Handbook for Mortals by Lani Sarem – Actual Dumpster

Marines: Hi everyone! I’ve mentioned it in our most recent posts, but I’m trying to get back into my schedule  post-BookNet Fest and Hurricane Irma. Thank you for all your concern during and after the storm! The east coast of Florida was spared the brunt of the damage, but there was a ton of debris, work was closed for almost a week, power lines and traffic lights were down and grocery stores are only now getting back to being stocked. Life is settling, and I know how lucky that is when so many places are looking at many more months of life upended.

That serious stuff aside, during some of the stress and anxiety of the storm, I decided I wanted to snark something, shorter form. I started by live-Tweeting my way through City of Bones by Cassandra Clare with the hashtag #cityofsnark. After that, I figured I could do one more book and I live-Tweeted my way through Handbook for Mortals by Lani Sarem with the hashtag #snarkformortals.

It was bad.

It was full recaps amount of bad.

It was thousands and thousands of words dedicated to how bad it is bad.

I tried to condense all that in the Tweets but also this video review:

I thought you all would enjoy.

I’d like to be better about sharing what Nicole and I are doing elsewhere on the Internet because even as things ebb and flow here, we continue to create (and snark). I know better than to promise much, but hopefully you’ll be seeing more posts pointing you in the direction of the other stuff we’re making.

Love you, mean it!


Marines (all posts)

I'm a 20-something south Floridan who loves the beach but cannot swim. Such is my life, full of small contradictions and little trivialities. My main life goals are never to take life too seriously, but to do everything I attempt seriously well. After that, my life goals devolve into things like not wearing pants and eating all of the Zebra Cakes in the world. THE WORLD.

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  • Arian_foe

    First of all, I’m glad you are ok and the worst of it has passed. I live in Spain and hurricanes doesn’t happen here so I can’t imagine how this is for you :(:( best wishes for you and your loved ones

    I love your books snarks/recommendations (or lack of). I recently read Beauty Queens because Swenney recommended it and avoid trash like After

    I will watch to your youtube channels because I have seen you do more books recommendations

  • Joy

    Oh wow. That sounds like a very “special” book. I’ve been wondering what the inside was like, because these things just get around, right? YOU ARE A HERO FOR GOING THROUGH IT

  • Mae

    Jenny Trout is doing a chapter by chapter breakdown of this trainwreck. The quotes on her blog alone make my inner editor weep. And she hasn’t even gotten to Clark Kent yet. I can’t imagine how much booze you went through to read the whole thing.

    Glad you made it through the hurricane okay. 🙂

  • Blinvy .

    I’m so glad to hear you’re ok. Hurricanes sound super scary and for that reason, I’m forever happy about living in the middle of the country and up north. I can’t even imagine how scary it would be to have your life upended like that, so I’m happy to hear things are going back to normal again for you.

    I cannot believe you got through this. It sounds so bad. Just so so bad. Every time I think something can’t get worse than something, something else comes along. After is bad but this honestly sounds worse in every way. From the bad writing to the horrid over inflated self insert fantasy to the poorly constructed story. I mean, she writes in gross things about real life people having the hots for her, despite them being happily married with kids. She name drops Carrot Top and Wayne Newton in this travesty, what even?

    We’re schooled to say Zade like “Jade” …sorry “aide with a Z” but then her actual name is Scheherezade where the “zade” is pronounced “zahd” because she’s dumb and doesn’t understand do the slightest bit of research. Lol forever about 1001 Nights being at all romantic. I think that might be worse than considering Wuthering Heights romantic. Jesus, Lani Sarem must have taken some serious mind-altering drugs to have shat this thing out.

  • Alicia

    After was on the NYT bestseller list, even though it was ripped off Wattpad as a fanfiction, edited maybe once for the typos and to change names (even though there were still typos and grammar errors but some scenes did change a little), and the sequels were all about the same yet I think they were all on the NYT bestseller list. Twilight and 50 Shades were also on the list, but they were terribly written and glamorize abusive relationships.

    Apparently, people like reading badly written fiction now. I mean, I get that the author of this particular book (HFM) cheated her way to the list, but still. It wouldn’t shock me if it had gotten there by actually selling that many books to individual people. On another note, I cannot stand authors who refuse to recognize the terrible thing they’ve written and keep promoting it as what it’s not. Now this Lani likes to brag that she was on the bestseller list for 23hrs, even though she cheated. It’s like she thinks she’s a srs author now even though her book is apparently terrible. Do these people not have a conscience?

    • Sarah

      I have a mental illness and PTSD. Todd can keep her talent-less paws off both issues, thank you. I’m guessing they’re just going to come up when they’re plot-relevant and either disappear or result in reactions that make no sense the rest of the time. Not in an ‘everyone reacts differently way’ but in an ‘my character only has this when I need teh dramas’.

      • Alicia

        She posted chapter 1 already, no signs of mental illness in any character yet. Todd wrote an abusive novel and pushed it as romance, what makes her think she can write about mental illness and PTSD especially if she hasn’t experienced it herself. So yeah, it will probably end up reading like what you said, the mental issues only come up when needed or come up once or twice and are forgotten.

    • Furious Strong

      “there will be themes of mental health, PTSD, racism, and explicit sex scenes”

      Oh fuck me. Let me guess – the mental health issues and PTSD will be used as a convenient excuse for the love interest’s abusive and assholish behavior. “It’s not his fault! He has an illness! Anyone who doesn’t instantly forgive his horrible actions is just mean!” I don’t expect Todd to do any research on the illnesses she’s representing, or to write them realistically, or to be used for any purpose except to create drama and to try to make the readers sympathetic to horrible characters. I expect her depiction of racism will be just as cringe-worthy and awful. Hard pass.

      • Alicia

        Yeah I’m going to say that’s probably how they will be used, as an excuse for an asshole’s behaviour. Unless she has matured as a writer but with her writing Imagines earlier this year and The Spring Girls (like a modern day retelling of Little Women) and her constant pushing of Hardin as a poor broken soul who just needed to be loved enough to heal and fix his mistakes…I’m going to say no she has not matured as a writer. I’m reading her newest one just out of curiosity. But I’ll only read the wattpad version.

  • I’m so glad the storm steered clear of you and your fam!

    I knew exactly nothing about the premise of this book, but I did hear and read about the drama surrounding the best seller list. But the second you mentioned Twilight, I knew aaaaaaaaaaall I needed to know.

    And so glad to see that Meyer isn’t the only one that has characters that narrate while passed out/sleeping/dead.

    I don’t understand how things like this get published. Without editors.

    Oh, well. At least I’ve got some good tips about how to identify the ‘sexy’ character from now on. It’s the one doing this: