Skip It: Everyday Magic by Emily Albright

For once, Maggie McKendrick just wants to control her own life. Her overbearing Hollywood director father has it all planned out for her: UCLA, law school, then working as an entertainment lawyer, preferably for him. But Maggie has other, more creative-spirit friendly, plans. Namely, Thrippletons School of Fashion and Design in England, and then onto becoming a designer, preferably a wildly successful one. The big snag in her plan? Getting it past her dad.

A movie shoot takes the family to the Scottish Highlands for the summer, and closer to Maggie’s dream school. While there, she runs into the charming Preston Browne. Maggie is intrigued and decides to bend her no guys rule—instituted after her ex used her to get close to her dad. Forced to keep secrets from Preston in order to protect the future plans she’s made, Maggie finds herself falling for the tall Brit. And for once in her life she knows that he’s interested in her, not her Hollywood connections. When Maggie’s father blackmails her into dating his lead actor, she isn’t left with a choice. The biggest problem isn’t having to date hunky, mega-hottie, Ben Chambers. No, it’s praying she doesn’t lose Preston in the process.

Excelling at her dream school, Maggie’s personal life is a tangled mess. She needs to decide if living a lie is worth losing Preston or chance going against her father and facing his wrath. When the tabloids expose the truth of her fake relationship with Ben, Maggie’s world is thrown into a tailspin. Ultimately, Maggie must find the courage to take risks and forge ahead on her own path.

Source: GoodReads

If you looked at my review, or should I say my Beagle’s review of The Heir and the Spare, you’ll know that I wasn’t a huge fan of that book.  Or Patty wasn’t.  I still decided to give the sequel a try though because Hollywood and British Aristocracy what could go wrong there.

You’re asking if I have a glass of brandy by me right now.  Well, blimey you’d be right!

Or you’ve gotten used to me getting drunk whenever I read a bad book.  To be fair though, I only made it to about page fifty with this one so I didn’t have to get too drunk.  What I’m doing with this one is I’m going to list the reasons why I DNF’d it.

1) Abusive Father Cliche:

Abuse happens in real life.  It sucks.  And it comes in many times.  This book though.  Ooph.  I felt like it handled the abuse in such a cliche way.  Really?  As high profile as the main character and her family is you’d think that one of the tabloids would allude to their issues.  But nope.

2) Insta Love

Enough said.

3) But Daddy Won’t Let Me Pursue My Dreams:

Apply for a scholarship or seek financial aid like the rest of us.  If you don’t qualify get a job and save up for a bit.  The career you want actually likes work experience so…

4) Learn How the Oxford Educational System Works

For the love of all things British, you got blasted for this in the last book. You should’ve fixed it now.  At least this book didn’t focus that much on the Oxford bits, but from what I read it still seemed like Albright thought it was like American colleges are ran.

5) Who the hell is Preston

Obviously, I didn’t pay close enough attention in this book.  But I think I was supposed to care?!?!?!?

Okay, I’ll admit that when I originally wrote this list I was planning on having ten points.  Or at the very least seven, but I ended up not having that many because while the book was so bad it was extraordinary dull.  And when I put off my drafting of this review on Sunday because you know I had to get ready to start my new job the next day, I sort of forgot where my hatred for this thing went because it was so forgettable and so bad.  So yeah, I DNF’d it…

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Awesomly Hallmark: My Summer Prince

The Gist

Hallmark has joined in on the princess trend.

There are a ton of Hallmark movies that feature princes or princesses and this is one of them that I happened to watch.

So the general gist of this movie is that Mandy (our heroine) is working for this unrealistic mean lady named Deirdre who is a publicist.  Deirdre is the type who doesn’t want to give Mandy a promotion because Mandy likes to put ketchup in the refrigerator which obviously means that she’s a follower not one of those people who’s OCD about getting food poisoning.

I know, right?  But you see because restaurants leave the ketchup out all the time that must mean all those labels that the company puts on said ketchup are wrong and like if you follow them you’re doomed to be someone’s PA for the rest of your life.

That’s literally the first twenty minutes of this movie.

By that point in the movie, if I was Mandy I quit my job and send Deirdre about one hundred of those little packets you get at the fast food restaurants that always end up either getting on your clothes or causing food poisoning.  Of course, this isn’t what happens.  Rather, Deirdre pushes Mandy around to cancel her vacation and they end up babysitting a Prince Harry Wannabe who ends up finding Mandy irresistible while she pretends to be Deirdre.  But of course complications arise since Mandy is pretending to be her mean boss and Prince Harry Wannabe is engaged.

Review:

I am a sucker for royalty themed shows and movies, so when I flipped through the channels the other night I recorded this one.  It’s not terrible if your just watching it in passing but the more you think about it, it sucks.

I think the first thing I will mention is that this movie was very cheaply made.  No big shock there, it’s a Hallmark movie.  But everything about this movie rings cheap: the writing, the costumes, etc.

There are so many plot holes in this sucker, it’s not even funny.  I mean, first of all I didn’t even know why Mandy pretended to be Deirdre.  There was no point, Deirdre asked her to take over, so I don’t know what purpose it gave the film except to add useless conflict and to almost get Mandy fired.

As for Deirdre.

Oy.

This character has no consistency.  For most of the movie, we’re supposed to view her as an evil bitch, but then she ends up being sort of a fairy godmother to Mandy at the end despite the fact she’s the one who put Mandy’s life in the shitter any way.

Well, her and the evil prince’s fiancee.

Really, again most of the conflict in this movie seems manufactured at best.

As for Prince Colin, I think they tried to portray him as a Prince Harry type but who has the responsibility of Wills.  Honestly, all of his antics really don’t come off as much and I couldn’t figure out for the life of me why his country sent him to Podunk-ville (I forgot the name of the “charming” Idaho small town with a five star resort rapped in the middle of it was called, so since Hallmark want it to show it as being some sort of Podunk-ville that’s what I’m referring to it as).  He’s not that bad of a male lead, a little too judging but interesting to look at.  His chemistry with Mandy was alright, I guess, but I never got the purpose of the evil girlfriend only to be dubbed an “obstacle”.

So all and all, the writing was bad but what you expect from a movie like this.  Enjoyable and passable for me, who has been filling a bit off kilter this weekend but the more I thought about it the more annoyed I got.  Like, there were some really hideous costumes in this one that apparently was deemed to be a prom dress-no self respecting teen would’ve worn said prom dress unless they were either a member of a religious commune or attended the prom back in the early 80’s.  And the queen’s tiara was a hot mess as well.

Hallmark Squeal: 

Like I said before, the prince was cute but bland.  I wish the real Prince Harry was an actor because maybe then I’d actually care more about the prince’s acting.  That being said, I did like it when he was swimming laps in the pool.  I guess that’s how they got the title for the movie.

OMG Hallmark Moment:

I was actually hoping for a Lifetime female empowerment moment with the evil boss, but it never happened.  I think the closest we got to this movie was when the prince told off his evil fiancee but that was sort of a let down.

Dean Cain Rating:

This one is pretty average.  Like I said, it was good enough to take a nap to on a Sunday afternoon, but it’s going off the DVR as soon as I publish this review.  And yeah, still keeping my ketchup in the refrigerator.

Blimey, That’s Foul: The Heir and the Spare by Emily Albright

Family can be complicated. Especially when skeletons from the past pop up unexpectedly. For American Evie Gray, finding out her deceased mother had a secret identity, and not one of the caped crusader variety, was quite the surprise. Evie’s mom had a secret life before she was even born, one that involved tiaras.

In this modern day fairytale, Evie is on a path to figure out who her mom really was, while discovering for herself what the future will hold. Charged with her late mother’s letters, Evie embarks on a quest into her past. The first item on the list is to attend Oxford, her mom’s alma mater. There, Evie stumbles upon a real life prince charming, Edmund Stuart the second Prince of England, who is all too happy to be the counterpart to her damsel in distress.

Evie can’t resist her growing attraction to Edmund as they spend more time together trying to unravel the clues her mother left behind. But, when doubts arise as to whether or not Edmund could ever be with an untitled American, what really ends up unraveling is Evie’s heart. When Evie uncovers all the facts about her mom’s former life, she realizes her mom’s past can open doors she never dreamed possible, doors that can help her be with Edmund. But, with everything now unveiled, Evie starts to crack under the pressure of new family responsibilities and the realization that her perfect prince may want her for all the wrong reasons.

Source: GoodReads

Warning: To all anglophiles ignore the brilliant looking cover.  And carry on and watch something on Acorn (might I recommend Doc Martin).   Or if you like British “royalty” stories just watch What a Girl Wants.  And now I turn the blogging over to my dearest sweetest coblogger, Patricia Cake Beagle.

A new year and a new book for me to review.

How was your Christmas?

Mine sucked all I got were a lot of Christmas bows tied around my neck while the yappy Chihuahas and terriers got a Bark Box subscription.

Patty Bows

They suck.

Like this book.

I still don’t get why I have to review the sucky books.  I should be reviewing something fun like that Lucy the Beagle series-though it should’ve been called Patty the Beagle because that would’ve been a lot more interesting.  I mean, I know my life isn’t as interesting as certain Beagle Youtube starrs (come on, MJ, get me a ball pit already you know it would be spectacular), but I deserve better than this book.

It is a travesty to my Beagley English heritage.

The premises looks exciting.  I mean, it’s something I can relate too.  Finding out that you have this wonderfully spectacular hidden legacy that is so me.

And yeah, it hasn’t technically been revealed that I’m related to Uno or Ms. P but it’s bond to happen one day.  Much like little Miss Evie found out she’s related to a duchess.

Note, my name used to be Duchess  before MJ’s mom changed it.  She said it made me sound like I worked at a brothel in one of the Catherine Coulter books that she used to read in the old west.

As if.

You’re probably seeing a pattern of digression in this review, it’s because this book was so boring and just poorly written. Basically it can be summed up like this: Evie falls in love with a Prince Harry wannabe-who’s hair in blonde and lacks personality.  And, oh yeah, she might be related to British royalty.

The thought that she might be closely related to Eddie never pops in her mind.  Obviously, someone needs to get their AKC papers-or would it be UKC since she’s in the UK in this book-and have them checked before they do any breeding.

Again, digressing.

The point is this is a book that focuses on how the girl gets the guy, even though Edmund slobbers over her for most of the book and has a personality like a stoned Chow Chow.

Seriously, he’s not that big of a catch.  Not like my current crush who is king of his dog park.  And has his very own ball pit.

I bet Eddie doesn’t have his own ball pit.

To be fair, Evie, doesn’t have much of a personality either.  For a character that is supposedly smart enough to get into Oxford-as a transfer undergrad for that matter-she should be a walking brain.  But instead, she acts like one of those girls on I want to Marry Harry.

So stupid.

Can I have a Milkbone and go back to sleep now?

Apparently not.   This reviewed has been deemed “insufficient” by my ingrate of an owner.  I am supposed to talk about how arcane the book is when it comes to women and womens’ relationships with each other.  Because apparently, the main character likes to insult other women about their boobs.  Having boobs=evil.  Which doesn’t make sense to me because doesn’t the main character have boobs?

I am so confused now.

I am also to discuss the lack of research about Britain their education system, and how the aristocracy works.  But whatever.

Long story short, don’t read this if you actually care about this sort of stuff.  It is a nice decorative book though, so that has to count for something.  Right?

Overall Rating: A big fat F it is so bad the Beagle had to review it.

 

 

The Unofficial Princess Diaries Binge Read: From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess by Meg Cabot

Olivia Grace Clarisse Harrison has always known she was different. Brought up by her aunt’s family in New Jersey, book-and-music-loving Olivia feels out of place in their life of high fashion and fancy cars. But she never could have imagined how out of place she really was until Mia Thermopolis, Princess of Genovia, pops into her school and announces that Olivia is her long-lost sister. Olivia is a princess. A dream come true, right? But princesses have problems too.

In FROM THE NOTEBOOKS OF A MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCESS a new middle grade series, readers will see Genovia, this time through the illustrated diaries of a spunky new heroine, 12 year old Olivia Grace, who happens to be the long lost half-sister of Princess Mia Thermopolis.

The original Princess Diaries series sold over 5 million copies in the US (15 million worldwide), spent 82 weeks on the USA Today bestsellers list, and inspired two beloved films.

Source: GoodReads

Truth be told, I was sort of worried about this book.  I think because I’ve seen a lot of disastrous YA spinoffs when they go into other genres may it be adult or middle grade.  Thankfully, this book didn’t fall down that path.

Overall, this is a cute little book.  I feel like it might be on the younger side of middle grade though.  Honestly, Olivia sounded more like ten than twelve, but that might just be me.  Regardless of that, it surprisingly worked really well for me.

For long time fans like me, it was a nice way to get reacquainted with these characters before Royal Wedding and for younger readers it’s a nice entrance into the main series.  Though when I was Olivia’s age I think that’s when I began reading Diaries.  So…

Okay.

Let’s avoid how old I am.

The point is, this one has all the charm of the original book series, but without all the othings that made it for older readers.  And Grandmere is halfway normal in this book because Olivia hasn’t seen that shes’ a super villain in disguise yet.

I really liked the contrast between Olivia and Mia.  They are the same, but not.  And Olivia was an interesting enough character.  I really do look forward to seeing how she develops later on in this series.

As far as plot goes, this one is pretty bare bones.  I don’t even think the book is over two hundred pages if even that.  Sure, there’s the whole Olivia custody part-which I had to give the whole stink eye to as a lawyer-but that was overall pretty anticlimactic.

And seriously, what was up with Olivia’s Dursley like relatives.  She might as well been sleeping in a cupboard.  Two Ferraris, seriously?

To be honest, the abuse that she suffered shouldn’t have been as glossed over as it was.  Because while it wasn’t Lifetime movie bad, it was bad enough to issue Olivia a few sessions in Dr. Knutz’s office.  I really hope Meg explores this issue in future additions, but I really don’t think it probably will be.

The one thing I’m really worried about is how the whole royal thing will be treated in future books.  There were hints in this one-teh whole lady in waiting thing and Phillipe dressed in full prince regalia while he was just at home-that makes me think that it might be heading in a cheesy Princess Diaries 2 fashion.  I get that this is geared for younger audience, but I pray to the book gods that it doesn’t go there. The Nostalgia Critic reviewed that movie, I think that tells you right there that that’s not a good idea to try to imitate.

Another thing that I wanted more in this book was Michael.  I wanted an illustration of him damn it, since this was Meg doing the art work and it’s probably the closest representation I’m going to get to him-it’s sort of nice seeing how author’s view their characters and most of the drawings were pretty spot on to how I thought the characters looked, though Mia was a lot more glamorous than I thought she’d be.  But then I remember book ten and am like yeah…

Overall, this is a sweet addition to The Princess Diaries book.  I recommend it to any die hard Princess Diaries fan or if you have a princess obsessed tween give it to them.

Overall Rating: An A-.

 

From the Ghettos to the Grand: Jaclin Calvert

Occasionally I get bored and want something cheap to read.  Which is usually when I get myself into trouble by going to the Kindle store and downloading something under three dollars that usually reads like it’s under three dollars

By far, Ghettos to the Grand is probably the worst Kindle cheap read I’ve read.

Oh man.

It makes that Jamie Baker book where we’re told she’s a super hero five thousand times look wonderful.  The book about the amnesiac prince look intelligent.

To say this one is a stinker is putting it mild.

I’ll be honest when I say this is the first book I ever demanded a refund from Amazon.  Mainly because of the way it’s written.  It reads like fan fiction.  Bad fan fiction.  Honestly, I was pretty sure at one point that it had to be P2P Twilight mush because the plot was the typical Princess Bella filth you see on sites such as fanfiction.net.  You know, when some ill informed teenage girl who didn’t pay attention in their World Civ courses thinks princesses act just like they do in Disney movies and that Europe is like five hundred years back like you see at the Renaissance Festival.  And there are kings and princesses and everyone courtesies  and all that good stuff.

But since I’m in no mood to play the role of Veronica Mars today I did not find such proof.  Blame the fact that I have a horrible migraine and have been seeing green spots throughout most of the day.

I did Google it though and it originated on Wattpad and Fiction Press and then I guess the author decided she wanted people to pay for the book and put it on Amazon.  It was ninety-nine cents so it wasn’t that horrible of an investment, but I still returned it.  And I will say this, this is the first Kindle book I’ve ever returned and hope its the last. I didn’t even return The Prince with Amnesia and that one was bad.

What’s so bad about this one that makes it offensive besides the fat it reads like P2P bad fanfiction.  The characters are stale immature and the writing.  Oh God, the writing.

I know not everyone is perfect but there were some errors in here that just made me roll my eyes.  And we’re not just talking about basic grammar.  I could take quotes out and point the various punctuation errors and usage errors but I have a migraine because of this book and I really don’t feel like doing work that the author should’ve done or have hired a copy editor to do before she published this. It’s not my job to notice this shit.  Spotting errors on my Kindle just makes me mad.  Its not like its even the occasional error or two, they were rampant.

It also didn’t help that the author’s voice was stilted.  I’m not a huge person of third person but it can be done well if in the right hands.  Calvert does not seem to have enough maturity to be able to write decent third person.  I didn’t feel the characters.  In fact, I thought the third person made them feel ever faker than they really were.

Let’s talk about our main characters shall we.  We have Lexi who’s described looking like a short supermodel.  Yes, she has a supermodel figure because she can’t eat because of her abusive relatives.  Rolls eyes.  You’d think CPS would get involved with her walking around stealing hotdogs and her only attending classes whenever she wants.  But you know what, I’m not one to judge.

Then we have the prince whose name is Blake.  A pretty generic American name despite the fact that he lives in a European country where they act like its the Renaissance Festival every single day of the week.  What do you need to know about Blake, Lexi calls him a pervert when she first meets him and he’s hot despite the fact he acts like a four-year-old about eighty percent of the time.

Oh, and these two are apparently betrothed otherwise good old Lexi is going to lose her Mr. Deeds inheritance.

You can’t make up this sort of shit.

The blurb of the book is probably what it has going for it the most.  I thought I was going to get a cute Meg Cabot-y type of story a la Princess Diaries.  Didn’t happen.  Instead I got Princess Bella.

The lack of logic and general research that went on with this book was also pretty laughable.  Oh, and there’s slut slamming galore.

Here’s the very first line of the book:

” ‘Don’t you dare walk past that door you little slut.’  Uncle Matt was in another one of his drunken rampages.” (Calvart 1)

I copied paste that so the grammatical errors you see in that sentence are Calvart’s.  That’s what you’re greeted with as your opening line.  The slut slamming’s an added touch.

More than likely Calvart is probably fairly young.  And I often feel bad of ripping into books by young authors, but this is not ready for prime time.  The fact that I returned that says everything.  I think had the book stuck more to the blurb it could’ve been interesting.  Instead, it was the biggest waste of ninety-nine cents I’ve ever spent.  And I’m still wondering was this P2P at one point before it went to fiction press and Wattpad before hitting Amazon.

Honestly, this one confounds me.  Almost as much as its sequel which plot, well, I’m almost tempted to review it when it does reach prime time because seriously WTF?  How can you make your kid lie about their gender their entire life that is some warped child abuse, man.  Besides, wouldn’t you sort of be able to tell…never mind.  Not going there.

Overall Review: Um, no stars.



Judge a Book by Its Cover: Royal Edition

All I’ve been hearing about is that royal baby.  And since it’s almost born in August,  I’ve decided that for August I’ll be looking at some YA book covers with a royal theme-note, this edition is coming out a little earlier since I won’t be blogging probably the rest of this week and the following week because of the test of doom.

What the Cover Says: Prince Chuck and Princess Diane got a divorce and decided to split up their girls-Willa and Harriet (twins).  Willa lives with her mother and works at her hipster coffee shop in Seattle and is an aspiring graphic designer.  Harriet is sick of going to state dinners and would rather be working on her line of fashionable pet clothes (because everyone’s corgi deserves to look chic).  Both girls get sent to an art’s camp and meet for the first time and decide to switch places.  However, complications arise when Prince Chuck become engaged to a Carmela and the girls must work to get their parents back together ASAP before the palace is turned into a home for wayward chickens.

And Lindsay Lohan could so play Carmela in this version.  Man, I forgot how she looked without all the fake bake.

What the Book is Really About: This snooty princess finds out she has a look alike who is so desperate for money she pretends to be her.  And, well, the snooty princess somehow ends up in the middle of nowhere crying and the poor girl ends up in the palace.

Verdict: A little too literal.  And what’s with the newsboy hat.  Why were those ever in?

What the Cover Tells Me: The prince is in need of  a wife.  And Miranda is the royal match maker.  Not officially.  But she did have her own show on Bravo where she paired those two A list celebrities who have been dubbed the new Brangelina.  So why wouldn’t she be called in to pair up playboy Prince Pretty Boy?  Of course, Pretty Boy (Paul to his friends) might have no intention whatsoever of finding a good woman and finding his happily ever after.  But Miranda isn’t the type of girl to give up even if she has to make herself the perfect girl for Paul.

What the Book is Really About: This is actually two books in one.  I vaguely remember buying it to read on the plane when I went on a trip a couple of summers ago.  I didn’t get past the fifth chapter.  This really annoying girl has this lame prince ask her out on a date.  That’s pretty much it.

Verdict: I like the dress and the shoes.  The bag needs to go.

What the Cover Tells Me: Emme could’ve been a princess.  If her mom would’ve married her dad.  Instead, she’s just his bastard daughter who lives in Nebraska with her stepdad (the rutabaga farmer) and her mother who sales hay sculptures on Etsy-those child supports dad sends does wonder to their finances.  One day though, out of the blue, her mom gets a call that her dad wants Emme to come to the palace.  But why after all this time?

Seriously, rutabagas.

What the Book is Really About: A country bumpkin’s celebrity cousin moves to her town and causes havoc on her life.

Verdict: Can we pose a little more lewd?  Seriously?  I’m just glad that dress was covering everything up.

What the Cover Tells Me: Valerie wants to be a princess.  Novel dream, she knows.  The closest she is ever going to get to princess material is if she gets a job at Disney World.  However, reality TV answers her dreams with Princess for Hire where one young woman will become a princess.  But why does Valerie suspect there’s a sinister catch to all of this?  Especially since everyone is acting like Stepford Wives.

The inspiration for this summary.

What is the Book Actually About: Essentially this girl finds out she has this special power to transform in to any princess she wants.  I have to wonder if that includes animated characters.  Because I would so go for Ariel’s life, after she got her voice back and defeated the sea witch.  Two words: Prince Eric.

Verdict: Lazy.  It looks like bathroom vanity only more pink and I don’t have pearls.

What the Cover Tells Me: Alexandra (Ali) hates being a princess and has decided that she is going to get herself banished.  However, her efforts might’ve gone a little to far since it appears she has destroyed the world.  Can Ali fix what she did?

What the Book is Really About: A girl gets a role in a movie and finds out that she’s a look alike for a princess.  Things however take a disturbing twist when it turns out that the kingdom might be rebelling.

Verdict: Safe and boring.  Honestly, I would probably pass over it its so blah.