Series Resignation: Royal Crown by Meg Cabot

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It’s the first coronation of a female monarch of Genovia in 200 years, and Her Royal Highness, Princess Olivia Grace Clarisse Mignonette Harrison, is giving you the inside scoop in this newest (illustrated!) diary from New York Times–bestselling author and illustrator Meg Cabot!

Olivia Grace Clarisse Mignonette Harrison should be having fun. Her best friend is visiting from America, her sister’s royal coronation is only three days away (the first coronation of a female ruler in two centuries), and she’s even got a new boyfriend who is actually a very smart and charming prince!

But it’s hard to celebrate when her royal cousins are scheming to take over the throne. And with everyone running around, Olivia and her friends have been saddled with royal babysitting duties. Then, to make matters worse, Olivia’s snobby cousin Luisa insists on gossiping about her, especially about things that should be personal . . . it’s none of her business whether Prince Khalil and Olivia have kissed or not!

When did growing up royal get so complicated?!?

Source: GoodReads

I really wish Meg Cabot would   write stuff for her older fans again.  I get that she’s trying to expand her audience.  But God damn it, I have read her stuff for seventeen years and I feel like I’m at my wit’s end since she’s only published kiddie books the past few years.

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Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think her new Princess Diaries series is bad.  I’d probably enjoy it if I was like ten.  But I am a grown ass woman, and even the mere thought of seeing artwork of Michael Moscovitz’s ass (it hasn’t happened and its been four books) isn’t going to keep me from reading this series anymore.

Or for that matter, getting updates on my favorite characters isn’t going to keep me reading either.

I mean, you there  has to be  a lot of older fans who grew up on Diaries who are reading it for the updates, right?

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Okay, maybe I’m the only person.

And to be fair, I do think it is a decent middle grade book if a bit cringe-y.

Honestly, as this spinoff series has progressed it has gotten moreccringe worthy.  Palace life in Genovia is essentially like Princess Diaries 2 and I hate that fucking movie for being so full of cheese.   And I’m not talking about the enjoyable sort of cheese.  They got rid of Michael, how can you fucking do that?

Olivia is a Mary Sue.  After four books, I am just going to say it.  Mia had faults.  She might’ve been exasperating whiney and immature for a few books, but she seemed semi-realistic.  Olivia is just too perfect to the point of me wanting to punch her stupid fictional face in.

The books have also gotten ridiculously formulaic.  It’s like the series is stuck in middle Princess Diaries territory which is not a good thing.

I don’t feel a connection to any of these characters either except for the characters in the original series-who except for Grandmere (who I personally find to be  OTT) are relegated to cameo appearances.

And Grandmere is severally watered down.  I remember how her reaction to a certain event was in Mia’s life and it was the exact opposite of how she treated the situation with Olivia’s (yes, Cabot I remember these things I read these books way too many times in my teen years).  And honestly, Mia’s dad does not seem like Mia’s dad in this series either.  And neither does Mia’s mom.  Or Mia.  Or Michael.  Or Lily.  Or Tina.  It’s almost as if they’ve been his with a bland gun to make Olivia and her crew seem interesting.

But Olivia and her friends at the end of the day are dull.  I still cringe every time I read about her friends at “princess” school.  Because hello, these are preteens not the cast of Sophia the First.  And I also cringe with the various attempts to usurp the Genovian throne.  Like, hasn’t this plot line with its five thousand plot holes been used like ten thousand times already?

At the end of the day, I ended this book missing the original series which was a kissing book and not afraid to use profanity.

Interesting note, any long time readers might be interested that only a year separates the age of Mia from book one from Olivia.  But it might as well be four years ’cause Olivia acts like she’s about ten years old.

Overall Rating: For what it is probably a B.  For me probably a C-.  I don’t think I’m going to continue with this series.  I don’t really see how much further it can go either.  I’m just praying to the reading gods that Cabot will write another YA series again because I miss her swoon in the genre.

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My Opinion Has Not Evolved: What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

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Who is the real McLean?

Since her parents’ bitter divorce, McLean and her dad, a restaurant consultant, have been on the move-four towns in two years. Estranged from her mother and her mother’s new family, McLean has followed her dad in leaving the unhappy past behind. And each new place gives her a chance to try out a new persona: from cheerleader to drama diva. But now, for the first time, McLean discovers a desire to stay in one place and just be herself, whoever that is. Perhaps Dave, the guy next door, can help her find out.

Combining Sarah Dessen’s trademark graceful writing, great characters, and compelling storytelling, What Happened to Goodbye is irresistible reading.

Source: GoodReads

I have a couple of Sarah Dessen books on my shelves, but I’ve always been lukewarm to her.  It’s not that the writing isn’t there.  Her stuff is easy enough to read, it just doesn’t excite me and in the case of this book I couldn’t find one character I liked which was why I DNF’d the book after almost 200 pages.

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Yeah, DNF.

It’s been happening a lot lately.

This one though, is a purely subjective DNF.  The book and I just didn’t gel.  I could see other people being more interested in it than me.  And it’s not poorly written.

The thing is, I knew I had difficulties with Dessen books in the past.  The one Dessen book I read, Lock and Key wasn’t my favorite.  From what I can recall (note, this was like a decade ago) it involved a mopey MC and an overall meh plot.

Funny, What Happened to Goodbye was similar.  It had characters I could care less about like McLean who randomly changes her name every time she moves…okay?  I get that it’s suppose to represent the MC running away form her past, but I really don’t think her father would be so nonchalant with her changing her name and shit.

Also, it’s sort of creepy with her multiple Facebook accounts (though, it’s not called Facebook here because reasons…).  Okay, I know someone is going to tell me that Dessen did that in order not to pay licenses fees or whatever, but that is bull shit.

Because I don’t want to go into a legal debate right now, I’m just going to got to the second point why creating all these accounts and then not deleting them was idiocy because…um, hello search function.  Besides, I really don’t see someone creating multiple email accounts to have multiple Facebook (or Wannabe Facebook) accounts but stranger things have happened.

To add to the MC’s backstory the deterioration of her parents’ marriage seems to be the crux of this otherwise non-existent  plot.

God, the lack of the plot so annoyed me with this one.

Yes, I know it is a contemporary.  And contemporaries are often more character oriented than plot oriented.  But when you don’t like the characters…

And yes, I said characters.  I couldn’t even feel sorry for the dad character who I am suppose to have great sympathy for since his wife up and left him for a Paul Ryan look alike-or at least that’s who I imagined annoying stepdad looking like.  If you’re imagining who I thought the father looked like I was thinking Alton Brown (even though he’s described having Sirius Black locks in the book).  Oh, and Opal looked like that Abby chick from NCIS.

As for the rest of the characters…I don’t know. Except ew when it comes to their personalities-so, maybe the Khardashians or the cast of some show on TLC?

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It’s bad when I start talking about how I picture characters looking in a review because it means I have nothing else to say about the book

Reading this book though, did make me come to a conclusion.  I have hit burn out.

It’s happened to me before when blogging, and it’s happened again.  Only this time it sort of snuck up on me.  All summer I have been having meh reads.  I don’t know if it’s the books I’m picking up or what, but I haven’t been having a happy time reading.  Which sucks, because reading is my unwinding outlet.

I feel like I need to do something, which is why I think I’m probably going to take it easy on the reviews for a bit.  Meaning, if I read something meh or DNF worthy that really doesn’t stick out (much like this book) I am not going to force myself to review it.  I’ll probably do a bullet point review which I’ll post on GoodReads and then cross post here in batch.

Back to this book though, for me it was a skip.  I wasn’t engaged.  And from what plot there was, I sort of could guess what was going to happen next.   It just didn’t work.

Overall Rating: DNF.  More it’s you than me variety.