Genre: Comedy

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Review: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

June 23, 2017 Diversity 0, Reviews 0 ★★★

Review: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi MeadowsMy Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows
Series: Lady Janies #1
Published by HarperTeen on June 7, 2016
Genres: Comedy, YA, YA Fantasy, YA Historical
Pages: 512
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Goodreads
three-stars
Edward (long live the king) is the King of England. He’s also dying, which is inconvenient, as he’s only sixteen and he’d much rather be planning for his first kiss than considering who will inherit his crown…

Jane (reads too many books) is Edward’s cousin, and far more interested in books than romance. Unfortunately for Jane, Edward has arranged to marry her off to secure the line of succession. And there’s something a little odd about her intended…

Gifford (call him G) is a horse. That is, he’s an Eðian (eth-y-un, for the uninitiated). Every day at dawn he becomes a noble chestnut steed—but then he wakes at dusk with a mouthful of hay. It’s all very undignified.

The plot thickens as Edward, Jane, and G are drawn into a dangerous conspiracy. With the fate of the kingdom at stake, our heroes will have to engage in some conspiring of their own. But can they pull off their plan before it’s off with their heads?

Diversity Rating: 0 – What Diversity?

Racial-Ethnic: 0
QUILTBAG: 0
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 0

I like Cynthia Hand’s Unearthly trilogy. I like Brodi Ashton’s Everneath trilogy. Jodi Meadows’s books… Well, I gave two of them a try and they weren’t for me, which happens sometimes. But this collaborative effort still got my attention with its magical take on history. Not even gonna bother with a “read more” cut because this review is gonna be that short.

My Lady Jane is a quick read despite its size and entertaining for as long as you’re reading it. Even if I didn’t feel pressured to finish it quickly because it was due back at the library soon, I think I would have devoured it in short order anyway. Every now and then, it even elicits a giggle!

Even as I say that, the book isn’t particularly engaging or remarkable. I had no attachment to the characters or what was happening to them because they were fairly flat. Edward is the one who gets the most development and he’s still not that interesting to begin with. Even Bess, Edward’s sister whose main character trait is being nice and on her brother’s side, couldn’t get me to cheer for her. Maybe that’s because I recalled the Atlantic slave trade blossomed during her rule as Queen Elizabeth I?

So why did I keep reading if that’s how I felt about it? Reader, not even I can answer that question.

The Eðian/non-Eðian conflict–basically people-people versus animal-people–was a poor metaphor for the Anglican/Roman Catholic tensions that divided England in the mid-1500s. The book is clear about its disregard for the history we know, but in this case, actual history and its context is of much greater interest than its oversimplified metaphor. With the conflict softened thusly, it doesn’t really get why the tensions were so fierce and can’t translate it into the metaphor. Everything falls apart.

Speaking of softening things, the humor felt much more middle grade-level than YA. Most of the moments that got me laughing were actually references to other media–and references aren’t jokes in and of themselves. There’s one to Game of Thrones‘s Red Wedding, another to Monty Python’s Holy Grail, and plenty more. That’s all well and good, but references still aren’t jokes on their own!

Honestly, I disliked Ashton and Hand’s most recent books, Diplomatic Immunity and The Last Time We Say Goodbye (respectively). Is it possible I’m growing out of two of my favorite paranormal YA authors like I grew out of the Twilight books as a younger teen?! Say it ain’t so! But regardless of everything I just criticized about the book, I did give it three stars. For all its flaws, My Lady Jane is very readable fluff and a good way to get your mind off the troubles of modern times.

Summer 17 Bingo 5 My Lady Jane

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Blog Tour Stop & Review: How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You by Tara Eglington

October 19, 2016 Blog Tours, Diversity 0, Reviews 1 ★★★★½

Blog Tour Stop & Review: How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You by Tara EglingtonHow to Keep a Boy From Kissing You by Tara Eglington
Series: Aurora Skye #1
Published by Thomas Dunne Books on October 25, 2016
Genres: Comedy, YA, YA Contemporary
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
Source: finished copy from the publisher
Goodreads
four-half-stars
Sweet sixteen and never been kissed . . .

That’s Aurora Skye’s big secret. And the way she wants it to stay. She’s not going to give away her first kiss to just anyone. Busy dodging suitors and matchmaking for her best friends, Aurora (not so) patiently awaits her prince.

But everything changes when Aurora is coerced into a lead role in the school production of Much Ado about Nothing. Which means she’ll have to lock lips with her co-star Hayden Paris―the smart and funny boy next door who also happens to be the bane of her existence, always around to see her at her worst.

Now Aurora is more determined than ever to have her first kiss with the one who’s truly worthy of it. But first she’ll have to figure out just who that person is.

Romantic and funny, Tara Eglington's How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You is a feel-good tale of finding love where you least expect it.

Diversity Rating: 0 – What Diversity?

Racial-Ethnic: 0
QUILTBAG: 0
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 0

I got bullied in school. Badly. If you were too, you might have heard the line that “maybe they’re bullying you because they like you!” I can even recall one specific person from high school everyone suggested was bullying me due to a possible crush on me. My response has always been “WHAT THE HELL KIND OF LOGIC IS THAT?” (In kinder words, of course.) If that’s the way the bully expresses their feelings, how would a proper relationship with their bullying victim be any kind of healthy? Because of all that, I’ve never been a fan of any hate-to-love relationships in fiction. They always manage to take a wrong turn or fail to convince me the characters will work.

Then I read How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You and finally got it. Tara Eglington does so much right in her hilarious, friendship-heavy novel that I finally ship a hate-to-love ship! Read more »

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Review: Remembrance by Meg Cabot

April 14, 2016 Diversity 2, Reviews 0 ★★★★½

Review: Remembrance by Meg CabotRemembrance by Meg Cabot
Series: Mediator #7
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on February 2, 2016
Genres: Adult Paranormal, Comedy
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: eARC via Edelweiss
Goodreads
four-half-stars
THE HIGHLY ANTICIPATED RETURN OF MEG CABOT'S BESTSELLING MEDIATOR SERIES FEATURING FAN-FAVORITE GHOST WHISPERER SUSANNAH SIMON

You can take the boy out of the darkness.
But you can’t take the darkness out of the boy.

All Susannah Simon wants is to make a good impression at her first job since graduating from college (and since becoming engaged to Dr. Jesse de Silva). But when she’s hired as a guidance counselor at her alma mater, she stumbles across a decade-old murder, and soon ancient history isn’t all that’s coming back to haunt her. Old ghosts as well as new ones are coming out of the woodwork, some to test her, some to vex her, and it isn’t only because she’s a mediator, gifted with second sight.

What happens when old ghosts come back to haunt you?
If you’re a mediator, you might have to kick a little ass.

From a sophomore haunted by the murderous specter of a child to ghosts of a very different kind—including Paul Slater, Suze’s ex, who shows up to make a bargain Suze is certain must have come from the Devil himself—Suze isn’t sure she’ll make it through the semester, let alone to her wedding night. Suze is used to striking first and asking questions later. But what happens when ghosts from her past—including one she found nearly impossible to resist—strike first?

Diversity Rating: 2 – It’s a Start!

Racial-Ethnic: 2 (Gina is brown-skinned; CeeCee and her Aunt Pru are both albino)
QUILTBAG: 1 (David comes out as gay and brings home his Egyptian (?) boyfriend)
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 1

It’s taken me three and a half months to cobble together thoughts on Remembrance that weren’t a bunch of fangirlish screams of joy. To be frank, I’d still rather record myself performing said fangirlish screams of joy and publish those as a review, but I’ve heard that’s not how you review books. Pffft. For both support and to have someone I could fangirl with, I read Remembrance all in one day (January 1st of this year, of course) with my good friend Lili. What an excellent start to 2016  in books! Remembrance is a crash course in how to write YA/adult crossover lit as well as how to take a series through a jump from YA to adult. Read more »

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Review: Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky

February 8, 2016 Diversity 3, Reviews 1 ★★★★★

Review: Kill the Boy Band by Goldy MoldavskyKill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky
Published by Point on February 23, 2016
Genres: Comedy, YA, YA Contemporary, YA Thriller
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: print ARC from Amazon Vine, YA Books Central
Goodreads
five-stars
From debut author Goldy Moldavsky, the story of four superfan friends whose devotion to their favorite boy band has darkly comical and murderous results.

Okay, so just know from the start that it wasn't supposed to go like this. All we wanted was to get near The Ruperts, our favorite boy band.

We didn't mean to kidnap one of the guys. It kind of, sort of happened that way. But now he's tied up in our hotel room. And the worst part of all, it's Rupert P. All four members of The Ruperts might have the same first name, but they couldn't be more different. And Rupert P. is the biggest flop out of the whole group.

We didn't mean to hold hostage a member of The Ruperts, I swear. At least, I didn't. We are fans. Okay, superfans who spend all of our free time tweeting about the boys and updating our fan tumblrs. But so what, that's what you do when you love a group so much it hurts.

How did it get this far? Who knows. I mean midterms are coming up. I really do not have time to go to hell.

Diversity Rating: 3 – Closer to Reality

Racial-Ethnic: 3 (Apple is Chinese, Isabel is Dominican)
QUILTBAG: 1 (one of the Ruperts is gay)
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 3 (Apple is a fat Chinese girl adopted by white parents as a baby)

Every time I open my mouth to talk about this book, all that comes out is an awe-soaked expletive like “Fuuuuuuuuuuuck.” It’s that kind of book. I used to hate how the cover looked like a placeholder, but now that I’ve read the book, I don’t think there’s a better image. Pink to represent the femininity associated with boy band fandom (because they’re all supposed to be girls and bullshit like that) and black for the utter fucking darkness in the hearts of the four girls who end up kidnapping Rupert P, aka The Worst Rupert. You have no idea what you’re in for and that’s what makes it oh so good. Read more »

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Review: Revenge of the Angels by Jennifer Ziegler

September 17, 2015 Diversity 1, Reviews 1 ★★★½

Review: Revenge of the Angels by Jennifer ZieglerRevenge of the Angels by Jennifer Ziegler
Series: Revenge #2
Published by Scholastic Press on August 25, 2015
Genres: Comedy, MG Contemporary
Pages: 256
Format: ARC
Source: YA Books Central
Goodreads
three-half-stars
he Brewster triplets from Revenge of the Flower Girls meet The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, in a new, sweetly hilarious holiday story from Jennifer Ziegler!

When we last saw them, Dawn, Darby, and Delaney Brewster stopped their big sister from marrying the wrong guy, proving that they can accomplish a lot when they work together. Now, they are turning their smarts and high-energy hijinks to something completely different: their local Christmas pageant! They've been practicing looking wise and stroking long, fake beards in preparation for their roles.

But what if they're not cast as the wise men? What if instead they have to play angels in the pageant? Distasteful. Deplorable. Dreadful. And it's not like anything else is going their way this holiday season, either. Can the triplets figure out what to get for their mom, solve a mystery about a stolen Santa, and recover their holiday spirit in time for the pageant? Of course they can! And they'll do it with humor and charm, or they're not the Brewster triplets.

Diversity Rating: 1 – Tokenism

Racial-Ethnic: 1 (The Brewsters’ neighbor Mr. Neighbor is black)
QUILTBAG: 0
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 0

Sometimes, the Internet fails to tell you important things such as the fact Revenge of the Angels is a sequel and not a standalone like I thought it was. That was probably just my research fail, but it ended up making little difference to me. I don’t dabble in MG often, but Revenge of the Angels reminds me why I do! Read more »

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Review: Flirty Dancing by Jenny McLachlan

May 4, 2015 Diversity 0, Reviews 0 ★★

Review: Flirty Dancing by Jenny McLachlanFlirty Dancing by Jenny McLachlan
Series: The Ladybirds #1
Published by Feiwel & Friends on April 28, 2015
Genres: Comedy, YA, YA Contemporary
Pages: 192
Format: ARC
Source: print ARC from the publisher
Goodreads
two-stars
Full of humor and heart, this story of finding your confidence (and your jive!) is the first in a four-book series, The Ladybirds, by debut author Jenny McLachlan!

Bea Hogg is bullied regularly by her former best friend Pearl, so going to school isn't the best or favorite part of her day. As Bea leaves home each day, happy and light, she turns inward and becomes quiet, shy Bea for school.

When it’s announced that a prominent dance competition show is coming to their school, Bea is dying to compete. However, Bea’s best friend Kat ditches her for Pearl’s dance crew the Pink Ladies, and oddly enough, Bea finds herself paired with Ollie—the cutest guy in school (and the object of Pearl’s affections). Bea’s life is transformed as she finally gets her time in the spotlight. She overcomes her shyness, learns how to jive, and gets her first kiss!

Diversity Rating: 0 – What Diversity?

Racial-Ethnic: 0 (Pearl has brown skin but is the very flat antagonist; debatable identity)
QUILTBAG: 0
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 0

Funny contemporary YA is my thing in case you don’t know me very well or didn’t already figure it out based on what I read and review. There’s always the risk of said funny contemporaries not being that funny, not having a strong enough narrative voice, or not feeling right in general, but I’m a glutton for punishment and you encounter similar issues in any other genre. Too bad Flirty Dancing turned out to be a total bust. Though it has a few cute moments, it adheres too much to the YA contemp formula and comes off as a Georgia Nicolson wannabe without any of the heart as it skews younger than its intended audience. Read more »

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Review: Never Bite a Boy on the First Date by Tamara Summers

March 19, 2015 Diversity 2, Reviews 0 ★★★★

Review: Never Bite a Boy on the First Date by Tamara SummersNever Bite a Boy on the First Date by Tamara Summers
Published by HarperCollins on February 1, 2010
Genres: Comedy, YA, YA Paranormal
Pages: 272
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Goodreads
four-stars
I've got a few issues: I'm a vampire now. One of my classmates was found dead, with telltale fang marks. I didn't do it! (really!) Nobody believes me, so . . . I'm going to have to find the real killer. I've already got three suspects. (three very cute suspects.) One more problem: I am seriously falling for one of them . . . but what if he's the killer?

 

Diversity Rating: 2 – It’s a Start!

Racial-Ethnic: 3 (Japanese narrator, two POC love interests)
LGBT: 0
Disability: 0

Intersectional: 0

Right after reading a bad vampire book, I started a new vampire book because I was in a very vampire mood at the time. It happens. Sure, the trend is dead for another decade or two, but there are gems that got buried in the deluge and the backlist. I’m happy to say that Never Bite a Boy on the First Date is one of those lost gems. This diverse little novel is fun, creative, and reminds me of how it used to feel to pick up a book about bloodsuckers. Read more »

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