The Robsten Cheating Scandal: I Haz Thoughts

So… unless you live under a rock,* you’re aware that it’s come to light that Kristen Stewart cheated on Robert Pattinson, her boyfriend of over three years, with the married director of Snow White and the Huntsman.

To which Twi-Hards around the world exploded into evil cheers of glee.

Both Kristen and said director, Rupert Sanders, have issued public apologies after being caught and photographed mid-indiscretion.

Aside from the obvious total awkwardness of the situation, there are quite a few things that, for me, just don’t add up.

First, WHO CHEATS ON EDWARD CULLEN?!?!?!?!?

Snarknaciousness aside, Kristen Stewart is really only “big” because of being cast as Bella Swan. She would have continued toiling away in relative obscurity if Catherine Hardwick hadn’t cast her in Twilight, opposite every woman’s vampire dreamboat. She then compounded that hand of awesome by dating Robert Pattinson. Unlike some of young Hollywood, they’ve been fairly private about their romance.

Suddenly, Kristen is off filming a movie in another country and decides that it would be a good idea to cheat with her married director? Whose wife and children are IN said movie?

via People.com

You are a 22-year old actress on a movie set, and you can choose between Mr Directorpants and oh, I dunno… THOR.

 

You chose wrong, Kristen.

Likewise, you are a Horny Director with low self-esteem, and you want to cheat on your model wife. You’re on a movie set with Kristen Stewart and Charlize-Freakin’-Theron. Who do you choose?

 

Here’s a hint: “Kristen Stewart” is the WRONG answer.

Not only did they commit said indiscretion, but they got caught. And now both are publicly apologizing to their partners via the press. Whatever happened to discretion and handling family problems privately? Are the apology articles really necessary, and are they really going to save face by owning up to their dirty laundry in such a public forum? To reiterate, Kristen has gained the majority of her fame playing the lead role in a series targeted to teens and young women, and she’s publicly admitting cheating on her boyfriend with a married man. Damage control, methinks they’re doing it wrong.

At least Robert hasn’t been faced with the same type of temptation since the two started dating. He’s done a few movies, but not worked with any real hotties.

OH WAIT.

(And even if something did happen, he was discrete enough to make sure that the world never found out about it.)

Look, I don’t think any of us are naïve enough to think that Hollywood doesn’t get up to its fair share of fooling around. Unnaturally attractive people are thrown together for months at a time on a movie set, sometimes in extremely intimate circumstances. I’m a theater vet, I know these things. It can become very hard to discern the fine line between acting and real life sometimes, hence why show/movie set romances are so common. And lets not forget that though she tries to come off as worldly and mature, Kristen Stewart is a very young 22. (*checks for grey hairs*)

Just to recap:

Is Dating

And cheated with

via People.com

And Not

DirectorPants could have cheated with

image via ew.com

But chose to get all lip-bitey with

And the Cheese stands alone.

Lovely, Lovely Sparkly Cheese.

*Under a rock = have an actual life and are not sucked into tabloid gossip like some of us**

 ** Us = Me.
(images from Google unless otherwise specified)

TxtingMrDarcy Reads: “Fear is the Cure” Edition

Dark Eden~ Patrick Carman

Book Summary (From Amazon):
When Will Besting approaches Fort Eden for the first time, he knows something isn’t right. With more terrifying secrets at every turn, he discovers a hidden fear deep inside himself, a dark mystery a thousand years in the making, and the unexpected girl of his dreams. But can he save everyone from the dangers of Fort Eden before it’s too late?
Soundtrack: “Pour Some Sugar on Me”~ Tom Cruise

This seems that it would be a logical addition to the mp3 player tucked into Will’s backpack, which featured other classic hits. Plus, Tom Cruise, who would be right at home in the freaky atmosphere of Camp Eden. Because, yanno. Scientology.

Will Besting has been sent to a remote wooded retreat with a group of six other teenagers. All of them have crippling phobias that their therapist has deemed untreatable, and all are willing to take one last chance on a cure. From the moment they’re dropped off in the middle of nowhere, Will’s “spidey sense” kicks in, leading him to abandon the group and run off into the woods.

The story is entirely told from Will’s point of view, as he hangs back and plays observer to the events that transpire at Fort Eden. He manages to sneak into one of the outbuildings, which affords him a unique view of the “cure” process that the other teens are experiencing. What he sees makes him seriously doubt whether they were brought to the isolated fort for their own good, or for some darker purpose.

Oh Dark Eden… you showed such promise. I’d heard good things about you, really. It’s very possible that ANY book that had to follow in the wake of Divergent and Insurgent would prove to be a let-down, but I really had trouble forcing myself to care about any of the characters and the eventual outcome. I almost ended up giving the book a DNF, but figured that it was short enough that I should power through to the conclusion.

In some ways I’m glad that I did that, because there were some unexpected twists that I definitely didn’t see coming. The exploration of the teenage characters, who were basically textbook teen personalities and could easily have been anyone, and their fears was pretty interesting from a psychological point of view. Seeing the correlation between their crippling fears and what had actually CAUSED them as fascinating, and the cure process is truly what kept me turning the pages to the end.

Will’s point of view is extremely clinical and bland, and I had an extremely difficult time getting attached to him as the narrator. His observation of the whole process is dry, and mostly self centered, except for totally random bits of romantic attachment for one of the other characters. I was able to call out one of the novel’s big twists about halfway through, which definitely dialed back some of the emotional impact on that reveal.

I think that Patrick Carman waits a bit too long to spring the “big reveal” on the reader, perhaps leading to the apathy that I felt for the plot itself. Everything is explained in a series of appendices, which are beautifully thought out and contain some stunning symbolism and wonderful literary references. The “good doctor” Rainsford is deliciously twisted, and I would have loved to get a taste of it earlier in the story.

But THEN?! Just as I was willing to finish the story feeling satisfied, guess what Carman had to go do to me?

That’s right, gang. It’s the FIRST OF A SERIES.

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO. This book falls squarely in the camp that should NOT be continued in future installments, because we are basically told all that we need to know in the epilogue.

Pet peeve city, up in here.

Two out of Five Cliff Bars.

TxtingMrDarcy Reads: “Let’s Go Jump Off Some Buildings!” Edition

“Divergent”- Veronica Roth

Plot Summary (From Amazon) In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Soundtrack: “Headstrong”- Trapt

Ok, I know the song is from, like, 2003. I make no claims about being “hip” and “current”.  I once saw a martial arts demonstration performed to this song, and the calculated, controlled power that they exhibited kept coming to mind while I was reading about the Dauntless.

The best books, in my opinion, are the books that take up residence in your head so vividly that you can’t help but think about them when you put them down. They’ve got insane world-building, characters and conflicts that hook you, and all you can do is think about when you’ll have time to read next and advance further into the story. They’re the books that make you release a breath you didn’t even realize you were holding. “Divergent” is one of those books.

Beatrice has lived in Abnegation all her life, but has never quite felt like she fit in. She’s not selfless enough to spend the rest of her life putting others’ needs before her own, but she’s terrified that the consequences of choosing a new faction might mean losing her own family forever.

Once she makes the choice to join the Dauntless (and becomes Tris), she’s immediately swept up in their reckless, adrenaline junkie lifestyle. She’s faced with both terror and exhilaration on a daily basis, and realizes that she feels more alive than she ever has. Nobody promised that the initiation process would be easy, but she didn’t expect the danger that she faces from all sides- from her fellow initiates, from the young and volatile Dauntless leader Eric, and for being who she is- Divergent.

It’s the exploration of the concept of Divergence that gives this story its real kick. How can a person be neatly pigeonholed into one faction based on a certain aspect of their personality? Each person has it within himself to be Intelligent, Honest, Brave, Peaceful AND Selfless. Those who don’t fall neatly within black and white cannot be as easily controlled, and thus represent a threat to the enforced order of society.

Tris and Four have taken a high spot in my recent esteem of literary couples. It could be that they seem so NORMAL after reading about Ana and Christian in the Fifty Shades Trilogy. Tris takes brave to the extreme, both in being forced to face her fears and always being willing to step up to protect those she cares about. She’s half Lisbeth Salander and half Katniss Everdeen, but with a certain light-heartedness that’s all her own.

The first person perspective of the novel is extremely effective, especially through Tris’ training experience as you’re in her head and “feeling” what she is. Veronica Roth’s vision of a dystopian Chicago is fascinating, and it’s fun to add another layer to where other authors have chosen to place their societies. (Notably Suzanne Collins’ Districs of Panem and Lauren Oliver’s New England-based “Delirium” trilogy) The writing is sparse but effective, and the pacing is pitch perfect.

The only good thing about my delay in reading this book for the first time is that “Insurgent” has already been released, so I’m able to run right out and continue the story.

Five out of Five Raven Tattoos

TxtingMrDarcy Reads: ARE WE THERE YET?! Edition

Plot Summary:

SEX.

SEXSEXSEXSEXSEXSEXSEX.

Haha, jus’ kiddin’.

Plot Summary (From Amazon) :

Daunted by the singular tastes and dark secrets of the beautiful, tormented young entrepreneur Christian Grey, Anastasia Steele has broken off their relationship to start a new career with a Seattle publishing house. 
 
But desire for Christian still dominates her every waking thought, and when he proposes a new arrangement, Anastasia cannot resist. They rekindle their searing sensual affair, and Anastasia learns more about the harrowing past of her damaged, driven and demanding Fifty Shades.
 
While Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Anastasia must confront the anger and envy of the women who came before her, and make the most important decision of her life.

**WARNING- This Review is R-Rated. **

Talk about a lackluster follow-up.

I was rolling my eyes so hard by the end of this book, it’s a wonder they didn’t stick that way.  Christian and Ana fight over some misunderstanding, have makeup sex, talk, fight about something they talked about, have makeup sex, lather, rinse, repeat. Ana’s insecurities started driving me crazy, and some of Christian’s control freak tendencies really got on my nerves.

There’s still plenty of sex, in plenty of locations, but in this case EL James’ inexperience as an author really stands out. She uses the same similes over and over- Christian is like a Greek God, She’s curled up to him like a vine… that you can start quoting them back to her. There are only so many times that you can read about Ana’s nether regions and Christian’s springing erections before you start wondering what’s on tv and if you should be reading something else instead. Or slightly wish that one of said erections would smack Ana in the face.

OH AND PS. Who loves giving men oral sex that much!?!?

There are a couple of plot threads running through the book- we explore a bit more of Christian’s issues, and get to meet the infamous Elena (aka Mrs Robinson) who is still far too interested in Christian and subsequently Ana. Another of Christian’s subs is mentally unhinged and running around Seattle with a gun, and Ana’s boss turns out to be a total sleazeball. Fortunately, Christian has bought the company in a fit of overprotectiveness, and is able to can the guy. And look! Ana somehow gets to take his position despite being about two hours out of  college!

This book is the textbook example of  my recent point regarding the second book in a trilogy. Authors need to deliver something good, not use the story as a vehicle to get us from point A to point C.

Two out of Five Crazy Exes.

And Then We Stayed in a Haunted Castle.

Of course, that wasn’t the original purpose of our vacation, but it proved to be an interesting bonus.

Army Boy and I travelled to Long Island over Easter weekend to “celebrate” our six-month anniversary as a married couple. I know, it seems a little excessive, but I felt the need to make up to him a bit that he was hampered by my hobbling during our visit to Ireland. When a Groupon for Oheka Castle came up before Christmas, I quickly jumped on it.

Side note: Yes, I’d recommend using Groupon Getaways if you can travel within the time window assigned to each deal. Oheka was wonderful to work with, and it was a great opportunity we might not have a: been aware of, or b: been able to afford otherwise.

I know, it seems like we have a bit of a fascination with castles. Honestly, can you blame us?

As we did in Ireland, I picked out a few potential activities within a short driving distance of the hotel, and figured that we’d play it by ear when we arrived. This seems to work really well for us. Rather than committing to a full “day trip,” we can take in the sights and still be back and ready to relax without too much additional travel. It allowed us to keep things really low-key, which made the weekend seem more indulgent.

With a bathroom like this, how can it be anything but?

We took a tour of the castle and its grounds on Easter Sunday, which was a gloriously gorgeous day. It was intriguing to learn more about the original owner of the castle, Otto Kahn (ie the inspiration for “Mr Moneybags” from Monopoly). The gardens were perfectly landscaped, and Huntington harbor was just visible from our vantage point. I HAD to ask our tour-guide about the castle’s claims of being haunted, and she verified that they’d had a paranormal research team come in and do an investigation. Considering my recent preoccupation with “Ghost Hunters: International” on Netflix, it was a fun coincidence.

The rest of the day was spent walking through Huntington, which was a charming little town close by. There weren’t too many shops open due to the holiday, but we hit the highlights- an amazing indie bookstore and CRUMBS cupcakes. Because DUH. We then proceeded to enjoy an Easter meal of the best sushi we’d ever had. I have to give Huntington props for food- there were TONS of restaurants, with three choices for sushi alone.

We arrived home after a drive that was somehow TWO HOURS longer than the trip up, to some exciting packages in the mail. First was my copy of Fifty Shades of Grey, which I oh-so-generously agreed to review for my own smutty curiosity The Readers Café.

Secondly was CJHannas’s recently finished manuscript. I volunteered to read it, and was completely flattered when he offered me a copy. I admit, I was a bit intimidated (what if his writing was faaaaaarrrrr too smart for me?!), but quickly got into his writing style and have been tearing through it over the past few days. It’s been a blast to be part of the writing process in this way.

Finally, I’m appealing to any of the other book lovers who may visit this blog: Do YOU want to join a book review site with some fun, smart, and snarky people that love books as much as you do? The Readers Café is looking for some more reviewers, and we’d  love for you to join us! You read what you can, at your pace, and post a review when you’re done. It’s an absolute breeze, and we’re having a blast so far. We all have different tastes, so no genre will go unnoticed! Send an email to thereaderscafe1@gmail.com and let us know you’re interested!

TxtingMrDarcy Reads: “Walk Like an Egyptian” Edition

“Nefertiti”~ Michelle Moran

Plot Summary (from Amazon): Nefertiti and her younger sister, Mutnodjmet, have been raised in a powerful family that has provided wives to the rulers of Egypt for centuries. Ambitious, charismatic, and beautiful, Nefertiti is destined to marry Amunhotep, an unstable young pharaoh. It is hoped that her strong personality will temper the young ruler’s heretical desire to forsake Egypt’s ancient gods.

From the moment of her arrival in Thebes, Nefertiti is beloved by the people but fails to see that powerful priests are plotting against her husband’s rule. The only person brave enough to warn the queen is her younger sister, yet remaining loyal to Nefertiti will force Mutnodjmet into a dangerous political game; one that could cost her everything she holds dear.

Soundtrack: I know, I’m terrible. But I have to say “Walk Like an Egyptian” by The Bangles. Either that or the Steve Martin SNL spoof “King Tut.” (Nerd Alert: The identity of King Tut’s mother isn’t certain, but DNA evidence points to a third wife and possible sister of the Pharaoh Akhenaten/Amunhotep.)  As much as I enjoyed this story, I haven’t thought through my new “soundtrack” requirement enough to apply modern music to historical fiction. Must work on that.

I’ve been a huge historical fiction nut since I first read my now well-worn copy of “The Other Boleyn Girl” in college. On a recent visit to Goodreads, my attention was grabbed by the cover of Michelle Moran’s recent novel “Madame Tussaud,” and I had to click over to do some research into her other books. Prior to tackling the French revolution, she wrote three novels set in Ancient Egypt- a time and place which I had yet to explore in a literary sense.

Nefertiti is told from the point of view of the queen’s younger sister, who watches her beautiful older sister go from princess, to queen, and finally to Pharaoh. There were some immediate similarities between this book and “The Other Boleyn Girl,” notably the less gregarious narrator who provides us with a view of the events of the story. Mutnodjmet (or “Mutny”, for short) is content with living in the shadow of her sister, until she starts to realize that her entire life has been placed on hold.

Nefertiti was originally married to the young prince Amunhotep as a means to curb his eccentricities and to keep her family close to the throne of Egypt. As it quickly becomes clear that the Pharaoh is more unstable than anyone suspected, Nefertiti’s own ambitions come to light. Before long, the two are swept up in their plans for a “new” Egypt, free from the religion and traditions that have come before them.

As a character, Nefertiti is very similar to the brittle and glittering Anne Boleyn in Philippa Gregory’s novel- her ambition and desire to be loved know no bounds and she quickly loses touch with the realities of governing an empire. She is instead obsessed with keeping the Pharaoh’s attention upon herself (rather than his second wife who has given him a son and possible heir), being worshiped by her people and being remembered long after her death.

Seeing Mutnodjmet’s character evolve through the course of the novel is enjoyable, and the rich detail incorporated into the story does a wonderful job of immersing the reader. The only difficulty that I had was keeping track of the many characters, whose Ancient Egyptian names were extremely similar (Pharoah took the name Akhenaten after coronation, and his daughters with Nefertiti were Meritaten, Meketaten, Ankhesenpaaten, Neferneferuaten… ya follow?). I would definitely recommend this book to someone who’s read practically everything there is to read about Henry VIII (whut.) and is looking for another trainwrecky royal family to explore.

PS- I have to give a quick shout out to my newest project: I’ll be a contributing reviewer over at The Readers Cafe, a fun new blog created by Amy from Hamlet’s Mistress.  We’ve got a great bunch of ladies reviewing over there with varied reading tastes and writing styles. Stop by and see what we’re up to!