Review: Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs

From Goodreads:

For once, mated werewolves Charles and Anna are not traveling because of Charles’s role as his father’s enforcer. This time, their trip to Arizona is purely personal, as Charles plans to buy Anna a horse for her birthday. Or at least it starts out that way…

Charles and Anna soon discover that a dangerous Fae being is on the loose, replacing human children with simulacrums. The Fae’s cold war with humanity is about to heat up—and Charles and Anna are in the cross fire.


What the fresh hell is this?

Charles and Anna you say? No way, those books are awesome! This book was decidedly not.

I mean, do you really expect me to believe that the badass author who wrote the glory of Mercy Thompson wrote this nonsensical piece of boredom?

To my utter and complete fucking surprise: YES.

*What just the crap just happened?*

Anna and Charles travel to Arizona thinking it’ll be a relaxing trip visiting old friends and looking at pretty horses. But, lucky for them they get to solve a nifty little mystery. A dangerous faerie is stealing children. Charles and Anna set out to solve this mystery, going all Nancy Drew on our asses. Get out your notebooks and flashlights, ladies and gents ’cause we’ve got a mystery to solve.

There are some spoilers on previous books in the series:

 It all comes down to this: Did I enjoy it? Sure, there’s always going to be things I like or dislike in every book I read, but in the end it always comes down to whether I enjoyed it. I truly did enjoy things about this book, but overall I am saddened to say that I did not enjoy the book.

HORSIES!

They are majestic creatures.

Obviously.

Every once and a while, you ship a couple. C&A were one of my most shippable UF couples, next to Curran and Kate (We can’t be friends if you haven’t read them, fyi). I truly do love how Briggs built their relationship. I wouldn’t say that I love that Charles saved Anna from her previous pack, but I can deal with it. Plus, the use of rape (in the first book, just to be clear) AGAIN was just not to my favor. But, still I can get past that because at this point in Urban Fantasy it’s an anomaly if rape isn’t used. Although, it is suspicious how Briggs uses rape in both series. It must be a genre staple. Even so, I love how Charles gives Anna her space and doesn’t hover like most love interests. He just backs way up if she needs it. He’s a quiet guy. I just love the quiet mysterious guys. Again, with the mystery aspect. He’s just so chill. But, now I’m going to have to say that they have gone the way of the wind. The ‘Dead Heat’ title takes an entire new meaning, emphasis on the “dead.”

I never really realized this before, but Anna is not an interesting person. The only thing that makes her interesting is that she’s an omega and she has a traumatic past. Anna as a person? Not so much.

In this book, Charles completely dominated the book. This is not a good thing. I don’t care how much you have the hots for him, it is not cool with me when the woman takes a backseat in the story. Too often the guy seems to have a much larger presence than the girl. I’m not okay with this. It seemed like Anna had a presence in the beginning, then it became all about Charles, and then towards the end she showed up to save the day. What is this plate of ripe shit? Do not confuse me like this. I will not be tricked into thinking it’s about both Charles and Anna, when Charles has a more dominating presence (not a wolf reference, please) than Anna. Exit the ship, if you don’t mind me saying.

Briggs has a way with unweaving a mystery. She’s just so excellent at planting clues and teasing you the entire way through. The writing is quite nice and I enjoyed it. Dead Heat did not interest me as much as it should have. It was quite boring, as I’ve already stated. Patricia Briggs does tend to weave a book slowly and surely. But, there should always be something to interest me no matter how long it takes to unweave the story.

The sad thing about the horses being such a big part of the book is that a lot of the scenes had no purpose other than spew out horse facts. As much as I love horses, having grown up with them, I can’t see an actual purpose to many of the scenes. The horses are part of why Anna and Charles went to Arizona, so that’s why the horses are so important in the background of the story. But, I felt like the author gave us a little too much. It started to become a little obsessive on the horse info and descriptions.

The plot took so incredibly long to unravel that I cannot forgive the huge chunk of book it took to become known. It dragged on too much for my taste. I love it when stories take a while to unfold. Sometimes, I just love to sink into those stories. But, when the plot takes an entire section of the book to start? That’s when I start to consider watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians instead. Desperate times, my friends. I had them.

I don’t know why I do this to myself.

I will remember you Charles and Anna. We had some good times. I can honestly say that it could be me. That’s possible. But, let’s go with the possibility that it’s probably you. I’m a confident woman. I don’t need hesitate to say what I think. This is what I think.

I received an Advanced Readers Copy provided by Penguin Group Berkley, NAL through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book. 

Review: The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

From the Author’s Website:

Seventeen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, Twylla isn’t exactly a member of the court.

She’s the executioner.

As the Goddess embodied, Twylla instantly kills anyone she touches. Each month she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love a girl with murder in her veins. Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to Twylla’s fatal touch, avoids her company.

But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose easy smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the Goddess. Yet Twylla’s been promised to the prince, and knows what happens to people who cross the queen.

However, a treasonous secret is the least of Twylla’s problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies, a plan that requires a stomach-churning, unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?


Welcome to tonight’s special 2 hour long episode of The Young and The Poisonous: a dramatic reading.

*Dramatic music*

ANNOUNCEMENT: THIS RADIO SHOW HAS NOW BEEN CANCELED BECAUSE THE PRODUCERS FEEL IT INFLUENCES OTHERS TO BE TSTL DOORMATS. THIS IS COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS. BUT, THIS IS NOT REAL LIFE. DEAL WITH IT.

shuffles papers *shuffling noises*

Clears voice. Continues yelling in the way reporters often do:

HERE IS THEIR LIST OF REASONS!!! I WILL BE READING FROM ONE OF THE PRODUCER’S THOUGHTS ON THE MATTER WHICH THEY RANDOMLY THOUGHT YOU GUYS SHOULD KNOW. NOT THAT I CARE, ANYHOW. I HAVE TO READ THIS NO MATTER HOW FUCKING IDIOTIC IT IS:

1. The Theatrics! The fucking Queen, who may as well have a third eye and a mustache, is always jumping out of her chair, waving hands about, pointing fingers, and saying “Lies!”

The heroine also commits to being a theatre major:

“I’ve never had a choice about anything,” I spit at her.

As is one of the love interests, and I say love interest very lightly here:

“No, it’s not true. Twylla, it isn’t true, is it? You wouldn’t do that, not after all we said? All I told you?”

And the other love interest:

“He can’t have you,” he murmurs against my pipes. “You’re mine, my Twylla, my love.”

2. Tywlla (yes that’s really her name) forgives the assface who threatens her, more than once. 

The correct response:

3. MC claims no one ever gave her choice, making her a fucking idiot since all she does is wait for shit to happen to her. It’s the formula for a doormat.

  • Make sure the heroine is forced into a position she doesn’t want to be.
  • Make sure the heroine is the quiet demure type.
  • Don’t have the heroine speak up for herself, that will only curb the process of the doormat.
  • Make sure there are two boy toys she can eye coddle and choose from, so the reader thinks she has choices.
  • Don’t make the heroine try to find a way out. Let that stuff just fall into chaos and then at the last possible opportune moment have her speak for herself. It’ll trick the reader into thinking she stood up for herself.

“All we can do is stay quiet and do our best. We must be ghosts. That’s how you stay alive in this castle. You become a ghost. You keep your head down and you stay out of her way as much as you can.”

Bullcrap. My opinion is that a smart and badass heroine is someone who is able to intelligently get out of a situation she doesn’t want to be in, which does include making risky choices, and still remain with her head intact. Let’s all remember J.K. Rowling’s Harvard speech. You have to make risks. Although, you should still be smart about those risks. This heroine does neither.

4. The heroine guilt trips every fucking person in the novel. We must fear the queen! I’m (and I speak of all of us) all for being smart and making sure you don’t get your cut off, but I would much rather have a heroine who lives than a heroine who just sits there all day doing nothing.

5. The characters are inconsistent:

Merek’s character is the most inconsistent character I’ve come across in quite a long while. At first he’s broody, hikes up his lips in a smirk, and mouths off to people. Then, he tries to get to know Twylla. But, then when a predictable plot twist comes flying in he becomes the dramatic spoiled prince who cares for our poisoned doormat. You would think that a guy that professes to be so intelligent on so many matters would be able to see what’s right in front of him. Then, he’s the betrayed love interest who shoots evil eyes at everybody. Last but not least, he’s the nice guy.

The other love interest, Lief starts out a nice guy. He’s the friend. He’s the helper. He’s a dud. Suffice it to say, his character made no sense especially by the end of the book. By the time he tried to give reasons for his actions, I could care no more.

6. The insta-love that turned out to be just as insta no matter what we find out. That and “strawberry-flavored lust” descriptions.

The insta-love shot out of nowhere. There was no development. They were friends and then fucking kissing each other like dogs in mud to saying the L word. What even.

“But I can still kiss you?” he says. “When we’re alone?”
“Are you so hungry for my kisses?”


I’m not even going to go into the “forbidden lovers who attempt to run away together because no one understands their love” aspect. Please. No. NO.

7. She’s an idiot. She never thinks about what’s in the bottle she’s been taking, not until someone else mentions it to her. Even when they do, they have to hammer it into her until she stops being a cloistered nun about it. But, really that’s insulting to nuns. Have you guys ever met nuns? They are bad ass and a little mean sometimes.

8. She see’s a girl who’s pretty and what does she do?

“She’s very pretty. I don’t like her.

Then, she tries to look all intelligent, powerful, and better than any pretty girl because she’s different. She’s so different you guys. She can kill someone with a touch! Too bad, since that’s the only interesting thing about this book. In reality, she’s a fucking dim witted stuck-up doormat.

9. She’s the sympathetic heroine. I don’t even understand how a heroine who is an executioner can be so much of a pansy. Honestly, if someone can explain this to me I am all ears. Psychologically, a human who kills can suffer from a lot of trauma (the nazis at auschwitz, anyone?).

10. There is little to no plot for 60 percent of the novel. Even when the plot becomes apparent, it’s barely there. It’s chaotic. A little bit here, a little over there, oh and right there too.

11. The writing and characters are completely un-relatable and make you feel no emotion. This is my biggest fucking problem. I hate it when I’m bored. I don’t want the audience to be bored either. The writing is really awkward, forced, and lacks emotion. It doesn’t flow that well at all. By the time I got to sixty percent it was hard even to get one percentage. It’s so difficult to read, when it shouldn’t be.

I AM NOW GOING TO CONTINUE YELLING BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT REPORTERS DO! NOW. I AM FUCKING SURPRISED A PRODUCER HAD THE BALLS TO DO THIS. WHAT THE FUCK. HOW THE FUCK DO I GET THIS VODKA BOTTLE OPEN. IT’S LIKE A FUCKING TIME CAPSULE. FUCKING DAMMIT! AFTER HAVING TO LISTEN TO THAT. DEAR GOD. I FUCKING NEED A DRINK. SOMEONE! GET OVER HERE AND OPEN THIS DAMN BOTTLE.

Thank you to Edelweiss and Scholastic Inc for providing me with an Advanced Reader’s Copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content in my review.

Top Ten Tuesday: My Top Ten Favorite Heroines From Books

Top Ten Tuesday: hosted by the Broke and the Bookish

In no particular order at all:

1. Meda Melange

 You can love a monster, it can even love you back, but that doesn’t change its nature. This isn’t Beauty and the Beast where my kiss would transform the monster into a prince. If anything, it’s Shrek, and his kiss brings out the ogre in me.

2. Kate Daniels

I gave him a smile. I was aiming for sweet, but he turned a shade paler and scooted a bit farther from me. Note to self: work more on sweet and less on psycho-killer. 

3. Francesca Spinelli

“…Do you know what this is? Luca is going to sneak out of bed in the middle of the night and squirt it on his tongue. It’s like drugs for ten-year-olds. Today it’s Ice Magic. Tomorrow, heroin.”

4. Lorelei Gilmore 

5. Evanjalin of the Monts

Everything is evil that humans can’t control or conquer.

6. Hermione Granger

Actually, I’m highly logical which allows me to look past extraneous detail and perceive clearly that which others overlook.

7. Quintana of Charyn

“Imagine who she would be if we unleashed her onto the world. I think she would rip the breath from all of us.”

8. Elizabeth Bennet

“There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.”

9. Karou

“Have you ever asked yourself, do monsters make war, or does war make monsters?”

10. Elisa de Riqueza 

“I know you hate me. But don’t let that make you stupid.”

Waiting On Wednesday: Anne & Henry by Dawn Ius

Waiting on Wednesday: hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, this weekly meme highlights upcoming releases we’re looking forward to reading.

From the Author’s Website:

Anne
Wild, brazen, mischievous, bewitching

Henry
Driven, haunted, charming, magnetic

Apart, they are bound to destroy themselves. Together, they are bound to destroy each other.

Henry Tudor’s life has been mapped out since the day he was born: student president, valedictorian, Harvard Law School, and a stunning political career just like his father’s. But ever since the death of Henry’s brother—perfect, high-achieving Arthur—his family has been twice as demanding. And now Henry’s trapped: forbidden from pursuing a life as an artist or dating any girl who’s not Tudor approved.

Then Anne Boleyn crashes into his life.

Anne is wild, brash and outspoken. She is everything Henry is not allowed to be—or to want. But soon Anne is all he can think about. His mother, his friends, and even his girlfriend warn him away, yet his desire for Anne consumes him. Henry is willing to do anything to be with her. But once he has her, their romance could destroy them both.

Inspired by the true story of Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII, Anne & Henry reimagines the intensity, love, and betrayal between one of the most infamous couples of all time.


AHEM.

                               Source

This is going to be a weird mashup, isn’t it?

I don’t even know why this is so appealing to me. I’m a fan of books that feature Tudor history and anything remotely related to people wearing big dresses, kings chopping their wives heads off, and political intrigues of the past. I didn’t read Young Adult as a teen. I read history and epic fantasy, and most of those history books were nonfiction. So…a contemporary YA featuring one of the most controversial couples in history? It intrigues me. I don’t understand how it’s going to work, but it’s got my attention.

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Related Problems

Top Ten Tuesday: hosted by the Broke and the Bookish Blog

1. Too many books, so little time:

As a university student, I’m always working on something for school. This makes me really frustrated that I don’t have more time to read. There are so many books to read and I have so little time. It makes my mouth fly off and makes mothers cover the ears of their children. The language that flies out of my mouth on any given day is astonishing, even to me.

2. Books I want to read vs. Advanced Readers Copies:

In all honesty, I actually prefer to read books that have been out for years. Don’t misunderstand me, getting to read books ahead of time is great and I’m so glad I’m given the chance. But, there are so many books to read that have been out for a long time that I haven’t read. I’ve now made it a rule (curtesy of speaking with fellow book bloggers) that I need to read so many ARCs in order to read a random-me-read.

3. Not enough time for THE 100

I don’t why I haven’t mentioned this show more, but dear mother of god this show is the mother ship of all good shows. This show has made it very hard to keep on track of reviewing books and bloggish things. It’s very difficult not to binge this show. I would match it up to Buffy in terms of emotion and pain, although it is very different in terms of the characters and plot.

4. Too many books, not enough ka-ching!

The problem with the book obsession is that there’s always a pile of books you want at any given time. It’s like a black hole and you can’t escape. The book obsession is something we all know, as avid readers and book bloggers, we have to be very careful about. If we look away for a second, we could be eating beer and chips for the rest of the month.

5. Loving a book and then needing every edition possible

I don’t usually need every edition, but in certain cases a book becomes an all time favorite. For example, even though I have the hardcovers of Harry Potter from when I grew up for some insane reason I want that really expensive newly illustrated set. Let me give you a clue: THIS MAKES ME INSANE. It is also makes me forever a part of the book blogging community.

6. No one understands my attachment to the book community

Only other book bloggers and readers in this community understand the obsession. It’s always weird explaining that you review books online and that you’ve actually made close friends with these people. I love this book community. It’s weird, crazy, beautiful, and FULL OF CAPSLOCKS AND GIFS.

7. Reading Book Series in Order

know I’m not the only one here who’s a psycho about reading series in order. Even with books that don’t focus on the same characters, I’m OCD about reading them in order. I’m not as bad now, but I still have that need to know the entirety of the story; even if it’s just a character’s backstory.

8. Buying Books I know I’m never going to read

I like to think I’m going to read every book I buy, but then for whatever insane reason I don’t. It is to this day a mystery to me and family members. They just sit there and I tell myself I’m going to read it and then….I don’t.

9. Reading a book halfway and then dropping it

This is the unknown place between “I’m reading it” and the ever feared DNF (did not finish). It’s when you tell yourself you’re just putting it down for now (a big fat wad of a lie) and that you’re going to pick it up after reading a couple other books. You are not going to read it. Never Ever Ever Ever Ever. Yet, there that book mark stays for years and years. This is my biggest problem to date.

10. Where to put this big pile of books?

This is most definitely one of the largest problems book readers have. Where do we put all these books? Because we buy so many books, we are ever running out of room for the new books. I have to be really creative in where I put my books. Most are on shelves, but some are under my bed, in dresser drawers, and on tables. This could go on and on.

ARC Review: When Joss Met Matt by Ellie Cahill

From the Author’s Website:

What if after every bad breakup, there was someone to turn to who could “cleanse your palate”—someone who wouldn’t judge you, who was great in bed, but you were sure not to fall in love with? “Sorbet sex” could solve everything—as long as it never got too sweet. . . .

Joss and Matt have been friends since freshmen year—meeting one night after Joss is dumped by her high school boyfriend. A few drinks later, Joss nearly gives it up to an even drunker frat boy. Matt humors her with a proposition—that he become her “go-to” guy when she needs to heal a broken heart. In return, she’ll do the same for him. The #1 Rule: Never fall in love with each other. People scoff at the arrangement. But six years later, now out of college, Joss and Matt are still the best of friends . . . with benefits.

Through a string of boyfriends and girlfriends—some almost perfect, some downright wrong—Joss and Matt are always there for one another when the going gets tough. No strings. No attachments. Piece of cake. No problem. After all, since they wrote the rules, surely they can play by them. Or Can they?


This book is most assuredly the cutest and fluffiest thing in the realm of New Adult. It has kittens and puppies coming out of its derrière. The sad thing is that as I read the book, things kept popping up that made me see the flaws and weaknesses in the plot and character progression. While reading it, I had the most fun I’ve had reading a book in a long while. I read it in one sitting, something that happens zero to never times. Towards the end of the book, I was slapped in the face by how angry I was by a certain something the heroine did towards the beginning of the book. As much as I want to write a rage review, I want to be completely fair to this book. Normally I would write a rage review, but I honestly think a fair review would be better for this book. I’m sorry to say this book was like an awkward and uncomfortable first kiss. 

Let’s just listen to the gif, shall we?

Translation: Awkward, cute, bubbly, and kind of a screw up.

Girl Pride:

Joss (full name: Joscelin) has a fear of heights, an adorable relationship with her cat, and a lingerie fetish. The lingerie in the book alone makes me want an inside look of the MC’s drawers. What? I’m a girl. I like girly things. I may swear like a sailor and scream “down with the patriarchy!”, but on my off days I will go paint my nails. I really love when the MC is girly and is proud of it. It makes me feel like the heroine is confident and embraces feminism at its core. The heroine who tries to be the complete opposite of a girl is just a role reversal and subsequently not a real person.

Joss has a language of her own, much like Lorelei Gilmore or Buffy. Don’t be scared, she doesn’t over-do the bubbly dialogue. It’s very agreeable, and doesn’t try to punch you in the face with the wittiness of it. Cahill’s dialogue is pure champagne fluff served with bubbly. It’s a good thing, folks.

It’s even an eyeshadow:

The book transitions between the present and seven years ago when they were freshmen. Joss befriends Matt at a keg party, but they don’t truly become friends until after they decide to be mutual sorbet sex parters. Sorbet Sex translated by yours truly: Sex in between the breakups. It cleanses the palate. The coincidence, girls and gents, doesn’t pass me. The fact that it was Matt’s idea was not in my favor. I would have appreciated it more if it had been her idea, since when it’s the guys proposition it kind of seems like he’s the experienced teacher. She’s no virgin, but I still felt that it effected my appreciation for their relationship progression.

Despite my misgivings about how these two friends started this ‘friends with benefits’ sexual relationship, I felt they were the cutest thing in the genre I had ever seen. I loved how they grew as friends. They became intimately involved in each others personal relationships, as any friend would be. In all honesty, I almost shipped this couple. The unfortunate thing is the book had too many faults for me to claim this without hesitating. I usually ship ‘hate to love’ relationships and ‘friends to lovers’ relationships. I cannot tell you enough how much I love this. This couple is, as Katy Perry would say, the one that got away.

The Frat Boy Scene (aka a feminist rant):

Prepare yourselves. I am about to get all feminist on your asses.

This is my main beef with this book. Sexual Assault, whether the MC goes through with it or not, is not an okay thing. It’s not something the author should take lightly. It’s not something the MC should ever joke about, either. To give you some background, Joss’ boyfriend had just broken up with her and she’s looking for someone to take her mind off him. So she starts fooling around with a frat boy. He’s so drunk that he passes out. But for some insane reason, she contemplates having sex with him even though he’s not able to consent. This goes both ways, guys. Male or female. Equality of the sexes. It applies to both male and female when it comes to consenting.

In my desperation, I actually checked the crotch of his pants. Soft. I dismounted my unconscious frat boy and stood back to survey the situation. To proceed or not to proceed?

Later on in the novel she jokes about it:

“Speaking of Greeks…did I ever tell you about the time I almost sexually assaulted a frat guy?” That got the laugh I was expecting, and I launched into the story of my pathetic attempt to seduce the useless Jeff. 

Now for the sake of experiment, let’s change the quote around by exchanging frat boy with sorority girl:

I dismounted my [sorority girl] and stood back to survey the situation. To proceed or not to proceed?

See the problem? Male or female, it is never okay to consider having sex with someone who is not able to consent. If she had gone through with it, it would have been considered rape. We focus so much on female rape victims all the time, that we forget that men are raped and sexually assaulted as well. I cannot get over this. Joke or not, it’s not something I can brush off.

Friends to lovers….not so much:

I loved Matt and Joss’ relationship as friends, but I couldn’t find a transition between friends and lovers. It just came right smack out of the blue. She suddenly just told the reader she had feelings for him beyond something sexual. They had been friends for a long time and logically it makes sense that they would love each other. But, that’s not what I’m referring to. What I feel was done poorly was the transition from loving each other as friends to slowly letting the reader know when the character fell in love. The author didn’t clue in the reader into the fact that Joss was starting to have more romantic feelings towards Matt. It just shot out of the text without any indication in the previous pages.

Oh Joss, Oh Matt: 

I’ve had my own version of the relationship crazies, but Joss has pulled that to a whole new level. I just can’t believe a smart heroine wouldn’t be more intelligent when it involves dating. I have no problem with one night stands, but at least be safe about who you’re sleeping with. You don’t know if that guy has some fucked up disease, without asking. If you don’t know him, how do you know if he isn’t some sort of fucking serial killer who has a “girls named Joss” fetish? I’m being insane. What else would you expect? But, seriously girls. Please be safe. Think about what kind of relationship you’re getting into before you act. Ask questions. Be logical. Be smart about date rape and nice strangers that hand you drinks.

Plot or Character?

There didn’t seem to be any progression in the plot beyond the sorbet sex. Don’t misinterpret me, this book is not all about the sex. It’s far from that. Once Matt and Joss have defined their sorbet relationship the plot doesn’t seem to have an actual purpose. The sorbet sex happens whenever they break up with their special someone and it starts to become a pattern. Eventually, it’s nothing but predictable. You expect certain things. In fact, you know they will happen. The excitement drops dramatically after fifty percent. That is the point where you, as the reader, understand that this plot is more character than it is plot. It is not balanced between character and plot. Instead, it is mostly one and very little of the other. 

If it hadn’t been for the MC considering sexual assault, this book may have been a three star. I’m still raging about it. It involved a lot of wine and Doritos. Those two things always go together.

All the same, this was one of the fluffiest and cutest New Adult books I’ve ever read. I just wish there weren’t so many problems with this novel.

Thank you to Ballantine and Edelweiss for providing this title in exchange for an honest review. 

Review: The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “Duffy,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.


One of my greatest pet peeves is when girls hate on each other. I want to talk about this with you guys, for a little bit.

We all like to think we never slut shame or hate on other girls. We like to think that when we were in high school we never did this. But reality is, you are a fucking liar. I’m just going to put it out there, alright. I used to slut shame when I was high school.

Fuck no, I don’t like this. But, let’s be real girls and boys. I fucking did this and I bitch slap myself every time I remember that.

My high school never had cheerleaders, but we had some weird ass dance team. These girls would wear colorful tight shorts with words like Juicy or whatever type of fruity name manufacturers would put on those spandex shorts. They used to buy sparkly bags, sparkly t-shirts, sparkly short skirts, sparkly heels, sparkly eye shadow, sparkly nail polish, sparkly belts, and anything that would blind the person standing on the other side of room. They were popular, beautiful, and had a lot of money to buy their shit. For whatever insane reason, I was mad at them. Even more insane, I would slut shame them and it didn’t occur to me that I did this because I was angry at how “perfect” they were.

This is what is ingrained into us as kids. Boys compare our looks, magazines like Vogue or InStyle compare our looks, award ceremonies debate on which celebrity wore it best and who wore it sluttier, modeling shows compare the right size boobs, and cosmetic surgeons are constantly telling us to change our ass and tits. Competition is every damn where when it comes to us girls.


As a feminist now, I fucking want to tear the old me apart. I want to Hulk-punch the reality of what I was doing. I was slut shaming and I didn’t even realize it. Now as an adult, I have learned that if I want to be considered a decent human being in the world I need to stop judging people for what they wear, how they look, and then stop trying to compete with other girls. Just be you. Don’t tell yourself you know what type of person that girl is by just looking at what she wears and who she sleeps with. You tell yourself, I don’t know that girl and I don’t know her background. That girl with the blonde hair and a short skirt? Stop your thinking machine and quit making the assumptions society has taught you to do. Just stop the shit, guys.

This is what Bianca goes through and that’s why I found her so relatable. This is what is beautiful about her. She changes. She learns. She owns her past. I had a similar experience to her. I learned from my mistakes and I had to own up to the fact that I was idiot.

I shook myself, surprised and a little worried. What was wrong with me? Louisa Farr wasn’t a whore. Sure, she was a preppy cheerleader–cocaptain of the Skinny Squad–but Casey had never had bad things to say about her. The girl was just talking with a cute guy. We’d all done the same. And it wasn’t as if Wesley was taken or anything. It wasn’t like he was committed to anyone.

This girl. She is majestic.

The people who call you names are just trying to make themselves feel better. They’ve fucked up before, too. You’re not the only one. 

Bianca is like a twist between Katarina Stratford and Juno McGuff. Bianca is one of the most realistic and true to life teen characters I’ve read in a long time. She’s selfish, self absorbed, and often prefers to have sex rather than talk about her feelings. She’s overly cynical (Just to be clear. I like this about her) and snarky. She makes it clear that she’s aware she’s way too cynical. She honestly doesn’t know how her friends put up with her constant negativity. This is real. I remember when I was teen and this is realistic. Teens are overly cynical. I remember this vividly. Everything is crap in the eyes of most teens. This is not an insult. This is just what I remember, as someone who used to be a teen herself not that long ago.

She has two best friends who are confident in their girlish behaviors. Let’s be honest. The best friends are the ones who wear pink without a fuck to give. Be proud of your girlisms. You want to be an emo girl. Go ahead. You want to be a cheerleader with sparkly underwear. I will clap my hands as if you are JLAW giving the paparazzi the finger. I love that her friends don’t backstab her, aren’t judgmental, and actually legitimately care for her. They want to hang out and dance at clubs. They want to dress Bianca up for her date, gossip, and watch sappy flicks like Atonement and Becoming Austen. I love these girls.

I loved the relationship between Bianca and Wesley. Bianca hates Wesley. You know how I said she slut shames, well she doesn’t just slut shame girls. Let’s look at this logically. If you have made the mistake of slut shaming, in addition to making sure you know your past stupid mistakes you don’t just slut shame girls. You also call guys man whores if they date those girls. Stupid? Of course. But, that’s how you see things when you’re a bonehead that doesn’t see the truth. But, in addition to slut shaming others she also admits that she’s a hypocrite because of her purely sexual relationship with Wesley. She thinks it makes her a slut.

“Bianca, whore is just a cheap word people use to cut each other down,” he said, his voice softer. “It makes them feel better about their own mistakes. Using words like that is easier than really looking into the situation. I promise you, you’re not a whore.”

I love that instead of addressing her feelings, she just wants escape by having emotionless sex. She initiated it. She’s very proactive this girl. She calls him out on his bullshit. She never lets him walk over her. Most parents and prudish people would be turning their noses up at this type of thing. But, you know what? Boys aren’t the only ones that have sexual desires. There are two people involved when having sex.

On most occasions, I would hate any guy like Wesley. But, he grew on me. While he has a huge ego and is generally a playboy all around, he gives reasons for his actions. You learn why he does what he does. I didn’t completely understand his home life issues, but I could still accept his reasoning. He’s a jerk at first, but he never did enough to get on my bad side to become irredeemable. For me a character has to do so many shitty things and so many redeemable things to match up so that I can forgive them, understand them, and understand their reasoning.

What I didn’t like is how she ignored her friends during these sexual escapades between her and Wesley. I also didn’t like how she handled her father’s drinking problem. You are a kid. This is something you need to let adults handle. You can’t just pretend things will get better. You have to call up your mom and tell her what’s going on.There are some faults in her writing like wrapping up conflicts too quickly (her father’s drinking problem or the way things were resolved between Bianca and Wesley). I didn’t understand how it didn’t occur to Wesley that he was insulting her when he was calling her Duffy all the time. How could you not realize what an insult that is? She’s not going to see it as some cute fluffy nickname you gave her. Why did I feel Wesley remained an okay guy? Because he fucking kissed her ass and truly apologized. There were scenes that felt out of place. The characters development seemed inconsistent at times.

Keplinger’s debut is fast paced, dramatic, and very relatable. She writes teens like they are, not what we would like them to be. She shows the shitty, selfish, and disgusting parts of what teens are really like.  

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves: hosted by Tynga’s Reviews

I have made beautiful and magnificent book decisions this week. Just look at all the great books.

I’m, apparently, much more influenced by book rants on Twitter than I have ever realized. Thank you to Nikki from There Were Books Involved for ranting and raving about books. You have no idea just how weak I am, when it comes to people talking about books on Twitter.

And for something that isn’t book related, but is completely resulted from my love for coffee. I take my coffee addiction very seriously. I am a Gilmore for fucks sake. A big fat sexy bag of coffee beans.

You guys do realize the proportion difference between my very regular sized coffee cup and the coffee bag, right? IT IS BEAUTIFUL AND GLORIOUS.

Waiting On Wednesday: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Waiting on Wednesday: hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

A Court of Thorns and Roses is the start of a sensational romantic fantasy trilogy by the bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series.


I’m really interested in reading this book for several reasons.

1. It has faeries and anyone who knows me knows that I love books with faeries; particularly evil ones. I’m picky.

2. The blurb has that feel to it. You know the one that says “there will be folklore and possible symptoms of exploding heads.”

3. Masks. I am a sucker for masks. All twitter is nowadays is people in masks. This is what the book blogging community has come to and I’m liking it.

4. The blurb reminds me of an old Celtic ballad called Tam Lin.

5. The Main Character is a hunter. Killing of animals is involved.

I’m so much more interested in this novel, than Throne of Glass. Assassins are all good and fine, but it gets old. It’s an old trope in fantasy and doesn’t interest me as much. I’ve been there, done that. I think this series will be different. I believe Maas will show her skills here. I think she’ll prove her worth in this book. She’s grown as an author and I want to see what she can do now.

Top Ten Tuesday: Science Fiction Books I Can’t Believe I haven’t Read

Top Ten Tuesday: hosted by The Broke and The Bookish:

I don’t have the best track record with science fiction, particularly dystopians. I actually really love the genre. But, I started in the genre in a bad way. I started reading Science Fiction when I was in high school, but I decided I wanted to start out with the really old classics. Never ever do this. It’s a horrible horrible idea. The problem with the really old science fiction novels is that they are really misogynistic, racist, and sexist in addition to being overly descriptive all the time. It was hell for me. I get why they are classics. It’s just that I don’t like them. Despite this terrible experience, I love science fiction. I love Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, and Gattaca.

These are the top ten science fiction/Dystopian novels I can’t believe I haven’t read.

1. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

I love the idea of this book. This is a book I’ve been wanting to read for a long time, but for whatever reason I’ve just never gotten around to it. I am ashamed to say that I haven’t read it yet. It’s one of those books that I just know is going to be really good and I’m waiting for just the right time to enjoy it.

2. Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

I HAVE NO REASON. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I have the book and yet it sits there. You ever get freaked out by all the love for a book? Okay, well if you don’t, I do. I get really anxious and then I just forget about the book. But, then I still want to read it. I’m a sick person. This is more of a steampunk dystopian, but technically it’s still science fiction when you think about it. That counts, or at least to me it does. I had so much fun watching people go ballistic on twitter when the ARCs of Endsinger came out. I want to join in that fun. I know this series is painful (according to everyone), but I want to feel that pain ( I am still scared).

3. For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

Persuasion by Jane Austen. Say no more. Choppy world building or not, I am going to read this.


4. Red Rising by Pierce Brown

I am almost the last person on Earth that hasn’t read this. People keep asking me “Why haven’t you read Red Rising?.” It’s gotten increasingly more difficult over the years.  I’ve been frightened of reading Red Rising because it’s dystopian. Then to make things worse, I read some reviews that said the Main Character was a mary sue and that the language was annoying. That scared me. But, you know what? It’s about time I hiked up my pants and just go for it.

5. Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach

Ladies in Space. Space with Ladies. This is one of those books I need to read. No exceptions. Again I really don’t need to explain this do I? I’ve always been waiting for more female science fiction writers (space operas!) to come front in center. They should have a lot of more attention than they do. This author is one that has been raved about in recent years.

6. Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

Ann Leckie is another female science fiction writer that has been getting a lot of attention, as well. She’s won a lot of award’s for this book. The book is supposed to be very female centric. I am game.


 

7. The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke

ROBOTS. This one has a robot created by a scientist. He looks exactly like a human, except he can’t feel like a human (I’ve been told, don’t hold me to this). It looks creepy, eerie, and dark. I love the books that just itch on your skin by how creepy and wonderful they are.

8. Angelfall by Susan Ee

This is a post apocalyptic where angels exist? I don’t really understand this, but I want find out why angels would exist in a dystopian world. Whenever I think of science fiction and angels, I always think it’s paranormal. So many people love this book. I don’t have a real love of dystopian young adult, but I really want to try this one out.

9. Earth Girl by Janet Edwards

The Main Character is the last handicapped left on Earth. I love it when authors think about diversity other than race and sexuality. This is great. I can’t believe I haven’t read this and it’s got so many reviews that bow to its brilliance!

10. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

I’ve had this book for years and I’ve never picked it up. WHY HAVEN’T YOU READ IT?Because, well…it’s because I’ve seen some reviews that discussed the flaws in the world. Choppy world building bothers me. I’m not one to easily forgive flaws, so I’m worried all I would do is whine about it. Once in a while, I will love a book despite it’s terrible world building. The premise of this book is so interesting though. It’s one of those books that has been moving up my to-be-read list for a while now. I’m on the verge of reading it.