Category Archives: 2 star reads

Boys of Brayshaw High, Trouble at Brayshaw High, and Reign of Brayshaw – Meagan Brandy

Guilty pleasure like a soap opera or CW teen series

Rating: 2 out of 5.

This is a guilty pleasure, like a soap opera or CW teen series. I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit I read it.

Raven is taken away from her prostitute mother and sent to a small group home in another town where she attends Brayshaw High. This school and town are ruled by three non-biological brothers. The beginning is a hate to love story, but that’s over quickly. Actually not much of it takes place inside the high school.

It becomes very difficult to suspend disbelief. It has some unique twists, so it isn’t cliché, but it gets ridiculously unbelievable. Secret identities, parentage, babies, and marriages. Comas, arranged marriages, mafia-like old families running the world behind the scenes, 16-year-olds having backstories fit for 30-year-olds. It’s insane but enjoyable, a guilty /pleasure/. All three of these books are very long, but it was well paced and kept me reading to the end. I did read all three of them.

I liked some things about the characters and hated other things. Overall, Raven is a strong female character and some secondary females are strong too.

This is really one long book, split into three parts. The first two have major cliffhangers. It would properly be labeled as Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. Lots of foul language and violence. First person present tense from alternating main characters. Many graphic sex scenes. References to rape and child molestation, but none on camera.

Many reviewers have complained about an overabundance of lip licking. I absolutely agree. It’s crazy overkill. Fortunately, this was addressed in the second two books and only happens rarely there. In part one, Raven thinks about how hot the three guys are far too much.

There is a lot of promiscuity in this novel, but it seems to be consensual. Public and group sex acts. Unprotected sex occurs with a rejected offer to use a condom. There is no discussion of birth control or sexual history. It seems neither is worried about pregnancies or STDs, which is stupidly irresponsible.

Grammar: The comma situation is gruesome with routinely missing commas where they belong and extra commas where they don’t belong. Double punctuation marks like ?! are used. This comes from email and messaging but is not correct English. Beyond that, there were: BOBH: 5, TABH: 4, ROB: 6 including wrong words, extra words, missing words, missing or extra quotation and punctuation marks.

I’d give this three stars but the grammar problems knocked my enjoyment down a star.

Favorite quotes:

From Boys of Brayshay High: “Can’t help it.” I throw my hand forward, weakly squeezing the packed muscles of his biceps. “You try sitting a foot from a beast in the flesh with crazy eyes and a dirty smirk and let’s see if your thong stays dry.”

From Trouble at Brayshaw High: “Nuh-uh, child,” Maybell reprimands and moves forward with a first aid kit. “Don’t be lookin’ at them like that. They did right, calling me. You look as bad as you did when you found out the green Power Ranger was leaving the show.”

Flawed – Becky Bird

An okay reimagining of Pride and Prejudice with teens in high school

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I love Jane Austen and have read all her books. I’ve enjoyed all the miniseries and movies. I’m not a purist and have enjoyed sequel regency romance novels. I’ve also loved Austen storylines reimagined movies. My favorites are “Bride and Prejudice” and “Clueless” (Emma). So when I read this book was “Pride and Prejudice” reimagined with teens in the modern world, I was fully prepared to love it. Unfortunately, I had some major problems with it.

It’s cute and sometimes amusing. I had no problem finishing it. I wasn’t bored, and it didn’t drag on. The writing was okay. I kinda liked it. But you can tell I’m not really excited by it.

These were my major problems with it:

1. Dialogue straight from Austen, some of the most memorable quotes, did not sound realistic coming from modern teenagers. It felt forced and fake.

2. Overused clichés – mean girls, the destruction of a dress right before a fashion show, a prom-like climax, and others. It felt too “Gossip Girl”.

3. The “Bingham” character was far too shallow and narcissistic. He also punched out his windshield, twice, which indicated anger control issues. It made me worry Jade (Jane) would be abused later.

4. The entire book takes place within the time “Pride and Prejudice” is being discussed and quizzed on in Mia’s class (Elizabeth Bennet). The timing wasn’t clear. I don’t know how many weeks passed between the start and the end. But it felt way too long to be discussing one book. At least my English teachers never would have taken that long on a single book.

5. Along with the last point, the action unfolds so the class talks about the plot points in P&P as they correspond to what’s going on in Mia’s life. This forced the comparison, as if I wouldn’t get it otherwise, when it was blatantly obvious all along. It also made me doubt Mia’s intelligence as she doesn’t see the similarities between the book and her life.

1st person present tense with alternating chapters from the two main characters. I did like getting into the mind of Finn (Darcy).

Clean romance appropriate for young readers. Nothing beyond kissing. No foul language. Little violence – mainly the punching windshields thing. No OM/OW drama.

HFN, which felt more appropriate than a HEA.

Grammar:

Dialogue is very often separated from the action sequence that identifies the speaker. Sometimes one character speaks twice, in two separate paragraphs. This made knowing who was speaking difficult to figure out in places. There weren’t any unnecessary dialogue tags, but there were places where necessary tags were missing.

Commas weren’t routinely missing, so not using them wasn’t a choice. There were 9 missing commas.

Other error count:  15 (misspelled, wrong, extra, and missing words, and missing punctuation marks)

So it was readable but not a good job.

My favorite quote comes from the school principal as she is about to announce the king and queen of the winter formal dance: “Pipe down, you pompous—” Potter lets out a loud whistle. There’s dead silence as she finishes her sentence with “…little turdfaces!” More awkward silence follows, and Principal Potter gives a wry smile. “Firstly, I want to say I’m drunk.”

The McClane Apocalypse, Book 1 – Kate Morris

Makings of a good story, shame about present tense + grammar

Rating: 2 out of 5.

At the start of an apocalypse, Reagan escapes the college she’s been at and goes home to the family farm. The McClane’s are clearly preppers. One of Reagan’s sisters is married to a an Army Ranger. He is brought home wounded by his brother and a friend. So we have three hot military men for three beautiful McClane sisters.

This story is written in present tense throughout, which was shocking to my system and difficult to read until I got accustomed to it. I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel in present tense before and have decided I’m not a fan of this choice.

There are many grammar and spelling errors. At some point, there was a search and replace that replaced the second half of certain words with “Where”. Yikes. Unnecessary dialogue tags are everywhere. Dialogue and action are placed in separate paragraphs. The same word is used to describe things in adjacent paragraphs. This novel could have seriously benefited from an editor.

Now the story is actually pretty good in parts. I love the whole post-apocalypse romance genre, which is why I decided to try this even after reading bad reviews. I found I don’t agree with the complaints that the women are weak. Reagan is a sharp shooter and goes with the men to defend some neighbors. In the beginning, she kills her attackers. She’s got the makings of a strong character, but her thinking she is ugly because of some scars seems quite far fetched.

It makes sense that Grams and Hannah would be cooking all the time. There are no more microwaves! Cooking for that many people is actually quite strenuous. And Sue is heavily pregnant and then taking care of an infant while still managing an enormous garden, which is hard work too. These women aren’t weak just because they are doing “women’s work”. Women’s work is frigging hard!

The fact that Reagan and Hannah are both virgins makes sense for their characters. Reagan has been far ahead of her age group in school since before she hit puberty. Hannah was home schooled because she didn’t want to go away to a school for the blind. I don’t find it ridiculous. When Hannah decides she wants a man, she isn’t shy about showing him.

The story ends before it’s complete, but it’s not really a cliffhanger. I don’t feel like I have to know what happens next. Since I found present tense so uncomfortable, I don’t think I’m going to find out. If the series is ever properly edited and put into past tense, I would definitely read it.

There were no sex scenes in Book 1, so it is a clean romance. However, the romance itself didn’t get very far in this book.

Savage Planet Caveman (SciFi Romance): Book 2 – Cheyenne Hart

Good start to world-building brought down by grammar mistakes

Rating: 2 out of 5.

There was a good start to world-building, but it wasn’t fully realized. The novel would have to be much longer to fully flesh it out. Some explanations were good, but the story went back on our understanding later. For example, I understood the way Loraine learned Raxar’s language, but several chapters later, we are told Raxar knows English now. That was very confusing.

The conflict was too easily and quickly resolved. It could have used a lot more plot.

The grammar was terrible with wrong words, repeated words, and missing and extra quotation marks. It was very distracting.