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.

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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.

Banal: Lucky in Love by Kasie West

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Can’t buy me love…

Maddie’s not impulsive. She’s all about hard work and planning ahead. But one night, on a whim, she buys a lottery ticket. And then, to her astonishment—

She wins!

In a flash, Maddie’s life is unrecognizable. No more stressing about college scholarships. Suddenly, she’s talking about renting a yacht. And being in the spotlight at school is fun…until rumors start flying, and random people ask her for loans. Now Maddie isn’t sure who she can trust.

Except for Seth Nguyen, her funny, charming coworker at the local zoo. Seth doesn’t seem aware of Maddie’s big news. And, for some reason, she doesn’t want to tell him. But what will happen if he learns her secret?

Source: GoodReads

If I ever win the lottery, I am going to start my own publishing company.  This will, of course, be after I pay off my student loans, buy a decent house somewhere that is away from annoying neighbors,  and get myself a Moluccan cockatoo, but details.  The publishing company is totally in the works.  It will be called We Don’t Publish Shitty Books and this book won’t be invited ’cause it sucked.

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Cockatoo and cat gif because I can.

Okay,honestly, Lucky in Love didn’t completely suck but it was utterly predictable and the chemistry between the characters wasn’t even that palatable.  In other words, it completely felt like Kasie West was phoning this one in.  Which is sad, because Kasie West can write some good books.  Some really good books, this just wasn’t one of them.

The set up for this one was cute enough.  Girl wins the lottery and doesn’t tell the guy she’s interested that she won.  But an interesting premises can only go so far, and here it’s only that an interesting set up.

All the characters are poorly sketched and are stereotypical at best.  The main character (whose name I’m already forgetting) has stereotypical parents who always fight.  A stereotypical brother with gambling problems.  Two friends one who stereotypically betrays her.  A love interest who is stereotypically as flat as the paper he is written on and whose only true purpose is to be this big prize that our heroine gets at the end of the novel.

By that paragraph alone, you should see why this book will not be getting published from We Don’t Publish Shitty Books.

As banal as the characters are the plot is even more to the point.  Like I said, it totally seems like West wrote this on autopilot.  Nothing out of the extraordinary happens here. Just that What’s Her Face makes some dumb purchases and trust some people who use her.

I mean, hasn’t anyone seen any news special on lotto winners?  Like I knew when she went for the lump sum that she had made a big mistake.  And also, those parents completely didn’t even try to help her deal with the fact that she was a millionaire overnight.

What losers.

At the very least, I would’ve told my kid to talk to an accountant and get a good lawyer to read over “business contracts” that long lost relatives sent me.

Again, a lot of this is common sense.

Also, if UCLA turns down an acceptance because you spent money to rent a lot, I’m surprised that Stanford wouldn’t deny acceptance either.  But you know, plot point.

Anyway, I really do not recommend this book.  It’s blah at best.  Not specifically annoying, but not memorable by any means.  If you are going to read it, I suggest borrowing it at the library not buying it.  It’s just not worth it.

Overall Rating: A C.  It’s half ass and it shows.

Because Time Travel, I Guess: No Good Deed by Kara Connoly

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Fans of Dorothy Must Die will love this reimagining of the legend of Robin Hood. Girl power rules supreme when a modern girl finds herself in the middle of a medieval mess with only her smart mouth and her Olympic-archer aim to get her home.

Ellie Hudson is the front-runner on the road to gold for the U.S. Olympic archery team. All she has to do is qualify at the trials in jolly old England. When Ellie makes some kind of crazy wrong turn in the caverns under Nottingham Castle—yes, that Nottingham—she ends up in medieval England.

Ellie doesn’t care how she got to the Middle Ages; she just wants to go home before she gets the plague. But people are suffering in Nottingham, and Ellie has the skills to make it better. What’s an ace archer to do while she’s stuck in Sherwood Forest but make like Robin Hood?

Pulled into a past life as an outlaw, Ellie feels her present fading away next to daring do-gooding and a devilishly handsome knight. Only, Ellie is on the brink of rewriting history, and when she picks up her bow and arrow, her next shot could save her past—or doom civilization’s future.

Source: GoodReads

I picked up this book, despite its hideous cover because the author has written some of my favorite books (under a different name-Rosemary Clement Moore).  I didn’t particularly like No Good Deed though.  While there were occasional glimpses of the wit that I loved in the author’s other novels,  it was overall a very meh book for me.

It probably didn’t help that I kept comparing it to all of those medieval Disney movies of the week that aired back in the 90’s.

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Seriously, what was it?  Did Disney like get a good idea on sets and medieval themed costumes?

Regardless, you can’t deny that they tried to style the MC to look like Kiera Knightly on Princess of Thieves.   Which actually came out in 2001, not the late 90’s but whatever.  It’s odd that they decided to style the book as such since the Ellie in my head looked fairly androgynous.

After all, she’s mistaken for male  for a good chunk of the novel without even trying to hide her gender at the beginning of the book-she’s wearing a sweater and relatively form fitting  jeans.  The chick whose posing on the cover, wouldn’t be mistaken as a guy.  And it is mentioned that Ellie has enough of a chest to later have to masker a makeshift sports bra so…maybe they thought her version of Robin Hood had moobs?

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But digressing…

But seriously, I think it’s one of the worst covers I’ve seen this year.

But this book isn’t about dissecting book covers (well, most of the time).  It’s about talking about the contents of the book and I’m afraid there’s not much to say.  At the beginning of the story, there seemed to be some interesting storylines-Ellie clearly had issues with her father, her brother was missing, and she somehow travels in time.

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Seriously, the time travel itself is never explained it just randomly happens.  ’cause you know, time travel just randomly happens.

I honestly, even wondered why she traveled in time because she kept saying how she wasn’t going to change history.

Trope Rant Time: Why the fuck have a time travel book, if you’re not going to change history.  I’m sorry, I know that some good time traveling adventures where they avoid changing the past (Back to the Future) BUT it just seems like it’s become an unnecessary cliche.

I mean seriously, you traveled through time.  You’re going to change history just by freaking being there.    Besides, how do you know that the history you live in is the right one.  Like, for instance, if I could go back in time before say the election from hell of last year I would be changing history you can bet you ass so that we wouldn’t have the Russian-phile  orange doofus in office and the US wouldn’t currently be the laughing stock of the world right now.

I digress though…it’s just one of those annoying trope that I’ll never get used to. And in this book, when the character is like, “I can’t change history.”

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I’m like, well, you are by pretending to be freaking Robin Hood, dearie.  I mean, think about it.

Anyway, I’ll never get used to that trope especially since the whole point in freaking time travel is to fuck things about.  But I seriously, don’t think much was changed.  Pretty much the only thing that was changed was the character’s clothes at the end.

I wouldn’t say the book was a complete loss though, not if you liked history.  There was some nice use of historical detail here and there.  I can tell that Connolly researched the novel.  But that’s not really that much of a surprise concerning her other books.  However, and I can’t stress this enough, if you are going to write a book about medieval England be aware that they did not speak modern English.

Modern English did not exist until Shakespeare’s day.  While Connolly acknowledges that it’s difficult for the characters to understand Ellie (but ultimately they do end up understanding her) it should be next for impossible for them to understand her.  Don’t believe me, take a semester of early Brit Lit and then we’ll talk.

After reading Chaucer and all that shit (which by the way was written about a hundred and fifty or so years after this book took place give or take a few decades) I can tell you that I’d have a hard time speaking that shit even then.

What bothered me more though was the  the lack of characterization.

It was just pathetic.  I could care less about these characters as the book progressed.  There’s one guy that I sort of think was suppose to be a love interest, but things never really developed that far and at the end we just sort of have the future look alike trope which I absolutely despise.

Trope Rant: Just because there’s a guy in the future that looks eerily similar to a past love interest does NOT mean that they are the same person.  Ever heard of identical twins, authors.  Thought so, considering everyone and their mother uses the evil twin trope.  But I guess a thousand years of time travel doesn’t mean that genetics randomly made a person look alike a long ago dead relative. No, it means they must share the same soul especially if they share the same name…

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And honestly, this trope wouldn’t have bothered me as much if there was an actual relationship.  But there wasn’t a relationship.  There was just a hint of one, and it was so small you had to literally do a squint bend and snap to see it.  In this case, I feel like it would’ve been better for the novel to go sans romance all together.

The other characters were merely there to serve a purpose to the plot.  I hate to say this, but when I read this book, I actually was thinking that Scarlet did a better job at telling the Robin Hood story, and we all know I had issues with that series.  But no, this book made me want to pick up that series again just because you know even though the characterization sucked, the characters actually served more than means to an end.

Really, the only character who had any development at all was Queen Eleanor (and FYI, YA authors I wouldn’t mind a retelling of a young Eleanor story she is bad ass on multiple levels even though her kids and husband ended up kind of sucking).

It pains me to say that I can’t recommend this one.  I love the author’s other books (in fact, I am tempted to do a reread of some of her stuff soon), but this book doesn’t work for me.   Had it spent more time developing the characters actually explaining why the character went back in time and exploring her life with the characters a bit more, I might’ve cared for it more.  As it stood though, it could’ve very easily been the blah Disney movie of the week.

Overall Review: A C.  It’s not horrible, per say, but I hardly recommend it.  At best it is average.

I’m Too Old For This: Royal Crush by Meg Cabot

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Being the newest princess of Genovia is WAY more complicated than she expected, but Olivia Grace Clarisse Mignonette Harrison is getting used to it. She gets to live in an actual palace with two fabulous poodles, a pet iguana, her very own pony, and, best of all, a loving family to help her figure things out!

And right now Olivia, having finally admitted that she likes Prince Khalil as more than just a friend, could REALLY use some advice. What is a princess supposed to do once she’s found a prince she likes? With her half-sister Mia busy enjoying her honeymoon, Olivia turns to Grandmere for help.

The third book in the middle-grade Princess Diaries spin-off series, written and illustrated by New York Times-bestselling author Meg Cabot.

Source: GoodReads

The good news: I got through this book maybe within two hours.

The bad news: I am way too old for this book, and I honestly don’t know if I’m going to continue reading this series now that Mia’s babies are born and I still haven’t gotten any Michael face after three installments. Meg is really going to have to do something to hold my interest but I doubt it will be held.

So yeah, I really didn’t care too much for Royal Crush.  It wasn’t that it was a bad book, but I am clearly way over its age group AND I couldn’t help but think throughout reading this book, these characters are only one year younger than Mia and Co in Book 1, but they might as well have been about ten years younger.

And yeah, thinking that they were only a year younger and that Michael was technically 18 at the start of the original series kind of gave me “Ew” thoughts about Michael and Mia because the age difference really was pretty big.

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Though you couldn’t tell it with the original series (as much).  Even though Mia was a grossly immature 14 year old in the first few books she was a lot mature than Olivia was about a lot of things (she certainly knew about a lot of things that Olivia seems naive about).  I think in part, it’s because the book is a middle grade series so the tone is going to be different.  Like, in book one of the original series Lily and Mia’s conversation is a lot more mature than Olivia’s conversations with her friends.  But honestly, out of the two series  I think Olivia’s conversations are a bit more realistic.

Still though, I think I prefer Mia and the original series on a whole a lot better.  For one thing, Mia was a lot less of a Mary Sue than Olivia is.  There is something annoyingly perfect about Olivia that rubs me the wrong way.  It’s not that she’s a bad character, but at the same time…she’s just too perfect.

The plot of this one was also utterly predictable, save for Mia’s twins names.  Honestly, sort of hated the names that were chosen.  I know there was sentiment and all, but pretty much they were named after Mia’s parents dead significant others AND one of them Mia nor Michael never even met.

That being said, if I was about twenty years younger I think I would’ve enjoyed this more.  I wouldn’t have side eyed it near as much when I read about the stupid boarding school that seems to have just royalty in it and seems even more fake in this installment than the less.  I wouldn’t groan as much at how ridiculous Mary Sue like Olivia was either.  Or how I could predict almost every plot twist.  And seriously, the Genovia here is starting to become more and more like it was in that hideous Princess Diaries 2 movie (you know, the one where Disney’s version of JP gets with Mia when Michael dumps her to tour with his band).

Like I said, just not my age group.  The thing is the first (and to a degree, the second) of these books were enjoyable enough for me to continue reading despite not being in the age group, but not this one.  I think if anything, this book has me wanting a new Meg Cabot book written for adults or a new YA series.

Looking at her backlist, I noticed that it’s been years since a new YA title has been released (last one was Awaken) and while I adored her YA characters being aged up, and her newest Boy book last year, I want something new in the YA market from her.  So, so, much (seriously, Meg, we need your supreme fluff in the market)  Alas, when I checked to see if she had anything coming out soon I didn’t see anything listed which was sad.  And with some internet sleuthing based on her answers in some interviews, I don’t think a new YA is likely from her anytime soon (major, MAJOR, bummer).

Anyway, if you have younger kids who are too young to read about the hijinks of Norman the foot stalker, I’d recommend it.   It’s definitely lot more kid friendly than the original books were, yet there’s still that Meg Cabot-y quality about it that will real you again.

So yeah, not a bad book but for someone who is not in the targeted audience and grew up on the original I couldn’t help but make some cringe worthy comparisons.

Overall Rating: A B.