26 August 2016

I'm Moving!!!

Dear devoted readers,

I am currently in the process of merging all my blogs into one centralized blog on Wordpress.  You can start to follow me at Cabeza de Cre-Cre.  I will be leaving this blog operational, but I will no longer be updating it.  All book reviews have been migrated to the new blog.  I am still in the process of updating the books and series lists on the new blog, so please feel free to continue to look around here while the dust settles.

Thanks.  <3

25 August 2016

Losing It

Author: Emma Rathbone
Series: 1.5 / 5 stars
Verdict: Bury

When I got back we commenced a heavy-breathing make-out session wherein I felt like I was on a swaying rope bridge.

Yeahhhh...  So this story is kind of like that ^

This is Julia Greenfield.  At twenty-six years old, she is still a virgin.  And that is a problem for her.  A BIG problem.  As in, she can't focus or think about anything else.  She even quits her job, packs up, and moves to live with her aunt (that she barely knows) for the summer in hopes of finding some guy she can have sex with.  No joke.

As someone who wasn't allowed to date until she was sixteen, and then didn't date much in the early years of college because hey, turns out engineering was actually a little hard, I went into this novel thinking I would be able to relate with Julia.  Perhaps not completely, but at least some.  I thought I would find her enduring and the praise on the back of the book promised "every single page... contains a line so funny" and that it is a "witty and insightful novel".  To which I now must shout from the rooftop: LIARS, LIARS, PANTS ON FIRE!  It could not have been further from the truth.

Julia Greenfield, it turns out, is annoying.  Reallllllly annoying.  She is the epitome of everything that I dislike about most the women I meet (this is not sexist, I don't believe, as I am a woman myself and, indeed, these things bother me with most people in general, regardless of sex).  She is self centered, she has zero work ethic, she talks like a Valley Girl (actually, all the characters do.  The novel is riddled with horrible, annoying dialogue such as "Yeah" this, and "Yeah" that).  If I had sat down and read this book in one sitting and done a drinking game every time someone said 'yeah' I would have ended up in the hospital with alcohol poisoning before the night was over.

Here are some of the things that really turned me off of Julia - who, by the way, feels like an older version of Blair from Gossip Girl, which is at least a somewhat less frustrating read:

1) She goes snooping through her aunt's stuff!  Her aunt is kind enough to take her in, even though she seems like a recluse/introvert.  And how does Julia show her thanks?  She waits until her aunt goes to work, then goes rummaging through all her drawers in her bedroom.  What a prick.  I would go ape crazy is someone did that in my house.  They'd be on the street that very night.

2) She gets in a car accident because she's too busy paying attention to her goddamn phone.  Are you kidding me?  I was like Bradley Cooper with the book in Silver Linings Playbook at this point in the story.

3) She dumps all her responsibilities and any sense of decency if she thinks she might get lucky.  And then, quite a few times, she ends up leaving with her tail tucked between her legs.  For someone sooooo desperate to have sex, she sure does walk away in the middle of a lot of opportunities in this novel.  Not that I blame her.  I wouldn't have been caught dead with any of these guys.  But I wouldn't have been so desperate in the first place.  Have some self respect, girl!

4) She has no motivation for life in general.  She doesn't know what she wants to do, she floats along through jobs, but she makes no effort to better her situation for herself.

5) And, oh yeah, she isn't funny AT ALL.

Why did I waste my time?  For Losing It was a true waste of time.  Losing It?  More like Losing My Mind Over It.  Ugh.

21 August 2016

Seraphina

Author: Rachel Hartman
Series: Seraphina #1
Rating: 2.5 / 5 stars
Verdict: Borrow

"I scrupulously hide every legitimate reason for people to hate me, and then it turns out they don't need legitimate reasons. Heaven has fashioned a knife of irony to stab me with."

Hartman knows how to write some serious prose, I will give her that.  Unfortunately, it's bogged down in a confusing plot that didn't feel all that well pieced together.  It was a bit like trying to read a Nolan movie in print version.  But, unlike a movie, this book is more than a two hour commitment.  I found myself a little confused more than once.  I feel like if I did a reread, it would make a lot more sense.  But I think Hartman could have helped readers by setting up the story a little better (and maybe putting the dictionary/appendix in the front, since I never skip to the back of the book).

Seraphina is another dragons-in-disguise-as-humans novel.  Hartman pulls it off a lot better than Kagawa did in Talon however.  Unfortunately, Seraphina's plot, like Talon, suffers from a little too much emphasis in romance.  While at least - thank the stars - a love triangle is not involved, it still kind of is actually.  Seraphina starts crushing on Kiggs, who is engaged to his own cousin (ewww.  Gotta love that royal inbreeding).  To make matters worse, Seraphina is a halfblood (half human, half dragon).  Don't even get me started on how that's even possible.

Though there is a peace treaty between the humans and the dragons, there is anything but ease between the two species.  As such, I didn't really understand the entire bell theory and how some dragons were exempt from wearing them, and how no only really seemed bothered by that.  But then, later down the road, when the idea of bleeding everyone to see if they bleed red like a human or silver like a dragon comes up, everyone seems to lose their wits.  And all the public places apart from a special section of the village are segregated where dragons are not allowed.  So that really didn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

The fundamental plot of the novel - who killed the (king? king's brother?  Kiggs's uncle?  I don't even remember, but let's just say some human royalty) - takes way too long to build to fruition.  And the climax of the story is just plain anticlimatic, as the novel is told from Seraphina's POV and she's barely paying any attention to the battle/action at all.  Hartman has beautiful writing, but a lot of the time it just feels frivolous.  Still, she finally built up some steam near the end, which makes me hopefully for the second installment in the duology.  Fingers crossed.  I want more dragons!

20 August 2016

Power Play

Author: Kate William
Series: Sweet Valley High #4
Rating: 2 / 5 stars
Verdict: Bury

All Robin Wilson had ever wanted was to be popular, but it seemed she had been going about it the wrong way.  All she had to do was be confident, take care of herself, and treat the people around her the way they deserved to be treated...

I liked this series growing up, didn't I?  I could swear I did, but I am finding it harder and harder to remember why.  I know I liked the Sweet Valley Twins that I read, and I was obsessed with the SVU for a while, but maybe I never actually read the series when they were in their prime in high school.

Oh boy, so here we go again.  Let's start with Robin this time.  She wants to join Jess's Sweet Valley High Beautification Committee (only started so that Jessica can run for Miss Sweet Valley High since she has been too self centered to have any extracurriculars on her resume), but Jessica and her elite snob jackwad friends don't think Robin is the 'right type' of person to join the club, so they make her go through a whole song and dance of high school hazing that is pretty messed up, hoping she will drop out on her own accord.  Robin, obsessed with popularity, goes along with humiliating herself (because why not?), then - when things don't exactly go her way - she drops out of school to be homeschooled and hit the gym and get a makeover, so that maybe she could be popular.  I'm sorry, but exsqueeze me?  How is this the message we want to send to teenage girls?  If you get bullied in high school but a bunch of bitches, just drop out and buy into the whole stereotypes of beauty, stripping yourself of your identity, and then you too can be popular!  Ummm, f*&^ no.

Jessica is as much of a brat as always.  How have her parents not sent her off to a boarding school yet to get her attitude adjusted?  Even Elizabeth is a little annoying in this one.  Miss Goody Two Shoes wants to be helpful, so she meddles in the Robin situation which, surprise, surprise, backfires completely.  Like we couldn't see that one coming.

Where are the parents in this series?  Is it just me, or do these books tend to teach the wrong kind of moral story?  The only one I almost want to feel sorry for in this novel is Lila, but she's such the cliche of a spoiled rich kid that I can't.  These characters are all archetypes without any depth.  And whenever you think they might develop into an actual human like character, it always seems to go sideways.  Another disappointing letdown.

19 August 2016

Talon

Author: Julie Kagawa
Series: Talon #1
Rating: 2 / 5 stars
Verdict: Bury

Wait.  I was a dragon.  What the hell was I doing?

The quote above from Talon pretty much sums up this novel for me.  Ember and Dante are friggin dragons, yet they pretty much just act like annoying, regular, run of the mill human teenagers.  Dragons actually play a very minor role in this "groundbreaking modern fantasy series" (ha!).  Not only do the dragons walk around in human form, but they are forbidden from shifting into dragons, which makes this novel pretty much the dragon equivalent of Twilight.

Garret is human, and after dragons killed his family, he has made it his life's mission to hunt them down and kill them all (Talon's Edward).  Riley (Talon's Jacob) is a rogue dragon, who grew tired of the bad guys in the Talon hierarchy, and wants to save Ember from the same oppression.  At the heart of it, Talon is just another young adult love triangle romance between these three.

While it has a few interesting points, Talon is pretty much a dud throughout.  I think the most interesting relationship was between Ember and Dante, and it was lost in the flood of her romance with Garret and Riley.  And the most exciting part of the novel was probably her Talon training sessions and her shifting into dragon form, which barely happen at all.  Instead, Talon is full of cliche and eye roll worthy dialogue and prose such as:

 "Screw you both.  I don't need any of this.  I'll find my own way home."

Which is kind of ironic, since a lot of this novel involves Ember getting a ride home from Garret.

And very soon, I was going to show a certain red-haired hatchling the true face of Talon, and convince her that she belonged with us.  With me.

Barf.

"Be careful, Riley.  Don't get dead."

That one's just bad grammar.

And my favorite, which I think was supposed to be super macho and awesome in the heat of the battle, but just made me laugh:

"Heartless bitch!" he snarled, flames licking at his teeth in rage.  "You won't touch them.  I'll kill you first!"

Exclamation point and all!

Talon felt wholly unoriginal, another forgettable YA paranormal romance novel in a saturated genre.  Though, I'm sure, that means it will be devoured excitedly by the masses who enjoy this type of story.  Shame on Kagawa for playing on my current obsession with dragons.  I just wish there were more YA dragon novels out there actually focused on dragons.  This series, which looks like it is already slated for at least five novels, is dead for me after one.