Okay, so I picked this up at my favorite used bookstore. How could I resist a cover like that? And yes, I made myself an eggnog latte and read these stories in one sitting.
Working in a Winter Wonderland by Aimee Friedman I love stories where the main character longs for a boy who was out of reach a while ago. And when we meet Maxine she's home from college and hoping (and planning) to meet up with Heath (the hot boy from her old high school). But things are not the same at home; her stepdad and mom are more annoying in their affection. Her best friend is away for the holidays with her own family. Most of all, that dress that she has to have for the big party where she's going to talk to Heath -- well, it's expensive. Just when all hope is lost, she runs into Heath and lands an interesting part-time job. The story of a Hannukah-kind-of-girl dressed up as an elf in an upscale department store warmed my heart.
Have Yourself a Merry Little Breakup by Hailey Abbott Four long time friends are together for the holidays after one of them has been away at college. What happens when the paired off couples no longer click? Do they wander off their separate ways? A sweet story about growing apart and back together again (although not the way it was in the beginning).
Scenes from a Cinematic New Year's Eve by Nina Malkin Told in a cinematic fashion, the story moves sometimes disjointedly from scene to scene as we're introduced to some rather interesting Hollywood characters. It's a story that I didn't connect with and I found it hard to keep the larger cast of characters (for a short story) straight. On a positive note, I found myself reminiscing about the book, Less than Zero. The feeling of this story reminded me of Bret Easton Ellis' setting and characters.
The Christmas Choos by Melissa de la Cruz I enjoyed this take on a classic Christmas story (no, I won't tell you which one; you'll figure it out when you read it). Sometimes the product placement (name brands appear on almost every page) did pull me out of the story. But, the ending left me with a smile on my face.
This anthology is out of print; it's available as a used book (see links above). I enjoyed seeing these earlier writings from some of YA's most popular authors. I would say that this anthology is for people like me who just can't pass up anything remotely holiday related. Yes, I'm sipping my latte from a Santa mug. Of course, I am.
It's not the trope, it's what you do with it, I always think when reading my personal favorite (well, okay next to anything remotely Pride and PrejudiIt's not the trope, it's what you do with it, I always think when reading my personal favorite (well, okay next to anything remotely Pride and Prejudice like) plot line -- a human girl meets supernatural boy and things get, you know, hot and snarky and impossible. Fun? Yes. But ultimately, not for me....more
The entire time I read Touched, I kept thinking that this is how a paranormal story should be written*Review posted on Page Turners Blog on 2/24/2013*
The entire time I read Touched, I kept thinking that this is how a paranormal story should be written. I’ve read so many paranormal plot lines (as I’m sure you all have, too) and frankly, I’ve been a little burned out on the use of all too familiar tropes and clichés in recent releases. But Corrine is a masterful writer and in her capable hands, the story of Remy becomes unbelievably real.
First there’s Remy’s backstory – the reason she went to live with her estranged father. I clutched the book a little tighter because my heart may have been breaking for Remy. Her journey was incredible, devastating and empowering all at once. The relationship she creates with her father is one that rang true because it allowed for time, trust and most of all, healing.
The real delight in the story, at least for me, was the romance between Remy and Asher. Oh, it’s so perfect, you guys. So very, very perfect and so very, very doomed. As I discovered more about Asher and his family, I desperately wanted a different outcome for Remy and Asher. If you can hear me clapping my hands, it’s because this is the level of perfect storytelling so many paranormal stories strive for and don’t reach. You’ll have to read it for yourself to see, but Remy and Asher are two of my favorite couples in any 2012 book.
I’m thrilled to have discovered Corrine’s writing and I’m looking forward to reading her contemporary story, If I Lie because of the tightness in plot, the deep level of characters and the fantastic world-building she displayed in Touched. I’m also thrilled that this is a series, because yes, I’m rather desperate for book 2 in the Sense Thieves series. ...more
I have to admit that the familiar plo *Published on Mundie Moms on 1/8/12*
Camille and Ben.
Camille and Adam.
Camille and what?? Another-crazed stalker?
I have to admit that the familiar plot line is exactly what I love about the series. Without making this spoiler-ish, I will hint at the fact that this plot is very believable and yet it's about a familiar (for the series) predicament -- someone's stalking a student at Camille's high school. But this time, Camille's voices get louder and her premonitions become actual visions that rip her from reality and into a future scenario. Laurie's descriptions of these disturbing moments are so vivid that, at times, I actually shuddered a little. These parts of the plot also balance out other points where the plot becomes a little predictable.
As for Ben being in the picture, well, he is and he isn't. He has an excuse to be away for a few days just as the plot builds. No worries, however, because Adam, ever patient, is there to help. The big climactic scene is one that is filled with whoa, whoa, whoa and the plot twists just enough to make you want to keep reading. For Ben fans, like myself, there is also a sweet moment (unfortunately it's not one that Camille witnesses but it's one readers are allowed to see) and that moment is worth the read.
This series is one that I keep saying should be a TV series, and there, I've said it again. Someone please make it one, so I can tune in each week and get my fix of characters I've grown to like -- a lot....more
I have to admit that we have a TON of these books. Okay, not a ton, but at least a dozen. Who can resist the familiar rhyme made famous by Clement C. Moore's poem. We all know it and can recite it by heart.
Well, imagine a Halloween-themed version where the monsters are getting ready for trick-or-treaters to visit their house. I think I love this story as much as my kids.
Count Dracula grinned and slicked back his hair. Frankenstein's bride cried, "I've nothing to wear!"
And just as the children (all tucked and nestled indeed) are going out trick-or-treating, they happen upon a real haunted house filled with actual monsters all decked out for them. I promise you the ending is far from scary and yes, it's in fact, awfully sweet.
This book was first published twelve years ago and it's still popular. Be sure to check out why by picking it up at your favorite bookstore...more
I adore well illustrated picture books and Shari Halpern's gorgeous paintings make Zoe Hall's story literally come to life. I know that my three kids spent a lot of their preschool, Kindergarten and first grade years learning about seasons and how they affect everything around us -- plants, animals and humans. This book is a wonderful companion to those lessons.
It starts off with a great first sentence: "My sister and I have a tree that grows the best part of apple pie. Can you guess what that is?"
Oh, I think every three year old up can guess and guess correctly. The story follows two sisters through the seasons as they watch an apple tree in their back yard grow and provide a home for birds, a place for a little waterplay and food for the nearby deer.
My kids read this every year as we head out to the orchard to pick apples and more importantly, they read it when that apple pie is in the oven. This serves as a great reminder that no, our food doesn't come from the store...more
I absolutely fell in love with Karen Katz' illustrations when my kids were babies and preschoolers. So much so, that there is hardly a book of hers that we didn't own. I'm so glad that this one's still being sold.
If you have a baby or a preschooler in the house, this is a perfect book to read with them. I used to tell my kids when to lift the flap (or just plain tear it off...lots of these books are gently taped up) as I read the easily told tale.
The story uses every day words like -- curtain, closet, bowls, bed and door. I loved that because I'd walk around after reading it and point out the same objects in our house. The brightly colored, happy drawings and the fuzzy feel of the cat costume makes this book a perfect gift for anyone with a baby or a preschooler....more
This is a book that I bought at a Scholastic Book Fair many years ago and it serves as a reminder to me to remember the wonderful fairs that are upcoming at our local schools. I know that Mundie Moms and Mundie Kids check those out faithfully and if you're like me you spend way too much money there. But consider the quality of books you purchase like this one.
A pumpkin that runs away from two little boys and their baby sister. The words are so rhythmic that you'll find yourself repeating them just for fun: Round and 'round across the ground making a thumpin' bumpin sound came that thumpety bumpety thumpin' bumpin' round and roll-y RUNAWAY PUMPKIN!
Don't you want to find out what happens to this giant, out-of-control, rolling pumpkin? I know I do...every October. Another must-have, Halloween classic for your children's book shelves...more
Wanda Witch and the Bullies is a Scholastic Level 3 Reader story and one that is unforunately out-of-printReview posted on Mundie Kids on 10/18/2011*
Wanda Witch and the Bullies is a Scholastic Level 3 Reader story and one that is unforunately out-of-print, however, you can easily find one on amazon/Barnes & Noble/or your favorite used bookstore. Most of you know that October is National Bullying Prevention month and what better tale than this one for our youngest students.
Wanda wakes up with a tummy ache and her mom is too busy with the new baby to drive her to school so much to her embarassment her cat walks her to school. Once there, she's tripped by Gobby and bullied by Gobby's brother. After school, Gobby's goblin cousins start calling her names on her walk home. And then Wanda Witch gets the greatest idea of all.
I won't spoil her solution for you, but she does devise a sweet form of retaliation -- the kind that goblins will surely dislike. I think that this book is a solid read for the month of October. It teaches kids that they should listen to an adult's instructions and well, in the face of bullies, to use the right words and walk away. It doesn't teach them the proper bullying ettiquette (i.e. to report the incident to an adult), but this does open up dialogue for the parent/caretaker reading this with the child to remind them what they should do. For me, it's a good read for my first grader especially because she has her older brother and sister close by who inevitably chirp in with the "remember to also do this..." part....more
Surely, I’m not the only one who gets those oh-noes-butterflies in her stomach when starting a sequel. But,Published on Page Turners Blog on 6/6/2012
Surely, I’m not the only one who gets those oh-noes-butterflies in her stomach when starting a sequel. But, it’s exactly how I felt when I opened the first page of Timepiece. I always wonder what will become of my much loved characters; in this case, I shouldn’t have worried. You see, this story is in Kaleb’s point-of-view and as the resident bad boy of Hourglass, let’s just say he makes for an interesting read.
One of the many things I loved about the first book was the way Myra developed Emerson’s character. Emerson was multi-faceted and believable in both her despair and in her strength. Myra does the same thing with Kaleb in Timepiece. Because we get to read his point-of-view, we get to see the layers of hurt and loneliness that he disguises so well. Although he has a tough exterior, there are surface cracks that are clearly visible when Lily is introduced to him. I have such a soft spot for the bad boy who meets his match, and Lily is Kaleb’s perfect match. Their verbal banter will make you smile and the will-they-won’t-they moments will be maddening in the best possible way.
I promise that you will hold your breath when you read the action filled plot because the stakes are higher than ever in this sequel. There’s also a scientific logic that Myra’s built into her plot that the geek in me loves and appreciates. Because for me, science is magic.
Now for all of my fellow Team Michael-ers, please don’t worry. Yes, it’s Kaleb’s story but there’s plenty of Michael and Emerson to keep us happy. And there are new characters who kept me guessing their motives late into the night.
If you love time travel, appreciate a romance that is slow building and filled with snarky banter and a plot that makes you think wait, I know what’s coming next only to find out that you’re dead wrong, well, you will adore Timepiece. I know you will. Go on and enter the giveaway below and see if I’m right.
Do a search for "songs with girls names in the title" and you'll be surprised at the amount of songs tha*Review published on Mundie Moms on 2/12/2012*
Do a search for "songs with girls names in the title" and you'll be surprised at the amount of songs that are listed. Whoa. There are a hundreds of them. In fact, each generation seems to have their fair share of these songs. Now imagine if you were THAT girl. Wouldn't you want the world to know your side of the story?
Robin presents us with just that plot. I have to admit I liked Audrey from these opening lines:
The day I broke up with my boyfriend Evan was the day he wrote the song. You know, the song. I'm sure you've heard it. Maybe you danced to it at prom or sang it in your car on a Friday night when you were driving and feeling like you must be inhuman to be this happy, the windows down and nothing but air around you. Your mom has probably hummed it while cleaning the dryer's lint trap, and your grandpa has most likely whistled a couple of bars if he's the whistling type.
According to the poll on the front page of USA Today, sixty-three percent of Americans blame me for the breakup, so let me clear the air right now.
You get an idea of her voice -- she's strong, no-nonsense (well as much as any junior in high school can be) and she is well grounded (with help from parents who care and a BFF who is fierce in her loyalty). What Audrey is not prepared for is the sheer volume of fame that such a song brings with it.
Huge props to Robin for writing one of my favorite plot types. You know the one where everything-that-can-go-wrong-will? Yeah, that's exactly what happens in Audrey, Wait! But this is far from a predictable plot, it's filled with a cast of characters that are so relatable I felt I knew them (much like I did Audrey) from the very first moment I read them. I found myself turning pages just to make sure things turn out all right for all of them.
I won't spoil it for you, I promise, but when you're faced with life-changing moments such as a ex's song shooting up every known music chart on the planet, things do change and you adapt to those changes. Robin also wrote in something that I love. And it's in the romantic subplot of the story. There is both kindness and pain in discovering who your true love really is and who your true friends really are. Robin does this beautifully.
Audrey, Wait! is available in both hardcover, paperback and ebook at most of your favorite book retailers. I encourage you to check it out. On a personal note, it's such a great feeling to discover a new author that I love. Robin has a second book out, The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June. Yes, I bought it and I'm looking forward to meeting more of her incredibly written characters....more
A girl who fixes mechanical things. A boy who just happens to be a prince. A plague that tears apart Review published on Page Turners Blog on 1/11/12*
A girl who fixes mechanical things. A boy who just happens to be a prince. A plague that tears apart families. Add to all that a nice round of political intrigue and you have the makings of Cinder.
If you’re expecting a straightforward Cinderella story, you won’t find it between these pages. Instead you’ll find a perfect blend of fantasy and sci-fi. But watch out, just when you think you’ve figured out the rhythm of Marissa’s plot, she’ll throw you a curveball. For fans of the fairy tale, like myself, there are just enough nods to the story that I found myself smiling and looking forward to them.
As far as the characters go, well, I dare you to not fall in love with both Cinder and Kai. Cinder is that determined girl who will do what’s right no matter the stakes and Kai…what, you heard my sigh? Well, he’s the prince who feels the burden of his position and yet, more than anything he, too, wants to do what’s right for his people. They’re so similar and yet, just when you think perhaps everything may work out, don’t worry as mentioned in the synopsis, betrayal and treachery are right around the corner.
Marissa has built a world that I fell in love with and one that I found so very believable. And I know 2012 just started, but boy do I need it to be 2013 so I can read the sequel, Scarlet, because the ending, in this case, is really a beginning of a deliciously complex series. ...more
A quick review because I HAD to read the second book right after the first one. Yes, they're very short books and powerfully funny. Once again, I founA quick review because I HAD to read the second book right after the first one. Yes, they're very short books and powerfully funny. Once again, I found myself laughing along with Georgia. I liked it so much that I went out and got books 3 and 4. But now I find myself wondering and hoping that we'll see Georgia grow more and begin to understand her Mati and Vati. Granted she's fourteen going on fifteen and well, who did understand their parents at that age? Answer: no one, not a single soul....more
Let me just start by saying that any book with a diary format and plenty of humor is going to immed *Review posted on Page Turners Blog on 9/29/2011*
Let me just start by saying that any book with a diary format and plenty of humor is going to immediately draw my interest. Then imagine if that book was a 2001 Printz Honor book while also making the Banned Book list, and you have my exact reasons for picking it up.
Georgia is an average fourteen-year-old girl. She worries about whether she’ll be good at kissing and if it’s time to purchase a bra. As I read the story, I couldn’t help remembering all those awful insecurities I had at that same age. She’s preoccupied with a certain boy she dubs the “Sex God”. When I read that moniker, I laughed out loud. Like really out loud, not just a shortened LOL or a giggle. And much like a character in another British diary-style book (none other than my favorite, Bridget Jones) Georgia makes these fabulous lists, like this one on page 3:
There are six things wrong with my life:
1) I have one of those under-the-skin spots that will never come to a head but lurk in a red way for the next two years. 2) It is on my nose. 3) I have a three-year-old sister who may have peed somewhere in my room. 4) In fourteen days the summer hols will be over and then it will be back to Stalag 14 and Oberfuhrer Frau Simpson and her bunch of sadistic “teachers”. 5) I am very ugly and need to go into an ugly home. 6) I went to a party dressed as a stuffed olive.
Complicating Georgia’s life and her pursuit of Sex God is the fact that her dad has to take a job in New Zealand. And this presents a very real threat of the entire family moving to New Zealand’s most active, geothermal area. This story has so many good points – how a family can pull together (yes, even ones with slightly crazy uncles), how a girl can be true to herself (even when dressed as a stuffed olive) and how our friends can buoy us through the roughest of times (even while they’re dating SG’s brother). In my opinion, a book like that is well worth reading. What book will you pick up during Banned Book Week? ...more
One of my favorite tropes involves the use of a mysterious town. Seriously, who doesn’t love a town whe* Review published on Mundie Moms on 9/16/2011*
One of my favorite tropes involves the use of a mysterious town. Seriously, who doesn’t love a town where there are two feuding families and secrets from long ago? Well, Scott Tracey drops his talented, sweet and yet sure of himself protagonist in just such a town and oh, Mundie Moms, does the plot thicken.
First, let me tell you about Braden. I can’t do this without pointing out that I kinda want to adopt him. What?!? I know, I’m a mom and it seems natural for me to love a character who is confident, curious, smart and yet, hurting. Braden’s magical gift comes at a price and those of you who know me, know that I love balance in my magic systems. Ah, the cost of magic. Imagine having to wear sunglasses all the time and suffer debilitating headaches? You know the kind that make you pass out? No wonder I wanted to help him from the very moment I turned the first few pages.
As I read on, I discovered that he’s part of a complex world and that he’s inexplicably tied to the bizarre city of Belle Dam. A quiet little town. Except for a feud, where Braden’s father is firmly on one side and Braden’s new best friend just happens to be on the other. Oh, and let’s talk about that adorable boy, Trey. Yeah, Trey. Mundie Moms, there is the sweetest romance tucked in as a subplot to this action packed story. But oh wow, is the romance adorable. Braden and Trey easily make it into my Top Ten Favorite Couples list. Most of you can accurately tick off my Top Ten Couples (hint: they’re probably the same as yours), so think about it, I'm saying that Braden and Trey definitely deserve to be there with the rest. Yes, that good.
I promise to not spoil anything for you. But, as Braden unlocks (literally) the secrets of the town, he discovers that he’s part of a much bigger picture. All I have to add is – hang on tight, because the pacing, action and plot reveals in the last half of the book are UNBELIEVABLE. I’m still thinking about them and that’s the best sign of a good story.
When you’re in the bookstore this weekend, be sure to pick up Witch Eyes and read a few pages. Once you meet the sarcastic, brave and determined Braden, you won’t be able to put the book down. I only know this, because I couldn’t until I reached the very last page. ...more
Perusing my library's online offerings, I came across The Boyfriend List and I have to admit that I simply loved the main character, Ruby Oliver (Roo to her friends). I think that Mandy Siegfried's perfect delivery of the narration helped, too. I'm a big fan of insecure, flawed characters and listening to Ruby's neuroses unfold left me smiling. Oh boy, did I remember those awkward moments of high school drama and crushes on boys who may/may not be actual boyfriends.
What I love about Emily's writing is how deeply layered her characters are and how she presents the plot. The whole time I was listening to the audiobook, I felt like Ruby was talking to me about her life. Maybe because I now have a teen in my own house and I realize they never, ever present a discussion linearly when they can navigate around a topic backwards and forwards and all around. And that's how the plot is presented until the very end when you realize how all the pieces (and boys) fit together.
If you're looking for a fun, summer read (that's deeper than you may first expect) and a trip down high school memory lane, pick up The Boyfriend List. The adorability factor on this one is high. And yes, that's a good thing in my book. ...more
I will admit that I love an angel story, but lately I’ve been feeling a little meh about some of the entries in the genre and then I picked up Hallowed and I remembered why I loved books that use angel mythology in a believable way.
I need to pause a second and emphasize how wonderful it is to read a well written story. The characters – dear God, I love them all. Clara. Tucker. Christian (helloooooo, Christian). Clara’s brother and her mom. The story tackles a subject matter that usually makes me burst into tears shortly after I read the first sentence. But Cynthia handles this subject matter in a gorgeous, gentle and realistic way. Yes, I cried a little but I was also uplifted by the way the cast of characters supported Clara. I’ve lived long enough to know that true friends will support you through the bleakest of times.
Now, you guys know me well enough to know that I will need to comment on the romance and again, huge props to Cynthia for writing a believable love triangle. I totally related to Clara’s feelings about outgrowing her relationship with Tucker. Things have changed for Clara, rather dramatically, and sometimes those changing circumstances make us question all choices including the big one – is this person right for me?
For those of you who were firmly Team Christian, whoa, hold on. Christian’s character is developed brilliantly in this story and we see him as more than a two-dimensional angel-hero boy. His character surprised me the most and I have to admit that I’m smiling as I write this.
So, if you enjoy paranormal stories or are a fan of angel mythologies and you haven’t picked up Unearthly and Hallowed what’s stopping you? Do it and then you’ll see that you’ll start recommending them, too.
Witches. Vampires. Irish lore. And a town with secrets. Those images alone make me interested in a story.
An * published on Page Turners on 10/7/2011*
Witches. Vampires. Irish lore. And a town with secrets. Those images alone make me interested in a story.
And then there are Savannah and Tristan. They share a heart-breaking moment when they were little, and this incident causes their families to keep them apart. In fact, all the descendants of The Clann (yes, those are the witches) have been told to stay away from Savannah.
But, Savannah and Tristan are drawn to each other and the story is presented from both of their points-of-view. I loved that I heard both sides of what is one, hot romantic pairing. This is a story where forbidden love is so logical and presented in a fashion that draws on the mythology. You won't question it. In fact, my only critique of the story is that I wanted more. I wanted to know more about the town, the Clann, the magic. I'm confident that in the sequel some of my curiosity will be answered.
If you're in the mood for a paranormal romance with a different, rich lore and a couple whose love for each other makes sense, pick up Crave. Savannah and Tristan are both determined to make it work even as they discover each other’s secrets and the very reason that they should never be together and that makes for a good read. ...more
Mundie Moms, remember John Hughes and how much we all still love those movies? Well, Ditched reads like Review published on Mundie Moms on 1/5/2012.
Mundie Moms, remember John Hughes and how much we all still love those movies? Well, Ditched reads like a John Hughes movie. It’s all there. From the plot, which is presented in a quirky let-me-tell-you-how-it-happened way to the characters who hold more depth than you first thought. Don’t we all love characters who are not what their stereotype suggests? Stoners. Frenemies. Jocks. Old ladies who work in a convenience store. Not at all what you thought they would be like. And then there’s that boy. Oh we all know him, too. He’s the PerfectBoyfriend Boy. He will buy you licorice when you’re crabby. He will hold pinkies with you while you walk down the hall. And you highly suspect that when the time comes, he will be an amazing kisser. Except for the fact, that he ditched you. On prom night. Not a good guy, at all. Right?
This book, this book has all of that and more.
Robin made me laugh with her backwards timeline that forces her protagonist to tell the story as it happened to her. But don’t worry, if you’re a picky reader who hates the “telling” parts of a story, Robin, puts you right in the action. Justine, the main character, is so likeable that you will flinch through every one of her mishaps, missteps and mistakes; all of which are lovingly documented on the hideous prom dress that her mom helped her pick out. You know those books that have maps at the beginning? Well, Ditched has that at the start of each chapter but it’s a map to every stain, rip, tear and broken bits of Justine’s poor outfit.
I really shouldn’t say more for fear of spoilers, but I do have to say that my reaction at the end of the book was…(removed for spoilers). Go on, pick it up on the 10th and enjoy every word. ...more
Tammy Blackwell story is one that even non-Wolf Girls like me can enjoy. Her writing ha Review posted on Mundie Moms on 8/13/2011*
3.5 stars out of 5
Tammy Blackwell story is one that even non-Wolf Girls like me can enjoy. Her writing has a sense of fun and she throws in plenty of pop culture references – Buffy, Kim Possible and (hey there) Orlando Bloom. Those made me smile and I have to admit that I looked forward to them. The main character, Scout, has a chatty voice and tells her thoughts and provides back-stories as you meet the characters in her lives. Here’s my favorite example from page 59 and you know me, Mundie Moms, it has to be a romantic scene, right?
Alex Cole was not the first boy I ever held hands with that honor went to my third grade boyfriend, Jeremy Rande, who bought me a chocolate rose for Valentine’s Day and then moved to Illinois the next week. Over the years there had been others – including Dalton Riley, the asshat Ashley had done the nasty with – but none of those times had felt like this. With the other boys it had merely been skin on skin. I remembered how they always squeezed my hand too tightly or too loosely, how their palms had always been too dry or too sweaty.
Alex’s hand was perfect. His skin was soft and warm. He held onto me gently, but with confidence. My own hand felt small and delicate wrapped around his.
I was, at that moment, in possession of the world’s happiest hand.
I loved how Tammy wrote the romance in Destiny Binds. It felt real and genuine. Scout’s discovery of the mysterious boy, Alex, and Scout’s relationship with her step-brother, Jase, provide the main plot line which twisted into a unique take on wolf mythology. There are a lot of side references to Scout’s and Jase’s childhood so you feel like you know the siblings rather well. Sometimes, I found these distracted me from the main plot because as a reader I mentally bookmark details I think will become significant in the story. But at the same time, they made me feel like I knew the characters personally and this is a planned series so I’m sure the details will become important as the stories progress.
A favorite moment of mine is how Scout handles finding out about werewolf existence. Her logic is refreshing and yes, humor-filled. Let’s face it, Scout has the same questions I would have in her situation including questioning if vampires, too, exist.
Destiny Binds is a story filled with a sweetness and yet a fierceness in its sense of family and doing what is right. If you enjoy a werewolf story with a different twist, pick up Destiny Binds. Tammy’s mythology and her ending are, wow, unexpected and good. ...more
What can I possibly say about one of my most highly anticipated books this year? Let me do this in the spirit of one of my favorite YA heroines, Cammie herself:
PROs and CONS of READING Ally Carter's Out of Sight, Out of Time. (A list compiled by a tired mom-of-three who skipped sleep in favor of finishing the latest installment of a beloved series. WARNING: This may not make sense except when read during pre-dawn hours).
PRO: First, and most importantly, I finished this book at 3 a.m. It's that kind of can't-put-this-book-down story. Ally Carter is such a master of increasing stakes in each story and chapter that just when you think it couldn't possibly get worse, well, it does and it does so believably. Her perfectly timed reveals should be studied in writing classes.
CON: You will read these books in a day. There are expected side effects to the resulting sleep loss, so if you see me today, please point me in the direction of the nearest caffeinated beverage.
PRO:Ally has a way of leaving the ending, not quite cliffhanger-y, but giving you that soft landing before you realize another precipice is near. I love this so much because it makes me remember and want to re-read every moment until next year's release.
CON: I may be more crazed than usual when you find me in a book store because I will be talking to perfect strangers and insisting they buy all five books at once. I'll keep muttering to them something about "you'll need to know."
PRO: You will add to your list of Fictional Characters I Love. Yes, even (removed for spoilers).
CON: If Sophie's removing names for fear of spoilers and forgetting that she's referencing herself in third person, those characters are ones you must meet.
PRO: It's not a story just about teenagers. I know, I got those judgy looks at the pool this past summer when "those other moms" walked past me wondering why I was reading a book clearly not meant for my age group. This story, more so than even the other four, is ALL about family. The family we are born into and the family we make with our friends. The adults in this book are so well written that I want to meet them in real life. Especially Cammie's mom.
CON: I want to meet Catherine, too. (Who is she and why am I blatantly referencing her? Read the books. Yes, all five. You'll need to know.)
CON: Your Hot Fictional Boys List will be reshuffled.
Have I convinced you? Are you going to get all five books at once?? Remember my warning -- you'll need to know. As for me, I'm going to re-read this by listening to the audiobook on my way to Ally's San Jose signing next week. If you see me, I promise I'll be much more rested and logical. Or at least more caffeinated.
Oh, and don't forget to check out The Gallagher Academy (http://www.thegallagheracademy.com/). You'll want to read the short story there just for all the different POVs (Zach's too) and yes, it dovetails nicely into Out of Sight, Out of Time. ...more
You know from my previous reviews that I adore both Cammie and Zach, but oh Mundie Moms, I have been w *Review published on Mundie Moms on 10/1/2011*
You know from my previous reviews that I adore both Cammie and Zach, but oh Mundie Moms, I have been waiting for this plot line ever since Zach walked into Cammie's life in book 2 (Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy). And the way Ally raises the stakes with each book, well, let's just say my patience was tested in the best possible way. Let me get this out of my system:
Zach! Cammie! Dear God, Mr. Solomon!
I can guarantee one thing, Mundie Moms, Zach isn't the only one you will be swooning over. Hell-oooooo, Mr. Solomon. I adore how Zach and Mr. Solomon have been presented as almost the younger and older version of the same character type -- that swoony boy whose intentions you are never quite sure of. In Only the Good Spy Young, the intentions are no longer a mystery. Ally gives us Zach's backstory and suddenly everything becomes clear, personal and dangerous.
But Cammie and Zach are still Cammie and Zach. I can't leave you without a sample of that delicious tension which makes me crazy (from page 206):
"Are you still mad at me?" Zach whispered as we crossed the Pennsylvania border. His leg was pressing against mine, but I didn't think about how it felt, because my mother (who is a spy) was riding shotgun in the front seat, and my roommates (who are future spies) were surrounding us in the van. And besides, it doesn't take a lot of training to know that leg-pressing can seriously divert a girl from little things, like trying not to die. So I didn't say a word. "Ooooh," Zach whispered. "The silent treatment." "I am not talking to you, Zach," I whispered, whirling on him, "because I know you're not going to really say anything anyway. Should I be asking you more questions you refuse to answer." As I turned and faced forward again, watched the yellow lines of the highway flying by, I expected more excuses. More lies. But instead, Zach just leaned across me and whispered to Liz, "She's cute when she's silent."
Have I convinced you to pick up this series, yet? That tapping sound you hear are my nails tapping out the level of my anxiety while waiting for the next installment. I cannot wait until next year when Out of Sight, Out of Time comes out. ...more
Review published on Mundie Moms on September 4, 2011*
As I thought about this review, I kept wondering about what I really wanted to say about this s Review published on Mundie Moms on September 4, 2011*
As I thought about this review, I kept wondering about what I really wanted to say about this series. And I think it all boils down to this – these stories are incredibly well written and they’re definitely not just for tweens and teens to enjoy. Here’s why: Ally writes her main characters in such a way that you remember what it’s like to be in that awful moment when you’re expected to act like an adult but you just haven’t had the practice and therefore your confidence is kaput. Like zero. Nothing there. Yet, you find yourself remembering what you were told to do and you perform perfectly much to everyone’s surprise, most of all yours. Cammie gets to experience those moments over and over again. And as reader, who just happens to be a mom, I understand them and my heart aches doubly for her. In my opinion, this is the very essence of gorgeous writing.
So, what else do I have to add (keeping in mind Mundie Moms’ No Spoilers policy)? Well, in a lot of YA books, the parents/adults are absent because the plot line isn’t about them. Here’s where Ally’s different. She brings in the parents and teachers and makes you understand their motivations just as much as those of the main characters. This makes you care for the entire cast of characters – every single one of them. Ally also brings in a key figure who was missing from Cammie’s life for many years. I won’t even drop a hint here, because you’ll meet her fast enough. The dynamic she brings into the relationship between Cammie, her mom and even swoony Mr. Solomon made me laugh and yes, even tear up for a moment. You’ll see why. Real tears.
Now, okay, you know me far too well. Every page I turn, I look for a mention of Zach. You won’t be disappointed, Mundie Moms, on pages 162-166 is one of the best romantic-action scenes I’ve ever read (period). I literally didn’t breathe for those four pages. Not a single breath.
I will warn you that the stakes are higher in this story and you will worry about who will survive each action scene. But, Zach and Cammie are, yes still, Zach and Cammie (page 206):
The announcer was talking over the loudspeaker, saying something about the homecoming queen and her deep love of puppies or something, but I just looked at Zach, trying to shake that feeling that I hadn’t really seen him in months. If ever. “Why do I feel like I can’t trust you anyomore?” I wanted him to lash out. I wanted him to fight, to protest, to argue – to do anything but look deeper into my eyes and say, “Because the Gallagher Academy doesn’t admit fools.”
Can you can guess what I’ll be doing this weekend? In fact, I’m sitting on my patio right now, with a tall glass of iced tea and my copy of Only the Good Spy Young right next to me. Don’t wait for next March when the fifth book, Out of Sight, Out of Time comes out. Won’t you join me in reading this series right now? ...more