Witches of East End: Melissa de la Cruz

Shallow Moment: I always love the covers that Hyperion does for Melissa’s books.  They are spectacular.  

Melissa de la Cruz is one of my favorite authors so when I heard she was doing an adult spinoff series to the Blue Blood series I was intrigued.  Especially when I heard it involved witches.  However, when I actually read the book I found out it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting.

General Summary:The Beauchamp women are cursed to live a life in the mortal world not using their  gifts.  Specifically this means using their magical powers. Of course, they break this magical embargo eventually and that causes havoc to occur in their small town in the Hamptons.

Review:  I was really hoping to like this book a lot more than I ended up liking it.  I suppose I thought it was going to be like an adult Blue Bloods.  But it wasn’t.  There was romance and magic in these books, but I couldn’t connect to the characters like I could with Blue Bloods and there was no Jack Force either.  Really, the closest character I could identify to was Ingrid, and I thought she was your archetypical librarian at times while her sister Freya was a little  promiscuous (aka she cheats on her fiance).  Okay, I could make an exception for Freya’s infidelity if I understood her motives behind cheating on her fiance but there’s no motive there.  She just finds her fiance’s brother hot before coming to this big revelation at the end of the novel.  I really love Melissa’s writing style, but these characters made getting into this book so infuriating.  If I could look past the characters maybe I could’ve enjoyed the book better, but it just seemed that it took a long time for everything to get started. And it wasn’t near as dramatic as it was made out to be.

Best Feature: Norse Mythology:  I liked the fact that de la Cruz decided to go with Norse mythology.  While it sort of throw a wrench into what I thought the Blue Blood series mythology was, after going to a book signing where Melissa was present I sort of understand it better (i.e. she basically takes aspects from all the world’s mythology in her series).   I would’ve preferred some continuity with the overall series,  but I really liked the use of Norse mythology.  You hardly see stories that explore Norse myths and it was sort of cool really getting to learn about it since all my knowledge of it comes from the comics and the movie.

Worst Feature: Unlikeable Heroines: I’m going to be honest I didn’t really like Freya or her mother for that matter.  Ingrid had her moments, but I didn’t really connect to them like I connected to the characters in Blue Bloods.  The best character that was in this book was Mimi Force, who only had a cameo appearance.  I was seriously hoping that I would grow to like one of the protagonists, but for the most part I just didn’t like them.  Take Joanna for example.  She’s an older protagonist and while I enjoyed that aspect, I just found her to be so boring.  There was nothing about her that I could really relate to.  And honestly, there were points she just seemed to be bitter.

Appropriateness: This is definitely an adult book.  There are plenty of violent situations and there’s some sex scenes as well.  But honestly, it’s not that more graphic than your typical Blue Blood novel, so I would say sixteen and over should be able to enjoy these books.

Blockbuster Worthy: While I’m not anxious to see this on film like I am about Blue Bloods, I think this would be more adaptable (there’s less story to tell and it would require a smaller budget).  Here’s who I would cast:

Freya: I think Emma Stone could easily pull off this role.

Ingrid: Ingrid’s said to be a little bit older than Freya (think thirties) and I think Diane Kruger would be a smart choice.

Joanna; I can’t help but cast Martha Stewart in the role even though she’s not an actress.  She can bake and that’s what Joanna is known for.

Overall Rating: Seven out of ten broomsticks.  There were parts of this book I really liked but it just wasn’t what I was hoping for.  I will still check out the sequel though.

Trend Spotlights:Angelic Reads Part III-A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies

 
The cover of this book instantly caught my eye.  What is this girl doing?  Is she trying to fly, jump off a cliff, do some weird yoga that requires her to wear an evening gown?  I had to read the book just to answer these questions.

 

A Beautiful Dark is one of those books that cover just catches your eye.  Which was one of the reasons I decided to read it.  That and it had an interesting summary.  I mean, a love triangle with the personification of good and evil against each other had to be good right?  Let’s see….

 

General Review

 

General Summary: On the night of her birthday Skye meets two hot (if a bit crazy guys).  There’s Asher who’s the dark and mysterious  one and Devin who’s the blonde and bland one.  Of course, Skye finds herself drawn to both of them and soon learns it’s not just frisson that is attracting her towards Ashton and Devin rather its her legacy.
Review: The book itself had an interesting premises.  Light versus dark personified.   Skye seemed to be an interesting character too at the beginning of the book.  But as I kept reading I felt like I had read this story before. This book sounded like so many paranormal books out there.  Isolated main character, meets two hot boys that are a little different, and then deserts her human life for the paranormal world.  Okay, so there’s only a limited of ways you can set up a paranormal book, but after the general setup the book should come into its own.  This book didn’t.  Sure, the action at the end had me curious about how the next book was going to be.  But it wasn’t anything different.  Which is sad because I think Davies really does have talent.
Best Feature: It’s well written.  I am currently reading a book with God awful purple prose, I won’t go into details now because believe me you’ll be hearing them in the near future.  A Beautiful Dark though was cleanly written, Davies’ editing skills shined through. She really does have talent when it comes to writing.   If the plot had been a little more unpredictable I could’ve got through it very fast and that’s nice.
Worst Feature: Cliche: This book is essentially what you’d expect with YA paranormal lit.  It’s not a bad book, but you could sense every twist and turn because it’s been done before.  Take the love interests for example.  Of course there had to be a triangle.  I don’t mind love triangles when they’re done right.  But when the two male leads instantly feel a pull towards the main character it just doesn’t make sense.  Especially when one of them is already in a relationship.  If there was interaction between the characters then I could understand their connection, but here it was just the you’re hot and I want in your pants sort of attraction.
Like the Bermuda Triangle, a love triangle can cause readers to disappear. 
Appropriateness: I know, a new category.  But I’ve had some people asking me whether certain books would be appropriate for kids as of late.  For the most part I think this book is fine.  There’s nothing explicitly sexual in the book. Although, both boys are sort of obnoxious and at times illustrate poor relationships (i.e. they’re controlling and borderline creepy).  There is some violence towards the end of the book.  As for cussing, I think the language wasn’t that corse.  I’d recommend it for probably ages thirteen and up.
Blockbuster Worthy: Do I think this book warrants a movie or TV series?  No, because there really wasn’t anything unique about it that made me want to see it on the big or small screen.  Do I think it could be made into one?  Hell yes.  Hollywood likes snatching up trendy things even if they aren’t the best piece of literature out there.  And angel fiction is popular these days.
Skye: Megan Fox.  Yeah, I know.  I know.  But Skye is frequently described as being tall, raven haired and blue eyed. And even though she’s arguably too old to play the role this is who I see Skye looking like.
Asher: Okay, people who read this blog are going to kill me when I say this but Ethan Peck is definitely Asher.  Okay, yeah I know I’ve chosen him for a lot of YA roles.  But Ethan is essentially a typecast for all dark haired broody looking YA men.  So there.
Devin: Freddi Stroma: He has the ethereal pretty boy looks that you think of when you think Devin.
Angelic Analysis

 

 

A) Angels are Vampire Lite: Oh yeah, the vampire lite meter definitely goes up when I think about this book.  There were several things that were Twilighty about this book. Mysterious paranormal dudes coming to Bella’s Skye’s school.  And the whole paranormal love thing.  However, lots of paranormal books have similar scenarios.  The ultimate test in whether this book is vampire lite or not is if you could easily take out the angel stuff and insert vampires.  And yes, you could.  Though Davies does give us some angel mythology here and there in the book, it’s vague at best.
 
B) The Ultimate Battle Between Good and Evil: Yes, there are references that there’s a battle that’s been going on between two sides.  But the supposed good guys seem like evil sadistic  freaks to me.  As for the supposed dark side,  it’s hinted that they might have their own secret agenda also.  So it’s not like there are two polarizing sides here.  A part of me does like it, but I wish the good guys were a bit gray rather than just a bunch of evil control freaks.
C) Wide Array of Possibilities: Although, I feel this book is cliche the angel mythos from what I’ve seen isn’t the typical Christian based angel lore.  So I will give it that.  Though it seems like it might be a little too ancient aliens for my taste.
D) Because Angels have an Excuse to Stalk: Oh yeah, there’s lots of stalking here.  Seriously, Skye, you need to get a restraining order from both Asher and Devin.  But you won’t because like most YA paranormal heroines you find stalking to be hot.  Seriously, girls if a guy sneaks in your room throw your lamp at him first and call the cops before talking with him.  Also, when a guy tries to control what you do after school even though you need to take care of academic business give him the bird.  Do not let yourself be controlled by some Edward Cullen wannabe.
Overall Thoughts: While reading A Beautiful Dark was a bit of a disappointment to me.  It basically emphasized what a typical angel book is.  And for that I’m glad I read it.  It showed what cliches are popular in the sub genre and for that matter what cliches exist in the YA genre.  I felt throughout reading the book certain buttons that were supposed to make me like the book were being pressed but for some reason or not, I just felt indifferent.
Overall Rating: Five out of ten bells.  This word average describes this book perfectly.  It’s not a bad book.  The writing is nice, the characters are nice enough.  But it’s just your typical YA novel, nothing truly spectacular.  I will probably check out the sequel because I think things could get interesting, but at the same time I’m a bit weary because this book could go into Twilight territory very easily.

Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side: Beth Fantaskey

What would you do if your parents told you that you were a princess?  Okay, so that question has already been answered by Meg Cabot.  Let’s try this again.  What would you do if you were told that you were a princess and  that you were supposed to marry a prince?  It’s an interesting question.  Throw in the fact that said prince is a vampire then you got an interesting set up for a novel.   But does Beth Fantaskey’s novel live up to it’s concept?

 

Princess Diaries meets Twilight that’s this book.

General Summary: Jessica is just your every day American girl.  Until he this dark handsome European guy shows up and tells her that not only she’s engaged to him, but he’s a vampire.  At this time you’d think that Lucius is cray cray, but it turns out that he’s telling the truth.  Will Jessica accept her destiny or will she make her own faith?

Review: The set up for this novel was fantastic.  When I read the title and summary I was expecting something funny and quirky in the vein of Meg Cabot, but this book is not like a Meg Cabot  book despite it’s princess like summary.   It’s not really much of a vampire book either.  Sure, Jessica comes from a line of vampires and is betrothed to a vampire prince.  But the overall vampire mythology here is lacking.  I still don’t get how the heck Jessica is a vampire when she’s still breathing and has a heart beating. Aren’t vampires supposed to be members of the undead?  The book instead is more about Jessica’s relationship with Lucius.  Which I guess is common in a lot of vampire books (hello, Twilight), but I prefer vampire novels with lots and lots of world building.  I will give Fantaskey kudos for the relationship between Jessica and Lucius.  It was not instant love by any means and that’s a big accomplishment considering how instant love seems to be a predominant feature with YA fiction and vampires.

Best Feature: Dual Narration: Usually I don’t like books with multiple narrators, but it works really well here.  I liked how we got to get into both Lucius and Jessica’s head. You got to see what both of them thought of each other.  And more importantly when one character’s voice got a bit annoying, you got a welcome break from that character.  Well, for a chapter or so.

Worst Feature: The Mythology: As I said before, the vampire mythology in this story does not make sense.  For one thing, how can vampires have babies?  Okay, I know how they can have babies.  But they’re the undead for goodness sake.  And for that matter, why are Jessica’s parents dead?  Vampires are supposed to be immortal it just doesn’t make sense for them just to croak like they did.  And yeah, I get that there were some irate peasants after them but they were freaking vampires.  They should’ve been able to put up a good fight with those potato farmers.    Regardless, vampires shouldn’t easily die.  And for that matter, they shouldn’t need heirs.

Blockbuster Worthy: Honestly, I wouldn’t want to see this as a film.  It’s entertaining, but it’s not a must see.  I could see it being turned into a movie though.  More than likely a TV movie, but considering how Hollywood likes vampire movies it might be a summer blockbuster.

Jessica: JoJo: I have to say I was impressed with her portrayal of Morgan Carter in True Confessions of a Teenage Scarlet and I think with a little less makeup she could be Jessica.

Lucius: Does Christian Bale have a younger brother?  Seriously, that’s who I pictured paying Lucius.  It’s too bad Christian isn’t in his late teens/ early twenties though.  But I was able to find a picture of him in his Little Women  days and this is how I picture Lucius looking, save for modern attire.

Overall Rating: Six out of ten  dates.

Blogger’s Note: It should be mentioned that this book has a sequel which I haven’t read.  Maybe it solves some of the issues I have with the first.  If any of you have read it, I’m interested to know your thoughts.

Trend Spotlights: Angelic Reads Part II-Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Background Information on Unearthly/Review

I had Unearthly  in my TBR pile for months, but due to a nasty combination of  pneumonia and law school it just sat there on my shelves until it was recommended to me on a chat on Good Reads (thanks, Paige).  Out of curiosity I decided to give it a whirl.  And boy am I glad I did, this is probably one of the best books I’ve read this year.

General Summary:  Clara is a quarter angel and like all angels have purposes.  Clara’s purpose sends her to Wyoming where she believes she is destined to rescue the beautiful and aloof, Christian.  But things are not what they seem.

Review: I savored this book.  The first night I read like eighty-five pages and was wowed.  After that, I read it in small increments (say twenty or thirty pages) a day because I wanted to enjoy it before it was gone.  The mountain setting is charming as well as the characters.  Although, I thought I was going to get annoyed with Clara at first, I really did like her.  And I liked both of her love interests, even though I am definitely Team Tucker (just saying).  One of the great things about this book is it’s pacing.  Take the love story, it wasn’t instant love s and Clara has issues with both of her suitors.  The main plot, Clara’s purpose, is woven brilliantly throughout the story.  The same is said concerning the world building.  I give Cynthia credit for this because it makes  the info dumping, which is a necessary evil with paranormal books,  bearable.  And the little hints referring to the climax of the book made me want to keep turning the pages.

 

Best Feature: Bending Cliches: When I first read the summary of this book, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes thinking that I read this story before.  But something made me buy the book anyway.  And when I did finally read it, I was wowed. Sure, there are moments that almost seem cliche then Hand will have a twist here and there that would just shock you.

Worst Feature: Um, nothing.  I kid you not.  I really enjoyed this one.  Sure, there were some characters I wanted more of (okay, Tucker) but there’s not one thing I’m really going to complain about here.  The writing was good, characters were good, plot was good, and it had angels.  I am a satisfied reader.

Blockbuster Worthy: Hell, yeah.  I’ve read somewhere that this one in development  by the CW to be a TV series. Let’s hope the CW actually does produce this one because it could be epic.  Here’s who I’d cast:

Clara: Lilly Collins, perhaps?   She has that ethereal Clara look about her.

Tucker: Chace Crawford.  I don’t know if his acting skills can do Tucker justice, but I see Chace’s face when I think Tucker.

Christian: Darren Criss: I think he has Christian like features.

Angelic Analysis

 

 

A) Angels are Vampire Lite: Not the case here. While Clara’s quarter angel status does play havoc with her relationships this is not a YA vampire book in disguise of an angel book.  Hand has done her homework when it comes to angels and this is purely an angel book.

B) The Ultimate Battle Between Good and Evil:  While it’s not directly stated that this an apocalypse  like battle is in the works here, Hand certainly does show us that there are both good and bad angels in Unearthly.  She also makes clear that there is a gray area that Clara often finds herself in, especially in the latter part of the book.

C) Wide Array of Possibilities: It seems like Cynthia took the Nephilim-decendents of angels- approach in this book.  It provides for an interesting story especially since there are all types of angels that exist in Clara’s world.

D) Because Angels have an Excuse to Stalk: Okay, Clara does admittedly stalk Christian a bit in the book.   It’s not like she’s climbing into his bedroom and watching him sleep at night way though.  And as the book goes on the Christian stalking diminishes.  And for that matter there’s no instant love between them either.

Overall Thoughts: This was a great book to be reviewed for this series on angel lit in YA.  While it does incorporate several of the elements you typically see in angel books, it’s not cringe worthy, and it’s pretty original.  It makes me realize that there are lots of possibilities in the way you can go with an angel book and that’s a good thing.  It makes me excited about what I could read next when it comes to angel books.

Overall Rating: Ten bells have been rung (yep, ten angels get their wings from this book).

Out of Sight, Out of Time: Ally Carter

I reviewed the Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter a couple of weeks ago in preparation for the release of the fifth book, Out of Sight Out of Time, in this series.  Let’s see if it makes the grade.

General Summary:  Cammie Morgan wakes up in Austria and finds out that it’s October, she has a really bad haircut, and she can’t remember what happened last summer.  Of course, the rest of the book is spent trying to figure out just what had happened to Cammie.  However, some secrets are better left buried.

Review: Wow, just wow.  This was the most intense Gallagher book I have read.  Is it the best one in the series?  Well, it depends if you like action.  I did, so it was my sort of thing.  But character development in this one is sort of pushed to the side.  Sure, there is some definite development when it comes to Cammie.  But the supporting cast really played a supporting role in this installment as Cammie tried to figure things out.   Besides the psychological turmoil that is going on in Cammie’s mind, the action sequences are also heightened by the exotic locations they take place in.  Yep, there’s some traveling in the Gallagher series.  Which includes locations such as:

 
 
Ireland

Best Feature: Page Turner: It took me about two hours to finish this book.  I couldn’t put it down.  The action is pretty intense it really did remind me of an episode of Alias or Burn Notice.  Though there were some answers revealed there are still many questions that went unanswered at the end of this book.  Also, I think that some of the things that were discovered weren’t  exactly what they seemed.

Worst Feature: Too Dark: Honestly, I really didn’t think this was a problem.  I liked the dark root this installment took.  However, I can see it isolating parts of Carter’s audience.  However, if you’ve been reading the series for awhile, you should know that it has been becoming darker   And I think that seeing Cammie in the state she was in throughout the book was sort of awesome.

Blockbuster Worthy: Of course, didn’t I say that before.  To see principle casting click here, otherwise scroll down to look at some picks I have the supporting cast.

Bex:  I always found casting for the role for Bex difficult until I saw Annaliese Dayes on America’s Next Top Model this cycle.  She has the accent and the look that I’m thinking of when I think Bex.  However, she might be a tad bit on the older side.  But who knows, maybe she has a kid sister or something.

 

Liz: A tiny petite blonde, I think Kristen Alderson can take this part.

Macey: High styled with a bit of a bitchy side, but can be sweet when need be.  I think Macey could be played by Lucy Hale would be appropriate.

Joe Soloman: Jeffrey Donovan, of course.  He plays super spy Michael Westen in Burn Notice.  And I can see him the some time grouchy but hot Covert Ops teacher.  And for further proof of his teaching abilities here is another one of his Ask a Spy videos.

Overall Rating: I’m going to give it nine out of ten secret agents.

Trend Spotlights: Angelic Reads Part I

I love angels.  Or at least I love the idea of angels in YA lit.  And apparently a lot of authors do too since like dystopia lit, angel books are all over the place in the YA section at bookstores.

A Little Bit of Background About Angels

Angels have been a part of literature since like forever.  Angels play a variety of roles in multiple religions. And have been viewed as these beings that watched over us.  But while angels have had religious connotations for thousands of years, in mainstream literature their origins aren’t as old.

Probably the first arguably secular work that included angels was John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost.  Although, the poem depicts the biblical fall, one might say that is more secular than other works that  featured angels because the work seems to go into much further detail of the fall than the actual religious text .  The poem itself is a masterpiece having been forced read in my early British literature class.  There are several ways you can analyze the work.  Often Satan has been viewed as the hero of the poem, even though this horrified Milton.   Interesting little fact, Milton wrote the entire thing while blind.

Since Milton there have angels have been frequently saturating the media more and more.

Remember this book?

The point is angels have always been a part of society.  They are often seen as a beacon of hope, a protective figure, or a way to connect with God.  However, angels are portrayed differently in modern YA lit.
Modern YA Angels

 

 

Angels have been popping up in YA literature for awhile.  Case in point, Elizabeth Chandler’s Kissed by an Angel series was originally released in the late 1990’s.

Lookie there, I found the original cover.  

Angel lit started exploding though after a little book called Twilight.

 

 

I know, I know, but this book just won’t go away.  As much as it’s a disgrace to modern day feminism it has affected the publishing industry big time.  

 

Since Twilight has been published forbidden instant love has been in.  And so have paranormal pairings for that matter.
Almost anything supernatural that can be made to look hot has gotten together with some poor human girl who potentially has special powers of her own.  I kid you not.  So why wouldn’t angels not be on the table?
However, while werewolves, mermaids, faes, and other creatures have made an appearance into YA lit. Angels have stuck out.  But why?
Compelling Theories to Why Angels Have Stuck Out

 

A) Angels are vampire lite: Some might say that the angel lit in the YA world is vampire lit lite.  Take for instance, Hush Hush.  A book that on some levels seems remarkably similar to Twilight–i.e. normal girl falls in love with the aloof mysterious boy– but the books are different because Edward is a vampire and Patch is a fallen angel.  So, you might ask what difference might this make?

B) The ultimate battle between good and evil: Angels have always played a role in the battle between good and evil.  Since YA lit likes to explore a lot of light vs dark themes.  They’d be the perfect paranormal creature to feature.

C) Wide Array of Possibilities: Angel mythology has been seen in many shapes and forms.  Giving YA authors a ton of source material to use for the origins of their worlds.  Seriously, while angels are most commonly depicted in the bible they have also been subject to an entire episode of Ancient Aliens.

D) Because Angels Have an Excuse to Stalk: Stalking is a big no, no in my books.  But it seems to always be a big part of YA ever since this guy decided to intrude on his girlfriend’s privacy.
While it has been noted that Edward’s stalking protectiveness is creepy, this sort of thing has continued in multiple YA books.  And with angel lit, the guy has the perfect excuse to be stalking his girlfriend if he’s her guardian angel.
Closing Thoughts:
I’ll be reviewing a lot of angel books this next month or so to sort of get a better understanding of the hype.  If you have suggestions for books I should read please leave a comment.

First Daughter Extreme American Makeover: Mitali Perkins

I’m not one for politics, despite the fact that I minored in political science in my undergrad.  I think it’s just too much extroversion and scandal for my taste.  However, I do love reading books about teenagers who sort of find themselves in the White House.  I think this is either because of All American Girl by Meg Cabot or all those Sunday Disney movies that focused on this theme that I watched in my youth.

General Summary:  Sameera’s (or Sparrow to her friends) dad is running for president.  Needless to say, she’s excited about helping her dad win and for that matter getting an a makeover.  However, things aren’t exactly as easy as Sparrow thought they would be (i.e. running for president isn’t going to be like Gary Marshall movie) and she’s going to have to become someone she’s not. Can she help her dad win his campaign while being herself at the same time?
Review:  I really wanted to like this book and I think I would’ve if I wasn’t spoon fed the moral of this story.  That it’s important to be yourself.  This was basically reiterated throughout the entire book and it got really stale after the first three pages.  I wish Sparrow would’ve been more fleshed out.  Had other conflicts in her life, but nope it’s all about how her dad’s evil publicist is trying to make her into Sammy instead of Sparrow. Even her blogging skills are lackluster and comes off as fake.  You can totally tell the author is trying to be “hip” .  There are points of the book that I can’t tell if Sparrow is supposed to be twelve or forty.  I think if Perkins wouldn’t have tried so hard to make Sparrow come off as a teen it would’ve made the book so much better.
Best Feature: Diversity: I love that Sparrow isn’t your cookie cutter president’s kid (i.e. she’s adopted  and is from Pakistan). This is a huge plus and was one of the things that actually drew me into the book itself. I thought it would add extra dimension to the book and in a way it did.  However, there were points it just seemed like this aspect was hammered into the reader’s head rather than just being a part of who Sparrow is.
Worst Feature: Too Young or too Old?: Sparrow seems much younger than she’s supposed to be.  To be frank, often the writing felt  forced.  Maybe it would’ve helped had the book been written in first person, but I’ve read plenty of third person novels where I can connect to the character.  I never really could connect to Sparrow.  Not even in her blog posts.  She just seemed to simply be regurgitating a message that Perkins wants to get across which can get very annoying.  Arguably books are supposed to get messages across, but I don’t think it needs to be slapped in one’s face.  Plus, I can’t help saying this but could Perkins have cared to be non-partisian.  I’m not stating what political affiliation I am, but I can see this book polarizing a good half of the USA.  And yes, I know that the president is more than likely to be either Democrat or Republican, but there are ways you could’ve avoided having to put a label on Sparrow’s father’s political party.
Blockbuster Worthy: You know I’m going to cast this book anyway, even if I don’t think it should be a movie, right?  Well, here’s the thing about this book, I think it could be an interesting movie.  It has a neat concept, but the screen writer is going to have to change a lot of things about it.  So if it did become a movie, it might not be recognizable which in a way would be a shame.
Sparrow: Afshan Azad: I think Padma Patil can handle playing Sparrow.
Elizabeth Righton: Sarah Jessica Parker:  Yes, I know I see her as Carrie Bradshaw.  But she’s in the right age group and I think she can look regal enough to portray the future first lady.
James Righton: Bill Pullman: I haven’t seen Bill acting in awhile, but I did like his portrayal of the president in Independence Day, so I’m casting him here.
Tara:  Well, I tried to think of the most obnoxious publicist I could think of.  After watching America’s Next Top Model last week, the choice became obvious.  Hello, Kelly Cutrone.
Overall Rating: Five out of ten campaign buttons.  It was okay, but I don’t think I’m going to pick up the sequel even though I did in fact check it out at the library.  For younger audience though (say for tweens) it might be more appropriate.

Godess Interrupted: Aimee Carter

About a year ago I read the Goddess Test.  It wasn’t a bad book by any means, but I did have a few problems with it.  However, I was still interested in reading its sequel.  And when I saw that the book was available as an ARC on Net Galley, I couldn’t help but send in a request to read it.  So was I impressed with the sophomore addition in the series?  Hmm…let’s see.

General Summary: Kate thought the biggest thing she had to worry about when she got back to the underworld after her six month vacation was her coronation.  Unfortunately, that’s not the case.  When a titian is awaken from his sleep, Kate and the other gods lives are on the line.  And the only one that can help them is Henry’s ex and Kate’s sister, Persephone.

Review: Sigh, this wasn’t what I was expecting at all.  I was hoping to love this book, the first one had such promise.  It reminded me of Persephone with a Beauty and the Beast twist (and before you ask, Henry was not turned into some deformed monster),  but I found myself shaking my head throughout a lot of its sequel.   Most notably at Kate.  I really liked Kate in the first book.  She was selfless and not in a Pollyanna type way.  Although, the romance between her and Henry was one of the primary plots in the first book,  she had other interests and thoughts and friends.  Her relationship with her dying mother was tearjerking.  But in this book, Kate has turned into Bella Swan one of those girls.  You know, who are obsessed with their instant love significant other and that there’s nothing else important to them in her life.  In fact, rather than being the least bit excited about  meeting her long lost sister, she’s only thinking about how Henry will react to seeing Persephone.  And her thoughts of Persephone are a little less than sisterly.  In addition to Kate’s changing personality, there isn’t much development with the other characters in the book.  Henry in particular.  We’re told that he’s some prize but in reality he’s really just a big wimp.  Seriously, he does freaking nothing but mope around throughout the entire book.  I don’t get it?  Why do girls always go for emo guys like Henry? I get that having a guy who cries is an important thing, but when you’re the freaking lord of the underworld you need to be bad ass.

Best Feature: Cliffhanger: The only reason I’m reading the next one is the pretty jaw dropping cliffhanger at the end of this book.  Carter can pull out the stops when need be which sort of makes me sad considering the rest of the book.

Worst Feature: Pacing: There were many issues I had with this book, but I think the pacing was the biggest problem with it.  For the most part in this book nothing happened.  Relationships and events remained undeveloped and Kate did a lot of moping about Henry.  But when action happened, it was over within a few sentences.  A lot of it was in fact off screen.  This makes for a very frustrated reader since it felt like (to me at least) there was no payoff till the very end of the book. Blockbuster Worthy: Last year, I casted some of the roles of The Goddess Test.  For it’s sequel there’s a few new characters to cast and I think I’ve finally found the perfect Henry. Henry: Last year I did not think about Tom Sturridge when trying to cast the perfect Henry.  Well, he popped in my head while I reading this one and he is now my official Henry.

Persephone: I think Kate Mansi would do a great job playing Kate’s older sister and Henry’s former paramour.

Calliope: Naya Rivera:  I think she can play the femme fatale with all the gusto that needs to be given.

Adonis: He doesn’t have a big role in the book, but it is mentioned that Adonis is drool worthy.  Though if you’ve read Venus and Adonis you would’ve known that already.  So for your viewing pleasure I’m casting Persephone’s lover with Taylor Kitsch.

Overall Rating: Five out of ten goddesses.  I really had high hopes for this one.  But I think at the end of the day this series shouldn’t have been a series.  It ended fine in book one and for a good part of the book  I felt like I was just going through the motions.  However, the last twenty or so pages of the novel, made me interested in reading the third one in the series.

What Would the Characters from the Mediator Wear?

I love Meg Cabot’s The Mediator series. It’s probably one of my favorite YA series out there. So why wouldn’t I do a What Would ____ Wear column concerning them. Especially since I found out that Meg is thinking of writing a seventh book to the series. That’s right, a seventh book!

First up is Suze Simon. One of the things Suze is known for is her style. I tried to do a wide variety of looks from the books. For example, the dress in the far left corner is supposed to represent the outfit she wore in the second book that deemed her queen of the damned by Dopey. I also included her hideous work clothes that she wore at the Pebble Beach resort ( a pair of khaki shorts and blue polo shirt). I put these clothes next to clothes that Suze would prefer to wear in the summer a slip dress and a dress by Lilly Pulitzer. Of course, I also had to put Suze’s signature ghost busting outfit in the set: a pair of ripped up jeans, black silk t-shirt, and leather jacket. To finish off the set, I included a white ball gown, a nice little coral colored dress that I could see Suze wearing to school and a pair of Jimmy Choo mules.

Jesse is Suze’s hot ghostly boyfriend. He might be hot and wonderful in the books, but picking out a wardrobe for Jesse is a pain in the butt. This is because he wears one outfit throughout the entire book. This look usually includes a white shirt that’s more often than not unbuttoned a pair of tight black pants, and some riding boots. And of course, he’s usually carries around a hankie to hand to ladies that are crying or in Suze’s case bleeding. Polyvore doesn’t have authentic 1840’s style, so I have to make do with modern equivalents of these styles. In addition to Jesse’s normal attire, I tried to throw in some clothes I could see him wearing in his every day life in 1840’s-hence the suede jacket and cowboy hat. Though, Jesse would be insulted being called a cowboy. At the end of the series, Jesse is alive and well in the modern era. I figure Suze would dress him up to a certain extent, though I imagine that Jesse would set limitations in what she could buy for him. Hence, why I chose a plain looking red shirt for him to wear in everyday life and an elegant but simple looking tuxedo.

When I think of Paul Slater, I think too cool for school. However, Paul doesn’t want everyone to know he’s too cool for school and comes off a bit Eddie Haskell like. Therefore, I think he would dress very stylish and preppy, but there would be just a slight edge to his looks. Starting from the left hand side of the set, I chose a lot of fitted expensive looking sweaters. That I could see Paul wearing that would make him appear to be an intellectual in a preppy boy sort of way. I also threw in a pair of gold rimmed sunglasses as well to give the same effect to this look. Of course under it is a lighter, but Paul doesn’t smoke. Instead, I can see him using the lighter for more dubious purposes. Nest to the lighter is a tuxedo that I can see Paul wearing. It’s a little disheveled, not perfect looking, but stylish at the same time. Next to that is a pair of jeans and a dark colored polo shirt to finish out the look.

Finally, last but not least is Suze best friend, CeeCee Webb. CeeCee is described as being an albino and generally tries to protect he delicate pale skin by covering herself up. So most of the stuff I chose for her are long sleeved items. I also chose mostly pastel tones as well.

Trend Spotlights: Into the Land of Dystopia Part VI Closing Thoughts

So, it’s finally the conclusion on my month long series on dystopia books.  So, what did I learn.  A lot of things.  I decided to summarize my little life lessons in dystopia  it by using Pinterest (by the way, please feel free to follow me on Pinterest).

Of course, I’m not going to simply going to finish this topic with a Pinterest board, though I thought about it.  Instead, I thought I’d talk about the ramifications of YA dystopia.

 
 
What I mean by ramifications, is what I discuss and predict what is going to happen in dystopia literature in the near future.
 
 
 
Other Media:

 

Obviously, dystopia literature is going to be exposed to the media because of a little series known as The Hunger Games.  Already, there has been a vast amount of promotion going on for this movie.  And I can already see the Gale vs Peeta wars coming this way amongst the those who don’t read YA masses.  And like the vampire craze, I think the media is going to take the dystopia for all it’s worth.  
 

 

To further my point, several dystopia series have been optioned.  For example, Tahereh Mafi’s book Shatter Me has been optioned.  And The Selection, an unreleased dystopia, even has a pilot with the oh so delicious Ethan Peck in the works.  

 

With all the media attention in the world of dystopia, I can see the market becoming over saturated with these books.  Is this a good thing?
 
Saturation 

 

Remember when Twilight first hit the big screen and a flock of vampire novels followed?  So many, in fact, that my local Barnes and Noble (and yours probably too) had a whole part of the Teen Section devoted to vampires.  A similar like phenomena might appear with the Hunger Games  being released.  Some might argue it is already occurring.  When choosing novels to chose for this feature I had a plethora of choices.  And to think that the genre might even grow more….
 
But how much dystopia is enough?  
 
With vampire themed novels, I remember that there was just a gradual withdraw from the market.  Sure, you get a new vampire series now and then, but people started putting their forbidden love stories in other mediums.  Case in point, dystopia.  There were just so many stories people could do with vampires and eventually it got boring.
 
But the question is can dystopia get boring?  After all, these are distorted worlds they can take form in just about anything.  From worlds that were shaped by ecological disasters to viruses that cause infertility, dystopia worlds vary tremendously. Let’s look at some up and coming dystopia novels for further proof:
 
1) The Selection by Kiera Cass: Bachelor meets dystopia (in the words of Joseph Conrad, “Oh, the horror, the horror” when it comes to the description of this book).  This one does not look like my cup of tea, especially after reading some of the reviews concerning this book.  However, it has a unique concept with mixing dystopia with reality TV.  Oh, wait Megan McCafferty did it already with Bumped.
 
2) Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnson: Not much is known about the dystopia novel that Blue Bloods author, Melissa de la Cruz, and her husband are writing.  Other than the fact that the earth altering event that has caused the world to be permanently be altered has caused magic to appear in society.   
 
3) Renegade by J.A. Souders: This book explores an underwater utopia that comes into contact with the surface world.  And of course, the main character learns that her world is filled with lies.  Just lies.
 
Each of these novels differ from each other, though a lot of them have similar elements.  I feel like with dystopia themed books, the ones that are going to survive in the long haul are the ones that stick out from the norm the most.  That are different.   That aren’t cookie cutter. That aren’t written by Tyra Banks. 
 
Closing Thoughts

 

When I started this series on dystopian themed YA novels, the only dystopia novels I read were for school.  I understood the idea, but I didn’t understand the popularity.  Throughout reading these books, I came to realize while I didn’t like the sub-genere, I understood it’s popularity.  These books tell interesting stories in distorted worlds.  I got to experience some books that otherwise I wouldn’t have read.  And that’s sort of awesome.  As for the future of the genre, as I said before I continue seeing dystopia trend.  At least for awhile.  The good ones, of course, will survive and prosper while those books that are just trying to milk the cash cow will be seen for what they are.
 
Since we are now closing this chapter of Trend Spotlights I will tell you what the next trend spotlights feature will cover: angels.