The TBR Pile: Ring in 2016

I didn’t do one of these for December because it was surprisingly bare.  But for the new year, there’s a few releases coming out in January that I’m purchasing.  Not sure that I’ll be reading them right away since I will be studying pretty much all that month.

Preorders

  • Proposal a Mediator Novella by Meg Cabot: More Suze and Jesse, yay!
  • Up to this Pointe by Jennifer Longo: Did I mention that if I ever get married I want to honeymoon in Antartica (the cruise ships going there are suppose to be some of the best cruises in the world and penguins).
  • Geek Girl: Picture Perfect by Holly Smalle: Sort of disappointed in the second installment in this series, hoping the third one gets it back on track.
  • Passenger by Alexandra Bracken: Teen musician and time travel.  Sold.
  • The Imposter Queen by Sarah Fine: It’s Sarah Fine.  Enough said.
  • Truthwitch by Susan Dennard: Hype city with this book, but I’m interested.
  • The Dark Days Club by Allison Goodman: Regency YA style.
  • Zero Day by Jan Gangsei: More political YA, a subgenre I’m really enjoying these days.

Committed Reads:

I am really not going to have that much reading time this month.  I hope to get through two or three titles, but I really don’t expect much since I’ll be doing some heavy duty bar study at least in the mid to latter part of next month (The test is in mid February-I usually go in overdrive, meaning twelve plus study hours that last month.  Right now, I’m doing eight and it’s killing me).  But here are two reads I want to get through next month.

Suze+ Jesse= Lack of study time for me.  Luckily this is a short novella.

 

This will be a nice study break.  I enjoyed The Bollywood Bride but I head A Bollywood Affair is better and not as dark and that’s probably what I need right now.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten 1/2 of 2016 Reads on My List

One thing about blogging is you start to peruse upcoming releases and of course Top Ten Tuesday requires you to occasionally list those on top of your list.  Here’s the top ten books I’m looking the most forward to for the first half of 2016.

10)

This one would’ve been higher on the list, but I’ve already read it.  And it’s worth the wait.

9)

Sometimes Kiersten White books really work for me an this premises really works for me.

8)

Love me some Tudors.  And I love the authors who wrote this book so sold.

7)

I was sad this one was delayed from being a fall 2015 release.  The new cover redesign isn’t my favorite, but I wasn’t exactly a fan of the original covers so maybe it’s for the best.

6)

Genie YA books are an odd favorite of mine.  I like the fact that this 2016 release actually involves Aladdin.

5)

This was THE book to get at BEA, so I’m going to go on the bandwagon (for now) and grab myself a copy.

4)

This looks like one bad ass Snow White retelling.  We shall see.

3)

More Lunar Chronicles, give me.

2)

Antartica.

1)

Contemporary YA is sort of my jam right now.  Especially when it involves politics.

I Don’t Feel Your Pain: The Bollywood Bride by Sonali Dev

Ria Parkar is Bollywood’s favorite Ice Princess–beautiful, poised, and scandal-proof–until one impulsive act threatens to expose her destructive past. Traveling home to Chicago for her cousin’s wedding offers a chance to diffuse the coming media storm and find solace in family, food, and outsized celebrations that are like one of her vibrant movies come to life. But it also means confronting Vikram Jathar.

Ria and Vikram spent childhood summers together, a world away from Ria’s exclusive boarding school in Mumbai. Their friendship grew seamlessly into love–until Ria made a shattering decision. As far as Vikram is concerned, Ria sold her soul for stardom and it’s taken him years to rebuild his life. But beneath his pent-up anger, their bond remains unchanged. And now, among those who know her best, Ria may find the courage to face the secrets she’s been guarding for everyone else’s benefit–and a chance to stop acting and start living.

Rich with details of modern Indian-American life, here is a warm, sexy, and witty story of love, family, and the difficult choices that arise in the name of both.

Source: GoodReads

I enjoyed this book, but it wasn’t great.  I felt like it missed out on a lot of  opportunities.  The subject matter that it covered was not only interesting and exciting, but there was also a lot of emotional issues that could’ve been explored more that were barely touched.

If you know anything about me and romances, you’ll know that I’m really fond of the “second chance” trope.  I think this is because it gives the author a chance to develop the characters at two different stages of their lives and the romance doesn’t feel as forced as in some other tropes.  Still though, it’s a hard trope to pull off efficiently.

And I don’t think it was done efficiently here.  I didn’t really feel Vikram and Ria reconnect.  It was more or less sexual tension and then bam let’s get naked.  Let’s not go through any of our shit first and try to resolve our hatred for each other.

This is the best part of second hand romances, rediscovering that love.  That even though you’ve been hurt by someone and have changed over a period of time, you can still reconnect.  But I think Vikram just wanted Ria for her breasts and Ria wanted Vikram for his biceps.

It’s not terrible though, there were some sweet moments with these two, but it missed the boat in a major way.

Just like having Ria be a big Bollywood star, but hardly spending anytime discussing her career.  Rather, it was her at the wedding making moony eyes at Vikram, his biceps, and blue eyes.  All she really does besides that is stare and mope.

The one thing that I did think was handled reasonably well was the effect that mental illness can have on a family.  Being from a family that has mental illness on both sides, I see where Ria was coming.  While the mental illness that my family members suffer from is nowhere near as severe (that I know of) as the one that Ria’s relative suffers from, I felt her angst wondering if a ticking time bomb is going to go off in your head.

Not a pretty feeling.

Though, I wish some of the other aspects of mental illness was as well thought out.  Parts of the illness and Ria’s reaction to it were fluffed over a little bit too much for my liking, but I guess overall it worked.

Despite it’s faults, I did like Bollywood Bride.  It was a nice book to read on the flight home for Christmas, and it served it’s purpose it entertained me without really offending me.  It’s not a perfect read though, but it was nice to find a romance that didn’t deal with blondes in corsets or hot marines who came back home and fell in love with Ms. Nebraska.

Overall Rating: A B a little shabby, but in the long run worth it.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Santa Picks

Today’s topic for Top Ten Tuesday is Top Ten Books I Want Santa to leave under my tree.  However, rather than just listing books that hadn’t come out yet for myself,  I thought I’d recommend ten books for someone looking for a book lover’s ideal Christmas book.

10)

For the history lover on your list this duology is the perfect gift.  It also has some swoon in it to liven up what would otherwise be a pretty dark story.

9)

This book is pretty much the go to cookbook for me.  Because gluten does bad things to me, I have to adjust the recipes accordingly.  They still turn out pretty decently though.  It’s the perfect gift for someone who doesn’t like to cook but hates eating fast food.

8)

The perfect gag gift for anyone who hates Twilight.  And it’s the perfect paper weight as well.

7)

The perfect gift for a tween who’s not quite ready for The Princess Diaries but wants to engage in some Meg Cabot books.

6)

Probably one of the most informative books this year.  This book is perfect for  really anyone.  There are lots of issues this book lends itself too.  And while I’m not a huge fan of “message” books, this really isn’t that much of a message book.

5)

For fans of the show Sherlock, this book series is the perfect treat while waiting for the new series.  In my not so humble opinion, I think they should turn Mycroft and Watts series into a spinoff.  It works in my head cannon at least.
4)

This is the perfect series for sci-fi fans.  Also, for people who love fairytales.

3)

For someone who wants to read a historical romance that’s not dumb.  I highly suggest reading this book.

2)

For some reason I have really been enjoying DC politics YA novels lately.  I have no idea why, maybe binge watching Madam Secretary has something to do with it.  Anyway, this is the perfect gift for anyone who’s interested in those shows.

1)

For someone looking for something completely different for a stocking stuffer might I recommend this book.  It has bird people.  Yes, bird people.

2015 Goal Wrap Up

It’s time to see if I epically failed or succeeded in my 2015 reading goals.  Expect another post with my 2016 reading goals in the near-ish future.

2015 Goals:

1) I want to read about seventy-five books next year.  A realistic goal, I think given the fact my work schedule can be unpredictable and sometimes I need a breather.  It’s a little bigger than last year’s goal which I finished ridiculously early.]

Win.  I already have read 107 books at the draft date of this post.

2) Try to save more $.  Yeah, probably not going to happen.  I intend to continue my TBR pile feature, to sort of weed out preorders.  My library’s website now features a new release request tab and I’m exploiting it to the fullest. Oh, and I’ll continue to use Netgalley and Edelweiss too.  Though both those sites can be hit and miss-especially Edelweiss.

Fail.  I probably spent more in books this year since I moved and my new local library sucks major ass.  Though, the good news is that I am being more selective in my picks so that’s sort of a win.

3) Go to a book signing.  My eyes are set on the Marissa Meyer signing this winter, since I have nothing signed by her and she’s supposed to do a signing that’s like thirty minutes from where I live-which is better than the hour I usually have to drive to signings.  Also, it’s sort of a retry of a failed goal of 2014.

Win.  Went to the Marissa Meyer signing way back in February.  Here’s a recap here.

4) Try to get into more YA adaptations.  Movies, TV shows, etc.  And try to find good ones-this might be harder than it looks .

Fail.  Really, didn’t have that much time for TV this year.  Plus, none of the adaptions they make really are my speed.  Seriously, what’s wrong with turning The Mediator into a TV show or making a Lunar Chronicles or Anna and the French Kiss movie?

5) Be more forgiving to myself.  If I hate a book or series, I shouldn’t guilt myself into reading x amount of pages before giving up.  If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.

Win.  I loosened up my DNF policy a little bit and surprisingly I think I DNF’d a little less this year than in years past.

6) Try to limit drunk reviews.  I’m sure they’re going to happen, but I really don’t want to do any drinking game series this year.  Rather, I want to binge read series I actually like.

Win (for the most part).  I didn’t drunk review any series, but I did read a Collen Houck book or part of one and that sort of bumped me down a little bit.

7) Try not to get  sucked up by it’s like so and so.  Remember, it’s more than likely not going to be like so and so.  Don’t buy a book just because it’s like so and so.  If it does mention fandoms your obsessed with, but it has a lot of bad reviews……library it.

Um, sort of fail.  Honestly, blurbs still get to me.  But I’ve ben a little bit more skeptical about them so that’s a plus.

8) Princess Diaries Challenge. Since I’m going to be reading the adult princess diaries book this spring, I need to binge read on the series to catch up.  And that includes the half books.  I also plan on rereading the Mediator series later this year-early next year-since a sequel to that book is coming out as well.

Win.  Already finished both binge reads-though Mediator reread series will continue to be posted next year.

9) Read for Fun. Sometimes I think I read too much to review than just to read.  I think I’m going to try to change.

Win.  I started reading more historical romances after a burn out and that’s not what this blog is really intended for.  So I’m counting it a win.

10) Try to do more innovative reviews.  Yeah, it’s sort of a lame goal.  But still, I always want to make each review more and more creative and still informative.

I really don’t know if I succeeded on this one or not.

 

 

Wine, I Need Wine: Diamonds Are Forever by Michelle Madow

It’s cold outside, but the drama is hot!

The Diamond sisters jet to the mountains for spring break, and Savannah’s flirt-mance with an international pop star heats up as her pursuit of stardom succeeds. But is this romance meant to be, or has the right guy been in front of her all along? Meanwhile, Courtney takes the next step with her secret boyfriend—and future stepbrother—and as their parents’ wedding approaches, the pressure’s on to reveal their relationship.

Peyton’s figuring out a plan for her future, but she still feels guilty about getting her former bodyguard fired and wonders if she can get over him in the arms of someone else. But the biggest bombshell will change everything once again, because Madison’s ready to tell the huge secret she’s uncovered. And with the boy who betrayed her but who could be the love of her life fighting for his own life, she might need the Diamond sisters more than ever.

Source: GoodReads

I was sort of on the fence about finishing this trilogy.  The first two books were pretty bad, but I gave them some slack as a guilty pleasure.

But I couldn’t stomach seventy pages after this one.

Side note, this was my second DNF of the day (I read two books on Sunday and hated both of them).  I blame it on reading a really awesome book earlier this weekend, after you read something awesome it’s very easy to get annoyed at minority bad books, but the Diamond Trilogy isn’t  just your average book.

It sucks pretty hard.

I’ve been through a lot of the problems with the book already and it’s just really frustrating to me that Madow is so consistently bad with her writing.  I would hope by this book that there would be some development with these characters, but they still annoy me in every aspect.

But nope, flat as ever.

Savannah really annoyed me to the point I wanted to deck her.  Though to be fair, she’s not really to blame.  Every character in the book is basically a cliche.  And I’ve been through this explanation already, so I’m not going to go through it anymore.

I was able to handle the bad characterizations.  The ludicrous soap opera plots, BUT what I could not handle was a Disney movie lecture from a character who hasn’t been seen this installment.  And a character we’re forced to sympathize and like because she’s the designated soon to be dead character.

I hate characters who are created for purposes like that.

It really annoys me.

Especially when the character that’s lectured hasn’t done anything wrong.  Because hello, I wouldn’t talk to said people either if they were keeping that big of secret for me.

I always hate the guilt someone into forgiving troop it is fucking annoying and forces people not to deal with their feelings properly.  And it’s an automatic I’m going to throw the book at the wall move on the author’s part.

It happened here.

So nope, I’m not going to find out how these four nincompoops end up.  And quite honestly, I really don’t give a shit what happens to them.

Overall Rating: DNF with an emphasis on F.

 

In Which Sagwa The Siamese Cat Does It Better On the World Building: Soundless by Richelle Mead

From Richelle Mead, the #1 internationally bestselling author of Vampire Academy and Bloodlines, comes a breathtaking new fantasy steeped in Chinese folklore.

For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village, where rocky terrain and frequent avalanches prevent residents from self-sustaining. Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.

When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink and many go hungry. Fei’s home, the people she loves, and her entire existence is plunged into crisis, under threat of darkness and starvation.

But soon Fei is awoken in the night by a searing noise, and sound becomes her weapon.

Richelle Mead takes readers on a triumphant journey from the peak of Fei’s jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiugo, where a startling truth and an unlikely romance will change her life forever…

Source: GoodReads

This was a DNF because it was so excruciatingly boring.

I made it about half way through the book and I just had to give up because nothing intrigued me even though it was by freaking Richelle Mead and featured an Eastern inspired world.

No world building was given.  And Mead’s usual kick ass and take no prisoner style was missing.

Instead, we have a very dull protagonist who is in love with a guy who looks like a non-animated Shang from Mulan  in my head and they go on an adventure that is even more boring than those fabricated rope course adventures your school would throw you on to do team building  or whatever nonsense excuse they come up with (FYI ropes course suck, all those bugs).

I didn’t really care to find out the result.  I imagine it somehow involved them finding some sort of curse for their problems, but after being bored for over a hundred pages I didn’t care to find out.

It’s sort of a shame, since I do applaud Mead for trying something different.  And if I wouldn’t have known Mead’s past library, I might have enjoyed this one more.  At best it reads like an average high fantasy that takes elements of Eastern cultures but never specifies what culture they’re using or develop them into being something surely fantastic.

So it results to being something akin to Sagwa the Chinese Animated Cat.  Except you know, Sagwa, actually was more pronounced with its use of Chinese culture and mythology.

It was, after all, a PBS show.

But seriously, other than the use of Chinese inspired names and having a setting that is comparable to rural China there is nothing defiantly  Chinese about this book.  It could take place really anywhere.

That is sad.  This is Richelle Mead, so I know she can do some kick ass world building and I want a good Asian inspired high fantasy.  That part of the world has a lot of mythology and culture that really has been untapped in YA land or poorly tapped.

In the end I’m going to forget about Soundless pretty quickly.  It wasn’t memorable at all.

Overall Rating: A DNF.  DNF’d because it was boring not highly offensive.  The construction was decent which gives the book  two stars on GoodReads rather than one.

The Yearly Report: Best and Worst of 2015

I can’t believe that 2015 is almost over.  It has gone by so fast.  As usual, I’m doing a yearly recap.  Usually, I’ll use my Almost Quarterly Reports to help but this year has been really unbalanced reading wise-you might’ve notice the lack of a third quarterly and fourth quarterly because of this.

Personal Life:

 I moved to another state, then moved again due to a really bad housing issue.  Now I’m settled in a new apartment with annoying neighbors who like to drill at eight in the morning and just got done studying for a notary exam and about to prepare for another bar exam (that’s what you get for accepting a job in another state.  I also bought myself two adorable long haired Chihuahuas named Pinky and Brainy who are trying to dethrone  Patty (who lives with my parents) as my co-blogger.  Don’t think Patty’s going to let that happen 😉  Though once the Chihuahuas start living with me (they currently live with my parents too while I’m studying for the exam from hell) I might start having them review the copious amounts of toys they get and other pet friendly posts.  Because pets rule.

Good Pups

Chi cuteness.

Total Books Read: 

Without rereads (that GoodReads deemed to not count) I read 106 books as of December 13, 2015 (the time this post was drafted).  I figure I might read a couple more titles before the new year, but reading at this point will become pretty sporadic since I’m going to be studying for the bar-I’m guessing I’ll only probably get out five or six titles between now and the exam.   Though, who knows.  I probably would’ve read more if I wouldn’t have had to deal with the housing issue in the middle of the year.

Most Read Genre:

Contemporaries.  Particularly light, fluffy contemporaries (I think my Princess Diaries reread pushed this genre over the edge).  I’ll admit it, I am a fluff girl.  I read for romance and ships and try to get away from the bad things in life.  I’m an escapist when it comes to reading.  Plus, I find there’s a lot more veracity to contemporaries than in high fantasies-most of them do the long lost princess format which isn’t necessary bad BUT…it gets sort of annoying.

Reading Report:

Overall, the books I read this year were a lot better than those I read in 2014.  I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting pickier in what I read or if it was just a better year in publishing (because the House of Night series has finally been put to bed). But it just worked for me.  Hoping next year is similar but even better.

Biggest Surprise:

I’ve praised this book a lot.  And for good reason.  It’s a contemporary that has various shades of seriousness, fluff, and for the plot it’s pretty realistic.  Thorne is on my “To Buy List” because of this book and I’m really looking forward to what she offers in the future.

Biggest Disappointment:

I’m intrigued with Korea and was really looking forward to reading this book (the cover looks adorable).  But it suffered from having an insufferable character and sort of didn’t use it’s setting to the fullest. I’m still interested in what Stout has to offer in the future, but I will probably library it for the time being.

Best Contemporary:

Ellie Marney is queen.  I love this series and if I wasn’t such a neurosis about having matching covers I would’ve bought the third book already-still might.   The second book though really does do a lot to develop the relationships between Watts and Mycroft.

Worst Contemporary:

Ugh, not a fan.  This should’ve been interesting since it featured a main character who was intersex and transgender.  But I thought it blurred the lines on informing the reader what the difference was between the two things and can confuse uninformed readers.  Also, it was a little too soap opera for my taste.  Especially over such a sensitive topic.

Best Paranormal:

It’s an oldie but a goodie.  I almost removed this from being in contention since I’ve read it before. But this is all of my reads list for 2015 and The Mediator series still kicks butt when it comes to YA paranormal.

Worst Paranormal:

So much potential to be a cute little book, BUT book genie fail.

 Best Retelling:

Not a fan of Maas’s previous work but this book really wowed me.  It’s probably because I am a Beauty and the Beast junkie.  And there some rather hot scenes here too.

Worst Retelling:

I just felt like this retelling didn’t know what it wanted to be.  Which is a shame because Jay has shown she’s capable of some beautiful writing in the past.

Best Fantasy:

Such rich world building and ship worthy (if you get past the ickiness).  This one is probably going to be on a lot of people’s lists and the reason is obvious.

Worst Fantasy:

Now, this one is probably a little bit of a black sheep choice.  I know a lot of people loved this one but it did not work for me at ALL.  Rape was basically used as a romantic plot device and I hate that.  It just grated on my nerves on so many levels.

Best Diverse Book:

So many wonderful diverse books this year.  But I chose Simon because I loved how the diversity wasn’t the “lesson” of this book.  I’m sorry not a fan of moral or agenda filled books.  The best sort of diverse books, are the ones where the characters just live their lives and aren’t harassed for being different in a Lifetime-y sort of fashion.  And Simon lives, comes to terms with himself and there’s so much Oreo wonderfulness all around.  This book needs a movie.

Best Comeback:

It’s Princess Mia.  How can you not like Princess Mia?  Especially when she’s getting married to Michael (squeal).

Best Debut:

Again.  This book,

Most Overhyped Book:

Next Harry Potter, my ass.

Best Reread:

I really enjoyed my Lunar Chronicles reread, and it surprisingly didn’t take as long as I expected it to.

Best Series Starter:

I’m a fan of DC themed books and TV shows, so this book sort of fits that niche for me.  I’m really excited to see how this series moves forward.

Best Series Ender:

I cried like a baby when I finished this book.  I am going to miss this series.  Even though Winter wasn’t my favorite in the series it still did it’s job quite well.

Best 2016 Release I’ve Read in 2015:

Somehow, Edelweiss decided they liked me and gifted me with ARC of this beauty.  It’s already been devoured-in less than five hours (big surprise: not)- and a review has been written (will be published near release date), but WOW.  This was….okay, I’ll shut up now.

Best Cover:

I haven’t read this book yet (it’s in my TBR) but God that is a glorious dress and a far improvement from the second cover.  It’s also very pretty to look at.  AND it stuck to it’s theme.

Worst Cover:

Technically, this is a 2016 release but they released the cover redesigns for this book this year (which makes the cut for the list) and they SUCK. I’m almost tempted to buy the UK version or print out the original dust jacket and put it on my copy.  I really hate the redesign.  If you look at all three books they sort of are trying  for a Thorne of Glass thing which sucks since the books had their own separate identity with the dresses-I loved the dresses they showed that you could be a badass regardless of what you wore.  Instead though, we get covers that try to rift on another popular YA series with a little bit of Tank Girl and Peter Pan’s long lost sister thrown in there.  Suckage.  At least the inside of the book will be wonderful-hopefully.

Worst Overall Book:

Someone needs to put this book in a meme with Grumpy Cat.  It is horrible, horrendous.  I’m pretty sure Colleen Houck is going to be appointed Donald Trump’s Secretary of Cultural Sensitivity because that’s how bad this book is.  Her ideas about culture are insensitive and incorrect.  Add to the fact, that she can’t write a realistic character for the life of her.

NO.

Best Overall Book:

There were so many great books that I’m leading this category blank.  Instead I’m going to list some of my favorite reads (all of these have been released) :

  • Fairest by Marissa Meyer
  • The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead
  • Geek Girl by Holly Smalle
  • None of the Above by IW Gregorio
  • The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
  • The Wrong Side of Right by Jen Marie Thorne
  • Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
  • The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
  • Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
  • Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot
  • The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik
  • The Mediator Series by Meg Cabot
  • Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
  • Every Word by Ellie Marney

 

 

The Title’s On Fire Too Bad the Book Isn’t: Pants on Fire by Meg Cabot

 

Katie Ellison is not a liar.

But she can’t exactly tell the truth, either–not when she’s juggling two boyfriends, secretly hating the high school football team everyone else worships, and trying to have the best summer ever. At least Katie has it all under control (sort of). Her biggest secret, what really happened the nightTommy Sullivan is a freak was spray-painted on the junior high gymnasium wall, is safe.

That is, until Tommy comes back to town. Katie is sure he’s going to ruin all her plans, and she’ll do anything to hang on to her perfect existence. Even if it means telling more lies. Even if, now that Tommy’s around, she’s actually–truthfully–having the time of her life.

Source: GoodReads

Long before my book blogging days I was a Meg Cabot junky.  I had to get every book of hers on release date, and this was before Prime existed so I actually had to drive to the bookstore and pick up said book.

Pants on Fire was one of these books.

In retrospect, it was nowhere near the hype I had for it.  But at the time I was excited about it.  It included a heroine who actually has a complicated love life AND wasn’t perfect.

Sort of hard to find in YA at the time, but since Pants on Fire has been published heroines in YA have grown more complicated and make Katie…well, insufferable.

Like I said, I wanted to like Katie.  She’s not perfect.  But I couldn’t.  I think a lot of it boils down to the fact that she seems a bit unrealistic and a bit of a Mary Sue.

I know, I’m saying something seemingly blasphemous-a Mary Sue main character in a Meg Cabot book, but Katie sort of fits the test with everyone being in love with her, her being unnaturally good at taking photos, Valedictorian, having all the boys love her, being one of the most popular girls in school, and being a shoe in as a finalist in a beauty contest.

Yeah,  gag me.

To be fair, the whole beauty competition was an interesting twist when I first read the book.  But upon, reflection I felt like there were these major “moral lessond of the weeks” that were hammered into my head.

I’m not a fan of moral lessons.

They annoy me.

BUT during the time period the book was written in, they were more common in YA than today.  Especially in Cabot’s contemporaries.

The major moral lessons in these books was what annoyed me the most about all of Cabot’s contemporaries in the period.  The messages are often eye roll worthy and corny, even though I know that’s probably not Cabot’s intentions.

It’s not that the books are especially bad, they are very readable, but there’s just a preachy undertone to them that makes you want to pull out your hair.  Especially when that little life lesson the book’s trying to reach you, is the focal point of the book.

Which if you’re wondering is: Lying is bad.

Lies and omitting the truth are featured heavily in Pants on Fire (even in the title to some regard) of course because of this, consequences! happen.

To be honest, the consequences are sort of lame and don’t take up a lot of page count and our deeply flawed main character still gets a Cabot signature happily ever after.

Katie doesn’t deserve a happily ever after.  Especially a Cabot one.

She is fucked up and needs to deal with her shit, rather than getting in a new relationship.  And yes, I did like the guy she ended up with, BUT girl wasn’t ready for a realtionship yet.

There are things about this book that should make it stand out.   But it doesn’t.  The beauty pagent falls flat.  Even flatter than Dumplin, whose beauty pagent scenes hardly impressed me.  Katie’s big dilemma sort of sadly deflated.  It was like anything with any oomph, died quickly with this book.

Look, I know it seems like I’m harping on this book a lot, and perhaps I am.  It has a lot of things to offer and at the end of the day it sadly just flops around.  That being said, it’s probably the best out of the three Cabot contemporary YA standalones  (Teen Idol, How to Popular, and Pants on Fire).  I liked a lot of the ideas that were in this book, but it just really didn’t work for me.

Overall Rating: A C+

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten New to Me Authors in 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Today’s theme is Favorite New to You Authors of the year.

10)

I wasn’t as gunho about this book as everyone else, but it did have a nice message and I am interested in seeing what else Murphy has on her back list and forth coming list.

9)

This was such a fun Western.  If Bowman’s other work is like this I will definitely be considering purchasing it in the near future.

8)

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I know.  I am late to the party.  BUT I don’t know why I didn’t read Riordan before.  I just didn’t, okay?  But Norse mythology is cat nip to me, and you can bet that I’ll be reading more of Riordan’s books in the future.

7)

This was such an odd little book.  Normally something like Perry’s take on Sherlock wouldn’t be my cup of tea but somehow it works.  And I’m definitely interested in more.  Perry knows how to do creepy.

6)

After reading so many abusive romances in historical romances, Milan really does a 180 with these tropes.

5)

I’m a sucker for Beauty and the Beast retellings and if you do one halfway decently you’ll get my love.  Novik’s book did it more than halfway decently.  It’s odd.  Normally, I wouldn’t read something with her sort of prose, but something in it pulls me in.

4)

Rich world building and making a relationship I should hate ship worthy makes Ahdieh an author to watch.

3)

Mathieu writes some powerful stuff.  I only grabbed this book because of the Duggar scandal, but now I’m anxious to read more books by her.

2)

One of my favorites this year.  This contemporary looks at topic often not discussed in YA (arranged marriages).  Saeed really makes you feel emotions for the characters too.

 

1)

This was such a dark horse win for me.  I love how realistic this contemporary was and it gave me all of the feels.  Really looking forward to Jenn’s future books.