Evil Oreo References: Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Source: GoodReads

If you can’t eat Oreos you might want to avoid reading this book because they’re referenced so much that after you read it that’s all you’ll want to do eat Oreos and watch You’ve Got Mail (which reminds this book a lot.  Except this book is better because it features diversity in multi-facets.

Let’s talk about Simon.  While the story dealt with him coming out to his friends and families, it wasn’t a message book by any means.  That’s a huge thing for me in finding good diverse books.  I don’t want them to be message books because honestly, I don’t want to be taught some grand lesson.  I just want a book that explores someone’s life who’s not a WASP.   Although, occasionally I have read a couple of good message books.

The thing is Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda is at it’s heart a fluffy contemporary.  And it’s so hard trying to find a light and fluffy book starring non-straight characters.  So, having something like this available in stores is huge.

And it’s so good.  Simon’s voice shines through throughout the entire book.  He’s hilarious.  Endearing.   And I like how while there is a romance, the focus of the story is on finding yourself and friendship.  In fact, the romance might’ve been the books weakest element even though it was pretty cute.  I really liked the set up on the romance and how you had to guess who Blue was.  As I said before if they were having one of those damn comparison blurbs they’d probably say that this book was like You’ve Got Mail. 

However, the actual interactions outside of the email relationship were a bit weird and while fairly realistic there was just something about it that felt a little off-I’m not going to go into much more for spoiler reasons.

As I said before, the strong points of the novel involved the relationship between Simon and his family and friends.  It all felt very realistic and put together, and I enjoyed the fact that the friends had relationship drama that did not involve Simon.

If you want to read something that’s a little different and fluffy, I recommend giving this one a read.

Overall Rating: A B+

Top Ten Tuesday: The Best of 2015 So Far

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish that you should join.  This week’s topic is to look at the ten best books I’ve read so far.  Fortunately, there have been a lot of fantastic books so far this year to choose from.  If you’re interested in a breakdown of my best and work picks for certain genres etc.  Check out my Almost Quarterly Report Feature which I do about every three months-naturally.

10)

I really thought this did a great job educating uninformed people about what intersex is and that gender is not such a black and white issue.  I also liked how it talked about gender biologically speaking versus psychologically.  There was one intersex book that I won’t be mentioning that confused those two things and well..I’m glad this informative book exists.

9)

This one was just really well done.  The pacing is swift.  The story is brutal.  And it shows light on a subject matter that most Westerners are not familiar with (arrange marriage).  Plus, the Pakistan setting really comes alive with Saeed’s blunt prose.

8)It wasn’t a perfect book.  But I definitely liked this one enough to buy myself a copy even though I had an DRC.  This book is just swoon worthy and it’s just…just…I like princess lit okay.

7)

This was such a fun light little book.  If you don’t know it by now, I am really into light fluff.  So this totally worked for me.

6)Yeah, this one’s a bit cheesy, but I still loved it.  I think this book had almost everything I wanted for this couple and more.  Okay, I know it was a little OTT and not perfect but this is one chance where I savored the cheesiness.

5)

The world building in this one is very intricate and it works very well.  I love how lush the setting is and it’s ridiculously readable.  I am really excited how things will be developing in the next book.

4)

I love this contemporary.  I really like political stuff in YA, so that gives this book a plus already.  But I like how all the characters are humanized.  Often with politics you find one party or the other being demonized.  Not here.  Plus, I like how it tries to focus attention to the actual relationships in the story.  I am really excited about what this author has coming out next.

3)

Marissa Meyer is a master.  I really liked this installment of the Lunar Chronicles it avoided all the pitfalls I was afraid of, i.e. giving Levana a background story akin to Regina’s from Once Upon a Time where we’re suppose to think everyone else has caused her to become the evil despot she is. Seriously, the amount of Regina butt kissing has almost made that show unbearable.  As for Levana, Levana owns her evil and while you get to understand her she isn’t a sympathetic character.

2)This is the way to do an out of genre sequel.  This book was so fun, and made me revisit a series that played such an important role in my teenage years.  It was nice seeing Mia as a grown up, and more importantly it was nice seeing Michael again.  Oh, Michael.  Swoon, swoon, swoon.

1)

Yes, this is my number one pick.  I think it’s because I just had so many feels with this book.  And it just had so much to offer-romance, fairytale retellings, magic, action.  What really impressed me was how much more I liked this book that Throne of Glass which everyone raves about and I’m just sort of meh about.  Now, I get the Mass appeal and am maybe willing to give her first series another chance while I wait for the next book in this trilogy.

The TBR Pile: Melt Down

July is one of my least favorite months of the year.  I am just not a summer fan, ya’ll.  And from about July through really mid October it is ridiculously warm outside.  June is pretty bad too, but July is high summer.  However, reading wise…well, it’s pretty good since I have a lot of books to catch up on and more preorders to read.

Preorders:

  • Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson: A stempunk alternative history.  What’s not there to love. Plus, it almost seems a bit 4th of July to me.  You know, if the British kicked the Americans butts, had magic, and all of that.
  • The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes: A lot of people really like this one.  Plus, this one keeps being compared to Scandal.  So, I’m really interested in seeing if the main character has an affair with the president.  Or since it’s YA I guess it would be president’s son unless  it’s a very creepy president (God hope not).
  • Geek Girl: Model Misfit by Holly Smale: Because I enjoyed the first one so much and I need something to help me get over my my Royal Wedding hangover.
  • Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee: Because I have a curiosity streak like a cat and I know my mom’s going to read it so if I don’t like it, it’s not going to go to waste.
  • Every Last Breath by Jennifer L Armentrout: This is like my crack series and it’s ending.  Waaah! I honestly, doubt the guy I voted for won, but I really don’t care this is one love triangle where I’ll be happy either way.
  • Pretending to be Erica by Michelle Painchaud: Because changing your identity via plastic surgery is always a good thing.
  • Ink and Bonby Rachel Caine: I’ve heard wonderful things about this one, so we’ll see.

Backlist Commitments:

Because Bastille Day is in July as well, I feel like celebrating by reading this.

Most Look Forward Book:

Because I am ridiculously curious.  That’s why.  It will either be truly wonderful or…I don’t want to think about the alternative.

 

 

Still Don’t Get the Cover: The Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincent

 

Sixteen-year-old Nina Kane should be worrying about her immortal soul, but she’s too busy trying to actually survive. Her town’s population has been decimated by soul-consuming demons, and souls are in short supply. Watching over her younger sister, Mellie, and scraping together food and money are all that matters. The two of them are a family. They gave up on their deadbeat mom a long time ago.

When Nina discovers that Mellie is keeping a secret that threatens their very existence, she’ll do anything to protect her. Because in New Temperance, sins are prosecuted as crimes by the brutal Church and its army of black-robed exorcists. And Mellie’s sin has put her in serious trouble.

To keep them both alive, Nina will need to trust Finn, a fugitive with deep green eyes who has already saved her life once and who might just be an exorcist. But what kind of exorcist wears a hoodie?

Wanted by the Church and hunted by dark forces, Nina knows she can’t survive on her own. She needs Finn and his group of rogue friends just as much as they need her. 

Source: GoodReads

This book reminds me that I really need to finish the Soul Screamers series because Rachel Vincent is pretty much amazing.

Though oddly, I forget about her stuff.

I think that sort of adds to the charm though, because it gives her stuff a dark horse feel.

This book has all the elements of being a dark horse.  It’s A) a paranormal and b) a dystopia.  Both of these genres have been overplayed in YA, yet Vincent makes this book feel fresh and original.

I think that’s because in part she avoids some of the faux pas that are so painfully familiar in these genre.

I have to totally tell you though, I sort of groaned when I read the whole emphasis on the green eyes thing in the blurb.  Because one thing that drives me crazy in YA is focusing on how painfully wonderful someone with blue and green eyes are (for some reason they always ignore brown-the closest I’ve seen is tawny).  However, the eye color thing sort of made sense once Vincent reveals the twist with the love interest.

And I actually liked this love interest.  That’s weird for me to say, especially in YA paranormal or even dystopia lit. But I actually liked Finn (despite horrible name). While he did sort of come off strong, it sort of made sense given the character.  It’s really hard not going into why this works without going into spoilers, but it worked.

I also liked Nina as the protagonist.  She’s not perfect, and everyone points out that she’s dumb.  But I don’t think she’s actually that dumb.  She’s a survivor and you can really tell that she took the role of big sister seriously. And tried to the best of her knowledge to make sure Mellie had the best possible life.

The action in this book is just awesome.  I loved how the paranormal effects the dystopian environment.  Sure, I’ve read books before that contain elements of different genres, but often they feel clunky.  This one didn’t feel clunky.  I was actually intrigued with what was going on too, which will have me reading the next one.

The thing is though, there are some flaws to this book.  Like I said the relationship really didn’t work for me until the twist.  Then I was able to over look some things, but I wonder if I should’ve felt that way or not.

Overall Rating: An A- I will be reading the next one.  And I really want to finish the Soul Screamers series now.  So, I think this says something about this one.

 

Love the Plot, Hate the MC: Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan

 

I’m the daughter of murdered parents.
I’m the friend of a dead girl.
I’m the lover of my enemy.
And I will have my revenge.

In the wake of the devastating destruction of the luxury yachtPersephone, just three souls remain to tell its story—and two of them are lying. Only Frances Mace knows the terrifying truth, and she’ll stop at nothing to avenge the murders of everyone she held dear. Even if it means taking down the boy she loves and possibly losing herself in the process.

Sharp and incisive, Daughter of Deep Silence by bestselling author Carrie Ryan is a deliciously smart revenge thriller that examines perceptions of identity, love, and the lengths to which one girl is willing to go when she thinks she has nothing to lose.

Source: GoodReads

 

This seems to be the week where I can’t come up with definitive feelings for a book.  And where I read books that take place on disaster curises  Like with my previous read, Daughter of Deep Silence suffered some major issues.  But at the same time it was enjoyable.  Luckily, for Daughter of Deep Silence the writing was solid enough for me to give it a decent grade, but I’m still going to discuss it’s faults.

The book is sort of a retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo (and if you haven’t you should really check out the movie version because, fans self).  And if your not interested in either the book/movie version of that classic,  this book is sort of like that ABC show Revenge.

Let’s just say that as a retelling, I couldn’t really feel any sympathy for Francis or Libby or Fibby as I’ve grown accustomed to.  She is just a full blown psychopath.  I think it’s because unlike Dantes, it doesn’t appear that she has suffered that much and honestly while what happened to her was horrible I couldn’t feel her pain.

I think this might have been in part on the age group the book was targeting. I actually think this book might’ve been better as a YA novel turned to NA novel.  Rather, than have the kids find their one true love and be utterly betrayed at the ripe old age of middle school.

Nah, that doesn’t work.

Having the characters aged up to New Adult age would at least allow, for a little more flexibility and for the relationships to seems a little deeper.

Though, Fibby would’ve still been a psycho.

God, I don’t think I’ve read a first point of view that was so twisted.  At first I hated Fibby, but the further the book progressed I found her psycho-ness sort of intriguing than anything else.  Save for her relationship with Grey, but more about that later.

The character just does some insane, bat shit crazy things that you’ll just keep shaking your head at.  And I think Ryan did a good job at showing how emotionally unstable this character was. I never did emphasize with though, just saying.  Or even like here.

What I really didn’t like was that there was such an emphasis on romance.  To be honest, I didn’t care for Grey.  To be fair, I really didn’t care for Dantes’s girlfriend in the movie either, but at least that relationship seemed complex enough where you could appreciate it.  Here I was like, dude you can’t even recognize she’s Frances?  She didn’t even dye her hair like that chick did in Suspicion and you still can’t recognize your one true love?

Plot holes like this drove me crazy, which might be why I loved the character Shepherd.

He seemed to be the only character with any sort of common sense here, but in the end he was just sort of thrown to the side.

To be fair, logic in general was thrown outside.  I had no idea how Fibby was able to do what she did, because I would think driving in a car with a rotting corpse would not be such an easy task but what do I know?

In the end, this one was a page turner for me but very, very, flawed.  I enjoyed it though which is why I’m giving it a higher rating.  And to be fair, I do think Ryan tried with the character development, while I didn’t care for Fibby, it was refreshing to see such a twisted YA character for the narrator for once.

Overall Rating: A B-.  Read this one, but know it’s going to be flawed and there is really one decent character in the book.

Well, At Least Phin Phin Didn’t Turn You Into a Zombie : Sweet by Emmy Laybourne

*People would kill to be thin.*

Solu’s luxurious celebrity-filled “Cruise to Lose” is billed as “the biggest cruise since the Titanic,” and if the new diet sweetener works as promised—dropping five percent of a person’s body weight in just days—it really could be the answer to the world’s obesity problem. But Laurel is starting to regret accepting her friend Viv’s invitation. She’s already completely embarrassed herself in front of celebrity host, Tom Forelli (otherwise known as the hottest guy ever!) and she’s too seasick to even try the sweetener. And that’s before Viv and all the other passengers start acting really strange.

*But will they die for it, too?*

Tom Forelli knows that he should be grateful for this job and the opportunity to shed his childhood “Baby Tom-Tom” image. His publicists have even set up a ‘romance’ with a sexy reality star. But as things on the ship start to get a bit wild, he finds himself drawn to a different girl. And when his celebrity hosting gig turns into an expose on the shocking side effects of Solu, it’s Laurel that he’s determined to save.

Emmy Laybourne, author of the Monument 14 trilogy, takes readers on a dream vacation that goes first comically, then tragically, then horrifyingly, wrong.

Source: GoodReads

This book is so bad.  But it’s like I can’t help but continue reading had.  It actually sort of reminds me of Sharknado.  If Sharknado was a book.

And that’s the thing, I don’t really know if bad B movie works for a YA book.  Half of the fun of those movies is actually seeing it, and having some of the physical gags allows poor characterizations to be ignored.

That being said, I think this book could’ve worked if some time was spent on characterization.

But it wasn’t.  Characterization was completely ignored in favor of cheap insta love.  Sure, we’re told how much these characters care for each other.  But other than finding out that Baby Tom Tom turned Tom Stud is the hottest thing since Efron and that Laurel is smoking with all her curves-while all the rest of the boat is skinny ugly people.

Ugh.

Just ugh.

Look, I did appreciate that Laurel was a character who was happy with her weight and wasn’t stick thin, but I also felt like this book didn’t really embrace every sort of body type.  There was a lot of skinny AND fat shaming here to the point where I wanted to gouge my eyes out with something.

Really, the only character who has a remotely good idea of what body image is Laurel.  Even Tom, hot stud he supposedly is, seems to focus on his weight (through being a gym junkie).  Yes, I get this book was about a weight loss cruise but it got a little jarring at time.

Though, the whole weight loss supplement turning everyone into pseudo zombies made the book sort of awesome.  Maybe it’s because this part of the story reminded me of something that is annoying me on Facebook right now.  Long story short, I have an obnoxious cousin who peddles a weight loss supplement on Facebook to the point where she makes false medical claims-I should note that my cousin does not have a MD let alone works in the medical community.  The whole thing with the Solu sort of reminded me of that, except that Solu actually worked with it’s weight loss thing and then caused you to go crazy.

I can only hope that the pink drink my cousin constantly peddles does not do this.

It was still hilarious, though, watching this all pan out.

Hilarious, scary, and way over the top.  This book honestly, turned into something else after it’s first half.

And I have to say, it’s over the top-ness was what made it because as I said lame under developed characters with an even lamer romance.

Which is a shame because ship-mance is suppose to be the best romance.

Just see Titanic if you don’t believe me.

Oh, wait, everybody died…

Never mind.

And everyone save for a few people almost died in this book too, so I guess it really couldn’t help itself that it wasn’t romance.

If there was one word I’d used to describe Sweet it would be shallow.  I’ll admit I sort of enjoyed this one, but it wasn’t a good book.  If I do read the sequel (yes, I said sequel this book is somehow getting one) I probably will be library-ing it.  I really didn’t care for Laurel or Tom, but man the whole evil skinny zombies taking over on a cruise headed towards doom.  It was a fun read (maybe).

Overall Rating: A C+ because as flawed as it was, I got a disaster cruise themed book and that was what I was looking for.  And oh yeah, I might give this book to my cousin as a Christmas gift this year.  Maybe she’ll stop polluting my feed with her great medical knowledge (snorts).

 

I Now Have That Song Stuck in My Head: Jesse’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally

Practice Makes Perfect.

Everyone at Hundred Oaks High knows that career mentoring day is a joke. So when Maya Henry said she wanted to be a rock star, she never imagined she’d get to shadow *the* Jesse Scott, Nashville’s teen idol.

But spending the day with Jesse is far from a dream come true. He’s as gorgeous as his music, but seeing all that he’s accomplished is just a reminder of everything Maya’s lost: her trust, her boyfriend, their band, and any chance to play the music she craves. Not to mention that Jesse’s pushy and opinionated. He made it on his own, and he thinks Maya’s playing back up to other people’s dreams. Does she have what it takes to follow her heart—and go solo?

Source: GoodReads

Full Disclosure: I received a DRC of this via Netgalley to review.  It did not change or influence my opinion on the work.  

This is a perfect summer time read.  It’s light, frothy, and doesn’t have that much substance to it.  But at the same time, as far as contemporaries are concerned it’s not blah by any means.  It has interesting characters and it was a nice little escape novel.  Does that mean Jesse’s Girl is the best book ever.  No.  But I was glad I read it.

And yeah, I’m sort of bias because these sort of books are my thing (I totally got contemporary on this quiz BTW), but I think for the most part this one was  well done.

This was my first Hundred Oaks book.  I plan on seeing what other ones my library has because I found it really enjoyable.  While there were cliche contemporary tropes in this book, the characters were strong enough where I was able to enjoy it.

The celebrity themed contemporary YA book is really a fine line to do right.  Most of the time it fails because they are just too tropey, but here it works to maybe the very last fifth of the book.

To not go into spoiler territory, that part was just  a little bit too unbelievable to me.

The rest of it, didd surprisingly feel believable.  Which is surprising because a lot of times these books do NOT feel believable.

But there was something about the two characters that really worked.

I liked the main character Maya.  Usually in these books you get a cookie cutter main character-aka the typical YA character who is a quasi Mary Sue-however, Maya isn’t said quasi Sue.  She’s had relationships before.  She’s not perfect.

And the book is not totally about her relationship with Jesse. Well, a lot of it was.  But a lot of it was the development of Maya as a character.  I like how she  really grew into herself, and most of herself was independent of Jesse.

I really liked the interactions between the characters too.  The relationship begins with sort of a homage to Farris Bueller’s Day Off.  In fact, Kenneally even makes a reference to the movie during that part of the book which I found really cool.  What I liked was what happened after that day.

You get to see how the relationship progressed after one day.

While the ending got a little too cheesy for me, it was a nice summery read that was enjoyable.

Overall Rating: A solid B.  I actually preordered a copy after this because I think it would be nice to reread.

Awesomly Lifetime and Hallmark: A Deadly Adoption

Will Farrell and Kristin Wiig in a Lifetime movie?  I didn’t think they were D-list/former soap stars.  But yes, they are in a Lifetime movie that’s apparently a parody of Lifetime movie.  Of course, that’s bait enough to have me review it.

The Gist:

So, this follows the standard adoption/surrogate horror story model Lifetime is so known for. It actually reminded me a lot of a Cameron Mathison movie I saw on Lifetime a few years ago, but Will Ferrell and Kristin Wiig’s acting even in parody form is a lot better than Cameron’s so…Anyway, Wiig and Ferrell are desperately seeking for another baby after a “terrible” accident and a Megan Fox lookalike psycho comes in their lives and “drama’ occurs.  And if you miss your soap stars starring in Lifetime movies, don’t worry Diane from General Hospital makes a few appearances as Ferrell’s agent/publicist.

Review:

For a parody, this was a much more quieter parody than I thought it would be.  Especially with Wiig and Ferrel in it.  Seriously, seeing them act like Lifetime actors was weird.

The thing is, the film oddly worked. I don’t know if it would’ve worked though, if I wasn’t used to all of the Lifetime tropes if it would’ve been as successful.  That being said, I enjoyed the hell out of it.

The film made fun of all of the things that bother the shit out of me about Lifetime movies.  The thing was, it never differed from the usual formula.  I kept waiting for a twist or something odd to happen, but it never occurred. Save for that weird dancing scene.

And to be honest, a part of me wonders if a twist would’ve helped or hurt the film.  It’s a very thin line.  While Wiig and Ferrell rocked their performances of the “tortured” couple, the supporting roles were a little meh.  Especially the role of the crazy not so pregnant lady.

Is  it just me or does Lifetime have a way of styling their “evil” characters that’s just almost archaic and insulting.  Seriously, it’s always a darker headed girl with a lot of makeup dressed in quasi revealing clothing (even when pregnant) it’s really insulting.

The girl who played Bridget (the psycho not so pregnant girl’s) acting was almost wooden.  I don’t know if they really wanted to capture this Lifetime trope or not, but regardless it sort of rubbed me the wrong way because both Ferrell and Wiig were able to make their Lifetime cliche characters interesting to watch.

Lifetime Squeal:

Not really any squeals here.  And I don’t really ogle when Will Ferrell is on my screen I laugh at him.  The way the film is shot they want you to ogle over the pregnant Megan Fox lookalike a lot though. And she has a hot hillbilly boyfriend or partner in crime, so there’s that for your man candy.

OMG Lifetime Moment:

Try everything.  It’s a parody.  So they did try-and succeeded at including all the tropes.  From tortured marriage, to child in danger, we don’t care if he’s dead b.f.f., and hidden secrets this film had it all.

Dean Cain Rating:

This movie was a hoot for me.  Especially after Double Daddy.  It highlighted all the sheer ridiculousness that Lifetime has to offer.  It only lacked decent supporting actors. Of the Lifetime Dean Cain’s I give it a B.

The Almost Quarterly Report: Half A Year Gone

Sigh, 2015 has been going by ridiculously fast. It’s been a pretty big year for me.  Within these first six months, I’ve moved to another state and have begun the process of looking for a dog-target was originally for September though it seems like it’s been delayed a bit.  Anyway, within this quarter I started my new job and have began the process of starting to study for yet another bar (hoping to take the test is February of next year-blah).

But I’m not here to talk about my personal life, I’m here to talk about books.  There were a lot of good books this quarter, some better than others.  But there were some I wasn’t that thrilled about.  Anyway,  here’s the best and worst books I’ve read since March.

Total Read:

Since the last time, I post I have read thirty-one books.  Not bad, since I’ve had blots of reading slump and am still getting used to the move.  I’m hoping I can knock out my yearly reading goal by next quarter (seventy-five books).  I’d really like to make it to a hundred books this year, but considering that I have a lot coming up in the latter half of the year we’ll see.

Biggest Surprise:

This book is just fascinating.  Weird but fascinating.  If you want something completely different I suggest you give Magnolia a try. The contemporary aspect of this story and the weird bird people fantasy works (for the most part).

Biggest Disappointment:

I loved Cruel Beauty, but Hodge’s sophomore addition was such a disappointment. The story just was too oddly placed and I couldn’t connect with the characters to continue.  At leas the cover looks pretty next to Cruel Beauty, though I am thinking of maybe giving it away in a possible giveaway.

Best Diverse Book:

 

I really loved how this book utilized its Pakistan setting and discussed arrange marriages.  The story was strong, quick, and while the parents were a bit on the side of being a bit too Lifetime-y at the same time Saeed did give crumbs to show how the characters would feel the way they do.

Worst Diverse Book:

This one featured a South Korean setting and a South Korean love interest and I just didn’t feel it.  I think because the main character just seemed to try to change rather than embrace her surroundings.  To be fair though, the book has got me interested in K-Pop so that’s something, right?  Too bad I learned nothing about K-Pop from said book and instead had to make do with friends/Pandora recommendations.

Best Contemporary:

No big surprise here.  I’ve been looking forward to this book since I found out it was going to be released, and it did not disappoint.  Hanging out with Mia and the gang again brought back a lot of good memories.  And I hope that we get another one.  Please, Meg.  Please.  And there were rumors for awhile there that we might be getting another movie, though I pray to the movie gods that in this one they have Mia (Anne Hathaway) get back together with Michael ( recasted with Christian Bale-for obvious reasons-read book ten).   However, more than likely though,  if a third movie was actually made, I bet it will be a spinoff with Mia’s little sister.  Though, I don’t know how the dead dad would’ve had Olivia. Unless, someone stole Phillipe’s stuff from a Genovian sperm bank- talk about not so Disney drama.

Worst Contemporary:

Sigh.  I really hate when I have to list something on the worst list twice on this list.  Unfortunately, I read a lot of contemporaries this quarter, and this one sticks out as being the most disappointing one. It wasn’t an outright one star book, but it wasn’t great by any means.  The story itself was underdeveloped and the parts that I was looking forward to-i.e. the K-Pop angle was hardly developed at all.

Best Paranormal:

To be direct, most of the paranormals I read this quarter just weren’t up to snuff.  So unfortunately, this category is going to be blank.  I’m hoping that next quarter I’ll read some great paranormals.

Worst Paranormal:

Ack!  This was a DNF that I was really looking forward to.  I’ve read so many books featuring jinn and this one was probably even worse than Fire Wish which I really didn’t like.  I think anytime a book has a boob or butt enhancement makeover scene I just need to avoid.

Best Fantasy:

I loved this book.  I almost put it in the best retelling category but ended up putting it here because the world building was just so intricate and it varied enough from the original tale where it could be viewed as a thing of its own.

Worst Fantasy:

Ugh.  This one way way over hyped.  To be fair I did enjoy the book for a good chunk of it (didn’t love but liked) until there was a horrible plot point that sort of emphasized the stupidity of the characters in this one.

Best Retelling:

I am ready for the sequel of this Scheherazade retelling.  I loved the passion that these characters had.  And the world just had that magical storybook feeling to it.

Worst Retelling:

Great Expectations was never a favorite of mine, BUT it could make for an interesting retelling.  Unfortunately for this book, it did not modernize the original story in a believable way.

Winning Genre This Quarter:

Without a doubt contemporary.  I have been loving YA contemporaries lately.  I think because that genre is really starting to diversify itself.  There have been so many nice and fluffy contemporary books, but at he same there have been so many that have depth to them.

Losing Genre:

YA fantasies.  While there have been a lot of great ones.  I feel like they’re so repetitive in nature.  The good thing is I’ve started to try to take breaks between each of these books so I won’t feel so blogged down with them.  And there have been a few stand outs like A Court of Thorns and Roses and The Wrath and the Dawn to make me stomach them easier.  A close runner up goes to YA paranormal, it’s just been a very sad quarter to paranormal books.

Honorable Mentions:

Here are some books I really liked, that I thought deserved some recognition.

I really enjoyed this contemporary.  It really keeps you on edge trying to figure out what’s going and on and it’s heartbreaking.  There’s one subplot that doesn’t completely work, but it’s very easy to ignore in hindsight.

I loved how this book deals with a heavy topic and doesn’t romanticize it.  Bonus points for how the romance is treated in this book.

Best Cover:

Because you can totally take it out in public and people will think you[re reading some serious adult-y book.I also like that the is a meet between fantasy and contemporary on the cover (the feather has an ethereal quality about it and the town looks like it’s pretty much your stereotypical blah town).

Worst Cover:

Yes, I know it’s a kid’s book, but try taking this to the office or to the airport without getting strange looks for reading this. The thing is as far as cartoonish covers go it’s actually really good.  I like the the cover reflects the main characters’ physical appearance-there have been way to many a covers that white wash the MC-but again the bold pink letters all those other kids in the background and then the back it’s just something someone over the age of twelve is going to probably take off the soft jacket or just read the ebook edition to avoid strange looks. Funny thing is, the adult book almost has this problem to-I despise Mia’s two toned hair BUT it’s saved by the fact that there are no gaped mouth preteens in the background.

Best Overall Book:

This book.  Is just this book.  I love the characters (although, admittedly the main lead is a bit of a dumb ass) and it’s a retelling of my favorite fairytale.  So you know…

Worst Overall Book:

Ugh, yeah.  This one was just bad.  It made me like the original more, so NOT that happy.

Books I’m Looking Forward to Next Quarter:

Tim was my favorite supporting  character in the first book, so I am really interested in reading his story.

Look at that cover plus Gold Rush.

I have a thing for Captain Hook, so shoot me.  I blame Hook on Once Upon a Time damn accent and the vest of sex.

JLU Membership Denied: Powerless by Tera Lynn Childs and Tracy Deebs

 

Kenna is tired of being “normal”. The only thing special about her is that she isn’t special at all. Which is frustrating in a world of absolutes. Villains, like the one who killed her father, are bad. Heroes, like her mother and best friend, are good. And Kenna, unlike everyone else around her, is completely ordinary— which she hates.

She’s secretly working on an experiment that will land her a place among the Heroes, but when a Villain saves her life during a break-in at her lab, Kenna discovers there’s a whole lot of gray area when it comes to good and evil and who she can trust.. After all…not all strength comes from superpowers. 

Source: GoodReads

 

I love the idea of a superhero YA book, except with the exception of a few of them, they usually don’t work.  Unfortunately, Powerless falls in this trend.

I really don’t know why it’s that difficult to pull off a superhero type book.  Because there’s so many directions you can go.  From over the top campy, to dark and gritty, you can essentially do anything with superheroes.  Unfortunately, Powerless did nothing with its world.  Really, nothing.  Oh, maybe something happened in the second half of the book-I DNF’d it-but I seriously doubted it.  This book was just so dull of so many levels.

Which was really sad.

I would’ve thought the world building would’ve been stronger.  I really did.  While Tera Lynn Child’s Forgive My Fins series wasn’t perfect, there was actually some world building there.  Same thing goes with Tracy Deebs, Tempest Risingwasn’t bad world building wise.

Oh, wait there was Doomed But even with that catastrophe, I would think the two could pull it together to create a sensical world, but there wasn’t really anything all to this world to this world other than heroes, villains, and let’s try to do Sky High  but not do Sky High because that wouldn’t be cool.

Okay, I think you get a general idea of what a hot mess the world was.  But what about the characters…

Well, I know nothing about them other than the fact that Kenna is an idiot.  Oh, wait…I do know something about them because if you take the jacket off of the book you get  this….

Powerless

 

Yes, your very own character chart (sorry that my phone couldn’t display the entire picture.  But if you’re going to know anything about these characters you better look at this chart.  You also might get a little confused if you don’t look at either because these characters have names like Khardashians (they all start with the same damn letter based on family, to the point of stupidity.  I mean really, Draven.  I have no words).

Other than that though, the characters are pretty much archetypes and nothing else.  There’s the main character Kenna who is just dim beyond belief.  Who’s main deal is that she is powerless in a world full of super heroes-um, so was Batman but he still kicked Superman’s butt in like every episode of the JLU  ever made just saying.    Then there’s Draven who I think is suppose to be the love interest because were given a paragraph about his stupid blue eyes and about how Keena is not suppose to be attracted to him.  And there’s there’s Jeremy who is suppose to be Kenna’s ex who is basically like the Jeff Goldblum in the book (aka strangely attractive ridiculously tall nerd).   Then there’s the punky best friend and a lot of other characters I could care less for.

The best thing I can say about this one is that shit did happen.  It was sort of chaotic at best, but things still happened.  So there was that…

And yet, somehow throughout the chaos I was able to pretty much predict everything that was going to happen.  The plot was like that AU episode of The Justice League with the Justice Lords (if you haven’t you should watch that episodes it’s better than this book) mixed with Sky High. It just didn’t work.

I didn’t even care enough about Kenna to learn the truth about her pseudo Bruce Wayne background because girl was so useless she’s obviously no Batman.  She’s not even Ironman when he’s drunk and telling everyone he can use the bathroom in his suit.  She’s that useless with useless Bella Swan non-superpowers.

Overall, Powerless was a huge disappointment for me.  It had an interesting enough premises, but it was poorly executed.  To have a properly done superhero book you need a well formed world.  It can be extremely cheesy or extremely gritty, but there needs to be some sort of world that our characters are fighting for and there wasn’t here.  The characters need to be more fleshed out than a brief description on the back of a book jacket too.  And above all, there names don’t need to be Khardashian inspired.

Overall Rating: A DNF more on the failing side of this, since I had more problems with the books construction than it being a subjective DNF. But hey, at least the internet didn’t go out and everyone was acting like the world was ending like in Doomed.