Top Ten Things Meg Cabot Has Taught Me

I swear, I am messed up these days.  I was supposed to get this out on the 26th but real life, birthdays, and a lack of air conditioning for most of the day sort of made me forget about this.  Never mind though, I’m posting this now.  And I hope you can forgive me for the delay.

Anyway, one of the biggest little life lessons that Meg Cabot has taught me is to make lists.  So I thought why don’t I make a top ten list of the things that Meg Cabot has taught me.  Because there are lots of things she’s taught me-via book and just real life.

10) Lifetime Movies: Thanks to Meg I have no become sort of Lifetime obsessed.  I’ve actually Google many of the movies that she listed in The Princess Diaries series.   I actually did manage to find and watch Who is Julia?  Which is a Lifetime movie that is very similar to Meg’s novel Airhead, but sort of in reverse.

Pierce isn’t the first brain to get a new body.

9) Why go to Web MD when you have Meg MD: Okay, I know when I’m sick I’m supposed to go to a doctor and I do.  But Meg Cabot has informed me of lots of diseases that are out there that I otherwise would’ve been oblivious to.  Oh, and I know all about self actualization now too-though that’s technically not a disease.

8) Pop Culture: I learn more about what’s hot from Meg than from Perez Hilton. Especially when it comes to past pop culture.  I can pop open an old Meg Cabot book and know what the appeal of Jennifer and Brad once was. Though I still have a hard time picturing them as a couple, even though I was cognitive when they were together.  I mean, they look too much alike.  Then again, Brad Pitt has a tendency to make himself look like his significant others to a degree.

7) Warnings about Uptown Girl Listeners: I will never listen to Billy Joel the same way.  Or for that matter if I see a guy listening to “Uptown Girl” I might just want to get out of his way.

6) Self Esteem: If you’re on a plane and someone thinks you’re a celebrity just go with it.  Hey, Lizzie Nichols did.  And six hours of someone thinking you’re Jennifer Garner will do wonders for your overall self worth.  It always helps when you’re married to Batman.

5) Moving Guide:  If you’re moving try to move into a supposed haunted house.  There’s a good chance that there could be a hot ghost living in your bedroom.  Who puts the sexy back in the name Jesse.

4) Dorms are Death Traps: It’s not apparently the black mold that would kill you, like I always thought when I was in college.  There are lots of psychos in the dorms.  And actually this makes sense to me since there was an actual serial killer on my college campus at one point and he lived in student housing.  We needed Heather Wells and stat. Also, we needed her to stop all those muggings at the library.  Yes, my college was in a bad part of town.

3) Psychic Powers are Obtainable to Everyone: If you know stand outside in a lightening storm and lightening strikes you and you live to tell the tale.  I’m also told if you’re in a car the lightening can work as a time traveling device as well.

2) Nobody’s Grandma Bakes them Cookies: You’re actually lucky if you’re grandma is like Grandmere and forces you to go to Chanel.  Look at poor Pierce Oliveria, her grandma tried to kill her.

1) Be Princessly: I have met Meg at two book signings.  And both times she was so nice to everyone.  And she doesn’t have to be.  I mean, she a mega success.  But the amount of professionalism she shows towards everyone is a lesson that everyone should aspire to have.

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Judge A Book By Its Cover: Dress Code Violation

It’s back to school time and it’s almost a new month which means it’s time for another Judge A Book by Its Cover.  The first on the new site.

And what better theme to use than book covers where the cover model would undoubtedly get detention based on the way they are dressed.

What the Cover Says: He didn’t get a shirt at Wal-Mart and he blew up the world.  A cautionary tale about how not wearing a shirt can destroy a whole town.

What the Book is Really About: It’s the fourth book in the awesome Lux series.  Which is about a human dating an alien who is not furry like Jeff Goldblum.

Verdict: He’s not getting into school unless he zips that jacket off.  And what’s with the whole disaster movie background?  Is this Daemon takes on the Earth?  Is this a Marvel crossover?  Are the Avengers or the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. going to reign down on the town he’s destroyed?  And why doesn’t he just zip up his coat?  He has to be cold he’s wearing outerwear.  But man, nice six pack.

What the Cover Says:Britney Spears had another little sister.  This one the media did not know about and Britney herself didn’t know about.  At least that’s what Addy Burns tells herself.  Hey, you sometimes have to believe in a fantasy to be able to tolerate life.  And Addy believes she has just what it takes to be a pop princess.  Well, that’s better than believing she’s a giant loser who just failed this week’s Geometry class.  Seriously, what’s a girl to do when the only thing she has going in her life is a Youtube video that her ex-best friend took of her yelling at the lunch lady for not putting an adequate amount of Reddi Whip on the carmel pecan pie?  A video, that’s pretty embarassing since everyone knows her as Pie Girl.  But Pie Girl, Addy tells herself, will be her ticket into the music industry.  Even though, she’s told she sings half a step flat. But that’s what auto-tune is for.
What the Book is Really About: Shiraz is from working class Britain and is often called a Chav-not a nice name if you’re wondering.  Think Princess Diaries but instead of living the high life living the low life.
Verdict: Sigh…comic relief will only sell so many copies before things just get stupid.  What’s really sad is that this is a fairly decent book and I feel like the cover detracts from it.  What’s really sad is if it wasn’t for the midriff and the hat, you could probably get away with wearing that in a public school.
What the Cover Says: Strike a pose.  That’s what they always say. However, striking a pose is the last thing Jenna Arbuckle wants to do.  She wants to get away from the fame that is Hollywood that caused her mother to go into rehab fifty-four times-not counting that one time she went to find inner peace in the Himalayans in her fifteen years (the one time rehab actually worked).  But if Jenna’s mom has anything to say about it, Jenna will be helping her recuperate her film career by playing a younger version of mother in her mother’s LMN autobiop.  But the last thing Jenna wants to do is pretend to be her mother partying with Lindsay Lohan, eating a live fish at the VMA’s, or dancing in that ridiculous outfit made out of cotton balls.  Kids try to forget the shit their parents do.  And it’s hard enough already with US Weekly  reporting on her mother’s weekly shenanigans-last week it was all about how her mother had bought six hundred dollars worth of designer toilet  paper from Sweden.  But since her family’s livelihood depends on it…
What the Book is Really About: A girl looks almost identical to her celebrity half sister (who has no idea of her existence) and she moves to Hollywood to be her double.  And meets her Jack Wagner like father.
Verdict:  It works.  I really wish the cover model they would’ve used would’ve been Latina since the MC is half Latina, but in an industry full of white washing you just get a Tori Spelling look alike on the cover.  Incidentally, Tori Spelling has starred in a lot of Lifetime movies.  The dress, obviously, would not be school appropriate unless its the Velvet Jones School of Technology.
What the Cover Says:  Jack has always been the smallest kid in his class and he hates it.  Because, hello, no one will date a short guy unless they’re Michael J Fox or Tom Cruise.  Well, everyone thinks Tom Cruise is tall, so only really Michael J Fox and St. Clair from Anna and the French Kiss .  Jack is not Michael J Fox.  He doesn’t have a Delorean.  He’s more like Danny Divoto but without the male pattern baldness and a couple of inches shorter.  And his voice isn’t as annoying.  Still, he’d do anything to be taller.  Hence, he takes some growth steroids that The Wizard (the school’s designated science freak and he guesses drug dealer) sells him.  Because that’s just soooooo smart.  Turns out The Wizard is actually a real witch, the potion makes Jack grow alright.  Like sixty feet and now he must get Ms. Dungeons and Dragons who’s laughing her ass off at him to turn him back to normal size.  He would choke her, but she’s a wizard and she claims that she has a death ray in her basement.   One thing Giant Jack has learned, you never mess with nerds.  And the Wizard, Lucy, actually does have a death ray in her basement.  Well, a replica of one.
What the Book is Really About: Well, after seeing the movie I don’t know what this book is supposed to be about.  Jace is a shadowhunter, Clary is a wannabe Batman, and Simon’s just Simon.  That’s pretty much all there is to it.
Verdict: T-shirt and a hair cut, obviously before Jace would be allowed in school.  As for the actual cover.  It sold lots of books.  I’m not a huge fan though.  Jace just seems to overly built to me and something about having man boobs being the center part of the cover means I can’t take this book out in public.

What the Cover Says: Celia Haus lost her Bichon Frise, Francey, and is in a desperate search to find her in her even if that means going without her usual frappachino and bagel.  She’s so frazzled that she’s even wearing her pajamas in So Ho.  Fashion Intervention is about to occur.

What the Book is Really About: A wannabe Nancy Drew series.  Lola is the anti-Nancy.  Meaning, not wholesome, lovable, and more concerned about herself than River Heights.  If Chief McGinnis needs any help, Lola is not the one to call.

Verdict: You can’t wear pajamas to school unless it’s like Spirit Week or something.  As for a cover, it’s too literal.  And I really, really, really, hated the cartoon phase.  Note to self, if  the long shot chance I ever I get published unless it’s an actual comic book artist drawing the cartoon do not agree to cartoon cover.

Origin: Jennifer L Armentrout

Well, this book was certainly eye opening and not just because of the cover.

Honestly, this is probably my least favorite Lux book yet.  And it’s not because it’s that bad of a book.  It’s fairly decent considering the rest of the muck in the YA world.  And I did enjoy the scenes at Area 51.  Oh, yeah, a good chunk of this book takes place at that non-existant base that the government actually admitted does exist but instead of hosting ET it does boring things.

One of the reasons I’ve always liked the Lux series better than Armentrout’s other books is because of the intricacies  that are involved in the Luxan world and the fact that there’s actually witty banter instead of insta lust between Katy and Daemon.

Well, there was action and some rather interesting world building in this installment.  But the world building info that we were given reminded me of Breaking Dawn.


You see Luxen and humans can reproduce and have special babies with special powers.

Sound familiar.

Thank God, Katy isn’t pregnant yet.  However, I’m betting there’s a good chance she might be by the end of the next novel.  After all Dawson knocked up Bethany in this installment, and Daemon and Katy inevitably repeat the same thing that those two do.

Save for their Vegas wedding, a la Beautiful Disaster.

Yeah, at times I thought I was reading bad fan fiction.

These plot points reminded me why I got so annoyed with Armentrout in the Covenant series.   Because she has a tendency to rip off popular series.  I always knew that Lux was similar to the Twilight Saga.  But the fact we had to add the freaky baby plot….well, imprint me now.

And honestly, why did we have to throw in a cheap new adult Vegas wedding?  It gave me bad flashbacks.

I get that most of these grievances are personal and that there are going to be some (okay, a lot) of fans that like this.  But for me I just started rolling my eyes.

Besides some of the plot choices, I also got annoyed with how the way Katie and Daemons’ relationship devolved.  Forget witty banter, in this installment its just fluff that’s about on par with that of Armentrout’s new adult books.  It’s not bad and there are a few cute moments, but what I loved about this series seems to have been diminished somehow.

Overall though, the story was still strong.  I could almost see this being the final installment save for that ending.  Everyone was disgustingly happy for awhile there.  And honestly, who wants to read about disgustingly happy people.  Maybe that’s why I thought these characters were replaced by pod people.

Despite its faults though,  Origin  had its moments.  There were scenes that just freaked you out.  While some of the new characters that were introduced were purely to give old characters a new love interest, said new characters were well formed.  And it appears that Armentrout did give me the gift of getting rid of a character I hated.

Overall seven out of ten E.T.s.  While not horrible, it’s not my favorite out the series and has me thinking about that ripoff Covenant series again.

How to Date an Alien: Magan Vernon

You’d think I’d make fun of this cover.  But that would jus be cruel.  But seriously….
 
I’m sort of alien junkie.
And I don’t know why because E.T. is hardly sexy.  And after watching all those episodes of Ancient Aliens, I sometimes find myself not sleeping thinking some grey is going to pull a Barney and Betty Hill on me but whatever.
How to Date an Alien was free on Amazon which was probably the number one factor in why I decided to read it that and it involved aliens.  It’s probably one of the better free books from Amazon I read, that’s not saying much.
To be fair, I thought there were parts of the book that were really cute.  I liked the main character, Alex.  She wasn’t awful as a lot of these YA characters are. Though she did seem a bit immature at times.
Okay, a lot of the time.
And she did slut slam a bit too.
Okay, so I did get annoyed with her.  But for the most part we were okay.
I didn’t like the boy toy though, Ace.  Yes, he was an alien.  But alien really was a replacement for vampire.  To say this guy is an Edward wannabe is an understatement.  A bland Edward wannabe.
One of my biggest complaints about YA today is that a lot of characters are just bland archetype characters.  Typically people try to rip off Bella and Edward.  Sometimes they might attempt at copying Harry Potter or Katniss Everdeen.  But for the most part, people tend to stick to the good old Bella and Edward ripoffs in YA.
Here is no exception except the Bella character is a little smarter and more interesting and the Edward character is even more boring than Edward.  And that’s saying something since Edward Cullen is just about the most boring character known to humankind-with the exception of the Pillsbury Dough Boy.
And now apparently Ace.
I didn’t even really hate Ace.  I found him weird as hell and annoying.  But hate him, not so much.  Because he was too boring and weird ass to hate.
I honestly would’ve kept reading this one, don’t ask me why sometimes I’m a sucker for cute fluffy books especially if they involve aliens, if there was a semblance to a plot here other than the lame ass  Rome and Juliet retelling I think it was trying to do.
I freaking hate that play.
Not the actual play because there are relevant cultural elements and some great lines in it.  But I hate the way the YA world views that play. It’s not a romance.  It’s about two idiots that fall in instant lust and get killed for their stupidity.  YA tries to make you think otherwise.
Whatever though.  But Romeo and Juliet plots usually insta ignore from me.  Unless of course there’s something else to the plot which there wasn’t here.
You have aliens, freaking aliens.  And there’s nothing else to the plot.  Nothing.  Just nothing.
I mean, aliens.  You can do whatever the hell you want with aliens.  But this book, we never do any sort of world building at all.  Okay, so the planets in the Solar system like Neptune have aliens.  But Vernon never goes into any detail how life is supported in a non-goldilocks zone planet.
And the quasi Area 51 area, Circe, its purpose is really never fully explained.  How did all these other interns know that there were aliens there?
Yeah, sort of a hot mess.  And there’s no excuse for this hot mess because just watch a couple of episodes of Ancient Aliens and hello inspiration.
But I really wanted to give this one a try for the longest time because I liked the voice of the novel.  But voice will only get you so far and eventually….well, you just have to let go.  Because potential will only get you so far in a book.
Overall four out of ten aliens.  It could’ve been pretty good if it sort of had a plot and Ace was a bit more memorable.

The Goodreads Killer: Dave Franklin

Today, was sort of a wash for me work wise since the air conditioner man was here and all I could really do was sit in the living room while I waited for him to install the new unit-he’s still not done. Oh, and it was my sister’s birthday, so I did wrap some gifts.

When I heard about a supposed novella about the issues that are going on at GoodReads-basically little special snowflakes getting their feelings hurt and freaking out and telling anyone who doesn’t praise their book for being all bunny rabbits and roses is a bully.

Yes, there are writers that can’t accept criticism and have obviously never been in a real life workshop class.

So, when I saw this on my newsfeed and found out it was free and short I read it because-hey, I had nothing better to do than play Ruzzle after I wrapped five birthday presents.

I thought this book might be a nice parody, but it wasn’t.  I don’ t know what Franklin was trying to do.

True, there were elements of satire throughout the book.  But at the end of the day, it seemed to be pretty bias in favor of the special snowflakes.

Rolls eyes.

Honestly, for this type of book I wanted neither party vilified.  Even though I’m undoubtedly bias on the issue, I think if you’re going to write about it you shouldn’t portray one side way worse than the other side.  And for that matter, the characters that Franklin created are just downright unlikable.  I actually did feel for the victim, who Franklin tried to vilify.

I mean, all he did was write a bad review.  And I don’t care if it’s going to be on the internet like Franklin said forever.  It’s just a review.  It’s not an excuse to commit homicide or a viable defense according to any criminal law course I took.

But wait, homicide is the cure for writers block.  So that makes it okay.

The whole kill the reviewers gang was sort of lame. Other than the author, there was just this one guy who told him about the group and then this Mary Sue who the author character screws throughout the book.  Honestly, in parts of the book it qualified more as bad erotica than parody.  Seriously, there’s a horrible written sex scene that involves the special snowflake reading the Mary Sue scenes from his stupid book.

I love satire.  I think if written correctly it has social relevance and can add other dimensions on issues.  Some of my favorite movies, for example, are satires.  Mel Brooks has some pretty amazing satires out there, but this book to equate it properly is sort of like the Scary Movie franchise stupid and pointless.

And then the ending was just downright ominous.  To be honest, I didn’t know what to think about it.  I’m pretty sure this was supposed to be satire but at the end I did get a little creeped out especially with how little consequences the author had to deal with for slaying a reviewer.  Heck, he got to keep on boinking his Mary Sue Screw.

Books often have hidden meanings, satires especially.  And with hot button issue ending on a dark note like this, I really have to wonder especially given the outright bias throughout the parody.

Overall I’m a little dumbfounded by this one.  I personally didn’t like it and while I believe it was spoof, there’s a part of me that questions that.  It’s free so if you’re interested you might want to check it out.  But I’m just glad, my house is fully equipped with Brinks Home Security.

Book vs Movie: City of Bones

Honestly, I probably won’t be talking about the book much.  Only that it’s better.  I know, weird considering its very cliche and has some horrible one liners and Clary is the worst version of Batman ever (even George Clooney and the bat credit card beat her).  This review will mostly be talking about what might be Cassandra Clare’s swan song in the movie universe.

Because God this is a stinker.  It’s worthy of being reviewed by the likes of the Nostalgia Critic in a few years it’s that bad.

And I really do feel for the actors.  Because there are a few good actors here.  Lily Collins isn’t horrible.  She made Clary at least more likable than Bella here.  It’s not that the Clary character was really great, but Collins limited the dumb assery of Clare’s Mary Sue.  And I thought her parents weren’t that bad either.  Though, Valentine’s role was performed with little gusto but given the actor’s past work I can’t blame him for not putting any heart in it here. The script sucked ass.  And Isabelle was good.  I actually liked her better here than in the book.

Usually when I watch movies, I watch them as an escape.  I like bad movies.  In fact, I love bad movies.  But movies like this just give me a headache because if I hadn’t read the book I would’ve been wondering WTF was going on.

And for that matter, I was still wondering what the deal was with the climax and I read the book less than a week ago.  It’s like they were trying to make the movie more complex than the book which a cardinal sin in adapting books to movies, at least in my opinion.

I’ll admit it, making a decent adaption is difficult you have to factor in lots of different factors but this one flopped big time and I think it’s in part because it tried to follow too closely to the book.

Despite what she may claim now, there is evidence that Clare played a large role in the making on the film.  She helped with casting.  With props.  With even the occasional line or two.  Which is fine.  I get why her input was needed.  But Cassandra Clare is not a film maker.  And I feel like the filmmakers relied too much on her.

And seriously, seriously, why out of all the scenes to leave in the movie do they decide to leave in that stupid falcon scene.  That was directly ripped off of Clare’s Draco Trilogy.  Stupid much?  I mean, with the amount of controversy that went on with that fan fic and the fact she borrowed it for her original fiction was bad enough.  But to put that scene in the movie it’s essentially an f you to anyone who witnessed plagiarism gate.  And is it really necessary to say I won five billion times?  And to include Draco Jace in leather pants?

We get it Clare, you’re the EL James of the Harry Potter world.

Rolls eyes.

It still doesn’t help the fact that this movie sucked.

The changes that they did make to the story just don’t make sense.  For example, the climax.  It goes on forever and ever and ever…At one point, right before we reach the epilogue I was like this would be a good ending spot.  Actually I thought that several times throughout the entire climax.  But they just kept continuing.

And that ending…Uh, eighty-five percent of the audience doesn’t know that Jace and Clary aren’t exactly brother and sister.  Um, having that quasi romantic moment between them at the end is more than a little gross.  Couldn’t you know, make it a little less obvious they’re in to each other?

Just saying.

The special effects were horrible again. I get that they didn’t want to rely a lot on CGI but this is worse than some of the things I’ve seen in the 80’s.  The old Indiana Jones movies effects look state of the art compared to this crap.  And this movie had a sixty million dollar budget.

Most of it, I’m sure, went to recreating Hogwarts but putting it in America (Side note, I thought about going to the theater dressed as Hermione Granger but then I realized no one would get the joke and just went in my college t and shorts instead).

You just don’t put Hogwarts in America.  It doesn’t work.  And how can you explain how the Institute which expands in size fits in a compact city such as NYC.

Oh, and as for NYC you feel no soul to the city at all.  They couldn’t even use any stock footage, save for the Brooklyn Bridge.  New York in itself is a character.  It might’ve been cool, you know, having a random demon attack near Times Square or something for exposition.  But nope.

As I said before the performances were a mix bag, while I liked Collins portrayal of Lilly, Bower never sold me on Jace.  He isn’t Jace.  He’s never going to be Jace.  And it’s not because I don’t find him to be that appealing to look at-seriously, dude, the 90’s are over by some L’Oriel already and clean that greasy mop of yours-its just that I don’t think he embodied the character or is that great of a romantic lead.  Yes, he’s saying the lines and sometimes they are somewhat successful, but for the most part…he’s just not doing it.  And I really think he did try.  I just think he was miscast.

As for Simon, the guy delivered okay.  I just felt like the character was unnecessary man candy that was just there for his abs to get stared at.  And I did stare at them.  The character, himself, is dressed like a young shorter Jeff Goldblum and acts like a hot version of Duckie.  Its a very weird combination.  And they completely ignore the rat thing (he’s just kidnapped and his shirt is taken off and he’s chained up so you get this weird BDSM allusion which is sort of creepy if you think about it since this is supposed to be advertised towards a younger audience).  And I think that’s ridiculous because him turning into a rat was one of the best parts of the first book-then again they might’ve cut that part out because it’s very Harry Potter-ish just like the flying motorbike (we do get a motorbike though, non-flying).

I think my biggest problem with the acting was with Magnus.  While he looked in character his acting was just horrible.  I’ve heard rumors that the voice was dubbed over and if that’s the case that might explain what the deal was.  But seriously…this is not how the most badass character in this lame series should be acting.  Though I’ll admit the short shorts and the smoking jacket were nice to look at.  And I liked the eyeliner.

There were other problems I had besides the acting and the story.  Most notably the cinematography.  Stop with the shaky cam already and that shot that makes all the characters distorted like they’re at a fun house.  It gave me such a migraine I’ve thrown up since I’ve gotten home.

And what the fuck with Bach?

Seriously.  I guess this is more of a plot point but I’m using it to transition to my bitch fit about the music.  Have you done any research on JS Bach?  That’s like PC and Kristin Cast claiming that every celebrity was a vampyre.  Oh dear lord…House of Night movie.  Now these people who handled this film could so handle that one it would be even…

Okay, back to the music.  I’m a bit of a score snot.  Maybe it’s because I grew up with a house full of musicians and had to buy every John Williams soundtrack ever made back when I was in high school, but I love movie music.  And I’m sort of snot about it.  Music can affect the story, the film’s tone.  Really everything about it.  Here the music seemed disjointed. Ominous pieces were used when the actual scene was hardly ominous and I just felt like overall it just didn’t work.

However, as awful as this movie was a sequel has been planned and shitty merchandise is already on its way to be produced.  Based on what I saw, they shouldn’t have been betting on a sequel.  However, at this point they might not have any choice to continue but if Clare wants her cash cow to keep milking the next movie is going to have to be a heck of a lot better.

There weren’t many people in the theater that I went to, but there was some interesting commentary.  An elderly gentleman told his wife as he was leaving the theater that City of Bones was the worst movie he’s ever seen. And that my friends that made me smile.  Of course then a fan girl went off about how hot she found Jace and Clary even after they were siblings and…

I think you can figure out what I was doing at this point.

At least I got to see the Thor trailer and Loki was in it.

Haven From the Storm: Sarah Dosher

Because everyone knows that getting your portrait made is ideal when there’s a tornado like five feet behind you.
 
Amazon wants to teach me a lesson: being frugal makes me a sucker.
Haven From the Storm cost me nothing, but I felt like I lost a part of my soul.  Or at least my tolerance levels were diminished tremendously this weekend.
But normally it’s listed as $11.99 and I thought…well, that must be its good because generally speaking the more expensive a book is on Ammy the quality will probably (not always) be better.
I was wrong.
I’m always wrong.
But I really feel like I need to smack myself on the head with this one or get my eyes check because look at that cover…I mean, this should be an obvious sign that the protagonist is TSTL.  Who stands out getting a Glamor Shot done in the middle of a tornado.
Lily apparently.
Well, I’m assuming that’s Lily with some good coverup on since we hear constantly about how her face is covered with bruises because her daddy likes to hit her for no apparent reason.
Rolls eyes.
Look, domestic violence is a serious topic.  And the way this book handles it…makes me wonder again former fan fic?
I know it might seem like I suspect a lot of these freebies as former fan fics but….there’s a reason for it.
They rely heavily on common fan fic tropes.  This one the abuse trope.  Where the MC is beaten where a normal person would’ve already gone J Lo from Enough  already or be dead if this was a normal domestic abuse situation.
And of course there are the  legalities to consider that Dosher doesn’t, like the fact that in Oklahoma you’re required to report any suspicion of child abuse.
But what does Stephenie Meyer say again…oh, that’s right it’s fiction and because of that we can throw all logic out the window.
If you read my reviews you know already I don’t buy that shit.
Especially when it comes to books about domestic violence.  I feel like when you write about situations that are as serious as this you need to provide accurate information so any victim or potential victim can know what their options are.  Yes, I know it sounds a bit PSA.  But sometimes you have to be a bit PSA.  At least here.  And I really have a bone to pick with that lazy excuse Dosher gave about how no one could do anything…really?  I have no words.
That wasn’t the nastiest thing about this book.
What does that go to?
The romance.
Which one of these things is the most disturbing to you:
1) Hero, who is four years older than heroine, has been in love with her since she was fourteen when he was eighteen.  And has obsessed about her for four years in college with no contact.
2) That he expects her to start kissing him and be all Bella Swan like when he comes back four years later.
3) That he comes into her house unannounced and uninvited.
4) That the heroine is mad at the hero-who she had no relationship with at the time-for leaving and getting and education.
5) That he’s her new student teacher and that everyone including school staff seems okay with their relationship.
All I have to say is did Mary Kay Laterno write this?
No.
Thankfully.
But this sort of relationship screamed icky to me.  I don’t care if it’s twue luv.  And that there are lots of couples with age differences between them.  The fact is this guy is her teacher. Yes, he might’ve been her dead brother’s b.f.f. once upon a time and a childhood crush.  But she is a child.  He’s an adult.  And yes, she just turned eighteen.  But still student teacher relationship.  There are potential power issues here. He’s a figure of authority and really the way he comes off is creepy.
But  I’ll give it to Dean on this-I should mention that this book takes place in tornado ally, the hero’s name is Dean, and there’s an Impala in this book– all the characters in this book were sort of creepy so maybe he wasn’t that bad.
I mean with abusive drunk dad, school officials and townspeople who don’t give a shit that Miss TSTL is getting her ass kicked by her daddy, he’s not that bad.
But still.
And really, why doesn’t Ms. TSTL leave?  She’s over eighteen she has her inheritance-oh, don’t even get me started on the potential trust and guardianship issues in this book.  If she can afford state of the art security system for her door, a mini fridge, some bongos, and all the luxuries of life (okay, maybe not the bongos but I just like the word bongos)  she should be able to afford a down payment for rent.  Heck, I bet that painted up old biddy who lets her sometimes borrow her car would let her rent a room from her at a reduce cost.
But of course our heroine is just more concerned about buying a mini fridge.
Was there anything decent about it?  The grammar was okay for the most part.  The writing overall was pretty bland though.  I had a hard time distinguishing who was who even though it was clearly marked.  This book in general was just meh and full of idiots.
So I did what logical people do, I gave up on it.
Which is sort of sad because this book could’ve been good.  Domestic abuse is a very relevant issue but how it was handled and how the romance was handled soured my entire reading experience.

The Unofficial House of Night Drinking Game: Hidden by PC and Kristin Cast

Dear Casts,

It’s MJ.  You know that blogger who’s torturing reading all of of your released books and trying hard not to kill herself because of it.

Well, I finally finished.  Sort of.

I still have to read the little novellas you try to stuff down your readers throats.  But I’ve made it through ten books.  And I thought I’d tell you a little bit of my thoughts of the overall series and Hidden because I forced myself to read these books and I feel like you need to listen to my grievances.

Okay, I doubt you’ll actually read this.  And it’s probably better for your mental health and mine if you don’t since this is going to be a bit of a rant.  But writing this will hopefully make me feel better and want to pick up something to drink.  Because these books have made me stop drinking in fear of my liver.

And I view my liver as a very special thing, thank you very much.  Which is why throughout most of this drinking game I have been drinking purely tea-tonight’s beverage Hot Chili Truffle.

Besides, there are much better things to drink to like how many times the word baby is said in an episode of General Hospital–you’d be amazed.

So why am I writing to you?

Well, for one thing save for the half books this is the last time I’ll ever be reviewing a House of Night book by you two.  And I just want to say.  Thank you for scarring me for the rest of my life.  And oh, Heath, well, he’s going to happen about how fetch is going to happen.

 
Yes, Heath is not going to happen with anyone who’s not TSTL.  No matter how many times you try to force him down your audience’s throats.  No matter how many times you tell us that Prince Eric is bad now when we all know that Heath is the real douche-King Douche of the series.  And I don’t even know what Stark is supposed to be at this point other than another Zoey lapdog.  You two got over your crush on Robert Downey JR.?
Pity.
Though RDJ is probably relieved.
I know I am for him.
I’m not surprised you gave up on Ironman. Mainly because you give up on all your characters except your precious Zoey who I’m pretty sure probably rates in the top ten list of worst characters ever created to mankind. I seriously wonder sometimes if she’s really Ebony Darkness Raven Way.
You probably don’t recognize that reference or maybe you do. All I have to say is Google My Immortal.  I hope it doesn’t give you any bad memories.  Actually, you’d probably think that fan fic was the greatest thing ever since sliced bread.
Both you and Tara do like your Count Chocola.
Back to Heath, not going to happen.
I don’t know what your fascination with this character is and why you had to rename him after some electronics company.  Really, Aurox?  What sort of name is that supposed to be?  And don’t give me that bullshit excuse about how you need a unique name.  You’re not a celebrity, despite what you might think.  Only celebrities are allowed to name their kids bizarre things like Apple or North West. You need proof of that.  A judge made these idiots who named their kid Messiah (God, feel for that poor kid) change his name.  I’m guessing probably because neither parents have a reality show or a fashion line at K-Mart.
Yes, get yourself a fashion line at K-Mart then we’ll talk about naming characters after electronics company/dish soap.
And I really never get the appeal of Heath in the first place?  Why was he so great?  Prince Eric had more screen time and seemed less of an asshole in the first four books.  And you probably think I’m a die hard Prince Eric fan and that you’re throwing me a bone for obviously pairing him with the used to be blind girl who now has the special power of seeing auras, but you’re not.  You’re making it seem like Prince Eric was an ass.  He wasn’t an ass.  Zoey and Heath were the asses.
Wait!
Wait!
Wait!
 
I think I got it.
You want Zoey with Heath because they’re both supreme assholes.
That makes sense.  But why complicate things with the whole I’m a monster storyline?  Seriously, All My Children did that a few years ago with Ryan and Greenlee ( a hated couple because Greenlee was only decent with Josh Duhamel’s character, Leo, and Ryan was a complete turd kind of like Travis Maddox, a la Beautiful Disaster).  I guess you sort of needed a plot since there’s only so many times Neferet can hide her evilness and Grandma Redbird can be kidnapped.
At least you stopped with trying to hide the fact that Neferet is an evil bitch this time around.  I really don’t see why anyone didn’t notice she was an evil bitch before but I’m sure I just nodded off during that plot.
As for Grandma Redbird.  Can you just kill her already?  Please.  She’s one death I actually want.  You have so many characters that die in here that I forget about or that you make undead-please, rekill Heath or as he’s known as know as a hybrid name between dishwasher soap and electronics.  But you never kill characters that deserve to die like Grandma Redbird.
I mean lavender chocolate chip cookies-nasty.  Okay, maybe they are good.  But I really don’t think this flavor combo would work together.
Anyway, I’m going to go now.  I need to regroup and try to will myself to make it through the half books.  But I wish you the best of luck on the next two books.  I think you’ll be okay though.  You seem to have the Captain Planet ending part down down perfectly.  And I think that you can make two more books mostly idle conversation because you’ve done it for the about eight out of the twelve books. Seriously, at this point I just wonder how much time has passed.
Ah Hell (Get the inside joke!),
MJ
P.S. I’m betting you  that Ironman gets his butt kicked to the curb for the electronic company/dish soap version of Heath.  Zoey turns into Captain Planet after almost dying due to the power of love/her friends will or some shit like that and kicks Neferet’s butt to Hades.  Grandma Redbird continues to make a mockery out of the Cherokee tribe.  And more insignificant characters die.  If anyone from the actual cast dies it will probably be Aphrodite or Prince Eric or maybe Ironman so that his precious Zoey can be with her one true wuv.

From the Ghettos to the Grand: Jaclin Calvert

Occasionally I get bored and want something cheap to read.  Which is usually when I get myself into trouble by going to the Kindle store and downloading something under three dollars that usually reads like it’s under three dollars

By far, Ghettos to the Grand is probably the worst Kindle cheap read I’ve read.

Oh man.

It makes that Jamie Baker book where we’re told she’s a super hero five thousand times look wonderful.  The book about the amnesiac prince look intelligent.

To say this one is a stinker is putting it mild.

I’ll be honest when I say this is the first book I ever demanded a refund from Amazon.  Mainly because of the way it’s written.  It reads like fan fiction.  Bad fan fiction.  Honestly, I was pretty sure at one point that it had to be P2P Twilight mush because the plot was the typical Princess Bella filth you see on sites such as fanfiction.net.  You know, when some ill informed teenage girl who didn’t pay attention in their World Civ courses thinks princesses act just like they do in Disney movies and that Europe is like five hundred years back like you see at the Renaissance Festival.  And there are kings and princesses and everyone courtesies  and all that good stuff.

But since I’m in no mood to play the role of Veronica Mars today I did not find such proof.  Blame the fact that I have a horrible migraine and have been seeing green spots throughout most of the day.

I did Google it though and it originated on Wattpad and Fiction Press and then I guess the author decided she wanted people to pay for the book and put it on Amazon.  It was ninety-nine cents so it wasn’t that horrible of an investment, but I still returned it.  And I will say this, this is the first Kindle book I’ve ever returned and hope its the last. I didn’t even return The Prince with Amnesia and that one was bad.

What’s so bad about this one that makes it offensive besides the fat it reads like P2P bad fanfiction.  The characters are stale immature and the writing.  Oh God, the writing.

I know not everyone is perfect but there were some errors in here that just made me roll my eyes.  And we’re not just talking about basic grammar.  I could take quotes out and point the various punctuation errors and usage errors but I have a migraine because of this book and I really don’t feel like doing work that the author should’ve done or have hired a copy editor to do before she published this. It’s not my job to notice this shit.  Spotting errors on my Kindle just makes me mad.  Its not like its even the occasional error or two, they were rampant.

It also didn’t help that the author’s voice was stilted.  I’m not a huge person of third person but it can be done well if in the right hands.  Calvert does not seem to have enough maturity to be able to write decent third person.  I didn’t feel the characters.  In fact, I thought the third person made them feel ever faker than they really were.

Let’s talk about our main characters shall we.  We have Lexi who’s described looking like a short supermodel.  Yes, she has a supermodel figure because she can’t eat because of her abusive relatives.  Rolls eyes.  You’d think CPS would get involved with her walking around stealing hotdogs and her only attending classes whenever she wants.  But you know what, I’m not one to judge.

Then we have the prince whose name is Blake.  A pretty generic American name despite the fact that he lives in a European country where they act like its the Renaissance Festival every single day of the week.  What do you need to know about Blake, Lexi calls him a pervert when she first meets him and he’s hot despite the fact he acts like a four-year-old about eighty percent of the time.

Oh, and these two are apparently betrothed otherwise good old Lexi is going to lose her Mr. Deeds inheritance.

You can’t make up this sort of shit.

The blurb of the book is probably what it has going for it the most.  I thought I was going to get a cute Meg Cabot-y type of story a la Princess Diaries.  Didn’t happen.  Instead I got Princess Bella.

The lack of logic and general research that went on with this book was also pretty laughable.  Oh, and there’s slut slamming galore.

Here’s the very first line of the book:

” ‘Don’t you dare walk past that door you little slut.’  Uncle Matt was in another one of his drunken rampages.” (Calvart 1)

I copied paste that so the grammatical errors you see in that sentence are Calvart’s.  That’s what you’re greeted with as your opening line.  The slut slamming’s an added touch.

More than likely Calvart is probably fairly young.  And I often feel bad of ripping into books by young authors, but this is not ready for prime time.  The fact that I returned that says everything.  I think had the book stuck more to the blurb it could’ve been interesting.  Instead, it was the biggest waste of ninety-nine cents I’ve ever spent.  And I’m still wondering was this P2P at one point before it went to fiction press and Wattpad before hitting Amazon.

Honestly, this one confounds me.  Almost as much as its sequel which plot, well, I’m almost tempted to review it when it does reach prime time because seriously WTF?  How can you make your kid lie about their gender their entire life that is some warped child abuse, man.  Besides, wouldn’t you sort of be able to tell…never mind.  Not going there.

Overall Review: Um, no stars.



Diary of a Chav: Grace Dent

I have a penpal who’s from the UK.  And one thing she likes talking about is Chavs.

Yes, Chavs.

Being American I have no idea what she’s talking about, even after a lengthy explanation about the hideous overuse of tracksuits and fake tans.

And then I saw this book….

Yep, I now know what a Chav is.  Thank to Ms. Dent’s book.

And I feel for Livvie.

To be honest, normally I wouldn’t like a book like this.  The characters are horrible people.  The writing is grating at times with numerous grammatical errors and slang that has even my BBC America watching brain shaking my head (thank you Dent for the glossary).  And the plot is basically non-existant save for that stupid climax at the end which I’ll try to forget happened for what’s going to be a fairly positive review.

Yes, I said positive.

Because despite its numerous issues. I  enjoyed this one a lot.  Mainly because the concept of what a Chav is is sort of making me nostalgic for some TLC.

Because that’s what a Chav is.  Its like putting Kate Plus Eight, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, and Sixteen and Pregnant, and Jersey Shore in a blender and getting a very bizarre human being (and yes, I know two of those shows are on MTV but essentially they’re almost the same network these days).  And reading about someone that is so low brow makes for an interesting read.

To be honest, this book would’ve been better if it would’ve been written for a different market.  I can see this really hitting the spot if it was written for the literary crowd.  Dysfunctional family check, unlikeable but intriguing characters check, nuevo writing style that’s not quite right but works check.

Add a little bit of seriousness and a bit more style to it and it would be in business.

But as a YA novel it just doesn’t do it.  I almost felt like Dent tried too hard to be YA.  It almost sounded like she was trying to emulate The Princess Diaries.  In fact, there’s a Princess Diaries reference in the book.   It’s just that Dent isn’t Meg Cabot.

As annoying as Mia got she was still endearing.  Shiraz is anything but endearing.  Despite the fact that Dent tries to portray her as some diamond in the rough…to put it simply Shiraz is your stereotypical Chav.  How are all her problems solved in this book?

Well, reality TV.

I kid you not, a reality TV show solves all our characters problems.  It’s really that simple.

And in ironic way I’m not peeved about it like I should be.  It’s annoying, but as vapid as these characters are it sort of suits them.

I guess I should talk more about the characters and the irrelevant plot.  I’ll start with the plot first since it’s barely there.

The gist of the story is that our dear heroine is about to take her GCSEs and sort of doesn’t give a fuck. In fact, no one at her school gives a fuck.  Till an awesome teacher comes in and…

Well, it starts going that route than stops.

Thankfully.

Though it’s still an annoying subplot.

And it’s not like Shiraz is fully reformed at the end anyway.

And I don’t really understand why Super Teacher thinks that Shiraz is some great writer.  Maybe she has great ideas but she’s essentially a functional illiterate.

Really, she is.

Just like she’s borderline TSTL except there’s nothing she really does that’s TSTL because she does nothing.

But even though I hated her, she works as a character.  Because there was something relatable about her as awful as she was.  Maybe it’s because I’ve seen and dealt with kids that are like her.  Maybe it’s because I felt sorry for her growing up with her crazy mother.  But as annoying as she was, I was able to tolerate her unlike other characters.

Another thing I liked about this book was that it wasn’t romance heavy.  Admittedly I like me some man candy in YA, but if the romance in this book would’ve been fully formed I think it would’ve been detrimental to the book.  Shiraz, for one thing, was way too emotionally immature to have a relationship.  And the guy she’s crushing over really isn’t worth much.

Besides, as I said before, the strength of this novel looking at the working class in the UK through Shiraz’s family.  As insufferable as a lot of these characters were, they were all realistic or depicted a part of their culture like Shiraz.  I think probably the best and most infuriating character was the mother.  Yes, she is totally unrealistic.  You’d never expect a person to act this way or treat their children the way this woman does, but I felt like her character served a purpose.  And even though she was an annoying bitch, you wanted to keep reading about her and what awful thing she was going to next.

So overall,  this was a strange book for me to read.  Character wise and plot wise it wasn’t great.  The characters were unlikeable and the plot was nonexistent, but it worked.  Maybe it’s because I wanted to figure out what the heck Livvie was complaining about, or maybe Dent actually did a fairly decent job depicting what is known as the  TLC: UK Edition.

Overall Rating: Seven out of ten.  It’s enjoyable enough but not everyone is going to like it.  Be forewarned, that it’s not your typical YA book and not everyone is going to like it.