Thursday, April 24, 2014

Amanda reviews 3 books that were absolutely terrible

I would like to start this post off with a disclaimer, which will remain in place for any and every subsequent post where I review a book: It takes balls to put your work out there for people to criticize, and I appreciate that. Everyone is talented in their own way, and they should let their writing flag fly if they want to, it's their choice. But it is also my choice to criticize said work if it sucks and is terrible, especially if I paid money for it.

That being said, I went ahead and reviewed three books I read in the last year that I hated so much and that made me so angry I wanted to rant about it on the internet. I'm still considering posting these to Amazon, because all three of these books got major 5 star reviews on there and it makes me question the intelligence of humanity in general. Here we go (in no particular order):

1. Taking Chances, Molly McAdams

Synopsis: Harper heads off to her first year at college and immediately falls in love with two guys - Chase and Brandon. She then proceeds to jerk them both around for the majority of the book. While Brandon, who she has "officially" made her boyfriend is away, she succumbs to her overwhelming passion and has sex with Chase. She gets pregnant. Chase dies really, really unceremoniously. Since Brandon is still so in love with her, he is able to forgive her for cheating on him and getting pregnant by another guy, they get back together. They live Happily Ever After, including getting married and having another child before this girl is out of college.

My Take: I hated this book. Now that that's out of the way, I can tell you why. First, I have a thing about super annoying female protagonists. Harper whines about being in love with Brandon, and then she whines about Chase, and then she just continues to whine until she gets pregnant. Then she decides that OMG BEING WITH CHASE IS THE ANSWER even though I still kind of love this other guy, who has been nothing but a totally fantastic boyfriend for the entire book. Sometimes love triangles work. Usually they're just an annoying plot device, but if done right, I can understand them. In this book, it seemed like the author wanted a love triangle, and then wrote herself two fantastic guys that the protagonist couldn't choose between. Instead of having her character make the hard choice (re: Katniss and Peeta; yes, I went there), she kills one of the guys and BAM her problem is solved. Harper mourns Chase for like ten seconds, and then immediately realizes that Hey, Brandon is who I wanted all along anyway, so this worked out perfectly for me.

And then, instead of maybe naming her child after his dead father, she names it after her new boyfriend's dead father. I hate pregnancy as a plot device (especially in teenagers/college students) and this is just the icing on the cake for me. Harper is needy, co-dependent and indecisive and has managed to woo the shit out of three hot guys? Whatever. I think I almost threw my Kindle while reading this book and I really, really love/have an unhealthy obsession with my Kindle.

Did I mention that the book ends with Harper, who is a teenager - actually, she could be 20, I can't remember how old she was when it ended because I skimmed the last half - married with two kids. That's a HEA if I've ever seen/heard/read it.

2. On Dublin Street, Samantha Young

Synopsis: Joss moves to Scotland after her entire family and best friend are killed. She refuses to form attachments of any kind because of this, resulting in only one friend who literally knows nothing about her. Joss then moves in with Ellie and meets Ellie's super hot brother, Braden, and tries to pretend he's not perfect for her or whatever. They embark on this stupid not-relationship and she refuses to admit that she likes him for basically the entire book. After Ellie gets really sick, Joss decides she shouldn't have any emotional attachments for realsies, and she completely abandons everyone, including her sick friend. Then she and Braden make up and get married.

My Take: I skimmed the last 50% of this book, too. Joss is selfish, ridiculous and completely unsympathetic. I have never experienced personal tragedy on the level this character has, and I know it's different for everyone, but Joss literally refuses to make any friends because she's afraid they will leave her. I mean...okay, then. That's fine. But the author tells us this mindset for the entirety of the book. She mentions it on every other page, and it makes me like Joss less and less as the story goes on.

That aside, I didn't think Braden was all that swoon-worthy. If I'm reading a romance novel, or an erotic romance, I want the male character to be swoon-worthy, and this guy just didn't do it for me. Not to mention that he wouldn't he listen when she tells him to go away like nine thousand times? I know some guys are persistent or whatever, but don't you think he'd get the hint and just find someone else? Joss isn't that fantastic. The writing also left a lot to be desired for a book rated so highly - half of the time I was reading, I was screaming in my head about how terrible the writing was. And then I was remaking the sentence so it sounded better and so I could continue on without stabbing myself.

This is how I imagined Joss
Also, the sex was hot for the first two times, and then it was repetitive and after I read each scene I couldn't help but think, "people read this and think this is good sex?" Totally baffling.

AKA the most relevant image ever
3. My Favorite Mistake, Chelsea M. Cameron

Synopsis: Hunter, a "blue-eyed bundle of charm" moves into Taylor's dorm room. They talk and then fight and then have a sing-a-long and Taylor generally acts like a crazy person. Then they make a bet: Taylor will either prove that she truly loves Hunter, or that she hates him, and if she can do that he'll move out for good, which is what she really wants because something shitty happened to her and she is afraid of all men, and loving men, and whatever. They fall in love. She gets over the really shitty thing that happened to her in like 2.5 and they do it, and HEA ensues. Also, something bad happened to Hunter too but I can't remember what it was because I skimmed 75% of this, and then only because I paid for it and was being stubborn.

My Take: Taylor is batshit crazy. Like, an actual psycho. She is mean, spiteful, hateful, bitchy and just an all around unlikeable person. How does someone like this have any friends at all? She was a huge douche to everyone for no reason, and yet Hunter still pursues her because she was "different." If by different, you mean fucking certifiable, then sure. It baffled me that a guy who is supposed to be super hot, and was not an unlikeable character, would continuously pursue someone who was such a douchenugget. She was violent for 90% of the book, and then they have sex and suddenly they love each other? There is one scene in which she literally physically assaults him, and he's totes fine with it. I mean, no. Just no.

Harper. All the time.
Aside from the totally unrealistic plot lines (I doubt a college would ever place a guy in a dorm room with three girls), terrible characterization and just all around suckage, there was one small thing that bothered me more than almost anything else about this book. Typically, when authors add a detail into the story, it's for a reason; that detail will come back and become important later on in the book. Well, not in this case. One of the glaring examples of this is when, at one point, Hunter and Taylor go do something I can't remember and she is walking up some stairs and is suddenly SO TERRIBLY AFRAID OF HEIGHTS. I mean..okay fine, be afraid of heights. But maybe have some other indication that she is afraid of heights at any other point in the book. It's literally mentioned one time and then never heard from again and it really, really bothered me. The author, and Taylor, make a huge deal of out of it for an entire chapter and then it just generally means nothing, which I guess can describe the majority of the things that happen and characters in this book.

So, there you have it. More to come.

Just in general.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Lint, and other things that happened.

Last night my husband Drake lint rolled his black pants during an NBA playoff game:

People are talking about it - it's on Twitter, Sports Illustrated, the entire world. My question is: Who doesn't keep a lint roller in their pocket/purse for immediate lint needs? Lint is a burden we don't have to shoulder alone, and he just so happened to want to look good for the camera. Can you blame him?

Not quite Jimmy Brooks.

Other things that are happening/have happened/won't stop happening: 
  • Justin Bieber is still an idiot
  • Kimye wants Beyonce in their wedding (honestly, who wouldn't)
  • Some social media professionals don't know how to use social media (looking at you US Airways)
  • Someone wrote heinous 1D fanfic that literally burned my eyeballs (more on that)
  • The Royal Baby and his chubby cheeks attended a playdate and it produced amazing GIFs
  • LindsLo can't keep her facts straight
  • Taco Bell still wins at everything
  • Tila Tequila is having a baby and I'm officially worried for humanity
  • Another sorority girl email was leaked and it was just as insane as the last one and we all care how insane it was
  • Selena Gomez unfollowed people on Instagram and IT WAS A THING THAT HAPPENED, YOU GUYS
  • James Franco maybe hit on an underage girl on Instagram as a publicity stunt, maybe was a creepo (we still love you no matter what, James)
  • Everything Beyonce is the best thing ever, and always will be
  • Snooki is pregnant again and it better be as cute as the first one

I put off reading After because I was afraid of it. I read Fifty Shades and, heinous writing aside, enjoyed it. I'm not ashamed to admit that I Christian Grey fangirl-ed out, because I did proudly jump on that bandwagon. I'm a reader of romance novels, the kind of books you would never see in your basic college English course (as an English major, I always preferred this type of reading to the classics, which would have gotten me stoned by my classmates). I have a "don't knock it 'til you try it" motto when it comes to the new thing in books.

After reading an article on Jezebel about the new One Direction fan fiction serial that was getting all of the attention, page views and movie rights, I went ahead and read it to satisfy my own morbid curiosity. Two chapters in, I nearly gauged out my own eyeballs. But I kept reading because who am I to judge? I soldiered on for three more chapters before giving up. Here is something Anna Todd said about her "novel"..
"I barely ever reread the chapter before posting because I overthink things and I feel like overediting or trying to use too many words can ruin the story."
Listen, I have no problem with people putting themselves out there with their writing, for putting the stories they have bouncing around in there heads down on paper for all of the internet to see. It takes balls to do that. Even if your writing is bad (and the writing in this is so, so terrible), I still say: YOU GO GURL.

However, in this case, I can't detach from the horrible characters enough to think that way. Aside from Tessa being possibly the most annoying female character ever written, Harry is also, for lack of a better term, portrayed as a douchenugget. Jezebel says it best: "Harry behaves at best like a prick, at worst like an abusive boyfriend in the making." He's borderline abusive and a total jerk and I can't ever see a character becoming a BBF with a personality like that. Points to Anna for putting her story out there, but I can't help but wonder if younger girls reading a story like that will think that it's okay for a guy to treat them that way.

If you want a recap, Jezebel described the story in one sentence and its really all you need to know: "Their romance progresses in fits and starts, but mostly: Harry is standoffish, Tessa is attracted but determined to stay away, Harry gets drunk and lets his guard down, they engage in some sexual act and repeat ad infinitum." I would also add "Tessa is a moron" to that, but that's just me.


Also, I'm going to start reviewing books because sometimes I read a book I really love and want to tell the WWW about it, and sometimes I read something I loathe so much I need another avenue to complain aside from my poor friends whose ears are probably bleeding because they really, really don't care.

Anyway, this: