Monday, May 7, 2012

In My Mailbox #2

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @  The Story Siren to share the books and goodies you've gotten.

I hope everyone had a great week!

This post is for the last two weeks as I've made some great finds during that time.

While I don't expect to make an In My Mailbox post very often, I couldn't pass up making one today. I am a terrible person, I got lots on Amazon's Free Kindle lists!

Oh man, I think we've all been there haven't we? That wonderful feeling of finding books for free but then that horrible feeling of "What have I done to myself?" getting lost in the thrill only to collect more books than you know what to do with. (I don't know about you but I usually end up spending an hour *cough*or more*cough* picking through those "Top 100 Free" lists.)

That said, I wanted to feature some of the finds I found, considering some of them were on my wishlist!
Now I have no problem with self-published or unknown authors. Heck, I read ALL of the Trylle Trilogy before most people heard of Amanda Hocking. (Along with gushing that more people needed to read them!)
These aren't all of my finds, simply some of the ones I wanted to highlight.

Bought (Free):

I'd like to show off my wishlist finds first.

(In order of image)

Betrayal (The Descendants #1) by Mayandree Michel
Breathless (The Blue Fire Saga #1) by Scott Prussing
Frey (The Frey Saga #1) by Melissa Wright
The Mind Readers (Mind Readers #1) by Lori Brighton
Charity Moon by DeAnna Kinney

I am one happy camper!

New Finds:

Darkhouse (Experiment in Terror #1) by Karina Halle
Set in Stone by Beth Balmanno
The Overtaking by Victorine E. Lieske
Branded (Fall of Angels #1) by Keary Taylor

Other Finds:

These are mostly random free books I found on Amazon, most of them are light reads or rather silly. Most of these are not in my general area of interest, but after reading the summaries I thought I'd give them a try.

Sleeping Handsome by Jean Haus
Spying in High Heels (A High Heels Mystery #1) by Gemma Halliday
Harper Madigan: Junior High Private Eye by Chelsea Campbell
My Life as the Ugly Stepsister by Juli Alexander


I was in Target a few days ago and picked through their DVD section, I freaked out over all the $5 movies and TV series.
Grounded for Life: Season 1 & 2
I LOVE this series! I've been eyeing the different seasons on Amazon for a good year or more, but when I saw them for $5 each I had to jump on them.
(I've already watched them and want more)

3rd Rock From the Sun: Season 3 & 4

This is my mother's Mother Day present, I wanted to those it off because it was only $10!
I gave her season 1 & 2 as a gift not that long ago.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

TV Review: Jane by Design

Jane by Design (2012)
Season 1 (Volume 1)

Jane Quimby (Erica Dasher) is a teenager who is mistaken for an adult and lands a job in a hip fashion house, Donovan Decker. She must balance her high school life and her job. She has her best friend Billy (Nick Roux) help her out. While LuLu (Meagan Tandy), a girl who has been mean to Jane since the seventh grade, seems to have it in for her. Jane's father died and her mother has run away unbeknownst where to Jane and Ben. Her brother Ben (David Clayton Rogers) tries to make money by getting jobs, but they never seem to work out, until he lands a job as the athletic assistant at Jane's school.
At Donovan Decker Jane discovers a word full of fashion challenges working for Gray Chandler Murray (Andie MacDowell) and tackles them with the help of her co-workers, Jeremy Jones, (Rowley Dennis), India Jourdain (India de Beaufort), Carter (Ser'Darius Blain) and Birdie (Brooke Lyons).

Jane tries to be the best at her job and her school, juggling the everyday challenges of high school and the world of fashion.

Notice: This is yet another series that aired half of their 'first season' in order to have more produce (Once Upon a Time is another example).

This is a review for the first 10 episodes in season one which aired as of March 6, 2012.
8 more episodes to come starting June 5, 2012.

Note: There is a lot I have to talk about, to help sort that I split the review into three sections; Characters, Fashion, and Plot.
Due to the nature of this review and the series, I was forced to skip over or completely leave out sections of information and the opinions attached to them, as I did not want to make a spoiler filled review.

There are no spoilers here.

This is one of those things you hope to love, you try love, but you just can't do it. I could not love this series.
Granted, the plot is interesting, the story is cute, and the characters are charming but I just feel like there was something missing from the main ingredients, something didn't work it all together to create that perfect harmony; to make the story along with it's characters flow and really come to life.

Maybe it has to do with how everything about this story is unbelievable, to the point of being unrealistic, which makes the entire story (and the characters) unrelatable! I found very few characters appealing, in the sense that I would actually care much about them or their story.


First let me state that there are so many 'minor' character in this series, at least in my eyes. Jane is the main character and has a story and focus every episode, once in awhile another member gets highlighted. Although not as often as I would have liked. The way I see it, Jane is the only main character because the story is so heavily focused on her.

Jane..  is perfect, although no one besides her brother and best friend Billy see it! She's smart, witty, slightly quirky, charming, cheerful, honest, hardworking, and above has her head on her shoulders. She's a bit of a trendsetter although no one quite seems to see.. Being all these things she labeled as 'different' and pushed into the outcast social status of high school.
Which I don't get. Jane is a nice girl there is no reason that she shouldn't have more friends or know people. Then again there's only about five character IN the entire high school that she seems to know. What is with that?!

Jane being the way she is, I find this, a load of bull. I'm sorry. She's too perfect, at almost every turn. Then half way through the series Jane looses herself a little. She does a 180 personality-wise and starts doing whatever she wants. I felt it was the mind set "I'm acting like an adult, so I will continue that in doing what I feel and see is fit." When she is nothing more than a child. The power and responsibility of her life, really starts to go to her head.

All in all, I couldn't stand Jane. Which is probably why I didn't like this series more. I felt her to be completely unrelatable. She has no idea how to read people, ever. She can't see what's staring her in the face until someone else points it out, she's far too trustworthy and naive about people, she takes everything on to herself without speaking to anyone but her best friend, to top it off she's had a crush on only one guy, ever. (Although I do get the "One person" mindset.)
I felt she was a shallow character, so many great personality traits that fell ended up falling through plot-wise.

Honestly, I enjoyed the minor characters and their story-lines more. There are side romances and complications that I really couldn't wait to see play out.

Such as her brother Ben, I LOVED BEN! He's amazing.. funny, weird, awkward, such a dork, and beyond adorable. He's working his hardest to provide a life for both him and Jane. He was that star jock in high school who lost everything shortly after and in turn lost his identity. Ben as a guy who got lost behind the responsibility of suddenly becoming the adult for both of Jane and himself in order to provide for both of them.
There are countless scenes when that very fact comes up and he handles it so well. While he's struggling and stumbling along. I stand by the belief he is an amazing adult and influence in Jane's life.
His character (I mean personality and overall being) is wonderful. I can't explain it any other way than I would love to know a guy like this. His storyline is very minor but probably my favourite.

I also enjoyed Billy, Jane's best friend.
Occasionally he was hit a miss, but mostly because he's still in that stage of trying to find himself. (Who isn't?!) He make a few mistakes here and there, slips, but learns. Billy tends to drift in and out of the spotlight, sometimes falling on the back burner to focus on larger conflicts going on.
He's that typical rough looking guy, who actually isn't.. usually. That great guy that gets overlooked, dragged around, and misunderstood because he doesn't follow the typical roles of males in high school or act like the rest of them. It also probably doesn't help that is best friend is a girl, and they closeness is one to be questionable at times.
It took me awhile to understand, but once I got it, I understood they really are just perfect friends. Billy and Jane will always have each others backs.

Minor Cast: Thoughts

Jeremy, honestly I don't know what to think of that guy. He's all over the map. Sometimes he's good and then that jerk streak comes out and leaves you in a tail-spin.
Lulu was a pure witch. While I can't say I can completely understand why, the actress was great. I hear playing mean is a lot of fun, she seemed to enjoy it, and was great at it!
India was... a very interesting and complex character. Completely misunderstood although that's mostly likely her own doing. Sometimes I found myself cheering for her and other times I was hoping she'd 'get hers'.
Nick is completely loveable. Although I found him to be unreadable at time.. never knowing what he might be thinking or likely to due. Luckily he threw a few curve balls that lead to some great surprises.
Carter (who isn't mentioned in summary), I love this guy! He works at the design house and is a great guy. Very trust worthy and helpful.While you wonder where he's loyal, I found him to be a bit like me in a work place. My ears are open and I won't betray anyone but that doesn't mean I wholeheartedly follow them either.
Rita, I loved her! She's Jane's guidance counselor, I really can't say more than that as she has a very minor storyline but it's... sweet and surprising.


Considering this is a fashion show, I have to bring it up. Now I do not claim to be a trendsetter or a fashionaista, but I do not understand what is 'in' and what is 'fashion' sometimes. Usually I can go along with it, something grand and beautiful, you lose me once you head into strange; odd hats, hair pieces, and just questionable fashion choices.

One of the biggest things that bothered me, Jane wore the SAME STYLE almost every time we saw her. It's the style she's wearing in the image at the top of the page. She has a high-waist skirt that shows off her small waist, sometimes with a belt to farther empathize that, and heels. She looks nice in it but I got sick of seeing the same thing in the 'fashion' show.
Along with the pairing, I don't get it! Look at that image, it's a dark purple shirt, with a bright pink skirt (which is this odd petticoat looking design), with yellow and silver shoes. Am I the only one going "What is that?" but maybe that's just me.
Some of the fashion was amazing and others were just weird. I don't understand what part of 'fashion' means throwing out the strangest most 'darning' designs and outfits.

What I also didn't get, was how Jane was so easily passed as 'okay/acceptable' in the fashion world. Sure she's into fashion, shown fixing or making changes to her own clothes, but where did she get those? Every time she goes into work she literally changes into a new outfit. I kept asking myself, for someone who's coming from a family that's struggling (majorly struggling), how is it she had such nice clothes. She did mention at one point she shopped at a vintage/thrift store. But still, enough for people to make comments on her purse/bags once in awhile. I wasn't really buying it.


Each episode being the same basically the same situation over and over again. Which honestly drove me insane after awhile.
Jane walks in, puts her foot in her mouth (usually by being 'honest'), ends up in a sticky situation, and tries to work her way out. Which is fine, sticky complicated situations happen, but almost every character reacts to her the same way.
When it come to Jane, it's black and white. Characters either love her or hate her, and forever act accordingly. There is so much of that "she's a breath of fresh air", which again leads to "I love it, it's refreshing" or "I hate it, things were nice how they were."
There are a few moments of lingering questionable feelings but those leave almost a suddenly as they arrived.

I can't say much more, although I want to or it would give way to spoilers.

One of the biggest flaws I found to be in the show, was the entire setup. Jane gets hired as a personal assistant, who only works part-time. For someone who handles all of their boss' assignments and schedule, that's a bit much for part-time work is it not?
I reason that plot with the fact she's in school and it wouldn't have worked out any other way, but still would it have even worked out at all?
Along with how much work she actually does for 'part time'. If she goes into work around 11am-1pm and stays until even 8pm that's close to 8 hours to work. Doing that 5 days a week that's treading awfully close to full time, especially with how much extra work comes up that forces her to stay late. (Usually coming home well after dark occasionally have Ben ask where she was/why she's so late.)
Then there's the matter of bagging a part time job that pays $34,000 a year. WHAT?! I'd sign up for that!
Just crazy...

That's probably just over thinking it, but a few examples that bothered me the entire time. Everything just, doesn't work out. It doesn't make sense.

The story is very colourful and quirky, however there are far too many plot holes for me to actually take it seriously. While I understand television is made for things that would never happen I also believe within that there should be some reason, logic, and relatability to.. something within the story.
This show had so many questions that were left completely open and walked a line of being silly.

Recommended: Younger teen, interest in fashion, quirky, light-hearted.

Official Site | IMDb | Wikipedia