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Howdy YAL!

I used to be the blogger called YAL Book Briefs, but I grew bored of the handle and changed my name to Howdy YAL. I also respond to MJ. I like to read, write, eat truffles, and watch bad Lifetime movies. 

Motion to Forget

Winterspell - Claire Legrand




This Motion arises from a a hellish reading experience from the accused. The blogger (MJ) alleges that the Reading Gods should grant her a motion to forget.  Hence, said blogger is very stupidly filing a motion to forget pro se, even though she’s actively trying to forget this book. The book, also known as Winterspell, has committed acts of WTF-ckery causing the reader to have a valid reason for a Motion to Forget to be granted.


Statement of Facts:

The reader was excited about Winterspell.  Winterspell was supposed to be a Nutcracker retelling.  The poor blogger (me) loves the ballet. And is sort obsessed with it.  And has been waiting a long, long, time for a Nutcracker retelling.  Which was why she was willing to give this book a chance, even afterwise friends warned her not to.

Then she read it. And there was nothing remotely like The Nutcracker.  Oh, sure there were characters that shared similar names to characters in the ballet, but that was it.

Because quite honestly, while the child version of Clara might’ve have viewed her nutcracker as an awesome toy. She didn’t have feelings with it.  Let alone want to have sex with it.


Then she knocked against the statue in the corner, and it was such a shock, such an awakening, that she had to gasp.  Jolted out of her trance, her senses reeling she used the statue to pull herself to her feet-and promptly forgot to breathe.  The  hard lines of the statue’s thighs, belly, chest, scraped against her skin, snagging at the cotton of her chemise, and she found herself moving slowly so as to prolong the contact.  Molding herself to the metal, she sighed.  Her palms slick with sweat, she slid them up to the statue’s chest to cup the chiseled, handsome jaw, and pressed herself closer.  She inhaled, shuddering, and tasted the tang of metal and oils Godfather used to keep tarnish away.  Curling into the crook of the statue’s left arm, she let the sudden fact overtake her.  What would wit feel like if that iron-muscled arm could come alive and pull her closer, its spikes digging into the back of her neck, its cold fingers threading through her hair…? (16-17)

Obviously, this caused MJ (the blogger) to be a little outrage.  But since there is a lot of unsuitable attraction in YA (see the bestiality filled Shiver)  she just shrugged it off contributing it to the insta love that she figured that would happen.



So, the poor naive blogger moved on.  Getting some sense of a plot in the first fourth of the book-there’s some crazy mobsters, one has Frankenstien’s creator’s first name.  The other seems to be a very odd take on the Sugar Plum Fairy  character who’s suppose to be a good character.  But maybe their was going to be some Wizard of Oz type of thing going on here.




Forget about that first quarter of the book.  Those real weird moments of sexual harassment are irrelevant to the rest of our novel-save for the last chapter.  You want to know about why these characters are so evil?  Yes, you never find out.  Obviously, this contributed to the blogger’s awful mood.  MJ also wondered if it was really this necessary that we had this much violence of the sexual nature in the book.  Perhaps, the character would grow and it would be a novel about female empowerment. Instead, it was just a plot point and another example of WTF-ery.


Once the reader got into Cane-she realized the book was about fucking faeries.

This was something had no intention reading about.  Sure, there’s the Sugar Plum Fairy in the original source material.  But she’s not even mentioned in the book.  These are outright annoying faes who mythology doesn’t make sense except it involves sex and that’s pretty much it.


Oh yes, sex. MJ was sad to discover some more disturbing sex stuff that makes little to no sense.  You know, she should be championing this book for having a bisexual character.  But since there’s little to no motive for this characters action she’s unimpressed.  And once again, it contributes to the WTF-ckery.


Besides, the weird sex scenes the blogger really couldn’t make much sense of the book. The main character has magic.  There’s a kingdom taken over by an evil fairy (she didn’t want to read a god damn fae book), and it’s at Christmas time and she has to get back with her dad to stop the mafia from killing her little sister (who’s really her annoying little brat of a brother in the original source material) .


It’s just too confusing.


Which was why when she finished MJ banged her head in utter agony at trying to figure out this book wanting to forget this big fat waste of time.






According to the Reading Gods the elements of WTF-ckery are as followed: 1) The reader is utterly confused, 2) The book is beyond of offensive, 3) Outlandish things happen that only happen in PC and Kristin Casts novels, and 4) it fucks up something that should’ve been certifiably awesome.  The above book meets the necessary elements of the reader’s experience.




The Tiger Curse standard was discovered that the only way a lot of people could make sense of the Tiger Curse series by Colleen Houck when they went onto Wikipedia.  The sad thing is no one knows who updated the Wiki page, so no one can actually verify that its an accurate version of what actually transpired in the series (no one has dared asked Houck since she apparently viewed Anne Frank as a freaking romance)  but since no one can actually stay awake or make sense of Houck’s ramblings in between Kelsey’s dress change and random disgusting snacks, this has been the accepted view.



Winterspell meets the Tiger’s Curse standard.  The prose is probably part of the problem.  The third person seems distant and hard to connect with any of the cardboard personality character.  Also, little explanation is done in the world building.  The scale between mystery and manners is not developed.


Further proof when MJ read Winterspell she thought the following about the book (note thoughts are in first person):


  • *This is a novel about NYC mafia with the Sugar Plum fairy starring in it-oh wait, she’s not the Sugar Plum Fairy.  But what’s Dr. Frankenstien doing in it?
  • *Oh, there’s the Nutcracker prince?  They’re going to go on a McGuffin quest.  But there’ s no McGuiffin or plan to take back over his land.
  • *Fae.  Fucking fae.  They always confuse me.  What’s the point with them.
  • *All these random…I JUST DON”T KNOW.
  • *Evil villaness making out with prude herorine who causes every character to love her.  
  • What…


The end result.  Running to Wikipedia.


Standard met. Big fat check mark on element one.




The beyond offensive element is defined by several factors how much the vein in the reader’s head is throbbing, does it offend humanity, is there a rampant amount of slut slamming, abusive relationship, Mary Sues, assholes, other factors may be used as well.


Based on the factor test Winterspell would meet this standard.  Other books that have gone beyond the offensive standard include Big Fat Disaster like Big Fast DisasterWinterspell caused its reader to breathe in a paper bag and want to know WTF is wrong with these characters.  Living in society where you’re feared you’re going to get raped by Dr. Frankenstein and no one gives a fuck doesn’t exactly make for a pleasant reading experience.


Add in making out with statues, for no apparent reason.  Or all the borderline sexual fetishes that serve no purpose at all to the story. Other than to make this book edgy.

Thus, there’s no reason for it being obnoxious.


Therefore, the beyond offensive standard is met in WTF-ckery test.




Winterspell is just as outrageous as any PC and Kristin Cast novel.



The Cast standard is an extremely hard test to meet.  Other books, offensive have failed.  According to one reader’s guide about how to reach the Cast offensive meter is will your liver explode if you have a drinking game of offensiveness and are there a lot of inappropriate times characters get naked or have a random borderline fetish.

If you answer yes you meet the Casts test.


Winterspell meets this test.  Though no character runs rampantly naked as Neferet, there are a lot of strange passages dealing with borderline sexual fetishes give it a bizarre since of WTF-ckery much like the Neferet naked scenes.


Quote One Content: An evil queen kidnaps the main character and randomly does the following.  And honestly, if one didn’t know the content I’d say there’s a lot more chemistry there than with Princey.  But seriously, she just kidnapped you and you like being victimized:

Anise, bright eyed and ferocious, yanked Clara close and kissed her deeply.  The kiss stung with duplicity and with horrible, horrible delight.  Clara knew she should have been celebrating, and part of her was.  She had said the right things.  She could feel Anise’s joy thrumming against her body, and joy would make her careless.  The queen whispered frantic endearments then dipped to whisper them against Clar’s throat.  When she laughed, it was like morning. (328)

Quote Two Content: Some bizarre almost erotic ritual that requires the Colleen Houck method to figure out just the fuck what is going on.  The passage serves no real purpose other than to randomly give a scene of pseudo erotic-ness similar to the fashion scene.  Except, instead of being dark and sexy its just bizarre.  This section begins on page 381.  For space purposes the quote that’s being cited will be  condensed.  Dots will be used to show breaks in the sections being quote.

Godfather was saying something, but at first she did not hear.  HE cleared his throat and said again: “You may now disrobe.”

Hands shaking, Clara stood.  Across the pyre Nicholas mirrored her.  Her toes burned with the closeness of the fire, but that was nothing compared to the flush of her body as she shrugged off the robe.  For a moment she longed to reach for it, but then she thought of Anise,  which was such an incongruous thing to think of at this moment that it almost made her laugh.  But the memory of standing on the rooftop with nothing between her and the snow but the night air, was oddly a comfort.

It’s just a body, Clara, the only one you will ever have.


Godfather placed two daggers on the alter before them.  “You may begin.”

This would be the hardest part.  To maintain the wanting, the willingness, despite the pain.  WHen Clara gripped the dagger’s hilt, it nearly stripped away.  Her hand was sweating.

Then Nicholas was there, his hands gentle at her waist.  She was glad to feel in his touch that he was nervous as well.  HE whispered “Brave Clara” against her cheek, raised his blade to her shoulder and cut.

IT did hurt, but Clara gritted her teeth past it and continued.  Once the first cut was made, the rest had to follow soon after.  She cut his right shoulder to mirror her left, and then her eyes rose to meet his. (381-82)

Because of the above listed quotes, the Cast element has been met because there’s no purpose for either of these scenes and they’re just out of place.




The Nutcracker is an amazing ballet.  That excites both young and old.  There are so many directions that this story could’ve used the original source material and explore an abstract world.  However, Winterspell abuses its source material according to Reading Gods Precedent.


Reader Gods Precedent for defecating source material is anything worse than what Tim Burton did to Alice in Wonderland.  That’s a very high standard to meet.


Wonderland abused its source material, but at least kept same characters and world.  Though, really, The Mad Hatter as a love interest?


Winterspell  worse than that movie which makes absolutely no sense and can at least give itself a pat on the back for trying to tell a story that made a bit of sense and not doing stupid anything goes fae world building like this book.


Like that movie though, the barest source material was used to create a new improved, darker story.   Tim Burton could do better than this.  Or at the very least he would’ve added more gore than statue sex.


Statue sex.  Reading Gods that has to give this poor blogger a mind wipe.

Furthermore, in the source material while a romantic relationship does eventually develop between the Nutcracker and Clara, Clara doesn’t try to molest the nutcracker.  And though creepily engage when Clara hasn’t even hit puberty yet, they don’t do anything and there’s no instant love between them.  Or at least the instant love is more understandable because, well, he gave her the show of her life.


There’s something also to be said when the reader is listening to the soundtrack of the ballet when reading this book and there’s no connection.


This case is similar to Second Star.  This book met the Burton test by only using the characters names enough to get readers and to create an obnoxious love triangle.  Any other relation to Peter Pan was not seen here because Wendy Darling is not a druggie, despite her horrible taste in men (seriously, guys in tights unless you’re Lois Lane it’s not going to work).  Like Second StarWinterspell only resemblance to its source material is primarily with its marketing and love interest.  However, unlike Second Star this book doesn’t even have sexy pirates to compensate.


Because Winterspell meets the Burton test, the blogger meets this element of  WTF-ckery.


Prayer of Relief:


The Book Gods should be generous to this poor reader.  She has already endured things that no reader should endure.  The fact that all the elements of WTF-ckery are met should be reason enough to grant a Motion to Forget.



Source: http://howdyyal.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/winterspell-claire-legrand