Also Known As: Robin Benway

 
Dude what’s with the knee socks?  Seriously.

I like books about spies.  Maybe it’s because I watch a profuse amount of spy shows or I just find James Bond to be hot (the British accent does something to me, ya’ll).  I really don’t know what it is, but whenever there’s a spy oriented book in YA I just have to grab it.  And that’s why I requested Also Known As from NetGalley.  And thankfully, they answered my request with a yes.

General Summary: Maggie was born to be a spy.  Her parents are spoofs and lately she’s been sort of gotten into the family business of course.  That’s when she gets her greatest mission yet: get close to Jesse Oliver.  But who exactly is Jesse Oliver?

Review:

This is a weird book for me to review.  If you talked to me after I finished the first third, I’d give it a superior or great rating.  The second third great for sure, but not superior.  But by the end of the book, it bordered on mediocre/ disappointment.  And I have to say that’s really annoying.  Because when there are portions of a book that are truly brilliant and other parts that sort of suck you just want to distribute all that brilliance equally so at least there’s some continuity in quality in the book.  So this review, it’s going to be a mixed bag.  I have a lot of nice things to say, but at the same time I’m still going to bitch.

The brilliant parts of the book: there were lots of them.  I really liked Maggie, Roux, Jesse, and Angelo.  All of them were well formed characters.  Do know how difficult that is to do in YA which is notorious for it’s cardboard supporting cast.  That’s a great thing.  Also, Benway includes a LBGT character who actually acts like a character rather than a token character.  That in my opinion is  always a plus.  However, even though a lot of these characters were well formed the parents needed to be worked on.  I don’t know if was Benway’s intention or not, but I thought at times the parents came off a bit cartoonish and sounded like teens themselves.  Also, while I loved Angelo I seriously had to wonder why he’d be best friends with a fifteen-year-old (or however old Maggie is), it was just a little weird to be honest.

This book also had great witty dialogue.  I love witty dialogue.  It heavily reminded me of Gillmore Girls or Bunheads, shows you watch for the dialogue more than anything else.  While a quick read you had to pay attention to pick up on all the little jokes that were littered throughout the work.  The bad thing about the dialogue was that sometimes it was too much and just bogged down the work.  Seriously, at times I thought I was reading Damien Spinelli’s dialogue rather than Rory Gilmore’s and that’s not a good thing.

Honestly, if anything pacing was this book Achilles’ heel.  I’ll discuss this more in the worst feature part of the review, but I felt like way too much attention was given to the whole acclimation to high school/relationship with Jesse.  Which is odd because I usually like development in these sorts of things, i just felt the whole spy plot was sort of pushed to the side which made the last third of the book very awkward.

But then again, I think this book wanted to come off as awkward.

Best Feature: Gilmore Girls Dialogue: While the quirkiness could get to me occasionally (especially towards the end).  There were some great one liners here that made me smile.  The dialogue was really what made the book in my opinion.  However, I think at the same time it broke the book.  The spy element was fairly weak and I think a lot of this was because there was so much focus on the interaction between the characters which I loved but…maybe this book would’ve been better as just a contemporary.

Worst Feature: Pacing. The pacing for this novel is way off.  The first 3/4 of the book are primarily about Maggie’s relationship with Jesse which is nice, but the spy story is swept aside to the very end.  Which, in my opinion, makes for a very messy ending.  There were also plot points that seemed to just jump the shark, i.e. Maggie revealing her secret to two teeny boppers.

Appropriateness: This is pretty tame.  Even the spy stuff is tame.  There’s some kissing and teenage drinking, and some cursing.  But it’s not as graphic as say Poison Princess.  Okay, so on second thought maybe it has about the average sort of smut you’d expect to see in a YA book.  Definite 13 and up though.

Blockbuster Worthy: This would actually probably make a better screenplay than book.  Here’s my casting picks (and yes, I sort of stole them off of Bunheads, but when a books writing is so similar to that of the great Amy Sherman Palladino then casting becomes extremely easy).

Maggie: Julia Goldani Telles: She plays Sasha on Bunheads and while I see Maggie’s character as a cross between her a Boo (also on Bunheads) it works.  Enough.

Jesse: Garret Cofey: He plays Sasha’s boyfriend on Bunheads/is the Jesse of this version of Gilmore Girls.  Therefore, it works.

Overall Rating: Seven magnifying glasses.  I was real close to giving this one a six, so maybe six point five.  It had such a strong start, but the ending really wasn’t satisfying at all.

Do Judge a Book By It’s Cover: The Eyes of March

Okay, so it’s actually called the ides of March if we’re going to get technical about it.  But I like making cruddy puns and usually themes.  So it’s going to be eyes of March.  Let’s analyze some covers shall we?  And yeah, I know the first isn’t for another few days, but I may or not post on that day so I wanted to get these out early.

What the Cover Tells Me: They say the eyes are the windows to the soul, but what about your soulless? And what if you live in a world where the soulless are killed.  That’s what Miranda Kelly is dealing with.  As well as how she became soulless and what…if anything happened to her soul?  Can the soulless have feelings?  Teen melodrama commences.
What the Book is Really About: Will Smith failed.  Aliens have taken over the Earth and our bodies and it’s all Stephenie Meyer’s fault (or at least I’m blaming her since she wrote this book).  And guess what, it’s going to be a movie with horrible casting picks.
 
Verdict: I actually really like this cover.  It stands out, it’s not terribly embarrassing, and it fits the story.
What the Cover Tells Me: Zoe is an ice princess.  Yes, literally she’s an ice princess.  She can start blizzards, shoot blades of ice from her hands, and can handle sub Arctic temperatures.  However, after partying with the penguins one too many times, Zoe finds herself with a ticket to live to live in Miami where she’s powerless and has to adapt to normal high school life.
Partying with penguins will get you in a shit load of trouble.
What the Book is Really About: This is the sequel to Twilight Plus Dragons Firelight.  It deals with Jacinda having to go back to the pack pride and dealing with being imprinted bonded.
Verdict: Man, I wish I was shallow.  This cover is so pretty.  Too bad the first book was not my cup of tea.

 

What the Cover Tells Me: Lana Carlson is an amazing football player, but of course her school is behind the times which causes her to pull a She’s the Man (a.k.a. Twelfth Night).
 
What the Book is Really About: Essentially there’s some high school rivalry between football players and soccer players and the girlfriends of these guys get sick of it and then start a war that’s reminiscent of that Bernstein Bears book.
Verdict: Oh bother, I don’t really think the cover fits the description at all.  Seriously, i thought this was She’s the Man not Bernstein Bears: No Girls Allowed.
What the Cover Tells Me: There’s a serial killer who’s killing his victims with iPod earphones.  DJ, Amanda Partridge is targeted as the next victim.  Can she stay alive or will she be dead as a doornail from the plethora of Apple product placements made in this book?
What the Book is Really About: So this girl breaks up with her ex and then finds he’s a suspect in a murder investigation.  Will she get her inner Nancy Drew on?
Verdict: Seriously, is this an Apple product placement?  Because it’s a sorry one if it is.
What the Cover Tells Me: Aurora is a bit of a control freak.  However, unlike other type A’s, Aurora can actually control reality.  Except, of course, in typical YA fashion there’s one boy she can’t control.  Will Aurora accept the fact she can’t control Lover Boy and give in to temptation or will she mind wipe him to kingdom come.
What the Book is Really About: A stream of consciousness novel that took nine days to write (nine, my current WIP first draft took like seven months to write, talk about unfair) the book tells the tale of two sisters with incredible powers.
Verdict: It’s a cool cover.  I like the affect the department did with the textile image thing or whatever you call it.  It’s not cool enough for me to buy it in real life, waiting for the library to get this one.  But I could see if your buyer trigger is covers how you’d want this one.

Firelight: Sophie Jordan

Hi again,

It’s me Bella Cullen.  I just had to ask MJ to let me review this book.  She’s currently mind bleaching her brain from reading it so she agreed.  I don’t get why she decided to use mind bleach.  It’s not that bad.  In fact, I think I would get a long quite splendidly with Jacinda and company.

MJ had high hopes for this book.  After all, it’s about dragons.  And everyone loves a good dragon book as long as it’s not like that cruddy PBS show she was forced to watch when babysitting  way back in the day.  And it does have a pretty kick ass book trailer.

So yeah, girls who can turn into dragons.  Or draki as their called.  That seems like a pretty original concept with lots of issues to explore that cause your mind to wonder in places it shouldn’t wonder.  Like, how did humans crossbreed with dragons?  Do drakis have eggs?  And why can’t they simply just eat a hunter that’s trying to kill them, after all that’s what the dragons did on Jurassic Park.  Oh wait, those were dinosaurs in Jurassic Park not dragons.  But close enough.
The point is, you’d think this would be an original concept in YA, but Jacinda is just a girl and what do all teenage girls want?
 
True and chaste love of course.  And true love is more than amazing when it involves predator and prey.  I would know this for a fact.  But once again, I don’t see how a mere human could kill a dragon.  I mean, yeah, I get humans have guns and all, but these are dragons we’re talking about.  And in Harry Potter, wasn’t dragon skin suppose to be super strong or whatever?
Not that it matters.  Since really the dragon plot was pushed back for love.  Wonderful love.
You know, Jacinda really reminds me a lot of myself.  We’re both new girls who fall in love with that unattainable boy.  I don’t know how we do it?  Why are these boys unattainable until we see them?  Obviously, because we’re special.  But people have wondered otherwise.  In the case of Jacinda, you’d almost think Will was into dragons which reminds me of my good friend Grace from Shiver.
 
If you’re reading this Will, I inserted this dragon picture in here for you to salivate over.  You can thank me later.
 
There are more similarities to the whole we’re special and we know it factor that both Jacinda and I have.  There’s a love triangle too with an old childhood friend vs the new unattainable bad boy.  And dragons sort of have an imprint/pack thing going.  So, Jacinda is sort of like my little nudger in that regard.  Isn’t that cute?  I guess that makes her ultra special.  Because my little nudger is the most specialist creature in like the universe.
And I can sort of understand why her mother would want to totally take her away from her pride (that’s what they call the pack in this book).  It is unnerving knowing you’re daughter is totally meant to be with a guy, but you get over it in time.  And besides, the pride I’m sure has a right.  Though what I really don’t understand is why Mrs. Jones moved to the desert and kept saying how she was going to kill Jacinda’s draki.  Isn’t that like draki abuse.  Shouldn’t we call CPS or should be the ASPCA on her. God, I’m so confused.  At least, Nessie is one of a kind so she really can’t call any agency on us when Edward and I forget about her because we’re having too much fun in our cottage.
At least Charlie is a little bit more responsible than that.  I know that if Nessie ever wanted to get away from the pack it’s not like Edward and I would move and going to Phoenix.  That’s just stupid.  Besides, we enjoy our cottage WAY too much.
Honestly, all of these characters are stupid and mean in this book.  And I can handle stupid and mean, I’m sort of stupid and mean myself.  But that’s unintentional sort of like Jacinda. We just don’t know better.  Her mother and sister though are horrible people.  And I don’t think Edward would ever consider turning Charlie into an ottoman like Will’s family might’ve done to Jacinda’s dad.  Yeah, I wondered how Jacinda might feel if she and Will got busy on that dragon hide couch and find out later…maybe I should join MJ with that mind bleach. That reminds me her mother blaming Jacinda for her death also, so while dealing with her dad possibly being an footstool/couch she also has to deal with her mom blaming her for him being a piece of furniture (ouch!)
Also, there are trackers in her book.  Remember how James was a tracker in my book?  Oh, and the book is called Firelight and my book is called Twilight.  This probably wasn’t intentional, but you have to wonder.  I really have to wonder.  I wonder if she has a movie made about her too.  I could so totally see Bonnie Wright playing Jacinda and Chad Duell playing Will.
Maybe I’m being too sensitive.   After all, Jacinda is special.  I keep getting told she’s special and I’m just Bella until I turned into a vampire and became special.  But wait, Jacinda also has a sister.  I don’t have a sister.  Well, I kind of do now.  But I’m clumsy (or was) and Jacinda’s not.  She’s fierce she can fight off those Lifetime Bad Ass Girl Fight girls.  I freaking kid you not, she gets smacked around in the book and does some damage (sort of).  Though she does get the shit beat out of her first and it’s only like a reflex she starts turning into her dragon self.  You know, honestly, a lot of this doesn’t make sense to me.
Maybe I have the wrong idea about dragons like I did about vampires.  My idea about vampires was that they were always blood thirsty creatures and it turns out they’re hardly bloody thirsty at all, more like sparkly.  I always thought dragons we’re these bad ass lizards who could fly and spit out fire.  Maybe their more like the PBS version of dragons after all but can turn into annoying girls like me.
You know what, maybe I shouldn’t judge Jacinda.  After all, she’s just like me.
Toodles,
Bella
MJ’s Notes:
 
Overall Rating: Four out of Ten dragon hides.  It was decently written once you got past the flowery language and short enough to get through without wanting to hurt someone.  But God, what a rip off.
Disclaimer: Obviously, I don’t own Bella Swan or the Twilight Saga.  Stephenie Meyer does.  I am merely using the character here to illustrate the blatant similarities between those books and Firelight.

Twilight Rip Offs: Ethics and All that Jazz

Everyone knows about Fifty Shades of Puke Grey, the infamous Twilight fan fiction (Master of the Universe) that was barely changed and then published and became a worldwide sensation because of it’s poorly written sex scenes with a rude emotionally stunted billionaire (Seriously, red room of pain?  I’d rather be with someone who wears a bat suit and decides to be a vigilante because he can’t get over the fact his parents were killed by a mad man.).  But this isn’t the first book to have heavily incorporated elements of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga.  Several YA books that I have read and ranted  about, are essentially Twilight duplicates even though they’re essentially original work.  Legally, it’s okay for these works to exist, based on the principle that there are no original ideas.  But even though it might be legal in most cases (though you might could argue that in a few it’s not), is it right ethically?   I understand why publishers would want to go for these types of books. They make a profit.  It’s just like when giga pets were popular, we got tons of no name brand electronic pets.  Or when Indiana Jones was popular in the 1980’s, everyone and their mom had to make an action adventure film.  But at the same time, some of these books just seem tacky and a lot seem to borderline on plagiarism.  It’s a complex answer that obviously won’t be answered in this one blog post, but I’d like to dig deeper into a few of these so called “ripoffs” and explore some of these issues.

A) Vampire Books a Plenty



Vampire books exploded after Twilight was released.  There are so many vampire books that it’s not even funny.  There are so many YA paranormal books too.  While each of these series had their own vampire mythology there were some similar elements to Twilight.



House of Night by PC and Kristin Cast: I’m actually thinking of doing a drinking game for this series.  Unrelated I know, but still sort of relevant.  The House of Night was published in 2007.  The series itself has like ten plus books right now and is going to continue for a couple more books or so (honestly, I can’t keep up).  The vampire elements are quite different from Twilight, i.e. you they call them vampyres not vampires, and you have to be born to be a vampyre but it still shares the similarity of not being I need blood to survive type vampires.  The vampire element simply seems added to the story, so that it could sell.  There are other subplots involving the vampyre world as well (most dealing with how super powerful and awesome Zoey is, but that’s pretty much it). It deviates so much towards it’s origin, I honestly wouldn’t expect the paranormal element to be vampires.  Grant it, I quit the series after about 3/4 of the second book and that was almost five years ago.  But still.

The Vampire Diaries by LJ Smith: This series was published way before Stephenie Meyer had that erotic dream about a vampire that got a hold of too much body glitter.  But it was essentially reborn after Twilight (i.e. there was a “hiatus” in the series till 2007).  I’m not going to examine the content of this series, so much at look at how it has been revitalized and marketed post-Twilight.  I think that’s relevant because it shows how much vampire lit in the YA market has sold.  It’s especially interesting considering that the series is owned by a book packager and that the original author has been kicked off of the series so that they could continue the series.  Also, does anyone wonder if the TV show would’ve ever existed if it hadn’t been for Twilight?  I don’t think it would.

Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz: Like House of Night, Blue Bloods was published in 2007, though Melissa de la Cruz has stated that she came up with the idea way before Twilight was published.  The series does have an interesting take on vampires and for the first few books, you really felt like these characters were vampires.  However, as the series continued the vampire element was lost somewhat.  Interestingly enough, this was after the vampire trend started to die down and the fallen angel trend picked up.  An interesting case of market adaption?  You be the judge.



Okay, let’s be honest here vampires have been popular forever.  And their popularity comes in waives.  Remember when Interview with a Vampire was popular?  Well, I don’t because I was like five, but I’ve seen the movie on U-verse and seriously I understand why they casted Robert Pattinson now.  I mean, they casted Tom Cruise for that movie and he’s just as (if not freakier looking) than Pattinson.  Though at least Cruise bathes.  Grant it, he owns his own beauty parlor and ultrasound machine so that makes things a bit freaky.

B) Insta Connections



Insta love and insta family is one of the most annoying things the Twilight Saga has given YA.  And it seems to be one of the most annoying cliches that publishers seem to replicate.  I guess I can sort of understand why.  After all, developing relationships in novels is a pretty difficult task.  People, after all, don’t want to see how the characters fell in love and watch their interactions with each other*.  That’s just taking up page space….but some of these insta connections can be a little more than annoying.

Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon: This book is infamous for its Twilight similarities.  In fact, Fallon threw a temper tantrum about it.  I think one of the things that stuck out to be Twilight-y more than anything else was the relationship element.  And I don’t think it was intentional, I really don’t.  Even though at times the similarities seem pretty striking, I see them more or less laziness than copy cat behavior.  And yeah, I’ve read the books and I kept thinking Twilight, Twilight, Twilight.  But on deeper thought, the formation of the relationships just seem like they were done so that Fallon could get to the story faster.  Which was a major mistake.  Also, it might ave helped if the characters didn’t resemble Alice, boy version of Rosalie, Carlisle, and Edward.  Oh, heck, these characters are really the Captain Planet counterparts of Twilight.

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini: Oh God, the characters and relationships are so like Twilight it’s not even funny.  And did I mention that there’s a sister with a pixie hair cut with psychic powers.  Grant it, I think they might be different.  But still, insta love/hate the first time the characters meet and…it’s original enough because it involves Greek mythology.  Honestly, take out the Greek mythology stuff and the fact our bland protagonist is the local and has superpowers you have Twilight.

Halo Trilogy by Alexandra Adorentto: Insta love, check.  Insta family (hmm, not so much on Xavier’s side, but definitely on Bethie’s).  Adornetto has discussed her love for the Twilight books.  But do I think this is a direct rip off?  No.  More or less, I think Adornetto lacked experience (she was only a teen when she wrote Halo) and used it as a guide on what to expect when it came to relationships.  That and let’s be honest using insta love is a cheat sheet to easy writing.  But should she had based her writings so heavily on Twilight?



C) Oh, Boy Here Comes a Love Triangle



Love triangles existed well before, Twilight.  However, it seems they have reached new popularity with the series being released.  And the formula of the triangles seems to reflect that of Twilight (i.e. normal girl falls in love with special boy only to have another special boy lust over her, and more often than not settles for original special boy).  Let’s dissect a few of these triangles, shall we?

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare: This is your typical Twilight Saga triangle if there was ever one (if we’re going to look at the original trilogy).  We have Clary (a seemingly normal Bella), who sees the unattainable/supernatural Jace with his special family (Edward) and falls in insta love while her best friend and seemingly human (Simon) is is love with her from a difference.  Of course, Simon has to become a vampire (ooh, would this be Edward or Jacob) and throws a wrench in things.  Still though, same format.  Honestly, I think one of the reasons this series is so successful is because it borrows heavily from other series. Though it’s original enough because it involves incest (okay, maybe not).

The Selection by Kiera Cass: Oh, God.  I think this is probably the lamest love triangle ever.  And even though it’s a dystopia not paranormal love triangle it still can easily be compared to Twilight.  You have Aspen who is the boy next door (Jacob), who pulls away from America because he’s no good for her (Jacob/Edward).  Then you have Maxon who’s  a prince with an amazing family (Edward) and acts like a girl (Edward).  Oh, and everyone obsesses over (Edward).  And of course America is bland as toast (Bella).  Sigh, you could I guess say this is like any love triangle, but once again look at the familial/economic relations of the party.  I might be stretching it, but I’m calling Twilight. Also, sort of unrelated but interesting to note, the CW is really interested in this book mainly because it’s cashing in on another cash cow The Hunger Games.



Honestly, I could give  more examples and I started too, but they all sounded the same.  Semi normal to normal girl who falls in love with some loser who’s forbidden or special and then some childhood best friend or crush come ins and intrudes and we find out he’s special.  Seriously, enough is enough.  A lot of times I think triangles are merely inserted to help an otherwise weak plot. It’s a good technique I suppose, hide how shitty the book otherwise is but when you look at these books as a whole God…..my brain bleeds.

D) Bland Mary Sue



One thing Twilight has reintroduced audiences to is the bland Mary Sue.  She catches on for several reasons.  Perhaps because she lacks such a personality she’s relatable (dubious), it’s easy writing a character with no personality, or writing your ideal version of you.  Actually, I think it’s a combination of these factors.  Let’s look at a few:

Firelight by Sophie Jordan: Oh, God, I’m reading this one right now and it screams Twilight but with dragons (yeah, there’s going to be an interesting review for that one).  The main character though, we’re told right from the bat she’s special.  Oh, and did I mention she moves to a new town and….yeah, even the title is similar. It’s hard to believe that a lot of the similarities aren’t intentional, but the thing is I’ve seen this in a ton of YA books.  The idea of dragons seems original enough why soil it with Twilight?

\Hush Hush Saga by Becca Fitzpatrick: Dear lord, Nora Grey what do you do besides obsess about Patch an talk about your hair?  Really, what do you do?  Oh, and then there’s the fact your mom’s gone all the time like Charlie Swan and you invite Patch for clean old times in your bed.  Seriously, it’s like Bella Swan got a perm and got with the Joker.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater: Oh, God.  You know, actually while I was reading Firelight I couldn’t help but think how similar Jacinda is to Grace then I was like, they’re both like Bella except Jacinda sort of has the Jacob Black thing going for her except instead of turning into a dog she’s a giant lizard with wings.  Grace would like her better if she was a dog though.  That’s the only thing I know about Grace she likes wolves and she’s pretty much like Bella and lacks a personality.  Her relationship with Sam becomes her entire existence and once again we have the innocent I’ll sleep in your room and not touch you romance.  Yeah, like that’s reality.

Okay, to be honest Sues existed way before Twilight.  But Stephenie Meyer’s books if anything empowered sues.  A lot of things, that authors wouldn’t dare try to do with their characters before were perfectly acceptable because of Twilight.  Bella empowered Sues.  She was considered the every day girl and being super special was in.

Logical Explanations for Similarities:



Obviously, similarities are going to occur in books.  Especially if one theme is popular.  We just have to accept it.  But with P2P fan fiction and fiction that doesn’t have P2P origins but has similarities that are awfully eery to Twilight, it makes you wonder when does one cross the line.  Using tropes is expected, but having an almost identical story with a couple of elements that are different can rub a reader the wrong way.  Look at the case of Kailin Gow.  Gow’s books seem eerily similar to many popular YA books and she’s made a living off of it.  Jumping the bandwagon is perfectly fine within reason, but how far is too far?  It doesn’t just grate on readers nerves (every time I read a Twilight wannabe I just want to stick the author with Kristen Stewart for a day and then see if they want to make me endure another Twilight ripoff), it also keeps authors with original ideas from selling work that is different and risky.

And sure, you could claim that if the book is really good it’s going to sell anyway.  But having so many ripoffs, changing work so it resembles a popular series and sells, is more than a little annoying.  Interestingly enough, at the time Twilight was published a lot of the elements Meyer used hadn’t been popular in a  long time.  We’ve seen vampire books before, but she added a new dimension to them (though, I personally think stupid dimension to them).

I get where publishers and authors are coming from.  But let’s be honest, readers aren’t stupid.  They might like Twilight, but at the end of the day they don’t want ripoffs.  Then again, I might be wrong.

*Sarcasm is heavily implied

 

Perfect Scoundrels: Ally Carter

Is that Hale I see in her glasses?  Hmm, he doesn’t look like a young George Clooney/Christian Bale.  That is so wrong.
I think one of the reasons I like Ally Carter books so much is that they’re a breath of fresh air in comparison to the buckets full of paranormal and dystopia lit that’s out in the YA market right now.  That and there’s no insta love.  However, up into this installment I wasn’t a huge hand of her Heist Society books as I am of the Gallagher Girls series (which I’m a little annoyed at at the moment because by the time the next book is released, I’m a little blurry on what’s going on).  However, this particular installment of Heist Society went beyond my expectations.

General Summary: Kat’s boytoy inherits his grandma’s fortune.  That should be a good thing, right?  Well, the will was forged and things are more sinister than they seem.

Review:

This was better than I expected it to be.  And that my friends is always good.  Or is it?

I mean, maybe I shouldn’t have had such low expectations when it came to this series, but I did which is weird because it’s Ally freaking Carter.

I was pleasantly surprised though and I actually sort of enjoyed this book more than I did the last Gallagher Girl book.  I think because the book is different than a lot of stuff out there in the genre these days.  Oh, sure there are spy/thief books everywhere in YA (in fact, I’m reading one now).  And God knows there are tons of spy/thief shows out there that I watch ( That’s what most of the scripted program I watch consist of spy and thief shows, and detective shows too.  Oh, and General Hospital.  How could I forget General Hospital?  They’re having this freaky plot line right now where Detective John McBain has this lookalike who’s a vampire that reminds me of Meg Cabot’s Insatiable and I digress…).  And grant it, this wasn’t the most original spy/thief story I’ve ever read, but it worked.  And for that matter, it was different in the YA genre because it’s plot involved corporate espionage.  And fraudulent wills which actually helped me with my Wills homework oddly enough (unlike some YA books).

And while I pretty much figured out the twist to the whole mystery plot before the big reveal, I have to admit it was fun to read.  And I really felt like I grew to like the characters in this installment a lot better.

That was probably my biggest problem with this series until up to now.  The lack of character development.  Don’t get me wrong, I still prefer Cammie from Gallagher Girls over Kat any day of the week.  But Kat has grown on me.  And Hale he’s pretty awesome too.  In fact, I’d say I might like him better than Zach, he’s definitely better than Josh (but then again, who isn’t).

I also liked the fact that this book primarily took place in New York.  While I liked the globe trotting that went on in previous installments, it was nice to see the characters quasi grounded and in their “home” environment.

Best Feature: Leverage: Reading one of these books always makes me feel like I’m watching a TV show (a.k.a. Leverage or White Collar).  Grant it, the shows are better than the book, but Carter has improved.  I enjoyed this installment a lot more than it’s predecessor.  It actually felt more like one of those TV shows and while that’s normally not a good thing it works here. A lot better than it did in Uncommon Criminals. 

Worst Feature: Obvious Plot.  The mystery is lame here, guys.  It’s basically told to us right away who’s behind all of this hanky panky, but the motives and everything it just seems cliche.  And so was the suspect, both suspects.  I mean, really I thought this one character could have a potential future in the series.  Guess they won’t considering they’re doing ten to twenty behind bars.  Though who knows, maybe they’ll pull a Neil Caffery or whatever.

Appropriateness: Pretty clean.  There is some violence.  And while the romance is steamy, we never get past first base level.

Blockbuster Worthy: I already said yes and have cast the main roles.  Honestly, I probably should recast but whatever.

Overall Rating: Eight out of ten corporate credit cards.  I liked this one a lot.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was a definite improvement on the last one in the series and I really enjoyed it.

V Day Special: YA’s Sweetarts

A lot of blog’s out there are probably going on and on about their favorite YA couples.  After all, it is Valentine’s Day.  Or maybe you’re taking a quiz about who your ideal YA man is (toss up Jesse de Silva and Jack Force, though Kingsley Martin might’ve over taken Jack in that department).  But I’m not here today to talk to you about book boyfriends or happy YA couples.  No, I’m going to talk about couples we hate.  Because you can’t have love without hate, right?

A lot of these picks are my own, but I’ve had help with some of the nominations from my Good Reads friends.  You’ll notice that while a lot these couples have unhealthy relationships, some of them are perfectly healthy couples.  Albeit, boring. My goal with this piece is not to explore the unhealthy aspects of YA relationships, but to look at some of the relationships that make us cringe and sort of get an understanding why they just don’t work.  And yeah, I suppose you could also say that it makes SAD a little more bearable knowing that at least you have independence while others have…..
10) Kate and Henry (from Aimee Carter Goddess Test): Meh.  That’s what I think when I think of them and  they’re so boring I probably would’ve forgot about them had someone not nominated them for this list.  This relationship is the epitome of insta love.  In fact, I often view Henry as a prop or some sort of award for Kate.  God knows, the only role he played in the second book was just  to impregnate Kate.  Seriously, he didn’t even have to do the impregnating thing that’s what sperm banks or Ryan Lavery is for.  And for for that matter, just give Kate a trophy rather than a man.  I get that fictional characters get their happy endings, but I feel like the love interest shouldn’t be a prize and that’s what you get in this series.
9) Clary and Jace (From  Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments): This one is my pick and probably a controversial one at that.  But I really don’t like this couple.  I think it’s becuase of all the incest and that it made incest such a popular trend in YA.  I can understand  how you could have a lingering feelings for a guy you thought you liked that turned out to be your brother, but you shouldn’t be acting on them.  And once they found out  that they weren’t siblings and got together the couple was just sort of flat. And Clare resulted to using incest again as a plot device.  Incest, people,  does not equal romance.  Never.  Ever.  Ever. Oh, and to that individual who called me a bigot because I didn’t get brother/sister love (um, no).  No.  There have been studies showing that it’s physically, emotionally, and sexually abusive.  Plus, have you read Flowers in the Attic?  Do you want your kids to end up like…never mind.
8) America Singer and either that prince dude or that guy who’s named after a ski town in Colorado (from Kiera Cass’s The Selection):  I just don’t get this triangle.  Then there are fan girls galore who think both Maxon (the prince) and Aspen (Colorado Boy) are the greatest thing since sliced bread.   I’ll give them this, the relationships in the book aren’t that offensive when compared to other books in the genre.  But I do remember getting annoyed with both guys.  Aspen for having the I’m a Man You Don’t Know Anything complex and Maxon for just being a wimp/having no opinion of his own.  It also doesn’t help that America is one of the world’s most blandest characters ever.  That’s actually one of the most prevalent theme that I’ve found when writing this list.  Bland characters=horrible couples.
7) Bliss and Lawson (from Blue Bloods and Wolf Pact by Melissa de la Cruz): This is another personal pick.   Once again, Lawson isn’t offensive as far as YA love interests goes, though he definitely has his moments of assholeness.  And while I can usually tolerate a lot of alpha douchery in YA, there are other reasons why I don’t think this pairing works.  I think mainly it’s a pacing issue within the series and it sort of makes any chemistry this couple would have lacking.  We had time to like Bliss old love interest and when he was killed off in the series, Bliss left the canvas till the last book.  Oh, she had her own spinoff where she met Lawson, but even if you read the spinoff the couple comes off as disjointed.  Lawson merely seems to be thrown in there to give Bliss and a happy ending and give Blue Bloods an alpha douche.  Plus, grief sex people!  Grief sex!  If you watched All My Children, you know it killed the show (once again, this relates back to Ryan Lavery).  And in a way it sort of killed Bliss’s storyline here.
6) Adam and Juliette (from Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi ): Another meh couple.  I like Adam alright, but Juliette’s purple prose and whiney attitude really wears me down.  I’ve also heard that in the second book (which I haven’t read yet) the chemistry is a lot more palatable between her and Warren.  But if these books follow typical YA format we all know who Juliette is going to end up with (gag me now).
5) Zoey Redbird and Whoever (From the House of Night by PC and Kristin Cast):  Anyone who is paired with this girl is doomed and I only read like the first two books.  I think the reason pairings with this character doesn’t work is because she’s an awful lead and not in the usual meh way.  She’s just a bitch and not the good kind of bitch.
4) Megan and Adam ( From Leigh Fallon’s Carrier of the Mark): Another perfectly boring couple.  I’m finding that’s the trend either perfectly boring or so outrageously abusive that it’s not even funny.  This one falls in the boring category-oh, and they’re sort of a pale imitation on one of the most annoying YA couples of all times (Bedward). Except, of course, the book takes place in Ireland so that makes it different.
Ireland=Cool, Megan and Adam not so much.
3) Bethany and Xavier (from Alexandra Adornetto’s Halo Trilogy): They were nominated, but even if they weren’t, they were still  getting put on this list.  I think what’s so bad about this couple is that they’re just so unrealistic.  You can really tell this book was written by someone who lacked experience in relationships.  And the constant telling (i.e. Xavier has to talk about his manhood like every other page) just grates on my nerves.  As for the interaction, it’s bland at best.  In a weird way, I’d say this is a fairly realistic depiction on teen relationships because let’s face it a lot of teen relationships are shallow.  But romanticizing shallowness….
2) Evie and Jackson (from Kresley Cole’s Poison Princess): This book’s couple was doomed from the start.  It features an airhead heroine and an asshole hero.  Got to love that combo (well, apparently booksellers think we do).  The think that bothered me the most about this relationship was like it was going back in time.  I felt as if I was reading one of my mom’s 1980’s bodice rippers not book that was written in 2012.  And the premises for this one was great too.  Okay, so I’m still sore about it.  But this relationship just makes me want to do a PSA about domestic violence it’s that bad.
80’s style bodice rippers are thirty years old.  Please, let’s not rehash the romance genre’s nasty past.
1) Abby and Travis (from Jaime McGuire’s Beautiful Disaster): A lot of people like this couple and a lot of people don’t as evidence from the opinions I saw when I posted about this on Good Reads.  But regardless,  there are blatant fan girls who troll people’s reviews claiming how wonderful Travis is and how everyone who thinks he has an abusive bone in his body is the spawn of the devil and if that’s true,  then I guess I’m the devil.  Travis is so obnoxious it’s laughable.  But I even think if he was the most charming YA protagonist I still wouldn’t like this couple.  In addition to romanticizing abuse, the characters are just pretty undeveloped especially Abby.  I will give McGuire this, I think the Vegas trip (not the stupid wedding end, but that other trip where she unrealistically beats the house and is allowed in a casino despite being underage) was an attempt at developing the character.  But instead, it turned out to be another lame couple propping scene.  Look, when you have to have your supporting characters pimp your main relationship  then there’s  a problem.

Honorable Mentions:

There were a lot more gag-tastic couples mentioned that I didn’t put on this list.  If you’re interested in seeing them you can view the conversation here

Reality Check: Jen Calonita

Creepy cover.  Seriously, I  thought was going to read some YA version of Chucky.

General Summary: Charlie is miraculously discovered by a television executive when she’s obnoxiously singing “Single Ladies” while moping floors at a wannabe Starbucks and soon she and her her friends who are all bland as she is find themselves being groomed to be the next Lauren Conrad and co.  Will the show pull them apart?

Review:

Alright, to be honest I wasn’t expecting much when I checked this one out at the library.  I’ve read plenty of Jen Calonita books to know what to expect, but this book is by the far the worst one I’ve read by her.

I will give it this, it’s good clean fun.  I would have no problem letting a younger sibling’s or friend’s kid reading it.  But besides that, I really can’t be complimentary.  Oh, wait it was relatively short.  That allowed the book to be finished, but I’ll talk more about that in the best feature portion of this review.

Now, let’s talk about the actual contents of the book.  As I said before, not impressive.  Perhaps it’s because I’ve read a lot of the authors books that I was able to spot all her tropes (seemingly normal girl who becomes famous, secretly bitchy friend, boy that is based off of a celebrity (in this book it’s Zac Efron), Hollywood’s surprising dark side which really isn’t that much of a surprise, seemingly normal girl is able to get everything fixed by the end of the book, oh and over saturation of description of clothing).  Yeah, I sort of knew what I was getting myself into too, but I had hopes.  Her recent series, Belles, while it relies on some of these tropes is different enough.  This though, just seems it was written to fulfill the requirements of a paycheck.  There was nothing unique about it at all.

I think it also didn’t help matters that the characters were hardly developed at all.  All of them just stuck to their roles.  I was really hoping there would’ve more to all of them or at the very least Charlie and Brooke.  Brooke’s transformation to bitch, really didn’t make sense.  I was hoping that there would be more explanation than I just wanna be popular.  At one point, I actually thought that she secretly was in love with Marleyna.  It would’ve made much sense and a more interesting storyline had this been the way Calonita went, but nope.  As for Charlie, other than having these friends, working in a coffee shop, and being in love with some guy who apparently wants to be a journalist despite the fact he throws up anytime he has to do public speaking whatsoever, we know nothing about her.  She’s just as bland and stupid as her other two friends.  When she’s threatened with breach of contract instead of talking to her parents who’d surely get their lawyer involved, she just takes everything at face value (see more about the legal issues in this book in the worst feature section), and their big plan at the end to get out of the contract I think would’ve left more legal issues than they or the author would’ve thought about.

So yeah, not impressed.  At all.

Honestly though, I don’t really know what this book could’ve done to improve itself.  Better character development and research would’ve helped, but the general concept is cliche.  I sort of had an idea it was going to at best get a middle rating from me when I checked it out because how how bland the plot summary was.  We’ve seen reality TV turned to YA book before with LA Candy and The Real Real, so this is really nothing new.  And the cherry on top is that Calonita didn’t try to make it new.  She used tropes that she has used in her other books and still uses in the Belles series.  However, unlike Belles, which has its moments, this book does not.

Best Feature: Short: This book was mercifully short, under three hundred pages.  So I could stomach finishing it.  To be honest about it, I hate DNFing anything, but if a book is ridiculously long and bad I will usually stop it unless it’s train wreck bad like  Starcrossed

Worst Feature: Kangaroo Court: The lack of legal research in this novel was laughable.  First of all, one of the biggest conflicts in this book involved breach of contract.  However, since the contract was made bya minor it would generally be voidable in the first place.  This means when push comes to shove, all those threats about being sued by Fire and Ice would be futile.  That’s a pretty big plot hole if you think about it.  One that could’ve easily been covered.  There were other aspects of the whole deal between the parties that had me shaking my head as well.  A lot of this could’ve been fixed with a little reserach, but God it was annoying.

Appropriateness: Clean as a whistle.  Honestly, these books are probably middle grade books masquerading as YA books.  I feel with Jen Calonita you always get a clean book which is nice.  The characters might have a little more sophisticated tone than you’d see in some middle grade book, but it still read pretty young to me.

 

Blockbuster Worthy: I can see this easily being turned into a Disney Chanel movie of the week. And that’s not a good thing.  Here’s who I’d cast:

Charlie: Vanessa Hudgens.  Because she’s always paired with Zac Efron in teen movies.

Zac: Zac Efron, obviously.  They share the same name (well, the same first name) and looks.

Overall Rating: Three out of ten.  This one is sad.  I like Jen Calonita, I really do, but this is probably the worst book I’ve read from her.  It’s very cliche, groan worthy, and there were just so many things about it that bothered me based on what I know about contracts and just about the legal system in general (Three weeks for the lawyers to resolve everything.  Please.  Three years is more likely, but for a case as big as this one it could go on even longer).

The Immortal Rules: Julie Kagawa

Admittedly, the bloody tears thing creeps me out in the My Immortal sort of way.

General Summary: Allison is a scavenger in a world that’s ruled by vampires.  One day she has to make a choice die or become a vamp.  Either choice is going to have some serious consequences.

Review:

This review is hard to write because there were parts of this book that I really loved, but I wasn’t able to finish it.  Maybe because it was ridiculously long and there were just parts of the book that seemed like they needed to be cut out.  But there were lots of good things about, so while this book gets a lower rating from me I will be pretty complimentary about in this review.  Because the good parts were really spectacular.

Okay, so I really was in love with the setup of this book.  I don’t usually like dystopias, but the whole humanity being ruled by vampires was interesting enough.  And the vampires themselves really had me excited.  These aren’t your typical Twilight vampires (immortal with very little consequences), these are blood thirsty creatures who have to survive on human blood to survive. That in itself is refreshing.  And I also liked Allison.  She wasn’t perfect by any means and she seemed likable enough too.

The thing is, despite all the good stuff I couldn’t finish the book.  Yes, bummer I know.

I just felt after awhile, well, the book got boring.  Nothing happened and I really didn’t like the human cult that Allison decides she cares about.  I didn’t even like Zeke.  Who I guess was okay, but he just seemed a little bland for my taste.   I also couldn’t stand the cult he belonged to.   Really, the best part of this book was the vampire stuff and the further the book moved away from it the more my interest waned.

I will say that even though I didn’t finish this book, it had a lot going for it.  I just lacked the patience to finish it.  And I was really sad because if it wasn’t for the horrible pacing, it could’ve been interesting to see where this one would’ve gone.

Best Feature: Real vampires.  I really liked how the vampire element was treated in this book.  Becoming a member of the undead isn’t pretty folks.  And I liked the fact that Kagawa talked about consequences.  Most vampire books I’ve read don’t do that.  And I also liked the fact that these weren’t your veggie vamps either.  Allison had to drink human blood to survive.  It was an interesting concept that I was really looking forward to reading about, but unfortunately this book failed to hold my attention.

Okay, so these blood suckers don’t wear capes.  But they’re definitely closer to the source material than Mr. Sparkly. 

Worst Feature: So freaking long.  If the book would’ve shaved off about a hundred to a hundred and fifty pages I might’ve been able to finish it.  But instead, I just felt like the story was going on circles and eventually my law school workload made me lose interest in the book.

Appropriateness: There’s some violence, if I remember there was some improper language.  The part I read there was nothing that sexual.

Blockbuster Worthy: It might be interesting seeing this one on film.  My biggest fear is that they’d try to ABC Family it up.  The best thing about this book is the fact that its potential grittiness.

Allison: An unknown.  Allie needs to be played by someone kick ass.  It’s not outright stated in the novel, but I also picture her being of Asian or part Asian decent and unfortunately I can not find an actress that’s kick ass enough to play her.

Zeke: Austin Butler.  I imagine Zeke looking like  a pretty boy even though he doesn’t act like one so much.  Austin is a pretty boy.  This role would give him some depth.

Overall Rating: Four out of ten fangs.  I didn’t finish this one because of its omnibus length.  But when it was interesting it was very interesting.  There was lots of potential with this one and it’s sad that it didn’t hold my interest.

Poison Princess: Kresley Cole

What good does  an evening gown do  in the middle of an apocalypse? 
 

I blame my love for awful disaster movies for this book.  I wouldn’t have read it if I didn’t like laughing at the absolute ridiculousness of 2012 or Independence Day.  But here’s the thing at least in the movies you have the bad special affects and acting to keep your interest (and sometimes if you’re lucky, some fantastic abs too), but in books…not so much.  It also doesn’t help, well, let’s talk about it.  Shall we:

General Summary: Evie just got released from Arkham Asylum and is trying to live life as a Mean Girl again, but is getting apocalyptic delusions.  A weird Cajun boy (another Remy Lebeau wannabe), Jackson (who will be referred in this review as Dickwad), comes into contact with her and bad insta love hate  explodes between them.  Before the book decides to get all Roland Emmerich.

Review:

Oh, God.

This is going to be brutal.  I’m in the same state of mind I was when I read Halo and that’s never a good thing.  The thing is I had hopes for this one.  Such high hopes, but after reading some credible reviews I decided that maybe it was best I’d try this one out at the library first.  And I am so glad I did.

I should’ve known when I saw PC Cast did a blurb this book that this was going to be bad.  I don’t like The House of Night books and that essentially should’ve  signaled a kiss of death to me.  But I continued on and by the time it was over (or halfway over since I couldn’t stomach finishing this one), I have lost faith in humanity.

Being associated with this series in general is a sign that eyes are going to bleed.

There are so many issues I want to discuss, but I know if I talked about every single thing that would bother me you’d probably would be doing something better with your time like playing Temple Run or whatever.  So, I will try to make this short and sweet.

First of all, there’s the characters themselves.  All of them are atrocious.  Never mind that half of them after the first hundred pages, so the whole set up for an obnoxious love triangle is moot.  The main character is the definition of a Mary Sue.   We’re introduced to her with her pointing out what she’s wearing to school.  And she describes every piece of her outfit telling us what brand it is and how she’s wearing it .  Even after the apocalypse we still hear about her freaking Coach glasses.  I kid you not.

She might be a shallow self absorbed idiot, but she’s not as bad as that goon of a boyfriend of hers.  Jackson (better known to me as dickwad), makes Edward Cullen look dashing.  This guy is bad news.  And not in the oh he’s a bad boy I want to screw him sort of way.  No, he’s bad news in the I’m a future rapist and I think it’s funny sort of way.  I kid you not.  The way he talks to Evie throughout the book is awful.  He even has a talk with one of his friends about bringing  her down a peg and tells her to stop crying the day that her mom dies (and yes he knows her mom is dead and didn’t even tell her she was dying so that she could say he freaking good byes to her or let her bury her).  That’s how awful this goon face is and we’re suppose to root for him. Excuse me, while I go punch something…

Okay, I’m alright now.  I guess another problem I had with dickwad and with the book was how it generalized Cajuns. I don’t live in Louisiana, but I have been there.  I know people from there.  My sister works there.  And the Cajun culture is prominent there, but it’s not like what you see on Swamp People.  Meaning, it’s not that big of a culture divide as the book makes it seem.  And seriously, Catholics being so different from Protestants?  Really?  Really?  Because I’m Catholic, I’ve been to plenty of protestant churches and a lot of the principles are the same.  I really don’t feel that out of place.  And my protestant friends who attend mass with me don’t seem that out of place as well.

Also, something that bothered me was that Evie went to Atlanta of all places to receive mental care.  Louisiana isn’t in the backwoods.  New Orleans is a large city.  And even if she didn’t go to New Orleans, getting to Houston (a larger city than Atalanta with one of the best medical care centers in the world) is closer than Atlanta.

Yeah….logic fail there.

Logic failure.  That occurred a lot through this POS of a book.  The world building was awful.  The first hundred pages were pretty useless, I thought.  And then once the flash occurs all this stuff is thrown at you.  Instead of focusing on high school melodrama with characters that are dead, maybe some world building that could give the audience an understanding about how the world could get messed up in such a short period of time would be relevant.  Also, I know this is fiction but can be please have a semi logical explanation why the world has ended.  Even Roland Emmerich movies make more sense and that’s just sort of insulting.

Best Feature: Great Premises.  It seems that lately all the books with really good premisses seem to suck.  Unfortunately, this is not an exception.

Worst Feature: I honestly, didn’t know what to put as the worst feature, there were so many things that bothered me.  So I’m just going to say general offensiveness.  That’s right this book managed to offend me on so many levels that instead of focusing on one particular trait of its offensiveness, I’m giving it the general offensiveness award.   How does it offend me?  Well, let’s see it’s offensive to people from Louisiana by using stereotypes.  It’s offensive to those of the Roman Catholic faith by making generalizations about their religion that aren’t true.  It’s offensive to women by having demeaning attitude towards what women can do in society and what sort of relationship is healthy.  It’s demeaning to men portraying them as over hormonal assholes who can’t control themselves.  Must I go on?

Appropriateness:  Hell no.  This book should not be labeled YA.  I am usually very loose with this requirement, but this is not a book for teens.  First of all, I cuss like a sailor and even this book had me wanting to censor it.  The word bitch was used every other page, I swear.  And then there’s the depiction of women and relationships.  Dickwad is not what girls should aspire to have in a boyfriend and then there’s the little fact that apparently all anyone wants to do after the apocalypse is going on a rape rampage.  Really?  Really?  At least Roland Emmerich never went down that route.  Though he did stereotype like this book. But his stereotypes weren’t near as offensive.  As a Roman Catholic woman, I was offended with how my religion and sex were portrayed.  I don’t even think Cole knew anything about Catholicism.  No, we don’t worship the Virgin Mary.  Yes, she’s important to our religion because she’s Christ’s mother, but that doesn’t mean we see her as a deity.  Furthermore, your precious little protestant religion originated from Catholicism and a lot of the principles are the same.  Oh, and then there’s some graphic imagery about maggot infested bodies and bodies that have been experimented on (i.e. mutation).  Do I really need to continue with how disturbing this one is…

Blockbuster Worthy: No.  Just no.  Knowing my luck it probably will be made into a movie though.  And the Jackson/Evie relationship will be pimped even more.  The only good thing is that it would be a good movie to get drunk on.

Evie:AnnaSophia Robb.  I admit it, I’m watching The Carrie Diaries these days.  So she sort of got stuck in my head for this part.  Though Carrie Bradshaw is a far superior character than Evie.

Jackson: Jay Paul from Swamp People.  Actually, he’s too nice and smart to play this role.  But that’s who I pictured Jackson looking like.  Especially since he’s part Houma Native American.

Overall Rating: One out of ten crowns.  This one is bad.  And I really had high hopes for it.  It was just offensive to me on some many levels that I felt a a huge burden lifted from my shoulders when I finished it.  I would’ve given it a zero since there some remarks regarding the Catholic religion that left a bad taste in my mouth, but since it’s decently written except when it goes on it’s acid trips.  I’m giving it one point for that.

Do Judge a Book by Its Cover: Red Hot Edition

It’s February!  Which means that in fifteen days you can get chocolate deeply discounted.  Or if you have a significant other you can exchange saliva with relative ease in public the day before.  So in honor of this horrifying amorous month let’s analyze some book covers shall we.  And yes, I know I said red hot edition.  But I’ll also be analyzing pink and white books as well since I’ve seen a plethora or pink and white crap at Hallmark the other day.
What the Cover Tells Me: Kitty Collins has always had a penchant for cats (not that sort of penchant, you sicko).  That’s why she started Kitty Kitty, a cat sweater company because cats get cold too.  Of course, she’d never would’ve thought that she would’ve found her perfect match ( a dog person) while knitting cat sweaters.  And why has she started randomly meowing.  That’s just weird.  She doesn’t eat Meow Mix.
 
What the Book is Really About: Jas our sassy detective is back with a all new mystery in Venice, Italy with some not so flattering white leather pants.
Verdict: Honestly, I think they could’ve done better.  It’s okay.  But I really get 1970’s vibe from the outfit/styling of Jas and I don’t think Polly would go for that since maxi dresses are only acceptable for beach resort wear or if it’s that really cute Anthro maxi dress.  Okay, maybe she would find it acceptable…
What the Cover Tells Me: Ramona Alvarez has always been an outsider looking in her small home town.  When a surprising secret is revealed and Ramona finds herself invited to The Belles.  She is determined to make their life hell.  After all, what do a couple of debutantes have on her the product of a debutante/demon union?
Okay, besides marshmallow dresses and mad piano skills.  Seriously, Ramona would like to know.  She can, after all, throw balls of fire.
 
What the Book is Really About: This girl Izzie has to move in with her snotty rich relatives who have more secrets than John Edwards (and if you read the book and know anything about American politics you’ll get that joke).
Verdict: It’s a very pretty cover.  I actually like this one.  The only thing that bothers me is the font.  But you can’t have everything in life.  And I think it actually fits the book.  So, props to the art department on this one.
What the Cover Tells Me: Mindy Morris is a cupid in training which is easier said then done when you’re supposed to make your archenemy fall in love with your best friend .  And besides that being gross in general, you might have a secret crush on said archenemy.  Oh, boy.
What the Book is Really About: This girl name Haven gets some unrealistic internship at some fancy hotel and, well, the book carries on for four hundred unnecessary pages.
Verdict: It’s a striking cover.  It’s what made me buy this book.  And honestly I’m and at it for false advertising.  I remember trying to finish this one for a month and finally it entered that sad pile of books called DNF.
What the Cover Tells Me: Princesses in love?  Is this going to be another one of those how Kate and William met books.  It better be better than that stupid Lifetime movie which was essentially a rip off of The Prince and Me.
 
What the Book is Really About: It’s Princess Mia’s third book and she’s in love and she doesn’t care if anyone knows it (okay, she does).  But what’s she going to do about it?
Verdict:  It’s a very girly cover.  For a very romantic book.
What the Cover Tells Me: Elvira Campton is a forgettable.  Meaning, she’s not popular but she’s not unpopular either.  She’s just one of those quiet girls that you forget about.  But what most people don’t realize is that Elv’s is a karama tracker.  What’s a karma tracker.  Well, someone who makes sure things are balanced in this horrible world.  Of course, someone can’t be an efficient karma tracker if they’re noticed by the hottest boy in school.
What the Book is Really About: This girl finds out that her boyfriend is cheating on her and gets revenge and decides to sort of carry this on and of course she has to wake up and smell the cliche consequences.
Verdict: It’s alright.  It’s not the best Jessica Brody cover I’ve ever seen but it works.