Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Perfect You by Elizabeth Scott

Kate's life is pretty much ruined. Her dad quit his regular job to sell vitamins from a booth at the mall. Her grandma who everyone hates, moved in to help them out because Kate's dad isn't making any money with his new "job". Her 23 year old brother Todd moved back in. And, Kate's best friend acts like she doesn't exist. The only thing that shines a little light into her horrible life is Will; the adorable boy who is notorious for hooking up with anything that breathes. Kate's hoping though that their relationship isn't like that for him, because she really truly likes him. But how can you tell when the only way you ever talk is through sarcasm? To get away from her life, Kate starts to close herself off and doesn't realize that the only way to be able to appreciate the good things is to live through the bad. And maybe, just maybe, everyone might have a little good in them somewhere.

I think that they picked the perfect blurb for the cover of this book. Melissa De La Cruz says; "I absolutely loved this book! It's funny, sad, and wise, and will make your heart ache in the best way." I totally agree with her. Perfect You was a completely refreshing and heart-warming book. I've decided that Elizabeth Scott and Sarah Dessen have a lot in common. In their books, they both tell about people who live with or go through difficult situations and they manage to do it with humor, integrity, and relatability that really makes their books totally readable. One of my favorite parts about this book was the characters. I think for me to love a book, the characters need to be well written and I need to be able to relate to them. Both things were true in this case. I felt that I was able to get really close to the characters and understand what they were going through even though I have never been through their situations myself. I also liked the dynamics of Will and Kate's relationship. They both had such a great sense of humor that I found myself laughing out loud more than once. I think one of my favorite characters though was one of the more minor ones; Todd. I loved how he went through his own set of struggles in the background of the book. It's nice to see a side character get some glory. So, all in all, I would definitely recommend that you read Perfect You. It's adorable, touching, and laugh-out-loud funny. And I myself can't wait for Elizabeth Scott's next book, Stealing Heaven which promises to be just as good.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Jennifer Banash Interview

I was lucky enough to get to interview Jennifer Banash, the author of the upcoming Elite series. She's a great author and I was super excited to be able to interview her. The first book in the series will be released in June and you can find my review of it beneath this post. I hope you guys enjoy my first author interview! I sure had fun doing it!

First of all, what made you want to write a series for teens?
I had worked briefly as a ghostwriter for a bestselling YA series, and I’d really enjoyed doing it. I had already published an adult novel, but I was really intrigued with this world of Young Adult fiction, how passionate the readers were, how invested and vocal they seemed. After the ghostwriting gig ended, I really wanted to write my own series, and I already had the idea for THE ELITE. So, when I was introduced to Kate Seaver, my editor at Berkley Jam, through a friend, I pitched her the idea. The rest, as they say, is history.

Did you draw influence from anything or anyone to create the characters or the plot in The Elite?
Much of it comes from my own childhood—I grew up in New York, and went to high school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, so I really know that world well. Some of the personality traits of my characters definitely come from real life—I’m kind of a vampire in that way—I take the best traits from the people close to me and steal them for my characters. And many of the girls have aspects of my own personality—Madison Macallister is definitely me on a bad day . . .

The Elite takes place among drama of New York City. Do you think you would enjoy being involved in the world of your book? Why or why not?
Well, I kind of have! That being said, would I enjoy it now? Decidedly not. Its fun and very glamorous, but I lived in Manhattan for most of my life, and by the time I left for college, I really just wanted to be anywhere else but home. But I love Manhattan and always will—the energy, the people, the constant sense that something better is happening right around the corner, and if we just leave this party right now, we just might find it . . .

Do you yourself feel as if you relate to any of your characters? If so, in what way?
I find myself relating to Casey a lot. I went through that whole awkward stage in high school where my body really hadn’t caught up to my age. I remember looking at the most beautiful girls in school and wanting to be just like them, dying to fit in. Then, a year later when I finally got what I wanted, I realized that it wasn’t all that and a bag of chips. The pressure in that world can be very, very intense.

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who are some of your favorite artists?
Its kind of a joke in my house, because I need music blasting through my earbuds in order to write, and I usually have to be somewhere like a coffee house—a place with as much visual stimulation as possible. I don’t know why that is—I think it’s because I have to somehow drown everything out in order to think clearly, and overstimulating my senses makes that possible. I usually listen to the same songs over and over again when I’m working heavily—it just becomes noise after a while. But I find that the music itself seems to make it into the pages of the book that way too—I think of every chapter as having its own soundtrack . . .
Right now I’m listening to The Kills, The Teenagers, The Blakes, the new Portishead CD, Daft Punk, Duffy, Common, Elliot Smith, Sufjan Stevens—and Goldfrapp’s new CD Seventh Tree is amazing,

What was one of the most memorable or funny experiences you had as a teen?
I was at the big opening night of this very posh club downtown, and Cher was there. I’d been feeling kind of queasy/lousy all day, and I probably should’ve just stayed home. Anyway, a friend of mine knew her and took me over to be introduced, and just as I was holding out my hand to shake hers, I threw up all over her elaborately beaded shoes! She screeched like I’d doused her in battery acid and ran off. It was a complete and total nightmare—but it makes a good story.

If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?
The power to be invisible—so I could stare at people as much as I wanted, and eavesdrop on their secret, most private conversations without getting caught.

What is something funny or interesting that people would enjoy learning about you?
I’m addicted to reality television. I know its bad for me, I know its mindless, but I love it. I don’t know—something in me really needs to know why Daisy didn’t become Bret Michael’s Rock of Love, and who will win Tila Tequila’s heart this time around. I also have perfect pitch and can sing practically anything—but it’s a talent I rarely, if ever, use.

What are some of your favorite books that you'd recommend for teens?
I like titles that are on the edgy side—R.A. Nelson’s books Teach Me and Breathe My Name are quite good. Also Jay Asher’s 13 Reasons Why. In terms of series’ I love The A-List, and Melissa Walker’s Violet series—I adored Violet on the Runway, and look forward to reading the other two books in the series. I also have Anna Godberson’s The Luxe in a pile on my nightstand, and am dying to have an opportunity to curl up with it. I actually love well-done historical fiction, and I’m hoping it will be good. It has a gorgeous cover anyway . . . I also love the classics—Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca is one of my favorites and a guilty pleasure to boot, and anything by Virginia Woolf—particularly Mrs. Dalloway, or To The Lighthouse—her writing is just so strong and gorgeous.

What can we expect from you next?
I’m working on a new series right now, entitled BITTEN. It’s about two identical twins from Manhattan, Lucy and Mina Vanderbilt, whose parents buy Dracula’s castle in Romania in the midst of a mid-life crisis, forcing the family to move to Eastern Europe and live in a dilapidated, musty, stone castle. But before both girls begin attendance at a posh boarding school in Geneva, Switzerland, they have to spend the summer at their new home sweet home—a castle situated in the heart of Romania, just off of Highway 73—better known as the intersection of creepy and get-me-the-hell-out-of-here—worlds away from their sophisticated Manhattan lifestyle. Upon their arrival, Mina quickly falls in with Jonathan Marlowe—the town’s resident hottie, who’s left London to visit his grandfather for the summer and spends his days attempting to pen the next great British novel at the local cafĂ©. But after Lucy suffers a “bite” from a mysterious apparition one evening while trolling the grounds of the castle, her love life will never be the same again. Expressions like “can I have a bite of that?” take on a WHOLE new meaning, and suddenly, the most notorious, identical, and inseparable twins in all of Manhattan have never been quite so different . . .

Anything else you’d like to add?
I love hearing from readers—its one of the things I love best about being a writer. If you read THE ELITE and want to ask questions or just chat, feel free to email me at I promise I’ll answer every email. And be on the lookout for the second book in THE ELITE series IN TOO DEEP, coming January 2009.

Thank you so much Jennifer!

The Elite by Jennifer Banash

Casey McCloy was tired with her life in Normal, Illinois, so naturally she jumped at the chance to move to New York to live with her grandma. The exciting drama and the fashion filled world of the city is enough to pull anyone in, but once Casey gets there she realizes that she may just be out of her league. Making friends with the queen bee of the social scene, Madison Macallister seems like the right move, but when Casey starts crushing on Madison's on-again, off-again boyfriend Drew, things are bound to get a little tense. Can Casey survive New York and do it while keeping her measly reputation in tact?

So, I never really liked the Clique or the Gossip Girl series, and now I think that the Elite may just be my guilty pleasure series of choice. It seems to have a little more depth than the other series, but still has the same scandal and romance that every good gossip-style book needs to have. The characters are well thought out and each have their own personalities and quirks, which was great. I also liked that the plot, although semi predictable, had enough in it to keep you fully engaged and flipping pages. You really start to relate to the small town girl who moves to the big city and is swept away by it all. I love reading about characters that I can relate to, and this book definitely did that for me. So as I said before, I think that this is going to be my guilty pleasure series of choice from now on. I really did like this book, and I'm excited for the next one. Sorry this was such a short review, but I'm super tired...:P

The Elite will be released on June 3rd.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

Ruby is used to being independant. After her mother abandoned her to live on her own, she had been making it by herself just fine. Or so she thought. When she gets picked up by child services and sent to live with her sister who she hasn't seen for ten years, it's way out of Ruby's comfort zone. She isn't used to having to interact with or depend on people. She especially doesn't like getting to close to her new and intriguing neighbor Nate, but with her relying on him for rides to school she eventually starts to open up to not just him but to her new family and life. She finds a new job and meets some spunky and charismatic new people, but when Nate starts pulling away, Ruby start realizing that her seemingly perfect new life isn't all it's made out to be.

What can I say? Sarah Dessen has done it again. I have read all the books that she has written so far and loved them, so I definitely had high hopes for this book and it was all that I expected and more. The thing that I love about Sarah's writing is the smooth, kind of cozy quality it has to it (wow, that sounds wierd...). In each of her stories she deals with lots of hard issues but does it with understanding and relatability which really draws me into her books. And it's no different with Lock and Key. The writing is stunning, the plot is unique and addicting, and the characters are created with depth and feeling. All of that adds up to a pretty darn good book in my opinion. I think one of my favorite parts was the focus that the book had on family. And it wasn't just the biological family it was the neighbors and friends family too. It's a hard thing to define and I really felt along with Ruby as she tried to make sense of her complicated situation. I also loved all the spunky characters that were in the story; especially Olivia who shares my name. :P Nothing's better than reading about "yourself" in a book, and I think I may have a bit in common with her. Hee hee. So if you haven't read any of Sarah Dessen's books, I highly recommend you do so. And if you're a fan of hers, you should definitely check this book out. It's one of her best so far and will keep you turning pages until the very end.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Final Warning by James Patterson

Max, along with the rest of the flock, is off on a new mission to stop global warming. They're down in Antarctica working with some pretty cool scientists and learning tons of new and mind blowing things about how fast our planet is moving towards destruction. But living as avian-human mutants isn't all fun and games. They have to continually be on their guard and for good reason. Soon, they're captured and brought to a new big and bad guy who wants to use their powers and skills for his own gain. But if you think that Max is going to let that happen, you're so wrong. As always, she finds a way to finagle herself out of tough situation after tough situation and she manages to do it all with attitude, sass, and is still able to prove that she is anything but human.

As with any other Maximum Ride book, the story was written very well and even if there were parts of it I didn't like so much, I was still turning pages as fast as I could. The whole idea of the series is really creative and you can't help rooting along with Max and the flock as they tackle a numerous amount of obstacles. There always is some new twist that gets thrown in. But as a fan of the all the Maximum Ride books, I do have some legitimate complaining to do. First of all, I was hoping for a little more action between Fang and Max with their love life. I've been waiting through all the books for something to happen with them, and still nothing did, which was kind of disappointing. Another thing was that the whole focus on global warming seemed a little cheesy to me. We all do know that global warming is bad and we need to do something but I didn't really want to read a whole book about it when none of the other books in the series had been related to that. And the last thing is is that I think that the events in the stories are starting to get a little repetitive. It's always bad guy after bad guy, miraculous escape after miraculous escape, that I feel like I know exactly what's going to happen. But that's just some of my nit-picking. Really though, the book is good. It's just as action packed as the others, but I just felt that I had to do a little bit of complaining for once. Other than those things, this book is full of laughs, suspense, and all around fun. So, I would highly recommend the whole Maximum Ride series for an exciting, page-turning story about extremely unique characters.

Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway

Audrey didn't think that her breakup with her boyfriend Evan would be a big deal. But then Evan and his band write a song about the breakup entitled; Audrey, Wait! After the song is played for the first time in a small local venue, its popularity grows and the band rockets to stardom, but much to her dismay, Audrey does too. With press everywhere and fans as well as haters recording her every move, she just wants to keep living her life. And when she meets cute new guy James, she starts hoping that maybe things can stay relatively normal. But then Audrey and her best friend Victoria start fighting and people begin to turn against Audrey, she wonders if anything will ever be the same.

I was really excited to get my hands on this book. I had heard a lot of great stuff about it and I had high expectations. I was absolutely enthralled with Audrey and the other characters in the book. They are all completely realistic and showed the dynamics of teen relationships perfectly. Audrey's narration is equally funny and touching and I felt that I really got to know her by the end of the book. I couldn't finish this book fast enough. I think the best thing about this book was that it was really original. There aren't any books out there that have anything near the same plot line, at least that I've heard, so it was nice to read about something refreshing and unique. Another thing I liked was that throughout the story, there was tons of humor which was great. I love reading a book that will make me laugh and Audrey, Wait! definitely did that for me. It was just a great, feel-good, fun to read kind of book; the kind that's right up my alley. I'm excited to see what else Robin Benway has to offer us because I think she's a great new writer that I'm going to have to keep tabs on. She really made this book, addicting, funny, creative, and thoughtful all at the same time, and I would highly recommend it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Lost It by Kristen Tracy

Tess Whistle's junior year in high school is off to bizarre start. Her parents have run away to an outdoors self-discovery camp in the middle of the the desert, her best friend Zena is building a bomb to blow up a poodle, and her eccentric granmother has come to live with her in her parents' absence. It all starts to look a little better when she meets Ben, the super cute boy whose locker is right next to hers. When they hit it off, Tess hopes that things will start taking a turn for the better. But really, how normal can you get when you're living in the circumstances that she is? And when Ben suddenly deserts her, will she be able to keep it together and gain control of her life?

Lost It was a pretty good book. Not amazing, but not horrible. I think the thing that I liked the best was that it was laugh out loud hilarious. I found myself cracking up at many points throughout the book which is definitely a good thing. I also liked the frankness in which Tess told the story. Kristen Tracy's writing style was perfect for this book. It all flowed really well together and helped to get the story across in a fun and fresh manner. One of the other good things was that it was a totally ridiculous plot line. There were so many obnoxious and unplausible things that happened, that you couldn't help but like it. Sure, none of those things would actually happen in real life, but it was super fun to read about all the crazy situations that Tess was put into by her grandmother and her best friend. Now we have to get to a couple of my complaints. I didn't like that the story was confusing at times. I felt a little loss at some points, but thankfully it was cleared up quickly. I also didn't like that the whole focus of the book was sex. Yes, sex can add to a book in many situations, but in this book, it was pretty much all that the book revolved around, as the title suggests. The last thing that I didn't like was that some of the characters were undeveloped. I didn't get to know many of them as much as I would have liked to and that was something that really pulled the book down in my opinion. Other than those things though, Lost It was a good time-filler book. Full of laughs and light-heartedness, it's the perfect book to pick up to pass the time. You know how when you're laying on the beach by the ocean in the middle of summer? This is a good book to read when you're there. :P So, I would recommend Lost It, but don't expect to be completely blown away.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Twilight the Movie

I think that everyone knows that the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer is huge. There are three books out so far with the fourth coming out in August, and there is also currently a movie being filmed, based on the first book. Being a big Twilight fan myself, I have been keeping tabs on the movie and checking for cool updates on it. Who doesn't want to see there favorite vampire family brought to life? I think that they have done a great job with the movie so far and a video that I saw today from the set just proved that even more to me. All the footage just looks so darn cool! I hope you guys are excited for it, because I really think that the whole Twilight franchise is going somewhere extremely exciting with this movie and I, for one, cannot wait.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A Little Friendly Advice by Siobhan Vivan

Ruby knows that her life isn't perfect. Her dad left her and her mom years ago but she has moved on and made the most of her life. Then, when her dad shows up on her sixteenth birthday after years of no contact, Ruby doesn't know what to think. She depends on her friends, Beth, Maria, and Katherine, to get her through this but when things start taking a turn for the worse and she learns that her friends might be behind the trouble, Ruby doesn't know who she can turn to. Thankfully, a mysterious and charming boy shows up, but even with his support, getting through the mess that her friends and her dad have created is going to take a serious toll on Ruby and create wounds that maybe will never heal. Learning the truth is harder than than she could have ever expected.

A Little Friendly Advice is a small book that packs a powerful punch. It is light-hearted at times and meaningful and thought-provoking at others. Each of the characters have so many different sides of them that the reader gets to see, that you begin to feel like you've known them before actually reading the book. ALFA is full of beautiful description and imagery and it really explores the teenage mind with truth and reality. I remember reading books that are never actually able to portray their teen characters all that well. They just aren't able to fully encompass what us teens are all about. ALFA is not like that. Siobhan Vivian is able to get inside the teenage mind and write about what she sees there which is amazing. I loved reading a book by someone who actually understands the people that she's writing to. The other thing that I liked about this book was that it ended with hope. You didn't get a specific ending or resolution forced on you, it just left off with some hints and you get to imagine what would happen next. Yes, the main issues were wrapped up beautifully but the rest was left to you. You got to decide what you wanted to happen in the end. I loved that about this book. I was really able to get into this story and relate to the characters. I am looking forward to seeing more books by Siobhan Vivian. She has really proved with this book that she is someone you should look out for. I can't wait to read more from her and I highly recommend this book.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Is Not Finishing a Book a Crime?

I have always tried my hardest to finish books that I start, so I'm feeling pretty bad that I had to quit reading Running Man by Michael Gerard Bauer. It was the kind of book that requires a lot of thinking and analyzing, and I'm sure it's a great book, I just wasn't in the mood for anything that required my brain to do much else other than read. To make it worse, I got that book for free! Eek! I'm wondering if any of you guys will quit a book, and for what reason. What reason is plausible? Or do you always finish your books?

I'll try to get another review up soon!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Airhead by Meg Cabot

This is a spoiler-free review!

Emerson Watts was satisfied with her life as it was. Sure she was a tomboy and didn't have many friends, but she liked it that way. She had her video games and a cute boy to crush on and that was all she needed. That completely changed when she had to accompany her sister to a mega-store grand opening to see some British singer perform for the event. The unthinkable happened and now Em's life will never be the same. Coming to terms with what happened and learning to how to deal with it will take all of what Em's got left.

I had emailed Meg to see if I could get an ARC to review, but I totally didn't think it would happen. Imagine my surprise when one day, I get a package in the mail. I open that package and it's that ARC book that I have been dying to read. Of course, I had to do a little happy screaming dance. I think that the situation called for nothing less. I hurried to finish the book I had been reading at the time and eagerly sat down to devour Airhead. And let me say, it was fantastic. I didn't really expect anything less though. Meg Cabot has always been able to write great books and as time goes on, she just keeps getting better at it. She explores a really cool plot with humor, wit, and reality. Sometimes I wonder where she can get all these good ideas from! I think that the thing the really makes Meg popular is that she knows how to connect with people. For each of her books she knows who her audience will be and so she writes the book the way that group of people would want it written. She really knows how to appeal and relate to people, especially teenage girls. :P So of course, the book left off with a cliff hanger and I can't wait for the next book in this amazing new series. I don't think that there have been very many books written on the topic of this book and so it was really cool to read about something unique and different. I was completely surprised and delighted with this book, and I would highly recommend it.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

This sequel to the City of Bones, sweeps you away and keeps on powering full speed ahead for the whole book. This time, Valentine, Clary and Jace's father, has stolen the Soul-Sword and is killing downworlder children to unleash the sword's full power. Relationships among Clary's closest friends are becoming strained as well. With Simon, Clary best friend whom she's known all her life, suddenly becoming something more than a friend, and with Clary hiding her true feelings, things are bound to get ugly. Add that to a whole bunch of evil, maniacal rampages, and you've got trouble. And then when Jace is suspected for treason and Simon is kidnapped, Clary doesn't know who she can turn to anymore. Will she be able to sort out her feelings and save the two people who mean the most to her in her life?

I had been dying to read this book for so long. I read City of Bones a while ago and immediately fell in love with this series. Thankfully, all my hopes were met and the next book in the series delivered. I normally don't read a ton of fast-paced action and magic books but the premises of the Mortal Instruments series isn't all about that. It also explores relationships between parents and children, brothers and sisters, and family friends. There's a whole network of intricate connections that's built into the story so that even through all the action, it still gives you something to think about. I think after reading two books that followed the same characters, I've really developed an understanding of all of them. I know what they've gone through in the books so I can kind of see what's driving them as they make the decisions they do. It was a really cool thing to be able to see all of that play out. I also liked reading about Clary and Jace's relationship. I just wish that there was some kind of mistake about their parentage, although I think that perhaps something along those lines was hinted at at points in the book. I'm really hoping that Clary and Jace can find some way to make it work because if they do, I think that they would be in the running for one of my favorite fictional couples. :P I have two miniscule complaints though. One of them being that I wish that there had been some sort of debriefer on the previous book. I did read City of Bones a while ago so I wasn't clear on all of the details so it would have been nice to be caught up a little bit. Also, there are just so many instinces of unrequited love and I was hoping that one couple in the book wouldn't have any trouble in their relationship. I was hoping for a teensy bit of happiness! I do admit though, that having all the drama of the relationships that don't work out does add to the fun of the story, so that's not a huge let-down. Other than those things, this book was truly amazing. It completely swept me away and kept me captivated throughout the whole book. I really, couldn't have asked for anything more. The Mortal Instruments series is a definite must-read, and I'm eagerly awaiting the next book City of Glass.

Jinx Contest Results

First off, I would like to thank everyone who entered for making my first contest a huge success! I was totally overwhelmed by the number of entries and the level of participation. So thank you, guys!

So I cut up everyone's names into little tiny slips of paper, I stuck them all into my left over coffee cup (dont' worry it was clean :P)...

and after mixing it all up very thoroughly, the name that I drew was...

Lauren!!! Congratulations! I have emailed you so if you could just respond with your info ASAP that would be great. If I don't hear from you within a week or two I might have to pick a different winner...

Thanks again to everyone who entered, and I'm so sorry I don't have any more books to give away. I wish I did!

And now, on another Meg Cabot related topic; yesterday I recieved a totally unexpected package that had an ARC of Meg's newest book Airhead in it. I was so excited because it's a book that I have been dying to get my hands on. I will be reading it right after City of Ashes so look forward to that review soon!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess and Rose Hathaway is her best friend. Rose is a dhampir-a half vampire-who has a special mental connection with Lissa and who is training to become a guardian to protect Moroi from the evil Strigoi vampires. When they are brought back to the Vampire Academy after two years of running, they find that nothing much has changed. The royals of the school are still stuck-up and the social scene is still as hard to navigate as before. But soon Rose and Lissa are on top and have almost everything they want. Then someone finds out Lissa's secret. She is different than all of the other Moroi. She can use mental force to manipulate people and she can heal maladies at will. When Lissa's powers are tried, Rose must figure out who is threatening Lissa and give her all to protect the person who means the most to her.

Yet another good vampire book. Really, I don't know what it is about things that suck blood that makes them so interesting, but pretty much every book I've read about vampires has been good. This book has a lot of similarities to the House of Night series. The vampires live during the night, there's forbidden romance, and the characters are rebellious. But there are a few different aspects like the servitude of the dhampirs to the moroi and the feeders that the moroi use to get blood. I found that these different twists were all that was needed to help the story become its own thing entirely. I liked the mystery of the plot and the originality of the characters. I also loved the romance. With vampire books, you're bound to have some kind of romance thing and this book definitely does. My one small complaint was that there were some incidents that occured that weren't really told about. Like there was some car crash that played a big part in the story but it was never fully narrated, it was just hinted at which was kind of maddening. You never got the whole story in that part. But other than that, I think that this book was written very well and explored some new aspects of vampires that I hadn't read about before which was great. I highly recommend this book and I can't wait to read the next book in the series, Frostbite which is due to be out very soon!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

How NOT to Be Popular by Jennifer Ziegler

Sugar Magnolia Dempsey (Maggie for short) has never lived in one place for more than a year. Her hippie parents are continuously uprooting her from her school and her friends to move her all around the country. And she is sick of it. When they last moved, she had her heart broken because she had to leave behind her boyfriend who she thought she loved. But she's learned from her previous mistakes and now has a plan so that she doesn't feel the pain of moving ever again. She will try to avoid everyone at her new school. She will become as unpopular as possible so that when she has to leave, she won't be sad, she'll be happy to leave the place in which she was a social outcast. But what happens when her plan goes wrong and people start liking her in spite of her outrageous outfits and loud personality? Will her plan work?

Aw, I really liked this book. It was a funny, unique topic that had me cracking up all the time. People would give me strange looks whenever I would laugh outloud at the crazy thing that Maggie had done in that part of the story. You really can't help but enjoy her hilarious plight. I also loved how she becomes friends with the outcasts of the school without planning too. This book shows well how the dynamics of a highschool really work with all the cliques and the popularity hierarchy. I loved how we were able to see what might happen if that order was disrupted. I also liked how wacky her parents were and I think they were probably the funniest part in the whole story. I think that the author did a great job creating all of the characters. She got really in depth with them, which I liked a lot. I did find my self resenting Maggie at some points in the story for how selfishly she treated everyone around her, but thankfully in the end there was some kind of pennance for that. I think that the whole idea of this book was really heart-warming, cute, and entertaining. This is definitely a super fast, light read that I would highly recommend.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Magic Study Contest!

Yes, it's true. Over at Kinsmen of The Shelf you can win a signed copy of the book Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder. This looks like a really good book, so you guys should all go over and show Anidori-Isilee some support for hosting her first contest!

And I swear that this is my last post for today. :P

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

Attending the prestigious Alabaster boarding school isn't all that it's made out to be. Especially when your Frankie Landau-Banks. With a hot new senior boyfriend, Frankie thought that her sophmore year at Alabaster would be easy peasy. That was until she found about the secret all male club known as the Loyal Order of the Basset Hound. Many well known and influential men have belonged to this club and Frankie wants in. But how is she supposed to join when she's not supposed to know about it and she's a girl? Why, she could pretend to be someone else of course. Which is exactly Frankie does. She has the boys of the Order perform all kinds of pranks and hijinks but with the members of the club following her every order will she be satisfied? Or is she in seriously over her head?

I loved, loved, loved this book! I finished it in a day. And I am not usually that fast of a reader so this is pretty impressive for me. I was completely drawn in from the first sentence. I loved Frankies attitude. I was laughing numerous times during the book. I also liked E. Lockhart's writing style. As the narrator, she is frank and edgy which was exactly the kind of writing that was needed to spin out Frankie's twisting story. I also loved the pranks that the boys in the book pulled. They were completely genius ideas! I think the aspect of the book I liked the best though, was the feminism. Many of the guys in the story treat the girls like accessories and Frankie's mission was to prove to them that the girls are just as smart, or even smarter, than the guys which I think was a point she was successful in proving. There was one itty bitty part that I didn't like though and that was the ending. I'm crossing my fingers that there'll be a sequel because from the way the book ended, we were kind of left hanging, like there was more of the story yet to be told. And if there is a sequel, I'm going to be extremely excited because I don't think that I'll ever get tired of Frankie's sass and spunk. She's definitely a one of a kind character. I highly recommend this book; you'll be laughing the whole way through and left wanting more.

You Know Where To Find Me by Rachel Cohn

Miles and Laura were blood cousins; joined at the hip. And although they might have drifted away over the years, they were always able to find some time to be together regularily. When Laura commits suicide, Miles is left to her own agony and the repercussions of the event. She turns to prescription drugs and smoking to fill the voide, through with she connects with Laura's gay father. Then Miles' best guy friend all together forgets about her and she doesn't know who to turn to anymore. This is the story of one girl's struggle with depression, drug abuse, and obesity, but it is so much more than that. It is a story about recovery, survival, and hope.

This is the second bok I have read by Rachel Cohn, the first one being Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist which I wasn't too fond of (although I admit that my review of that book might have been a teensy bit harsh...). My hope for this book was to form a second opinion of the author. I don't like not liking books and authors and thankfully my goal was completed. I really did appreciate this book. I don't think that with the topics it covers it was possible to thoroughly enjoy it, but it stretched my thinking and pulled me into a world drastically different from my own. Rachel Cohn did an amazing job of getting into the mind of a troubled teen and she wrote about it with conviction and reality. The main character, Miles, is really very intelligent but she has so many problems and issues that she has to deal with. And although she doesn't always solve those problems in the smartest way, you can see where she's coming from. I liked how realistic and plausible the host of characters were and how you came to understand each of them thoroughly in the span of this book. The author managed to cover so many things in a short number of pages which is very impressive. Also, it's not easy to write about so many controversial topics in the same piece. This book deals with obesity, drug abuse, gay rights, suicide, and racism. I liked reading a book that forced me to think. It's good to gain new insights and knowledge which this book really helped me to do. I would highly recommend this book if you're looking for something to challenge your thinking with. I liked it a lot.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray

In the last book of the Gemma Doyle trilogy, Gemma is faced with many troubles. She has bound the magic of the realms to herself but now she must find some way to split it equally among the tribes of the realms. Life in the real world is changing too. Her friends face their own unique hardships and rely on Gemma to help them escape their lives and find comfort. The pressure is building for Gemma. When an offer of help comes from a former enemy, she gladly takes it, but will her new ally prove trustworthy? Then she finds that the dark forces of the realms are building strength and planning something sinister. When Gemma is betrayed by someone who was formerly seen as loyal and trustworthy, she is in danger of being overwhelmed with pressure and stress. Will she be able to live up to every one's expectations for her and bring safety and peace to the realms at last?

Whew. I feel like I have just finished a marathon or something equally as exhausting. This is one extremely long book. It doesn't help that I have been completely swamped with homework for the past week, so this book just dragged on for me. And yes, that was a really horrible plot summary thing, but I think this book is just way to complex to explain thoroughly and still make sense. Not that it was a bad book. Far from it. I was not thrilled with the first two books in the Gemma Doyle trilogy, but this one really blew me away. The first two books were really building up the characters and the conflicts leading up to the stunning conclusion in this book. The beginning was a little hard to get into, but once I got farther in, I was swept away. The plot is seamlessly woven with many details and twists. The characters are built beautifully; you can see all their different aspects and you really come to understand them. I had some issues with a few characters in the previous books, but they really redeemed themselves when I saw what they were capable of in this book. And the conclusion of this book was breathtaking. I loved the mystery and the sorrow and the bittersweet feel it had to it while at the same time it kept its hopeful note. I admit, I cried a little at the end which is very rare for me. I am so glad that I stuck it out through this series because once you look back on the books you see that everything is connected and that it really was a story worth reading. I highly recommend the whole Gemma Doyle trilogy. These books are a must read.