At Peace by Kristen Ashley

It’ll be really hard to write a review of this book since it’s one of my favorite love stories ever, so I’ll just mostly tell you a bit about what it did to me. Lets see.

I’ll start with admitting I have it on my cellphone and every once in a while (actually, often) I’d find my self re-reading bits of it, my favorite ones and discovering new ones I love, or ones I didn’t remember and then I end up reading the whole thing again because it is completely worth reading a bunch of times. That, being said by someone who doesn’t re-read books even twice.

We have this long complicated, page turner, sleep depraving story. Vi has a stalker and since he killed her husband now she’s living in the ‘Burg with her two daughters. She is the neighbor of all things hot Joe Callahan (who is part huge, part hot, part super hot, part Italian, part broken). She gets on and off, and hot on and hot off again with him. Has cool people like Feb and Colt living down the street. Also she has a fling with sexy, sweet Mike. Her stalker keeps lurking around all through it. Her brother was an instant fall hard for me too. And a bunch and hundred other things that happen in this book. But mostly, for me, is about Joe falling for Vi and getting inside her, Kate and Keiry’s lives.

I am, to this day, madly in love with Joe Callahan. He is the epitome of alpha, embodiment of every sexual fantasy I’ve had, and he is essentially everything I wish for in a man. In fact I get utterly frustrated now when I read books and the heroes are often too much of a pussy (pardon my french). Yes, he is mostly a douchebag for half the book or so, but he had good reasons and he actually really felt deep for her. For me, it was easy to love him from the star despite his jerkness because KA gave us his POV and I got him, I really did even if I didn’t agree with how he acted.

Vi, well I can’t say I agree with many decisions she made, but I kinda got her and she was straight forward all along so I let most of them fly. Her kids, wow, made me want to have sisters. Joe, I love you. Bea and her husband, super sweet. Their story of Tim and Vi younger and building a family with their support brought tears to my eyes (well, most o this book did that to me, but just saying).

I don’t know what else can I say about this book. It is profoundly emotional, it wraps you tight around the characters and their lives, to a point where you feel like you are somehow a part of it too. It had many, many ups and downs. Sweet moments, sad ones, laugh at loud and want-to-moan-at-loud ones (ups), some where you want to rip people head’s off, and not one single page is boring or skippable. It is a contemporary romance book masterpiece.

A book that set unconscious standards for me, and now makes me struggle to like another love story.

If I could give it ten stars I would. LOVED IT!

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From Rags by Suzanne Wright

OMG what a greeat read! I absolutely loved it!

This book is pretty much everything the description tells you it is, a hot funny romance between Jaxx, such a strong heroine I think I wanna be her, and Connor, such a clueless alpha male I indeed want him for myself. 

Jaxx and Connor lived together on foster care 8 years ago, she loved him and she was pretty much everything to him, but then he had to leave when his 16 birthday came along and life went awfully different for the two. When Connor left, he became a F1 driver, but 2 years later when Jaxx did, after filling a full bag of crap that happened to her, she still lived in the lowest areas of London. But things changed, she became a model and soon their reunion made their senses explode. It all goes on between being fuck buddies to becoming friends again. Or somewhat that.

Jaxx is probably one of my favorite h ever! She is strong in every sense of the word and yet she has this sweet side to her, she has a foul mouth but what an honest and funny one it is, she does not take crap from any one and is so down to earth is a bath of fresh air.
Connor, is the classic rich playboy, a straight forward commitment phobe, but oh what a loveable character he is! Of course the only girl that gets to him is Jaxx, precisely the only one who asks him to “sod off” repeatedly.

He has been possessive towards her since they were teenagers, but things had changed and Jaxx doesn’t want him in her life, so they had to work with the other’s apprehensions. I loved the honesty of both Connor and Jaxx! They both say to each other what they want and what they won’t give. They fight, they make up, they want each other, they crave the other, but Connor refuses to settle down and Jaxx refuses to fall for him, again, and get hurt, again. 
But well, they get together, things steam up, an ex girlfriend enters the picture, a stalker gets involved, and the great second characters make it all more fantastic!

I really don’t want to spoil the book, so the only thing you should know is that it’s a more than worthy read full of sparks, funny moments, sad memories, struggles, and love; a light book with deepness to it.
A total 5 stars for me, but then again, I’m a sucker for this kind of books 

Good by S. Walden

4/5 starts for me.

I know. I really know I shouldn’t give it four stars but let me explain myself.

I only read one review before going in, it dissed the whole book as being completely inappropiate, and I have to agree. Starting this book I was even like “ok, let’s just mark this as cnf” but I kept at it, and well,
It ended up being the right kind of inappropiate.

See, this is the kind of book you shouldn’t read when you are young but would love if you did; the kind you can read when your older but will hate because, well, you know better.

Let me tell you I’m really open minded; even so, I still can’t grap my head around 30something men with ten year old girls only two centuries ago, though. I’m BIG (huge) against Pedophilia, mostly because I don’t think such young children have the maturity to decide if they are in fact willing to commit emotionally and sexually to other people, especially older, more experienced ones; and those old people who try are taking advantage. Simple as that.

Even so, also, this is one of the most recurent fantasies among society, believe it or not. Being with older men or women and in some cases, being with younger girls or boys. (Second one, yuck, JS! NONONONO.) But moving on.

Now, this story will make you question such facts so don’t go all prude on me. It is not the kind of book that will rip your soul apart or make you major in psychology just from how deep it was. It is not. But some way or another it’ll make you question yourself “do you think this is appropiate” , “is what he’s doing so wrong?” , “is she a victim or is she mature enough to decide for herself?” et cetera.

You should def not read it if your moral code is too uptight, just warning you. It isn’t as explicit as an erotic novel, but there is sex and there is a relationship between a 28 year old guy and a 17 year old girl going on through the whole book. So, if you gonna puke or sue, don’t read it.

Now, for those of you who don’t mind, or are trying to understand this sort of beheavior, hell, maybe you just wanna see if it is even so wrong in this case, then definitely buy the book. I was the last two, and I was not disappointed.

I wasn’t a fan at first, but along the way I made a few decission you should know about, maybe they’ll help you understand why the 4 stars:

First: I was gonna do something that’s hard for me since I invest myself a lot emotionally in my readings, but I was gonna try and view this in the most literature-listic-ly way possible..
Secondly: I tried to zone in to my fifteen year old – twilight lover – self, and channel in my hot professor – in high school- fantasies (it was hard, I had none growing up and was always disgusted by them because well they were all really old and yuck. But I push through)
And Thirdly and most importantly: Really early, with my deep respects for the author, I realized this guy was so totally not 28. I mean, when you read it you’ll notice. He’s like a centered and professional and slightly urban-geeky 22 year old. One who is so totally made up by a mind the likes of a fifteen-twilight-lover year old, it just eliminated all kind of fear of him being a threat for me.
So I was cool with it.
Yeah, is not ideal. She was a minor, and in the eyes of many of you that automatially makes it wrong, but c’mmon, were you ever seventeen? Exactly.

So I was okey with it. I mean, yeah she was a bit (lot) of an easy mark because she was vulnerable and in deep need of love and attention. Do I think it was bad of him giving it to her? Read the story and you tell me. Do I think at some points he did use the experience advantge to push her? Read the story, and you tell me. Do I think overall because of the way the story was made out to be they just worked? Please read the story and let me know.

Anyways, I’m on to the next one, please don’t puke or sue me.

 

You can find this review on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/597550997?type=review#rating_23431977

Love. Sex. Repeat. by Alessandra Torre

This is the story of a free minded woman, a woman who loves sex because it feels good and doesn’t have the same morals as most.. A woman who has two men in her life. Two men she Fucks. Loves. And repeat.
“And that is how it is. I fuck Stewart, I fuck Paul, and they both know about it. And the more I fuck one (…) the more competitive, aggressive, loving, they become. It is a constant, whirling sea of sex. I love it, and they love it.”

It wasn’t easy for me. I have a strict code of morals very different to the one Maddison so carefreely enjoys. But there is a point in every book where you don’t agree with the leading character, or things that happen are just too out of your comfort zone, that you have to decide. You get to say “Screw this, it isn’t worth the knot in my stomach” or you get to say “Oh, eff my morals, let’s see how this goes”.
At the fear of being obvious I won’t point out which one I chose this time..
And, anyway, the bottom of it is…

“I understand that you hate me. That you curse me for my greed. But if I am okay with it, and they are okay with it, how is it anyone else’s right to judge?”

So see, she is with two types of men: Stewart, the business guy; the one who’s first priority is work, and also his first love is work, and almost the only thing he does is, well, work. Paul on the other hand, is a surfer; a lay down guy, the one who is always there, who loves Maddison even more than he loves the sea.

“Their love. Paul loves me with unconditional warmth, his affection public and obvious, his arms pulling me into his warmth, his mouth littering my body with frequent kisses. Stewart loves me with a tiger’s intensity, his need taking my breath away, his confidence in our relationship strong enough to not be bothered by the presence of another man. He stares into my soul as if he owns it, and shows his love with money, sex, and rare moments of time.”

In fact, they are so different that it is Stewart who proposes her to have another boyfriend to keep her cherished, Paul, well..

“While Stewart wants me to have a second man to keep me off the streets, to keep me from being lonely, to keep me in his life – Paul accepts that I have a second man because it was what he signed up for. And now, as in the beginning, he’d rather have half of me than none of me.”

“I get that you don’t understand. That you wonder how someone could possibly be aroused, turned on by the thought of something so forbidden. But often, it is the forbidden that is the hottest, and the depraved that is the most arousing.”

You get to live the beginning of this story with flashbacks, and understand a little better what goes on with Maddison’s head, as well. You get to live their agreement. You get to experience this sort-of threesome. You get to fall or hate Stewart or Paul. You get to be Maddison at some point, because the writing floats away so smoothly you don’t even realize, she sucked you in.

But you also know it isn’t going to last forever. How can it possibly? There is the ever present question of, who will she choose? What would be the circumstance? Will they meet? Would she be able to keep them both?

“Life is too unpredictable to plan for that. What I do know, as I watch this beautiful man sleep, his face relaxed and body still, is that I love him. Just as much as I love Paul. And that, one day, will be a problem.”

This author’s writing style is pretty good. Everything just happens and you keep going. And you get the perfect amount of information about everything, the exact amount needed to understand, connect and enjoy without getting too overwhelmed, sick or mad. She is so good writing that you almost don’t care so much for the life they live, you (almost) feel like it isn’t all that bad. You may even get turned on about it (hey, it didn’t happen to me but many people did love it).

What I have failed to mention is the woman watching it all from afar. The other woman who holds both Stewart and Paul closely to her heart. The one who discovers their secret. The one who hates Maddison. The woman who will bring with her The Biggest TWIST!

There are several of those, actually. You get to choose which one is bigger. There aren’t big jumps of the heart, but you definitely will be sitting up tenser.

To be fair, and to keep it real, I have to say this was a solid four out of five stars for me. You may rest in peace, this ends with a HEA that works for everyone. At least I think so. But I had the misfortune of reading the Epilogue. I have to say, it left me with a queasy stomach. Did not like. Three stars.

I have a feeling Alessandra Torre likes to play the Bitch. Likes to be questioned and judged.
Good thing with her book at least, it all worked out for the better.

I am from Venezuela and I am not happy

The following written text is a brief recollection of the events regarding Venezuela from my perspective. I won’t go into detail in almost anything, if you want hard cold punctual facts you may go to the CNN page, they’re following everything pretty closely.

You can find the version with pictures here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/207628307/I-am-from-Venezuela-and-I-am-not-happy

I do not own any of the photos or videos uploaded or cited  in this free article. I only take credit for the textual content and probably, the grammar errors. Excuse those btw, my native language is Spanish.

For those never dying haters who may ask why this article is not in Spanish, the answer is simple, you can find more info regarding Venezuela on Spanish, this is an article for those who are not from America. And since I can’t speak Mandarin or Arabic, I thought prudent to make it in English, a language most everyone understands.

 

My name is Elianne, I live in Venezuela and I am not happy

I am writing these lines because I need to speak up and since in my country each day there are less ways of communication, I figured I needed to do something now.

Now, I don’t believe in violence, I believe in love; but in the eyes of those who harm us, there isn’t even a soul.

 

I’m Elianne

I am a Venezuelan, born and raised. I’m a twenty years old Social Communication (let’s say, Journalism) student. I’ve been raised educationally wise on the upper middle class, that’s to say I studied in a private school my whole life; but the rest of my family and some people we know have forever been lower middle class. I don’t believe money define us, but I do believe I’ve become more aware and critical because of my upbringing: I cannot judge the rich because they’re my friends and I understand how they work; and I cannot judge the poor because I know how hard the everyday living is on their side.

Thing is, I wasn’t always aware. My parents raised me to see the best of people regardless of money, and I did. My parents also taught me to help others always, and I like to believe I do. I had the perfect family, the perfect home, we weren’t wealthy but we were definitely not poor. Ten years or so later, I cannot say for sure.

This is Venezuela

It is impossible, so I won’t try, to describe to you the complexity of the social, economical and political structure and chaos of this country; but I’ll give you some examples so you can try and “get within character”:

  • When you go somewhere and you have to walk there, you don’t take your phone with you, or if you have to: you hide it in your privates. Always. That’s not because we are paranoid, but because more often than not you get robbed and they don’t just take your cell, your wallet and dignity, they also tend to kill you for the sake of it.
  • You get, let’s say, to the mall; and you would probably see some huge lines on the supermarket (there are lines and lines everywhere and for everything actually, watch this video from BBC:http://goo.gl/sw59Yi) Why you ask? Because in my country things like milk, butter, cooking oil, flour, toilet paper and soap, to name a few, are not easily found and in some cases have never been seen again, like condensed milk or many brands of products. Wanna ask why? Well, is because of government politics, they restricted free access to money, add ruining national productivity and a healthy dose of awful laws that promote laziness over work.

But ok I guess the last two you can see how came to happen, but how do you go about controlling money, you may wonder?

  • See, Government over here gets their stinky nose on every detail (our National Assembly favors the government publicly, as every Ministry, even our Army, and so on) so they got into law controlling foreign currencies. See what this made: Think of each dollar you have, now imagine for every eleven point seven (11.7) dollars you can buy just one single tiny euro or peso or any other currency. Awful right? Now add you don’t even get that one, you have to get that currency (that supports the whole world), on the black market and EACH costs you EIGHTY DOLLARS. Atrocious, isn’t it?

Healthy dose of realism: four days of work being paid the regular salary equals one panty (knickers, undies).  Appalling. Well that’s our every-day here. Most people in my country unfortunately do not see what’s wrong in this, they would say “but I don’t travel, it doesn’t affect me”. What they fail to see, is that the global market is on dollars and each day the gap arises, we are getting more and more poorer. Our work is less valuable because of inflation and other true but depressing economical facts.

  • This incapacity to realize simple economical problems is due to an unfortunate but provable mediocre education, in all levels. The government has tried for years to increase quantity in schools and universities by lowering educational standards: mortal error. And we’re paying it. Add to that a lot of war talk constantly on national TV, with a healthy dose of known impunity on the whole country and what do you get? I got anarchic criminals with degree.
  • There is no law on the streets. Only people who have been in Venezuela understand what is like to have a bunch of let’s say “bikers” take over our cities. Now, imagine the biker badasses on your country, loose the badass and add weapons they carry freely, add a lot of misplaced attitude and sense of self-importance with a healthy dose of just not giving a damn. Make that 30 bikers at each intersection (at least) coming and going without a care for traffic signals. They are usually the ones who robe you. And kill you.
  • Where’s the police? Well, imagine you can get your police uniform with just six months of half-assing going to police-school. Add that your salary is less than shiz. Throw a healthy dose of they being mostly from the worst side of the suburbs… Now, add a sprinkle of the government also has made it so that when they fire the arms they are given, they get in more trouble than the criminals. Might be why everything here is militarized, but then again is the same thing with them only on the long haul.

Yep you said it: is a fucked up chaos. We have every element needed in a complicated recipe for disaster: and we’re living it.

You may think I’m exaggerating, so here’s the perspective of an “objective” person, a foreign girl living here for a few months: http://goo.gl/GosGns

Now that was me getting you warmed up and smiley for the worst:

We are getting mass assassinated and no one is doing a thing, only on 2013 there were over 24,000 murders in a country of less that 30 million people. According to the nonprofit Venezuelan Violence Observatory a homicide happens every 21 minutes. Lovely, isn’t it?

Furthermore, the incarcerated criminals practically and it is known, rule this nation; we have water and electricity problems (as in, no getting them for hours and days, all the time); our monthly salary is half of what is needed to make a two week-4 person grocery shopping; we’re making more and more lines to pay a hell lot more, for the hell lot of less food you “can find”. We have no money to buy thing we can’t find while we are getting killed and on national tv I’m being taught how to cook, sing with a dead ex-president and am told everything is “alright”.

Breaking point

All of this hasn’t been happening at the same time, we’re not that blind at least. But is an almost unstoppable spiral of collapse that wrecks everything around it. Imagine we are Jenga and the only thing holding our tetris are one block floors six feet up. Unsustainable.

We’ve been realizing this was bound to happen years ago. But we were “too rich”, “too few”, “too annoying” “not enough well liked by the populist people” (of course) and let’s just say too everything not-sufficient to be taken into account. ~Funny, they say they are “Socialists” (more like dictatorship, communist, hypocritical jerks)~

Anyway, we’ve been getting more and more restless in our demands, more angry, more tired, we’ve become more and more people; and as we have tried to speak our minds, there is less and less media coverage. Laws, outright repression, self-censure, and many other dirty ways to destroy our freedom of information and speech, the latest of which was taking down photos on twitter because they showed what was really happening (http://goo.gl/oqxXsO); are the way TV networks, radio stations and newspapers are handled here. I had to become an amateur hacker to be able to stay informed. Thank you TunnelBear.

The oppression has been coming up steady though gradually, but ever since the death of the “revolutionary” culprit Chávez, Maduro (the current president) has taken more drastic measures to assure the only “truth” that goes on air is the “truth” the government sees fit. Hence the lack of almost a single form of manifestation on any channel of anyone who thinks differently from the government. In my naïve eyes, all I can say is: there is danger in a single story (Chimamanda, you rock girl).

Aren’t you exhausted yet? Well I am. I feel like I can’t take a single breath of fresh air, all there is, is a black dense putrid cloud of oppression above us.

 

Feb.2014

In my country it is legal to protest freely on the streets as established in the 68 article of the Constitution, which states that citizens have the right to protest, peacefully and without weapons. As so, because of the many things that just don’t work over here, it is common to see a group of people on the side of avenues or streets protesting because “nobody listens to them” or “no one solves their issue”, that no one been the State which, because they get their stinky nose in everything, it all comes down to them to resolve every issue.

No water? State’s responsibility to resolve. No electricity? State’s responsibility to resolve. Insecurity? State’s responsibility to resolve. Work related injustices? State’s responsibility to resolve. See where I am going with this? No? Well simple: those guys tried to control it all so we would depend on them and give them all the credit for the good things that happen, but since they are mostly useless, all we talk about is how inefficient they are. They are supposed to, but they don’t solve a thing. Only excuses are given, all the time, or measures that, well, don’t work either.

Anyway, point is: public manifestations of discontent are common. So when on the first days of February 12 simultaneous protest against insecurity by students happened, it was all normal.

But then the 6th of February some guys from two universities on Táchira were accused of vandalizing the governor’s house and got incarcerated. Students did not agree. And some leaders of The Opposition (or MUD, a bunch of politics that are against the government) like Leopoldo Lopez didn’t either, so they called students to “the streets” to pronounce themselves against Government measures and … well it all escalated quickly after that.

See, most students couldn’t care less about MUD’s announcements, they are just fed up with the national critical situation and took that opening as an excuse to take the streets and protest against several things they believe are wrong. Some just did because they want the Government out. Some probably did because Leopoldo told them to. Some because they were bored. What do I know? Thing is hundreds, and I dare to say millions of mostly students were out on the streets on the Youth Day.  And this whole riot issued.

Remember when I told you about the kind of cops we have here? Well, we have several forces like that, like the GNB, SEBIN, DGIM and, kid you not: several civilian-armed groups the Government (yes, again) has openly given weapons to.

See, when these multitudinous groups of people march, those armed governmental groups go out and instead of trying to preserve calm in people, help keep them safe and stuff you would think people who swore to protect are meant to, they tend to cause more riot than what they fix. But when they do it, thank you scientists, in this time and era we have the ever hated resources of cell phones with cameras: and that’s the biggest of checkmates.

We –the people who have access to twitter and follow reliable sources, everyone else living in Venezuela does not know a thing- saw that Wednesday students marched on the streets of several cities, peacefully, asking for things to be fixed and the students to be released. We also saw how inexplicably, all of the sudden, after most protesters were retreating to their homes, tens of police officers and hundreds of bikers started to beat the crap out of some civilians, they shot at them, threw tear-gases and caused a horrific panic-filled mayhem for hours.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZwciVahw2k This is the video of a woman and a guy getting beat up and robbed by police officers. They weren’t even on the march. But that day it seemed Anarchy was the official King.

The Government even took out of the country NTN24, a Colombian TV network that was reporting about what was happening. Sixty six people were hurt badly that day and three men were killed. No one has been found responsible. The President and many Ministers, as you may have guessed, have just given their normal answers: it isn’t our fault, but of those who were protesting. No love found.

As opposed to what has happened on other occasions, the students kept going out to the streets to keep protesting, now only not to pronounce against the incarceration of the still prisoners from Táchira, also because of the everyday struggles, because they want the President to resign, and because two students were killed the day before for which they blamed the government and their armed forces.

The march that day went mostly completely peaceful. With a thick tension, nonetheless; and the fuel was still there on the Friday 14 International day of Love and Friendship. Slogans stating “Today Venezuela is our Valentine” could be seen everywhere. At night, when many protesters were still at the streets they shouted shamed-faced people at restaurants “we are fighting for you too, while you are over there doing nothing”.

Everything was getting more emotional. At Caracas, our nation’s capital, repression started in the main place where protesters concentrate. Heavy Tear-Gas , heavy shots rang, and overall harassment towards the students from the armed forces was recorded on videos and photos sent throughout  the internet. This while several students throughout the country were getting arrested and at the following days released. A never ending circle.

None of this has been shown on the National TV because of an announcement our President made, stating that any channel that showed the “violent events on the streets” was going to get severe consequences. Conatel, the organism responsible for supervising and controlling telecommunications, has been found responsible by students for supporting this Information Blackout. Remember 1984 by Orwell? Well, where we see a dystopian book, they saw a manual (quoting @LuisCarlos).

It kept going. Today, as I am writing this there’s been 6 days of full-on protests on the streets. The pattern has been established: people start to gather at noon but it is at mid afternoon when most people are united to walk around places expressing their discontent, do human-chains, walk towards some Ministry to protest, they’ve painted the streets and overall just, well,  express their disapproval on how things are at Venezuela.

Unfortunately the pattern also, it has to be said, has given place so that each night some protesters stay at the streets and, though it isn’t clear if they are actually students or “infiltrados” (people who don’t oppose the Government, but instead get inside the manifestations to cause riot and have it blamed on the guys who are protesting). Those unidentified people have been breaking public property, burning things, throwing Molotov cocktails, and doing acts of vandalism and things of the sort.

Now, I’ve opposed this regimen since I’ve had the virtue of conscience, but I publicly reject every violent act and as such, I and many others (influential people, of course) have publicly asked the responsible organisms to impart justice. Not only on the civilians causing riot, but on the governmental forces that beat, kick, shoot and torture the people they’re supposed to protect.

There are hundreds of photos and videos, not to mention all the armed forces that were there, for god’s sake! (Here’s even a video that shows the investigative research done by a newspapers of one of the students killed on February 12 : http://goo.gl/iewLUQ ) But still, as you may have suspected: all that has been done, is blame the protesters and their “leaders” (USA as a whole, the CIA and Obama being some of the responsible, according to the delusional mind of the dear president Venezuela has) and no one has been found guilty.

Now, on that matter, is funny how they are blaming “leaders”, because it is in fact the lack of any political leaders the cause of great deception among those on the streets. Not only are they upset with the oppressive regimen but also they feel they have no one to turn to, to back them up because even MUD (the political party I told you who are against the Government and were the strongest in the last election) it’s fractured and useless now. This also being the reason why even though most of us defends and acts peacefully, some get restless and use methods as burning trash, throwing things at officials or yelling at them; and yes, I agree, that is not as bad as shooting point blank at students and civilians, but it is one of the main things we want to eradicate: violence.

See what I’ve been talking about? Chaos from all angles.

I can’t begin to give you every detail of what’s been going on that has such strong historical roots I would bore you even more with this text. But here is a video that explains some of it:

What’s happening in Venezuela in a nutshell: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFS6cP9auDc

 

I’m not happy

So see, thing is even though my parents raised me to see the best of people, I now find it hard to see slightly a bit good on most of my sisters and brothers in Venezuela; even though they taught me to help others, the frustrated feeling you get when nothing works around you and the work you’re able to do seems always to little, never enough, makes it hard for me to keep doing community work. I used to have the perfect family, but worries, reality and “the situation” makes it almost impossible for us to rejoice in each other’s company.

Twenty years after I was born, fourteen years after Chavez and his people began taking away my youth, my rights, my future and my faith; I can say for sure I am not happy.

The problem with Venezuela is, we used to be a Great Country of opportunities, hope, mostly peace, fun and beauty and they were all taken away from us in under fifteen years. Other countries fighting for their freedom on the last years have strived to get a brighter future they have never met. They are moving forward, we’re only going backwards at a giant speed. And that threatens to break the spirit of any Venezuelan daily, even dreamers as myself. It is hard to feel clean when the air you breathe is filled with death of innocent people and no one is avenging them.

 

PEACE; Elianne Ferrer (@eliiferrer – eliannefe@gmail.com)

I am from Venezuela and I am not happy

The following written text is a brief recollection of the events regarding Venezuela from my perspective. I won’t go into detail in almost anything, if you want hard cold punctual facts you may go to the CNN page, they’re following everything pretty closely.

You can find the version with pictures here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/207628307/I-am-from-Venezuela-and-I-am-not-happy

I do not own any of the photos or videos uploaded or cited  in this free article. I only take credit for the textual content and probably, the grammar errors. Excuse those btw, my native language is Spanish.

For those never dying haters who may ask why this article is not in Spanish, the answer is simple, you can find more info regarding Venezuela on Spanish, this is an article for those who are not from America. And since I can’t speak Mandarin or Arabic, I thought prudent to make it in English, a language most everyone understands.

 

My name is Elianne, I live in Venezuela and I am not happy

I am writing these lines because I need to speak up and since in my country each day there are less ways of communication, I figured I needed to do something now.

Now, I don’t believe in violence, I believe in love; but in the eyes of those who harm us, there isn’t even a soul.

 

I’m Elianne

I am a Venezuelan, born and raised. I’m a twenty years old Social Communication (let’s say, Journalism) student. I’ve been raised educationally wise on the upper middle class, that’s to say I studied in a private school my whole life; but the rest of my family and some people we know have forever been lower middle class. I don’t believe money define us, but I do believe I’ve become more aware and critical because of my upbringing: I cannot judge the rich because they’re my friends and I understand how they work; and I cannot judge the poor because I know how hard the everyday living is on their side.

Thing is, I wasn’t always aware. My parents raised me to see the best of people regardless of money, and I did. My parents also taught me to help others always, and I like to believe I do. I had the perfect family, the perfect home, we weren’t wealthy but we were definitely not poor. Ten years or so later, I cannot say for sure.

This is Venezuela

It is impossible, so I won’t try, to describe to you the complexity of the social, economical and political structure and chaos of this country; but I’ll give you some examples so you can try and “get within character”:

  • When you go somewhere and you have to walk there, you don’t take your phone with you, or if you have to: you hide it in your privates. Always. That’s not because we are paranoid, but because more often than not you get robbed and they don’t just take your cell, your wallet and dignity, they also tend to kill you for the sake of it.
  • You get, let’s say, to the mall; and you would probably see some huge lines on the supermarket (there are lines and lines everywhere and for everything actually, watch this video from BBC: http://goo.gl/sw59Yi) Why you ask? Because in my country things like milk, butter, cooking oil, flour, toilet paper and soap, to name a few, are not easily found and in some cases have never been seen again, like condensed milk or many brands of products. Wanna ask why? Well, is because of government politics, they restricted free access to money, add ruining national productivity and a healthy dose of awful laws that promote laziness over work.

But ok I guess the last two you can see how came to happen, but how do you go about controlling money, you may wonder?

  • See, Government over here gets their stinky nose on every detail (our National Assembly favors the government publicly, as every Ministry, even our Army, and so on) so they got into law controlling foreign currencies. See what this made: Think of each dollar you have, now imagine for every eleven point seven (11.7) dollars you can buy just one single tiny euro or peso or any other currency. Awful right? Now add you don’t even get that one, you have to get that currency (that supports the whole world), on the black market and EACH costs you EIGHTY DOLLARS. Atrocious, isn’t it?

Healthy dose of realism: four days of work being paid the regular salary equals one panty (knickers, undies).  Appalling. Well that’s our every-day here. Most people in my country unfortunately do not see what’s wrong in this, they would say “but I don’t travel, it doesn’t affect me”. What they fail to see, is that the global market is on dollars and each day the gap arises, we are getting more and more poorer. Our work is less valuable because of inflation and other true but depressing economical facts.

  • This incapacity to realize simple economical problems is due to an unfortunate but provable mediocre education, in all levels. The government has tried for years to increase quantity in schools and universities by lowering educational standards: mortal error. And we’re paying it. Add to that a lot of war talk constantly on national TV, with a healthy dose of known impunity on the whole country and what do you get? I got anarchic criminals with degree.
  • There is no law on the streets. Only people who have been in Venezuela understand what is like to have a bunch of let’s say “bikers” take over our cities. Now, imagine the biker badasses on your country, loose the badass and add weapons they carry freely, add a lot of misplaced attitude and sense of self-importance with a healthy dose of just not giving a damn. Make that 30 bikers at each intersection (at least) coming and going without a care for traffic signals. They are usually the ones who robe you. And kill you.
  • Where’s the police? Well, imagine you can get your police uniform with just six months of half-assing going to police-school. Add that your salary is less than shiz. Throw a healthy dose of they being mostly from the worst side of the suburbs… Now, add a sprinkle of the government also has made it so that when they fire the arms they are given, they get in more trouble than the criminals. Might be why everything here is militarized, but then again is the same thing with them only on the long haul.

Yep you said it: is a fucked up chaos. We have every element needed in a complicated recipe for disaster: and we’re living it.

You may think I’m exaggerating, so here’s the perspective of an “objective” person, a foreign girl living here for a few months: http://goo.gl/GosGns

Now that was me getting you warmed up and smiley for the worst:

We are getting mass assassinated and no one is doing a thing, only on 2013 there were over 24,000 murders in a country of less that 30 million people. According to the nonprofit Venezuelan Violence Observatory a homicide happens every 21 minutes. Lovely, isn’t it?

Furthermore, the incarcerated criminals practically and it is known, rule this nation; we have water and electricity problems (as in, no getting them for hours and days, all the time); our monthly salary is half of what is needed to make a two week-4 person grocery shopping; we’re making more and more lines to pay a hell lot more, for the hell lot of less food you “can find”. We have no money to buy thing we can’t find while we are getting killed and on national tv I’m being taught how to cook, sing with a dead ex-president and am told everything is “alright”.

Breaking point

All of this hasn’t been happening at the same time, we’re not that blind at least. But is an almost unstoppable spiral of collapse that wrecks everything around it. Imagine we are Jenga and the only thing holding our tetris are one block floors six feet up. Unsustainable.

We’ve been realizing this was bound to happen years ago. But we were “too rich”, “too few”, “too annoying” “not enough well liked by the populist people” (of course) and let’s just say too everything not-sufficient to be taken into account. ~Funny, they say they are “Socialists” (more like dictatorship, communist, hypocritical jerks)~

Anyway, we’ve been getting more and more restless in our demands, more angry, more tired, we’ve become more and more people; and as we have tried to speak our minds, there is less and less media coverage. Laws, outright repression, self-censure, and many other dirty ways to destroy our freedom of information and speech, the latest of which was taking down photos on twitter because they showed what was really happening (http://goo.gl/oqxXsO); are the way TV networks, radio stations and newspapers are handled here. I had to become an amateur hacker to be able to stay informed. Thank you TunnelBear.

The oppression has been coming up steady though gradually, but ever since the death of the “revolutionary” culprit Chávez, Maduro (the current president) has taken more drastic measures to assure the only “truth” that goes on air is the “truth” the government sees fit. Hence the lack of almost a single form of manifestation on any channel of anyone who thinks differently from the government. In my naïve eyes, all I can say is: there is danger in a single story (Chimamanda, you rock girl).

Aren’t you exhausted yet? Well I am. I feel like I can’t take a single breath of fresh air, all there is, is a black dense putrid cloud of oppression above us.

 

Feb.2014

In my country it is legal to protest freely on the streets as established in the 68 article of the Constitution, which states that citizens have the right to protest, peacefully and without weapons. As so, because of the many things that just don’t work over here, it is common to see a group of people on the side of avenues or streets protesting because “nobody listens to them” or “no one solves their issue”, that no one been the State which, because they get their stinky nose in everything, it all comes down to them to resolve every issue.

No water? State’s responsibility to resolve. No electricity? State’s responsibility to resolve. Insecurity? State’s responsibility to resolve. Work related injustices? State’s responsibility to resolve. See where I am going with this? No? Well simple: those guys tried to control it all so we would depend on them and give them all the credit for the good things that happen, but since they are mostly useless, all we talk about is how inefficient they are. They are supposed to, but they don’t solve a thing. Only excuses are given, all the time, or measures that, well, don’t work either.

Anyway, point is: public manifestations of discontent are common. So when on the first days of February 12 simultaneous protest against insecurity by students happened, it was all normal.

But then the 6th of February some guys from two universities on Táchira were accused of vandalizing the governor’s house and got incarcerated. Students did not agree. And some leaders of The Opposition (or MUD, a bunch of politics that are against the government) like Leopoldo Lopez didn’t either, so they called students to “the streets” to pronounce themselves against Government measures and … well it all escalated quickly after that.

See, most students couldn’t care less about MUD’s announcements, they are just fed up with the national critical situation and took that opening as an excuse to take the streets and protest against several things they believe are wrong. Some just did because they want the Government out. Some probably did because Leopoldo told them to. Some because they were bored. What do I know? Thing is hundreds, and I dare to say millions of mostly students were out on the streets on the Youth Day.  And this whole riot issued.

Remember when I told you about the kind of cops we have here? Well, we have several forces like that, like the GNB, SEBIN, DGIM and, kid you not: several civilian-armed groups the Government (yes, again) has openly given weapons to.

See, when these multitudinous groups of people march, those armed governmental groups go out and instead of trying to preserve calm in people, help keep them safe and stuff you would think people who swore to protect are meant to, they tend to cause more riot than what they fix. But when they do it, thank you scientists, in this time and era we have the ever hated resources of cell phones with cameras: and that’s the biggest of checkmates.

We –the people who have access to twitter and follow reliable sources, everyone else living in Venezuela does not know a thing- saw that Wednesday students marched on the streets of several cities, peacefully, asking for things to be fixed and the students to be released. We also saw how inexplicably, all of the sudden, after most protesters were retreating to their homes, tens of police officers and hundreds of bikers started to beat the crap out of some civilians, they shot at them, threw tear-gases and caused a horrific panic-filled mayhem for hours.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZwciVahw2k This is the video of a woman and a guy getting beat up and robbed by police officers. They weren’t even on the march. But that day it seemed Anarchy was the official King.

The Government even took out of the country NTN24, a Colombian TV network that was reporting about what was happening. Sixty six people were hurt badly that day and three men were killed. No one has been found responsible. The President and many Ministers, as you may have guessed, have just given their normal answers: it isn’t our fault, but of those who were protesting. No love found.

As opposed to what has happened on other occasions, the students kept going out to the streets to keep protesting, now only not to pronounce against the incarceration of the still prisoners from Táchira, also because of the everyday struggles, because they want the President to resign, and because two students were killed the day before for which they blamed the government and their armed forces.

The march that day went mostly completely peaceful. With a thick tension, nonetheless; and the fuel was still there on the Friday 14 International day of Love and Friendship. Slogans stating “Today Venezuela is our Valentine” could be seen everywhere. At night, when many protesters were still at the streets they shouted shamed-faced people at restaurants “we are fighting for you too, while you are over there doing nothing”.

Everything was getting more emotional. At Caracas, our nation’s capital, repression started in the main place where protesters concentrate. Heavy Tear-Gas , heavy shots rang, and overall harassment towards the students from the armed forces was recorded on videos and photos sent throughout  the internet. This while several students throughout the country were getting arrested and at the following days released. A never ending circle.

None of this has been shown on the National TV because of an announcement our President made, stating that any channel that showed the “violent events on the streets” was going to get severe consequences. Conatel, the organism responsible for supervising and controlling telecommunications, has been found responsible by students for supporting this Information Blackout. Remember 1984 by Orwell? Well, where we see a dystopian book, they saw a manual (quoting @LuisCarlos).

It kept going. Today, as I am writing this there’s been 6 days of full-on protests on the streets. The pattern has been established: people start to gather at noon but it is at mid afternoon when most people are united to walk around places expressing their discontent, do human-chains, walk towards some Ministry to protest, they’ve painted the streets and overall just, well,  express their disapproval on how things are at Venezuela.

Unfortunately the pattern also, it has to be said, has given place so that each night some protesters stay at the streets and, though it isn’t clear if they are actually students or “infiltrados” (people who don’t oppose the Government, but instead get inside the manifestations to cause riot and have it blamed on the guys who are protesting). Those unidentified people have been breaking public property, burning things, throwing Molotov cocktails, and doing acts of vandalism and things of the sort.

Now, I’ve opposed this regimen since I’ve had the virtue of conscience, but I publicly reject every violent act and as such, I and many others (influential people, of course) have publicly asked the responsible organisms to impart justice. Not only on the civilians causing riot, but on the governmental forces that beat, kick, shoot and torture the people they’re supposed to protect.

There are hundreds of photos and videos, not to mention all the armed forces that were there, for god’s sake! (Here’s even a video that shows the investigative research done by a newspapers of one of the students killed on February 12 : http://goo.gl/iewLUQ ) But still, as you may have suspected: all that has been done, is blame the protesters and their “leaders” (USA as a whole, the CIA and Obama being some of the responsible, according to the delusional mind of the dear president Venezuela has) and no one has been found guilty.

Now, on that matter, is funny how they are blaming “leaders”, because it is in fact the lack of any political leaders the cause of great deception among those on the streets. Not only are they upset with the oppressive regimen but also they feel they have no one to turn to, to back them up because even MUD (the political party I told you who are against the Government and were the strongest in the last election) it’s fractured and useless now. This also being the reason why even though most of us defends and acts peacefully, some get restless and use methods as burning trash, throwing things at officials or yelling at them; and yes, I agree, that is not as bad as shooting point blank at students and civilians, but it is one of the main things we want to eradicate: violence.

See what I’ve been talking about? Chaos from all angles.

I can’t begin to give you every detail of what’s been going on that has such strong historical roots I would bore you even more with this text. But here is a video that explains some of it:

What’s happening in Venezuela in a nutshell: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFS6cP9auDc

 

I’m not happy

So see, thing is even though my parents raised me to see the best of people, I now find it hard to see slightly a bit good on most of my sisters and brothers in Venezuela; even though they taught me to help others, the frustrated feeling you get when nothing works around you and the work you’re able to do seems always to little, never enough, makes it hard for me to keep doing community work. I used to have the perfect family, but worries, reality and “the situation” makes it almost impossible for us to rejoice in each other’s company.

Twenty years after I was born, fourteen years after Chavez and his people began taking away my youth, my rights, my future and my faith; I can say for sure I am not happy.

The problem with Venezuela is, we used to be a Great Country of opportunities, hope, mostly peace, fun and beauty and they were all taken away from us in under fifteen years. Other countries fighting for their freedom on the last years have strived to get a brighter future they have never met. They are moving forward, we’re only going backwards at a giant speed. And that threatens to break the spirit of any Venezuelan daily, even dreamers as myself. It is hard to feel clean when the air you breathe is filled with death of innocent people and no one is avenging them.

PEACE; Elianne Ferrer (@eliiferrer – eliannefe@gmail.com)

Preservation by Rachel Wade

Image 

 Here’s a review I made on an ebook book I got my hands on recently:

Preservation by Rachel Wade, well, WHAT A GREAT READ!

This is a story about Ryan, a man whore due to a pretty ugly break up he had. And Kate, a woman with settling down issues. But they get together, and they fall for each other, literally. It’s told from Kate’s point of view, and this pretty much sums it up:

[This is](…) a love story about how I met Ryan. How he stole my running shoes and put reality in perspective for me. In the most infuriating, blindingly beautiful way possible, a way that only he could. And how I wrestled with his influence until the inevitable instilled me with a brand new kind of fear: regret.

The only down for me is that we don’t -I didn’t, at least- get to experience how the actually fall in love. It normally doesn’t work for me when the H&h jump each other and then all of the sudden confess having strong feelings for the other. It wasn’t huge of a let down though, the author more than makes it up from 40% through the book with the development of their romance. 

They had bumps in the road and believable couple-like problems. And when I say they fall for the other I meant it in every way of the sentence! Not only do they love one another, but they also end up making mistakes that hurt each other gravely. To this point, the quote I put earlier (which is placed on the beginning of the book) had my heart squeezing, thinking it would all end horribly wrong. But we actually get a great open HEA!

Oh, and I absolutely loved Carter and Dean! But I wasn’t a huge fan on the whole thing about them being somewhat in-love with her. It was kind of strange for it to even go on until the end of the book. Would’ve been less awkward and more believable for me if it was only mentioned on the first stages or if it was pointed that whatever, it was just platonic friendly love. But that’s me, and it didn’t take anything from the wonderful book.

I laugh, I got angry, I got happy, it even made me cry! Has hotness and sweetness to it. Great book!

Here’s a stand-out quote I adored: 
All the life one wall’s absence brings into this room. It overwhelmed me, penetrating walls of my own, enticing the life behind them to brave its way through the rubble and seek its own spectacular view of the world. One with its own ocean and setting sun, signaling the promise of a future sunrise, another day. Picking my phone back up, I scrolled to Ryan’s number and pressed “delete.”