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Oct 06, 2015
Oct 06, 2015
Disclaimer: I read to about 65%. Skim read to about 90% and read to the end. Also, this review will contain spoilers for the alternate ending No stars.
Disclaimer: I read to about 65%. Skim read to about 90% and read to the end. Also, this review will contain spoilers for the alternate ending that are not in spoiler tags.
Years ago, when Twilight was in its prime, someone told me that Breaking Dawn was never supposed to happen. That it was the book where Stephenie Meyer was given free reign to do whatever she wanted because the series was so popular, everyone would buy it regardless of quality, and rake in big dough-cheese for her and her publishers. I don't really know how true that assumption is, but dammit if isn't true for Life and Death.
Take me for example: I own all of the Twilight books, have read Twilight (just the first book) a total of 4 times, 5 if you include this (and I do), written about some of the good that came of the series (I'm not always a fire-breathing bitch queen), made fun of it, enjoyed parts of it, loathed chucks of it and everything else in between. I also attempted to re-read the series back in 2012 for this little thing I started called Project: HindSight, and had so much fun reviewing Midnight Sun (I really wish she'd finish that), but by the time I got to New Moon (the book I dislike the most), I just couldn't continue on and abandoned the project.
Over the past few years, I've settled on generally disliking everything Twilight stands for while holding onto a morbid fascination and, begrudgingly, bestowing some sort of respect for a series that put YA literature on the map.
So when I heard of Life and Death, literally the day it released, I knew I'd buy it. No questions asked. I was hoping many of the issues I had with Twilight would be corrected with this version. It had so much potential to be great! I never expected there to be huge drastic changes to the story -- I did expect it to be pretty much the same as Twilight, so believe me when I say that was the least of its problems.
I won't bother reviewing this book, because it's essentially the same as Twilight and I've already written a review for that. Just swap around the pronouns in your head as you read it.
In the forward, Stephenie Meyer opens with this:
"But I’ve always maintained that it would have made no difference if the human were male and the vampire female— it’s still the same story. Gender and species aside, Twilight has always been a story about the magic and obsession and frenzy of first love."
I don't think she was very successful. There were times when I wondered what Meyer was truly trying to accomplish here. Was she trying to basically say her novel features an unhealthy relationship even with roles reversed? As in, "Hey guys, my book is horrible either way!" Or was her goal to further highlight how Twilight had a lot of instances of sexism, including sexual violence against women? Because if so, then I suppose, yeah, she was successful.
Here's a general run down: Beau is your classic Gary Stu who falls for The Ultimate Manic Pixie Dream Girl, Edythe. He has no aspirations to do or be anything until he spots the love of his life in his high school cafeteria. Not much has changed with our young, desperate lovers except for their pronouns, but Edythe is still a jerk/control freak/stalker and somehow less creepy than Edward. And Beau is still a very weak character and as interesting as the dirt beneath my shoe. There is an alternate ending which is essentially a pathetic attempt to pack New Moon and Eclipse into a clusterfuck of info-dumping. But more on that later.
What I really want to talk about is the treatment of the female characters.
I don't know how this was even possible, but reading Life and Death actually made me hate Twilight even more than I originally did. This is mostly because it became shockingly evident that certain scenes (sexual assault) were purposefully left out in this version because the characters didn't have vaginas. Lovely.
Bella's attempted rape scene has now turned into Beau's assault scene. If you remember, in Twilight, while Bella is getting lost in Port Angeles, she runs into a group of drunk men who attempt to sexually assault her. This is made clear by their jeers ("Don't be like that, sugar.") and Edward's later dialogue. But for Beau, his assailants are a mix between female and male and have the intention of beating him up because they think he is a cop. The section is entirely re-written with more dialogue, a gun and threats of death.
Then there is Rosalie's rape scene, now changed to Royal's assault scene. Instead of Royal being raped, he's tricked during the wedding and beat up within an inch of his life. Now, one could argue the time period and say, "Well, that's happened back then. It's just how things were." And, maybe, before I read Life and Death I could have seen that point. But when the two biggest instances of female sexual assault are completely left out when you swap the genders, oy, that's an issue.
Now that is not to say I wanted to see men get rape in Life and Death. It's just a glaring problem where I now see those scenes as "Literary Rape," used as plot devices to add depth and sympathy to Rosalie's character, and to give Edward a reason to look super heroic in the face of rapists. Maggie Stiefvater said it best in This is a Post About Literary Rape:
"I’m talking about novels where the rape scene could just as easily be any other sort of violent scene and it only becomes about sex because there’s a woman involved. If the genders were swapped, a rape scene wouldn’t have happened. The author would’ve come up with a different sort of scenario/ backstory/ defining moment for a male character."
That is exactly what happened here.
One could argue that Meyer wrote a more progressive version of Twilight with Life and Death and that's partly true to an extent. Edythe does appear to try to make her relationship with Beau as equal as possible. But there are constant references to the gender changes as if Meyer is trying to prove something to the reader, and they only seemed to further resign me to the fact that Meyer has no idea what she's doing. (Bold is mine.)
His straight gold hair was wound into a bun on the back of his head, but there was nothing feminine about it— somehow it made him look even more like a man.
I fumbled for my wallet.
She turned toward the cafeteria, swinging her bag into place.
It was like Meyer was shouting me, "DO I IMPRESS YOU?!" And I kept going:
In the hands of a more skilled writer, this might have been pulled off flawlessly. I found the changes she made with Beau's narration interesting. Meyer mentioned in the Forward that Bella is more flowery with her words, where Beau is not. This is a complete understatement. The one thing Twilight actually had going for it, was the occasionally pretty quote. I say occasional, because the novel contains too many short, simple sentences than I usually like in my books. In Life and Death's case, the writing has been watered down so much that it feels on par with See Spot Run. And I don't necessarily think this is a gender thing. Just because a character is a boy, doesn't mean he can't be articulate or well-versed.
“Bonnie, there’s something you didn’t know about me.… I used to smell really good to vampires.”
Corny. So very corny.
It's not uncommon to discover popular YA authors' inability to write convincing male POVs. *cough*Veronica Roth*cough* And I learned from Midnight Sun, that it's not exactly Meyer's forte either, but c'mon! This was really bad, even for her.
The there's Beau's obsession with Edythe's unhealthy* body. Oh, god, I'm so disgusted with this part, and I don't really understand why it was included.
"Her pale arms, her slim shoulders, the fragile-looking twigs of her collarbones, the vulnerable hollows above them, the swanlike column of her neck, the gentle swell of her breasts— don’t stare, don’t stare— and the ribs I could nearly count under the thin cotton. She was too perfect, I realized with a crushing wave of despair. There was no way this goddess could ever belong with me."
Is this supposed to show Beau's unrealistic expectations of women's bodies? That only vampires can achieve this level of "perfection" that society constantly forces on us? Because there is no other explanation that works well here and I'm really trying to give Meyer the benefit of the doubt and throw her a bone. The issue with this theory is, there's no indication in the book that this is an unrealistic view. Actually quite the opposite happens later in that same scene:
I had a new definition of beauty.
Sigh. I don't think I need to go into why this is problematic, so I'll just leave that there for your critique.
*Unhealthy, as in for majority of women, this is an unattainable beauty standard. Apologies if that came off as body shaming women/girls where that is their healthy. I'm speaking specifically about society's constant pressure on women and girls to be as thin as possible, many times to the detriment of their physical and emotional health. When Beau describes Edythe, he focuses so heavily on the sharp angles of her bones and it perpetuates the idea that these characteristics make her more beautiful than others. I find these descriptions irresponsible and feel there could have been a better way to describe her.
So let's talk about the ending. This part will have spoilers beyond this point. This is your one and only warning.
Yes, it's re-written -- horribly, if I'm being honest. During the scene with the ballet studio (which, BTW, Beau didn't take ballet as a kid because HE'S A BOY. *eyeroll*), everything is pretty much similar expect for the fact that Edythe can't suck out all the venom out of Beau's body, leaving him only one possible future: becoming a vampire super early and living happily ever after with his BAE, Edythe.
I wouldn't have had an issue with the change if it had actually been written without the massive amounts of info-dumping. It reads like Meyer decided last minute that she wanted to only do 2 chapters of the gender swap (which she mentions in the Forward), realized she spent all of her deadline time on re-writing the entire book, and quickly wrote an ending hours before she emailed it to her editor.
She crams the werewolf history, volturi history, rules of being a vampire, and Beau's human funeral altogether and it's just so goddamn messy. It also makes the insta-love look even worse because at least Bella had 3 other books and a pining Jacob to consider leaving Edward. It was just an overall hot ass mess that seemed so out of place. This is why I said they just let Meyer do whatever the hell she wants; half that stuff would have never flown with a debut novel or any novel that desired to actually be, you know, good.
Would I recommend this and should you read it? Hard to say. My first response is, "Oh, god, no. Don't waste your money." $12.99 is an unacceptable price for an ebook (thank goodness for Kindle returns!). It doesn't really offer anything vital to the Twilight fandom/universe and is generally a horrible piece of writing that I want to fling stones at. But then the other half of me enjoys the suffering of my fellow book lovers and is considering purchasing this as a gag joke to both of my lovely co-bloggers. Because that's really all this trite, wish-fulfilling, wankfest of a re-imaginging is good for, and I really, really need to stop being so damn curious about everything. But anyway, I'm rambling when all I really want to say is... the ball's in your court now, E.L. James. I eagerly await your newest,
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Oct 09, 2015
Oct 06, 2015
Sep 08, 2015
Sep 08, 2015
Absolutely no stars.
I know a lot of people might be confused why I decided to continue this series despite disliking each book alo Warning: spoilers.
Absolutely no stars.
I know a lot of people might be confused why I decided to continue this series despite disliking each book along the way. I get that it might seem pointless to subject myself to mediocrity purposefully. But I'll be honest, a small part of myself enjoyed the terribleness in a sense of morbid fascination.
Without a doubt, Darken the Stars is the worst of the three and actually angered me. While books one and two can be swept under the rug as simple wish fulfillment gone terribly wrong, this one is a flaming pile of dog shit.
I didn't really have any intention of reviewing Darken the Stars, but after browsing other reviews, I feel morally obligated to say what no one is talking about. Kricket falls in love with the primary antagonist of the series -- the guy, who at one point, tries to choke her under water into submission. I'm not talking about a poorly written Stockholm syndrome. This is a legitimate romance that the author attempts to sell the reading on and it's so horribly offensive.
The entire novel is based around Kricket finally being in the palm of Kyon's hands, right where he wants her. She's trapped on his beach and makes several attempts at escape with no success. Each time she does try to fight Kyon, he hurts her in some way. He also chooses what she wears and makes it clear that her opinions and wants mean nothing. Basically, he's disgusting and the farthest thing from romantic.
However, somewhere along the lines, Kricket starts to fall for Kyon by way of a forced alliance (of course) and "changes" him. This is so very problematic. First, it completely glosses over the severity of domestic abuse. Second, you can't FIX people, certainly not abusers, with love. Out of the blue Kyon starts showing affection and a little more respect for Kricket. Then we find out that her mother entrusted Kyon to look after Kricket, which is supposed to explain why he sought after her so hard in the first two books. Kricket accepts this and starts to rationalize some of his abusive tendencies and dismiss the others. There's even a point in the book where she refers to him as "my psychopath." Also, there's a lot of sex between them, where Kyon insists on getting Kricket to confess her love as he pounds into her. >insert vomiting<
What's worst is how so many reviewers are so pro Kyon as a love interest and it's got me going HUH? I'm not the kind of person that is usually bothered by how others react to books, but in cases like this, it really disturbs me to see it. And I think it's entirely irresponsible for an author to portray an abusive relationship as romantic. It's sick.
Side note: this entire series revolves around the mental, emotional, and physical abuse of one female character by way of the people who supposedly love her. Who the hell thought this was a good idea?
Anyway, this is a case where my curiosity really did me no good. But I just had to know how it ended and the fact that it was free on Kindle Unlimited didn't help. Next time I'll try to remember that just because I CAN, doesn't mean I SHOULD. I definitely don't recommend this, not even for the lols. Stay far away.
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Sep 27, 2015
Sep 29, 2015
Sep 27, 2015
Mar 31, 2015
Mar 31, 2015
Actual rating: 1.5 stars.
The romance isn't too bad in this one if you forget the fact that it's an Insta love romance. It has a good amount of cringe Actual rating: 1.5 stars.
The romance isn't too bad in this one if you forget the fact that it's an Insta love romance. It has a good amount of cringe worthy moments that'll make you vomit in your mouth, same amount of wish fulfillment wankery and moments of intense eye rolling. But this time with sexy times! Sex in a bed! Sex in a dirt hole! Sex against a tree! Whoo hoo, sex, baby, yeah!
So why did I read it despite disliking the first book?
Answer: The narrator is pretty great and it was free on Kindle Unlimited. I was curious on where the story would go, so I decided to give it a chance, and I was entertained. I can see why people like the book even though it's not really my cup of tea. And yet, I'll probably end up listening to the last book, because at this point, why not?
I almost gave Sea of Stars 2 stars because it is a better novel than the first. But thanks to that ridiculous plot twist at the end, I'm knocking off half a star. Review to come. ...more
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Aug 05, 2015
Aug 08, 2015
Aug 05, 2015
Dec 15, 2013
Feb 03, 2015
Welp. Another case of pretty cover and terrible book has struck me again.
Kricket is a super special girl. She has special powers, special eye color, Welp. Another case of pretty cover and terrible book has struck me again.
Kricket is a super special girl. She has special powers, special eye color, special hair color, special name and spelling of said name. She's really beautiful, but doesn't know it and every guy wants her body for himself... some as old as dirt! She's also The One at the center of a prophecy her super special mom prophesized long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away.
Are you rolling your eyes yet?
Never have I read a book with so many ridiculous tropes balled up into one novel. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with tropes because even I have a certain weakness for some. For example, I fall prey to the "girl and boy hate each other, but slowly fall in love through forced interaction" trope every time and I'm not ashamed to admit it. But Under Different Stars reads like a self-indulgent writing experiment with absolutely no purpose.
While on the run from the department of social services, Kricket is abducted by a group of men who share the same violet eye color as her. They end up taking her to a different world, and surprise, surprise, she's an alien with powerful abilities that are highly sought after. She's immediately thrust into a world where females are valued as much as a prized show dog and whose vernacular verges on both corny and juvenile.
Yet despite being born with a vagina and thus seen as lesser than her male counterparts, every male she runs into wants her. Whether for political gain, selfish wants or sexual conquest, Kricket is a highly sought after commodity, and much of the novel is a pissing contest between various man folk. One that seems interesting at first, but quickly losses its appeal with every new suitor.
Though most of the novel takes place over the course of a week, possibly two if I'm being generous, Kricket manages to fall in love with one of her original captors, Trey. I can usually pick out who the love interest is from the very beginning and Under Different Stars didn't even bother making this remotely difficult, nor did it make an attempt to keep the lovers apart. As I previously stated, this novel is very self-indulgent and doesn't particularly care to stay the course of what was originally laid out in the beginning for the reader.
At one point Kricket confesses her love to Trey only to be rebuffed and in her words "friend-zoned" due to his already established previous engagement to a childhood friend, something she was well aware of beforehand. Yet, imagine my surprise when while Kricket is yet again fawning over Trey, claiming her undying love, and he AGAIN telling her no, that he suddenly tells her that he's broken it off with his fiancé and wants to be with her. And then an argument over who loves who the most ensues, ending with her basically begging him to deflower her and he saying he wants to marry her instead. Because nothing else matters but their love, guys!
It's the first time I've ever read a scene that does a complete 180 with no warning whatsoever.
To say this Under Different Stars has a bad case of wish fulfillment is a complete understatement since Kricket can, in fact, wish her way out of certain circumstances. Whatever Kricket wants, she has the power to get. Kricket doesn't want to marry someone? No worries, another male suitor will have him killed. Kricket wants Trey to be with her and ditch his childhood sweetheart? So it shall be done. I mean, the amount of wank that went into this novel is shocking.
Kricket isn't the heroine of the story despite her situation. No, instead she is the heroine of the story because the world is setup to be terrible so she can be the shining ray of light. With so many male characters that belittle her and constantly want to control both her powers and body, Kricket is the stanch feminist who desires to be in control of her own destiny. While all the men attempt to mansplain to her, they later find out that she's actually a genius whose "brain lights up like a christmas tree" on a scanner. They frequently tell her how she can't defend herself and yet Kricket has the most powerful powers out of everyone. Everyone in the book is deliberately horrible, so she can look flossy as fuck.
To make matters worse, the ratio of male to female characters is nauseating. Only three, including Kricket, have lines in the book and I'm pretty sure I can count on one hand how many times they chatted with each other one page. Two other female characters are mentioned, one being Kricket's dead mother and the other Trey's fiancé. Everyone else is virtually male or just not mentioned. Ugh.
(view spoiler)[Also, why is her name Kricket?! Why is she the only one with the super odd name? Why does she spell it with a K?? (hide spoiler)]
A part of me is confused, surprised and disgusted with myself for continuing to listen to the audiobook even when I knew there was no way possible for it to redeem itself with me, but I'm such a stubborn reader with a pinch of masochism. Maybe under different stars I could have liked this book, but it's made up of too many of the things I dislike to have ever had a chance. Such a shame because I really do love those covers.
More reviews and other fantastical things at Cuddlebuggery.["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
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Aug 03, 2015
Jul 08, 2015
Sep 02, 2014
Sep 02, 2014
Reasons why I didn't like this book:
- It was dull as dirt
- It was waaaaaaaay too long
- I was so tired of the angst, no matter how justified it was
- Ro Reasons why I didn't like this book:
- It was dull as dirt
- It was waaaaaaaay too long
- I was so tired of the angst, no matter how justified it was
- Rowan is overrated. There, I said it.
- I fell asleep listening to the audiobook over 15 times. 7 alone for the last 10%.
- The chapters with the witches felt SO POINTLESS. (BTW, the king outlawed magic, but witches are okay? dafuq? Oh well, I don't care.)
- I feel like each book follows the same plot: Celena trains. Celena fights with cute guy. Mysterious monster is killing people. Celena kills monster. Fin.
UGH. I CAN'T.
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May 20, 2015
May 20, 2015
Sep 01, 2015
Sep 01, 2015
I was actually hoping to be the black sheep amongst my friends when it came to Cut Both Ways. I wanted to be that lone wolf, singing praises for this I was actually hoping to be the black sheep amongst my friends when it came to Cut Both Ways. I wanted to be that lone wolf, singing praises for this book. So it's unfortunate that I have to agree with everyone else and say this book was terrible .
I knew going in that this book involved cheating, so I was ready for that. And I'm generally okay with unlikable characters, which is what Will essentially is. But I was really looking forward to seeing how Mesrobian handled sexuality and the boxes society likes to place it: straight, bi, gay, etc. I wanted to see that exploration and see a character struggle to understand himself and how he identified. I also wondered if this was a book that could then challenge my own views on sexuality.
It did none of this.
Cut Both Ways is the classic example of how marketing and publicity has the tendency to sell the public on a certain kind of book, when it's completely NOT that kind of book. Sure, Cut Both Ways does feature a main character, struggling with sexual identity, but it never really goes anywhere. The main conflict of the story isn't even about that or the cheating. It's about Will's broken family: his alcoholic, hoarding dad, his (in his mind) overbearing mom and his ability to run away from any and all problems.
The only sexual exploration in Cut Both Ways is Will feeling guilty about sleeping with Angus when he has a girlfriend or having sex with his girlfriend when he's feeling sorry for himself. There is inner monologue about if Will is gay or not, but it never goes further than that. He never considers that he could like both, that it could be okay to enjoy both. In fact, Will uses sex as a form of escapism from the main plot of the novel: dealing with his dad's issues. For some unknown reason, his father finishing his house remodel project seemed to be the central conflict of the novel, while everything else took a backseat.
The characters were no better, mostly serving as pawns in the story with no real purpose for their existence outside of forcing Will to react. The only character that did seem to be semi-fleshed out was Will himself, but I'd wager he's a hard character to relate to (unless you happen to be the specific reader this book was aimed at, and I really don't know what kind of reader that would be). The way he treats his girlfriend, Brandy, was infuriating, cheating aside, and he showed no signs of wanting to improve it or at least break up with her to let her move on. No, he decided that cheating on her with Angus and having her around to fuck whenever he felt horny or sad was better.
A part of me wasn't sure what to make of Will and Brandy's relationship. It developed shortly after Angus kisses Will, so initially I thought that Will hooking up with Brandy was a way for him to "not feel gay." But then he decides to willingly be her boyfriend and engage in relationship activities despite not really caring about her. And it just killed me that he could not show an ounce of feeling for her whenever she told him she care about him or even when she tells him she loves him. Nothing. He gives her nothing.
Another thing that really bothered me was Will's lack consideration for the trouble he could get Brandy in. I had no issue with Will constantly talking about how horny he was, but when you've already gotten your girlfriend in trouble by her Aunt for having sex under her roof (and she's warned you to be careful because pregnancy is a real thing that happens!) and you proceed to start feeling her up right on the porch in daylight, expecting sex right there, something is wrong with you. But let's not stop there! Because, of course, Will is so horny that he has to have it whenever nature pounds on the door like it's the po-po, so hurried sex outdoors without a condom sounds great. Just awesome. >insert pregnancy scare<
Angus only seemed slightly bothered that Will was cheating on Brandy and was more than wiling to be used for sex. To be honest, we really don't know much about how Angus feels about anything since he barely had any lines in the book and only really shows up conveniently when Will is thinking about sex.
SPOILERS from this point forward because I'm angry and I have to vent a little.
As awful as all that sounds, the Cut Both Ways still had a chance to redeem itself, or so I thought. There was still the ending that could bring at least some of these issues to a resolution. But no, that would have been too much work.
So here's the ending in a nut shell: right on the cusp of a climax, it just ends. Nothing is addressed. And just when I thought the book was finally going to dive into some of the anger-inducing issues, I flip to the next page and it's the Author's Note.
I wanted to scream.
For a book to attempt a heavy issue and then outright refuses to deal with any of it during the book nor at the end, I was shocked and felt cheated. Does Will finally break up with Brandy? Does he decide to instead stop sleeping with Angus? Does Brandy ever find out will is cheating on her? Does Will come to any sort of sexual self-acceptance? What happens now that Will's step-dad has revealed himself as a homophobe? How does his un-intentional coming out affect his relationship with his mother, father and sisters? Does Will ever admit to Angus that he is in love with him? DOES ANYTHING GET DEALT WITH?
The only thing interesting about Cut Both Ways was the author's choice to leave out the word "bi-sexual" in the story to allow the reader to "contemplate what his is and what he might be." While I was reading, it did seem kinda odd that Will never considered the possibility of being bi-sexual. It's just that in this day in age, with more people coming out and being supportive of others, that it wouldn't have not once crossed his mind. I not asking for Will to have identified himself in the story, just that I think it's odd he wouldn't have *thought* about it. And again, all this would have been nice in theory if Will even TRIED to deal with anything or if the ending didn't end right after the climax. GAH.
Just an overall disappointing read that was a complete waste of time.
Finished Copy was received via YA Books Central in exchange for an honest review. ...more
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Oct 25, 2015
Oct 29, 2015
Apr 02, 2015
Dec 14, 2012
Dec 17, 2012
I went into this book like a person between jobs, bored of their last venture and not yet ready to dive into anything too serious. I knew exactly what I went into this book like a person between jobs, bored of their last venture and not yet ready to dive into anything too serious. I knew exactly what I was getting myself into and my expectations were appropriately set for mindless entertainment. I know this may seem like a strange thing for some people and I'm sure many would wonder why I decided to read a book I was sure to dislike. The simple explanation would lie somewhere between "Because I felt like it" and "Because I paid for it." But for those of you who aren't as easily pacified, I'll say this: Reading books like this is like inviting your friends over for a night of popcorn, ice cream and really, really terrible horror movies. It takes itself so seriously, that you can't take it seriously. And instead of scaring you, the intentional outcome, it has the reverse effect, providing you and your friends endless fodder for punch lines to new jokes and puns equally as terrible as its source material.
But the moral question, of course, must be considered. Is this fair to the author? And to that I would have to reply in the affirmative and point such cynics in the direction of my Amazon receipt. A Shade of Vampire isn't a book that I would recommend or even one that I could see myself coming back to. It's served it's purpose of being different enough from what I usually read, breaking up the monotony. It entertained me and now I shall entertain you. (Also, spoiler alert.)
Here we go.
There. I've already shot, mangled and killed the Fat Elephant in the room right out the gate. I'm not pulling the "T" card strictly because this book is about vampires and forbidden love. Plenty of other Paranormal Romance books have those qualities and still maintain their independence from the pop culture phenomenon. I bring it up because it's inevitable and follows similar book canon. As such, I created a Choose Your Own Adventure based on A Shade of Vampire.
Choose Your Own Adventure: A Shade of Vampire
1. You're walking through the park alone, feeling down and under appreciated by family and friends. A handsome stranger comes out of nowhere. He's creepy, invades your space and asks you name. You:
A. Tell him your name and force yourself not to run away because you'll show your friends and family! So what if he turns out to be some psycho serial killer. You're 16 and invincible and living on the wild side for once. WHOO-HOOO! YEAH BABY! (Proceed to #2)
B. Run, because he could be some psycho serial killer. (Proceed to #6)
2. Okay, so that was totally not smart and now you're tied up to a post in a basement. Turns out they want to pamper, primp and prime you for this important Vampire Prince. You vow to be smart from now on about your decisions. You are brought before the Prince along with several other girls, made up for the sole purpose of sexual objectification. You're scared and nervous, so you hold one of the other girl's hands. The Prince notices this gesture and singles you out! Oh noz! He slams you against the wall hard, ready to suck you dry. You:
A. Tell yourself you are not the victim here, despite clearly being in a victim-like situation. It's something your Yoda, best friend used to always tell you. So naturally you tell the Prince, who just can't seem to control his thirst even though he really, really wants to, that he is also not a victim. You do all this with a clear head even though Vampire Fangs are breaths away from your throat. Also, you are a Mary Sue. (Proceed to #3)
B. Think about the great life you had and go down fighting like the lion you are. You die. GAME OVER.
3. Whew! Somehow that worked! Who knew your Yoda best friend's advice could come in handy against a Vampire Prince with a tortured past?! As a result, the Prince has taking a liking to you and gives you the plush room right next to his in his pimped out tree house (because where else would a vampire sleep? A coffin? Yeah, right). In fact, he's drawn to you and you to him. But you have to get home, so when the Prince thinks you're sleeping, you:
A. Miraculously find a hoodie and pair of shorts in your closet that's conveniently filled with cocktail dresses, find a way down the treehouse, and make a run for it... all on the same page! Who needs details? You have no idea where you're going, but you'll find a way. You're the heroine after all! (Proceed to #4)
B. Buy out the opportune time. You get to know the Prince and find out as much as you can about the secluded town to help plot your escape. All things come to those who are smart. (Proceed to #6)
4. This was a bad idea. You didn't realize this was an island with no way of escape! WAAAA WAAA! They even have a fence as tall as the wall of China! UGH. Damn Vamps! If only you had attempted to learn more about this place, maybe you could have anticipated this and prepared better. Alas, you are a dunderhead. Oh, no! Here come two guards. You:
A. Think about name-dropping your powerful master's name in the hopes that it'll put fear into their hearts, but you allow yourself to be interrupted because something has to encourage this ridiculous plot along. This is it. Your death is coming. (Proceed to #5)
B. Run. You Die. GAME OVER, silly girl.
5. One of the guards has his fangs in your neck. Just as you are mentally saying goodbye to your life, the Vampire Prince comes out of nowhere and rips you away from the attackers. Then some serious Indiana Jones type shit happens.
You're scared, hurt and mentally cursing yourself for yet another terrible decision. Vampire Prince makes you drink his blood to heal yourself and takes you back to your fancy prison. He tells you never to run away again and that you are his. You:
Fall in love because he seems like a nice guy underneath it all. GAME OVER.
6. Congrats! You're probably not a dunderhead, but will most likely still die because you're playing by cliché YA rules. May the odds be ever in your favor.
The basic plot for A Shade of Vampire is Sofia coming to accept Derek and help heal him. I'm generally not a fan of those type of books because it creates an imbalance in the relationship and breeds co-dependence. The next thing you know the characters are proclaiming their undying love and saying things like they'll never love another or how they can't be without that person. Of course, you also have the fact that Derek wants to EAT Sofia. And somehow after 400 years of not drinking blood, he's able to resist Sofia because she's different.
No other woman -- and believe me when I say that I've been with many -- had the same effect that Sofia Claremont has on me. [...] She'd only recently entered my life, yet it felt like I'd known her for ages.
I've already stopped even thinking about a life that doesn't have Derek Novak in it.
What made me angry was the not so subtle sexism and slut shaming that went on. Sofia is a member of Prince Derek's harem and other Vamps in the town assume she's sleeping with him, because HAREM, and all that. Sofia is oblivious to this until a member of the Prince's guard says she's doing a good job of pleasing him. And she replies:
"That's not... I would never!" I spluttered.
Then we have Derek's brother, Lucas, who wants nothing more than to rape and kill Sofia. Every time he showed up in a scene he made these intentions clear. Because it's not enough that he wanted to drink her blood and kill her, he has to want to rape her too.
The lust was unmistakable. He was practically undressing her with those eyes and I could tell that Sofia felt it based on how she sat there tense and unmoving.
But why does Lucas want Sofia so bad? WHAT'S HIS MOTIVATION? Her blood smells good just wasn't a good enough for me. But that brings us to the novel's biggest issue. Regardless of the clichés, A Shade of Vampire could have been decent if the writing had been tighter and not had sentences like this:
I was aware of it all, and yet, I wasn't. It was almost like everything was happening to another person, and yet it was me.
WUT. Let me help you: "It was surreal."
The characters could have also used some development besides the usual descriptions. Sofia is a girl who can do no wrong, a pure virgin, The One to Change Derek, selfless, not used to attention, etc. The only unique thing about her is her Low Latent Inhibition disorder, which basically amounts to nothing more than a really good memory. I kept wondering if it would somehow relate to the plot or have some other use, but it's kinda like Nora's iron pills from Hush, Hush. They serve no other purpose than being present.
(OH. And there just happens to be a witch on the vampire island who also was a psychologist and able to diagnose this disorder. I swear this book was written with an Easy Button.)
The underlying plot with the war between the other covens and Vampire Hunters would have been more interesting if it had more page time instead of just being casually mentioned once or twice. This is certainly not the worst book I've ever read, but I can't really recommend it to anyone either unless you're bored or a huge Twilight/Hush, Hush fan. And even then, this book may be too ridiculous to be true. ...more
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Jul 26, 2014
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Feb 10, 2015
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I came really close to DNFing this book at 96% on principle alone because I was fed one thing in the beginning of the novel, only to be force fed some I came really close to DNFing this book at 96% on principle alone because I was fed one thing in the beginning of the novel, only to be force fed something entirely different by the end. My Heart and Other Black Holes had so much potential--a lot of novel accurately described what it feels like to be depressed. So I was expecting a novel about discovering yourself, overcoming depression and finding something to live for. I was excited for it because it's a topic that needs more awareness and understanding. And for about 60% of the book, I got just that, but somewhere along the way, My Heart and Other Black Holes got ridiculously lost and confused. What happened?
Be warned: Unhidden spoilers and very personal feelings ahead.
Aysel is battling depression in the aftermath of a public tragedy that befell her family. Her father murdered their small town's star athlete, and as a result Aysel carries a burden of guilt of the incident. There's also a part of her that wonders if she, too, will end up like her father. She suffers in silence, never allowing anyone in, even former friends that stood by her after the tragedy, convincing herself that it's for their benefit to not be associated with her. In fact, she's convinced her own mother and siblings would be better off without her, too, going as far to remind her younger sister that they are half-siblings whenever she can.
Her pain is real, and as someone who has suffered from depression and social isolation for the past 7 years and anxiety issues for longer than I can remember, I could relate to the "black slug" that she continues to reference throughout the novel. Depression is a hard thing to describe to someone who has never experienced it, and until I personally dealt with it, I can honestly say that I had no idea. Even to this day, I find it difficult to fully explain it to my husband who, bless his little heart, tries his very best to be as understanding as humanly possible. Fully understanding would involve him feeling this heavy thing and I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy, let alone him. But it's great that he listens and it's even better that he's there and has that want to understand. So as I was reading, I found little quotes that perfectly described feelings that I've felt and I read them out loud to him.
Depression is like a heaviness that you can't ever escape. It crushes down on you, making even the smallest things like tying your shoes or chewing on toast seem like a twenty-mile hike uphill. Depression is a part of you; it's in your bones and your blood. If I know anything about it, this is what I know: It's impossible to escape.
Aysel's voice felt very true to her situation and worked well with a topic as heavy as this. It never felt like it needed more or less of that something for me to connect with what Aysel was saying because I completely understood where she was coming from. I've been there; I'm still there.
What people never understand is that depression isn't about the outside; it's about the inside. Something inside me is wrong. Sure, there are things in my life that make me feel alone, but nothing makes me feel more isolated and terrified than my own voice in my head.
I also loved how Roman described how he felt about missing his little sister because it reminds me of how I feel when I think of my little brother.
The hardest moments are when I miss her in the future.
After my brother passed away, for a long time, I had moments where it was like a part of my mind was still in denial. I'd see a commercial and absentmindedly think, "Oh man, wait till I tell Steve about this" and then remember that I couldn't do that and have a long cry. Sometimes I still do that and it hurts so much because life has gone on without him, I've gone on without him, and that feels wrong and unfair. So I completely related to Roman's grief of losing a sibling. And strangely, even though, this book made me remember certain feelings, it never depressed me. It was more like a bunch of "I know that feel, bro" moments while reading.
This is where Warga excels in My Heart and Other Black Holes and why the first 50% is so dead on. It's also why I said I was loving it around that marker.
Unfortunately, it went downhill from there.
Sometimes I just want to have a heart to heart with the book I'm reading. I want to invite it to tea and a spot on my comfy couch and tell them one thing: Look, I know you're a YA novel, but you don't always have to have a romance.
With the introduction to Roman, a boy who Aysel finds on a Suicide Partners forum, we get romance. Now, this is partly my fault, because if I actually read blurbs like a normal person before starting a book, I would have seen this part and ran the other way:
Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each others' broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together.
This is problematic for me on so many levels.
I want to make this clear: I am not saying any of this is authorial intent. As soon as you introduce teenage romance to a a topic as heavy as this, you run this risk of it being romanticized. I saw moments of this when Roman started saying things like:
"You're you. You get it. you get all of it. And you're sad like me, and screwed up as that is, it's pretty beautiful." He reaches over and brushes his hand across my face, touching my hair. "You're like a gray sky. You're beautiful, even though you don't want to be."
This gave me pause because one of the reasons why Roman liked Aysel was because she was depressed and wanted to kill herself. But I was willing to let this go because at this point it seemed like only Roman had these twisted feelings while Aysel was bothered by it.
But he was wrong. It's not that I don't want to be. But I never wanted to be beautiful because I was sad. FrozenRobot of all people should know that there is nothing beautiful or endearing or glamorous about sadness. Sadness is only ugly, and anyone who thinks otherwise doesn't get it.
I was further bothered when other characters started pairing the couple off, telling them they looked cute together. But I still had hope because Aysel hadn't completely lost her grip on reality... yet.
If I have a boyfriend, his name is Death. And I'm pretty sure Roman is in love with him, too. It's like a love triangle gone wrong. Or maybe it's a love triangle gone right: we both get the guy on April 7.
I would have much preferred if the romance was left completely out. What Aysel needed was understanding and a person she could talk to. If there's one thing I've learned about depression, it's that it can't be conquered alone. Having someone who can relate to your own situation, who knows exactly how you're feeling, without having to spell it out to them, is invaluable. I have a person like that in my life and she is amazing and thoughtful and strong and she's probably reading this review right now, wondering if I'm talking about her. (Yes, it's you, Kat.) I literally don't know what I'd do if I had never met her. She is my person. So I get the need for her to connect to someone. It does help, but this needed to be accomplished without romanticizing the situation and it wasn't.
It's basically the same way I felt about The Fault in Our Stars : great idea, but the romance distracted from the central conflict and somehow made it all about their love. (Which is why I've been saying that Me, Earl and the Dying Girl is a much better alternative to The Fault in Our Stars.) Introducing this romance cheapened the story and the connection I thought I had to the characters. All of a sudden Roman is kissing Aysel, telling her how he wishes things could be different for them in another universe, but that she better not flake out on him come April 7th, that it changes nothing. It went from Aysel overcoming her demons and finding a reason to live to I'm in love with Roman, but he still wants to kill himself, let me save him with the new found love in my heart. And just no.
2. Love is the Cure-All
There comes a point in My Heart and Other Black Holes where Aysel has this AH-HA moment (ironically, sometime after kissing Roman--gag me) and decides she really doesn't want to die after all. Apparently, all it took was someone telling her it wasn't her fault for what her father did and she magically gets over her depression. Why? Because someone she has grown to care about accepted her and changed her in less than a month. There was way too much change in her attitude and outlook on life and not enough catalyst to justify it. That deeply bothered me.
I understand that she made a commitment to be stronger than her sadness, it was a great start. But depression is more than just sadness and is not something you can just decide to "get over" one day, especially if you've been suffering for years and are at the point where you are contemplating suicide. If the word "sad" were a bucket, depression would overflow it ten times over. Being depressed isn't a choice, it's a disease, a war within yourself. One where everyday is its own battle. It's not something that can be overcome by love alone. As awesome as that sounds, it's unrealistic.
3. Loose Ends
Aysel did have people in her life who was trying to reach out to her before Roman entered into the picture. Instead of the reader seeing Aysel get the closure she's been desperately craving, we get Aysel worried over Roman and his suicide attempt. Of course, this is why the romance felt so out of place and inappropriate to me: it monopolized the central conflict--Aysel's battle--and morphed into it being about Aysel saving Roman with love.
What I wanted was more closure with Aysel and her family. I was hoping we'd get to see them visiting her dad, finally letting her sister Georgia into her life, reconnecting with her mother, seeing a doctor for her problems. Asyel's broken family life was one of the biggest things that led to her depression and I was very disappointed to see this not addressed in the end. (Side note: I am scratching my head at Aysel's mother's decision making. She willingly left her daughter with her father knowing that he had violent tendencies? Never reached out to her further when she got remarried and had more kids? And then she was shocked to learn about her depression? Shocked that Aysel didn't come to her? HUH?)
By that time I was at 96% of the novel, I wanted to rage quit because I knew the book couldn't pull off what I needed it to. I was right because the final scene is full of Roman in the hospital after his failed suicide attempt and Aysel there confessing her love.
"Because loving you saved me. It's made me see myself differently, see the world differently. I owe you everything for that."
So much no.
My Heart and Other Black Holes could have been amazing. It could have been the book I'd recommend to really help people understand what it feels like to be depressed. The descriptions of grief were spot on and genuine. But the glamorized-suicidal-romantic-teen-love-fest killed any hope of redemption. I love a hope-filled story as much as the next person, and oh how I wish depression could just be cured with a little bit of love. I wish loving my husband and kids and them loving me in return could fix me. Love is a lot of things, but it is not a magic pill. This is real life, and real life is a lot more complicated and messy than that. What My Heart and Other Black Holes does do is give off a false hope with the road it took to achieving it almost impossible to attain. And that, frankly, depresses the hell out of me.
ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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Apr 17, 2015
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Well, this was terrible. I hated everything but the cover.
I’m proud of myself for finishing this The Queen of the Tearling even though it’s turned out Well, this was terrible. I hated everything but the cover.
I’m proud of myself for finishing this The Queen of the Tearling even though it’s turned out to be one of my most disappointing reads this year. HarperCollins was really pushing this title marking-wise, and while it’s not considered YA, they did offer it to quite a few YA bloggers for consideration for review. I had to be the special person to request it. I wish I hadn’t have done that.
The Queen of the Tearling tried to do a lot of things and that’s its biggest problem. You can’t have a high fantasy, historic society set in the future and NOT do any type of world building. You can’t have set rules up in your world only to break it because MAGIC. It’s not nice to tease the reader from the very beginning of SECRETS and have you supporting cast dangle it in from of us like a carrot for the entirety of the novel and NEVER TELL US by the end. Because that’s exactly what happened. It really made me question what the point of the novel was considering I learned nothing new about the plot or characters by the end.
I’m also surprised this was marketed as Adult to YA readers when it really is just a poorly plotted MG fantasy. For all this book had going for it — and it had a lot, including a movie deal with Emma Watson attached to star! — I expected so much more. I expected to be blown away, and maybe that was part of the problem, but really the level of SUCK contained in The Queen of the Tearling is baffling. I don’t recommend it at all. ...more
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Aug 12, 2014
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Mar 26, 2013
I read this book for one reason: To find out why it's a New York Times Best-selling series. After drinking several beers and banging my head against t I read this book for one reason: To find out why it's a New York Times Best-selling series. After drinking several beers and banging my head against the wall after reading The Selection, I can kinda see why. And to be fair, it's probably not the absolute worst book I've read. (I mean, there's still that time I read Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini...) Still, it is by no means something that I'd recommend.
I know it might seem like I detested The Selection based on my status updates, but to be perfectly honest, I haven't had this much fun reading a terrible book since Midnight Sun .
Reasons Why This Book is Made of LOLZ:
Character names: If there's one thing that I just don't understand about The Selection, it's why more creativity couldn't be used on character names. Really, I'm not asking for much here, but America SINGER? Character names based on their occupation? WHY? What's funny is when other characters ask America what she does for a living because THEY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT COULD POSSIBLY BE.
House of Mary Sues: It might not surprise you that this book is about a super special snowflake, but did you know that virtually ALL the characters are just as special? The competition in The Selection isn't just about which girl can win Maxon's heart. Oh no. It's about who's the most special of them all! And since most of them are so damn selfless, they end up tripping over themselves, giving each other compliment after compliment. ("No, you're the prettiest! You'd make such a great Queen. I'm nothing but a cardboard cutout excuse for a supporting character." *giggle*) I shit you not. In fact, even Maxon and Aspen are competing, too. In my hands I hold a royal flush of Mary Sues.
The love triangle: I almost always dislike love triangles. It turns the female character into someone who can only focus on the two boys and becomes a much less interesting person. Her entire story revolves around the boys and which one is the "most perfect" for her. In effect, she is defined by this love triangle and her story becomes a shipping war.
I was hoping The Selection wouldn't fall into that trap and was ecstatic that America was leaving Aspen behind when she left to live at the palace. But I knew things couldn't be that simple since he eventually shows up at the right fucking moment to add unnecessary romantic tension. Because what a coincidence that a poor boy, who's a glorified custodian, would find his way all the way to the palace and a guard right outside America's door! WOW! It must be fate... or perhaps bad writing. Let's go with the latter.
So now we have both boys back into America's life. What's a 16-year-old to do? Who are you going to choose, America?!
"No, I'm not choosing him or you. I'm choosing me."
Bullshit. America spends majority of the book struggling with who to choose. And I would wager that the other books have the very same struggle. If there is one thing this book was good at, it was its predictability.
Also, did I mention how America has never had a female friend? The explanation for this is that she is always working and was homeschooled. But someone she made time to have a steady boyfriend (Aspen) for 2 years. She even mentions his sisters, but apparently, they aren't friends. Even more, I found it super strange that she mentions that Maxon would have been someone she befriended at home had he been a neighbor. So I guess America only had time to make male friends back at home. It's after she is forced to be around other females that she makes female friends.
The thing about her female friends is that the only thing they ever talk about is Maxon. Though he is a supporting character to America, he holds the center of this novel, making it complete one-dimensional, lacking any character depth. It's a real shame because the premise of The Selection isn't entirely a horrible one. But instead, Cass sets up a plot that is so staged that I couldn't possibly take it seriously. Supporting characters are weaker to make America seem stronger. Supporting character make ridiculous suggestions so America can seem smarter. Rebels attack the palace for... reasons not expanded on because it has nothing to do with the romance. But, hey, those scenes make America look like a leader, so why not?
(What really kills me is how America tells Maxon that she "just needs time" to get over her ex-boyfriend, but he has no idea it's Aspen, the very guard he stationed right outside her bedroom at night. And she doesn't seem to have any inclination to tell Maxon either. Also, Maxon doesn't own a set of balls.)
Like I said earlier, I can sort of see the appeal of this book and I've been told it's really popular among younger readers. Two hot boys, pretty dresses, a light and fluffy read. There is nothing wrong with these things. I occasionally like them in my books as well, depending on what kind of mood I'm in. But I would have liked the novel to be about more than just a girl choosing between each guy. We know nothing about her beaus outside of how "cute" they are to America. What are their traits, strengths, morals? How do they individually enhance America's life? What do these male characters represent on a larger scale? How do they even differ?
The Selection doesn't even begin to touch on any of those questions because the story doesn't actually leave you with any to ponder. What it does leave you with is a promise of a love triangle from hell and a sinking sense that the remainder of the series could only be one thing: a waste of time. My paperback came with a sneak peek of book 2 and I was very underwhelmed even more than I was with The Selection. She starts off book 2 with the difficult choice of Maxon or Aspen. I think I will spare myself.
So the question is: Is this book worth a read? In my opinion, no. Alternately, there's The Jewel that has a very similar feel, but is an overall stronger novel in every possible way. Read that instead.
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Jan 30, 2015
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DNF. I thought for sure I would love this since a few of my friends highly recommended it to me, but I hated it. The main characters are terrible and DNF. I thought for sure I would love this since a few of my friends highly recommended it to me, but I hated it. The main characters are terrible and underdeveloped. Let me count the ways: Iolanthe is virtually a Mary Sue and can do no wrong. She is The One with the power to save them because of reasons and has the BEST of luck. *wink, wink* Prince Titus is a spoiled brat that wants everything his way. He even tries to manipulate Iolanthe several times to get her to do things by preying on her feelings. There’s also a romance that came out of nowhere, horrible world building (GAH, this is a fantasy novel, FFS!) and info-dumping all over the place. Also, I hated the narration. Maybe I should have not gone with the audio, but I tried the print too and it’s just a big old NOPE for me.
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Dec 29, 2013
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Jul 26, 2013
Actual rating: ZERO STARS.
There is always a certain nervousness that comes with being the first critical review of a book. Not only are you instantly Actual rating: ZERO STARS.
There is always a certain nervousness that comes with being the first critical review of a book. Not only are you instantly the black sheep, but you may be worried how others will react. Now, combine that fear with the fact that your review may make a rather bold statement. Perhaps, it's something along the lines of accusing the book of being a direct rip off of one of the world's most beloved children's novels: Harry Potter.
But, yeah, I'm about to take it there.
I was recommended this book by a fellow "blogger" or so I thought at the time. No matter. I'm determined to let this book stand on its own merits, which are few and far between. I was told this book was an amazing new series. That it was original, exciting, funny, entertaining, etc. Adela Arthur and the Creator's Clock isn't any of those things.
Right from the beginning, before I was bitch slapped with glaring HP similarities, my eyes were accosted by poor use of the English language in the prologue. There were sentences repeated in an overall general condescending tone, choppy writing style that mostly consisted of very simple sentences and awkward sentence structure that was clearly attempting to be prestigious.
Never have I ever encountered so many cons within just the first 5 pages of a book. But here I was. I had accepted this book for review and when I get print copies, I feel this moral obligation to finish or at least give it the good college try. Yet, as I continued to read, the novel never improved.
With almost every character or plot deceive, there was a clear reference to either Chronicles of Narnia or Harry Potter, the latter stronger than the former. Shall we do a quick check list? (I attempted to draw a vinn diagram, but there were too many similarities and it wouldn't all fit in the middle.)
-MC is orphaned by the villain (the mother risks her life to save the MC)
-MC grows up away from her "magical" world
-MC finds out she belongs to a very powerful family
-MC is the only one who can stop the villain
-MC goes back to her world and studies at a boarding school castle that has 4 houses (each mirroring one of Hogwarts')
-Everyone seems to be afraid of saying the villain's name except for the headmaster
-There is a Hermione like character named Hector
-There is a Malfoy like character who attempts to a form friendship with the MC because of her powerful family. MC refuses, embarrassing the Malfoy like character.
-Villain has a special interest in coming for MC and attempts to enter into MC's mind
-MC must take "mind defense" private lessons to keep villain out of her mind
-MC joins the school's sports team (think Quidditch, but under water)
-MC finds out her mother was a legend at the school's sport and everyone tells her, "It's in your blood!"
-The school's dining hall is just as magical as Hogwarts', changing its decor magically
-The school is run by elves
-The villain mind controls a student to cause the MC problems at the school
-At Christmas, the MC receives a mysterious gift that was her late father's accompanied with an anonymous note
-One of the MC's school books screams. (I mean, c'mon. Really?!)
-The villain has Deatheater like companions. They even travel in black, hooded robes.
-Everyone seems to know the MC's name ("It's Adela Arthur!")
-Birds deliver the mail
-Adela and her posse end up in a forbidden forest, fighting an ogre, rescuing unicorns. *sigh*
(There are more smaller references, but I honestly can't be fucked to pour any more energy into this book to list them.)
Now, sure there were some differences like the MC's blatant lack of self-preservation that would rival Bella Swan's. After a classmate dies from an attack from a creature from her home world, she discovers that she must go back and fight the villain that no one can seem to defeat. The same villain that appears to be eating her people for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Does it matter to her that she knows nothing of her power or her world? No! Does it matter that many people sacrificed their lives for her so that she never had to come back to have her "mighty power" taken by the villain? NO!
But what does Adela do when she finally gets to her world? She complains about the burden of all the responsibilities she now has. She misses the human world. Why did she ever journey to this evil place? OH WOE IS ME. MY LIFE SUCKS! To put it bluntly, Adela is a brat and whenever she whines hard enough about anything, another character comes around or a plot device shows up to solve her problems. To say this was frustrating is an understatement.
Since I was apparently reading a proof, I can't comment too much on the grammar used. However, there were many instances in the narrative when repeat phrases or sentences over again on the same page or improper use of inflection. If character is yelling at another one, why not use exclamation points? Why is the reader constantly told by the narrator how a sentence is to be interpreted? This kind of writing style didn't work for me and made me consider on more than one occasion to whip out my red pen.
The world building leaves much to be desired, though, this is partly because there is hardly any world building at all. The most the reader is told is a very general story on how the magical world was formed and how the villain came into power (think: Voldemort). After that, Adela and the reader find out more by little info-dumps from other characters that often didn't work well with the novel's swift pacing.
In conclusion: I personally could only find one small redeeming factor: the author's attempts to include a lot of equally strong female characters. However, the cons heavily out way that one small ray of light. I've never gone so far as to tell another reader to not read a book, but in this case, I really can't make a good argument for someone to waste their time reading a Harry Potter knock-off. If you're looking to relive the magical world in which J.K. Rowling worked incredibly hard on for years, my advice would be to blow the dust off of the Philosopher's Stone, journey back to Hogwarts and don't look back.
**Small note on the controversy surrounding this book and author**
I'm not sure if I should be extremely creeped out that someone went to such great lengths to get me to read a book or incredibly flattered that someone valued my opinion so much that they took to stalking me with various account across various social media avenues.
P.S. Why is there a big fat grammatical error in the title (On the cover)? Yikes.
ARC was received from the author for an honest review.
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Jul 10, 2013
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I have to give the narrator, Elizabeth Knowelden,some credit here. She tried. She really, really tried to salvage this book by giving the main charact I have to give the narrator, Elizabeth Knowelden, some credit here. She tried. She really, really tried to salvage this book by giving the main character tons of personality, but not even she could change the source material. The fact is that Cruel Beauty made absolutely no damn sense.
How does the magic work? I dunno.
Who are the real bad guys? I dunno.
Wait, what's the SECRET. Well, I dunno because Nyx learns it and then FORGETS it on the next page to conveniently keep the plot rolling. Awesome.
HUH? There's time travel? ....Maybe, but not really. It's a SECRET that you'll never find out and/or stop caring about.
Cruel Beauty was like a mixing pot of great ideas that didn't get mixed very well. The oil rose to the top and the cake fell flat. Also, I have no idea what the hell I'm talking about, kinda like this book. But the narrator's voice was nice. ...more
Notes are private!
Aug 12, 2014
Aug 17, 2014
Jun 19, 2013
Sep 17, 2013
Sep 17, 2013
Actual rating: 1.5 stars
One of the biggest reasons for me wanting to read 3:59 was because it took place in a location very familiar to me. Like many
Actual rating: 1.5 stars
One of the biggest reasons for me wanting to read 3:59 was because it took place in a location very familiar to me. Like many other readers, when I hear about a book that's set in my state or near my hometown, I feel this incessant need to read it by any means necessary. Unfortunately, 3:59 proved to be one big fat disappointment.
The book follows science wiz Josie Bryne who starts having dreams at 3:59 of a girl who looks just like her. As her own life begins to fall apart around her (she finds her boyfriend and best friend sleeping together, her parents divorce and she loses her job), she desperately wants the life she catches glimpses of when she sleeps. The girl Jo seems to have everything Josie wants: A perfect boyfriend, happily married parents and a perfect life. But when she finally gets the opportunity to cross over to Jo's world, she learns things are far from perfect.
This sounded like such an interesting concept with it being pitched as Parent Trap meets Event Horizon. I don't even know what Event Horizon is (Okay, so Kat says it's a really scary horror movie. 3:59 is neither of those things.), but Parent Trap (the one with Lindsay Lohan before her life took a decided turn for the worse) is one of my all-time favorite movies. Throw in some sci-fi alternate universe action and I'm totally there. Sadly, 3:59 bares no resemblance to Parent Trap at all and I really need for Harper to stop this whole "Awesome movie/book/concept" meets "Even more Awesome movie/book/concept" thing that they do. Frankly, they are usually so far off and misleading. It's like they're overcompensating for their novels. And let me tell you, there was some serious overcompensating going on for 3:59.
The Writing Style:
So I took 3:59 with me one afternoon while I journeyed on the metro to my favorite children's book store. I read exactly 5 pages and had a sinking suspicion that this book was not going to be my thang. The writing style immediately had a very choppy weird feeling that never felt natural or smooth even as the novel progressed. There were inner monologues from the narrator found in between each section of dialogue, making the exchange seem very long. Someone would say something to Josie and then there'd be a paragraph monologue about what she was thinking or a bit of info-dumping. I couldn't help but to wonder what Josie would be doing in these time spans instead of answering the character's question. Was she staring at them while her brain worked to keep up with her mouth? Perhaps.
I don't think there is a single character in this book that I liked or saw growth from. Everyone remained exactly the same from beginning to end. The narrator tells us that Josie had changed, that she was smarter and stronger, but I never got a sense of any of that. Each character had one trait that they encompassed and that's basically what they were for the entire novel.
3:59 relies heavily on science to explain why things are the way they are. It's supposed to be clearly logical. Josie and her friend, Penelope, are supposed to appear smart. And I do appreciate McNeil having intelligent female protagonists solving the mystery. My problem was that since the science behind the book was so very complex, I had an extremely hard time seeing a high school student (or several of them!) knowing that much at such a young age. Is everyone a physics prodigy and able to keep up with all those formulas? Josie just happens to know more physics than her teachers?
But, okay. Maybe I could get behind this idea if all the science jargon didn't create so many opportunities to info dump. Let's be honest, hardly any readers will know what Josie knows. So whenever Josie and Penelope went off of their science talk, there was conveniently another character in the room asking for the For Dummies version. Look, I am not the kind of reader who is easily impressed with an author's ability to recite Big Science Words. So I need to be able to see some type of explanation, and I never really got that. Instead, I got more questions: Where did the mirror in Jo's room come from despite Josie never having one in her room until she moved it there? Why did Josie only start having the dreams recently even though the connection to both worlds had been open for 6 months?
Then we move on to the actual logical fails 3:59 was filled with. There's this part in the book where Josie and Nick go on a tour of Fort Meade (a highly guarded military facility that houses different government divisions like NSA) where they are given a tour by one of the Directors. Somehow, Josie convinces the Director (because he's attracted to her) to give them a tour of a floor they have no business being on. Somehow, conveniently the halls are deserted. That is so inaccurate, I can't even. Then she conveniently leaves her purse on that floor in the bathroom only to later bat her eyelashes at the Director for his access card so she can retrieve it alone. I understand that this is fiction, but Josie was given way too many free passes in this novel. I don't care if she batted her eyelashes so hard that her eyes got stuck in a permanent twitch, there is no way someone is handing over their security badge at the Fort. And there is no way she would make it back up to that same off-limits floor with no one stopping her. You can't just walk around the Fort unescorted. It doesn't happen for security reasons. Where was the research done here?
But I get it. Sometimes you just have to go with it when it comes to some books (hard as that is for me most times). This book was supposed to be built around scientific logic, so I expected basic common sense rules to be applied in other aspects as well. Clearly, I was asking too much because later in the book, Josie just thinks to ask her father (in the alternate universe) to steal a government laser from Fort Meade. The exchange went ridiculously something like this:
"Hey, daddy? Can you steal that government laser for the highly guarded military facility? I need it. I love you so much! xoxoxo!"
"Anything for you, princess! Shall I pick you up some Burger King on the way out the Fort?"
Are you kidding? For Josie to be so smart, I am actually surprised she thought this was legit a possibility even after her real mother specifically told her to trust no one.
Then, right after a character is brutally eaten to death by the nox (creatures that haunt the alternate universe and eat people) right in front of Josie and Nick, these fools start making out right there. Things get hot and heavy, Josie has a moment when she realizes she's in love and she reaches up and grabs the dude's severed ankle.
"OMG, I freakin' love this guy I'm making out with!"
"This is so hot."
"Oh, shit. Is that a foot? Gah! How did this body get here?!"
"Oh, right. He just died."
Gag me, please.
It was there 3:59 and I had a strange turn of events. The book went from giving me a lot of these moments:
To where I could barely suppress a laugh:
Honestly, though, I was still being entertained... just not in the way the author probably intended it.
So as if this couldn't get any worse, this happens:
She'd never felt this way with her ex-boyfriend. This was something different. Something deeper. Even though they had only known each other a few days, Nick knew her better than anyone else, and loved her even more because of it. - Quoted from 3:59 ARC, page 348.
Sure, sure. She's in love with this guy even though they've had maybe a handful of conversations (all of them related to the plot and had nothing to do with actually finding out things about each other), one of which was sparked by him pointing a gun at her. Boyfriend of the year!
I never once felt the connection between the two. They were these character stuck in this situation and randomly, romance was thrown in because, hey, every YA book has to have its romance. (Obviously, that was sarcasm.) But in the end, the romance didn't add anything extra to the reading experience and felt contrived and forced.
However, I might have even forgiven all of that if only the entire mystery hadn't been so predictable. I know 3:59 is being pitched as a sci-fi thriller, but I never once felt the urgency because things were so painfully obvious. I knew who the bad guy was, what happened to her parents, who was attacking the humans, etc. Josie is depicted as a really smart protagonist, but again, spouting off science words is not enough if the reader is two steps ahead of your detective. The really sad part is that the mystery wasn't bad at all, but really lacked better foreshadowing and a much tighter plot. If I've already figured out the mystery by 50%, there's really no reason for me to stick around.
Not only was the plot predictable, but the character actions. And this is where I feel good old fashion character growth would have helped. Josie, as trusting and sweet as she was depicted, was, frankly, TSTL. I don't think this was intentional, but when you keep telling the reader how smart your character is, but they continually do really dumb things, it rarely works for me.
In the end, 3:59 didn't live up to my expectations. Had the plot and mystery been tighter, the characters better developed and the romance cleaned up, I would have probably really loved this one. Would I recommend this? My first reaction is, "Eh, no." But I do think if the above doesn't bother you much in novels, you may enjoy this one. I would, instead, strongly recommend checking out a sample to see if the writing style works for you and then abandoning all sense of logic at page one.
1 star because it's not the worst book I've read
.5 star for somehow keeping me entertained despite my frustrations
ARC was received from the publisher via Young Adult Books Central.
More reviews and other fantastical things at Cuddlebuggery Book Blog. ...more
Notes are private!
Aug 03, 2013
Aug 08, 2013
Jun 17, 2013
May 21, 2013
May 21, 2013
EDIT: Okay, here's the thing, I feel the need to clarify a few things. This review is in no way, shape or form alluding to the fact that the author is EDIT: Okay, here's the thing, I feel the need to clarify a few things. This review is in no way, shape or form alluding to the fact that the author is sexist. Are there characters in the novel that are depicted as sexist? Yes. Do I think the author is sexist and that he was trying to write a sexist book? No. Did the book come off as sexist to me? Yes.
This is just an interpretation of the novel and has nothing to do with the author's intention. Just so we're clear.
Actual rating: NO STARS
I can't believe I survived. Should I laugh? Cry?
Full disclosure: I went into this book with a suspicion that I might not enjoy it after my bookish twin panned it. But since I requested this book and was sent a paper ARC from the publisher, I thought I'd try to go in with an open mind and try it out.
That was probably not the best decision I've ever made in life.
It goes without saying that this review will be long, contain spoilers and quotes that might possibly make your eyes bleed. RUN WHILE YOU STILL CAN.
There are two reasons why I felt I NEEDED to have this book. (1) Just look at that cover! (2) The blurb made it sound like a fun summer read. On both of those counts I was mislead, but especially when it came to the blurb. If you think this book has romance, guess again. If you think it will keep you on the edge of your seat, guess again. If you expect this book to be coherent in any fashion, guess again!
What you will get with September Girls is an anti-climatic plot, slut shaming, gendered language, poorly represented feminism and sexism. Oh and penises. Isn't it everything you could have hoped and dreamed for in a mermaid novel?
Okay so the book follows this boy named Sam. His mother has just left him, his brother, Jeff, and his dad for some mysterious placed called Women's Land (more on that in a bit.) Sam's dad quits his job and they journey to this strange beach that is brimming with girls. Not just any girls. Highly sexualized, blond, perky breasted, toned-bottomed, tanned girls. And guess what? They all want Sam. Sam, who slut shames, starting from page 25 where he reminisces about groping a girl's breasts "through her deliberately slutty Alice in Wonderland costume." Sam, you can't feel a girl up and then slut shame her once you've gotten what you want, silly!
Then you have Jeff, who's only care in the world is having sex as much as possible over the summer. He doesn't particularly care who it's with as long as she is hot and preferably drunk. You know, the usual standards.
"Oh, who gives a fuck," Jeff said. "The point is they're hot and they're here. I hope they're already drunk when we get to the party. I hope they are ready for a piece of this." He groped his crotch obnoxiously.
Such an outstanding gentleman. Ladies, don't rush this stud all at once!
Sebastian was a really random character who didn't even have physical presence in the book, but I've decided I hated him slightly more than the others. You see, Sebastian was just full of dating advice for Sam. And when in doubt, Sam would always wonder what his good old buddy would say.
Oh, Sebastian, I'm such a boring character with absolutely no depth or personality and this hottie is talking to me. What should I say?
"Girls like to talk about themselves. If you can't think of anything to say, just ask some dumb question about nothing, and if you're lucky she'll go off and you won't have to say anything else for another ten minutes and she'll think you're a great listener."
He's like a Dr. Phil, I swear. He clearly understands the complexity of the female mind.
But... I think I might be falling for her even though we've only interacted a few times. I'm thinking about her all the time, but she seems smart and appears to be ignoring me. What now?! Should I go looking for her, find out where she lives, visit her at her work place until she relents?
"Wait, this is all over some girl? Don't be such a fucking vagina, dude! I mean, dude! You go to the beach for a month and you turn into a human tampon!"
What a guy! I just love it when someone uses the name of my genitals to insult someone! For those of you like me with small female minds, that roughly translated as:
Were any of the above quotes supposed think, "Oh hells yeah. These guys sound so authentic. This book is so--" Wait, let me see what the back of the ARC says. Oh yeah, "poetic and punchy, sarcastic and true," says Sara Shepard. Well, damn. Who am I to argue with that logic and quotes that were clearly "sarcastic and true." I suppose I'm just a sensitive little female with no humor bone in her body. In fact, I have no bones. I am made of tampons.
What I really don't understand is why Madison couldn't make any of his characters likable. Having your male characters degrade women with their words at any chance they get isn't authentic. It's insulting to both genders and a disservice to humanity.
There were times when September Girls attempted to actually tell a story. The only problem is that almost nothing ever happens. Oh, I lied. Sam does do things. Here is his routine:
-Walk around the beach
-Have women thrown at his feet
-Stare at a Girl's "heart-shaped ass." *raging boner* That slut.
-Skip monologue. The Price is Right is on.
-Ahhhh... sweet self-satisfaction!
Oh shit, I hope not!
September Girls' biggest problem would have to be the amount of slut shaming and the overall deeming attitude toward women. (And if you are unfamiliar with what slut shaming is, here is a great article at The Book Lantern.) Jeff just looks at them as conquest, something to satisfy his pleasure. Sebastian can't be fucked to show any human decency. And Sam follows after the other two, except he takes it a step further when his brother starts hanging out more with a certain Girl named Kristle:
"He had clearly entangled himself in that dire pussy-web he'd warned me about on our first night here."
That's right, guys! Beware the female "pussy-web." It'll gettcha! What kills me about this is that it isn't assumed that his brother may like Kristle just because she's a person. Instead, they reason that if a guy falls for a girl it is strictly because of what she is offering sexually, therefore, objectifying her.
"And by the way, Kristle's a total slut, so I hope you haven't caught anything from her yet."
Tell us how you really feel, Sam.
"Okay, she's not a slut," I said testily. "Just a skank."
So glad we got that cleared up!
Not only do the men in this novel have a blatant disrespect for women and slut shame, but the Girls do as well. The one Girl who does this the most is one special ray of sunshine named DeeDee. Now, mostly DeeDee just talks a bunch of shit and makes about as much sense as a screen door on a submarine. She was also their resident Ho-olgist. She knew all about dem hos in the bible. Those are her favorite stories. Dem hos. See if you can keep up with the poetry she's spittin':
"I like the parts about hos, even if they always come to a bad end. Eat a fucking apple, you're a ho. Open a box, you're a ho. Some guy looks at you: turn to stone, ho. See you later, ho. It's always the same. The best one is Lilith--also a ho, but a different kind of ho. She went and got her own little thing going, and for that she gets to be an eternal demon queen, lucky her. No one likes a ho. Except when they do, which, obviously, is most of the time. Doesn't make a difference; she always gets hers eventually."
"Is that really in the Bible?"
The ho... with the apple. I... HUH?
"God," DeeDee said, reaching for an ashtray and stubbing out her cigarette. I couldn't take my eyes off her. "Kristle can be so ridiculous. But who knows what I'd do without her. Total ho, by the way--not that I'm judging; I actually like hos myself. Maybe I am one--I barely know what counts anymore. Being blond certainly never helped anyone's case."
She's probably even got hos in different area codes. I wouldn't put it past her.
Poor Representation of Feminism:
And this is the part that really made me rage. So Sam's mom was a housewife from what I gather from the book. Now the thing is, when you are a parent or mate that stays home, it can be very easy to fall into the rut of *exclusively* taking care of everyone else and forgetting your needs too. Moreover, everyone else in the household might forget. That's why it's so important to find a hobby, get outside the house, do things for yourself for your own sanity and health. There is a scene where Sam and DeeDee are talking about housewives and how she feels being a housewife would be fun because they don't work and they are apparently "free." Sam has a monologue moment where he says "my mother spouted about something called the Feminine Mystique" and he considered it "pure shit."
Then he goes on to say this:
"If you were housewives you could just sit around all day with your feet in footbaths full of Epsom salts."
This is a common misconception of the role of a housewife and it's one of the most under-appreciated jobs a person can ever have. That passage is problematic and further perpetuates the stereotype of a housewife being lazy and doing nothing all day. I REALLY don't appreciate the attempted humor here when in the 1950s, suburban living had a very high rate of suicides among women. (Richard Yates highlighted this a bit in his novel Revolutionary Road. There was also a film adaptation where the DiCaprio/Winslet duo wrecked havoc on my feels yet again!) Managing the home and kids while being separated from society literally drove some women insane. Even in today's world, women who stay at home suffer more emotionally then their working counterparts.
Back in May of 2012, Gallup.com did a survey of over 60,000 US women between the ages of 18-64 and their results were depressing.
Stay-at-home moms also lag behind employed moms in terms of their daily positive emotions: They are less likely to say they smiled or laughed a lot, learned something interesting, and experienced enjoyment and happiness "yesterday." Additionally, they are less likely than employed moms to rate their lives highly enough to be considered "thriving." - Gallup.com
Mothers at home also can have feelings of worthlessness and lack of accomplishment. Many of what they do, volunteering in schools and taking care of the children, goes ignored in our society. I think it was in very poor taste for Madison to use this as joke fodder in his novel. Sam was only one step away from calling her a "bored housewife." At this point nothing should surprise you in this book when it is nothing BUT female stereotypes.
So his mom stayed home to take care of her family until one day she discovered FaceBook. First, she would post things on his FaceBook wall, but then she moved onto Farmville (which I hear is ridiculously addictive). He complains about her always being in the basement on the computer all day playing this game. And when she's not playing, she's always talking about it. But according to Sam, the real problem starts when she makes friends. Because his mother having a life is definitely a major problem! I guess he expected his mother to do his laundry and cook him dinner forever and ever!
"She got all interested in this weird crap that she wouldn't have been able to tell you about before. She's reading all this poetry; she has a Tumblr, although I avoided looking at it. She won't shut up about this thing called the SCUM Manifesto..."
Sounds to me like his mother developed a hobby and found a means to have other human interaction. And hey, that's a good thing!
In the Gallup study, stay-at-home moms found other ways to cope with depression by continuing education, blogging and joining the gym to have some social time with others. - CBS Atlantica
What I also dislike is the reason why she decided to leave her family. Madison had an opportunity to show feminism in a positive light, but he instead showed an extremist. Right after she reads SCUM Manifesto this happens:
"Then one day I'm getting ready for school and she knocks on my door with a bag packed and she tells me she's going to live at something called Women's Land, where no one ever has to talk to men."
Of course. Here is evil feminism breaking up a perfectly good family. I supposed this is just as good a time to reveal my master plan. Ladies, are you ready take over the world, moving all men underground only to be used for breeding, whist women rule the world? Muahahahahahaha!
The next section spoils the ending, so click only if you are burning with curiosity or rage. Either will do.
(view spoiler)["Save us with your Mighty-Joe-Young Penis!"
The Girls are all bound to this little beach by a curse placed on them by their father for... reasons. I didn't really understand why this was, but I think it had something to do with seeking revenge on their mother. BTW, their dad is the Endlessness and their mother is the Deepness. Don't ask me what that means. Anyway, it's really not important. What's important is this curse because it's the reason for why the Girls are so sexual. The book has sections where the Girls narrate and they describe this "knife" they have. This supposed "knife" is basically good looks. Perky breasts, perfect butt, blond, overall hotness. This is another stereotype I picked up on where women, who approach men instead of waiting for a guy or use their looks to gain things, are looked at as "predators."
But, of course, when the summer ends the Girls go into some weird lethargic state where their hair skin become dull and their faces sullen. No boys, no "knife." So basically this is how I pictured them:
The only way each one of them to break the curse is if they have sex with a virgin boy. And they can't even initiate the encounter. They have to wait for Sam to talk to them first. So let's recap here: Not only do the Girls not have a choice when it comes to breaking the curse (well, they kinda do: break it or die), but it must be done by a male penis swooping in to liberate them. Their sexuality is not their own. It is owned by men.
Excuse me for a moment.
I mean, goddamn! I really think this book hit on almost every way to demean a women. That is quite a feat considering I never thought I'd read a book that offended me more than Fifty Shades of Grey . Congrats, September Girls! You get the new title of Worst Book I've Ever Read right up there next to Revealing Eden .
If it isn't obvious, this book is terrible and I could never recommend it with a good conscious. But what do I know? Both Kirkus and Publisher's Weekly thought it was brilliant and gave it glowing reviews. Clearly, this is the sign of the end of the world because here's the truth: Reading September Girls was like being swept away by the ocean and drowni--
ARC was received via publisher for an honest review. No monies or favors were exchanged, though, I guess that's pretty obvious.
More reviews and other fantastical things at Cuddlebuggery Book Blog.
Notes are private!
Apr 11, 2013
Apr 24, 2013
Oct 28, 2012
Oct 01, 2011
Jan 10, 2012
Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you failed. Badly. To say Revealing Eden is offensive is such a massive understatement. I couldn't even stomach more that a few pages at a time. It was like taking a spork to your eye, but then it breaks leaving you with only the handle to carry out your dark deed. Even with the obvious racism aside, the Revealing Eden is simply not good. From the dialogue to the characters to the plot, it was very badly written. A tragic mess.
There are a few things you should know before reading this review:
1. I am an African-American.
2. I went into this book knowing I would probably dislike it. Why?
-Because I'm obviously masochistic.
-Because I'm taking one for the team. You're welcome.
-Because Foyt made a statement that not many African-Americans had read her book. Here I am and yes, we still exist.
3. I will most likely address a few statements made by Foyt about her novel as it pertains to Revealing Eden.
4. Oh, and this review is kinda long. Sorry about that. LOADS to cover. >.<
Apparently, according to Victoria Foyt the population of white people have plummeted due to an increase in sun radiation, leaving black people in charge. My first issue was with the lack of science in that premise. (And no. Throwing out random scientific names of insects, animals and plants does not signify that you've done your homework.) If the sun's radiation was *that* bad, being black won't do you that much good. What's even more odd is that for majority of the novel, Eden is hanging out outside in the sun without her coating (more on that later). I kept waiting for her to complain about how hot it was or that her skin felt burnt, but it never happened. Her father is working in a lab attempting to genetically alter people so that they have animal traits and no one has created a better sunblock or, I don't know, CURED CANCER?! Where is the logic in that?
Whites in this novel are considered a burden to society since they have such a low rate of survival. If one does not have a mate by age 18, they are to be sentenced to death. There seems to be an obvious solution to this hypothetical problem: breed out the weaker genetics. But instead white people are oppressed just for the sake of oppression. And even though Eden knows she has had two mating offers, she refuses to accept either one, choosing to wait for her "Dark Prince" in hopes that he will pick up her mating option. Her reasoning?
"Because I don't want my child to be all Pearl. I'd rather be dead than mate with one of my kind."
*sigh* I can't believe I have to break this down, but if a black person and a white person have a baby, that doesn't automatically guarantee a dark-skinned baby. In fact, some may have very fair complexion. Funny thing the way genetics works. But what did I expect? Almost all the dark-skinned people in Revealing Eden were black as night. The one person who is mentioned with brown skin is assumed to be mixed. *Shaking my head* It was then I should have realized that logic was not going to be Revealing Eden's strong point.
In order for Eden to fit in, she walks around with a coating of "Midnight Luster" on her skin and hair. She talks about dying her hair black and I couldn't figure out why she was doing that. Doesn't Foyt know that black peoples' hair is not actually black? Is that a common misconception even today? It's weird because it's something I've never thought of before. Sure, there are some whose hair is black, but it's not very common at all. It was the little things like that were I noticed a trend beginning: Foyt did absolutely no research on African-Americans or any other race for that matter. It is very evident by her constant reliance on black stereotypes applied even to white characters.
*Warning: Many quote-inducing headdesking ahead.
Applying black stereotypes to a white female to generate sympathy for the main character:
"White people were lazy good-for-nothings with weak genetics."
A black woman's figure categorizing her status in society:
"Voluptuous, with raisin-colored skin, everything about Ashina screamed ruling class."
"On the main stage a band of Coals performed in whiteface."
Oh and I can't forget about the constant theme running rampant that black people are out to get the white people. As if black people, that are now in charge, have nothing else better to do with their time than antagonize others. White women everywhere are doing the "White Woman's Workout." >_>
Every black person in the world is out to get white people:
"She suspected that each and every Coal passerby wanted to hurt her..."
It's always black people:
"All of a sudden, she heard two men behind her. Coals, she figured by their careless, drunken laughter."
Songs about black men raping a white girl:
Little Pearly whirly,
Even more rape comparisons:
She felt more violated than if she'd been raped.
Go on and scream. Let it out.
And on and on it goes. But then it gets worse when because there doesn't seem to be any indication that slavery or the Civil Rights Movement ever happened. How was she being oppressed? Well as far as I can tell, white people were well-fed, had their own places, had jobs etc. The biggest thing against them was the mating age, having to wear their "coating" (I'm not sure if that was a law or anything) and getting rude remarks from black people. On a few occasions Eden even wishes the world could go back to a time where white people were free to go outside with their white skin without being persecuted. She frequently says that a black person couldn't possibly understand what it was like to be in her shoes. *slow blink*
"Someday, when you're locked up in a cage, Bramford, maybe you'll understand what it feels like to be an outcast."
Yeah, that's not offensive at all. Not one bit. #sarcasm
And then there is the issue of the FFP A.K.A. the Federation of Free People, "a militant organization of Coals that vowed to rid the planet of Pearls." Pause. *deep breaths* How am I supposed to take that? The Federation of FREE People? Get me off this planet. I'm just going to leave that alone before I start seeing blood-red. Too late, I just saw red. Excuse me.
Okay, sorry about that. That was a tad awkward.
I also want to address the titles given to the races.
Latino- Tiger Eyes
Are you kidding me? Coals? As in black as coals? Pearls? As in precious pieces of jewelry? Cotton? As in what my ancestors were forced to pick in the fields? Do I even need to explain how offensive that is? And Foyt's response to the backlash of these titles?
"Why are whites called Pearls, while blacks are called Coals? Imagine a gritty, post-apocalyptic world where all that matters is survival. What good will a pearl do you when luxury items have no use? Coal has energy, fire, and real value. It is durable and strong, not easily crushed like a pearl. Pearl is a pejorative term here. Coals are admired. Coals oppress Pearls because they fear that those with light skin will add to a population unable to survive “The Heat,” and drain meager resources."
No, no, no, no. NO! You do not give a title that has been used as a racial slur to a people who have been oppressed. You do not do that. And if you think any of that is okay, something is deeply wrong with you. By no stretch of the imagination can "Pearl" be considered a racial slur. Unless, along with common sense, this society has happened to lose every dictionary in existance. In which case, I shall provide the definition.
1. a smooth, rounded bead formed within the shells of certain mollusks and composed of the mineral aragonite or calcite in a matrix, deposited in concentric layers as a protective coating around an irritating foreign object: valued as a gem when lustrous and finely colored. Compare cultured pearl.
2. something resembling this, as various synthetic substances for use in costume jewelry.
3. something similar in form, luster, etc., as a dewdrop or a capsule of medicine.
4. something precious or choice; the finest example of anything: pearls of wisdom.
5. a very pale gray approaching white but commonly with a bluish tinge.
Yup, that is just the title I would give to a group that is being oppressed. Tell them they're worthless while giving them a name that literally means precious. Moreover, if "Coal" supposed to be a positive title, highlighting their strengths, then why is "Cotton" considered derogatory? By definition cotton is a very useful resource. It's strong, durable, able to withstand cold and hot temperatures. So what's the deal here?
Only Cottons, the derogatory word for albinos, were lower, and they were extinct.
I don't think for a second Fyot didn't know what she was doing when she wrote that because in the beginning of the novel she calls "Coal" a racial slur herself.
Before she knew it, she blurted out an incendiary racial slur. "Gets your hands off of me, you damn Coal!"
First of all, I'm surprised she was still alive after saying that to someone of the elite class. Surely if Pearls are so worthless and oppressed, there would be severe consequences for an action like that? Second, Foyt is again baking her cake and trying to stuff her face with it too. Which one is it? It's either a positive term or a racial slur. It cannot be both. I'll tell you what I think. I think Foyt was just trying to smooth things over with her choice of words. And failed, I might add, because my bullshit meter is about to explode.
In the second half of the novel I had no idea what was going on half the time. The scenes were very jumbled with no clear direction of where the plot was headed. World building left way too many holes in the story. Because surely there are more races on Earth that just the ones listed in Revealing Eden. Character interactions were much of the same confusion. But I think that it mostly had to do with the fact that Eden was a fucking idiot. Her stupidity burned. For real.
From this day forward I can never say Bella Swan was the worst. Eden is the worst protagonist I have ever read. Not only does she completely miss the point over and over again, regardless of how many times it is spelled out, but she is extremely selfish and all around unlikable. There is a scene in the novel where Eden happens across an anaconda and I felt myself rooting for the snake. Sadly, he didn't win. *weeps*
One thing that was clear was how Eden suddenly became attracted to Bramford after he became half beast. One minute she is talking about how sexy he is and the next she is calling him names, even after he saves her life several times. (Bold is mine.)
That dumb beast had been gone since yesterday afternoon.
Also she likes to ride him like an animal:
She sunk her fingers into his long silky hair, like reins on a horse. As if she controlled the beast. Eden knew it wasn't true, but she enjoyed the illusion just the same.
What. The. Hell. A black man is turned into an animal and you have your white protagonist daydreaming about riding him like a frickin' pony? I just... can't.
When I finally finished reading Revealing Eden I had to ask myself what kind of person would think any of this would be remotely okay? Foyt says:
"So yes, this book is meant to provoke the white community that has never experienced racism or been oppressed because they have been in the majority in this country."
I take issue with the white community only able to be provoked by featuring a white girl who is oppressed by black people using the very same stereotypes we fight against everyday. So, yes. I taking extreme offense to that. If Foyt is indeed "color blind" as she claims then making readers connect with a black character shouldn't be a problem for her. But instead she chose to "turn racism on its head" and say, "Black folk, I know you guys have dealt with some really rough shit in the past, but what if it happened to white people?" No, just no. The African-American community exists *because* of the oppression. It is our history, our roots. It is the one thing that must be left alone. You can't just take that away from us and apply it yourselves and make us look like the bad guys in your novel! This is one of the few times where I had to sit back and wonder who could possibly enjoy this book.
"And if you ask if all these reviewers are white then consider that you have a racist point of view."
Oh, really? Racist point of view? Racism isn't dead. It's something that many of us has to face everyday. As a people, it is ingrained in our society that our features are less desirable than that of whites. There are somethings some people will never understand. They have never had to walk in the shoes of another race and therefore they have limited understanding on what it means to be a Person of Color. When you get followed around in a clothing store because of your skin color, when you can't go into the 7-11 with your hoodie on, when a job tells you your natural hair is "unprofessional," when your 4-year-old daughter asks you why her hair doesn't "go down like a princess" as if hers could never be considered as such, when you see celebrities of your race white washed in ad campaigns, when your male relatives are arrested for looking suspicious, when you see your grandparents cry after Obama was elected because they thought they would never live to see the day where a black man held office, when you know there are some parts of the country where you are just not welcome because of your skin color, or when you walk down the aisle of your local book store and all you see on the book covers are white people, with a small section devoted to African-Americans, you realize you are living in a white world. Racist point of view? Wherever would one have gotten that?
I think this goes without saying: NO STARS FOR YOU!
You didn't think I'd just leave it on that unhappy note did you? Pfft, as if!
Ay yo, if black people truly ruled da world we damn sure wouldn't be toting 'round some whack name like "Coals." Naw, we'd go for something MUCH more gangsta like, Chocolate Thundas. Then we'd go n' elect Snoop Dogg as our president and Dave Chappelle as our VP, ya feel meh? We'd give women back control of their bodies. We'd legalize MJ and the national anthem would be "Young, Wild and Free." We'd move the capital to the ATL, where we like to "throw dem bones." Grillz would be covered by dental insurance. Free health care to all citizens. Oppress white people? Naw, we ain't got time fo' dat shit, man! We'd be too busy spending our reparation money from da Gov'ment, giving back to the economy.
Chicken spots n' drive through liquor stores would be on every corner. You welcome! (So what, we get drunk...). 12pm would be a mandatory nation wide nap time, which no one would pay any attention to. Fuck the system! (So what, we don't sleep...). Though dey should 'cause "The Itis" is a very serious condition affecting 1 out of 2 black folk e'rywhere. And finally, random flash mob dances would be to songs like "Lean Wit It, Rock Wit It" and "We Fly High" (We just havin' fun and we don't care who sees...).
We stay fly. No lie. You know dis...
Book was provided by publisher/author via NetGalley for an honest review.
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Aug 03, 2012
Aug 18, 2012
Jul 29, 2012
Jan 08, 2013
Jan 08, 2013
I feel like I'm in a slump right now. I've been craving some sci-fi, but they last two books have done less than impress me. What is going on? What do
I feel like I'm in a slump right now. I've been craving some sci-fi, but they last two books have done less than impress me. What is going on? What do I have to do, start lowering my standards? Is it too hard to ask for a dynamic cast of characters, action, drama, mystery and romance?! Oh...wait. Didn't this book promise me that? Huh. Well, let's get one thing out the way right now. That blurb is misleading.
But before we get into all that, I want to take you on a flashback. Yes, a flashback. Back to yester-year...
I don't know why, but I have this soft spot for robots. Perhaps even more than the average person should. Every time I see a book or TV show about them, I have this strong uncontrollable urge to read/watch it. Now, a few years back, there was this show that came on FOX called The Sarah Conner Chronicles that showed John Conner's life as a teen on the run with his mom. I faithfully DVR'd it every week. I thought it was gripping and amazing. Though, clearly my opinion mattered very little because the show was eventually moved to Friday night - which is the kiss of death in TV land - and then, later cancelled. I was pretty bummed out about it. I mean, why do they cancel all the good shows? WHY?
Right, so about Revolution 19, because I'm betting you didn't click this review to find out my life story and robots (or did you?). Believe it or not, the above paragraph had a point. The point being, when I heard about Revolution 19 I knew I had to have it. I was SO excited and hoped that I could somehow fill the void in my robotic heart that FOX left in my chest like a leaking hole of utter despair. But I was failed again! A-a-and the hole just keeps getting bigger with every awful YA sci-fi book I read until I feel like it's just gonna swallow me whole and I can't breathe and I'm sitting in a corner, singing a Justin Timberlake song, crying a river and, and, and.... oh dear. It's like I've become the Anti-Steph: Bella Swan. I've become emotionally compromised. Quick! Someone get Spock!
Long story short, Revolution 19 disappointed me for three very good reasons.
So the blurb says, "With a dynamic cast of characters..." Okay, yeah. Let's go with that and pretend that was the case here. Maybe, just maybe this book could have gotten 2 stars from me if I cared about one character. But the truth of the matter is that none were developed enough. Ever heard of the phrase 'one track mind'? That's similar to how I found these characters. They were all 'one track-traited'. The three protagonists are each given basic traits that they embody throughout the novel. Kevin (13) likes technology, Cass (15) is athletic and Nick (17) is brave/stubborn/fearless/determined/stupid?
That's all we know about these characters and it seemed that was all they knew about themselves too. Take, for example, Kevin. Everything was going to shit and all he could think about at times was, "Oh! Is that a 3D TV? Check out the resolution on this!" He did this every time and new, shiny piece of equipment was introduced like clockwork. Nick chose any and every opportunity to do something stupid at the personal risk of people trying to help him. He displays a blatant disrespect for the family that takes him and his siblings in by sneaking out and disobeying their rules of remaining hidden from the robots. But he's labeled as being brave. Is he remorseful for the trouble he causes them? Not in the slightest because he does it over and over again. I have a feeling that this novel was extended thanks to the sheer stupidity of most of his decisions. Don't get me wrong, I expect a certain level of mistakes being made by a teen cast (or any cast of characters for that matter), but I also expect common sense to be utilized.
And then there is Cass, whose role I'm not entirely convinced was needed besides Rosenblum throwing an athletic girl into the story just to say, "Hey, look! Progression!" Great. She can run. But, of course, she gets subtly sexually harassed by two characters, one of whom throws so many sexual innuendos at her, that she later ends up liking. Of course. The other one really disturbed me: The kids find some guy living in the woods, who stares at Cass the entire time, licking his lips. She folds her arms over her chest and the narrative alludes to her being uncomfortable. Who wouldn't? That was the book's first biggest strike for me. Some dystopian/post-apocalyptic novels do this thing that irritates me:
Female character + sexual harassment (minor or on larger scale) = LOOK HOW BAD MY WORLD IS!
I just do not like how female characters are used like that. And one could argue that her role will be larger in book two (based on the ending), but it just feels like a convenient way to include her into the story line. Or better yet, move the plot along when it's clear her role serves no other purpose.
The supporting cast only serve to provide a way out to the main characters. Every time they get in trouble we are then introduced to another character that has just the skill set needed to get them out of the fix they're in. They have no substance, especially Lexie, who claims she risks her life for them because she is bored and is looking for some fun. -_- Right.
Furthermore, there is no romance. A couple of smiles dispersed throughout the novel and two kisses made of random, do not equal romance.
Definitely not my cup of tea. I like my narrative with a little more depth and complexity than Revolution 19 offered. Have you ever read a movie script before? That's how this book reads. It's very fast paced and not in the sense that things are just happening rather quick. It's more of an issue of things not being properly explained, giving off an over all rushed feeling. Though this should not surprise me since Revolution 19 was planned from the beginning to be both a YA series and film. And in that respect, I could see this working well on-screen with good actors, but it didn't translate well in book form. For example, there is virtually no world building and it feels like the author is heavily relying on the reader's knowledge of The Terminator to build his story. There is a brief prologue saying robots took over world and that's pretty much all you get. Let me not forget the weird slang/terminology of the time period that seemed entirely forced and distracting.
I knew going into this book that the author and company was pulling heavily on The Terminator to create this story. And I was okay with that because in my mind I got to see scary robots destroying things, chasing little humans around. Not unreasonable, right? Well imagine my surprise when robots are described as having flat and featureless faces except for rectangular openings for their eyes. Oh and did I mention they roll? So basically, the world has been taken over by a bunch of Wall-es, huh?
Oh, whoops! They are also 8ft tall. So the more accurate depiction would be Number 5 from Short Circuit .
Awesome. Mankind gets enslaved by evil robots, whose true crime will be reminding us forevermore of bad 80's movies. The world is so screwed. (Okay, so I totally loved that movie, but that is besides the point, people!)
I mean, is that even remotely scary? The other 'bots' are no better as just pieces of metal that hovers. But the thing that gets me, is that the robots take themselves so seriously that they TALK IN ALL CAPS. All the while, I'm thinking why are humans afraid of these robots? Oh, right. Their "lasers". *snort* You remember that moment in Toy Story where Woody is chewing out Buzz at the gas station? Well, every time one of those 'bots' came rolling around I'm like:
Random Thing that Has Nothing to do With the Story, but Still Annoyed Me:
Why is the cover model a girl? (Yes, it's a girl as she is wearing eyeliner, eye shadow and mascara on the cover.) In the novel, it's Nick that has the robotic eye and I'm pretty sure he is of Y chromosome variety. Cover, y u lie 2 meh?
In conclusion, I'm sad this didn't do much for me and I can't say I'd really recommend it to anyone either. When it all boiled down to it, Revolution 19 is a lackluster novel with a premise that had potential, but instead yielded a boring plot, boring cast of characters and equally boring robots. I will have to continue on my search for fabulous YA Sci-Fi reads. Unfortunately, this was not one of them.
ARC was provided by the publisher for an honest review.
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Dec 14, 2012
Dec 18, 2012
Jul 07, 2012
Apr 26, 2011
Apr 26, 2011
I've heard a lot about Meg Cabot's books. And it may surprise people to know that this was actually my first Meg Cabot novel. I'm not complet
I've heard a lot about Meg Cabot's books. And it may surprise people to know that this was actually my first Meg Cabot novel. I'm not completely unfamiliar with her works. One of my favorite movies of all time was adapted from one of her novels-- The Princess Diaries. All that being said, I think I made a huge mistake in having Abandon pop my Cabot novel "cherry".
Guys, this book has INSTA LOVE!
Deep breaths, Stephanie. Deep. Breaths.
It took me till page 300 to realize why I felt like I wanted to give up reading Abandon several times. And really that's pathetic that I didn't see it. I mean, I really should have peeped that way earlier. But it's not my fault because Abandon was so hard to even follow thanks to Pierce's convoluted ramblings about her pathetic life and her intermittently reminding herself to check yourself before you wreck yourself. This book left me confused, angry and HIGHLY disturbed. Therefore, this review will have major spoilers. Deal with it and let's explore these emotions.
"What Just Happened?"
It's probably not a good sign for a reader to finish your novel and not have a single clue what the point was. Not even an inkling for what you were trying to accomplish. And believe me. I wanted so much to understand and like this book, but the narration ran circles around my wee little mind. The entire first half of the novel has Pierce alluding to several past scenes as if the reader knows what was going on. Pierce would say something like, "Oh and I don't want anything to happen like it did that one time." And I'm sitting here thinking, "Oh yeah? What? What happened?! Tell me already!" I get what Cabot was trying to do, but it didn't work for me. And it definitely didn't need to go on for majority of the book. That was just cruel and wrong. It made me incredibly frustrated. Now, the parts that did manage to make some type of sense were cancelled out by Pierce's sheer stupidity. Saw dust for brains. I really don't want to say it, b-b-but.... BELLA! *gasp* And that, my friends, brings me to the anger.
"What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate!"
No, what we have here is just a failure. Pierce is one of the worst heroines I've read this year. Now, keep in mind I read both Starcrossed and Fifty Shades of Grey so far, so that's saying something. And not a good something. Moving on. Pierce meets John, a death deity, when she is a just seven-years-old. Later, when she dies at age fifteen, she sees him in the Underworld and he recognizes her too. They have a brief conversation which goes a little something like this:
"Omg, it's so cold and wet here."
"Hey, you wanna get outta here?"
So what does her do? He whisks her away to his bedroom, dresses her in a white dress and gives her the biggest diamond he could
Check yourself before you wreck yourself.
Meanwhile, a year and a half later...
They meet again... in a graveyard, where this poor, unfortunate soul seems to hang out. Of course, that doesn't stop our heroine from asking the all important, universal question: "Why me?" Are you kidding me? But I have to remember, the problem with Pierce is that she's so stupid, she doesn't realize how stupid she is. Instead of running away from the crazed stalker, she apologizes to him for throwing the tea in his face. You know, when she was busy escaping. Pop quiz: What do you get when you mix not-so-bright heroine with a gallon of selfless? Mary-Sue.
So, yeah, the graveyard. Here they are, in the rain, having a "lover's spat" over... well, I'm not exactly sure why they were fighting, but John ends up getting semi-violent, throwing her diamond and demolishing the cemetery gate. Lovely guy. Do you see why this book made me angry? Here we have yet another YA heroine with a controlling, violent male, trying to not be involved with him, and she's apologizing for getting away. Unbelievable. It was at that point where I really didn't think this novel could get any worse. Until, of course, I got to the disturbing part.
The Return of Pedobear (I wish I were joking):
Somehow the cemetery sexton gets involved and Pierce opens up and confides in him. She goes on and on about how he randomly has shown up in her life, how he scares her, how he's a nightmare, how bad things happen when he's around, etc. Do you know what he says to her after that?
"So if I might make a suggestion for all our sakes, why don't you try"--his brown eyes were pleading--"just being a little sweeter to that boy?"
Yes, that's right girls. When you are in an abusive relationship, trying to escape, it's not his fault. It's totally your fault for not being sweet enough to him. Because there is no such thing as personal accountability and it is your job to make sure he remains calm enough to not destroy you and everyone you love in a hurricane. But don't worry. He loves you. Gag me.
Check yourself before you wreck yourself.
Excuse me while I rage across my living room.
Ohhhhh... but it gets better. I mentioned before how I didn't recognize the insta-love until page 300. That might seem really strange. And it is. It's mostly because Pierce and John spent so much time trying to "non-avoid" each other and argue that I completely didn't see it. Well, on page 300 John confesses his love to Pierce. His LOVE, people.
Love? What love? In all of their encounters (six by my count, including when she was seven), they probably spent no more than thirty minutes together at a given time. And I'm being generous. And then I remember Pierce's dear, sweet granny. The one that took her to the graveyard when she was seven, in hopes that John would run into Pierce and--I hope you're sitting down for this one--fall in love with her. At seven-years-old. That's why he kidnapped her, because he was in love with her. He stalked her because he was in love with her. He got violent when she ran away screaming from him because he was in love with her. He fell in love with her at seven-years-old.
Shall I check myself before I wreck myself now too? HUH?!
Eeny, meeny, miney, moe. Catch a kiddie by the toe...
Then in order to protect her from the Furies, he kidnaps her again (to the bedroom!), changes her clothes (AGAIN) and tells her she must stay there forever with him. But don't worry it's for her protection. Totally legit. And this time he even remembers to lock the door. She smiles. The end.
I know that this is a retelling of Persephone. I get that. But this is in no way, shape or form okay with me. Abandon had everything I hate in a book. Controlling, violent, abusive male. Check. Submissive, passive heroine with very little common sense. Check. Insta-love. check. Mary-sue. Check. Poor plot. Check.
Why? Why do I continue to see the same awful tropes over and over? Why are impressionable, young girls consistently being marketed these types of book? Please, please make it stop. Give them strong, independent heroines, loving love interests, safe and healthy relationships.
Dear Literary gods,
Hear my pleas. Can you do me a solid and provide more alcohol and chocolate if I continue to run into these books?
A finished copy was provided by the publisher for review purposes. Thank you!
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Jun 30, 2012
Jul 12, 2012
Jun 19, 2012
Apr 04, 2011
May 01, 2012
Notes are private!
Mar 01, 2012
Jan 01, 2012
Jan 31, 2012
It really says something about a Dystopian novel where when you finish it, you still have no idea how their society even got that way in the first pla
It really says something about a Dystopian novel where when you finish it, you still have no idea how their society even got that way in the first place. And that kinda confuses me because I thought building a world of discord was the point of the genre. Throwing two characters in a screwed up world without any further explanation besides, "Hey, there was a war!" doesn't work for me. Because it makes it incredibly hard to the reader to picture it in their mind. I'm no expert, but my favorite dystopians are the ones that tie it in some way to our possible future. When I can sit back and say, "Wow. I can actually see this happening to us. This unnerves me," that is a winner. Article 5 was not a winner.
*mild spoilers ahead. Don't worry, I don't think it ruins anything since it was obvious from the beginning anyway.
I'm not sure I could ever consider Article 5 a dystopian novel. I think it is more accurate to call it a Dystopian Romance novel since most of the plot and major twists largely depends on Ember and Chase's relationship. It's like, yeah, STUFF is happening, but none of that matters because Ember is going to make an idiotic decision based on a spat with Chase. And the biggest plot reveal is very obvious to the reader from the very beginning. But the whole point, from what I gather, is the not the actual reveal, but the way Ember reacts to it and therefore how Chase reacts to Ember's reaction. Does that sounds like a subtle mind fuck? Yeah, well, that's pretty much the gist of Article 5. Have something messed up happen to the characters, watch Ember do something stupid, and watch Chase be forced to save her. And I felt like Simmons was trying to prove to me how bad her society was throughout the whole novel that way. It's like trying to make up for the lack of world building by saying, "Look! My heroine was almost raped! See how evil their world is?!" And I'm like, no, that shortcut just doesn't work for me. What about you GaGa?
I had a feeling Article 5 and I were in for a tough relationship with the introduction of the main character, Ember. She is one of the most infuriating heroines I've had the misfortune of reading, throwing any and everyone under the bus in order to get what she wants. And to top it all off, she possess little to no common sense. Just think of Bella in a dystopian world and you have Ember. -_- Yeah, I'm not even sorry I burned that image in your mind.
When Ember is taken away to the reform school, she blackmails someone who tried looking out for her in an earlier scenario, knowing that it would put that person's ass on the line. I can see what Simmons was trying to accomplish with showing how their society had put people in impossible situations that cause them it to be a "It's nothing personal. I don't have a choice," kinda thing. But, of course, since I didn't have a good grasp on the society in the first place, I couldn't readily associate it that way. In fact, neither could Ember. It was like she didn't even know this was a dystopian novel. She blames the love interest, Chase, for all her misfortune and I'm sitting here, scratching my head wondering, "WTF, dude! You have a corrupt government. Why are you blaming the one person trying to help you??" I'm really struggling to understand her line of thinking. Did she think the Moral Statutes were fair or normal? Did she think the government controlling all forms of travel and media was A-OK? Did not the disappearance of her classmates indicate an oppressive government? And even after she discovered her classmates had been killed by the government, why did she think her mother, a direct violator of the Moral Statutes, would be let go? Her decision-making scared me and I hope when the zombie apocalypse hits, someone like her is nowhere near me, because I swear I'm tripping her.
And then you have the love interest, Chase, who puts himself at great personal risk over and over again just to keep Ember (the little ingrate) safe. I felt sorry for this kid because Ember blames him for her mother being taken away just because he was there when she was arrested. As if he personally told the army, "Hey I know of an Article 5 violator who we can go arrest. Let's go get 'em!" The fact that it was painfully obvious that he was just following orders made me dislike Ember even more.
I think a person's overall enjoyment of Article 5 hinges on the romance. Personally, it did nothing for me. Most of the romance takes place over a series of flashbacks over the course of the novel, so I never felt connected to it, especially after the way Ember treats Chase. Ember struggles against her feelings for Chase, saying she can never forgive him for taking her mom or monologuing several times over about how much he has changed since being drafted into the FBR (I can't remember what that stands for nor do I care anymore, but it's their militia). Her inability to accept him can be summed up at worst, to exist solely to further the plot and at best, frustrating. I just wanted to scream at her! "HE SAVED YOUR LIFE!! HE MUST CARE ABOUT YOU!!! SHAKE HER! SOMEONE SHAKE HER!!" GaGa, get in here!
Article 5's saving grace was the last 15%. It's the only reason that while I want to give it only 1 star, I'll bump it to two. Ember does grow, but does that erase the frustration and anger I went through for her to get there? Absolutely not. Why? Because I almost didn't finish the novel. I had to push myself to see what happened at the end long after I had lost interest in Ember and Chase's well-beings. The ending finally has Ember thinking, "Hey, I live in a really wrong society, maybe I should start using my brain?" By that time, even though I'm happy she's finally come to this revelation, I'm like,
Article 5 had the perfect premise, especially with the way things are going in the US. But instead, reading it was like watching someone devour the last honey bun at the vending machine - the one you were there for - and they end up throwing half of it away before finishing. Wasted potential. ...more
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Sep 21, 2012
Oct 09, 2012
Dec 24, 2011
Nov 15, 2011
Nov 15, 2011
“I always wonder about raindrops.
“I always wonder about raindrops.
Here lies Steph Sinclair, slaughtered by
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Nov 22, 2013
Nov 05, 2011
May 01, 2012
May 22, 2012
It's official. Mermaids are the new "angels" of the Paranormal Romance genre. The is the second mermaid book I've read and I'm less than impressed wit It's official. Mermaids are the new "angels" of the Paranormal Romance genre. The is the second mermaid book I've read and I'm less than impressed with these sea creatures. Incidentally, Of Poseidon happens to be worse for me than Lies Beneath .
Of Poseidon tells the story of Emma, a girl who possesses a few Syrena (mermaid) traits, and Galen, a Syrena prince, who attempts to unravel the secrets of Emma. It's discovered that she has the Gift of Poseidon (think Dr. Dolittle at the aquarium) and that she may be the key to pass on the Gift to future generations. The problem arises that Emma can't change into her Syrena form causing Galen to spend more time with her training her. You know what happens next: they fall deeply in love.
I was really looking forward to starting this book for two reasons: 1) The cover is stunning and 2) The blurb mentioned it was a mermaid tale told by both Emma and Galen's PoV. I usually like books that feature duel point of views, but in this case I didn't because it switched back and forth from 1st person (Emma) to 3rd person (Galen). That stylistic choice felt choppy to me. But despite that, I did find the dialogue humorous at times.
"Maybe you can talk to donkeys, too," Dr. Milligan smiles. Emma nods. "I can. Sometimes Galen can be a jackass."
And that's about all I liked about this book. (See, I'm not that heartless!) Unfortunately, the bad REALLY outweighed any good this novel had and it all started with Chloe, Emma's best friend. Now the beginning of the novel opens up with Emma and Chloe in Florida on vacation before school starts and I was surprised to see that Chloe was black. I had a huge smile on my face and I thought, "Wow! Diversity!" That was until Chloe was described as having a weave and fake nails... and (view spoiler)[she dies in the 3rd chapter (hide spoiler)]. D: The smile slid of my face and my happy cat died. I have a HUGE issue with how African Americans are portrayed in YA novels, if we even make it into a YA novel in the first place. This is the same issue I had with The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, where they minority character was so heavily stereotyped I wanted him to die a slow painful death. Same with Chloe, whose only purpose was to create a sad and lonely heroine. Are there black girls who have weaves and wear fake nails? Sure. But that is the easiest cop out when it comes to creating a black female character. I half expected her to bust out and start "doin' the Dougie" on the beach.
I still have no idea how to do that dance.
Chloe wasn't the only character I had issue with. I also really disliked Galen. He's your typical YA male love interest. He's so good looking it hurts to glance at him, females tripping over their panties to give him their numbers, and if he smiles at you: instant orgasm. He was also a controlling douche bag slinging Emma around like she was a Raggedy Anne doll. He always tries to tell Emma what to do and where to go, giving her no choice. There is even a point where he tells her she is going with him to Florida and he already arranged everything including getting permission from her mother. He stalks her and threatens another guy she dates. And I was okay with giving this book 2 stars until he started thinking thoughts like these:
"He scours his memory for a sweet-natured Syrena who would take care of him, who would do whatever he asked, who would never argue with him."
But I really can't expect much for him given how poorly females are treated in this book. I'm not sure what the obsession is with women's uteruses these days. Please don't get me started on the US, but this is YA fiction. Can't I escape the madness in my fiction? No, apparently not. The female mermaids have almost no choice who they want to marry. When a male Syrena turns 18 he searches for a female "whose company he will enjoy and who will be suitable for producing offspring." Great. Just great. So, female Syrena are only worthy if they can produce offspring. Here that girls? Your worth is dependent on a working uterus! Otherwise you are unsuitable!
Galen's own sister, Rayna, spends half of the book angy because she was married off to a Syrena without her knowledge. Yes, that's right. She wasn't even present at the ceremony! Oh, but don't worry she had the option to break off the marriage. Unfortunately for her, the King would probably deny her, so no real rights at all! But what really irked me was when she saw him kiss another girl, she instantly decides she does love him and they go off to an island to mate. -_-
Emma is no exception to this "rule" either. Since she is so speshul and has the Gift of Poseidon, she is (view spoiler)[destined to marry Galen's brother and produce offspring (hide spoiler)]. Galen conveniently keeps this from her the entire book because she really has no say in the matter. Women's rights over their marital status? Their bodies? Their children? Their futures? What's that?
Along with the issue of women, the book has a ton of other problems. For example, somehow Emma can talk underwater while she is holding her breath. That makes no sense. She has to hold her breath. How is it possible that she is talking? Emma's mother was also a strange one. She is crazy overbearing and pesters Emma into admitting Emma and Galen are dating. But here is the thing: they weren't. She's very, very strict, but just allows Emma to go anywhere with Galen. That didn't match up for me. I would tell you why it makes zero sense, but it would spoil the entire book. Speaking of which, the plot twists are extremely predictable. I knew how the book would end in the second chapter. There's no anticipation, no mystery. Just incredibly slow characters. That is pathetic.
I was really looking forward to this book and was excited to get approved for the galley, but another mermaid tale bites the dust.
1 star for an interesting premise.
.5 star for the lulz it afforded me.
More reviews and fantastical things at Cuddlebuggery Book Blog.["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
Notes are private!
Mar 06, 2012
Mar 14, 2012
Oct 21, 2011
May 25, 2011
Introducing an even more abusive and disturbing TWILIGHT! Now with whips and chains!
Fifty Shades of Shit
Haters, please exit stage left.
Introducing an even more abusive and disturbing TWILIGHT! Now with whips and chains!
Fifty Shades of Shit
Haters, please exit stage left.
I'm not sure what possessed me to pick up Fifty Shades of Grey. I thought I might genuinely like it before I started, but all I was left with was one hell of a mindfuck. Whatever it was that brought on this knee jerk purchase seems to have mercifully left me with enough common sense to say I will not be continuing on with this series.
Recently I discovered one of my favorite publishers, Random House, has picked up Fifty Shades of Grey and made this statement:
"An original work, and said to us that James had warranted the books were, indeed original. Messitte added she was “aware of the narrative that [50 SHADES] started as differently titled piece of fiction, but that they were and are two distinctly separate pieces of work."
I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to call bull shit on that. Fifty Shades of Grey and Master of the Universe (the original fan fic) are essentially the same thing. The biggest difference being Edward and Bella's name being replaced with Christian and Anastasia respectively. And I would know this because I have both and while I was reading, I would occasionally switch back and forth between the two without difficulty. I'd go through and give you examples myself, but other people have done it already here and here. So if you must read this book, do yourself a solid and find the fan fic online. You even get the second book too!
I know some people claim this has no similarities to Twilight and got dammit, I'm allergic to all the bull shit. Do I really need to point this all out? Because it looks pretty obvious to me. The mannerisms of the characters are exactly the same. They even say similar things the original characters say. The whole "dazzle" line and Edward asking Bella to trust him. Her mother being remarried with the same inability to maneuver her way around a kitchen. Bella is still trying to save Edward from himself due to his troubled past. Edward still stalks and controls Bella, only now he gets to hit her when she gets out of line.
*facepalm* Shall I beat them both? Yes?
I struggled to come up with a proper review for this book and couldn't figure out why I was feeling rather uninspired to write one. And then I figured it out. I was left so disgusted by this book that I wanted to purge the memory of its existence from my mind. With a rusty nail. Every time I thought of the book my brain cells would go on strike, yelling obscenities at me. Anyway, I thought Bella and Edward's relationship couldn't get anymore fucked up than Twilight. I stand corrected. If I were to describe FSoG in one sentence it would be this: Fifty Shades of Grey is like Twilight on steroids, high on ecstasy, in a dirty little corner. A very dirty corner. With badly written sex. Lots.
Fifty Shades of Grey tells the story of the beautiful (but of course she doesn't know it), naive virgin, Anastasia Steal after she is suckered into interviewing the Greek god, Christian Grey. Of course, sparks fly and for some unknown reason he can't seem to stay away from this incredibly, unremarkable girl. Ana discovers Christian is into BDSM and desires her as his submissive fuck buddy.
There are a myriad of problems with this novel, many of which ironically can be found in Twilight. Never saw that one coming! Christian/Edward is still a controlling bastard, only now he hides behind his BDSM practices to camouflage his abusive tendencies. However, Ana doesn't see it that way. She thinks of him as a broken person and it's her duty to fix him. Even when he says things like this:
"I want to hurt you. But not beyond anything you couldn't take."
Can you believe she let's him beat her after that? And please don't even bother to tell me that it's just BDSM. No, just fucking no. Ana is genuinely afraid of Christian and is never entirely comfortable with the "punishment" aspect of their relationship. But Christian just manipulates her with sex to continue the relationship. And that's what really gets me. I just have a hard time believing a virgin would somehow become a sex goddess overnight, because that is exactly what happens. When she first is introduced to his kinky lifestyle and tells him she is a virgin he immediately tells her he needs to handle that "situation" before they could continue. What?! Since when is your virginity a "situation?" But, that's not really the kicker. Oh, no, because that is when we are introduced to Ana's two best friends. Everyone say hi to:
Anna's inner goddess, who always cheers her on when Christian wants sex or wants to punish her. She's also quite annoying, doing back flips at the mention of anything sexual related. Simmer down. Where did she come from exactly? Ana is in her twenties and has never felt the urge to have sex with anyone until Christian comes along with his whips and chains?!
And... Ana's sub-conscious, who hides behind couches when it comes time for her beating. When it comes to Ana having sex with Christian, well, her sub-conscious only has one thing to say,
So after the "situation" is handled, Ana has to sign a "contract" agreeing to his sexual demands and also outlining things she won't do. It was pretty pointless considering he still got what he wanted and she never signed the damn thing. He exploits her, stalks her and abuses her! She cries after sex. She is afraid of him being angry! Even when he is angry at something else, she thinks it's her. Her reasoning for allowing him to hit her as his therapy is because she's afraid to lose him. That is not a reason for agreeing to a BDSM lifestyle! In fact, that's not even really "consent!" These quotes just scream domestic abuse to me:
"Please don't be angry with me," I whisper.
Yeah, he's a real catch, that one. Barf. No, excuse me. That's not right. The barfing came when the little ass-wipe PULLED HER TAMPON OUT AND RAMMED HIMSELF INSIDE OF HER. OMFG. Yes, the caps were totally necessary because that was the most disgusting thing I have ever had the misfortune of reading. That is not sexy, that's foul.
Whenever Ana thinks about leaving him, he comes over to her apartment unannounced pounds into her (literally) and her inner goddess does a fucking happy dance, forgetting her urge to kick his sick ass to the curb. They fight, they breakup. They kiss, they sex up.
Christian: "Do you still want me gone Ana?"
Inner goddess: *growl*
Dance, puppet. Dance.
The writing is a shitty mess too. I mean, if I had to sit and read Ana saying "Holy, shit!" or "Holy, Fuck!" or "Oh, my!" one more time, I was going to lose it. I wanted to take my red pen and have at this "book" so badly. It was the little things like Ana's roommate saying over and over, "You never cry Ana," and what do we find Ana always doing? Crying. I'm not sure where the hell the plot was. *smacks forehead* How silly of me! Didn't I mention this was a Twilight retelling? Why was I expecting a plot? And another example of poor writing: for these characters to be American, they sounded very British to me. They used phrases that Americans don't use.
And now I'm trying to figure out why this book is so popular. Why do so many women love this book? I get the appeal of the bondage even though it's not my usual cup of tea. Whips? Chains? Sounds exciting!
Abuse? Not so much.
Fuck my life! Zero stars!
Eh, I'm off to read a good book now and possibly to bleach my brain.
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Notes are private!
Mar 14, 2012
Mar 18, 2012
Oct 18, 2011
Sep 27, 2011
Sep 27, 2011
Hmm...Where do I even start with this book? I guess I should start by saying The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and I have this awkward love/hate relationshi
Hmm...Where do I even start with this book? I guess I should start by saying The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and I have this awkward love/hate relationship. If this book were a person, it'd be the boyfriend I sometimes had fun with, but never wanted to take with me in public because I knew he would do something stupid and embarrass the hell outta me. For majority of the first half of the book, I wanted to stomp it into the ground with my pair of patent leather pumps. However, somewhere along the lines, I started to enjoy myself a bit. I'd hear a strange sounds coming from my mouth only to realize, "Oh my, that was a chuckle." In many ways, I can really see why so many people would really like this book, but I can also see why others would want to gorge their eyes out with a high school cafeteria spork.
Mara Dyer wakes up in a hospital bed one day with no recollection of how she got there or what happened to her friends who were killed in the accident that she managed to survive. Hoping for a new beginning, her family packs up and moves to Florida. As the memories Mara thought were lost start to slowly make a reappearance and dead bodies seem to pop up like daisies, she notices something is not quite right with her. She, then, struggles to keep hold of reality while trying to figure out the mystery of what really happened to her in her old hometown.
I'll start with the good first since there are a few things I did like
...okaaayyy so that's all I got for the good.
This book had a lot of potential and for the longest time, I couldn't exactly put my finger on what bothered me about the book. If it weren't for the following issues, this could have been a 4 star read for me, possibly more.
The books biggest issues are the actual characters and all the sterotypes that come along with them. They were completely extra. The gay black guy, the extra bitchy popular girl who hates the MC for some vain, insignificant reason accompanied by tweedle dumb (her trusty side kick or fashion accessory. I can't decide which.), the bad boy who truly isn't bad (he has feelings, he's deep and likes to "fix" people), and the obnoxious, perfect, older brother.
Jamie is Mara's new best friend in Florida. He also happens to be a bisexual, Jewish, Black male with dreadlocks and a tongue ring. Oh, and he's adopted. Yes, I know. He is quite a little token cocktail, isn't he? Hodkin, you want to put a PoC or a bisexual or a Jewish person in your story? Be my guest. But, why, oh why, did he have to be all THREE AT ONCE? And if he wasn't "Black enough" let's give him dreads. And, oh noz, he isn't "gay enough" either, we must add a tongue ring! And what the hell, let's urbanize him while we are at it. Funny thing is he knows he's the token character:
“But none of this matters, because you’re not going to listen to your token black Jewish bi friend, are you?”That is the part where Hodkin almost owed me a new Kindle. I literally had to stop reading or I was going to lose it. His characterization was poor, poor, poor. It felt like he was trying entirely too hard to be both gay and Black, neither of which I found convincing. About halfway through the book we don't see him again and I couldn't even be mad at that because I was too busy celebrating the fact I no longer had to endure his weird hip-hop lingo anymore. I realize this may have been Hodkin's attempt to add diversity to her story, but guess what?
Or as I liked to call him: The kiss-ass perfectionist. He was just too over the top to be believable. He is perfect in every way: Perfect student, perfect son, perfect brother. I can totally see why Mara was annoyed by this. Every time Mara wants to go somewhere, Daniel has to first talk with their mother about it. AND IT ALWAYS WORKS. I have an issue when one sibling seems to hold that much power in a hosehold. There is a scene in the book where he is looking at the mail and says
“What lucky institution of higher education accepted me today?” he asked, eyes on the envelopes. “Ah, Harvard. That’s nice. And Stanford!”Wow, so not only is he a kiss ass, but he's conceded too! If I ever saw Daniel out in public with his mom, it would go something like this:
I would to tap him on the shoulder and go, "Hey, buddy. You dropped something." "Huh? What? Where?" he'd say. And I would respond, "Your lips. I see them over there dangling off your momma's right ass cheek. Go and get 'em, will ya? It's distracting."
Noah is the bad boy love interest of the story that has had sex with the entire female population of the school. >insert eye roll here< His character is also over the top with bad boy stereotypes. He gets away with everything because everyone loves him. He is loaded with cash money. He's ridiculously good looking with a *le gasp* English accent. He's incredibly arrogant, rude and tactless. Oh, and most importantly, he only has eyes for Mara. Of course. Once he enters the picture, Mara completely forgets about everything. *cough*the plot*cough* I suppose it really isn't her fault. After all, Noah possesses a "panty-dropping smile." Hide your daughters!
Later in the story, a small piece of me actually started to like him, but unlike Mara, I couldn't excuse his original jackassness. Nope, couldn't do it.
4. Mara (What is your real name anyway?)
I didn't entirely dislike her, but I felt she made some really crappy decisions. This story could have really taken off and gone to an interesting place if she didn't become so obsessed with Noah. There were times where I thought she would use that crazy brain of hers, but then she would turn right around and ignore the problem. There was one scene when Jamie tells her (view spoiler)[ that Noah caught him with his hand up Noah's little sister's skirt and Noah runs off and has sex with Jamie's older sister as revenge. (hide spoiler)] When she actually talks to Noah about it, he admits it and what does she do? She just changes the subject and they never talk about it again. Then, there are times when Mara's logical skills seem to fail her all together.
What could I say? Noah, despite you being an asshole, or maybe because of it, I’d like to rip off your clothes and have your babies. Don’t tell.Oh, yeah, Mara. That makes total sense. Or how about when you and Noah are in his room about to kiss, but you decide you don't want to kiss him (view spoiler)[because the last time you did, he almost died. (I'm still not clear if this was one of her hallucinations or not.) (hide spoiler)] Yet, you think having sex instead would be safer?
Because of situations like this, I just could not connect with Mara at all. I suppose I was supposed to feel sorry for her when her teacher threw chalk at her and made fun of her in front of the entire class. Sorry, Mara.
Then the teacher gave her an 'F' for showing her up on her oral exam. She told you to sit your ass down, Mara. That means do not pass go. Do not collect your $200. It means STFO. And you wondered why you got a failing grade. Then you went off, (view spoiler)[killed her (hide spoiler)], and had a psychotic break down and lost two hours of your life. Was I supposed to care then too?
5. The Plot
I think The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer ran into the same issue Incarnate did. It got so wrapped up in the romance; it completely discarded the premise of the book. When something exciting actually started happening it completely came out of left field and hit Mara in the head. I was really disappointed that we really didn't find out more about Mara's abilities. The explanation given by the end of the book was easy to guess and I was expecting more answers. And I read somewhere that this book is supposed to scare you. Lies. All lies
6. The Ending
Damn that cliffhanger. I actually finished reading the book and I'm rewarded with the worst cliffhanger possible. I started screaming at my poor Kindle Touch (which is awesome, by the way. Thanks for asking. :D). WTF, dude!
Okay, I have to stop naming things that irked me or I'll start sharp shooting a star off this review. I'll read the next book, but along with Incarnate's sequel, it's going right on my "You're on probation" shelf.
Oh, and riddle me this: How is this book considered paranormal? You go the entire book with alomst nothing supernatural until the very end and suddenly it's paranormal? That's just lazy.
Okay, I'm really done this time.
More reviews and more at Cuddlebuggery Book Blog.["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"]>["br"]> ...more
Notes are private!
Nov 21, 2011
Nov 28, 2011
Sep 07, 2011
Oct 01, 2011
Oct 04, 2011
Let's play a little game of:
WHO AM I...
-My book starts with me moving to a new location and starting at a new school.
-I live with just my dad, but d
Let's play a little game of:
WHO AM I...
-My book starts with me moving to a new location and starting at a new school.
-I live with just my dad, but don't worry about him, he's not important. In fact, you'll barely notice he exists at all!
-I quickly make friends at my new school. I'm not sure why everyone likes me. I'm not remotely interesting.
-I've never had a boyfriend before meeting my love interest and for some reason people at my school find that hard to believe.
-As soon as my love interest catches my eye, I can't get him out of my mind. He's the mysterious type, but he only has eyes for me. He quickly becomes my boyfriend and we fall deeply in love. *swoon*
-My boyfriend happens to have a sibling who simply adores me. How could she not, I'm so awesome! She has a super special sight too. P.S. her name starts with an "A."
-My b-b-boyfriend---sorry that was me swooning again; he's so super howt *giggle*---also has another sibling that doesn't seem to like me at first. They are always glaring at me! It unnerves me. But I can get through anything with my boy toy by my side! Oh, and P.S. their name starts with an "R."
-My boyfriend just happens to save my life with his mysterious powers. At first when I confront him about it, he plays it off. It really upsets me. It just wasn't fair!!!
-He later tells me that he can't stay away from me any longer and soon after he takes me to his home to really introduce me to his family.
-I find out he's been stalking me for a while. But it doesn't bother me. I find it incredibly romantic.
-*Psst*, if my boyfriend and I were to have a baby, it would be some strange half-breed child.
-Randomly out of nowhere I'm kidnapped by a Tracker. I'm not sure where he came from because this book is all about me and my one true love.
-When I'm not hanging out with my boyfriend or getting abducted, I can be found brushing my teeth, eating cereal, doing homework or cooking for my dad. Oh, and I hate being the center of attention. I'm so selfless.
-By the end of my book, I end up in the hospital.
So....who am I?
If you guessed Bella Swan you are correct! But if you guessed Megan Rosenberg, you are also correct! Don't bother looking up to the top of the screen. This is indeed a Carrier of the Mark review or as I like to call it Twilight 2.0 or better yet, Carrier of the Twilight or Twi-remix or Twilight goes to Ireland or, or, or...okay you get the picture. And no, I'm not kidding all the above actually happens in this book.
I feel like I need to start saying how sorry I am to Leigh Fallon. Truly, I am. You see, I'm in the middle of re-reading the Twilight series and as a result, I am hyperaware of the Twi-likeness this book has. I was really eager to get my hands on Carrier of the Mark, but you have no idea how disappointed I am in this book. So, it is with a heavy heart that I review
Adam randomly confesses his feelings to Megan after have several staring contests:
They told me from the very beginning that it wasn’t safe to ‘consort,’” he said, slightly wincing at the word, “with you. But I’m not strong enough to stay away."Now where have I heard that before?
He heard the change in my tone. His eyes tightened. "I don't seem to be strong enough to stay away from you..."
A little PDA action:
I put my hand on Adam’s face and felt along his cheek and down along his jaw, reveling in the softness of his skin in comparison to the light stubble. He closed his eyes.That sounds so familiar...
"Do you mind?" I asked, for he had closed his eyes again.
“Rían has a tough time accepting who we are and our purpose...I think he’s just finding it hard to accept that you would opt in when you have the chance to walk away.”Now, who had the same issue?
He sighed deeply. "Rosalie struggles the most with… with what we are. It's hard for her to have someone on the outside know the truth. And she's a little jealous...You're human." He shrugged. "She wishes that she were, too."
There is a Tracker following Megan:
It’s been years since we have even seen a tracker in Ireland.”Funny that's just who was following Bella too.
"He's a tracker, Alice, did you see that? He's a tracker!"
Love interest serching for a way to protect heroine from the Tracker:
“Don’t apologize. I hate to see you hurting like that. Please believe me when I tell you that I will make you safe.”Didn't Edward promise the same thing in a very similar situation?
"Soon, as soon as I possibly can. I will make you safe first." His voice was hard.
A bad guy was snooping around Megan's room and house. Adam has his family guarding her, but somehow they manage to slip through:
“Someone was in her room, for Christ’s sake. In her room!”Can't seem to put my finger on it..oh wait, I can.
“He was in her room, Alice. He could have still been there — waiting for her.”
Oh, but the similarities don't end there. Right after Adam reveals his feelings to Megan, the very next day he takes her to meet his family. And if you remember that is exactly what Edward did after he revealed all his feelings to Bella in the meadow scene (Confessions, chapter 13). Aine
I just couldn't get past all the Twilight references. I'm honestly baffled at how this book got published with all the shocking similarities because Carrier of the Mark reads just like a Twilight Fan-Fic
And what's a Twi-Fan-Fic without insta-love? This book has plenty of that and co-dependency. Keep in mind they have been dating for 2 weeks. Let me count the ways:
"I feel like I could take on the world when I’m with you.”
WTF. I'm so tired of co-dependent relationships! Is it a wonder why young girls think they need a boyfriend to survive? Are these the ideals we want our youth to grow up learning? I don't take issue with Megan being in love, but reading the statements above disturbs me. The entire book revolves around how in love she is with Adam, so don't expect much of a plot in this book. The major conflict in the story comes out of nowhere and ends before it even begins, just as it did in Twilight.
And, OMG the mythology. It will make your head spin. We learn most of the world through god awful info-dumps. I read those pages over a few times and I still don't understand. Perhaps if the author showed the reader instead of telling us, maybe I would have been able to keep up. The only thing I think I understood was that Megan is Carrier of a specific gene that would enable her to produce children to bear the Mark. Since Carrier's are rare the Order (a society that "looks after" the Marked) specially selects the Carrier's mates. I suppose being gay is out if you are a Carrier, because you have a duty to produce babies! Anyway, apparently it is forbidden for Adam and Megan to be together because if they have a child it could destroy the world. Yeah...I don't get it either. Once finding that out, Megan decides she doesn't want to be a Marked one anymore and help save the world. She wants to be with her Romeo. 'Cause being in love is more important than the safety of the world, donchaknow. And, please don't get me started on the whole 25-year-old pregnancy. I can't even.
Fallon, you had all this potential. The setting was perfect: Ireland! And you wasted your descriptions on Megan eating her wheaties and putting on her red Converses? *points to face* This is me not giving two shits.
Cait, babe, you were right.
I'll leave you with a definition from Webster:
1. Belonging or pertaining to the origin or beginning of something, or to a thing at its beginning: The book still has its original binding.
2. New; fresh; inventive; novel: an original way of advertising.
3. Arising or proceeding independently of anything else: an original view of history.
4. Capable of or given to thinking or acting in an independent, creative, or individual manner: an original thinker.
5. Created, undertaken, or presented for the first time: to give the original performance of a string quartet.
Originality: THIS BOOK HAS NONE.
And to think this book was on my "really looking forward to this book" shelf.
OK, I'm done.
/end rant \(-_-)/
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Notes are private!
Oct 28, 2011
Oct 28, 2011
Apr 20, 2011
May 31, 2011
May 31, 2011
**spoiler alert** No, GoodReads.
How about NO FUCKING STARS?
Quick, someone get me chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate!
I should have known that w **spoiler alert** No, GoodReads.
How about NO FUCKING STARS?
Quick, someone get me chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate!
I should have known that when Lauren Kate blurbed this book I wouldn't like it. No, wait, that doesn't fully express my hatred for Starcrossed. How about this:
After reading this shit storm of a book I feel like I should go straight to my book shelf and give "Catastrophe": Hush, Hush, "My Eyes, They Bleed!": House of Night, "Kill it with Fire!": Twilight, and even, yes, "Are You Fuckin' Kidding Me?!": Carrier of the Mark all 5 glorious stars.
This is the worst book I have ever read.
Why, oh, why did I read it? I should have listened to the Fates (Kat, Paige, Phoebe). They warned me of this, but I didn't listen. I almost ALWAYS agree with them on books. Why did I think this would be a different story? I will never doubt your wisdom again, ladies.
This one time I let myself be influenced by another popular reviewer who claimed to absolutely love this book. I was conned! Fooled! Bamboozled! Hoodwinked!
The only logical answer is that Hades himself was behind the plot to fry my remaining brain cells. *rubs chin* Yes, that must be it. I've been trolled by the Lord of the Underworld himself.
ARE YOU HAPPY?!
ARE YOU FUCKING HAPPY NOW?!
WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY FOR YOURSELF?!
Y-y-you heartless bastard.
This review will not be nice. No one will be spared. Not even the children.
*flips through her notebook*
Good thing I took plenty of notes then. Hahahaha!
Dear, Gandhi! It was terrible! Immediately when I started to read, I felt my eye balls start rebuking me. "Noooooooooo, don't make us! You are evil! You are heartless! Why do you hate us! We've been good to you!" I'm not exaggerating when I say this was amateur at best and eye-bleeding bad at worse. The book is littered with ridiculously simple sentences that remind me of a children's book. "See
"What the holy hand grenade was that?"
I just wanted to shake them. Shake them all.
The plot was a damn mess. Basic run down:
- Lucas and his Brady Bunch family move to the neighborhood.
- Helen and Lucas almost kill each other.
- They break curse/spell/whatever and fall in love over night.
- Oh noz! Helen is in danger.
- Helen suddenly becomes a sex kitten.
- Lucas denies her advances.
- Helen wonders if he is gay. Contemplates sex change.
"...she decided that if Lucas was gay then she was going to have to get a sex change operation. He would be so worth it."
- Demi-god training.
- Oh, but wait! Now, she is invincible!
- "Sex, please," says Helen. "No means no, Helen. It would destroy the world!" Lucas cries.
- Shit happens, people die.
- "OMG! So we won't destroy the world after all! I'm horny. Let's do it," Lucas declares. *rams tongue down throat* "Ew. We are first cousins! We can never be together! Fuck our fuckin' life!" she whines.
Keep up Hades!
Angelini tries to confuse the readers with her many plot twists, but all the plot really does is run around the mulberry bush chasing the weasel. There was nothing clever about it. I could tell that I was supposed to be like, "Whoa! My teeny little brain never saw that coming!" IT NEVER HAPPENED!
Let's play Name That Sue! But first you're going to need a few clues about her personality:
- I'm super beautiful, but I don't notice it!
- I'm the "last" person in my family. Woe is me!
- I'm so powerful and useless, love me!
- I'm so selfless. Here, let me love you!
- My characterization has been used over and over in tons of books, but I have super speshul powers! I'm kewler than them!
Answers: Black Hole Sue, God Mode Sue, Sympathetic Sue, Anti-Sue... my god. It's too many Sues to count! It's a Thirty Sue Pileup!
Helen is an idiot.
Most of the novel she's running around with twinkling stars in her eyes and clueless to everything that is happening around her. She is beautiful in every way. So much so, that it is normal for people to just sit and stare at her. Everybody loves her and the world kisses her ass every chance it gets. Her favorite hobbies include going grocery shopping, cooking for her dad, doing homework, and personal hygiene. Oh hey, Bella! I didn't see you there!
The moment Helen and Lucas stop attempting to end each other's life, they immediately start holding hands and declaring their love for one another. (Oh, insta-love! How I hate thee!) She's never had a boyfriend or been kissed until Lucas and his family move into town. There is just something about Lucas that brings out everything in Helen. And I do mean everything. Her entire life she has had all these powerful mystical powers, but she never knew about them because whenever she would use them unknowingly in front of mortals she would get a nasty bout of menstrual cramps! Little does Helen know that her cramps were a cursed placed on her by her very own mother. But it was totally for her protection. Of course. *eyeroll* If that isn't some bullshit, I don't know what is.
So anyway, with every new plot twist, Helen seems to get a new power. Which basically means she keeps getting more and more useless. All she does is say, "Oh, but I don't want to hurt anyone! Even if they are trying to kill me, I can't justify their deaths!" Are you kidding me? She has no sense of self-preservation.
"I knew if I started blocking him he'd just get angrier, and then I would eventually have no choice by to hit him so hard he wouldn't be able to hit me back."
Go on and let it out, Hades!
That was during a SELF-DEFENSE session. How is it that a character can be so powerful and do NOTHING with her powers? What is the point?!*breath in, breath out* Sorry, guys. The stupidity makes it hard to breath. Thankfully, one of the other characters noticed this madness and said:
"She'd better get it in her. Because I don't want any of the people I love to die defending her lazy ass."
That was the only good part of the entire book. >_>
Then I hit the next chapter and Cassandra has a sword aimed for Helen's head and she JUST STANDS THERE.
Cassandra swung her sword. In that millisecond Helen knew she'd had a good life, because she suddenly loved it so much that she could have wept with gratitude. She'd had amazing friends, the best dad in the world, and a strong, healthy body...I thought she was going to finally die! I was like, "Yes! KILL HER NOW! Doooo iiiittttt!" And you know what happens? She levels up out of nowhere!
Why won't she roll over and die already?!
So now she's invincible and can't be killed by any weapons AND she's the most powerful demi-god. REALLY?! >Implied Facepalm<
Yet, believe it or not all those things I could have semi-forgiven and gave this book 1 star, maybe 2 for good effort. The biggest problem with this book: It's SEXIST. This book offended me on so many levels, it's not even funny. Let me count the ways:
Causal jokes about domestic abuse:
"I'll just tell him you abuse me," she said with a shrug. "And I'll tell him you like it," he teased back.
That shit is not amusing. AT ALL. Lots of women suffer from domestic abuse every day and Angelini pokes fun?! What messages are we sending our young girls? That this is romantic banter? This is why young girls think it is okay to tweet crazy shit like they would let Chris Brown hit them any time. This is why we are seeing people happy about him singing songs with Rihanna. We need to speak up against this. IT IS NOT OKAY! OMG, I'm so angry right now, I'm seeing red. RAGE.
Use your powers in the kitchen!:
Everything about Ariadne was so feminine and round and lovely that Helen simply couldn't imagine anyone hitting her. "Do you guys do this to each other often? The fighting, I mean." Ariadne was shaking her head before Helen had even finished talking. "No. We spar together to stay in shape, but only the boys really fight, and only when they need to get something off their chests."
WHAT?! The only reason why they fight is to stay in shape? THEY ARE DEMI-GODS!!!!!
"Now go to sleep," he ordered.
Come again? He what?! Oh, hell no. Let a guy come home and start ordering me around. I've got two words for him:
He kissed her neck and said he was sorry over and over, but try as she might, he wouldn't let her face him. She began to feel like she was being used.
"Is Zach after you?" Lucas asked with wide eyes.
At this point he never even asked her to be his girl friend! He goes throughout most of the book just holding her hand, but telling everyone else they don't really have a relationship. And then he pulls this line:
"Are you trying to make me jealous or are you just so frustrated that you're already looking for someone else? Someone who would give in to you?"
I just... can't.
Women should be held to high standards and oh, yeah, they're evil:
"A lady never cheapened herself by using foul language."
"He had sworn to remove the feminine evil of the cestus from the world so that all men could control their lust.
Yup, thats right. It's totally a woman's fault a man can't control himself. I can't believe women have been fighting for RIGHTS just so we can write about this kind of stuff! Around 80% this book gets super ridiculous with making Helen and her mother out to be "semxy sex pots". Helen is so damn
Let's have some fun this beat is sick. I wanna take a ride on your disco stick!
I suppose this is what she is supposed to look like:
I can see you staring there from across the block with a smile on your mouth and a hand on your HUH!
There are a ton of other problems with this book, but I've wasted enough of my life with Starcrossed. I probably have enough anger and quotes to write a damn book myself. I just... can't. I'm offended this was written. I offended that it was published. I offended people think this is okay.
This book FAILED at failing.
More reviews and other cool things at Cuddlebuggery Book Blog. ...more
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Feb 25, 2012
Mar 02, 2012
Mar 25, 2011
Dec 08, 2009
Dec 08, 2009
Boring, lacking interesting characters, boring, terrible love interest, Bella Swan, boring. There are so many things I could rant about the 30% that I Boring, lacking interesting characters, boring, terrible love interest, Bella Swan, boring. There are so many things I could rant about the 30% that I read, but instead I shall review this is one gif.
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Jan 23, 2014
Mar 19, 2011
Jan 01, 2009
Mar 10, 2009
And this is where I gave up on this series. I just couldn't connect with the characters.
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Mar 17, 2011
Oct 13, 2009
Oct 13, 2009
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Mar 17, 2011
Aug 28, 2008
Aug 28, 2008
About three things I was absolutely positive. First, Edward was a stalker and a creeper. Second, there was part of him — and I didn't know how potent
About three things I was absolutely positive. First, Edward was a stalker and a creeper. Second, there was part of him — and I didn't know how potent that part might be — that suffered from Manic Depression. And third, I was strangely and unashamedly entertained by it all.
I know what you are probably doing. Right now, you may have your head cocked to the side with your eyes squinted, wondering if you read that last part correctly. I will repeat: I was entertained. First, let me clear the air. I was not entertained by the story or the writing.
However, I will touch on a few standout parts that really tickled my pickle.
Manic Depressed, murderous vamp with feelings:
Like I mentioned earlier, Edward definitely suffers from manic depression. He first starts off as an extremely condescending vamp, but as soon as he lays his eyes on Bella and gets a whiff of her sweet-smelling blood, he quickly becomes a murderous hunter. Now, this I can understand to a degree because vamps, ya know, drink blood and all. BUT, as he is thinking of various ways to murder everyone in his biology class and eat Bella, he starts whining. He literally has a "woe is me, fuck my life!" moment.
Why did she have to come here? Why did she have to exist? Why did she have to ruin the little peace I had in this non-life of mine? Why had this aggravating human ever been born? She would ruin me.It's all about him, isn't it? He isn't the one who's *thisclose* to being eaten, but here he is singing the, "Why cruel world?!" song. And his bitch fest continues...
Who was this creature? Why me, why now? Why did I have to lose everything just because she happened to choose this unlikely town to appear in?*sigh* Are you done?
Why had she come here!Sometimes people move, Edward. It happens! Man the hell up!
I didn't want to be the monster! I didn't want to kill this room full of harmless children! I didn't want to lose everything I'd gained in a lifetime of sacrifice and denial!*Rubs temples*
I wouldn't. She couldn't make me.You tell that little human, Eddie. *Pats back* Feel better now?
Then, the next page over he gets back to work plotting Bella's murder. You know who Edward reminds me of best in the beginning of Midnight Sun? Have you ever seen The Smurfs? Remember old Gargamel and how he was always either planning some lame attempt to catch and eat the smurfs or crying from failing so hard?
*Evil crackle* Yessss...I'll get those little blue smurfs! I'll sneak into their village while they sleep and boil them alive! Won't we Azrael?
Hmmm...what a weird coincidence. I found a pic of that on Google... Oh, fangirls. Still feel like swooning now? (hide spoiler)]
Okay, now imagine Eddie just like that while he says,
She would go home to an empty house. Police Chief Swan worked a full day. I knew his house, as I knew every house in the tiny town. His home was nestled right up against thick woods, with no close neighbors. Even if she had time to scream, which she would not, there would be no one to hear.
Conniving little bastard, isn't he? ^_^
Of course, then he runs off to Alaska and throws himself one hell of a pity party. Then, he goes back to Forks and falls head over heels in love with the most
*sigh* Eddie, Eddie, Eddie. You need help, son.
And there is also another human who had the misfortune to make Edward's personal hit list: Mike. I actually felt sorry for the douche bag in Midnight Sun. If Edward wasn't thinking about eating Bella, gently caressing her lips (LOL, who does that?), or how she looked in that damn blue blouse, he was thinking of "annihilating" the "obnoxious boy." Oddly enough, that too, had me LOL'ing. I know, I know. I'm a strange one. Heh. And when he said, "I wasn't going to stand around arguing with the wretch," I fell out. LOL.
He creeped, He perved, He stalked:
The creepiest thing, yet hilarious to me, about Midnight Sun is when Edward watches Bella sleep.
I was repulsed by myself as I watched her toss again. How was I any better than some sick peeping tom?LMAO, you fucking aren't! This book is a Stalker's Handbook. In five easy steps you can become the best stalker eva!
Step 1: Wait until you beloved and her loved ones are fast asleep. It would be uncool to be found snooping around your one true love's house during some ungodly hour. This is especially important if there is a loaded weapon on the premises.
Step 2: The window or entry of your liking may creak. Don't forget to bring along a can of oil! This is imperative to your stalking success! You must be unseen and unheard. Like a ninja...a really creepy ninja.
Step 3: Watch your honey bunny sleep. Maybe she's dreaming of you. Stay awake, lest you miss the action. For maximum effectiveness drink a 5-hour energy drink. By all means, snoop around her room. This is your show. You run this!
Step 4: Leave before the stalkee awakens. I can't even begin to tell you how awkward it would be if you are discovered!
Step 5: Congrats! You have done it! You've stalked your soul mate! Now repeat these five steps again and again to receive your Jedi Master level of stalking badge.
Edward loses his mind and everybody knows it:
The star of this book for me was Emmett. He always said what everyone else was thinking. The "voice of reason," if you will.
"Kid's lost his mind."And my favorite part is when Charlotte and Peter (Jasper's vamp friends) come to visit and Edward is there in a corner looking crazy again.
And they all sort of stare at him, yet Emmett sums it up perfectly, "Madman."
Oh and I can't write a Twilight review without throwing in a few hits at Bella. I just love it how Edward knows she has got to be crazy, but still wants to be with her. Maybe he finds it endearing like her inability to stand on her own two feet with out her face kissing the pavement. *shrugs* I really don't know what goes on inside the head of Edward. There is one part where he sits down and questions her sanity. He even goes as far to think about having her institutionalized:
How was I supposed to protect someone so...so...so determined to be unprotected?She possesses zero self-preservation skills. Give up, Ed.
She was impossible.
I started to wonder if she was entirely stable.You're just starting?(view spoiler)[ (hide spoiler)]
I supposed that I could arrange for her to receive the best care available... Carlisle would have the connections to find her the most skilled doctors, the most talented therapists. Perhaps something could be done to fix whatever it was that was wrong with her, what ever it was that made her content to sit beside a vampire with her heart beating calmly and steadily. I would watch over the facility, naturally, and visit as often as I was allowed...
I now truly believe both of these clowns are meant for each other. Crazy is as crazy does.
Even though I may have liked Twilight and Eclipse at one point, I feel the same way I felt about Midnight Sun the first time I read it, "Is this a parody? This can't possibly be legit. It is? Bahahahaha! Somehow that just adds another layer of LOL'ing!" If you are looking for quality YA literature, this ain't it folks. Run away! If and when this book is ever finished and released, it will only be good for one thing:
Next up is Eclipse, but in case you missed it: My Twilight review and My New Moon review.
And in case you are wondering why I'm re-reading the series, stop on over to check out Project Hindsight at my blog Cuddlebuggery Book Blog. Follow if you like?
Can you guess my favorite line from Mike?
That pic is so creepy...it's perfect! (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"]>["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
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Nov 17, 2011
Nov 23, 2011
Mar 10, 2011
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