Better Known as Privilege Teens Make Asses of Themselves in Europe: I see London and I See France by Sarah Mlynowski

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I see London, I see France
I see Sydney’s underpants.

Nineteen-year-old Sydney has the perfect summer mapped out. She’s spending the next four and half weeks traveling through Europe with her childhood best friend, Leela. Their plans include Eiffel-Tower selfies, eating cocco gelato, and making out with très hot strangers. Her plans do not include Leela’s cheating ex-boyfriend showing up on the flight to London, falling for the cheating ex-boyfriend’s très hot friend, monitoring her mother’s spiraling mental health via texts, or feeling like the rope in a friendship tug-of-war.

In this hilarious and unforgettable adventure, New York Timesbestselling author Sarah Mlynowski tells the story of a girl learning to navigate secret romances, thorny relationships, and the London Tube. As Sydney zigzags through Amsterdam, Switzerland, Italy, and France, she must learn when to hold on, when to keep moving, and when to jump into the Riviera… wearing only her polka dot underpants.

Source: GoodReads

When I was in law school, I spent one summer studying abroad in Ireland.  During one weekend, my friend and I went to Cork’s Fota Wildlife Park.  The park was pretty cool, they let the animals walk around free range.  But unfortunately, there were these bratty tourists who chased around one of the animals to the point  where I complained to one of the employees that I suspected that there was animal cruelty going on and got their asses kicked out of the park.

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Lemurs at the park.  And yeah, no cages.  If you ever get around to going to Ireland you need to visit this place. 

Yeah, I’m that sort of person.

Anyway, why am I talking about this…because those obnoxious teens, they reminded me of Sydney and her friends the stars of this book.

Though to be fair, Sydney’s friend, Kat, isn’t obnoxious for most of the book.  Till the end, where its randomly revealed that the guy who had blatantly been hitting on Sydney was really into Kat and Kat ditches her boyfriend for a random hookup but…details.

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Oops, spoiler.  But honestly, Kat is not a major character so its not that much of one.  Just that she goes from being the only decent human in the book to sort of being a douche herself.

The major characters in this book Sydney and Leela are both fucking annoying though.  Especially Leela.  Oh God, this bitch needed to be ditched so many times by Sydney I can’t even count.

She is the epitome of bad friend.  And yeah, Sydney loses her cool with this bitch at one point, but it’s quickly white washed over like…oh, I was mad at you will you forgive me.

No.

Leela isn’t the sort of person you want to be friends with.  Sydney should’ve just said screw you and left her way back in Paris when she was being a bitch to Kat and dictating everything they do.

Sydney though isn’t much better.  She is the epitome of a dumb tourist.  Doing dumb touristy things that make Americans looks bad.

Case in point, she doesn’t make reservations and wants accommodations.  Instead of trying local cuisine in freaking Italy, she eats pink slime.  Seriously, authors..why do you always act like Mickey D’s is the best thing ever.

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It fucking is not.

She also suffers from major insta love/lust in this book.  While a part of me is glad that this book is some ways kept it so casual with the relationships, on the other hand I got majority annoyed when those causal flings started going for the more generic YA twue love trope when the book started winding down.

Seriously, the relationship went from just being mostly physical to I can have a long distance relationship that’s three thousand miles apart shit.

I wouldn’t have mind it so much if there was more development than the relationship mostly being the two characters trying to hook up with each other while hiding it from their besties.  Also, had Jackson’s history also been explored more.  Leela keeps making references that he’s a man whore and there was some evidence that he was hooking up when he and Sydney were involved but it’s quickly smoothed over with the main character believing that “nothing happened” with the Kardashian model look alike.

Yeah, and collusion didn’t happen in the 2016  presidential election…

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Anyways, besides having really bad case in guys and thinking she should get a break because she was too stupid to watch watch Rick Steves’ Europe, Sidney also suffers from being a completely shitty friend herself.

She lets Leela treat Kat like crap for example.  And her behavior is Amsterdam was pretty obnoxious.

Sorry if this makes me a prude, but the scenes in Amsterdam were entirely inappropriate for a younger YA audience.  Yes, I know that smoking pot and prostitution is legal in Amsterdam.  And yes, I did expect the characters to at least go into one of the pot shops in Amsterdam when they went there, it’s sort of like the elephant in the room.  BUT having them go into a sex club in a YA book where people are having coitus in front of them.

Yeah, I get that shit happens.  But this is a YA book.  And Mlynowski’s books up to this point have generally ran on the young side of YA.  Hell, she has a younger age series that she’s been heavily focused on lately AND further more the cartoon-y like cover of the book is going to make it seem like harmless fun.  But the scenes in Amsterdam went beyond get shit faced on pot.  And the one character who didn’t partake in the antics was looked at as being prude like and a bitch for getting mad that her boyfriend had decided to volunteer at the sex club.

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Yeah…

I’m sort of surprise the editor didn’t raise issue with that scene.  Like I said, as an adult it didn’t bother me but a thirteen year old reading this shit it would be too fucking much.  I know if I had a kid that age I wouldn’t want them reading that sort of shit.  And TBH it wasn’t so much the drug use or sex club that bothered me as was the characters reactions to the so called prude like character.

I mean, God forbid you didn’t want your boyfriend to take off some other woman’s bra.

Besides the obnoxious characters, I got annoyed with the fact that I couldn’t get absorbed into any of the settings.  This book does visit a fair amount of countries and honestly I didn’t feel any of them.

Sure we’ll get some touristy attractions thrown out there, but for the most part the characters could be vacationing anywhere and it would’ve been the same story.  And for fuck’s sake, how do these kids have money?  When I was in Ireland, I didn’t have time to hop on a plane fly to some random country not the continent and spend thousands of Euros on stupid shit.   Grant it, I was in school and these yahoos were backpacking but still.

And then there was Kat’s internship.  Must be some nice fucking internship that allows you to randomly take off long periods of time to just hang out with your idiot friends.

I know, it’s a book that suspends large parts of reality BUT it still got annoying.

As far as plot is concerned, other than the not so melodrama of the physical turned twue love relationship between Sydney and Jackson there’s really not much plot to this one.  Oh wait, there’s the annoying subplot about the agoraphobic mom that really goes nowhere.

I didn’t even know what the point was of that shit.

Anyway, this one annoyed me.  It wasn’t bad but I didn’t like a single character apart from Kat and like I said she started grating on my nerves at the end.  Apparently, this one is going to have a sequel (I’m betting companion) too.  Let’s just hope it doesn’t take place in that sex club in Amsterdam.

Overall Rating: A C- if you like the characters and are on the older side of YA this one might work better for you than me.

Eh:Twisted Palace by Erin Watt

These Royals will ruin you…

From mortal enemies to unexpected allies, two teenagers try to protect everything that matters most.

Ella Harper has met every challenge that life has thrown her way. She’s tough, resilient, and willing to do whatever it takes to defend the people she loves, but the challenge of a long-lost father and a boyfriend whose life is on the line might be too much for even Ella to overcome.

Reed Royal has a quick temper and even faster fists. But his tendency to meet every obstacle with violence has finally caught up with him. If he wants to save himself and the girl he loves, he’ll need to rise above his tortured past and tarnished reputation.

No one believes Ella can survive the Royals. Everyone is sure Reed will destroy them all.
They may be right.

With everything and everyone conspiring to keep them apart, Ella and Reed must find a way to beat the law, save their families, and unravel all the secrets in their Twisted Palace.

Source: GoodReads

The Royals was my crack series for the year.  I sort of read it for the same reason I watch daytime soap, a way to unwind and to be amused with the unrealistic drama.  That  being said, Twisted Palace was not as near as entertaining as its predecessors, but it wasn’t necessary bad either.

I think my biggest problem with this book was that it was predictable.  The twists in it were soapy but more like non-sweeps soapy versus crackalicious soapy.

Case in point, I figured out the murder mystery in maybe a grand total of fifteen pages.

But again, I don’t think the book was written to really be this big mystery.   But the resolution to the mystery and the circumstances surrounding it were a little flat.  It was more or less like the book was written at this point to be a ship book and while I did love the ship in the earlier books, I was sort of over them.

Really my biggest problem with Twisted Palace, besides the fact it was so damn predictable that after the previous installment it was such a let down.

The second book in this series, Broken Prince, ended on such a high note and it might’ve been one of those books that ended on too high of a note.  Where regardless of what the writers ends up writing it’s going to be a bit of a let down.

Like I said, not a bad book but boy was this one a let down.

I’m glad I read it though, if that makes any sense.  I mean, it gave me the closure I wanted and needed for this series.  But after this one, I am fine with this series being over.

Overall Rating: B-

Soapy Goodness: Broken Prince by Erin Watt

These Royals will ruin you…

From wharf fights and school brawls to crumbling lives inside glittery mansions, one guy tries to save himself.

Reed Royal has it all—looks, status, money. The girls at his elite prep school line up to date him, the guys want to be him, but Reed never gave a damn about anyone but his family until Ella Harper walked into his life.

What started off as burning resentment and the need to make his father’s new ward suffer turned into something else entirely—keep Ella close. Keep Ella safe. But when one foolish mistake drives her out of Reed’s arms and brings chaos to the Royal household, Reed’s entire world begins to fall apart around him.

Ella doesn’t want him anymore. She says they’ll only destroy each other.

She might be right.

Secrets. Betrayal. Enemies. It’s like nothing Reed has ever dealt with before, and if he’s going to win back his princess, he’ll need to prove himself Royally worthy.

Source: GoodReads

Ah, Broken Prince the sequel to Paper Princess. This series is crack. Actually, it’s like a gigantic soap opera. I think that’s what the authors were going for when they wrote this thing because it really is like one episode of General Hospital without the hospital.

First of all, there’s a weird classification for Broken Prince like its predecessor, age wise it would technically be YA, but it reads more NA—though to be honest there’s not that much skin to skin content just situational stuff that doesn’t often happen in YA. So, older YA?

The point is, it probably shouldn’t be read by those just entering the YA audience but for older people like yours truly its really great. It’s exactly high brow literature by any means, but if you want something that keeps you engage with lots and lots of tropes read this series.

Like it’s predecessor, the book focuses on Reed and Ella. There is actually some dual point of view here but it’s not enough to give you a complete headache. The book like I said follows in the tradition of soap operas so it starts after the cliffhanger in the predecessor and ends up with yet another cliff hanger. Actually, multiple cliffhangers.

I found Reed to be a little bit more tolerable in this one, and Ella was as tolerable as ever. The side characters though—meh—especially Brooke.

Oh, Brooke.

Were there ever a one dimensional villainess it would be you.

The thing is, while I’m not proud of it, I’m okay with Brooke being your stereotypical soap opera vixen here because she is a good bad guy. She’s not stupid, and she makes you realize that pretty fast.

Overall, this was a quick short read. The next book is being released thankfully in October so the double cliff hanger will be resolved soon enough. Again this isn’t great literature, and normally I’m not sure that I would enjoy this sort of book, but oddly enough it works really well.

Overall Rating: An A- it achieves what it wants to do and I like it.

Haven From the Storm: Sarah Dosher

Because everyone knows that getting your portrait made is ideal when there’s a tornado like five feet behind you.
 
Amazon wants to teach me a lesson: being frugal makes me a sucker.
Haven From the Storm cost me nothing, but I felt like I lost a part of my soul.  Or at least my tolerance levels were diminished tremendously this weekend.
But normally it’s listed as $11.99 and I thought…well, that must be its good because generally speaking the more expensive a book is on Ammy the quality will probably (not always) be better.
I was wrong.
I’m always wrong.
But I really feel like I need to smack myself on the head with this one or get my eyes check because look at that cover…I mean, this should be an obvious sign that the protagonist is TSTL.  Who stands out getting a Glamor Shot done in the middle of a tornado.
Lily apparently.
Well, I’m assuming that’s Lily with some good coverup on since we hear constantly about how her face is covered with bruises because her daddy likes to hit her for no apparent reason.
Rolls eyes.
Look, domestic violence is a serious topic.  And the way this book handles it…makes me wonder again former fan fic?
I know it might seem like I suspect a lot of these freebies as former fan fics but….there’s a reason for it.
They rely heavily on common fan fic tropes.  This one the abuse trope.  Where the MC is beaten where a normal person would’ve already gone J Lo from Enough  already or be dead if this was a normal domestic abuse situation.
And of course there are the  legalities to consider that Dosher doesn’t, like the fact that in Oklahoma you’re required to report any suspicion of child abuse.
But what does Stephenie Meyer say again…oh, that’s right it’s fiction and because of that we can throw all logic out the window.
If you read my reviews you know already I don’t buy that shit.
Especially when it comes to books about domestic violence.  I feel like when you write about situations that are as serious as this you need to provide accurate information so any victim or potential victim can know what their options are.  Yes, I know it sounds a bit PSA.  But sometimes you have to be a bit PSA.  At least here.  And I really have a bone to pick with that lazy excuse Dosher gave about how no one could do anything…really?  I have no words.
That wasn’t the nastiest thing about this book.
What does that go to?
The romance.
Which one of these things is the most disturbing to you:
1) Hero, who is four years older than heroine, has been in love with her since she was fourteen when he was eighteen.  And has obsessed about her for four years in college with no contact.
2) That he expects her to start kissing him and be all Bella Swan like when he comes back four years later.
3) That he comes into her house unannounced and uninvited.
4) That the heroine is mad at the hero-who she had no relationship with at the time-for leaving and getting and education.
5) That he’s her new student teacher and that everyone including school staff seems okay with their relationship.
All I have to say is did Mary Kay Laterno write this?
No.
Thankfully.
But this sort of relationship screamed icky to me.  I don’t care if it’s twue luv.  And that there are lots of couples with age differences between them.  The fact is this guy is her teacher. Yes, he might’ve been her dead brother’s b.f.f. once upon a time and a childhood crush.  But she is a child.  He’s an adult.  And yes, she just turned eighteen.  But still student teacher relationship.  There are potential power issues here. He’s a figure of authority and really the way he comes off is creepy.
But  I’ll give it to Dean on this-I should mention that this book takes place in tornado ally, the hero’s name is Dean, and there’s an Impala in this book– all the characters in this book were sort of creepy so maybe he wasn’t that bad.
I mean with abusive drunk dad, school officials and townspeople who don’t give a shit that Miss TSTL is getting her ass kicked by her daddy, he’s not that bad.
But still.
And really, why doesn’t Ms. TSTL leave?  She’s over eighteen she has her inheritance-oh, don’t even get me started on the potential trust and guardianship issues in this book.  If she can afford state of the art security system for her door, a mini fridge, some bongos, and all the luxuries of life (okay, maybe not the bongos but I just like the word bongos)  she should be able to afford a down payment for rent.  Heck, I bet that painted up old biddy who lets her sometimes borrow her car would let her rent a room from her at a reduce cost.
But of course our heroine is just more concerned about buying a mini fridge.
Was there anything decent about it?  The grammar was okay for the most part.  The writing overall was pretty bland though.  I had a hard time distinguishing who was who even though it was clearly marked.  This book in general was just meh and full of idiots.
So I did what logical people do, I gave up on it.
Which is sort of sad because this book could’ve been good.  Domestic abuse is a very relevant issue but how it was handled and how the romance was handled soured my entire reading experience.