Handbook for Mortals: Chapter 6: The Moon

Previously: Bitchy Sofia hit on Mac, who rejected her. Mac asked Zade to go scuba diving, and accidentally said a sex joke. Tad made fun of Mac for refusing to admit that he’s into Zade.

We start a few days after the last chapter ends, and Zade is camping with the cast/crew. She says she likes the outdoors, and that she has no survival skills. She says she should have put up her tent right away, but procrastinated and went swimming until it was nighttime, and now she has to set up her tend in the dark.

She’s been struggling for fourty-five minutes, and even though she knows she could ask for help, she can’t because of her pride. She struggles for a few more paragraphs, but then baby Riley shows up and offers to help. She declines, and he wanders off.

Zade tells us that she can see the stars out here, which you can’t do in Vegas, and we get a quick explanation of how light pollution works:

Apparently, moonlight and large glittery casinos drown out all but the brightest stars.

If Zade had been feeling insecure about her place in the Charles Spellman Show pecking order, I would interpret this to mean that now that she’s out with her friends, she feels more accepted. But she’s never expressed any insecurity except about having her magical secret discovered, so I think it’s just meant to be a little fun fact about Las Vegas.

Zade looks at the stars and thinks about how much she likes them, which makes her think of a quote she likes:

“[A] star is a huge flaming ball of gas. . . . [T]hat is not what a star is, but only what it is made of.” What we are made of and what we are, are not there same.

Maybe the point of this bit about light pollution and stars is saying that in Vegas, she’s this huge star because of what she can do, and therefore, she overshadows the rest of the cast and crew. But now that they’re all out here, she can interact with them as equals: Out here, everyone gets to “shine.” And then the quote about being more than the sum of your parts means that in all Zade’s fame, she feels like she’s been reduced to a spectacle, and out here, she gets to be her true self.

It wouldn’t actually be a bad bit of symbolism if we had been given any evidence that Zade was anything less than 100% happy with her life, or shown any sort of inequality between the cast members and the crew.

People also think Vegas is hot all the time, but it is a desert, so at night it cools down pretty quickly and the air at our campsite almost had a brisk chill to it. I was happy to be out here feeling like I belonged even a little bit, though I was nervous. A group of the crew were sitting around the campfire. Most of them were drinking beer, and a few were cooking.

Again, if I’m reading this correctly, Zade is saying that even though you might think being a star in Vegas is super awesome and fun, it can get lonely if you don’t have a group of friends (symbolized by saying that Vegas is hot by day but cool at night). Now Zade is out here with friends, but she’s still trying to keep to herself (the campsite has a bit of a chill), even though everyone else is hanging out together (being warm by the campfire). Again, this isn’t a bad metaphor, except for the fact that Zade’s been shown to be super popular and hasn’t had any problems with anyone except Sofia.

But maybe this is because Zade is an unreliable narrator, and she intentionally leaves out any scenario where she comes out looking anything less than the best person ever.

I might have literally just hallucinated that, because rather than realizing that she should accept Riley’s offer to help:

I wished I had a guy. If I had been dating someone, anyone, then he would have also been sleeping in the tent with me–and therefore helping me put it together. Not that I couldn’t do it by myself, but I liked the idea of having someone to do things with. Things like this and other things. I was fiercely independent but that doesn’t mean I always want to do things alone.

Maybe Zade, like Mac, is in denial about what she wants. She wants friends, but as soon as she realizes she has the chance to develop supportive platonic relationships, she instantly re-directs her thoughts towards wishing she had a boyfriend. Just as Mac doesn’t allow himself to admit he’s into Zade because that would put him at risk for rejection, she can’t admit to herself that she wants friends, because doing so would put her at risk of becoming dependent on other for help (rather than remaining “fiercely independent”).

Again, the only problem is that we’ve been shown nothing about Zade having any issues with intimacy.

Zade’s solution to the problem?

I looked around one more time to make sure I wasn’t in sight of anyone. I rubbed my hands together and thought hard about the tent rising and assembling itself. I waved my hands in elliptical motions, replaying that image in my mind. In a few seconds, my tent had risen by itself and was sitting securely on its own.

Her magic is literal hand-waving. There’s some symbolism there, too, but I won’t go too far into it. Now that she’s done with her tent, she goes to join everyone else at the campfire:

When I reached the campfire I noticed Jackson and Zeb sitting next to each other talking. They were sitting close enough to the fire that the warm glow reflected off of Jackson’s face making him look almost angelic. For a split second, though, Zeb’s face somehow made him look just a tad. . .evil.

In case you’ve forgotten, Zeb is the red-haired assistant magician and close friend to Charles, and he appears to dislike Zade.  Since I’ve speculated that Zeb actually is magic/knows about magic, Jackson’s apparent closeness to Zeb makes me speculate that perhaps he also knows about magic. Or maybe he’s been enchanted by Zeb to seduce Zade: both times he and Zade have interacted, he’s laid his obvious attraction to her on pretty thick, to the point that it’s suspicious.

[Spoilers: if any of this is the case, it’s not revealed in this book.]

When Jackson sees Zade, he scoots over to make room for her, and Zeb looks grumpy and gets up to leave.

Zade asks Jackson why Zeb doesn’t like her. Before answering, Jackson gets super close to Zade

“It’s not that he doesn’t like you. He’s just used to cast and crew kind of coming and going, so he waits to warm up to people. He’ll come around eventually. And, in my experience, when he does, he’s awesome. He’s brilliant and will become your favorite person. It just takes time with him.

This is my theory: Zeb is the leader of a rival magical faction. Jackson is a member of that faction.

To any aspiring author, I am going to use this novel as a case study about how even an incredibly shitty, inane, meandering book that was adapted from screenplay which was written for the author to star in could have been interesting with enough editing and reworking.

Anyway: Jackson changes the subject.

“Do you like camping? Are you an outdoorsy kind of girl? I mean. . .I kinda thought your tent was going to take you down in the fourth round.”

Is he implying he knew she used magic?

If he was, it goes straight over Zade’s head:

I thought about his question for a moment. I wouldn’t ever have labeled myself as such but I guess to a certain extent, yes, I was an “outdoorsy type” girl.

If you probably wouldn’t have labeled yourself “outdoorsy,” you probably aren’t. It’s OK to not be outdoorsy.

Zade says that it’s nice to be out camping, and Jackson wonders if she’s sick of the theater already. Zade says this isn’t what she meant, and says that she loves both being in the theater and being out camping.

Jackson asks her where she’s from, and she takes a moment to be nostalgic for Tennesee.  And then, we get yet more evidence that Jackson is perhaps more than he seems:

Jackson seemed to be reading my mind, his comment and question were exactly in line with what I had been thinking. “That’s a ways away. You miss it?”

Jackson is a mind-reader CONFIRMED?

So Zade says that she kind of does, but says that she knows that if she didn’t get out soon, she’d never leave. Jackson says he understands, and Zade talks more about missing her mom.

She also thinks:

I did miss her. We hadn’t really talked since I had left. I knew she didn’t like that I was in Vegas–and I was sure she didn’t really want to hear any stories about the show that she wasn’t happy I was out here working for, so I didn’t have much to say.

Jesus christ that’s an awkward sentence.

Jackson says he understands, and they laugh. Then, Zade sees Mac:

He looked a little upset as he crossed on the other side of the fire and walked away. I couldn’t help but wonder why. He stayed close enough to where he could see us and therefore we could see him, which was also curious.

Maybe because he invited you and you’re ignoring him for another guy? God damn, Zade is thick.

Zade sees Tad come up to Mac, and the two exchange a few words that we don’t get to overhear. I choose to believe that they were talking about Tad’s home life. Then one of Jackson’s bandmates comes up to talk to Jackson, leaving Zade free to go talk to Mac.

Zade isn’t used to seeing Mac outside of his black uniform, so we get a lengthy description of what Mac’s wearing, which is jeans and a plaid flannel shirt over an undershirt:

In the south those types of undershirts are often called “wife beaters.” It’s a horrible name for anything really but especially a shirt.

Good point, Zade!

And then she keeps talking about Mac’s oufit. Her verdict:

. . .I liked his style a lot. He looked somewhat like a hipster, but a hipster that could actually hunt and do other manly things most hipsters don’t know how to do.

Just in case that sounds a bit too rugged, Zade clarifies that Mac doesn’t have a beard:

A manly hipster without a beard though, thankfully. I was not a fan of beards, and I had come to like it most when Mac had just shaved–though in the light from the fire he appeared to have a five o’clock shadow, and that was also nice.

You know what? I’m really grateful that we got these awful descriptions because I was so close to thinking that Lani Sarem might have had a bit more going on in this book than I’d originally thought.

Mac and Zade flirt for a bit, and Zade hopes that Mac doesn’t hate her, until Riley comes up and tells them that they have to see something.

He pointed at Sofia and another performer, Mel, who were walking toward the tree Mac and I had been posted up on.

Uh-oh! Looks like there’s about to be some drama! Mac and Riley bolt, leaving Zade to face Sofia.

I was still caught up in that feeling of surprise when Sofia reached me and put her arm around me. Mel, who was probably Sofia’s closest friend, flanked me on the other side. I had no idea why they had cornered me, but Sofia’s grip on my shoulder told me she wasn’t going to let go of me easy. It was awkward right away, and for a few moments no one said anything, perhaps they were waiting for Mac and Riley to be out of earshot.

Sofia tells Zade that she’s wasting her time. She says that she’s seen Zade flirting with Mac, and Mel tells Zade that Mac has a rule of never dating performers.

While Mel spoke, her head shook from side to side. It made me wonder if she had anything inside of it, of it it just kind of bobbled around with empty space.

Fuckin’ savage. I’d be outraged at Zade’s bitchiness but I’ve just spent several thousand words insulting her, so I’ll let her have this one.

Zade tells them that she’s not trying to date Mac, or anyone, but Sofia calls BS:

“Look, we get it[. . .]We both tried to tame that rugged exterior at one point, and if we couldn’t reak him, then don’t think you’ll change him either.

So basically, the entire purpose of this confrontation is for Sofia to tell Zade that Zade is better than her and Mel, making this The World Revolves Around Zade Part 14. Zade gets pissed, and tells them that if she were into Mac, she’d have better luck that either of them. She’s pleased with herself, and thinks:

Zade: one; stupid girls: zero.

I feel like this is Lani Sarem telling the audience what they ought to be thinking.

Mel asks Zade if she thinks she’s hotter than her and Sofia. Zade answers with the maturity of maybe like an 18-year-old?

“Physically?[. . .]No, not a chance. You’re both far more beautiful than I am, if we’re talking about the outside. But have you ever bothered to see what you look like on the inside? There’s this song called ‘Ugly Girl’ that I swear is about both of you. I’ll play it for you sometime.”

Remember, this is coming from Zade, who bitched out Mac on her first day for no reason, constantly assesses the attractiveness of everyone around her, tunes out what other people are saying to look at herself, and re-wrote history to make Sofia look worse than she actually is that time she almost fell to her death.

She’s also really, really self-centered:

Sometimes I wished I could be the star in my own movie so at moments like that the song I was thinking of (in this case by the band 100 Monkeys) could start playing.

Oh, we know.

Also, just so you know, 100 Monkeys is the name of Jackson Rathbone’s band.

And all of a sudden, we shift into Third Person Italics so we can watch the aftermath of Zade’s devastating attack in real time:

Mel asks Sofia why she even cares that Mac doesn’t want to date her:

“Why do you care anyway, Sof? So he wouldn’t go out with you. He’s a tech. He’s the king of the techs, I guess, but I only tried to sleep with him ’cause I’ll sleep with anyone that’s cute.”

Mel’s an honest and self-aware person. Good for her.

Sofia knew that Mel had only gone along with the gang-up on Zade because she ask asked her to; Mel didn’t really care if Zade went after Mac or not.

And, Mel is a good and true friend friend!

Sofia tells her that she doesn’t want Mac and Zade to start dating because that will make her get even more attention.

Sofia was resentful of being upstaged in the theater she had claimed as her own. She was bitter and angry and it showed even in the falling darkness.

The World Revolves Around Zade part 15!

Mel may be honest and loyal, but she’s not very bright:

“So . . . Wait . . . Do you mean that this is ‘if I can’t have him no one can?’ You wouldn’t rather be with Mac than Charles, would you? You’d be crazy if that’s the case. Sure, he’s cute and all, but C.S. . . . Well . . . You want to give up the red carpet for stage blacks?”

That’s not even remotely related to what Sofia just said. Sofia said she didn’t want Zade to get more attention. She did not say that she cared if Mac dated anyone other than Zade, or that she wanted to break up with Charles to be with Mac.

But maybe Mel just wasn’t paying attention:

Mel had lost all interest in the whole thing and really wanted to go back to flirting with the newly single performer, Parker, who she had her eye on this week.

Mel is now my favorite character because she is literally the only person who thinks about things other than Zade. You go, Mel. Live your own life.

We learn that Jackson’s been listening in on their conversation:

Sofia and Mel hadn’t even noticed that he had been there listening to the whole thing, as they had been too intent on harassing Zade. 

Of fucking course he had. He walks over to them so that they can be insulted one more time before the chapter ends:

“If it matters, I don’t agree with her. I think she’s much hotter on the outside, as well as the inside.” Jackson tipped his beer bottle at them and walked away.

Oh. This chapter was going so well, until Mac showed up. I have been thoroughly convinced that any interesting symbolism or subtext I’d found was completely unintentional.

Tune in next time to see Zade meet Carrot Top and Wayne Newton. Yep. That is a thing that happens.


8 thoughts on “Handbook for Mortals: Chapter 6: The Moon

  1. I forgot two things… You need to take lessons and get some certification to go scuba diving. It could be hand-waved, since they’re in the middle of nowhere and none of these people give a shit about safety, but you’d think Mac would bring it up, since he invited her.

    I also forgot we were supposed to see some god damn scuba diving, and I got confused about the camping trip, until the invitation was mentioned. Do they even go diving at all? If there aren’t any details about that, I’m gonna assume Sarem has never gone scuba diving before, and she doesn’t care enough to try faking it.

    I’m beginning to think all of this swimming is just so Zade can have an interest that involves bodies of water for scenery porn, and not as a means of characterization. Unless it’s just from the summarizing and I missed it, then she spends more time mentioning it than actually doing it. We don’t even know why she enjoys it, how good she is, or if she has personal preferences regarding natural bodies of water versus chlorinated swimming pools. There’s nothing to it. I’d almost say Anakin had more to say about sand, but we know he didn’t.

    “It wouldn’t actually be a bad bit of symbolism if we had been given any evidence that Zade was anything less than 100% happy with her life, or shown any sort of inequality between the cast members and the crew.”

    I want to think Sarem was trying to do that, at least in a lip service kind of way, given all of the really cool inferences that you came up with, but that’s the case, then it didn’t come across very well. Also, if she genuinely wanted to do that, it’s one of the worst things to be subtle about. That’s what the narrative should devote its time to; not the love triangle BS that goes nowhere and says nothing about anything. I mean, not hitting us over the head with it, but actually devoting some time and effort into exploring these ideas, so you’re not second-guessing yourself about whether these ideas were remotely intentional.

    “Maybe Zade, like Mac, is in denial about what she wants. She wants friends, but as soon as she realizes she has the chance to develop supportive platonic relationships, she instantly re-directs her thoughts towards wishing she had a boyfriend. Just as Mac doesn’t allow himself to admit he’s into Zade because that would put him at risk for rejection, she can’t admit to herself that she wants friends, because doing so would put her at risk of becoming dependent on other for help (rather than remaining “fiercely independent”).

    Again, the only problem is that we’ve been shown nothing about Zade having any issues with intimacy.”

    That would’ve been SUCH a good book if the story had gone in that direction, instead of tacking on fucking Jackson! OMG… especially since the shitty prologue didn’t say she had any friends that she was leaving behind. And Friendship is Magic, yo.

    Fuck… I’m genuinely angry now. This is what the misogynistic mind-set, where a strong woman doesn’t need no help and is always jealous of other women, because they’re not worthy if they aren’t beautiful, perfect, and strong, can do to people. If the story had shown Sofia and Mel slowly befriending Zade, along with Lil, and maybe Carrot Top and Wayne Nelson, it could have been amazing. But no. Instead, we get douche Tad and… hell, I don’t actually remember the other guys, besides Cam and Mac. I really wish it was Cameron/Mac or Cam/Clark, and Lily btw. Too many three-letter names really is a pain to keep track of. Wait, there was a Pete… eh. Hrmm… I remember his other nickname, Trig, but not what he even does.

    But yeah, having a well-rounded theme of friendship and love couldn’t have hurt, and it would be a natural progression. What if Zade slowly realized she was super ready for friends, but not for romance just yet? And Mac was kind of reluctant, so he was cool with taking it slow, except he wasn’t sure he liked Sofia (as a personal dislike for her safety disdain or whatever, instead of everyone hating her for no good reason.) What could be more natural than them having arguments over Zade’s new friends? What if her new friends talked her into doing inadvisable things, especially since Sofia is secretly trying to undermine Zade? Then what if Zade saved her life and Sofia was so grateful, that she felt bad about what she tried to do? And she confessed she was just so upset and disappointed that her favorite act she worked so hard on got cut? And Zade could visit her in the hospital, especially if Sofia was legit injured.

    MAN… That could’ve been good. Instead, Sarem sucks all of the natural tension out and replaces it with a cliche skeleton of a love triangle. If Jackson really was in on some conspiracy, it would’ve been acceptable, but there isn’t even that! Sarem legit missed every single chance at real drama, and I think even the guy she based him on would be insulted if he realized it. Who doesn’t wanna play a bad boy hottie villain? Especially if he has a chance of doing a heel-face turn? UGH.

    “I looked around one more time to make sure I wasn’t in sight of anyone.”

    WHAT. How?! Is there a hill in the way? You’re in the fucking desert. *looks up Lake Mead* OKAY, even if you’re in the mountainous areas, for god sake, why the hell would you set up your tent that far away from the other tents? How many people came along? Is there even enough room to set-up so far apart from one another? Wouldn’t you want to be near the campfires, to capture some of the heat maybe? Also, she needs the light to see, if it’s actually dark enough to cause her problems, and if she can see by it, then the light from those same fires makes anything she’s doing pretty obvious. I can’t help, but think this sentence meant to imply no one was looking at that moment. Otherwise, I am deeply confused.

    *does more research* There’s some info on camping here. The only group camping spot is at Boulder Beach Campground, where reservations are required. That’s fine. But that means they’re on a flat beach area. I’m gonna chalk this up to shitty writing and move on now. -_-;

    Zade is the most disappointing fucking magician in plain sight ever. It’s a lame description, she feels nothing as she does it, and there’s no real tension about getting caught. We have a literal case of A Wizard Did It. Congrats, Sarem. Your book officially sucks at all the things, all the time. It’d be different if we were watching this from the perspective of one of the other characters watching her do this and wondering if they actually saw what they just saw, but no. We’re inside Zade’s head. MAKE THAT IMPORTANT TO THE STORY WHY DON’T YOU?

    God… Oh, btw… if Zade’s pride would be hurt, perhaps having a female friend help her would be a little less embarrassing than having one of the guys help her. Sofia could’ve lorded it over her, or Mel could’ve showed her casual disinterest while being compassionate enough to assist. Zade could grow as a person, if she showed how she’s only human, she makes mistakes, and sometimes she needs other people in her life, especially her co-workers, who she’s learning how to cooperate with.

    But no. Zade needs magic, so she can pitch a tent in her pants over Mac… er Jackson… er she just puts up a tent!

    Fuck, this is so disappointing. You absolutely must leave a book review on Amazon and B&N, btw. Give some really personal pointers on what is so shitty about this terrible, horrible, not good, very bad book, in detail, that way people can’t claim that you haven’t read the book. Get specific and mention how they aren’t even spoilers. lol 😛

    “Or maybe he’s been enchanted by Zeb to seduce Zade: both times he and Zade have interacted, he’s laid his obvious attraction to her on pretty thick, to the point that it’s suspicious.”

    Everything that’s legit suspicious totally isn’t. That’s also disappointing. It’d even be kind of funny if Zade caught on, called Jackson out, and he admitted to it, but said he was really starting to like her, and he hoped that she wouldn’t hate him for that, since he never tried to compel her or anything that’s actually mind-control, he just made himself even more attractive than usual. C’mon! Who doesn’t want Tsundere!Anti-Hero vs. Charming!Warlock? Well, I don’t, but it’d be more interesting than what we got…

    “Jesus christ that’s an awkward sentence.”


    I did miss her. We hadn’t really talked since I left, but there was a reason. She didn’t like that I was in Vegas. Somehow, I knew that she didn’t want to hear any stories about the show, since she didn’t approve of me working here, so I didn’t have much to say.

    There. It just needed to be restructured.

    “I choose to believe that they were talking about Tad’s home life.”

    I wish we could hear about his home life, honestly. It’d be a nice change of pace from him talking about Zade all the time… Oh dear. What if his wife lives in Canada?

    “Good point, Zade!”

    It actually is. I choose to believe she stole that line from her friend, who wrote that awful forward. XD

    “I had come to like it most when Mac had just shaved–though in the light from the fire he appeared to have a five o’clock shadow, and that was also nice.”

    Maybe he seems to have a five o’clock shadow, because it’s after five o’clock? Some men have fast stubble. I hope he brought a razor with him if he wants to win against Jackson in the morning. Wait… does Jackson have a beard?! She never mentioned it! Right? OMG OMG he totally has a wicked goatee. I’m calling it now.

    “Mac and Riley bolt, leaving Zade to face Sofia.”

    Those evil cowardly fuckers. And then Jackson stayed, but didn’t say shit. Good lord. I hope Sofia genuinely hates all of these douche bags. Incidentally, considering that Sofia has a best friend, which takes some effort, and Mel seems like good people, then she’s probably not all bad.

    “Sofia tells Zade that she’s wasting her time.”

    She really is. Fuck Mac. He’s a creep, Zade. If only Sofia had embarrassed the bastard by catching Mac ogling Zade in her underwear, the way Tad did.

    Also, Mac, don’t drink beer if it comes from someone that you hate. That was Sofia’s wrong call, to pay for a beer that you didn’t ask for, but you could have given it back to her and refused it immediately, especially since he originally only intended to have one. If he’d stuck by that idea and gotten up immediately, he could’ve avoided her hitting on him. Admittedly, that might be a hindsight kinda think, but I suddenly remembered it. Why am I even remembering this stuff? I hate having memory dedicated to these empty scenes. I hope I got something wrong, because I didn’t remember the situation well enough.

    Oh, but yeah. Kind of a dick move to hug Zade if she didn’t want hugs. Boundaries are there for a reason. I notice Sofia seems to be the only one touching most of these people though. First Charles, then Riley, then Mac, then Zade. Maybe she just doesn’t realize she’s making people uncomfortable. I mean, Charles grabbed Zade’s chin, which is similar soooo… Eh.

    “Zade gets pissed, and tells them that if she were into Mac, she’d have better luck than either of them.”

    WTF is she basing that on? Supposedly, she never dated in Tennessee. She was too hot and witchy for those hypocritical bumpkins. XD

    “I’ll play it for you sometime.”

    You dumb fucking… BORROW JACKSON’S GUITAR. He’s RIGHT there! If you’re gonna school someone, after they ask such an awkward question, and you’re willing to snark it up in music for Mac, do it for Sofia too! SOFIA AND MEL DESERVE YOUR MELODIOUS VOICE. What is wrong with you? I don’t care if you lampshade all of the movie tropes. I’m not googling this stupid shit.

    What kind of a horrible Mary Sue are you? DO YOU EVEN MUSICAL NUMBER?

    If you can’t give me hilariously appropriate coincidences, don’t give me any coincidences, m’kay?

    Some people… honestly.

    “Mel is now my favorite character because she is literally the only person who thinks about things other than Zade. You go, Mel. Live your own life.”

    I love Mel too, especially if she’s the red-head who was more interested in scratching an itch than gawking at Zade when she first arrived. Mel has some great things going for her. I hope she hooks up with Parker, or else that he shoots her down gently, because he just came out of a bad relationship and he needs some time alone.

    As for the non-sequitar, I won’t assume it’s an editing issue (as with mind-reader Jackson.) I wonder if maybe Mel knows more about Sofia’s troubled relationship with Charles, but she doesn’t think it’s troubled enough to dump Charles yet, and she’s wondering if Sofia is indicating that it is? This is why Mel and Sofia need more screen time, so they can discuss their love lives, relax, talk about work, ignore Zade as much as possible, and maybe kill time with some mutual hobbies. Or just some quiet drinking while a bartender comforts a sobbing Sofia, because Mel is a little too drunk and honest to be helpful. I’m down for either. Lily could hang out too.

    “Sofia and Mel hadn’t even noticed that he had been there listening to the whole thing, as they had been too intent on harassing Zade.”

    This doesn’t put Jackson in a favorable light. WHERE WAS YOUR GUITAR WHEN SHE NEEDED IT?! The least you could have done, if you weren’t gonna step in, was START PLAYING HER SONG REQUEST. In fact, that’s an even better coincidence… fuck. No one notices Jackson until he saunters up, playing Ugly Girls and winking at Zade. You little shit… You had your chance to be cool and chastise them, and you blew it. GET OUT YOU LOSER.

    … I keep getting angrier the further I read. I also don’t mean to type so much, but when I start ranting, I can’t resist. I am also trying to comment in order, so… yeah. Sorry I’m taking so long to catch up. XD

    The more I read, the more I regret.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “If only Sofia had embarrassed the bastard by catching Mac ogling Zade in her underwear, the way Tad did.”

    Whoops, just wanted to clarify, I wished Sofia had seen the ogling, so she could warn Zade about Mac’s creepiness. Or blackmail Mac with photos. Just something interesting with that information, instead of that icky scene being utterly devoid of any purpose. Otherwise, it doesn’t belong in the book, since we already know everything it implies, aside from Mac being a pervert and a serial killer.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. By the way, I really wish WordPress had an edit feature in its comments section. I now see so many places where I forgot a comma or a word, because the bitterness ate me up inside, and I can’t fix them. ;_;


  4. Gah, also I screwed up the first link. https://www.nps.gov/lake/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm

    Not a lot of difference, but it does have some relevant information, dependent on how many people went to the beach.

    Single Site Camping
    Site capacity maximum is eight persons, four tents and two motorized vehicles (e.g., one camping unit and a towed vehicle) per site. Four motorcycles may occupy a site. Motor vehicles must be parked in designated parking areas only and may not be driven onto the dirt or across irrigation ditches. All park campgrounds are first come, first served.

    Group Camping
    Group campsites (12 person minimum/30 person maximum per site) are $80 per site and located at the Boulder Beach Campground. Camping fees are posted at the campground kiosk. Reservations are required. Please call (702) 293-8906, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. The group campground is for tent camping only with limited vehicle parking. Group campground accommodations include a common area restroom, picnic tables, fire pit and limited shaded areas.

    Let’s see… Riley, Zade, Tad, Sofia, Mel, Parker, Mac, Jackson, Zeb… One too many for the single site, so they must have at least three more people for the bigger site, which presumably also allows for more vehicles and tents (which is the only way Zade could’ve gotten her own.)

    … FUCK she isn’t outdoorsy why does she own a tent when did she buy one? ARGH… I really hope she went out and bought one, just for this camping trip.

    It’s these little details that catch up on me and make my head hurt. Seriously.

    Also, I forgot to mention… Las Vegas is in Nevada, and it’s a desert, so it’d be arid. But Tennessee is humid when it’s really hot. If Zade had actually lived in either place, I’d think she’d mention it, because there is a significant difference between the way those feel (and what style of fashion feels most comfortable: ie less clothing in humidity, with some sky coverage, and more clothing when it’s arid and exposed.) At least enough for a casual remark if Zade is going so far as to mention how deserts get cold at night (and depending on how late after the sun has set, the colder it would get. I don’t think Sarem is good with logical temperatures or researching such things, given the comment about the AC in theater buildings from chapter 2, or the temperature of the stage pool water.)

    I don’t want to nitpick this stuff. I really am becoming obsessed. Help me. 😦


  5. She does mention the difference in heat quality later on, actually. And, um, maybe one of the illusions is a clown car and they use it to go camping? Yeah, I think Sarem just doesn’t think about these things.


  6. “She does mention the difference in heat quality later on, actually.”

    Okay, that’s something. It’s simply poor editing IMHO, since it should’ve been mentioned in this chapter, given that Zade started talking about Tennessee while she was experiencing the desert first hand. Of course, it might’ve just turned out awkward. Regardless, Zade loves her little exposition tidbits, and she really missed out on the perfect opportunity to bring it up the contrast. Sarem does that a lot, from what I can see.

    (Also, please forgive me. I was screaming quite a bit. I should’ve calmed down, before hitting the post button.) 😛

    The clown car sounds perfect, although now I’m imagining everyone falling out in an unexpected dog pile, after they park the car. Poor Sofia got crushed on the bottom, because she couldn’t take it anymore and she tried to get out first. Naturally, Zade landed on top, pristine as ever and weighing nothing, because she’d never tell us anything that would make her less than stellar. XD

    Hey, does Zade’s magical dyslexia ever come up again? I am also a little behind (I read your review for chapter 9 out of order, and I have read 7, but not 8, 10, or 11 yet.)


  7. Right? And also has the premonition exactly once. And what about using magic (excuse me…MAGICK) to put up a tent? That’s some Harry Potter stuff right there. Ugh – this novel.

    Liked by 1 person

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