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review 2015-08-12 22:23
The Secret By Rhonda Byrne
The Secret - Rhonda Byrne

This book gives a role new meaning to the word "bullshit". Do not approach the book. Do not stare directly at the book. Do not waste your time writing a decent review for the book.

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review 2014-09-04 03:30
Judge, jury, and executioner.
Out of Control - Sarah Alderson

Bailiff: Hear ye, hear ye! Court will now come to order! Please stand for your judge, the Honorable...

*Khanh beckons, whispers into Bailiff's ears*

Bailiff: ...make that the Dishonorable Khanh. All rise! Your Dishonor...where's your gavel?



Khanh: Lost it. I'm using this hammer instead. I think it's appropriate. Close enough.

Bailiff: ...

Khanh: We are here in The Reader's Court for the pre-trial of Readers vs. Liva, the 17-year old main character of Out of Control. She stands here accused of being a dumbass. What are the detailed charges?

Bailiff: There are 19 charges, your dishonor. She stands accused of racial profiling, slut-shaming, girl-on-girl hate...

Khanh: Ain't nobody got time for that. Make it brief. Keep it to 4.

Bailiff: She stands accused of:
1. Showing all signs of being a Mary fucking Sue
2. Falling in love with complete fucking douchebag full of...

*pauses* Your Dishonor, do I really have to read this?

Khanh: YES

Bailiff: ...full of...UNF...CUBAN MACHEESMO.

Khanh: Attaboy.

Bailiff:
3. Having the wrong fucking priorities all the fucking time
4. Having dumb fucking trains of thoughts. *hesitates* CHOO CHOO.

*pauses* Your Dishonor, are these charges correct? I don't recall so much profanity being used in any of the pleadings that I've...

Khanh: YES THEY ARE. Wait a minute. Did you say racial profiling?

Bailiff: Yes, your Dishonor.

Khanh: Ok, I'm curious now. Go on, man. What's up with that, yo? Let me read through this briefing.

*pauses* You gotta be fucking kidding me, girl. Did you really think the guy's a gang member because he's Latin-American looking and carries a fucking bandana?

Liva: Um...

Khanh: YEAH, DUDE, NO. LOOK HERE. And I quote:

It’s then that I notice the bandana hanging out the back pocket of his jeans. I know what that little scrap of material signifies. He’s a gang member. I shake my head to myself.

See? What the fuck is that? Racist much?! Guuuuuuuurl.

And look here again. A Latin-American woman, of course you think she's fat and speaks with an accent. Of course every Latino and Latina in the book is horribly stereotypically portrayed. Look here, did you really think a fucking Latin American woman would talk like this?

‘She’ll stand out like a habanero chilli in an ice-cream store if she goes dressed like that,’ Marissa snaps back.

Seriously? SERIOUSLY?

Liva: I swear I'm not racist, your honor! I mean, I went to an international school! I was born and raised abroad. I lived most of my life in Oman and Nigeria! I've had a great education! I'm really, really smart!

But um, your Dishonor...where's the jury? Aren't I entitled to a fair jury trial here?

Khanh: This is 'Murica. Our fair trial is by name only. I am your judge, jury, and executioner.

Liva: THIS ISN'T FAI---

Khanh: *loudly interrupts* SO HERE ARE THE CONTEXT OF YOUR CHARGES. You are a 17 year old beauty who are being pursued by people wanting to kill you. Naturally, you run away with a guy you thought might be a potential murderer, since the first time you saw him, he was in handcuffs in the Homicide Department. Is that correct?

Liva: *gulps* Yes, your Dishonor...but---

Khanh: NO BUTS. See Exhibit 1. You thought he was a killer. And you ran away with him anyway.

I contemplate for the first time the fact that I’m sitting in a stolen unmarked police car with a murderer who I just helped escape from custody.

Where's your fucking fancy international education now? Did it serve you well? I WENT TO A PUBLIC SCHOOL WITH 2000 STUDENTS.

Liva: You're sounding rather angry. I can't help it if my parents are rich.

Khanh: I'm not angry because you're rich. I'm angry because you're a Mary Sue.

Live: *splutters* Your Dishonor, please! I am not!

Khanh: You're not, eh? *leans off her podium and glares* ARE YOU DENYING THE FACT THAT YOU'RE AS GOOD AS AN ORPHAN, WITH BOTH PARENTS IN DIFFERENT COUNTRIES?

Liva: No, your Dishonor...

Khanh: ARE YOU DENYING THE FACT THAT YOU'VE ALWAYS FELT DIFFERENT, THAT NOBODY CAN EVER UNDERSTAND YOUR HEART AND SOUL?

Liva: No, your Dishonor...

Khanh: ARE YOU DENYING THE FACT THAT YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, WITH A BALLET DANCER'S FIGURE THAT'S FUCKING FLAWED. FLAWED!!!!!!!!!!!!! BECAUSE IT'S TOO THIN, YET TOO CURVY? LOOK AT FUCKING EXHIBIT 2!!!!!!!

'You got what my mum would call good posture. And your legs. You have a dancer’s legs.’
I don’t naturally have a ballet dancer’s build. I’ve got boobs and hips for a start, long legs but also a long torso.

Liva: I really am not beautiful, I mean I have all these freakish red hair and stupid slanted, exotic eyes inherited from my Slavic mother.

Khanh: SAVE IT, BITCH. ONTO THE NEXT CHARGE. You fell in love with an asshole. Is that correct?

Live: No, your Dishonor! I would never!!!!

Khanh: LIAR! LIAR!!!!! LOOK AT THIS!!!! Throughout the entire fucking book, he ogles you like a fucking douche. Not once. Not twice, a million times over. Exhibit 3!!!!!!!

I feel his eyes skimming the top of my breasts.

And Exhibits 3A-3ZZZZZZZ. All examples of him ogling you like a fucking jailbird who hasn't seen a woman in 30 years of solitary confinement. Then there are examples of him acting like a fucking asshat and commenting about other women's weight. EXHIBIT 4.

‘You got no worries there. You should see my cousin Maria. She’s one Krispy Kreme away from having her own zip code.’

Liva: But your honor! He's in love with me! He respects me!

Khanh: WRONG AGAIN! SEE EXHIBIT 5!

‘You don’t drink coffee, don’t take sugar, don’t eat cream. What are you,’ he asks through his mouthful, ‘anorexic?’

RESPECTING YOU DOESN'T MEAN HE SIMULTANEOUSLY ACCUSES YOU OF BEING ANOREXIC WHILE CALLING ANOTHER GIRL FAT.

Speaking of which...your fucking priorities. Where the fuck are they? You are being chased by god knows how many people. All of whom want to murder you or kidnap you. Where the fuck is your head concentrated?

I'll tell you where. Jaime's muscles. Pronounced HIIIIIIIII-MEEEEEEEE. HI! ME! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT HIM! THAT'S ALL YOU FUCKING DO.

Right after you just witnessed a multiple homicide. You notice his fucking good looks. Exhibit 6.

I could easily imagine him gracing a billboard advertising some hipster fashion brand. Instead, I think to myself, he’s posing for mug shots.

Right after you almost got murdered again. Exhibit 7.

I note the strips of muscle running the length of his arms and the fact that they are trembling ever so slightly.

As you're about to break and enter. Exhibit 8.

He headed on around to the front modelling the NYPD sweater and a swagger straight out of Miami Vice.

Wondering what to do and where to go next. Exhibit 9.

I notice the beads of water still clinging to his hair and the fact that his T-shirt is sticking to him like a second layer of skin, revealing every line of muscle.

FINDING OUT THAT JAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIME IS IN DEEP DEEP SHIT. Exhibit 10.

I put a hand on his forearm, feeling the hardness of muscle, rigid with anger.

It's like every single fucking action you made has to emphasize his hard fucking muscles. He has muscles! I GET IT! I DO, TOO. WE ALL DO. GET THE FUCK OVER IT. PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO KILL YOU!!!!!!!

*hyperventilates*

Liva: Your dishonor! I swear it wasn't my fault. I didn't mean to fall in love with him! Look at Exhibit 11!

I don’t fall for guys. I don’t fall. Period.

Khanh: BUT THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT YOU FUCKING DID. FOR THE ENTIRE FUCKING NOVEL YOU FALL INTO INSTA-LOVE WITH A DOUCHEBAG/CRIMINAL WITH A HEART OF GOLD. CAN YOU BE ANY MORE FUCKING CLICHéD?!

Liva: I'm a teenager, your Dishonor! I can't help it if my hormones get the better of me!

Khanh: Fine, you can't be blamed for your emotions, BUT HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN YOUR TERRIBLE WAY OF THINKING? My god, girl, your metaphors and similes are straight out of bullshit university. EXHIBIT 12 AND 13!!!!

He’s watching me with a mixture of wariness and worry, as though I’m an unexploded landmine.

He’s staring at me fiercely, his jaw clenching and unclenching as though he’s trying to dislodge a tooth.

Khanh: ENOUGH! ENOUGH! BURN HER! BURN HER!!!!!

*Khanh jumps off her podium and begins to chase Liva*

Liva: Your Dishonor! This is really quite uncalled---

*Khanh smashes Liva into oblivion*

Khanh: Hmm. Interesting. She survived countless murderers, but not one lonely book reviewer. Whatever. I did you all a favor anyway.

Bailiff: *splattered with blood* C...c...court a--adjourned.

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review 2014-08-08 03:44
"Midnight Thief" didn't steal my heart
Midnight Thief - Livia Blackburne
She didn’t look like an assassin. She looked like a young girl—a pretty one at that, with her small stature and delicate features.



Why hello there, generic special snowflake Mary Sue heroine who's a dumb, weak, pussy-ass delicate little flower with every guy desiring her and powers that she never earned.

“You’re beautiful to watch, you know...Your grace—it’s impossible to ignore. Did you notice the way my men looked at you? And it wasn’t just them.”

Oh, and there's a sad attempt at love triangle.



Whoop dee doo!

If a good high fantasy is a sumptuous feast for the imagination, this book would be the equivalent of a few carrot sticks, with half a teaspoon of fat-free ranch dressing.



This is one of the most poorly crafted "high fantasy" books I have ever read. I used quotation marks for high fantasy, because within an actual high fantasy, there is some semblance of world building. Explanations. Context. There was none of the above within this book.

I'm going to forgo one of my long-winded metaphors and simply say that this book was "incredibly bad." Like the equivalent of Defy bad. So why a 1.5 instead of a 1? No breeding houses. But that's not really saying much.

This book is incredibly fucking dull. There is no world building. It moves at the pace of a snail with a broken leg, if snails had legs, that is...

The writing is completely unremarkable in every way. There is little to no character development.

To top it off, the main character is one of the worst high fantasy heroines I have ever had the misfortune of meeting. There's usually a method to my madness, I have a separate section where I analyze the main character. Fuck it, I'm having my little character rant first, it's been a long day and I'm feeling rebellious.

The main character is Kyra, a 17-year old thief. She so suffers from a serious condition that has been spreading around many book heroines known as too-stupid-to-live syndrome.

She scrambled back as the demon cat launched itself off a tree, landing softly on padded feet right where Kyra had been standing.
She should have remembered that cats could climb trees.

She has been a thief and a street urchin for most of her life. Cool, right? Well, no. No, because she is the most unwise, least street-savvy thief in the whole damn world. Kyra is a thief who won't carry around a weapon to defend herself.

“Rand says you don’t carry a knife.”
“I don’t need to. I can usually get away,” she said.

And consequently, she is completely fucking useless at self-defense. Kyra is not a fighter. She needs saving. She is saved by the act of god, or deus ex fucking machina almost every single time because she is incapable of defending herself. Like this time.

Someone pulled him off her, and Kyra dragged herself onto her elbow, breath coming in painful gasps. Both her attackers lay on the ground, unconscious. Above them stood a man who looked vaguely familiar.

And again, and again, and again.

She screamed, only to cut off as she choked on her own blood. The pain was unbearable, growing unimaginably worse when he twisted his knife.
“We would like to take her with us,” a man said.

AND BOOM, SAVED FROM INSTA-DEATH.

She constantly flushes and blushes.

- She flushed and drew her arm away.

- She flushed red, unsure as to whether she imagined his mocking tone.

- She looked away, taken aback at the flush rising in her cheeks.

She is the worst liar in the world.

“You’re not telling me everything,” he said.
“There’s nothing to tell,” she said too quickly.

She has no sense of loyalty. She will betray a group who takes her in at the drop of a hat. She betrays just about every group that takes her in. From a group of Robin Hood wannabes...

“It didn’t take long for you to switch your allegiance, did it?”

...To the "barbarians" who rescued her.

Could she betray them after they had saved her life?

The answer is yes. Always fucking yes. To the one new friend who saved her life.

It was true. [She] had saved her life, fought for her, and taught her the ways of the clan. And Kyra had betrayed her.

She will reveal her greatest weakness, her love for her friends, to the enemy to be used against her without a thought.

She likes small children. Cute. But when I read a book with a high fantasy heroine, I want less cuddly maternal type and more kick-ass. I didn't get much ass-kicking at all.

Because, as I said, she FAINTS AND FLUSHES ALL THE FUCKING TIME.

And naturally, everyone falls in love with her. She is so bloody special. Rebel bad boy assassin sees something special in her.

James pushed back from the table, studying her again with a thoughtful expression. “I’ve never met anyone quite like you, Kyra.” His voice was soft, lacking its usual edge.

Knightly nobleman adores her for no bloody reason.

He didn’t let her go, though his gaze softened in a way that bruised her pride. “You’re a puzzle, Kyra.”

And she's speshul. SPESHUL.

How did he really feel about Kyra? She was like no one he’d ever met before, and he couldn’t deny that she was beautiful when she worked.



The Summary:

“You’ve noticed that you’re different, have you not?

We're in a high fantasy world, the most generic one in the entire fucking universe. Want explanations for something? Good bloody luck, you get none. I mean, things are easy enough to figure out, like if someone has a vampire in a book, you don't need to be told that they're fucking bloodsuckers, but SOMETIMES I WANT AN EXPLANATION. Who knows, the vampire in that particular book could suck the juices from oranges, instead of humans.

So yeah, back to Generic High Fantasy World. Is there magic in this world? Don't fucking know. For some reason, a felbeast will appear. What the fuck is a felbeast? A...demon...thing...obvi, but STILL, SOME FUCKING EXPLANATIONS WOULD BE NICE.
Boom, there are barbarians. OMG THE POOR ARE BEING OPPRESSED BY THE WEALTHY WITHOUT ANY CONTEXT AT ALL YAY.

Oh, and there are demon cats. Whooooooo! And felbeasts. What the fuck are they? Where the hell did they come from? ENJOY HAVING NO EXPLANATIONS AT ALL.

Into this mess of a fucking setting, enter our fucking idiot delicate flower of a heroine. Kyra is 17, a beautiful thief (well, she doesn't think she's beautiful, but OBVIOUSLY WE FIND OUT LATER THAT SHE IS, HYUK HYUK HYUK. She is a competent thief who fucks up a job, and for some reason after that, the Robin Hood-like Assassin's Guild who steal from the rich to give to the poor, only they want, nay, NEED the irrepressible Kyra's help. And then there's darkly handsome, deadly leader James who makes her heart flutter. Who makes her blush.

She was a professional, not some giddy farm girl.
“It’s what I do.”

Riiiiiiiiiiight.But no, it's not just James, there's handsome nobleman, knightly SER TRISTAM who makes her heart pound like the beating of a very small mallet.

And there was something in his eyes that hadn’t been there before. Had it only been a few weeks ago when they’d been enemies?

Much excitement. So love. Grand passion. Wow.

WHAT IS HER SECRET? WHY IS KYRA SO SPESHUL?

He was scrutinizing her, eyes wary.
“You’re different….”

And more importantly, WILL KYRA EVER STOP CRYING?

She clutched her blanket tighter and blinked back tears.

Kyra looked at him, and the forgiveness in his eyes made her want to burst into tears again.

Kyra could no longer hold her tears back.

Kyra squeezed her eyes tight against the tears that threatened to spill.

To her horror, she felt tears prickle behind her eyes.

Her body gave way to racking sobs. She lay there, curled in a ball, hugging her legs through the convulsions.

Kyra let it all out then, clutching the girls as she sobbed.



And will she ever be able to NOT fight like a kitten with its leg in a splint?

With a ragged cry, she launched herself at James, slashing wildly. There was a brief flicker of triumph on James’s face as he stepped aside, wrenching her knife arm behind her and twisting her down. She landed face-first on the ground. Two sharp kicks to the ribs knocked any remaining breath out of her.

By the way, there is also has a completely pathetic attempt at copying the premise of one of my favorite books...Poison Study. No. Don't even *snaps fingers*

“We’ve anticipated that and have instructed the healer Ilona to withhold the last few doses of antidote.”
Tristam tensed. “Sir?” he asked.
“The small amount of poison left in her body shouldn’t interfere overly much with her health,” said Willem. “We believe that the need for her final dose should motivate her to return to the Palace.”

Needless to say, just say no.

I realized, as I read to the end of the book, that the author has some seriously impressive credentials. A Ph.D from MIT, one of the best institutions of higher ed in the US. Wow. Bravo to her. I can never hope to rival her intelligence.

With that said, the education and the intelligence of the author does not necessarily make for a great book, and this is living proof. No matter how much I respect the author's smarts, this was an absolutely terrible book for me.

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review 2014-07-13 04:27
My Last Kiss - Bethany Neal
Aren’t ghosts supposed to have some sort of agenda? I really hope mine isn’t to haunt my boyfriend’s bedroom. That is way too clichéd.

“Why didn’t you stay with your body?” he finally asks.
I meet his eyes and the only thing I want to say is I came back to be with you, I stayed for you.

Sure, you could compare this to The Lovely Bones, in the same way that you could compare Twilight to Bram Stoker's Dracula. It's pretty much the same thing, really, with a few minor differences. The "few minor differences" being:

1. Red tunas. Ok, fine, the technical term for a misleading clue ia a "red herring" but the clues in this book are so fucking obvious and dumb and loud that I've coined a new term for it. Hence, red tuna

2. This ghost is even more of a vapid idiot than the one in The Lovely Bones

3. This ghost gets into one bloody painful mess of a love triangle between the most wonderfulest boyfriend ever who just doesn't geeeeeeeeeet her, maaaaaan and a pothead stoner with a heart of gold

4. Family? Lol. Family? Screw family, it's all about friends, y'all. She has a sister? A brother? A family. Oh, yeah, yeah, she does. She mentions them sometimes. Mostly the fact that her mom is a huge, raging psychotic bitch

5. The dumbest friends ever, in fact, the most vapid group of high schoolers who ever existed

6. There is not a single truly likeable character in the book. I'm dead fucking serious. Her classmates are morons without sympathy. Her family pretty much ignore one another when, if, they're mentioned at all

Really, there's not much introspection. There's no literary value. There is an idiot of a girl who gets to spend time with her boyfriend, while fighting off the feelings for another guy...while she's a ghost. Don't. Just don't.

The Summary:

I think I’m supposed to do something while I’m here. It doesn’t make any sense that I’d be given a free pass to haunt about and chill with my boyfriend.

17-year old Cassidy is dead. How does everyone think she died?

“Well, I heard some guys saying she tried to go skinny-dipping in the river and froze, which is downright ignorant to suggest. Then Kristy London started telling everyone she saw Cassidy throw up at dance once because she was bulimic and that’s why she committed suicide.”

Cassidy was found dead under a bridge, after a night of inebriation. Everyone seems to think her death was a suicide, even her own family. Even the police, since they seem to think she killed herself after, oh, roughyl 5 seconds of investigations. So realistic.

So nobody knows how Cassidy died, since nobody was there. Hell, not even Cassidy knows how she died, because she was drunk as fuck.

I was definitely drinking at the party, but was I drunk enough to forget everything that happened?

But all hope is not lost! Cassidy may be dead, but she's not yet "moved on." She is still here, on earth, as a ghost. Nobody can see her, until, miraculously, her boyfriend, Ethan could! She's been left here on earth with a purpose! How shall Cassidy spent this one wondrous chance?!

I cast away that dangerously hopeful thought and look up at Ethan, deciding to take advantage of what time I have left with him.

Will she use that time to discover how she died? Not exactly.

I’m momentarily distracted by Ethan’s navy blue boxer-briefs. They’re the only thing he’s wearing.

Is she going to spend her remaining time on earth observing her family extensively, seeing that they're her family, who have raised her and loved her for 17 years? Um...

He exhales, long and loud. I lean forward, hoping for a whiff of his breath even if it’s sour, morning scented, but there’s nothing. I frown.

Is she going to spend that time going back to the scene of her death, seeing if there are any clues to be picked up, any memories she can glean from going back to such a pivotal place? Weeeeell...

I’m sure my afterlife mission isn’t to hook up with my boyfriend—especially after what I just remembered about Caleb—but I can’t ignore the allure of his touches.

Ok, fine. This is a teenaged girl, after all. It's only fair that she spends a quarter of the book, or half the book thinking about her boyfriend. But what about the remaining half? How will she spend the rest of her time on earth?! Clearly, she has been put here for a purpose. Ghosts don't just wander around after death pointlessly. Surely there is a bigger picture here.

Yeah, there is. His name is Caleb, andOH BOY, CASSIDY IS GOING TO INVESTIGATE THE ROLE THAT HE PLAYED IN HER DEATH.

I bend down right in front of him, meaning to study his face for some proof of guilt, maybe attempt a ghostly trick to will a writing sample out of his obnoxious orange backpack, but the only thing I can think about is his mouth closed around mine. My eyes wander to his lips.

Or, you know, just think about kissing him. Investigation. Kissing. Same thing, if you think about it.

Cassi-die now plz:

I squared my shoulders and inched up my chin as if I was above his affection. I wasn’t, but I was so mad I wanted him to think I was, to feel bad about it.

The word vapid is actually spelled "C-A-S-S-I-D-Y." The definition of her name is Captain Obvious since she has the uncommon knack for stating the fucking obvious.

She sets a pad of monogrammed stationery on top of her notes from last week and adds Mica’s name to a short list of classmates, all of whom attended the party.
“This is your list of people you think might know something about my death, isn’t it?” I ask her.

Her grief is of the woe-is-me everything is about me me me. OK, she's dead. I know that. I should be able to empathize with that, but her sadness...the way it is written, so very much self-centered, just makes me laugh.

Sadness rolls over me, knowing that I’ll never again be the person she turns to for comfort.

She is the equivalent of a mentally-challenged ghost. She knows she can't be heard, yet she insists on talking VERY LOUDLY and ENUNCIATING VERY CLEARLY in the hopes that someone will be able to hear her.

“Aimée,” I say very slowly as if overenunciating will allow her to hear me, “look under that binder.”

It is the equivalent of talking VERY LOUDLY INTO THE EARS OF A DEAF PERSON. It just makes you look like a motherfucking moron.

Her investigation into her death can be best summed up in one hyphenated word: "half-assed". She withholds clues, she ignores clues, she ignores uncomfortable flashbacks, like her memories of flirting and kissing another boy who is not her boyfriend. She lies. She omits information that would help the one person who is able to see her investigate her death.

If I tell him I think I was with Caleb he’ll definitely ask why. I’m not ready to go there with him. It’ll ruin the small piece of us we’ve recaptured, and I can’t bear losing that again.

Almost all her memories are of emotional conflicts between her love triangle. They are frustrating, they are foolish, they give me no respect for Cassidy whatsoever.

The Side Characters:

After he leaves, the cafeteria clears out, but conversations still echo off the walls. She was totally drunk … I heard she froze to death … Who kills herself over a breakup? I mean, really?

Seriously, there is not one single likeable character in the entire fucking book. Her family are portrayed as idiots. Her father is a doormat. Her mother is a psycho with a midlife crisis who pretty much has no reaction over her daughter's death besides for the fact that it might give her something to do. Cassidy has a tremendous amount of contempt for her mom, and her entire family is portrayed so briefly, so poorly, that there is absolutely no sense of familial love whatsoever.

Instead, we are focused on her friends, and man, they are motherfucking idiots. Cassidy may be vapid, but she appears to be a product of her school, because her entire fucking school is filled with brainless teenagers without an ounce of sympathy. Literally nobody gives a fuck about her death but her friend, Aimée. The entire student body doesn't need counseling, they use her death as an opportunity to gossip, to make small-talk, to talk shit about Cassidy now that she's dead. It would have appeared like Cassidy had no friends at all after her death, and it is so strange, considering we don't get a sense of that at all from the flashbacks of her life before death.

Truly, the side characters in this book, the entire fucking cast, doesn't seem realistic at all. There is no emotional connection to anyone, anything.

The Motherfucking Love Triangle:

Aimée rolls her eyes. “I can’t believe he was high at eight-thirty in the morning. I’ll never get what Cassidy saw in him.”

DING DING DING. We have a love triangle here. And it's not an obvious type. It's the I-will-keep-you-guessing-until-the-bitter-fucking-end type.

Ethan is the nicest boy in the world. He was her first kiss. He was her first love. They have been dating for three years.

He took my hand, and I was certain, in that moment, that I would never kiss anyone else for as long as I lived.

Until, inexplicably, she falls for Caleb, a stoner who pops pills under the guise of Tic-Tacs.

Caleb, who is never NOT stoned.

Caleb opens his eyes in a lazy, delayed reaction that tips me off that he’s high. Again.

Caleb, who is a bad boy with a Tragic Past who totally deserves our sympathy, right

"...you had changed when your parents split up and you started getting high all the time..."

Caleb, who gives her a special Brownie laced with marijuana. Such a fucking gentleman. How could a girl ever resist?

“Speaking of, I made you a little somethin’ somethin’.” He reached into his bright orange backpack and pulled out a brownie wrapped in pink cellophane and about ten different colors of ribbon.
“Caleb, you didn’t have to do this.”
“I wanted to give you something special to celebrate your birth.”

And she cheated on Ethan with THIS loser? No, thank you. Sure, Ethan is so fucking effeminate that he barely even counts as a boyfriend, but he's still a far better catch than Caleb. And we're left wondering until the very end who she will choose.

I do not tolerate cheating. There are books in which cheating is really, really well done, in which I feel a tremendous amount of sympathy for the cheaters.

This is not one of those books.

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review 2014-07-13 04:25
The Dolls - Kiki Sullivan
This is one of the most shallow, insipid YA paranormal books I have ever read. It is filled with descriptions of clothes, descriptions of beautiful, wealthy people, meaning-filled loving gazes, and not much more than that.

I might get more complexity from the pages of Cosmopolitan magazine.
He looks up as we pass, and for an instant, our eyes meet, and it feels like the world slows on its axis.
Most voodoo books I've read have been, well, doodoo. This book totally sucked, too, but here's the difference. It's still a steaming pile of poo, but it's shit that doesn't stink. It's shit that has no personality. Instead of a fresh, steaming pile of crap, this is fecal matter that's been dried, dunked in bleach, and then encased in plastic because all the character (however stinky) that made the poo interesting in the first place has been completely removed from it.



This book is as whitewashed as voodoo gets. It's an insult to the original religion.

It has:

1. A special, different main character
2. Insta-love
3. A love triangle between a mysterious (and light-skinned black boy!) and a nice, sweet boy-next-door type (shocking!)
4. The most flavorless Southern atmosphere I have ever encountered within a book. This is the South, but don't worry, there's nothing that resembles it in our town, because it's a fucking magical town that looks like a picturesque New England town, y'all
5. Voodoo that has been sanitized within an inch of its life. It's closer to a bastardized version of chanting underneath the moonlight Wicca than anything remotely like the original African/West Indies religion.
6. More clothes than magic. More brand-dropping than paranormal. Chanel. Bling. Furs. Bring on the wealth.

Don't bother.

The Summary:
“Look, I’m all for the idea of bringing a bunch of hot college guys to town, but are you sure we should be opening the gates if a bunch of magic-haters are out to kill us?”
We're the Dolls and we are. Fab. U. Lous.

We are the Queen Bees of Pointe Laveau high school. We are the descendants of Voodoo practitioners, our families rule the town, and we do anything we please.
We can have anything we want. Good grades. Fabulous clothes. Immunity from teachers’ punishments. Control over everything. Lust and love from whatever boys we choose. It’s all ours. Doesn’t that interest you?”
We are stunningly beautiful, all of us.
Across the group of mourners, two impossibly beautiful girls are staring right at me. One is a beautiful honey blonde with perfectly tanned skin. The other, who’s even more stunning, has glistening cocoa skin, a perfect model’s body, and mounds of wildly gorgeous ebony curls.
They’re surrounded by three guys and two other girls, all of whom are also gorgeous
We rule the school. Pointe Laveau is within Carrefour, Louisiana, a town for the ultra-rich. Even among the wealthy, we are the elites.

We wear the most stunning clothes, and we hope you like seeing clothing descriptions because they are on practically every page. But we're worth it, our clothes are all designer, and they deserve to be shown off.
She’s paired her oxford with a set of Chanel pearls featuring a diamond-encrusted, interlocking double C. Her high-heeled Mary Janes are studded with what look like diamonds, and her hair is artfully mussed.
The school has a dress code? Oh, you don't say. Guess what, we don't give a flying fuck.

Fuck classes. Fuck the drinking age. Alcohol in school? Why the eff not.
“Gin and tonic?” Arelia asks eagerly as she smoothes a corner of the blanket. It’s cashmere, I notice. “Or would you prefer champagne today?”
Our lunches are catered. We don't eat in the cafeteria like the bourgeoisie. Everywhere we go, we are trailed by an adoring crowd of admirers.
Not only are they undoubtedly the most gorgeous girls in school, but they’re being trailed by a crowd of adoring-looking guys as they sweep into the cafeteria in a cloud of expensive perfume.
Our version of Voodoo involving dancing around a circle to open the protective gates of our community in order to meet boys.
“Dandelion and mojo beans, sandalwood and lemon balm, we draw your power. Spirits, open the gates of Carrefour on Saturday night.”
Eveny, we welcome you to our circle. First on the itinerary to become a voodoo queen: a makeover.
"We’re getting you a haircut and a makeover on Thursday after school. We’ve already scheduled an appointment for you at Cristof’s Salon.”
Eveny:
The thing is, I’ve always felt a half step different from everyone else.
Meet your main character, Eveny. About to turn 17, she is your typical special, different main character with immensely powerful power who doesn't do jack shit to earn it. A descendant of a powerful Voodoo Queen, Eveny holds tremendous powers...powers of which she doesn't have a fucking clue. Powers that she has never learned. Power that she has never earned. Powers that comes through her only through the lucky accident of her birth. Give me a break.

I hate characters who have no merit. I hate characters who inherit everything by the basis of luck. Eveny is wealthy because of who she is. Eveny is powerful because of her bloodline. She never fucking has to earn anything. She never works hard for anything. I have zero respect for her. She knows The Dolls are shallow, and yet she feels a connection to them anyway, she slums with the poor kids, she can similarly chill with the rich kids. She dangles a guy along while lusting after another. Eveny is a character without character.

The Setting:
“It’s like one big country club,” I say.

A half-dozen shops that look like they belong in an Atlantic seaside resort town—not middle-of-nowhere Louisiana—extend down the left side of the street.
Expecting an authentic, drowsy, languid, atmospheric Louisiana setting? You're shit out of luck.

You want hot weather? Swamps? Fuck you. The privileged gated community of Carrefour in which Eveny lives is magically climate-controlled. There are flowers and temperate climates year-round. There are McMansions everywhere. Designer boutiques. French bakeries. It's like fucking Beverly Hills. There is no local flavor, unless our precious precious fucking Eveny decides to slum it out and go into the slump for a crawfish boil. And even then, the crawfish is frozen. What kind of self-respecting Louisianan eats frozen crawfish?

There is almost nothing of the Southern atmosphere that I love so much. The gated community of Carrefour might as well be anywhere, and indeed, it is described as looking like an "Atlantic seaside resort." Fuck that, seriously. The town is so tremendously wealthy, and the wealthy areas, not the actual, realistic South, is where we spend most of the time. There was no fucking point to this book being in the South, besides the fact that the setting is used as an excuse for the fuck-up sanitized version of "Voodoo" within this book.

And speaking of "voodoo."

Voo-what?:
"At one time our ancestors were very powerful practitioners of voodoo. But in 1863, they, along with Peregrine’s and Chloe’s ancestors, struck their own deal with the fates because they felt voodoo was getting too commercialized."
This is what passes for voodoo in this book. It's practically Wicca in its cleanliness. It's herbs, dancing, a few cute little voodoo dolls. Now, I know that voodoo isn't the bloody sport that it's portrayed as in the media. I know that it's not all animal sacrifice. I know it's a peaceful religion, I don't expect gore and magic and screaming. I, however, expect more than....
...some sort of sorority ritual.
And more than...
“There are a few things to know: First, all charms have to start with asking Eloi Oke to open the gate so that we can talk to the spirits. Second, they all have to involve herbs or flowers, because we channel our power from them. Third, they always have to be specific. Like you can’t say, ‘Make all the boys fall in love with me.’ Instead you’d have to ask for your own beauty enhancements, or ask for the love of a specific guy. Or both.”
The Romance: There is insta-love. There is a love triangle. Eveny falls into insta-love with a...
“But I mean the one with the blue eyes,” I mumble.
“The light-skinned black dude?” Drew asks.
Are you kidding me? Can't you just make the love interest, you know completely black? Why does he have to be light-skinned? Why does a black guy have to have blue eyes? Oh, I get it, it's striking, but I can't help but feel so severely disappointed that what feels like copping-out on the issue of a person-of-color love interest.

Oh, and the love triangle. That fucking love triangle. Between the light-skinned black guy Caleb whom every girl in town lusts after, and nice guy Drew, whom she just can't bring herself to care about, despite the fact that he's obviously in insta-love with her.
I wish I weren’t thinking about Caleb. I wish I hadn’t spent the last twenty-four hours daydreaming about being pressed up against the solid chest I’d collided with outside the library.
As if I didn't make it quite clear: so not recommended.

All quotes were taken from an uncorrected review copy subject to change in the final edition.
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