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Jealous Haters Book Club: Handbook For Mortals Chapter 21, The World or “You’re never going to guess where the plot finally shows up.”

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This is it, everyone. Exactly one year since we started Chapter 0, we’ve reached the end. This is the final installment of our Handbook For Mortals recap. I want to announce that I’ll be doing a Facebook Live event on Saturday night, 10 P.M. EST, on my Jenny Trout Facebook account, to talk about the acknowledgments section and do some drunk Tarot to get a forecast for the future of the book series and upcoming movie. These are pretty fun to do, because I can talk to you while I’m doing them, so drop on in at any time after 10 P.M. to join the live feed.

Shit, I might even brush my hair or put on makeup or something.

Or like.

Shower that day.

Anyway, I just wanted to thank you all for coming on this journey through hell and scandal with me, yet again. Here’s hoping nobody pulls any bullshit and hits my nasty button for a while, so I can take a vacation from shitty, shitty books.

The chapter starts out exactly like the end of Clueless (as others have noted).

“You may now kiss the bride!”

The Nevada sun shone down on the bride and groom, and the breeze blew her hair as their lips met. It was like a perfect sight out of a magazine,

Or Clueless.

and I was pretty sure I had never seen anything more magical

Except in Clueless.

––and I knew magick.

Not very well, I guess, since you almost died trying to do majikx recently.

After a few moments, the bride pulled back and Charles looked at Dela with tears in his eyes.

So, here’s the thing about this reveal: she’s trying to be like, “Charles looked at Dela with tears in his eyes,” like everybody is going to go, “Oh, it’s Chuck and Sandwiches getting married, not Lazytown and Mac.” But if the fact that the love triangle was completely unresolved at the end of the last chapter didn’t clue you in that Lungbutter and Mac weren’t headed on the road to marital bliss, the POV skew here would. If Laparoscopy had been the bride, she wouldn’t have referred to herself as “the bride” and she wouldn’t have been able to see the kiss. I’m not sure if Lani Sarem thought she could keep dramatically delaying the “reveal” or something by referring to her mom as “the bride” and then saying Charles looked at Dela; it could be that she intended the reader to think Charles was emotional because his daughter was getting married, but it also could be just more bad writing on her part.

She goes on to wing us into another POV skew.

They felt relaxed and happy.

To an outside observer, they can look or seem relaxed and happy. And it could be shown, rather than told: “Relaxing in their chairs, the couple beamed at each other,” or something like that.

So much had happened, and they had come so far.

Look, this is the last chapter of the book and I feel pretty fucking confident in saying that nothing, let alone “so much” has happened. Unless she’s referring to the fact that Dela lied to Charles and secretly used mahjix to separate him from his child against his will for like twenty years, and also lied to her daughter about doing that. Everyone is just cool with that? I guess they are, because the author is insistent that it’s no big deal to have your mind and life violated to the point where you are physically restrained from asking for help by unseen forces.

Zani describes how fun the party is and is quick to point out that her mother is keeping her own name. You know. Because this is a work of sheer feminist artistry and possibly the most important, female-led project of all time. Sandwiches tells Zeda that she’s always seen that she and Charles would get married, but only if he changed.

So…how was he supposed to change? How was he supposed to learn to trust or become a better father if he was ensorcelled for the entire time of his exile?

Dela laughed and smiled at me before getting serious again, “You should learn a lesson from this: always have faith and remember sometimes the darkest moments really do come just before the dawn.”

Huh. I kind of thought the lesson to be taken away here is that if you have majick, you can do whatever you want and rationalize it later.

Of course, Jackson’s band is playing the wedding, and they announce it’s time for the bouquet and garter toss. Mac asks if Lubraderm is going to try to catch the bouquet.

“I don’t believe in those silly superstitions,” I remarked, smiling.

Get it? Because she’s majichk? It’s super funny. Laugh. Please laugh. Lani Sarem is begging you. She’s doing her best, damnit!

Even though Mac tries to “shove” her into the crowd of single girls (yikes, that is not the word I would have chosen), Labrador refuses.

As Mom watched, the bouquet, miraculously, flew past all the women who were desperate to catch it.

See, Lumbar Zuncture isn’t desperate because she’s Not Like Other Girls™.

At the last second I turned to see what was going on, just in time to see it flying at me.

If you weren’t looking, how did you see your mom throw the bouquet or it going above the “desperate” women’s heads?

I was completely startled as it landed right in my arms.

I was not.

“How in the world…? I wasn’t even trying to catch it!” I was stunned, trying to explain to all the women were looking at me in disbelief.

IDK, genius, maybe it’s like, fucking majjjjaeixckkkkx or something.

Jesus Christ, it’s like this book knows it’s ending and is racing to be the worst it can possibly be.

Then I looked over at Dela, who was grinning like the Cheshire Cat, and I knew exactly how it had happened.

How fucking dense do you have to be to––

You know what? Nope. I’m almost done. I just have to get through the next few paragraphs.

Mac tells Zunt that she can’t fight destiny, and even though they’re at the wedding together and she caught the bouquet, I want to reiterate that we still have not seen any explicit resolution of the love triangle at this point. Mac asks Lantern if there’s a book he can read.

“Yeah, you know, like a handbook for mortals, just so I can keep up!”

A scene from Family Guy in which Peter Griffin is in a movie theater. He points at the screen and says, "Ah! Ah! He said it! He said it!"

That would have been as strong a line to end on as Lani Sarem could have possibly come up with, but obviously, her avatar needs to get the last word:

“I’ll try to find you one.”

I can imagine her sitting at her computer, going, “Hmmm…that line about a handbook for mortals is pretty good…but I’m not the one delivering it. The ‘I’ll try to find you one,’ is spoke by me, er, Zade, so it’s obviously better…but how can I really give this ending the punch it needs?

And they lived happily ever after…OR DO THEY?

I’m not joking. I didn’t add that. This is actually in the book, ALLCAPS and all. It’s followed immediately by this text in bold and a larger font:

Can’t wait to find out what happens next? Enjoy this teaser from the second book in the saga due out in 2018!

Nah, I’m good. But tick tock, Lani. Tick tock.

So, remember how I titled this recap, “You’re never going to guess where the plot finally shows up?” Well, I bet you can guess, now. I’m not going to recap it in depth because I have absolutely no interest in the “saga” *Twilight cough cough*, but the teaser starts out literally right after the last line of dialogue, without any break. Which will make the first line of the second book:

Mac had walked away to go talk to someone and, at the same time, my mom walked over to join me and congratulate me on catching the bouquet.

No, seriously. That is somehow going to be the first line of the next book.

So, what happens is that a man in a suit comes up and Dela greets him with “Namaste,” because enough cultures haven’t been ripped off already. Then there’s this whole explanation about how this guy is called Aunt Aldyth because he likes to dress up in women’s clothing and wears makeup and it’s this funny thing because he’s a guy who dresses in women’s clothing and is called by a feminine title, get it? Get it?

So, I guess, yeah, if you’re super into transmisogyny and cultural appropriation, this book is gonna deliver. Big time.

It’s also apparently going to have the fucking plot that didn’t happen in the first god damn book. This totally new and never before heard of but beloved relative tells them that all these various dark and light entities are out to get Zim’s powers because she was a special child foretold by some prophecy that also means she and Mac are not destined to be together. But they might be. But maybe not. Because the love triangle in Twilight stretched out over multiple books, so why not this one? Then, and only then, do they discuss the twice-seen, apparent antagonist of the first book, Lamorghini Girl. And they set some trees on fire.

So, here’s what I’m guessing: either one of the multitudes of editors she definitely, definitely worked with said, “You really can’t have the plot show up in the last three pages of the book,” and Lani though, “Well, I’ll just add ‘And they lived happily ever after…OR DO THEY?’ and say the end of the book is a teaser,” or she realized she needed to have a teaser and went, “Well, I’ll just add ‘And they lived happily ever after…OR DO THEY?’ and say the end of the book is a teaser.”

The remaining two percent of the book is the acknowledgment section:

The thank-yous were, by far, the hardest part of writing this book. I literally edited and rewrote and added to this section the whole time I was writing.

Just imagine if she’d spent any of that effort on the actual story.

And we’re done with Shitbook For Chortles.

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105 Comments

  1. Sigyn Wisch
    Sigyn Wisch

    Eyes…bleeding…

    Thank you so much for recapping this. I love your wit. As much as I hate to wish suffering upon you for my own entertainment, I kind of can’t wait till the next book comes out. Cheers!

    August 28, 2018
    |Reply
  2. RazzleDazzle
    RazzleDazzle

    “The thank-yous were, by far, the hardest part of writing this book. I literally edited and rewrote and added to this section the whole time I was writing.”

    … I don’t think admitting that makes her look as good as she thinks it does.

    August 28, 2018
    |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      “Thank you, Jackson Ratheborn, for not suing me.”

      August 28, 2018
      |Reply
  3. Skylar
    Skylar

    *slowly exhales with relief* It’s over.

    OR IS IT?

    August 28, 2018
    |Reply
    • Anon
      Anon

      We need react emojis here like on FB. I laughed.

      August 29, 2018
      |Reply
  4. ViolettaD
    ViolettaD

    I am about to start reading this. For your next sporking, I BEG you, Jenny, find something badly-written in a FUN way. This was so tedious, I despised Sarem worse for boring me than I did for all her sneaky promotional tactics. Jackie Susann’s husband pioneered this kind of publicity blitz, complete with artificially jacked ratings, but at least Valley of the Dolls was FUN trash. Sandbag for Door-pulls had to be one of the dreariest excuses for trash in the history of printing.

    There are cheap porn books that had more thorough editing and proofreading; I know, because I’ve professionally copy-edited them, and called the Sr. Editor’s attention to continuity errors like character having the wrong color pubic hair and no dye-job in the story line, or someone looking circumcised in one scene and a sausage roll in the next.

    Sarem-dipity gives trash a bad name.

    August 28, 2018
    |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      “sausage roll”

      Omg. XD

      Tell me, is that an actual term some authors use to describe a penis?

      August 28, 2018
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        If not, it needs to be. XD

        August 28, 2018
        |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        Never read an author who used the term, but I have heard that and “pork roll” used as terms for uncircumcised men by women discussing their dates.

        The problem with porn is you can’t have someone’s tongue circling the foreskin if a previous scene depicted him as not having one. As far as I know, they don’t grow back.

        August 28, 2018
        |Reply
        • Laura Teague
          Laura Teague

          My skin is crawling at the idea of spontaneously-regenerating foreskin (especially if it manages to instantly appear in the middle of having sex). *shudder*

          August 31, 2018
          |Reply
  5. Emerald
    Emerald

    All of our eternal thanks to you Jenny for suffering through this book, that I still cannot believe exists…

    August 28, 2018
    |Reply
  6. Jo
    Jo

    I would say Lani pulled a Lord Of The Rings by having so many acceptable places where the plot could have just stopped, butI don’t want Tolkien’s ghost to show up at my bedroom and give me a look of British disappointmen for comparing this bullshit to his work.

    Let me guess: the acknowledgment section is all “I want to thank myself, for being so good at everything I do”

    August 28, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      She thanks a crap ton of people; even Stephenie Meyer and then spells her name wrong, if I’m not mistaken. Also, the doctor was named after the only editor that she saw fit to acknowledge.

      August 28, 2018
      |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      She thanks a crap ton of people; even Stephenie Meyer and then spells her name wrong, if I’m not mistaken. Also, the doctor was named after the only editor that she saw fit to acknowledge. :p

      August 28, 2018
      |Reply
  7. L
    L

    Jeebus fucknuts that vook was straight up torture. Thank you, Jenny, for doing the heavy lifting on that one.

    August 28, 2018
    |Reply
  8. I have to give this to Zani: I’ve never shouted “ARE YOU FUCKING SHITTING ME?” at the last line of a book before, so that’s something.

    Thank you for the recaps and the legendary act of bravery of actually reading this… thing. It was barely a book, but you managed to make it entertaining even so.

    August 28, 2018
    |Reply
  9. I wonder if she’s still holding onto the hope that she can squeeze 4 – 7 books out of this thinly-plotted nightmare.

    I don’t really follow the ordeal much anymore, beyond the tidbits shown here, but considering, from what I remember, the movie was supposed to be a done deal and the book just a formality, I’m hoping that maybe, just maybe, she’s starting to realize just how badly she screwed the pooch. Last time I check on Amazon (a few months ago), the book was being resold at around $2 (I was actually tempted because I’m a glutton for punishment and want physical proof this book exists). That’s not a good sign less than a year after publication.

    August 28, 2018
    |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      We are talking about a woman who wrote forty page chapters. I’m pretty sure she’ll squeeze every drop of blood from this stone till it pops. (Just to compare, I grabbed the nearest YA novel and saw how long their chapter lengths were. 12-17 pages long)

      August 28, 2018
      |Reply
  10. Alana Skye
    Alana Skye

    Have you ever considered doing a chapter by chapter review of My Immortal….?

    August 28, 2018
    |Reply
    • Anna Kaye-Rogers
      Anna Kaye-Rogers

      OH MY GOD YES PLEASE

      also the christianity one.

      August 30, 2018
      |Reply
  11. Medli
    Medli

    So the ending was basically this?

    <img src="http://oi67.tinypic.com/fvkch5.jpg/&quot;

    Which… fits, really, considering I think we all felt at LEAST once like Joel from MST3k during this, snapping and yelling "DO something! GAH!"

    August 28, 2018
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    • Medli
      Medli

      Gah, messed up coding! *shakes fist*

      August 28, 2018
      |Reply
    • Jenny (But not Jenny Trout)
      Jenny (But not Jenny Trout)

      That’s what I thought of too! OMFG if you’re copying Manos the Hands of Fate you are really scraping the bottom of the barrel.

      But one of the wives of The Master is played by the actor’s daughter so maybe Lnnie likes bad movies?

      August 29, 2018
      |Reply
  12. Amy
    Amy

    I’m the type of author who believes characters deserve a happy ending. After everything I put them through, hell yeah they earned their right to live out their lives in peaceful tranquility.

    I know the whole OR DO THEY is a cheap set-up for the next book, but books should be a contained story. Beginning, middle, end. Basic rules. I shouldn’t have to be forced to read the next book just to close the plotholes in the first one.

    Yes, Harry Potter still had many mysteries to explore over the next couple of books, but the arc of the first one was the Philosopher’s stone. The arc of HFM was Mac and Zoop’s romance. They had their dates, Mac declared he’ll go to hell for her, it’s a done deal. By putting in OR DO THEY, Lani just told me everything Zazu and the readers went through meant nothing.

    Repeating storylines is not fun. There’s a reason why people LOATHE clip shows. There’s a reason why the ending to How I Met Your Mother was universally detested- so much so the producers had to cut out the original ending from the DVD.

    If book 2 of HFM involves Zake going, “Maybe Jackson is the right man for me… ?” after Mac declaring he’d go to hell for her, Lani basically shat over her own characters. She doesn’t need haters like me to do it, she does it all on her own.

    August 28, 2018
    |Reply
    • RodeoBob
      RodeoBob

      >The arc of HFM was Mac and Zoop’s romance.

      Huh. I mean, technically, yeah, that’s probably about right. There’s no real tension in the “love triangle”. Zoop has no character arc of her own. There’s no real conflict in the story anywhere that isn’t almost instantly resolved, or at least drained of any tension.

      Mac: I don’t date performers in the shows I oversee safety for.
      Zoop: Hey, wanna date?
      Mac: Okey-dokey!
      *******************
      Mac: I don’t believe in that mystical mumbo-jumbo.
      Zoop: Hey, wanna see me cripple a bicyclist with the power of magick?
      Mac: What?
      Zoop: What?
      ****************
      Mac: Seems like you’re awfully close with the boss, and I’m feeling jealous.
      Zoop: Well, stay here and watch this secret new illusion I’ve been working on that you know nothing about!
      Mac: Nope.
      Zoop: Oh no! It’s a disaster! The person in charge of (my) safety on stage left, which caused my magic to backfire on me! Why would the person in charge of safety, who knows nothing about how magick works or what this illusion is, leave their essential post?
      ********
      Spellman: Mac, magick is real, Zoop is dying, and you need to help us magick her back to life.
      Mac: Okey-dokey.
      Spellman: Also, we can’t do this in Vegas; we’ll have to fly to a rural town where my ex- lives, she’ll have to perform the ceremony, and I’ll try to get back into her pants while we’re waiting for the right time to do the magick thing.
      Mac: I already said “okey-dokey”…
      **********
      Zoop: Ha! You thought I was getting married, but really it’s my mom and dad finally getting married so I can have a happy, whole family! Wasn’t that a great story? Who wants a sequel?
      Mac: Okey-dokey.

      August 29, 2018
      |Reply
      • Amy
        Amy

        I could say it’s about a young woman coming to her own… Except Zade gets the job, friends, two hot guys wanting to bang her, an apartment, a whole new life withing the first three chapters. So that’s not a conflict that needed to be resolved over the course of the book. It was barely a plot point in the first place.

        Maybe it’s about her magicK and its conflict in the muggle world…. But EVERY scene of Zazu actually using her magicK could be cut entirely from the book. There’s the exception of the “double-hockeystick” scene, but that doesn’t count because no real consequences come from it.

        Zazu’s incesteous relationship with her dad? Zazu has more scenes with her ripped “in all the right” places jeans than with her dad. (Which is not an exagerration, strangely enough)

        Charles and Dela? A) secondary characters arcs should not be the focus of the book, especially not introudced in the last couple chapters. B) No.

        The only continuing conflict throughout the book is the boring romance, and it’s what sets off many scenes. Is it a good story arc? No, but it’s the only one the book has.

        Spellman: Also we can’t do this in Vegas: we’ll have to fly to a rural town where my ex-lives, she’ll have to perform the ceremony, and I’ll try to get back into her pants while we’re waiting for the right time to do the magick thing.
        Mac: I had already said, “okey-dokey”….

        I legit laughed. XD
        That’s is basically what happens! Every time Dela goes through a chapter of listening to this, Mac is like, “what does this got to do with what happened to Zade?????” And Dela is like, “pretentious babble, explains nothing, stfu”

        August 29, 2018
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          It’s basically a rom-com, that’s what the screenplay was, but she tried surgically altering it into a YA modern fantasy without revising it fully, so then we got this poor monster that isn’t as popular with the ladies.

          So yeah, it’s a really shitty romance novel that’s supposedly written to appeal to all ages, thus the exclusion of sex, but that’s BS on so many levels…

          August 29, 2018
          |Reply
          • Jane Eyre
            Jane Eyre

            but like….she still could make it YA, without the magic part? There are tons of ‘slice of life’ types of YA or New Adult romances from what I’ve seen on bookshelves.

            August 29, 2018
      • Dove
        Dove

        OMFG! Perfection. And yeah, that’s the actual plot arc, such as it is. Everything is sideways. XD

        August 29, 2018
        |Reply
      • Yarrow
        Yarrow

        “I already SAID okey-dokey…”

        Oh, I needed that laugh so badly this morning! =D

        August 29, 2018
        |Reply
      • MyDog'sPA
        MyDog'sPA

        Laughing too hard! YOU nailed it! But you forgot one from at the beginning:

        Mac: I’m the safety manager, I have to know everything you do on this show to keep you and everyone safe on stage. Tell me how your act works so I can make sure OHSA stays off our asses.

        Zoop: No.

        Mac: Okey-dokey.

        August 29, 2018
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        • MyDog'sPA
          MyDog'sPA

          Oh, and let’s not forget:
          Mac: OMG!!!! Sophie just fell off a catwalk because she was whiny and didn’t feel like wearing her safety harness! She’s been injured! I have to call the medics! I have to call OHSA! There’s all kinds of paperwork I have to do!!!!
          Zippy-dip-wit: Why? It wasn’t me that fell!
          Mack: Okey-dokey.

          August 29, 2018
          |Reply
          • Dove
            Dove

            Nah, more like this.

            Zade: Omg, something bad is about to happen! Pay attention to me and do your job!
            Mac: *grumbles* How? I need more info.
            Zade: Oh, never mind. It won’t happen to me. *shoves a screaming Sofia off the catwalk and dives in after her*
            Mac: Okey-dokey.
            Sofia: *later, at the bar* Hey, hot stuff! Did you need me to file some paperwork or what?
            Mac: Nope.
            Sofia: …Did you even find out what went wrong?!
            Mac: Yeah. I need a raise.
            Sofia: *leaves in disgust but decides to get so drunk she accidentally hits on him later*

            August 29, 2018
        • RodeoBob
          RodeoBob

          Yeah, I think Mac as a character would work a lot better if his job was literally anything other than “safety manager’. He could be a stage hand, or another performer, or just work in the office doing payroll, and I would probably hate him less.

          As it is, he is literally the worst at his job.

          Injuries happen to a performer? “Okey-dokey”.

          Dating a performer he’s supposed to be overseeing? “Okey-dokey”.

          New stage performance being developed and practiced without him being involved at any step of the process before it’s debut? “Okey-dokey”.

          Allowing a stable-but-critical patient to be flown to a rural town because the production owner says he’s her father? “Okey-dokey”.

          Complete stranger to him claims to be her mother, and tells him that he needs to stab her in the chest to heal her? “Okey-dokey”.

          Mac is just the worst, and like, 70% of that is because I keep expecting him to, you know, behave in ways consistent with the character we’ve been told he has. And he just… doesn’t.

          August 29, 2018
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          • MyDog'sPA
            MyDog'sPA

            Zazu: I got you angry enough at me to physically assault me, angry enough to walk off your post during my act, got you to stab me in the chest, and now that’s done I want to still date the other guy who hasn’t asked me for a date yet.

            Mac: Okey-dokey

            August 29, 2018
          • Amy
            Amy

            Charles: Hey, I wanna have an intimate conversation about you dating my not-daughter even though I have no right and could be possibly be sued for stepping over personal boundaries.
            Mac: okie-dokie

            Zeep: We’ve been dating for months now and I still haven’t given you an answer which guy I wanna fuck, but oh wait, we have never fucked and you shouldn’t question why.
            Mac: Okie-dokie

            Cyclist: MY BACK! MY BACK! IT HURTS SO MUCH! SOMEONE CALL AN AMBULANCE, I THINK I BROKE SOMETHING! I CANT FEEL MY LEGS!!!
            Zade: ignore that
            Mac: okie-dokie

            Clara faust: Mac, we had sex ONE time and you’re acting like that makes it official. You need to back off! Jesus Christ, you’re a clingy motherfucker.
            Mac: …. not okie-dokie…………….. Whore

            August 29, 2018
          • Mike
            Mike

            The ONLY reason Mac is the safety manager in this story is so Zade could have that initial conflict between them when she auditions. That is the only time at which his position has any impact on the plot. Every other scene I would say he’s more a stage hand or general stage manager. But that’s consistent Lani’s failure’s at characterization. So at least she’s consistently inconsistent.

            August 29, 2018
        • This thread is the most ±§** magykkhal**§± thing to happen in the whole effing book.

          August 31, 2018
          |Reply
  13. I don’t smoke, but I kind of feel like I want a cigarette now.

    August 28, 2018
    |Reply
  14. VGK
    VGK

    First off let me begin by saying THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for these humorous and entertaining recaps of this hot mess of a book. Reading it without you wouldn’t have been half as much fun.

    Second off…how long until we discover the series has been cancelled??? Lol. But seriously.

    August 28, 2018
    |Reply
  15. Indigo
    Indigo

    Then there’s this whole explanation about how this guy is called Aunt Aldyth because he likes to dress up in women’s clothing and wears makeup and it’s this funny thing because he’s a guy who dresses in women’s clothing and is called by a feminine title, get it? Get it?
    …I now know that how hard you wish for something has no bearing on whether it will come true. Because I have never in my life wished harder for anything than for Bianca del Rio to materialize next to Lani Sarem, yell, “BALONEY!” and roast her like Sunday dinner (followed by Sasha Velour giving her a very long, thoughtful and academic talk about gender and its many multiplicities, because I’m not a monster).

    August 28, 2018
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    • OH PLEASE BY THE POWER OF ALASKA THUNDERFUCK MAKE THIS HAPPEN!

      August 31, 2018
      |Reply
  16. Drea C
    Drea C

    *Standing Ovation* Thank you, Jenny. This has been a wild ride. Hopefully, we’ve seen the end of Zani, Slade and the Blandbook…OR HAVE WE?

    August 28, 2018
    |Reply
  17. Evil!Blonde Bitch
    Evil!Blonde Bitch

    I can’t believe she ended it with a wedding and then put OR DO THEY?! as the final line. I stared at my library copy for a good 30 seconds, internally screaming and wishing for brain bleach. Does she get all her ideas from 13 year old fanfic writers? Excuse me while I go slit my wrists and cry tears of blood a la Ebony Dark’ness.

    August 28, 2018
    |Reply
    • Jane Eyre
      Jane Eyre

      some 13-year-olds write better fics tbh, or if they’re bad they often come around due to inexperience and not only in writing but in life too, Lani Sarem is going on 40. Four decades should be enough to mature out of middle-school mentality.

      August 29, 2018
      |Reply
      • Amy
        Amy

        If a 13 year had wrote this, i would be super impressed and would give them a standing ovation. But a child didn’t write this, an adult did. An adult who had been writing scripts since she was a wee child.

        Writing a 450 page book is impressive, and I’ll give kudos to Lani for achieving that. But we’re not roasting Lani for writing a poor book, we’re roasting her because she lied and cheated and stole. Had a teen done that, I wouldn’t be so enranged because we’re talking about an inexperienced kid who probably didn’t know better.

        But Lani is not a child. She was 35 years old when she pulled this stunt. She knew better and still she lied, cheated snd stole. I shouldn’t have to tell an adult those are BAD things to do.

        Bad Lani! Go to the corner and think about what you’ve done!

        August 29, 2018
        |Reply
        • MyDog'sPA
          MyDog'sPA

          And you only get smoked eel for dinner!

          August 29, 2018
          |Reply
  18. Yarrow
    Yarrow

    Jenny you’re amazing. Thank you so much for selflessly subjecting yourself to this atrocity all for the sake of our entertainment! Much respect, much love.

    August 29, 2018
    |Reply
  19. Anon
    Anon

    Is it just me, or does it feel like the whole book was somehow supposed to be about Chuckie Cheese and Hey There Deliliah’s relationship, except none of the book is actually about that? Were we supposed to root for the relationship of two characters we barely saw?

    WHAT IS THIS MADNESS???

    The bouquet … How much more cliche could she have gotten with that scene? Also, I don’t think I’ve ever been to a wedding in my life where the bouquet toss was that serious …

    That ending absolutely does not leave me wanting more. At all. There is no cliffhanger. Nothing interesting happened in the entire book, much less the last chapter.

    August 29, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      I mean, I get the feeling that she didn’t know how to end the initial romance story and got some sudden inspiration from the Parent Trap (and then Clueless, as others have noted.) The last chapter is just a bookend to the prologue but neither one has any relevance for the supposed plot. She sort of mashed two stories together and named her character after Scherezade to create a thematic tie but it doesn’t work. The narration style is wonky even then and not much like the 1,001 Nights or it’s additions (Sinbad the Sailor, for instance, starts in 3rd to give the set-up and then switches to first because at that point he’s directly recounting the stories for his party guests and most importantly, Sinbad the Porter.) If she wanted it to be a collection of multiple stories that would’ve been really cool but she didn’t actually care about that, it was simply a solution to explain an unwillingness to revise the whole thing or start from scratch and rewrite it from the ground-up to be a different story.

      And yeah, definitely underwhelming as a cliffhanger. We’re all just glad it’s over!

      August 29, 2018
      |Reply
  20. Terra
    Terra

    Does Sophie just disappear from the book now? I’m kind of surprised there wasn’t a scene of the bouquet ricocheting off a visibly drunk and pouting Sophie only to land dovelike in Zazzle’s arms.

    August 29, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Yes, most likely. It’s easier to forget about her than to continue writing sympathetically about her awkward situation. My best guess is that the editor in charge of improving the poor woman’s characterization gave up and let her escape because Sofia is much better off disappearing without a trace, but that would’ve been a pretty amusing send-off, especially since I think Sofia would’ve been visibly irked but taken it on the chin otherwise.

      August 29, 2018
      |Reply
  21. many bells down
    many bells down

    I have an aunt I’ve called “Uncle Pat” my whole life because my dad was the oldest of seven, I got confused by all the names as a kid, and I thought “Pat” was short for “Patrick” and nothing else. She thought it was cute and the family ran with it. I’m 45 now and I still can’t make myself call her anything but “Uncle.”

    So that’s a much better reason to call your relative by the wrong gendered designation than “ha ha ha he wears dresses!”

    August 29, 2018
    |Reply
  22. SaintSithney
    SaintSithney

    I can’t believe…. wait, no I can…. that she ripped off the end of “Manos: The Hands of Fate”.

    I can only assume that the end of the next book will be “Birdemic: Shock and Terror” and Book 3 will end with “The Room”.

    August 29, 2018
    |Reply
  23. candy apple
    candy apple

    Thank you, Jenny, for this long object lesson in what not to do when writing a book.

    August 29, 2018
    |Reply
  24. Bookjunk
    Bookjunk

    Ah, what a predictably shitty, shitty ending. Hopefully, no other horrible book will gain notoriety through sheer awfulness or bullshit pulled by its author, so Jenny can focus on good, well-crafted stuff for a while!

    August 29, 2018
    |Reply
  25. Honestly, I haven’t been keeping up with the recaps lately, but I am familiar with Lackey Serum’s scheming. I finally read The Hate U Give, and yeah, how could Languid even…in what universe does she have a modicum of the talent of Angie Thomas?

    That is all!

    August 29, 2018
    |Reply
  26. Hannah F
    Hannah F

    But what happened to Sofia?? And why do I even care??? And I still can’t get over how UNDERWHELMING the soooooper mystical magicakl “illusion” that caused Zlug to almost die was.

    August 29, 2018
    |Reply
  27. myeck waters
    myeck waters

    «And they lived happily ever after…OR DO THEY?»

    This is clearly copied from the master of writing suspense, Jay Pinkerton:
    «John crossed over to the living room and lit a cigarette. Or did he?
    Doubt sets in. Our reader begins to question everything he or she has come to believe. Who is this John character? Can we really trust him? How can we really trust anybody? Chilling questions. Luckily, you don’t have to answer them.»

    From his blog post <A href = "http://evendiploreads.tumblr.com/post/22601839458/james-pinkerton-how-to-write-suspense&quot;

    Jeez, I hope I didn’t butcher the code.

    August 29, 2018
    |Reply
    • Chris
      Chris

      What on earth IS this? Other than great, obviously. Why did he write this?

      I’m quite sure now that Labradoodle has taken thatblog post to heart. “If you’ve done your job well up to this point, then the reader should have no clue what’s happening, who your characters are, or what it is they’re so worried about. “

      September 4, 2018
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        I think they use that technique on Ancient Aliens.

        September 4, 2018
        |Reply
  28. Mike
    Mike

    “And they lived happily ever after…OR DO THEY?”

    Honestly this is so bad that I can’t read it without picturing a bunch of kids around a campfire out in the woods, ending a cheesy ghost story with that and following it up by ‘singing’ the Twilight Zone theme while wiggling their fingers ‘menacingly’.

    August 29, 2018
    |Reply
  29. Grace
    Grace

    Thank you Jenny for these excellent recaps, and enjoy your freedom!

    Man this ended on a…high. Imagine if other books ended like this.

    ‘He loved Big Brother. OR DOES HE?’
    ‘All was well. OR IS IT?’

    It’s that switch to present tense that really makes it.

    August 29, 2018
    |Reply
  30. MyDog'sPA
    MyDog'sPA

    And . . . We’re DONE!!!,/B>

    RodeoBob sums it all up nicely: Okey dokey!!!!!!

    Wow, what a slog.

    Time to put this book on the shelf of the forgotten and move on.

    Jen, best of luck on your new book!!!! Don’t let this drivel make you any less of a writer. It’s so not worth it.

    August 29, 2018
    |Reply
  31. Jenny (But not Jenny Trout)
    Jenny (But not Jenny Trout)

    The bouquet thing – yuck! Forcing all the single girls to jump up and down to get the flowers is stupid and humiliating. When I was wishing I was engaged and went to a wedding with my then boyfriend, I was so freaking relieved that the bride didn’t throw the bouquet. I’d have never heard the end of it whether I’d caught it or not. So I didn’t throw mine, much to my sis and mom’s disappointment because they both wanted sis to catch it. Why? She wasn’t dating anyone at the time. And I’m glad she can’t blame my flowers for the jerk she ended up marrying.

    Sophie should have caught it and made googoo eyes at Mac. Or she makes googoo eyes at Charles. Will he cheat again?! Will Deli put another spell on him or on Sophie? Then Lnnie could pretend there’s some conflict in her book.

    The best bouquet toss I’ve ever read – one of the grooms chucks it at his BFF because BFF’s is never getting married and his idea of a long relationship is anything that goes over twenty minutes after the sex ends. So him catching the flowers is funny. Zzzzzzzz catching it when she’s all in sorta love or something with Mac? Neither funny or romantic. And I find it amusing how none of the desperate, slutty girls comment on the flying flowers.

    This book is beyond stupid.

    August 30, 2018
    |Reply
    • It would have been more amusing if an eagle had snatched them out of mid-air. At least then it would have been less predictable.

      August 30, 2018
      |Reply
  32. katiedidwhat
    katiedidwhat

    My favourite thing about this entire set of re-caps is that, in spite of enjoying where this train wreck is going, I can never, ever remember the correct name of the title or author. That may be the best possible method for ripping this thing to shreds and simultaneously giving Lenny Scheherazade no accidental publicity.

    And yes, it’s time for a fun bad book. I know you don’t want to pick on people who are genuinely trying their best and just failing, but could we get one that’s maybe an early effort by an author friend who knows it’s bad and include legit discussions about how to fix it? I like the, “OK, this is why this is bad,” element of these, for the same reasons I’ve learned a lot about film editing from MST3K.

    August 30, 2018
    |Reply
    • I’ve seen a few people tackle their own first novels/teen-age self’s novels. That can be a rolicking good time.

      August 31, 2018
      |Reply
  33. ViolettaD
    ViolettaD

    This woman could learn a lot about writing from the late Jim Theis.

    When he was 16.

    At least he knew how to entertain people.

    August 30, 2018
    |Reply
  34. Small jar of fireflies
    Small jar of fireflies

    “After a few moments, the bride pulled back and Charles looked at Dela with tears in his eyes.”

    I’m charmed by the incompetence of this reveal. Show scene with A and B, introduce in order of B and A. This is compounded by the fact that we just had some description of the bride’s hair but no attention to the groom, creating imbalance as we want to fill in his outline.

    It’s like watching someone invent a runway walk by going left right, left… left, right right. Thats not giving the impression you want! Rhythm and balance exist in prose construction.

    At least Charles got to be the bride for a little bit. Finally he gets an important role in his scenes!

    August 30, 2018
    |Reply
  35. Liza
    Liza

    “And they lived happily ever after…OR DO THEY?”

    I just can’t get past the tense switch mid-sentence/in the last three words of the book. Why does that bother me so much?

    August 30, 2018
    |Reply
  36. Alicia
    Alicia

    I can’t believe the journey is over! Thank you for recapping this one. I’m simultaneously glad you get a break now, while also dying to see what the next JHBC installment will be. Your sporking is just next-level fun, even when the book content gives us all headaches…and maybe especially then.

    August 30, 2018
    |Reply
  37. Alice Nuttall
    Alice Nuttall

    Pretty sure that the thank-yous were hard to write because it’s painful for LS to think of anyone but her self for any length of time.

    August 30, 2018
    |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      Wait till you hear some of the people she thanks. Like, did you really need to take up page space for… A makeup company?

      August 30, 2018
      |Reply
  38. Small jar of fireflies
    Small jar of fireflies

    So… Who are these desperate girls and why are they attending?

    Deli isn’t a girl. She has that same women jealous/men lustful aura as her daughter. She settled in a town where she doesn’t have family. A bunch of unmarried young adult women aren’t likely to be her work friends. The town she lives in didn’t really like her and her daughter. They’re not likely to be Charles’ friends because they’d be friends of him and Sophie…. Ouch. So why did she invite them? And why did they accept?

    And her daughter causes irrational dislike and envy in other women. Even if she’s magically quarantining that, she just drew attention to her by improbably giving her something they wanted. She just deliberately made them all jealous of Yanny. The forecast now has 100% chance of exploding punch bowl.

    Is Delly just torturing these women? The scene doesn’t work, at all, the moment the women in at are thought of as anything but shrieking props. Ugh. And it sets off my social anxiety just thinking about the simmering unhappiness and tension.

    August 31, 2018
    |Reply
    • Drea C
      Drea C

      You’re right…who are they? We know Deli and Zani don’t have female friends. Maybe all the guests are homunculi (other than her “aunt”) so that Deli can have a full wedding party.

      August 31, 2018
      |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      Great point. I guess the whole point of this scene is to show, once again, how Zazu is “not like other girls.” Because god forbid women like to indulge in a wedding tradition.

      August 31, 2018
      |Reply
  39. Gretel
    Gretel

    Thank you so much for you hard, hard work, Jenny!
    Your recaps were fun despite the pain the book caused. In all honesty, I’m exhausted from this book. Physically and mentally exhausted.

    And I know, nobody in the book gives a fuck about Sophia but to marry Charlatan and Sandapanda without even mentioning Sophia in a throw-away sentence (not even to say how mad she got to show how evil she is). It’s funny how Sarem thinks we give a single fuck about Lapada’s parents marrying. Both are despicable, selfish human beings. Why should I care if they get their HEA?
    It just shows how self-absorbed and narcissistic Sarem is to think that we care as much about her self insert and self insert family as she does.

    Also, way to go. We get to the end of the book and the plot hasn’t even arrived yet, it’s just barely teased at.

    And so ends another book that could’ve worked if the author didn’t suck so much.
    I can’t wait for the next book you recap, Jenny. :3

    August 31, 2018
    |Reply
  40. Preakness Everdeen
    Preakness Everdeen

    Finally it’s over …sorta. Well at least you don’t have to read anymore. Unless book 2 appears and the siren song to read for Jealous Haters Book Club is unresistable.

    Though I’m curious about that 2018 release for book 2. It’s practically September and I’d like to think there’s not much time to haphazardly slap another book together before the end of the year.

    Thanks for taking one for the team to get through this piece of work.

    August 31, 2018
    |Reply
    • Mydog'sPA
      Mydog'sPA

      . . . . 2018 release for book 2. It’s practically September and I’d like to think there’s not much time to haphazardly slap another book together before the end of the year.

      With the way Lani had been proven to edit, how much time do you think she actually needs? I’m thinking, “not much. . . .”

      August 31, 2018
      |Reply
      • Amy
        Amy

        Maybe she’s waiting for Angie Thomas to put out another book and try to overthrow that one…

        I still cannot believe Lani thinks AT is her arch-nemesis. In the words of Azula, “Please, you were never a player.”

        August 31, 2018
        |Reply
  41. Whenever an author has the MC announce to We-the-Readers that “So much had happened, and they had come so far,” it means that We-the-Readers ain’t seen nothing really happen, or no growth at all.

    It’s like a spotlight on narrative laziness.

    August 31, 2018
    |Reply
    • Jane Eyre
      Jane Eyre

      yep “so much has happened”the majority of the book: Mac or Jason? Mac or Jason? oh look how much make-up I have! Mac or Jason? Mac or Jason! Oh this or that girl insulted me and I answered them with this (not)cool comeback. Mac or Jason? who to choose? and the fucking question still hasn’t been answered.

      September 1, 2018
      |Reply
      • Mydog'sPA
        Mydog'sPA

        Mac or Jason?

        Actually, I think that’s supposed to be Jackson but “Jason” totally fits within the context of the conversation in that the same thing happens in the end, anyway!

        Oh this or that girl insulted me because of the completely normal and expected reaction other women have towards me as defined in this narrative and I answered her with this (not)cool comeback.

        There. That clarifies things for some of us.

        September 2, 2018
        |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        The fact you forgot his name (or your auto-correct changed it) says everything about this “love triangle.” XD

        September 2, 2018
        |Reply
  42. Eli
    Eli

    Thank you so so much for doing these! I had a shit year and your recaps were one of the few things that consistently made me laugh 🙂

    September 1, 2018
    |Reply
  43. Isabelle
    Isabelle

    Thank yopu ever so much for taking us all on this horrible journey! We are all now slightly more bitter and cynical than we was then it started. 😉 On the other hand, I now have immensely more faith in my own ability as a writer! No matter how bad I’ll be in the future, I’ll never be THIS bad.

    September 3, 2018
    |Reply
  44. You did it! Thank you for your sacrifice.

    September 8, 2018
    |Reply
  45. Rebecca T
    Rebecca T

    So Deli keeps her last name because she’s oh-so-feminist, but then has a bouquet AND garter toss at her wedding? LOL, ok then.

    September 9, 2018
    |Reply
    • MyDog'sPA
      MyDog'sPA

      So Deli keeps her last name because she’s oh-so-feminist, but then has a bouquet AND garter toss at her wedding?

      Well, Zerk-the-Jerk Is-Not-Like-Other-Girls (TM) so, Mom isn’t either, as apples don’t fall very far from the tree. So daughter had to get the concept from someone. But, hey, they’re consistently inconsistent, so at least they’re in sync in that regard! 🙂

      September 10, 2018
      |Reply
  46. Political Junkie
    Political Junkie

    Maybe the next book is about all that happens after Sophia finds out that her live-in lover just married his ex from 20 years ago, the mother of the new performer who recently muscled her way into the show and upstaged everyone without even explaining that she was Chuckles’ long lost daughter.

    Actually, that would have potential to be a much better book than this mess. Never gonna happen.

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

      I would think the next book is going to be about how the protagonist can pull herself out of the narrative, eliminate any antagonist, and go through endless ‘conflict’ of how she can make the book as boring as possible by not having any, you know, conflict. In other words, she’s going to perfect and hone her status as an amateur author by researching, learning, and remaking every newbie mistake out there. . . . .

      September 13, 2018
      |Reply
  47. MyDog'sPA
    MyDog'sPA

    In other words, she’s going to perfect and hone her status as an amateur author by researching, learning, and remaking every newbie mistake out there over and over again. . . . .

    There. Fixed that.

    September 13, 2018
    |Reply
  48. Aurelia
    Aurelia

    Thank you Jenny, for this journey into – possibly !The Most Boring Book Of Our Tymes!

    I have only one question left, which might possibly drag me back into Book 2:

    What’s the time lapse between Zanzibar’s injury, and the wedding?

    Is Jackson’s band playing the wedding because they desperately need the gig, what with J’s position as band-leader for a top-billing Vegas magic act DISAPPEARING WITH THE PERFORMERS!?!?!?

    Working on the basis that it’s hard work to pull a wedding together (legally, and organisationally speaking) in less than a month, how long has the cast and crew of the show been on (presumably unpaid) hiatus??

    The wedding, the love-triangle, the prophetic ‘aunt’? These are not interesting. But, if you want to tell me about those hard working supporting characters …….

    Also is Tad?? invited to the wedding? Or does American Pie not even get a spot in the finale of the movie, as recompense for all of his shilling?

    September 14, 2018
    |Reply
  49. Sarah J
    Sarah J

    LOL at the weak reasoning for the title. It would have been interesting if the book was written more like a “Handbook for Mortals”. Like she talks about different events in her life, explaining the magical things that happen and talking about how magic should and should not be used in different situations, and what mortals can do if they find themselves in a magical situation. Make the plot better, have better quality writing, and you’ve got yourself an urban fantasy book that stands out. Hm, maybe I’ll take that idea for myself…

    September 17, 2018
    |Reply
  50. Since it ends with ‘watch out for the next book in 2018’ and this year is nearly over, I’m having a sudden queasy feeling.

    September 24, 2018
    |Reply
  51. MyDog'sPA
    MyDog'sPA

    Latest review on Amazon:

    Learn from my MISTAKE!!!!!

    I have been duped. I was unaware of the background story of the book. I love reading and had just become burnt out reading too many poorly edited, poorly written, almost decent ‘free’ books on my kindle. I decided to try this one only to jump from the frying pan into hell. I’m in trouble because I actually woke up my sleeping wife to tell her how bad this book is. I made her read the mall scene with Wayne Newton and Scott. WTF? Did my copy not have all the pages glued in?? I thumbed through and they all look to be there but… what? Someone please give me back the lost portion of my life. Do not waste money on this book. You’d be better taking your money and burning it/ giving it to your local crackhead to get a fix/ betting it on the 3 legged dog at the dog track/ buying a sharpie and a piece of poster board and making a sign that says ” I had $25 but bought a sharpie and a sign. I will give the remaining $22.73 to the first stranger who slaps me senseless!!!” I can’t express enough how much you need to avoid this book!!!!

    Used copies are listing for $1.55 . . . .

    September 26, 2018
    |Reply
    • Eye Roller
      Eye Roller

      Bahahahahaha! Oh, my goodness! Thanks for sharing. That’s one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a while.

      September 26, 2018
      |Reply
  52. the-great-dragon
    the-great-dragon

    I finally caught up on these recaps and…well, hell.

    This book sucks! Why is it so bad? I don’t understand, but I’m glad it’s done.

    I pray there is no second book, because the whole thing feels tired and boring. I hope Lani Sarem has the good sense to leave well enough, but I know she doesn’t :/

    September 29, 2018
    |Reply
  53. Cody Cromarty
    Cody Cromarty

    That “preview” is absolutely the real ending to the book. It would be even more stupid and clunky than anything else in this book if you made it the first line of the sequel, so she definitely just threw in a few lines to break up the last few pages and pretend that she’s got a sequel already in the works.

    September 30, 2018
    |Reply
  54. Annabelle
    Annabelle

    I’ve been a fan of yours ever since I found your 50 shades recaps and I absolutely loved the recaps for this book. You are just hilarious and l just wanted to let you know the recaps for this were something that really… brightened my days I guess. So thank you. You’re a wonderful writer and just wanted to let you know what a fan I am of your blog.

    October 28, 2018
    |Reply
  55. Dvärghundspossen
    Dvärghundspossen

    I just realized, after seeing some pics of Lani, that we really resemble each other! We could totally be sisters! And, well, I do like the way I look, but I’d NEVER imagine that I could play a character in a movie who’s a) so gorgeous that every man always talks about her amazing hotness, and b) is FUCKING TWENTYFIVE.

    November 8, 2018
    |Reply

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