August 25, 2011

Tales of Aradia: The Last Witch by L.A. Jones


Unknown to the humans who hung innocent people at the Salem Witch Trials real witches of the hidden race were killed for fear of exposure or at least that's what all the vampires, werewolves, and other races thought.There was not one witch whom survived the genocide of the Salem Witch Trials. But one day a girl named Aradia moves to Salem, MA and all that changes.

My Thoughts:

Well, first off I should off with the disclaimer that L.A. Jones did not pay for this review and her book was given to me specifically to review it. And it's free on smashwords. You can click on the picture to the left and go straight to it and download it. :) That's for you L.A. Jones. You wondered why your sales have been up? It's because I've been promoting it. Early Merry Christmas present to you.

Now, with that being said, I have to say, this wasn't my favorite book. It was okay.


Where should I start??

Hmm. *scratches head*

Let's start with the stereotypes.


My cousin is adopted. So to say that it offended me, is an understatement. She just assumed that if a girl is adopted that she would act out if she found out. And the way she acted out was through doing pot and shoplifting which is once again very by the book how to act out.

Which, I know if you don't tell a child is adopted, then you suddenly tell them when they are older, it is very typical to act out. Obviously, if I found out I was adopted, I wouldn't be be okay. But to say that every teen who found out would smoke pot and shoplift . . .

It's a thin line.

Not only that but she was adopted at the age of 3. So wouldn't she remember she was adopted? And she could speak and everything. So I doubt she wouldn't remember she was adopted.

Another thing she stereotyped was like Latino boys. Oh yes, she made the Latino boys werewolves and called them thugs.

Um, yeah, I have a problem with that. I really do. And I know to some people, it's a slight hitch but for me, it speaks volumes. You make the minorities in Salem the black sheep, so to speak. Then on top of that, they are thugs for defending their brothers?
You didn't say the same thing to the vampires. Who were white. And Aradia, the main character, couldn't fall for Roy, the Spanish werewolf, instead she fell for the white vampire.

Not only that, but she uses him to get to the vampire. And she's kinda mean to him.

I have a problem with that too.

I think all of you know I have a problem with vampires. Not that they are bad things to use in novels. If you use vampires in your stories, then please go ahead. Abuse the trend of obsessing over vampires and werewolves.

But for God's sake, please be original.

L.A. Jones wasn't original.

She practically took a chapter out of Twilight, copied the main theme going on and put it in her book.

The whole Bella falling for the vampire?


The whole Bella falling for the werewolf?


The whole love triangle?


I'm sorry, but I have issues with that. You just copied the main trend. You didn't do anything breaking with it. I was really excited to read a book about vampires, witches and werewolves, but it just turned into one big remake of Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season One.

Let's do the comparison's again.

Buffy as the strong one and last of her race?


Buffy falling reluctantly for a vampire?


The Master having the lead of all the vampires (and other supernaturals at times)?


A witch falling for a werewolf?


The witch leaving the werewolf for another mate?


Okay, the comparison doesn't stop there. Remember, Sabrina the Teenage Witch? Oh yes, she went there. There was this one scene that I swear I could hear the theme music from it. Let's do this again!

Sabrina being able to just pop things out of thin air?


Sabrina reluctantly helping people with her powers?


I think her friends eventually find out she's a witch and blah, blah, blah. I can't remember, it's been so long ago, lol. Anyway, back to the main issues.

Let's break it down even further.

Plot: Well, I have to say, this is L.A. Jones sweet spot. This is her money maker. She is very strong on plot. It had just the perfect twists and turns and I have to say that even I was surprised on some of the happenings.

With all that being said, I didn't like how she rushed the ending. She really shows us her craft from like the beginning to near the end, then she just changes the game abruptly near the end. Instead of focusing on the love triangle, she instead thinks she should focus on the murder.

Umm, that's a bit random.

Furthermore, she doesn't really make the murder . . .

Okay, you guys know I love forensic science books.

Huge forensic science buff.

So when you try to put a murder mystery in my hands, I know my stuff. I even know the lawyer stuff too. Even my teacher, who was a former lawyer, was surprised that I knew so much lawyer stuff. So with that being said, please do your research.

Hell, watch CSI at the very least to get by. And take notes!

Unfortunately, L.A. Jones's murderer was confused.

I don't want to give it all away, but the murder was just disconnected. On the one hand, it was spare of the moment/crime of passion which is fine. On the other hand, it was a planned murder.


It can't be both. It's either one or the other. Either the murderer came up with a plan and said, "I'm going to kill somebody." Or just wanted to talk to that individual and things got out of hand.

It's not both.

Then as Aradia solved the murder, there was no suspense. There was a lot of that suspense in the beginning but in the end?


The murder was just too easy to solve. It took all of five pages to find who killed who.

And the police couldn't solve this because . . . ?

Yeah, exactly. If a teenager can solve it, then why can't the police?

Not saying that the police are always sufficient and the medical examiner are great all the time. But there were some basics that Aradia got that a medical examiner could have gotten quite easily.

And quickly too.

So I'm doubting that L.A. Jones did her research. I really do.

But other than that, the plot was great. It got four stars on that account.

I know, look at me rating the different parts of the book!

Cue the ooohs and aaahs.

Anyway, next point.

Setting: Salem, Massachusetts. I've actually been to Salem.

Only one time, but it still left an impact on me. A huge one in fact. I don't think anybody who visits Salem could really forget a place like that, to be honest. I can't.

There's just so much history and allure of a place like that it's hard to describe in words. I would love to go back there, but I particularly wouldn't want to live there.

Too spook-tastic for me. Could you imagine Halloween there?

Must beat Howl-O-Scream. :)

*wiggles eyebrows* Can't wait for that!

Anyway, anyway, getting way off the point here.

Back to Tales of Aradia.


No pouting! Howl-O-Scream is fun and all, but the way L.A. Jones just mowed over the town, wasn't.

Okay, not such a great segue, but I did try.

Um, yeah, Salem isn't a place where you can just build a city and claim that this is the way Salem should be. It has waaaaay too much history and acclaim. It has it's own vibe that stays with you. And L.A. Jones just didn't stick to that vibe. She went pedestrian.

She made it corny. And I have to say, I don't like it.

Salem is a cool place. No doubt about it. I know there are probably some spots where it is just made for tourists, but there are other parts . . . Dark parts where I went where tourists aren't welcomed with open arms and smiling faces.

See that shiver? Yeah, I shivered. It was creepy. L.A. Jones forgot the creep factor that is Salem. There are ghosts there. There are abnormal people there.

Really, really strange people.

And she did put the mega center, a.k.a. the hell mouth . . . Another Buffy The Vampire Slayer copy cat. Putting all of the supernaturals in one place.

Okay, not in one place, but still, it kinda was.

And isn't that a stereotype that a lot of the hiddens/supernaturals would reside in a place where witches once were acclaimed to be?

Yeah, she couldn't come up with a more original place?


Yeah, I have a problem with that too.

Setting gets one star. She rebuilt a place that doesn't need rebuilding but a growth. So mowing over one of the richest historical places, she gets deducted some cool points. Sorry, but that's what happens when you mess with Salem.

Why not pick a different place? Or make up one?

Characters: Okay, I like her characters. But, and you knew this was coming, I got lost in the sea of characters and their names. Aradia walked into that school practically drooling over dudes, and we got their names, but I lost like half of them. I should have wrote them down, but good Lord there were a lot of names.

And I understand at 14, you drool. But she killed it. Like overdid the drooling. By the time school let out, there was a like a lake called Aradia's Drool Pool.

Like seriously? Drooling that much over dudes?

Yet never had a boyfriend but she's like drop dead gorgeous?

Yeah, I have a problem with that too.

Now I did remember the basic array of characters, Roy, Aradia, Beau, the parents and . . . Yeah, that's all I remember at this point.

Does Beau's name look famaliar?

Oh, you don't see the similarities between Beau and Bella?

Okay, so I don't have to say anything else, do I?

You already know about the triangle, right? The magic love triangle. That seems to be spreading everywhere to homes with an internet cable. Creepy, right?

I just wish she delved into these characters more.

Aradia seemed to me, the character that needed the most help. I could indentify with her sometimes. Like her humor.

You know I'm the girl with the humor, right?

I LOOOOVE sarcasm.

Aradia did put out some humor like lines. But I only laughed at one.

I got most of the jokes, but others . . . Left something to be desired.

And I know humor is difficult. Don't get me wrong. Writing humor books is like hit or miss sorta thing.

Josh Lieb didn't miss, he hit right on target with Stewie (from Family Guy).

I couldn't stop cracking up with this book. I would be in the middle of lunch break cracking up! Barely holding my lunch in my mouth, about to spit it out, and cracking up.

I must have been a sight for sore eyes back then, but I didn't give a darn.

That book was HILARIOUS!

Aradia? Not so much.

I get the jokes, but the delivery was just eh.

And Aradia is suppose to be the funny one too?

Yeah, I have issues with that too.

You know there are times when I read this book that I thought that maybe my standards are just impossible. That maybe I expect perfect in an imperfect world, but then L.A. Jones shows me she has potential for greatness.

Just one glimmer gives me hope.

But then she slams me down with exposition dumps (where you give a LOT of background information in big, chunky paragraphs) and corny jokes.

Then I wonder if that glimmer was all imaginary. The joke that I laughed at, was it really that funny? Did I just identify with Aradia at a desperate attempt to make something good out of this okay novel?

Her characters just don't make the grade, they get 3 stars. 3 because they have potential for greatness but fall short because of . . .

Dialogue: Now I don't want to brag, but dialogue is my strong suit.

I was once called the dialogue queen.

*spits on crown and lets it shine adoringly on my head*

So you know I'll be overly critical on dialogue. Especially with a young adult genre, which is my genre.

So with all that being taken into consideration, I have to say, I did not fancy the dialogue. It came out stiff, old, and full of references that were old.

If you're going to write in teen slang, then please please please I BEG you to do your research.

Go to the local high school and sit there. Seriously. Wait for the bell to ring, the students to come pouring out of the hallway, and listen. Just close your eyes and listen to the rapid cadences of voices, of sounds, of laughs, of slaps, of smacks, listen to how they speak.

At first people are going to look at you like you are one crazy fool.

Why in the world would you spend your time with a bunch of teens? Why even bother?

Because you are a writer and you are writing for teens. And if you want to get this right, then you better listen. Just sit and listen to the way they sound like. Watch them too. After that initial warning bell, wait for the lunch. Sit down at a table, and watch them and try not to stare.

They'll know you're staring at them and then they'll stare back at you. And that's not a good thing.

Don't initiate conversations with them. Just listen to them talking.


Because they will switch up on you. They will see that you're an adult and switch to informal to formal. Unless you are like me and look like a teenager, then they will stick with teen speak. And lucky me, I'm going to be a teacher on top of all this.


Anyway, if you are weak on dialogue, and you know it, then what do you do when you have a weak muscle? You build it. You try to build that muscle and get that tone that you want. There are shortcuts. Sure, steroids is one example. But what happens with shortcuts?

Always a bad consequences with short cuts.

So I say all of this to say: Do your research. Listen. Watch. Learn. And take notes.

Especially when dealing with teens and their speech patterns. There's nothing like it.

I wish L.A. Jones did her research but I think she took a shortcut. And what is the result? Bad dialogue.

And I don't even want to talk about the bad British teen slang. *shivers* Talk about a bloody nightmare.

Dialogue gets 2 stars. It has potential, once again, but doesn't reach it all the way.

Theme: No theme here except rip offs. I'm telling you when you read this book, you'll see what I'm talking about. Some of it, to me, would be sketchy at best.

Especially the whole love triangle.

Rating: When I did my research on this book, I saw it got great ratings. Five star and four star ratings.

Why is that?

I have no clue. I think it's the fact that she has great potential to write a great book. Heck, I'm kinda curious to see where she takes this. I was even thinking of buying it at some point.


Because, anytime I see potential in an author, even if it's a sliver, I like to invest.

I did the same thing with Meg Cabot, and it turned out great.

Same with Cecil Castellucci, turned out great.

Same thing with Ellen S., the lady who wrote Vampire Kisses.

Didn't turn out so great.

It's a gamble, really when I invest into talent that I think could be taken one step further.

So overall?

Would I recommend this book to anyone with a pulse?

Absolutely not. If they have high standards like me, they are going to hopeful about this book, see the potential and get very very very frustrated like I did.

It's like trick or treat, and even though it looks like a nice shiny apple, they are full of razor blades.

Did anyone get that Leverage reference?


Oh shoot, never mind! Ugh, Parker!

Anyway, anyway, point is: I wouldn't recommend this book to people who have read like Nightshade, Twilight, or anything that has blown your mind recently.

But for people who love vampires, werewolves and the like?

Sure, why not? I mean, maybe you can see past the faults, and enjoy the book like countless others have. Even reviewers give her good ratings.

Shocked me, but okay.

Main point is going to be displayed, then I'm getting some gas to get to work:

If you love vampires?

Yes, get the book.

If you don't care about chunky paragraphs and exposition dumps but love vampires?

Yes, get the book.

If you think Twilight was a hot mess, and think someone could do better with it?

Maybe, you should get this book.

If you were hoping for a Sabrina, Buffy, and Twilight remake?

Yes, def. get the book.

If you are like me, high standards and are ridiculously picky about stereotypes, format, characters, and dialogue?

Nope, you'll just be disappointed. Read Nightshade instead. Or even Wings by Aprilynne Pike.

And with that, I bid you Good Reading.