Beauty and the Beast: Auto Tuned, Anthropologie Throw Up, and Nostalgia

I just saw the new Beauty and the Beast movie.  My thoughts, I liked it but Emma Watson was so auto tuned it wasn’t even funny.

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That’s it in a general sense.  I mean, obviously I’m going to say a little more say since this is a  review (and recommendation of YA retellings) but I did enjoy it if I didn’t think about it and wasn’t being all nit picky.

The Disney version is probably my favorite animated movies and I saw the Broadway version every time it visited Houston when I grew up-which was a lot (save for the premiere-yes, it premiered in Houston). So, when I heard that the songs were going to be included in the film I was extremely excited.

Only thing, Emma Watson can’t sing.  They auto tuned the hell out of her.  I get she’s Hermione and that equals instant Belle, but if she can’t sing dub her.  They did that a lot of times in the past (see: My Fair Lady) and it was for the better.  It was just really disturbing hearing these songs arranged in a slightly different way to accommodate Emma’s not so great vocals.  Also, new songs not a huge fan of them.  I was hoping they’d use some of the Broadway show’s song. I did hear some orchestration of “Home” but I was also hoping they’d use some of the songs like “Human Again” and ” Me” for example.  There were others as well, like the “If I Can’t Love Her” (AKA the Beast’s ballad) that they simply revamped into news songs and I was like-what, you had a good song to use already.

That is me being ultra picky and I know there’s a lot of different factors why they might’ve chose to use new songs and arrangements BUT…those songs were good.

I will give Luke Evans credit though, I think he did Gaston justice.  He was entertaining and I thought he did a fairly good job performing.  I also liked watching t him and Hugh Jackman having a Gaston sing off because….Gaston sing off and I was reminded that Hugh did the Australian show version of Beauty and the Beast and yeah….

Matthew Crawley was surprisingly not a bad Beast either.  Though, it’s still weird thinking that Matthew Crawley was transformed into a beast (and they still don’t give us the Prince’s name so the purposes of this review I’m calling him Matthew Crawley, though I think the Disney Wikia list it as Adam) .  I thought Lady Mary if any of them would’ve been the one turned into a monster for being rude to poor Lady Edith (who is so a wannabe Enchantress if there ever was one) .   But that wasn’t as weird enough,  seeing him wear  an obscene amount of eyes shadow, high heeled shoes, and powdered wig.

Oh yeah, the movie decided to go heavy with the period costumes which made me blanch because we all know the French Revolution happens soon after the movie and…

Well…

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Though the really weird thing about the period costumes is they seemed mostly constrained to Matthew Crawley and the Downton Castle servants.  Belle seemed to be wearing some sort of Free People inspired version of Beauty and the Beast wear that was very inappropriate for the time period-really, Disney was it necessary to see her bloomers?  And that end dress really looked like one of my Anthro folding chairs  being made  into a ballgown (shudders at the thought).

But then we get to the yellow dress…which there are cosplayers outfits out there that did a better job. Hell, even Belle’s cheap ass dress of Once Upon a Time looked better.  Hell, both Belle and Rumple’s Beauty and the Beast inspired getup looks better.

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Yes, they look better.  Freaking Belle from OUAT who mostly dresses like she’s constantly in a Sexy! Schoolgirl costume (yes, the costume department is that bad when dresses her) on the show has a better ballgown that Hermione-Belle.

The CGI was pretty God awful too.  But I’m not a fan of CGI in general so I’m just going to live it there.

For all the nitpicking I’m doing though, I did enjoy it.  Those two hours in the theater reminded me why I love this story so much it has everything: curses, magic, books, redemption, dancing, ball gowns (though fugly ballgowns in this version), crazy villagers who act like Middle America did this election (seriously, “The Mob Song (Kill the Beast)” is pretty much is Republican fear mongering in song form and Gaston is how Donald Trump thinks he looks) , and Kevin Kline).

Yes, Kevin Kline.  I think he’s the first person who actually made me like Maurice so props to you, Otto.

If you want to watch something that brings back childhood nostalgia I recommend seeing this one.  Is it perfect-no.  BUT I do think they kept the spirit of the original there.  So if you can get past some bad auto tuning, Anthropologie chair dresses, and Matthew Crawley in heavy makeup you’ll like this one.  Though to be honest, I probably really had wanted to see it had Lady Mary been the one turned into a beast (ppssss, Michelle Dockery can actually sing yall so maybe they could’ve gone there).

Overall Rating: B+
Now since this is technically a book review I thought I’d list some Beauty and the Beast retellings you might want to check out if the factors I mentioned are too much for you to want to see the movie or if you got hives from seeing Matthew Crawley in a wig:

  • Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge:  Take Greek mythology and have one very bitter Belle and you get a very interesting retelling.  Bonus points, for quasi evil Belle.  I like how flawed the MC is here.  I always list this as one of my favorite YA B&B retellings that I read there’s a reason.
  • Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay: I really like the underlying lesson in this that has you questioning what exactly is beauty.  Both characters undergo a transformation which is sweet to read about.
  • Hunted by Meagan Spooner:  I liked that this one grasps with one of the biggest issues I had with the original animated movie-wanting more.  The chemistry between the two characters isn’t as great as some other retellings, but it is a fun one to read.
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas: I was on the fence about putting this one on here because after the sequel I really don’t view it so much as a B&B retelling.  BUT I think you could make the argument that we just didn’t know who the beast was in the first book.  I am planning on rereading the first two books in the series before the third one comes out so we’ll see.
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik: I would say this one is more Beauty and the Beast inspired than a direct retelling but still fun.

The TBR List: April Showers Means More Reading

It’s time to look at the pre-order list again and list what books I’ll be getting in the mail and hopefully be reviewing in the near future.  I mainly do this list for two purposes 1) to give a shout out to those things coming out and 2) as a way for me to control my preorder list-I go back through everything I ordered on Amazon and usually am able to cancel a couple of orders or two. Though, in hindsight I usually end up adding a couple of titles while I’m at it.

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Um, the late 90’s are historical fiction now?  Okay.  I don’t think I like this.  Are midriffs going to be heavily featured in this one?  Everyone wore midriffs in the late 90’s or at least if their name was Britney or they were in teen movies.

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There’s just something so interesting about this one.  I don’t know what, but the pre-release reviews look good so I’m going to give it a try.

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Already read this one but I want a hard version of it so I kept my pre-order.  It’s cute.

 

 

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I get Stranger Than Fiction vibes with this one.  That’s a good thing.

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I love Liza Palmer’s stuff.

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Yes, I know it’s a Melissa de la Cruz book and I have hit or miss books with them.  And yes, I know it’s  a Hamilton rip off so to speak.  But history….

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Claudia Gray’s stuff is like book crack.  You know it’s not exactly good for you, but you can’t help yourself.  And this one has edges of Sci-Fi to it.

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This one looks all You’ve Got Mail-ishy.

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A new Becky Albertalli book!

That’s it for April.  The list is longer than I initially thought it would be, though TBH the list that scares me is next month’s.  There are so many books coming out in May.  Stay tuned…

Easy Breezy: Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas

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An eccentric wallflower…

Most debutantes dream of finding a husband. Lady Pandora Ravenel has different plans. The ambitious young beauty would much rather stay at home and plot out her new board game business than take part in the London Season. But one night at a glittering society ball, she’s ensnared in a scandal with a wickedly handsome stranger.

A cynical rake…

After years of evading marital traps with ease, Gabriel, Lord St. Vincent, has finally been caught-by a rebellious girl who couldn’t be less suitable. In fact, she wants nothing to do with him. But Gabriel finds the high-spirited Pandora irresistible. He’ll do whatever it takes to possess her, even if their marriage of convenience turns out to be the devil’s own bargain.

A perilous plot…

After succumbing to Gabriel’s skilled and sensuous persuasion, Pandora agrees to become his bride. But soon she discovers that her entrepreneurial endeavors have accidentally involved her in a dangerous conspiracy-and only her husband can keep her safe. As Gabriel protects her from their unknown adversaries, they realize their devil’s bargain may just turn out to be a match made in heaven…

Source: GoodReads

Honestly, had this book not been written with Kleypas who has this envy worthy style it probably would’ve been pure shit. And yes, I said shit even though this book has gotten a ridiculous amount of hype.

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As it was, it was sort of meh.  I didn’t hate it, but I expected more from this and quite frankly I felt like it was a disappointment considering all the hype this book was getting-since it shares a connection to one of the more popular Wallflower books (though I still think It Happened One Autumn kicked Devil in Winter’s ass but JMO, plenty of people love Sevie).

Full disclosure, that book ( Devil in Winter) was not my favorite in the series.  I think it’s because I read its predecessor right before and it sort of ruined Sebastian for me, that being said I was still excited about reading this book.

However, for all the hype that was given it was a bit of a downer.  For one thing the character, Pandora, borderline annoyed me.  She is described as being eccentric and independent, but to be honest she came off more or less childish to me. The fact that she and Gabriel were sort of thrown together didn’t exactly make me a big fan of them.

I mean, really, for all the fuss that Gabriel made about being forced to being with her-think fifty or so pages of grumbling about being set up to be married he absolves to marry her quickly.

What happened to the devotion you had to your mistress, Gabriel?

It disappeared within one trip to the ocean with Ms. Annoying AND then for good measure you decide to slut slam said mistress.

Not good, not good.  And other than that, I really don’t see how he’s the son of Sebastian.  He’s hardly a rake at all.

Then there’s Pandora who makes this big stink about not wanting to marry, only to quickly realize that hey he’s hot and screw principle I will get married after all.  And then all those principles are promptly dropped for the most part, save for one melodramatic incident which just has this reader’s eyes almost coming out of her head.  Because…well, I have eye rolling issues when it comes to stupidity.

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Okay, I know I’m making sort of a ruckus.  But with all the page count about how they never would like each other, it really didn’t take that long for Pandora and Gabriel TO like each other. And honestly, while the two had some sweet scenes I did cringe a time or two because Pandora read like she was really young  Seeing a guy as worldly as Gabriel with her, just didn’t make sense and I felt like he was robbing the cradle.

Though full disclosure, Pandora was twenty-one at the time.  I think the editor told Kleypas to put her age down, just so readers wouldn’t think she was grossly underage.

That being said, I was easily able to read this one because of Kleypas’s style and I did enjoy parts of the book.  Reading about Evie and Sebastian’s family was enjoyable, and there were some scenes that I did enjoy between Gabriel and Pandora-as annoying as Pandora was.  And I am more than interested in reading the next installment in this series, after seeing the set up for those characters.

However, the subplot in the last third of the novel really annoyed me it just seemed tacked on and kind of pointless and didn’t really connect with the rest of the novel and was more or less the signature Kleypas needs to add something exciting here for the action junkies.

Anyway, if you enjoy Lisa Kleypas’s writing and really like her Wallflower series, you’ll probably want to check it out.  However, I don’t quite think it’s worth the hype that it was given.

Overall Rating: B-

Cool Concept, Bro BUT…: Freya by Matthew Laurence

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Freya is myth. She is legend. And she’s about to make one hell of a comeback.

Sara Vanadi is more than she appears to be.

In her prime, she was Freya, the Norse goddess of love, beauty, war, and death. Now all that’s left of her legacy is herself. Her power comes from belief, and for an ancient goddess in the 21st century, true believers are hard to come by.

She’s been lying low for a few decades, when all of a sudden a shadowy corporation extends an offer: join them and receive unlimited strength and believers—or refuse and be destroyed. Sara chooses neither; she flees with the help of a new friend named Nathan.

With a modern power rising that wishes to bend the divine to its will, Sara decides to fight back—but first she needs some new clothes.

Source: GoodReads

Eh.

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This is a DNF but it’s a me not you DNF. I do think for the right person, this book might work but for me.  Not going to happen.

It had an interesting concept, don’t get me wrong.  That is why I picked it up after all, I don’t read a book that’s concept I know is going to dull me, I just didn’t like the execution.  Especially the depiction of the main character.

I get that Sara/Freya is supposed to be a goddess, but she comes off being completely unrealistic.  Much like the plot was a series of unrealistic events as well.  It seemed more or less like it was just an advertisement for the Orlando tourism circuit.

And I’ll admit it, when I first heard that the characters were running away to Disney World I was excited.  Until I actually read it and was like nope…just nope…

It just felt like an advertisement and as much as Freya was supposed to be this spunky fish out of water protagonist, I did not like her.  She seemed more like and idealization than a person (think the stupid MPDG cliche)

As a whole the book  felt very stilted.  And I didn’t care for Nathan either who was more or less an idiot just along for the ride.  Things might’ve improved but…

No just no.

By the time I got through about a hundred pages of this and could spot half a dozen plot holes, I really didn’t care to continue further.

I just didn’t have the time or patience to carry on.

There’s really not a lot to say other than that.  I just really didn’t care for this one because it had such a cool concept.

Overall Rating: DNF

#Cringe: #Famous by Jilly Gagnon

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In this modern-day love story, Girl likes Boy, Girl takes photo of Boy and posts it online, Boy becomes accidentally insta-famous. And what starts out as an innocent joke spirals into a whirlwind adventure that could change both their lives—and their hearts—forever. But are fame and love worth the price?

Told in alternating points of view, #famous captures the out-of-control thrill ride of falling for someone in front of everyone.

Source: GoodReads

Is there a Meme solely devoted to cringe worthy yet?

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I know there are face palm gifs and the like, and there’s a cat that represents grumpiness but is there a meme just for cringing?

Probably.  But because I get annoyed with internet fads-Come on, The Dress.  Really,that was a thing that people got obsessed with for a week or whatever-I’m not going to do anymore research than maybe do a quick search for cringe worthy gifs to put in this review, but if this book  itself could be a potential cringe meme or hashtag though it’s trying for something else.

Side note, when thinking about how to draft this review I thought about looking up famous internet fads and using them in this review.  BUT…to be honest those sorts of things annoy me.  Except that cat playing the piano and all those Corgis.  Got to love the corgis.  But I did not love this book maybe if it had a Corgi I might’ve been able to like it but…

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Inserting corgi picture because after this book it’s needed to bring balance to this world. 

There is nothing about this book I liked.  Grant it, I didn’t finish it.  I read about 200 pages of it.  But with those 200 or so pages, I hated it to pieces and and those Corgis that become viral sensations have more personalities than the leads in this book.

It’s bad guys.  So, so, bad.

So, the basic premises of the book is this idiot takes a picture of a guy says something stupid about her crush online.  Gets Lifetime-ish bullied while guy becomes popular because (Misogyny Trope 101) and we get the painful scene of an Ellen wannabe trying to get them together give a stupid daytime TV talkshow scheme-note, I might love daytime soaps for their campiness but their cheap counterpart I cannot stand.

There are probably some of you reading this review wondering why I even read this book in the first place.  After all, it looks like based on everything I said I would hate it since I am not a huge fan of internet fads.  And yeah…to some degree that is true, but I thought it could be interesting to look at how an internet fad explodes and the aftermath it causes the people it surrounds.

That does not mean, I thought I’d get a cliche story with two characters who are pretty much being forced to be together when they shouldn’t.

Even though I DNF’d this mother fucker, I snuck a peak in the end and I did not like what I saw.   I think for this book to end well for me, it would’ve been for Gagnon to not do the cliche thing which she did.  I really wish, for example, that Kyle-fry guy-was not a main character.

He’s not bad, per say, but he is a dumb jock and adds nothing to the story other than being a dumb pretty jock.

Grant it, Rachel’s not that much better.  She’s one of those girls I would feel sorry for, but at the same time it would be hard to be nice to her because she is just annoying.  I’d probably just ignore her to be honest, but really she’s obnoxious and will be just as obnoxious as her mother when she’s older.

Spoiler alert, major bad parent alert.  I don’t think anyone in this book has decent parents which is always a shame, I’d rather the parents just be absent if their going to be jerks but Rachel’s mother brings bad parenting to another level.  Kyle’s mom is pretty horrible too.

Needless to say, I don’t recommend this one.  In my earlier blogging days, I might’ve tried to make  this review more amusing.  Have the Beagle review it with a  series of her internet “memes” but I’m just tired of books like this.  Overhyped and just blah and annoying.  It’s especially annoying because fandom/internet famous themed books seem to be popular these days and I think I’ve only read about two books where I just didn’t cringe at how “fake” the book sounds.  I know I’m technically on the older side of the social media trends, but I know enough that not everyone who has a blog, log, or Twitter account is going to go viral.

And Gagnon (and any other author) don’t use fake social media sites when you really mean Twitter or Instagram.  Your audience is not stupid, we know what you’re really talking about just use freaking Twitter.  Same goes with your Ellen wannabe.  I was easily able to see who the talkshow host was.  Be less obvious if you’re going to go with the fake celebrity host.

God.

Overall rating, DNF.  I wish I hadn’t bought it.

Super Slow Start But Overall Good: Hunted by Meagan Spooner

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Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

Source: GoodReads

The Beauty and the Beast remake came out this week (haven’t seen it yet, but I’m hoping to next week) so of course a YA retelling of the fairytale had to come out around the same time.

To be fair to Spooner though, there’s a lot of YA B&B retellings.  I think there’s just something about the fairytale that begs itself to be retold.  Perhaps, it’s the whole fact that author’s keep trying to explain why this fairytale about Stockholm syndrome is romantic even though it really shouldn’t be.  Regardless, it’s a perennial favorite of YA authors everywhere and Spooner’s retelling adds nicely to the collection of retellings out there but it’s not perfect.

The biggest problem is the first third of this book.  Oh, God, it is slow.  So freaking slow.  I almost DNF’d it.  That’s how slow it is, but I kept pressing on.  I don’t know what compelled me to, but I’m glad I did.  Once the book gets started its good.

Not great, but good and I did enjoy it.  Spooner has an interesting twist on the story.  One I’m glad that is addressed because the whole “more” aspect of the movie always did annoy me.

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Here, though it’s a fundamental part of the story affecting Beast and Beauty and I’m glad it had a point in the story, besides being just a way Beauty views herself as an outsider.

I also liked the atmosphere that Spooner created.  I really felt like the world was unique, and I later learnt was inspired by some Russian fairytales which I was unfamiliar with.  It worked really well.

As far as Beauty’s relationship with the Beast in this one I was sort of meh about.  Sure, it’s the familiar love story but the chemistry never reached the levels that some other YA retellings-I’m thinking of Cruel Beauty and ACOTR and even Uprooted.  Honestly, I really didn’t feel the romantic tension between the two characters for most of the book and instead thought how unhealthy the relationship was.

Never a good thing, but still there are far worse YA couples out there.  And for what it is worth the twists that Spooner added to the story almost remedied the awkwardness of the ship and the bad beginning.

So overall, while there were some neat things about Hunted it is hardly the best YA adaptation of Beauty and the Beast out there.  Still, if you are a Beauty and the Beast fan and/or want to look at a retelling with an interesting twist, you might want to give this one a try.

Overall Rating: A solid B.

 

Otherwise Known as Dad’s a Pseudo Bigamist: Two Summers by Aimee Friedman

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ONE SUMMER in the French countryside, among sun-kissed fields of lavender . . .

ANOTHER SUMMER in upstate New York, along familiar roads that lead to surprises . . .

When Summer Everett makes a split-second decision, her summer divides into two parallel worlds. In one, she travels to France, where she’s dreamed of going: a land of chocolate croissants, handsome boys, and art museums. In the other, she remains home, in her ordinary suburb, where she expects her ordinary life to continue — but nothing is as it seems.

In both summers, she will fall in love and discover new sides of herself. What may break her, though, is a terrible family secret, one she can’t hide from anywhere. In the end, it may just be the truth she needs the most.

From New York Times bestselling author Aimee Friedman comes an irresistible, inventive novel that takes readers around the world and back again, and asks us what matters more: the journey or the destination.

Source: GoodReads

This book should’ve of been tagged with a warning label that it would piss me off.  I’ll just get the good stuff out the way, the book is readable.  In this day and age of YA, that’s actually a plus because there is a lot of shit with purple prose out there that you just want to tell to f off.  But even though this book didn’t have purple prose I still wanted to tell it to sod off and slam the door in its ugly face.

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I should’ve known when I read that the MC’s name was Summer that we were not going to be friends.  I have a bad experience with that name, so it might’ve tainted me (a little) with this book.  That aside though, the MC’s name could’ve been Indiana Jones and I still wouldn’t have liked the book.

And if you know me, you know I have a thing for Indiana Jones pre-horrendous fourth movie with the prairie dogs.  I think it’s the fact he kicks Nazi ass and the hat.  Got to love the hat.

I’ll give credit to Summer though, I didn’t exactly hate her for the most part.  Sure, girl had borderline misogynic tendencies and trashed talk supposed “Mean Girls” all the time but I mostly felt sorry for her.

She was pretty fucking pathetic.  And I don’t know if that’s a good thing.  I mean, I get shit happens to good people in real life but I felt like this character got hit with so much shit so I would feel sorry for her, despite hating girls instantly because they’re prettier than her.  And insult girls because they’re different than her.

A Grumpy YA reader does not forget, Summer.  Though you’re life sucks and your parents are horrible people and you really should ask (no, beg) your aunt to take up custody of you, so you might grow up to be a quasi decent human.  But…

Yeah, there is so much shit in this book and I don’t think the fallout was ever dealt with properly BECAUSE we had to deal with the fucking gimmick of this book.

The two realities.

Which aren’t even fucking explained.  Like, I’m even sure why we even have them here other than to sell the book.  I can imagine that a conversation  sort of like  this happened between Friedman in the editors when drafting this book.  Okay, not like this, but this was the sort of conversation I imagined when reading this drivel:

Editor: This just isn’t very interesting Aimee.  A girl gets ditched by her father and ends up staying at home taking a lame-o junior college class and finding out a life changing secret. She was going to France.  Freaking France. I wanted freaking France in this book and instead I got a boring photography class with some melodrama.  I mean, who cares about the dad being a bigamist.

Friedman: Well, he’s not exactly a bigamist.  They weren’t married so pseudo bigamist.  And besides,  it’s a life changing secret.  That is our hook.

Editor Shrugs: Yeah, life changing.  I mean, there’s lots of logical fallacies here that…you know what, maybe if you had What’s-Her-Face go to freaking France it might be more interesting.  You know what, rewrite the book is France and gets some baguettes and hot French dudes in here and we’ll see how things progress.  Oh, and when you finish your draft order me some baguettes.  Wait, no baguette, I’m on a no carb thing.

Six Weeks (Or However Long it Takes) Later when Friedman finishes next draft and orders her editor a shit load of baguettes to keep her in a good mood (spoiler alert, it didn’t work).

Friedman: So, is this better?

Editor: Munching on a stale baguette and gulping some hot chalet that Friedman also bought-it was that crappy instant stuff, but still chocolate.  Well, I like the hot French guy and the baguettes, but the page count is obscenely small and all What’s-Her-Face does is pout at the half sister.

Friedman: But she’s so snotty you know because she’s French and she’s the pseudo other wife’s daughter.

Editor: I know that, darling but….your page count it’s so small now.  Though, I do think the French guy is an improvement from the photo guy.

Friedman: She needs to end up with the photo guy.

Editor: Why he’s positively boring, and lame.  I mean, I know he wears hipster glasses but still boring.

Friedman: She needs to end up with the photography guy.  You can’t do long distance relationships in YA.  Unless there’s a sequel, and I can’t do a sequel (see my page count).  And I really  can’t increase my page count, believe me I tried there’s only so much I can write about eating baguettes in cafes.

Editor: Frowns as she bites into a baguette.  Well, we need the book to hit at least 50K words now if there was just a way for you to use what you had….you know AU realities are popular in YA right now..maybe you could randomly add one and we could sale this thing.

Friedman: Well, it beats rewriting the book again. Or sending you baguettes.

Okay, that was just me being a jerk  and that probably wasn’t what happened in real life, because I’m sure Aimee Friedman and her editor had a legitimate plan with this one,  but God knows its what this book felt like and like the Fictional Editor, I so prefer the hot French guy to the boring stooge that the character ends up with.

Whoops, spoiler alert.  Though to be fair, someone had already spoiled it for me on GoodReads and if it helps some other poor sap from getting their shipper heart ripped out then I really don’t give a fuck because the ship that one oozed bad ship.

Or bland ship I should say.  With the Hot French Guy, whose name is actually Jaques (how cliche can you get) there was actual chemistry even if it was cliche beyond belief.   I honestly believe that Friedman wanted to give Summer some sort of happiness at the end of the book and just couldn’t figure out a way to make Jaques and Summer stay together so she settled with Snoozer Hugh.

Bland ship aside though, one of the reasons I didn’t like this book was that the alternate realities are never really explained.  Sure, we get an occasional reference of “What If” but…we don’t know what’s real and what’s not. And I still don’t know what the point of the AU shit was (other than to theorize it was to make up for a lack of page count).

When I was reading this book I was comparing it to a Lifetime movie I watched last Christmas that involved a similar premises with this career woman who lived two alternate time lines-one which she missed a plane and another where she caught it.  This book reminded me of that premises, but the movie  (that’s right a Lifetime movie) did a better job explaining it.

At the end of the day, I just didn’t like this book.  Maybe there were some things that were trigger inducing for me-the name summer and some of the plot devices BUT it wasn’t that so much but the unexplained idiocy of the plot and the stupid ship.

Overall Rating: A D the writing gave it the passmark (barely).

 

Plenty of Painful Moments: Confessions of a High School Disaster by Emma Chastain

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In the tradition of Bridget Jones’s Diary, a lovably flawed high school student chronicles her life as she navigates the highs and lows of family, friendship, school, and love in a diary that sparkles with humor and warmth.

I’m Chloe Snow, and my life is kiiiiind of a disaster.

1. I’m a kissing virgin (so so so embarrassing).
2. My best friend, Hannah, is driving me insane.
3. I think I’m in love with Mac Brody, senior football star, whose girlfriend is so beautiful she doesn’t even need eyeliner.
4. My dad won’t stop asking me if I’m okay.
5. Oh, and my mom moved to Mexico to work on her novel. But it’s fine—she’ll be back soon. She said so.

Mom says the only thing sadder than remembering is forgetting, so I’m going to write down everything that happens to me in this diary. That way, even when I’m ninety, I’ll remember how awkward and horrible and exciting it is to be in high school

Source: GoodReads

This is a weird one to review.  The main character is slap worthy, but I think a lot of it has to do based on her age-she’s on the younger side of YA at 14/15 years old.

It’s not that I don’t mind YA books with younger protagonists (though, I generally avoid them because I can’t handle a younger protagonist’s usual severe immaturity) but in Chloe’s case what bothered me is that while she was so young, she got herself involved in some very adult situations.

I mean, maybe I’m showing my age but it’s not fun reading about a freshman getting severally wasted at a party.  Especially when said freshman urinates on herself.

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I know it happens, I’m not that naive…but since this is going to be a series I wish that the character might’ve been a little older before dealing with some of these situations.  I mean, in the Princess Diaries book Meg Cabot waited until book seven before having Mia drink a beer.

And to be honest, I probably would’ve been able to tolerate it better had Chloe been a bit more mature. But God was she dense.  So, so, dense.

If you’re not a fan of face palm moments in this book, you’ll want to avoid this one.  Chloe has so many shakeable moments its not even funny.  She makes Harriet Manners’s awkwardness look sophisticated that’s how bad it is.

True, a lot of the obviousness in this book might be overlooked by someone who’s in a similar situation to hers, but I couldn’t help but getting annoyed.

Still, despite many shakeable moments, I still enjoyed the book that’s an odd thing to say. I think one of the things I liked the best was the relationship Chloe had with her dad.  It’s nice to see a parent character in YA get fleshed out a bit and for that matter a dad character.  But as wonderful as Mr. Snow is, Mrs. Snow is just horrible and unrealistically bad in a lot of ways.  So, it sort of cancels out Mr. Snow’s greatness.  I hope what she did isn’t swept under the rug in the series subsequent installments.  Sometimes assholes like Mrs. Snow need to be treated like the assholes they are, parent or not.  I’m just saying.

The romance is squirm inducing too.  Though, I’m glad with the turn it took, it was unexpected for a YA book and it was sort of fitting.  Though, I honestly hated that everyone blamed Chloe for what happened.  The other party was just as guilty as she was, yet it seemed like he wasn’t blamed at all for what happened.  And her best friend, I’m sorry she slut slammed Chloe and didn’t deserve an apology.

It annoyed me and got me on a misogyny rant.  Yes, Chloe fucked up but I thought her friend acted shitty towards her especially given how she was treated by the rest of the school.  I mean, really bestie, you were right about that one party being hurt BUT while your bestie made mistakes she didn’t deserve to have urine thrown on her and be harassed, just saying.  Side notes, Chloe got covered with urine quite frequently throughout this book.

So as you’re probably seeing from my remarks, my feelings are mixed at best for this one.  I think I will likely continue with the series though.  The book was short and engaging and while I had issues with how Chloe was grossly immature and practically a baby but doing things that you’d expect to see with older more experienced protagonists, it was engaging enough.  If anything I’m willing to read the sequel just to see if my ship that involves Chloe’s dad and the drama teacher reunites (Yes, that was the best part of the book.  Sort of sad in hindsight).  Plus, I do see potential for Chloe maturing over the course of the series.

Overall Rating: I waiver between B- and C+ probably going to settle on the C+ though.

 

The Insides of This Book are Just as Cute as the Cover:Geekerella by Ashley Poston

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Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise. But when she disappears at midnight, will he ever be able to find her again?

Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom.

Source: GoodReads

General Disclaimer: I received an ARC from Netggalley it did not effect my opinion of this book.

Guilty Confession: I love Cinderella.

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I know I shouldn’t.  It goes everything against my feminist’s principles, but there’s something always so endearingly hopeful about Cinderella type stories and add the fandom aspect that gives Geekerella it’s unique type of edge well this book was on my “Must” list for 2017.

And somehow I got an ARC of it which is a miracle in itself because I hardly ever get ARC’s.  What was even better was I read this book while recovering from a hideous migraine that made it pretty much impossible for me to get out of bed without puking for 24 hours.

And it was the perfect sort of book to read when recovering from a headache.  It wasn’t that heavy and it was the sort of light hearted romp I like to read in YA.  Not depressing at all and the ship as very cute for the most part.  There were also some decent side characters which is nice since usually side characters in romance heavy YA books can be abysmal at best.

But the character Sage was probably one of my favorite characters in the book and so was The Magic Pumpkin which wasn’t a character, but the food truck had its own form which was interesting enough to read with.

Was Geekerella a perfect book?

No.  It had it’s fair share of problems, but at the end of the day it did it’s job.  It let me slip away for those few hours in a feel good bubble, though being the grumpy cantankerous blogger that I am, I am going to point out the faults that it did have.

Most importantly, the there were some tropes in the book that made me grown.  A lot of it had to deal with the stepmother and one of the stepdaughters.  And okay, I know it’s a Cinderella retelling.  I know when there’s a Cinderella retelling that there’s going to be an evil stepmother and at least one evil stepsister.  But my issue with this was that they were so ridiculously evil and had very little consequences that it made me sort of angry at the end.

I was like when is the stepmonster going to get her just desserts.  And don’t tell me it wouldn’t be realistic for her not to have them.  It would be very easy, considering I’m pretty sure she abused her role as guardian to her stepmother/possible executrix to her deceased husband’s estate.  And there are consequences for someone who abuses this role.

Yep, my brain went into lawyer mode when I read about this women, but she needed a good kick in the butt.  And so did one of her daughter’s who was just insufferable on so many letters.

And mild digression, BUT why are there so many books now that have character’s featured that are like minor Youtube celebrities.  I know that makeup tutorials are a thing on Youtube, but not every teen who has a Vine or Youtube Channel is going to be famous.  Or a big deal, I wish this was addressed.

Anyways, that aside I really liked this one.  It was cute and the fandom stuff was actually tastefully done-a lot of the times, I feel like the author ham’s it up, but this wasn’t the case.

If you want a cute light read and can overlook some things give Geekerella a try.  I liked it so much that I’m keeping my preorder in place which rarely happens with me being a penny pincher.

Overall Rating: A B+