Jane Eyre in Space: Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne

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Seventeen-year-old Stella Ainsley wants just one thing: to go somewhere—anywhere—else. Her home is a floundering spaceship that offers few prospects, having been orbiting an ice-encased Earth for two hundred years. When a private ship hires her as a governess, Stella jumps at the chance. The captain of the Rochester, nineteen-year-old Hugo Fairfax, is notorious throughout the fleet for being a moody recluse and a drunk. But with Stella he’s kind.

But the Rochester harbors secrets: Stella is certain someone is trying to kill Hugo, and the more she discovers, the more questions she has about his role in a conspiracy threatening the fleet.

Source: GoodReads

Another day, another YA Jane Eyre retelling.  Someone get me a triple shot of vodka please.  Oh, I already used that in another review in recent past.  Too bad using it again.

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Seriously, though, I did not like this book.  Big surprise.  I feel like I’ve been saying that since Memorial Day.  God will this slump ever fucking end?

Don’t answer that, I’ll probably be disappointed.  To be fair, the last have been more meh reads than actual hate reads but still.  Is it so much to ask for a decent Jane Eyre retelling?  That was the question I kept asking myself as I read Brightly Burning and earlier in the weekend when I read My Plain Jane.

Unlike the previous book, Brightly Burning follows the source material pretty closely at least in regards to the romance.  If anything it overly romanticizes things and diminishes things like Rochester’s age to make the book more appropriate.

No.  Rochester is not nineteen it does not work.  If you’re going to do a Jane Eyre retelling you should keep the ages of the characters relatively similar to the original.

I’m just saying the dynamics aren’t going to work if Rochester is nineteen which doesn’t even make sense with the weird ass world building that’s going on here.

So, essentially this is Jane Eyre in Space!  Yeah, that’s literally what it is.  The space part is pretty much thrown in there.  They try to make Jane do something useful like be an engineer-I think Donne got that off of Cinder– but it really serves little purpose.

Much like Jane Eyre being in space served very little purpose.

The world building is pretty bad here.  And I’m not that strict with world building.  I mean, I can overlook a lot of things here but this literally screamed I’m going to set my story in space because that’s different and that equals a publishing contract.

I know, I know, I’m a very cynical person.

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I think what the general consensus of wrong-ness with Jane Eyre retellings is that they just focus on a random element of the story-usually the romance-and fail to capture what really made the book a classic.  I guess that’s expected since most of these YA writers are not near the caliber that Bronte was.  BUT…I still could hope that a book might be able to capture the strength of Jane without making her seem too much of a Pollyanna or to recreate the Rochester/Jane dynamic showing its thrones and all and not romanticizing Rochester.

I digress though…

This book Pollyanna-izes Jane plus it adds sugar upon sugar to the Rochester/Jane relationship where it makes my teeth hurt.

I get it governess themed stories are popular, but if you want to do a Jane Eyre retelling, you probably will want to actually flesh out the characters and you know keep elements of the original.  Meaning, don’t diminish certain plot points or try to justify Rochester’s actions to make the story.

Also, if you’re going to use space as your backdrop.  Do some actual world building and not have a random plot hole that is our big twist.

Overall Rating: A C.  It’s decent ( I guess).

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How Droll: My Plain Jane

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You may think you know the story. After a miserable childhood, penniless orphan Jane Eyre embarks on a new life as a governess at Thornfield Hall. There, she meets one dark, brooding Mr. Rochester. Despite their significant age gap (!) and his uneven temper (!!), they fall in love—and, Reader, she marries him. (!!!)

Or does she?

Prepare for an adventure of Gothic proportions, in which all is not as it seems, a certain gentleman is hiding more than skeletons in his closets, and one orphan Jane Eyre, aspiring author Charlotte Brontë, and supernatural investigator Alexander Blackwood are about to be drawn together on the most epic ghost hunt this side of Wuthering Heights.

Source: GoodReads

In theory this book could’ve been written for me.  It has all the sorts of things I love: Jane Eyre retellings, ghost hunting, a team of authors who wrote probably one of my favorite books in 2016.  But in the end the book sort of flopped for me.

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Note, I’m giving it a middle of the road rating though.  For all intents and purposes I have read way worse in 2018.  Which isn’t a good thing.  I’m honestly thinking of hitting some backlist books pretty soon to get me out of this rut of awfulness.

The concept of this book I said it cat nip for yours truly.  I am currently watching that stupid Ghost Adventures show (fondly referred to Ghost Douche Bros) while I am drafting this.  And yes, I enjoy Ghost Douche Bros more than this book.  Because at least that show has a sense of style about it that this book does not.

Hell, if I even knew how the mythology worked in this book when I finished it.  All I got is you die and come back to life you can see ghosts.  Okay…that really doesn’t make sense and there’s something called beacons that are never really fully explained…okay.

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Also, it make a fairly lousy Jane Eyre retelling.  Jane Eyre is one of those books that’s constantly retold over and over again in YA.  Some retellings I like better than others, this one really did not work.

I sort of hated the fact that Charlotte Bronte was included in the book.  I get that this was a fictionalization of the author and all that jazz, but I kept thinking of Charlotte’s actual life during this and was like no…plus, lady died extremely young so that sort of sours the ending besides the fact…

I get it’s alternative history but still.  CHARLOTTE BRONTE HATED JANE AUSTEN.  I just have to fucking say it.  There were so many Austen references I figured Ms. Bronte is rolling in her grave over them.

Also, the way Jane’s story is written completely ruins Jane Eyre. And yes, while I do find the romance between Jane and Rochester problematic, I found the ending of this book even worse.  It made me grimace at how they resolved things to hit at Jane getting a happy ending.

FYI, the look alike replacement love interest is never a good thing.  The reader doesn’t care if they look like X.  We can’t see X in the story.  We like X based on how he’s described his personality, not his looks.  Having a character fall in love with someone instantly because they look X just grates of my fucking nerves.  Not that I loved X here, but you get the idea.

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It’s a trope that needs to burn.

While My Lady Jane was full of humor and had an understated Princess Bride-ish quality about it.  This one one is like yeah we know we’re funny and trying to be like The Princess Bride let’s literally rift one of the most iconic scenes from the book and movie out and place it in the book.

All I have to say is My Plain Jane, you have offended The Princess Bride, prepare to die.

The one thing in this retelling I did like was that they expanded on the character Helen.  In the original source material, she merely is there to die.  While dead here, the character does have some growth development as a ghost which is nice.

I don’t really recommend this one if you loved the past book or are a fan of the authors or Jane Eyre.  It sadly doesn’t work.  However, it’s not a complete failure since there are some things about the book that interest me.  However, I really wasn’t a fan and the only reason it is staying on my shelf is I’m a bit peculiar about having an entire series on my shelf.

Overall Rating: A C+

Super Vanilla: Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian

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A summer read about first love, feminism, and ice cream.

Summer in Sand Lake isn’t complete without a trip to Meade Creamery—the local ice cream stand founded in 1944 by Molly Meade who started making ice cream to cheer up her lovesick girlfriends while all the boys were away at war. Since then, the stand has been owned and managed exclusively by local girls, who inevitably become the best of friends. Seventeen-year-old Amelia and her best friend Cate have worked at the stand every summer for the past three years, and Amelia is “Head Girl” at the stand this summer. When Molly passes away before Amelia even has her first day in charge, Amelia isn’t sure that the stand can go on. That is, until Molly’s grandnephew Grady arrives and asks Amelia to stay on to help continue the business…but Grady’s got some changes in mind…

Source:GoodReads

I have been on a  slew of shit reads lately.  Yeah, I know a harsh way to start the review, but I’ll just say it now, Stay Sweet isn’t bad.  It’s a little bland and other than the twist towards the end of the novel there’s nothing that really stuck out to me, but it didn’t turn me into a rage inducing Book Hulk like some of my other recent reads being said.

That being said, this book is a little forgettable.  I started writing my review about thirty minutes after I finished the book, only because I know it’s going to go from my memory fast.

What I liked about the book: it was very summery.  I like light hearted books in the summer time, and while there were a few darker moments in this book it was for the most part pretty light.  I mean, there’s only so many ways you can make ice cream dark.

I also found the characters to be relatively unoffensive for the most part, although bland.  Though I do have to say, the book overall underwhelmed me.

The blurb says that feminism is going to be a strong theme throughout the novel.  Honestly, other than one character’s decision I didn’t really see any shades of feminism throughout the book.  I looked.  So, to quiet the disappointment I am inserting a gif that defines feminism.

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I thought that this book could’ve been a strong story about female friendship, however the friendship ended up being a bad friendship and took a backseat to the kind of weird romance.

I did not like the ship in this book.  For one thing, there was a weird power dynamic that gave me the icks.  And for another, I really did not like Grady he seemed like a weak character who didn’t have a spine.  And I don’t do spineless and neither should Amelia.  But Amelia was sort of spineless too…so.

God, Amelia.  She is the main character in the book.  Though, the novel is not told in her point of view.  It’s in this weird stilted third person POV.  I don’t know if that’s Vivian’s typical style-this is the first book I read by her-but it just made the book seem off to me.  This is just a preference thing, but it just didn’t work.  It probably didn’t help that the lead was also extremely weak and pretty much devoid of any personality, other than she wants to work at the ice cream parlor for the summer.

The ice cream was the most interesting part to me.  I actually bought a fairly decent ice cream machine  this year, so I’ve been trying out different recipes and was interested in reading this.  However, I was just shaking my head at how ridiculous hard it was for these characters to make some decent ice cream.  Seriously, couldn’t they just invest in a copy of The Perfect Scoop already and call it a day?

Digression aside, I think Vivian did over complicate the process.   Probably on purpose to give the plot some extra fodder, but still.  A basic Philadelphia style vanilla isn’t that complex.  You’re not even making a custard, but I digress (again).

A lot of things were either over complicated or essentially all realities were suspended in order to add to the plot.  It annoyed me.  I also hated how a GoFundMe was essentially used to resolve all of the MC’s problems (including the rift with her friend) at the end of the book.  Did I mention I fucking hate GoFundMes.  Now occasionally, there will be a worth while cause up there, but its not an adequate way to raise money for a business.  And there is a lot of pandering that goes on on that website as well.

At the end of the day, I found Stay Sweet to be fairly inoffensive.  I just don’t think it’s one of those books that’s going to stick with me a week or so from writing this.  It wasn’t bad though.  If you like quick little summer time reads, you might want to give it a try, but it is far from perfect.

Overall Rating: C+

 

The Time I Almost Threw A Book in a Toliet: One Small Thing by Erin Watt

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Beth’s life hasn’t been the same since her sister died. Her parents try to lock her down, believing they can keep her safe by monitoring her every move. When Beth sneaks out to a party one night and meets the new guy in town, Chase, she’s thrilled to make a secret friend. It seems a small thing, just for her.

Only Beth doesn’t know how big her secret really is…

Fresh out of juvie and determined to start his life over, Chase has demons to face and much to atone for, including his part in the night Beth’s sister died. Beth, who has more reason than anyone to despise him, is willing to give him a second chance. A forbidden romance is the last thing either of them planned for senior year, but the more time they spend together, the deeper their feelings get.

Now Beth has a choice to make—follow the rules, or risk tearing everything apart…again.

Source: GoodReads

Even though my father has a tendency to be an all around terrible person, he has his moments of wisdom.  One Dad signature phrase that came into mind after reading One Small Thing  was, “I need a triple shot of vodka.”

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Because seriously, after reading this shit if I was a drinking lady (which I’m not for health reasons) I’d totally be getting smashed right now.

Instead, I put in a Burn Notice DVD so I can watch Jeffrey Donovan kick ass when he was moderately attractive-season one Michael is where it’s at folks, before the severe bulking up and Paul Ryan hair dye.

Television diversion aside and Dad quoting wisdom (seriously, my asshole father having actual wisdom still confound me) aside, I really hated this book.

The concept in just general should’ve gotten it a one trip visit to the slush pile.  Pretty much falling in love with your sister’s murderer should be a no no.  But hey….I get it.  There have been storylines that took this stupid plot line before.  Like the late great All My Children in which big shot journalist Brooke English fell in love with this pastor who got drunk and killed her daughter all those years ago before becoming a pastor.

However, All My Children was smart enough to cut their loses and end this ship.  It’s really hard to do in a book and God this ship really never got off the ground.  I’m sorry but random drunk hookup does not equal sexy like Watt would like the audience to think.

I think my biggest concern with this book was that it just pushed too many buttons and there wasn’t any redeeming features.

The parents are assholes.  They angered me.  The whole taking off the door off of the MC’s room was something similar that happened to me when I was a teen.  It still annoys me to this very day that my mother thought that was all funny hahaha that she took my door off because God forbid I wanted some privacy.

Thankfully, my mother even though idiotic in that moment wasn’t nearly as bad as the parents in this book.  I think that Beth’s parents are seriously in contention for the Golden Charlie of 2018.

They are just outright terrible people.  So is most of the cast of this book.  Funny, titling this book Terrible People might’ve actually been more in its benefit than how it was presented.

I’m not naive.  I knew going in that the concept was going to make me squeamish.  However, I thought it would’ve been done with a little finesse just not a little you’re like so hot at a party and then instant hook up and pretty much forget that the guy killed your sister because he’s hot.

The book, honestly, sort of goes against the Erin Watt brand.  While it does have its signature flare for the over dramatic never going to happen bat shit insane bits.  It’s not a fluffy romance.  In fact, romance was the last thing I thought about when I read this book. I did not want a romance with this book.  Instead, I wanted to hit the protagonist with a big stick of reality and get her out of her psycho parents’ house and away from her so called friends.

One Small Thing is just really a bad book when it comes down to it.  I can’t find one thing about it that I can say I enjoyed. I mostly kept reading-then skimming-because it was so spectacular that it blew so much.

I will have to say my tolerance for this shit is really surprising me these days.  This used to be the sort of book I would bemoaning at and ranting about, but other than almost throwing it in my toilet when I read it-I know, sometimes it surprises me at how immature I still occasionally might be.  One would think that having a professional degree and being licensed to practice law in two states would make me a bit more mature, but nope book still almost went into the crapper.  Only reason it didn’t was because I didn’t want to call out maintenance agains for my apartment unit-the air was out most of last week AND then the place decided to just go ahead and flood on Saturday.

Overall Rating: Fail.  I don’t know what to say other than that.  There was nothing redeemable about this one.  Save your money, and if you are really desperate and live near me I’m donating my copy to the local library soon so check it out.

Phoned In: Listen To Your Heart by Kasie West

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Talking to other people isn’t Kate Bailey’s favorite activity. She’d much rather be out on the lake, soaking up the solitude and sunshine. So when her best friend, Alana, convinces Kate to join their high school’s podcast, Kate is not expecting to be chosen as the host. Now she’ll have to answer calls and give advice on the air? Impossible.

But to Kate’s surprise, she turns out to be pretty good at the hosting gig. Then the podcast gets in a call from an anonymous guy, asking for advice about his unnamed crush. Kate is pretty sure that the caller is gorgeous Diego Martinez, and even surer that the girl in question is Alana. Kate is excited for her friend … until Kate herself starts to develop feelings for Diego. Suddenly, Kate finds that while doling out wisdom to others may be easy, asking for help is tougher than it looks, and following your own advice is even harder.

Kasie West’s adorable story of secrets, love, and friendship is sure to win over hearts everywhere.

Source: GoodReads

Kasie West is the 2010’s version of Meg Cabot.  That is both a good and bad thing.  Like Cabot, she write cute, fluffy books that give you the feels and she’s extremely prolific.  Also, like Cabot, sometimes the quality suffers as a result of the prolificness.

Listen to Your Heart feels very phoned in, which is kind of ironic because it’s about a girl who who has a podcast show where people call in to ask for advice.

The concept of the story itself isn’t that original.  There are lots of stories that share the sort of plot line that this story has.   I probably watched a couple of Hallmark movies with similar plots.  What would make this concept good, is the execution.  Are the characters fully fleshed out? Is the chemistry with the characters palatable?  Is there some sort of plot twist that makes the story original despite having what appears to be a fairly generic concept/plot?

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All the answer to these questions is no with this book.  It was as if West was clearly  phoning this one in.  The MC lives near the lake  that’s her defining characterization.  And she has lots of cousins.  One whose four.  This is pointed out every time, Cora-the four year-old, makes an appearance. The only reason I remember Cora is it’s made pretty fucking clear through the book that she’s four-years-old.

There’s lots of other cousin’s too.  Most of them are as blah as wallpaper.  The only one besides Cora I remember is Liz or it Liza, whoever she is she’s the one who randomly goes to a tutoring center so that Kate can interact with Diego.

Diego is the love interest, BTW.  Though, Kate doesn’t really have feelings or decent interaction with him for most of the book.  Hell, I thought her love interest was going to be someone else who she at least sort of shared chemistry with.  But apparently, I was wrong.

Me missing ships  does happen occasionally.  See the Harry Potter books where I was not able to guess the horrid cannon couples we got-Heron is totally going to go to wizard divorce court you know it and I know it and I won’t even get started on my hatred for the shallow ship that is Hinny (it should’ve been Harmony, damn it, even Rowling knows it and now admits it).

If you made it past my Harry Potter ship rant (it really doesn’t take much to get me started) you’ll see that I really didn’t get the Diego/Kate relationship because other than a couple of interactions with the two of them, there isn’t that much interaction with the two of them.

The story itself was vanilla.  I was hoping for a couple of more plot twists than we got.  I really felt this could’ve been developed more than it was.  Even the podcast itself was boring, nothing really developed from it and I kind of was surprise that a high school teacher would actually okay an advice podcast for high school kids.  Then again, what do I know…

After reading this, a part of me felt cynical.  Contemporary YA is usually my jam.  Yes, it can be cheesy and unrealistic, but that’s part of what I love about it.  With this book I just felt complete blah-ness there was nothing that had me loving the characters or  interested in the story.  I knew what was going to happen.  Even worse, the only thing  that really was unexpected was the ship.  And it wasn’t because the ship itself was unsuspected.  Rather, it was how  banal and chemistry-less the ship was.  Hell, I thought the interaction between the MC and her archenemy was better than her interaction with Diego.

If you are a die hard Kasie West fan you’ll probably read this one and moderately enjoy it.  I’ll admit that during the days Meg Cabot was uber prolific I read every book by her even if it was not so good and told myself it was good.  I could see West fans doing that too.  However, the book is not going to sit on you later on when you look at West’s backlist.  Much like when I think of Meg Cabot’s books I do usually not think about How to be Popular (which I think is one of Cabot’s worse).

Would I say it’s the worst book ever?  Hardly.  But it’s not worth its space on my shelves and for someone who gets as much praise as West does, it was a bit of a fail.

Overall Rating: An F.

Needs More Heart Pullage Less Teenage Angst: Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf

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Zera is a Heartless – the immortal, unageing soldier of a witch. Bound to the witch Nightsinger ever since she saved her from the bandits who murdered her family, Zera longs for freedom from the woods they hide in. With her heart in a jar under Nightsinger’s control, she serves the witch unquestioningly.

Until Nightsinger asks Zera for a Prince’s heart in exchange for her own, with one addendum; if she’s discovered infiltrating the court, Nightsinger will destroy her heart rather than see her tortured by the witch-hating nobles.

Crown Prince Lucien d’Malvane hates the royal court as much as it loves him – every tutor too afraid to correct him and every girl jockeying for a place at his darkly handsome side. No one can challenge him – until the arrival of Lady Zera. She’s inelegant, smart-mouthed, carefree, and out for his blood. The Prince’s honor has him quickly aiming for her throat.

So begins a game of cat and mouse between a girl with nothing to lose and a boy who has it all.

Winner takes the loser’s heart.

Literally.

Source: GoodReads

I get so tired of DNF’ing.  Seriously, my second DNF of the week.  I’m put out with it.  But after almost 200 pages of this one-I did give it the good college try-I couldn’t waste any of my time to it.

Perhaps, I was being too daring YA high fantasy and I usually do not mix.  They are heavily trope-y, and while I do have my fair share of tropes that I love the tropes often used in high fantasy aren’t my cup of tea-I mean, how many long lost princess stories can one have?

Bring Me Their Hearts intrigued me.  The idea of a heartless MC has intrigued me since Once Upon a Time did Cora’s backstory.

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Of course, Once Upon a Time being the show it was fucked the whole idea up.  But it was a great premises, and I looked forward to seeing how something similarly would be handled in book form.

However, Zera was probably one of the most immature brats I’ve seen in awhile in YA.  And mentally she’s suppose to be 19, so I really can’t blame her behavior totally on youth.  I mean, I’ve read 13 year-old protagonist with more maturity and grace than her.

I think with a character like Zera you expect angst.  But I didn’t really get the sort of angst I was expecting.  I was thinking I would get more gritty actual angst, than YA I’m a surly teenager angst.  I mean, come on, girl has her heart ripped out, is essentially some witch’s slave, AND her entire family was killed she should have issues more than the fact she can’t wear her so called slutty dresses.

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But I digress…

The crux of this novel goes into the standard typical forbidden love trope that high fantasy loves to play with.  I’m not a particular fan of this trope.  It’s not that it can’t be done right, it’s just that it usually isn’t.  Also, when you describe the love interest in a term that’s best used for plants and furniture makes me want to throw up a little bit in my mouth….

His face is his father’s, too, sun-kissed oakwood, and yet his eyes are his mother’s-piercign dark iron and sable darkness, and every part of me hates it-hates the fact that someone who’s to inherit so much power and wealth is striking as well (4)

Yeah, that was only four pages in.  The writing is this God awful throughout the entire book-well, the 200 pages I read.    I mean, look at this beauty

Two witches stand before us, radiating power; a bald man in an immaculately pressed gold-threaded suit and a woman with short, impossibly blue hair and a flowing gauzy dress that hides little of her midnight skin.  Both of them are so tall-though not as tall as Nightsinger-and with that same eeriness about them that gives me goose bumps (31)

Do I really need to fucking know that one of these witches has blue hair?  Seriously. Aggressive descriptions like this annoy me and weigh down the book.

It doesn’t help  that the interactions in the book seem unrealistic at best.  Like, the witch who has Zera’s heart…honestly, doesn’t seem that much of a bad guy.  But Zera detests her.  And then we get two other witches with one being just a complete a-hole.  Is this suppose to make me sympathize for the witch who has Zera’s heart because it seemed like a complete cop out to me?  Same as trying to save the children by killing them and making them zombies.

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Yes, save a child and make it them your own personal zombie solider.

Yes,  I said zombies.

Because Zera is a quasi zombie.  It’s really the best way to describe the heartless.  Though, she calls herself a monster.  I was like dude, just say zombie.  She has to eat raw flesh not to be totally out of control and I have to say it is an interesting twist if it ever amounted to anything.  But out of the 200 pages I read, the only thin I really ever saw was Zera getting stupid Princess Diaries 2 etiquette lessons and frilly dresses.  And no, just no.  I honestly, thought I was reading a recap of Throne of Glass for a bit with how pointless these scenes were.

Look, I like dress porn as much as any girly girl does, BUT when I am on a very limited reading schedule and its just adding unnecessary fodder to a book that is already filled with necessary fodder, I get annoyed especially when we’re almost 200 pages into a fucking book and little has been done developing any of the side characters.

The blurb heavily hints that romance is going to be a primary focus of the book, after all there is some weird sort of court ritual going on here.  BUT 200 pages into the book and you barely see interaction between Lucien and Zera.

I just didn’t like this one.

Maybe someone else will enjoy it more than me.  Maybe Zera stops being incredibly annoying .  Maybe Zera actually sort of deals with the fact that she’s a glorified slave and doesn’t have montages upon montages of dress porn.  But you know what, I didn’t care to stay to find out.  I don’t get to read as often as I used to, and when I do something this isn’t going to hold my interest.

Overall Rating: DNF

How to DNF In 77 Pages: The Art of French Kissing by Brianna R Shrum

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Seventeen-year-old Carter Lane has wanted to be a chef since she was old enough to ignore her mom’s warnings to stay away from the hot stove. And now she has the chance of a lifetime: a prestigious scholarship competition in Savannah, where students compete all summer in Chopped style challenges for a full-ride to one of the best culinary schools in the country. The only impossible challenge ingredient in her basket: Reid Yamada.

After Reid, her cute but unbearably cocky opponent, goes out of his way to screw her over on day one, Carter vows revenge, and soon they’re involved in a full-fledged culinary war. Just as the tension between them reaches its boiling point, Carter and Reid are forced to work together if they want to win, and Carter begins to wonder if Reid’s constant presence in her brain is about more than rivalry. And if maybe her desire to smack his mouth doesn’t necessarily cancel out her desire to kiss it.

Source: GoodReads

Oh, boy.

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I’ll be fair to this one it’s shit, but not shit in the sort of way where I’m raging.  It’s just bland shit, where I can really say I hate the love to hate trope.  Especially when it involves misogynist  assholes like Reid who I still can’t understand how the blurb thought it was reasonable to describe him as cute.

Reid is pretty much the defining reason why this trope can fail so hard.  Let me be frank, the enemies to lovers trope is one of those tropes I hate an ironic love/hate relationship with.  When done correctly it works amazingly (see It Happened One Autumnwhen it fails it can be worse than the very worse Dramione fan fiction (I shouldn’t be admitting that I even ventured into reading those but whatevs).

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Reid falls into what make me get my belly full of Dramione fan fics.  He is obnoxious.  A budding “well, actually” bro on the internet.  Within ten pages of meeting our MC he tries to destroy our MC but it’s all in the name of competition ya’ll so that’s okay.

The MC’s not that much better.  I really don’t know much about her other than she has the latest Star Wars merchandise which I guess is suppose to make he relatable.  Fun, really not related to this review fact, I have never seen Star Wars which is kind of weird considering what a huge Indiana Jones nerd I am.

You really didn’t need to know that.

Overall, the set up of the book really reminded me of Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous except there was no actual TV show here.  Still though, the formula stayed eerily the same.

And quite honestly, if you’re going to write the book like an actual recap of Chopped I’d be much better off actually watching the show or going on Previously TV or some other TV recap site on the internet and read their recaps.

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Seriously, what is the point of that?  Yes, I’m sure the cooking competition was suppose to show conflict but when your just giving us a blow by blow of what happens, not giving us a culinary point of view or anything…

Holy shit, I’m starting to sound like I could be one of those obnoxious judges on The Next Food Network Star I really need to stop it.  The point I’m trying to make though, is there was a lot of telling in this book not a lot of showing.  It felt stunted and very manufactured.  It didn’t really  anything about it that made it memorable or made me excited.

Again, it’s a shame.

I like reading about food.  This book took place in Savannah.  I went to Savannah last summer, I would’ve liked to relive that.  However, the book could’ve taken place anywhere.  Never mind that Savannah actually has a pretty big foodie scene,that would’ve been fun to explore.  No this book makes its self a fucking Chopped recap with a love interest that should just go ahead and get neutered because he is an obnoxious asshole.

What do I know though, other than I DNF’d this fucker.

Overall Rating: DNF

 

Bet On the Sanderson Sisters Not These Dweebs:The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

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Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.

Source: GoodReads

Just because this book involves three sister witches that are resurrected do not think it’s going to be like Hocus Pocus.  That was my mistake.  This book sucked.  Hocus Pocus does not suck.  It is campy, awesome, and probably one of my favorite Halloween movies.

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This book does suck.  It annoyed for more than too many reasons to count.

The premises had everything I would want in a book.  The blurb makes it look like going to be atmospheric, that it’s going to be full of history, that there will be shades of female empowerment throughout the book…

Get those dreams out of your head, dear readers, because you ain’t getting it with this book.

Oh, there is a cake maker who makes forget me cakes that seem to feature lavender.  There is a lot of lavender eating in this book, which I really don’t understand.  I’m not a huge fan of lavender in food.  I like it in bath bombs and laundry detergent, but in food it can easily become overpowering.  Hearing about it just makes me gag a little.

But besides the mystic cake maker there really isn’t anything mystic about this small town by the island besides three people being murdered every summer and as a result they use it as a tourist attraction.

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Does that even compute with you?

I mean, it doesn’t to me.  If three people are randomly going to be killed every summer, I MUST have to go to said town to get killed right?

Um, no.

Then again, nothing computes in this book.  The big twist for instance.  It really didn’t work for me, really didn’t work.  Or make sense for that matter.  And then the way everything was resolved…it really left a nasty feeling in my mouth.

The one thing I got out of this book after I finished reading it was that this book really does not give a shit about consent.   This is felt very early on in the book when inappropriate advances towards the MC are used to facilitate a “meet cute” moment.

This is NOT a meet cute moment.  This is disgusting.  I don’t know why authors think that such a scenario would facilitate romance.  I guess they think the reader’s are going to go for the knight and shining armor type.

Note, that’s not the case at all.  When you are in an situation like Penny was at the beginning of the novel the last thing you’re going to look for is romance.  Even if your “savior” is a nice enough guy, you’re not going to want to instantly hook up with him because he eliminated a douche from your line up.  Trust me, it’s going to be the furthest thing from my mind and I’m sure the minds of most people who end up in that particular situation.

Yet, in YA books it’s ALWAYS used as a fucking meet cute.

While I don’t want to go into spoiler specifics-since the book was only released a couple of months ago-I do want to point out that this isn’t the only time where consent is flippantly handled.  Much of the book ignores the issues of consent in it, and it really soured the book more which I didn’t think was possible.

Because the pacing in this one sucked, ya’ll.  Sure there was the occasional cliff hanger murder thrown in here and there but it was more or less mentioned in passing and was always off screen.  The big climax of the book really didn’t work for me either it was just sort of random and didn’t really work.

I still don’t even get how the whole curse thing came to being.  And that might be my own fault since I started singing the skim song during this book.

Don’t know what the skim song is.  Well, since I am feeling in a generous mood I’ll give you a few lyrics.  Note this can be sung to “The Merrily Old Land of Oz”, “Skim, Skim, Skim, Skim, Skim, Ska, Skim, Skim/That’s How You Get Through All  This Shit by Skimming Skimming Along.”

And I was singing this song a lot through the book.  I didn’t care for any of the characters.  They all were cardboard at best.  The relationship between Bo and Whoever the MC was just didn’t work.  Bo was pretty much the random hot guy that comes into town with a secret.

It just didn’t work for me.

I just can’t believe the hype this book is getting.  It shouldn’t be getting this hype.  It shouldn’t be getting a Netflix deal.  It’s not worth it people.   I guess I can see some media company just using the essence of this book and making something great out of it, but for a direct interpretation itself.  Not so freaking much.

Overall Rating: Fail.  Fail.  Fail.

 

It’s Not Terrible: Love and Luck by Jenna Evans Welch

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Addie is visiting Ireland for her aunt’s over-the-top destination wedding, and hoping she can stop thinking about the one horrible thing she did that left her miserable and heartbroken—and threatens her future. But her brother, Ian, isn’t about to let her forget, and his constant needling leads to arguments and even a fistfight between the two once inseparable siblings. Miserable, Addie can’t wait to visit her friend in Italy and leave her brother—and her problems—behind.

So when Addie discovers an unusual guidebook, Ireland for the Heartbroken, hidden in the dusty shelves of the hotel library, she’s able to finally escape her anxious mind and Ian’s criticism.

And then their travel plans change. Suddenly Addie finds herself on a whirlwind tour of the Emerald Isle, trapped in the world’s smallest vehicle with Ian and his admittedly cute, Irish-accented friend Rowan. As the trio journeys over breathtaking green hills, past countless castles, and through a number of fairy-tale forests, Addie hopes her guidebook will heal not only her broken heart, but also her shattered relationship with her brother.

That is if they don’t get completely lost along the way.

Source: GoodReads

I really feel like I’m the odd one out with Jenna Evans Welch.  I know a lot of people love her contemporaries, but I am just not part of that team.  Love and Gelato while not terrible, was not a wow read for me.  And unfortunately, Love and Luck sort of followed the same pattern, though I do think there were misogynist undertones in the book that made me want to puke.

Why did I read this in book in the first  place…well, it is nearing the seventh anniversary since I visited Ireland so that’s why.  I wanted some nostalgia, so kill me.  And there were several places in the book that I visited though my recollections were a lot different than Addie’s.

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Seven years ago I was spending my summer with the highs in the 50’s and 60’s. After last week it doesn’t feel exactly real.

Digressing, digressing.

Anyways, back to the book.  The general gist of the book is that Addie and her Douche Brother and Family are attending her aunt’s wedding the two of them get in a fight on the Cliffs of Mohr and don’t die and their mother gets pissed and condemns each of them if the other fucks up when they go to Florence.  Only they don’t go to Florence because the first book takes place in Italy and this one takes place in Ireland ya’ll.

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The Cliffs of Mohr, not exactly the sort of place you’d want to fall off of a hill on. Also, the day I went wasn’t exactly idyllic wedding weather.

Instead, we get an Irish road trip.  Which is yay I guess?

Side digression, I got completely car sick any time I traveled in Ireland.  Which was mostly through bus and some really weird cab rides.  I think it’s because the whole driving on the other side of the road thing.  And then driving up mountains when you’re used to driving in the coastal plains of Texas thing.   Just thinking about being on a road trip across Ireland makes me feel slightly barf-y right now.  Perhaps, that’s why I never did the whole Ring of Kerry tour-even though I know I sort of missed out.

Honestly, the road trip seemed like it went incredibly fast to me.  For example, I can’t imagine just spending an hour in the Burren.  Grant it, my memories of the Burren consist of me getting slopping wet and later ending up getting an infection that lead to me getting pneumonia in the fall but digressing AGAIN…

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Me at the Burren  with terrible hair,slopping wet, and going to be hating myself three months later when all I can eat is popsicles.  But at least I have a nice scarf, so that’s all that matters. 

The same goes with going to Cork.  I loved Cork more than Dublin, which I personally think is overrated much like New Orleans-but I ‘m digressing yet AGAIN.  The fact that a mere visit to these places can be described in a few pages and the trip can go onto the next place sort of flummoxes my mind.

I get it, it’s a book.  But I really hate how pretty much this was a point by point book and didn’t take time to relish its surrounding.

One the biggest things that I was able to pick up from my short six weeks in Ireland was to savor things, to take your time and I just didn’t feel like this book did that.  It was more or less pain by the numbers get to the ending of the book.

As far as the characters go, I was sort of meh about Addie.  I hated that it was acted like she made this huge mistake during the book and that her brother had a right to be mad at her.  Honestly, her brother needed to be slugged in the jaw for acting the way he did towards her.

It drove me crazy throughout the book.  The fact that Ian’s (the brother) feelings were more important or stated to be more important-though, indirectly stated-throughout the entire thing drove me crazy.  It took the focus off of what happened to Addie and quite honestly I was a little disgusted by it.

The love interest, Rowan, I was a little meh over.  I really didn’t know why there even needed to be a love interest in this book because for the most part it was about the two siblings hashing out their weird fight.  Rowan wasn’t God awful by any means he just felt unneeded and unnecessary as did the connection with the protagonist of the first book.

God, you can tell I’ve read a lot of books because I completely forgot about the protagonist in the first book and had to reread my review just to know the basics-pretty much, I found the first book to be rather meh as well.

I think what I found so disappointing about these two books is that they should’ve been fantastic.  Summer time is always the perfect time to read a book about traveling because when it’s 112 outside-yes, it was 112 this week-you’d like to imagine yourself somewhere else like Ireland where it’s currently 65 outside (and yes, I have Galway’s weather on my phone because I’m that type of person).  And as the contents of this blog has  probably revealed I like light, fluffy, contemporaries but this book.  So did not work.

I think this book suffered from trying to pigeon toe itself around the heartache guidebook.  It’s a similar problem I’ve seen suffered from other books, the one I can think on top of my head being How to be Popular.  

By trying to revolve the book around this guidebook, I felt like there were many things that were lost.  Again, we’re in Ireland we need to go off the beaten path a little bit.

At the end of the day though, this wasn’t exactly the worst book I have ever read.  Have I read better, oh yeah, but it wasn’t a total time sunk.  I knocked it out one  very hot evening when my thermostat wouldn’t go down from 85 despite being set at 77.

Overall Rating: A C+ it doesn’t quite do Ireland justice but it’s not going to kill you to read it.

Don’t Fuck With Only You: My So Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma

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Winnie Mehta was never really convinced that Raj was her soulmate, but their love was written in the stars. Literally, a pandit predicted Winnie would find the love of her life before her 18th birthday, and Raj meets all of the qualifications. Which is why Winnie is shocked to return from her summer at film camp to find her boyfriend of three years hooking up with Jenny Dickens. Worse, Raj is crowned chair of the student film festival, a spot Winnie was counting on for her film school applications. As a self-proclaimed Bollywood expert, Winnie knows this is not how her perfect ending is scripted.

Then there’s Dev, a fellow film geek, and one of the few people Winnie can count on to help her reclaim control of her story. Dev is smart charming, and challenges Winnie to look beyond her horoscope to find someone she’d pick for herself. But does falling for Dev mean giving up on her prophecy, and her chance to live happily ever after? To get her Bollywood-like life on track, Winnie will need a little bit of help from fate, family, and of course, a Bollywood movie star.

Like an expertly choreographed Bollywood dance scene, Nisha Sharma’s off-beat love story dazzles in the lime light.

Source: GoodReads

Well, this weekend sucked when it came to terms of reading.  After reading my last read, I was in the mood for no bull shit which unfortunately meant for My So Called Bollywood  Life it got thrown halfway across the room after fifty pages.

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Side note, that’s  actually a pretty far distance from me.  I took the photo on my couch and threw the thing as far as I could, which I know is sort of pathetic but the fact it was thrown this far shows how angry I was.

Going into this, I knew I’d probably would be dealing with a TSTL heroine.  I mean, it’s sort of stated in the blurb of the book that she’s going to be stupid beyond belief.  But I was also under the impression this book was sort of going to be like that early 90’s movie Only Youwhich for those unaware is when Iron Man and Aunt May were dating IRL and decided to do a movie together so that they could pretty much go on a free vacation to Italy.  Anyway, Aunt May is sort of TSTL in the movie and thinks that based on a random fortune teller and a Ouija  board that she’s going to get hitched to some dude named Damon Bradley.  Of course, hijinks result of that and there’s lots of kissing.  Lots and lots of kissing.

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My So Called Bollywood Life tries to do that same sort of plot.  However, rather than coming off oddly charming like Tony Stark  and Aunt May did it just comes up as unbelievably dumb.  Also, it lacked the kissing.

Also, the MC has a bit of a Carrie Underwood moment at the beginning of the book that is beyond idiotic.  In fact, in the fifty pages I read she seems to be in Carrie Underwood mode the entire time even though it’s stated that her douche of a boyfriend and her were on break because he cheated on her.

And honestly, it’s pretty explicit by page fifty she doesn’t care for this douche she just wants to fulfill the prophecy like she’s freaking Voldemort or some one.

Just don’t bother with this one.  I feel like this review is fairly short, but there’s not much to say about this one but a waste.  I honestly picked it up because Only You (the Iron Man and Aunt Mae movie) is one of my favorite rom coms and I liked the Bollywood angle that this one supposedly had.  But other than the chapters being headed by a nondescript comment about a film, there’s really nothing about Bollywood about this one.

Also, don’t fuck with Only You.

Such a disappointment.

Overall Rating: DNF