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Jealous Haters Book Club: Handbook For Mortals Chapter 4 The Empress, or “Star Trek Season 1 Episode 14 ‘Court Martial'”

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In Handbook For Mortals news this week, I visited my local Barnes & Noble, hoping to get a glimpse of the twenty-three-hour #1 New York Times Bestseller in the wild.

I started in Teen Fiction, but I couldn’t find anything between Sáenz and St. Claire:

A bookshelf where "Handbook For Mortals" might have been shelved.

But obviously, a bestselling YA phenomenon with a major motion picture in the works wouldn’t be on the same shelves as just any old YA. I decided to check the endcap.

An endcap in the YA section of Barnes & Noble, where Handbook For Mortals is NOT displayed.

That’s when I saw the table full of “must read” books for teens:

One side of the "Must Read" table for teens. No Handbook For Mortals.

Well…maybe it was on the other side?

The other side of the table. I'm sure you're sensing a theme here, so, no, Handbook For Mortals isn't on this side, either.

As I did another perusal of the Teen section, I realized I’d checked in the wrong spot, originally. Clearly, Handbook For Mortals belonged in Teen Fantasy & SciFi. I took a look.

The Fantasy and SciFi shelf where Handbook should have been.

Obviously, what had happened was Handbook For Mortals had sold out completely. I went to the info desk to see if they could tell me where all their copies had gone. The guy there had never heard of the book.

Someone working at Barnes & Noble had never heard of the #1 New York Times Bestselling novel Handbook For Mortals? But what about any publicity being good publicity? This employee had no idea about the controversy making this book so talked about, and said no one had ever come in looking for Handbook For Mortals, at least, not while he was working. He told me he could order it and showed me his computer screen, where about 2,500 copies were available from Ingram warehouses. For a New York Times bestseller, Handbook For Mortals doesn’t seem to have that many extant copies.

Let’s head into this chapter, which is going to actively try to gaslight you before the end.

We start with Lani once again telling us what’s going to happen to her instead of just showing us:

Considering how much I wanted to keep my secrets, well, secret, a few days later I probably brought a little too much attention to myself.

Wait, do you mean you brought more attention to yourself? On top of performing real “magick” on stage in front of sold-out crowds of two thousand people every night?

I didn’t really know what to do and felt I had no choice. I had seen something. I knew someone was going to get hurt. Maybe I should have just kept my mouth shut, but I couldn’t really just stand by and not say anything, could I?

Well, I don’t know, Lani. I don’t know anything about the situation because you haven’t bothered to let me, the reader, in on what’s going on.

When I get premonitions and “see things” as you might say, they come in flashes. I don’t ask for them. Sometimes I’m shown things way ahead of time and other times–like this one–only a few minutes before something happens.

Welcome, to Lani’s new talent. There’s been one in every chapter and this is probably not the last. I can’t wait until chapter seventeen when she’s like, “I’ve been on roller skates this entire time.”

Animated gif of Bryan Cranston rollerskating in a sparkly blue sequined costume on Malcolm In The Middle

She blames “Destiny” for giving her these visions, which are always correct in hindsight.

I always took it at face value that, if I was getting one of these visions or premonitions; it meant I was supposed to help change the situation.

Grammarly marks this sentence as just fine, punctuation wise, but I think Grammarly is drunk. Technically correct or not, the punctuation here looks absolutely bizarre.

After all, my choices always seemed to be able to make a positive change to something that could have been tragic,

Of course.

After all of this vague talk of how she’s had a vision and will anyone believe her, we see Zade running after Mac. He’s the guy she has to convince about this premonition, and he’s not interested in stopping to talk to her.

I sprinted to get just close enough to reach out and grab the hem of his three-quarter-length sleeve on his black shirt, while shouting, “Hey,” which finally made him stop. I heard a slight ripping siound from his sleeve, which freaked me out, but since there was no visible damage I’m guessing I had only weakened the seams.

I don’t like comparing every bad book to every other bad book because there are different levels of badness. I hesitate to compare this to Fifty Shades of Grey too much because what made that book bad was the mass cultural brainwashing that tried to convince us all that being abused by a violent narcissist was romantic. I also hesitate to suggest this book’s presence in the market is anywhere near the phenomenon Fifty Shades was, which seems to be the new marketing tactic Sarem and Thomas Ian Nicholas are taking. But one thing Handbook For Mortals has in common with Fifty Shades is the tendency to focus on unimportant details during otherwise important pieces of the story. For example, the who’s-going-to-get-the-“iced-water” scene in Fifty Shades of Grey, which shifted the focus away from the action of the story and the tension we were supposed to have been feeling to the false tension created by details that aren’t important at all. We don’t need to hear about whether or not Mac’s needlessly specific shirt sleeve ripped or if the seams just loosened. We need to know about this premonition that’s been clumsily teased out in the beginning of this chapter.

Zade asks Mac if anything was suspicious during safety checks and tries to explain that she has a bad feeling about the rehearsal they’re running. Mac, already predisposed to not wanting to communicate with her, tells Lani that everyone feels like that sometimes and it doesn’t mean anything at all.

I narrowed my eyes. “Well, I get them, and mine are never unfounded, okay?” I huffed a little. Mac looked beyond irritated. I could practically hear what he must have been saying to himself in his head. I’m sure it had something to do with how I had done nothing but complicate his job, how difficult everything had been since the moment I arrived, and how now I was coming to him with some story about a feeling I was having and how I “knew” something was wrong.

“I’m sure it had something to do with every point of conflict I’ve previously described in this book, including the one that’s happening right now.” If she wanted to tell us what Mac was thinking, it would have been easier to just throw one of those triple moon glyphs in and tell us in italics.

Because she’s the plucky self-insert of this piece, Zade doesn’t let up, insisting that something is wrong with the safety check.

Both of his hands reached toward his head and he started rubbing his forehead, which he had scrunched up. His eyes were closed and he had the look of someone who had been suddenly hit with a headache. He took a deep breath in and out as if to try to calm himself. His hands moved from his forehead to his mouth and he looked directly at me as if he was deciding whether he should yell at me some more or push me into the pool. He pulled his hands away from his mouth and pressed his lips together tightly. His hands folded together, close to his face. It almost made him look like he was about to pray. He finally brought himself around enough to speak again. His words came out calmly and clearly since he was standing very close in front of my face. It was even, in a soft tone, the way some people sound when they are on the edge of losing it all together.

The way I sound after having read this description, for example. I aged twelve years in the time it took her to describe someone sliding their hands down their face in frustration.

Mac tells Zade they need to get on with the rehearsal, so she needs to go to her place for the top of the show. Lani knows she can’t tell Mac the entire truth about her vision, so she’s going to have to prevent this nebulous tragedy from happening.

The images I had seen hadn’t been as strong and were fuzzier than they usually were. Normally I got a bit more info from my visions, but this time I really felt like I didn’t know enough to even come up with a good plan.

Okay, but earlier you said you only get “flashes”. Are they those convenient flashes featuring phone numbers and locations like the ones Cordelia gets on Angel?

Lani climbs up to the catwalk, puts on her harness and safety wire, and starts walking out to her position for the illusion.

I closed my eyes so I could try to get a clearer vision of what was about to happen.

Walking on a catwalk high above the stage with her eyes closed in an attempt to avert disaster.

Dr. Evil from Austin Powers sarcastically saying, "Right."

 

Usually my hints of the future come in random flashes. So, when I try to focus, it gets tricky–like focusing a nice camera for a picture. As you make adjustments, the image gets clearer, but if you try too hard then it gets even fuzzier.

First of all, we already knew your visions come in flashes, because you said, “When I get premonitions and ‘see things’ as you might say, they come in flashes.” Second, that’s not how a camera works if you know what you’re doing.

I couldn’t see how exactly it was going to occurr…at least not well enough to stop it. I just saw enough to know that some part of the equipment was going to malfunction and someone was going to fall.

She’s walking on the catwalk high above the stage with her eyes closed to try and get a clearer vision of how someone is going to tragically fall.

I had the feeling that if I could only see who fell, I could do something.

Gif of Nathan Fillion on Castle lifting his hand like he's going to say something, then giving up and covering his mouth in frustration instead.

I frantically started to look around to see if anything looked out of place. Riley and Sofia were standing behind me on the catwalk. I was so preoccuped scanning the equipment and other performers in different areas of the grid, that I didn’t notice Sofia wasn’t wearing her harness.

If she didn’t notice, how could she possibly tell us about it? And I like that she has this premonition about someone falling and, rather than thinking it might be one of the three people who are actually in a place that could be fallen from, she’s looking at everything but them. Oh, but she has a good excuse:

I could hear him arguing with Sofia, but it was all background noise. If I had only stopped to listen to what they were arguing about, I may have figured everything out before it happened. But, since Sofia was always arguing about something with someone, I wasn’t even paying attention.

See, if Sofia wasn’t such a total bitch all the time, Lani might have been able to save her from her horrible fate.

So, what are they arguing about? Well, I can tell you, because despite Lani not stopping to listen to the argument, we get it all despite the fact that we’re in Lani’s POV and if she’s not listening, we shouldn’t be, either.

“Sofie, you gotta put your harness on. You know the rules. You tryin’ to get me in trouble?” Riley was almost begging her.

Sidebar: I love that every named character in the book comes with an instruction manual on pronunciation, how they got their name, and what they do or don’t like about it, but then Sarem doesn’t even bother making the characters get the bitchy rival’s name right.

She batted her eyes and ran her finger over his chest his own harness. “Riley. It’s really uncomfortable,” she whined.

This is a professional performer in one of the biggest shows on the Vegas strip, complaining that she doesn’t want to wear a safety harness because it’s uncomfortable and apparently believing that she can simper her way out of doing so. I don’t know if I can handle this, guys. The realism is too intense. I’m unable to separate this masterful work of fiction from the scorching truth of reality. But seriously, this is so common with the bitchy rival trope. The evil woman does something transparently foolish so that the heroine can appear to be intelligent or level-headed, no matter how unbelievable the foolish thing is. Sofia has been working on this show for long enough that David Copperfield is ready to retire her illusion, but she either just now decided she doesn’t like safety harnesses or she’s always hated them and they’ve always had to fight with her. The former is ridiculous because she would know how dangerous the act was without a harness. The latter is ridiculous because they would have just fired her for not following safety procedures after multiple warnings.

“So are broken necks,” he said curtly. Broken necks, wait, I heard that.

Well, thanks for joining the rest of us in your own POV, Zadi.

 I turned around and saw that Sofia didn’t have her harness on.

After telling us she didn’t have it on and showing us a conversation in which it was mentioned, Lani is just now noticing that Sofia doesn’t have a harness on. I’m really having a hard time finding the words to express how enraged I am at these POV skews. This is not something that should be in a book from an actual publisher. This is not something that people should be paying money for. This is not something that I should have paid money for. I feel like the very concept of justice owes me ten dollars.

Before Zade can warn Sofia and Riley about the premonition, the platform they’re standing on starts to move. You know. The platform. The platform that they’re standing on. The one that we’ve never heard of in descriptions of the stage or even in this scene because up until now they’ve been standing on the catwalk. But now it’s a platform. And it’s not just moving, it’s moving faster than normal and it’s spinning.

“Riley to Automation. Why is the main platform moving? Really fast! Someone hit the damn E stop!”

Now it’s not just “the platform,” it’s “the main platform.” As in, there is more than one suspended platform that moves? And we’ve never heard about it? We had to hear about the fucking farmer’s market, but we can’t know what the damn stage actually looks like? Plus, Riley really buries the lede when it comes to safety here. The first damn thing he needs to say is “hit the damn E stop.”

Of course, Sofia falls, because she’s the evil bitch and she didn’t wear a harness and it’s very important that something bad happen to her so we can see our heroine selflessly and heroically save her ungrateful ass:

I was still harnessed in and, from where I was, I was able to push her body as she was flying past me. She screamed as she accelerated toward the floor from fifty or so feet in the air. Because of my shove, she hit the pool and not the ground. But she slammed into the water on her back–there was a smack and then she sank.

But that’s not all, friends. Zade jumps off after Sofia and dives to the bottom of the pool to bring her up. She’s unconscious and not breathing, so it’s a good time for us to all learn that Zani was a lifeguard at one point. She does CPR on Sofia while the rest of the crew chats or just does something else because a performer not breathing is something just one person needs to handle, right?

A visibly upset Riley had finally reached the ground. Tad and Mac, among others, ran to him and immediately started asking quesitons. Mac spoke first; I knew he needed to find out the details of what just occurrred while they were still fresh in Riley’s mind.

Um. No…he should probably make sure the not breathing performer who just fell fifty feet receives immediate, life-saving medical attention. Because that’s part of his job.

But rather than tend to Sofia, Tad, Mac, and the other guys rally around poor, shaken Riley, who is still breathing and not in any danger.

Mac grabbed Riley and pulled him closer, shielding Riley’s view of Sofia. When I glanced up, I could see Riley was wide-eyed and scared.

Like, Lani even pauses resuscitation efforts to check on Riley. That’s how little anyone in the world of this book cares about any woman who isn’t Lani.

Riley is finally able to tell Mac that Sofia was about to put her harness on when the platform started to move without warning, and Mac says the system must have glitched out.

Tad had been standing nearby listening and realized that he needed to step in.

Finally! Finally, someone is going to help Sofia, who is literally dying right in front of them!

“Riley. It’s okay. Calm down. It wasn’t your fault. She knows she’s not supposed to be up there without being tied off, and the platform moving wasn’t your fault, either.” Tad smiled and nodded as he put his hand on Riley’s shoulder.

You have got to be fucking kidding me.

Mac looked up. “Yeah, Tad’s right. Go take a smoke break; stop freaking out. I’ll be out there in a bit. I’m sure she’ll be fine.”

SHE ISN’T BREATHING! THAT IS A REAL FUCKING BAD TIME TO ASSUME THAT SOMEONE IS GOING TO BE FINE AND GO FOR A SMOKE BREAK.

Thanks to Lani’s efforts, Sofia does start breathing and coughing up water, and the paramedics come and take her to the hospital. Riley walks off brooding, someone gives Lani a towel, and Tad commends her for her quick thinking and rescue skills. Then, there’s this sentence:

I turned and walked away. I didn’t get very far, though, before I heard Tad and Mac begin to talk about me.

Followed by one of those triple moon goddess symbol things and text all in italics. It starts out seemingly in Mac’s POV, as one dialogue tag reads:

“[…],” Mac said, trying to sound dismissive.

But then two paragraphs later, we get:

I wondered if he was angry at me–or just angry that I had been right.

So, are we still in Zade’s POV? If so, what’s the point of the second break and italics, if we were just going to stay in her POV, anyway?

Regardless of whose POV we’re supposed to be in, Mac and Tad (who both get Sofia’s name wrong when they mention her) argue over Mac’s attitude toward Zade over this whole thing:

Tad laughed again. “Oh. I get it. You like her. Uh-oh. You’re in trouble.”

That is the entire point of this section, by the way. Learning that Mac has a crush on Zade, which we’d already seen coming from about forty-thousand lightyears away.

“What is there to like about her, anyway?” Mac grumbled.

Excuse me, but that’s my line.

“Lots of things, and I don’t need to tell you that. If I wasn’t happily married, I might give you a run for your money on that one.”

Okay, this is so gross. So, so gross. Thomas Ian Nicholas is slated to play Tad in the movie, and a few readers have wondered why he wouldn’t have wanted to play Mac, which is a larger role. Thomas Ian Nicholas is also good friends with Lani Sarem and makes appearances with her to promote the book. Thomas Ian Nicholas is also married to someone who is not Lani Sarem. So, Lani Sarem wrote a book in which the avatar of her married guy friend lusts over her self-insert and says, “If I wasn’t happily married.”

I’m just saying.

“I need a cigarette,” Mac said gruffly. “Go start running checks, see where the glitch is, and try to keep your opinions to yourself.” He stormed off.

I’m sure this will come as a shock to you, dear reader, but Mac wouldn’t have the chance to get a cigarette at this point. In fact, he very likely would not get the chance to get a cigarette until hours after this incident. He’s going to be talking not just to the theater staff, but casino management, as well. He’ll be working with human resources on an incident report, insurance forms, they’re going to have to figure out how and when it will be safe for the show to go on so that the box office can handle ticket refunds… This theater is basically a crisis management drill where the doors are locked and Leslie Knope can’t get to the super important fundraiser party until all of Pawnee is destroyed by the Avian Flu.

Chris Traeger in the "Emergency Response" episode of Parks and Rec, holding a card with a skull and crossbones on it and giving a thumbs up while saying, "I'm dead."

After the triple goddess break, we join Lani outside, on a loading dock, where she’s playing Jackson’s guitar and trying to process what just happened.

At first it was just random chords and then I was humming along. Before I knew it, it had turned into a song that I knew all too well. Somehow my mind had wandered into thinking about the lyrics to “That’s Just What You Are,” my favorite Aimee Mann song. Something about the words and what they meant seemed to be really appropriate for what had been going on recently.

I was signing softly to myself when I heard the back door open. Mac walked out onto the dock and fumed as he lit a cigarette. He took a long drag and leaned against the wall. I could only just see him out of the corner of my eye but I pretended that I didn’t hear him or notice he was out there. I just continued to sing.

And then Sarem includes a verse and a chorus of the song’s lyrics, so we can see exactly how perfect the song she has chosen for the moment is. If this were fanfiction, we would call this “songfic” and it wouldn’t be allowed on some sites.

Mac smokes a whole cigarette while Lani sings and tries to act like she doesn’t know he’s there. Then he finally talks to her. And Lani’s response?

“Oh. Hey. I didn’t hear you come out.”

And I swear to god, the only thing I could think of when I read that was:

Tommy Wiseau in The Room, saying, "Oh, Hi Mark."

And then I couldn’t stop laughing for a while.

This is bullshit. I did naht hit her, I did naht. Oh, hi Mac.

“Sounded like that song was about me,” Mac said, sitting down next to me on the edge of the dock and nudging me slightly with his shoulder.

She’s really gonna Moonlighting this whole thing in chapter four?

Okay, okay. That’s really unfair to Moonlighting. And I don’t mean that in a, “ha ha, it’s unfair to compare them because Handbook For Mortals sucks” way, but in a “Moonlighting was a rich and innovative comedy that paved the way for programs like 30 Rock and Scrubs and did not ultimately end due to the early resolution of the sexual chemistry between the main characters but because Maddie would have never married a man she just met,” kind of way. But still. We’re going from “I hate you” to “I love you” so quick that the already boring and overused love triangle device is going to feel even more boring and overused.

Lani tells him that she didn’t write the song, and Mac is like, yeah, Aimee Mann did, and Lani is like, ermergerd, he knows who Aimee Mann is, and then she becomes like, the gatekeeper of alternative folk rock or something:

He knew the song and even who wrote it.  I was impressed. “Yeah, she’s one of my favorites. It’s basically her and Ryan Adams. I can’t believe you even know who she is. Wait, do you actually like her?” I guess I figured that even if he knew the song and who Aimee Mann was, he wasn’t really capable of actually liking her. That would have meant we agreed on something.

So, basically, Zade is that possessive nerd who insists that everything they like is so obscure and cool that it’s impossible that anyone could ever know or care about it as much as they do. Which is hilarious because, a) Aimee Mann has been around since the ’80s and b) Mac says he knows about Aimee Mann via Magnolia, which is one of his favorite movies, and Zani thinks:

Magnolia was one of my favorite films, too. It was also why I knew who Aimee Mann was.

HA HA HA HA HA are you kidding me? You’re going to sit there like, “I can’t believe this guy knows about Grammy and Oscar-nominated songwriter Aimee Mann!” like some kind of obscure music connoisseur and then be like, “I know about her because of Magnolia, too?” You’re at the same level, dude!

Mac had previously pointed out that Lani had never answered his question about whether or not the song was about him:

“I don’t believe you asked a question,” I said. “I believe you made a statement. But yes, I may have been loosely thinking about –just the tiniest bit.” I held up my thumb and pointer finger to show how tiny the “bit” was, while grinning as large as I could.

Okay, great, that’s perfect. I’ve totally got the image in my mind.

I made sure to only show the tiniest gap between my two fingers.

No, right, I get you. We can move on.

If I hadn’t known any better I would have thought he was almost being nice to me, flirting, even.

Lani. You were clearly the one initiating the flirting here.

Mac took a deep breath of the evening desert air.

Ah, the crisp, fresh smell of a loading dock on the Vegas Strip.

“I might deserve it–just the tiniest bit.” He mimicked what I had just done and held up his thumb and pointer finger with a similar amount of space between them while curling his lip.

“How thick do you want the peanut butter on this fried banana sandwich, Elvis?”

Mac tells Lani that he’s only been hard on her because he’s invested in the safety of everyone on the show. Like, so heavily invested that he stood by and chatted while one of the performers wasn’t breathing. Like, shit, Mac. Even Lani cared more about your job than you do. But whatever. They clear up the misunderstanding between them and he touches her hand and she thinks:

I wanted him to be an awful T.D. so my feelings could become more justified, but instead I had quickly noticed how good he was at being in charge of the crew.

Again, this guy stood by doing nothing while someone had just drowned. But let me ship him this giant trophy for being the best and most concerned.

Lani goes on to suck Mac’s metaphorical ego-dick in a long paragraph about all the ways he’s so amazing at his job, and I’m skipping it because it’s so boring I can’t even criticize it without yawning.

“Look, as far as my illusion goes…” I felt compelled to bring up the issue that started our problems, but before I could even finish my sentence he cut me off.

“It’s okay,” he said. “As much as it goes against my better judgment, and how I personally feel, I was overruled. I just don’t want anything like what just happened to Sofia to happen to you, too. I don’t know how to help you if I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know the signs of ‘going wrong’ even are.” He spoke with care and concern, instead of with ego and haughtiness. I bit my lip and struggled with how I should respond.

Dakota Johnson as Ana Steele, biting her lip in the beginning of 50 Shades of Grey

Zande tells Mac that it’s this big family secret she can’t share, and Mac says they can work out a signal for if things are going wrong. Well, he says, “smoke signals” because since this book is already about someone with a “g**** soul” there’s no real need to avoid casually racist colloquialisms.

So, Lani thinks about how there aren’t any stars in Las Vegas because of the light pollution and she misses lightning bugs and stuff while she and Mac sit there in awkward silence.

“I play guitar too. That’s usually what I do on my days off. Play my guitar, see movies, or ride my motorcycle through the desert.” I stared at him.

Contrary to how her action follows the dialogue, it’s Mac saying the thing about the guitar. So, see? A lot of people know how to play guitar. It isn’t that special or rare.

It was like he was describing me. How could two people who had butted heads from the moment they met, be so alike and have so much in common?

Because those things are popular with a lot of people? I mean, how can I love getting drunk on docked pontoon boats but still wanna punch Kid Rock in his stupid little rich boy face? Same difference.

Lani asks what kind of motorcycle Mac has, and it’s a Triumph Daytona. So she rattles off the top speed of his bike and tells him about her two bikes, a Triumph Trophy 250 and a Ducati Streetfighter.

Leslie Knope on Parks and Rec, from the episode where they go hunting, with the quote, "Guys love it when you can show them you're better than they are at something they love."

I’m finally figuring out why there are no paperback copies of this book in stores. They’ve all been water-damaged by the internalized misogyny the text is drowning in. So far, most of what we’ve seen of Zade’s passionate hobbies have been things that male characters are impressed by girls knowing. Playing the guitar or riding motorcycles are fairly gender neutral pursuits, but the love interests dig that a chick is capable of doing those things. One could argue that those hobbies are male-dominated in terms of visibility, but that could be said about pretty much anything. If a woman wants to become a doctor, we don’t go, “oh, look out, we’ve got ourselves a little tomboy!” but we still think of doctors as default male. It’s just how it goes for a lot of things. But if a woman says she’s a doctor, we don’t (or at least, shouldn’t) go, “Oh, wow, you’re NOT LIKE OTHER GIRLS,” which is exactly the reaction Sarem sets Zatanna up with every time.

And it works, because Mac says:

“Impressive, Magi Girl.”

Zade is like, oh my gosh, he’s smiling and his smile is so great, but she also thinks:

At the same time, I didn’t like being called “Magi Girl” even if it did make him laugh. It has such a stigma, the term Magi actually means something like “wise,” but in the magic world Magi more or less means a magician’s assistant. Mac added his own twist adding girl on the end. I guess it wasn’t really an insult, but I still made a face that showed my dislike for it.

Any magicians want to weigh in on this? Is “Magi” really a common derivative term? I tried to google it, but you people are so god damn secretive. Also, would it be insulting to be compared to a magician’s assistant, considering how integral they are to some acts?

Because we haven’t had a discussion about names yet in this chapter, it’s time to learn even more backstory on Zade’s:

“Zade is short for my full name–Scheherazade Holder. […]”

So.

Wait.

We’ve had to learn how to properly pronounce it Zade as in “laid” and not Zahd as in “odd,” but your name is Scheherazade? How the fuck are you pronouncing Scheherazade to arrive at the pronunciation of Zade? ScheherazAIDE? I’ve never heard it pronounced that way in my entire life.

Of course, I’ve never thought of One Thousand And One Nights as being a particularly romantic tale, either, but Zade does. She tells Mac about how the king killed a new girl every night, but Scheherazade kept telling stories to keep him from killing her:

“[…] After 1,001 nights he was madly in love with her and decided to keep her. And they lived happily ever after.” I looked over at him. He was still listening intently. “Do you know it?”

Yeah, Mac. Do you know one of the most famous collections of folklore of all time, you illiterate pleb?

“It’s from Arabian Nights.

No, it is Arabian Nights. It’s the fucking framework for the whole entire thing.

But isn’t that kind of harsh for a kid’s story though? My mom read me Green Eggs and Ham.” I wasn’t sure if he was making fun of me or not with his last comment. I didn’t think it was a harsh story. I thought it was romantic and sweet.

It’s literally about a dude who marries a new virgin every day so he can fuck her and kill her before she cheats on him, and then like, one of them outsmarted him by writing really good cliffhangers on the fly. That’s not romantic. That’s a Stephen King novel. But it was Zade’s parents’ favorite story, hence her name. Oh, and her middle name? Because it’s super important for us to know that?

“Esther. She was another queen. She only saved her entire race,” I said matter-of-factly.

Imagine having a witch baby with a magician whose last name is Spellman and when it’s born, you don’t name it Sabrina, but Scheherazade Esther Holder. I named my daughter Wednesday Addams, and even I think Zade’s name is stupid.

Let’s talk about Mac’s name, now! Again, we’re getting a two-for-one on names when the author couldn’t even bother to get Sofia’s name right throughout the chapter. Don’t forget that as you learn that Mac is short for MacGyver, the nickname given to him by the other theater people because he was good at fixing things. Which doesn’t make a lot of sense, because fixing things wasn’t what MacGyver was famous for. Building impossibly complicated shit out of whatever was on hand is what he was famous for. But whatever. Zade asks Mac what his real name is, and he says she has to “earn the right to know,” then like a paragraph later tells her it’s Clark.

I gushed.

Settle down, Lani.

“Wait your parents named you ‘Clark Kent’? As in Superman, Clark Kent?”

SchehereZADE Esther is somehow better?

Their conversation gets interrupted by Tad radioing Mac to come back because they figured out what the problem with the platform is. Before he leaves, he tells Zade that his favorite song by Aimee Man is “Red Vines”.

I grabbed my guitar and started strumming “Red Vines.”

You grabbed Jackson’s guitar, but okay. Also, this is super subtle.

I couldn’t have been out on the dock alone for more than a few seconds when Jackson came out to the dock as well.

“Found you. I came looking for you to see how you were. By the way that was incredible. You never cease to amaze me.”

Dude, you’ve known her for like, a few days. Everyone in this book needs to get some soothing chamomile tea and calm the fuck down.

I blushed at the generous compliment. “Thanks.” I will never be good at accepting compliments but I need to learn how to say something better than thanks. That’s always such a lame answer.

No, that’s a perfectly acceptable answer, and more people need to realize that instead of looking for a way to downplay the compliment or change the subject because we’re uncomfortable with praise due to societal conditioning.

“Have you heard anything? She okay?” I heard myself asking.

Mac’s conversation had temproarily made me forget what happened with Sofia.

  1. You didn’t hear yourself saying it. You said it.
  2. You forgot about her because she’s not you.

Jackson hung his head. “She’ll never recover. Permanently damaged.”

I nearly dropped the guitar. “What?”

Jackson grinned. “Her ego.”

You’re really making jokes when this person almost died? Like, she fell fifty feet and wasn’t breathing. Oh, and every night that the show doesn’t go on because they’re investigating this serious accident or whatever, that’s a night you’re not working. But yuck it up.

He tells Lani that Sofia just had to have a few stitches and she has a bruised butt, but other than that she’s fine. But her ego, however, will never recover from having her life saved by Lani.

I started thinking about how Sofia had freaked out and pushed me away as I was saving her life–and her instant blame for it even being my fault.

Dean Winchester from Supernatural saying, "What - uh-excuse me-what?"

This…it’s…it’s not…

That never…

I NEED A FUCKING MINUTE.

 

What Lani just described? Never happened. This is what happened, as per the very same chapter we are in, that I am quoting word-for-word right now:

Sofia began to cough and spit up water. I turned her over on her side. “Sofia, you’re going to be okay. Just keep breathing.” I held her as she coughed. I know when someone is close to death it helps them to feel comfort from another person–even someone they may not really like. I could already feel that everything was going to be okay.

When the paramedics showed up with stretchers and took over, I was happy to be able to step out of the way.

Leaving aside how weird it is that they needed stretchers plural for one person, ABSOFUCKINGLUTELY NOT A WORD OF THAT SAYS A DAMN THING ABOUT SOFIA PUSHING LANI AWAY OR BLAMING HER FOR THE ACCIDENT. NONE OF IT AT ALL. THE FACT THAT IT ISN’T IN THE BOOK AND WE’RE JUST EXPECTED TO GO, “OH, OKAY, I GUESS THIS IS WHAT I WILL BELIEVE HAPPENED NOW BECAUSE YOU TOLD ME,” IS INFURIATING AND AMATEURISH.

It was kind of funny that Lani Sarem’s own apparent hatred of other women made her chronically fuck up the name of one of her own characters in a book where every character’s name is painstakingly explained to the reader, but it’s not fucking funny at all that she and John Jacob Dinglehopper thought YA readers were going to embrace this. There are valid criticisms to be leveled at various books, authors, and attitudes in YA genres, but some of the best books out right now are YA. That Sarem and Nicholas thought they could just slap this bullshit together and be worshipped by readers insults the intelligence of every YA reader and author who have ever lived on this Earth.

YOU HAD TIME TO EDIT THIS, LANI. YOU HAD TIME TO GO BACK AND CHANGE HOW THE SCENE WENT DOWN. YOU DIDN’T. YOU DIDN’T BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T CARE. YOU’RE JUST LOOKING TO GET INTO A MOVIE. THE BIGGEST MOVIE YOU’VE EVER BEEN IN WAS PAUL BLART: MALL COP 2 AND YOU THINK THAT BY SLAPPING THIS INSULTING BULLSHIT TOGETHER THAT YOU DIDN’T EVEN BOTHER TO READ THROUGH ONCE BEFORE PUBLICATION YOU’RE GOING TO BECOME A MOVIE STAR?

Bad writing makes me hulk the fuck out anyway, but when it’s shoddily manufactured as part of a hamfisted con, it makes me even more furious. You really thought, Lani and Tom, you really thought that this is the level of quality required to make a YA hit? You really thought that this is the amount of hard work and attention to detail that people put into these novels? You really thought this book deserved to dethrone The Hate U Give?

You’re trash people, shitty con artists, bad actors, and abysmal writers. Your movie is only going to get made if you record it in your garage and we’re all laughing at you.

Moving on.

Jackson tells Lani not to worry, Sofia will get over her ego problem, but Zandi isn’t too sure. Then Jackson helps Lani stand up.

I smiled back at him. I wondered what he was thinking, but he decided to share the thoughts behind the smile. “You’re pretty amazing, you know that?” I chuckled nervously and blushed. I started biting my lower lip and shifted my feet.

Dakota Johnson as Ana Steele, biting her lip in the beginning of 50 Shades of Grey

The dialogue tags are fucked up there, but fuck it. This book is trash, anyway. Everything is a lie.

Jackson grinned before adding, “You really are.”

That’s it. That’s how the chapter ends. With yet another person telling Zandar multiple times that she’s like, soooo amazing. I guarantee that theme won’t get old by the middle of the book.

142 Comments

  1. Laina
    Laina

    …I don’t think physics works like that…

    CPR definitely doesn’t work like that.

    I almost feel like she’s queerbaiting with Riley? I feel a little queerbaited.

    Also there have been at least 2 YA adaptations of 1001 nights within the last year or two. So you know. Know your genre, Lani.

    September 26, 2017
    |Reply
    • Jane Eyre
      Jane Eyre

      Also, Sherezade + white girl sounds just so silly and makes me roll my eyes? I know people name their children all sorts of names nowadays but unlike Esther which is a Biblical name and I can buy it…I mean most names are of Biblical/Hebrew origin Judith, David, Ruth, Micheal, John/Joan etc, I would buy Esther as somewhat old-fashioned or original name for a woman of 25 given my name is Janina and in Poland, it’s a very XIX name, and in all my life I haven’t met another person named like that in my generation, it’s not even grandparents but more great-grandparents name and my mother named me so because she liked the Polish version of Jane’s name from Phoenix and the Carpet. It was a pet name, that is fitting for a little girl, but it’s still not Sherezade which I would see a person from Middle-Eastern culture have.

      September 26, 2017
      |Reply
      • Amy
        Amy

        I wonder, IS there any diversity in this book? Has anybody been described as brown or black or asian? Nevada, New Mexico and Arizona has a high hispanic population. Are there any mexicans or spanish speaking folk running around?
        What about the fact this is one of the most well-known american cities in the world, and thus millions of people around the world come here. Any japanese? Chinese? Koreans? Native Americans?

        Nothing?

        What about physical disabilities? anybody of the LGBT community? Theatre has a lot of people in LGBT community.

        September 27, 2017
        |Reply
        • ViolettaD
          ViolettaD

          Gay actors wouldn’t lust after Zany. Out-n-proud bulldagger techies and stage managers wouldn’t either, which would hurt her vanity, although she’d be skeeved out if they did. And “it’s not [HER] fault that Angie [Thomas, author of “The Hate U Give’] is black.”

          September 27, 2017
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        • Lani Not-Sarem
          Lani Not-Sarem

          There’s DeMar, the IRL black member of the Plain White Ts!

          October 4, 2017
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      • TayciBear
        TayciBear

        I did have a student whose middle name was Scherezade and she was white with blondr hair. You know, appropriation and all that.

        September 27, 2017
        |Reply
      • Oh, nononono. It’s alright. She’s whiter than sour cream, but she is ̶G̶i̶p̶s̶y̶ Roma. And Jewish. It’s totally okay.

        Heavens, do I hate this book.

        September 27, 2017
        |Reply
      • Katie
        Katie

        At this point, it’s more of a literary name than anything else, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see it on a American of almost any ethnicity. With the possible exception of a Iranian American, simply because the name is spelled and pronounced differently in modern Persian, so using the Arabian Nights version would be like naming someone Ethelbertha.

        September 29, 2017
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        • (anon for this to avoid potentially doxxing my friend)
          (anon for this to avoid potentially doxxing my friend)

          I actually have a good friend named Scheherazade who is neither white nor Middle Eastern. Her parents are both just big readers who are really, really into literary names. Her brothers also have unusual names belonging to notable literary characters. (I don’t want to dox her by listing their actual names, insofar as there is probably only one group of siblings on Earth with their three names, but in terms of how obviously literary in origin their names are, think, like, “Prospero” and “Legolas.”) I am uncomfortable with the idea that my friend’s parents did something wrong by choosing a name for their daughter belonging to a character from a book they loved simply because that book came from a culture other than their own. IMHO, I think appropriation isn’t just using something that originally came from another culture, but using it in a way that displays ignorance and/or disrespect for that culture. Lani naming her stupid self-insert character Scheherazade when it sounds like she’s only vaguely aware of One Thousand and One Nights and doesn’t even know how the name is pronounced bothers me. My friend’s name, given to her by parents who have read, studied, taught, and loved the book, really doesn’t.

          (It should, incidentally, be noted that while my friend sometimes goes by “Zade” for short, I never even associated her name with this stupid book until now, because my friend knows how to pronounce her own friggin’ name correctly and therefore says it exactly the way Lani insisted it shouldn’t be said.)

          October 16, 2017
          |Reply
  2. Kayla
    Kayla

    I’m honestly kind of shocked by the fact that Lani has a whole paragraph explaining why “Magi” is a derogatory nickname when she’s been calling herself/her self-insert a “g*psy” four times a chapter.

    September 26, 2017
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Sadly, I don’t think Lani Sarem knows or cares about the Rroma. Pretty much anything regarding exposition and/or research is wrong or misguided. There was barely any thought put into the world building of this book. 🙁

      September 26, 2017
      |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      By the time we got to learn about the term, “Mudblood”, we were two books in and everything was already set up to show us how much a slur that word was. It sounds dirty, it was said by a jerk, and everyone around had a bad reaction to it when it was said. And afterwards, it was repeated several times throughout the series, enforcing its ugliness.

      Magi is adorable-sounding, is literally just the shorten version of the word “magic”, and nothing Zade has shown us can tell us why Magi would be considered a slur. Besides mom, I don’t think Zade has talked about any other magical person to help give weight to this.

      Like Zade’s dyslexia, I doubt it’ll be reference ever again.

      September 27, 2017
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      • rekhyt
        rekhyt

        Well, we have her writing words backwards and we have two characters named Cam and Mac. There will be a letter / a note and some misunderstandings because of it, I assume.

        September 30, 2017
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        • BitterAlmonds
          BitterAlmonds

          That would imply that Lani gives three fucks about anything that doesn’t force the reader to hear about how awesome she is.

          October 1, 2017
          |Reply
    • shel
      shel

      So, can we get a 3 paragraph explanation on how to pronounce Magi? Is it just like magic without the C? Is it more of an ‘eye’ sound after the G? It makes me think of the Medjai from The Mummy, but those guys were cool, even if they sucked at stopping the mummy from being resurrected…

      Is it a hard G like Maggie? I mean, come on, we need to know how to pronounce it!!!!

      September 29, 2017
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      • Miimers
        Miimers

        It’s pronounced the same as Maggi bouillon cubes.

        September 30, 2017
        |Reply
        • Jane Eyre
          Jane Eyre

          I thought the same thing XD

          October 2, 2017
          |Reply
  3. I take the Sofia thing at the end as confirmation that Zade is an unreliable narrator. If you read Zade’s recounting of the bit between Sofia and Riley as something she made up after the fact to explain why Sofia wasn’t wearing her safety harness, it highlights what a self-centered asshole Zade is (not that it needs highlighting, but whatever).

    September 26, 2017
    |Reply
  4. Thera Pitts
    Thera Pitts

    My book is about 1,000 times better than this (that’s not a brag, I mean, you read it, shit written on napkins is better) and it’s still nowhere near the level of The Hate U Give. I’d feel like a million bucks if Angie Thomas told me my book was “cute,” and Zani thinks she’s somehow on her level? Seriously, the audacity of this beeyotch.

    September 26, 2017
    |Reply
  5. mydogspa
    mydogspa

    Uh, not only would Mac be neck-deep in paperwork with theater staff, casino management, but OHSA as well, and when word gets out that Zadie told him about it ahead of time then she’s going to be the very first suspect accused of CAUSING it to happen, so add cops and FBI to the list for the investigation into possible attempted murder. (Mac doesn’t know her secret yet, right? So how would she know it was going to happen ahead of time unless SHE planned on it to someone she obviously dislikes?)

    Second, how does a stage move on its own? Can you imagine the 50-ton articulated sand-cliff stage on the “Ka” set at the MGM Grand moving on its own?!?!? The thing rotates 360 degrees and tilts up from flat to 100 degrees vertical as well as moving it vertically over 72 feet. It would crush someone like a bug if they were in the wrong spot. THESE SETS DON’T MOVE ON THEIR OWN!!!!

    September 26, 2017
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      I have met a photographer who injured his leg when the stage (which has a removable catwalk) opened up in the middle of shooting promo stills, but that indicates something wasn’t properly attached.

      A motorized stage doesn’t move unless. 1. A techie started it going; 2. It’s computer-run and the program malfunctioned, or 3. Your set is possessed by Pazuzu. (Song cue:. Tubular Bells.)

      September 26, 2017
      |Reply
    • Khristle
      Khristle

      The thing I’m confused as fuck about was that Zani was on the catwalk with Sofia and Riley, and then all of a sudden the two of them were on a platform that was higher than the catwalk so that when Sofia fell, Zani could push her?? Why would you have a platform above the catwalk? Generally people arent supposed to see that, but they’d be looking directly at it to see the platform up above it.

      September 27, 2017
      |Reply
      • Jamoche
        Jamoche

        Huh. I’d thought she telekinetically pushed her, but no, you’re right. Doesn’t she know how these stories are supposed to work? (Yeah, I know.)

        September 27, 2017
        |Reply
        • Unconsciously, you mean? That would explain why the premonition was so vague: Zani is unable to see herself as responsible of anything.

          This is officially my new headcanon. Thank you!

          September 27, 2017
          |Reply
  6. Cat
    Cat

    I like that people are taking time to jerk off about and to zAIDE whilst one of their colleagues – whom they’ve known for some time now – was just involved in a terrifying accident. Not only that, but joking so soon afterwards? Lol, did you see Sofie’s swan dive? That was hysterical. I could hardly breathe from laughing when she wasn’t breathing! What a maroon! Her pride is going to hurt her long after her back is healed. Thank goodness for super special zAIDE, that technicolor-haired hottie.

    I also enjoyed Mac telling Riley to go have a smoke and calm down. I’m surprised he didn’t walk over to Sofia and tell her to rub some dirt in it.

    September 26, 2017
    |Reply
  7. Erin C
    Erin C

    Her having characters based on real people hit on her self insert is so gross. Just super creepy.

    The unnecessary details and repetition are so weird. Did she realize that it was a novella and go back to randomly pad out the word count?

    Man this chick is coming across as really desperate to seem interesting. Wow she has colored streaks in her hair, so edgy! As though that hasn’t been a popular trend for a while now. Oooh, she likes common activities and well known artists, she really is Not Like Other Girls.

    Ugh, the comment on the mental image of “doctor” being male is too true though. People still get tripped up by the riddle about the child going to the ER.

    September 26, 2017
    |Reply
    • Did she realize that it was a novella and go back to randomly pad out the word count?

      Yes. in this interview, she says that the book went from 40 pages to 450.

      September 26, 2017
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        How do you make a movie out of this when even the book doesn’t have proper continuity? This goes way beyond the occasional wound in the wrong place or the window open in one shot and shut in another.

        Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: [pointing to Igor’s hump] Good man. Didn’t you, didn’t you use to have that on the other side?
        Igor: What?
        Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: Your, uh, oh nevermind.

        September 26, 2017
        |Reply
      • Mike
        Mike

        It originally being 40 pages is something I’ve seen a few times that keeps confusing me. I know it was originally written as a screenplay, but even as a screenplay that’s REALLY short. Generally the average length of a screenplay is 1 page for every minute of movie/show. 40 pages, assuming there’s not a lot of long dialogue-less scenes, would indicate it’s not even long enough for an hour long TV episode let alone the required minimum of around 75ish minutes to get a feature length film classification. So even to be a MOVIE it needed to be padded, and she expanded it to a whole book…

        September 26, 2017
        |Reply
        • Jamoche
          Jamoche

          Maybe she expected lots of magic F/X? But then she took a paragraph to describe one gesture of frustration, so who knows…

          September 27, 2017
          |Reply
    • Michael
      Michael

      IMO, the reason people get tripped up by that riddle isn’t a l w a y s sexism–it’s also because people expect the answer to be something super-clever, because that’s how riddles work.

      If you assume that the riddle might have a regular boring answer, then there are literally a million different answers you could get–the doctor’s his mother, the doctor’s his other gay dad, the doctor’s a compulsive liar, the doctor was saying something in a foreign language that sounds like the English phrase “this is my son,” and so on, and there’s no way to know which one’s the correct answer.

      It’s like the old riddle “Why did the chicken cross the road?” When people fail to come up with the right answer, “to get to the other side,” it’s not because they’re unaware that the reason one crosses a road is to get to the other side. It’s just that they didn’t expect the answer to be so obvious.

      Though to be fair, yes, there are sure to be several cases where people failed to answer the riddle because of sexist prejudices. Not denying that, but it’s important to also remember that people don’t expect riddles to have boring obvious answers.

      September 26, 2017
      |Reply
      • Quelaag
        Quelaag

        “–it’s also because people expect the answer to be something super-clever, because that’s how riddles work.”

        Nah, there’s a lot of deeply ingrained sexism involved. When I’m telling people about a normal trip to the doctor’s office, they almost always refer to the doctor as “he,” even though I never specify a gender, only that I went to see “a doctor.”

        September 27, 2017
        |Reply
        • I made a Doctor Strange cosplay once, and a guy referred to me as “Nurse Strange”. Like. Dude.

          September 27, 2017
          |Reply
          • shel
            shel

            It’s not as bad now that I am in practice and have my own office, since people are clearly coming to see me, the doctor… but during residency, especially in the ER, I could walk into a patient room sand say, Hi, I’m Dr. Shel, in my white coat, with Dr on it and do the whole history, exam, diagnosis etc… only to then get the question, “So when is the doctor coming in?”

            Or before I can say more than Hi I’m Dr. Shel, they tell the person on the phone “I have to go, the nurse is here.”

            It’s irritating as hell.

            September 29, 2017
  8. Alicee
    Alicee

    I don’t understand the accident AT ALL. How was she able to push Sofia toward the pool instead of the ground? If she could push her, couldn’t she try to grab her? And how deep is the pool anyway?
    Also, if Sofia got stitches, it means there should have been blood shouldn’t it?

    September 26, 2017
    |Reply
    • Mike
      Mike

      I thought this too. If she could push her hard enough to change her trajectory (which is way harder than people think) she would be close enough to have at least been able to grab on and fall with her, and the harnesses aren’t MEANT to hold two people but the quality for a show like that should be CAPABLE of it. So she shouldn’t have gotten hurt at all. But that’s less dramatic than her being able to perform CPR on someone who may die <_<

      If she needed stitches there would have been a lot of blood. The water tank would have needed to be drained and sanitized, and the floor she was on would have as well. The show would not be going on tonight, even if they found exactly what was causing the glitch and could say with 100% certainty it was fixed.

      September 26, 2017
      |Reply
      • Alicee
        Alicee

        And if the platform spinning fast (somehow…), pushing someone on the right angle for them to fall in the pool seems even more improbable. So just grabbing the person makes more sense. I expected Zade to use magic to modify Sofia’s fall and that would have been a better explanation (and justify the whole “I endangered my secret”).

        Also, Sofia is close enough to Riley to touch him when they are talking. When the platform there’re on starts moving, how come none of them has the reflex to grab the other for balance? Oh right, there would have been no drama…

        Oh, and I love how no one thinks that maybe sending for Spellman (both the boss and sofia’s boyfriend) would be a good idea.

        September 26, 2017
        |Reply
      • Jo
        Jo

        Theory: Zade actually pushed Sophia.

        She’s an extreme narcissist and everything she has been telling us so far is what she thinks happened or what she wants the readers to believe that happened. In reality, she’s lying to make herself seem more important than she really is (I mean… just look at the woman who “created” her) and she caused Sophia’s accident so she would have the chance to rescue her and be the hero. The weird POV shift are her just filling the gaps in her story.

        I mean, it’s really unlikely Sarem thought about that, but I choose to believe it because it will make this book more interesting and we all need it.

        September 26, 2017
        |Reply
        • Mike
          Mike

          Your theory is almost entirely accurate when you consider that Sarem intentionally wrote the scenario so Zade could look like a hero and make her look better than Sofia. And of course it had to be a woman she saved, because she has to prove she’s better than other women, but the men are all on her level. So the scenario was very intentionally set up to make her look like a hero who is better than other woman.

          So yeah, your theory is at least half accurate. The author, who is the character, intentionally did this to Sofia.

          September 26, 2017
          |Reply
          • Dove
            Dove

            Yeah, the problem is that Lani Sarem isn’t capable of hiding the author’s fingerprints, so it looks like Zade can’t either. And it stays that way.

            September 26, 2017
          • Amy
            Amy

            Knowing how Lani writes, there’s no way Zade could be the villain, because everyone know when you have a female villain, she’s going to be fat and ugly as well as vain and obsessed with wanting a coat made out of puppies.

            And Zade, who is going to played by miss Lani, is totally not going to be fat and ugly. (I have to get back to you on that puppy thing tho…)

            September 27, 2017
          • ViolettaD
            ViolettaD

            @Amy
            Now wait just a dern minute! Cruella deVille was SCRAWNY and ugly.

            September 27, 2017
        • Dove
          Dove

          The book definitely makes a lot more sense if Zade’s an unreliable narrator and an extreme narcissist. I think a lot of people have noticed that too. From here on out, this only gets worse, and then it just gets WEIRD at towards the end. Before that, it’s just a horrible slog.

          I think this whole book is a commentary on Lani Sarem’s mindset, but she’s too divorced from reality to realize that sensible people can see through her lazy ass. If she’d just gone back and revised it a few times, everything wouldn’t be so obviously manipulated, from the plot to the characterizations. We’d still probably have the cognitive dissonance though, because I don’t think LS has enough insight to realize the difference between a bare bones wish-fulfillment fantasy and a carefully cultivated novel. 😛

          September 26, 2017
          |Reply
    • Megan M.
      Megan M.

      I think she means she “pushed” her with magic but she’s such an abysmal writer that it didn’t come across like it was supposed to.

      September 26, 2017
      |Reply
      • Cat
        Cat

        That’s a fair point about it being a magical (sorry, magickal) push but the question remains as to why she couldn’t magically grab her or prevent her from falling. She couldn’t even prevent her from falling as hard as she did.

        Admittedly, I’m just being really bitchy about this because the scene was obviously just to showcase amazeballs zAIDE saving the life of Super Bitch Sofia (again, why didn’t Riley fall?)

        September 26, 2017
        |Reply
        • Mike
          Mike

          I dunno, if that is the case she’s done a terrible job communicating it. She says she was just barely able to push her and that her ‘shove’ caused her to land in the pool rather than on the floor. Those are very physical word choices. Though this author does suck and gives an entirely different account of what happened at the end of the chapter. So either the author sucks ‘cuz she didn’t clarify it properly or she sucks ‘cuz she doesn’t understand that in order to shove someone you have to be close enough to grab them. There’s really no way she comes out looking good.

          September 26, 2017
          |Reply
          • mydogspa
            mydogspa

            Uh, physics. Sophia would fall at 32 ft/sec/sec, so it would take about a second and a half to hit the stage 50 feet below. Two options: Zadie is on the catwalk when she pushed SoPHiA, or Zadie lept off the catwalk and was falling also in order to push her mid-flight (not clear which from Jenny recap)

            Option 1: If Zadie was behind SoPHiA on the catwalk when she fell then in order to ‘push’ SoPH then Zadie would have to have been within arms reach of SoPHiA at the moment SoPH left the catwalk, otherwise she would have been out of reach within a hundred milliseconds. If Zadie was that close, she definitely would have heard the conversation.

            Opotion 2: If Zadie jumped off the platform to ‘push’ SoPH, they’d both would have to leave the platform within tens of milliseconds of each other otherwise the first to fall would be too far away from the other (3 feet after a tenth of a second). Because both would fall at the same rate, ‘pushing’ someone in free-fall would be ineffective. So within that 1 ½ second she has to then 1) get close enough and 2) shove them (When you give someone a ‘shove’ you also have to be anchored against something that will allow you to actually change the recipient’s trajectory. Two people in free-fall ‘pushing’ against each other will not separate at any significant speed or distance after a second and a half of free fall.) Also, if Zadie is ‘in her safety harness,’ what is that harness attached to? Is there a cable? A ‘harness’ by itself is worthless unless it’s attached to something that would, you know, stop the fall. To keep Zadie safe, the cable would have gone taught at a safe height above the stage and jerked her worse than a hangman’s noose. After a jolt like that, how does she then give CPR? Did she disconnect her harness? Then what, fall to the stage?

            Ugh. Amateurs.

            September 27, 2017
          • mydogspa
            mydogspa

            Oh wait, I got it. Zinnia knew either Riley or Sophia was going to fall (the only other ones on the catwalk, right?) so Zinnia goes to stop them, but then Zinnia and Sophia get into a slapping contest that would make Preacher Lawson green ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2x-pXRRliw ) and that’s why Sophia falls off . . . .

            September 27, 2017
          • ViolettaD
            ViolettaD

            @mydogspa:
            She could take lessons from this:

            September 27, 2017
          • mydogspa
            mydogspa

            Aha! Pony- catching butterflies! Of course!! Why didn’t she just SAY SO?!

            September 27, 2017
    • Athena
      Athena

      I wondered that myself, because human reflex is to catch something that is falling, especially another human being.

      I was very curious about this scene when I first read it on Lani-not Sarem’s blog because I’ve been working on a YA fantasy novel that involves flying mounts. Based on a rock climbing website’s calculator, and guessing that Sophia is 110 lbs, she would have been falling at 20mph when she landed flat on her back on the water. Ever done a belly flop? Surface tension frigging hurts. I would think Sophia would have a lot more than a concussion and a bruised backside. More like serious bruising all down her back, probably some spinal injury too, at the very least whiplash. Again, I’m not an expert, but I don’t think Sophia’s ego is the worst injury she would have received.

      September 28, 2017
      |Reply
  9. TIL that dying people enjoy being comforted. Wow. So underground, Zaidilanie. She did it before it was cool! Maybe she can sing a song about it by little-known artist Taylor Swift.

    September 26, 2017
    |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      Taylor Swift? Nah, nah, this is Zade we’re talking about. The music has to be from before the 2000s. Because Zade is not like other girls, she totally doesn’t listen to current pop songs, let alone from people like Brittany Spears or Beyoncé.

      No, Zade only listens to “good” music. She was a fan of them before they were cool.

      September 27, 2017
      |Reply
  10. Mike
    Mike

    I hate that premonition thing. A character sees the future, says “I saw a disaster in the future! But we can change it!” And then they change it, so the disaster’s averted. And they never point out that if what the psychic saw happening ended up not happening, then that person did by definition not see the future. What that person actually did do was make an erroneous prediction.

    It’s like saying that Trump will win the popular vote, and the going “The voters changed the future! instead of just admitting that you made a mistake, or at least calling it a prediction of one p o s s i b l e future.

    But stories always treat it as if the present exists and one point far in the future exists, but the time in between these two points doesn’t exist; it’ll come into existence second by second as you experience it. So if you see a great fire in the future, then you can change the future by making sure the fire never starts blazing in the first place.

    And then they d o change the future by being more careful somehow, and it just makes me wanna yell “If you never did the thing that started the fire, then how could thereb e that terrible fire in the future to begin with?”

    Also, shouldn’t that mean that there’d be TONS AND TONS of horrible future accidents constantly? Like, in the Bad Future we all had no arms, since we cut them off for fun. But Present-Time Us changed the future by not cutting off our arms, simply cuz we had no desire to do it in the first place.

    Ugh. That was a long rant, but I hope what I’m saying si coming across.

    September 26, 2017
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      Stephen King did it correctly in “Dead Zone.” Johnny knows that one possible future is raving nutjob Greg Stillson becoming president and blowing up the planet (ouch!), but another one involves seeing Stillson blurred behind some stripes and sensing the failure of his political career. Johnny (and the reader) don’t find out what the stripes mean til the end of the book, and in the meantime we share Johnny’s terror and frustration.

      September 26, 2017
      |Reply
  11. Cat
    Cat

    My issue with the premonition is that it seems that it didn’t do anything to help prevent a disaster. Had zAIDE not had it, she wouldn’t have been so distracted, trying to locate something hinky and she might have been more aware of her immediate surroundings. Instead, she was caught off guard (because, obvs, any falling was going to take place 50 feet below) so could only push Sofia. Had she been paying more attention and not been seeking disaster in stupid places, she might have caught Sofia or even just helped Riley convince her to put her harness on.

    Why didn’t Riley fall as well, by the way? He wasn’t harnessed either. Stupid book.

    September 26, 2017
    |Reply
  12. ViolettaD
    ViolettaD

    We had both a children’s illustrated version of “Arabian Nights” (with all the naughty parts cut out, alas) and a recording of the Rimsky-Korsakov ballet. (Granted, my parents were performing arts addicts.) Not only does “-zade” rhyme with “Todd,” but there is what my Linguistics major friend calls a “schwa” at the final e (Sheh-heh-reh-ZAH-d’uh), at least for the ballet.

    Notice that both Scheherazade and Esther replace unfit queens: Esther replaces Vashti, and I can’t remember the name of Sultan Shahriar’s cheating first wife. It is not enough for Zani to succeed; other women must fail.

    September 26, 2017
    |Reply
    • FeralSwitch
      FeralSwitch

      I’m glad I’m not the only one thinking about the use of Esther here. Beheadings, the weird double-bind about how sluttiness is good only when the heroine does it….

      September 27, 2017
      |Reply
    • Xebi
      Xebi

      “Not only does “-zade” rhyme with “Todd,”…”

      This is so weird in a British accent, but if I were to say it rhymed with card then you’d think it was weird too, because you guys pronounce your rs properly 😉

      I’m going with “façade”

      September 28, 2017
      |Reply
      • Carla
        Carla

        Ohhh, thank you, I forgot about American accents! I was confused with the comparison to “Todd” like, I didn’t think it was pronounced like Zod!

        October 1, 2017
        |Reply
  13. Mike
    Mike

    There is so much wrong in this chapter I can’t even…

    I’ve been in a situation where an employee who wasn’t terribly well liked was injured on the job. People do NOT make jokes. Even the jackasses feel bad for them and most people, especially if it was something that could have happened to them, are shook up for the next few DAYS not just minutes. Workplace accidents that are more severe than someone getting burned by a sputtering coffee machine can be traumatizing. And if this was bad enough that she needed to go to the hospital and get stitches, the technical director should NOT be outside having a smoke, he should be inside looking over all the equipment and talking to EVERYONE that has so much as LOOKED at it since it was last properly functioning! And the very first person I’d have been talking to would be the one who Sofia doesn’t get along with who warned that someone would get hurt, who has a lot of secrets and doesn’t want the technical director to know anything she does.

    The author clearly doesn’t care about representing anything with even the tiniest bit of realism. Every one has to see her in the best possible light and every event has to make her look amazing. Because god forbid a character the avatar of the author be viewed as having any flaws. You know, aside from blatant sexism and less blatant racism. And being painfully unaware of how POV writing works…

    September 26, 2017
    |Reply
  14. Maril
    Maril

    It occurs to me that Zade thinking Arabian Nights is romantic may be an extension of the internalized misogyny. I mean, a story where the protagonist outlives other women ‘cuz she’s smarter than they are, of course that’s going to speak to a woman who is constantly comparing herself to other woman the way she does. And the fact that the ‘love interest’ kills the other women isn’t a problem because they weren’t good enough for him because they were just normal women. Therefore she is deserving of his affection and they are deserving of death.

    Sarem has serious issues.

    But since the last few comment sections I’ve seen people making alternate takes on where the story could go, a good author could have made this some amazing foreshadowing for an incredibly dark story. She says that she thinks this story is so romantic, in the end it turns out she’s been secretly killing any woman she deems as ‘unworthy’ of the affection of men she likes in the hopes that they’ll fall in love with her when they realize how amazing she is after all her competition is gone.

    September 26, 2017
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      Hush hush! Keep it down, now.
      (Voices carry.)

      September 26, 2017
      |Reply
      • Maril
        Maril

        Damn, you’re right, she’ll get me!

        Seriously though, I’m loving seeing everyone coming up with so many alternate ways to write this story and make it really engaging. Everyone in these comments is really creative. But it says something really bad about Lani that there are SO many alternate ways to take this story and she instead chose to make… well, what she made. It’s like, instead of taking a shitty concept and making something awesome out of it she took a concept full of massive potential in so many different ways and just made shit out of it. I want to see a whole fanfic community grow out of this book XD

        September 26, 2017
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          I want to see a whole fanfic community grow out of this book XD

          Same! Plus, there’s a lot of fun that can be had with some of the supporting cast and as others have mentioned, just making Zade the villain. There are also her parents, who could also be some really messed up antagonists too.

          Charles=Jackson (and sometimes Zeb=Jackson to cover Charlie’s ass.)

          Alternatively, if you know about the ending, there’s some amazing fanfiction filled with pathos that could be had, with the parents as protags who swap POV every couple of chapters, with Zade as an actual kid or teenager, basically dealing with divorce in a better, more realistic fashion. There’s also so much ruined potential with basically all of the plot hooks left untied.

          Lani Sarem is such an incompetent writer. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was her first movie script and her first book, yet she thought she could slap both out in a month, leave them untouched, and turn them into fame and money. Yeeeah.

          September 26, 2017
          |Reply
          • Amy
            Amy

            Oh no, I wouldn’t want fanfiction to be made. Lani might be the type of person who’ll sue people for making fanfiction, and she might end up stealing the better ideas from the writers themselves.

            Though I do find it hilarious that the only “fan forum” HFM has is us laughing at how bad it is.

            September 27, 2017
    • Dove
      Dove

      Therefore she is deserving of his affection and they are deserving of death.

      I never thought about it that way. OMG! I think you’re right. That’s exactly why she loves it. D:

      She says that she thinks this story is so romantic, in the end it turns out she’s been secretly killing any woman she deems as ‘unworthy’ of the affection of men she likes in the hopes that they’ll fall in love with her when they realize how amazing she is after all her competition is gone.

      That’d make a great twist for a fanfic rewrite! There are so many horror stories that could be made with this book’s premise, including incest plots, for reasons that will become apparent much later on. The whole book really works perfect for evil Zade as a gaslighting maniac and the same holds true for her family.

      September 27, 2017
      |Reply
      • Maril
        Maril

        It has to be that she thinks the protagonist ‘earned’ his affection. That’s the only way you could think of a story of a woman desperately trying to save her own life as a romance story. She thinks it’s romantic because the woman proves she’s better than all the other women and he falls in love with her instead of brutally murdering her like he does everyone else. And he’s totally worth having because he loves her enough to not kill her and move on to a new wife. In other words she’s ‘not like other girls’. Which is what Zade has spent the entirety of the story so far humblebragging about. Though the story would be more interesting if she was as good at story telling as her namesake…

        Incest plots are super skeevy XD But they can make for some good plot fodder if handled well. This story is rife with potential to be horror. Even the first few chapters are just full of little details that could easily be utilized to twist the whole story on its head. It’s implied right in chapter 0 that her mom was using magic to keep her in the little town, so you could make it so her mom was trying to bind her there to keep her dark nature under control! Or that her mother is as evil as she is and is just super possessive as well and was trying to keep her to herself after the father escaped her clutches. There’s so much potential!

        September 27, 2017
        |Reply
        • Amy
          Amy

          It’s also the whole, “I can change him” trope seen in so many bad romance novels, as well as FSG.

          Here’s the thing: I don’t mind Zade’s name. I actually like it. It’s honestly better than some YA names I’ve come across, but the weird emphasis on the pronunciation and its meaning is beyond pretentious.

          September 27, 2017
          |Reply
  15. Crystal M
    Crystal M

    It seems like everyone in this book is a psychopath.

    September 26, 2017
    |Reply
  16. Okay like, safety director? I like, don’t like tell you how my trick is done and I get these premonitions and they’re like, totally right so why aren’t you listening to me and my COMPLETE FUCKING INSANITY?

    September 26, 2017
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      The worst part is, if Mac had any sense, he should’ve asked if Zade was trying to indicate something was wrong with her illusion. Then he could’ve gotten some input on that. Instead, he doesn’t even question that she sounds suspicious! He either thinks she’s superstitious, or he gives no shits. So many Informed Attributes…

      September 27, 2017
      |Reply
  17. Also can someone call 9-1-1 because this girl is dying? But she’s bitchy and also not Lani- I mean ZADE, so I guess none of the countless male members of the crew want anything to do with her. Because she’s not Zade.

    September 26, 2017
    |Reply
  18. Fer
    Fer

    This is not a fantasy; these are 2 fantasies and an idiot who doesn`t know how to mix them.

    First we have the always present thing of being the queen bee and that all the boys love her, while none of the girls had more spotlight than her and if someone bitch about of her, is clearly the one nobody loves. (It wouldn`t be a surprise if Sofia is the real name of the girlfriend or wife of one of her friends)

    And then is this tiny fantasy of being in the magic world of Sabrina. From the family secret, the littel town rejects me thing, new girl who has someone who hates her for no reason, overprotective family, never tell the love interest about magic, careless father, Spellman, wannabe normal and failing, weird friend, suddenly new magic tricks, always end well.

    That makes Jackson this guy who was going to marry Sabrina and superass is Harvey… wait, wasn`t the runaway scene in a bike? Anyway, someone comment that this thing was just 40 pages so clearly she use this Sabrina thing to creat what she thinks is a plot or was watching it while writing, forgetting a little detail of conection between the 2 main ideas and giving the world this.

    Mmm Archie`s owners can sue her, right?

    September 26, 2017
    |Reply
    • Fer
      Fer

      *Create

      September 26, 2017
      |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      I think this book is so divorced from everything in the world that I don’t think Archie can sue her. Also, in spite of the lies in the book blurb, the plot isn’t about a love triangle at all. It isn’t even about a daughter trying to rekindle a relationship with her estranged father, as one might expect from the first few chapters… But I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re right, and some of her inspiration came from Sabrina. Lani Sarem is into comics, but she doesn’t openly acknowledge it (or else all of the comic book references in the book are there to appeal to people at conventions.) I suspect she reads the Charmed comics at least.

      And yeah, she’s definitely trying to have her cake and eat it too. Lani Sarem is writing two different premises and they don’t gel: the normal girl wanting to be special, and the special girl wanting to be normal. If LS had any writing experience, or concern for anything but herself, she’d realize it would’ve been better to write about two characters who are foils for each other. Instead, we have this mess that just doesn’t work. 🙁

      September 27, 2017
      |Reply
      • Maril
        Maril

        “it would’ve been better to write about two characters who are foils for each other.”

        OH! If she accidentally split herself doing one of her tricks, and then you have the two aspects of her personality, the part of her that genuinely did want to just fit in and be normal and the part of her that loves having bright blue hair and being the center of attention in a big Las Vegas show! They have to stay together to try and figure out a way to recombine but they’re constantly in conflict with each other and having to fake being one person, and one of them can fall for the reasonable down to earth Mac who just wants to keep everyone safe (and actually does his job properly…) and the other falls for the rockstar vibe Jackson and it becomes increasingly messy.

        That’d be a way to salvage this without turning it into a horror story. And everyone can relate to feeling conflicted about things. I know there are days where I just want to blend in to the crowd and disappear and others where I wish people would notice me for the things I love… Wouldn’t excuse all the sexism, but it would make the story way more interesting at least.

        September 27, 2017
        |Reply
        • mydogspa
          mydogspa

          Evil Spock?

          September 27, 2017
          |Reply
          • mydogspa
            mydogspa

            Zaide with a beard – – – works for me. . . .

            September 27, 2017
        • ViolettaD
          ViolettaD

          Or at least acknowledge her ambivalence. Zelda Fitzgerald once wrote, “It’s very difficult to be two people at once, one who wants to have a law unto itself and the other who want to keep all the nice old things and be loved and safe and protected.” (In Zelda’s case, of course, her non-conformist self ate the other for breakfast.)

          September 27, 2017
          |Reply
  19. Norah
    Norah

    “Magnolia was one of my favorite films, too. It was also why I knew who Aimee Mann was.”

    LOLOL OK
    I know who Aimee Mann is from Till Tuesday and from going to the same college and she guest-starred on Buffy the Fucking Vampire Slayer and because she’s been around for almost FORTY YEARS making music
    This bitch lol whoo
    *wipes tears*
    This is better than the 50 Shades shade

    September 26, 2017
    |Reply
  20. River
    River

    Ok. So. I’m a paramedic and an ER tech and I can tell you it is highly unlikely that someone free falling into a pool backwards would survive with minor injuries. It is more likely the blunt force trauma to her entire body would do some real harm. Shearing of internal organs, lacerations to delicate structures like her spleen, internal hemorrhaging, fracturing bones, compressed disks, c-spine fracture possibly paralyzing her…And we haven’t even talked about CPR! This is brutal and violent and you WILL be fracturing ribs and possibly popping lungs. Not to mention she was dead. That is what CPR means. The chances of getting ROSC after a traumatic arrest is slim, many agencies don’t even attempt CPR at that point because it is useless. Besides that, the average lay person doesn’t perform high quality CPR, so it magically being done well enough by Zinnia is laughable. I’d also like to know how long she performed it for, because as silly as it sounds, people are only able to do about two minutes of compressions before they can’t any longer or they become ineffectual. Which is why people switch out frequently in a code and why you’ll never see a proper code in any film. What peeves me is a little research would have given her some understanding about the trauma poor Sophia… Sophie… Sophina (pronounced SoPHinA) would have suffered. Also geeze, AHA has a whole website on cardiac arrest, go read up on it.

    September 26, 2017
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Thanks for the insight! It’s always interesting to get some of the actual details. Gah, come to think of it, since she loved music, it would’ve been cool if she could’ve at least mentioned how CPR requires rhythmic pressure (right?) I remember Staying Alive is amusingly appropriate for this. 🙂

      Unfortunately, cartoon physics and little-to-no research is going to be a recurring theme in this book. Lani Sarem didn’t give a single shit about accuracy. :p

      September 27, 2017
      |Reply
      • River
        River

        You are correct, Staying Alive and Another One Bit the Dust are two that have a quick enough beat, think one compression a second, and you’ll grasp how fast you’ll move. I can tell you the incredible adrenaline rush that happens and the complete narrowing of focus prevents you from noticing anything but that chest you are pounding on. It would be unlikely, if she were truly given over to CPR, for her to notice any conversations happening. I’ll also tell you that for place that big they’d gave some sort of plan for arrests, someone needs to bring the defibrillator. Without that sucker her heart probably isn’t starting again as CPR doesn’t kick the electrical signal which is out of whack it merely pushes blood around so the brain and other organs get oxygen. Sorry. I could rant all day about this and geek out over medical.

        September 27, 2017
        |Reply
        • I was watching a show last night where one character got electrocuted and his heart stopped. And another character did about 4 compressions and then sobbed “It’s no use!”

          Dude. I say “worst CPR EVER” when I’m watching shows a lot, but that really took the cake.

          September 27, 2017
          |Reply
          • River
            River

            Arrrgg! Four compressions is literally like opening the oven, thinking about putting the cake in and then sobbing “no, it will never bake.” For crying in the night, why can’t these people get it right. It is a system so it wouldn’t even be hard to film.

            September 29, 2017
    • small jar of fireflies
      small jar of fireflies

      Maybe she wasn’t breathing when Zade pulled her up, but disregarding other fatal fall damage, could she have had a pulse the whole time?

      That would explain why she was so ungrateful to be rescued by Zade and getting CPR. I don’t think anyone would want to come around to an attempt to break their ribs.

      September 27, 2017
      |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      My brothers were qualified lifeguards in their youth, and they were taught how easily drowning can cause brain damage. So having that “joke” of Sofia being permanently damaged is doubly insensitive and gross.

      but of course, once again, I doubt this will never come up. The whole point of this scene was to show how awesome and kickass Zade is.

      I also realized another horrific tropes this hints at. In a lot of fiction, the “mean girl” often gets into some kind of trouble or trauma that’ll “change” her into a “good person.” (Usually this involves rape and having the heroine saving her at the last second)
      After this accident, Sofia is then given more agency as a character, with her singing becoming a plot point for her. So natrually now that Sofia is no longer a bad person anymore, the accident was probably the best thing that happened to her.

      September 28, 2017
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        Wait a minute, wasn’t the author falsely accusing Sofa of falsely accusing Zany of causing the accident, or some such thing, even though last we saw Sofa was comatose and being hauled out in TWO separate stretchers?
        How can such an ingrate become a better person?

        September 28, 2017
        |Reply
    • Bookjunk
      Bookjunk

      Ever since my father had to perform CPR on my mother (cardiac arrest due to a blood clot and she has completely recovered) in my presence, every time they use it in fiction its depiction strikes me as ridiculously and incredibly wrong. Defibrillators never enter into it and yet the victim almost always magickally (fuck you, stupid unnecessary k) starts to breathe after half a minute. I guess their heart just somehow started beating again?

      I don’t understand why it’s so hard to get this right. Adding more realism would even be dramatically interesting. Cut to black once the defibrillator has done its thing if you don’t want to deal with ambulance rides, hospital procedures and recovery from – at the very least – cracked ribs.

      Btw, you’re so right about how slim the chances are of CPR being succesful if it’s being performed by the average lay person. That’s why the doctors were very hesitant to be optimistic about my mother’s recovery while she was still in a medically induced coma, even though my father had started performing CPR within a minute of her being “dead.” Luckily, he’s a cop, so he’s not the average lay person, but I’m so grateful that he managed to remember his training and experience. It’s kinda different when it’s not some random citizen, but your own wife.

      I’m not proud of it (though I don’t beat myself up over it anymore either) but my first thought when the operator suggested that we alternate performing CPR was: I haven’t practised that since I was 12, so I’d rather not.

      September 30, 2017
      |Reply
  21. RMH
    RMH

    My beloved ‘Eleanor and Park’ on a bookshelf – I love it.

    In Lani’s defense – but not really, because I’m sure she didn’t think of it – as far as individuals at the scene not responding to an obvious safety emergency – at my job, there can be safety calls for an incident, the overhead page goes out to the ‘Safety Team’ which is particular people within the whole team that will respond. The idea is that, when the agency was small, doing ‘All Staff’ as an overhead page made sense, but when there are 200+ people it just clogs up the response and calls staff to the event when they aren’t necessary.

    We also have instructed staff specifically that, if they aren’t a part of ‘Safety Team’ they can help by instructing other gathering staff/clients to clear the area for the clear arrival and leaving of City safety personal.

    This doesn’t appear to be something Lani has thought about, otherwise she would specify these people are supposed to hang back because they aren’t meant to respond, etc. and they had some anxiety about what would happen because they hadn’t seen such a catastrophic event.

    I feel like myself, Jenny, or any member of the commentariat could rewrite this book without changing the story (which is not interesting) and make it so much better.

    September 27, 2017
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      I feel like myself, Jenny, or any member of the commentariat could rewrite this book without changing the story (which is not interesting) and make it so much better.

      It’s sadly very true. Just tweaking it to make things sinister would be the easiest push in that direction, but if they dropped most of the filler and focused on the untouched world building, it would run rings around this nonsense. It’s just a horrible cake.

      Lani Sarem grabbed a bucket of plot hooks, dumped them into a pan, poured in heaps of unnecessary commentary, ignoring all the ingredients for professional standards, necessary exposition, and seamless continuity. Then she cooked it too long, burning the whole outer layer with typos, bits of aimless obviousness, and needless repetition. After it came out of the oven, she slathered it with awkward grammar, sprinkled on random punctuation, and then picked off more random bits of punctuation for the editor, but really she just wanted to eat them.

      I think her biggest problem is that she doesn’t know what she should’ve focused on. LS tries to create terrible plot twists, that are broadcast from a mile away, and in the meantime force herself to avoid expanding the relationship elements with the supporting cast that would make them easier to empathize with. She has no concept of context, only how to spin it in her favor. She ignores the kind of research that would provide true uniqueness to her world. Massively important events happen off-screen, go ignored, or only get explained long after they’re relevant. LS will explain stupid things, because she doesn’t understand what agency is, and how it impacts the lives of actual human beings IRL.

      She could’ve unraveled this herself, if she took the time to get some critique, instead of pushing her mess-terpiece out the door and into print.

      September 27, 2017
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        I doubt it spent too long in the oven. Looks pretty half-baked to me.

        Example from Jenny’s recrap:
        ———————————-
        “I always took it at face value that, if I was getting one of these visions or premonitions; it meant I was supposed to help change the situation.”

        Grammarly marks this sentence as just fine, punctuation wise, but I think Grammarly is drunk. Technically correct or not, the punctuation here looks absolutely bizarre.
        ———————————-
        semi-colon if both sides of it are main clauses—could stand alone as sentences with period in-between. First half of this (up to and including “premonitions”) is dependent clause, would be fragment on its own, and takes comma.

        I’ve done professional proofreading and copy editing (unfortunately, it only works with somebody else’s stuff!–still regularly mangle my own). Aside from all the grammar and punctuation glitches, editors who let all the continuity glitches get past first revision, let alone to the printer’s, would have their hindquarters handed to them on a styrofoam platter.

        September 27, 2017
        |Reply
        • Thank you for this, because I haven’t had my coffee yet and my brainspeed was at “no semicolon bad!”

          September 27, 2017
          |Reply
  22. Perlite
    Perlite

    It would’ve been nice to have hints of this power, I dunno, FOUR CHAPTERS AGO? The way this chapter starts feels like the beginning of a book, and not in a good. Vague hints about something dramatic that happened. Powers being introduced. Monologuing about “Destiny”.

    Why does no one care that one of their coworkers nearly DIED? THERE’S A LIFE-THREATENING MALFUNCTION, YOUR STAR PERFORMER IS NOT BREATHING, AND ALL YOU FUCKS CARE ABOUT IS HOW RILEY FEELS? Yeah. Yeah. Bitchy female rival who is a professional but suddenly acts out-of-character to make the main girl look good. Whatever.

    I understand why Mac didn’t listen to Zade. She’s shown herself to be extremely uncooperative. And, as far as he knows, is putting the entire troupe at risk by refusing to let him near her for safety checks. And now this newbie is telling him how to do his job. Honestly, I’d like Mac a lot more if he didn’t act like your typical douche-bag, brooding male lead. As soon as he and the other technicians immediately ran to Riley instead of checking up on Sophia, I lost any sympathy I had for him. Yeah, I understand wanting to know what caused the problem so it won’t endanger other performers, but all he gets out of it “Yeah, it’s not your fault. I’m sure our unconscious and not-breathing coworker will be fine. Smokes for everyone.”

    “I just don’t want anything like what just happened to Sofia to happen to you, too.” Well, nice to know this asshole acknowledged what to Sophia was pretty bad. Not enough to skip his smoke break, but it’s the thought that counts. (fuck you, Clark Kent)

    September 27, 2017
    |Reply
    • small jar of fireflies
      small jar of fireflies

      It does feel like the beginning of the book, but by the end of the chapter, everything has petered out again and Lani is not motivated, inspired, or launched on her way.

      So… Next chapter, then?

      September 27, 2017
      |Reply
  23. Her full name’s Scheherazade?
    Dagnabbit!
    There goes one of my picks for the name of my future children.

    September 27, 2017
    |Reply
    • Cat
      Cat

      If it is any consolation, my friend named her cat Scheherazade last year (Shay for short since my friend also has a 10 year old).

      September 27, 2017
      |Reply
  24. small jar of fireflies
    small jar of fireflies

    Just for fun, I’ve been doing some research on pools and diving. Mac is fired and has been since the first dive. OSHA has shut them down.

    It turns out you’re not supposed to dive into an above-ground pool at all, because all the force of your dive slams the water out in concussive ripples every time you hit. You’ll weaken a side rivet eventually, and surf out with all the water. So first you slam the pool, and next you get thrown out with the weight of however many gallons washing you out. I’m just learning about this, but mac should have been able to calculate how hard Zade would get smashed into the wall the first time she exploded the pool, as well as how many hundreds of gallons of water would be washing over their lights and wiring.

    Second off, diving depth. Just by poking around online, it looks like the maximum depth you’ll sink after a dive is 18 feet, so 20 feet is the deepest depth for a diving pool. I found someone talking on a forum about hitting the pool floor with his or her feet after a 9 foot dive into 14 feet of water. Zade dived from 60 feet. This above ground pool is only there to provide a water source for illusions, and nobody seems to worry about people getting in for fun and drowning themselves, so it can’t be much over 5 feet.

    Zade is dead. Sofia is dead. Possibly the theatre is flooded and everyone is dead in the resulting electrical catastrophe. Mac is not good at his job.

    I’m not an expert. I’m just a curious person with Google. Authors need that.

    September 27, 2017
    |Reply
  25. This reading of this book is GIVING ME LIFE. Please continue as quickly as your mental health allows. Also, thank you for ALL OF THIS.

    September 27, 2017
    |Reply
  26. Another thought – Scheherazade and the Arabian Nights thing goes with Lanie’s (I mean ZADE’s) “not like other girls” theme. Think about it – the king executes every single girl except THE ONE who is soooo much better and smarter than the others. Of course Zade would be named after that one.

    This is just sad and pathetic.

    September 27, 2017
    |Reply
  27. I remember when I read the early posts about this and how her name was meant to be short for Scheherazade and just cackling. Of course her ~g***y soul white girl magick~ ass would be called that. She’s not like other girls, she doesn’t even pronounce her given name properly (although she makes damn sure we say fucking Lani right). My roommate and I immediately started going “KNEEL BEFORE ZADE!”.

    I choked when I read that “wow YOU know who Aimee Mann is????” part. I can’t remember if this has been dropped in as part of Zani’s sparkling personality yet, but I’m guessing she’s one of those people who was born in the wrong decade because she listened to one Doors song and hates most popular music (despite dropping in well known artists like Aimee Mann and The Dixie Chicks).

    September 27, 2017
    |Reply
  28. Razwick
    Razwick

    “Usually my hints of the future come in random flashes. So, when I try to focus, it gets tricky–like focusing a nice camera for a picture. As you make adjustments, the image gets clearer, but if you try too hard then it gets even fuzzier.”

    Okay I didn’t even finish the recap yet, I just had to come down here and laugh my ass off because WHAT?! hahahahahaha

    Going past your point of focus isn’t “trying too hard”
    Turning the focusing ring is actually really not that difficult, and it’s got a short enough turn that if you go too far it’s easy to fix!

    And let us not forget that even fancy cameras (lenses, actually, Lani, the focusin part is on the lens) have autofocus! Shocking! QUEL SUPRISE.

    Hahahaha, anyway, that was delightful.

    September 27, 2017
    |Reply
  29. Mimi
    Mimi

    All the dialogue is this book is like boring small talk from a party that I’m desperately trying to escape from. “OMG that’s your name? Well this is my name! You also like Aimee Mann?” *Fakes polite laughter”
    Substitute the magic talk for people who go on and on to strangers about all the details of their diet* and Zani is officially the most exhausting person at the party.

    *Not saying you can’t ever talk about this stuff, just saying I have to already know and like you before I care about what you eat.

    September 27, 2017
    |Reply
  30. Katja
    Katja

    I was so excited to see a new chapter of this recap up! This book is a mess on so many levels, and I learned while laughing to the point of snorting.

    I don’t remember her illusion/magick very well, but I wish Scheherahelp had saved Sofa by magicking her through the floor and letting her come up in the pool. Then Sofa could be back in the spotlight by duplicating Zani’s trick, and Zani would have to deal with the questions around that, and maybe form a friendship with Soph when the former rival becomes a confidant after having her life saved.

    But alas, not that kind of book, not that kind of author. I used to have leverage characters who were just there to make the protag look amazing by comparison, but that was in middle school. I still see it in published works, and it surprises me that authors assume that their readers will hate these characters enough to feel Scheherazadenfreude at the idea of them injured or dead.

    September 28, 2017
    |Reply
  31. John D.
    John D.

    If I were writing this book, I’d play it for laughs. I’d have Zany flit from scene to scene, causing disasters wherever she goes while narrating her adventures aloud for everyone to hear. Naturally, her narration does not quite overlap with reality:

    The entire crew were sitting down to lunch. Mac asked Zany if she’d pass the salt. Zany batted her eyelashes at him and simpered, ‘I can’t. I’m too humble.”

    Huh?” asked Mac.

    “Yes, I’m just too gosh-darn humble to pass the salt.” she repeated and went on to say, “Everyone was gaping at Zany with their mouths open, undoubtedly surprised, and yet, at the same time gratified beyond belief that she wasn’t as perfect as she looked. It was, in fact, all the better that her one real flaw wasn’t a flaw at all, only that she obviously didn’t consider herself to be perfect even though she so obviously was in every single way that mattered. Why, it was almost like Witchcraft, just like in the little-known song by the obscure singer Frank Sinatra that – of course! – nobody sitting there in that l’il ole Las Vegas lunchroom would ever have heard of in their lives, except for Zany, who kept things real in her knowledge of struggling indie artistes who were too cutting edge for the plebeian masses. As with her understandable enthusiasm for small, independent art films like Paul Blart Mall Cop and Star Wars the Phantom Menace that nobody would ever have heard of, the lofty intellectuality of it all almost made Zany hug herself and weep for the shining perfection of her own soul…but she was far too humble for that.”

    Ignoring the slack-jawed gapes this little speech brought about, Zany picked up a fork, eyeing Sophia in a considering manner. “I fear that the horridly unprofessional Queen Bitchface’s life might be in danger again!” she declared, grinning maniacally.

    “Like when you pushed her off the catwalk?” asked Mac.

    September 28, 2017
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      Sadly, every single person who has posted an alternate version of this book has come up with a better story than the original. Even the obvious parodies have more coherence and consistent character delineation.

      September 28, 2017
      |Reply
    • Bookjunk
      Bookjunk

      Oh, this is gold!

      September 30, 2017
      |Reply
  32. Esme
    Esme

    I love Aimee Mann and I’m so pissed she’s mentioned in this piece of shit. Also, when does this story take place? Because all of the songs so far are songs of my adolescence, which was the early 2000s…is Zandiacher just too cool to listen to anything from this decade, or…

    I’m actually impressed that someone was able to write something in which not a single piece of the story makes any sense at all when you think about it for half a second. Wait, I’m sorry, not “impressed,” “DEpressed.”

    September 28, 2017
    |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      That’s actually a common criticism I see at a lot of YA authors. Even when the setting is current, the electronics and current trends are heavily based on when the author was back in high school. It’s like if I wrote a YA novel and then have a character bring out a flip phone and a tamagotchi.

      I bet Zade uses myspace.

      September 28, 2017
      |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      “Wherever they went, Sarem tried out for local theater productions and TV commercials, but all the best roles went to other girls. ”

      Well, there it is. The same thing happened to me when I started, but I took more acting, singing, and dance classes. I started getting callbacks, and sometimes (not always), a part. Still didn’t get every role I wanted (and never would), but the more classes I took and actual experience I got, the better my chances were, and the more shows went on my resume. I welcomed the chance to get involved with the tech side: costume consulting, historical music, and some choreography. I was hardly an expert in those areas, but because others in the production often knew even less, it allowed me to explore an interest, add to a show’s historical authenticity or effectiveness, and, hey, why not?–add a credit. Since I don’t learn dance combinations quickly, I could add a few steps to my 16 bars to show them how I look when I am sure of the steps.

      There are plenty of people who aren’t true “Triple Threats,” but because they learn to do more than one thing adequately, if not brilliantly, they get to do theatre. Which is what they want to do.

      But silly us, we just wanted to be actresses, singers and/or dancers. Sarem wanted to be a STAR.

      September 30, 2017
      |Reply
      • Andrea Cranford
        Andrea Cranford

        I don’t understand how she can be so tone-deaf. I think she meant the whole ‘I didn’t get roles, so I had to write my own’ to seem empowered, but it really sounds like she didn’t have the talent or work ethic, so she just decided to buy her way to the front of the line.

        Plus, this article said the book went through THREE editors. How?

        September 30, 2017
        |Reply
        • BitterAlmonds
          BitterAlmonds

          I’m guessing they offered their professional opinions and she declined. Then fired them.

          October 1, 2017
          |Reply
      • Amy
        Amy

        As the great Captain Picard once said, “It’s possible to make no mistake and still lose.”

        As a POC myself, if I want more representation in media, *I* am gonna have to do it. So I kinda get what Lani is trying to do here…

        BUT the difference between her and me is, I ACTUALLY WORK AT IT. I have a degree in literature, I write every single day, I study writing, I read, I critique, I listen to my editors, I listen to other people’s comments, I try to keep an open mind, I support those who came before me, I celebrate those who are surpassing me, I sit down every day and ask myself, “How do I make this better?”

        Lani wants to be a movie star but she doesn’t want to work at it, she doesn’t want to *wait*. How do you go through THREE editors and still end up with this??

        September 30, 2017
        |Reply
        • ViolettaD
          ViolettaD

          Another difference between you is you could use star power to tell your story. As you point out, it’s often difficult to get your voice heard. Before they were established stars, Stallone and Damon had a lot of trouble getting backing for their scripts with themselves playing the leads in the first “Rocky” and “Good Will Hunting.” The studios wanted known actors for the leads. (Of course, these were the movies that MADE them stars.) When you’re a star, it’s a lot easier to sell/tell your story.

          Sarem, however, has no real story to tell, but she threw this together and hoped it would make her a star.

          September 30, 2017
          |Reply
        • Andrea Cranford
          Andrea Cranford

          I agree that sometimes you do have to forge ahead. I didn’t mean to suggest a person can’t make their own way, but that, in this article, Lani sounds like all she wanted was to be famous. She kept trying out, didn’t get the roles she wanted and, instead of finding out how she could improve said screw it, I want to be famous now!

          October 1, 2017
          |Reply
          • Amy
            Amy

            don’t worry, i knew what you meant. You are right though, Lani doesn’t want to be a writer or a storyteller or an actress, she wants to be a star. She wants fame and fortune. She wants to walk on the red carpet, wear fancy dresses and buy brand name clothes with “rips in all the right places.”

            Twilight was a dumb book, but it came out during a time when the internet was taking more speed, there was less dial up, allowing more people to expand their horizons. The same with FSG. It came during a time when self publishing amazon was becoming more prevelant. They got popular because they were in the right place at the right time. Had they published their stuff now, they wouldn’t be as popular.

            But Miss Lani isn’t in the right place or right time for her mediocre piece to take off. She doesnt have the advantage of “luck”, so she needs talent to pull this off…. which she also doesn’t have.

            October 1, 2017
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      “Adapting the screenplay was challenging. ‘My grammar isn’t always the greatest,’ she told me. Sarem had to hire three different editors to help pull the book into shape. ”

      She got robbed.

      September 30, 2017
      |Reply
      • Mike
        Mike

        She didn’t get robbed, they likely did their best, but there’s only so much you can do when someone is basically asking you to write the story for them. I know someone who was trying to write a book and wanted me to edit it. I looked over what she’d already written and it was… I had to just start from scratch on what was there, GUESSING what she’d been trying to say because it was so incoherent. In her defense she’s incredibly dyslexic, has untreated ADHD, and was bounced around from school to school as a kid thanks to warring divorced parents and therefore never received a proper education or help with her disorders. But there’s still only so much an editor can do in those kinds of situations.

        What Sarem needed was a ghostwriter, but she wanted it to be HERS, so she kept hiring an editor to do a writers job. Yes there are still a lot of grammar issues they should have fixed but it’s a lot easier to fix someone else’s grammar than your own and they were likely all basically just writing from scratch and so missed things they wouldn’t normally miss.

        Or she had to hire 3 of them because the first 2 quit after realizing the extent of the damage and she wasn’t listening to them when they told her it was bad and the third was just a friend she ‘hired’ just to look it over.

        September 30, 2017
        |Reply
        • Amy
          Amy

          My good friend is an editor, and this is exactly the problem she had with so many of her clients. She tells them what’s wrong with their writing, they don’t change it, and when they send it back to her for further revisions, she has to tell them again of the same problems. So she’s stuck in this infinite loop of terrible writing.

          If Miss Lani had taken any advice to cut out so much, her book would’ve been shortened from 450 pages to probably only 200. Maybe she thinks the bigger the book, the bigger the plot…? It is more impressive to show off you’ve written 450 pages.

          September 30, 2017
          |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      What I love best is the quote, “If we listened to people telling us no, women probably wouldn’t have the right to vote”

      ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh mahhhhhhhhhhhh gawwwwwwwwwwddd…. did she actually compared her lousy book to WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE????????????? Women were beaten, jailed, RAPED, threatened to be thrown into insane asylums, force fed, lost their homes, their families for fighting for the right to vote!

      DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON WHAT BLACK WOMEN HAD TO ENDURE.

      DO NOT act like this is a feminist piece, Miss Lani, when your books present EVERY SINGLE WOMAN in a negative light.

      My lord, she is so tone deaf.

      September 30, 2017
      |Reply
    • Tez Miller
      Tez Miller

      Without clicking on the link…I’m guessing that Vulture piece was written by someone with the initials K.R.? (Yes or no will suffice. She egosurfs, so I don’t use her name in full.)

      October 1, 2017
      |Reply
      • Michael
        Michael

        Nope, it’s by another writer, by the initials of L.S.

        October 1, 2017
        |Reply
        • Tez Miller
          Tez Miller

          *relief*

          October 1, 2017
          |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      At the Sheraton, I asked Sarem when she’d hired ResultSource; she denied working with the company at all. If that were true, I countered, then why had she thanked three employees of ResultSource in the acknowledgements of her book?

      She admitted then that she had talked to them, but only to solicit their advice. “I was trying to figure out the book world because it’s very confusing,” she said. I told her I knew for a fact that someone working for ResultSource had placed a bulk order for copies of Handbook. I’d seen the order slip myself. Her face went pale and her eyes went wide and the silence stretched before us.
      ****************************************************************************************************
      Not even a very good pathological liar, is she? Effective lying is like effective acting: both require an imagination.

      October 1, 2017
      |Reply
      • Amy
        Amy

        Ohhhh gurl, you actually met Lani? Do tell!!!!

        October 1, 2017
        |Reply
        • ViolettaD
          ViolettaD

          This was a quote from the vulture article linked to above. Sorry but the threads get confusing. Didn’t want to use double and single quotes all through, thought a line between would work like a blocked margin.

          October 1, 2017
          |Reply
          • Amy
            Amy

            whoopsies!! XD

            October 1, 2017
    • BitterAlmonds
      BitterAlmonds

      Holy shit. I think the most frustrating part in all of this is that: Lani wanted attention, and she’s being rewarded with it. Her reputation is a shambles but she has convention appearances and op-ed pieces on the back of being ~scandalous~. Thankfully I don’t think she’s competent enough to finagle it into a career like the Kardashians did. It takes actual work to make money off of this stuff.
      I did laugh at her speechlessness when the reporter called her out. Like, you didn’t even plan far enough ahead to put together a good lie? She underestimates other people so much that she didn’t plan for getting caught.

      October 1, 2017
      |Reply
  33. Andrea Cranford
    Andrea Cranford

    I don’t understand how she can be so tone-deaf. I think she meant the whole ‘I didn’t get roles, so I had to write my own’ to seem empowered, but it really sounds like she didn’t have the talent or work ethic, so she just decided to buy her way to the front of the line.

    Plus, this article said the book went through THREE editors. How?

    September 30, 2017
    |Reply
  34. Bookjunk
    Bookjunk

    That stupid ‘OMG, I might have given away my secret! teaser at the start makes even less sense at the end of the chapter. Literally no one suspects (for even a second) that Zani has premotions and is a witch. The only person she told – in the vaguest possible way, because she doesn’t know shit – has clearly forgotten about her “warning” by the end of the chapter.

    This book is driving me insane and I’m not even reading it!

    September 30, 2017
    |Reply
    • Bookjunk
      Bookjunk

      Gah: premonitions.

      September 30, 2017
      |Reply
  35. H2
    H2

    “Both of his hands reached toward his head and he started rubbing his forehead, which he had scrunched up.”

    This is what a sentence looks like before editing. Or even reading it a second time. This is a sentence that was built, then had an addition put on by a bad contractor. Post-edit, this would read ‘He rubbed at his scrunched forehead with both hands.’ But, I’m guessing someone was just trying to hit some form of novel-length word count, so wrote bullshit sentences to fill space… badly.

    Then the paragraph got worse. And worse. Then it used ‘as if’ where it meant to use ‘as though’….

    There are SO MANY UNNECESSARY WORDS in that paragraph.

    Jenny wrote: “If this were fanfiction, we would call this “songfic” and it wouldn’t be allowed on some sites.”

    It’s also fairly typical of the ‘Mary Sue’ fic to have song lyrics show up at least once. The mentioning of a song in a ‘pivotal’ moment too. And mentioning how there’s a ‘perfect song’ for what Mary Sue is feeling. Everyone else just has people do normal things.

    And now I’m really uber!annoyed that this moron is tarnishing the good name of MacGyver with her shitty characters.

    October 1, 2017
    |Reply
  36. Savannah
    Savannah

    I’m so scarred from Fifty Shades that when you said, “the platform starts to move,” I automatically read it as, “the platform starts to move, really move”

    October 2, 2017
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      Damn you, Savannah: you made me get snot all over my keyboard!

      October 2, 2017
      |Reply
  37. Hey! Guess what? ‘Cause I binned Twitter I’m going to have to stalk you over here now. Keep the snarkposts coming. Don’t go getting yourself anything else to do, now. 😉

    October 2, 2017
    |Reply
    • Tez Miller
      Tez Miller

      Love you, Scar 🙂

      October 2, 2017
      |Reply
  38. IJS
    IJS

    “..THE FACT THAT IT ISN’T IN THE BOOK AND WE’RE JUST EXPECTED TO GO, “OH, OKAY, I GUESS THIS IS WHAT I WILL BELIEVE HAPPENED NOW BECAUSE YOU TOLD ME,” IS INFURIATING..”

    Not sure if anyone has covered this angle, but I think the first account was just fake news, generated by Antifa or some liberal media outlet. Of course you should believe her latest account without question. These are the times we live in, Jenny.

    October 2, 2017
    |Reply
  39. Oh, HELL no, Lani-Sue, you back the fuck away from Aimee Mann right the fuck now!

    October 6, 2017
    |Reply
  40. Maxine
    Maxine

    The action writing (well, all the writing) in this book is so damn awkward I 100% thought Zade was the one who pushed Sophia off the platform. Which is certainly one way to get rid of your evil prettygirl rival. A much better writer would turn this into magic Showgirls or have Zade jump off the platform to save Sophia, thus kickstarting a love triangle where Sophia and Mac fight for Zade’s love.

    October 17, 2017
    |Reply
  41. Lannie/Zany is not fit to polish MacGyver’s paper clips. Not just because he could defuse a bomb with a paperclip and stop an acid leak with chocolate bars (that’s just the pilot episode). Or because he gets to fight Nazis and white supremacists. Or because the series apparently pissed off the NRA once or twice.

    But because he has a bunch of “alpha male” action hero skills, but minus toxic masculinity BS.

    October 19, 2017
    |Reply

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