Size Doesn’t Matter (16): Mini Reviews from a Lazy Blogger

Size Doesn’t Matter (16): Mini Reviews from a Lazy BloggerThe Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss by Max Wirestone
Narrator: Wil Wheaton
Published by Redhook on October 20, 2015
Genres: Humor, Contemporary, Mystery
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
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Goodreads
three-half-stars

For fans of The Guild, New Girl, Scott Pilgrim, Big Bang Theory, Veronica Mars, or anyone who has ever geeked out about something.

The odds of Dahlia successfully navigating adulthood are 3,720 to 1. But never tell her the odds.

Meet Dahlia Moss, the reigning queen of unfortunate decision-making in the St. Louis area. Unemployed broke, and on her last bowl of ramen, she's not living her best life. But that's all about to change.

Before Dahlia can make her life any messier on her own she's offered a job. A job that she's woefully under-qualified for. A job that will lead her to a murder, an MMORPG, and possibly a fella (or two?).

Turns out unfortunate decisions abound, and she's just the girl to deal with them.

You guys, this is totally what I was hoping it would be. The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss is hilarious and nerdy as fuck.

The book blurb on GR (which you can see if you click the title) says that this book is for fans of many things. The comparison that’s most on point is The Guild. If you like The Guild, you will like this. Rather than Veronica Mars, I’d say it’s more The Guild meets Stephanie Plum.

There are a lot of completely strange relationship dynamics, which I love. Plus, there’s a cute potential romance blooming. Not to mention (she mentions) all the nerdy references of which there are MANY. There wasn’t a whole lot of depth to the story, but I super enjoyed it for what it was.

Basically, gamers, lovers of sci fi, anime, etc, this book is for you.

Size Doesn’t Matter (16): Mini Reviews from a Lazy BloggerFuzzy Nation by John Scalzi
Narrator: Wil Wheaton
Length: 7 hrs, 18 mins
Published by Audible on May 10, 2011
Genres: Science Fiction, Humor, Adventure
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
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Goodreads
three-stars

Jack Holloway works alone, for reasons he doesn't care to talk about. Hundreds of miles from ZaraCorp's headquarters on planet, 178 light-years from the corporation's headquarters on Earth, Jack is content as an independent contractor, prospecting and surveying at his own pace. As for his past, that's not up for discussion.

Then, in the wake of an accidental cliff collapse, Jack discovers a seam of unimaginably valuable jewels, to which he manages to lay legal claim just as ZaraCorp is cancelling their contract with him for his part in causing the collapse. Briefly in the catbird seat, legally speaking, Jack pressures ZaraCorp into recognizing his claim, and cuts them in as partners to help extract the wealth.

But there's another wrinkle to ZaraCorp's relationship with the planet Zarathustra. Their entire legal right to exploit the verdant Earth-like planet, the basis of the wealth they derive from extracting its resources, is based on being able to certify to the authorities on Earth that Zarathustra is home to no sentient species.

Then a small furry biped—trusting, appealing, and ridiculously cute—shows up at Jack's outback home. Followed by its family. As it dawns on Jack that despite their stature, these are people, he begins to suspect that ZaraCorp's claim to a planet's worth of wealth is very flimsy indeed…and that ZaraCorp may stop at nothing to eliminate the "fuzzys" before their existence becomes more widely known.

Apparently Fuzzy Nation is based on some classic sci fi, but I really don’t give a shit about that. I also didn’t pick it up for any interest in Fuzzy Nation. I purchased it for two reasons: 1) I’m pretty sure it was on sale and 2) it’s narrated by Wil Wheaton.

Fuzzy Nation proved surprisingly delightful despite the positively hideous cover. The strongest aspect, aside from Wheaton’s narration, which definitely was the best part, is the relationships between the characters. Holloway is a delightfully atypical hero. He’s funny and nice to animals but also a selfish asshole by all accounts. He spends a lot of the book interacting with his dog, Carl, and the fuzzy, cat-like creatures, and all of these scenes are fabulous. Carl and the fuzzies are the best by far.

I also give Scalzi credit for avoiding a super common trope. Holloway’s ex is dating someone else. Unlike in most books, the ex and Holloway don’t get back together. They learn how to be friends. PLUS, her boyfriend Sullivan becomes friends with Holloway too. It’s actually pretty cute and A+ for this.

However, the writing was not the best. One thing audiobooks do is make it very apparent when an author sucks at dialog tags, and Scalzi did a horrible job with them here. I don’t think there was a single line of dialog without a dialog tag. Almost all of them were the word “said.” That is not good writing, and it was so egregiously horrible that I knocked the rating down half a star from what the book otherwise would have gotten. Thankfully Holloway does spend a lot of time not with people but any scene with a conversation was painful to my ears.

That said, I’ll probably be listening to more Scalzi since Wheaton’s narration was amazing. I only hope he got better at dialog at some point.

Size Doesn’t Matter (16): Mini Reviews from a Lazy BloggerTruly, Madly, Famously by Rebecca Serle
Series: Famous in Love #2
Published by Poppy on October 13, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
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Goodreads
one-half-stars

In this romantic sequel to Famous in Love, new Hollywood "It Girl" Paige must navigate love with her co-stars, both on and off screen and all in the public eye.

Lights, camera, love!

After being plucked from obscurity, Hollywood's newest starlet, Paige Townsen, has a hit film to her name and Rainer Devon on her arm. But being half of the world's most famous couple comes with a price, and soon Paige finds herself dodging photographers; hiding her feelings for her other costar, Jordan Wilder; and navigating tabloid scandals that threaten to tear her and Rainer apart-and end her career as quickly as it began.

Rebecca Serle's sequel to Famous in Love is filled with the kind of celebrity drama and swoon-worthy romance fit for the silver screen.

In case you needed further proof that I make poor life choices, here it is. I actually wasn’t going to put myself through the tragedy of writing that is Truly Madly Famously, but a friend who will remain anonymous unless he/she chooses to confess requested that I do so for their enjoyment. I live to please.

Truly Madly Famously is actually better than Famous in Love. It’s still not good though. Like, it’s not. The writing is simply atrocious. Serle is marginally better about dialog tags than Scalzi, but she’s still not good at it. I only started tracking that towards the end but I found three instances where she had the word says TWICE in one section of dialog. Hopefully this was fixed in the final copy but I sort of doubt it.

“True,” Alexis says. She squeezes Jordan’s shoulder with her open palm. “Drop it,” she says. “Now. Life is too short not to let the ones you love in.”

Bolding is obviously mine. There is absolutely zero reason to include that second says because obviously Alexis is still speaking. THIS HAPPENED MULTIPLE TIMES. Once is an accident. Multiple times is shitty writing. Not to mention the fact that Serle continues to skip dialog and instead have Paige retroactively tell you about things that have happened. There are also regular reminders about who characters that aren’t the major three actually are, because everyone’s so flat and boring it’s impossible to remember. About two-thirds of the way through, Serle lists the names of the characters in the Locked series and has to include a paranthetical informing us that the fourth name is Alexis’ character. We should KNOW this, not to mention that the paranthetical really doesn’t fit in the narrative.

We’re doing this scene in August’s kitchen with Ed, August, and Maggie (Alexis).

This book is also super repetitive. Paige goes over and over the drama over and over thinking the same shit over and over. It gets old super fast. She also has multiple confrontations with a female character commenting about Paige hating her (for no legit reason) and Paige saying she doesn’t, but then wondering whether that’s true (no, it’s not—she does hate them). See the confrontation with Rainer’s ex:

“And I know what you think of me. I don’t need your pity, I know you hate me.”

I shake my head. “No,” I say. “I don’t hate you.” Is that true? It feels true.

Paige remains intensely judgmental of every woman she encounters, commenting on their attractiveness negatively. She judges them for high heels and low-cut clothing, things Paige also obviously wears a lot. God forbid they dare to be interested in the guys Paige wants. I will say though that Paige actually does have a character arc and learn something about this, albeit clunkily. Towards the end of the book, Paige suddenly has a revelation that she’s been stupid and blah blah blah. If she’s changed for real, I’ll be shocked considering that there’s a third book and there’s no actual plot aside from who Paige will choose.

The improvement in Truly, Madly, Famously comes solely from Alexis. Their costar, Alexis, who plays Paige’s younger sister in the film. She’s been dating Jordan ostensibly, so she’s a love rival and she’s one of those girls that Paige hates. The two become close, View Spoiler » and even friends, View Spoiler ». My comments in those spoiler tags might seem unfair, but the timing of when things happened is accurate. It might not be what was intended but it’s what happened. Alexis is sort of like the Kenji of this series, dropping truth bombs and being the only character who actually feels at all real and who is actually funny.

I don’t know if I’ll read book three. I hope not. But I might. You guys should make better life choices though. Seriously. I don’t often say a book is straight up bad, and celebrity romances are totally my catnip. Save yourself.

3 responses to “Size Doesn’t Matter (16): Mini Reviews from a Lazy Blogger”

  1. Hannah says:

    I loathe hollywood/celebrity romance books. You are made of stronger stuff that I am.
    Hannah recently posted…Review: Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) – Sarah J MaasMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      I actually kind of love them, but the Serle series is execrable. Just awful. You might spontaneously combust with rage if you tried them. So it’s good that you’re not tempted. 😉

  2. Jessie says:

    I am not sure how I missed out on hearing about Dahlia Moss before you mentioned it to me on Twitter the other day. I don’t looove the Guild but I enjoy it. I will wait for an ebook sale for this one to try.

    You are a brave soul. I tried Serle’s series after I picked up book one at BEA and woooow. Yeah that was a big no. I can see whyyyyy you kept reading — I have series like that too — but am impressed you kept this one, lol. (and thank you for the spoiler tags. I may not read these but I still want to know what happens? It’s rational.)
    Jessie recently posted…Review: Sisters of Treason by Elizabeth FremantleMy Profile

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