Today’s entry comes from the book Laced With Magic of the crapity-crap-crap, who-gives-a-crap (Sugar Maple Chronicles) series by Barbara Bretton.
From the NLS Annotation:
Part-sorceress, Chloe Hobbs, from Casting Spells, discovers that her boyfriend Luke was once married and had a daughter, Steffie, who died two years ago. Chloe wants to help Luke with Steffie’s spirit but also fears for the town’s safety. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex. 2009.
This book was written in a post-Harry Potter world so I’m going to call BS right off. How is a person going to be “part-sorceress?” Sorcerers aren’t an ethnicity. You can’t be part-one. You are either a sorceress or you are a mortal (or Muggle, if you will). Period. And besides, it says on book one that she is the daughter of a sorcerer not a sorceress, so, like, is she part sorcerer, or was her dad, the assumed sorcerer, a transvestite or MTF post-transition? Get your damn masculines and feminines straight people…this matters.
And besides, who cares whether or not her dad wore dresses. If she does magic (or witchcraft) then she is a sorcerer or sorceress–she can’t be only “part” magic. You either are of your aren’t. No “parts.”
Thanks, that’s all.
…and yet, I’m going to any way. Mainly with the intent that I won’t have to look at crap like this any more. One of my pet peeves is books with historical anachronisms. Two situations in historical novels are the biggest offenders: dialogue and women protagonists.
One such offender, in a sea of many such, is a book called The Malice of Fortune. From the NLS annotation:
Italy, 1502. Damiata, former mistress of Pope Alexander’s murdered son Juan, is sent to Imola to investigate who was behind his death. There, she meets and enlists the aid of Niccol Machiavelli and Leonardo da Vinci. Violence, strong language, and some descriptions of sex. 2012.
Damiata is a woman. And she’s officially, or unofficially, investigating a murder. Presumably she meets with some level of cooperation as an investigator. Please, I am sick of this need in modern literature for there to be more positive female rolls IN EVERY GENRE AND PERIOD OF LITERATURE.
My belief becomes seriously unsuspended when a writer just stuffs a female into an historically inappropriate roll. I’m sure if I read the forward or afterward that Michael Ennis has some explanation about how one woman, in one corner of the world, in 1502, was actually a private investigator–they always manage to dig up one as an example.
I’m all for strong and empowered female characters, and I really enjoy post 19th century women detective novels, but it seems so patronizing when they shove these square pegs into round holes.
Anyway, we get it–women are important in all periods of history–and I mean that…for centuries, women had their place…was it right, or was it wrong? I think that our history bears that keeping women in their place was wrong, but, that being said, let’s stop re-writing history in novels…it’s hard enough getting a straight deal out of a grade school history book without littering Barnes and Noble’s shelves with this malarkey.
A quick post in a new category I’m going to call, Good Lord; What the Hell? Mainly because when I read the annotation, I said, out loud, “good lord–what the hell?” From the NLS Annotation:
When Amy brings her ventriloquist dummy out to entertain her family on Sharing Night, its head falls off. Amy’s father finds another dummy in a pawn shop. But Amy soon realizes why the new dummy is called Slappy when it hits her father! As Slappy gets meaner and meaner, Amy’s family refuses to believe she is not responsible. For grades 4-7.
Some things are just not okay to write novels about. R.L. Stine’s Night of the Living Dummy II probably illustrates this rule completely. I have not read the book, having given up R.L. Stine books about 23 years ago.
For some reason (probably mild hysteria) I’m reading the exclamation point at the end of “…when it hits her father!” as comedic, as in LOL! that dummy just came to life! But that is just not possible as ventriloquist dummies are anything BUT funny, and are, in fact, the most terrifying subject that anyone could possibly come up with. Except maybe skittering babies. Okay, skittering babies are actually my number one fear in terms of the statistic possiblility of occurance. If a ventriloquist dummy tried to attack me I would do one of the following (preferably all):
- throw it into a fire
- kick it in the head and/or
- stomp on it
- separate its head from body, and then its limbs from said body, thus rendering it physically neutral
- dispose of it by sealing it in concrete
Now, let’s say that a skittering baby (SB) is coming right for you. First of all, it’s likely that you won’t even realize it because babies are very short and therefore very sneaky. Also, the lighting will probably be very dim or low because SBs tend to move faster in the dark. I think that when put in direct light, an SB will make a brief attempt at looking and acting “normal” in an attempt to lull you into a false sense of confidence. However, turning the lights on bright will only get you so far because as soon as you change your focus, an SB will attack. It’s proven. Any way. What can you do to survive a skittering baby attack? YOU CAN DO NOTHING!! Because they’re BABIES for goodness sake! What the hell! You can’t kick them, throw them into a fire, shoot them, stab them. You’re basically f*cked. The SB is going to bite the crap out of your feet, ankles, and calves and all you can do is just hop from foot to foot and try to stay upright. And, God help you if they are hunting in a pack. Wild Kingdom anyone?
Back to R.L. Stine’s masterpiece. According to Slappy the Dummy’s Wikipedia article, this evil doll makes appearances in NINE books for kids. You know, in my day, we didn’t need to go to the well 9 times before we knew that shit was poison. We watched the Twilight Zone’s season 5, episode 29 Caeser and Me ONCE and that was enough. Nine books of Slappy getting meaner and meaner? Good lord, what the hell?
Book 16 in Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters series is on it’s way to an NLS library near you! What does this mean? I have no idea. I’ve never even read any of these books. But, I feel comfortable telling you what I already know I don’t like about them. Too much! As in, there are just too many things going on in the annotation for Breaking the Rules. As in, Suzanne Brockmann has too many letters in her name! As in, naming a series the Troubleshooters series is also, just, TOO MUCH. Too many letters! Too long of a word. Too ridiculous. From the NLS annotation:
Izzy Zanella helps fellow navy SEAL Danny Gillman and Danny’s sister Eden–Izzy’s estranged wife–rescue their gay brother Ben from their abusive stepfather. Ben’s new friend, sixteen-year-old Neesha, also needs their aid after escaping kidnappers and eight years of forced prostitution. Violence, strong language, and explicit descriptions of sex.
Is this for real? So, according to above 50 words, Breaking the Rules, in 528 pages (too many pages!), covers the following concepts:
- Navy SEALS
- marital problems
- teenagers (am I right?)
Obviously that is TOO many bullet points for one novel!
So, Izzy Zanella is a boy? I just pictured him as a her until I read about “Danny’s sister Eden–Izzy’s estranged wife–” and I was like, wha-huh? And this is book 16 in the series. So these two Navy SEALS have been running around in these convoluted suspense novels 15 other times?
Now, I’m not sexist (yes, I am) but I’m a bit dubious of a woman writing a book about Navy SEALS and not having it be a romance. This is mostly why I assumed that “Izzy” was a girl. For those of you not in the know romance novels in which good looking, dashing, daring, Navy SEALS get the girl have a HUGE following. So, when I see a Navy SEALS novel about two SEALS in a sweaty adventury suspense novel with no romance, I’m going to assume gay subtext. But then when I see that a woman has written the many adventures of this dynamic duo, I’ve got to pause. Either there IS gay subtext (I believe they call it “slash” in the fanfic world), or Suzzaanne Brockkmaann is just writing crappy “suspense” novels that are really just romance vehicles.
Somebody who has read this series about
Batman Izzy and Robin Danny comment here and let me know? Romance? Honest suspense? Overly convoluted story lines? Gratuitous sex, violence, and strong language? Inquiring minds want to know…
Wow. It’s that time of the month again: cataloging time! And, boy-oh-boy, this one just begged to be made fun of. Actually, upon reading the annotation, my initial response was, “well, that could have been worded differently.” This week’s offering is a romance novel by Sandra Brown called Tempest in Eden. From the NLS annotation (brace yourselves people):
When divorced artist’s model Shay Morrison, who poses nude, meets her new step-brother, minister Ian Douglas, he makes clear his disapproval for her lack of modesty. Annoyed, Shay decides to seduce him–only to fall in love. Explicit descriptions of sex. 1996
Oh my goodness’ sake. I’m assuming that Shay and Ian are adults, or let’s just say, I’m really hoping that they are adults. As such, is it really fair to refer to them as step-siblings at this point in their lives? The annotation refers to him as her “new” step-brother, and in the vernacular, I take for granted that “new” refers to them being introduced recently. And, as adults, they really aren’t necessarily brother and sister; “step” or otherwise.
If you check out the description of this title on the Amazon link it simply says:
This novel follows the growing relationship between Shay Morrison, a nude model for artists, and Ian Douglas, a conservative minister who disapproves of her lifestyle but cannot resist her.
So, for once, I have to lay the blame with the person at NLS who entered this record. You really should have thought about adding a few words to your description. I mean, I’ve seen much longer annotations, so I know you all aren’t paying by the word. A very simple, and easier to palate, wording could be “…meets the son of her mother’s new husband…” and you take all of the “ick” factor out of this novel. I forgot to mention that; my issue with this annotation is all about the “ick” I felt after my “oh my goodness” reaction.
This unfortunate annotation just goes from bad to worse in the course of one wordy sentence followed by an equally idiotic short sentence. We’re told immediately, and without preamble, that that nasty little nude model Shay is going to seduce her step-brother. Okay, forget the “ick” factor; this is so wrong it’s starting to feel right. I’m not gonna lie; the fact that Sanctimonious Ian is a minister only makes things hotter. What’s that Sandra Brown? Explicit descriptions of sex? Yes please!
Before I get completely off track and set this laptop on fire, let me point out the really offensive part of this poorly written annotation. Prior to the laptop-melting dirty parts, I originally thought that there was a divorced artist whose model, Shay, was in the process of meeting her new step-brother and… I was like, what does this damn divorced artist have to do with this book? Huh? Wait, did that just use the words seduce, step-brother, nude, and explicit? Oh my goodness.
Sorry Reader, I know it’s been a long time. I’d like to say that my absence from this blog has been due entirely to the fact that I haven’t stumbled upon any poopy books. Alas, that isn’t exactly true. I can admit to you, my friend, that although I’ve been cataloging like crazy for the last three months, I haven’t been paying much attention to the individual books’ contents. Does this mean that I’ve been a bad cataloguer? I can’t answer that. I will tell you though, that I’ve been reading a shit ton of books since August…which enhances my qualifications, not only as a cataloger, but also as a judge-er of books.
This week’s submission is called The Tale of Halcyon Crane. I have both cataloged this turd and read it cover to cover. And here is what I have to say: what a waste of time. This book is 328 pages in print, and 9 hours, 52 minutes in audio. This book should have been about 1 hour, 30 minutes, or a whole lot less pages.
From the NLS annotation:
Journalist Hallie James learns the mother she thought had died thirty years ago was, until recently, alive–and a famous photographer. Hallie travels to remote Grand Manitou Island on the Great Lakes to seek the truth but instead encounters hostile locals and ancestral ghosts in her childhood home. 2010.
The NLS annotation doesn’t give any indication of what a
fart bag waste of time this book will be. Basically, this person (being a journalist really doesn’t come into play much at all in the book so don’t worry about that detail) Hallie James has lived in Washington since her mother died in a fire when Hallie was 5 years old. Since that time, Hallie lived with, and later near, her father, who was an important, and well renowned educator in, I want to say…mathematics? Changed people’s lives, stand and deliver, etc. etc., you get the picture.
Anyway, one day Hallie gets a letter from her “dead” mother. The woman has tracked her down and is telling her, by letter, that she is her mother and invites her to come to Grand Manitou Island. Unfortunately, the woman died before the letter was recieved by Hallie. Hallie asks her father about her “dead” mother, and then later that night, he suffers a heart attack, or stroke, or something and also dies.
Hallie jets off to Grand Manitou Island to GET TO THE BOTTOM OF THINGS. Without telling any of the locals (and she talks to a lot of them) that the famous photographer woman claimed to be her mother, she learns that the woman had a daughter named Halcyon who drowned, with her father, about 30 years ago. She hears this alot. From all the locals she talks to. And yet…
And yet it takes this moron nearly half of the book to realize that Hallie MIGHT, just might, be short for Halcyon. Ohmygod, she’s the girl who was thought to be dead!! Just like her [now] dead mother is the woman whom Hallie thought to be dead for all of these years. Is this supposed to be a mystery because it just seems like patronizing poopcakes.
There’s a ghostly family history that and elderly family servant shares with Hallie/Halcyon that explains…over the course of a few weeks (or days)…how the family got to the events of the death-by-fire, drowned-in-the-lake misunderstanding.
It never occurs to Hallie that the old woman can’t possibly know all of the intimate details of the people who’s stories she is relating to Hallie. I mean, if this idiot is really a journalist, shouldn’t she start having SOME doubts about point of view and narrator? The woman is telling the story in a first person omniscient sort of way and you’re not a little curious about how she knows all of this? It also never dawns on Hallie that this old lady is only seen by Hallie and NOBODY else? [SPOILER ALERT (highlight to view): the old lady is the ghost of a witch.]
And that brings me to my usual, willing-suspension-of-disbelief, gripe. Hallie’s dad faked their death, the mother had been looking for her for years because she didn’t believe that her daughter was really dead, and yet NEVER found her? The father didn’t exactly “go underground.” Later you find out that he had an accomplice, and it becomes even more far fetched that this accomplice woman stayed quiet–and stayed on Grand Manitou without spilling the beans–for 30 years. Even after she gave birth to the man’s illegitimate son and raised him as a single mother. Please…it’s Grand Manitou…not outer Mongolia…where even THEY have heard of child support.
Anyway, the ghost story part of this book is solid. Unfortunately, it’s wrapped in wadded up soiled toilet paper masquerading as a “novel” and should be avoided at all costs.
Today folks, allow me to present the Narrow Interest of the Week Award. And the winner is…Left Neglected by Lisa Genova(Ph.D.)! Oh brother, when the cover of the trade paperback edition includes an endorsement by Jodi Picoult you know you’re in for a bummer. From the NLS annotation:
High-powered executive and working mom Sarah Nickerson survives a car wreck with a condition called “left neglect.” No longer aware of the left side of her body and unable to see anything on her left, she ponders an uncertain future. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex.
Okay, I looked it up, and this book has 336 pages in the print version. So, I’m going to assume that the accident probably takes place in the first 50 pages (at most, right?) and that for another 280 this dummy is “ponder[ing] an uncertain future.”
BOR-ING. Why why why? Why does a book exist called Left Neglected that only deals with this medical phenomenon of left neglect? And that is why, in case you hadn’t figured it out by now, I award Lisa Genova the Narrow Interest of the Week Award. At the very least Sarah Nickerson should look into getting a left side transplant with the left side of a cadaver, right? Let’s mix it up a bit, people!
Now, I want to address the “strong language…some descriptions of sex” part of the annotation. I can be honest with you, Gentle Reader, I have no intention of reading this book. But I have every intention of commenting on what I think the content of this book might be. First; strong language. I think the strong language in the book will be situations where Sarah Nickerson curses her invisible left side loudly. As in, “damn you you useless piece of shit, I never favored you anyway,” or, “you good-for-nothing son-of-a-bitching left-side, go f*ck yourself!”
Which brings me to part two of the content disclaimer: some descriptions of sex. Really? If this book describes, in any detail, a sexual encounter in which her neglected left side leads to some wacky sex-hijinks, I must object. As in,
- Me: Objection, Your Honor.
- Judge: On what grounds?
- Me: On the grounds that this is stupid.
- Judge: Sustained.
See? Even the legal system agrees with me–this book is most likely stupid, and at the very least, lame. But, if you’ve read this post and for some crazy reason you still think you should read this book, here is a handy link to purchase it privately. I wouldn’t risk checking this doo-doo-pie out at your library, if I were you–somebody might see you. At least Amazon will ship it in a plain brown corrugated wrapper.
*my own disclaimer: if this book had been about somebody losing feeling of their left side due to a stroke, I wouldn’t have made fun. I’m sorry if you, or someone you love, has experienced “left neglect,” but that doesn’t negate the fact that this book sounds stupid to me, and, as a matter of course, must be ridiculed.