Prince of Yawns: Prince of Shadows by Rachel Caine

I’m just going to put it out there: I hate Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Yes, I hate his most famous play, despite the fact that many English teachers have championed it, it just doesn’t work for me and it probably never will.

However, a retelling of this famous tale from a minor character’s POV to me seemed like it could be interesting.  Especially since said main character is said to be a thief, sad to say he and most of the book made me yawn more than anything else.

Prince of Shadows isn’t a horrible book.  Yes, it’s bad.  But I have read much, much worse.  What Prince of Shadows is is more or less a disappointment.  Which I think was because of a few bad choices.

Mainly point of view.  I’m sorry but Benvolio was beyond being dull.  The fact that Caine tried to make him more interesting by giving him this Robin Hood-ish back story but never fully expanding on it was just sad and sort of embarrassing.

A Robin Hood character is something I can almost always get behind.  Of course, there does need to be a little bit of effort behind making these Robin Hood-ish type of characters exciting.  Merely having them occasionally breaking in with no real good reason and never going into the characters history isn’t going to get me to love him.  A lion tattoo and a half season of build up might help though.

Yeah, I just referenced that show.  I had to when I’m talking about Robin Hood.

Really, if the book would’ve been written in third I think Caine might’ve pulled it off.  I really found for the most part that I wanted more of the side characters.  And that doesn’t mean the title characters from the tragedy.  Romeo is still as idiotic as ever and Juliet, well, the amount of screen time she gets she just seems ridiculously young

The character that really seemed to drive the book forward was Mercutio.  Really, his subplot was the entire catalyst for the rest of the novel.  While I get why Caine couldn’t have the entire story told from his perspective, I do think that if we would’ve gotten more of his point of view-through third person-it would’ve beefed this book up tremendously.

As it was, I often felt like I never really got to know these characters other than boring old Benvolio.  And god was he dull.

Really the dullness almost made this a DNF which was ridiculous since there was so much this novel had going for it.  I give Caine huge props for creativity.  I love the plot twists that there were with this one, but the way it was presented just drives me nuts.

A book like this should have you on the edge of your seat, instead of making you almost fall asleep in drool.  But that’s how I felt when I read this one.  It wasn’t a bad book, per say, but it took me the entire week just to read it-though admittedly I  was working and really had no time to read except during lunch and I was more or less trying to check and catch up on my email then.

Still though, even with work, I can usually knock out a couple of books a week.  But this one just left me in a reader’s slump.  Again, not a horrible book but it was just one that was….well. as bland as its main character.

The pacing was also a major issue in this one and I think contributed to the boredom.  While Caine seemed to dwell on before the play and first two acts of Romeo and Juliet all the actual action scenes in the Shakespeare play were crammed in the last fourth.  Which just made the book feel almost fragmented.  I get that there had to be some build up to the action scenes, but come on the pacing could’ve been better.

Same with the romance plot.  It just seemed to come out of nowhere. Sure, there were a few scenes that our two leads had together but based on the jacket you’d think they’d interact a lot more than they did.  As it seems they were more or less thrown together just to sell the book because hey YA needs romance.

And it wasn’t that this particular romance was that offensive, it just was sort of jarring compared to the rest of the book. And I think the overall story would’ve been better without it.

Overall, I don’t think Prince of Shadows was that horrible of a book.  It’s not one that I can recommend willingly, but it’s not a bad book. I think I’d give it an average rating (C).  It’s not going to be one of those books I remember.  I have to give kudos to Caine for trying something new, but this one just really didn’t work for me.

 

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Normally Being Good is Dumb: Top Ten Worst Villains in YA

Let’s face it, a good villain can make or break a novel.  If done correctly the villain can be the most memorable part of a novel.  However, YA often lacks in villains.  And sometimes it’s just so painful that I had to make a list.

10) Those wannabe cultists in The Here and Now  by Anne Brashares: I know that this book hasn’t been technically released yet, but those bad guys aren’t even Lifetime Move Network scary.  I mean, it really doesn’t take that much to get them to step down from their evil control freak ways.  Well, when the heroine finally stands up for herself.  But for future people, these baddies are really dense.

9) Khalistah  from See Me by Wendy Higgins: Dear.  Freaking Lord.  This is a cartoon version of a villain if there ever was one. Oh wait, even the worst Disney villain was more developed than this.  Seriously, I wondered if Khalistah was just a joke.  She was that painful.  I think the only way I can describe the way this villain is described is imagine writing a story where you’re the princess and that mean girl who bullied you all your life doesn’t get the hot football player you have a crush on-that would be Khalistah.  And FYI, that would make a terrible story unless there are a) robots or b) there’s a hot nerd who’s secretly a secret agent for some government agency that fights aliens that pose as football players.  Oh, and the so called mean bitchy girl totally his partner on the mission.  And the reason she hates you, because your a stupid ass that causes too many problems for them. And no she’s not in love with the totally hot nerd because she has better things to do than a stupid YA relationship.

8) Lokesh from Collen Houck’s Tiger’s Curse Series: If you’ve read my drinking game of this series you knew this one was coming.  This villain is pathetic.  Hardly really even memorable.  When a character is more concerned about pancakes, boys, and what dress she should wear.  You know you’ve lost your evil mojo.

7) Celeste from Kiera Cass’s The Selection: Another case where extreme slut slamming creates a cartoon villain.  At least Celeste hasn’t gone to extremes like Khalistah has to be the bad guy in this series, but I have a funny feeling it’s only a matter of time.  The only reason she scored a little bit more horrible than Khalistah is that Celeste has had two books to get her evil on.  And besides just being a cliche mean girl, she’s never going to get that oomph she needs to be a decent baddie.

6) Sebastian from The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare: I’m sorry.  But no.  I actually did think Valentine was a better villain, even though he was a rip off of Voldemort (who is probably one of the best if not the best villain in YA).   Sebastian though, he has after thought written all over him.  And I’m sorry the fact that his biggest thing is to want to bone his sister makes me have the gag reflexes more than anything else.

5) Jake from the Halo Trilogy by Alexandra Adornetto: A villain.  Please.  I’ve seen Care Bears that are scarier. Really, I feel like Jake is the true victim of this trilogy.  Bethany, that evil mastermind, caused him to lose his identity because he loved her.  Well, obsessed about her to the point he got killed why he was in hell after he was dead.  That doesn’t makes any sense.  Except in South Park.

Super scary, I know.

4) The Silver Bloods in Melissa de la Cruz’s Blue Bloods: But MJ wasn’t this like one of your favorite YA series?  Yes.  And while the Silver Bloods might have been badass in the earlier books in the final battle, well, I could defeat them and I’m not a vampire or a super ninja or even own a ray gun or a sword for that matter.  I think for a creature that was described as being so conniving they ended up being ridiculously stupid.  The finale to this series was a let down in a lot of different ways, and the Silver Bloods played a big role in why it sucked.  From being a super baddie to a wimpy baddie.  Silver Bloods are probably one of the most disappointing villains in YA.

3)Patch from Becca Fitzpatrick’s The Hush Hush Saga: Yes, I know he’s technically not a villain.  But by all accounts Patch should be a villain.  He tried to kill the main character.  It really was the whole point of the first book, but what is he?  The hero.  And I might be okay with that if his past behavior was addressed but nope.  He even makes a lousy villain if you think about it for giving up his quest all because of love.

2) Neferet The House of Night Series by PC and Kristin Cast: This villain is reduced to being slut slammed every other page.  I swear, she just runs around naked for the Casts to mock her.  The character is completely 1-D too, despite the fact that the Casts did actually try to give her a backstory.  Perhaps if the series wasn’t so ridiculous in its context overall then maybe…just maybe Neferet could’ve actually had a chance at succeeding at evil.

1) The Voluturi in Stephenie Meyer’s The Twilight Saga: Way to ruin a climax.  Oh, these are scary guys that can destroy the Cullen family and those stupid wolves without so much thought that the Cullens decide to go all Justice League Unlimited (except without the coolness factor)on them even though they would undoubtedly fail because the Volutri was all like Amazo that even Super-Bella would have problems defeating them.  But you know what, instead of blood shed all we got was a tense stare off with some awkward facial expressions and that was it.

Seriously, why couldn’t they have done something to the demon baby.

Where is Lord Voldemort when you need him?

Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Tiger’s Voyage by Colleen Houck

As I was reading Tiger’s Voyage,  I couldn’t help but myself but Eureka!  Finally a guide to how to write a book.  Don’t believe me.  I seriously believe that Colleen Houck could write a book on how to write a novel and its sort of all in Tiger’s Curse.  Since she hasn’t patented this brilliant formula.  I’ve decided I’ll write a guide.  It’s not official or anything.  But whatever. I find after a couple of glasses of wine it makes a lot of sense.

Step One: Have a Perfect But Doesn’t Realize It Character Who Everyone Including the Otherwise Asexual Villain is in Love With.

Every fucking everybody is in love with Kelsey.  She’s so perfect, but doesn’t realize it.  And she happens to get curvier as she loses weight. And has a Barbie size waist.

Is that even possible?

Whatever.  She’s perfect which obviously means she’s the bestest YA heroine ever.

Honestly, I inwardly cringe when I read these books because it’s more than a little obvious that Kelsey is a self insert to the point it’s not even funny.

Step Two: Have two heros Who Are About as Male as, well, Ken.

Recently, my friend, Khanh, seemed to coin a problem that I’ve seen going on with several of the heros in YA.  They lack penises. Seriously, I don’t get it.  Why does every YA hero have to be a) a dick or b) lack any sort of masculinity?  Houck’s heros are actually a weird hybrid.  While Ren will be acting extremely chaste where the most romantic thing he’s doing is copying pasting a poem out of the public domain one page, the next he’ll  be telling Kelsey that she can’t cut her magic induced butt length hair.  I’m sorry, but butt length hair is impractical and makes you look like one of those people who have a show on TLC.

Because plastic is oh so sexy.

Not a thing that you really want unless you have time to do a lot of brushing.  And if you do keep up the maintenance, I’m sure it look nice.

But Kelsey doesn’t fucking want butt length hair.

Sigh…

Step Three: People Enjoy Reading about Food and Clothes and Poetry..So Don’t be So Focused on Plot.

A good chunk of the book was something like this (note, I’m paraphrasing this is not an actual quote): This morning I was going to wear my red dress, but Ren didn’t like that said it made me look like a harlot.  So, I put on the black one.  But Kishan said it was boring.  So I just decided to keep on my Garfield pajamas as I told the golden fruit (which could cure the problem of world hunger but I don’t fucking give a flip) to make me a Denny’s Grand Slam with extra bacon and maple syrup-oh, and some chocolate chip peanut butter crap too.  And then Ren read me a Shakespeare sonnet (if I was actually Houck I’d insert the whole damn sonnet here).  And then after that I made myself a pastrami sandwich, with some ranch chips,  a Coke float, and a ice cream sundae from DairyQueen before I put on my purple evening dress and Ren read some more poetry that’s in the public domain.

I’m not joking people.  This is literally what the first third of the book was. Okay, throw in some melodrama love triangle bullshit and some horrid accents which I’ll get to in a minute.  But that was pretty much it.

Step Four: You want to show diversity well use a shit load of accents and make them offensive as ever.

This is a PSA for Ms. Houck.  I am a born and raised Texan and I have never:

1) Road a horse.

2) Like Lonestar beer.

3) Gone honkey tonking.

4) Spoke incomprehensible English that makes me sound like Hagrid’s ill educated American cousin.

I guess it could be worse.  Look what she did to the poor country of Jamaica.  The way that character spoke you’d think that Jamaicans were drunk all the time and were related to Hagrid as well.

Authors, just state that the character speaks with an accent.  Don’t try to do this shit.  It annoys me.

Step Five: Start Your Halfway Mark by Having a Character Info Dump Wikipedia.

Mr. Kadam just needs to be replaced by Siri at this point.  All he does is blurt out fact that Siri could find for you.  There’s really no point for him to be there.  Then, I guess be the money man who can just call in a yacht or a passport in a snap of a few fingers.

Which is just really unrealistic and pathetic. However, in this book I actually was cheering Kadam’s Wiki dump on because I knew the book was going to be halfway over.  If there’s one thing consistent about Houck its her pacing.  First half waste of space like I previously described.  Second half begins with boring info dump which turns to the dumbest action scenes ever.

Step Six: Have All These Life and Death Action Scenes Guarded by Uber Powerful Dragons Resolved, well, Faster than a Disney Movie:

And Disney movies are at most ninety minutes long, guys (ninety minutes which translates to one page per minute of screenplay versus 560 pages that this book freaking had).  Of course, Houck has lame action scene after lame action scene stacked on top of each other, but I really can’t get excited for any of them.

I think this book though had what had to be the lamest of all her action scenes so far.  When a dragon, a freaking dragon, decided to give all the characters a princess makeover.

Deciding the color of Kelsey’s dress is much more important than you knowing defeating and killing her.

Oh, yeah, everyone including Kelsey’s boy toys had to be made over to look like they belonged at Disney World or at least where they could be cast members of Once Upon a Time.

This is where the butt long hair comes from.

Really, if you were a dragon would you use your powers to give idiots a Disney makeover for atmosphere value.

All I can say is this:

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Step Seven: End with Another Stupid Cliffhanger

Because that cash cow needs a little more draining.

Honestly, I am going to have to take a bit of a break before I force myself to read the fourth installment of this shit fest.  They just get progressively worse and worse.  The thing about this particular series is I can’t help but feel a little sorry and for that matter baffled by it.  I mean, the wish fulfillment and self gratification that I can just read from it sickens me to the point I’m like why.  Just no.  No. F.

The Almost Quarterly Report

It’s almost April which means almost a quarter of the year has gone by.  Which means, its time for me to introduce a new feature: The Almost Quarterly Report.  In which I examine my reading choices.

Amount of books Read: Twenty-Seven according to that GoodReads Challenge app thing.  Actually, I think it’s been really twenty-eight because I didn’t track my reading progress for one of them (whatever, we’ll keep the twenty-seven for prosperity’s sake).

Biggest Surprise: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski.  This one has been over hyped and then some, so I was expecting to be a bit disappointed.  But amazingly, I enjoyed it just as much as everyone else did.  Am I really changing my black sheep ways?

Worst Overall Book: Oh, by far this goes to Big Fat Disaster by Beth Fehlbaum.  It was the first book I read this year and it really left a HORRIBLE impact on me.  It is so trigger inducing, so insulting on so many levels.  I just try to block it out.  I think what really made this one THE worst was the fact it had all these sensitive issues and where it could’ve taken its time to deal with them delicately it just shitted all over the place.  And I don’t care, but any mother who tells you it’s okay to stick a finger in your mouth and vomit needs to have their parental rights terminated.

Best Debut: Probably Something Real by Heather Demetrios.  I almost gave this one to Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge, but Something Real  is overall a much more solid book.  If you like trashy TLC shows,  Something Real is a great behind the scenes fictional account about how much dysfunction is really behind these shows.

Weirdest Book: See Me by Wendy Higgins.  I almost think Higgins wrote this on a bet that she couldn’t make leprechauns sexy.  Well, she didn’t.  This book falters in a lot of ways where it really shouldn’t.  I get that this was independently published, but still Higgins has a fairly successful series out there-she should know better than naming her hero after a vegetable that is almost as infamous as asparagus. Runner up, goes to Fates by Lanie Bross.  Dear freaking lord, I didn’t even understand the point of that book.

Pretty much sums up this book.

Best Book: I’m going to give it to Cress by Marissa Meyer.  I really loved that book.  It was just what I wanted.  This series just keeps getting better and better.  To be honest, I was a little nervous about this book because Rapunzel (the traditional NOT Disney Rapunzel) is a bit of a drip.  However, Cress well she kicks butt without being ridiculously unrealistic.  Oh, and did I mention that there is just so much swoon in this book.

Most Disappointing Book: Sadly, there were so many in this category and in the end I had to give this one a tie for new books the crown goes to Evertrue by Brodi Ashton.  I just had such high hopes for the finale series and I got a book that read like a sophomore slump.  The other winner would be Second Star by Alyssa B Sheinmel.  This book was supposed to be a Peter Pan retelling.  The only thing Peter Pan about it was  the characters names.

Overall Thoughts: So far, this year has been a mixed bag.  There has been some fantastic stuff, but there has been some shitastic stuff as well.  Hopefully, the next quarter will be stronger (we can only hope).  Here are some of the books that are coming out/or that I’m planning on reviewing in the next reading period.

 

I have really high hopes for this one.  However, I haven’t been a fan of de la Cruz’s past few releases.  I can only hope that this one will be like her early Blue Bloods books or I really think I’m going to her on my library only list.

 

 

Another author’s whose books can go either way.  I’m actually excited about this one, even though it does look like a little bit of a Pretty Little Liars knock out.  Because hello, ballet.

 

 

 

Because after the last book, I know it’s going to be a cluster fuck of a mess and that in itself can be interesting in a sad sort of way.  Plus, I think I might make a drinking game with this book and that’s always fun.

 

 

 

 

Bookstore Fridays: Better Known as Happy Hour for Book Nerds

You know how most people have to get to happy hour after work on Fridays.  I go to the bookstore.  And usually end up buying book some that I love and regret buying later on.  Today, I thought I’d talk about some of my recent book shopping sprees-note, this post is like a combination of three or four shopping trips.

 

Reason for Purchase: I’m sort of on a fairytale retelling fensy  lately.  And I love the cover.  I really am shallow when it comes to pretty covers.  I think it’s a one of the reasons I keep getting Twilight knockoffs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was an English major so Shakespeare retellings always intrigue me.  If this is halfway decent I will probably be kissing Caine’s feet.  Though I’ll be the first to admit, I despised Romeo and Juliet in high school.

An YA assassin who admits they’re horrible at it.  Could be interesting.  Plus, it involves Greek mythology and I enjoy Greek mythology despite the fact I almost always gets burned when they’re remixed with YA.

 

An alternate take on Russian history.  Did I mention I really liked that horrible Anastasia movie when I was a kid.  And I spent a ridiculous amount of time studying the Russian revolution in undergrad.  Oh, and faberge eggs.

 

Actual intentional purchase.  Friends were going gaga over it so I had to give it a try.  Plus, fairytales.

This is why I shouldn’t be such a Shallow Hal when it comes to picking up books braced on stories.  Dear.  Lord.  This my friends is why we can’t have nice books. And why you should never, ever, complain about Twilight.

Too much Downton Abbey and dress envy explain this purchase perfectly.

 

A spur of the moment purchase which was probably one of my best spur of the moment purchases in a long, long, time.

 

Better Known as the New Leprechaun Movie: See Me by Wendy Higgins

 

Leprechauns will never be sexy.

Just saying it now.

Think about it:

Do you find the Lucky Charms guy sexy?

If you do that’s your prerogative.  I get that there is a sizable group of people obsessed with breakfast cereal mascots. Though personally, if you’re into cereal mascots I think you could do better than Lucky.

But you can’t tell me the leprechaun in the movie that Jennifer Aniston was in before she was Jennifer Aniston was sexy.  Even if he was six feet tall.

No. Just no.

Which he was not.

That’s the sort of sexiness McKale has in this book.

First of all that name.

Have you had kale.

So not sexy.

This book wants to be sexy though.  And I think that’s why it fails so utterly in its face besides the fact it involves major slut slamming.  Characters who are too unrealistic to live. And it shits on Ireland at the same time by constantly saying the word shitballs (yes, and I thought sweet baby Jesus as a catch phrase was bad).

As I’ve stated many times before, I studied abroad in Ireland.  While I am by no means an expert and not about to become a travel guide of the country, I do know that the sun doesn’t go down when most people eat dinner in said country during the summer.  But what do I know…

Proof: said photo taken on a walk after dinner.

Proof: said photo taken on a walk after dinner.

Oh, and people don’t talk like freaking leprechauns in the country.  Except maybe at the leprechaun museum, which I did not visit because I had better things to do.  That and I was coerced into studying human rights law, so that I could sort of   not be on vacation.  Oh, and people don’t live in hobbit holes that lack modern plumbing either.  The student housing apartments might have crappy internet and lame TV, but they do have adequate plumbing.  Just saying.

I hate having to write down this stuff, but after reading this book there are seriously people out there (like Wendy Higgins) who don’t know this.

This was honestly my second chance with Wendy Higgins.  I really had mixed to negative feelings about her debut, Sweet Evil.  But still, I wanted to relive my summer so I picked up the book.

Plus, it was only two bucks.

Then I read it and, well, if you can see the gif below you know my face melted off.

I get why this book was independently published after reading it.  And it’s not for those good reasons where the book is so fantastic, a bit edgy, that most traditional publishers would give it a pass.  Instead, it’s haphazardly written where you almost think its parody.  But it’s not.

I really don’t think Higgins thinks its parody.  I may be wrong, but that’s just my interpretation.  The whole basis of the plot is disturbing enough.  A girl who has basically been promised her entire life to this random stranger in Ireland is going all gaga about arranged marriage until she hears that she’s marrying a leprechaun.  And then threats about his height complete with derogatory name calling.

Don’t worry guys, Kale is like really, really, tall.  Must be all that kale he’s eating.

When she was going on her rant about short guys, my jaw really couldn’t help but drop.  Really, what the hell was I reading? She’s not upset she’s in an arrange marriage until she realizes she might be marrying a guy who’s not six feet perfect.

Once she realizes Kale head is tall, which in terms of leprechauns is a bad thing, the rest of the book is focused on slut slamming some poor girl whose name I forget because they call her some obnoxious name that I really don’t remember.  Oh, throw in a pregnancy scare.  And an unhappy ending for those who have sex before marriage you have this book.

Really, this one is one for the WTF books.  Its definitely going to be on my quarterly report this month on the worst list.  This wasn’t what I wanted.  It could’e worked.  Even the whole leprechauns being sexy thing might’ve worked if it was handled correctly.  As it was it was boring, insta love, boring, he doesn’t love me, boring, slut slamming , boring, dress porn, boring, boring, more slut slamming, and boring. I really wanted Jennifer Aniston to be chased by a crazed demonic leprechaun that’s how bored I was.

F.  Just no.  Just no.

 

 

Why YA Authors Need to Watch K Drama:Gilded by Christina Farley

 

Despite the fact that Asia is the world’s largest continent and that many of these countries play an important part in both the past and the present, YA tends to ignore them.  I don’t know why.  It’s not like any of the myths and legends that this part of the world has are any less interesting than its western counterparts.  And for that matter, these countries do not lack hot men either.

Seriously, authors, watch some K-drama.

Unfortunately, YA authors and publishers haven’t really registered the potential gold mine that having a book that deals with Asian mythology/has Asian heros.

Okay, so there have been a few books published that take place in Asia or might have an Asian main character or hero, but does it happen often?

Nope.

And for that matter it’s rarely executed properly. See my review of Ink.

So, I was excited (even though a bit reluctant) when I heard about Gilded.  It was just fate that I was able to rent it for free on Prime.  However, it just feel in the same trap that Ink did.  Actually, I think Ink was better.  Because at least, it embraced its setting and its people.  Gilded, really could’ve just taken place in America.

Oh sure, there were a few glimpses of South Korea.  And those parts of the book I found fascinating, but for the most part this book could’ve taken place in any large city in America.

I really hate to say this, but besides the fact that the book incorporates Korean mythology (pretty well in fact) there really isn’t really anything else remotely Korean about the book.  Oh, wait the main character is Korean America.  But does she have really any connection to her roots?

Heck no.

In fact, she might as well been described as being blonde and blue eyed like the rest of the characters in this book. To be honest, I understood why Farleey decided to have Jai attend an International School.  It was fairly realistic for a character who lived in LA most of her life to go to an international school versus a traditional Korean school, but I really wish there was a way to inject more Korean customs and culture in this book.  At least Ink did that.

One of the ways would’ve been to have some of her friends or love interest to be Korean instead of a transplant like Jai was.  Oh, sure there’s her grandpa and her aunt but they really only have the roles as the wise crazy old mentor.

And did I mention that Jai is completely useless?

I’ll be honest, reading this book sort of reminded me of this horrible 1990’s kids movie, Three Ninjas.  That’s sort of how I felt the Korean culture was used in this book-manipulated to sell a product.  While I found the actual use of mythology decent enough, there’s was no heart to it.  The characters are a prime example to it.

First there’s Jai.  Not only does she have no connection to her culture, doesn’t try to form a connection to it, but she’s a bigger dumb ass than Bella Swan.  In fact, I ‘m pretty sure if Bella was here she’d roll her eyes at Jai.

Some of the things that Jai does just make me want to throw my Kindle at her.  Like, the fact she knows that the bad guy is not supposed to touch her but she results to fighting him physically.  Um, he’s going to touch you if you keep trying to go all badass on him.

Note to readers, she’s not badass.  She’s pathetic.  Despite the black belt she has in tae kwan do.

And really, would you fight a god with basic martial arts moves?  I know it worked for the Hulk, but Jai well she’s a dainty YA protagonist that’s not going to fly.

Just saying.

Jai really does nothing to defend herself and keeps putting herself in dumber situations.  I really have no words for this girl.  Except get a new brain.

Her love interest.  Wow.  Just wow.  That’s not a good thing.  He’s a bit (well, more than a bit) of a Gary Stu.  There’s a page in the book where Mr. Wonderful just blurts out how he’s basically a member of archeology royalty (alas, he failed to mention he’s related to Indiana Jones-I mean, if you’re going for archeology royalty I would definitely put Indy on my list but whatever) and knows judo and six languages and he knows how to tie a bow-tie, kiss really well, and do the hockey pokey and turn himself around.  Okay, ignore everything after the bow-tie part.  But it really is too much.

Seriously, just throw him a pair of glasses and you might as well call this guy Superman.

High school student by day crime fighting super duper archeologist by night….

Overall, this wasn’t an enjoyable experience for me.  I was actually going to give this book a middle of the road rating but the last fourth of the book really pissed me off so I’m going to give it a D.  The use of mythology saved it from being a total failure.  But that wasn’t enough for me to like the book.  I’m just really glad I didn’t pay for this one.

If Only McBeth Would’ve Read This Would’ve Saved Us a Tragedy:Fates by Lanie Bross

And now it’s time to play counter literary history.  In which McBeth’s opinions about the witches (better known to literary snots as the three fates) is impeded.  Undoubtedly, this would’ve occurred if he had gotten his slimy paws on Fates by Lanie Boss and think of how that would’ve ruined your high school literature experience.

The stereotypical Fates look.

Actually, a lot of people would be glad about that until they actually read Fates.

Dear lord, people. It’s books like this that make me think anyone can get traditionally published.  People who snot about independent books not being professional…well, hello have you read Fates?

I haven’t read something that just made me want to throw it at the wall well….I’ve blocked it out the last time I threw a book at the wall. Needless to say, its going to be on my Quarterly Report.

So, what’s Fates about?  Well, Cornithe is almost near the end of her penance for not breaking the rules and decides to fuck up again.  That’s basically it.

And yes, I’m going to be using the word fuck a lot in this review.  And I’m sorry about this, but my sheer hate for this book won’t let me be PG so there you’ve been warned.  Children, cover your eyes.

I think what makes me the angriest about this piece of shit was that there was potential.  The three fates are shrouded with so much mystery there are so many ways that Bross could’ve gone with this one, but of course she had to go with the stereotypical YA she falls for a boy oh its magic plot.

You know sort of plot I’m talking about.  Where the stupid YA heroine falls in love with someone she’s not supposed to and OMG if they’ve together they’ll destroy the world.  This is even a worst version of that storyline and I really didn’t think that possible.

To be honest, when I picked it up I sort of expect it to have the problems of that storyline.  Stupid heroine.  Abusive male lead that has an amount of siblings to rival the Duggars and random bad guy that appears that threatens their fragile love.  It’s the same old story over and over again, though admittedly  it can be some what interesting if done right.

We don’t even get that bland story.

Instead, we get something blander than that and almost incomprehensible.

Forget the faiths.  Instead we get bizarre fantasy like world with little to no world building that somehow involves parallel  universes and drug addict sisters who turn into blood nymphs.

And no, I’m not joking about that.

You want a donut?  I know I did after reading this.

Or coffee.  Maybe that would help the two headache that was escalated by reading this POS.

The romance was undeveloped.  It actually surprised me (in not a good way, obviously).  I didn’t care for either of these characters and I even missed the sappiness that you usually see with insta  love couples.  That’s how bad the chemistry was between the two of them.  I don’t know what Luc saw in Corinthe other than the fact she had purple eyes.  I mean, girl act like a sociopath bitch for most of the novel.

I will give it to Bross for not making this M.C. feel human.  But God, what an apathetic tool who suddenly can’t do anything because of love.

Seriously.

Seriously.

Why is it always love?

Well, maybe it was something else before, but I didn’t see (or care) to really notice.

That’s not good, people.  There was nothing about this book that interested me.  If I wasn’t bored half to death I really wouldn’t have bothered reading all of it.  It was just droll.

I almost think that Bross didn’t know what to do with this book which is sort of silly considering that the entire book was packaged.

Have a mentioned I feel particular disdain towards book packagers.  I get why authors have to go that route, it makes sense in an industry that’s heavily networked.  But God…  I just sort of get that dirty feeling I get when I talk about P2P-ing.

And you can always tell when a book is packaged, even when its done by the best of authors.  There’s just something that’s so artificially commercial about the product.  And admittedly I have enjoyed some packaged books, like the first four Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants novels (seriously was Brashares trying to be like Nicholas Sparks in that abomination of a fifth book), but it doesn’t mean I don’t feel slightly dirty after reading them.  Or for that matter, that I’m really going to get a quality book.

Enjoyable.  Yes.  But quality…

Not so much.

But one thing about packaged books is that their plots generally seem to be linear, that’s because there’s so much planning going on between the packager and the author.  This book though seems like seat at your pants max with not so much revising.  Which is really frustrating on so many levels.

I really don’t know what else to say.  I could continue to rant about bland characters and poorly crafted world building, but why bother?   This one is going be forgotten sooner than later.

Overall Rating: F.  You had a great concept and failed.  The only thing remotely good about you would be that you would quite possibly stop the tragedy that was McBeth.  But I liked that play so, yeah book, you suck.

 

Love the Dress but the Book….: Manor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore

I imagine the creation for this book went like this (of course this is my imagination only and it probably really didn’t occur exactly this way-or at least I would hope):

Slimy Publishing Executive: You know what’s popular, Downton Abbey.  I think it would make a great YA book.

Helpless Editor: You think?  I mean, we have plenty of historicals listed in our catalog already.  I don’ think…

Slimy Publishing Executive: Good.  That will make plotting this one easier.  We’ll use some of the drama for those books and get someone to watch all of PBS’s Manor House  and bada bling bada boom we have a book.  Now who was that author who wrote all those books inspired by The Tudors

Helpless Editor: Katherine Longshore?  I don’t know if she was exactly inspired by The Tudors.

Slimy Publishing Executive: Sure she was.   How else would anyone write about boring old history?  Now I want you to call Kathy and get a book deal written.  Make sure there’s a love triangle.  Two heroines with a major secret.  And tell her to get excessive with the descriptions concerning dresses.  Our readers love reading about dresses…

Okay, the conversation probably didn’t exactly go like that, but Katherine Longshore does have a number of books published about Tudor England–one of my favorite periods-and I can’t help wondering if she was inspired by that TV show.  Another thing I wonder is if those books felt as scripted as this particular endeavor does.

Because that’s what this book felt scripted.  There was no soul in it.  It seemed very packaged.  I can’t confirm that it was, but you know it’s a bad thing when you expect everything you’re get when you read a book. There was nothing surprising about this one.  It was just the same sort of drama you see in other YA historicals such as the Luxe series, but this time in Edwardian England.

The characters really didn’t even act that Edwardian-ish.

While the basics are there, I thought there wasn’t that big sense of class divide like you saw in Downton or other dramas concerning the period.

Sure, the servants in that particular house were treated horrible, but Longshore tried to make it seem like it was that house.

Nope, it was pretty much the norm.  If you ever watched Manor House you would’ve realized that.  Also, I thought servant life was considerably downplayed in this novel.  Like the position of hallboy, for instance.  It was the lowest  male position in the house.  The hallboy didn’t even get a bed.  And from what I’ve read/seen on TV, it was pretty uncommon for someone to just stick with being a hallboy for as long as Harry was.  Or let alone have as much respect.    And as for the whole plot with Janie apparently trying to better herself and become a lady’s maid from kitchen maid, probably wouldn’t happen.

It wasn’t that everything was historically inaccurate.  For the most part, I’d say the history aspects were taken care of unless you did a close, close analysis.  Though the history parts were glossed over that it was sort of hard to get the wrong for the most part.  For example, Longshore really doesn’t go into that much detail about upperclass life in the period.  Sure, we get an occasional description of a dress a whole stupid subplot of how the main character needs to marry but surprisingly that’s pretty much it.

One of the reasons I enjoy Downton Abbey is that it dives into the Edwardian world on all aspects.  While I get this is a book and you’re not going to get to actually see the manor, books still should be a better medium to explore the world than a TV show or movie.  Here not so much.

To call this book Downtown Abbey Lite would be an understatement.  It was more or less just your typical YA drama with Edwardian clothes thrown on it.  The story and the characters really didn’t even interest me because they were all so bland.

You have Charlotte who’s your typical I want more Disney princess.  Who really does nothing except get the servants into trouble and does stuff that almost causes her to die every other second.  I really didn’t like her or gave a flip about her for that matter.

Add a song and a seashell bra and Charlotte would be in business.

Janine was a little bit better, but still had her own fair share of problems.  I really had issues with her reactions to some of the events that occurred in the book.  Seriously, the big reveal in the novel her reaction and her mother’s was anticlimactic and unrealistic-as I can tell you from personal experience.

To be fair to Manor of Secrets it isn’t totally God awful.  It has its moments.  The writing for the most part is decent and the book is fairly clean.  As I said, a younger teen might gobble this one up.  But it lacks depth.  It truly felt packaged.  It wasn’t the post season four Downton treat I wanted.

Overall rating: C+

DNF Round Up

Believe it or not, I’m pretty kind.  Sometimes, I don’t even bother to review a book for various reasons (not all bad).  However, I sort of feel like I should touch base on some of these books.  Explain why I didn’t finish them which is why I think I might do a recurring feature called DNF roundup where I talk those books I didn’t even get to the halfway point (the point where I think merits a full review). All of these  are the books that I have DNF’d and did not review thus far for this year:

I received this one from Netgalley and was so excited about it.  But ten percent in, I couldn’t deal.  It was just like a bad over dramatic Lifetime movie and apparently it got worse as the book continued (serious trigger warnings in this one).  The main character was also stupid and had no drive.  I think the killer (for me) was that the figure skating that the book so seems to be about was at best filler.  Seriously, why can’t a YA/NA protagonist that figure skates actualy be good at it and be somewhat competitive?  Oh, well, I still have The Cutting Edge to get my cliche ice skating feels on.

This one was a Kindle freebie.  I’m sorry but the MC really whined like a teenage girl.  And he wasn’t a girl.  I called it quits though when his mother and stepdad decide to uproot their life in New York for their new celebrity ward when they had four kids of their own in NY and jobs.  Plus, it was really hard to believe that a sixteen year old celebutante would be stuck with her Betty Crocker relatives and not I don’t know get emancipated.

Another it’s Twilight de ja vu books, but with mermaids.  Despite  the horrid use of cliches, I thought this one might be interesting when the MC started gawking over the hero-who at that point appeared to be female.  I was like an LBGT romance in paranormal YA, pretty cool.  Then it turned out that the girl she was staring at was just a really pretty guy and the fact she thought she was gawking over a girl was never brought up again.  That and the fact that this one is basically a horrible version of Twilight turned me off.  Oh, and the mom making excuses for the obvious psycho dad.  Apparently, parents never need therapy and suggesting such a thing is blasphemy.

I really wanted to love this book, but god knows I don’t have the attention span to finish it.  It’s funny because a lot of my friends have given it pretty decent reviews.  And I can see that.  The characters are well formed.  There’s some interesting world building going on, but it just doesn’t hold my attention for some reason which I can’t exactly pinpoint.  Maybe I’ll finish it one day, but for now it’s in my DNF not review pile.

Data Crunching Time:

Besides recording my thoughts of the books I didn’t even manage to make it halfway through, I thought I’d throw some statistics in there too:

YA: 3*

NA:1*

Paranormal: 2

Contemporaries: 2

Traditionally Published: 1

Indy:3

Paid: 1

ARC:1

Free via Kindle: 2

*Depends how you view On Thin Ice while the MC is high school age she does with several adult situations throughout the novel.