The Snack That Smiles Back: Goldfish by Nat Luurtsema

Lou Brown is one of the fastest swimmers in the county. She’s not boasting, she really is. So things are looking pretty rosy the day of the Olympic time-trials. With her best mate Hannah by her side, Lou lines up by the edge of the pool, snaps her goggles on and bends into her dive…

Everything rests on this race. It’s Lou’s thing.

… or it was. She comes dead last and to top it all off Hannah sails through leaving a totally broken Lou behind.

Starting again is never easy, particularly when you’re the odd-one out in a family of insanely beautiful people and a school full of social groups way too intimidating to join. Where do you go from here? Finding a new thing turns out to be the biggest challenge Lou’s ever faced and opens up a whole new world of underwater somersaults, crazy talent shows, bitchy girls and a great big load of awkward boy chat.

Lou Brown guides us through the utter humiliation of failure with honesty, sass and a keen sense of the ridiculous. This girl will not be beaten.

Source: GoodReads

I love YA British books.  I’ll admit I’m a bit of an anglophile-except for Briexit because come on-and I don’t only have a Acorn subscription but I also like to read UK set YA books.  Blame Harry Potter, Downton Abbey, and the various Pride and Prejudice movies and miniseries but if it features the UK I’ll have some interest.

So shoot me.

It’s also an Olympics year so I have been trying to pick up a few sports oriented books.

Goldfish had both.  Overall, this book sort of worked for me and sort of didn’t.  It  should’ve had dolphins if it would’ve had them then maybe it would’ve really worked for me but nope, no dolphins.

The one thing that I did like about this one was the dilemma the main character had to face.  Lou has been training for something all her life and regardless of how good she is, she’s just not going to achieve her dream.  It happens to the best of us, and I liked how the character had to find her place in the world.

The family interaction were nice too.  I liked the sibling interaction and parents were good for the most part too.  Bonus points for the author doing a Prince Andrew/Fergie relationship with the parents.  It was kind of interesting seeing how a divorced coupe could get along and be live with each other.   Although, I do have my suspicions about how broke up Lou’s parents were.

However, as well done as Lou’s inner circle was done.  I didn’t really like her friends or potential love interests as much.  They just seemed underdeveloped and flat to me.  Plus, there was a lot of random blackouts that never made sense.

I mean, someone who has been diagnosed with vasovagal syncope syndrome, I know if you pass out it’s not going to be overlooked.  It’s going to be lots of tests with more often some common cause that causes you to pass out-trust me, I had to spend a good portion of my Christmas break getting test done because I passed out at Sephora.

Not fun.

The whole friend who went to special swim school but left because of maybe they were pressing an eating disorder thing just seemed a little vague too.

That’s the problem I had with a lot of this plot.  It was vague.

I had to squint to even see the romance, I just didn’t get it.

Sigh.

I do think it’s better than a lot of stuff out there, even though it suffered from some severe problems and it wasn’t long enough to where I grew to hate the book.  That in itself was a huge plus.

So I ended up giving this one a B-.  I mean, it’s probably higher than what it deserved but at the time it was a decent enough read and I didn’t really regret it.

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Duckie Syndrome: The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash

John Hughes meets Comic Con in this hilarious, unabashedly romantic, coming-of-age novel about a teenager who is trying to get his best friend to fall in love with him from the author ofThree Day Summer.

Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy…
Archie and Veronica…
Althena and Noth…
…Graham and Roxy?

Graham met his best friend, Roxana, when he moved into her neighborhood eight years ago, and she asked him which Hogwarts house he’d be sorted into. Graham has been in love with her ever since.

But now they’re sixteen, still neighbors, still best friends. And Graham and Roxy share more than ever—moving on from their Harry Potter obsession to a serious love of comic books.

When Graham learns that the creator of their favorite comic, The Chronicles of Althena, is making a rare appearance at this year’s New York Comic Con, he knows he must score tickets. And the event inspires Graham to come up with the perfect plan to tell Roxy how he really feels about her. He’s got three days to woo his best friend at the coolest, kookiest con full of superheroes and supervillains. But no one at a comic book convention is who they appear to be…even Roxy. And Graham is starting to realize fictional love stories are way less complicated than real-life ones.

Source: GoodReads

Geek lit is very big in YA contemporary this summer.  I think I’ve read three or four YA geek themed books in the past month alone.

Sadly, I have been underwhelmed by most of them and this one is on continues the pattern.

I will say this, when I started this book I was really worried that Roxy was going to be a MPDG (manic pixie dream girl) and while she has some of these qualities she thankfully isn’t a full blown MPDG.  That doesn’t make her a decent character though.

She’s pretty bland and not really that present throughout most of the book.  I really didn’t see why Graham had a thing for her TBH.

Graham’s pretty bland too.  I feel a tad bit sorry for him, but at the same time I don’t like this character.  I think it’s because he just seems a little whiney and I feel like I don’t know a lot about him.  Sure, there were moments where Tash  I thought started doing some great character development but then…blah.

It disappears with Graham whining about something or another.

I get teenagers can be whiney but all it is with this character is Roxy doesn’t love me-whine, whine, whine.  My mommy is dead-whine, whine, whine.  I’m a ginger-whine, whine, whine.  You get the picture.

So yeah, a lot of whining gets on my nerves fast and then there’s that ending.

It was so depressing.  Realistic, yes.  But depressing beyond belief.  And it was the most cop out ending ever, sorry.

I didn’t end up rating this one a total failure though if only because I think a lot of my hate might’ve been subjective for it.  Still though, I don’t think it was really a good book so I sort of gave it a meh rating of a D.

 

Wannabe Cinder with Bonus Overboard: Starflight by Melissa Landers

Life in the outer realm is a lawless, dirty, hard existence, and Solara Brooks is hungry for it. Just out of the orphanage, she needs a fresh start in a place where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. She’s so desperate to reach the realm that she’s willing to indenture herself to Doran Spaulding, the rich and popular quarterback who made her life miserable all through high school, in exchange for passage aboard the spaceliner Zenith.

When a twist of fate lands them instead on the Banshee, a vessel of dubious repute, Doran learns he’s been framed on Earth for conspiracy. As he pursues a set of mysterious coordinates rumored to hold the key to clearing his name, he and Solara must get past their enmity to work together and evade those out for their arrest. Life on the Banshee may be tumultuous, but as Solara and Doran are forced to question everything they once believed about their world—and each other—the ship becomes home, and the eccentric crew family. But what Solara and Doran discover on the mysterious Planet X has the power to not only alter their lives, but the existence of everyone in the universe…

Source: GoodReads

I didn’t really care much for Melissa Landers’s debut novel there just something stilted about the way the book was written and the male lead seemed more than a little off, BUT I did like the premises.  Much like I liked the premises of Starflight which seemed like it was Overboard with shades of Cinder.

The thing is, even though the book started off with a bang, it quickly grated on my nerves moving from one plot point to the next without really having time for necessary exposition or character development.  This in turn, hindered the quality of the book and as a result while I was thinking in the first 100 pages it was going to end up with at least four stars (or like a high B rating) it ended up with a C+ or two star rating.

As I said, fantastic beginning.  I found Solara to be engaging and Doran had that mysterious crabby element going for him, but it quickly faltered.  Minor characters were introduced that I had a hard time connecting to or remembering, and given that there is going to be at least one companion sequel to this one I think I ought to remember them.  But I don’t.

The plot again was  a bit hodge podge.  It quickly dropped the Overboard angle that it had in the beginning which was a shame but at the same time I was sort of glad it did.  There’s just something innately creepy about that plot-I mean tricking someone with amnesia is not cool, even if said individual is a dick.  But if you’re going to go with it, go with it.  Instead, this book ends up jumping all over a places.  So, Solara and Doran join a crew, The Banshee, that I think is supposed to be something akin to the crew in The Lunar Chronicles.  And they deal with space pirates and a McGuffin like quest and other crap.

By the way, you probably saw the Lunar Chronicles and got excited.  Don’t.  The crew lacked the  charm and charisma as Cinder and her friends, and I really couldn’t tell much about who was who.  God knows if I read that companion sequel I’m going to have to track down this one to figure out what’s going on.

Despite it’s problems though, I didn’t exactly hate this one.  It had its moments, it’s just not what I expected which was the same feeling I had with Alienated.  Although, I will say that it did work a little better to me than alienated since there wasn’t the whole awkward protagonist who isn’t supposed to feel emotions but then does an insta love turn around thing.

Overall Rating: C+.  Great beginning, but then the book started going down hill.

A Scorned Woman Fantasy: Summer of Sloane by Erin L Schneider

Warm Hawaiian sun. Lazy beach days. Flirty texts with her boyfriend back in Seattle.

These are the things seventeen-year-old Sloane McIntyre pictured when she imagined the summer she’d be spending at her mom’s home in Hawaii with her twin brother, Penn. Instead, after learning an unthinkable secret about her boyfriend, Tyler, and best friend, Mick, all she has is a fractured hand and a completely shattered heart.

Once she arrives in Honolulu, though, Sloane hopes that Hawaii might just be the escape she needs. With beach bonfires, old friends, exotic food, and the wonders of a waterproof cast, there’s no reason Sloane shouldn’t enjoy her summer. And when she meets Finn McAllister, the handsome son of a hotel magnate who doesn’t always play by the rules, she knows he’s the perfect distraction from everything that’s so wrong back home.

But it turns out a measly ocean isn’t nearly enough to stop all the emails, texts, and voicemails from her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend, desperate to explain away their betrayal. And as her casual connection with Finn grows deeper, Sloane’s carefree summer might not be as easy to find as she’d hoped. Weighing years of history with Mick and Tyler against their deception, and the delicate possibility of new love, Sloane must decide when to forgive, and when to live for herself.

Source: GoodReads

I love traveling books and Hawaii is one of those places I’d like to read more about.

And Summer of Sloane had some good things going for it when I first read the opening of the book.  All that shit that hit the fan in the first three or four chapters made the book pretty damn compelling to and then it just got-ugh.

What bothered me about this one?

Well, it was so damn cliche and cheesy and there was a rampant amount of girl hate in it.

I will give credit though where it’s due, the ending wasn’t a cookie cutter complete happy ending for all parties involved with cheating gate.  Some friendships and relationships were permanently broken and while there was talks of forgiveness it was more or less about moving on than forgiving which was a nice change for once.

That being said, I felt like the character Mick was the author’s punching bag in every regard.  This character is beyond degraded to the point where she feels pathetic.

Look, I’m not a fan of cheating stories. It’s not something I really like reading about because I know how hurtful it can be for all parties involved and how complicated it can be.   The beginning of the story had nice bones where I thought the story could develop from.  I loved how Sloane punched Tyler’s nose within the first few chapters of the story.  Then, well, it turned into a wash with cliches thrown here and there and everywhere.

Tyler was the dumb flop.  Mick was the vixen in disguise of the sweet best friend.  And Sloane was, well, she just had to get a new sassy hair cut and of course on her first night out in Hawaii she’d run across Mr. Perfect.

Rolls eyes.

Honestly, I didn’t mind Finn that much or wouldn’t have minded the romance that much if it seemed more organic.  Right now, he was more or less inserted in the story for pure fantasy purposes and it showed.

Really, that’s what this book read was like a fantasy for a woman scorned.  There was just something innately cheesy about it.  Like I said, there were good bones here.  I think had the Finn/Sloane relationship grown more organically and Sloane grew as a person rather than constantly patted on the back and told how evil her ex and bestie were I could’ve liked her ever.

Instead, I just felt like the character was too judgmental.

The biggest factor why I read this book-Hawaii-played more or less a backseat.  Based on how the book was written, if you ex-nayed the airport shuttle system and introduction of leas, this book could’ve taken anywhere in the United States that had a decent beach.  There was nothing about the culture or area-save for a waterfall kiss-that was given any thought.  Honestly, I wouldn’t even know the character was a quarter Hawaiian if she didn’t keep telling us that.

Despite my grievances, this wasn’t a total failure.  While it might’ve read a bit like a scorned woman fantasy, there were parts I liked.  But honestly, it really wasn’t that good.

Overall Rating: A C as in cliche.

How Did This Get Green Lighted: Red by Alison Cherry

Felicity St. John has it all—loyal best friends, a hot guy, and artistic talent. And she’s right on track to win the Miss Scarlet pageant. Her perfect life is possible because of just one thing: her long, wavy, coppery red hair.

Having red hair is all that matters in Scarletville. Redheads hold all the power—and everybody knows it. That’s why Felicity is scared down to her roots when she receives an anonymous note:

I know your secret.

Because Felicity is a big fake. Her hair color comes straight out of a bottle. And if anyone discovered the truth, she’d be a social outcast faster than she could say “strawberry blond.” Her mother would disown her, her friends would shun her, and her boyfriend would dump her. And forget about winning that pageant crown and the prize money that comes with it—money that would allow her to fulfill her dream of going to art school.

Felicity isn’t about to let someone blackmail her life away. But just how far is she willing to go to protect her red cred?

Source: GoodReads

Another day, another DNF. I blame a part of this on cleaning out my bookshelves—I want more space for my books so I am trying to get to those tomes I put off because I’ve been a bit weary about reading them (most of them are impulse buys/gifts). Red by Alison Cherry was one of them.

It has one of those premises that you know the book is really going to work or not work. Within 35 pages, I realized it’s going to be thrown into the storage/giveaway bin.   It just didn’t work for me. I think part of the problem was that the writing seemed too distant and it took itself way too seriously.

Then again, it sort of backed itself into a corner with that premises. Unless written masterfully, that premises is just not going to work it’s more like one of those parody summaries I do for Do Judge a Book by Its Cover.

The lack of characterization and stilted third point of view didn’t help its case either, by the time the main conflict (the blackmail) happened I could care less rolled my eyes and threw it into the bin.

Many people wonder why I count/review DNF’s, especially one like Red which I barely touched. Part the reason I do this, is I feel it’s necessary to write down my thoughts about why a book didn’t work for me. Besides, I feel like if I give a book a good college try I should add it to my reading count. I know I’m not going to return to Red anytime soon—unless I decide to dye my hair the same color as the model on the cover, that shade of red is to die for. The thing is the book isn’t to die for.

Overall Rating: A DNF. The premises is just too much an the characters and plot didn’t save the book. It took itself way too serious.

The Sheldon Trope Should Die: This is My Brain on Boys by Sarah Strohmeyer

Addie Emerson doesn’t believe in love. Not for herself, anyway. With one year left of high school, she’s more interested in snagging a full scholarship to Harvard than a full-time boyfriend.

That doesn’t mean she’s oblivious to the ways of the heart. Or, rather, the head. Because after months of research, Addie has discovered how to make anyone fall in love. All you need is the secret formula.

But will her discovery be enough to win the coveted Athenian Award and all its perks? (See above, full scholarship to Harvard.) Or will she be undone by Dexter, her backstabbing lab partner, who is determined to deep-six her experiments at their exclusive private school?

Those are the least of her problems now that she’s survived a death-defying flight with a mysterious, dark-haired boy, who has delicious chocolate-brown eyes and a few secrets of his own.

With an experiment to mastermind, an infatuated exchange student on her hands, and at least one great white shark (more on that later), can Addie’s prefrontal cortex outwit her heart? Or will she have to give in to her amygdala and find out, once and for all, if this thing called love is more than just her brain on drugs? 

Source: GoodReads

Recently YA authors have been fond of the Sheldon Cooper trope which is to have the mostly socially awkward protagonist possible and then hit them with the teenage love stick and bam the lose 100 IQ points and turn into Bella Swan or any other stupid YA protagonist

.

Such is the case with This is My Brain on Boys. I’ve heard lots of great things about Sarah Strohmeyer’s YA books, though personally I’ve always been a bit lukewarm to them or the one I read. Which is sad because I really liked her adult series with Bubbles the hairdresser that solves mysteries—ridiculously hilarious and addictive.

I wasn’t a huge fan of this one as you can see by the first paragraph. In fact, I quit the book at page 150. Like I said Addie had Sheldon Syndrome and the plot was a bit silly and stupid. In a weird way, it reminded me of those Doris Day films in the 1960’s that my mom always made my sister and I watch. I loved those movies while kooky and cheesy they were charming, this book just has the kooky and cheesy part done and lacks in the charm. So, the overall effect is just weird and cringe worthy.

I really was hoping to solider on though, all kidding aside but I couldn’t. Again I DNF’d a Strohmeyer YA book and I sort of hate myself for it.   But I just can’t stand cringe worthy books these days. Addie acts like she has the emotional IQ of an eight-year-old, yet she has all these friends and the teachers let her do her stupid experiment during the summer which really doesn’t make sense and—well, I was sort of done at that point.

I think one of the reasons the Sheldon personality type works so well on the original character is that he’s a television character so the audience isn’t stuck into his rigid POV ALL the stinking time. With Addie, her POV and her love interest—who really doesn’t make sense as a love interest, it would be like Penny getting with Sheldon—POV the book is stifling and I just wanted to shake Addie so freaking much.

I couldn’t believe that the school would allow such a stupid experiment and animal abuse—yes, they claim it’s not abuse that they’re not physically hurting small animals but even scaring them is abuse. Especially for an experiment that isn’t going to save anyone’s lives or really have any long term value other than being a way to get people to hook up.

I just can’t.

While the cover to this one said “Buy me, MJ” I should’ve listed to my gut. While I might love some of this author’s adult books her YA books and I don’t mix.

Overall Rating: DNF. I quit when the gerbil abuse started.

 

Ripped From the Headlines With NA Tropes: 738 Days by Stacey Kade

At fifteen, Amanda Grace was abducted on her way home from school. 738 days later, she escaped. Her 20/20 interview is what everyone remembers—Amanda describing the room where she was kept, the torn poster of TV heartthrob Chase Henry on the wall. It reminded her of home and gave her the strength to keep fighting.

Now, years later, Amanda is struggling to live normally. Her friends have gone on to college, while she battles PTSD. She’s not getting any better, and she fears that if something doesn’t change soon she never will.

Six years ago, Chase Henry defied astronomical odds, won a coveted role on a new TV show, and was elevated to super-stardom. With it, came drugs, alcohol, arrests, and crazy spending sprees. Now he’s sober and a Hollywood pariah, washed up at twenty-four.

To revamp his image, Chase’s publicist comes up with a plan: surprise Amanda Grace with the chance to meet her hero, followed by a visit to the set of Chase’s new movie. The meeting is a disaster, but out of mutual desperation, Amanda and Chase strike a deal. What starts as a simple arrangement, though, rapidly becomes more complicated when they realize they need each other in more ways than one. But when the past resurfaces in a new threat, will they stand together or fall apart?

Source: GoodReads

When I saw the premises for this book I had to have it. It had a bit of rip from the headlines feel to it, i.e. the Cleveland Kidnappings, and add the element of Hollywood and I knew that I was either going to really like this book or not.

In the end, I had a bit of a lukewarm experience. A lot of things worked, but at the same time I wanted more from this book. In a way it suffered from New Adult Syndrome—meaning, instead of having a plot the book mostly focused on the characters lusting after themselves which lead to a sort of rolling your eyes experience.

Although, not too much because even though the plot was sort of meh, I did enjoy the two characters and there was some stuff about this book that really worked.

I really loved the character, Amanda, for instance. I thought she was well formed and I thought the PTSD was pretty realistic for the most part. The first chapter in this book was probably its best chapter. You could really see how broken Amanda was, and I was interested in reading the aftermath that followed. Maybe that was part of my disappointment in what occurred next. The book quickly flashes forward to years later, and while we’re told bits and pieces of what occurred after Amanda was rescued, I really wish we were shown some flashbacks. I share similar thoughts about her actual kidnapping and then subsequent captivity, but I can sort of understand why Kade might not want to show them—since this was Amanda dealing with the aftermath of the kidnapping rather the kidnapping itself.

Though, I was damn curious to know more about Jakes and his motivations besides being a creepy pervert in the vein of Ariel Castro.

While Amanda was very well formed, I was a little meh about Chase at first. I do think in the end Kade did the best she could with the guy, but he wasn’t exactly easy to sympathize with at first.

There were a few things about the plot that had me raise a few questions. Again, the book suffered from New Adult Syndrome and the plot only made an appearance when needed. And I really didn’t feel like there was adequate explanation about some of the characters at the end.

As for the climax, it just felt very Lifetime movie-ish to me.

Again, New Adult Syndrome.

Overall, I could really see 768 Days adapted into a guilty pleasure Lifetime Original Movie. God knows, it had all the right elements and tropes. However, the book itself wasn’t a total flop, it did have great characters. The thing is, this book would’ve been truly spectacular if more time was spent fleshing out their backstories and respective plots rather than focusing on hot they found each other/how sad their respective lives were.

Overall Rating: A B. I liked this one, but it wasn’t as good as I hoped. I don’t have any regrets reading it though, but I really don’t wish that New Adult Syndrome was a thing. It ruins lots of potentially good books.

When Bad MC’s Happen: The Inside of Out by Jen Marie Thorne

Meg Cabot meets Glee in this breezy, hilarious, deceptively smart YA about privilege, pretense, and realizing that every story needs a hero. Sometimes it’s just not you.

When her best friend Hannah comes out the day before junior year, Daisy is so ready to let her ally flag fly that even a second, way more blindsiding confession can’t derail her smiling determination to fight for gay rights.

Before you can spell LGBTQIA, Daisy’s leading the charge to end their school’s antiquated ban on same-sex dates at dances—starting with homecoming. And if people assume Daisy herself is gay? Meh, so what. It’s all for the cause.

What Daisy doesn’t expect is for “the cause” to blow up—starting with Adam, the cute college journalist whose interview with Daisy for his university paper goes viral, catching fire in the national media. #Holy #cats.

With the story spinning out of control, protesters gathering, Hannah left in the dust of Daisy’s good intentions, and Daisy’s mad attraction to Adam feeling like an inconvenient truth, Daisy finds herself caught between her bold plans, her bad decisions, and her big fat mouth.

Source: GoodReads

God, this is such a hard one to review. Because if this book did not contain its one—almost fatal flaw—it would be getting a much higher rating. The writing is all there, it has an important message about real life issues, the side characters are for the most part well fleshed out and do not seem cliché.

What’s the main problem then?

The main character.

I just wanted to slap this girl silly, so many times throughout the reading process.

And yeah, I get it, Jen wanted to show us character growth, but by the time Daisy started to finally get a reality check I had had enough of her.

I think everyone save for maybe two characters wanted to slap her at this point.

So, what exactly is my beef with Daisy?

Lots of things actually. Maybe part of my problem with her is that I’ve met people like her in real life- a.k.a. flakes. The way she’d get these big ideas make hoopla over them promptly gave up on them, gave me a headache. Anyone who has dealt with a flake is going to get annoyed with this behavior, especially if you’re a type A personality who really gets annoyed with people who break their promises like yours truly.

But it’s not just Daisy being a huge flake that annoys me. To be honest, that is a realistic character fault. An annoying one, but realistic especially for a teen and for anyone I’m going to NOT hang out with. What really annoyed me about this character was how oblivious she was to anyone else’s feelings. She practically outs a character on national television, not cool Daisy. She also represents herself and has a complete misinterpretation of what asexual is just to stay in a club.

Note, people who are of asexual orientation, this book is going to turn you into a Book Hulk so you might want to avoid.

True, I thought said club could try to be a little more inclusive, but I totally get why they would just want a safe place where ill informed privileged morons like Daisy couldn’t intrude.

The thing is even though I despised the MC and never grew to like her, this wasn’t a bad book. Like I said, the writing was quite good and engaging. The story, while it could’ve been stronger in another viewpoint—like I don’t know, Hannah’s—was still important and relevant.

It is, however, not as good as the author’s debut which was on my top ten list last year—winning best debut.

In the end, I’m sort of on the fence about suggesting this one. While it has some important and relevant themes and doesn’t get too, too preachy, the MC is truly insufferable. On the plus side there is a diverse set of characters and there are nice little Easter eggs for fans of The Wrong Side of Right—I wouldn’t say it’s a companion sequel though, the characters don’t make that big of an appearance.

Overall, I tethered between giving this on a C+ or a B-. It really did make me cringe a lot, but in the end I decided on B- (or a three star rating on GoodReads) mainly because I appreciated what the author did, she just sort of failed with this obnoxious character.

As for Daisy, girl, you fail.

Inconceivable: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.

At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane gets to be Queen of England.

Source: GoodReads

I love it when I can write a positive review.  While negative reviews give you an opportunity to vent or be creative, I like the fact that when I write a positive review I can actually recollect on a great reading experience which My Lady Jane was.

This book was written by three known authors in the YA community: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows that write very different books, but oddly the mash up worked.

To be honest when I saw that this was going to be a retelling of Lady Jane Grey’s sad tale I was sort of like bummer because IRL Jane was more or less a pawn with a tragic ending.  But the three authors managed to take what was a rather depressing event and make something of it.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it, but I am obsessed with the Tudor period.  I think it’s just because it was such an interesting period in history from many different perspectives and all the Tudors had their own little quirks about them— side note, I would love if there was a pseudo sequel or prequel to this book, either starring Elizabeth or Anne Boleyn.  The authors here took the history and made it somehow their own.

One of the things that scared me the most about My Lady Jane was that there was a blurb comparing it to The Princess Bride.  You just don’t do that.  While I love the movie version of The Princess Bride, the book is like ten times better.  It was one of the few books I remembered I liked reading in High School English AND that I’ve reread since being in high school English.  Actually, I think my copy has been defaced to the point where I need to get another one.

Anyway, very dubious about the blurb until I read the book and was like—yeah, it sort of has that style about it.  Is it as good as the aforementioned work—laughs.  Sorry, I enjoyed My Lady Jane, but that book/movie is a masterpiece so it’s sort of hard to beat it, but My Lady Jane stands on it’s own.  There is also a lot of meta and fourth wall references as well throughout the novel.  If you were a movie buff from films from the late 70’s to early 90’s you’re going to be referencing some of these things.  There’s actually a couple of lines they ripped right out of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and the whole bear incident vaguely reminds me of the rabbit incident.  Likewise, there are plot devices that are oddly like Lady Hawke as well.

As I said, it’s really more or less a hoge podge of things that surprisingly work.

The romance aspect works well enough.  Well, really the romance between G and Jane.  The side romance I was sort of meh about.  I’m glad that that romance necessary wasn’t declared true love or anything like that,  but I really didn’t care about it more or less.

The world building was intriguing enough.  It wasn’t overly complicated by any means, and I liked how it sort of was a nice allusion to the whole Catholic/Protestant mess that the country was in at the time without being ghastly boring.

My Lady Jane was a treat.  I really loved this book and don’t have any qualms about giving it an A.  It made me laugh which is something we need desperately in YA these days.

Should’ve Been All the Poops: All the Feels by Danika Stone

College freshman Liv is more than just a fangirl: The Starveil movies are her life… So, when her favorite character, Captain Matt Spartan, is killed off at the end of the last movie, Liv Just. Can’t. Deal.

Tired of sitting in her room sobbing, Liv decides to launch an online campaign to bring her beloved hero back to life. With the help of her best friend, Xander, actor and steampunk cosplayer extraordinaire, she creates #SpartanSurvived, a campaign to ignite the fandom. But as her online life succeeds beyond her wildest dreams, Liv is forced to balance that with the pressures of school, her mother’s disapproval, and her (mostly nonexistent and entirely traumatic) romantic life. A trip to DragonCon with Xander might be exactly what she needs to figure out what she really wants.

Source: GoodReads

Note: This review is solely the opinion of Patricia C Beagle (my vain and fame obssed Beagle back in Texas)-whose idea day is spent eating, getting cuteness rest, obsessing over the color orange, and slobbering over Anderson Cooper whenever he’s on the news.

Long time, no see.  Sometimes I even forget I do sometimes do this co-blogger thing but then I heard there was Beagle Con and that I was going to get an illustrious table because I’m like internet famous.  Much like Grumpy Cat, only without my own Lifeetime movie.

But my owner told me that that was only my fan fiction.

How can you write fan fiction about yourself, I ask?

Besides, I’m sure all you wonderful readers would just love seeing me at Beagle Con because I’m just so adorable with my floppy ears, chocolate color eyes, and love for the color orange.

Pure adorableness.

Pure adorableness.

Oh, orange.  How you are the most wonderful, adorable color ever.  If I was a color, Orange, I’d be you.

And before you say, Patty Cakes Beagle you have an ego, all I will say is look at me and this book is about fandom so I have the right to talk about the mere possibility of having a booth at Beagle Con.

So anyway, All the Poops-that’s what I started calling it in my head, ’cause I was like this book is so bad it gives me the poops and All the Poops seemed to be a better title than All the Feels.  There was a lot of shitty things that went on in this one after all.

Again, I ask why I am only allowed to read the oh, so, terrible books that you feel sort of bad about making fun of-in other words being mean to it would be like kicking an adorable puppy so an adorable puppy (ME!) must review it.

It’s a hard, hard, job.  And my life has gotten even worse lately.  Even though, the Chihuahuas left to live with MJ, one of my friends passed (RIP sweet Baby)  and my MJ’s mother got a Corgi puppy named Elsie Clementine for Mother’s Day who is my number one fan and said she would so visit me at Beagle Con.  But reading All the Poops was a lot worse than babysitting a corgi who thinks a water bowl is a swimming pool.

My protege whose sort of named after an orange, her middle name is Clementine,

My protege whose sort of named after an orange, her middle name is Clementine.

You know, Elsie sort of reminds me of the main character in this book-Liv.  She’s like obsessed with me and I think she would mourn the fact if I decided to  quit being awesome if I was a film star like the actor that Liv is obsessed with I’m sure that she’s totally get depressed/obsess/have a big online campaign that would be all about me and I’d like get so impressed and then bark at her because I wanted to make more money and…and…

Elsie obsessed.

Elsie obsessed over ME.

That doesn’t make sense.

I  mean, Elsie’s obsession with me sort of does, but Liv’s obsession with Captain Spartan and in turn the actor who plays him was sort of creepy.  I mean, she literally mourned him for like the entire book until everyone decided that hey we can cash cow out with one more movie like we’re Cassandra Clare or something, all because of her crappy cut and paste Youtube videos that featured her BFF as some random original character.

It was just weird and awkward and not really fandom like.

Let me tell you, I’ve experienced fandom.  I’ve wrote quite a bit of fan fics-all of them involving stories that involves Beagles.  Like, I redid Shiloh in which he discovers he has a long lost twin sister named, Patricia Cakes Beagle, and they’re adopted by Anderson Cooper and live their days in the CNN studio eating burgers.  Then there’s that fan fic where Anderson Cooper notices a poor Beagle aptly named Patty who is only allowed to eat her diet food once a day adopts her and then she gets to eat gourmet food anytime she wants and he buys her orange things.

Why can’t real life be like those stories?

The point is, as a fan fiction writer I was insulted with how Stone displayed fandom.  How she stereotyped the people who write fandom.  From age shaming, fat shaming, to misfit shaming it was done, done, and done.

This is my mad Beagle fae.

This is my mad Beagle face.

You know, instead of mocking fandom, Stone would’ve better benefited herself if she showcased it.  Sure, she could’ve shown some of the bad parts, some of the more crazier parts, but fandom in general is multi-facet*.

But to be fair, practically everyone was horribly except for Xander and Liv and they were just perfect, much like Patty Beagle and Anderson Cooper.   But to be honest, unlike Panderson, Xander and Liv are just weird together.

On paper, Xander could be an interesting character.  I think this is one of the first love interests I read in YA that is bi, and he’s quirky.  Although, other than the fact he has a Dick Van Dyke British accent, is wicked hot, and likes to wear morning coats, we never really find out much else about him.  Oh, he had  a perfectly nice girlfriend in the story, but she’s quickly dumped for no reason and we’re told that Liv doesn’t like her.

As for Liv, she’s a bitch-and not in the same way that I’m a bitch.  She harbors a lot of hate for anyone and everyone who tells her that she needs to grow up, randomly hates girls because they’re prettier than her, and is just sort of a brat in general.

It seems like the author tries to compensate  for Liv’s obnoxiousness by having all of the minor characters-save for Xander’s mysteriously disappearing ex-girlfriend-be supreme asses.

None of these people were realistic at all.  Even characters who were  giving Liv good advice, like her mother and by extension her mother’s boyfriend-who reminded me of Shiloh’s evil ex-owner-were mean.

I mean, you wanted Shiloh’s twin sister and her CNN news anchor reporter owner to come in there and save the day.  But unlike Shiloh, you quickly remember that Liv is a horrible person and, well, you just go oh poop she can just stay with Judd.

Anyways, I don’t really thing there’s much else to say about this one except it almost seemed like a parody except it wasn’t a parody.  I think that I was supposed to ship Xander and Liv much like I ship Panderson, but I can’t.   And anytime I think about this book, I don’t get any feels I just get the poops.

Um yeah.

Thanks You,

Patty

 

*Side note,  I (MJ) wanted to mention that I’ve read a few fandom oriented books in YA in the past few years.  Unfortunately, none of them have lived up to expectations.