The Airhead Series: Meg Cabot

As you’re probably aware by now one of my favorite authors is Meg Cabot.  I can always count on pulling out a book of hers when I have a crappy day and end up smiling.  One of her newer series is called Airhead.  The series is a trilogy is about a girl who wakes up one day and finds herself in a supermodel’s body.  Okay, it’s a little bit more complicated than that but the books sort of reminded me of this:

General Summary: So this girl, Em, finds herself in the body of one of the world’s top supermodels after a terrible accident.  It really is a medical miracle, only Em finds out that there was more to what happened to her than just a gesture of good will.  Will she be able to hold it together?  Will she be able to figure out what happened to her?  And above all, will she ever be able to tell the boy that she loves that she is in fact alive?
Review:  This is a very different Meg Cabot book.  Perhaps it’s because of the darker tone the series takes, it’s not everyday your brain gets put into a different body, but it doesn’t come off as light and fluffy as some of Meg’s other series.  Be that as it may, Meg does know how to write a good mystery. The second book in this trilogy is probably the strongest since there is a lot of plot exploration in the book.  While the trilogy had a satisfying conclusion, admittedly it did seem a bit too perfect and easy. It’s a Meg Cabot book though, so happy endings should be expected.  Also, props for Meg for referencing Wonder Woman.  I always love a good Wonder Woman reference.
 
Best Feature: Modeling: The girly girl in me really loved all the modeling stuff.  I can’t help it.  I love learning about the world of high fashion which is why I watch some rather trashy reality shows.  Though I’m having second thoughts about a certain show because of this.
Worst Feature: Hidden Messages: In the third book especially there seemed to be lots of “hidden” messages about inner beauty.  While I appreciate this, I don’t read to get preached.  These messages really weren’t too vomit inducing for the most part.
Appropriateness: There’s some kissing in the book, some medical trauma, implications of murder and attempted murder, and there is some course language.  But I would say overall the book is pretty PG-13.
Blockbuster Worthy: This would be a very interesting movie to see on the big screen.  And yes, as you can see from the film clip above it has been sort of done before but not a YA version of it that involves models and evil corporations.  So I think it would be cool to see Airhead on the big screen.
Em: It’s a bit part really, but I picture Em looking a bit like Demi Lovato pre surgery.

 

Nikki: Blake Lively:  For some reason I just see Blake playing the part of Nikki.
Christopher: Freddie Stroma: I really like Freddie’s face because I think he can look boyish, yet at the same time there are angels to it that can make him look older depending on how he’s styled.  This is how I picture Christopher looking.   So, he would be the perfect fit.
Overall Rating:  I really liked this series.  It’s true it’s not my favorite Cabot series, but the trilogy does make for a good read.
Airhead: Seven out of ten brains.
Being Nikki: Eight out of ten brains.
Runaway: Six out of ten brains.
Advertisements

Plagiarism: Why it’s Wrong, Why it’s not an Accident, and Why it Shouldn’t be Tolerated

If you’re a YA blog reader you’ve probably come across the Story Siren’s blog a few times.  God knows, I have.  The Story Siren actually helped me figure out how to improve this blog or so I thought since eventually I found out those little tips she wrote up weren’t hers.

There have been a ton of blog entries about this subject and I wasn’t going to chime in, but after some thought about it I decided to write down my own  two cents about it mainly because I was appalled how people were condoning the incident saying it was an accident and that people should just get over it.

Plagiarism is not an accident, kids.  In a way I think to copy someone’s work is harder than doing your own work since you have to search the internet  for a source to use and then tweak it appropriately.  The sad thing is people think because of these so called “tweaks” the work is original or that because they found the work on the internet it’s fair game.

Wrong!

So wrong!

First of all, merely paraphrasing other words doesn’t get you out of plagiarism because you’re taking the other persons ideas.  They’re not your own.  And by not citing them properly, you’re not only hurting the person who you copied from but your also furthering the future exploration of that idea.  For example, let’s say Scientist A writes a paper about an experiment he did and then Scientist B reads it and likes the idea.   Then Scientist B writes up a paper of his own that is eerily similar to Scientist A’s paper but doesn’t cite Scientist A.  Doesn’t seem like a big deal, right?  Since Scientist B rephrased Scientist A’s work there shouldn’t be any problem understanding the work.  However, it becomes a big deal when Scientist C wants to use the work to further his life saving research and has some questions for Scientist B.  Questions Scientist B can’t answer because he didn’t do the research necessary to get to Scientist A’s conclusion.

Yeah, you might say.  But so what?  It wasn’t the same situation with Kristi.  Her blog post wasn’t about potential lifesaving scientific discoveries it was just about blog advice that’s pretty much common knowledge.  Still, someone who read the column might have question for Kristi.  Questions she couldn’t answer because she didn’t write the piece in the first place.

Now for the issue it comes from the internet it’s public domain.  Once again, this wrong.  So freaking wrong.  If you’ve ever wrote up a paper for school and had to cite things you might note that there’s styles of citation used for the internet.  This is because people to want to find the source and that the website itself is a matter of publication.  A crappy form of publication, but still a form of publication nevertheless.

Okay, so what’s really the big deal about all of this?  Kristi didn’t hurt anyone and it really was a mistake.  I disagree with this statement wholeheartedly.  It is true that occasionally there will be accidental plagiarism.  But look at the evidence.  According to the Smart Bitches article, Kristi was on the sites which she “borrowed” her material from for long increments of time and once she was caught she wanted to keep the whole thing quiet and never really did admit to taking the others work.  And did so for almost four months.

Honestly, this is what probably pissed me off the most.  That she wanted to keep this information hidden.  Okay, I get it you screwed up and you don’t want to face the music.  But you are going to be called out sooner than later, why not put on your big girl panties and admit you screwed up.  People would’ve probably had more respect for you.  I know I would’ve.

 Captain Underpants knows when to act appropriately and just suck it up.

And if the coverup wasn’t bad enough the aftermath that was followed was even worst.  The day that the story broke Kristi remained silent for most of the day until she posted a rather lame apology.   To me and to others, this apology reeked of flip-flopping.  Kristi never admitted outright to what she did and it seemed like she had more concern about what authors and publishers thought about the situation than  her actual readers.   It also didn’t help that comments were closed to this particular post.  Outcry continued across the blogging community though and eventually she published another apology which was admittedly better, but still it seemed false especially since comments that were anti-Kristi were being taken down and then would mysteriously appear hours later after another angry burst was heard throughout the community.

Still though, despite all of this many people have defended Kristi and view any negative comments as a form of bullying which I find to be ridiculous for the most part.  Sure, there were some very angry comments out there, but they were justifiably angry.  For the most part, they weren’t attacking Kristi personally they were attacking her behavior.  Which quite honestly deserved to be attacked since what she did was deplorable.   I’m not saying that forgiveness should be off the table, but I don’t think that it should be given to someone who has not fully atoned and admitted to what they’ve done.  I also don’t think people’s anger at the situation should be repressed.  Kristi bought a lot of good things to the YA blogging community.   She has allowed her readers and follow bloggers to interact with each other by creating some pretty awesome features.  But what she did was wrong.

I know that some of you will probably disagree with me.  Probably tell me that I’m being too harsh.  But this is just my opinion on the situation.  I honestly do not believe that there will be long term effects to Kristi because of this little incident.  Her blog is well established and I don’t think she will lose too many readers or precious ARC’s because of this.  But  I do know that she lost my respect not for the plagiarism so much as a lack of respect for her readers and fellow bloggers.

Feel free to chime in, I won’t delete comments but try to keep them civil that’s all I ask.

Sorting Hat for YA Fictional Characters

After experiencing the magical dullness wonder that is Pottermore and was sorted into the house of the snakes, I had to wonder what would some of YA’s best and brightest be sorted into which is why I decided to devote this splendiferous entry to sorting YA character Harry Potter style.  So without further ado let the sorting begin.

Gryffindor: The house of the brave and Harry Potter.  Gryffindor’s are known for their courage.  Though they can be a tad bit impulsive.
True Gryffindor: Mia Thermopolis from Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries.  Mia is a true Gryff.  After all, you have to be a very brave person to deal with Grandmere.  Plus, do you remember what she did in Princess Mia if that’s not brave then I don’t know what is.
Faux Gryffindor: Juliette from Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me.  We might be told how brave Juliette is through her ordeal, but it’s really Adam who does the heavy lifting.  Besides living in a dystopia society is just part of Juliette’s life, so she’s really not being that brave.

Hufflepuff: Don’t diss the Puffs, dude.  Hufflepuffs are loyal to the core.  And if you think about that, it can make them very scary when angry.

True Hufflepuff: Cammie Morgan from The Gallagher Series.  For a spy, Cammie shows extraordinary loyalty.  That is when she’s not being brainwashed.
Faux Hufflepuff: Bella Swan from Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight.  It might be true that she died for her vampire husband after having their mutant pseudo cannibalistic baby.  But woman does not have Hufflepuff loyalty with less than chaste kisses with her werewolf bestie.  Girl is so not a Hufflepuff.
Ravenclaw:  Ravenclaw is house of the wise.  Finding wise YA heros or heroines is really a difficult thing to do since the mast majority of them are irrational beings.  Still though, an occasional Raven or two does make an appearance in YA fiction.
True Ravenclaw: Oliver Hazard-Perry from Melissa de la Cruz’s Blue Bloods.  Ollie is a claw through and through.  He always does his research and you know what he still kick ass, maybe not physically like other characters in the series.  But he has some major brain power.
Faux Ravenclaw: Bethany Church from Halo.  Throughout the entire book I was told how intelligent Bethie was.  Honestly, I think if she was sorted into Ravenclaw she’d never be able to get into the common room.  That should give you a clue of what to I think about her intelligence.
 
Slytherin: The house of those wanting to be the best.  Slytherin has a dark reputation for those who are driven by their ambition.  However, a couple of “good” characters have appeared from Slytherin.  Ever heard of a little old wizard named Merlin?
True Slytherin:  Mimi Force from Melissa de la Cruz’s Blue Blood series.  Yes, another character from Blue Bloods.  But I don’t know a more perfect Slytherin than Mimi.  She’s out for number one, isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty, can make a quick remark or too.  And God knows she has so many cunning plans.  If she was in the house of snakes the Griffyndors wouldn’t stand a chance at the house cup.

Faux Slytherin: Jace Lightwood (or whatever he’s calling himself these days) from Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments.  His witty remarks, his desire to be the best shadowhunter he can be, and the fact that not everyone likes him makes him the perfect Slytherin. Or so you would think because is Jace really cunning?  I mean, has he came up with any cunning plans?  You be the judge.  But to me he’s a  Gryffindor with Slytherin sarcasm.

Of course there are more YA characters out there.  Where do you think your favorite would be placed in by the sorting hat?

Pottermore

It was thanks to the book blogging world that I found out that Pottermore was open to the general public last week.  And faster than you can type in Hogwarts, I was signed up and ready to be the most bad ass wizard since well….him.

When I arrived at  Hogwarts Pottermore the first thing I found out was I didn’t get to pick out my username.  I had a series of choices, due to some weird child safety law, to pick from and ended up choosing (CharmMist15227  which really sucks because my sister got a much more bad ass name BatOak4233).

After much sulking about my My Little Pony wannabe name, I continued my Pottermore experience and got down to the good stuff.  Buying a wand and the sorting.

Both of these quizzes were quite excellent and I was very impressed.  Especially the wand quiz which not only was fun, but informative.

In case your wondering.  My wand is 12 1/2 inches  made of rowan wood with a dragon core and is unbending.

This is a rowan tree.  I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a rowan tree till I found out my wand is made out of it.

 

Now for the best part.  The sorting.  The Potter nerd that I am, I have taken several sorting quizzes throughout the years always ending up either one or two houses: Slytherin or Ravenclaw.  So to say the least I was happy when I found out that I was in the house of the snakes.
After marveling over my snake status there wasn’t too much to do other than to make potions which I refuse to do or duel people which I do way too much.  Dueling is ridiculously easy which is sort of a problem though because everyone figures it out after all (i.e. there’s one particular bad ass spell while the rest of them or just sort of wimpy).
Overall  Thoughts: While there are some massive problems with Pottermore it is a good waste of time especially when one should be studying for their finals and finds themselves dueling with random people instead.

City of Fallen Angels: Cassandra Clare

I recently finished reading the original Mortal Instruments trilogy which I was pleasantly surprised  and delighted with it.  So imagine to my delight when my library had the fourth book in the series (City of Fallen Angels) I instantly checked it out and devoured it.  However, things weren’t as sweet as they were before.

General Summary:  Valentine has been defeated, Clary and Jace learn they’re not siblings and can get it on.  Everyone can live happily ever after, right?  Uh, no.  Trust Cassandra Clare to through a wrench in those storybook endings when shadowhunters start turning up dead, Jace is haunted by some rather disturbing dreams, and Simon has somehow turned from nerd to man whore.

Review: After such a kick ass trilogy this book was really a disappointment to me.  It just seemed watered down.  While the characters I loved were still there they just didn’t seem like themselves.  Take Jace for instance.  He’s probably my favorite character in the original trilogy with the exception of maybe Magnus.  However, his point of view was barely seen in the book and when it was instead of getting his great wit, I got Edward Cullen via Jace.  Honestly, if I wanted Edward Cullen I would’ve freaking picked up Twilight  not a Cassandra Clare book.  Speaking of vampires though, City of Fallen Angles had a lot to do with them in the form of Simon.  I will talk about this later in my review, but I do think that this might’ve been this books downfall.  I do have to say that the book had one hell of a cliffhanger.  Though I wish it would’ve involved Valentine rather than Sebastian.  I’m sorry, but Valentine made such a bad ass baddie in the series that I don’t think anyone can top him.  Though Cassie might prove me wrong.  You never know.

Jace, why oh why did you have to act like this?   Can’t you see that this is the epitome of ass hat.  Talk out your problems with Clary, don’t go all Edward on her.  It’s not romantic it’s pure douche.

Best Feature: Hot and heavy kissing:  Though Jace is mostly an emo Edward Cullen wannabe throughout most the book, there were some pretty hot scenes between him and Clary.  And after waiting for three books for them to get it on I was really happy that we had these scenes.  Even though they were few and in between.

Worst Feature: Simon: He might’ve annoyed me a little bit in the original trilogy, but boy here did I want to bitch slap him once and then some.  He cut off my Jace time off considerably, was two timing throughout a good chunk of the book, when he wasn’t being all sad about being a special vampire.  He really dragged down the book in my opinion.  I think it’s because Simon is meant to be a side character.  He just doesn’t interest me as much as Jace and I feel like if this would’ve been less Simon centric then I could’ve understood a lot of Jace’s poor behavior in this book better.

While Jace is emo Edward, Simon is “sexy” Edward. 

Appropriateness:  Well, thank God there’s no more incest or implications of incest here.  There’s a  few heavy duty kissing scenes though.  Some cheating.  Oh, and lots and lots of action.

Blockbuster Worthy:  The likelihood it’s going to made into a movie now is pretty high.  And since I already discussed who they cast as the leads and how I feel about it.  I’m going to make way with casting some of the supporting roles.

Simon: Aaron Johnson, maybe.  I Googled around at others opinions about who should play Simon and this is the one I liked the best.  Minus the fuzz and a few changes in styling and he’d be perfect or at least adequate.

Sebastian: Tom Felton: Son of a cruel evil man that’s a spoiled brat.  He’s done it and is good at it.  Therefore, I think he’d be the perfect Sebastian.

Overall Rating: Six out of ten shadowhunters.  This book wasn’t awful, I’ve read much much worse.  But it was such a disappointment after reading such a kick ass trilogy.  I have hope that the fifth one will improve.  But if Simon decides to hog the book again I might just go all Buffy on him.

Illuminate: Aimee Agresti

This is one of those covers that dares you to not like this book, it’s too bad the cover didn’t scare me into liking this book.

 

Okay, so a month or so ago I went to the book store during Spring Break to pick up some books for Trend Spotlights and Illuminate was one of them.  You might be wondering if this is an angel book, why am I not featuring it in the trend spotlight section then?  Well, I never finished it and I’m about to tell you why.
General Summary:  Haven is so special that she and two of her classmates get chosen for this new state program which places high school prodigies these ultra cool internships.  Haven and her friends of course are all going to be working at the same place ( a swanky newly renovated hotel that Al Capone used to call home).  Naturally, there are secrets that make this dream job just a little too much like the Devil Wears Prada with more of the devil and less of the cool clothes.
Review: When I first started reading this one I thought I was going to love it.  It was about teens getting to live in a luxury hotel all alone, how cool is that?  And okay, it’s sort of been done before with Eloise at the Plaza, but there was utmost promise of paranormal intrigue at the hotel.  And I could only assuming kissing too.  Oh, and there was history connected to the Lexington too–all that Al Capone stuff.  So the book had to be great, right?  Uh, no.
Three hundred pages in and I gave up because nothing had happened.  And I couldn’t engage with most of the chracters.  Sure, Haven was nice.  But I didn’t know anything about her other than she was nice, was an abandoned amnesic when she was a little girl, and she didn’t learn from Ginny Weasley’s mistake from Harry Potter (i.e. don’t respond to talking books).  The other characters aren’t that much better.  There’s Lance who’s the nice guy who’s often ignored by Haven for   Lucien the mysterious and older hotel assistant manager (we all know where this is going).  Not to mention Dante the stereotypical gay best friend.  And then there’s Aurelia.  Aurelia is probably the only other thing besides the rich history that Agresti used that makes this novel shine.  The character is so deliciously mysterious and potentially evil that she had me turning the pages.  Long after I should’ve given up on this book.
Best Feature: 1920’s Chicago: The book keeps referencing 1920’s Chicago.  And I have to say learning all these little historical tidbits were pretty cool I also liked how the history connected to the overall story.  I think if the pacing could’ve been fixed I could’ve really enjoyed this book.  But we won’t ever know…
Worst Feature: Pacing: I really tried to give this book a chance, but after three hundred pages I still couldn’t get into the book.  I still had only a sliver of an idea what was going on.  And nothing truly exciting had happened to me.  So I got bored and I read some other books and then I picked the book up again and after seventy or so pages I still couldn’t get interested in it because things moved so slow and I just gave up.
Appropriateness:  The language is pretty clean in this book.  There was some mention of underage drinking and the main character dates an older character.  If you could call it dating.  But that’s about it.  At least from what I read.
Blockbuster Worthy: Um, maybe if the pacing was improved.  As I said couldn’t finish it because things were just moving at a snail’s pace.  The story seemed exciting enough, but I was never really hooked into it.
Haven: Selena Gomez: For some reason I can picture her playing Haven.  Maybe it’s because of the wholesome image she tries to portray to the media.
Lance: Lance is described as being the Clark Kent-you know geeky, but secretly gorgeous.   I guess if I was typecasting I could cast Tom Welling in the role.  After all, he played Clark for how many years….but I’m not.  No, he’s too old.  And besides, I picture Lance looking more like Ken Baumann (a.k.a. Annoying Ben from Secret Life).
Aurelia: Aurelia is described as being ridiculously young in the book.  I don’t buy it.  I imagined her looking a little older and sort of like Kelly Sullivan.
Lucien: Matt Bomer.  Okay, I’m aging up the role again.  But if there’s someone who can play a charming but secretly dark assistant hotel manager it’s Matt.

Overall Rating: Four out of ten wings.  It might’ve been higher if I could’ve actually finished it, but besides it’s ridiculously slow pacing I didn’t.  Sad thing is, I actually enjoyed parts of this book.

 

Radiate: Marley Gibson

I love this cover.  It looks so hopeful.  Definitely not what you think of when you think of a cancer book.

 

I usually try to avoid reading books about cancer.  Reading is an escape for me, I try to get away from my problems when diving into books not to be reminded that life can sometimes really suck.  But I couldn’t help but be drawn towards Marley Gibson’s Radiate which was why I requested it from Net Galley.  I have read about Marley’s fight with cancer as a teen and was interested in reading a book based on her experiences.  Yep, that’s right, Radiate is based on a true story.

General Summary: Hayley Mathews wants something more.

Well, Hayley gets her something more.  She becomes a cheerleader and is on the cusp of popularity when she finds a lump in her leg.  Yep, Hayley has cancer and the rest of the book is spent with her dealing with her prognosis then recuperating and recovering.

General Review: I liked a lot of things about this book.  I thought it had a great message.  Having a positive attitude is probably the best and in some cases the only way to fight cancer (besides having a kick ass oncologist) and Haley definitely  has it.  Occasionally though Hayley come off a bit Pollyanna-ish and makes the reader want her to just let it all out.  Even with the most positive of attitudes there are days you’re just going to feel like shit with cancer and just need to have a pity party.  Also I thought the subplots, particularly with Hayley’s friend’s uncle and her family’s finances and sister stuck out like a sore thumb.  Often plot points would be dropped for fifty or so pages before being picked up again.

Best Feature: Cancer awareness.  I love the fact that the book brings up the topic of cancer awareness.  It doesn’t try to sugar coat how much cancer sucks either.  It gets into the nitty gritty of what sort of shit someone has to experience when fighting this  awful disease.  And I commend Marley for that.  Anyone who has had or has had a love one or friend that has suffered through this disease knows it’s not like it is on television.  It’s  like  running one awful never ending marathon through hell.  And I think Marley did an excellent job showing Hayley’s struggle with her disease and her recovery.

Worse Feature: Fake: Sometimes the writing just came off fake.  I hate to say this.  I know this book was based on a true story, but parts of the book sound force.  Take Hayley for instance.  I loved her for the most part.  But she should’ve been allowed to mope a little more than she did.  A positive attitude is great, but she had cancer.  She should be expected to yell a little bit without her mom instantly reprimanding her.  If I was Hayley’s mom I would’ve bought her a giant tub of Snickers Ice Cream or whatever she could stuff down without getting sick and let her cry it out for as long as she wanted.  Besides not allowing Hayley some much needed wallowing time, often the dialogue seemed like it was trying to hard to sound teen like which is a shame because there were parts of the book where the voice was so authentic.  I just wanted that voice all the time.

Appropriateness: This book is very tame.  I actually would recommend teens to read it because of the issues it talks about.  There are a few party scenes and some kissing, but that’s about it.

Blockbuster Worthy:  Hmm, well maybe.  It’s an inspiring story.  And Hollywood does like a good tearjerker.

Hayley: Shailene Woodley: She has grown in acting skills since her days on The Secret Life of the American Teenager.  And she does look like how I picture Hayley.

Gabriel: Darren Criss perhaps.  Really, he wasn’t ever described in much detail physically, so i’m just going to use Darren as a dreamy placeholder.

Overall Rating: I’m giving it seven out of ten cartwheels.  Mainly, because I really appreciate it’s message that it’s trying to give out and it gives a pretty realistic look to cancer without being cliche.

Note, I received my copy of copy of Radiate through Net Galley.  This did not affect my review.

Interview: Marley Gibson

Recently, I had the honor to interview Marley Gibson, writer of the Ghost Huntress books and Radiate (which is coming out today).   Below is our conversation:

1) Radiate is based on your own personal experience with cancer.  What made you decide to share your story?
When I went through cancer as a teenage cheerleader at the age of fifteen, I didn’t really get what I was going through or why I had to go through it.  It’s only been as I’ve grown older and cancer has become a growing problem in our society that I realized the reason I had to have the disease was so that I could share my story with others.  That having been through the trying time, the challenges, the disappointments, and the triumphs, I could inspire others who were/are going through the same thing.  And not just those people dealing with a deadly disease, but any obstacle in their life that’s holding them back.  It’s all about the attitude…and with a good one, you can overcome anything.
2) Throughout reading the book, I couldn’t help but notice that Hayley had positive attitude through ordeal.  It’s awe aspiring especially given the circumstances.  What made you decide for Hayley to have such a positive outlook on life?
Hayley has such a positive outlook because that’s truly how I was when I dealt with having cancer.  I attribute a lot of my positive attitude to the fact that I was so focused on being a cheerleader and getting back to practice and my life.  Cheerleading literally saved my life.  Being able to get on the football field in my uniform and cheer was all I wanted.  And at the point where you look at yourself in the mirror and you have no hair left…what choice do you have?  You can either curl up in a ball in your room and feel sorry for yourself or you can just move on and move forward.  Dwelling on my situation was never an option for me…or for Hayley.  It was all about facing the challenge head on and overcoming.
3) You started the Radiate Foundation.  Can you explain what the foundation is and how others can get involved?
We’re still waiting on all of the official government paperwork, but basically, The Radiate Foundation will be a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that will provide cheer baskets to be delivered by a local cheerleading group to a loved one who is currently in the hospital undergoing cancer treatment.  People can go to www.radiatefoundation.org and send an e-mail to join our mailing list.  I’m very excited about the foundation and can’t wait to get it up and running!
4) You’ve also wrote a series of books about paranormal ghost hunting (The Ghost Huntress books) what inspired you to write about the paranormal?
Actually, I was trying to think up something creative and original in the young adult genre that hadn’t been done yet.  I was at the New England Romance Writers Conference in April of 2007 and watched a presentation on “Ghost Hunting 101.”  At that moment, I knew I wanted to write about teenage ghost hunters.  So, I did my research, watched all the TV shows, started attending events, and, in essence, became a ghost huntress myself.  I’m now married to one of those TV ghost hunters (Patrick Burns from TruTV’s Haunting Evidence and Travel Channel’s Paranormal Challenge) and we travel around the country full-time doing ghost hunting investigations and events.
5) What was the spookiest thing that ever happened to you during a ghost hunt?
I had an encounter with the doppleganger of one of our guests.  One minute, she was standing next to me talking and then next, I turned to see her standing about ten feet away from me in another room – even though I had clearly heard her voice next to me and seen her standing there, as well.  Scared the patookie out of me!  I didn’t scream or anything…I just started shaking and crying like a baby.  What?  I’m such a girl!
6) Your books take place in the south.  What’s your favorite southern dish or recipe?
LOL…that’s an easy one.  I’m a sucker for fried chicken.  My recipe is to soak it for a few hours in buttermilk.  Then, roll it in seasoned flour, then eggs, and then a breadcrumb mixture that’s seasoned with all sorts of yumminess.  Mmmm…who’s hungry?
7) What sort of music do you listen to when you write?  Any specific tunes for Radiate?
I usually put on www.m1live.com or www.radiodanz.com when I’m in the blood fever of writing.  I adore House/Trance/Techno/Electronica.  I always add references to such in my books.  For RADIATE, I listened to a lot of cheer dance stations like CheerXM1.com to hear the mixes for cheer dances.  Anything with a beat works for me!

I would once again like to thank Marley Gibson for this interview.  To find out more about Marley and her books check out her website here

Trend Spotlights Angelic Reads Part IV-Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

Beautiful cover, right?  That’s the only thing about this book that’s beautiful.

 

The cover of this book is striking and so is the story concerning the author.  She had her first novel published at age thirteen and Halo was published when she was eighteen.  So, I was really excited to read this one.   However, when I actually read the book….
General Review

 

General Summary: Angels are sent to Earth to protect us against the forces of darkness.  One of the angels, Bethany, finds herself drawn towards a human boy.  Human and angel love is forbidden.  Will Bethany fulfill her duty or fall for temptation?
Review:
Horrible.  Just horrible.  I had Halo in my bookshelf for awhile now.  I tried reading it last year and only made it through like fifty pages.  But this year since I decided to do an angel feature for my blog I picked it up again and regretted it.  Before I go into all the problems I had with the book, I get that Adornetto is young, but that’s not going to cause my criticism for the book to be less severe.  My belief is if you get published, you deserve to be criticized like any other  published author no matter if you’re ten or a hundred and ten.  You would think this would be a pretty common view, but believe it or not I’ve read several reviews that cut Alexandra slack because of her  age.
Okay, back to the actual review.   I knew there were going to be several problems from the get go.  First and foremost, Bethany.  She is a Mary Sue if I ever saw one, the Mary Sue Litmus Test puts Bethany at a whopping one hundred and three.   Furthermore, I found confirmation in interviews when Alexandra states that she based Bethany on herself.  Look, I get that when you write a book you take aspects of your own personality and put them into your characters.  But you don’t self insert yourself into the novel.  That’s just asking for trouble.
The supporting characters are lacking too.  It just seems like the general foundation for this book lacks. For example, take  the mythology in this novel.  Bethany is an angel.  But besides having paper thin wings that she can somehow hide under her clothes without looking deformed, she’s useless.  She can’t defend herself from even mere mortals.  I’m serious here, she gets sexually harassed (a la Bella Swan) and instead of using her angel powers to kick butt, she withers away until Xavier rescues her.  Seriously, an angel has to be saved by a human boy.
I could go on and on about the defects I found with his book.  For instance, there were more than a few continuity errors in the novel which made me wonder how well edited the novel was.  Also, it was quite obvious that the author did not research American high school/culture either.  Most notably the prom scenes came out very awkward.
Best Feature: The cover: Seriously I really tried to find another aspect about this book that I liked, but the cover was it’s best feature.  Nothing about the prose, the characters, the story, or anything enchanted me like the cover did.  I really love the affect the sun has on the photo here.  Kudos to you, book photographer.
Worst Feature: Preachiness: Okay, I like books that teach a moral story when it’s not forced in my throat. But Bethany she doesn’t always preach, but she is ridiculously judgmental.  Throughout the book she makes all these snide comments about her friends who don’t fit her standards.  And she has a severe problem with Goths. Note, Bethie, some of my best friends in high school were Goth and they didn’t  automatically work for the forces of darkness.  Likewise, not all boys with walnut hair (not walnut colored, but walnut as the book informs us several times) who wear sweaters are nice guys just by appearances alone.  You just don’t judge people on their looks.  In fact, The Bible (which Bethany preaches) expresses this idea several times.   But then again, Bethie knows best because she’s an angel.  Rant aside, I could understand if Adornetto made Bethany a bit judgmental, but made her eventually learn the errors of her ways.  But nope.  She just goes on making judgements on purely the way people look  and of course her judgments turned out to be correct.

In addition to being extremely judgmental of someone by their choice in clothing, Bethany also has very limited views on sex.  Look, I’m all for no sex until marriage if that’s what you believe in, but you shouldn’t judge others  because of their sex life like Bethie does.  It’s wrong and quite frankly Bethie, it’s none of your damn business what other people decide to do in the bedroom.

Appropriateness: Although, this book tried to make itself look squeaky clean, I would not recommend it for young girls or ever adults like myself.  While the messages in this book were trying to be good, they were twisted and misguided.  I hated the bits about stereotyping and judging people.   Also, the portrayal of the female gender is backwards as well.  The codependency between Bethany and Xavier is unhealthy especially concerning the instant love of their relationship.  There is also some violence at the end of the book too.
Blockbuster Worthy: Hell to the nos.  I would not want to see this book turned into a movie.  But I could totally see some lame sitcom with Bethany giving us a moral lesson airing on like ABC Family or something.  Perhaps the producers of The Secret Life of the American Teenager can do it.
 
Bethany:  Kristen Stewart.  Because she is already used to playing weak unlikeable heroines.
Xaiver: Casey Deidrick: I think he has the pretty boy looks that Xavier was told to have.  Though his hair isn’t made up of walnuts.
Angelic Analysis 

 

 

 

A) Angels are Vampire Lite:  This is the epitome of vampire lite.  Honestly, there were times I thought I was reading a bad Twilight fan fic where vampires were substituted merely with angels and Bella was the supernatural being.   The substitute was very poor.  I truly believe that the only reason Bethany was an angel was so that Adornetto would have an excuse to have forbidden love exist in Halo.  And even that part of the book fails, since instead of being reprimanded for her relationship with Xavier, Bethany is allowed to continue whatever she’s doing with him.
B) The Ultimate Battle Between Good and Evil: When I read the opening chapters of this book, I thought there was going to be some glorious epic battle between the forces and good in this book.  But instead, the so called battle with the forces of darkness is literally solved in a fourth a page and by a kiss of all things.  Yes, a freaking kiss.
C) Wide Array of Possibilities: One would think there would be lots of ways Alexandra could take this book.  However, the angel mythology is hardly even existence.  Other than the fact that Gabriel, Ivy, and Bethany have wings we don’t even really get the angel mythology.  You know that’s one thing I have to give kudos to all the other angel books I’ve read.  They have all explored the angel world and  powers a lot more than this book.
D) Because Angels Have an Excuse To Stalk:  Here the boy is a human rather than an angel.  Yet, the codependency of the relationship is just as bad as Bella and Edward.  In fact, there’s a chapter in Halo that’s reminiscence of New Moon.

 

Overall Thoughts: While I initially thought I was wasting my time with Halo I am glad I read it.  Because Halo showed me what I don’t like in a book.
Overall Rating: One out of ten bells ringing.  Yes, this book is getting a lower grade than Modelland.  While it might’ve been a bit more understandable,   it was offensive on so many levels and the purple prose I had to read to get through the book was almost as bad as Tyra’s writing, but in a different way. At least Tyra wasn’t judgmental in her book.  In fact, I don’t think any angels get their wings while reading this story.