The TBR Pile: It’s Summertime with Obligatory Corgi Pic

June is another heavy duty book buying month-when isn’t it?  Of course, as usual I write this post to remind myself what I’ve preordered on Amazon and to inform you dear reader of the exciting books coming out next month.

An obligatory picture of my mom's corgi-Elsie Clementine-that I'm meeting in a few weeks.

An obligatory picture of my mom’s corgi-Elsie Clementine-that I’m meeting in a few weeks.

It also helps me cancel any unwanted preorders, though usually this backfires on me since I find more books that I want.

Anyway, here’s what’s in the cart at the moment.

  • Tumbling by Caela Carter: Gymnastics ya’ll.  The only thing I’d want to read about more is a decent figure skating book which YA and genres in general lack.
  • The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash: Sometimes I like geek lit.  This looks like the perfect offering.
  • Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan: Witches, thieves, spies, give me.
  • Rocks Fall Everyone Dies by Lindsay Ribar: Love the author’s past work.  Am looking forward what this book has to offer.
  • American Girls: A Novel by Allison Umminger: The plot sounds intriguing.  I really hope it’s good.
  • Winning by Lara Deloza: Lots of good pre-realeased reviews.  It looks like it could be hilarious.
  • Never Ever by Sara Saedi: Another Peter Pan retelling.  I really need to get on with reading these things.
  • And I Darken by Kiersten White: A female Dracula, give me.
  • The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes: I loved The Fixer and have been looking forward to his sequel all year long.
  • All the Feels by Danika Stone: Another take on fandom at this point I am really hoping that it doesn’t include large excerpts of the MC’s fan fic since most of these have ben painful.
  • My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows:  Tudors meet Princess Bride so sold.

A Tale of DNF: The Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz

Twenty years ago, all the evil villains were banished from the kingdom of Auradon and made to live in virtual imprisonment on the Isle of the Lost. The island is surrounded by a magical force field that keeps the villains and their descendants safely locked up and away from the mainland. Life on the island is dark and dreary. It is a dirty, decrepit place that’s been left to rot and forgotten by the world.

But hidden in the mysterious Forbidden Fortress is a dragon’s eye: the key to true darkness and the villains’ only hope of escape. Only the cleverest, evilest, nastiest little villain can find it…who will it be?

Maleficent, Mistress of the Dark: As the self-proclaimed ruler of the isle, Maleficent has no tolerance for anything less than pure evil. She has little time for her subjects, who have still not mastered life without magic. Her only concern is getting off the Isle of the Lost.

Mal: At sixteen, Maleficent’s daughter is the most talented student at Dragon Hall, best known for her evil schemes. And when she hears about the dragon’s eye, Mal thinks this could be her chance to prove herself as the cruelest of them all.

Evie: Having been castle-schooled for years, Evil Queen’s daughter, Evie, doesn’t know the ins and outs of Dragon Hall. But she’s a quick study, especially after she falls for one too many of Mal’s little tricks.

Jay: As the son of Jafar, Jay is a boy of many talents: stealing and lying to name a few. Jay and Mal have been frenemies forever and he’s not about to miss out on the hunt for the dragon’s eye.

Carlos: Cruella de Vil’s son may not be bravest, but he’s certainly clever. Carlos’s inventions may be the missing piece in locating the dragon’s eye and ending the banishment for good.

Mal soon learns from her mother that the dragon’s eye is cursed and whoever retrieves it will be knocked into a deep sleep for a thousand years. But Mal has a plan to capture it. She’ll just need a little help from her “friends.” In their quest for the dragon’s eye, these kids begin to realize that just because you come from an evil family tree, being good ain’t so bad.

Source: GoodReads

Once upon a time, I DNF’d a book after fifty pages.  I had said book in my shelves for month dreading at the possible cringing that would happen when I would get the guts to read it and when I did.  Surprise, surprise, I cringed and cringed  and ended up throwing it in the storage box when I was done.  Rolling my eyes and saying…

But on the other hand, yay, more space in my bookshelf.

When I preordered this book way back at the end of 2014 I had no idea it was a tie in to a Disney Chanel movie or middle grade novel.  If I had known one of these two things I probably wouldn’t have even bothered.

Full disclosure made, I haven’t watched and don’t really have any intention of watching the Disney movie to this mess.  I figure it’s more synergy pandering which just will make my eyes roll to the point where I’ll get a migraine.

Please, no thanks.

Sometimes synergy can be okay when it’s done in a smart way.  Like the early seasons of Once Upon a Time, the way they weaved the fairytales in and out of their fairytales were cleaver at least until season 4 when there was blatant Frozen pandering.  But even that wasn’t as bad as this.

And at least Once isn’t outright sequel-ing DIsney cannon and getting details wrong like Melissa de la Cruz did.

Really, Melissa, would it have killed you to Disney Wiki Sleeping Beauty to learn that Aurora pricked her finger on her 16th not 18th birthday?

Then I forget this is the same woman that contradicted herself about five thousand times in her most popular series.

In addition to blatant product placement and poor continuity, I could not stand this book because it seemed to talk down to its audience.  Its a common problem with a lot of middle grade books out there, but some authors avoid this problem like Meg Cabot whose Princess Diaries series is actually charming.

de la Cruz doesn’t avoid the problem and I think part of the issue with this book for me is that the characters seem to be technically more YA age than middle grade.  So the talking down too really became grating.

In the end, I didn’t try to stomach this.  I just couldn’t deal with all the cringing.  I can feel okay with throwing this into my storage/giveaway box now.  I tried it.  Unfortunately, it was about as squirm inducing as I thought it was.  Leave the synergy, Disney to Once Upon a Time, even though that season finale was painful at least the show on a whole tries (or used to) be creative with their product placement.

Overall Rating: A DNF.  I don’t think it was a subjective DNF either.  The writing was really painful.  I am really going to have to review the Blue Bloods series at some point to see if I have grown as a reader because this book in general made me really question de la Cruz’s writing skills.

Are You Sure This Isn’t a Katy McGarry Book: The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L Armentrout

For some people, silence is a weapon. For Mallory “Mouse” Dodge, it’s a shield. Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.

Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she’s imagined, there’s one she never dreamed of—that she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.

It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with the lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory faces a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard.

Source: GoodReads

 

Man, if I didn’t know this book was by Jennifer L Armentrout I would’ve thought it was by Katy McGarry.

Like McGarry books this one is overly romantic and dramatic, but lacks the duel narrative that hers usually has.

All things considered it is a really solid contemporary.  The storyline was engaging and focused more on character development than plot.  Sure, there were a few over dramatic things that happened during the course of the story that made me want to gouge my eyes out a bit, but overall it was enjoyable.

I really enjoyed the character Mallory.  I feel like she is very relatable.  She’s at that age where a lot of people don’t know what they want in life but at the same time sort of do but haven’t came to those conclusions yet.  I thought Armentrout did that well.  I also enjoyed the romance for the most part.  Though, I could’ve lived without the Paige subplot.

That was a little too much for my taste and a bad throwback to YA of the mid 2000’s where the Mean Girl trope was alive and well.  And really, Paige wasn’t a necessity as was a lot of the external plot that went on that lead to the melodramatic event in the middle of the book that I found a tad bit unbelievable-though, I get events like this happen.  I think the thing that bothered me so much about this subplot was if you took it out of the story it would’ve been just as strong maybe stronger if you got annoyed with the melodrama.

The actual character development that went on with this particular book was pretty strong.  Mallory had a lot of shit to deal with and dealt with it.  I also liked how the romance wasn’t the focal point of the book.  Other relationships such as those with family and friends played an important role in this book, including self development.

In all this was a very different Jennifer L Armentrout book for me to read.  While there is still that ridiculous readable quality about it, but rather than being what I deem fast food reading (a book that’s not the best for you good) there’s something about this book that is more mature than those other books.

I also liked that this book incorporated diversity and not in a tokenism sort of way.  There are several characters who come from a non-WASP background were not generalized.

While not perfect, this is a good book.

Overall Rating: B+

I Hate That Song: Summer Days and Summer Nights Edited by Stephanie Perkins

Maybe it’s the long, lazy days, or maybe it’s the heat making everyone a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom. Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, written by twelve bestselling young adult writers and edited by the international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins, will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love.

Featuring stories by Leigh Bardugo, Francesca Lia Block, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Brandy Colbert, Tim Federle, Lev Grossman, Nina LaCour, Stephanie Perkins, Veronica Roth, Jon Skovron, and Jennifer E. Smith.

Source: GoodReads

Usually when I review anthologies I breakdown the stories for you guys and tell you what I liked and what I didn’t like of each one.

I didn’t like this collection period.  True there were stories that were more tolerable, but it’s not like any particularly stuck out for me as wonderful.  Even Stephanie Perkins (whose on my top ten list of authors) story I didn’t really feel and it was  a sequel to her story in My True Love Gave To Me.  I think a lot of my issues with this book was I thought this was going to be something other than what it was.

The collection I thought took itself way too seriously.  With a title like it had, I was expecting some of the stories to be light but most of them weren’t.  I mean, yeah, some of them dealt with love and relationship, but none of them handled it in the light cotton candy type of way I wanted save for a couple of stories.  A lot of the stories were more literary in nature and were way too serious.

Also, it bothered the hell out of me that a lot of these short stories were more than a little bit on the long side.  It might the Creative Writing undergrad major in me, but I kept workshopping these stories in my head and feeling that most (if not all) of them could be cut by several pages or expanded into either full novellas or novels.  As it stood a lot of them were an awkward amount of pages or the story was just nonsensical in general.

Again, I’m not going to do a point by point review like I normally would because I quite honestly didn’t  love any of these stories.  Even Stephanie Perkins story which I loed in the original collection seemed cumbersome at best.

The one thing I do have to give this collection is that its pretty diverse.  There were multiple QUILTBAG couples in the collection, and there were several characters that came from diverse backgrounds as well.  So, that was a plus.

However, overall, the collection didn’t work for me.  I know this is a relatively short review, but I don’t want to sound repetitive in my criticisms and quite frankly I could be pretty negative in reviewing most of these stories and I don’t want that since most of my criticisms involve the subject matter that I had previously discussed.

If you like stories that try to be literary but aren’t quite reach the caliber needed to be assigned by your grumpy Creative Writing TA, this might be the collection for you.  As for me, I just rolled my eyes at its wannabe pretentiousness and found myself perpetually bored.

Overall Rating: A C.  It might not be for me, but some people might like it.

 

This is Not a Kissing Book: Royal Wedding Disaster by Meg Cabot

You are invited to a Genovian Royal Wedding in this second book pulled FROM THE NOTEBOOKS OF A MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCESS, a Princess Diaries spin-off series, written and illustrated by New York Times-bestselling author Meg Cabot.

Olivia Grace Clarisse Mignonette Harrison still finds it hard to believe that she’s a real live PRINCESS OF GENOVIA. Not only does she get to live in an actual palace with her newly discovered family and two fabulous poodles (who all love her and think that she’s anything but ordinary!) but she also gets her very own PONY!

Of course, things aren’t going exactly like she imagined. Her half-sister Mia is very busy learning how to take over the country while trying to plan a wedding and her father is actually getting remarried himself-to Mia’s mother!-and spends most of his time “renovating” the summer palace, although Grandmere says he is just hiding from the wedding preparations. Olivia hardly gets to see either of them.

Fortunately, Grandmere has her own plans for Mia’s wedding, and needs Olivia’s help to pull them off. Just when Olivia starts to think that things are going to work out after all, the palace is invaded by a host of new cousins and other royals who all seem to be angry at Olivia (although Grandmere says they are just jealous).

As the day of the wedding gets closer and closer, Olivia becomes more and more worried. For such a carefully planned event, it seems like a LOT of things are going wrong… Can Olivia keep this royal wedding from becoming a royal disaster?

Source:GoodReads

I won’t usually read middle grade.  I think a lot of it is because I like my characters to be a little bit more mature, and middle grade characters are still kids and to be honest that’s usually not a period in my life I want to reflect upon.

To be fair, I really don’t want to reflect on my teenage years either, but YA book has kissing and other stuff that middle grade does not.

I’ll make an exception though, if the book purports to have a drawing of Michael Moscovitz in it like Royal Wedding Disaster has.

And to be fair, I did enjoy this book even sans Michael drawing.  It’s something I would feel very comfortable with buying for a younger reader.  It was pretty kid friendly-although, I could tell Meg wanted to include a romance in here since there were allusions to crushes and all that good stuff.

And honestly, that was probably one of the  weakert part of the book.

Olivia is only eleven.  The crush just came off a little too much  to be realistic.  Not that I think it wasn’t cute, but I just really couldn’t believe an eleven year having that much of a romance.

The stuff I enjoyed was the more middle grade centric stuff.  I liked watching Olivia adjust to her new life in Genovia.  I loved her relationship with Grandmere and adjusting to a new school.

The mean girl subplot.  Again, meh.   I think if anything was weaker than the junior high romance, it was this part.  Mean girl plots were a staple in the 2000’s when YA was just getting it’s foothill in the industry and Cabot was one of the big proponents of using it.  While she has stopped using it to some extent in some of her newer YA work-side note, it’s been awhile since a new YA Cabot book has come out, I love the updated adult versions of her past YA novels, but more YA Cabot please-it’s rearing it’s ugly head here.

However, again, the book was so cute that it was very easy to overlook.  The book’s plot is pretty simplistic and goes more into detail about Mia and Michael’s wedding while dealing with Olivia’s first days at school in Genovia.

I’m going to be honest, the whole “princess” school concept made me roll my eyes and gave me flashbacks to that turd of a movie-Princess Diaries 2– if I was twelve (okay, that’s pushing it) or really to be honest eight or nine I probably would’ve loved it.  As a cantankerous adult burned by bad movies, I ignored my misgivings best I can, and read the school part for the dynamics for the characters.

While I am mostly continuing with this series for updates on Mia and Michael (because, come on, that’s why a lot of people who are over a certain age are reading these books) I’ll admit that they’re cute and are the perfect books for a younger audience.

Is it perfect, no.  But the original series wasn’t either.  This series is perfect for a younger audience.

Overall Rating: A B+

 

Top Ten Tuesday: As Time Goes By

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

Occasionally, after I read something and let it sit-sometimes even post review-my feelings change for it.  Here, are ten books for better or worse that my opinion changed post read.

10)

I gave this one a middling rating, but I found that I might underrated it.  There were some cool things about this book that I overlooked and as far as Snow White retellings go, it’s actually pretty decent.

9)

I still really don’t know what to think of this series and the second book has been released.  I was meh about it, on retrospect thought it explored some good themes so decided to give it another chance, and am now meh about it again.  Shrugs.

8)

I was a little disappointed after I read this one, but still excited for the next installment.  Thing is, I waited so long for the next book to be released, I now could care less.  And the sequel is just now sitting there on my shelf.

7)

I’ve just gotten angrier as I sit on this book, and I thought it would be one that I forgot.  I think the issue with this book is that it’s Richelle Mead and even though it’s more blah than bad that’s just unacceptable for a Richelle Mead book.

6)

I seemed to be a bit of a black sheep in how much I liked this one.  The thing is, when I read the sequel I started wondering if it really was as good as I though it was.  I’m finding that’s how a lot of these books that made this list turn arounds happened.  I read the original loved or hated it, then I read the next installment and bam.

5)

When I fist read this book I thought it was a sweet YA book that featured mermaids.  Now I think it was way too simplistic and I wish that some common sense would be knocked into the main character.  It is pretty typical YA for a book released in the period though.  Formulaic to a T.

4)

I still love this book, but my whole thought process surrounding it has changed upon reading its sequel. I think there were some things that I did not see first time around.

3)

Another Richelle Mead book.  I gave this one a five star rating, but in hindsight that was way too high.  I was just living up the ship at that point and could look past all the cheese.  Not so much now.

2)

I used to love this series, but in retrospect it was problem filled.  I think if I reread it from cover to cover I probably wouldn’t have given it as high as a rating as I did in the past.

1)

I only gave this one three stars, and I while I do think the rating was technically right.  I really enjoyed it, especially in retrospect.  It is such a fun book.  Perfect, no.  But I am finding that I’m still talking about it-a lot-a year post read and that’s a good thing.

Bond Boy Syndrome: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

Source: GoodReads

Be forewarned, if you shipped a certain ship hard at the end of A Court of Thorns and Roses, you’re probably not going to like A Court of Mist and Fury that much.  As for me, I enjoyed it more than the previous installment and it wasn’t like I didn’t ship the ship in the last book.  But still, you’re going to be confused and caught off guard initially when you read this if you cared about the initial ship at all.

Don’t get me wrong,I loved that ship, and I did mourn it throughout what occurred in this book.  But upon reflection, I can understand why the ship ended up NOT working.

Maybe if I read the Throne of Glass series which I’ve heard has a bit of a Bond Girl complex but in reverse-the MC gets a new man like every book-I would’ve not have been amused with the romantic complications that occurred in this book, but as it stands it works.

It actually filled in some of the holes that I had with the first book.

There is something about this series in general that is so atmospheric.  In general I don’t like faerie themed stories, but there’s something about Maas’s spin on it that makes it enjoyable maybe it’s because she is loosely basing this series on some of my favorite fairytales and myths-first Beauty and the Beast and now Hades and Persephone.

Is the book too long: short answer, yeah.  There could’ve been stuff that could’ve easily been cut out of this one, but I still enjoyed it for what it was.  I enjoyed emerging into the Night Court learning more about Rhys and finding out that I did not know everything about Tamlin in the last book.

And Feyre really grew as a character.

Some people might argue that a lot of this development and reveals relied on bashing.  And a part of me thinks that they might have a valid argument.  While 600+ pages cause the reader to forget that what was established and built in A Crown of Thorns and Roses.   However, I would argue that the page count wasn’t what made the changes that were made in A Court of Mist and Fury  were.  I really think if you look at the two books that have been released at this series so far, it’s kind of obvious to see the subtext of book one and see it play out in book two.

Again, while I don’t think A Court of Mist and Fury was perfect by any means, I did think it had a lot to offer and I enjoyed it for what it is.

Overall Rating: Subjectively and A because of the sheer enjoyable but objectively it’s probably closer to an A- or B+

Not the Worst Book Ever: Triple Moon by Melissa de la Cruz

After they cause a terrible accident at their old high school, twin witches Mardi and Molly Overbrook are sent to live with their “aunt” Ingrid Beauchamp in North Hampton, on Long Island’s mist-shrouded East End. Because the twins cannot control their powers, their father begs Ingrid to tame them over the summer, before the White Council exiles the girls to Limbo.

Trouble continues to bubble and boil when the girls meet the younger Gardiner boys, who are just as handsome and sexy as their older kin. But all is not as it seems. As Ingrid helps the girls learn to control their magical impulses, Mardi and Molly have just this summer to figure out how to grow up, how to love, and how to be a family.

Source: GoodReads

Ah, Triple Moon it has been on my shelf dearest blog readers for months just sitting there staring at me to read it.  Obviously, I put it off for awhile—it was published in fall 2015 and I only now have gotten to read it.  But to be fair, I have been pretty busy and when I did have time to read I really didn’t want to take a chance with a Melissa de la Cruz book because I have been burned.

Burned so many times by this author.

To be fair though, I think a lot of my recent disgust for de la Cruz’s latest work might have been because my taste has evolved as a reader and the quality of YA books has—believe it or not—gotten better.  When the Blue Bloods series was first published way back in 2007, the YA selection wasn’t near as large as it is today.  And there was something so innovative about the mixture of mythology that Melissa used.  Of course, that series didn’t quite turn out the way I wanted it too—way too many continuity issues—and its subsequent spinoffs were a little less than ideal for the most part.

Triple Moon is  essentially a spinoff of a spinoff.  Its parent series is The Witches of East End which was used to base a slightly cringe worthy Lifetime show that I sporadically did reviews for during its two year run.  I actually like the TV series better than the books—even though TV Ingrid deserved to be hit by a bus, but if you want to hear me rant about that read those reviews—but I never finished it so that might tell you my distaste for the TV series AND book series.

So, why read Triple Moon the first book in the Summer of East End series, nostalgia maybe.  That and I was hoping that maybe I could relive my glory days with de la Cruz’s books.  Needless to say, I didn’t BUT, BUT Triple Moon was far from being the worst de la Cruz book I ever read.

Note, when your competition is Frozen that’s a pretty low bar, but there were some things that I liked about this book.

The beachy setting for one, is always fun to read about.  I think the East End is supposed to be a set in for the Hamptons, where only people who are in the 1% seem to live.  And yes, while it does get old reading about rich people, I think de la Cruz can really capture the setting whether it be Manhattan or the Hamptons.    Yes, the cynical part of my brain is rolling my eyes throughout the entire read as teenagers drive around in Ferraris and wear clothes that cost as much as small animal surgery, but if you like those sort of settings de la Cruz nails it.  And admittedly, it’s the sort of setting you want to read on a nice hot spring day.

Though, I think she could’ve tried a little bit on the fashion realism since most teens aren’t likely to wear a bikini top when they’re driving through the Lincoln Tunnel to get to the Hamptons in their Ferrari.  Especially if their plans don’t concern going to the beach or on a boat-which FYI Mardi planned to go to neither at the time.   If it was South Beach, I maybe could see it, or if they were going to the beach—again, maybe.  But for a traveling outfit: um, no.

It’s just like I don’t expect someone to wear a studded dog collar as part of their daily wardrobe like Mardi does.

Why am I mentioning these ridiculous outfits rather than focusing on principle issues of criticism that we’re going to eventually get to in this (probably) long, long, review?  Because they were so jarring they had to be mentioned.  At this point, I feel like Mel’s editor  should know to look for two things  to put the little red pen on 1) stupid fashion ensembles that only a drunk clown would love, and 2) Continuity issues.

And yes, there’s continuity issues here (again). If you need a recap of some past continuity fails where I use quote by quote comparisons check out my review of Gates of Paradise.

Sad that’s it’s not surprising at this point and that I reading this principally for leisure and to review because that’s what I do, could find them by only paying half attention to the book while looking at the cute pictures that my sister posted of my mom’s new Corgi puppy—Elsie Clementine—that we picked out for her for Mother’s Day.

But I noticed some major continuity issues right off the bat.  Like Freya’s appearance, for example, has evolved to match that of TV Freya’s.  AND there was more than one major plot hold that had me hitting my head throughout the book.

Whatever.

One though affected the climax of the book, and I really, really, had to wonder how the editor’s missed it.

The characters were a bit blah as well.  And were more or less.  Mardi is more or less a rich version of Schuyler (from Blue Bloods) who was mentioned in passing to be bisexual.  Other than her saying this and having a bit of a girl crush on Freya, her sexuality is never mentioned again in the book.  More or less it’s used as tokenism in the book.

Then there’s Molly.  Oh, poor, dear Molly who dresses like Mimi Force and practically de la Cruz’s character to bash and to belittle throughout the entire book.  The villain we’re kept told is a misogynist, but his misogyny is not what I saw so much through the book but where I saw real misogyny was the way this character was handled.

How Mardi and everyone else frowns on her, calls her stupid, and how she learns a big lesson at the end of the book about not being so trusting it made me want to roll my eyes out.  Does that mean the character wasn’t a selfish brat-no.  But I felt for the way they handled the character.  Truly terrible.

The love interests are equally bland in this book-do not expect a Kingsley Martin, and Oliver Hazard-Perry or even a Jack Force.  All of them are forgettable.  And if you think there might be resolution to the Freya love triangle plot in the original triangle….

Well, you’re getting punk-ed again.

I know I am complaining a lot, but again not the worst de la Cruz book ever.  If you  like light frothy beachy reads, and can forget some major plotting and character faux pas you might enjoy this.

Overall Rating: A C-

Lifetime YA: More YA Novels Ripe for the Picking for Lifetime

A couple of years ago I did a post about YA movies being converted into Lifetime movies.  Unlike other forms of media, Lifetime movies have a certain quality about them that makes only a certain quality of book ripe for them.   With the advent of None of the Above-do not mess it up Lifetime-being picked up by the network, I thought I’d look at more Lifetime contenders.

I DNF’d this book but it has all the makings of a Lifetime movie or TV show.  Somehow Lifetime loves the idea of a fallen star or protagonist in general that has been sent to rehab.  The fact that Pagan has been convicted of manslaughter makes it even more Lifetime bait.  I do worry that Lifetime wouldn’t be able to get the period piece right though.  In Witches of East End their Edwardian flashback scenes were horrible in the fact that they thought the Edwardians were completely okay with complete displays of cleavage.  Obviously, they have not talked to the Dowager Countess to get that shit straight.

Because Mori is fucked up, and Lifetime likes fucked up leads.  The whole abuse storyline with her father is right up their ally too.  I can see Lifetime heavily upping the romance if they adapted this one though.  But if they kept Mori fucked up, it could make for an interesting television adaptation.

If done right this could be an amazing TV series or miniseries adaptation.  I’m skeptical that Lifetime could do this, but at the same time I could see them being the perfect network to adapt it because there are a lot of underlying themes of feminism here that Lifetime attempts to do from time from time.  And sometimes they actually do succeed at it.

Again, could make for an interesting series for Lifetime if they approached this anthology like True Detective.   Or maybe even focusing on a couple of these stories per season.  Why is this perfect for Lifetime because it centers around strong women characters.  Of course, it might not be as melodramatic as Lifetime likes.

I know they picked up None of the Above already and even though the stories are completely different-one is about a girl who finds out she’s intersex and the other is about a transgender girl, I feel like they do share very familiar themes in what is a woman.  I think it would sort of be cool if this book was turned into an original movie because I think it could showcase a lot of things in a ninety minute window.  And there’s a lot of heartbreak and drama in it, that if Lifetime did it justice could make it Emmy worthy.  Plus, I would really love it if the Network would embrace all kinds of women-meaning, not just cis gendered women.

Girl who worked as a stripper to support herself before finding out she has a rich guardian.  Lifetime movie right there, baby.  Or TV series.

Everyone who knows me, knows I really hate this series and the only reason I’m recommending it here is because Lifetime can make pretty decent adaptations of cruddy series-see The Witches of East End series and Aunt Wendy- and I’d like to see what they could do here.  Maybe they’d have America be a long lost princess in typical YA fantasy/dystopia tradition.  Or maybe they’d have Ass-pen go to secret ninja school or something to make him a little bit more interesting and a worthwhile rival to Maxon.  I don’t know, it wouldn’t take that much effort to make a TV or movie miniseries of this series better than the original.

This is another one that Lifetime could culture into being either a gem of a movie or a kick ass and interesting TV show.  It deals with mental illness-what’s real and what’s not.  I know there’s been that show on TNT, Perception, which touched upon these themes.  But I think Lifetime could make this book into something extraordinary.  Of course, it could be a total bomb too which I would hate to watch.  But if they did it right it would be wow worthy.

Lifetime has done the escaping from a cult trope more than a couple of times, sometimes it comes off better than other times.  I think Mathieu’s book gives them some good material to make a realistic version of how someone escapes one a patriarchal cult.  It doesn’t demonize the people in the cult so much, but at the same time she did address that the group was suppressive and wrong for the main character.

 

 

Quite Dry: Guilt by Katherine Longshore

In the court of King Henry VIII, nothing is free–
and love comes at the highest price of all.
 

When Kitty Tylney’s best friend, Catherine Howard, worms her way into King Henry VIII’s heart and brings Kitty to court, she’s thrust into a world filled with fabulous gowns, sparkling jewels, and elegant parties. No longer stuck in Cat’s shadow, Kitty’s now caught between two men–the object of her affection and the object of her desire. But court is also full of secrets, lies, and sordid affairs, and as Kitty witnesses Cat’s meteoric rise and fall as queen, she must figure out how to keep being a good friend when the price of telling the truth could literally be her head.

Source: GoodReads

I bought all of the Royal Circle books at once, but I know I’m going to have to force myself to read Tarnished since I really didn’t care for Brazen ( I DNF’d it) and Gilt was only slightly more exciting.

 

I swear reading Longshore’s version of Tudor events is like watching wallpaper dry-extremely boring.

I think a lot of it deals with the narrator’s while Kitty was slightly more exciting to read about than Mary Fitzroy she was still a bore and I had to really wonder why she was so loyal to Cat (Catherine Howard) who was more or less a 16th version of Regina George in this installment.

You could tell Longshore sort of wanted us to be giddy when her head got chopped off.

I didn’t feel giddy about Cat’s death, I just felt sorry for her for being extremely stupid.

To be fair, I think Longshore did a decent job describing historical events of the Tudor court.  Maybe a little too well.  Part of the problem with writing fictional encounters about history is that if you diverge too much from history people are going to complain, but if  you keep true to history the book is going to be oh so dull like Gilt.

Props though for having cranky and fat Henry the VIII most people portray him as being handsome throughout his life like on the TV show, when it was well documented that he wasn’t in his latter years.

It’s sad that he was so in character and then at the same time I thought that Catherine Howard was more or less a caricature.  To be fair, that’s how history remembers her as being and I think Longshore was trying to be authentic to the source material but it just faltered for me.

I also really didn’t have any sort of feelings for Kitty either which hampered the book too.

I think at the end of the day Gilt didn’t work for me because it just seemed like there was an outside view of what happened.  Yes, Kitty was a supposed insider but she was a rather dull insider whose own story really wasn’t of much interest to me.  And that’s never something you want from a main character.

Overall Rating: A C+ not a horrible book but it’s more like a regurgitation of a history book than a story but in first point of view.