Willa 1Twelve year old Willa Havisham loves Bramble, Cape Cod. It's the only place where she has ever felt home, and she has lived all over t...moreThe Deal:
Willa 1Twelve year old Willa Havisham loves Bramble, Cape Cod. It's the only place where she has ever felt home, and she has lived all over the Eastern Seaboard. Her mother, Stella, is a successful wedding planner, but she has sworn out of love and plans for Willa to be a successful, practical girl rather than a romantic like her father was.
But Willa loves books, she loves cherry cordials and she wants, more than anything, to have a father of her own. Which means she needs to find Stella a husband. Good thing that her Grandma is on board with that plan and ready to help whenever possible. Also a good thing? that Stella and Willa live next door to Sam Gracemore, Willa's English Teacher. A widower himself, Sam knows about sadness but he remains a cheerful man, he's handsome and loves books and he might have a smile capable of melting Stella's icy heart.
So, for once, Willa has everything she always wanted: A best friend, her Grandma is around and her crush, Joseph, might like her back! So, she hopes that, on her 13th birthday, she'll finally get what she always wishes for: a new dad.
But, for that to happens, Willa needs to move fast, before her mother gets that "statue" look that means they are moving again.
The Wedding Planner's Daughter is one of those books I simply love reading just for the fun of it. It has some dashes of romance and it has a lot of love for books. I adore Willa, even if she sometimes is 'too perfect' a kid, but I love that she loves candy and loves books like I do.
The story is fairly simple, and you can read it pretty fast - it's not a long book, so it only takes you a couple of hours to get through it; but it is full of sweetness.
It does has it's cutesy things that, after a few re-reads, might start jumping at you; but I still love Willa. And I still keep up with her story.
Favorite Quote: "My favorite novels and books of poetry are here on my nightstand for whenever I need them. Certain lines make me happy. Certain characters are like friends. All these years, moving from town to town, it's been hard to make real friends." - Willa (less)
At First Sight: Sari and Jess are about to start high school at Eldrige Alternative and while Sari can't wait, completely ready for something BIG to h...moreAt First Sight: Sari and Jess are about to start high school at Eldrige Alternative and while Sari can't wait, completely ready for something BIG to happen to her, Jess dreads it a little - wondering if she'll survive or what will happen if something does happen to Sari and nothing happens to her.
While Jess is still dizzy from the whirlwind of activity and the craziness of the first day, Sari spots the most popular guy at school: David Cole and falls instantly, psycho in love with him.
From then on, the ongoing story of Sari and David - which mostly goes on inside of Sari's head, at first - permeates Jess' life. And, as the year progresses, Jess can't stop worrying: worrying about Sari's mood swings and personality switches, about the lengths Sari will go to get and keep David's attention, about Sari getting used, about Sari getting her heart broken.
At the same time, Jess struggles to get used to high school herself with the overload of work, and the Prada Mafia glaring and her and Sari all the time, and to the general crazy of growing up and (maybe) growing apart from your best friend.
Second Glance: I honestly love this book and this author. And I think that this book gets it: the crazy and the overflow of emotions of when you're fourteen and everything seems both possible and impossible at the same time. And I think Jess was a great narrator: she was honest and real, vulnerable but with her own strengths too, and she never blinded herself to Sari's behavior, she knew Sari was being a bad friend sometimes. And she also brings some perspective to David's character - with whom she shares a class - on how he really is aside from being the king of the school.
Jess also has a good relationship with her parents, which I love because I hate when characters have cartoonish parents. And she even develops a bit of a romance with a fellow fan of Hollow Planet.
Hollow Planet is another thing I loved, it's book series Jess is a fan of, and she's always making references to them, and the epigraphs are bits of the book.
Bottom Line: The True Meaning of Cleavage is one of the books I most often recommend for younger teens. For me its about these two friends who sort of need to grow apart a little to stay the best friends they could be, even if the process hurts.
Favorite Quote: "Over the weekend, I study like mad for my biology final. I read about reproduction, how sperm fertilizes egg, how chromosomes divide, become zygote, become fetus. So that's love. I read about arteries, how they carry oxygenated blood from the lungs to the heart to the rest of the body. How once the heart stops, the oxygen to the brain stops and the brain waves cease. So that's death."
"The meeting took place in an ancient grove of oak. They sat among the gnarled roots of a great tree and laid their plans. The future was unknown to them, but they were certain of one thing: Their alliance was strong, their bond unbreakable." Hollow Planet: Destiny's Sword
"At last, the two armies met on the battlefield. There was a terrible silence, followed by the first shriek of war. Followed finally by the even more terrible and lasting silence of loss" - Hollow Planet: Destiny's Sword.
"The victories came where they were not expected. Defeats too. But in the end, their forces emerged intact. Ragged, battered, but still loyal." - Hollow Planet: Thorvald's Hammer.(less)
The Deal: Willa's perfect summer in Bramble, Cape Cod isn't going as perfect as she hoped for. Her best friend Tina is boy crazy and she and their oth...moreThe Deal: Willa's perfect summer in Bramble, Cape Cod isn't going as perfect as she hoped for. Her best friend Tina is boy crazy and she and their other friend Ruby are making Willa feel left out. Joey, Willa's boyfriend, is spending the whole summer away from her in Miami. Even her new dog, Salty, has deserted her for a boy named Will*.
Only that Will claims Salty was his dog first, and that Willa is actually his sister - something Willa can't deny as they look so much alike. What's more, Will is in Cape Cod on a mission that has everything to do with the birth-father they never met.
And Willa has to deal with it all, largely on her own as she wonders how Will's mission will turn her life upside down, if he's right.
My Thoughts: I'm a huge fan of The Wedding Planner's Daughter books, which followed Willa's adventures when she was younger. Sadly, I can't say I find this second set of books - about Willa's teenage years - to be quite as charming.
Willa is growing up, and some of her more lovely traits as a kid don't translate so well now she's a teenager and she often comes off as naive, goody-goody and a bit too perfect. I still like her and her love of books and all, but she is a bit too sweet sometimes.
She's alone a lot in this book too, and I sort of missed the Willa of previous book who was always trying to help other people, she's no longer quite the cupid she used to be and that takes away some of the whimsical aspects that I used to love so much about the series.
I'm curious about the next book, though (From Willa, With Love) even this this particular book, Wish I Might, wasn't my favorite of the series.
Favorite Quote: "Enjoy it, little girl, enjoy it. Every little spark, every second. You'll grow up soon enough, and nothing will feel simple again." - Willa.(less)
At First Sight: Having gotten the hang of boys at her school, six grader Annabelle is about to face a tougher adversary: sixth-grade girls!
So far, Ann...moreAt First Sight: Having gotten the hang of boys at her school, six grader Annabelle is about to face a tougher adversary: sixth-grade girls!
So far, Annabelle has been oblivious to the other girls in sixth grade, happily enclosed in her group of friends, until they land on the sights of the mean-girl clique of their grade: Taylor and the Three Terrors.
At the beginning, Annabelle doesn't want to get into it, as she doesn't know the other girls well enough to like them or dislike them; and she has her mom's wedding to worry about, not to mention the fact that she might be crushing on her soon-to-be stepbrother.
But soon, Annabelle realizes that whether she wants it or not, she is in the middle of it all; and that dealing with girls is far more difficult than with boys.
Second Glance: I really liked the first book about Annabelle's adventures - Boys are Dogs - but I have to say that I didn't find Girls Acting Catty quite as charming, though I've totally been on Annabelle's shoes when your friends are telling you to dislike someone though you're not sure you do, sometimes they are right and somethings they aren't but it's very annoying anyway.
And I think the book captures that very well. How even good friends can act questionably specially when you're 12 and being a girl feels so complicated, but other than that I didn't feel there was much to this book.
Bottom Line: Girls Acting Catty is a nice MG read, though I don't think it's my favorite. (less)
Athena never knew who her parents were, and she was relatively happy living with her best friend Pallas on Earth, but she never quite felt like she fi...moreAthena never knew who her parents were, and she was relatively happy living with her best friend Pallas on Earth, but she never quite felt like she fit in. Great was her surprise when a scroll arrived, summoning her to Mount Olympus Academy, to take her place with the other goddessgirls and godboys, as she is the daughter of Zeus.
Athena isn't sure if she wants to leave Pallas, but it's not as if Zeus is giving her much choice. Plus she hopes that, maybe, at MOA she'll finally fit in.
But MOA is and isn't what she expected. In many ways, it's a school like any other: there are nice girls - goddessgirls - like Aphrodite, Artemis and Persephone; and there are mean girls like Medusa and her sisters... and there is a cute, slightly conceited guy. On the other hand, they take classes like Hero-logy which is taught by a cyclops...
I had heard sweet things about this series and I do love all things Greek Myths, so I was happy when I got Athena the Brain. And I found it to be a sweet, short book. I like the idea of seeing these Goddesses as girls, with all their usual traits but with a sweet treatment. And Athena's story was good to kick off the series, as we get to known MOA and the other characters through her eyes as she meets them. I loved all the little references to well-known myths.
Now I wanna read the next one in the series.(less)
With a mother that is always telling her to 'go along to get along', Persephone rarely gets to do what she wants or say what she means. She just tries...moreWith a mother that is always telling her to 'go along to get along', Persephone rarely gets to do what she wants or say what she means. She just tries to make everyone feel comfortable and doesn't want anyone's feelings to get hurt.
She even pretends to like the same things as her best friends at the Mount Olympus Academy. She goes shopping with Aphrodite, pretends to like knitting for Athena, and says Artemis' dogs don't bother her at all, even though they are kind of smelly.
So, when she meets bad-godboy Hades, she's surprised that he actually likes to hear what she has to say. And thought their friendship is new and everyone else thinks he's bad news, Persephone feels like she has finally found the person with whom she can stop being a phony and just be herself...
I love, love, love Persephone! She's my designated goddessgirl best gal pal. As a young girl, I so often found myself in the same possition as she: trying to please my friends and going along with their schemes even though sometimes I didn't want to, so for me it was an instant connction to this girl who always means well but loses herself a little in the process. I loved seeing her find her way.
And Hades was so cute! I know, I know he's the godboy of the underworld, but he was cute. I could see the shyness underneath it all.
Persephone the Phony is such a lovely story about seeing beyond appearances and asserting oneself. And I can't wait to read the next installment of the Goddess Girls.
Favorite Quote: "So? Just because someone comes from the wrong side of the world, it doesn't mean they aren't worth knowing" - Persephone.(less)
Aphrodite is used to godboys looking at her and trying to impress her, and though she finds it a bit a annoying on occasion, she isn't prepared for th...moreAphrodite is used to godboys looking at her and trying to impress her, and though she finds it a bit a annoying on occasion, she isn't prepared for the feelings of jealousy that assault her once she gives her friend Athena a makeover.
Suddenly, all of her male-fans are hanging around Athena, leaving Aphrodite feeling a bit ignored. There is only one guy still trying to get her attenton: Hephaestus. Is not that Hephaestus is not nice or anything - because he is nice, and he's makes the most beautiful things out of metal - but he's nothing like handsome Ares, on whom Aphrodite has a bit of a crush.
At the same time, Aphrodite must attend her duties as goddess of love and help a mortal win the heart of a princess...
Aphrodite the Beauty is the third book of the Goddess Girls series (Though each can be read on its own) and it fits right in with the awesome of it's two predecessors.
I was really looking forward to read this one, partially because Carrie@In The Hammock said it was the one she had liked the most so far; and partially because I wanted to see the authors' take on this goddess whom I've always known to be a bit vain, in fact, I admit I have not always liked her much until I began to read the Goddess Girls books.
I really liked Aphrodite in this book. I love that she sounds like 13-year old and yet is a goddess at the same time. I loved what she learns about herself and how her feelings are portrayed. And I loved that Athena and Aphrodite work at their friendship instead of let misunderstandings -and godboys - get in the way.
Favorite Quote: "...but there was something about the sparkle in his eyes that made him attractive none the less. Inner beauty, she realized. That's what the sparkle was."(less)
At First Sight: Artemis is the first of her group of friends to turn 13 - along with her twin brother Apollo - and she's also the only one of them who...moreAt First Sight: Artemis is the first of her group of friends to turn 13 - along with her twin brother Apollo - and she's also the only one of them who has never had a crush, her life a happy mix of hanging out with her friends, practicing archery with her brother and playing with her dogs, even if she does struggle a little with her Bestiology exams, because her friends look up to her to lead them, since she's the brave one.
All of that changes when she meets transfer student Orion Starr, who is so handsome he could be a godboy, and he's also a terrific actor. Soon, all Artemis wants is to hang out with Orion, even with a big archery tournament coming up!
Second Glance: Artemis the Brave is the fourth book of the Goddess Girls series, and I adored it. Artemis so portrays the utterly crushing experience of having a first crush, particularity when that crush isn't all what he seems. But Artemis is braver than she gives herself credit for, and she finds that courage within herself to do what must be done.
I love the bond between the Goddess Girls, how they talk about their problems - in general and with each other - rather than let misunderstandings ruin their friendships, and how they are always there for their friends. Also love how close Artemis is to her brother, yet they both have their own set of friends and are happy that way.
Bottom Line: I keep on adoring this series, I really liked getting to know Artemis more -I always found her a bit more aloof than the other girls - and spending time with her. (less)
At First Sight: Aphrodite doesn't like when people think she's all beauty and no brains, and she knows her getting a D on hero-logy isn't going to hel...moreAt First Sight: Aphrodite doesn't like when people think she's all beauty and no brains, and she knows her getting a D on hero-logy isn't going to help matters, particularly after that small incident known as the Trojan war, which she helped to start.
So - and even though she really wanted to take a holiday with her friends during Hero Week - Aphrodite convinces Mr. Cyclops, the herology teacher, to let her work on a special project to bring her grade up.
So she starts The Lonely Hearts Club, where she plans to use her skills as Goddess of Love to help mortals find love. But a small problem arises when her first case leads her to Isis - the Egyptian Goddess of Love - and soon she finds herself in competition with the other goddess girl, trying to find a match for one of the most annoying boys ever! much as she much rather like be Isis friend.
Second Glance: This was such a fun book to read. Not only because the Goddess Girls series is one of my favorite series, but because I like the road the authors start to take with Aphrodite the Diva. I love how they are starting to expand on the lovely world they have already created.
Aphrodite is such a girly, adorable girl, and I loved how she wanted to prove she was more than just a pretty girl, that she was smart and a hard worker too - much as she would rather spend her time shopping, she still takes her job seriously. She's funny and loves her friends and honestly believe there is a crush for everyone.
Also, I love seeing the consistency throughout the stories, and how -while every book can be read on it's own - how the world of MoA keeps going and growing.
Bottom Line: An adorable addition to an adorable series. Aphrodite the Diva is cute, it has heart and it's a lot of fun to read.
Favorite Quote: "Just when you thought you had godboys figured out, you didn't!"(less)
At First Sight: There is a new kid at Mount Olympus Academy and Athena - the principal's daughter and goddess of wisdom - is asked by her dear ol' dad...moreAt First Sight: There is a new kid at Mount Olympus Academy and Athena - the principal's daughter and goddess of wisdom - is asked by her dear ol' dad to help him fit in.
Athena knows all too well how difficult is to be the new kid at school - as she came to MOA just a few months earlier - so she's happy to help Heracles as much as she can. Particularly after she learns that he has to complete 12 Labors in order to stay at the Academy for good.
Athena has never been particularly adventurous, and generally prefers to spend her time studying, but she quickly realizes that she and Heracles make a good team and become fast friends.
While helping Heracles with his labors, Athena comes across a challenge of her own.
Second Glance: Athena the Wise is the 5th book in the Goddess Girls series, and its as adorable as ever! I do love this series and it's so cute to see how these goddesses, gods and heroes deal with the challenges they are famous for.
I really liked Heracles, he's very sweet in this story, if a little free with the swinging of his club. And Athena was nice too. They made a good pair and definitely had a bit of the 'opposites attract' vibe going on.
At first I thought Athena's own challenge was a bit random, but it made sense at the end and it was fun. Heracles labors were more or less what I remembered them to be and they didn't take a huge amount of time; so they helped keep a fast pace with the story. I actually kind of liked the parts where Heracles and Athena were together more than when she was alone.
I also loved seeing the other Goddess Girls, particularly Persephone, who has always been my favorite. On a personal note, I love how Persephone and Hades are, like, the It couple of MOA; and I would love for them to be featured in another book (though the only other myth I can recall that involves them is the one of Orpheus and Eurydice), they are so cute.
Bottom Line:Another great addition to a lovely series, I really liked it and I can't wait for Aphrodite the Diva, where they tackle another of my favorite myths (Pygmalion and Galatea).(less)
At First Sight: Kat Stephenson's family is in a fix. Her older brother Charles has gambled the family into ruin, her father is rarely concerned with m...moreAt First Sight: Kat Stephenson's family is in a fix. Her older brother Charles has gambled the family into ruin, her father is rarely concerned with much other than his studies, her stepmother is always scowling at Kat's improper behavior, and her older sisters Elissa and Angeline are keeping secrets from her.
But Kat is good at digging out secrets, and she soon discovers Elissa and Angeline's. First, Elissa is planning on sacrificing herself for the family and marrying an older, by all accounts nasty man called Sir Neville. And second, Angeline is dabbling with their mother's legacy: Magic.
Mr. Stephenson's first wife - the girls and Charles' mother - was a notorious witch who caused many scandals in her life, but there was a lot more to her than that. She was not only a witch but also a Guardian - a member of an Order of Magic Workers, more powerful than ordinary witches, who work to keep evil witches from hurting innocent people.
And, while Angeline might inherited the witch-powers, it's Kat who became the heir to the guardian legacy, which is currently landing her in all sorts of mishaps.
Throw in a house party, some besotted suitors, an evil witch, and a lot of improper behavior, and Kat is knee deep in trouble.
Second Glance: Kat, Incorrigible is a sweet story about Magic and Sisterhood. I loved the Stephenson sisters, and I think Stephanie Burgis did a great job portraying their bond - how they got on each other's nerves, how different they were, and how much they loved one another.
The story is set in 1803, and I loved the period and the descriptions, and just the over all feel of time that I got. I could feel Kat's annoyance with proper behavior and how she sometimes felt a little left out -as all baby sisters feel, I think, at some point or another - without ever questioning that her sisters loved her.
This is a story that grabbed me from the first page and it only took me a chapter to know I was going to love it, it was just love at first sight for me and Kat.
Bottom Line: A great story about sisters and magic, with a dash of romance and an adventurous young narrator. I can't wait to read the second book in the series -Renegade Magic - which will be published in the UK in August 2011.
Favorite Quote: "I couldn't hide the books from Angeline, or keep her from finding out that I'd looked at them. But I had something better than secrecy now. I had the perfect opportunity for blackmail."(less)
At First Sight: Desi is 14 and stuck having the worst job ever - working for Pets Charming is a never ending string of undignified tasks such as being...moreAt First Sight: Desi is 14 and stuck having the worst job ever - working for Pets Charming is a never ending string of undignified tasks such as being Gladys the Groundhog, scooping manure at a parade or taking a turn sitting on a dunk tank - and the rest of her life is not much better. Her Dad is all about 'work ethic' and won't let her quit her job, her Mom is a former beauty queen who now runs a Charm School - which Desi flunked -and dotes on Desi's baby sister.
So, when after a particularly bad day, Desi is reading the wanted adds on the paper, hopeful to find a new job, she sees a strange add urging her to call for Meredith if she thinks she has what it takes to be a Princess For Hire.
Figuring it's worth a shot, Desi calls for Meredith and gets sucked into the world of substitute princesses. See, for centuries and centuries, Meredith's agency has devoted itself to use magic to 'substitute' royalty while the real royals run about and have their little escapades. And Desi is their newest talent.
Standing in for a royal sounds glamorous, right? but Desi is about to find out that nothing is ever what it seems.
Second Glance: I got Princess for Hire close to a year ago - I won it from Free Book Friday Teens!, first time EVER that I had won anything - but my cousin sort of had it in her possession for a long time so I only got to read it now.
I quite adored this book, it was cute and sweet and full of magic. I really liked Desi and her struggles both as a sub and in life in general - her crush is dating her nemesis and she feels invisible more often than not - and how she goes about coping with what life throws at her. There is a core to her feelings that I found quite real, and I actually liked a lot of the characters in the book - specially two of the princesses Desi subs for.
I had some problems with Meredith in the beginning, but Smalls@Small Review told me to stick to her and I have to admit that, in the end, Meredith did come through, and I hope they explore more of her story in the next books.
Now, much as I liked this book -and I did like it from the start - it took me about two weeks to finish it, not because there was anything wrong with it but because at the beginning it was very easy to put down. I enjoyed it a lot while I was reading but it was very episodic and easy to put down once each adventure ended, but once I sat down to finish it, I read about two thirds of the novel in just two hours.
Bottom Line: I do love Desi and her world, I loved Princess for Hire and I can't wait to read the next book The Royal Treatment (which comes out on May 3rd). This book very much reads like a sweet, Disney movie and it's a nice, sweet treat.
Favorite Quote: "Exhausted, I found some pajamas and crawled into bed, thinking about how in every fairy tale, the heroine's problems melt away when she becomes a princess - everyone sees how special she is and loves her. None of the stories was about a chubby, lonely princess who played the French horn into a tape recorder in her duck-filled bedroom. Or about the chubby princess's substitute, for that matter. Maybe that's what made them fairy tales. Real life is never how you dreamed it." (less)