“The Princess Diaries, Volume V: Princess in Pink” by Meg Cabot

Unfortunately, I didn’t feel like the overarching storyline this time was nearly as endearing as it could have been. The whole books shows Mia either obsessing about the prom, which she won’t even tell her boyfriend she wants to attend, or nonchalantly allowing her grandmother to take absolutely no responsibility for the massive restaurant/hotel/porters union strike she caused.

It might have just been the audiobook, but Mia seemed extra whiney this time. I’m hoping it was just the audiobook, because I haven’t noticed that much before. Anne Hathaway only recorded the first two books, so now we’re listening to someone else, who just makes things sound a lot different.

Tangent: Mia’s best friend is the worst kind of person. She breaks up with her boyfriend by making out with someone else in front of him, then cries when he decides to go out with someone else. The absolute worst.

But maybe things will start looking up now that Mia is officially 15. Her birthday just happened in this book, plus her baby brother was born. I’ve peeked at the next book, “Princess in Training,” and it looks like it starts at the beginning of Mia’s sophomore year, which means we missed her summer in Genovia and sending Michael off to college.

I thought I could contain myself, but I have to let it out. There’s no way Michael would hang around Mia for long with the way she’s been acting in this book. It seems like he is cool, calm dude who knows pretty well what he wants, but he lets this freshman girl hang on him even though she pouts because he doesn’t know things that she hasn’t told him. Then she whines about it to her friends, including his sister. No guy who is about to go off to college is going to put up with that. I kinda wish Meg Cabot would have written him as a junior to begin with, because now Michael is off to the real world but he has this somewhat young relationship back in his high school. At least if he started as a junior they would have had more time to connect and build a strong relationship before he left. Plus the maturity levels would have been more well matched. Plus we wouldn’t have a 17-year-old dating a 14-year-old.



“The Princess Diaries, Volume IV: Princess in Waiting” and “The Princess Diaries, Volume IV and 1/2: Project Princess” by Meg Cabot

ouAEwDGwi4qnMFM3VtiNiFCbjcVDom1Ej8ik8VSXfmf4cVLW1L!3W4iQ1JoESjjt7QjbFnIZS3bEctSIf3YQf9XB2Jy7t11Bs88HVFzhbk6Kwc8UWbVG8cJ8QrmmTlhjThese two books went by fairly quickly, and the second one (Volume IV and 1/2) was only 50 pages.

In “Princess in Waiting,” Mia chronicles mostly her relationship with her boyfriend (of about 30 days) Michael. Unfortunately, I feel like this is the first time that Mia has acted like an annoying teenager, but at the same time, it still was probably pretty accurate. She absolutely obsessed over Michael and everything that he said or didn’t say, and eventually she questioned whether he was actually in love with her as opposed to loving her like a friend, although why are they in love if they’ve only been dating 30 days and haven’t even gone on an actual date yet?

But anyway, sometimes it *was* a little hard to tell how Michael felt toward Mia, but that could have just been because it was a skewed view from Mia’s perspective. They seem to be still going pretty strong. Maybe she’ll start focusing on other things in the next few books.

It continued a little in “Project Princess,” but it was pretty interesting still. This story followed Mia on spring break where she ventured to West Virginia with a group from her class to help build houses for the needy, a la Habitat for Humanity. It is nice to see Mia getting out a little, even if the only reason she went was to spend some alone time with her boyfriend.

Next up is Volume 5, “Princess in Pink.” I may start it today, but I’m also trying to finish “Fake Boyfriend” by Kate Brian.

More on that later,

“The Princess Diaries, Volume III: Princess in Love” by Meg Cabot

Volume III has us watching Mia stumble her way through a relationship with her boyfriend/bio partner Kenny. Awkardness ensues.

Mia is honestly a pretty terrible girlfriend, but I don’t know who I blame more, her or Kenny. She obviously is not interested in the relationship, yet Kenny continues to pursue. That doesn’t excuse the fact that Mia starts plotting how to express her feelings to the guy she actually likes WHILE still in the relationship with Kenny.

Still, I can’t say that Meg Cabot doesn’t have the teenage relationship thing down. Thinking back to my own high school experience, I think she hit a few things right on, namely the sheer amount of gossip among adolescents and the inability to keep anything to yourself.

I don’t feel that this book was particularly eventful, but it helped move the overall story along.

This audiobook was also ready by Anne Hathaway!

I’ve already started reading the next book, “Princess in Waiting.” Truth be told, I’m more than half-finished with it.

But I digress,

“The Princess Diaries, Volume II: Princess in the Spotlight” by Meg Cabot

This is a pretty short book, and it only covers a few weeks, but a lot sure does happen in those few weeks.

To begin with, Mia finds out that her mother is pregnant, and it’s her algebra teacher’s baby. Even though they have only been dating for 1-2 months. I’m judging a little on that one. At least use birth control.

Next comes a huge interview with a major primetime showing, but absolutely no training or preparation at all. If this is really how the princess of Genovia is introduced to the world, there would have been some training.

All of a sudden, Mia has a secret admirer. Anyone on the outside could have figured out where these letters were coming from, but Mia was pretty oblivious. At the same time, she is crushing hard on her best friend’s brother, despite the fact that she barely mentioned her feelings for him previously in her journal (the whole thing is written as Mia’s journal). In the first book, it was very clear that this guy had a thing for Mia, but she was again oblivious. Now all of a sudden she can’t stop talking and thinking about him. And he still has a thing for her. I’m sure we will go more in-depth in that area in the next few books.

Plus there is a huge royal event planned and held within about a week, so Mia also has to deal with that.

One thing I can say about Meg Cabot, she seems to be really in the mind of teenage girls. Other books at this level I’ve read come off like they’re trying too hard to sound like they came from the mind of teens, but most of Mia’s thoughts seem pretty genuine. I am also a huge Meg Cabot fan, so I may be biased.

Bonus: The audiobook is read by Anne Hathaway!!!

Third book up next,

“The Princess Diaries” by Meg Cabot

I don’t know why, but the other day I was looking at my book options online and I had just had this kick like I wanted to read every book that Meg Cabot has written. Back in high school, she was one of my favorite authors, and I’ve read a lot of her books (some multiple times) but I haven’t read nearly all of them. So it will probably take a while, but I’m going to attempt it.

Obviously this is THE Princess Diaries that the Anne Hathaway/Julie Andrews movies are based off of. The movies are amazing, but there are definitely some big differences between the two. Such as Mia’s dad is not dead, she is only 14, and Queen Clarisse is not so likable. Mia actually can’t stand her grandmother and she’s written as this mean old bat who goes around barking at people and generally terrifying those around her.

This book is written as Mia’s personal diary, and she has a lot of discipline because she writes pretty much every day, generally multiple times per day. Which also means that only a few weeks passed in the entire book (not that is was really that long to begin with). During this time, Mia finds out she’s a princess and has to go through the hardship of having everyone she knows find out she’s a princess as well, all while her mom nurtures a burgeoning relationship with Mia’s algebra teacher.

There’s a little bit of high school drama, which is to be expected in a book that is technically supposed to be written by a 14-year-old. I like that Mia seems to care about real issues, like not eating meat and saving the whales, but she still falls prey to some boy ridiculousness. She has a crush on the most popular boy in school, all while she’s completely oblivious to the fact that her best friend’s brother has a crush on her, which is actually kind of endearing. It doesn’t take long for her to become disenchanted with the popular jock, and I could see her relationship with the nice guy growing in the next few books.

I already have the next book, so I’m looking to keep going with the series.

I’ll tell you then,

“The Casual Vacancy” by J.K. Rowling

Image result for the casual vacancy jk rowlingObviously I picked up this book because of my love of Harry Potter. After five months and one failed attempt, I have finally finished. Thank you, audiobooks.

Let me just tell you, this book ain’t Harry Potter. It’s set in a small British town where everybody knows everybody’s business.

The first time I started reading it I got about a quarter of the way in. There were so many characters introduced so quickly that it got a little confusing and I couldn’t keep anyone straight. The second time was easier. I started at the beginning again, but having already read the first part I could remember better who was married to who and so on and so forth.

The gist of it is that Barry Fairbrother drops dead, which leads to a scuffle to take over his seat on the parish council. At the time, there are two sides, one of which wants to cut the ever-colorful “Fields” out of the parish, while the other argues to keep it as is.

We get to see into the lives of the adults connected to the council and Barry, but we also see into their teenage children. Every character has some secret(s), and it seems like they eventually all come to light. Overall, the book is dark and vulgar. It was a sizeable book, but there’s just not much to say about it. Plenty of drama, but none of the characters are particularly likable. I had high expectations because of the genius that is Harry Potter, but I came away a little disappointed.

Now I’m reading a few teeny-bopper books, “Fake Boyfriend” by Kate Brian and “The Princess Diaries” by Meg Cabot.


“An Acceptable Time” by Madeleine L’Engle

Image result for an acceptable time madeleine l'engleThis is the final book in the Time Quintet and it may be my least favorite. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with the book, but all of a sudden we are plunged years into the future where our main character is the daughter of our beloved Meg and Calvin, and we see none of Meg and Calvin at all. Plus there is no Charles Wallace, who is arguably the best character in the series.

In this story, Polly O’Keefe (the future daughter) is staying with her grandparents because they are geniuses and there is only so much she can learn in a regular high school. We get to see Dr. Louise again (Polly’s grandmother’s best friend and also the namesake of black snake Louise the Larger), plus we are introduced to Dr. Louise’s Brother, Bishop Colubra. He’s a pretty good dude. But you know who’s not a good dude? Zachary Grey.

Zachary met Polly while traveling previously and all of a sudden he shows back up in her life, only to expose himself as the selfish whiney baby he is. I really do not like this character at all. He defiantly goes against the wishes of Polly and the adults in her life who love her to benefit himself, knowing that he is putting Polly in imminent danger. At the end he seems to realize that he is a selfish whiney baby, but it does not redeem him in my nor Polly’s eyes. I am glad at least that he doesn’t apologize just so that she can fall into his arms again. The book has strong female characters, that is for sure.

One thing that I’m not sure about in this book (and the others in the series) is that it’s hard to follow the timeline. We know that Polly is pulled from her normal world, and we know that she stays in this other place for some length of time, but there’s not a really good indication of how long she is in one place or the other. Apparently it’s long enough for her to develop feelings for some guy that she just met, but who am I to judge.

Overall I feel like it was a good story, but it didn’t seem as fast-paced and eventful as the other books in the series. Plus I’m just a little salty that we spent so much time with Meg, Calvin, and Charles Wallace only to be deprived of them in the last book.

Until next time,

“Many Waters” by Madeleine L’Engle

Here we are at the fourth book in the Time Quintet. This series follows that same family from “A Wrinkle in Time,” but each book so far has been at a different time in their lives and has revolved around a different member of the family.

This book focuses on twins Sandy and Dennys, who we haven’t heard much from before. They are the “square” ones in the family, who haven’t had experiences with evil planets and unicorns before.

The timing actually goes a little in reverse on this one. The last book, “A Swiftly Tilting Planet,” followed little brother Charles Wallace when he was 15 and our main girl Meg Murry was married and pregnant. This time, Meg is still in college and yet to be wed. Actually, Meg and Charles Wallace are barely mentioned in this story, whereas they have been the focal point previously.

Anyway, it’s nice to get to know Sandy and Dennys a little better. The twins accidentally interrupt an experiment-in-progress and end up many years in the past, in biblical times. They are found by a man named Japheth, who turns out to be Noah’s son. Like Noah from the ark and the flood. The family cares for the boys after they get sick with sun stroke, and there are many interesting characters introduced, such as Japheth’s sister Yalith and his wife Oholibamah. There are also some mythical beings that we would not have expected in Bible times. For example, there are Nephilim and Seraphim and manticores who go around trying to eat people’s pet mammoths, which is quite unfortunate because mammoths seem like really nice pets. Basic good vs. evil stuff, interestingly enough.

Anyway, Sandy and Dennys are warned multiple times by the Seraphim (good guys) not to change any part of the story because they know what will happen. It seems like at one point they do cause a small change, but nothing ever comes of it. By the time the flood gets there they just magically (pretty much literally) have a plan to get back to their own time, where they show up exactly where they left.

I thought it was pretty interesting and I finished it in a little over a day. Now I’m on to the next book, “An Acceptable Time.”

Now. About the “A Wrinkle in Time” movie. The whole reason I started on this series was because that movie was coming out. I went and saw it a few days after it was released with a good friend. When it ended I was left feeling a little dissatisfied, as though there wasn’t really a good enough story arc and that the movie in general was just ok. Then the more I thought about it, I started to realize how much I really just didn’t like it.

First off, there are unnecessary changes to the characters and the central Murry family. Sandy and Dennys are non-existant and Charles Wallace is adopted, seemingly the only reason being that a child was cast to play the role that did not look half-white, half-black like Meg.

Next, things were not explained well. I was aware of the storyline because of how recently I read the book, but there were still times when I thought to myself, “If I hadn’t read this book, I would have no idea what is going on.”

My biggest pet peeve: The focus was so much on the CGI and the fact that Reese Witherspoon and Oprah were cast that the entire story was neglected. The three Mrs. Ws didn’t seem very true to character, namely because they filmmakers just wanted to showcase these big names, and Mindy Kaling as Mrs. Who seemed overshadowed, which is unfortunate because she plays the character well.

One of the best things about the book in my opinion was that these insane creatures and places were described, but just enough so that you had to rely on your imagination to do the work and come up with the imagery yourself. Forcing these magical ideas into creation in the movie felt like it pulled all of that to a stop. The movie forced you to see these ideas as one way and one way alone, and they were quite disappointing. Many details were changed or completely removed and it took away from the world that Madeleine L’Engle built in her books.

I’m just a little fired up about this and I am extremely upset with Disney right now.

Hopefully it passes soon,

“Inheritance: The Inheritance Cycle, Book 4” by Christopher Paolini

Image result for inheritance christopher paoliniI have finally made it through this series. It was interesting for the most part, but I did feel like I had to drag myself through these books. And as I’ve said before, the biggest reason I kept going was out of stubbornness.

It’s an interesting story, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t care for the timing of the book. We made it through 4 sizeable novels and we probably only covered a little over a year. But then again, I’m not sure if it was just a year because there never was much indication. Either way, I only remember celebrating the main character’s birthday once.

My biggest issue with this series is the loose ends. I get it that maybe the author is keeping his options open for some more books, but that many loose ends? We have characters who just up and disappear, ones who are appointed royalty, and a few that are mentioned a couple times only to never be heard about again. In a way I guess there was just too much going on.

The next issue is that for four books we built up to the confrontation with the evil King Galbatorix. This, the final book, was more than half finished before our heroes even get to the castle. When the battle takes place, there is some struggle, which I can appreciate, but the thing is over in a very anti-climactic way. And for the amount of time that I read to get up to that point I felt severely disappointed.

Another thing. These characters were put in about half a dozen death-defying situations each and yet no main character died. I’m not saying that I wanted them killed off, but I also didn’t want them to be immune. They all experienced pain, and there’s no way they would all make it out of A WAR alive. And yet, every time there was a hint of struggle some random unexplained character or tool would show itself as if from out of nowhere and then they/it would disappear back into the void.

Overall, I’m left with a lot of questions. It may be that Christopher Paolini wanted us to use our imagination to come up with the endings of these things, but to me it felt more lazy or forgetful than anything.

Not impressed,

“You Can’t Spell America Without Me: The Really Tremendous Inside Story of My Fantastic First Year as President Donald J. Trump (A So-Called Parody)” by Alec Baldwin and Kurt Andersen

Wow, that’s a really long title. The book itself is not so much.

The whole thing plays off of Alec Baldwin’s Donald Trump impression, as seen on Saturday Night Live. Even reading it you can’t help but imagine it in the Baldwin *Trump* voice.

Honestly I started reading it because I find the Trump impersonation entertaining and I was a little surprised that it was even available, but I guess it’s not as in demand as I thought it would be. I’m sure Donald Trump would be livid if he read this book. There are jokes about how hot he thinks Ivanka is and how often he plays golf and about his feelings on minorities (obviously he loves the minorities because he has one Hispanic steward and a black Secret Service agent). Plus the whole thing is seemingly written by Trump using the speak-to-text feature on his smart phone, which he named Mitzi.

I think Alec Baldwin and Kurt Andersen did a good job of continuing the SNL sketch. Some of the quips might have pushed the envelope, but there were some funny moments.

Now I’m trying to finish the fourth book in The Inheritance Cycle, “Inheritance,” before my borrowed materials are sent back to the library in a few days. Fingers crossed. Plus now I have access to “Many Waters” and “An Acceptable Time” by Madeleine L’Engle, which will round out the Time Quintet. By the way, I saw the “A Wrinkle in Time” movie. More thoughts on that later. Because trust me, I have many thoughts on that movie.

Until then,