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Jealous Hater Book Club: Handbook For Mortals Chapter 20 Judgement or “Aptly named, considering what I’m about to do to it.”

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UPDATE: I should have remembered this in the first place, but thank you, everyone who has tipped me through Kofi, not just this week and last week but all the weeks. Book sales are down and you guys really help me out.

No news this week! I wonder if all the exciting media buzz is under embargo. Because, you know, surely with a movie and book this spectacular and eagerly anticipated, it must be kept under wraps.

Oh, but there is a gross and bloody gif in here. Heads up.

Lugnut opens the chapter by saying that she basically slept for two weeks until she was strong enough to hear about what happened to her. Of course, Charles has stayed by her side this whole time, contradicting the author’s “The Show Must Go On Even If A Performer Is Seriously Injured” insistence.

At least we find out that Lasagna hasn’t been non-consensually mind-reading for the last hundred or so chapters:

All three of them wanted to tell me the story on their own, but I found there were so many gaps, and I really wanted to know everything that happened in detail, so once most of my strength had returned I asked if I could pull their memories. They all gave me permission, which is really the only way to do that easily.

How about instead: All three of them wanted to tell me the story on their own but there were too many gaps. I really wanted to know everything that happened in detail. Once most of my strength had returned, I asked if could pull their memories.

Take a fucking breath. Someone has to narrate the audiobook.

Anyway, at least we know she isn’t violating the privacy of their minds or anything.

I started with Mac, though he made me promise I would only pull memories from the time when I passed out until the moment I woke up. My mom and Charles didn’t make me promise, so I decided to peek into a little more than just the accident––just a few other things I had always wanted to know.

Oh. Well, scratch that earlier comment, then. When Chuckie and Sandwich agreed to let their daughter pull the memories of the incident that just happened, that’s what they were agreeing to. Simply saying, “Well, they didn’t specifically tell me not to go rifling through other things,” is the telepathic equivalent of, “You said I could use your bathroom, but you didn’t specifically tell me not to go through your medicine cabinet or steal your hair products.”

Except, you know, worse, because mind reading is a profoundly deep invasion of privacy. And the off-handed way Sarem is comfortable with her character––the idealized version of herself––admitting unapologetically to that invasion of privacy due to a technicality that probably never occurred to either party (because she trusted them) is chilling. “It’s okay to do this thing someone would automatically trust me not to do because they never said not to do it,” is a red flag of epic proportions. And it added nothing at all to the story. We never needed to see how Chaz and Pastrami met. It has absolutely no bearing on the plot or anything in it.

Zarlon Lando talks about how the process works (arduously and over a span of days), during which we get this gem:

I wondered if I could find a way to do it easier, and better, without asking for permission. Having spent so much time on it, I decided that I was definitely going to try to look into it later; someone in the magick world might already have perfected the process in a way I didn’t know.

Remember, the only way to pull someone’s memories easily is to ask permission. Now, we’ve got Laffy Zaffy wondering if she can find a way to do it just as easily without permission. Meaning that the only reason she asked permission was that it made the process less of a hassle for her. If she’d been able to do it without their permission she would have had no qualms about doing so, I guess? And she’s even planning to read people’s minds without permission in the future.

Charles and Mac stayed with me at my mom’s house while I recovered and, back in Las Vegas, the show went on hiatus.

Um, excuse me, Lani Sarem. Excuse me. You said in your badly-disguised comment here a few months ago:

Injuries happen during the shows all the time. We are doing crazy stuff and it’s dangerous that’s why people pay a lot of money to see it. People get injured during the show and you don’t even know and we keep going. We don’t stop the show. The one and only time someone fell to their death was actually during KA. DURING A ACTUAL PERFORMANCE IN FRONT OF A AUDIENCE. They witnessed it even…I think the show was back in a day or so. Accidents that happen during rehearsal that only leads to injury an injury like this, wouldn’t even stop the show that night. The show must go one is a real thing in our world.

Now, the official announcement of why the show is going on hiatus is not “a performer was dying” but that the theater is having new sets put in.

After one performance of the brand new show, which they just debuted.

Yeah, that’s not going to look bad for the show at all. Nobody is going to write about how suspicious it is that the fully overhauled show closed for another complete makeover after one performance.

I don’t think I was the only reason Charles didn’t want to leave, though. I noticed that he and my mom got cozier as they days went by.

Has he broken up with Sofiaieio yet?

When I was a kid, I had had odd fantasies about my parents getting back together. It was something I had always only slightly hoped for as I really never thought it could happen. As I watched them during my recovery, it looked more and more lik a real possibility. It was too bad it hadn’t happened years earlier.

You mean those years that your mom used majihick to keep you and your father apart out of spite for him cheating on her after he found out she used magic on him for years without permission? Why would you want Charles to get back with her? Why are you even speaking to your mother at all at this point?

Mac tells the cast and crew not to try to visit Lunky Zewster at the hospital. It doesn’t matter, because they don’t have time, anyway; they have to build the new sets.

Like, I can’t get over the fact that Charles is actually overhauling an entire Las Vegas show just so he doesn’t have to say that it’s because a performer was injured? I feel like someone on the show could easily call OSHA on this. “Hey, we had a performer who collapsed with severe bleeding and we haven’t seen her since. Our bosses are trying to stop us from going to the hospital to see her, so we don’t even know if she’s alive. Also, they immediately shut down the show and asked us to make all these really sudden changes,” is the kind of thing that OSHA would want to know about.

Ha ha, silly Jenny. OSHA doesn’t exist in Las Vegas. A real life Vegas Olympian told you so!

A lot of the cast siad they wanted to come but I think it was more something to say. They were, for the most part, easily talked out of it. Some didn’t care about visiting me at all, though they enjoyed the paid vacation they had been given.

LOL, excuse me.

You can either have everyone on the show head-over-heels in love with Lavinia or not. If they’re all as invested in her as previously written, they should be holding a fucking candlelight vigil and weeping in the god damn streets.

Jackson was the only one who put up a fight about it

Of course, he was.

and was going to come, but then a quick tour opening for Imagine Dragons came up that timed perfectly with our break and his band had to take that.

Click this link. You’ll be shocked, I tell you.

The amount of starfucking and name-dropping in this book is so sad and desperate, my second-hand embarrassment has second-hand embarrassment.

The gang realizes that they need to have an excuse for what happened to Zillard:

It took some googling, some illness-researching on WebMD, and a couple of conversations with a doctor my mom knew before we came up with a story that sounded like it made sense. We told everyone I had a combination of ailments, including double pneumonia––which supposedly is why I couldn’t breathe and what caused me to pass out––and something called “Osler-Weber-Rendu syndrome.”

Hey. You know what you can’t do with that disease?

Scuba dive.

Like she did on the camping trip.

Yeah. I’m going to be that petty and nitpicky.

Massive hemorrhage from a perforated ulcer would have been a better choice since HHT (what they call the syndrome now) causes visible lesions on the skin. It’s also hereditary: Charlie would also have to have it in order for Zung to be affected. They both would have visible symptoms of the disease.

You know what would have been a lot more believable? Massive hemorrhage from a peptic ulcer.

gif of Lord Grantham on Downton Abbey puking up blood all over the dining room table and everyone else.

Anyway.

The possibility of having both illnesses together was an almost impossible feat,

Impossible means no possibility, and it’s not a “feat” to have comorbid illnesses. You didn’t accomplish anything. A feat is an impressive achievement of some kind.

which is how we explained why the doctors in Las Vegas had been so confused.

So, the doctors at a hospital in a major city were so stumped by her illnesses that they had no choice but to take her across the country to a one-horse town in Tennessee to be treated? And this all made perfect sense and didn’t seem hinky to any cast, crew, or staff?

Charles and Mac explained to everyone I didn’t want to talk about it because I was embarrassed and upset that I had collapsed in front of so many of my friends and co-workers.

Keep this one in your back pocket.

After a paragraph break, we’ve returned to Las Vegas for some acrobatic feats of word rep. Emphasis mine:

When the big day finally came, Mac and I were walking towards the front of the doors of the theater. Right before we got to the doors, Mac stopped right where the carpet changes patterns. We were holding hands and he had his fingers wrapped around mine so tightly that when he stopped walking his hand pulled tightly on mine and soon I had stopped walking, too.

Look, everyone! It’s a rainbow of failure! That somehow couldn’t be caught by THREE paid editors!

Let’s try to fix this mess, shall we?

When the big day finally came, Mac and I walked toward the doors of the theater. He stopped where the carpet changed patterns, his tight grip on my hand holding me back, too.

Now, I’m not saying that’s the best sentence anyone ever came up with. But is it better than a full paragraph devoted to repeating the same words over and over? Yes. Objectively, yes it is.

So, Mac asks Zani if she’s ready to go back to work, which like. You’re already there, so that’s your answer. It’s been a month now since the incident, so the show that would never, ever close

Will Ferrel in Stepbrothers saying "Never, even if there's a fire!"

has now been closed for a month because a secondary performer was ill. But this book is super accurate and I have no idea what I’m talking about.

Zani tells Mac:

“Thanks for not running for the hills when you found out everything. You handled it better than Charles did back in the day. That’s impressive; he can handle anything.”

And Mac is like:

“Well, I’ve grown pretty fond of you, Magi Girl. I would go to Hell for you if it needed to happen.”

Both of you can go to hell, honestly. Take your author with you. Because all three of you have sent me there. Sent me into a living hell, a waking nightmare from which I cannot escape so long as this book trashes up the earth with its presence.

Mac then makes sure that gonig to hell isn’t something he’s going to have to do, and then it’s time for Lani Sarem’s patented “comedy”:

“Guess you’ve come over the dark side?” I poked, teasingly.

“I heard you had cookies,” he replied with a grin plastered on his face.

I can just see Sarem strolling the aisles of Spencer Gifts, notepad in hand, scribbling furiously.

Now, one might assume that the book would end here. It feels like a natural ending. The romance is resolved, things are returning to normal, the story (what little there was of it) is over. So, the words “The End” come next, right?

Nope. First, we have to have Zamboni and Mac’s embrace “comically” interrupted by Tad, who warns them they’ll be late to rehearsal. Then Tad tells her he’s “ecstatic” (and yes, that’s the word used) that Zuppa Loscana is back. He actually tells her how glad he is twice. And then Mac says:

“No, we got back day before yesterday, but we were running around with all the wedding plans,” Mac said, almost rolling his eyes. Guys never seem to understand the importance of all the details for a wedding. I’m pretty sure Mac would have worn his show blacks if he thought I would have let him get away with that.

“The hardest thing was this one, finding a dress,” Mac said, pointing at me. “It’s one day for heaven’s sake.”

“It is one day––but a rather important day for me,” I said firmly.

“So…did you find a dress?” Tad asked, looking directly at me this time.

“Finally,” I answered in exasperation. “I think we went to every store from Tennessee to here.”

Before I explain the biggest what the fuck about this part, let’s remember that one of Zug’s defining personality characteristics that Sarem has rammed home with all the subtlety of a bulldozer is that Larvae is Not Like Other Girls™. You know. Because she hates shopping so much. Yet, any time there’s been a whiff of shopping in the air, she’s doing it for hours. Now, men don’t have any idea how important weddings are…garsh, Lani, it sure sounds like you––sorry, your fictional character––aren’t as special and not-girly as you took such pains to insist you––sorry, she––is. It’s almost like having any interest in any activity that’s traditionally coded as feminine is only bad when it’s other women doing it. They are frivolous and silly for liking shopping and weddings and makeup and male attention. When Lorthless does it, it’s fine.

But here’s what’s the most wrong with that excerpt above. It’s an attempted misdirect to make the reader believe that Zoey L0L is getting married to Mac. She’s not. She’s talking about her parents getting married.

Once again, for anyone who may have missed this throughout these recaps:

YOUR FIRST PERSON POV PROTAGONIST CANNOT WITHHOLD CRUCIAL INFORMATION FROM THE READER TO SET UP PLOT TWISTS LATER BECAUSE WE ARE INSIDE THAT CHARACTER’S HEAD AND PRIVY TO ALL OF THEIR THOUGHTS THE REST OF THE TIME.

Leorge Zazenby has already mentioned once in this chapter how it would be a big deal to her if her parents got back together. She’s not going to not react to that internally when she’s talking about their wedding. This is the culmination of her life-long hope and her yearning for a real, “normal” family dynamic. Her father, who has been kept from her for her entire life, is now back and they have a relationship and her parents are getting married! She absolutely should be having some reaction where she’s telling us, “I couldn’t believe that after all of these years, blah blah blah,” and how happy she is, and that reaction has to be present the first time the topic comes up.

“Well, this was adapted from a screenplay, so it’s clearly a case of the dialogue not working when it’s been rewritten as a––” Let me stop you. This scene isn’t in the screenplay. At least, not the version I’ve got. A lot of this book was clearly written not as an adaption of the screenplay, but an adaption of the screenplay with added scenes that are meant to be a part of the screenplay adapted from the book. She wrote this thinking only about how it would look on screen, how clever it would seem to the audience, without realizing that in prose, it’s just another mistake to throw on the mountainous pile of fuck-ups in this book.

Tad opens the theater doors and Zailure thinks about the first time she went through those doors, right before her audition, and how this is such a big parallel to then. And it’s clumsily spelled out for us because we’re too stupid to detect literary parallels on our own. And then the book is over, because that’s yet another place where it could end and feel complete, right?

NOPE! Not enough people have fawned over how amazing she is yet. She goes in and the theater is completely dark because the whole cast and crew has assembled for a surprise party:

The area right inside the doors in the theater had obviously been decorated for a party.

As opposed to when you decorate for a party in an imperceptible way.

Several balloons were floating around me and they all said “Welcome Home.” Everyone was staring directly at me, smiling and yelling “Surprise!”

And then the whole bus clapped.

Clearly, the book couldn’t end with just two people telling Zohn Lacob Zingleheimer Litt how loved and valuable she is. No, we have to have the entire cast and crew do it, too.

The entire cast a crew who didn’t want to see her in the hospital and were easily dissuaded because they didn’t really care.

Oh, and take that earlier thing out of your back pocket. The entire cast and crew knew that she was super embarrassed about the incident and didn’t want to acknowledge it, so…they threw her a party?

All the (male) characters hug and kiss Lump and tell her how glad they are to have her back and Jackson, of course, calls her beautiful. God forbid a single scene goes by and a man doesn’t praise her wondrous beauty.

I was wrong when I said earlier that Sofia never shows up in the book again:

The biggest surprise may have been when Sofia came over, gave me a hug, and told me she was glad I wasn’t dead. Hey, I’ll take that as progress.

Um, didn’t they work all their shit out earlier in the book? Is Sofieoeoeo mad at Lunt again because Charles is marrying Deli? Is she even aware that’s happening? We’ll never know because Sofia is a woman who isn’t Lani Sarem’s avatar and therefore we shall waste no more time upon her. She doesn’t even get her own dialogue.

There’s a paragraph about how everyone in the whole cast and crew hugs Zanzibar and tells her how happy they are that she’s all right and she thinks about how they’re not strangers anymore, they’re family, etc. and the book ends.

PSYCHE! We haven’t seen Zex Zuthor in bed with Mac yet. And of course, as they lay in what I assume is post-coital bliss, they talk about Jackson and how Mac seems to be okay with him.

I kinda thought that after everything we had just been through Mac would have been pushing for commitment.

Wait, Mac just told you he would go to hell for you and that’s not enough of a commitment?

“I’m just glad you’re okay. I think this has taught me that whatever’s supposed to work out, will. I think Jackson and I have an ‘All’s fair in love and war’ approach to this.” Mac paused for a moment and then continued as if he had needed to think about his next words. “Actually, I know we do, because he literally said it a while back. I know he’s kinda there waiting to sweep you off your feet, and he’s more than welcome to hold that broom for as long as he wants. If I have my way, he’ll be holding it for a very long time.”

The love triangle. Isn’t. Over.

“Interesting. I wonder if he’d still feel that way if he knew everything.” I thought for a moment about the possibility of Jackson knowing everything that Mac knew.

“You could ask your cards,” Mac said, obviously trying to play the conversation very cool.

She did ask the cards. It said not to be with both of you. I made a rambling, forty-minute video about it.

Lurgid Zember says that she would check her cards, but she’s busy right now, and they kiss “passionately” because everyone in the book kisses either “passionately” or “lightly on the lips.”

I think that feeling was the happiest I’ve ever been.

Yet Sarem still won’t resolve the love triangle! While trying to mislead readers into thinking Mac and Zunt are getting married? You know, your incredible misdirect that will have us all chuckling at how clever you are? It doesn’t work if you specify that Mac hasn’t asked for a commitment and if you’ve got Zander Larris sitting there playing coy about whether or not she’ll go after Jackson after all.

But at least the book is finally over, right? I mean, clearly you’re going to end the book on that line?

Ha ha ha, of course not. There’s another chapter. God save us all.

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134 Comments

  1. Cavalish
    Cavalish

    I bet the Wedding Fake Out is in later versions of the screenplay. I bet she recently watched Clueless and stole the closing scene cos she’s a talentless hack.

    August 16, 2018
    |Reply
    • Manda
      Manda

      I seriously thought the exact same thing.

      August 17, 2018
      |Reply
      • bewalsh7
        bewalsh7

        Diddo!

        Clueless was the first thing that popped into my head!

        August 17, 2018
        |Reply
  2. Oh great Tad has a few lines again.

    I can’t believe Thomas Ian Nicholas threw away the little career he still had (and possibly thousands of dollars of his own money) to play a thin slice of ham in a Mac/Zade sandwich.

    August 16, 2018
    |Reply
  3. Jane Eyre
    Jane Eyre

    I literally started crying from laughter and had to walk around my room, almost bend over. (I had to keep it down though because it’s nearly 11 PM where I live and my neighbours would probably think I’ve gone crazy. )Your recaps are hilarious. I especially love the “let’s remember that one of Zug’s defining personality characteristics that Sarem has rammed home with all the subtlety of a bulldozer is that Larvae is Not Like Other Girls™”. part. It’s a genius.

    August 16, 2018
    |Reply
  4. Mike
    Mike

    I *still* don’t understand why she had to read their minds. That is never adequately explained. What possible information could they have left out that would justify doing that? What was so crucial that she NEEDED to know that she had to read ALL THREE people’s minds to make sure she knew everything that happened?! Does she feel the need to do this to everyone anytime she isn’t in the room with them?! Does she just have a crippling insecurity that they weren’t fawning over her enough while she was unconscious and so she needs to be reassured that they felt a sufficient amount of pain?! Why not say they all got cagey about talking about the ceremony since that would have made them all uncomfortable? Why just say that the three of them together all telling their version still wasn’t good enough?! GOD this woman is a terrible writer! It seems like she just wanted to be able to show off that her character could read minds if she wanted to and found any lame excuse possible to add it in.

    The fact that Zade *still* can’t choose between Mac and Jackson after all of that just says that she doesn’t actually want either one of them, she just wants the attention that them fighting over her gives her. That or she wants an open relationship and just doesn’t have the guts to say it and is content to just string both of them along to have her cake and eat it too. Either way she sucks. And both guys are idiots for letting her do it.

    August 16, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      It seems like she just wanted to be able to show off that her character could read minds if she wanted to and found any lame excuse possible to add it in.

      Nah, I don’t think she cares about abilities at all. I’m pretty sure it was her lazy-ass way of keeping the 3rd person sections without having to rewrite them and for some reason one of the editors insisted that it shouldn’t drop 1rst while she was unconscious (probably because it’s three chapters with the narrator missing.) This was her easy workaround.

      August 17, 2018
      |Reply
    • Anon
      Anon

      She had to read their minds so that she could continue being part of the narrative while unconscious.

      August 17, 2018
      |Reply
  5. The wedding fake out is one of the dumbest things in this book, I fucking swear. It’s introduced in such a way that the reader feels as though they’ve missed something (I went back and checked to see if there was a stealth proposal scene I’d glazed over), and then it’s obvious what the case actually is when Zade mentions that Mac hasn’t pushed for further commitment. And it doesn’t actually change anything. It’s just, like, there.

    August 16, 2018
    |Reply
    • bewalsh7
      bewalsh7

      At first I actually thought they were both joking with Tad about getting married for some reason, which left me thinking WTF??

      It wasn’t until Jenny clarified that it was her parents getting married again that I realized there WAS an actual marriage happening.

      I haven’t tried reading the book though, that’s just too painful to me.

      August 17, 2018
      |Reply
  6. Emily Barnard
    Emily Barnard

    And then there’s a big surprise welcome home party/wedding/birthday party Aspen weekend blah blah blah because Zade-Lani-Bella-Ana-Suethor haaaaaates being the center of attention, doncha know?

    August 16, 2018
    |Reply
  7. Liza
    Liza

    Double Pneumonia and “Osler-Weber-Rendu syndrome? Lazy Serum just WebMD’d “difficulty breathing” and “uncontrollable internal hemorrhaging” and scrolled down to the most unlikely options on the list. And then she didn’t even bother to actually google (like her character supposedly did) what those diseases actual entail. Does research not exist anymore?

    Aaaaand…There’s another chapter?

    What. The. Actual. Fuck.

    August 16, 2018
    |Reply
    • Rebecca
      Rebecca

      Could have been less believable. Could have been *”aliens” guy hands* EBOLA.

      August 16, 2018
      |Reply
  8. NewFan
    NewFan

    Squid Forbid… that Chuckie and Deli like… matured, learned something, idk that they CHANGED somehow so that getting together might make sense.

    But we ALREADY all know that things that happen to other people, don’t matter, so they just need to get on a 10speed and a lambo, dive into a bucket of lemonade and live happily ever after.

    August 16, 2018
    |Reply
  9. VGK
    VGK

    I know this book has been absolutely torturous for you, but I’m very happy to have one more hilarious recap of this sad excuse for a book to venture on with you!

    August 16, 2018
    |Reply
  10. Mimijones
    Mimijones

    The ONE book I’ve read that effectively and plausibly managed to incorporate an reveal with a first-person POV is The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, which I highly reccomend everyone reads

    August 16, 2018
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      Charlotte Bronte does it in “Villette,” but she’s Charlotte Bronte, and Lamprey’s not.

      August 17, 2018
      |Reply
      • River
        River

        I read Villette years ago and can’t quite remember that part. .. Are you talking about the bit where her lover dies? Trying to remember is bending my little brains.

        August 19, 2018
        |Reply
        • ViolettaD
          ViolettaD

          Where she recognizes Dr. John at the school as someone she knew as a child, but tells neither him nor us until much later.

          August 19, 2018
          |Reply
    • Anna T.
      Anna T.

      Oh, I love that book! Gen is so good at keeping the reader in the dark while making it seem like he’s not hiding anything at all, it’s fantastic.

      August 20, 2018
      |Reply
  11. Willow
    Willow

    Gods, I live for these chapter-by-chapter breakdowns. Any chance that the “Jealous Haters Book Club” page on here will be updated with the links to all of the chapter reviews? It’d make it so easy to share the entire series with my friends who NEED to read it, lol!

    August 16, 2018
    |Reply
  12. Amy
    Amy

    So when Mac thought Zoology was messing around with Charles, he nearly shoved her off of a catwalk. But having Jackson lust around her like she’s a cat in heat and Mac is just like, “Oh ho ho, That silly love-struck man~”

    I really like how Zade describes those who didn’t want to make an effort to see her as heartless selfish assholes. Bitch, you’re not the center of their universe. People have commitments that will ALWAYS take precedent over you. And unlike you, they don’t have a rich father to give them motorcycles and $12000 worth of makeup. They’re busy saving every damn penny to feed their kids, to pay their rent. Not every worker in the theatre gets “the best contract ever” because of nepotism. Unlike you, they don’t have magicK to make the bad things go away. Besides, give me a reason why they should see you. When you have conversations with them, you mentally tune them out. You lie to their faces. You look at the split ends of your HAIR when you talk to them. So fuck off with that horseshit.

    So wait, did Zade fuck Mac? Is that clear or not? There was a huge secondary plot of wtiches and mortals not allowed to mix blood. Is there magicKal birth control? Are you using condoms? Did you just do anal? Lani, I personally don’t wanna know how Zazi likes to get her groove on, but since you made a huge fucking deal about non-magicKal babies, stuff like this needs to be addressed.

    And lastly, most importantly, is this confirmation that Zade raped Mac? Lani, don’t you dare tell me your book has “strong female characters” when you write a woman raping a man and then try to play it off as ‘romantic’. I swear to god…

    August 16, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      I highly doubt they ever fucked. Mac is 500% inconsistent and does whatever is wanted to create the mildest of tension in the grossest way possible. But it’s amusing to think he was only worried about Chuckie Cheese because Jackson never had a chance and his boss absolutely does…

      Any future hints definitely constitute rape but I highly doubt she’s working on the sequel so we’re saved from that. ;P

      August 17, 2018
      |Reply
      • Amy
        Amy

        Considering Lani and Tad just celebrated the one year anniversary of them scamming the NYT, something tells me they’re not done yet.

        August 17, 2018
        |Reply
        • Willow
          Willow

          Didn’t she say that this was just the beginning of a long series she wanted to write and make into movies? I really doubt that a movie will ever happen but I could see her trying to shill further installments of this Mary Sue / self-insert tale even on her own as a “self-published author” if the “publisher” that put this first one out drops her.

          August 17, 2018
          |Reply
          • Dove
            Dove

            But she never had a vision for continuing the story, judging from how she manhandles the ending. Even if she tries to continue it, I can’t fathom her releasing a sequel right away, unless she hired a ghostwriter to do the heavy lifting for her… Hopefully, they would address this issue but they might not.

            I mean, maybe she has the determination to self-publish but overall this path has been a money-loss for her and she clearly isn’t that interested in writing overall. At some point, I suspect she’ll focus more effort on trying to get a movie made because that’s what she’s actually after.

            August 18, 2018
          • Amy
            Amy

            Even with a publisher backing her up, Lani was shite promoting her own book. There’s no official website for the book/author, no official place to buy merchandise WITHOUT going to a con, she doesn’t engage with other authors beyond retweeting the occasional YA novel release, no engaging with fans outside conventions, and all of her social media accounts contain no individual thoughts, just really bad memes, reblogs, and promotional stuff.

            Even if I was a legit fan of the book, there is NOTHING to be found. Not everyone can afford to go to a con, so as a fan, what are you supposed to do? Even I, the insignificant “has never put out a novel” writer, has a small fanbase that follows my progress.

            August 18, 2018
        • Dove
          Dove

          There is a website for it but almost nothing on there and still no way to buy her merch. You’d think she’d at least have a store but all you can get are signed copies of this tepid mess she calls a novel. :p

          August 18, 2018
          |Reply
          • Amy
            Amy

            I googled her website, and it was not even on the FIRST page of the search results. (For Chrome. For internet explorer, it’s like the seventh option to choose from) I’ve take training courses to help patrons how to identify a fake website, and Lani’s ticks off a few of those.

            No contact information. Compared to miss Jenny’s here, there’s no emails, no phone numbers, no address, no name of the mod maintaining the site.

            No updates. Are there signs of recently activity? Is the site being maintained?

            Is the only purpose of the site is to sell you something? The only thing the site offers is the book at a ridiculous price tag. $35????

            Does the site look professionally made? Ehh… *makes vague handwave gesture*

            If someone asked me where they could buy HFM, I would direct them to Amazon because the official website looks like it’ll steal their credit card information.

            August 18, 2018
  13. “I can just see Sarem strolling the aisles of Spencer Gifts, notepad in hand, scribbling furiously.”

    This is gold.

    August 16, 2018
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      They sell t-shirts like that at Pennsic. Pegasus Publishing carries a lot of them, including an entire section devoted to Cthulhu.

      August 17, 2018
      |Reply
  14. Usually Just Lurking
    Usually Just Lurking

    I think the cast and crew not caring to see her and being happy about vacation time is something she thought some real previous coworkers she didn’t like would do, or actually did. I’m not saying a serious mahjikahl incident happened, but maybe she was home sick one day or got into a minor fender bender and was insulted by no one making a big deal out of it and the lack of candlelight vigils in the streets (to borrow Jenny’s funny image). Now she’s getting her revenge and shitting on them in this one specific part of her book.
    I don’t know why else that ‘they don’t care’ line would randomly be in there. Everyone has been in love with her this whole time, they even threw her a goddamn welcome back party.

    August 16, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Yeah, I think you’re right, or else it’s another reason for being all over the place: she was answering an editor’s question while applying their suggestions in one section of the book without bothering to check if it was consistent with another section. Possibly both at the same time.

      And quite frankly, it’s entirely possible she knew some of her co-workers didn’t like her/didn’t care much about her, and yet she’s blaming that on them instead of considering her own interactions as the cause or not allowing for the idea that it’s possible to be neutral acquaintances with someone. Her characterization is all or nothing on the friendship scale and it’s very annoying.

      August 17, 2018
      |Reply
      • Usually Just Lurking
        Usually Just Lurking

        I hadn’t thought of the editor’s note thing. Now I’m leaning towards that being what it probably was, maybe a touch of both. The editor asked why no one had inquired about visiting her, and this was another one of Lani’s quick fixes.

        And I agree, her all-or-nothing relationship requirements with characters are so annoying and juvenile. In my experience, there are people at work you’re friends with, people you hardly know and are neutral towards, and people you may have had a negative interaction with but you both have jobs to do so you cordially interact and cooperatively work.

        I would think Lani Sarem isn’t a great coworker IRL because of the inappropriate vibes she probably brings to a work environment. In this book she has blatant character-puppets of real world men she’s worked with and desparately wanted to fuck. As Jenny pointed out in a previous post, the Jackson Rathbone character is a clone of an actual musician she’s worked with before. I imagine she’s super friendly or ice-cold to women depending on her perception of how much they like her, and flirtatious with men because she wants them all to desire her with a couple dudes she’s extra nice to because she’s really attracted to them.

        August 17, 2018
        |Reply
        • Amy
          Amy

          Besides, it was not as if Zade was sick at a local hospital in Las Vegas, she was in a different state! I have a close relationship with some of my cowokers, but for me to cross state lines on a PLANE would require a much deeper relationship than just “coworker”.

          August 17, 2018
          |Reply
        • Jane Eyre
          Jane Eyre

          yeah like its in every place, you have friends, close friends, class/workmates and casual acquaintances. When your good friend is late or absent you might worry(if it’s not in their character to be late) but if you are just…casual with someone and know each other by sight or maybe a word or two on the school corridor you’re probably not going to notice much, or when something happens, then let’s say someone in family dies, when you’re friends you’re obviously gonna be sad and more invested because you have a closer relationship but when you’re casual or neutral while you’ll go ‘oh, that sucks’ you’re not going to have any deeper reaction not because you’re cold or uncaring but because you don’t have close enough relationship for something deeper. I’d say that is actually a natural mechanism if we worried and felt the same amount of strong emotions to every single thing in every single person’s life we’d go crazy and burn out.

          August 17, 2018
          |Reply
        • SofiaThatB*tch
          SofiaThatB*tch

          People haaaaaated her back when she was working for Jackson Rathbone’s band. She’s been a scammer all her life apparently lol

          August 17, 2018
          |Reply
  15. Indigo
    Indigo

    SWEET HOLY JESUS HOW IS SHE NOT DONE BLATHERING YET.

    August 16, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      That’s a much better title for this novel. XD

      August 17, 2018
      |Reply
  16. I’ve had to quit reading a few stories because the narrator withheld information to create fake suspense, tension, and drama. Ridiculous. Unless there is mind-reading going on in the story, people’s thoughts are not vague in their own goddamn head. *fumes*

    August 16, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      It could work if it’s clear the protagonist is trying to avoid the topic or living in denial and doesn’t want to share that information with the reader but they at least hint believably at why they refuse to think about such things. Even better if the format is presented as the character talking directly to the reader, rather than the reader living inside their head, but I’m assuming the examples you read had a heavy hand applied and the author’s intent was far too obvious.

      August 17, 2018
      |Reply
      • JaneDoe
        JaneDoe

        In Brandon Sanderson’s “Stormlight Archives” books, there’s a character who literally has magical powers of denial, and who copes with a particularly traumatic memory by completely repressing it. (Well, she copes with pretty much all her trauma by Not Thinking About It, but this particular event she doesn’t even let herself know something happened). At one point someone starts to say something, and her POV skips straight to “she waited until he was finished speaking”, or something like that, and the narrative makes no fuss about this whatsoever, and it’s not until reread that you realize the other person was trying to speak to her about It and she went catatonic until he was done.

        August 21, 2018
        |Reply
        • Evil!Blonde Bitch
          Evil!Blonde Bitch

          See, that’s a really good way to do it. Shallan’s POV is not first person, and she has a very, very good reason for repressing the memory. She has legitimate fears about what will happen to her mental state if she does start thinking about it, and after that incident, she was basically catatonic until she learned to repress the event. I agree that “vague in own thoughts” can be super annoying, but this is a great example of the trope justified and played out realistically.
          In addition to that, Sanderson only uses “memory repression” once, so it doesn’t feel overdone, either. It’s not “ZOMG THIS SECRET THING I NEVER SPEAK OF OR THINK ABOUT.”

          I’ve read stuff that DOES have a character thinking that sort of thing, and it drives me absolutely batshit insane. I lose interest in the story if the author pulls that shit for the sake of fake drama.

          August 29, 2018
          |Reply
  17. Khristle
    Khristle

    Jesus Christ is this seriously going to end with Chaz and Subway getting married, DESPITE the unresolved issue of using non consensual magic on him like.
    Neither of these women should end up with men in their manipulative gross lives.

    August 16, 2018
    |Reply
  18. ViolettaD
    ViolettaD

    “So…did you find a dress?” Tad asked, looking directly at me this time.
    *********************

    Jenny, did you leave out a previous passage where he was giving her the side-eye?

    August 17, 2018
    |Reply
  19. Ghislaine
    Ghislaine

    Selfishly, I’m glad there’s another chapter.

    August 17, 2018
    |Reply
  20. Bookjunk
    Bookjunk

    Your nicknames for that monstrosity – Leorge Zazenby, Zailure, Zex Zuthor – are so good. I kept laughing every time one of them popped up. I’ll miss them when this fucking book finally ends.

    August 17, 2018
    |Reply
  21. Brin
    Brin

    I feel very sorry for Sofia. Imagine your longterm boyfriend vanishes for a month and comes back to announce he is going to marry his ex. And you still have to work with their horrible offspring. Poor girl

    August 17, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      I’m assuming Sofia will quietly quit and find employment elsewhere considering she has talent. It’s a much easier solution or she’ll just be completely forgotten otherwise.

      August 18, 2018
      |Reply
  22. YOUR FIRST PERSON POV PROTAGONIST CANNOT WITHHOLD CRUCIAL INFORMATION FROM THE READER TO SET UP PLOT TWISTS LATER BECAUSE WE ARE INSIDE THAT CHARACTER’S HEAD AND PRIVY TO ALL OF THEIR THOUGHTS THE REST OF THE TIME.

    One day I will embroider that on a pillow. Or possibly a brick I can throw at some authors.

    August 17, 2018
    |Reply
  23. Agent_Z
    Agent_Z

    Is it weird that I think Sofia being resentful towards Sandwich and Empress Zurg would be better use of her than becoming another one of Zurg’s fan club?

    August 17, 2018
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      It could set up a sequel, so let’s not give her any ideas…..

      August 17, 2018
      |Reply
      • Emily Barnard
        Emily Barnard

        Oh, fuck, now we’re going to get Part II that is nothing but Sofia being jealous of and stalking Lzayndie.

        August 18, 2018
        |Reply
        • ViolettaD
          ViolettaD

          Like 50 Shades’ whatsis, the evil boss who isn’t actually any more evil than the supposed hero.

          August 18, 2018
          |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      It’d make everything more interesting and feel more realistic to keep her as a rival. I wouldn’t even mind if she became a friend but remained resentful; the tension would survive while possibly becoming amicable and opening up the MC’s eyes. Unfortunately, that would rely on a carefully constructed relationship that gives her a reason to like Li’l Zurgie at all and since we can’t have actual conflict and Sofia outlives her usefulness the minute Zilch goes home, it doesn’t really matter.

      August 17, 2018
      |Reply
      • Alex Silvers
        Alex Silvers

        Also, I don’t think Lani has the imagination to realize people can be friends while still resenting things about the other person. As far as I can tell, you either love Lani – pardon me, I mean Zade – or you hate her, no in-between.

        August 24, 2018
        |Reply
  24. Cris
    Cris

    As much as these recaps entertain me, another godforsaken chapter?! Really? I’ll be praying for your sanity Jenny.

    August 17, 2018
    |Reply
  25. Anon
    Anon

    “… contradicting the author’s ‘The Show Must Go On Even If A Performer Is Seriously Injured’ insistence.”

    Silly! That was absolutely, totally not the author!

    “The amount of starfucking and name-dropping in this book …”

    I have to say I always hate that. It pulls me out of the story every time (in fiction, Obviously in non-fiction, it’s expected.).

    So, this epidemic of terrible writing … I think the publishing companies are to blame because they keep publishing terribly-written books. I just finished a book I shall not name that is hailed as a “literary masterpiece” and covered in oodles of praise from some big-wig critics. And it’s a MESS. Like, worse than EL James writing ability mess. It was a book club pick (in the chooser’s defense, she hadn’t actually read it yet and it did sound like it would be good), so I gave in and got the audio so I could finish it because there was no way I was going to finish it otherwise. It’s 600 pages, but any mediocre editor could have whittled it down to at least half that length. There was a ridiculous amount of repetition.

    An example: The author write a scene in real time, then repeated it in detail as several other characters recalled how they were told about the incident. At least three times for one incident I can recall. And not only were “plot” points (there really was no discernible plot) redundant, but so were quite a few of the sentences.

    And with all that, it’s STILL not a full list of the wrongs in the book …

    So if these are the books being hailed by the literary community as “great,” “well-written” and “page-turners,” how can amateur writers know any better?

    August 17, 2018
    |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      Right now I’m reading a book called, “The word is murder” and I didn’t know it was a self-insert fanfiction. The author writes decently, so I’m somewhat enjoying myself, but there are sooooooo much name dropping of actors and the author’s own books and interviews, and there’s an entire chapter involving cameos by Stephen Spielberg and Peter Jackson. I got second-hand embarassment so badly, I skipped that chapter.

      August 17, 2018
      |Reply
    • SaintSithney
      SaintSithney

      It can get really cringey in historical novels, but usually they do a better job about plausibility. I’m working on a historical novel loosely based on my grandmother (an Irish Catholic who got engaged to a Jewish man in 1912… both sets of parents broke it up, so she married a PROTESTANT SAILOR instead. Her family was horrified). It makes sense that a music fan in New York City in 1912 would have seen Chauncey Olcott perform. What wouldn’t make any sense would be if she was best friends with a young Elinor Glyn and her doomed romance inspired “Three Weeks”.

      Though I’ve seen plenty of historical novels that name drop some famous person so that the person reading can go “OOOOOHHHHH!!!! holycow”.

      August 22, 2018
      |Reply
      • Anon
        Anon

        @Saint — There are certainly instances where it works. Historical novels make a lot of sense or if somehow the famous person is important and relevant to the story. I hate to bring up Woody Allen for obvious reasons and it’s a movie, not a novel, but Hemingway, Cole Porter, Gertrude Stein, etc., in “Midnight in Paris” worked really well because they were necessary to the narrative.

        But it’s so often just *there* like a lump in the middle of a book. It also bugs me when they write texting and emailing into books, but I think it’s just because I’m old. lol I always feel like there’s a better way to tell the story, though, even if it’s time-period relevant. It just feels awkward every time. Maybe it’s more the way it’s done than that it’s done at all.

        August 22, 2018
        |Reply
        • SaintSithney
          SaintSithney

          They can be really important to the narrative. Instead of Woody Allen, how about Baz Luhrman? It wouldn’t have made sense to make a film about the Moulin Rouge in 1899 and NOT have Toulouse L’Autrec hanging out. Or while “Gone With the Wind” had mostly fictional characters, occasionally an actual historical person will show up (though they rarely affect the narrative beyond how whatever battle went, since Scarlett is too self-centered to care about anything that doesn’t directly affect herself).

          With texting and e-mailing, I see it as just an update of the epistolary story form… which is kind of a take-or-leave narrative device to begin with.

          August 23, 2018
          |Reply
  26. Preakness Everdeen
    Preakness Everdeen

    I don’t understand the whole point of the mind/memory/thought reading.

    Even if it was necessary for the story because “reasons” it wasn’t shown that she was having a hard time with pulling from their memories/thoughts without permission while unconscious. Or did I miss something and it was a convenient (for her) accident that she did it while she was practically dead?

    Or is looking at memories without permission easier when you’re unconscious? Which admittedly sounds somewhat interesting if she just willingly would give her self a concussion or something just to read memories without permission.

    Also, another chapter? I’m guessing it’s the wedding? I hope it’ll be very very short.

    August 17, 2018
    |Reply
    • Another Amy
      Another Amy

      I don’t think she pulled their memories until after she was healed and awake and rested. She almost dies, is in the coma thing, they save her, she wakes up, she’s gets stronger, she asks for permission, she pulls the memories. So when she’s telling us about their memories of what happened when she was unconscious, she is already awake and mending, that’s why there’s no sense of urgency or tension when she’s unconscious. We already know, because she told us, that all of the stuff that’s happening in the pulled memories chapters is stuff that she found out about after she was awake again.

      August 17, 2018
      |Reply
      • Preakness Everdeen
        Preakness Everdeen

        Wow thanks for clearing that up. The order of how it was presented was confusing/hard to follow. Your quick explanation made more sense than how Sarem wrote the entire exchange.

        August 20, 2018
        |Reply
  27. Jamie
    Jamie

    I’m just here to say this recap made my day.

    August 17, 2018
    |Reply
  28. Usually Just Lurking
    Usually Just Lurking

    Where in the hell is mahjihk lamborghini-girl??? Didn’t she threaten Zade-lani’s life? I know she decided there was nothing she could do but wait (I think) but that event would still be prominent in my mind. I’d be looking over my shoulder and *definitely* bring it up with mahjihkahl mom.
    But whatever, I guess that’s not important. Ladies and weddings, amiright?

    August 17, 2018
    |Reply
    • Willow
      Willow

      Now, now, now… If she focused on that, it might add an honest level of drama and suspense into the narrative and we can’t have that! 😛

      August 17, 2018
      |Reply
      • Willow
        Willow

        Also… #TeamLamborghiniGirl

        August 17, 2018
        |Reply
    • Willow
      Willow

      Also… #TeamLamborghiniGirl

      August 17, 2018
      |Reply
      • Evil!Blonde Bitch
        Evil!Blonde Bitch

        I love how Lambo Girl is becoming the Leah Clearwater or Kate Kavanaugh of this book. I’m so here for this lol. She, Sofia, and those two lovely ladies should form a team dedicated to hunting the supernatural Mary Sues of the world.

        August 19, 2018
        |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Lambo Girl didn’t kill Zade when she had the chance and Zade knew she wouldn’t be a threat because of that. So, Zani just ignored her to focus on the plot (LOL) and who knows what’ll happen if she becomes important? If she returns in the sequel then she could become the Veronica to Zade’s Betty… Or take Sofia’s place. I think it’d be funny if Lambo was ballsy and appeared at the wedding but that would create too much tension and interesting characters…

      August 20, 2018
      |Reply
  29. Yarrow
    Yarrow

    “The love triangle. Isn’t. Over.”

    Well of course not, lol! What is Lani supposed to do with all her Team Jackson merch? And Jacob didn’t give up on Bella just because she made it crystal clear that she’d chosen Edward. He never gave up on her until he fell head over heels in love with their newborn infant daughter [GAG]. Wonder if we’ll see some sort of clumsy and obvious spin on THAT with these characters? Oh wait, that would entail another book. Dear God please no.

    August 17, 2018
    |Reply
    • Jane Eyre
      Jane Eyre

      yeah, I think(and Jenny said it too I believe) that TEAM JACOB was mostly fanon and movies, rather than n books. In the books, Bella never had any doubts or dilemma who to choose. She was into Sparkly the Magic Vampire from the get-go and she treated Jacob only as a friend. It was purely one-sided on his part. I recall she felt bad and was torn but it was because she still wanted Jacob in her life but only as a good friend.

      August 17, 2018
      |Reply
    • Willow
      Willow

      Oh, she’s making it sound like it’s the first in a huge series according to the Amazon page for this thing:

      “… This is the first book in the series and I can promise that as we go along the story gets bigger with more excitement and danger lurking around every corner. This is just the beginning and I can tell you it’s going to be a really fun ride. …”

      If this somehow happens, we all need to start sending Jenny wine and chocolate to get through it all so we don’t have to.

      August 20, 2018
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        Haha, yeah but even so, we know Lani Sarem is a liar. Also, last time i looked used copies of the book were selling as low as $2 and the new ones weren’t much higher (not counting shipping.) Unless Sarem is already fabulously wealthy or her publisher is dumber than a bag of hammers, writing a sequel wouldn’t be worth it. I think we have higher odds of seeing a new scam instead, like a fake trailer or a tv pilot.

        August 21, 2018
        |Reply
        • SofiaThatB*tch
          SofiaThatB*tch

          She says she’s planning like a 5-7 book series. But that she’s gonna see how book 4 turns out first. Me thinks (and prays to god) we’re not even gonna get a book 2

          August 22, 2018
          |Reply
          • Dove
            Dove

            Yeah, I don’t trust that’s true. After all, she said there was a movie in production at one point already, right? Which is clearly another lie unless she decided to create it herself and show it at film festivals or something. She doesn’t want to give actual updates, she just wants it to look like she’s busy.

            August 22, 2018
          • Amy
            Amy

            Ughhhh…. I actually bought into the lie that the movie was already underway. Of course it was lie. Why didn’t I see…. Ughhhh….

            Still begs the questions why American Pie is going along with this. It’s been now over a year, no significant progress has been made on book or movie. At some point he’s gonna have to admit to himself no money/fame is going to come. Is having a directing job such an important part to him? I feel like we’re missing a huge clue here. THIS IS NOT WORTH THE EFFORT, yet he acts like it is.

            August 23, 2018
          • Willow
            Willow

            The IMDB page for this supposed movie shows it as “In Development”, which according to IMDB means that a script has been written and someone potentially optioned it. However, books get optioned all the time just so a studio can lay claim to them in case they’re popular to keep others from owning the rights.

            I almost want that same studio to make a campy caper about how the book community came together to bring down a fraud except that would give her some amount of “fame” again and I want her to fade into obscurity.

            I have noticed that Wizard World con isn’t listing her with the bigger celebs on their roster for events now. She’s way down at the bottom with cosplayers and people who are selling stuff at the show and probably only because she paid to be listed as attending. My friend is going to Wizard World Chicago this week and I almost want to give her a thesaurus to drop on their table and walk away… lol

            August 23, 2018
      • MyDog'sPA
        MyDog'sPA

        f this somehow happens, we all need to start sending Jenny wine and chocolate to get through it all so we don’t have to.

        Actually, I’m more inclined to send Jenny coffee, wine and chocolate if she doesn’t read any future versions of this. It actually attracts attention to Sarem, which is all she wants, anyway, plus it really affects Jenny in a negative way. So like the FSOG series, at one point Jenny has to stop, and methinks this is the time. One and done, Jen.

        August 22, 2018
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          That’s a fair point. I’d love it if Jenny informs us if there is new development like a sequel but she doesn’t have to read it. And I personally doubt there will be another book anyway but I could be wrong.

          August 22, 2018
          |Reply
          • MyDog'sPA
            MyDog'sPA

            I think Political Junkie nailed it with their assessment. I wonder if Jen (if she really dares to recap future books) should do them ala the Buffy/Angel recaps with summary concepts listed by numbers. PJ’s list is:

            #1: Main characters display elements of narcissistic and borderline personality disorders, along with significant levels of sociopathy.
            #2: The characters are self-obsessed but curiously flat, with high attention paid to surface details about hair, clothing and “beauty”, while providing little information about their interests, motivations, aspirations, and other deeper aspects of their personalities.
            #3: The characters are unnecessarily secretive and sometimes deliberately deceptive about both important and mundane parts of their lives.
            #4: The characters are manipulative with friends, family, co-workers, and each other.
            #5: Characters lack empathy and are prone to outbursts of temper, including violent episodes that occur with almost no provocation.
            #6: Dela is vindictive
            #7: Charles seems to have a lifelong habit of treating women as fully animated sex toys.
            #8: Zade is more comfortable keeping two guys at arms’ length than she is with having a real relationship with either one.
            #9: Characters’ moods can shift seemingly in an instant from cold anger to passionate love, with no emotional resolution of the original conflict, to total apathy, with no real rhyme or reason.
            #10: There’s absolutely no reason to believe that any relationship in the book won’t change again due to nothing more than a whim.
            #11: Characters have near total lack of respect for boundaries that make them dangerous to themselves and others.
            #12: Intensive psychotherapy is indicated.

            (Thanks for that list, PJ, it was great) I’d add:
            #13: Zade is a rapist
            #14: Zade isn’t responsible for her own actions
            #15: Zade puts herself in jeopardy
            #16: For a “feminist” author, Zade does a good job of not being proactive in her own story
            #17: Zade is attracted to men who are violent to her
            #18 Zade doesn’t communicate to anyone that she needs their help to keep her safe.
            #19: Any viable antagonist disappears after 2 pages and is inconsequential in any future scene.

            Feel free to add your own, I’m sure I missed some!

            August 22, 2018
          • ViolettaD
            ViolettaD

            Mydog’sPA: Just offenses against the 18 rules Twain accused Fenimore Cooper of violating–particularly #10:

            1. That a tale shall accomplish something and arrive somewhere. But the “Deerslayer” tale accomplishes nothing and arrives in air.
            2. They require that the episodes in a tale shall be necessary parts of the tale, and shall help to develop it. But as the “Deerslayer” tale is not a tale, and accomplishes nothing and arrives nowhere, the episodes have no rightful place in the work, since there was nothing for them to develop.

            3. They require that the personages in a tale shall be alive, except in the case of corpses, and that always the reader shall be able to tell the corpses from the others. But this detail has often been overlooked in the “Deerslayer” tale.

            4. They require that the personages in a tale, both dead and alive, shall exhibit a sufficient excuse for being there. But this detail also has been overlooked in the “Deerslayer” tale.

            5. The require that when the personages of a tale deal in conversation, the talk shall sound like human talk, and be talk such as human beings would be likely to talk in the given circumstances, and have a discoverable meaning, also a discoverable purpose, and a show of relevancy, and remain in the neighborhood of the subject at hand, and be interesting to the reader, and help out the tale, and stop when the people cannot think of anything more to say. But this requirement has been ignored from the beginning of the “Deerslayer” tale to the end of it.

            6. They require that when the author describes the character of a personage in the tale, the conduct and conversation of that personage shall justify said description. But this law gets little or no attention in the “Deerslayer” tale, as Natty Bumppo’s case will amply prove.

            7. They require that when a personage talks like an illustrated, gilt-edged, tree-calf, hand-tooled, seven- dollar Friendship’s Offering in the beginning of a paragraph, he shall not talk like a negro minstrel in the end of it. But this rule is flung down and danced upon in the “Deerslayer” tale.

            8. They require that crass stupidities shall not be played upon the reader as “the craft of the woodsman, the delicate art of the forest,” by either the author or the people in the tale. But this rule is persistently violated in the “Deerslayer” tale.

            9. They require that the personages of a tale shall confine themselves to possibilities and let miracles alone; or, if they venture a miracle, the author must so plausibly set it forth as to make it look possible and reasonable. But these rules are not respected in the “Deerslayer” tale.

            10. They require that the author shall make the reader feel a deep interest in the personages of his tale and in their fate; and that he shall make the reader love the good people in the tale and hate the bad ones. But the reader of the “Deerslayer” tale dislikes the good people in it, is indifferent to the others, and wishes they would all get drowned together.

            11. They require that the characters in a tale shall be so clearly defined that the reader can tell beforehand what each will do in a given emergency. But in the “Deerslayer” tale, this rule is vacated.

            In addition to these large rules, there are some little ones. These require that the author shall:

            12. Say what he is proposing to say, not merely come near it.
            13. Use the right word, not its second cousin.

            14. Eschew surplusage.

            15. Not omit necessary details.

            16. Avoid slovenliness of form.

            17. Use good grammar.

            18. Employ a simple and straightforward style.

            August 22, 2018
          • ViolettaD
            ViolettaD

            Of course, one must substitute Zade for Natty Bumpo, and Madgycke for “the craft of the woodsman, the delicate art of the forest.”

            August 22, 2018
  30. River
    River

    Wow. Just wow.

    Yet again I cannot believe how boring her wish fulfillment is. She lays passive and out of it for gigantic swaths of time and then “pulls” people’s memories of the event. Which is even more boring because she doesn’t even tell us how she does it or why it is “hard”. Also so random WebMD look up gave a very rare and weird disease and double pneumonia? Holy smokes it would have been simpler if they just said she had Tuberculosis and it caused bleeding in her lungs which she sprayed everywhere. I mean because at least then she can get treatment with antibiotics and it would explain why she needed to be gone for a while because of quarantine. And the weird, weird drug out zombie luuurrrvvvee triangle that isn’t alive but won’t die. I would seriously kill my partner if they couldn’t commit to me and we had a random person out there holding a “broom” for them.

    And WHAT is it with the passive aggressive “my coworkers wanted to visit but not really how dare they like their paid holiday”? What is that even about? She has got to have been the worst coworker in the history of working.

    Thank you for recapping this book and thank you for your humor and wit. Your posts continually make my days better.

    August 17, 2018
    |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      Tuberculosis makes more sense. Everyone has heard of tuberculosis. It’s a common disease seen in movies, it has killed literally millions of people around the world, killed millions in America, and you don’t need to be a genius to know that it is a bad disease.

      By giving herself a random, over-the-top disease, Zade actually brings more attention to herself.

      August 17, 2018
      |Reply
      • River
        River

        I know right? The best lie is the one closest to the truth and the easiest to maintain. But Lurd Bucket has to have The Most Crazy Illness Ever even if it does nothing to help the story along.

        August 17, 2018
        |Reply
      • Agent_Z
        Agent_Z

        “By giving herself a random, over-the-top disease, Zade actually brings more attention to herself.”

        Given how self-centered she is are we sure bringing more attention isn’t what she wanted?

        August 18, 2018
        |Reply
        • Amy
          Amy

          “I want a normal life!” Becomes the star megician in Las Vegas show.

          “I need to decide which boy to date!” Never makes a decision.

          “I must keep my magic secret!” Uses it in public areas for petty reasons.

          “I must not judge people!” Proceeds to judge and mock and sneer at people.

          “I don’t like shopping!” Name drops every product she uses, spends hours shopping, describes every name brand in more detail than the characters themselves.

          “Magi is an offensive word to my people!” The word is literally used less than five times, then proceeds to make racist and sexist remarks repeatedly throughout book.

          “I’m upset not everyone was willing to drop hundreds of dollars to come see me in another state while I was sick!” Never makes an effort to see Sofia while she was in a local hospital despite she too nearly died in front of her coworkers.

          Everything about Zupercalifragilisticexpialidocious is a contradiction. She totes wants attention.

          August 18, 2018
          |Reply
          • ViolettaD
            ViolettaD

            Beginning to give the Eel credit. At least her characters were CONSISTENTLY awful. Ana was always a whining, self-deprecating pain, Christian was always a control freak, etc.

            August 18, 2018
    • Lily
      Lily

      And TB would make a better case for shutting down the show; cast members need to be checked out, stage needs to be cleaned specifically for the disease, etc.

      August 18, 2018
      |Reply
    • ShifterCat
      ShifterCat

      She doesn’t even show much interest in the “magical girl” part of the wish fulfillment fantasy. I mean, if someone writes a story in which their Mary Sue flies through the air and talks to animals and heals wounds and makes inanimate objects dance around and and and… it might still be a poorly-written tale, but I can at least understand the appeal. Who wouldn’t want to do all that stuff?

      But Sarem doesn’t seem interested in the magic parts. She doesn’t even show HOW her heroine puts up her tent with magic! In her story, the supernatural is only useful for showing that her heroine(s) are special. (And the occasional bit of petty revenge.)

      It kind of makes me wonder if, just as she jumped on the YA label because YA is big, she also jumped on the fantasy label because YA fantasy is big.

      August 26, 2018
      |Reply
      • Amy
        Amy

        Oh, she definitely did. For every new stock of YA books that come to the library, at least 7/10 are fantasy based. The others are either romance, historical, graphic novel, or sci-fi. Lani is about five years too late to ride that sweet Twilight train, especially as there are a million other YA fantasies that are 10x more interesting, better written than hers. Lani knew this and that’s why she had no choice but to cheat becuase there’s no way her first-draft mess could’ve broken through that barrier on its own merits.

        You can see it even now. The studios keep making different movies on decently popular YA series. While John Green is pretty popular, it’s not HP popular, and that’s what the studios are looking for. They want the next Twilight, they want the next Hunger Games. And that’s why so many new YA books keep repeating the same formula. Eventually something is going to shift, a totally new genre of YA is going to pop put, and Lani’s will be left in the dust.

        Lani can still make it as a writer, but she’s not willing to go with the flow. She likes Neil Gaiman and Roald Dahl, and while they do primarily write fantasy, every one of their books changed it up. Sometimes it’s whimsical fantasy, sometimes it’s dark and horrifying. It looks like the only literature she’s pulling influence from is Twilight and FSG……. So just Twilight.

        While there is nothing wrong with pulling influence from them, if you copy someone’s art, you also copy their mistakes. Lani doesn’t see the mistakes/the ugliness of those books. All she sees is $$$$$. She even said it herself in an interview. “People had problems with those books but they still made money.”

        August 26, 2018
        |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        Yeah, it’s definitely her climbing onto the back of the bandwagon, possibly because of rumors this was originally Twilight fanfic but also because of an easy cash-grab in her mind.

        But you’re right, it’s all very anti-climatic. I’m really not stressed by very little explanation behind how things work; some stories work better with a loosely defined magic system. The problem here is it’s all too little, too late. The tent incident was an afterthought and so were the other times she used magic. It’s only used as an ass-pull answer to how she did something and that’s just how Zade’s entire fucking universe works so nothing feels special about how she does any goddamn thing.

        For instance, you might as well say she got her job by putting a spell on dad, it works the same as if she did simply call him, chat him up, and appeal to his guilt/elation/relief as well as his former ideas to put her in the show when she was a wee one. But we never got their reunion, the chat in his office after the interview was BS. Not only was it important to see something a lot more heartwarming than Chuckles sitting across a desk from Zany but the way it’s built up there literally isn’t a single thing I can imagine her telling him that she wouldn’t have said over the phone already. Yes, it would be awkward regardless but you know… take her out to dinner or something. That would be more fitting for the pseudo-reveal that he isn’t trying to hit on her; it’d explain Sophia’s agitation even better at the beginning and give Mac more pause when he sees the tickets to another dinner theater in her apartment 10 chapters later.

        Hell, she didn’t even need the “premonition” that she got to save Sophia’s life: the only thing it might’ve done was help her to react faster but the same could be said if she’s simply very level-headed and fast-thinking/acting in a crisis. She could’ve dumped the lemonade thing on the girl’s head. She could’ve had a handgun when Lambo Girl dropped by. She could’ve figured out the tent like a normal person. She could’ve done the Tarot anyway and gotten the same result. She could’ve thrown a small rock, it could’ve missed the cyclist but landed right in front of his wheel, he didn’t notice, and then it was just big enough, with enough momentum, to knock him off-balance and over.

        She could’ve had TB, as others mentioned, and gotten a normal fucking doctor to figure it out and maybe Mac accidentally helped her catch it some way that it’s possible to get TB. Maybe his sister is a nurse/doctor, somehow she caught it at work, later called to warn Mac to get a check-up after he visited her, and Mac is fine but he doesn’t think to warn Zade because he came back clean. Then they find out that Zadi caught it when she starts hacking up blood backstage. But common ailments are for commoners, not our little princess. ;P

        She literally took everyday situations, said it was magic so she didn’t have to worry about an explanation, and then called it a day. Pretty sure that was her basic thought-process too. But then her refusal to revise most of the book didn’t help in that regard. Maybe if she hadn’t started with a mostly written story being blown up to over 400 pages then it’d turn out better, but I doubt that.

        I’d say she wanted to write luxury porn but she’s not even good at it because she doesn’t enjoy any of her expensive things for longer than a few pages. Still, she put more effort into the motorcycle and the make-up than she did into the magic.

        August 26, 2018
        |Reply
        • Amy
          Amy

          Dress Porn? Lani does write entire paragraphs describing someone’s clothing… but it’s all very generic stuff. Nothing iconic like Katniss’ Girl On Fire dress.

          Food porn? She writes in a lot of RL restaurants… but never describes any foods that are Las Vegas specialty. I guess ice tea kinda counts.

          Self-Insert porn? Zade has no sex, only a few boring kisses, and is unconscious for third of the book. Goddamn MAC ends up being the hero at the end, not Zade. (like, seriously, I can’t get over this fact. Freakin’ Mac ends up getting the spotlight at the climax of the book instead of Zade. That’s like going to see a Star Wars movie, and instead of Luke saving the day, it’s Admiral Ackbar. Even with Zade’s unnecessary mind-reading narration, she’s not an active character in her own arc.!

          I repeat: even though Zade narrates the entire third act, she’s not in it. How do you fuck up something like that???? This is writing 101! bllllarrrghhhhhhhhh!!!! )

          Luxury porn? As you pointed out, Zade never really enjoys any of the stuff she has. Besides, she already had the stuff before the story even began, so it was never earned, never giving the reader any type of satisfaction.

          Guy action? The guys you can choose to drool over are… Jackson, the misogynist. Mac, the abusive misogynist. Or Charles, the possible incestuous misogynist.

          August 26, 2018
          |Reply
          • Dove
            Dove

            Call me crazy, but I think she tried to scrub it clean and make it appeal to everyone. Then it became even less enjoyable… She had some kind of checklist for what she wanted to include, had a few ideas that tickled her fancy but didn’t know what to do with them or how to present them, and mostly tried to write a blockbuster… What do you want to bet that she bought some advice for writing, as well as advice for how to hit the NYTimes bestseller top spot, and went overboard?

            August 26, 2018
        • ShifterCat
          ShifterCat

          Hmm… the impression I get isn’t that Sarem took ordinary situations and magicKed them up, but rather that she took scenes from popular media, said “That looks cool!” and copied them without any thought to the surrounding story, setting, and characterization — the armature, if you will — that supports those set-pieces.

          Jenny points out that the confrontation with Lambo Girl is taken from The Magicians (which I’ve neither read nor seen). Of course, when you have a scene like that, it tells the reader that this is a world in which magic-users have their own society with its own rules, and these things are important enough that a sorceress might make an ambush to threaten/warn/test you, but stop short of doing permanent harm. An author who includes this is obligated to do some world-building around it. Sarem’s only interest in a magical society is to show that as well as being Not Like Other Girls, her author avatars are also Not Like Other Sorceresses.

          Your speculation about how the confrontation scenes would have gone without a supernatural element does make me think that Sarem, in her two telekinesis scenes, wanted Zani to be both responsible and not responsible for her actions. If Ziploc had shattered a glass lemonade tank using a hand-held object, she’d have been arrested, and it would have been undeniable to everyone that this was a disproportionate reaction.

          But by going the Carrie route, Sarem can say, “Ooh, no, Zade was just *too upset*! Also the victims deserved it anyway, nyah nyah.” Never mind that even with her sympathetic side, Carrie is still the novel’s monster.

          Also, this means that Lambo Girl had a point — Zippity really IS a menace.

          August 29, 2018
          |Reply
  31. Another Amy
    Another Amy

    I think that when Zade says she poked around her parents’ memories, checking out a few more things she always wanted to know, that she’s not talking about the story of their meeting. The meeting story was part of everyone’s memories from when she was passed out. She wrote about it in ways that showed she was pulling the memories of Mac and daddy magician listening to the story. “As I pulled their memories, I was struck by how amazing a storyteller my mom is/how melodic and perfect her voice is when,” etc. I think when she’s telling us about pulling some extra stuff she always wanted to know about, she means some other stuff from Mom and dad’s past that wasn’t even included in the book. Which again, this is a story written in her POV, so those things she pulled should’ve been included either in the many chapters that are written in the pulled memories form, or they should have been included now when she’s mentioning that she looked into some stuff she always wanted to know. If this is her story, from her point of view, and she is finding out things about her parents that she always wanted to know, then those things need to be included in the book! If they’re not at all of consequence to the story she’s telling, then the author should not have put in this line about how she pulled extra memories. The only reason to tell us that she pulled other memories without consent would be to show that this character is an asshole with massive boundary issues and to provide another example of her using her magical powers unethically, and somehow I doubt that was Sarem’s intention.

    August 17, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      I’m pretty certain she’s referring to the exact memories they had of events plus the conversations held in private so it wouldn’t be weird if the movie has visualizations that weren’t there during the telling of said story as well as her knowing about the incidental conversations that were happening without direct relevance to the event, such as Choochoo confiding in Mac about his infidelity, losing his wife(?) and kid, and the downward spiral after that. But yeah, i forgot Mac didn’t give permission so i wonder how she got those prior 3rd POV from earlier in the book unless she meant those and forgot who said no to full pull.

      August 18, 2018
      |Reply
  32. Jenny (but not Jenny Trout)
    Jenny (but not Jenny Trout)

    YOUR FIRST PERSON POV PROTAGONIST CANNOT WITHHOLD CRUCIAL INFORMATION FROM THE READER TO SET UP PLOT TWISTS LATER BECAUSE WE ARE INSIDE THAT CHARACTER’S HEAD AND PRIVY TO ALL OF THEIR THOUGHTS THE REST OF THE TIME.

    I’ve seen this done successfully for relatively minor things and short periods of time, especially if events are set in motion, we fade to black, and then there is no time or reason for the MC to think about it. But! Charlie being her dad should have come up at some point. The wedding thing is beyond stupid. I can’t even with this book. Ugggghhhh.

    August 18, 2018
    |Reply
    • Lily
      Lily

      It worked perfectly in “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd,” but yes, rarely works in books or stories by incompetent writers…like Lani Sarem.

      August 18, 2018
      |Reply
      • Black Knight
        Black Knight

        Note that in “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd,” we’re not actually in the narrator’s head – we’re reading what he’s written down. This is a crucial difference.

        August 20, 2018
        |Reply
  33. Jess
    Jess

    “YOUR FIRST PERSON POV PROTAGONIST CANNOT WITHHOLD CRUCIAL INFORMATION FROM THE READER TO SET UP PLOT TWISTS…”

    So what probably happened, based on the opening where Zanthippe talks about this “book” being longer if she listed all the weird stuff that happened to her, is that Sarem is doing that meta thing of when the narrator is actually the author of a book in the story which is actually the book you’re reading, a la There and Back Again: a Hobbit’s Tale. But just kidding because the idea that the author of this book is able to come anywhere close to narrative intent strains belief.

    Thanks for reading this so I don’t have to.

    Also this week, I came across a Gil del Mace piece, The Knife Thrower II, so just in case anyone was worried that there were even the tiniest of original elements in her cover, like a background on water or slats on the stool… nope. https://cdn7.bigcommerce.com/s-81oa1bc/images/stencil/1024×1024/products/1941/2183/Knife_Thrower_II_Promo_File__61184.1375000104.jpg?c=2

    August 18, 2018
    |Reply
    • Yarrow
      Yarrow

      Dear freaking God. I am so grossed out. (About the art.)

      August 18, 2018
      |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Damn. That’s just sad.

      August 20, 2018
      |Reply
  34. Melissa
    Melissa

    Damn, I’d never thought about this as an audiobook. I feel so bad for that hypothetical person. I don’t think I could get through a paragraph without sighing and other frustrated noises. Just silently reading these recaps I’ve exclaimed many a “bitch, whut????”

    August 18, 2018
    |Reply
  35. Samantha Pistor
    Samantha Pistor

    Let’s not forget that this incredible love triangle, so well constructed, never appeared on the book.

    Zade and Jackson never had a date not offscreen. They barely talk. He not even got to visit her while she stayed in bed. Like, ok, I understand that career is important and this girl is dating two people at the same time but seriously, you can not visit the person who almost died in your fucking break? Or even try to reach you by phone, e-mail, letter, whatever?

    Even now, after our amazing heroin reappears, we don’t have a dialogue. Th guy does not even see her on the day she returns. Hell, even Sofiaiaiaiao got a hug and an indirect dialogue, the guy was not even there.

    We only know there is a love triangle because this fucking author tells there is one and is a huge thing. Even in Twilight, in order to sustain the teams, Meyer made Edward and Jacob work together to save Bella.

    I will not say this love triangle is not over because this love triangle does not exist.

    August 18, 2018
    |Reply
    • Yarrow
      Yarrow

      Jenny says about the welcome-back party: “All the (male) characters hug and kiss Lump and tell her how glad they are to have her back and Jackson, of course, calls her beautiful. God forbid a single scene goes by and a man doesn’t praise her wondrous beauty.”

      So, Jackson was there. I am not, however, saying that you’re wrong. This is the poorest excuse for a love triangle I’ve ever seen.

      August 18, 2018
      |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      I think there was a date that Zani technically explored but it was completed in two or three paragraphs so it might as well have been off-screen (I think it was the foot pop incident but that could’ve been Mac.) Also, she was wandering the streets beside Jackson when he suggested the Tarot reading although I don’t know if that counted as a date at all. I think she got that dress at the mall for a date with Jackson and he was singing at the bar they went to but I could be mistaken as to what the hell that was since I remember her faux hanging out with random girls at a table instead of sitting with him or her other co-workers after that? This novel is kind of a blur and I’ve read two chapter by chapter analysis of it (Jenny’s and Lahni’s.)

      You’re right though… Jackson should’ve been texting Zade like crazy because that was the best he could do at the time and then called her or else texted Charles when he didn’t get a response. Even if he genuinely couldn’t drop a hot concert, he should’ve sent some kind of delivery to her apartment to let her know he was thinking of her or called and then met her after that, treated her to dinner or something… I’m sure there are ways around this that are less lazy and relatively romantic while still suggesting that Jackson couldn’t drop everything on a dime.

      Instead, the characters just don’t exist when they’re unneeded. :p

      August 20, 2018
      |Reply
      • Amy
        Amy

        If i was dating a guy for a few months and suddenly he falls ill, I’d certainly make an effort to let him know I’m thinking about him. Send him flowers, a card, his favorite dvd, nudes, something. I’m pretty sure Jackson can afford $50 flower delivery.

        I am more in tune with my imaginary boyfriend than Lani is with hers.

        August 26, 2018
        |Reply
  36. Crystal M
    Crystal M

    I fucking hate this book so much. Zucchini has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Laney said she is someone girls can look up to, but what the fuck is there to look up to? An overgrown child who does petty shit like splash lemonade with her magic? Someone with no sense of empathy, who gives no fucks about anyone but herself? Someone with unearned success like Donald Trump? Someone who turns men into mind-controlled zombies with magic?

    August 19, 2018
    |Reply
  37. Political Junkie
    Political Junkie

    This book is an (inadvertently) interesting study in personality disorders. Lani/Zade/Dela and Charles display elements of narcissistic and borderline personality disorders, along with significant levels of sociopathy. The characters are self-obsessed but curiously flat, with high attention paid to surface details about hair, clothing and “beauty”, while providing little information about their interests, motivations, aspirations, and other deeper aspects of their personalities.
    They are unnecessarily secretive and sometimes deliberately deceptive about both important and mundane parts of their lives. They are manipulative with friends, family, co-workers, and each other. They lack empathy and are prone to outbursts of temper, including violent episodes involving Zade that occur with almost no provocation. Dela is vindictive, keeping her ex-husband from their child for two decades because she is angry about an affair. Charles seems to have a lifelong habit of treating women as fully animated sex toys, easily discarded when his interest wanes (except for Dela, who may or may not still have him under an enchantment). Zade is more comfortable keeping two guys at arms’ length than she is with having a real relationship with either one. Their moods can shift seemingly in an instant from cold anger to passionate love, with no emotional resolution of the original conflict, to total apathy, with no real rhyme or reason. There’s absolutely no reason to believe that any relationship in the book won’t change again due to nothing more than a whim.
    Overall, their near total lack of respect for boundaries make them dangerous to themselves and others. Intensive psychotherapy is indicated, but you know that won’t happen, either in the book or in real life.

    August 20, 2018
    |Reply
    • My Dog's PA
      My Dog's PA

      Yep.

      (At WorldCon at the moment in dealer room, but you nailed it.)

      August 20, 2018
      |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      I agree that you nailed it, which is probably why it’s only when you consider the underlying implications that it becomes remotely interesting.

      August 20, 2018
      |Reply
      • Evil!Blonde Bitch
        Evil!Blonde Bitch

        Isn’t it funny/weird/terrible that when you critically think about fluffy Mary Sue self-insert pieces, there tends to be a horrifying amount of nightmare fuel implications? I LOVE nightmare subtext, absolutely, but the fact that terrible authors routinely write it without even realizing it scares the shit out of me. Shallow and stupid as their thought processes tend to be, there’s a lot of repressed darkness and sociopathy that comes out in writing with the likes of EL James and Lani Sarem, and it legitimately scares me that they’re just alive and existing in the world. I don’t think they’re ax murderers or anything like that, but narcissism, lack of empathy, and just petty cruelty can still do serious damage, especially when it coincides with warped morality.

        August 21, 2018
        |Reply
        • MyDog'sPA
          MyDog'sPA

          But that’s what newbie writers do, without realizing it. They put themselves on the page. They haven’t done any research on character motivations and why real people do the things they do so the authors wind up writing ‘what they know’ because they don’t know anything else.

          Unfortunately Jenny has been sucked past the event horizon into the black hole of this s**tshow, so we’re gonna have to get her out before it affects her writing. (My wife doesn’t even WANT to read this for fear it’ll damage her own writing skills. At one point there’s no need to do this any more. Jenny’s there, so let’s go RESCUE!!)

          August 21, 2018
          |Reply
          • Dove
            Dove

            There’s still the last chapter, acknowledgments, and sequel teaser before Jenny is home free. But it’s a good point. XD

            August 22, 2018
          • Amy
            Amy

            My first self-insert was with a Harry Potter fanfiction. I fought a DRAGON in that fic. My 14 year old self had grander adventures than a 25 year old witch.

            August 22, 2018
  38. Holy fucking shitshow, Batman.

    It’s crap work like this that makes me nervous to finish any book ideas I might have. I get so worried that what I’m writing reads like something an illiterate 12 year old would write, that I never finish anything. Even when transcribing stuff for my day job I make sure not to use too much repetition and cut down on unnecessary words. If I’d known it was ridiculously easy to get every half-baked idea of mine published, I would have cranked out a dozen novels by now.

    I kind of really hope she slinks off into obscurity after this disaster clears up and nothing comes of her hard-sell campaign through the various Cons.

    August 22, 2018
    |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      We will all produce crap. It’s inevitable. Even veteran writers like Stephen King still writes shite books from time to time.

      It’s how you handle it will separate you from people like Lani. When told of the numerous grammar mistakes in her book, Lani didn’t go, “Oops, I’ll try to rectify that in the next editions.” Instead, she said, “this book had three editors” as if that’ll immediately fix Stephenie Meyer’s misspelled name. Instead of addressing the blatant sexism, racism, and numerous plot holes in her book, Lani stuck her fingers in her ears and went, “la la la… Jason Mamoa says gypsy, so that gives me the right to say it too~” Instead of apologizing to the artist whom she stole the cover from, Lani went, “ha ha, sucks to be you.” Everything Lani has done has shown she doesn’t care about her own book. All she cares about is fame and fortune.

      I seriously doubt you’ll do any of that. If you’re willing to try and grow and admit your mistakes, I KNOW you’ll be a better writer than Lani.

      August 22, 2018
      |Reply
  39. That’s because I had a brief flirtation with thinking I was an infallible writer in high school and had a rather brutal wake up call. As a result I’m overly cautious to the point of never finishing anything.

    August 22, 2018
    |Reply
    • Mydog'sPA
      Mydog'sPA

      Don’t let this stop you. Keep at it, you’ll only get better.

      August 22, 2018
      |Reply
  40. Aletheia
    Aletheia

    Hey, Jenny, if you’re thinking about new JHBC books to hate-read, you should check out “The Gender Game” by Bella Forrest. I’m not sure if there’s any drama involved with the author or anything, but *HOO BOY* is it bad, if the first few chapters and Goodread reviews are anything to go by.

    (And seriously, thank you for reviewing books like this. They’re amazingly funny and amusing to read, even if the book themselves are torture. 🙂 )

    August 23, 2018
    |Reply
  41. Dove
    Dove

    Re: IMDB

    I see some interesting links but I don’t have a pro account. However, I noticed this on the sign-up pop-up.

    Showcase Yourself
    Manage your photos and the credits you’re Known For on IMDbPro, IMDb and Amazon Video

    I suspect American Pie is listed as the producer, Zani is listed as the writer, and the company is something they created before making this listing themselves. That would explain his interest plus then they could keep/sell the rights for the movie and haggle it out I guess. Or maybe they hooked up with an old friend who has a small, independent movie company ala GeekNation. Anyone with more knowledge on the subject or an IMDbPro account, please correct me. XD

    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5644738/

    August 23, 2018
    |Reply
    • MyDog'sPA
      MyDog'sPA

      At that site, even without getting the IMDBpro subscription, the only two cast members listed are Lani and American Pie (you can see it under the subscription pop-up window)

      August 23, 2018
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        Yeah, but I didn’t pay attention to the script dating… lol. Even if she isn’t listed as the writer and Pie as a producer, the whole thing is quite dead. I was hoping for further confirmation but I’d say the overall lack of updates is quite telling (and the fact they haven’t added any other actors/actresses to fill out the roster.)

        I’m curious about what she plans to do after this. My guess is she’ll a) hire a ghostwriter for subsequent books and push for a movie deal to get it off her hands, hoping she can score enough fame to star in something better, b) keep selling the books at conventions and on Amazon until they make a profit lol, or c) urge Tad to find someone so she can star in a C-list movie because he has connections, although I suspect she’s been trying that for a while and he keeps reassuring her that it’ll happen eventually.

        Perhaps he pushed for the book publishing just to get her off his back for a while but he’s a supportive friend and she’s like a fly hovering around him so she goes to cons with him. Inexplicably, when she drags him somewhere, he obliges. Perhaps she secretly hates conventions and she guilts him into joining her at book signings? :p

        August 26, 2018
        |Reply
        • Amy
          Amy

          I find it hilarious that Lani could go to cons over and over until she breaks even. That sounds exhausting and boring as hell.

          I find it more likely that Tad is taking pity on her and staying by her side out of friendship or some kind of obligation. He may not be an A-list actor, but he still has a decent resume and he still gets jobs. Lani admits the only way she gets people to buy her book is riding off of his coattails. Once he’s gone, Lani will probably fold like a cheap pool chair.

          August 26, 2018
          |Reply
    • MyDog'sPA
      MyDog'sPA

      Oh, and that lists the latest script revision as July 10, 2017

      August 23, 2018
      |Reply
  42. ShifterCat
    ShifterCat

    Way late on this, but I just caught up with these sporking/recaps.

    If I had to do some “We need her mother’s sorcery and also a personal history infodump” thing, here’s how I would do it:

    Mac’n’Cheese calls Deli Sandwich (’cause he has enough info to do that, FFS), who drops everything to go to Vegas.

    While the menfolk are waiting for her red-eye flight or whatever, Chuckwagon is all, “So you must be wondering how her mother and I met…” and tells that story. Preferably without “And then I stared at her tits.”

    Still a crap time for a flashback, but waiting at a hospital where someone is under professional care is different from “We just stuck her in her old bedroom, still hemorrhaging internally, and reminisced over iced tea.”

    If you must have dramatic lighting and weather and whatnot for the ritual, just have Deli Sandwich say, “This ritual must be performed under an open sky.” Then she ensorcels the nearby hospital cameras to show looped footage, puts a “None of your business, forget us” spell on her party, and they wheel Zani’s hospital bed into an elevator and up to the roof. Boom, done.

    August 26, 2018
    |Reply
  43. For someone like Sarem to try to buy her way into that position is bad enough, but to do so at the expense of a book that actually represents the outsider success story narrative she s trying to fit herself into is a terrible look.

    August 30, 2018
    |Reply

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