Even though Deadly Little Secret is just over 250 pages, it took me almost a week to get through it because it was so incredibly flat and boring. I ha...moreEven though Deadly Little Secret is just over 250 pages, it took me almost a week to get through it because it was so incredibly flat and boring. I had to force myself to finish it just so I could find out who the villain was and even that payoff wasn't worth the trouble.
Deadly Little Secret lacks interesting characters you want to root for, a truly suspenseful plot, and the romance between Ben and Camelia is stale and unbelievable. The first half of the book is a clear ripoff of Twilight, from Ben saving Camelia getting crushed by a car to the two of them having to be partners in a science class, and the second half's potential was killed by Camelia's utter stupidity regarding her stalker and the half-assed plot device that kept her from telling her parents about it. Girl, someone is invading your home, leaving your threatening messages, and clearly intends to hurt you - tell your damn parents about it and call the cops, don't rely on some stupid boy who "accidentally" killed his last girlfriend and doesn't trust authorities, okay? By the time the stalker was revealed, I was so fed up with Camelia that I was skimmed the last 40 pages or so.
I will not be continuing on with this series.(less)
Awaken, the blessedly final book in Meg Cabot's Underworld trilogy, was a mindnumbingly awful experience. I should've stopped readin...moreWow, what a mess.
Awaken, the blessedly final book in Meg Cabot's Underworld trilogy, was a mindnumbingly awful experience. I should've stopped reading this series after the second book nearly put me into a rage coma, but curiosity kills the book reviewer and all that. This third book was less ragey, but full of more eye rolls, exasperated sighs, and sad musings on why someone had apparently let Awaken get published on its first revision.
For those of you who haven't put yourself through the misery of this series yet, here's a brief plot rundown: main character Pierce Oliviera had a Near Death Experience and while in the Underworld, met it's ruler John Hayden, and impressed him enough that he continued stalking her after she escaped back to the living world. Pierce moves to Florida where the Underworld is, is stalked some more by John before he "saves" her from a Fury possessing her grandmother and takes her back to the Underworld. John and Pierce somehow fall in love in spite of John lying to Pierce multiple times and having quite some severe anger issues, and the two bum around the Underworld until she has to go back to save her cousin from dying. Or something. Whatever. The overall plot of the series is random, rambling, and basically non-existent in some places, so you'll have to forgive me for not remembering it all.
There was so much talking in this book. Cabot’s books are generally dialogue heavy anyway because it's her distinctive style, but god, Awaken was just pages and pages of talking when there should be action. The worst part was right at the beginning, when Pierce and John realized their Underworld boats would crash into the docks of spirits if they didn't do something, and then they spend like 10 pages talking about their TruLuv5Ever and why John was taking off his clothes and their plan of action and his childhood and blahblabhblah. How on earth did the boats not crash at some point in all of this? Many of the action scenes, or other exposition scenes, were in this rambly fashion and it drove me bananas.
As far as characters go, Pierce Oliviera is Meg Cabot’s Bella Swan. She’s a completely bland character with no ambitions who only gets more insufferable when John’s around, yet the other characters flock to her like she’s a super special goddess and I don’t understand her in-universe appeal. Her and John’s relationship is incredibly unhealthy, what with John’s jealous rages and general stalking behavior, and the whole “wild thing who needs to be tamed!” crap on Pierce’s end. It is so very telling that Mr. Smith notices the both of them are only somewhat decent people when they’re together - they complete each other's asshole tendencies. I wanted to hurl when they started talking about having babies at the end - puhlease, you are seventeen, Pierce, and you have known this douche for like two weeks. Calm down, and go to college. Oh wait, you don't want to do that either. Just... go away, Pierce.
And then, there were the multiple other issues, such as the rambling plot, the deus ex machina Fates showing up left and right, and the multiple, impotent villains. Did Cabot just pick a bunch of plot points out of a hat and decide to go with it at the end? Sure, throw in a badly explained excuse to use Thanatos, a drug ring, and a stereotypical Native American burial ground, who cares! I certainly didn't. I couldn't wait for the end of the book.
I've mused before that maybe I'm growing out of Meg Cabot's YA style, which might be true as she can't hold a candle to some of the newer authors in the genre, but the Abandon trilogy was just a terrible all-around experience. I know Cabot can write better paranormal romance than this, and I hope we see some of it again soon. (less)
I read Wake by Amanda Hocking and really enjoyed it, so I wanted to see what else she had out there and ended up with My Blood Approves. Definitely no...moreI read Wake by Amanda Hocking and really enjoyed it, so I wanted to see what else she had out there and ended up with My Blood Approves. Definitely not the best choice I could've made. This book showcases exactly why Amanda Hocking made her fortune self-publishing first.
My Blood Approves wants to be Twilight so very bad, but it's nothing more than a cheap knock-off version. I wouldn't be surprised if this had started out as a Twilight fan fiction at some point before moving into more original fiction territory because the similarities are really noticeable, especially once the vampire family is introduced.
Hocking's writing wasn't terrible, but it's obviously a step down and possibly a few years (and an actual editor) removed from Wake. However, the plotting of My Blood Approves was horrendous. Absolutely nothing happens in this book besides Alice meeting Jack, becoming obsessed with Jack and his family, and her crying about Jack and Peter all the time. At least Twilight had some conflict in the last 200 pages to make the book interesting.
I thought Alice might be a likeable heroine, but she's even worse than Bella Swan and that's something you have to work mighty hard at achieving. She has absolutely no ambitions besides wanting to be part of Jack's family forever, has one friend who she secretly despises, doesn't care about her family aside from second thoughts about leavign Milo behind, and basically has no personality whatsoever. I hated her by the end of the book, especially once she started whining about not wanting to live if Jack's family left her behind. Get a grip, girl, you've known them for 20 minutes.
The only likeable character in the bunch in Milo, Alice's little brother that Jack outs in the most ridiculous way. Hocking was a little gross about LGBT issues in this book, so I hope that's something she learned a lot about since this was published. (less)
Although I burned through the first two books in the Shadow Falls series and moderately enjoyed them, all the flaws of the series I was content to ign...moreAlthough I burned through the first two books in the Shadow Falls series and moderately enjoyed them, all the flaws of the series I was content to ignored seemed to come out and hit me while I was reading Taken at Dusk this week.
Exposition is not C.C. Hunter's friend and it really shows it this book. I don't know how many times information was repeated over and over between scenes. Kylie couldn't have one thing happen to her without having it be re-explained to Holiday, Lucas or Derek two pages later. It's necessary for the characters, but annoying for the readers who already know what happen.
Like with the other two books, there's not a lot of plot or anything particularly suspenseful happening. When something does, it's lackluster and fizzles out almost immediately for more on Kylie's ridiculous relationship drama. If only the focus of Shadow Falls series wasn't the Lucas/Kylie/Derek love triangle because I was over the, "Omg, which one do I pic?!" drama in the first book already.
I was also really not a fan of Kylie this time around. I didn't mind her in the first part of the series - she's bland and relatively unoffensive except for her inability to not judge people who have had sex - but there were certain parts of this book that she was really self-righteous and obnoxious. Like the whole scene with confronting Ellie about having sex with Derek? What business was that of hers? Why should Ellie have to explain and apologize for having sex with Derek who isn't Kylie's boyfriend? What the hell. And don't even get me started with the way she's treated Sara the entire series.
Since I've already invested so much time in this series, I'll probably read the fourth book when it comes out in the fall.(less)
Writing wasn't the best and there were a lot of characters to keep track of, but was it funny! I don't think I've ever laughed out loud as much as I d...moreWriting wasn't the best and there were a lot of characters to keep track of, but was it funny! I don't think I've ever laughed out loud as much as I did for any romance novel before.
I also really likes that Bo wasn't a hulking, dominating alpha male. It was a refreshing change from the "heroes" of similar reads like Lora Leigh's Breeds series.(less)
Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins is your typical YA paranormal romance with angels and demons in it. And by typical, I mean rage inducing.
I’ve stayed away...moreSweet Evil by Wendy Higgins is your typical YA paranormal romance with angels and demons in it. And by typical, I mean rage inducing.
I’ve stayed away from the paranormal romance genre for a while now because I tend to find the books that set me into Feminist Hulk Mode and generally make reading a chore because I’m too busy suppressing the urge to throw the damn book across the room. Anyway, I decided to give Sweet Evil a try because a) I was seduced by the pretty cover and b) it had four star rating on Amazon and Goodreads, and I didn’t bother to read the negative reviews before purchasing it. Plus it was $8. Whatever.
I regret spending that $8.
Sweet Evil contains almost everything that’s wrong with the paranormal romance genre right now. Technically, we’ve got bad writing, bad plotting, bad and bland characterization, telling-not-showing and a book that’s 200 pages too long. We’ve also got the asshat love interest, instaluv between said love interest and the main character, subtle slut shaming throughout the book (and I say subtle very loosely, because there’s no outright condemnation of women who have had sex, just implied), attempted date rape that adds nothing to the plot or characterization of the main character and just sorta happens, fat shaming, and some more fun stuff.
Maybe I should’ve known better than to buy a book about angels and expect for there NOT to be a bunch of heavy handed Christian messages in it. But I have learned my lesson and you shall too!
(view spoiler)[In Sweet Evil, our protagonist is Anna Whitt, a 16-year-old high school student who is the lovechild of the demon of substance abuse and angel, and has the ability to read people’s emotions. She is also an awkward prude who feels a strange draw to alcohol and drugs, and super overprotective mom. She is also a VIRGIN, something that is literally mentioned every 50 to 25 pages, depending on what section of the book you’re in. While Anna has a bit more personality than Bella Swan, she is still a pretty insufferable protagonist.
In the beginning chapters of the book, Anna’s at a concert with her BFF Jay when she meets Kaidan Rowe, the dark and broody drummer for Jay’s favorite band. She manages to talk to Kaidan who instantly knows what she is and continues to brood for a bit. But Kaidan and Anna don’t really get to know each other for another few chapters, when Kaidan saves Anna from getting date raped by some douche named Scott who put E in her drink. Please note that Anna’s drugging has no effect on the plot, Anna’s character, and has no use other than to allow Anna to bond with another girl and become OMG BFFS.
Anyway, we soon learn that Kaidan is the son of the demon of lust and his job is to have sex with all the women ever because daddy says so. I can’t decide what’s more problematic about this: whether or not gays don’t exist in world, or the suggestion that women are particularly more susceptible to the sin of lust because the only women demons who come close to lust are the twins who inspire adultery. Yup.
By the way, Anna’s a virgin. Just thought I’d remind you.
So what happens next? Well, Anna’s mom Patti (who’s not her real mom by the way because her real mom died and was an angel) decides to let the son of lust take her 16-year-old daughter on a road trip across the country to see her deadbeat demon dad in prison and a dying old nun. Did I mention that Patti is extremely overprotective of Anna, to the point of calling to check in on her every few hours and not letting her socialize like a normal teen, and has known Kaidan all of five minutes?
Kaidan and Anna go on the road trip where, guess what, they fall in love but OMG can’t be together because their kind can never be happy and have to do what they’re told and blah blah blah. Thus begins the next 250 pages of Kaiden and Anna angsting over their forbidden looooove a la the awkward middle section of Twilight where NOTHING happens. Anna even pulls a Bella and becomes a depressive mope for a month or two after Kaidan “dumps” her, even though THEY WEREN’T TOGETHER and she fell in love with him after FOUR DAYS and they made out two times.
Did I also mention that Anna is still in love with this douche even after he tells her he’s essentially a rapist?
“Do you want to know why my father chose to live in Atlanta, even though his job was in New York? He’s got this infatuation going on with that human woman Marissa. She’s the madam of an underground prostitution ring in Atlanta. International sex slavery. Young girls from starving families are sold to her. And guess who gets to introduce those girls to their new lives?”
Yep. This is our dreamy love interest, everyone. I mean, Kaidan’s also a victim here because he’s essentially forced to do it by his father, who will probably kill him otherwise, BUT he never once refused to do it until he met ~pure and good~ Anna who inspired him to ~be better~ and stand up to dad. Please also note that this scene was used to show how TORTURED and HORRIBLE Kaidan’s life is and Anna doesn’t give a flying fuck about the trafficked girls her love interest rapes other than to be horrified about the pain Kaidan’s guilt causes him about it.
Then Anna’s dad gets out of prison, stops by long enough to supervise Anna as he teaches her how to drink and not put herself under the table so she can pretend she’s leading people to sin if any other demons decide to stop by for a check-up. Yes, there is an entire chapter dedicated to her demon dad to teach underage. While overprotective Patti hides away in the other room and is totes okay with this.
Meanwhile, Anna gets a haircut and some new clothes and finally becomes, like, cool and shit even though SHE’S TOTALLY STILL A VIRGIN OKAY, and after confronting her would be date rapist, she makes her first girl friend, Veronica. This leads yet ANOTHER SCENE where we’re reminded that hey, ANNA’S STILL A VIRGIN and then there’s this gem, you guys:
Her eyes lifted to her childhood collection of unicorn statues on a shelf.
“Sometimes I wish I still was. Not something you can take back though.”
Seriously, I am not making this shit up. Veronica’s talking about losing her virginity while looking at UNICORN STATUES. YOU KNOW, THAT MYTHICAL ANIMAL THAT ONLY LIKES VIRGINS? LIKE WHAT EVEN, WENDY HIGGINS.
Oh, and then Veronica confesses she had an abortion the year before. NO BIG DEAL.
Moving on, there’s some kind of party that Anna and the rest of her demon-bros have to attend and work so their fathers, the Dukes, can be pleased with them, and Anna gets as drunk as a skunk even though she’s not supposed to because she is LIGHTWEIGHT. Nothing really happens here, other than some more dumb Anna and Kaidan angst.
The chunk of the book involves a council that all the Demon dukes and their children have to attend because some female kid isn’t doing her job. Anna thinks its her, but SURPRISE, it’s actually the daughter of gluttony, who is being punished for … drum roll please … being a fatty. Apparently demons kids aren’t supposed to enjoy the sins that they inspire humans to. So this other girl is literally pelted with candy bars and junk food by the Dukes for being fat, and then is given a sadistic choice involving a Cake of Death.
Anna stands up for her, everyone once again makes a BIG DAMN DEAL about Anna still being a FUCKING VIRGIN, and somehow she manages to save her ass (but not the other girl, who gets shot in the head) by calling down the forces of heaven. The meeting is disrupted and everyone goes their separate ways.
Kaidan goes off to L.A. to perform with his band, changing his number so Anna can contact him again, and Anna mopes about it.
P.S. ANNA IS STILL A VIRGIN.
IN CASE YOU FORGOT. BECAUSE I KNOW I COULDN’T. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)