Tempest Rising: Tracy Deebs

Random Childhood Story: When I was three years-old I had a pink Little Mermaid shirt.  My mother said that she often had to wash it every day because I refused to wear anything but said shirt.  Obviously, I loved this shirt because a) it was pink and b) it had The Little Mermaid on it.  The shirt was only the beginning of my childhood obsessions with mermaids.  I had books, movies, dolls all mermaid related all because I thought Prince Eric was cute and I wanted to be like Ariel-even though in hindsight I think the girl was rather stupid for trusting Ursula of all people.  As I’ve grown older my mermaid obsession has dwindled some, but I still like a good mermaid story which was why Tempest Rising interest me.


General Summary: Tempest is not looking forward to turning seventeen.  Because at seventeen she’ll have to make  a choice-sea or land.  But does she even have a choice?

Review:

I really wanted to like this book and for awhile it looked like we were going to be best of friends.  That is until Mr. Instant Love appeared.


Or should I mention Mr. Instant Love with a big helping of love triangle of doom.  I freaking kid you not.  Look, I love romance in a book.  I even like triangles when they’re done correctly.  But the instant love ruined what otherwise would’ve been a pretty good story.

Okay, so to be generous to instant love and love triangles, they weren’t the only problems that this book had.  Honestly, while there were several parts about the book and the world that Deebs created that I thought were cool, a lot of the book was cliche.  For example, there’s a prophecy that you guessed it…involves Tempest.

You can stop rolling your eyes now.  I know I did for a minute before I hit the next cliche (magical tattoo).  The fact is, this book would’ve been great had there not been so many cliches.  And while the cliches were cringe worthy they weren’t even the most cheesy use of cliches I’ve even seen.  I mean, after reading Fallen these cliches seemed to be handled quite tastefully.  But they were still cliches.  And since the parts of the book that weren’t cliche were so promising that it made these parts of the book stick out like eyesores.

Besides the cliches I also had a problem with the whole “talking with telepathy” parts.  It’s a pet peeve of mine, but I think that any form of dialogue should use dialogue tags even if the characters are conversing within each other’s heads.  Not have dialogue tags makes for a very annoying read because often I can’t figure out who is saying what and that just gives me a headache.

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Best Feature: World Building. I really liked the fact that Deebs decided to give her underwater world a story.  Was the story a little cliche, yes.  But I did like the fact that the underwater world wasn’t just limited to mermaids.  Reading about selkies, a concept I have only a vague recollection of was refreshing.  And I liked the whole sea witch idea as well.  I really did feel like there was potential for a great story here.

Worse Feature: Combined Insta Love/Love Triangle.  I’ve already done several posts on why I hate love triangles and instant love and this book is definitely in the hate territory on these things.  Honestly, I liked Tempest boyfriend, Mark.  He wasn’t perfect and he was a little jealous, but understandably jealous.  And he seemed like a real guy.   Kona not so much.  I get that I was suppose to love him, but I couldn’t I really couldn’t.  You just don’t force your audience to like the other love interest.  Or if you really want them to like the other guy, you don’t make it so blatantly audience and use insta love.  Yep, insta love is used to essentially reason the relationship between Kona and Tempest.  And quite frankly it doesn’t work for me.  Not at all.  With Kona constantly telling Tempest she belongs in the sea despite the fact that her whole life is on land, being ridiculously cryptic towards her, and looking like some sort of sea god I just didn’t feel him at all.

Appropriateness:  This book is pretty clean.  There is some under the sea violence in it and a couple of deaths.

Blockbuster Worthy: I love mermaids so it would be interesting seeing an adaption of this.  Here’s my cast:

Tempest: Taylor Swift.  Somehow I imagine Tempest looking like her and she has a song about being seventeen.

Mark: Blonde and blue eyes that’s Chace Crawford.

Kona: Nathan Parsons, maybe.  I really don’t know.  I think he might be an appealing enough as Kona.  He has an accent.

Overall Rating: Six out of ten fins.  There were parts about this book that I really enjoyed, but those parts were often bogged down by the love plot in the book.

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Fallen: Lauren Kate

General Summary: Even though there is not enough evidence to get even an indictment against her, Luce is sent to this creepy boarding school.  Sword and Cross is said to be hardcore but after a creepy orientation, Luce and the other misguided kids can pretty much do whatever the hell they want.  Luce in the meantime falls in love with a guy who flips her off and is determined to find out all of his secrets.

Review:

How do I begin to talk about Fallen.  I guess I could tell you that the book is about seventy-five percent description and the twenty-five percent of action and character development that the book has is muddled because of this description.  Did I say character development?  Wait a minute…there was no character development in this book.  Just like there was no internal logic or  structure to the book.

Let’s start with discussing the characters.  As I said previously, there is no development when it comes to any of these characters.  The most likable out of all of them is the villain and I don’t think I’m suppose to like him.  As for the main character and her true love well….

Let’s talk about Luce.  Luce has to be one of the dumbest characters in the genre.  She’s about on the same wave length as Bethany Church from Halo, though not as sanctimonious which is a plus.  A lot of her choices don’t make sense.  Take for instance, her relationship with Daniel.  She is attracted to this guy even though the first thing he does is flip her off.  And okay, there have been plenty examples in the genre of a teenage girl loving  a douche.  It happens all the time.  But I don’t think it happens at this sort of level.   Luce’s obsession of Daniel borders on full blown stalker.  She breaks into the school records to find out about her “true” love and at this point in the book they might have shared one conversation together if you could even call it a conversation.  Okay, so sometimes teens can be stupid about relationships that is understandable (sort of), but Luce should be smarter in other things.  But nope, she continually screws up just so that Kate can easily move forward the supposed plot of the novel.    For example, she decides to spill her secrets about all the weird things that are going on to a person she’s barely talked to.  It just doesn’t make sense.

As for Daniel, I don’t understand why he’s this sought after prize.  I know he has loved Luce for eternity.  But excuse my langue he is a dick.  He gives her the bird the first time he sees her, talks to her horribly.  And just because he looks like a freaking Armani model he gets off scotch free because of this.  And excuse me, if you’ve been living forever why would you be in a reform school of all places.  Wouldn’t you be doing something else with your eternal life…like I don’t know see the world, save humanity, or do something else useful.  Not sit there and go to freaking high school.

Speaking of the setting that brings me to my second point of contention with the book.  This book is suppose to take place at a reform school.  A place of last chances, so to speak.  Besides a harsh orientation, the school isn’t that hard core at all.  In fact, I’d say that the lack of supervision at Sword and Cross was sort of ridiculous.

Did I mention that the school is suppose to be a home for mentally disturbed students.  That’s right.  However, the way mental illness is handled is deplorable.  It’s viewed as almost a status thing.  Like being mentally ill is a good thing.  Plus, despite the fact these kids have serious programs there is not even a psychologist on staff at the school.  Yeah…that really makes sense. Just like it makes sense that Luce is at the school in the first place.  Throughout the book, the reader gradually learn that Luce was sent to Sword and Cross after the mysterious death of her boyfriend Trevor.  There is no direct or for that matter really indirect evidence suggesting that Luce caused Trevor’s death, so the notion that she’d get sent to Sword and Cross is a little ridiculous.  The sad thing is that plot holes like this aren’t uncommon throughout the book.  And for that matter the plot itself doesn’t even really make sense.  I still don’t  understand much of it.  Really, what is Luce’s purpose other than to be the stupid, silly, little girl that she is described to be by one of the characters in the book. Oh, wait if she dies the apocalypse is inevitable.  But even that could easily be fixed…oh, wait plot hole.

Best Feature: Descriptions.  There were way too many of them.  If you looked really carefully through them there were a few sentences that were written quite nicely.  However, it’s really hard to see these sentences because there was just so much muck in this book.

Worst Feature: Cliches.  This book was jammed back with cliches.  Mary Sue heroine, Insta Love, love triangle, abusive relationship, forbidden love, boarding schools,  dead best friends.  You named the cliche and Fallen  had it.  It would’ve been one thing too if the cliches would’ve been handled appropriately or used sparingly.  But no, when Kate decided to use a cliche.  She decided to use a cliche.  I’ve decided to prove my point I’m going to a brief analysis on three cliches.

Fallen: The epitome of cliches.

1. Insta Love: The relationship between Daniel and Luce is instantaneous.  There is no build up whatsoever.  Even after they get together, we really know nothing about them as a couple.  Just that Daniel will tell Luce later about the history between the two of them.  And that that the reader is suppose to believe that they’re a super couple or something.

2. Mary Sue Heroine: Everyone at that freaking school, who is worth anyone falls in love with Luce.  We as readers are suppose to fall in love with Luce.  We’re essentially told to.  But when I look at Luce’s character what do I see: A boring cardboard character who I’m told does nothing wrong.  Plus, did I mention the fact that Luce IQ is on range with my dogs.  Actually, come to think of it, I think my dogs are smarter than her…maybe her IQ is like a goldfish.   Case in point of her stupidity, Luce gets on a plane just because Daniel tells to.  Do I even need to go into detail how stupid this is.  How Luce easily be sent to some backwards country and be a human trafficking victim.  Yeah…….

 

3. Love Triangle: Oh my God.  Usually I’m on the fence about love triangles.  I know that a lot of people hate them, but I secretly like them.  If they’re done halfway right.  Here not the case.  And you know why because freaking insta love drove one of the relationships.  Then, in order to make us love Mr. Insta Love, Kate decides to vilify the other love interest.  I should also mention that most of the development with relationships is done with the guy Kate decides to vilify.  Does this make any sense to you?

Appropriateness:  Sigh….I know that this book is very popular.  Why?  It’s always checked out at the library I go to and I was like twenty something on a waiting list just to get the audio CD.  I don’t think the book though is appropriate at all for young audiences.  It’s true there’s no sex and the language is fairly mild, but there are several things that I thought made the book appropriate for older teens.  The imagery was sometimes very morbid, this book was very violent, and quite frankly I was appalled with the way mental illness was treated.

Blockbuster Worthy: God no I wouldn’t want to see this book made into a movie.  And if it was do you how much plot would have to be added since nothing happens in this book?  A lot.  Sadly, I heard rumors that Disney has bought the rights to Fallen and its sequels.  Here is who I’d cast:

Luce: Kristen Stewart.  I think she’s sulky looking enough to play Luce and Luce is a whole lot like Bella so it wouldn’t be too much of an acting stretch for her.  Plus, I totally see that haircut she was rocking in the Runaways looking like Luce’s do.

Daniel: Alex Pettyfer.  The secret to finding a good Daniel is finding a guy that is good looking enough for you to still like him after he flips you off.  I think Pettyfer would be the perfect fit.

Cam: Ethan Peck.  I figure he needs a job.  And I do think having him and Pettyfer together in this monstrosity would give me plenty of eye candy to stare at so there.

Overall Ratings: Two out of ten wings.  Despite how horrible this book is, there were a few moments that I could see actual talent beneath all the crap.  I feel like if the editing was better, the book would’ve been a lot enjoyable.  Be that as it may, it was a struggle to read (or in my case listen) it and I don’t feel that it deserve a rating above a two.

Top Five Toxic Boyfriends in YA

YA lit has its fair share of bad boyfriends.  But there are certain love interests in YA lit that really want me to go all J Lo from Enough  on them.  Let’s look at some of the creepiest love interest in YA from  and how/if these relationship can be saved:

5) Daniel from the Fallen series by Lauren Kate: I just started reading this series and I have to say I have not seen anything as messed up as Luce and Daniel’s relationship.  And yes, I know his reasons for acting like such an asshole to her throughout the book.  But a simple conversation would’ve sufficed instead of Daniel acting like such  a dick for three hundred plus pages.   And it really, really bothers me that the one nice guy in this series gets shafted and vilified   Just saying.

Can This Relationship be Saved:  Not really.  But it could be improved.   Daniel just talk to her.  If you have to be an asshole the least you could do is explain your actions so I won’t have to listen to Ms. Whiney  obsess over you throughout the book.

4) Xavier Woods from The Halo Trilogy by Alexandra Adornetto: Xavier isn’t your stereotypical abusive character.  With his floppy walnut hair and turquoise colored eyes he seems harmless enough.  It’s just his attitude that is so abusive.  Though, admittedly, his girlfriend  doesn’t help matters.  Codependency in this eyes couple is healthy.  Here’s the thing, I think that an important part of a relationship is trying to maintain some sense of individuality and having your partner support that unique part of you.  Xavier doesn’t support Bethany as an individual at all.  They like the same sports teams even though Bethany knows nothing about football or whatever, she becomes an omnivore for him, and essentially asks him if she can hang out with her friends.  Besides this, Xavier has no trust in Bethany at all.  In the first book he thought she cheated on him just because of some supposedly compromising pictures that turn up in Facebook and in the second one he almost gets mad at her because she’s almost raped.

Can This Relationship be Saved?: No.  For the love of God, break up.  These two kids need to spend some time apart, if they really love each other they can get back together.  But they need to realize what it is to be an individual first.  Changing yourself for a guy is never going to mandate a healthy relationship.

3) John from Abandon by Meg Cabot: Okay, okay, Cabot fans I hear you booing at me.  I thought about not even putting John on the list if you want to be honest.  But I just had to.  With leading men such as Michael Moscovitz, Jesse de Silva, and Cooper Cartwright, I find it so hard to believe that Meg would create a character like John.  And I’m going to be honest with you guys, I sort of do like John.  I do like broody men (i.e. I had a huge crush on Batman in my youth), but there is a fine line between broody and obsessive Edward Cullen territory.  And many people state that John has crossed that line.  Plus, it doesn’t help that he’s sort of obsessed with Pierce and in the first book their relationship is sort of explosive.  I mean, in every single scene he’s in he beats up someone and he and Pierce exchange quite a few nasty words.  I guess though when you’re a lord of the underworld you sort of have an excuse.  And admittedly, John does improve a lot (to me at least) in Underworld.

Can this Relationship be Fixed?: Maybe with anger management and career reassignment.  If John was able to channel his anger in a different way, perhaps his brooding would decrease where he’d be a much more tolerable character.  It also might help if he gets to know Pierce better too.  However, I am already starting to like John a lot more than I did previously so I do think there is some (okay, a lot) of hope for him.

2) Jace from The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare: As far as toxic boyfriends go, Jace could be much worse.  He only tries to kill Clary a couple of times in the series and that’s because he was possessed.  And for the most part his a-hole-ness is limited to verbal abuse.  Really, if we’re going to get done to it the biggest issues I have with the Jace/Clary romance are with Clary.  She seemed to be the one pushing the romance thing after they found out that they’re brother and sister and she didn’t do what Jace asked her to do in City of Lost Souls.  However, that doesn’t give Jace an excuse for some of the crap that he pulls.  Being emotionally cold, rude, and abrasive are never good things even if you do have a sad childhood.

Can this Relationship be Fixed?:  No, but maybe with some therapy Jace is salvable.  I mean, he does have some pretty good one liners.  And maybe if he did dump Clary, find a girlfriend that had impulse control and he didn’t suspect was his sister, I’d like him better.

1)Patch from Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick: Patch makes Edward Cullen look like the epitome of all boyfriends.  In fact, if we’re going to be honest about it he’s the real reason why I get annoyed with the Hush Hush Saga.  Okay, so Nora and her friend are annoying, but I could deal with their foulness if it wasn’t for Patch.  This guy who is proclaimed to be the ultimate bad boy, in reality he’s the ultimate sociopath.  He tries to kill Nora in the first book.  In the second book they have some weird break up thing that’s going on that reminded me of a more toxic version of New Moon.  Seriously, how do you get more abusive than New Moon and then there’s the third book where he essentially mind rapes Nora.  Mind raping is never good people even when you do it to protect the person you love.

Can this Relationship Be Saved?:  Hell no!  I think there needs to be a stamp on Patch that states avoid at all cost, run away, get out the pepper spray.  There’s no way to treat a sociopath or dark angel.  Nora really would do better off dating a nice human boy or better yet not dating at all for a few years and get her priorities in check.  As for Patch, well, he can just be killed off in the series.  Maybe in a “power of love” act.  I think that this would be a nice compromise since his fan girls would get to say how “brave” he was for sacrificing himself for Nora while I would get to smile knowing that he was truly gone and not going to haunt me with a fifth book.

Any boy that I left out that you think should’ve made the list?  Feel free to leave a comment.

I Heart New York: Lindsey Kelk

I have had  a penpal from the UK for about two years now.  For the past six months or so, she’s been talking up Lindsey Kelk’s I Heart series which I haven’t found in the US.  Low and behold one day when I received this book in the mail from her.  And of course, I  knew I had to review it.

General Summary: After catching her douche of a fiance cheating on her, Angela decides to pack her bags and take the first flight out of town which puts her in NYC.  The rest of the novel is spent on Angela adventure in the big city.

Review: I liked this book, but it was what your stereotypical chick lit novel  I thought Kelk had a nice voice and I liked Angela’s perception of New York.  I also liked the fact that New York seemed to be a character in itself in the book.  But I did have some issues with it. Probably my biggest issue is how unrealistic the book was.  Angela spends a ridiculous amount  of time shopping throughout the book and there was little to no financial recourse from it.  The same goes from her dating experience.  It was a cute idea for a blog, but dating  and sleeping with two guys usually has more consequences than it did for Angela.  Another issue was found with how Angela talked about getting a work visa (as if it was going to be easy) that is not the case.  Trust me, I took Immigration Law if I have to suffer attend fourteen weeks of hearing about the joys of Immigration Law then it’s not easy.

Okay, so I’m being nitpicky.  I know that chick lit is unrealistic and that it’s fiction, but in a contemporary book I expect some sense of reality.  But that wasn’t my only issue with the novel. I thought the book embodied a lot of cliches that hate.  Love triangles, check.  Borderline Mary Sue characters, check.  This was actually one of the things that most upset me was how borderline Sue Angela was.  At the beginning of the book, I loved her character.  She peed in her cheating boyfriend’s bag which I thought was pretty darn epic if a tad bit gross.  But as the novel progressed, I found myself liking her less and less.  After a makeover by a new b.f.f., named Jenny Lopez of all things, everyone starts falling head over heels for her.  Yep.  Everyone.  Her two boyfriends include a Wall Street investment banker who has a penthouse and a rock star.  I am not joking.  And….throughout the book we’re constantly reminded how good of a person she  and how nothing seems to be her fault.

Look, I get that Angela is a good person.  But I want a flawed character some one who I can relate to when I read.  Not some character that looks like a model, makes every male within Manhattan fall in love with her, and does not find herself at all responsible for the fallout of dating two men.  Plus, did I mention how everything is essentially handed to her it’s almost groan worthy. These two issues aside though, I found the book to be a pleasant enough read.  As I said before, I think Kelk described the city brilliantly.  It almost felt as if it was a character itself.  And even though I got annoyed with Angela several times throughout the book I still liked her.

Best Feature: Great Voice: One of the reasons why I kept reading this book is because of Kelk’s voice.  I liked Angela despite her Mary Sue faults.  And believe me there were a lot of them, despite what some of the characters in the book wanted you to think.  And despite how unrealistic New York was depicted, in a strange way I sort of liked how naive Angela’s perception of the city was.  I will really give Kelk kudos for this.

Worst Feature: Unrealistic: This book was ridiculously unrealistic.  It’s chick lit and fiction and I should expect that the book isn’t going to be very realistic, but there were just too many groan worthy moments within the book.  For example, Angela spent a ridiculous amount of the book shopping.  I get that the British pound is far superior to the American dollar, but throwing $200 down every time you go out shopping gets expensive after awhile especially on a freelance writer’s salary.

Appropriateness: This is definitely an adult book.  The language is adult, there is sex in this book, and there are other adult situations talked about in the book.

Blockbuster Worthy: It would be a cute movie.  A little Sex and the City, but I honestly could see Hollywood going there.

Angela: Jemima Rooper: I really loved Jemima is Lost in Austen and I kept thinking as her as Angela throughout the book.  I guess it helps that she’s British.

Alex: Penn Badgley.  I think Penn can pull off the rock star look.

Tyler: Channing Tatum.  Blonde, blue eyed and in the right age group.  I think Channing would be a nice Tyler, but he would have to have his clothes on (at least some of the time).

Jenny Lopez:  I can’t help it but I’m casting J Lo in the role.  She’s way too old but it would be hilarious is she did play a character named Jenny Lopez.

Overall Rating: Seven out of ten hearts.  I thought it was a cute book, yet I wasn’t as enamored with it as my penpal was.  Perhaps it’s because I’m a slightly cynical personality and just kept thinking how unrealistic parts of the novel were, which distracted me from fully enjoying it.  However, if you’re in a mood for a nice light book and don’t over analyze these things I think you’d enjoy this book and its sequels.

Quiz: What Meg Cabot Book Should You Read?

 

 

FIrst of all I want to say I’m sorry, somewhere in my hapless mind I got my dates confused and skipped my second blog entry for the Meg-A Reader Blog Hop .  Luckily, I am able to post before the event is over.    Having trouble deciding what Meg Cabot Book to read take this quiz and you’ll have troubles no more:

1) Where would you like to live?

A) New York City: The big apple is where it’s at.  You never have to worry about being bored in New York.

B) The Midwest: There’s no better place to be than the midwest.  Good middle American values, corn fields, and classic American cars.  Priceless.

C) California: Surf the waves.  Maybe do some shopping.  You like the laid back life of the golden state.

D) Europe: Who wants to be in the USA?  Europe is the true center of the world.  You like the fact that you can take a train ride and in forty-five minutes you’ll be in a different country.

2) If you were to describe your type of guy he’d be…

A) Super Nerd:  You’re guy would definitely know his DC from his Marvel as much as he knows his PC from his Mac.  And he’d probably drag you to Comic Con too.

B) Mr. Fix It: He can fix anything.  He knows a lot about cars and it doesn’t drive you crazy when he talks about them because you’re too focus on how his butt looks in those tight jeans of his.

C) Batman:  He might not be the most open book in the world.  But he has issues.  And isn’t being a little bit mysterious and Broody suppose to be hot.

D)  Indiana Jones: You want to go on an adventure and your guy will take you on one.

3) If you could have one thing in your wardrobe it would be?

A) Something simple.  Maybe black.  Black always is good.  It’s stylish, sliming, and it doesn’t show dirt.

B) A pair of jeans.  Smart and sensible nothing too fancy, but if they make your butt look good then you’re even happier.

C) A leather jacket.  It makes you look tough and you might get a little cold.

D) A nice Marc Jacobs bag that holds all your stuff when you go on a trip.

4) Would you rather….

A) Be famous and have the paparazzi constantly hounding you.

B) Be bored because there’s nothing to do other than stare at the local corn field.

C) Deal with supernatural melodrama

D) Get stuck in the Dublin airport with a twelve hour layover.

5) One thing that annoys you…

A)Tourists

B) City Slickers

C) Humidity

D) Maps

Scoring

If you chose mostly A’s: You’d probably like Meg’s contemporary novels set in New York.  For YA fans The Princess Diaries series is a must.  Mia is far more snarky in the books than in the movies.  And Grandmere is just a tad bit evil.  Other recommendations include The Heather Wells series, The Boy Next Door, and Girl Meets Boy.
If you chose mostly B’s: You’d probably like Meg’s contemporaries like Teen Idol, Pants on Fire, and How to be Popular.  These novels take small town charm but modernize it.  Also, if you like these books you might want to check out Meg’s Missing series.  Which while taking place in a small Indiana town, is a paranormal novel about a girl who has the ability to find people in her dreams.

 

If you chose mostly C’s: You’d probably like Meg’s paranormals such as The Mediator series.  Other good reads include The Insatiable books, Jinx, and The Abandon series.

If you chose mostly D’s: You like books with a heroine on the go who’s going to have an adventure far, far away.  Check out Meg’s Queen of Babble and Every Boy’s Got One.  If you’re really feeling for a true adventure go back in time with either Victoria and the Rouge  or Nicola and the Viscount. 

 

Stop GR Bully Site: Wake Up Call, Books Aren’t People

For those who don’t know I use Good Reads.  I love the site.  It’s probably my favorite out of all the social media tools.  It’s actually one I can relate to, unlike Twitter which gives me a headache, Facebook which gives me way too much information about my friends, and Pinterest which can sometimes be a little odd and borderline creepy at times (seriously, people.  I do not want to see what a dream wedding with Tom Cruise would look like).  Good Reads though is great.  I’ve met lots of new friends and have been able to interact with them about books.  And I love books.  I love talking about them.   And for that matter reading people’s opinions both good and bad.

Since the days of book blogging there has been issues surrounding negative reviews.  Personally, I like them.   Obviously, authors are people too, but the book itself is a product.  I have talked about why I support negative reviews in a previous post and I’m not going to dig deeper into that issue today.  Instead, I’m going to talk about bullying.

Fact: I spent most of my junior high and high school years being bullied because I wasn’t athletic, didn’t wear the right clothes, didn’t like being sexually harassed, and just came off as a little quiet and timid.

It wasn’t right and because of that I have developed a real distaste for bullying.  Bullying can come in many forms .  It’s not just directly physically harming or  insulting an individual.   Indirect threats, subtle harassment,  and cyber bullying are all forms of bullying.  It’s a real issue.  There are people who are killing themselves because they are getting picked on.  It’s not something to take lightly and should be dealt with appropriately.

That being said I think people often misinterpret what is and what is not bullying.  Case in point, Stop the Good Read Bullies (Note: I originally had the link here to that God awful site, but have since pulled it since I do NOT want to give that abomination of a site traffic).

Yep, that site does exist.  And  honestly it’s doing more harm than good.  Let’s dissect  some of the values this “stellar” website offers

Point One: Negative Reviewers are Bullies

The people that are targeted on this site aren’t bullies.  All of the people that have been targeted on this site have been targeted for negative book reviews or out of context remarks they had made about a review(usually defending someones review from a troll).  They are talking about how they feel about a book not an author, despite what this out of context site would have you think.  As far as I’m concerned books aren’t people.  However, the people who wrote the reviews and comments are.  Posting their photos, personal information,  threatening to stalk them, and defaming them is not appropriate behavior.  Even if they were bullying the author this is still not the sort of appropriate steps to take.

Point Two:  The Only Way to Fight Bullying is through Bullying

Fighting bullying with more bullying is not a way to combat bullying.  The site runners say that they are following the advice of a school principal.  I don’t think any school administrator would advise a student who is being bullied to fight right back.  First of all, the advice is just wrong on a moral level.  No one deserves to be abused, even an abuser.  Furthermore,  that advice would make them liable should the bully victim act out violently.  It’s just wrong on so many levels.

Being a victim of bullying myself, I found that the only way to stop the bullying was to find myself an advocate.  My teachers weren’t helping me and the principal blew me off because my bullies happened to be some of the best athletes in my school.  Needless to say, I was miserable and so I ended up confiding in my father who fixed the situation for me within days.    Let’s just put it this way, my dad did not harass or bully back my tormentors at school.  That’s not what advocates do.  Rather, he went to the administrators and talked to them calmly and logically about the potential ramifications that would happen to them if they allowed this behavior to continue.  And yes, there are ramifications to bullying.  People can be held liable, if the bullying escalates it can lead into even criminal charges .   It doesn’t matter what the bullying is over, if you’re defending someone, when it boils down to it bullying is bullying and it’s going to hurt people.

Point Three: Posting Private Information about Individuals is okay—because it’s on the internet

Sure, the information might be on the internet.  But do you have permission to use it?  Furthermore, do you really think these individuals want all the private information revealed especially in the light you’re showing it in.  Essentially any sort of  information can be found on the internet these days if you know where to look.  That doesn’t mean it’s fair game for your use to defame these individuals.  These people have lives outside Good Reads,.  Posting information like this is not only tacky, but it can be potentially dangerous as well.  What if these individuals have a stalker or something?  You don’t know them personally.  You could potentially be causing them harm and that’s not a good thing.

Point Four: This Site is meant to be an Anti-Bullying Site

Bull shit.  Anti-bullying sites reach out to victims.  They help them realize that things do get better and they sure as don’t advocate bullying.  In fact, there were some anti-bullying sites  that were upset about this site’s behavior that they asked the site to remove the anti-bullying banners that they had up. See here for more details.

Thoughts and Conclusions:

I don’t like drama.  But I also don’t like seeing people be attacked.  Being a victim of bullies myself, I find this sort of thing absolutely disgusting.  Posting information like this on a website is wrong in so many ways.  It endangers people’s privacy and safety and for that I cannot condone it or anyone who condones this website.

Links For Actual Anti-Bullying Sites:

Stop Bullying

It Gets Better

Anti Bullying Network

Size 12 and Ready to Rock: Meg Cabot

Heather Wells is one of my favorite Meg Cabot characters let’s see if she’s not a victim of the Death Dorm and if Cooper is still hot.

General Summary: As previously stated, Heather Wells is back!  And even though it’s summer time she still has to work cut out for her given the fact that Tania Trace Rock Camp is based out of her dorm building and…well, she’s sort of (well, trying) to plan a wedding of her own.

Review: I was really excited for this book to be released.  I love the Heather Wells series.  Heather Wells is an engaging character, someone you can relate too.  And I love that while the titles mention her size, it’s not what the novel is about.  Plus, she has a healthy body image unlike some books that will not be mentioned. In fact, the novels themselves are mysteries.  Light hearted mysteries, but still mysteries.  In a lot of ways they remind me of Janet Evonovitch’s Stephanie Plum books except there’s no love triangle, random cars exploding, and instead of being a bounty hunter Heather works at a dorm.   The series was originally suppose to concluded with the lackluster Big Boned.  However, Cabot decided to write another book and I have to say I’m glad she did.

I will say that the first half of the book is better than its later half.  Meg reintroduced the character with ease and the mystery was gradually introduced at a nice place.  I like how Heather has grown more confident in herself and how she has grown in her role as assistant director at the college.  I thought the whole college life aspect was handled very realistically.

How I picture Death Dorm looking like.

The later half of the novel is where I had some issues with the book.  Particularly Heather’s relationship with Tania Trace.  It seemed unrealistic which I’ll discuss later on in my review.  Other problems with the book I had were some squeamish talk about sex and lady parts and functions.  There was one joke, I think it was supposed to be viewed as a joke, about drinking menstrual cycle blood that made me want to vomit.  Look, authors I don’t like being talked to about monthly cycles.  It doesn’t work not as a joke or some weird sort erotica thing like it was used in Master of the Universe Fifty Shades of Grey.  Another reoccurring gag I couldn’t stand was the information from Psych 101 class.  For one thing it wouldn’t be called Psych 101-most universities would have  a number for it like Psychology 1300  or something.  Point two, most of the stats that were used in these parts were regurgitated from other Cabot books where the neurotic heroine rattles off her various psychological ailments (see Boy Meets Girl).

Best Feature: Quirky Set Up: The setup for the novel is just brilliant.  I like how the plot is gradually introduced and we are reintroduced to the characters in the Heather Wells universe.  I especially love the whole murder mystery.  It was done in a slightly humorous way that made me laugh even though I didn’t want too.  Okay, long story short the victim dies via cupcake.  And it’s from a cupcake baked by someone on Cupcake Wars.  And the name of the made up cupcake place is called Pattycakes Cupcakes and one of my  Beagles name is Patty Cakes…okay, digressing.
Patty Cakes Beagle is not above giving out poison cupcakes.

Worst Feature: Butt Kissing.  I really got annoyed with how much butt kissing was done by Heather when it came to the character Tania.  Tania, for those who aren’t familiar with the series, is the tart pop star who slept with Jordan when he and Heather were together.  Honestly, while I could understand why Heather would be civil towards her, I didn’t understand why she was as nice to her as she was.  And for that matter essentially state how Tania was better than her with Jordan and was much more talented than Heather ever was.  And for that matter Heather actually gushes over how much chemistry Jordan and Tania have.    It just doesn’t make sense to me.   I mean, I get she’s over Jordan and everything.  But jeez, I still be a little sore with Tania for ruining a ten year relationship.

Appropriateness: Um, definitely an adult book.  There’s some cussing, some violence, some sex.  And then there’s talk about sex, infertility, and some really nasty sex jokes-a.k.a. a song about drinking period blood.  I kid you not.

Blockbuster Worthy: I’d really like to see  these books turned into  a television show. I think it would be fantastic for better terms.  And if I were to chose a writer for the television show might I suggest  Amy Sherman-Palladino, writer for Gilmore Girls and my newest obsession Bun Heads.  I really think she’d be able to transfer Cabot’s work beautifully onto the small screen.  For example, I  see Heather looking like a heavier and more stable version of Britney Spears.  Sans the Louisiana accent of course.

Cooper:  Jeffrey Donovan I think could do Copper justice.  He is, after all, my go to casting option for a guy who is packing heat.

Overall Rating: Six out of ten stars.   I found part of this book to be deliciously wicked reminding me of old school Meg.  However, there were a few things that bugged me about it.  Still though, if you’re a Heather Wells fan you’ll probably enjoy this installment.

Just for Fins: Tera Lynn Childs

I’ve stopped trying to figure out the weird lipstick that they use on these models a long time ago.

 

As you can see from the button on the side of the blog, I’m a member of Tera Lynn Childs’s Splash Team.  I usually don’t join group like this because I’m a fuddy duddy (you can blame law school for that),  but I think Tera’s books are special.  There’s just a light happy quality about them that always makes me smile it’s like eating cotton candy.  So needless to say, I was excited about reading and reviewing Just for Fins.

General Summary: After bonding (in name only) to Tellin, Lily is on a quest to help his kingdom and finds out that she is dealing with a lot more problems than she originally thought. Her problems don’t only include political issues in the underwater world, but issues with her relationship with Quince as well.

Review:

When I think of this series I think cute.  It’s light reading.  I know I’m not going to get the most complex of plots, but I still love reading these books.  In fact, they’re probably my favorite mermaid series that’s out there in the YA world as of right now.

However, despite the fact that I love these books I did find some problems with this installment.  For instance, let’s talk about sea puns.  Although, not as heavily used as they were earlier in the series.  I couldn’t help but cringe every time, every time something sea oriented was said.  It reminded me of Lagoon Boy from Young Justice and I hate Lagoon Boy.  And if you don’t understand what I’m saying because you don’t watch Young Justice, well, trust me he’s annoying especially when he calls his Martian girlfriend angelfish.

Yes, angelfish.  It’s even worse than angel another term of endearment I can’t stand thanks to Edward Cullen and that Patch guy from Hush Hush.

Aside from the sea puns, the other issues I had with this novel included a lack of development in both plot and character.  While I do think Lily has grown since the previous installments, the side and supporting characters just fall flat.  Even Quince wasn’t as charming as he usually was.  The plot was the same.  I loved it, but I felt something was missing.

Okay, to be more precise I think there is a lack of balance between Lily’s surface and underwater life.  Take for instance, Lily’s surface goals which were nothing-because mermaids don’t need college because their politics aren’t taught in universities.  That might be true, but there are still other subject that would be beneficial for anyone ruling a country: math, science (which would really be important seeing what the plot was about), communication skills, even political science courses could have a place though it wouldn’t be mermaid related.  And for that matter, I have to wonder do mermaids have universities?  I also didn’t like how Quince’s lack of higher education was thrown to the side either.  So, he has a job in construction.  That’s great.  Lots of people can be very successful with a construction job, but the security in these jobs isn’t that stellar.  Especially in today’s economy.  Realistically, Quince should at least try to take a couple of evening classes at a community college just so he could have an associates degree and have some security.  I know, I’m being picky about this but this is something that really bothered me in the books (you can thank my social poverty class I took in college for that).  Anyway, to get back to the original point I was trying to make, the surface world life and goals are thrown to the side for the sea.  I just really wish there would’ve been a way to balance them together.  And there sort of was…but it seemed like Tera didn’t want to take that direction with the books and I can sort of understand that.

Now let’s talk about the good stuff in the book.  There were a lot of really nice things about this book.  The world building was a solid as usual and I liked the fact that the environment played a part in this book in not an overly preachy Save the Whales sort of way.  It was also a neat way to introduce the other mer kingdoms.

Best Feature: Relevance.  I think this book talked about some pretty relevant world environmental issues which was refreshing.  And Tera made it entertaining which was even more refreshing and a hard thing to do too, I would know since a big part of my internship this summer deals with environmental issues which at times can feel a bit monotonous.  And she didn’t get too Captain Planet-y about it either which I had to appreciate.

Worst Feature: Lack of Overarching Plot: One of my biggest issues with these books is I feel that each of them could very well be a stand alone.  Everything is neatly resolved at the end of the book and while that’s nice that’s not how real life or series work.  While I do like that there is resolution to each installment, there is nothing making me want to read the next one like there is in Tera’s Sweet Venom series.

Appropriateness:  This book is appropriate for all ages.  It’s probably one of the best things about it.  If I had a preteen I would be very comfortable with them reading this.  There’s some kissing, but nothing except for that.  And plus, I liked the fact that it talked about some real world issues.  So there’s that as well.

Overall Ratings: Six out of ten fins.  This was a fun book, but as an older reader I felt like I couldn’t enjoy it as much as I would say twelve years ago.  I still highly recommend these books for younger audiences, they are enjoyable but for older readers who want a meaty plot this might not be the series for you.

Fateful: Claudia Gray

Big props to the cover editor on this one.  It’s really gorgeous in real life. 

I really like it when history is bastardize*.  I don’t know about you, but I would really like a book such as:

A mermaid romance set to the backdrop of the Columbus’s so called “discovery” of America.  As one of Columbus’s sailors must make the ultimate choice betray his crew or leave his mer love to face instant death.

Or

A love triangle between an angel, and knight, and a Turkish prince  taking place during the crusades.  Note, there will be no motorcycles taking the angel to hell since motorcycles weren’t invented during the ninth century.

Or

Werewolves on the Titanic.  Can true love defeat the moonlight or for that matter icebergs?

 

Believe it or not there is actually a book that is about werewolves on the Titanic.  And yep, that book is Fateful by Claudia Gray.

General Summary: So yes, this book could essentially be summed up as being like the James Cameron movie with the roles reversed-and-yeah,  there’s werewolves on board the unsinkable ship.

Review: As far as books go this one was a surprise to me.  Honestly, I bought the book as sort of a joke.  The summary seems ludicrous and I’m just not a big fan of Claudia Gray’s writing-I only got through the second book of the Evernight series before I gave up.  Despite some eye rolling cliches and purple prose, I kept reading Fateful. Perhaps it was because everything was so wrong it was right.  I guess I could say that about a lot of books, Halo, is one that I can think of on the top of my head.  But I enjoyed Fateful  a lot more than Halo.  Probably because Fateful had likable enough characters and despite the fact it employs a lot of annoying cliches it had some things going for it (a.k.a. the Titanic).

The Titanic has so much history.  And I am a history buff.  So it was interesting to me that Gray chose to tie in history to the paranormal…the only thing was it sort of failed.  It wasn’t near as big as an epic fail as I thought it was going to be, but it still sucked.  And not because she decided to have a big pink octopus sink the boat-no, she kept to the actual history of the tragedy.  My problem was that  The Titanic was essentially irrelevant to the overall story.
It’s just that you really didn’t feel like the characters were on the Titanic until Tess mentioned it.  They could’ve been really anywhere.  And that to me seemed  cheap. Come to think about it, lots of things about this book seemed cheap.  I might be a twenty-first century American girl, but I’ve read lots of novels written in the twentieth century and for that matter have some UK pals and watch perfuse amounts of British television and Tess doesn’t sound British.  She just sounds like a modern American girl who happens to be in a book that takes place in the early twentieth century.  I feel like the novel could’ve been much better told had it been in third person.
Likewise, I was sort of upset with how Gray would use quick fixes to get around history.  Like for instance, Tess is granted a special key to allow her to go from first to third class with some shoddy explanation–essentially her employer’s pay off the ship’s crew.  And then there’s how the plot handled itself. Pacing in this book does not exist.  Tess comes to realization with little to no explanation about several things in the novel.  And when Gray does slow down there’s no purpose.  For instance, twenty pages were spent on this golden pin.  And while it did make Tess think about her sister, it served no other purpose to the novel.  While I did think the characters were nice enough, like the plot I think there was really little development.  Tess was your standard heroine, she was likable enough but I didn’t feel like I got to know her enough to like her.  That there was anything really unique about her.  But she was definitely more developed than Alec who was  mind candy at best.

Best Feature: Cult potential.  You know how some awful movies become cult classics because how ridiculous they are.  Well, this is how this book was to me.  The writing wasn’t terrible and it was an easy enough to read despite it’s eye rolling moments.  And I have to admit I sort of have a thing for period pieces.  Plus, the summary looks so horrifying it makes this book look interesting.

Worst Feature: Cliches: Although, I found this book to be occasionally amusing, the cliches could be a tad bit too much.  There was insta love.  And Mr. Insta Love just happens to be  rich and you guessed it he’s some sort of paranormal creature.  Oh, and he tells Tess all his dirty little secrets right after meeting her.  Grant it, he was sort of in a predicament where he had to-but still.    Add in some ridiculously purple writing and what do you have.  One big cliche.

Appropriateness:  There is a sex scene in this novel.  And there is death, lots of death.  Unplanned pregnancies and abusive situations are also talked about.  Honestly, I would say that the novel would almost qualify as adult fiction except a lot of these scenes are fluffed over and the tone of the novel is YA.

With this cover though it does look a little more like a bodice ripper and perhaps that would’ve been more appropriate.

Blockbuster Worthy:  Hmm, it might be interesting.  Though it might be a bit of a Titanic  rip off—oh,  wait there are plenty of movies that ripped off the James Cameron’s Titanic.  Perhaps you’ve seen this one.

Anyway, if Fateful ever got turned into a movie here’s who I’d cast:
Tess: Dianna Agron.  Somehow I can picture her playing Tess.  She’d have to gain an accent and wear a scullery maid’s hat throughout most of the film.

Alec: Usually I don’t advocate casting animated characters but I couldn’t help but think Alec would look a lot like Dimitri from Anastasia except-well, not animated. And if that didn’t work you could always get Leonardo dicaprio circa 1998.

Overall Rating: Five out of ten wolves.  It was a fast read.  Even enjoyable.  However, this book had it’s flaws and while I would recommend it if you like all things Titanic and want some cheese.  Overall, I would say stick to the very original material.  At least with it you get this obnoxious song.  Oh, and Leo who will never let you go while Alec will just throw you (or should I say Tess) overboard.

* Note, the above statement was said in total sarcasm

Trend Spotlights: Hooray for Hollywood Part IV: Teen Idol by Meg Cabot

Blogger’s Note: I apologize in advance for any formatting issues.  Blogger has been extremely difficult to use lately.  Everything looks fine in draft or in preview and then when I post it looks like crap.  All my paragraphs are jammed together etc.    Seriously thinking of moving to Word Press.  Just saying.

I like Meg Cabot books and when I was looking for books for this feature, it suddenly occurred to me she has a Hollywood-ish book.  The odd thing is I sort of forgot about this particular book until now.

General Summary: Jenny (Jen) Greenley is the girl next door.  She’s a good girl.  Everyone, including the principal likes her.  And it’s only natural that when a celebrity-or to be more precise, the celebrity, wants to spend a week undercover at a local high school that Jen would be his one true friend.  However, Luke creates such havoc in her town that Jen’s not sure how to solve it.

Review:

As I said previously, I often forget about Teen Idol and it’s not because it’s a bad book, in comparison to Meg’s other titles this one is sort of….well, just there.

The book itself has  fairly decent characters and it the storyline is solid enough.  But it’s nothing special.  And perhaps that’s what my problem with it is.

The plot  is pretty generic, good girl Jen’s life is changed when movie star Luke Striker shows up in her small town and shakes up things.  Honestly, while I am glad that Cabot didn’t go the cliche route of having Jen and Luke end up together, I really wondered what Luke’s purpose was other than to be a catalyst.  Couldn’t Jen come up with the conclusion that things in her life weren’t perfect?  From what was happening in her life before Luke’s intervention, I believe she could.  But I guess the book wouldn’t have sold if he hadn’t made an appearance.

Also, another big issue I had with Luke was who he ended up with.  Geri was a quasi horrible bitchy character.  And while it was true she was nowhere near the likes of Lana Weinberger, I still didn’t like that all the boys-including Scott-seemed to like her.  Especially Luke who seemed to be about seeing someone’s natural beauty.  Geri just seemed to be this brash kind of bitchy character.  She wasn’t terrible, but I just don’t see her Luke let alone Scott.

As for Scott, the love interest in the novel, I didn’t like him as much as some of Cabot’s other heros.  He wasn’t awful.  He was nice.  He cooked.  And I liked that, I just felt like I didn’t get to know him that well.  And while I understand why Jen liked him, I wished their relationship would’ve been  more developed.

Things I really did like about this book: the fact that it was a stand alone.  While I do like series, it was nice to read something where I didn’t have to wait for a sequel. And I really liked how everything was wrapped up in this book.  Plus, did I mention it had a nice message that wasn’t overly preachy.  Yes, that was nice.  Plus, did I mention that there’s show choir in this book.  Yes, all you Gleeks there are some pretty funny show choir scenes in this book which makes me think they really need to bring on Meg Cabot as a consultant for Glee.

Best Feature: Not Your Typical Hollywood Story:  This book isn’t what I expect, meaning I thought Luke and Jen were going to fall in love with each other.  No, that didn’t happen.  And I liked that in a weird way, but at the same time I really had to wonder what was Luke’s purpose other than being Jen’s Jiminy Cricket.  Still though, despite Luke’s lack of a role to the story, I liked that it wasn’t cliche.

Worst Feature: Meh.  As far as Meg Cabot novels go, this is a good book.  But it’s not that memorable.  While I think there was a good message in the novel.  I just….I wanted something more.  I honestly, felt while the foundation was there, there was just something off about the book that it never reached its potential.  Perhaps, it was how Luke was handled as a character and for that matter who he ended up with.

Appropriateness: This is a pretty clean novel.  There is some bullying that goes on in the book, but other than that I can’t think of anything remotely inappropriate.  In fact, I would recommend this book for teens because of the bullying issues that go on in the book.  I love the message this book tries to send without being overly preachy.

Blockbuster Worthy: I could see this being a Disney movie of the week.  Honestly, I don’t know why Disney didn’t buy the rights to this movie instead of Avalon High (which I think was an abomination when translated on the screen).  It would’ve been so much easier to translate the script into something that was worth a TV budget.  Interestingly enough, I’ve been told that there is a Disney Chanel movie, Starstruck, that is sort of similar to this book.  But anyway, if the rights were ever bought here’s who I’d cast for the movie.

Jen: Sarah Hyland. I think she plays likable enough.  And I could see her easily stepping into the shoes of good girl next door, Jen.

Luke:  Freddie Storma.  He has the golden boy good looks I imagine when I think of Luke

Scott: Van Hughes.  I think would play a good Scott.  He doesn’t seem to Hollywood glam and seems like a guy you could reasonably meet in your high school.

Hollywood Analysis

Social Issues: While this book focuses more on the life of an average Joe, than the life of a celebrity, I do think it discussed a lot of relevant issues.  Particularly those dealing with social issues in high school.  I actually think this novel is really relevant to what is happening in today’s society with teen bullying.  So, I would recommend it just for that.   The Rich and the Glamorous: Not really an issue here.  Sure, Luke has a limo later on in the book and he stays at a fancy lake front apartment in Jen’s town, but do we experience Hollywood glamour: No.

Star Power: Luke Striker is an interesting character.  However, his role is merely supporting.  At times I thought Luke was an unnecessary insert whose only purpose was to be a moral compass to Jen.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Makeover Montage: More like make under, at least for Luke.  There is one  exception when Jen does get a very nice dress for the Spring Fling, but I think that’s less of a Hollywood makeover and more like your typical high school dance experience.  I was actually surprised of the lack of makeover scenes here because it’s written by Meg Cabot.  Meg Cabot who I think has written THE makeover scene in YA fiction.

Hollywood Hurrah: This wasn’t really so much of a Hollywood book as more of a book about high school and the ridiculousness of cliques and social games that are oh so prevalent in schools.  But I still enjoy the town’s reaction to an actual movie star.  I think it was realistic-sort of.

Overall Rating: I’m going to give this one six out of ten stars.  I really liked it.  But when it comes to Cabot novels, it’s one of the more forgettable. I think when I read the summary I was expecting it to be a bit more glamorous than it was.  I mean, this is Meg Cabot, for Pete’s sake, she writes about princesses.  I would’ve just thought she would’ve gone more with the celebrity thing.  However, despite this aspect I really enjoyed this book.