Cut the Cheese: Olivia Twist by Lorie Langdon


Olivia Brownlow is no damsel in distress. Born in a workhouse and raised as a boy among thieving London street gangs, she is as tough and cunning as they come. When she is taken in by her uncle after a caper gone wrong, her life goes from fighting and stealing on the streets to lavish dinners and soirees as a debutante in high society. But she can’t seem to escape her past … or forget the teeming slums where children just like her still scrabble to survive.

Jack MacCarron rose from his place in London’s East End to become the adopted “nephew” of a society matron. Little does society know that MacCarron is a false name for a boy once known among London gangs as the Artful Dodger, and that he and his “aunt” are robbing them blind every chance they get. When Jack encounters Olivia Brownlow in places he least expects, his curiosity is piqued. Why is a society girl helping a bunch of homeless orphan thieves? Even more intriguing, why does she remind him so much of someone he once knew? Jack finds himself wondering if going legit and risking it all might be worth it for love.

Olivia Twist is an innovative reimagining of Charles Dickens’ classic tale Oliver Twist, in which Olivia was forced to live as a boy for her own safety until she was rescued from the streets. Now eighteen, Olivia finds herself at a crossroads: revealed secrets threaten to destroy the “proper” life she has built for her herself, while newfound feelings for an arrogant young man she shouldn’t like could derail her carefully laid plans for the future.

Source: Goodreads

Gender bent Oliver Twist SOLD.


That being said, Olivia Twisted had its own fair share of issues.  It was overall an enjoyable reading experience, but I have to tell you I cringed and kept thinking this book could’ve been better if written by someone like maybe Courtney Milan whose research skills about the justice system of the period were spot on.

Here, I was groaning at how watered down everything was.  But hey…I get it, it’s fiction.

What really bothered me though was how big of a goody goody Olivia is.  She is so saccharine sweet I wanted to throttle her.  And she’s not even in a Disney movie so she doesn’t have the excuse of being literally two dimensional for an excuse.  I was hoping by the premises that this character would have shades of gray.  But nope, she is pretty much a Disney princess which wouldn’t be such a bad thing if she wasn’t such a dumb ass  to top things off.  Seriously, bitch had be rescued every other chapter.  And had the villain actually had a brain he could’ve gotten rid of her half a dozen times…


The hero of the book, Jack, is your typical YA fair-brooding, blue eyed, and borderline stooge.  He even has a typical YA name (seriously, Jack is like the John Doe of YA)  He does some dubious things and there’s a half ass explanation for the shit he does so I guess it makes him acting like ass okay (it doesn’t).  But obviously, we’re suppose to love him.  We’re suppose to love this ship.

And I get how one could love it in theory…but loving a ship in theory versus  the reality of a ship is a bit different. Honestly, I could care less about Olivia and Jack.  The fact that Jack dreamed about Olivia being pregnant with his child  shortly after they reconnected just made me cringe.  Everything about them made me cringe, and made me wonder how this story could be written differently.

Honestly, I think had it been an adult historical romance I would’ve enjoyed it a lot more.  The years of separation thing could’ve came off better than it did-at least it would’ve seemed a bit more realistic for Jack to have been a crime lord turned gentlemen and honestly it might’ve been good to adult the situation up a bit-see Olivia’s Disney princess like syndrome.

Oddly enough, despite the cringe I enjoyed the book and it was easy to get through.  Upon recollection, I’m trying to figure out what I enjoyed about it.   Maybe it was the tropes?  I am a fan of gender bending in books and I like the long lost lovers/friends trope but I’ve read other books with these tropes before and have hated them and DNF’d them.  But I didn’t DNF this one.  Maybe it was the potential with this one?  There were a lot of things about Olivia Twisted besides the tropes that made it intriguing, but I knew halfway through the book that this book wasn’t going to quite work but I continued to read it.  And I don’t know why…

I think my overall thoughts about this one is disappointment.  Like I said, lots of potential but it decided to go the cringe route which is a shame.  If you are interested in reading a Oliver Twist retelling this one might be okay.  I mean, even though it was cringe worthy I enjoyed it.  Honestly, it was sort of like watching The Swan Princess.  That movie was deeply flawed and I cringed all the time but a part of me thoroughly enjoyed it.  That’s sort of this book.

Overall Rating: A B-


Perfect in Theory BUT: Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole


From acclaimed author Alyssa Cole comes the tale of a city Cinderella and her Prince Charming in disguise . . .

Between grad school and multiple jobs, Naledi Smith doesn’t have time for fairy tales…or patience for the constant e-mails claiming she’s betrothed to an African prince. Sure. Right. Delete! As a former foster kid, she’s learned that the only things she can depend on are herself and the scientific method, and a silly e-mail won’t convince her otherwise.

Prince Thabiso is the sole heir to the throne of Thesolo, shouldering the hopes of his parents and his people. At the top of their list? His marriage. Ever dutiful, he tracks down his missing betrothed. When Naledi mistakes the prince for a pauper, Thabiso can’t resist the chance to experience life—and love—without the burden of his crown.

The chemistry between them is instant and irresistible, and flirty friendship quickly evolves into passionate nights. But when the truth is revealed, can a princess in theory become a princess ever after?

Source: GoodReads

In theory this should’ve been my favorite book of the year.  It has a blurb by Meg Cabot.  It is described as a grown up Princess Diaries and the main character is a self assured WOC in STEM of all things.  All those things alone had me sold on this book.  However, upon execution…there were some things that this book needed to work on.


Still though, I liked this book.  The characters were both a joy to read about.  Naledi especially.  Her character seemed to be fully fleshed.  Several of the issues she faces are issues that young professional women face on a daily basis.  Thabiso is also entertaining though a little less realistic.  He’s a bit more or less of a spoiled brat, but a lovable spoiled brat.  Reading their interactions made the book.

What didn’t work for me was the pacing.  God did this book drag in the middle and then wrapped up surprisingly fast.

The biggest drag was the whole “Big Misunderstanding” plot otherwise known as Assholes in Romance.  Big Misunderstanding is probably the most overused tropes in romance and I have a love hate relationship with it.

When done correctly it can be one of the most heart wrenching uses of tropes.  I still get weepy eyed when I read that book.  Other times this trope is used I will throw the book agains the wall and tell the fictional characters how stupid they are.

With A Princess in Theory I was more in the get on with it mode than anything else.  I thought the big secret was only there to make the page count longer and it really annoyed me.


Also, for all the hype and heartache the big misunderstanding caused the payoff was sort of weak.

Really, payoff concerning any aspect of the plot in this book was kind of lackluster.  I was hoping, for example, that Naledi’s past would be filled out more but it fluffed over into more or less a stupid epilogue than anything else.

Le sigh.

Also, Naledi’s professional ambitions are also fluffed over in a lot of ways as well.  While at the beginning I thought that her being a woman of color in STEM was going to be a driving force in this book her career is pretty much an after thought after the princess bomb is dropped.  Even though it’s true that Cole at least attempts to somewhat enthuse Naledi’s studies into the big end plot it just doesn’t work.

Overall, I don’t have any regrets about reading this one.  It was an enjoyable read and I will definitely be checking out more from this author, but it is definitely flawed.

Overall Rating: A B.  Flawed but so much fun.

Same Old Same Old: Hello Stranger by Lisa Kleypas


A woman who defies her time

Dr. Garrett Gibson, the only female physician in England, is as daring and independent as any man—why not take her pleasures like one? Yet she has never been tempted to embark on an affair, until now. Ethan Ransom, a former detective for Scotland Yard, is as gallant as he is secretive, a rumored assassin whose true loyalties are a mystery. For one exhilarating night, they give in to their potent attraction before becoming strangers again.

A man who breaks every rule

As a Ravenel by-blow spurned by his father, Ethan has little interest in polite society, yet he is captivated by the bold and beautiful Garrett. Despite their vow to resist each other after that sublime night, she is soon drawn into his most dangerous assignment yet. When the mission goes wrong, it will take all of Garrett’s skill and courage to save him. As they face the menace of a treacherous government plot, Ethan is willing to take any risk for the love of the most extraordinary woman he’s ever known.

Source: GoodReads

I binged on Lisa Kleypas a couple of years ago.  I found her books to be fun and engaging.  Sure, they were a bit monotonous at times-banter and then a plot sort of slips in about the three quarter mark of the book-but still the characters made me enjoy her books.

Her most recent series the Ravenels have been either hit or miss for me.  Unfortunately, Hello, Stranger a book I was eagerly awaiting turned out to be a dud for me.



Hello, Stranger tells the story of the Garrett Gibson the Ravenels unofficial family doctor in the series and Ethan Ransom who is apparently a bastard Ravenel-though we’re only given pretty much a blanket overview of Ethan’s origins towards the end of the book.  To be honest, Ethan’s origins really don’t play as important of a role to the book as I thought they would other than I guess sort of provide him with a safe house and a way to connect Garrett to the family…

Most of the cameos from the other characters in this series were very brief in this installment.  I’ve almost forgot about Cassandra or for that Sebastian’s son who was the hero in the last book-Funny, I can’t even remember his name as I’m writing this.  I just refer to him as Sebastian’s son.  That is not a good thing.

What’s worse than that is both Garrett and Ransom seem oddly cardboard like too.  In most of Kleypas’s books I feel like I truly know the characters by the time I close the book.  Honestly, with Ransom and Garrett I felt like I knew them better when they were supporting characters rather than leads.

I was really excited about reading Garrett’s story too since she was breaking glass ceilings long before anyone else was.  Honestly though, I was a little disgusted when at one point in the book a fellow doctor mansplains Garret and she shrugs it off as if the mansplainer was right.  No, the mansplainer was not right.  The church’s views on birth control are crap and in my opinion Garret did nothing wrong in voicing her opinion to that ignorant patient.  But hey…


The whole spy angle was very tedious and more or less there to add the hero almost dies plot twist.  Kleypas loves this trope.  She has used it in both Devil books, a couple of times in the other Wallflower books, and I vaguely recall it being used in one of the Bow Street Runner books too.  While it can be sort of exciting…now it really is monotonous  after awhile and I know that even though said hero or heroine should die given their wounds their not because hello…that would defeat the purpose of having a romance.

To be fair though, I guess having Garrett be a doctor sort of made this trope a necessity but it was still for the most part eye roll worthy.

I think what bothered me about this book more than anything was the lack of the development with the relationship between these two characters.  They are clearly attracted to each other physically but I did not get their emotional connection.  And honestly, I skim throw the physical scenes.  Book sex scenes always make me roll my eyes-sorry, not sorry.

The best part of the book might’ve been West-who is getting his own book next year.  It’s funny because I said the best part about Pandora and Sebastian Son’s book was Ransom and Garrett.  So, am I going to be disappointed next year when West gets his own book?


Kleypas’s fans might want to pick this one up.  While it is lackluster it was enjoyable enough to unwind to after a hellish week.  However, it’s not the best she has to offer.  If you want to read Kleypas at her peak I recommend either the Wallflower series if you like historical romances or the Travis series if you’re more into contemporaries.

Overall Rating: A B- I enjoyed it enough at the time but it is fairly forgettable and disappointing from an author of this caliber.

And the DNF’s Keep Coming: The Enchantment of Ravens by Margret


A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts—even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—in this gorgeous debut novel.

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.

Source: GoodReads

I was really looking excited to this long weekend because reading time (I mean, hello).  Unfortunately, I ended up picking up some really big dudes this weekend and rather than knocking out four or so books like I hoped, I ended up DNF’ing two books.


An Enchantment of Ravens had been in my shelf for awhile.  I picked it up mostly because after reading A Court of Thorns and Roses I sort of developed a guilty pleasure for fae oriented stories.

Unfortunately, Rogerson’s book was not a guilty pleasure to read.  I will point out for the first fifty or so pages I was pleasantly surprised with the book.  While it was a bit mundane following the typical human girl gets herself entangled into the world of fame plot line that is so familiar with these books, the writing was engaging enough.  And then came the insta love.

And when I mean insta love, I mean insta love.  The characters barely interact and then out of nowhere Isabel proclaims her love for Rook just conveniently before he kidanps her.

And honestly, the kidnapping cam out of nowhere.

The pacing for this book was just as hastily paced as its characterization and needless to say it didn’t work.

Because I am a veteran of reading shitty YA books with shitty love interests, I thought I could continue the book primarily because insta love sometimes doesn’t completely ruin a book.  But the ill pacing kept me from fully engaging with the book.  I just kept feeling like I got whiplash as I tried to figure out what was going on and honestly after awhile I had enough of that.

And even though I was lost in the book, I sort of had a feeling where this book was headed and I was just bored with it and didn’t want to bother finishing it.

It’s a shame.

I really shouldn’t feel that way.

But that’s how I felt.  And I ended up DNF’ing the book because of it.

It sounds really bad, but it’s true.


When it comes down to it, I can’t recommend An Enchantment of Ravens while the beginning of the book might’ve seemed promising, once the romance started the book essentially ended.  If you’re going to have a book about face, actually make them fae.  Don’t make them essentially super hot humans with special powers that fall in love with the otherwise very bland heroine.

Overall Rating: Another DNF.  Oh, well, I can reclaim some  shelf space.

In Which I Sort of Go Off on Ginny Weasley: Roomies by Christina Lauren


Marriages of convenience are so…inconvenient.

Rescued by Calvin McLoughlin from a would-be subway attacker, Holland Bakker pays the brilliant musician back by pulling some of her errand-girl strings and getting him an audition with a big-time musical director. When the tryout goes better than even Holland could have imagined, Calvin is set for a great entry into Broadway—until he admits his student visa has expired and he’s in the country illegally.

Holland impulsively offers to wed the Irishman to keep him in New York, her growing infatuation a secret only to him. As their relationship evolves from awkward roommates to besotted lovers, Calvin becomes the darling of Broadway. In the middle of the theatrics and the acting-not-acting, what will it take for Holland and Calvin to realise that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?

Source: GoodReads

Oh, boy.

Remind me to always, ALWAYS look at an author’s backlist before making an impulse buy.  Had I known that this author published some PP’d fiction in the past I would’ve never picked up this book.  That being said, I can see the roots of the authors’ fan fic  past in this book.  God knows, the MC reads like a hybrid of Bella Swan and Ginny Weasley which pretty much makes her an insufferable stalker girl.  And that’s the reason I didn’t finish the book.

Yeah, first DNF of the year.  I’m actually surprised that I’ve maintained for this long.  It is the middle of February after all.  I think last year I had DNF’d extremely early like in January so at least I’ve made relatively decent reading choices this year until this point-save for that Katie McGarry book with the dog murder.

And I’m getting off track.

I need to talk about why I DNF’d the book.  The issue is pretty simple, it’s the MC.  She is twenty-five years old but pretty much acts like Ginny Weasley did in Chamber of Secrets minus the whole you know talking to a diary/horcrux and setting a giant snake against her classmate bits.

But really, from the 100 pages I read the only thing I knew about Calvin (the hero) was that for some reason Holland found him irresistible even though she freaking doesn’t even know how his face looks at the beginning of the book.  Hell, she doesn’t even know much about him and decides to commit a felony to help him.

I mean, really girl.  Get a clue.


Okay, going in I knew that going into this that there was going to be a marriage of convenience BUT the way it was handled was just so sudden and stupid.  I don’t even practice immigration law, but from what I know about it, Lauren completely watered down the particulars about it.

Yes-I know, I know- it’s a book.  A book isn’t going to get into the nitty gritty, BUT it could at least keep some of the bare bone basics so it seemed realistic.  Though, honestly, I’m not even going to get mad about that.  What I am going to get mad about is the stalker-ish attitude that Holland had towards Calvin.

When I compare her to Ginny Weasley I don’t do it lightly.  I despise Ginny Weasley.  In some ways, I hate her more than I hate Bella Swan.  Both are annoying with Sue like characteristics.  However, I thought the Ginny Weasley comparison was more apt than a Bella one more in this case because other than the character’s lust towards the so called hero (seriously, Calvin is not a hero for not reporting Holland’s attacker-I mean, come on immigration aside there is a mugger on the lose because of him) there’s nothing showing why these characters should be together within a hundred pages of this book.

And I’m sorry, I would not marry some random guy.  Even if he’s hot.  I’m sure most twenty-five-year-old women wouldn’t marry a random guy who plays music on the subway either.  But Holland does.

Like I said, it reminds me much like Ginny’s crush on Harry in book two which was superficial at best.  Hell, in my opinion that entire relationship was superficial since until book six they barely had any interaction but that’s another rant for another time.

The point, I’m trying to make with all the Ginny Weasley references is that the relationship was pretty much one sided at best and came out of nowhere.  Sure, I guess you could make the point that Holland was trying to be nice, but her choices seem illogical and just plain dumb.  Really, it’s like the choices a twelve year old in a One Direction fan fic would make.

Hence, the Ginny comparisons.

Seriously, I just don’t know how this relationship can be viewed as okay, healthy, or even romantic.  It just doesn’t work.

It’s a shame.

I was interested in the plot.  I liked the idea of the book.  The premises intrigued me, but the execution was just hideous.

Overall Rating: DNF.

Panda, Panda, Panda: American Panda by Gloria Chao


An incisive, laugh-out-loud contemporary debut about a Taiwanese-American teen whose parents want her to be a doctor and marry a Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer despite her squeamishness with germs and crush on a Japanese classmate.

At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents’ master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies.

With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can’t bring herself to tell them the truth–that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.

But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?

Source: GoodReads

American Panda probably has one of the best covers out there and it fits with the book (only way it would be better is if it had actual pandas on it).  I didn’t realize that the drinkable looking hot chocolate would actually be significant but it is.  However, besides having an excellent looking cover the book was actually pretty well done too.

Elsie Corgi

Panda Dog because PANDAS.

Culture clashes are a common issue discussed in YA.   I think American Panda  did a fairly good job with these issues.  I really felt for Mei, and unlike in a lot of books I totally get where the conflict is coming from.

However, I think her dad’s actions go past being merely a culture issue and go more into the abusive dick territory.  Seriously, at the end of the book I wanted some sort of lifeline thrown out to Mei’s mother becuase no one should have that much control over his wife and family…

And I’m starting to diverge more and more into spoiler territory which I really hate doing in reviews.

Here’s the thing about American Panda if you’re expecting this to be a cute contemporary that focuses primarily on romance, it’s not.  Yes, the romance does play a role in the story, but it’s more or less bout Mei finding herself and becoming an independent bad ass who doesn’t give a fuck about what anyone thinks.


I really liked the themes that were brought up in this book.  In addition to Mei’s Taiwanese background butting up against her growing up in America, there were also conflicts with parental expectations and general self discovery.

Finding out that she wasn’t suited for medical school, played a substantial part of the story.  And I liked that.  People change their majors frequently, though not near with the amount of drama as Mei had to endure, but finding that medical school was not the right path for her was something that I’m sure many people can identify with.

I also liked how Mei developed as a character from the course of the novel, being so dependent on her family and then not being so much.  It was a good arc.

The relationships that she had with her brother and boyfriend were also endearing and nice to watch being developed.

The parents seemed a  little OTT to me at first.  However, while I originally could not stand Mei’s mother, by the end of the book I felt like I had a good idea why she was the way she was.  That being said, I wanted to shake her and some of the comments she said were just outright awful, but at least there was an underlying reason why she was acting the way she was.  Mei’s father and his family though.


God, I hated them all.

They didn’t seem realistic.  I mean, yeah, I get that people act that way but usually there is some speck of humanity there.  But in this book, not so much.  One other thing that felt unrealistic and was never explained was how Mei’s spring tuition was being paid.  It was sort of the plot hole that was never explained.

Anyway, I recommend you check out American Panda.  For the most part, it is everything I wanted from this book.  In some ways it was better.  I thought that this book actually took the disownment pollen and it expanded it more than I usually see.  It was also refreshing to see a book set at a college campus that didn’t focus so much on sex.

Was it perfect: no.  But it certainly made for an enjoyable read.

Overall Rating: B+

Patty Beagle Presents (“I’m a Prosecutor Now”) : Say You’ll Remember Me by Katie McGarry


When Drix was convicted of a crime–one he didn’t commit–he thought his life was over. But opportunity came with the new Second Chance Program, the governor’s newest pet project to get delinquents off the streets, rehabilitated and back into society. Drix knows this is his chance to get his life back on track, even if it means being paraded in front of reporters for a while.

Elle knows she lives a life of privilege. As the governor’s daughter, she can open doors with her name alone. But the expectations and pressure to be someone she isn’t may be too much to handle. She wants to follow her own path, whatever that means.

When Drix and Elle meet, their connection is immediate, but so are their problems. Drix is not the type of boy Elle’s parents have in mind for her, and Elle is not the kind of girl who can understand Drix’s messy life.

But sometimes love can breach all barriers.

Fighting against a society that can’t imagine them together, Drix and Elle must push themselves–Drix to confront the truth of the robbery, and Elle to assert her independence–and each other to finally get what they deserve.

Source: GoodReads

I haven’t written a book review in quite a while.  MJ says it’s just because I’ll end up talking about how cute I am and then talk about my food or my feud with the Corgis and not about actual books like I’m suppose to.  But after reading Say You’ll Remember Me and her pulse rate going up ridiculously high, she was like Patty you do this one.  And I read it and I just saw red.  Because DOG MURDER.


Look at my face.  This is the I am APPALLED face.

Yes, literal shoot a dog with a gun murder.  And no, they couldn’t even take it to Dr. Jeff Rocky Mountain Vet to get it surgery (and yes, Dr. Jeff saved a puppy in one episode after being shot), they just put it to sleep ’cause extra drama and…people are just horrible.

And yeah, MJ, wants you guys to know that’s sort of spoiler but who cares.  It’s dog murder and the book deserves to rot in hell for that alone.  And that’s what I prosecutor, Patty Beagle am asking for).

However, as disgusting as it is to have a senseless plot twist that results in the death of an innocent puppy (YES PUPPY, the dog is still a PUPPY when it was shot and murdered) there were other things that were bothersome, disgusting, and disturbing about this book.

Emory Good Boy

This is Emory when he was a puppy.  Around the same age that the puppy in this book was killed.  Seriously, look at this face.  Having a puppy murdered even half as cute as this one is DISGUSTING.

On one hand, MJ wants me to note that she’s glad that McGarry at least made the book interesting enough where she did have a strong emotional reaction to it.  However, at the same time she just hated how a lot of the issues were handled.  I personally am only interested in prosecuting the book for dog murder-because that was the senseless death of a puppy-BUT the other grievances have to be made apparent as well.  It should be note though, that when grading this book the dog murder deducted an entire star from this book (or in terms of grading it deducts sit by one letter grade). My owner and I were both appalled by it.  But even if it hadn’t been for the senseless death, the book would’ve had a low score for the following reasons:

  1. The Handling of Plea Bargains:

Throughout the book, plea bargains were handled like they were this dirty thing.  On the contrary, plea bargains in general keep the courts from being backlogged and allow first time offenders a way to have reduced sentences.

That being said, there are occasionally cases that skip through the cracks like Drix (that sounds like some sort of drainer cleaner) BUT their not bad things on their face and I wish it was brought up that it wasn’t the plea bargain that got Drain Cleaner in his predicament so much as the lack of resources available for someone in poverty.

But nope, it was blame it on the plea bargain and the bad lawyer that was the public offender.

Rolls Beagley eyes.

Oh, and then there was that little line that Drain Cleaner’s brother makes about how maybe juvie was the best place for Drainer Cleaner even though he didn’t commit the crime.


Fucking really?

My owner had to pop a pill at that point.

Also, there will be no plea bargain for this book.  Just saying…

2. Sexual Harassment/Sexism

God, was it rampant in this book.  MJ wonders if some of this was revised after the #MeToo movement started gaining full steam.

At the beginning of the book, Elle finds herself in an uncomfortable position of being harassed by two idiots at the fair.  It’s set up to be her “meet cute” moment with Drain Cleaner.  Honestly, MJ and I were a bit disgusted the set up.  Having experienced a similar situation that Elle has, she didn’t see how being “rescued” by someone like Drain Cleaner would make the character interested in romance.

It just doesn’t work that way.  Sure, Drain Cleaner helped Elle out but having that be the start of their relationship and romanticizing it made MJ want to barf.

Me too, come to think of it.


I am not amused.

There was a lot of barfing during this read.

It got worse though.

Halfway through the book, a phony relationship between Elle and Andrew (Faux Mitch McTurtleman’s son) is set up .  To the point the campaign choreographs a kiss without Elle’s permission.  Even more disgusting, her parents completely agree to it.  Much like they completely agree for her image to be changed.

McGarry sort of fluffs over it as more or less an obstacle  for Drain Cleaner and Elle not to get together.  But nope, it’s disgusting.  Elle is essentially being pimped out by her parents and she just excuses it as part of the campaign.

Um, hell, no.

I’m a dog and we’re paraded around Westminster once a year and even they have some sense of standards.  Not much, mind you.  But more than Elle’s parents had for her.

It is really disgusting that these people who are suppose to protect Elle at their own interest pimp her out.  However, the more my owner read about Elle’s parents the worst it got which leads me to the next point I was told to mention.

3. Corrupt Politicians

As a candidate for dog president, I can tell you that we canines are not near as corrupt as our human counterparts.

Seriously, humans, you elected a piece of poo with an orange wig.  You ought to be ashamed of yourselves.  If your incompetency in 2016-for not wanting to vote for that bad ass lady over the turd-occured, I would’ve thought that the dad politician’s reaction to wanting to cover up Drain Cleaner’s innocence was a bit over the top.

But nope.

Not anymore.

It’s pretty disgusting to say the least.  My owner thinks it would’ve been a better use of time had McGarry focused on how corrupt politicians were than how bad plea bargains are.  Because it seemed to me that’s where the real issue was.

However, all we get is essentially Elle blackmails her daddy into doing her bidding  and there are absolutely no consequences for his actions.

At the very least he should’ve been suffering Chris Christie approval ratings.

But hey, then again there are no consequences going on right now in Washington either.  So….

In all, this is one of those books that lead my owner and I feeling angry.  There was necessary dog murder in this book and then everything else was just anger inducing as well.  My owner is really skeptical about reading more McGarry after this.

Sure, the books are page turning enough, but after awhile they are really formulaic.  Rich girl and guy from the wrong side of the tracks meets and falls in love with problems that result in some sort of gun violence at the end.  Occasionally, McGarry will switch it up having the boy be rich or vice versa the girl being from he wrong side of the tracks.

And yes, every author has their tropes my owner wants to point out.  However, some become more invented over time and don’t kill dogs.

Overall Rating: An F with the dog murder.  Had it not been for the dog murder probably a very low C-.

Genre Confused: Love, Hate, And Other Filters by Samira Ahmed


A searing #OwnVoices coming-of-age debut in which an Indian-American Muslim teen confronts Islamophobia and a reality she can neither explain nor escape–perfect for fans of Angie Thomas, Jacqueline Woodson, and Adam Silvera.

American-born seventeen-year-old Maya Aziz is torn between worlds. There’s the proper one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter: attending a college close to their suburban Chicago home, and being paired off with an older Muslim boy her mom deems “suitable.” And then there is the world of her dreams: going to film school and living in New York City—and maybe (just maybe) pursuing a boy she’s known from afar since grade school, a boy who’s finally falling into her orbit at school.

There’s also the real world, beyond Maya’s control. In the aftermath of a horrific crime perpetrated hundreds of miles away, her life is turned upside down. The community she’s known since birth becomes unrecognizable; neighbors and classmates alike are consumed with fear, bigotry, and hatred. Ultimately, Maya must find the strength within to determine where she truly belongs.

Source: GoodReads

I liked this book, but to be honest about it it felt very fractured.  The first 2/3 of the book are more or less a rom com with a subplot of the main character dealing with a bit of a culture clash.  Then the last third…well, things got heavy.   Like this is another book sort of heavy.


I get that real life isn’t one genre (duh), but having a book going from being almost resolved to shit just got real was a little strange.

Really, it felt like the book was about to end then the author realized the page count was not there and then threw in the curveball to continue the story.

It just really felt odd to me.  A book that discusses islamophobia is a must need in this current administration.  I was sort of hoping this book would be like The Hate U Give.  However, it’s not.

While Angie Thomas’s book is able to weave light hearted moments with the darkness that surrounds  real life issues such as racism and police brutality, I didn’t feel like the issues in Love, Hate, and Other Filters were woven  in that well.    Or even that there was an attempt to weave the two stories together.

I did enjoy the little rom com/culture clash storyline that was going on in the first 2/3 of the book.  It wasn’t anything I haven’t seen before.  In fact, I had watched Bend It Like Beckham the same weekend I read this book, so it was really fresh on my time at the same time and many of the same issues that the MC had with her parents and her relationship were the same as the MC in that movie had with her family unit.  Obviously, there were some differences but I kept wishing that there was something about the characters’ relationships that set it up that set it a bit apart from other stories that shared similar themes.  Still, though, I enjoyed it.

What I thought didn’t work was the more serious subplot.  Mainly because it was rushed.    While there were a few good points mentioned with this subplot, I just thought that not enough time was spent exploring the nuances of it.  And again, the book pretty much went back to it’s primary focus of discussing the romance and then having the parents in the book act like assholes.

And that annoyed me.

The parents acting like assholes bit.  Until the incident that lead to the islamophobia subplot, I thought they had a relative decent character arc.  However, that was completely blown with how OTT they acted after the incident.

To me, it was almost as if they had taken OOC juice and were acting like completely new characters.  I didn’t like them.  I thought they were overreacting and were cartoonish.  Which is a shame, because up to that point they did seem seemingly realistic.

I guess overall this one isn’t a bad book, BUT at the same time it’s heavily flawed.  I really want to recommend it, but at the same time I feel like anyone who reads this book is going to be a tad bit disappointed.  It does raise some good points, and the ship isn’t horrible, but I just felt that the various plot points did not connect and the book overall felt disjointed as a result.

Overall Rating: B-


This Cover Makes Me Happy: Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Khan


Alice had her whole summer planned. Non-stop all-you-can-eat buffets while marathoning her favorite TV shows (best friends totally included) with the smallest dash of adulting–working at the library to pay her share of the rent. The only thing missing from her perfect plan? Her girlfriend (who ended things when Alice confessed she’s asexual). Alice is done with dating–no thank you, do not pass go, stick a fork in her, done.

But then Alice meets Takumi and she can’t stop thinking about him or the rom com-grade romance feels she did not ask for (uncertainty, butterflies, and swoons, oh my!).

When her blissful summer takes an unexpected turn, and Takumi becomes her knight with a shiny library employee badge (close enough), Alice has to decide if she’s willing to risk their friendship for a love that might not be reciprocated—or understood.

Source: GoodReads

I was really excited about reading this book because asexuality is something you barely see in YA (I think it might’ve been in one other book-which unfortunately was no bueno).  I don’t know much about the subject, so this book was fairly educational for me, which is good.  However, while I read it I was currently how the book would be received from an Ace perspective-so I am going to keep my eyes out for reviews in the future.

That aside, I really didn’t care for this book that much.  I think it was hit by the curse known as Swoon Reads.  I swear I do not have luck with this imprint, which is a shame because they probably have some of the best premises going in the market.  The execution of these books though…


I don’t know why this one was labeled as YA.  Clearly, it is NA minus the  cringe worthy sex.  And honestly, I don’t think the sex in NA makes it NA.  More or less the fact that the characters are in college makes it NA.  Still though, I guess since this book was really light on the sex they should label it YA?

Light on sex might be a misnomer.  There is a lot of talk about sex and love, BUT as far as people getting in other people’s pants scenes it was fairly minimal.  Still though, the classification to me is confusing at best.

I think I’ve been mentioning it a lot lately, but a good contemporary is only as strong as its characters.  Here, I did not feel any connection to Alice whatsoever.  I first thought maybe it’s because it’s in third point of view and it would just take a little bit more time to get into Alice’ head.  But nope, nope, nope, nope.  I couldn’t really feel her as a character even by the end of this story.

She just didn’t seem fully formed.  Kahn tried to make her your typical TV obsessed YA/NA protagonist complete with Supernatural obsession.  She also had a Cutie scale which I thought was juvenile, but did I feel this character when it came to her issues…not really.

Even her relationship with Takumi while cute didn’t really seem that emotional to me.   It was more like he’s cute but can I have a relationship with him because I’m asexual and that was pretty much the crux of the issue.  And by the end of the book my eyes were just glazing over.


This book just barely touched the surface on a lot of surfaces, which is sad because it had a lot of potential.  I wanted more interactions with Alice in her family.  I wanted her best friend’s backstory more fully developed.  I wanted more interactions with her ex.  I wanted to see Alice and Takumi’s relationship evolve and develop.  But by the time I finished reading this book, it just seemed like there was more telling than showing in this book which was sad.

So, I’m really on the fence about recommending this one.  As someone who doesn’t know much about asexuality, I thought this was fairly informative.  But not being Ace myself I’m not sure exactly how good the rep is-again, will need to keep my eye out for future reviews.  I liked the fact that it showed that an Ace person could have a satisfying relationship with a person that to me is always a misconception, like sex is the primary focus of a relationship (uh, no, it’s just part of a relationship) and so I liked the book because it tackled that issue.  I also liked how much diversity was in this novel and how it didn’t feel like it was there merely for tokenism purposes.  HOWEVER  I just felt disconnected to this book and felt that so many things were underdeveloped.

So, that leaves to a very awkward ending to this review.  On one hand, I want to say that it’s informative and that’s why (if any reason) you should check it out BUT again I really don’t feel like I’m the person who should say that it’s informative than not.  And if it’s not really informative the only other trait it really has going for it is its cover and I really don’t know if that’s reason enough to buy the book.

Overall Rating: I’m going to be generous and give this one a C.  Honestly though, it could be in the D range.  It barely held my interest (unfortunately).

No to the Ship, Okay Book Though: Starlight by Stacey Kade


At twenty-three, Calista Beckett is trying to overcome her early fame and fortune. The former savior of the world on Starlight is now a freshman at college–miles away from L.A. and her former existence. She sees it as her start to a new life, a normal life, one where she won’t make the same mistakes she made before–a brush with heroin addiction and losing her freedom to her controlling mother, thanks to a court order.

Eric Stone played her older brother, Byron, on Starlight. But she’s been in love with him pretty much since they kissed–her first kiss–while auditioning. When Eric shows up on campus out of the blue asking her to return to California for a role, Calista’s struck immediately by two things: first, in spite of everything that’s happened, she still feels something dangerous for him, and second, she’s absolutely determined not to let him ruin her life again.

Only Eric’s not giving up so easily.

Source: GoodReads

I’ll be blunt I like Stacey Kade.  However, none of her books are really what I’d consider to be “favorites”.  She has interesting concepts, the ships are usually okay, but there’s usually a quality about them that makes them fade into the back of my mind after reading them.


Like, the last Stacey Kade book I read looked like it had been loosely based off of the Cleveland kidnapping story  with Hollywood thrown in for a good measure.  I enjoyed it, but the book didn’t really stick with me.

Starlight Nights is a companion sequel to that book-meaning it’s another NA set in Hollywood.  It’s not bad per say.  But it contains a God awful ship and I got annoyed with both characters wanting to shake them and tell them you’re mother fucking adults.  Now act like it.

It’s bad when a romance novel’s romance fails to deliver.  And that’s what happens here. However, surprisingly it did not end my enjoyment of the book.  That being said, I cringed whenever I read Calista (Callie) and Eric’s interactions.

Let’s me be blunt, Eric is a douche.  A douche, douche, douche canoe who would normally be the bad boyfriend in a Hallmark movie.

Hell, Eric’s fiancee-yes, he is attached to get married at the beginning of this thing-could pretty much have a Hallmark movie of her own.  I can just see in now, coming to Hallmark Countdown to Christmas 2018  A Veterinarian for Christmas: Dr. Katie goes back to her own town for Christmas after her douchey boyfriend ditches her for a size two actress.  When an old boyfriend’s Corgi  Beagle (is that better, Patty) needs emergency surgery and Dr. Katie is the only vet there because Hallmark Reasons, Dr. Katie finds herself her reconnecting with her past.  Movie is complete with Hallmark gazebo and Christmas lights and an adorable Beagle wearing bows.

Patty Bows

The Star of A Veterinarian for Christmas, Patricia C Beagle.  Note adorableness is up for debate, the damn beast bit me when I was trying to save her life from an Irate Corgi at New Year’s. 

Faux Hallmark movie with Christmas Beagles aside, I really thought Eric could be the douche character in a Hallmark movie.  In fact, I was pretty sure after closing this book that five pages post epilogue Callie was going to wake up and dump his ass.

I just hated him that much.

Not only is he a cheater-because he was totally eye fucking Callie when he was with Katie-he manipulated Callie and was just as bad as Callie’s mother and his father.

Really, this book more or less to me was Callie’s story.  It was about her finding out who SHE was.  That was what kept me reading the book.  Seeing her and Eric together at the end made me sort of dislike the book much to my disgust.  It was what bogged down the book more than anything else.

I’ll be frank about it, I’m always in the mood for a good redemption story, where a character is able to overcome rather impossible looking obstacles and all that jazz and I do think Callie did overcome a lot.

Her mother is just God awful.  In fact, she had me in lawyer mode when reading this wondering how any judge in their right mind ever thought of giving her guardianship of her daughter-I’m pretty sure California, like most other states have laws about how a ward’s funds and can be used but what do I know I only practice law in two states that aren’t California.

I wish more attention would’ve been spent on Callie’s down spiral.  It kept being mentioned, but save for her accident with Chase it is really only a blip on the radar.  As for Chase and Amanda, it’s been so long since I read their story their cameos didn’t really do much to excite me.

Eric’s story on the other hand…

Um, okay.

It sort of parallels  Callie’s story in some ways.  But while I felt Callie got her shit together, I felt like Eric more or less just sort of was given a hand out and we were told that he got his shit together (he really didn’t).

Is it really sad that I just skimmed his sections.  Hell, I  rooted for Katie-future star of A Veterinarian for Christmas than him.  Wait a minute…you know what would’ve made for a better ship.  Scratch Katie going back to her hometown, instead she and Callie get it on. And yeah, I know there wasn’t that much chemistry between those two characters either, but there was more between them than Eric and Callie.

I keep going back to that God awful ship in this review.  And I guess I’m doing that because Eric/Callie was the main reason this novel failed for me.  But God did I despise this ship.  It is everything I don’t want in a relationship.  Yes, it’s obvious that the two characters are physically attracted to each other but that’s it.

I’ll give it to Kade, she at least attempts to give them a backstory-though the transitions into flashbacks could’ve been handled much better.  Since it was sort of jarring how one moment the story would be in the present and then it would swiftly transition to the past.

Overall, it’s hard for me to recommend this book, but I did enjoy it enough (which I still can’t pinpoint why exactly).  The ship is just toxic.  If there’s anything about it that’s making me enjoy it, perhaps it’s Callie’s arc.  It was nice seeing her get her act together, she just really needs to ditch the boyfriend.  ’cause girl, you’re in danger.


Overall Rating: A B-.  I enjoyed it more than I should.  This is one of those books where the ship could definitely die in fire.