Review: Temptation

This just in: Alexis Summers is a dumb bitch. Hold on, I’m getting ahead of myself.

The latest novel to be reviewed by The Black Widow is an adult romance novel entitled Temptation by K.M. Golland, which is the first in a series. The premier novel in this series introduces the heroine named Alexis Summers, who is a married woman in her mid 30s with two kids. Sounds peachy, right? Well…

"If you love two people at the same time, choose the second. Because if you really loved the first one, you wouldn't have fallen for the second.” - Johnny Depp

“If you love two people at the same time, choose the second. Because if you really loved the first one, you wouldn’t have fallen for the second.” – Johnny Depp

After nine years of being a stay-at-home mum, she’s happy to get back into the workforce as a hotel concierge in Melbourne, working for the typically drop dead gorgeous male protagonist, Bryce Clark. Sparks fly and Alexis is challenged: should she give into temptation – pun intended – or stick with her loving husband Rick?

Now, where was I? Oh right. Alexis is a dumb bitch.

I found the character of Alexis completely repugnant and I did not at any time throughout this novel ever sympathise with her whatsoever. She was hypocritical, annoying (almost as annoying as Ana from Fifty Shades, and that’s saying something) and just hella inappropriate. And she fell way too easily for Bryce. She literally sets eyes on him and is all like “OMG I LOVE YOU GET IN ME”. Girl bye.

On the other hand, however, I will say that I didn’t mind Bryce. After you’ve read as many raunchy adult novels as I have, the “attractive, wealthy and witty” male protagonist effect kind of wears off, but I still found Bryce quite likeable. There’s something about a man that knows what he wants kind of attractive, even if it is someone else’s wife. Hey, I’m not here to judge. Even though Alexis is a dumb bitch. Golland certainly wrote her characters pretty well.

In saying that, however, there were some scenes throughout the novel that I found really unnecessary. Some parts of the story weren’t actually germaine to the story, and that to me was a bit of a turn off. I will say that Golland did plant the seeds of a very interesting series and I will definitely be getting into the next crop once my skyscraper high pile of “books waiting to be read” dies down a bit. The language she used was very easy to read and it made for one of those books that you could read at the beach, in a bus or in the comfort of your own bed. I think I read the second half of the novel in one go and refused to put it down.

Wid-o-meter
Storyline:
7/10
Style of writing: 7/10
Overall: 7/10

If you’re looking to have your fancy tickled after having it chained and whipped by Fifty Shades, then I suggest you pick up this novel and the rest of the series. I’m sure it’ll tide you over for when the Fifty Shades film comes out on Valentine’s Day… or Anti-Valentine’s Day, if you’re like me.

– by Noah La’ulu

Review: Dorothy Must Die

I must give a warning: if you have a lovely, positive picture of Dorothy from the land of Oz in your head, I suggest you look away now. And don’t read this book.

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige takes a whole new approach on the land of Oz – one that isn’t seen in the likes of The Wizard of Oz or the broadway musical Wicked – and tells the tale of ordinary Kansas girl Amy Gumm who, after sitting idly in her trailer, is blown away to the land of Oz.

Sounds familiar, don’t it?

Romeo, Dorothy... same thing.

Romeo, Dorothy… same thing.

The land of Oz that we know it isn’t exactly the same; for starters, the good guys are the bad guys and the bad guys are kinda good but not entirely heroic. Confused? Well, for example, Dorothy isn’t a cute braided little girl with a modest gingham dress and a dough-eyed look anymore; she’s, well, an evil witch to be blunt. And a bit of a ganga, if her description suggests so.

The fact that Paige explores this part of the story – “the other side of Oz” I guess you could say – is the first thing that drew me to this story, and boy did it live up to my expectations. This was one of those “I can hardly put you down” books and I kept reading on and on into the night. I believe I finished this novel in about two or three days and when I finally put it down, declaring it finished, it was well into the morning. The twists and turns – and the “oh no you didn’t” moments – surely made for a delightful story.

This novel was easy to follow and the descriptions that Paige used painted a pretty clear picture in my head. I could easily imagine Glenda waving her wand around, a sickly up-turned smile on her face courtesy of “perm-a-smile”, and I could see the evil-turned-good flying monkeys as if I had seen one casually in the past few days.

Paige’s own take on the characters from Amy’s perspective were interesting to say the least, and it was rather exciting to see how Dorothy’s three companions – the scarecrow, tin man and cowardly lion – turned out. There were a few characters introduced into the story that I wasn’t previously aware of so I’d be lying if I said I were interested in them; I was more curious to see how the characters I knew as a child turned out.

A part of the storyline I thought was a bit how ya goin’ was that Amy, an ordinary girl from Kansas, was all of a sudden trained into being this warrior trained with magic and other swordfighting. I know she was “the chosen one” and all of that, I just find it a bit difficult to grasp that fact. A transformation that quick and that random? Hmmm.

Wid-o-meter
Storyline: 8.2/10
Style of writing: 8/10
Overall: 8.1/10

This book wasn’t a let down from my expectations and I’m glad I “accidentally stumbled” into the book store and then “accidentally wandered around to look at a few books on the shelves”. I can’t wait to “accidentally buy the next installment of the series” to see what happens next in the land of Oz.

Amy vs. Dorothy. Round two. It’s on.

– by Noah La’ulu

Review: Sam Hunt’s Montevallo

Artist: Sam Hunt
Album: Montevallo
Release date: October 27, 2014
Label: MCA Nashville
Genre: Country pop

Montevallo is the debut album for country music artist Sam Hunt, whose songwriting skills were featured on several country stars’ songs, such as Keith Urban’s Cop Car and Kenny Chesney’s Come Over.

samhuntmontevallo

First thing’s first, Hunt may be the very definition of a modern country man. His use of electronic synth arrangements and palm-to-knee slapping rhythm makes him immediately stand out from other male country music artists who choose to have a more traditional sound. His music is unlike any other in his genre and his contemporary look on “what is country” is definitely featured on the album. It’s also interesting to note that Hunt co-wrote every track on the album.

Montevallo may sound a bit “typical” for a first time listener. A majority of the tracks featured on the album are in some way about a woman and leaves a lot to be desired regarding Hunt’s diversity as an artist. While some of the songs feature a generic approach to the characteristic “country song about a woman”, Cop Car, for example, has a different way of expressing his feelings towards a woman which proves to be a nice touch to the album.

Hunt has his own unique sound which makes him stand out from other country artists. The catchy lyrics and quick-paced dynamic use of instruments in his debut single Leave the Night On dare to appeal to those who aren’t typically fans of country music. The pop-inspired hit would fit comfortably on the Country Music Channel as it would on MTV. Leave the Night On has a typical “bro-country” theme to it (country songs by men about getting drunk, girls in tight jeans, etc.) however it has its own charming appeal that’ll make your fingers tap and your head bop, and not roll your eyes and mutter “It’s just another country song”.

The way he mixes normal speaking with an outburst of song in Take Your Time and Break Up in a Small Town is an odd touch to his album, and I’m not too positive that’s a good thing. It kind of sounds like a musical where the character is engaging in dialogue and then randomly busts out into song and we, as an audience, are expected to think that is completely normal. It’s a unique twist to the typical song format, and for that, I applaud him for trying something new. However, these tracks that would otherwise be great listens with deep, emotive lyrics and a great sound, are mainly outstanding for the wrong reasons.

An interesting track to make note of on Montevallo is Single for the Summer; it’s probably the only track on the album that doesn’t have any typical country music traits to it: there are no mentions of drinking beer in the lyrics, and the quick strums of an acoustic guitar are also absent. This song has an almost dreamy sound to it with an electric synth-like sound and a slow, fading ending that makes you feel as if you are gradually dozing off to sleep. This daring track doesn’t seem fitting for a country-pop album but happens to be one of the best songs on the album for the sole purpose that is something very different that Hunt has tried and subsequently nailed as a music artist.

Overall, Montevallo is a step in the right direction for Sam Hunt that can be easy listening for all sorts of people, ranging from diehard country music enthusiasts to mainstream pop music fans and anywhere in between. His unique twist on modern country-pop music definitely makes for a great sound that can be repeated with a glass of white or a schooner of beer.

Or a bottle of water. If that’s your thing.

– by Noah La’ulu

Why I Don’t Support Kim Kardashian

Last week, Kim Kardashian attempted to break the internet with a couple of naked pictures. Little did she know, my internet was working fine with no faulty connections.

If you ask me in person whether or not I like the Kardashians or anyone commonly associated with that family, I would express my feelings with very colourful language and the fact that I do not like them will be made very clear. As this will be published online, however, I do have to express myself in a more calm and fair manner.

From my limited marketing knowledge, Kim Kardashian as a brand is successful. Her face is plastered everywhere, her products are doing swimmingly well, and she makes it on the front page of tabloids for merely licking an envelope. However, Kim Kardashian as a person, I don’t believe she can claim any success whatsoever.

Did anyone's internet actually stop working?

Did anyone’s internet actually stop working?

To my knowledge, she was first introduced to the world of celebrity for being Paris Hilton’s lap dog and part-time slave, and then her and Ray J (who, if you asked me what song he sung, I wouldn’t be able to name one) decided to make a sex tape complete with horrid fake noises, and then her and her family decided to make a reality show of their drama-filled lives which I personally do not envy in the slightest, and then there were “those pictures“.

With all of the things that I’ve mentioned above – granted I have missed out portions of her life – where does “talent” come into play? For me, as a journalist-in-the-rise, the only way I would want to be a household name is if it were attached to my skill as a writer or a content producer. Not because I’m really good at taking my clothes off, or I dated someone who was famous and now all of a sudden people are following me.

In that same vein, I can’t put her husband in the same boat. As much as I dislike Kanye for his attitude and superior God complex, the man is talented. As heck.

I don’t see the talent in following a hotel heiress around, doing everything she asks, and I don’t see the talent in recording a sex tape. (Unless you manage to hold the camera for the entire duration and not make it awkwardly shake… that would be talent.)

We as a society have gone from idolising true legends of cinema like Grace Kelly and awe-inspiring musicians like Elvis Presley, to girls with nice bodies who take nude photos for a magazine. If this one sentence doesn’t illustrate the entire point of this article, then I have failed as a blogging journalist.

I’m not trying to shade those who do support Kim Kardashian. I say “to each their own” and have at it. I would just prefer to use my time idolising someone who is great at what they do and is also a decent person like Brisbane Broncos’ Corey Parker, for example, than someone who’s in the spotlight for no apparent reason other than she is Kim Kardashian.

Let’s not beat around the bush. If you had to list four talents Kim Kardashian has shown during her time in the spotlight, you’d be hard pressed to name even a couple. It’s kind of sad how society’s views of admiration are diminishing so that seemingly pointless celebrities like her are gaining a cult following.

Oh well. I’ll just sit here and quietly admire the likes of Elvis Costello and Billie Piper. Y’all can have the Kardashian family.

– by Noah La’ulu