Top Ten Tuesday: Characters that Have Faced Adversity

Top Ten Tuesday is an meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This weeks theme is Top Ten Characters that_______.  I chose Top Ten characters that faced adversity.  Adversity can come in many forms and I think it’s important to have characters that find themselves facing a hard decision or dilemma head on.  Of course, for this list I tried to have some more serious-realistic-adversity while there are some on here that are a little less than realistic.

10)

Evie has a lot to deal with.  Like being in space, having a baby in space, and finding out said baby’s father is an alien.  That my friends is adversity.

9)Echo has major mom trouble plus issues with her father and stepfather.  I like that McGarry gradually shows the character facing her problems and growing.

8)

Having your freedom ripped right from under you and being forced to work for a sadistic master, takes a lot of strength to get through.  Nalia has that strength and horrible taste in men.

7)

Because dealing with zombies is never easy.  Actually, it’s more than that.  While there might be a zombie apocalypse that Sloane has to survive, she also has to face the turmoil in her life.

6)

Gretchen has to deal with having a psychopath as a brother and Hitler as an honorary sadistic uncle.  That’s more than enough adversity for one to face.

5)

Oh, man do these two characters face adversity in this book.  Especially Sarah.  Oh Sarah.  To be honest, I really never could warm up to Linda.  But Sarah is pure awesome sauce in this book and not only faces issues that were prominent in the Civil Rights movement, but also comes to terms with accepting her sexuality.

4)

Having your mom die and finding out your long lost father is running for president is sort of hard to deal with.

3)

Being a cybrog in New Beijing is hard.  Especially when you have an evil queen after you.

2)

Kristin faces adversity when he intersex diagnosis is leaked to her peer group.  The growth that this character makes throughout this entire novel is pretty much amazing.

1)

Being forced into a marriage that you don’t want to be in, is one of those problems you just don’t want to face.  Naila faces them with grace.

We Need a BAMF in This Book: Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

This heart-wrenching novel explores what it is like to be thrust into an unwanted marriage. Has Naila’s fate been written in the stars? Or can she still make her own destiny?

Naila’s conservative immigrant parents have always said the same thing: She may choose what to study, how to wear her hair, and what to be when she grows up—but they will choose her husband. Following their cultural tradition, they will plan an arranged marriage for her. And until then, dating—even friendship with a boy—is forbidden. When Naila breaks their rule by falling in love with Saif, her parents are livid. Convinced she has forgotten who she truly is, they travel to Pakistan to visit relatives and explore their roots. But Naila’s vacation turns into a nightmare when she learns that plans have changed—her parents have found her a husband and they want her to marry him, now! Despite her greatest efforts, Naila is aghast to find herself cut off from everything and everyone she once knew. Her only hope of escape is Saif . . . if he can find her before it’s too late.

Source: GoodReads

This book is brutal.

And you should read it.

It’s the sort of book that makes me so glad thankful that more diverse books are getting published.  I’ll let you in on a little secret, the reason I love diverse books so much is because I like to emerge myself into people’s lives who are completely different than mine.  And I especially like diverse contemporaries like Written in the Stars because these characters live in my world but at the same time live completely different lives.

This book especially touched my heart because of a seminar class I took on Human Trafficking in law school.  While the book discusses forced marriage, not trafficking, it shares some of the same aspects-and you could even make a valid argument that Naila’s family trafficked her.

God did I want Liam Neeson’s character from Taken to come in this book and kick these bad YA parents’ asses to the Moon.

They are that horrible.  And upon reflecting on it, I don’t know which one I disliked more.  The mother was annoying beyond belief and needed to be shaken, stirred, and then booed off Jerry Springer seven or eight times but the dad is just as bad in a different way.  But the thing is Saeed wrote them in such a way where they actually feel realistic.  And in the beginning of the book, you could almost buy them as misguided.

But then you totally want to hire some action star like Liam Nesson or Chuck Norris to come save Naila from them and bring them some good old fashion Lifetime justice or something.

I have to say that was one of my issues with this book, I didn’t get the resolution I wanted with the parents that I wanted.  I don’t think really any resolution would’ve been okay, given the circumstances.  But I was sort of meh with how that relationship was resolved.

Besides the arrange marriage drama that this story evolves around, it brings up several other issues like the rights of women.

Women’s rights are very limited in parts of the world and I like how this book sort of goes about showing this.

Even though, I loved this book for the most part I couldn’t help that maybe it would’ve benefited being fleshed out in certain parts a bit more.

For such heavy themes it’s a short book.  I like the fast pace, but I felt that parts of the book could’ve been more gut wrenching if certain characters and scenes were developed further.

If you want a contemporary that discusses real word issues that are often overlooked read this book.  While I wish some things were fleshed out more it was very thought provoking.

Overall Rating: A-

Worst Book Genie Ever: Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein

Forget everything you thought you knew about genies!

Azra has just turned sixteen, and overnight her body lengthens, her olive skin deepens, and her eyes glisten gold thanks to the brand-new silver bangle that locks around her wrist. As she always knew it would, her Jinn ancestry brings not just magical powers but the reality of a life of servitude, as her wish granting is controlled by a remote ruling class of Jinn known as the Afrit.

To the humans she lives among, she’s just the girl working at the snack bar at the beach, navigating the fryer and her first crush. But behind closed doors, she’s learning how to harness her powers and fulfill the obligations of her destiny.

Mentored by her mother and her Zar “sisters”, Azra discovers she may not be quite like the rest of her circle of female Jinn . . . and that her powers could endanger them all. As Azra uncovers the darker world of becoming Jinn, she realizes when genies and wishes are involved, there’s always a trick.

Source: GoodReads

 

Dear Book Genie:

Your Book Genie service sucks.  You told me you’d give me any sort of book I wanted.  I said I wanted a jinn book full of culture,diversity, matriarchy, and you gave me…

Well, shit.

Becoming Jinn was such a devastating experience.  It was like on the shallow surface it had everything I desired, but then when I actually read it.

My head exploded and not in a good way.

I get that you should be careful about what you wish for, but come on Book Genie did you really have to  butcher it up so much.  Let’s look at the following things I wished for and what you freaking gave me:

1) A strong female heroine who fights against her faith.

Azra seems strong from the blurb-right.

Whiney is actually a better word to describe her Book Genie.  An annoying and whiney brat.

She doesn’t do anything to fight her faith other than whine.  Even after her mom commits a big no no of ignoring her wishes of inviting people she specifically asked to NOT be invited to her birthday party, she just shrugs it off with little to no action.

Seriously?  Book Genie.

I had hopes at the beginning when she was trying to use power tools to get off that bangle that was pretty cool.  I was like, maybe I could like this character.

But as the book progressed she did nothing to change her faith.  Other than being sort of silent and bitchy towards her Zar sisters she did nothing.

Oh, but moan about her dead bestie and moon over a boy whose personality was like sandpaper and get courted by another sandpaper-ish boy.

But apparently she’s really talented with magic and that’s suppose to make the book.

It doesn’t.

2) A unique mythology not exploited to death in YA.

Jinns haven’t been totally exploited in YA.  Actually, compared to most paranormal/mythological creatures they’ve hardly been explored at all.  And for the most part, I have really enjoyed the jinn books that I’ve read.  Save for Fire Wishbut this book made Fire Wish look like a freaking masterpiece.

I couldn’t even stomach it enough to finish this thing because nothing of interest was happening.  The set up seemed interesting enough and if it would’ve gone through the ideas that it pitched it would’ve been interesting.  But as it was it was a lot of nothing with an over the top ridiculous magical makeover consisting of a new hot bod and butt length hair.

Why did you make me lose my dinner, Book Genie?

You suck so much.

3) A matriarchal based society.

This is probably what attracted me to this book more than anything else.   I like books that focus on storng female friendships and relationships, I was hoping to see a bit of this with the Zar sisterhood.  But instead, most of the Zar sisters are just annoying with pretty much blah personalities.  Save for the obligatory nice one and the bitchy one that’s just jealous of Azra’s awesomeness-rolls eyes.

This is not what a matriarchal society/sisterhood is, Book Genie.  You took the most cliche elements of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Wonder Woman and tried to put them together. It didnt’ work.  If there were bonds between these girls, I didn’t see them.  Instead, the only thing they have in common is that on their sixteenth birthday they become Xena Warrior Princess look alikes without the bad ass-ness.

Lame.

4) Interesting Plotting:

Where was my plot, Book Genie?  Nothing was happening and I got through a good hundred and thirty and some odd pages of the book.

Surely, something had to happen than not so supple nods that Azra is a super special powerful genie.

Oh, and becoming hot.

Instead of making me want to read this book, it made me want to quit this book.

5) An intriguing love interest:

Ha!  Ha!  Ha!

Book Genie, you gave me the epitome of boring.  And a love triangle that was even more pointless than the one in Twilight.  I really could care less.  I am Team Neither of these boys because they were just equally boring and bland (again, like sandpaper).

I couldn’t honestly tell you what the difference between the two of them was other than one was a neighbor and one was a lifeguard-who is automatically suppose to be hot because he’s a lifeguard.

Conclusion:

So thank you, Book Genie.  NOT.  I hope you are happy. You didn’t fulfill my wish the way you wanted.  Some lousy genie you are.  I guess I should’ve just used mesh up of various media like most blurbs do  when I asked for my request.  Because you failed-big time. And just for the record the perfect jinn book for me would consist of a Buffy-ish main character with Harry Potter action and Ken Burns accuracy to detail.

Regards,

MJ

Book Blogger.

Take Your Mog to the Prom: The Prom Goer’s Interstellar Excursion by Chris McCoy

It’s Superbad meets Spaceballs in this hilarious extraterrestrial road trip!

Just a few days before prom, Bennett pulls off something he never imagined possible: his dream girl, Sophie, agrees to be his date. Moments afterward, however, he watches Sophie get abducted by aliens in the middle of the New Mexico desert.

Faced with a dateless prom (and likely kidnapping charges), Bennett does the only thing he can think of: he catches a ride into outer space with a band of extraterrestrial musicians to bring her back.

Can he navigate alien concert venues, an extraterrestrial reality show, and the band’s outlandish egos to rescue his date in time for the big dance? Fans of King Dork and Winger won’t want to miss this!

Source: GoodReads

There are a lot of things about this one that I loved.  I think the best attribute of it is that it is different. Okay, there is a definite formula and I could very easily see this in film, but for YA it’s not the sort of story you’d typically see published.  Though, there is one unfortunate borderline trope in it (that I’ll discuss in a bit).

This is such a fun book.  There is a touch of romance, but more or less it’s not about it.  And I’m glad because the romance was one of the biggest flaws of the novel.  The best part was the bits and pieces of dialogue.  There are several lines that made me laugh out loud.   If you watch any show about aliens-to make fun of said show-this book and you are going to gel.

There were even bits and pieces that sort of reminded me of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy-one of my favorite books of all time.  This one doesn’t hit such of a brilliant note, but it is close.

What I did not like about this book is that sometimes it tried just a bit too hard with the one liners and it showed.  And it got to be too much like ludicrous speed.  Maybe it would’ve been better in another form of media-I noted from the author’s bio that McCoy has had screen writing experience.  It shows.  This reads very much like the typical movie you’d see Michael Cera star in back in the day.

That’s who I kept imagining Bennet as anyway, while reading it.

The other problem I had with this book was the girlfriend, Sophie.  There were shades of the MPDG (Manic Pixie Dream Girl)  trope that I hate here.  I do like how the relationship eventually resolved itself, but I do not like the MPDG trope.  I wonder if guys feel the same way about women’s presentation of guys in YA.  I mean, the stereotypical YA boy is severally unrealistic just like the MPDG, I think the only difference is that the MPDG is more of a distinct trope in some ways-I mean, I imagine all of these girls looking like Zooey Deschanel from New Girl.

Anyway, if you like aliens and want a not so serious romp read this.  It’s fun, it’s quirky, and a little out there.  Overall, it’s very enjoyable, but not special.

Overall Rating: A solid B.

Where All the Annoying Characters Get Eaten by Zombies: This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually wantto live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what doyou hold on to?

Source: GoodReads

I decided to check to see what my local library had the way of offering in Courtney Summers after seeing the press in the blogosphere for her new book.  I’ve always been interested in This is Not a Test because, well, zombies and I was pleasantly surprised with this one.  But it was not exactly what I expected.

While I knew that Summers wrote deep thought provoking YA, I have heard that This is Not a Test is a little bit of a departure for her.  But all the trademark Summers’ trademarks that I read about were there (aka emotional angst).  But I don’t think i would’ve liked the story as much if it didn’t include the zombies.

And it’s not even as if the zombie mythology is that well thought out.  This is truly one of those cases where  the paranormal element to this dystopian world is not fleshed out at all and it totally works.  I think it’s because of where we are in this point of when the world falls apart so the characters really have no idea how things came to binge.  Just that the  undead is now out there and there are no post apocalyptic cops cops out there to help them-just Rhys.

Who’s  almost as good as a post apocalyptic cop.  Okay, most of these characters in this book are pretty bad ass all things  considered, but their badassery isn’t what makes the book.

What makes the book is how the emotional turmoil parallels all the exterior events in the book.  While most of the story focuses on the main character Sloane, we get to see bits and pieces of the Zombie Breakfast Club (as I call them) and you do grow close to them.

The closest thing I can get to Breakfast Club zombies.

But seeing as this is a disaster themed book,none of them are safe.  And that means if certain characters get maimed or dead you’re actually going to care.  It’s not going to be like when Bill Pullman’s wife got it in Independence Day.

And that’s what was the biggest payoff of this book.  You cared about what happened, and then the resolution…so not fair.

Another Summers trademark from what I understand.

While I really enjoyed This is Not a Test, I wouldn’t say it’s a perfect  book.  There were some problems here and there.  For one thing, I wanted a little bit more explanation to some of the things going on.  I really don’t know if that was possible though.  If there was more explanation or resolution the book might’ve lost some of its charm, but at the time I did feel like things were left unresolved.

And the climax…well, could more of The Breakfast Club save for the ones that did survive?  Is that too much to ask?  It just seemed a little cliche, who survived that is.

Anyway, I am definitely going to check out more of Summers books.  This is Not a Test is quite clever. It combines real world problems with zombie apocalypse with a little bit of Molly Ringwald and the crew doing “Thriller”  and oddly it works.

Overall Rating: A solid B.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Authors EVER (Well, at the Time this List Was Created)

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme brought to you by the Broke and the Bookish (join it it’s fun).

This topic isn’t fair.  There are so many authors I like for different reasons.  I think what I’m going to try to do with this list is pick out a mixture of authors from my life that have stood out.

10)

I used to really like Melissa de la Cruz’s books when I first started blogging.  She was my #1 author actually.  I don’t know if it’s because of taste developed while blogging or what, but I’ve sort of fallen out of my relationship with this author’s books and find them to be very well hit or misses.  Mostly misses.  I still have some nostalgia for those early Blue Bloods books though.  There was a lot of potential to that series.

9)

I like to put a favorite debut author on this list.  I know 2015 hasn’t really started (the year is barely a quarter gone), but out of all the debuts I read this year, this one is my favorite.  I really enjoy the feels Thorne gave me in this book and look forward to what she has to offer.

8)

This book and its sequel gave me the feels.  It’s the reason McNaught is on this list.  Some of her books aren’t the best, but I can really imagine Matt and Meredith as characters.  I love the scene where they reconnect and cry over it.  Every single time.  Read Paradise and then read Perfect, you won’t regret it.

7)

This was the first classic I willingly read with no prodding by anyone.  In fact, my mother was like why are you reading that.  The truth is I really enjoyed Jane Eyre and Charlotte Bronte as a result.

6)

I thoroughly enjoyed Vampire Academy and the Bloodlines series and didn’t really expect to.  Mead really does know how to put together good paranormal romances.  Even though, there were flaws in both of these series, I couldn’t help but thoroughly enjoy them and pot Mead on top of my auto buy list.

5)

Stephanie Perkins books are sort of like Meg Cabot books, except a little bit more sophisticated at times and well done.  I almost call it like Gourmet Cabot, but at the same time I can’t help but enjoy Meg’s books a tad bit more.  Maybe it’s because there aren’t as many Perkins books? Regardless, I enjoy anything by Perkins immensely.  Even if she did change my views of rabbits forever.

4)

I love and admire the Lunar Chronicles series for its sheer creativity and that despite the fact it shouldn’t, it holds itself together.  This is one series that I’m actually hoping gets made into either a TV show or movie because I think it would be cool to see on screen.  There’s so much to visualize when reading.  I really don’t know how Marissa Meyer does it and I’m excited to read future work.

3)

I love Jane Austen’s stuff for a lot of reasons.  The romance is good, but if your really read the novels there’s a lot of comedic value to them too.  My favorite is probably the most famous, Pride and Prejudice, but I can’t help but really identify to Lizzy, picture Darcy as Colin Firth in my head, and wonder what happened to the rest of the Bennet sister. Somehow, I always picture Mary having a torrid if icky  affair with Mr. Collins later on.

2)

My teen years were horrible and I think I only survived them (in part) because of Meg Cabot books.  Although, they are a little predictable-she does rely on a number of tropes-I can’t help but love these books.  They’re so light and fluffy, and relatable.  My favorite series by her is probably The Mediator series, but I enjoy pretty much all of her books (we’ll act like Ready or Not was never published).   She’s also a sweetheart in real life, I went to a couple of signings in the past and she’s probably one of the most personable of authors I’ve met.

1)

Oddly enough, I’ve only read the Harry Potter series by Rowling.  I haven’t tried her new stuff, and I’m only vaguely interested in her detective series.  The Casual Vacancy doesn’t appeal to me at all.  I think what I liked about Harry Potter was the fact it had such an impact on me for years and it really did open up the gateway for me for reading.  I mean, I read before Harry Potter, but Harry Potter ignited a passion in reading for me.  So yes, Ms. Rowling you’re number one.

Book Travel: Asia and Australia

Asia is the largest continent in the world with a wide array of different cultures and geographical reasons.  YA has not covered it near enough, but I did manage to find some books that took place in this continent.  As well, as Australia.  Honestly, I probably could do a post on Australia alone.  It is well covered much like YA in the UK is covered (meaning there’s lots of  books).  However, since I usually see these two continents coupled together on TV, I think because there’s a lot of trade between the two areas.  Also, since there are not as many books that take place in Asia as say Europe, I’ve also featured some books that are not set in Asia but feature a country’s culture predominately throughout its novel as well as fantasy inspired Asian set books.

Iraq:

Most of the novels that take place in modern day Iraq are actually historical or fantasy inspired. It would be cool to see an actual novel take place in this part of the world though.  There are a lot of important world issues going around in the area.  Which could make reading about this area interesting.

This one features genies and it mentions Baghdad in the synopsis.  Really, that’s the only reason that I know it takes place in Iraq.  I almost put in in my Asian fantasy inspired fantasy.  Interesting to note, that the actual Aladdin story takes place in China not Arabia like Disney would like you to think.

This book takes place in Ancient Mesopotamia.  To be honest, it really didn’t go into the history and cultural aspects as much as I wanted.  But if you really are a fan into Ancient Mesopotamia you might want to give it a try.

Pakistan:

Pakistan I really think would be an interesting place to have a book.  It has one of the largest cities as well as mountains in the world.  Plus, the culture is very diverse.  The country is almost wedged between two worlds.

I have this one in my TBR pile it’s suppose to involve the topic of arranged marriages and have all this angst and I’m just excited about it.

India:

To be honest, I haven’t read that many India inspired YA books.  I’m listing one that was a rec to me and one horrible one that I only recommend you read if you have the vodka nearby.  There was one I kept trying to find, but alas could not find it.  I’m just going to list what I remember from it, and if anyone knows what this book is please let me know because I’d like to reread it.  The book I read had a heroine who was sold as a teenage bride and then was widowed.  And the author then went into how horrible widows are treated in India.  It was a good read (or at least good when I was twelve).  If anyone can remember it, please let me know in the comment section.  Regardless, I really wish there were more books that took place on the Indian subcontinent there are so many things to explore there.

This is a horrible series, but it does take place in India.  So I will give it that.  Though, he way it describes India’s culture is a bit insulting.

This one was rec’d for me in the Europe post.  So I really don’t know much about it.  Except that it seems to give a very good overview on India.

Siberia:

An area that is barely touched.  It would be nice to know about this isolated area of the world and surprisingly there are a couple of books out there.

 

Okay, it’s only one place.  And we really hear more about vampire Siberia than Siberia.  But I’m glad to see this book does show that the country isn’t all igloos and full of people who only eat yogurt.

China:

China is the third largest country in the world.  With thousands of years of history.  Unfortunately, there are not near enough books that take place in this country.  However, there are a few.

While this is a futuristic fantasy/dystopia book, China is featured in Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles.  And while the country might be transformed by plagues, futuristic technology, and Moon people, there are shades of this great nation’s heritage that linger.

 

I read this one when I was twelve.  I remember finding a lot of the whining annoying.  But it does give you a good insight into Chinese culture and history of that particular period.

I’m really looking forward to this one.  Chinese folklore is relatively unexplored in this genre and the fact it takes place in China not a China inspired country is a double bonus.

Japan:

Japan is one of the most visually appealing countries in the world with such  luscious history and mythology to boot.

This one is a little lackluster, though I did enjoy the bits and pieces of Japan we saw.  Probably the best part of the novel.  I really don’t know why it had to star a WASP and a boring WASP at that.

An older book, I know.  But I really enjoyed this series and this is one of the best ones in it.  Lots of Frank and Nancy shipping here.  It also made me really want to go to Japan.  Of course, with it being Nancy Drew there were quite a few cliche moments in it too.

I have this one in my TBR pile.  Apparently, it takes place in fairytale Japan and it’s a Cinderella retelling.

Korea:

Korea has such a divisive history.  Part of the peninsula is one of the most flourishing countries on the Asian continent while another part of the peninsula pretty much is in isolation.

I have a lot of issues with this book, but it does do a half way decent job at introducing its audience to Korea and Korea mythology.  Honestly, it suffers from a lot of  problems I see with Asian mythology driven books.

THis is suppose to be a book about K Pop in vein of Anna and the French Kiss.  I hope it is actually like Anna and the French Kiss and does a good job at containing what is marvelous about Korea.

Philippines:

The Philippines is an exciting area to explore in part because of how many cultures have effected the area.  Being occupied by Spanish for a number of years, has added an element to this culture that you don’t see in other Asian countries.

While this book doesn’t take place in the Philippines it does give you a fair introduction to Philippine  culture since the characters have just immigrated over.

Asia Inspired Fantasy:

While most fantasy is medieval European inspired, there are a few decent Asian inspired fantasies. Asian inspired fantasies while not employing an individual countries culture or political dynamics, it does give some insight into society as a whole is in the geographic area. Hence, why I didn’t put some countries that are fantasies in this category (because they specify what country they take place in).

If I remember correctly, there are Asian inspired elements with the culture in this one.  It wasn’t really that pronounced though.  Very mild.  However, I do like the little Asian inspired nods.

I loved this one.  While no country name is ever given, you definitely get a feeling that it’s somewhere in Asia.  Personally, I want to say China.  I might be wrong though.  It is a wonderful read though.

 

Australia:

Australia probably could’ve gotten it’s entire post.  Aussie writers are some of the best writers in YA, IMHO.  And there’s a lot to chose from.  The one’s I’ve listed below vary in subject matter and genre.

This Sherlock Holmes retelling is amazing.  Yes, you really don’t get to love Australia as much as say you would in a book that particularly talks about going to Australia, but you do get a decent feel of the country from this book how regular life is in Oz.

This is the pinnacle of Aussie YA.

Why am I putting a book that I really disliked on this list.  Because I do like the fact it gives at a minority population in Australia.  Even if it is pretty much a horrible stereotypical look.  I still want to give credit to the book for trying.

I am going to do my best to look into doing post on the other parts of the world soon.  It’s surprisingly easier to find books that take place in Antarctica than parts of the South American and  African continents.  Of course, I could always list that Sweet Valley high special when they went to Costa Rica for Central America, but no one really wants to read that book-unless  want their brain to fry.

 

Awesomly Lifetime and Hallmark: My Gal Sunday or Hey Soap Stars

I decided to resurrect this feature.  Mainly, because I have a new cable service (meaning, no DVR) but I do now get the Hallmark Channel and their movies are like how Lifetime movies used to be before they started showing Intervention all the time-there’s only so many times you can watch an addict putting needles in their arms without wanting to throw up.  Plus, I find myself tuning into the channel a lot when I watch live TV.

The first movie of choice for this resurrection My Gal Sunday starring two mimbos from daytime television and some blonde chick who I don’t really  know.  I’m mainly checking out this movie because Cameron Mathison-who played Ryan Lavery-is in it.  And his acting is just hilari-bad.  A bonus is that Jack Wagner-aka deadbeat spy daddy, Frisco Jones, is on there too.  Alas, there is no Robert Scorpio or Todd Manning to add into the mix.

The Gist:

Based off of a Mary Higgins Clark book where there’s a husband and wife mystery solving team.  A bit like Heart to Heart but without the cute dog and the butler.  Instead, the husband is an ex president and the wife is in politics herself (soit’s sort of like the Clintons  meet Heart to Heart, scary thought).  The movie is a little different, they drop the ex president thing.  Because, come on.  There is no way that Ryan Lavery is going to be president.  Even Pine Valley was smart enough not to vote him for mayor and with the way the writing made all those characters mindless idiots at the end, that’s saying something.  Instead, the main characters are portrayed as successful pretty people.  You see Ryan Lavery (I will always think of Cameron as Ryan, so I will refer to him a lot as Ryan) working out a lot with Frisco Jones where we’re told he served as governor and  secretary of state (Ryan that is).

My reaction when I heard that Daytime’s dumbest is negotiating international deals. I’m sure Hillary Clinton would act in a similar fashion.

 

Frisco we learn, is/was a super secret spy.  That I can actually buy thanks to General Hospital in the 80’s and early 90’s.  And just for you to know, Frisco no longer has the mullet.

The world can rejoice.

Of course, the movie really doesn’t start until Frisco is kidnapped and Ryan has to call Robert Scorpio to find him.

Okay, he doesn’t call Robert.  Ryan and Sunday (his wife) get their Heart to Heart on and solve the case.

Review:

The actual acting in the movie.  Is bad, bad, bad.  If I wanted a quality performance I would’ve turned it off probably within five minutes of watching it.  But I wanted to watch the bad acting because come on…Ryan Lavery is the prince of bad actors.  It’s like Cameron’s speciality.  Plus, he is impossibly good looking so that’s something good too.

Oh, and you can take a drink every time he refers to the tile.

That happens like every two minutes in the movie..

The wife is just as wooden.  There is only one woman I’ve seen Ryan have chemistry with and that is Princess Gillian who was killed tragically by an assassin right before she and Ryan went on their honeymoon in Pine Valley.  Oh, wait…

It’s so hard not to think of this guy as his soap character.

He even does all sort of soap things in this movie like give Sunday (his wife in this movie) jewelry.  Or maybe that’s more like a Kay’s commercial.

Of course, all those romantic snuggly times get interrupted when  Frisco gets himself kidnapped (I still think Faison did it).  But still these two are so wooden and perfect, I just do not get why we couldn’t make these characters a little complex.  I am just glad they dropped the two powerful politicians thing.  Though, imagining Ryan as a former governor/secretary of state is bad enough.

Seriously, I cannot imagine this guy talking about international politics.  State politics I can understand, because I’ve had the displeasure of living in a state where an idiot is routinely elected.  And let’s not forget about the governator.  But having Ryan as secretary of state…    It’s almost as bad as Frisco getting kidnapped.  Asides from Robert Scorpio (who really should’ve just saved everyone’s ass in this movie), he was the Chuck Norris of Port Charles.

It’s almost as bad as trying to believe that Sunday was a Stanford law student who was number one in her class and graduated first in class at Georgetown and has a total Perry Mason complex.  Seriously, guys, this is not what lawyers do. If you think it is, you have a rude awakening in law school when instead of learning about how to get your inner Nancy Drew on you learn about personal jurisdiction.  And then even AFTER you graduate from law school, you’re still learning about personal jurisdiction because you move and have to study for yet another bar exam.

I wanted to deck all these perfect characters in their face.

Honestly, watching this I almost felt like I was going back in time save for the modern furnishings and clothing.  It is written how a movie would’ve been written in the late 80’s or early 90’s.  I think that’s why I keep comparing it to Heart to Heart. To be fair to Hallmark, they really didn’t have much to work with.  The actual book is a bit of a disaster, and you can only go so far revising a two characters that used to be a beloved JFK like president without the assassination and adultery and a sad Hillary Clinton wannabe who lacks the brains to be the next president of the United States-and probably couldn’t pull off pantsuits or have a series of memes either.

Lifetime/Hallmark Squeal:

I’ll give it to Hallmark they really up the ante on the squeal factor.  Although, Dean Cain is not featured in this movie (he’s featured in many of a Hallmark features, his attractiveness varying from feature to feature-do not watch that movie with the cupcake shop, he is not doing it there) we have two of daytime’s biggest menbos.  They might not be the best actors, but man are they pretty to look at.  Ryan needs to lay off the Botox though and Frisco might want to moderate the fake baking.  But it’s overall a very attractive cast.

OMG Lifetime/Hallmark Moment:

Hmm, what is probably the most Lifetimey about this movie is that they try to portray Sunday as this tough woman, but fails.  In a lot of ways she’s like a bad YA character.  Which is a pity.  She always has to be rescued/helped by Mr. Ex Secretary of State ex Governor ex Future President ex Future Leader of the Galaxy etc.

Overall Rating:

Hmm, a think I’ll give this a C or five out of ten Dean Cains.  Got to keep the Cain score.  The movie is unbearably predictable, burt seeing soap stars in other roles is always fun.  The good news for me is that another Hallmark movie comes on in a few weeks that stares Ryan Lavery and Sammi from Days of Our Lives, if anyone will give Ryan a vasectomy ( a horrible storyline in All My Children history)  its Sammi.  So, I’ll have to watch.

Burn, Rewrite, or Reread: Because Everyone Is Doing It And I Need A Blog Post So….

I’ve seen this challenge post up on several blogs, and decided why not.  I’ll give it a whirl.  Basically, the gist of it is take three books and pick which one you’d burn, reread, and rewrite.  The picks are suppose to be totally random.  So, what I did was  like my predecessors used a random number to pick my picks.  Although, I’ll have you know I had a nasty flashback to my Contracts I class when I went to the random generator site-all of Section A hated that stupid website on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays (ah, law school). Like Debby, I’ve decided to do multiple rounds of this because it oddly becomes addicting after awhile.

 

 

Rewrite:

While I gave the Bloodlines finale a high rating, there were parts of it that were a bit on the cheesy side for my taste that I would love to rewrite.

ReRead:

I actually reread the Princess Diaries series recently, and I want to reread them again.

Burn:

I try to forget about this ice skating series and that mother.  Oh, that mother.

 

Reread:

I might continue this series, but I don’t see it happening anytime soon-I do New Adult in moderation-so when the time comes I might want to reflect on the characters in Undeclared.

Rewrite:

I love the idea of this series.  Unfortunately, it falls through many of the same pitfalls that Eastern mythology inspired YA does. But still Korea…it.  had.  hope and potential.  And I’m a devastated reader.

Burn:

The most overhyped piece of crap that the Greek Gods need to smote.  Obviously, it needs to burn.

Burn:

Oh, how Straight Stalk grated on my nerves.  I like Tera Lynn Childs, I really do.  She has a lot of good stuff in her books going for her, but this book..I sort of get why it was self published rather than traditionally published.  But to be honest, I think that instead of self publishing it, it should’ve been sacrificed to the book gods in hope of writing a better book.

Rewrite:

I DNF’d this one.  But I do like most of Browne’s other stuff.  I might’ve rewrote some of the cliches that bugged me the most-the ultra relaxed love interest, that loosens up the supposed overly ambitious heroine.

Reread: 

I need to reread this one and read the rest of this series.  If I remember correctly, this one was eerie and creepy.  And different.

So am I tagging anyone, no.  I just don’t do tags guys.  It’s awkward business.  But if you feel welcome to join go at it.

 

 

 

 

 

Do Judge a Book by Its Cover: Travel the YA World

I recently did a post about books that involved travel-alas, the post was sadly confined to Europe, look for future posts to focus on other great travel spots in the remaining six continents in the world.  I decided to continue my traveling theme by doing destination covers.  Meaning, there has to be something travel-y about the covers I’m analyzing.

Destination: San Franscisco where John Stamos’s twin boys are causing a heck of a lot of trouble in that  house that’s filled with so many people it’s sure to be a health violation.  In this fun, unauthorized book sequel to the hit 90’s sitcom,  Alex Kastopolis falls in love with Kimmy Gibbler’s long lost sister and of course this has everyone in that house in a tizzy because Lola, that’s Kimmy’s sister, is a love child and not from a legit marriage or even sanctioned relationship since Mr. G was cheating on Mrs. G at that time.  It of course has twenty something Michelle asking where babies come from again, and of course there’s Stephanie and her pesky recurring meth problem.  Aunt Becky is determined to help her, even if it means having the Tanner family be on an episode of Intervention.  Where the root of her problems (a.k.a. Uncle Joey) will be found out.  Meanwhile, will Alex and Lola be able to fall in love?  Or will his evil twin brother with the better hair get in the way?

What the Book Is Really About:

Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better. And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood. When Cricket, a gifted inventor, steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door. 

Source: GoodReads

Verdict: I am so glad this got a cover redesign.  But I like the painted lady houses in the background, I’ll give you that.  And I really imagined Lola living in the Tanners’ house.  As much as I make fun of that show (and I make fun of it a lot) it has had a lasting impressing on my opinion of San Francisco.

Destination: China. You know Mulan’s story, but what about her twin sister’s?  This look into rural China explores the life after Ju’s sister went to war.  How her family handles her sister’s choice and how Ju saves her village and falls in love with a handsome deserter.  Big points for this story is that Eddie Murphy’s annoying dragon character does not make an appearance.

What the Book is Really About:

From Richelle Mead, the #1 internationally bestselling author of Vampire Academy and Bloodlines, comes a breathtaking new fantasy steeped in Chinese folklore.

For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village, where rocky terrain and frequent avalanches prevent residents from self-sustaining. Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.

When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink and many go hungry. Fei’s home, the people she loves, and her entire existence is plunged into crisis, under threat of darkness and starvation.

But soon Fei is awoken in the night by a searing noise, and sound becomes her weapon.

Richelle Mead takes readers on a triumphant journey from the peak of Fei’s jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiugo, where a startling truth and an unlikely romance will change her life forever…

Source: GoodReads

Verdict: Love.  I think this is the best cover I’ve seen for a Mead book.  I love the background.  I love the way  the model is dressed and that she is a POC.  This is how book covers with model’s should be done.

Destination: Pakistan.  A complex tale about a girl torn between tradition and the Western world.  A life of tradition for Amal means acceptance from her family, and stability.  However, there’s something about the Western world that draws Amal in despite all its vices.  Given her family’s contemptuous  background, deciding to go to school to pursue her goals.  Let alone, school in the West. is a very dangerous path.  Will Amal be brave enough to pursue her dreams, or will she resign to a fate that is said to be written in the stars?

What the Book Is Really About:

This heart-wrenching novel explores what it is like to be thrust into an unwanted marriage. Has Naila’s fate been written in the stars? Or can she still make her own destiny?

Naila’s conservative immigrant parents have always said the same thing: She may choose what to study, how to wear her hair, and what to be when she grows up—but they will choose her husband. Following their cultural tradition, they will plan an arranged marriage for her. And until then, dating—even friendship with a boy—is forbidden. When Naila breaks their rule by falling in love with Saif, her parents are livid. Convinced she has forgotten who she truly is, they travel to Pakistan to visit relatives and explore their roots. But Naila’s vacation turns into a nightmare when she learns that plans have changed—her parents have found her a husband and they want her to marry him, now! Despite her greatest efforts, Naila is aghast to find herself cut off from everything and everyone she once knew. Her only hope of escape is Saif . . . if he can find her before it’s too late.

Source: GoodReads

Verdict:  I like this one.  The figure isn’t large enough to be obtrusive, and I like the background and style of the writing.  What I don’t like is the title.  It seems a little too dreamy and romantic for a book that appears to be dealing with some pretty deep stuff.

Destination: Paris.  In the misery that is World War II, Madeline joins the resistance in hopes that she can help her country gain independence from the Nazis.  Soon Madeline finds herself working undercover pretending to be a young Nazi youth.  While she is under this brutal regime trying to find intel, she finds herself falling for her sergeant.  Hans might be the enemy, but there is something about him that Madeline can’t help but find attractive.  And sometimes she wonders if he really believes in his regimes values…

What the Book is Really About:

History has a way of repeating itself. In the Sunken City that was once Paris, all who oppose the new revolution are being put to the blade. Except for those who disappear from their prison cells, a red-tipped rook feather left in their place. Is the mysterious Red Rook a savior of the innocent or a criminal?

Meanwhile, across the sea in the Commonwealth, Sophia Bellamy’s arranged marriage to the wealthy René Hasard is the last chance to save her family from ruin. But when the search for the Red Rook comes straight to her doorstep, Sophia discovers that her fiancé is not all he seems. Which is only fair, because neither is she.

As the Red Rook grows bolder and the stakes grow higher, Sophia and René find themselves locked in a tantalizing game of cat and mouse.

Source: GoodReads

Verdict: I love this cover.  It really has a feeling of despair to it, but being Paris it still retains an elegant and regal facade.

Destination: America (well, the cover shows the skyline of Washington DC and a map of the east coast). Ally has grown up as a Washington insider.  She’s known three first kids.  One of them is her best friend, one is her mortal enemy, and the current one is her forbidden crush.  Because there’s no way the first kid is dating the help’s daughter.  Though they use the term staff, not help.  When you are inside 1600 Pennsylvania  all the time but NOT inside life is tough.

What the Book is Really About:

Fans of Sarah Dessen and Huntley Fitzpatrick will enjoy this smart debut young adult novel, equal parts My Life Next Door and The Princess Diaries—plus a dash of Aaron Sorkin.

Kate Quinn’s mom died last year, leaving Kate parentless and reeling. So when the unexpected shows up in her living room, Kate must confront another reality she never thought possible—or thought of at all. Kate does have a father. He’s a powerful politician. And he’s running for U.S. President. Suddenly, Kate’s moving in with a family she never knew she had, joining a campaign in support of a man she hardly knows, and falling for a rebellious boy who may not have the purest motives. This is Kate’s new life. But who is Kate? When what she truly believes flies in the face of the campaign’s talking points, she must decide. Does she turn to the family she barely knows, the boy she knows but doesn’t necessarily trust, or face a third, even scarier option?

Set against a backdrop of politics, family, and first love, this is a story of personal responsibility, complicated romance, and trying to discover who you are even as everyone tells you who you should be

Source: GoodReads

Verdict: Very presentable.  I can take this out in public and not get the ew you’re reading that look.