Very sweet, easy read. I totally dug it. Hayley and Brody are awesomesauce characters and I enjoyed reading about them.
Update: I've read this book a...moreVery sweet, easy read. I totally dug it. Hayley and Brody are awesomesauce characters and I enjoyed reading about them.
Update: I've read this book a couple times now and the more I read it, the more I like it. First, I love that it is written from Brody's point of view, and well-written too. He really does sound like a guy and not a female writer trying to sound like a guy. And his relationship with Hayley was so much fun to read. Cassie Mae did a great job of developing their relationship from acquaintance to friendship to more in a believable and natural way. But really, what boy wouldn't fall in love with a character like Hayley? She was awesome and she deserved a good dude like Brody to help her see just how awesome she was. Her mom? Not awesome.(less)
3.5 stars. Of all of the very similar Melanie Marks books that I've read, I liked this one the best. I probably wouldn't have liked it as much though...more3.5 stars. Of all of the very similar Melanie Marks books that I've read, I liked this one the best. I probably wouldn't have liked it as much though if I hadn't read the "More His Kiss" addition at the end of High School Boys. Without that addition, the end is pretty abrupt and unsatisfying. With the addition, it's pretty awesome. (less)
The cover is just ridiculous and appears to be from the same photo shoot as The Rocker That Holds Me, by Terri Anne Browning. I read The Rocker That H...moreThe cover is just ridiculous and appears to be from the same photo shoot as The Rocker That Holds Me, by Terri Anne Browning. I read The Rocker That Holds Me and it was so sickly sweet that I was afraid this was just more of the same so, though Music of the Heart came up as a recommendation for me several times, I ignored it. Then, for whatever reason, maybe boredom, I checked out the reviews. I was shocked at the ratio of good reviews to bad reviews (on Amazon). And more so that many of the bad reviews felt a bit unfair. So of course then I was intrigued. My overall impression was that I really kind of dug it. Abby was far from perfect but generally likeable. Though she occasional annoyed me by being stupidly competitive and saying the worst possible things to comfort a dude who was afraid of looking weak, I liked her because she felt real. She was strong and decisive when it mattered but also self-conscious and uncertain when any girl would be. With Jake, I felt like Katie Ashley did a great job of giving him layers. He didn't just go from being a jerk to a nice guy. He was the same guy throughout the whole book but his outlook and priorities change. He does act like a jerk and he says and does things that some might consider unforgivable but I personally couldn't fault Abby for forgiving him. My own husband said some pretty mean things out of fear when we first started dating and if I hadn't forgiven him it would have been the biggest mistake of my life. So I say, try to look past the horrid cover, go in with a forgiving heart and enjoy.
Update: I decide to reread this book when I noticed there were a few sequels. It had been a while and I needed a reminder about what had happened. Since the last time I read this book, the author made some changes. This time around, Abby lost her annoying habit of always saying the wrong thing and Jake and Abby' s relationship progressed smoothly without the slow part. It is a much more enjoyable read without as much need for a forgiving heart.(less)
Mostly I liked the book and could have very easily loved it if not for two problems, Boomer and the conclusion. Jackie was a great character. I loved...moreMostly I liked the book and could have very easily loved it if not for two problems, Boomer and the conclusion. Jackie was a great character. I loved her interactions with her brother and sister and her friends added a little light-hearted humor to the book. Boomer sounded like a nice guy and certainly a perfect love interest but (and here is the first problem) I just didn't feel like I got to know him very well. He was in the book plenty but he comes off as a background character because he is mostly introduced to the reader through Jackie's musings and the occasional teasing dialogue. We hardly learn anything meaningful about him or from him. Don't get me wrong; there were a couple great scenes with him and he definitely had butterfly potential. It just wasn't quite enough. It was like seeing a dude at a friend's house and saying "who's that?" Then having her tell you how great he is but never actually meeting him except in passing. A few more scenes, preferably one-on-one with Jackie where they have real conversation and emote and he would have been a heartbreaker instead of a trophy.
The second problem was that the conclusion was disappointing. The majority of the book is about Jackie's love life woes and her acting aspirations are sort of a side story. However, in the conclusion, her love life takes a backseat and her career is center stage. (Please excuse the mixed metaphor and poor attempt at a pun.) There was some closure to her love life woes in the climax but it was unsatisfying because they don't really talk and therefore it lacked real emotion and then it was only mentioned as a side note or an afterthought in the conclusion.
I don't mean to sound like the book sucked; it didn't. I really did like it and it did have some first rate qualities. As I said, I loved the characters. The premise was interesting enough and the side stories, though not fully developed or resolved, were intriguing. All in all, I'm glad I read it. I would even recommend it but probably with a disclaimer.
A few other reviews that I read suggested a sequel to this book. I would read it but I would really rather see a reboot or revision or even a companion written from another characters POV.
Update: Changed from 3 stars to 3.5 stars. I reread this book and liked it more the second time around but still wish it had more Boomer. I'm definitely hoping for a Boomer companion novel.(less)
I'm officially a fan of Jenni James. I loved this series, The Austen Diaries. It completely recaptured the innocent romance of Austen's novels but in...moreI'm officially a fan of Jenni James. I loved this series, The Austen Diaries. It completely recaptured the innocent romance of Austen's novels but in a more contemporary manner. I will definitely be looking forward to the next two novels being release. One bit of advice for future readers though: I suggest reading them in chronological order rather than order of release. Pride and Popularity, Persuaded, Emmalee, Mansfield Ranch, Northanger Alibi, Sense and Sensational.
I gave this book only 4 stars (which was maybe a little generous) while the rest of the series got 5. I couldn't give a book 5 stars when I spent so much time being embarrassed for the main character. If you can get over how ridiculous she and her theories are, then it's golden. Though I do have to warn you that you'll be about 70% through the book before she realizes she's 16 and far too old to believe such silly stories.
UPDATE: I read this story a second time after reading Mansfield Ranch. Claire's obsession with Twilight and her ridiculous theories were even harder to swallow the second time around. However, the rest of the book was really quite good. I ended up skimming through most of the Twilight parts. That helped a lot. (less)
I enjoyed reading the More His Kiss addition at the end because I felt like the original ended abruptly and this gave me closure. For that, I'm glad I...moreI enjoyed reading the More His Kiss addition at the end because I felt like the original ended abruptly and this gave me closure. For that, I'm glad I got this book. I'm not quite so pleased with High School Boys. The characters were extra whiny and narcissistic in this one. Plus, I've read a few Melanie Marks books now and I guess I'm getting tired of reading the same story over and over again. This lady is taking formulaic writing to a whole new level.
Update: I ended up reading this book again because I read another book by Melanie Marks that had Matt and Nicole as background characters and I couldn't really remember their story. It grew on me the second time around. Of course this time around I went in knowing what the books faults were and so I couldn't be let down by them. In any case, I decided to change the rating from 2 stars to 3.(less)
While this story definitely strays from the happy-ending kind of story that I usually prefer, it is so well-written that it's impossible not to love i...moreWhile this story definitely strays from the happy-ending kind of story that I usually prefer, it is so well-written that it's impossible not to love it. The story has more than its fair share of sadness but it also has unraveling mystery, suspenseful action and layer upon layer of thought-provoking subplots. The characters are complex and developed not only through the main character's perception but also through their actions and motivations. There are no good guys and bad guys, just opposing opinions and values and very strong survival instincts.
This is the second time that I have read this book and its predecessor and I enjoyed both just as much the second time as I did the first. Even knowing what was going to happen, I was still completely captivated and had difficulty putting down my kindle. Now I will finally get to read the third book too. (less)
I read Divergent in the fall of 2012 after a friend suggested it. I didn't know at the time that is was part of a trilogy and wasn't very happy to fin...moreI read Divergent in the fall of 2012 after a friend suggested it. I didn't know at the time that is was part of a trilogy and wasn't very happy to find out that the third book of the series wouldn't be out until a year later. I'm not a patient person so I prefer to wait until an entire series is published before reading it. Waiting for the third book to be published was especially annoying for this series because I loved it so much. The characters are so well-written, the story is so intriguing and the action is so exciting that it was nearly impossible to put the book down. And it sucked to be done with the book (and it's second, Insurgent) so much that I almost reread both immediately. But I didn't; I decided to wait to reread it when the third book came out. Well, the third book is out; so I finally reread Divergent and I still love it. Even though I had already read it and knew exactly what was going to happen, I still had a hard time putting my Kindle down and I was still completely caught up in Tris's world. Now that the whole series is out, I definitely whole-heartedly recommend it.
Premise: The main character, Tris, lives in a society that is broken into five groups, Dauntless, Candor, Abnegation, Amity and Erudite. Each group believes that peace can be kept if they value one thing above all others. The Dauntless believe in bravery, Candor believes in honesty, Abnegation believes in selflessness, Amity in peacefullness of the mind, and Erudite in intelligence. Each group is in charge of different occupations due to the strengths of their group (dauntless are police, erudite are scientists and teachers, and so on). Children live in their parents group until they are sixteen when they take a test designed to help them decide where they best fit. Then, they choose where they want to be. Occasionally, there is a person who is divergent which means their test results are inconclusive because they fit in more than one group equally well. These people have to hide that they are divergent because it is dangerous to be divergent. Read to find out why. (less)
This Time Around was a short, easy and sweet read. It was predictable and light on heart-wrenching drama which is both good and bad. It was good becau...moreThis Time Around was a short, easy and sweet read. It was predictable and light on heart-wrenching drama which is both good and bad. It was good because I didn't feel jerked around emotionally which is pretty much what I was looking for from this book (quick, light and romantically indulgent). If I had expected anything more (and I usually do), I would have been pretty disappointed. Another review had mentioned it was "too perfect" and I thought that was a pretty spot-on description. Usually that would bother me. This time it didn't. The one thing that did bother me a little was how Jake dotes on Nora and she doesn't really do much for him. It wasn't exactly a story killer but it would have been nice if she had planned something special for him at least once. I guess she sort of does that at one point but it was sullied (in my book) by her doing something almost unforgivably inconsiderate to set it up. Still, I would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of light, low-drama romances with a few juicy sex scenes and a happy ending.
On another note, the sequel/companion novel that is set up at the end, Break Away, sounds pretty good. It is going to be about Nora's college roommate. I'll have to keep my eye out for it. (less)
I will openly admit that this book has it's flaws (there are a few leaps in character and story that lack development), but I really loved it. Sofie,...moreI will openly admit that this book has it's flaws (there are a few leaps in character and story that lack development), but I really loved it. Sofie, the main character who has always been certain she will be a failure due to being the first born, has to set out on her own after mistaken identity causes her to be cursed with early old age. Her advanced years give her the courage and surliness to seek employment with the local "wicked" wizard, Howl, as a cleaning lady. There she lives, causing trouble but also gaining a place in the "family" with Howl, his fire demon, Calcifer and his assistant, Michael. Together, they evade a vengeful witch and unwillingly take part in the search for a missing prince and a missing royal wizard. All in all, even with the development issues, I really loved it and recommend it for your reading list. There are also two sequels set in the same world and including some of the same characters.(less)
I can understand why some people wouldn't enjoy this book, particularly if they have very strong feelings about how a Pride and Prejudice companion sh...moreI can understand why some people wouldn't enjoy this book, particularly if they have very strong feelings about how a Pride and Prejudice companion should be written (or any Austen companion). Luckily, I don't have any of those qualms and I enjoyed it. I found it satisfying to see many of my feelings about Darcy confirmed in writing rather than just in my head and those parts that differed from my image where, at the very least, thought provoking. Reading this book inspired me to also read some of Grange's other "diary" books (Captain Wentworth's Diary, Mr. Knightly's Diary, Edmund Bertrum's Diary, Colonel Brandon's Diary, and Henry Tilney's Diary). While, in my opinion, Mr. Darcy's Diary was the best(despite the fact that Pride and Prejudice was not my favorite Austen book), the others were also pretty good. I'm not sorry to have read them though perhaps a tiny bit embarrassed to admit it.(less)
Excellent book. A trio of kids travel in time to save one's sister. They find themselves caught up in the French Revolution where they witness the tro...moreExcellent book. A trio of kids travel in time to save one's sister. They find themselves caught up in the French Revolution where they witness the troubles befalling both sides of the conflict. (less)
My kid loves the original Flat Stanley books and the Flat Stanley Worldwide Adventure books. They are great books to help transition from picture book...moreMy kid loves the original Flat Stanley books and the Flat Stanley Worldwide Adventure books. They are great books to help transition from picture books to chapter books.(less)