It’s Time for a Binge Read: The Hundred Oaks Series by Miranda Kenneally

Occasionally, I like to binge read series.  I find when a series has already been published it’s just easier for me to go through the motions of reading the whole thing rather than pacing it out-though I have done that in the past as well.

The Hundred Oakes series is a contemporary series by Miranda Kenneally that’s been out for awhile.  I actually reviewed the latest and sixth book (Jesse’s Girla while back.  I liked it.  However, I wonder had I actually read the series in chronological order if I would’ve continued it…

ONE OF THE BOYS

What girl doesn’t want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn’t just surrounded by hot guys, though-she leads them as the captain and quarterback of her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys and that’s just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university.

But everything she’s ever worked for is threatened when Ty Green moves to her school. Not only is he an amazing QB, but he’s also amazingly hot. And for the first time, Jordan’s feeling vulnerable. Can she keep her head in the game while her heart’s on the line?

Source: GoodReads

Ugh.

What can I say about Catching Jordan, except I was expecting a rather epic storyline with all the cameos these characters were making.  But the book itself was major suckage.

Jordan is one of those girls who’ll just glare at anyone for wearing pink.

You know the type.  The type who never watched Legally Blonde and don’t realize that you can wear pink and be a feminist and not a hooker.

I mean, really, people.

Or should I say Jordan.

Jordan I know would obviously hate me since I do like pink, dresses, have Chihuahuas, and like watching the occasional daytime serial.  She would probably think I’m a moron.

I’m not.  At least, I don’t think I am.  I mean, I did graduated from college with high honors and then went to law school and all so….

Whatever.

The point is, this is one of the most judgmental and annoying characters who acts completely different in her cameos.

And don’t even get me started on the romance in this one.  It is shallow at best.  I just love how she basically dropped the guy she was dating just because she figured out that someone else had feelings for her.

Fickled much?

Le sigh.  I’m thinking that this character was abducted by aliens during a book and was given some sort of surgery or probe or something to make her more tolerable.  It’s really the only thing that makes sense.

Overall Rating: F

 

Red-hot author Miranda Kenneally hits one out of the park in this return to Catching Jordan’s Hundred Oaks High.

Parker Shelton pretty much has the perfect life. She’s on her way to becoming valedictorian at Hundred Oaks High, she’s made the all-star softball team, and she has plenty of friends. Then her mother’s scandal rocks their small town and suddenly no one will talk to her.

Now Parker wants a new life.

So she quits softball. Drops twenty pounds. And she figures why kiss one guy when she can kiss three? Or four. Why limit herself to high school boys when the majorly cute new baseball coach seems especially flirty?

But how far is too far before she loses herself completely?

Source: GoodReads

I sort of liked Stealing Parker, even though it wasn’t the best book and had its fair share of issues.

I’m just going to say it, Parker’s church is full of sanctimonious assholes.  But the sad thing is people like this, do exist.  There are a bunch of them living next to my parents’ right now.  They really have issues with my dad.  I  think it’s because he has a bit of a potty mouth and he’s not opposed to talking really loud about the fact that their sanctimonious assholes when they’re outside(my father has no censors).

Whatever.

Unlike Jordan, Parker’s actually had real issues and wasn’t so sanctimonious.  She also didn’t dis people who liked to wear pink which was a prop.  She was a bit of a jerk to her mom though.  And I thought it was ridiculous that she ditched softball because she thought it was going to turn her into a lesbian (such a lame reason to quit).

To be fair though, I really don’t think that’s why she ditched softball.  I think it was more or less to avoid being bullied, but that wasn’t exactly how it was framed and the constant worry about regaining those thirty or so pounds she lost made me roll my eyes.

Of course, she might’ve dissed softball because the endorphins were no longer making her happy.

One of the relationships was just icky here, the other was a little meh and came out of nowhere much like in Catching Jordan only I could buy that couple a bit more since Kennneally spent time building them.

I also liked how Parker came to some hard truths at the end of the book.  While Stealing Parker was far from perfect, it was a far improvement from Catching Jordan.

Overall Rating: B-

Kate has always been the good girl. Too good, according to some people at school—although they have no idea the guilty secret she carries. But this summer, everything is different…

This summer she’s a counselor at Cumberland Creek summer camp, and she wants to put the past behind her. This summer Matt is back as a counselor too. He’s the first guy she ever kissed, and he’s gone from a geeky songwriter who loved The Hardy Boys to a buff lifeguard who loves to flirt – with her.

Kate used to think the world was black and white, right and wrong. Turns out, life isn’t that easy…

Source: GoodReads

I really didn’t like Kate, but unlike Chasing Jordan the character made an effort to change throughout the book where I couldn’t hate her.

Basically, Kate’s whole dilemma resolves an issue that really is none of her damn business.

I mean, seriously, I get that helping your friend making a difficult life decision was difficult but you shouldn’t judge her for it.  It’s her own damn body, not yours.  Apparently, this logic is very hard for a lot of people to grasp.  Especially certain Republicans. Hence, why groups like Periods for Pence have had to come into existence.

That being said though, Kate does grow on you and sort of grows up while the book progresses.

The love interest in this one is still sort of bland-it seems to be a pattern for this series- but likable enough.  I just felt he was a little too good to be true.  Again, he seemed better characterized as a cameo character in Breathe, Annie, Breathe than he did as a leading man.

But I didn’t hate him.

Overall Rating: A C+ while Kate might of grown on me that doesn’t mean I still didn’t want to slap her silly for being a judgmental bitch and call her to highlight the details on my period because of her previous sanctimonious ways.

They’re from two different worlds.

He lives in the estate house, and she spends most of her time in the stables helping her father train horses. In fact, Savannah has always been much more comfortable around horses than boys. Especially boys like Jack Goodwin—cocky, popular and completely out of her league. She knows the rules: no mixing between the staff and the Goodwin family. But Jack has no such boundaries.

With her dream of becoming a horse jockey, Savannah isn’t exactly one to follow the rules either. She’s not going to let someone tell her a girl isn’t tough enough to race. Sure, it’s dangerous. Then again, so is dating Jack…

Source: GoodReads

Man, this one was a bit of a cliche and so bland.  So stinking bland,

I think Kenneally wanted to do a book that featured issues of class more than anything else, but the story it told was one that had been seen so many times before that it added nothing new to me.

That and a very bland hero made the book even blander.

So basically, Savannah and her dad work with horses for rich people and Savannah falls in love with a rich boy.  But will their love survive the bounds of class..

It’s a Kennally book so what do you think?

Besides, this.

The one nice thing I can say about this one, it’s better than Catching Jordan, but is that really a nice comment?  I mean, most contemporaries are better than Catching Jordan unless their that book with that brat who’d rather get a Big Mac than go to Europe.

I am digressing, aren’t I?

The point is, Racing Savannah isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever read.  But it’s certainly forgettable.

Overall Rating: C

Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.

But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.

Source: GoodReads

The romance in this one was a little better, but not so much because of characterization.  To be honest, Jeremiah was about as bland as his brother.  But because the relationship build and, well, it was nice to see Annie open up and go through the grieving process so maybe that’s why I liked the two of them together.

It think Breathe, Annie, Breathe might be one of the better books in this series because it was more introspective.  It was in a lot of ways what I wanted from Catching Parker  and Things I Can Forgetwhere there was a defined character evolution and the character’s change is subtle but very apparent from the end.

I also liked how the whole running a marathon sort of symbolized this change.  That was pretty cool.

But while the characterization of Annie was great, the other characterization was a bit meh.

I find this to be a common thing in Kenneally books though so I didn’t exactly hate this one or really fault it that much.

Overall Rating: A solid B.

The Unofficial Princess Diaries Binge Read: The Final Stretch

So, it’s the final stretch in this binge read.  Next month the middle grade spinoff series will out and then in June Royal Wedding will come out and I won’t talk to you because I’ll be too busy reading and wondering why can’t I write swoon like Meg Cabot because God…Michael Moscovitz (though, I still think Jesse de Silva is the ultimate Cabot man).

I will say, that rereading this series was fun.  I got to revisit books that really helped me get through my teen and early college years.  While there were some aspects of the series that were a little lackluster, overall my appreciation for the Diaries series still remains.

My Favorite Book Of All Time In This Series: A Lot of People Hate It

 

At last, Mia is a junior. An upperclassperson. Free of her responsibilities as student body president. So why is it that everything is going so terribly wrong? What is she doing in Intro to Creative Writing? When she has made it through Algebra and Geometry, why must she be faced with Precalculus? And for the love of all that is Genovian, why has Lilly nominated her for school prez again? All this is nothing compared to the news Michael springs on her, however. On top of all the mathematical strife, her beloved boyfriend is leaving for Japan for a year. Precalc has nothing on preparing for the worst separation ever

Turns out there is one way she might convince Michael to stay. But will she? Or won’t she? No matter what, Mia seems headed for disaster.

Source: GoodReads

Here’s the thing about this one.  A lot of people hate it.  And I get it, but I really think that this book in the long run made the series.

Yes, the breakup was painful.  But it really was inevitable and I think in the long run it strengthened M&M.  The thing is, when I first read this book I was ready for Michael and Mia to break up.

Yes, them breaking up was like a getting pushed into the fountain scene for me. Sad and sick but true.

I love the couple, but Mia was grossly immature at this point.  And thankfully, Meg showed that the immaturity had consequences.  I don’t think that’s something that is often seen in YA.  That being said, I wasn’t exactly a fan of Michael in this one either.  He really should’ve been more open about his sexual history than Mia, rather than to have her make gross assumptions.

I.E. I think he should’ve brought it up in book six.

It makes him human though, so again I think it was good characterization.  But I see lots of people putting the breakup entirely on Mia.  When I really think it was both of them-though mostly Mia.

Reading the series again, the JP plot becomes blatantly obvious.  I don’t even know why I shipped Jia way back then.  Probably because I was sort of done with M&M and maybe I was suppose to ship Jia at that point.

The book was surprisingly fast to read.  I think it’s only a few pages over two hundred pages or so.  Definitely one of the more thinner volumes, but then again I don’t think this is a volume where you really want to get into Mia’s head that much.

She is at her absolute worse here.

Lilly, as annoying as she can be, is actually a very sympathetic character.  I think because Mia is just bat shit insane in this one, that you can’t help but feel sympathy for Lilly.  Though, I’d think she’d get a clue about JP.

Overall, this is a very well written book.  While the break up is heart breaking it needed to happen and I thought the way it was done was well done.

Also, Mia,your precious gift….no one cares.

Overall Rating: An B+ I liked this one while a lot of people hate it.  Whatevs 😛  I’ll admit though, I thought parts of the book could’ve been fleshed out.

She’s Not Clinically Depressed (Okay):

A princess on her own . . .

Mia has been invited to speak at a gala for Domina Rei, an elite society of powerful businesswomen. But what could she possibly have to say? Now that Michael has broken things off, Mia can barely get out of bed, and her parents are making her see a “therapist.” School, where Lilly still refuses to speak to her and Lana suddenly wants to be bff, is a total nightmare. Even J.P.’s efforts to cheer Mia up (he’s being really sweet!) aren’t helping. What’s a royal to do?

Just when things couldn’t get worse, Mia uncovers an old family secret, a long-forgotten diary of a teenage princess of Genovia. It could be just the thing to help Mia write her speech–but it might also change the fate of the Renaldos forever.

Source: GoodReads

This was a really well book except…

Mia’s not clinically depressed.

I’m sorry.

She was only in her pajamas for a week.

Try living with someone who is clinically depressed and then try saying Mia is depressed.

Um, no.

That’s from my own personal experience though.  Maybe if I hadn’t grown up with someone who suffered from depression, I wouldn’t have mind Dr. Knutz evaluation so much.

And Mia’s parents, you really didn’t need to send her to a shrink.  My parents would’ve just dragged me out of bed and threw me in the shower with my Hello Kitty pajamas on.

Oh, and took my door off when I was in the shower.

Or they would’ve just made me go to school in my pajamas.

And if I ate all the leftovers and the Chinese food my sister would’ve probably decked me.

Mia has it easy.

That being said, while I thought a depression diagnosis was a little out there, one thing that I wish was addressed with Mia’s anxiety issues.  But Dr. Knutz’s just kind of ignores that.

He really annoys me.

Then again, most shrinks do, so he was probably in character on that.  Or as much as you can make a cowboy shrink be in character.

I think what I liked about this one that it was really thought provoking.  You had the mental illness factor and then the whole democracy for Genovia.

All I can say is thank God for them because can you really imagine Mia as a leader?

Um, yeah…didn’t think so.

As much as I appreciate the idea of a giant cat rescue palace, it’s not exactly going to help a country’s GDP grow.  Or for that matter, not getting in a war with Monaco or whoever about olive oil prices.

Genovia really dodged a bullet there.

I found the whole cover up with the grandmother and father a little eyebrow raising and wish we would’ve had another book or two to go through this.

But again, there was a lot of good stuff here.

I didn’t even mind the Jia stuff here.  Though, it does make me sort of sad that they seemed sort of cute and enjoyable in this one and then…well, read Forever Princess.

Overall, I gave Princess Mia an A-.  It had it’s issues.  But I like what it’s trying to do.  And it’s probably one of the stronger Princess Diaries book.

Noooooooooooooo It Can’t be Over:

It’s Mia’s senior year, and things seem great. She aced her senior project, got accepted to her dream college(s), and has her birthday gala coming up . . . not to mention prom, graduation, and Genovia’s first-ever elections.

What’s not to love about her life? Well . . .Her senior project? It’s a romance novel she secretly wrote, and no one wants to publish it.Prince Phillipe’s campaign in the Genovian elections isn’t going well, thanks to her totally loathsome cousin Rene, who decided to run against him.Her boyfriend, J.P., is so sweet and seemingly perfect. But is he the one? And her first love, Michael, is back from Japan . . . and back in her life.

With Genovia’s and her own future hanging in the balance, Mia’s got some decisions to make: Which college? Which guy? How can she choose? Especially when what she decides might determine not just the next four years, but . . . forever!

Source: GoodReads

If I was to give my initial rating after reading this one it would be A++++++, however, once I sit on this book I feel a little differently.  There are some definite structural issues with Forever Princess and I really think the series would’ve been better with an additional book or taking one of those sophomore slump books out and making a book that took place in late junior early senior year.

It’s just really hard for me to buy Jia as an established couple when they haven’t even had a whole book together, versus five or six books where Michael and Mia were exchanging saliva.

Tell him you loathe him Mia, tell him. And find Michael. The movies can’t end with this guy.

It’s just really puts the odds in favor of M&M which sort of makes watching the love triangle plot a bit trite.

And yeah, I love M&M but them getting back together is predictable.

Oh, I enjoyed it.  But I remember at the time just sort of eye rolling because predictable.

You’ll still swoon though, predictability aside.  And there were so many nice things about this book that it makes the problems a lot easier to deal with.

I’m still not over Lana Weinberger being Mia’s b.f.f. even though I did like some of her remarks.

It’s Lana Weinberger.

I hold grudges a lot longer than Mia does.

I think it’s one of the reasons I went law school.  Lawyers have to hold grudges for a long, long, time.  Cases last for years.  And you have to find something to bill your clients over…which is probably why Lana and I never quite gel.

Luckily for her, Mia is not a lawyer.

Lilly should think about being a lawyer though, come to think of it.  But even she’s somewhat of a human in this one.  At least there’s some logic behind her a-holeness in the last book.  Though,  I really wish someone would’ve decked her for that site.  Or maybe Mia could’ve written a Lifetime movie about it.   Bullied Princess I could totally see them making a movie of that.  But alas, her misdeeds are mainly swept under the carpet (though apparently Michael dealt with her-good).

As for Michael, he seems to have only gotten only hotter in this book.  Cabot compares him to Christian Bale’s Batman  at one point.  From a nostalgia perspective, this is particularly hilarious considering Anne Hathaway played Mia Thermopolis and then went on to play Selina Kyle who was Bale’s love interest in the last Batman movie.

Ha! M&M meets BatCat. Two of my all time favorite ships.

So in a weird way M&M is BatCat even though the ships are waaay different (though it totally gives someone an excuse to put together a fandom M&M video using Hathaway and Bale clips, just saying).

Despite it’s issues, Forever Princess is a feel good treat.  B+

Next month I’ll be meeting Olivia Grace.  From the excerpt I’ve read it seems she’s basically living in a cupboard with Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon.  Only instead of Hagrid rescuing her, I’m betting Grandmere does.  Okay, that’s a scary thought.

The Unofficial Princess Diaries Binge Read: Where Mia Gets a Tad Bit OCD

Last month, I remembered why I loved this series.  This month, I remembered some of the problems I had with it.  It didn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy readings books 4, 4 1/2, 4 2/3, and 5.  But it did remind me of the issues I had with it.

Never before has the world seen such a princess.

Nor have her own subjects, for that matter. Mia’s royal introduction to Genovia has mixed results: while her fashion sense is widely applauded, her position on the installation of public parking meters is met with resistance.

But the politics of bureaucracy are nothing next to Mia’s real troubles. Between canceled dates with her long—sought—after royal consort, a second semester of the dreaded Algebra, more princess lessons from Grandmère as a result of the Genovian parking—meter thing, and the inability to stop gnawing on her fingernails, isn’t there anything Mia is good at besides inheriting an unwanted royal title?

Source: GoodReads

Groans.

Do I have to?

If I was reviewing books when Princess in Waiting came out, I’d probably give up on The Princess Diaries series.  This is my least favorite book in the series and I really think it was a waste of space-if you would’ve added some of Valentine Princess to it I think it would’ve been a stronger book.

The good thing about this particular installment, was I sort of knew what I was getting into when I reread it, so I didn’t absolutely hate it (at least as much).

I didn’t like it either.

I think the biggest problem with Princess in Waiting  is that it takes so long to get started.  It’s like the audience is waiting for the actual book to begin and gets stuck on Meg Cabot Airlines reading some stupid day planner.

That’s what it really felt like to me.

I could care less what happens in Genovia.

It’s a fictional country that really bad movies take place in, that’s all I need to know.

When the actual book starts-meaning, when Mia returns home to New York-there’s really not a plot.  Just obsession over Mia’s first date with Michael and then possibly having to cancel said date.

It’s really a big let down after Princess in Love.

I don’t think it’s as bad as I thought it was, because there were a few parts of it that were tolerable.

Like Lilly.

She was actually rationale in this book.  Which surprised me, because in most books I really can’t stand her.

I also liked the fact that Tina had a bit of a story in this book too.  It’s nice seeing supporting characters get a starring role for once.

So, props on that.

Still though, I really didn’t care for this one.

Overall Grade: D. I think this was a very, very, weak installment.  Probably my least favorite in the series.  However, it wasn’t a total wash.

 

Valentine’s Day means flowers, chocolates, and all-out romance.

That is, it usually means those things. But when you’re Princess Mia, nothing happens the way it’s supposed to. For one thing, Grandmère seems determined to prove that boy (or Michael, as he is commonly known) isn’t the right one for the crown princess of Genovia. And Mia isn’t having much luck proving otherwise, since Michael has a history of being decidedly against any kind of exploitative commercialization (Valentine’s Day, as it is commonly known).

Boris can declare his love openly to Lilly, and even Kenny comes through with a paltry Whitman’s Sampler. So why can’t Michael give in to Cupid and tell Mia he loves her—preferably with something wrapped in red or pink and accompanied by roses—in time to prove he’s Mia’s true prince?

Source: GoodReads

This novella really captures what I liked about the early years of this series the best, the zany humor and immaturity that you see only in Mia’s freshman year.  Sure, you begin to see that annoying neurosis that followed the series on from book four to Mia’s intervention in book nine, but it’s muted in this novella.

I love how Valentine’s Day is treated in this book and how the romance is handled in a fairly realistic way.  That was the biggest plus about this book.

What I didn’t like was that Lilly acted is a fairly unrealistic way towards Boris, which I think was done solely for foreshadowing purposes (this was published after  book five, so I think Cabot was trying to hammer the point that Loris was dead in the water).

This is overall, a really cute book.  While there are some hints and innuendos over what happens in future books, it’s not required reading.

Overal Rating: B+ enjoyable fluff.

 

 

 

What on earth is that princess up to now?

Most princesses would prefer to spend their spring breaks in Gstaad, or some other equally unpronounceable European hot spot.

Not this one, though. Hammer in hand, Princess Mia embarks on an epic adventure for one so admittedly unhandy: along with her cohorts from school, she’s off to build houses for the less fortunate. It doesn’t take Mia long to realize that helping others—while an unimpeachably noble pastime—is very hard work. Will her giving spirit prevail? Will the house collapse due to royally clumsy construction? And most importantly, will Michael stop working long enough to kiss her?

Source: GoodReads

This installment isn’t much, and really doesn’t pertain to the over all series (I’m wondering if it’s even been reprinted recently).

The nice thing about it, besides the fact that it’s profits went to a wonderful cause, is that it’s a novella you’re not required to read.

I hate it when novellas are super important to the book-case in point, Sweet Sixteen Princess.  True, authors  will recap for us what went on but you’ll still inevitably buy the novella.

The plot of Project Princess is pretty simple, Mia is building houses for a Habitat Humanity type group during Spring Break with her friends and chaos insures.

Probably the most significant thing to happen in this one is that Boris barfs a lot.

I really did enjoy seeing my last glimpse of happy Loris.  I know a lot of people don’t like this couple, based on what happens in book five, but they are fun to read about while they last.  Michael and Mia are cute too, but a bit overly mushy.  Loris is just sort of humorous together.  And I really miss seeing that with Toris-even they they are much more suited together (i.e. Tina would never let Boris attempt suicide with a globe).

For huge Princess Diaries fans, I recommend this one, if you’re sort of a fair weather fan, it would be okay to skip.

Overall Rating: A solid B.

Princess Mia is dreaming about the prom – and contending with a hotel workers’ strike – in the fifth, supremely hilarious episode of Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries. This time, Mia’s in the pink about the upcoming Albert Einstein H.S. prom, and she’s crossing her fingers that Michael will ask her to go. (They’re in love, so why wouldn’t he ask her, right?) But during Seven Minutes in Heaven at her b-day party, Mia learns that Michael is not the prom-going type. Good grief, what’s a princess to do?

To make matters worse, Grandmere has gotten a busboy fired due to a mishap with her pooch, Rommel, at a swanky restaurant, so when all of the city’s busboys go on strike, it causes a chain of events that result in Grandmere crashing at Mia’s mom’s place, her pal Lilly Moscovitz picking up a picket sign, and the prom being brought to a screeching halt.

Thankfully, staunch yet boy-wise Grandmere has a plan to change Michael’s mind and put everything back on track, making Mia the happiest “prom princess” on this side of the Atlantic – and readers more starry-eyed than Molly Ringwald in her prettiest pink frock.

Following up the brief Volume IV and a Half and introducing a new addition to Mia’s family, this knee-slapping fifth volume makes the series glitter brighter than ever, placing yet another jewel in Cabot’s crown.

Source: GoodReads

What I Remembered:

 Really hating Lilly in this installment and not really feeling Toris.

What I Got:

Really hating Lilly.  Finding Toris a lot more tolerable and believable.  And finding Mia almost as intolerable as Lilly in this installment.

In fact, if I wanted to, I could have a drinking game every time Lilly or Mia annoyed me.  I get that they’re fourteen/fifteen year old girls, but both of them need a good swift kick in the pants to reality.

To be fair though, I did enjoy Princess in Pink a lot more than I remembered.

I had some nice things going for it.

For one, it had an actual plot (unlike Princess in Waiting) and their was some slight character development in this book.

I think the best thing about this one was Michael.  Sometimes I really wonder how he tolerates Mia so much though, because her neurosis is full blown in this one.

He really must be the master of zen.

The supporting characters though really carried this novel, save for Grandmere.  I think this is the point where she starts developing into almost a caricature of sorts.  But you could argue that about all the characters to a certain degree.  Especially Lilly and Mia.

I keep complaining about them…I guess I should discuss them.

Lilly is just a horrible person.  It’s a conclusion I came to a long time ago with these books, though she does have an entertaining moment or two when she’s not stuffing her tongue down some random guy’s throat. In this book, we don’t see those entertaining quirks since she’s mostly sticking her throat down some guy’s throat.

Add to it, that Mia is sort of  slut slamming her friend at the end with this little gem:

Tina just called.  She is kvelling over getting to go to the prom.  It is, she says, like a dream come true.  I told her I couldn’t agree more.  She asked me how I thought we’d come to be so lucky.

I told her: Because we are both kind and pure of heart (237).

Look, I get Lilly was really stupid in this installment.  But as her best friend Mia shouldn’t quasi dis her to Tina with that stupid pure of heart trash.  Then again, this is the girl that obsesses about her virginity to the point where she calls it her precious gift.

And plus, it’s just prom.

I think this is me being no longer fifteen.  Maybe I could’ve agreed with Mia back then-maybe not.

Despite my grievances with two of the characters, I did find this installment to be a huge improvement over Princess in Waiting.  It’s fun and light, and actually has a plot.

Overall Rating: A solid B.

 

Objective Binge For Next Month:

  • Princess in Training (book 6): I remember it mainly being a bridge book, more than anything else.  It might surprise me or it might be a recap of book four (shudders).
  • The Princess Present (book 6 1/2):It’s a cute novella that heavily borrows from “The Gift of the Magi”.
  • Party Princess (book 7): Sexy dancing. And Grandmere does broadway. Oh, and JP.
  • Sweet Sixteen Princess (book 7 1/2): The last novella-chronologically speaking, in the series.  This one is actually pretty important to the series.

 

Jessica, You Do Know Google Locate Sort of Made You Obsolete: 1800 Where R You Series by Meg Cabot

When I was actually the targeted reading age of YA my go to author was Meg Cabot.  And I especially loved her paranormal books.  I’ve already fangirled on and on about how I loved The Mediator series, but I haven’t talked much about how much I liked her 1800 Where R U books.  So I decided it was time for a binge read when it came to this series.

Honestly, I was surprised how fast the binge read actually was.  These books are short and, well, a bit outdated.  I still loved them though.  Let’s dig deeper shall we.

The Deal:

The series revolves around Jess Mastriani who for the bulk of the series-till the fifth book is sixteen.  Then nineteen.  Even though the last book borderlines as New Adult there’s no happy times in here (well, on screen).  Which is a shame, because I would’ve like to read about Rob Wilkins butt in the buff.

Initially, Meg planned to do eight books but because of low sales the series was cut off midway into it’s run.  The fifth book came to being because Harper Collins was using their powers for good (know though they don’t use their powers for anything, cough #HaleNo, cough).   Honestly, I don’t think the fifth book really flows well with the other four.  But I have to appreciate it for being there even though it reads like good fanfiction.

Like with all my binge reviews, I’m going to talk about each book a little bit and wrap up this review with a series review (basically a paragraph with me telling you about my feels for the series).

Jess Mastriani has never been what you’d call a typical Midwestern teenager—her extracurricular activities, instead of cheerleading or 4-H, include fist-fights with the football team and month-long stints in detention. A part of Jess would like to be the prom queen her mother has always envisioned her being, but another part is secretly counting the days until she’s saved up enough money to buy her own Harley.

Then something happens that guarantees Jess will be one of the in-crowd…at least until her newfound talent ends up getting her dead.

Source: GoodReads

Oh, Jess.  How I forgot you were the Cabot character with violent tendencies.

Well, Suze throws a mean punch too but it’s sort of a necessity.  You on the other hand…your rage is sort of funny but at the same time scary.

Not in a bad way though.

Jess is perfectly engaging.  Though I did get annoyed with her world at times.  There are some jokes and remarks made in this book that are eyebrow raising at best.  I seriously, wanted to throw a punch at Rob Wilkins for calling Ruth fat.  No.  No.  No.  Rob Wilkins, you just don’t do that.

It doesn’t make you desirable.

At least Jess tells him this too.  Though it’s obvious she wants to make out with him.

Another thing that really sticks out after all this time is how much the world has and hasn’t changed since this series was originally published (the early 200’s, pre 911 days).  Jess’s super power is a little obsolete now with social media and Google Locate doing a lot of the work she did for her.  But she still would be utilized (I guess).

The other thing that bothered me about this series was you had to suspend your belief (a lot).  I’m sorry but the way the whole Crane Military Base thing was handled was ridiculous.  I can’t go into to many details because of spoilers, but just know I was completely shaking my head thinking Cabot had never seen an episode of UFO Hunters because if she did she know if you were remotely close to a top secret military base you’d be surrounded and your mission to find the aliens would be aborted.

Whatever.

It’s still a fun book.  But yeah, I see it’s warts now and the years have not exactly been good to it.  Or terrible for that matter. I think  The Princess Diaries probably got the worst of it with the pop culture references.

Overall Rating: B+ fun and short.  Not to be taken seriously though.  Especially with all the plot holes.

JESS MASTRIANI
was dubbed “Lightning Girl” by the press when she developed a psychic ability to find missing children after she was struck by lightning during a huge storm. Now Jess has lost her miraculous powers…or at least she would like the media and the government to think so. All she wants is to be left alone.

But it doesn’t look like Jess is going to get her wish — especially not while working at a summer camp for musically gifted kids. When the father of a missing girl shows up to beg Jess to find his daughter, Jess can’t say no. Now the Feds are on her tail again, as is one ornery stepdad, who’d like to see Lightning Girl…well, dead.

Source: GoodReads

I could bitch and get really nit picky about some of the music things in this book.  And to be honest, I should.  I really should.  I don’t see how anyone can possibly get into a Musical Festival (Band Camp) or into the top chairs without being able to you know…read music.  And it sort of contradicts the earlier book when Jess says that she bought some duets for her and Ruth to play (obviously, she  could read music).

Sigh, that aside.  Though again fun book.

This seems to be a disturbing pattern, huh?  Book with lots and lots of faults but still fun.

I think out of all the series though, this installment has one of the most clean cut plots.  It’s  a little predictable, but it comes together nicely.  And I really loved the Jess and Rob moments in this one too.  He’s in the book just enough, but not enough to completely overwhelm the plot.

He’s probably, honestly, one of the least present Cabot male characters and I think that has an interesting effect on the books overall.  I do wonder if the book had ran its intended run (eight books) if Rob would’ve been in the later installments more and how that would’ve effected it.  For this book, I like his lack of presence.  Oddly, it adds to the allure.

There’s almost a third party love interests thrown in here, but the way Cabot handles the whole thing is good in the realistic type of way so bravo there.

Overall Rating: I’m giving it a B+ like with When Lightening Strikes, there’s some fault but it’s lots of fun.

JESS MASTRIANI was on vacation when Amber went missing. Most people blame Jess for Amber’s brutal slaying, but how could Jess — even with her psychic ability to find anyone, anywhere — have stopped the cheerleader from turning up dead, without having known she was even missing?

When yet another cheerleader disappears, Jess has a chance to redeem herself. If she can just find the girl before it’s too late, maybe Jess will finally have a chance to be part of the in crowd. Except that it’s starting to look like being “in” might just get you — not to mention your loved ones — killed. So much for popularity.

Source: GoodReads

Meh.

Yeah, if you haven’t guest this is probably my least favorite out of the original one.

It just felt a little out of place to me in terms of the rest of the series.  Honestly, in a lot of ways-serial killers and psychic powers aside-it felt like some of Cabot’s lackluster standalones set n the midwest.  I really didn’t like how popularity played a big part of this storyline.

Yeah, popularity as a plot device rarely ever works for me in a YA book anymore.

Grant it, Jess really doesn’t have any desire to be popular.

But there are themes of it there that just annoy me.

The whole mystery plot is ridiculously easy to figure out.  I think I knew as soon as the villain was introduced and made his whole speech (Captain Obvious much).

The good news though is we finally see a couple of developments with the Jess and Rob relationship, concerning Jess and Rob’s family.  One thing I will always give Cabot a big plus sign for is that in most of her books the main character’s family plays a pretty big role.

This series is no exception.

I love how dimensional Jess’s family is and how none of the members are merely cut out characters.  They all have their problems.  And I really love her depiction of Douglass, Jess’s oldest brother.  It’s not often we see a character in YA living with mental illness so I give her a plus for having him in here.

Overall: Not the most exciting book in the series but still a solid B.

JESS MASTRIANI

Knew she wasn’t going to be able to hide her psychic powers from the U.S. government forever. But she never thought that she and Dr. Krantz, the special agent brought in to convince Jess to join his elite team of “specially gifted” crime solvers, would have something in common.

When a local boy’s disappearance is attributed to a backwoods militia group, it turns out that Jess and Dr. Krantz have the same goal. Suddenly Jess finds herself collaborating with one enemy in order to stop a far worse one. In an atmosphere of hate and fear, Jess and Dr. Krantz must work together to unite a community and save a life…without loosing their own.

Source: GoodReads
And this is where the shit hits the fan.
 
Man, this book is so outrageously unrealistic it’s sort of laughable.  But at the same reason, that’s why I love this particular installment.  Honestly, I could see it as a midseason finale if this was ever to get a proper TV show (not one that simply uses its premises then has the main character regulated to background character and has a guy played by Mateo Santos be Not Rob to Vivica Fox who’s just randomly in the TV show).
And  as outrageous as this one is, there are a few good messages there that even transcend ten years later.  And no, I don’t think it gets too preachy.
Once again, subtle develops are done with the development between the relationship of Jess and Rob that appreciate.  And I like the fact that other relationships-side romances-are developed as well.
However, I just couldn’t help but think during this book’s climax.
Ridiculous.
Just ridiculous.
And again, I kept seeing plot holes.  Like Chick being completely oblivious to just who Jessica is despite encountering her in the first book.
Whatever though it was a fun ride.
Overall Rating: B+

Ever since a walk home on a particularly stormy day, Jessica Mastriani has had an ability like no other. She became known worldwide as Lightning Girl a psychic who could find the location of anyone, dead or alive. Jess finally had no choice but to embrace her newfound talent, and ended up lending her skills to the U.S. government.But her work for them has taken a terrible toll, and Jess resurfaces months later a shadow of her former self, her powers gone, Lightning Girl no more. Her only hope is starting over in a new place, a big city where nobody knows her. It’s only when Rob Wilkins unexpectedly shows up on her doorstep that she’s forced to face her past. Rob, all the way from back home, needs her help. But how can Jess, her powers gone, find anyone, let alone the sister of a man she once loved . . . when she can’t even find herself?

Missing You, the fifth and final book in the 1-800-Where-R-You series

Source: GoodReads
This isn’t a bad book but there is a big disconnect between it and the other four books.
To be fair there were a lot of outside factors contributing to the disconnect.  The fact that this book was published years after book four.  The fact that it was originally intended on being a long series and  Cabot had to stuff the end into one book.
So, those factors contributed it was a nice send off.
Not the best send off though.
I really wish the 1800 series would’ve been given two books not one by Harper to finish things off.  But beggars can’t be choosers.
I think by itself Missing You isn’t that bad.  It has a nice well rounded plot (perfectly predictable, but good enough).  And the characters aren’t awful.
But they aren’t themselves either.
It almost seems like during the years in between the publication of Sanctuary  and Missing You, Meg sort of lost sense of these characters.  And I know, it was probably because of the time jump, but I just didn’t like it.
I didn’t like Jess’s mad punching skills being reduced to nothing (seriously, she can’t defend herself at the end, Cabot, for reals?).  And Rob was acting just weird.
Sorry, the more I reflect on it that scrapbook thing was sort of creepy.
It’s not the worst finale in the world, but after binging on the four previous installments it just sort of sticks out.
And I’ll admit, when I first read this book I was in awe but now I’m just sort of over it.
Overall Rating: B/B- depending on whether or not you ignore the previous four books.
Series Overall:
I still like this series upon reread, but I do notice the flaws though.  Rob Wilkins is sort of meh to okay sort of hot on my hotness scale (but seriously, dude, do NOT call Ruth fat).  And I really wish Jess would’ve kept some of her spunk in the end.  It’s true she did mature, but it’s almost as if she became Pod Person Jess.
Plus, I have a hard time believing someone who was basically music illiterate for such a long period would get into Juilliard and then proceed to complain about practicing for multiple hours-hello, it’s a conservatory.
Nitpicking aside though it was still fun to revist.
Series Rating: B+

Binge Reading: The Rest of the Vampire Academy Series

I had read Vampire Academy and Frost Bite a long time ago (last year).  Because of library delays and holds, I sort of put this series on the back burner until I saw a few of my blogging cohorts binge reading it and was like.  Why not?

So I binge read it.  And ordered the Bloodlines series because after this binge I need more Adrian.

Not so much Rose though.

Who can just stuff it (okay, I do like you Rose but you really need to grow up some).

For this binge review I’m going to talk about the last four books briefly then do an overall series review.  It’s probably going to come up to be a very long review though-it’s four books-but I’m going to try to be as brief as possible.

 

Shadow Kiss: The Book Where Mead Has Guts

It’s springtime at St. Vladimir’s Academy, and Rose Hathaway is this close to graduation. Since making her first Strigoi kills, Rose hasn’t been feeling quite right. She’s having dark thoughts, behaving erratically, and worst of all… might be seeing ghosts.

As Rose questions her sanity, new complications arise. Lissa has begun experimenting with her magic once more, their enemy Victor Dashkov might be set free, and Rose’s forbidden relationship with Dimitri is starting to heat up again. But when a deadly threat no one saw coming changes their entire world, Rose must put her own life on the line – and choose between the two people she loves most.

Source: GoodReads

This is the way to write a book.

It’s probably one of the strongest books in the series (I should probably review the first two books just to make sure, but it was awesome).  Oh, there were some issues.  Like I got annoyed with the pacing of a certain romance.

Seriously, you go from repressing your feelings to going horizontal?

Grant it, the ending of the book sort of made sense why they went that far.

That aside though.

Perfection.

While Vampire Academy is not exactly the greatest literature known to man kind, these books can keep you entertained.  Which was what Shadow Kiss did. I was on the edge of my seat.  And not bored once. Even the boring scenes were entertaining.

I think what I liked best about this particular installment was the character development.  Not so much for Rose, but for the minor characters in the series.

One thing I love about Vampire Academy is its large supporting cast.  With the exception of a certain love interest, most of these characters are well formed and I love how their relationships play off of each other.

For example, I love the growing Rose/Christian friendship and the Rose/Adrian relationship.  Of course, the Rose and Lissa friendship is still great to read about too.

The action towards the end of the novel is pretty pulse racing.  And that ending.  I know a lot of people are probably NOT going to like what happen. But I like how gutsy it was (if only the resolution was that gutsy).

So, other than horrible romantic pacing.  The third book in the series is a winner for me.

Overall Rating: A-/B+

Blood Promise: The Book Where I completely Hate Dose

Rose Hathaway’s life will never be the same.

The recent attack on St. Vladimir’s Academy devastated the entire Moroi world. Many are dead. And, for the few victims carried off by Strigoi, their fates are even worse. A rare tattoo now adorns Rose’s neck, a mark that says she’s killed far too many Strigoi to count. But only one victim matters … Dimitri Belikov. Rose must now choose one of two very different paths: honoring her life’s vow to protect Lissa—her best friend and the last surviving Dragomir princess—or, dropping out of the Academy to strike out on her own and hunt down the man she loves. She’ll have to go to the ends of the earth to find Dimitri and keep the promise he begged her to make. But the question is, when the time comes, will he want to be saved?

Now, with everything at stake—and worlds away from St. Vladimir’s and her unguarded, vulnerable, and newly rebellious best friend—can Rose find the strength to destroy Dimitri? Or, will she sacrifice herself for a chance at eternal love?

Source: GoodReads

This was probably my least favorite out the series.

Just going to say it now.

I lost a lot of respect for Rose in this one and I really feel like about two hundred pages could’ve easily been chopped off without much thought.

Let me just start by saying up till this book I didn’t hate Dose (Rose and Dimitri).  Yes, I thought their relationship bordered on Sexual Harassment Panda territory and that Dimitri could do with some character development, but they weren’t horrible together.

They had chemistry.

Sort of squeamish chemistry.

But chemistry.

But this was the book where I really can honestly say I can’t stand them together.

The relationship was borderline icky before because there was power issues, but now  it’s downright abusive.

And yes, I know Dimitri can’t help it that he’s a Striogi but…but..Rose have some self respect.

You have a guy like Adrian there for the taking, yet you want a guy that basically has turned you into a blood whore.

Little Life Lesson:  locking someone  up in what’s the equivalent to the Plaza’s version of a padded cell then taking your blood each night to slowly coerce you into becoming a blood thirsty monster does not establish a good relationship.  Especially when you never really touch upon this issue in the later book.  And.  You.  Have.  A. Guy. Like. Adrian.

Yeah, my frustration with Dose is obvious.  But even if it wasn’t for the painful destruction of the Dose relationship in this book, it still would be my least favorite.

As I said before, pacing is horrendous.  While I do like the introduction to both Sydney and Abe, I really could’ve cared less about Dimitri’s family and their mourning-really, a guardian didn’t break the news to them- and the Lissa subplot was a snooze fest at best.

Blood Promise, unfortunately, is just one of those books that has middle book syndrome all over it.

Rating: C.

Spirit Bound: The Book Where I Let Fan Fic Take Over

Dimitri gave Rose the ultimate choice. But she chose wrong…

After a long and heartbreaking journey to Dimitri’s birthplace in Siberia, Rose Hathaway has finally returned to St. Vladimir’s-and to her best friend, Lissa. It is nearly graduation, and the girls can’t wait for their real lives beyond the Academy’s iron gates to begin. But Rose’s heart still aches for Dimitri, and she knows he’s out there, somewhere.

She failed to kill him when she had the chance. And now her worst fears are about to come true. Dimitri has tasted her blood, and now he is hunting her. And this time he won’t rest until Rose joins him… forever.

Source: GoodReads

Better than Blood Promise.

But once again, about a hundred or so pages could’ve been easily cut. Especially at the end.

Honestly, I would’ve been fine had this been the series ender.  I thought the Dose relationship could’ve ended quite nicely here.

Yeah, there I am going off about Dose again.

But seriously…

All Dimitri is, is a prize.  And this book sort of solidifies that.

While Adrian is a real character…

Well, his romance with Rose lasts more than half a page

Sour ships….I swear.

I will give Dimitri this, when he’s crazy.  I like him and Rose better.  I think mainly because they work well as antagonists.  The fact that they are so in sync with each other makes them great adversaries.  I think that same reason is why I don’t see them so much together.

That aside though, I did like parts of Spirit Bound the side characters once again stole the show.  I grew to like Lissa a bit more with this installment and Eddie also grew on me.

I also liked the development on spirit magic.  The world building aspects here were quite well done.

Additionally, I liked the whole quest that took up the first 2/3 of the novel.  However, once that part of the book is over.  It takes a nose dive to make a plot device for what really is an unnecessary six book.  Which is a shame.

Overall Rating: B

 

Last Sacrifice: The Book Where I Wonder Why it Ever Exists

They come first.

My vision was growing dimmer, the blackness and ghosts closing in. I swore it was like I could hear Robert whispering in my ear: The world of the dead won’t give you up a second time. Just before the light completely vanished, I saw Dimitri’s face join Lissa’s. I wanted to smile. I decided then that if the two people I loved most were safe, I could leave this world.

The dead could finally have me.

Rose Hathaway has always played by her own rules. She broke the law when she ran away from St. Vladimir’s Academy with her best friend and last surviving Dragomir princess, Lissa. She broke the law when she fell in love with her gorgeous, off-limits instructor, Dimitri. And she dared to defy Queen Tatiana, leader of the Moroi world, risking her life and reputation to protect generations of dhampir guardians to come.

Now the law has finally caught up with Rose – for a crime she didn’t even commit. She’s in prison for the highest offense imaginable: the assassination of a monarch. She’ll need help from both Dimitri and Adrian to find the one living person who can stall her execution and force the Moroi elite to acknowledge a shocking new candidate for the royal throne: Vasilisa Dragomir.

But the clock on Rose’s life is running out. Rose knows in her heart the world of the dead wants her back…and this time she is truly out of second chances. The big question is, when your whole life is about saving others, who will save you?

Join Rose, Dimitri, Adrian, and Lissa in Last Sacrifice, the epic, unforgettable finale to Richelle Mead’s international #1 bestsellingVampire Academy series.

Source:  GoodReads

And this is where I get nasty.

Why?

I have so many problems with this particular installment (though it’s still better than Blood Promise) but so much of it is unnecessary.  And Rose has regressed and is now constantly pissing me off.

Thank God for the side characters.

Particularly Adrian and Sydney.

So, yeah.  Sort of glad Sydney is getting her own spinoff (with Adrian).

Unlike Rose, she’s a little bit more pragmatic and not ridiculously impulsive.  So that’s a good thing.

I give Adrian points for being Adrian and telling off Rose, the way I wanted to tell off Rose for about three hundred pages.

Seriously, girl, you were being ridiculous.  And it’s not just because my ship sank.

But God….

I swear I wanted to pound you a lot in this unnecessary volume.

And your response was so cliche, so self absorbed, well, I’m glad we’re done so I won’t have to take you off of my favorite YA MCs list because you were really  not going to be there anymore.

Anger with Rose aside, the book really felt unnecessary.  The whole plot just sort of seemed thrown together to have a sixth book and honestly I don’t want to read a sixth book unless there’s a purpose-that is other than to get a slightly icky couple together.

Overall Rating: C+

Overall Thoughts:

The first half of Vampire Academy is outright fantastic.  It reminds me of a vampire version of The Mediator.  It’s that good.  However, the second half of the series (while having its moments) does drag. And I feel like Rose has regressed as a character.

And it’s not me having sour ships.

I just feel like the series was more evolved than its ending.  And that to ge tthe ending that was intended, Mead had to regress the characters a bit.

Does that mean I regret reading this series?

Hell no.

It’s entertaining.  Rose can occasionally have a quip that isn’t eye roll worthy and the action sequences can be mildly entertaining.  Even exhilarating at time.  But I feel like it was dragged out too long.  Some editing was definitely needed.

And yeah, not that happy with the endgame, but I’ll live.

Series Rating: A solid B.  While the first half kicked my ass, I wanted to kick the ass of the second half.

Come on and Rub the Book:The Art of Wishing Duo-logy by Lindsay Ribar

Occasionally, I like to review books by the series which is what I’m doing with The Art of Wishing Duology.

About the Series: Think Meg Cabot, genies, with some heavy issues snuck in and you get this duo-logy.  Okay, want to know more. ….fine.

He can grant her wishes, but only she can save his life.

Margo McKenna has a plan for just about everything, from landing the lead in her high school play to getting into a good college. So when she finds herself in possession of a genie’s ring and the chance to make three wishes, she doesn’t know what to do. Why should she put her life into someone else’s hands?

But Oliver is more than just a genie — he’s also a sophomore at Margo’s high school, and he’s on the run from a murderer. As he and Margo grow closer, she discovers that it will take more than three wishes to save him.

A whole lot more.

Source: GoodReads

This book is what I want from a YA book.  It’s cute, fluffy, and actually has substance.  And did I mention it features genies…and I’m in desperate need of a good YA genie book but never seem to get my wish.

Until this book.

In the words of Katy Schwartz, sweet baby Jesus.

This book is cute.  Made of kittens, sunshine, and all things perfect.

Let’s start with the main character.

I actually liked Margo.  Yes, she had some bonehead teenage moments, but I didn’t want to rip her hair off like I did with a lot of YA protagonists.  Oh yeah, she still makes mistakes but she actually felt her age.

I also liked the love interest which I really didn’t think I would.  Oliver is not your stereotypical YA boy and I think that’s what I liked the most about him.  It’s true, the romantic relationship between him and Margo developed a little too fast for my tastes, but Ribar made sure that their insta love sort of had some pitfalls.  So, the development really just worked.

I also loved the plot.

When I first read the summary, I thought it was going to be pure fluff.  However, color me surprise when Ribar added a killer genie in to the mix.  And strangely enough, it worked.  The book would’ve been bland without it.  Well, fluffy but bland.  The killer genie though was pretty awesome.  I liked the twist to the whole freeing the genie plot and it really added dimensions to the second book.

I tried to find faults in the first book, but to be honest I couldn’t find anything that major enough to gripe about.  Just saying that makes me feel all teary eyed.  Because I rarely ever get to say it. And it’s such an awesome feeling when I can’t complain.

I thought for sure  there’d be some complaining with a killer genie coming out in an otherwise fluffy book…

But nope.

Overall Rating: A+

 

 

 

 

Here’s what Margo McKenna knows about genies:

She’s seen Aladdin more times than she can count; she’s made three wishes on a magic ring ; she’s even fallen head over heels in love with Oliver, the cute genie whose life she saved by fighting off his archenemy. But none of this prepared her for the shock of becoming a genie herself.

At a time when she’s trying to figure out who she wants to be, Margo is forced to become whomever her master wants. Everything she’s taken for granted—graduating from high school, going to college, performing in the school musical, even being a girl—is called into question. But she’s also coming into a power she never imagined she’d have.

How will Margo reconcile who she is with what she’s becoming? And where will she and Oliver stand when she’s done?

Source: GoodReads

As for the sequel any other book and I would’ve said success…but this one was sort of a disappointment.

Don’t get me wrong.  The Fourth Wish had a lot going for it.  I liked the look that Ribar took on serious issues-like sexuality, slavery, and free choice.  But compared to the first book. Well, I didn’t get the chemistry between teh two characters.

Yeah, the fluffy kitties were gone.

It’s still a good book.  And even though I wasn’t having a purr worthy moment reading about Margo and Oliver, there were some cute moments.

One thing I did like about this book (and the previous book) was how all the characters-save for Oliver-were teens.  Undeniably teens.  A lot of YA protagonists just don’t act like high school kids.  But Margo, she actually has parents, classes that she’s passionate about, and a social life other than the love of her life.

So, the fact that Ribar kept most of that up in the sequel gets a plus from me.

Probably the best thing about this book was the way it handled such sensitive and deep subjects.  I never felt like Ribar was trying to force anything down my throat.  And I thought all the characters reactions were natural.

That being said, the resolution was a bit abrupt.  And I did feel like there were lots of loose ends to this book.

So, while I liked it I didn’t love it like I did the first one.

Overall Rating: A solid B.

Overall Series Thoughts:

I would recommend this duo-logy even though the second book was a little wishy washy.  If you love cute and fluffy YA books and genies this is your series.  There’s an edge to this series that’s actually surprising and even more surprising really works.  Ribar is an author to watch in the future.

Overall Series Rating: B+

Binge Reviews: Neverland Duloagy by Anna Katmore

Sometimes you find something when browsing your Kindle that you just have to read even though you have your doubts.  The Neverland duloagy by Anna Katmore is one of those finds.  So, being the intrepid reviewer that I am, I decided to binge read this series.

 

Why is there a boy who doesn’t want to grow up?
How can an apple start the sweetest romance in fairytale history?
And what does a ruthless pirate have to do with it all?

Angelina McFarland loves reading fairytales. But she never dreamed of falling right into one herself. That’s exactly what happens when she slips on her balcony and a flying Peter Pan catches her mid-fall.

Ending up in Neverland where no one seems to age and laws of nature are out of control, Angel has no idea how to get home. Worse, the ruthless Captain Hook captures her and keeps her trapped on his ship, the Jolly Roger, where she gets caught between the lines of a timeless battle. But the more time Angel spends with the captain, the more she sees beneath his ruthless façade.

As Angel desperately tries to find a way to return to her real life, she discovers a train ticket to London in her pocket. It won’t be any help in getting off the island, but as her memory fades away the longer she stays, this is all she has left to remind her of her former life and why she can’t give up trying.

Or is staying in Neverland forever the better choice after all?

Grab a happy thought and follow Angel on an adventure that will keep you breathless and smiling long after you read the last page…

Source: GoodReads

Not bad.

Not great.

But utterly horrible.

No.

It’s actually one of the better reads I had when exploring the vast world of self pub (though to be honest, I usually don’t have the best of luck with self pub).

The premises intrigued me and since I imagine Captain Hook love interest (or really any Captain Hook) looking like Colin O’Donoghue I think it’s obvious that I’ll read any Peter Pan retelling for the mind candy. And the whole twist with Peter Pan was good too if not original (cough, Once Upon a Time had Evil!Pan first, cough).

But other than a great premises and some okay kissing scenes this book blew.

Oh, yeah.

Though compared to it’s sequel (spoiler alert) it is a freaking masterpiece.

Let’s talk about what didn’t work since there’s a lot.

Angel:

First of all that name.  Sorry to the Angel’s in the world, but when a YA author names their character Angel alarm bells immediately go off especially when they have a personality as bland as cardboard like this angel is.

Also, it probably doesn’t help when you state that a character is British but she uses American English and slang. Um, Brits don’t call fries fries.  They call them chips.

Oh, and when she has hobbies like a forty-year-old.  Because most seventeen year olds I know, don’t like babysitting their four-year-old sisters all the time. Just saying.

Then there’s Hook:

Never was there never a Hook like this.  Honestly, I think Ms. Katmore was just charmed with Colin O’Donghue so much that she decided to have him star in her book but as a blonde to make him different.

Yeah…didn’t work.

The big twist that Hook and Pan were brothers in this book might’ve also not have hit me so much because there was a similar twist on Once Upon a Time  involving Pan’s genealogy with one of the main characters.  Though that twist had a bigger payoff.

In the end, I just didn’t know what Katmore wanted to do with these characters.  Because other than saying oh he’s  my brother and it being the catalyst for the curse…really, no connection.

Much like I didn’t really get the Hook and Angel relationship.  Oh yeah, there were some halfway decent written kissing scenes but it was insta love complete with leather pants.

Well, that part was original.

Oh, wait, never mind they have leather pants on that show too.

Well, that blows.

But this Hook’s blonde and likes feathers so that counts.  Well, the Disney Hook liked feathers too.

Never mind..

Let’s talk about Peter Pan then. Maybe he’s original.

Peter Pan:

Original?

No.

Brat?

Yes.

Bigger brat than the Peter Pan on Once Upon a Time?

Well, that’s debatable and I’m not sure if that’s such a good thing.

Honestly, the entire character read like a five year old throwing a temper tantrum.  Even his so called tragic backstory was ridiculous and over the top.

The only thing I can say is it would make for a fairly decent soap opera and that’s about it.

But this book isn’t a soap opera.

Another problem with the Pan character was the syntax that Katmore chose.  This was actually a problem with Hook too.  It just felt out of place.  Like Wendy Wannabe Angel, the boys spoke with pure modern day American accents despite belonging to fantasy world that took place at least a hundred years ago.

I get that Katmore is not a native English speaker, but these are things that an editor could’ve worked with her on.  It just made the book seem almost lazy.

And if that didn’t make it seem lazy then there’s the plot.

Predictable.

Predictable.

Predictable.

With a  really lame cliffhanger.

That’s the problem with a lot of YA these days.  Predictable and lame cliffhangers but at least most of them would attempt a plot.  Neverland does not.  Save for Angel whining about going home and  she does nothing (absolutely nothing) to get home.  It’s Hook that does all the dirty work.  And Pan (sort of, though if you ask me he’s a waste of space).  Really, the whole book could’ve been resolved nicely in one installment.  But no….Katmore decides to end it with a cliff hanger which leads to the monstrosity that is Pan’s Revenge. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Are you ready to be kissed?” he breathes against the corner of my mouth.

My knees start to tremble and there are butterflies in my belly now. Way too many. “I don’t think this is a good idea.”

“I think it’s the best idea I had in a long time.”

Desperate to leave Neverland and find his love in this notorious town called London, James Hook makes a grave mistake. He puts his own wishes above those of his half-brother and once-arch-enemy, Peter Pan.

The consequences alter Peter’s life in a way no one could have foreseen. The boy who wouldn’t grow up swears revenge, and what better way than by stealing Hook’s girl?

The first to arrive in London, Peter finds Angel once again without any memory of ever being in Neverland. That gives him time to plant the idea of a ruthless pirate captain in her mind—someone who tried to kill her once and is now on his way to kidnap her again. If only this stubborn girl would stop playing with Peter’s head. He’d completely forgotten how beautiful she was. Or is it only because he sees her through different eyes now?

Through a shower of falling stars, a loop around the moon, and then a hard left at the Clock Tower—when James Hook finally arrives in London, he has to fight with a vengeance for his love and face a boy who grew up after all…

Source:GoodReads

 

Better  known as Peter Pan Got Hot So That the Author Could Implement the Love Triangle Trope.

I kid you not.

That’s really why I think this book exists becuase there’s no other reason.

And let’s not get me started on the ending.

I should warn you that this part of the binge review is going to be filled with spoilery rants so if you are serious about reading this and don’t want your spoiler cherry popped please hit the little exit button now.

Aren’t gone.  Well, I guess I’ll start with the plot for this one.  As redundant and predictable as Neverland was at least it made sense the plot in Pan’s Revenge not so much.

First we have the Pan growing up and not turning into Robin Williams so there really is no excuse for that.  Especially since said Pan now looks like an Abercombie model.

And then Pan basically manipulates are now amnesic heroine (yeah, she went with that trope) so that we can have a lame love triangle.

And then she basically copies and paste the same insta love kidnapping scene from the first book to this one.

And then the ending.

And then at that point my head explodes.

Before I get to just how heinous the ending is, I just want to talk about character development or the lack of it.  The first book was bad enough to the hastily put together characters, but this book is a level worse because the flat character.  I kid you not they digress and a good example of it…well, the ending.

Fuck.

Seriously.

WTF.

That’s what I started thinking about the last ten percent of this book.  The first ninety percent bad but perfectly acceptable.  The plot was getting resolved and everything and that curve ball.

Has Katmore ever heard of stupid characters getting their just desserts?

Am I suppose to feel pity for said villain because he’s Peter freaking Pan?

Um, Once Upon a Time didn’t show sympathy and that’s one thing I think they succeeded on that stupid arc.

Look, that character did horrible things.  I wanted a payoff instead of every character giving up something for him.

And a first born child for that stupid piece of shit.

Seriously?

Well, it’s sort of interesting given the twist that Once Upon a TIme threw.  Ah, not really.  It was more or less like a huge cheesy wink like here’s my inspiration.

Of course, Katmore might’ve never seen that show and this might be purely a coincidence. But that aside.

Who would give up their oldest child to a piece of shit who tried to manipulate you and ruin your life.?

Seriously.

Well, they’re brothers so that is an excuse for everything.

No.

Just no.

Just having the same blood running through your veins isn’t going to make you want to give up your first born child to the idiot.  I’m sorry.

And family can be shitty.

Like Peter is.

I mean, he essentially tried to steal your girlfriend, dude.

Does this make sense?

Well, in Katmore’s universe it does.

Utter, utter fail.  Which is a pity because while the first book has it’s issues it has potential and the plot of this one holds such promise too.