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Monday, March 31, 2008

Kiss Me Kill Me by Lauren Henderson

Kiss Me Kill Me
by Lauren Henderson

This book starts out with Scarlett making two wishes: one, to grow breasts, and the other to kiss Dan McAndrew. It's not too long before both her wishes come true, but the second wish leads to something completely unexpected: Dan McAndrew dies in the middle of their kiss.

Just the cover and title was enough to draw me to this book, but the unique and interesting plotline was what really got me interested. How does something like that happen? How can you be kissing someone and just have them die?

This book fell a little short of what I'd hoped it would be. The whole circumstances that brought Scarlett and Dan together in the first place could have easily been taken out of ten million other YA books, and towards the middle the book dragged on. The beginning was exciting, and the end was exciting, but I think it took too long for the story to develop, and the end didn't tie up any loose ends at all. It only confirmed our suspicions of what we could have easily guessed halfway through.

Overall, this book could have been better, but the original plot and descriptive writing kept me from tossing it aside as soon as I finished. I'm not eagerly anticipating the sequel, but I do want to know what will happen, so I plan on reading it when it's released. I just hope that the sequel is a bit better.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

You Know Where to Find Me by Rachel Cohn

You Know Where to Find Me
by Rachel Cohn

This book starts out with the suicide of Miles's cousin, Laura, and steadily progresses into something deeper and more complex. Laura and Miles grew up best friends, but their tight-knit relationship couldn't withstand high school, where Laura was the perfect popular one, and Miles was an overweight reject.

But Laura was the one who wanted to die. After the suicide, Miles's mom goes to London to be with her long-distance boyfriend, her best friend develops an unexpected relationship with Laura's best friend, so Miles is left alone and missing Laura. She turns to drugs to try to get away from her problems, and tries to fill the void that Laura left behind.

This was a very short but powerful book about love, loss, and family. But while that sentence sounds so typical of an average teen novel, You Know Where to Find Me is anything but typical or average. Miles is a strong but misguided main character, and she's so used to being around Laura that it takes her awhile to adapt to being alone. I love this book simply because it gave me insight to a world that I've never been part of, and it showed a very realistic struggle from a very realistic girl's point of view. Rachel Cohn definitely did not disappoint in her latest novel, and I look forward to reading more by her.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Nobody's Princess by Esther Friesner

Nobody's Princess
by Esther Friesner

This book starts out with Helen as a child, and it's obvious from the very beginning that she's a very questioning girl. She doesn't like her role as princess. As she gets older, what she wants is to be strong. She wants to hunt and train with her brothers, and she never wants to get married. Helen only wants to be a strong queen, instead of sitting inside and acting like a lady.

I really think that Helen is a witty, strong, and manipulative main character. Throughout the book, she is always trying to find ways to get through her dilemas to get what she wants, and more often than not she succeeds. I also think that many readers can relate to her, and she's complex, which I love.

That being said, I still don't think this book was what it could have been. The idea was good, but the whole book fell somewhat short of my expectations. I expected there to be a bit more to it. I know there's going to be a sequel very soon, but I still expected the end to have some sort of closure. The book in it's entirety just seemed kind of dull. I couldn't even tell if there was some sort of specific plotline. Nobody's Princess wasn't bad, by all means, but the writing seemed flat and nothing really jumped out at me to keep reading. Nevertheless, I still plan on reading Nobody's Prize when it comes out.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

Book of a Thousand Days
by Shannon Hale

This book was truly something different. The story line was definitely intriguing; two people locked in a tower. One of them is royalty, Saren, the other a maid, Dashti (the main character) and they are stuck there for seven years because Saren refused to marry the man her father picked out for her. Saren had already found someone that she wanted to marry.

Dashti was a very strong and willing protagonist. Throughout the whole book she was selfless, always trying to help Saren even when it caused herself pain. There was nothing that she wouldn't do for her Lady, and often Saren used that to her advantage.

This was a wonderful book about a girl coming to terms with who she is, and accepting the hand that got dealt to her. The descriptions were amazing and I felt like I could feel exactly what Dashti was feeling, and see everything through her eyes. This was really different from what I usually read, and I didn't think I'd like it nearly as much as I did.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Beastly by Alex Flinn

by Alex Flinn

This was a very modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast. At first, I was having a hard time figuring that out, but as the book went on the similarities became more apparent.

In the beginning, Kyle is a typical stuck-up high school jock, except multiplied by a million. His attitude was so bad, I finally realized why some people can't stand to read a book because of the main character. Kyle was beyond rude; he made me thankful that my high school isn't filled with kids like him. Believe me, he was bad.

After he does something truly horrible to some "loser" at school, the "loser" turns out to be a witch, who turns him into a beast. But he gives him a chance to fix it. If Kyle could find a girl to love, who could love him, and have her kiss him as a beast, then he would be back to how he was. But, if that didn't happen after two years, then he would stay like that forever.

The story is very fast-paced, and filled with likeable characters who help Kyle on his journey to becoming better. This was a true fairy tale, in that it has a happy ending, but the book was done pretty well to keep the reader interested. I'll admit, it was a tad predictable, but not so bad that it took away from the quality of the book. Overall, I'd say Alex Flinn did a great job with making this retelling modern and fun.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult

Change of Heart
by Jodi Picoult

Shay Bourne was convicted of killing a seven-year-old girl, Elizabeth, and a police officer,Kurt; and he was sentenced to death.

Eleven years later, with his execution date coming up, he wants his heart to be given to Elizabeth's sister, who has a deadly illness that requires her to need a new heart, otherwise she would die.

This book, in true Jodi Picoult fashion, was absolutely amazing. Not only did it have perfect characters who grew and changed throughout the story, but from the very beginning there left a question begging to be asked: Why did Shay kill Elizabeth and Kurt in the first place? The whole book focuses around Shay and his fight for his execution to allow him to donate his heart, and the growing evidence that Shay could be some sort of religious figure from the past.

Jodi Picoult has the perfect blend of serious issues and lighter topics, and once again she delivers a novel that makes fiction sound believeable. I have yet to read a Picoult novel that I have not cried at least once, and this was no exception. Fans of her other novels will flock to this book, and new readers will definitely be wanting more.

Friday, March 21, 2008

2008 A~Z Reading Challenge

So, this challenge should be fun =]

Here's the author list and book list. If anyone has any suggestions for certain letters that I have blank, please let me know.

*bolded are ones I've read already


A- Anderson, Laurie Halse (Fever 1793)
B- Benway, Robin (Audrey, Wait!)
C- Caletti, Deb (The Fortunes of Indigo Skye)
D- Dessen, Sarah (Lock and Key)
F- Friesner, Esther (Nobody's Princess)
G- Godberson, Anna (Rumors)
H- Hoffman, Alice (Incantation)
J- Johnson, Maureen (The Bermudez Triangle)
K- Kinsella, Sophie (Remember Me?)
L- [[Lockhart, E. (Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks)]]
M- Meyer, Stephenie (The Host)

P- [[Purtill, C. Leigh (Love, Meg)]]
R- Rallison, Janette (How to Take the Ex Out of Ex-Boyfriend)
S- Spinelli, Jerry (Stargirl)
T- [[Tracy, Kristen (Crimes of the Sarahs)]]
V- Vail, Rachel (Lucky)
W- [[Winston, Sherri (The Kayla Chronicles)]]
Z- Zarr, Sara (Story of a Girl)


A- Airhead by Meg Cabot
B- Beastly by Alex Flinn
C- Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult
D- Deadline by Chris Crutcher
E- [[The Elite by Jennifer Banash]]
F- Fake Boyfriend by Kate Brian
G- [[Girl Overboard by Justina Chen Headley]]
H- Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall by Wendy Mass
I- I Am Rembrandt's Daughter by Lynn Cullen
J- Jump the Cracks by Stacy DeKeyser
K- Kitty Kitty by Michele Jaffe
L- Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
M- Marked by P.C. Cast
O- Other Boleyn Girl, The by Philippa Gregory
P- Princess Mia by Meg Cabot
Q- [[Queen of Babble Gets Hitched by Meg Cabot]]

R- Reincarnation by Suzanne Weyn
S- Sweet Far Thing, The by Libba Bray
T- [[Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith]]
V- Violet on the Runway by Melissa Walker
Y- You Know Where to Find Me by Rachel Cohn
Z- [[Zen and the Art of Faking It by Jordan Sonnenblick]]

I Am Rembrandt's Daughter by Lynn Cullen

I Am Rembrandt's Daughter
by Lynn Cullen

Taking us back to the 1600's, this book does a great job letting us know what it was like to be just an average girl. The description of Cornelia's troubles and triumphs was just perfect, and best of all the story as a whole was believeable. While the ending may have been happy, I was beyond pleased that it wasn't the cliche, happy-go-lucky ending that I'd been expecting. This book kept me entertained and interested from the beginning, and I'd recommend it to fans of historical novels, because it does a great job of blending in facts with fiction.

Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Love, Stargirl
by Jerry Spinelli

Love, Stargirl is the sequel to Stargirl, and it's told from Stargirl's point of view. Stargirl is now living in Pennsylvania, but she still misses Leo (the antagonist of Stargirl).

Stargirl was such an interesting and unique character in the first book, but this sequel didn't really capture the same emotion and magic as the first one did. Stargirl went from being the most mysterious character to being predictable in her unpredictability. The girl in this book doesn't seem to be the same one who was in the first, which is really upsetting, because I was hoping to gain some insight. Instead, at the end, I'm still kept wondering.

Even so, the book was entertaining and fun, and the way it was written was perfect. I only wish that it could have been a bit more... magical.

Lucky by Rachel Vail

by Rachel Vail

This was the first book in a trilogy. The trilogy is going to be about three sisters, and the youngest sister (who is about to graduate 8th grade) is who this novel focuses around.

I must admit, the main character was a bit younger than I'm used to reading about. Still, I have to say that the story intrigued me a lot. I liked the different perspective put on those who live rich and fabulous lives. It's really a change of pace, especially when compared to Gossip Girl and A-List.

Still, there were a couple flaws with this book. While I was intrigued by the different perspective, I didn't like the way the characters were written. They seemed like the type of kids that only exist in movies. It seemed entirely to cliche for my taste.

Another problem, at least for me, was the ending. How typical is it that everything turns out absolutely perfect in the end? I understand the need for a happy ending, but when everything turns out so surprisingly predictable, it kind of ruins the fun of reading.

All in all, I'd say that the book was okay, just not my cup of tea. I do plan on reading the sequels, however. Although I kind of hope they improve.

Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson

Fever 1793
by Laurie Halse Anderson

This book was a real page-turner from the very beginning. It starts out at the beginning of the yellow fever epidemic... Matilda is just a normal girl at that point. She helps her mother and grandfather out at their coffeeshop, she has friends, and she even has a crush. But all of this changes when the fever starts.

This book was basically a story of one girl's fight for survival in hard times. There are times when she has help, there are times when she is alone... but the point is, she's a fighter. She gets through it, and in the end she's a better person.

So... what else is new? That was my only problem with this book... it had a strange sense of predictability to it. If you couldn't guess exactly what was going to happen, you could at least guess the basic ideas. Another problem I had was that it was just the one story: yellow fever. There were no subplots or anything to keep the story going, which kind of bothered me. There were tiny things, sure, but not much. I didn't feel like I got to know the characters that well. I know their basic traits, but I can't help but feel like something is missing.

Still, in the end it was a fairly enjoyable read. However, if you're looking for a Laurie Halse Anderson book to read, I would recommend Speak or Twisted.

Incantation by Alice Hoffman


by Alice Hoffman

This book was very short, but really amazing. It took me back in time to the Spanish Inquisition and it gave me some insight on what it was like to live during those times. There was no good court system, and people were scrutinized for just being different. Basically, if you weren't Catholic you were trash.

In the beginning, Estrella has a good life. She has a wonderful, if a bit strict, family, and she has a best friend that she loves with all her heart. But things begin to change when Estrella starts to get attracted to her best friend's cousin. And things get even worse when Estrella finds out that her whole life she was raised thinking she was Catholic, only to find out that it was just an act and she's really Jewish.

This book was wonderful, truly. I couldn't put it down. There was some romance in it, but mostly it was about a family who struggled to stay true to their faith, but stay alive at the same time. I was really sad, and there were some memorable passages that I will never forget. The writing was fantastic, and I found that I liked this book much more than I really thought I would.

The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson

The Bermudez Triangle

by Maureen Johnson

I have read a few of Maureen Johnson's books in the past, but none of them have really stood out for me. None of them have been really fantastic... they've landed somewhere between okay and good. But The Bermudez Triangle was better than all of her other books. The Bermudez Triangle was fantastic. It's realistic, and relateable.

There was a time in my life when I was curious about what love really is. I knew that I loved my best friend... but I was so confused about what type of love it was. That's basically what this book is about... love, and the many different forms it comes in. This book kept me riveted from the very beginning, and it is definitely one that will put Maureen Johnson on my list of favorite authors.

Princess Mia by Meg Cabot

Princess Mia

by Meg Cabot

When I read Meg Cabot's books, my goal is not to read extremely thought-provoking literature. My goal is to have fun, and read an interesting book.

So before I settle in to read a Meg Cabot book, I know I'm not going to get something extremely inspirational or anything like that. Which is exactly why I find Meg's books so enjoyable. They are funny and interesting. They keep me hooked from page one, and are impossible to put down.

Princess Mia was no exception. I have been a HUGE fan of the Princess Diaries series for a couple years now, and I have to say that nine books and however many half-books, Meg Cabot is still going strong with her series. Princess Mia was hilarious, as I knew it would be. But I was also pleased to see that Mia has changed... it's been a slow process from book one, but when I compare Mia of The Princess Diaries Vol. I to the Mia of Princess Mia, I can see the differences.

Overall, I was extremely pleased with the way this book turned out. I was a bit worried that it wouldn't turn out as I'd hoped, but I'm glad to say it was fantastic. And I am still eagerly anticipating the release of the tenth and final book in the series.

Deadline by Chris Crutcher


by Chris Crutcher

If you have ever read the book A Walk to Remember, or even watched the movie, then you know the feeling that you get when you find out that your favorite character is dying. Intense sadness; anger; desire for change; hope that it's not true; and then finally, you just give up. You know it's true, but in the end it doesn't make it any more bearable.

In Deadline, you know from the very beginning that Ben Wolf is going to die. It is inevitable... even on the front cover it says it. The evidence is everywhere. But, since it's introduced so early in the story, you don't really think about it as more than a plot point.

So, what would you do if you were going to die? Well, I'm sure there are different answers for different people, but I know Ben's answers. He wants to make a difference. He wants to stick out. He wants to live life to the fullest; and he does. He goes out for football, despite the fact that he weighs less than a hundred and thirty pounds. He befriends the town drunk. He starts arguments in class, trying to get people to think about life and the way things are. And he finally gets the guts to ask out that perfect girl he's had a crush on.

And throughout all of this, he is the only person (besides his doctor and his therapist) who knows that he's dying. But obviously he can't keep it that way.

This book was truly amazing. It's a real page turner, from the very first sentence. Chris Crutcher isn't one to waste words; he doesn't write anything that doesn't mean something to the story, so this book isn't full of pointless banter. It has feeling. It has meaning. I can truly connect to the characters in a deep way. I felt like there was just the right amount of sarcastic humor and life messages to make this a really enjoyable book; you will laugh, you will cry... and you will also fall in love with this book.

The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray

The Sweet Far Thing
by Libba Bray

This is the third and last book in the Gemma Doyle trilogy (for those who didn't know... the first two are A Great and Terrible Beauty and Rebel Angels). The thing I love about Libba Bray is that when I read her books, there don't seem to be any right answers. In The Sweet Far Thing there were so many choices, and Gemma didn't know if what she was doing was right. She made mistakes, and she learned from them. There was no obvious good guy, no obvious bad guy. It's not a book like, say, Harry Potter, where you know for sure that Voldemort is evil. In this series, each character has good and bad qualities, and Libba Bray does an excellent job of tying things up when I couldn't even imagine how things could be solved.

This book was amazing; just as good as the first two. I would recommend this series to anyone, and I hope Miss Bray has more on the way.

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli


by Jerry Spinelli

Wow. I adored this book. I didn't really think that I'd like it that much, to be honest. It's not the type of thing I normally read, but I was proven wrong. This book is fantastic, and the best thing about it is that it showed me what it's truly like to be unique. I was actually inspired by Stargirl's character... she's someone I'd like to be like, and I wish that I could not care about what people think. This book would be good for a 9 year old or a 60 year old, because it is just that good.

How to Take the Ex out of Ex-Boyfriend by Janette Rallison

How to Take the Ex Out of Ex-Boyfriend
by Janette Rallison

This book was... good. I read it in less than a day, but I don't think I'd credit that to it being overly fantastic. I just think it was good. Nothing more than that, at least not in my opinion. It was kind of original, with the student body president election and everything, but it just seems like everything worked out too perfect for it to be taken realistically. I can understand a happy ending, but something about this just seemed too peachy for me. But in all honesty, the book kept me entertained. It was good for a light read. It was funny, and fun to read.

Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall by Wendy Mass

Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall
by Wendy Mass

I sense a bit of Mitch Albom's The Five People You Meet in Heaven theme in this book, although this book's main audience was teenage girls. It gives interesting insight into life after death, which is a subject that many people try to portray, but I haven't read many as interesting and neat as this book. The book was written in "poems" (much like Sonya Sones, Ellen Hopkins, etc) and was a really fast read. I enjoyed it because the main character wasn't the typical angsty teenager. She had problems, but she didn't mope and whine about them. She just did what she wanted. But in the end, I like the change of the character. It really was interesting to see her transformation from elementary school, to middle school, to high school. I was kept wondering what was going to happen, and it didn't bore me with unneccessary details.

Wendy Mass is one of my favorite authors, and with good reason. Heaven Looks a lot Like the Mall is definitely an excellent book. However, if "poems" aren't really your thing, then I would also recommend her book A Mango-Shaped Space, which is even better than this book.

Fake Boyfriend by Kate Brian

Fake Boyfriend
by Kate Brian
Fake Boyfriend was actually a pretty decent book. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it definitely wasn't what I got. Which could be both a good thing and a bad thing.

Good aspects: This book held my attention from beginning to end. The writing was interesting and funny, the story was somewhat original, and I liked the characters.

Bad aspects: You can only go so far with interesting and funny. The story has to be realistic and believeable, to some extent. While it seemed mostly plausable, I highly doubt that if these girls actually existed, they would react in quite the same way as they do in the book. The characters were believeable, but the things they did just didn't seem realistic. I know from experience what it's like to make a fake MySpace and try to trick someone with it (not my fondest memory, however, and it didn't last long) and I know that most people would be a bit more resistant if some guy just started talking to you one day. And someone as smart as Izzy wouldn't be willing to meet a guy she met online, even if she did think there was something there. Especially not without seeing a picture of him first.

But that doesn't make it a bad book... not at all. It was clever and unique, written by one of my favorite authors who I believe pulled off the realistic aspect of it fairly well, although she could have done better. Even so, I'm sure that some authors would completely fail at writing a book with this level of drama, so I give her props for that. Still, if you're looking for a good Kate Brian book, I'd point you in the direction of Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowan Boys or the Private series.

A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson

A Countess Below Stairs
by Eva Ibbotson

To be honest, this book was a bit iffy for me. I'll start out by saying that I was attracted to this book by the cover. This has always had mixed results for me... when I choose a book because of the cover, I've been known to really like the book or really hate it. But I am also on this historical kick, and to top it off one of my best friends bought it, and loved it. So, I decided to read it.

Now, it wasn't a bad book by all means. It was actually a very good book. But it took me awhile to get past the initial boredom... The chapters were so long, and sometimes it just seemed to drag on and on... there was a lot of backstory to it, which I know is important because I need to know how the characters got where they are, but I kind of wished that it could get onto the story already. Although, if I'm to be honest, the story didn't have very many redeeming qualities. It all seemed kind of obvious to me. Handsome man. Nice, wonderful maid, who happens to be a Countess. And then the evil fiancée who ruins everyone's life. There wasn't much excitement to it. I like the story, but it just wasn't all that fabulous.

So, in recap. The book was long, but the plot was good. Towards the end it picked up a bit, bringing me to a happy finish which kind of made up for the boring beginning. I plan on reading another of Eva Ibbotson's books, but I'm hoping that it's at least a bit better than this one. I was kind of disappointed.

The Fortunes of Indigo Skye by Deb Caletti

The Fortunes of Indigo Skye
by Deb Caletti

The Fortunes of Indigo Skye is a book about an average girl who suddenly gets hold of a large amount of money... 2.5 million dollars, to be exact. It's about her struggle to get used to the change, and the way the money has the ability to change her in ways that she never could have guessed.

I was very fortunate to get my hands on an ARC the latest novel from the fabulous Deb Caletti, and let's just say that I'm glad I did. This book kept me hooked from the very first page. The main character, Indigo Skye, is such an intriguing and interesting protagonist, and the whole novel as a whole was sarcastic and funny. At the same time, it was believeable for the most part, which is something that I enjoy most while reading. Although, something that bothered me slightly was the way the rich characters were portrayed towards the end. I found myself wishing that there was some balance between snobby rich people and halfway decent rich people, but there was no such balance. It seemed like they were projected as all being the same, which I can't help but wonder if all rich people are like that. (However, I am fairly limited in my experience with the fabulously wealthy, so I can't really say that I know for sure how they act. I can only say that it seemed kind of stereotypical to show that all the rich people that Indigo meets are obnoxious snobs.)

Still, that slight annoyance doesn't even make me think less of the book. The book as a whole was fantastic. It has all the characteristics of a good teen novel, and I'm sure that teen readers everywhere will enjoy the book as much as I did.

Te amo,

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Kitty Kitty by Michele Jaffe

Kitty Kitty
by Michele Jaffe
This book was fantastic! Just as good as the first. There was never a dull moment while reading this, because Jasmine is such a funny and likeable character, with sharp senses and witty humor, which is perfect for this series. I love this book because it's good for younger and older readers alike; it's something that could be appropriate for middle schoolers, but could entertain a high schooler.

Michele Jaffe really has a way with words. The writing was fast-paced and interesting, and once again she uses footnotes to add a little flair to the plot. I would recommend this book to basically anyone.

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