Ashleigh Paige

I'm a full-time college sophomore pursuing my B.A. in English with hopes of one day working as an editor. Cats, musicals, documentaries about cults/disasters/tragedies, and curse words are just a few of my favorite things. Also, check out our blog or I WILL FIND YOU.

Halo - Alexandra Adornetto Ladies and gentlemen, I give you a Goodreads original! If you would like the see the polite H.Y.P.E. review I wrote for this book, it's right here. I recommend you also read the quotes section after the review and all 124 of my status updates.Reader, my brain is broken. Halo did it. Everything that follows will prove it.Venus Cove is supposedly under attack by Agents of Darkness, so warrior Gabriel, healer Ivy, and itty bitty baby angel relatively young angel Bethany are sent there to battle evil and kick its ass do good deeds and hope that restores people's faith in God and one another. Despite being told not to do so and that it could land her in big trouble, Bethany falls in lust love with Xavier Woods, a school captain. Their relationship faces trial after trial, from the objection of Bethany's angel siblings to the arrival of British student Jake Thorn, who seems to have his eye on Bethany.Since this is the first flaw we're subjected to, we'll start with the writing. There is an overabundance of purple prose and many, many pages of needless description. We didn't need to know so much about the newspaper boy who saw them come to Earth, nor do we need to know every detail down to the wall trimming of the room Bethie is in. She even manages to purple it up over Xavier's name. A boy's name. A good red pen could have cut so much from this book and not hurt anything; in fact, it would have helped cut down on prose that was so purple that it made me green in the face. I skimmed way too many times to be healthy. The quotes section contains specific examples of her writing for the curious.These characters caricatures characters suck. Pure and simple. None of the angels, especially Bethany, have any personality, and despite her saying angels just don't develop personalities, that doesn't fly. Characters need personalities and don't get exceptions because they're not human. Bethany in particular seems to turn her nose in the air around her human "friends." These humans surround her to try and make her look good in comparison to them, but it doesn't work. Bethany still looks like an awful person. Jake the villain (and you know he's the villain because Adornetto takes time out of her book to heavily foreshadow his role and make him look suspicious) isn't even a reprieve from the goody-goody perfect heroes; he's just as dull.By the way, why does this demon from Hell need/get a British accent? Yes, villains are sometimes sexy and in most cases, British accents are sexy too. But villains with British accents are only sexy if done well, unlike with Jake here.Xavier is similarly flawless in the worst way, but he's also so selfish that he would try to keep an angel from returning to God and her proper home in Heaven. His and Bethany's relationship screams, breathes, smells, sounds, and looks unhealthy and obsessive. These two fall in love instantly and their entire worlds shift so that without one another, they're more useless than a sack of cat droppings. At one infamous point, he forces her to eat when she doesn't want to. Not funny. Seriously. It's like he's babysitting her, not dating her. And they're both completely fine with this. But then Xavier refuses to listen to her side of the story after something happens. If they're so in love, why does he refuse to listen to her?The plot holes, if combined, would create a hole large enough for Atlas to take the Earth off his shoulders and throw Earth through without the planet ever touching the edges of the hole. If Bethany has access to all human knowledge, how does she not know how to use a tube of lip gloss? If God has exiled angels from Heaven for their love/lust of mortals, why isn't Bethany a fallen angel? She has put her love for Xavier and desire to live as a teenager (which she shouldn't be concerned with anyways because she's here to do a job, not be a teenager) over her duty to God. That's plenty of grounds for exile, but she never falls. There are more plot holes I could go into. I won't.Why are the angels even in Venus Cove? There really are places in better need of their help, even if Bethany doesn't want to be in those worse places because it breaks her poor widdle heart. Humanitarians get their hearts broken when they go to those sorts of places, but what do they do? They steel their hearts up and get to work helping the people that need help. The angels, instead of seeking out evil on their own and kicking its ass as would be appropriate, just sit around and wait for evil to strike and then clean up the mess like they're janitors cleaning up after that second-grader who threw up all over his desk. No action is taken until Bethany is threatened and by then, there have already been a lot of victims. Got it, angels. Humans = unimmportant, they can all just suffer. Bethany = ZOMG WE MUST RESCUE HER! What wonderful priorities.The Foe Yay wasn't even any good! I am a sucker for that trope. A huge sucker. As long as there's some good Foe Yay, a book will win at least one eyelash-sized shard of my heart. But no, the Foe Yay with Jake and Bethany isn't anything I will go back and read when I want to read something fun. I think she was going for Foe Yay, too; if you have Foe Yay and I'm rolling my eyes, YOU HAVE SCREWED UP.The treatment of minor characters that were human is revolting. Human girls are depicted as shallow creatures that only care about prom and boys; all human boys except for Xavier just want to get into a girl's pants. My book mantra is "an author is not their book," but there is an exception when the author is blatantly inserting their views and themselves into the book. Considering the virginity editorial and the "why teenage boys suck more than vampires" editorial, I feel there is more of Adornetto and her values in this book than I'm comfortable with.Her presence within her own novel is disturbing because of the ideas presented within it. Just to start with, this book tells me you should judge people by their clothes because everyone knows Goths are either evil or under the influence of evil, Christianity is the only way, you're somehow impure once you have sex and your virginity is some BIG DEAL, and a young woman's actions can ruin the reputation of her entire family.The book is also remarkably sexist. The girls, even the angels, are always on the sidelines. Gabriel takes on Bethany's mistakes as his own and that sends the message that girls can't be responsible for their own action because they're just silly women they don't know how to be responsible for themselves! The women are all passive, never taking steps forward on their own, and are the ones in need of saving. Even the dog is sexist! He won't sit when a female tells him to, but he does when a male tells him to.Does this mean that Adornetto believes in all of this? Since the beliefs she expresses in both of her editorials creep into the book, how am I supposed to be able to sort out what expressed values are ones she holds and which ones she doesn't hold when almost all of them are outdated, offensive views? I often feel like I'm being preached at, where it's Adornetto speaking instead of Bethany, and I don't like that at all. If I wanted someone to preach to me, I would go to church.Plot? Conflict? They were in this book? Well, I guess the plot stumbled in at the end of the book with a nearly-empty bottle of vodka in its hands and a suspicious smell on its breath, but the conflict never showed up. Must have gotten held up in traffic.The book's climactic scene had me asking, "Are you KIDDING ME?" (As you can see from one of my updates.) That was... I feel like I've seen more of a ridiculous climactic scene, but this is in the top five. There wasn't even any tension to it; the entire time I read it, this song was playing in my head. (Yes, it came from that show. It was practically my childhood, so don't give me that look. I know I'm not the only one that watched it.)There are also two things the author should never be allowed to touch ever again: classic literature and flowers. Romeo and Juliet, Jane Eyre, and "Annabel Lee" (I think there were others, but I'm already trying to block he book out of my head) were all brought in and Romeo and Juliet was misinterpreted yet again. It's about two teenagers in lust with each other and the conflict between their family that separates them, not an epic love story that ends in death.I'm not an expert on it, but I have a special interest in flower language. Certain flowers have certain meanings and every time I include flowers in a story, even if it's only for one scene, I do heavy research to find a flower that will fit the mood and look good. Not Adornetto. Xavier comes over to dinner and brings yellow roses, which symbolize friendship or jealousy. Then (this is a good one), the corsage Xavier gives Bethany for prom has white rosebuds on it. White rosebuds symbolize girlhood, or a heart too young for or ignorant of love. My anger knew no bounds.In general, I think Adornetto is allergic to research. An inverted pentagram like Jake wears later in the novel becomes a pentacle, which is a symbol of white magic and good. Research could have fixed that problem, and a good editor could have caught it too. There's also a point where Xavier has a concussion and yet he speaks clearly and in full sentences. I've had to take care of someone with a concussion. He slurred his words, tried to use short sentences to get what he wanted across, and is still experiencing dizzy spells over a month later. Xavier gets none of this.If you're looking for a book that is pure snarkbait or something so mind-numbingly horrible that you will consider shoving your head through every pane of glass you can find, Halo is perfect. Otherwise, I beg you not to read it. Beg you!Beg.If the Halo-caused malfunction of my brain's filter and the temporary departure my my sanity hasn't convinced you not to read this book, what will?!--Quotes Section Fun Time!--Here are some fun quotes I pulled out from the book, usually for negative reasons, but some were just because they were just that stupid. I'm reading it on a Kindle, so no page citations."Humans were so preoccupied with love. They were all desperate to form an attachment to one person they could refer to as "their other half." It seemed from my reading of literature that being in love meant becoming the beloved's entire world. The rest of the universe paled into insignificance compared to the lovers. When they were separated, each fell into a melancholy state, and only when they were reunited did their hearts start beating again. Only when they were together could they really see the colors of the world. When they were apart, that color leached away, leaving everything a hazy gray."I disagree. I think she's describing something closer to obsession. It's not healthy for your entire world to revolve around one person.--"I'd listened in on the prayers of teenage girls and most of them centered on being accepted by the "popular" crowd and finding a boyfriend who played on the rugby team."Most girls don't care about popularity or getting an athlete boyfriend. I don't and I take offense to the idea that most girls are like this. They're not. It makes human girls sound like idiots. Just change it to "some" and it would be fine.--"...we angels didn't have a navel--just smooth white skin, freckle and indentation free."So angels can only be white, then. Okay. Ick.--"Gabriel turned to look at me, his eyes the color of thunder."Thunder isn't a color, you dumb little shit! Thunder is a sound! (Unless you have that disease where you mix up your senses so that you taste sounds and see smells and stuff. But Bethie is too perfect for that.) (Also, his eyes are described as "the color of rain" and "steel gray" later in the book. Rain is also not gray; it's clear.)--"But if I'd learned anything about teenage romance, it was that intensity wasn't dictated by duration. Three months was the norm, six months marked a turning point, and if a relationship lated a year, the pair was more or less engaged."No, they're more or less engaged when someone asks "Will you marry me?" and the other person says "Yes." Off-topic, but I've known four couples where one or both parties were still teenagers when they got officially engaged. All four of them broke up. One saved me from having a manipulative sister-in-law who was as crazy as all get-out and the other just made me happy because it meant a guy I hope burns in hell for what he did to me was unhappy, wouldn't be getting married, and I wouldn't be forced to attend his wedding.--"That was the effect he had on me--an explosion of happiness in my chest, scattering like little beads and making my whole body shiver and tingle."Pro-tip: Never describe a feeling such as happiness or ecstasy as exploding within a person. It's bad, overwrought writing and brings to mind the vision of a person and/or their organs actually exploding. Not that I would mind Bethany suddenly exploding and dying.--The infamous line: "For the evening at least, feminist philosophy had been abandoned, and the girls, like fairy-tale princesses, allowed themselves to be led up the flight of steps and into the foyer."Fuck you so much. I don't have fun at dances because I'm a fuddy duddy and don't like places with lots of people. It has nothing to do with being a feminist. How does being a feminist mean you can't have fun at dances and wear pretty dresses? I must not be a feminist after all since I love dresses.--"Although the boys looked dashing in their tuxedos, they were only really there as escorts; the night clearly belonged to the girls, every face I saw wore the same expression of anticipation."Guys go to prom to have fun too. It's just as much their night as any girl's. Addie, why don't you just come out and say you hate boys, girls, and the world itself?--Examples of cheating at narration:"Lana's eyes narrowed in annoyance at having given so much and recieved so little.""My hesitation was starting to make Xavier uncomfortable." (Note: no elaboration is ever given, such as a description of him shifting on his feet.)"Taylah stared after us as we pulled out of the drive, obviously wondering who had abducted her best friend and replaced her with this imposter."