Size Doesn’t Matter (169): Romancing the Throne; Scrappy Little Nobody; Lost Gods

I received this book for free from ALA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (169): Romancing the Throne; Scrappy Little Nobody; Lost GodsRomancing the Throne by Nadine Jolie Courtney
Published by Katherine Tegen on May 30, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Source: ALA
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one-half-stars

Scandal, secrets, and heartbreak abound in this juicy, modern girl-meets-prince story—perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Jennifer E. Smith. "Maybe sisters aren’t supposed to fall for the same guy, but who can mess with chemistry? A divine romantic comedy" (Brightly.com).

For the first time ever, the Weston sisters are at the same boarding school. After an administration scandal at Libby’s all-girls school threatens her chances at a top university, she decides to join Charlotte at posh and picturesque Sussex Park. Social-climbing Charlotte considers it her sisterly duty to bring Libby into her circle: Britain’s young elites, glamorous teens who vacation in Hong Kong and the South of France and are just as comfortable at a polo match as they are at a party.

It’s a social circle that just so happens to include handsome seventeen-year-old Prince Edward, heir to Britain’s throne.

If there are any rules of sisterhood, “Don’t fall for the same guy” should be one of them. But sometimes chemistry—even love—grows where you least expect it. In the end, there may be a price to pay for romancing the throne...and more than one path to happily ever after.

Romancing the Throne sounded like just the sort of melodrama love triangle that I might actually enjoy. Instead, it proved to be frustrating, ill-written, and occasionally infuriating. If you were hoping Romancing the Throne would be a cute, shippy book, you’re going to be disappointed.

Charlotte Weston annoys the shit out of me, which sucks, because she’s the sole narrator. Lotte’s popular and pretty, but she’s new money, so she never really thought she’d have a chance with Prince Edward, even though he attends the same school. She lands him with ease, though, and they enjoy making out a lot. Their relationship consists solely of kissing. They have nothing in common, and she thinks of him only in terms of his princeliness.

When Charlotte’s older sister Libby transfers in, she and Edward immediately become good friends, and he confides in her like he never did with Lotte. Obviously, they end up dating, and Lotte throws a massive shit fit, even though that doesn’t happen until she and Edward have been broken up a while. I mean, it sucks, yeah, but she’s angry way out of proportion considering that she liked his title and him.

Ultimately, Romancing the Throne does have Lotte learn that lesson and accept that her sister is a good match for the prince where she’s not. It’s a vaguely healthy and respectable ending to the jealous garbage fire that makes up the rest of the novel. Unfortunately, there’s no real character development to support her change of heart; one day she’s pissed as hell, and the next day she’s completely over it. Sure. Of course, it’s easier for Lotte to accept since she conveniently is able to become a famous app designer on her own right, because life is just that easy. Oh, and the villains have the snottiest British names imaginable, which lol.

There’s a crack readability to Romancing the Throne even as you want to hurl it across the room, and that’s the best compliment I can really give it.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:


Size Doesn’t Matter (169): Romancing the Throne; Scrappy Little Nobody; Lost GodsScrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick
Narrator: Anna Kendrick
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on November 15, 2016
Genres: Nonfiction, Memoir
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
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Goodreads
three-stars

A collection of humorous autobiographical essays by the Academy Award-nominated actress and star of Up in the Air and Pitch Perfect.

Even before she made a name for herself on the silver screen starring in films like Pitch Perfect, Up in the Air, Twilight, and Into the Woods, Anna Kendrick was unusually small, weird, and “10 percent defiant.”

At the ripe age of thirteen, she had already resolved to “keep the crazy inside my head where it belonged. Forever. But here’s the thing about crazy: It. Wants. Out.” In Scrappy Little Nobody, she invites readers inside her brain, sharing extraordinary and charmingly ordinary stories with candor and winningly wry observations.

With her razor-sharp wit, Anna recounts the absurdities she’s experienced on her way to and from the heart of pop culture as only she can—from her unusual path to the performing arts (Vanilla Ice and baggy neon pants may have played a role) to her double life as a middle-school student who also starred on Broadway to her initial “dating experiments” (including only liking boys who didn’t like her back) to reviewing a binder full of butt doubles to her struggle to live like an adult woman instead of a perpetual “man-child.”

Enter Anna’s world and follow her rise from “scrappy little nobody” to somebody who dazzles on the stage, the screen, and now the page—with an electric, singular voice, at once familiar and surprising, sharp and sweet, funny and serious (well, not that serious).

I continue to be a sucker for celebrity memoirs, and, of course, Anne Kendrick, as a nerdy celebrity was a must-listen. Her book delivers on the nerdy charisma she’s known for, and she’s one of the funnier ones whose book I’ve listened to.

As much fun as I had with this, I will say that I ultimately went for the three star, because it felt like there was a real distance she was placing between herself and her readers. Obviously any memoir is curated, but this one felt more so somehow. Kendrick talked a fair amount about how she has trouble opening up to people, and that very much comes through. It’s a series of amusing anecdotes told in her dry, self-effacing style, but nothing gets particularly deep.

Very much worth a listen if you’re a fan of Kendrick.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

Size Doesn’t Matter (169): Romancing the Throne; Scrappy Little Nobody; Lost GodsLost Gods by Brom
Published by Harper Voyager on October 25, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Mythology, Horror
Pages: 487
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
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one-star

A young man descends into Purgatory to save his wife and unborn child in this gorgeous, illustrated tale of wonder and terror from the mind of master storyteller and acclaimed artist Brom

Fresh out of jail and eager to start a new life, Chet Moran and his pregnant wife, Trish, leave town to begin again. But an ancient evil is looming, and what seems like a safe haven may not be all it appears . . .

Snared and murdered by a vile, arcane horror, Chet quickly learns that pain and death are not unique to the living. Now the lives and very souls of his wife and unborn child are at stake. To save them, he must journey into the bowels of purgatory in search of a sacred key promised to restore the natural order of life and death. Alone, confused, and damned, Chet steels himself against the unfathomable terrors awaiting him as he descends into death’s stygian blackness.

With Lost Gods, Brom’s gritty and visceral prose takes us on a haunting, harrowing journey into the depths of the underworld. Thrust into a realm of madness and chaos, where ancient gods and demons battle over the dead, and where cabals of souls conspire to overthrow their masters, Chet plays a dangerous game, risking eternal damnation to save his family.

Lost Gods arrived unsolicited, and, since I’d heard good things about Brom’s The Child Thief, I decided to give it a go. This book reminded me why I’m so deeply suspicious of male-authored books these days.

At first, I found the book oddly compelling, but pretty quickly that faded in favor of horror of a different sort than Brom was aiming for. First off, Lost Gods centers on Chet Moran, a white trash guy just out of prison. He takes his pregnant wife to his grandmother, who turns out to be a Lamia and who kills him and plans to make use of his daughter’s body. Whoops.

Chet goes on a mission to the underworld to fetch a key that would let him save his daughter. The plot proceeds to consist of a bunch of spectacle in the underworld that barely advances the plot. There’s no character development really, other than the assertion that Chet is a stand-up guy. Oh, and his supposedly abusive grandfather is actually a really nice guy who was just trying to take out his wife, the lamia, and it’s not his fault he also accidentally killed a little black boy. SERIOUSLY. THESE ARE THE HEROES.

As Chet tours the underworld, he meets a couple of POCs and a kid who was disabled in life, though not in the underworld. All he does is talk about how terrible it was being disabled; this miserable hellscape is preferable apparently. The kid dies, and one of the POCs sacrifices himself to save Chet’s life, because of course. This is how straight white males do diverse rep, y’all.

The other POC is Chet’s companion through the underworld. Ana’s hispanic, and she accidentally killed her child when she fell asleep with a lit cigarette. In the underworld, she learns that her husband had been right to have the baby baptized (she had argued against it), because the baby didn’t end up in hell. Despite being full of ancient mythology as well as the “one gods” of currently popular religious beliefs, Brom still manages to make this read like it wants to convert you to Christianity. Ick. Oh, and of course while Chet’s mission is to be manly and fight people and shit, Ana’s is to help babies in hell, because gender roles.

Lost Gods is a masculine trash fire of disgusting tropes, racism, and sexism. Oh, and at one point, he uses the phrase “nether regions” to mean the underworld, and it just doesn’t, dude.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

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