I Feel Deceived: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

 

In this timeless new trilogy about love and sacrifice, a princess must find her place in a reborn world.

In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.

On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love

Source: GoodReads

Deception is right.

I was really excited for this book.  Really, really, excited to the point I preordered it even though I never have read any of Pearson’s work before.  Because that blurb.

God, that blurb.

In hindsight I should’ve know better.

I mean, there were hints that there was going to be an annoying love triangle or at least allusions to an annoying love triangle in the blurb.  But I sort of shrugged it off given the set up.

Man, that is a good set up.

A prince and assassin as your two competing love interests and a runaway princess.  Can you get more awesome?

Apparently, you can because I’ve read a lot of books that have better stories with much more blase premises.

So, what went wrong.  Well, there were two big things pacing and characters.

I think overall, the pacing was the biggest issue.  This book is long.  Almost five hundred pages.  A few years ago I would’ve told you I loved big books but now….I’m starting to think that smaller books might be better in some ways because hey…at least the page count is contained.

With The Kiss of Deception the book just dragged.  In high fantasies (I’m considering it a high fantasy since there was a stupid map on the inside of the book) I expect a slow pace, but this was ridiculous.  Honestly, the first two thirds of the book were pretty much useless.  Pages that we really didn’t need were just there.  And I honestly got bored.  Bored.  Bored. Bored.

I mean, I could care less about quasi medieval waitress-ing.  I call it quasi medieval because I think the book was suppose to be set in post apocalyptic America (at least I think that’s what I’ve read somewhere), but I really didn’t get that feeling from the book.  It read like any fantasy.

A very boring fantasy.

Grant it, the last third of the  novel was marginally interesting.  Once, you know, stuff started happening.

Now for the characters:

Lia:

Well, she tried to be interesting.

That’s something, right?

To be fair, I did appreciate what we’re told about Lia.  But what I saw…really not that different from any other princess character?  In fact, I’d say Belle, Jasmine, Mulan, Rapunzel, and any other modern day Disney princess character has something.

Actually, she’s sort of like Ariel.

Except I don’t think she’d sell her voice to a sea witch for a boy (at least not yet).

She is pretty incompetent though for a girl who supposedly knows how to use a dagger.  And for a princess who’s trying to keep a low profile.  Well, she doesn’t do that great of a job.

Like Ariel, Lia is pretty bland.  She’s nice.  YA attractive.  And nice.  But anything else…..

The Love Interests:

Before I go into both love interests, I will say that Pearson did a pretty good job keeping the mystery of who was the prince and who was the assassin.  And I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised to see how this played out.  Overall, this was probably the best aspect of the novel.  However, the characters themselves, that’s another story.

Both of them were bland beyond belief.  I’m sure in future stories they might be developed.  But this should NOT be a love triangle. One of the characters should not be in the love interest territory at all.  Regardless of  how attractive Pearson tries to make him sound physically.  There are just some things that make me go no to love interests.

Unfortunately, since there are two more books there is a possibility that Pearson is going to go there.

I know.

I think that I’m on the fence about this book.  There are a lot of things that really work well for this book, but at the same time there are some things that just don’t work.  I’m sort of unsure about whether or not I’m going to continue this series.  I could see it going either one of two ways.  Which honestly, makes me unimpressed.

Rating: B-

Top Ten Lists: Friendship Makers and Breakers

Friendships are fickle things.  Depending on the circumstances, one person’s b.f.f. might be another person’s enemy.  Heck, there are some characters that I throughly enjoy in YA that I wouldn’t want to be friends with.  Anyway, here’s my list of who I’d give my friendship charm to and whose hands I’d rip it out of in YA.

Five YA Besties:

5) Bella Swan from The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer:

Believe it or not, I’d actually want to be friends with Bella Swan.

Gasping.

I’m sure you are.

After all, she’s on of the most useless characters in literature.  But my Slytherin self sees potential with this one.  Not that she’d actually be someone good to talk to if you know you’d have a crisis because she’d probably end up bemoaning about that never ending love triangle of hers, but she actually does have some pretty good connections.

And if you could manipulate her into getting to use those connections to help you…she might be somewhat useful to have around.

The real good thing about her is that if she gets annoying, she’ll probably go away on her own.  After all, she has that pesky love triangle to keep her occupied not you.

4)  Maggie Quinn from Rosemary Clement Moore’s  Maggie Quinn Girl vs Evil series:

I always wanted to be a competent version of Lois Lane when I was younger.  Maggie is exactly that.   A pragmatist at heart who deals with the paranormal in a weary way.  If she was dating a hundred year old guy, I guarantee you that Maggie would be grossed out by that fact rather than enthralled (I’m looking at you, Bella).

3) Anna from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins:

I’d be friends with Anna just to hear about Paris.

Yeah, I know pathetic.  But Anna is actually a character I can relate to.  And unlike Lola, I didn’t want to ring her neck every other second.  Yes, she makes some dumb decision, but not slap-able dumb decisions.

I also like the fact that Anna disses her Nicholas Sparks wannabe dad.  If anyone knows me in real life, they know that besides The Notebook, that I get really tired of that guys books/movies.  I just feel like I’m being constantly manipulated with sappy sadness in order to get a buck out of me and well…I just sort of hate that.

2) Cinder from Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles series:

Um, yes.  I’m not that good at mechanical things and Cinder is.  She also has a take charge attitude and she’s a cyborg.

I always wanted to be friends with a Cyborg.

And for that matter, she has a pretty cool entourage.

1) Suze Simon from Meg Cabot’s The Mediator Series:

Suze is the ultimate bestie for me.

She has taste in fashion, she can see ghosts, and she has a life that isn’t centered around her love life.  But she does have a very hot and used to be dead boyfriend that you can stare at if you want (though she’d probably punch you if you stared for too long).

Five YA Get Them Away From Mes:

5) Clary Fray from Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments Series:

If I wanted to die then be considered an abomination by my own mother I’d be b.f.f.’s with Clary.

Don’t believe me, just ask Simon.

Oh, wait he can’t remember.

I think what bothers me about Clary’s friendship-ness potential is that she’s very self involved.  Forget about telling her about your problems.  You’ll never get a chance.  It will just be about her and Jace.

And if you hadn’t made it through the third book yet, you’ll be like why do you want to boink your brother?

So, not friend material.

4) Lola from Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins:

I love Lola, but I wouldn’t want to be friends with her.  She’s a bit of a drama queen in my opinion.  And a tad bit too impulsive for my tastes.  In a weird way, I think this actually benefits the character.  Not wanting to be friends with her oddly enough makes her more endearing to me.  And more real.  I just…well, I wouldn’t let her borrow any of my sweaters.

3) Nikki Becket from Brodi Ashton’s Everneath trilogy:

I used to like Nikki and then I don’t know…she got selfish.

Common habit with teenagers especially in YA books.  But try selfish to the point of wanting to annihilate an entire world and not giving a rat’s ass about it.

She’s scary.

And I just don’t friend scary.

2) Helen from Josephine Angelini’s Starcrossed trilogy:

I don’t think I’d want to be with anyone who wanted to have a sex change just so that they could get together with a boy.  Obviously, a person like this is too immature for my tastes.  It also doesn’t help when they obsess over sandwiches and pumpkin.  Well, I do like pumpkin.  But not that much.

The Wonder Woman powers might put her in a Bella Swan friendship category, but no.  No.  I’ll just find Batman if I need that much help.

1) Bethany Church from Alexandra Adornetto’s Halo trilogy:

Dear lord, it’s been what over two years since I started reading the Halo trilogy yet I still cringe when thinking about Bethany.  She’s just someone that I would so not get along with.  For one thing she’s extremely judgmental.  For another, well any sort of personality that she might have-which is little to none- was destroyed when she got involved with Xavier.  In fact, there was a whole scene in Hades devoted to the fact that Bethany was completely dependent on a boy.  And if anyone didn’t like it they could suck it.

I wouldn’t wish Bethany on my worst enemy.

Not Wholock: Jackaby by William Ritter

“Miss Rook, I am not an occultist,” Jackaby said. “I have a gift that allows me to see truth where others see the illusion–and there are many illusions. All the world’s a stage, as they say, and I seem to have the only seat in the house with a view behind the curtain.”

Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary–including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it’s a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police–with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane–deny.

Doctor Who meets Sherlock in William Ritter’s debut novel, which features a detective of the paranormal as seen through the eyes of his adventurous and intelligent assistant in a tale brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre.

Source: GoodReads

I was provided an ARC via GoodReads First Reads program.  It has not influenced my opinion on this book.

It seems to be a fairly popular trend now to have X meets X in your YA book synopsis (see this article for a better explanation).  And admittedly that’s what attracted me to this book.  Doctor Who meets Sherlock should be totally awesome like this, but it’s not.  Totally not.

It’s not absolute hogwash though, if that’s what you’re worried about.  It has its moments.  Like Douglass the duck.  But apart from a few brief moments of goodness I was really unimpressed.  I mean, comparing yourself to two awesome shows and then just sort of  living up to the premises just well sucks. For the reader and for the original source material.  Which is why I decided that for this particular review I was going to have tea with a few of my fictional peeps (that I don’t own by the way).  What fictional peeps are these.  Well, it should be obvious based on the synopsis.  So, give a big welcome to Sherlock and the Doctor.

Sherlock: There’s no one clapping.

MJ: Obviously, this is a fictional interview after all.

The Doctor: Please, no breaking the fourth wall yet.  I haven’t even had a sip of tea.

MJ: It’s fiction there’s not going to be any actual tea (besides those in gifs).  God my head hurts, this conversation is really breaking the laws of physics.

 

Sherlock: So, Jackaby…he’s supposed to be me?

MJ: Yes, did you read the blurb.

Sherlock: Yes, the blurb.  No to the book.  I can’t waste my mind palace with such drivel.

MJ: It’s not totally drivel.  It has a duck in it.

The Doctor: Well, that’s something.

MJ: Exactly. The duck and the ghost character were the best part of the book, other than that I felt like I was reading a pale fanboy’s version of well…Wholock.

Sherlock: That’s probably in part an assumption based on the blurb.

MJ: True.  But when I read about an eccentric detective dealing with the abnormal, having a ragtag team of friends, but being sort of a loner I can’t help myself.  It’s like he’s a regenerated version of the Doctor but without the Doctor’s memories.

The Doctor: That’s not the case, MJ.

MJ: How do you know?  I mean, your memory could’ve been lost in that reality?

The Doctor: Simply, because the author does not own my property rights.

MJ: That doesn’t mean anything.  I mean, haven’t you two heard of P2P (eyes Sherlock especially).

Sherlock: Oh no, we’re not going to go there.  I have enough horror stories of me becoming a woman just so that I can get with John to last a lifetime.  Thank you very much.  If mainstream wants to exploit my fannon relationship with Watson at least keep the characters genders the way they are.

MJ: Or better yet, write something with original characters.  Jesus.  But I didn’t want this to turn into a lecture about unethical P2P is.

The Doctor: Obviously.   It’s one of those topics that no one in the universe really wants to talk about.  But it sort of happens anyway.  So, did this character have a TARDIS?

MJ: No TARDIS.  No bow ties either.  Or alien adventures.  There’s the paranormal aspect and he does have friends that I guess could equate to companions, but that’s about it.  Hence, why I said it might be AU Wholock instead of an actual Wholock.

Sherlock: How’s he like me?

MJ: Detective with social issues.  Who has a Watson in a non-romantic relationship at least in cannon.

Sherlock: That is similar, but really a lot of detective stories are like that.  Do you have anything else to go on?

MJ: Oh, that Rittner tries his best to give the novel a “quirky” atmosphere and it falls flat.  Because the character development is weak at best.  And the plot is…well, okay.

The Doctor: Okay? Details.  Please.

MJ: Well, the plot was interesting.  If it would’ve been fleshed out more.  I just..I don’t know even though I was interested there was just something very procedural about the prose that just didn’t work for me.  I just thought it wasn’t fleshed out.

The Doctor: So, it should’ve been a two parter then?

MJ: It’s a book not a TV show and perhaps that’s where the real problems reside.  In TV you can get away without a lot of exposition or details because you can show action scenes.  In novels, exposition is an annoying necessity and this book lacked it.

Sherlock: Oh, please.

MJ: What, now?

Sherlock: Exposition isn’t required in a novel.  A novel can be written quite nicely stemming of chaos and mystery.

MJ: Maybe for you since you actually like solving mysteries.  But for me, I actually like to know what I’m reading.

Overall Rating: C+ good effort.  But there were times, I had trouble paying attention and this book took me almost a week to read which is ridiculous given it’s page count.  Some people will love this book and if it works for you that’s fine, but for me it did not live up to its potential.

Tuning In: The Old Man and the Key (episode 2.3)

Better known as the episode you can be halfway tapped out on allergy meds  and still get the gist of the episode.

God, this was a boring episode.  Don’t believe me? Read this recap.  Predictable melodrama is best how I sum up this one.

Let’s begin shall we…

So, we open up with a slew of flashbacks before we flash to a flashback in Asgard.  The Asgard costume look like their rejects of the costume the mage girl wears in The Ring and the Crown book trailer (also by Melissa de la Cruz).  Basically these scenes are only used to show suspicion on Freddie-known as Fredrick on this show.

I could’ve told them he’s no good.  I suffered through the books after all.

Anyway, Jo asks Wendy about her son.  She uses this opportunity to argue with her.  It’s really a waste of screen time and is ridiculously predictable.

Meanwhile, Freya comes in while Ingrid is packing up her cardigans (she still has the grubby white one that she wore on the last episode).  Freya decides to talk about how she’s flying to the Caribbean to find Killian- I still don’t know how the Coast Guard didn’t notice a random boat floating aimlessly from New England all the way down to the Caribbean, but what do I know?

While they are talking about Freya’s love life they noticed that Jo sealed up a door.  Jo makes a lame excuse why it’s sealed.  The two dimwits decide to give her a pass because Freya’s love life takes precedence.

Dash apparently got drunk and had a one night stand.  That’s interesting.  What’s not interesting is he’s having conversations with Not Dead Killian.  Lifetime, if you really wanted to make this interesting you could’ve not showed the audience that Killian was alive in the first episode of the season.

Wendy goes to the morgue to perform  a Pushing Daisies on Ingrid’s old boss.  It doesn’t go that well.  Obviously, because she isn’t a trained professional like Ned.  And she bought no pie.

Man, do I miss that show. That was actually quality entertainment (unlike this show).

At this point I should mention we’re ten minutes in.  Bored?  So am I.  I recommend using this time to do something productive, like sorting paperclips.

Oh, look it’s Halliwell Manor but with a new paint job.  So, now everyone won’t be saying it’s Halliwell Manor even though that’s exactly what it is.  Jo is upset about Freddie and they have a rather awkward talk.  My, my, my, Freddie is adjusting to modern America much more than Thor (see his syntax and like for muscle shirts).  I will admit even though the character bores me to death, he is pretty to look at.  Then again, almost every male character on Lifetime is pretty to look at.

And another useless flashback to Asgard where I gawk at Victor (not Victor Halliwell’s) lame facial hair.  Yet, another thing the Thor movies have on this one.  Because unlike Victor both Tom Hiddleston and Chris Hemsworth can rock their Asgard hair.

Oh, Dash.  Another faux Killian conversation.  And really wearing your scrubs in the middle of nowhere.  Conspicuous much?

Victor is on his way home apparently thrilled about Freddie.  Obviously, his trip to South America resulted in a lobotomy.  Wendy, the only one with common sense, put a some sort of  tracking spell on Freddie.

Girl, obviously has been watching some Veronica Mars.

Well, someone has to in this useless house.  And yep…they find out that Freddie is troubled.

Meanwhile, Freya goes to Killians’ room and finds out that her one true love doesn’t really give a shit about her since she got married.

Cue the slut slamming.

Because we all know it’s coming.  Eva, Killian’s wife, will undoubtedly be the big bad this year and Freya will be the saint.  I’m sure Lifetime will have her do something severally evil like try to kill Freya and Killian will have to save the day by the end of the season after not believing Freya’s warnings about his “evil” wife for months.  And that will leave us to angst about trust next season (if it’s renewed), but for now let’s enjoy the fact that Freya is going to have to mope.

Ice cream, anyone?

Long story short, Freya makes some b.s. about why she flew down to the Caribbean to see Killian.  He oddly buys it which confirms he lacks brain cells.  Freya also drops the bomb that Killian’s crazy mommy is dead.

More Asgard Freddie’s a rat and we dress like lame extras of Thor flashbacks.

Yawn.

Man, these scenes really drag.

Dash is playing with magic and wait….wait he has a Michael Westen moment.  Is he turning into a bad ass?  For reals.

Okay, now I’m starting to like this character.  A lot, lot, more.

Freya has a heart to heart with Eva.  It comes off very lame and stilted.  Really, I’m just wondering why they’re going this route.  It is so cliched.

And really, really, why can’t we have Freya focus on something other than her love life.  Like, I don’t know….sorting paperclips.

Ingrid (still wearing the nasty white cardigan) calls up Dash to see her.  Too bad newly bad ass Dash is still polite, otherwise he’d tell her off like anyone with common sense who’s not a cast member of this show.  She tells him that they have magic.  He’s more interested in being a bad ass and tells her he has to take care of business.

More bad ass moments continue, though unfortunately Ingrid interrupts and almost gets herself killed in the process.  Dash again has to take care of business and thanks to the waste of space, Ingrid, he has to clean up her mess.

Seriously, I get she’s a main character, but she is sooooooooo annoying.  And really, why haven’t they reevaluated her wardrobe?

She cleans it up with a spell that will obviously backfire at the end of the season. The thing that is most disturbing about this scene is that I think they are testing the chemistry between Dash and Ingrid.  This will severally limit Dash’s bad-assery and tarnish his character.  My suggestion is he gets with the only decent character on this show (Wendy).

Meanwhile, Freddie gets an intervention.  Since it’s only the third episode of the season I don’t expect much and really nothing happens here. Other than Jo being a dumb ass for believing that moron.

And more Asgard scenes where the curse is obviously enacted.  I could really care less.

Victor-no not that Victor- has come home and something bad has happened to him just as we flash to commercial.

Yeah, I don’t care either.  More ice cream?

Freya’s back in American and Killian comes to talk to her.  It’s well…awkward.

She then goes to Ingrid and cries.  Now, won’t that be awkward if Lifetime is going to throw Dingrid down our throats. Then again, since Freya only talks about her love life it won’t be that awkward.

And Ingrid, seriously, get a new cardigan.

Dash finally realizes that Killian is alive by hearing him go all Edward Cullen at the piano.  The whole reaction is rather a let down. I’m sure they’ll forget the fact that Dash was being blackmailed for Killian’s death by next episode.

The episode closes with Jo calling Victor who’s not picking up and who’s being held up in some weirdo room of pain.  And I’m done (well, for the week).

Best Moment: Dash being a bad ass.  Who knew Dr. Shirtless had it in him, he might (just might) become likable.

Worst Moment: The potential of Dingrid (just ew!).

Cringe Worthy Moment: Asgard.  In comparison to Thor (yeah, hilarious).

Shirtless Moments: I think Killian had a few shirtless moments with Eva.  Honestly, I was so bored in this episode I can’t even remember.  And I like abs, so me not remembering them is, well, sad.

Episode Grade: A forgettable C-.  The C part is only because there’s minimum Ingrid in this particular episode.

Binge Reviews: Neverland Duloagy by Anna Katmore

Sometimes you find something when browsing your Kindle that you just have to read even though you have your doubts.  The Neverland duloagy by Anna Katmore is one of those finds.  So, being the intrepid reviewer that I am, I decided to binge read this series.

 

Why is there a boy who doesn’t want to grow up?
How can an apple start the sweetest romance in fairytale history?
And what does a ruthless pirate have to do with it all?

Angelina McFarland loves reading fairytales. But she never dreamed of falling right into one herself. That’s exactly what happens when she slips on her balcony and a flying Peter Pan catches her mid-fall.

Ending up in Neverland where no one seems to age and laws of nature are out of control, Angel has no idea how to get home. Worse, the ruthless Captain Hook captures her and keeps her trapped on his ship, the Jolly Roger, where she gets caught between the lines of a timeless battle. But the more time Angel spends with the captain, the more she sees beneath his ruthless façade.

As Angel desperately tries to find a way to return to her real life, she discovers a train ticket to London in her pocket. It won’t be any help in getting off the island, but as her memory fades away the longer she stays, this is all she has left to remind her of her former life and why she can’t give up trying.

Or is staying in Neverland forever the better choice after all?

Grab a happy thought and follow Angel on an adventure that will keep you breathless and smiling long after you read the last page…

Source: GoodReads

Not bad.

Not great.

But utterly horrible.

No.

It’s actually one of the better reads I had when exploring the vast world of self pub (though to be honest, I usually don’t have the best of luck with self pub).

The premises intrigued me and since I imagine Captain Hook love interest (or really any Captain Hook) looking like Colin O’Donoghue I think it’s obvious that I’ll read any Peter Pan retelling for the mind candy. And the whole twist with Peter Pan was good too if not original (cough, Once Upon a Time had Evil!Pan first, cough).

But other than a great premises and some okay kissing scenes this book blew.

Oh, yeah.

Though compared to it’s sequel (spoiler alert) it is a freaking masterpiece.

Let’s talk about what didn’t work since there’s a lot.

Angel:

First of all that name.  Sorry to the Angel’s in the world, but when a YA author names their character Angel alarm bells immediately go off especially when they have a personality as bland as cardboard like this angel is.

Also, it probably doesn’t help when you state that a character is British but she uses American English and slang. Um, Brits don’t call fries fries.  They call them chips.

Oh, and when she has hobbies like a forty-year-old.  Because most seventeen year olds I know, don’t like babysitting their four-year-old sisters all the time. Just saying.

Then there’s Hook:

Never was there never a Hook like this.  Honestly, I think Ms. Katmore was just charmed with Colin O’Donghue so much that she decided to have him star in her book but as a blonde to make him different.

Yeah…didn’t work.

The big twist that Hook and Pan were brothers in this book might’ve also not have hit me so much because there was a similar twist on Once Upon a Time  involving Pan’s genealogy with one of the main characters.  Though that twist had a bigger payoff.

In the end, I just didn’t know what Katmore wanted to do with these characters.  Because other than saying oh he’s  my brother and it being the catalyst for the curse…really, no connection.

Much like I didn’t really get the Hook and Angel relationship.  Oh yeah, there were some halfway decent written kissing scenes but it was insta love complete with leather pants.

Well, that part was original.

Oh, wait, never mind they have leather pants on that show too.

Well, that blows.

But this Hook’s blonde and likes feathers so that counts.  Well, the Disney Hook liked feathers too.

Never mind..

Let’s talk about Peter Pan then. Maybe he’s original.

Peter Pan:

Original?

No.

Brat?

Yes.

Bigger brat than the Peter Pan on Once Upon a Time?

Well, that’s debatable and I’m not sure if that’s such a good thing.

Honestly, the entire character read like a five year old throwing a temper tantrum.  Even his so called tragic backstory was ridiculous and over the top.

The only thing I can say is it would make for a fairly decent soap opera and that’s about it.

But this book isn’t a soap opera.

Another problem with the Pan character was the syntax that Katmore chose.  This was actually a problem with Hook too.  It just felt out of place.  Like Wendy Wannabe Angel, the boys spoke with pure modern day American accents despite belonging to fantasy world that took place at least a hundred years ago.

I get that Katmore is not a native English speaker, but these are things that an editor could’ve worked with her on.  It just made the book seem almost lazy.

And if that didn’t make it seem lazy then there’s the plot.

Predictable.

Predictable.

Predictable.

With a  really lame cliffhanger.

That’s the problem with a lot of YA these days.  Predictable and lame cliffhangers but at least most of them would attempt a plot.  Neverland does not.  Save for Angel whining about going home and  she does nothing (absolutely nothing) to get home.  It’s Hook that does all the dirty work.  And Pan (sort of, though if you ask me he’s a waste of space).  Really, the whole book could’ve been resolved nicely in one installment.  But no….Katmore decides to end it with a cliff hanger which leads to the monstrosity that is Pan’s Revenge. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Are you ready to be kissed?” he breathes against the corner of my mouth.

My knees start to tremble and there are butterflies in my belly now. Way too many. “I don’t think this is a good idea.”

“I think it’s the best idea I had in a long time.”

Desperate to leave Neverland and find his love in this notorious town called London, James Hook makes a grave mistake. He puts his own wishes above those of his half-brother and once-arch-enemy, Peter Pan.

The consequences alter Peter’s life in a way no one could have foreseen. The boy who wouldn’t grow up swears revenge, and what better way than by stealing Hook’s girl?

The first to arrive in London, Peter finds Angel once again without any memory of ever being in Neverland. That gives him time to plant the idea of a ruthless pirate captain in her mind—someone who tried to kill her once and is now on his way to kidnap her again. If only this stubborn girl would stop playing with Peter’s head. He’d completely forgotten how beautiful she was. Or is it only because he sees her through different eyes now?

Through a shower of falling stars, a loop around the moon, and then a hard left at the Clock Tower—when James Hook finally arrives in London, he has to fight with a vengeance for his love and face a boy who grew up after all…

Source:GoodReads

 

Better  known as Peter Pan Got Hot So That the Author Could Implement the Love Triangle Trope.

I kid you not.

That’s really why I think this book exists becuase there’s no other reason.

And let’s not get me started on the ending.

I should warn you that this part of the binge review is going to be filled with spoilery rants so if you are serious about reading this and don’t want your spoiler cherry popped please hit the little exit button now.

Aren’t gone.  Well, I guess I’ll start with the plot for this one.  As redundant and predictable as Neverland was at least it made sense the plot in Pan’s Revenge not so much.

First we have the Pan growing up and not turning into Robin Williams so there really is no excuse for that.  Especially since said Pan now looks like an Abercombie model.

And then Pan basically manipulates are now amnesic heroine (yeah, she went with that trope) so that we can have a lame love triangle.

And then she basically copies and paste the same insta love kidnapping scene from the first book to this one.

And then the ending.

And then at that point my head explodes.

Before I get to just how heinous the ending is, I just want to talk about character development or the lack of it.  The first book was bad enough to the hastily put together characters, but this book is a level worse because the flat character.  I kid you not they digress and a good example of it…well, the ending.

Fuck.

Seriously.

WTF.

That’s what I started thinking about the last ten percent of this book.  The first ninety percent bad but perfectly acceptable.  The plot was getting resolved and everything and that curve ball.

Has Katmore ever heard of stupid characters getting their just desserts?

Am I suppose to feel pity for said villain because he’s Peter freaking Pan?

Um, Once Upon a Time didn’t show sympathy and that’s one thing I think they succeeded on that stupid arc.

Look, that character did horrible things.  I wanted a payoff instead of every character giving up something for him.

And a first born child for that stupid piece of shit.

Seriously?

Well, it’s sort of interesting given the twist that Once Upon a TIme threw.  Ah, not really.  It was more or less like a huge cheesy wink like here’s my inspiration.

Of course, Katmore might’ve never seen that show and this might be purely a coincidence. But that aside.

Who would give up their oldest child to a piece of shit who tried to manipulate you and ruin your life.?

Seriously.

Well, they’re brothers so that is an excuse for everything.

No.

Just no.

Just having the same blood running through your veins isn’t going to make you want to give up your first born child to the idiot.  I’m sorry.

And family can be shitty.

Like Peter is.

I mean, he essentially tried to steal your girlfriend, dude.

Does this make sense?

Well, in Katmore’s universe it does.

Utter, utter fail.  Which is a pity because while the first book has it’s issues it has potential and the plot of this one holds such promise too.

Yawn:The Hunt by Stacey Kade

 

Ariane Tucker has finally escaped GTX, the research facility that created her. While on the run, Zane Bradshaw is the only person she can trust. He knows who-and what-she is and still wants to be part of her life.

But accepting Zane’s help means putting him in danger.

Dr. Jacobs, head of GTX, is not the only one hunting for Ariane. Two rival corporations have their sights set on taking down their competition. Permanently. To protect Zane and herself, Ariane needs allies. She needs the other hybrids. The hybrids who are way more alien and a lot less human. Can Ariane win them over before they turn on her? Or will she be forced to choose sides, to decide who lives and who dies?

Source: GoodReads

How can a book about aliens be…well, so boring?

Really, if there was one word to describe The Hunt it would be boring.

Of course, it’s really not that boring.  There’s suspense.  There’s action.  Romance.  But at the end of the day, it’s a typical middle book in a trilogy suffering from middle book predictability complete with a ridiculous cliffhanger.

Sigh…

It isn’t completely horrible though.  To be honest, it’s not that bad of a book.  It does have a lot going for it.  Like, the characters.  I really do like both Zane and Arianne.  They do have chemistry and both of them are fully formed.  However, I don’t know at the end of the day this book didn’t wow me.

As I said before, I sort of knew what to expect on this one.  The jacket summary is pretty straight forward.  There’s really nothing that takes you by surprise.  Even the alien hybrid mythology was nothing weirder than one of the more calmer theories on Ancient Aliens.

Though to be honest, all the alien stuff in the Project Paper Doll series hasn’t impressed me.  Oh, it’s a little bit better than what you’d see in some YA series (cough, Lux series, cough) but it’s more or less a plot point.  Actual world building, with this aspect does not occur.

A couple of Google searches or episodes of some H2 conspiracy show you’ll find that there’s actually a pretty big mythos involving grey aliens.  However, hardly any of that mythos is used other than the bare minimum.

Of course, you could view the book as being more about humanity and coming to terms about what humanity is and all that, but I think there did need to be a little bit more of those urban legends coming out.

The whole hybrid program scheme really was a bit of a bore.  Complete with alien hybrid in jars full of amber colored liquid.

Oh yeah, that cliche.  Where’s Bill Birnes and his cockamamie theories when you need them?

The action scenes were written to be obviously suspenseful and maybe if I hadn’t been hardened to a thousand YA trilogies already, I would’ve been excited by this one.  But as it was, I just felt that I was going through the motions.  Even the revelations with Ford weren’t that exciting. There were no curve balls it was all predictable.

And that’s where this one failed.  The lack of curveballs.  Even the cliffhanger ending wasn’t that surprising.  It was in essence predictable.  Like everything else about this book.

Overall Rating: B-.  It wasn’t a terrible book, but I did struggle through it.  There wasn’t anything about it that really held my attention and at the end of the day that what makes or breaks a series.  Will I finish the trilogy.  Probably.  But I will be library-ing it.

Tuning In: The Time Which I Binge Watch and Hate Myself

So, this somehow got renewed.  I didn’t know until I checked my DVR and saw too episodes.  So let’s get down to the recaps shall we (we won’t defeat the Huns)…

 

If you Forgot What Happened Last Season:

  • Ingrid made an ass of herself in ill colored cardigans
  • Freya threated about her love life and nothing else.
  • Dash walked around without a shirt for ten episodes.
  • Killian made an appearance as additional eye candy
  • Dash and Killian’s momma went bananas.
  • No one in The Halliwells’   Bechaumps’ stupid town watched the Thor movies.
  • Wendy was awesome.
  • And Ingrid opened up a portal in another horrible cardigans.

 

A Moveable Beast:

The episode opens with a lot of dark cinematography with Latin being thrown in every now and then to give it a spooky effect.  It’s too dark to actually see anything and not get a migraine so these scenes I really just sort of use to multi-task.  The only thing I have halfway sort of gathered is that Ingrid is now sleep walking in evening wear that’s suppose to be a nightgown.  They then flash to the woods, which she’s apparently walking around before showing the credits.  I’m hopeful for now that there will be dialogue.

It appears Jo is being poisoned and her estranged husband is treating her, though with the way it’s played out its like a recreation of some god awful scene from an EL James’s sad excuse of a novel.

As usual, Freya is obsessed with her love life and nothing else.  Wendy is the only character that makes sense.  Given the fact she is a Lifetime addition and not part of the original series, it really is quite surprising.

Dash is trying to get his Harry Potter on, but it’s not working.  Perhaps, he should go to Diagon Alley instead of talking to a Killian  hallucination.  Sadly, he is wearing a shirt.  As he does pretty much throughout the rest of this episode.  Guess, he got that Jacob Black cause removed from his contract.

Pity.

Freya again bemoans about her love life.  I really don’t care as I neither care about Jo’s condition since the promos show her alive and well.  More time to multi task.

There’s a stranger lurking in the woods…I have a bad feeling about who it’s going to be.  And Lifetime better not stick to the source material on this one is all I have to say.

And now cut to the hospital with scenes of Dash trying to be McDreamy.  The scrubs are good.  Though not as good as him going shirtless.  Swim some of that frustration off, Dash.

Freya meanwhile has some vision about Killain.  It’s always oh woe is me with her and I really don’t care about her love life at this point.

Ingrid’s at the library talking to her token best friend.  She apparently applied to a job that she’s under-qualified for and lied on about having a doctorate degree.  She acts like she’s more qualified than most people because she really loves the subject matter.  Having actually suffered through a doctoral program I’m giving Ingrid the stink eye on this.  And for wearing ANOTHER cardigan.

Joanna and her estranged husband have bonding time.  It’s just sort of awkward.  Though they have more chemistry than Ingrid did with every single one of her boyfriends.  But her estranged husband is no Harrison Ford or Brad Pitt.

More moaning about Freya’s love life.  Apparently, she now has Phoebe Halliwell powers.  Really, show, really?  When will you not rip off Charmed.

Seems they’re trying to give Wendy a love interest.  I approve. She’s the only decent character on this show. The love interest seems to be a rift on the guy that Melissa de la Cruz paired up Ingrid with in the books.  He has better chemistry with Wendy-just saying.  Then again, TV Ingrid has tainted any love I had for that character.  Well, it didn’t help with the whole annoying virgin subplot in the book.

Back to Dash trying to figure out what’s wrong with him…boring.

Annoying family bonding moment where Ingrid does magic to lighten up the mood and laughs.  She’s become even more annoying this season.  How is that possible?

Jo is getting sicker.  This of course leads to Lifetime melodrama which let’s daddy dearest (the estranged husband) make a quick exit.

Ingrid’s Interview: she’s unkept, late, and her future boss is unimpressed.  Unimpressed with her lying too.  Good for him. He tells her she’s a loser (stating the obvious) and leaves.

S0 what does Ingrid do?  She goes to the bar to bemoan in a neutral color cardigan (instead of the nasty green one she wore to the interview)  to bemoan about why she didn’t get a job she wasn’t qualified for.  Her token friend tells her to use a spell, Freya agrees.  Aren’t you NOT suppose to use magic for self gain? Whatever.  She ends up doing a ritual with her lame glass of white wine, gets the job and then falls on her ass (no joke about that).

And Dash gets more freaked out while getting his McDreamy on.

Meanwhile, Freya’s bemoaning about her love life gets interrupted by Ingrid’s stupidity and Wendy has to fix it (like everything else) and flirts more with the cute EMT.

Dash goes into the bar glares at Freya and gets a phone call telling him his brain is as messed up as Ingrid’s.  Boy do I feel for him.

Joanna talks about how she’s okay with dying and then Freddie…

Oh, Lifetime.

Really?

Really?

This is the character that ended up ruining the book series.  Did you really bring him on here?

At least he’s cute and he’s not as stupid (so far) as the book one.  But I was really hoping he’d never appear despite your foreshadowing last season.  Why didn’t you get the message.  Are their actually Freddie fans out there?

Dear lord.

At least Wendy has common sense.

While at the bar Freya makes an ass of herself in front of Dash by asking about the welfare of his brother.  That she was having an affair with.  You just don’t do that Freya.  Just don’t.

Poor Dash.  That and the I Know What You Did Last Summer threats have to kill him.  Oh, and finding out your a wizard with no Hogwarts letter.

Really, that blows.

As Freya bemoans about Killan the camera pans out to the Caribbean.  Yep, the boat apparently floated all the way down there with no one finding it.  He has himself a Freya replacement and they are getting it on.

You know, Freya will be having a pity party in a couple of episodes over that with a bunch of slut slamming included.

I’m not even going to go into the end other than that it was stupid and probably won’t make sense till the last episode.  Overall, this particular episode wasn’t horrible.  It wasn’t great either.  It was fairly typical of the show so I’m giving it a C.

Best Moment: Wendy’s moments with the EMT

Worst Moment: Freddie being a cast Member

Cringe Worthy Moment: Anytime Ingrid’s on My  Screen.

Shirtless Moments: Unfortunately, none.  But lots of scrubs moments.

 

The Son Also Rises:

We open up with a shot of Halliwell Manor when it’s not Hollywood Manor.  Jo is concerned because her thirty year-old daughter wasn’t home at the crack of dawn making an ass of herself.  Instead, she’s laying in the back yard making an ass of herself.  We know she was sleep walking in the previous episode.  So, it’s not a big deal.

More of Dash unsuccessfully trying to get into Hogwarts and a blackmail call.  Given the state of evidence, I’m betting he could chalk it up on bad video editing not murder.  But that’s just me.

Ingrid’s alive-unfortunately. She sounds like she’s high on something with the way she’s talking about her appetite and waking up in the backyard but since she’s Ingrid I really doubt she is on something.  Jo  and Wendy tell them they have a brother they take it pretty well.

Wendy like me is still less than impressed with Freddie.  Once again, the only character with common sense on this show.

Freddie and Freya start talking about astral projection and twin stuff.  All I have to say is Prue Halliwell and why would anyone want to willingly be related to Freddie.  Yes, I know I’m talking about book Freddie not TV Freddie.  But still, if he’s anything like book Freddie that’s someone’s DNA I would not want in common.They also talk about how Freya is a princess.  She acts shocked.  I just sort of nod my head.  I mean, only royalty gets away with talking about their pathetic love life so much.

There is something up with Freddie as we find out later on.  At this point, not exactly how to describe it other than I think Lifetime wants us to find it creepy and we fade to commercial (finally).

I use this opportunity to do important things like check the weather.

Wendy does some spying in her cat suit.  I really do like Cat Wendy which reminds me I really want a cat.  The EMT she was flirting with pets her another point for him guys who like animals always get a plus sign on the likability factor.  Wendy the cat spies on him and finds out he has a kid.  Obviously, a misunderstanding will occur.

Ingrid starts her new job and her new boss tells her he was forced to hire her and that she’s a loser (I like this guy).  I should also note, Ingrid is wearing the same cardigan as she wore when she fell on her ass drinking white wine in the last episode.

Dash’s paranoia at this point is getting predictable so I am hitting the FF button.  Thank God for the DVR.

Oh, wait I have to watch Jo and Wendy and their pie get ditched by Dash.  Yeah, I have to say I’m amused with him telling them to get lost.

A big Fourth of July Party-well, their timing is off-is going on.  Wendy claims to feel a chill in the air (this is only stated five hundred times the rest of the episode) just like her starring at the EMT while Jo talks to her drip of a son when Freya isn’t.

Trying to show that twin bond which really isn’t working since Freya more or less looks like she’s into her twin.

 

Between the champagne glasses they try to astral project for Killian and of course fail.

Ingrid’s boss says she’s a loser because she’s a librarian.  Now, I’m starting to hate him.  You can diss Ingrid as much as you want, God knows I do, but do not diss librarians.  They are bad ass.  Unless of course, they try to torment their patrons by putting really horrible YA books on their feature shelf like Ingrid does.

Freya is not doing her work because she’s trying to book a flight (Jesus, girl just use Priceline)  and is talking to her brother.  Outrageously enough, patrons are getting upset with her and a little rowdy.  Of course, her new screw partner   twin defends her honor as any good brother should.  However, because magic is involved Freya must use the power of love to soother his tormented magical soul.

Seriously, he would’ve been better off NOT being related to her.

Lifetime does not know how to write sibling relationships.

Ingrid gets yelled at for improperly handling a book.  And gets into an argument.  Her boss leaves and is Lifetime punished-he’s dead.  It’s actually a rather dramatic death at the Fourth of July picnic (apparently).

Back in the Caribbean, Killian performs some sort of ritual with his love buddy that reveals he has magic.  She says its because of their love. Oh, Lifetime, we know you are totally going to be slut slamming her.  It’s not even funny at this point.  And it sort of upsets me, because this girl could be an interesting diverse character, but their just going to make her a stupid impediment to the Freya/Killian love fest.

The show ends sort of on a low note.  The fireworks are rained out and Ingrid tells everyone she’s moving out.  Given the fact she’s randomly sleep walking this probably isn’t the best idea, but she actually thinks that’s the reason she’s sleep walking (living with her mother).  Honestly, I could care less about Ingrid’s living situation and just want to get this double viewing done by watching the painfully induced magic fireworks on top of the ceiling.

Overall Rating: D a very droll episode.

Best Moment: Ingrid being told she’s useless

Worst Moment: Actually, siding with Ingrid.

Cringe Worthy Moments: Freya and Freddie.

Shirtless Moments: None.  Again.  What’s wrong, show. Seriously.

 

 

 

 

 

Do Judge a Book by Its Cover: Packing Heat

Note, before I begin this installment I have tentatively started up a Meme for this feature.  There’s a page that talks about it  and on the side of the blog there’s a link that will take you to a page where you can sign up if you want to participate.

 

It’s summer time-at least in the northern hemisphere.  So, I decided that this month I’d look at covers that “pack heat”.

 

 

What the Cover Says: Maybeth Carroll has lived her life with nomads.  She’s not a nomad though.  She has stayed at the same sad hotel that is her supposed heritage for the past eighteen years and is gosh darn tired of it.  If someone asks for the honeymoon suite one more time…then one day he comes in.  He being Master Smith.  The rock star. The one who Rolling Stone  says has hit burn out.  Master is not Maybeth’s type (she might be poor white trash but she does have standards after all and those standards do not involve burnouts), but getting the scoop on Hollywood’s latest burnout may get her out of nowheresville.  Now, how to get Master to pay attention to her?
What the Book Is Really About:

If seventeen-year-old Skyler Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage-months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.

Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings them together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.

Gritty, romantic, and ultimately hopeful, I’ll MEET YOU THERE explores the complicated lives of an unforgettable cast of characters. This is the story of teens outside the picket fence. It doesn’t soften the edges of adolescence or the individual consequences of war; it’s life on the fringes—maddening, weirdly endearing…and completely screwed up.

Source: GoodReads

Verdict: Oddly, I like it.  It’s at least sensible enough to take out in public and not feel like your going to be given judgmental looks like one does when they read a Katie McGarry book-yeah, those looks I got in the office are still scarring me for life. It also has a nice summer vibe to it with the colors on the cover.

 

 

 

What the Cover Says to Me:

Getting sucked into a worm hole was not how Ivanna Schultz wanted to spend her senior year.  Especially with David Hastings, the weirdo band geek who wears bow ties to school and is obsessed with that stupid British show.  But that’s exactly what happens.

But that’s exactly what happen. And somehow she ends up on the other side of the wormhole in a spandex bodysuit.

What the Book Is Really About:

The second installment in the epic Starbound trilogy introduces a new pair of star-crossed lovers on two sides of a bloody war.

Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met.

Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet’s rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents.

Rebellion is in Flynn’s blood. Terraforming corporations make their fortune by recruiting colonists to make the inhospitable planets livable, with the promise of a better life for their children. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion.

Desperate for any advantage in a bloody and unrelentingly war, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape the rebel base together, caught between two sides of a senseless war.

The stunning second novel in the Starbound trilogy is an unforgettable story of love and forgiveness in a world torn apart by war.

Source: GoodReads

 

Verdict:  Love the background.  Hate the costumes.  Seriously, body suits?  And while I’m all for shirtless male models, I sort of feel for them the way I feel for girl models being forced to wear skin tight suits.  It’s a bit undignified.  But hey…nice chest muscles.

 

 

 

What the Cover Says To Me: Elena Phillips always knew she’d go to hell.  She is, after all, part demon.  However, her dear old dad said nothing about demon boarding school.  Figures.   He always was sort of a tool.  The good thing is as hellish-ha, ha, funny- as the school is, she is learning how to control her powers and soon will be able to wreck havoc when she returns to the mortal world and ruins everybody’s life that she hate-so far there are fifty-two people on that list if your not counting sometimes kill worthy Jonas, the paperboy.  Though he does have those YA baby blues.  But when your in Inferno School for the young and evil love isn’t something you think about.  Especially when you have revenge to look forward to.

What the Book is Really About:

Love burns. Worlds collide. Magic reigns.

This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying many of the experiences that other teenagers take for granted…which is why she is determined to enjoy her first (and perhaps only) high-school party. But Lily’s life never goes according to plan, and after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly Lily is in a different Salem – one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruellest of all the Crucibles is Lillian . . . Lily’s identical other self in this alternate universe. This new version of her world is terrifyingly sensual, and Lily is soon overwhelmed by new experiences.

Lily realizes that what makes her weak at home is exactly what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. It also puts her life in danger. Thrown into a world she doesn’t understand, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can’t hope to shoulder alone, and a love she never expected.

But how can Lily be the saviour of this world when she is literally her own worst enemy?

Source: GoodReads

Verdict: It’s okay.  The summary intrigues me more than the cover, but I can take it out in public without feeling heavily embarrassed.

 

What the Cover Says To Me: Emma High Boots of the dystopian desert is out to kill.  Obviously, can’t you see she has her hair braided up and she’s wearing tight pants?  That means she’s a badd ass.  Add the desert landscape with odd weather going on you have dystopia.  What is she out to kill?  Something big and bad obviously.  A sand monster caused by man abusing the environment.  Sounds good enough.  Now where is that option button.

What the Book Is Actually About:

Ares, God of War, is leading the other dying gods into battle. Which is just fine with Athena. She’s ready to wage a war of her own, and she’s never liked him anyway. If Athena is lucky, the winning gods will have their immortality restored. If not, at least she’ll have killed the bloody lot of them, and she and Hermes can die in peace.

Cassandra Weaver is a weapon of fate. The girl who kills gods. But all she wants is for the god she loved and lost to return to life. If she can’t have that, then the other gods will burn, starting with his murderer, Aphrodite.

The alliance between Cassandra and Athena is fragile. Cassandra suspects Athena lacks the will to truly kill her own family. And Athena fears that Cassandra’s hate will get them ALL killed.

The war takes them across the globe, searching for lost gods, old enemies, and Achilles, the greatest warrior the world has ever seen. As the struggle escalates, Athena and Cassandra must find a way to work together. Because if they can’t, fates far worse than death await.

Source: GoodReads

Verdict: Ugh.  I don’t like the revamp.  The bloody feather was actually pretty cool looking.  It was simple, understated, yet compelling.  This cover it just looks like a cliche. Total burn out.

 

 

What the Cover Says To Me:

Burn, baby, burn!

That’s what Celeste Harper thought when her wings were burnt because of a boy.

A stupid human boy.

Dumped on her ass.  Celeste now has to deal with the fallout of not only being a fallen angel, but a broken hearted mortal girl.  Will she get redemption or will she get the revenge that girl’s like Bella Swan could never even think of.

Never mess with a fallen angel.  Especially if she is crazy enough to ditch heaven for a stupid human boy.

What the Book Is Really About:

Time is slipping away….

Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can’t determine what’s wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She’s lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying—and she’s helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It’s an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother’s illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there’s no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can’t trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?

Victoria Scott’s breathtaking novel grabs readers by the throat and doesn’t let go.

Source: GoodReads

Verdict: I actually like the cover a lot.  No big surprise since I just got done talking about simplicity of feather covers.

How My Stomach Got Pumped: The Rest of the Perfect Chemistry Series by Simone Elkeles

I used to think I had a high tolerance for garbage.  I read twelve of the House of Night books.  Finished Collen Houck’s stupidity that was before I read The Perfect Chemistry series.

Maybe part of the problem was that I binge read the last two books in the series, but it’s not my fault the library decided to put both of these gems in my box the other day.  And I thought it might be better not dragging this little experiment out for a couple more months.  Of course, now that I’ve actually read them my brain and my liver sort of hate my logical sense of self.

 

 

When Carlos Fuentes returns to America after living in Mexico for a year, he doesn’t want any part of the life his older brother, Alex, has laid out for him at a high school in Colorado. Carlos likes living his life on the edge and wants to carve his own path—just like Alex did. Then he meets Kiara Westford. She doesn’t talk much and is completely intimidated by Carlos’ wild ways. As they get to know one another, Carlos assumes Kiara thinks she’s too good for him, and refuses to admit that she might be getting to him. But he soon realizes that being himself is exactly what Kiara needs right now.

Source: GoodReads

Carlos Fuentes is probably the biggest asshole out of the Fuentes brothers.

In fact, if you want to have a drinking game for Rules of Attraction, more than likely it would be him being an asshole.  Though you’d probably be dead.

Funny thing, Simone Elkeles drinking games have a tendency of doing that.

Killing any participants of drinking games.

Because everything she does wrong is so over the top wrong.  I almost think she’s unintentionally trolling with these books.

While not as overt with the stereotypes as the other two books in the series, it’s probably the most covert of using horrible stereotypes.  Mainly the fact, that Carlos Fuentes is the definition of a stereotypical Latino Alpha male.  And it sucks big time.

He reminded me a lot of Ramon.

Ramon if he was French and a Disney character.

Who is Ramon, might you ask?  The most egotistical and offensive  contemporary romance novel character I’ve ever made.  But at least Judith McNaught had the excuse of the time period she wrote her book in.

Elkeles doesn’t.

I wondered if she was trying to have an even more jerk of a character than Alex, because if that was the case oh how she did succeed.

Carlos makes Alex look like a gentleman.  And if you’ve read my previous review…well, you know how I feel about Alex.

Apart from Carlos though, this book was better than its predecessor.  Though bland, Kiara wasn’t terrible.  I did think she caved into Carlos a little bit fast, but at least she wasn’t an outright idiot and racist like Brittany.   I also have to begrudgingly say that I liked her family and b.f.f.  Elkeles didn’t completely fail on that part of the novel.

But the whole gang aspect.

It’s just a rehash of the first one.

And it happens again in a more ridiculous fashion in the third book.

Is it really that hard to think that other social issues might exist amongst teens of Latino origin besides gang violence?

You know, Katie McGarry contemporaries-though somewhat repetitive all have different issues to explore.  I’m sure that there are just as many issues to explore with Latino teens as there any other teens.

Though try telling that to Elkeles.

Overall Rating: D+ I liked Kiara and her family.  Carlos and the plot though…sucks big time.

 

Like his brothers, Luis Fuentes is a risk taker; whether he’s scaling the Rocky Mountains or dreaming of a future as an astronaut, Luis is always looking for the next thrill.

Nikki Cruz lives her life by certain rules ― don’t trust a boy who says “I love you”, boys lie to get their own way and never date a boy from the south side of Fairfield. Then she meets Luis at his brother Alex’s wedding and suddenly she’s tempted to break all her rules.

Getting Nikki to give him a chance is Luis’s biggest challenge, until he finds himself targeted by the head of the gang that nearly destroyed his brothers’ lives. Will Luis’s feelings for Nikki be enough to stop him from entering a dark and violent world that could prove to be the ultimate risk?

Source: GoodReads

 

By this point you’d think that that asshole Carlos had probably whipped out any sort of sensibilities I might’ve had.  But even though I might make a joke about how reading these books could send a person into liver failure, I don’t actually drink when I read them.  I just don’t have enough money to pay the hospital bills and more importantly I have to sort of review them for you.  But if you thought Carlos was bad…well, Luis is just as bad as worse.

Well, it really depends, do you prefer out right in your face assholes or sneaky bastards.

If you hate sneaky bastards more than this book is really going to piss you off more than Rules of Attraction.

It’s also going to piss you off if you hate generalizations that fuel stereotypes.

Oh yeah.

With Rules of Attraction  I got annoyed with Elkeles’s little remarks about Mexican American culture, but compared to  Chain Reaction this was nothing.

The female lead, Nikki, is Latina.  Which should be instant points for Elkeles its not based on the poor generalizations the character occurs:

1) She must be saucy because she’s Latina.

She might claim she’s a full blooded American, but I’d bet my left nut she’s got some Mexican blood running through her feisty veins. (25)

2) She must know Spanish because she’s Latina.

In regards to knowing Spanish: “All the Mexicans I know do,” he says. “Hell, a majority of Mexicans I know don’t even speak English.(213)

3) Because  Nikki lives in a fairly affluent neighborhood, doesn’t know Spanish, and doesn’t know how to make tacos she’s dissing her heritage.

Yeah…

I wish I could say that despite the gross generalizations the rest of the book made up for this.  But it didn’t.

Not at all.

Oh, where do I begin?

Okay, I know what I’m going to do.  I know that she’s a fictional character, but I’m going to advise Nikki to seek out a divorce lawyer when she marries Luis because girl-he’s lying to you now and he’s not going to change his mind.

Seriously.  I mean, if you really wanted to get drunk you could just take a drink every time Luis did something semi-douchey to Nikki.

Actually, you’d probably be dead so that’s not a great idea.

But maybe if you divided it by lie….

Yep, dead.

So, how can you possibly get through this installment having a drinking game and not killing yourself.

Not possible.

Because every bothersome detail, it’s going to drive you crazy.

The good news is that this book is mercifully short.

Though I really wish Nikki would’ve kicked Luis’s ass to the curb. Or at least yell at Mama Fuentes for being a horrible mother (really, someone needed to do that).

Oh, and did I mention that there was a painful Lifetime message of not having sex before marriage thrown in there complete with an over the top life time event.

Yeah.

Don’t even bother with this one.  Your sanity will thank you.

F

 

Needs More Seasoning :Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper

 

 

 

Sixteen-year-old Avery Roe wants only to take her rightful place as the witch of Prince Island, making the charms that keep the island’s whale men safe and prosperous at sea. But before she could learn how to control her power, her mother, the first Roe woman in centuries to turn her back on magic, stole Avery away from her grandmother. Avery must escape from her mother before her grandmother dies, taking with her the secrets of the Roes’ power.

When Avery awakens from a dream foretelling her own murder, she realizes time is running short—for her and for the people of her island, who, without the Roes, will lose their ships and the only life they know.

With the help of Tane, a tattooed harpoon boy from the Pacific Islands, Avery plots her escape from her mother and unravels the mysteries of her mother’s and grandmother’s pasts. Becoming a witch may prevent her murder and save her island from ruin, but Avery discovers it will also require a sacrifice she never expected—one she might not be able to make.

Source: GoodReads

I recieved an ARC from Netgalley this has in no way shaped my opinion of this book.

Witches are big in YA.

However, about half of the time they fail epically.

The other half.  Well, does the name Harry Potter ring a bell.  Okay, so part of that series is classified as middle grade and that new short story would be classified as middle adult, but if does right witches/warlock/wizards can be a big hit.  So, I was excited about Salt and Storm especially since it was going to be a historical and since one of my favorite childhood books was a historical and was about witches (sort of), I was interested in reading Salt & Storm.

The result though…

Yeah, I don’t know.  There were some lovely things about this book, but at the same time there were some fundamental flaws with Kulper’s novel.

I’ll start with the good first.  The world is nicely formed.  It’s lush.  You really get the island atmosphere and even though the prose can feel a bit tedious at times, it does add to the mood of the story.  I really felt like I got to know the small island enough and how the magic in Avery’s family worked.

Another nice thing about this book, was that it wasn’t a walking cliche.  I didn’t expect the ending it had.  And even though I’m sure that there are some people who won’t like it, it worked enough for me.  Sure, I wasn’t exactly happy with the choice that Kulper made.  But it tied the story up nicely, and I think (well, 98% sure) that this book is a standalone.  That is rare in YA where most everything is a trilogy, but I like the sense of having a sense of finality after one installment for a change.

And now for the bad…

Yeah, I know.  I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer, but I have to say there were lots of things about this one that bothered me.  And for awhile I wondered if it was just me.  And maybe it was, but I’m still going to talk about them.

1) The Character Avery:

I just couldn’t get her or her motivations.  Yes, I get she wants to be a witch.  But why?  She doesn’t seem to have that many connections with most of the islanders.  And while we are told over and over again that magic’s in her blood, I don’t get how she feels incomplete.

At times I’d almost say she was TSTL, but I don’t know if that’s so much about the character or about the overall plot structure.  Based on the way the novel is shaped, I understand why Kulper has shaped the novel the way she did-especially since this seems to be a standalone, but at the same time it just doesn’t work.  It makes the main character, Avery, seem dumb and unlikable.

2) The Plot Itself:

Sigh.  It worked, but it didn’t.  Overall, there is a simple arc to the story.  I think what bothered me about the plot was the fact that it was, in essence, sort of simple but disjointed at the same time.

This probably once again is because it’s a standalone.

And I hate complaining about this book for this reason, because YA is in desperate need of standalones, but the pacing really did feel whacked because of what Kulper was trying to accomplish.  Also, it probably didn’t help that the first half moved at a snail’s pace.

As for the actual story, I don’t know. I thought it really didn’t focus on witchcraft in the way I wanted to.  It was more about I want to be a witch and then I don’t want to be a witch.

The magic itself: not so magical.

3) The Love Interest:

Well, props for having a diverse love interest.

Minus big points for having it be essentially insta love.

Once again, the relationship seems rushed in order to finish the story.  But even if this book was-say would’ve been expanded into a series-I still don’t think I’d see the chemistry between these two.  In fact, the relationship is so fragmented that I think the mother’s five page romantic history made more sense than the relationship between Avery and her insta love.

4) The Last Fourth of the Book:

WTF?

Seriously. It sort of changed the whole tone that the book was trying to earlier to establish.  Once again, I think this goes back to the overall structure of the novel.  If things were emphasized earlier on, the ending would’ve made more sense.

Overall, this isn’t a horrible book.  It has its moments and in a lot of ways it really did work.  However, at the same time there were some problems with the structure that made  Salt & Storm  a little less than perfect.

Overall Rating: C+