Skip It: Everyday Magic by Emily Albright

For once, Maggie McKendrick just wants to control her own life. Her overbearing Hollywood director father has it all planned out for her: UCLA, law school, then working as an entertainment lawyer, preferably for him. But Maggie has other, more creative-spirit friendly, plans. Namely, Thrippletons School of Fashion and Design in England, and then onto becoming a designer, preferably a wildly successful one. The big snag in her plan? Getting it past her dad.

A movie shoot takes the family to the Scottish Highlands for the summer, and closer to Maggie’s dream school. While there, she runs into the charming Preston Browne. Maggie is intrigued and decides to bend her no guys rule—instituted after her ex used her to get close to her dad. Forced to keep secrets from Preston in order to protect the future plans she’s made, Maggie finds herself falling for the tall Brit. And for once in her life she knows that he’s interested in her, not her Hollywood connections. When Maggie’s father blackmails her into dating his lead actor, she isn’t left with a choice. The biggest problem isn’t having to date hunky, mega-hottie, Ben Chambers. No, it’s praying she doesn’t lose Preston in the process.

Excelling at her dream school, Maggie’s personal life is a tangled mess. She needs to decide if living a lie is worth losing Preston or chance going against her father and facing his wrath. When the tabloids expose the truth of her fake relationship with Ben, Maggie’s world is thrown into a tailspin. Ultimately, Maggie must find the courage to take risks and forge ahead on her own path.

Source: GoodReads

If you looked at my review, or should I say my Beagle’s review of The Heir and the Spare, you’ll know that I wasn’t a huge fan of that book.  Or Patty wasn’t.  I still decided to give the sequel a try though because Hollywood and British Aristocracy what could go wrong there.

You’re asking if I have a glass of brandy by me right now.  Well, blimey you’d be right!

Or you’ve gotten used to me getting drunk whenever I read a bad book.  To be fair though, I only made it to about page fifty with this one so I didn’t have to get too drunk.  What I’m doing with this one is I’m going to list the reasons why I DNF’d it.

1) Abusive Father Cliche:

Abuse happens in real life.  It sucks.  And it comes in many times.  This book though.  Ooph.  I felt like it handled the abuse in such a cliche way.  Really?  As high profile as the main character and her family is you’d think that one of the tabloids would allude to their issues.  But nope.

2) Insta Love

Enough said.

3) But Daddy Won’t Let Me Pursue My Dreams:

Apply for a scholarship or seek financial aid like the rest of us.  If you don’t qualify get a job and save up for a bit.  The career you want actually likes work experience so…

4) Learn How the Oxford Educational System Works

For the love of all things British, you got blasted for this in the last book. You should’ve fixed it now.  At least this book didn’t focus that much on the Oxford bits, but from what I read it still seemed like Albright thought it was like American colleges are ran.

5) Who the hell is Preston

Obviously, I didn’t pay close enough attention in this book.  But I think I was supposed to care?!?!?!?

Okay, I’ll admit that when I originally wrote this list I was planning on having ten points.  Or at the very least seven, but I ended up not having that many because while the book was so bad it was extraordinary dull.  And when I put off my drafting of this review on Sunday because you know I had to get ready to start my new job the next day, I sort of forgot where my hatred for this thing went because it was so forgettable and so bad.  So yeah, I DNF’d it…


More Mulit-Verse Fun: A Million Worlds With You by Claudia Gray

A million universes. A million dangers. One destiny.

The fate of the multiverse rests in Marguerite Caine’s hands. Marguerite has been at the center of a cross-dimensional feud since she first traveled to another universe using her parents’ invention, the Firebird. Only now has she learned the true plans of the evil Triad Corporation—and that those plans could spell doom for dozens or hundreds of universes, each facing total annihilation.

Paul Markov has always been at Marguerite’s side, but Triad’s last attack has left him a changed man—angry and shadowed by tragedy. He struggles to overcome the damage done to him, but despite Marguerite’s efforts to help, Paul may never be the same again.

So it’s up to Marguerite alone to stop the destruction of the multiverse. Billions of lives are at stake. The risks have never been higher. And Triad has unleashed its ultimate weapon: another dimension’s Marguerite—wicked, psychologically twisted, and always one step ahead.

In the epic conclusion to Claudia Gray’s Firebird trilogy, fate and family will be questioned, loves will be won and lost, and the multiverse will be forever changed. It’s a battle of the Marguerites . . . and only one can win.

Source: GoodReads

I love this trilogy.  If you want a fast pace alternate dimensional world, this is the series for you.  I’ve mentioned several times but I love Claudia Grey books for their sheer cheesiness.

Yes, they’re cheesy and yes they romance novels and cheesy.  Not everyone is going to love them, but I oddly do.  And I think the Firebird trilogy is probably her best series.

I love the concept, although honestly this one was probably the least favorite of the series.  I think it’s because the world building got so complex that at times it seemed almost convoluted and I had to take a break just to figure out what was going on.

The solution for the whole issue seemed to come with relative ease.

Though that aside, this is a fun series there’s a lot of directions this trilogy could go and it took a lot of those possible directions.

Though, I was slightly annoyed that not only one but two babies sort of made an appearance in this book.

YA and babies do not mix, people.

It’s just a personal pet peeve of mine and I got annoyed how much baby worshipping there was in this book.  Honestly, sometimes the sweetness of that and the Paul/Marguerite got to me too.  In my previous reviews for this series I probably made a note that I prefer Theo and Marguerite I think just because it just seems a little less cliche to me, and Theo is more my type.  It’s not that Paul and Marguerite are bad or anything, they’re just sort of bland.

Besides how convoluted this one got and  the too sweet ship, I did enjoy the conclusion to this series.  Like I said, I like Claudia Grey’s stuff it’s fun and interesting.  And I do think she has evolved as a writer over the years.  Her stuff has gotten only better, so if you are looking for a fun but slightly cheesy series you’ll probably like this one.

Overall Rating: In this dimension I give it a B+.  As I previously stated  I did like it a little less than the previous books.

Eh:Twisted Palace by Erin Watt

These Royals will ruin you…

From mortal enemies to unexpected allies, two teenagers try to protect everything that matters most.

Ella Harper has met every challenge that life has thrown her way. She’s tough, resilient, and willing to do whatever it takes to defend the people she loves, but the challenge of a long-lost father and a boyfriend whose life is on the line might be too much for even Ella to overcome.

Reed Royal has a quick temper and even faster fists. But his tendency to meet every obstacle with violence has finally caught up with him. If he wants to save himself and the girl he loves, he’ll need to rise above his tortured past and tarnished reputation.

No one believes Ella can survive the Royals. Everyone is sure Reed will destroy them all.
They may be right.

With everything and everyone conspiring to keep them apart, Ella and Reed must find a way to beat the law, save their families, and unravel all the secrets in their Twisted Palace.

Source: GoodReads

The Royals was my crack series for the year.  I sort of read it for the same reason I watch daytime soap, a way to unwind and to be amused with the unrealistic drama.  That  being said, Twisted Palace was not as near as entertaining as its predecessors, but it wasn’t necessary bad either.

I think my biggest problem with this book was that it was predictable.  The twists in it were soapy but more like non-sweeps soapy versus crackalicious soapy.

Case in point, I figured out the murder mystery in maybe a grand total of fifteen pages.

But again, I don’t think the book was written to really be this big mystery.   But the resolution to the mystery and the circumstances surrounding it were a little flat.  It was more or less like the book was written at this point to be a ship book and while I did love the ship in the earlier books, I was sort of over them.

Really my biggest problem with Twisted Palace, besides the fact it was so damn predictable that after the previous installment it was such a let down.

The second book in this series, Broken Prince, ended on such a high note and it might’ve been one of those books that ended on too high of a note.  Where regardless of what the writers ends up writing it’s going to be a bit of a let down.

Like I said, not a bad book but boy was this one a let down.

I’m glad I read it though, if that makes any sense.  I mean, it gave me the closure I wanted and needed for this series.  But after this one, I am fine with this series being over.

Overall Rating: B-

Is This Marissa Meyer: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans. 

Source: GoodReads

I used to say Marissa Meyer was the queen of retellings until I read Heartless.

Man, did I hate this book.  I think part of the problem was I just got so bored with it.  The book moves at a ridiculously slow pace.  I got to like page 200 and there had barely been any movement in it.  The book’s writing is decent enough.  I mean, it’s standard Meyer pose so if you found her writing decent in the Lunar Chronicles you’ll like it here.

For me though, the molasses pace and the cheating at looking at the ending kept me from wanting to finish Heartless.  I remember reading the ending and being like is this the shocking ending?  Because really, it was so predictable.

Other retellings, like the one one Meyer keeps referencing as her inspiration (Wicked) have unexpected twists to them.  This was utterly predictable.  At least to me, maybe it isn’t for you.

I did like the whole baking angle.  But hey, the book wasn’t supposed to be about food it was supposed to be about the Queen of Hearts origin story.  Hearing how she makes perfect lemon tarts, doesn’t exactly make for interesting reading.  Neither does her moony eyed puppy dog crush on a Joker wannabe.

Okay, Jest wasn’t exactly like the Joker but it would’ve been a much more interesting story if it was.  Especially if Cath was like Harley Quinn.  But nope, instead, it was a dull as dishwater relationship that I didn’t care to watch it develop.  In fact, the romance could’ve been thrown out for all I care and it could’ve been about Cath wanting to start out as an independent nasty woman.

But nope.

Wort romance ever.

And it’s by Marissa Meyer who gave us swoony ships like Kai/Cinder and Cress/Thorne to mention a couple.


I just didn’t care for it.  Like I said, the whole story was really boring like a dull romance novel.  I wouldn’t have ever known it was in Wonderland save for the few anamorphic characters.

If you’re a huge fan of Wonderland you might like this book.  But for me, eh…I didn’t care for it at all and didn’t finish it.

Overall Ratin: DNF

Ripped From the Headlines YA Style: With Malice by Eileen Cook

It was the perfect trip…until it wasn’t.

Eighteen-year-old Jill Charron wakes up in a hospital room, leg in a cast, stitches in her face and a big blank canvas where the last six weeks should be. She discovers she was involved in a fatal car accident while on a school trip in Italy. A trip she doesn’t even remember taking. She was jetted home by her affluent father in order to receive quality care. Care that includes a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe the accident…wasn’t an accident.

As the accident makes national headlines, Jill finds herself at the center of a murder investigation. It doesn’t help that the media is portraying her as a sociopath who killed her bubbly best friend, Simone, in a jealous rage. With the evidence mounting against her, there’s only one thing Jill knows for sure: She would never hurt Simone. But what really happened? Questioning who she can trust and what she’s capable of, Jill desperately tries to piece together the events of the past six weeks before she loses her thin hold on her once-perfect life. 

Source: GoodReads

With Malice is pretty much a modified version of the Amanda Knox storyline fictionalized.   Oh, and rather than being college students that are studying abroad the cast is full of high school students.

I usually don’t read a lot of crime stories. Which is sort of weird, because growing up I was all about Mary Higgins Clark suspense novels/mysteries. I think that’s one of the reasons I decided to go into law, Clark’s books.   Only thing is, if you ever have the displeasure pleasure of taking a criminal law class you’ll find yourself not believing in humanity anymore and wondering why your prof thought it was necessary to include a sparkly thong in your final’s fact pattern.

I digress.

Though, the sparkly thong bit is totally true.

The thing is I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it’s not something I would normally read but I liked how realistic it felt. I never truly felt like I knew the full truth, and if the revelation towards the end of the book was true—well, my feelings for the murderer are complicated. I understood their motives, but yeah still thought that they should face justice.

Anyway, the plot was the best part of this book. Like I said it was a page turner and you didn’t know what to quite think of the ending.

The characters I have more of an issue with. Despite being in her head for most of the novel, I still didn’t have a clear idea of who Jill was. I mean, maybe that was the point. I think I was supposed to have an ambiguous idea of this character but I really don’t know what to make of it.   As for Simone, her characterization seemed pretty one dimensional—the jealous bestie.

The love interest is not even worth talking about.

I guess at its core, With Malice is a good mystery. While the characterization might be sorely lacking throughout the book, the plot kept me engaged. If you liked ripped from the headlines stories this one might be for you.

Overall Rating: A B.

It’s Not You It’s Me (But Its Pretty Cringe Worthy): My Unscripted Life by Lauren Morrill

Perfect for fans of Jennifer E. Smith and Huntley Fitzpatrick, you’ll love this funny and sweet contemporary romance about a Southern girl ready for a ho-hum summer until she meets the boy of her dreams who happens to be an international pop star.

Sometimes love stories go off script.

Another sultry Georgia summer is about to get a lot hotter. Dee Wilkie is still licking her wounds after getting rejected by the precollege fine arts program of her dreams. But if she’d gone away, she wouldn’t have been around to say yes to an unbelievable opportunity: working on the set of a movie filming in her small Southern town that just happens to be starring Milo Ritter, the famous pop star Dee (along with the rest of the world) has had a crush since eighth grade.

It’s not like Dee will be sharing any screen time with Milo—she’s just a lowly PA. And Milo is so disappointingly rude that Dee is eager to stay far away from him. Except after a few chance meetings, she begins to wonder if just maybe there’s a reason for his offensive attitude, and if there’s more to Milo than his good looks and above-it-all Hollywood pedigree. Can a relationship with a guy like Milo ever work out for a girl like Dee? Never say never. . .

Source: GoodReads

Dear Ms. Morrill:

I think you and I were never meant to be. You’re intended audience obviously isn’t me but Justin Beiber or One Direction fangirls. I’ve tried three of your books and only sort of like one of them because of figure skating. Because I’m always up for a good Hollywood romance, I thought why not and gave My Unscripted Life a try.

I quit after sixty pages though because I just could not handle it. Like how everything for the MC works out because of conveniences ya’ll.

I cringed with how easy it was for Dee to get her job working as a PA. I cringed at how immature Dee was for a sixteen-year-old. I get that I’m a few years older than the intended audience, but come on I don’t remember being that dumb when I was a teenager.

I feel like your books should be geared towards the lower age bracket in YA or middle grade which isn’t exactly a bad thing it just makes older readers not so happy with the reading experiences. And to be fair, even if this marketed towards the Disney Channel sect, I don’t know if they would exactly like this book.

It’s pretty cliché. And yeah, I know any book that deals with celebrities will have their brunt of clichés, but this one…there’s nothing really original about it.

The characters are bland. The story is plain drivel. There’s every YA token you can think of—average but not really average MC, token diverse bestie who only has two lines, fabulous guy that would normally not look MC’s way that’s a movie star. And yeah…

So Ms. Morrill, rather than forcing myself to get through this thing, I stopped reading it about 68 pages. I just don’t think we’re meant to be.  And even if you’re premises look promising, I think I’ll be passing on your books in the future.



Cantankerous Book Blooger at Howdy YAL

Overall Rating: DNF

Talk Techy To Me: The First Two Cyclone Books by Courtney Milan

Tina Chen just wants a degree and a job, so her parents never have to worry about making rent again. She has no time for Blake Reynolds, the sexy billionaire who stands to inherit Cyclone Technology. But when he makes an off-hand comment about what it means to be poor, she loses her cool and tells him he couldn’t last a month living her life.

To her shock, Blake offers her a trade: She’ll get his income, his house, his car. In exchange, he’ll work her hours and send money home to her family. No expectations; no future obligations.

But before long, they’re trading not just lives, but secrets, kisses, and heated nights together. No expectations might break Tina’s heart…but Blake’s secrets could ruin her life. 

Source: GoodReads

Ah, New Adult a genre that I have spent a ridiculously long time bitching about on this blog. But I have to admit there are a couple of NA books I liked, such as Trade Me.

I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that this book is a Courtney Milan book. She has an interesting style to her writing that always keeps me engaged. I think it’s because her books are what I consider smart fluff. You have a lot of swoon like moments there, but there are other things about the book that keep you reading and her books don’t feature dummies.

Still, when I read the premises of Trade Me I was a little bit cynical. Golly geez, another trading places story. I haven’t seen that a thousand times in Disney movie of the weeks before. The thing is, the whole trading lives aspect plays a very small almost minimum role to the book. The book also touches on a lot of issues and we don’t have that cringe you should be happy with what you have scene that Disney movies seem to go for a lot.

Setting Blake’s wealth in a technology company was interesting. I’m always fascinated to read about tech giants, so I liked that part of the plot and the side character that was Blake’s father—Adam Reynolds was a well thought out character. Save for the time that was spent developing Tina’s friends and family. The development in character did not lack in this one, and I think that’s a reason it worked.

Also, the angst wasn’t painfully drawn out. Sure, there was some there. I think there has to be in New Adult books otherwise it’s not going to be New Adult, but it felt realistic and wasn’t overly dramatic like it is in a lot of New Adult books. It also helped that I could understand and relate to the schism that was going on with the two characters and it just didn’t seem to appear for plot purposes.

The technology company, as I mentioned before, was interesting and well thought out. I chuckled when I read about Tina’s idea for micro machines considering that a Nobel prize was recently rewarded for such a similar idea and concept.

I think if I was going to complain about anything with this book it was that I just felt like we only scratched the surface with the relationship between the two characters. They went from not being together, to being pretty much steadily together—save for brief misunderstanding. I understand that Milan plans to publish another book in the series featuring these two and maybe that will help resolve some of my issues with the development.

Overall, if you’re a skeptical reader that sometimes gets pushed into the world of New Adult despite your better judgment you might want to give this one a try.   While there are a few of the nauseating NA tropes here—such as angst—their not played to the degree where you want to rip your hair off. Also, Milan creates smart characters with complex problems and lives which is also something you don’t see a lot of in NA. As I said before, the only real issue I have with this book is that we didn’t get a lot of scenes with the leads in a relationship, but hopefully that will change in the future.

Overall Rating: A solid B+, almost moved this one into A- territory.


Jay na Thalang is a demanding, driven genius. He doesn’t know how to stop or even slow down. The instant he lays eyes on Maria Lopez, he knows that she is a sexy distraction he can’t afford. He’s done his best to keep her at arm’s length, and he’s succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.

Maria has always been cautious. Now that her once-tiny, apocalypse-centered blog is hitting the mainstream, she’s even more careful about preserving her online anonymity. She hasn’t sent so much as a picture to the commenter she’s interacted with for eighteen months—not even after emails, hour-long chats, and a friendship that is slowly turning into more. Maybe one day, they’ll meet and see what happens.

But unbeknownst to them both, Jay is Maria’s commenter. They’ve already met. They already hate each other. And two determined enemies are about to discover that they’ve been secretly falling in love…

Source: GoodReads

I didn’t love Hold Me as much as I loved Trade Me, and I was sort of weirded out by that because on paper I should’ve technically liked Hold Me a lot more.

The books not bad. The characters are pretty good. Though I like Maria a lot more than I liked Jay.

Oh, Jay. I sort of had a hate hate relationship with him. Yeah, his online persona was charming, I guess. But as a real life human being, I couldn’t help but sort of hate him throughout the entire story. I get that this book is sort of supposed to have a You’ve Got Mail set up, but I really thought Jay IRL was more douchey than Tom Hanks character was in that movie. And that’s saying something.

Like I expected, I found Maria’s character to be interesting. I was glad that this book didn’t focus on her being trans. Rather, it just happened to be the love story of a transwoman. Which was nice, because while I do think the occasional issue book is good one of the things I want to see more is books featuring diverse characters where the character’s plot isn’t about them being a diverse character. Rather, it’s about them living their life and finding happiness and that’s what’s going on here.

The diversity in this book—really series—is quite excellent. Maria, as I mentioned is a Hispanic transwoman. Jay is part Thai/Chinese and he’s bi.   There are even several minor characters that came from diverse backgrounds and it was woven effortlessly throughout the story.

I think that’s one of the best thing this series has to offer. Besides Adam Reynolds of course.

The Adam Reynolds character in himself makes the series, to the point where it appears that he’s getting his own fucking book. And I can see why.

He was sorely missed in this book.

Really, when I think of Hold Me, I think of the potential that the story could’ve had and what ended up being lukewarm leftovers with a ship I didn’t exactly dig.

Overall Rating: C+ there are some nice things about this one, but compared to Trade Me it is more than a little lackluster.