book:

  • The Sea of Flames diamond
  • A French Professor’s voice over the airways. Turned out to be Marie-Laure’s deceased grandfather.
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
  • Uncle Etienne

Doerr wrote the passages wonderfully. They were so descriptive that I saw the poverty and heard the bombings, but I think he spent more time developing the settings than the characters thus making them unmemorable. I couldn’t identify with them. love coffeelove coffeelove coffee And why in the world are Pulitzer Prize-winning books so depressing? Thank goodness I did not buy this book. 

Book #136: Murder in the South of France by Susan Kiernan-Lewis

Image result for Murder in the South of France

I was left disappointed after reading this book. I only finished it because of Laurent and to confirm my suspicions. The title is misleading and should’ve been Murder in Atlanta because there was nothing to solve in the south of France given that we have to wait until Book 2 to see whose body was passed off as Elise’s. I think it’s Laurent’s common-law wife & I think Nicole is Laurent’s daughter. The author tried to throw readers off with who the actual murderer was with all signs pointing to a Frenchman, but I knew it was not Gerard nor his conman brother, Laurent. I couldn’t buy the real murderer’s motive, though. It felt off.

Although I haven’t been to France (as yet), the French felt forced and the grammar was atrocious. I didn’t feel transported to France. I didn’t get a sense of the local people and I couldn’t feel the atmosphere.

Every single character (except Laurent) was stupid especially Maggie, the main protagonist. Laurent danced back into her life after nearly six months of no contact and she readily accepted him without being an ounce suspicious.

Image result for gif frenchman

BAD FRENCH GRAMMAR & DIALOGUE

^ This book was not properly formatted.

^ I did not like the stereotypical American-French references. Every time I read a story where these two cultures clash, the American always act like the saint. Take this example on page 35:

“And having babies out of wedlock? Maybe y’all do that sort of thing over here and it’s no big deal, but it’s a definite faux pas where I come from.”

I actually rolled my eyes when Maggie said this. Who does she think she is? Americans are not so saintly when it comes to having children outside of marriage. Laurent gave her a typical French sarcasm reply:

“Perhaps that is why your sister come to France, non? It is, for her, a world that understands her better.”

^ I am not fluent in French, but I don’t think s’il tu plâit is the correct term. And the accent above the ‘a’ is wrong. The correct form is s’il te plaît. For the second person singular the subject pronoun is “tu” and the object pronoun is “te”. To make matters worse, it was a Frenchman (Laurent) using this wrong term.

This too, coming from an author who spent part of her childhood in the glorious Alsace-Lorraine, France.

Image result for gif eye roll

^ This retarded remark:

“Oh, I miss you so much, Laurent. I’m so used to possessing everything through you, it’s hard to have an independent thought.”

And Maggie Newbury is supposed to be the star of this series? Yeah right! If she cannot think on her own and has to rely on Laurent for even much as breathing, I am not going to follow Maggie anywhere else.

^ Stereotypically playing the culture card:

“Lying is bad, Laurent! I know there’s a culture difference here, but I would’ve thought even the French were on board with that. You lied. To me.”

DEAR STUPID WOMAN, WHAT DOES CULTURE HAVE TO DO WITH LYING? EVERYONE LIES! IT DOESN’T MATTER WHERE ONE IS FROM! GET OVER IT!

^ There is no chemistry between Maggie and Laurent.

^ I wish Patti had murdered Maggie and her parents and Brownie and the ever jittery Gary.

FAVE CHARACTER

Laurent Dernier. He is not your typical slender sexy fictional Frenchman, but still quite handsome. I didn’t buy his charms when I first met him and I’m glad I was right about him being Gerard’s brother. He was the only character who wasn’t a bore and he has an actual interesting background story. I think the author spent too much time on this one. love coffeelove coffee

Book #137: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Image result for Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

One of the best debut novels I’ve read in years!

Do you think you know EVERYTHING about your daughter?

From the get-go, you feel the characters speaking to you. James Lee is Chinese American and he feels like he has never fit in anywhere in life until he met and married the pretty blue-eyed American Marilyn. The children: Nath, the eldest, Hannah the youngest, and the middle child aka Parents’ Favorite, Lydia, who inherited her mother’s blue eyes.

Marilyn was supposed to be a doctor, but those dreams were dashed when she met and fell in love with Professor Lee. Motherhood definitely was not in her cards, but she saw redemption of accomplishing her dreams through Lydia. James was never popular. As an Oriental, he never fit in and he was the subject of bullying. He saw redemption through Lydia’s beauty. The Lee family had no friends. Marilyn and James never hosted dinners or parties and the children never had real friends either.

Image result for gif sad

It left me questioning life and love. Parents need to cherish their children. They didn’t ask to come here. Parents also shouldn’t play favoritism with their children.

I think this was a brilliant debut novel from Ng, but I have to point out the race issue. I know it was the 70s, but Ng made it seem as if every single person the Lees encountered has never seen an Oriental person before, and almost everyone was prejudiced against them. I think the author could’ve dealt with this differently. The book felt unfinished as I was not satisfied with the ending. I don’t mind authors abruptly ending their stories, but this was not the end. It just…ends! But I like it. It was about a family dealing with the loss of a child and Ng captures the pain and hurt beautifully.

I like this author’s writing and I am open to reading more of her books. love coffeelove coffeelove coffee

Advertisements
Posted in Challenges/Tags/Fun Stuff, Ray & Marcus da Díxon 💙

Writing Tag!✍

So, Grace over at Following Him Beside Still Waters nominated me to do this tag some months ago (try January) and I completely slept on it. I can never get around to completing tags in a timely manner, but I thank Grace for the nomination and I’m here for it, but first…

Image result for gif i have a confession

I don’t really write anymore. I still enjoy it from time to time, but I don’t devote my energy to it as before. However, I’ll be doing this tag with my serial Crazy Rich French Twins given that I don’t have much writing material as before to choose from. This serial is still in its planning stages, but I’ll try to feature an episode for Short Story Sunday soon. I am also contemplating on entering it for this year’s NaNoWriMo. 

1. A crazy hacker’s gone into your computer and has deleted all of your music, except for one song off of your writing playlist. Which song is it?

I don’t have a playlist for CRFT, but if one song had to remain it’ll be ‘Oubliez Moi’ by Ridsa. It fits perfectly given that the story is set in France.

Image result for gif music

2. Your protagonist and antagonist have been paired up by friends to go out to lunch together. Where do they go?

CRFT shares two protagonists who are supa dupa mirror identical twins so good luck identifying who is who.

Image result for gif twins identical boys

The twins are practically one so they’ll go out with Jean-Pierre Papin at Ladurée in the Champs Elysées…

Image result for laduree tea room paris

…and maybe leave with some tasty macarons. Kudos to Ladurée for inventing this tasty treat.

Image result for laduree paris

3. You’re crossing a bridge when the troll living under it stops you. He demands to read a chapter from your novel, and won’t let you cross otherwise. Which chapter do you give him?

The joke is on the little guy who spends his miserable life under a bridge for I don’t have any chapters as yet. Plus, I don’t need to cross the bridge by walking over it when I can simply fly over it in a helicopter.

Related image

4. Your friends have invited you out to a party. Surprise! All of your characters are there. Who do you choose to hang out with?

You won’t ever see me at parties for it’s not my thing, but it’ll have to be Ray da Díxon. He’s sunshine in a cup and a beautiful soul. He’s fascinating and his mind works like no other so I know he’ll be a blast to hang with!

Related image

5. Oh no. You left your car keys in your house, and you’ve (somehow) locked yourself out. Which of your characters picks the lock for you?

It’s okay, I’ll pick the lock myself. Oh, right, this is about the characters. How dare I pick the lock myself! This is a job for… anyone of my main characters actually.

Image result for gif lock picking

6. The zombie apocalypse is happening right now. (It’s awful.) Everyone is fleeing the planet, and moving to Mars. ONE of your characters can go with you. Who do you choose?

I hate zombies! I won’t be choosing any character to go to Mars for we’re not cowards. We’re going to form an army and go Nick Morton on them! Flee to Mars? Please!

Image result for gif the mummy nick morton

7. You’ve been given the opportunity to travel to one place (town, building, landmark, country) in your book. Where do you go?

It’s France! I’ll go EVERYWHERE & ANYWHERE! Loire Valley Châteaux, Palace of Versailles, Mont Saint-Michel… EVERYWHERE & ANYWHERE! I cannot just choose one place! … okay, for question’s sake, at the moment, I’ll choose the panoramic Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. 

Related image

Image result for Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

Or I’ll probably stay at Villa Kerylos in Beaulieu-sur-Mer:

Related image

8. You meet your main character and start a conversation with them. Problem is, you’ve only got six words or less to do so. What do you say?

To Ray: Always be that sunshine we love. (I know its cheesy, but this is Monsieur Cheesy himself from The Most Romantic Man in the World series so it’s quite fitting.)

To Marcus: Stay true; never change for society. 

Related image

9. Crazy acid rain is falling from the sky. Which of your characters would you use as an umbrella?

I’ll probably use Jean-Pierre Papin. Bastard had it coming. 

Image result for acid rain gif

10. You’re out at a restaurant with your main character, and the time has come to order dessert. What do you order for them?

For Ray: he has one of the sweetest tooth known to mankind, so a healthy slice of clafoutis. 

For Marcus: every single dessert on the menu! Yes, he puts his twin to shame when it comes to consumption of food.

Image result for gif twins identical boys

This was so much fun to do! I’ll love to do another fun tag such as!

***GIFs & pictures via Google Search

Posted in Positive Monday

Positive Monday: Enjoy life

I’m leaving bitterness
Behind this time
I’m cleaning out my mind
There is no space
For the regrets
I will remember to forget

Whoa! 2018 is almost on its way out the door, but I am grateful for all the waking moments, whether they were hard or easy. I am utmost thankful to God, my Rock, and my Anchor, for breath and strength every morning. And…

 

It’s pouring BUCKETS outside, streets are flooded and traffic is already piling up. It’s going to be hard to get home despite living nearby. Despite the gloomy outlook, I’m sitting at my desk reminiscing when I’ll go outside in the rain and dance. 

Image result for gif dancing in the rain

Anyways, today’s reminder is to enjoy life. Sometimes we have to slow down and take a break (from the internet, TV, blogging etc) and learn to appreciate what we were given. Nurture your well-being, pick up a new hobby, treat yourself to a “staycation”…

Image result for gif enjoy life

Adventure is out there so go on one. Explore new places, meet new people (if you like meeting people), create life lasting memories and celebrate your happy days. 

Image result for gif enjoy life

You’ll find that there won’t be any time to grumble when you’re having the time of your life for you’ll be smiling throughout. 

Image result for gif tom cruise skydiving

 56 means adventure for this guy!

Be grateful that you’re alive to see yet another day and go enjoy life. Leisure and adventure are out there.

Image result for jacques cousteau every morning

*** Jacques-Yves Cousteau was a French explorer, innovator, filmmaker, photographer, naval officer, scientist, researcher, conservationist, and author. He studied the sea and all forms of life in water and co-invented the Aqua-Lung with Émile Gagnan.

Lyrics by Depeche Mode from a song title ‘Peace’.

GIFs via Google Search.

 

Posted in Entertainment

Les Bleus: thank you for the memories!

Mes Amis, this is my final post on the World Cup tournament. 😃

We’ve come to the end of a wonderful World Cup tournament two weeks ago and I already have wonderful long lasting memories. I just want to look back on a few moments. 

THE SUPPORTERS

The fans were incredible from the very beginning. They soaked in the atmosphere of the game and enjoyed every minute of it. I didn’t hear of any hooligan reports which was good. Some French fans said the locals were very accommodating and allowed them to couch surf. 

DIDIER DESCHAMPS

Deschamps implemented discipline and a sense of togetherness in this young team. He even showed Jose Mourinho how to get the best out of Paul Pogba. 😉 One of my favorite moment is when some of the players gatecrashed his post-conference, chanting his name. It shows that the players have a special bond with him regardless of what the media thinks.

Image result for gif france world cup 2018

LES BLEUS

Image result for gif france world cup 2018

The various backgrounds blending together really enriched the squad.

They didn’t start well, but they grew during the tournament. When I look back at their victory against Croatia, I’ll always remember Les Bleus standing in the pouring rain, golden confetti stuck to their skin and sparkling in their hair, as they hoist the trophy over their heads. They deserved this victory. They and their people.

THE EMIR PRINCE OF QATAR SHEIKH TAMIM

The French media praised him for offering his front-row seat to the French First Lady Brigitte Macron. Little things that the media don’t talk about, but I want to highlight it anyway. 

THE FRENCH & CROATIAN PRESIDENTS

Emmanuel Macron was such a delight! After his team won the WC, his animated display made one of the best highlight and iconic photo when he lept to his feet and punch the air. Credit goes to Alexei Nikolsky for this superb capture!

Golden Glove - Thibout Courtios

His celebration with the team in the locker room – notably with Mendy and Pogba who got him to dab – made headlines.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JULY 15: French President Emmanuel Macron dabs with Paul Pogba during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Final between France and Croatia at Luzhniki Stadium on July 15, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Michael Regan - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Monsieur Président so chill, eh?

What’s the purpose of the dab anyway and didn’t that fad fade away? Anyway, I loved watching Macron and the Croatian president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović embracing the players in the pouring rain. One can see the genuine warmth and affection they had for the players.

French President Emmanuel Macron awards Kylian Mbappe of France with the FIFA Young Player Award as President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic look on following the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final between France and Croatia at Luzhniki Stadium on July 15, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Image result for Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović with french players

Putin is smugly standing under his umbrella watching the other two presidents get wet. What poor protocol! They are guests in Moscow and one of them is a woman. Macron took time to visit the Croatian players and the madam did the same for the French players.

However, people can’t get over that the Monsieur and the Madam were too close during the game. Someone even asked if she was his wife. 

Image result for Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović emmanuel macron

Image result for Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović emmanuel macron

No, this is his wife:

Patriotic: Macron donned a navy suit and tie as well as a red, white, and blue rubber bracelet that matches France's tricolor flag

 Lloris looks at the pair with such fondness! 

I’m thankful for the French memories.

TO RUSSIA WITH LOVE

Image result for russia world  cup 2018 gif

Kudos to you, Russia, for organizing an unforgettable tournament! It’s the best World Cup I’ve had the pleasure of viewing since 1998 and I can only say, merci beaucoup.

VIVE LA FRANCE!

***Photos and GIFs via Google Search save the last GIF which was my attempt at creating my first GIF. 😄 It didn’t work out how I planned it, but that’s what practice is for. 

Posted in Entertainment, Pieces of Me

My World Cup story ⚽

Just two more World Cup posts after this one and I’ll get back to regular posting. 😄

I’ve been so excited to share my World Cup experience during the tournament that I forgot to talk about how I became a fan of the beautiful game and why I support Les Bleus. So today, I present my World Cup story. I hope I won’t go overboard while writing. I’ll try to keep it as short as I can. 

FRANCE 1998

Image result for World Cup

If you’re born in Trinidad like me and you enjoy football, you root for two teams: Brazil or Mexico. Well, back then. My father grew up thinking that Pelé was the greatest (I went with Diego Maradona later on after watching his style) and Brazil was perhaps the best team to ever play the game. Dad used to play football with the local community team and although he had talent and what it took for him to represent Trinidad on the big stage, he never took up on the offers, instead choosing to see out the rest of his teenage years before going out into the world of work.

Dad insisted that I watch the World Cup for he wanted me to see why he supported Brazil. I was kind of reluctant for I did not want to sit and watch men kick a ball around for 90 minutes. I had to take my words back for later on, I came to love and enjoy football. Anyways, so I watched dad’s team Brazil and I was not impressed although they were the favorites to win it all. But then, then I saw this beautiful team:

Image result for france 1998

This beautiful multicultural French team led by captain Didier Deschamps had my attention. They were nicknamed Black-Blanc-Beur (Black, White & Arab) and they defied stereotypes and they were the underdogs regardless of how great they were doing and this is how Les Bleus became the loves of my footballing life. As the competition wore on, I tuned in for all of their games. At that time, a resident psychic thought she saw it all and made a bold prediction about Brazil winning the WC. I laughed because I knew they weren’t going to beat the French team to it. Even dad was like, “But the psychic said…” I was like, “Dad, I love you, but Brazil is going to Samba back to their country without the ultimate prize.”

On July 12th, the final between Brazil and France was intense, but France’s multiracial Rainbow Warriors won it 3-0 and lifted the trophy with pure joy. 

Image result for france 1998

Back then, everyone was talking about Zidane this and Zidane that, but two players stood out for me and they were Didier Deschamps (the captain) and Marcel Desailly.

Image result for Marcel Desailly didier deschamps

They had a great friendship and still do. They’re the godfathers of each other’s sons and they always talk fondly of each other.

RUSSIA 2018

Twenty years later, a new generation arrived with Didier Deschamps at the helm once again, this time as coach. Deschamps has led France to its second World Cup victory, twenty years after winning it as a player.

Hugo Lloris

And watch the diversity of our goalies:

I talked a lot about France over the course of this year’s World Cup tournament so I won’t do that here now. This beautiful diverse team is not going to stop racism, but they’re an example of what people can achieve by working together as a team regardless of the color of skin or background.

ALLEZ LES BLEUS!!

Posted in Entertainment

N’Golo Kanté: unsung hero of the World Cup

The engine of France and a beautiful soul.

The first time I saw N’golo, he was creating havoc in the midfield at Leicester City in 2015. The other time I took notice of him, he was individually greeting the staff of Clairefontaine with a big smile on his face. That was 2016 when he was called up for Les Bleus. Over time, I’ve come to realize that he is extremely polite, quiet, humble and he smiles a lot. He’s probably one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. This, I can guarantee. He lives a simple life and doesn’t have a drop of arrogance. The man is worth millions and he still drives to work with a second-hand Mini Cooper.

Image result for gif n'golo kante france

During France’s amazing run in the 2018 World Cup, many were in awe of Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba, and Kylian Mbappé and rightly so, but one man was not getting the credit he deserved – well, 3 inclusive of Hugo Lloris and Olivier Giroud, but this is not about them – and that is N’Golo Kanté. At only 5’6″ he is the anchor of the French midfield and made Pogba look good. He covers a lot of ground and he reads the game brilliantly. 

Kanté did not have the best match in the World Cup final and had to be subbed off in the second half. Afterward, we learned that he played with a stomach bug.

France v Croatia - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Final

Coach Didier Deschamps summed up our shy midfielder best:

“N’Golo is a real ray of sunshine, a true joy. When he came off, I asked him if he was OK. His quiet reply was: ‘No, no, do not worry – I am fine, coach.’ Everybody loves N’Golo – he is a little phenomenon.”

Kante (left) shakes hands with a member of plane staff as fellow France midfielder Corentin Tolisso (right) watches on

And his teammates simply love him! His French mates sung his heroics after they won the World Cup. Here’s how it went down:

🎶N’Golo Kanté. Phalalalala
Il est petit
Il est gentil
Il a stoppé Leo Messi
Mais on sait tous
C’est un tricheur
N’golo Kante

“He is short, he is nice, he stopped Leo Messi, but we all know he’s a cheater (at cards).” Haha! Right, as if he’ll ever cheat at cards! But the chant was not meant to be taken seriously and Kanté was almost embarrassed by the praises his teammates showered upon him. He was like, “No, we stopped him (Messi) together!” 😃They even changed the lyrics to welcome him to the Champs-Élysées. 

During World Cup celebrations on the pitch with the trophy, Kanté was so shy to ask for the trophy himself so he can pose for a photo in the heavy pouring rain with it, that Steven Nzonzi had to take the trophy after Florian Thauvin posed with it and hand it to Kanté. This epic photo is the result:

This man works hard and shuns the nightlife. In 3 years, he has won 2 EPL titles (with Leicester and Chelsea), an FA Cup (with Chelsea) and a World Cup (with France). He was also the EPL Player of the Year in 2017. A humble, polite, and hard worker who is not interested in selling his image and flaunting his wealth, this is the player that young ones should look up to if they were in need of a footballing role model. I hope I won’t have to take my words back in the future! 😉

MERCI KANTÉ AND NEVER STOP SMILING. 😄😄

Posted in Entertainment

The goal of the tournament! ⚽

After this post, I believe that there are just three more posts to go before I get back to regular scheduling. Until July 23rd, you can vote for the goal of the tournament on FIFA here: Goal of the tournament but I already know who my winner is regardless of the end result from the very first time I saw it.  

Image result for gif russia 2018

Benjamin Pavard v Argentina

LE PLUS BEAU BUT DU MONDIAL!

INCROYABLE!

The curly head defender’s wonder goal changed the entire match. For me, it’s the best goal of the tournament and the best goal of the year. It was a wicked glorious ice-cold beauty which delighted not only the fans of Les Bleus but also the footballing world. 

Other goals I loved:

Ángel Di María v France

This was such an amazing goal!

Edinson Cavani v Portugal 

He is too good with his head!