Year in Review: Best and Worst Characters

Sorry, it’s a day off this week.  However, because of the Thanksgiving holiday the posting schedule got bogged down a bit.  Today, I decided to discuss the best and worst characters of the year.  This particular post will focus on main characters.  If I happen to read something to amend my list by the end of 2014 I’ll update it.

Best Characters:

10)

Essie: Though it is a bit of a Lunar Chronicles ripoff, I did like Essie quite a bit.  I like that she had hobbies that aren’t usually associated with female hobbies.  STEM programs are desperately looking for more girls so to see a character passionate about coding (yay!).

 

9)

Margo: I feel like this series is underrated.  I really love how complex the character, Margo, is and the evolution of her life post genie.  While the book is plot filled, in a lot of ways it’s character filled too.

8)

Watts: I think it’s hard to write a Watson character that’s not, well, boring and Marney did that.  Watts is just as complicated as her Sherlock counterpart and this makes her an engaging narrator.

7)

Dinah: I love a good villain’s backstory.  This story really is character driven, meaning there’s not much plot.  But it succeeded in what it set out to do.  Oakes really made feel for a character who I didn’t think I could feel for.

6)

Nyx: I just love that this character isn’t instantly lovable or maybe never truly lovable.  She is a spiny, bitchy, character and I love that.  Still, I was able to sympathize with her.  Not everyone is going to be a fan of Nyx though-just FYI.

5)

Kestrel: I like how pragmatic this character is.  There’s a lack of pragmatic MC’s especially pragmatic female protagonists, so I really think that was Kestrel’s strong suit.  I also liked the fact that she wasn’t a warrior.  That the character was surprisingly feminine yet a feminist.  Therefore, again shattering stereotypes.

4)

Wen: Wen is a bit softer than most YA characters, but she has her own quiet strength which really develops as the story progresses. Hmmm, I see a theme on this list (cough, development, cough).

3)

Cress: One of the things I love about Marissa Meyer’s books is how diverse her characters’ personalities are.  Each point of view has it’s distinct own voice to it.  And while it shouldn’t work.  It  does.  Cress is particularly engaging because of how her supposed naiveté develops throughout the novel.

2)

Gretchen: This is one character that grows a lot during her story and that’s why she’s on this list.  I like how Blankman took a character that shouldn’t be likable-a Hitler loyalist-and has her grow and realize just how stupid Hitler is.

1)

Sydney Sage: I really like Sydney on so many levels.  I can really identify with her on a personal level.  And I like the fact that she’s not instantly powerful and that she’s smart in a fight rather than rears her head straight in and gets dirty.  Of course, I really love Mead’s other Vampire Academy universe protagonist (Rose), but I like how Sydney is similar yet different from her.

Worst Characters:

10)

Clara: Dear lord. All I have to say is statue sex.  You can thank me for not bothering.

9)

Becca: I think one of my least favorite moments of this year were all these poor Meg Cabot knock offs and Royally Lost was one of these offenders.  I never had read about such a self involved ignorant character in my life.  I get teens usually aren’t e the most altruistic of people, but Becca was way over the top. I have real issues when the Americans love McDonalds cliche is exploited.  Jesus.

8)

 

Chloe: I think what bothered me so much about this one was that it was another blatant Cabot-this time of my favorite series The Mediator.  But Chloe ain’t no Suze.  I think everything that I loved about Suze as a character was completely removed when it came to Chloe.  She is not an active character.  She waits to be saved and does little to no thinking herself.

7)

The Diamond Sisters: Girls.  Please.  Grow up.  I’ve given you two books to make me like you.  And I only like one of you.  Maybe two if I’m pushing it.  I really put this book on the list because I think the poor characterization ruined what otherwise would be a relatively enjoyable series.

6)

Natalya: How to ruin a book about the Russian Revolution that has the Romanovs in it?  Include a bratty heroine and her stupid friend and  a controlling idiot.  Since this feature is mostly focusing on the main character, I will say that Natalya did nothing to make me sympathize with her.  She didn’t seem to grow as a character either.

5)

Ember: This was probably one of the most disappointing book on this list.  I always hear such lovely things about Julie Kagawa and while I’ve read some of her other work I’ve never totally loved those books.  Unfortunately, Talon was not an exception to this .  I could care less about Ember.  I thought she was poorly crafted and was just an impulsive twat.

4)

Vivian: This book suffers from having a TSTL character that primarily exists to cover up lame plot holes.  Really, nothing about this book makes sense.  And I think the fact that the main character is a complete idiot makes it worse.

3)

Millie: Dear lord, this character was probably the main reason I DNF’d this one.  And I think it’s a problem I find with a lot of YA mysteries.  The main character is just a trope.  The problem with Millie is she acts like she’s about twelve and her actions are…well…stupid.

2)

Zoey: Because this is probably the last year I’m going to get  to do this (fingers crossed) and Zoey Redbird has to go on this list.  I don’t think a more insipid character exists in YA.  I think I even like Bethany Church better if only because her own series was miraculously short.

1)

Colby: Yeah, real big surprise here (not).  It’s been almost a year since I’ve read this one and I couldn’t find a character that was worse than Colby since.  I think the worst thing about this character was that by all means I was meant to sympathize with her.  Her story was heartbreaking.  But despite all the what should be insta sympathy points for the character, I couldn’t like her or really anyone else in this book.

Material Girls Meets the Russian Revolution: Tsarina by J Nelle Patrick

Natalya knows a secret.
A magical Faberge egg glows within the walls of Russia’s Winter Palace.
It holds a power rooted in the land and stolen from the mystics.
A power that promises a life of love for her and Alexei Romanov.
Power, that, in the right hands, can save her way of life.
But it’s not in the right hands.

Source: GoodReads

I imagine a conversation went like this when pitching this book:

Publisher: Well, Ms. Patrick the Russian Revolution idea is interesting.  But we have to have something to compare it with.

Patrick: Why?

Publisher: New trend in YA.  Everything has to be compared to something else.

Patrick: Like Hunger Games?

Publisher: Waaay over done.

Patrick: Okay, what about Dr. Who?

Publisher: Are you serious?  Dr. Who meets the Russian Revolution.  That is even ridiculous for our company.  Here, watch some TV I’ll talk to you in a few hours.

Ten days later which equals ten minutes in publishing land.

Publisher: So, have you came up with a mesh up for us.

Patrick: Yes, uh, Material Girls?

Publisher: Material Girls?  Is that that bad Hillary Duff knock off of Sense and Sensibility that takes place in LA and has her sister cast in it (God, I love nepotism).

Patrick: Yep, that one.

Publisher: I love it.

Enter MJ

MJ: I don’t love it.

To be fair, there’s nothing involving Material Girls in the plot synopsis.  The comparison is only mine to make.  But if you’ve seen that movie, you’re getting a good idea what Tsarina is about.  Throw in a little  Stockholm Syndrome, a McGuffin, and you got this book.

The only thing it really had in its favor is the concept and the setting.

However, the synopsis mentions the Romanovs.  Other than a cameo at the beginning, you don’t get any Romanovs.  Instead, you get the Duff sisters  wearing pretty dresses and in this book essentially causing the Romanovs deaths by being stupid.

But don’t worry, there’s a new boy in town.

Handsome Leo who’s a brute for about 280 pages of the book.

Yeah, I really have problems with Stockholm romances.  Especially when the so called love of your life died about thirty pages ago.  Really?  You know having a Stockholm romance already puts the book on shaky ground.  That scene had me raging.

Though, given the fact that Natalya was already a frustrating character, a frustrating character who had little to no redeeming characteristics.

I really think that Patrick was trying for a riches to rags vibe with character development.  But at the end, I didn’t feel like I sensed any character development from this character.  She’s still the same selfish twat like she was at the beginning of the novel.  And I don’t think her relationship with Leo (The Stockholm Induced Love Interest) helped.

However, sour characters and a romance that makes the early Disney princess’s romances look develop has nothing on how the Russian Revolution is distorted in this book.

I’ll be honest.  Even though I had to do multiple projects and papers over the Russian Revolution, was coerced to reading Animal Farm, and watched the historically inaccurate animated film a dozen times in my youth, the subject matter can easily get confusing.  Patrick’s novel doesn’ t make it that much better.

I think part of it is that I couldn’t sympathize for either side.  I couldn’t see their sides of things.  The Whites were portrayed as being like the Duff sisters and the Reds were just portrayed as murderous fiends.

And then there are the mystics…

Really?

Like with the animated movie, this book decides to go with semi-evil mystics.  Though I’ll give it kudos for not having a zombie-ish Rasputin walking around.  Just his…never mind for spoilers.

To be honest, I think Rasputin and the mystics always sort of get a bad wrap when it comes to fiction about the Russian Revolution.  Never mind, that he played really no role to the tsar’s downfall he’s just an easy target-I don’ t think the beard helps.  But I really don’t see why such a big deal is made out of them when there’s so many other historical figures to discuss.

I don’t know…it’s just I feel like the history itself is interesting enough where parties don’t need to be added or changed to the story.

And that might’ve been the worst thing about this story.

The whole faberge egg plot really didn’t work for me either.  It really felt more or less like a McGuffin quest.  The so called powerful object really wasn’t even that powerful.

I don’t even really know what it really did by the end of the book.  Oh, I was told but I kept waiting for the stupid egg to show me the money…

The book never did.

I think for people who are wanting to know more about the Revolution or even expecting a fun Anastasia-ish themed novel, they’re probably going to wan to avoid this book. I think the best way to describe Tsarina is that Nelle was playing with Russian Revolution era Barbies.

Overall Rating: D as in disappointing.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books in my Winter TBR

The Broke and the Bookish hosts Top Ten Tuesday a meme for the list inclined.  This week’s theme is book’s in my Winter TBR pile.

1)

Conspiracy theories.  Dresses.  And The Da Vinci Code  comparisons.  I think that gives this one a go.  To be honest though, the Dan Brown comparison sort of has me on the fence.  But look pretty dress.  Me.  Preorder.

2)

Sleeping Beauty retelling that’s a series. Did I mention I went through a whole Sleeping Beauty phase when I was four (because she was the only blonde princess back then-I view Cinderella as a ginger). Enough said.

3)

Figure skating.  Though why only show love to pairs…there’s also singles and ice dancing (hint, hint).  Once again, enough said.

4)

I really like Demetrios’s contemporary novels-well, the one I’ve read.  I’m hoping this one is similar to Something Real.

5)

This one is a few days shy of being a spring book, but it looks all kinds of awesome.  I always like long lost child of a famous person stories and this one umps the anti by having it be a politician. And surprisingly, I’m sort of glad it features a Republican even though I am not a Republican.  I just feel like they don’t usually get featured in  YA fiction.   Hopefully, it will be a Republican who actually comes off as a real person and not…well, like Ted Cruz (ew).

6)

It’s already been released in the UK but this is the sort of book I want to have light froth.  It will be getting its US release next year.

7)

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I have this one listed a lot but hello Levana’s story.

8)

It’s the end of the Bloodlines series and it starts out with a crappy cover.  Hopefully, the interior of the book will be better than the exterior.

9)

I’m sort of on the fence about this one.  Gorgeous cover…but I’m a little stick a fork in it when it comes to dystopias.  Still it seems interesting.

10)

 

Another dystopia based on the Handmaiden’s Tale that I’m willing to give a try because I’m a sucker.

 

Drink All You Can Because This is the End (Hopefully): Redeemed by PC an Kristin Cast

In the final electrifying novel in the HoN series, Neferet has finally made herself known to mortals. A Dark Goddess is loose on Tulsa and the world. No single vampyre is strong enough to vanquish her – unless that creature has the power to summon the elements as well as the ability to wield Old Magick. Only Zoey Redbird is heir to such power…but because of the consequences of using Old Magick, she is unable to help. Find out who will win and who will lose in this epic battle of Light versus Darkness.

Source: GoodReads

PC and Kristin Cast really out do themselves when it comes from being disgusting .  Thankfully, after Redeemed I’ll never have to read a House of Night book by them again.

No, I’m not even going to talk about possible spinoffs.  So, we’re going to forget about that.  Right now.  Not even going to give the Casts that idea.  Though, I’m sure the thought has already occurred in their offensive heads.

After writing twelve (if we count the graphic novel) of the drinking game things-though I really have never drank a drop of the devil’s drink when reading this since I care for my liver- it’s sort of hard to come up with something truly original, so today I thought I’d just look back and reflect (cue the bad montage music)

Reflection One: I knew going in it was going to be painful beginning this torturous journey.

I wasn’t a complete innocent.  I had tried reading Marked after the ill guised recommendation of a now defunct Walden Books salesperson.  I was vampire hungry back then and apparently the salesclerk viewed Zoey as a strong heroine akin to a Meg Cabot heroine.

I think she got this series confused with Vampire Academy.

There is nothing about Zoey that is strong unless we count her Mary Sue powers which I don’t.  She hasn’t even evolved as a character.  The last book makes this painfully obvious with her jail house scenes.

I will say I have matured though.  A year ago, I would’ve been spitting and spewing about how the Casts only research into the criminal justice system consisted of Law and Order and then went on a big fuckery rant but not so much now.

And it’s not because of my blood pressure, it’s because the whole scenario was so typical Casts.  I expected fuckery and I got it.  Never mind the following:

  • Zoey didn’t have her Miranda rights read for her.
  • Had a bail hearing.
  • Was held in conditions that violated the 8th amendment-a.k.a. the fact she was locked in a jail that could’ve killed her would probably be a fair argument for cruel and unusual punishment.
  • Was a fucking lawyer’s worst nightmare. Oh, wait the twat didn’t have a lawyer.
  • A cop can just drop a murder charge with little viable proof. That’s right the judiciary has no power (apparently).

Crickets can be heard in the background of the review.

Really, you’re that surprised I’m not spitting and spewing.  Throwing things.  Cursing.  Obviously, you haven’t read that much House of Night.

Reflection Two: Neferet has never really been a true villainess.

The sad truth of the matter is that Neferet could’ve been an interesting characters.  And I really do think YA needs good villains.  But in the end, she’s a joke.

At least she was clothed this installment.

That’s something.

The problem with this character is I feel like she’s sort of a parody at best and a bad parody.  This character had the skeletal outline to have lots of layers.  Those layers were never developed though.  Rather, I think everything this character endured (abuse, rape, etc.) was just sort of thrown to the side.

I really thin the end gave her no justice too.

Her downfall was so easy it was ridiculous.

And I’m not even going to discuss how the Casts couldn’t come up with something original because that would be pointless.

Reflection Three: This book exemplified how pointless the love interests all in this book or really any other character besides Zoey Redbird.

The thing about series finales is they should be a goodbye from all the characters.  This book really was only about Zoey and some new unknown characters.

Rather, than getting mad about the new characters, I tried to ignore them and focus on the characters I know and hate…but I couldn’t because guess what they barely appeared in this story other than to provide a pep talk to Zoey and  help out in a Captain Planet ritual.

Yeah, I watch that show way too much in my youth.

But it’s the only thing I can think of when I think of Zoey’s friends because they have no personality especially in the later books.

Even the love interests–who were the most fleshed out of the supporting characters had little to no personality in this installment as well.

None of them.

It was Zoey.  Zoey.  Grandma Fucking Redbird (yeah, I had to leave the fuck in her middle name), and maybe just maybe Neferet.

Oh, wait there were some new characters.

A cop who liked to curse and…some lame mortal that was Neferet’s play thing.

All I can say is this again: I don’t care.

Reflection Four: The Casts just like to offend people.

I used to think that the Casts unintentionally offend people.  However, I am much wiser after the seventh or whenever they mocked people for being offended about the r word the first time.

They do that again here.  And also mock those of us who drank ourselves to death due to the word bullpoopie being used instead of fucked.  And they said fuck a lot themselves.

Don’t believe me look at this fucking disgusting quote from the book.  I’ll start it when Aphrodite is talking about interracial romances-comparing it to Scandal of all things:

“they’re reminds me of Olivia and the president in Scandal.  I’m liking this whole black girl-white boy thing.  It’s attractive.  Not to mention how it broadens the typical white boy point of view.  Goddess knows they need it.”

‘That’s the most politically correct thing I’ve ever heard you say.”

“You are welcome, retard,” (Casts 258)

Honestly, I don’t think I’d like the Casts if they’re anything like their narration.

My interpretation of the text is that they are directly addressing heir reading.  It’s pretty obvious, well in the earlier installments, less obvious here.  But still.  If you knew about the whole r word incident, you’d know about this.   Honestly, I’m sort of over it.   It isn’t funny.  It’s disgusting.  Maybe the Casts aren’t offended by the r word but  there are a lot of people who are.  And chances are some of them are going to read this book.  Isolating your audience isn’t just rude, but it’s bad economic sense.

 

Reflection Five: How the fuck did this get nominated for two Book Shimmy awards?

Yeah, this is where you see me get mega pissed.

How just how?

And I’m not saying that because I utterly despise the House of Night series.  I’m saying that because it logically makes no sense.

This is a bad book.

And I’m not just talking about it’s actual content.  Technically it is a flop if there ever was one.

The multiple points of view does not work.  I think the Casts would’ve been better off having this book just be written in omniscient third than the first and various limited third it just got confusing after awhile especially since the changes in point of view would happen so quickly. Seriously, half a page of view point changing was excessive.

The plot was illy paced.  I hated how everything was resolved it just seemed way too easy and as if little thought was done.  The ending itself was expected and it had one of those epilogues that just reeked awfulness.

Yet, it was nominated for two catagories-one best book and the other best villain.

Well, people have elected the tea party to office so I guess it makes sense.

This might say it better.

The good news though is I’m done.  I pray the Casts won’t try to revive this like many other of their YA counterparts did to their series.  This series needs to die.

Overall Rating: Are you serious?  F.

 

 

How to Write a Cliche Hollywood Themed Novel: Not in the Script by Amy Finnegan

Millions of people witnessed Emma Taylor’s first kiss—a kiss that needed twelve takes and four camera angles to get right. After spending nearly all of her teen years performing on cue, Emma wonders if any part of her life is real anymore . . . particularly her relationships.

Jake Elliott’s face is on magazine ads around the world, but his lucrative modeling deals were a poor substitute for what he had to leave behind. Now acting is offering Jake everything he wants: close proximity to home; an opportunity to finally start school; and plenty of time with the smart and irresistible Emma Taylor . . . if she would just give him a chance.

When Jake takes Emma behind the scenes of his real life, she begins to see how genuine he is, but on-set relationships always end badly. Don’t they? Toss in Hollywood’s most notorious heartthrob and a resident diva who may or may not be as evil as she seems, and the production of Coyote Hills heats up in unexpected—and romantic—ways.

This novel in the deliciously fun If Only romance line proves that the best kinds of love stories don’t follow a script.

Source: GoodReads

Confession: I like cheesy celebrity YA books.  I can’t help it.  Maybe it’s because these books provide the only decent excuse for having the love interest look like one of the Hemsworth’s long lost but hotter brothers, but I lap these books up like they’re princesses books.  Sad thing is, often they are kind of bad.

Good news though: there’s a thing called the library.  And that’s where I picked up Not in the Script.

Let me be frank, in any other genre in the age group it probably would’ve been a complete flop.  But as a Hollywood book it’s kind of meh.  The book isn’t the worst of it’s kind.  But it sort of had the cliches that make me weary to actually buy these books. Therefore, when contemplating the format of this review (because you know I do that).  I decided that I was going to write a How To guide using Not In the Script as my go to source material.  Note, this how to guide reflects my opinion only and  should viewed at best as supremely bad satire.  At worst…well, a sad how to guide. Amy Finnegan had nothing to do with it.  I’m just using her book to illustrate what frustrates me about this sub-genre of books.

MJ’s Guide to How to Write an Extremely Cliche Hollywood Centric YA Book

Introduction:

Ever wish you could create that on screen magic with five thousand cliches and readers who can predict your every twist?  Look no further, this blog post is your guide.   Using illustrated examples from pristine cliche novels, I will show you How to Write a Cliche Hollywood Themed YA Novel.

Ingredients:

  • A drippy main character (pouty lips are a must, hair color can vary, she must be cute but not overtly sexy)
  • A leading man who rivals the Hemsworth brothers.  Bonus points, if they poised in their underwear for Armani like Beckham-note, it’s no longer Bend it Like Beckham it’s Pose it like Beckham.
  • A new hit TV show or movie that looks like it’s a cross between One Tree Hill, Save by the Bell, and The O.C.
  • Side characters whose personality is like cardboard.
  • A plot that looks like Lifetime could handle it.

Procedure:

1) Introduce Drippy Main Character: Make sure she’s relatable by making her a non-smoking, non-drinking, non-personality virgin.  Props if she has a non-existant cruddy romantic life.

2) She gets a big break.  If you’re trying to be original like Amy Finnegan (author of our go to piece) did then you’ll have your star be semi-established and have the male lead be new.  Otherwise, have a complete neophyte get their big break.

3) Have a momager side plot that goes nowhere other than adding a bit to the family dynamics which makes you cool because….side plot.

4) Have a director/producer character that might as well be Rumpelstiltskin from Once Upon a Time sans  the leather pants or you know any big Hollywood type that you’re wild about working with.  Have this guy be known as ruthless because all producers/directors who are big are and then have him just shrug whenever you have teenage angst.

5) Throw in the Long Lost Hemsworth brother, and boring side characters as costars.  Bonus points if you make one of these costars a really hot guy so you can have a loooove triangle ’cause you know love triangles are the best plot device ever since Bella gave birth.

6) Have crush on no personality hot guy while develop the relationship with the Hemsworth brother.

7) Have character wise up to who she truly loves….but it it too late?

8) Have some incoherent mess that’s ridiculous occur so we can get a climax in this.  Include an almost career disaster, everyone hating Ms. Drippy and have it miraculously resolve with no music-becuase this is a book.

9) And they all live happily ever after.

Those are the essential plot elements to having a successful Hollywood themed book.  Don’t worry about originality, character development, or annoyed readers who wonder….why?  Why? Why can’t the author add anything remotely original to a subject matter that could be interesting.

Protips:

1) If you give your character any sort of backstory remember we want her to be America’s sweetheart all those starlets who drink, have premarital sex are EVIL.  Your character should not suffer from the usual problems that someone with so much freedom and money at a young age would.

2) Have that best friend be jealous and proceed to slut slam her, so that it’s okay that the main character decided to go for the guy she knew her friend had the huge crush on.

3) Have a love triangle even though the book is written in two points of view and it’s obvious who’s going to win.

And Now Back to Our Regular Review….

Okay, so my how too gave away the very boring plot.  But to be honest, it was pretty predictable.  There was nothing original about this book and I think that’s one of the reasons I almost didn’t finish it.  With this genre of books, I think you have to do something original and have really  compelling characters.  Unfortunately, Not in the Script  had neither.

One of the things I will say about Not In the Script was that for the most part it was so vanilla it didn’t offend me.  So, that’s good I guess.

Overall Rating: C.  If you want something light, by all means give this one a try.  Just don’t expect…magic.

Year In Review: Best and Worst Covers

Last week, I looked at the so called best dressed covers of the year (those covers that had gorgeous gowns).  This week I’m looking at what were the best and overall worst covers of the year.  Some themes I noticed.

Best: A lot of the ones I featured aren’t that flashy.  Illustration is often used and texture was utilized.  And a lot of them are retellings or fantasies-surprie, surprise.

Worst: They usually went the photo route.  And for the most part there’s little to no originality there.

 

Best:

10)

A big improvement from the past two covers.  It might not be the flashiest cover, but I have to say I appreciate the improvement.  Though I would like to have matching covers.

9)

 

 

This is an non-offensive illustrated character that I love.  The art work is tasteful and I love how the characters are easily recognizable.

8)

Got to love the Sherlockian cover.  It really adds to the feel of the book-which is compared to Sherlock and Dr. Who.  I think the cover’s excellence made the books faults more pronounceable.

7)

While I usually don’t like photography on my covers, I love this one.  The dress-another one featured on last weeks list-was beautiful and I love the curtain effect.  Best of all, they actually featured someone of Asian descent on the cover.  Up until very recently, non WASP character would be WASP-ified on the cover and that just sucked.

6)

Yes, it won the best dress competition last week and it really is a beauty in covers in general.

5)

While not really that breathtaking on a computer screen, this cover is pretty amazing in real life.  It’s because texture.  Texture, texture, texture!  And I love it.

4)

Okay, it sometimes makes me dizzy but I really like how this staircase sort of looks like a rose which is appropriate because-hey, Beauty and the Beast retelling.

3)

This series in all its illustrated glory really works-especially when placed on a bookshelf next to each other.  I pray to the cover gods that the same theme is kept with the last book.  Otherwise, I’m going to be pissed.

2)

 

 

This one looks even better in real life.  I love the textured effect it has as well.  Even without the dust jacket it’s amazing.

1)

Yes, this one got number one.  I love the watercolor effect this one has and that there’s no big face or kissy kiss photo on it.  Plus, St. Basil’s.  That’s another big plus.

 

Worst:

10)

It looks like a bad Disney show.

9)

That is a sad looking cupcake. And what is the deal with the yarn friendship bracelets?  Those are so mid 90’s it’s not even funny. It would be one thing if the book took place in the past, but it doesn’t.

8)

This looks really cheap and like very effort was put towards putting it together.  Plus, she looks waay too meek to be a Taylor Swift wannabe.

7)

 

No.  I’m not even going to go into what that reminds me of.  You don’t want to know.

6)

 

There’s just something a little off with this one.  It’s almost there, but it’s like they gave up and that sort of sucks.

5)

Because I just keep a spare headshot of myself on my phone…um, no.

4)

Cliche.  Cliche.  Cliche.

3)

Over done.  I mean, I understand the concept.  I get they’re trying to do a Wicked Lovely thing, but it just doesn’t work.  It’s waay too much. Just let it go, cover.

2)

It’s like they didn’t even try with this one.  All they did was get the model to stand there shirtless next to the green screen and snapped the picture.  It doesn’t even look like he washed his hair with this one ew just ew.

1)

This series had really gotten hit with the ugly cover stick.  To be fair, I like this one a little bit better than book four’s cover.  But still.  Why?  Just why?  If I was Richelle Mead I’d be having a fit.  These books deserve so much better.

Abandon Ship: Because Sometimes You Just Got to Bail

Yeah, I’m going there today.  There are a lot ships I go for.  But some ships…well, I never get or my love for them sort of fades.

The ships that I abandon, I find to be the most interesting of all because at one point I did love these ships.  However, for some reason or another-not feeling it. In a way, I think these ships are worse than ones that never sailed in the first place.  At least if I can’t connect, at least I didn’t invest time in these ships.  Ships that I bail on-honestly, they sort of piss me off. However, sometimes the author does damage control and is able to reship them.  Let’s look at a few:

 

1)

The Ship: Jack and Sky

The Breaking Part: Teenagers do not call each other my love.  Enough said.

Reship: Yes, and no.  I kept waiting and hoping they’d get better.  I mean, forbidden romance awesome right.  But the spark was just gone.  Plus, Mimi and Kingsley had the best love story and this series.

 

2)

 

The Ship: Bella and Edward

The Breaking Point: Edward left Bella in the middle of woods, caused her to have a mental meltdown.  That there is enough to add ick all over.

Reship: Sort of when I first read the series, but hell no today.  I think the reason I sort of reshiped it was becuase Jake was the alternative and I found him to be even more of an annoying than Edward.  And that’s saying something.

3)

The Ship: Mia and Michael

The Breaking Point: This book.  Though, really, if we’re going to be honest they weren’t really doing it for me since book six.  Mia can just be soooo immature.  And Michael, well, he really should’ve shared some details about his history with her.

Reship: Yes, thankfully.  But not until the end of the series.  And honestly, I sort of thought a certain character was vilified  just to throw these two together. They’re still cute together though, even though I got a little annoyed with how they reconnected.

4)

The Ship: Daemon and Katy

The Breaking Point: The annoying love fest that happened after Daemon managed to break into Area 51-yeah, we’re not going to go there-and rescue Katy without a shirt on (I’m saying that based on the cover). It was just OTT ridiculous and the characters just acted to OOC.

Reship: No.  The characters were way too OOC for me in the rest of the series that I could never reconnect.  What I found charming about them in the first book-their banter-all but disappeared in his one.  And it never recovered (sobs).

 

5)


The Ship: Isla and Josh

The Breaking Point: Their annoying New York date.  Seriously, Isla, meltdown much?  Honestly, I liked the fact that I unshipped them.  I needed to.  These two got together ridiculously fast and I don’t like being swept up into insta love.  Though those Barcelona scenes were pretty fantastic.

Reship: Eventually.  Sort of.  While I never liked these two as much as I liked Perkins’s other couples, I was happy to see them get back together.  But the thing about this book was I really didn’t read it for the couples story I more read it for the cameos and because I wanted to know what happened to said characters making cameo appearances.

6)

The Ship: Clara and Tucker.

The Breaking Point:  The end of Hallowed.  The ship was dead, dead, dead.  And Christian had become so surprisingly appealing.  Actually, I wasn’t mad with how this ship ended it felt realistic.  Let’s be honest, most high school romances don’t last forever and it really seemed like Tara had run its course.

Reship: No.  I was okay with them being done.  I didn’t want them back together.  I think that’s what made Boundless annoying.

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Gimme Gimme

Sequels I can’t wait to get my hands on.

Um, The Broke and the Bookish (the blog that hosts this meme) there’s a lot more than ten.  But if you insist I try to condense it then I’ll try (sighs in frustration)

For books that’s cover have already been released I’ll be using that jacket.

10)

Just finished the first book and now I want another one like now.  Honestly, this one surprised me.  I found the world building engaging and want to go firebirding again.  Some suggested worlds I’d like to visit: an Ancient Egyptian inspired world, a world where no one was ever exposed to Miley Cyrus and Justin Beiber, and a world where Twilight was never made into a movie or published.

9)

I used the Australian cover, because I just do not like the one they have in the US and Canada.  This was one of my favorite series this year.  And I’m so jealous that my overseas friends already have the sequel and I don’t.

8)

While I wasn’t enthralled with this book, I do think the sequel could be explosive and I’m looking forward to reading it.  Jinnis in YA is something I’m really enjoying almost as most as the recent alternate reality trend so I’m anticipating this one.

7)

I really love this series and unlike Vampire Academy I think it got better with each progressing book or at least I don’t want to throttle Sydney like I ddi with Rose by Last Sacrifice.  Anyway, I’m really interested in seeing how everything in resolved.

6)

The cover’s so pretty.  Shallowness aside, I really loved The Winner’s Curse and I’m interested in seeing how things develop from that cliffie.

5)

Obviously, I want to read that seventh book now and was pretty upset when I heard that it was getting pushed back to 2016-way too long.  I need to know about what happened to Suze and the gang. What did Jesse decide to specialize in medical school?  How did Suze feel about the rise of jeggings? Did Paul become a lawyer or get his own lame ghost show on The Travel Channel as the only legit paranormal investigator?  I’ll have to find out in 2016…damn it.

4)

I need this sequel like today.  I think Prisoner of Night and Fog had to be one of my favorite reads this year.  I really am interested in the World War II era in history and I like how this book shows a perspective that we usually don’t see in literature.

3)

I was actually surprised that Of Metal and Wishes had a sequel, but I have to say the first book was so beautifully done that I will definitely  be reading this one as well.

2)

I feel like this series is really underrated.  While the main character can be a bit whiney and stupid as heck I think it is one of the more interesting dystopias I’ve read as of late.  And I’m really interested in seeing where it goes.

1)

Levana’s story.  Enough said.

 

Five Things I’m Loving and Not so Loving Right Now in Book World

Occasionally I like to have a post where I rant and rave about things going on in book world.  This includes all aspects from book, author, blogger, or even Hollywood things oriented with reading.

Things I Love:

1) Alternative World Trend: I think this is one of my favorite trends of the year.  Even though not all of these books have been successful, I think I like the possibilities it involves.  For those who are wondering here’s a few picks (some of them are better than others):

  • Dissonance by Erika O’Rourke: While the characters are deplorable, O’Rourke’s world building on how world walking works makes for an interesting tale.
  • Trial of Fire by Josephine Angelini: An alternate world that includes where the witches in Salem were actual witches and The Sanderson Sisters took over (okay, maybe not the Sanderson sisters, but Lily is a redhead).
  • A Thousand Pieces of You: Imagine a manhunt in several different worlds including an AU Imperial Russia.

2) Meg Cabot Revisiting Dead Series: Okay, while I might accuse others of cash cow-ing it.  I’m really glad Meg Cabot is revisiting finished series like The Princess Diaries and The Mediator.  After some sour non-Meg versions of these stories (cough, Royally Lost and Ghost House, cough) I need the real thing desperately.

3) More Diversity in YA: While there isn’t as much diversity as I’d like in the genre, at least we’re getting a little bit more.  We’re getting more covers with POC and for that matter the contents of books are now featuring diverse characters in them as well.  One of my favorite books that I read that featured  diversity was My True Love Gave to Me which is a short story collection edited by the lovely Stephanie Perkins.

4) TV Adaptations: It seems that a lot of YA to Hollywood projects are heading down the TV route.  This is actually a good thing because I think there’s a lot more you can accomplish with some series with TV versus a movie format. However, I do not see how you can reboot a failed movie into a TV series when your pilot episode is essentially you’re failed movie-are you going to wipe out movie cannon?

5) Beautiful Covers: The cover fairies have been pretty brilliant lately.  So, I’m going to give kudos to them.  I really like the trend of illustrated covers that don’t look kiddie like.  That’s a real nice change from the big head photography trend we were getting there for awhile.  Oh yeah, sure there’s an occasional WTF Cover, but it’s more limited now than it was before.

Things I Hate:

1) Harper Collins Everlasting Silence on Kathleen Hale: Come on, just make a blanket statement that says you don’t condone her actions.  I get that there could be things behind the scenes, but it’s very discerning that nothing has been said regarding Hale’s despicable behavior.  There’s part of me wants to do a Harper boycott, but I  probably won’t.  Still, I  don’t blame anyone who does.

2) YA Movie Adaptations: Lately, none of the films that have been out there have caught my eye.  Part of this is because a lot of the recent adaptations haven’t been MJ books (i.e. they’ve either been dystopias or contemporaries that involve Nicholas Sparks material-near death experiences, death, and cancer).  But even Vampire Academy, a book I actually read and really, really, liked was just lackluster. Seriously, you gave Dimitri Snape hair?

3) Witches of East End Gets a Spinoff of Itself: This one confuses me.  I’ve been smelling cash cow with the various de la Cruz series that spawned from Blue Bloods for years now, but this one takes the cake.  Maybe it will make more sense to me if I read the book, but while de la Cruz is publishing a book to tie up loose ends of a TV show that is based (loosely based) on a series she wrote I’m more than a little confused about which cannon is going to be followed.  Because yes, the two of them are different.  Quite different.  Aunt Wendy-the best character in the TV show-didn’t even exist in the book.  And Dash wasn’t Dash his name was Bran (aka Loki).  And he and Ingrid were never an item-thank God-though Ingrid was never that annoying or wore a cardigan in the books-just saying.  So, I guess de la Cruz is bringing alternate reality to a new level.  Oh, I have a headache with this one so much.  I think I should just get a glass of wine.

4) Comparisons: If I see one more book comparing itself to The Hunger Games meets Twilight meets Big Brother meets The Price is Right I swear it’s not going to be pleasant.  This is a huge turn off especially when said book is nothing like any of said series.  Why don’t you want to be original book, why just why?

5) Books Pitched to the Wrong Age Group/Genre: There’s a reason I don’t read middle grade.  When a supposed YA book comes off as a middle grade book,  I feel duped and usually end up giving the book a poor rating.  It’s the same with genres.  When a retelling is clearly not a retelling and a book about faes of all things.  Yeah, I’m not happy.

A Reason to Use Anastasia Gifs: A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

Every Day meets Cloud Atlas in this heart-racing, space- and time-bending, epic new trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray.

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.

Source: GoodReads

I always have sort of a weird relationship with Claudia Gray books.  I’ll be honest, I only read the first book in her vampire and witch series and weren’t that impressed with them.  But her werewolf meets Titanic book, I liked it even though it was admittedly cheesy and borderline bad.  As for A Thousand Pieces of  You, I think it’s probably the best Gray book I’ve read as of yet.  Though, that doesn’t mean it’s exactly perfect.

I will say that up until about the last half of this book I was really enjoying it.  Oh yes, I saw the flaws, but it was really enjoyable.

And then…well, it took a not so pleasant turn for the worse.

Sigh…

Before I go into those unpleasant details I want to talk about what I really liked about this book: the concept.

While alternate worlds have sort of been a trend in YA as of recently, it’s something I really enjoy.  The problem is a lot of the time it doesn’t work out for me.  I think I really like the way Gray handled it and I like how she doesn’t stick to one particular dimensions.

My favorite dimension is obviously the Russian one.

Yes, there’s a reason why I’m using Anastasia gifs.

Seriously, authors you want me to to buy your book feature Russia in it. The history and culture is so vast and intricate adding alternate realities made the ride even more special.

So, the Russian dimension.

Totally worked.

And I liked the Ocean dimension as well.  Nice to look at the various possibilities choices in life can make…

So, the dimensions those were great.

What didn’t work for me were the leads.  Well, two of the leads.  I actually did like Theo.  This is a character I want explored more and honestly I felt bad that he was ditched for Paul (who is bland, bland, bland).  I think it’s the one time I want a triangle for my ship to possibly sail, but I sort of doubt it will happen (since I’ve seen in the past Gray usually has a thing for the bland guy).

Gray likes boring guys. I like guys who act more like Dimitri because they make for a better character and have (gasps) a personality.

Not that Paul is horrible.

Just bland.

And honestly, I should be glad that Theo is free of Marguerite she makes some choices that are less than savory and I really did get annoyed with her at times.  But as far as YA characters go, she’s alright.

I think when I did focus more on character that’s when I got annoyed.  When I focused more on the concept, that’s when I was loving this book.  The plot itself: was honestly a little predictable.

I even guessed the twist.

I guess what I’m trying to say is while A Thousand Pieces of You isn’t horrible, but focus on the details you’re going to get annoyed.  Gray is one of those writers whose work is fun, but at the end of the day it’s not awe inspiring.

I will be continuing with the next book, I’m interested in where this goes (even if the characters and the plot are a bit dull).  The world that Gray created is fascinating and I’m sort of interested in what other alternate realities she might come up with.

Overall Rating: A solid B.  Fun, but flawed.