Unbreak My Heart. Laaaaame title--I have serious hate for the same-titled Toni Braxton song which, by the way, has absolutely nothing to with this booUnbreak My Heart. Laaaaame title--I have serious hate for the same-titled Toni Braxton song which, by the way, has absolutely nothing to with this book--great story. 3.5 stars. Review to come. ...more
Not long ago I went back and looked over the first book in this series in an attempt to understand what made me want to pick up World After. After anNot long ago I went back and looked over the first book in this series in an attempt to understand what made me want to pick up World After. After an almost entire re-read of Angelfall I am flabbergasted. I mean, sure, Angelfall is okay-ish. And when I originally picked it up it was a self-published kindle book that only cost 99 cents. Now it's in paper and audiobook form and there's all this buzz and more books are being published and Susan Ee is laughing all the way to the bank.
Don't get me wrong, I think Susan Ee is a genius. She wrote and self-published an ebook that didn't suck nearly as bad as the vast majority of self-published ebooks and struck gold. Good for her. I wish I could do that. Really. But still, that doesn't mean she's a talented writer or that her work necessarily deserves to be published. This book, World After, is irrefutable proof.
To be completely honest, I couldn't read more than one-quarter of this book and I ended up returning it. I never return books, but I made an exception.
Penryn was always sort of pining for the angel Raffe so I expected the pining and/or fascination to continue in this book. What I did not expect is for Penryn to be reduced to a boring girl who does little else but wax poetic about Raffe's beautiful face and body during the first quarter of the book. After the first chapter I struggled with not letting my eyes roll out of my head. I felt as though I was reading Twilight. Again.
Ain't nobody got time for that.
Look, Stephenie Meyer wrote Twilight and got away with it. That happened. I've made peace with that time in human history because we were younger then. We didn't know any better.
But now? Now we know better. We're smarter. We don't want our protagonists to be simpering morons who do little more than think about the perfection of a certain young man's body and/or face. We want our post-apocalyptic MCs to kick ass and lead a revolution, and if they happen to find love along the way that's okay. But first and foremost? Ass-kicking. That's what we want and that's what I thought I was signing up for when I purchased World After.
What I got was loveloveloveloveloveloveOBSESSIONlovelovelove laced with a (possible?) love triangle and a side order of monster (zombie?) children and maybe evil angels.
Susan! What happened? The truly enjoyable elements you gave us in Angelfall were missing in World After. It feels as though you gave up. It feels as though you sold out.
I am disappoint.
P.S. I wasn't going to say it, but, Dee-Dum? Totally a rip-off of Fred and George Weasley. A crappy, pathetic rip off. ...more
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the plots from Drop Dead Gorgeous, Austin Powers, Mean Girls, Lost, and Lord of the Flies. Whip untiPreheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the plots from Drop Dead Gorgeous, Austin Powers, Mean Girls, Lost, and Lord of the Flies. Whip until nice and fluffy. Stir in equal parts Bollywood, Boy Bands, Pirates, An Evil Corporation, Crappy Parenting, Reality TV, Miss Teen USA pageants, and commercials aimed at teens. Next add 4 cups Teenage Sexuality (all types), 2 cups Feminism, 1/2 cup Identity Issues, 1/2 cup Self-Esteem Issues, 16-Teenage Beauty Queens (all types. Just make sure one is much more intelligent then the others), a handful of henchmen, a handful of open-minded hot guys with British accents, one hot eco-"terrorist", one crazy-go-nuts dictator, copious amounts of satire, and 1-20 oz. bag of Sarah Palin. Stir until well blended. Batter will be slightly lumpy. Pour into cupcake pans (cuz cupcakes are all the rage, yo!) Bake for: 35 minutes. Let cool.
Frosting: Mix equal parts Sunshine, Love, World Peace, Sparkle Ponies, Sequined Dresses, Cute Shoes, Makeup, GRRRRRRRRRL POWER! a handful of sand, one Lesbian makeout session, and one Sex Tape. Whip until creamy.
Frost cupcakes then sprinkle with way too many unnecessary footnotes. Top each cupcake with a maraschino cherry that has been laced with an organic hallucinogen.
Take those cupcakes and dumb them down.
Dumb them down again.
A little more...
One more time...
Okay, there you have it: the recipe for Libba Bray's Beauty Queens (in cupcake form). Enjoy!
2.5 stars. Real review to be posted after the weekend.
I spent the weekend thinking about what I would say in this review, how I would explain my beef with this book. I want to make it clear, I don't hate Beauty Queens, nor do I like it.
It was okay, overall. I mean, sure, it did have it's moments. Not that Beauty Queens caused me to laugh out loud--because it didn't, especially not after the novelty of the "helpful" footnotes and commercial parodies wore off. They were fun for the first few chapters, then they became an irritation.
Also, I don't particularly care for Libba Bray's brand of satire. At times it was so overdone it only inspired sighs of frustration, eye-rolling and thoughts of, "that would have been funny if" or "that could have been more powerful if" from me. I felt as though I was watching one of those really bad (read: not funny) movie parodies, like Dance Flick, or Epic Movie.
Yes, at times Beauty Queens is that much of a punishment, and then some.
But that's not the worst part. My major problem has to do with the fact that Bray's story had a great foundation. I mean, just read this:
“I’ve been thinking about that book about the boys who crash on an island,” Mary Lou said to Adina one afternoon as they rested on their elbows taking bites from the same papaya.
“Lord of the Flies. What about it?”
You know how you said it wasn’t a true measure of humanity because there were no girls and you wondered how it would be different if there had been girls?”
“Maybe girls need an island to find themselves. Maybe they need a place where no one’s watching them so they can be who they really are.”
There was something about the island that made the girls forget who they had been. All those rules and shalt nots. They were no longer waiting for some arbitrary grade. They were no longer performing. Waiting. Hoping.
They were becoming.
Sure, it's all a little contrived, but still it's a great jumping off point. Instead of doing anything worthwhile with it, Bray took that idea and made it into a Very Special Episode of The Facts of Life, except way more condescending and a ba-zillion times more preachier--it's not like the main message Bray is pummeling her audience with is new. Girlfriend is preaching to the choir the entire time. And at no point does this book challenge one to think. Beauty Queens thinks for you, because thinking is hard, y'all.
You wanna sell me on something? Give me a chance to think for myself. Show me both sides of the argument. Present me with questions that don't necessarily have an easy answer. Let me draw my own conclusions. Don't incessantly beat me upside my head with your answers, your way of thinking. See, when that happens I tend to lose interest in what you have to say--even if I happen to agree with you--because you clearly think you're superior, that I'm not intelligent enough to come to the right (read: your) conclusion. Do. Not. Like.
And don't even think of telling me that some teenage girls need a book to do their thinking for them, that they need to be force fed the messages contained within Beauty Queens because their parents, their peers, the media has damaged them, tricked them into thinking otherwise. Even if that is the case with some teenage girls, I fail to see how shoving a message down their collective throats--be it negative or positive--is the way to go about building up self esteem, or fixing identity issues.
I don't fault Libba Bray for wanting to make this book funny, because Beauty Queens would have bombed royally had it taken itself too seriously. But like I said earlier, she took the satire, the tongue-in-cheekiness, way too far. Beauty Queens is obnoxious. Beauty Queens is that know-it-all girl that you sort of want to punch in the face because she isn't as clever as she thinks she is; someone ought to bring her down a few notches.
Anyway, because of Bray's lack of control every character has been reduced to a cardboard cut-out of a stereotype. Beauty Queens has two really stupid blondes from the south, a really slutty girl from the midwest, a super sexually repressed girl from the upper-midwest, two minorities, a crazy pageant-head from Texas, A stereotypical lesbian, and a girl who is hearing impaired. Even Ms New Hampshire--whom, might I add, is this story's Marysue--is feminist to a fault, goes around feeling superior to the other girls on the island because she's "enlightened" and they're just a bunch of "stupid fools".
There were a few others who had even less going for them. Ms New Mexico, for example, had a tray table embedded in her skull. That was her only defining quality throughout the entire book. I kid you not. *headdesk*
The only character that I found interesting, that had any sort of depth, was Ms Rhode Island. (view spoiler)[ Ms Rhode Island was born a boy; transgendered (hide spoiler)] She's the only character I truly liked; seemed to have her crap together. She's probably the only reason anyone should read this book. Really. The rest of the ladies? Were really irritating and irrational and totally rubbed me the wrong way--go figure.
You know how every chick flick has at least one painfully ridiculous cringe-worthy scene? The sort of scene that makes you wonder how stupid Hollywood thinks women are. The sort of scene that makes you vow to never see another chick flick again, like that random musical number with synchronized dance moves in My Best Friend's Wedding. Or the 'Bend and Snap' scene from Legally Blonde. Or the entire length of the movie Mama Mia? Yeah, this book has that. It ENDS with one of those scenes.
Read this book or not. It's totally up to you. I didn't like it, clearly, but I'm not pleased with a lot of books these days.
P.S. Why is it books meant to inspire and empower women to be proud of who we are, to stop aiming for an an unattainable level of perfection in the looks/weight/personality department, always have MCs that fall in love with men who are perfect in every way? Like, especially their bodies are super beautiful, and the MC can't shut up about how physically beautiful her love interest is. How come female MCs don't fall in love with guys who have great personalities but are lacking in the looks department? Why can't it just be about a meeting of minds? Why do looks ALWAYS play a part in books written for a female audience? Especially when we go around telling ourselves that looks shouldn't matter, to anyone (especially men). Isn't that more than a little hypocritical?
Oh, yeah, I forgot. No one wants to read about ugly people falling in love. At least one of them (*cough* the guy *cough*) has to be super hot.
P.P.S. I'll have you know, starting when I was 12 years old my parents sent me to a girls camp in Colorado--five summers in a row. No electricity. No cabins. No toilets or showers or mirrors. No boys. Just a bunch of girls forced to sleep in tents with a bunch of other girls their same age. Wanna guess what THAT was like? Hell on earth. Friggin' WWIII broke out every single year! I hated it. Adolescent girls are mean. Like, ridiculously mean, especially when civilization isn't present. You think Lord of the Flies is insane? Take those boys and replace them with teen girls and you'll have a massacre on your hands. At the very least there would be a few violent cat fights. I'm just sayin'....more
Alright ladies, I've got a question: say you're at a scummy dance club that your friends all but forced you to go to. You're not having a good time. IAlright ladies, I've got a question: say you're at a scummy dance club that your friends all but forced you to go to. You're not having a good time. In fact, you're pretty miserable and can't wait to go home. As you sit at the bar nursing your Cherry Coke a good-looking guy comes and sits next to you.
That would be nice, right? A good way to pass the time until your friends decide they've had all the man-handling they can take (for the night).
Well, say the hot guy in question turns out to be the village bicycle--"everybody has had ride!"--the infamous man-whore of your school/town. You're disgusted this vile creature is in your immediate vicinity, don't want him around. So you tell him to go away. And he doesn't. He tells you he needs your help because, in his words:
"You, darling, are the Duff. Designated. Ugly. Fat. Friend. No offense, but that would be you. Hey, don't get defensive. It's not like you're an ogre or anything, but in comparison..."
He proceeds to tell you that he's talking to you, the Duff, so your über hot friends will think he's a nice, sensitive guy. He's hoping this will up his chances of getting into their pants.
How would you react to that?
If this happened to the person I am today I'd totally laugh in the a-hole's face and walk away. Because, really, I couldn't care less what a (most likely) STD-infected man-whore thinks of me, regardless of how ridiculously hot he might be. I'm an adult. I stopped caring what other people think of me. All that matters is what I think. (for the record: I'm happy with the way I look). Besides, I'm married.
But if that happened to me fourteen years ago... well, let's just say it would have destroyed--I'm talking completely pulverized--what little self-esteem I had at the time. Back then I was--comparatively speaking--the Duff among my circle of friends. I didn't get attention from guys when I was with my unintentionally hot friends (seriously. And they didn't even know it. They were all long-limbed, willowy, girl-next-door beautiful. I was the average height ethnic girl).
What's my point? My point is I can see why teenage girls would want to read this book. Like I said, I've been there. I get it.
BUT what I fail to appreciate is the way this story plays out.
Bianca Piper, the Duff in question, is a seventeen-year-old girl finishing up her senior year in high school. She has two good friends who really care about her. Parents who, dysfunctional marriage aside, love her. She's intelligent, witty, and successful--for the most part.
Bianca only real major downfall is she is much too cynical, especially when it comes to love, though I can't say I blame her. Bianca was only fourteen when she had her heart stomped on by an upperclassman.
It is her wit and cynicism that comes to her aid the night she's told that she is The Duff. She insults the man-whore, Wesley Rush, and throws her Cherry Coke in his face--**plus twenty points for Bianca, am I right?**--and walks away in a dignity-at-all-times manner.
Unfortunately Bianca doesn't walk away completely unscathed. She is unable to get over the fact that she's the so-called "ugly fat girl" among her friends. It starts eating away at her self-esteem.
And to make matters much worse, her home life begins to crumble.
Instead of dealing with her problems, Bianca masters the art of escapism. Totally understandable. I've been there. But instead of losing herself in a good book, movie or yogalates, she loses herself in the bed of...(wait for it)...Wesley Rush, resident man-whore. The guy she hates with the intensity of a thousand suns.
Oh, it gets better. He lovingly nicknames her 'Duffy'. That's right, as in The Duff. And Bianca has a bevy of insults to hurl at Wesley whenever it pleases her. Neither of them them pretend their relationship is based on anything other then sex. Call it what you will: escapism sex, hate sex, cheap sex, a hook-up, sex buddies, booty call...I could go on. Regardless of the label, this is where the author starts to lose me.
I hope I'm not coming across as 'holier then thou', because, seriously it's not like I was an angel when I was a teenager. I had a wild streak back then, I made mistakes. Lots of them. It's just my mistakes involved less sex. Okay, sex was never involved. Neither was nudity. But I kissed (read: had total make-out sessions with) a bunch of guys. Sometimes with the sole intention of getting my mind off my problems. So really, I understand Bianca's motives. I even understand how in a twisted way she felt pretty, more desirable afterward.
That being said, I can't understand why/how she's able to repeatedly hop into bed with a guy who makes her skin crawl. She's with him as much as five times a week. Not that I'm a sexpert (see what I did there? I combined sex and expert. Hee.) but I'd wager to say that's a lot of sex for a couple of teenagers who are using each other. Especially considering how cheap and dirty Bianca claims to feel afterward.
While reading this novel I was all, "Stop it. Stop having sex with the guy you hate. Just STOP! Go talk to your friends or a counselor. You need help." But clearly, she didn't stop. It wouldn't have been so bad had she felt more guilty or ashamed afterward. And I could understand her need had it been described as some sort of an addiction. Or perhaps the author could have described Bianca's home life much worse, making her incessant need to escape that much more plausible.
But yeah, my point is: I just couldn't relate. Not entirely. And so this story fell apart for me. Okay, that's a lie. It didn't fall apart--the story was still in one piece when I finished this book, but just barely.
The only real redeeming thing about The Duff is the conclusion Bianca comes to near the end of the novel, about what it means to be a Duff. And she realizes how stupid she and Wesley were by having so much sex, regardless of how much protection they used (for the record: condoms and the pill).
And though it pains me to do so, I'll admit that I'm sappy enough to like how this book ended. (Kill me.) It wraps up so neatly with a giant bow on top, Pretty Woman style. Three stars but just barely, and if I were I being totally fair I'd have to give it just two stars (waaaaaaaaay too much swearing going on in this book. It's completely out of control). But I liked this book, despite all it's faults, so yeah, three stars. ...more
Whoa, folks. Not this 1% (although how awesome would that be? Owning attack hounds. Rocking a monocle. Wearing titanium
I'm among the 1%.
Whoa, folks. Not this 1% (although how awesome would that be? Owning attack hounds. Rocking a monocle. Wearing titanium shoes. Using fancy words like 'indubitably' and 'mustachioed'. I'd be the best billionaire evah.)
I'm talking about the other 1%. You know, the people who read One for the Money and didn't like it. People such as:
The Church Lady
Grumpy Old Man
(I guess this means I'm officially old and boring or whatever.)
But yeah, I totally do not like this book unlike 99% of the GoodReads population. As far as I'm concerned One for the Money is a dated, exceptionally lame version of The Jersey Shore in which everyone is sporting spandex, big hair, and sexist attitudes.
So basically it's almost exactly the same as every episode of The Jersey Shore. Except with more guns.
Not these guns...
Now that's more like it.
Exactly like the Jersey Shore with lots of real guns. And a really dumb grown woman who cannot be bothered to learn how to shoot a gun even though she's carrying one with her at all times.
Why, you ask?
Because she's being stalked by a rapist. A really violent, super-dangerous raping-rapist who totally wants to rape her. A lot.
But that's not all, folks. There is also a really mysterious mystery. (A rape-y mystery.)
This really attractive MENSA candidate wrapped in spandex who can't shoot a gun to save her life is named Stephanie Plum. Stephanie is trying to solve a mystery so she can help clear the name and reputation of the guy who sexually assaulted her when they were children the smoosh-worthy skeevy man-whore love interest. All so she can haul him into jail for jumping bail and collect the $20,000 bounty on his head, or whatever.
In the meantime sexual tension is building between the two. They're tripping over all the innuendo. It's sexy and mysterious. And full of (dumb-)damsel-in-distress like situations.
How could I not love this book, you ask? I just don't. Although, I think I just proved I'm old and boring. If you're not old or boring, and you really love the Jersey Shore, One for the Money might just be the book for you.
Anyone who's been reading this series knows that Charlaine Harris isn't a particularly skilled writer--creative yes, skilled...not so much. We all reaAnyone who's been reading this series knows that Charlaine Harris isn't a particularly skilled writer--creative yes, skilled...not so much. We all read this series because it's entertaining, and it allows us to check our brains at the door. It's candy--sexy, sexy brain candy.
So it goes without saying, I quite like this installment of the Sookie Stackhouse series, even though--like all books in this series--it was a little on the hokey side. Sure, this book starts out a little dark, which is understandable since Sookie is dealing with a nasty case of depression/PTSD due to the unfortunate run-in she had with a couple of sadistic faeries in the last book.
You know what? It's 4:30 in the morning right now. I'll finish this review later.
P.S. Still not sure if this book deserves 3 or 4 stars, so I'll just give it 4 for now (star rating subject to change at any time).
You're not Joss Whedon. You'll never be Joss Whedon and/or J.K. Rowling, so do yourself (and everyone else) a favor: stop trying.
Yours Truly, Someone Who Deserves Their Money Back (A.K.A. Everyone Who Bought a Copy of City of Fallen Angels)
P.S. What were you thinking?
P.P.S. No seriously, what were you thinking when you decided to revive this series? Were you thinking at all? Fair question given the circumstances. Why couldn't you just leave well enough alone? Are you controlled by greed? Just curious.
P.P.P.S. I hope you enjoy swimming in your money bin filled with all that ill-gotten wealth.
The first thing I did upon finishing City of Fallen Angels: *Headdesk*
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that I brought this misery upon myself. To that I say: I agree with you, wholeheartedly. You're probably also wondering why I expected a different outcome then the one I got. I've spent the morning wondering that exact same thing. So far I've come up with a handful of explanations, none of which are backed with much reason.
***SECRET SHAME ALERT!!!*** What can I say? I'm that person. You know, that pathetic moron who spends way too much time and energy believing in other people, even the ones who've done nothing but let me down in the past. In my defense I love seeing people live up to their potential.
Yes, I actually believe Cassandra Clare has potential. (Now over half my friends and followers have lost all respect for me.) Or at least I did feel that way until I picked up this book. Now I don't know exactly how I feel about her. Before anyone unfriends me, please lemme 'splain.
There are brief moments, between all the stolen storylines, ill-conceived plotting, melodrama and so-forth, in which I'm able to see that Cassandra Clare does have something unique and interesting to bring to the table. Even a few moments of--dare I say--complete brilliance that, had Ms Clare expanded on, could have gone somewhere great. Unfortunately I don't think Ms Clare knows that about herself so she spends most of her time lifting ideas from other people's work, pasting it together and trying to pass it off as her own.
Either that or she really wishes she was Joss Whedon. And really, who could blame her? I wanna be Joss Whedon too--that way I could know all the ins and outs of the Firefly universe, but I digress. She failed at channeling Joss Whedon's brilliance though it is evident that she tried.
Long story short: this book was like a slap in the face given to me by none other then a very smug Cassandra Clare. Serves me right for being dumb enough to believe in her, amirite?
In-depth review to come.
Initial reaction to the new cover to this book: Can I just say how irritated I am that Clary and Jace are pretty much front and center in this book? Clary is even on the freaking cover. I thought this story was going to focus on Simon, so what's with the return of The Jace & Clary Quasi-Incest Show? I just don't care about them anymore and I desperately wish they'd just go away. Forever.
I know I'm going to read this only to wish I hadn't. Why? Because I can't stay away from these stupid books. Kill me.
Let me just start this review by saying I love this book. LOVE IT! This is one of the few books that I've really, truly laughed out loud while readingLet me just start this review by saying I love this book. LOVE IT! This is one of the few books that I've really, truly laughed out loud while reading - there were times I was seriously doubled over. It is hilarious. I'm going to start recommending this book to everyone I know.
But, just so you know, this book is strictly a fun read, nothing more (still well worth reading, believe me).
Georgia Nicolson is a self-centered fourteen-year-old girl growing up in England. Her story is told through her daily (-ish) journal entries: all about her fourth year (the equivalent of ninth grade here in the States) at her all-girl school.
She rambles on about anything and everything that crosses her mind: boys, clothing, snogging, pranks, her "inept parents", her little sister, said little sisters nappies (and how they sometimes explode or get left in her room), her monstrous cat, and knickers. While her thoughts aren't in the least bit deep - quite the opposite, really - they are quite hilarious. ...more
I feel I should let all my friends know a few things: If you do not appreciate snark, this book is not for you. But, if you like sarcasm (which I do)I feel I should let all my friends know a few things: If you do not appreciate snark, this book is not for you. But, if you like sarcasm (which I do) then you might just love this book as much as I do.