And the Golden Charlie Goes To: Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

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Kiko Himura has always had a hard time saying exactly what she’s thinking. With a mother who makes her feel unremarkable and a half-Japanese heritage she doesn’t quite understand, Kiko prefers to keep her head down, certain that once she makes it into her dream art school, Prism, her real life will begin.

But then Kiko doesn’t get into Prism, at the same time her abusive uncle moves back in with her family. So when she receives an invitation from her childhood friend to leave her small town and tour art schools on the west coast, Kiko jumps at the opportunity in spite of the anxieties and fears that attempt to hold her back. And now that she is finally free to be her own person outside the constricting walls of her home life, Kiko learns life-changing truths about herself, her past, and how to be brave.

Source: GoodReads

Starfish was one of those books I felt raw after I read it.  I highly recommend it, but the book can be trigger inducing.  It touches on issues of childhood sexual abuse, attempted suicide, and emotional abuse.  If you can read through all those harsh issues, its a great read.  But it is a doozy.   It will leave you feeling emotionally drained, but at the same time the book ends on a hopeful note.

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One of the things I like best about Starfish is that it deals with an issue that is timely for all ages, when plans go array.   Though, honestly, I wanted to shake Kiko for only applying to one school.  And them not letting her know until a week or so before graduation seems a little over kill but…

I’m ignoring it.

There’s actually a lot of things where I sort of had to give a passing glance through throughout the book to enjoy it.  A lot of easy passable coincidences that happened too easily for my liking, but it was easy to overlook when this book hit me at an emotional level.

The core of this book is Kiko’s growth, and that growth had to come directly from her and not anyone else in the book.  She doesn’t have a savior.  Yes, she does have help along the way, but ultimately its up to her to decide what to do with her life.

And I think that’s what I liked best about Starfish.  I could ignore all the coincidences because in the end it wasn’t randomly meeting an old friend or finding a mentor that pulled Kiko up from her problems.  It was herself, and while she had made progress she still had issues.

Admittedly, I did think some things were over the top.  The mother characters depiction especially.  Yes, I get she was a narcissist, but I can tell you from growing up with one that her mother seemed a little too extreme.

While some of the classic narcissist behavior was there, the mother was too obvious.  Her gas lighting wasn’t that skillful and she didn’t come off remotely charming.  The narcissist that I know can hide his true colors, and if you didn’t know him you would think he was this really outgoing, caring guy (which he’s not).  With this character,   everyone knew she was toxic, which isn’t exactly the way narcissists operate on.  She is definitely a contender though for a Golden Charlie, if there ever was one.  It amazes me that she was able to get custody, let alone full custody of these kids through the book.  Everything was just so messed up on so many levels.  Then again, I don’t know much (okay, anything) about Nebraska family law but I can’t seem it deviating two much from the two states that I do practice in.

I also found the romance in this book a little meh.  I started out hating it, but in the end I grew found to it.  Again, I think why I ended up liking it, was that it wasn’t the relationship that was saving the character from her problems but herself.  After I realized that’s what was going to happen, AND they didn’t get together right away.  I started liking the relationship more.  Still though, I could’ve dealt without it and it wasn’t my favorite thing about the book at all.

In all I do recommend Starfish.  There were some problems with it, but if I look over the coincidence make way for a plot twist, and while I did find the mother to character to be a bit on the extreme side, it was a worth while read.  The character’s evolution throughout the story really made the book for me, and it’s an oddly empowering story.  Again though, it is trigger inducing so if any of the above referenced themes bother you, you might want to considering at least going into this one with those things in mind.

Overall Rating: B+

 

 

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It’s a Family Thing: Kissing Max Holden by Kathy Upperman

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Kissing Max Holden was a terrible idea…

After his father has a life-altering stroke, Max Holden isn’t himself. As his long-time friend, Jillian Eldridge only wants to help him, but she doesn’t know how. When Max climbs through her window one night, Jill knows that she shouldn’t let him kiss her. But she can’t resist, and when they’re caught in the act by her dad, Jill swears it’ll never happen again. Because kissing Max Holden is a terrible idea.

With a new baby sibling on the way, her parents fighting all the time, and her dream of culinary school up in the air, Jill starts spending more and more time with Max. And even though her father disapproves and Max still has a girlfriend, not kissing Max is easier said than done. Will Jill follow her heart and allow their friendship to blossom into something more, or will she listen to her head and stop kissing Max Holden once and for all?

Source: GoodReads

Books that deal with cheating and infidelity always have an ew factor to them.  And Kissing Max Holden is no exception.

First of all, I was reluctant to read this one in the first place because of that, its imprint (Swoon Reads has had a lot of misses for me), AND its hideous cover and title.  However, I found myself oddly liking and hating the book at the same time.

In the end I gave it a middle of the road rating, though it’s more of a higher middle of the road than lower book because it was ridiculously readable.  But God, was I frustrated with the characters throughout reading this book.  Seriously, I wanted to scream at every single one of them for being repugnant assholes.

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I think the cheating is the obvious factor.  But the cheating was more of a result of really weak characters who had a lot of issues.  At least I guess I should give them props for having issues, rather than being perfect caricatures.  But God if not everyone in this book was an asshole.

Asshole Number One: The Title Character

I did not find how Max Holden was this guy that everyone wanted.  Throughout most of the novel, he was a mess.  I really don’t know what Jill found interesting about him other than the fact he probably looks like a young Captain Hook via OUAT.  Because seriously, dude is a disaster for most of the book with him being constantly drunk, having a girlfriend, and just being a dope in general.

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He drives drunk twice in this book.

That in itself should make him unattractive.  He also cheats on his girlfriend who we’re told is a bitch so that makes it okay, but no it doesn’t.

Asshole Number Two: The Main Character

She knowingly cheated with Max (multiple times) and is super judge-y.  Also, she’s a hypocrite.

Asshole Number Three: The Main Character’s Father

He is a controlling dick throughout most of this book.  He also is a hypocrite.  AND did I mention he drained the main character’s college savings account so that he and his new wife could undergo fertility treatments.

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No.

Just no.

If you do not have enough money to pay for fertility treatments and have to use your other child’s money in order to pay for such treatments, you don’t have the money for a second child.

Those actions were just too repugnant of me not to be outraged for the MC.  And no, MC don’t try to downplay it by saying when you looked into the baby’s eyes you melted into a pool of baby love.  It just doesn’t work that way.

That’s your future.

Be pissed.

If that was my father and stepmom I’d still be pissed and I’d probably be resentful of my $10,000 petri dish sibling.

But hey, I’m a Slytherin so…

Asshole Number Four: Stepmom

See money on fertility treatments rant.  But she can apparently afford fancy dinner parties, Pottery Barn nurseries, and Nordstrom maternity wear.

Need I say more.

Asshole Number Five: Becky

Becky is the girlfriend that Max cheats on.  She is depicted as an asshole, so that the cheating between Max and Jilly didn’t look too bad.

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Note, it didn’t work.

Honestly though, even though everyone and their mother seemed like assholes in this book, I did enjoy this one.  I don’t know why exactly.  Looking at it post read, I should’ve liked it a lot less than I did since everyone was annoying and honestly I don’t think the character really developed or Max changed enough where the ship was tolerable.

And I’m trying to think about something good to write now.  Because really the book wasn’t that realistic.  The way infidelity was handled her was sort of confounding.  It was okay for one party, but not for another party….I don’t know, it sort of left me with a weird feeling.

But again, when I closed the book I didn’t hate it.  It was readable and even though I didn’t like the character or thought that certain members acted a little unrealistic, I still found it to be an enjoyable enough read.  But I don’t exactly know why.

If you don’t get mad by infidelity and double standards, you could foreseeably pick this one up.  Like I said, it’s not that bad.  It’s just full of assholes.

Overall Rating: A B-

Rom Com Horror Fusion: There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

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Scream meets YA in this hotly-anticipated new novel from the bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss.

One-by-one, the students of Osborne High are dying in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, the dark secrets among them must finally be confronted.

International bestselling author Stephanie Perkins returns with a fresh take on the classic teen slasher story that’s fun, quick-witted, and completely impossible to put down.

Source: GoodReads

I applaud authors whenever they step out of their comfort zone, though I’m also a little skeptical.  Which is what describes my feelings when I saw that Stephanie Perkins was writing a teen slasher novel.

If you’re not familiar with Perkins’s work,  she has previously written three incredibly fluffy rom coms and has contribute two stories to two anthologies that focus on seasonal romance stories.  Needless to say, seeing that she was writing a horror driven story was a little unexpected.

Though, if you kept up on her blog you would know she had a penchant for such movies.

Anyway, overall after I finished There’s Someone Inside Your House, I was feeling a bit meh.    It wasn’t the worst book ever by any means, but I really think had it not had Perkins name attached it might’ve not been picked up.

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I’ll start with the good stuff.  This novel has a set of fairly diverse characters and they’re not token characters by any means.  The main character, for example, is biracial and her best friend is transgender.    They all have fully formed personalities and the interactions for the most part flow fairly naturally.

I will give Perkins this, her strength always seems to be her characterizations. Each of these characters for the most part seems fully formed.  Yes, I felt more disconnect than I did from her other books since the book was in third person, but I still felt like these characters could be real people.

I wasn’t such a fan the ship though.  I think, in part, because I felt it was rushed.  I guess this might’ve been in part because I’m so used to Perkins’s rom coms where the ship is the focus of the book.  But even then..the characters go from having an awkward conversation in a grocery store to having sex in a corn field ridiculously fast.

It just felt really fragmented if you want to be honest about it.

In general, the book felt very fractured.

I’ll be blunt, I’m not a huge fan of horror movies unless its a black comedy horror movie like Arachnophobia or Serial Mom, but in order for any of these movies to work the suspense has to be built up appropriately.   That’s why Hitchcock was as successful as he was with his classic suspense films.  Here, the suspense was minimum at best.  I mean, the killer was a random character that was revealed halfway through the book and I really didn’t care.

Honestly, this book should’ve gone in two ways.  It could’ve gone really dark or black comedy sort of dark, but it went neither here.  Instead, it was not that humorous and while the killer was creepy, he was fairly generic and the plot didn’t intrigue me enough.

And as for the deep dark secret that our heroine has….um, yeah.  I really had a hard time buying all that.  And her parents…again, yeah.  I had a hard time buying they were that heartless.  I guess it was possible, but yeah…it just was a bit eye roll worthy.

I really don’t know if I’d recommend this one.  Even if you are a die hard Stephanie Perkins fan, I don’t think you’re going to be a fan of this one.  It’s not bad, it’s just sort of blah.  Again, I think it’s one of those books that if it didn’t have a name attached to it, it would be thrown into the slush pile.  There’s nothing really original or intriguing about it, but was it terrible?

Hardly.

It’s just one of those books I know that I’m really not going to remember which is sad.  Again, I love when authors try new things, but this just does not seem to work for me which is sad, I’ve been waiting pretty much since 2014 for Perkins to release something else.

Hopefully next time, it will be a cute and fluffy rom com.

Overall Rating: A C.  The writing was halfway decent and it was readable, but it was also definitely forgettable.

Golem Children, Bad YA Books, and Apple Cider: Falling for Vermont

Click here to see trailer.

Hallmark is getting into the season.  Meaning, instead of showing summer time movies they are now making the most of their fall footage before they start airing exclusively Christmas movies for three months.

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I decided since it is fall and it’s still 100 degrees where I was, I would at least enjoy fall by watching one of these movies.  However, Falling for Vermont is probably one of the worst Hallmark movies I’ve seen (and I’ve seen a lot of bad ones).

This one tells the story of a successful YA author whose books are only read by second graders who gets into a car accident, loses her memory and becomes a prisoner of sorts to a small country doctor who is unfortunate enough to share Donald Trump JR’s hair dye and has two very unfortunate children-one who I swear is the worst child actor I’ve seen in awhile, and that’s saying something.

The movie starts off with Angela (the MC) at a BEA sort of thing being greeted by a seven year old that’s supposedly in cosplay but isn’t.  The scene is awkward beyond belief.  Considering that most YA books have some element of sex and/or violence in it it is sort of cringe worthy to think a kid losing their baby teeth is reading it.  But unfortunately, this does happen.  I remember when I went to the movie theaters to see New Moon it was filled with young kids.  Obviously, their parents had not read Breaking Yawn because if they had they would’ve avoided taking their kids there and having to tell them that babies do not eat their mother’s womb like Resnotsme did.

We are cut to Dr. Trump JR who is doing a cheery checkup on a seven year old complete with fall decorations.  You’d think he’d realize that a lot of his patients would be allergic to the fall foliage.  God knows, my allergies have been terrible this year.  Hw then picks up his kids and his mother (or mother in-law, didn’t figure out who it was) tells him he needs to get laid again so that their kids can have a mother figure.

Note, the children instantly give me children of the corn vibes.  Especially Dr. Trump’s daughter.  Again, probably the worst child actress that I’ve seen in awhile.  Though to her credit, the writing doesn’t help.  Hallmark has a series to make children sound very creepy.  Throughout her first interaction, we learn that she likes are MC’s very generic YA series about time traveling.  It sounds oddly like that dumb series I read last year where that idiot goes to Scotland and gets trapped in Henry II’s court.   I have the sequel somewhere and one day I’m going to force myself to read it.  I’m dreading that day.  Honestly though, that book is better than this movie which is sad.

Anyway, MC has a meltdown about not being able to go apple picking  at Not BEA and ends up taking a car and going to Vermont and gets into a car accident and loses her memory.  Note, she has head trauma but she clearly is able to walk around town clueless until the bumbling sheriff sees her and asks if something is wrong (he apparently doesn’t see the car that she crashed).

Obviously, it is.  This guy though doesn’t care.  Why should he.  He doesn’t do anything except for the be Dr. Trump JR’s b.f.f. throughout the movie.  You know the one he’ll occasionally throw a basketball with and talk about lady issues with for like thirty minutes so the viewer gets “emotion” from him.   Also,  the character is the only POC in the movie and therefore the token Hallmark character.

Note, Hallmark has a horrible problem with diversity.  Occasionally, there might be a movie with a Latina lead but other than that nope.  And forget about a QUILTBAG person having a role of anything more than token gay best friend who give the MC a sad makeover which usually consist of merely giving her hair beach waives and dropping the teacher’s cardigan for a blazer or whatever.

Anyway, the MC finds herself emerged into small town Vermont life and soon becomes Dr. Trump JR’s default wife by making him sandwiches and writing his dumb kid’s play that’s probably pretty much the worst thing I’ve ever heard.

Seriously, the little brat won some contest to write a play for the town’s fall festival and it ends up being pretty much something you would see in a bad PSA sketch that your school would force you to watch-pretty much a girl is looking for lost concert tickets and learns who her “real” friends are.

And you know what, the amnesic author thinks its good.  I can totally imagine myself reviewing her time traveling series and I can see myself saying that its shit.  In fact, I’m going to rewrite the scene right here:

Golem Child: Elizabeth, is my play any good?

Elizabeth: Um, do you want me to be honest?

Golem Child: That means it’s really good, right?

Elizabeth: Oh, honey….it’s good effort, but I hate to break it to you if you show this crap the only way people will like it is in the way they like The Room.

However, now that I think about it, maybe Elizabeth/Angela didn’t have enough common sense to know it was bad.  She did write a Twilight ripoff after all.

Anywhoo, while the MC haplessly ends up becoming Dr. Trump JR’s quasi wife we are shown footage of autumn leaves.  I think this is to get us to warm up to the slightly captive MC falling in love with the shoe polish hair dyed doc.  It didn’t work though.  I found the ship detestable. Scenic canoe trips or not.

Pro tip, if you are going to have your character have a romance don’t do it when they have amnesia.  Or just when they are diagnosed with having amnesia and you’re a medical professional helping the MC out.  It comes off as creepy and not endearing, Hallmark.

Whatever though.  They look good enough together, so things are going well.  Until, the MC sees her shitty book and gets her memory back.

I can just imagine it her seeing the shitty book and realizing I wrote this shit.  God, what is wrong with me.  No wonder she doesn’t hightail it out of dodge yet.  I mean, if you wrote a Twilight rip off with time travel would you really want to admit it to the world?

Okay, she has money.

So never fucking mind.  I’d probably admit I wrote that shit too if it could pay off my student loans and let me put a down payment down on a house.

Anyway, she finally admits who she right during golem child’s horrendous play because at this point she knows that bad PSA plays are even worse than Twilight rip-offs and she doesn’t want to be stuck with this annoying family anyway.  And at that point, her sister and boyfriend who didn’t give jack shit about her throughout the movie find her.

Of course, she most go back to the evil bad city she realizes what’s important and goes back and makes and sandwiches for Dr. Trump JR and his kids in Vermont and the little golem child conveniently watches them make out because why not.

This movie is awful.  From my recap/review you can see I was not impressed with the writing or acting.  After you watch enough Hallmark movies you realize they’re fairly formulaic and insulting.   Seriously, they all fall in one of the predictable routes:

A) Big city girl gets stranded into a new town and ends up straddled to either her loser ex or some guy with baggage that keeps him from leaving town and she has to make a decision of whether to continue to be  a productive member of society or settle for the douche.

B) Girl hooks up with a prince.  Admittedly, I like these, but again has to leave her life for the prince.  At least in these cases it makes a little bit more sense.  But I would like at least in one of them for her to keep her career.

C) Middle age woman (i.e. she’s usually on in her early thirties tops) has a crisis in which she tries to figure out if her marriage and kids were the right choice for her.  She finds out they are and usually finds out that she’s having another little rugrat at the end.

Of course, there are some variants.  But these are the three main plots they have and it just makes me sake my head.  While family and kids are important, I wish these movies would address that you can have a substantive career as a woman as well.  At the end of the day, I just feel like its saying ambitious women=bad which makes me angry.

Falling for Vermont is probably one of the worst if not the worst Hallmark movies I’ve seen.  It’s been awhile since I actually sat down and watched one of these things, so maybe that’s why I find this particular one to be a dozen of a stinker.

Anyway, I can’t recommend it.  I also don’t know how to rate this.  I used to rate on the Dean Cain scale but I find him to be so repugnant on so many levels, I can’t do that anymore.  So, I’ll just give it a standard letter grade now of an F.  If we’re doing a Hallmark curve though it might be a C.   Regardless, I don’t recommend.

Needs More Intersectionality and Less Douchey Love Interests: Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

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Moxie girls fight back!

Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her small-town Texas high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes and hallway harassment. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Viv’s mom was a punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, so now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. Pretty soon Viv is forging friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, and she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

Source: GoodReads

Before I start off this review, I should mention the elephant in the room, the Kirkus review.  Fuck that.  Honestly, if I would’ve wrote this book that reviewer would’ve probably had an even more sourer review because I thought the douchey love interest/s were in part the worst part of this book.

Let’s talk about what worked first.  Feminism.

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For the most part I think Mathieu did a fairly good job with exploring feminism.  I did wish that some areas would’ve been fleshed out more especially dealing with intersectionality issues that appear in feminism.  While issues with race were sort of  dealt with, there was not one QUILTBAG character in the book which made me frown a bit.  In fact, the closest thing we get to having a QUILTBAG character is one of the male douches calling one of the characters as lesbian as an insult.

The small town element was spot on though.  Mathieu is from South East Texas and being originally from that area,  she has does it spot on.  The sad thing about this book is it takes place in Rockport- the area that Harvey’s eye directly hit so I just sort of winced a little bit when I read that.  However, that aside, many of the  interactions with the students and the administration were stuff that I could relate to when I was growing up.  For example, I remember being harassed by these jerks on the football team in front of their God damn coach (who was my Physics teacher) and it wasn’t until my father pretty much threatened to sue the school that anyone did anything about it.  Thanks, Coach, for not doing your fucking job.  You were a fucking bad teacher too just showing us Bill Nye the science reruns the entire semester too, come to think of it (also, Bill believes in science so you might not actually like him).

Moral of that story is that sometimes it’s good to have a slightly scary/psychotic parent who school administrators are scared of and who makes his living yelling at people so he’s actually pretty good at it (yelling at assholes that is).  And yes, you can make a living do that.

Honestly though, it’s  sad when you have to get a parent to threaten litigation to get someone to actually fucking do something and even then it only worked halfway.  They would still act like jerks when they thought they could get away with it.  However, it happens a lot and the situation established in Moxie was unfortunately believable.

I also liked that there was clear character growth.  I did think that Viv treated Emma horrible throughout part of the book, but I did like the fact she acknowledged this and grew from it.  I wish she would’ve dropped the douchey boyfriend with the bad haircut though because he was a total mansplainer and Bernie Bro in the making.

Seriously.

Anytime, a guy did something horrible he told her to stop overreacting and that not all guys are like that.  And don’t believe the girl when she says someone tried to rape her because you haven’t heard the guy’s side of the story.

In other words,  he could totally work for Professor Umbridge’s Department of Education (oh, wait that’s not Umbridge, that’s Betsey Devos but they are so much alike even share the same fashion sense….)

Digressing.

Seriously though, I am done with mansplaining and character like Seth want me to gouge  his eyes out.  It also doesn’t help that excuses were made for him so that he and the MC would get together.

Her mother literally tells her that Seth is a guy and he doesn’t know better ’cause that’s who guys are.

Right…

I’m pretty sure human decency exists regardless of what sort of junk you have down there, but that’s just me.

It also doesn’t help that the mother also gives a lecture about how you can date people with other political views even though they voted for reprehensible things because that’s not who they are as a person. And adults know that.

DISAGREE. FUCKING DISAGREE.

I’m sorry, you vote based on what you believe.  Your beliefs influence your actions.  The 2016 election showed that and the outright and blatant displays of hatred that has happened in the country since that turd of a president of ours has taken over is more proof to why I will NEVER EVER date a  conservative and why I don’t like being told that I should give them a fucking chance.   Because obviously they didn’t give a damn about human decency when they voted in November, instead they irrationally hated a woman  who was probably the most qualified candidate for president in a long while.

But I’m digressing…and to be fair, when I read this I was still angered by an article I read earlier this week in The Federalist ( here’s a related article not going to directly link to that trash)  so that probably was part of the reason I saw red.

Still though, I didn’t buy that jack shit argument and as a relatively mature adult I can say that if you voted for Trump or for that matter are still planning on voting Republican I would not date you in a million years.

And yes, I know I live in Texas and my standards are probably too high according to the mother character in this book.  But I don’t mother fucking care.  I don’t want to be stuck with douche which is what it looks like the mother character and the MC are doing in this book.

Okay, I really ranted on that longer than I had attended.

I also wish the best friend who said that feminism was a bad thing would’ve got schooled a little more.  I also fucking hate it when people are like feminism ew.  Seriously, guys, seriously.  Learn what feminism fucking is.

Problems aside, I did think this one had some good messages.  Was it the best feminist centric book I’ve read this year, probably not.  Like I said, it could’ve dealt dealing with more intersectionality issues and not stuffed the creepy romances down our throat.  But other than that it was enjoyable.  Just not my favorite Mathieu book.

Overall Rating: A very solid B.

Fucking Just Google It: Love and Other Alien Experiences by Kerry Winfrey

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In this heartwarming debut by HelloGiggles blogger Kerry Winfrey, a young agoraphobe begins a journey of first love that leads her to the true meaning of home—just by taking one small step outside of her house.

My name is Mallory Sullivan.

My therapist says I have an anxiety disorder.

My brother says I’m an “optimistic recluse.”

Everybody else says I’m a freak.

And they kind of have a point, because I haven’t left the house in 67 days and only attend class via the webcam on my laptop. The person I talk to the most other than my mom and brother is the completely obnoxious BeamMeUp, and all we do is argue on New Mexico’s premiere alien message board.

But after yesterday, I have something: a chance. If I can win the homecoming crown by convincing resident hot popular guy and Friday Night Lights spawn Brad Kirkpatrick to go as my date, then maybe #stayathome will never appear next to the name @Mallory_Sullivan ever again.

First, I have to leave my room.

Source: GoodReads

Awhile back (think a couple of years ago) I read this self published book called Cinder and Ella and I ripped into it.  And when I mean, ripped into it.  I went off on it big time because of the author’s obvious lack of research about committing someone.  Look, I know not everyone’s been to law school BUT it’s not that difficult to Google what commitment proceedings will entail.   There was no research done in that book, and I felt like I was having a flashback to that reading experience when I read Love and Other Alien Experiences. 

I’ll give Love and Other Alien Experiences this though, it had a cute ship going for it.  If it would’ve exploited the ship and not have dramatized and poorly executed the mental health stuff out I could’ve really enjoyed this one.

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I think that’s what makes me so angry.  A lot of times in YA I hate or don’t get the ship, but here I totally get it.  I wanted it damn it, even though the MC online acts completely different than she does in her narration and IRL interactions.

But man, the banter that was going on in the online chatroom was cute.

What wasn’t hot, again, was the rest of the story.  I don’t know what made me angrier the indifferent mother, the incompetent shrink, or the ridiculous online school bit with the stupid internet timer.

Um, yeah, that was just dumb and annoying.

Which is a good way to describe the mother character in general dumb and annoying.  She has no idea how to deal with daughter’s mental illness.  When her daughter tells her she wants to try to go to school again, the mother things its perfectly acceptable for her to walk to school alone despite having agoraphobia and anxiety issues.

And it’s not even like the mother was busy or anything like that, she was sipping coffee and listening to Michael Buble while her daughter had a panic attack while walking on her way to school. Plus, I should mention said MC has a brother who could’ve taken her too but plot point (I guess).

The shrink’s no better she was like ho hum do you really think you’re ready to go to school ho hum, um okay.

Yeah, both are POS adults in my opinion.

It gets worse though.  After Mallory (not surprisingly) has said panic attack her mother threatens to send her to a place to deal with other kids like her (aka an institution).

Lady, you definitely get a Golden Charlie nomination for that if not the damn award for 2017 (note to self, I actually need to give a Golden Charlie on my end of the year wrap up, I talk about them all the fucking time it seems).  For those of you who haven’t been regular followers of my reviews, a Golden Charlie is an award I give to YA’s worst parents named aptly after the OG poor YA parent, Charlie Swan.

The shrink is also one of those people who gives shrinks bad names.  She constantly pressures the MC to do things, without even acknowledging what sort of progress she makes.  For example, when the MC tries to talk about her online relationships the shrink rolls her eyes at her and says they’re not “real” relationships and then forces her to go outside.

Obviously, this shrink does not know how agoraphobia works, neither does it seem the author since Mallory can at times go outside with no fear whatsoever because the plot needs it.  Oh, and did I even mention how the agoraphobia was triggered?

I didn’t.

Well, Mallory mistakes a guy as her absentee dad at the Cheesecake Factory and can’t live down the embarrassment.

You can stop rolling your eyes now.

Honestly, did it clue the author to Google the condition and how actual shrinks treat it?

Also, the home school/being embarrassingly connected to the school via a web cam.  Again, research much?  There are a lot of online accredited home schools that would’ve just been easier for the MC to attend .  I just felt like this book was either 1) poorly researched or 2) ignored the obvious just for the plot and it drove me crazy.

If you’re able to look past these things you might be able to enjoy it.  As I said, it had a cute ship I just couldn’t handle these sorts of major faux pas.  There are lots of people suffering from mental illness.  Chances are either you or your family member suffers from something, and it just disgusted me how easily characters in this book were threatening to commit someone.  It’s just not that easy.  Trust me.  There are a lot of rules in place that even trying to find out if your love one is in treatment and is taking their medications can be a difficult if not impossible task.

Which is why I ended up throwing this book against the wall and hissing a lot of expletives under my breath and decided to rage write this review after working all week and having a poor reaction to allergies that caused me to take a Benadryl.

Yes, I wrote this review even though I should be drooling on my pillow right now because that’s how pissed I am about this book.  In a way, I think I am angrier with this one than Cinder and Ella.  While it is true that Cinder and Ella  in a lot of ways was worse than this book in its handling of mental health issues, this book annoyed me more because aside from that issue it had potential.  And I think that’s where it failed me the most.

Overall Rating: From me it’s a total flop and a F.  I could’ve given it a higher rating, but I’m not this book just made me too angry and admittedly it’s the first book I’ve thrown at the wall in awhile.

 

 

Stereotypical Contemporary Melodrama: After the Game by Abi Glines

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To everyone who knows him, West Ashby has always been that guy: the cocky, popular, way-too-handsome-for-his-own-good football god who led Lawton High to the state championships. But while West may be Big Man on Campus on the outside, on the inside he’s battling the grief that comes with watching his father slowly die of cancer.

Two years ago, Maggie Carleton’s life fell apart when her father murdered her mother. And after she told the police what happened, she stopped speaking and hasn’t spoken since. Even the move to Lawton, Alabama, couldn’t draw Maggie back out. So she stayed quiet, keeping her sorrow and her fractured heart hidden away.

As West’s pain becomes too much to handle, he knows he needs to talk to someone about his father—so in the dark shadows of a post-game party, he opens up to the one girl who he knows won’t tell anyone else.

West expected that talking about his dad would bring some relief, or at least a flood of emotions he couldn’t control. But he never expected the quiet new girl to reply, to reveal a pain even deeper than his own—or for them to form a connection so strong that he couldn’t ever let her go…

Source: GoodReads

I feel like there’s a sub category of YA contemporary that should be called YA melodrama.   Usually, these are books that are guilty pleasures like Katy McGarry or Miranda Kennealy.  Pretty much most of the plots in said books involve having a dual point of view with two teens who have problems that are usually only seen on daytime soap operas and they are only able to get through these issues through the power of love.

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Yes, the plot can vary from book to book, but this is pretty much the standard fare for these sorts of books.  They’re enjoyable but they’re formulaic and there are a lot of them out there.  And I’ll admit it, on a rare occasion I crave these sorts of books.

They’re like bad fast food.  You know it’s not going to be the best meal ever (in taste or in health purposes), but for those few minutes you’re eating it, it is enjoyable.

Abi Glines Field Party series was advertised at my local book store.  Where I live is a pretty big football town (full disclosure, I don’t know shit about football) and they were advertising the series as a deal.  I was interested in a gushy melodramatic romance so I purchased the lot of them.

Originally, I was planning on doing a back to back reading binge.  But after the first book, I was like I need a break from this shit.

It wasn’t God awful-or least God awful in terms of the books that I read-but it was bad.  First of all, I don’t feel like Glines did her research on selective mutism or hospice care.  I don’t know how anyone would NOT know that West’s father had cancer.  If he was as big of a deal as he was made out to be, surely someone would notice.  Or at the very least if he was working a job, you’d think that his boss and fellow employees would notice when he went to get chemo or whatever.

What bothered me more than the handling of West’s disease was Maggie’s selective mutism.  It was merely there to present Maggie and West with an obstacle.  She’s able to talk again with no therapy and other than a quick info dump about what happened to her mom, we never really see how her death impacted Maggie.

I also did care one bit about the ship.

The first interaction between these two characters involves West forcing himself on Maggie.  It’s just gross.  And you might be saying, it was just a kiss, MJ.

It might’ve been just a kiss, but he still kissed her without her fucking consent, thinking she was mute and thinking she didn’t want to be kissed.  It was fucking messed up, sick daddy or not.  And it sort of made the relationship gross before it even beyond.

It probably also didn’t help the ship that West was extremely possessive and creepy throughout the entire damn book too.

I get it, possessive boyfriends in YA are an unfortunate main stay, but it really annoyed me how nonchalant West’s actions were.  And yeah, there is a part of the book where Maggie tells him off for being a stalker, but it’s only for like five pages.

I think what really bothered me about the handling of all of this, was Maggie’s background.   Her backstory had a lot of domestic violence involved, to the point where you would think that West’s actions would alarm her more than they did.

But it’s never really mentioned, or comparisons are never really made.  Instead, West apologizes and they go on with things together even though you know they’ll inevitably blow up again and…

Yeah, I’m cynical about this sort of stuff.  I’ve also seen it too much in real life, so that’s probably why I hated West/Maggie.  And to be fair, I have seen way, way, worse ships in YA.

The sad thing is, I didn’t hate this though.  I have read way worst things in YA and as far as rage inducing books go, it only caused my eye to twitch just a little.  It should’ve made me a lot more angrier than I was, but at the end of it I was apathetic and just sort of shrugged.  I just decided not to do a binge read because I think the twitch could develop into something a lot more dangerous for my sanity.

Anyway, if you can get by with the shitty relationship (which is debatable) this book isn’t outright terrible wast of time, but if you have something better on your shelf read that first.

Overall Rating: A C.

To Summarize Misogyny, Emails, Russia, and Morons: What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton

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“In the past, for reasons I try to explain, I’ve often felt I had to be careful in public, like I was up on a wire without a net. Now I’m letting my guard down.” —Hillary Rodham Clinton, from the introduction of What Happened

For the first time, Hillary Rodham Clinton reveals what she was thinking and feeling during one of the most controversial and unpredictable presidential elections in history. Now free from the constraints of running, Hillary takes you inside the intense personal experience of becoming the first woman nominated for president by a major party in an election marked by rage, sexism, exhilarating highs and infuriating lows, stranger-than-fiction twists, Russian interference, and an opponent who broke all the rules. This is her most personal memoir yet.

In these pages, she describes what it was like to run against Donald Trump, the mistakes she made, how she has coped with a shocking and devastating loss, and how she found the strength to pick herself back up afterward. With humor and candor, she tells readers what it took to get back on her feet—the rituals, relationships, and reading that got her through, and what the experience has taught her about life. She speaks about the challenges of being a strong woman in the public eye, the criticism over her voice, age, and appearance, and the double standard confronting women in politics.

She lays out how the 2016 election was marked by an unprecedented assault on our democracy by a foreign adversary. By analyzing the evidence and connecting the dots, Hillary shows just how dangerous the forces are that shaped the outcome, and why Americans need to understand them to protect our values and our democracy in the future.

The election of 2016 was unprecedented and historic. What Happened is the story of that campaign and its aftermath—both a deeply intimate account and a cautionary tale for the nation.

Source: GoodReads

Disclaimer: I voted for Hillary Clinton in both of her presidential campaigns, and I’d vote for her again in a damn heart beat.  So, yeah…obviously, this is not going to bash her.  And before you mansplain that I didn’t do my research on her, I’ll have you know that I did PLENTY.  I just, you know, didn’t get my news from Info Wars or Facebook.

Oh, also if you decide to troll on this review your comment is never going to get to see the light of daylight (or if you post junk on my GoodReads review of this you’ll her blocked and deleted).  And don’t think you’re going to get a rise out of me, I’ll just be laughing as I block and delete because it makes it easier to know who to avoid.

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Okay, that aside.  I will say right away that I’ve always considered HRC to be a role model.     A lot of the choices I have made in my career have been influenced by her, and I try to live up by the motto that she refers a lot to in this book, “Do all the good you can, for all the people you can, in all the ways you can, as long as ever you can.”  The quotes actually a product of Hillary’s Methodist and I’m Catholic but it has really influenced a lot of my decisions.  And Hillary Clinton has made the path forward a little bit easier for professional women going forward, and she needs to be given praise for that.

 

The book (obviously) deals with her run for president.  It was an enthralling read.  A bit bittersweet, melancholy, and desperately needed.  When I finished reading it, I did feel like the country would eventually be okay.  Though, now as I write this review watching the latest Trump-catastrophes that are airing on MSNBC that feeling is quickly disintegrating.  I think what I liked best about this book was how relatable I found Hillary in the pages.

Hillary Clinton relatable?  I know a lot of people are laughing at that.  And I’ll probably get some flak for that remark, but as a professional woman reading about Hillary’s own struggles with misogyny I found myself nodding my head throughout the pages.  It’s amazing that the struggles she faced at the beginning of her career are similar to struggles that I’ve experienced in my own.    One of the many reasons, why she will always be a feminist icon.

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The tone of the book has almost a blunt quality about it.  And I loved it.  She doesn’t waffle around subjects.  She depicts the election for what it was.  She takes blame for her own mistakes (think the comment on coal miners) but also states the very obvious that there were a lot of outside factors that contribute to her loss and the idiot we now have as president.  Honestly, her tone reminds me a lot of my sister which is bonus points for her.  It’s also interesting to note, that a lot of people don’t like my sister because she’s direct…funny, how being direct is considered a plus when you have a penis and not a vagina.

There is also an intimate quality to the book.  Hillary talks about her personal life: Bill, Chelsea, the grandkids,  her friends,  even the dogs.  We also learn what she likes to eat for breakfast and what’s on her DVR (though, if you read any of those stupid emails you’d know she watched The Good Wife, so it’s not really that big of a spoiler, but apparently Bill likes NCIS: LA).  It also dives into some of the darker emotions that she experienced after the election, and the hope she has for the future.  You also see her disdain for how the coverage was handled during the election and how Matt Laurer was pretty much an idiot (Hillary, girl, I agree).

As much as this book is about Hillary and about the fallout of the disastrous election in 2016, the book also touches on policy.  Policy, oh lord, how I missed you.

I don’t know if I ever mentioned this to you guys, but I minored in political science during college, and that in part made watching the whole mess of an election really hard for me.  Even during the primaries it seemed policy was overlooked (and yes, even the democratic primary).

Sure, St. Bernard promised the moon but he never explained how we were going to get there.  Hillary clearly had a plan of how she wanted to enact policies, and how she thought we could feasibly get there.  Her website was filled with them, and I always annoyed me how a certain idiotic morning news host with bad hair that used to be B.F.F.’s with Donald Trump until he insulted his fiancee said she had no message.  Because her website was nothing but message after message.

But hey, ration was thrown away in this election.  Especially the general election.  In the later part of the book, there are sections of this book that almost feel like they’re written as an indictment against Russia, Wikileaks, the media and in part to Comey  for what they did to unravel the momentum that she had.  And it’s a damn it’s a beautiful written thing.  Hate her all you want, but if it wasn’t for Comey’s interference the media would’ve been talking about that damn bus and it’s more likely than not that pervert wouldn’t be turning the White House not the Golden Showers House (God, I feel for whoever will be POTUS next, they’ll have to fumigate the place).

Yeah, crude.  But I really don’t care.  Again, this is my review and I’m just sick of having to be the adult while all the Trump, the Russian bots,  trolls, Bernie supporters, etc. can act like the idiots they are.

Okay…back to the book. I think my overall thought when I closed this one is how much I missed Hillary and what could’ve been.  Even if she never runs for office again, I hope her voice continues to resonate.  It also makes me more energetic to keep on resisting, to fight the good fight.

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Overall Rating: An A.  I enjoyed it and it was needed.  An articulate summation of what went wrong by the woman who should be president of the United States.

 

If That’s the Case then I REALLY Regret Today’s Reading Choice: If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L Armentrout

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Lena Wise is always looking forward to tomorrow, especially at the start of her senior year. She’s ready to pack in as much friend time as possible, to finish college applications and to maybe let her childhood best friend Sebastian know how she really feels about him. For Lena, the upcoming year is going to be epic—one of opportunities and chances.

Until one choice, one moment, destroys everything.

Now Lena isn’t looking forward to tomorrow. Not when friend time may never be the same. Not when college applications feel all but impossible. Not when Sebastian might never forgive her for what happened.

For what she let happen.

With the guilt growing each day, Lena knows that her only hope is to move on. But how can she move on when her and her friends’ entire existences have been redefined? How can she move on when tomorrow isn’t even guaranteed?

Source: GoodReads

If you’ve looked at the contents of this blog lately, you’ll know except for rereads I have been on a bit of a dry spell.  When trying to chose a book to read this weekend, I wanted something that I could sort of guarantee to myself that I’d enjoy, so I picked up Jennifer L Armentrout’s latest release.  With Armentrout, I might not get a great read but I usually will get something that I enjoy.  However, I really did not like If There’s No Tomorrow, in fact I would say I outright hated it.

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To be fair though, I went back and forth at first of whether or not to give it one or two stars on GoodReads.  Ultimately, I decided one star because I didn’t like it AT ALL..

The book focuses on the making one bad choice, but honestly I feel like the MC really didn’t make a bad choice so much as was just stupid.  It wasn’t like she could stop the events that happened from happening, and there really wasn’t much she could do.

But God knows, the sanctimonious characters in this book constantly blame the character for not stopping the drunk douche who drove the car in the tree from driving.  Literally, like after she woke up.  And for that matter they equated her not being able to grab the keys, not having enough common ass sense to get into the car with drunk people, to grown ass grownups providing their teen and his friends with alcohol…I have no fucking words.

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So yeah, pretty much this book is about the MC having a guilt trip for the duration of the book.  It’s not very good.

It reminded me a lot of a preachy PSA-a bad preachy PSA.  Look, I don’t think you have to be too smart to realize that drinking and driving is wrong AND that the idiotic MC should’ve been smart enough not to go in that car.  But to be fair, the MC had drank a beer  which could’ve affected her judgment(which, leads me to another diatribe how one or two drinks is completely brushed off even though the MC is freaking underage).   But for real, this book reminded me of that one episode of Full House (yes, I admit that at one point in my life I did watch that show) where Stephanie and Gia were going to ride with the guys who were on something-but it being Full House they just said they were just drunk-and DJ threw this hissy fit that kept Stephanie from getting in the car, but Gia of course got in and there was a wreck-but she didn’t die because it was Full House and only the un-named dead mother died and….

You get where I’m going here with this.

It’s cheesy.  It’s is preachy.  And to add crap on to this book, there is some ass kissing to some of Armentrout’s friends by referencing their YA books in her story.

It was sort of cute and original in the Lux series where the character had a blog and pandering wasn’t done by every YA authors in the world.  But on this one the pandering is so laughable its not even funny.  If you look at anyone who blurbed this book, their book is pretty much referenced in said book.

Not lying about that.

And when I see the ACOTR referenced  multiple times especially now after the third book  I cringe.

It’s not that I don’t think characters who love to read should be featured, but when it clearly plays no part of the story-like in this case-it just makes me roll my eyes.  All I have to say is at least she’s not a Booktuber.

Anyways, the romance that is heavily featured in the blurb was kind of pointless.  Yes, Sebastian and Lena do have some decent moments BUT I didn’t really even care about them since the book was mostly focused on guilt.

And yes, Sebastian played a huge role in why Lena got in that car, BUT all of their melodrama was really pointless.

I’ll be blunt about it, I read Armentrout for the cheese in the relationships that she creates.  The cheese was here, but the darkness and preachiness of the story made it too much for me to enjoy the book.

Funny, I didn’t have problems with Armentrout’s other books that had darker themes- The Problem With Forever and Don’t Look Back-but this book.

Blargh.

Overall Rating: For me it was a total fail.  I think objectively I’d give it a D, I finished it and there are (unfortunately) worse things out there in YA land.

Reread: Maggie Quinn Girl Vs Evil by Rosemary Clement-Moore

I always like to reread a couple of series throughout the year.  It’s a good way to recoup from a series of bad books which I sort of had in August.  Also, since August has been hectic in terms of work (got a shit load of a transferred coworker’s cases) it helps to read something that you’re familiar with and boy do I know Maggie Quinn.

I actually bought the first book way back when it came out in 2007 and it made me an instant fan of Rosemary Clement-Moore.  I even had the pleasure of meeting her a few years back when Texas Gothic came out (I’m even inserting the bad photo where I am doing my full Tony Blair-fake smile, because I cannot  smile on cue).

Spirit and Dust: Rosemary Clement-Moore

See super awkward photo, I just tend to look extremely stiff in these photos.  At least my rabbit dress was sort of cute though.

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Maggie Quinn, girl reporter. Honors student, newspaper staffer, yearbook photographer. Six weeks from graduation and all she wants to do is get out of Avalon High in one piece. A sensible nerd would have kept her head down, done her drive-by photo shoot of the prom, and continued the countdown to Diploma Day. But fate seems to have different plans for Maggie.High school may be a natural breeding ground for evil, but the scent of fire and brimstone is still a little out of the ordinary. It’s the distinct smell of sulfur that makes Maggie suspect that something’s a bit off. And when real Twilight Zone stuff starts happening to the school’s ruling clique—the athletic elite and the head cheerleader and her minions, all of whom happen to be named Jessica—Maggie realizes it’s up to her to get in touch with her inner Nancy Drew and ferret out who unleashed the ancient evil before all hell breaks loose.Maggie has always suspected that prom is the work of the devil, but it looks like her attendance will be mandatory. Sometimes a girl’s got to do some pretty undesirable things if she wants to save her town from soul-crushing demons from hell. And the cheerleading squad.

Source: GoodReads

This is such a fun book.  Even ten years later.  It wasn’t as great as I remembered it though.  There were definitely parts of the book that dragged, but I still think out of all the books in the series it was probably the best.

Which I guess is sort of downer since there are two other books, but to be fair those books aren’t bad.  This one just is the best one out of the bunch.

I think what I like the best about it is Maggie’s sass.  It’s in the other books to some degree too, but here, I felt like the character was in her element the most.  Plus, I felt like the side characters were the most developed here than in other books.

D&D Lisa was and probably will be my favorite character in this series.  I had always hoped she’d get a spinoff of her own or would crossover into the Goodnight series, she’s just that great.  She actually did have quite a bit of a story arc too as a supporting character here.  Though, upon reread this book is much more predictable than it was when I first read it.

Also, I really wish that more time would’ve been spent on the fallout to what happened to Lisa.  It’s really never mentioned again after this book, and she is the MC’s B.F.F. you’d think they talk about THAT a little more.  Regardless, it presented an opportunity to develop the character further and I sort of think Clement-Moore missed it.

The book also seemed a lot less exciting second time around.

There were still some scenes that got my heart pumping, but it wasn’t as much of the roller coaster that I remember it being.  And the Brian character really was completely useless.  I didn’t know his whole purpose.

Overall though, I’d say that Prom Dates From Hell  was one of the better YA paranormal books in its era. Even with its flaws, it was still a good revisit and I think it still holds up fairly well today.

Overall Rating: A B+

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MAGGIE QUINN IS determined to make her mark as a journalist. The only problem? The Ranger Report does not take freshmen on staff.

Rules are rules. But when has that ever stopped Maggie?

After facing hellfire, infiltrating sorority rush should be easy. It’s no Woodward and Bernstein, but going undercover as the Phantom Pledge will allow her to write her exposé. Then she can make a stealth exit before initiation. But when she finds a group of girls who are after way more than “sisterhood,” all her instincts say there’s something rotten on Greek Row. And when Hell Week rolls around, there may be no turning back.

If there is such a thing as a sorority from hell, you can bet that Maggie Quinn will be the one to stumble into it.

Source: GoodReads

Talk about sophomore slump, this book is the definition of it.  To be fair though, it’s not terrible.  I have read way worst, but it could’ve been a lot better than it was.

I think the thing that bothered me the most about this particular installment was how isolated the book felt.

And I think part of that was intentional, after all, a large part of the book dealt with Maggie becoming isolated from pretty much everyone in her life and it sucked big time since part of the reason that I at least returned to the series was the characters.

Here, Maggie’s relationship with all the returning cast seems stunted. .  Sure, we’re introduced to new characters.  But honestly, the new characters in this particular installment (and the next, for that matter) I really don’t care about and I think that’s what makes both of these sequels weak.

Again, I think the introduction of these characters is intentional.  The books are supposed to have a Nancy Drew-ish vibe to them, and for anyone who has read Nancy Drew you probably know that in each book there’s essentially  a new cast.  I think, what falls flat for me, is I wanted to see all the great characters from the book before grow a little.

But they don’t.

The book takes on a theme that very early pre NA books took on-sorities.

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I don’t know why mid 2000’s book thought that every college centered book had to include a sorority but they did.  As far as sorority themed books go, it wasn’t bad but…I’m just not a sorority person.

Or really a fan of this book really.  I didn’t even like Maggie in it. At least  till the end until she got a clue.  But again, everything comes together a little fast here.  Characters easily forgive Maggie for her actions.  Everything is summed up very quick and fast, with no explanation about how the curse was put into the place in the first place.

Overall, it just wasn’t my favorite book.

Rating: A C+ not terrible but it is lacking something.

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Maggie Quinn was expecting to find plenty of trouble with Lisa over Spring Break. Give a girl a bikini, a beachfront hotel, and an absent boyfriend, and it’s as good as a road map to the dark side. But Maggie doesn’t have to go looking for trouble. Trouble has started looking for her. One dead cow and a punctured gas tank later, she and Lisa are stuck in
Dulcina, Texas—a town so small that it has an owner. And lately life in this small town hasn’t been all that peaceful. An eerie predator is stalking the ranchland.

Everyone in town has a theory, but not even Maggie’s psychic mojo can provide any answers. And the longer the girls are stranded, the more obvious it becomes that something is seriously wrong. Only no one—not even Maggie’s closest ally—wants to admit that they could have been forced on a detour down the highway to hell.

Source: GoodReads

By all accounts, this book should be my favorite because it looks very Lisa centric and Lisa is by far my favorite character in this book.  Only thing is it’s not Lisa centric in hindsight.

God, the pacing is extremely off in this one.

I mean, rereading this series wasn’t exactly a horrible experience BUT it was easier to see the problems in this series and in this installment pacing is an extreme issue.

Don’t get me wrong there are some parts I like.  I did like Maggie’s friendship with Lisa, and I did like her interactions with Justin. But the whole chupacabra thing was never really explained and sort of…well, sort of fell flat.  Most like the relationship between Lisa and Zeke.

I just felt like as far as characters went, the Zeke character was poorly sketched.  He was very archetypical at best and so are the rest of these characters.

Again, I get what Clement-Moore is trying to do, she’s going for a Nancy Drew vibe BUT again I didn’t feel these characters.  In the first book, I felt like the side characters were vibrant enough.  You had the stereotypical popular jerks, but you also had Maggie’s science teacher who was interesting, and some of her classmates actually had personalities that differed from being a complete stereotypical.  With the supplement books though…yeah.  I mean, here we have cowboys.  And they’re…well, cowboys.

Overall Rating: A B- I liked the third book better than the second, but it still wasn’t great.

Overall, this reread was kind of meh.  It took three weeks (which is a long time for me to read-grant it, my work load has gotten worse BUT I still took my time with reading these).  While I enjoyed the first one, the second and third installments weren’t as rosy as I remember.

So yeah, there were some nostalgia goggles here.

Still though, there are some great things about this series and as far as mid 2000’s paranormal books go it sticks out as one of the better series.  However, I still think Clement-Moore’s Texas Gothic is probably her best books so far.

So, should you check out the Maggie Quinn Girl Vs Evil Series (what a mouthful) yes, but upon reread there are some reservations.  Still though, it is a fun series.