“Darkest Hour (The Mediator, #4)” by Meg Cabot

Image result for the mediator 4Suze Simon returns. This time it’s summer and she has a job at the local resort working as a babysitter. Lo and behold, she meets another mediator. This time, it’s an eight-year-old. Who’s terrified of ghosts.

At the same time, mysterious Jesse is featured when the ghosts of the woman he was supposed to marry and her eventual husband come back to try and stop Suze from letting Jesse’s remains get dug up from where they had been buried in her backyard.

There’re obviously some more mysteries that need to be solved and a few loose ends were left dangling, so there’s room to expand on the series. But at the same time, it’s like the formula for the books has been the same every time:

  1. A ghost visits Suze.
  2. Suze tries to mediate the ghost by force even after her mediator pal Father Dominic expressly tells her not to.
  3. Someone comes to Suze’s aid and prevents her from being killed because she did something really stupid that would have gotten her killed.
  4. The ghost moves on.

And sometime in between all that there’s always a boy pining after Suze, even though she insists over and over again that no guys are ever into her.

Something about Suze just makes me think that I probably wouldn’t like her in real life. She seems reckless and a little selfish in that she disregards the people who care about her and puts her own self at risk. Not that that will stop me from reading the rest of the books in the series though. Next up is “Haunted.”

Tell more later,
Maegan

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“Midnight Sun” by Trish Cook

Image result for midnight sun bookI took a break from Meg Cabot’s Mediator series to read this little nugget. It was just published in September 2017 but it has already had a movie come and go. I actually wanted to see it when it was still showing but I don’t think it lasted very long.

The premise is that Katie Price has a rare disease–one in a million chances–that makes exposure to UV rays deadly. She mostly only goes out at night and she’s only been homeschooled. The story picks up with 18-year-old Katie convincing her overprotective dad to let her go out for the night that would have been her high school graduation. She heads to the train station to play guitar for the incoming travelers, only to meet Charlie Reed, the guy she’s been creeping on from her bedroom window for years.

Of course there’s some stereotypical teen romance. For once I’d like to see a story where the main guy and girl just don’t mesh. No chemistry whatsoever on either side. It’d make things so much more interesting. But that doesn’t happen here. Instead they realize that they are soulmates, even though this girl has a fatal disease.

The best characters in the book are Morgan, Katie’s most faithful (and only) best friend, and Katie’s dad. He clearly would give the world to take care of her. She obviously cares a lot about her dad but there are also times where I feel like she takes his protectiveness for granted. And most of the time it’s because of this rando boy that just walked into her life.

The ending of the book is pretty accelerated, with the disease barely being a factor until it is. Then it’s a big factor. It bothers me how much weight Katie puts on her relationship with her boyfriend, almost shunning the two people (her dad and best friend) who have been there for her entire life. They are still there for her but she still chooses to do things in a way that make it seem like she is choosing him over them.

I’m sure the movie will be pretty cheesy but I still want to see it, even more so after reading the book. I didn’t even mean to start this book, I just randomly walked past it at the library and decided to check it out.

Next up I’m going to start on that next Mediator book. Plus “Little Bee” is still a thing.

Wish me luck,
Maegan

“Reunion (The Mediator, #3)” by Meg Cabot

Image result for the mediator 3This is the third book in the Mediator series. I was actually surprised to learn that this book was published in 2001. For some reason I thought it was a little bit more recent than that. But then again, the Princess Diaries books spanned nearly the entire 2000s, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

These books only cover a week or so at a time, so it feels like our protagonist has been through several months of fighting ghosts, but in reality it’s been maybe two months.

In this one, Suze’s best friend Gina from New York is in town to visit because it’s her spring break. The biggest thing that gets me is that in the past two books, Suze has been so tight-lipped about the fact that she’s a mediator. It was mentioned that her step-brother had an idea about the ghost thing and that Gina might know (because Gina had been present when a psychic told Suze that she could talk to the dead), but it was always just assumed that it had never been confirmed. In this one, Suze just starts talking to Gina about the fact that she’s a mediator like it’s no big deal.

I mean, I can understand why Gina would want to know, having to cover for Suze sneaking out of the house while she’s visiting, but I’m surprised at Suze for just letting that information go so freely.

Our ghosts in this book are a set of four high schoolers who were recently killed in a terrible car accident on the night of their spring formal (or some other event where they were required to wear evening wear). So obviously these recently deceased kids are pretty upset and Suze spends the whole book trying to keep them from taking revenge on the person who caused the accident.

There are a few twists and turns, but everything ends well in the end. For some characters.

I think in the next book we might (finally) get some more information about Jesse. He’s been a mystery since he was introduced in book one. I’m also still working on “Little Bee” and “Midnight Sun” right now. Not the Stephenie Meyer version.

You’ll see,
Maegan

“A Simple Favor” by Darcey Bell

Image result for a simple favor bookThis book is being made into a movie, to be released in September of this year, so I’m surprised I got the book so quickly from the library. Then again, maybe I got on the early end so I’m sure there will be much more demand closer to the movie release date.

The premise revolves around the friendship between Stephanie and Emily. Their sons are friends from school and one day Emily asks Stephanie to pick her son up from school, a simple favor. The drama starts when Emily doesn’t show up to pick him up that night. Or the next day. Emily just disappears.

A recurring theme throughout the story is secrets and how everybody has them. Over the course of the book secrets keep revealing themselves. The list of characters is relatively pretty short and it seems like each one that is mentioned is done so intentionally. We have Stephanie and Emily, Sean (Emily’s husband), Nicky (Emily’s son), Miles (Stephanie’s son), and a few others, which each have their place. Only a few characters are introduced that don’t have much of a point.

The book was good and the story kept you guessing, but the characters are not likable. One was so gullible that they were constantly being manipulated and another was a pathological liar.

Either way, I’m looking forward to the movie because it has an amazing cast. Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively are the two main characters and they are both fantastic.

Now that I’ve finished this book, I’m still working on the Mediator series by Meg Cabot. I’ve also started “Little Bee” by Chris Cleave and I checked out “Midnight Sun” by Trish Cook.

Good-bye for now,
Maegan

“Ninth Key (The Mediator, #2)” by Meg Cabot

Image result for ninth key meg cabotI got through this one a little quicker than I thought I would, but that’s thanks to audiobooks. This is the second book in the Mediator series and it picks up right where the first book left off, which only took about a week.

Within the next few days, Suze has gotten herself into more trouble, with another random ghost showing up, giving cryptic answers (or no answers at all), and demanding that Suze pass on a message.

One thing I’ve noticed about this character is that Suze makes a lot of assumptions. There were a lot of things that could have been avoided if she asked a few more questions before jumping into action.

Anyway, while trying to pass on the message from beyond, she winds up in some kind of murder mystery scenario and is dumb enough to keep getting herself deeper and deeper without letting anyone around her know what’s going on. Keep in mind, this girl is only 16 years old and she’s out here sleuthing with no adult supervision.

Everything works out in the end, but not because of anything Suze did. She has the ghosts to thank for that. This girl is getting into quite the habit of running boys off though. She’s now two for two in boys moving away from her immediate vicinity by the end of the book.

I’m also reading “A Simple Favor” by Darcey Bell right now and it’s got me pretty hooked. I suspect that I’ll finish that book next, but I also need to start on “Reunion,” the next book in the Mediator series.

Until then,
Maegan

“Shadowland (The Mediator, #1)” by Meg Cabot

Image result for shadowland mediatorHere we are, continuing my Meg Cabot run.

This book is the first in a new series (new for me), the Mediator series. The story follows Suze Simon, who can see, touch, and talk to ghosts. She’s only 16, but it’s been happening for so long that it’s just a part of life for her. She usually helps them tie up loose ends so they can move on to their next destination, but sometimes she has to get tough on them.

At the beginning of the story, Suze is moving from New York to California to live with her mom, new step-dad, and three new step-brothers. One of the step-brothers is very likable. The others, not so much. She refers to them as Doc, Dopey, and Sleepy. There are a few other characters introduced at Suze’s school, but my favorite character is probably Jesse, the ghost that inhabits her room. He seems respectful but has that air of mystery about him that makes you want to know more about his story. By the end of the book, we still don’t know how he died.

Anyway, Suze finds out that her school is being haunted by a new ghost named Heather, who committed suicide over the winter break right before school started back up again. So Suze takes it upon herself to banish Heather from this world before she causes death and destruction, which seems to be her ultimate goal.

She finds out that there’s another mediator at the school, and he seems to be one of the only, if not the only, other mediators that she’s come across. There’s a brief struggle against Heather in ghost form, which I honestly expected to be longer. Maybe even extended into the second book, but it was over fairly quickly.

I think it’s an interesting concept, but there weren’t really any loose ends tied up by the end. Plus I don’t think I would care for Suze in real life. Maybe it’s just me.

Later,
Maegan

“Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” by Jesse Andrews

Image result for me and earl and the dying girl book coverI wanted to read this book because I recently watched the movie adaptation and I really enjoyed. Honestly though, I just didn’t care that much for the book. I never thought I would say this, but I think I liked the movie better than the book.

The whole thing was a little too profane and sometimes just gross for me. It might be how typical teenage boys think, but there were way too many mentions of girls’ boobs. Plus the main characters, Greg Gaines and Earl Jackson, just weren’t that likeable.

The premise is that Greg’s mom makes him spend time with Rachel Kushner, who just found out that she has leukemia. He is literally only spending time with her because he has to. He also purposefully does not make friends with anyone around him, instead choosing to be simply advanced acquaintances with everyone.

There were lots of obscure references to films that I couldn’t appreciate because I don’t know much about films, plus Greg’s parents did not seem like they were relatable at all. Greg himself wasn’t even that relatable. And a lot of the characters were only introduced on the fringe. You didn’t really get to know any of them very well.

I was planning to read Jesse Andrews’s two other books, but I decided against it for now. Maybe at some point, but instead I’m going back to Meg Cabot for this one. Next up is “The Mediator” series.

Tell you about it later,
Maegan

“Royal Day Out” and “Royal Crush” by Meg Cabot

Image result for royal day out meg cabotImage result for royal crush meg cabotWe have finished the “Princess Diaries” series! For now, at least. I don’t know if there will be any more. Considering there were 11 “Princess Diaries” books plus novellas, I’m guessing there will be more.

“Royal Day Out” actually should have been read before “Royal Wedding Disaster.” It’s only about 40 pages long and only covers one day where the main character, Olivia Grace, goes out on the town with her grandmother. It was a free e-book short, and it looks like it came out on the same day as “Royal Wedding Disaster.”

Then was “Royal Crush.” It takes place a few months after the last book, beginning a few days before Olivia’s birthday. Of course it involves a boy that Olivia likes and of course there is some normal teenage drama. Some non-normal teenage things that occur: the Royal Genovian Academy travels to Austria to compete in the royal winter games against other royal schools, a boy that Olivia has only known for a few months gives her a huge diamond necklace, and instead of a birthday party she has a birthday ball with hundreds of attendees and a rockstar as live entertainment.

Next up I’m planning on reading “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.” Then I might continue with the literary works of Meg Cabot.

Until then,
Maegan

“From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess” and “Royal Wedding Disaster” by Meg Cabot

Image result for from the notebooks of a middle school princessImage result for royal wedding disaster meg cabotI didn’t realize that the “Princess Diaries” series continued after the original books, but now I do. Apparently Meg Cabot started releasing these books in 2015 and she’s already published several.

The characters in these books are the same as the ones we’ve come to know and love, but instead of being written as Mia’s diaries, they are written through the journals of her half-sister, Olivia Grace. The books themselves are supposed to be middle school grade, but they don’t see much below the level of the first several “Princess Diaries” books.

Anyway, they books overlap some of the things that we read about in “Royal Wedding,” but they also fill in some gaps where Mia was “too busy planning her wedding to write.”

Olivia Grace is likable and it’s nice to see her point-of-view. And to see how someone who hasn’t known Mia through a dozen plus books views her.

The first book, “From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess,” follows Olivia as she finds out that her family is royal and she is actually a princess. Honestly, she has a very indifferent reaction for a 12-year-old. I feel like if I had found that out as a tween, I would have been freaking out. Then I would have been angry that my father who had never met me wanted me to move to another country with him. But maybe it was different for Olivia since the family that she was living with was super terrible and didn’t actually care about her.

“Royal Wedding Disaster” starts a week before Mia’s royal wedding, and runs until a couple days after. I really enjoyed this because we got zero details about the wedding in “Royal Wedding,” and everyone wants to know the details of a royal wedding. Speaking of, I guess it was perfect timing reading this series now because it coincided perfectly with the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Obviously I watched it.

Moving on, next up is a short story in the series and then one more book, which is the last in the whole “Princess Diaries” run. After that it’s only about a bajillion more Meg Cabot books.

Wish me luck,
Maegan

“Princess Lessons,” “Perfect Princess,” and “Holiday Princess” by Meg Cabot, illustrated by Chesley McLaren

Related imageImage result for perfect princessImage result for holiday princessTechnically, these three little add-on books should have been read way earlier in the series, but I ended up just saving them for the end.

Each book is a collection of essays and commentary by Princess Mia and the other characters in the series.

“Princess Lessons” covers all the etiquette rules and goes over the princess lessons that Mia has been getting from her grandmother ever since she found out she was a princess. “Perfect Princess” is all about different real-life women who may or may not be princesses, but serve as role models for young girls. Finally, “Holiday Princess” is about the different kinds of holidays that different people and cultures celebrate. There’s plenty of information about Christmas, but also Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Chinese New Year, etc. I actually thought this book was the most interesting of the three, mostly because it gave a lot of information that I might not have known otherwise.

Anyway, they were all pretty short and had lots of pictures, but I thought they were nice additions to the series. Now all that’s left of the whole “Princess Diaries” run is the “From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess” series.

But I’m already working on that,
Maegan