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Win a copy of Nobody and Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (ends 2/20)

Sunday, May 31, 2009

My Big One Oh!

Just a random post but I'm deliriously happy that I reached my 100th book! My goal was to read at least a book a day but that dream was crushed around oh...the 6th day. So now I am just trying to read as many as I can.

Anyway want to find out what I read? It's on my sidebar down the lower left hand side. The ones in green are ones that I also reviewed, some of which I will post a review later on this year. Just not now as the release dates are much later.

Revamping

I am now revamping my ideology for blogging. It seems that some things I have been doing are not appropriate so I am just thinking it over. Cleaning up some things. It's just this blogging deal is such an emotional thing: up, down, happy, sad, pissed, annoyed, just tired all the time. Some things are killing my love for this place and I just need to chill a bit before I go berserk and start to murder some people.

I will probably be back in a couple of days. Right now I am focusing on Traveling to Teens. So stop by while I do a complete 180 there.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sea Change

Sea Change by Aimee Friedman (June 1st 2009--Point)

Grade: 2.5 stars out of 5

Summary: “16-year-old Miranda Merchant is great at science...and not so great with boys. After major drama with her boyfriend and (now ex) best friend, she's happy to spend the summer on small, mysterious Selkie Island, helping her mother sort out her late grandmother's estate.

There, Miranda finds new friends and an island with a mysterious, mystical history, presenting her with facts her logical, scientific mind can't make sense of. She also meets Leo, who challenges everything she thought she knew about boys, friendship...and reality.

Is Leo hiding something? Or is he something that she never could have imagined?”

Review: I enjoyed the small facts of sea creatures, the folklore behind the island, and in general the little details which gives the novel an excellent foundation. I thought the way the tale of the merman and mermaid was nicely presented through the voice of a fisherman.

My biggest disappointment was the fact that the relationship between Miranda and Leo was never dealt with in detail. It was just a few scenes of only these two. Love at first sight is a good start, but what comes after the first sight is important. I need reason why these two people are meant for each other. I need more dialogue, more interaction, a deeper connection. As well as if Leo truly is a merman. Throughout the book, I was just waiting to read about the conflict once Miranda figures the truth out. Sadly, hints were dropped that he is but never a full blown confession.

I would have also liked to read about Miranda’s mother’s past; her struggle, her path of falling in love and divorcing, the interaction between her ex-fiancée and old friends. What was the sudden switch from the cold shoulders to the rubbing elbows? Somehow, somewhere I need a bridge to fill in these gaps. But I enjoyed the reading about the relationship with Miranda; I thought it was realistic and not overly dramatic.

However, I did enjoy Isadore’s character. It was compelling and full of excitement. The way Aimee connected Isadore’s past and Miranda’s current self was brilliantly done with the few attributes that Miranda possess similar to that of her late grandmother.

The side characters reminded me a bit much of MTV’s reality TV show “The Hills”. Basically it’s a group of rich children that has no other goal in life than to get laid, rich, and beautified. I have no trouble about this but when about half the book is the activities that Miranda and they do, it just spells non-enjoyment.

Overall: A sad disappointment. A diamond in the rough is what I mostly sum it up as.

Cover B-
The bottom half is weird. It’s like this poorly done Photoshop where they cut off her entire body, bumpy, oddly shaped.

Indefinite




This is an indefinite hiatus. An impromptu hiatus. A "maybe I won't be on hiatus next Monday" hiatus. I have about 9 scheduled post mostly for my tours so those posts do not mean I'm back from my break. They are just my fulfillment to my promise. So I'll you guys later...indefinitely.

Unraveling

Unraveling by Michelle Baldini and Lynn Biederman (July 8th 2008—Delacorte)

Grade: 3 stars out of 5

Summary: “THE SMART THING Is to Prepare for the Unexpected.

So reads the fortune cookie fortune that Amanda receives at the beginning of her family’s vacation to Florida. Amanda knows all about preparing for the unexpected—her mother, whom she calls The Captain, is always hard on Amanda, and it’s just when Amanda lets her guard down that the very worst comes through. Looking for acceptance, Amanda turns her attention to boys, and doing whatever she can to be popular at school. That includes making out with the gorgeous senior Rick in his car after school—even though he has a girlfriend. And when Rick offers her The Deal—a real, official date to the Homecoming in front of everyone, in exchange for her virginity—Amanda jumps at the chance. But no matter how you try to prepare for the unexpected, sometimes you can’t.”

Review: First things first: this book is for the mature audience! There is sex!

Secondly, the actual review. Personally, some of the contents reminded me a lot of Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky. I only say this because it was about the physical aspect of a relationship, it was about friendship, and it was about family.

Unlike Anatomy, Unraveling showed the darker side to sex. It could be used to hurt someone, to take advantage of someone, losing it and regretting it.

Amanda has the self-confidence that needs help and she believes that by doing it with someone they will love her. No, she is not a slut nor is she tramp, because of the fact that she realizes what she truly lost and how she regrets that decision. This book is a modern take of the teenage life—sex is not part of love. We speak of love as a transparent being easily disposed of or shifted to what we please. “I love you, now do this for me. I want you so much.” The phrase “I love you” can be as causally spoken as the word “bitch” or “fuck”, so what is the issue with sex? You tell me, as I am blatantly aware as to what my peers say--some of which I am disgusted at the talk. This is what Unraveling forces me to think. Does any one regret their decision as a mistake as Amanda did? Or is this just part of human nature—live and learn?

So what goes through Amanda’s mind that by doing it with that person, they will love her? Family troubles. People always say that they will never be like their parents, but how often nor not does that truly happen? It is embedded within us. That was the case with Amanda’s mother. So it was to be expected that the constant belittling, scolds and yells from her, makes Amanda feel this way. Who wouldn’t? We are talking about family dynamics, family issues, and family pressure that makes one crack underneath the surface. We turn to the false promises and half-spoken truth to cheer us up.

Friendship can be another life raft. They are what float us from drowning in misery. They help us, advise us, and concern themselves for us. Unraveling shows us this as Amanda journeys through this entire process.

So this is the essence of Unraveling. Life, coming undone from life. Bit by bit we lose ourselves in life and we are finally left with something we can grow, to be proud of, to take matters into our own hands and roll the dices.

My major compliant would be the disjointedness in some scenes. The mother and daughter relationship starts out rocky, then goes through a jungle, and comes out as a butterfly. The transition was too fast, jumping abruptly from the jungle to the butterfly stage. And because this was a first person point of view the actual scenes can differ. Was the mother really that horrid? Was Amanda exaggerating? Also, Amanda read her mother’s personal emails to her close friend, some of which was about her. Amanda’s mother believes she is trying to help her, acting more kindly towards her than what Amanda says, so why did she not return those attempts back to the mother? It was a lot of blame passed around and not much action to prevent this.

Overall: A hefty read for such a small book. It was more of the thoughts it provoked that appealed to me. The actual book reminded me of something trying a bit too hard at times.

Cover C

Friday, May 29, 2009

Love You Hate You Miss You

Love You Hate You Miss You by Elizabeth Scott (May 26th 2009—Harper Teen)

Grade: 3.5 stars out of 5

Summary: “You know, I always thought I told you everything, but there are some things I should have said but never did. I should have told you about the time I lost your new sunglasses. I know you really liked them. I should have apologized the time I ruined your brand-new skirt, the one with the beading. I should have apologized for a lot of stuff.

I’m sorry. I’m sorry for everything.”

Review: Elizabeth Scott has been an up and down author for me. I love one book, feel indifferent about another, pretty happy with that one, confused by the next, up and down.

Love You Hate You Miss You was an almost hit for me. Elizabeth Scott stays in her comfort zone of family, troubled teen, and a lot heart felt action.

As always the family relationships play such a huge role. Acceptance, love, and devotion. Do they love me? Do they just carry me around as a piece of luggage? What do I have to do to make them look at me!? These thoughts are what pop into my mind to describe the situation. Does drinking until your life is in jeopardy count? Amy is six feet tall with the self-confidence that could match the height of a toddler.

Heartache is what you feel for Amy. Her love for Julia, her guilt, her struggles to live another day. Going to therapy to find out that maybe Julia was not all that she appeared to be. But moving on that everything can lead up to choice: our own choice.

It was all very intense, emotional, and deeply engrossing.

I would have liked to see what happened with Patrick though. Whatever happened to Mel, Beth and even the therapist in the story. This book was separated into 3 parts—love, hate and miss, just like the title says. Love we read a lot of, miss we can imagine as it occurs after the story, but the hate? Just a small section. Even so it was only one scene. Was there anything more to Julia that meets the eye?

Overall: I think Elizabeth is progressing smoothly. I would like to see her out of her comfort zone a bit more but she knows how to tell a tale for one thing. Good job.

Cover B+
This is my second favorite cover after Something, Maybe from Elizabeth Scott. It’s the color intensity that compels me to stare.

Tempo Change

Tempo Change by Barbara Hall (June 9th 2009—Delacorte)

Grade: 3.5 stars out of 5

Summary: “It’s tough enough defining your identity—imagine if your father was a rock legend.

Blanche Kelly's dad is a famous indie rock icon, but not many people at the private school she attends on scholarship know this. Her father left when she was in the first grade, and she can’t quite forgive her mom for not understanding that an artist like her dad needs the time and space to connect to his muse.

When Blanche creates an all-girl rock band, their sound captures a wide audience and the band is invited to compete at the Coachella Music Festival. Blanche feels this could be the perfect time for a reunion with her father. Won’t he be proud to hear her band? Won’t he be happy to get to know his only daughter?”

Review: I really had no idea what I was getting myself into when I picked this book up. Will it be about the road to fame? Will it be about family troubles once her father leaves? And the biggest question of them all was will it be amazing? The answer to all the questions was yes…well to the last, pretty much, but not fully.

We start from the basics—band mates. The entire process was short, one line long. How? Blanche is a writer for the school newspaper so she wrote in her column that she and her bands (insert names here) will be joining the talent show. That’s basically it. The girls confronted her about it and they were fine with it. Yeah, that was not the best part of the book…

Anyway what was nice about this book was how the author included some lyrics and old songs. Some inspirations that helped Blanche. Not full blown lyrics, just a line or two.

Blanche was well rounded. She had motives, passion, and depth. Behind the music it was a ploy to bring back her father. For him to be proud of her. For her to show what she accomplished. Too bad her father ruined it all (is keeping my lips shut about that). But I thought she might have been too perfect in some areas. Straight A’s, writing songs, rehearsing, her job, she managed to excel in everything.

This book had a bit more religion than I expected. Angels, God, and prayers seem to play a big role. You can either love, hate, or ignore this part. I just ignored it. Not a big fan of religion in books.

The ending, without a doubt, was the best part of the book. Conflict ensues. Heated words, father and daughter bonding, deeper sense of emotions from both ends, and some resolution! I felt that in some way we never meet the father. Short, terse emails do not do justice to his true nature.

Overall: Not much actually happened in the book. Pretty good read. I do not really see “…the value of learning about your past to make your own future,” from the summary.

Cover A-
I like everything aside from the pink and orange. Something more dynamic would have been more appropriate.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Winner of Jeannine's Books!

Congrats goes out to Gaby who won the giveaway!

Gaby, please email me in the next 48 hours with your address so I may let Jeannine know where to mail the books to.

Wings

Wings by Aprilynne Pike (May 5th 2009—Harper Collins)

Grade: 3 stars out of 5

Summary: “Aprilynne Pike's WINGS is the first of four books about an ordinary girl named Laurel who discovers she is a faerie sent among humans to guard the gateway to Avalon. When Laurel is thrust into the midst of a centuries-old battle between faeries and trolls, she's torn between a human and a faerie love, as well as her loyalties to both worlds.”

Review: Wings was definitely something that you have to read a bit further than 50 pages to get into. When I finished opened the pages, I was a bit put off by the style of writing. It seemed basic, middle school writing. It reminded me of a Disney, “Once upon a time, there was a fairy princess…” type of style. But once I got pass the few chapters, it grew on me.

The characters were simplistic with nothing too overly flamboyant. The motives behind each one can be easily defined in a simple sentence for each character: “who am I?” and “I love her.” I may be overly down cutting on the whole intelligence factor but in the end it does come down to that.

Speaking of love, there is a love triangle. Human against faery. Not really going to say much about that except for it being predictable.

The background information was lacking in some departments though. We have faeries and trolls, and simple descriptions of their appearance. I wanted something more. What separates those two groups into such a defined good vs. evil type of feud? Greed can be accredited for some of this, but not all.

You really cannot say much about this book. It was basically a giant source of background information, building it all up for the sequel. Nothing really developed here nor did anything truly remarkable occur.

I would like to say that what everyone has said about Pike’s new take on faeries is different. I would have like for her to go into further details though. Like primary functions, how does she talk, what feeds into her brain for it to be able to function. Creditable is all that I am looking for. Great imagination, now just tie it up to the real world.

Overall: For some reason when I first heard about this book, I thought it would have something to do with sisters or something similar. I was way off, let’s just say that. Again, one giant building block, we’ll see what happens next.

Cover C
I really do not see the appeal of the cover.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Castration Celebration

Castration Celebration by Jake Wizner (May 26th 2009—Random House)

Grade: 4 stars out of 5

Summary: “Did you know that in imperial china, eunuchs had their testicles, penis and scrotum removed?

Olivia does. She's done the research--after walking in on her dad fooling around with one of his grad students. On her stay to an arts summer camp at Yale University, she's decided to write a musical called Castration Celebration.

Max, on the other hand, is a big fan of the penis--intact. As an actor, he always has the right line, especially for the ladies. He's going to camp to hone his skills, both acting and otherwise. And when Olivia and Max meet...oh, the drama! Olivia and Max have their roles down pat. Before camp is over, they'll preform Olivia's musical onstage and in real life--though the ending may turn out different than either expects.

Peppered with original songs like "Horny," "I'm in Love with Dick," and the titular, "Castration Celebration," Jake Wizner's a whole new level in a bawdy uproarious romp that's laugh-out-loud funny.”

Review: This review will be short and simple.

I loved this book. That’s all I have to say. It was disgusting, lewd, perverted, and “holy cow” worthy. Don’t believe me? Here are some quotes then:

“‘Menstruating Mandy,” Callie said. “Wind her up and watch her squirt.”

Or how about this one, it might look familiar:

‘“You know the book Twilight?” asked Max.

“I’ve heard of it.”

“It’s about this vampire who hooks up with a teenage chick. They never do more than kiss, but I was thinking if he ever went down on her while she was having her period it would be like winning the lottery.”’

Fun enough for you? This book is not the most politically correct book, but it was just downright hilarious. Would I recommend this for everyone? Absolutely not. There are things in there that probably offends someone in this country but that does not mean it cannot be enjoyed.

If you have a slightly twisted humor, you will love this book. It you have a more sane humor, read it still! Grab it from the library, your friend, or stay in Borders for 3 hours! I don’t care, just read it!

Overall: Wow.

Cover C
The cover kind of sucks though.

Remember to enter my giveaway for a chance to win my ARC!

Update on Life

I am taking my frustration on blogger right now. Ignore me while I spaz out.

WHY!

*bangs head on desk*

IS!

*forms a wound on forehead*

SCHOOL

*blood starting to drip*

SUCH

*desk cracking*

A DOUCH!?!?

*banshee scream*

Well, now that's out of my system...

Waiting on Wednesday! (14)

Little Black Lies by Tish Cohen (October 13th 2009--Egmont US)
Summary: "Sara and her father are moving to Boston from small-town Lundun, Massachusetts. She is going to attend the prestigious Anton High school—crowned “North America’s Most Elite and Most Bizarre” by TIME Magazine—harder to get into than Harvard. As the new girl, Sara doesn’t know anyone; better yet, no one knows her. That means she can escape her family’s checkered past, and her father can be a surgeon instead of “Crazy Charlie” the school janitor.

What’s the harm of a few little black lies? Especially if it transforms Sara into Anton’s latest “It” girl. But then one of the popular girls at school starts looking into Sara’s past, and her father’s obsessive compulsive disorder takes a turn for the worse. Soon, the whole charade just might come crashing down..."

I first saw the awesome cover, drooled over it. Then I just found the summary and the "Crazy Charlie" the school janitor, makes me want it even more.

This meme is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Last Call

The giveaway for Jeannine Garsee's books will end tomorrow night at midnight. So enter now if you want a chance to snag both books.

Slept Away

Slept Away by Julie Kraut (May 26th 2009—Delacorte)

Grade: 3.5 stars out of 5

Summary: “Laney Parker is a city girl through and through. For her, summertime means stepping out of her itchy gray school uniform and into a season of tanning at rooftop swimming pools, brunching at sidewalk cafes, and—as soon as the parents leave for the Hamptons—partying at her classmates’ apartments.

But this summer Laney’s mother has other plans for Laney. It’s called Camp Timber Trails and rustic doesn’t even begin to describe the un-air-conditioned log cabin nightmare. Laney is way out of her element—the in-crowd is anything but cool, popularity seems to be determined by swimming skills, and the activities seem more like boot camp than summer camp.

Splattered with tie dye fall out, stripped of her cell, and going through Diet Coke withdrawal, Laney is barely hanging on. Being declared the biggest loser of the bunk is one thing, but when she realizes her summer crush is untouchably uncrushable in the real world, she starts to wonder, can camp cool possibly translate to cool cool?

Summer camp might just turn this city girl’s world upside down!”

Review: I read Julie’s previous book Hot Mess but was less than blown away, however, Slept Away was much better than I had anticipated. This was Sleepaway Girls done right.

We have almost the same basic plotline, girl goes to summer, mean girls appear, girl befriends some awesome friends, and mean girls get defeated, girl ends summer camp happy and glad she came. So what made me like this book so much better? Almost everything I say!

First off, the characters. Laney was not someone always perky, always happy, never fighting back. Although she never did anything physical, the inner monologues gave enough hints that she isn’t one to suck it all in. Heck they made me laugh.

The mean girls—snobby, completely glittery, and their butts as movable billboards—were great. I could feel the hate, the annoyance, and the fact that their reason to dislike someone aside from jealousy was refreshing. They just hate Laney because they are *itches. I can deal with that, there are people in this world like that.

The friends. Much more relatable, acted more as the side characters to build the main character up rather than trying to shove her aside.

Humor laced with friendship. Comedy intertwined with growth. Did I mention that it was funny? Well it was.

The biggest compliant would have to be the relationship with Ryan and Laney. I wanted to see more of it instead of just a small glimpse and a little peck. On some parts, I wanted a lot of the plot to expand a bit. The thing with the mean girls? It kind of just faded. I do not recall the giant explosion of conflict.

Overall: A cute and fun read. Definitely perfect for the summer!

Cover B
Love the food, but Random House seems to have issues with feet. Does that look like a fifteen year old’s feet? Unless she has pretty big feet…

Monday, May 25, 2009

Traveling to Teens: J.A. Yang

J.A.Yang has slummed it in the valley with the Wakefield twins; slumber partied with Huey, Dewey and Louie; joined Krakow in stalking Angela; and climbed every mountain with the Von Trapps.

Originally from San Diego, he's lived and traveled the world (okay, not all of it) in pursuit of that most elusive of targets -- inspiration.

He's authored and published a book, written for online and offline publications, and maintained a variety of popular blogs on subjects ranging from movies and technology to personal stories and amateur musings. He's just wrapped up his second book, a fiction novel for teens, and is hard at work on his third one.
1. Aside from being an author what other famous careers would you like?
Well, if I wasn't an author I think I'd love to be a background singer/musician. Never in the front mind you, I'd get stage fright. But in the back where I could dance in unison with the band and do all the hand clapping and whistling needed. I'd be "Oh hey, it's that guy who does all the hand clapping parts."

2. Does this involve disguises? Describe your ideal disguise.
Being a background singer wouldn't require a disguise but probably a fun costume or two. What I would need a disguise for is my nightly romps around the city solving crimes and policing the streets. If being a superhero could be a career, I'd definitely choose that one. And sing and whistle while apprehending criminals too, of course.. The only requirment for my superhero disguise right now is a cape. Something reversible. Beyond that I'm open to suggestions.

3. I noticed in Exclusively Chloe that you are in tuned with fashion. Are you up to date on the latest fashion trend? What are some of your favorite pieces to wear?
Haha, I'd like to think I'm in tune with the latest fashions but that's probably just in my head. I know my personal fashion style certainly isn't in tune with what's fashionable nowadays. I've been in search of the ideal cool jeans for quite awhile now and can't find them. I'd hoped to revamp my personal style for a few months but it's not happening yet. Maybe the summer will allow me to kick my outfits up a notch.

But what I love to see on other people are great accessories. If anyone has an awesome necklace, earrings, ring, bracelet, etc. on, I always comment and say how great it looks because I really appreciate that stuff. It's the little details that make fashion something incredibly fun to get into.

4. Chloe's Chinese name was Shao-Chi. Was there a reason why you decided to skip the traditional ping-yin of Xiao, and replacing it with Shao?
Originally I had Xiao-Chi, which is probably the correct spelling for "little," but I changed it because "shao" would make it phonetically pronounced more like how I wanted it to sound, for those who didn't know pinyin. I'm not sure if that's a general concession when writing Chinese words but that's what I did and actually my sister asked the exact same thing since I based Chloe-Grace's Chinese name off of her Chinese name.

5. Random question because I'm slightly curious. If you had an option of surviving one week off of tofu or rice, which would you choose? This of course would include condiments and any method of cooking for the two food--stir-fried, sticky, stinky, boiled, any way.
Oh this one's easy. I'd go with rice in a heartbeat. I could eat just plain white rice all day if I had to. Rice is one of my top five foods and my staple food in times of need. I love just eating white rice, a can of corn niblets, and some pepper. Goodness, I feel like making some rice right now just thinking about it. *stomach grumbles*
This has been a production of Traveling to Teens.

Exclusively Chloe

Exclusively Chloe by J.A. Yang (May 14th 2009—Puffin)

Grade: 3 stars out of 5

Summary: “Chloe-Grace can't help it—she's spectacular. How could she not be with celebrity parents who have been the queen and king of Hollywood for years? And Chloe is a celebrity all unto herself as well— she's the first celebrity-adopted kid in Hollywood. But now Chloe's sixteen, and she is tired of every undesired moment of the world's attention. She wonders what it would be like to be a "normal" kid in a regular school. To really understand it, though, she would need to go undercover. So after getting a "make-under" at the hands of her mother's fabulous stylist, she enters the "real" world. But she soon finds out that there is just as much drama there as there is in Hollywood....”

Review: Exclusively Chloe was by no means a provocative novel but rather something to sooth the time away. When I first spotted Exclusively Chloe I immediately knew that it would be an adorable read.

Chloe-Grace was the roundabout teen that wanted to escape. J.A. Yang created a perfect scenario that is popular in the famous society—divorce. So who can blame Chloe when she wanted to escape it all. The transition from famous Chloe to everyday Lilly was slightly unrealistic as a new haircut and downgrading your clothes will not hide you from people finding you out. Which, thank goodness, J.A. realized as he let the paparazzi soon discovers her.

Exclusively Chloe does well in reenacting a typically celebrity life from what I know from television. From the cute and high end fashion to the club scenes and outlandish events, Exclusively Chloe manages to show it all off.

Some characters fell flat for me though. Rachelle I cannot seem to grasp as a best friend material. Vickie I was suspecting throughout the entire novel as a backstabber for some reason or another. Jake came in abruptly but was still endearing. Angela I wanted to stab her eyes (I am an evil lady if you had not figured that out yet). Jana was picture perfect—really nice and caring. Luther, the makeup artist, somehow shone to me. I think I was blinded by how awesome he was and dazzled by the stars radiating from him. However things are superficial though.

The ending was a bit fast paced than I cared for. The entire conflict or scenario was wrapped up in a bright red bow. I would have liked to see the struggle played out more instead of everything being so peachy-clean.
Overall: Exclusively Chloe was a cute and easy read that is perfect for the summer.

Cover B-
Shiny

Exclusively Chloe Contest

I'm giving away a copy of Exclusively Chloe as part of the tour. So stop over Traveling to Teens to enter!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Beautiful World

Beautiful World by Anastasia Hollings (June 2nd 2009—Harper Teen)

Grade: 1.5 stars out of 5

Summary: “Amelia Warner will stop at nothing to get what she wants: everything.
Seventeen-year-old Amelia Warner is always on the outside. Moving from boarding school to boarding school with her brother and their father, the untenured professor, doesn't help. Amelia lives inches from the sons and daughters of the elite, forever looking in on the beautiful people. A natural-born charmer who doesn't lie so much as rework the truth to her advantage, Amelia is well-versed in the art of faking a high-society identity to get limited access to the luxe life, but she's never figured out how to truly belong. Then she meets Courtney Moore, the Upper East Side heiress who needs a friend as badly as Amelia wants to be that friend, and suddenly a world of opportunity opens up for her. Parties, shopping, her own wing in the Moore mansion—it's all hers for the taking, as long as she can keep her real life a secret, especially from the new acquaintance who's been asking way too many questions. Can Amelia stay one step ahead of the doubters to secure her place in the beautiful world?”

Review: I just could not swallow this book. At mid-way I had to stop and wonder why I was even continuing. Skimmed through the rest, reading some dialogues here and there, some building blocks to the plot, but saw nothing really new from the first half.

It was a wash, rinse, and repeat type of book. Basic scenario of poor girl wanting to be rich and rich girl wanting some friends. Poor girl of course befriends rich girl and oh no, swindles rich girl into believing that poor girl is also rich. But here’s the thing, poor girl pretends to lose her wallet, sprouts tears and bada bing bada boom, here’s the gorgeous watch that you’ve been eyeing. Wash, rinse, and repeat.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, Courtney is the lonely rich girl that wants some decent friends in her life for once. And Ameila—Ann (her real name) is the poor girl who thinks she deserves more, much more just like Courtney. Courtney equals naïve girl who believes almost everything. Amelia equals will you shut up already!? Still interested?

Well here’s the thing, Amelia’s brother, Zach(ary) looks just like Johnny Deep. No lie! They only mentioned like oh…5 times in 3 chapters. Dark, broody, with penetrating eyes and an extremely high tolerance to alcohol! He drinks a lot, which, like his uncanny appearance to Mr. Deep, you will read about often.

Right from the start I hesitated about this book. The format threw me off as it was a third person point of view but rotating every main character. Amelia then Zach and then Courtney. You get used to it though.

But this book was a train wreck waiting to happen. There were sparks of intelligence between Courtney and Amelia and scenes where you can relate to. And as the back of the book states: “…a series that marries Gossip Girl with The Talented Mr. Ripley.” Maybe readers will find something to like in this series…whoever the heck is Mr. Ripley is.

Overall: Congratulations Beautiful World managed to not get burned…barely. What was really sad was that this book was so small—209 pages—and I could barely finish it.

Cover B+
The cover is really pretty though. Definitely showcases the “beautiful” people and the landscape divine.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Contest Update

The contest for Jeannine Garsee's book has been extended to Wednesday.

Yan's Joyous Morning

So today I woke up at 6:30 AM. My curtains apparently hate me since they managed to let the sun's rays in. Read Slept Away by Julie Kraut until like 9:00--on and off while trying to go back to sleep. Gave up (on sleeping, finished the book), and left my bedroom.

So anyway you've probably seen the Old Navy commercial for the $1 flip-flops right? I was like "Oh, I think I'll go". So at 9:45 AM, I left the house arriving at the store around 10-ish. When I got to the store, there was a bunch of people leaving and cussing at Old Navy. My first reaction, "Oh crap, I thought it opened at 10", it opens at 9. So I went inside (I was being stupid). And it was a freaking jungle in there. All you saw was a giant mass of bodies and screams across the store. All the flip-flops were gone, the line all the way around the store (from corner to corner)! Everyone had at least 5 pairs in their hands and looking slightly crazed like I might have snatched it from them if their grip was too loose (which I might have done...coughcough. Hey, you would've done it too :P).

Anyway I left the store dejectedly. Went across the parking lot to Wal-Mart and bought myself a liter of Coca Cola, a family size bag of Lay's Sour Cream and Nacho Cheese chips, and a gallon of milk (that one we ran out of in the house). Walked home (it was only like 3 blocks from my house) carrying my happy food.

Well that was my morning, how was yours? I plan to spend the rest of the day staring at the giant 42 inch screen of bright colors. Which seeing as how I no longer have cable, only serves as an awesome paper weight. But I won't because my parents will probably kill me if I do. That leaves me with sleeping, eating, or reading. I plan to do all 3 at the same time (imagine all the possibilities). Wish me luck everyone~

Friday, May 22, 2009

Cathy’s Ring

Cathy’s Ring by by Jordan Weisman, Sean Stewart, Cathy Brigg (Illustrator) (May 4th 2009—Running Press)

Grade: 3 stars out of 5

Summary: “Cathy cannot manage to find more than a few days to relax in her hectic (and mortal) life—she barely has time to put the mystery surrounding her father to rest before she finds herself targeted by a group of Ancestor Lu’s professional killers!

Recognizing she is a serious threat to everyone in her life, Cathy makes plans to leave town. But her friends, Emma, Pete, Victor, and, surprisingly, Jun, unite to convince Cathy that they must finish Lu once and for all to have any chance at peace—mortal or immortal. In order to defeat Lu, the friends must come together in a way they never have before.

Meanwhile—unbeknownst to Cathy—Victor has made the ultimate sacrifice hoping it will bring him closer to a normal relationship with Cathy. But when Victor is seriously wounded and Cathy finds herself attracted to another mortal with similar feelings for her, Cathy’s world turns upside down and she is forced to make a decision about her future with Victor, while his life hangs by a thread. What will Cathy decide, and how will their epic battle with Lu play out? Find out in the newest adventure-packed installment of the Cathy story!”

Review: Cathy’s Ring is the third installment in this New York Time’s bestselling series of Cathy’s Book. I think this installment has to be my favorite so far.

In Cathy’s Ring, the authors still managed to capture the humor and the darker tones. We see a change of relationship between Cathy and Victor as they (could be it?) converse for more than a single paragraph. We witness the extent of the love between them as Victor sacrifices a great deal. Which, if you read my previous reviews I went on and on about how much I did not understand those two together. So finally! A spark! Of course the love triangle, or square, might have moved things along (I won’t mention names).

Once again friendship seems to play a good sum in this book. A lot of it was on Emma with Cathy. Really close friends which you understand in the last scene when Emma confesses that Cathy is all that she has for family. Touching. There are of course fights, smacking, and crying but those all come with friendship (I speak from experience, especially the part with the hitting).

On the more smaller details I would have wished the editor combed through this in much more. There were small mistakes everywhere. And some questions were left unanswered and the little background information missing. For example, I wanted to know what the heck where Cathy’s mom was when all of this happened? Cathy runs away for like a few weeks and we know absolutely know about her reaction. But based on the fact that this is a diary format book, I might let it slide.

In the end it was slightly anticlimactic. Last time, Jewel was the hero and now Emma was. It was humorous but saddening since I wanted something heroic, epic, death defying! It was good. But just not for me.

So to answer Okie’s question, is this a series you have to read in order? Not really. In every installment they do a short recap of the past books and includes fancy drawings as well.

I really do hope that they plan a sequel or something. A side story perhaps? I realize that the majority of the plot has been covered, the group of bad guys defeated but there are a bunch of plot holes.

Overall: An entertaining read. Definitely in love with the doodles.

Cover C+
Disproportional heads.

P.S. Ignore my spelling/grammar mistakes. It's almost 10 here and I am tiredddddddd

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Cathy’s Key

Cathy’s Key by Jordan Weisman, Sean Stewart, Cathy Brigg (Illustrator) (May 5th 2008—Running Press)

Grade: 3 stars out of 5

Summary: “Cathy was your average high school student--doodling in the margins of her journal, crushing on a cute boy, and hanging out with her best friend Emma.

As this story begins, she's trying to keep a job, her journal is stolen, the cute boy is not who he seems to be, and even Emma's side project/start-up company, Doubletalk Wireless, is about to get caught up in the mystery surrounding Cathy and her search for the truth about her father.

Her presumed-dead father.

It's just a simple story really: Girl loves Boy, Boy disappears, Girl discovers secret that will alter the course of humanity...”

Review: So I decided to be a good reader this time and not be distracted by the pretty pictures. Focusing on the plot and on the characters.

Cathy’s Key is the sequel to Cathy’s Book, but in some ways I could not tell if it was true. When I first started Cathy’s Key, I flipped back to Cathy’s Book, read the last couple of pages, switched over to Cathy’s Ring, read the first couple of pages, and sighed. It confused me so much jumping from the next. I imagined that I read the series out of order, hoping that the other one would make much sense. Alas, no. It turns out I was reading in the correct order but still felt completely and hopelessly lost.

After plowing my way through the first few chapters I began to get comfortable again and understood the basic information needed. The flashbacks did help though, which would make my complete melt-down before useless.

I had some issues with this book as I did for its predecessor. Together Cathy, Victor, and Emma had no sense of correlation. Victor was once again missing for about 90% of the novel unless you count Cathy saying his name than it’ll be 50%. Honestly though, when Victor does show up he’s fighting some bad guy trying to protect Cathy then tongue wrestling with her. I do not see the appeal that Cathy sees. What makes them together? What drives them closer? Why do they even like each other? What is going on!? Anything? I just need one single scene that screams out to me that they are meant for each other! So yes, we’ll see in the future if I get any answers.

Emma. I happen to like Emma. Smart, level headed and tolerant (the complete opposite to me).

Cathy. Well she is the main character to the series so I guess she does something? That we’ll find out soon enough (I hope, cross your fingers everyone).

The plotline is becoming deeper than I had imagined. Much darker. We have the shadowed alliances, the secret ploys, and the mysterious lies. They is a bit of a scramble to see what the real plotline is but for now I want to see how everything ties in with one another. If the authors manage to do so then it would be astonishing and would make this entire series worth it. But for now I will see what will happen.

Overall: A nice jump in a series. Leaves a lot to be desired in the sequel but nonetheless something intriguing. You just cannot stop reading.

Cover B
This is actually my favorite cover of the series so far.

Blogroll Part 2

I am pooped. I just finished including everyone on that blog list and alphabetized it, linked it, and will soon be adding everyone onto my google reader list.

Anyone else want me to add to the list?


Thursday Hugs

So remember that post I made about the Chill War? Well after talking it over with Sharon we decided to come up with a new meme. This will be an every other week meme where we talk about the happy side of blogging (that means next week I won't post this but the following week I'll post another topic).

Tired of the negative energy everyone is putting off? Then post some love on your blog! For the first meme I thought we would start off with something small.

How was your first experience meeting a blogger outside of the internet?


Truthfully I never did meet a blogging buddy in the real life. Do I want to? Heck yes! I'll probably end up crushing someone's windpipes from my bear hugs. BEA sounds like such an amazing opportunity so whomever is going, I'll be there with you in spirit!? [distant screams: take me with you!!! kidnap me! I don't care, school is for suckers anyway...]

I won't mention who I want to meet the most since I can't pick favorites...Alea, Sharon, Carol, Vania, Khy, and Laura (because she might kill me if I don't add her)

But really though, I'll be excited to meet anyone. Seriously, someone throw me a bone. Who wants to come visit Yan so she won't be alone with summer!?

My answer wasn't really answering what the question was asking...Well! so let me hear your story! Sharon helped me with the Mr.Linky so now we can directly link to your tales. If you just want to join the CHILL WAR, don't be shy to add you link to the other post.

Okay so Mister Linky is down for the count. Apparently the site is offline or something... I thought only girls PMS :P

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Blogroll

I decided to be a good little minion in this community and ask about blogrolls. Just tell me the title of your blog and link and I'll add it onto the list.

I have 2 weeks until my finals and once those are over with, I plan to do a lot of stalking here. I have even been commenting more~

Waiting on Wednesday! (13)

Pretty Dead by Francesca Lia Block (September 22, 2009--Harper Teen)

Summary: "She said she had never known you could love someone that much, for eternity or enough to die for, like the characters in her favorite novels. She had thought it was just fiction.

I told her, "No, that is real."

Believe me, I know. But even if I wanted to die for someone, it wouldn't be that easy.

They just kept dying for me."

This meme is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters

My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters by Sydney Salter (April 1st 2009—Sandpiper)

Grade: 4.5 stars out of 5

Summary: “It’s the end of junior year, and summer is about to begin. The Summer of Passion, to be exact, when Jory Michaels plans to explore all the possibilities of the future--and, with any luck, score a boyfriend in the process. But Jory has a problem. A big problem. A curvy, honking, bumpy, problem in the form of her Super Schnozz, the one thing standing between Jory and happiness. And now, with the Summer of Passion stretched before her like an open road, she's determined for Super Schnozz to disappear. Jory takes a job delivering wedding cakes to save up for a nose job at the end of the summer; she even keeps a book filled with magazine cutouts of perfect noses to show the doctor. But nothing is ever easy for accident-prone Jory--and before she knows it, her Summer of Passion falls apart faster than the delivery van she crashes.”

Review: So I heard several different takes on this book. Was okay, was not that good, was amazing! I happen to be in the latter class. Sydney Salter made me laugh, cry, and smile throughout the entire process.

Jory was relatable in the sense that every teen has self-confidence issues. I know I do. So it was a relief to find one that a problem with herself that was not so outlandish. A nose. Simple, but effective. What she does she solve this problem made me cry my freaking eyes out. She has this entire notebook titled “Nice Nose Notebook”, an ideal process where after having a plastic surgery she’ll be more loved. Self-confidence issues. Every teens and/or adults have them. Unloved. A flaw.

Gideon was the comic relief. He made me laugh (out loud). Smile. Sigh. And cross my fingers that he and Jory will end up together. The perfect Yin to her Yang (cheesy I know), that helped her realize that she is fine the way she is.

The friends that Jory has were pitiful though at times. Non-empathic, selfish, and hateful. To be mindful of the different scenarios, the ups and downs of each of the girls lives, I will let it slide...a bit. Some parts are more touching than others.

Overall: Stealing this from Jason Mraz’s CD title “We sing. We dance. We Steal Things.” Actually after thinking it over, that has nothing to do with the book…

Cover C+
Not a really big fan of the cover.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Monday Mystery: Manga

As requested by a special blogger I thought for this Monday I would talk about mangas. A few years ago--say 6 or so--I was addicted to mangas. I'm sure some of you were as well (Steph~). I wanted to pass on what I learned and what series you should attempt.

First off, what is a manga? "Manga are Japanese comic books. Manga is often made into Japanese cartoons, or Anime. The art in Manga has a very definite look to it and is often referred to as “Manga Style.”' Go here to wiki for more details.

Manga has evolved quite drastically over the years. There are the classics and there are the more modern ones. Modern styles are much more detailed and sharp than compared to the roundness and simplistic of the classics. Think Astro Boy and Bleach. Two very different styles of artwork. I will go into further details in regard to actual titles of mangas.

This might also vary according to the mangaka (a term describing the artist/author). Some have the same style throughout their entire works and sometimes progressively change in one series. Typically it starts off not so "good" but the mangakas grow into it and becomes better toward the middle of the series. The older and more wiser sets, you do not really see much of a difference. It depends on the amount of experience they each have.

If you happen to enjoy or obsess over mangas, you are usually considered an "otaku". There are many terms when it comes to mangas. Once you read more you can familiarize yourself and gradually understand most of it. There are a lot of terms that most mangas would assume you already now.

Genres. There are a lot of genres. Shojou, Shonen, Josei, Yuri, Yaoi, and the typical action, adventure and more. More into that later on.

Aside from Japan, other countries have gotten into this fad. Korea, China, and America itself are producing their own types of "manga" with a different term of course. Again, more into that later.

So what would like to me cover? I will going over popular titles, different titles for different genres (a manga that focuses on music), and various other countries step into mangas with their own popular titles. I will also talk about what I'm currently reading! So stay turn while I figure this all out. If anyone wants to add anything or help me (!) don't hesitate to email me.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

What My Girlfriend Doesn’t Know

What My Girlfriend Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones (December 16th 2008—Simon and Schuster)

Grade: 3.5 stars out of 5

Summary: “My name is Robin.

This book is about me.
It tells the story of what happens
when after almost 15 pathetic years of loserdom,
the girl of my dreams finally falls for me.

That seems like it would be
a good thing, right?
Only it turns out to be
a lot more complicated than that.

Because I'm not gonna lie to you
-- there are naked women involved.
Four of them, to be exact.
Though not in the way you might think.

Don't get me wrong -- my girlfriend's amazing.
But the way things have been going lately,
I'm starting to believe that the only thing worse
than not getting what you want,

is getting it.”

Review: Verse novels are rare in the teen genre. And out of those I can only think of a few that stands out as being a master at it. Sonya Sones is definitely one of the few.

The reason why I abhor verse stories is because they are slightly ambiguous, detached, and well, not fun. School has left a scar when it comes to loving poetry. Endless symbolism—what does this mean, what does that mean? Unforgiving teachers—try again kids. And Shakespeare that left an entire classroom frustrated beyond belief. So you can imagine why I avoid these type of books like a plague.

In this case, What My Girlfriend Doesn’t Know is personal and profound—well as profound as a 14 and three-quarters year old guy can be. We witness Sophie’s and Robin’s relationship jump from the high and the bottomless pit and back up along the rough edges. We read as we see the negative response to their closeness affect the one and the other. But most of all we come to love Robin as the loving boyfriend who fears that he might bet he downfall to his girlfriend, Sophie.

Personal. Engrossing. Powerful. And. Traumatizing. What do you expect from a teenage boy's mind?

I completely adore this book. The way it was set-up, the style of writing she uses, the format of some of the sentences she did. It came together like glue and paper. If I could I would kiss Sonya Sones’s brain, not head, brain.

I have some issues with the ending though. It did not seem complete.

Overall: *fawns over book*

Cover C+
Doesn’t understand the purpose as to why Sophie is on cover…

Chillax

So a lot of tensions getting high in this community. First the ARC war, then the author war, so I decided to make another war. It's called the CHILL WAR. Personally I think we need to take a deep breath, in and out everyone, and think back to those happy times.

This entire thing has spiraled out of control and out of proportion. I have been mulling around with this post in my head for sometime now, but enough is enough. What ever happened to the love?

So if this dog can take a chill pill, I think we can too. Anyone else with me on this?

EDIT: Setting up a Mr. Linky is giving me a headache.

Trial Mr. Linky 1

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Cathy's Book

Cathy’s Book by Jordan Weisman, Sean Stewart, Cathy Brigg (Illustrator) (February 25th 2008--Running Press)

Grade: 3 stars out of 5

Summary: “Things weren’t so peachy in Cathy’s life before Victor broke up with her. Her father died unexpectedly, she’s failing school, and her best friend is mad at her. But when Cathy decides to investigate Victor’s reasons for ending their relationship, things suddenly go from bad to very, very, very bad as her findings produce more questions than answers. For instance, what does the death of Victor’s co-worker, the strange mark that appeared on Cathy’s arm, and the surreal behavior of several Chinese elders have to do with it?”

Review: Cathy’s Book was something that took me by surprise. It was a mixture of many things wrapped up into one—there was fantasy, contemporary, sass, snark, humor, and many other things that escape my mind for now.

Right off the bat I noticed how this book focuses on the friendship. Emma and Cathy have a tight bond that definitely shows throughout the book. Cathy always tells Emma everything, whether it may be the bad, the good, or the don’t-hate-me-because-I’m-stupid phrases. You can also get a few hints from the little doodles and notes on the margins of Cathy’s book.

Speaking of which. The strongest point of this book has to be the artwork. The reason why it took so long to read was because I ended up staring at the doodles everywhere. So intricate and random! I just love it. Some makes me laugh, others make me amazed, and together I just stare for an endless amount of time. It was also on the front and back cover of the book. In just the right light you can see the other sketches. However there was this one part that I felt threw me off the loop. In the middle of the book there is this section with this actual photograph of Victor and his previous wife. Honestly, I wish they never would have put it there. He did not appear in his early 20s, “cute”, or how Cathy described him. In fact he reminded me of my own father which was beyond creepy.

The relationship between Victor and Cathy leaves a lot to be desired. We do not actually read much of him, just his mere impact on Cathy. We raid through his belongings, his past events with Cathy, but nothing else. So I really cannot say about their relationship, and I expect to explore on that in the later series.

On Victor and Cathy separately only I must say I am not fond of them. Victor flips flops continuously and Cathy is a tad selfish. But again, we’ll see how this will progress in the later series.

There’s just so many things I cannot say! The plot is filled with holes, the details not exact, the characters not fully developed. It’s frustrating as a reviewer that I cannot review this book only.

Overall: Next book in series please. Needs to find out what the heck is going on!

Cover B+
Just because of the shiny plastic parts that show up in the right light.

Blog Tour: Say the Word Part 3

A special announcement everyone! Turns out the Say the Word by Jeannine Garsee is not yet over! It turns out I have a little surprise for everyone (it was a surprise to me too!). Ready? I will be giving a signed copy of both Say the Word and Before, After, and Someone in Between!

Dredging up the past can knock the present right off balance.

The world expects perfection from seventeen-year-old Shawna Gallagher, and for the most part, that’s what they get. She dates the right boys, gets good grades, and follows her father’s every rule. But when her estranged lesbian mother dies, it’s more than perfect Shawna can take. Suddenly, anger from being abandoned ten years ago is resurfacing along with Shawna’s embarrassment over her mother’s other family. As she confronts family secrets and questions from the past, Shawna realizes there’s a difference between doing the perfect thing and doing the right thing.

Shawna’s honest and relatable voice will draw readers in and hold them until the last page in this coming-of-age story. Jeannine Garsee has delivered a compulsively readable second novel, perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Laurie Halse Anderson.


One hour into her first day of tenth grade, Martha Kowalski knows she’s really in trouble. The school bully, Chardonnay, has already threatened her life—and at home, things are even worse. Martha’s mom, fresh out of rehab, is shacking up with an obnoxious jerk in a neighborhood that can only be described as a “ghetto.”

More than anything she’s ever wanted, Martha wants to play the cello. But even music becomes dangerous to her health—because nothing is what it seems in this place. With her mother’s willpower dissolving, Martha watches helplessly as her own dreams slip further away.

But in an exhilarating twist that would stun even Cinderella, everything changes. A wealthy lawyer invites her into his family’s home and Martha is given a chance to start over. The warm, caring Brinkmans treat Martha like one of the family and even though it feels so right, she knows they can’t be as perfect as they seem. And she knows that this fairy tale can’t last forever…


Giveaway Rules:
+1 for commenting here with email address
+1 if you comment on Jeannine's guest blog here
+2 if you referred anyone
+1 to the person you referred

This will end in on May 27th days from now. US only and begin!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Cathy's Ring Giveaway!

It's Friday. I'm happy school is out. You know what this means? Books! I am giving away FIVE (5!) copies of the much anticipated sequel by Jordan Weisman, Sean Stewart, Cathy Brigg (Illustrator).

Cathy cannot manage to find more than a few days to relax in her hectic (and mortal) life—she barely has time to put the mystery surrounding her father to rest before she finds herself targeted by a group of Ancestor Lu’s professional killers!

Recognizing she is a serious threat to everyone in her life, Cathy makes plans to leave town. But her friends, Emma, Pete, Victor, and, surprisingly, Jun, unite to convince Cathy that they must finish Lu once and for all to have any chance at peace—mortal or immortal. In order to defeat Lu, the friends must come together in a way they never have before.

Meanwhile—unbeknownst to Cathy—Victor has made the ultimate sacrifice hoping it will bring him closer to a normal relationship with Cathy. But when Victor is seriously wounded and Cathy finds herself attracted to another mortal with similar feelings for her, Cathy’s world turns upside down and she is forced to make a decision about her future with Victor, while his life hangs by a thread. What will Cathy decide, and how will their epic battle with Lu play out? Find out in the newest adventure-packed installment of the Cathy story!


So here's how to win:
+1 if you comment here
+2 if you referred anyone to this contest
+1 to the person you referred

Giveaway will end on June 2nd (picked a random date from top of my head). This is restricted to U.S, including Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico as requested by publishers. So enter quickly!

I will be reviewing the entire series soon.

One Lonely Degree

One Lonely Degree by C.K. Kelly Martin (May 26th 2009—Random House)

Grade: 3.5 stars out of 5

Summary:Anything is possible...

Finn has always felt out of place, but suddenly her world is unraveling. It started with The Party. And Adam Porter. And the night in September that changed everything. The only person who knows about that night is Audrey—Finn’s best friend, her witness to everything, and the one person Finn trusts implicitly. So when Finn’s childhood friend Jersy moves back to town—reckless, beautiful Jersy, all lips and eyes and hair so soft you’d want to dip your fingers into it if you weren’t careful—Finn gives her blessing for Audrey to date him. How could she possibly say no to Audrey? With Audrey gone for the summer, though, Finn finds herself spending more and more time with Jersy, and for the first time in her life, something feels right. But Finn can’t be the girl who does this to her best friend...can she?”

Review: Ms. Martin has a way with manipulating the past into the present and future. The format of her previous book, I Know It’s Over, makes another appearance in One Lonely Degree. She has this way of forcing the past into the present as the prominent setback the character faces and yet still making it seem a part of whom there are. Not just as an unfortunate event that happened but rather what makes them grow. It becomes what they are as they face every day life with the ever lingering past haunting them. This is what Ms. Martin excels in—mixing the past with the present.

Like her previous book I had some trouble with One Lonely Degree. There were sudden burst of magic that left me pleased but some scenes that were monotone. Think of a roller coaster. We had the highs and the low. The lows made the highs just all that much better. They were still low though.

The lows were the sections where it was all details—daily routines of her job, her fixation to her height, those types of things. The highs were definitely the emotional parts, the relationships with the family and friends, the development.

Speaking of family relationships I must say there seems to be a trend in regards to the dysfunctional families. I think it played a key role in furthering the relationship between Jersy and Finn however.

One thing that left me baffled was the friendship between Finn and Audrey. The final breakup between the two left me disordered as I could not tell if I loved it or hated it. What I felt was that it broke my heart to see that. I am so used to books where friends go through a rocky path but ultimately reunite. On the other hand, this is a realistic scene. In the real world friends will separate because of this, it has happened and will continue to do so. The key is the borderline of the fantasy world and the real world. What we expect and hope as opposed to what should technically occur. So kudos to Ms. Martin, for making me dislike and praise the same scene at the same time.

The issue with Audrey about not getting back together? Well I got my happily ever after with Jersy. Jersy was everything—he had no apparent class in the high school hierarchy. Jersy and Finn I felt were a sweet couple together. I could see them as friends or as a couple. They have the best friends talk—deep and meaningful, but the sexual tension as well. We see in the end that there is still a tinge of their friendship left behind after the confrontation.

Speaking of sexual, this book is more for the mature audience. I will not go into further details of it but trust me on this—read if you are an older teen.

Overall: One Lonely Degree delivers as a provocative piece that sets the bar of a past versus present book high. Fans of I Know It’s Over will fawn over C.K. Kelly Martin’s One Lonely Degree.

Cover B+
I actually like this cover much better than I Know It’s Over. I think the model of Finn is on point especially with the hair. I enjoy the brighter colors and the more soother hues.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday! (12)

What I Wore to Save the World by Maryrose Wood (December 1st 2009--Berkley)

NO SUMMARY:
Can't find it...Sorry but the picture was too pretty to pass up! It's the sequel HOW I FOUND THE PERFECT DRESS I presume?

This meme is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Awakening

The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong (April 28th 2009—Harper)

Grade: 4 stars out of 5

Summary: “If you had met me a few weeks ago, you probably would have described me as an average teenage girl—someone normal. Now my life has changed forever and I'm as far away from normal as it gets. A living science experiment—not only can I see ghosts, but I was genetically altered by a sinister organization called the Edison Group. What does that mean? For starters, I'm a teenage necromancer whose powers are out of control; I raise the dead without even trying. Trust me, that is not a power you want to have. Ever.

Now I'm running for my life with three of my supernatural friends—a charming sorcerer, a cynical werewolf, and a disgruntled witch—and we have to find someone who can help us before the Edison Group finds us first. Or die trying.”

Review: I am quite thrilled that The Awakening met my expectations as the sequel to The Summoning, one of the more intriguing starts of, what it seems to be, an impressive series.

We left off on a cliffhanger in The Summoning and after anxiously pulling my hair these past couple of months, The Awakening arrived. Squeals were heard and hands made grabbing motions (don’t you dare think perverted!) as we anticipated the release. After getting a hold of a copy I had to regretfully set it aside to study for my exams.

Two weeks later, solemnly catching glimpses while reading my heavy textbooks, I finished The Awakening. Elation. The Awakening was more action-packed, had twists and turns that left me smiling, and the strong tension between characters than its predecessor.

We all know that books that are too predictable tend to tire people out but this book had just the right amount. Family members and friends turns evil, turns out to be good, turns out to be a witch (!), turns out to be the betrayer. The reader received more background information to some of Chloe’s past as well as the situation with the rest of the group. We saw more development of powers as well as relationships.

Tori and Chloe…is…moving along nicely? Frankly I dislike Tori. She annoys me and still appears to be the stuck-up girl who I just wish I can punch in the face. Simon I can definitely see as the brother relationship that Armstrong presented. Derek, we will have to wait. Sexual tension anyone?

I felt that The Awakening delivered in so many areas for me. But the downfall would have to be that it confused me in other areas. I got lost in the dialogues, the extra characters, and the heaviness in the mystery. We moved from a different environment filled with more ghosts that left me hanging—jumping abruptly from one scene to the next. It left many holes and many clumps of random sections of the book. I just hope that in the end it will all come together.

Overall: I am definitely buying this series—hands down. This series has been the best in the supernatural realm so far that I have read. I eagerly wait for the next installment and praying that it would not disappoint me.

Cover C+
Awkward hands. Why do the Darkest Power series covers remind me of the Wicked Lovely series covers?


Remember to enter my contest to win your own copy of The Awakening!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Monday Mystery: What I'm Listening To

Just finished my AP exams a few hours ago so I really don't have anything prepared that will dazzle anyone so I thought I would answer an old, old question about some musics I listen to. I'm slowly but surely going back to my older schedule of reading more than 1 book in 2 weeks (I had to lock them away during the AP study cram sessions).











Also be amazed by this.

Enjoy while I catch up on about 47 books...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

HOW TO BUY A LOVE OF READING Giveaway

To celebrate Mother's Day and to post at least something this week I'm giving away a signed copy of HOW TO BUY A LOVE OF READING by Tanya Egan Gibson!

Summary:
"To Carley Wells, words are the enemy: the countless SAT lists from her tutor, the “fifty-seven pounds overweight” assessment from her personal trainer, and most of all, the “confidential” Getting To Know You assignment from her insane English teacher (whose literary terminology lessons include “Backstory is Afterbirth” and “Setting is Nobody’s Slut”). When he tells her parents that she’s answered “What is your favorite book?” with “Never met one I liked,” they become determined to fix what he calls her “intellectual impoverishment.” They will commission a book to be written for Carley that she’ll have to love—one that will impress her teacher and the whole town of Fox Glen with their family’s devotion to the arts. They will be patrons—the Medicis of Long Island. They will buy their daughter The Love Of Reading.

Impossible though it is for Carley to imagine ever loving words, she is in love with a young bibliophile who cares about them more than anything. Anything, that is, but a good bottle of scotch. Hunter Cay, Carley’s best friend and Fox Glen’s resident golden boy, is becoming a stranger to her as he drowns himself in F. Scott Fitzgerald, booze, and Vicodin.

When the Wellses move writer Bree McEnroy—author of a failed meta-novel about Odysseus’s voyages through the Internet—into their mansion to write Carley’s book, Carley’s sole interest in the project is its potential to distract Hunter from drinking and give them something to share. Instead, as Hunter’s behavior becomes erratic and dangerous, she finds herself drawn into the fictional world Bree has created and begins to understand for the first time the power of stories—those we read, those we want to believe in, and most of all, those we tell ourselves about ourselves. Stories powerful enough to destroy a person.

Or save her."

Here's how to win:
+1 for commenting here
+1 if you blog about it (sidebar is fine) or email at least 5 people and cc-ing me a copy
+2 if you managed to refer anyone
+1 to the person you referred

This is a US only giveaway as restricted by the publishers and will end on May 31st!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Chosen One Part 2

Welcome to part two of THE CHOSEN ONE's tour! This has been a production of Traveling to Teens!

CAROL LYNCH WILLIAMS, a four-time winner of the Utah Original Writing Competition and winner of Nebraska’s Golden Sower Award, grew up in Florida but now lives in Utah with her husband and seven children. She has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults, and helped develop the conference on Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers at Brigham Young University.


1. How long did it take you to write this book?

Two years, off and on, once I started writing. That includes the research time.

2. Did you do any research?
I sure did. I researched for the whole time I wrote. I remember once when someone told me, “When you’re pregnant, you notice all the people who are also pregnant.” When I started looking at this topic, everything seemed to rise to the surface for me to grab. Lots of interviews with polygamists on TV, websites helping people get away from the more strict communities, lots of newspaper reports. I found out about friends who had become polygamists, or were no longer polygamists, and I learned of polygamist groups who frowned on the more strict communities. The information just went on and on. I spoke to one woman about why she had decided to marry a man who later married her mother. I found out there are polygamists all over.

3. Because this is such a heavy topic, was this book rejected many times?
The book was given to three houses at once. One said yes, one said no, and one said I have to wait a bit before I can make an offer. We went with the one that said yes, and it was a smart, smart move.

4. Did a mobile library play a big role if your life?
No, but libraries did. I loved (and still love) the local library. When I was a little girl and we would drive past the Sanford (Florida) Library I would always say, “I smell books,” hoping that my mother would stop so I could check out the limit on books.
Question 5 somehow went missing...or something...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Summer I Turned Pretty

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han (May 5th 2009—Simon & Schuster)

Grade: 2.5 stars out of 5

Summary: “Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer—they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one wonderful and terrible summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.”

Review: Okay so I read books before that lose me here and there but The Summer I Turned Pretty takes the cake. I honestly have no idea what the main point of the book is. Was it to show the relationship of Conrad and Belly (Isabel)? If so then the rushing everything in the last chapter does not qualify it. Or was it to showcase the tightness between the two families? Then why would you write half the book solely on Belly’s romantic swing. Maybe it was the combination of everything—love, family, growth, and coming to terms to the present. Even so the execution was choppy.

At first when the author switches back and forth between present summer and past summer I did not like it. The main reason was because I had trouble following the timeline. But then I noticed the age beneath the chapter and it all became clear. Once I got the flow of things I liked how the author reverts back and forth. It gave more detail about Belly and her situation with the summer family.

What I did not seem to like about this book was the non-connection I had to the majority of characters. There were scenes that I had a deep sense of understanding but overall nothing. I guess if I gave more maybe I would have gotten back more. Who knows?

I just do not know what to say about this book. It was fine—nothing wow, nothing too disturbing to blab on for 5 pages, but nothing really worth picking up.

Overall: I would not really consider this a summer read since it has more of a deeper meaning. More of a fall read when we want to remember summer.

Cover C+
I’m sorry but the guys are so very odd looking. The one on the right looks to drop dead asleep anytime soon and the one on the left has some funk to his hair.

P.S. If I read another book that the main character is name Isabella, Isabelle, or some form of that, I’ll choke myself.