Tag Archives: Meg Cabot

Meg Cabot’s Royal Wedding

royalwedding_thumb.jpg

For Princess Mia, the past five years since college graduation have been a whirlwind of activity, what with living in New York City, running her new teen community center, being madly in love, and attending royal engagements. And speaking of engagements. Mia’s gorgeous longtime boyfriend Michael managed to clear both their schedules just long enough for an exotic (and very private) Caribbean island interlude where he popped the question! Of course Mia didn’t need to consult her diary to know that her answer was a royal oui.

But now Mia has a scandal of majestic proportions to contend with: Her grandmother’s leaked “fake” wedding plans to the press that could cause even normally calm Michael to become a runaway groom. Worse, a scheming politico is trying to force Mia’s father from the throne, all because of a royal secret that could leave Genovia without a monarch.  Can Mia prove to everyone—especially herself—that she’s not only ready to wed, but ready to rule as well?

Writing this post feels a little like writing about “some funny things happened on my way to the (book)store”. I’ve always enjoyed Meg Cabot’s books, so when TLC Book Tours asked if I’d like to be a part of the Royal Wedding blog tour, I jumped at the chance. I mean we’re talking Meg Cabot, we’re talking Mia all grown up, we’re talking about the transition of a much-loved YA character into the bright shining world of the New Adult.

How could I  say no?

You know how sometimes you’ve decided to do something, but challenges keep popping up, obstacles that turn what is normally an easy, well-known road—get a book, read it, write about it—into a path fraught with obstacles? That about covers my book encounter with Royal Wedding.

First, I had problems with the courier company getting the book to me. I swear, I think Trish from TLC Book Tours sent Royal Wedding to me at least three, maybe four times. In the end she bought me a copy of the ebook—and then, the next day, the last book she sent actually arrived.

July’s been a busy month for me, but I really wanted to do this blog tour, so when she said she still had some dates available (since my original date had long slipped past), I picked the very last date she had, figuring that would give me time to read the book.

Which, unfortunately, I failed to do. Things just got too busy, with my writing course with Kelley Armstrong, and then with the aftermath, which has added a chunk of fiction writing time to my daily routine. So yes, I am writing this blog post having read only the first few chapters of Royal Wedding.

And last of all (because, of course, these things generally come in threes): My blog tour date was yesterday. I had added the date to Google Calendar—but for some reason, I didn’t get any reminders, which probably means I forgot to set the reminders. But still, at the beginning of this past week, I knew I would be writing this blog post. For Friday, July 31.

Then Thursday (and then Friday) rolled around and I forgot. So yes, I am a day late with this post.

See what I mean?

But I am here now, and ready to tell you more about Royal Wedding. And yes, I’ve only read a few chapters, so you’re probably wondering, what on earth can Belle tell us when she’s only read the first couple of chapters? But if you’re a Princess Diaries fan, I can tell you this: it’s Mia! She’s back! She’s grown up, but at her core, she’s still the same Mia we know and love. Just a little older, with more adult things on her mind.

It’s something each of us can relate to, I think.

I can already see the conflicts that are building up for her, and I’m eager to head deeper into her story—just need to find some time to grab so I can plunge in.

So, obviously this isn’t a review, since one can hardly review a book on the strength of a few chapters read. But if you’ve read and loved the Princess Diaries series, what I can say is this: Royal Wedding gives you the chance to enter Mia’s world again, and while she’s not a young adult anymore, her voice is just as endearing and engaging as always.

[TSS] The #Bookmail Post

 bookmail

It’s #bookmail time! I don’t often get book mail, but I recently won a couple of giveaways, I’m participating in a book tour at the end of the month and a publisher offered me a book I couldn’t resist. So here they are, in no particular order (or rather, in the order I stacked them in, I guess):

royal weddingMeg Cabot is one of my favourite authors, although I haven’t read anything new by her for a long while—years, actually. I’m not sure why. So when Trish from TLC Book Tours asked me if I wanted to participate in the book tour for Royal Wedding I said, “Yes!!” Trish had some shipping issues on her end—I think she tried to send me the book four times. I’m not sure what happened, but fourth time lucky (and I guess there’s a chance I’ll eventually end up with three more copies as they wander my way from wherever they ended up …).

hungry ghosts

The nice folks over at Simon & Schuster Canada emailed me to see if I’d like a copy of Hungry Ghosts, the third book in Peggy Blair’s Inspector Ramirez series. Know what I love about the publicists over at Simon & Schuster Canada? They seem to have a real feel for my reading tastes; they almost always send books my way that I’m really interested in reading.

Inspector Ramirez is a Cuban police inspector, and the stories in each of the books in the series takes place in both Cuba and Canada. I’ve enjoyed the first two books in the series, and I’m really looking forward to reading this third book.

jonathan strange

I won the book of my choice from Book Depository from Andi earlier this year during Dewey’s Readathon. I had SUCH a hard time choosing, which is why I didn’t receive my prize until just recently. I finally opted for Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell; it’s been in my to-read stacks for ages. I have it in audio, too, so I’m thinking I might try both reading and listening to this one at the same time.

mapmakers children I was SO excited when Kathy (BermudaOnion) told me I’d won the giveaway on her blog for Sarah McCoy’s The Mapmaker’s Children. I’m friends with Sarah on Facebook and we’ve had some delightful chats on Twitter, but I’ve never actually read one of her books. This one sounds like a lovely read—I’ve been on hold at the library for it for quite a while now, and it will be nice to be able to cancel that hold!

So that’s it for my #bookmail. What books have come into your place recently?

Review: Abandon, by Meg Cabot

Abandon, by Meg CabotSummary:

Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can’t help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she’s never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.

But now she’s moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.

Only she can’t. Because even here, he finds her. That’s how desperately he wants her back. She knows he’s no guardian angel, and his dark world isn’t exactly heaven, yet she can’t stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.

But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.

I love Meg Cabot’s books. Her writing style is just so engaging, and she really knows how to tell a story. I love her characters and her settings. I love the way her imagination works.

Which is why it’s so unfortunate I didn’t enjoy Abandon nearly as much as any of her other books. Unusual for me, especially since I’ve always loved her paranormal books best of all.

The first half of Abandon is told using scenes set in the present day interspersed with flashbacks, and this just didn’t work for me at all. It felt disjointed; there were hints about both an incident and an accident that had occurred sometime in the past, and I spent most of my time impatiently turning the pages. I wanted to know the whole backstory so we could get on with the main story, the here and now part of the book.

About halfway through the book (I think it was about page 144 or thereabouts) the past was finally all told and that’s when the story kicked in for me – that was when it felt, at last, like a Meg Cabot book.

But that only left Cabot with half the book to develop the storyline and flesh out the characters. That’s not a whole lot of time, although there was enough time to plant a lot of intriguing possibilities and questions. Who was this newly single person Pierce’s mom wanted to see again? What did Uncle Chris do to land him in jail? What does Alex have up his sleeve? Very enticing questions, and one reason I’m on board for the upcoming sequel.

Anyway, just as I was really getting into the book, it ended.

Now, I love trilogies, but I am a firm believer that a book in a trilogy – and the first book in particular – needs to also have a story arc of its own; it needs to have its own conflict and resolution, in addition to the role it will play across the entire trilogy. But while there was a resolution of sorts in Abandon, it felt rather insubstantial in comparison to everything else.

Right on the heels of this insubstantial resolution to a vaguely outlined conflict came a cliffhanger ending.

I readily admit: I have problems with cliffhanger endings, although they can work sometimes. But you need a strong, stable resolution to the conflict that drives the main plot in the book first, before you can leave an enticing cliffhanger that won’t have me stuttering, Wait! But what … but why …. but  … but …

Mind you, I guess you could say this cliffhanger “works” for me, because, yes, I do want to read Underworld, the second book in the trilogy. I want to know the answers to all those questions, for one thing.

But if I’m honest with myself, I’m up for the second book because it IS Meg Cabot, after all. And there is so much potential in this storyline, and Cabot is simply awesome when she works with such potential.

Most of the time.

So I’ve decided to just classify Abandon as an anomaly, and trust that with the next book, things will be back to normal.

Insatiable, by Meg Cabot

InsatiableI am a huge Meg Cabot fan, so it’s probably not surprising that I quite liked Insatiable, which I read last month (I’d put in my hold request quite early at my library).

Having said that, I can kind of understand why it’s had some mixed reviews (I haven’t actually read any full blog reviews yet, so I’m going by the Amazon ones, which are definitely a mixed bag).

Update: I just realized I forgot to include a summary of the novel! Here’s the description:

Sick of hearing about vampires? So is Meena Harper.

But her bosses are making her write about them anyway, even though Meena doesn’t believe in them.

Not that Meena isn’t familiar with the supernatural. See, Meena Harper knows how you’re going to die. (Not that you’re going to believe her. No one ever does.)

But not even Meena’s precognition can prepare her for what happens when she meets—then makes the mistake of falling in love with—Lucien Antonescu, a modern-day prince with a bit of a dark side. It’s a dark side a lot of people, like an ancient society of vampire hunters, would prefer to see him dead for.

The problem is, Lucien’s already dead. Maybe that’s why he’s the first guy Meena’s ever met whom she could see herself having a future with. See, while Meena’s always been able to see everyone else’s future, she’s never been able look into her own.

And while Lucien seems like everything Meena has ever dreamed of in a boyfriend, he might turn out to be more like a nightmare.

Now might be a good time for Meena to start learning to predict her own future. . . .

If she even has one.

My thoughts:

Insatiable is written rather tongue-in-cheek, and I think if you keep this in mind, you’ll enjoy it a lot more.

And one of the tongue-in-cheek things that Cabot does is throw in everything-but-the-kitchen-sink. If you’ve read the book, you’ll know what I mean. There’s a point during the “final battle scene” where your eyes kind of widen, and you think to yourself, “OMG, she’s throwing in everything but the kitchen sink!”. You might even say to yourself, “Wait a minute! I think that is the kitchen sink!”.

Fun, nevertheless. At least, I thought so.

Cabot’s also trying to get a few points across, too. Like this one: it’s not such a good thing to be stalked by someone who says he loves you – not even if he’s this really hot dishy vampire prince.

Another is: He might say it’s true love, but when someone wants to swoop into your life and take total control of it, even if it’s in order to keep you “safe”, this is really not such a good thing. No, not even if he’s this really hot dishy vampire prince.

Best phrase in the book? “… he definitely didn’t sparkle”.

See what I mean about tongue-in-cheek?

Some Thursday Fun: Star Wars on the Subway

I found this video from Improv Everywhere via Meg Cabot’s Twitter feed.  According to their site, Improv Everywhere “causes scenes of chaos and joy in public places.”  Isn’t that a great mission statement?

I’m still smiling – hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I would have loved to have been on that subway car … !

Review: Being Nikki, by Meg Cabot

Being Nikki

From the jacket flap:

Things aren’t pretty for Emerson Watts.

Em was sure there couldn’t be anything worse than being a brainiac the body of a teenaged supermodel.

But it turned out she was wrong. Because that supermodel could turn out to have a mother who’s gone mysteriously missing, a brother who’s shown up on her doorstep demanding answers, a former best friend who’s intent on destroying Stark Enterprises to avenge the death of his lost love, and a British heartthrob who’s written a song about her that’s topping the charts.

How can Em balance all that with school, runway shows, and weekend jaunts to St. Johns – especially when she’s got ex-boyfriends crawling out of the woodwork who want more than just a photo op; a sister who is headed to the high school cheerleading championships; a company she represents that seems to be turning to the dark side…

Not to mention trying to convince the love of her life that models aren’t really airheads after all…especially one model in particular.

But then, nobody said it was going to be easy being Nikki.

Being Nikki, by Meg Cabot, is the second novel in the Airhead trilogy, and despite the book’s cliffhanger ending, it was, on the whole, an enjoyable read. Being Nikki takes the original premise outlined in Airhead, and adds in some very interesting twists and plot turns. Now not only do we get to see what it’s like to find yourself in the body of a gorgeous supermodel, there’s also a good dollop of suspense and mystery.

While I enjoyed reading Being Nikki a lot, I must admit the ending disappointed me. Not the fact that the ending is a cliffhanger; cliffhanger endings in a book can work, as long as they’re constructed properly. In Being Nikki, the mystery that occupies the characters throughout the book is resolved before we’re moved toward the cliffhanger at the end, so as cliffhanger endings go, this one works. I still don’t like being left in the air like that, but I’ll accept it enough to be on the edge of my seat for the last book in the trilogy.

What disappointed me, then? It seemed to me that Em made what I call a “damsel in distress” decision in the end, which then leads to the cliffhanger. A “damsel in distress” decision, in my opinion, is a decision that generally results in the protagonist being put into peril unnecessarily. I probably shouldn’t call it a “decision”. It was more of an “I have no choice but to …” sort of thing. I just wasn’t convinced that Em had no other choice. Sure, what she did was noble and self-sacrificing, and guided us smoothly to the cliffhanger ending, but I wasn’t sure such a noble and self-sacrificing act was actually necessary, not for a smart cookie like Em.

Still, I’m looking forward to Runaway, the next installment in the trilogy, to see what happens. Cabot is a masterful storyteller, and in her hands the plot and characters are nothing short of fun. So despite my disappointment with the ending, I still found Being Nikki to be a good, fun read; if you haven’t read Airhead yet, I’d definitely recommend you read the two books back to back. Then settle back to wait for the last book in the trilogy.

Where to buy Being Nikki:

U.S. (Amazon.com) | Indiebound | Canada (Chapters) | UK (Amazon.co.uk)

Review copy details: published by Point, 2009, Hardcover, 336 pages

Flash Review: Jinx, by Meg Cabot

Jinx, by Meg Cabot

Jinx

The only thing Jean Honeychurch hates more than her boring name (not Jean Marie, or Jeanette, just . . . Jean) is her all-too-appropriate nickname, Jinx. Misfortune seems to follow her everywhere she goes—which is why she’s thrilled to be moving in with her aunt and uncle in New York City. Maybe when she’s halfway across the country, Jinx can finally outrun her bad luck. Or at least escape the havoc she’s caused back in her small hometown.

But trouble has definitely followed Jinx to New York. And it’s causing big problems for her cousin Tory, who is not happy to have the family black sheep around. Beautiful, glamorous Tory is hiding a dangerous secret—one that she’s sure Jinx is going to reveal.

Jinx is beginning to realize it isn’t just bad luck she’s been running from. It’s something far more sinister . . . and the curse Jinx has lived under since the day she was born might just be the only thing that can save her life.

My thoughts: I have always had a special spot in my heart for Meg Cabot’s works, particularly the novels in which she combines chick lit elements with the supernatural. If you’ve only ever read Cabot’s Princess Diaries series, or perhaps her Heather Wells mysteries, you might be surprised to discover that Cabot has an excellent touch with supernatural topics.

I once bought all six of the books in her Mediator series and polished them off during one lovely long weekend. More recently, I found myself a little bit disappointed with Airhead (only because it felt more like a prequel to Being Nikki) so I was pleased when I read Jinx shortly after (it’s an older release that I picked up from the library). In Jinx all the elements that make a great Cabot story are there, plus enough of the supernatural to occasionally send a slight shiver down your back. (Only occasionally, though – this is not a thriller nor a horror, nor is it meant to be.) If you’re looking for a light, interesting teen read with romance and supernatural elements, Jinx is a fantastic choice.

Where to buy: Amazon U.S. | IndieBound | Chapters (Canada) | Amazon UK

Still Reading …

It’s been quite a whirlwind around the MsBookish household – we seem to have plunged right into spring cleaning/home renovations fever, and if that sounds chaotic … it is!

But I’m still reading. I think it’s the only way to stay sane during a renovation. The main problem is that I don’t have much time for reviewing. I’m toying with posting mini-reviews – maybe call them “In A Nutshell” or something like that, to distinguish them from my regular full-length reviews.

I’ve been having a good time, though, renovations and all. Here’s a list of the books I’ve finished the last four weeks (I may be missing some that have gone back to the library – I forgot to keep a “master list”):

The Victoria Vanishes, by Christopher Fowler

Ten Second Staircase, by Christopher Fowler

Jinx, by Meg Cabot

Missing You (1-800-Where-R-You, Book 5), by Meg Cabot

Bones, by Jonathan Kellerman

Pictures of Perfection, by Reginald Hill

Ruling Passion, by Reginald Hill

A Pinch of Snuff, by Reginald Hill

The Third Degree, by Norah McClintock

Over the Edge, by Norah McClintock

Double Cross, by Norah McClintock

A Rule Against Murder, by Louise Penny (called The Murder Stone in Canada)

The Case of the Left-handed Lady, by Nancy Springer

The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets, by Nancy Springer

As you can probably see, there’s a definite mystery “theme” going on in my life right now. I’m pretty sure I’m missing some titles as well, but I’ll update the list if/when the missing titles come back to me.

In the course of renovating, and moving furniture around, I’ve also been going through my bookshelves. It’s so difficult, weeding my book collection, but it must be done – we simply don’t have enough space for all my books. I must admit, my heart cries a little with each box of books that leaves this house, headed toward charity book sales! But on the bright side, I’ve been finding a ton of books that I either (1) haven’t read yet or (2) want very much to re-read.

So yes, I’m still reading …!

Review: Airhead, by Meg Cabot

AirheadThe Snapshot Review

What I Liked: Em Watts is just wonderful, the dialogue is very realistic (says this mother of a 15-year-old girl) and the story is pure fun.

BUT: it’s more of a prequel, and at the end, I felt like it wasn’t really a complete story on its own.

Ms. Bookish’s Very Quick Take: A great read for Meg Cabot fans; just be warned, you’ll be really wanting to get your hands on the sequel as soon as it comes out, because Airhead doesn’t really feel like it has a proper ending.

Read the Full Review of Airhead

TSS: Currently reading Brown, Cabot, Fowler and Neville

It’s Sunday again – time most definitely has been flying by. I’m currently reading four books, but this week is a hectic week for me in terms of editorial deadlines, so I’m not sure how many of these I will be able to finish up and review by this time next Sunday.

But there’s just something so comforting about having such a lovely line-up of books in my Currently Reading pile.

I’ve been getting into the Christmas spirit with Rita Mae Brown’s Santa Claws. Mrs. Murphy and the gang are back at it again, and even though a murder isn’t the most Christmas-y of things, Santa Claws is shaping up to be a nice, cozy read. It’s definitely the kind of book you want to read with a mug of hot chocolate and mini marshmallows by your side. (Oh, wait a minute … I get that feeling with every book, actually.)

I haven’t gotten any further along on Katherine Neville’s The Fire, not because it’s not looking like it will be a good read, but because it’s one of those big, complex looking books that say to me, “I dare you to pick me up, start reading me and then put me down half an hour later because you’ve got work to do. Go on. I dare you.” Frankly, I’m a real wuss when it comes to such challenges; The Fire looks like it will be hard to put down once I get into it, and with so many deadlines coming at me, I’m scared to pick it up.

I know, kind of pathetic. What can I say? Books rule my life. And I’m woman enough to admit it.

Moving right along, I’ve also started Meg Cabot’s Big Boned. I love Cabot’s work, whether it’s her children’s books, YA novels or books for adults. In Big Boned, Heather Wells is back to solve another murder. I personally am reading this not for the whodunnit, but to see if Heather (a) will ever go back to singing superstardom again and (b) ends up with Cooper. Tad’s okay, but Cooper’s more than okay. Poor Tad.

Finally, I’m also reading Christopher Fowler’s White Corridor, another in the Peculiar Crimes Unit series featuring Bryant and May. I really like this duo, who are as quirky as you can get; sure they’re older, but that doesn’t get in the way of solving the crime, another locked room murder.

So that’s my reading week for the coming week. Now if I can only get some of these pesky deadlines finished up, it will be a very good reading week.

And here’s a round-up of the reviews I posted this past week:

Not in the Flesh, by Ruth Rendell (review)

The Cruellest Month, by Louise Penny (review)

The Book of Lies, by Brad Meltzer (review)

Casting Spells, by Barbara Bretton (review)