Oh Boy: The Boy is Back by Meg Cabot

From New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot comes the sweetly humorous story of a man who has to face his past in order to find his future.

Sometimes to move forward, you have to go back…

One post. That’s all it took to destroy the care free, glamorous life of pro golfer Reed Stewart. One tiny post on the Internet.

Then again, it’s not like Reed’s been winning many tournaments lately, and his uncle isn’t the only one who says it’s because of the unfinished business he left behind back home in Bloomville, Indiana—namely Reed’s father, the Honorable Judge Richard P. Stewart, and the only girl Reed ever loved, Becky Flowers.

But Reed hasn’t spoken to either his father or Becky in over a decade.

Until that post on the Internet. Suddenly, Reed’s family has become a national laughingstock, his publicist won’t stop calling, his siblings are begging for help, and Reed realizes he has no other choice: He’s got to go home to face his past . . . the Judge and the girl he left behind.

Becky’s worked hard to build her successful senior relocation business, but she’s worked even harder to forget Reed Stewart ever existed—which hasn’t been easy, considering he’s their hometown’s golden boy, and all anyone ever talks about. It was fine while they were thousands of miles apart, but now he’s back in Bloomville. She has absolutely no intention of seeing him—until his family hires her to help save his parents.

Now Reed and Becky can’t avoid one another…or the memories of that one fateful night.

Can the quirky residents of Bloomville bring these two young people back together, or will Reed and Becky continue to allow their pasts to deny them the future they deserve?

This warm, thought-provoking book, told entirely in texts, emails, and journal entries, is as much about the enduring bond of families as it is about second chances at love, and will delight as much as it entertains.

Source: GoodReads

I have an addiction to Meg Cabot books. I’ll be the first to admit it. I think it’s in part because it was her books that really got me back into reading after going through a Harry Potter draught period—the wait between Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix was a little ridiculous. So, thanks Meg. Thank you for giving me the joy of having my first book boyfriend in Jesse de Silva, and for opening me up to the world of feminism.  Even though there are some of her books and series I like better than others, I always end up picking up her new stuff save for maybe her kiddie series that aren’t related to any of her YA and adult series.   That’s quite a commitment if you think about it, considering that I have been reading her stuff for over a decade and have read several others books in between. Anyway, one of the favorite series I read by her was her Boy books and I recently did a recap of them in order to prepare for The Boy is Back.

This is an old photo that I took with Meg way back when Princess Diaries 10 was a new book.

This is an old photo that I took with Meg way back when Princess Diaries 10 was a new book.

Note, you really don’t have to do the reread if you don’t want too. There are a couple of Easter eggs for people who loved those books, but it’s not like crucial. Like those books, this one isn’t in traditional pose and is written in phone conversations, Amazon reviews, Facebook posts, and e-mails. Which means it’s totally hilarious—well, sort of.

The book actually deals with a sort of painful subject: aging, hoarding, and elder abuse. It’s actually something I can really relate to at the moment since I just lost my grandma this weekend and we’re in the process of going through her stuff—she had a penchant for collecting or should I say hoarding valueless figurines and other clutter that she thought were collectibles so it really hit home for me. I did like how Meg made this subject matter seem a little less depressing than it actually was, and how during family emergency there are often glimpses and moments of humor there.

Like in most of the boy books, the romance really plays a secondary role to a degree. I would say that in the series Becky and Reed aren’t my favorite couple but they are interesting and cute enough. Although, I did think they got together fairly easy despite all the crap that went down between them. However, I think that’s just me having binged too many Judith McNaught books earlier this year and being full of four hundred pages of angst before getting the fucking happy ending. Oh, angst.

Another issue I have with this book, and note they were minimum, is I was easily able to see the Cabot tropes throughout this book. Tropes that were similar to other Boy books. Like the evil lawyer sibling who uses the fact that she’s the executrix (yes, executrix editors—it’s the feminine form of executor and some lawyers/judges get pissy if you use the wrong form, at least that’s what Barbri told me when I submitted my Wills practice essay when I was studying for the bar) of her parents will throughout the book. The parents aren’t even dead yet and it’s not like the executrix would have that much power since a will has really no value until the parents are dead. And having a joint will…

Yeah, I know. I’m going off on a tangent like I do whenever I watch Law and Order. And I get it, not all writers are lawyers—thank God— but the fact that this is used as a threat by an attorney throughout the book made me laugh. At least Reed eventually called her out on it. And honestly, it’s not this that annoyed me it’s the fact that we had to go the evil lawyer sibling route again when Cabot had already done that in a previous book in the series (Boy Meets Girl). But least in that book we had Mitch to balance out the Fucker.

Unrelated side note, if Stewart and Amy got a divorce in the interim I think he and the evil lawyer sibling in this book would hit it off big time. I’m just saying.

Another similar trope was the cool siblings with lots of kids that having a Granger-Weasley bicker like relationship. Again, seen that before in two books of the series (Boy Meets Girl and The Boy Next Door). It’s not that repeating these tropes is necessary a bad thing, but I don’t know could we have the evil lawyer sister at least be smart enough not to use the executrix threat.

Because seriously.

That aside, I really loved this book. Again, it was very (scary and sadly) relatable given my current situation and I did enjoy the romance and characters for the most part. If you haven’t picked up the Boy series you should. Yes, there are some issues here and there, but for the most part it is a very well done and cute series.

Overall Rating: A B+ again the executrix threat and repeated tropes were really my only points of annoyance.

This is NOT a Retelling: Beast by Brie Spangler

Tall, meaty, muscle-bound, and hairier than most throw rugs, Dylan doesn’t look like your average fifteen-year-old, so, naturally, high school has not been kind to him. To make matters worse, on the day his school bans hats (his preferred camouflage), Dylan goes up on his roof only to fall and wake up in the hospital with a broken leg—and a mandate to attend group therapy for self-harmers.

Dylan vows to say nothing and zones out at therapy—until he meets Jamie. She’s funny, smart, and so stunning, even his womanizing best friend, JP, would be jealous. She’s also the first person to ever call Dylan out on his self-pitying and superficiality. As Jamie’s humanity and wisdom begin to rub off on Dylan, they become more than just friends. But there is something Dylan doesn’t know about Jamie, something she shared with the group the day he wasn’t listening. Something that shouldn’t change a thing. She is who she’s always been—an amazing photographer and devoted friend, who also happens to be transgender. But will Dylan see it that way?

Source: GoodReads

Beast sort of reminds me of a furby. A toy, or in this case a book, you desperately want and when you play—or in this case read it—you are like more than a little annoyed and end up throwing the damn thing in the garbage because it’s so fucking annoying.

Fucking furbies.

Fucking furbies.

Note: I didn’t throw this book in the trash like I may or may not have thrown away a furby (God, I just aged myself there). But I did throw it in the storage/giveaway chest after I finished the nonsense that was Beast.

This is not a Beauty and the Beast retelling. The only thing it had in common with Beauty and the Beast was that it featured a slightly hairy dude and hot chick. If you really want what this book was about it was about a transphobic brat who falls in love with an awesome trans girl not realizing she’s trans and when he finds out acts like a dick for the rest of the book.

See the problem here?

To be fair, while I didn’t like Dylan’s reaction or several of the characters’ reactions to finding out that Jamie was transgender, it was unfortunately realistic. The thing is; I just wish there were some characters that had a more positive outlook than Dylan, his mom, or that dick (JP).

Though, I think we’re supposed to take that dick as being a misguided best friend. Nope, he’s a dick who bullies. I couldn’t stand him. And I didn’t get why Dylan was able to be friends with him in the end based on all the shit he put him through. Also, Dylan’s mom needs a Golden Charlie for pimping that toxic relationship and being to horrible to Jaime.

Really, lady, if you’re son thinks his so-called wonderful friend is a dick maybe you should listen rather than being a hateful bigot about his new girlfriend.

On the bright side, I really did like Jaime. I mentioned in my status updates that had the book been in her point of view or even if the book had been in dual point of view it would’ve been better. Jaime has some of the better dialogue and realistic character development—save for wanting be with Dylan—throughout the book. So more of her would’ve been worth it.

I think in the end Beast was not what I wanted for a transgendered Beauty and the Beast retelling. The shades of the fairytale that were there were shallow at best and probably the only reason the comparisons were made were to sell the book. And honestly, it probably worked here with me because I’m a junkie for Beauty and the Beast retellings. As far as a book about transgender issues go, I can only give a limited opinion on this as a cis female. However, I did not like how transphobic so many of these characters seemed.   While I get that that is an unfortunate element of reality, it annoyed me that the male lead was so transphobic throughout most of the book. Also, since this book focused on trans issues, I really think the trans character should’ve been given her own point of view. This is one of the big reasons this book didn’t work for me and I would recommend If I Was Your Girl for someone who is interested in exploring these issues instead. Because while a little preachy, that book does a good job exploring issues that a trans character has to face.

Overall Rating: I’m going to be generous and give it a solid C. I was able to finish it, which is actually saying a lot. I just didn’t like a lot of the choices made in telling this story and for fuck’s sake it’s NOT a Beauty and the Beast retelling. If anything comparing it to that fairytale made me a more pissed off reader.

Black Sheep Time: This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills

Sloane isn’t expecting to fall in with a group of friends when she moves from New York to Florida—especially not a group of friends so intense, so in love, so all-consuming. Yet that’s exactly what happens.

Sloane becomes closest to Vera, a social-media star who lights up any room, and Gabe, Vera’s twin brother and the most serious person Sloane’s ever met. When a beloved painting by the twins’ late mother goes missing, Sloane takes on the responsibility of tracking it down, a journey that takes her across state lines—and ever deeper into the twins’ lives.

Filled with intense and important friendships, a wonderful warts-and-all family, shiveringly good romantic developments, and sharp, witty dialogue, this story is about finding the people you never knew you needed. 

Source: GoodReads

I used to be excited about YA novels that discussed fandom, now I sort of hate them.

This will probably be a bit of a black sheep of a review. I have read several reviews prior to reading this book, and most of them—even by critical reviewers—have been positive.

I did not like this book.

And I know some of you are like big shock there. She doesn’t like a lot of books, but this one actually did shock me because about the first fourth of the way through the book I thought I was going to fall in with the majority. But in the end, it just didn’t work for me.

Let’s talk about what did work. First the best thing about this book is its cover. This is probably one of my favorite covers all year, and it’s probably what’s keeping it on the shelf and not in a storage box at the moment. This is how I wished all YA covers looked it’s tasteful and you can totally take it out in public without getting stared at.

The premises seems fascinating enough too, but when I actually read the book I felt like all the characters were a bit caricatures. Especially the dad character. I’m sorry, I do know that a lot of published authors write fan fic, but the way the dad dropped his career for fandom so randomly and had never heard of fandom before was a little startling. Also, he seemed grossly immature for an almost fifty year old. And yes, I know he’s an artist, but if I was his wife there would be words. Especially since he sort of uses his kids problems as basis to write his depressing Nicholas Sparks like stories.


Honestly, if there is going to be a pseudo Nicholas Sparks like dad I prefer the way the character was characterized in Anna and the French Kiss as the douche that he is. The immature-ness of the character just sort of made me cringe.

I also cringed about a lot of aspects of this book. The characterization I felt for the most part was very weak. Argue with me all you want, but I did not connect or identify with any of these characters.

While the plot was fairly non-existent, the book is a contemporary so it’s not like it had to have a strong plot if it had strong characters. But like I said the characters were just caricatures and I just—I really did not like this one.

I did like Mills’s debut, but I was sort of lukewarm to it. If I remember correctly it was a lukewarm Pride and Prejudice retelling—which actually means it was a fairly decent Pride and Prejudice retelling. This Adventure Ends, wasn’t even lukewarm it was just another fandom YA book that annoyed me.   But alas, it’s not the worst fandom book I read. That displeasure still goes to All the Feels.

From the reviews, I seem to be in the minority on this one so you could very easily like it better than me. For me, it was just a forgettable contemporary that I’m probably only going to remember for the fact it had a grossly immature parent.

Overall Rating: C+

I Really Should Go to Bourbon Street After This One: Even the Sky Falls by Mia Garcia

All she needs is one night to be anyone she wants.

Julie is desperate for a change. So she heads to New Orleans with her youth group to rebuild houses and pretend her life isn’t a total mess. But between her super-clingy team leader and her way-too-chipper companions, Julie feels more trapped than ever.

In a moment of daring, she ditches her work clothes for DIY fairy wings and heads straight into the heart of Mid-Summer Mardi Gras, where she locks eyes with Miles, an utterly irresistible guy with a complicated story of his own. And for once, Julie isn’t looking back. She jumps at the chance to see the real New Orleans, and in one surreal night, they dance under the stars, share their most shameful secrets, and fall in love.

But their adventure takes an unexpected turn when an oncoming hurricane changes course. As the storm gains power and Julie is pulled back into chaos she finds pretending everything is fine is no longer an option.

Source: GoodReads

Immersion contemporaries are one of my favorite genres of books.

What is immersion contemporary?  It’s a term that I just came up with that features contemporaries set in vacation destinations.  When I found out about this book and that it took place in the French Quarter I had to read it.  Since moving to Louisiana, I’ve been to the Crescent City quite a few times.  And while it’s not my favorite city, I could see why it would be interesting to set a book there.  The city itself has a rich, vibrant history and past that would be fun to play around with. And it’s in a great location.  I mean, come on, even Disney appropriately exploited it in The Princess and the Frog.


This book though doesn’t do that.

Instead, it focuses on mid summer Mardi Gras and the hoopla-or randomness for better of a word that surrounds it that doesn’t include getting plastered and falling on your ass on Bourbon Street-an event that is very common in NOLA.

The getting plastered part that is.  The randomly walking around in fairy wings and falling in love with a random guy doesn’t happen.  Save for in this book, and I’m still trying to figure out how it happened because this book just felt…well, random.

And I get where Garcia was trying to go with this.  I think she wanted to encompass the spirit of Mardi Gras in the tone of her book-though why the book is set in mid summer Mardi Gras, rather than regular Mardi Gras I do not know.

Full disclosure, ever go to NOLA in the summer and it stinks so, so, so, bad.  It’s bad in the winter too, but the smell in the summer is just God awful.  Which might be why I wasn’t charmed by Garcia’s descriptions of the architecture in the French Quarter, I was just like where are the bums, the drunk people, and the sometimes good but lots of times bad street performers.

Okay, after writing that paragraph I realized just how cynical it sounded, but you know what…that’s my experience of New Orleans. And maybe Garcia’s is of noting how gorgeous the architecture is then buying tutus and cheap fairy wings from those cheap tourist shops that they have near Cafe Du Monde-or at least that’s where I imagine her getting them.

Maybe if I continued the book, it would’ve explored the city more but after meeting “Miles” the designated lover boy of the book and getting that good old annoying insta love feeling I had to say goodbye.

It just wasn’t my cup of tea.  With immersion contemporaries, I want something that makes the city as much as a character as the characters in the book.  Not so much here.

I think this book wanted the narration to work in part with the story, however the choppiness and randomness of it really failed to me which was why I didn’t finish the book.

Evil Ending: The Flame Never Dies by Rachel Vincent

One spark will rise.

Nina Kane was born to be an exorcist. And since uncovering the horrifying truth—that the war against demons is far from over—seventeen-year-old Nina and her pregnant younger sister, Mellie, have been on the run, incinerating the remains of the demon horde as they go.

In the badlands, Nina, Mellie, and Finn, the fugitive and rogue exorcist who saved her life, find allies in a group of freedom fighters. They also face a new threat: Pandemonia, a city full of demons. But this fresh new hell is the least of Nina’s worries. The well of souls ran dry more than a century ago, drained by the demons secretly living among humans, and without a donor soul, Mellie’s child will die within hours of its birth.

Nina isn’t about to let that happen…even if it means she has to make the ultimate sacrifice. 

Source: GoodReads

The Stars Never Rise was a surprise read for me in 2o15.   But I really shouldn’t be that surprised.  Every Rachel Vincent book I’ve read has been solid for the most part (grant it, up till that point I only read one).  So after I read it and saw that there was a sequel.  I hit the pre-order button and then sort of forgot about it until it showed up in my PO box a  few weeks ago.

In fact, I sort of forgot about the entire book so I felt a disconnect to a lot of the characters when I first started reading the book.  That didn’t mean the book was bad though.

To the contrary, it was solidly written.  And I oddly liked the ending even though it was more or less a bit of a cliff hanger that will never get resolved because the book is a duology.

Still though, while a part of me didn’t like the way the book ended, a part of me liked the way it left things.  It felt realistic.  I feel like with a lot of the post apocalyptic series the endings just sort of ridiculous in how everything resolves itself so I liked that this ended on a note where everything wasn’t bunny rabbits and roses.  At the same time though.


The main character, Nina, is still pretty decent.  There are times I wanted to shake her for being a little too moony eyed over Finn, but she is a teenage girl.  I did feel that some of the more emotional bits of this book were glossed over.  There were some conversations that I wanted developed further, but overall it was solid.

Finn isn’t as prevalent in this one as much as he was in the last book.  Again, this is okay, but seeing how he was such a driving force in the last book I expected him to have more of a role here.

Overall,  it is a decent book.  A solid book.  A good book, but it’s not going to stick with me in the future.  I am a Rachel Vincent fan though.  I think I might try to read all her Soul Screamers series next year-it’s like an eight or nine book series, so getting me interested in making a series commitment is quite impressive.

Overall Rating: B+

The Pandering Flip Off: The Flip Side by Sean Johnson

Charlie Ryland has a secret.

She may seem like your average high school sophomore—but she’s just really good at pretending.

Because outside of school Charlie spends all her waking hours training to become one of the best gymnasts in the world. And it’s not easy flying under the radar when you’re aiming for Olympic gold…especially when an irresistible guy comes along and threatens to throw your whole world off balance.

Source: GoodReads

For those of you not in the know, Sean Johnson is a 2008 Olympic Gold medal gymnast who decided to write a YA book.  Actually, it’s ghost written-but that should really be pretty obvious if you read through the title page.

Honestly, I think the only reason Sean Johnson’s name was put on the book was to sell it.  If it would’ve been any other YA book, the book would’ve easily been a big fat failure.  And it honestly was for me, but understanding that this book’s origins kind of made me a little bit more forgiving.  I have read way, way, worse YA books with celebrities names thrown on it.  It still wasn’t a good book though.

I think a part of my problem was, I was expecting that this book would have a lot to do with gymnastics in the vein of Tumbling.  The gymnastics though, were more or less an afterthought which was sad.  Because again, I read the books for the gymnastics.  Instead, what I got was a watered down version of the first Princess Diaries book but without the royalty stuff.  Instead, we get the very same protagonist has a secret that would get her a lot of publicity but tries to hide it by going to normal school.

Full disclosure, The Princess Diaries handles these plot devices in a much more compelling way.  Even the movie, which was a watered down version of the book handled these themes in a much more compelling and relative way.

Here, I just felt like the book was being idiotic and almost had the-I’m With Stupid Feel to it.  Because really there was no reason that anyone who was friends with Charlie (the main character) wouldn’t be able to figure out her secret.  I mean, you’d think that Zoe-Charlie’s so called bestie-would’ve been a little bit more than suspicious with her behavior.  And you know, being a gymnast that Charlie’s diet had to be ridiculously insane and you’d think that would be noticeable if not the muscles that girl obvious had too.

But details.

Probably what bothered me the most about this book was how phoned in it sounded.  And while I expected as much, seeing how it was ghostwritten, it could’ve been so much more.   And I guess that the fact that this book was packaged and obvious written as a profit was the only thing that saved it for a dismal rating .  It was literally what I expected and that was sort of sad.

If you want a YA book about gymnastics I wouldn’t read this one.  Gymnastics barely play a role in the book, it’s more or less about a teenager hiding a secret from her bestie and lame boyfriend who has the personality of cardboard.  Oh, and there’s some lame incident where she’s hit by a roller bladder and she worries she might not be able to compete at the trials-spoiler alert, she’s okay.

Overall, I’d say if you want to more about gymnastics read Tumbling instead.

Overall Rating: A C very, very, average and what you’re expecting.

If Bella Swan Was Insane and Went to Narnia: Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige

First kisses sometimes wake slumbering princesses, undo spells, and spark happily ever afters.

Mine broke Bale.

Seventeen-year-old Snow has spent her life locked in Whittaker Psychiatric—but she isn’t crazy. And that’s not the worst of it. Her very first kiss proves anything but innocent…when Bale, her only love, turns violent.

Despite Snow knowing that Bale would never truly hurt her, he is taken away—dashing her last hope for any sort of future in the mental ward she calls home. With nowhere else to turn, Snow finds herself drawn to a strange new orderly who whispers secrets in the night about a mysterious past and a kingdom that’s hers for the taking—if only she can find her way past the iron gates to the Tree that has been haunting her dreams.

Beyond the Tree lies Algid, a land far away from the real world, frozen by a ruthless king. And there too await the River Witch, a village boy named Kai, the charming thief Jagger, and a prophecy that Snow will save them all.

Source: GoodReads

I have been waiting for a Snow Queen retelling in YA pretty much after they released Frozen. It was sort of something I knew was going to be inedible since YA does tend to like to cash out trends—see vampires, post apocalyptic worlds, and epic fantasies with the same fucking stories. But up until Stealing Snow, I’ve only heard/read of one other Snow Queen retelling in YA and it sort of sucked so I promptly forgot about it.

To be honest, the actual Snow Queen is a hard fairytale to retell. I think it’s because Hans Christian Anderson tales tend to be on the depressing side, and unless you Disney-fy them or find a way to tap into that darkness and use it to your advantage it’s going to fail.

By the premises of Stealing Snow alone, I thought it was going to tap into this darkness. I mean, our main character is in an asylum there are a lot of directions you can go there. Unfortunately, I really didn’t see why she was in an asylum as long as she was.   This is one of those times when having a legal education makes me a party pooper when it comes to reading.

But I digress.

It wasn’t even really the legalities that bothered me about the asylum section of this book, it was the character. If I have a character who is locked up for being bat shit insane, she better act bat shit insane. I wanted to see Snow question reality more than she did and her escape from her room, hiding the fact that she hadn’t taken her pills was a little bit on the easy side.

Honestly, the whole duct taping the lock thing probably would’ve never worked in real life. The transition into the fantasy world was just as bad, and random.   Full disclosure, I didn’t finish this book because everything felt too easy and the transitions were rather horrible.

Also, what was it with everyone having a weird name in this book? You have Snow, Magpie, Bale, etc. The most common name I saw in this book was Vern and that’s saying something.

Yeah, I get it. Some YA authors go for the Hollywood odd ass name tropes, but it gets a little too much when everyone in the book has a name that only an A-lister kid can pull off.

Whatever. That’s just a pet peeve of mine; you might not find the names as jarring as I did. Though, you will undoubtedly find the relationships as upsetting as I did. Throughout a good chunk of the portion of the book that I read—120 pages—Snow is obsessed over Bale, who broke her arm, just because they kissed and now they can’t talk (re breaking her arm).

I wanted to scream at Snow because this guy broke her arm and all, and hey there are probably impressionable kids/teens reading this who are learning what makes a healthy relationship. Having your arm broken does not make for a healthy relationship.

Anyway, I didn’t finish this. This book wasn’t what I was wanting. I was expecting a darker, creepier retelling with an unreliable heroine. What I got was Bella Swan is locked up in an insane asylum and somehow figures out a way to get to Narnia.

Overall Rating: DNF

Another Pride and Prejudice Retelling: The Possibility of Somewhere by Julia Day

Together is somewhere they long to be.

Ash Gupta has a life full of possibility. His senior year is going exactly as he’s always wanted– he’s admired by his peers, enjoying his classes and getting the kind of grades that his wealthy, immigrant parents expect. There’s only one obstacle in Ash’s path: Eden Moore—the senior most likely to become class valedictorian. How could this unpopular, sharp-tongued girl from the wrong side of the tracks stand in his way?

All Eden’s ever wanted was a way out. Her perfect GPA should be enough to guarantee her a free ride to college — and an exit from her trailer-park existence for good. The last thing she needs is a bitter rivalry with Ash, who wants a prized scholarship for his own selfish reasons. Or so she thinks. . . When Eden ends up working with Ash on a class project, she discovers that the two have more in common than either of them could have imagined. They’re both in pursuit of a dream — one that feels within reach thanks to their new connection. But what does the future hold for two passionate souls from totally different worlds? 

Source: GoodReads

So, here’s the thing there are a lot of nice things to say about this book, but overall it’s one I’ll forget in probably two weeks or less.

I’ll discuss what I like about because there are some themes about it that I do like.  I like the fact that we get a person of color as our hero.  That there are candid issues concerning race and class discussed.  I like that our main character didn’t have the money to afford a Porsche and even though she was smart, she had to think out of the box to get into college.

What I didn’t like…well, a lot of things other than that.

The book is a very loose Pride and Prejudice retelling, with several heavy handed winking Pride and Prejudice scenes that include actually referencing the book.

You can stop cringing now, it’s not that painful.  For the most part.

Though honestly, I hate how the book had to remind us that it was a Pride and Prejudice retelling.  Other than the love/hate relationship and the class issue romance, there really wasn’t anything that similar.  Because I don’t remember Mr. Bennet being a racist, child beater, douchebag.

Oh, God, the parents in this book.  They all needed to be socked and then some.  Save for Eden’s adopted mom who was the only parent who I thought was actually fit to raise a kid.  Well, the single mom who Eden babysat for wasn’t too bad.  But Eden’s dad.

What an awful person.  Racist, selfish, just an all around douche bag I have no words for this guy other than he’s a little bit better than Eden’s bio mom who ran off to Hawaii to be with some random guy.

I think the sheer awfulness of the parents in this book was in part what turned me off.  Yes, I know there are awful people out there but most of them have redeeming features.

Eden’s dad does not.

I do appreciate the fact that Day did try to address class issues, but I feel like a lot of the class issues were muddled because Eden’s dad was such a douchebag.  I honestly felt that had the father’s attitude been tempered somehow-shown that he was a redeemable person rather than the POS he was- maybe the class issues would’ve shined more.  As it was though, it seemed a little ridiculous.

As for the rest of the book, I wasn’t a huge fan of the romance and I think that was partially Eden’s fault.  The character is very withdrawn and cold to some degree, and while it’s understandable giving her upbringing it just makes her a bit unlikable.  I think Day tried to get her to open up with the Mundy character, but this sort of worked against the book since Mundy became rather one note and once her purpose was served she literally leaves the book.

In the end, it just wasn’t a very good Pride and Prejudice retelling but it was a decent book.  Like I said, I liked the fact that Eden wasn’t a member of the 1%.  I enjoyed her interactions with her babysitting charges.  I just didn’t enjoy this book as a romance and Eden could be closed off and just unlikable at times.

Overall Rating: A B- it wasn’t bad but it’s not the most memorable book I’ve ever read.  And while I love all the stars on the cover, you know in reality unless the characters were in the absolute wilderness-which they aren’t-they wouldn’t be seeing them.

Synergy Sells: As Old as Time by Liz Braswell

What if Belle’s mother cursed the Beast?

Belle is a lot of things: smart, resourceful, restless. She longs to escape her poor provincial town for good. She wants to explore the world, despite her father’s reluctance to leave their little cottage in case Belle’s mother returns–a mother she barely remembers. Belle also happens to be the captive of a terrifying, angry beast. And that is her primary concern.

But Belle touches the Beast’s enchanted rose, intriguing images flood her mind–images of the mother she believed she would never see again. Stranger still, she sees that her mother is none other than the beautiful Enchantress who cursed the Beast, his castle, and all its inhabitants. Shocked and confused, Belle and the Beast must work together to unravel a dark mystery about their families that is twenty-one years in the making.

Souce: GoodReads

I was less than impressed with Braswell’s A Whole New World and was content on just forgoing her obvious pandering to Disney synergy series when I saw As Old as Time‘s premises and then I was like.

Need this.

Because Beauty and the Beast and the twist looked actually interesting.  And besides, surely after two books with poor reviews, surely Braswell was able to pick up some pointers on what was going wrong with the synergy pandering series.  Obviously, I was wrong.  The same habits that made A Whole New World  a hot mess, were included in As Old as Time including the whole let’s quote the movie.

Note, I had to wonder how it was possible to regurgitate an eighty minute movie’s script in 400 pages but oh-the twist, oh the twist is that we’ll include Maurice’s romance with Belle’s mother who’s the Enchantress.

Yes, Maurice.

The bumbling absentminded idiot of a father of Belle’s who gets together with Mrs. Potts at the movie.

Well, at least I think they get together.  It’s in my head cannon anyway.  But when I think of romance with Maurice unless it involves Mrs. Potts it’s a no go.

And yes, I know that cannon assumes that Belle’s mother must’ve been a pretty hot number given the fact that Maurice is…well, Maurice and everyone in town sings about Belle who looks nothing like Maurice.  But the Enchantress?????

It’s not like it’s even explained that well in the alternating chapters where I’m supposed to ship Enchantress/Maurice.

It just doesn’t work.  Much like the fact I’m supposed to like a woman who cursed an eleven year old spoiled little boy and then…well, then regurgitate the screenplay which while simple enough in it’s Disney form was enjoyable because you know great voice actors/animation  and Alan Menken songs.  Not so much here.

The characters are extremely flat.  And it’s not the story.  The story has been retold many times in YA before.  Sure, those versions aren’t based on the Disney movie, but that shouldn’t really matter.  At the core the book was a retelling of a fairytale and while Braswell was using the Disney movie as a template there were plenty of jumping off points  that could’ve made the story interesting.

But to focus half of the book on Maurice??????

Really, Maurice.

I feel bad for all you Potts/Maurice shippers that’s for sure (surely, there have to be some) As for me, I am not planning on touching this series with a ten foot pole ever again.  It doesn’t matter what movie they decide to retell.  Although, I did accidentally grab buy Once which I didn’t realize was by Braswell until it was too late so….

You know, I could just give that book away.  Yeah, that’s how annoyed I am with this author’s writing.

Overall Rating: DNF.

Why I DNF A Book in Under Forty Pages; The Return of Brody McDouche by Jennifer Ryan

The black sheep of Fallbrook is back . . . and he’s in for the surprise of his life.

Former bad boy, now-decorated Army Ranger Brody McBride is home and on a mission: Find the woman he never should have left behind and right the wrong he did eight years ago.

When the man she loved broke her heart and skipped town, Rain Evans picked up the pieces. But along with heartbreak, Brody left her something infinitely better than she could have imagined: two beautiful daughters. One she gave birth to, and the other she rescued from the woman who helped destroy her relationship with Brody.

Brody is shocked to discover he’s a father, and he’s more determined than ever to win back Rain and protect his girls. Can they rekindle the love they once shared and become the family they were always meant to be? Or will a danger from their past return and ruin everything?

Source: GoodReads

I have been having a slew of DNF’s lately but The Return of Brody McDouche  McBride broke a world record of DNF’ing in under 40 pages!  Usually, I make it at least past the fifty page mark.  But I thought I’d list the reasons why I DNF’d Brody McDouche (yes, it really should’ve been named that).

  1. Secret baby plot:  It’s an annoying trope, but I’ll be willing to put up for it if it’s different and the girl doesn’t like give up her entire life for the baby.  Doesn’t happen here.
  2. Double secret baby plot with multiple women knocked up at the same time: Ew, ew, ew.
  3. Women randomly is able to adopt second child from the Evil Bitch-Slut! character despite having no familiar connection: Maybe it was threw illegal means or something, but generally the adoption goes through blood relatives first when someone’s parental rights are revoked.   There was a blood uncle to kid 2 here, so I didn’t get it.  This is one of those times you wish you didn’t have some experience in family law.
  4. Characters having weather and seasonal names: The female MC’s name is Rain her biological daughter’s name is Dawn.  Gag reflexes yet.  And Dawn’s half sister’s name is Autumn so there’s seasonal, weather, and dish soap names here.  It’s annoying it’s obnoxious.   And if you have those names I’m sorry, BUT….whatever. Combined its hideous.
  5. Brody McDouche says that Rain is his woman despite having no contact with her for eight years, and because of that not paying her the requisite amount in child support: Yeah.  He’s a McDouche.
  6. Brody McDouche’s brother is a caring uncle who is also a lawyer that seems to have never told Rain about maybe she should seek child support: Despite the fact Rain is pretty broke because she’s raising two kids as a single mom and doesn’t seem to be making much money, he doesn’t suggest informing McDouche even though McDouche would probably owe her a good chunk of his earnings because um, child support.
  7. Brody McDouche is rich despite working for the government for eight years: Because being rich is a requisite for a romance novel and somehow being deployed makes you an expert at the stock market or wherever McDouche got his money?!?!?!?!
  8. Demonization of Roxy (the other woman) being a complete bitch: Never mind it takes two to tango, and Brody McDouche willingly went into Roxy’s bed.
  9. Rain still dreams about Brody McDouche besides the fact that he abandoned her and she was forced to raise both of his children without child support: ew
  10. The fact that Brody McDouche is the hero: Enough said.

And that is why I DNF this book.
Simple enough, huh.  Sad thing is, that the other titles in this series don’t look that bad.   I just, I just don’t know if I want to touch it with a ten foot pole after Brody McDouche.