Significant improvement over the last two books. I didn't spend most of the book hating every character except Myrnin, so that was a bonus. Reading thSignificant improvement over the last two books. I didn't spend most of the book hating every character except Myrnin, so that was a bonus. Reading the rest of the series will feel like less of a chore now, I think. ...more
I think something must get lost in translation with this series because I don't understand how this book has such high ratings.
As I mentioned in my rI think something must get lost in translation with this series because I don't understand how this book has such high ratings.
As I mentioned in my review of Ruby Red, the first book in the series, the concept of this series is pretty great, but the execution and writing are just plain bad.
For a series about time traveling, these books are spectacularly boring. Very little actually happens in this book aside from Gwen going back in time to be locked in the cellar several times so she can make out with Gideon, getting drunk at a overly long and pointless party scene, and crying about Gideon not loving her. The actual plot involving the manipulative founder of the Guardians gets buried under Gwen's romantic and personal drama, and I wish Lucy and Paul were the protagonists book because their story is always much more interesting... probably because Lucy and Paul don't spend their time mooning about Gideon's cheekbones.
One of the biggest problems with this series is the way Gier handles exposition. Gwen (and by default, the readers) is constantly being told plot points rather than discovering them on their own. For instance, the Lunch of a Thousand Plot Points Gwen has when she visits her grandfather the second time in the past. And don't even get me started with the new, useless gargoyle character whose only purpose is to provide off-screen information and Gwen's friend Lesley, who is the Master of the Google Machine. This is lazy writing at it core and it almost made me stop reading halfway through the book. I skimmed the last 20 or so pages of the book due to exposition problems (and because I didn't care one bit about Gwen and Gideon's stupid love story) and I won't be picking up the third book in this series at all. ...more
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 noI 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. ...more
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 awaySweet 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"]>...more
I'm trying to figure out how the author who gave us Suze Simons and Ellie Harrison (plus their respective awesome male love interests) turned around aI'm trying to figure out how the author who gave us Suze Simons and Ellie Harrison (plus their respective awesome male love interests) turned around and put out this absolute horror show of a paranormal romance. Seriously, what the hell happened, Meg Cabot? Did I just grow out of you or are you selling out?
Underworld, the sequel to Cabot's lackluster re-imagining of the Hades/Persephone myth Abandon, is the first Meg Cabot book I ever had to urge to throw against the wall and never pick up again. It's a dull, dreary read with very little plot and a whole lot of ridiculous relationship drama and repeated exposition because the heroine is amazingly clueless. There's very little of Cabot's signature humorous and fun style in this series, possibly because of the subject matter, and it's just not an enjoyable read.
As bad as Cabot's writing, plotting and pacing was in this book, my main issue with Underworld was John and Pierce's relationship. To say it's an unhealthy relationship is being kind - it's toxic and all sorts of fucked up disguised as OMG TRUE LOVE FOREVER.
Again, maybe I've grown out of the bad boy who just needs to be ~loved~ but John Hayden is one of the douchiest love interests I've encountered in a long ass time. He's a controlling, wrathful, manipulative dick who guilt trips Pierce for being pissed that he, you know, didn't tell her that she couldn't eat food in the Underworld and tricked her into staying there for good. But hey, it turns out he was actually LYING about that and let her believe she'd inadvertently given up her family, friends and life to be with him, and that she'd only get stuck in the Underworld if she had sex with him. WHICH HE ALSO CONVENIENTLY FORGOT TO MENTION TO HER BEFORE THEY HAD SEX.
And the worst part about all of this? Pierce is almost totally fine with the fact that he's a lying, manipulative control freak because she just needs to ~fix him~ and everything will be better. Seriously. Her defining character trait is that she cares about and fixes "wild things" and John's just about the most wild thing she's ever met. Pierce knows and acknowledges John's a controlling asshole - she even knows she SHOULD be angry at him for lying to her - but she brushes it off as "male bullheadedness" and the only thing that matters is that she loves John and wants to be with him. Girl, please. If he didn't trust you enough to make your own decisions about whether or not you want to stay in the Underworld and withheld information from you, HE IS AN ASSHOLE AND IS MOST CERTAINLY NOT THE PERSON YOU WANT TO SPEND THE REST OF YOUR LIFE WITH.
I don't know if I'm going to pick up the third book in this series. On one hand, I want to see if Pierce will finally get her shit together and leave John (which she won't, duh) and on the other hand, I don't think I can read anything else about this relationship and not want to throw myself of the edge of the world.
Charlaine Harris's books would be so much easier to get through if she would just cut out all the mundane crap that her characters do in their day-to-Charlaine Harris's books would be so much easier to get through if she would just cut out all the mundane crap that her characters do in their day-to-day lives. I'm not reading your books to learn about how many errands your characters run, for Pete's sake.
The Southern Vampire Mysteries has been going downhill for the last couple of books and this one just continues on that downward slope. I don't think I would've tried half as hard to finish this book if I didn't have to get it back to the library in seven days.
Not to mention I hate Sookie/Sam and this book pretty much confirms that that's the ultimate endgame for the series. Ugh. ...more