These Bones Are Fractured: Mammoth by Jill

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The summer before her junior year, paleontology geek Natalie Page lands a coveted internship at an Ice Age dig site near Austin. Natalie, who’s also a plus-size fashion blogger, depends on the retro style she developed to shield herself from her former bullies, but vintage dresses and perfect lipstick aren’t compatible with prospecting for fossils in the Texas heat. But nothing is going to dampen Natalie’s spirit — she’s exactly where she wants to be, and she gets to work with her hero, a rock-star paleontologist who hosts the most popular paleo podcast in the world. And then there’s Chase the intern, who’s seriously cute, and Cody, a local boy who’d be even cuter if he were less of a grouch.

It’s a summer that promises to be about more than just mammoths.

Until it isn’t.

When Natalie’s hero turns out to be anything but, and steals the credit for one of her accomplishments, Nat has to unearth the confidence she needs to stand out in a field dominated by dudes. To do this, she’ll have to let her true self shine, even if that means defying all the rules for the sake of a major discovery.

Source: GoodReads

Note, if you’re going to state to have a book about body positivity  do not have your character guess every lady’s weight and have the “Mean Girl” be the cliche skinny girl.  It will annoy your reader who would’ve otherwise enjoyed your book.

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Okay, that opening paragraph is pretty much a summation of my thoughts of Mammoth.  It had a lot of potential, there were parts I liked but with many so called “empowerment” books this one ends up skinny bashing AND emphasizing weight more than it should’ve.

At least it had paleontology.  That was cool, and it was the primary reason why I kept reading the book.  Because I was interested in the paleontology bits, even though it got ridiculously unrealistic with how successful the MC was.

Also, seriously, she really thought wearing a dress and heels was smart for a dig sight?

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Really, all of the clothes she bought weren’t fit for Texas summers let alone being outside all day long in the Hill Country.

Digressing…

The MC, Nat, was really annoying.  Baguchinsky does excerpts of Nat’s fashion blog throughout the book, and she is one of those obnoxious fashion bloggers that I would absolutely hate.  Seriously, I don’t need to know what lipstick you like to wear Nat (Pinup Girl, it’s always fucking Pinup Girl).  Nat has that over the top quirky style that I think the audience is suppose to find quirky and empowering, but soon it’s revealed she relies heavily on Spanx and that’s a good part of the novel besides telling us what every single FEMALE character weighs.

Oh, yes, this is just the female characters.  As for the love interests not surprisingly weight isn’t mentioned just abs and biceps.

Oh, and did I mention that the 110 pound girl is obviously a bad character for flirting with a boy that Nat might like and having a rich dad.  She’s skinny and rich so…

Here’s the thing about books that state they’re about body positivity, if THAT’S true the book needs to be accepting of all body types.  It just annoys me when there’s skinny shaming as much as there is fat shaming.  Honestly, I wish that the main character’s size wasn’t mentioned all the time.  Just have it mentioned she’s a plus size blogger and leave it at that.

And really, while I get the fashion thing was used to show her self esteem it really had little to do with the rest of the novel.

The paleontology internship itself was a little eye rolling.  Again, I’d had a hard time believing a complete novice like Nat would have as much success as she did.  Also, her randomly finding a document that dismisses a lawsuit….ha, ha, ha, no.  If only it was that easy.  I’m sure her randomly finding fossils with next to no experience would be just as laughable to paleontologists too.

There’s a part of the novel that had my inward Slytherin (yes, Slytherin and DAMN proud of it) fuming when we hear about how being too ambitious is bad.

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Nope.

Nope.

Nope.

Pro tip if you’re a woman in any professional industry you’re going to have to be helluva ambitious or else…well, your fucked.  Nat being told to get over someone taking the credit of her work had my little head exploding.

At the end of the day, I didn’t hate Mammoth enough where I DNF’d it or anything like that.  It also wasn’t terribly bland because it did have the paleontology plot to it-though the love interests in this book can die a slow death.

So, I’m giving it a middle of the road rating.  As annoyed as I got about finding everyone’s weight out within the first twenty or so pages, after I go past it, I enjoyed it (enough).

Overall Rating: C+

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Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer

A brilliant, hilarious, and touching story with a Texas twist from Liza Palmer, author of Conversations With The Fat Girl (optioned for HBO)

Queenie Wake, a country girl from North Star, Texas, has just been fired from her job as a chef for not allowing a customer to use ketchup. Again. Now the only place she has to go is home to North Star. She can hope, maybe things will be different. Maybe her family’s reputation as those Wake women will have been forgotten. It’s been years since her mother-notorious for stealing your man, your car, and your rent money-was killed. And her sister, who as a teenager was branded as a gold-digging harlot after having a baby with local golden boy Wes McKay, is now the mother of the captain of the high school football team. It can’t be that bad…

Who knew that people in small town Texas had such long memories? And of course Queenie wishes that her memory were a little spottier when feelings for her high school love, Everett Coburn, resurface. He broke her heart and made her leave town-can she risk her heart again?

At least she has a new job-sure it’s cooking last meals for death row inmates but at least they don’t complain!

But when secrets from the past emerge, will Queenie be able to stick by her family or will she leave home again? A fun-filled, touching story of food, football, and fooling around. 

Source: GoodReads

Liza Palmer’s book Seeing Me Naked is one of my favorite books of all time.  I’ve been meaning to check out her backlist for awhile and picked up Nowhere But Home on a whim.

The result.

Mixed.

The writing itself is enjoyable and as readable as ever.  Palmer knows how to make a book readable that in itself gave the book a huge plus.

On the downside though, the story itself is extremely trite.  I could predict almost everything that was going to happen before it did.  And there was nothing surprising or unusual to set the book aside from the blandness that it was.

Even the character development was lacking.

Arguably, you could say that Queenie’s arc was decent character development.  The thing is though, is that I thought a lot of her character’s development felt rushed and unrealistic at best.  Especially how things wrap up.

That was a big fat no for me when I read that Queenie went through with that, I was like are you shitting me?  Because who in their mother fucking right mind would cook their mother’s murderer’s last meal.

And yes, I know that was her job at the prison where she was working, but come on.  No one would do that, but I had a bad feeling when I found out about Queenie’s mom’s death and her new job this was what Palmer was going to do.

And it didn’t work.  It was stupid.

Much like the love triangle in this book.  Honestly, Queenie’s whole romance could’ve been scraped all together and the book might’ve been better off for it.  I get that Everett was a part of her past, but in the present he barely makes an impression on me throughout the whole story so how things got resolved between them seemed a little WTF to me.

Really, all the character development was like that.  All the secrets that were to come out, apparently didn’t need to come out since everyone knew them already.  It was like what’s the point.

You read the book for the reveal and the reactions of the reveal, and the reveals had already been done.

To be fair though, a part of me really did enjoy this one.  Like I said, the writing was good and as unrealistic as the town Queenie lived in felt, for what it was worth it was atmospheric.  I did get emerged in the setting, but from my experience with Texas and small towns that town would likely only exist in a Hallmark movie.

I’m being honest here.  I just found it so difficult to buy some of the conflicts that went on with the community and the added bonus of Texas big hair made it feel even faker.

I guess what I’m saying is even though I had a lot of problems with Nowhere But Home, is that if you can look passed all the cliches and a plot that doesn’t surprise you, you might want to give it a try.  Like I said, Palmer does have a quality about her writing that makes is charming and hard to put down.  But if you are one to get swept up into decent writing and you start noticing all the flaws you might not like this one that much.

Overall Rating: A C+