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Jealous Haters Book Club: Handbook For Immortals, Chapter 7 Strength (part 2) or “Circus Of The Stars”

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Howdy, readers! Did you know that you can listen to these recaps as audiobooks? Beneath The Hat is producing an ongoing audio serial of these recaps, complete with dramatic readings of the excerpts. You can listen to Handbook For Mortals AND Fifty Shades Of Grey here! She also writes Paranormal Contemporary Romance as Kate Davidson, and her first novel, Animal Instinct is out now!

Part two of our adventure finds us at Fashion Show Mall. No, that’s not a name Sarem made up. The shopping mall on the Las Vegas strip is actually called “Fashion Show Mall.” I can see where you might have thought that, though, since the name of the place is like one of those weird dress up games for your phone.

Lazi is at a dress shop she describes as “a very ‘girlie’ kid of dress shop,” but she’s forgiven for doing this “girlie” activity because it’s so she can attract the attention of a guy.

It’s only okay when she does it.

I normally hate shopping, but all of a sudden after last night under that rainy awning it felt even more important that I look really hot for the band’s show.

The awning wasn’t rainy. The weather was rainy. The awning was the part that was dry.

Mac and Jackson would both be there and as much as my ride in the rian had confused me, I knew at the least I needed to show up looking as desireable as possible.

Consider, if you will, what her opinion would be of any other woman having this thought process. Imagine, gentle reader, the bounty of misogynistic delights we could splendor in for all of our earthy days if only it were Sofia or Mel trying on dresses to impress two dudes.

The worst thing was that I did like them both–and that meant that at the moment there was no clear answer for me.

How to write a love triangle (easy method):

  1. Create a self-insert character for the boys to fight over.
  2. Create two hot guys. Only one of them needs a personality. The other can just be, idk, in a band or foreign or something.
  3. Tell the reader how confused your self-insert is. Showing her actually having feelings for both guys isn’t necessary.

Because that’s what’s what’s happening here, dear reader. Jackson doesn’t have a personality, and we’ve seen only passing interaction between him and Lorna. Still, Sarem sees that the appeal in a good love triangle is the emotional tug-of-war, so she tells us, hey, by the way, this character is totally feeling this thing. The fact that she can’t produce anything in the narrative to back up those feelings is inconsequential.

A few days earlier, I would have said Jackson, for sure, but that kiss in the rain. . . that kiss had, well, electric chemistry that I’d never felt before.

The kiss caused a chemical reaction that created electrons and then the electrons moved. Really moved.

What gets me about this “love triangle” is that at this point, there’s no clear indication that Jackson is serious about a relationship with her or anything. He invited her to watch his band play and kissed her on the cheek. He hasn’t asked her out, they see each other only in passing. Mac goes to lunch with her, they’ve had what passes for meaningful conversation in this book, and they kissed under an awning during a rainstorm. Oh, and they also had a conversation that kind of made it sound like Zard was going to start dating him, what with her asking him if he wanted to “play with fire” over his not dating performers rule. But now she’s going to start chasing Jackson because we’re only 35% into this book and there’s no other plot so far besides who she is or isn’t going to fuck.

There’s a salesperson helping Lizzie pick out a dress. Let’s stop in and check out how she’s described:

Maggie was pretty with blonde hair–and seemed unnaturally cheery.

and:

Even though she was sugary sweet she did seem to give me her honest opinions about how I looked in each of the dresses I tried on.

Here’s another common theme in empty wish-fulfillment stories. There can be nice women, but they can never be major characters (most often, they should be in a position of servitude to the self-insert), and even their good qualities have to be described as negative. Maggie the sales associate can’t just be cheery, she has to be “unnaturally” so. She can’t just be sweet, she has to be “sugary”. There is only room for one perfect female in these books.

Though Zerg hates shopping, she tries on approximately twenty-three dresses before she gets to the one she really wants:

The first two she didn’t like, and the next two I tried on didn’t feel comfortable once I was in them. The material on one of them was scratchy and then the fifthy one didn’t sit right. I kept trying to smooth out the sides of the dress but it just kept pulling–and it also showed a lot of cleavage. I kept staring at myself trying to decide if it was too much cleavage while Maggie ran and grabbed two more that she said I would look drop-dead gorgeous in, saying that she had finally figured out what type of dress I would look the best in based on my body type.

“This porridge is too scratchy,” said Multi-Huedilocks. “This porridge shows too much cleavage.”

I settled on the second of the final two dresses she brought me, a tight-fitting dark blue option that hugged me in all the right places.

As per the rule of the self-insert, those right places are what she has curves in.

I had a fun brown leather jacket and heeled low-cut leather boots that would offset the black dress nicely and it make it look slightly more casual, though the dress on its own with some nice heels would have looked pretty dressed up.

So, is the dress blue or black? I could see making this continuity error between scenes, but those two excerpts are part of the same paragraph. Although to be fair, a lot of stuff in this book is part of the same paragraph. Still, why didn’t one of the three highly paid editors who worked on this catch it?

Part of looking cool, as we all know, means looking like you haven’t tried too hard.

This is the second time Zed has mentioned not trying too hard in a scene where she’s tried on something like eight dresses.

Maggie got chatty as she rang up my purchase, obviously feeling we had bonded. “This looked great on you,” she said as she scanned the tag. “Got a hot date, or something?”

Ah, yes. The deep, compelling bond that fosters flattering the customer to fill the silence as their credit card processes. I believe that’s called “being at work” but that doesn’t stop Zani from telling Maggie The Saleslady all of her personal business about having to choose between two guys. And to be honest, when I used to work retail, this would have been a much more interesting conversation with a customer than “I need an anniversary present for my wife. She’s about your size.”

For being the chatty one, Maggie doesn’t get much of a chance to talk in this conversation:

“Yeah, it’s definitely a little strange. But they both know of the other and seem to be okay with it, at least for now, so . . . .” I shrugged. “I honestly like them both.” I realized how crazy that sounded when I actually said it out loud, though, and realized I should start figuring my relationships out.

But do you have a relationship with Jackson? He’s your coworker and he invited you to come see his band. He’s flirted with you a little bit. That’s all. You have arguably more of a relationship with Mac, and even that was just a kiss.

“Be sure to come back and let me know what happens!” she called from behind the register.

No sales associate ever cares about what happens to you once the receipt is in your hand. This is possibly the single most unrealistic line in the entire book.

Zadi doesn’t like to shop, remember, because it’s girlie (and all things girlie are anathema) but she continues to shop even after finding the dress.

After all, my closets were pretty bare, since I hadn’t brought very much from home. I wandered around and ended up buying a few other key items. A couple of pairs of nice Levi’s denim jeans and the matching denim jacket.

Flag on the play. Denim on denim is not for beginners. The fact that you bought matching denim means you’re not ready, acolyte.

As I made my way up through the main section of the mall, I saw two vaguely familiar looking figures walking toward me.

Never in the history of understatement has someone so understated something as Lani Sarem did in this line.

Gif of Indiana Jones saying, "That belongs in a museum"

Because the two “vaguely familiar looking” people?

Carrot Top and Wayne Newton grinned when they saw me, and I couldn’t help but let a smile spread across my own face as I stopped to greet them.

Imagine. Imagine the nerve. Imagine the self-aggrandizement. The unabashed lack of shame. The gall. The outrageous gall of it all, to write your self-insert character not recognizing Wayne Newton and Carrot Top, while they instantly recognize your avatar. I can’t get past this. I just cannot get past this. Wayne Newton and Carrot Top, both of them staples of the Las Vegas strip, both of them with dedicated fanbases who have been faithful for decades that will travel to Las Vegas specifically to see their shows, immediately recognize and are happy to see a woman who just arrived in town a few weeks ago and performs an illusion in someone else’s act–not even her own act–but she doesn’t recognize them.

Carrot Top:

Carrot Top is remarkably memorable. He's a totally jacked ginger with giant, curly red hair and he's had quite a bit of facial enhancement. He looks like no one else on the planet.

Wayne Newton:

Also instantly recognizable for his trademark pompadour and the overwhelming amount of plastic surgery he's had.

She didn’t recognize them.

They recognized her.

They’re living legends of Vegas entertainment but.

Okay.

“Hey, guys,” I said, still chuckling. “I have to say you two are the last people I would think I’d see walking through a mall together.”

“Carrot Top and Wayne Newton walked into a mall” is the set up for a bad joke. Which makes this an extra bad cameo.

“We had to do a charity event here today,” Wayne said, shrugging. “We just finished.”

So, you’re telling me that after a scheduled and publicized appearance, these two guys are just strolling through the mall to head back to their cars?

A gif of the Esurance commercial with the old lady saying, "That's not how it works. That's now how any of this works."

They’re working, so they probably have an entourage of professionals with them. At the very least, their managers. I’m sure they have some kind of security, either their own or people from the mall, to keep them from being mobbed by fans. And they would probably be exiting through a staff door to avoid people.

“We just had someone come up to Wayne and ask him when he started dating Reba McEntire,” Carrot Top said, pointing at himself.

You really stole a joke from Carrot Top and put it in your book. You stole a joke from Carrot Top and somehow made it worse. You really did that.

I mean, granted, it’s better than his “shake weight for Asian men” joke. A lot of Carrot Top’s material is…not super.

“You guys coming to the premiere in a few weeks?” I asked, brushing a strand of hair from my forehead.

Wait, what? What premiere? This is the first we’re hearing of a premiere of any kind. The show is already open. She’s already performing in it. It’s not dark and getting an overhaul or anything that we know of. Why is stuff always happening in this book without us being previously aware of it? We, the reader, need to be let in on this kind of shit.

But of course, Wayne Newton and Carrot Top are definitely going to be there for Lani’s important post-debut debut or something.

“Wouldn’t miss it,” Wayne said, and I detected the genuineness in his voice. “Besides, you know Scott will show up anywhere with a red carpet.” He rolled his eyes. “Including the opening of an envelope.”

That’s not how that joke works.

A gif of the Esurance commercial with the old lady saying, "That's not how it works. That's now how any of this works."

Envelopes don’t have red carpets. That joke makes no sense. And if you’re going to make a red carpet joke and you’ve got Carrot Top standing right there…it writes itself, god damnit.

Zardon doesn’t know who Scott is.

“My mom didn’t name me ‘Carrot Top,’ you know,” he quipped, just as Wayne was gesturing with a thumb to point at him.

Zandi apparently already knows them, so why is she just now finding out Carrot Top’s real name? It feels like the conversation was put in there to show us that Sarem really knows her Las Vegas celebrities and they’re all on this chummy first name basis, but it’s not like his name is a state secret. He’s literally credited as “Scott ‘Carrot Top’ Thompson” on IMDB.

She then congratulates him on his “comedian of the decade” award, and he plugs his show. Like, no, really, he says:

“Come by the Luxor and see me anytime.”

I’m surprised the ebook doesn’t have a link to buy tickets.

Then she hugs them and walks away, thus ending the most painful cameo I’ve ever seen. And I watch Spice World a lot.

Zani goes to the parking garage:

I set my bags down for a second to try to remember where I had parked my care. My mind can drift quickly and all of a sudden I had forgotten about my car and had started worrying again about Jackson and Mac. I was so engrossed in my thoughts that I didn’t see a very odd-looking girl walking directly up to me until she had stopped in front of me, blocking my light.

Correction: Zani goes to the parking garage and stands around waiting for the secondary plot to arrive.

“I know what you are,” she said in a low but confident tone.

So, finally, 36% into the book, Lani’s paranormal powers are becoming a part of the plot and not just a convenient device.

Time for a flattering/not-flattering description of the scary new girl:

She had striking features: sharp cheekbones, bright eyes, wild hair–she was attractive, but was also odd in a way that had nothing to do with her looks. Something about her radiated strangeness.

Ludo thinks the girl recognizes her from the show, but ho ho, she actually knows that Zood is a witch.

“You know why guys fawn over you, and some girls can’t stand you?” she continued as I gathered up my bags.

Because she’s a self-insert in a clumsily-executed wish-fulfillment story?

She grinned, but not kindly. “They don’t know what it is, but I do. You shield yourself better…but then again, it’s so strong.” She raised her eyebrows with a look of amazement on her face. “Do you even know how powerful you are?”

Not only is Larnum-and-Zailey a witch, she’s a sexually magnetic witch with incredible powers that leave other witches in awe. I mean, what would be the point of even writing a book about your perfect fantasy life if you didn’t make yourself the best at everything?

The parking garage chick tells Zippy that she wants to test all that raw, untapped power or something.

She raised her hands to her head and closed her eyes. She was silent for a moment, and then she thrust her hands toward me. Suddenly, I was slammed back against the wall of the building with what felt like enough force to ground a plane. I grimaced in pain. I could feel bruises already rippling on the back of my head, spine, and arms.

At least you’ll match that black-and-blue dress you just bought.

Rippling is such a weird description for bruising.

“Come on, girl! Show me what you can do!” she yelled–something like a mix of anger and glee in her voice.

So basically, this is the Faith Lehane knock-off antagonist.

My body was still pressed against the wall. It felt like I was being held in place by hurricane force winds. I screwed my eyes shut, fighting against the excruciating pain to bring my arms together in front of me. My back was still locked to the wall, but at least I was now able to bring my hands together. I cupped them into a sphere and shoved them in the direction of the girl, who stood watching with an egocentric smirk.

Yup, definitely Faith Lehane.

Colored sparks of light shot forward from between my palms, sending the girl flying backward and slamming her into the garage wall. Strips of tinted fire marked the ground, showing the path the sparks had taken to hit her.

It’s like some unholy mashup of:

A scene from Back To The Future, with Doc and Marty standing in the flaming wake of the Delorean.

and:

The "The More You Know" graphic, a star with sparks shooting out behind it as it flies the text across the screen.

The girl gets up and tells Zing that she’s so amazing for being able to do all of this magic without any training (self-inserts are always naturally good at being special) then says “I’ll see you around.”

A bright orange Lamborghini, gleaming in the dying sunlight, pulled up to the side of the garage where she was standing.

Wait, witches get Lamborghinis? I need to rewatch The Craft and really take some fucking notes.

“Hey, Zade!” came a chirpy little voice, and I jumped. A familiar person was walking up to me, smiling widely. I was still so in shcok over what had happened that it didn’t really click who it was until I felt Lil wrap herself around me in a warm, gentle hug.

What is this reoccurring nonsense where Zam will see someone she knows and think of them as a familiar person? If you’re walking down the street and see Doug from work walking toward you, you don’t think in your head, “Ah, there is a familiar person.” You think, “Shit, there’s Doug. From work.” There’s no need to build suspense over running into someone, unless that someone in Hannibal Lecter.

Lil asks Zit if everything is okay, and she’s like, yeah, I’m fine.

“Hey, uh…Did you see anything–unusual–when you walked up?”

Unusual like unnecessary em-dashes, or unusual like Carrot Top and Wayne Newton hanging out at the mall together?

Lil didn’t see anything, and Zindy basically says malls overwhelm her so her mind is playing tricks on her. She makes the excuse that she has to run to Sally Beauty Supply to get hair color (no, really) and takes off to her car.

I couldn’t stop thinking about the girl in the not-so-subtle Lambo.

Is there a “subtle” Lambo?

Who was she? How did she know my name? Why did she attack me?

And, most importantly, how did she know about my magick.

Every time you spell magick with a k, a fairy DIES.

Now, I don’t want to spoil it for you, but this girl in the Lamborghini, who should be a major part of the plot? Well, 98% into the book, another character tells Lindsey that they should definitely look into finding out who that girl was. So, just in case you were going, “At least there’s an antagonist now,” don’t get too excited. The next chapter is right back to the love triangle.

130 Comments

  1. Sushi
    Sushi

    “So, is the dress blue or black? ”

    Neither, it’s white and gold.
    I’m sorry.
    I skipped right down here to make this comment.

    October 25, 2017
    |Reply
    • mydogspa
      mydogspa

      Out of curiosity, if Zod is going to try on over 20 dresses, wouldn’t she also have gone to another store to check out inventory there? I mean, my wife hates shopping and she pulls a dress off the rack, looks at it for half a second, then puts it back if she doesn’t like it. Our shopping experience goes something like this:

      “No.”

      “No.”

      “No.”

      “No.”

      “No.”

      “No.”

      “No.”

      “No.”

      “No.”

      “Maybe”

      “No.”

      “No.”

      “No.”

      “Maybe. Where’s the changing room?”

      We’re out of the store in less than 30 minutes.

      October 25, 2017
      |Reply
      • Athena
        Athena

        This was probably the only store in the entire mall that catered to Zero’s specific tastes. AKA, the only Hottopic.

        (Not badmouthing Hottopic in general, but it does have a certain reputation.)

        October 25, 2017
        |Reply
        • Maybe Lambo Girl was Ebony Dark’ness Dementia Raven Way, who has graduated from Hogwarts and is now on a time traveling adventure with Morty Mcfli and Tom Bombadil to stop Zapdos from becoming the new Queen of Hot topic.

          October 25, 2017
          |Reply
        • Tez Miller
          Tez Miller

          Everything I know about Hot Topic I learned from South Park 😉

          October 25, 2017
          |Reply
          • Yeah it was the vampire lair until the goth kids burned it down. 😉

            October 25, 2017
      • Amy
        Amy

        I’m surprised Lani didn’t put something down like, “If my life was a movie, this is where the musical montage scene would be.”

        October 25, 2017
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          If she’d been able to own how cheeky it was, that could’ve been great.

          October 25, 2017
          |Reply
    • Rebacoast
      Rebacoast

      LOL!

      October 25, 2017
      |Reply
    • Mirja
      Mirja

      That’s the first thing I thought of as well 😉

      October 25, 2017
      |Reply
      • Mirja
        Mirja

        Darn, I meant to reply to the comment above about the white and gold dress. Sorry.

        October 25, 2017
        |Reply
    • Jenny (but not Jenny Trout)
      Jenny (but not Jenny Trout)

      “So, is the dress blue or black? ”

      Neither, it’s white and gold.

      – Husband wants to know if I’m okay, because I was laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe.

      November 11, 2017
      |Reply
  2. mydogspa
    mydogspa

    Every time you spell magick with a k, a fairy DIES.

    I think that sums up this story overall: it’s mag-ecchh!

    October 25, 2017
    |Reply
  3. Raine
    Raine

    How. Did this garbage. Get fucking PUBLISHED?

    October 25, 2017
    |Reply
    • Athena
      Athena

      I can’t believe that Geek Nation ever read this before agreeing to publish it. There’s no way they’d agree to put their name on this, is there? The lack of cohesive plot, the lack of chemistry between the love interests, the sheer and utter lack of care to put out a decent product drips off the page and disgusts me. I’d be ashamed to even be associated with the company that published this. Even if this was a blatant cash grab, latching on to the popularity of books like this, wouldn’t they read it to see if it was worth staking any credibility they may have on it?

      October 25, 2017
      |Reply
      • mydogspa
        mydogspa

        Not to mention the lack of any meaningful antagonist . . . .

        October 25, 2017
        |Reply
      • Keaalu
        Keaalu

        I have a vague recollection that the owner of Geeknation is one of Lani’s friends? As are Carrot Top and Wayne Newton, hence the cameo, because she promised to put them in it?

        October 25, 2017
        |Reply
        • Michael
          Michael

          That’s right, Kealu, and that just makes it so amateurish. She gave them a completely pointless novel-cameo so that they could have an equally pointless movie-cameo later on.

          October 25, 2017
          |Reply
  4. Athena
    Athena

    No sales associate ever cares about what happens to you once the receipt is in your hand. This is possibly the single most unrealistic line in the entire book.

    I’ve never worked retail, but if Maggie works for commission and Zero just dropped say two hundred bucks on a single dress, maybe she said it in hopes Zero would come back and she’d get another sale?

    As for the Carrot Top and Wayne Newton thing… Yeah, I got nothing. It was horrendous. It would have been a lot more interesting if we’d seen the initial meeting. I could see some after party for Zero’s premiere, and Charles introducing her to them since they’d attended or something. It’s still a thin plot, but it would make more sense, and it would even be a party where Zero is the belle of the ball. Honestly, I can’t believe we don’t have a scene like this in this book. The one time the main character could realistically be fawned over by everyone in attendance, and nothing?

    Except for Lambo Girl, this chapter was useless. We never see Carrot Top or Wayne Newton again. And Lambo Girl herself is a red herring in this book. I’m assuming she’s supposed to be foreshadowing events for the next book, but a magical brawl in a parking garage that means diddly squat to the rest of the book isn’t the best way to do that. It should have been much more subtle. Lambo Girl playing the part of a fan. Coming to Zero’s shows, getting her autograph, maybe whispering something cryptic to her. Earmarks of a creepy stalker, but low key enough to be brushed aside as paranoia. Then a blindside attack in the next book, or we find out that she’s been reporting back to someone even more powerful.

    Gah! The fact that there are so many good possibilities in this drek is the worst part. It could have been so good! With better writing and legitimate promoting this could have earned a place on the bestseller list. But every page feels like Sarem didn’t even bother to try, and her interviews sound like she’s admitting it.

    October 25, 2017
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Gah! The fact that there are so many good possibilities in this drek is the worst part. It could have been so good! With better writing and legitimate promoting this could have earned a place on the bestseller list. But every page feels like Sarem didn’t even bother to try, and her interviews sound like she’s admitting it.

      This is the main reason we’re all so irritably fascinated with this book. If Sarem had tried harder, she could’ve gotten what she wanted, but she cut corners because it just didn’t matter to her. Hell, if she’d paid a ghostwriter it probably would’ve been better, except she’s so weirdly focused on being glorified that she couldn’t allow herself to do that… Because someone else might have made her character seem human and sympathetic by giving her faults and a personality.

      October 25, 2017
      |Reply
      • Athena
        Athena

        I’m still flummoxed by the fact that she brags, practically crows, that some people bought the book for no other reason than Thomas Ian Nichols signed it. “They won’t even read it,” I think were her exact words in an interview. Like she’s proud she scammed people into buying a book they don’t even want to read.

        October 26, 2017
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          She probably doesn’t want people reading it because then they’d criticize it! People can tell that it’s crap so it doesn’t surprise me that she’s proud of the scam. She’s soooo incredibly clever for selling this garbage, in spite of how dumb she was to get caught, and she’ll win if those meddling kids don’t notice the sequel.

          I am amazed that she patted herself on the back in the interview though. I guess she doesn’t realize people can see right through her. The book? Sure. Her lies? Nope. For some inexplicable reason, Sarem thinks she’s a great liar.

          October 26, 2017
          |Reply
          • Athena
            Athena

            I’m actually hoping she does publish the second book. I’d love to see her dig herself in deeper, and the snark shall be legendary!

            October 26, 2017
  5. “You guys coming to the premiere in a few weeks?” I asked, brushing a strand of hair from my forehead.”

    It’s been a while since I had them myself (I was, like, twelve), so perhaps I’m forgetting the fundamental physics of hair mechanics, but doesn’t the entire premise of bangs rest on the very fact they are ON YOUR FOREHEAD?

    October 25, 2017
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      She might have meant a strand of long hair that got in her eyes, either from her bangs growing out (except they’re always perfectly trimmed because we never hear otherwise) or the wind/static/etc. blew some of the rest of her hair around into her face.

      October 25, 2017
      |Reply
  6. I love these recaps but they’re getting hard to read. It’s just too embarrassing, and I keep having to remind myself that these are actual words published by the author in an actual book published by an actual publisher and not, idk, their middle-school notebook that’s been stolen from them. Jesus. Carrot Top. *shudders*.

    October 25, 2017
    |Reply
  7. Nanani
    Nanani

    InB4 somebody makes the inevitable comment about how horrible and awful real person fiction is.

    Could we just, stop yucking this one genre of fanfic as collateral damage of mocking this objectively terrible book? Please?

    October 25, 2017
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Could we just, stop yucking this one genre of fanfic as collateral damage of mocking this objectively terrible book? Please?

      There are ethical questions that are somewhat unavoidable when it comes to real person fiction though. The weird exception here is that Carrot Top is expecting a possible cameo and Wayne might as well. But Jackson Rathbone doesn’t like Lani Sarem, and in general she seems to be using her novel as a way to get in some digs at these band members, or using them as lazy inclusions so she doesn’t have to create her own characters, rather than wanting to write about people she admires/idolizes/fantasizes about/finds interesting.

      As someone who enjoys real person fiction, wouldn’t you agree that Sarem’s usage is problematic? She’s giving it a bad name, even if it was being mocked or derided before. 🙁

      October 25, 2017
      |Reply
      • Michael
        Michael

        Gotta side with Dove. Real-life fiction isn’t NECESSARILY wrong, of course, but it can still get questionable.

        I recently learned that some people write erotic slashfics about their favorite pop stars. That basically amounts to forcing people to appear in porn. It should go without saying that that’s not okay.

        And of COURSE I’m not saying that it’s always, or even mostly, like that. I’m just pointing out that there’s a lot of questionable stuff going on in the genre, because, well, there is.

        October 26, 2017
        |Reply
        • Indigo
          Indigo

          For me it’s not so much the people who write erotic fanfic that they publish online; that’s got a sketch factor, but given the overwhelming amount of stuff that’s out there and the likelihood that any given celebrity will find it, it’s only about 1% more sketchy than an especially vivid daydream. People you know personally are actually way more off-limits for that kind of thing than celebrities in my opinion, because they haven’t consented to the amount of public exposure that a rock star or an actor has.
          Authors who put real people into fiction books that they expect the audience to pay money for get a much bigger ethical and artistic side-eye from me, of course, but to me the really freaky stuff is when fans don’t get that the object of their attention is a real person. I’m thinking of when Jenny commented on how Jamie Dornan is married and definitely not in a relationship with Dakota Johnson, and the wrath of Twitter descended upon her. It’s one thing to fantasize about a celebrity, even to the extent of writing fiction about them; it’s another to behave as though the real person has some obligation to comply with your desires.

          October 26, 2017
          |Reply
          • ViolettaD
            ViolettaD

            Why on earth don’t people who intend to publish invent a rock band, give it a name like Petey and the Pukes, let frontman Petey have all the characteristics of whichever rock star they want to bang, invent albums and some hit singles for them, and then they can throw in any plot twists they want? Heck, you can even have him write a song to your self-insert.

            October 26, 2017
        • ViolettaD
          ViolettaD

          And just to show it can be done, Petey and the Pukes have written their latest hit, inspired by ME, of course: “Irresistible Vixen-Bitch.”

          That and my French Vogue cover oughta show those cruel, narrow-minded folks back in my home town of West Bumblebee.

          (THAT, Zarkoff, is how to fantasize.)

          October 26, 2017
          |Reply
      • Nanani
        Nanani

        There is a difference between this scam of a book, and fanfiction.
        There is a difference between including celebrities for the purpose of a movie cameo, and fanfiction.

        There is a genre of fandom activity called RPF, this isn’t it, and shitting on RPF isn’t cool.

        October 26, 2017
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          There is a difference between this scam of a book, and fanfiction.
          There is a difference between including celebrities for the purpose of a movie cameo, and fanfiction.

          There is a genre of fandom activity called RPF, this isn’t it, and shitting on RPF isn’t cool.

          Okay. I was hoping to learn more but I guess not. Have a good evening anyway. 🙂

          October 26, 2017
          |Reply
          • Boo Peep
            Boo Peep

            When writers use public figures as characters in their work, they’re really writing about the public figure’s image/persona, which the public figure cultivates and markets for public consumption. In this way, these images/personas are like characters that the public figures manage in order to market their product (politics, music, entertainment). Of course it can be disconcerting to come across a character with your name if you’re that public figure, but ultimately that character is based on the image you marketed and not you. That’s what real person fiction is about.

            November 5, 2017
  8. There is zero chance Carrot Top and Wayne Newton are wandering around the mall by themselves. That’s just not how celebrities work. If they were doing an event there, people KNEW they were there and they’d have been mobbed the instant they stepped out. If they wanted to go to the mall they’d be at one the next town over where no one expected them, in a hat and sunglasses.

    There was a minor scandal at the museum I volunteer for a few weeks ago, when one of our VIP guests showed up early and no one was there to “handle” them. I was the only one there, and volunteers are not supposed to manage VIPs (we’re not even supposed to TALK to them unless they ask us for something). I asked the ticket counter to page security for me and in 5 minutes I had the security lead and TWO of the museum directors there, because you do not let VIPs wander about with no one who can assist them!

    October 25, 2017
    |Reply
    • Also, I’m 44 and I doubt I’d recognize Wayne Newton. What age group is she writing this for, again?

      October 25, 2017
      |Reply
      • THIS.

        I had the same complaint regarding 50SOG and the “Mrs. Robinson” reference.

        October 25, 2017
        |Reply
        • Erin C
          Erin C

          I think Mrs. Robinson might be one of those things that has soaked into the culture enough that a lot of people use it without ever having seen The Graduate or knowing where its from.

          October 25, 2017
          |Reply
          • Jane Eyre
            Jane Eyre

            I agree I know there is a song by Simon and Garfunkel, that references that and that song, in turn, has a lot of covers by other known bands so people might not know WHERE it originated from but they do recognise the term. I remember that it played as background on the news where I live when a few years ago this thing with Irish female politician came about, and it was about her having an affair with much younger men or something. True, not EVERYONE will get “oh it’s Graduate” but as terrible as 50sog was, this is a thing I’ll give EL James a pass on.

            October 27, 2017
      • shel
        shel

        I guess she’s writing for that huge group of teenagers that frequent Las Vegas and Vegas shows???

        Because, yes, most young adults would be wayne who?

        October 26, 2017
        |Reply
  9. Perlite
    Perlite

    “Denim on denim is not for beginners. The fact that you bought matching denim means you’re not ready, acolyte.”

    Aw, c’mon Jenny. The winning suitor and she could totally rock that Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake denim ensemble (sure it was absolutely hideous, but by God was it glorious). The Carrot Top and Wayne Newton scene is hands-down the most hilarious scene in the book. It’s so bad and nonsensical, I love it.

    And of course Zade is absolute best, why else would she have dubious consent powers over men? (Seriously, I always find it questionable whenever characters have selective “sexual magnetism” as a tertiary power)

    October 25, 2017
    |Reply
    • Michael
      Michael

      I hear you. I read a fantasy/horror novel the other day where the protagonist discovers that kind of power–luckily, that writer handled it better. He had the vampire protagonist feel guilty about unknowingly using his powers of hypnotic sexual attraction to make girls hang out, and make out, with him.

      In short, it was presented as a morally wrong thing and not a wish fulfillment fantasy. And soon after, it was revealed that he hadn’t hypnotized the girls after all–they’d simply been with him because he was a pleasant guy to be with.

      But in this book, it’s supposed to be good news that people w e r e sorta mind-controlled into wanting her. Sheesh.

      October 25, 2017
      |Reply
      • small jar of fireflies
        small jar of fireflies

        I’m a little surprised we get this at all, post-Jessica Jones. “My protagonist has the powers of the Purple Man” is a good start for a character to find creative workarounds. Not to go on dates!

        October 25, 2017
        |Reply
        • Athena
          Athena

          This comes off more like Anita Blake’s arduer, at least the early version. “My magic attracts all these men, but I’m not actively doing it, so I just have to accept that it’s happening.”

          But it’s still disgusting especially after she sees proof that Lambo Girl was right, she doesn’t try to find a way to stop it.

          October 25, 2017
          |Reply
          • small jar of fireflies
            small jar of fireflies

            But all the men are doing the same thing, “fawning,” and it affects some women into acting bizarrely hostile.

            So basically, it makes people stop acting like themselves, and start acting like… well, the same person, it sounds like. Like, every man reacts the same way. You don’t get gay guys being drawn toward her, then shrugging and wandering off again. You don’t get guys who are jerks being interested in her, and promptly insulting her to make themselves feel more important. You don’t get guys who are genuinely kind just be slightly nice to her, and then briefly worry about how she’s doing once she’s out of sight.

            Instead, they all turn into this monotonous mass of nonthreatening yearning. And “some” of the women (we don’t know at this point what triggers it onto them) are miserable in her presence without knowing why, and forced to act out about it. Which kind of suggests the threat they’d feel if someone’s magic thought they were the wrong “type” and still was pressuring them to… something.

            That’s not just a little gloss on the people around her, that’s powerful and frightening personality-warping magic.

            October 26, 2017
          • Athena
            Athena

            Small Jar of Fireflies, The Purple Man is obviously actively using his abilities to take away the free will of women to use them as he sees fit. We’re supposed to accept that Zero and Anita are “helpless victims” of a power they possess but cannot control. I didn’t mean anything about their powers not being as bad as the Purple Man’s, only that while he is actively wielding them to be evil, they aren’t. At least not Early Aurdon’t Anita. Zero, assumedly, had no idea that she had this ability until Lambo Girl. And Anita… let’s not open that can of worms. I feel we can safely call her the villain of her own story by this point.

            So, yes, on just the power itself, it’s horrible. Stripping someone of their free will and making them your love/sex slave is terrible. I will never say that it isn’t. I just see it as a passive ability that Zero has no control over. The fact that she doesn’t even try to see if she can control it and turn it off is skeevy to me. And I have serious doubts that Mac would have broken his big rule if it weren’t for this power of hers.

            October 27, 2017
          • small jar of fireflies
            small jar of fireflies

            I see what you mean! You’re right about Zamborghini being less ethically at fault (although that does put the issue back on the parent(s) with her hereditary power. They should have told her, or been busy all this time trying to dampen it for her.) But I’m talking a bit more about the overall worldbuilding here — she’s a hero handed a power that takes away other people’s agency. I’m surprised that was kept in this present atmosphere, especially in a book more targeted at women.

            October 27, 2017
          • Athena
            Athena

            It’s unfortunately a bad women empowerment trope. The woman being powerful, can have any man she wants, is not held back by men, they are her playthings. It’s not usually seen as bad because she usually meets a man that she sees as an equal and stops for love. It subtly states that a woman can’t be powerful without first stripping power from men, and also that there will always be a man to put her in her place. And, if the woman is the villian, sex is evil and no good girl would act sexual, at all.

            As for Zero’s parents’ moral responsibility, since she’s playing the blushing virgin card with the character, this could have been the reason she was raised in such a tiny little town. Still a huge ball drop letting her just flounce off though.

            October 27, 2017
      • Agent_Z
        Agent_Z

        I just realized that if this power is hereditary, it could mean that Zelda’s conception may not have been consensual.

        Well this book just went from being merely silly to potentially horrifying.

        October 27, 2017
        |Reply
        • Athena
          Athena

          Mac’s entire dating of Zero feels nonconsensual at the moment. He has a hard rule about dating performers that he never breaks… until he spends time in close proximity to Zero.

          October 27, 2017
          |Reply
    • I like that she specified “Levi’s denim jeans”. Because we might not know what “Levi’s” meant all by itself! Or that jeans are made of denim!

      October 26, 2017
      |Reply
      • Jane Eyre
        Jane Eyre

        It’s esp hilarious since she tries to pass it on as New Adult/YA novel like this is one of those few things in this book that a teenager will actually get without it being written in such a specified way(unlike some of the celebrities or musical and movie references).

        October 27, 2017
        |Reply
      • Elizabeth
        Elizabeth

        To be fair- I have a very hard time finding honest-to-goodness denim jeans in women’s cuts. You know, the non-stretch kind? Of course, there’s no way hers aren’t the stretch kind, so she can’t even get that right.

        October 29, 2017
        |Reply
  10. I think that this chapter may actually be a dream sequence because running into a couple z-list celebrities who seem to know all about my life, and then having a fight with a Sailor Moon villain who zips off in a Lamborghini after fighting me for two minutes sounds very dreamlogicky.

    October 25, 2017
    |Reply
    • mydogspa
      mydogspa

      I thought that, too, until I realized the whole book was a dream sequence . . . .

      October 25, 2017
      |Reply
  11. Acton
    Acton

    “Part of looking cool, as we all know, means looking like you haven’t tried too hard.”

    Lani Sarem’s professional failure to do this gives me great joy.

    October 25, 2017
    |Reply
  12. Fer
    Fer

    I was the only one who miss Sofia and Mel? Really, the fight was so lame that one almost thouth if it wasn`t her mom trying to scare her back to the town or something.

    As for the cameo, I feel bad… for Carrot Top. And Wayne.

    October 25, 2017
    |Reply
  13. Erin C
    Erin C

    The line about cleavage did make me think of the Rachel Bloom video Lady Boss, so I’ll give this chapter that.

    As a former cashier the worst was the people who took the store required small talk as a cue to unload their personal problems or monologue their life story. We don’t care.

    Something interesting with the possibility of actual stakes happened, so of course it only serves to say again how super special Lani is and disappears so we can go back to focusing on nothing happening.

    October 25, 2017
    |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      Does Zade only say ‘cleavage’? No boobs, breasts, tatas, titties, tits, jugs, boobies, “the girls”, melons?

      Why is it so hard for Zade to talk like an adult?

      October 25, 2017
      |Reply
  14. I’ve read better self-insert fanfiction than this from ACTUAL teenagers. Go to Ao3 and click on literally any fanfic, and it’ll be better than this. Even if it’s in the One Direction fandom.

    One of these days, I half expect Zani Dark’ness Dementia Raven Salem to up and admit it’s all a huge hoax and the editors were there to make it as BAD as possible.

    Oh wait, no, that’s just MY dream sequence…

    October 25, 2017
    |Reply
  15. Miimers
    Miimers

    Zarg and Zit are the best protagonist names so far.
    Zit would fit right in with the 3 letter rule.

    October 25, 2017
    |Reply
  16. Amy
    Amy

    “Part of looking cool, as we all know, means looking like you haven’t tried too hard.”

    Oh, honey, no. Take it from somebody who wears a lot of silly costumes: looking cool involves CONFIDENCE. It involves being proud in what you’re doing and having fun. It’s not about detachment or pretending you don’t care, it’s about OWNING IT. You’re never going to look perfect, and even if you do, it’s not going to count for shit unless you have confidence to back that up.

    Has anybody been tracking how many times the words, “in all the right places” been used? Because I think this is the fifth time. Lani seriously has no idea how to describe attractiveness.

    Lani did say Carrot Top was helping her on the book and part of his deal was to be in the movie, so thus he had to be in the book. But why? He didn’t need to be in the book. Just give him a short cameo in the movie. It would actually be less cringy that way. Hell, have him be friends with Charles who introduces CT to Zade, that would make more sense. Just casually walking up to a celebrity in Las Vegas, espeically in 2017, is impossible. Emma Watson doesn’t let people take pictures of her because if those pics get on social media, everyone would know where she is and rush over to see her. Because of social media, celebrities have to be EXTRA careful where they go in public.

    I’m a librarian and I’m used to having people tell me their life stories and giving me intimate details about their lives. But I’ve also worked as a fast food employee and people treated me MUCH WORSE because in their eyes, I was an illiterate high school drop out whore. Considering how much Zade likes to judge, there’s no way she would’ve ranted her romance woes to this lowly, minimum wage employee. But do you know why she did?

    Because Zade has no female friends.

    And she can’t rant this to any of her male friends because they’re all stupidly attracted to her, EVEN THE MARRIED ONES, so Lani made up this one-off character for Zade to rant to. Does this book even pass the Bedchel’s test?

    October 25, 2017
    |Reply
    • Erin C
      Erin C

      As much as Zade hates women it would pass. She and Lambo girl don’t talk about guys, she talks about dresses in general terms with the clerk, she talks to Lil the wardrobe person, and insulting Sofia and Mel with song lyrics would count.

      October 25, 2017
      |Reply
      • On Something Awful, someone pointed out that none of the male characters ever talk about anything but Zade.

        October 25, 2017
        |Reply
  17. small jar of fireflies
    small jar of fireflies

    WAIT-

    YES!

    IT’S THE START OF A YOUNG ADULT BOOK!

    I picked myself off the pavement, staring at the bright sports car as it sped away. The words she said rang in my head: “you’re not human, and no one will ever treat you like one. You’ll never have male or female friends. You’ll just have rivals and mindless suitors. You think about that until I find you, because if you agree to serve me, maybe I’ll help with that.”

    I felt sick. “i got attacked, I’m in the parking lot” I texted Sofia. I knew she’d be there with Mac in just a minute. Sure enough, I read the response, “oh my god! r u ok we’re coming!!!!”

    Just earlier today, I’d have hoped for her concern to make her act like she did when we Skyped. I’d been looking forward to joining this summer theatre program with her. We’d met online. I loved her YouTube stage makeup channel, and she adored my series on slight of hand. We’d texted every day. And when we actually met… she was a completely different person. Just like all the girls in school. It was like she hated me all the sudden. I was crushed.

    Sure enough, as soon as she rushed around the corner and saw me, she stopped. Mac charged ahead, taking my elbow without asking, looking over my scuffed clothes and bruises with concern.

    “Jeez, Sadie, you’re fine,” she said. “Mountain out of molehill, much?”

    “Sadie! Sit down, I’ll bring you a soft drink,” he said, digging through his pockets. “Oh. All I’ve got is my cards… Sofia, can I borrow a dollar?” He was an adult, a stage professional, but whenever he was around me he turned into a teenage boy. And he acted like all the boys in high school. I was so over it.

    “This girl attacked me and ran off, but I have to find her,” I said, ignoring Sofia’s scoff and eye-roll. “She knows something about why you’re acting so weird-”

    “God, make us the crazy ones,” Sofia complained. I didn’t mind, because it made sense now. Even under the effect of whatever-was-happening, part of her still cared about me. She didn’t hang out just because she was compelled to come hate me.

    “I’m not acting weird! I’m worried you hurt your head!” Mac tried to touch my hair. I smacked his hand away automatically. You get good reflexes for that, if you live a life like mine.

    “I need to get another look at that car,” I said. “Let’s split up.” The faster Sofia was out of sight, the faster she’d act like her usual self, and I could explain by text. “Mac. Can you take me back to the theatre? There are security cameras around us. They’ll have the plate. I just need to find a security guard costume. Sofia, can you think about how I can use makeup to look more adult? Authoritative? I’m not gonna pass right now, I’m seventeen.”

    “Fine,” she said, “whatever.”

    I got into the car. I was going to figure out who this girl was. I was going to find a way to dampen this crazy effect on them. I was gonna make normal friendships, I was going to have a normal social life. I was going to come up with some way for people to be around me. Some kind of guide for normal people, or a lexicon for average humans, or a-

    I’d work on that later. I rolled the window down as we started to roll.

    October 25, 2017
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Love it! Seriously, you, Athena, and Lani Not-Sarem got this. I think more people in the comments section here and elsewhere need to write some actual fanfiction that improves on the novel. It’s still amazing to me all the different ways it can be done and people keep coming up with more. 😀

      Even something short and sweet would work wonders because I’m not sure this was ever a story that could carry a whole novel. Not without some serious dedication anyway. A writer could be as sparse as Steinbeck and do better than Sarem, as long as the plot is tight and the important details are still there.

      October 25, 2017
      |Reply
      • Athena
        Athena

        Aw, Dove, that’s nice of you to say. I’m half tempted to give it a whirl. Maybe after NaNoWriMo.

        October 26, 2017
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          Well if anything it’s a fun exercise? But definitely focus on NaNoWriMo first. 😀

          October 26, 2017
          |Reply
    • Maria
      Maria

      This was amazing! Definitely a story I’d actually want to read!

      November 12, 2017
      |Reply
  18. RodeoBob
    RodeoBob

    Mac and Jackson would both be there and as much as my ride in the rain had confused me, I knew at the least I needed to show up looking as desirable as possible.

    So reason #965 of Why Mary-Sue-Author-Inserts Are Bad is that when the author is already intimately familiar with the character, they tend to forget that the reading audience isn’t, so they forget to do things like “building character” or “showing motivations”.

    Mac & Jackson have already seen Zuuul in a Vegas stage costume, diving into water. At her try-out, it’s unlikely she’d be wearing a costume, just swimwear, so they’ve already seen her in a swimsuit. And she went out on the camping trip, swam there, so they’ve seen her in several outfits that would “show off the curves in all the right places”.

    Point being: this scene would have been a great time for us, the audience, to learn what Zorastro thinks is “as desirable as possible”. Is it casual, or dressy? Enough cleavage to host a tea-service, or demure and covering? This is where we learn about what the character’s style is, and by extension, maybe why she likes some things and not others. You know, her personality and character.

    “I liked the dress & leggings pairing, with the zip-up, low cut boots. Suggestive, but no bare skin. It said ‘fun to dance with, but you’re not getting me naked right away’, and for a first date, that sounded good.”

    The whole “all the right places” cliche’ hurts not just for being shit writing, but what are the right places for Zupa? Is she a Mixalot Girl, (“little in the middle but she got much back”) busty to the point of getting knee and forehead bruises when she runs, legs like a ballerina? Again, the author knows everything about her self-insert, but we don’t, and it would be neat to, you know, learn about the protagonist…

    “The blue dress mostly camouflaged how large my chest was; I learned the hard way that ‘if you’ve got it, flaunt it’ often drew the wrong kinds of attention. It did hang low enough enough that I wouldn’t worry about flashing anyone accidentally, but was loose enough that I could dance and flash a little thigh if I wanted to.”

    Of course, if your goal is to write a book where your self-insert is so generic and bland that you hope every reader automatically projects themselves into the role, that kind of detail will ruin things, but wouldn’t it be better to have a protagonist with, um, characteristics and personality we might empathize with?

    October 25, 2017
    |Reply
  19. Mike
    Mike

    So, let me get this straight. Zade finds out Mac’s history of being fucked around by a performer and thus his trust issues relating to them, jokingly flirts with Jackson and agrees to go to his concert (to which all his co-workers are invited, not just her), goes on a sort-of date with Mac where they have a conversation implying they’re going to give dating a try where she makes no mention whatsoever about her feelings towards Jackson, and then when she’s buying a dress she says she’s seeing them both, they both know about each other, and they’re okay with it? Okay.

    She’s dicking Mac around because she thinks Jackson is hot and doesn’t want to close off the chances of fucking him. But she’s justifying this because Mac and Jackson are aware of each other’s existence, as though that alone should be enough information for Mac to know she has the hots for another guy and has no intention of actually committing to him. But she’s DEFINITELY better than Sofia. Totally.

    Also in the same chapter Sarem insults famous people she knows in real life by downplaying their success. First it was Jackson’s band, who are legitimately successful in real life but barely a blip in her book, and then Carrot Top and Wayne Newton both being less important to her than she is to them. Despite that she’s only been in Vegas a few weeks and is not even the headliner in an unrelated show. While they can wander around public places without anyone wanting to talk to them. Why the hell is anyone helping her? She clearly thinks she’s better than they are, she shouldn’t need their help if she’s already so damn amazing.

    On top of ALL of that, the scene itself is just utterly ridiculous. It’s entirely unnecessary and if there actually was any immersion in this book it would come to an abrupt and painful stop here. If she wanted to cameo them (which she just… shouldn’t. At all.) she could have made it a lot more natural by having them meeting with Charles and have him introduce her to them, and then she could impress them somehow so they’d have REASON to remember her name. Maybe they already DID come to the premier and she met them after the show and they liked her bit. She wonders later if the villain recognizes her from the show, so the show is definitely live, so the premier SHOULD have already happened.

    One thing I will say about this book is it makes me feel a lot better about my own writing ability…

    October 25, 2017
    |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      Thta’s a good point about Mac getting dicked around. In the movie, Holes, when a male character realizes he was being dicked around, he leaves. He knows he’s the obvious choice for the girl: he’s handsome, he treats her right, he actually cares about her and makes an effort to prove his worth to her. But when the girl chose to be “coy” about it and acts like she’s unsure which guy to choose, he realizes he wasted his time and drops her like a hot potato. Zade already kissed Mac, so why bother with Jackson? It’s not like Zade is planning to Marry Mac, so date a while, see how it goes. But than again, this is a supposed YA novel, so the first person you fall in love with is always “the one” regardless how young or inexperienced you are.

      October 25, 2017
      |Reply
      • Mike
        Mike

        For the record I’m not saying she’s behaving badly just because she isn’t fully committed to a guy she only kissed once. One date does not an exclusive partner make. It’s that her knowledge of his background (and the blatant obviousness that he feels stronger for her than she does for him) SHOULD have lead to her at least having the courtesy of making sure he was on the same page she was to make sure she didn’t unintentionally do to him what his ex did. Also Mac is a dick in this book too so I’m not sure how bad I can feel for him. But that doesn’t make her actions any less assholish. Compounded by the fact that her not considering his feelings are wholly consistent with her character so far.

        It is refreshing to hear about a movie that shows someone actually standing up for their value as a person and potential romantic partner. Usually in that scenario either he’d be portrayed as being an asshole who didn’t deserve her in the first place (or was just looking for sex and she made it too hard) or they’d end up together ‘happily ever after’ never acknowledging that she settled and he is with someone who would have fucked him over if things with the other guy would have worked out.

        October 25, 2017
        |Reply
        • WS
          WS

          The other guy was a comically ugly slob type rather than a legit romantic rival. Elya Yelnats was also shown as clearly just in the grips of a strong infatuation, especially in the book. This was all also just a bit of backstory about an ancestor of the eventual protagonist of Holes, but it was refreshing even to elementary schooler me to see a crush play out as just a crush, not True Love that Must Conquer All.

          October 25, 2017
          |Reply
        • Amy
          Amy

          No, you’re right, realistically one date doesn’t mean tru wuv forever, but these are YA rules, and those rules state when you kiss, it’s wuv. No lingering tension, build up or chemistry needed. If you kiss, that’s it.

          (Geeze tho, has it only really been *one* date??)

          October 25, 2017
          |Reply
          • Dove
            Dove

            (Geeze tho, has it only really been *one* date??)

            It wasn’t technically a date. It just happened when Mac invited her to go riding with him, which in hindsight sounds more exciting than it was.

            October 25, 2017
        • Dove
          Dove

          It’s that her knowledge of his background (and the blatant obviousness that he feels stronger for her than she does for him) SHOULD have lead to her at least having the courtesy of making sure he was on the same page she was to make sure she didn’t unintentionally do to him what his ex did. Also Mac is a dick in this book too so I’m not sure how bad I can feel for him. But that doesn’t make her actions any less assholish. Compounded by the fact that her not considering his feelings are wholly consistent with her character so far.

          I’m victim blaming but if this was really important for Mac, then he should’ve emphasized that himself. He probably knows what Sofia and Riley said about him, but I don’t think he expressed anything after assuming they did the work; he just joked about it after the kiss. It’s like he lost all his nervousness and either he fell pretty hard, with almost no real build-up to it, or it could be argued he’s just thinking with his penis and then for some reason he switches gears. None of it works very well, but it could be excused by people being confused or having bad communication skills. LS doesn’t bother so it’s just a jumble of nonsense instead.

          Also, Mac never truly cares about Jackson. There’s some lip service paid but it never amounts to anything. He doesn’t get upset until Charles gets brought into it, which just goes to show how poorly the stitching was hidden. There were some cosmetic edits and very little else done to include Jackson into the book. 😛

          October 25, 2017
          |Reply
          • Mike
            Mike

            I both do and don’t agree with you. Yes, he is the one with the hang up, so he should take measures to protect himself. He knows his own history and his own feelings and he is responsible for said feelings. That doesn’t make her ignoring the potential hurt she could cause him any better. (The fact that it doesn’t add up to anything is irrelevant) She knows his history, she knows she has at least an attraction to Jackson, and isn’t ready to commit to any kind of exclusivity with Mac, and doesn’t even know how she feels about him, while he seems very clear how he feels about her. He’s ignoring his own rule (and she knows he’s a stickler for rules) to date her. She chose to ignore those facts, AND then to go on about how she’s sure he’s fine with it. He’s an idiot for not protecting himself, but she’s an asshole. It is possible for both to be true simultaneously.

            In fact, both of them are guilty of the same sin. They’re both choosing to not bring something up because it could lead to things not ending well. The difference is Mac is risking getting hurt, where Zade is risking hurting someone else.

            Again though, not a huge fan of either character, so not exactly giving him a lot of pity. Just pointing out that she thinks she’s so much better than the other ‘mean girls’ when in reality she’s just as self centered and cares possibly even less about the feelings of the people she involves herself with, romantically or otherwise.

            October 25, 2017
          • Agent_Z
            Agent_Z

            I wonder if Mac’s (and maybe Jackson’s) behavior might be due to the sexual pull from Zuul’s powers that the new witch in this chapter mentioned. Don’t know if this makes it better or not.

            October 27, 2017
      • WS
        WS

        From what I recall, the movie played that moment like the woman was actually so dim and had so little regard for Elya that she was genuinely confused about which she should pick and actually meant the “which pig is bigger?” question. That may have just been the choice of the actress, because she did seem to suddenly realize when the other guy hugged her that something unpleasant was happening, but that’s how it came off to me.

        But yeah, people in real life don’t tend to stick around for a love triangle to play out – not even a real one. This is just…if Ziti was meant to be an unreliable narrator, everything would make SO much more sense: how she’s telling some stranger that she’s seeing two guys and they both know about each other when what we’ve seen is that one is a flirt and the other has kissed her once and implied that he wants to try dating; the fact that she sees no issue with toying with Mac’s emotions when she knows that he’s still extremely bitter about someone else doing it; the bizarre discrepancy between what we were shown and told about Sofia’s near-death experience…which I know we’ve already talked about, but it still blows my mind because we’re supposed to believe the book’s actually been edited three times, but this shows that Lani didn’t go back and reread even once. She must have sent it to three separate editors and then either not applied a single correction or just ignored the ones that would require effort and casually opened the document and scrolled to wherever any small grammar fix had been suggested so she could make the swap and go back to her day.

        October 25, 2017
        |Reply
        • Mike
          Mike

          “she was genuinely confused about which she should pick and actually meant the “which pig is bigger?” question.”

          …I know absolutely nothing about this movie except what you two have said in this comment thread. I am trying to imagine a scenario in which a woman would ask that question and it could be misconstrued. I am failing miserably.

          If this book wasn’t so damn poorly written I would actually wonder if the fact that she comes off as a massively unreliable narrator wasn’t foreshadowing. The surprise villain does talk about her power over other people’s feelings for her, and we know this book is meant to be part one in a series. If it turned out in future books that she’s actually legitimately using her power over others to get what she wants (which would explain why she was given such strange special treatment in her audition and from that point forward) and was trying to portray herself as being a good person when in reality she’s actually a pseudo-villain using her power to get the things she wants regardless of the wants and needs of the people around her, that would be a good twist. Though since this is so clearly self-insert fanfiction that’s obviously not going to happen.

          October 25, 2017
          |Reply
          • WS
            WS

            LOL, that would seem pretty weird, sorry! The whole story about Elya and the woman he pursues is a brief piece of backstory included in a bigger piece of backstory to the ACTUAL main story of Holes. Elya is an ancestor of protagonist Stanley’s, from way back in the old country. 😛 He is, in fact, Stanley’s “no good dirty rotten pig-stealing great-great-grandfather.” There’s this whole thing where Elya’s just some kid with nothing and the other guy can offer the young woman’s father a big fat pig from his farm, so Elya makes a deal in exhange for a pig to fatten up in potentially supernatural fashion.

            The main plot of the novel is about a kid named Stanley Yelnats who is framed for a crime that he didn’t commit and is sentenced to do time in a rather unusual place. I am holding back so much right now. It’s a really good book!

            October 26, 2017
          • Mike
            Mike

            “a kid named Stanley Yelnats who is framed for a crime that he didn’t commit”

            His name is ‘Stanley Stanley’. His parents are the ones who committed a crime!

            Seriously though that sounds genuinely interesting and I may have to check it out.

            October 26, 2017
        • Amy
          Amy

          In fanfiction, there are people out there who volunteer to edited fics. They do it for free and they are HAPPY to do it. As Miss Jenny said, “Still, why didn’t one of the three highly paid editors who worked on this catch it?”

          It is quite mind boggling isn’t it? Were these legit editors? Or were these friends who were too nice or too inexperienced to offer any real critique? Was Lani willing to take any critique? Were the editors asked to only catch the spelling mistakes?

          October 25, 2017
          |Reply
      • Perlite
        Perlite

        I love this whole thread, but for a good chunk I was desperately trying to remember when Stanley Yelnats got kicked around by a girl.

        October 26, 2017
        |Reply
  20. Dove
    Dove

    What is this reoccurring nonsense where Zam will see someone she knows and think of them as a familiar person? If you’re walking down the street and see Doug from work walking toward you, you don’t think in your head, “Ah, there is a familiar person.” You think, “Shit, there’s Doug. From work.” There’s no need to build suspense over running into someone, unless that someone in Hannibal Lecter.

    It’s a common trait of people with narcissism, I’ve heard. Supposedly its very common for them to be incapable of recognizing people who know them, even close relatives like their own children. No idea if it’s a facial recognition issue, utter self-absorption, or some side effect of seeing other people as an extension of themselves. Humans, in general, have trouble remembering details they don’t consider important for day to day life, so it makes perfect sense to me.

    Although to be fair, I think being in a state of shock might be excusable for not fully recognizing Lily. Even so, she could phrase it as “I dimly recognized Lily but couldn’t look away” or something. I wouldn’t recognize Wayne on sight (also didn’t know he existed until this novel) but Carrot Top can be downright frightening in some of his photographs. I’m pretty sure I’d recognize him in a mall.

    or unusual like Carrot Top and Wayne Newton hanging out at the mall together?

    That would’ve been a great response from Lily. XD

    October 25, 2017
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Er, to clarify, recognizing their own adult children on the street or somewhere else that they didn’t expect to run into them.

      October 25, 2017
      |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      I have facial recognition problems, but then I also have ADHD.

      In my defense, my LD would not stop me from recognizing this mss. as a pile of steaming $#!+.

      October 26, 2017
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        I have facial recognition problems as well, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I had ADHD (I’m very task oriented but easily distracted; it’s a weird combination.) There’s probably a lot of reasons that it could happen IRL, although I’m sure in Sarem’s case it’s a first draft impression that wasn’t hammered into something more workable. Instead, we have her opinion of other people blatantly laid out before us since they aren’t as important to the writer as the protagonist is. XD

        October 26, 2017
        |Reply
        • My problem is *names*, so I’d know that I knew the person but be totally unable to remember what their name was. Sometimes that also means I can’t remember where I know them from.

          October 26, 2017
          |Reply
          • Dove
            Dove

            Yeah, failing to remember names while remembering a person’s face is the most typical problem, at least until you see the person often enough for it to stick. My problem is it can also take awhile for the face to stick, especially if I’m looking for them, and then even longer for names. I have to make a tangible effort to remember, but then my memory is pretty garbage in general. 😛

            Regardless, this could work but without these details, it’s just snobby on Ziti’s part.

            October 26, 2017
    • Rhiannon
      Rhiannon

      I just would like to point out that face blindness is a thing and doesn’t necessarily mean the person is a narcissist or has ADHD. I have a friend with it and I don’t think either applies to him at all. It can be very upsetting for the person who suffers from it. The comedian Stephen Fry also has it. That said I doubt Lani Sarem knows about this condition.

      October 31, 2017
      |Reply
  21. Wright
    Wright

    A podcast I listen to (The F Plus, very nsfw, sometimes nsfl) has a rule about the word ‘magick’. It’s pronounced ‘mah-gick’. I cannot read any of these excerpts that have the word in them without mentally reading it as mah-gick and snorting.

    October 25, 2017
    |Reply
  22. Okay the whole book should have been about Carrot Top and Wayne Newton and their wacky shenanigans.

    I want them to live together. I want Carrot Top’s props to piss off Newton and I want them to get into a hilarious argument that involves an oversized phone, a red nose and a gigantic pair of pink flowered undies. I want a subplot that involves the maid discreetly trying to get black hair dye off of Newton’s pillowcases. I also think they should fight crime.

    SOMEBODY MAKE THIS HAPPEN!

    October 25, 2017
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Again, a way better option than what we go! They’d make a pretty wacky odd couple I’d bet and I don’t even know anything much about Wayne Newton. I’d pay to see that movie, especially if Lani Sarem played the maid and kept trying to steal the scene but couldn’t. XD

      What would happen if we all started a huge fandom around this novel and every single fanfic was a rewrite/AU that ended up ten times better than the original? Would that be irony or just insanity?

      October 26, 2017
      |Reply
      • Keaalu
        Keaalu

        “What would happen if we all started a huge fandom around this novel and every single fanfic was a rewrite/AU that ended up ten times better than the original? Would that be irony or just insanity?”

        – I think Lani is tone-deaf enough that she’d take it as a validation that she’s SUCH a good writer, because LOOK what a HUGE fandom she’s managed to amass. Then misunderstand copyright law such that she’d feel entitled to USE all the fanfics herself and publish them under her name, as it’s her character therefore she MUST be allowed.

        October 26, 2017
        |Reply
        • Amy
          Amy

          A lot of people DON’T want Stephanie Myers to sue EL James because in the end the people who’ll face the most negative attention are the fanfic writers. Right now fanfiction can be written due to parody laws and the fact nobody is earning money off of it, but if a big enough stink is made of it, things can go awry. I think back to the days when Anne Rice used to sue people for writing fics of her stuff. It’s the reason why people wrote down as a disclaimer, “Don’t own, don’t sue!”

          Knowing Lani and how delusional she is, she will definitely rip plotlines off of better written fics. Hell, you already see the FSG stuff in this book. It’s an endless cycle of lip biting.

          October 26, 2017
          |Reply
  23. ViolettaD
    ViolettaD

    “The kiss caused a chemical reaction that created electrons and then the electrons moved. Really moved.”

    God #$%^ it, Jenny, you made me get SNOT on my keyboard!

    October 25, 2017
    |Reply
  24. ViolettaD
    ViolettaD

    ‘The fact that you bought matching denim means you’re not ready, acolyte.’

    Maybe it means she grew up in the SEVENTIES. John Lennon and Jim Croce both did it then.

    October 25, 2017
    |Reply
  25. BloodyRose
    BloodyRose

    I never comment but I just had to burst out of the woodwork and say that I nearly screamed at “I need an anniversary present for my wife. She’s about your size.” Brought me back to when I worked clothing retail and was astonished to discover that, against all odds, EVERYBODY’S wife was apparently a chunky penguin-legged big-busted hobbit.

    October 25, 2017
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Men don’t want models; they want to live in the Shire! …Bakshi’s Shire?

      Or maybe everyone was flirting with you and they lied about having a wife so it wouldn’t seem creepy. :p

      October 25, 2017
      |Reply
    • Indigo
      Indigo

      An ex of mine truly did not understand that even very close female friends do not borrow each other’s bras as a matter of course. In his mind there were small, medium, and large boobs, so a bra should fit basically like a t-shirt, right? (He sincerely thought that since I’m busty and so’s my friend, I should be able to wear her stuff…even though she’s six inches taller than me. We’re both *proportionately* busty, but otherwise don’t have remotely the same body.)

      October 26, 2017
      |Reply
    • Artemis
      Artemis

      Yuuuuup. A store I used to work at picked up a bunch of lingerie while I was working there, and the “she’s about your size” was the worst.

      October 29, 2017
      |Reply
  26. Q
    Q

    They let Zani teach writing workshops at Wizard World conventions. I’m disgusted. Why haven’t people protested them having her a lying scamming cheat on panels and representating the convention

    October 26, 2017
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Wait, seriously? Oh wow, you’re right. Haha the first Google entry says she had a low turnout at the most recent Chicago panel, and it looks like she’s not going to the one in Oklahoma, at least not as a guest proper? Mr. Rookie is listed as a guest, but not Sarem, and next year she’s only signed up for two more (Colombus and Madison.) She’ll probably be at all of them with her guy pal. I’m amazed she picked a writing workshop of all things.

      October 26, 2017
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        I might be able to get to one of those. Is it worth it to bump her numbers up by one just so I can learn what not to do?

        October 26, 2017
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          Yes because I’m curious about her advice and it should be amusing. And it looked like she wasn’t alone btw so I’m curious who else sits in these workshops with her. Maybe her friend Skye? Or I guess it could be random picks by the people running WW.

          October 26, 2017
          |Reply
      • Amy
        Amy

        If I’m reading the right article, this happened back in August, just shortly after the story broke out. So I guess WW didn’t know of the controversy or if they did, didn’t have time to replace the panel with something else. Besides, if Ian whatshisface was there, they probably thought the fans of American Pie would make an effort to go.

        Still, a writing workshop makes no sense for a first time author.

        October 26, 2017
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          Still, a writing workshop makes no sense for a first time author.

          Yeah, I can’t help thinking that WW doesn’t care much about who they give panels to.

          October 26, 2017
          |Reply
    • Mike
      Mike

      This hurts me right in the soul area.

      October 26, 2017
      |Reply
  27. Jaycie
    Jaycie

    What excellent forward motion. Zordon goes shopping, leaves the store, and gets stopped multiple times along the way out, only once by someone who can be said to be advancing the plot. I’ve been reading/snarking Dan Brown’s latest, which includes an entire chapter taking place at a museum security checkpoint; to see such a chapter featuring Zima is even worse.

    Also, ENOUGH WITH THE GODDAMN SHOPPING SCENES. Bella had one, Ana talked about having one, pretty sure Tessa had one, now Zabaglione gets one. Is it a cardinal rule of poorly written wish fulfillment novels that women be shoppin’?

    October 26, 2017
    |Reply
      • Amy
        Amy

        But Pretty Woman had a reason for the shopping scene! She was poor, she was looked down upon, she was treated like crap. Getting new clothes was an experience.

        In Salena, she was thrown out of the shop because she wasn’t a rich white woman. It’s cathartic to see her come back and be like, “Bitch, I own you.”

        If getting new clothes is an experience, it can be very welcomed. But Zade isn’t poor, she isn’t marginalized, and she wasn’t turned away. In fact, she got an enthusiastic employee to help her. It’s great to go into women shops and have the employees be super enthusiastic about helping you, not caring if you’re skinny or fat. I’m super small breasted and it sucks when I’m asking for bras and I get those, “What are you doing here? You got nothing” looks. I would’ve loved getting Maggie because I know Maggie wouldn’t give two hoots about my tiny tatas.

        Zade probably would say something negative.

        October 26, 2017
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          But Pretty Woman had a reason for the shopping scene! She was poor, she was looked down upon, she was treated like crap. Getting new clothes was an experience.

          In Salena, she was thrown out of the shop because she wasn’t a rich white woman. It’s cathartic to see her come back and be like, “Bitch, I own you.”

          Yeah, if the shopping scene had some true relevance that would help a lot. Instead, it’s akin to the watered down Hollywood makeover and so overused that it’s lost the original meaning (which was never great but it was meant to be triumphant; the modern day ugly duckling into a swan.) Or there to fill time because women love shopping amirite? To be fair, we all love buying stuff but trying on clothes is a chore for most people, especially when women’s clothing sizes are so fucking random.

          I’m super small breasted and it sucks when I’m asking for bras and I get those, “What are you doing here? You got nothing” looks.

          That sucks. Little boobs need bras too! If nothing else it keeps your nipples warm when it’s cold. Think of the nipples, you heartless people! :O

          Or maybe they assume because you’re small it should be easy to find one that fits? Which is kind of a weird assumption but I guess it’s an easy trap to fall into since they don’t think you need support. Still rude of course.

          Anecdote time! I consider myself average in the boob area (used to be a 34B in high school and now I’m sagging at age 35, which I didn’t expect because I assumed they were too small to droop this early), but I keep trying on sports bras without clasps, and for some reason, even the largest size will barely come close! I can’t help wondering how tiny a ribcage must be to get into the small. But I keep trying because I don’t like most bras; I hate underwire, and I’m not concerned about cups. I want the crossed back straps for better weight distribution and the security of a sports bra keeping everything in place but somehow that’s impossible if you’re moderately fat? If I were trying to exercise, WTF? How’s this an incentive?

          October 26, 2017
          |Reply
    • BlueSimplicity
      BlueSimplicity

      Hoh boy, am I with you on the shopping scenes. I know there are lots of people who love to go clothes shopping, but I’m not one of them. And I get that this is a wish-fulfillment Mary Sue fantasy story, so, trying on all of the clothes while the salesclerk fawns all over her but, two things:

      1 – That’s the salesclerk’s job. When you work in retail, you have to be nice. It’s not easy, and customers can be horrid, but it’s part of the job. It how sales are made, and either the clerk is working on commission, or you know, the better the store does, the more secure her job.

      2 – OK, so you like to shop, but (my personal opinion) shopping scenes are just SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO boring! I’m not a shopper myself, but I love to spend my lunch hour reading through bestseller lists on Amazon or the latest releases in my fandom on AO3, but nobody wants to read 15 pages of “And then Blue clicked on the book with the really bright cover and read that summary, and decided not to one click. Oh, but on A03 her friend just recommended this fic so she downloaded it. It had knotting!!” That shit is BOOORING!!!!

      But again, I said this before – this entire book is boring. Seriously, I have no idea how Jenny is doing it, because I’m struggling to read through each chapter, and Jenny’s snark is GREAT.

      October 26, 2017
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        2 – OK, so you like to shop, but (my personal opinion) shopping scenes are just SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO boring!

        Anything is boring without effort. As I’ve said previously, it would’ve been better if we saw Zorori shopping for a camping tent instead because not only would it be a character development moment, since she isn’t an outdoorsy person, but it would impact the entire camping scene if handled properly. The dress buying is irrelevant.

        That said, I once read an entire research paper on the perceived effects of luxury brands on women’s mate-guarding instincts versus their mate-attracting instincts because it was intriguing and I wanted to know the answer. The research paper was better written than this book.

        I’m not a shopper myself, but I love to spend my lunch hour reading through bestseller lists on Amazon or the latest releases in my fandom on AO3, but nobody wants to read 15 pages of “And then Blue clicked on the book with the really bright cover and read that summary, and decided not to one click. Oh, but on A03 her friend just recommended this fic so she downloaded it. It had knotting!!”

        … Fifteen pages of anything is insane if it doesn’t get to the point in a timely manner. XD

        Also, you had my attention at knotting because the only way I know that word is through the furry fandom so I immediately assumed you’re a furry. It depends on impact. I would’ve kept reading if you’d kept going. 😉

        October 26, 2017
        |Reply
  28. So much of this is a stretch anyway, but, really, in 2017, Carrot Top has a rabid fan base? STAAAAAAHP. There are some things I just can’t believe.

    October 26, 2017
    |Reply
    • BlueSimplicity
      BlueSimplicity

      Yeah, cos you know, it’s a YA novel, and Carrot Top, Richard Marx and Wayne Newton – It’s what all them youngsters are talking about on this new fangled internet thing these days. **Shakes fist and shouts something about getting off my yard**

      October 26, 2017
      |Reply
      • Not to mention the REO Speedwagon reference. The cool kids are still into that, right? 😀

        October 29, 2017
        |Reply
    • Jamoche
      Jamoche

      He does have a strong Vegas fanbase – I was surprised by that when I went to Vegas. It doesn’t overlap with YA readers, though.

      October 31, 2017
      |Reply
  29. shel
    shel

    Ugh… just so much ugh…. Thank you for slogging through this for our entertainment, Jenny!

    What a waste of a chapter. Running into Carrot Top and Wayne Newton made no sense, for all the reasons people above pointed out.. much less the fact that they know who Zamboni is… it would have be nice for us to see that, or even a throwaway comment about how after her first show, spellman introduced her to some VIPs! Who thought her trick was super awesome. But we don’t know that happened… which makes this story even dumber.

    Then the strolling through the mall thing is just…. come on, that’s now how celebrities celebrity… she could have run into them in the parking garage and it would have made more sense, like they were sneaking away or something.

    Does spellman show up in much more of the book? Cause I feel like there are a lot of scenes that having him around would have made sense? Or was this more movie writing in that she wanted to cast David Copperfield or something, but could only use him for like two scenes? Which- come on, the book and movie don’t have to be the same, and it’s stupid to limit your story because of what might take place in a movie.

    October 26, 2017
    |Reply
  30. Erin C
    Erin C

    In a better story where the author/self-insert didn’t hate women, running into Lil and mentioning getting hair dye could lead to some bonding. Lil probably knows the hair and makeup people, she could suggest that they get together and dye it. Zade talks about people in her small town looking down on her (while also constantly calling her beautiful and nice and perfect) so she could have had a fun experience with people who think her hair is cool.

    October 27, 2017
    |Reply
  31. Alexander Stallwitz
    Alexander Stallwitz

    Are we sure this book wasnt underwritten by the Las Vegas Board of Tourism ? It feels like one long ad for Las Vegas between the Mary Sue magical girl parts and love triangles. I am surprised that our magical girl snowflake heroine hasnt said “Las Vegas is so swell and not crime ridden like that hit show C.S.I made it out to be”

    October 27, 2017
    |Reply
  32. Stormy
    Stormy

    I’m dying. The random cameos legit sound like an out-of-touch film exec trying to hype up his idea: “Wayne Newton! The kids in my day loved Wayne Newton, they’ll get a real kick out of it! And let’s see, who else is big right now? I know! Carrot Top! Who doesn’t love Carrot Top? It’s a real winner of an idea, I tell you.”

    October 27, 2017
    |Reply
  33. When you said Carrot Top showed up I honestly thought you were messing with us to see if we were paying attention.

    October 30, 2017
    |Reply
  34. mydogspa
    mydogspa

    Now, I don’t want to spoil it for you, but this girl in the Lamborghini, who should be a major part of the plot? Well, 98% into the book, another character tells Zeppelin that they should definitely look into finding out who that girl was.

    (I thought you meant Zeugma there, so I fixed it for you)

    Gosh and gee, if the only one with enough power to directly counteract the protagonist’s mag-eccch hasn’t even bothered to come back into the narrative why on Earth would Zerk want to deliberately go out and find her and put herself into her own jeopardy? Moron.

    October 30, 2017
    |Reply
    • mydogspa
      mydogspa

      Sorry, too early in the morning, I meant why would Zooty-Zoot-Zoot volunteer her own jeopardy and look for the only other person who could equal or best Zephyrus’ power directly.

      October 30, 2017
      |Reply
  35. Cody Cromarty
    Cody Cromarty

    This is just the clunkiest attempt to pad the word count. “The second of the final two dresses.” You mean…the last dress?

    November 3, 2017
    |Reply
  36. Cody Cromarty
    Cody Cromarty

    Also, it feels like the structure of the love triangle in this book is a direct copy of Twilight (which Lani is known to be part of the fan community for). There’s a primary love interest that she’s almost definitely going to end up with, who gets 100% of the character development and the majority of the page time in the first book. The second man only makes occasional appearances until the sequels, where he suddenly becomes competition.

    November 3, 2017
    |Reply

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