The Almost Quarterly Report: A Meh Quarter

Well, the second quarter of the year is almost up.  Which means it’s time to do another quarterly report again.

Total Count: Thirty-three books.  A bit more than last quarter (27) and I’ve over achieved my GoodReads’s yearly reading goal  of fifty books. Woohoo.  Grant it, there were some DNFs this quarter.  But it still adds up.

Biggest Surprise:

Cinderella’s Dress has such a fantastic premises.  But it’s execution was  appalling.  A book with this sort of premises shouldn’t be boring, but it is.  So, so, boring.  And it’s one of the reasons I really don’t request ARCs that often unless I’m pretty sure I’m going to like the book.  Because this one..shudders.  No bueno.

 

Best Contemporary:

Yes, a Katie McGarry books wins the best contemporary for this quarter.  While there are some faults with this book, it’s enjoyable.  The characters are also well developed.  And it has a plot.  Always a big thing for a YA contemporary to succeed. If there is no plot, then God help you.

Worst Contemporary:

Well, there were lots and lots of contenders for this category, but Royally Lost managed to grab the crown in this category even though there were a couple of DNF-s as its competition.  I think what makes this book such a foul memory is that it had  elements in the book that I should’ve loved (royalty and European vacations) and sort of shitted on it.  Plus, I have a hard time believing any MC that thinks you can just Google a prince’s telephone number.

Best Paranormal:

This book was a solid sequel.  However,  it almost has a dark horse feel to it.  Under hyped, but if you do somehow find yourself reading it you are really wowed.  Solid world building.  Strong characters.  It is really a joy to read. I  just wish more people knew about it.  What’s even more applaud worthy about this particular installment is that its the second book in the series.  Yes, it does not suffer from middle book syndrome.

Worst Paranormal:

I feel really  bad about this.  This book was written by a teenager, and I thought about not putting it on my list because she’s young and I think a lot of the issues in this novel are based on experience.  But out of the paranormals I’ve read this quarter, it’s one of the worst.  And even though a part of me really wanted to put City of Heavenly Fire as the winner to this particular category,   it is a better book than Take Back the Skies.

Best Retelling:

This Cinderella retelling was the perfect retelling.  Hodge is probably one of my favorite debut authors this year.  I just love what she does to fairytales.  She gives them layers and twists them in such ways that you’re just feel your emotions drained as you go through the story.  And she managed to do this in a novel with Gilded Ashes. 

 

Worst Retelling:

This seemed to be a book that was a little too over hyped for my tastes.  It just didn’t live up to expectations and after reading half a dozen or so reviews for this one, I still don’t get the appeal.   It’s not a bad book, but it’s not that special.  And seriously, while they got the shoes right on the cover.  They said ruby slippers in the book which is so wrong (read the actual Baum book).

Best Overall Book:

I honestly don’t know.  There were a lot of books that I liked this quarter of the year, but nothing stands out as the best book (A lot of February releases kicked their ass).  Or for that matter, there really weren’t that many books I can say that I liked that much to be a top pick.  While I did like quite a few books this quarter, the majority of them had faults.  And there were only a couple that got over the three star threshold on good reads.  Those books (Pushing the Limits and Shadow and Bone) were great but not that great.

Worst Overall Book:

This is a fuck fest.

Yeah, I hated that book that much.

I actually returned it to Barnes and Noble.  This is the sort of YA book that makes me angry.  If I didn’t know better I would think that Fantaskey does not take her audience seriously.  The main character is immature and the whole plot line is ludicrous.

Avoid.

Avoid.

Avoid.

Overall Thoughts:  Looking back at a lot of my reviews this quarter, I haven’t exactly been a happy reviewer.  While there were lots of books rated in the B zone (three stars) I only rated maybe two four star books and no five star books.  And there were lots of ones.  The good news is that most of these bombs didn’t infuriate me as much as the previous quarter’s bombs.  The bad news is the ones that did stick out have me wondering just how many twinkies publishers were consuming.

Books That I’m Looking Forward to Reading Next Quarter:

 

In this timeless new trilogy about love and sacrifice, a princess must find her place in a reborn world.

In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.

On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love.

Source: GoodReads

Oh yeah, I’m definitely looking forward to this one.   High fantasy and as much as I hate to say it a love triangle that actually looks like it could be interesting.

 

 

A jinni. A princess. And the wish that changes everything. . . .

Najwa is a jinni, training to be a spy in the war against the humans. Zayele is a human on her way to marry a prince of Baghdad—which she’ll do anything to avoid. So she captures Najwa and makes a wish. With a rush of smoke and fire, they fall apart and re-form—as each other. A jinni and a human, trading lives. Both girls must play their parts among enemies who would kill them if the deception were ever discovered—enemies including the young men Najwa and Zayele are just discovering they might love.

Source: GoodReads

Anything that has jinnis in it and I’m game.  I also have an ARC of this one, so I’m really forward to reading this one soon.

Love burns. Worlds collide. Magic reigns.

This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying many of the experiences that other teenagers take for granted…which is why she is determined to enjoy her first (and perhaps only) high-school party. But Lily’s life never goes according to plan, and after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly Lily is in a different Salem – one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruellest of all the Crucibles is Lillian . . . Lily’s identical other self in this alternate universe. This new version of her world is terrifyingly sensual, and Lily is soon overwhelmed by new experiences.

Lily realizes that what makes her weak at home is exactly what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. It also puts her life in danger. Thrown into a world she doesn’t understand, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can’t hope to shoulder alone, and a love she never expected.

But how can Lily be the saviour of this world when she is literally her own worst enemy?

Source: GoodReads

I’m a little skeptical about this one since I deplored Starcrossed with every square inch of my being, but the premises looks awesome so I’m willing to give it a chance. Hopefully, it will end up on my best instead of my worst list next quarter.

Binge Reading: The Pushing the Limits Series by Katie McGarry

A few weeks ago, I read Dare You To which was my first Katy McGarry book,  since the I sort of binge read the rest  of the Pushing the Limits series.  And decided to do binge read the rest of the series.

Yes, binge read.  I have to say, since I started blogging I haven’t read a series in one setting in a long, long time.  And technically, I didn’t read this series in one read since I read Dare You To, about a month ago.  But even though this wasn’t a complete series binge read, I do think by reading most of the books in the series back to back, I learned a lot more about why and why not this series works.

For a binge review, what I’m going to do is give a brief review for each book in the series and then at the end of the review, I’ll give my overall thoughts.

Before I start the review, if you’re interested in my thoughts on Dare You To click here.

So wrong for each other …and yet so right.

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with “freaky” scars on her arms. Even Echo can’t remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.

But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo’s world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she’ll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

Source: GoodReads

Besides, Dare You To, this book is the strongest out of the series.  If not the strongest.

The characters in Pushing the Limits aren’t cookie cutter.  And the plot isn’t that cliche.

Grant it, this is the first book in the series.  So the cliches that I’m going to note as the binge review continues, aren’t going to be so much as an annoying roll your eyes moment cliche as they were later on.

The problems that Echo and Noah face seem to be handled with relative realism.  I also like how the problems aren’t one dimensional and how everything isn’t perfectly resolved by the end of the book.

There’s a feeling of realism to Pushing the Limits  and I could almost buy Echo and Noah as a real couple.

Like with Dare You To, there melodramatic bits to Pushing the Limits, but like with Dare You To, the melodrama actually helped the book.  It’s an odd thing to say, since usually melodrama is what kills a book.  But I think in McGarry’s work it actually helps her writing (for the most parts).

Yes, the drama factor with the court appointed social worker/therapist, was a bit cheesy but once again.  Worked.  At least for the most part.  Though I did get annoyed with how the social worker obviously manipulated Noah concerning the custody of his brothers (lady, I would of ripped you into shreds).

I felt really odd after reading this one,  because I really shouldn’t have liked it as much as I did.  It was cheesy.  While Noah and Echo were a bit more fully formed than Beth and Ryan, they were still a bit of a walking cliche.  But somehow how it worked.  And I still haven’t figured out quite why I liked it.

Overall Rating: B+

The girl with straight As, designer clothes and the perfect life—that’s who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private-school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers…and she’s just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker-a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can’t get him out of her mind.

Isaiah has secrets, too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks-no matter how angelic she might look.

But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they’ll go to save each other.

Source: GoodReads

Meh.

As much as the melodrama from the previous installments works.  It just doesn’t here.  Maybe because McGarry went a little too far here (really that ending).

The whole plot is a little ridiculous.  And let’s not start on those panic attacks.  Having have the displeasure of having an anxiety attack or two, I can tell you while bad it’s not as dramatic as Rachel makes them out to be.

There were some good things about this installment though.  As much as the insta love relationship between Rachel and Isaiah annoyed me, they were cute together.  This is a good girl/bad boy relationship I could get behind.  Mostly because Isaiah isn’t that much of a bad boy.

Rachel, however, is a bit bland.  Unlike Beth or Echo, I didn’t really feel so much for her.  Isaiah too, was not doing it for me that much which surprised me because in Dare You To,  I actually wanted a spinoff with him starring in it.

I think the weakest thing about Crash Into You was that its more than a little obvious now that McGarry is working from a formula.  While Pushing the Limits and Dare You To had some original aspects about them to make them interesting, Crash Into You just seemed tired.

Yes, I’m calling an in-animated object tired.

The tropes have been played out.  And honestly, Rachel and Isaiah’s bad home life isn’t that compelling.  Neither is the “cool” adult that gives Isaiah advice.

Then there’s the drama that’s in this book.

God..

So unnecessary and then that ending…No just no.

However, I still liked Crashed Into You unlike…the next installment.

Overall Rating: C+

 

Acclaimed author Katie McGarry returns with the knockout new story of two high school seniors who are about to learn what winning really means.

Champion kickboxer Haley swore she’d never set foot in the ring again after one tragic night. But then the guy she can’t stop thinking about accepts a mixed martial arts fight in her honor. Suddenly, Haley has to train West Young. All attitude, West is everything Haley promised herself she’d stay away from. Yet he won’t last five seconds in the ring without her help.

West is keeping a big secret from Haley. About who he really is. But helping her-fighting for her-is a shot at redemption. Especially since it’s his fault his family is falling apart. He can’t change the past, but maybe he can change Haley’s future.

Hayley and West have agreed to keep their relationship strictly in the ring. But as an unexpected bond forms between them and attraction mocks their best intentions, they’ll face their darkest fears and discover love is worth fighting for.

Source: GoodReads

Boo.

This is just a disappointment.

Honestly, I really wish that this would’ve been Abby’s story.  Haley is just a drip. As for West…well, again I think I would’ve preferred another Young brother (Ethan) than him.  But he’s not terrible.

 

To be honest, this book feels like it was written in a rush.  As cliche as Crash Into You was, at least it didn’t seem half hearted.

Yes, I said Take Me On seemed half hearted.  All the McGarry tropes were used, but failed miserably.

Probably because I’ve seen the tropes used several times already in the past week, and used better.

I really don’t know why it’s so hard for McGarry to do something new.  Yes, I know that contemporary romances will always rely on some tropes but she could ditch some of them.  Or at the very least have a heroine who’s actually interesting.

God I hated Haley.

Probably because Abby was just sitting there waiting in the wings waiting to have her own story written with Ethan (hopefully) or Logan being her other half.  Heck, I’d even be willing to deal with a love triangle because that’s how much I wanted Abby’s story.

Because she’s interesting.

Haley.

Well, she’s nice.  She fights (used to).  And she’s homeless with a dick of an ex-boyfriend.  That’s really it.

And while I understood why Echo, Beth, and Rachel had problems dealing with their issues not so much with Haley.

As for West, he’s not that great either.  He’s doable enough though.  I think had Haley been a stronger character he might’ve came off better than he did.

Overall Rating: C

Overall Thoughts:

The Pushing the Limits series is a guilty pleasure.  I think if I didn’t binge read the series, I would’ve enjoyed the last two installments more.

Binge reading made me see how repetitive the themes in this series are.  You have:

1) Two broken messed up characters that are the leads (and of course they fall in love with each other).

2) Both have dark secrets. That are completely unrealistic and filled completely with melodrama.

3) There are two types of adults: 1) complete dicks or 2) lame adults that despite being totally weird and uncool are really right.

4) You will only be attracted to someone of a different socioeconomic class.  Rich boys get with poor girls (or in Beth’s case formerly poor girls) and rich girls get with poor boys.

5) Your deep dark secret will be seemingly resolved throughout the entire book.

As much as McGarry’s work was having me roll my eyes towards the end, I have to say I do like her writing style and probably will be continuing with this series or any new series she has in the near future.

Sober vs Drunk Review: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

 

 

 

A fresh, urban twist on the classic tale of star-crossed lovers.

When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created ‘perfect’ life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she’s worked so hard for: her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect.

Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more.

In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.

Source: GoodReads

I don’t get it.  I really don’t get the hype over this book.  Sober or drunk.  Usually, if you’re inebriated you like something more than you would if you were sober.  I mean, look at that book trailer.  I’d hate it if I was sober, but when I’m drunk it’s hilarious.

However, the actual book, not so much.  In fact, I’m going to write this review from the perspective of a sober reviewer and a drunk reviewer to prove this to you.

Sober Reviewer: Well, If You Wanted Something to Get Rid of a Boggart…

You can’t read this book sober.

Well, you can.  But unless you have a filter to be unbelievably oblivious you’re going to get annoyed, offended, and your eyes are probably going to get stuck with the amount of rolling they’ll be doing.

It’s always best if you pour a glass of wine at this point (it’s hard to stay sober long while reading this book).

It is obvious that Elkeles has never lived in an area where there is a large population.  Or if she did she never listened to these people talk.  I’m laughing at the sort of Spanish the characters are speaking and my Spanish is horrible.  The whole depiction of the Latino culture is laughable.  Oh yes, everyone and their mother from Mexico must be in a gang or work in the service industry….rolls eyes.

Just like every white person, according to Elkeles, must be rich.

Both Brittany and Alex are racist towards each other.  Brittany looks down at Alex for being a gang banger and makes some less than politically correct remarks and assumptions about him because he’s Latino.  And at one point, Alex calls Brittany Snow Girl just based on the color of her skin and makes other innuendoes about her becuase she’s white (he out right says that’s the reason he’s saying these things too).

It’s stupid. And stupidity seems to fester in every aspect of the novel.

For example, at one point of the novel Brittany gets tired of being sexually harassed she asks her teacher to switch partners.  And the teacher tells her no and basis Brittany’s disdain for Alex on his race/socioeconomic class. When there’s no such mention (at least on this particular point) about race or socioeconomic class.

That’s how best to describe this book: ridiculous.

Every single plot point, character, and even description was ridiculous.

Take for example the fact that the first description of Alex is of an Abercombie model.

Ridiculous.

And at this point a sensible person would’ve slammed the book shut and  if they wanted to read a contemporary romance in the vein of Perfect Chemistry without the offensive-ness they’d  pull out a Katie McGarry novel.  However, an person who lacks sense (like yours truly) would continue to read the book but with a glass of wine.

Final thoughts (while I still have brain cells), this isn’t how diversity in YA should be.  Diversity is something that we should influence in YA.  However, the sort of diversity (if you can call it that) in Perfect Chemistry  should be something we never try to achieve.  It’s stereotypical and sort of disgusting with the way Elkeles portrays Latino culture. It sets stigma.  And that’s the last thing that publishers should want to achieve when creating diverse books.

 

Smashed Reviewer: I Need Another One

You know what’s funny, this book isn’t really looking better after a few glasses of wine.  The shots of tequila and margaritas really didn’t help too. Neither did the wine.  Or the hot sauce.  Though I had to be helluv drunk to think hot sauce was alcohol.

At least I’m not frowning as much.

Though it’s probably difficult to actually pay attention to the book.

I don’t think Alex is cute.

Well, for one thing he’s not a real person.  But as a book crush, he sort of blows.

He was a dick.

I mean, insulting poor Brittany like that.

But she was really stupid too.

Maybe two stupid people make a smart person (look this up).

Actually, that probably goes against some law in Physics.

I guess I really shouldn’t care about them being together because they’re so obnoxious.  But I do have to read about it.

Much like I had to read about gang violence that didn’t make sense, even though I was drunk.

Must pour another glass of tequila.

Ah, that’s better.  So, let me get this straight you can wear gang regalia to a zero tolerance school and not get called out on it.

Man, my mom’s school is going to get sued then.

Another shot of tequila.

And how can one believe they’re not going to have to sell drugs if they’re in a gang?

Who cares more drinks?

Better.

Better.

Damn it.  It’s still not working.  Logic is still there, god damn it, even with all of the booze.

And it’s still making me crazy too.  Like I don’t understand how Alex came back even though he was out of the gang and could’ve moved anywhere but had to go through the branding thing.

Then again, I don’t know gangs.

But clearly neither does Simone Elkeles.

Well, her knowledge of gangs is about as much knowledge as she has on Spanish.

That’s not saying much.

Okay, it’s actually a big insult since Ms. Elkeles believes that anyone who speaks Spanish uses the word mamacita every other sentence (obviously not reading this article).

I’m getting bored right now and could really use another drink so I’m just going to sum this up for you in one (okay, maybe a couple) of sentences:  This book sucks.  Es muy malo.  The end.

In other words, it blows man.

The (F)ucking end.

Review Via Top Ten List: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

 

 

The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfill her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?

Glorious. Epic. Irresistible. Romance.

 

Source: GoodReads

 

10) This book is way over hyped: It’s a good book.  But with the hype it was getting I expected it to be like Harry Potter or something.  It’s not.  It’s good, but not fantastic.  I will not be rushing to the stores to get its sequel, but at the same time I do think I want to finish the series.  As this list shows, it was overall a pretty solid effort.

9) It is filled with tropes: Veronica Roth is wrong.  I have read books like Shadow and Bone.  Yes, it might incorporate a different setting and mythology than other YA fare out there, but it still shares the famous Chosen One trope.  A magic school trope.  A potential love triangle trope.  Really, nothing that new here save for the Russian inspired setting.

8) The tropes were handled well: While not original, the tropes that this book did use were handled very well.  I didn’t get annoyed and believe me Chosen One stories are very easy to get annoyed with.  I think what kept it interesting was it’s setting.  It was different enough, but similar enough to keep things interesting but not over powering.

7) Mal and Alina have sibling chemistry: The I love yous from Mal’s POV really doesn’t make sense (yet).  If there was some development, I think I could love these two together.  However, as it it I just see sibling chemistry.  Which wouldn’t exactly be a bad thing if that’s what Bardugo intended.  But guessing by the end of the book, it’s not.  I often think pacing of relationships often plays a big role in whether a book couple has chemistry or not.  Here.  Well…I’m just not buying the attraction yet especially with The Darkling looming.

6) While the world building was overall tight it had a lot of holes: This is probably what the two sequels are for.  But I had lots of questions about the world that these characters lived in.  I got the gist of it, but there were lots of holes.  Hopefully, the next two books in the trilogy will be able to answer them for me.  I sort of hesitate, at this point, to criticize this much because it is only the opening act.

5) Alina spends a lot of time looking at herself in the mirror: Just saying.  It happens a lot.  I didn’t mark how many times.  But a good percentage of the book is her describing how bad/good she looks.

4)Despite her vanity I did like Alina: She seemed realistic.  She wasn’t ridiculous strong or brave, for the most part, and she did evolve it seemed.  My biggest complaint with her, besides the occasional vain moment, is that she did seem like she could get moony eyed over one of the male leads with little to no effort.

3)Save for the romance the pacing was pretty solid: I was able to read this book pretty quickly which is always a pleasant surprise.  I didn’t think any part of the story dragged.  As boring as some of the palace scenes might have felt, they all served a purpose and the book moved pretty fast.

2)  Sometimes I Wondered Why: This book was as hyped as it was.  It was good.  But I just kept waiting for that amazing event that was going to knock off my socks.  But other than The Darkling.  There was really nothing that made me fangirl.

1) The Darkling  could be an amazing villain (but maybe I don’t want him to be): Okay, I admit it.  I sort of want The Darkling and Alina to be together if only because they pretty much have the chemistry that Alina and Mal are missing.  And I do have a thing for dark characters when they aren’t the dark sort of character with the tropes that I find annoying.  The thing is, as much as I enjoy the chemistry these two have, I’d be perfectly okay if things don’t work out if The Darkling gets his evil on.  YA really lacks in villains.  And if The Darkling lives up to his potential, well, then I’ll be a happy girl even if he and Alina are not the endgame.

Overall Rating: B+.  I liked this book, but it’s not worth it’s hype.

Do Not Attempt to Drive After Reading This Review: Tiger’s Destiny by Colleen Houck

 

Let’s just put it this way, if all the other books in the Tiger series are farts (and they are) would smell so bad it would probably be consider a weapon of mass destruction or at the very least get whatever building it was let in condemned.

It’s that bad.

I don’t even know why it exists to be honest.

I guess to resolve the stupid love triangle.  But with the resolution it had, Houck should’ve just went for a Cassandra Clare ending a la Clockwork Princess and we all know how much I just looooved that ending.

That’s sarcasm if you couldn’t tell.

This review is suppose to be a drinking game.  But I thought about just how am I ethically suppose to expose your liver to alcohol or if you’re from being over-hydrated (if you’re doing non-alcoholic beverages)?  I just can’t.  But I have to talk about this book and it’s horrible ever tiring love triangle, plot that doesn’t make since, mythology that is constantly shitted on, and culture stereotypes.  If I complained about that stuff again, I’d be repetitive, but then what am I suppose to talk about….Well, I guess I could discuss Tiger’s Destiny in the context of comparing it to other works out there.  Which I guess makes sense since Colleen Houck is obviously targeting any main stay tropes in the genre right now.

Trope One: The Love Triangle.

The Kelsey in love with two brothers triangle is more tiring that Bella/Edward/Jacob or any sort of repetitive love triangle that Cassandra Clare and a host of others had thrown at readers in the past few years.

Especially the resolution.  I have to say the end of this triangle might even be worse than Breaking Dawn.  And I fucking hated the end of Breaking Dawn with it’s whole Jacob turning into a pedo.

And yes, he is a pedo.  If you want to argue about it with me, fine.  Do it like an adult.  But I have own beliefs why the relationship with Jacob and Nessie is gross and was a huge mistake on Stephenie Meyer’s part but since I don’t work for Little Brown (I wish) I don’t think anyone with power gives a shit.

So, why do I think a love triangle that ended with a guy basically forcing himself to be the future mate of a demon child was much better than this book.  Well, at least there was resolution before the last five pages of the book.

Seriously.

Even Clockwork Princess which had one of the worst love triangles ever was more resolved than this one.

While Kelsey doesn’t get to have her cake and eat it too, she almost does.  And while one could argue that she felt loss based on her choices, not really.  She got who she wanted.  That was made perfectly clear.  And as for her loss, it was loss that was okay (and if Houck writes a fifth book, which I hear she is, I’m sure she’ll resolve that as well).

The endgame while expected, to me was disappointed.  I think the story might’ve worked better if it was the other guy.  Yes, the ending would’ve been more bittersweet, but I think the consequences would be more lasting.  Rather, the guy that lost was given as much thought as inserting a poem from the public domain into the book.

Trope Two:  The Plot

Action.

Action.

Action.

Very little substance.

Let’s be frank.  I like action.  My favorite movies are the Indiana Jones series (and it’s not just because Harrison Ford was hot way back in the day), I like the whole adventure plot.  But in the Tiger series, the action makes no sense.  And I don’t think Houck puts much effort into trying to make it work.  It’s just like one action sequence after another.  Oh, she does try to dump big little life lessons on us (but I’ll get to mocking those in a minute).

There are other action filled plots out there in the genre.  I think Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles is a perfect example of a series that’s filled with action.  But Meyer manages to make the action coherent and work with the storyline.  There’s a reason she added those scenes and it’s not just for an enormous page count.

Trope Three: Little Life Lessons

Anyone who took a high school English class knows that there’s always something deeper about the novel.  At least if you read the book the way your high school English teacher wants you to read it.

I think Colleen Houck wanted her series to be read in such a way and it just makes me laugh.

This book is no To Kill a Mockingbird or The Lord of the Flies, heck it’s not even a stupid John Green book.  The only thing literary about it is that Houck likes to take Shakespeare sonnets and Tennyson poems out of the public domain and slap them into the book to add to omnibus page count.

And really, really, who do you think reads all these sonnets and poems.

No freaking one.

Just like I didn’t listen to the so called poignant lessons about life and loss that she tried to throw in the book too.

I just couldn’t take it seriously.

Especially since every poignant scene had to be filled with pages from the public domain.

Houck, do you know how cheap that looks?

Apparently not.

But seriously, how am I suppose to mourn characters when all you want to do is throw in a completely unrelated Shakespeare sonnet.

Concluding Thoughts and New Torment:

I am glad I’m done guys.  You probably are too.  Reading this series has turned me into a whiney baby and I hate whining about books.  But God this book…this series.

The really horrifying part is that there is potential there.  A lot of potential.  India is a country that is rich in culture and mythology and with the way that Houck just disgraces it it’s really shameful.  Her view of the world reminds me a lot of this song, and if you know how I feel about this particular Disney Direct to DVD that’s not a good thing.

On that note, I guess it’s time to introduce the series that I’m going to explode my liver to next.  A lot of people like this series of three books that I’m about to read, but at the same time a lot of people have mocked it for the author’s apparent over use of stereotypes.

Yes, I’m going to attempt to read The Perfect Chemistry series again.  And let’s hope for my liver that there’s not that many mamasitas said or else I can just imagine the tequila shots I’ll be taking.

 

Overall rating for Tiger’s DestinyBig fat F.

Cinder-bratty-ella: The Stepsister’s Tale by Tracy Barrett

 

Disclaimer: I do not own the lyrics to “I Want It Now” which belongs to Warner Brothers. Also, I received an ARC  copy of this book from NetGalley.  It did not effect my opinion of this book.

What really happened after the clock struck midnight?

Jane Montjoy is tired of being a lady. She’s tired of pretending to live up to the standards of her mother’s noble family-especially now that the family’s wealth is gone and their stately mansion has fallen to ruin. It’s hard enough that she must tend to the animals and find a way to feed her mother and her little sister each day. Jane’s burden only gets worse after her mother returns from a trip to town with a new stepfather and stepsister in tow. Despite the family’s struggle to prepare for the long winter ahead, Jane’s stepfather remains determined to give his beautiful but spoiled child her every desire.

When her stepfather suddenly dies, leaving nothing but debts and a bereaved daughter behind, it seems to Jane that her family is destined for eternal unhappiness. But a mysterious boy from the woods and an invitation to a royal ball are certain to change her fate…

From the handsome prince to the evil stepsister, nothing is quite as it seems in Tracy Barrett’s stunning retelling of the classic Cinderella tale.

Source: GoodReads

Yes, I read another Cinderella retelling.

I can’t help it.  Fairytale tellings are like my weak point in YA.  Luckily, this one was a lot better than the last fairytale retelling I read, Cinderella’s Dress.

I actually enjoyed reading The Stepsister’s Tale, but it did have some problems.

The plot I thought was nice.  It wasn’ t very action pack.  And some might call it, I dare say boring, but it worked for me.  The story is really, more or less, character driven.  And I did like the development you saw with the character Jane.  So much, that I was able to avoid yawning at the constant drudgery that is farm chores.

The main character really was the best thing this book had going for it.  Jane felt like a real character.  She wasn’t ridiculously perfect, but she wasn’t unlikeable either.  Though, I have to say for an evil stepsister Jane wasn’t that evil.

In fact, she was really the Cinderella character (in my opinion) of the novel.

Who had ugly written all over her, on the hand, was Cinderella.

Dear lord.  As well developed as Jane is, the Cinderella character is hardly realistic.  From the book, I’m guessing she’s suppose to be about fourteen tops, but she seemed like she was about six to be honest.

It was ridiculous. That’s how I can only describe it.  Don’t believe me.  Here’s an example (paraphrased) of a conversation that Cinderella (know as Isabella) would have with her father:

Isabella: Daddy, I want a pony.

Father: Of course, darling.

Isabella: A pony driving a pumpkin colored carriage and pretty mirrored shoes and…I want a bean feast

Father: Oh, one of those.

Isabella:  Cream buns and donuts and fruitcakes with nuts….

Okay wrong movie, err…boook…you know what I mean. I think Veruca Salt is the inspiration towards this character.  She i sjust horrible.  And her quick turn around towards the end of the novel, just doesn’t do it for me.  You can’t make up all the shit you did the first ninety-five percent of the novel.

I’m sure…but no.

Besides, Isabella another issue I have with this book is how everything is suddenly resolved.  While I liked the overall slow pace of the novel, I felt like the end was a bit too sudden. There was so much building and then it just stops.  Suddenly.

As for the romance in the book…meh.  It was okay.  Definitely not overpowering.  But I didn’t get the thrills from it.  The good news though is it’s not really a main plot point of the book.  It’s more or less an after thought.

In a weird way, this book felt more middle grade than YA and I would’ve been fine with it if the characters were middle grade age.  But they weren’t.  These were all ladies of marriage age-though it sort of disturbed me how Maude (who was twelve in the novel) was marriage age.

Overall though, I thought there were some nice twists to the Cinderella tale.  I just wish…I don’t know…I just wanted more.

Overall Rating: B.  This one works.  But it could’ve been better.  However, I do recommend it with some reservations.

 

Soap Operas Aren’t This Melodramatic: Vivian Divine Is Dead by Lauren Sabel

Did I ever mention I wanted to write soap operas…

I’m sure I did.

This book is what gives soaps a bad name.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen a soap opera that is this messed up since the network was purposely trying to cancel All My Children and they had Dixie die by tainted pancakes.

God, that was a horrible storyline.

Vivian Divine read like that era of daytime television that many people have tried to forget its existence.  To be honest, I wasn’t planning on giving this book such a low rating, but the last act and its borderline offensive tone kept me from giving it a passable rating.

Before I begin my rant I guess I should tell you what this book is about:

Filled with surprising twists and poignant moments, Lauren Sabel brings a fresh new voice to contemporary fiction with Vivian Divine Is Dead. Creepy, clever, funny, and romantic.

When a death threat arrives with teen celebrity Vivian Divine’s fan mail, Vivian has no choice but to go on the run to Mexico. She soon discovers, though, that her Oscar-nominated performance killing villains on-screen did nothing to prepare her for escaping a madman in real life. Some people say he’s a hero, others tremble in his presence, but one thing is clear: he won’t stop until Vivian is in his grasp. Why didn’t she pay more attention during those judo lessons for her role in Zombie Killer?

Vivian finds an ally in the mysterious and charming Nick. He is everything Hollywood boys are not-genuine, kind, and determined to see Vivian for who she really is. But even he seems like he can’t be trusted-what could he be hiding?

Beat up, hungry, and more confused than ever about who she’s running from, Vivian is living in a real-life blockbuster horror flick. But there’s no option to yell “cut” like there is on set….

Lauren Sabel’s Vivian Divine Is Dead is a creepy, witty, fast-paced adventure about family, fame, and having the courage to save yourself.

Source: GoodReads

Yeah, based on the summary I should’ve known what I was getting into.  But I expected the book to be zany fun.  Instead of culturally offensive melodrama.

And yes, I said culturally offensive since its views on Mexico were…well, borderline offensive (to me at least).  I’m from Texas and the Mexican culture plays a large part of the culture here.  Unlike Vivian, I was well aware of what the day of the dead was.  What basic Mexican cuisine is.  And I can ask what is your name in Spanish without making an ass of myself.

Given that Southern California has a huge Mexican population too, you’d think Vivian wouldn’t be so shocked with Mexican culture.  But nope.  Girl treats the country like it’s a third world country.  I think Sabel wanted sort of a Romancing the Stone effect  which was why she had Vivian act like such an ignoramus, but here’s the deal, Joan Wilder tried to absorb her culture to some degree and she had a right to be annoyed with Michael Douglass, he destroyed her expensive heels.  Nick, he didn’t destroy Vivian’s shoes.  Though he was a big little bit of a chauvinistic jerk.

Add the fact that their relationship is spurred by insta love….

You have a very annoyed reader.

That’s not even the worst thing about this book.

I could look over these things-well, not so much the culturally offensive part because in a genre that it so WASP filled as YA any time there’s some sort of potential to diversity I get really upset when it ends up like this-the book gets worse though.

That’s in its third act that makes little or no sense.

At least soap operas sort of build up to their ridiculous twists.  Look at General Hospital.  As ridiculous as their polonium poisoning story was, Ron Carlivati (the head writer of the show) built up the storyline enough so I could at least sort of buy it.  Here though, there’s no build up.  Revelations are just thrown at you.  I think some people might argue that it’s just a part of the style that the book is written in, but no…just no…you have to have some build up.  Even if you want to do a plot that’s dirty and fast.

It probably didn’t help that while some revelations came out of nowhere, some were just so obvious you had to laugh at the stupidity of the main character.  Serious.  Run away from Mexico because you believe the FBI and police are after you for no apparent reason when you know absolutely no Spanish. And have no survival skills.

Really?

Really?

Do you see the stupidity of this?

If you don’t then I worry about your survival on this planet.

Overall, this one just didn’t work for me.  Maybe if I wasn’t so cerebral when I read, I could enjoy this one more.  But at the same time, anyone who has half a brain and knows anything about Mexican culture is likely to get annoyed.  The best thing I can say about this book is I got to practice my Spanish reading skills by trying to translate all the Spanish that Vivian didn’t understand.  Given that most of this is elementary Spanish, that’s really not saying much.

Overall Rating: F.  Yeah, it fails.  This MC is just too dumb to function and The Three Amigos  portrays Mexico better than this book.

I’m Pretty Sure She’s Not the Master’s Wife: Take Back the Skies by Lucy Saxon

This book should’ve never been published.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Lucy Saxon (that has to be a pen-name) is very talented for her age, but she’s not ready for pub time (yet).

Though to her credit, she’s a bit more ready than Alexandra Adornetto.  But that’s really not a comment if you think about just how bad Halo was.

The premises of Take Back the Skies has a lot going for it:

Catherine Hunter is the daughter of a senior government official on the island of Anglya. She’s one of the privileged – she has luxurious clothes, plenty to eat, and is protected from the Collections which have ravaged families throughout the land. But Catherine longs to escape the confines of her life, before her dad can marry her off to a government brat and trap her forever.

So Catherine becomes Cat, pretends to be a kid escaping the Collections, and stows away on the skyship Stormdancer. As they leave Anglya behind and brave the storms that fill the skies around the islands of Tellus, Cat’s world becomes more turbulent than she could ever have imagined, and dangerous secrets unravel her old life once and for all . . .

Source: GoodReads

I always do love the gender bending trope.  And skyships.  Skyships sound interesting.  As well as revolutionary bad ass girl main characters.  The thing is, Take Back the Skies ended up being sort of a flop. On a lot of levels.  A part of me wants to blame Saxon’s age for these faux pas (after all, she was only sixteen when she wrote this book), but at the same time I’ve seen these same mistakes in author’s who are decades older.  So,since I’m in a generous mood (not really, I’ve just finally got used to not having coffee in the morning) I’m going to do the Master’s Wife a favor and dissect what’s wrong with this book.

1) Use your tropes effectively: I love the whole gender bending trope.  But it was over before it even begun.  I think the reason I love this trope so much is when used effectively it can show that a relationship is NOT shallow.  And God knows, how many YA relationships are shallow.  With a gender bending relationship, we actually get the benefit of having non-romantic feelings develop between the characters first.  Which is nice for a change.  Also, the reveal scenes can be hilarious if done correctly.  However, in Saxon’s case I think the reveal was a bit of a bore.  Or if I’m going to be more critical it made Fox look like an ass.  I mean, look at some of the things he said to Cat (see below quote).  And speaking of Cat, I didn’t know it was a unisexual name.

“And regardless of whether I trust you or not, you’ve got guts….for a girl.”  (115)

2) Pacing: Oh, Ms. Saxon, I think this is your biggest issue.  Pacing.  This book was horridly paced.  I appreciated that this is a standalone (or though I appreciated, since it turns out that there are going to be sequels), but come on.  All these problems couldn’t be resolved within the span of time you gave them (half a page).  I liked the plot you had, it really interested me.  But with everything being so quickly resolved my eyes almost popped out from all the rolling they were doing.

3) Your Romantic Lead: I have a feeling that there will be some Fox fans.  But I have to say,  he just didn’t do it for me.  And while I liked some aspects of the character all I have to say is… What a sexist jerk.  While Saxton did attempt to do some banter between the two characters, the banter was mostly Fox saying something sexist/Cat attempting to reason with him/and it ends with her walking away in a huff.   Which just left me…well, annoyed.

And speaking of sexism….

4) Learn what “sexism” means.  Seriously.  I liked the fact that the issue of sexism is brought up.  But please do make its full purpose for the sexual tension between the couple. It just gives me the feelings of total ick (see below quote).  Plus, the subject matter is such an issue that could’ve been expanded on more.  Other than Fox berating Cat because she’s a girl,  Cat is not limited by her gender.  Yes, she’s told she has to get married but all royal children (boy and girl)  are in arranged marriages.  She is not looked at by the crew (other than Fox) differently when they find out she’s a girl. The government does not treat girls differently than boys.

“You’re a girl, it’s my job to protect you!” (239)

5) Expand On World Building: For a first book, the world building is okay.  Not great.  But okay.  Once again, if this novel was  a Creative writing project I probably would be giving it a lot of positive feedback, but it definitely reads work in progress.  I got a broad view of what was going on in the world that the Master’s wife (Sorry, I really can’t help myself) created. But there were a lot of blanks.  Like when did this book exactly take place?  A lot of it felt like it should be in the past, but the technology is way ahead.  So is it steampunk?  Or would it even qualify as steampunk because the world seems more fantastical.  In addition to the broad ambiguities, some of the decisions that the government officials make and the laws just didn’t make sense.  I mean, look at this example of how they deal with government tyranny.

A trial by proxy was only performed when the country itself didn’t have enough of an established legal system to perform a trial themselves, and had to call in foreign judges and jurors to conduct the trial for them.  She doubted there would be enough people left in government after the arrests to conduct a full trial. (321)

So essentially what I got from this is a trial by proxy is allowing another country to take away said country’s judicial system’s sovereignty.  What fucking country would willing do that?

Overall Rating:  If I’m  not looking at external factors, this is a pretty horrible book.  But if we’re looking at external factors, I do see hope.  Saxton’s book as flawed as it was, had potential.  And maybe with a couple of creative writing classes and age, some of the problems I had with Take Back the Skies will be remedied in future works.D+.  Not quite a failure because there’s hope.  But I wouldn’t recommend spending your money on this one, you’ll be disappointed.  Obvious library read.

Do Judge a Book by Its Cover: New and Upcoming Releases

I haven’t judged covers in awhile.  Mainly because well…I don’t know.  Life got in the way and I sort of felt the feature needed a rest.  It’s now back, and I’m actually thinking of maybe expanding it into some sort of meme if anyone is interested (there’s a poll at the bottom of the post).  Anyway, the theme this month is new releases or upcoming releases.

 

What the Cover Says: It’s time to rip off Marissa Meyer with another fairytale meets space retelling.  Though to be honest, I’m sort of a sucker for books like that so I’m willing to read the knock offs.  And this one is no exception with a retelling of Peter Pan told in the point of view of sexy space pirate, Hook.  Through in a little steam punk (see the gears) and a Wendy Darling that is grown up and is hell bent on revenge on Pan for putting her in a mental institute for most of her childhood and insta best seller. Ca-ching.

What The Book is Really About:

Catherine Hunter is the daughter of a senior government official on the island of Anglya. She’s one of the privileged – she has luxurious clothes, plenty to eat, and is protected from the Collections which have ravaged families throughout the land. But Catherine longs to escape the confines of her life, before her dad can marry her off to a government brat and trap her forever.

So Catherine becomes Cat, pretends to be a kid escaping the Collections, and stows away on the skyship Stormdancer. As they leave Anglya behind and brave the storms that fill the skies around the islands of Tellus, Cat’s world becomes more turbulent than she could ever have imagined, and dangerous secrets unravel her old life once and for all . . .

Source: GoodReads

Verdict: I like it, but it’s not showy.  Which for me is a good thing since I don’t want people staring at me in shock like they did whenever I was reading  that Katie McGarry novel, but not so good for Barnes and Noble staff who had to spend over an hour to find the book for me in their store.  Though shouts out to that B&N store, your customer service rocks.

 

 

 

What’s the Cover Says:  A sequel to the beloved classic, Alice in Wonderland.  Told from the point of view of The Mad Hatter and the Queen of Hearts love child’s point of view. A tale of madness, mixture, heart ache, as Raven the Heartless tries to save her kingdom from her mad mother and tries to have a very happy unbirthday.

What the Book Is Really About:

Downton Abbey meets Cassandra Clare in this lush, romantic fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White.

“I did my best to keep you from crossing paths with this world. And I shall do my best to protect you now that you have.”

Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.

Kiersten White captured readers’ hearts with her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy and its effortless mix of magic and real-world teenage humor. She returns to that winning combination of wit, charm, and enchantment in Illusions of Fate, a sparkling and romantic new novel perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare, The Madman’s Daughter, and Libba Bray.

Source: GoodReads

Verdict: Elegant.  Though I really hate the comparison of Downton Abbey meets Cassandra Clare.  The two things do not exist on the same universe.  Enough said.

 

 

 

What the Cover Says: Living in a dystopian society one minute.  A paranormal romance the next.  And an unrealistic contemporary…Stephanie is starting to wonder what is wrong with her.  Especially since whenever she has the fantasies she’s always in evening wear and there’s always a perfect good looking blue eyed boy that’s a bit of a sociopath.  Is it insanity or has she read too much YA?  One thing’s for sure, she’ll always look great even when she’s mad.

What the Book Is Actually About:

The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.

Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.

Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence… and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.

Source: GoodReads

Verdict: A stunning cover.  Though the summary seems a little too The Selection for me.  However, even if this book is half as shitty the selection it’s bound to fly because dresses.

 

 

What the Cover Says: It’s Dexter for the YA set.  But thrown in Victorian England.  And guess what serial killer’s mind we’re in…if you said Jack the Ripper you get a non-existant dollar.  Throw in some paranormal buggy man.  And a disgraced lady as his lady love.  You’ll want to know Jack.

What the Book Is Actually About:

Miss Rook, I am not an occultist,” Jackaby said. “I have a gift that allows me to see truth where others see the illusion–and there are many illusions. All the world’s a stage, as they say, and I seem to have the only seat in the house with a view behind the curtain.”

Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary–including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it’s a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police–with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane–deny.

Doctor Who meets Sherlock in William Ritter’s debut novel, which features a detective of the paranormal as seen through the eyes of his adventurous and intelligent assistant in a tale brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre.

Source: GoodReads

Verdict: The cover’s okay.  I mean, once you have the blurb it fits.  And what a blurb.  Dr. Who and Sherlock are like my weekends.

 

 

What the Cover Says: After being rejected one too many times by Hallmark and Lifetime, Davey C Gold, has had enough and decides to kidnap the latest Hollywood darling, Rain Bow,  on the set of her new Holiday themed Movie, Merry Christmas Darling. Of course, it’s never easy kidnapping a celebrity especially in the middle of a snow storm that the weatherman liken to a snowpocalypse.

What the Book Is Actually About:

Sometimes danger is hard to see… until it’s too late.

Britt Pfeiffer has trained to backpack the Teton Range, but she isn’t prepared when her ex-boyfriend, who still haunts her every thought, wants to join her. Before Britt can explore her feelings for Calvin, an unexpected blizzard forces her to seek shelter in a remote cabin, accepting the hospitality of its two very handsome occupants—but these men are fugitives, and they take her hostage.

In exchange for her life, Britt agrees to guide the men off the mountain. As they set off, Britt knows she must stay alive long enough for Calvin to find her. The task is made even more complicated when Britt finds chilling evidence of a series of murders that have taken place there… and in uncovering this, she may become the killer’s next target.

But nothing is as it seems in the mountains, and everyone is keeping secrets, including Mason, one of her kidnappers. His kindness is confusing Britt. Is he an enemy? Or an ally?

BLACK ICE is New York Times bestselling author Becca Fitzpatrick’s riveting romantic thriller set against the treacherous backdrop of the mountains of Wyoming. Falling in love should never be this dangerous…

Source: GoodReads

Verdict: The guy looks like a sociopath that’s waiting in the parking lot to attack you.  Perfect considering that’s just the sort of guy that was in Hush Hush (also written by Fitzpatrick).

 

Are You Sure Lifetime Didn’t Produce This?: Dare You To by Katie McGarry

 

Katie McGarry should get a job writing movies for Lifetime.

She has the perfect overdramatic and cheesy Lifetime movie act down to a T.

And usually, I would complain about this.  But in this particular scenario, it completely works.

The melodrama, somewhat 1D characters, and cheesiness makes Dare to You a juicy read for me.  Which is really weird since I should be raging.

However, oddly I’m not.  Raging that is.

The plot itself is a bit of a drama fest.  Don’t believe me look at the summary:

Ryan lowers his lips to my ear. “Dance with me, Beth.”

“No.” I whisper the reply. I hate him and I hate myself for wanting him to touch me again….

“I dare you…”

If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk’s home life, they’d send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom’s freedom and her own happiness. That’s how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn’t want her and going to a school that doesn’t understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn’t get her, but does….

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can’t tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn’t be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won’t let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all….

Source: GoodReads

 

Just out of that brief summary we have girl with bad home life,  rich uncle who blackmails her, a magical boy, and according to the blurb intense attraction.

And the blurb is actually sort of an understatement.  The amount of melodrama that goes on in this book really does rival anything you’d see in a Lifetime movie, but there’s something about the writing that makes it engaging in not a train wreck sort of way.

I tried to think of some explanation for this all day while I was at work, and then it dawned on me.  Lifetime movie.  I enjoyed Lifetime movies despite their sheer horribleness because they keep me entertained.  Of course, I’ll give this book credit it is a lot better written than The Pregnancy Project or that movie about Jodi Arias, but at the same time the same cardboard characters and ludicrous plot devices are there.

You just sit there waiting for what awful thing is going to happen next.

But for awfully 1-D characters, they are rather interesting.  While Beth’s mood swings were annoying, girl had so much drama going on I just had to know more about her.  As for Ryan, he was a bit dull but again he had drama in his life and that made him interesting.  I think it also helped their cases that this was a contemporary and compared to most YA contemporaries stuff actually happened here.  And the characters weren’t sanctimonious

Though Beth was really annoying…

But there were consequences and reasons behind her being annoying.

So, I’m not going to hold that against her (though undoubtedly by the time this review is over, I’ll point out that she’s annoying again).

But to get back on track, the melodrama was what made the book.  It was like a fairly decent soap opera with a heavy dose of Lifetime in there kicking out the ridiculousness of soap opera.

Obviously, since melodrama was involved, I have to talk about how serious issues were handled in this book.

It was okay.

Not great.

But okay.

Personally, I would’ve wished the characters were a tad bit more realistic and someone got Beth into therapy.  But at least they addressed that there were issues.

However, I think what disgusted me the most about this book was the fact that Beth’s aunt (who’s deemed responsible enough to be a foster mom) allowed her niece to lie to the police.  Also, the whole jail scene had one very obvious plot flaw in it to anyone who watched Gideon’s Trumpet ( or had the actual brainpower to read Gideon v Weinworth).  The rich uncle being there to provide for a lawyer thing, therefore was completely un-needed.

To be honest, there were lots of plot holes in this one.  But again, if you’re reading this book you’re not going to enjoy it for it’s well thought out plot and characters.

Overall Rating: B.  Enjoyable fun.  I probably won’t read the entire series  in one read though.  I think this is the sort of stuff you can easily get a book belly ache on.