Let’s Get Drunk: City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

 

 

Disclaimer: Unless you have a death wish do not actually drink alcohol while attempting to read this book.  Or for that matter you’d probably become over hydrated if you substituted the alcohol for something non-toxic.

Why Did I Decide to Do a Drinking Game: Because Cassie Clare makes me roll my eyes so much I realized if I did something constructive say take a shot of something every time something stupid happened in this book  (which happened a lot) it could actually be enjoyable.  Plus, I was a little annoyed to read this book in a series that really should’ve ended three books ago.

Take a Shot Everytime Clare References Another Shadowhunter Series: Prepared to get hammered on this one alone.  Not only do Infernal Devices characters make an appearance in this gem of a book.  But we also are introduced to brand spanking new Dark Artifices series that’s coming out next year.  I wouldn’t have mind a cameo or two, but there’s so much backstory to these characters that if you don’t read this book before you read that series you’ll be totally lost.  And for that matter, if you don’t read the five books up to this series and probably the Infernal Devices you’ll be somewhat lost. So if you’re interested in Clare’s new series, you have nine books to read .

Take a Shot Every Time Clare attempts to be a weird JK Rowling/Stephenie Meyer hybrid: This is why I always avoid reading Twilight/Harry Potter crossovers.  If Clare was still writing fanfic after Twilight was published, I can almost guarantee you she’d be writing some of these.  This book is really like a weird hybrid of Breaking Dawn and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows  complete with a scene that takes place out of Olivander’s and deranged kiddie vampires.  Fortunately, there is no teenage pregnancy though.  Although…

Take a Shot Every Time You Have a WTF this is YA look Your Face: Clare, you know there are like twelve year olds reading this, right? Seriously, there are more attempted rape scenes than in the last book.  There’s also a lot of consensual action in this book as well.  While no one does the deed on screen in the book, there is one scene that I thought was a little too suggestive to a younger audience.  And this is coming from someone who read her mother’s most raunchiest romances at the ripe old age of twelve.

Take A Shot Every Time Toxic Purple Prose Appears: You’ll be going to the hospital within a hundred pages.  I’d say try to diversify it by only doing  a shot when Clare describes characters.  But still guaranteed hospital business.

Take a Shot Every Time Clare Contradicts Herself: A lot of times I think Clare tries to justify past fallacies by not so subtly changing parts of the story.  There are many instances in City of Heavenly Fire where this happens, but I think one of the most obvious examples is the relationship between Maia and Jordan.  I won’t go into particulars, but the way Clare writes about the relationship is completely different than in the previous installments and just seems like a lame way to rectify what was a horrible relationship to begin with.

Take a Shot Every Time Clare Changes POV With Little To No Transition: Headache, people.  Headache.  In these sorts of scenes I want some transition.  Otherwise, I’m just going to be like what.  Unfortunately, this happens a lot.  It helps if you drink something I noticed.

Take a Shot Every Time You Hear About the Stupid Shadow Hunter Dress Code: Perhaps, Clare should start her own column in Vogue  if she wants to tell us just what the shadow hunters are wearing all the time.

Take a Shot Every Time You Sort of Feel Annoyed Because There’s a Part of You That Enjoys This Series: Yeah, I said it.  Despite it’s stupidity, I did enjoy reading this book.  Clare’s writing might annoy the beejeebes out of me, but there is a quality about it that’s just engaging.  It reads like a pretty decent (not great, mind you) fan fic.  But at the same time, while I enjoy it’s campiness and foulness there are just sometimes I get so annoyed with the book for the same thing.

Overall Thoughts: It was a decent conclusion.  If this would be the end of the Shadlowhunter saga (as I like to call all of Clare’s five hundred trilogies) I would’ve been fine with it.  The fact that Clare is obviously pimping out these other Shadowhunter sagas and sort of keeping some loose ends at the end of this installment to make the audience forced to read her new series just annoys me.

Rating: B-. Enjoyable but obviously flawed.  Yeah, I’m surprised with how high I rated it too.

 

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Top Ten Things You Didn’t Want to Know About Book Blogging and Probably About Me too

10) If you think you’re going to be getting ARCs galore you’d be wrong: Unless you’re very, very, popular in the blosphere and have some great connections.  You won’t be getting ARCs every other week.  There are some sources like Netgalley and Edelweiss out there that are a perfectly legal way to get these books, but publishers are a strange beast.  I’ve been blogging pretty steadily for almost three years  now ( save for a brief hiatus when I caught whopping cough and a host of other  life threatening diseases and pretty much had to focus on just school to pass) and I am still reject plenty of times by some of the big six (or five now since we have Random Penguin).  Which I’m perfectly okay with.  I get that there are other bigger blogs out there and publisher’s want to market their books.  What I don’t recommend is begging those bloggers or individuals who have an ARC for them to give you their copy.  It just makes you look tacky and for that matter makes you look like you might be a suspect for pirating which is not a good thing.

The only pirate that’s a good thing.

 

9) You Can’t Like Every Book: If you like everything publishers will love you, right?  Wrong.  Honestly, I don’t really think publishers care how the book is received as long as there are people hearing about it.  Do you really think your audience is going to take value to your recommendations if you give an auto five stars to everything?  I know I’ve rolled my eyes at a certain popular blog for this.

8) Reading Is a Chore: When I read a book for my blog, I actually take time to analyze it.  If you are a friend or follower on Goodreads you’ve probably read some of my rampant rant status updates.  While some (probably not a lot) of you find these to be amusing, I actually use them later on when I go back to write my review.  I also try to be as fair as I can when I review.  And believe it or not, try to find one good thing to say about a book.  Unfortunately, I’ve had cases where that has not happened.

Seriously, this image is not making me focus.

 

7) Make Sure You Are a Little Blog Savvy: Seriously.  Otherwise Blogger and/or WordPress will drive you insane.  I actually took a course on WordPress, I know pathetic.  But it did help me be able to navigate the change over from Blogger without making a complete idiot of myself.  Oh, and it’s probably best to do a  wordpress.com account first rather than buying the domain if you’re not tech savvy.  Otherwise, you’ll be dealing with some severe headaches.

6) Followers Do Not Happen Overnight: Seriously.  Also, you’re going to have to do multi-platforms meaning Twitter, Facebook, Booklikes, Goodreads, etc. if you want your blog to make an impact.  Yes, it’s annoying especially for the introvert at heart.  But it’s a sad truth. And now I feel like I’ve probably haven’t been using Twitter enough…I’m inducing guilt on myself.  There is something wrong with that.  That’s only supposed to be my mother and my Beagle’s job.

Dogs that induce guilt,.

5) Privacy is Key: With all the weirdos out in the world (and yes, there are weirdos in the book world) privacy is really important.  Especially if your a minor or are a person who wants to keep their professional and internet lives separate.  Plus, with the increasing rate of cyber crime it’s probably best that you keep your real name to yourself.

4) Expect a Burn Out: Yeah, sometimes I don’ t want to read.  Blasphemy, I know.  Depending on how social you are, this might make you want to invest in a coblogger.  Believe me, I thought about the concept some.  Especially since I’m working now.  However, I’m still a single blogger (for now at least).  If a coblogger isn’t  your cup of tea.  Make sure you schedule your blogging activities.  I generally do most of my reading on the weekends and if I don’t feel like reading but still blogging I might watch a Lifetime movie or make a stupid list.  The point is-variety.  You need it to stay sane in the book blog world.

Me after reading five House of Night books, one of the Tiger Curse novels, and a couple of Cassandra Clare books.

3) It Can be Expensive:  Reading adds up.  Especially if your buying all of  your books.  As I said previously you can try to reduce the cost by requesting ARCs from sites like Netgalley or Edelweiss, or better yet use the library.  As lame as it sounds, I probably go to the library at least two or three times a month.  If your library is on a branch system, you can find recent releases.  Or get an interlibrary loan.   Even if you can’t though, reviewing books that have been out for years is still perfectly fine as well.  Note though, don’t always trust the librarians picks.  For some reason, my local librarian seems to love The House of Night books along with other horrible tomes that have radical magic plastic surgery in them.  I kid you not, the main character zaps herself a new rear and it was on the librarian’s choice pick shelf.

2) Authors Can Be Scary:  No.  Really.  When I first started blogging, I asked a few authors to give an interview.  And some (well, most are great).  But since then there has been a bit of an evolution of BBA behavior where some authors think by starting a hissy fit they can sell a few books.  Which is utterly ridiculous.  The point is while I do like author interaction, I’m a bit weary of it now.  With both traditional and independently published books.  Because yes, both sides of the publishing industry can have BBAs and both can have sweethearts and darlings as well. My best advice with authors, treat them with professionalism.  If their unprofessional to you, you have every right to report their so called lack of customer service in your review.  Since you are the consumer.

 

1) You Meet Great People: This is probably the best thing about blogging.  I actually can talk to people who read the stuff I read and don’t look at me like I’m a freak of nature for reading YA.  Believe me, it has happened.  There has been talk that blogging has become inclusive as of late.  And to be honest, sometimes I do feel a little bit out of the loop, but overall I think the experience has been a great stress outlet for me.  I started this blog after my first year of law school when my pulse rate went to one hundred and forty.  The cardiologist told me I had to have some sort of stress relief.  While I like to write my own stuff (I was a creative writing major before I started the whole law thing), sometimes I have writers block.  With books though, I always have something to say about books.  And whether or not you share my opinions, I do enjoy talking about them.

Austin Powers Had It First: Dangerous by Shannon Hale

 

Tell me if this story seems familiar: People go into space and get super powers.

If you answered The Fantastic Four you’re a winner.  Want to continue playing well I have another one for you.

Name a character that has dense molecular structure, can’t control your own strength.

If you answered The Hulk, The Thing, or Superman give yourself another pat on the back.

One more question.  I promise this will be the last (for now).  Super powers connected to the heart.

Iron Man.  Yeah, I know.

So, this book seems like it’s basically a combination of a lot of Marvel superpowers with some DC references thrown in.

And okay, I get it no superhero is going to be original.  Marvel and DC ripoff each other all the time.  But that whole origin story, a group of people, it was very obvious it was The Fantastic Four.

And I’m not even a huge fan of that movie or comic.

This is my first experience reading a novel by Shannon Hale.  My sister enjoyed Austenland  and I decided that I’d give this one a try, even though I have severe reservations after reading the reviews.

I was like well it can’t be bad.  And I like superheroes.

And I found myself hating myself.

Which is why I rally think I need to have some else picking out my books for me for awhile, because I’ve had really bad luck lately.

Anyway, back to this book.  I just don’t know what to say.  It started out good enough.  I liked the premises of Space Camp.  It was actually something I sort of could relate to since way back in the fifth grade (I know, total time warp) I went to Space Camp.  It’s sad to say that my eleven year-old self and classmates had a lot more maturity than Maisie and her classmates.

This novel is labeled YA, but I think it’s one of those novels when one tries to be nice to its faults labels it middle grade.  When it really means, the book sucks.

Seriously, the stupidity that these kids, adults,  and their parental units have me slapping my head on my desk.

Let’s play a round of Is This a Liability.  Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a lawyer, a law student, or even an avid Judge Judy fan to get this game.  I’m sure you’ll do better than the idiotic characters in this book:

1) Is it a liability to let five minors go up into outer space without parental permission, physical fitness exam, and/or proper training?

2) Is it a liability to let said minors touch extraterrestrial biological material in outer space?

3) Is it a liability not to inform their parents, the CDC, or any other form of authorities that a mutation occurred in space?

4) Is it a liability to let an out of control minor who has Hulk like powers go out and kill two people?

5) Is it a liability to threaten said parents of said minors?

At this point you just have to put on your stupid hat to even remotely enjoy this novel.  Though since the characters in this novel seem to be perpetually wearing their stupid hats, it’s not that big of a stretch (for them).

As for the characters, I wish I could’ve loved them.  I actually had hopes for the main character who wasn’t WASP and had a disability.  I was like cool, a diverse heroine this could be interesting.  But except for throwing a few Spanish phrases and lamely getting made fun of for being a one arm girl-seriously, have these kids not seen The Fugitive- she’s basically like any other YA protagonist that I’ve had the misfortune of reading about-dumb love triangle included.

In this love triangle we’re introduced to what I’m assuming (since I DNF’d this stupid hot mess at the halfway mark) is a very obvious ending.

Love Interest #1: The barely existent best friend who’s suddenly hot and given the good guy personality.  Of course, good guys are boring when there’s a hot asshole around which leads us to love interest number two. And all I can say is…

Love Interest #2: Yeah, I don’t like him.  After an insta love date that would make even the fluff lovers of fluff lovers hate each self, we go back to abusive dick behavior.  And then back to being oh so lovable and fluffy.

Seriously, authors this is not what girls or women want.

I get the best friend is boring.  But nice guys can have a personality.  Or the asshole can actually evolve instead of going back in forth from his asshole-ness the entire novel.

If the stupidity didn’t get me then the love triangle most definitely did.

I love superheroes, but I just can’t stand this book.  It reminded me of that bad The Next Avengers: Heros of Tomorrow movie I tried to watch on Netflix the other week but turned off because I was eye rolling so much so I just ended up watching some classic Justice League instead to soothe my brain.

I think I’m going to have to do the same thing here. Though the antithesis to this book is that horrible The Fantastic Four  movie where Captain America is acting like a jackass and that guy from Charmed  is Dr. Doom and that’s just so wrong. So, maybe The Avengers will make for a next substitution?

Overall Rating: DNF.  Another emphasis on the F.  Dear lord, hopefully my next pick will be somewhat redeeming. Oh, wait, I’m going to be reading City of Heavenly Fire so forget that.

 

Diamonds Aren’t a Girl’s Best Friend:The Secret Diamond Sisters by Michelle Madow

 

 

This book has no plot.

So if you actually care about those things then you’re not going to like this book.

The characters are horrible too.

Then you might be wondering why read this book at all.

The answer: Las Vegas

Madow does a fantastic job describing the city.  You really did get a feeling of the city for this book.  From its themed hotels, wild parties, and over the top atmosphere I really did feel like I got to know Vegas in this book.  Grant it, I did have a little problem with how effortlessly these teenagers were able to sneak into bars and casinos with little to no explanation, but  for the most part I’ll give this a pass just because the descriptions of these places were what kept me interested in what otherwise would’ve been a very boring book with as I said before pretty much god awful characters.

This book in a lot of ways reminds me of Melissa de la Cruz’s Blue Bloods series, which should be a good thing.  Because I sort of loved that series (at least its earlier books).  However, instead of spinning some of those rich kid cliches like de la Cruz did, Madow’s book is overwhelmed by them.

I guess there’s no other thing to do than to discuss the characters:

Savannah: I didn’t mind her that much.  Actually, I was sort of relieved to read her point of view after Peyton and Madison’s.  She was still pretty annoying though.  Savannah is your typical idiotic I want to be popular YA protagonist.  And I really wonder just how many of these do publishers want us to read about.  I guess when your the targeted age group, this might be something you have to deal with.  But I remember reading this stuff when I was in the targeted age group and found it annoying.  I honestly don’t like reading about a poser who spend thirty grand on getting beautiful and a whole new wardrobe.  But I have to admit, after reading both Peyton and Madison’s POV, I did find her refreshing.  And that is sad to say. Especially since she sort of failed at being popular and as  a character in general.

Courtney: Probably the best out of the bunch, but a bit of a cliche.  Have you even notice how “good” YA characters are always modeled after Belle from Beauty and the Beast-meaning, they love to read, are beautiful and don’t really try/work at it, and of course are Ivy bound.  Maybe Belle wasn’t Ivy bound, but you get the picture.  Even though I get bored with this stereotype, I actually did prefer Courtney to any other character in this book.  And yes, I get teens can be all about me, but let’s face it, we don’t want to read about an all about me protagonist.

Peyton: God, this was probably the worst character.  I got annoyed with Savannah and Madison, but at least they had their moments.  Peyton though…  When Madow does the whole tough girl character she does it complete with pleather sports bras for tops.  Yeah, that’s Peyton in a nutshell plus a major daddy complex.  I really couldn’t feel sorry for her either.  She makes stupid decisions that have very little thought in them.  And yeah, I think Madow is trying to get her to reform at the end but it’s going to take a lot more for me to like her.

Madison: I think I was supposed to hate Madison the most out of all these characters, but I couldn’t.  Oh, I did get annoyed with her, and I thought she was your typical Mean Girl character.  But I could see potential with her, unlike Peyton.  Maybe it’s because this book reminded me of Blue Bloods too much and I know that the bitchiest character in that novel, grew as a person throughout the series, but that’s sort of the hope I have for Madison.  As it stands now, I tolerate her only a tad bit more than Peyton.

The Rest: Which is basically the girls’ various love interests and their relatives.  Flat, flat, flat. Out of all of the boys, there’s only one that seems halfway decent.  And Madow had to give that relationship a Cassie Clare like twist that has me going all ew.  The father character is mysterious at the point of being annoying.  I mean, really.  How can you basically ignore your children?  And yes, I get the so called divorce agreement called for it.  But you would’ve thought mom would’ve at least demanded child support when she didn’t have a job for however long it was.

Now, of course defenders of the book are pleading the Stephenie Meyer defense (it’s fiction).

A lot of books take that approach, and I personally hate it.  Yes, I know it’s fiction, but for me I just can’t help but roll my eyes and say, well, isn’t that convenient.  And really I could get the wife not wanting alimony (some ill placed pride), but these were her kids they should’ve been getting the money instead of having to work ridiculous hours just to keep the roof over their house (and booze in mom’s fridge).

So, bad characters and a lack of plot, plus logic that doesn’t really make sense.  That pretty much describes this book in a nutshell, but this is one series that I’m probably going to keep up on.  I have some hopes that some semblance of a plot will emerge.  I have my theories on what might happen, but when your going on nothing.  They really are just theories.

Overall Rating: D+.  There’s hope book, but you have a long way to go.

YA at the Movies: Top Five YA and NA Contenders for Lifetime movie

Tons of YA books have been turned to movies.  Tons of NA books have been optioned as movies-not that I’ve seen them hit the big screen yet, but it’s pretty inevitable.  So with that being said I decided to look at the books out there in those two genres that are best suited for Lifetime movies.  Of course, since I have to make this blog entry somewhat entertaining I’ll be providing some of the changes that only Lifetime can do.

 

1) 

What Is It About: A girl finds out she’s special (yawn, I know) and goes to vampire boarding school.

Why It’s Perfect For Lifetime: Fake female empowerment. Lifetime loves the idea of girl!power, but when you get down to it, the execution always fails.  The House of Night series provides a perfect setting for them to exploit this theme with its supposed matriarchal ran vampire society.  When we all know that the Casts idea of matriarchal just means Zoey can have a harem.

Lifetime Changes: I don’t know if Neferet could run around naked in the Lifetime version.  And I do think they’d have to cut Zoey’s harem a bit.  Might I recommend Heath.  However, since Lifetime has hinted it’s keeping dumb ass Freddie in their adaptation of Melissa de la Cruz’s Witches of East End, I have my doubts they’d actually eliminate the douche.

2)

What’s It About: A girl gets her magic powers and zaps herself a new rack and butt.

Why It’s Perfect for Lifetime: Because Lifetime has been trying to create paranormal shows as of late and this would appeal to the younger audience.

Changes: Oh yes, I’m sure Brooklyn would learn the importance of inner beauty.  And usually these Lifetime lectures bother me.  But in this case, I’m all for them getting on that pulpit.

 

3)

What is This About: The most selfish angel ever decides to ruin everyone’s life so that she can go to the prom.

Why Is It Perfect For Lifetime: Oh, the lessons that Bethie preaches are just like what you’d see out of an old school Lifetime movie.  Take a sip of alcohol-die.  Have sex before marriage-die.  Don’t go to church-die and go to hell.

Lifetime Changes: Bethie would probably have a little bit more of a personality.  For some reason I could see them trying to make her sing or something.  Turn her, Ivy, and Gabriel into the Von Trapp family but with angels.  They’d probably sing annoying Christian rock that has sanctimonious undertones that would make the town all obnoxious.

4)

What Is It About: Like most new adult romances a “plain Jane” falls in love with the so called dark BMOC who’s a total jackwad.  Of course, this is ignored for the rest of the novel.

Why This is Perfect for Lifetime: Because the love that is Tabby (Travis and Abby) is the sort of love that Lifetime keeps trying to warn us about.  It could be interesting where they take this.

Changes: I could see this going in two directions 1) Travis is softened by introducing a guy that’s even worse then him-Lifetime would probably change Parker’s character and make him do something appalling to Abby or 2) Travis would be made to  even more of a sociopath.  I sort of hope they would go with two.

5)

What is It About: How do I describe this one without wanting to stab myself with something.  An overweight girl endures being constantly fat shamed, told its good to be bulimic, a constant butt load of slut slamming, rape shaming.  Oh, and she tries to kill herself multiple times and add mental health slamming as well.

Why Is This Perfect For Lifetime: Because it has all the makings of a Lifetime melodrama fest.  Except for  the fact there’s no Dean Cain.  Because there is no romance in this book and that’s probably a good thing.

Changes: No.  This is why this one is number one.  It is horrible enough to be a horrible Lifetime movie on its own.  Just hire the standard cast and crew.  And I think this is one that many people will be making snarky remarks about on Twitter.

 

Golly Gee, This Was Really Boring: Cinderella’s Dress by Shonna Stayton

 

 

 

Once upon a time, there was a reader who saw something that sparked her interest on Netgalley.  The book had two things going for it.  For one thing it was a historical set in World War II and for another thing it dealt with fairytales.  Two things that should’ve made it a slam freaking dunk-ity doo.  Unfortunately, this book was a clunker if there every was one and it turned the excited reader into a sour puss.  This is said sour puss’s account of Cinderella’s Dress.

Why?  Just why book?  You didn’t have to do much.  You had everything you needed.  A great historical setting and something to really give it an interesting twist.  But instead, I felt like I was in an overgrown American Girl novel.

And don’t get me wrong.  I did love the American girl series-when I was eight.  I still have the four dolls that I got way back in the day and am planning on putting them on top of my bookshelves when you know, I can actually afford to buy a home where I can have my own library, but I don’t want to read a YA book with the same tone.  I mean, golly gee…

Look, I know people might have used some of that slang in the 1940’s, but I know that’s not how they talked all the time.  My maternal grandparents and great aunts and uncles were from that same period and I have been privy to hearing about some of their tells way back in the day both oral and through past letters.  And while there was some slang it wasn’t near as corny as this book made it out to be.

Plus, as an old movie buff I can also attest while there might have been some hokey scenes in older movies, none of them were as obnoxiously hokey as this book.

Or obsess over Frank Sinatra’s blue eyes as much.

Note to self, was Frank Sinatra the original source of all this YA blue eye obsession.

I honestly could get past all the bad slang if there was an interesting enough story or characters behind all of this, but there wasn’t.

Let’s start with the story.  Over fifty percent in and nothing had happened.  Other than Kate basically insulting lover boy.  And really she wasn’t insulting him more like trying defend herself against her sexist boss in order to keep her job.  I’m sorry.  I get that having the “boys” give up their jobs during the way is a big huge deal, but expecting a woman to give it up so that she can go back to her designated woman’s place just makes me want to hit something. And Slayton presented it in such a way where she made Kate look like well…

So if you make a rant about it…well, you’re against the troops. And you are like a well…

 

That sort of shit bothers me

Other than insulting the story about lover boy, we get this vague story about protecting Cinderella’s dress.  Though other than being a historical object-that no one knows about-we know nothing about it.  Maybe this part of the story is developed more in the second half of the story, but I couldn’t really care at that point.  I was just too bored.

The boring characters didn’t help.

All Kate did was talk about doing the jitterbug.  I guess that was done to establish the setting.  But other than doing that, writing lame letters, talking to her relatives who spoke like Boris and Natasha (the Polish versions), and write lame letters to her boy toy I could care less.

All I know about her beau was that he couldn’t go to war becuase he had bad eye sight so he painted fake eyeballs.  And then Kate hurt his feelings and he cried, even though it was obvious that she didn’t mean to hurt his feelings.

They were just lame.

Just like every one else in this book.

Look, this setting could’ve been really something to exploit.  There is so much drama in this period that it could’ve been really interesting.  And I admit I was sort of really interested that instead of having the story jammed pack in the action it took place in the home front, though I do  think for logistical purposes it would’ve made sense for a plot about a historical dress to take place in the country it was originally set in.  That being said, I could see some potential there.

But was the book about the dress the first half…no.  It was all about getting malts after the boys come home.

I wanted something with mystery and intrigue.  I got something that was corny beyond belief with a romance that was so bland made me miss all those he man YA novels because at least I could say something about how horrible those relationships were.  With Kate and Johnny, I’m just bored when I’m not rolling my eyes.

Usually I don’t feel bad about  not liking a book.  However, I actually feel a bit guilty here.  I think it’s because I had hopes beyond belief that this book would get me out of my slump.  But it just didn’t.  Instead, it just put me in a worse mood than I was-it probably didn’t help that I read a good chunk of it when I was waiting to get blood work done.

Overall Rating: D.  It only got a passing grade because of its premises.  Such a pity.

How to Successfully Sell Nothing: The One by Kiera Cass

I just finished reading The One.  To be honest I wasn’t expecting much, but it did exceed my expectations in just how bad it was.

The funny thing is, that this series is such a success.  Which makes me wonder why.  Besides the very, very, pretty covers and effective marketing campaign that Harper Teen has done, this series is a total bomb.  So, I thought as I’d use my review of The One  to explore why this series is so popular. Note, there will be some spoilers in this review though I’ll try to be vague.

1) The Cover: I mentioned it already.  But I think with The One they finally got these covers down.  The model isn’t smelling her armpit and her hair actually isn’t illy styled or clashes with her gown.  It is truly a gorgeous cover and if you take the Gloria Epstein route of buying books that’s why you bought this one.  It probably also helps that Harper wants to exploit these pretty dresses by putting them in a series of book trailers as well.

2) Promotion, ‘smotion: Dear lord, imagine if this series was actually half way decent how popular it would be.  I have to say, despite her bad behavior Cass’s agent really knows how to make those publishing companies work.  I have heard nothing but The One on the various book sites I visit and I’m like clicking the ad blocker because I don’t want to see the advertisements.

Okay, now for the actual contents of the book:

3) Princess Sell: Obviously.  Disney has shown us this.  But instead of taking a smart, modern, approach to princesses like Disney is now doing or like Meg Cabot did in the Princess Diaries series, Cass has regressed her version of princesses back into the Snow White days of Disney.  Seriously, these girls do nothing in three books but sit and look pretty and stay in the woman’s room.  And I should mention that we’re not even in the Edwardian period with no Matthew Crawley.  And there’s no reason ever stated in the series why a woman’s role has regressed so much.  My guess, Cass just wanted to have an excuse to put girls in fancy gowns all freaking day long.

Me in the woman’s room.

4) This books has “good” values: Honestly, I sort of wanted to puke when I wrote this.  But I can see some people actually liking the archaic, sexist values this book preaches.  Once again, it seems like Cass has not grown tired of slut slamming.  In fact, she has her sweet America dress in a short revealing dress in one of the first chapters of the book and it’s treated as if this is some funny evil sin.  It really doesn’t work though.  I mean, it’s just skin.  I really don’t see what the big deal is.  Just like I don’t see why someone would at like having an ex boyfriend was such a huge crime but I’m not Kiera Cass…

5) Romance Not Plot Sells: Seriously, I don’t know what the point was of even setting this in a dystopia world.  It was obvious that Cass just wanted to write a princess romance.  And you know what, if she would’ve done that.  That would’ve been fine.  But labeling something as a dystopia, well, you have a lot of work to do.  These books involve complex world building that never really gets off the ground in Cass world.  It’s kind of sad really.  Especially with how all the problems are changed within one regime change.

Really?

Well, sort of it will take time…

Now, how many politicians have said that?

6) Happily Ever After: Again, this sort of goes back to the princess complex.  But I thought it deserved it’s own category because of how ridiculously happy this ending was.  Remember, Stephenie Meyer’s sickly sweet ending to Breaking Dawn that made no sense becuase you know realistically there should’ve been some sacrifice but all Twihards go to the designated Meyer defense (it’s fiction)? Well, the ending to this series is sort of like that but with a bit more blood shed (don’t worry no one important dies) and instead of the Jacob in the triangle making love to the MC and her one true love’s baby, he walks her down the aisle.

 

No, I’m not making this up.

7) Simplicity: Simplicity can be a good thing.  But when you make your dialogue the equivalent of what an eight year old would be doing with Barbies…well.

Actually, Harper released some videos of Cass recapping the series with Barbies and the dialogue there isn’t humorous more like an actual regurgitation of the book.

8)Contradictions Keep Interesting: I’m not even going to go into how dumb and obvious some of these mistakes are.  Except I only read the previous books once and I was able to notice multiple mistakes.  For example, in The Elite there was this huge deal about holidays (such as Halloween) not being celebrated anymore.  Yet, they were getting out the good old Christmas trees in this one.

9)Characters Who are Pretty: If you ask me anything about America, Aspen, or Maxon, the only thing I’m going to tell you is that they’re pretty.  The same goes with any of the side characters.  All of them are beautiful.  Though the evil ones are faux beautiful but even most of the evil characters warm up to our sweet perfect most bootyful of all characters at the end or die.  But I bet they died beautiful.

10) You Can’t Help Help But Watch the Train Wreck: This series is so awful that you couldnt’ help but want to finish it.  I mean, I was hoping above all hopes that it would some how improve.  But nope.  The sad thing is that unlike other awful series like Alexandra Adornetto’s Halo trilogy of PC and Kristin Cast’s House of Night series, this series doesn’t even have that much to snark about when it comes to its actual prose.  As I said before its just simple and almost wooden.

Final Thoughts:

Thank God it’s over.  Though Cass is throwing out another novella for all you die hard fans.  I really can’t say anything but good riddance Selection trilogy.

Overall Rating: F

Wish You Had a Brain: Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae

 

 

 

I will give this to this book.  I was almost, almost willing to give it a pass.  When it first started I was able to forgive bad characters, bad decisions, bad everything really because of Rome.

Because any book that features Italy, well, has that to its advantage.  Italy can at least hide some of a bad books very obvious flaws.  And it was doing a pretty good job with Wish You Were Italian until the love triangle from hell swallowed up Italy and I was left a very unhappy reader.

And I really wasn’t expecting much.  All I wanted was a cute fluffy read with fairly decent character.  While this book was fluffy it felt half hearted.  Like it was merely written in such a way to sell.

I do understand the concept.  Books aren’t merely published NOT to make money.  But at the same time, do you have to be so obvious that you only wrote this book to make a buck.  Seriously, there is obviously no love in this story or its characters.

And that just makes me sad.

To summarize this book there’s really not much to say except an American brat goes to Italy and decides that instead of experiencing the wonders that is Florence by taking an extensive arts program, she’d rather walk around aimlessly around the country and waster her parents money without even thinking things through.

Genius, right?

That right there, you think, should’ve been enough to have alarm bells ringing in my little head.  But no.  I decided to still give it a chance, mainly because it involved Italy.  And I thought, for the most part, the Rome scenes were pretty good.  A little cliche-yes.  But good enough for these types of books.

However, once our genius of a protagonist heads to the coast line to mooch off of her new friend’s relatives-and just how does she manage to get a job without a work visa I do not know-the book as I said before goes sadly down hill.

As I said earlier previously, more often than not love triangle= dead on arrival.  And that is very much the case in Wish You Were Italian.

One of the love interests was essentially obsolete from the very beginning.  You knew that Pippa wasn’t going to end up with him.  I don’t even know why Rae even bothered with him.  I guess just to tie in the title, but still.  You knew who the end game was going to be before the triangle even started.

And as for the endgame character….

Honestly, I think the best way to describe Darren is he is essentially a hodgepodge of Rae’s celebrity crushes with the personality of melba toast.  Okay, since your wondering I’ll go into more detail:

His name is Darren Ledger: The fact that his hair is eerily described like the late great Heath Ledger’s in 10 Things I Hate About You and there is a note in the acknowledgments about how Darren Criss inspired the author throughout the book.  Usually, I’d say nothing but since the character is described as looking like Darren Criss-with Heath Ledger’s last name- and has the first name of Darren.  Oh, and is an archeology student who has a brown fedora…

God damn it.

Okay, I get having a crush on a celebrity or a character.  But can’t you be a little discreet about it and not have your audience roll their eyes at your fan girling.  Maybe this is me.

Besides, this the second half of the book suffered from making the Italian coast seem really boring and the fact the book was hampered by melodrama.

Bad melodrama too.

I can handle melodrama if it’s done correctly.  But this melodrama.

Please.  Just please.

I really don’t know why it’s so difficult to create a decent European summer book.  I mean, films have been successful with it.  One of my favorite movies, Only You, had a main character that was dumb as rocks that went to Italy.  However, unlike this book, I actually enjoyed that movie.  It might have been in part because Robert Downey JR was in it, but I actually think it was more than that.  I think it was the fact that that movie took advantage of its setting and acknowledged how idiotic the main character was that made me like it.

Oh, and it had no freaking love triangle.

I will give this book this, it’s slightly better than the other European vacation book I’ve read this year (Royally Lost).  Not that that’s saying much since all you had to do to be better than that book was create a main character that at least appreciated Europe.  Which Pippa did if it didn’t involve art.

Seriously though, way to be a tease.  Florence is one of those cities that deserved to be explored more.  Than all ew it’s art.

Overall Rating: D.  Not a complete flop.  The beginning had hope.  Unfortunately, as the book progressed I became more and more annoyed.

That Name Should Be Considered Child Abuse:Ruby Rose by Jessie Humphries

 

 

 

Funny story, my dad wanted to named me Ruby or Pearl.  My mom objected and after reading Ruby Rose I can see why.  Full disclaimers though, my last name isn’t Rose so being named Ruby wouldn’t make me have a stripper’s name like the unfortunate protagonist of this book has.

However, her name isn’t the only issue that Ruby Rose had.

The fact that she likes to name every inanimate object in sight shows sever psychological problems.  The fact that she has a Batman complex but kills like The Punisher (but a lot lamer)  also indicates psychological problems.  The fact she goes on  monologues that’s syntax eerily reminds me of a particular scene of the RDJ Holmes movie gets inner book Hulk on.

But nothing, nothing, gets my inward Book Hulk on than having a character try to play lawyer and failing quite epically.

It doesn’t help matters that the author is an actual lawyer.

Yes, I get that the book takes place in California and the law (and admissions process) is different there, but some of the stupidity such as say retroactive prosecution just boggles my  mind.

Seriously, any competent lawyer is NOT going to talk about retroactive prosecution on CNN of all things.

What do I know though…

Oh, wait I am a lawyer.  But not a book lawyer.  And book law is completely different from real law.

Apparently.

Because instead of LexisNexis,Westlaw,  or a law library Google is your number one choice when it comes to black letter law.

Of course, Ruby Rose isn’t a lawyer.  She’s a high school kid who has legal arguments in her head about her mother-who’s apparently a bitchy D.A. even though it’s a bit to the contrary.

I feel for Ruby’s mom.  I mean, she has a lot of shit to deal with.  With a homicidal daughter who has no impulse control and personifies even her worst pair of shoes.

Ruby is just an unlikable character.

I had to DNF the book because I couldn’t handle her voice anymore. That and this book was just really pointless.

Fifty percent in and I just couldn’t handle it anymore.

The plot was beyond ridiculous almost as bad as the main character.

I honestly felt insulted

I had a feeling that this book was written half assed just to sell.  I might (and I hope) that I’m wrong, but that’s my opinion on this one.  I felt like many of the so called “quirks” in this novel were merely used to sell a product-the four thousand names for inanimate objects is a perfect example of this.  It just didn’t seem genuine.

Same with Ruby Rose.  I felt that Humphries just  tried to create a character that she knew would sell.  Ruby Rose tries so hard to be Veronica Mars it’s almost funny that she fails epically.  Because I don’t recommend forcing yourself to read this book I’ll give you five ways that Ruby Rose fails as a Veronica Mars stand in:

1) She doesn’t have a brain: Seriously, who would go head first to confront a serial killer/kidnapper.  And yes, I know she sort of calls the cops.  But she knows they’re not going to get there right away and purposely hangs up on them.

2) Is a hypocrite: Veronica Mars would never say it’s wrong to kill especially after she killed two people with little to no thought a few pages before.

3) Fall instantly in love with a bland idiot: Veronica and Logan shippers will attest to this.

4) Obsess about Prada shoes: Unless there was something relevant about them.

5) Have Random Sherlock Holmes Monologues: Veronica has her own monologues that actually sound like they’re from this century. And they don’t have a Holmes-ium rhythm to them.

To be fair about the Sherlock Holmes-ish monologues they are different enough.  I don’t think Sherlock would say anything about Prada, but it’s still unnerving in the pure syntax structure.

Overall, I can’t recommend this one.  The only reason I read it was because I read a friend’s review a few days ago and thought it really can’t be that  bad.

But it is.

One huge issue I have with YA novels that will give you an automatic deduction of at least two grades, is talking down to the audience.  And this book does it.  I know that YA novels are targeted towards teens, but teens aren’t stupid. They can be talked to like regular adults. This book just talks down to its audience.  That and some of the erroneous statements about the law it makes just rubs me the wrong way.

Overall Rating: F

 

Was it Really the Best?: The Last Best Kiss by Claire Lazebnik

Jane Austen did not write harlequin romances. I know that might be a startling fact to some of you. You have probably seen half a dozen YA, NA, and adult Austen retellings where Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy (all played by the endearing Colin Firth-because let’s face it half of the authors were fantasizing over him when writing said retelling) have torrid sex at Pemberley.

Oh yeah. Pride and Prejudice erotica is so a thing.

That didn’t exactly happen in the original. In fact, I wrote a whole paper in college about how Pride and Prejudice really wasn’t a romance and more of a comedy of manners. Try telling that though to the various retelling authors.   Especially Claire Lazebnik.  Grant it, there’s no hot sex at Pemberley in her novels, but the essential Austen spirit is squashed out one is left with a bland romance that has been retold over and over again. Lazebnik has managed to make a pretty successful series based on this format.  Well, I don’t know if you’d consider her books a series since they involve different characters.  But they’re all Jane Austen retellings and they all take place in SoCal. And they all have bland characters. Bland, bland, bland characters. And I mean bland.  And unrealistic.  Especially in this installment.  If I didn’t know better, I would’ve thought this was her first book. But before I rip this book a new one, I need to at least give you guys some idea what it’s about.  It’s basically a retelling of Austen’s novel, Persuasion.  Which if you’re not familiar with it, is basically about a poor little rich girl who snubbed her one true love long ago and now tries to get over the fact that he’s rich and everyone wants him and he doesn’t want to give her the time of day. In other words, it’s like your typical Harlequin.  But Austen writes the novel in such a way that there’s layers upon layers of subtext and that you actually like the characters. Lazebnik’s retelling lacks this.

The plot is therefore as groan worthy and the characters, as previously mentioned are bland beyond belief.  Through in some drama that makes it perfect to insert a PSA then you have a book that you throw against the wall at one o’clock in the morning. To be fair though, The Last Best Kiss  (dear lord, that title) isn’t the worst thing I’ve read this year.  But considering I’ve read some pretty big stinkers-just in this last week-that’s not saying much.  At its best, this book is predictable.  It follows the Austen story at its bare bones and nothing that unexpected happens. Okay,here is some diversity in this book that I wasn’t expecting, but considering these characters were mostly used as token characters or used to illustrate some lame plot point it really didn’t work. The fact that most of the cast had the personality of  toast didn’t help either.  Oh, wait there were personality traits.

Traits that made them seem unrealistic.  Like a father that was so vain all he talked about was how good his hair looked, the amount of calories in a bagel, and how vegetarians are evil people.  The lesbian older sister whose romance parallels with our MC.   And the blonde softball teacher which was the MC’s other older sister’s friend that sole purpose was to insult the MC’s art-which of course was super good-and sleep with said father.  Then there was the eccentric b.f.f. who is wild and carefree who of course is dating the love interest but does something stupid where it’s like a bad PSA where our MC has to save her ass. Yeah.  That’s it. Besides the fact, vegetarians are evil and don’t know what their doing giving up meat. I don’t know why that kept being mentioned.  As someone who doesn’t like meat and only eats it when required because I have iron issues, I really didn’t see the point that meat is so much better than bread, vegetables, fruit, cheese, and chocolate cake.  And I’m from Texas where barbecue is pretty much a staple part of our diet. What else did I gain from this book.  Oh, the occasional drug use and drinking is okay when our Ivy League bound  MC does it but when her carefree friend does it a earth shattering event happens. I seriously thought I was watching an episode of Full House that’s how eye roll worthy the pool incident was.

With a Persuasion retelling I expect that I’ll be highly anticipating a reunion between the two characters.  But Finn and Anna, I could care less.  He deserved better than her.  And Anna, well, when she wasn’t bland she was a judgmental bitch that seemed to think she wasn’t judgmental.  Very much like Michelle Tanner. Overall Rating: C-/D+ it’s better than a lot of them  I’ve read decently.  But it still has a long way to go.