She’s Still Got IT: Remembrance by Meg Cabot

In REMEMBRANCE, the seventh installment of the Mediator series, all Susannah Simon wants is to make a good impression at her first job since graduating from college (and becoming engaged to Dr. Jesse de Silva).

But when she stumbles across an ancient murder, old ghosts—and ex-boyfriends—aren’t all that come back to haunt her.

REMEMBRANCE will be the first ever adult installment of the Mediator, published by William Morrow, the adult division of HarperCollins, the company that brought you the YA books in the series.

Source: GoodReads

The Mediator series is sort of my gold standard series for YA.  It has a strong feminist main character who’s bad ass while dressed (tastefully) in Kate Spade and it has one of the best heroes in YA to date.  Plus, a love triangle that doesn’t want me to gouge my eyes out.  How can one not love the Mediator series?

Yeah, thought so.

To say the least, I was excited but a bit weary when I heard that Meg Cabot was publishing a seventh book.  The sixth book, after all, ended on such a wonderful note.  I was really scary what would happen after that.  I mean, how can you top Suze doing a Marty McFly and saving Jesse’s life.

Well, you really can’t.  But never the less, Remembrance was a delightful nostalgic read.

It does have a few quirks, but those quirks were very easy to overlook when reading the book as a whole.

First and foremost, Suze’s voice is still as authentic as ever.  She’s still sassy, not afraid to kick ass, but realistically matured.  I really enjoy that the essence of her character was kept.  One of my problems with Missing You  (the adult-ish sequel to Meg’s 1800-Where-R-U seires was I thought Jess lost a bit of her punch).  Suze, not so much.  There were some choices she made that had me raising my eyebrows a bit-for spoiler purposes I won’t go into them, BUT as a legal professional who worked in family law I was just like really Suze-but it fit with the character enough.

Jesse is swoon worthy as ever, but the character is a little more complex in this installment which is a good thing and very understandable since he’s alive now and dealing with the aftermath of being a NCDP (see, Suze I’m using your term-it’s admitedly catchy).  I liked these added layers.  Also, other characters are further developed such as Suze’s stepbrothers.  I didn’t see some of the twists involving their lives coming (i.e. David), but it was refreshing.

If you’re a huge Paul Slater fan, I don’t know how you’re going to feel about how Paul turned out as an adult.  Personally, I have a love hate relationship with this character.  When I read or wrote fan fic it was usually Paul/Suze, but that hardly means I wanted him to end up with her in cannon or find the character to be redeemable in cannon.  He’s admittedly slimy, but there’s something about him that makes for an interesting character to explore.  And like it or not, Juze shipper or not, you have to admit that Paul and Suze share some great banter.

The banter is still there, though admittedly Paul is dumbed down a bit in this installment.  Where in the previous installments he is decisive in his actions, here he isn’t on his feet as much in the previous novels.  He’s still an antagonist, but not an as worthy one as in past installments.  To be honest, if anything he comes off as borderline pathetic.  And I was more than a little disgusted with him by the end of this book.  Does this mean, I’ll stop reading Pauze fan fics (hardly), but it makes my cannon ship stronger.

It’s sort of sad though, that Paul has destroyed his brain cells.  I like him better when he’s smart evil than quasi dumb evil.  Though, he and Suze still did share some great banter.

The ghost mystery was okay.  Luisa is not my favorite or my least favorite ghost in the series.   I’d say the ghost mystery is comparable to either book two or three.  Better than books one or five, but hardly the zenith of the ghost mystery in book four or the time traveling adventure in book six.  Though, Suze did kick ass.

The wedding scenes and other fluff scenes were also well done.  But really, Jesse.  Really.  I feel sorry for Suze having to…okay, not going to say it for spoilers.  But come on!

Overall, if you’re a fan of The Mediator you should pick this book up.  It’s a nice nostalgia trip down memory lane which is pretty true to the characters.  Unless, you’re a huge Paul fangirl I think you’ll enjoy this one.

Overall Rating: A solid A.

Remembrance will be released on February 2, 2016.

Where Suze Gets a Sparkly Diamond on Her Finger: The Proposal by Meg Cabot

The last place Suze Simon expects to find herself during Valentine’s Day is a cemetery. But that’s what happens when you’re a mediator – cursed with the “gift” of communicating with the dead.

That’s how Suze has ended up at the graves of a pair of NCDPs – Non-Compliant Deceased Persons – whose drama didn’t end with death. It’s Suze’s job to make sure they move on—for good.

But the NCDPs aren’t the only ones with problems. The reason Suze is spending her Valentine’s Day with the undead instead of her boyfriend, Jesse, is because he’s having so much trouble adjusting to life after death . . . not surprising, considering the fact that he used to be an NCDP himself, and now his girlfriend busts his former kind for a living, while he tries to cure his kind of what used to ail him.

Can Suze use her mediating skills to propose a mutual resolution, and bring all these young lovers together – including Jesse and herself – especially on the night Saint Valentine declared sacred to romance?

Or will she end up alone—and possibly undead—herself?

Source: GoodReads

 

Honestly, I have to say after reading Remembrance, The Proposal was a bit of a disappointed.  It wasn’t bad.  It was a good novella, but it suffered from the pitfalls that many novellas suffer from.

I.E. it focused on having too much of a novel plot, and became overwhelmed by the size it was given (roughly 100 or so pages-though for some reason it felt a lot shorter).

Honestly, the whole ghost mystery plot wasn’t my favorite in this one.  It seemed like a rehash of book three really.   Except, the ghost wasn’t as homicidal as the Angels and Jesse was alive.  Oh, and Suze wasn’t as stupid as she was in that book.  But…

The relationship between Suze and Jesse, works as it always does but they really took a back seat to the ghost mystery and that’s a shame because the ghost mystery really wasn’t my favorite-again, revamp of book three.

Did that mean I hated this novella, hell no.

It gave me another must need Mediator fix and I probably would’ve enjoyed it better if I hadn’t already read Remembrance.  But it was definitely flawed.

And I’m not talking about in that four year degree community college with dorms type way.  Okay, really, maybe it’s just the part of the states I lived in but community colleges are usually two year or trade school programs and I only know one community college offering campus housing.   Most of them don’t.  Hence, the word community.

But hey, I’m not going to be picky because I’m just going to remain calm and Mediator it on.

Because that’s what Suze would do if she wasn’t throwing a punch at a ghostie baddie.

Surprisingly in this book, Suze is a lot more weaker than she was in Remembrance.  Again, this shouldn’t bother me as much as it did, but I just had a hard time seeing Suze in the predicament she got herself in.

But whatever.

God, I am really bitching in this review, aren’t I?

Blame bar prep.

I will say though this was a nice and very time etiquette break.  As much as I’m complaining there were a few nice scenes between Jesse and Suze and I really enjoyed the story behind the ring it’s just….

I feel this novella’s story was greater than it’s page count and it suffered for it.

Overall Rating: A generous B+.  I really should give it a lower rating, but come on, it is The Mediator.

The Only Twilight Worth Acknowledging: Twilight by Meg Cabot

This time it’s life or death.

Suze has gotten used to ghosts. She’s a mediator, after all, and communicating with the dead is all in a day’s work. So she certainly never expected to fall in love with one: Jesse, a nineteenth-century hottie. But when she discovers that she has the power to determine who becomes a ghost in the first place, Suze begins to freak. It means she can alter the course of history… and prevent Jesse’s murder, keeping him from ever becoming a ghost – and from ever meeting Suze.

Will Jesse choose to live without her, or die to love her?

Source: GoodReads

What I Remember: 

I tore into this book on a Mediator binge read back when this book was released.  I think it might’ve been the first time I’ve binge read a series.  I rapidly tore through the pages wanting to read what was next.  And the result it made me laugh, cry, and just have so many feels.

Upon Reread:

I am still getting the feels from this book roughly eleven years after the last one was published-God, I don’t like thinking that this book is that old.

It still holds up pretty well though.  In some ways, it’s holds up better than a lot of Cabot’s older titles.  I think it’s because rather than relying on a lot of pop culture references and jokes that other Cabot titles rely on, it really focuses on the story.

And the story is really aw-ing, although there are some plot holes that I noticed on reread.  But I try not to think of them.  Because we all know time travel is a very strange thing thanks to the Doctor, and it’s better to NOT try to make it logical.

Twilight ties up the series very nicely.  So nicely in fact, that when I heard there was going to be a new book, I was a little nervous.

Because Twilight ends just perfectly.

That last chapter, every single time I read it I just tear up.  It makes some one a little weary seeing how things are going to progress with these characters.

Especially since there was a point in time where Meg said that no one would want her to write a sequel, since bad things would happen to the characters.

Who knows though?

All I know is that Twilight is pretty much the perfect book.  While I wouldn’t say it’s as action packed as Darkest Hour, there is a lot of action in it AND more importantly it’s a very emotional book.  Things are nicely tied up in this installment and can’t help but make you cry with tears of happiness.

Overall Rating: An A+

The Book That Tricked Many Into Thinking It Was the First in the Series: Haunted by Meg Cabot

Is it possible to be haunted by someone who isn’t even dead?

Suze is used to trouble, but this time she’s in deep: Ghostly Jesse has her heart, but Paul Slater, a real flesh-and-blood guy, is warm for her form. And mediator Paul knows how to send Jesse to the Great Beyond. For good.

Paul claims he won’t do anything to Jesse as long as Suze will go out with him. Fearing she’ll lose Jesse forever, Suze agrees. But even if Suze can get Jesse to admit his true feelings for her, what kind of future can she have with a guy who’s already dead?

Source: GoodReads

First, Mediator news.  Apparently, Meg is posting a little short story that called The Proposal in the Mediator universe in January.  Obviously, I have already preordered it-though I don’t know if I’ll get to it in January since I’ll be bar studying (we’ll see).

What I Remember:

I really thought this was the first book in the series when I first read it.  And I liked Paul.  I thought he’d be the end game, only because I didn’t know how Suze and Jesse would get together even though I shipped Juze to the end.  Paul wasn’t quite offensive in this book as he is in book four and six.  And you sort of do think he’d be a worthy rival once he grew up a little (spoiler alert: he never did).

Reread:

Okay, so Haunted is a bit of a downer after Darkest Hour.  Darkest Hour is like a book full of adrenaline, in Haunted the action is much more subdued.  It’s not a bad book (I give it a high rating), but rather than focusing on the action it’s more of the let’s focus on building the love triangle book.

Luckily, Meg Cabot doesn’t fall into a lot of the same pitfalls that a lot of offers do in love triangle center books.  I think it’s mainly because Suze has made up her mind, and more or less this love triangle is about do you settle for something you can have or hold out for something that is feasibly impossible.

It’s actually an interesting approach to a love triangle, especially since Suze’s mind is pretty much made up.

But it is still a love triangle, and love triangles pretty much suck.

The ghost episodic feel of the book is kind of a downer.  You just have a grossly immature ghost who isn’t really that big of an issue.

This is also the first book where Suze calls her stepbrothers by their names.  Honestly, I wish she would’ve kept on calling Dopey Dopey.  I can get why she calls Sleepy and Doc by their names, but Dopey deserved to be called Dopey.

Just saying,

More mediator or should I say shifter mythos is explored which is nice because we needed that.  However, while Jesse was definitely in the last book, I felt like he was missing a bit from this one.

While there are a lot of things about Haunted that are filler, it’s that filler that’s needed.  I really wish the series was allowed to go like it was originally planned to, because I feel like it would’ve made it stronger in some points.  And I think it might’ve somewhat jilted Haunted, but whatever.

Overall Rating: A B+  I could’ve dealt with more, but it’ll do.

In Which Suze Has Me Googling Slip Dresses: Darkest Hour by Meg Cabot

What – or who – is buried in Susannah’s backyard?

When the nineteenth-century ghost of Maria de Silva wakes her up in the middle of the night, Suze knows this is no ordinary visitation – and not just from the knife at her throat, either. In life, Maria was the fiancée of Jesse – the same Jesse who was murdered a hundred and fifty years before. The same Jesse Suze is in love with.

Maria threatens Suze: The backyard construction must cease. Suze has a pretty good idea what – or rather, who – Maria doesn’t want found. But in solving Jesse’s murder, will Suze end up losing him forever?

Source: GoodReads

 

Can you believe it’s the fourth month of this Mediator reread series?  Neither can I.  In Mediator news, there has been an excerpt and cover leaked, people.  Seems like Paul is up to his old tricks again, not that surprised (and yes, I already preordered this book).

What I Remember:

I remember really being surprised by this one and kind of shocked about how evil Paul was in this one.  Because remember, I read Haunted first.  If you just read Haunted, Paul just seems like a sightly sleazy boy who makes some dubious choices.  But in Darkest Evil you know that he would have no problem fighting Voldemort and probably winning (he’d probably exorcise all seven pieces of Voldy’s soul and laugh about it).

Reread

If Suze Simon isn’t a BAMF character before, she is now.

Honestly, in a lot of ways, Darkest Hour is my favorite book in the series.  The last one might hit some emotional strings for me, but this book does too and has Suze fight probably the most scariest baddies in the series.

We also get more backstory on Jesse which is a good thing, because really up until this point the character Jesse needed some (okay, a lot fleshing out).

I think this book is what seals the deal for the Juze ship.  My OTP.  Okay, to be honest I do like Paul/Suze in fanfiction better.  Only because I think in fannon it allows more story, but in cannon I ❤ Suze and Jesse forever.  You can really feel how much these two characters have grown to love each other in this book-though Suze is too stupid to realize Jesse has feelings for her.

I also like how the two of them interact around Maria and Diego.  I thought having Suze having to deal with Jesse’s past was a pretty smart idea on Cabot’s part.  The dude has baggage due to the way he died, and I’m glad she didn’t ignore that.

Maria and Diego make more formable foils than Heather or the RLS Angels, that’ s for sure.   It doesn’t take Suze almost 200 pages to be in peril only till like chapter 2 or 3.  And she’s actually scared.  And Jesse doesn’t really come to her rescue in this book.  She does a bit of saving herself.  Really as far as action goes, I’d say this is probably the most action filled Mediator book.

As I said in the first part of this review, this is the first book that Paul comes into play.  After reading the series as a whole, it is the same Paul but you do see a different side of him here.  I think I read somewhere that Meg always was a little shocked with Paul’s popularity because he is a sleaze.  To be honest, he is sleazy in this book but the Paul character evolves as the series comes to play.  I really wonder if I would be so team Cannon Juze had the series been allowed to extend to the seven or eight book she initially wanted to do.

Overall Darkest Hour was probably one of the best if not the best books in the Mediator series.

Rating: A+

Sleepy and Gina for the Win: Reunion by Meg Cabot

Accidents happen. With ghostly consequences, if you’re Susannah Simon.

The RLS Angels are out for blood, and only Suze can stop them – since she’s the only one who can see them. The four ghostly teenagers died in a terrible car accident, for which they blame Suze’s classmate Michael… and they’ll stop at nothing until he’s joined them in the realm of the dead.

As Suze desperately fends off each attempt on Michael’s life, she finds she can relate to the Angels’ fury. Because their deaths turn out not to have been accidental at all. And their killer is only too willing to strike again.

Source: GoodReads

What I Remember:

When I first read this I was sort of in a rush, but there were a few things that stuck out.  One being the relationship between Suze’s NYC bestie, Gina, and her stepbrother, Sleepy.  I shipped them oddly enough and they were a background relationship.  Also, I loved the action scenes in this book.  Although, this isn’t the zenith of action for this series (that alone goes to book four), this one does have a few good ghost busting moments.  And I was entranced enough to get through it without  my eyes wondering to the last book.

Reread:

Reunion holds up pretty well, but it is a filler book.  It really isn’t until the fourth book in this series that things start moving for the overall series arc.

Although, there is more Suze and Jesse development.  So, yay on that front.

To be honest, books 1-3 follow a similar format.  Suze attracts the eye of a guy who is somehow being haunted or  knows someone who’s being haunted.

In this book it’s Michael Meducci who I always view as Michael Moscovtiz evil twin who is less sexy  but probably just as nerdy that ends up killing Josh Ritcher.

Okay, that didn’t happen in The Princess Diaries.  Though, it could’ve if Meg Cabot wanted to sort of make in like The Heathers.

Weird digression aside, it’s interesting in this book that the hot guy Suze has to watch over isn’t really that hot-unless he’s not wearing any clothes.  And is borderline creepy.

Another bonus to this book, was the introduction of Gina.  Who is one of my favorite side characters.  And I really did like the side ship with her and Sleepy.  She’s the reason I tolerate that stepbrother.  I like Doc too.  Never really grew to like Dopey though, but I think that’s the typical feeling.

Anyway, Gina has some great lines in this installment.  Some of my favorite, involved her reacting to Kelly Prescott’s proposed tank policy against China.  Why I find it hilarious, upon reread is the ridiculous election that’s going on in the US right now.  Seriously, I felt that every ludicrous thing Kelly Prescott said was akin to something The Donald would say.

As far as filler books go, I found this one a little bit more tolerable than Ninth Key not that Ninth Key is bad, it’s just definite filler.

Overall Rating: A B+.

The Great Mediator Reread: Where I Want Suze’s Wardrobe

Ghosts ruin everything. Especially your love life.

Everything is going great for Suze. Her new life in California is a whirlwind of parties and excellent hair days. Tad Beaumont, the hottest boy in town, has even asked Suze out on her very first date. Suze is so excited that she’s willing to ignore her misgivings about Tad… particularly the fact that he’s not Jesse, whose ghostly status – not to mention apparent disinterest in her – make him unattainable.

What Suze can’t ignore, however, is the ghost of a murdered woman whose death seems directly connected to dark secrets hidden in none other than Tad Beaumont’s past.

Source: GoodReads

Original Reading Experience: 

I read this in a binge read when I finally got my hands on the rest of the series-I had read books five and then later four first BEFORE finally reading books one, two, and three.

Honestly, I just wanted to get on with this one and get to the last book because I had to know how my ship was going to work out.  Because it just had to because surely Meg wouldn’t be that cruel…

Anyway, what I remembered the most about Ninth Key was Suze’s fashion choices-Armani sweater seat, Batgirl boots, and Betsey Johnson miniskirt.  That outfit was imprinted on my brain.

And I kept thinking about it since.  Or at least that’s the outfit I always associated Suze with besides the plethora of slip dresses that she wore in the fourth book.

Funny, how this series became a lot of my fashion inspiration at the time.  No Cosmo for me, but Mediator.

Reread:

Ninth Key to me was always the forgotten book in the series.  A lot of people say that about Reunion, but I actually like Reunion more or remember liking Reunion more-I think it Sleepy and Gina that made that one better than it really is.

I so ship them.  Despite the fact that Gina deserves someone a lot more responsible than Sleepy.

Okay, all kidding aside, Ninth Key isn’t bad, it’s just not that remarkable.

Well, the climax scenes were well done and hilarious, but besides them this book was  a particular slow book.  I have to give it Meg though for slowly developing the relationship between Suze and Jesse.  I really do love a good slow burn romance, and this is what this one is.  It’s such a arare thing in YA, so excuse me while I sort of relish in it.

However, I don’t think there was really any growth between them in this installment other than Suze acknowledges that Jesse is hot, and Jesse interrupts a very awkward date with Tad.

But we all knew it was never going to last with Tad.  I’m sure he found himself a nice boyfriend when he moved to San Francisco, just saying.  Honestly, Bryce and Suze were more believable and that’s pushing it.

It’s odd how it takes Paul Slater, who is basically a sociopath, to actually be the one love interest that potentially can match Jesse and that’s mostly in fannon.  Because Paul in cannon is sort of jerk, but he’s not in this book so we can’t talk about him.

Boo.

Most of the development to the overall series was done of the ancillary relationships-family and friends-which was nice.  As I said before, it’s a filler book, but it does a good job showing how blended families relate to each other so that was good.

And I liked how we got to see a bit more of Adam and CeeCee in this installment, though I did feel like they were used a bit by Suze.

Bad Suze.

Overall though, Ninth Key is a good quick read.  It’s never going to have the same impact on me like other installments, but it doesn’t damper the series.

Overall Rating: A solid B.

 

The Great Mediator Reread: Shadowland by Meg Cabot

A few months ago I reread all of the Princess Diaries series in anticipation of the adult installment that was released back in June.  I decided to do the same thing with The Mediator series-which I actually prefer to Diaries.  The seventh book will be released in February 2016.  Between now and then, I’ll be reading one book of the series a month (well, reviewing, there will probably be a point in time where I’ll binge read the rest of the series because that’s just how I do things).

There’s a hot guy in Susannah Simon’s bedroom. Too bad he’s a ghost.

Suze is a mediator – a liaison between the living and the dead. In other words, she sees dead people. And they won’t leave her alone until she helps them resolve their unfinished business with the living. But Jesse, the hot ghost haunting her bedroom, doesn’t seem to need her help. Which is a relief, because Suze has just moved to sunny California and plans to start fresh, with trips to the mall instead of the cemetery, and surfing instead of spectral visitations.

But the very first day at her new school, Suze realizes it’s not that easy. There’s a ghost with revenge on her mind… and Suze happens to be in the way.

Source: GoodReads

Original Reading Experience: 

I actually first read this book after I read the fifth one.  Long story short, the publication of this series was a little weird.  So I only started picking them up after they were published under Meg Cabot’s name, and I thought Haunted was a standalone.  I am glad to say it’s not though-a stand alone.  However, when you first read this book after the fifth one things can feel a little disjointed.

Reread: 

It was enjoyable.  I’ll admit that this book did feel a bit watered down to some YA books I’ve read.  The prose seemed relatively simple to what I’ve been reading lately.  And it’s short, not even three hundred pages.  But it still worked.

As far as Meg Cabot books go, this one wasn’t terribly dated.  Often when I reread her stuff-especially The Princess Diaries series-I cringe when I read some of the outdated pop culture references.  Shadowland had a few, but not near as many as other books.

Some of the jokes are way stale though.  And I really find Brad, the homophobe, offensive.  Grant it, at the time of publication his offensiveness was more common than it is now.  And at least Suze tells him off for it, but still Dopey is an ass.

Suze is still fantastic as she was all those years ago.  I still want her life.  Her boots.  And most importantly Jesse.  I really enjoy how the romance isn’t in your face in the first installment.  It’s amusing how Suze is not head over heals in love with him.

Or the fact that Jesse doesn’t overwhelm the plot.  That in itself is refreshing. And I love how Cabot just depicts him altogether.  A lot of the time out of time heros come off as being a little stiff at best (at worst borderline offensive), but Jesse just works.

But what I found to be the most interesting thing upon reread is how short books can work.  Too often in today’s YA world we’re dealt with omnibus tomes that can just go on and on forever.  Doing something short and concise is no easy feat and Cabot does it.

As for the ghost: Oh, Heather.  As far as ghosts go she’s one of least memorable ghosts in this series, but she does set a nice introduction to the art of mediation.  She is a bit of a cliche though.  But I can deal with that since it’s the first book.

Overall, a nice reread and fairly strong start to my favorite YA series.

Overall Reread Score: A-