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Jealous Haters Book Club: Handbook For Mortals Chapter 16, Justice or “Girlfriend in a coma/I know it’s serious”

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March went out like a failure:

A Facebook update from the official Handbook For Mortals account: "Much of the setting in Handbook For Mortals is based on Lani Sarem's experience working with Cirque du Soleil! What is your favorite Cirque show? Here's one of ours..." followed by a link to highlights from Le Reve on YouTube.

Le Rêve is not a Cirque Du Soleil production. It’s a competing franchise bankrolled entirely by…the Wynn Hotel and Casino, where the magic show in Handbook is set.

You’d think that someone who researched the setting of their book and worked for Cirque would have known that.

We begin this chapter still in Lani’s omniscient 1/3 POV. That’s what I’m calling it. 1/3. Because it’s first and third but only makes 1/3 a cup of sense.

As does the realism of the medical nonsense:

After some paperwork and arranging for medical supplies, an ambulance from the hopsital to the airport, and then a ride on a private jet around dawn, the three of us (though I was still unconscious) arrived in Woodbury.

In the hours between the end of the show and dawn the next day, a man with no proof of paternity has been able to remove his still-hemorrhaging adult daughter from a hospital against medical advice, secure a transport willing to help him, and convert a private jet into an air ambulance.

Okay.

My mom had brought her SUV to meet us at the airport, which is actually just one runway and a tiny office, She decided that the fewer people involved in getting me to her house, in the state I was in, the better.

Oh my god. They just propped her up in the SUV, bleeding. Imagine if they got pulled over and they had to Weekend At Bernie’s her with blood flying everywhere.

Zump describes her mom for us, stating that she’s not a soccer mom despite her SUV. Just in case previous descriptions of her mother, the weird-ass tarot reading, spell casting town outcast, conjured the perfect picture of suburbia. They get Lunk put safely away in her room, where she will be ignored for pretty much the entire chapter.

Mac looked around at the photos, which were mainly of my mom and me. She looked almost the same in every photo, she barely aged; it was how old I was in each framed picture that gave you any real insight as to how long ago the photo had been taken.

I can’t believe I’m sporking two books in a row where we don’t know if the main character is immortal or not. That should be an answered question in literally any book that refers to non-magical humans as “mortals.”

After Mom had taken as much care of me as possible, she returned to the guys and wasted no time getting to what she wanted to know. After all, there was no time really for preliminaries, anyway.

Please keep that passage in mind.

Dela asks if Mac “knows”:

“That I’m her father? He does.” Amid the memories I dug out, I got the feeling that Charles always had a knack for knowing what Dela meant, even though she was the one who could actually read minds. He was pretty sure he knew what she was referrring to when she asked that “he knows?” question, even though there were several other things she could have been talking about.

“Editors Note: How does Charles know what she means? She could be asking if Mac knew about magic. Can Charles read minds like Dela can? Need specifics here.” I 100% guarantee that is how we got that paragraph.

Charles is apparently only ever nervous around Dela:

The thoughts I found in his memories were jumbled, but that anxiety seemed to stem from everything: from how magical and powerful she was, to how madly in love with her he still was, to my condition, and even to just the bold presence my mother possesses.

So, Charles is still in love with Dela. So you can be sure that this will be slowly teased out over several chapters with meaningful romantic tension and a satisfying conclusion.

Dela says something about Charles finally admitting that Lint is his daughter, and he’s like, well, that’s your fault. This is something Dela would have normally gotten angry about, but she doesn’t.

Maybe she realized, as he was standing there––and just seeing how upset he was and how much he cared about me––all the things she robbed us both of by not letting us spend time together. She was aware how hard it was for me to go through childhood without a father and now maybe she was finally seeing that it hadn’t been easy on him, either.

As the child of a single mother who blamed her mom for that every day, I recognize how this got in here. I’m sure it was even cathartic to write, in a wish-fulfillment sense. But it’s bullshit. Dela is majihk, sure, but she’s still just a small town psychic. She doesn’t have the money to fight a famous millionaire’s neverending supply of legal representation in a custody battle that could eke out over eighteen years. Charles is a fucking deadbeat. If he wanted to see his daughter, he could have lawyered up and he didn’t.

For one small moment, they gazed into each other’s eyes before quickly turning away.

Oh, look! There’s that romantic tension I told you about. Get ready for the slow burn!

Mac goes in to sit with Zart. So, you’d think this would be the scene where we see Mac come to terms with his feelings for her, and maybe she’ll see all the love he feels for her when she pulls those memories. There you go with your expectations again. Of course, there’s no developing of the romance between Largo and her love interest. Oh no. No, no. She’s far more interested in the scorching erotic heat between her…parents.

As she gazed at him, she coudln’t help but notice how handsome he still was regardless of the fact that he was almost twenty years older than he had been the last time she had seen him in person. He had some gray hairs now and a few wrinkles on his face but underneath that was the handsome boy she had met so long ago. His eyes still twinkled despite his current pain and sadness.

Is it just me, or is it weird that Linda has mentioned Charles’s twinkling eyes in every scene he’s in and now it’s one of the things her mom finds attractive about him?

I’m starting to think this book is all about how Lugnut wants to fuck her dad.

Charles tells Dela that basically, she’s the only person who could possibly save Zink:

“Hopefully I can. She’s pretty far gone right now, but she seems to be hanging on. That’s a good sign.” My mother tried to sound as hopeful as she possible. It had been a long almost-twenty-four hours for everyone.

First of all, Dela, if your daughter is “pretty far gone” and there isn’t “any time for preliminaries,” what is happening with you standing there making conversation with your ex? This is not how you build a sense of urgency. A sense of urgency would have had Dela’s SUV screeching onto the tarmac, her jumping out and throwing the keys at someone, hopping in back with her daughter and starting her magic work right god damn now. At the very least, they should have rushed her into the house and started the ritual immediately. We would have understood that this is serious and Zib’s life is in danger. What the author has forgotten here is that just because the character survives to narrate the story to us, that doesn’t mean the characters within the story know that’s what’s going to happen. Their disregard for any sense of urgency while continually describing the urgency of the situation is classic tell vs. show, and makes it seem like they really don’t care if the main character lives or dies.

Like the rest of us.

It’s nice to have a time stamp, too. It’s been “almost” twenty-four hours. How long did it take the jet to fly to Tennessee? I’m going to guesstimate this one. To give them the maximum time I can possibly allow for their air ambulance shenanigans, I generously put her accident at 9:00 PM, despite the fact that the show would have really gotten out much later. Then they flew out at dawn. Again, for maximum generosity for the paperwork and ambulance and outfitting the plane, let’s say sunrise was at 8:00 AM. Commercial flights from Las Vegas to Nashville (the closest actual existing airport to Woodbury, where the fictional airport is) seem to be about three hours total time in the air, but a private jet is going to be faster because, well, jets just are faster. Now it’s been almost twenty-four hours. We can only account for about nine hours, total, less than that if we use more realistic estimates for sunrise and show times (and that nine hours had to include imaging, treatment, and probably exploratory surgery to look for the bleed, also incredibly unrealistic). If everything is so urgent…what happened during the other twelve or thirteen hours?

But that’s not important. What’s important is that Charles called Dela “Dely,” a nickname he gave her because apparently “Dela” isn’t short enough. And when a new name is introduced, you know what happens:

It sounds like “Deli,” as in sandwiches, which I guess Charles would claim was a joke about his two favorite things: my mother and submarine sandwiches.

Not Sofia? His long-time, live-in girlfriend and former star of his show? She doesn’t rate above sandwiches? Also, thanks, Lani Sarem, for assuming that your readers are so intellectually beneath you that you need to explain what a fucking deli is. At least I know it’s not a proper noun.

Charles and Sandwich have a conversation about how fantastic Lani––sorry, Zade––is, with her fiery, headstrong temper and traffic-stopping beauty, and the conversation is…creepy.

“She’s as beautiful as her mother, as well.” Charles couldn’t help but say things like that to my mother.

“No, Charlie.” It was a soft no, cushioned by a past filled with affection.

GASP! She called him Charlie! Sofia the evil skank isn’t allowed to do that even during intercourse! THIS IS TRUE LOVE.

Charles responded quickly. “But, Dely, our daughter has become a beautiful young woman.”

A gif of Donald Trump at the RNC hugging Ivanka and then inexplicably grabbing her hips.

But that isn’t what Sandwich is talking about. She tells Charles to stop trying to charm her:

“[…] It’s not going to work this time, Charlie.”

This scene has John and Marcia Syndrome. The characters constantly say each other’s names, a la the credits sequence from The Parent Trap. If you’ve never seen it, here’s a link to when “John…Marcia” starts. Please also take a moment to appreciate that this is kind of a racy movie for its time. A kid’s movie about divorce in 1961? The implication that the dad is boning a lady on weekend camping trips? But at least the kids in that movie didn’t spontaneously hemorrhage to get their parents back together.

Anyway, back to the John and Marcia Syndrome. Writing Tip: The next time you have a conversation with someone, keep track of how often you say each others’ names. Does it sound like this:

John: “Hey, Marcia, did you pick up the dry cleaning?”

Marcia: “No, I didn’t. They were closed.”

John: “Crap. I needed my shirt for Friday. Do you think you can swing by when you get off work?”

Marcia: “Yeah, just text me so I remember.”

Or does it sound like this:

John: “Hey, Marcia, did you pick up the dry cleaning?”

Marcia: “No, John, I didn’t. They were closed.”

John: “Crap. I needed my shirt for Friday, Marcia. Do you think you can swing by when you get off work?”

Marcia: “Yeah, John, just text me so I remember.”

There are two people in this conversation. There’s no reason for them to repeatedly establish who is being addressed.

My mother is very strong willed and when she says no to something it takes quite a lot to get her to change her mind, if she will change her mind at all.

So, Sandwich is not going to get back together with Spavid Chopperfield and that is settled. Settled.

“I still love you, Dela.” He had been in the same room with my mom for no more than an hour and Charles was already confessing that he was still in love with her.

Uh, yeah. We know. We can read it right there. But again, thanks for assuming we’re all so much dumber than you, Lani. Also, he’s been there for less than an hour? So…twenty-four hours? Are we sticking to that? Because it doesn’t even sound like twelve.

So, there’s this other weird thing that happens throughout this section that is, shocker, completely inconsistent with the formatting in the rest of the book. For some reason, even though this is being told from Lancet’s POV, random chunks are italicized:

I had seen it when I was growing up, too. She had always been a head turner for sure and beyond that you couldn’t deny she was just one of those woman that men just can’t can’t resist falling for. Beyond the physical she turns their souls, too, I guess.

This passage isn’t any different from the bit about her mother being very strong-willed above. It’s not a thought, it’s a part of the narrative. There’s no reason at all for this to be italicized. It happens a few times in the chapter.

So, anyway, Sandwich gets upset and goes into the kitchen to cry on the floor, and we get more of Sarem thinking we’re a hundred I.Q. points below her:

The moment the swinging door had completely stopped swishing back and forth, my mom became completely overwhelmed and melted into the floor. She stood leaning against the wall for a moment before sliding down to the floor and beginning to cry.

“See, when I say melting into the floor, I don’t mean literally. What I’m saying is that she slid down the wall to sit on the floor. I know you wouldn’t get that, so I explained it to you because I think you have the intelligence of a bucket of nails.”

The wave of feelings rushed over her like the wave of an ocean would: strong, fierce, and completely engulfing.

“I know that you’ve probably never heard of waves before. It’s a thing water does, especially if you’re doing chaos majjjjjik in a Vegas show, which I know all about because I’m an Actual Vegas Performer. Waves happen in the ocean a lot. The ocean is a very large body of water. You know what water is, right?”

Charles comes in and sees Sandwich on the floor and comforts her with an embrace:

Time means nothing to those who share such a strong bond, it was remarkable to me to see––even through the window of memories––how they actually were in person, and the love that instantly flowed between the two of them despite how long they had been apart.

The strong bond that made him abandon his child without a fight and made her forbid that child from ever seeing him, anyway? There better be a real good god damn explanation about why that was necessary.

Amongst the tears, in almost a whisper, she returned his hug and softly stated, “I love you, too.”

When I was very small, one of my favorite things to do was take my Strawberry Shortcake figures and line them up in rows on the desk in my bedroom. I could do it for hours. But the desk was a little wobbly and positioned right in front of the window, and we had a big dog that liked to jump up and peek in. So, I would have just gotten all of the figures set up in their rows and invariably the dog would pick that moment to jump up and startle me. My knees would hit the underside of the wobbly desk and all the little figures would fall down.

Charles and Dela’s entire romantic conflict being resolved a couple pages after it was first introduced is the literary equivalent of lining up your Strawberry Shortcakes and immediately knocking them over by accident.

Charles had his own irresistible charm and they both had an undeniable draw to each other.

These are your parents.

Mac returns and asks them to explain what’s going on with Zark. He asks Dela what she can do that a doctor can’t.

“More than you’re capable of imagining, young man.” Her eyes glimmered and a small smile crept out upon her lips.

Your daughter is dying, but sure. Draw out the suspense with your cryptic nonsense.

So, as Sandwich has insisted over and over, time is of the essence if they’re going to save Leda’s life.

“Perhaps I should start by explaining to you exactly how Charles and I met. It will have to be the quick version for now as we have a lot to do here.”

Alternately, you could just say, “I know how to do majgikh,” and then, you know. Save your daughter’s life.

If you must.

I guess I’m cool either way.

Now, let’s get ready for INSTANT REPLAY, the game where nobody noticed that characters repeat their actions!

Dela smiled and offered Mac one of the chairs at the dining set in the kitchen.

Mac looked around for a second and then cautiously sat down, […]

And then, in the very next paragraph:

He pulled out a chair from the table in the kitchen and slid slowly into the seat before scoothing the chair really close to the table, his eyes focused on Dela.

Beyonce in the "Deja Vu" video, dressed in black against a black background with fireworks or something glittery happening behind her, I don't have my glasses on. What's important is that the words across the bottom say "Baby I swear it's deja vu."

And I’m not entirely sure why she thought she had to specify that Mac is sitting in a chair in the kitchen. The scene is taking place in the kitchen. The setting has been established four times already. If she’d just written, “Mac sat,” the reader isn’t going to assume he’s sitting in the living room or the tire store down the street.

Lorf notices that there’s a chair left open.

That would have been where I would have sat, had I been concious, which somehow made me sad.

Again, needless italics. If this were an interior thought, it should have looked like:

That would have been where I would have sat, had I been conscious. Somehow, that made me sad.

The quality of the writing and formatting is declining with each new chapter, which to me signifies that at this point, Sarem got tired of revising or her editors got tired of making suggestions they knew she was going to ignore and just started sticking, “LOVE THIS :D” in randomly to get their paycheck.

“Charles and I were both part of a touring show in the ’70s. I was barely eighteen, and Charlie was almost twenty-one. He was working as a magician, and he was so arrogant; I couldn’t stand him.”

Sophia from The Golden Girls saying "Picture it: Sicily 1922..."

Again, Sandwich Jr. is dying and time is of the essence.

My mother babbled a little, thinking about when Charles was young. The thought of how handsom he had been back then made her crack a smile, until he interrupted.

Did I mention that her daughter is dying? And now Sandwich is thinking about how hot the ex she cut her child off from is?

“And she was just a silly card reader,” Charles interjected. He grinned devilishly, knowing how much Dela would bristle at those words. They apparently still knew how to get under each other’s skin.

I just…you guys. This woman denied this man the right to see his own child, and he apparently didn’t care enough to do anything about it. They can still get under each other’s skin? They should loathe each other. You don’t do shit like that unless there are real, very serious problems. They shouldn’t be acting like old friends. None of this makes sense.

The chapter ends with Sandwich saying:

“Anyway…as I was saying…”

which sets us up for the next chapter, in which Sarem writes out her parents’ love story in flashback to force the title of the chapter to fit the theme.

161 Comments

  1. Cavalish
    Cavalish

    This book is hot garbage but these recaps give me life.

    April 12, 2018
    |Reply
    • River
      River

      ^ Yes, this is so true! Slash all the idiotic stuff Lani gets up to that Jenny shares with us.

      April 12, 2018
      |Reply
  2. River
    River

    Holy. Mother. Of. Pearl. And am I really the first commenter?

    April 12, 2018
    |Reply
  3. Drea C
    Drea C

    For half a second I thought that Zoid had relinquished center stage and allowed another woman to be beautiful and desirable and “strong” in the “everybody loves Zadey” world of Handbook for Cash Grab…but then I realized that Deli Lunchmeat is also Lani. That’s why she can dump Zee off-screen and have nobody care what’s happening to her. Lani’s inhabited another body…like one of those body-snatching parasites.

    April 12, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Yeah. They’re identical mother and daughter so it’s really just Thing 1 and Thing 2 before the Cat in the Hat puts them back.

      April 12, 2018
      |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      Don’t forget, Dela in this flashback is, “barely eighteen.” So a 36 year old woman is going to be playing a teenager who *just* became a legal adult.

      Watch, the next flashback will have a six year old Zade, and Lani will play her as well.

      April 12, 2018
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        Lani is Bottom the Weaver!

        BOTTOM
        An I may hide my face, let me play Thisby too, I’ll
        speak in a monstrous little voice. ‘Thisne,
        Thisne;’ ‘Ah, Pyramus, lover dear! thy Thisby dear,
        and lady dear!’
        QUINCE
        No, no; you must play Pyramus: and, Flute, you Thisby.
        BOTTOM
        Well, proceed.
        QUINCE
        Robin Starveling, the tailor.
        STARVELING
        Here, Peter Quince.
        QUINCE
        Robin Starveling, you must play Thisby’s mother.
        Tom Snout, the tinker.
        SNOUT
        Here, Peter Quince.
        QUINCE
        You, Pyramus’ father: myself, Thisby’s father:
        Snug, the joiner; you, the lion’s part: and, I
        hope, here is a play fitted.
        SNUG
        Have you the lion’s part written? pray you, if it
        be, give it me, for I am slow of study.
        QUINCE
        You may do it extempore, for it is nothing but roaring.
        BOTTOM
        Let me play the lion too: I will roar, that I will
        do any man’s heart good to hear me; I will roar,
        that I will make the duke say ‘Let him roar again,
        let him roar again.’
        QUINCE
        An you should do it too terribly, you would fright
        the duchess and the ladies, that they would shriek;
        and that were enough to hang us all.
        ALL
        That would hang us, every mother’s son.
        BOTTOM
        I grant you, friends, if that you should fright the
        ladies out of their wits, they would have no more
        discretion but to hang us: but I will aggravate my
        voice so that I will roar you as gently as any
        sucking dove; I will roar you an ’twere any
        nightingale.

        April 13, 2018
        |Reply
    • Kim
      Kim

      She is all women, everywhere, we’re all in her…except evil sluts like Sofy, or poor teenage girls with serious face lacerations from flying shards of glass.

      April 13, 2018
      |Reply
  4. RazzleDazzle
    RazzleDazzle

    I am continually baffled at how much absolutely nothing has happened in this book.

    Somehow months and months have passed and yet like 2 things of note have happened and nothing came of one of them. … maybe both really, since this whole incident just seems like a pointless run around to introduce this weird parent trap thing.

    Why isn’t at least Mac like “hey guys wtf stop making goo goo eyes at each other – which is confusing by the way – and save your daughter whom I totally care about lots”?

    April 12, 2018
    |Reply
    • MyDog'sPA
      MyDog'sPA

      “I am continually baffled at how much absolutely nothing has happened in this book.”

      Well, think of the positive: when it comes to plot, you can’t say Lani isn’t consistent! Everything else, yes, completely inconsistent. But when it comes to an plot with actual conflict with the protagonist, there is none!!!! (Lambo Girl doesn’t count, she wasn’t in the story long enough to matter, nor was there any stakes resolved or lost after their conflict.)

      April 12, 2018
      |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      That’s why the summary on the book cover basically spoils the entire thing: because nothing bloody happens. Everything that happens between Zade coming to Vegas and getting hurt is just her going on dates. That’s fucking boring. When you have a book that’s about magic, you expect fucking magic, not 350 pages of some child who cannot decide whom she wants to fuck.

      So the person writing the summary was probably like, “okay, how do I describe this book? Zade, a young witch goes to vegas and… has lots of dates… and more dates…. and buys a dress…. meets carrot top…. and then….! Chaos magick! Huzzah! Summary done.”

      April 12, 2018
      |Reply
      • Anon
        Anon

        I hadn’t read the summary, so your comment prompted me to look it up. It contains this gem of a line: “… her overprotective mother Dela, the local resident spellcaster and fortuneteller.”

        “Local resident …” “LOCAL.” “RESIDENT.”

        The summary is as bad as the book. I wonder how many editors looked at it?

        April 12, 2018
        |Reply
        • Anon
          Anon

          Also, she doesn’t know what “infamous” means. Or is Charles murdering people on the side?

          “… the infamous magician Charles Spellman.”

          April 12, 2018
          |Reply
          • RazzleDazzle
            RazzleDazzle

            MUSTACHE TWIRL!

            April 12, 2018
          • Amy
            Amy

            Good point. What makes Charles so infamous? His drug past? A past that’s never mentioned or hinted at until Lani needed an excuse why Charles wasn’t in Zade’s life? His tendency to fuck ’em and leave ’em attitude towards women? Nah, only women are slut shamed in this book. His….

            That’s actually it. There’s nothing else I know about this loser.

            April 12, 2018
          • Kim
            Kim

            Infamous for abandoning his kids and sleeping with employees, or…[googles David Copperfield scandals] allegedly causing audience members head trauma?

            April 14, 2018
      • Dove
        Dove

        Everything that happens between Zade coming to Vegas and getting hurt is just her going on dates. That’s fucking boring.

        It could’ve been exciting if we saw her going on dates but we never truly saw that either. I don’t know if you can count her bike ride in the rain, Jackson’s band night, or the dinner and Chekov’s Movie Tickets as true dates since we never get a proper sense of a relationship with either guy at any point. There’s just no chemistry there and it doesn’t lead to anything of any real importance, even the kiss doesn’t lead to her admitting that she’s dating Mac. The only incident that even matters were the tickets setting us up for the faux reveal that makes Mac angry. If Zani hadn’t gone through any of those incidents, nothing would really change. This story would’ve turned out the same if Mac were in the friend-zone, desperately hoping for more, but too shy to say anything.

        Hell, it would’ve been the same if she was a dog that people kept sneaking into public places. The lead-up to the accident could’ve been Charles putting a collar on her and getting slurped on the face, with Mac thinking that his boss was finally adopting the dog that he considered his companion, and then finding out later that Charles put Mac’s contact number on the tag, he just wanted to give her a parting gift because he felt bad about Sofia’s dog allergies. The discussion in Spellman’s office could’ve been because Charles was gonna have to send her back to Dela the breeder if Mac didn’t step up, now that Jackson was backing down, and he really wanted to keep psychic poochie in the act.

        It’s disconcerting how easily I can turn her into a dog that doesn’t talk. It also explains her sudden aggression moments as bad training and her being a handful. Er, but I digress.

        Honestly, everything leading up to the bloodbath could’ve been good if 1) Zani had made some fucking friends (besides Tad LOL) and gave a shit about anyone else, 2) if she had some emotions besides absolute pride and little flickers of lip service doubt, and 3) if she had an actual love life instead of daddy issues the poorly written farce. Even if the blurb is poorly written, it’s better than the novel because it implies something good might happen in a short amount of time, without jerking us around as much. 😛

        April 12, 2018
        |Reply
        • Emily
          Emily

          I would pay American dollars to read your magic dog story.

          April 12, 2018
          |Reply
  5. moonrae
    moonrae

    This chapter is the literary (and I mean that word VERY loosely) equivalent of the “Time is Of the Essence” song from Galavant, except, you know, without self-awareness or self-deprecation.

    April 12, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Oh! That reminds me, I need to watch more Galavant. I’ve only seen season one but it was excellent. XD

      April 12, 2018
      |Reply
      • moonrae
        moonrae

        Eeeee, Season 2 is great! This song is from Season 2 Episode 7 – I didn’t post it because spoilers ahoy, but that show was so fantastic. I hope the rumors are true they might make it into a live musical!

        April 12, 2018
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          Ooooh. I normally don’t care about spoilers but I think this is one of the few times I’d rather forgo them. 😀

          And that’d be awesome if they turned Galavant into a live musical! Although… I’m not sure how they’d condense it down enough. I’m sure it’s possible, but I don’t think it’d be easy?

          April 12, 2018
          |Reply
    • Jo
      Jo

      that is the PERFECT comparison

      April 12, 2018
      |Reply
  6. SofiaThatB*tch
    SofiaThatB*tch

    I can feel it. The editors just giving up at this point. They’re probably as bored as I am. Aside from the way Zani Larem over explains everything, I got nothing. I don’t even have the energy to nitpick cause it’s so boring even though it’s supposed to be the climax

    April 12, 2018
    |Reply
    • Pretty sure all the editors are dead from some kind of suicide pact after chapter 4…

      April 12, 2018
      |Reply
  7. Rhiannon
    Rhiannon

    Ewww I had not seen that footage of Trumpie feeling up Ivanka before…

    April 12, 2018
    |Reply
    • Jenny (but not Jenny Trout)
      Jenny (but not Jenny Trout)

      Trump is so gross. Between that and this book, I want brain bleach. Love the recap.

      April 12, 2018
      |Reply
  8. Mimijones
    Mimijones

    I *think* it’s stated or implied that Dela mindcontrolled Charles into never acknowledging Zanandoo as his kid as well as majjjjjikly preventing him from coming to see her/her leaving and seeing him. Which. Makes her th villain?

    April 12, 2018
    |Reply
    • Jane Eyre
      Jane Eyre

      which makes Jenny’s point even stronger. She mind controlled someone, invaded the most private of private things about them without consent obviously. It’s very abusive thing to do and anyone subjected to it wouldn’t want anything to do with that person. Charles should loathe her even more for that. This book is such bs…

      April 12, 2018
      |Reply
      • MamaLich
        MamaLich

        Yeah–I absolutely agree. If it was actually true that Dela enchanted Charles to not only keep a distance away from her and their child (but also made him ‘forget’ about ever coming to contact with Zade)…dude, that would be really despicable. I’m not the most family-oriented person, but even I would’ve been devastated if it turned out that I missed a huge chunk of my child’s life just because someone ‘magicked’ me into (physically, emotionally and psychologically) abandoning my kid.

        April 12, 2018
        |Reply
        • MyDog'sPA
          MyDog'sPA

          Unless there was a legit reason to moonblink Chuckie to forget Zahd. For example if he would be a danger to her or vice versa as she was growing up. But if he was an asshat at the birth and Zod needed protection from him, then why would Hoagie even want to see him back in her life?!?

          Unless, of course, the minute Zizzle was born she had moonblinking powers and used them on her Dad as early as 4 weeks old, so Hoagie got him out of there to protect him. But that would be an interesting story and from the level of this writing I don’t think Lani could possibly have thought of it. . . . .

          April 12, 2018
          |Reply
    • Nocturnal Queen
      Nocturnal Queen

      But a mindcontrol preventing him from acknowledging her wouldn’t make sense as he was able to tell Mac and the doctor about him being her father.

      April 13, 2018
      |Reply
  9. You know what would’ve created a lot more impact, tension, and suspense? If they’d showed up with Zamfir on the verge of death and bleeding out and whatever, and Deli, with a sense of great urgency, herded Charlie and Mac and the pilot and the girl on the bicycle and whoever else is here into her Magic Room or into the woods or into a circle of stones or whatever, and with Mac having no clue what’s going on, started invoking the Powers of Greyskull and calling out to Aslan and Galadrial and Yoda and whatever, and lightning started flashing and winds swirled and forest creatures gathered around and-

    Ta da! Zyrtec is magically healed, Mac is gobsmacked going “But- how? What?” and then Deli and Charlie can gaze at each other with all the leaves and birds still swirling round, and the force of their lurve would be evident as Za’atar sits up and rubs her eyes wonderingly.

    Then the clouds part, and the powah of loooooooove is everywhere and… as she was saying….

    April 12, 2018
    |Reply
    • shel
      shel

      That would only happen in an actual good book… never in this dreck. What you’ve written actually makes sense, so has no place in this disaster.

      April 12, 2018
      |Reply
    • HerImperialMaj
      HerImperialMaj

      But wouldn’t you rather have nonsensical flirting between parents who should hate each other and pages of pointless, redundant exposition? What sort of tween fanfic would this be without that sort o– Wait, this a novel? Written by an adult woman? Then yes, your thing. That’s better.

      April 12, 2018
      |Reply
  10. Liza
    Liza

    “Imagine if they got pulled over and they had to Weekend At Bernie’s her with blood flying everywhere”

    OMG I just choked on my breakfast. Then I visualized blood shooting everywhere during the scenes from How I Met Your Mother where they Weekend at Bernie’s Neal Patrick Harris’ character, and I almost lost it.

    April 12, 2018
    |Reply
  11. MyDog'sPA
    MyDog'sPA

    Oh, did they depart Vegas at dawn or arrive in Donkey Juice at dawn? I was under the impression it was the latter, which means that for a 3 hour flight time from KLAS to KRNC (there is NO airport at Woodbury, the closest airfield to Centertown with a decent 5000 foot runway for a bizjet is Warren County Memorial about 5 miles to the southeast, vs. Woodbury about 10 miles to the northwest) and two hour time difference, landing at dawn at 05:30 AM Central Time would mean they’d have to be wheels up at KLAS at 00:30 AM Pacific Time at the latest.

    This is after getting the hospital release “paperwork” and air ambulance conversion completed, as well as prepping the plane (fuel) and rousing the pilots (ensuring proper rest) and mundane ‘paperwork’ like filing IFR flight plans and such while waiting for ATC clearance.

    Although as I mentioned before, the easiest way to convert the aircraft cabin to ‘air ambulance’ mode with a profusely hemorrhaging patient would be to put her into a body bag and just not zip it up during the flight. When she bleeds, it pools in the body bag, if she dies, they just have to zip it up. Otherwise you’re looking at anywhere from $50k to $100k to replace the upholstery and carpets in the bizjet and yanking off the floorboards to decontaminate the blood out of the fuselage floor and control cables.

    April 12, 2018
    |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      I’m no head doctor House, but how does major blood loss react to cabin pressure? I assume that’s not a good thing.

      April 12, 2018
      |Reply
      • MyDog'sPA
        MyDog'sPA

        Oxygen transport will degrade as altitude climbs and blood loss increases. (The cabin only decreases to an equivalent 5000 foot to 8000 foot altitude. Not a lot, but still lower) I’m assuming they’d be transfusing her for the entire trip, so that’d make up for the blood loss/lower cabin pressure.

        So if they’re transfusing, no big deal, if not, she may have O2 loss and possible degraded brain function by the time she arrived (much like the author. Saaaaayyyy! Maybe that explains things!!! 🙂 )

        April 12, 2018
        |Reply
        • Amy
          Amy

          … so wait, wouldn’t a doctor still have to go with them to change out the blood bags?

          April 12, 2018
          |Reply
          • MyDog'sPA
            MyDog'sPA

            Well, at least a flight nurse could do that. But that’s one more person Spunk-man has to get before they can take off, and these folks are so specialized they may be tough to find on-call at midnight if they’re not already on call for other medivac.

            So how does one get all these people on the plane (without going over maximum weight with all the people and fuel to get all the way to TN) in time to take off at midnight?

            April 12, 2018
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      Why didn’t Cheesesteak just teleport Zagnut home?

      April 13, 2018
      |Reply
      • Mydog'sPA
        Mydog'sPA

        “Why didn’t Cheesesteak just teleport Zagnut home?”

        Silly goose! There are rules to majj-ecch!!! Oh, right, those were never explained. Hmm, well I guess the only other reason is because the writer wanted Chuckles to fly her to TN as there’s no other way to get Chuckles and Hoagie back together . . .

        Oh, wait, then again Chuckie could have just flown the jet to TN, picked up Cheesesteak, and flown here back to LAS. Would’ve been a lot easier to bring the majj-eccch gear to Vegas than bringing in a hemorrhaging patient to TN. Seeing as how the actual ritual didn’t take place for another 20 hours after they land at TN (3Am the morning AFTER they get there ) there’d be plenty of time to just shuttle CornedBeef to Vegas with all of her stuff without all the paperwork needed to transfer a critical patient cross-country.

        But what do I know?

        B

        April 14, 2018
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          All that aside, how big is her altar if it won’t fit on a private jet? Is this a huge fucking monolith that fell over at some point? I’m wondering if one of her ancestors got a delivery from Obélix, long long ago, sometime after Leif Erikson arrived.

          Her backyard must be infested with fairies whenever she forgets to mow the lawn. She probably had to mindwipe all the teenage boys who cut her grass for cheapskate dollars every summer. We know Zade wouldn’t be caught dead sweating while doing the chores and Dela is a barefoot saint.

          … I’m now much more interested in Donkey Juice Town, the Musical.

          Incidentally, I got curious and looked it up again on Blandbook because I was fuzzy on the actual description; it’s only vaguely described there but it’s also easy to forget, I’m sure. Anyway, there are fountains involved? I think maybe it’s a whole sanctuary shrine thing in Dela’s backyard, which probably looks pretty, if set-up right, but if LS was so desperate for a faux sacrifice scene, that could’ve been saved for the next book. Especially since a ritual sacrifice is weird as fuck for magically willing people back to life from a broken heart… er, I mean, the diabetus.

          … This entire novel functions better as a string of short stories.

          April 14, 2018
          |Reply
  12. shel
    shel

    Okay, so the hemorrhaging must have stopped somehow, right? Now she’s just randomly unconcious??? Or is she upstairs frothing blood from her mouth and dying from hypovolemic shock 12 hours ago while her parents sit around and reminisce?

    Like with everything in this book, a medical emergency could have been done so much better….. have her cough up blood and go unconscious, fine… don’t go on and on about how they can’t figure out where she is bleeding from and then ship her across country to her bedroom.

    I felt bad for Sophia before, and now I really feel bad for her. He’s so hung up on the ex, that he freaks out being called Charlie… he ignores her and doesn’t care when she falls and almost dies… cuts her out of the show cause rando chick shows up without explaining that it’s his daughter….

    April 12, 2018
    |Reply
    • MyDog'sPA
      MyDog'sPA

      Okay, so the hemorrhaging must have stopped somehow, right?

      Not said if it did or didn’t. Unknown if the ‘head doctor’ gave her Desmopressin or anti-fibrinolytics. Which, geez, I dunno, if someone is hemorrhaging profusely like that why not try hemophelia drugs? Oh, right, I’m not a ‘head doctor.’ . . .

      April 12, 2018
      |Reply
      • I.S.
        I.S.

        Do we even learn where she is bleeding from? Internal organs that pool blood in the abdomen, open cuts that bleed out on the floor, oozing of blood from capillaries though the skin. They may not know what is causing the bleeding but they certain can tell what part of the body it is coming from.

        April 12, 2018
        |Reply
        • MyDog'sPA
          MyDog'sPA

          Well, you’d think the Head Doctor would actually look for things like that, but nothing of the sort was described whatsoever. Hence the same Head Doctor wishing he could consult with the fictional “House” character . . . .

          But, hey, your guess is as good as mine, as the author never figured it out!

          April 12, 2018
          |Reply
          • I.S.
            I.S.

            Okay, just making sure I didn’t miss something, LOL. Clearly the three minutes I put thinking about this was more than the author put into it.

            April 12, 2018
        • Dove
          Dove

          I think her rectum exploded in a mass of blood and shit. Then it just kept bleeding and no one was willing to mention that part of her dainty anatomy. I wonder if the Head Doctor just shoved a tampon up her asshole and told the Head Nurse to change them every hour? They brought Head Nurse on the flight with them because bribery always works. ;D

          I buy that more easily than her heart seizing up and dumping phantasmic blood everywhere to show how she’d been cut to the quick by Mac’s lack of faith and responsibility!

          April 12, 2018
          |Reply
  13. L
    L

    Wait, what year are we in? How old is Zazzle?

    “Charles and I were both part of a touring show in the ’70s”….and then you had a kid when, 20 years later? I don’t understand this at all. If this book is taking place in present day or generously, I will say 2010, and generously I will also assume David Copperfield and Della Reese waited until 1980 to procreate (given their eye-banging, is this reasonable? Or perhaps they were friends or something for twenty years before this child tore their relationship apart?), that still makes Zade 30!

    Thirty??? Trapped in a small town until the age of 30? Starring in this LiveJournal post masquerading as a Young Adult novel at the age of 30??

    I feel deranged. Can someone please tell me I am wrong about this?

    April 12, 2018
    |Reply
    • RaccoonLady
      RaccoonLady

      I cannot tell you you are wrong. I am 24 which I am going to put as the upper limit of her age (she reads like me when I was maybe 15 though), so I was born in 1994. My parents did meet in 1985, and got married in ’90, had my sister in ’91 and then me 3 years later. My sister is turning 27 this year.
      So if it’s set in 2018, she would have have to have been born probably 20 years after her parents met? Or else, it has to be set I’m gonna say like 15 years ago so early 2000s? But that doesn’t fit with some of the brands she name drops? Although it would maybe explain the Carrot Top reference?

      April 12, 2018
      |Reply
    • MyDog'sPA
      MyDog'sPA

      Piffle. Everyone knows after Chuck and Hoagie split up she used her Majjeeccchhhh to remove and freeze the embryo she’d suspended in stasis in her womb. That way she could have postponed the birth for another 10 years. Presto! Zitty is now 25!!

      April 12, 2018
      |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      It’s a bizzare timeline. With the mention of touchphones, that implies Zade had to be born in at the 90’s or very late 80’s. Dela and Charles waited ten years to have Zade? That’s not an uncommon thing for couples, but nothing in in their relationship implies they’re the type of people who plan to have kids. Charles and Dela come off as the type of douchecanoes who would sabotage the other’s birth control to get what they want.

      April 12, 2018
      |Reply
    • Zade and Jackson go to see Deadpool, so it’s definitely 2016. And she describes herself as “almost a quarter of a century old,” which means 23 or 24. So yeah, her parents were born in the late fifties. Meaning that Zade is born in the early 90s. Meaning that they apparently had a relationship for 20 years before having a kid.

      April 12, 2018
      |Reply
    • Anon
      Anon

      I found what I think is a bio of her being a supposed model and it says Lani is 36 (not sure if that’s her current age or the age she was when the bio was written). So she seems to have forgotten to change the years of either the story or when Zippy was born. Self-insert alarm!

      April 12, 2018
      |Reply
    • shel
      shel

      I think it’s an error, she meant to say that she and charles were part of a touring show in the 70s when she was 8 and he was 11… And they had to grow up for 20 years before they had a kid.

      April 12, 2018
      |Reply
    • Another Amy
      Another Amy

      If Jackson and his band are based on the band that Lani Sarem managed, and Jackson and his band have not yet hit it big, then maybe this all takes place in the 90s. I’ve forgotten and don’t care to look up the name of the band Lani managed, but I am assuming that they may have been playing small clubs and bars (like the one Zade goes to in the book) in the 90s. So if the parents met in the 70s and had Zade in the mid-seventies, and Zade is now 21(?), then the book would be taking place in the mid-late nineties which coincides with when the band would have been playing bars. How old is the author right now. Because this is obviously a self-insert and Lani seems to be so lacking in creativity, that if she were writing about herself at the age of 21, she would OF COURSE have to have the story take place during the year she was ACTUALLY 21. She is so incredibly talentless that she would be entirely unable to extrapolate her 21 year old self and place her, as a character, in some other time period, such as the present. On the other hand, this book has things like texting and references the TV show House. Nothing makes any sense. I’m going with my theory that the book is set in the nineties bc that’s when real Lani was as young as character Zade, and bc real Lani’s parents probably met in the 70s. She took those facts from her own life and inserted them exactly as is into the book. Then she forgot that she had done that and put in a bunch of random references to the 2000s and beyond bc she’s just a sloppy, sloppy writer.

      April 12, 2018
      |Reply
  14. Liza
    Liza

    I still can’t get past the fact that all it takes is “some paperwork” to get a comatose adult, who has uncontrolled hemorrhaging caused by unknown reasons, released from the hospital without her consent. That is not how this works. Even if Chuck can whip out a birth certificate then and there showing he is her bio-dad, the Head Doctor (we know he’s a doctor because he’s wearing a white coat) isn’t just going to be like “Whelp, all-righty then, Sir. Just sign here, and here, and here, and then you can make this super medically unsound decision on her behalf.” There would be lawyers, adult protection, review boards. And even if they did finally agree they wouldn’t just be like “Ok, you’re on you’re own.” They’d want to make sure there was some sort of plan on the other end. The second they caught wind that the family just plans to load her up into an SUV and drive her home, the hospital would say “deal’s off folks.” This kind of ish doesn’t just happen after a few swipes of the pen. I’m not even a doctor and I understand that. Because liability.

    April 12, 2018
    |Reply
  15. Amy
    Amy

    If John Conner dies, the entire future is dead.

    If Aang or Korra dies, the future is genocide and colonization.

    If Luke dies, the entire universe is in jeopardy from the dark side of the Force.

    If Zade dies…. people would be sad. The End. For en epic fantasy, the stakes are not very high.

    Here’s the thing, I kinda understand what Lani was trying to go for. When you can’t do anything for a person in the other room, what else is there? Just sit and stare at the wall? People talk, people share things. I imagine sitting in the waiting room of a hospital, tired and worried, and the only thing I am capable of doing is getting cheap coffee from the vending machine or having a short conversation with the person besides me.

    But any tension this scene could have is constantly broken with descriptions of how beautiful and sexy Dela is, how much she’s in love with Charles. There’s literally more descriptions about Dela and Charles eye-fucking than there is of anything else.

    I just remember in the last chapter, Charles got an ephany and goes, “I think I know what’s wrong with her,” and it’s only then he decides to call Dela. Really dude? You rush your child to the hospital, wait an hour or so for a diagnosis and only THEN you decide to call the mother of your child, the person you apparently are so deeply in love with? I called my siblings faster than that when I realized I had to put down the family DOG. My dog gets more respect than the mother of your child. Good lord.

    April 12, 2018
    |Reply
    • Anon
      Anon

      Except that they took her to TN specifically because her mother is supposed to have a ritual that will save her life. So it’s not a matter of “can’t do anything.” She just isn’t doing it.

      April 12, 2018
      |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Yeah. The “Hurry Up and Wait” mentality absolutely doesn’t work. It’s a term I stole from the making of the Hobbit that Lindsay is currently doing (spoilers: with Nella), and it grinds everything to a halt here as much as it did in real life. You just can’t evoke tension this way… not good tension anyhow. Because you’re right, the fact they’re so fucking relaxed kills any sense of forced waiting too.

      It could be different if Dela and Charlie just wanna fuck to release some tension, but since their relationship was stalled for over 20 years they shouldn’t be able to pick up like they just dropped it. Maybe some hate sex would’ve worked? Then Mac could’ve morosely gone through some old photo albums or something and got the skinny after the oldies got all that lust out of their system? Maybe that wouldn’t work either but god damn it just… anything besides this would make more sense. Plus, it would be hilarious for Zippy to backpedal the hell away from a sex scene and we’d find out if she has control over what she watches when given access to stuff she doesn’t want.

      April 12, 2018
      |Reply
      • Amy
        Amy

        The “hurry up and wait” is a term often used in the military. Especially during boot camp where cadets are constantly told to hurry their asses up…. and then stand in line.

        April 13, 2018
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          Ah, that makes sense! Sorry, I realize my original comment would imply I thought Lindsay came up with this phrase. It’s something one of the actors mentioned in an interview and I just didn’t know if it came from anywhere and I was too lazy to check beforehand. That origin is pretty amusing and fitting, I think. 🙂

          April 13, 2018
          |Reply
          • Mouse
            Mouse

            Another good military term that works for this book is BOHICA. Bend Over, Here it Comes Again.

            April 16, 2018
  16. Anon
    Anon

    When one googles “Lani Sarem Cirque du Soleil,” the only hit you get is this blog. Possibly one of her Tweets might come up.

    “Imagine if they got pulled over and they had to Weekend At Bernie’s her with blood flying everywhere.”

    Better story.

    If Dela can read minds, why did she have to ask that question?

    Maybe I’m misremembering, but doesn’t she say in the first chapter that she had an audition for the magic show? Would he have actually made her audition? Even if it was just for show and to cover up their relationship, she at least would have been aware of that. I feel like “Charles is Sade’s father” was an afterthought once she’d started writing.

    “… like they really don’t care if the main character lives or dies.”

    They would like to free themselves from this awful book.

    “Commercial flights from Las Vegas to Nashville (the closest actual existing airport to Woodbury, where the fictional airport is) seem to be about three hours total time …”

    With a direct commercial flight, you can get from Buffalo to Orlando in two hours. And like you said, his jet can probably go faster than that.

    “Not Sofia?”

    It feels more and more like Lanis has forgotten that they were an item at all.

    That italicized section is her talking about when her mother was young. Are the rest similar? Does she confuse making statements about the past with an actual flashback? Never mind. I wasn’t finished reading yet. That theory’s out the window.

    There is absolutely no set-up to this great and undying love. We have no real attachment to Sandwich or really to Charlie. We’ve barely seen either of them. Why are we supposed to care? Just because it’s how Labor got made?

    April 12, 2018
    |Reply
    • Rhiannon
      Rhiannon

      Maybe she worked on the merchandise stand for Cirque? 😉

      April 12, 2018
      |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      There is absolutely no set-up to this great and undying love. We have no real attachment to Sandwich or really to Charlie. We’ve barely seen either of them. Why are we supposed to care? Just because it’s how Labor got made?

      Pretty positive that’s why we get the dumb “fucking her dad” insinuations. Since Dela isn’t there to make-up with Charles in the other 20 goddamn chapters, Zani is a stand-in for her mother. Also, Lani Not-Sarem has a very solid theory that Jackson was created partly out of scenes stolen from Charles and retrofitted for the new love triangle character, which is why we haven’t seen more of Charles through-out the book. It’s lazy, stupid, and makes no sense, but I’m pretty sure that’s what LS went with. It gets her out of trying to imagine a father-daughter bond and all the pain involved with being abandoned (whether he was forced to stay away or not.) Considering LS could barely imply romance in any other chapter and the lust between her parents feels more real than the minimal BS she goes through for Mac and Jackson, it might be for the best, but a lot of us are pretty pissed off about her decision anyway. None of it works. 🙁

      April 12, 2018
      |Reply
      • Amy
        Amy

        So what you’re saying is… the original script was definitely a hundred times more incesty? That’s…. I don’t even know what to say….

        April 12, 2018
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          Yeah, in theory, the original script was hinging on the big reveal, that was the only source of any remote conflict after all, so it had to be more incestuous by default. It’s a little uncertain just how many scenes were borrowed from Charles and how many were crafted out of whole cloth for the novel (the most trope-heavy probably), but the editing was so obvious that Lani Not-Sarem was able to successfully cobble together the hilarious in-world theory that Jackson is just a Glamoured Charles. (The most obvious example off the top of my head is the camping trip, where all of Charlie’s scenes were given to Jackson, and how both Jackson and Charles are the only characters with constantly sparkling eyes… which could explain why she’s attracted to Jackson, but since she isn’t written with an attraction to anyone but daddy, well…) Er, but I’m pretty sure you’ve read the Blandbook for Chortles blog, so I’ll stop. XD

          April 12, 2018
          |Reply
  17. MyDog'sPA
    MyDog'sPA

    “If John Conner dies, the entire future is dead.

    If Aang or Korra dies, the future is genocide and colonization.

    If Luke dies, the entire universe is in jeopardy from the dark side of the Force.

    If Zade dies…. “

    If Zuke dies, the whole effing story dies!!! If she lives, same result.

    She’s completely passive throughout. Did I miss it, or was there no actual agency from her? Any at all?

    Is this a first where in this story the main character is neither a protagonist or even a pivotal character?

    I think I may have figured out where the story idea originated: From the Le Reve (Wynn Las Vegas) Wiki:

    the central theme includes a female lead who see-saws back and forth between her dueling desires for love and passion, mind or body, as she finds herself attracted to two men. Put into a dream world to help her decide between the two suitors, she embarks on a mystical journey. The show concludes with what the production calls “a graceful and inspirational scene.”

    I’ve never seen Le Reve because I’m a Cirque fan (Ka was awesome!!!) but with Lani’s conflating Le Rreve with Cirque and claiming to be an ‘olympic’ performer on such a show, it makes total sense this is where she got the idea from.

    April 12, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      She’s completely passive throughout. Did I miss it, or was there no actual agency from her? Any at all?

      Nah, you’re correct. Zade has no agency whatsoever (with the possible exception of calling her father at the very beginning, but that isn’t confirmed so it’s not really proof other than logical circumstance. Since logic doesn’t work in this book, it’s absolutely no proof at all. Maybe Sofia found the number on his phone and called Zade, who asked to speak to Charles, and then she realized he was her dad via magical BS.) Anyway, Lara Croft from the first Tomb Raider movie had more agency and she was kitted out with mostly fan service. I think that’s what LS was hoping to do with her movie, reel in the guys with her hot toddies, and appeal to all the sinister misogynistic “Not Like Other Girls” tendencies that women get because being womanly is mocked and treated as less than IRL, even in the USA, especially teenage girl tendencies. So Zade was envisioned as some kind of sexy, strong independent woman paper doll first and a character second.

      Unfortunately, it backfires hugely when it’s depicted in a tame as the Virgin Mary first person POV novel. As hellish as the 1/3rd POV is, it proves better once we start seeing Dela and Charles in a more 3rd person way. Admittedly, some of that is just them WANTING each other, while Zade clearly didn’t want anyone, but it’s just awkward as fuck to write a smoldering sex symbol in the first person and have their only desire be fame and fortune without any lust. I think that’s one of the reasons that scene, where all the guys drooled over Zade, was in there. I’m sure it was in the movie too, that’s how she was originally written, but it stands out as even weirder in literature, especially since Zani clearly has no idea how to write about, well, anything but she’s really bad with descriptions and emotions.

      Btw, I’ve never seen La Reve either but I know someone else (maybe two people even) mentioned that as a probable inspiration for the stage illusions, so I agree with your assessment there.

      April 12, 2018
      |Reply
      • Amy
        Amy

        I’ve never seen La Reve either, but it’s so disheartening that Lani, despite all her years of experience working with show like La Reve and Cirque, that her stage show in HFM includes…. a closet, a teenage boy, a statue, apples, and a guitar. No backflips, no death defying stunts, no awesome acrobats, dancing, or impressive physcial prowess. All Zade does is an elaborate disappearing act.

        I’ve seen high school plays that are much more awesome than that.

        April 12, 2018
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          All Zade does is an elaborate disappearing act.

          I’ve seen high school plays that are much more awesome than that.

          IMHO that’s the problem. LS really wanted to put on a solo stage play but she was determined to keep the magic show theme, even though she clearly changed her mind as soon as she started writing the book, and so she got caught by a catch-22. She can’t go all out with the display because it’s a FUCKING ILLUSION SHOW, not a theatrical event! But she didn’t want to do a ton of research and delve really deeply into stage magic, she wanted epic visuals that would be made with magicks and could maybe pass as illusions, so she picked this ugly shapeless hybrid that serves no one. ;P

          April 12, 2018
          |Reply
          • Amy
            Amy

            I wonder if Lani only kept it like that because she physcially can’t do half of the stuff the cirque crew does. Lani is an athlete of olympian standards, but not every athlete is capable of doing the same physical requirements of every sport. As a result, all the illusion is is pretty lights and fancy handwaving.

            That’s assuming Lani wants to do her own stunts.

            April 12, 2018
          • Dove
            Dove

            That’s assuming Lani wants to do her own stunts.

            I doubt she wants to work-up a sweat so she’d hire a stunt double. 😉

            I think she chose the middle-ground because she was married to two completely different ideas and never bothered to compromise realistically. That’s how we got a bildungsroman with The Parent Trap ending. She has two completely different plots and is either not experienced enough or not concerned enough (possibly both) to make them work. So she half-assed it. Same for the romance minus any actual romance or lust and nothing but materialism and hero worship.

            I think LS liked the idea of Zatanna (and ostensibly might’ve worked for Copperfield at some point) but she never gave a damn about stage magic and then she saw La Reve and wanted her movie to be visually epic so she cribbed some of what she saw. And that’s it. I highly doubt her athletic skill was involved or she would’ve found some way to show off a little bit. But that’s just my theory.

            April 12, 2018
          • Amy
            Amy

            I am still hoping they do a remake of the Parent Trap and finally address the huge fucking elephant in the room: it was pretty fucked up for the parents to seperate their twins, keeping one over the other, and then pretending the other didn’t exist for nearly 15 years.

            April 13, 2018
        • ViolettaD
          ViolettaD

          I’ve seen high school gymnastics teams that were more impressive than that. And if you’re on your high school gymnastics team, it’s usually because you weren’t good enough for elite competition.

          April 13, 2018
          |Reply
    • “She’s completely passive throughout. Did I miss it, or was there no actual agency from her? Any at all?”

      This is also the biggest problem with this Magykkhal Life-Saving Mac-ness… now she doesn’t even have to choose between the guys. The choice is made for her.

      ZERO agency. And I LOVE Dove’s idea that you could replace her with a dog, and the story wouldn’t change. That’s even better than the Sexy Lamp Test.

      April 12, 2018
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        The story would change drastically, because dogs are VERY clear about who they like and don’t like. If you started talking to a dog about going shopping, just to soothe the dog after a fight broke out, the dog would glad to be included in the conversation–or in a conversation on string theory or the weather, for that matter. Particularly if you keep scratching the dog behind the ears during the conversation.

        April 13, 2018
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          The story would change drastically because dogs are VERY clear about who they like and don’t like.

          It’s not about who Poochie the Psychic Wonderdog likes; she likes everyone at the show, except maybe Sofia but I think Sofia has allergies which isn’t her fault. The issue they’re trying to decide is where the dog will live.

          Charles is struggling to find a way around Sofia’s problem but eventually has to give up. Jackson doesn’t have a backyard and isn’t responsible enough. In a better novel, Mac would actually be the best choice, but by default, he’s just the only one without excuses, other than he isn’t a dog person but she wins him over in the end.

          There’s no agency if you can safely change the entire plot to “Who takes care of the dog?” instead of “Who does the heroine fall in love with?” Yes, I’m changing it in various ways, but only to make the dog concept work and it’s better than the novel which is frankly sad. It shouldn’t be this easy to make a parallel universe where Zani is a performing dog who needs a new home.

          Technically, the dog would still have agency, it isn’t just about being able to communicate easily or the importance of that communication, but if you can replace the heroine or love interest with a pet, that’s a horrible sign for a romance plot. I wouldn’t be surprised if you could turn the heroine of Fifty Shades of Grey into a dog although she probably has more agency than Zani does. Hey, the heroine of the Shape of Water is mute and she has way more agency (plus she has sign language and has better dialog, I’m sure… I still need to see it but it’s a pretty safe bet. Also a fantastic actress.) 😛

          April 13, 2018
          |Reply
          • ViolettaD
            ViolettaD

            A dog wouldn’t string potential humans along for months on end while these decisions were being made. You’d actually have to have a PLOT for this to work.

            Now I’m remembering Ginger Pye….awesome dog story. 🙂

            April 13, 2018
          • Dove
            Dove

            A dog wouldn’t string potential humans along for months on end while these decisions were being made. You’d actually have to have a PLOT for this to work.

            The plot is that Dela sent Poochie the Psychic Wonderdog to Charles but he can’t take her in, because Sofia has allergies. So none of the conversations Zani has happened because they’re not instrumental in anything. Nothing Zani says or does makes any difference. Mac is just debating if he can handle having a dog after his last one disappeared. Jackson loves playing with her but won’t take her for walks. Charles wants to keep her but can’t. Tad would keep Poochie but he knows his wife would flip out if he tried to bring a dog home after he bought a motorcycle without discussing it with her. Sofia tries to talk Mac out of taking Poochie because he’s so hesitant and he’s mad at Sofia for being allergic, which isn’t her fault, but they wouldn’t be in this mess otherwise.

            The struggle isn’t being strung along. It’s humans being wishy-washy. Also, the plot is probably a lot tighter without the BS of the dog pondering her options because she doesn’t care. She likes all of them. She just wants a permanent home and when Charles tries to ship her back in a crate, Poochie freaks out because he’s dumb as hell and then Mac has a heartfelt conversation about dogs and dog training with the dog breeder Dela.

            I admit the ending is where it breaks down more, but only because Charles has no reason to go back to his ex-wife, Dela. Zani could remain a dog or his child and that doesn’t change how awkward their re-marriage is. XD

            But fine. I’ll admit it’s not exactly the same. 😉

            April 13, 2018
  18. MamaLich
    MamaLich

    ‘I just…you guys. This woman denied this man the right to see his own child, and he apparently didn’t care enough to do anything about it. They can still get under each other’s skin? They should loathe each other. You don’t do shit like that unless there are real, very serious problems. They shouldn’t be acting like old friends. None of this makes sense.’

    Especially since ZADE has already showed how ‘good’ Dela was in guiding her daughter through childhood and magickickajick. Since Charles knew that Dela (and Zade) have powers that could be used for ill or good–he should’ve been pretty damned worried about Zade growing up in Snydersville where Dela KNEW was the home of some small-minded and intolerant people (even if they weirdly compliment his kid’s hair in a regular basis). We already have seen what adult!Zade’s self-control is like with HER magic–I’m pretty sure there were a LOT of incidents during Zade’s childhood that Charles would’ve wanted to know about (and even BE THERE TO parent).

    Also: After reading this blog, I was suddenly hit with a question for Ms. Sarem: If Zade’s presence causes mere mortals to lust/hate her uncontrollably…when did THAT start to happen during Zade’s life? When she hit puberty? Because an ultra-conservative and small town with history of ‘witch burnings’ would’ve probably had an interesting reaction if some ultra-young jezebel was causing men to covet her and women to hate her guts.

    April 12, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      If Zade’s presence causes mere mortals to lust/hate her uncontrollably…when did THAT start to happen during Zade’s life? When she hit puberty? Because an ultra-conservative and small town with a history of ‘witch burnings’ would’ve probably had an interesting reaction if some ultra-young jezebel was causing men to covet her and women to hate her guts.

      I’m sure LS would never admit to being into lolis. Pretty positive that power doesn’t kick in until a girl is at least 18, given how snow-driven pure that Zade is. 😛

      April 12, 2018
      |Reply
      • Amy
        Amy

        Yet that still would be a more interesting premise than this. Having a power over people at a young age, how does that affect you, how does that mess with you?

        But I agree that going down that rabbit hole will be a bit too rapey for this book to handle.

        April 12, 2018
        |Reply
        • HerImperialMaj
          HerImperialMaj

          AND you could go for a plotline like Alicia’s in the show Misfits. She got the “power” to make anyone who touched her lust after her uncontrollably and try to have sex with/rape her until contact was broken. And she thought it was cool for about half an episode, until she used it to rape her crush and he freaked out, and then her social worker tried to rape her. After that, she couldn’t have physical contact with anyone because she couldn’t get anyone’s genuine consent, and it really messed up all her relationships. Loop String could have cut out the pointless Jackson angle and just made it about how she genuinely likes Mac (for whatever reason), but she can’t be with him because her magic is forcing his attraction and denying him consent.

          But that would, of course, be both interesting and challenging. Nope!

          April 12, 2018
          |Reply
          • Agent_Z
            Agent_Z

            Not to mention make Zordon actually look like a decent person.

            April 13, 2018
        • Mydog'sPA
          Mydog'sPA

          “Having a power over people at a young age, how does that affect you, how does that mess with you?

          That would be a very plausible reason why Hoagie wanted to get rid of Chuckles, especially if she saw an infant Zohd moonblink her Dad at a ripe young age of 4 weeks. (I mentioned this above). Pastrami would have to get rid of bio-Dad just to save his life and soul from ZartiBlarfast. That would be a reason for them to want to get back together in this timeframe.

          But I think we’re over-thinking this as Lani never thought of it. (Is she capable?) Would be a more interesting story, tho.

          Gads, if she was able to moonblink boys and men of any age when she was two or younger, how does CornedBeef train her to deal with pedophiles? (Does moonblinking them cause them to come on to the child even more? Then what?????? (shivers)

          But like I said, I doubt Lani has even considered any of this.

          April 12, 2018
          |Reply
          • Agent_Z
            Agent_Z

            Yeah Charles being under Zuchinni’s thrall would definitely explain stuff like him just handing her a job when she just waltzes in and buying her things that are way too expensive. He may not be attracted to her (hopefully) but he is acting very odd.

            April 13, 2018
  19. Ugh, this ‘memory pull swill’ is just pathetic.

    I hate Zork. I hope she gets eaten by a grue.

    April 12, 2018
    |Reply
    • Spacegeek
      Spacegeek

      It seems likely.

      April 12, 2018
      |Reply
      • Ha! The first thing I thought of was “Not bloody likely”. 😀

        April 14, 2018
        |Reply
  20. HerImperialMaj
    HerImperialMaj

    She gets hurt, she uses her stupid omniscient first person narrator to make it clear that she recovered just fine from this incident, she had the other characters stand around reminiscing and inexplicably flirting while she was ostensibly dying, and now she’s going to have a chapter of flashbacks about how her parents got together? While she’s still ostensibly dying?

    WHAT DOES THIS WOMAN HAVE AGAINST NARRATIVE TENSION?!?! If she were a lab rat, she’d push that pleasure button until she dies!

    April 12, 2018
    |Reply
  21. Teresa
    Teresa

    Wow. This book……smdh…. The conversation about how the parents met is a conversation that takes place after the patient is stable and resting, not when she’s still hemmoraging. And calling her sandwich is absolutely hilarious (as is the gif of Sophia.)

    April 12, 2018
    |Reply
  22. Spacegeek
    Spacegeek

    If these characters were any dumber, you’d have to water them twice daily.

    Also, is Zooboomafoo still bleeding? How? How much blood does a magiqal person contain?!

    April 12, 2018
    |Reply
      • HeidiAphrodite
        HeidiAphrodite

        If I were still eating my lunch, I guarantee I would have spit part of it out just now because this may be the best thing I’ve seen all day.

        April 16, 2018
        |Reply
    • Agent_Z
      Agent_Z

      “If these characters were any dumber, you’d have to water them twice daily.”

      You mean they’d be dumb as plants? Because if so, I find that an offense to plants

      April 13, 2018
      |Reply
  23. Ever so slightly off-topic, but Kate Davidson’s depiction of Zesty’s voice in the audio version of these recaps is the funniest damn thing ever. I hope those continue, but if not, what’s available is already a treat and a half.

    April 13, 2018
    |Reply
  24. Political Junkie
    Political Junkie

    At this point, I’m holding out hope that she doesn’t make it and has been narrating the story from the grave the whole time, because it turns out that her real true love was Jackson. Oops! Darn.

    April 13, 2018
    |Reply
  25. Agent_Z
    Agent_Z

    If I wanted to be generous to this book, I’d say this chapter was trying to get across that Dela was the only one ever allowed to call Charles “Charlie”.

    April 13, 2018
    |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      I can’t be that generous because EVERYONE gets a stupid nickname. That’s not cute; it’s annoying, unnecessary, and makes no sense. Worse, by invoking the “Charlie” nickname, we the audience is harkened back to when the nickname was first said: Sofia fucking Charles. Because yes, that’s the visual I want to get during this moment of tension and worry! A reminder that Charlie has another girlfriend whom he fucked on a regular basis.

      April 13, 2018
      |Reply
  26. Usually Just Lurking
    Usually Just Lurking

    So their child is dying in another room:

    Charles: Hey there Deli 😉 God I love sandwiches…
    Dela: When we met we were so young and HAWT.
    Charles: *eyebrow wiggle*
    Mac: WTF…

    And now she’s going to tell a story??? Is she going to put the kettle on? Hang in there, Zani. Or don’t. Whatever.

    April 13, 2018
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      You would think she might rush into her Madjhick Ritual, THEN tell Chuck-E’s-in-love, “Well, it’ll take a bit before we see if it works, so let’s have a cuppa.”

      April 13, 2018
      |Reply
  27. Masha
    Masha

    Oh no, I think the whole “collect some random paperwork, then throw bleeding person over your shoulder” makes perfect sense. As does the “head doctor”. This is, after all, a hopsital 😉

    (yes, I know, the typo may be Jenny’s, but it still made me giggle)

    April 13, 2018
    |Reply
  28. River
    River

    So, I’m really confused as to what happens with Zurpaderp. She is critical. She is hemorrhaging from all the places, the Physicians are all “don’t know what to do or what it is” and yet they allow her to be removed and sent on a private jet to no-where-ville. I would contend they’d be calling the CDC and isolating her because they don’t know why she is SPONTANEOUSLY HEMORRHAGING! Could be a new/strange disease process that would be considered contagious till proven otherwise.

    Which also means the entire show/audience would now be also isolated. Thanks a lot Zingdong.

    Side bar no physician I’ve worked with would wish they had a fictional doctor to help them and “the head doctor” would not be here, that dude is in bed in his 8000 square foot mansion and there ain’t nobody who’s calling him in late at night for a not-presidential patient. Until at least every test is run besides that each section of the hospital is run by its own specialist chief (ER has it’s own chief physician, the ICU has a different one ect.) So the “head doctor” is most likely more administrative then anything.

    *Caveat* if it is a teaching hospital it may have a different structure then what I’m used too.

    What they WOULD BE DOING is contacting doctors around the US/world and consulting with them. And putting a person on a plane that does not have the equipment to secure said person is…. So much nope! Besides most likely at this point she’d be on a ventilator, be sedated and in need of multiple drips with medications and blood. Medical fix wings do have these items however a private jet… does not. Which means the hospital just agreed to let you take thousands of dollars worth of equipment out of their facility..HA! We can’t even use blankets without them screaming at us. And you have no idea how to run them anyway. They could get a flight medic or RN to go with them except if they aren’t working for their agancy at the time they can’t be practicing medicine. Because they’ll lose their license and get into big nope trouble with the government.

    Also there is no way that the hospital would release her (as much as they’d love to because Chuck and Zumpy are going to be family/patient from hell) because she is an adult and unresponsive.

    If she were underage and he could prove relationship maybe, MAYBE they’d release her because at that point the law says the parent decides for the child, however she is not a minor, he cannot make decisions for her. Unless he also has POA but that would be weird and unusual. And would need to be set up prior to the whole unconscious thing.

    I know she wants a scene where Boyfriend carries her frail body onto a private jet while tenderly cradling her…. But it wouldn’t be easy/look terrible because unresponsive obtunded people are floppy and difficult to move. Trust me. Plus if you don’t have a stretcher to move her onto the airplane you’ll most likely yank out all the cords and wires and IV lines and you’ll not be able to ventilate her so brain cells will die. And she doesn’t have that many to lose.

    Arrrrrrgggggg. This makes me so angry.

    April 13, 2018
    |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      In cases like these, I guess the following quote works best:

      “Screw the rules, I have money!”

      (Lani would be so proud of me….)

      April 13, 2018
      |Reply
    • shel
      shel

      I think she’s dead… they are just hauling her dead body around and the hospital was like.. fine, just take her. No way has she been hemorraghing this whole time and is still alive. I don’t care how much they have transfused her, it just becomes wasted blood at some point and they would stop.

      What I really think is that this dumb writer wanted to put her character in a coma, but it was fun to visualize her spewing blood all over the theatre, but she was too dumb to add a couple sentances of the Doctor saying-” the bleeding has stopped and all of her vitals are back to normal and she’s breathing on her own, but we don’t know why she’s not waking up…” the mystery coma would make so much more sense!

      But that’s just too hard for Lunkhead to write.

      April 13, 2018
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        It’s like the Unknown Soldier in Catch-22. He’s mummified in bandages, and there are jars containing fluids with tubes. One tube goes into the unseen patient, and another goes out. At intervals, the nurses switch the jars.

        April 13, 2018
        |Reply
  29. Preakness Everdeen
    Preakness Everdeen

    Charles and Dela’s daughter is actively dying maybe sorta kinda, but they have time to rekindle their extremely strong romantic bond. And despite this incredibly strong bond they had it wasn’t enough for Charles to try to fight it? I feel like in a better story I’ve heard of something similar a la, using magic to keep your loved ones away. But in those stories the one who is being kept away with magic has tried to fight against the magic cuz of THE BOND. Or if it had something to do with altering memories they start noticing something is missing and seeing someone they weren’t supposed to be seeing starts breaking the hold the magic has, or something like that.

    Maybe this “much needed” flash back will explain it, but I’m not gonna hold my breath over it. But so far it just seems like Delicatessen and Not-pperfield might have just mutually agreed cuz reasons.

    Also with this most likely restarted romance is Charles gonna like…say something to Sophia? Like hey I met my ex and told her I loved her no big deal or, break up with her or…or something? Excuse my phrasing, but he started treating her like a red headed step child so I’m thinking there’s no positive way to return or close that relationship. Even at best Charles isn’t the greatest person to still be in a relationship with someone else, but instantly see his ex and say “I love you”

    April 13, 2018
    |Reply
    • HerImperialMaj
      HerImperialMaj

      This is, once again, Loop Station trying to have it both ways and turning everything to shit instead. She wants Delicatessen to be such a powerful witch that she used her magic to keep Charleston Chew away from Zigarette her whole life. But now she also wants the two to be so in love and have such a strong bond that the moment they’re together the sparks fly.

      In that case, either Doorknob is purposefully removing the spell so that she can get up on her ex-husband while her daughter is possibly dying, or THE BOND is so powerful that it’s stronger than her spell. But it can’t be that because then surely at some point in the last 20+ years, THE BOND would have overpowered the spell and Chipotle would have fought to be with his soulmate and their daughter, which he never did.

      So yeah. Longitude wanted a star-crossed witch, but she ended up with a sociopathic mom and a deadbeat dad.

      April 13, 2018
      |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Also with this most likely restarted romance is Charles gonna like…say something to Sophia?

      Nope. Sofia disappears from the novel after Zade’s little illusion goes wrong. We’re never told if Charles said anything, but the best guess is they broke-up over the phone and Sofia was expecting this for awhile. I like Sofia, so I assume she was already checked out of their relationship and a few months ago she found another job in a different career, maybe singing. She was just serving her last few nights on the show before starting over somewhere else and having a more fulfilling life on her own.

      April 13, 2018
      |Reply
      • Amy
        Amy

        While that’s a very mature response, remember, this HFM. Adults don’t act like adults in this. There is no maturity. Sofia will probably never get a mention again and she’ll face the Chuck Cunningham syndrome, or she becomes the villian in the next book, seeking out black magic to get revenge on the asshats who stole her MAN.

        April 14, 2018
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          Sofia will probably never get a mention again and she’ll face the Chuck Cunningham syndrome

          That’s my best guess for the reality of it since it’s the easiest method from the writer’s POV. But hey, at least, Sofia went out on a high note, calling the bitch out for her sins and then singing a Valkyrie song until Poopy Suit collapsed. XD

          Besides, turning Sofia into a villain would make her more sympathetic and someone to take seriously. It’s a childish response BUT it’s human considering Charles treated her like shit; hell, maybe the trouble only started when Zade showed up and she thinks he was enchanted, so she needs to rescue him from his evil, sociopathic ex. That would seal Zade’s fate as the uber bitch since she was complicit and Sofia would become the best character in the entire series because LS unintentionally writes Sofia with absolute realism if you remove the narrative filter where she’s some slutty mean girl. After that shift in the plotlines, she’d just have the “woman scorned” filter instead. But also, LS uses that idea in the next chapter, so that’d be a lot of doubling down if she used it again and blew up the importance of it in the next book. XD

          I mean, becoming a witch villain could turn Sofia into the next Voldemort as a matter of laziness, or some shadowy badass overlord who rarely does anything. More likely Sofia would become the Dragon to the actual Overlord. Then again, I don’t think LS is a fan of epic fantasy and that kind of blurs the line, but I would be deeply amused if it happened that way and she accidentally wrote the best villain who eclipses Zade in popularity, if she manages to scrape some fans up off the floor, after she dropped the ball with this novel. If she hires a ghost writer for the rest of the series and pushes things in this direction, then that’d definitely happen.

          April 14, 2018
          |Reply
  30. Mike
    Mike

    This chapter confirms to me what I thought last chapter. There’s no legitimate reason for her to insist on invading the personal memories of everyone around her except for her need to be the center of attention. There’s no information she can get from doing this that she couldn’t have gotten from just asking them to tell her what happened, there’s no additional plot related reason to have her first person narrating this, it’s just that Zade HAS to be the center of attention. HAS TO BE.

    She even talks about how sad it is that she wasn’t in the empty chair. She’s fine from her vantage point. She’s not saying that Mac is thinking about how sad it is that she’s not there, SHE’S thinking about how sad it is that she’s not there. She’s not empathizing with anyone else, not feeling bad for having put them through pain (which they don’t seem to be feeling…) she’s just sad that she wasn’t in the room with them. It’s ridiculous, selfish, egotistical, and pointless. And Sarem doesn’t even realize it. Just like this book in general.

    April 13, 2018
    |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      In one of my favorite video games, Psychonauts, a character decides to read his dad’s mind. Dad is reminicing about his wife, thinking about all the good times, and the son is like, “awww…. dad…”

      Until dad starts thinking about sex with his wife, to which the son gets so disturbed, he leaves home. XD

      But that’s also another silly thing Lani has overlooked: memories are painful and sometimes you don’t want to think about them. I don’t want to see/feel how distraught my dad was when I was in the hospital; it’ll do nothing for me except make me feel guilty or ashamed about the pain I unwillingly caused.

      What exactly was she trying to see? What key evidence was she trying to get at. And for someone who just wants a “normal” life, she certainly has no hesitation of dragging Mac down, exposing him to very probing, questionable magic.

      April 13, 2018
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        In one of my favorite video games, Psychonauts, a character decides to read his dad’s mind. Dad is reminicing about his wife, thinking about all the good times, and the son is like, “awww…. dad…”

        Until dad starts thinking about sex with his wife, to which the son gets so disturbed, he leaves home. XD

        Yes! I love that game. So quirky. I forgot all about what happened to Sasha though. Poor guy… it explains a lot though. XD

        (Btw, they put out a side-plot sort of VR game recently. It’s pretty cute.)

        But yeah, as everyone is pointing out, it’s such a lame and lazy way to use psychic powers, it serves no purpose other than to keep LS from having to rewrite most of the ending, and there’s nothing emotional that really works. Everything presented here just raises further questions. 😛

        April 13, 2018
        |Reply
        • Amy
          Amy

          I immediately looked that up. It’s been out for a year and I didn’t know about it???? Thanks for the heads up!

          April 14, 2018
          |Reply
          • Dove
            Dove

            NP! I don’t think it got much fanfare but I definitely recommend it if you’ve already got a VR set-up (if you don’t, you’re probably better off finding a Let’s Play. It’s very short and sweet but probably not worth getting new equipment for.) It also wraps up some loose ends from the first game, which is really nice, although now I have no idea what they’ll do with a sequel. At least it opens up all their options? XD

            April 14, 2018
  31. Cat
    Cat

    Has she stopped bleeding yet?

    April 13, 2018
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      No. I suggest the characters in Handjob for Morons take a clue from Carrie’s mean classmates from gym and yell, “Plug it up! Plug it up!” until she comes out of the coma and tidies things up.

      April 13, 2018
      |Reply
  32. The Vegas Review of Books
    The Vegas Review of Books

    Much like a scene early in Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel ‘The Unconsoled,’ in which the protagonist and a bellhop exchange a half dozen pages of dialogue over the course of a single elevator ride, Chapter Sixteen of Lani Sarem’s epic Bildungsroman deftly manipulates reader expectations, causing us to question the very concept of time itself. In other ways, Dr. Sarem’s* sparkling prose far outstrips that of Mr. Ishiguro. Despite having won the Booker Prize and the Nobel Prize for Literature, the British novelist’s handling of the love triangle between the protagonist, the bellhop, and a rack of luggage was workmanlike at best, failing to produce even half the steam that rises from ‘Handbook for Mortals’ pages.
    *Honorary doctorate, University of Circus Studies, Atlantic City Campus

    April 13, 2018
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      Is this affiliated with Hollywood Upstairs Medical School?

      April 13, 2018
      |Reply
  33. Amber
    Amber

    I have that girlfriend in a coma song stuck in my head now. I HOPE YOU’RE HAPPY.

    Also the next line of the song is extremely appropriate to my feelings about the MC.

    April 13, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      *hunts down lyrics* That is fantastically appropriate. XD

      I won’t lie though, I never heard this song before. I just thought of that one episode in Metalocalypse.

      April 13, 2018
      |Reply
  34. John Doe
    John Doe

    Hello fat dyke

    April 13, 2018
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      Mommy, he’s out of the basement again!

      April 13, 2018
      |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Which one of us are you referring to? It’s like a sea-lion colony of happy fat dykes up in here! We’re all rollin’ around in the waves and the sand, enjoying life together, just huntin’ tuna and eating out. XD

      Please be more specific next time, Mr. Whitetail, and say hi to Jane for me.

      You do have a Jane, right? 😛

      April 13, 2018
      |Reply
  35. Gretel
    Gretel

    OMG next chapter is going to be amazing!
    Right now we’re in first third-person POV in present past! But with the coming flashback we’ll be first third-person-third-person in present past-past!
    I am in awe. Literally in awe.
    To be able to create such a convoluted, ridiculous, and stupid POV concept requires a huge amount of self-agrandazing arrogance the likes I’ve seldom seen before. And I’ve read the House of Night series, which is the hottest garbage to ever contaminate Earth (except maybe 50 Shits).

    Dela: “Time is of the essence! She has to come immediately!”

    Also Dela: “Here, sweety, have some coffee and cookies. You want some lemonade? It’s juiced with magikkkkk! There’s no tastier lemonade! Wait, let me get a blanket and some magazines. You want a hot bath? Then we can talk about Charles’ and my love story, okay? As soon as you’re all relaxed and settled and Charles and me are done swooning, we’ll heal Zardipan with my secret gifts, teehee ” *smiles passive-aggressively in mysterious ways to show her superiority*

    April 14, 2018
    |Reply
    • Gretel
      Gretel

      Oh, wow, I just realized what conversation is awaiting Sofia. I mean, I’m sure we won’t see it cause she’s the Evil Bitch (TM) and nobody needs to see conflict after true wuv has been achieved between Delabia and Charlatan.

      But the scene must happen off-screen. So for Sofia it’s Chakra coming back after saving Zebra’s life. She probably thinks he’s fucking her – as we all do because the incest is stronger and more passionate than any interaction Zabadoo had with anyone – so she’s gonna be pissed.
      And then Chokehold is like “Nah, she’s my daughter” and Sofia like “Say what not? That’s why she got in and got every privilege and present imaginable! She stole my spot! You GAVE her everything because she’s your daughter!” and he’d be like “Totes not, I gave it to her cause she’s fucking amazing and god-like”.
      And THEN he’d be like “Also, please move out and find a new job, I’m back together with my ex, mother of my daughter, and you can’t stay here and it’d be awkward having my ex on the show. kthxbye!”
      I hope, that in this moment, Sofia will suckerpunch him in the dick and then sue him into oblivion.
      But that won’t happen, cause she’s The Bitch, so she’ll “throw a tantrum” and will be “excorted out” and “let go” because she’s so mean and unprofessional, all the while these four douchebags sip champagne on the luxurious balcony, cackling all the way to success and money because this book is shit and Sarem is shit and every character but Sofia is shit.

      April 14, 2018
      |Reply
      • Amy
        Amy

        So much yes on the whole, “throwing a tamtrum” description. When women get angry, upset, or any other emotion that’s not pleasant, she’s written off as

        bitchy
        whining
        throwing a tantrum
        on her period

        Sofia has every right to be upset. She’s been ignored this entire book, even during times when Charles was legally obligated to look after her. Now this might be the result of Zupercalifragilisticexpialidocious’s roofie magic, but let’s face it, that’s probably never going to be brought up ever again, not even in the second book.

        And if it is, it won’t get the same attention WE have given it.

        April 14, 2018
        |Reply
  36. ASMR Bookclub
    ASMR Bookclub

    Just reading the recaps, it’s so infuriating that she keeps telling the reading that Zorp is severely bleeding and needs magjhiks NOW, but people take time to reminisce about their long lost love? AND explaining their history to a third person who doesn’t need to know any of this information?!?

    This was such an easy fix, too! Have Sandwich perform “the healing magic” or whatever, and then say “now we have to wait and see if this works” or something and while they’re waiting around to see if Zorp wakes up, you’ve got plenty of time to chat about relationship stuff! The way it’s written now, how is the reader supposed to care that she might die? None of the characters do!

    Also the relationship between Zorp and Charles is super gross.

    Love these recaps, as always.

    April 14, 2018
    |Reply
  37. Alex Silvers
    Alex Silvers

    I am at this point like 90% convinced Lani in real life wants David Copperfield to be her dad…but she also wants to bone him. And that is how we got this book.

    April 14, 2018
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      That’s how I used to feel about Darth Vader.

      April 14, 2018
      |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Or else Harrison Ford. That’s the description she gives him in the beginning.

      April 14, 2018
      |Reply
      • Alex Silvers
        Alex Silvers

        A threesome between Lani, David Copperfield, and Harrison Ford. There we go.

        April 14, 2018
        |Reply
        • Dammit, don’t you people DARE bring Darth Vader or Han Solo into this mess, or I will magykkalyishneshness* your asses to the great rainbow waterfall fairy-ring beyond!

          *Please note: I have as much magical powers as Lani Serum.

          April 14, 2018
          |Reply
        • ViolettaD
          ViolettaD

          Replace Lani with a young Alan Rickman and I’ll watch.

          Or even jump in. If they let me.

          April 15, 2018
          |Reply
  38. When I was about 10 years old, I used to fantasise about who my father was. At one point I wished it was Donnie Osmond, which made sense to my young mind because my mother had been to some of his concerts shortly before falling pregnant with me.

    But now that I’m an adult and have written some fanfiction (And some original fiction, which was popular but I never got around to finishing it), I realise just how immature it would be for me to write a book about a character who just-so-happens to look identical to me, who goes and works for ‘Dannie Osborne’.

    Also, that would be insane. If I did something like that, to the point of researching every single detail of Donnie Osmond’s life and injecting it into the book, I would expect to be put into an asylum. Or at least be given a whole heaping tonne of meds. And maybe a restraining order.

    I would not expect to top a bestseller list and have a movie made, instantly shooting me to stardom.

    Then again, I wouldn’t cheat to get on that bestseller list either.

    April 14, 2018
    |Reply
  39. cheeseburgler
    cheeseburgler

    You know what would have made a lot more sense? If instead of having Zade unconscious and pulling memories and bleeding out everywhere, she just fell into a coma and was having an out of body experience and could see what was going on but not interact with anyone.

    Then, instead of taking Zade to the hospital everyone freaks out but Charles realizes whatever is wrong with Zade is due to the magic usage, not physical harm, so he calls Dela, explains what happened, and enlists Mac to help get Zade back to Dela when she explains it’s something only she can fix. Or, he takes Zade to his hotel suite or house or whatever and calls Dela and she goes to Vegas and while they’re waiting for her, Charles explains the family history to Mac.

    OR, Charles doesn’t enlist Mac to help, just carries Zade off as soon as he realizes something is wrong and tells everyone Zade just has the flu. Mac is suspicious, and after a few hours of him experiencing increasing anxiety off screen while Charles gets Dela to Vegas, Mac breaks into wherever Charles has Zade. Introductions are made, backstory filled in while Dela works on a potion or preparing a spell to help Zade, and Mac makes a conscious decision to accept that magic is real and, fully informed, chooses to be with Zade rather than just going with the flow.

    Also, is there any knife-throwing in the book? Like, why go to all the trouble to rip off an exquisite picture of someone in part of a knife-throwing act, when knife throwing isn’t even in the book???

    April 15, 2018
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      As the Talking Heads would say, “Stop Making Sense.”

      April 15, 2018
      |Reply
  40. Andi
    Andi

    If anyone is reading this far down, Lani Llama Ding Dong is going to be doing a meet and greet at a park in my neighborhood this weekend. Taking suggestions for questions to ask the author.

    April 16, 2018
    |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      “It was established that Zade’s magic makes men attracted to her and women hate her. That makes every kiss Zade has had turned into assault because her partners are under the influence of magic and cannot give consent. This is made worse because Zade is fully aware of this. Is this ever going to be addressed?”

      OR…. if Lani is selling books and you casually stroll over and if she asks if you would like one, act like you’re ignorant and ask casual questions about it. See what bullshit she tries to sell you.

      “I’m very big into diversity. Can you tell me if there are any POC or LGBT characters in the book?” (if she says yes, ask her to expand on that)

      “Is this YA? Is this an appropriate book for my ten year old niece?”

      “I don’t like certain tropes in YA fiction because it’s been used so often. I would like to avoid slut shaming and unecessary triangle romances. Do any of those play a part in this book?”

      Be polite as possible otherwise Lani will cry out FOUL

      April 16, 2018
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        She reads this blog, so she’d have time to prepare.

        Not that she did much preparation when dealing with the media, given some of the answers she’s pulled out of her back pocket, often after gasping in shock.

        April 16, 2018
        |Reply
        • Amy
          Amy

          I bet the only answer she’ll give is, “Shhh! Spoilers!”

          Asking for a future trigger warning is not too much to ask for. I read a lot of dark stuff but even I have my limits, and having Zade actively and knowingly sexually assault Mac is something I do not want to read.

          Lani, if you are still reading this, listen to me. If Zade sleeps with Mac, that’s rape. He’s under the influence of magic and cannot give consent. Do not put rape in your YA novel. In this era of #metoo, putting a woman-on-man rape and then branding it as romantic is beyond horrific.

          Lani is not that mature of a writer to handle such sensitive topics.

          April 16, 2018
          |Reply
      • MyDog'sPA
        MyDog'sPA

        “It was established that Zade’s magic makes men attracted to her and women hate her. That makes every kiss Zade has had turned into assault because her partners are under the influence of magic and cannot give consent. ”

        Going one step further on this line of thinking: if a pedophile is brought into Zade’s magicKorbit and if they then molest a child (or her) as a result of completely losing their ability to control themselves (because of Zade’s influence), does that place the responsibility of the rape on Zade? Is that a message you truly want to portray in this YA book where it’s truly the victim’s (or someone else’s) fault?

        April 16, 2018
        |Reply
    • bewalsh7
      bewalsh7

      Meet and great at a park? Is this park something like Central Park? Or is Lani just that pathetic?

      April 16, 2018
      |Reply
    • Cat
      Cat

      I’m ridiculously excited for you to report back on this event!

      April 16, 2018
      |Reply
      • Chris
        Chris

        Me too! Report back! Report back!

        April 16, 2018
        |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      If it isn’t too late, ask her why she’s having her event in a park… Then ask if she plans on knee-capping any cyclists while she’s there. XD

      April 16, 2018
      |Reply
      • Andi
        Andi

        Hahaha, the park is hosting a “Pirate Fest”, which is probably full of her target demo. I saw her little booth at the Vegas Ren Faire last year and there was NO ONE around…almost felt bad, except she’s a horrible con artist.

        The best part right now is that we had a different pirate faire last weekend at a different park. She has that location listed for her event *this* weekend, so who eve knows if she’ll go to the right place?

        April 17, 2018
        |Reply
        • Amy
          Amy

          She’s going to sell her book, a book that takes place in a DESERT, to a festival for pirates??????? Man, she is desperate.

          And what kind of money does she have that she can keep going to these damn cons and festivals all the time? That is not a cheap job!

          April 17, 2018
          |Reply
          • Dove
            Dove

            The cover has water and a ship’s mast on it. I guess she assumes the artwork will be enough. XD

            April 18, 2018
        • Dove
          Dove

          The best part right now is that we had a different pirate faire last weekend at a different park. She has that location listed for her event *this* weekend, so who eve knows if she’ll go to the right place?

          I’m deeply confused there are two pirate conventions and within the same week. These are definitely her people.

          April 18, 2018
          |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      Got an update report for us? Or is the event on Sunday? :3

      April 21, 2018
      |Reply
      • Andi
        Andi

        I’m going tomorrow! Today’s my anniversary, so I had to do normal human things.

        April 21, 2018
        |Reply
  41. River
    River

    I’m sure it’s been mentioned already but I can’t help but wonder if Lumper wants to be both Dela and Zanychunk but she couldn’t decide which to be. She is writing with such focus on Dela here it seems like she’s just traded bodies. She is now her Mother getting set to jump her Dad’s bones with her boyfriend watching.

    What does that even mean? What is happening here? Gag.

    April 16, 2018
    |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      If Charles looks like Harrison Ford, who wouldn’t want to jump his bones?

      But that’s a good point. By playing her own mom, Lani gets to make her cake, have her cake, and eat it too. So she gets to make out with not only Clark Kent, one of the Twilight vampires, and also Han Solo. And young Han Solo.

      Which, also, gag. The Twilight vampires look like teenagers. At some point you gotta let go of the old crushes. (I don’t think any of my teen crushes were on any other teenagers. I was madly in love with like, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ewan McGreggor as young Obi Wan… Jared from Labyrinth.)

      April 16, 2018
      |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      What does that even mean? What is happening here? Gag.

      I don’t mind having multiple pairings in a book, which is what I think she was going for, I guess. It only fails because of the forced first-person narration (and the destruction of tension that caused.) I think LS had multiple ideas when she was writing the original story and she didn’t know how to put them together. Or more likely, she started writing one story and got some sudden ideas for backstory that she loved so much that she decided to alter the ending to align with the only true inspiration she’d had at any point. Either she was better off writing multiple short stories (with possibly some side-story porn for mama and papa) or she realized belatedly that she was only hot for Dela/Charles and not Zade/Mac, but had devoted so much to the beginning (and shared it around, there were rumors this started out as fanfiction, plausibly in script format or before it was a proper script I guess) that she didn’t want to scrap it and start over, focusing on the parents instead (also Zade being her initial self-insert eclipsed any chance of that option.)

      Alternatively, LS initially never intended to do anything with Dela but she got so hot and bothered over Charles while realizing her surprise twist/conceit would make this pairing with Zade impossible, that LS decided to go for broke at the ending and put her parents back together for ultimate wish fulfillment. I’m sure she always wanted to meet her dad, but Charles barely exists as a father figure except in silhouette. I find it hard to believe she planned the remarriage on the outset, even if she’s just really bad at foreshadowing. With so little lead-up, it strikes me as your typical accidental bait-and-switch ending from a fanfic that was originally published online chapter by chapter and then never revised to flow better. Or maybe she always planned this and never realized how it wouldn’t congeal properly, but that only works if it’s more of a side plot? Yet it feels like the whole plot since it’s basically the entire ending. I dunno. 😛

      April 16, 2018
      |Reply

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