The Good: Panic was an exciting read. It made sense in a way that I think will connect with a lot of people. Kids living in a small, go-nowhere town p...moreThe Good: Panic was an exciting read. It made sense in a way that I think will connect with a lot of people. Kids living in a small, go-nowhere town pool money and compete in a dangerous contest for a chance to get out and have a different life. The characters were really interesting and I had a hard time putting the book down. I just had to know what was coming next and how everything was going to work out.
The Bad: I love a good epilogue and the last chapter is pretty much that. Two months or so in the future, we see how the characters are doing. What lost me was the extremely heavy-handed moral of the story blatantly written out in the last few paragraphs. If the book had ended two pages sooner, it would have been perfect. That last bit completely rubbed me the wrong way.(less)
What impressed me: Everything about this novel impressed me. The realism was painful. I grew up when people were first getting access to the internet...moreWhat impressed me: Everything about this novel impressed me. The realism was painful. I grew up when people were first getting access to the internet in their homes. I remember, back before anyone thought to warn us about internet predators, logging on to chat rooms have having the conversations become confusingly dirty as soon as I mentioned I was 13. And even today, with all of the warnings given to teens about the dangers of the internet, Want to Go Private? makes it very easy to see how a young girl might get swept up in something scary when she's not looking for it. Nothing was held back in this novel. It was raw, honest and terrifying in how easily things progressed.
What disappointed me: Absolutely nothing!
Recommended: Every parents and any teen still living under the assumption that something like the internet is a safe place.(less)
What impressed me: The McCloud Home for Wayward Girls completely took me by surprise. It was both fun, serious and ev...moreWhy read: Picked up a copy at BEA
What impressed me: The McCloud Home for Wayward Girls completely took me by surprise. It was both fun, serious and even occasionally a bit scandalous. I loved the was the perspectives shifted between the women, Ruby in the past, Jill both past and present and Fee totally in the now. The mystery element really threw me through a loop in the best possible way. Mose than anything else, The McCloud Home for Wayward Girls is a touching, secret filled story of three women finding their way in a judgemental world. I loved every word.
What disappointed me: Absolutely nothing. Just perfect.
Recommended: Highly. The McCloud Home for Wayward Girls is women's fiction, with some romance and a bit of mystery peppered in. It's engaging and very hard to put down.(less)
Contemporary YA isn't always my thing, but I loved Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) with a fiery passion. Sarah Mylnowski's writing is...moreContemporary YA isn't always my thing, but I loved Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) with a fiery passion. Sarah Mylnowski's writing is real - as wonderful and messed up and loving and heartbreaking as it always is. Mlynowski pulls no punches, allowing for real life consequences to follow common decisions and effect her characters in realistic ways, all while remaining highly entertaining.
Ten Things We Did chapter structure follows the list of the ten things April and Vi do that may or may not have been the best decisions. Each choice leads them down the path to where they ultimately end up and all are relateable decisions. They lie to their parents. They play I Never. They skip school. They throw a crazy party. They lose their virginity. All are decisions teens are making in their own lives. Sometimes the result is funny. Sometimes the result is awkward. But always, the result is somewhere between possible and probable.
April is a great character and plays off of Vi nicely. While the two live together, April's boyfriend worries that she's becoming to much like Vi, but in reality Vi's influence helps April become who she truly is - beyond her family, her boyfriend or her friends. Much of what April does may seem wrong, but her her decisions shape her into who she becomes. Life isn't always clear cut. It's messy and April's experiences perfectly showcase that messy may not be fun, but it isn't the end of the world either.
Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) is a wonderful novel. It's hilarious with just the right amount of uncomfortable mixed in. It was absolutely delightful to read and I'm be looking forward to reading more from Sarah Mlynowski in the future.(less)
What impressed me: I liked the concept of this book, celebrities in a Survivor-like situation, due to a plane crash. And...moreWhy read: Received for review
What impressed me: I liked the concept of this book, celebrities in a Survivor-like situation, due to a plane crash. And I actually really enjoyed that each of the celebrities was a cliched stereotype easily compared to different real life celebrities.
What disappointed me: Francesca was utterly unlikeable. She was naive, boy-crazy and inconsistent in both thought and action. It was completely unbelievable that she would win this contest with an essay that contained lies that would have been checked up on. The entire situation surrounding the eventual rescue of the crash survivors was ludicrous and took away from the realism the character's growth created.
Recommended: Not especially. There are better books with similar themes and circumstances. Skip this and read Beauty Queens by Libba Bray.(less)
What impressed me: An amnesia plot line that I actually adore. I usually hate this scenario, but it completely worked for Ou...moreWhy read: Love the series.
What impressed me: An amnesia plot line that I actually adore. I usually hate this scenario, but it completely worked for Out of Sight, Out of Time. Finding out what happened during Cammie's time away from Gallagher Academy, right along with her, was great. Especially since she knew who she was now and was surprised at the past right with you. Her disappearance and subsequent adventures effect all that she knows, her love life, family and friends, so watching her see those unknown secrets laid bare was totally great.
What disappointed me: Not a thing.
Recommended: Absolutely. Another great addition to the Gallagher Girl series.
Continue series: Definitely. This series is just too intriguing not to.(less)
I absolutely loved The Ivy. Oh, the scandals, the frenemies, the boys, the binge drinking, and the occasional classes. How utterly wonderful. Secrets...moreI absolutely loved The Ivy. Oh, the scandals, the frenemies, the boys, the binge drinking, and the occasional classes. How utterly wonderful. Secrets starts up right where The Ivy left off and continued the drama-filled prestigious college experience I loved. The story progressed nicely in The Ivy, but it was clearly a middle of the series sequel. The plot continued as expected, but nothing shockingly huge occurred.
Misunderstandings, both accidental and those caused with malicious intent, were definitely the theme of Secrets. Callie's relationships with both Gregory and Vanessa in this book were one constant misunderstanding after another. While it kept Callie constantly unsure of herself and where she stood with each of them, it often times caused me to wonder why no one ever seemed to talk to each other. Not just Callie and Gregory or Callie and Vanessa, but all the other characters as well. Does no one at this school gossip about their friends behind their backs in the normal curious manner? It seemed as though the only time anyone spoke of anyone else's situation it was usually mean-spirited, such as Vanessa purposely giving Gregory false information about Callie's feelings. It worked for the plot, but I can't imagine it playing out this way in real life.
Callie's incessant need to keep things from Clint became grating in Secrets. Seriously, just tell him about the video already. It really isn't a big deal. And why would she possibly continue to hide what Lexie's doing to her? Where is the benefit in that? I understood the motivation in The Ivy, as Callie was flustered having just had all of these things happen, but by Secrets, she really should have come to terms with events and gotten over whatever misplaced embarrassment she was holding on to.
I wished more new things were infused into Secrets. As I said earlier, the story progressed well, but there was nothing that made this book stand out from The Ivy. It felt as though it was missing the big, main event that would have made the novel outstanding. As it is, it's fun and entertaining, but can't compare to The Ivy.
As I understand it, there are two more books planned for this series. I can't imagine where the story will go from here. While nothing is completely wrapped up by the end of Secrets, it doesn't really hint at what's to come. While I liked Secrets, I'm hoping the future book will be scandalous, shocking, and able to stand alone.(less)
Notes from the Blender is written in such a way that the main characters, Declan and Neilly, seem to be speaking directly to you. The conversational t...moreNotes from the Blender is written in such a way that the main characters, Declan and Neilly, seem to be speaking directly to you. The conversational tone gives the feeling that they're sharing their most honest feelings with the reader. It's very easy to get sucked into Notes from the Blender. The alternating points of view, from Declan to Neilly, chapter by chapter, do well to show each side of simultaneous events. The book is almost painfully honest in some parts, to the point that some readers may be wishing for a little less TMI.
Declan is an outcast. His long time crush, Neilly, is one of the most popular girls in school. He's resigned himself to lusting after her from afar. That is until Declan's dad announces he's knocked up Neilly's mom and their going to be married. Now he has to deal with a potential new mom, when all he wants is the one who died, and the girl he wants sleeping just down the hall. Neilly's not exactly thrilled either. She's dealt with mockingly snide comments ever since her dad left her mom for another man, but finding her mom half-naked ith some strange man who then announces their to be married is not the change she's been hoping for.
Most of the painful honesty comes from Declan. While Neilly finds herself preoccupied with teenage romantic drama of her own, Declan just obsesses about sex. Porn and masturbation are mentioned frequently, which may turn off both teen girls and their parents. I though it was a wonderfully refreshing look at a teen boy, but at the same time it skeeved me out a little.
Declan and Neilly take to each other well, fast becoming friends and eventual step-siblings. I probably would have enjoyed the book even more if they had railed against each other occasionally, but their friendship did much to move the story along. Notes from a Blender is both funny and emotional. It's a great look at the fears and changes that come along unexpectedly when blending a family.(less)
The Baby Planner is a wonderful novel for anyone who enjoys a great pregnancy story, or several. Taking the concept of a wedding planning and twisting...moreThe Baby Planner is a wonderful novel for anyone who enjoys a great pregnancy story, or several. Taking the concept of a wedding planning and twisting it for prenatal crowd works well and leads to funny and emotional scenes.
Katie is a wonderfully full character. Longing for a baby, but married to man who refuses to impregnate her, Katie fills the void by helping other women get ready for their own children. Having no real life experience, beyond being an involved aunt, she starts her business and quickly finds a niche market that never knew it was waiting for her. Through Katie's work, readers will experience multiple pregnancy situations - all of which lead to surprising ends.
Katie's marriage was something else entirely. She loves her husband, but he refuses to have a child with her. Their relationship and Katie's various pleas and tactics to get what she desires most left me wondering not about her sanity, but about my own. Katie's actions drove me crazy. I was never on the same page as her. I wanted her to "accidentally" get pregnant. She respects her husband and believes she can rationally convince him. I want her to run away from him as fast as she can. She then decides it's a good time to have a condom malfunction. You can tell early on how the story is going to play out, but there are some great twists along the way.
The Baby Planner is unique and thought-provoking at times. Laughter and tears come easily and often. You may not always agree with Katie's decisions, but you'll care about her from the very first pages.The Baby Planner is the perfect next step for chick lit fans leaving singledom and entering babyville.(less)
Beneath a Starlet Sky is a wonderfully fun and often times outrageous novel that will appeal to readers who can't help but be mesmerized by Hollywood...moreBeneath a Starlet Sky is a wonderfully fun and often times outrageous novel that will appeal to readers who can't help but be mesmerized by Hollywood gossip. Lola's father is a famous movie director. She's done with dating actors and the whole Hollywood scene. She wants nothing more than to success in the fashion world as the CEO of her best gay friend's clothing line and to settle down with her doctor boyfriend. But when her mom gets her own reality show, her brother's film gets accepted to Cannes (to compete against their father's film), her boyfriend gets a taste of fame and her company has one disaster after another, Lola is sucked back into the cutthroat Hollywood world again and again.
Beneath the Starlet Sky will suck in any celebrity junkie from the very start. It's a entertaining look into Hollywood, through the eyes of someone trying to escape its grasp, is snappy and addictive. Lola is immediately lovable and readers will find themselves rooting for her at every turn. With "cameos" from many well known celebrities, along with fictional movie and reality stars, fame has never looked so decadently and, well, dirty.
I loved just about everything in Beneath a Starlet Sky. Unfortunately it lost me occasionally when Lola's job was the focus. Fashion isn't my thing and I feel many readers will be confused. It seems as though the authors assumed that common folk would be know current trends in the fashion world and have a subscription to Vogue. Those who possess this type of knowledge will be fine. Those like myself, not so much. While I know of Louboutin and Manolo Blahnik, I can't tell the difference between them. When fashion took the stage during the book, I felt less involved in the story.
Beneath a Starlet Sky is scandalous at times and pure emotion at others. It contains a wonderful mix of crazed fame and real life. While some portions of the book may be a bit beyond the reader's understanding, be it film, fashion or celebrity obsession in general, Beneath a Starlet Sky is sure to delight.(less)
I think I expected Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters to be a little more edgy and scandalous than it ended up being. When the matriarch of a rich fa...moreI think I expected Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters to be a little more edgy and scandalous than it ended up being. When the matriarch of a rich family demands confessions of wrong-doings in order for the family to stay in her will, three sisters write her letters admitting everything that their grandmother may have taken offense to. One fell in love, one told family secrets, one believed herself to be immortal, but none seemed even remotely bad, especially in today's world.
The family dynamics of Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters was the aspect of the book that kept me interested. The way the siblings interacted with each other, their parents and the grandmother was entertaining and heartfelt. I wish the book focused a little more on the entire family, especially the brothers, rather than keeping the focus solely on the girls and their supposed crimes.
Confessions from rich teenage girls should have been worse. These were truly good girls who made everyday decisions that the grandmother frowned upon. The ending, in which the grandmother reads the confessions and announces whether or not she has been satisfied was kind of a letdown. She, as evil as she's made out to be, reveals which crime it was that set her off in the first place and it's surprising in it's ridiculous nature.
This is a nice, sweet novel and would have been great if that's what readers are expecting when they pick the book up. Unfortunately, the way the book description makes it sound, Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters should have contained shocking revelations of some sort. I expected something on par with the Gossip Girl novels, and got something far more inspirational and wholesome instead.(less)
I fell in love with Beauty Queens as soon as I read the synopsis. And then I impatiently waited months until it finally arrived on my doorstep. I poun...moreI fell in love with Beauty Queens as soon as I read the synopsis. And then I impatiently waited months until it finally arrived on my doorstep. I pounced on it, read the entire thing in one sitting and found that my initial love was completely warranted. Beauty Queens is exactly what you expect from the synopsis and yet something so much deeper.
I expected a funny read and Beauty Queens did not disappoint. The humor was the kind that you don't exactly laugh, but kind of smirk to. It wasn't exactly the back-biting digs I expected from beauty queens, but a more subtle approach of letting the characters speak for themselves and allowing you to be the one to mock them (in your head, of course).
What truly blew me away was something I never saw coming - the fact that Beauty Queens is a novel stuffed with social issues. Social issues novels tend to be downers, and Beauty Queens is definitely not - even given the subject matter. The girls are messed up. Not from the crash, but from life in general. They're all competing for their own reasons, and the revelation of some of the motivating factors are pretty shocking. More than that, there is a strong female empowerment message here. Once the girls really start connecting and opening up to each other, they realize their sick of being "good" girls. They don't necessarily want to be bad girls, but they want the freedom to be themselves. As the girls come to terms with what that means, readers will likely be caught up in the idea right along with them. I'm a grown adult and this book had me wanting to stop behaving as I'm expected to. It was inspiring without ever seeming as though it was trying to be anything other than entertaining.
You'll find something unexpected in every page of Beauty Queens. It's chick lit, social issues, humor, action, adventure, survival, and body glitter packed into 400 pages of awesome.(less)
The Good: This was a fun, fluffy series to read and I was pretty pleased with the where the characters ended up. Not everyone grew or changed, but tha...moreThe Good: This was a fun, fluffy series to read and I was pretty pleased with the where the characters ended up. Not everyone grew or changed, but that's what makes the entire situation realistic. Some people are going to end up on the same path they started on. I loved that we get pretty definite answers to the few remaining questions lingering from the earlier books and that we knew where everyone is off to, for the most part, now that high school is over.
The Bad: This book didn't flow nearly as well as the earlier novels in the series. It seemed as though the author got sidetracked cramming in everything readers wanted to know that the book ended up weirdly fast paced.(less)
I tend to steer clear of any books focusing on religion or faith, but I was intrigued by The Silent Gift as soon as I learned about it. I enjoy most f...moreI tend to steer clear of any books focusing on religion or faith, but I was intrigued by The Silent Gift as soon as I learned about it. I enjoy most fiction dealing with psychic ability or prophecy and decided to take a chance. I'm very glad I did. The Silent Gift is a book that has religious themes, without being preachy, but more it is a book showing a mother's never-wavering love for her disabled son. Mary's life with Jack and everything she went through in the name of protecting her son was told in such an emotional way that during some scenes, I could feel my heart in my throat. I truly felt anger, love, and fear when Mary felt them. I was swept into this story and couldn't put it down until I knew the outcome. Very, very good for a book so far out of my comfort zone.(less)