The Quotes Show Its Stupid: Toward a Secret Sky by Heather Maclean

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Shortly after 17-year-old Maren Hamilton is orphaned and sent to live with grandparents she’s never met in Scotland, she receives an encrypted journal from her dead mother that makes her and everyone around her a target. It confirms that her parents were employed by a secret, international organization that’s now intent on recruiting her. As Maren works to unravel the clues left behind by her mother, a murderous madness sweeps through the local population, terrorizing her small town. Maren must decide if she’ll continue her parents’ fight or stay behind to save her friends.

With the help of Gavin, an otherworldly mercenary she’s not supposed to fall in love with, and Graham, a charming aristocrat who is entranced with her, Maren races against the clock and around the country from palatial estates with twisted labyrinths to famous cathedrals with booby-trapped subterranean crypts to stay ahead of the enemy and find a cure. Along the way, she discovers the great truth of love: that laying down your life for another isn’t as hard as watching them sacrifice everything for you.

Source: GoodReads

I know I’ve ranted about YA fantasy being eerily the same.  Well, YA paranormal also falls under the same rut.  The only thing is, I was hoping since this genre has sort of disappeared in the past five or so years, that when there was a YA paranormal released-like Toward A Secret Sky– it would be something different.

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Only thing is, this book is probably as cliche as the books that were being released in the heyday of this genre.

Usually I’m not one for using quotes in my review, but I think this is one DNF where quotes sill exemplify why I didn’t finish this book.

Exhibit One:

My mother was totally beautiful-a former Miss Springfield-and I  looked nothing like her.  While she had olive skin and shiny black hair.  I got my Scottish father’s pale white coloring, light green eyes, and cray, thick, curly blonde hair.  The kind of hair that once made a hairdresser cry because the haircut came with a free blow-dry, and she counted on the whole process taking three hours.  Of course, it wasn’t California blonde or even all-the-same-color blonde.  It was someone once told me, “dishwater blonde.”  Just what my self-esteem needed: hair that reminded people of dirty water. (9-10)

Of course, this is our description of our MC who is described as being “Plain” because she has dirty blonde hair that’s curly.  I should mention later on when she starts attending school in Scotland, everyone is envious over said hair.  Furthermore, being a dirty blonde myself, I always find it insulting when people talk this way.

Exhibit Two:

I was kissing the hottest guy ever.  He was so hot, even his hair was red.  We were logging in the long grass, kissing deeply, like it was our new way of breathing.

It was hot outside, and the kissing was making me even hotter.  Everywhere he touched me, my skin burned.  I never kissed anyone before, and certainly like this.

(13)

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Do I even need to say anything about this?

Exhibit Three:

Even the “normal” food in Scotland wasn’t normal.  French fries, which were called “chips”, looked like the fries back home, but instead of being crispy and yummy, they were soggy and not.  Chips were called “crisps”, which was a true description, but they didn’t have any fun flavors like ranch or hickory barbecue.  In fact, they didn’t have barbecue anything at all.  They’d never heard of brownies or cornbread (“Why would you put corn in bread?” my grandmother asked).

(14)

Disinterested teen,  who insults the area the area that she’s in.  I’ve been to Ireland-I know different country than Scotland, BUT we the area I was staying at had a Tesco (the same store this ingrate went to) and the store was fairly large, though not Super Walmart size, and they pretty much had anything you wanted.  Also, having had chips/fries in both the US and Ireland, I can tell you there really is not that much different.   So, I’m guessing that Scotland’s version isn’t that different either.

Anyway, a pet peeve of mine in any YA book is when the character will trash the area they just moved to.  Especially if its a foreign country.  America’s reputation has pretty much been shot by Donald Trump, we don’t  need little fictional ingrates like Maren to ruin it further.

Exhibit 4:

Hew as the most breathtaking guy I had ever seen and-thank you, God!-seemed to be about my age.  His wavy chestnut-colored hair fell over his forehoead, but not enough to hide his dark blue eyes.  He was tall and broad shouldered, but had a thin waist.  he carried his bulging frame like he  was wearing football shoulder  pads, but I could see from where his white tunic shirt hung open at his chest that he was all bare skin and muscle.

(30)

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Do I need to say more?

Exhibit 5:

I could tell by Jo’s flat tone that Elsie was not her favorite person.  I’d have to remember to cheer her up later by letting her know “Elsie” was mainly a name for cows in America.

(44)

Wrong.  Elsie is the name of a very cute diminutive Corgi  (AKA Wonder Corgi) who is upset that she is being compared to a cow.  She says she is going keep barking  into  Maclean’s ear until this is rectified.

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Wonder Corgi not Wonder Woman, but close enough.

These quotes are pretty much why I quit the book.  I could find more, but honestly I don’t want to.  Like I said, usually I avoid doing quote reviews, but I think in this book’s case the quotes exemplify why I didn’t want to continue.

Overall Rating: DNF.  Avoid.

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I Gave Up: The Truth About Happily Ever After by Karole Cozzo

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Chin up, Princess, or the crown will slip.

A theme park princess must put her life back together after her happily ever after falls apart in this contemporary YA romance from Karole Cozzo, author of How to Keep Rolling After a Fall and How to Say I Love You Out Loud.

Everything was supposed to be perfect. Alyssa has a job she loves, working as Cinderella at her favorite theme park; a fantastic group of friends; and a boyfriend who will no longer be long distance. But as the summer progresses, her prince becomes less charming and more distant, and Alyssa’s perfect summer falls apart.

Forced to acknowledge that life is not always a fairy tale, Alyssa starts working to pull her herself back together. Fortunately, she doesn’t have to do it alone. With her friend Miller’s support, she’s determined to prove that she’s more than just a pretty princess. And with his help, maybe she’s finally ready for something better than dreams. Maybe she’s ready for something real.

Source: GoodReads

I will give myself this after nearly five  years of consistent blogging (six if you count the sporadic first year) I know when to DNF something.  I decided that The Truth About Happily Ever After wasn’t for me after thirty pages.

To be fair, it’s not horrible if  you like super saccharine books that you can pretty much figure out the entire plot from the blurb.

In a lot of ways this book reminds me of a Hallmark movie, it’s not going to be anything special but it will entertain you if you’re in the right sort of mood.

I wasn’t in the mood.

To be frank about it, it actually reminded me of one of those Simon Pulse Romantic Comedies I read when I was a teen.  Unpredictable fluff that is kind of cornball and cheesy.

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So yeah…I gave up.

To be fair, going in I knew it was either going to be hit or miss.  With books like this, in order to be successful the voice needs to be great or there needs to be some sort of twist that makes the otherwise mundane story interesting.

With this book there was none.  I guess the biggest twist was that the obvious love interest wasn’t classically handsome, BUT honestly that’s not much of a twist if you look at all of the various sitcoms out there where the slightly chubby and average looking guy gets the supermodel wife.

Oh, and the theme park that was pretending it wasn’t Disney World but so obviously was.

But honestly, there are a lot of YA books that take place at various theme parks and I haven’t really found any of them THAT interesting.

Overall Rating: DNF.  I only read thirty pages, so I don’t really feel like giving this one a rating.  Just know that this one was not for me and unless you like cliche, it’s probably not for you either.

Creepy: Cure for the Common Universe by Christian McKay Hedicker

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Sixteen-year-old Jaxon is being committed to video game rehab . . .

ten minutes after he met a girl. A living, breathing girl named Serena, who not only laughed at his jokes but actually kinda sorta seemed excited when she agreed to go out with him.

Jaxon’s first date. Ever.

In rehab, he can’t blast his way through galaxies to reach her. He can’t slash through armies to kiss her sweet lips. Instead, he has just four days to earn one million points by learning real-life skills. And he’ll do whatever it takes—lie, cheat, steal, even learn how to cross-stitch—in order to make it to his date.

If all else fails, Jaxon will have to bare his soul to the other teens in treatment, confront his mother’s absence, and maybe admit that it’s more than video games that stand in the way of a real connection.

Prepare to be cured.

Source: GoodReads

I DNF’d this sucker in less than 50 pages.  Full disclosure, I’ve noticed lately after I binge a series there’s a higher rate for me to DNF and unfortunately for this book I finished it after I binged on A Court of Thorns and Roses and the Travis book series respectfully.

It stood no chance.  But it probably would’ve helped had the book actually been good-I’m just saying.

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Second disclosure, I’m not really much of a gamer.  The only gaming system I ever owned was the old NES system that my dad bought and eventually got tired of and gave to my sister and I,  and my mom was ridiculously strict about not letting us play on it and hid it from me  and my sister, and then lost it when she hid it and refused to get any other gaming system for us, so most of the gaming I’ve done besides the old old versions of Super Mario Brothers, Super Mario Brothers 2, and that crappy Where’s Waldo game,  oh and Tetris, has been  primarily  PC games.  Mostly the Nancy Drew games.  I found that my mom couldn’t pick up a desktop and take it a way, so those games made a lot more sense to me.  Plus, she could never complain about Nancy Drew.  She though they were educational (and she was right to some degree, but not really).

As an adult, I don’t have a gaming system either because of budget reasons and again, I’m more prone to play something on my computer.  Though, I am more than a little pissed off at Her Interactive these days for not releasing any credible update on Midnight in Salem (it has been 2 years, Her, and don’t give me that bull-shitty excuse that you’re changing engines even Miss Freaking Clue has been able to produce and update its games faster than you…)

Digressing aren’t I?

Guess that happens when you’re trying to talk about a book you only read 50 pages on.  Hell, I thought awhile before even drafting a review of this like if it would even be worthwhile pointing out what bothers me about it.  Well, I decided it would.  But this is going to be a bullet point review:

  • We didn’t really see the character at rock bottom: I mean, yeah he was in his room all the time gaming.  But the MC pointed out he has a 4.0 at school and it’s not like he does drugs or anything.  It seemed more like his dad and stepmom were concerned he wasn’t going to get laid.
  • Creepy Parents: Really, you want proof that your son/stepson is talking to a girl and demand to know her number or Facebook page and if the MC would’ve showed you this you would’ve let him out of rehab…priorities.  Also, stepmom is extremely young and it adds to the creepiness.
  • Creepy Rehab Center: Rehab does serve a purpose sometimes, but something about this place rubbed me the wrong way.  Maybe because I didn’t think the character’s problem was severe enough to warrant rehab.  Yes, 125 hours playing games in a month is a lot.  But honestly, if you think about it, its probably not that much in hindsight.  And honestly, if the MC is still functional (which he is) I don’t see the fucking point.
  • Creepy Counselor Cliche: Enough said.
  • Random hot chick  having instant connection with doofus MC.  Check.  At least she wasn’t a total MPDG but she was only in the book for about two pages so she might’ve actually been for all I know.

So, by looking at my bullet points I think I didn’t like the  book because there was just an overall a creepy book or it comes off creepy to me.

Overall Rating: DNF

Cool Concept, Bro BUT…: Freya by Matthew Laurence

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Freya is myth. She is legend. And she’s about to make one hell of a comeback.

Sara Vanadi is more than she appears to be.

In her prime, she was Freya, the Norse goddess of love, beauty, war, and death. Now all that’s left of her legacy is herself. Her power comes from belief, and for an ancient goddess in the 21st century, true believers are hard to come by.

She’s been lying low for a few decades, when all of a sudden a shadowy corporation extends an offer: join them and receive unlimited strength and believers—or refuse and be destroyed. Sara chooses neither; she flees with the help of a new friend named Nathan.

With a modern power rising that wishes to bend the divine to its will, Sara decides to fight back—but first she needs some new clothes.

Source: GoodReads

Eh.

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This is a DNF but it’s a me not you DNF. I do think for the right person, this book might work but for me.  Not going to happen.

It had an interesting concept, don’t get me wrong.  That is why I picked it up after all, I don’t read a book that’s concept I know is going to dull me, I just didn’t like the execution.  Especially the depiction of the main character.

I get that Sara/Freya is supposed to be a goddess, but she comes off being completely unrealistic.  Much like the plot was a series of unrealistic events as well.  It seemed more or less like it was just an advertisement for the Orlando tourism circuit.

And I’ll admit it, when I first heard that the characters were running away to Disney World I was excited.  Until I actually read it and was like nope…just nope…

It just felt like an advertisement and as much as Freya was supposed to be this spunky fish out of water protagonist, I did not like her.  She seemed more like and idealization than a person (think the stupid MPDG cliche)

As a whole the book  felt very stilted.  And I didn’t care for Nathan either who was more or less an idiot just along for the ride.  Things might’ve improved but…

No just no.

By the time I got through about a hundred pages of this and could spot half a dozen plot holes, I really didn’t care to continue further.

I just didn’t have the time or patience to carry on.

There’s really not a lot to say other than that.  I just really didn’t care for this one because it had such a cool concept.

Overall Rating: DNF

Some Kind of Misogyny : Some Kind of Magic by Mary Ann Marlowe

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In this sparkling debut novel, Mary Ann Marlowe introduces a hapless scientist who’s swept off her feet by a rock star—but is it love or just a chemical reaction?…

Biochemist Eden Sinclair has no idea that the scent she spritzed on herself before leaving the lab is designed to enhance pheromones. Or that the cute, grungy-looking guy she meets at a gig that evening is Adam Copeland. As in the Adam Copeland international rock god and object of lust for a million women. Make that a million and one. By the time she learns the truth, she s already spent the (amazing, incredible) night in his bed

Suddenly Eden, who’s more accustomed to being set up on disastrous dates by her mom, is going out with a gorgeous celebrity who loves how down-to-earth and honest she is. But for once, Eden isn’t being honest. She can’t bear to reveal that this overpowering attraction could be nothing more than seduction by science. And the only way to know how Adam truly feels is to ditch the perfume—and risk being ditched in turn

Smart, witty, and sexy, Some Kind of Magic is an irresistibly engaging look at modern relationships why we fall, how we connect, and the courage it takes to trust in something as mysterious and unpredictable as love.

Source: Goodreads

I am so fed up of books that feature a Plain Jane MC who hates anyone with boobs and even though she’s really plain manages to catch the attention of Mr. Handsome and falls instantly in love with him.

This is that sort of book.

To be honest, I picked this book up mostly because it reminded me of that old 90’s movie, Love Potion Number 9. If you haven’t seen that movie it’s pretty is like Amy Farrah Flower played in this case by Sandy B  and Sheldon Cooper played by Tate Donovan uses some formula that makes her attractive to everyone.  Though, they do it in the name of science and aren’t as socially awkward as Shamy.

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Here though, the whole Love Potion Number 9 angle is hardly played with.   Well, it might be later on considering I only read about thirty pages of the book before calling it a day.

I have noticed this year, that my tolerance for bad books or at least books I don’t like-since reading is subjective- has decreased drastically.  Used to a book like this and its tropes usage would’ve only gotten a couple of groans from me and I might’ve been able to tolerate it to the end but I just can’t anymore.

I really don’t know what it was that ticked me off so much about this one if it was the use of tropes of the lack originality that made me roll my eyes.

Or the fact that a grown woman would describes herself as being ridiculously responsible would randomly fall into a one night stand with a rock star without knowing him.

I just couldn’t…

It’s the same feeling I felt when I read that said grown woman constantly trashes any woman who looks better than her and bemoans about her own looks because she’s not blonde.

And she’s supposed to be a grown professional woman.

You know, maybe a few years ago I would’ve been okay with this but I can’t now.  I just can’t.  I thought we were beyond books like this.

And okay, I know that Fifty Shades of Puke managed to get published but that was years ago.  AND more importantly that was an outlier.  This sort of shit really has lost any sort of originality it has and I just don’t understand how it could make it past the slush pile.

But whatever.

It didn’t make it past my slush pile and I certainly don’t recommend it.

Overall Rating: DNF

 

Never Ever Will I Finish This: Never Ever by Sara Saedi

Wylie Dalton didn’t believe in fairy tales or love at first sight.

Then she met a real-life Peter Pan.

When Wylie encounters Phinn—confident, mature, and devastatingly handsome—at a party the night before her brother goes to juvie, she can’t believe how fast she falls for him. And that’s before he shows her how to fly.

Soon Wylie and her brothers find themselves whisked away to a mysterious tropical island off the coast of New York City where nobody ages beyond seventeen and life is a constant party. Wylie’s in heaven: now her brother won’t go to jail and she can escape her over-scheduled life with all its woes and responsibilities—permanently.

But the deeper Wylie falls for Phinn, the more she begins to discover has been kept from her and her brothers. Somebody on the island has been lying to her, but the truth can’t stay hidden forever.

Source: GoodReads

I DNF’d this book within 40 pages.

It just wasn’t for me.

I am going to bullet point this review and it’s probably going to be really short.  If you want a more thorough review of this book I suggest you check out other reviews because honestly I gave up on it so soon that I don’t even know if this review is worth a shit.

Anyway, here’s the reasons I DNF’d it.

  • Stiff Style: It was one of those hard to connect to styles that just kind of hard to get into.  This might not bother a lot of people, but it bothered me.
  • Another Evil Peter Pan.  At least there’s no sexy Hook (so far) so it’s not a complete Once Upon a Time rip off yet.
  • A MC who gives a rat’s ass about anything else other than her love life even though she claims to care about her family.
  • Note, she treats her family like crap.
  • Usual sullen teenager dealing with divorce trope.
  • Modernization of the characters names from the original because you know you can’t name characters Wendy, John, and Michael anymore.  Wylie, Joshua, and Micha sound better and Phinn sounds better than fucking Peter Pan.
  • Because everyone has a party on a roof top in New York.
  • That whole going into Neverland drug induced scene-yeah, I stopped after that because that was just so stupid.

Like I said, not really a lot to go off of here if you’re really interested in the book, but just for you to know, it didn’t work for me.  It was just really bad and cliche…and when it’s only redeeming feature is not having the obligatory Sexy Hook! (or at least as far as I know, he still might’ve popped in there after the thirty or so pages I read).

Overall Rating: A mother fucking DNF.

First DNF of the Year: Flower by Elizabeth Craft and Shea Olsen

These are the things that I’ve always wanted:

To get the top grades in my class.

To make my grandmother proud.

And most of all, proof that I could succeed where the rest of my family had not: a Stanford acceptance letter, early admission.

My mother and my sister were obsessed with boys and love and sex. So obsessed that they lost sight of their futures, of what theywanted. And in the end, they lost everything.

I’ll never let a boy distract me. I promised my grandmother that.

But that was before Tate.

Before the biggest pop star on the planet took an interest in me.

Before private planes and secret dates and lyrics meant for me alone.

There’s so much I don’t know. Like why he left music. Where he goes when we’re not together. What dark past he’s hiding. But when we kiss, the future feels far away. And now…I’m not sure what I want. 

Source: GoodReads

Well, I knew it had to happen but honestly I was hoping it would be a little later than fourteen years within the New Year before I DNF’d my first 2017 book.  But hey, Flower can’t help that it sucked donkey’s balls.

Actually, that’s an insult to donkey’s balls.

Anyway…Flower was bad.  Really, really, bad.  Just to give an idea of how bad this book is here is a sample of writing from the first few pages of the book.

Love can undo you.  It can take everything away.

And so, I promised myself: no boys, no prom, no parties on Saturday nights.  I would stay home, I would get straight As, I would go to college and make a different kind of future for myself. I wouldn’t let anything stop me. I wouldn’t let anyone stop me.

But that was before everything changed.

That was before him (1).

That should give you an idea how cringe worthy this is.  I mean, yeah the premises made me think it was going to be on the cheesy side, but it could’ve been done in such a way where the reader didn’t think they were reading some 13 year old’s One Direction fan fiction with a self insert character and token gay best friend that was straight out of a bad early 2000’s Lifetime movie.

But alas, this was not the case with Flower.

It was published by not only one, but two real authors (meaning, people who actually have legitimate past credits and aren’t a celebrity with a ghost writer peddling crap).  And it still sucked.  Hell, it was a packaged book and it still sucked.

Usually with package books they’re at least homogenous enough where they aren’t painfully bad, but this one is painfully bad.

As the premises points out our main character, Charlotte, is turned off of love because everyone in her family gets knocked up at the ripe old age of 17 or what not and she decides to do the no boys thing until a pop star comes into the flower shop she works out.  Only she doesn’t realize he’s a pop star and…I don’t know how she doesn’t realize he’s a pop star.  I mean, I’ve never listened to Justin Beiber, but I still know who that foul specimen is.  I just couldn’t buy it that this MC didn’t know who he was.  Or that a pop star would be so interested in a high school girl.  Or that Charlotte would somehow have a job in a florist’s shop designing bouquets with no florist training whatsoever.

The book really felt like it was a skeleton of a story that could be interesting but turned out to be no better than a self insert fan fic.  Like I said, I stopped at page 58 when Tate-the wannabe Jonas Brother-was essentially pulling an Edward Cullen on Charlotte.

I often feel like there is a misconception in YA that there does not need to be any effort put in fluff books that just having two characters kissing each other is enough.

It’s not.

A good fluff novel has complex characters that have interesting relations together and you want them to be together.  This book has none of those.   I had a real hard time believing that this was even a finished product, that’s how lazy it came across.

Usually, Alloy is one of the better packaging companies (note, that’s not saying a lot since I think most packaged books suck), but this one is particularly wretched.

Avoid at all costs especially if you love fluff.

Overall Rating: DNF

Last DNF of 2016: The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination.

As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix.

But the end to it all looms closer every day.

Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence.

For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters.

She could find herself, find her family, find her own fantastical ability, her own epic love.

Or she could disappear.

Source: GoodReads

I think one of the things I hate the most is reading a book you were really excited for and being disappointed with.  Such was the case with The Girl From Everywhere.  I had this book on my shelf for awhile and delayed it because the reviews were mixed.

And boo, I fall in with the critical crowd which always sucks.  I couldn’t even finish the book because I got so bored with it.  It wasn’t necessary bad per say, but for what it was supposed to be it was boring and I sort of knew where it was headed.

The world building was also sort of illy explained which is a shame because there was a lot of potential with this book.  Time travel.  Dimension traveling.  That should be such an MJ book, but in the end it wasn’t my book.

The main character, Nix, is sort of boring.  I feel like she should’ve felt more desperation than she did.  Her relationship with her father is just odd.  She sort of has this friendship with the potential love interest that is sort of interesting but it didn’t hold my attention long enough to continue.

It was a box full of mehs.

Which is never a good thing especially with a book described to be full of adventure.

I also feel like the scenes that take place in these different worlds are never really explained in much detail.  If you’re going to do multiple worlds, describe them.  I want to experience that mother fucking world just describing a stupid dress in the Victorian era that you’re visiting isn’t going to have me experience said world.  Though, dress descriptions are important (I guess).

And like I said, you never really get a sense of how this time and world building works.  Yes, there’s the thing with maps but other than getting the maps I’m still a little flummoxed on how it works.  Maybe if I could’ve stayed the course and finished the thing I would know, but again I just couldn’t.

A part of me feels bad about closing 2016 on such a disappointment but honestly my feelings for the book sort of sum up the year.  There were great opportunities and they were missed.  Yes, there were a few good things that happened but on an overhaul.  Not thanks.

Overall Rating: DNF

Contrived: The SUn is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

Source: GoodReads

I think Nicola Yoon’s stuff is overrated.

Don’t get me wrong, I found Everything, Everything to be okay but it was contrived.  The Sun is Also a Star is even more contrived than her previous efforts (though it probably didn’t help that I skipped to the end and wasn’t impressed at all with how things resolved themselves.

I think the thing that was supposed to be innovative about this one is its style.  And I’ll give it this, I did like the style.  Though I hardly found it unique or innovative.  Side character POVs aren’t exactly a new thing.  So that really didn’t give it any sort of leg up.

The overall story arc is pretty weak.  I did like that both characters were from diverse backgrounds though, Ill give it that.  But the thing is, maybe it’s being an attorney who has actually taken an Immigration law course and dealt with some immigration cases I knew how the book was probably going to end before it started AND when Natasha just showed up at the UCIS office, I just shook my head knowing that this was not going to end well.

There’s not a lot of twists you can thrown in when you decide to deal with immigration law, and actually go through the motions of stating that they exhausted all of their options.

Yeah, sort of makes the story suck.

And God knows, I wish Natasha was a little bit more of a compassionate character than she was.  From the pages that I read, I really didn’t like or care for her.  She was hateful and seemed to blame everyone for her situation.  Plus,  I still couldn’t get over the fact she went to the UCIS alone as a minor.    Or that she actually thought she had a chance after the appeal options had been exhausted.  And the fact she was bemoaning over the fact that she wasn’t able to use that stolen SSN her mom got her.

Yeah, identity theft is really going to endear me to a character.

And yes, I know she’s undocumented and has to deal with some terrible shit that’s not her fault.  But come on, you’re talking about stealing someone’s social security number.  That is so wrong.

Daniel, the love interest, was just as whiney in a lot of ways.  But I sort of got where he was coming from more.  Again, he hadn’t exactly been exploited that much in narration so maybe I would’ve hated him had I continued.

Again, I don’t think The Sun is Also a Star is the worst book I’ve ever read, but it was blase and something I honestly didn’t want to finish it which is why I DNF’d it.

Synergy Sells: As Old as Time by Liz Braswell

What if Belle’s mother cursed the Beast?

Belle is a lot of things: smart, resourceful, restless. She longs to escape her poor provincial town for good. She wants to explore the world, despite her father’s reluctance to leave their little cottage in case Belle’s mother returns–a mother she barely remembers. Belle also happens to be the captive of a terrifying, angry beast. And that is her primary concern.

But Belle touches the Beast’s enchanted rose, intriguing images flood her mind–images of the mother she believed she would never see again. Stranger still, she sees that her mother is none other than the beautiful Enchantress who cursed the Beast, his castle, and all its inhabitants. Shocked and confused, Belle and the Beast must work together to unravel a dark mystery about their families that is twenty-one years in the making.

Souce: GoodReads

I was less than impressed with Braswell’s A Whole New World and was content on just forgoing her obvious pandering to Disney synergy series when I saw As Old as Time‘s premises and then I was like.

Need this.

Because Beauty and the Beast and the twist looked actually interesting.  And besides, surely after two books with poor reviews, surely Braswell was able to pick up some pointers on what was going wrong with the synergy pandering series.  Obviously, I was wrong.  The same habits that made A Whole New World  a hot mess, were included in As Old as Time including the whole let’s quote the movie.

Note, I had to wonder how it was possible to regurgitate an eighty minute movie’s script in 400 pages but oh-the twist, oh the twist is that we’ll include Maurice’s romance with Belle’s mother who’s the Enchantress.

Yes, Maurice.

The bumbling absentminded idiot of a father of Belle’s who gets together with Mrs. Potts at the movie.

Well, at least I think they get together.  It’s in my head cannon anyway.  But when I think of romance with Maurice unless it involves Mrs. Potts it’s a no go.

And yes, I know that cannon assumes that Belle’s mother must’ve been a pretty hot number given the fact that Maurice is…well, Maurice and everyone in town sings about Belle who looks nothing like Maurice.  But the Enchantress?????

It’s not like it’s even explained that well in the alternating chapters where I’m supposed to ship Enchantress/Maurice.

It just doesn’t work.  Much like the fact I’m supposed to like a woman who cursed an eleven year old spoiled little boy and then…well, then regurgitate the screenplay which while simple enough in it’s Disney form was enjoyable because you know great voice actors/animation  and Alan Menken songs.  Not so much here.

The characters are extremely flat.  And it’s not the story.  The story has been retold many times in YA before.  Sure, those versions aren’t based on the Disney movie, but that shouldn’t really matter.  At the core the book was a retelling of a fairytale and while Braswell was using the Disney movie as a template there were plenty of jumping off points  that could’ve made the story interesting.

But to focus half of the book on Maurice??????

Really, Maurice.

I feel bad for all you Potts/Maurice shippers that’s for sure (surely, there have to be some) As for me, I am not planning on touching this series with a ten foot pole ever again.  It doesn’t matter what movie they decide to retell.  Although, I did accidentally grab buy Once which I didn’t realize was by Braswell until it was too late so….

You know, I could just give that book away.  Yeah, that’s how annoyed I am with this author’s writing.

Overall Rating: DNF.