The Host: Stephenie Meyer

As far as book covers go this one isn’t that bad unless you wake up in the middle of the night and find it staring at you.

 

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know how I feel about the Twilight Saga.  So, I’m not going to go into a ridiculously long diatribe about how Bella was the instigator of many weak ass heroines in YA lit or the fact that Edward apparently made stalking sexy.

I could also criticize about what has grown out of Twilight  (i.e. Master of the Universe, the Fifty Shades series which I honestly think shouldn’t have been published despite what Meyer says .  It’s freaking fan fiction!

Instead, I will be focusing my energies on looking at Stephenie Meyer’s other  work, The Host.

General Summary: You remember the ending of Independence Day where Bill Pullman gave his heroic speech and then got into that fighter jet and helped Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum kick alien butt to kingdom come.  Well, that didn’t happen here.  Instead, the aliens won.  However, these aliens aren’t bad ass aliens like the ones in Independence Day were instead they were like Halo  aliens (meaning, they wanted to spread peace and good cheer and save the planet from all the goth kids  darkness).  Wanderer, a super dooper powerful alien, is implanted into special snowflake Melanie who despite the odds is still there in Wander’s  head.  Plus, Wander can’t help but be attracted to Melanie’s  hot boyfriend, Jared.

Review:

The Host can simply be summed up by stating that this is Stephenie Meyer’s attempt at writing literature. You can tell that this is a “serious” novel.

But honestly, it’s not that serious.  Or really that different from Twilight.

It’s true Wanderer and Melanie are slightly better than Bella.  But they’re still glorified Mary Sues.  Plus, both of them get on my nerves.  However, after having to deal with Bella I find them slightly refreshing.

As for the plot of this novel, nothing really happens here.  Wander just sort of wonders into Melanie’s life.  And decides to abandon her alien life so that she can live in the hovels amongst the humans.

Okay, so there are a few action scenes here and there.  But for the most part, nothing happens in this book.

Sure, you could say the emotional relationships with the characters were explored.  But if I wanted to watch a show about emotions I’d watch Dr. Phil.

Best Feature: No, Bella Swan.  I like Melanie/Wanderer a little bit better than Bella.  That’s not saying that I liked them, but it’s saying that they’re better than Bella.  And that’s something, isn’t it?  Plus, I did find the alien backstory interesting.  Though I wish she didn’t come from a “peaceful” group of aliens.  And for that matter why were humans so easy to take ahold on.  I don’t buy the lameo excuses that Meyer provides because of this:

Worst Feature: Aliens.  As you might of guessed from the best feature part of this review, I didn’t really like the aliens.  I hate passive aggressive take overs.  Besides, I didn’t get how the earth was really better.   Everyone just became essentially zombies that were controlled by aliens and that’s not really enjoyable.  Plus, these aliens are really wimps.  At least in the Twilight Saga there were some pretty kick ass actions scenes.  But here….

Nothing really happens except for maybe twenty pages of the book where you think something is going to happen but it doesn’t.

Appropriateness:  It’s a Stephenie Meyer book so it has to be clean right.  Oh, yeah, I forgot about Breaking Dawn.  Don’t worry kids there is no cannibalistic fetus here.  Rather this book is rather tame.  There is some violence, though nothing you’d expect from an alien takeover novel.  Seriously, could we at least have one laser fight?  There’s some sex talk here, but nothing explicit for sure.

Blockbuster Worthy: I don’t think so, but it’s going to be made into a movie.  So obviously I know nothing about blockbuster gold.  Honestly, I never thought about casting the movie.  So the casting they’ve done seems good enough to me…shrugs.

Overall Rating:  While this book does not include Bella Swan (which made it a smidgen better than Twilight) it was ridiculously boring and had it’s fair share of problems.  The Host had aliens and for all intents and purposes it should’ve been exciting not the snore fest it was.  For that, I’m giving it a four out of ten alien abductions.   Who knows, maybe when EL James decides to write a fan fic of The Host  and publishes it her version will be  better especially if the aliens find their inward goddesses.  But for me, if I want something with aliens.  I’ll stick with this.

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Trend Spotlights: Part VI Finally Closing Thoughts on Angels

Finally my trend spotlight analysis on angels is coming to a close.  For a brief recap of what I’ve learned, I have made another board on Pinterest devoted to angels.

Angels have always had a profound affect on society affecting many different religions.  Even if you’re a non-believer, you’ve probably have came across angels in various forms of media.  From Paradise Lost to Teen Angel, angels have always had their niche in secular life.

But what about today’s YA books?

They  differ from the angel media of the old.  Rather than being focused on faith, miracles, or angelic duty, these books often focus on the relationship between the angel and their lover.  Sure, there are many ways which authors exploit this plot point.  In Unearthly  Clara finds love while she’s on her angel quest which ends up complicating things, while in A Beautiful Dark Skye finds herself torn between two angels as she’s learning about her own identity.

The sub genre seems to have only continued to explode in recent years.  This year alone, it seems that anytime I go to a bookstore  there’s a new angel book out.

While the quantity of angel books is great, the quality can vary.  There are some really fantastic angel books out there with well formed characters, great use of world building, and story lines that keep you wanting more.  But at the same time, there are so many angel books that have some serious problems.

In fact, it seems like there are a ridiculous amount of problem books in the angel sub genre.  Even more than other sub genres in YA which has me raising an eyebrow or two.

Is it because I don’t like angels?

I don’t think so.  I love angel books.  If done right.  Some of my favorite books are angel centric.  Perhaps it’s because I love good angel books so much that I get so fed up with the sub genre.

Or maybe it’s something else.

While every sub genre has issues, the angel sub genre seems to highlight my main main issues with YA–weak heroine and abusive male hero.

The question is why?

While exploring the sub genre I think I have sort answered that question, at least for myself.  I think from the various books I’ve read that the angel sub genre is prone to weak heroines and abusive situations, because the set up itself makes a book susceptible for these mistakes.

Angels are often viewed as guardians of the soul, it would be very easy for an author to take this trait and make the angel full blown Edward Cullen.  Likewise, this would allow a heroine to be weak as well.  Take the relationship between Nora and Patch in Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush Hush saga.  The main characters, Nora and Patch, have what I would consider to be an abusive relationship.  Throughout the first book alone, Patch tries to kill Nora multiple times.  And Nora forgives him with very little thought.  So does heaven too, since Patch becomes Norah’s guardian angel after the accident which allows Patch carte blache stalking privileges when it comes to Nora.

 

Sometimes the stalking even happens to angels as well.  Like in Alexandra Andronetto’s Halo the main character, a supposedly powerful angel, becomes dependent on her human boyfriend and they essentially have a dependent relationship a la Twilight.

 

As I said though, there are many angel books that do not fall prey to these cliches.  However, the ones that do often leave a more sour taste in my mouth than other books in the YA genre.

Other Media

While there have been many movies and television shows that have touched on angels, there have been no recent YA adaptions of any of these books.

There has been progress though.  At one point Unearthly was in development with the CW to become a TV series and The Mortal Instruments (which could loosely be considered an angel book) is set to become a movie.

The Future of Angel Lit

Angel books have been popping out all over the place, but for how long?

Well, does forever count?

I seriously do think that this will be one of the sub genres that does last.  Angels have been in the media for a long time.  From having a purely religious purpose to being the love interest in a modern YA book, they have adapted to the needs of society and the book industry for a long time.

Next Time on Trend Spotlights….

I’m leaving it up to you guys.  Behold, a poll I created with many sub genres in the YA market that have been getting some buzz.  All I ask is that you please be gentle with me because I have to stomach enjoy five or six of these books.  Also, if you have a sub genre that you’d like me to feature but I didn’t list feel free to leave a comment.

 

Awesomely Lifetime: Girl Fight

I think my favorite movies on Lifetime are those that have the biggest dumb asses in them.  Girl Fight is a movie that is filled with dumb asses.  And therefore, it makes the perfect movie for me to review.

Melodramatic Summary: According to Lifetime, the one thing every teen wants besides a baby is to be famous.  And how do you get famous: Youtube.  So when these girls get pissed at their friend for telling other people that they’re assholes they decided to beat her up, force her into their van, and dump her at a Wal-Mart before they post the video on the internet.  Of course, our little movie doesn’t end there because the incident causes emotional turmoil that has to be resolved within the next ninety minutes.
Review:
Like the pregnancy pact, this movie is over the top bad.  Yet, it’s addictive to watch.  I think the biggest difference between this movie and The Pregnancy Pact is the acting.  The acting in The Pregnancy Pact was horrible, but after watching this movie I feel like all the actors in that movie should be getting an Academy Award.
In addition to the poor acting, I had some major issues with the resolution of the movie.  Seriously, Lifetime, I wanted Haley to let those bitches fry.  Having her worry about their lives being ruin and letting them get a mere slap on the wrist made me pissed.  It would’ve been one thing if you had the makers of the Best Bad Ass Girl Fight Ever repent their actions, but they were jumping up in down in excitement because the media was covering the story.
Really, Haley I think that you’re doing humanity a disservice by letting those girls roam around free to harm someone else for their next ten seconds of fame.
That’s Lifetime:  You know this movie is Lifetime because of the so called “female empowerment” messages that really don’t come off as being female empowerment.  Instead, their more like degrading to the gender in general.  In this movie, as I previously stated Haley is empowered by being allowed to pussy out and let the junior league of sociopaths go free.  Forgiveness is good, but people need to pay for their crimes, especially when there’s nothing redeemable about the characters.
Lifetime Squee: Haley doesn’t have a boyfriend but her dad is kind of hot.  If you get past his quasi asshole behavior in part of the film.
 
Oh. My. God. Lifetime Moment: The fight scene it’s pretty epic.  Epically bad and cliche.  But my eyes were glued on it when I watched the movie.  

 

Overall Rating: I give this movie a seven.  I really enjoyed it even though I knew I shouldn’t.  The movie is the epitome of bad.  However, after viewing the movie I can tell you if I watch it again I will not watch the ending.

Trend Spotlights Angelic Reads Part V-Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins

I didn’t make it through the book to see whether or not a ridiculously expensive couture dress makes an appearance in the book.  Somehow I think not.

 

You might have noticed that the Trend Spotlights feature went to the backburner for a little while.  Well, this was due to numerous reasons.  One being finals and the other one being the fact I couldn’t stomach another angel book after reading Halo.  Yes, Halo caused me that much pain.  However, being the trooper that I am I decided to suck it up and read Sweet Evil.
There were a lot of things about Sweet Evil that interested me.  Notably, Wendy Higgins was the second winner of Harper Teen’s Ink Pot contest.  Which is pretty cool if you think about it.  But after the first Ink Pot book (Twilight Go Bragh Carrier of the Mark I was a teeny bit skeptical. The optimist in me though still wanted to give the book a try and I did.
General Summary: Good girl Anna has been seeing people’s auras for a long time. She’s also felt a pull towards drugs and bad boys.  But being the goody goody that she is, she resists.  Until she sees him and his honeymoon water colored eyes–I kid you, this is a description for Kaidan’s eyes (see page 25).  It is then Anna learns of her heritage where she’s not quite angel but not quite a demon either.
Review:
There was potential here.  Lots and lots of potential.  However, I was not impressed to the point of not finishing the book.  Which is really sad to me.   I hate not finishing things, but sometimes you need to learn to cut your losses, especially in YA fiction.
So what went wrong?
Lots of things.
Let’s start with the characterization in the novel.  The characters were bland.  And contrived.  They would often contradict themselves.  For example, Anna keeps talking bout how she has to keep her heritage and everything a secret but keeps confiding in Honeymoon Waters who she barely knows.
Dude, if I had a secret heritage I would not want some sex demon knowing about it.
It’s not just Anna whose logic is flawed.  Her adopted mother, who she’s lived with all her life but calls Patti instead of Mom (because Patti wants her real mom to know she hasn’t taken her place even though Anna’s real mom is dead…yeah we’re not going to even dissect how flawed that logic is) lets her go on a cross country road trip with Honeymoon Waters after meeting with him for only about an hour and knowing that he’s a demon.
.
A demon.
Seriously, would you let you’re sixteen-year-old run off with a sex demon?
The other characters have problems as well.  Most of them aren’t fleshed out.  There was at one point the author decide to just dump a lot of characters in the middle of that story.  You know I enjoy new characters a lot.  Like in the Harry Potter series, I always found each book interesting in part because of new characters.  But this…this reminded me of the current season of Young Justice where all the good characters are swept aside for Lagoon Boy and other brand spanking new and annoying characters.

 

The plot was actually better than the characterization.  There was some originality here.  Although, there are dime of dozen angel books, Higgins’ approach with the whole seven deadly sins thing seemed rather interesting.  However, the plot was bogged down by cliche after cliche and it also moved at a snail’s pace which did the book in.
Best Feature: Originality.  Although, there were parts of the book (most notably the love story) that screamed cliche there were some very interesting plot twists that haven’t been used to death in YA Lit yet.   While it is true there have been Nephilim books done to death, Higgins does add a nice spin to the tale of the Nephilim being eternally damned.  I also liked the connection to the seven deadly sins.
Worst Feature: Characterization: I couldn’t really feel the characters in this one.  The dialogue came off being stilted and forced.  The same could be said about relationships between the characters in book as well like Honeymoon Waters and Anna.   I didn’t see the chemistry between those two other than the remark about Honeymoon Water’s eyes and Honeymoon Waters’ response  by acting like the typical YA male jerkwad in love.
Appropriateness: No way would I let my preteen read this book.  I would even have some second thoughts about letting an older teen read this book too.  The drug references were just too much.  Anna is encouraged to use in the novel.  Grant it, it’s because her father’s the demon of substance abuse (I didn’t know that was one of the deadly sins) and it’s a way for Anna to survive, but I was still shaking my head at how much drug exposure there is.   Like in the beginning of the book Anna drink is spike with ecstasy so that she can get date raped and she laughs it off for a good hundred pages or so until she decides to use her anger when she’s training.  And yeah, I said there’s an attempted date rape in the book so that’s another reason why I would be weary with having a younger kid read it.  Not so much for the attempted rape itself, but for the fact that it’s used merely as a device so that Anna can go all Mary Sue.
Please authors.  Don’t use attempted rape as a mere plot device.  I’m afraid this is becoming a trend in YA lit and it disturbs me.
Blockbuster Worthy: It could admittedly be a good movie.  A lot would need to be done with the screenplay.  But this could be a diamond in the rough.
Anna: Britt Robertson.  She’s already used to playing paranormal heroines and now that The Secret Circle has been canceled she needs another job.
Honeymoon Waters: Zac Efron.  Yes, he’s not doing teen movies anymore.  But if anyone has eyes the color of honeymoon waters it’s Zac.
Angelic Analysis

 

 

 

 

A) Angles and Vampire Lite: This book is clearly not vampire lite.  It is dark.  Very dark.  And deals with tough subject matters like addiction.  This isn’t Halo people, poor Bethie would have an aneurysm is she saw what the kids in Sweet Evil were up to.
B) The Ultimate Battle Between Good and Evil:  Actually, there’s a pretty good set up for a sweet battle here especially if you consider the fact that this ultimate battle is going on internally for Anna.  However,  in the part of the book I got through this struggle wasn’t highlighted as much as I like.  Maybe later in the book or later in the series this plot is explored more.  But for this review, there was just a lot of potential here that was wasted for the love story between Anna and Honeymoon Waters.
C)A Wide Array of Possibilities: Oh, yes.  Definitely.  I’ve already said it many times before, but there was so much potential in this book.  Potential that just seemed to go nowhere.
D) Because Angels Have an Excuse to Stalk: There is some stalking in this novel.  Not near the extent as in some of the other not so delightful books I’ve read, but enough to make me wonder if Anna’s been reading Twilight, True Love and You: Seven Secret Steps to Finding Your Edward or Jacob  (Yes, such a book exist and I blame it for all the insta-love in YA).
Overall Thoughts: This wasn’t a cliche angel book I’ll give it that.  And in a lot of ways the mythology in Sweet Evil really worked.  Perhaps, if the rest of the book would’ve been just as strong I would’ve liked it better.
Overall Rating: I’m going to give this four out of ten wings or should I say horns.  It’s true I didn’t finish it, but it’s better than some of the stuff I’ve finished.  I feel like there was a lot of good setup here, only the execution fell flat.

Meg-A Readers Blog Hop: What Would Meg Cabot Characters Wear Special Edition

I am a huge fan of Meg Cabot.  So, when the Romance Bookie and Little Miss Drama Queen informed me that they were doing a Meg Cabot centric blog hop, I couldn’t help but agree to participate.  Plus, they’re giving out sweet giveaway which you guys might want to check out here.

There are many reasons why I love Meg Cabot’s books.  When I first opened The Princess Diaries eleven years ago, after hearing that Julie Andrews (Yes, I’m a Julie Andrews fan.  So what?  Have you seen this) was going to star in a movie based on that book,  I was amazed.  This was a book that I could relate to, with actual cute boys,  and I could smile when I read it.  Which a far cry from any other book in the genre at that time.   Even after eleven years, I still count Meg as one of my favorite authors.  And why not?  She has written some pretty amazing stories, with super hot heros, and kick ass heroines.  The best thing about Meg’s books is that in each of her heroines are individuals.  I could merely write about how they’re different or I could show you by doing a detailed analyze on their wardrobes.

I prefer the later:

Mia Thermopolis from The Princess Diaries was the first Meg Cabot character I was introduced to.    She’s fun, zany, and Mia really evolved throughout the series.  Her wardrobe reflected this.  At the beginning of the series, she did not care about clothes at all.  A pair of overalls, some combat boots, and a Save the Whales t-shirt and she was ready to go.  Sometimes this made for some rather awkward looks.  However, after becoming a princess Mia became more polished.  While there would occasionally be a zany piece of two that Mia would wear, she truly refined by the end of the series.  However, one thing remained constant that being her love for Michael and I think it’s kind represented by the snowflake necklace that Mia refuses to take off.  Note, I did my first What Would ___ Wear column  on Mia and her wardrobe and more Mia looks can be found here.

Samantha Madison, a.k.a. the girl who saved the president in All American Girl, is a different type of character than Mia.  She’s comfortable in her own skin from the get go.  Maybe a little too comfortable.  She’s artistic and a bit moody.  But like Mia she’s loveable at heart.  I think a lot of her wardrobe reflects her artistic nature.  Everything for the most part is black.  Sam would dye it black even if the material itself shouldn’t be dyed.  You might notice that there’s one bright blue suit amongst the sea of black and that’s because Sam’s mother would have bought said suit for Sam and forced her to wear it to oh, I don’t know a dinner at the White House.

Suze Simon from The Mediator series is probably one of Meg’s most fashionable characters.  She’s tough but has a feminine side at the same time.  I did a series of sets for Mediator characters not too long ago and finding clothes for Suze was a bit difficult because while I wanted to show off her feminine side it was important to include looks that showed she had an edge as well.  The result was trying to pair pieces that end up having some soft elements and some hard elements.

Emerson Watts from Meg’s trilogy, Airhead, probably had the most drastic makeover out of any of Meg’s characters since the girl literarily got a new body.  Em isn’t the type of character who cares much about fashion.  Rather, she’s more concerned about computer games and her best friend, Christopher.  I really don’t think she would’ve had a defined style other than sarcastic t-shirts had she not been the recipient of Nikki Howard’s body where she was required to wear high fashion couture.   So for the set I tried to make the clothes I pick go from extremely basic looks to high fashion looks.  There’s sort of an extremeness about the Airhead trilogy that I enjoyed and I hope the set reflects it.

Pierce, from Abandon, has been through a lot of inward turmoil after coming back from the dead.  In this set I tried to do a pre-death Pierce look and a post death Pierce look as well.  Before Pierce’s visit to the underworld I can see her dressing very preppy in bright colors and sweater sets.  I imagine her looking ridiculously innocent too, hence the unicorn shirt.  After her experience in the underworld, I see her taste being a bit more simpler.  Darker.  I see her not really caring about fashion that much, yet something about these simple looks of hers would be elegant.  I see her being very partial to jeans and plain colored t-shirts and tanks with maybe the occasional plain looking dress.  Of course, Pierce would have to have a few white dresses in her closet in both this world and the underworld.

Belles: Jen Calonita

I really do love this cover.  You should see the whole cover without the half flap.  Gorgeous.

 

I love Jen Calonita’s books.  Her stories a fresh, clean, and fluffy.  While sometimes the plot may seem a little predictable, I am guaranteed a smile or two when I read her light and breezy prose.  So let’s see if Belles falls into the Calonita tradition of great easy reads.

General Summary:  Izzie Scott’s grandma and her have been by themselves for years and have gotten along quite well, thank you very much.  However, Gram’s health is failing and she is unable to take care of Izzie and soon Izzie finds herself moving in with her long lost and very rich relatives.  Soon Izzie finds herself trying to deal with high society and her snooty pants cousin Mira.

Review:

You will either really like this book or really not like this book.  The reason I say this is there are parts of this book that are rather cliche.  In order to enjoy it, you just have to let it go.  I did and found the book to be a delightful read while I sat in the cardiologist’s office the other day.

The book is pretty sweet.  I actually liked it better then Calonita’s other because it deals deal with some tough subject matters while Secrets of My Hollywood Life  is pure fun.

For the most part the characters in Belles are pretty well developed.  Some of the supporting characters are a little one dimensional.  But both the leads are fully developed.

Best Feature: High Society: This book explores life of North Carolina’s rich and fabulous.  Meaning it makes for a pretty juicy read.  Sort of like Desperate Housewives for the teen set except without poor dead Mary Alice and the rampant random neighborhood mysteries.  Okay, so there are a couple of mysteries here.  But at heart his book is about family.  A very rich family.

Worst Feature: Savannah: She’s mean, she’s evil.  And honestly at times she felt a bit unrealistic because of her bitchiness.  I like a good mean girl in a novel, but sometimes I want there to be little flashes that a human being might exist under that plastic facade. Savannah didn’t have the flashes, Mira however did.  So while I did have a problem with Savannah, I will commend Calonita for making Mira likable.

Appropriateness:  Clean as a whistle.  After reading City of Lost Souls and all it’s grittiness, Belles  was refreshing and charming.  There’s nothing really inappropriate about this book.  Middle graders could easily read it.

Blockbuster Worthy: You know, it surprises me that none of Jen’s books have become movies or a television series yet.  I think Belles would be perfect on the CW.  They always in need for a good soapish like series and this is definitely it.  Here’s who I’d cast for some of the roles:

Mira: Amanda Seyfried: While Mira is described as a brunette in the book, I can’t help but think of Amanda when I think of her.  Perhaps it’s because she’s a Mean Girl’s second in command.

Izzie:  A part of me wants to say Amanda Bynes (a la What a Girl Wants) because her character in that movie remind me a lot of Izzie  But as of late, Amanda doesn’t really look very Izzie-ish so there goes that casting pick.

 

Overall Rating: Seven out of ten belles.  I liked this book despite the fact it’s a bit cliche.  It’s one of those juicy reads that you don’t want to put down even though you know you should.

City of Lost Souls: Cassandra Clare

I read the Mortal Instruments series fairly recently after much begging from my friends and I really enjoyed it (save for the fourth book which I had some issues with).  So I was excited when I heard City of Lost Souls was coming out within a month after I read the fourth book.  Excited and scared.

General Summary: Jace disappears and Clary is on a misson to find and save him.  However, when Jace does reappear he’s not himself.  He’s connected to Clary’s creepy brother Sebastian.  So doing what she does best, Clary acts impulsively in order to save Jace’s life.  But will her impulsiveness work this time around?

Review:

I was a little skeptical about reading this book.  I wasn’t that impressed with the fourth one, but I had such great thoughts about the first three that I decided to read it despite my qualms.  The results were mixed.

Let’s talk about the good first.  I do think there was a lot of plot development in this installment of the series.  It is quite obvious that Clare is setting up Heavenly Fire to be pretty epic and I can’t wait.  Also, kudos to Clare for answering some questions while making me have even more.  It’s always good to raise interest for the next installment.  And she did this without an overt cliffhanger too.  So, good for her.

Okay, the bad.  There’s little Jace in this novel.  And when he is in the book, for the most part he’s this Sebastian-fied Jace which sucks ass.  Big time.  Jace was one of the only reasons I continued reading this series.   His point of view was so interesting, until he and Sebastian bonded now he’s essentially Sebastian’s patsy who likes to get high and try to have sex with Clary.  I don’t like reading that Jace.  In fact, I’d rather read about Simon.

Who was actually surprisingly better in this installment: yes, I liked Simon.

So that must tell you how much Jace sucked under Sebastian’s control or for that matter how much Clare has done a turn around on the Simon character.  And if it’s the latter good job, Clare.

My biggest problem  with the book was the return of incest.  I hate, hate, hated the incest plot in books one through three.  And I thought Clare put an end to this silliness in book three, but nope.  Sebastian apparently wants his sister so much he’d take her by force if necessary.  And all I have to say is

EW!

This ickiness aside, I really couldn’t get any Sebastian love.  He is a dark character.  And while I do enjoy a good baddie, I think I would’ve preferred Valentine to return from the bad because A) He was a gray character which allows for more character development, B) I like one consistent baddie in my series, and C) Sebastian just creeps me out.

Best Feature: Less Simon (or at least Tolerable Simon): Although, Simon played a huge part in this book he was more tolerable.  Almost like old Simon except he had fangs.  And even though I don’t like what he did to Isabelle in the previous books, I have to admit that they’re pretty cute together.

Worst Feature: Incest: I was hoping with City of Glass the series had seen the end to its incest plot.  However, it appears Sebastian has inappropriate feelings for his sister too.  And Clary, even though she hates him, can’t help but admit that he’s good looking.  Must I show this clip again:

Appropriateness: Let’s just put it this way, this book is a borderline adult book.  While there are not as many action sequences as there was in its predecessors, it still contained some rather grisly scenes with intense imagery.  Also, there are several sex scenes in the book.  Nothing too graphic but it’s implied that the characters are having sex.  Finally, there is an attempted rape in the book that involves incest.  So definitely for the older teen crowd.

Blockbuster Worthy:  I’ve already said yes.  To see casting picks click here and here.

Overall Rating: This is a tricky book to rate.  While a part of me liked it a lot better than City of Fallen Angels, there were parts of this book I found even to be more annoying.  Because of that I’m going to give it a six out of ten.

Awesomely Lifetime: The Pregnancy Pact

Usually when I review movies I strictly devote them to teen oriented films.  However, I have sick fascination for Lifetime movies and you can just thank Meg Cabot for that.

When the Princess Diaries first came out it was the days before cable in my house.  When Meg would have Mia write these lists about all these melodramatic Lifetime movies I couldn’t help but be fascinated with them.  So when we did eventually get on U-Verse I watched Lifetime incessantly for awhile.  And I still do watch it when I want a movie that I know will be over the top and filled with melodrama.  And what isn’t YA without some melodrama.  So without further review here is my first Awesomely Lifetime Review.

 

Melodramatic Summary: Pregnancy is an epidemic.  At least according to Lifetime.  We find out in the opening scenes that a small Massachusetts town is experiencing a wave of teen pregnancies.  Sarah, the bitchy protagonist in the movie, is friends with three of these expecting mothers.  Sarah herself isn’t so sure of getting knocked up  but she is obsessed over her jock boyfriend, Jesse.  Meanwhile a savvy reporter of a teen blog (played by Thora Birch) decides to investigate said backwards wholesome Massachusetts  town to find out why teen pregnancies are skyrocketing.
 
You think the answer would be obvious right?  Um, the kids are having more unprotected sex because of abstinence  only sex ed class/the total embarrassment at Rite Aid whenever they have to pick up condoms.  But apparently I’m wrong (well, sort of).  There’s something much more to this.  A pact.
And let the drama begin…..
Review:  This is one of those movies you love to hate.  The plot is so Lifetimey all the characters from Poor Fishing Massachusetts town are obnoxiously conservative.  Look, I live in Texas.  Probably one of the reddest state in the country.  I’m used to ultra conservatives, but most conservatives I know are logical people.  They don’t act over the top ridiculous like the ones in this movie.  While it is true that my high school had an abstinence only policy, they did make sure that if you had questions you could ask.  It wasn’t like they weren’t going to handout condoms or anything like that, but they were open to discussion.  So it makes me a little skeptical to believe that Massachusetts, one of the most liberal states, would have such a backwards view on sex in general.
Okay, and can we talk about the mother character for a minute.  She annoyed the crap out of me.  And while the character was obnoxiously written I think it was in part the actress.  She’s a  Lifetime regular, appears in a lot of movies (usually as the mother to a trouble teen) and I just always find the characters she plays to be annoying.  It’s nothing against her because she does a great job playing annoying.  I just couldn’t help but smirk when I saw her character’s life fall into shambles.
Despite it’s cringe worthy moments something about this movie is enjoyable.  Perhaps it’s because it’s just so awesomely bad.  Or maybe it’s because all the characters get their just desserts at the end.
That’s Lifetime: You know that this is a Lifetime movie mainly because of Sarah’s mom is a Lifetime regular.  Oh, and the fact that Sarah got knocked up.
Lifetime Squee: None in this movie.  This is no fluff film.   There’s no Dean Cain here.   Though some people might like the relationship between Jesse and Sarah.  But Jesse is waay, waay, too good for Sarah.  Plus, it doesn’t help that he looks more age appropriate with me than Sarah.
 

Oh. My. God. Lifetime Moment: When the big pregnancy pact is revealed.  Oh, and when Sarah almost killed herself and her unborn child with alcohol poisoning.

Overall Rating: Eight out of ten lifetime moments.  The movie is horribly written, yet there is something so brilliantly bad about it that it’s a must watch when television surfing.

Underworld: Meg Cabot

Honestly, not a huge fan of the cover.  While the arm reaching out for Pierce is pretty cool.  Pierce looks like she’s about to fall out of her dress and that’s not a good thing.

I am a Meg Cabot fan girl.  I have probably admitted that several times already on this blog.  However, as big as a Meg-aholic as I am, I wasn’t terribly impressed with Abandon.  Sure, I gave it a rather high rating but it was contingent on the fact that Underworld succeeded.  Did it succeed?  Well, yes and no.

General Summary: Unlike Abandon, action happens in Underworld.  The book starts out with Pierce in John’s palace and the reader was introduced to a bunch of new characters.  All of them endearing.  However, Pierce can’t just relax and enjoy her new life in John’s dark palace because her cousin has found himself in trouble.  And she, of course, has to rescue him.

Review:

Underworld is a definite improvement from Abandon which is  a good thing which isn’t saying Abandon  is a bad book because it isn’t, but Underworld the story really does pick up.  The action scenes in this book were excellent.  It might not be the best book for younger Cabot fans to read, but older teens and adults will appreciate these sequences.  Pierce and John are also more developed in the sequel.   Although, sometimes Pierce’s naivety about some things rubbed me the wrong way.  John, however, couldn’t rub me the wrong way if he tried.  I love the fact that John is so developed that he’s not  a light or dark character.  That he’s sort of gray.

The plot also develops in this installment.  While some questions are answered, by the end of the book you’ll be asking yourself even more questions.  It’s quite infuriating really.  But I can’t really gripe about this too much since it makes me want to read the sequel, Awaken, like now.  One qualm I did have with the book is that everyone and their mother seemed to be a fury.  Really?   Really?  Shouldn’t there be some like fury standards or something, Meg?   There were some other potential plot holes in the novel as well, but I am hoping that Awaken will answer them.

Overall, this book is a great read.  It’s not Classic Meg Cabot for sure, but if you like Meg Cabot’s books with a darker twist this is one to read.

Best Feature: John.  I really do like John.  He has an interesting backstory and he’s a gray character.  I love gray characters.   They seem more realistic then having a purely good or evil character.

Worst Feature: Dumb Heroines.  Pierce I love you and I get that you’re not great at school, and I can appreciate that (because honestly I’m tired of all these AP smarties being YA heroines).  But I wish you at the very least had some street smarts a la Suze Simon.  Sure, you had your moments, but come on you should’ve have thought it out a little bit before you started eating food in the Underworld.  I know you learned that it was only pomegranate seeds that could force you to stay there, but I would’ve been a little weary of eating anything in the Underworld.  Period.

Appropriateness: This is a little bit of an edgy book for a Meg Cabot book.  There’s some inappropriate language, some violence,  death related material, and a sex scene (though it’s mostly implied and fades to black pretty quickly).

Blockbuster Worthy:   Yes, I think so.  Especially after this installment.  To see casting picks click here.

Overall Rating: Seven out of ten deities.  While this book was an improvement from Abandon, it had it’s faults.  While Pierce has grown on me, there were still a couple of times in the book in which I wanted to shake her.

Anna and the French Kiss: Stephanie Perkins

The cover may raise eyebrows at the bookstore and at work, but believe me it’s worth it.

Stephanie Perkins has to be one of my favorite YA authors.  I think it’s because her plot concepts are so simple, but sometimes simple can be beautiful and that’s the case with her books..

General Summary:  Anna is sent to France by her egotistical novelist father for her senior year.  Instant bummer, right?

Um, no.  Not for me at least because I would love to go to France.  But Anna is different than me and I sort of understand why she would be a little pissed about transferring her senior year.  Luckily she get’s over it quickly when she meets some cool friends at her French boarding school.  Including St. Clair, who she knows she shouldn’t have feelings for but does anyway.

Review: I loved this  book.  I can’t tell you how many ways I loved this book.  Let’s talk about Anna she has a pleasant voice that makes the book very easy to read.  I also loved the way there was subtle Nicholas Sparks bashing throughout the story.  Okay, so I loved The Notebook, but after awhile his books grow repetitive and depressive just like Anna’s dad’s work .  I also loved how the relationship between Anna and St. Clair developed throughout the novel.  In a genre full of insta love this was refreshing.  I also liked how St. Clair wasn’t Prince Charming.  Sure, he was romantic and swoon worthy, but her messed up which made him seem real.  Same goes with Anna too.

Best Feature: Paris.  If you don’t love Paris already this book will make you love the city of lights.  Perkins does an excellent job of setting the atmosphere.  And I notice this in her other novel,Lola and the Boy Next Door which took place in San Francisco.  Seriously, city tourism offices should beg Stephanie to write books set in their city.  She made me love Paris so much.

Worst Feature: The cover design.  Okay, so the girlish part of me loves these covers and titles of these books.  But I have to admit it’s sort of embarrassing carrying these books around with me at the student lounge at my law school.  Everyone already sort of thinks of me as the Elle Woods type because of my pink laptop and I think these books probably enhance this stereotype.

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Plus the cover concept/titles sort of remind me of these books:

 

Sad but True: In high school I collected Avon True Romance books.  And I’ve thought about doing a feature on them.  Am highly tempted, but can I bear bringing these books with me to school…..

 

Appropriateness: A few bits of cussing here and there.  There is a bit of fighting.  And some adult discussions.   However, nothing too inappropriate here.  I would say that compared to a lot of things I’ve read lately this book is relatively mild when it comes to inappropriateness.

Blockbuster Worthy: Oh God yes.  I would love to see this one on the big screen and unlike a lot of YA productions Anna and the French Kiss could be made on a relatively low budget since it doesn’t involve any werewolves, vampires, or other supernatural element that would cause Hollywood to use special effects.  Though it would definitely call for location shoots in Paris.

Anna: God, I wish Amber Tambyln was about ten years younger.  She is exactly how I imagine Anna looking.

St. Clair: He’s getting to be a pretty common choice, but I think Freddie Stroma would be perfect for the role of St. Clair.  Though he is not as short as St. Clair I think his dapper St. Clair like looks can make up for it.

Overall Rating: Nine out of ten croissants