Beauty and the Beast? Oh, Please.

WARNING: Rant ahead. Containing strong language, and much disgust.

Are you prepared? Yes? Then let’s go!

As you may know, Mac is a closet romance fan. Yes. Make all the jokes you want. Go ahead.

My tastes have always been closer to romance as a side-genre, but while going through dramatic times and wanting something of a lighter nature to distract me, I decided to give romance another chance. What better way than a Kindle Unlimited account on Amazon? And a Beauty and the Beast retelling? Heck yeah!

This is where I stumbled across this lovely gem: Beauty and the Beast by Angela Fattig.

Security…
Safety…
Fuck them and leave…
And the most important one…
Don’t give them your heart.
For both Shannon Taylor and Jareth Stein it’s been the same thing. Day after day, year after year.
Shannon Taylor knows all about hurt and betrayal. It’s something she never talks about. Not even her best friend knows.
High school is a very unkind place. Hell the whole childhood thing is Hell. Aren’t fathers supposed to love their children not hurt them?
Jareth Stein knows the secret of life. Leave them before they leave you.
That was the lesson his mother taught him all those years ago when she left him in the hands of his abusive father for another man. Never to be seen again.
In addition to the issues Jareth and Shannon face already; Jareth’s mom comes back with a message:
If you don’t give me what I want I will destroy you and everyone you love; starting with Shannon.

It sounded great. Abused hero and heroine, and dealing with resulting issues? My catnip. Plus, all wrapped up in some Beauty and the Beast? Hell yeah! Not to mention this, directly from Amazon!

50% of ebook sales will be donated to fight child abuse. So when you buy a copy for $2.99 you are doing your part to protect a child.
Thank you for your continued support.

A book like this couldn’t go wrong, right?

So, let’s start with the language. Fuck is the first word. Now, I’m no stranger to all the curses despite my proper Christian upbringing, but this book takes it a little far. No, make that a lot too far. It’s always cock or dick, ass, pussy, etc. That’s when you start to really wonder how big the author’s vocabulary is.

That’s mildly annoying, but I can live with it. The horrid grammar mistakes, too. Like this gem of dialogue!

“If I wanted to get you into bed, all I would need to do is come up to you and tell you I was ready to fuck.” He says this in a low and deep voice that has my insides turning to mush and my panties soaked.
“If,” I question breathlessly. I can’t believe I’m still playing this dangerous game because he’s right.
He smirks. “You know I want to fuck you,” he says, “How could you not. You were ogling a hole through my cock only moments ago.”
I huff and cross my arms over my chest. “I was not ogling your cock,” I say although we both know that’s a lie.
He laughs. “Well,” he questions raising a brow.
Frowning, I say, “Well what?”
“Wanna fuck,” he asks his voice dropping even more.

This charmer who doesn’t know what a question mark is? Jareth, our hero. Yes, named after that Jareth.

He moves fast and goes right for the sex, right after our heroine, Shannon, was having a panic attack, nonetheless. Oh, but don’t worry. That was cured the moment she saw Jareth’s magic dick, and ogled it. Because that works every single time.

After one magical night of passion after this chance meeting at a coffee shop, they part ways. And then Shannon wakes up alone in the hotel room and realizes that gasp! they didn’t use a condom.

foreshadowing

Then we move onto Chapter One. Where Jareth, (who’s an FBI agent! And a cop! Don’t ask me how.) meets up with Shannon again at a club. And guess what? She’s two months pregnant! Betcha didn’t see that coming! It was a complete and total shock!

Oh, and when Jareth sees her, in a tight red dress, we get treated to how his cock’s gone “hard as a fucking rock, my temper spiking.” Why? Well, because he wants her body to belong to him, of course.

Ah, can he get more charming? But since it was still Beauty and the Beast, supposedly, I let it slide.

And they finally learn each other’s names! How’s that for exciting? But Shannon’s trying to convince herself that she doesn’t need Jareth’s magic dick, so she gets angry and storms off.

Next chapter! POV switch again! This time, it’s our villains! Jareth’s mother, Jolene, and his stepfather that she abandoned him for, Jack. Surprise! These two are planning to blackmail Jareth out of some money. The plot is afoot! The scoundrels.

Jareth catches up to Shannon, and she can’t stay mad at him because he’s such a good kisser, and in no time, they’re having sex again. This girl has no spine. She just needed the magic dick that much, I guess.

I lost the ability to read through the rest of it again, because I already gave the awful thing back to the Amazon pits where it belongs, and there’s no way in hell I’m actually paying for it, so I shall continue without the rich, beautiful quotes I had hoped for.

So, there’s much of the sexytimes, which I’m in no position (har har) to criticize. But wait! What about the plot? Well, there’s something about protecting Shannon’s friend, Alicia, who suddenly turned out to be Jareth’s half-sister, for no reason at all. And some mob boss Jareth’s trying to stop. He and Shannon keep fighting, and he keeps being right. Because the man is always right, right?

And the day after they met up again, she’s telling him that she’s pregnant with his kid, and then he tells her all about his Certified Tragic Backstory. Sexual abuse by Daddy, in short, starting at five. When he was seven, he tried to tell Mommy, who told him he deserved it somehow. But he knew that was wrong.

NOW HOLD ON, JUST ONE FUCKING SECOND.

When abuse starts that young, does a child ever know that they don’t deserve it? I had my fair share of childhood drama, and, let me tell you, I was always sure I was the one doing the wrong thing. Mother is God in the eyes of a child. Besides, who opens up that easily? No abuse victim I’ve ever known.

Oh, and don’t worry, it gets better. Shannon’s all, “Oh, Jareth, I’m so sorry I called you an asshole! I wouldn’t have if I’d known!”

NONONONONONONO.

Nobody gets a license to be an asshole just because they were abused. We’re adults. We grow up, move on, and make the decision to change. None of us get a free ride because of our victim card. If someone’s being an asshole, it’s your duty to call them out on it, and not take that shit.

Oh, and then she’s like, “I’ll never look at you differently!” Oh, bullshit. She was already looking at him differently, which was why she was apologizing for calling him out on being the asshole that he is. And there they go, pitying each other so touchingly. Or sickeningly, in my case.

And then, we hear Shannon’s story (was that before or after they had more sex? I can’t remember), It started when she was five, too! Almost the same thing! Her Daddy was getting drunk, though, and her Mommy found out one time when Shannon was fighting him off as a teenager, so Mommy got killed, Daddy got to prison.

After more sex (including some tongue in the butt, complete with chocolate flavored lube!),

we arrive to Jareth’s mom threatening him and Shannon, your typical cheating misunderstanding. And then, somehow Shannon gets kidnapped, by this guy who turns out to be her half-brother! And, of course, he wants to rape her, too. She’s just that sexy, I guess. Even though we don’t even know what she does for a living! And her appearance is mentioned once! (Oh, I guess it’s because her magical Jareth-fixing hoo-ha tastes like peaches. That’s gotta be it. Because Jareth isn’t the only one to mention it.)

And don’t get me started on the sappy dialog. At one point, Shannon actually says something like, “From the moment I looked in your heavenly blue eyes, I loved you.” Oh, please. Does anyone actually talk like that?

So, to sum it up, Jareth’s a controlling asshole who gets away with it because it’s supposed to be sexy, and he keeps his victim card on hand. Shannon’s a weak, cardboard-cutout abuse victim who always needs the big strong man to save her from everything. Everything is made better by magical sex, and the villains know they’re villains, and take pride in it.

I’d lost all the respect I might have had for this book within the first couple chapters, I only finished it out of a savage need to hate something. I’m so sick of the Rape As A Backstory angle with women in books. Yes, we know rape is evil, thanks. We get the picture! But using it as a crutch to give your character an easy gateway to drama is just wrong. And please, the magic dick is not a miracle cure!

There’s so much NOPE throughout that book. There wasn’t even enough WTF-ery to make it funny! I can’t say I’ve ever come across a book that I dislike more, but I won’t be discouraged by this drivel.

But Tim Curry makes everything better.

Captain

Yesterday, I had to let the vet put my cat, Captain, to sleep. I’ve had him since I was ten years old. Twelve years. There’s no joke when I say that cat was the love of my life. And the day since then has been Hell. I’m taking double my depression meds, but I still can’t make myself do anything. Work, or even eat. I’m not crying anymore, but I’m a numb, melancholy mess.

I grew up with him. He was the only one I felt was always there for me, no matter what. Usually, he was there when I didn’t want him, but that didn’t matter. He’d just sneak onto my lap when I wasn’t paying attention, anyway, purring contentedly. Or he’d steal my pillow when I was sleeping. Sit on my phone or keys so I couldn’t find them. Help me write at night. Beg for me to share my veggies.

At least, this time, I got to say goodbye. And he’s out of pain. That’s what’s important. I can get past the rest of it. Sure, it’s gonna be damned hard, but I’ll make it.

But I’m going to miss my funny-looking baby.

Friggin’ Depression, and Random Rambles

Welcome back to my Rantings, Ramblings, Ravings and Musings. Aren’t you so glad to be here?

Yeah, that makes two of us. I feel your pain.

My poor roommates. They’ve had to deal with me, since my job ended, being crankier than normal. Crankiness is me in the pits of depression. I don’t get sad, just irritable.

My counselor’s been working with me on this, helping me realize how this is quite often my inner child, triggered by that which I deem to be unfair. Because I didn’t have a very fair childhood, at all, and I wasn’t really allowed to just be a kid.

Oh, woe is me.

Anyway, I’m still cranky as hell. Because life is unfair. I have a headache. That’s unfair. Everything hurts. Also unfair. I don’t have a job. Also unfair. I can go on. And on. And on.

I went to a dance a few weeks ago. It sucked. First, because I had to go alone, and only knew one person there. Second, because depression. I had to go hide in a corner for a while and just chill, and then fend off the awkward “are you okay?” questions from concerned passersby who happened to stumble upon me.

Friggin’ depression.

My cat, Captain, had to have dental surgery, because of unfortunately rotten teeth. I’ve had that cat for twelve years now. He’s quite honestly the love of my life. And every day, I have to face the fact that he’s getting old, and I’m going to lose him one day.

That also sucks.

Friggin’ depression.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Scott, too. (Friend who committed suicide four months back.) It’s really hard, because I miss him, I’m pissed as hell at him, and I still have those wistful suicidal thoughts at night, but I annoyingly promised myself I wouldn’t do it, because he made me realize how freaking selfish it is, and I can’t do that to everyone. I mean, think of the funeral costs. That’s enough of a deterrent. But, honestly, I’m still perfectly okay with dying. I’m just not actively seeking it.

Betcha know what I’m going to say next.

That’s right. Friggin’ depression.

I’m trying to watch my language, as my roommates have instituted a “Swear Jar,” and I don’t want to lose the money I’ve got because of a few strong words. Mormons, sometimes.

But, hey. At least right now it’s just the f-bomb. I can even get away with the blatant use of my middle finger, right now. So I’m okay. My freedom of speech isn’t in that much danger. But you can thank them for today’s use of milder language.

I’ve also discovered that I am a valuable resource to my fellow-writing roommates. For instance, one of these roommates was writing a literary story for a class, and I helped her make it less boring by putting excellent elements of drama into it, such as a narcissistic mother. I am their go-to person for abuse and mental illness research, even if they don’t freaking want it. I will shove it down their throats if need be!

By the way, any aspiring writers out there: RESEARCH IS YOUR FRIEND! ALWAYS DO THE RESEARCH!

Anyway, friends, followers, or random people out there, thank you for tuning in. You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming. (Saying that makes me feel powerful, okay? Don’t judge me.)

And, just once more, for the sake of my amusement:

Friggin’ depression.

Mormons in Church

As Mormons, we prize intelligence. But we’re also the first to admit we’re nowhere near perfect. Which is great! It leads to some fantastic memories to be made during meetings! Why? Because we assign speakers from the congregation—not just the local church authority!

So, for instance, one time when a girl said, “my friends have been very detrimental to my college experience.” And then she just kept going. Everyone else was quiet, but my Writer Roommates and I were cracking up in the back.

Or, standing up at the pulpit, reading her talk verbatim, a girl says, “I had some really scary health issues. I was scared and afraid.” Or a stake authority (higher up than the local, ward level, but still pretty local): “How grateful it is to be able to talk to you.”

Things like this are why Mormons are laughing during church.

On the first Sunday of the month, we have a testimony meeting, where members will volunteer to get up in front of the congregation and bear their testimony–tell us that they know certain things are true, and why. It can be a really powerful religious experience for us.

However,

One time, when I was a teenager, it was just me and my sister at church during one of those meetings. Behind us sat this little kid with an affinity for blowing raspberries.

So, a stay-at-home mom gets up, and starts talking about how she knows the Church is true, getting rather emotional about it all. How she loves her family. . .

*raspberry*

. . . and her three beautiful children. . .

*raspberry*

. . . and is so grateful to have them in her life. . .

*raspberry.*

That’s one of those things that had me fighting not to crack up. It’s undeniable proof–God has a sense of humor!

On Dystopia

Let’s get into the fictional world a bit, okay? Okay.

So, dystopian fiction! So popular lately. The Hunger Games. Divergent. What have you. What’s all that stuff about?

Well, I’m here to tell you.

Just let me push my glasses up my nose, here. Have to get the right pretentious feel of the geek who knows so much more than everyone else, you know?

There. That’s better.

Anyway, my roommate absolutely loathes anything dystopian. I have a hard time understanding that. Sure, I’m not into the recent fad, but there are some really great dystopian stories out there. Anthem is one of my favorite examples. Harrison Bergeron. I love the way they make me think! So, this all lead me to write her a little mini-essay about dystopias, which I will shell out for you all, here.

Before you get any farther, no, I’m not talking about the new ones. They are not relevant to my rambling. I try to avoid them.

Once upon a time, in a Utah town not all that far away, Mac was in high school, and had the opportunity to specifically study fantasy and science fiction. For credit.

Oh, it was a magical time! Filled with some of the worst, and best, books she had ever read.

But that’s not the point. I digress. Again.

See, dystopia is an attempt to moderate the extremists. You know, those people with all their fancy ideas for how the world could be better. If we were all equal! If we all shared, and the government ran everything! If we didn’t let emotion control us! If we could all be pretty! If we could stop crimes before they happen by analyzing someone’s psyche!

The point of a dystopian story is to say, “Yes, but. . .” and take that utopia these people have imagined, and point out the flaws. Show people the awful truth behind the pretty lies.

Now, dystopias are downright depressing, usually. But they do make you think (or me, at least). It makes me open my eyes a little more to the world around me, and realize that things aren’t as bad as they could be. Not by a long shot!

I’d provide you guys with a list of my favorite dystopian books/movies/what have you, but I’m not a very good judge. That stuff and depression don’t really mix well together, sometimes. I tried, and I could only come up with three off the top of my head. I haven’t even read most of the greats. So I will duck my head back down, and shut up now.

Thanks for reading. You guys rock.

A Step Away From Anonymity (Because I’m Bored)

I feel brave today, and bored, too. So I’ll share some less-than-anonymous facts about myself. Wahoo.

  1. My name is Kayla (actually Michaela/Makayla/Mckayla, or one of a thousand other spellings, but I’m not that brave). Mac is a derivative that has never been applied to me, but I like it, and have therefore attempted to apply it.
  2. I turned 22 in February.
  3. I live in Utah (surprise, surprise)—have my entire life.
  4. My hair is naturally blond and curly, and it’s a pain in the neck, but people always compliment it.
  5. My initials really are MCP (like the Master Control Program from Tron).
  6. I’ve been told I’m beautiful many times, but most of the guys who said this to me turned out to be creeps or jerks or both, so I have a lot of self-esteem issues about it.
  7. I have two cats. Captain Hook and Rinna (who I call Moe).
  8. I’ve never weighed more than 150 pounds.

On Characters and Mac the Defender (And Ramblings)

Characters are probably the most important element in a story, if you’re me. Without a good, memorable character, a book is bland and lifeless.

So, I thought I’d burden you with my thoughts on characters, today. And other things that tie in, of course. At least in my brain. Aren’t you so excited? You should be.

Now, we ramble.

Every writer, in my limited experience (feel free to correct me), puts something of themselves into a character. If it’s too much, and too badly written, the readers will call it a Mary Sue and be done with it. But we’re not focusing on those, right now. This is about me. Focus. Geez.

Anyway, with me, I have a tendency toward writing male characters, with dark and troubled pasts. Abuse is certainly an issue, and they have a lot of the same problems I have. Depression. Suicidal mentalities. An urge to protect others from going through what they’ve been through. An obsession with not being weak.

Heck, I was writing all my characters with depression before I knew I was depressed. It was the only reality I knew, and I thought everyone was like that. Surprise, surprise, Mac.

In my writing, my characters get better. At least, they start down the road to recovery. I guess that’s me, protecting them the best way that I can. Because I feel the need to protect people (and animals) that are going through, or have gone through, similar things.

My cat, Moe, is terrified of everything. My dad and I found her in an add, and drove out to get her. The first time I saw her, she was cowering in the back of a cat carrier, and she hissed at me. When I picked her up, holding her against my chest, she started to tremble. She stayed quietly on my lap the entire way home.

At home, she curled up under my bookcase and wouldn’t come out. I would have been fine to leave her be, but she had two knots in her fur, so I took her out and cut them out. Imagine my surprise when I realized she was purring. After that, I started taking her out and giving her attention for a couple minutes every day. Slowly, she started warming up to me.

It’s been three years since I got her. She’s still a skittish little stinker. But she sleeps on my bed. And my roommate’s. She attacks receipts in the middle of the floor. She comes to me or my roommates unfailingly when she wants attention. She rolls over and lets you rub her belly. Her purr is audible. Of course, you still have to be careful not to approach her too quickly or speak in the wrong tone, and I’m crazily protective of her, but she’s gotten so much better. It’s wonderful, for me, to see how far she’s come. How far my characters have come.

And yes, how far I’ve come.