The Perfect Revenge: Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross

I do not own these Disney villains.  I wish I did because then half of them would’ve won.  I’m merely using them for purposes of reviewing this book.  

Jafar: Okay, as head of this committee I have to say everyone’s idea for revenge sucks.  I’ll even admit that my own did.  And I had my own direct to video over it.  I think the Gilbert Godfrey songs killed it.

Ursula: Well, at least they didn’t give your sister the same voice actor.  But Jafar, darling, Steve Jobs told us years ago that direct DVDs were out, so we knew we weren’t doing that.  I’m telling you let me throw one of my potions into their happily ever after water supply and we’ll be good to go.

Hades: Ursula, babe, fairy godmothers.

Urusla: Well, that was better than your idea of switching up villains.  That show worked on your shoddy TV show.

Jafar: Fellow fiends, that’s the past.  This is the present.  Now we need to come up with something original which means no more cursing the offspring, switch ups, or in my case having parrots sing to the audience for eighty some odd minute.   Now any new suggestions?

Maleficent: Well, there is a book…

Ursula: A book.  Really?  A book how is that supposed to help us, Maleficent.  Are we just supposed to read it to our respected nemesis?

Maleficent: Well, yes.  Have you read this book?

Jafar: Let me see the book.

(Maleficent zaps a copy of Kill Me Softly into Jafar’s hands)

Jafar: Ah, fuck.

Hades: Jafar, um, this is the Disney crowd.

Jafar: It’s Kill Me Softly, Hades.  Kill Me Softly.  That in itself gives reason to curse.

Maleficent: And therefore it is the perfect revenge.

Jafar: You really are the most  sadistic one of us, aren’t you?

Maleficent: Probably (smiles) though honestly, this one is a little too painful for my taste.  I just had to suggest  it because my fairytale stars in it.

Jafar: Oh yes, the ever boring Sleeping Beauty.  You know, for being such a BAMF, you got a really lame heroine.

Maleficent: Well, at least she looks pretty.  I’ll give her that.  But yes, Aurora is lame.  And a more fully developed version of said character should be an improvement.  You know, like a book version of her but…

Hades: We’ve all read the book.  I heard it caused the Queen of Hearts to cut off a dozen heads.

Ursula: She does that on a daily basis.  Nothing new there.  God, I hate the fact people actually see that cow as a villain.  All she does is yell.  Not a subtle bone in her body.

Jafar: Says the octopus who was modeled after a drag queen.  Though you do make a good point in relation to the book, the characters are utterly bland.  All of them.  As you previously mentioned, the Aurora character is completely undeveloped.  A lot of her motivations really make no sense.  Actually, I think the Disney Aurora much more well formed and smarter.  This girl makes dumb mistakes just to move the plot along.  It’s annoying.

Ursula: Dumb mistakes always move a plot along.  See my movie.

Jafar: Yes, but your main character was a mermaid.  She didn’t know better.  Mira was a fifteen-year-old girl who was sophisticated to do some things, like set her godmothers on a wild goose chase halfway across the country, but dumb enough to not even think about Googling where her parents graves might be like a sensible person.  Or for that matter, even thinking ahead to book a Holiday Inn (not that she could technically check into a hotel but you get the point).

Gaston: Isn’t a good thing she’s dumb though?

Jafar: He’s here.  I told you guys specifically NOT to invite him.  Whoever did is going to get zapped.

Maleficent: Well, I obviously didn’t invite him Jafar.  You and I feel the same about him. He’s a disgrace to all villains.

Hades: Agreed.  And he’s annoying.  There’s a reason why he’s not dead despite falling a fatal fall.  I don’t want him.

Jafar: That leads you (gives Ursula a pointed look).

Ursula (sighs): I might’ve had one too many drinks.

Jafar: Of course you did.

Ursula: I like pretty boys, what do I say.

Gaston: So, who’s the dumb girl.  Is she hot?  Because if she is I’d totally be interested.

Hades: This is what’s wrong with society these days.  Everyone likes their significant other to be dumb and what does it bring-more dumb people.  This book is just a prime example of this.  There was a whole town of stupid people.

Gaston: My kind of town.

Malificent: Yes, your sort of town.  The love interests are just almost as stupid and evil as you are.  Actually, one of them might even be more evil than you are.

Gaston: But not as handsome, right?

Everyone Ignores Him, save for Ursula who is eyeing his butt.

Jafar: This brings up an interesting point.  I do think Felix is a little worse than any of us.  I mean, none of us try to seduce and murder a girl who’s underage.

Maleficent: Didn’t you try to make Jasmine your love slave.

Jafar: It was never explicitly stated.  And I was just going to marry her for the title.  It was never love.

Hades: You’d have to consumate it.

Everyone (excluding Gaston who is oblivious): EW!

Jafar: I don’t think I would’ve gone that far.  Probably.  And, well, Agrabah is different than modern day America.  Plus, you can’t say I’m as annoying as Felix or Blue or Freddie.

Ursula: Oh, Freddie wasn’t annoying.  Just pathetic.  He really had no role other than to be the Prince Phillip character.  If, you know, the prince got dumped. I really think I should whip the poor dear a potion.

Hades: You getting soft in your old age, babe?

Ursula: Hardly, I just think he’d be a good addition to my garden.  He’s so bland no one would miss him.  Much like the plot in this book.

Jafar: Was there a plot?  I thought it was just teenagers being in love trash while trying to impose fairytale curses as a subplot.  Save for Mira’s supposed curse and releasing her one true love from his curse.  Was there any plot other than her love life?  At least my sequel had a plot….my revenge.

Hades: Your sequel sucked, Jafar.  Everybody knows it.

(Jafar pouts and teleports out)

Malificent: Are you happy now, Hades?  There goes are moderator. How are we going to talk about getting the ultimate revenge when our head honcho isn’t even here?

Gaston: Jafar is hardly the big honcho.  He doesn’t even have an honorary cheese head.

Malificent: I don’t even want to try to comprehend your stupidity.  It’s like trying to make sense of the illogical sense that this book is.  I mean, we have a fifteen year old walking around a casino with no one checking her ID.  Same thing with getting into a wide variety of clubs, having  it be perfectly okay for fathers to molest their daughters and stepmothers to attempt to kill their daughters all because they’re living a fairytale over and over again.  Man, I wish my curses were that good.  In fact, I want to know who casts this curse?  Maybe the next idiotic princess that doesn’t invite me to a birthday party can get a real doozy.

Hades: Yes, but get to the point, Maleficent.  As revenge, how does this book have any merit?  I mean, it’s bad, we all know it.  But how would be use it against our enemies?

Gaston: Books are so boring, no one reads.

Maleficent: And so you’ll be safe of the curse but everyone who does….well, their eyes will bleed.

Overall Rating: A big fat F.

Not So Much a Lady or Thief: Lady Thief by AC Gaughen

Least favorite Robin Hood ever.

Just going to say it.

And as for Maid Marian.  You think she’s wimpy  in every other incarnation well you haven’t read this book…

Also, in those other versions she speaks grammatically correct and not like a bad extra on Oliver.  Here speaking grammatically correct means you’re a snob.

Just for you guys to know, I’m sorry for sounding like  a snob.  It’s just that I got a degree in Snobbery (a.k.a.English) and that means, well, I hate grammatical errors.  Even though I know that everyone is not immune to them.

But for fuck’s sake, you are a noble.  Do you have to sound like some deranged Eliza Doolittle wannabe?

Plus, it doesn’t help when you keep acting like a dumb ass.

This is Maid freaking Marian we’re talking about.  I know that the character in essence is the definition of what a damsel in distress is, but at least give her some respect.  Despite the fact that she had to be rescued by Robin Hood every freaking minute, Maid Marian knew how NOT to annoy the audience like Scarlet did.

Heck, I think Gaughen had Scarlet get the shit beaten out of her, in part, because she annoyed her. At least that’s what I’m going to go with, otherwise I don’t know what to say about the constant beat downs Scarlet got.  Sure, she annoyed me, but I just can’t get by with having a character getting smacked to the point where she breaks a bone.  PTSD or not.

I get it sometimes a character is so annoying the author has to get someone to hit them.

It also doesn’t help when said person doing the beat down is Robing freaking Hood.

Yes, Robin Hood beats the shit out of his true love because of PTSD.  And I should mention that he did this is a sleep walking like state and a girl that can apparently defend herself still breaks a freaking bone because of this.

This whole plot point is wrong on so many levels.

Let’s start with the so called abuser: Robin Hood.

While I’m happy that Gaughen decided that Robin was going to have some lasting effects to his trauma, the type of effects he had really annoyed me.  PTSD is a serious issue, but here it more or less seemed like a poor use of a plot device that I just couldn’t get behind.  Especially since Robing Hood beats his lady love to the point where she has a busted up face and broken hand.  That is just wrong.  And while he did show some remorse, I really just didn’t see the thing in Robin’s character.

Plus, Scarlet/Marian.  Really.  You stayed in the same bed with him despite knowing he could randomly wake up and beat the shit out you?

Have some self respect, girl.

It also doesn’t help that the other guy that Scarlet is involved with (her husband) beats her up too and it’s deemed perfectly acceptable in society.

Yes, I get this is the medieval period and yes I get women weren’t treated exactly the best in the period, but the book wasn’t following anything else correctly if we’re going to get all historical about it.  So, why should we get historical about it now?

See, this is the sort of thing that bothers me.

You know what else bothers me, the fact that Scarlet’s ogles over Gisborne’s “bits” as she calls them.  First of all, if you can stare at them you can call bits what they are: penises.  Or when Scarlet talks about her own bits vaginas.  Seriously, just calling it bits all the time makes her emotionally maturity look stunted and that’s saying something since before this little quote in the book I felt like I was dealing with a twelve year old for a protagonist.

As for the so called plot in this book, I just got bored to be honest.

It could’ve been interesting.  With characters such as Prince John, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and even Gisborne (because yes, even Gisborne could’ve been made to be an interesting character), there could’ve been a lot of interesting plots and characters to make Lady Thief a interesting second book in this series.

Instead, it’s your stereotypical sophomore slump of a book.

Not that I really thought the first book was that great.  I just loved that concept and had hoped, really hoped, that somehow Gaughen would get her groove on with this series in the second book.  Alas, that was not meant to be.

It’s books like Lady Thief that really put me in a bad mood.  Retellings are probably one of my favorite subgeneras in YA.  If they’re handed properly they can brilliant, if not well…they’re like this.  Just leaving me bitter just wondering how this book made Robin Hood unsexy.  I mean, even Disney’s anamorphic version was still a fox.

Overall Rating: F.

Do Judge a Book by Its Cover: Irish Luck

March is quickly approaching.  So, for this month I decided that I’d focus on covers that had an Irish theme in honor of St. Patrick’s day.  Unfortunately, YA seems to lack a lot of books that actually take place in Ireland or actually use Irish lore ( I guess leprechauns are hard to sexualize), so a lot of these books aren’t actually Irish themed.   I did find a couple though and a lot of these look festive enough for St. Patrick’s day  so…..

What the Cover Says to Me: Gracie Pollaris is an art history major who is studying in Ireland after a bad break up.  Yes, this is a new adult book.  But you see, it’s totally original because it takes place in Ireland and well the mysterious hot boy on campus for one thing has an accent and for another thing he’s a celtic lord.  So, totally original right?  And yeah, nothing happens in this book except for Gracie and Rhys drinking Irish breakfast tea and feasting on Butlers Chocolate while doing all the other New Adult cliche things.  But as I said because it’s in Ireland…totally new and automatic best seller.

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Though I don’t think any New Adult heroine is smart enough to get into Trinity College.

Reality: A girl is all excited about being in an arranged marriage with a dude in a foreign country and being shipped off to said foreign country.  And despite the fact that I’ve been to Ireland and I felt safe there, I wouldn’t exactly feel safe marrying some random stranger there or anywhere.

Verdict: Shamrock overkill.  I’m sorry, but no just no.  Shamrocks should only belong on the cover of a Lucky Charms box.

What the Cover Says to Me: Once there was a key keeper that did not live in Hogwarts.  Instead, the keeper was responsible protecting our world from the world of faeries.  However, like any human,  Siobhan  makes a mistake.  A mistake that leads her locked on the other side of the door.

Reality: A girl’s mother disappears when she’s young and said girl has supernatural powers.  And of course, a strange hot human boy comes along and changes her world.  Barf.

Verdict: I sort of like this cover.  It’s really simple.  Most YA covers aren’t and that’s when I get really embarrassed to take them out in public.

What the Cover Says to Me:  Most people think leprechauns are  little men who are stingy with bags of gold and live in Ireland.  Ruby Ranger is 1) not a man, 2) she’s six feet tall, 3) lives in Chinatown, and 4) is a leprechaun.  Yes, Ruby is a leprechaun which means she is destined to protect King Midas’s hand and the gold that came from it.  And when one obnoxious History Chanel host gets it into his head that the hand of Midas is in Ruby’s town (which it is, unfortunately) she has to do anything to stop him.

History Chanel be damned.

History Chanel be damned.

Reality: A sad Mulan wannabe epically fails at trying to fight some dystopian fantasy kingdom.

Verdict: Plain and simple.  Which isn’t bad per say.  But honestly, for a traditionally published book I expect a little better cover art.

What the Cover Says to Me: Vegas brat, Melody, has been sent to a Dublin after a disastrous set of events (caused by Melody) that  landed her kingpin father in the pokey.  Now instead of partying it up in the casino, she’s attending an all girls school on an old abbey.  As beautiful as the campus is, Melody, can’t help but think there’s something ominous besides abusive nuns.  Oh, and then there’s the  ghost of the dead earl that just so happens to be haunting her and mocking her for liking Downton Abbey.

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An actual abbey in Ireland. Unfortunately, there’s no earls on said abbey just nuns that make pottery.

Reality: Three girls who have different moms find out they all share the same Vegas mogul dad and end up living with him.

Verdict: The big face part of the cover is sort of generic, but I sort of liked the view of Vegas on the right side.  The diamond design bit though is a little cheesy.

What the Cover Says: The endearing story of a human and a sea serpent.  You might have heard of his sister, Nessie, but you’ve probably never heard of Donald.  He has tried to live a quiet life in the rivers of Ireland where he had fled after one of the various rows he had with Nessie.  One day a beautiful oh so common but common YA girl falls into his lake almost drowns (because she’s a beautiful but oh so common YA girl) and Donald rescues her.  True love will, of course, occur. But of course it’s forbidden and it’s going to take a trilogy to fully work. And with an evil sea serpent after them from Scotland that’s in love with a werewolf, chaos will undoubtedly occur.

Beneath the surface....

Beneath the surface….

Reality: Essentially this book is Twilight with aliens.  Enough said.

Verdict: The covers in this series are really cheesy, but God knows they’ve been successful.  Interestingly enough, there is one last book in the series left and it and the rest of the series are getting a makeover.  Which is sort of sad, since I enjoy and cherish the cheesiness that the models display.

Great Scott, Just Get a Tardis Already: The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

Great Scott, this book blowed.

Time travel should automatically be a win for me.  I mean, it has worked several times before.  With movies such as Back to the Future and shows live the ever awesome Doctor Who but when the lady who wrote a chick lit novel about a pair of Goodwill jeans writes about time travel.  Well, someone needs to go back in time and have a chat with her and stop this nonsense.

Unfortunately, I am not a time lord or a companion of one so I don’t get to do that.  And as for Doc Brown, well, he doesn’t interfere with the timeline (much) and if he read this book he’d just see what a big mistake this is.

The book sort of gives you weird mix messages of whether or not you are supposed to mess with the timeline.  One minute you are the next….well, you’re not.

And after hearing about Doc Brown and Hermione Granger go on about how the past should not be changed, I don’t want to hear a wannabe cult leader for a wannabe Lifetime movie do the same thing.  But that’s what happens in this book.

Basically, our main character, Prenna, has always been the fringe on her cult’s time traveler group’s rules and things get out of hand when…you guessed it because of a boy.  And a wise old man who looks like Ben Kenobi of all people and sends them on a quest.

Yes, yes, I know it sounds like a walking cliche.  I know it sounds painful and it is.  The sad thing is, I don’t think it could’ve been as cliche as it was.

Despite being a packages author with rather interesting  history that raises eyebrows about how she gets her ideas, I enjoy Brashares books.  I think her writing style for the most part, overall, is fairly strong.  True, I haven’t been a fan of the last pant book (seriously, what were you thinking doing that) and I didn’t like its spinoff with those dweeb willow sisters, but I’ll admit Brashares technically can string two sentences together and has shown at times to create decent plots.

However, after reading Here and Now, I am really starting to question those thoughts.  This book really reads like it was written by a freshman writer with a bad editor.

Plot wise, well…Plot holes a dozen fill this book.  I’ll give you the most obvious one: the community which Preena lives in lacks basic resources to solve the issues facing them so much that medicine in the past is more advance than the type of medical care she has in her society, but they have time travel?

When you come up with an explanation for that one, I’d like to hear it.  Of course, the end the big reveal sort of explains it. Sort of being emphasized on because the time travel still really shouldn’t be possible if…let’s just say there should be some butterfly effect.

And before you say that maybe there’s not a butterfly effect in Brashares ‘s world and maybe it takes more of a Who type theory to time travel…well, no read the book.  There is a freaking butterfly effect that really makes no sense if put in context with this example.

I could sit dissect the horrible plot holes all day, but we have characters to talk about now.  Most notably Prenna.

Where do I start with this one?

I think the best way to describe Prenna is dumb and weak.  This of course is cured because of a boy.  It’s always a boy.  But until lover boy came, she just lived in a world where she knows, she actually knows, that is corrupt.  And she does nothing, but sits on her ass.  Of course, Brashares tries to make it look like Mr. Robert and Ms. Cynthia are dangerous people, but in the end one big blackmail threat and they’re taken cared of for the most part.

With the way these people were being described earlier in the book, you’d think that there would be more fallout.  And the whole you can’t get medical treatment thing.  Oh, God, that really pissed me off. It reminded me of all those abusive weirdos I had to read about in Crim Law who got charged with manslaughter for letting their kids die from the flu or something mundane that a shot of penicillin and common sense should’ve taken care of.

And the other baddie, well, Biff from Back to the Future made a better villain.

Then there is the world building itself.  In addition to ridiculous plot holes, the time traveling technology is never explained.  How these morons got chosen to go back to the past is never explained.  And well, the fact they’re doing fucking nothing makes no sense and acting like  a bad Lifetime movie’s crazy cult just annoyed me.  That added with terrible pacing that involved a tutorial on how to play Hearts that was completely wrong (you can’t play hearts with just two players and for that matter running doesn’t mean you automatically win the game just the hand) I’m just annoyed.

Overall rating: Three out of ten (D).

Disclaimer: An ARC was provided via Netgalley this did not change or influence this review in any way. 

This Book Can Keep Its Head: Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes

Alice in Wonderland  is more of my sister’s thing than mine.  She’s already taken dibs on the name if she’s to ever have a child.  Which is perfectly okay with me. Not because I don’t like the book.  Because unlike my sister, I’ve actually read the book, something she’ll never readily admit.  Instead, she’ll probably ask you to stare at her Alice in Wonderland teapot lamp that is made out of this tea set.

Don’t stare it unless you want to hear about how wonderful she is.  Instead, let’s talk about another Alice in Wonderland themed book she’ll never read.  Because despite how big of an Alice fan my big sis says she is, when it comes to reading about Alice, she fails.

Queen of Hearts is not an Alice in Wonderland retelling.  Rather, it’s more of a Wonderland prologue where the Queen of Hearts is the heroine.

The Queen of Hearts has a rather interesting backstory in the fandom universe.  Most people connect her with the Disney version- a self absorbed, unattractive, conceited, dimwitted heroine with a foul temper.  And while she’s somewhat like that in the original book, the Disney version is  a hybrid character of the Queen of Hearts and the Red Queen.

This version of the queen isn’t Disney’s.  Though to be honest, she doesn’t seem much like the queen I remember from Carroll’s books either.  Oakes takes what is a cartoon character and really fleshes her out.  However, despite being fleshed out, the queen still remained herself. You still saw flashes of what Dinah will ultimately become. And yes, she still throws a few tantrums.

Honestly, Carroll’s book is the perfect book for a retelling.  While the world was fairly well formed, there were a lot of holes left open. The characters being one of them.  Oakes seemed to zero in on this and that’s why I think this book worked so well.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t give this book a super high rating because it sort of lacked in plot.  Yeah, it was there.  But overall, this is a character novel.  Which I’m perfectly fine with.  The deal is, is that I don’t think its going to work for everyone.  There were parts of the book that just dragged because Oakes decided to take her time with introducing the reader to Dinah (the queen) and  court  life.

While I do  think it’s going to help the series in future installments, but just looking at the book as a whole I really don’t know if it worked.

To be blunt about it, this book seemed like a really good prologue.  That’s not bad, but there was definitely a feeling of it being incomplete.

That being said though, the rest of the book was great.  The queen and other characters were well formed.  I liked how Oakes took these insane almost caricatures and developed them into actual characters.  I also found some of the transformations of some of the characters-from animal to human intriguing as well. Particularly, the Cheshire and the White Rabbit   Oh, and the Mad Hatter too.

While the romance really wasn’t swoon worthy or for that matter, really much of a romance.  I liked how realistic it seemed.  Dinah has feelings for a guy like many girls do.  I really have to wonder how her relationship with Wardley is going to end.  I really hope, pray, that it’s not what I suspected.  But even if it is, I think the way Oakes has written the story I’ll be okay with it.

Overall, if you want a more introspective look at one of the most outlandish characters in Wonderland, you should give this book a chance.  While it might not be the most exciting book to read, plot wise, as far as character books go this is really a great story.

Overall rating: seven out of ten (B).

The First Twenty Pages Alone Will Put You in a Coma

Well, if you get through the first hundred pages of this book it’s bearable enough to not cause cirrhosis  of the liver.  However, those first hundred pages really those first twenty.  Well, let’s just say I had over twenty status updates alone for these pages.

That’s not to say the rest of the book is good.  It’s just as bad, but in a complete different way.

The first hundred pages though illustrated many things about this cluster fuck (because who am I kidding this series is a cluster fuck mess) that shows just what makes it the perfect book to get drunk over.  It probably doesn’t help that in the first few pages the main character is gifted with a  house, porsche, college admittance and tuition, a whole new wardrobe, and a never ending bank account.

What do I say but: barf.

Seriously.  Total wish fulfillment.

It also doesn’t help that there’s a blatant self insert character in the book who makes a cameo appearance. So much where said self insert character husband looks almost identical to author’s husband.

It really is almost pathetic.

Sadly, though, unlike the first novel which could get away with some of this crap because 1) it wasn’t the  author’s first book, and 2) it was  not self published and a lot of the cheese had to go through several people who weren’t Houck’s friends.

These sorts of things really puzzle me.

Just as the rest of the book was.

Editing really was this book’s worst trait.

I would say out of the four hundred and seventy something pages, about two hundred and fifty pages could be cut.  The fact that Houck inserts a ridiculous amount of poems that do not belong to her made me want  to stab someone.  Yes, I know she has every right to insert them since they belong to the public domain, but it’s a little grating especially when these are the sorts of things I skip.

It wasn’t really the tons of poems that I skipped over though.  Much of the story was skim worthy as well.  Like I care if Kelsey dates three random dudes who disappear after page one hundred and twenty.

Seriously, none of these dudes had any development.  Save for maybe Li.  And he was only there because it appears that Houck has now decided to defecated over Chinese culture.

And once again, after page one hundred and twenty.  No more Li.

Instead, we focus more on the relationship Kelsey has with Ren’s brother for our so called triangle that came out of nowhere.

And yeah, it’s a triangle.

Which seems ridiculous given the past history between these two brothers and the fact that Kelsey knows it.  But everyone knows that two hot brothers always make for an interesting and compelling love triangle (or so I’m told). Hence, why Houck put it in here even though it was otherwise completely unnecessary.

I really don’t get it.  Why does a love triangle have to be used all the stinking time?  I don’t have love triangles, but there are some times where they aren’t necessary.  This is one of those cases.

And when a love triangle isn’t necessary…well, the book ends up sucking.

It also really doesn’t help when the authors characterization is so bland thatI really didn’t see any difference between brother one than brother two except one has blue eyes.  And kids you know that blue eyes always means you’re going to be a winner, unless your name is Edward Cullen.

To be honest, I really felt the Twilight ripoff vibe with this particular installment.  Arguably, you could make that claim with about half of the entire paranormal books in the YA genre.  But some of the things that Houck did with this installment from the vast amount of ridiculous gifts that Ren flourishes on her, a remark about how one member of the uber couple is Ritalin to the other (I know not heroin, but close enough) , and of course Edward Ren writes her a song.  I know, not a lullaby but once again close enough.

These things on top of research done in Wikipedia done in haste with a little mix of fan girl involved.  And it shows: painfully.

This story should be great.  It really does have so much potential, but in the end it just really doesn’t work.  I really can’t enjoy this series even in a campy bad type of way.  Unlike the House of Night books, I can’t mock in earnest because because of its omnibus length it gets boring to mock after awhile.  And it’s honestly, just sort of sad to mock because it thinks it’s excelling when it’s really not.  Cheap tricks, the usual tropes, and everything else that cause me to groan and have everyone around me to ask me if I’m okay, does not make for a good book.

Overall Grade: Two out of ten (F).

Top Ten Couples that Make Me Say GTFO

10) Nikki and Jack (The Everneath trilogy by Brodi Ashton):

Boring.

Boring.

Boring.

To be honest, I really never shipped much in this series.  But man, Nikki and Jack’s shmoopy talk really annoyed me in the last book.  It also didn’t help that there was total character assassination to get them together.

Character assassination, my friends, is just lame.

9) Miss Martian and Lagoon Boy ( The Cartoon Network’s Young Justice):

I feel bad for Lagoon Boy.  It was pretty obvious he was only inserted into Young Justice to cause tension between Miss Martian and Superboy.  Plus, the writers wanted introduce a lot less known DC characters even if it cost the rest of the characters development.  This, ultimately, was one of the reasons why the show was cancelled way before it’s time.

Cursing over being paired with character who was obviously going to end up with another. Unless of course, Lois Lane has a clone too then Miss M is toast or if we followed comic cannon Wonder Girl would’ve worked too.

What bothers me about this relationship, despite the fact it’s obviously forced, is that Lagoon Boy is so annoying.

Watching him talk is like reading those mermaid novels by Tera Lynn Childs with a very annoying narrator.

Not a good thing.

8) Ron and Hermione (Harry Potter by JK Rowling):

I’ll never understand this ship, just like I’m sure plenty of Rione fans will never get my love for Harmony.

Ron and Hermione just seems like a nightmare in the making for me.  I mean, you have the laziest guy in Hogwarts get together with the brainiest girl.  Instant, disaster.

Yeah, really, you.

Plus, given Ron’s treatment towards Hermione in the sixth book, if girl had a backbone she would’ve got over him and gotten into Harry’s pants.

Okay, I know she does have a backbone.  But everything about Hermione’s character seems hidden whenever she’s around Ron.  It’s just like she can’t be her true self, and that to me is what makes the relationship so horrid.

7) Bethany Church and Xavier Woods (Halo Trilogy by Alexandra Adornetto):

This couple just makes me want to give them the stink eye.

I hate to say this, but the relationship between these two characters more than anything else shows just how young Adornetto is.  I’m not saying that a teen isn’t capable of writing to a deep and complicated love story, but Adornetto certainly doesn’t.  What bothers me the most about this relationship, is that the characters are never held accountable for their actions.  Bethany killed a fucking priest.  Seriously, how can there not be consequences for that?

6) Anthem and Gavin (The Brokenhearted by Amelia Kahaney):

This is probably one of the worst written relationships in YA that it’s laughable.

I won’t spoil the book for you, but you sort of figure everything out by just watching these two out.

It’s just so fake and I really can’t see anyone wanting to become a wannabe Batman for this guy.

Well, okay, I take that back.  Anthem is an idiot.  I think what I hated about this one the most is how stupid it expects its audience to be.  Because that’s what you have to be in order to take this couple seriously.

5) Amy and Teddy (Little Women):

Really?

Really?

All that build up for Joe and Teddy and this is what the end game is.

To be fair, I probably could’ve handled it better if I didn’t see the film version first and watch Teddy interact with young Amy.  The age difference just really bothers me, even though it was common placed during the period. But the fact that a large portion of the story happens when Amy is younger is just wrong.  And imagining Batman with Mary Jane is so wrong on so many levels.

4) Travis and Abbey (Beautiful Disaster  by Jamie McGuire):

Ha! Ha! Ha!

I really start laughing whenever I hear someone discuss how romantic this pair is.

I’m sorry.  You’re all entitled to your own opinion, but I don’t see how anyone can view this relationship as being healthy then….well, that’s very ah interesting.

I think what bothers me about Tabby is that it glamorizes abuse.  Travis is an  abuser there’ s no doubt about it, and Abby never seems to grow a back bone.

Honestly, I find this relationship to be just sad.

3) Juliette and anyone (Shatter Me Series by Tehereh Mafi):

Please.

Just please.

This girl and her relationships just have me groaning.

In corner one, you have Adam who’s blander than any early Disney prince could ever hope to be.

In the other corner.  Well, you have the Joker minus the acid incident.

Instead, he looks like a GQ model and that (of course) means he gets a second chance.

Just barf.

2) Bella and Edward (The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer):

They almost didn’t make the list.  But after much thought, I put them on there.  I think because this couple is used as the basis for every single god awful young adult and new adult couple in recent past.

The sad thing is, at the height of the Team Edward versus Team Jacob wars, I was Team Edward.  It wasn’t so much that I thought Bella would be better off with Edward, it just seemed obvious that that was where Meyer was going.  And honestly…Jacob was too good for Bella.  Well, until he became creepy.

1) Romeo and Juliet (Romeo and Juliet by WIlliam Shakespeare):

Probably one of the most famous couples in the Western world, and I hate them.

I think it’s not so much Shakespeare’s writing that bothers me, but the way millions of people interpret this couple.

I don’t interpret the play as being a romantic play.  Sure, there are romantic moments in Romeo and Juliet, but I think at it’s heart the play is a cautionary tale about instant love and impulsiveness, but I think people often overlook that.

Let’s face it, people will always remember this couple as having some amazing love story, but other than an amazing balcony scene what do these two really have?

Another Nauseating NA Book: Be With Me by J Lynn (Jennifer L Armentrout)

 

I officially give up on Jennifer L Armentrout (alias J Lynn) when it comes to New Adult thanks to Be With Me.

This has to be one of the blandest, most contrived NA books I’ve read in awhile.

In general, I find NA books to be bland.  I read them though out of some weird hope that one day one will break out from the norm of the abusive cute coed and BMOC and wow me.

It has not happened yet.

Jennifer L Armentrout is a writer who could’ve made an impact on NA.  I enjoy her early Lux novels and she has some interesting ideas, but her NA books really are lackluster and average to me.  Really, Wait for You is really a derivative of Tamara Webber’s Easy, except that book written better and the character seemed realistic (despite Lucas’s over dramatic backstory).  Frigid, was completely pointless.  Sure, it had a bit more of a plot than Wait for You, but at least Cam and Avery’s relationship was developed unlike Kyler and Sydney’s.

I really didn’t really have a lot of hope for Be With Me, but I did think that maybe, just maybe, Armentrout’s third NA book might be better than the last two.

It was worst.

The leads are insipid.

There’s Teresa who is really just your standard NA girl.  Super skinny, despite eating junk all day, who seems to attract every guy on campus.  Especially the BMOC who just can’t be with her because her past.  Well, in this case both of their past.  Rolls freaking eyes.

I really, really, couldn’t stand our leading man in this one.  The only thing Jase had going for him was his secret, which really had no role whatsoever in this story except for making him broody.

Tess’s backstory was a bore too.  The way it as played out was over dramatic and contrived that…well, General Hospital was more realistic.

That big tragedy on campus had me seething on so many levels.  For one thing, it wasn’t realistic.  I’ve watched enough Sherlock and CSI  to know that cops aren’t that daff.  Okay, more CSI  on that statement since Sherlock would probably say that cops can be idiots.  But still, it was sort of obvious that that character’s fate wasn’t as it seemed.  And based on the circumstances, you’d think the police would conduct a proper investigation.

But you know what Stephenie Meyer.  It’s fiction.

Oh, fuck that.

To be honest, that whole plot point bothered me on so many levels because it involved sensitive subject matter.  Finding out your roommate “hung” herself, does not mean start boinking the object of your lust especially in your brother’s apartment.

Really?  Really?

That disgusting tidbit aside, what really bothered me about this book was how copy/paste it felt.  A lot of these scenes seemed fairly repetitive from Armentrout’s other New Adult and Adult books.  I honestly skim through them because I already know what they’re going to say and they bore me.

Same with the courtship.  You know the characters aren’t going to get together for a hundred or some odd pages even though they are practically together (in an Armentrout book).  I get that this happens in a lot of YA and NA books, but in Armentrout’s case it’s always about ten times worse especially in the NA books.  I mean, seriously a guy brings you cupcakes every day and you don’t think he likes you…

I usually know that when these scenes of OMG sex is so good with him are included that they characters are going to fight and that they’ll make up sooner than later because the great sex was so good that means they were meant to be together.

That and Armentrout will throw some hasty life and death situation in front of them.

At the end of the day, I just really don’t know what to say.  This book isn’t horrific.  I’ve read worse NA books, believe it or not.  But I expect better from an author with Armentrout’s potential.  I really, just really, found this book to be cliche and full of soap opera melodrama.

Overall Rating: Three out of ten (C-).

If you love Joker/Harley then……: Unravel Me by Tehereh Mafi

This is actually a fairly popular series.

I have lots of book blogging friends who love it.  I just…I just can’t.

I had this book on my shelf, but I just sort of put off reading it for a lot of reasons.  However, with the last book in the trilogy being released, I decided that I might as well get caught up.  And then I remember why, just why, I didn’t gobble this up when it first came out after reading the first two paragraphs of the very first chapter:

The world might be sunny-side up today.

The big ball of yellow might be spilling into the clouds, runny and yolky and blurring into the bluest-sky, bright with cold hope and false promises about fond memories, real families, hearty breakfasts, stacks of pancakes drizzled in maple syrup sitting on a plate in a world that doesn’t exist anymore (Mafi, 1%).

Some people might find that quote endearing or the prose revolutionary, I don’t.  I just find it eye roll worthy.  Like something you’d see in an intro to fiction or intro to poetry class and you’d just try to find something nice to say you wouldn’t be hated by your classmate, but instead find yourself being the only so called bitch in your class for not seeing the beauty of using a breakfast food metaphor.

That’s what Mafi’s writing does to me.  It just makes my inner bitch want to get out a red pen and write–what the hell were you thinking?  If we cut all the breakfast food metaphor crap this would be a better book.  Same with using strike outs constantly, or not writing out numbers, or not using proper grammar rules, or the excessive use of repetition as a literary device.

The style of this particular series, really gets to me.

Maybe I could’ve tolerated it better if I actually liked the characters in this or book or there was an actual plot to this story.  But no, just no.

I’ll start with the plot.  It’s like someone watched one too many episodes of X-Men was obsessed with Joker/Harley on Batman the Animated Series as a kid, and decided to write a book with those concepts in mind.  But since dystopia is so prevalent in YA novels today they threw that in as well and….instant best seller.

The dystopian world that this series is set in is never really fleshed out, and at this point I never expect it to be fleshed out.  At the core of this book, it is all about the love triangle and what a shitty love triangle it is.

In corner one you have Adam Kent.  Kent.  Seriously, his last name is Kent.  Can we be more blatantly obvious that we we’re a comic fangirl trying to input our favorite heros into fiction?

Yes, it’s easy to see through that first name disguise, Mafi.

Well, yeah…but I’ll get to that part in a book.

As far as comparisons to Clark Kent/Superman go, they look pretty much alike-dark hair and blue eyes.  And he has super powers, but at least he’s not an alien.  But wait he’s saving Lois Lane I meant Juliette’s butt all the time.

Damn it, Mafi, you’re making me use strikeouts.

I don’t like using strikeouts. I find it so plebeian.

Adam is pretty much a bland other than having Superman looks, super powers and wanting to make out all the time with Juliette even though she’s like kryptonite to him.  Honestly, he’s borderline whiney and annoying.  In the last book he basically saved Juliette’s butt every chapter, but in this book that went to Warren.

Warren is probably the best character in this series.  At his best he is demented.  If I was to compare him to a comic character (which you can do with every character in this series) it would be the Joker.  He is just such a psychopath that you can’t help but enjoy watching him.  However, a lot of my Warren love was squashed by the fact that Mafi had to go out and romanticize him.

Of course, Warren and Juliette could never have the charm of this couple because they don’t admit how f-ed up they are.

This character should not be romanticized.

He is a psychopath.  And while I know plenty of people ship him and Juliette I don’t get it, unless Mafi is going for a whole twisted Joker/Harley thing.  And even then, that relationship isn’t depicted as being one of warm and fuzzies, the creators showed that it was toxic.

But you’d never think that given how many descriptions of Warren’s emerald green eyes, blonde hair, and just how perfect he looks in his uniform that he’s a psycho. Oh, occasionally Juliette will mention he is and how she shouldn’t be falling over him.  But Mafi tries to compensate these mistakes of his by making him have a troubled childhood.

Oh, yes, the troubled childhood.  The excuse for everything.

Let’s see what can having a troubled childhood get you out of:

1) Child abuse

2) Being physically and emotionally abusive to the girl you claim you love

3) Being a mass murderer

And don’t forget if you’re nineteen years old that means you’re too young to be evil.

Sigh.

Do I need to even go there.

I’ll be honest, I liked Warren, not as a person, but as a character in the first book.  But the fact that Mafi has tried to pacify his actions so that he can become a legitimate love interest disgusts me on so many levels.

At least he’s more interesting than Adam.

To be honest, I really could care less about who Juliette ends up with.  She’s a horrible character. I just cannot like her.  A part of me hopes she ends up with Warren because undoubtedly one day he’ll commit homicide against her and, well, I won’t have to read her whining anymore.

She essentially has Rogue from Xmen’s powers.  However, unlike Rouge she lacks heart, or any semblance of a personality.  All she does is lust or complain about her life.

Juliette will never, ever, be this bad ass.

And while some people call her on it, it’s done the wrong sort of way.  She essentially gets yelled at for being an introvert.  Apparently, if you don’t try to be overly social that’s a problem not being a whiney waste of space.

As an introvert, this offended me.  Sometimes people just don’t want to make friends.  And really, I think the compound should be glad that Juliette isn’t making more of an effort to get to know them.

I probably will eventually read Ignite Me since I made it this far and want to see if this series an possibly develop a plot in the last installment. I honestly, doubt it though.  It’s sad to say that even though Unravel Me suffers from a prose that is purple it makes purple lovers blanch and terrible characters.

Overall Rating: Three out of ten (D).

Top Ten Couples I Ship

So, if you haven’t paid attention to the internet this past week then you might be unaware about the latest bombshell JK Rowling dropped about the Harry Potter universe.  That Harmony fans (like myself) aren’t so crazy after all thinking that Harry and Hermione should’ve been the end game rather than Ron and Hermione.  This got me thinking about shipping and I decide that for my top ten list of the week I’d discuss my top ten favorite ships.  Most of these will probably be book related, but a couple of them may be other forms of media as well.

10) Beauty and the Beast (the Disney version and I except the prince version of the beast if I imagine Prince Eric’s face on him):

If you could replace Ariel with Belle well….Eric would be much better off.

Yeah, this is number ten.  I really almost put Eric and Ariel on here because that’s who I shipped the most Disney wise when I was younger, but I just can’t now.  The relationship is so unhealthy on Ariel’s side despite the fact Eric is a sweetie and probably the hottest animated guy Disney has drawn.  Beauty and the Beast really takes its time (well, in its eighty or so minute run) to develop Belle and Adam’s-yes, the Beast’s name is Adam-relationship.  I also like how they contrast it with Gaston who would normally be the hero in a Disney movie.  However, Adam is a little lackluster on the eyes once he transforms (he has a mullet).  I get that producers say that we wouldn’t be impressed with whoever they drew.  But if they gave us Prince Eric look alike, I can guarantee you Prince Adam fans probably would’ve been happier.

9) Paul and Suze (The Mediator by Meg Cabot):

This is a couple that should never be together.  I didn’t even technically root for them to be the end game.  But man, I love them in fandom.  And I do think Paul helped Suze’s relationship with Jesse.

Paul is an asshole.  Not a physical asshole so much as mental one.  But the cat and mouse games that he and Suze play throughout the series have a sort of sexiness to them that you really don’t see with much YA bad boys.  Of course, I don’t think anyone in their right mind would want to be with Paul in cannon, but in fannon I enjoy him a lot more than I do with Jesse.  Which is weird because I am a huge Jesse’s girl.

8) Kestrel and Arin (The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski):

Yes, I just read this book.  But I ship this couple so hard.  I think it’s in part because it’s what I want for all YA romances.  Nice developed characters who are equally matched up in intellect in their relationship.  And there’s no insta love.  I also like that this couple doesn’t go into all fluff land once they get together.  The plot in the novel still remains and there are things that are more important than their relationship.

7) Mimi and Kingsley (from Melissa de la Cruz’s Blue Bloods):

This couple is what saved the final book from becoming a disaster.  I think what I love best about this relationship is that these two characters are both flawed beyond belief and don’t try to change each other.  Plus, Kingsley has a childish side to him which makes him amusing and at times a bit scary.  Besides, who doesn’t love the duke of hell?

6) Batman and Catwoman (DC Comics):

This is one couple that I really like even though I’m pretty sure they’re never going to get a happy ending and I’m totally okay with it.  I think out of everyone in the DC universe, Selina Kyle-a.k.a. Catwoman-is probably the most equipped to deal with the Bat.  She’s not depended and I think she knows that she’ll never be number one.  And while that doesn’t exactly make for a healthy relationship in the traditional sense, you have to give it to her for not trying to change him.

Not my favorite version, but still shows the sick chemistry these two have.

5) Phoebe and Cole (from the WB’s Charmed):

WTF was with that Charmed finale? We all know that if Cole never got hired on Nip/Tuck he and Phoebe would’ve been the end game.  I think what really bothers me is how they ended this ship.  It was so wrong on so many levels.  What I think worked about Phole for me was that you finally saw some gray in Charmed.  Let’s face it, the show had a pretty black and white view on the world and when Cole became a semi-reformed demon it sort of tilted it on its access to a bit.

4) Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy (from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen):

It’s a classic ship and had to be put on the list.  A lot of people try to recreate it with various retellings, but it just doesn’t work…unless Colin Firth stares in the adaption.  Though I think they might get away with having a remake with Matthew Crawley in it-Oh, wait he played Edward in Sense and Sensibility so maybe playing another Austen man isn’t possible.  The point is, since the publication of this book this couple has been pimped times infinity.

If you want someone to read show them this gif.

I often think a lot of people don’t even resonate with what the characters are really like.  One of my friends thinks Darcy and Elizabeth are too idolized, too perfect.  And I disagree.  I think if you read the source material or watch the miniseries you see the flaws for sure. Is it completely realistic…no.  But it’s definitely better than Twilight.

3) Cinder and Kai (from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer):

I really, really, like this ship and for that matter all the ships in this series for so many reasons.  I think Kai and Cinder make the perfect anchor ship for the series though for so many reasons.

As with all these ships, there’s no instant love.  And while the romance plays a heavy role in the book, these characters know how to keep their priorities.

I also like how the typical gender roles that you see in fairytales are defied.  The climax of Cress where Cinder rescues Kai made me smile for so many different reasons.

2) Suze and Jesse (from The Mediator series by Meg Cabot):

Oh, Suze and Jesse you cemented a place for Meg Cabot on the hall of swoon.  This couple.  Oh, this couple.  The Mediator series will always be one of my favorite series even though it’s over ten years old now, I still think I could pick it up and enjoy it as much I did when I first read it.

1) Harry and Hermione (from The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling):

Yes, I saved this one for last.  I like Harry and Hermione because they make the most sense out of any Potter couple.  I really don’t like Harry and Ginny or Hermione and Ron since I don’t think either of these relationships are substantially built. Ginny is essentially a Sue, who’s true purpose of the series was fulfilled in book two.  And Ron, well, he went from being the funny best friend to an immature and jealous teenager and probably a lousy husband if his behavior in book six is any indicator of how he’s going to be in the future.

Voldemort delusions speak truth.

Many people try to counter these arguments, by stating Harry and Hermione have more or less sibling chemistry.  At this I have to laugh.  I mean, I can see how you could view them as siblings but you could make the case that until Ginny and Harry snogged that they shared a sibling relationship as well.

For awhile there I wondered if maybe I was reading into this more than I should, after all no one enjoys Harry Potter for the romance, but after reading Rowling’s latest interview I feel oddly comforted.  And my ship does make sense.